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1 hour ago, Magic Lamps said:

All those lineups are a joke apart from the Bundesliga and la liga ones which are okish. looks like someone only watches the highlights. But the PL one takes the mickey

Mount and sterling over foden, son, salah and mahrez?

Xhaka, lindelöf, robertson wtf




Riyad Mahrez



Phil Foden



granted not full season minutes  (3420 max possible), BUT that also is what hurts Rüdiger's and De Bruyne's cases

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12 hours ago, Magic Lamps said:

Guus twice. and Benitez if you can count that.

Usually no manager would want to leave this job even if their contract ran out. managers seeing out their contracts at top clubs is the exception anyway

Gus, of course. Somehow forgot about him.

Lovely reception, first time especially.

Rafa was very more muted. Some respectful appluase for the good job he did, but with  no real affection. Understandable after the stuff he said while at Liverpool. To this day we're stuck with the "Plastics" insults.

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David Squires on … the final day of the 2020-21 Premier League season

Our cartoonist looks back at the season finale, including a fairytale finish for the ESL clubs, some goodbyes and a tooth being lost



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The Fiver

Try telling Villarreal that this is a rinky-dink tournament


A replica of Big Vase living up to its Fiver name in Gdansk city centre.
camera.png A replica of Big Vase living up to its Fiver name in Gdansk city centre. Photograph: Tullio Puglia/Uefa/Getty Images
Paul Doyle

Paul Doyle


Twenty-three years, one month and eight days since his greatest moment as a player, Ole Gunnar Solskjær hopes to celebrate his greatest moment as a manager. So Wednesday brings an opportunity that few people ever get in life. Frankly, The Fiver will be disappointed if Rob Lee blows this chance.

There is no shortage of ingenious ways to pull off one of football’s great avenging acts before a Big Vase final featuring Solskjær’s side and Villarreal. You could tamper with Manchester United’s tactics board so that Aaron Wan-Bissaka is the designated corner-taker or Bruno Fernandes has to stay upright. You could hack into the United satnav to send their team coach to the home of rock ghoul Glenn Danzig rather than a fashionably branded stadium in Gdansk. Or you could just sit back and let Victor Lindelöf and a half-knacked Harry Maguire or his replacement get on with it.

All of which suggests fun-lovers should not be put off by the fact that United and Villarreal’s four previous encounters have produced a grand total of zero goals. This one really could be worth watching. And it’s definitely worth winning. Try telling Villarreal, who’ve never played in a European final before, that this is a rinky-dink tournament. See how blasé United fans will be if Solskjær’s side Arsenal this up.

Even Lord Ferg has made the trip to Poland to show how important Big Vase has become to Manchester’s second-best team since they tumbled out of Big Cup. In the buildup, Villarreal’s manager has been reflecting on a chat he had with Ferg when times were different; the message may be more relevant now than ever. “In [a] meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, where the elite coaches meet, I once launched a defence of [Big Vase] because it was a competition that has brought happiness to many teams who couldn’t win [Big Cup],” recalled Unai Emery. “Basically, eight teams can win [Big Cup], although there’s an exception every so often. The rest of us compete happily in [Big Vase] and it makes our fans happy to compete for a title, share those moments, that enthusiasm.”


Join Rob Smyth at 5.30pm BST for all the buildup to, and then minute-by-minute coverage of, Villarreal 1-2 Manchester United.


“When I got to the bedroom door I felt the smell of burning. I saw that there was a lot of black smoke and I felt the heat. I went to the window and opened it. There is a ledge there and that allowed me to go out and lean against the frame with my knees and hold on to the window with my hands. Between the arrival of the firefighters and the moment when they started working it will have been about 30 minutes. [One firefighter] pushed me into the crane. [It] was not so close and they were holding out a rope, telling me to ‘pull it towards you.’ Before they came I was quiet, crouched so that the smoke would not reach me, but without having to jump” – Rentistas midfielder Francisco Duarte describes how he had to dangle from a window 11 stories up to escape a blaze while in hotel quarantine before the Copa Libertadores match at Racing Club Avellaneda.

Francisco Duarte, seen here in calmer times.
camera.png Francisco Duarte, seen here in calmer times. Photograph: Sebastião Moreira/Reuters


Tickets are available now for Football Weekly Live’s Euro Not 2020 preview special on 10 June. Get them while they’re hot.


“Great to read that Tottenham’s Kyle Walker has made England’s provisional Euros squad (yesterday’s Fiver). So much for all the speculation that he wanted to move to Manchester City in order to win trophies” – Christian Goldsmith (and 1,056 others).

“I know I should know better, but I was reading yesterday’s Fiver in the hope of some proper journalistic content (yes, I know …). I had hoped that your News, Bits and Bobs would be the place to find some coverage of Dundee’s magnificent performance in strolling to a play-off victory over Kilmarnock on Monday night. A quick glance saw the word ‘Dundee’, but only in reference to our poor, wee neighbours losing yet another manager. Poor show all round. In addition, surprised no one opted for Euro Trash as the name of the Europa Conference League” – Stuart McLagan.

“What better item highlights ‘an item of no use, that no one needs, recalling a place that no one wanted go to’? Why, it’s the Conference Fridge Magnet” – Michael Lloyd.

“How about a trophy in the shape of a broken pencil because the whole thing is pointless?” – Al Slinn.

“May I suggest Big Bin as that’s where all the leftovers end up?” – Nick Passingham.

Send your letters to [email protected]. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Stuart McLagan.


A judge has ruled there is no case to answer in the trial of two former South Yorkshire police officers and the force’s former solicitor, who had been charged with perverting the course of justice for amending police statements after the Hillsborough disaster. “The legal system in this country really has to change,” said Margaret Aspinall, whose 18-year-old son, James, was one of the 96 people who were unlawfully killed at Hillsborough. “It’s the cover-up of the cover-up of the cover-up.”

Manchester United fans have been targeted in an attack at a Gdansk bar before Wednesday’s final against Villarreal.

Malky Mackay has taken over as manager of Ross County amid supporter concerns about text messages he sent while at Cardiff that he admitted were “disrespectful of other cultures”.

Eberechi Eze was to have been part of England’s provisional squad for Euro Not 2020 before the Crystal Palace forward suffered his nasty achilles-knack.

Arsenal are in talks with Lyon about swapping WSL goal machine Vivianne Miedema for Nikita Parris.

Nikita Parris (left) and Vivianne Miedema: deal or no deal?
camera.png Nikita Parris (left) and Vivianne Miedema: deal or no deal? Composite: Getty Images

Liverpool are closing on a £35m move for Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konaté, with Jürgen Klopp deciding to parcel up Ozan Kabak and return him to Schalke when his loan deal ends.

And Ligue Urrrrrn champions Lille have been unable to persuade manager Christophe Galtier from waltzing out the door marked Faire Un. “We can only thank him for everything he has brought here,” sniffed chief suit Olivier Letang.


Ole Gunnar Solskjær is hoping to complete a moment of personal triumph in Big Vase final against Villarreal, writes Jamie Jackson.

Unai Emery, however, has a ruddy good plan to take down United, according to Sid Lowe.

Édouard Mendy is set to play in Big Cup final on Saturday, which is a world away from where he started. Jacob Steinberg looks back on his intriguing career.

Nick Ames tells Gareth Southgate not to burn out Union Jack Grealish. Will he listen?

Beware! The loanees are coming back. Ben McAleer on the players returning to their parent clubs intent on making an impact.

Oliver Skipp, Harvey Elliott and William Saliba have all been out on loan this season.
camera.png Oliver Skipp, Harvey Elliott and William Saliba have all been out on loan this season. Composite: AFP, Getty, Rex

Has anyone won the Golden Boot and been relegated? The Knowledge has the answer.

And think you’re clever? Take our big Premier League quiz of the season.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!


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Posted (edited)

Reappointing Pochettino after sacking him 18 months later really sums up Spurs.

I hope he’s on a huge fuck off sized contract and it costs them a fortune.

Either way, they are going to lose Kane without a shadow of a doubt. And even then why would Pochettino want to leave PSG after they've just won 2 trophies, are in the CL and have a league crown to get back next year to go m back to a club who will be looking to break into the top 4/6 again? With limited funds? Who will lose their star player? Who probably need a major rebuild? 

I don’t get why he would be so desperate to go back there, I really don’t. If competing for top 4/6 instead of trying to reclaim a league title and win trophies is the sort of manager he wants to be then he will never ever achieve half as much as I think someone of his obvious coaching ability should. I get people will say Ligue 1 is poor but PSG didn’t win it this season, he should have every motivation to want to win it back next season no?

Edited by OneMoSalah
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The Fiver

Villarreal torpedo their far wealthier and more illustrious opponents


Big Vase and, with it, a Big Cup spot to boot.
camera.png Big Vase and, with it, a Big Cup spot to boot. Photograph: Maja Hitij/AFP/Getty Images
Barry Glendenning

Barry Glendenning


Following 120 minutes of largely sterile and low-rent football, Wednesday night’s Big Vase final was eventually settled by a penalty shoot-out of the highest quality, with 20 of the 22 players on the pitch stepping up and scoring before it came down to the two goalkeepers. Proving as incapable of taking spot-kicks as he is of saving them, David de Gea missed No 11 for Manchester United and bore the countenance of an extremely forlorn werewolf lost in a cloud of mustard gas as the players of Villarreal’s “Yellow Submarine” swarmed past him, submerging their own keeper Gerónimo Rulli in a celebratory pile-on after torpedoing their far wealthier and more illustrious English opponents.

While victory quite clearly meant the world to a well-run Spanish club from a small town whose entire population could fit in three of Old Trafford’s stands, the implications of defeat for Ole Gunnar Solskjær and United are less clear. The Norwegian’s many supporters could justifiably point out that this season has been a success, considering his side finished one place higher in the league and made it a step further in Big Vase. For all that, though, his over-reliance on counter-attacking football and his team’s chronic inability to break down teams who sit back and invite pressure remain a costly problem he appears no closer to solving.

While many United fans remain hopeful that success is just around the corner and are content to have Ole at the wheel, it almost certainly fair to say that if he were to suddenly become available, the stampede for his services from other big English or European clubs almost certainly wouldn’t prompt so much as a flicker on the Richter scale. Of course, employed as he is by owners who prioritise official noodle partnerships and Big Cup qualification ahead of actually winning things, he is unlikely to find himself out of work any time soon, at least until a top-four spot looks like it might be hanging in the balance. The Fiver’s saying January.

“We didn’t turn up, we didn’t play as well as we can,” sighed a downbeat and downtrodden Ole. “They made it hard for us. We didn’t create enough big chances. Now is not the time to discuss what I might have done differently, but when you go home without a trophy you haven’t done everything right.” By contrast, his opposite number Unai Emery had done everything right and, on an evening that should have been all about Villarreal, was predictably asked if his fourth Big Vase victory with two different Spanish sides made up for his failure at Arsenal. “Winning today is a satisfaction but for my club,” he tooted. “When I was at Arsenal we played a [Big Vase] final and could not win, but it is a process. From that one I learned a lot to win this one, maybe.” It will come as no small comfort to Gooners everywhere to learn his time at their club wasn’t entirely misspent.


“[Gianni] Infantino’s ideas were very clear. With the $uper £eague, [he] would manage to get the Club World Cup and the participation of the big teams and he will get their support to ensure that we can have a biennial World Cup. It means what they can do is empty the assets from the national leagues. The Super League ideology is now within Fifa – it’s as if they also believe in that, and it’s affecting football negatively in general” – La Liga head honcho Javier Tebas claims Fifa’s top dog was fully on board with the plans for a €uropean $uper £eague. Fifa declined to comment.

Hot football admin chat, earlier.
camera.png Hot football admin chat, earlier. Photograph: Susana Vera/Reuters


Football Weekly Extra is here for you.


Speaking of which, tickets are available now for Football Weekly Live’s Euro Not 2020 preview special on 10 June. Get them while they’re hot.


“The Europa Conference League (Fiver letters passim) being renamed the ‘Tin Pot’ has a certain ring to it, while the inclusion of the word ‘Tin’ couldn’t be more appropriate. If ever a competition could drive someone to an unhealthy relationship with drink, etc” – Mike Kilner.

“I know that double standards are rarely far from the surface when it comes to The Fiver, but yesterday’s edition takes the cake. On the one hand, the letters section mocked the Europa Conference thingy, but on the other hand you quoted Unai Emery getting misty-eyed about the romance of the lower tiers of European competition. So please back off on the Conference! It’s the only chance for the minnows to dream of European glory, teams like KuPS, Mislami Orhei and Spurs” – Adam Uncamus.

Send your letters to [email protected]. And you can always tweet The Fiver via @guardian_sport. Today’s winner of our prizeless letter o’the day is … Rollover.


The managerial merry-go-round is spinning wildly now that Mauricio Pochettino can name his price for Spurs … and is willing to do so.

Time for Spurs fans to dig this one out again?
camera.png Time for Spurs fans to dig this one out again? Photograph: Jonathan Brady/PA

Antonio Conte also likes what he $ee$ at Tottenham now that he’s done one from Inter in a row over player sales. One normal day of Barclays indeed.

If you’re still keeping up, Conte and Pochettino are also candidates for the top job at Real Madrid, what with Zinedine Zidane leaving for a second time. “Zidane is one of the greats of Real Madrid and his legend goes beyond what he has been as a coach and player for our club,” they cheered. PSG then?

One gig that Conte’s not being linked with is the soon-to-be-confirmed vacancy with Juventus, where Max Allegri will replace Andrea Pirlo.

Nor is he being mentioned around Sheffield United, who have set Slavisa Jokanovic the challenge of securing a third promotion from the Championship.

Fifteen England players – but not Beth England – are in the 18-strong Team GB women’s team for Big Sports Day in Tokyo.

And Reading left-back Omar Richards is swapping the Purple Turtle for the Hofbräuhaus after completing a free transfer to Bayern Munich.


After Big Red’s defeat by the Baltic Sea, Jonathan Wilson suggests Ole isn’t up to it, while Jonathan Liew depicts a Manchester United team that so often loses the big matches. Over in Spain, Sid Lowe celebrates Villarreal, the small club from the small town whose second-choice keeper had never before taken a penalty.

Woe is Edinson Cavani.
camera.png Woe is Edinson Cavani. Photograph: Aleksandra Szmigiel/AFP/Getty Images

It was the last big night for Big Mal’s Manchester City but most were watching another match on another channel. John Brewin sets his time machine for 1970 to recall Joe Mercer, Franny Lee and the other Neil Young.

Cynical fouls and the last 20 Big Cup finals in this week’s Classic YouTube.

Ben Welch speaks to players and psychologists about confidence in football – and how to cultivate it.

Oh, and if it’s your thing … you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace. And INSTACHAT, TOO!


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Brentford is being talked up big time on the ESPN feed. Also talking about Guehi being a superstar player of the future. When will he challenge for place for Chelsea?

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Posted (edited)

When one West London club goes...another one takes its place. Welcome to the PL, Brentford.

Edited by Mana
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Kudos to Brentford on the promotion. At least we'll have a new team in the league next season.

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2 minutes ago, Patrick Bamford said:


lol. Tomlinson is the one who is ugly enough to believably impersonate Vardy^^

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