Everton and Carlo Ancelotti – now the hard work begins

CARLO ANCELOTTI knew he wasn’t taking over a bulge bracket club when he agreed to join Everton, making him one of the most celebrated managers ever to walk into the Goodison Park hot-seat. At Anfield, in his first Merseyside side, the constantly raised eyebrow told you everything you needed to know: the three-times Champions League winner has a major task on his hands at Everton. … Continue reading Everton and Carlo Ancelotti – now the hard work begins

Liverpool are actually the best in the world

REGARDLESS of their recent FIFA World Club Cup triumph in Qatar, Liverpool have every right to claim they are the best team in the world at the moment. It may be a subjective title given the halfway stage of 2019-20 has only just been reached, but 2019 will go down as the year of Liverpool’s resurgence and come May, the project will surely be anointed … Continue reading Liverpool are actually the best in the world

Chelsea complete a north London double, but the window has to be used wisely

WITH seven minutes remaining at the Emirates stadium, Chelsea must have been getting their chequebook ready for action, but two goals later, the shortcomings of the first hour of the game were brushed aside. Recent Chelsea performances have shown that they are very short of experienced talent. The energy and enthusiasm of their young players has carried them through the first half of the campaign, … Continue reading Chelsea complete a north London double, but the window has to be used wisely

Arteta’s background makes his appointment exciting

SOME Arsenal fans may be a touch disappointed that their club has not hired a marque manager, a black-suited, designer-stubbled touchline acrobat with heaps of attitude. Such people feel that an elite club needs to have an elite manager to match. But the top-name coaches, who go from club to club in a game of musical chairs, are few and far between, and what’s more, … Continue reading Arteta’s background makes his appointment exciting

Arsenal – a great club in urgent need of direction

ARSENAL is a football institution suffering from bad karma and a deep malaise that includes dissatisfaction with ownership, poor team performances, disillusion with the manager, vocalised anger at some players and now, a disappointing set of financials. Nothing seems to be going right for the Gunners. Arsenal’s football club finances showed a loss for the 2018-19 season of some £ 23.5 million. This is hardly … Continue reading Arsenal – a great club in urgent need of direction

Tottenham’s frustration forces a change of ethos

TOTTENHAM Hotspur were supposed to be different, a club that didn’t follow the zeitgeist of football as a rich-man’s plaything. Spurs were committed to developing players, providing the hub of the Southgate project, and they resisted the temptation of throwing money around. They had also kept faith with a coveted manager that was popular, played football in keeping with the club’s rich heritage of purist … Continue reading Tottenham’s frustration forces a change of ethos

It may be game over, now City should go all-out for the Champions League

IF YOU believe the misguided narrative, Pep Guardiola and Barcelona won the UEFA Champions League every season. Those that know, know differently. Pep has not won the competition for eight years, nine if he fails to do so this season. After Manchester City were soundly beaten by Liverpool at Anfield, Guardiola and his entourage may just decide to concentrate fully on lifting that enormous and … Continue reading It may be game over, now City should go all-out for the Champions League

Hasenhüttl’s house of horror

WHAT CAN you really say after a 9-0 drubbing except sorry? You had to feel some sympathy for pale-faced Ralph Hasenhüttl, facing the TV cameras after a seismic home defeat that extended Southampton’s current run to one point from five league games. Southampton have said they have no interest in sacking Hasenhüttl, but look at the fixture list and see what’s on the horizon – … Continue reading Hasenhüttl’s house of horror

Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

CLOTH CAP nostalgia is a popular pastime among football folk as inner cities continue to be purged of their old football stadiums, replaced by smart, antiseptic structures of white steel and plastic. Horse manure no longer squelches underfoot as fans tramp through the streets and past red brick houses, the mildly eccentric fan with a transistor radio clamped to his ear has long gone. Like … Continue reading Goodison Park – where games for the people are still played

The sins of Wenger and Pochettino, strangely similar

ARSENAL and Tottenham Hotspur may have something in common other than a shared geography – they have hosted influential and extremely gifted managers who operate on an autocratic basis. Arsène Wenger was well known to be his own man, stubborn and convinced of his own methods and reluctant to change. In the end, Arsenal had to wait for Wenger to decide when it was time to … Continue reading The sins of Wenger and Pochettino, strangely similar

Manchester United still have post-Ferguson hangover – six years on

MANCHESTER UNITED’S latest setback, losing to an unremarkable West Ham United team, has triggered a sense of mild panic and hand-wringing among some Old Trafford regulars. The decision to install Ole Gunnar Solskjær as permanent manager in March 2019 now looks like a hasty, ill-informed decision, but is the blame for United’s continuing frustration really the fault of the popular Norwegian? To many onlookers, Solskjær … Continue reading Manchester United still have post-Ferguson hangover – six years on

The script has been drafted – Liverpool will [probably] win the title

FIVE POINTS is a substantial gap after five games, in fact it is, apparently, a record margin at this fledgling stage of the season. Such was the miniscule gap between Manchester City and Liverpool last season, Norwich City’s 3-2 win over Pep Guardiola’s treble winners that it may well be considered as one of the decisive moments of the title race. In an age when … Continue reading The script has been drafted – Liverpool will [probably] win the title

Everton’s chance to regain status

THIRTY years ago, if you named the top six clubs in England, Everton would have been among them, despite the era belonging to their neighbours Liverpool. Traditionally, Everton were one of the blue riband institutions, but in the Premier League era, they have been unable to compete for major honours. In fact, the last piece of silverware won by the Goodison Park-based club was in … Continue reading Everton’s chance to regain status