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The Guardian. Hello and welcome to The Guardian Football Weekly Manchester City are starting to play like some of the great teams of yesteryear, specifically Manchester City 2017 2019 does a five nil win at the Hawthorns mean the title is theirs? After all, West Brom haven't lost five men at home for four weeks now. West Ham, a fourth, I repeat. West Ham, our fourth. This podcast will now self-destruct. Six wins on the bounce with completely unspectacular normal man Thomas Souchak carrying them along.


Arsenal looked quite solid, I repeat. And Newcastle lose again. We'll do a bit more on Thomas to Zlatan and Lukaku, like Staggs and Syd tells us why Bulsara bankrupts all that, plus your questions.


And that's today's Guardian Football Weekly on the panel today. Barny Ronnie, hello. Hi, Max. How are you? I am really marvellously. Well, thanks very much. Nick Ames.


Hello. Hello, how are you? Yes. As good as I was when Barney asked me. Hey, Mark Langdon.


Hi, Max. I won't ask if you're okay. It seems like, you know, you don't care, do you? Or you care about is luxurious, fat and nothing else. And we'll get into that later.


I presume. That's the other Hawthorns, West Brom, male Manchester City five that there's something, Barny, about your hands up already. Barney. Well, I just wanted to pick you up on the first thing you said on the part that the man city you're playing like Man City from 2017, I think you said, which I think is incorrect and OK. Well, I mean, they're getting good results at the same good results and they like a really good team, but I think they're playing slightly differently.


And that's probably part of what makes it interesting. You know, there's been talk about them tightening up a bit this season in that they tended to to play in that kind of overriding the flux kind of way back in that kind of previous incarnation. Whereas now they and there was a certain kind of brittleness that came up at times. But they looked really solid now. And and Pep Guardiola is relaxed and happy, which is an extraordinary kind of development.


I really like this new I find it really comforting. He's become a kind of lockdown comfort. It's like air stewardesses on on a flight or air stewardess. If they're so long as they're happy and OK, everything's fine. And Pat doing really well. He looks happy, settled and calm. And that makes me feel good.


There is, although to be fair, in that cup game, he was sort of getting in the way of benthos his long throw when he he still has moments when there's turbulence that, you know, he might look he looks slightly edgy.


Yeah, that's true. But he still had both hands on the trolley and he was sort bothered with some problem with the card machine, whereas you probably thought Brian was crashing or something like that. But it's fine. He's just going down the aisle. It's all good.


I mean, I do think that I'd see your point, but when they play like they did in the first half yesterday, it's it feels like a different sport. You know, it seems sort of otherworldly. You know, how have Mahrez controlled that ball for his was at the fourth one? It looked like he was so soft that it could have controlled it with his chin. You know, like there's just something about them. I don't know if you you're nodding, so I'll go to you.


Well, I. I thought it was interesting how the said maybe two or three weeks ago that that's part of it was down to running less Dinty and not maybe going for it as hell for leather and just sort of letting the ball do the work. And I think we've seen quite, quite a lot of that in in recent weeks. So they okay. They are better defensively, probably a bit more solid than they were two or three years ago. But I think we are seeing maybe just, you know, people in the right place.


It's a bit more intuitive, a bit more instinctive, and the ball's just flowing for them. It's not too hammerstone. And and I thought, like I if we're talking about first touches, I love the touch. My goodness. Again, actually, for his first goal as well. Overweights checked it so that, you know, and stuff like that is just coming me a lot easier to them now. And then I when I said I want to say a word again and again, actually, because he's got I think seven in eight now and he's always been fighter, a competent player who filled in and I wouldn't say water carried, but what about the pitch made maybe this summer running that perhaps so the tests now and then and kind of got around and but now he's turned into a kind of David Silver Light and also somebody with a who can pack a punch.


And it's an interesting new generation. And in a player who may be partly because he was out for a long time with a really horrible injury, of course, and has to offload beneath the radar in the last two or three years. But he's on fire.


Are you saying he's the most underrated? Has he taken Marc Albrighton? Tagore's the most underrated player in the Premier League. Is he the second best midfielder at Manchester City?


Oh, he's he's the most underrated player. I've ever seen. No, he's he's he's he's definitely in a groove, and I think he's 30 years old now, maybe in his prime and then. Yeah, lovely girl. Was he still very lonely. So I think he's been sort of hidden component behind this last few weeks of improvement.


Speaking of hidden components, Mark, Jow Cancela is not someone I've spent a lot of time studying. I mean, is it about time I did a a short evening course on on Joe Canceller?


Well, when you said Man City's second best midfielder could be Gundogan, that you assuming that Cancela was number one in that range and given the position that he seems to be occupying. I'm not quite sure if you were a journalist at the game last night or what formation and way you would have put you in that traditional bit at the bottom where you have to do for free, free or whatever, and then do the team lineup because it didn't appear to have sort of set positions really in Cancela was one of those really that he was nominally right back, but quite often was playing in midfield.


Sometimes is sort of the defensive midfielder. We have seen Pat do that before or tuck in the fullbacks. But he was also playing really high up at times as well. And one of their chief creators probably has been Manchester City best player this season, I think. I like how you dismissed formations just for three, three or whatever, Jonathan Wilson absolutely will explode with that kind of dismissiveness.


Barney are just going to say it's been that kind of idea of them being calm. It's like a transition from Carl Walker to Tudjarov Kinsella, who now like, yeah, you put him right back because he that he's replaced generally often replaced Carl Walker. But you've gone from a guy whose chief skill is sprinting with incredible speed back towards his own goal and bumping someone off the ball because there's been a mistake somewhere they brillion about to a bloke who drifts around the pitch just looking like this is just some sort of game in, you know, in the car park somewhere with the tennis ball and who's so confident in his own touch and his ability to pass that he's never bothered wherever he is on the field and and that tucking into the midfield to give them that strength.


I remember when I did this, when he first came to the Premier League being so outraged by this, what was going right back doing in the centre circle, which is kind of interesting, given that we're now so chilled and relaxed and cool. We're cool with the whole thing. It's fine. I love it. Yeah, but he does it brilliantly because he's so confident with his ability to play anywhere.


Barny listeners would be very upset if I didn't come straight to you for the one bit of V.R. in this game where Sian Massey put her flag up perhaps a bit too soon to Concilio scored while some West Brom players were carrying on and some weren't. I mean, it was quite the controversy. The game changed probably on that moment, didn't it? Yeah, I mean.


Oh, no, I mean, there was some analysis of this afterwards. I found myself drifting into a kind of reverie, like a waking dream. And then I woke up just at the end, as someone said, yeah, but you just play to the whistle then you. And that I think that's probably the end of it, isn't it?


Yeah, probably.


I did like how much how Robson kinda wanted a penalty in the 18th minute mark, like it could have sparked a comeback I thought was sort of a sign of an elite sportsman got come on, we get this one and then you never know, come back with a ball under your arm, stick it on the center spot and away we go again. Still nil.


Now, lads, would have been the cry that got in. I mean, I suppose, you know, you just looking to take some crumbs of comfort out of what must be a pretty horrible experience or just running after Manchester City, you know, for 90 minutes at half time, obviously, the game was up. And, you know, West Brom probably thinking about the game they've got coming up against Fulham, which is far more important, I think, from six point of view that, yeah, there was a very early moment when West Brom nearly nearly scored and it took a big save and maybe things would have been different.


But since that defeats to Tottenham, they've conceded two goals in the Premier League. One of them was an own goal against West Brom, and the other one was that small consolation against Chelsea.


That would have been very much in that how Robson colonies or penalty or department of goals that don't matter on on a Brom, though, I was interested to learn some Allardyce kept his players in afterwards and maybe had it, had it, had it through with them a bit more than he normally would place much. And I'm just thinking they they don't look very allerdyce. CNN or valediction team did AWB and I think I think they've shipped five to Leeds at home for to Arsenal at home for five now.


And they're very, very passive and poor. Send them. Yeah. Some, some may make quite a big play at being unhappy with his players efforts in a in a big defeat to him. So they very good city side. But yeah. Something, something's not quite right. There hasn't, there's not been the, the big some bounce that we would anticipate. Do we, Bonnie, do you think? Do you think players react well to being kept in the dressing room for extended periods after a football match?


You know, I know it's a good thing to say after the game, I was that angry that I kept them in. But do I can they just sit in there? Go. Look, lads, I've got to keep you in half an hour. It's just one of the things we do, you know, be on your phones. I won't say anything. Do you think he read the riot act for an hour? I don't know.


I mean, I've ever been in in in inside Somalia. This is dressing. It reminds me of when I went to the I once went to report on the IPL and the whole point of being there was I was meant to justify this trip because I was going to interview Michael Long, who was playing for for the Delhi team, whatever they were called. And I remember that I had to get this deadline. The deadline of the papers I hadn't spoken to had been playing in the game and it was a nightmare we couldn't hold.


And I was wandering around this chaotic stadium and I finally found the dressing room and he was being kept in the dressing room by Shane Warne because they'd lost the game and he was being bullied because I could see Shane Warne going like this, wagging his finger at them. And I had 20 minutes to interview Michael Lumb and get this in the paper. And I started texting Michael Lohan saying, what the fuck's going on? Why? What's what I'm doing?


And I could see him getting my text as I was peering through the window and and he was texting back saying, I'm sorry, warning warn. He's really angry. He won't stop going. But I was giving advice and you've got to get out. Why don't you just stop packing or, you know, we need to go. I'm sorry. And I could just see I still see only wagging his finger then and and he wasn't clearly wasn't really enjoying being held back.


He should probably cut this out for the football podcast that we're doing.


And the answer is probably the answer to the question is probably no. No, they don't.


OK, let's go to Soho's Park, Crystal Palace to West Ham, three West Ham in the top four, three to Nick. But I mean, it was way more comfortable than that, wasn't it?


Yeah, it was. I, I think they have a post Wystan and then they were some and I think there was obviously a, you know, a bit of a late rally in Paris, but no, they, they not comfortable. I'm really pleased for David Moyes like really erm like he's, he's not your philosophy manager but I think after it went wrong at Man United, which wasn't necessarily to his shame as subsequent events have borne out, it was a bit of an eagerness.


Wasn't that I think among quite a few people in the media too, to cast him aside as a bit of a dinosaur and feel a bit disgusted if he was linked with a big job and stuff like that. But he's a fantastic tactician. And and West West Ham look as good as I remember them. And I don't know about that either. I think they're quite clever and especially away from home, picking their moments to attack and committing them forward, but only when the stage and the game permits it.


And I think very cleverly, that balance is there at the moment. And they've got a fantastic player in the game, which twice yesterday, Suchiate, who I liked in Slavia towns, and they play one, two or three seasons ago. But he's got, I think, seven goals this season from from the deepest midfield position. And they're often a bit bundled then like yesterday's were. But he's got this knack always when I see him play off getting on the end of something.


And that's partly because he's got a six foot something. And, you know, you can get his head on seven presence. But he's clever. He's got timing and he also sweeps up very well. And, you know, the main requirements as well. And I think I think if we're looking at one player who was turned things around for them as well as by nature, it's got to be him because he can do better than we. I think he's good enough to squad.


Definitely. It's interesting, I mean, you're right, seventh season since his debut in February last year, only Bruno Fernandes's, Gilmore Girls from midfield, who probably all penalties, Fernanda's 19 suitors got 10, no Playskool, more headers than subsects. He made his debut.


But he's kind of mark. He's kind of inelegant. He's not quick. He's not that skillful either. He's a sort of and he seems staggeringly normal. Well, that's probably quite refreshing in a way.


Yeah. I mean, he's probably if he went to Chelsea or somebody like that, the fans would probably turn their nose up at signing what effectively has become sort of Moyes New Fellaini in the way that he arrives late in the box and sort of gets his head on onto things. And of course, that didn't work out too well when Fellaini was then and sort of parachuted up the Premier League pecking order. But I mean, as far as West Ham go, I remember on the opening day they were beaten by Newcastle and of course, the two teams got a very different direction since.


But they were absolutely hopeless in that game and that the season seems a sort of almost turnaround. There was that freakery against Spurs with the late goals that that really sort of would have been a major boost, but was when David Moyes was sort of away from the team with the covid, that West Ham started to actually start playing well. And since he's come back, I mean, he is Nick says, has done a absolutely fantastic job of just organising them.


And they're not as as, say, some of the scores, just like the one Nel's against Everton and Bernado. Quite enjoy watching that front for play.


Well, I had this thought about David Moyes in West Ham last night. The West Ham should probably sack David Moyes because they're too good for him now that he came in to prevent them from being relegated and to kind of try to put things right. And they've now got a really good squad. They're playing really well and that they're too good for David Moyes. Like you upgrade other positions, then you get promoted. Or if you you stop being so busy, you buy a new centre forward.


And we need a better goalkeeper like Liverpool with a better goalkeeper. And they won the league. So why don't we ever do this with managers? The team has now become too good for David. They're not they don't need to be saved. They need to be pushed on. He it's he's done too well and he should be sacked. But I'd like to just say that I totally don't actually think that. And in fact, I'd like to praise David Moyes and say this is exactly a year ago that there was a he came out with a statement where he said West ham signings have been really bad in recent years.


We've seen players who've come who are sort of middle aged players who've come to plateau this club. We need to sign younger, better players. And I've got this guy Thomas to check who he personally scouted. And he went and watched him and said, I know exactly what he's going to do in this team. I predicted his head. It goes he said this. This is what we need. He's really good. We're going to buy him because he's the right age.


And lo and behold, it's coming completely true. And so he he has actually affected the policy and it's he's moulded this team. So maybe he gets to cling on to his job for a few more games on that basis.


I don't know. I'm I'm I mean, I'm happy to to begin the Malaysian circle where he can never quite get up. What are those who did those paintings, where the staircases just go in on themselves? That's what David Moyes should be. It's just like an eternal life of never quite being there and just going back.


He's got three games to save his job by losing.


And they need to be they need to be in crisis so they can they can get David Moyes in. He's got Newcastle written all over him.


Now, isn't that exactly the right place for him? Let's go to some very Southhampton Arsenal three pretty comprehensive win for us. And in the end, a game that's started brilliantly and then petered out a bit. But Nick, a sort of mature, pretty straightforward win in the end. And that doesn't feel very arsenal to me.


That's bizarre, isn't it? And I think that's four wins and and five now in the league. And maybe this was the one that actually makes you think, hold on a bit because. You could argue if you were slanted on the pessimistic side of things that they taught Chelsea on a bad day, you could then say, OK, you've played both in West Brom and Newcastle and they're not much. But all the signs were starting to appear, especially against Newcastle, I think.


But bookending that with a win against a seriously good and serious, impressive Southampton team. Tells you that maybe things are really are perking up, and I think there's always this tendency with asking who isn't there? And it seems to become a thing in the last 10 or 15 years that the highs are extraordinary high. And when those are extremely low and their fan base and I mean expectations when normally the truth is, is fairly middling. And so you see them when they get carried away.


But I think, you know, the worst we can say is that they're now getting towards the kind of form that they should be showing week in, week out. And I was impressed last night, I think, and I went to break up game on Saturday and saying deserve to win that completely. They are much more energy. They went hard. Hasn't had to take a very strong team for that as he did last night as well, which may be maybe they didn't rotate more at the weekend.


They were asking that yesterday as they came out and they matched that energy, you know, and I think. Where and where it was on Saturday, Southhampton stopping, then playing out, this time they were stopping Southampton getting out and the players like Smith are back in party. Back in who I think we're going to talk a bit about hopefully back in as well, just added to that energy and that testing and city that they may be hadn't hadn't had before.


And then on top of that. There's a lot of conversation about Harsono squad players on actually that good, which I've got a bit of sympathy with. But last night, some of them stood up. Papay, who is a who's the definition of mercurial, I think had a good game last night and scored lots of dangerous running in behind. Arteta trusted him for the whole 90 minutes, something which is fairly rare, too. And instead of it, Suarez almost scored against his old club.


I think it was at first half of a twenty five either. And then he unleashed a bit of a ping with twenty minutes to go or so for the third goal. So everyone put a shift in and people stepped up who needed to step up. And I think that's a good sign for Arsenal. And as I say and that is that's the result in that recent one that would make you think, okay, it's turning a neck.


You were very almost like a sort of Arteta disciple. I remember when he got the job. Are you how pleased are you for for him?


I'm I'm pleased that I've definitely been proved right incontrovertibly.


I no, like it's he he did and does need time because I think we've come on here before. There's been a lot more than that club and in the last few years. But there is a sign now that he's starting to get players in the positions he he wants to play them and he's got a few players back and fit and and, you know, maybe a few influences he needed rooting out, booted out. And it just there's a bit of an echo of a new boom there.


But it was maybe needed, you know, and you've got, as a result, what is possibly mustafi leaving classic match Odegaard almost certainly coming in maybe today, maybe tomorrow. And then this is an awful I mean, it was there was a lot smoother. A lot sleeker.


Yeah. I mean, yeah. Nick, we were talking just before we came over. We have Asaka basically is the manager of the team now. He seems to be the person who's running all the other person to seek his approval. And and he's so mature and seems to know exactly what they need to do. And he's got the most, like, beautiful smile. Like if Saki's smiled and told you you've done well, you just feel really pleased to see your your contributions on the pot were to the point.


And and I like them, you know, they're even quite funny at times. You just feel great for the rest of the day because you utterly trust his judgment. He seems incredibly mature. There was a there was an amusing incident. Arteta did try to take Pepé off. He didn't trust him for that. I mean, he'd run a lot. He was exhausted, exhausted. He tried to take him off. And then he he walked off really slowly because Smith Row was injured and they weren't sure who's going to get booked by the referee.


You could see him try to explain my friends injured, no notebook. And then when he finally did get taken off, he ran straight off the pitch so that he didn't pick up a second yellow for the same thing, which is quite funny. I'd like to point out the Arsenal, Smith wrote. They they always win when when he's played. He's paid eleven games this season. They've won nine, draw one when he start. They've never lost the game when he started.


And I don't think that's completely fluke. I think it's because he gives so much in the way of energy and and the high price is perfect for the way I said he wants to play, I think Tony's spot on about Smith.


Oh, and well, it's largely about how good Smith is. And he's excellent. It's also about the fact of having an industrious player in that position at all. He will show for the ball. He will let you move through the first flight smoothly. He who is showing up and put in the yasein. And I think putting Smith in against Chelsea, wasn't it kind of allowed Arsenal to to transform their star an awful lot less clunky. And I don't think the guard would have a very similar effect, actually, as long as he is much ready, I think, in the interest of honesty.


Well, Bonnie and Nick, we're talking about the maturity of Kosaka. Before recording, I was asking about Kolon health and whether anybody squatted instead of sat on the toilet, because I've recently been told that's the right thing to do. And I tried it and I found it incredibly difficult. But perhaps that's a different podcast. You know, I could start my own one Kolon Health with Max. Let me know if you download it. Download is the wrong word for that kind of podcast.


Anyway, that'll do for part one. Part two will stay at the bottom or near it with Newcastle United. Welcome to Part two of The Guardian from a weekly Newcastle, one leads to three lovely goals in this game. Jack Harrison's was sublime. Was it good enough to be sublime? I. Is that going too far?


One of these marks, aren't you just praised Leeds and Balser? Everything. Everything they do is sublime and brilliant, even even if they lose.


So, no, it was a great finish. I don't think it was a sublime as Newcastle's goal. Actually, the Almir on one, which was probably for the first night of the season, sort of Newcastle put a piece of play together that they could still be proud of as an attacking unit. But this was I quite enjoyed this game and I wasn't sure that I would, you know, last time I was on Newcastle, just draw nil nil with Liverpool.


And we praise them quite a lot for that performance. And afterwards, I did wonder, we've been a bit patronising about them, sort of, you know, good on Newcastle, getting two players forward and, you know, maybe we overrated sort of, you know, the attitude in that game, really, because, you know, that's what you're supposed to do. Isn't he supposed to get men forward and try to score goals? And they did, again, do that in this game, particularly in the second half that 22 shots, five of those on target.


But ultimately, this was one of them games, really, where, you know, if you are a Newcastle fan, you look at what Bielsa has done with those league United players and sort of wish for something similar from an inspirational manager yourself.


Yeah, that's Newcastle's first goal in open play, I think since Fustiness Asprey scored against Liverpool Neck.


You had your hand raised. How polite. You know, I just wanted to to agree with me that, you know, Newcastle fans must watch Leeds because, you know, they're they're quite desperate to get the Keegan years back and that kind of vibe, at least, certainly. And and then just watch this and think, yeah, that that is exactly what we wish we were that sort of sublime but flawed, mutualised favourite style. And then, yeah, they were well beaten up, I'd say.


Well actually for Rafina as well. He looks a good signing I think for Newcastle affinis good good opening go and lovely ball for the sublime wener. Bye bye Jack Harrison.


They've lost six consecutive games in all competitions for the first time since May 2015. As Bruce got to go Barny.


Maybe I mean I'm not one to advocate like the sacking of of anyone really, but I do. And the only interesting thing that happens with Newcastle now, there's one interesting thing, and it's that someone in the media who used to be friends with used to play with Steve Bruce initially when his friend says, I don't want Newcastle fans want Steve Bruce is doing a really good job, their expectations. And then Newcastle fans get really angry about this person saying that.


And it goes in an endless cycle. But I'm sympathetic towards them because essentially all they want is some excitement like football. They want the opposite of boredom. You know, steady Premier League consolidation is really, really boring. And that's the opposite of everything that football supposed to be. They want something interesting to happen that isn't getting angry at a bloke who used to play for Man United saying Steve Bruce is doing a good job. And I completely fighting against boredom is quite a noble cause.


And I think that they are simply bored by the, you know, the lack of high emotional peaks in their footballing life. So, yeah, possibly, yes. But it won't happen. And Steve Bruce's favour, he has sort of kept them in exactly the same place, doing exactly the same thing, which is, I guess, what he was asked to do.


Sam says, having made negative Newcastle Spurs teams that like free flowing attacking forces, is there any team past or present? Leeds couldn't make it look fun to watch. That's a quite a good point, isn't it? I mean, some maximum did look quite fun for Newcastle, but I. I tend to agree. It's it's hard. It's hard. Most of the time there was a there was a really fun clip of a couple of Newcastle players just sort of ambling through a warm up and just spanking the ball wide just on when highway lads that's the warm up done.


It was quite funny. Premier League games tonight and Chelsea Wolves, all eyes on Thomas to call him and his starting eleven, which will obviously define who he loves and who he'll never pick for Chelsea again. All be decided this evening. Boniva in a bit on Thomas Tulku, one of your look alikes. Yeah. Is excited to have him in the Premier League.


Yeah. I mean, the more the more power and influence is put in the way of kind of angular, slightly bug-eyed Germanic people, the better for all of us. I mean, there seems to be an urge to say that he's absolutely useless in a complete fraud for some reason. I don't really know where that's come from. You know, people there always is kind of try. Currents that you pick up on. Like, why do people hate automatical?


It's sort of fans of some player who he didn't pick at some point. Or is it people who don't like Germans or something? But the truth about Thomas people is that he's clearly quite a good manager who's done pretty well. He did pretty well at Dortmund and fell out with everyone. He won a trophy that that's good. Some players that flourished under him, including Pulisic, he did pretty well. PSG, you know, he beats Germany's. He finally won the cup.


He was meant to win. So he's obviously not a bad manager or underqualified or not very good at tactics. So we should give. I think he's always been someone who's looked somehow ill fitting in this environment. Wherever he's been, even at Dortmund, he somehow managed to fall out with everyone where you thought they would have been sort of a good place for him. So it'll be interesting to see if Chelsea, the place which routinely sucks managers at the rate of one a year, is the place where he finally finds a happy and stable home or not.


But this is going to be so much hostility towards him, he's very lucky. I mean, I think he's very lucky. There's not a crowd at Stamford Bridge that will really help him. He's essentially going to have a series of practice matches to ease his team in in the way Arteta did during the sort of midsummer season. And now I'm really looking forward to that squad is really strong. He's coming in. He doesn't need to buy any new players, which is a really rare situation.


It's a question of how do I make these incredible riches work, which will mean leaving people out of the team and so on. But his connection to the kind of rough Reineke kind of connection to how do you make a team overnight work seems promising. Rudnic also raved about Avance when he was playing against him, setting up teams against him, called him the new Kruijff. So if you could just give give Ralph a ring and have a long Zoome with him at some point and the next few weeks, I'm sure he can figure out how to unlock German German power on German skill because all Germans are the same and only Germans.


Well, that's why I love that bit. Yeah, I was going to say that, you know, I love that everyone's gone. Well, he must be best friends with Cohabits and Timo Werner because he's also German, as if all Germans are interchangeable and they all know each other. You know, it's like a tiny village in the home counties.


It's not just the German there. There is a kind of logic to it. But yeah, it is funny. And, you know, the Germans are here.


We're fine now, Mark. Yeah. I mean, I think there is something in the way the sort of German the sort of a generation of German coaches have come through and share a similar ish philosophy, and therefore the players are coached in that kind of way. And there has been accusations that Lampard instructions on the press weren't very, I suppose, German efficiency really in terms of how you supposed to do it. And he was saying that they were running around not enough.


Unlike Guardiola, Frank Lampard wanted Chelsea players to run around more. And I mean, there was an accusation maybe from some of the Chelsea players that it wasn't they were running around sort of not not frequently enough, but it was more that they were doing it in a dumb way and they needed somebody that could teach them how to to press properly. And I saw that kapper in the deep dives that sort of followed Kepel was unhappy with the tactical instructions from Frank Lampard, which I made me chuckle.


I'm not quite say, yeah, we really got to do that much other than catch it, save it and kick it. But I do think there is a method in the in kind of bringing in somebody that I think is better suited to working with the very expensive talent that Chelsea brought in over the summer.


I've been looking at Barny for the last two minutes trying to work out whether he does not like to kill or not.


There's Thomas to call, there's Barny, there's Donald Tusk and there's Mr. Burns. And they're in a kind of a kind of four.


And it's where you put each one of them.


It's fine that you're all comfortable with this kind of casual racism towards Central European people. Yes, we we all look the same.


We all have a kind of quiet, quietly intellectual interest in the way things work. That's right.


Well, I've always had had to put down a sort of sickly Bond villain, the the China one who's sat in a big dark auditorium with a massive string of letters in front of him. So I worked out how to sort of steal all the words, all of the oil in the world or something like that. So whether you're capable of that, darling, I don't know.


Well, maybe then we split we can split Burns and Tuco and Ronnie and Tusk and they can go their separate look alike ways now. So I went to Chelsea tonight, five other games in the Premier League tonight. We'll talk about them on tomorrow's Pod Spurs by Liverpool on Thursday. Benz's is a Spurs fan. What? Worimi Moore playing a Liverpool team winless in seven than it would playing a Liverpool team who'd won seven in a row after since Monday's Spurs one for one at Wickham.


And I thought, Mark, I just want to talk a bit more about Tanguy and Amberleigh.


Like, he's just he's like the ball is an extension of his body, isn't it? It's it's miraculous. I know it was it was only Wicken, with all due respect to Whitcombe, ET, etc., but he's so great is Yanda.


I think football will so easy to me. He wants to do it now so that he's not looking when, when, when he's shooting. Very proud of the fact that it was a no look goal for his second effort. And there were various passes that where he was sort of looking the other way as he was as he was sort of finding a teammate. The ball for Harry Kane that eventually led to the second goal. The chip with the inside of his foot was a thing of absolute beauty.


I mean, Witkin with barely trained due to covid and and the snow. And that put a lot into the first 65, 70 minutes. So the last thing they needed to see was somebody like Candomblé Plus Zone and Kane or coming on against those tight legs. But and Donelli has really stepped it up this season. And I'm still not sure what his best position is, but I don't think it really matters whether he plays deeper or closer to Kane.


Just get him on the ball and have fun now.


Do you think he just he wants to do a whole game where he doesn't look at anyone he's passing through. At some point he'll just do 90 minutes of no look passes. Robert says after watching the Williamsburg, I'm not sure I've seen a manager wear a leather jacket on the sideline. Greased Lightning kept coming into my head every time the camera went on. Gareth Aynesworth, I wonder if it had got T Bird on the back is great, Barney, isn't he?




I mean, he's he's he's a very popular guy and people speak very warmly of him in football. I think it's a bit weird that he's the only manager who doesn't look like all the other managers. Everyone looks the same. They're all the same guy. And then there's one person. He's wearing normal clothes and has his own of, like, I think I wear a leather jacket. Yeah, why not? You know, there's no rules in managing wear anything.


But that is I think this is like, you know, there is there are two out there. You know, there's there's the very much you know, I'm in a you know, there's a sort of Pulis, you know, coming down from Pulis in the tracksuit, going one way and then sort of coming down from, I guess, you know, Vanger in a suit and they go their separate ways. Yeah, you can wear a suit or a tracksuit and you will go between the suit and the tracksuit.


Those are two incarnations that are acceptable. And then one guy just happens to wear some fairly normal clothes and it's absolutely mind blowing.


I cannot believe what I'm seeing is extreme, whereas Pappin that then because Pat, perhaps perhaps sort of casually dressed. But do you think it's like it's I get the impression that that's Gareth.


I was just going to just stick this on, whereas perhaps really thought about it so it doesn't work as well. Perhaps Cardigan cost 5000 pounds. I mean, that's extremely formal. Casual wear isn't. His wife dresses him, doesn't she? She's like a a fashionista. Oh, I didn't know that.


And so those those trainers that look like they've come from sort of the, you know, Debenhams rack actually cost 20000 pounds and were designed by a seven year old Japanese, you know, also in the form of big crawly.


Well done. Jack Wilshere scored his first goal since redoing them. Lovely finish from the edge of the box. Well done, Jack. And that'll do for part two. Part three. We'll ask Siglo if Barcelona really are bankrupt. Before we start part three and know about a new podcast from The Guardian on Wednesday the 27th, we're launching a new six part series called Reverberates. The series explores incredible stories from around the world. When music shook history from the siege of Leningrad to Cairo's Tahrir Square protest.


Each weekly episode uncovers the unique role music has played in framing social and political change around the world. The series begins with the tale of an English musician who became an overnight pop star in Hong Kong, only to discover he was the face of a huge protest movement against China. Other episodes will look at how Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian dictator, got rolled. How one song about a local street helped forge a new identity for the South Asian communities of Birmingham and scruffy Czech psychedelic rockers who took on the communist regime and won.


Make sure you subscribe to reverberate on acast or wherever you get your podcasts now into Part three and to set in Spain. Welcome to Part three of The Guardian Football Weekly. Our Barcelona bankrupts El Mundo in Spain, claiming that they're on the verge of bankruptcy. Let's ask said what's going on? Said Hello. How are you doing? Well, hello, how are you? First things first. You've kind of asked the wrong person, right? If what you're wanting is is mathematical competence and financial expertise, you've definitely come to the wrong place.


But the figures are very, very bad indeed. That said, one of the things that's really struck me looking at these figures, this is actually the extent to which these are not massively out of keeping with other big clubs, but it seems like all of Europe's big clubs have enormous debts. And so, for example, I got the figures in front of me now. So is so that is one point one seven billion ravagers is nine hundred one million.


The net debt is four hundred and eighty eight against free fifty five. And the amount that they need to pay back in amortizations is one hundred eighty six against hundred seventy three. So you see the figures there are not actually that far off each other, but Barcelona's situation is very, very bad, which I suppose in a way, look, we knew this anyway. The fact that this is a club that is trying in possibly the most embarrassing way imaginable, trying to weasel its way out of paying off Chekist at the end.


The last major this is a club that has been trying to sign Erik Garcia, but can't do so until the summer because they can't pay the what would it cost about three million, four million euros that he would cost to get in now. And a club that, as Krugman keeps saying very, very publicly as well, can't afford to buy any of the players he keeps asking them to buy for him.


You know, I texted you last night going, is this new? Is this does this matter? Like, if lots of clubs have? I confess I'm not an expert either. Said I don't have anyone else. Is it sounds like it does matter if it's actually impacting on what exactly who they are, you know, who they can they can't afford to get players because in your mind, you just think, well, Barcelona want someone, they'll eventually get them because they're Barcelona.


Yeah. And so you look at a situation in which they are the impacts upon the things that they try to do daily. That, of course, matters are matters enormously. And when you look at it in terms of the amount of money that they owe to other clubs and they simply don't have that money at the moment. So, for example, they still I think it's well over 30 million euros Liverpool for continue. There's a whole list of players they owe money to.


And one of them that really struck me was they still owed money for Malcolm, for example. So you get a player that comes doesn't perform well or isn't given an opportunity to perform well, you sell him on. And yeah, of course, two years on, he's still paying for him. And, you know, and this can probably be embodied in terms of the kind of the combination of the financial and footballing disaster. This can be embodied, I think, as well as anything by what Messi said about about how they manage the Luis Suarez situation.


Messi himself was one, to use the phrase madness, Barcelona. And regardless of whether or not we agree that they needed to lose Suarez on, but they basically paid off Luis Suarez contract, basically covered all the money that they were going to pay him for the rest of his contract, didn't get any kind of transfer fee for him, thus allowing him to go to Atletico Madrid on a free transfer, although strictly speaking, it wasn't a free transfer because of the last minute kind of panic and realize that they were going to lose face.


So they kind of came at this bizarre agreement where they have him for free. But, you know, we'll put some objectives in place and maybe he can cost two million a year for the two years of his contract. And he goes to Atletico Madrid and he's top of the league and his top scorer. So, you know, does this impact upon their on their the footballing side of things? Yes, it does. I suppose the other question is whether this has an impact on them in some sense.


Does it risk going out of business? Probably not, but they will need to completely restructure their debts. Now, will they find financial institutions to do so? Yes, they are already in debt in themselves to be able to pay the players even now. So, yeah, it's it's really bad, but not to the extent of them going out of business. I don't think you can imagine. Barcelona, Real Madrid, sort of fading, right, but they've got to sort it out somehow, they need some money, right?


Well, I mean, obviously, look, in this case, got say, look, I want you to not in brilliant financial shape, but there's stability to them. And, you know, they haven't spent any money over this last year. And one of the reasons that has been this this financial structure and of course, most of this debt is long term and it's serviceable. And in Barcelona's point of view was this is doesn't matter because we generate more money than anybody else.


I think they became the first club to generate over a billion euros a year in terms of income. And and that keeps going and it's fine. But of course, you get a pandemic at which a huge chunk of that just basically disappears in front of your eyes and it's not there. Now, that's not to say to Barcelona or only victims of the pandemic, they're victims of their own horrific mismanagement. And yet another demonstration of just how bad just about Tamayo's presidency was.


So what does it sort of what happens with this?


I mean, I think what happens is in Boston, you've got presidential elections coming up on the 7th of March. They've already been put back because the pandemic that was supposed to happen, what time was it last weekend? And so what happens now, I guess, depends on who takes over. But all of them know all the presidential candidates know that they will come in and they will have to restructure debt, find lines of credit and almost certainly sell players.


Now, they were having to do that anyway. And the problem, of course, is that that's not that easy. I go back to Lusa, for example, in the summer, Altura Videl, if Americans lose faith and I can't help feeling like I'm missing someone, those for at least all departed and they got one point five million euros in total for the three of them housed Lionel Messi.


Well, Messi message, you know, got injured. He's back tonight to play against Rivai in the Copa del Rey. So I'll hit that viscose and maybe then I can report back on his happiness for you.


Vince asked you a question, by the way, said when Sid served as an air filler before that Richard Keys interview 10 years ago, in the 15 minutes, did he cover one or two La Liga matches? This is after Brooks piece in Athletic about was an anniversary since Sky got rid of Keesing Gray and they did an interview on talksport. And you were you were they called you up because they were you Richard Keys wasn't there to do his interview. Did you know you were pheno at the time?


No, I had absolutely no idea. I had no idea at the time and I had no idea since. Or at least I don't remember having any idea since. And as you say, this this piece that Jacques wrote, Jack actually contacted me to ask him about this. I said I did what now? And I genuinely had no idea he'd he asked if I'd if there'd been some remark about me being a cop. Remember the phrase the the greatest incidental warm up act in history or something like that.


And I certainly don't remember anyone ever having called me that or ever having called myself that. But he said although it is actually and I've mentioned this to Jack and unfortunately didn't go in the piece, but now I'm going to say anyway, I said it's the second time I've completely unbeknownst on a huge warm up act. I was I was warmed up for Gerry Adams, which was which was pretty bizarre without knowing it. On talksport, no, not on talksport, no, I like a live event, I saw a live event, the unveiling of a mural, and I was I was talking.


And I was and it's quite disconcerting when you don't expect this. I'm talking, if you can call that kind of front row really looks like Gerry Adams is sort of a small gathering of people, not a huge amount, but I think he really does look like Gerry Adams. And I finished talking and the person who was kind of arranging the event sits and then the next person speakers, Gerry Adams bloody how they go about this is voiced by an actor.


That was the only thing that did the mural have pictures of men in balaclavas holding rifles. I mean, did you get suspicious anything? No, no, no.


I mean, this is you're talking about it was it was it was a mural to honor Patrick O'Connell, who's the Irishman who was the manager of Raoul Bettis when they won their only league title in 1935, who coached a handful of clubs who played at Manchester United. And it's a lovely, lovely mural. And I was talking about him and about his his league title when in in Spain with Ralph Bettis. And there are a handful of talkers. And yes, they're the guy that I was a bit familiar.


Jacques also got in touch with me about that piece and did quote the idea that on Sock'Em that Saturday I wanted to have a full sized elephant in the studio, that that was never referenced. But unfortunately, like pretty much all my ideas on that show, it was not allowed in any way. Alison said, thanks so much for coming on. It's a pleasure. Terry said in Spain are from Spain to Italy. What a lively Italian derby. In the course of finally the Copper Italia, Christian Eriksen won in injury time.


There was 10 minutes of injury time. You know, Zlatan got sense of him and Lukaku had a had a to and fro mark. It was it was frantic. It was quite fun, wasn't it? It was.


I mean, most of that ten minutes injury time came about when the referee did his hammy and it took forever to to get off the pitch and take off all of his technology and and pass it on to his assistant, during which time the the commentators I was listening to were were pondering whether he'd be fit for the weekend, which felt what do and do obsession with referees.


But it was a very, very interesting clash between the two called for Milan. And of course, it did center around that Lukaku and Ibrahim of each face off, which saw them really square up to each other for a good minute or so during which there were sort of insults traded mainly from Abramovich Lukaku. It's reported that Lukaku said two to Ibrahim, Avicenna, come and see me outside, to which Ibrahim Ravich said, well, bring your mom. And then very, very much sort of year, seven year I sort of insults there.


And then Abramovich brought up a story is said to have brought up a story that saw from a couple of years ago when he he said to Lukaku to go do his voodoo shit and also called him a little donkey, that the voodoo stuff is. I couldn't remember the story at all, but it proved Victor's got a better memory than my cell phone on Lukaku sort of matters because this came about when he left Everton and the owner machinery. It quoted in The Guardian report on it, said in the meeting room, called his mother.


He said he was on a pilgrimage in Africa or somewhere and he had a voodoo and he got the message that he needs to go to Chelsea. Very odd story Lukaku has denied throughout. And of course, he eventually went to United and played with Abramovich. But a unsavoury incident, I think it's fair to say, well, nobody likes to see. I really liked seeing it and could watch another couple of minutes of them squaring off. But it was eventually won by Eriksen in the 98 minute, a lovely curling free kick.


Afterwards, Antonio Conte said nobody's leaving. So I don't know if that means Eriksen has to stay.


Zlatan also politely said, I'll fuck you and your wife. A strange thing to say this, isn't it?


Dave says, Do you think the Popemobile the FAA will reimburse Dean Smith's fine? Premier League referees have been given another round of guidance. Our latest round of guidance. That sounds like a lovely meeting, doesn't it, on how to interpret one of football's most controversial laws following an outcry after broderie winning the ball while he was apparently offside, quote, where a player in an offside position immediately impacts on an opponent who has deliberately played the ball. The match officials should probably add in Varney's scraping the Zoom's green match.


Officials should prioritise challenging an opponent for the ball and thus the offside defense of interfering with an opponent by impacting on the opponent's ability to play the ball should be penalized. I mean, I zoned out while I was reading that.


I was amazing. I just wanted to say there is one thing about in among all the incredibly boring things that people say, uh, no offense that people have picked up that someone's going to get injured. While we wait for the linesman to raise his flag because you keep playing and worst of all, you keep playing with uncertainty in your mind, is this real? What's going on? Is the flag going to go up? And it's when when players are distracted and there's a slight mismatch in how hard you're getting the ball, the people get injured.


And this nearly happened last night. Sackur kept playing. He went down the right wing. It was clearly offside, but they kept playing. And Sakka was tackled quite roughly. I think he was half thinking. So I wasn't quite sure then it wasn't a foul because it was actually offside. OK, I mean, if they if they injure Sackur with Vare on marching on Stokley Park, you know, there's some there's some lines you don't cross, you know, nobody, nobody injured Sackur.


And if that were to happen, that wouldn't have grounds for pulling, pulling down, you know, not a Victorian statue and then throwing it away I think. But that will happen. And they need to sort that out because playing on Hafsa uncertain whether this is real football or not, is dangerous.


How do you do that?


The assistant just doesn't raise the flag at all.


Let's don't bother, because unless the real truth here is that you no longer need a linesman or you need no longer need someone with a flag, because this is weird.


We dealing with humans or who's in charge.


And if they didn't have a flag, what would they hold? I mean, well, what's going to happen to fall and which could probably happen now is that this is done by A.I. We don't need a man with a flag. You could model this whole this is what will happen. That sounds stupid. And I'm going to start talking about 5G. But before long, you simply have a kind of GPS sensor in your shirt and a machine will tell us when you're offside.


That will happen in about five years. And we'll look at lines and see what a ridiculous idea of the flag is raising it in the air. And so that will happen. That's the end game.


Will robots do the podcast's or not? I'm thinking quite personally, yes.


And robots will be a lot better and a lot more reliable.


A report from The Telegraph that the government are increasingly likely to ban gambling firms sponsors on football shirts by the autumn amid rising unease over betting addiction. So we'll follow that as it happens.


Ipswitch John says, can you get Nick aims to give his thought on the situation. Ipswich Town after the local media reluctantly called for Paul. I've played for some massive clubs. Lambert's heads neck.


Yeah, yes. I will keep it short and concise. Yeah, they've they've lost six home games out of seven now and I think ten, nine points from ten or ten points from nine and I think tenth in the one and a Lambert era that began fairly lightly in terms of goodwill anyway, has utterly nosedived for for many, many reasons that I again, I won't spend half an hour going into. But yeah, the local newspaper, The East Anglian Daily Times, a former employer of mine, actually did a front page saying the manager basically saying the manager must go on Sunday, which I know some people, that it's a consideration and thought whether to do it.


And now we know we got to see whether whether Paul Lambert does get the boot. But what will I say about that is in every single department, except for maybe the academy standards have just slipped to a shocking level in the past or ten, ten years, five years especially. And it's yeah. I mean, we we all have had this thing with our childhood clubs and hometown clubs where everything seems a bit more dramatic and an emotional close up, don't we?


So so it's probably the same here. That's what's happened to Ipswich has been really bad. And they do, I think, need to make a change, although I'm not going to do a front page calling for a change because I think the editor of The Guardian, it might be hard to swing that in the current climate.


But, you know, listen, give it your best shot in Lambert's defence early in lock down year when the Bundesliga returns.


But we weren't the Premier League wasn't back and everyone pretended to care about German football for a bit. We were told I was on the radio and we were told that he was doing the Kokomo's of a game. I can remember who was playing who. And so he came on the radio and we said, Doing Kokomo's tonight for BT is Paul Lambert. We talked a lot about, you know, what it's like to coach commentate from your living room, you know, the wi fi issues, all of that, what he thought about the game, etc.


. We said thanks very much to Paul Lambert. He said goodbye. And then someone from Beta got in touch. They Paul Abbott is not doing Kokomo's on this game, but he very politely just answered all the questions without any point going. I mean, Hargreaves is doing the Kocon. Why are you asking me these questions?


Pete says, How many vegetables does Mark think he consumes during Frank Lampard spell as Chelsea manager? Does he think he'll consume more or less during Tucows time in charge? I. We'll probably be in a board. Neil, Neil, draw that one Max, over for so hang on.


When did Lampard get that? When did Lampard get the job? Last summer.


So was it OK for the summer of 2019?


I mean, I know I've probably haven't eaten some carrots in that time, but not not many probably. But I mean, it'll be gone in about the same period the Lampard was there. And so it will be a draw, will be a channel tunnel draw.


I spend quite a lot of time trying to get one of my kids to eat vegetables because that suddenly seems to be something you have to do and you're a parent. And I found a new method for doing this, which I recommend. I've become really good at making tuna mayonnaise sandwiches. And you can chop vegetables. Very fine. I put red onions, red cabbage, celery into the into the tsunamis. I have loads of mustard and mayonnaise and a bit of olive oil and toast it.


You can even fry it, put cheese in it, make it incredibly calorific, but secretly you force them to eat healthy things.


It's just a recommendation. Mark, what do you think? Yeah, I mean, that's always been my sort of you know what? When you see that the chefs doing sort of the, you know, the honey roasted carrots. And so I never really see the point of sort of of that.


I mean, like, oh, I'm sure surely eating veggies, it's some sort of healthy insight. And yeah, of course, if you pour like the sweet stuff onto it and a lot of nice stuff, then they'll taste better. But you have to eat sort of double the amount of unhealthy stuff to get the one of your five a day.


And I'm going to make you a sandwich and you're going to like, oh, please do. OK, well I feels like a good time to finish.


Varnay Runny, thank you so much for your time. Thanks. Bye bye, everyone. Thank you, Nick. Thank you, Max.


The Racing Post's Mike Langdon. Thank you. See you will be back tomorrow.


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