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Football News: Diego Costa Needs To Grow Up And Mike Smalling Is Better Than Chris...

Diego Costa Needs To Grow Up And Mike Smalling Is Better Than Chris...
Image from: standard.co.uk

1. Smalling, Mike or Chris, is not world class
I keep hearing about how the Manchester United defender has improved and suddenly morphed into a world class defender, but every game reinforces the impression he has improved, but only into a very average Premier League defender. His positioning is still non-existent, as was shown constantly throughout the Leicester City game, where he was running round like a headless chicken. He has pace, he is strong, good in the air and decent enough on the ball, but United are so lacking in confidence in the abilities of whichever of their centre backs are playing that Louis van Gaal has his midfield playing as auxiliary centre backs. It is not because of Smalling that Man Utd's defence has conceded so few this season, it is because they are so defensive as a unit. Until the Red Devils buy better centre backs, they are going to be vulnerable if they do not keep numbers back. Even so, without David de Gea their defence would still have been struggling this season, as he showed by stopping Leonardo Ulloa from snatching a winner in the second half.

2. Diego Costa needs to grow up
The Chelsea forward's attitude has been stinking up the place week after week while on the pitch, but he managed to look even more childish and pathetic when dropped. While his teammates laboured to a 0-0 bore draw against Spurs, he was busy making it clear to all that he was not best pleased to be sat on the bench. In fact, his sulk kept him from warming up with the rest of the squad. Possibly due to being far too busy searching for his dummy, before putting his toys back in his pram. Not finished there, the Brazilian, who plays internationally for Spain, tossed his training bib at Jose Mourinho while taking his seat in the dugout, when he realised he was not going to be brought on as a substitute. Are there any takers in January for a spoilt brat who is more likely to pick up cards than goals this season?

 

3. Spurs look tired
While Chelsea were dealing with whiny children, the youngsters at Tottenham Hotspur looked out of gas in the final third of the game. Did the midweek Europa League travels have an effect, or are the team's exertions taking their toll? Or maybe Chelsea's physicality wore them down? Whatever the reason, Spurs looked out on their feet by the end of 60 minutes. Is this the beginning of a slump, or can Mauricio Pochettino lift them for the rest of the season? They are still in touch with the top, which will at least provide incentive.

4. When your star man has a hamstring injury do not start him
Arsene Wenger needs to heed that advice the next time he picks his Arsenal team. Alexis Sanchez has been the outstanding player in the Gooners side since he signed for them. Not just for his skill, but his workrate, which is phenomenal. Now Arsenal are going to miss both, as they have no one else who can provide them. It does make it look like this will be yet another season battling for their 4th place trophy.

 

5. If Gary Monk fails to figure out how to get more out of his team, he will be out of a job soon
Swansea City look utterly bereft of confidence and ideas right now, and, while Huw Jenkins is a patient man, there is only so long he can wait before he has to make a change. The Swans failed to even have one shot on target against Liverpool at the weekend, as their passing game failed to deal with the pressing game of Liverpool. The early season form of Andre Ayew, Jefferson Montero, Jonjo Shelvey and Befetimbi Gomis has vanished, as has their ability to manufacture chances for the team to score. The players clearly want to play for him, they are not letting their heads go down when behind, but the performances have dipped so much that questions have to be asked of Monk. It is time he found the answers, because right now things are getting gradually worse by the week.

6. Not all old sayings are right
I am thinking in particular of the one that tells you that you should never go back. Stewart Downing is proving that statement to be wrong, in some circumstances anyway. So far Downing's time back at hometown team Middlesbrough has been productive. Though they will need to achieve promotion for him to really feel justified in his decision to drop down a division. Right now though, they do look well placed to do so.

 

7. The League Cup deserves more respect from the start
I know the fashion is to put out weakened teams in the competition, but to me it makes little sense to do so. I am not talking about the choice to give some experience to one or two fringe players, I mean the changing of the whole team to make it almost unrecognisable in comparison with the team that is used in the league itself. Teams complain they have to play 'too many matches', like that is a bad thing, rather than looking at how the wins can boost confidence. The other favourite whine is that teams do not want to play in the Europa League, a phenomenon purely confined to English football. It comes from the short termism that plagues the English league, the only interest of the clubs is what makes the most money now, rather than what is best for the long term future. Winning trophies not just gives fans something to boast about, it also brings in new fans, who will end up following the club for a lifetime.

8. Some dreams are best left as fantasies rather than made reality
Rafael Benitez has finally managed to achieve his lifelong dream of becoming Real Madrid head coach and it is turning into a nightmare for him. Sadly for him the chance has only come along after he lost his right hand man, Pako Ayesteran. Without Pako, Rafa has not been the same, reminiscent of the way Brian Clough was never the same without Peter Taylor alongside him. He needs to find someone to replace Pako or things are going to get gradually worse, as the spoilt brats at Madrid need the man management that has never been Rafa's forte.

 

9. French league football is going the way of the Scottish
Like Scottish football, the top flight in France is only going to be won by one team this season, and we knew who it was before the season even kicked off. While Paris Saint-Germain have more difficult opposition to face over the course of the season than Celtic do, Monaco, Lyon and Marseille are a level or two above Heart of Midlothian, Aberdeen and Hibernians, they are so far ahead of their opponents that the result of the title fight is in no doubt. Unlike Germany, where Bayern Munich have a similar advantage in the league, clubs in France are falling further behind PSG, while Borussia Dortmund and VFL Wolfsburg are trying to invest in their squad to close the gap. French teams, on the other hand, are being completely blown out of the water by PSG, who are now among the European superpowers of football, while the rest are financially constrained to a large degree. My worry is that PSG will look to move into a European superleague, rather than Ligue 1 becoming overall stronger to compete.

10. You can always count on Mario to make you laugh
While Mario Balotelli's performances on the pitch are very rarely anything worth writing home about, off the pitch he is always good for a story or seven. If he is not handing out money, setting his home on fire by lighting fireworks in his bathroom or wandering round women's prisons with his brother because he "just fancied having a look" he is apparently dreaming of playing for Real Madrid. I mean really? I hate to point out the obvious but that is way beyond a dream Mario. You might want to try pulling your finger out and putting a bit of effort in on the pitch for once. Having flopped at Manchester City, Liverpool, Inter Milan and AC Milan, you have no chance of becoming a galactico in this lifetime.

Written by Tris Burke December 02 2015 09:33:03