Mikel Arteta is Fat Tony

A very quick Saturday round-up for you.

I was watching Mikel Arteta’s press conference yesterday, and listening to him being asked questions about transfers. It occurred to me, as he gave nothing away whatsoever beyond the admission that we’re still in the market for players, that the Arsenal manager is Fat Tony from The Simpsons.

Ok, he’s not fat, he’s not called Tony, nor is he a caricature of a mob boss, but his complete unwillingness to talk about transfer business in any way is very similar to the way Fat Tony operates when being questioned by Chief Wiggum.

Later, Wiggum accuses Fat Tony of murder.

“What’s a murder?”, he says.

Journalist: Do you have any news about Lucas Torreira’s departure.

Arteta: No, we don’t have any updates on Lucas or any other player at the moment.

Journalist: What about links to Jorginho.

Arteta: We are Read the rest

'In for a long season'- Man United fans react to narrow Brighton win

Manchester United fans were split over the result over Brighton & Hove Albion after what was a superbly dramatic match.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would’ve been hoping for an easy win over the Seagulls but it proved to be anything but that.

United were labelled as lucky after Brighton hit the post or crossbar five times and missed multiple big chances.

Solskjaer’s men certainly rode their luck at times but the 3-2 scoreline describes what kind of match it was itself.

The Red Devils will need to do better against more difficult opposition and it’s clear they’re struggling to get their fitness back.

Read the rest

Alisson admits Liverpool’s level dropped in 2020 – but says we’re back in the groove now

Liverpool’s level is so high – and the standard the team expects of itself so crazy – that Alisson has suggested our performances were not good enough at the end of the Premier League season in which we strolled the title and racked up 99 points.

And when you consider we won 26 and drew just once in the opening 27 games, they probably were not!

Against Chelsea though last time out we strolled to a 2-0 win – and the signs were very good. Our backline looked secure, the midfield controlled and the attackers were electric.

Alisson saved a penalty, too.

“We know that we dropped a little bit, we don’t know why,” he told Sky Sports. “It wasn’t something we wanted to do but we knew we had to go back to our path if we want to be competitive this season for the title, because I Read the rest

‘It is a special moment’ – £50m target appears to confirm move to Man City

Manchester City could be on the verge of making another signing after one of their proposed targets dropped a huge hint.

The Daily Mirror suggest that Pep Guardiola’s side are closing in on a £50m deal for Benfica defender, Ruben Dias.

That move was given credence by journalist, Fabrizio Romano, who announced via his Twitter account that City’s Nicolas Otamendi is likely to be included as part of the deal.

After scoring for Benfica against Moreirense, Dias left the pitch in tears according to the Daily Mirror, with his post-match words, cited by the outlet, virtually confirming his next destination.

“It was very important … Read the rest

Double Mugsmashers week incoming + the tumbleweeds of the transfer window

It’s Friday and later on Mikel Arteta will meet the press ahead of our trip to Anfield on Monday. That’s a very difficult game as we know, and we’ll be playing the Mugsmashers twice next week because last night they beat Lincoln City 7-2 in their third round Carabao Cup tie.

The dates of the fourth round fixtures haven’t been announced yet, but the games are scheduled to be played ‘in the week commencing September 28th’. Which is the very date we play them in the Premier League. Jurgen Klopp said last night, “Thank God we have two home games. Sorry, Mikel. You have to come to Liverpool twice!”

So, that certainly gives the manager something to think about for a fixture sandwiched between a game against the Champions and a home fixture against Sheffield United – who we know fine well are a good team after our encounters with … Read the rest

4-4-2 diamond: Unleashing Pogba the key to silencing the Seagulls

Manchester United need to get off the mark in the Premier League tomorrow but face a tricky away fixture against Brighton.

The Reds suffered a humiliating 3-1 home defeat to Crystal Palace in their opening fixture last weekend but managed a win and got more game time under their belts against Luton in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday evening.

The defence, with Dean Henderson in goal and Eric Bailly alongside Harry Maguire in the centre-back positions, looked a lot more solid than the De Gea – Lindelof – Maguire triad that let three in against Palace.

Based on his comments at this morning’s press conference, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have seen enough there to stick with Bailly alongside Maguire, but we think that he will keep faith once again in David de Gea in goal and that Dean Henderson will drop back to the bench.

Last week for the Palace … Read the rest

Klopp has admitted his coaching initially made Naby Keita worse…

Jurgen Klopp has intimated that Naby Keita will still have a massive role to play this season, despite the signing of Thiago potentially pushing him down the pecking order.

The coach was talking ahead of the Arsenal game on Monday night – and made some very interesting points about Liverpool’s no.8.

Jurgen Klopp admitted that when he tried to coach Keita after a few months of his arrival, the Guinean actually went backwards due to the tactical confusion and the fact he is a very natural, instinctive footballer – but that now – having adapted to England – he’s flying.

“The very beginning was very good. I didn’t speak to him about football – I just wanted him to his natural stuff – that was really good. Then I started coaching him – then it got worse!” Klopp said. 

“Naby had to learn the language, feel settled in the squad. Read the rest

International nightmare could continue for Man United star after this weekend because of this

With international fixtures on the horizon again, it’s time for national team managers to bed down their squad for upcoming games.

Gareth Southgate has matches against Wales, Denmark and Belgium to come, and must select the players to represent the Three Lions by next Thursday.

After a short summer break where he was arrested for allegedly assaulting police officers in Greece, Harry Maguire was left out of England’s last games.

The Man United captain comes back into contention for the triple header, but it’s possible that his national team nightmare could continue.

According to the Daily Mail, Southgate’s right-hand man, Steve Holland, will be in attendance at the AMEX Stadium this weekend, when Brighton and Hove Albion will host the Red Devils.

Who are you?

The transfer market dominates football discourse and analysis to the point that the shark has been jumped and football matches are, essentially, considered 90-minute exercises to see what a team needs to buy. It gives me pause for thought when I attribute so much weight to Arsenal’s pursuit of a new central midfielder.

However, I do consider this a glaring requirement for Arsenal before the window closes next month and I think the difference between Arteta’s side being a top six team and a top four team probably rests on whether they are able to recruit in … Read the rest

Upamecano breaks silence amid links with Man United

RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano has responded to rumours over his future amid links with Manchester United this summer.

The young Frenchman is among the world’s highest-rated prospects and it was understood that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was keen on his signature.

Upamecano was previously thought of as being unavailable but once news over a release clause surfaced, rumours quickly grew out of control.

The release clause is only in effect from the next summer but the thinking was that United could bid a bit higher than that release clause to secure him this summer instead.

However, nothing to that effect has happened yet and it was more wishful thinking from fans than anything real.

Read the rest