I witnessed Arsenal’s embarrassing defeat to Liverpool going down 4-0. It was a depressing sight but the most chilling reaction was from the faithful fans of Arsenal who had travelled 350 miles to see the Gunners dismal performance. The fans shouted from the stands, “Wenger, Kroenke (the owner) OUT!” And these calls for the manager to go were followed by social media frenzy in which all the calls were for Wenger to leave immediately. The fans Twittered and Facebooked “We have two more years of this misery!” That refers of course to Arsene Wenger’s new 2 year contract and it is not easy to see how they can move forward from this beating by Liverpool because the players looked uncommitted. Arsene got his tactics wrong and his team selection wrong by leaving his new £50million signing Lacazette on the bench. That is what frustrated Arsenal fans the most and here are some of their comments: “Arsenal spent £50m on Lacazette and he has proven that he can score goals. All of the fans were looking forward to seeing him link up with Sanchez and Ozil and what happened? Wenger left him on the bench! What madness is this?” Former England and Newcastle striker Alan Shearer, now a TV pundit, hit out at Wenger saying, “It was as though Wenger had found 11 random players and put them together and told them to get on with it. No planning and no motivation. Alexis Sanchez and Alex Oxlade Chamberlain looked like players not wanting to play for Wenger.” On the journey home from Liverpool, Wenger was a sad sight, very quiet, thinking alone and was not really communicating with anyone. He rarely gets angry with players immediately after a defeat and usually saves his emotion for the training ground on Monday morning. That is what happened this week and at training he was shouting at his players, he was clearly upset. It was a very heated session. He particularly picked on Sanchez who he said showed no passion, fight or interest. Make no mistake because I have seen it: Sanchez can be very difficult. He knows he is the star and acts like he is special, throwing tantrums on the training ground and sulking if he is not treated as a special player. At one match when he was substituted he showered, changed and when the players came off the field and into the dressing room he had gone home! Arsene clearly has a big headache sorting out this situation over the next two weeks before Arsenal play Bournemouth at home on September 9th.
Bilic given four games
Another manager already under threat is West Ham’s Slaven Bilic. With no wins in the first four games, I have been told that the board’s chairman David Sullivan has decided that Bilic has four more games to get things right and start winning or he is going to appoint another manager. Sullivan has gone to Spain for a working holiday during the international break and will talk on the phone this week to his manager about what went wrong in the 3-0 horror defeat at Newcastle who are also struggling after being promoted from the Championship. Sullivan and Bilic will try and work out a winning plan. Bilic will ask Sullivan to bring in William Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon but Sullivan says the price of £40million is too high. The fans at West Ham still love Bilic and remain loyal to him however Sullivan will take action if things do not turn around immediately. Their next match is at home to well organized Huddersfield, the surprise team of the season so far and that will be a tricky one.
Liverpool living the dream
Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool are sitting second in the league behind Mourhino’s Manchester United. Liverpool are the team to beat at the moment and even without Philippe Coutinho playing they look a composed and solid side. Klopp has produced the magic he previously produced at Borussia Dortmund and teams always fear coming to face the Kop end supporters at Anfield. Liverpool have arguably made the best start of any club because there were doubts about their quality. I have also been told that Klopp thinks Julian Draxler is the perfect fit after he was pushed out of the Paris St Germain team with Neymar arriving. Liverpool’s next match is away at Manchester City so it will be a tough test for two of the leading Premier League clubs.
Zlat is back!
Zlatan Ibrahimovich is back at Manchester United having signed on for another season and he was a sight to see in the gym. Full of energy, lifting weights, kick boxing a punchbag and strengthening his muscles by pulling against a machine designed to improve upper body weight. It is unlikely that the Swede will play again until the New Year however United manager Jose Mourhino said he will probably be in the Champions League squad. Zlatan is a leader, a proven goal scorer and a great comedian who often has other players doubled up with laughter watching his antics like claiming he will be the next King of his native Sweden, doing press ups in his boxer shorts in the snow and appealing for new fans to hate him because all the old haters now love him! There is only one Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Mourhino has told current strikers Marcus Rashford, Romelu Lukaku and Anthony Martial that the only way they can keep Zlatan on the sidelines is to play so well that they cannot be dropped to the bench. “It is up to them,” he said. Zlatan has taken a huge pay cut to re-join United. Last season he earned £350,000 a week and this has been cut to £125,000 plus incentives and bonuses. Zlatan said, “There were a couple of teams reaching out, wanting ‘Ibr-kadabra’ in their team but I had such a great year with United and we won three trophies. Fantastic guys and a great club. Everybody is happy about this and I’m super happy to come back to finish what I started.” Can you imagine a forward line boasting Lukaku, Ibrahimovich and Rashford…I can see defenders having sleepless nights!