✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

Awesome Foursome Guardiola in a class of his own

Congratulations to the whole Manchester City club on winning the Premier League title for a record fourth consecutive year. There are many excellent football coaches…

Congratulations to the whole Manchester City club on winning the Premier League title for a record fourth consecutive year.

There are many excellent football coaches in the world. Then there is Pep Guardiola. The man is, quite simply, a footballing genius who understands the game, understands players and works tirelessly on football strategies, ideas and improvements.

Having spoken to Pep many times I can tell you that he lives and breathes football. When I mention your country, your newspaper, your players, your readers, who I am proud to write for, he feasts on every word, drinking in the knowledge and storing it away in his brain. When a Saturday afternoon game is over the team and assistants say their goodbyes ready to have a day off before meeting up for an analysis of the match, won or lost, on Monday morning bright and early. On Sunday morning all those players and staff enjoy a day of leisure with families and friends. Not Pep…on Sunday morning he sits down on his large sprawling sofa at home and replays the match from the previous day, writing furiously, noting the good plays, the mistakes, the build ups and analysing defence and attack. The man lives for football and he is the best there is.  

Chelsea: A lesson in stupidity and chaos

After a private dinner on Friday evening with Chelsea owner Todd Boehly, Mauricio Pochettino knew it was time to walk away from Stamford Bridge. Nothing about the future of Chelsea was discussed at the dinner and neither was Mauricio told he would be leaving four days later. The meal was cordial without being over friendly. Boehly knew what was coming and Pochettino guessed correctly.

Mauricio Pochettino walked into Stamford Bridge only eleven months ago. During that time he has held together a chaotic club. Players were brought in by American owners who do not understand Premier League football and after eight months of dealing with difficult situations and a suffocating, interfering management he finally started to produce results – five wins in a row to finish the season, sixth place in the league and he delivered European football for next season.

I can reveal that the staff have recognised that the American owners want a coach who would improve young players signed on long contracts. The owners, used to working in American football clubs, did not realise that Premier League players move around clubs much more frequently and in Europe. Chelsea want a coach and not a manager who gets involved in transfers and other business within the club.

I have long felt the coaches were operating with one hand tied behind their backs and the person it affected most was Pochettino.

Just lately there seemed to be a calmer more organised approach and the players were more comfortable as Pochettino’s vision began bearing fruit. Next season was one to look forward to. Now the club is back to square one.

The season in a nutshell…

The 2023/4 season was exceptional by any standards, exciting, unpredictable, full of controversy and spectacular football. Here are a few Premier League facts from that incredible season:

Top scorer: Erling Haaland scored the most goals with 27. 606 goals were scored with the right foot, 381 goals with the left and 203 headed goals. Total goals scored: 1,246! 1007 goals were scored inside the box, 132 outside the box, 11 scored from free kicks and 96 from penalties. Chelsea won more penalties that any other club – 12. Arsenal scored most goals from set pieces – 22. Nottingham Forest conceded most goals from set pieces – 23. Liverpool were top of the league for 87 days, Man City 78 days and Arsenal 76 days. Man City won most prize money: £143.3 million. Liverpool won most points at home: 48. Man City won most away games picking up 44 points. Ollie Watkins of Aston Villa made most assists – 13. Most goalkeeping clean sheets won by Arsenal’s David Raya with 16. Sheffield leaked a record 104 goals against them. Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi made more changes than any other coach to his starting 11 with 143. More than 14 million fans attended matches this season with the largest crowd was at Manchester United with 73,532. 

Arne will slot in nicely at Anfield

Newly appointed coach of Liverpool Arne Slot is, according to outgoing legend Jurgen Klopp, the perfect replacement. Slot will take over in a few weeks and he will be given extra support from chief executive Michael Edwards, technical director Julian Ward and new sporting director Richard Hughes. Klopp worked closely with Edwards and Ward during his eight and half years at Anfield. Klopp said Slot has his support 100% commenting, “People worry about the future but I do not. I am thinking ‘my goodness’ how will it go? No, No, it is fine.” Klopp also said his resignation was much harder than leaving Mainz and Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga and he does not intend to coach any other club in the Premier League in the future because of his loyalty to Liverpool.

City could be without De Bryune and Guardiola 12 months

Kevin De Bruyne’s contract is up in 2025. He does not employ an agent to conduct negotiations with clubs and relies on his own ability. A report has come to light which claims that Man City are not absolutely certain to offer him an extended contract as he will be 33 years of age in June. Saudi clubs Al Nassr and Al-Ittihad and a number of European clubs are watching for developments later in the year. If either Kevin or City decide not to pen a new deal I am told the Saudi League will offer a fee somewhere around £50 million.

Pep Guardiola, despite claiming otherwise, is known to be in touch with his friend and former employer the Barcelona club president Joao Laporta with a view to eventually replacing club legend Xavi. However, Guardiola is aware that Barca does not have the financial muscle of previous years which would hinder his plans for improving the team.

This is of course football gossip but certainly from very reliable sources but anything could happen.  

Arsenal to back Arteta by spending on new talent

I genuinely feel sympathy for Arsenal fans who have just failed to win the title for the second year but coach Mikel Arteta says they are getting closer and will definitely win the elite trophy very soon. Arsenal chiefs will back Mikel in the transfer market as Co-Chairman Josh Kroenke vowed, “No one at the club will stand still.” The Gunners are targeting a new defender, midfielder and striker. The priority is a striker and RB Leipzig’s Benjamin Sesko is top of the list and Arsenal say his £55m release clause will not be a problem as it expires at the end of June. Arteta’s team scored a club record of 91 goals this season but still the coach wants a stronger striker. There is competition from Chelsea, Manchester United and several European clubs who are also interested in signing the 20-year-old Slovenian international. Leipzig are known to want to keep Sesko for another season and plan to offer him a new contract but he has his eyes set on the Premier League and the 6ft 4ins scorer of 14 goals this season will make a decision in the next few weeks. Arsenal’s other priority is to bring in a midfielder to play alongside Declan Rice and Martin Odegaard. Amadou Onana, Bruno Guimaraes and Martin Zubimendi are all under consideration.


Join Daily Trust WhatsApp Community For Quick Access To News and Happenings Around You.

Do you need your monthly pay in US Dollars? Acquire premium domains for as low as $1500 and have it resold for as much as $17,000 (₦27 million).

Click here to see how Nigerians are making it.