TFN Editor Hugo Greenhalgh believes Manchester City’s squad needs freshening up…
Somewhat unusually, The Sunday Times ran a front page on the day of the Manchester Derby claiming that City were to fight Liverpool for the signature of Steven Gerrard’s next contract. While there may be little truth to this rumour, it would fit in with City’s recent trend of signing experienced players well beyond their peak years. The main reason for this policy is Financial Fair Play; they are a club continually at odds with the homegrown rule that requires a minimum of five “homegrown” players in their Champions League squad, while any free transfers are a bonus.
It will come as little surprise that Manchester City possess the oldest average squad age in the Premier League at 28. This is not necessarily a bad thing. They are, after all, the champions and that age brings experience. Key players such as Vincent Kompany, Yaya Toure, Pablo Zabeleta and Fernandinho are all 28 or over. The concern is that time and time again, City have failed to integrate younger players into their squad. Indeed, there are very few who appear to be challenging for places. Continue reading
Hugo Greenhalgh returns to examine Lukas Podolski’s impact as a substitute and the subsequent fear of typecasting…
He miscontrolled it. He lost possession. He clattered into his opponent, in what should have definitely have been a foul. Ten seconds later Lukas Podolski had scored the crucial last minute goal to give Arsenal victory in Brussels on Wednesday night.
This cameo (he was only on the pitch for 6 minutes) did a lot to reinforce what we already know about Podolski: give him the ball at his feet and there a few more clinical finishers in world football. However, this skill is offset by a number disadvantages that make a place in Arsenal’s starting XI ever more unlikely. He is clumsy, prone to error and lacklustre defensively in a side that is often left worryingly exposed on the counter.
Cast your mind back to Arsenal’s last 16 second leg against Bayern last season. Podolski was on the scoresheet but again the goal illustrated his flaws as much as his attributes. He barged Philipp Lahm off the ball, in what should have quite obviously been a foul, before bursting into the box and scoring. This lethal ability has been part of his game since he was a teenager, one of the young stars of the 2006 World Cup but he has done very little since to improve as a player. Continue reading
The False Nine’s editor column returns as James Dutton assesses the true value of Sergio Aguero, and looks back at a fascinating international break…
The Premier League has undoubtedly lost a little of its stardust over the last two seasons. The departures of Gareth Bale and Luis Suarez to La Liga have shorn the country’s greatest export of its two most globally acclaimed star players.
The summer arrivals of Angel di Maria, Radamel Falcao and Alexis Sanchez were welcome steps in the right direction for a league which prides itself on being The Best In The World™. But perhaps the league’s shining light was already staring us in the face?
Is it time to recognise that Sergio Aguero is the best footballer in the Premier League? This is not just in response to the four goal burst on Saturday that blew away Tottenham Hotspur away from home yet again. The regularity of injuries that curse the Argentine striker mean it is very easy to overlook his outstanding ability. Continue reading
TFN’s Greg Johnson, Hugo Greenhalgh and James Dutton welcome Jack McInroy of Yids and South London Hardcore and Rob “Typical City” Pollard onto the panel for a third live “Pubcast” at The Old Red Lion Theatre Pub, in Angel.
With Rob running late, racing across London in a taxi straight from the League Cup final, the diminished foursome chat about Spurs, anti-semitism in football and Alan Pardew’s fighting skills. Once completed, the five-piece then turn their attentions to City’s Capital One Cup win, directors of football and a footballing take on the Oscars.
The chat is interspersed with the usual frivolities, audience interaction and mind-twisting tangents to keep you and your ears entertained throughout the show.
Listen via Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/thefalsenine/the-third-false-nine-pubcast …
Or via iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/thefalsenine/id784149140
Piers Barber returns with five resolutions to improve English football for 2014. Do you have any more suggestions?
1. Don’t go out of the World Cup with a whimper
We already know one thing for sure about 2014: England aren’t going to win the World Cup. Even if our national team did possess a higher calibre of player, the odds are completely stacked against European teams at this year’s tournament in Brazil. At the same time, there is no point in going out to South America only to limply make up the numbers. This year it would be fantastic to watch England approach the tournament with attacking ambition and character, and to see some of their more competent flair players really given a chance to express themselves on the international stage. England’s recent tournament exists, after all, have been embarrassing – a return of the heroic defeat would be highly welcome. Continue reading
Piers Barber defends the League Cup and reminds us of the competition’s best ever games…
The poor old League Cup. Everyone’s least favourite English football competition has been on the receiving end of all sorts of abuse in recent years, consistently blamed for causing pesky fixture congestion and derided for only featuring the reserve squads of the nation’s leading teams.
Yet the tournament, which was founded (for some reason or another) in 1960, has far more to offer than this conventional ‘narrative’ tends to suggest. In fact, in recent years it has arguable staged far more entertaining and attacking fixtures than much of what the FA Cup, it’s older and more respected sibling, has had to offer. It’s also repeatedly proved vital to kick-starting a manager’s tenure or getting one out of a barren spell – just ask Jose Mourinho or Sir Alex Ferguson. And, as Birmingham City and Swansea City have proved in recent years, it can bring glory to supporters normally unaccustomed to winning anything.
So in honour of this weird and wonderful trophy, here are some of the best games the competition has hosted in recent years. Warning: very bad defending features throughout. Continue reading
Todd Pemberton looks back on Sylvinho’s second stint in English football and his season-long stay at Eastlands…
My club, Manchester City, has always been full of stark contrasts and juxtaposition. Never has this been more summed up than when we signed Brazilian Sylvinho on a free transfer from Barcelona. His final game for the Catalan giants was a victorious Champions League final where he played a full 90 minutes; his first game for Manchester City was against Scunthorpe in the League Cup, as Wayne Bridge’s understudy. A fall from grace or merely a neat anecdote surmising the sometimes strange nature of life in the Blue half of Manchester? Continue reading