Joshua Jayde suffered a concussion after an Italian rugby player tip-tackled him, so the reluctant hero Brian Gu steps up for this week’s sport.
Writing this column at 11:53! (or, alternatively put, 7-2)
What on earth is happening at Tottenham Hotspur?
Nearing the end of a rapid-fire year in which heart, determination and (let’s be fair) a more-than-proportionate amount of luck propelled Spurs to the finals of the Champions League, Pochettino & co. look a mere skeleton of the merry band we saw relishing success earlier in the year. In fact, after a 7-2 throttling at the hands of German giants Bayern Munich, and a subsequent 3-0 humiliation delivered by a merciless Brighton, the football club has been left in tatters, and with fans left wondering what went so wrong.
There’s also terrible news coming out of the Spurs camp at the moment, with players describing Pochettino’s management system as a ‘regime’. Talisman players such as Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Eriksen are waiting out the final year of their contract; players with the talent to garner attention from any major club in Europe, yet they find themselves stuck in Pochettino’s wayward Tottenham. With no leverage, the club are at a serious risk of losing their key stars if they aren’t signed to a new contract soon.
Everything at the football club points towards disaster and seems to lead towards the same inevitable question. After five painstaking years of mediocrity, why does Pochettino still have a job?
The truth to that is Tottenham just aren’t one of those teams that hire and fire managers (see Chelsea below); in fact, Pochettino has held his current post for a whopping five years.
Despite having all the time in the world to shape his squad, Pochettino has won nothing to account for five years of working his magic at Tottenham Hotspur. Maurizio Sarri won the Europa League within one at Chelsea, and even he received no end of abuse from Chelsea loyals.
However, all that threatened to change in the last Champions League campaign, when against all expectations, Tottenham Hotspur made it through to the finals in Madrid. Fans of football suddenly became high on Pochettino, and he was named Manager of the Year at the London Football Awards earlier in the year. At the event, even he (rather embarrassingly) joked “finally, I’ve got a trophy!”.
Inexplicably, Pochettino is loved by Spurs fans and the Tottenham board, and evidently, the club would have to be in dire straits for Pochettino to be axed. In fact, they’d have to be in a situation as dire as the one they’re in right now.
The Lampard Effect
On the other side of London, football’s future generations are breathing life into Lampard’s transfer-deprived Chelsea.
It’s always difficult to hate a team of youngsters (unless they’re funded by Red Bull), and it’s even harder to hate them when they’re managed by Frank fucking Lampard.
After a rocky start to life as the Blues manager, Lampard seems to have finally discovered it’s with young players where his confidence lies. After finding his footing as manager, his preferred eleven is young, full of life and not getting actively mauled by Bayern.
Lampard has consistently fielded one of the youngest teams this season in the top-flight of English football, despite his club serving out a season-long transfer ban. So, if they are unable to bring in new investments, where is their recent surge in talent coming from?
To understand that, it’s necessary to take a look at some of the names occupying Lampard’s eleven. To even the most active of football fans, it’s doubtful that Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma and Tammy Abraham are household names. And it’s not like they’ve had much time to develop on the playing field either – the trio at a quite astonishing average of 22 years old.
The short answer is that they’re the cream-of-the-crop of Chelsea’s development talent, having all been recalled from loan deals (likely prematurely) to bolster a staggered Chelsea. And it’s worked, with Tammy Abraham now having the confidence to bang in goals regularly, while Tomori and Zouma are starting to form a formidable backline for Chelsea.
Maybe it’s time for major clubs to give their development talent more opportunities, instead of scouting for proven players on the overpriced market.
But Joshua Jayde Talks About Sports Other Than Football!
You wanted to hear about some other sports? I mean, when I took over, what else did you think this column was going to be other than football.
What is Ultimate Frisbee?
Also known as disc ultimate, you get a frisbee and throw it around for a bit. Other people jump and try to block you.
It’s the Rugby World Cup at the moment, but I don’t watch rugby. Still; go the All Blacks!