Pochettino questions the Readiness of Tottenham to win Title

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Mauricio Pochettion thinks that Tottenham is not ready to win a title and they need to build themselves in the summer. In the beginning of the month they were hunting three fronts this season but they slipped up in the Premier League. After the defeat against Gent in Europa League, the Spurs are now down to one.

The FA Cup is also full of hurdles. If they overcome Millwall in the quarter finals, Tottenham still have to defeat two of the league’s top six in order to put an end to their wait for the silverware. Pochettino’s squad may have to chase for a place in the top four that will resume on Sunday at home to the ninth placed Stoke.

Pochettino and his players need to work a lot more in order to achieve something that Tottenham never did before. Pochettino believes that the expectations have been pushed higher this season as they had finished second, third in the league last season. But he thinks that the Spurs are not ready for a win yet. They need to build a strong foundation first.

The most important thing for him is the club and he also said that their chairman has built the foundation. They have new facilities on the ground and new stadium in order to build a better and stronger and bigger club.

They need patience to work hard and to build a stronger team with addition of players that can achieve the goals. Tottenham cannot compete with the clubs like Chelsea and Manchester City in the transfer market as they have restricted spending power due to the construction of new stadium.

Pochettino has maintained the same set of players this season and Victor Wanyama was the only new addition from last summer to have made a positive impression, whereas, Vincent Janssent, Moussa Sissoko and Georges-Kevin Nkoudou were all seen struggling.

Pochettino believes that football is more about quality and being clever. He said that they need to add quality to the team in order to improve. This is not the right time to talk and Tottenham needs to find quality players with the right profile to play for the club. Tottenham will be without Danny Rose and Erik Lamela due to their injuries.

Mark Hughes said that he cannot rule out Stoke being thumped by Tottenham once again. But the Potters boss is confident about his players and he thinks that his players are in a better shape now than the last time both the teams met in terms of their chances to score a positive result against Tottenham.

Stoke have been defeated by 4-0 by the Spurs in their last two meetings. The recent one was in September during a sequence in which Hughes’ team failed to win any of their opening premier league games of the season.

They bagged three victories in this weekend’s clash at White Hart Lane. Hughes said that his team has improved a lot after the game in September. He is hoping for a positive result for his side this time. He said that his team his ready to shine bright and sharp. Xherdan Shaqiri is all set to come back to Stoke’s matchday squad after missing the last three matches due to calf injury.

 

In an era of supreme egos, Man United grateful for Lingard’s presence

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Manchester United have seen their successes with some of the outstanding performances by the stars but the club would have been nowhere without their squad players. They play without any fuss and step in at any moment and perform beautifully just the way they are asked to. Managing the squad players is not an easy task and some club fail to maintain the balance with the squad. This requires a perfect combination of temperament and talent. Jose Mourinho may be grateful to Jesse Lingard for his presence in this era of supreme egos.

Lingard’s style of playing is sometimes significant of the roaming Swedish winger, Jesper Blomqvist who provided the much-needed thrust in the final third for Man United. Lingard did not have an extremely remarkable season but he definitely had a good one. It was above average and could be called as a 7 out of 10 performance. But a 7 is what United need most often.

Lingard was introduced at half time against St. Etienne in the Europa League. Marouane Fallaini was looking cumbersome against the visitor’s fleet-foot midfield and that is when Mourinho called for Lingard. The England international’s dynamic drive helped his team to bag a 3-0 victory which is a score as deceptive as Old Trafford will see all season. United could have conceded a late equaliser before Zlatan made the game. Lingard helped to stretch and spread the play before that point of the game as Rashford made the breakthrough for United’s crucial second.

This year has seen a lot of low points for Lingard. He showed a poor performance in the first half against Manchester City at home in the derby loss in the Premier League. This was a game where City seemed to play a game from the realms of science fiction. He also had a struggling match against Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup. This year can be summed up for him in one line- ‘his execution is not as good as his work ethic’.

It is difficult to see how it could go wrong for Lingard as he offers intelligent movement of the ball and a considerable speed on the counter attack. He has scored the most spectacular goal in the recent history of Man United that claimed the club’s first trophy of the post Sir Ferguson era, the 2015-16 FA Cup. It was rare moment when Lingard took the centre stage.

There were a great number of obstacles before him and there may be one or two instances where he could not believe that it would all work out despite his robust self-belief. Now Lingard has a value in the squad that is more than the numbers and goes beyond the pitch. He has been vital in Pogba’s settling in on his return to Old Trafford. He is a great stand in when Juan Mata is withdrawn. With United’s great success this year and next year, Lingard’s name might not be on the billboard but he will definitely be a proud part of the supporting cast in bold letters.

 

Chelsea vs. Man United is fascinating because of Mourinho

 

jose-mourinho-manchester-united_uwfhfs8ahy3u1lwegk9f3j91aNon-league quarterfinal between Sutton United and Lincoln City has caught some imagination but the most tempting tie in the last eight of the FA Cup is definitely between Chelsea and Man United. The tie is overflowing with intrigue as it is the Blue vs. Red, Conte vs. Mourinho and Costa vs. Ibrahimovic.

The clubs have been competing against each other since centuries and most of the memories are not in favour of Chelsea supporters. In 1994, the Blues faced a damp and Glenn Hoddle’s team fell 4-0 to Manchester United in the Wembley rain. After two years, Ruud Gullit nodded Chelsea to the lead in the semi finals but Andy Cole’s equaliser and David Beckham’s winning goal turned the table for the Blues.

In the year 1998, Chelsea were the Cup holders and Man United were the reigning Champions when they met at Stamford Bridge for their third round. United took a lead of 5-0 until stupendous chip by Graeme Le Saux over Peter. The matched ended with a score of 5-3 announcing a victory for the visitors.

After the replay in 1999, Man United were victorious again. Chelsea had to wait for eight long years to take revenge in the FA Cup. In 2013 they contested for the quarter final and attained a comeback with the score 2-0 after an amazing shot from Eden Hazard at Old Trafford.

Apart from the huge stature and ambition of the two clubs, another fascinating element in the next instalment of the FA Cup rivalry is because of Jose Mourinho. His association with the Londoners indicate that any reunion will be heavily scrutinised. His actions and words in the recent past have shown that the build up is going to get more intense.

Mourinho has been mocking Chelsea’s overly defensive way of playing and he also quoted that ‘they score one goal and they win’. He recently commented that counter-attacking football has now become a form of art and not a way to win points. He believes that his work at Chelsea was not well appreciated by those of outside Stamford Bridge but his attitude towards Conte’s squad is hypothetical and incorrect.

Mourinho should feel proud about his achievements in Chelsea as his winning mentality was the reason for the club to turn into champions. He also laid the foundation for Chelsea’s Champions League triumph in 2012.

Chelsea has bagged more goals than Mourinho’s squad this campaign. This indicates that his thoughts about his former team’s performance is unjustifiable and shows the negativity surrounding Manchester United. This sort of attitude was not on show during Chelsea’s 4-0 rout of Man United in October.

The fans of Blues still hold a special place for Mourinho as they believe that he had a huge contribution in the team’s success and at times they defend his most nonsensical actions. May be he is just upset about the fact that Conte is receiving the same reverence that was once meant for him.

Mourinho had a warm welcome at Stamford Bridge during his visit in October. The FA quarter final in March will decide if the situation remains the same or the heat will become more uncomfortable for the visiting manager.

Arsene Wenger could reclaim Arsenal season

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At the news conference on Friday, Wenger cleared it with his defiant tone that he hasn’t decided to quit as the Arsenal boss yet even after the 5-1 loss to Bayern Munich on Wednesday. He is still hoping for an upturn in Arsenal’s season and he is not going to make any decision until March or April.

It is impossible to hope for a comeback against Bayern but Arsenal is hoping for Chelsea to stumble upon the Premier League title race. Wenger is expecting a third FA Cup in the last four years. It is little too optimistic for Wenger to expect seeing the current form of Arsenal but he has the reason to believe that things can still turn around.

Arsenal have always found their best forms at the end of their campaigns and mostly after the end of the Champions League in March every year. They are in need of a strong run which will turn the game in Wenger’s favour again.

Similar pattern has emerged in the last four seasons. In 2012-13, Arsenal’s near-comeback at Bayern Munich fell short and they were left with only top-four finish in the Premier League as they exited from the FA Cup race. They were only fifth during mid-April when the Gunner’s had an eight wins and two draws in the final 10 games to defeat their rivals Tottenham in the final Champions League spot for a single point.

In 2013-14, Wenger’s contract was ending in summer and his future looked doubtful after the second straight exit at Bayern Munich in the Champions League. Arsenal turned the table in April and kicked the gear high after finishing the season with five league wins and they lifted the FA Cup after coming from 2-0 down against Hull in the final. This helped Wenger to grab another three year deal with the squad and a new dawn for the Gunners.

After a disappointing start, Arsenal bounced back in the Champions league with four continuous victories in 2014-15. This also included a 4-1 hammering against Liverpool and the extra-time win over in the FA Cup Semi-finals. They got a direct qualification to the Champions League and bagged their second FA Cup. The pattern has been similar for the team in every season which shows their comeback after a disappointing start.

This provides a reason to Arsenal boss to have faith in his team in order to return in the game and get back to their form. The tables can turn anytime and Arsenal might make their comeback in the upcoming matches.

In 2015-16, Arsenal did not lose a single match in the League after the 3-1 defeat to Barcelona in the return leg at Camp Nou. They finished the Premier League with five wins and four draw matches. After the disappointing matches with West Ham, Crystal Palace and Sunderland, they still managed to put Tottenham in the second place and finish the final day of the season on a high.

Another strong finish might save Arsene Wenger and he is hopeful to grab another FA Cup which might earn him another new deal with the club. If the history is taken into consideration, it is too early to count him out yet.