Posts Tagged ‘Claudio Ranieri’


As far as cup finals go it isn’t the most prestigious. It isn’t up there with the Champion’s League final or Europa League final. It isn’t even up there with the FA Cup final.

Through all it’s various guises which have included the Milk Cup, the Worthington Cup and the Capital One Cup it has been used as a vehicle for giving fringe players a run of games, certainly by the bigger clubs, who have the squads deep enough to render the exercise unnecessary.

The effect this has on the competition is to take away the giant-killing days. No longer is it a major surprise, or even much of an achievement, when a Championship club at full strength beats a Premier League club fielding it’s reserve team. At least it could be argued that the playing field is level for once. (more…)



Rewind to a time not much more than twelve months ago. Stood on the touchline at the Kingpower Stadium was a manager whose team looked bereft of ideas, short of a leader and heading in one direction only, downwards.

José Mourinho, when interviewed after that 2-1 loss to Leicester City, unashamedly blamed his players for not following orders. This despite the fact that, as he well knows, the ultimate responsibility lies with the person who picks those players.

Roman Abramovich obviously concurred with the opinion that the manager was at fault and Mourinho was out of work. (more…)


Ronald Koeman must resign himself to the fact that a challenge to break into the top six will probably have to wait until next season. Some wise spending in the Summer transfer window and his astute management should see a more concerted effort from Everton next time out.

He will certainly be expected to improve upon the finishes of Roberto Martinez and David Moyes as he has a sizeable amount of cash available thanks to the new owner, Farhad Moshiri. (more…)


Not to mention Everton, the dark horses, so I won’t. Mention them, that is.

After only six games of the new season the great British press, the fourth estate, the paragons of virtue, trust and truthfulness, have decided who is going to win the title, who is going to get relegated and which managers are going to be sacked before and after Christmas. (more…)


The same may possibly be said about Antonio Conte but, as yet, we don’t know enough about him or his motives to put forward a case one way or the other.

Other older managers such as Arsene Wenger, Sir Alex Ferguson, Sir Bobby Robson and even, to a lesser extent, Manuel Pelligrini, Louis van Gaal and Claudio Ranieri took jobs at clubs where there was a challenge. (more…)



The answer to the above question has to be “yes”. If not then we may as well award the trophy now and just play the season for fun, which wouldn’t be much fun. Here’s a quick look at the contenders.


Their best signing could turn out to be Antonio Conte. Having taken an unfancied Italy to a penalty shoot-out defeat to the very much fancied Germans in the Euros, he has already proven that he can get the best out of a team considered no more than slightly better than average. He has also experienced winning the title in Italy so, the only real question is, can he do it in England? (more…)


The last time I was present at a Manchester United versus Leicester City game at Old Trafford was on March 18th, 1967. I have been to Old Trafford many, many times before and since but only ever once when they played Leicester. The game sticks in the mind for two reasons. The first is David Herd scoring the first goal and breaking his leg in the process when falling over Gordon Banks whilst in the act of shooting. The second is the scoreline of 5-2 to United.

Back then, Leicester didn’t have a bad team, it just wasn’t very good. Now the situations have been completely reversed. At the moment United don’t have a bad team, it just isn’t very good. An example of how far down in the estimation of even ex-players the club has gone was typified recently by Denis Law. He was asked if he thought his team of the sixties would beat the current one. He thought for a moment and replied, “yes, I think so, 1-0.” When the interviewer wondered why such a low score Law replied, “well, we’re all in our seventies now!”

The difficulty for the majority of the United fans, particularly those who comment on popular social networking sites, is that they do not possess a sense of humour. It is also true that many of them have never even been to Old Trafford.   (more…)


Juventus have won seventeen of their last eighteen games in all competitions. They are only two points behind Serie A leaders Napoli, who they play on Saturday. They are through to the last sixteen in the Champion’s League, where they will play Bayern Munich and they are in the semi-finals of the Coppa Italia, where they will play Inter Milan.

Massimiliano Allegri is an Italian, born in Livorno and enjoying great success in his home country.

If reports are to be believed then Roman Abramovich would like Allegri to give up all he has worked for in the last couple of years to go and manage, what is currently, a mid-table team under-achieving on an almost weekly basis.

To contest the Champion’s League next season Chelsea will need to win it this one! Other than the “challenge” of managing in the Premier League and a pay rise what can Abramovich offer to Allegri to motivate him to leave a very comfortable comfort zone?

Unless Allegri wants to test himself in a league where there is, generally, more competition than anywhere else in Europe, and maybe learn English, then this is a move which does not make any sense. (more…)


(Roman wonders whether Guus has sorted out Chelsea’s problems and whether Manuel will bring another steadying hand to the tiller!)

I suppose if you want a quiet, charming and polite man to take over a club like Chelsea then, yes, he would be ideal. A little like Hiddink in that he prefers to do his talking on the pitch and only appears at press conferences and on TV because his contract states that he has to, it would be an almost seamless transition from one to the other.

Having decided that Jose Mourinho was no longer the man to take the club forward, Roman Abramovich now has a decision to make. He can try and tempt a man who is eight years Mourinho’s senior but is a safer pair of hands in which to leave the grenade that is Chelsea football club, or he can try to attract a younger manager with potential longevity, such as Diego Simeone.

His choice may say a lot about his own long-term plans. If, for example, he opts for Pellegrini, this would be on a two or three year contract which probably wouldn’t be renewed, irrespective of success achieved. It would be viewed as a way to get Chelsea back on an even keel without losing the ability to compete at the top of the Premier League and in the Champion’s League. (more…)


Arsene Wenger

A new striker because, although Giroud is doing the business, Arsene never seems to be 100% convinced. So much so that there have been games when he has preferred Walcott in the striking role. So far this season both have done reasonably well in the position but Giroud is more consistent. It is reported that Edinson Cavani of PSG is on the radar.

Danny Welbeck to get fit so he can take his place on the bench. The same wish for Jack Wilshere, but he would get on the teamsheet rather than the bench.

Finally, an injury free second half of the season and the Premier League title.

Claudio Ranieri

Maybe a new signing or two depending on how many packets of crisps have been sold!

The success and money to be able to hold onto Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez and also an injury free second half of the season which would enable Leicester to maintain a top four challenge. (more…)