A weekend of the beautiful game put in ‘short’!
This weekend in football has provided a lot to talk about, a lot to be proud about also. It has ridiculed the ‘top six’ and their idea of the ESL through the use of a cup competition, to some extent, and there have been some pretty shocking results as teenagers have scored for their beloved clubs. I wanted to give my thoughts on what has gone on, as the EFL playoffs loom over for fellow hopefuls in the lower divisions.
It would be only fair to open this article by mentioning Leicester City and their amazing victory against Chelsea, as they won the FA Cup for the first time in their history after four cup final attempts which all ended in defeat. I wanted to doss my hypothetical cap off to Brendan Rodgers, for the work that he has done in Leicestershire as this final was all about making Khun Vichai proud and the Foxes certainly did just that.
How nice was it to see fans in the stadium? I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Wembley on three occasions and it is definitely one of the best places I’ve been to, although it can feel like the earth is swallowing you up when you are on the end of a cruel and bitter blow.
Which, arguably, Chelsea were as VAR was again called into action to rule out a last minute equaliser for a slight offside on Ben Chilwell’s shoulder. This is where I believe that VAR provides a ‘successful’ purpose though, you can score with your shoulder so in the laws of the game the full-back was offside. Does this mean that the game is losing some of its value because of the emotions technology takes away? I’m not too sure because if you asked those for which it went in favour of, they’d be ecstatic. Something I experienced for myself not too long ago, when Tranmere crawled their way back from a 3-0 deficit at Vicarage Road in the opening days of the last calendar year.
Talking about that emotion though, how spine tingling was it to hear fans again for some time. Personally, I’ve missed it and the national stadium felt like the 20,000 or so supporters inside it was actually the full capacity. However, that may be saying something about the atmosphere for England games .. which will hopefully change in the summer for the Euros. The scenes for Youri Tielemans goal were phenomenal and so was the Belgium midfielder’s strike, one to remember for sure!
Soon enough, I’ll be writing up an article about Premier League managers and the work that they have done throughout the course of this season. A certain Northern-Irishman will be spoken about, he should’ve been classed as an ‘elite’ manager for a little while now and hopefully that eventful victory on Saturday will turn doubters into believers of the talent and qualities that he has. We shall also remember that he is only 48, time is very much on his side.
A manager that I would like to put on the opposite spectrum though, a gaffer who is ‘rightly’ classed as the same description that I’d give to Rodgers, is Carlo Ancelotti. Everton fans, or a minority who will come across these words may disagree with my points and they may even point to the lack of quality that his side has. However, the Italian was appointed just before Christmas in 2019 and what has he managed to achieve thus far? The results are spiralling away from anything that can be labelled ‘positive’ as they have lost more league home games since September than 17 other clubs .. the only two who have lost more have been relegated and the style of play is abysmal.
What respectful manager with the success that Carlo has in the game would put five defenders on the pitch, to start with, against a side that is being described as one of the worst in league history?
Don’t be fooled, Everton does have the players, it’s just about having a manager that is able to get the best out of them. I’ll take a quick glance over to a couple of greatly promising forwards in their ranks, as the Toffees are supposedly deprived of any attacking talent, Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin to name that couple.
I said before Everton appointed Ancelotti, a man who has the Champions League title to his name, that it would probably have been better if David Moyes came in. To be honest, I stick by my words although West Ham put in a shoddy performance on the South Coast to get a draw at the Amex Stadium. Moyes, for me, would’ve been a great gaffer to turn the tides. Some would’ve argued that he was a finished manager and that the Blues need a progressive leader to take them forwards. I don’t think the work that the Scotsman has done in West London compared to his counterpart would agree with those doubts though.
I’m not saying that Ancelotti was a bad appointment, it could still work out and I hope it does for my Blues supporting mates as they look into the future where they will be greeted with an amazing stadium. However, they will need to up their standards of recruitment in the off season whilst hoping for the very best on the pitch. They could probably do with a commanding central midfielder alongside Max Aarons and a half decent right winger, they could even do with upping the standards of their back ups especially going forwards.
The Italian with a great understanding of the beautiful game has said all the right words so far, but I fear that there’s a sort of God complex when the fanbase looks at him and that will inevitably lead to blind faith. That’s why next season needs to be the catalyst for the future, acting on a positive recruitment strategy led by Marcel Brands.
I do also want to praise Daniel Jebbison, a Canadian forward who was on loan at Chorley as recently as last season and is only the tender age of 17. The sky may not be the limit, but he definitely has a promisingly successful future ahead of him. I want to wish him all the best as he embarks on that journey with a goal in the greatest league in Europe, feels kinda strange that some pro footballers are younger than me now!
Elsewhere, I wanted to praise Marcelo Bielsa for Leeds’ mesmerizing 4-0 win at Burnley amongst Allison who netted a great header to keep Liverpool’s hopes of UCL Football alive following a sourly emotional few months and the places and coaches involved in the great seven goal thriller in Tyneside on Friday night.
It would only be fair to leave this article by sending my thoughts to Sam Allardyce who’s men were on the receiving end of a bad VAR decision and to Emma Hayes who’s ladies were on the receiving end of a 4-0 defeat on the cruelest stages of all .. the UCL Final!
There is set to be another action packed week ahead as the Football League playoffs are looming, amongst the nearing end of the Premier League season where the fight for European places stay alive. Finals for other competitions are also coming quick and fast. I’ll be keeping you updated with stories, information and features from all of this and more through ‘www.EthanHoijord.com’!
Leicester City have won the FA Cup and the Premier League since a beloved Thai family put their money and time into the club. Khun Vichai will be proud!