The predictions are continuing to roll in and thoughts have turned to the top scorers. Can anybody touch Kane, Salah and Haaland?
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Goals, goals, goals
Enjoy reading everyone’s predictions for the season. Some beggar belief, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.
I’m not going to go all out on predictions, but focus on the quality of forwards next season that will be on display that will make the Golden Boot quite interesting.
For me, the top scorers will be Salah, Haaland and Kane. If Salah starts like last season and can continue that form after the World Cup break he will be hard to top for it. Last season he dipped dramatically after AFCON. This winter he will have a break so should remain fresh. Haaland and Kane will likely depend on if they spend any time Injured. If they remain fit, they will obviously score a lot of goals. Will be very close between these three.
Below them, I can see Jesus, Nunez, Son also having big seasons for goals. Son always will be close to the top scorers, as evidenced by last season’s joint golden boot. Jesus will benefit from being the main man at Arsenal and will flourish. Nunez is a bit of a hunch. Has been written off as coming from the Portuguese league and having had one good season. What is missed is that he scored 6 in 10 in the Champions League. Against Liverpool, Bayern, Barca and of course the winner in Amsterdam against the Ajax. That’s ETH’s Ajax.
Add to these and a whole host of players that will most likely hit double figures like Watkins, Diaz, Havertz, Toney, Jota, and others I have missed.
Basically there is plenty of attacking talent in plenty of teams in the league and some poor defences.
Gotta make you sick
Ronaldo (obviously not the first) wanting out of a contract because it doesn’t suit him anymore has just gotta make you sick.
Edu stabbing ex-players in the back. Players he may have had a part to bring in. And players loved by the fans when they were brought in. Just gotta make you sick.
Shirt prices. Just gotta make you sick.
Barcelona. Players signing for them knowing they ain’t playing certain players (where is your morals?). Just gotta make you sick.
Barcelona. Actually being allowed to sign players. Just gotta make you sick.
Watching the Women’s Euros and seeing very little diving or feigning injury. Makes ya think. Just gotta make you sick.
Monday. Just gotta make you sick.
Man United will be better than you expect
In the last few days we have had some very giddy United fans writing in to F365 expressing their delight at how things seem to be panning out under our new manager, observations have been made regarding the progress players have been making under the guidance of a proper coach.
Now the backlash from Liverpool fans has been astronomical, calling us deluded, still shit, will still finish 6th and 1 manager (Fergie) wonders, so far be it from me to tell pool fans how to think, you have to remember for almost 30 years the self same fans kept telling all and sundry that this was their year, now one title in the bag and a proper world class manager in situ they are now in a position to tell all how they are a world force again and United will never be back to winning things.
I have a prediction for pool fans to ponder, laugh at, ridicule etc, United will be a force this season, they may not win the league but they will be a damn sight better than Liverpool fans think they will be, there will be bumps in the road as with all rebuilds but we are looking better than we have looked in 10 years and we are playing football again, pre-season is not a barometer for the coming season but it gave United fans an insight into how Ten Hag wants us to play and showed us he can get a tune out of previously broken instruments. Here’s to the start of the new season and proving a few doubters wrong.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
Oh and someone tell Mick Liverpool hired Klopp they didn’t produce him, and to look up Matt Busby too.
Stop with the begging, United
United could be better, they could be worse, they could be amazing, or not. But one thing they should do that would make me happy. Please, please, please stop embarrassing the club every single summer with the pathetic pleading of a player to come to the club. As soon as one says no that should be it. Your loss. Not this endless ‘courting’, batting eyes and offering £100,000s begging them to come.
It is unbecoming.
Yawning at Arsenal v Spurs nonsense
Is anyone else bored out of their minds reading mail after mail from Arsenal and Spurs fans boasting about what they will or won’t do next season?
For the record I’ve been quietly impressed with Arsenal’s business. We had to wait until the summer to get the striker Mikel really wanted and he could make all the difference come the end of the season.
My only issue is his squad number – anything but number 9! Eduardo, Merson, Suker, Jeffers, Laca – that number is jinxed I tell you.
Good luck to both sides of North London – I’m hoping both clubs make the Champions League places so we can laugh at Chelsea – that club is a basket case at the moment!
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Jeopardy is overrated
Just read Johnny Nic’s article on football jeopardy. He’s probably right, statistically, about the Championship but I think he is missing the point. In his excellent book Fever Pitch (for all you young football fans who haven’t read it, go read it) Nick Hornby describes the Brazilian team in the 1970 World Cup:
‘It wasn’t just the quality of the football, though; it was the way they regarded ingenious and outrageous embellishment as though it were as functional and necessary as a corner kick or a throw-in. The only comparison I had at my disposal then was with toy cars: although I had no interest in Dinky or Corgi or Matchbox, I loved Lady Penelope’s pink Rolls-Royce and James Bond’s Aston Martin, both equipped with elaborate devices such as ejector seats and hidden guns which lifted them out of the boringly ordinary. Pelé’s attempt to score from inside his own half with a lob, the dummy he sold to the Peruvian goalkeeper when he went one way round and the ball went the other … these were football’s equivalent of the ejector seat, and made everything else look like so many Vauxhall Vivas.’
This is what the Premier League has brought – ejector seat football. It took a while and for a long time there where some teams who stuck to an older style but in the last few years, every team has a player or players capable of the outrageous. Manchester City have a team full of them, but even the newly promoted sides bring the talented, exotic footballer capable of the type of skills in the past reserved for World Cups.
Due to the style of football, the time or space, the pitches, the standard of player, or maybe just the jeopardy you just don’t get that in the Championship. Thirty years ago you didn’t get it in the Prem either – Eric Cantona was such a revelation. That’s what the money has brought. Oh and safety, more inclusiveness, less violence, less racism, better stadiums, better coverage, more fan interaction, professional women’s football… yeah, you can keep your jeopardy.
Exiled Gooner (looking forward to Odegaard – Martinelli – Gabriel Jesus – Saka)
English nationalism and other stuff
I’m not English or British myself, but I’ve followed the discussions on F365 around the links between nationalism and a certain type of hooliganism, racism and general bad behaviour by English fans proudly waving the St George’s cross flag.
I was just seeing the link Peter posted last mailbox of the footage of the 1966 World Cup final, and one thing that really struck me was a sea of Union Jacks, with nary an English flag in sight. Perhaps someone who has been following England matches has any insight into when British flags started to be replaced by English flags, and if that was a link or sign to increasing yobbish behaviour? I’m curious as to whether there might be a link.
On a different note, yes, pre-season games often offer very little insight into how well a team will do in the season, but pre-season training can give a clue as to how things are going. I remember visiting Juventus pre-season training the first season Conte was in charge, and it was immediately apparent what type of football he was intent on playing, passing out from the back, very compact team, pressing high up or dropping deep as a unit, etc. A good coach leaves his mark quickly even though the effects can take a while to filter through into games and results. So that’s an encouragement to Man Utd fans seeing what Tan Hag is doing (and Spurs ones of course).
I have a feeling that Haaland is sure to bag lots of goals, but will it actually improve Man City? (See C. Ronaldo at Man Utd last season). World Cup fatigue could see a lower title-winning points total this season (mid-80s I would think). Spurs to do well and push Liverpool and Man City (before still finishing 3rd), Arsenal and Man Utd will improve and Chelsea will regress, so those three will be battling it out for 4th.
Interesting mail from Chris, re. Children heading the ball.
For me the answer is pretty obvious – small children, most of whom will never be professionals, semi-professionals, or even dedicated Sunday league players – shouldn’t be heading footballs regularly.
Half of those kids are probably not that fussed about football, are only there because their dads want them to be, or for the social aspects, or for a bit of exercise. If heading is dangerous, they shouldn’t do it.
That your colleagues are talking about mounting a protest and getting the kids to head the ball is just a bit sad to be honest – what a ridiculous lack of perspective.
Frankly, banning headers at that level will probably help make the kids better footballers anyway. Surely strategies based around heading at u12s are just stick that one kid who’s already had a growth spurt up top and lump the ball to them… the kids will end up better, more rounded, players if they keep it on the ground.
As a person who played a lot of mandatory, and poor quality, rugby as a school boy, and often has mild panics when he reads about the scale of issues with brain injuries in that sport, I often ponder whether it would be worth ending up with early onset dementia in exchange for the glory of that undefeated season for my school’s under 14 third team – the answer, unsurprisingly, is a firm no (however much I enjoyed it at the time).
Now, the extent of the link with brain injuries in rugby may be a lot higher than associated with heading a football, but why take a risk with small kids?
…In response to Chris’s email earlier about kids heading the ball:
I’m a Liverpool fan and one of my best mates is a Man Utd fan (As 99.99% here know, this is possible in real life. Ken may disagree). His 6yr old lad is currently at the Man City academy.
I asked him about this very thing a few weeks back and he told me that whilst they never coach heading, they are allowed to do it in competitive games.
This to me seems like the most sensible option, not just say up to U15 level, but for the entire game. Yes I know it would bring about a dearth of future Niall Quinn’s and yes I know it would be almost impossible to police (think Bielsa v Lampard for every club, every week), but if it prevents any future complications or even deaths then surely it’s best option?
Every other week there seems to be a rugby player not recognising his own kids, and whilst I fully get that the football is nothing compared to the collisions in that game – it’s pretty obvious that high level sport where athletes have ‘head contact’ with an item repeatedly more so than an average person throughout their life, isn’t great.
So in conclusion, yes perhaps the FA is going overboard, but they’re doing it for the right reasons and hopefully a happy medium (my suggestion) will be found.
Bodych (I also wonder if Academy rules are different I.e. Burnley teaching heading from a low age?)