We won the passing: a phrase that entered the meme lexicon in 2012 courtesy of Brendan Rodgers, whose bizarre Brentish utterances upon ascending the Anfield throne amused and baffled football fans in equal measure. “I’ve always worked with the statistic that if you can dominate the game with the ball you have a 79% chance of winning the game,” Rodgers confidently asserted, quoting a “statistic” that doesn’t actually exist. How we all laughed. And yet, a little over eight years later, many sensitive Irish football fans, keen to defend their anointed saviour Stephen Kenny, have been throwing around meaningless numbers with gay abandon, executing their best Rodgers impressions without an ounce of irony or a tongue-in-cheek in sight. What is going on?
Posted in Internationals, Ireland
- Tagged Alan Browne, Conor Hourihane, Darren Randolph, David McGoldrick, Enda Stevens, Matt Doherty, Republic of Ireland, Shane Duffy, Stephen Kenny, UEFA Nations League
Not being all-in on Stephen Kenny can be seen as a kind of heresy around these parts. The new Republic of Ireland manager’s unashamed idealism and refreshing candour have won over almost the entire Irish football community, with the possible exception of a smattering of skeptical ex-pros, whose company I’m not particularly thrilled to keep. But this writer has long met many of Kenny’s public pronouncements with an uneasy mixture of bemusement and concern. And none had me scratching my head more vigourously than Kenny’s eye-opening comments about James McCarthy earlier in the week. Continue reading
Posted in Internationals, Ireland, UEFA Nations League
- Tagged Adam Idah, Bulgaria, Bulgaria 1-1 Republic of Ireland, Callum O'Dowda, James McCarthy, Matt Doherty, Republic of Ireland, Robbie Brady, Shane Duffy, Stephen Kenny, UEFA Nations League
Speaking on Monday afternoon, Martin O’Neill rubbished suggestions that several players played out of position throughout Saturday’s deadlock with Denmark. “The only player we had playing in a position where he doesn’t normally play is Cyrus Christie, and he was man of the match,” he said. Perspective, of course, is all relative; Christie, in the eyes of most, looked all at sea in an unfamiliar central midfield role.
Awarded man of the match for, presumably, exacting Ireland’s only shot on target, the Fulham full-back was one of four square pegs crammed into round holes against the Danes; Callum O’Dowda, Harry Arter and James McClean the others. Their number dwindled to three against Wales on Tuesday, but they still let their side down — thrown to the wolves by an incompetent manager long past his sell-by date. Continue reading
José Mourinho has never lost back-to-back home league games as a professional football manager. But only some familiar Wolves profligacy kept that enviable record intact on Saturday afternoon. Continue reading
Posted in England, Premier League
- Tagged English Premier League, Fred, Helder Costa, Joao Moutinho, José Mourinho, Luke Shaw, Manchester United, Manchester United 1-1 Wolverhampton Wanderers, Matt Doherty, Nuno Espirito Santo, Pogba, Raul Jimenez, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Wolves