GW5 Review: Written by @JackAGoodwin INSERT INSIGHTFUL AND INTERESTING INTRO PARAGRAPH HERE TO SET THE SCENE FOR THE GW5 REVIEW…naaaaaahhhhhh – let’s just wing it. Everton 2-2 Liverpool Whilst Labrinth was singing “Beneath Your Beautiful” and Skyfall was just released in cinemas (remember those?), over at Goodison Park we were also seeing the last time […]
I think it’s fair to say that we are living through unprecedented times.
In fact, I can’t remember back to a time when things were precedented. I often find myself wondering how historians will view the times we are currently experiencing. How will they view the decisions made by our leaders and ourselves?
I have no doubt that one of the things that will confuse the bejaysus out of them is the decision to proceed with international football during a global pandemic….
The logic behind sending footballers out of their club ‘bubble’ around the globe to play international games that are as important as my opinion on Masterchef Australia (No Poh! No!), leading to an inevitable surge in positive COVID-19 cases which are then brought back into the club ‘bubble’, therefore possibly bursting the bubble of professional football happening at all….
Yeah, onto GW5!
Defender: George Baldock, Sheffield United
I’m not saying that The Blades have had a ropey start to the season, but right now Richard Osman has them written down as an answer on his desk. Yep, they’re pointless.
This weekend they face the only team below them in the table, as Fulham come calling. While The Cottagers racked up three goals at Elland Road in GW2, they’ve been firing blanks elsewhere.
I’ve had to ignore the fact that George’s surname references a very niche fetish, and focus instead on the fact that he has a knack of adding goals and assists to his clean sheet hauls. He’s already notched an assist this season, and he’s due a clean sheet.
Midfielder: Matheus Pereira, West Bromwich Albion
West Brom welcome Burnley to my gaff this weekend, so I may open the curtains to watch them in the garden.
Pereira has started the season strongly with a goal and a brace of assists thus far, and he faces Sean Dyche’s men who have conceded SEVEN goals in their two away games. SEVEN! Imagine conceding that many goals in two away games! What eejits!
Forward: Neal Maupay, Brighton And Hove Albion
Here’s a player who is smashing it while flying under the radar of many.
Four goals and an assist already this season, adding to his ten-goal haul last season. He travels to Selhurst Park as The Seagulls take on The Eagles.
Based on knowledge of ornithology alone you’d fancy the Eagles, but have you seen how rowdy the Seagulls have become in recent years? They’d have your fish supper out of your hand and slap you across the face with their wing if you don’t have your wits about you.
Neal Maupay is a French seagull. Just imagine the attitude…
Captain: Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspur
I’ve seen plenty of stats during this interminably daft international break about West Ham United and how sound defensively they have been. Their xGA is tiny, apparently. Their xGF is decent. Their xGEEKS is as yet unknown.
My fantasy football methodology is far more straightforward. Old Moyesey has self-isolated and rid himself of his COVIDness, so he’s back on the touchline and The Hammers are going to hell in a handcart once more.
Harry Kane will profit handsomely
Outsider: Rhian Brewster, Sheffield United
Whether you’re one of those (like me) who has had Rhian tucked up safely on the corner of your bench since the season started, or you’ve taken the plunge once you saw him move to Bramall Lane, welcome to the beginning of the ‘£4.5m Bloody Hell He’s A Bargain At That Price’ adventure.
The kid is a talent, and his first big chance is against at home to a team that has a habit of conceding three goals in every game.
Written by @NiallHawthorne
Written by Niall Hawthorne.
Drop Niall a follow on twitter. Good thing about Twitter – you can always unfollow again later!
Niall Hawthorne has a strange view on most things.
Check out his blog for proof rantsofarebel.wordpress.com.
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Lockdown review: Sunderland ‘Til I Die Written by @JamesMartin013 There’s no football of any description – fantasy or otherwise – for at least the next few weeks, which leaves a desperate need for a sports fix. Belarusian league aside, most people are finding the best option to be sports books and documentaries. In the […]
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Written by @JACKAGOODWIN It’s a weird time for us all, a real weird time. For most, we’re locked up in our homes trying not to kill one another and finding small little hobbies we never knew of before like cooking or cleaning. One thing we’ve all lost aside from our minds is the ability to […]
All or Nothing: Manchester City (Amazon Prime)
Written by @JamesMartin013
There’s no football of any description – fantasy or otherwise – for at least the next few weeks, which leaves a desperate need for a sports fix. Belarusian league aside, most people are finding the best option to be sports books and documentaries. In the first of a new mini-series, James Martin suggests ‘All or Nothing: Manchester City’ might not be the answer…
There was much understandable excitement when Amazon Prime promised a behind-the-scenes look at Premier League champions Manchester City, but viewers were instead subjected to an eight-hour PR video.
The unrivalled access proved to be the only real draw of an otherwise drab eight-part series, which left a profound sense of dissatisfaction. While the footage did capture areas not usually open to the public, every shot seemed carefully curated to cultivate an image acceptable to the powers-that-be at The Etihad.
Some of this blandness undoubtedly derived from the relatively routine manner of much of City’s on-pitch success in the 2017/18 season, but even when things went wrong for the super-club the documentary failed to engross.
After the transfer team missed out on top target Virgil van Dijk to rivals Liverpool, the programme cut to the sporting director Txiki Begiristain ‘candidly’ musing that the eventual price paid was far too high to be good business. The episode entitled ‘Welcome to Hell’, dedicated to their Champions League exit at the hands of Klopp’s side, promised more. Even this was used to push the club’s agenda, however, placing huge focus on the bottles thrown at the team bus rather than the ultimate shortcomings on the pitch.
It is an inevitability that behaviours will be to some extent altered when cameras are pointed, but in a world where everyone is used to constant scrutiny it was reasonable to expect that the documentary would at least manage to give a relatively genuine and insightful portrayal of players and staff. Instead, I was constantly half-expecting manager Pep Guardiola to turn to camera, The Office-style, and deliver a well-worn cliché.
That is not to question his managerial talents, which shone through even in the sub-par production, but everybody choosing to watch this would have already been well aware of the gifted personnel lured to Manchester City following the 2008 takeover. The fundamental question about All or Nothing duly remains, even after eight long hours: what was the point?
The answer to that question may well lurk under the tailored veneer, and it is a worryingly insidious one. Miguel Delaney of The Independent has written at length on Manchester City’s so-called ‘sports-washing’. This is defined by Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, as: “wealthy regimes… [using] sport as a means to polish up their own tarnished images.”
Sheikh Mansour, City’s owner, is an Emirati royal prince. Nobody will watch the documentary and instantaneously forget that numerous human rights organisations have roundly condemned the UAE, but that is not the point of sports-washing. Rather the viewers are presented with a team that is forward-thinking in all aspects of its day-to-day running, and over time begin to associate this with Mansour and his family instead of what Human Rights Watch describes as ‘arbitrary detention’ and ‘forcible disappearances’.
The programme even depicts a progressive coach who stands up for political freedoms. Pep Guardiola can be seen wearing a yellow ribbon in protest at the denial of a Catalonian independence referendum – on a subconscious level, those watching start to doubt whether the people from whom he takes his salary can really be that bad when it comes to human rights.
All or Nothing was never going to delve into such waters. This does not automatically make it a failure, and precious few football clubs in the modern game can boast immunity from moral criticism, but soft propaganda rarely makes for enthralling television. There is only so long that viewers can be blinded by the veil being drawn back on the operations of a Premier League club – eventually they will notice that there is precious little substance.
This has only become more obvious in the time since the series was released. It did at least re-emphasise the strong appetite for sports documentaries, and Netflix went on to produce Sunderland ‘Til I Die: this was a truly compelling, raw insight into the heart and soul of a football club. The contrast to All or Nothing could hardly be more stark – true emotions were captured as viewers felt the anguish of Sunderland’s fans and saw it contrasted with the relative indifference of some of the senior professionals.
The unique opportunity to watch John Stones singing Wonderwall just doesn’t quite stack up in comparison.
Review written by James Martin
James is a sports journalist with a focus on football. He began writing for LFC Fans Corner over seven years ago, and has since been featured on the club website and The Independent among others. He graduated from Oxford in 2019, and holds the Gold Standard NCTJ Diploma in Journalism.
His portfolio can be found at http://jamesmartin013.journoportfolio.com
No Kane, No Lukaku, No Problems? Written by @JamesMartin013 For those who have not been following this mini-series, the premise is that I had to go the entire FPL season without bringing in either Harry Kane or Romelu Lukaku…two players considered by many to be must-haves at the start of the 2017/18 campaign. You can […]
Fantasy Premier League: Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of ’17/’18. Written by @NiallHawthorne Captain Salah. If I could offer you only one tip for the future, captaining Salah would be it. The long term benefits of captaining Salah have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable […]
Gameweek 38 Preview: Fantasy Premier League #FPL Written by John Wallin @FantasyGaffer You may have heard, there is now a podcast as Bang Average in addition to this column; with John, Ryan and Mike talking all formats of #FPL. Go and subscribe…this will still be here when you get back. Congratulations to everyone who […]
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DOUBLE Gameweek 37 Preview: Fantasy Premier League #FPL Written by Mike P @TalkinTogga You may have heard, there is now a podcast as Bang Average in addition to this column; with John, Ryan and Mike talking all formats of #FPL. Go and subscribe…this will still be here when you get back. WARNING – #FPL DEADLINE […]