Pep v Jose - Which £1bn Manager Will Be Last Man Standing?

Pep v Jose - Which £1bn Manager Will Be Last Man Standing?

The dust has settled on a distracting transfer window and the Premier League can kick on in earnest, until January anyway. Three game weeks into the season, most pundits are betting on the title heading into the city of Manchester, come May. It is widely expected that both United  and City will dominate this season, and with good reason. In Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho, both clubs have two of the most respected and successful managers in the game, and …
The Great Crash of English Football Around the Corner

The Great Crash of English Football Around the Corner

In 1997, twenty seven days after Tony Blair became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Mohamed Al Fayed completed his takeover of Fulham FC. In the process, he became the first foreign owner of an English football club. Six years later, Roman Abramovich bought into Chelsea FC and his success then led to many others following suit. The rich had always clambered to get a piece of the action in previous decades, with clubs traditionally being owned by local business …
The Spurs Story Could Save English Football

The Spurs Story Could Save English Football

Mauricio Pochettino had a few things to say a couple of weeks back about other people’s opinions about his club. While his comments in this case were mostly directed towards Antonio Conte, who had suggested that it would not be a ‘tragedy’ if Tottenham failed to win the Premier League next season, one got the sense that he was addressing the vast majority out there who think that the lack of incoming activity at Spurs means that they’ve already fallen …
Naby Keita - The Two in One Midfielder

Naby Keita - The Two in One Midfielder

In the summer of 2012, Brendan Rodgers brought a player to Liverpool who remains the signing that has excited me the most in recent years when first announced. It was only a loan signing, but when Nuri Sahin arrived at Anfield, I was beside myself with joy. Here finally was the player in central midfield Liverpool had been crying out for since Xabi Alonso left. The three interim years had seen barren service for the players further up field. In …
Do I Trust My Eyes or Stats When Assessing a Football Player?

Do I Trust My Eyes or Stats When Assessing a Football Player?

Towards the end of last season, I came across the CIES Football Observatory’s rankings of the best players from the top 5 leagues in Europe. Dejan Lovren was rated the ninth-best centre-back in Europe, only behind Nicolas Otamendi in the Premier League. I wasn’t too far from putting my head through a wall when I read that. Similarly, Manchester City fans would have been bemused to see Otamendi at fourth in the list. I could see how Lovren made the …
Liverpool Will Chart New Course With £150m Spending Spree

Liverpool Will Chart New Course With £150m Spending Spree

In my last piece, I made a case for Liverpool Football Club’s American owner, Fenway Sports Group (FSG). I believe that they’ve been good, solid owners who have taken a long-term view towards the revival of this proud, once hugely successful club. A lot of people underestimate just how precariously close the club was to going under when they took over in 2010. In Spain, they talk about how Barcelona and Real Madrid do not worry about carrying the huge …
The Verdict on FSG as Liverpool Owners

The Verdict on FSG as Liverpool Owners

So, it is finally over. The wait for Liverpool’s ‘first’ signing in the transfer season. The recruitment of Mohamed Salah has been announced. I say first given the underwhelming response to Dominic Solanke’s impending arrival from Chelsea for a fee that could be only £3 million. In the latest annual report, the directors at the club stressed on the four key elements of the club’s strategy. The first one is to improve football performance through a positive playing style and …
Arsene Wenger in and as The Count of Monte Cristo

Arsene Wenger in and as The Count of Monte Cristo

On May 26th, Arsene Wenger bared his soul to the world. “I believe there's a difference between being criticized and being treated in a way that human beings don't deserve. The lack of respect from some has been a disgrace and I will never accept that. I will never forget it. The behavior of some people during the season, that is what hurts me most.” For a person who had spoken a couple of years back of having learnt to …
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