It’s only Tuesday, but looking ahead to next weekend we have two teams to think about: Brighton, who we play, and Everton, who take on Man City. The two of them met yesterday at the Amex, and given recent form you’d have put your money on the home side.
Instead, Everton ended up winning 5-1. Brighton had 23 shots and 78% possession, while Everton made 53 clearances and had Jordan Pickford and the woodwork to thank multiple times. Which just tells you that football is completely mental sometimes. I’ve seen people say it would have been nice for both of them to save these performances for the weekend, but I disagree. Results, sure – performances not so much.
I suspect if Everton allow Man City 23 shots, they won’t be winning 5-1, and we’ve obviously got to be very wary of a Brighton response. Their manager, Roberto de Zerbi, said afterwards:
I think on Sunday we will show our quality, we will get back to our style and you will see the true Brighton.
Cheers pal. Just what we need. This is one of those where you might fear a Brighton side determined to put right what was an embarrassing result, but hope that such a defeat has shaken their confidence a little bit. They’ve had a fantastic season, and their push for Europe continues, but maybe they’re feeling the pressure of that on top of the number of games they’re having to play because they have fixtures in hand.
It was a somewhat extraordinary day in the Premier League, not least because there were three Monday matches because of the bank holiday. Fulham beat Leicester 5-3, a scoreline which really flattered the Foxes, and one which makes you wonder what was the point of them sacking Brendan Rodgers because that’s the kind of thing his Leicester side did all the time.
If you bring in somebody new to help you fight against relegation, surely you’d be looking for increased defensive stability, but they were garbage in that regard. I suppose when you’ve got a David Luiz knock-off at the centre of your defence it’s not easy, but still. Their next two fixtures are Liverpool at home, and then Newcastle away. Barring some kind of miracle, I reckon they’re toast.
It looks bleak for Southampton who lost 4-3 to Nottingham Forest in an entertaining game last night. Forest are still in the relegation mix, but maybe just have that little bit more quality than others down there – Morgan Gibbs-White looks a very promising player, and one I suspect will move on sooner rather than later. It wasn’t a good night for Ainsley Maitland-Niles, who conceded a penalty to hand Forest a two goal lead, but we know already his future lies elsewhere. Perhaps in helping Southampton back up. It’s Fulham, Brighton then Liverpool for the Saints, and it looks like they’re marching towards the Championship. With a young side they could be well equipped to come straight back up, but it depends who they can hang on to. I reckon there’ll be plenty of teams looking at Romeo Lavia this summer, for example, whether we’re one of them remains to be seen.
Speaking of central midfield, Sky Sports report that West Ham will let Declan Rice leave for £120m this summer, or £100m plus a player. Arsenal’s interest is well known, and for me the only difficulty with getting this deal done is the price/structure, more than having to convince him to come to North London. I think the player would happily sign for us, but with West Ham’s ownership likely to be an issue over the coming months, and a fee of that size, there is the potential for things to get a bit complicated.
Which player might West Ham want from Arsenal in a swap deal? For me, given what else I would like us to do this summer, I wonder if Eddie Nketiah might be an option. It feels to me like the next step we need to make in our development is to have a different kind of option up front, someone with a bit more physical presence, and as well as Eddie has done, he’s definitely not that guy. Let’s also not forget some of our returning loan players like Nuno Tavares, Nicolas Pepe, and Albert Sambi Lokonga for whom West Ham seems a reasonable fit. Take your pick, lads. I guess it will depend who is charge there next season, because it seems a reasonable assumption to make that it won’t be David Moyes.
Anyway, for more on the Premier League, join us over on Patreon a bit later this morning when we’ll have an episode of The 30, the world’s most inaccurately named podcast in which we take a look back at all the action in 30 minutes, more or less (always more. Substantially more).
For some extra reading this morning, Lewis has a new tactics column – with some thoughts on Newcastle, Mikel Arteta, and more.
Let’s leave it there now, have a good one folks.