‘Eyebrows raised’ as Ten Hag goes soft and Lampard backed for permanent Chelsea job

Erik Ten Hag gave his players two days off after two defeats that makes him WORSE than Solskjaer as Frank Lampard earns a job…

To be Frank, the bar is very low
Whoop-de-doo and hooray for Super Frankie Lampard as Chelsea ended a run of six defeats with a victory at Bournemouth thanks to two late goals.

Give the man a permanent job at Chelsea.

Now you might think that Mediawatch is being unnecessarily facetious but Garth Crooks is advocating exactly that in his BBC team of the week column.

‘The Blues were shocking in the first half against Arsenal but Frank Lampard’s post-match interview following the game was as honest and as lucid about the club’s position as I have heard from him. His point-blank refusal to be drawn into publicly criticising Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has had a torrid time at Stamford Bridge, was telling. Chelsea’s impressive performance against Bournemouth seemed to be in direct response to that honesty. Lampard may have a future at the club after all.’

The whole thing is nothing short of ludicrous. Lampard refused to be drawn on Aubameyang because picking the former Arsenal striker on vibes alone was clearly the biggest error. And that was his error.

And this ‘impressive performance against Bournemouth’ was described thus by Crooks’ colleagues at the BBC: ‘Two late goals against Bournemouth finally gave Frank Lampard his first win since his return as Chelsea’s interim manager.’

It doesn’t sound that ‘impressive’. And certainly not the kind of ‘impressive’ that earns a man a job at a massive club who have spent ridiculous amounts of money on this squad.

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It is a particularly poor take when you then read this on Tottenham from Crooks: ‘Spurs currently have Ryan Mason, a rookie caretaker manager in charge of team affairs, which is like giving an accountant who has just passed his accountancy exams the role of running of a FTSE 100 company for a few weeks to see how he gets on. Which credible business would do that? It makes no sense but it does seem to be the acceptable way in which professional football is run these days.’

Pesky fact: Mason has picked up more Premier League points in three games than Lampard in five.

Foil rapping
Elsewhere, Garth Crooks includes Arsenal midfielder Jorginho in his team of the week and notes: ‘He is the perfect foil for Thomas Partey, who has had an excellent season but is in desperate need of a rest like most of the players who played in the World Cup. Newcastle are a big side and the moment they realised they couldn’t outplay Arsenal they tried to intimidate them and, all credit to the Gunners, they were having none of it.’

Pesky fact: Thomas Partey did not start v Newcastle (because he needs a rest). Indeed, Partey and his ‘perfect foil’ Jorginho have never actually played a game together.

QUIT playing games with my heart
Over at The Sun website, they want you to think that all is not well at Arsenal with this bombastic headline:

‘Granit Xhaka ready to QUIT Arsenal in summer as Gunners eye swap transfer involving Leverkusen winger’

He’s not ready to QUIT anything; he is open to a return to Germany at the age of 30 if Arsenal – as seems likely – strengthen in midfield this summer. Contracted footballers cannot QUIT; they can only accept proposed transfers already accepted by their club. But admittedly, that doesn’t CAPITALISE well.

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Can things get any WORSE?
Also at The Sun, it turns out that a manager’s success is entirely calculated in how many games he loses. Mediawatch still thinks in terms of points and silverware but we have always been a little behind the times.

‘Shocking stat shows Man Utd WORSE under Erik ten Hag than Solskjaer as fans joke they are having ‘flashbacks’’

The ‘shocking stat’ is that Manchester United have lost nine Premier League games this season, which is more than Solskjaer managed in either 2018/19 or 2019/20.

Sack him! Bring back Solskjaer! And take down the statue of that utterly sh*t Manchester United manager who lost nine games in 2001/02 and 2003/04 with a squad that had won the title the year before!

C-c-c-called a U-Turn
It’s little wonder that Manchester United are unravelling with Erik ten Hag going soft. Here’s the Mirror with the story:

‘Erik ten Hag U-turns on Man Utd punishment with new approach to West Ham humiliation’

Brushing aside the matter of whether there should really be a ‘punishment’ for losing two away games 1-0 in the space of four days, let’s see this U-turn…

‘Erik ten Hag has given his battling Manchester United squad two days off after back-to-back defeats in the Premier League.

‘The Red Devils suffered 1-0 losses to Brighton and West Ham in their last two outings to leave their hopes of qualifying for the Champions League hanging in the balance. They are fourth in the table, one point clear of Liverpool in fitth with a game in hand.

‘Ten Hag’s decision will raise eyebrows, as the Dutchman cancelled a planned day off and made his players run 13.8km after the last time they suffered back-to-back Premier League defeats in August.’

It will raise eyebrows among lunatics. This Manchester United squad has not had a midweek off since September (barring the World Cup for some). Making them run and run now would be nothing short of negligent.

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Oh, and what kind of a U-turn takes nine months?

Reach for the stars…
But the real Manchester United click joy comes from outgoings, which is how we get here…

‘Three of the Man Utd stars exiled by Erik ten Hag set to leave the club permanently’

…which raises the question of how Man Utd will possibly cope without ‘stars’ Phil Jones, Brandon Williams and Axel Tuanzebe.

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