After a telling Easter weekend in the Barclay’s Premier League, John Murphy takes on this week’s Ten Thoughts. Apparently, Raheem Sterling has been a bit ‘higgledy-piggledy’.
As the signings reigned into Old Trafford in the summer, few focused on the small Spaniard as the potential difference maker for the season ahead. With the likes of Radamel Falcao and Angel Di Maria selling shirts by the bundle it was easy to understand why. However, as the season enters the final straight, there is no doubting who Van Gaal’s most significant purchase has been.
Since signing in the summer, Herrera has scored seven goals in all competitions and almost frighteningly, he has five goals from five shots on target in the league. When Herrera shoots, he scores.
The calm with which he conducted United’s midfield on Saturday was reminiscent of Scholes in his pomp. After the game, Herrera said; ‘It’s my dream to be here for a long time because I am in the right team, in the right league and in the right country. I want to stay at the club for many years to come.’
Herrera has become so crucial to United’s form at present that one now surely has to mention him alongside Rooney and De Gea as one of United’s first names on the team sheet. Having started the last 8 games in a row, the only question must be; why did it take Van Gaal until February to realise just how crucial Herrera was?
Now sitting third in the table and one point behind Arsenal, just where would they be had the Iron Tulip realised the midfielder’s importance sooner rather than later?
Bye, Bye, Pellegrini
It’s been good. It’s been bad. Overall it’s been so-so.
After a strong league campaign last year saw Manchester City crowned as Champions, this season has gotten progressively worse as the months have ticked on. Since January, City have won just 5 games in the league, losing or drawing 7 during the same period.
It’s all well and good complaining about managers not being given enough time in modern football but after two poor Champions League campaigns and a shambolic 2015 thus far, it would take the staunchest of Pellegrini supporters to argue in favour of another season for the Chilean.
Lack of City Fight
Do they even care anymore? A quick look at City’s results since the first of January makes for confusing reading. A draw here, a 5-0 win there. A 1-1 draw with Chelsea here, a 1-0 loss to Burnley there.
At present, it seems that the City squad don’t have the will to fight for results when they are not directly handed to them.
Speaking on Monday Night Football, Gary Neville said, “Man United, in some ways, will go into the derby as favourites… the expectation will now be on United to beat City.”
The expectation may indeed be on United and based on the fact that City seem to mentally check out as soon as the going gets tough, Van Gaal will surely be hoping that United can take the lead next Sunday.
Sterling Worth The Furore?
Another meh’ performance, another loss for Liverpool. Is the young winger really worth all the hullabaloo?
Zinedine Zidane said over the weekend that he knows who Sterling is “and of course we are monitoring him as a player.” Interestingly, Zidane is the coach of the European Champions’ B-team and his statement should be taken with as much worth as Warren Joyce (Google him) giving his two cents on Gareth Bale’s destiny.
Taking Zidane’s current status out of the equation though and looking at Sterling’s form alone this season (which has been higgledy-piggledy at best), Real’s B-team is surely the best the Londoner can hope for should he decide to leave Liverpool in the summer.
Wenger Finally Getting Savvy
Arsenal were at their mouth-watering best against Liverpool on Saturday looking fluid in attack and re-assuredly strong in defence. However, recent weeks have seen Wenger displaying a tactical restraint that one would associate more with Mourinho than the football-icious Frenchman.
With 62 minutes gone at the Emirates, Arsenal were cruising 3 goals to the good. Years of old would have seen The Gunners naively pushing further forward rather than shoring things up at the back and wrapping up the points. On Satuday, Wenger introduced Flamini to protect his back line and put a ribbon on the victory.
It is an approach that has become more and more familiar in Wenger’s tactical changes in recent months and one that Arsenal fans will surely be delighted with.
What About Charlie Austin?
Over recent months, all the fan fair has seemed to follow the Harry Kane band wagon. Wrestling memes and vines, Photoshop jobs of Cristiano Ronaldo wearing a Kane shirt, an England call up…
Harry Kane currently has 19 goals in the Premier League. Charlie Austin has 16. Kane has done it with a squad worth in excess of €263 million. QPR’s squad is valued at less than a third of that.
Why isn’t anyone talking about Charlie?
Fair play to him.
Should Rodgers Be Getting Worried?
Now 8 points behind United with just 7 games remaining, it is hard to see Liverpool clawing their way back into the top 4 by the 24th of May.
After a stellar campaign last season promised a lot, it looks like the Northern Irish manager is set to deliver more of the same to the Anfield faithful this summer.
Excuses can be made in the departure of Luis Suarez and the almost consistent absence of Daniel Sturridge but surely the money spent on Merseyside should have been able to compensate enough to at least secure Champions League football.
Just how does Rodgers explain the signings of Balotelli and Lambert for example?
Relegation Roller Coaster
There are currently 7 points between 15th and 20th. With the exception of Leicester, who are all but cooked, it looks like any two of the bottom six could be set for the drop. It’s set for an enthralling finale.
Arsenal for A Title Charge?
It won’t happen. It couldn’t… Could it?
John Murphy, Pundit Arena