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Random Soccer Thoughts

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Managerial Merry Go Round?

The biggest kept secret in Melrose is officially out. Brendon Rodgers is sacked by Liverpool FC. The writing was on the wall as soon as last season and the Stoke 6-1 loss at the Britannia. If the Fenway Sports Group were decisive, they would have ended the tenure there and then. However, they did not pull the trigger and gave Rodgers more money to spend on players while farming out players from the Suarez money the previous season on loan (Markovic). Liverpool FC are at a cross-roads. Where do FSG see the club going? Winning and ambition are one thing but how will they compete with the Manchester City, Chelsea, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Paris Saint Germain to secure top class talent. Liverpool’s signing policy is more in hope than signings will succeed. There needs to be a change in approach in transfers as well as conducting contract negotiations. The Gerrard and Sterling negotiations saga were embarrassing for the club; no-one will know the full extent of whether Rodger’s presence at the football club contributed to those discussions breaking down but the way it was handled by the football club was inadequate. Rodgers will be disappointed but it did not look like the Anfield faithful had anymore faith in the Northern Ireland man. Carlisle League Cup fixture was the final nail in the coffin; no reaction from the fans, wonder if Bogdan had not made a couple of penalty shootout saves, would Rodgers have survived until today? Rodgers will get another top flight job (Villa job looming again) and this experience will only improve him as a manager. Football management, small margins between winning and losing. If Stephen Gerrard had not slipped against Chelsea, what might have being? The appointment will be eagerly anticipated. Wondering if Stevie Gerrard’s mansion will be back up for sale soon? Property merry go round. The property is jinxed.

Meanwhile in the North-East, Dick Advocaat decided to do an ‘A Team’ escape from Sunderland today. Advocaat should have left the club in the summer. When an EPL club has to convince someone to stay on as manager, enough said. Advocaat’s heart for the job was elsewhere after a torrid summer of missed transfer targets. Younes Kaboul would drive you to desperation, no wonder the Dutch man walked out without seeking a penny from Ellis Short. Sunderland to look to Sam Allardyce to save the season already. The Sunderland playing staff are in for one rude reality check when they arrive back from international football duty.

Merseyside Stalemate

Brendon Rodgers did not lose his final game in charge of Liverpool. Liverpool were the superior team in the opening half and Ings close range opener was well merited. Everton had their moments but were pinned back for periods. Naismith’s header produced a great save from Mignolet. Everton did well to get back on level terms before the interval. Lukaku again scoring to make the EPL Fantasy Football League scouts to take note (3 goals in two games). Everton like against WBA did come out in the second half and try to win this derby late on but the decisive second goal never came despite good periods of dominance. A draw was probably a fair result. Sakho and Lukaku’s spat at the end of the contest was a highlight. Who says derby games do not matter?

Arsenal Stroll

Thank you Manchester United for making an easy choice today in terms of what to watch. United were simply floored by a rampant Arsenal in the first twenty minutes. United’ defensively have serious issues with attacking pace. Swansea and now Arsenal have exposed United’s lack of pace defensively. I felt for Blind and Darmian in that opening twenty minutes, they were under the cosh. Walcott’s movement was world class today and allowed Sanchez the space to score at will in that opening period of the game. United never got to the pace of the game and the hosts high line and work rate meant possession was too frequently lost in dangerous positions. Ozil enjoyed his afternoon today and must be an enigma for an Arsenal supporter. How can a player of his talent not produce performances like this week in week out? Cech’s save on Martial just before the interval emphasized how big a miss Wenger made in the midweek Champions League debacle. The EPL season is all over the shop. City back on top but for the first forty minutes, Newcastle should have being out of sight.

Next Managerial Casualty

Jose Mourinho was at his mercurial best when interviewed post game yesterday. Chelsea are in crisis (mens and not ladies team). Every week, there is a different issue to contend with. From the embarrassing supporter behavior in Paris, to Eva / JT and players not doing what the special one requires; the problems are mounting for the Portuguese manager. Roberto Di Matteo is looking like a Chelsea managerial stud with each passing week of this season. The international break has come at an opportune time for Chelsea, time to review and regroup. Chelsea will turn the corner eventually and a top four finish still looks a possibility given the indifferent form of the likes of United, Arsenal. Time will tell but Mourinho has laid down his cards on the table. He is going nowhere. He requires club backing or else. The next managerial casualty looks to be in Aston Villa. The post Benteke era is looking ominous for the Villa, lack of goals and the inability to keep clean sheets means that they are now four points behind the rest in the battle for the drop. Tim Sherwood is under pressure and a trip to Chelsea does not look promising. If Villa cannot beat Swansea at home on October 24th, Sherwood is as good as gone.