Ten Hag to Utd & Controversy in Merseyside derby

27th April 2022

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Erik ten Hag will be talked about in world football 24/7 now as he has accepted to become Manchester United's next full time manager from next season. He will be tasked with rescuing the club and rescue seems like an apt word for a side who have genuinely looked like the shadow of anything that has come in the last 30 years. He walks into United who lack consistency, have a tendency to not chase the game, run out of ideas quick, have too many big ego's, and have no plan B, his work his certainly cut out. Some want to be reminded of Jurgen Klopp's arrival in Liverpool seven years ago and how he walked in and instantly changed the side. Watch Klopp's first press conference and you can see it in his eyes, professionalism but utter confidence that he was going to deliver trophies for Liverpool on the highest stage. After a difficult decade by United's standards is this the moment everything changes for the club? A new beginning?

Ten Hag has managed four teams: Go Ahead Eagles, Bayern Munich's 2nd team, Utrecht and Ajax. He is best known as Ajax's manager and has been at the club for just over four years. His win rate for Ajax is almost 74% and he has won 2 league titles and two doubles with them. Ajax are expected to do well in the Dutch league of course but a hint that ten Hag may be a special manager was with his time at Utrecht. They didn't win any trophies but they finished 5th and then 4th and qualified for the Europa League- no mean feat for that club. Ten Hag has signed a contract for 3 years with an option of extending for a further year, the football world awaits.

Sticking with United they lost 3-1 at Arsenal at the weekend but did play well, although that defeat could be the final nail in the coffin for their Champions League participation next season. They won't give up yet but 4th looks like a battle between Arsenal and Tottenham now and huge bragging rights will go along with that. With the same games played there is just 2 points between the clubs.

The Merseyside derby is always an occasion to revel in even for neutrals. This one had the added story that Liverpool are trying to win the league title and Everton are trying to just remain in the league. In the end Liverpool won 2-0, overpowering their opponents who have been poor this season. However credit should be given to Everton who set up well, knew their tactics and frustrated Liverpool for an hour at Anfield. Everton really should have had a penalty when Anthony Gordon was fouled in the area, it wasn't given, one has to wonder about the consistency of VAR, it's annoyances to define games could be written in 1,000 page volume books. Would the referee have played on had it been at the other end with 50,000 plus screaming fans? No matter which team you support doesn't gamesmanship have to come first in sport? Everton have been poor this season no doubt about that but they have had some very poor decisions against them. Other clubs have had too but with Everton and the fact that they are fighting for survival in the league for the first time in 71 years poor officiating is highlighted further. The Premier League is a fantastic world class league, the official's need to be too.

European leagues are of course coming to an end too. Ligue 1 in France has been inevitably won by PSG. This was confirmed after their 1-1 draw at home to Lens which featured a great goal by Lionel Messi who hasn't always been the player the club expected this season. But the title win seemed flat, in reality the league had been over months ago and what the team really wanted along with the fans was glory in the Champions League. PSG look nowhere near the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool though. Messi has said he would like to stay for next season but Kylian Mbappe so important to the club this season set to leave for Real Madrid what fighting state will PSG be in next season? Talking of the Champions League Manchester City have a toe or two in the final as they beat Real Madrid 4-3 in an absorbing game at the Etihad in the first leg. But City played so well they may feel that only a one goal lead to take to Spain isn't that great. There were some brilliant goals though and Real's Karim Benzema scored another two goals one a rather brilliant paneka penalty. Does he deserve world footballer of the year?

World Player of the Year: Karim Benzema 1.80, Mohamed Salah 5.00, Kevin De Bruyne 9.00, Kylian Mbappe 10.00, Lionel Messi 15.00

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