Max Rushden goes on a hunt for the nice things in life.
It’s hard not to get disheartened. But even if football is destined to be run by people who don’t have its best interests at heart, can we find enough kernels of hope in the gloom? This week I asked on Twitter for examples of people in the game – clubs, players, fans, whoever – doing good, however small. Thanks to those who replied about people picking up litter all the way to caring for footballers seeking political asylum. It’s not exhaustive and it won’t win a Pulitzer. You may find it a bit twee but here’s a list in no particular order that may restore your faith for five minutes:
Wolves travel to Brentford on Saturday afternoon. They have scored five goals all season.
Jesse Marsch is not a happy man. Oh no. Quite the rant here ahead of Leeds’ visit to Liverpool on Saturday night.
If we go game to game and you look at the fact we haven’t won in eight games based on how we’ve performed over the eight games, it’s almost impossible to believe that two points is all that we’ve earned.
But that’s our reality right, in those eight games and all the phases in those games? What if Luis (Sinisterra) scores at Brighton on the two-inch line and it doesn’t go wide?
What if we score the penalty against Arsenal? What if – you can go through what ifs, but it doesn’t matter, right? You could still look at the metrics and you could look at different things and you could say, we’re actually doing OK, which I believe. But in the end again, right now, if we continue losing matches, then everything in the entire project is in jeopardy. We’ve got to figure out a way to stop that.
I’m a little angry right now. I’m tired of playing matches where we’re in the match and in many cases we’re better than the opponent and walking away with nothing. I’m tired of not capitalising on moments when we’re the better team and I’m tired of giving away goals too cheaply, tired of not getting results we should be getting.
Fourteen years as a player, 13 years a coach and I’ve never lost this much in my career. I’m sick of it. So I’m trying to figure out which guys can be counted on at the highest level right now, what kind of decisions need to be made in terms of match plans. I need to help find the group confidence and find the guys who are ready to fight for everything right now in these next matches, to do everything we can to get the points we need.
A reminder that Newcastle have climbed to fourth without their big summer signing and their prime attacking force. We won’t be seeing Alexander Isak for a bit, but Allan Saint-Maximim looks likely to be back this weekend.
Per PA Media.
Newcastle boss Eddie Howe has revealed record signing Alexander Isak has undergone injections in a bid to resolve the thigh injury which has sidelined him since the middle of last month
The 60million Sweden striker, who will not play again before the World Cup, last turned out for the Magpies in the 1-1 Premier League draw with Bournemouth on September 17.
Howe said: “Alex has been having a couple of injections into his injury, into his thigh. I believe that’s gone well and the medical team are happy with where he currently stands. But it is a longer-term injury – I think it’s a five, six-week injury, so as I said before, he won’t be back before the World Cup break. But we’re hopeful that as we begin our second pre-season, he’s there ready to train.”
Meanwhile, Howe provided an update on Allan Saint-Maximin’s recovery from a long-standing hamstring problem with the Frenchman hoping to return to the squad for Saturday’s home clash with Aston Villa.
He said: “Currently Maxi is very good, he’s in a really good place. The recent setback he had with his hamstring was a huge blow to him, but I think it almost reset him mentally to go, ‘Right, I’ve got to really look after myself and get my recovery right’. He’s been having really intense treatment, three sessions a day – two at the training ground, one at night at home – so a real dedication to his profession to try to get himself back as quickly as possible for what is a intense period of games now before the break.”
Jacob Steinberg on Graham Potter’s tactical revolution at Chelsea.
With Potter, though, part of the fun is trying to work out where the players are going to be when the starting XI is announced. In reality the former Brighton manager’s system against Salzburg had Jorginho screening the defence, Mateo Kovacic and Conor Gallagher driving forward from central midfield, Kai Havertz accompanying Aubameyang up front and, most fascinatingly, Raheem Sterling and Christian Pulisic as the wing-backs.
Shocking news from Italy last night.
Ten things to look out for this weekend, including this.
Marsch on the brink at Anfield
Anfield is no place for a struggling visiting manager in need of respite. Last season Marcelo Bielsa arrived under pressure at Leeds and looked condemned following a 6-0 defeat. The end was confirmed following another heavy loss at home to Tottenham three days later. His replacement, Jesse Marsch, faces Liverpool in a similar but arguably weaker position given fans have turned in a way that did not happen under the revered Argentinian. Two points from the last 24 available has also fuelled the unrest. Leeds’ strongest performances have come against the stronger sides this season, however, notably Chelsea and Arsenal, and their manager desperately needs a repeat as he strives to win support and time. It is a considerable task at a precarious moment. Liverpool are unbeaten in 29 Premier League home games. Andy Hunter
Here’s today’s hot topic of debate: Antony showing off his lollipops last night against Sheriff.
Some people are getting very heated indeed about this one.
The Premier League trains churns on, now not far from reaching its World Cup destination. A very full Saturday awaits, getting underway when improved Leicester take on Manchester City. Will Erling Haaland be fit? Find out here. Possibly.
Tottenham’s slump to conținue at Bournemouth? Gary O’Neil’s team are in a slump, too, and the two managers can compare VAR notes. Has Antonio Conte calmed down yet?
Liverpool, having lost last week at Nottingham Forest, take on Leeds on Saturday night and a win could place Jesse Marsch in real jeopardy. Meanwhile, Unai Emery will be in the stands, awaiting work permit, as his new club, Aston Villa, who he takes over on 1 November, visit Newcastle, the club he turned down last year.
Brighton v Chelsea is a quick return for Graham Potter, he is still unbeaten at his new club while his old club have not won a game since he left. Brentford are in mid-table, but coming off a defeat to Villa last week. Can Wolves, still managed by Steve “Interesting he’s still in charge” Davis, score a goal?
Frank Lampard’s Everton travel to Fulham off the back of last week’s defeat of Crystal Palace, whose match with Southampton is a meeting of the Premier League’s great enigmas.
And the Europa League candidates both play on Sunday, with Manchester United welcoming West Ham while Arsenal, poor against PSV last night, welcome Nottingham Forest, fresh off that Liverpool win.
A look ahead to all that, with press conferences and teams to come, too, plus the very latest from the world of soccer. Join me. Join us.