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Man Utd chief Woodward has Solskjaer problem, VAR farce, Guardiola claim – talking points | Football | Sport


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s supporters claim that the draw against Liverpool proves that there is not so much wrong at Manchester United as some believe.

The fact that they are happy with clinging onto a draw at home to their fiercest rivals shows that EVERYTHING is wrong.

It is why the whole ethos at Old Trafford has to be altered and a marginally better 90-minute performance from his players is still not evidence that Solskjaer is the man to effect that change.

Yet Ed Woodward seems content to let things slide along for another season – and the fans who chanted Solskjaer’s name on Sunday are allowing him to get away with it.


Dele Alli’s late equaliser cannot hide an uncomfortable truth – Mauricio Pochettino is treading a very fine line in the way he is treating the sanctity of the dressing room right now.

When a team is flying, letting cameras inside the ropes is not a problem. Just look at the amazing extra insight Manchester City fans were treated to with Amazon cameras following their incredible title-winning season.

But at White Hart Lane, things are different.

Pochettino raised potential problems in an autobiography which covered the season when Spurs failed to overhaul Leicester in the title race. He seemed, though, to have avoided abusing the trust of his players.

However, those same people this season have cameras watching their every move at a time when things are not easy.

Now add to that Pochettino’s public pronouncement that everybody is heading out for dinner after the Red Star Belgrade game tomorrow – it is by no means certain players would want that to be known.

Underperforming players will look for any kind of excuse to get them off the hook. Increasingly, Pochettino seems to be giving them an easy one.


Pep Guardiola survived a testing evening at Selhurst Park with three more points in the bag only to declare his side are “not ready” to challenge for the Champions League.


Guardiola cannot have it both ways. He chose Gabriel Jesus up front to test the pace of the Crystal Palace defence and then moaned that the 22-year-old was not clinical enough.

Meanwhile, Sergio Aguero – clinical as you like – is sat behind him in the dugout.

City have more than enough goals to conquer Europe – the problem lies at the other end. But by the time the serious business of the knockout stages comes around, Aymeric Laporte could be back. Problem solved.

They may be about to lose their grip on the Premier League trophy, but this still looks set to be the year Guardiola finally lands the big one once again, whatever he says.


If fans of VAR are patient enough to wait a couple of minutes for a decision that increasingly makes little sense, then they should have no problems in hanging fire on the system until it is ready.

The offside law needs changing. Any part of the body level with the defender should be onside to restore an advantage to attackers and forget frame-rates and all that malarkey, a system that gets so close to the truth should be accepted as the final word.

But it is when it is used on those judgment calls that most work needs to be done. The lawmakers needs to decide what is handball, when is a foul part of the build-up to a goal, just how clear and obvious a foul needs to be.

Opinion at the moment seems as changeable as the tide but at the same time we are trying to lay down where the edge of the land lies using a millimetre rule.

Stop. Ditch VAR. Fix down the rules. Then bring this incredibly advanced technology to bear.


It was wet, it was cold, it was windy. It turned into one of the nights that makes the Premier League such a great competition.

Sheffield United’s 1-0 win over Arsenal in December 2006 was a classic Neil Warnock masterstroke and illustrates why Arsene Wenger was not able to win the title for the last 14 years of his reign.

Phil Jagielka ended up in goal, but still the Gunners did not have the courage to get stuck in and do what was necessary to overcome Christian Nade’s early goal.

Points were dropped when title rivals such as Chelsea or Manchester United would have rolled up their sleeves and scrapped for whatever they could get.

Tonight, question-marks remain over Unai Emery’s tactics and the direction he is taking the club. But his young players have an opportunity to show they have restored the heart that disappeared for so long under Wenger.

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