Connect with us

Sports

MARTIN SAMUEL: Manchester United and Chelsea both need to drop their goalkeepers

Published

on

martin samuel manchester united and chelsea both need to drop their goalkeepers

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a problem, but it is not as big as Frank Lampard’s problem. It is, however, the same problem. They need to drop their goalkeepers.

David de Gea’s confidence is gone. Up against Jamie Vardy and Leicester on Sunday, there is a very real chance another mistake would cost Manchester United a place in the Champions League — just as it cost them their tilt at the FA Cup final a week ago.

Equally, Kepa Arrizabalaga is no longer a shot-stopper at Chelsea. He concedes more goals from fewer strikes than any goalkeeper in the Premier League. And Chelsea, too, cannot afford a defeat in the final game of the season. Lampard has left him out before, and it is time to do it again.

David de Gea’s confidence is gone – an error at Leicester may cost his side a top four place

David de Gea’s confidence is gone – an error at Leicester may cost his side a top four place

David de Gea’s confidence is gone – an error at Leicester may cost his side a top four place

Kepa Arrizabalaga is no longer a shot-stopper at Chelsea – it is time he is left out again

Kepa Arrizabalaga is no longer a shot-stopper at Chelsea – it is time he is left out again

Kepa Arrizabalaga is no longer a shot-stopper at Chelsea – it is time he is left out again

Yet that is the complication. Solskjaer has, as De Gea’s understudy, Sergio Romero, who has proved very reliable when called upon in cup competitions over many seasons. 

Arrizabalaga’s replacement is Willy Caballero, who won his place as first-choice earlier in the year, then just as quickly surrendered it because he looked unconvincing.

It would be a huge call for either manager to jettison an established No 1 in the last game — but the alternative is to deny an obvious flaw in the team and what if it costs?

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a problem but at least he has an understudy to call upon

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a problem but at least he has an understudy to call upon

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has a problem but at least he has an understudy to call upon

Sir Alex Ferguson famously dropped Jim Leighton for Les Sealey between the 1990 FA Cup final and its replay, and was rewarded with a clean sheet against Palace and the trophy.

But England manager Steve McClaren procrastinated over Paul Robinson and by the time he brought Scott Carson in for the final European Championship group game against Croatia in 2007, the pressure to qualify was too great and it crushed him.

It is more than two years since Romero played in the Premier League for United, but he last conceded a goal in the competition on August 30, 2015, at Swansea.

This is not the same for Caballero, whose run in the Premier League and Champions League in February saw him ship 10 goals in five matches, with Chelsea only winning one. It is why Chelsea’s longer-term strategy will prove costlier, too.

Frank Lampard would have to turn to Willy Caballero, who has looked unconvincing

Frank Lampard would have to turn to Willy Caballero, who has looked unconvincing

Frank Lampard would have to turn to Willy Caballero, who has looked unconvincing

United feel they have De Gea’s replacement in waiting with Dean Henderson, who has impressed on loan at Sheffield United. Chelsea are contemplating attempting to prise Jan Oblak from Atletico Madrid at vast expense.

Yet that would be impossible without Champions League football next season — another reason why Lampard’s call for this one has to be right.

Last weekend, United’s defenders looked to have lost their faith in De Gea.

On Wednesday, Liverpool appeared to know they had the beating of Arrizabalaga from range. So both managers have decisions to make — but Lampard has more to lose, if he is not to be stuck with this dilemma for another year.

Romero last conceded a goal in the Premier League on August 30, 2015, at Swansea

Romero last conceded a goal in the Premier League on August 30, 2015, at Swansea

Romero last conceded a goal in the Premier League on August 30, 2015, at Swansea

Perhaps the joke is on Bale

Gareth Bale is a better prankster than he is a footballer at the moment and that is a great pity.

Sitting on the bench at Real Madrid, he often finds a way to push the buttons of his local critics, whether by pretending to be asleep or mocking them spying on him by miming binoculars. All good knockabout fun.

Yet what Bale does not do anymore is play. He has started one game for his club since appearing against Celta Vigo on February 16.

Jonathan Barnett, his agent, talks of suitors not being able to pay his client’s enormous wages but Bale is 31 now. He’ll be done soon and maybe only then will he realise, as one of the world’s best players, that he should have played more. Unless he really doesn’t like football.

In matches, however, it’s never seemed that way.

Gareth Bale is a better prankster than he is a footballer at the moment and that is a great pity

Gareth Bale is a better prankster than he is a footballer at the moment and that is a great pity

Gareth Bale is a better prankster than he is a footballer at the moment and that is a great pity

Countdown to disaster will haunt Forest’s fans for years

All fans like to think of their club as uniquely problematic, no matter how successful they might be. Manchester City supporters still fondly imagine they follow a team of underdogs who always find ways to mess up, even when the reality is title after title, Pep Guardiola as manager and the wealthiest owners in the league.

Liverpool fans think their team do it the hard way, although they had the title as good as won in January and led their last Champions League final from the third minute against a team who finished 26 points south in the same division.

Spare a thought this morning, though, for the supporters of Nottingham Forest.

On Wednesday they found a means of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory that may live in their battle-scarred memories for decades.

Forest began the night with a simple task: draw at home to Stoke. If they had done that, it would have guaranteed a place in the promotion play-offs. Task two: just don’t lose heavily.

Forest kicked off three points and five goals better than Swansea, who were playing Reading. As long as they didn’t lose with a six-goal swing, Forest were in the top six. This is how the night unfolded.

17min: Swansea 1-0 up. Forest in play-offs by one point.

19min: Stoke 1-0 up. Forest in play-offs by +3 goal difference.

43min: Swansea 1-1. Forest in play-offs by two points.

61min: Forest 1-1. Forest in play-offs by three points.

66min: Swansea 2-1 up. Forest in play-offs by one point.

73min: Stoke 2-1 up. Forest in play-offs by +3 goal difference.

78min: Stoke 3-1 up. Forest in play-offs by +2 goal difference.

84min: Swansea 3-1 up. Forest in play-offs by +1 goal difference.

90+1min: Swansea 4-1 up. Swansea in play-offs by +4 goals scored.

90+6min: Stoke 4-1 up. Swansea in play-offs by +1 goal difference.

And that last one? It was an own goal. So if you think your team have found ways to cause anguish this season, compared to Nottingham Forest they are spoofing. Unless you support Wigan, of course, because that’s another level of misfortune altogether.

Nottingham Forest missed out on a place in the play-offs on the final day of the campaign

Nottingham Forest missed out on a place in the play-offs on the final day of the campaign

Nottingham Forest missed out on a place in the play-offs on the final day of the campaign

Southgate has to leave Buk to the future 

Bukayo Saka has had an excellent debut season for Arsenal but that’s all it is: one season. For the next campaign, Saka has been given the No 7 shirt worn by Liam Brady, David Rocastle and Robert Pires, which is testament to his talent.

Yet Matteo Guendouzi showed enormous promise in his first year at the club, too, and now Mikel Arteta does without him. So the news that Nigeria are willing to fast-track Saka into their team to take him away from England should not influence Gareth Southgate one iota.

Saka, who was born in Ealing, has represented England at age-group levels from Under 16 onwards and may be promoted to the Under 21 team next season, despite only turning 19 in September. Anything more at this stage could do him more harm than good.

Saka could have an exciting future with England as a left wing back, but it is his call. Southgate has never treated international qualification as a bidding contest and should not start now.

Gareth Southgate should not be influenced by Nigeria's willingness to fast-track Bukayo Saka

Gareth Southgate should not be influenced by Nigeria's willingness to fast-track Bukayo Saka

Gareth Southgate should not be influenced by Nigeria’s willingness to fast-track Bukayo Saka

Leeds can do better after Ayala overplays his hand

Daniel Ayala messed Middlesbrough around for much of last season. He picked up an injury on January 1 and did not kick a ball for them after that. 

This spell of inactivity coincided with a change of agent, a wrangle over his new contract and the desire to leave in January. With his deal expiring on June 30, Ayala would not sign a temporary extension and was ultimately unwelcome at the club. 

As Boro struggled, coach Jonathan Woodgate lost his job. It is fair to say his employers were unimpressed with the player’s behaviour and a breach of contract dispute is with the PFA.

There were suggestions Ayala’s head had been turned by Leeds but no move to Elland Road has arrived.

Now promoted, maybe Leeds are thinking bigger than a centre half who will be 30 in November and whose Premier League career comprises 26 matches and two relegations. 

Ayala no doubt thinks he has shown himself better than Middlesbrough but he has shown something else, too, which could be why he is now among the ranks of the unemployed.

Leeds United might be thinking bigger than Daniel Ayala now they have been promoted

Leeds United might be thinking bigger than Daniel Ayala now they have been promoted

Leeds United might be thinking bigger than Daniel Ayala now they have been promoted

Fans to pay for police blunder 

Mark Roberts, who is this country’s leading police officer with responsibility for football, got it wrong.

Using home venues for matches was never going to be the problem for Project Restart. It was the celebrations in the city centres that would challenge governmental advice on social distancing; parties the police appeared ill-equipped or unwilling to prevent.

Not until late on Wednesday night did Merseyside police issue a dispersal order, and a woman officer was injured in ugly scenes in Leeds.

Ultimately, it did not matter where the matches were played. The location of the people was far more important and as an expert in the field it is surprising Roberts did not appreciate this.

Now watch as these gatherings involving thousands who, while following a team, may never have been to a match, are used as an excuse to delay the return of supporters to stadiums.

When it is said that Manchester City need a centre half, what is imagined is a transformative figure in the mould of Virgil van Dijk, not just a decent player. 

Nathan Ake is very useful and has done well with Bournemouth. What he isn’t is Van Dijk. Even with Aymeric Laporte fit, City will need more. 

Nathan Ake is very useful and has done well with Bournemouth but City need more than him

Nathan Ake is very useful and has done well with Bournemouth but City need more than him

Nathan Ake is very useful and has done well with Bournemouth but City need more than him

Manager of the month is no longer an award, more club policy at Watford, but the next one apparently has the job of lowering the average age of the squad.

Against Manchester City, three of Watford’s XI were under 29 and only Adrian Mariappa was a graduate of the youth system — although long before the club was taken in another direction by the Pozzo family. Yet whose fault is that?

Watford managers seem to have as much say in club strategy as Elton John’s tambourine player: they get what they are given and have a year or less to make it work. No wonder they do not risk youth. If that is the demand now, it is a tacit admission Watford, the club, have got it wrong.

Had Sheffield United foreseen eighth or even 10th at the start of the season it would have felt like a triumph. 

What a pity, then, that a mid-table position in their first year back in the Premier League is something of an anti-climax, given where the club was before lockdown. 

Yet Sheffield United were everybody’s candidates for relegation this season and what Chris Wilder has done is remarkable. It is going to be harder next year and one hopes the club remembers that a top-half finish is in no way par for this course. 

Birmingham have retired Jude Bellingham’s No 22 shirt. He’s played one season, made 44 appearances, scored four goals and the club came 20th. (It would have been 21st had Wigan not been deducted 12 points.) 

Maybe the person making that decision should be retired, too. 

News just in: Trevor Francis, who scored as many goals against Bolton on February 20, 1971, as Bellingham did in his Blues career, seen going to the pub with the ghosts of Joe Bradford and Gil Merrick. ‘I may be some time,’ says Trev. 

Birmingham announced they would retire Judge Bellingham's No 22 shirt after one season

Birmingham announced they would retire Judge Bellingham's No 22 shirt after one season

Birmingham announced they would retire Judge Bellingham’s No 22 shirt after one season

If the opportunity presents itself again at Old Trafford these next few days, Dom Sibley should dig in for the long haul and to hell with his critics. England have plenty of shot players in the batting line-up. The value of one man keeping them company and frustrating the hell out of the bowlers in the process cannot be overstated.

Sibley’s 120 across more than nine hours did as much as anyone to set up victory in the second Test, and his team-mates know that.

Nobody could have foreseen the impact of a global pandemic on sport. Even so, having a Canadian presence in a European competition always seemed risky stategy for rugby league. 

Toronto Wolfpack have now withdrawn from this season’s competition, citing issues with finance, logistics and visa qualifications for some of their players. It was an ambitious strategy for the Super League but one with built-in vulnerability to any shift in economic momentum. 

So while Covid-19 could not have been anticipated, Toronto Wolfpack’s issues are hardly a surprise.

That vulnerable schoolgirls, some as young as 11, were subjected to verbal bullying and physical attacks from China’s national coaches in pursuit of success must have come as the biggest surprise to the world of ice skating since Bild-Zeitung outed John Curry as gay in 1976. 

Powered by: Daily Mail

Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sports

Premier League clubs ‘expected’ to help bail out smaller clubs as fans banned from stadiums until next year

Published

on

By

premier league clubs expected to help bail out smaller clubs as fans banned from stadiums until next year scaled

MINISTERS “expect” Premier League clubs to help smaller clubs after fans were banned from stadiums until next year.

Boris Johnson has scuppered plans to get supporters back on the terraces next month.

⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates

Football fans have been banned from stadiums until next year

3

Football fans have been banned from stadiums until next yearCredit: Getty Images – Getty

Now the Government has asked the wealthier outfits to step in while it negotiates a wider bailout to the sports industry.

Clubs in the lower ­leagues face a turbulent financial future as, unlike Premier League giants, they rely on ticket sales.

Under the PM’s new Covid plans, pilots allowing 1,000 fans into EFL matches are ditched.

Sports bodies want the Government to support the industry as it did with the arts, which was given access to a £1.57billion package.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is said to be ­trying to “identify ways we can support sport”.

Today the Premier League said they were “disappointed” fans would not be allowed in next month and said stadiums were safer than many other public spaces.

Boris Johnson has scuppered plans to get supporters back on the terraces next month

3

Boris Johnson has scuppered plans to get supporters back on the terraces next monthCredit: Sky News
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is said to be ­trying to 'identify ways we can support sport'

3

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden is said to be ­trying to ‘identify ways we can support sport’Credit: Getty Images – Getty

The Sun Says

RICH Premier League clubs should bail out lower league outfits facing Covid oblivion.

They are not just the lifeblood of their communities. They and their players are, in part, the lifeblood of the Prem too.

Some have rich owners, who must dig deep now that they are facing a season without fans. But many teams don’t. 

It would be a calamity to let them fail through no fault of their own.

A few, admittedly, are badly run — and the Prem would need strict guarantees on how a £200million donation would be spent by the 72 EFL clubs. 

Some people will say the Government should step in. But it cannot bail out every industry. That way lies ruin. In football’s case there’s another solution.

It’s right for wealthy Prem giants to fund a rescue. It’s in the national interest and their own too.

In a statement they said: “Football is not the same without attending fans and the football economy is unsustainable without them.

“Last season, Premier League clubs suffered £700m in losses and at present, our national game is losing more than £100m per month.

“This is starting to have a devastating impact on clubs and their communities.”

Boris Johnson reveals new restrictions on sporting events

GOT a story? RING The Sun on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL exclusive@the-sun.co.uk

Powered by: The Sun

Continue Reading

Sports

Micah Richards nearly MISSED Monday Night Football after getting locked in his dressing room!

Published

on

By

micah richards nearly missed monday night football after getting locked in his dressing room

Micah Richards has admitted that he almost missed the start of Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football coverage after he found himself trapped inside his own dressing room for an hour and a half.

Behind the scenes footage hilariously showed an exasperated and very relieved Richards race into the studio as co-hosts David Jones and Jamie Carragher laughed at the former defender, just minutes before the trio were set to go live on Sky Sports.

Richards has revealed that it was the on-set staff who helped him reach his chair just in the nick of time, allowing him to analyse Manchester City‘s clash with Wolves at the Etihad in its entirety.

Micah Richards (R) has revealed how he nearly missed presenting Sky's Monday Night Football

Micah Richards (R) has revealed how he nearly missed presenting Sky's Monday Night Football

Micah Richards (R) has revealed how he nearly missed presenting Sky’s Monday Night Football

A day after his close shave, Richards tweeted: ‘Loved being on Sky Sports last night, but managed to get myself locked in the changing room for 90 mins before the show! 

‘Thanks to the staff for getting me out with 2 mins to spare – you’d never have known! @Carra23 & @DavidJonesSky were bricking doing the show without me.’

After managing to compose himself for the show, Sportsmail’s newest columnist went on to deliver an impassioned defence of his career and fellow pundit Alex Scott, following criticisms on social media.

Richards makes a mad dash for the studio set after being locked in his dressing room

Richards makes a mad dash for the studio set after being locked in his dressing room

Richards makes a mad dash for the studio set after being locked in his dressing room

The footballer-turned-pundit reveals that he was locked in his changing room for 90 minutes

The footballer-turned-pundit reveals that he was locked in his changing room for 90 minutes

The footballer-turned-pundit reveals that he was locked in his changing room for 90 minutes

Sportsmail's newest columnist made it to the set just minutes before the live broadcast

Sportsmail's newest columnist made it to the set just minutes before the live broadcast

Sportsmail’s newest columnist made it to the set just minutes before the live broadcast

In the last year, Richards has developed into one of Sky‘s most used and highly-respected analysts and has made a career for himself in journalism after retiring from professional football at the highest level. 

While his comments on both football and the Black Lives Matter movement have been heavily praised, Richards said on Monday night that he believes he is unfairly targeted online, as is Scott.

He went on to dismiss claims he was only hired because of the BLM movement and said he was hired on the merit of his hard work up until that point. 

Richards went on to deliver an impassioned defence of his career and fellow pundit Alex Scott

Richards went on to deliver an impassioned defence of his career and fellow pundit Alex Scott

Richards went on to deliver an impassioned defence of his career and fellow pundit Alex Scott

Richards also leapt to the defence of former England international Scott, who has herself been a victim of social media abuse in recent months after rising to prominence as a pundit.

Scott, the ex-Arsenal footballer and TV presenter aged 35, has been at the centre of much discussion – and relentless online trolling – amid rumours she’s set to become the new host of BBC’s A Question Of Sport, replacing Sue Barker, who was axed after 24 years.

But Richards described Scott as ‘absolutely incredible’ and ‘one of the best’ pundits he’s worked with.

Powered by: Daily Mail

Continue Reading

Sports

Frank Lampard challenges Callum Hudson-Odoi to ‘flourish again’ with starting berth against Barnsley

Published

on

By

frank lampard challenges callum hudson odoi to flourish again with starting berth against barnsley

Callum Hudson-Odoi will start Chelsea‘s Carabao Cup clash against Barnsley with Frank Lampard‘s challenge to ‘flourish again’ ringing in his ears.

Blues boss Lampard has confirmed that England wing Hudson-Odoi will make just his second start since February 1 in Wednesday night’s League Cup clash at Stamford Bridge.

The 19-year-old has shot to prominence with both Chelsea and England since making his Blues debut in 2017, but a torn Achilles in March 2019 dented his progress. 

Callum Hudson-Odoi will start Chelsea 's Carabao Cup clash against Barnsley

Callum Hudson-Odoi will start Chelsea 's Carabao Cup clash against Barnsley

Callum Hudson-Odoi will start Chelsea ‘s Carabao Cup clash against Barnsley

Frank Lampard has challenged the English winger to 'flourish again' for Chelsea

Frank Lampard has challenged the English winger to 'flourish again' for Chelsea

Frank Lampard has challenged the English winger to ‘flourish again’ for Chelsea 

Hudson-Odoi has long since shaken off that issue but continues to battle for regular football, with manager Lampard now accepting it ‘remains to be seen’ whether he could be loaned out before the October transfer window.

‘We know in a Premier League squad and the number of games we’re going to play, we need competition in those areas, back-ups in those areas and players competing to make that position their own,’ said Lampard.

‘That’s where Callum is at and that’s why I keep saying he needs to train, he needs to show in training every day and when he gets his opportunity in games, which he will have tomorrow because he will play against Barnsley.

‘At the moment we have Christian Pulisic injured, Hakim Ziyech injured. We played Timo Werner out wide against Liverpool. 

Lampard accepts that it 'remains to be seen' whether Hudson-Odoi could be loaned out

Lampard accepts that it 'remains to be seen' whether Hudson-Odoi could be loaned out

Lampard accepts that it ‘remains to be seen’ whether Hudson-Odoi could be loaned out

‘But the absolute natural winger who is fit at the minute is Callum. He has to show in every minute, on and off the ball, what he can do for the team and that’s the position Callum is in at the minute.

‘He’s had an early breakthrough in his career because of his talent, he’s had an injury and now I want to see him flourish again.’

Chelsea paid for Barnsley’s Covid-19 tests ahead Wednesday’s clash in west London, with Blues bosses not anticipating any issues with the fixture.

Bayern Munich have failed in the past with a concerted effort to prise Hudson-Odoi away from Chelsea, and the Bavarians are rumoured to retain their interest in one of England’s top young talents.

Powered by: Daily Mail

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 DiazHub.