Send your Messi thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org, but leave your messy ones to yourself…
Really, a fax? He sent a fax?
// Phil (Norway)
Ferry cross the Messi
Behind Mane, Firmino and Salah… it’s drool-worthy and terrifying all at once.
With the safety of Henderson, Fabinho and THAT back four?
What better way to see out the prime years than slap in the middle of the current Prem Champions and persistent European competitors/winners.
One can dream…
Sean (LFC – Hamilton, Ontario)
If there was ever a transfer that screamed Ed Woodward vanity signing this is it. Just saying…
Stoke the fire
With all these rumours just breaking about Messi likely leaving Barcelona surely, surely we need to promote Stoke???????!! Sorry Fulham but it must be done.
Leeds 1-0 Villa
Hahaha Phillips over Grealish up yours Villa.
Nah but seriously, I just wanted to put forward why I think Southgate has included Phillips. Obviously England are short in that position and Leeds and Englands style of play is not that far apart.
The argument about him not having PL experience is a fair one if this was a normal season however? England meet up I think 3 times between September and November. Any PL experience that could be picked up during that time isnt going to make a world of difference in November, even if we waited till then.
I think the logic behind this is, DM is an influential position on the pitch, it’s better to get him in now and see how he fits into he system around him and gets some national team experience before the Euros next year. If Phillip’s does go on to have a great club season it wont be any good for England for him to be making his debut against Croatia.
Southgate has obviously had his eye on him for a while and if he does well in these coming national games and has a solid club season I can see him been a starter come next year.
Reading Sarah’s article about Jack Grealish, I was wondering if he might possibly regret declaring for England at such an early stage of his career?
He represented the Irish youth teams up to U-21 level and subsequently won the Football Association of Ireland’s U-21 player of the year, before making a decision to play for England. Albeit, the Irish senior manager at the time, Martin O’Neill, could possibly have done more to cap him at senior level.
But perhaps Jack’s mind was already made up. He is a Birmingham lad after all and may not see himself as Irish. But why play for the Irish youth teams then?
I for one would welcome him back into the Irish fold, should it be possible because there’s no doubting the lads ability. We actually could build a team around him, unlike his current predicament with the England set up.
Maybe he doesn’t want that though. He already has the responsibility of being the main man at Villa, but how much of a shame would it be to see another great talent lost to a particular style of system/shape and barely register a couple of caps. He would easily earn a ton of caps from Ireland, let alone a ton of love from the Irish fans. Lord knows we need a talisman to shout about. We haven’t had one since Robbie Keane.
Neil, Dundalk, Ireland (Writing to FIFA as we speak)
In these times of social media drama, runaway jumping to conclusions etc you have to admire Southgate.
He kept Maguire in the squad, made a respectful and supportive statement that said he was waiting for facts and, after the guilty verdict, withdrew him from the squad without any judgemental comments.
Great respect for the man. He has certainly done his utmost to raise the level of professionalism of the role (not that Hodgson has lowered it but many of their predecessors had.)
Thank you Gareth
Hav some of that
Reading Aman Sheth’s “Winners & Losers 2021” made me feel it was all about Chelsea, he even wrote down F. Torres, my mind went to Fernando and not Ferran, funny how certain surnames can do that to your brain, I wonder what first name comes to mind when someone says Alonso, would it be Xabi, Marcos or even of Formula 1 fame Fernando.
As a Chelsea fan I feel I should look at that Kai Havertz opinion and defend the talented playmaker, now Mkhitaryan joined United after a season in which he hit 11 goals and 20 assists in the Bundesliga for Dortmund, whilst Havertz is in a similar circumstance by having 12 goals, 6 assists, but he is still a very young player, developing his game and he can play across multiple positions for Leverkusen, he is no where near a finished article, whilst Mkhitaryan I believe was considered at his “peak”, but I feel comparing the two is quite unfair at this moment.
Mkhitaryan joined a side managed by Jose Mourinho, many United fans will recall how ultra defensive his approach was, so much so that even Wayne Rooney has commented stating that he feels Mkhitaryan struggled due to lack of freedom and that ultra defensive style of player, at Dortmund he was certainly given that freedom and that is why his attacking output was quite high, I like to believe if this season is anything to go by Lampard won’t restrict a talant like Havertz, fingers crossed.
Hakim Ziyech is always going to be a player difficult to judge as we have seen over the years many a player from the Dutch league struggle in England’s top flight, but then for every Alfonso Alves, we have had a Luis Suarez, he has shown during his many seasons at Ajax and in the Champions League he has that consistency in regards to goal contributions, so another fingers crossed he turns out to be a Suarez success and not a Alves flop and in regards to Timo Werner, our hit and miss success rate with strikers is exactly that, 50/50, but has shown consistency over the many seasons and is not arriving on the back of an injury, like Falcao, Pato and Shevchenko did.
Ben Chilwell, I really like Chilwell, so does Frank Lampard as he was his number one target throughout and even though there were talk of cheaper options in the likes of Tagliafico and Alex Telles he still stuck with his pursuit for Chilwell, I will certainly feel more calm seeing him on the ball than the likes of Emerson and Alonso over the recent seasons.
As a Chelsea fan I am absolutely loving this transfer window. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m enjoying every other club failing to make significant signings (bar city), but I’m also not feeling particularly bad for them either.
I mentioned in a previous email how it felt like the Chelsea board were getting their ducks in a row. Cech, Lampard and Marina Granovskaia are all on the same page. Signing talented young stars, who have already shown quality, as well as the potential to become some of the best in the world. I am biased, but I don’t think anyone could argue that Havertz, Werner and Pulisic could all be world class players in the near future.
Thiago Silva is a risk. He could become an expensive bench warmer who can’t cope with the pace of the Premier League. On the other hand, this could be his Last Dance. An experienced winner and a born leader, he could galvanise the defence and prevent a few unnecessary goals. With our attacking talent, that should do the job in most games. The jury is still out on Ben Chilwell, but he has plenty of time to improve.
Roman really is serious about rebuilding this squad, and with Marina by his side they have made some astute transfers. Hazard for 100m was the bare minimum, but Morata for 50m is absolutely incredible. I struggle to believe she also managed to get 60m for and ageing Costa. We now have a deep squad and a variety of options in the midfield and forward areas. With Chilwell and James, we’ve also got our fullbacks sorted in my opinion. If we sign Upamecano next season (I recall a report about him having a 40m or 50m release clause) and a keeper, then we could be looking at a genuine European contender.
Given the squad and new signings, I think there will be serious pressure on Lampard to perform. He got a pass last season given the circumstances, but he now has no excuses. I’m sure many will paint the picture of him needing to challenge for the league in order to justify the spending. I think that given how much other teams have invested, my expectation would be to significantly reduce the point gap to Liverpool. Silverware this season should also be a requirement, a deep run into all competitions at the very least.
As an aside, looking at the Arsenal, Liverpool and United owners, I’m quite grateful that we’ve got an owner who actually cares about the club.
Tashen, South Africa (With only a few weeks until the season starts, what are your expectations from your teams?)
Coman, feel the noise
There has been something bothering me since the Champions League Final.
People have been writing in to the mailbox, it has been featured on Sky Sports News and widely on social media that Kingsley Coman has now won 20 trophies at the grand old age of 24.
Now, I am not trying to p*ss on Mr Comans pommes frites, but this does not stand up to even the most basic of Wikipedia searches.
Part of his haul seems to include Ligue 1 in 12/13 and 13/14 and Serie A in 15/16.
Now, Kingsley played the sum total of 4 games for PSG and Juventus in those seasons.
Not even enough for a medal in 1 season.
In fact, he left Juventus to go on loan to Bayern in the 15/16 season having played 1 game!
So they don’t really count, do they?
Also included is the 2014 Coupe De La Lige for PSG.
Now, a quick check of the teams for that day shows young Kingsley was not named among the match day 18, so no medal for him that day either.
He was also an unused sub in the 2015 Coppa Italia, 2016 DFB Pokal and 2013 Trophee Des Champions. Yes he picked up medals but lets not try to paint him as influential in these successes.
He has had a fantastic career so far and will go on to collect many more trophies I am sure. I am also sure he couldn’t care less what a 41yr old pedantic Irishman thinks about his achievements.
But let’s get it right.
It is a bugbear of mine.
Anyone else got anything that drives them a bit loopy?
One-legged European ties
Despite his trepidation, I’m not going to tear into Mikey CFC’s thoughts on the proposal to make European ties one legged contests, but I think he’s overlooked a couple of things. Firstly he says that it would mean fewer games in a season, but according to Martyn Ziegler in The Times this morning, a spokesperson for the European Clubs Association is saying they want more games, not less, possibly with two group stages. Obviously the money men will have the final say on that.
Secondly, the home and away element gives fans of both teams a decent chance to see the game. My own team played five knockout ties in the Europa League this season, plus the group games, and if the draw had gone against us, I might have missed some terrific games, including beating Espanyol and Torino. I like the idea of having the two legs right up to the final stages, then a mini tournament in one country, as circumstances have forced on UEFA this season, but even with this current format fixed for the next few years, it looks like the vested interests are already drawing their own lines.
Paul Quinton, Wolves
A quick question
Just curious. After Alan Shearer, who would be considered the second best Premier League player not to win the Champions League in his lifetime?
Alex, London (Wondering if Chelsea would have beaten Man Utd in 2009 if not for that useless ref in the semi-final and Ballack would then have won it)