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Martin Samuel's column

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Martin Samuel's column

Post by blueboy on Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:16 am

Queer thing, the Champions League. Everyone wants to get in it and then, when they do, they never stop moaning.
About the fixtures, the travel, the toll on the players. Will no one think of the players? Yes, the same ones who are flown to Australia for a few quid the minute the season ends. For pity's sake, will nobody consider their physical wellbeing?
Everybody was unhappy this last weekend. Manchester United did not want to play Crystal Palace, Chelsea were not happy about facing Manchester City — and everybody had the hump with Liverpool for catching a break and a 4.30pm kick-off against Newcastle. None of the managers could understand why the Premier League did not do more to help them.

What form would this help take? Maybe a quick call from Richard Scudamore to ask Jose Mourinho what time he thought was appropriate to play the worst team in the league. Let's hope it didn't coincide with the time Antonio Conte wanted to play Manchester City, or there would be chaos.
And who was going to tell the television companies that for a fee measured in billions, no, they couldn't show the match they wanted, only the one that suited a handful of elite clubs. The ones who, coincidentally, are currently demanding an even bigger slice of broadcast revenue.
Conte complained most bitterly because his fixture was the hardest — Manchester City away. Sorry, at home, it's just that Chelsea played them as if it was at the Etihad.

Strangely, though, he wasn't so vocal on the subject when facing Tottenham last November, the Saturday after they had returned from a must-win Champions League game in Monaco. Tottenham went ahead against Chelsea but faded after half-time and lost 2-1. Maybe they were tired, too, and would have benefited from a Sunday kick-off? Nobody at Chelsea seemed too interested in exploring that theory back then.
They want it all ways, these guys. The vast riches that European football brings, with none of the cost. How much easier do they need it to be?
Between September 13 and September 30, there were five occasions when an elite Premier League team led by three goals inside 31 minutes. Manchester United against CSKA Moscow (3-0 in 26 minutes), Tottenham at Huddersfield (23 minutes), Arsenal against BATE Borisov (25 minutes), Manchester City against Feyenoord (25 minutes) and at Watford (31 minutes).
Yet still they wish the schedule adjusted to their suiting — as if this would not bring to an end one of the last levelling mechanisms between the haves and have-nots in the English game.

Crystal Palace haven't got a single player who would get in Manchester United's team. The same is true of Brighton and Arsenal, and Huddersfield and Tottenham. The only chance any of those clubs had at the weekend was if their elite opponents were coming off the back of a European fixture and had to make adjustments. Some players could be fatigued, others might be rested.
As it happened, none of that made a difference. The inferiors were swept aside, 10-0 on aggregate. Yet, still that isn't enough. The elite seem to want their supremacy gilt-edged and guaranteed. They will not be happy until there is no way they can be beaten. Who they think will pay to watch such one-sided rubbish, though, heaven knows.
 

Extravagant Aguero shows footballers can't buy luck 


Jimmy Greaves always said that in his playing days, the difference between the footballers and the fans was that, while they might be in the same pub, the players had the money to drink for longer. He put it at two or three extra rounds before the kitty ran out. 
That is why Sergio Aguero's unfortunate escapade in Amsterdam is being so harshly viewed. It is beyond the life experience of an ordinary person to pop to a foreign country by private plane for a concert. 
Yes, people travel more than they used to, and it is not unimaginable that a weekend away could take in a special show. But it would be the event of the year, planned well in advance. Money would be saved, prices compared, deals sought, scheduled airlines booked. 
It is Aguero's casual extravagance that is unfathomable to some. That a routine Thursday off could involve the swift summoning of a private plane, a concert in a foreign country and home again — as wholly unexceptional as a night out at the pictures. It isn't necessarily wrong, but it is too alien not to be judged. 

 

Pep is right about 'Harry Kane team'


Much grumpiness among Tottenham fans after Pep Guardiola described them as 'the Harry Kane team'. Those in the room when he said it would argue it was intended more as a compliment to the player than a slur on his team-mates but, even so, why be offended by the truth? Kane is utterly essential to his club, like no other player in the league right now. Tottenham find it considerably harder to win without his input.
In 2017, Kane has featured in 24 Premier League matches for Tottenham. In the 13 games in which he has scored, Tottenham's record is 13 wins. In the 11 in which he hasn't, Tottenham's record is Won 4 Drawn 4 Lost 3. 
The conclusion is simple: if Kane doesn't score, the result is in the balance. The difference is a winning record of 100 per cent, and of 36.3 per cent. There is no such thing as a one-man team, but some are more reliant on individuals than others — Dimitri Payet and West Ham, for instance. So it isn't an insult to call Tottenham 'the Harry Kane team'. This year, it's been the reality.
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Re: Martin Samuel's column

Post by ManCityMan on Tue Oct 03, 2017 1:18 pm

Mr Samuel talking a lot of sense once again, can't really find much fault in most of what he says there.
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