It’s Win Or Bust For De Boer and Bilic
There’s been plenty of debate in the media about Wes Hoolahan this week and as far as I’m concerned he’s a top quality player.
We saw a different game against Serbia than we did against Georgia, we were able to hold onto the ball a lot better but of course we did lack creativity.
The Republic of Ireland squad may see a few changes in personnel soon like Aston Villa’s Conor Hourihane who could come in and make an impact but Martin O’Neill’s problem is that we don’t have a pool of talent performing week in, week out. There’s no big magic pot of players to choose from so I can’t see many changes ahead of the next internationals.
We may see Hoolahan start the final two group games and that could just make the difference to the side against Moldova and Wales, but I do agree that…
we expect too much of him at international level.
He plays in the Championship and it would be different if we were pinning our hopes on a player at the top of the Premier League. No disrespect to Wes at all but we don’t have a world class star to come in and bail us out.
Jobs On The Line
We’re only going into week four of the Premier League and already there’s a couple of managers under pressure this weekend.
The international break may have given managers like Frank de Boer and Slaven Bilic a little bit of extra time to work with their squads and it was needed as both Crystal Palace and West Ham have looked open in their first few fixtures.
However the time off for the internationals can have a two-way effect. If the training ground work that’s been going on behind the scenes over the last week doesn’t bear fruit and if results don’t go their way this weekend, we may see chairmen and owners starting to look elsewhere for alternative managers.
When you start to hear murmurs and press reports about the future of the manager it heaps a lot of extra pressure on the boss to get a result and that’s particularly the case for De Boer this weekend. Palace supporters will also be reading the articles and more defeats will only increase the pressure from the stands.
The players will be more than aware of the reports and in general they’ll just be trying as hard as possible in training. They’ll be doing their best to buy into what the manager is trying but if there are chinks in the armour of a manager it can have an effect come the weekend game.
Back To Work
Philippe Coutinho has been left out by Liverpool again but there’s still a few players trying to integrate themselves back into squads this weekend having pushed for transfers.
They won’t have any problem getting back into the group and their fellow players won’t have any issues, but…
it’ll be interesting when the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Alexis Sanchez come out onto the pitch for the pre-match warm-up.
How will the fans react? Will they get a good reception? Will they feel comfortable enough to go out and give a good performance in the match? Only time will answer these questions but I don’t think the managers or players will be complaining when the unsettled players come back into the fold.
Close The Window Both Ways
I have already spoken in favour of closing the transfer window before the start of the season which has now been agreed, but I’m not sure how it’s going to work with outgoings next August and it’s a big concern.
The saga with Coutinho this year will happen again next season with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona sniffing around Premier League clubs. Despite the positive step there will still be plenty of uncertainty and unsettled squads so they should close the window both ways so that potential outgoings don’t cause havoc again.