Rooney, Swansea, Stoke fans, Bournemouth and the top four – 5 Premier League Talking Points

18.01.2016


Liverpool’s weekend ended in a disappointing defeat, producing a number of talking points to add to those that emerged across the Premier League.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 17, 2016: Liverpool's Lucas Leiva and Manchester United's captain Wayne Rooney during the Premier League match at Anfield. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Falling behind to a single Wayne Rooney strike, Liverpool’s opportunity to stake a claim for a spot in the Premier League’s top four was disappointingly wasted in Sunday afternoon’s 1-0 loss to Man United.

This drab Anfield encounter contrasted wildly with an enthralling Saturday fixture list, with Chelsea’s 3-3 draw at home to Everton the pick of the weekend’s action.

Elsewhere, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur strengthened their top-four credentials with big victories over Sunderland and Crystal Palace, while Bournemouth and Newcastle United pushed further away from the relegation zone with wins over Norwich City and West Ham United.

Here are five talking points from the latest weekend of Premier League action.

 

Ramsey Chants Undermine Stoke’s On-Pitch Progress

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The progress made at Stoke City under Mark Hughes has been remarkable, with the former Man City and Fulham manager undertaking a transformation of the club’s footballing ideals since his arrival in 2013.

With the likes of Bojan, Xherdan Shaqiri and Marko Arnautovic adding a polished, attacking sheen to the Potters’ trademark defensive rigidity, Stoke have performed with class throughout 2015/16.

But welcoming league leaders Arsenal to the Britannia Stadium on Sunday afternoon, the club’s supporters showed that this progress is yet to extend to the stands.

While Aaron Ramsey has been booed relentlessly by Stoke supporters, bizarrely, ever since Ryan Shawcross broke his leg with a shocking challenge in 2010, the midfielder’s reception was magnified throughout this 0-0 draw.

After the game, Arsene Wenger admonished this treatment, saying “when people get together they sometimes forget their individual responsibility,” and it is this pack mentality that preserves Stoke’s image as Premier League cavemen.

 

Managerial Turmoil Could Cost Swansea League Place

Swansea City sacked Garry Monk over a month ago, and are yet to replace him; a fact that must be interminably frustrating for Swans supporters.

Since Monk’s departure, Swansea have won just once in seven games, drawing twice and losing four times—including a 3-2 humbling away to League Two side Oxford United in the FA Cup third round.


Having fostered a reputation as a sensitive, forward-thinking chairman, Huw Jenkins delivered a misguided blow in dismissing Monk without establishing a replacement.

Monk was soon followed by the bemusing sale of Jonjo Shelvey to Newcastle, with the English midfielder having contributed to a strong start to the season alongside the likes of Bafetimbi Gomis and Andre Ayew.

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Just over a week ago, caretaker manager Alan Curtis was handed the job until the end of the season, yet now they are about to appoint former Udinese manager Francesco Guidolin. Appointing a manager with no experience of the Premier League while fighting relegation isn’t the wisest move, just as it wasn’t for Aston Villa.

 

Bournemouth Win Shows Benefits of January Spending

Contrasting with the lack of planning on show at the Liberty Stadium, Bournemouth’s 3-0 win over Norwich on Saturday afternoon outlined the careful navigation taking shape by the Cherries this January.

Following injuries to the likes of Callum Wilson, Max Gradel and Tyrone Mings, Bournemouth looked doomed to relegation under the likeable Eddie Howe.

But after building his attack around Josh King and Harry Arter, Howe has added to his side significantly in the winter transfer window, with Benik Afobe and Lewis Grabban both joining for a combined fee of close to £20 million.

Afobe scored Bournemouth’s third against Norwich on Saturday, with the former Arsenal striker showcasing his talents in leading the line—presenting the perfect replacement for Wilson.

Facing relegation at the first time of asking, Bournemouth look likely to have saved their season with major spending this January—something Klopp may be wise to acknowledge in adding to his Reds squad.


 

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Top Four Places Seem Secured

Defeat to United continued to undermine Liverpool’s push for a top-four finish this season, having secured just one point from their all-important clashes with the Red Devils and Arsenal last week.

Liverpool currently sit in ninth place in the Premier League table, eight points adrift of fourth-placed Spurs.

Meanwhile, Spurs’ victory over Sunderland—a powerful, all-round display that saw goals from Christian Eriksen, Moussa Dembele and Harry Kane—continued to reinforce their position in the top four.

With City, Arsenal and Leicester City all continuing their run of form by avoiding defeat, too, the Premier League’s top four is taking shape midway through the season.

Joining Liverpool in looking unlikely to trouble this group are United, West Ham, Stoke and Palace, all of which are set to compete for one Europa League spot this season.

 

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Wayne Rooney Rhetoric Belies Lack of Quality

Following a last-minute penalty in United’s FA Cup third round win at home to Sheffield United and two goals in a 3-3 draw with Newcastle in midweek, Rooney’s goal at Anfield was followed by a deluge of unfounded praise for the England captain.

“For United there is no such thing as a bad win at Liverpool,” wrote the Guardian‘s Barney Ronay.

“Just as for Wayne Rooney there is no day when a performance that ends with a winning goal spanked with gleeful fury into the roof of the Anfield Road end net can be described as a poor one.”


While victory over Liverpool will never be considered a disappointment for United supporters, there is no way that even a semi-conscious onlooker could have ignored Rooney and United’s flawed performance.

Once again, the 30-year-old contributed little overall, and as Liverpool supporters are finding with Christian Benteke, one moment of brilliance does not a brilliant display make.

Of course, the enduring rhetoric of Rooney’s importance will only strengthen Liverpool’s position in the future—so long may it continue.

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58 COMMENTS

  1. LVG now saying that title is winnable for United!

    Geez Louis. You only beat Liverpool.
    It’s not as if you beat a big top four side eh?

  2. After the exit of Suarez been sold for 75m ,
    Liverpool have not signed a single world class or marquee player .

    Spent too much on too many avg players

    Lallana is very good …

    I’m talking about Benteke ,Lovren ,Sakho ,Allen etc..

    • Lallana is absolutely abysmal….seriously, he is a terrible player. he gives us absolutely NOTHING. You’re putting Sakho in there?? Are you taking something? You need to start watching the games properly

    • Are you joking? Lallana is absolutely shocking,honestly where do you sh#t this stuff out?and sakho average? Haha,jog on mate!!

    • A 45M bid for Sanchez would have cemented us in the CL and paid for itself. Arsenal would have never touched that amount, forcing Barca’s hand the way DiMaria was pushed out of Madrid.

      I’d have taken Reus, too, even with the injuries.

      If you take away Origi, Balotelli, and Markovic it would have been an infinitely wiser use of the money.

    • you can tell how good lallana is by all the assists and goals he gets, especially when 1 on 1 with De Gea (this year, last year, every year from now).

  3. Since yesterday some of the stuff I’ve seen written about Klopp is unbelievable. Lucky to have him. And the comments in support of players like Lalanna and slating Sakho, sheer ignorance..Then there the Brodgson fans coming out from under their rocks. Some people are just so deluded it’s beyond belief…Think I need to avoid the internet for a few days..the stupidity is making my head hurt

    • it’s hard to stomach I agree, I just hope FSG are prepared to back the manager ~ CL looks gone now for this year so we need one lot of spending in the summer to qualify the season after, then another bout of spending the summer after that to get the top quality that we need to be competitive in CL then regular dips into the dosh to get players who will keep us there as well as investing in the young talent for JK to develop ~ not cheap FSG ~ just hope you’re not in it to make money.

      • For all Rodgers’ moaning about being bought players he didn’t want. I would be okay with JK getting 300m over 3 years. Rodgers was given 32M to spend on a striker. I can only hope Klopp gets the same. I have every confidence he’d spend it more wisely..The team as it stands? not top four quality. Crammed with mid table quality players at best. Can., Cout, Firminho and Sakho aside I wouldn’t mind selling any of them

        • I’m concerned that Coutinho may go in the summer and it wouldn’t surprise me if Bayern put in a big bid for Can as well, it seems that a fair bit of BR’s £300m came from transfer fees and now I’m not sure there is too much left to sell ~ hard to see Lallana and Milner raising much and I don’t know how deep the owner’s pockets are.

          • They’re deep enough. time they started using it. If Coutinho goes, he goes. It bothered me when Torres left, when we lost Mascherano and when we lost Suarez..We don’t have any players now of that level.

          • perhaps not getting CL this year might encourage FSG to sell a bit earlier than planned, take their profit and let someone else fund team rebuilding ??

          • Would love that. We have Guardiola coming in at City next season, Chelsea with a new manager and likely that United will have a new boss..Three rich clubs looking to spend on new players..If we mess around again we’re fked..

          • you know that ~ I know that ~ but do the people in charge care about that, and what happens if the European coefficient ( or whatever it is ) restricts EPL to 3 spots ???

          • They haven’t a clue. It’s fairly obvious at this point. We’re being ran by a baseball fan and a m*r*n (ayre)….depressing

          • noone will bid for couts until he finds consistency and better shooting.
            Bayern don’t need Can , they have plenty of projects and germany isn’t short of CMs and Can still needs a lot of development to go before he’s really useful for a top club.

            We won’t buy expensive players anyhow, not really Klopp’s style.

        • Clyne,Moreno,hendo,origi,ings,gomez,lovren is still have hope for,and Ibe is obviously young,these players I mentioned along with the players you mentioned can stay,the rest can f##k off!!

          • sorry I forgot Moreno and Clyne. The likes of Hendo, I couldn’t care less. Don’t rate him and makes me sick that he’s captain of this club. A poor man’s Gerrard, doesn’t have half his ability or leadership. Give Sakho or Can the armband and let Hendo be what he is..average

          • Mate i don’t know,I like hendo!we always seem to create more when he is in the side,yes he played badly yesterday,he wasted chances but still created and did other things well!he should definitely stay,our team don’t seem to operate without him in the side!

          • I’m not really ready to look at it all from a distance yet. Just fuming after yesterday..I’d sell the lot of them right now

          • The fact that a player like Henderson is captain just underlines the mentality that has crept into this club and taken root. He’s a kid. He’s gotten better, but the captain of this club should be a world class player. we have none left and the acceptance of mediocre players is bearing fruit now. We are a mid table club with mid table players all throughout the squad. You can only operate poorly in the player market for so long before you see the consequences…We’re seeing them now and it’s depressing how poor we are.

        • Klopp will get a list of players that fit our wage structure and the club’s desire to bring in young players to be developed. He will choose from that list, which will go through statistical analysis. Then Ian Ayre will meet with the players camp and club. If he can successfully negotiate the terms, the deal will be closed.

          Only a child thinks that Klopp can choose whomever he wants, and then that player will come with no CL football and low wages just for Klopp’s charisma.

      • You wrote that the CL looks gone. I am from germany, so i don’t know much about the english conditions of CL-participations. But isn’t it possible to get a CL-Ticket trough a cupwin? Greetings… :)

    • “The stupidity is making my head hurt.”

      I’d be surprised that any people that respect Rodgers are going to denigrate Klopp. It is the people who insist that Rodgers somehow nearly won the league by being rubbish – or just sat back while Suarez won 86 points on his own – who take absurdly extremist positions.

      While Klopp has a 5-4-5 record with a goal difference of -1 at this point, people who asked for Rodgers’ struggles to be put into context are not going to suddenly demand that context be thrown out the door.

      That’s for meatheads only capable of viewing the world in black and white. Which there are plenty of around here. But I guess a fish doesn’t know it’s wet.

      • You don’t even warrant an argument..”context”? seriously FK off!..there’s your context..I’m done talking to people like you. Questioning Klopp’s win rate with a bunch of “players” recruited by a m*r*n…Just stop commenting on my posts, you do my head in…

        • Doesn’t take much for you inner world to crumble, mate. Just make sure Klopp is a messiah and Rodgers is the Evil One.

          Child.

          • Klopp the two time Bundesliga winner and Champion’s league finalist versus the man that “built his team” around a player that didn’t want to play for him. It took Gerrard’s intervention to get him to play for a move…The sooner Rodgers gets another job the sooner m8r8ns like you can fk off..”inner world” haha…He’s not “evil” just couldn’t manage a cake stand never mind a football club..

          • Suarez earlier this year:

            “When Brendan was appointed, I was excited. I’d actually spoken to him when he was at Swansea in Spanish, which I thought was a good touch. He was familiar with the Spanish way of playing, as he’d studied there.

            “He was very clever and told me that Liverpool would play possession football, as it would suit me. He helped me with my runs, arriving in the area at the right time and coming in from wide – rather than just waiting in the middle – which benefited my confidence.

            “We worked hard on finding ways I could isolate players and then try to beat them, man on man. That was the only way I could succeed in England. […] If you punt a long ball up towards me and one of these [Premier League] defenders, I am not going to win it.

            “But the way Liverpool played, with the ball on the floor, and being released very fast to my feet, gave me a chance against the big guys.

            “I wasn’t proven and I had to adapt to the Premier League, which Brendan knew. He knows all about English football and he educated me to become successful.”

            —-

            But what does Suarez know compared to Riise’slfoot..is SuperKlopp?

          • Maybe you should try reading Gerrard’s book…Suarez didn’t even want to talk to Rodgers, never mind play for him. It took Gerrard convincing him to play one more season for a move to barca for him to come around..FACT. Maybe some day you’ll get over the fact he’s gone. And then you can accept we have a GENUINELY WORLD CLASS man in charge now.

          • Do you mean this?

            “Brendan’s relationship with Luis had broken down. I don’t think it was Brendan’s fault.”

            Please stop being wrong every time.

          • “I don’t think”, that means (a) it was an opinion (not fact) and (b) it was about his current manager….If you want to argue, try using facts. Suarez didn’t make any effort in training and pushed for a move. Then he played out of his skin to get his move. He got it…FK all to do with Brendan fking Rodgers. Typical American though..Head up your *rse

          • Shame he literally couldn’t do it with any other player.
            And if he’s that good at his job why did he then spend the next 2 summers trying to get a target man?

      • that you are still defending the abject performances BR presented us with this season while having Ings, Origi, Benteke and Firmino all fit just shows how clueless you are.
        Did you like the hoof ball style that BR used Benteke for. A bargain at £32.5m. And just how well did that work under BR compared to how JK has used it?

        You’re a broken record and very very dull.

  4. At this point I’d just start players like Teixera and Ojo, they couldn’t be any worse than the tripe we have playing right now. I hope Lallana and Milner are first out the door in Summer..

    • he is a difficult player when not in top 11. but he is the man who will save NUFC this season. Already repaid 2m of his fee against WHU with two defense splitting passes – his second pass was most accurate pass this season.

  5. back in feb 2009, UEFA published its top ranked club in Europe and it read:
    1. Liverpool 2. Chelsea 3. Barcelona. Cannot help but cry at the current situation of the club. How each and everyone plundered an empire which Rafa build brick by brick.

    • well, purslow got the message that English mediocrity was the path to enlightenment and so the change began.
      We’ve finally pulled back from the bs of all that garbage and hopefully the next 3 years are going to see far more solid progress. Klopp has been incredibly pragmatic:

      1. Playing players in their proper position and simplifying their roles not complicating them.
      2. Looking to get some height and power into the team and recognising how much it’s needed showing it in his first purchase and his first loan.
      3. Showing that he can change a game using substitutions while often getting goals doing it. Remember BR switching formations over and over again to zero effect?

      4, 5, half a dozen recruits this summer and some fit strikers and he’ll have a great time next season while still having a chance of a cup this year and not look like douche bags in the Europa League.

  6. Whats required is the right people in the right positions taking the decisions – we dont have that – whether thats the owners, ian ayre, the scouts or the transfer committee.

    If Br is only 50% right – it still smacks of incompetence to the highest degree that we did not plan for Suarez leaving. Imagine you receive a 75 million bid for arguably the worlds best striker – do you just accept and run or do you wait, ask for more time and ensure you have a replacement. Ok you are not going to ask barca for more – then make the deal conditional on Sanchez coming this way?

    So under FSG we have sold Torres – alledgedly he wanted to leave – that was £50 million. Then we sold Suarez for 75 million and then Sterling for £49 million. That is £174 million pound sterling for 3 players.

    Footballers are human beings they are not inputs or units. Suarez just didnt bring goals he brought other players goals. 9 out of 10 of sterlings goals were assisted by Suarez! But no we have scientists so we try to replace the goals by buying lallana and lambert!

    FSG are clever in a few ways – media management. Torres took the blame, Suarez was a liability so it was good business sense, aidy ward was a tit so sterling went – in any other book what they have done is asset strip. They know the brand sells come what may so revenue will continue to come in.And then they have gone on to waste almost all of it .To use a political analogy Thatcher asset stripped the nation by selling state companies on the cheap and then used the money to give tax cuts to her rich friends – all the while bob the dick who made a couple of grand on the shares was over the moon!

    Similarly we were over the moon because we reached the semi’s of 2 domestic cup competitions last year! As leicester have shown – it doesnt require huge money to move up the table – it requires the right people to do the job correctly. i.e scouting the players, negotiating the fees, and (are you reading Ian Ayre) completing the job!

    • they might argue they bought those assets so had the right to sell them too. Of course if we hadn’t been obsessed with british mediocrity all the way through we might be in a better position.

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