In his weekly Cutter column Wayne Farry looks at the contradictions of B-Rod and a transfer deadline day milked dry.
Brendan Rodgers is a peculiar man. Few would doubt his tactical acumen – he worked wonders at Swansea on a modest budget, getting the most out of their players and turning them into one of the best football playing sides in England, but really Wales. He then moved onto Liverpool where after a poor first season he took them to within one slip of winning the Premier League. He might have done it too had it not been for his gung-ho attitude and commitment to attack over even the slightest degree of pragmatism. Two areas where he has been regularly (and rightly) probed have been recruitment and man-management. Liverpool have some sort of transfer committee going on down at Anfield and while we can speculate about their process ‘til we’re blue in the face, one can assume by looking at their transfer success rate that they merely pick random first and second names and whichever ones belong to a real footballer, they go for him. This novel approach has meant that Liverpool have spent astronomical amounts on very poor players. Now, this would be bad enough but add to this the fact that Rodgers doesn’t appear to know how to speak to his players and it all gets much, much worse.
This week the former Liverpool player (although it must be said, not a Rodgers signing) Andy Carroll spoke to Rory Smith of The Times about his time at Anfield and the walking, talking, baulking contradiction that is B-Rod. He spoke about how Rodgers would tell him in person that he’d be partnering Luis Suarez up front, only to contact him later on and tell him he reckons he’d be better off away from the club. Understandably, this left Carroll feeling annoyed and disillusioned. It also made him lose respect for the Northern Irishman. Whether this is all as Carroll relays it may never be known, but it does seem true to form for Rodgers. He has established a habit of saying one thing, then days, weeks or months later, saying the exact opposite. Take his criticism of Diego Costa this week as an example. The Liverpool manager said what the Chelsea striker did wasn’t good for the game stating; “There’s no need to do it. That’s the sad thing of it.” Yet he didn’t find anything sad about his boy Luis doing the same thing (only much, much worse) week in, week out when he was wearing red. For what it’s worth, I love Costa and I think he should stamp on more Liverpool players. He’s also one of the least likeable and therefore wholly likeable players in the league, but that’s just me. Rodgers has also said this season that Liverpool were never going to be realistic challengers for the title despite stating on numerous occasions at the start of the campaign and during the summer that he expected them to be just that. It’s just the sheer blatant contradiction that’s frankly mind-blowing.
But to be fair, he’s right. They never were going to be challengers, especially not when their best and racist player was sold. But Rodgers and his club could be better served if he just talked a little less shit and focused more on what he is good at: Tactics. Also, he looks like a shark.
From one manager receiving some flak to a manager who must be deafened by the lack of mutinous calls from his well-heeled fans. Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal side finally appear to be getting their shit together this season. After their total annihilation of a Villa side that may be the worst to ever play professional association football, the Gunners have now won their last three without conceding a single goal. This mini revival has been mostly instigated by the majesty of Santi Cazorla, who has quietly been going about his business as one of the best in the league for the last number of weeks. The little man, looking like some prehistoric gerbil squirrel not yet discovered, has been sensational and has a not unwelcome knack of seemingly scoring penalties in pretty much every game he plays. David Ospina continued to show why it never hurts to have a goalkeeper who truly knows what he’s doing and with Ozil and Giroud scoring again, things are looking significantly better for Arsenal than they were a few months ago. Villa, meanwhile, haven’t scored a Premier League goal this year or in any of the last five years – merely retaining their Premier League status based on the fact they once won a European Cup. While Villa’s season sounds bad from their stats – W5, D7, L11, F11, A30 – make no mistake, it really doesn’t do their special brand of shittery any kind of justice. It’s hard to properly describe how poor they are but I’ll try. Imagine the worst Sunday league team you ever played witnessed. They’re a bit like them. It’s almost as if buying inexperienced Championship and League One players a few seasons ago wasn’t the best idea Paul Lambert has ever had. Yes, they have Benteke and Delph, two genuinely decent players, but there’s a sea of mediocrity and other teams’ players between them, rendering them just as useless as most of their teammates. If there’s a God up there, Villa will go down this season. Because they deserve to go down. They’re just awful.
Finally, we can’t talk today without mentioning the day that has just preceded us; TRANSFER DEADLINE DAY! Perhaps it was just me but there was some wonderful schadenfreude to be had in just how quiet a transfer deadline day it was in England. Sky, who’ve been milking it for years now appear to have killed this metaphorical cow. They’ve pumped so much canary yellow milk out of her teats that yesterday they were left with nothing more than a dusty, decomposed heifer with the occasional loan deal slipping out of her now redundant milk machines. Sad for Sky, but it shows what happens when you overexpose something and make an event out of a day that quite frankly isn’t one. I do love the thought however of a Sky Sports News producer sitting at his desk, whiskey in hand, rubbing his furrowed brow, realising too late that what the public really wanted was more dildos in the ears of presenters, not less.
So in this vein, expect the coming summer’s deadline day to be presented by a giant canary yellow dildo, using the tip of its head to prompt the touch screen TV to show us whether Carlton Cole has bought a Twix or gone with a Topic again, the weirdo.
There were still a few deals done yesterday. Manchester United’s Anderson finally appears to be on his way out of the club after seven years, three Premier League titles, one Champions League and one League Cup. Not bad but we all know that doesn’t quite do his brand of ineptitude or laziness any justice. Still, he always seemed like a good laugh and you have to admire someone who managed to stay at a club like United despite doing so little for so, so long. And he’s still got three more Premier League titles than Steven Gerrard, which is hilarious.
The only other notable transfer yesterday was the news that Spurs chairman Daniel Levy finally and reluctantly parted with his Chelsea home for the princely sum of £12M. The home comes equipped with fifty five microwaves, forty seven toasters but amazingly, only one bathroom and no couch. Despite rumours that he’d find another plush home to replace this one, word has it that Levy has opted to move into a caravan outside of White Hart Lane instead. Despite the caravan being for sale for £2000, he managed to get it for £1950, with the trailer axle thrown in for free. What a negotiator.
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