Author Archives: mirsinho

Neil Warnock Ranks His Top Five Premier League Managers of All Time – And it’s Weird

Former Cardiff and Crystal Palace manager ​Neil Warnock has named his top five Premier League managers of all time, and it’s fair to say he’s got some controversial – shock – opinions.

During his time in management, Warnock has come up against the very best. Most recently he took charge of Cardiff in 2016 and helped them win promotion to the Premier League, having previously enjoyed top flight success with Sheffield United – whom he also guided to the promised land.

But he was unable to stave off relegation with Cardiff last season and after an indifferent start to the Bluebirds’ Championship campaign, he left the club my mutual consent.

So, with time on his hands, Warnock has revealed to talkSPORT who he considers to be the top five Premier League managers of all time – and they’re probably not in the order you may think they are.

Let’s take a look at what he had to say…


5. Jose Mourinho

FBL-ENG-PR-CHELSEA-SUNDERLAND

Number five on Lord Neil’s (he’s not really a Lord) list is a rather special pick, with current

Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho first up.

The ‘Special One’ has seen it all, done it all, won it all and told us about it all endless amounts of times, but that’s part of the charm isn’t it with José? 

In any event, Warnock said of the Portuguese: “Jose Mourinho is close. What I like about him is the way he deals with the media at the most difficult times, but I would still put him number five.”

Three Premier League titles with Chelsea, a stint trying to improve a severely wounded Manchester United and a potentially spellbinding spell at Tottenham (to be continued) is a pretty impressive resumé by anyone’s standards – but who’s better?


4. Sir Alex Ferguson

Man Utd v Swansea

Well, Sir Alex Ferguson, of course. But the issue here is that Sir Alex appears to be popping up at number four on Neil’s list, rather than number one?

Baffling to say the least.

Explaining his slightly unusual decision, Warnock remarked: “Fourth, I would probably go with Sir Alex [Ferguson] just in front of Jose Mourinho, because he has done it for longer.

“I just think he was in an era where it was all about man management – it wasn’t down to all the backroom staff – and Sir Alex was probably the best at that.”

So just for the record, 13 Premier League trophies and the prestigious place on top of ​90min‘s 50 Greatest Managers of All Time list don’t appear to warm Neil’s cockles – I wonder who deserves it more?


3. Jurgen Klopp

Jürgen Klopp

Fair dos, Jurgen Klopp is doing a pretty sensational job at Liverpool.

They are Champions of Europe, somehow finished second last season after accumulating 97 points and are unbeaten this season.

So there’s understandable ​pedigree there. But isn’t three a bit high, Neil? Considering the title is not officially (we know it is, really) under his belt? Here’s his rationale.

“I would put Klopp third because I think he’s just beginning and he will get even better. But his outlook and everything he has done at the club and the future with the kids – I think he has got another ten years coming forward.”

“So I think he’s third at the minute but could easily be number one in a couple of years.”


2. Pep Guardiola 

Pep Guardiola

Manchester City under Pep Guardiola may be the greatest footballing entity we’ve ever had the pleasure of laying our eyes on – for English audiences at least.

Yes, United had the longevity under Sir Alex, but there’s no arguing that the City team of the past two seasons may be the greatest Premier League side ever assembled. 198 points over two seasons – broken down into the first ever 100 point campaign and 98 point follow-up – is a simply staggering record…..though, remarkably, Liverpool will probably have broken it once the 2019/20 season is out.

So it’s no surprise, perhaps, that Warnock sees Pep as one of the greats – stating: “I saw his teams first hand last year and I’ve never seen a team with that kind of movement. David Silva is the best player I’ve ever seen in the Premier League and I think Pep’s just taken it all on board. He’s had a few years so he’s been in front of a few, but I think he’s just amazing.

“His influence on the parks and the lower down leagues has been fantastic, so I’d put Pep second.”


1. Arsene Wenger

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So who is Neil’s number one choice?

It’s Rebekah V……..no, no it’s not – it’s Arsene Wenger.

Yes, the man who revolutionised football in north London and went the whole 2003/04 season unbeaten with ​Arsenal, becoming truly ‘Invincible’. Not only that, the Frenchman was at the forefront of some of the Premier League’s greatest managerial rivalries – going bitterly head-to-head with Sir Alex Ferguson and José Mourinho more times than I’ve had hot dinners.

So what words did Warnock use to describe him? These ones: “I would pick Arsene Wenger as the number one because he changed the whole outlook on modern footballers,” Warnock stated.

“He brought so many things in that had never been thought of. The nutritionist, the fitness guys, video, technology. He changed the whole course of it when he came into the Premier League.”

Fair enough, Neil.

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Antonio Conte Wins Legal Battle Against Chelsea After Stamford Bridge Sacking

​Antonio Conte has won his legal battle with Chelsea and been awarded more than £85,000 in compensation by an employment tribunal.

The Italian head coach, who won the Premier League title in his first season with Chelsea, made a complaint against the club over unfair dismissal after being replaced by Maurizio Sarri in 2018.

An employment tribunal has now ruled in Conte’s favour, awarding him the money in compensation after it was decided that he was unfairly dismissed from his job at Stamford Bridge.

Antonio Conte

The complaint of unfair dismissal is well founded,” employment judge Andrew Glennie said, quoted by The Mirror. “The respondent shall pay to the claimant a basic award of £1,524 and a compensatory award of £83,682, being a total of £85,206.”

The ruling has added insult to injury for Chelsea surrounding Conte’s time at the club, as their recent accounts showed that they spent more than £26m to remove the Italian from his position.

Chelsea spent £26.6m to remove Conte and his backroom staff in 2018, almost one third of the £90m the club has spent on replacing managers since Roman Abramovich took charge at Stamford Bridge.

On top of managerial changes, Chelsea’s wage bill increased by £41m in 2019, while they also invested £280.6m in their first-team squad – Kepa Arrizabalaga, Christian Pulisic, Mateo Kovacic and Jorginho were all included in the figures.


Since leaving Stamford Bridge, Conte has taken over at Italian club Inter and he’s got the club in the midst of a long-overdue title race in Serie A.

Both Inter and Juventus were level on points heading into the most recent round of fixtures, but the Nerazzurri were held at home to Atalanta. The Old Lady, meanwhile, won on the road to AS Roma.

Lazio are also just four points behind Inter in the race for the Serie A title, making for an intriguing few months in Italy.


For more from Ben Carter, follow him on Twitter! 

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90min’s Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 22

Another crucial weekend of Premier League action has passed us by, making rather large waves at both ends of the table​.

Up at the summit, Liverpool moved 14 points clear with their hard-fought victory over Tottenham, taking advantage of Leicester’s slip-up against Southampton. Manchester City looked back to their best in their all too comfortable dispatching of a woeful Aston Villa, while both Chelsea and Manchester United recorded convincing home wins as they bid for the top four.


At the wrong end of the table, Watford continued their resurgence easing past a downtrodden Bournemouth, while Burnley and Norwich fell to hefty away defeats and Newcastle and Brighton failed to win on the road.

There weren’t too many shocks this weekend, but there sure were some cracking performances up and down the country nevertheless.

Without further ado, here are the best and brightest from the Premier League this weekend…


Goalkeeper & Defenders

Martin Dubravka,Pedro Neto

Martin Dubravka (GK) – The ​Newcastle shot-stopper is capable of a gargantuan performance every so often and, unfortunately for the Wolves attackers, he was in top form this Saturday. Good thing too for the Magpies amid a weekend marred by more injuries for Steve Bruce’s depleted side…soon Dubravka may be the last man standing.

Reece James (RB) – A player with talent beyond his years, James is another ​Chelsea starlet who is taking huge strides forward in his development this season. His strong performance during the Blues’ 3-0 victory over Burnley was capped with an assist and a well-earned clean sheet, once again exuding confidence at the highest level.

Virgil van Dijk (CB) – Despite some very good Spurs opportunities, Van Dijk and co. did manage to keep their hosts from scoring. A slightly different challenge up against Lucas Moura and Son Heung-min, as opposed to Harry Kane, the centre-back adapted incredibly well to the pace and agility of the Tottenham forward line. That being said, he was given a large helping hand by Jose Mourinho’s negative tactics. 

Michael Keane (CB) – It looks as though Carlo Ancelotti may just be the man to sort this Everton defence out. Having been in and out of the Toffees’ starting lineup recently, ​Keane managed to keep a clean sheet on his return to the side and looked far stronger than he did under Ancelotti’s predecessor.

Brandon s (LB) – Along with Mason Greenwood, s has been the breakout star of ​Man United’s rather underwhelming season. With games coming thick and fast for the 19-year-old, he looks more and more accomplished every time he steps over the white line. His tireless running caused Norwich all manner of difficulties, and the full-back was felled for the Red Devils’ second-half penalty following another lung-busting run.


Midfielders

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Riyad Mahrez (RM) – The Algerian has hit form at just the right time for ​Man City with his two goals and assist helping the Sky Blues see off a rather horrific Aston Villa side. The tricky winger proved far too much to handle for Dean Smith’s side and his dazzling performance against the Midlands club means he has now made more Premier League goal contributions this season than he did in the entirety of last season.

Abdoulaye Doucoure (CM) – The Watford midfielder looks back to his best under new boss Nigel Pearson and his goal and assist at the weekend helped the Hornets escape the relegation zone for the time being.

Juan Mata (CM) – Many have written the 31-year-old off due to his lack of influence at Old Trafford this season. But the Spaniard sure showed up against a plucky Norwich side, dictating the pace of the game and creating two of United’s goals. The midfielder oozes class and will likely become an increasingly useful player for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer as the season progresses.

Marcus Rashford (LM) – Finally, Man United scored a penalty against Norwich. The Red Devils saw two spot kicks saved by Tim Krul in the reverse fixture, but ​Rashford made no mistake this time round, spearheading a fluid United front line. The 22-year-old has carried Solskjaer’s men through much of the season and is truly leading by example this term.


Forwards

Sergio Aguero

Danny Ings (ST) – The Southampton forward’s incredible run of form shows no signs of letting up anytime soon. His second-half strike against the Foxes helped the Saints to avenge their humiliating 9-0 defeat to Leicester earlier in the season; something that will have tasted oh so sweet on the south coast. ​Ings now has 14 league goals this season and will be giving Gareth Southgate some food for thought ahead of Euro 2020.

Sergio Aguero (ST) – One of the greatest strikers the Premier League has ever seen was in a merciless mood on Sunday afternoon. His hat-trick saw him become the highest scoring foreign-born player of all time in the league, as well as claiming the record for the most hat-tricks in the Premier League era. The 31-year-old could probably play until he’s 40…well, if he faces Aston Villa every weekend.


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The Bulls**t-O-Meter: Ranking How Ridiculous January’s Transfer Rumours Really Are

It feels like no time at all since the halcyon days of the summer, when the temperatures reached double figures, the taps were well and truly aff, and we were awash in nonsensical transfer speculation surrounding a ‘who’s who’ of Europe’s top players.

It’s been a quick few months since, with plenty of actual football to pass the time, but now the January window is open, it’s time to dust ourselves down and do it all again. 

In the modern climate where anything with a searchable headline passes as ‘news’, however, we need some help in filtering the good from the bad, the worthwhile from the worthless, and the genuine from the just not happening. 

To aid us with that, we’ve dug out, dusted off, and plugged in the old Bulls**t-O-Meter, and run a few of January’s most talked-about transfer rumours through it. 


Jarrad Branthwaite

Ben Chapman,Jarrad Branthwaite

Linked Clubs: Aston Villa, Celtic, Everton, Leicester, Newcastle, Rangers

Carlisle United’s ‘giant starlet’, as he has hilariously been monikered, looks to have attracted Premier League interest with his performances in League Two this season. The humungous man-child, the Cumbrian De Ligt (who is actually only around 6ft 3′ according to our Blues correspondent ​Chris Deeley) looks dead certain to be signing elsewhere this month. 

He’s been linked with virtually every mid-range club in the ​Premier League, as well as the big two in Scotland, although it’s the Toffees who currently lead the way – it seems they have tabled at least one bid as things stand. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Absolutely Nailed On

Likelihood of January Move: Very Strong

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 1/10


Christian Eriksen​

Christian Eriksen

Linked Clubs: Inter, Real Madrid, Manchester United

​The Danish midfielder has been flirting with leaving ​Tottenham for about two years now, but on the first of the month, he entered the final six months of his deal – signalling his availability for pre-contract negotiations.

With no new deal in sight since the appointment of José Mourinho, his departure either now or in the summer looks a tacked-on certainty. Inter look to be the current favourite, as they target a £20m deal that would see him join the club immediately, and that may make sense for Spurs to avoid losing a valuable asset for free. 

Minimal poo here, with perhaps only some lazy reporting giving it the distant hint of a faecal aroma. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Nailed On

Likelihood of January Move: Fairly Strong

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 2/10


Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho


Linked Clubs: Chelsea, Manchester United 

Since moving to ​Borussia Dortmund from Manchester City’s youth academy, Jadon Sancho has been nothing short of a Bundesliga revelation. He has been obscenely good, and only seems to be getting better, having tallied up 19 goal-involvements in 15 league appearances since August. 

With that sort of form of course comes interest from his homeland, and while it seems unlikely that Dortmund will sign off on a departure for anything short of a stupendous transfer fee this month, it does seem likely he will return to England down the line. 

A good deal of the reporting on it has of course been virtually made-up for clicks, making it near-impossible to tell what is legit and what isn’t. But the fact there seems to be plenty substance buried in it somewhere means it can’t rank too highly. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Strong

Likelihood of January Move: Unlikely

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 4/10


Cristhian Stuani

Cristhian Stuani

Linked Clubs: Barcelona

Oh for the love of…

Ok, so the story here goes that Barcelona are in need of short-term cover up front (thanks, Luis Suarez’s knee) and aren’t prepared to go for another high-profile Kevin Prince-Boateng type, since that stung their palms last January. 

Their search has, apparently, led them towards the on-fire Stuani, who hammered in 19 La Liga goals for Girona last season, and has followed that up with 16 in 18 in the Segunda Division following their relegation. 

Who knows with this one? It could simply be as lazy a rumour as it gets, simply because he currently plays in Catalonia, but it could equally just be a really unambitious move from Barcelona that would likely lead to riots on the streets. Time will tell which…

Possibility of Future Transfer: Barcelona or bust

Likelihood of January Move: Reasonable

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 5/10


Christian Kabasele

Andy Madley,Christian Kabasele

Linked Clubs: Arsenal, Manchester United, Newcastle, West Ham

Watford have five good games, and all of a sudden their 28-year-old centre-back – who missed their last game with a red card suspension – is a target for Arsenal and Manchester United. Smells like the transfer window. 

Come on. Just…come on. West Ham and Newcastle interested, you could almost see. Manchester United and Arsenal? Behave yourselves. 

No surprise this one originated from the least trustworthy tabloid of them all, the ever-reputable [information redacted for liability purposes]. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Reasonable? Depends on Watford’s survival? Who knows

Likelihood of January Move: Not hugely likely

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 7/10


Kalidou Koulibaly

Kalidou Koulibaly

Linked Clubs: Manchester City, Manchester United

The stench of sh*t on this one doesn’t come from the suggestion that Kalidou Koulibaly, once considered the best defender in history before Virgil van Dijk knocked him off his pedestal with a towering header, could leave Napoli in future. It comes from claims that he could leave in January. For Manchester United.

The idea that either of the Manchester clubs, in fact, would invest north of £70m on a new centre-back mid-season, regardless of how inhumanly good that centre-back is, is just silly. We all know how particular Pep Guardiola is with his central defenders, and Manchester United literally just broke the world transfer record for a defender in the summer to land Harry Maguire (ok, that hasn’t quite worked out for them, but still).

Think about these things before you mindlessly report them. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Mild

Likelihood of January Move: Not happening is it? 

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: 8/10


Kylian Mbappe

TOPSHOT-FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-MONACO

Linked Clubs: Liverpool, Real Madrid

*screams endlessly into the abyss*​

Believe it or not, there are Liverpool fans out there who actually think, and expect, Kylian Mbappé to join them. If not this month, then in the summer.

What on earth are they all taking? There is not a chance – and I mean that, not a single chance – that they will sign him in the foreseeable future. 

They don’t need it, they’re not even close to needing it. They are not even in the same postcode as a team that needs it. Nor can they afford it, really, considering it would surely cost a world record fee to lure him to Anfield. 

This one would require Sadio Mané or Mo Salah to rock the boat with a surprise transfer request, but even if that happened, it’s likely the Reds would turn their attentions to making another star, rather than buying one. 

So, a request to you fools who ​have #Mbappe2020 trending, just because both Liverpool and Mbappé are sponsored by Nike: stop it. 

Possibility of Future Transfer: Possible-ish, if PSG’s owners withdraw their funding, or Real Madrid bid Jeff Bezos’ entire net worth

Likelihood of January Move: *bangs head off desk at the thought of reading another story about it*

BULLS**T-O-METER RATING: *DING DING DING* 10/10!!!


For more from Robbie Copeland, follow him on Twitter!

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Chelsea Contract Review: When Every Player’s Current Deal Is Due to Expire

​A new era is well and truly upon us at Chelsea. With Frank Lampard at the helm, young players have more chances than ever to impress, and that means senior players now have to work even harder to retain their place in the squad.

With so many exciting youngsters coming in, the squad no longer has the space for underperforming seniors, while even the vast loan army has been cut down in size. The Blues are getting things together.

Here’s a full run-down of the contracts of every member of the first team, including those away on loan, and certain youngsters who have already made an impact on Lampard’s squad.


Expire in June 2020

Willian

There are expected to be plenty of departures in the coming summer (or perhaps even earlier) as ​Chelsea look to clear out some of the unwanted, ageing talent.

Olivier Giroud and Pedro are both likely casualties, while doubts remain over whether Chelsea are prepared to commit to Willian and his wish to stay at Stamford Bridge for the rest of his career.

Willy Caballero (38)

Willian (31)

Pedro (32)

Olivier Giroud (33)

Marco van Ginkel (27)

Kenedy (23)

Tariq Lamptey (19)


Expire in June 2021

Michy Batshuayi

2021 looks set to be a quiet summer from an internal perspective, with just Michy Batshuayi and Victor Moses approaching the end of their contracts.

Both players have been linked with permanent exits from Stamford Bridge in both January and the summer, so it wouldn’t even come as a surprise to see neither player actually reach the end of their Chelsea contract.​

Michy Batshuayi (26)

Victor Moses (29)


Expire in June 2022

Cesar Azpilicueta

Things start to get pretty busy again in 2022. Decisions will have to be made on ageing stars like César Azpilicueta and Antonio Rüdiger, who are both integral parts of the Blues’ current first-team squad.

Youngsters Tammy Abraham and Reece James are both expected to ink new deals in the near future, but it is comforting to know that Chelsea have several years before they really need to start worrying about their future.

Perhaps most importantly, June 2022 will be the end of Danny Drinkwater​’s contract!

César Azpilicueta (30)

Antonio Rüdiger (26)

Emerson (25)

Andreas Christensen (23)

Tammy Abraham (22)

Reece James (20)

Danny Drinkwater (29)

Davide Zappacosta (27)

Charly Musonda (23)

Tiemoué Bakayoko (25)

Marc Guehi (19)


Expire in June 2023

Jorginho

With the Blues’ hesitance to offer anything substantial to anyone over 30 years old, there will be plenty of speculation around the futures of both Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté by the time 2023 arrives.

Exciting youngsters Ethan Ampadu and Billy Gilmour are both predicted to be core parts of the Chelsea setup in the near future, but the same cannot be said of Marcos Alonso, Ross Barkley and Kurt Zouma, who are never far away from transfer rumours.​

Jorginho (28)

Marcos Alonso (29)

Ross Barkley (26)

Kurt Zouma (25)

N’Golo Kanté (28)

Ethan Ampadu (19)

Billy Gilmour (18)


Expire in June 2024

Mason Mount,Callum Hudson-Odoi

The vast majority of Chelsea’s most exciting youngsters are all locked up until 2024, which is fantastic news for the Blues.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount and Callum Hudson-Odoi have all pledged to grow at Stamford Bridge, as have recent arrivals Christian Pulisic and Mateo​ Kovačić. Every player in this group looks set for a bright future at the Bridge.

Mateo Kovačić (25)

Ruben Loftus-Cheek (23)

Fikayo Tomori (22)

Christian Pulisic (21)

Mason Mount (21)

Callum Hudson-Odoi (19)


Expire in June 2025

Kepa Arrizabalaga

On his own at the end is the world’s most expensive goalkeeper, Kepa Arrizabalaga. The Spaniard inked a mammoth seven-year deal when he joined back in 2018, with Chelsea clearly committed to him for the long run.​

Kepa Arrizabalaga (25)


For more from Tom Gott, follow him on Twitter!

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