The Game Football Podcast
Rubbish parties, sausage rolls and national treasures
Gregor Robertson, Tony Cascarino and Alyson Rudd join Tom Clarke for the Monday edition of ‘The Game.’
The postmortem on Man Utd v Brighton takes centre stage. Brighton were brilliant, a well run well managed club playing great football. Manchester United were the polar opposite in almost every sense. Will matters improve?
Are Liverpool title contenders. Gregor and Tony are far from convinced but Alyson is a convert.
Chelsea have stalled, no identity, injury prone and yet they have spent a billion pounds. Where next…?
Tinkering from Arteta, resilience from Spurs and what are Everton?
Finally Alyson caught up with Roy Hodgson to ask if he is becoming a national treasure.
Man Utd v Brighton
1’ Mystic Tony. Tony Cascarino predicted the result and the score of the Man Utd game. No one was surprised by the result. Was it brilliant Brighton or woeful Utd. Or both. Are the problems on the pitch or off…or both.
7’ Gregor Alyson and Tony all agree Man Utd are a club in chaos. In stark contrast to Brighton. “Man Utd are paying people to attend their party, Brighton just throw a good party.”
12’ off field trouble leaking on to the pitch? Tony thinks there could also be an issue around the type of football that Ten Hag wants to play.
17’ Gregor is so sure. He was at Molineux for Wolves v Liverpool. They are erratic, very poor first half, low in energy. But they have a wealth of riches on the bench and a manager willing to take risks. He thought second half they effectively played 4-2-4, throwing caution to the wind. But is that sustainable? What is their midfield balance. Can Trent defend and is Robertson being shackled? Alyson is convinced. On a bad day Liverpool still got the job done and she sees enormous potential.
25’ Tony doesn’t think they will challenge.
27’ Gary O’Neil gets a bit tick.
29’ A slow day on Sunday. Alyson was at Bournemouth v Chelsea. A dull nil nil. The two managers cancelled each other out. One creating ordered chaos, the other well-structured and a bit negative. Chelsea didn’t have an identity.
32’ lots of injuries at Chelsea, 12 well known players out. But are those players all important, Gregor isn’t so sure.
AI and injuries
33’ Injuries are not just bad luck. In an interesting take Alyson quotes the use of AI to predict potential injuries. She isn’t sure the injury list at Chelsea is just bad luck.
34’ Tony, as an ex blue says the club is in transition. Lots of new players and staff.
38’ “Everton are a poor version of Dyche’s Burnley” Tony is worried by Everton, a team unsure which way they need to play t get a result.
Arsenal - Ramsdale or Raya?
Is Arteta tinkering too much? Gregor thinks modern football has changed and perhaps interchanging a goalkeeper isn’t that unusual. Interesting all three prefer Raya to Ramsdale.
West Ham – diving headers
46’ Tony loves a diving header. Scored a few, but also talks about the technical benefits of a diving header, not giving the keeper time to get set.
Spurs v Sheff Utd
49’ Heart break for Sheff Utd. But is there a quiet Ange revolution going on at Spurs?
51’ Has Paul Heckingbottom been harshly treated by the media?
56’ “Villa now look so dynamic.” “Diaby is a real player.”
1’00” Alyson recently chatted to Roy again, before he fell ill. He talked about taking a surprise job on, gaining new fans and giving his players freedom.
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Klopp's kids triumph and dealing with mardy managers54:58Was it Captain Colossus, Klopp’s charisma or just really good academy players that got Liverpool over the line? Alyson Rudd was Nostradamus, highlighting last week the huge impact Virgil Van Dyke has on his Liverpool team. What now for Pochettino and Chelsea, wilting in extra time and still no trophy.At Old Trafford the shoots of hope were trampled by a very good Fulham performance. It left some wondering, what the club have to show for the second most expensive signing ever…Anthony. For Crystal Palace, Oliver Glasner has hit the ground running with signs of a blueprint after only two games.Finally, its Arsenal looking strong and good luck to George Elokobi and Maidstone. Timeline: Cup final2’ Liverpool, well deserved win. Chelsea created better chances, but Liverpool had the fight, hunger and drive.4’ Tom A felt Chelsea were in the ascendancy, until extra time. Poch’s disappointment was how they played extra time.8’ Alyson the prophet, saw the impact VVD has on Liverpool.13’ It is precious to have academy players in big games. It strengthens the bond between team and supporters.14’ Chelsea had that and they burnt it.15’ Liverpool testament to a long term structure and plan.“Its not a coincidence that you get a 19yr old at a club like Liverpool who can step in and look like he’s been there for years.”19’ Chelsea have wasted their money. Who is not buying into Poch’s culture.21’ Too many mistakes and get too introverted to easily.22’ a collective malaise, where is it coming from? Pricky Pep24’ doesn’t like journalists, looked bored26’ seems to hate doing press.28’ The pressure and demands on managers are enormous. Manchester United31’ Ten Hag back under pressure. Result indicative of what’s going on at the club.32’ Tom’s visit to Ajax, no one thought Anthony was worth what Man U paid for him.33’ Are they going to build off field first then the team? Or on pitch first.36’ Hot managerial market this summer. Liverpool, Barca and Bayern all looking.37’ Fulham were excellent, they wanted it and were without Paulinha, Jimenez and Willian.38’ Muniz stepping up, looked good. Iwobi, really good, cool finish. Palace40’ already there is a blueprint. 3-4-2-141’ Matheaus Franca, looked good, suddenly can see why they signed him.43’ great start for Glasner, good record of signings from championship, Wharton another of them. They have good young players.44’ free roll of the dice for a mid table club. Arsenal46’ Playing fantastic, front foot football. They’re flying.48’ Goals from 19 set pieces and best defence…50’ Should Eddie howe be worried, they’re tailing away. Look poor first half.51’ Arsenal suffocated them, pressed them to death. Good luck George!!Maidstone take on Coventry City in the FA cup tonight. They’re the lowest ranked team to reach round five in over 40 years.
George Elokobi: "We dance one more time."30:15Ahead of a huge FA Cup tie for Maidstone United, a special edition of The Game.Ever wondered how a part time team prepares for a big cup game against a team four leagues above them? Or what it’s like to score your first premier league goal, or get ‘tortured’ by a winger in front of Sir Alex at Old Trafford..? In a bonus edition of The Game Alyson Rudd and producer Neil went to meet Maidstone manager George Elokobi….
"We’re Manchester United and we’re coming to get you." Really…?01:00:13A quick look at the mid-week fixtures and a bold claim, Arsenal have the best defence, and defences win leagues… City won again and Klopp likened his teams win against Luton to their famous win against Barcelona.James Gheerbrandt went to see Tuchel lose out to Xabi Alonso against Leverkusen. A week later he ‘agreed’ to leave Munich, where next and what are the knock-on effects in the managerial merry go round? Tom, Martin, James and Gregor discuss the bold new vision presented by Sir Jim Ratcliffe at Manchester United, is three years optimistic and why no backing for Ten Hag…? Timeline:2’ Arsenal sucker punched by Porto3’ Different feel to European games, lots of fouls, grappling.5’ Good for the champions league to have such a different feel. Made it tough for Arsenal.8’ arsenal looking at not getting to quarters again, do they need to change mindset. 11’ Arsenal have the bets defence in the league, and titles are won by defences…13’ Klopp has created, built character at Liverpool, that will get you a long way. Tuchel leaves Munich20’ Will Tuchel leaving mean Alonso goes to Munich?21’ Tuchel was out manoeuvred by Alonso, he won the tactical battle.22’ Weird move by Munich, not good for dressing room.24’ If Liverpool want him, they need to get in now and tell him, before Munich do. Sir Jim Ratcliffe33’ He wants Man Utd ‘turned around’ in three years. Three years isn’t very long…can he do it?35’ He has a helping hand with Klopp leaving, and city facing FFP investigations37’ he was bullish, might regret that. Came close to slagging the glazers off.38’ No mention or backing for Ten Hag42’ slates being cleared. They’ve had good managers, it’s the system they work in that needs fixing.45’ We’re Manchester United and we’re coming to get you. 49’ extraordinary that it has taken 11 years for this to happen for Man Utd to have a modern set up.51’ everything is about money. Why is it surprising that Newcastle want money for Dan Ashworth…54’ On the pitch looks better, but still a long way to go. Gregor still thinks they are miles off.
The title race, Kane's understudy and Lemon Meringue Pie58:25City dropped points, Liverpool picked up more injuries and Arsenal are eleven nil up from their last two games. So where does that leave the title race?Which players are irreplaceable on a title run in?Crystal Palace look set to make a managerial change, but how have they handled it, with Roy Hodgson still unwell and Oliver Glasner seemingly lined up to replace him.Who is best placed to be Harry Kane’s understudy? Gregor Robertson thinks Ollie Watkins is the complete striker. Alyson Rudd thinks Ivan Tony has international class.Rasmus Hojlund has turned a corner and is now the youngster player to score in six consecutive premier league games, will it be enough to drag Man Utd into the top four… Timeline: Title race2’ Across two games Chelsea were really good. Chilwell handled Foden well.3’ Best game Disasi has had in a Chelsea shirt.4’ Haaland wont’ have many games like that.5’ Can’t believe how nice you’re being to Chelsea. They were defensive smart performance from Chelsea8’ city’s record against top 6 is a concern. They’re third, behind Arsenal and Chelsea.Liverpool9’ Virgil Van Dyke, a man with presence. Key to being clam is enjoying the football.11’ having an amazing season Arsenal15’ Forward line has grown in confidence as the goals have come.16’ Liverpool victory was key.18’ Burnley and West Ham abysmal. So 11-0 for arsenal has context.19’ all done without Zinchenko and Jesus. Injuries21’ could have a key part in title race. Each of the big three have key players- Van Dyke, Stones, Rodri, Saliba…will injuries affect the outcome.22’ Liverpool have youngster on the side lines already bedded in who can step in.Roy Hodgson23’ Awful position to have a manager facing the sack whilst also ill in hospital.25’ when Hodgson collapsed he still hadn’t been told, but it is an open secret that Glasner is going to get the job.28’ Roy shouldn’t be in a position of being angry with the club going behind his back. 29’ they way they are handling this is terrible. And it isn’t the first time.Watkins or Tony31’ Masterclass from Watkins at the weekend32’ His importance to Villa is immense, their top four challenge rests on his shoulders.33’ He is profile similar to Kane.36’ His stats put him in elite company.37’ Watkins is always involved, even if he isn’t flashy. His skill set is very broad.40’ Ivan Tony is very unselfish. He has improved Maupay enormously. Makes unselfish runs and links up others players. Very good intuition. He has international class.43’ Kane’s understudy…Watkins for Gregor. Wide skill set. But Alyson thinks Tony, he has more arrogance and would step up to international football. Watkins is developing that arrogance.Man Utd and Rasmus Hojlund 47’ Youngest player to score in 6 premier league games on the spin.48’ Led the line brilliantly, looked confident, strong and with a strikers nose.51’ Without his goals they had no chance of top four. Now…it looks possible, but not yet likely.Bad tackles53’ This was Sheff United’s chance to create hope of safety. Holgate blew it inside 20 minutes.56’ Tough times for Chris Wilder. He had a big win at Luton and they haven’t backed it up. So momentum has been lost.
Who owns your club? Kane’s trophy hunt, and Man Utd’s big signing01:00:25Could Harry Kane really have another trophy-less season? If he does it won’t be for the lack of effort. The England captain has had a brilliant season, is endearing himself to the German fans, but it could still be not quite enough. Man City strolled to another win in the Champions league, are they now at their best?How would you feel if your club was part of a multi ownership model, with sister clubs in other countries…it is becoming more and more common, what are the pros and cons?Finally the new era at Manchester United looks set to start with the signing of…sporting director Dan Ashworth from Newcastle. Tom, Martin, Jonny and Gregor all agree, its good business. Timeline: Harry Kane2’ Looking like he may not win anything in Germany. 3’ if he’d stayed at Spurs he’d be unlikely to win anything either.6’ Highly likely Munich will win something, if not this season then next. 7’ we don’t seem to celebrate success in the same way in this country. He couldn’t do anymore, he’s been great.11’ Kane endears himself to the supporters.18’ He could stay for two or three years, especially if his family are happy. City22’ They look back to their best, so easy.23’ John Stones looked accomplished in pivot role. Is he taken for granted?26’ Pep had a pop at Grealish.28’ Guardiola has earned the right to criticise, he is subtle with it though.Multi club ownership33’ Girona in Spain, the smallest ground in La Liga, a budget 700million euros less than Madrid, yet they are in a title race. Astonishing.36’ If they’re good owners, what does it matter.39’ Girona are the exception, many multi ownership models favour the ‘big fish.’40’ 8 of top 18 teams in Belgium part of multi club models.42’ it depends on the club, some push back and do wish to be part of a large organisation – Strasbourg declined Chelsea.48’ It’s a growth industry, 180 clubs world wide now part of multi ownership groups, it was 40 a decade ago. Man United52’ Looks like Dan Ashworth is going to be poached from Newcastle. 54’ Looks a good positive move from Jim Ratcliffe.55’ Ashworth is one of the best in that particular role.54’ Ashworth has ushered in a far greater degree of intelligence in the way clubs are run, he did it at West Brom, FA and Brighton.56’ Man Utd are the last of the old style football clubs.
Arsenal for the title? Spurs for fourth? But what is Scott McTominay?53:08For fifteen minutes it seemed Arsenal were the complete team, but was that down to West Ham’s passivity? What does the result from the London Stadium mean for both teams - are Arsenal now back in the title race, if they were ever out of it; and for West Ham is a contract for David Moyes more or less likely?The result at Spurs was not reflective of an end to end encounter. Brighton refuse to take a backward step and Spurs now have all their players available again.After the break, what/who is Scot McTominay? A six, an eight, a ten or a throwback. The team try to figure it out. He helped Utd to a key win. Villa lost, but played well.Finally, Gregor went to meet Luton forward Elijah Adebayo but he was an unlucky omen for a great lad. Oh and Alyson is getting excited about Xabi Alonso…Timeline:West Ham v Arsenal4’ Hard for arsenal to win a title with some many London derbies to negotiate. West Ham have a good record against Arsenal.6’ Trossard was superb. 15 min spell with four goals. They had everything for that spell. Pace, power, grace, intelligence.9’ Arsenal were in control, they made it a technical contest. Last season it felt like it got tense and emotional.10’ the asterix is West Ham are all at sea.11’ Gregor thought West Ham were passive.13’ easy to extrapolate too much from games like this. Just one win.16’ West Ham fans might have seen this performance coming. Team set up on the back foot.17’ West Ham have some good players, could do something under a more progressive coach. Tottenham v Brighton20’ to teams better at pressing than playing out from the back. Repeatedly stealing the ball off each other in the final third.21’ It came down to both teams not quite having the quality in the final third, Son made the difference. The quality makes the difference in those fine margins.23’ it was all about Son, it felt like he had been away for a year.24’ Spurs are looking good, they’ve got all their options back for the first time under Postecoglou26’ Spurs need more out wide if they are going to progress to the next level.27’ Brighton missing the cutting edge up front. But still doing remarkably well with the resources they have and the type of football they play.28’ Brighton - Playing above themselves, brilliant to watch and a clear style of play.Scott McTominay and Villa v Utd31’ Jack of all trades or will he be a 8 or a 10? Always looked like he would be a destroyer rather than a goal scorer.32’ for all his appearances and goals he still won’t be a starter.34’ Its not definitive that he can’t start. 35’ Any parallels with John McGinn at Villa, not quite a centre mid or a ten?36’ Are their good players being phased out who can’t do what the modern creative/pressing era requires.38’ This is Utd from last season, grabbing wins they shouldn’t whilst not playing very well. But still amassing the points.40’ Villa have had a dip, but yesterday they played well and felt they were unlucky not to win.41’ Utd now seem better placed to finish top four than Villa…But spurs look good.Luton v Sheff Utd43’ Spent a long time at Fulham without playing for the first team. Appreciates where he is now.44’ The energy at Luton comes from players who have had to fight to play top level football.47’ Sheff Utd were fearless. Didn’t come for a draw. Bundesliga 48’ Leverkusen deserved their great win against Munich. Poor Harry Kane looks like he might not win a title.50’ some of Leverkusen’s patterns of play were amazing. 52’ Alonso is nothing like Klopp, that could be a really good thing. IF he goes to Liverpool.
Sin bin's and the celebration police01:02:19Are sin bins a good idea? It looks increasingly likely that they will be trialled in specific games/competitions next season. Tom, Martin, Gregor and Tony discuss the pros and cons of sinbins and other IFAB proposed rule changes. Chelsea confounded the critics with a five star display at Villa park, but can they reproduce it?While Chelsea celebrate the team move on to discusshow, where and when one should celebrate. FYI, its not in front of the Millwallfans when you’ve just scored against them. Finally, Jesse Lingard is off the South Korea… Timeline: Chelsea and Villa5’ how do you predict football. Convincing performance, but off the back of Wolves and Liverpool performances.7’ young players will have good nights, but its about consistency.9’ Jackson’s confidence will rise from playing wide and contributing.10’ A drop in standards from Villa.11’ Early goals made all the difference.Celebrations14’ I’m not the celebration police, but keep your trousers on. Play nice.16’ Tony and his limo. Jibes about players wages on the pitch.18’ Carful how you mock…what goes around…22’ Its part of the game. Gregor would love to have someone like Maupay in his team, winding up the opposition is part of the celebration.27’ The dentists chair was a classic orchestrated celebration29’ the plans that go into each game. High fiving defenders for a clearance.32’ We’ve turned into the celebration police.38’ Tony celebrated against his former clubs…Cooling off38’ the self pass is a good rule, one used in rugby and hockey. That would cut out decent.38’ The cooling off period wouldn’t achieve that. 40’ there are easier things to do which don’t alter the structure of the game.41’ The laws need to be simplified, not complicated.43’ All seem in favour of a Sin bin46’ Are we setting unrealistic targets for perfection in the running and ruling of football.50’ the penalty spot is the perfect example of the madness at IFAB…by trying to improve it they make it worse. Jesse Lingard 53’ Korean culture doesn’t need Lingard. He might need it though.55’ It’s a shame, he’s a better player than south Korean league.56’ He might regret not taking the offers on the table58’ did he choose money over a good football choice.
Gunners fire, Liverpool stall. United hope, Chelsea despair01:02:37Arsenal are back in the title race, but are Liverpool suffering the delayed effects of Jurgen Klopp’s announcement last week? Tom, Alyson, Gregor, and Tony discuss the result at the Emirates and where it leaves both teams. It was a positive weekend for Manchester United, two wins on the bounce and Erik Ten Hag more upbeat than ever, have they finally turned a corner?Chelsea by contrast go from bad to worse. The team see no light at the end of the tunnel for a team over budget, with no identity, no character and facing FFP restrictions. No such trouble at Wolves who are a showcase for the ability of Gary O’Neil…will Crystal Palace come calling if he isn’t given a new contract by Wolves soon. And a quick tip of the hat for Luton. Timeline:Arsenal v Liverpool2’ Keepers at fault, Alisson and Reya, should have stayed on their line.4’ the let down after Klopp’s announcement6’ Nunez should start if fit. 7’ poor as a team, off the pace, Trent AA nose out of joint.10’ Arsenal were fantastic. Structured, first goal was great.11’ Brave on the ball at the back, resisting Liverpool’s press13’ What do Liverpool do now?18’ It’s a reset moment for Liverpool…will they or not? Manchester united20’ Positive signs, two wins on the trot.21’ there is balance in the team with Shaw and Martinez back. Mainoo offers legs alongside Casimero.22’ Ten Hag suddenly has a predictable eleven.25’ The Kobbie Mainoo goal could have been the springboard.26’ There are lights and reasons for optimism, can they sustain it. West Ham29’ Tough start for Kalvin Philips at West ham. He looks short on confidence and a little unfit.32’ missing pre season is key. Philips playing catch up from not playing at City. Chelsea and Wolves 35’ Fans berating players, some berating manager, joined with the Wolves fans who sang you’re f**ing sh*t.36’ Wolves were a joy to watch. Everything Chelsea are not. Pace, bravery and positivity.37’ Gary O’Neil not getting credit because it’s about the Chelsea crisis.38’ Chelsea sold all their personality. 41’ Chelsea could be in freefall, they need to move players on.41’ Chelsea If you take Tiago out it looks like a team of little boys.43’ Is Poch the problem? 46’ They can’t afford to sack him, even if they want to.48’ Will O’Neil stay at Wolves? He’ll be in demand. Are Palace looking?Crystal Palace51’ no depth in squad, can’t afford it, results reflect that. Bit of bad luck with injuries to key players. 54’ Getting rid of Hodgson would be a political decision.55’ It’ll end badly, because the club shouldn’t have reemployed him in the summer. 57’ bigger issues at Palace, Steve Parish owns 10% but his a bigger say on pitch,,,why? 58’ There is conflict in the board room.Luton58’ Of course they can stay up!!60’ They’re brave, they play with positivity and ross Barkley has found a home.
Defying expectations: Luton, Eze, Tevez and Bradley54:06If Luton stay up is Rob Edwards the manager of the season? Tom, Martin, Gregor and Jonny discuss. Kenilworth Road has become the awkward advantage that many pundits thought it would be, and Ross Barkley is providing flashes of inspiration. At Selhurst park it is the Eze and Olise show, just how good are they? Sticking with attacking flair Ange-ball is back in full flow at Spurs, will Postecoglou take Tottenham into the Champions league?After the break its Liverpool and their title chances and life after Jurgen Klopp, plus a remarkable tail of a very unlikely manager…Carlos Tevez. Timeline:Luton2’ If Luton stay up, Rob Edwards is manager of the season.3’ they playing good football, they’ve revitalised ross Barkley and lost their captain to a cardiac arrest.5’ Rob Edwards has got the best out of his players. Played positive football and recovered from a poor start.7’ They have harnessed community spirit and togetherness.8’ Kenilworth road is a completely different environment to any other premier league ground.10’ Still ow down on XG but Carlton Morris and Adebayo have stepped up.11’ Don’t underestimate Ross Barkley’s influence.13’ A dip for Brighton, have they sold too many players? Palace; the Eze and Olise show17’ Eze creates goals out of nothing.18’ They do the unorthodox and show there is still a value in the game for that.19’ both were rejected by other clubs…21’ Eze is an X factor player, he’s in the England squad, he’s doing better than Grealish this season. Spurs25’ Ange does not take backwards step, there will be problems, but he seems to have come through it.26’ Still only 8 points off the top. In the top four.27’ Martin on Postecoglou “If he gets them in the champions league he’s done a fabulous job.”28’ This man has added to the gayety of nations, no doubt about it. Tevez – worlds least likely manager31’ crazy character, very open, loved his family and Argentina.34’ Tevez unlikely rise to management. Got Independiente winning and playing high press football.36’ will he, could he come the Premier League…?37’ Always the players you don’t suspect who become good managers.39’ He has brought in neuroscience and a school teacher. A kind calm man.Liverpool v Chelsea42’ Connor Bradley, the player that puts alexander Arnold into midfield.43’ Liverpool a squad refreshed, Klopp is leaving a gift.45’ Lets wait and see on Alonso.46’ Postecoglou is the ideal replacement for Klopp49’ Hardest job is replacing Klopp’s relationship with the fans.51’ Liverpool could steamroller Arsenal…Gregor thinks otherwise, Liverpool could be tested going the other way.