FA CUP FINAL THOUGHTS

Was lucky enough to pick up a ticket to the Final today, as I was in London I said I would go. Wembley is a brilliant stadium. As for the game itself, it was generally far too easy for City as they completed their domestic treble.

▪︎If ever their was an example of you have to take your chances against the big teams, it was this game. Watford started both halves well and were on top for the opening ten minutes of each. They missed big chances during these spells and were punished.

▪︎Man City were always going to be too strong for Watford, but it is still amazing to watch them take teams apart. They basically try the same thing over and over again when it comes to attacking, building up patiently and looking for a ball out to the wing, followed by a low cross into the box. Everyone knows how they play but it can be near impossible to stop at times.

▪︎Whatever the feelings about City off the pitch and while it’s true that they’ve spent more money than anyone to help achieve this, you have to give a lot of credit to Guardiola. It’s quiet easy to piss two or three hundred million up against the wall like Manchester United have for example over the last few years. Guardiola’s signing have nearly all had a part to play and he has managed them well.

▪︎I have said it before and I’ll say it again: If Kevin De Bruyne was fit all season the league would have been decided before the final day and City would have got 100 points and maybe a couple more again. When he’s fit, he’s one of the best in the world.

▪︎Doucoure is a great midfielder and their should be a cue of big clubs looking to sign him this summer.

▪︎Ederson .. not a lot to do all game, but when he did he was excellent.

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ALTERNATIVE END OF SEASON AWARDS 18/19

It’s awards time here at TBPOF. We’ve taken a slightly different look at the season just gone, and awarded those we thought most worthy. So without further ado:

▪︎PLAYER OF THE SEASON – ALEXIS SANCHEZ
A lot of us go about our day to day jobs trying to do as little as possible while still getting paid. Alexis Sanchez has taken that to a whole new level. £350,000 of the queens pounds every week and an extra £75,000 when he decides to try and play a bit. What a season it has been for that man’s bank account. Cha fucking ching. 💸💸💸

▪︎THE WE DON’T HAVE THE PLAYER’S IRISHMAN OF THE YEAR AWARD – MATT DOHERTY
How are we expected to compete with the likes of Georgia, when all we’ve got is the best bloody right back in England? 🇮🇪🇮🇪🇮🇪

▪︎THE TIM SHERWOOD NOT MANAGER OF THE YEAR AWARD – JULEN LOPETEGUI
Not many have the ability to destroy a team that has won 3 Champions league’s on the bounce, but Julen Lopetegui is no ordinary man. Sacked from two of the biggest jobs in world football in one year. Tremendous work ethic.

▪︎THE LASTS LONGER THAN YOU IN BED GOAL OF THE SEASON – SHANE LONG VERSUS WATFORD
With all the shite attached to modern football these day’s, you would sometimes forget the basic concept is to put the round thing in the net. Well Shane Long hasn’t forgotten, and it only took him 7 seconds.
⏱⏱⏱

▪︎ASSIST OF THE SEASON – JORDAN PICKFORD VERSUS LIVERPOOL
With the team he secretly supports in desperate need of all 3 points and time running out, the England number one took matters into his own hands and produced a lovely lay off via the crossbar for Divock Origi to head home.

▪︎TRANSFER OF THE SEASON – DECLAN RICE ( IRELAND TO ENGLAND )
I was going to name him young Irish player of the year as well for the craic but …. oh wait …. ara for fucks sake. ☹😐😐

▪︎HE’S NOT THAT TYPE OF PLAYER TACKLE OF THE SEASON – TYRONE MINGS ON NELSON OLIVEIRA
Whoops…. https://www.irishmirror.ie/sport/soccer/soccer-news/nelson-oliveira-left-gruesome-facial-13945750
🤕🤕🤕

▪︎PUNCH OF THE YEAR – THAT FELLA WHO WALLOPED JACK GREALISH
Birmingham fan’s seem like a lovely bunch altogether don’t they.

▪︎THE GRAEME SOUNESS TACTICS MY ARSE GAME OF THE SEASON – MAN CITY 4 TOTTENHAM 3 (CHAMPIONS LEAGUE)
A tactical battle for the ages we were told to expect. Instead we got two teams who nearly scored with every shot and that looked like they hadn’t a clue what they were supposed to be doing.

▪︎SUBSTITUTION OF THE SEASON – KEPA ARRIZABALAGA v MAN CITY
Kepa was also in the running for manager of the year if they had won that final. He had an angry willy to deal with in the dressing room at full time after refusing to go off with minutes remaining in the whatever the fuck their calling it now Milk/Coca Cola/Carling cup final.

▪︎EXCUSE OF THE YEAR – JURGEN KLOPP AND HIS WIND PROBLEM
Blamed the wind on more than one occasion instead of fessing up and telling everyone what they already knew – Adam lallana is useless and probably Harry Kewell in disguise.An excuse Alan Pardew would be proud of.

▪︎THE VINCENT JANSSEN I FORGOT HE EXISTED AWARD – ANDY CARROLL
He scored that overhead kick last season to remind everyone he was still alive, but I genuinely forgot he existed for most of the season. Is Jack wilshere still a thing as well?

▪︎QUOTE OF THE YEAR – MICK MCCARTHY
“The ones that hounded me out, I hope they enjoy their sexy football in League one ” Never change Mick.
💬💬💬

▪︎THE SEPP BLATTER AWARD FOR TRANSPARENCY – JOHN DELANEY
The money was just resting in my account x 1000. God I’d love to see him go to jail. 🤠🤠🤠

▪︎HOT TAKE OF THE SEASON – TBPOF AJAX VERSUS TOTTENHAM
“If Ajax play their cards right here they could win this by four or five”. They didn’t😐😐😐

Any other suggestions for Alternate awards? Don’t forget to like, share, follow.

TEAM OF THE SEASON 2018/19

TBPOF PREMIER LEAGUE TEAM OF THE SEASON

Here’s are team of the season … No Aguero 😱 No Pogba 😱 No Arsenal Players 😱 . Let us no what you agree with and disagree with in the comments section, and give us an actual reason instead of something like ..No AgUERo YOu MusT bE FUckIng JOKinG .. Always looking to hear a different point of view.

ALISSON – Has he made a couple mistakes this season ? The answer is yes. In his defence though he has learned quickly from them. He’s kept 19 clean sheets with an ever changing centre back pairing in front of him and he’s had a lot more to do than his fellow countryman Ederson who also has had a brilliant season.

ROBERTSON – Can do the defending bit just aswell as the attacking bit, which some full backs struggle to do consistently over a full season. Never stops running either.

VAN DIJK – The best defender in the league and probably the best player all round this season. Their isn’t one team he would not improve greatly in the Premiership if he were to join them.

LAPORTE – The second best defender in the league and a mainstay of City’s title defence. Has rarely put a foot wrong this season in the League.

DOHERTY – I have included Doherty on merit and not just because he’s Irish, but hey it’s my team and I can do what I want. The Irishman has enjoyed a superb season in the League contributing to 8 clean sheets along with 4 goals and 4 assists. Gets in ahead of Trent Alexander Arnold because as good as he is, he has missed a lot of games and is still shaky at the defending bit of his job, with some teams targeting him as the weak link in Liverpools back four. Doherty has been solid all season and it’s great to be able to include him because he deserves it.

FERNANDINHO – The Brazilian looked finished at the end of last season and Pep thought so too this summer as he went after a number of replacements for his position. Has come back better than ever and been a monster in midfield with his performance against Liverpool standing out as one of the best individual turns this season.

BERNARDO SILVA – Who knew that he was going to turn out to be this good? 7 goals , 7 assists and 33 appearances for City so far and was not far behind Van Dijk as player of the season.

HAZARD – Has created the most chances out of any player in the league this season and has 16 goals and 13 assists. Can go missing for the odd couple of games but over the course of this season has been one of the best midfielders and God knows where Chelsea would be without him. I guess we will find that out next season.

STERLING – Imagine how good he would be if he could finish? Liverpool fans used to wonder. Wonder know more as Sterling has turned into one of the most lethal attackers in Europe this season. He has 17 goals and 10 assists so far and is an invaluable piece of Peps team.

MANE – Never mind the fact that he moved position for Salah when he arrived, how he hasn’t taken his head off for not passing more is deserving of a medal alone. Has stepped up to the plate to save Liverpool more than any other player this season and is one off the top scorer in the League with 18 goals.It has to taken into account that he doesn’t take penalties either and if he did he would probably win the golden boot.

SON – He’s only played 29 games for Spurs this season but he has probably been their most important player and if they hadn’t lost him for a few games to the Asian Games then maybe they would have a champions league spot wrapped up already. He’s one of the most exciting players to watch aswell in the League.

If you could hit that share button also it’s greatly appreciated.

MANCHESTER DERBY PREVIEW

MANCHESTER DERBY PREVIEW

▪︎Is this a game were only one team actually wants to win ? Regardless of what you read, I doubt it. I can totally understand some of United’s fans not wanting their team to be the one’s to give Liverpool the edge and help them possibly win the title. That’s totally understandable as they have way more of a rivalry with Liverpool over their City Neighbours. Especially when it comes to Irish fans of the club because their isn’t a lot of Irish supporting Manchester City fans about compared to Liverpool ones. City winning the league is the lesser of two evils in that respect.

▪I doubt United’s players and manager feel like that though. Missing out on Champions League football is a big loss to a club the size of United and while they obviously need to invest heavily in the squad playing in the Europa League isn’t going to attract the top talent they will be looking for. They need to take at least a point from tonight to keep that hope of finishing in the top four alive.

▪︎How do you stop a team like City? I’m sure Solskjaer will have watched the Champions League tie they played against Spurs and will have seen they are vulnerable at the back when put under pressure and their centre backs are turned running forwards their own goal. Rashford’s pace could be key to unlocking the City defence tonight.

▪︎You also have to stop them scoring and that’s the hardest part of all. How many times have we seen a city play a low cross across goal this season only for someone to arrive on the end of it and score. United’s defence will have to put in a huge performance If they are to take anything from the game. Solskjaer will also have to pick the right combination at the back also.

▪︎For those who want Pogba gone or want Pogba to stay – now would be a good time for him to put in a big performance either way.

Prediction : City to win, both teams to score.

Have United a chance ? Do you want them to have a chance if your a United fan or are you happy to take the hit to scupper Liverpools title chances? Comment below….

BIG WEEKEND 19th APR 19

It’s a big weekend for 》

MAN CITY v SPURS PART DEUX – Having just about gotten over Wednesday nights dramatics, both teams have to face each other again on Saturday. Will we get angry City or shit their pants City ? I’m going to say angry City and expect them to put the smackdown on Poch’s men.

BRIGHTON – The wheels have come off, the bus is on fire, and none of the parachutes work for Brighton as of late. Chris Hughton’s men have been gash ( yes gash ) lately, losing their last 5 games without scoring a single goal. They face a Wolves team who will want to finish best of the rest and won’t be in a mood to take their foot off the gas.

INTER v ROMA – Inter can go a long way to securing their spot in at least the qualification rounds of the champions League this weekend if they can beat Roma. Roma will need to win to keep on both Milan team’s tails.

GETAFE v SEVILLA – What a season it’s been for Getafe who sit 1 place and 1 point off the 4th Champions League spot in La Liga. They play at home to Sevilla this weekend who are occupying said spot and won’t be giving it up without a fight.

DERRY v SHAMROCK ROVERS – 2nd plays 1st in the League of Ireland on Friday night. Derry will be looking to stop Rovers from adding to their already impressive lead.

SPECIAL GAMBLING TIP / HUNCH / I GOT A FEELIN – Gambling is wrong kids so don’t gamble… but if you do then BOURNMOUTH to beat Fulham by more than 1 goal is currently 13/8 in the bookies. Now I’m not saying it’s a mortgage job , but Fulham as we no are brutal away from home and Bournmouth like scoring goals.. lots of goals. ( we accept no responsibility for losses )

GOOD WEEKEND BAD WEEKEND 15th April 19

😀 NEWCASTLE UTD – 10 points clear from the drop with 4 games to play should see The Toon safe for another season. For a club that seems to be such a mess behind the scenes it’s a credit to Rafa Benitez and his team that they have brought a sense of normality to the football side of proceedings.

😀 SHANE LONG – Scorer of back to back league goals for the first time in 3 years.

😀 ASTON VILLA – 8 league wins in a row now for Villa, who have seen a complete turn around of their fortunes this season and look on their way to the play offs. That Jack Grealish looks decent doesn’t he 😐

😀JORDAN SANCHO – The youngest player ever to score 11 Bundesliga goals in a season. Expect endless painful transfer rumours about him all summer before he eventually goes nowhere.

😀 MANCHESTER CITY – Their win this weekend makes it 9 on the bounce in the Premier League. It’s easy to forget just how good this City team actually is and it’s very possible they win all their remaining games to retain their title. Everyone just expects them to win and they are duly obliging. Kevin De Bruyne is coming into a nice bit of form for the run in also.

☹ IPSWICH TOWN – As a football fan you always want more of your team. It’s the way supporters are and always have been. In Ipswichs case though they probably should have realised that they were punching above their weight slightly when Mick McCarthy was manager. All you had to do was look at how much money the club had available for wages and transfers and you could see the miracles he was performing. They will now have a chance of winning something next season, although not what they had envisioned.

☹ BRIGHTON – An awful hammering at the hands of Bournmouth at the weekend. They’re lucky Cardiff are shite or they could be in a whole pile of trouble. All credit to the fella in my fantasy league who triple captained Shane Duffy for this double game week – ballsy yes… stupid … yes

☹ CHELSEA – Really needed to avoid defeat at Anfield this weekend but didn’t. Hazard’s most certainly off in the summer, they probably won’t get the Champions League unless they win the Europa League and I still think Sarri is going to be sacked regardless.

☹ PSG – Needed to beat Lille to secure title this weekend. Went out and got walloped 5 nothing. The first time they’ve conceded 5 in the league since 2000. Celebrations on hold for another week it is then.

4 things Manchester Utd need to do against Barcelona.

MANCHESTER UTD v FC BARCELONA

Manchester United are underdogs going into their tie with Barcelona and with Messi in ferocious form it looks like it could be a tall order for them to progress to the semi finals, but nothing is impossible and in knockout football – anything is possible.

HERE’S WHAT THEY NEED TO DO –

1) Busquet’s is the Metronome of the Barcelona team, keeping tempo and allowing the team to shift up and down the gears as they need to. He is also a master at winning the ball back from the opposition. To get at Barcelona you need to get at Busquets, and that means closing him down and fast. Limiting his time on the ball and forcing him to turn towards his goal is a sure fire way of disrupting Barcelona’s game plan and a must if United are to stand any chance of getting a foothold on the game.

2) Ter Stegen is a great goalkeeper but a noticeable chink in his armour is that he isn’t all that comfortable coming for crosses under pressure. Something United have the tools to do with Lukaku and Martial.

3) Barcelona are going to score. Their is no way of stopping them and if you show them to much respect they could eat you alive. United found themselves in a similar position against PSG in the first leg and were noticeably played off the park. They need to impose their own game on Barcelona from the start and try and win the game at Old Trafford or at least score. Don’t let them settle in and dictate play. A repeat of their second leg antics against PSG will be a lot harder replicate in the Nou Camp.

4) The most obvious one of all but if done well could lead to all sorts of rewards for United. Barcelona are a team that leaves space in behind and this needs to be exploited to the maximum. Barcelona concede a lot of goals, often stemming from their full backs out of position. Something Solksjaer no doubt has been working on in the lead up to the tie.

GOOD WEEKEND BAD WEEKEND

GOOD WEEKEND/ BAD WEEKEND

😀MO SALAH – Mo Salah losing the ability to pull a goal out of his arse has cost Liverpool a few points over the last fee weeks but he happily regained it against Southampton on Friday. Imagine if he had missed and not passed to Firmino though… fine margins and all that.

😀MANCHESTER CITY – One trophy won and another 3 in play. With a lot of the attention on Liverpool over the last few weeks you would forget just how good of a job City and Guardiola are doing. They have a real chance of winning some sort of treble this season.

😀LUIS SUAREZ – Some strikers are easily defined and score largely one type of goal which is fine, ( think of someone like Ruud Van Nistelrooy ) but not Luis Suarez. One of the joys of watching him play is that he scores all types of goals from thunderbastards to tap ins. His goal against Atletico was a brilliantly curled effort that started outside the post and bet a fully stretched Oblak. A thing of beauty.

😀WATFORD – A brilliant comeback with an even better reward of a place in the cup final. City will be favourites but as Watford showed against Wolves, anything is possible on the day.

🙁BORUSSIA DORTMUND – Walloped in every sense of the word with 3 of the goals they conceded coming from ex players. Theirs still a lot of games yet to play but losing 5 nil in the manner they did looks like it could be seriously damaging to their title hopes.

🙁DIEGO COSTA – Diego Simeone has to take some of the blame for Costa’s red card against Barca as he probably had him wound up to the last and directed him to play on the edge like he always does. It’s the risk you take when you play him though. The shame is that if Atletico started either Correa or Morata they could have easily won the game as they played the better football.

🙁ARSENAL – Was their anything more obvious than an Arsenal defeat this weekend. Not to be too harsh on them though as I didn’t think they would be in the mix for a top four spot in Emery’s first season and they are so credit where it’s due.

🙁SERIE A CHALLENGERS – Juventus are now 20 points ahead of their nearest challengers with 7 games still to play. In an entertaining league that has seen more goals than usual this season it’s a shame nobody can pull their shit together and have a good go at keeping at least in touching distance with the Old Lady.

Anyone else have a brilliant / shite weekend?

Don’t forget to Like Comment or Share. 😀

Wolves and Fulham : Two promotions with very different outcomes

While Wolves continue to impress on their first season back in the Premier League, the same cannot be said for Fulham who were relegated without much of a fight. Both team’s spent a lot of money over the summer but as is usually the case, it’s how you spend it rather than how much.

Wolves and Fulham both impressed last season on their way to being promoted to England’s top tier, with a lot of pundits expecting them to achieve safety in the Premier League this season with relative ease. An impressive attacking style of Football and a summer that saw both team’s spend large sums of money was meant to guarantee their status in the top flight, but as we have seen over the course of the season both team’s have taken very different paths. Both teams took different approaches when it came to signing players in the transfer window and Wolves success this season and Fulham’s failure can be directly linked back to both the summer and winter transfer window signings.

Wolves have used connections with agent Jorge Mendes over the last couple of season’s to sign top Portuguese players such as Ruben Neves while still in the Championship, while Fulham took more of an analytical approach when it came to identifying potential transfers which produced more mixed results.

One of the main catalysts for Wolves journey to the Premier League was the arrival of manager Nuno Espírito Santo in May 2017. Before his arrival the club’s Chinese owner’s Fosun International had struggled to recruit the right manager and had gone through three since they had bought the club. The other driving force behind their promotion push was their connection with super agent Jorge Mendes. Fosun had previously bought twenty percent of Mendes agency only seven months previous to their takeover of the club. While the FA states that agents are not allowed to have an influence on the running of a club, something that Sporting Director Jeff Shi has stated is not the case, they have recruited a number of his players printing other clubs to question just how much involvement Mendes has with the club’s hierarchy.
Premier League teams need a good spine and that’s what Jeff Shi and head of recruitment Kevin Thelwell acknowledged in the summer when they brought in a new goalkeeper, midfielder and striker whilst also securing some of their previous loan signings on permanent deals. Diego Jota and Wily Boly two players that performed well last season were signed to long term deals and have been ever presents in the team this season. Upfront the loan signing of Raul Jimenez has been a masterstroke as harder a slow start he has really taken to leading the line in the Premier League chipping in with twelve goals and seven assists so far.

The signing of Portugese Internationals Rui Patricio and Joäo Moutinho for reasonable fees were clever as they added much needed experience to a team made up of largely Championship Players. This would add a solidity to the back line and also help improve other players around them such as Matt Doherty. The specific targeting of such players was a clear sign that the board had a long term strategy when it came to the overall style of the team and how they would go about remaining in the Premier League.

Over at Fulham the recruitment process did not seem to be as focused. The club relied heavily on the input from James Lovell who was Head analyst at the club and used his model when it came to identifying certain players with Director of Football Tony Khan having the final say on who the club purchases. The input from then manager Slavisa Jokanovic was apparently minimal when it came to choosing players and his involvement was kept to a minimum, with rumours he was unhappy about his lack of involvement. His eventual replacement Claudio Ranieri seemed much more willing to work with Khan and the club’s recruitment model.
Fulham spent big this summer with an outlay of just over a hundred million pounds, the largest amount any promoted team has ever spent. In total twelve players were signed in the summer but a lot of their spend went on only a handful of players.

The signing of not one but two goalkeepers in the summer seemed strange considering Marcus Bettinelli, who had been their keeper for the previous season had just received a call up to the England squad for the first time. He was told at the start of the season that he was dropped to the bench and was now third choice. Should they have been more focused on signing players in different areas of the pitch?

Two of their biggest signings came in the form of midfielders Jean Michaël Seri and André Zambo Anguissa. Both were imported from Ligue 1 for large fees but have found the pace of the League tough to deal with. In Anguissa’s case he has only started around half the games. When you spend so much money on only two players you are taking a big gamble on your seasons outcome. Especially when both players have never played in England before. It can be a lot to ask of a player to hit the ground running straight away. A good example of this is over at Anfield and how long it took for Fabinho to acclimatise to the English game. He hardly featured in the first half of the season but has since settled well and looks to be a great signing. Fulham should have possibly foreseen this situation happening with their two major signings and possibly recruited someone from the Premier League or kept the same midfield that saw them promoted and introduce their new new signings into the team gradually instead of expecting them to hit the ground running from the first game.
In the attacking department they performed admirably with Alexander Mitrovic finding the net on a regular basis. Andre Schurrle was brought in on a two year loan and managed six goals which is not a bad return but the same could not be said for fellow lonee forward Lucianno Vietto who has struggled for goals, only finding the net once so far this season. One of the biggest disappointments has been Ryan Sessegnon. The Championship player of the year winner the season previous struggled to maintain the form that won him so many accolades and saw himself in and out of the team due to some patchy performances.

In the end what has cost Fulham their place is the inability to defend as they have conceded goals at a catastrophic rate. In January they failed to bolster their defence which seemed like a big misstep from the board. They instead brought in Ryan Babel to try and add a more attacking edge to their midfield but ultimately it was conceding goals that put them down, not their ability to score them. Sacking their manager twice in one season has also hindered any sort of cohesion the team would have had as new managers have new ideas and opinions on players.

When it comes to survival in the league though it is a case of fine margins. Both clubs loaned in a striker they hoped would score the goals to keep them up but that has only came to fruition for one team. While Matt Doherty has flourished in his new environment and become one of the best attacking wing backs in the league, Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon has struggled and not gone up a level like most had expected. It’s these breaks that can make or break a team’s season. The connection with Jorge Mendes is not something to be overlooked either as signing Champions League level players like Patricio and Moutinho has definetly given Wolves an advantage over their rivals.

GOOD WEEKEND / BAD WEEKEND

GOOD WEEKEND – BAD WEEKEND

😀 ANDY ROBERTSON – Now has the same amount of Premier League career assists as Jack Wilshere , and has 9 this season which is the most Ronaldo, scholes and Coutinho ever managed in a single season. The best left back in the league ?

😀 MARCUS RASHFORD – His goals are proving invaluable as United chase a champions league spot. He’s now hit double figures and in 26 games, 9 less than he played in the entire league last season.

😀 PORTSMOUTH – Anything bad that could have happened to them over the last number of years has – multiple relegations, winding up orders and administrations so it was great to see the largest fan owned club in the English Leagues win a cup.

😀 THE RACE FOR THE PLAY OFFS – Just 4 points separate 5th place and 11th place in the Championship with any of the teams involved capable of nabbing one of the last 2 play off spots.

🙁 CARDIFF – I don’t like Neil Warnock but you can’t help but feel sorry for his Cardiff team after the robbery that took place on Sunday. One of the most blatant offsides you will ever see called incorrectly. A massive blow to Cardiffs survival hopes.

🙁 HUGO LLORIS – He’s been shite for a while now and it has cost Spurs plenty of points this season. He was at it again on Sunday as he failed to collect what was a straight forward header. He must have had Liverpool in an acca.

🙁 ALFREDO MORELOS – The STRIKER, yes you read that correctly Striker received his 5th red card of the season this weekend as he was wound up by Scott Brown. I wonder was he warned about that before the game? Somehow I’d say he was.

🙁 INTER MILAN – The Spaletti/ Icardi shit show continues as the manager didn’t include the Argentinian in the squad and then proceeded to hammer him in the post match interviews. They will need to realise it soon if they are to finish in a champions league spot.

Anyone else have a great / Not so great weekend ? Comment below ⬇️