I tell you what, there is a mad rush on Tales this week to get our content out before things massively change in the football world. I am sure football clubs wait, knowing that 99% of media outlets will have their content scheduled before early afternoon before releasing bombshells like sacking rubbish managers. Thanks to Everton for that yesterday, by the way.
Anyway, on with this week’s list!
#1 Slaven Bilic
It takes a special kind of man to achieve what Slaven Bilic achieved this week. Losing 3-0 at home to Brighton and keeping your job? Fair play to the guy. Sure, it’s only postponing the inevitable but I personally gave Slav a standing ovation when I heard.
#2 Arsene Wenger
Getting the right blend in your team can be a challenging old business. Sometimes the solutions can come from the strangest of places. If you are like the manager mentioned in #1 today, you might pull names out of a hat, for example. So massive kudos to Arsene for coming up with the unlikely finding that picking Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette together means that Arsenal look half decent going forward. Many lesser men would not have been brave enough to try this.
#3 Jurgen Klopp
I can relate to Jurgen right now. Many a time I have watched a football team defend and believed I could still do a better job than the centre-backs on show. As I near 40, I am starting to get a little more realistic, but not much. As for Jurgen, he is probably almost correct in his assertion that if he “was on the pitch Harry Kane wouldn’t be doing that” following Dejan Lovren’s no-show on Sunday. You are right Jurgen, of course. If Harry Kane had realised there was a 50-year-old bespectacled man marking him at Wembley, he wouldn’t be doing that. He’d be too busy pissing himself with laughter and wondering how he ended up playing in that #WembleyCup thing.
#4 Dejan Lovren
Has there been a worse 30 minutes by a Premier League player in the Premier League? Ali Dia possibly, and after that I am really struggling to come up with anyone. Now that Ronald Koeman (next) has been sacked, Kloppo should move quickly. The ex-Barca defender would easily be Liverpool’s best option right now, and he’d be free.
#5 Ronald Koeman
Fair play to Ronald for thumbing through the old excuse booklet and coming up with the tough start to the season as the reason Everton were in the bottom three. Forget the fact Burnley have had an even tougher start and are so far from relegation they are a little burgundy dot on the horizon, Everton (7th last season and spent a shed load of cash in the summer) have had it tough. And what happens when the majority shareholder sits alongside the chairman in the director’s box and watches a 5-2 humping? You get the bullet the next day, that’s what – even if the press release did make it sound like Koeman had just popped out for a sandwich.
#6 Victor Lindelof
My, oh my. Even now I can hear our under 10s manager screaming “don’t let it bounce” from the touchline. I hate to sound like Ray Wilkins, but are you telling me there aren’t any central defenders in Manchester United’s Academy that are better than Lindelof? £31m for that is a lot of wasted money, though I am sure Jorge Mendes isn’t too bothered. Yes, I know he is young. Yes, I know it takes time to adapt to the Premier League. But £31m should still get you a decent defender, especially when you consider that… actually, I cannot think of any decent centre backs that were a bargain right now. Where have all the decent centre-backs gone?
#7 Sofiane Boufal
Goals are in short supply at Southampton, so if you are going to score make it a memorable one. Manolo Gabbiadini scored a cracker last week, but it had nothing on Boufal’s Maradona-esque dribble and finish. Eat that Matt Le Tissier.