Week 7 belonged to Pep and Dyche

KDB and Pep Source AFP/Getty Images
KDB and Pep
Source AFP/Getty Images

We are seven games into the Premier League season and it’s looking like it is going to be a two and a half horse race involving both Manchester clubs and some club who wear white in North London whose undoing will be their “away home” ground at Wembley.

My performance of the week definitely goes to City, playing without Mendy, Aguero and Kompany and still managed to dominate the reigning champions at the Bridge doing it the Pep way.  I mean he got Fabian Delph playing like a proper left back! No one could have ever predicted that, it’s only 7 games but Pep and his team are becoming one it seems. City faced their first proper test at the weekend and they passed in flying colours.
United are doing a good job of beating whatever mid-table team has been placed in front of them and their latest victim was Hodgson’s Crystal Palace who are actually bottom of the table. United’s next game is away at Anfield after that it’s Huddersfield, Spurs then Chelsea.  A testing month ahead for the red part of Manchester. As for Crystal Palace I still don’t know what Hodgson is doing better than DeBoer, they are still shipping in goals and can’t score! Going by precedence I guess he has one more game to save his job. I wonder who Parish is talking to for the job.

Everton spent 150 million pounds or 150 million Zimbabwean dollars because that team presently looks like a group of guys assembled on some obscure back street and made to play together. For someone who has a chip on his shoulders it must be a humbling experience for Koeman. Saying all of this Everton play Arsenal next and are probably going to use Arsenal to jump start their season! Mark Hughes and Stoke can attest to that this season. Sean Dyche doing a good job at Burnley has a philosophy and sticks to it, stability and incremental progress all play a part.

Kane can’t just stop scoring and trust the Bristish tabloids going overboard drawing comparisons to Messi and Ronaldo, I am not even going to go there it’s not worth my keyboard strokes. He is holding up Spurs well and as usual Pochetino’s team have been efficient. Huddersfield must now know they are in the Premier League after their experience over the weekend but sit in a comfortable position in 11th.

I like Klopp but seriously what’s going on with that defence? Another calamitous goal to drop points at Newcastle. Has embraced the can’t defend narrative and taken it away from Arsene and his boys. He really should stop kidding himself, that defence needs help ASAP. Klopp plays United next at Anfield and Jose must like the look of that defence. The Ox got another 6 minutes today I wonder what he must be thinking.

Oh before I forget Arsenal beat Brighton at the Emirates, I will admit I was sleeping and didn’t watch it but good for them. They play Everton next and I totally won’t be surprised if Arsenal become the springboard to Koeman’s season It’s what Arsene and his boys do best, give lifelines to struggling managers.

Presently number one in all my fantasy league, see you guys after the international break.

5 weeks in and Manchester is the place to be

Lukaku goading Everton fans and rightly so OLI SCARFF/Getty Images
Lukaku goading Everton fans and rightly so
OLI SCARFF/Getty Images

Since I last posted DeBoer has been sacked after 4 games and Hodgson has since taken the reigns at Crystal Palace. While I had picked DeBoer for the sack at some point but definitely not after 4 games! I have since aired my feelings about that on my Facebook page and Twitter. Hodgson lost his first game at the weekend and he plays City, United and Chelsea next. if he loses those 3 games would he be sacked too? Anyways that’s the problem for Parish and his American partners at Selhurst park.

Another game week is gone and with 33 game weeks left it is looking like Pep and Jose will be jostling for the Premier League title this season. They are in almost identical positions at this same stage last season and we all know what happened but this season both managers seem to have gotten through to their players and they are playing how their managers want them to.
Still talking about Manchester my mate messaged me to say Jose is back after watching United beat Everton, I was like dude they played a presently clueless Koeman and an Everton team that has gone backward even with all the money spent, he responded you just don’t like the Jose. There is some truth in that response but United will face sterner test and my money is on City at the moment oh and I like Pep too.
I also don’t get when fans give it and can’t take it, on Lukaku’s back all game he scores and cups his hears back at them and you see people saying he is ungrateful! Don’t get fans like that he had every right to celebrate.

Those guys that wear red and have a stadium in North London and their manager finally realised it is important to go to an away stadium against a top side and have a plan! It was a game they could have actually won with better luck but it was a vast improvement from the pasting at Anfield. It begs so many questions but I don’t have time for that this morning. Something in me wants to believe they will play with their mindset going forward but we all know it’s not safe to hold your breath when this team is concerned.

Spurs can’t win a game at Wembley in the Premier League and Klopp and his team still can’t defend. My Liverpool friend messaged me to say Klopp’s honeymoon is over, looks like there is more unrest amongst the Liverpool fans than normal with recent showings. It’s still game week 5 and I expect Klopp to get better and Chamberlain to still be coming off the bench.

Time to get ready for work, I am still jamming in my fantasy league top in all my leagues but one!

Two More Years Of This?!

two more years of this!

Same old Arsenal
Same old Arsenal

I couldn’t start this week’s post without talking about Raheem’s sending off. Someone tell me what is the point of Mike Dean? I don’t know which will give me more joy, the day Mike Dean retires from refereeing or Arsenal win the league again or the Champions league for the first time.. He will claim he was following the letter of the law but like Alan clearly pointed out on MOTD if that was the case 7  City players should have been carded. Mike Dean probably saw himself making the headlines with the thought of a second yellow for Raheem and he certainly has! I mean he has taken 9 lines in today’s post, anyways to proper football talk..

Arsenal are the same and it’s because the same guy is still in charge that is my conclusion. This exact squad given to the likes of Pochettino or Conte won’t turn out performances of the last two weeks. For starters they will get the line up right. To think the Ox figures he’s good enough to play in the middle good luck to him getting into that Liverpool team that just handed his team or soon to be former team a pasting. If not for Cech could have been 7. Not even winning 2 FA cups this season can disguise how shitty things are at this football club and one is supposed to stomach this for the next two years, thank God for my new found indifference, I predicted a loss on Friday but not a pasting..  I am leaving it there don’t want to be repeating myself from previous posts. It’s not even February and they are this bad already.. Get rid of the Ox if he won’t sign he is really not that good!

United are getting it right with three wins out of three and they have Zlatan back, I am not sure that helps their new forward power play but we will see, Zlatan is never a bad addition to any team . Next stop for Jose and his men Stoke.

You can’t make an “Allardyced” side play like Ajax someone should tell De Boer, speeding towards a sack it seems. They are not that loyal at Crystal Palace.
Bilic looking dazed a must have some kind of link with the way his team are currently playing; like a dazed bunch. I don’t see how Joe Hart can maintain his so called number  one England goalkeeper status considering he is at the bottom of the table and has conceded the most goals in the league this season.

Newcastle have their first win thanks to WestHam and Huddersfield dropped their first points but are yet to lose or concede. Spurs dropped points in the last minute at their away home ground and I honestly don’t see them reaching the heights of last season playing at Wembley.
The game between Stoke and West Brom reminded me why I giggle when some people proclaim the Premier League is the best in the world! I beg to differ but I guess money dictates a lot of things these days.
City Scraped past Bournemouth in a game that should have been won in the first half, Pep’s side not putting away chances is going to hurt them big time this season and I have already discussed the ridiculous red for Raheem.
Hmmm.. what else have I missed oh yes Everton have spent loads of money and are still afraid to attack the opposition. Were outplayed playing a 10 man city last week despite leading 1 0 and didn’t have a shot on target against Chelsea till the 89th minute!

It’s international weekend so noPremier League action till the upper week. As it stands United are my pick for the title as they are efficient and pragmatic. Off to gloat about my fantasy league points my only present reason for joy every football weekend.

Premier League Week Two Musings

Conte source Shaun Botterill/Getty Images
Conte source Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Still the same old Arsenal, batter a poor team creating chance after chance but no goal. Lose the ball in midfield then concede, huff and puff till the end of the game and lose… Sounds very familiar..
Select players in their best positions, playing your best left backs at the centre of defence when you have fit centre backs is mind boggling…  Oh and someone should tell Mustafi to stay on his feet he is looking like a poor acquisition every passing day if you ask me.. Jese will be grateful for his scoring debut,  Arsene and his boys are fond of giving gifts!

Chelsea let everyone know last week’s loss was an aberration, beating Tottenham at their “away home” ground, they scored all three goals and won 2 1. Matic won’t be missed from what I saw of Bakayoko, so the pundits can calm down now. Conte seems to know a thing or two about winning and blending a good team, maybe he could call Arsene and teach him a thing or two about team balance..
Oh and Luiz seems to be getting better and better… I bet the pundits must miss scapegoating him..

Manchester United scored another 4 goals and my only joy was in the fact that I had three of their players in my fantasy league team. I can’t say I am happy when Jose is happy but so far they have started like a house on fire, they will face stiffer opposition.. but well done to Jose and his boys as they top the league..

Newcastle are continuing from where they left off in the season they got relegated, which season you might ask? Take your pick I say.. Maybe Shearer will be called to another failed rescue..Huddersfield are not here to make up numbers, with no goals conceded like United they lie second in the league table.
That new dude at Crystal Palace is yet to pick up a win,  candidate for a sack at some point? I will be betting he wins if he plays Arsenal anytime before that happens..

Bilic is another one under pressure WestHam still can’t buy a win but Chicharito can still find the back of the net a candidate for my fantasy league team..
It’s City versus Everton tonight, Pep and his boys under the spotlight..
Arsenal Liverpool next Sunday , Klopp hasn’t lost to Arsene in the PL if I remember correctly (please correct me if I am wrong), and if he pulls the same stupid stunt with team selection again  that stat isn’t not going to change..
Have a good week people you either licking your wounds as fans or celebrating..

One down thirty seven more to go!

Welcome Back Football!

With the first week of the Premier League season completed a few observations thus far;

Arsenal fans are going to need some sort of regular health check if they are to survive the season going by that first game!
Liverpool and Arsenal defend alike increasing the possibility of a top four place for the gunners.
All the big money strikers scored on their debut, Harry Kane still struggles to score in August (wonder why I had him in my fantasy league team) and Jonjo Shelvey is still stupid!
Rooney’s second coming started on a very good note.
Matic is looking like the missing piece to Jose’s midfield puzzle.
Conte looks grumpy and has started his Mourinho season in flying colours, I am wondering if he will see out the season.
Huddersfield are announcing they belong in the big league currently lying second.
The pundits still haven’t changed Jamie Redknapp thinks defending is all about leadership and heading the ball… ( I still don’t know how he gets a spot on on there all he does is overstate the obvious! )

The best performers of the week seem to be United scoring four past Hart, I am wondering if going to West ham is going to do his dwindling England career and confidence any good, that lot are playing like they are battling relegation already. Bilic’s first season looks like a very very long time ago….

I am happy to have football back as part of my weekend and look forward to game week 2.  By the time of my next post Chelsea could have lost two games in a row, they play Tottenham next and are missing Fabregas and Cahill…

Off to tidy my fantasy league, this week has been abysmal!.

 

Here We go again!

Arsenal beat Chelsea to win the win the Community Shield. Source Skysports
Arsenal beat Chelsea to win the win the Community Shield. Source Skysports

The Premier League curtain raiser is done and dusted and Arsenal beat Chelsea on penalties in the Community Shield which is classed as a friendly, next week the real thing starts against Leicester. Recently it feels like donning an Arsenal jersey is enough to beat Chelsea at Wembley, long may it continue

There are grounds for optimism considering Arsenal were missing a good number of important first team players and the team put in quite a good performance, and a win over big team regardless of the competition is always good for belief no matter how small.
On the match I will say I really don’t know why the OX is flexing about a new contract, from what I watched I think his agent isn’t being truthful with him and neither is he with himself.  In my opinion there are cheaper better solutions  out there.
The new guy from Schalke that costs Arsenal nothing is looking like a beast, very different in physique from the type of players we are used to at Arsenal,  it’s early days but so far I am liking what I am seeing.
Winning the Community Shield was a good preparation for the new season in terms of the team starting with a winning feeling. As for me I couldn’t be more prepared mentally for this season, I will describe my relationship with Arsenal going forward as some sort of casual fling that could get serious but for now I have been led on too many times only to be disappointed, the plan is to enjoy watching football this season and going forward. That reminds me time to sign up my fantasy league team. Catch you all next week!

St Totteringham’s Day? Not this year

Not this year and rightfully so
Not this year and rightfully so

For the first time since 1995 Arsenal will not finish above Arsenal and I am really not upset about it. I made my peace with that last season but they somehow managed to screw it up but kudos they have not only managed it this year but are challenging for the title.
Since Pochettino took over, this Spurs team have grown from strength to strength and taken on his identity and philosophy, a philosophy where no one is carried everyone puts in a shift! Contrast that to what is going on at Arsenal where there are coasters in the team everywhere you look from back to front. Take for example Arsenal’s most expensive player, in the 4 years since he joined Arsenal I am yet to see him take a difficult game by the scruff of the neck and be the difference! I can’t imagine him being allowed that much time in a Pochettino side with his application on the football field when things are tough. Then you have Giroud, would he get in a Pochettino side? He spends half the time moaning and falling down instead of digging deep and contributing to the cause. I didn’t see the point in him starting today and if it’s true he is wanted in France I will certainly drive him there myself at no cost. I could go on but there is no need it’s glaring what the team needs; an environment where mediocrity is alien and not the norm. Let’s start with if you don’t play well you don’t start and if you do you stay in the team, didn’t see the point of dropping Holding for Gibbs.

Arsenal kinda messed with my desire to blog and post this season, yes I am joining the bandwagon and blaming Arsene for everything. I have processed all that and I think I am back, kudos to the guys like arseblog that blog only Arsenal news and do it like 24/7 takes some mental fortitude!

Finally I do not subscribe to the notion that there is a power shift in North London not that it matters to me, we all know one swallow doesn’t make a summer neither does a tree make a forest. Finishing above Arsenal in a season where they might still come second and Arsenal win an FA cup (for hypothesis reason not that I believe this) but there is potential for a power shift if the situation at Arsenal isn’t arrested and arrested soon! My only consolation was that Chelsea won, yes it has come to this as the boys that were sent to do a man’s job at WHL failed with flying colours.

Then they were 4

FA CUP

The draw for the semi final of the FA cup is complete and Arsenal will face off against City at Wembley while Chelsea and Tottenham  lock horns in the other semi final.
Chelsea beat 10 man United at the Bridge tonight, it’s now 2 0 to Conte  against Mourinho this season and I am definitely looking forward to Chelsea visiting Old Trafford where United have mastered the art of drawing. On the red card I still don’t understand why some pundits and fans are complaining about the validity of the foul and the subsequent second yellow for Herrera. It was clear from the onset that Hazard was the target and the instruction from Jose to his men was to persistently foul him , he was being kicked all over the place, Herrera has himself to blame and not Michael Oliver. Just after the Referee had warned two of his mates to stop the persistent fouling he goes and foul Hazard immediately right in front of the referee. The better team up until the sending off was Chelsea and you could say the best player for United at the time was De Gea pulling off those ridiculous saves. For all of the 90 mins United had just one shot on target and that was the Rashford attempt in the second half with 28% possession you are never going to win a game with those stats unless you are West Brom with Tony Pulis in charge. I got to read the comments from Mourinho’s post-match conference and my conclusion as it has always been; Mourinho the manager has a lot to be admired but Mourinho the man is lacking in character and has very little class, it always has to be about him. He is not lucid enough (borrowing one of Arsene’s favourite words of late) to detach himself from situations and not make it about him, anyways he is United’s problem now. I also hope the Rojo stamp is retrospectively punished just like Mings of Bournemouth was.
So the semi final is set and I am hoping Arsenal find a way to get through a City side finding form because the present Arsenal is an ideal opponent for this City team.

Another Year another exit in the Knockout Stages

Mustafi and Xhaka
Mustafi and Xhaka disappointing signings so far this season

Watched Arsenal lose 5 1 again to Bayern tonight and I must commend myself on achieving such a feat more of a masochist aka Arsenal fan. My mate an Arsenal fan who chose to nap instead of watching the game woke up checked his phone and thought he hadn’t refreshed the scores of two weeks ago couldn’t believe it was 5 1 again!

The referee no doubt was rubbish, crap, inept, I mean any word youcan think of that explains inefficiency but it’s still wasn’t a reason to capitulate and concede 5 in 45 minutes because you are a man down especially when you had rehearsed two weeks ago for this situation at the Allianz arena.
It’s an ideal night to scapegoat some players and I am deciding to do just that this time. The clubs most expensive acquisitions this season Mustafi and Xhaka showed again they have not added to this team or taken it up a notch in anyway , both directly responsible for two goals tonight. Players ghost past Xhaka so easily in the middle of the field and he is so one footed it’s unbelievable! Mustafi on the other hand can’t anticipate or read games he just loves a slide. He was directly responsible for two goals in this Bayern tie, for all the money he costs he is not better than Gabriel in my opinion.
I would love to see an Ox Ramsey midfield and Holding paired with Koscielny or Mertesacker reinstated because Mustafi for what he cost he isn’t doing it at all! Using Arsene’s lingo I am not very lucid tonight so I will be more emotive than analytical and to the fans chanting Arsene you are killing our club or something along those lines they should visit Blackburn or Leyton Orient for the definition of killing a club.
It’s a short one tonight still recovering from having 2 wisdom teeth taken out yesterday then add today’s performance to that feeling. I feel it’s Arsene’s last time managing Arsenal in the Champions League tonight but hey what do I know I put 10 pounds on Arsenal qualifying tonight so there you go.

Arsenal the Ideal pick me up opponents

Another groundhog day for Arsene and Arsenal

The final score at Anfield in the last few minutes are in no way surprising, Arsenal are the ideal pick me up opponents for clubs having a difficult season. Look at Bayern they were having a sort of Average season till Arsene and his boys visited the Allianz a few weeks ago you all know how that story ended.

Arsene talked about the need for a fast start at Anfield at his pre match conference on  that message clearly didn’t get across to his team nor did the line up indicate that was the plan.
Today’s  line up was very surprising with no Alexis in the team but I have always reasoned that no one player is bigger than the team. I look at what Pep is doing at City and can clearly see how he has improved Aguero’s game by leaving him on the bench at times in a bid to make him see what extras he wants from his game.
I was hesitant about moaning about the line up before kick off just to see what Arsene was trying to do, but by the end of the first half I still couldn’t see what the game plan was. Look if you are going to leave your best player on the bench you must have a game plan that can be excellently executed by the rest of the team, that Arsenal team looked rudderless with no game plan or heart from back to front in the first 45 minutes. The first goal conceded was poor and had nothing to do with Sanchez being on the bench.  A ball played out from Mignolet resulted in a goal, that is poor on every level and typical of this team I can’t believe Mustafi continues to start or that he has made that defence any better than when Per was there at least he could read games and intercept even if people complained about his lack of pace. The second half was better but as usual the damage had been done in the first half. I am not a professional footballer but I wouldn’t want to play in this fickle Arsenal team unless I was a masochist borrowing my pal LVG’s lingo. It makes me wonder what the likes of Sanchez and Ozil are thinking considering who they have rubbed shoulders with in dressing rooms at their previous clubs.
I have questions; Oxlade’s best performances have been in the middle why continue to deploy him on the wings? Coquelin needs another rebirth at Charlton it seems he hasn’t been good for many games,  he shouldn’t have been in that line up and to add he shouldn’t be near that team at this point in time. Why Substitute Welbeck for Walcott considering the influence he was having at Anfield today? Why play Iwobi for so long in a game of this magnitude particularly when he has struggled recently in games when you have a more experienced Lucas on the bench? I have many more questions like many of you.
Arsene talked about reinventing himself at the prematch conference on Friday and I actually think he needs some time away from managing especially at Arsenal. It’s been groundhog day at Arsenal for years and today’s performance only strengthen’s the case for a new direction at Arsenal going forward and the earlier that’s done the better. For the rest of the season I will be focusing on my fantasy league team for consolation, not that it’s doing any better than Arsenal but at least I am top of one league!