Aston Villa manager Dean Smith believes John Terry’s mentality as a “serial winner” with Chelsea is having a galvanising effect on his players.

Terry spent 20 years at Chelsea before joining Villa, initially as a player in 2017 for a season before switching to coaching, helping the club return to the Premier League under Smith.

During a glorious career with the Blues, Terry won the Champions League, Europa League, five Premier League titles, five FA Cups and the League Cup three times.

For the first time since leaving Chelsea, Terry returns to Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night on the opposing side, plotting to help Villa boss Smith as his assistant head coach.

“He’ll be excited for it,” said Smith. “He always said he would never go back and play against them, and I’m certainly not going to pick him!

“I’m sure he will get an unbelievable reception from their supporters, and rightly so, after the playing career he had at that football club, and his ties he has.

“He’ll be looking forward to going back, and I’m sure it will be a little bit different for him, but his mind has been solely on helping myself and the rest of my coaching team to try and beat the club he loves.”

Smith believes Terry has had a significant impact with Villa during his time at the club to date.

“He’s very important and I love working with him,” said Smith. “He’s brought something different to our coaching set-up, with his knowledge, his experiences.

“He’s lifted the Premier League title enough times, as well as the FA Cup and the League Cup. He was a serial winner for Chelsea, so he knows how to win things and that mentality can rub off on people.

“I also feel he’s come into his own with us getting promoted into the Premier League. He’s getting better and better as a coach.

“I’ve championed him for a long time, saying he will eventually be a top manager. At the moment he’s very keen to keep learning and making a major contribution to Aston Villa, certainly on the coaching pitches.”

 

 

Smith is naturally hoping Terry will continue to learn for as long as possible before making the inevitable move into management.

“We’ve a good enough and an open enough relationship for him to come to me at any time,” added Smith.

“I don’t expect it in the meantime because he’s enjoying the job so much at the moment, and the important thing is he feels he’s still learning as well.

“He has a thirst for learning, a real growth mindset, which I really like to see in people. He is always asking me questions about why I make certain decisions.”

Smith will be without winger Anwar El Ghazi for the game at Chelsea due to a knee injury sustained in Sunday’s 2-2 draw at Manchester United but midfielder Jota returns after a two-month absence following hernia surgery.

 

The post Smith admits ‘serial winner’ excited by Chelsea return appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Arsenal legend Paul Merson explans why his former club should approach Mauricio Pochettino to replace under-fire manager Unai Emery.

Arsenal have won just four of their 13 Premier League games this season, leading many to question Emery’s position at the Emirates.

Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw by 19th-place Southampton at home on Saturday afternoon, with the Gunners fans booing at the final whistle.

A host of some of Europe’s top bosses – including Max Allegri and former Gunner Mikel Arteta – have been linked with a move to north London, and Pochettino is the latest man to be tipped to succeed Emery, having been sacked by rivals Tottenham last week.

The Argentine took Spurs to the 2019 Champions League final and oversaw four successive top-four finishes in the Premier League, establishing himself as one of the best young coaches in England.

And despite his past ties with Arsenal’s fiercest rivals, Merson believes ‘top manager’ Pochettino is the ideal man to take over, partly because Arsenal would not need to fork out any money for compensation.

“Arsenal should go for Mauricio Pochettino,” the former Arsenal midfielder told Sky Sports. “He’s not won anything, but he improved Tottenham over five years, tenfold. He’s a top manager and he is about at the moment.

“I know he managed at Tottenham, but George Graham had been at Arsenal when he went the other way. You’ve got to get past that sort of stuff. These top managers don’t come along too often, where you don’t even have to pay anything for them.

“Can I see it happening? No. Should it happen? Yes. But it won’t happen. The days of the rivalry between Arsenal and Tottenham are not what they were. When I was growing up, it was the big football match.

“For some of these players, that’s no longer the case. It’s probably Chelsea or Manchester City or Liverpool. It’s not the highlighted fixture anymore as there’s not a lot of home-grown players in the teams.

“You don’t have to pay compensation for him, and if you are going to bring someone in, he’s got to be better than the manager you’ve got.”

 

 

Merson is desperate to see a significant change made in the Arsenal dugout but thinks Emery will ultimately be granted an extended stay of execution, even if another loss is posted at Norwich on Sunday.

“I still see Emery being there for a while. They had a chance to get rid of him before the international break,” he added.

“They looked at the fixtures and saw Southampton at home, Norwich away. They thought they would win both and everything would be rosy in the garden again. But they were fortunate to draw with Southampton with some of the chances they had, and they’d recently lost 9-0.

“Their confidence was low, but they never looked like they would be on to a hiding. There wasn’t too much respect and they came and thought they had a chance.

“I’m a great believer in if you keep doing the same things, you get the same results. Something needs to change. The players are not that good, but at the same time, results have to be better than what they are.

“If you’re a football manager and you arrive at a club, the team must improve, and the results have to improve. If they don’t then you won’t be in the job for long. That was a fact when I was playing, and it will be a fact in 30 years’ time.

“It’s worrying times, and with Norwich away this weekend, I think Emery will do well to get on the coach if they don’t win that game.”

Before their trip to Carrow Road this weekend, Arsenal host Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League on Thursday, where a win will be enough to book their spot in the last 32.

 

The post Gunner legend Merson explains why ‘Arsenal should go for Poch’ appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has said that his teammates have to ask serious questions about their own commitment to the cause following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Southampton.

The Gunners needed a stoppage-time Alexandre Lacazette equaliser to earn a 2-2 draw at home to the Saintsin the Premier League following another poor performance which could have ended in defeat.

The pressure continues to mount on head coach Unai Emery, who has now overseen just two league wins from the last 11 games.

Ralph Hasenhuttl’s men were unfortunate not to leave the Emirates Stadium with their first away win at Arsenal since 1987 as Danny Ings and James Ward-Prowse – who tapped home after having his penalty saved – had twice given them the lead.

 

 

But Lacazette’s brace, including a last-gasp leveller, ensured the hosts at least ended the afternoon with a share of the spoils – with Aubameyang conceding things need to improve in the coming weeks.

“Everybody is disappointed today, the fans and the players,” he said. “It didn’t work today. It’s not a good result for us. Obviously we’re playing at home and we have to win games at home.

“We have to keep fighting and keep trying to sort it out. I think everybody has to try to ask themselves what they can change, what they can give more of.

“Everybody has to do this, me first. I will try to work hard and to get back to winning ways.”

Rarely is a stoppage-time goal to rescue a result met with such indifference by players and supporters, but Emery admitted afterwards a draw was not good enough.

The fans clearly agreed as they jeered en masse at the final whistle, as Aubameyang revealed the players were equally as frustrated.

“I don’t know but obviously everyone is disappointed, the fans and us as well,” he replied when asked about how the players respond to being booed off.

“When we are playing, we are the first to be disappointed when it doesn’t work. We will try to keep fighting. I think we have the quality to come back and we have to fight.”

Arsenal return to action on Thursday when they face Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League.

 

The post Arsenal captain Aubameyang questions work rate of teammates appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Spanish manager Unai Emery has been given a month to save his job at Arsenal, according to a report.

Officially, Emery retains the full support of his board for now, but that stance could change if no improvement is made on the field over the coming weeks.

In an unusual start to the Premier League season, Arsenal find themselves in only sixth place despite being above fellow giants Manchester United and Tottenham.

Arsenal have only won four of their first 12 matches this season and there has been an over reliance on new captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang‘s goals to get points on the board.

And the Daily Mirror claims that Emery now has seven matches to save his job, five in the Premier League against Southampton , Norwich, Brighton, West Ham and Manchester City and two in the Europa League versus Eintracht Frankfurt and Standard Liege.

There is a ‘belief inside the club that sacking the Spaniard will still not solve the crisis’ at Arsenal.

Some at the club think Emery ‘faces an impossible task to ­revive’ Arsenal with Arsene Wenger’s legacy ‘destroyed by a string of disastrous high-level ­appointments.’

A source told the Daily Mirror: “The DNA that made ­Arsenal the club it was has slowly but surely drained away.

“Appointments have been made – both before and after Wenger’s departure – that either didn’t work out or aren’t working out.

“Long-serving members of staff have been shocked by what’s ­happening to the club.”

There has been a lot of upheaval at the Emirates Stadium since Wenger left with Edu appointed as the club’s new technical director, while Steve Morrow left his position as head of youth ­recruitment.

The source added: “To say it was a shock to see so many good people leave so suddenly is an ­understatement.

“Steve Morrow, in particular, is a huge loss. He is someone who is ­respected throughout football and is seen as having the potential to be a director of football.”

 

The post ‘Belief inside Arsenal’ that sacking Emery will ‘not solve the crisis’ appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

BT Sport has been awarded the exclusive broadcast rights to UEFA’s European club competitions until 2024, it was announced on Friday.

As part of the deal – which has cost £400million per year and commences in 2021 – BT have secured the rights to all 420 games from the Champions League, Europa League and the new Europa Conference League for a further three seasons.

BT Sport will see an increase of 77 games from the previous deal, which includes highlights and in-match clips.

Last season, both the Champions League and Europa League finals were contested by Premier League teams.

BT Sport reported a 26 per cent increase in Champions League viewer hours, with the final between Liverpool and Tottenham made available for everyone to watch in the UK via social media.

A record 11.3 million people tuned in across all platforms to watch the Reds go on and lift the European Cup for a sixth time in Madrid.

Chief executive of BT’s Consumer Division Marc Allera said: “We’re delighted to remain the home of UEFA Champions League in the UK.

“BT Sport leads the way when it comes to UEFA Champions League coverage, and we are very excited to continue to bring our world class coverage to one of the most exciting football competitions in the world – whether that is broadcasting 12 games simultaneously or delivering industry leading images in 4K UHD.

“With increasingly more ways to watch our content, with more games on show than ever before, and alongside our excellent line up of other competitions and sports, BT Sport is going from strength to strength.”

Shares in BT had dropped nearly four per cent after the Labour Party announced plans to turn broadband into a public service. Jeremy Corbyn is due to officially announce the new policy in a speech in Lancaster on Friday morning.

Labour has costed the policy at £20billion, saying it will deliver free full-fibre internet to every home and business by 2030 if it wins the General Election.

But BT chief executive Philip Jansen said the Labour Party had dramatically under-estimated the price of its pledge, saying it would cost closer to £100b.

The BT share price later stabilised to just a two per cent fall – nevertheless wiping nearly £500m off the company’s value.

 

The post BT Sport awarded exclusive rights to CL and Europa until 2024 appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Michael Owen has questioned Manchester United’s links to Bournemouth striker Callum Wilson after allowing Romelu Lukaku to leave in the summer, suggesting that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has “knowingly weakened his team”.

Lukaku was offloaded to Inter for £75 million, with Solskjaer deeming the Belgium international and Alexis Sanchez to be surplus to requirements at Old Trafford.

With United’s well documented issues with scoring goals – again on show in their 0-0 draw with AZ Alkmaar in the Europa League – there has been speculation suggesting Callum Wilson could be drafted in in January.

Owen has suggested they may as well have retained the services of Lukaku and Sanchez.

He told BT Sport: “You have to see progress, you have to see the right type of player being brought in that actually goes down this philosophy.

“If they don’t buy young players, English players, whatever that might be, that’s actually along the lines of what we’re talking, then it really is a worry.

“People like Wilson from Bournemouth are being linked at the moment.

“Now, if a lad in his late 20s, who’s a very good player, in the England squad, no problem with him, very good player.

“But if that’s where you’re going to go back to, then all of a sudden I’m thinking ‘what’s the point in getting rid of Lukaku?’.”

Owen has accused Solskjaer of purposefully weakening the Man Utd squad, in an attempt to take the club back to square one.

The ex-Red Devils striker added: “In many ways Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has knowingly weakened his team.

“Getting rid of people like Lukaku and [Ander] Herrera and [Matteo] Darmian and Sanchez, [Chris] Smalling – he knows that he could improve his team with those players.

“But I think he’s almost taken the view that you’ve got to take a couple of steps backwards to then move forwards.

“[Solskjaer] has done that on purpose thinking ‘right, we’ve just got to rid ourselves of players that, okay they’re probably better than what we’ve got, but are they going to take us to where we want to go?’ – and that answer is no.

“Then you’re almost starting from scratch and I think that’s what Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s done.”

 

The post Owen accuses Solskjaer of purposefully weakening Man Utd appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Paul Pogba has not travelled to Holland for Manchester United’s Europa League clash with AZ Alkmaar following specialist advice about a foot injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side continue their Group L campaign in The Hague on Thursday night, when the World Cup winner will be among a number of high-profile absentees.

Pogba played the entirety of last week’s Carabao Cup penalty shoot-out win against Rochdale and Monday’s 1-1 league draw with Arsenal, but an ongoing foot issue means he will not be heading with United to Holland.

The club said: “Following a specialist’s opinion, Paul Pogba requires a period of further rest and conservative treatment for the foot injury he sustained during the game against Southampton in August. Updates will follow in due course.”

Anthony Martial, Phil Jones and Luke Shaw are also absent for the Europa League clash, as is Aaron Wan-Bissaka after missing the Arsenal match with tonsillitis.

Diogo Dalot and Angel Gomes are available for Thursday’s clash, while 19-year-old Brandon Williams has been named in the squad.

 

The post Man Utd take ‘specialist’s opinion’ as Pogba is ruled out of AZ clash appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com in time for the afternoon Mailbox…

 

Johnny Nic neologism
I think it is time time for Football365 to add another new word to our lexicon. Now taking pride of place alongside the Proper Football Man is the Proper Football Fan (John Nicholson). The PFF only supports their hometown team–preferably while watching them loose in a driving rain storm while his friend in a trench coat . . . (long-time JN readers will know how story ends); uses the trope of everyone having their own idea about football to deny anyone who has an idea about football different from theirs from expressing it; hates the idea that people make money by presenting football to the wider public; believes that anyone who deviates from these principles is sell-out-tool of the man.

Sincerely,
Peter

 

…I admittedly struggled to understand the point JN was making in his piece. I was with him for paragraphs 1 and 2 (and that 2best” is subjective) then didn’t really get what he was trying to say. My summary is rather long, but I think that says more about the article…:

1. Nostalgia (declinism) is a real psychological phenomenon.

2. People with ideological views don’t necessarily identify their own hypocrisy (#Brexit)

3. Brexit, but also football

4. The opposite of “then was better” is “now is better”. (DS invents “hindshite”)

5. THE PREMIER LEAGUE INVENTED HINDSHITE TO MARKET THEIR BRAND

6. All Hindshiters call anyone who doesn’t agree a “dinosaur” and therefore (implicitly) fail to identify there is a middle ground

7. “Best” is subjective, it is therefore impossible to prove ether way.

8. 1/3 – paragraph discussing what “best” is despite concluding it is subjective.

9. 2/3 – paragraph discussing what “best” is despite concluding it is subjective.

10. 3/3 – paragraph discussing what “best” is despite concluding it is subjective.

11. Facts should be used to guide our decision on “best”. (finally building on para 7).

12. In reality then and now was/is a mixed bag of the good, the bad and the average.

13. The “Premier League Era” is an arbitrary line with zero use other than to reinforce the brand.

14. Any “in the Premier League Era” stat proves is proof you buy into hindshite.

15. We’re too polarised as a nation

16. We’re all miserable

17. Communism references, the PL re-wrote the past and we’re all buying it.

18. See the league for what it is.

Finally, I get it, and completely agree, you should judge the premier league based on what it is. However, I have some comments on the following paragraphs.

14. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the premier league era was a 20 team league (except for the 1st PL season), whereas the old first division was more. For goals in a season, I’d argue the different total number of game is a relevant factor to the statistic. If I had a good enough memory to use club sponsor to differentiate between a 38 and 46 game season you better believe I would. True it is arbitrary, but so is a season as opposed to a calendar year, yet one has a trophy.

15. I agree with this point, however the article polarises football supporters, so this article is more a symptom of the problem than it is offering a solution or a root cause (unless you actually believe the PL is to blame for Brexit).

17. This isn’t 1984. There’s nothing which says the Premier League is, and always has been the supreme league in the land. In fact, you mentioned “in the premier league era” in your article, therefore we (and you) clearly know there was a before.

So finally, in relation to real point of the article, when was it ever really “our” football? I think this is a generalised term for a time when clubs actually relied on match day revenue and therefore in effect fans had more power than they do now. If that’s your definition, start following the national league, or the Bundesliga with their lovely fan ownership models. If people stop going to PL games, or buying Sky Sports or BT subscriptions the next sale of broadcasting rights won’t bring in as much if they can’t gain revenue from advertising and subscriptions. This will increase as a % the reliance on match day revenue. Rinse and repeat, and football will be all “ours” again.

Just a thought, once gambling advertising gets banned from sports, we might already see a reduction of this, and it is betting companies who are willing to pay the big bucks for advertising.
Richard

 

Comparing Man Utd’s XI
Just read somewhere that Micheal Owen said that there is not much difference between Manchester united squad and the liverpool squad, wow…seriously? Lets not even talk about Manchester United bench with the likes of Rojo, Young, Mata, Matic, Fred, Greenwood, et all sitting pretty, instead lets compare Manchester United best XI with LEICESTER CITY’s XI (it would be an insult on Liverpool to make that comparison with Liverpool’s best 11).
De Gea is better than Schmeichel, yea..but Wan Bissaka, Shaw and Lindelof, are on current form inferior to Evans, Peirera and Chilwell.. Pogba has more pedigree than Tielemans (and I like Pogba), but comparing Ndidi and Maddison to McTomminay and Lingard is a non starter, James is good, but so is Ayoze…
Vardy is miles better than Martial or Rashford.. so a combined Man Utd/Leicester 11 will look like this.
DE GEA – Peirera, Evans, MAGUIRE, Chilwel – Ndidi, POGBA – JAMES, Maddison, MARTIAL/RASHFORD – Vardy
Kufre, Nigeria

 

More weight to the manager window argument
Further to my mail yesterday, today the news breaks that Huddersfield have appointed Lincoln City’s coach Danny Cowley six games into the season. To add insult to injury, Cowley is bringing his brother along, currently Lincoln’s assistant coach.

Of course Huddersfield’s Chairman Phil Hodgkinson was happy to say “We firmly believed that they were the best men to take us forward, and we didn’t want to give up on them”.

Did anyone of the assembled media multitude think to ask him the question “What about Lincoln City? You’ve taken not just their head coach but his assistant too, where does that leave them? Six games into the season, and they have no coach and no assistant, how do you feel about that?”

I’m sure you’d have got some platitude-ridden response, but internally Hodgkinson would be saying “F*ck Lincoln, not my problem”.

It’s time to stop the coach-poaching madness. The transfer window was introduced to stabilize the playing staff situation, and for the most part, it has succeeded. It’s high time to put the same controls in place for the people who (hopefully) have the most influence over the performance of a team and the well-being of the players from week-to-week.

Huddersfield want The Cowley Chuckle Brothers? OK, get the deal done in July. Don’t wait until September when you have one point from a possible eighteen and then kick Mark Hudson to the curb and pull the rug out from under the feet of another club.
Steve, Los Angeles.

 

Assessing Chelsea
Seeing as it’s international break, it seemed like a good idea to assess Chelsea’s performance so far. Results-wise, they could have been a bit better, but they could have been a hell of a lot worse. As games to watch, however, they’ve been great. That isn’t to say it’s all been dizzying highs, although I guess that’s pretty obvious to everyone. As well as some great attacking play and lovely goals, there have been plenty of moments of nail-biting tension at the ends of the games, particularly against Leicester, where Leicester could have easily grabbed a winner, and Sheffield United, where Chelsea unsuccessfully tried to prevent United from equalising. And of course, the opening game at Old Trafford, which is officially the terrifying low of the season so far. Ultimately though, we watch football for the entertainment, which is exactly what the games are providing this season (credit to the opposition too) and that’s why you’ll find that most Chelsea fans are happy with the way things are going this season.

The Old Trafford result seemed, and has indeed been treated like, a freak result. They scraped a point against Leicester, who I think have proven to be a good team so far and will do very well this year, and the game against Norwich was absolutely fantastic, with the first win and Abraham and Mount getting some wonderful goals. The only real disappointment has been the draw at home to Sheffield United, considering the way that they conceded in both the first and last minutes of the second half, denying them a win to take into the international break. There are plenty of more difficult fixtures coming up (Wolves, Valencia, Liverpool in quick succession after the break, how about that?), but there are plenty of reasons to be cheerful too, namely players to come back like Rudiger, Loftus-Cheek, Hudson-Odoi, and of course, Kante. Reece James is another one everybody is looking forward to seeing play soon, particularly given Azpilicueta’s unfortunate Ivanovic-esque decline.

Another Chelsea fan wrote in fairly recently, seemingly pretty positive about Chelsea’s chances of making it out of their Champion’s League group. Most other Chelsea fans I’ve spoken to do not share his optimism, and while we certainly believe it’s possible, it’s going to be no walk in the park and possibly too tall an order. Anyway, it’s nice to be playing some strong but beatable European teams, all of which are relatively close too, which is great for the fans. That’s what you want from the Champion’s League isn’t it? And if these things mean anything, Ajax’s stadium was where Chelsea won the 2013 Europa League, and Lille was where Hazard was signed from, who won the Europa League with Chelsea in his first and last season. Which means Chelsea… will finish third and win the Europa League..? Yes, that’s what it must mean. But then, the last time Chelsea played Valencia in the group stage of the Champion’s League was in 2011, which means….

A cautiously optimistic and entertained plastic armchair Chelsea fan,
Juanito

 

De Bruyne on fire
I don’t know how he does it, but that guy is extraordinary, I just love watching him. He is the only player I still wish we never sold, never over complicating things; keeps doing simple things extraordinarily. By the way last night he had a hat-trick of assists and off course added a goal, and if he remains fit all through the season, Man City might win the UCL as well.
All hail the Midfield Maestro, KDB.
Meziri CFC, Anambra, Nigeria

The post Forget Liverpool, Man Utd’s XI doesn’t match up to Leicester’s… appeared first on Football365.

Posted in EPL, FA Premier League