When it comes to the England national team of recent, there has been much justifiable criticism of the squad. Believe it or not though England are top of their European Championship Qualifying group. Whilst they may have maximum points, it would seem many of their performances would make watching paint dry as a more popular alternative. England under Roy Hodgson is a tiresome affair, but to be fair the question is “Are things really that bad?” Would we rather see England play dynamic entertaining football and make a Steve McLaren era pigs ear of it all, or would we rather see results ground out and qualification claimed and a trip to the competition finals. Ultimately in a dream world, we ould like to see both but of course we know that isn’t going to happen anytime soon especially with Roy Hodgson in charge.
Some people might say that England should be top and unbeaten, given the other nations in the group. If that were the case, Portugal would not have lost at home to Albania, Poland would not have scored a 2-0 win over Germany, Spain would not have lost to Slovakia, Iceland would not have beaten the Netherlands and Liechtenstein and the Faroe Isles would not have scored victories. This is the thing England may not be steamrolling the opposition in every game, but that is not how it works. It is though England and as England fans, we expect the team to deliver.
Of course it’s not just the international scene that sees disappointment and under achievement. Club level is very much the same. Unless you are a Chelsea or a Southampton fan, the season has probably not been so brilliant. If you are an Arsenal, Man United or Liverpool fan, you are probably thinking that the season really needs to start otherwise its a long haul to May. Saying that though, yet again the words Manchester City and manager sack threat are being aired in the media. The defending Premier League champions may not be firing on all cylinders just yet, but they could be doing far worse than they are. For Man United it was the great new era and the Mighty Reds were meant to be all-conquering under the management of Louis Van Gaal. After a mass spend of £150 million, they have yet to set the world a light. It is true that they have suffered a number of injuries, but it seems a far cry from when United could just replace like for like and it would be business as usual.
Liverpool’s post Suarez and summer spending season seems to have gone not quite according to plan. After last seasons better than expected finish, things looked promising but as some players try to gel, Daniel Sturridge is being hit with injury after injury in what looks like keeping him out till the new year. After the slow and disappointing start, there has been talk from some fans of wanting Rodgers out. Even the Press have printed stories linking with the return of Rafa Benitez to Anfield, purely on what seems because he wants to be closer to his family who still remain in Liverpool. The current owners dont appear to those that will make knee jerk decisions just like that. I guess it must be a relief to many that chairman and club owners were not as ruthless back in the 80’s as they are now, otherwise Sir Alex Ferguson may never have led United to the success he did as well as receiving the knighthood.
Then of course you have Arsenal, they surprised everyone by buying early in the summer. It seemed that the Gunners might be one of the front runners in the title challenge but their season has started slowly and some what disappointingly. We have though become used to Arsenal’s slow starts to the season, but I think that this season will not be the same as previous.
Whatever happens this season, in the words of Jimmy Greaves “It’s a funny old game”.