We’re two weeks out and the Premier League predictions have started rolling in. Sends yours (or anything else) to email@example.com.
No change at Man United
Yay, we beat Liverpool 4-0, some Ozzie side 4-1 and chucked a 2-0 lead away against Villa. I was all set to sit back and watch these games until the obvious smacked me firmly in the face. Oh look, it’s the same team that has been totally outclassed by a few championship sides over the last couple of years. In +40 degrees I went to the pub instead.
So what exactly is happening at Utd? Signed by the looks of it a 3rd choice left back. Takes some doing when all he has to do is be better than Luke bloody Shaw.
Signed a bloke on a free, who actually had to have a long think about signing for us or Brentford. Let’s not kid ourselves, nobody else wanted to sign him.
Signed yet another CB for an outlandish fee who will won’t get game time. Maguire is a dead cert to start and then it’s between the French always injured and Lindelof.
Chasing a Barca player who literally does not want to come.
That keeper and back four will leak goals all season long, we still have no midfield which is some 12+ years since we last had one and, some….. how…… Martial is being lauded again. The young players wont get a chance when the season starts, who else can name Utd’s starting line-up for the opener?
DDG, Shaw, Maguire, Varane if fit or Lindelof, Dalot, McTom, Fred, Sancho, Rashford, Fernandes, Martial. No mention of Ronaldo cos he just wants to feck off, see ya then. Oh wait, nobody wants him?
What an incredible summer it has been! We are going to start the season with the same side that was horrific all last season, most of the season before and before that, some a season before that as well. Plus Martial who since December stank up and already stinking Spanish league. It’s ok though, buy ya tickets, buy ya shirts, buy ya programs, beers and bullshit. But when you do, don’t come on here moaning about how crap Manchester United are. We know they’ll be crap, just some of us don’t pay our money into it. .
I think ETH could do an exceptional job, unfortunately this is Man Utd. So it’s a Good luck Erik, we all know where this is heading. Sacked before the season ends and in comes Poch.
Mike, it’s been a while and please name one Man Utd player who is even likable?
READ MORE: Man City shouldn’t allow their own stubbornness to spoil perfect Cucurella opportunity
Turn the Arsenal narrative tide
I’m going to say one last thing regarding Arsenal’s transfer allure – particularly in relation to Spurs’. I just read an article where Zinchenko spoke about being a huge Arsenal fan when he was a kid. Jesus had similar comments and both cited Henry. Now, we know this could just be lip service to the fans…but we all damn well know just they could absolutely be telling the truth. How many players have you heard say something like this over the years? When have you ever heard anyone say anything even remotely like this about Spurs? Does anyone realize that the last 10 years – which has generally been considered shambolic for Arsenal despite our 4 FA cups and rightfully so for a club of our stature – has been considered a mini golden era for Spurs and they have ZERO trophies to show for it? Does the CL final appearance make up for this? Do Spurs even have more aggregate points than us in the league in the last 10 years?
It would take another several years for any young player to be like “Yeah, I remember watching Modric and Bale on Spurs – they were two of my favorite players. Then they left and I became a Real Madrid supporter.” It would take at least another 10-15 years for any young player to be like “Yeah, I was a massive Tottenham fan when I was a kid cause I watched a trophyless Harry Kane and Son score plenty of goals while only being able to rely on each other for assistance and it’s been my dream to follow in their footsteps and accomplish nothing – so that’s why I’m signing with Spurs today.”
Anyways, enough about them. I just wanted to draw attention to certain ludicrous narratives that have been making the rounds on the dreaded internet. As alluded to earlier, the Arsenal Invincibles team was iconic (please do not misconstrue this as me thinking it’s the greatest accomplishment ever) and it still wasn’t that long ago. Pretty much, unless you were born around or after 03-04 (note the year) or, in other words, a young child in 2011 and your first memories of hearing about/watching Arsenal are when we were regularly trotting out the likes of Andre Santos and Sebastien Squillaci – you still remember a straight up iconic f***ing team or at least some really good teams with some really good players (Cesc, Rosicky, Hleb, RVP, Nasri, [obviously no defenders to speak of], etc.) while being acutely aware of the Invincibles.
If you were born around or after 03-04 then you’re at most 18-19 at time of writing. In other words, the time is now for Arsenal to turn the tide on these narratives. I always found it funny how there would be certain mailboxes where there would be 2-3 consecutive mails remarking about how Arsenal are irrelevant – some people (Bill EFC) really just lack awareness. We aren’t quite the club our detractors – especially anyone who wants to make absurd comparisons between us and our hated rivals based only on the past 10-12 years – on the internet and even the “fans” on AFTV try to make us out to be…yet. But if we don’t get only (more) progress from Arteta from here on out (it HAS to be Arteta, we’ve invested too much time/money) and eventually an actually legit major trophy (the FA cup, despite its lavish history, does not count) then we are definitely in massive danger of ending up…somewhere we definitely don’t want to be as a club. If not now, how much longer will it be?
Stay strong, fellow Gooners. Be confident…but forsake hubris. It might be agonizing…but it also might be glorious. That’s sports. Either way, the next 2-3 years will be a window into the next 10-15 for the club.
MAW, LA Gooner
Nunez and Haaland
Amazed that Aman doesn’t work in scouting for one of the major clubs given he clearly knows so much about football that he can write off about £1bn worth of transfers in one wildly stupid mail.
Would love to know how much he’s actually watched Nunez. I’ll say I suspect less than the Liverpool scouting department for sure. I suspect less than most Liverpool fans who watched him test our defence for 180 minutes in a way that almost no other striker did last season that I remember. Firmino scored 5 goals in 20 league starts last season. I love him to bits but you’re comparing apples with oranges.
Haaland might not be a success but to even compare him to Sterling reveals an ignorance about football that makes me wonder how much thought went into your silly missive. Maybe you just wrote something so dumb because you thought the hotter the take the more likely you were to get published? I do think this point might have short term merit because Pep has historically not had a proper number 9 in his ranks and had pretty well documented issues with Ibrahimovic. That said I think they will figure each other out and he will do well. In his first season will he outperform Jesus last year (28 games – 16 goals or assists)? …ah it would be fun if he didn’t but I suspect he will. I think in Haaland’s case he will be judged on the insane wages etc so if he scores fewer than 20 he will not be considered a success next season.
Finally…Man Utd finished ahead of Liverpool. Lol. At least we know who you support.
Headed back passes
‘The Logical Dictator’ writes that disallowing headed back-passes would introduce more jeopardy into the game. That may well be true, but it brings to mind one of the more sorely-missed aspects of the partnership between Vidic and Ferdinand: namely, the ease and confidence with which they would (time and time again) deal with any balls lumped into the sky towards them by simply letting it skim off the top of their heads and into the waiting arms of Edwin van der Sar. I’m sure others could name defenders equally adept at this (underrated) skill, but those two did seem particularly good at it. Perhaps not especially exciting to some, but certainly a rare talent.
Also, while it may not count as ‘jeopardy’ per se, those eternal moments between realising a defender is about to attempt a chested pass back to the keeper and the (inevitable) smattering of applause which meets its success would also be sorely missed.
All in all, I’d rather not change it. Perhaps a more important way to continue the spirit of the back-pass rule would be to punish players holding onto the ball after giving away free-kicks or throw-ins more severely. It’s a real pet peeve of mine. In any case, a more interesting debate than the endless back-and-forth about goats, trolls, flops and ‘big clubs,’ so thank you and Dave Tickner alike.
Tiger (MUFC) Cambridge
Just to reply to the Logical Dictator, the backpass rule was designed to stop teams deliberately time wasting. A header back to the keeper is not deliberately time wasting, it will probably be cutting out an attack and is in response to the opposition’s attack, rather than just trying to run down the clock. That is the logic behind it.
I do get his point about it possibly making the game more exciting, but that was not the original purpose of it.
Euro 2022 idiocy
Christ. What an idiot I am. Why didn’t I watch this from the start? I missed half of the group stages of Euro 2022 because I thought:
– it’s just not the same
– I don’t know the players
– the quality won’t be as good
Then I watched the last round of group games when I could. Loved it. I’ve now watched every quarter final. What a moment from Stanway, getting us to the semis. I’m currently watching Sweden take on Belgium, wondering how the hell Sweden are not 2 or 3-0 up and readying myself for the inevitable torture of extra time and penalties. This is unmissable.
Shit: a goal just shy of the full time whistle. I feel for Belgium, they were defiant and steely but Christ Sweden deserved that win considering their attempts on goal. It’ll be a test for us next week but if Sweden fluff their chances in front of goal even half as badly as they did tonight then we’ve got one foot in the final.
There’s been a great show of quality, resoluteness and passion so far – everything you expect and want at an international football tournament. If you have doubts then I strongly encourage you to at least give the womens game a go. If you’re like me and adore international tournament football then you won’t be disappointed…it’s brilliant.
And you know – selfishly – what the best part is? This means I won’t be going without a summer football tournament for at least the next three years (womens World Cup 2023, men’s euros 2024 and Women’s Euros 2025, please correct me if I’m wrong) with an added winter World Cup this December as the icing on the cake (albeit a bittersweet icing considering the controversy surrounding it).
Bring on all the football. All the damn football!
Jack, 28, London (why hello there mailbox, what a sight for sore eyes you are)
Premier League preditions
Been reading the (sometimes hilarious) predictions for the next prem season. As a Wycombe fan with no skin in the game, here’s 10 of my thoughts about the upcoming season
1: Top Scorer. Haaland and Kane will get 20+, Salah and Son will get in the 15-20 range, with Jesus, Nunez and maybe Sterling in the 10-15 range. Nothing against Nunez, but Haaland is, well, an advanced robot being tested in football.
2: Sacking Race: Ralph Hasenhuttle. An entirely decent manager who will probably lead an entirely decent team slightly too close to relegation for comfort. Leeds have invested too much in Marsch to dump him quickly, and I honestly reckon Frank will have a decent, albeit likely doomed, go at it.
3: Relegation: Everton, Bournemouth and Fulham. Everton, god love em, are simply so fucked financially, with a woefully run organisation, Frank Lampard who honestly, probably isn’t a Premier League manager, a mediocre squad and no replacement for Richarlison (at time of writing). Bournemouth have made two signings, both of which look entirely lower of the league signings, and Fulham are simply Fulham.
4: Top Four: City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs. Liverpool and City are, well, pretty fucking obvious. Chelsea have made some pretty decent moves, and I reckon Sterling could be a very good shout alongside Havertz and whatever one of their 52 rotation strikers they chose. 4th for me is between Spurs and Arsenal. United, god love them, are possibly in for a painful year, essentially a transition year to bring in some of Ten Haag’s necessary players, instill his values, and remove deadwood. Spurs pip it for me with a (shockingly) un-spurs like transfer window. They actually spent money. Like what. Plus Conte is definitely better than Arteta, they have two extremely proven goalscorers. Arsenal have Jesus and Nketiah.
5: heheh siiiuuu: Ronaldo will probably still bang goals, but I wonder if with time (or even at the start of the season give his supposed behavior) if he’ll be relegated to a supersub, in favour of a more traditional pressing striker. Oh wait nvm they have Martial. Also, FDJ won’t join.
6: Team to Watch: Crystal Palace. Under Viera they’ve turned from a mildly depressing counter attacking team that will finish mid table, to a fun attacking team with a plethora of attackers, who will finish mid table.
7: Signing of the Season: Coutinho to Villa for, what, 16m? Is an absolute steal. Even if he’s on high wages, his talent is undeniable. Will look on with glee when he (hopefully) gets his confidence back fully.
8: Flop of the Season: Diego Carlos. Interesting how Villa got both from me. Diego Carlos is either gonna absolutely ball, or be absolutely mediorce. And tbh, most of the signings so far for the majority of clubs have been pretty decent so, he’s here because of that uncertainty.
9: Player of the Year: KDB. I mean, it’s KDB, and now he has Haaland to feed. Runner ups will be Kane and Van Dijk. How boring.
10: Young Player of the Year: Top Six. Connor Gallagher should have a very interesting season with Chelsea this year. He’s got a very good chance to get his foot in the door, and I reckon he can take the chance
Rest of the league: Gavin Bazunu. There’s question marks over making the jump from L1 to the Premier League. As an Irishman, and a L1 watcher, I have no doubts whatsoever he’s more than capable of it. His performance against Portugal with the ROI shows just how capable he is performing to a high standard, and he’s clearly very hungry to prove himself.