Considering the terrible week Chelsea had endured leading up to the game, the missed penalty from James Morrison and playing against ten men for forty minutes, West Brom can feel pretty aggrieved to have not claimed a point in their 2-3 defeat to the current Premier League Champions on Sunday. Yet Tony Pulis has more to feel aggravated by than his players; not only did the aforementioned circumstances and the way the game went made it seem very unlucky to have not claimed a point against his opposite number Jose Mourinho, but also the fact he was unable to call upon arguably his star player in Saido Berahino. The young Englishman is one of many household names currently embroiled in a transfer window saga.
Considering how the Chelsea defence had looked vulnerable to pace and speed that Berahino has in abundance, Pulis would have no doubt been desperately annoyed he could not call on his young striker. But the reason why is because Berahino felt ‘distracted’ by transfer speculation, followed by a transfer request that was rejected the day after the game.
Pulis may have been able to call upon his new signing Salomon Rondon, who led the line impressively with strength and power, but he rightly would have been cheesed off that he could partner the Venezuelan with a striker that no doubt Mourinho would have planned to be playing against.
Rondon’s run in behind caused John Terry to be sent off as he got the wrong side of the striker, but the whipped ball in behind by Chris Brunt would have surely been a more regular occurrence, had Berahino been available.
Pulis isn’t the only one. Louis Van Gaal exiling David De Gea to the stands may be seen as a demonstration of the Dutchman’s power, but secretly if you asked him whether he would have arguably his star player from last season in between the Old Trafford posts rather than current custodian Sergio Romero, undoubtedly he would side with the former.
Everton’s Roberto Martinez is more fortunate with John Stones; the elegant centre-half interesting Chelsea as a long term replacement for the aging and aforementioned John Terry, as he is able to play on despite his name filling back pages. But why should it be a problem?
The fact that Sky Sports News has managed to make a full day out of ‘transfer deadline day’ shows just how shoddy the whole transfer window is; the fact that, as soon as a ball is kicked for the final time in May, clubs have almost four months to arrange transfers in and out, and yet sometimes they don’t get it done until two hours AFTER the window is meant to shut.
Ronald Koeman was visibly annoyed at the fact his Southampton star Victor Wanyama has been linked with a move to Tottenham when asked about the speculation, but is it right that despite Saints getting done all but one of their deals done before the kick off at Newcastle two weeks ago, Spurs and others don’t?
Indeed, Jermaine Jenas told Yahoo sport that ‘Tottenham do the majority of business on deadline day’ but why should it come at the cost of Southampton, West Brom or any other club, that Daniel Levy should decide to conduct his business a week before the deadline, but three weeks into the season.
It should be simple. The clubs have three months to sort their squad the Friday a week before the season starts, and then the window is shut.
Need another left back? Tough, make do with what you have, or promote that promising youngster that for some reason you need to push further down the pecking order with the flashy new signing you want. The rules can be relaxed with a goalkeeping injury crisis, but only for an emergency loan.
It would let everyone know where they stand. David De Gea may really want that Real Madrid move, but if he knows it cannot happen until January at the earliest, he would undoubtedly grit his teeth and bear it.
The problem does come about, and Koeman will know this with his pursuit of Celtic centre-back Virgil Van Dijk, with the fact that Champions League qualifying. Considering entry into the European group stage is far more lucrative, Celtic want to keep their best players to ensure that; difficult when you’re looking somewhat troubled at the back and want that player to help that.
But perhaps the Premier League could, not for the first time, learn from their German cousins. Deals for the summer are often agreed in the months before; Max Kruse may have left Gladbach for Wolfsburg, but the fact it was agreed before the window helped the Foals to plan for the summer and how to replace him. Werder Bremen were the same with Davie Selke, and even the biggest club in the country Bayern Munich were sure to make sure Joshua Kimmich was their man.
But Wolfsburg are suffering too. Kevin De Bruyne, the player the team is built around and undoubted star of the show at the Volkswagen Arena, may well not be there if Manchester City’s hunt for the Belgian is successful. Whatever happens, Tony Pulis will have empathy for him. And Ronald Koeman. And Roberto Martinez.
But not Manuel Pellegrini. Or Jim White, yellow tie and all. For goodness’ sake.
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Jack Wilshere’s injury shows why Arsenal shouldn’t renew his contract
The 26-year-old has been struck down by yet another injury.
Jack Wilshere will be pleased with the progress that he has made since returning to Arsenal from his loan spell at Bournemouth.
He was initially nothing more than a squad player that was out in the cold at international level too, but the midfielder worked hard to gain more game-time in North London.
Across all competitions, he has played more than 30 matches and his form earned him a call-up to the England squad.
It looked like he was getting a once-promising career back on track, but almost like clockwork, he has suffered an injury to set him back once again.
Gareth Southgate confirmed that he wouldn’t be travelling to the Netherlands for Friday’s match and the quotes were reported by Sky Sports.
“It is not a specific injury and over time they flare up and they need to settle down over a couple of days.
“We are hopeful it will settle down pretty quickly. It’s an ongoing problem and it’s not something new for him. He’s very disappointed not to be involved in the game.
“He’s trained well though but if you think about the journey he’s had in the last two years and his big injuries then he’s progressing really well.”
Although it is encouraging that it isn’t a serious injury, it is a reminder that Jack Wilshere remains a risk for both club and country.
It is difficult to build a team around a player that is susceptible to miss matches and the quote from Southgate is a worry as he refers to an ongoing problem.
Arsenal have had a difficult campaign and they will be planning a rebuild over the next 48 months as they transition away from the Arsene Wenger era.
They will have to make tough decisions on many players at the club and Wilshere’s future will be brought into focus over the next few weeks as his contract expires at the end of the season.
There have been numerous reports regarding contract talks between the two parties and there is hesitancy on both sides.
This latest injury suffered by Wilshere and the comments from Southgate referring to an ongoing problem show why it is Arsenal who need to end this association.
Wilshere can’t be relied on to stay fit and to feature prominently in a busy schedule. Arsenal will have ambitions of challenging at the very top of the game and will likely be involved in European competition every season. They need to have a squad of players that are reliable and the 26-year-old isn’t that.
Aside from that, Wilshere represents what Arsenal have become over the last decade. He is a player that had a lot of potential, but he has failed to fulfil it and been very inconsistent at the highest level. Of course, he isn’t to blame for the club’s problems, but he is also unlikely to offer the solutions.
This season has been a nice farewell campaign for him. It would have been sad if his Gunners’ career had ended after being shipped out on loan to Bournemouth.
He has returned to earn some of his credibility back, but the club need to move on and progress if they are to get back to the top of the English game.
A lot of contentious decisions will need to be made and the first should be the release of Jack Wilshere this summer.
Why Jose Mourinho’s treatment of Luke Shaw has crossed the line
The Portuguese manager has been highly critical of Luke Shaw this season.
The fractious relationship between Jose Mourinho and Luke Shaw plumbed new depths when the left-back was substituted at half-time in Manchester United’s FA Cup victory over Brighton & Hove Albion. The 22-year-old had been handed a rare opportunity to impress at Old Trafford but lasted only 45 minutes.
Speaking about Shaw in his post-match interview, Mourinho said: “Luke, in the first half, every time they came in his corridor, the cross came in and a dangerous situation was coming. I was not happy with his performance.”
The differences between the pair now appear to be irreconcilable. Shaw, who was signed by Louis van Gaal in the summer of 2014, has been used sparingly by Mourinho. The former Southampton starlet has made just 18 Premier League appearances under the Portuguese in a career that has been blighted by injuries.
Being substituted at half-time is almost as embarrassing as it gets for a player and Shaw’s mood will not have improved after being publicly criticised by his manager. It’s certainly not the first time Mourinho has chosen to talk candidly to the media about his concerns with the 22-year-old.
Some players require an arm around the shoulder to perform at their peak, while for others it takes a kick up the backside. Mourinho, opting for the latter, does nothing without reason and has clearly tried to spark a reaction from Shaw, without success.
From being one of English football’s brightest prospects after making his World Cup debut aged just 18, Shaw, who has seven England caps to his name, is in danger of not fulfilling the potential that convinced United to spend what was then a world-record fee for a teenager.
Mourinho’s tactic of singling out individuals who have not met his standards is in stark contrast to Sir Alex Ferguson, who never blamed his players in public. It has divided opinion among pundits, with Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier claiming the United manager is ‘destroying’ Shaw.
Mourinho is an expert at using smokescreens to distract from his side’s unconvincing performances. And this latest controversy has moved the narrative on from United’s shock Champions League exit at the hands of Sevilla.
Tough love is one thing, but the sustained, public attack on Shaw is unacceptable. If Mourinho genuinely believes he is not good enough to represent United, then fair enough. But to continually vilify the youngster’s performances is a step too far and one that could irreparably damage Shaw’s confidence.
This is not to say that Shaw is a completely innocent bystander. Mourinho’s predecessor, Louis van Gaal, also questioned his desire and general conditioning when he joined United four years ago. Indeed, the Dutchman signed Shaw up to a tailored exercise regime in an effort to improve his fitness.
But while van Gaal’s treatment had the desired effect, Mourinho’s has done the opposite. Being publicly humiliated on a routine basis does neither party any favours.
In all likelihood, Shaw’s disappointing United career will come to an end this summer. A fresh start away from the toxicity under Mourinho is exactly what he needs.
Keanan Bennetts has perfect opportunity to impress Mauricio Pochettino this week
The left-sided star has a chance to impress in first-team training during the international break.
With the international week in full flow, plenty of teams in the Premier League have seen their squads diminished by call-ups to national teams.
Tottenham Hotspur are one such side. Nonetheless, with most of the first-team squad away with their respective nations, work continues at Hotspur Way.
In order for Spurs to have a full complement in training, plenty of young talent needs to be pulled in to the ranks.
Mauricio Pochettino will, therefore,e get a chance to see some of his young players training with regular first-team players such as Fernando Llorente, Erik Lamela and Lucas Moura.
One player who will be training with the first-team this week is talented wide-man Keanan Bennetts, according to London Live.
The 19-year-old left-winger has been catching the eye for the club’s youth team in recent weeks, making the news after scoring a fantastic goal for the under-19s against Monaco in the UEFA Youth League last month.
Bennetts has also been attracting interest for his positional dexterity. The wide-man has played at left-back in recent times and it could be that is his future best position.
This week he will be up against some excellent players such as Lamela and Moura, who did not receive selection to the Argentina and Brazil national teams, respectively.
If he can prove himself with this calibre of player, Pochettino will have to take notice.
It is coming to a point in his Tottenham career when Bennetts has to make such an impact. The teenager is out of contract at Spurs in the summer and needs to ensure he is kept on for at least one more season.
Tottenham fans who follow the youth teams are certain he is deserving of such a chance. If he can show Pochettino what he is capable of this week, then a new deal will surely be in the pipeline for the talented wide-man.
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