Football fans memories remain as fickle and short lived as ever. Man City’s loss to Liverpool as well as their showing against Barca has led to more calls for Manuel Pellegrini to go. “He tries to play too much football” “No heart in the team!” and my personal favourite “he’s too nice to succeed” were all heard yesterday. Some fans even claimed Mancini should have stayed and was a better manager. Whilst yes, City have been poor of late you have to take things into perspective. Pellegrini won 2 trophies in his first year in the country and whilst this year hasn’t been a great success they are still 2nd in the league and made it past a tricky Champions league group. And dare I remind everyone of Mancini’s last season at City and the embarrassment of Ben Watson’s Wigan winner. Unfortunately Pellegrini isn’t the first, nor will he be the last manager to suffer from fickle fans.
Take Roberto Martinez at Everton who is facing a huge test of his credentials with Everton winning just 6 games in the league this season. Whilst yes they have clearly underachieved this year given the strength of their squad, I would argue that last year they overachieved. Everton had a terrific season in Martinez’s debut season, playing some lovely football along the way which was far more than anyone could have expected in Martinez’s first “big” job. Even Brendan Rodgers who so nearly took Liverpool to the title last season was under immense scrutiny after a poor start to the season. Liverpool stuck with Rodgers though and with Liverpool the form team of 2015 I suggest both Man City and Everton do the same.
Arsenal win, crisis over!
So let’s pretend Monaco never happened. Arsenal have taken 15 points from their last 6 games, second only to Liverpool, which for a club for which so much negativity and criticism has been thrown at of late is good form. Sunday’s game certainly wasn’t pretty but ultimately the three points were all that mattered. Gabriel started his first league game and after a poor start he performed well and looks a good replacement for the under fire Per Mertesacker. Olivier Giroud scored yet again in the league and put in a hardworking performance. Rating Giroud really is a conundrum but in the league this season he certainly has performed well. With Arsene’s job safe for another weekend thoughts now turn to QPR away, the sort of fixture the Gunners have historically struggled in, which is certainly a big challenge for this Arsenal team.
Alan Pardew: Love him, hate him but definitely respect him.
Yes he may be cocky and think he’s the dogs b*****cks. Yes he may over celebrate goals and fall out with other managers (see Martin O’Neill). Hell, occasionally he’ll head-butt an opposing player. But credit where its due Pardew is certainly a good manger. His Newcastle record was on the whole very good in what was certainly testing times. I always felt that Newcastle fans were expecting a bit too much at times and should be careful what they wish for. Now at Palace, Pardew may have finally found a home. With adoring fans to fuel his ego and some very talented but inconsistent players already there in place Palace could be set for big things under Pardew. Their 3-1 win away at high flying West Ham shows both the skills Pardew brings and the potential of this squad. A few signings in the right areas and a top 8 finish next year may not be far away for Crystal Palace.
Harry Kane didn’t score this weekend