Big wins on the cards for Arsenal and Manchester City…
I think you have to favour both home teams – Arsenal and Manchester City.
Both of these teams have been in great form during the first stages of this season. Although I do not want to criticize Tottenham Hotspur for their excellent play and the fact that they are capable of winning at Emirates, I think Arsenal will prevail.
Manchester City, Manchester United in a derby are both tasty fixtures. To be fair, the old cliche that “form goes out the window in derbies” is very true in this instance. Although the form guide is not appropriate for a fixture this large, I believe that Pep Guardiola’s men will prevail.
Derbies are a lot more technical than they used to be. I expect this to continue this weekend.
I think the referee’s instructions for games to flow wherever possible will be a positive thing for fans. If Jack Grealish plays for Citizens, it’s likely that you will see United players flying into him and possibly getting away with it. This will likely be true for Gabriel Martinelli and Bukayo Taka for Arsenal. These fixtures are certain to have some bite.
I can’t see any other wins for either away team than City or Arsenal.
Virgil Van Dijk’s move to Liverpool did not help Harry Maguire, and here’s why…
Harry Maguire moved from Hull City into Leicester City. He did well but anyone who has been watching football for a long time will be aware that he is not Franco Baresi nor Rio Ferdinand. Maguire is a classic, strong defender who can kick it, head it and organize the team around him. Any club that has been following football for 60 years or more would have taken him up.
But Maguire and Manchester United both had to deal with the fact that the Red Devils were in a very turbulent time at the time he arrived from Leicester City. They needed to strengthen their team’s spine. They also needed a dominant defender. That was demonstrated by Eric Bailly, but unfortunately it didn’t work out. Maguire’s importance has been increased even more. It is often compared to Jaap Stam and Nemanja Vidic. Maguire was not helped by
‘s signing of Virgil Van Dijk, who cost around PS75m. Even though he was a very successful transfer, Liverpool’s signing of Van Dijk for around PS75m was a huge step up and allowed Leicester City to ask for the same fee.
If Van Dijk had not moved to Anfield Maguire would have likely left Leicester City for more than PS40m. The pressure on Maguire would have been far lower and his price tag, over which he had no control, would have become the weapon that the media and some fans used to beat him with.
Criticism has gone too far…
The players know that there will always be a lot of attention on the highest-priced players, but they don’t expect for the criticism to go beyond playing performances and to become personal attacks. This is exactly what Maguire is experiencing.
Everyone knows that Manchester United was a mystery a few years back. This is because they had a top team but weren’t gelling on field. Maguire seems to be the victim of this.
I was shocked to see a television broadcaster and a website make a slur about Maguire after he was relegated with Hull City and then came to United. United missed out on Champions League football and has now been relegated to Nations League’s B division. This is grossly unfair.
That punditry that says “Look at all these relegations. What is the common denominator?” is not constructive criticism. – Maguire. It must have been his fault!” – Why doesn’t that logic also apply to Liverpool’s Andy Robertson. He was also relegated by Hull City, and has not made Scotland a serious contender for international football. It is important to be consistent with our approaches, and Maguire’s case shows that it is.
Maguire may not have been playing well for 18 months but I don’t believe he is the cause of England’s and United’s problems. It would be fair to say that Maguire has been part of it. It’s a team sport, so no matter what contributions a player makes (good or bad), they are all part of the 11 and that must be remembered.
Time at Old Trafford is running out but there will be a lot of clubs interested…
He is unlikely to get back in Erik ten Hag’s starting 11. It is possible that ten Hag would choose to play with a back five. However, that’s not what I see.
Maguire may be allowed to come in for domestic cup matches. Ten Hag might even let him join the under-23s. Although I believe Maguire will be a professional enough to put his head down and do what is asked, I feel his time at Old Trafford is coming to an abrupt end.
Maguire is represented by Paul Stretford. He was my agent as a professional player. I know Stretford won’t want his star client to be sitting around doing nothing. He will be aware that he has a huge asset and will want him playing.
Maguire is likely to return to Manchester after a successful campaign in the World Cup. If he has a great run, it is highly probable that he will be a sought-after player and leave United at the next transfer window.
Some people might argue that Stan would be a good candidate to sell Man United’s captain mid-season.
I believe so.
Let’s just be completely honest: Maguire is not United’s captain anymore. Maguire only holds that title on paper, because ten Hag wasn’t going to let him go.
Trent Alexander-Arnold is too good for England to ignore…
It’s unlikely Maguire, with Raphael Varane or Lisandro Martinez, will be able to get back in that squad. This means that when Maguire is forced out, both the club and the fans won’t mind. It doesn’t matter whether a captain is sold or not as long as the team moves in the right direction.
It is still the highest peak when you are called up to your national team. While some might argue that the Champions League is more prestigious, I believe World Cups are still the highest. They only happen once every four years.
Trent Alexander-Arnold from Liverpool is one of the few players who have come close to making it but has not been able to make it internationally.
I have had the pleasure of playing with Gareth Southgate twice in my career. He was my captain at Crystal Palace’s youth team and again at Aston Villa. I know for a fact that he loves round pegged players because they are round holes.
Southgate’s priority when it comes to fullbacks is to defend and then attack and unfortunately for Alexander–Arnold, that is exactly what his game is.
Alexander Arnold will give his manager many offensive and creative options. But his greatest concern is his ability to go back towards his goal. This was the case for him when he played in a very strong Liverpool team so it is understandable Southgate’s cautiousness. I believe that Southgate is concerned that Maguire and John Stones, who are not in their best form, will be under greater defensive pressure if Alexander Arnold was on the right side. Alexander-Arnold’s advice would be to just keep going. Keep showing up when you are needed and waiting for the right opportunity.
Although it’s unlikely that he will play in the Qatar World Cup this winter, he cannot give up. He is only 23 years old so he still has at least two World Cups in his future.
Southgate or another manager will give him the chance. I wish him well and that he grabs it with both his hands. He is too great to be ignored.
Whether it is Southgate that gives him that chance or another manager, he will get it and when he gets it, I hope he grabs it with both hands because he is just too good to ignore.