Category Archives: Manchester City

European Super League: The Brexit of Football?

After the controversial introduction of VAR into the Premiership, on Sunday the whole football world was talking about the threat of six English clubs threatening to take part in a breakaway Super League.

The so called big six comprising of Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham confirmed that they had joined with six leading clubs in Italy and Spain over a highly selective and largely closed tournament that would in effect replace the Champions League.

The move, which represents a huge challenge to the Premier League, The Football Association  and UEFA, paves the way for the biggest shake up of club football in a long while.

Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, AC Milan, Juventus and Inter Milan are also committed to joining the Super League, although certain clubs in France and Germany have not yet signed up.

Understandably this has caused outrage in the football world with the Premier League urging their clubs to walk away from this idea before serious damage will be done.

Indeed, the FA and UEFA have warned that they would not sanction a breakaway, referring to the fact that players and clubs could no longer compete in official competitions. Players could also be banned from International tournaments as well.

This whole idea is completely out of order and just feels that the so called ‘big six’ are wanting to make even more money than they already do so. They are plain and simple greedy owners. They don’t have the wishes of the fans at heart. They are only interested in getting even greedier than what they already are.

This is about big money, not football issues anymore. The rebel clubs still want to continue playing in domestic competitions, but we all know that would be just a good excuse to play a B side.

On a personal note I totally agree with Gary Neville’s points made on Sunday. They don’t have the fans interest at heart. They should be punished heavily, which I totally agree with.

Points deduction would be the best punishment possible, or an even better idea would be to relegate all six of the clubs. They certainly wouldn’t like that thrown at them.

How on earth can the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham seriously consider themselves to be classed as one of the ‘Big Six’. Both have had a bad season and in fairness haven’t won anything of significance for a long time.

Fans would clearly not want to watch a Super League with the ‘Big Six’ playing the same sides on a regular basis as this would become very boring. 

It appears that even managers are not happy about this stupid idea. Today there was a big rumour doing the rounds that Mourinho was sacked by Tottenham for refusing to take training on the back of the proposed Super League.

Let us hope and pray that this doesn’t take off as it will have massive implications. 

This is terrible news for the rest of the football clubs that have been hit hardest by the pandemic. Clubs in the EFL Championship, League One and Two and Non-League clubs– some of which have now dissolved- desperately need financial help. Surely the owners of the ‘Big Six’ should realise this and think about other clubs and not themselves. Unfortunately in today’s crazy world of football that won’t be the case.  They only want to line there ever rich bulging pockets even deeper.

This is further proof that chairman of the ‘Big Six’ really haven’t got a clue about how football should be run. To them it is about making as much cash as possible before they walk away. This story certainly has the makings of the Brexit of Football.

The Guardiola Effect

With Portsmouth appointing Danny Cowley and his Brother Nicky as new coaches yesterday and having watched their interview, It was hard not to start thinking of the Guardiola Effect.

In case you haven’t seen the interview, the Cowley brothers were asked how they like their teams to play football.

The answer …

With a High Pressing line, attacking on the front foot and fast, giving the opposition no time to think

Having listened to this, the mind started to wander towards Pep Guardiola. You see his teams have played that way for years. The results are obvious. Trophies!

Now you can argue that he has brought success, but there are many negations for that, because players still have to perform. Although, if you were in charge of a team that had very very rich owners giving you a blank cheque book to buy the best, then I challenge you to not buy them.

Its this transition caused by Guardiola, that has led a number of managers to follow suit. Some examples are: Mauricio Pochettino, now at Paris St Germain, Maurizio Sarri, formerly of Chelsea and Juventus and Jurgen Klopp, of… Oh Yes, Liverpool.

Now these are some more famous examples. Each of course would argue that he has his own ideas behind that philosophy. Lets, however, look closer to home for some more examples of The Guardiola Effect.

In the Championship, Darren Moore now at Sheffield Wednesday, while in League One: Grant McCann at Hull City, Russ Martin at MK Dons. More on MK Dons in a moment. Mark Robinson at AFC Wimbledon and finally Darren Ferguson at Peterborough All of these are managers who, are adapting the Guardiola effect.

Now when you actually stop and think about it, the principle is very simple. Your team has two parts of its game. In Possession and Out of Possession. Simply put, when you lose the ball your have to win it back again and keep control of it so you can dictate the pace of the game and wear the other team down.

Ultimately, you want to be playing in your opponents defensive area, which is your final third because attack is the best form of defence.

Make Sense?…

Games of Football are won by scoring goals and not conceding them. This was embodied by Guardiola’s teams at Barcelona, Bayern Munich and now Manchester City

If you concede more than one every game, then clearly you are not going to be very successful. This brings me on very nicely to two team who through the years, do this very well.

First cast your mind back, waayy back to the mid-eighties. Wimbledon, love them or loathe them, played the game this way. In those days they played the POMO game – Possession Of Maximum Opportunity.

It was successful, though they bypassed the midfield and relied on winning second balls, they gained lots of promotions this way and won an FA Cup Final in 1988 against Liverpool thanks to a Lawrie Sanchez goal.

Bolton Wanderers, years later under Sam Allardyce, were also as successful playing like this. Now fast forward to date and this current season. Currently in League One, MK Dons under the guidance of Russ Martin, they are arguably playing the most successful brand of football throughout the Football League.

They play possession based football, which week in week out causes their opponents no end of problems and Martin’s side invariably win the stats charts by miles compared to other teams.

MK Dons, play the Guardiola Effect very well, wearing teams down and it is no coincidence that they often score last minute goals, simply because the other team are tired from trying to win the ball back.

The transition is fairly smooth and the opposition very rarely get to touch the ball. A testament to how effective this style of play is demonstrated by regular appearances of MK Dons players’ names appearing in the League One Team of the Week.

Now they may not win promotion this season, but the play-offs are a possibility along with Portsmouth. They will be strong favourites for automatic promotion, possibly even as champions next season from League One.

Whether Portsmouth do get Promotion this season via the play-offs, due to the Guardiola effect remains to be seen, but it will be an exciting period in PO4 for the next 12 games.

So, who else will the Guardiola Effect… Affect?

Will Harry Kane’s loyalty for Spurs be tested?

A few months is a long time in football, especially it appears this season where so many sides are experiencing fluctuating fortunes.  

Take Liverpool for example, up until the last two months could do no wrong, but have now suffered back-to-back defeats against Manchester City and Brendan Rodger’s Leicester.  They subsequently face a battle to qualify for next season’s Champions League. 

Then there is Tottenham Hotspur. Back in November they produced a Jose Mourinho masterclass to secure a 2-0 win over Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City side.  They were in fact setting the pace at the top of the Premier League, both Son-Heung min and Harry Kane were the most prolific pairing in the division and there appeared a new found reliance, which was installed by Mourinho.  

Fast forward, however, to what is commonly referred to as the business end of the campaign and Spurs now find themselves down in ninth in the table, 17 points behind league leaders City following a rather chastening experience of a 3-0 loss at the Etihad.  

Indeed, since that previously highlighted 2-0 loss in November Guardiola’s men have now gone 16 games unbeaten in all competitions and during that time have just conceded three goals, while scoring 36. 

The North London side, meanwhile, have only won four games in 14 since that impressive 2-0 win, the goals have dried up and Kane has looked an increasingly fore lawn figure leading the line. 

During Tottenham’s latest defeat, the England captain failed to register a single touch in the opposition penalty area.  In fact Kane put in an impressive performance as a defender having registered four clearances during yesterday’s 3-0 loss, which was the joint highest of any Spurs player.  

Following the game, however, Jamie Redknapp in the Sky Studio said:

“Harry Kane must look at that and think: ‘I want touches, I want to be the main man, not just taking free-kicks!’ He won’t be happy doing that.”

Redknapp is not the only former Spurs player to have highlighted that Kane would not be happy to be feeding off limited service.  

Prior to the match at the Etihad former fans favourite Clive Allan, who coached Kane during his days in the Tottenham academy raised the point that the England striker will not want to end his career without getting his hands on silverware.   

Allan said on TalkSport: 

“He is integral to Spurs achieving any sort of success, because without him they are not as strong a team. The way he links the play, the way he scores goals, the way he creates chances for other players.

“But, I have no doubt he has had thoughts about it [leaving].

“He’s been fantastic at the club from the first moment he walked in as a 16-year-old. I worked with him at that early age, and you could see he had the most incredible appetite and desire to improve himself, to get the best out of himself, which obviously we have seen he has done.

“But I think he will want a career where he has won something.”

This then leads on to where would Kane go if he were to leave his beloved boyhood club? 

Well, Manchester City are certainly one of the few clubs who can afford the England international and will almost certainly be in the market for a world class striker despite managing so impressively without Sergio Aguero.   

Then there is City’s rivals Manchester United, who have long been reported admirers of Kane and he would certainly provide them with a more cutting edge that times appears to be missing at crucial moments in big games.  

Abroad, meanwhile, there is Real Madrid who are the obvious candidates and Zinedine Zidane’s men are currently experiencing one of the club’s most disappointing season’s to date as they are eight points behind city rivals Atletico Madrid and have already been eliminated from the Copa Del Rey this year.

The likes of Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona would also undoubtedly be interested, despite not being as good as previous Catalan teams they are still a side that offer an obvious attraction. 

In short, Kane will have no shortage of options should he choose to leave his boyhood club and a lot will depend on what happens in the remaining months of the season and also whether he fancies a crack at pastures anew. 

Do you think that Harry Kane will leave his boyhood club this summer? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below…..

Football bodies Send Letter to Social Media CEOS

Football bodies across England have released an open letter to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. The letter is in response to the increased levels of abuse received by players on the social media platforms in recent weeks.

Swansea City midfielder Yan Dhanda being the latest victim after Swansea’s FA Cup game against Manchester City. Dhanda posted on twitter “How can this still be happening in 2021?“.

Dhanda’s club Swansea City released a statement saying:

“Swansea City is appalled and saddened by racist abuse received by Yan Dhanda via social media following tonight’s Emirates FA Cup game against Manchester City.

“As a club, we pride ourselves on working with the community and our supporters, as well as the EFL and the FA, on all anti-racism and anti-discriminatory campaigns because it has no place in society.

“Swansea City condemns racism and abuse of all kinds, and we urge social media companies to go above and beyond to stamp out this abhorrent level of behaviour that continues to tarnish football and society.

“An official report has been made with South Wales Police and the club will assist them in their investigation.

“Yan has our unwavering support in this matter as we and the relevant authorities strive to eradicate this mindless behaviour.”

This come after Manchester United players, Axel Tuanzebe, Antony Martial, Lauren James and Marcus Rashford had experienced abuse on social media. Premier League Referee Mike Dean’s family were sent death threats.

The platform recently announced that user’s who send abusive message will face having their accounts permanently removed.  Facebook’s (who own the platform) content policy manager, Fadzai Madzingira who said:

“Currently, we will set a specific ban or what we call a block for a set amount of time when someone violates those rules and we extend that time should they continue to do so,

“We’re taking tougher measures on people who violate those rules in Instagram direct messaging, so instead of just extending the time, we’ll be removing the accounts altogether.”

The letter has called for more to be done and has been sent by, The FA, The Premier League, The EFL, The FA WSL, The FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL and Kick it Out.

The letter has called on the companies to do the following,

Messages and posts should be filtered and blocked before being sent or posted if they contain racist or discriminatory material.

You should operate robust, transparent, and swift measures to take down abusive material if it does get into circulation.

All users should be subject to an improved verification process that (only if required by law enforcement) allows for accurate identification of the person behind the account. Steps should also be taken to stop a user that has sent abuse previously from re-registering an account.

Your platforms should actively and expeditiously assist the investigating authorities in identifying the originators of illegal discriminatory material.

The letter also welcomes:

“The comments made on Twitter by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, that the UK Government is going to change the law to make social media companies more accountable for what happens on their platforms”.

“We call for meetings with your organisations to discuss the evidence of abuse on your platforms, the action you are taking, and how you plan to directly address the matters outlined in this letter.”

At the time of writing neither Facebook or Twitter have responded to the open letter.

Pep Guardiola signs new contract with Manchester City

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has signed a new two- year deal with the club that will extend his stay until the summer of 2023.

The former Spanish and Barcelona defensive midfielder has been in charge of the ‘Sky Blues’ since 2016 and his previous deal was set to expire at the end of the season. 

During that period Guardiola has guided City to two Premier League titles, the FA Cup and three League Cups.  While to date the team has won 181 of the 245 games that the 49-year-old has taken charge of, which equates to an impressive win ratio of 73.87%.

Indeed, Guardiola’s five-year commitment with City is already the longest he has stayed at a football club since becoming a manager in 2008. 

If he were to see out the new contract, the Spaniard would become City’s second longest serving post-war manager, behind Les McDowall, who managed the club between 1950 and 1963.

Speaking to the club website, Guardiola said:

“Ever since I arrived at Manchester City I have been made to feel so welcome to the club and in the city itself – from the players, the staff, the supporters, the people of Manchester and the Chairman and the Owner. 

“Since then we have achieved a great deal together, scored goals, won games and trophies and are all very proud of that success. 

“The challenge for us is to continue improving and evolving, and I am very excited about helping Manchester City do that.”

Chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak, meanwhile added:

“Pep’s contract extension is the natural next step in a journey which has evolved over many years.”

Record as manager

In his 11 full seasons as manager, Guardiola has in total won an incredible 29 major trophies.  During his four year stint with Barcelona he won a grand total of 14, which included the club’s first ever treble in 2009. 

After taking a year out of the game, Guardiola went to German side Bayern Munich where he won three Bundesliga titles and two DFB-Pokal Cups. 

Then in 2016 Guardiola arrived at Manchester City and after finishing third in his first season in charge, the 2017-18 campaign saw him set a new Premier League points record of 100 points on his way to winning his first title with the club.

The following year, Guardiola would guide the Citizens to another title, making them the first side to win back-to-back Premier League trophies this decade. 

What will the contract extension mean for City?

The news that Guardiola has now committed his future to the club will clearly delight City fans and the team can now focus on their quest to secure their first ever Champions League title. 

This is something that Guardiola will clearly be determined to achieve as he has not won the biggest prize in European football since 2011 with Barcelona. 

While there is also the question of whether Lionel Messi will arrive at the Ethiad in the summer of 2021? The Argentine was blocked from leaving the Nou Camp this year and with Messi’s contract officially expiring the prospect of him moving to Manchester is certainly looking more and more likely. 

Indeed, a reunion with the manager who he won so much with must be an exciting proposition for the six-time Ballon d’Or winner and truth be told, would be terrific to witness for fans of the English Premier League.  

Will Guardiola finally be able to lead City to Champions League glory this season? Will Messi join the club in the summer? Feel free to give us your thoughts in the comments below….