In the immediate aftermath of England’s World Cup, there was hope that more unlikely heroes in the same mould as Tripper, Lingard, Alexander-Arnold and Rashford could emerge. Followers of the Premier League have not been disappointed, and several new stars have enjoyed a breakout campaign.
Gareth Southgate has placed an emphasis on youth- only three of England’s 23 member WC squad were above the age of 30, and with recent success at lower age group levels (they’re the reigning holders of both the U17 and U20 World Cup trophies), there is hope that this generation could emulate, or perhaps even do better, than the legendary squad of 1966.
Maurizio Sarri’s position at Chelsea appears to be hanging by a thread after Manchester United beat them 2-0 at the Bridge to knock them out of the Cup. With several other high profile teams like Arsenal, Spurs and Liverpool already out of the competition, the FA Cup was a good chance for the Blues to pick up some silverware, but Solskjaer became the first United manager in nearly seven years to win at the Bridge to set up a quarterfinal tie against Wolves.
Sarri’s results against top four teams this year has not been encouraging- he has lost 3-0 to Spurs, 2-0 to Arsenal, 6-0 to Man City and now 2-0 to Man Utd. It seems he no longer has control of the dressing room and even the fans seem to be fed up of his tactics- with several in the crowd heard saying “F*ck Sarri ball”
Against United, Sarri made his traditional changes, and even when they were 2-0 down, chose not to bring another attacking player on (despite Chelsea having several options on the bench), and instead subbed in Zappacosta. Callum-Hudson Odoi’s reaction on the sidelines, captured in this pic, tell a story in itself.
Sarri can probably redeem himself with a League Cup win over Man City, although few will bet on them given the Blues’ recent struggles under the Italian.
Pundit Chris Sutton called for Sarri to be sacked, and added that lack of action from Roman Abramovich could potentially be seen as disinterest in the club from the Russian.
France Football have today unveiled a rather interesting list- rating teams by their “mythical status”. The best way we understand this is for teams that had their heyday in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s, or influenced the game in a manner that saw them write their names into the annals of history.
It probably explains why Ajax, with ex legends both on and off the pitch, like Johan Cruyff and Rinus Michels, and their Total Football concept, are first on this list. And also explains why teams that have obtained success in more recent times, like Manchester City and PSG, are not on it.
Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United and Barcelona occupy spots 2-5. Other teams that certainly fit into this category (in our opinion!) are the likes of Santos, Benfica, River Plate, New York Cosmos and Budapest Honved. There is a sense of nostalgia about the past greatness of these teams in the current generation, which explains their mythical status.
Interesting list though- here it is below in full (countries on the side in French)
Man City laid down a statement of intent on Sunday afternoon as they demolished rivals Chelsea 6-0, thereby inflicting upon the Blues their worst defeat since 1991. Sergio Aguero was the star at the Etihad with a hat trick, his 9th at the stadium and 11th overall in the Premier League, equalling the legendary Alan Shearer’s record.
Chelsea’s defending was shambolic- only strugglers Fulham have conceded more than them in the league this year, and City turned in another dazzling attacking display to raise more doubts over the future of Blues boss Maurizio Sarri. Continue reading
Marouane Fellaini has opted to continue his career in China after moving to CSL outfit Shandong Luneng. The Belgian midfielder joined Manchester United from Everton in 2013, and scored 22 times in 177 appearances for the Red Devils. He was brought to the club by David Moyes, his former manager at Goodison Park.
Fellaini was a key figure under Jose Mourinho, and to many fans, was a symbol of the unattractive, laboured football that United used to play under the Special One. He’s however scored some key goals for the club- Juventus in the Champions League in Turin being a classic example.
While Mourinho liked Fellaini, his replacement, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, did not appear to regard the Belgian as a vital part of his plans, featuring only once in seven Premiership games under the Norwegian.
At United, Fellaini won two titles- the 2016 FA Cup and the 2017 Europa League.