Tag Archives: Mauricio Pochettino

Manchester United “killed” the FA Cup, Pochettino fails again, Arsenal transfer news and Henry disappoints

FA Cup 4th round tonight as Arsenal face Manchester United.

There is a bed sheet going round on Twitter which states “Friday night TV, 4000 stolen tickets, The FA + Arsenal killing the FA Cup”.

Whilst I understand the sentiment and frustration of the fan, it is extremely misguided.

The FA have not done much to help the FA Cup. They have sold their soul to TV companies at home and abroad meaning that we now have Friday night and Monday night games. In the 3rd round, games were moved from 3pm to lunchtime despite not being on UK TV. This was to give foreign broadcasters a wider choice on who to show.

The rest of the banner is laughable.

Let’s take the tickets firstly.

Manchester United have not given 15% allocation for years. They have hidden behind health and safety and supported by the FA, so to talk about “stolen tickets” is a joke. Maybe they should petition their own club first to give away fans the right and proper ticket allocation?

Once Man U begins doing so, they might find other clubs doing the same to them.

Also he needs to question his fellow fans.

One of the problems at the Emirates is club level and executive boxes between upper and lower tier. This means that on FA Cup games, you could have away fans above and below Arsenal fans in the middle. This would be OK if fans could behave themselves, but they can not.

There have been numerous stories over the years of fans in club level being spat on, coins being thrown and, disgustingly, cups of urine dropped from the upper tier. If you can not behave yourself, do not expect to get a full ticket allocation.

As for killing the FA Cup, let me take your mind back to 1999.

Manchester United had just won the Champions League, completing a historic treble. They were due to take part in the inaugural World Team Championship. It take place between the 4th and 15th of January, meaning that they would miss FA Cup 3rd Round day.

Mancheaster United accepted an offer from the FA to not play in the cup.

The FA wanted United to play in the new tournament in Brazil – because they believe it could aid England’s 2006 World Cup bid. England lost their bid and Man U did not even make it out of their group.

It was that day the cup died.

Both Man U and the FA decided that the competition was low priority. That teams could just “skip” it to play elsewhere. So if United fans want someone to blame for “killing the FA Cup”, by all means blame the FA, but also blame your own club.

Manchester United are more to blame for the dying FA Cup than any other side.

In other news Tottenham confirmed it would be 11 years without a trophy last night as they crashed out of the League Cup to Chelsea.

I had to laugh during the game as the caption came up on the screen when Sky showed Maurico Pochettino and Maurizio Sarri.

Pochettino’s said “252nd game in charge of Spurs” whilst Sarri’s said “Still yet to win his first major honour”. It was the same captions in the first league.

This highlights the pro-Tottenham agenda within the media.

Yes, Sarri is still looking for his first major honour, but so is Pochettino. Why is it relevant to mention it about the Chelsea manager, but not the Tottenham? It is almost like the media are trying to hide the fact the Pochettino is in his 10th season as a manager, his 5th at Spurs, and has nothing to show for it.

As for those saying “he is only 46”. Well before Unai Emery is only 47-years-old. At 46 he had already won 3 Europa League’s with Sevilla and 7 trophies with PSG in France.

It is clear who the serial winner is…

Arsenal have been lined with PSG central midfielder Christopher Nkunku.

I would normally have written this off as his agent linking his client with Arsenal to get him in the British press – with the hope of a move to a Premier League club. However the move has been confirmed by David Ornstein.

A few have said “but what abut Ainsley Maitland-Niles”., and they do have a point.

On paper Nkunku and Maitland-Niles do seem similar. Central midfielders who are versatile, and the same age. But we should not see it as Nkunku replacing Maitland-Niles, but repalcing Ramsey.

Emery clearly likes playing 3 central midfielders. As it stands we have Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi, Mohamed Elneny and Maitland-Niles. We ideally need 6 if we are going to play 3, so we need to buy.

Rather than go for an ageing talent in Ever Banega, we are targeting a youngster with talent. This is the type of recruitment we need to get back to. Players under 25 who can develop, rather than on established players who command a high wage and have no sell on value.

And Nkunku would also be a replacement for Elneny.

We get Nkunku, we then have 4 central midfielders who are 22 or under – with Xhaka the elder statesman at just 26. It would then be an area of the park that we would not have to invest in for a couple of years.

Finally sad news from France.

Thierry Henry has been sacked by Monaco.

It does not come as much of a surprise. Monaco was a sinking ship having got into bed again with Jorge Mendes. They moved away from what had won them the league – signing and developing bright young talent – and returned to signing ageing has-beens.

It was a tough job for Henry to take. One that he was always likely to struggle at. He has not helped himself with some of his comments, however you can see his frustration with some of the overpaid senior players.

Some people are saying “thank god we didn’t employ Henry” but to judge him on his first job would not make sense.

Henry clearly loves the game, and has a lot to give. Monaco was just the wrong job.

He could do with going to a club filled with young talent, where he can develop that talent – both the bodies and mind. A bit like what Frank Lampard is doing at Derby. I hope he gets another chance.



Real News: The FA Cup draw; Fake News: Arsenal transfers

Morning. Everyone else flued up?

The only real Arsenal news over the last 24 hours was the FA Cup draw.

It sums it up when the draw was more interesting than the Round 3 games. Although watching Liverpool get knocked out was enjoyable.

As the balls were pulled out, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United remained in the perspex bowl. 10 teams left. 8 teams left. 6 teams left. 4 teams left. The aforementioned plus Crystal Palace.

All that was important at this stage is we were drawn at home, regardless of who it was against.

A home tie against Manchester United is easier than an away game in South London.

Due to playing Cardiff City in the league on the Tuesday, Arsenal will play Man U on either Friday night or Saturday. It will be picked for TV.

It will be interesting to see what sort of side both teams put out, as they both play Premier League games on the following Tuesday. I imagine they will be very changed to the sides put out in the 3rd round.

Whilst the FA Cup is real news, there has been plenty of fake news in the last couple of days. Mainly to do with transfers.

It is that time of year when journalists earn their coin, fabricating (or exaggerating) transfer stories. Articles for clicks. Clicks for revenue.

In the last couple of days, Arsenal have had a £63m bid accepted by Real Madrid for James Rodriguez, agreed a £200,000 a week contract with Yannick Carrasco, approached Juventus for Medhi Benatia, been turned down by Pepe, and are set to lose out on Denis Suarez to West Ham as we can not afford the £20m fee.

What a load of rubbish.

So on one hand they are saying we are offering a club record transfer fee for a player who Bayern Munich have first option on (at half the price – they would just trigger the clause, then sell him to us. Easy profit), that we are offering a contract to a player far in access to what was on the table for Aaron Ramsey, but then there are reports we have no money. Want to loan a player from Barcelona, not sign him.

No one really knows what is going on. Not journalists, not fake ITKs who pretend to be journalists, not your mate Dave down the Dog and Duck.

Ultimately all these people are doing is trying to get attention (a bit like the idiot who moaned about Joe Willock after the teenager scored 2 goals for the club he loves in the FA Cup).

The last thing to talk about this morning is that lot up the road.

In an interesting interview, Mauricio Pochettino discusses parallels between his situation and Arsene Wenger’s.

Now ignore Pochettino’s complete lack of success compared to Wenger (or any manager to have won a trophy in English football), some interesting points were made.

Pochettino talks about an “unfair” expectation. That it is unrealistic to be expected to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool when you have huge financial constraints due a new stadium.

The most interesting part of the interview was when he talks about his future. He says he wants to be at Tottenham for 20 years, but then the doubt creeps in.

‘My only hope if I have the opportunity to talk with him is to ask if it was worth it. I don’t know what he would say. I would like to ask.”

He is wondering if it is worthwhile forgoing personal success for offers elsewhere where trophies are guaranteed (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG). Whether it is worthwhile trying to build something over a long period, only to be continually criticised for fans for perceived failure.

Pochettino is clearly talking about his own future.

Wenger turned down the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG whilst at Arsenal.

At all of these clubs he would have made more money, and had a better chance of winning trophies then he did at Arsenal. But he remained loyal. Kept faith in what he was doing. Backed himself to return the club to glory.

Would he say it was worth it? I do not know. But if Pochettino is already wondering if it is worthwhile staying, then he is also thinking about leaving…

A nice week with no football. A chance to recover after the hectic Christmas period. No boozing and get rid of this cold.


Emery the winner / Pochettino the failure

They are born less than 4 months apart. One on the 3rd of November 1971, the other on 2nd of March 1972. Both 46 years old. Yet one is considered as one of the brightest, best young managers in the game, whilst the other written off. Discarded. Considered a panic appointment in a messy recruitment process by Arsenal.

Unai Emery and Mauricio Pochettino. Two managers who are the same age, yet their story is so different. One is a proven winner with 8 major honours to his name. The other is yet to win his first trophy.

Since the announcement earlier this week that Emery was a poor appointment, I have found the hypocrisy and miss truths hilarious. Especially when you see the unjustified praise that surrounds Pochettino, and to a lesser Klopp.

Pochettino had a decent career at top level. 18 years that saw him go from Argentina to Spain, to France before returning to Spain, retiring in 2006 at 34. He played for the likes of Espanyol & PSG.

By the time Pochettino had retired, Emery was already into management. A journeyman playing career that saw him play throughout the Spanish league was ended by serious injury at 32. Despite no previous managerial experience, he was offered the vacant manager position at his final club, Lorca Deportiva, by the club president .

He immediately helped the club achieve promotion to the second division for the first time in its history. In his second season, the Murcians’ first ever in the second division, the team finished fifth with 69 points, only five points off promotion to the top flight. They suffered relegation in 2007, after the manager’s departure.

Emery then moved to Almería in division two, and again helped his squad overachieve: after guiding them to a first ever promotion in 2007, the Andalusian side finished eighth in La Liga in 2007–08.

By the time Pochettino had entered management in 2009 with Espanyol, Emery had already spent a year at Valencia, leading them to a sixth place-finish in spite of the club’s serious financial problems.

It is at this point, the line of Pochettino and Emery’s managerial career gets close.

Both stayed managing their clubs in Spain until 2012. During that time, Emery led Valencia to 3 third places finishes on the spin in La Liga. Continually rebuilding the side despite losing the likes of David Villa, David Silva and Juan Mata.

During those same 3 seasons, Pochettino led Espanyol to league finishes of 11th, 3rd and 14th.

Emery left Valencia in June 2012 to take over a job at Spartak Moscow. He would be sacked in November, a month before Pochettino had quit Espanyol to take over the Southampton job.

Emery returned to Spanish football on 14 January 2013. 4 days later, Pochettino was announced as the new first-team manager of Premier League club Southampton.

It was at this point both managers careers became drastically different, with Emery going on to great success at Sevilla, whilst Pochettino won nothing at Southampton, left for Spurs where he has still won nothing.

It was 3 Europa League wins on the spin that led Emery to join PSG on a two-year-deal in 2016.

In 2 clubs with the French side, he led them to 5 domestic honours out of a possible 6. The only trophy that got away was in his first season when an excellent Monaco side won the league with 95 points – just 1 off the Ligue 1 record.

He left PSG after struggles in the Champions League – although it should be noted he lost to Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The Emery story is one of a manager who took his first job at just 32, took 2 clubs to promotion and 1 side to 3rd in La Liga. A story of 3 European trophies and domestic domination in France – including the domestic treble.

Meanwhile, the Pochettino story contains very little real success. Finishing above a poor Arsenal team and “putting the pressure on” Chelsea for one season the highlights of what is now nearly a decade in management.

Just writing this blog highlights the gulf of class between the two. Yet the press are reporting the stories the other way round.

Following the English media, you would think Arsenal had just employed a man who had failed to win a trophy in 10 years, whilst the Spurs manager was one who had a decade of success and 15 years of experience.

I do understand some of the criticisms of Emery.

Not winning the league in France with PSG is a failure. But then Monaco got 95 points. Maybe we should actually be praising Monaco and Leonardo Jardim (who I am sure Arsenal would have approached) rather than using that season as a stick to bash Emery?

Emery’s lack of Champions League success with PSG has also been held against him.

In two years in Paris, he was knocked out at the last 16 stage both times. Against Real Madrid and Barcelona. It is not exactly failure to go out against those sides.

He came in for heavy criticism for the defeat to Barcelona, and rightly so. Leading 4-0 after the first leg, Barcelona beat PSG 6-1 at the Nou Camp to progress.

But I feel the Champions League criticisms are unfair.

Pep Guardiola has had equally as much to spend at Manchester City. In his two years in England, he is yet to win the Champions League.

Knocked out in the last 16 last year to Monaco, and Liverpool in the Quarter Finals this year. I do not see too many criticising Guardiola for his Champions League failures.

In fact, Guardiola has not led a team to Champions League success since 2011 with Barcelona – he failed to lift the trophy with Bayern Munich.

I do not see too many labelling Guardiola as a poor manager based on 7 years of Champions League failure with top clubs. Yet people are labelling Emery the same after his experience with PSG.

Back to Pochettino, we once more see his paths cross with Emery.

In his first two years at Spurs, he managed Spurs in the Europa League. Spurs were knocked out at the last 32 and last 16 stages.

The winners both of those years? Sevilla. Lead by Unai Emery.

One huge criticism of Unai Emery is his “lack of English”. But the language barrier, alongside his age, is probably the only thing he has in common with Pochettino.

Pochetinno spent year and a half hiding behind a translator at Southampton.

He made a decision to speak English only in private at St Mary’s. Emery is similar at the moment.

From watching UEFA interviews, he fully understands English, but chooses to answer in Spanish. This is due to him wanting to get his message across the press, without manipulation, ensuring nothing is lost in translation.

After a few months of living in England, and some confidence in himself to speak English in public, everything will be fine. English will be the language of the training ground.

Based on their careers so far, Emery has outperformed Pochettino. It would not be a big shock to see Emery win a trophy for Arsenal before Pochettino wins one for Spurs. He is the successful manager of the two, the winner. Even if the media will have you believe otherwise.