Saturday ramble, play-offs, Wayne Rooney, Mauricio Pochettino, Antonio Conte

Hello there and welcome to Saturday. I’m sitting here feeling a bit lost at the moment. I’m usually flat-out busy at this time as I scramble to get previews written of the day’s football. That’s not the case though, because there’s no Premier League football today. It’s making things a bit difficult for me already, to be honest. Trying to write a blog post every day throughout the summer is going to be challenging. I’m dreading it. At least there’s a World Cup this year, which will give me something to look at and talk about. I just hope there will be enough talking points for me.

I’m sure I’ll get through it though, but I’ll have to be really creative. Maybe it’s a good challenge! Writing can’t always be easy, of course. I’m not saying it’s easy now, but at least there’s stuff going on that I can really look at. There’s bound to be a lot of news anyway, but a lot of that will be made up bullshit. There’s always plenty of transfer stories throughout the summer, but I’d say about 90 percent of those are made up for attention. They’re probably made up because people are struggling for stuff to talk about and are struggling for clicks onto their website. That’s something I’ll definitely have to deal with in the upcoming months, but I guarantee you I won’t start all that shit. You’ll only get the good stuff with me!

Anyway, there was the first-leg of the Championship play-off semi-final last night. Derby beat Fulham 1-0 at Pride Park, with Cameron Jerome scoring the only goal of the game. Even after the defeat, Fulham are still slight favourites to win the play-offs and be promoted to the Premier League. They were quite unlucky not to be promoted automatically, as they finished just two points behind Cardiff, but that’s how it goes. I don’t know a huge amount about Championship football, but I know that Fulham have been quite impressive this season.

The other semi-final first leg will be played this evening, when Middlesbrough host Aston Villa at the Riverside. I have no idea how that will go and I definitely won’t be writing a preview of it. I think it would be a bit cheeky of me to not cover the Championship all season and then jump on it now because there’s no Premier League. I might have a look at the final when it comes around, because it will impact the Premier League, but we’ll wait and see.

So, what else is going on? There was news that Wayne Rooney had agreed a deal with DC United and would be leaving Everton in the summer. But then Sam Allardyce came out and said that Rooney hasn’t asked to leave, and now it’s being said that there’s no deal in place. A lad from DC United has confirmed they’re interested in Rooney, but there’s no deal at the moment. We’ll wait and see what happens. I can see him making a move, but it’s too early to say it’s already done.

There was some news from Mauricio Pochettino yesterday, who wouldn’t confirm that he’ll be at Spurs next season. This could have been overblown a bit, because it’s not like he said he was leaving, but you really do want your manager to say “I’m staying, 100 percent” when asked about their future. Instead, Pochettino said: “I have a three-year contract. I think there’s no point talking about that. In football, anything can happen. No one is sure in their job. Today it’s 100 per cent (I am here).

“I don’t know [if I’ll be at Spurs next season], but today it’s 100 per cent because I have a three-year contract here but tomorrow I don’t know what is going to happen.”

I don’t think it’s something Spurs fans have to worry about hugely, because he is there and he does have a contract, but if he was to leave there would be huge worry around the place. I know he still hasn’t won anything, but he has really changed the club. He has made them competitive again, and losing him would be a big blow. I’m not going to get too far into that though, because it’s only speculation. I do think he’ll be there next season anyway.

Antonio Conte said yesterday that he is worried about his future at Chelsea. There has been speculation all season that he’ll leave, which he didn’t really help when he criticised the club’s transfer policy on different occasions. I think he will leave in the summer, but I think he has done a good job in his two years there. Of course, finishing outside the top four is a huge disappointment for them – they still can finish in it, but they need Brighton to beat Liverpool at Anfield tomorrow and they must go to Newcastle and win – but they still have a chance of winning the FA Cup.

Chelsea always want to challenge for the title and finish in the top four, but they have to realise that they’re not going to do that every single year. With six top quality teams fighting for just four places, two teams will always miss out (I don’t mean to point out the obvious, but there you go). There are going to be teams that are disappointed, but that’s just how things are. One year it’ll be Chelsea and Arsenal, another year it could be Spurs and Man Utd. Everybody is going to be disappointed at some stage, because it’s a league with so many top sides, but not everybody can sack their manager every time they’re a little bit unhappy.

I’m not saying this against Chelsea either, but I just mean in general. Change isn’t always a good thing, and you never know where you’ll end up if you stick with a manager and give him some time. I’m not saying Chelsea should stick with Conte either, as I think there’s growing frustration around him and his tactics from a lot of their fans and they would like somebody new. But I really think he should be remembered as a man that took over a team that finished 10th after their ‘Mourinho season’ and went on to win the league title in his first year.

It’ll be interesting to see what they do if he is sacked. The Napoli manager, Maurizio Sarri, and ex-Barcelona boss Luis Enrique have both been linked with the job. Again, that’s just speculation, and we’ll have to wait and see what happens. 

Anyway, that’s about it from me for now. I’ll be here throughout the day with any news that comes about, and I’ll be previewing the last games of this season’s Premier League tomorrow. I’m not quite sure how many of those I’ll do, but I’ll more than likely just do the ones that mean something. Not that they’ll be hugely important, but there’s a small chance that there’ll be upsets and things will change.

Have a good Saturday.

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