October 5, 2015

Bye, bye, Brendan

by Dan Bilicki In: Soccer

We’ve seen this coming for a while now, but never really believed it would happen: Liverpool has sacked Brendan Rodgers.

Ever since joining the Reds from Swansea, Rodgers has been in the spotlight – for good and bad.

In fact, the reason why we all became so enthralled with him was because his first summer in charge was documented in Being Liverpool – the fantastic Hard Knocks-style show following around the team. We got to know the Brodge, got to learn his personality and his quirks. We got to know him like a true buddy.

And when the Reds started performing well, you could really feel that Liverpool might have a chance at regaining its former glory.

Well, it never quite got all the way back to the top. Rodgers’ Reds were a slip from Steven Gerrard away from the Premier League title in 2013 – then it all went downhill.

Luis Suarez was sold. Daniel Sturridge had injury woes. The players brought in weren’t up to snuff. A squad without depth was spread too thin and couldn’t contend with the extra games in Europe as well as a title push.

This summer saw Liverpool sell his best player, again. Raheem Sterling was dispatched to Man City while the arrivals again failed to wow.

Now, after starting the season firmly in mid-table and drawing at home to Merseyside rival Everton, the Brodge is gone.

With the heat on, he couldn’t stand in the kitchen.

Now, we just have to wait and see if Jurgen Klopp comes to Liverpool as the next saviour. And if he does, how long will he last?


Chelsea sits in 16th place and has given up 17 goals in eight games, second most in the Premier League this season. What is going on at Stamford Bridge?

Jose Mourinho is always the type of manager to take heat off of his players in the press, but perhaps the fire that he’s under is rightly deserved this time. This is a team that lost three games all of last season and has now tasted defeat four times this campaign after Saturday’s loss at Southampton – another team that hasn’t played up to snuff.

Mourinho went back to John Terry and Gary Cahill in centre of defence and stubbornly sticks with Branislav Ivanovic on the right, only to get burned time and again. While Cesar Azpilicueta has been fire on the left, Kurt Zouma – left out for Terry this week – has been the Blues’ best defender and is growing into a world-class player. He should be one of the first names on the team sheet, yet is being left on the bench.

The attack looks suspect too, with Willian’s free kick – which we’re not so sure was a shot or pass – being the only bright spot in the game.

With an owner as committed to success as Roman Abramovich, you really have to wonder how long he’ll stand behind the Special One.

But really, Mourinho has shown that he’s not so special this season.


Most weeks, Sergio Aguero would’ve been the top headline in just about any column about the Premier League. Not so this time around.

And all the mighty Argentine striker did was score five goals in 20 minutes – I know, Robert Lewandowski did it in less than half that time, but we’re all not Polish, are we?

It was kind of shocking how it all happened, too. Newcastle was looking half decent until Aguero finally netted his first. Then the floodgates opened.

It’s easier to see this amount of goal coming after the break, when the manager could’ve changed things up or given his team the hair-dryer treatment. But this was simply a matter of Manchester City clicking in after a brutal run of bad form recently.

Aguero was the fifth player to score five in a PL game while the six goals in 20 minutes – including one by Kevin De Bruyne – was a record for the fastest to hit six.

The win vaulted the Sky Blues back into first place, where they’d stay after cross-town rival United’s loss to Arsenal, but more on that later.

We just hope that you didn’t lose faith in Kun and dropped him from your fantasy team, as many undoubtedly have after his run of bad form to start the season.

In fact, only one player in the top 25 had Aguero in their team. While he was a popular captain choice – which paid off for 50 points – now many are wishing that they had the guts to give him their triple-captain chip. And if you did, you’re sailing now.


Brendan Rodgers wasn’t the only manager to leave his post this week. Sunderland’s Dick Advocaat, who was set to retire in the summer yet came back, has resigned his post with the Black Cats. Seeing how poorly his team has played this season, you have to wonder how much of him was really in it from the start … When will Newcastle make the move away from Steve McLaren? The Magpies are at the bottom of the table and, along with Tyneside rival Sunderland, are the only teams without a win yet this campaign … Don’t look now, but there’s a gap growing between the bottom of the table and the relegation zone, with Aston Villa now four points from safety. Of course, it’s way too early in the season to talk about relegation, but that’s a pretty bad sign for the bottom clubs, which are all established Premier League sides … Claudio Raneiri truly is the Tinkerman. How else would you explain sitting on-fire Riyad Mahrez this week ahead of an international break? It defies logic … Crystal Palace’s win at West Brom has pushed it into the top four above Leicester City. What a world we live in.


This was just what Arsenal needed: A statement game.

The Gunners finally fired on all cylinders against a top opponent and sprang up to second in the league because of it.

With Alexis Sanchez finally finding his form and Mesut Ozil looking like the player that won the World Cup with Germany, this Arsenal side is one to be reckoned with.

Manchester United have been no pushovers on the defensive side of things, allowing just five goals this season heading into the game. But when pressed the Red Devils defence broke very early on. By the 20th minute, the game was out of reach.

Anthony Martial, who has looked good since making his debut, was shut out yet again, showing that he might not be the finished product that many fans had hoped.

Wayne Rooney ceded penalty duties to Juan Mata in Champions League this week and hasn’t been an offensive spark at all in England this season.

While these two teams will certainly be near the top of the table for the foreseeable future, Saturday’s game was a glimpse of which side has the upper hand.

Follow me on Twitter @danbilicki

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