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Gunners have the perfect defender in Saliba

Every team has a player who is outstanding, a leader and is looked up to by others. Arsenal’s William Saliba definitely achieves such status. It…

Every team has a player who is outstanding, a leader and is looked up to by others. Arsenal’s William Saliba definitely achieves such status. It is no coincidence that his back injury of March last year began the Gunner’s demise and eventual failure to win the Premier League after heading the table for long periods. If Arsenal are to win their first title in 20 years his contribution will be vital. Saliba has featured in every game this season with 15 clean sheets which is the highest in the league for a defensive player. Mikel Arteta played a master stroke when he teamed up Saliba with Gabriel and the two have a perfect understanding. Gabriel has been described as a street fighter, a player who can take on attackers and bully them, winning the ball and eventually passing to the perfectly positioned Saliba. Man City have the advantage statistically but Saliba says, “We are mentally stronger this season. We have good experience from last year and this season as well. If we want to put the pressure on we have to win, win, win and keep going as we did against Wolves. We know it will be hard but we are prepared.”

Feyenoord’s Arne Slot close to replacing Klopp at Liverpool

There is no clause in Arne Slot’s contract at Feyenoord which would stop Liverpool from employing him to replace Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool but they will have to negotiate a price with the Dutch club which could reach £9million. The Premier League is Slot’s ambition and he has emerged as the new leading candidate for the Reds. His football is exciting and exhilarating and his Feyenoord team  won the Dutch Eredivisie league last year. Liverpool have studied how he has signed young players, what he has done with them and last weekend his team won the KNVB Cup (Dutch FA Cup). I can reveal that talks between Slot, his representatives and Liverpool have been very positive but as I write this column no deal has yet been agreed with the Dutch club.

Martinez signals a return to the United squad

United centre-back Lisandro Martinez has suggested he could yet play before the season ends. The Argentine has played only 11 times this season after sustaining a calf strain during training on April 2nd.  Previously he suffered a knee injury against West Ham on February 4th and only returned against Brentford on March 30th. United have six games left and the next game against Burnley will be too soon but he could make the team against Crystal Palace on May 6th. United have had to deal with a number of injuries and Harry Maguire was the only centre-back available for the FA Cup match against Coventry with Willy Kambwala, Raphael Verane, Victor Lindelof, Jonny Evans and Martinez all on the sidelines. Casemiro had to play at centre-back with Maguire who actually played with an injury.

Kompany has players believing Burnley can survive

After a season where nearly every club has hammered you after winning the Championship lower league last year by a mile, Burnley looked dead and buried after sitting in the relegation zone for 8 months. Suddenly everyone is asking the question…can they pull off one of the greatest escapes? The claret and blues coach Vincent Kompany says his players believe they can avoid the drop after losing only one game in the last seven. Crushing Sheff United 4-1 demonstrates just how well Burnley are playing at the moment. Johann Berg Gudmundsson said, “We believe we can do something special. We have four cup finals left but in the dressing room we’re all in this together. We know we are in a difficult position but we have to believe that we can pick up points in every single game.”

It is going to be tough for Burnley. Next up are Manchester United away and Erik Ten Hag needs to win that game as much as Kompany. Then comes a visit to Tottenham before hosting Newcastle at home followed by their final game when Nottingham Forest travel to Turf Moor for the Burnley fans to cheer their team in a game which could be a relegation decider.

Udogie to miss the final run in for Tottenham

Tottenham coach Ange Postecoglou confirmed that defender Destiny Udogie will miss the rest of this season after undergoing surgery on his left thigh. He has done well in his first season with the club and made 29 appearances. Tottenham released a statement which read, “We can confirm Destiny Udogie has undergone surgery to his left quadriceps following an injury. He is not expected to rejoin the squad until pre-season training.”

Sheffield United recognise it is all over

Sheffield boss Chris Wilder coaches a team which will likely become the first to concede 100 goals in a 38 game Premier League season. Following the Burnley drubbing he admitted his players displayed a lack of effort and he has promised fans there will be sweeping changes this summer. He said, “There were a few players out there who wanted to get out of there pretty quickly after the fourth went in, which you just can’t accept. We will have players who want to be here, who want to run around and want to be involved when the going gets tough and be part of it when we’re going well. That’s what proper football teams look like. There will be better times and I will, with the help of the coaches and everybody, make us go again.”

Life without Toney looking good

Brentford coach Thomas Frank was smiling at training this week after his Bees team demolished Luton Town 5-1. His upbeat feeling is because that big scoreline was achieved without talisman striker Ivan Toney. Bryan Mbeumo was at the heart of every Brentford move and proved that life will go on when Toney leaves this summer. Frank’s side were the first team for 40 years to score four or more away to Luton. The coach pointed out that those goals came from four difference scorers.

Life without Toney will definitely go on!

Only Man City and Chelsea in the Club World Cup

Following the Premier League clubs being knocked out in the Champions League there will only be Manchester City and Chelsea in the lucrative Club World Cup next season. Arsenal would have qualified if they had won this season’s competition but Bayern Munich ended that hope with the Austrian side Red Bull Salzburg taking the remaining spot. The tournament is in the United States in 2025 and I understand the organisers are not best pleased neither Manchester United nor Liverpool will be playing because they always attract large crowds.

Chelsea plan big pay rise for Cole Palmer

Player of the Year candidate Cole Palmer has become Chelsea’s most important player and his status has risen with every game as his four goal tally against Everton displayed. His current deal runs until 2030 due to owner Todd Boehly installing a “buy them young on long deals” strategy. However, because of Cole’s importance, Chelsea plan to meet with his representatives CAA Base before Euro 2024 to discuss a more lucrative deal. He currently earns just over £80k a week whereas many of his teammates are on over £100k a week and not performing to his level. Still only 21 years-of -age, Cole has scored 20 goals this season.

 

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