Is Mourinho better than Pochettino? Can pigs fly?
It’s not because I like Arsenal. I actually do enjoy watching them play, especially during the Invincibles era, but they have enough fans as it is.
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Nor is it because I hate Manchester City. Well, I dislike them. I find it extremely unfair that their money vault is a bottomless pit which allows them to hire practically anybody their coach wants in his team, but I don’t make the rules. However, there’s nothing to stop me from judging the people who work for them, so yes, I’m being judgmental. Sorry then, to all the five Manchester City fans in Singapore.
I’d like Arsenal to defeat Manchester City when they meet at 3.15am on Thursday, June 18 (SGT), so that by the time the first weekend’s football action since the suspension of the EPL on March 13 due to the coronavirus lockdown is concluded, Liverpool can claim the title when they beat neighbours Everton on Monday morning.
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And I assure you it isn’t because I’m a closet Liverpool fan.
It’s just that I want the small matter of the title chase to be quickly and finally settled so we can get on to more important issues, like deciding who gets to play in the Champions League next season, whenever next season happens.
Now I don’t have to remind you that I’d predicted in September that Liverpool would win the title, so I’m terribly annoyed that they weren’t able to clinch the title before the lockdown, though it is by no means through any fault of their own in what’s been an almost impeccable season for the Reds.
Once they’ve secured the title, Jurgen Klopp and his men can start treating the remaining eight matches like a pre-season, blooding young players, devising new methods of crushing the opposition as they prepare for their title defence in season 2020/21.
But the fixtures among the 92 remaining that I’d really be looking at will be nine involving Manchester United.
Yes, I hope the Red Devils beat Tottenham Hotspur (sorry, my dear Siao Mate Edwin Yeo), Sheffield United (could be a tricky one, they’re fighting for a Champions League place, too), Brighton, Bournemouth, Aston Villa, Southampton, Crystal Palace, West Ham (all easy games, and don’t believe the pundits’ claim that there are no easy matches as they say that to make the league sound a lot more competitive than it really is) and Leicester City (which could be a little tricky – I had suggested Man United support them guilt-free instead of backing derby-rivals City, but the Foxes’ dip in form should result in a positive outcome for United).
That should get them a Champions League spot outright, instead of holding on to fifth place and hoping Manchester City’s appeal against a UEFA ban on European competitions for cheating with money would be rejected this week.
More importantly, though, it would signal Manchester United’s return as title contenders next season, which is what I’m really hoping for.
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I’d like to assure you I’m not a closet Manchester United fan. But as a neutral, Manchester United and Liverpool fighting for the title is what I’d love to see.
And why not? It can happen as early as next season.
After Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s dodgy start upon being confirmed as United’s manager, he had an excellent run of 10 matches unbeaten before the coronavirus pandemic halted the season’s play.
His five signings in the two transfer windows he has been in charge have performed well, and he now seems to have the backing of the board (vis-a-vis Ed Woodward) to strengthen his squad.
He has offloaded some players who didn’t fit in, declaring he’d rather have a hole in his squad than a player who behaves like a posterial orifice.
The players have started to show some belief in themselves, too. And if you recall what feels like a lifetime ago, Manchester United defeated champions Manchester City in their last Premier League match, with Scott McTominay, whose name sounds like his family owns a whisky distillery, sealing the points with a stunning goal from 40 yards to make it 2-0 in the last minute of action.
So all Solskjaer needs to do now is get rid of some guy named Paul Pogba and replace him with, well, anyone who is not an air hole and who really wants to play, and Manchester United could become true challengers for the Premier League title next season.
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This season, though, is practically a done deal for Liverpool and their long-suffering fans. However, Jurgen Klopp realises his team may not be able to parade the Premier League trophy through the streets of Liverpool at the end of the season while the coronavirus remains a danger.
If he does do it in the middle of next season like he promised to even if people think he’s crazy, the Liverpool players displaying the coveted trophy in their open-top bus could have something over their heads.
One die-hard Manchester United fan who has been sulking all season, and who wants to be identified only as Cher, said: “When Liverpool have that parade when it is finally safe to do so, I hope Manchester United will be above them in the Premier League table.
“Wouldn’t it be embarrassing, if that happens?” added the Red Devils supporter, who carried a newspaper cutting of a picture of Ryan Giggs pasted on cardboard in her wallet when she was younger.
I hope so. Especially if that would add to the fun and excitement of a Liverpool v Manchester United battle all season.