Archive for the ‘Opinion’ Category

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It depends. If the question relates to the top six being the same six as usual then there is unlikely to be any difference. If, however, it is questioning whether the finishing order will be the same as this season, then that is more debatable.

On the first point, clubs who would think they may have a chance, however slight, of breaking the hexopoly, include Everton if/when they employ Marco Silva, West Ham United now that they have managed to appoint a top manager and Newcastle if they can get rid of Mike Ashley and replace him with somebody considerably richer.

These are all pretty big “ifs” and, in truth, it is unlikely that any of them will be ready to challenge for the top six places as soon as next season. (more…)

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Apparently Manchester United are going to buy almost every player who is rumoured to be for sale. In an attempt to separate the “possibly true” from the “absolutely not” we look at deals which could happen.

Dastardly Daniel Levy decided, a while ago, that Toby Alderweireld was surplus to requirements at Tottenham Hotspur because he had the audacity to think he should be paid more than the minimum wage.

This alerted Manchester United manager José Mourinho and had Ed Woodward reaching for the nail-biting repellant at the very thought of having to negotiate with London football’s answer to Shylock. (more…)

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The Antonio Conte saga goes on. No decision has yet been announced by either the man himself or Chelsea as to what his immediate future holds. The fact that everybody else already knows doesn’t appear to have occurred to either of the two parties. Or maybe it has and that is why they can’t be bothered announcing anything.

Anyway Conte, when he does leave/get fired in the very near future, won’t be rushing into a new job. He has decided to take a sabbatical at Chelsea’s expense.

This is because, contrary to popular belief, he won’t be swapping jobs with Maurizio Sarri, who may end up at Stamford Bridge but will be replaced by Carlo Ancelotti. No, Conte is more likely to take over Ancelotti’s bar stool for a period so he can see how the land lies. (more…)

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Arsenal’s powers-that-be who are, apparently, Ivan Gazidis, Sven Mislintat and Raul Sanllehi and not, as we thought, Arséne Wenger, have decided that Unai Emery is the man to succeed the one we naturally assumed was God at the club.

Unai, (no relation to Dick as far as we are aware), brings with him a wealth of experience in winning the Europa league, having done so three times with Sevilla, so Arsenal could really have done with him last season

Apparently he likes to do things in threes as he finished third in La Liga on three occasions when with Valencia behind guess which other two? Yes, you’re probably right. (more…)

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Nemanja Matić has decided that Manchester United need to sign some experienced players in order to challenge for the title next season.

What does this actually mean? Is he saying that Antonio Valencia (33), Ashley Young (32), Marouane Fellaini (30), Juan Mata (30), Ander Herrera (28), Alexis Sánchez (29) and himself (30) don’t have enough experience between them to win the Premier League title?

Or is he saying that the younger players aren’t good enough and need replacing with experience? So some of Pogba, Martial, Rashford, Shaw, Rojo, Lindelof and Bailly need to go and make way for some older players to come in! (more…)

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José Mourinho will point to a second placed finish in the Premier League and, no doubt, try and spin this as progress on last year’s sixth place. Taken in isolation he is right, there has been a slight improvement in league performance.

What must also be taken into account is that the only other team to improve on last season were Manchester City and we all know what they did! In fact, of the top six, United and City were the only two to improve on last season’s eventual league position.

Chelsea went from first to fifth, Arsenal went from fifth to sixth, Tottenham Hotspur went from second to third and Liverpool remained static in fourth. So the fact that United managed to climb into second can be put down, in part, to the failure of the others to improve or even maintain their previous season’s form. (more…)

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This year’s FA Cup final, as well as being the traditional curtain-downer on the domestic season, was also an example of two managers under pressure for completely different reasons.

Antonio Conte, who is widely expected to resign/be fired within days of the game, is under pressure because he has proven to be a one-season-wonder in the Premier League and that only because he had no European involvement to hinder his side’s progress to winning the title.

José Mourinho is widely expected to take some time off and go visiting Portugal, a grand prix or two and then pitch up for RT, a Russian TV station, as a double agent World Cup pundit. He is under pressure because some Manchester United fans find it difficult to accept that THREE trophies and a second place finish in the Premier League in two years should be considered successful. (more…)

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When Sam Goldwyn was misquoted as having said that “a verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on” a more accurate misquote would have been that a contract of any description isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.

Whilst that would not be strictly true it is getting to the stage, particularly in professional top flight football, where the necessity of a contract could be called into question.

Over at Manchester City the dastardly deed has been done. Pep Guardiola has signed a contract extension which will keep him at The Etihad until 2021. Unless he leaves before the end of the contract! Or maybe he will fail spectacularly and get fired before the end of the contract! (more…)

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The Premier League has gone from a two-team competition whereby it was contested between Manchester United and Arsenal, to a two-team competition whereby Arsenal were replaced by Chelsea. It then became a three-team competition when Manchester City woke up one morning to find they had won the lottery.

In fairness, they didn’t become serious contenders overnight and it wasn’t until they had spent many millions that they won the title back in 2011. They have since won it a further twice. (more…)

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Football supporters of the top clubs these days are about as patient as a five-year-old on Christmas Eve.

Back in the seventies, when Mancheser United were relegated to the second division there were disappointed shrugs and sighs of resignation but little else.

It had been coming for a while and, when it finally happened in 1974, nobody was really surprised and the optimism of Tommy Docherty in predicting that the club would bounce straight back to the first division was infectious. (more…)