It’s a new year and we we look back on action from the last weekend of 2017.
- When is Mark Hughes getting fired?
There is fire on the mountain in Stoke. Saturday’s 5-0 hammering at the Bridge only served to emphasize the issues going on at the club. A lack of fight, A club bereft of ideas and lacking the innovation to get out of it. Mark Hughes cut a frustrated figure and he could barely keep the faith he had been encouraging the fans to keep.
It is no longer a matter of if, but when he will get his P45. He seems unable to get the best of the current group anymore with the players seemingly lacking confidence in his methods. If the powers that be don’t wield the axe soon enough, The fans might be left gasping for breath in one of the most closely fought relegation battle on years
Games begin to take their toll on City
As Gabriel Jesus winced in pain on the turf at Selhurst park on Sunday, Pep Guardiola wont be blamed for fearing the worst. It was exactly what he was looking to avoid. Something had to give with the sequence they had pulled and he wasnt wrong when he enthused that players should be more protected. However, In reality, the games had taken their toll.
Nicolas Otamendi faded as the clock ticked away while Fernandinho looked like a man on his last legs in the dying moments, Kevin de Bruyne’s injury was only fair given that despite the rotation, he has started 19 league games. They arent the only ones tired for sure. This will be a testing period for city, but with Pep in the dugout, there is always a plan.
Jose and players must share blame for latest show
Jose Mourinho is running out of excuses, and whether the United boss admits it or not, there is only a level to which the media will appreciate his antics before getting bored. Romelu Lukaku’s injury added to a list of misfortunes already faced by the Red devils this season. It however hides the fact that United are where they are because of Mourinho’s mentality.
He has drilled the attacking sense out of his wards and turned them to a team that plays reactive football. Henrikh Mkhitaryan didn’t complete a single cross against Southampton while for all of us Rashford and Martial’s industry, their end product was characteristically poor. They have given Southampton a first clean sheet in 12 games and it is definitely not a good sign when United draw against teams Spurs obliterate the game before.
Late Goals end the Year in style
Carlos Carvahal couldn’t have asked for a better start at Swansea. Luciano Narsingh’s 89th minute winner was as timely as important as it closed the gap at a period when the swans risked been caught adrift. It was the fight Leon Britton had demanded from his teammates following the 5-0 loss to Liverpool. It was also a much needed win, given their next three league games are against Spurs, Arsenal and Liverpool.
Fellow strugglers Bournemouth needed respite and Fraser Forster provided it.. Netting twice with a late goal (not controversial) this time helping the Cherries to an important victory. Eddie Howe will definitely go into the new year with renewed figure.
Rafa needs those January signings and they need to come fast
Newcastle reached a new low against Brighton. They became winless in 7home games this season, ending the rot with a goalless draw which hardly inspired the players let alone the fans. The Toon possess too many players who seem out of their depth at Premier League level.
There is a gross inability to create in midfield as well as the lack of a steady presence to give the team balance. Mikel Merino cannot do it all on his own while Jonjo Shelvey is a disaster waiting to happen. Deandre Yedlin still looks a Championship level player while Jamie Murphy shouldnt be anywhere near that team.
The less said of Aleksandr Mitrovic the best. That Rafa should be backed in the window is not the question, but to which extent will he be backed?
Special mention goes to Jay Rodriguez’s controversial penalty. Mike Dean’s record when in charge of Arsenal in PL reads 52games; 22wins, 18draws and 12defeats. It may not appear bad after all. But it should be noted that many of those draws would have been wins for the Gunners had he not made debatable calls. Fans refer to draws against Middlesbrough and Sunderland last season while a 1-1 draw with City in 2012 carried its fair share of what haves. Its not only Arsenal, but one wonders how long Dean has in him to have a go at refereeing.
Author: Rotimi “Papi the Great” Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi the Great is the owner of ForTheGoal.
A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio and television to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @papi_thegreat to keep up with his writings, engage him and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.