Posts Tagged ‘Pep Guardiola’

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So it’s nearly all over. On Wednesday night the fat lady will sing, at least as far as any English interest in Europe is concerned. To continue the mixed metaphors from the previous article, then is the time that José Mourinho will find out if the straws at which he has been grasping can be pulled through the silver lining he has decided the Europa League to be, or if they will get stuck in the cloud.

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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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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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“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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Just as the Premier League season nears it’s pulsating climax it happens. What happens, (we don’t hear you ask)?  What happens is one of those pesky international breaks.

It is called a break because the players, particularly the English ones, can have a rest. All of the ones not included in their national team squad can sit, feet up, and watch the dross churned out by their so-called “betters“.

All of the players selected by their national team manager can also have a rest as the pace of the games, at least those involving England, will border somewhere between snail and tortoise. (more…)

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Yet again that mediocre La Liga has three teams through to the quarter finals of the Champion’s League, while that brilliant, exciting, competitive and just all-round good egg Premier League has one.

The good thing is that to prove it’s massive superiority over La Liga, it was a Premier League club which knocked out Sevilla. Yes, little old Leicester did what Manchester City, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur couldn’t do, they made it through to the quarter finals. (more…)

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We here at WSA recently had a spare five minutes which we filled by playing the Daily Mirror top six predictor game, (it’s here if you want to try it out).

It’s quite simple really, all you do is enter whether you think the top six will win, lose or draw their remaining games and the widget calculates the rest. Our final table had Chelsea as champions, Manchester City second and Manchester United third. Tottenham edged out Arsenal and Liverpool for the fourth spot. (more…)

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Barring a miracle at The Emirates, Arsenal are out of the Champion’s League. Surprise, surprise! Beaten again by Bayern Münich, although the opponent in the round of Arsenal is largely irrelevant, whoever they played would have won the tie. It’s surely time for Arsene Wenger to seek a different challenge.

Tottenham Hotspur, who weren’t good enough for the Champion’s League and so thought they would quite like a crack at the Europa League, proved that they couldn’t hack it at that level either, beaten by Gent, one of those Belgian teams with no good Belgian players because they are all playing in England for teams such as Tottenham Hotspur. (more…)

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Arséne Wenger and Louis van Gaal have a couple of things in common. Firstly, they are both past the 65 years of age mark. Secondly, they have been unable to adapt themselves to compete in the modern football world.

It is now seven years since van Gaal won La Liga, his last major championship title and a whopping thirteen years since Wenger last won the Premier League. Yes they have both won cups since those days but even a blind squirrel will eventually find a nut and they were both managing historically successful teams at the time. (more…)

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As regular readers of these chronicles will be aware, there are several amongst the football fraternity who are, to put it mildly, an irritation. We are not just referring to current players in the previous statement, as there are far more irritating people who have never played the game, who have retired from the game or who have dabbled at it and been no better than average.

There are reporters, presenters and referees. There are “celebrity” fans, another horrible expression suggesting that some people are “celebrated” whilst others are completely ignored throughout their life despite the good they may do. (more…)