Tag Archives: Bernardo Silva

Premier league 2020/21: WHO CAN WIN IT?

The new Premier League season begins this weekend, unbeleivably as it seems like only yesterday we were waving goodbye to the last season.

Ahead of the 2020/21 season, we have some questions surrounding the top of the table. Can Pep’s Manchester City rid themselves of last years frailties and compete for longer this time? Or will Liverpool continue their consistency and defend their title?

Let’s not rule out the possibility of Manchester United’s continuing their progression and it would be almost insanity to dismiss Chelsea, given their spends, wouldn’t it?

Here’s how I think the teams involved in the upper echelons of the Premier League title race will play out in 2020/21…

Liverpool

The reigning champions. Jurgen Klopp’s side may have ended the season in somewhat bizarre fashion as they rather limped over the line following lock-down and title celebrations. That should not take away from the sheer dominance the Reds imparted on the Premier League.

While many people question the business, or lack of business done by the champions up until now, its my belief only minor changes are required, if any at all.

Natural left-back cover for Andy Robertson was required and has been found in Greek international Kostas Tsimikas.

One saga, which rumbles on is the Thiago Alcantara links, now joined by the Gini Wijnaldum to Barcelona rumours. Whilst many Liverpool fans may argue why not have both? I’m not sure there is room both in the current group, a squad that already boasts a plethora of central midfield options and the two players are of a similar mould.

The main bone of contention continues to be the back-up options to the starting XI. Should Klopp face a long-term injury to his front-line options the understudies may not be of a level required, although in truth that is the case of almost every team in world football. Not many can be a suitable understudy to Virgil van Dijk.

Overall, I believe Liverpool will go on to retain their title, the relentless nature in which Klopp has his squad churning out results is very difficult to keep up with week on week. Don’t be surprised by the growing influence of some of the younger players, in particular Curtis Jones, and also Naby Keita may finally find his feet in English football.

Manchester City

The main contenders to take Liverpool’s crown, Pep Guardiola’s well furnished Man City side.

There is little doubt 2019/20 can be viewed as somewhat of a failure from a sky blue perspective in Manchester. As glorious a victory as the Carabao Cup may have been, a side comprised of such talent and expenditure is expected to finish closer than 18 points off the summit. Not to mention the dismal UEFA Champions League exit.

That, however, was last term, how about now? The arrival of Nathan Ake certainly plugs a crack in the issues faced at City, a forced to be reckoned with going forwards, just ask Watford, but defensively they were often found wanting, just ask Adama Traore. However, I’m not sure Ake is the answer, for one the Dutchman is very much a left-sided centre-back, similarly to Aymeric Laporte. On top of which, despite being a more than decent operator at Premier League level, he isn’t elite, and City are operating amongst that level.

Elsewhere, the club has seen the departure of David Silva from the Etihad, a fine servant to the football club who leaves with the knowledge he will be forever immortalised in statue form. On the field, in a more mobile capacity, Silva is likely to be replaced by the much praised but lesser seen Phil Foden.

Pep has also spent £20 million on former Valencia man Ferran Torres, a 20 year old right winger who arrives with plenty of plaudits and provides competition to the likes of Rihad Mahrez, Bernado Silva and Foden himself.

Whilst the transfer window remains open there is always the chance City could strengthen further, although the Lionel Messi links have now subsided, as things stand in the week of the season’s opening day they haven’t addressed the areas of the squad suitable to overcome an 18 point swing.

Manchester United

Despite the obvious improvement in the past six months, particularly since Bruno Fernandes arrived back in January, there are still areas of weakness at Old Trafford.

Ole Gunnar Solskjær is learning on the job somewhat and with that there is bound to come mistakes, certainly when up against seasoned campaigners over a prolonged period.

Despite the frailties, however, it should be another year of progression for the red half of Manchester, who have already bolstered their midfield ranks with the arrival of Donny van de Beek from Ajax. One or two more signings, particularly in defensive positions and they should find themselves cutting the gap to the top two.

Chelsea

Who haven’t they signed? One thing is for sure is the Blues are set to be an enthralling watch with the attacking prowess in their currently huge squad.

Boasting the likes of Kai Havertz, Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, to name but a few, Frank Lampard’s side will give anybody a match on their day, but it’s consistency they may lack to begin with.

They shipped goals all too regularly to maintain prolonged title challenge last term and as things stand that won’t change too much, despite the arrival of the vastly experienced Thiago Silva, it’ll remain a difficult ask to breach the gap to the top two.

Any Other Contenders

Whilst the Premier League has seen Leicester City win the title against the odds, it seems unlikely 2020/21 will see another Claudio Ranieri and Jamie Vardy shaped fairy-tale, but you never know. The main protagonists would of course be Tottenham and Arsenal, although the rivals may be best focusing on breaking into the top four instead of harbouring serious title ambitions.

Outside of the North Londoners, perhaps Wolves could be considered for a tilt for a time being, however a 38 game threat seems unlikely at this stage.

With over a month left in the transfer window anything can happen (Messi), but for now it’s back to back Liverpool glory. After-all, top flight domestic titles are like Mersey Ferries, you wait 30 years for one and two come along at once….

‘Rooney rule needed at all levels’ AS bame candidates are still a huge minority

During Sky Sports’ Sunday Supplement show there was a big discussion on the current situation with BAME candidates for roles in football. With the current political landscape switching its primary focus to Black Lives Matter after the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, discussions about race in football have been brought to the forefront.

What is the Rooney Rule?

The Rooney Rule is an NFL ruling that requires teams to interview ethnic minority candidates for head coaching and senior roles. This was started in America in 2002 in order to make sure African Americans has the same chances as their white counterparts. It was brought over to English football 2016 in order to try and initiate more equal management across the football league.

What was Discussed?

The panel suggested that the Rooney Rule should be strengthened across the EFL and used at boardroom level. Currently there are only six BAME managers that are employed across the 91 league clubs in England. The EFL introduced a ruling at the start of the season that clubs have to interview a BAME candidate for a vacant job. There are, however, loopholes to the rule as it only applies when there is a shortlist of interviewees. This assumes there is a an interview process, however, with this not being obligatory clubs can easily just appoint a manager without the need for such measures.

Some of the statements put forward in the panel discussion were that:

“The Rooney Rule should really be implanted properly across all 91 clubs and then also to have transparency, to have data to show who you’ve interviewed.

The FA have had a very positive policy recently in having a BAME coach in every single age group for England, from U15s to Gareth Southgate’s senior squad. I don’t see why that can’t be implemented for the 20 teams in the Premier League and possibly Championship. I don’t think it would be a financial problem for that to happen.

There are only 32 BAME coaches with the UEFA A licence. The LMA have said themselves they want coaches fast tracked for this qualification, to have more black coaches would mean a greater chance of getting a job. So that’s absolutely vital as well – and could happen very easily.”

It was also stated that clubs must be more vigilant with their reactions to racism. Rob Draper, chief football writer for the Mail on Sunday said:

“Clubs will sign up for anti-racism campaigns and they’ll all wear Black Lives Matter next week but when it comes to a player in their club accused of racism, you see the response and it can be quite different.”

He referred to the incidents between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra alongside the one including Benjamin Mendy and Bernardo Silva. Liverpool have come under fire for defending Suarez after he was accused of racially abusing the Manchester United left-back. The team decided to wear t-shirts in support of their Uruguayan forward. This decision was subsequently condemned by former club captain Jamie Carragher. Bernardo Silva also came under a lot of bad press for tweeting out an image comparing Mendy to a black caricature with a design similar to early forms of blackface. While the criticism was actually split on two sides, Pep Guardiola came out and defended Silva for his actions.   The FA eventually did sanction Silva but it was for causing offence – not for being racist.

Whether the ruling is strengthened will be a matter for the EFL to work upon. With the lack of current diversity there will be many people hoping for change within the next fews years. In an era of political change this could be another step to reaching equality within sport.

Has Bernardo Silva’s critism been unfair?

Bernardo Silva in recent weeks has faced criticism for a twitter post, in which he compared long standing team mate Benjamin Mendy to a child in a French children’s cartoon. The post was quickly deleted but did not escape the mainstream media’s attention, and instantly labelled him as racist.

All bodies involved disregarded any prior knowledge that the two have been teammates for the past four years at Monaco. Manchester City and Pep Gaurdiola saying the two ‘are like brothers,’ and regularly exchanged jokes about one another.

KickItOut condemned the tweet and exclaimed that they were ‘extremely disappointed’ with Bernardo’s behaviour, furthermore the FA opened an investigation into the tweet. In response, Silva and Mendy both wrote open letters to The FA, with Bernardo apologising if he caused offence, and Mendy saying no offence was taken from Benrardo’s tweet and that it was a ‘friendly joke’.

The lack of context shown with Bernardo’s case is definitely worrying. The two are very close friends and have been for a number of years, constantly seen to be having banter on their respective social media accounts, and on the Netflix All of Nothing series. Without context this case, which is how a number of media outlets reported, it could possibly be seen as offensive. However, John Barnes, former Liverpool and England striker, was also to Bernardo’s defence with the accusations of racism as “ridiculous,” and called for context while also saying that KickItOut and The FA having bigger racial problems that they should be focusing on.

Do you think Bernardo should be punished by The FA? Or should they focus on more serious problem involving racism?

Who is Man City’s most important player?

Manchester City are arguably one of the best teams in Europe at the moment, if not the best. With Pep Guardiola at the club, the Spaniard has managed to create one of the greatest squads ever assembled and Fabian Delph still get’s the nod when fit. A squad filled an army of world-class talent that isn’t afraid to get down and got to war when needed to.

With players such as David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and so many more it’s incredibly hard to single out one player as Manchester City’s most important player but for me, it can only be one man.

I nearly went for Fernandinho and I wouldn’t be wrong if I did as he is the anchor for The Cityzens and when he doesn’t play the club do suffer as his role is so hard to fill. When Fernandinho has been injured this season it has been very noticeable that he hasn’t played.

However, the player that I have opted for in terms of Manchester City’s most important player is Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva. Signed last season from Monaco for 42 million pounds not many knew what Pep was getting from the man nicknamed ‘Bubblegum’. Silva didn’t take to life instantly at the Etihad initially struggling to get into the team ahead of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. Towards the end of last season, we got glimpses of just how special he was but the 18/19 campaign was destined for Bernardo to officially announce himself.

Knee injuries for De Bruyne allowed Silva to establish himself in the starting XI in his preferred central position and it was evident he offered something different for City in terms of his work rate. This is highlighted perfectly is his performance against Liverpool in a 2-1 win at The Etihad. Bernardo covered a staggering 13.7 kilometres in the game which was the highest from any player so far this season and he probably still could’ve carried on.

Silva has eight goals and eight assists so far this season and his first touch is absolutely outstanding. Should Man City continue to fight on all fronts then Bernardo Silva will be at the centre of it all as he is for Man City’s most important player.

Who do you think Man City’s most important player is? Let us know below.