Keane and Carragher verbal spat dominates back page

Legends Heated Debate 

The weekend’s footballing action was overshadowed by the excitements in the Sky Sports studios as ex professionals Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher went head to head in their post match analysis at Anfield on Sunday. The ex Manchester United captain (Keane) and Liverpool legend (Carragher) had a heated debate regarding the current United team and Manager Solskjaer after the match between Liverpool and Manchester United.

The after match analysis debate between the two ex legends has been regarded by many footballing fans as the highlight of the weekend. The ex legends were at logger heads after Liverpool’s victory against United. Keane who was passionately trying to defend ex team mate Solskjaer, suggested that the United Boss should be given more time at the helm. Carragher then interjected and accused Keane of not having the same energy towards Mourinho when he was manager at United which triggered Keane.

I have watched the clips on YouTube multiple times and it’s nothing short of entertaining (it will crack you up….trust me). Patrice Evra who was also part of the punditry panel took a swipe at Carragher by stating that Man United had not won the league for 7 years since the departure of Alex Ferguson whereas it’s taken Liverpool the best part of 30 years to come close to winning the premier league (remember the season is not done yet). To be honest Roy Keane was clearly being biased in his defence of Solskjaer as he has slated a lot of managers in the past with better records and performances than his buddy.

The game itself was a one sided affair with the home side in full control from start to finish. Liverpool outclassed United in every sense of the word and the gulf between the two clubs couldn’t be any clearer. Man United were without Rashford (injury) but even if he did play the outcome would have been the same to be honest. This is testament to the great work Klopp has done with this group of players. The dominant champions had too much quality for a very weak and tame United side.

Van Dijk who provides Liverpool with that immovable stability in defence opened the scoring through a header in the 14th minute before Salah finished off the game with virtually the last kick of the match in the 93rd minute. The Egyptian magician broke free on the counter and calmly slotted the ball past the on rushing De Gea. The Liverpool players celebrated Salah’s goal like they’d won the league. The players mobbed Salah after he scored and the stadium was filled with euphoria (they need to hand them that trophy now and write-off the rest of the games this season cause it’s a done deal).

No wonder Roy Keane was angry, he can’t bare to see such dominance from the old United rival. I’m certain all United supporters would have been annoyed by the result against Liverpool but I think it’s fair to say Manchester United’s days and years of being the front runners are well and truly over. Liverpools closest challengers all dropped points this weekend after Manchester City drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace and Leicester lost 2-1 away to Burnley.

hand bags

Steady on Lads……it’s only FOOTBALL!!!

KLOPP’S REDS HIT ANOTHER MILESTONE

Weekend of records

Liverpool have now become the first team in Europe’s top 5 leagues to have the best start in history after 21 games. The Reds now have 20 wins and 1 draw this season giving them a total points haul of 61 thus far. They top the charts above giants Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barcenola and Juventus to name a few. What’s even more impressive is that three of the teams in the top five of the list were managed by Pep Guardiola (the genius of the man shines through).

However, the day belonged to Klopp and his merry men as they ambush the premier league. Their latest victims were Tottenham who definitely gave a great account of themselves especially in the second have but struggled to cancel out Roberto Firmino’s 37th minute goal. Spurs pressed hard for the equaliser but just couldn’t find the back of the net.

The match itself was highly entertaining and full of energy. I can’t remember the last time I saw end to end action like that. Sometimes, being champions may require an element of luck and in fairness to Liverpool, they deserve every bit of it. 21 games unbeaten, 36 goals scored, 61 points to the good and head and shoulders above their nearest rivals.

They now remain on course to beat the record for the earliest premier league win but I’m sure Klopp’s agenda will be solely focused on making sure they are crowned champions come May. Liverpool face Manchester United in their next outing and will be hoping for yet another victory and further enhancement of their records. However, in their last encounter which ended in a 1-1 draw, United had every opportunity to have won that game and will be desperately seeking to end Liverpool’s long running winning streak.

Manchester United will go into that game on the back of a good result after beating Norwich City 4-0 at Old Trafford. Marcus Rashford grabbed two goals for the Red Devils alongside Martial and Greenwood respectively. The win leaves United in 5th place in the league and keeps Solskjaer in a job for now at least. I have a very strong feeling that United may just end Liverpool’s run (don’t ask me why, I just have a feeling).

Meanwhile, neighbours Manchester City seem to have found their groove back again having totally demolished Aston Villa 6-1. Aguero was back again in record breaking form having contributed a hat trick for City in the away win at Villa Park. The prolific Argentina forward has now broken Premier League legend Alan Shearer’s long standing hat trick record. Aguero now has 12 hat tricks for City and I’m sure will look to increase that number before the season ends.

Elsewhere, Leicester were beaten at home by a resilient and rejuvenated Southampton having lost 2-1 at home. Danny Ings grabbing the winner for the away team late in the 81st minute. Crystal Palace drew 1-1 with Arsenal, Wolves drew with Newcastle by the same result also. Chelsea beat Burnley 3-0 at home and Everton beat Brighton 1-0 , Richarlison on the score sheet for the Toffees.

aug rec

Match Ball winning record breaker

PEPE TOO HOT FOR UNITED

SEASONS GREETINGS

Firstly happy new year to one and all. It’s been a minute. Hope you had a great one and enjoyed the festivities. I’m still trying to get through the left overs (trust me there’s plenty to eat). Not sure how much more turkey sandwiches I can stomach but I’ll give it a good go.

It certainly feels like a lot has transpired over the past few weeks. Ancelotti’s now the Manager of Eveton and his presence has begun to influence the players judging by recent results to lift the spirit of Evertonians (it’s been a while since they had a grade A manager, if ever). Moyes is back at West Ham after the club sacked Pellegrini due to a poor run of results. I can’t help but wonder whether David Moyes will survive till the end of the season. His track record in recent memory is nothing to write home about.

Nigel Pearson is back in the Premier League having taken over the reigns at Watford. The ex Leicester Manager was given the top job at Watford with a clear objective of keeping the Hornets in the league come May. Pearson (if my memory serves me well) was sacked as Leicester’s manager before Claudio Ranieri took over and the rest is history as they say. Of all the managerial appointments, Arsenal’s acquisition of former player Mikel Arteta came as the biggest surprise in my opinion.

It is well documented that Arteta had ambitions of one day becoming a manager/head coach having been Pep Guardiola’s understudy at Manchester City. However, his appointment at Arsenal can be viewed as being a little to early in his managerial career. One thing is certain and that is the Arsenal have taken in the hope of getting their season back on track and to future glory.

Is Arteta the man to lead Arsenal forward? A question that can only be answered by results. His first game in charge didn’t quite go according to plan in the London derby game against Chelsea. The Gunners threw away a possible and well needed 3 points in the last ten minutes of the match and lost 2-1 at the Emirates. Some say Arsenal fans can be very delusional and at times that statement does ring truth. Clearly Arteta has some work to do provided he is given sufficient time to do so.

Fast forward 3 days and into the new year. Arteta’s second game in charge is against old foes Manchester United (who by the way seem to have found their rhythm). The home side had one thing in mind, attack the United back line at all cost and they did just that. Mesut Ozil seems to have been re-instated into the first team and his influence when on song is second to none. However it was Arsenal’s record signing Pepe who stole the show. The midfielder was a constant threat all game long and full of creative imagination.

He found the net in the first 8 minutes of the match after Kolasonic pulled the ball back for Pepe to neatly finish sending the United keeper the wrong way. Arsenal looked very impressive in the opening stages of the match and continued to mount assault on Manchester United. Pepe could have added a second in the 37th minute after striking the ball from 25 yards only to be denied by the post. Sokratis made it 2 nil to the Arsenal slotting in a loose ball from a Pepe corner.

All in all this was a much better performance from Arsenal and the atmosphere at the Emirates was electric. The supporters and fans alike were full of singing and cheers not seen at the Emirates for almost a decade hahaha!! If anything, Arteta’s appointment may have breathed new energy into the Gunners and he will need all the tools he has acquired from Guardiola to steer Arsenal in the right direction. Personally, I was enjoying seeing and looking forward to the gunners in a relegation dog fight but Arteta may have yet scarpered those plans for now at least.

The Premier League is back in full effect (not that it went anywhere) and the January window is also open so you know there’ll be plenty of action taking place. Liverpool are formidable and are certain to be crowned champions. Spurs seem to be faltering under Mourinho but I’m sure will bounce back in the new year and Leicester will probably be in the champions league next season. Lets see what the new year brings, happy new year once again.

PEPE

Hot Pepe!!!! 

ARSENAL OUTGUNNED BY CITY

Relegation Form

I don’t care what anyone says but as far as performances go, that’s got to be one of the worst Arsenal displays I’ve witnessed for a while (that was relegation form). If this group of players don’t get their act together then they will find themselves in what could be a relegation dog fight and may lose the illustrious Premier League holding.

I know it seems like a wild statement to make but I call a spade a spade and the gunners were absolutely dreadful. I thought they’d turned a corner after finally getting a win but it turns out the corner was a very long corner (if Sunday’s game is anything to go by). Arsenal hosted City at the Emirates and were hoping to put in the same level of commitment as they did in their last outing but that’s not what awaited their supporters.

They seemed to have taken a step back as they were outgunned and outclassed by the more dominant and assured Manchester City team (who, might I remind you have had their own issues in recent weeks). Arsenal had a great chance in the first 33 seconds of the game and didn’t have another shot on goal (I turned the TV off in the 66 minute and they hadn’t shot at the City goal then either).

Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring in the 2nd minute before Sterling added a second in the 15th minute. City controlled the game from the beginning right to the end and Arsenal had no answer for them. De Bruyne got his second goal of the game in the 40th minute to make the game 3-0 to the away side. The gunners can also forget about hiring Ancelotti as their next manager as it is rumoured that the Italian has signed with Everton in principle.

In the other Premier League games, Tottenham are now within 3 points off the top 4 spot having defeated Wolves with a 2-1 victory. Lucas Moura opened the scoring in the 8th minute before the impressive Traore leveled for Wolves in the 67th minute. Wolves definitely deserved more out of the game but the day belonged to Tottenham who snatched a late winner through a Vertonghen header in injury time. The win moves Spurs to 5th in the league and Mourinho’s impact is starting to show through.

Leicester dropped points at home having drawn 1-1 against Norwich, whilst Liverpool extend their lead at the top of the summit with a comfortable 2-0 win against Watford (Mo Salah grabbing both goals for the Reds). Chelsea were beaten 1-0 at home to Bournemouth and will face Spurs in their next outing. Lampard will need to pray his players can get out of their current slump or their ambition for finishing in the top four will quickly evaporate.

salah mag

Salah Magic!!!!!!!

Rashford Makes Manchester Red Again

United win derby

Manchester United seem to have hit form at the right time spearheaded by Rashford, he is definitely leading the charge for the reds. They made it two Premier League wins in succession after registering an away win against local rivals Manchester City. The result came as a shock to many given the fact that City have been the more dominant team for some years.

Man of the moment Rashford, opened the scoring via a penalty in the 23rd minute after he was brought down in the box by Bernado Silva. He calmly dispatched the penalty sending the City keeper the wrong way. Martial then added a second after a neat play with James to slot the ball home. City with all their richly resources managed to grab a late consolation goal through defender Otamendi in the 80th minute (some are saying City’s bubble has now burst but I’m sure they’ll be taking advantage of the window in January).

Duncan Ferguson has made a positive start to life as the interim boss of Everton and his players responded well with a fine display against Chelsea.  Richarlison leapt up to score a powerful header (I’m sure Ferguson had flash backs) in the 5th minute to give the home side the lead. Calvert-Lewin added a second in the 49th minute before Kovacic pulled one back for Chelsea in the 52nd minute. However Everton were not to be denied and sure enough wrapped up all 3 points when Calvert-Lewin scored his second goal of the game in the 84th minute to give Everton a 3-1 win.

Big Duncan Ferguson got the result his team deserved and will hope they can build from this going forward. Talking of new Managers, Mourinho got Spurs back on track after their blip against Manchester United in their last outing. Tottenham were out of the blocks against Burnley as they fought to make a statement. Spurs took 5 minutes to find the net after captain Harry Kane unleashed a screamer from 25 yards. Burnley goal keeper Pope had absolutely no chance.

Lucas Moura added a second in the 9th minute with a tap in that Lineker himself would be proud of (as long as the ball crosses the line right!!). Tottenham could have and should have had more goals as the game progressed but squandered some great opportunities. Son, who is in no doubt Tottenham’s best player and the current Asia player of the season scored what is being regarded as the best goal of the season thus far. He picked up the ball from his own half, evaded challenges from the on rushing Burnley defenders before coolly slotting the ball past Pope.

Son’s goal was absolutely breathtaking (the man is simply world class) and everyone in the stadium admired the effort for a good two minutes (even the ref hahaha!). Kane added a second in the 54th minute before Sissoko made it 5-0 to Spurs in the 74th minute. Meanwhile, North London neighbours Arsenal have finally got their act together and managed to get a win (what took you so long?). Club record signing Pepe was instrumental in the game against West Ham at the London Stadium. However it was the home team who took the lead through Ogbonna in the 38th minute and all seemed doom and gloom for Arsenal.

Arsenal kept pressing and were rewarded when Brazilian Martinelli equalised in the 60th minute (I know that goal meant a lot to all the Arsenal fans for sure). Pepe put the gunners ahead 6 minutes later with a precise curler into the top corner before setting up Aubameyang in the 69th minute to give Arsenal a 3-1 victory and a positive step in the right direction.

There were wins also for Liverpool who defeated Bournemouth 3-1 and Leicester who comfortably made light work of Aston Villa with a 4-1 victory (Jamie Vardy grabbing two goals). The leading pair are making this campaign a two horse race although many still fancy Liverpool to win it. Watford are rooted to the bottom of the table after drawing 0-0 with Crystal Palace whilst Norwich City lost to Sheffield United. There’s still quite a bit to go before the season ends but I think the pattern that’s starting to emerge will see both Norwich City and Crystal Palace relegated from the Premier League.

wonder goal

Catch me if you can, how bout that!!!!!

Liverpool several classes above Everton in derby

Merseyside is Red

To say Liverpool are several classes above Everton is an understatement. The truth of the matter is that Liverpool are several decades if not centuries ahead of their local rivals and their recent display in the merseyside derby pretty much confirmed their status and the gulf between the two sides (not that Liverpool fans don’t already know this). They were absolutely relentless and went full throttle.

The home side wasted little time in finding the net thanks to a goal from Origi in the 6th minute. Shaqiri added another in the 17th before Keane pulled one back for Everton in the 21st minute. It was always going to be a one way traffic and Liverpool played some scintillating football that could not be ignored. They were rewarded for their endeavour again when Origi lobbed the ball over the Everton keeper’s head to give the Reds a comfortable 3-1 lead.

Mane was in the mood for action and he didn’t disappoint the Liverpool faithful. He was instrumental in creating a goal for Origi and deserved a goal himself. He found the back of the net in the 45th sending the crowd into jubilation. Richarlison did score for Everton before the break but even he knew it would only be a consolation. Liverpool came out in the second half in the same fashion as the first and bombarded the Everton defence. They actually did well to keep the Reds at bay otherwise the scoreline would have been a lot worse than how it ended.

The game finished 5-2 with Wijnaldum grabbing the last goal in the 90th minute for Liverpool sending them 8 points clear at the top of the League. Whilst the Red half of Merseyside are singing, dancing and anticipating their first premier league title, the blue half have a lot of contemplation and rebuilding to do. And Everton did just that. In no less than 24 hours after the derby match, Everton announced that they would be parting company with their Manager Marco Silva with immediate effect. He is the fourth Manager to get the sack within 3 weeks and I’m sure he won’t be the last (they’re sacking these managers like it’s nothing).

Leicester continued their impressive season under Brendan Rodgers with another fine display. They were victorious in their match against Watford thanks to goals from Vardy and Maddison. It’s hard not to see Leicester as genuine top four contenders especially leading up to Christmas. You just never know, if Liverpool should stumble (and we’ve seen them do that on a couple of occasions haven’t we hahaha!!) I am pretty certain that Leicester will be the team to capitalise and possibly……possibly be crowned champions for the second time in their history.

In the other midweek games Jose Mourinho made his return to Old Trafford 11 months after being sacked by Manchester United. This game was always going to be tough for Spurs because I could see the United players stepped up and played like they had something to prove. Marcus Rashford personified the United attitude with his man of the match performance. He gave Aurier a torrid time on the flanks and looked every bit the player we know he his.

He put United ahead in the 6th minute before his goal was cancelled out by the brilliance of the now rejuvenated Dele Alli who leveled for Spurs with a great finished in the 39th minute. Spurs in recent games under Mourinho have been brilliant but against United they were lacking that quality and virtually put in a sub-standard performance (I hope this was just a blip boys!!). The day belong to Rashford who scored the winner via a spot kick in the 49th minute to lift United into 6th place (some say the result saved Solskjaer’s job, I say football is a crazy game where anything can happen).

There were wins for Chelsea who beat Aston Villa 2-1 and Wolves who beat West Ham 2-0. Manchester City also registered a 4-1 victory against Burnley and will need to hope and pray that Liverpool have a bad phase in the league at some point but I cannot see that happening anytime soon. Crystal Palace beat Bournemouth 1-0 and Southampton beat Norwich City 2-1.

MARCO

Here’s another one…..Silva axed!!!!!

More Managers given the boot

Casualty Race

Before we delve into the weekend’s Premier League action I just want to address the big elephant in the room. The open season on managerial sackings. I said it, once Tottenham sacked Pochettino it was only a matter before other heads started rolling. To be honest it’s actually come sooner than I thought it would.

Step forward Unai Emery, the Arsenal manager was given the boot last Friday after a string of disappointing results. He took over from the long standing Wenger in 2018 and was set to revitalise Arsenal to challenge for top honours (or so they thought!). His achievement for Arsenal was reaching the Europa League final so there are no surprises that Arsenal parted way with him.

Whilst ex gunner Freddie Ljungberg has stepped up to the plate on an interim basis, the question on everyone’s lips is who will be the next man for the job at the Emirates. A 12 man shortlist is rumoured to include the likes of Brendan Rodgers, Ancelotti and Max Allegri. Whoever gets the job will have a tough task ahead in helping get Arsenal back into the top four and competing for major honours again. Is it impossible? No, but a lot of hard work is required.

Watford also sacked Manager Quique Flores on Sunday after they lost yet another league game in the 2-1 defeat away to Southampton leaving them bottom of the table. Sarr had put the visitors ahead in the 24th minute before Ings leveled in the 78th minute and Ward-Prowse grabbed the winner in the 83rd minute. That was the 8th defeat this term and the result was the catalyst for Flores’s sacking.

New Spurs Manager Mourinho enjoyed his second premier league win as Tottenham Manager after master minding a home victory against Bournemouth. Dele Alli who seems to have found his mojo again opened the scoring in the 21st minute before adding another shortly after the break. Tottenham outclassed Bournemouth and could have added more to their tally but squandered some good opportunities in front of goal.

Sissoko eventually made it 3 nil in the 69th minute and Spurs were in cruise control. Credit to Bournemouth who managed to claw back two goals through midfielder Harry Wilson. The game ended 3-2 and Spurs are now just 6 points off the top four albeit 20 points behind the leaders (I don’t think anyone’s catching them).

Defending champions Manchester City could only manage a draw against Newcastle United as the game ended 2-2. Crystal Palace beat Burnley 2-0 away with Zaha and Schlupp getting the goals. Liverpool maintain their winning run with a 2-1 win over Brighton with nearest rivals Leicester beating Everton by the same score.  Manchester United drew 2-2 with Aston Villa and I’m guessing it’s only a matter of time before Solskjaer keeps the boot too (probably won’t make it till the end of the season).

emery out

Another bites the dust!!!!!