If I never had a football club to follow and you asked me (You wouldn’t) if I were to watch any team in the Premier League tomorrow, who would it be? The answer you’d get would be Manchester City. You know you would get guaranteed value for money seeing Kevin De Bruyne’s thread of a needle passes, David Silva turning defenders inside out, Sergio Aguero’s goal-scoring prowess. However, I would be inclined to buy a ticket for Huddersfield home game. And that’s simply because of the passion injected into the players by what are surely, the noisiest home supporters in the league next to Arsenal?
West Ham’s ‘you have x number of games to save your job’ ultimatum to Slaven Bilic that has been the case for two years, finally relieved Bilic of his duties as manager after a 4-1 hammering from Liverpool. It has no doubt been somewhat of a poisoned chalice (Not my favourite cliche) for the Croatian, when you take into account that there are around 4 or five teams unrealistically attempting to break into the top 5. It isn’t all bad news mind you, at least for us. His sacking paves the way for more television gold, such as jumping on tables whilst doing punditry, alas the 2016 Euro’s.
At a hopeful Windsor Park in Belfast, Northern Ireland’s World Cup dreams are now on the edge following their 1-0 loss to the Swiss. Based on the 90 minutes itself, Switzerland were deserved winners and should have scored several times in open play. It is how they won however, that has griped myself and the Irish. Xherdan Shaqiri’s brilliant volley looked destined to hit the top corner, if it wasn’t for the arm of Jonny Evans. The only problem was, it hit his shoulder, from less than a yard away, it wasn’t deliberate, and the arm was not in an unnatural position.
For the rest of the home nation in the friendlies, there were no wins to gloat about. Yet despite Wales and Scotland’s defeats to France and the Netherlands, including England’s goalless draw against Germany, all three nations found reasons to be optimistic. The French’s two-goal margin over Wales only came courtesy of Wayne Hennessey’s blunder and a wicked deflection for Olivier Giroud’s decider. Up against a plethora of French talent, Wales were again without Gareth Bale, who has picked up an injury whilst recovering from an injury. The game did offer a glimpse into the future of Welsh football, when the promising trio of Ben Woodburn, Ethan Ampadu and David Brooks were brought on for the final half hour. Wales were up against it for the vast majority of the game, with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann giving us a torrid time. Yet, there were still some positive aspects from the game to take home.
Malky Mackay’s one game gig as Scotland boss saw the Netherlands earning a 1-0 win thanks to Memphis Depay. The Scots played well and fired 18 shots at goal, giving the Scottish some encouragement. Only, the friendly did have a significant impact for the Scotland coefficient for the Euro 2020 draw. If Scotland had been more clinical and won, then they would have been in pot 2, as opposed to the pot 3 they now found themselves in.
Against Germany, England fielded an inexperienced side that had a combined 109 caps. The Germans couldn’t find a way past Jordan Pickford in the first half, but the English came into the game more in the second half and had chances of their own. As with a lot of International friendlies, withdrawals are mysteriously far frequent than important qualifiers. Refusing to allow the absentees to dampen the game, the result was an entertaining 90 minutes of football. That’s right, an entertaining England football game.