Archive for the ‘Premier League’ Category

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In all fairness, ANY manager at ANY club has the right to select whichever team he feels is appropriate for the game ahead.

Sure, there will be “first choice” elevens which, in the manager’s opinion is his “best” combination of players. This combination will not always be the right one for different opponents. Therefore, the manager has to have the right to make changes.

The question only becomes inflammatory when wholesale changes are made in order to “protect” some players for games further down the line which are deemed to be more important. (more…)

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It is now Wednesday, 26th May. Manchester City are two points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and an inferior goal difference.

Manchester United are three points behind Liverpool with two games in hand and a vastly inferior goal difference.

The upshot of all this is the following: If Thursday’s derby game is a draw, both Manchester clubs gain a point on Liverpool and both will overtake Liverpool should they win their other game in hand.

If Manchester United win the game, they will be level with Liverpool and City will still be only two points behind but still with a game in hand. So either of these two scenarios would suit United and neither would be disastrous for City.

However, should City win then the outlook becomes a little bleaker for United. They would still be three points behind Liverpool, only have one game in hand and their inferior goal difference would be even more inferior. They would then have to rely on Liverpool slipping up at some stage which, in all fairness, is a probability rather than a possibility. So all would not be quite lost, but the outcome of the derby is certainly more poignant to United than it is to City.

Having won at Old Trafford earlier in the season at a time when City were playing their best football it wouldn’t be particularly surprising if they were favourites for this one. The fortunes of the two clubs have, however, differed slightly since then.

United have gone on to win the EFL Cup and are in the quarter finals of the Europa League. In fact they are now favourites to win it.

City, on the other hand, have been knocked out of the Champion’s League due to attacking a two-goal lead rather than defending it, and been knocked out of the FA Cup at the semi-final stage. They will end the season trophyless, not something which was expected when Pep Guardiola took the reins.

It is difficult to see these events not having some psychological effect on the players. After all, they were the team who were going to win things with their new manager. This will not now be the case, not short term anyway.

All of this, in our very humble opinion, makes Manchester United slight favourites for the win but the draw still remains the safest bet.

It will certainly be an interesting derby game onThursday.

The FA Cup final will feature Chelsea and Arsenal. Two London teams playing the final in London. Quite fair really. The semi-finals featured three London teams and one from Manchester and were also played in London. Totally unfair really.

How three clubs can play a “home” game whilst another is totally disadvantaged by being the sole “away” team is beyond the comprehension of this fair-minded publication. What happened to playing the semi-finals on a neutral ground in a neutral city?

The result was quite predictable with this heavy bias towards London and now the final will be contested between two teams who, through no real fault of their own, generate no real interest outside of London particularly in a competition which has now become one which nobody really cares much about either.

When will the FA come to their senses, (a perpetually rhetorical question!), and return the old values to the tournament? Maybe then some of the old “magic” may reappear. Until that happens it will remain a bit of a damp squib.

FA Cup final weekend has finally become just another weekend.

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As egos go, there are none much bigger than that of José Mourinho. Little is said of his time flirting with Inter Milan and Real Madrid even though he continued winning trophies with both clubs.

No, it is his two “marriages” to Chelsea for which, at present anyway, he is being remembered.

The second break-up was far more noteworthy than the first as it was brought about by a perceived breakdown in relationships with certain players and with the club outside the top ten for the first time in years. Mourinho was unceremoniously kicked out and Chelsea were soon to be in a new relationship with Antonio Conte. (more…)

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Watching “The Sunday Supplement” on, believe it or not, Sunday, we here at WSA were dismayed, if not surprised, to hear that all of the journalists on the programme were going to vote for Antonio Conte as their “manager of the season“.

Now we have never thought that football journalists were ever recognised authorities on the machinations of the modern football club or it’s manager, but to vote for Conte shows a staggering lack of knowledge and totally flies in the face of the true definition of the award. Let’s look at the contenders as they were when the season started. This, in itself, got everything off on the wrong foot as the wrong managers were being scrutinised. (more…)

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The game against Everton was the chance to put some pressure on Manchester City before their game with Chelsea. It was also a chance to show the Old Trafford faithful that they hadn’t completely forgotten how to win a game of football.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to add a goal threat up front and Ander Herrera returned to add a threat to the opposing midfieders. (more…)

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He had taken Porto as far as he could so moved on to Chelsea. The only trophy to elude him at Stamford Bridge was the Champion’s League but, when he left, he was still young enough to be able to return one day to win it, (or so he probably thought).

Inter Milan proved to be a relatively easy challenge during which he even managed to come up with a way of beating Barcelona over two legs in the Champion’s League and go on to win it. This was when Barcelona were the best team in the world. (more…)

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Many people expect Manchester United to strengthen their squad during the Summer transfer window. It is not, however, just a question of getting numbers in.

Louis van Gaal tried the scatter-gun approach when spending almost £250 million and for that amount United have actually ended up with Anthony Martial, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Matteo Darmian and Luke Shaw, with the latter two about to be sold as soon as possible. So the outlay has netted just three players who are probably worth a total of £80 million in today’s inflated market. (more…)

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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us…………”

And so it goes on. This extract, as learned readers will know, is taken from “A Tale of Two Cities” by Charles Dickens. In some ways, it describes quite well the period between Louis van Gaal being told to do one and José Mourinho being welcomed into the spider’s web which masquerades as the manager’s office at Manchester United. (more…)

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Manchester United’s problem is scoring goals, or rather, not scoring goals. Their total for the season would be abysmal if Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s tally were to be taken out of the equation.

When United signed the Swede along with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Paul Pogba, it appeared to go a long way to addressing the goalscoring side of things. The fact that he only signed one defender, Eric Bailly, did not necessarily mean that he was happy with what he had, more that there was a shortage of world class defenders available. (more…)

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Sir Alex Ferguson retired. David Moyes came in. Hailed as the “Chosen One” he rather quickly became the “Frozen One” as results started to go against him. He also managed to break some unwanted records in his time and the list is as follows:-

1United suffered their first defeat to Newcastle at Old Trafford in 41 years.

2Everton’s victory at Old Trafford confirmed their first league double over the Reds since 1970.

3As a result of that defeat, United had won just one of their 12 meetings with the Premier League’s top eight sides that season. (more…)