Alex Manninger has retired. Usually when a player retires I think “how time flies,” but this time it was more “golly, he really played a long time.” In my youth he was the only Austrian in the Premier League.
Then again, Crouch is essentially a humorous player, a 6ft 7in centre forward made of elastic bands and old deckchair parts who resembles less a real-life Premier League all-star than a satirical cartoon of an English footballer produced by some particularly acerbic French caricaturist. (Barney Ronay)
The latest England squad features the return of Defoe, but no place for Andy Carroll. I would love to see England play 4-4-2 again with a front two of Defoe and Carroll. Ah well.
We have two problems. Conceding goals, and not scoring.
The latest Guardian Fottball Weekly lacks Jimbo, but Jimbo’s foil, Barry (“buzz-kill“) Glendenning had one of his best lines. Sachin Nkrani was talking about how miserable it must be for Sunderland fans to be always losing, and asks Barry if it wouldn’t actually be preferable to be relegated, and spend next season actually winning some games in the Championship:
Nakrani: If you keep losing every week… it must be bloody miserable
Glendenning: It is kind of entertaining, to be honest.
Classic Barry— the football fan who enjoys seeing his own team lose.
And no matter who you are, you’ll almost always have a poor spell; Barcelona even had one near the end of last season’s title hunt, when they suddenly couldn’t do anything right. They totally lost the plot for a few games. That’s Messi, Suarez, Iniesta, Neymar, et al. Real Madrid recently broke a club record by going 40 games unbeaten, and then won only one of their next five games, losing twice. Iago Aspas put them to the sword. Liverpool’s current bad run is longer than Barcelona or Real Madrid experienced, but they are obviously much better teams. (Paul Tomkins; emphasis in original)
Liverpool’s 4-3-3 hasn’t been working so well in the absence of Sadio Mané— especially against defensive teams. It would be interesting to see them try a 4-4-2. They could play Moreno and Clyne as wingers: Karius, Alexander-Arnold, Matip, Lovren, Milner; Moreno, Can, Henderson, Clyne; Sturridge, Origi. Then Lallana, Firmino, and Coutinho could be used as impact subs (LOL).
Every season it’s “there for the taking”, it seems, if you can just win all your games. It really is that simple in hindsight: don’t draw the games you drew, but win them. And win the ones you lost, too. Never play badly. If you just start winning all the games it becomes simple. (Paul Tomkins)
Louis van Gaal won four games out of four against Liverpool but there was a wider belief that the Dutchman’s stewardship of the club was a time of flux and that the pendulum of supremacy may be shifting back towards Merseyside.
The past four years have brought four different champions: the last time that happened was 1990-93 and was followed by United’s domination; the previous such sequence was seven from 1967-73 and was followed by Liverpool’s domination. With United seemingly obsessed with celebrity signings and playing staid football, it was possible to discern Liverpool resurgent with their bright young coach and his focus on developing talent. The game at Anfield in October did not really change that perception. (Jonathan Wilson)
Guardiola, on the other hand, appears to be getting stuck on the idea that everything in England is set up so that a gleeful public can rejoice in his failure. (The Guardian)