Monday Soccer Insider with Kartik Krishnaiyer

In the Championship, not enough credit or attention is being placed on the job Paul Ince has done at Blackpool thus far this season. The Tangerines have a thin squad, and I tipped them to be relegated to League One this season. But Ince has been resourceful, playing players out of position and spurring on performances. Friday’s 1-1 draw at Huddersfield was improbable (especially because James Vaughan missed a late penalty) but yet another excellent result where Blackpool rode out waves of opposition attacks with good shape and organization as well as timely tactical changes.

Ince’s failure to get another shot in the Premier League based on a bad run with Blackburn five years ago is especially shocking when you consider the number of recycled managers in that period. Sol Campbell’s admission last week that he may have to leave England to manage should have been biting about institutional racism in the English game. Brian Deane, the former Leeds and Sheffield United star, has become a good coach in Norway and perhaps Campbell, like Deane, will have to leave England to get a coaching opportunity since, like Deane, he is black. As for Ince, I do not know what besides institutional racism is stopping Sunderland or some other club needing a manager from seriously considering him.

My sources indicate that MLS expansion will see Orlando City move up from USL PRO (the third division of soccer in the US) while Atlanta and Miami/Fort Lauderdale markets who have existing second division clubs are being vetted for potential expansion not involving the current clubs. I am told Atlanta is closer than Miami to happening, but that the league would like to be in both markets by 2018 at the latest.

Nigel Clough’s time is finally up at Derby. Honestly, I had come to the conclusion given the Rams inability to progress during Clough’s long tenure that due to his family association with the club he had a lifetime job. But one really bad week that began with a crushing defeat at Pride Park to Reading, continued with League Cup elimination and culminated in the loss of the Clough’s family derby to Nottingham Forest was too much for the owners.

Leeds United are off to a poor start under Brian McDermott but his Championship teams almost always started slow at Reading and came good. This is important for suffering fans of Leeds to note.

Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid side looked completely shell-shocked by Diego Costa’s early goal and it took the entrance of two former Spurs stars, Luka Modric and Gareth Bale to even remotely stem the tide. It seems hard to believe that Atletico Madrid now has full confidence to go into the Bernabeu and win.

Real Madrid looked poor in midweek against Elche. Isco started the season dynamically but his limitations and inexperience are now on full display.

In the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has finally figured it out and if he continues to play Juan Mata as a number 10, Oscar out wide and Fernando Torres up top, the sky is the limit for Chelsea. Tottenham on the other hand are really struggling to get over the hump against top sides. Defeated by Arsenal, outplayed and out thought at home by Chelsea in the second half, AVB’s project needs time and patience. The pressure building on Spurs thanks to high expectations is unnatural for the club and unfair to the new players and the manager.

Anyone surprised by Manchester City’s loss to Aston Villa hasn’t been paying attention to a) my the City team and  b) my comments on the EPL Talk Podcast. The Blues are NOT a team built to win away from home in the league after letting Gareth Barry, Kolo Toure and Carlos Tevez left this summer, while the club looked only to Spain, Italy and Eastern Europe for potential replacements. The club did not sign a single player this summer with experience in English football. Concentration lapses and mental errors have added up for City this season away from home and while many City supporters want to play attractive football.

Roberto Mancini proved that getting results away from Eastlands often meant being narrow and compact.  I have made this point repeatedly but mouthwatering football, demanded by many supporters of clubs in the northwest of England does not always translate to good results. I understand why many City fans favor the Pellegrini approach but they must be willing to accept a downturn in results from the Mancini era in order to do so. I am not saying it is implicit that if you play nicely you don’t achieve results, but with a non-established power like Manchester City, the new style was always going to run the risk of a decline in league place. Stoke at another level may experience a similar situation this season.  It’s also worth noting the easiest portion of the Blues schedule is now over and next week starting with bogey team Everton, who Manchester City has beaten just twice in the last fourteen league meetings, City faces a gauntlet of imposing fixtures. Based on the start and fixtures played thus far, the Blues have the flimsiest title credentials of any highly fancied Premier League club at this point.

Fulham are in big trouble. I am not quite sure how they arrest this decline with the current set of players and Martin Jol. I think Jol might be sacked at the next international break.  The team is now almost entirely his and the results continue to get worse and worse. With new ownership probably fearing the drop, Jol’s days must be numbered.

Manchester United’s home performance against West Brom was appalling but I am not ready to write them off just yet. David Moyes’s teams often started slowly at Everton yet eventually came good. I believe with some tough fixtures out of the way, the Red Devils will be okay as far as the Top 4 go, but to win the title is going to take some effort at this point.  One bright spot for United on Saturday was Nani’s creative flair — something that has been sorely lacking outside of Wayne Rooney this season for Moyes’s side. It took fixture congestion and poor performances to get both Nani and Shinji Kagawa a proper run out but now that Moyes has seen both, It would be surprising if he opts again for Ashley Young in big games.

It takes a Lionel Messi injury to get this sport attention on a College Football Saturday. ESPN is in nonstop College Football mode on all its US based networks, but they included a mention of one non-American football item in its lead stories on the ticker all day Saturday. That was Messi’s injury.

22 thoughts on “Monday Soccer Insider with Kartik Krishnaiyer”

  1. Again, great points on City. How many times is Pellegrini gonna trot out a 4-4-2 and come up with a disappointing result?

    Dzeko AND Negredo? Almost the same player (Negredo slightly more clinical but Dzeko slightly more technical); total waste. The ghosts of Tevez and Barry may continue to haunt

    1. Playing those two together makes no sense. He got away with it in a preseason game against a weak AC Milan and thought he could get away with it again.

  2. As usual Kartik is negative about Pellegrini and Soriano and gets everyone riled up.

    But it seems every single time he says something about City be it two or three years ago or just last week it becomes true. Most supporters have taken a dislike to him on the boards but as far as City goes he seems to know the team better than anyone in the press here in the USA or in the UK.

    It takes a supporter to know the club and properly assess it it not the usual Liverpool and SCUM UNITED loving press.

    I have learned that if Kartik is concerned about something City related we should all be concerned. He knows this team like the back of his hand.

    1. Kartik is a great analyst but his weakness is he is the first to trumpet when he is right-over and over but when he’s not (like Man U analysis) it’s crickets and excuses, a more humble Kartik would make reading his opinions easier

      1. I am the first to admit my mistake on United…did so on TWIS this week though I did try and justify my pick with a RVP and Rooney discussion BUT you are right…that pick is looking worse and worse. I did take credit for Arsenal though :). We win some and lose some. The reason I take credit on City is because I watch the team closer than those who argued with me. I have to defer to the United fans who watch the team closer than I do and predicted this before the season. I was wrong and they were right. They know their team.

    2. I appreciate it. Again I really hope Pellegrini succeeds and think he’s a smart, savvy tactician but is under a directive from Soriano to play a certain way and the jettison specific players. I blame the top brass for this more than the manager. But hopefully we come good at some point.

  3. Once again you try to stir up controversy where there is none. Ince had his shot at Blackburn. It didn’t work out, since then he’s been rebuilding his reputation and now seems to be having a good run. There is nothing to suggest he won’t get another shot. He may well end up as England manager down the road. End of.

    1. Ince didn’t get another shot at the top level as quickly as many other failed managers. Alan Pardew for instance after flopping in League One was back in the Prem within months!

      I am not inventing this issue. I am far from the only person discussing it currently. English football has a problem with this, a real problem. The failure to even acknowledge the problem of racism in coaching is the most galling thing of all.

      1. Phil Brown hasn’t had another shot in the EPL since blowing it with Hull City.

        Now he’s having to rebuild his reputatio in League 1 (or is it League 2?).

        Does that mean that perma-tanned orange guys like Phil Brown are the victims of racism?

        1. I agree on Phil Brown. Got a raw deal also at Preston.

          But Ince not getting another shot is suspicious to me. Not sure Kartik’s over the top racism talk is justified but in Ince’s case something is up. It may not be racism but actually the enemies he made as player who had the nerve to sign for Liverpool after being United that makes people question his loyalty.

      2. Also, it’s worth pointing out that despite flopping in League 1, Pardew did have a fairly decent/mixed track record in the EPL. He wasn’t an unmitigated failure, so I can imagine chairmen would take a chance on him, hoping he could rediscover whatever he had when he produced the occasional good season.

        Ince, on the other hand, doesn’t have that history to fall back on. If you want to compare him to anyone, compare him to Di Canio. Let’s see how long it takes before we see Di Canio back in the EPL. My guess is a loooong time.

      3. Pardew did not flop at Southampton. New owners came in and he was not their man from what I recall. I think he’s a decent coach and maybe even a miracle worker given his situation on the Toon.

        1. Pardew took Charlton down and would have taken West Ham down if they did not sack him.

          He’s a rubbish manager. Utter rubbish.

          1. He also took west ham up and almost won the cup final. His first season at Newcastle was good too. His record is about similar to Redknapp. Is he rubbish too?

  4. What happened to Kompany being a world class defender…lol…World class defenders don’t make those clangers as often as he does…

    Also where are all the people that were so insulted by the insinuation that Pellegrini would have to learn the premier league? two away defeats to 1 club that was in the championship and the other that was in a relegation scrap last year and will be again… seriously…where are those people now.

    Man City will be Top four, but not win it.
    Man UTD wont be in the top four.
    London will dominate the race IMO, CFC will be up their as will Spurs and Farsenal, LFC not so much.I think they drop back behind Everton in 7.

    1) Either Spurs, Farsenal or Blue Racists
    2) Either Spurs, Farsenal or Blue Racists
    3) Either Spurs, Farsenal or Blue Racists
    4) Man City
    5) Man Utd
    6) Everton
    7) Dippers

    Book it! its done… treat it as fact, as history, book mark this batboy…

    Nostradustous has Spoken…wait..typed.

    The old adage, you can’t win the title before Christmas, but you can loose it!

    The only crazy curve ball I see effecting it is The Plastic one, Jose Pokeinho could be gone by Christmas if his huge ego explodes in the mafia mans face as he clashes with the entire cfc outfit after loosing another 3 games before xmas

  5. Kartik,

    I’m not sure if there is a genuine issue with racism in English football management, but Sol Campbell’s recent comments have been pure nonsense.

    He hasn’t even done his coaching badges yet, but he’s already complaining that he’s being kept out of managment by racism?

    He’s complaining that Gary Neville has been appointed to the England assistant job, and that Neville is some sort of “nice guy”/”yes man”? Neville’s well known as something of a gobby militant who’s been a pain in the backside for the FA in the past. He’s hardly been picked because of his capacity to play “nice”. And Neville did all his coaching badges before he even retired.

    Campbell is just having sour grapes because he’s expecting everything to be handed to him.

    1. Furthermore, if you look at the 92 clubs, there are four black managers. I’m not sure this is evidence of racism – the black population of the UK is only about 5%.

      Sure, you might expect the percentage to more closely reflect the percentage of black players in the game. But I wouldn’t expect it to be a perfect reflection of the number of black players in the game.

      You’ve got to remember that (a) managers are mostly older guys, drawn from a pool of guys who were players many years ago (when there were fewer black players in the game). If anything, we should be maybe comparing the % of black managers vs the % of black players 20 years ago.

      And (b) the EPL in particular draw managers from all over the world – so primarily Europe, which for the most part is less ethnically diverse than the UK.

      So it’s really foolish to imagine that the proportion of Black coaches should necessarily be similar to the proportion of black players in the English league today.

      1. Also, note how the proportion of black players in the game is disproportionately large compared to the British population.

        Is this because of some kind of discrimination in their favour? Or is it because [dons steel hat for airing potentially offensive opinion]some qualities and characterstics are more common in certain groups of people (whether that be through nature or nurture, and I express no opion on that one way or another).

        And if that’s true, maybe the same applies to managerial abilities?

        1. So, your insinuation (since you won’t come right out and say it) is that blacks don’t have the same managerial abilities as whites based on “some qualities and characteristics”?

          1. I don’t know, maybe that’s the case.

            Just like maybe there’s a reason black people are over-represented among the English player-pool. (Unless you think it’s some sort of reverse racism that causes black people to be disproportionately represented among football players compared to the general population).

  6. So some English fans can accuse other countries of racism every time England or an English club travels to these places while not accepting that some racism is apparent in the English game?

    Color me shocked!

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