Mauricio Pochettino is sacked as Tottenham manager- is it the right decision?

Tottenham have sacked Mauricio Pochettino after a nightmare start to the season has seen the club down in 14th place.

Fans have been left gutted by the decision even though it was clear that frustrations were growing with the Argentine coach. But this is still the same man that changed the clubs fortunes around where they finally stood out of rivals Arsenal shadow and became a proper top 4 side. It was a time where the club found consistency and had found a natural flow to their game. Finally they were not doing things in a ‘spursy’ way but in a way which frightened their opponents and it was clear that the club were playing their best football in a generation.

This all came to ahead when Tottenham made the Champions League final and for many fans they couldn’t have imagined this would happen in their wildest dreams and there was dreamlike Roy of the Rovers style matches to get them to the final. Who can forget the epic 2nd leg matches against Manchester City and Ajax were Spurs looked dead and buried but somehow came back?

The utter joy and glory of seeing Pochettino on the pitch in Amsterdam with club owner Daniel Levy will remain in the memory as Tottenham confirmed their participation in the final. At that point it was about reaching their own personal Everest. The problem was that there were many problems behind the scenes.

It is clear that Levy and Pochettino did not get along and other stories are bound to come out in the next few weeks and months, it’s quite possible that Pochettino had also fallen out with some players by this point. He also had the body language over the last few weeks that suggested his future lay elsewhere.

It didn’t help when on the eve of the Champions League final Pochettino spoke about leaving the club if they were to win the trophy. In truth this would have made Levy livid given that who leaves a club on £8.5m a year? And in sacking Pochettino with 3 years left on his contract Levy will be paying him out just over £25m.

Ex-Tottenham players such as Gary Lineker have spoken out about the decision and condemned it saying that the club will not find anyone better- and he could be right. Though at the end of the day for all of their good wins and wonderful football Spurs did not win a trophy and surely at the end of the day for progression you need a trophy.

Trophies is the reason that Jose Mourinho has been installed as the favourite to take over the club. Mourinho always brings silverware but as we’ve seen in the past few years he can also bring a very negative effect to players and coaching staff. His burn outs at both Chelsea and Manchester United have sadly become the stuff of legend. One can already see a relationship of friction between Mourinho the chequebook and Levy. Still before it went wrong for Mourinho at those clubs he had won the league for Chelsea and the Europa League for United- he has a winning mentality and maybe that is what Tottenham need in this moment.

As for Pochettino in all honesty he needs some time away from the game to readjust and get his hunger back.He is a good manager but seemed a little burnt out and maybe this decision will make sense in the long term. In solely footballing terms Pochettino seems to have done very little wrong and the decision to sack him in that case is bizarre if we look at his whole record for the club. But apart from the amazing run in the Champions League Tottenham have not had a good 2019, indeed they have not won away from home since January- a top 4 side cannot have such a record.

The next few weeks will be fascinating to see how it turns out for the club and the world will be watching.

Play the newest EPL fantasy game here https://epl-fantasy.com

 

Were Bayern Munich justified in sacking Kovac?

With the dust settling and the anger and frustrations dissipated somewhat the question remains were Bayern Munich justified in sacking Niko Kovac?

Kovac was sacked at the beginning of the month after Bayern lost 5-1 at Eintract Frankfurt. This is a result that Bayern were simply not used too and it was a terrible one, but was there too much knee jerk reaction to it? After all even in defeat Bayern were just 4 points from the top of the league.

Partly the problem seems to have been the clubs position at the time which took them down to 4th. Fourth place and Bayern have a bad relationship the two simply do not go hand in hand. Let’s face it Bayern have not really trusted Kovac either. Had an experienced coach been in charge of the club that position would have been looked on back and forth to the manager, Bayern would have swallowed some pride and got on with it. In sacking Kovac who has little experience the decision would have been a much easier one.

When Kovac was sacked Bayern had won 50% of their games and lost 2 matches. The damning fact for the club was that they had won 18 points from a possible 30, continue that trend and the club would be lucky to qualify for the Champions League.

Since Kovac was sacked Bayern have won 2 games in the Champions League and Bundesliga under Hans-Dieter Flick. The most impressive was beating rivals Borussia Dortmund 4-0. That could well tell us that Kovac had lost the dressing room, if so then Bayern had little choice but to sack him.

The problem though is what were Bayern expecting when they recruited him? And it seemed from the beginning that the moment Kovac had put pen to paper and signed his contract it was the moment that Bayern woke up and thought what have we done?

Kovac’s first season did look like it would turn into a nightmare but he got fully into his job and turned it around and Bayern won the league and the cup double and he became the first person in Germany to win the double as a player and then as a coach. His win rate of 69% was also excellent.

And yet here we are and Kovac is out at Bayern after such a glorious time. All in all Kovac’s sacking seems like a very harsh decision, but at the very top of the game that is how it is now. His full time replacement may not even be needed until next summer as Flick is doing such a fine job. As for Kovac he needs to chin up because he has a bright future ahead of him.

 

Zlatan Ibrahimovic being linked to Liverpool tells you how great a player he is

At 38 Zlatan Ibrahimovic should be looking back at his career and hanging his boots up. He has had a fantastic time in  football won multiple trophies and scored tons of great goals. He is Sweden’s best ever player and has earned a fortune in the game, and yet he wants another challenge.

Zlatan as he is commonly known by has left LA Galaxy after 2 seasons where he didn’t win a trophy but was involved in some memorable games, so good that LA fans took him to their hearts. He also scored plenty of goals, 53 in all competitions for the Galaxy in just 58 games, and he ended his time this season with 30 goals from 29 games. Now whilst might say that the MLS is not a top league, to do what he is doing at 38 is still quite remarkable and one is reminded of another great sport athlete in Roger Federer whose body refuses to give up.

Even at this age when Ibrahimovic  announced he was leaving the Galaxy a whole host of elite teams from Europe threw their name in the hat. He has been linked with a return back to PSG and AC Milan. In the Premier League his former club Manchester United have shown some interest and then there is Liverpool in first place and looking for their first title since 1990. Ibrahimovic has an incredible record of going to different clubs and winning league titles and for that Liverpool could suit him.

Possibly though the front runners are AC Milan. Ibrahimovic has a special relationship not just with the club but also in Italy where he has also played for Juventus and Inter Milan. The truth is at Milan Ibrahimovic would get more game time and could well be drafted into the first team. One would feel that at a club like Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp isn’t going to upset the apple cart and chop and change his forward line to accommodate the Swedish star. Instead Zlatan would be used as a super sub and in cup games, is that what he would want? Again his qualities on the pitch over the years have earned him that choice.

What will be fascinating as Ibrahimovic returns to Europe is can he still get goals at a higher level? He has scored 30 in his final season in the MLS and it would be interesting to see if he can keep some sort of consistency. The biggest factor being is that his professionalism and attitude is paving the way for strikers to continue on to their very late 30′s and maybe even 40′s. Now that is football evolution.

Play the newest EPL fantasy game here https://epl-fantasy.com

 

After Tottenham’s nightmare start to the Premier League season what do they need to do to get better?

In May Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was being hailed as a genius, by October his own fans wanted him out. What has gone wrong and how does Pochettino fix it?

Some will blame club owner Daniel Levy, after all he has been tight with his money in the past 18 months. Yes Tanguy Ndombele came for around £60m, and that was a big spend but Tottenham spent just over £70m net this summer. That sum just isn’t going to cut it when you have reached another level that Tottenham have excelled to. Champions League finalists last season and at the beginning of this one the club could be regarded as one of the favourites to win the league and yet they are languishing in the bottom half of the table. The least you expected of the club coming into November was to be 4th.

After a nightmare start where we have only witnessed very small examples of what made Tottenham such a force last season the temptation would be to sack Pochettino, but is this the right move? It would only be if he had lost the dressing room or simply lost the passion and desire with the club. He has in the past hinted to Levy to open up more funds, and it is unclear just how bad the friction is between them. But perhaps this could just be seen as a bad moment for the club, why should for example a manager be sacked for three bad months?

Tottenham already have enough quality to be a top 4 team but they may have to settle for less this season. The truth is that some players like Dele Alli might have to move on, he clearly needs a new challenge. Then there is Christian Eriksen who thought a big deal would come through but it never did- is his head with the club? It seems unlikely it is.

The club clearly need to spend and that means over £100m and it has to be wisely, that’s why Pochettino should stay. He knows the club inside out and just needs some more encouragement to go forward. No matter who the club bring in next it will be starting from the beginning again. The problem of course is that modern football doesn’t work like that, if you don’t win, you’re out. Only a handful of exceptions exist. Arsene Wenger before at Arsenal and Diego Simeone currently at Atletico Madrid.

Pochettino in the current football climate looks like he is on borrowed time, but Levy and co would do well to ride this stormy wave and come out the other end, time will tell.

Play the newest EPL fantasy game here https://epl-fantasy.com

 

 

Can Inter Milan upset Juventus and win their first Serie A title in 10 years?

No Inter Milan fan even in their worst nightmares could have predicted the fall of the club after Jose Mourinho upped his sticks and left the club in the summer of 2010 for Real Madrid. Now they are dreaming again almost a decade later.

Back in 2010 Inter under Mourinho’s infamous dogs of war and arguably his most successful period as a football coach not only won the league title but also completed for the first time in Italian football history the triple. That is the league title (Scudetto), the Italian cup and the creme of them all the Champions League. Indeed it was Inter’s first triumph in Europe since 1965. It all felt like a dream, but it was reality. Not only were Inter the champions of Italy but the champions of Europe.

Inter had finally stepped out of AC Milan and Juventus’ shadow as a club to be reckoned with and then Mourinho left and rather quickly Inter’s fortunes disappeared. It was as if by reaching the top of the mountain the only way was down. To add salt into the wounds Milan their eternal nemesis would win the league the following the year.

Since then countless coaches have come and gone and whilst Inter have always been there and thereabouts they have never looked like recapturing that glory at least domestically until this season. It has been a decade dominated by Juventus and their 8 in a row titles.

This season Inter have started superbly, losing just one game so far in Serie A inevitably to Juventus and the grand old lady remain their biggest obstacle to picking up their first title in what will be 10 years. But can Inter do it?

With the international break upon us Inter are just one point behind Juventus with 31 and that has been achieved out of a maximum points total of 36. In short in most seasons Inter would be in 1st place with a healthy lead. But there looms always the threat of Juventus.

Inter have a 7 point lead over 3rd place Lazio which is massive and Inter should be able to finish at least 2nd this season. But only winning the league will do and this team does have the tools to do it. Headed by Romelu Lukaku the Belgian has found a new lease of life after going a little stale at his former club Manchester United and he has already scored 9 goals this season. Even the great Cristiano Ronaldo only has 5 so far for Juve.

But Inter also have quality in their ranks such as Stefano Sensi who has already scored 3 goals from midfield and assisted in another two. In Antonio Conte Inter have a very successful coach the one who masterminded so many Juventus league titles, everything looks in place.

Can Inter go that extra mile and stop another Juventus win? This title looks like it will go down to the wire which, if anything, will be great for Italian football rather than the normal procession.

How well do you know Italian football? Do you want to battle the best Serie A Fantasy Managers? Play www.fantasyseriea.com now!

 

Why Jose Mourinho should never have been sacked as Manchester United manager

Since Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United in 2013 it has been quite a nightmarish ride for the fans who were so used to seeing multiple successes, good players and great games at the club.

It’s been a shock for United at how many plans have failed since Ferguson left. David Moyes, Louis van Gaal, Jose Mourinho and current manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer have all tried to put United back on the map. But the club are certainly going backwards albeit with a certain glimmer of light, which just about still shines in the halls of Old Trafford.

In the 6 years since United have won 3 trophies, 2 of them the Europa League and League Cup were won with Jose Mourinho in charge, and he also led the club to 2nd place in the league- their best ever finish post Ferguson. One wonders if United made a huge error sacking Mourinho? Of course at the time it did look like the best option. United were losing every week and misery seemed to be engulfed with the club. For reasons we will most probably find out in a players book Mourinho had lost the dressing room, but how is that different from the other coaches who have managed at the club.

When David Moyes arrived at Everton, then defender Rio Ferdinand admitted that he had no respect for the ex-Everton manager, this before Moyes had properly overseen his first game. Van Gaal seemed like an odd appointment, a brilliant one had it been the 1990s, but in 2014? The Dutchman was well past his sell by date, he lost some games you would have expected United to win but he did win the FA Cup as a parting gift. Solskjaer started well but has been a nightmare coach for the club, some of his buys have been inspired and he wants to do his best, but he simply looks like a small fish in a vast ocean.

Mourinho needed a clear out of players if he was to stay, and the one negative you could say about him is the special one is pretty useless at rebuilding teams and leaving some sort of legacy for the next manager. But what he does deliver are trophies, he just needs the sort of players that will train hard and work hard for him, that wasn’t going to be the case at United.

Records of Manchester United managers since Sir Alex Ferguson:

David Moyes win rate= 52.9%

Louis van Gaal win rate= 52.4%

Jose Mourinho win rate= 58.3%

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer win rate (so far) = 51.1%

Arsene Wenger’s time as a footballing coach officially comes to an end

Arsene Wenger hasn’t admitted it but he might as well and that is, he will never coach a team again.

Since leaving Arsenal in the summer of 2018 Wenger has been tipped to join various clubs and national sides, some of those stories have been nothing but rumours and some Wenger has lent his words too. He has said from time to time that he would definitely be interested in managing a club again.

Just recently it looked like he was a shoe-in for the Bayern Munich job after the German giants sacked Niko Kovac. Wenger even spoke to the club and things seemed to be moving forward and then out of the blue he landed a job with FIFA. Wenger will the head of global football development, or in other words he has been put out to rest after a career in football.

One doesn’t just land such a job, not even Arsene Wenger and it is clear that Wenger would have had talks with FIFA over a few weeks possibly months before he took on such a role. Why then when being interviewed would be continually show an interest in managing a football club again?

The reason is Wenger can’t let go of the past and because of that the past won’t let him move on. In a nutshell Wenger cannot manage another club because his emotional ties to Arsenal are too great. It’s almost romantic but makes little sense. In taking a FIFA job that Wenger will be able to do blindfolded he is simply taking steps into a comfort zone. At 70 and with a huge career behind him can he really be blamed? In a way no, but it is the way that he left coaching clubs that leaves a feeling of, was that it?

Make no mistake for his first 6 years at Arsenal, Wenger should be seen as one of the greatest coaches. But for the majority of his time at the club the Gunners could not keep that level. By the time Wenger left, Arsenal looked in tatters, does a couple of FA Cup wins really make it better for Wenger? No league title in his last 14 seasons as a manager, and in many people’s eyes he was an elite one.

Had he shown more interest and taken the Bayern job he could have had one last hurrah. People might argue but he’s too old now, he deserves his rest. The reality is that Wenger could have stayed at Bayern only until the end of the season. Trophies are there to be won. What better way to end a career with a winning memory.

In taking the FIFA job it just seems that Wenger has opted for the easier role, but will it really, in the end, give him the satisfaction he craves?

 

 

Maurizio Sarri was right to substitute Ronaldo and the Portuguese legend must understand that

The big clash in Serie A at the weekend was against Juventus and AC Milan, which in truth meant a lot more 15 years ago and it was a game that Juventus would narrowly win 1-0. But the result was not the talking point, indeed it was all over a substitution.

In world football there are two players who, if they get subbed, can make headlines. One is Lionel Messi and the other is Cristiano Ronaldo and at the weekend for the second consecutive game in a row, the Juventus coach Maurizio Sarri substituted CR7 a.k.a Cristiano Ronaldo.

When it happened in the 55th minute the game was 0-0 and Ronaldo was none too pleased. He trundled off in what appeared to be a huge mood and then reportedly make the bizarre decision to leave the stadium before the end of the game. If this is true he has completely undermined Sarri. Sarri himself tried to play the incident down, saying in a nutshell that it was normal for Ronaldo to be upset and that he would be worried taking off a player that didn’t show emotion. It was nothing more than a textbook response, and Sarri should be boiling inside at Ronaldo’s actions.

On the face of it there has been a falling out and Sarri has no fears about making the decision that most coaches would fear in bringing off Ronaldo. But there is more than meets the eye and it seems that the Portuguese player has been suffering with a niggling knee problem the past few weeks.

It was also reported that before his substitution he had looked at his knee, hobbled a little and looked at the bench. However if true why would he be so angry at coming off? There is a competitiveness but there is also a danger of taking that too far and picking up a much worse injury in the long run.

Ronaldo is a total professional most of the time and nearing 35 next year is still scoring the goals and performing in games. However he got it wrong this time and Sarri was simply trying to protect his player. Maybe he was listening to recent comments too where Ronaldo admitted that he would only want to play in the very important games and Champions League ones.

The game ended with a Pablo Dybala goal, and to rub the salt into Ronaldo’s wounds, Dybala was the player who replaced Ronaldo.

Let’s hope Juventus and Sarri has the courage to fine Ronaldo for his actions, could you imagine a younger player doing the same and getting away with it?

Join the most popular Fantasy Serie A game here: www.fantasyseriea.com now!

The best 11 performing players in the Premier League 2019/20 so far

The 2019/20 Premier League season is 3 months so what better time after a quarter a third of the season gone that we look at the top performing players for each position based on European Fantasy football points. This is a great way to get your fantasy team back on track and to figure out who is performing and who isn’t. This is a team dominated by Manchester City and Leicester players with a few surprises in between.

Goalkeeper: Kasper Schmeichel

Dad Peter would be very proud of his sons start to the Premier League campaign with Leicester. Schmeichel is heads and tails above other goalkeepers and has 33 points already. He has kept 5 clean sheets which is the equal best so far.

Defender: Ben Chilwell

We stay with Leicester, and the best defender with the most points is Ben Chilwell. He has 33 and has had a solid start to the season, assisting in 3 goals, scoring himself and keeping five clean sheets. He earned another valuable 5 points at the weekend too as Leicester beat Arsenal 2-0.

Defender: Edna Stevens

Not many people would have put Edna Stevens down to be one of the best performing defenders this season. But Stevens has got off to a brilliant start with his club Sheffield United.  He has been part of a back four that has kept five clean sheets plus he has assisted in a goal.

Defender: Jonathan Evans

Maybe Evans isn’t talked about much, but the Leicester defender is having a very good season. He has 23 points so far and picked up another 4 at the weekend. He has set up one goal and helped keep 5 clean sheets. If you are looking to do some online football betting and have an interest in researching more then you should check out LSM which can offer you a suitable tool to engage in football betting.

Defender: Andrew Robertson

Liverpool’s Andrew Roberson has been one of the best defenders in the league in the past 18 months and he is proving that again as Liverpool are in 1st place. He has only kept 2 clean sheets, but has set up 4 goals and scored one already.

Midfielder: Kevin De Bruyne

Manchester City’s deadly attacking midfielder has accumulated the most points in his position and has 38 so far. From 10 starts he has scored 3 goals and assisted in another 8 for a great record after such a short period of time.

Midfielder: Raheem Sterling

Staying with Manchester City is attacking midfielder Raheem Sterling who has bagged 7 goals so far and assisted in one goal. He currently has 36 points and is just two behind his teammate.

Midfielder: Sadio Mane

Sadio Mane is simply ever consistent and a thorn in many peoples sides. The Liverpool winger has already scored 7 goals and has two assists. He has 35 points and it would only take one good week to see him fly into 1st position.

Midfielder: Bernardo Silva

So 3 of the four best midfielders are from one club Manchester City which says a lot about the champions quality. Silva has started 8 games but has scored 5 times already, assisted in a further two goals and when he has played City have kept five clean sheets, that’s pretty good going from the Spaniard.

Forward: Jamie Vardy

The Leicester forward has been wonderfully consistent since being with the Foxes, but this season the 32 year old is on course to have his best of his career, at least stats wise. Vardy has racked up 49 points in fantasy football, easily the best in the league and has scored 11 times and assisted in two further goals. He is pure gold right now for the club

Forward: Tammy Abraham

The Chelsea forward has been a revelation this season under Frank Lampard and has started the season like a world class forward. He has 44 points and has scored 10 goals and assisted in two others. He is already the surprise player of the new Premier League season.

Play the newest EPL fantasy game here https://epl-fantasy.com

 

 

 

 

 

Moise Kean has not shown his professionalism with Everton

When Everton announced the arrival of Moise Kean this summer from Juventus a few eyebrows were raised. This was the Moise Kean who when given a chance with Juventus excelled, scored goals and looked frighteningly brilliant in attack. Surely Everton had landed a massive bargain and all of this for a teenager that Juve wanted less than £30m for. But therein lies the catch.

First you had to wonder why other clubs didn’t come in for Kean? Then you’d have to wonder why if he was that brilliant Juventus were willing to sell him for such a low fee in today’s money? After all Kylian Mbappe cost PSG £200m and whilst one isn’t comparing the two there is a still a difference of £170m give or take between the two players valuations.

Kean has in a nutshell had a nightmare start with the club where from 11 games played he has failed to score. In truth most of those games have started from the bench but when he has had game time he has had just 1 shot on target in what equates to 288 minutes. This isn’t the Kean that lit up Serie A last season that’s for sure.

No one is denying that Kean is a quality player, you don’t get to come through Juventus’ ranks otherwise and you certainly don’t get first team football where you can call your teammate Cristiano Ronaldo. At the same time we can let slip that Kean hasn’t scored goals for the club, it would in time happen one suspects. But the real issue here has been with the players attitude.

Recently the Everton manager, Marco Silva, who is under pressure to keep his job dropped Kean entirely for the game against Southampton. It has only now come out that he didn’t select Kean as punishment for turning up late to a team meeting. And if reports are to be believed it isn’t the first time Kean has done this. Now we can talk about a 19 year old having culture shock, Turin to Liverpool can give you that, just ask Ian Rush who did the opposite in the 80s only to come hurrying back soon after.

But this is an excuse. How many people are forced to leave their country after a problem or a job related one, and must just get on with it? In Kean’s case the moment he arrived at Everton he would have been greeted with respect and time and a huge salary. The least he could do is act with some professionalism. So yes he has started slow but how about getting into training that much earlier, getting on time to team meetings and trying his best to show Silva what qualities he has? In short how about showing some passion, grit and determination? Is that too much to ask for a 19 year old? If so the club need to sell Kean on and try and learn from this experience.

To hammer it home it’s not all about the lack of goals and contributions he has made, not at this time and it would be unfair to criticise him on this after just 3 months. But the least he could do was act with some pride, he has a job that local footballers who will never make it would die for, it’s a no brainer to start showing his qualities or scamper back to Italy.

Play the newest EPL fantasy game here https://epl-fantasy.com