September 23, 2021

Blues brothers: Bruce and Solskjaer

October 3, 2019
Steve Bruce with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer

Newcastle manager, Steve Bruce and his Manchester United counterpart, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer were teammates at Old Trafford in the good old days. The duo was part of the great and all-conquering team assembled by Sir Alex Ferguson.

Fast track to 2019, both are now managers to two once great football clubs with massive followership that have now turned into a shadow of their former selves. Both clubs are now in crisis and they play each other in the premier league this weekend.

One of them will most likely heap more sorrow on the other by the end of the game.

Newcastle United are coming into this game, still smarting from the 5-0 defeat suffered from high flying Leicester City.

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Another defeat this weekend would just make a bad situation even worse. However, not many people gave Brucie much of a chance when he was appointed as Newcastle’s manager, not even the club’s numerous supporters.

The team had been in a crisis even before he was employed. On the other hand, Solskjaer came into United with great promise and he got the full support of the board, the fans and the players, both present and former playing staff.  He has now managed to lead the club to its worst premiership start in 30 years.

A loss to Newcastle will be another nail in his coffin and it probably won’t be too long before fans start calling for his sack.

There just seems to be a major problem in the Manchester United camp and the manager appears not to have a clue about how to tackle the problem, although some people believe majority of the problems were self inflicted.

Pundits are still scratching their heads in disbelief, wondering how a club like Manchester United would sell two main strikers without first securing a replacement for them.

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This becomes more baffling when you remember that Solskjaer himself was part of a solid four-man strike force in the golden years of Manchester United. How then can he be the manager who will put his season and indeed, career in the hands of trio that includes two relatively inexperienced strikers and a teenager? When and if he gets the sack, he surely will have no one but himself to blame.

Another club that seems to be in major crisis is Tottenham Hotspur.

Last season’s champions league finalists were humiliated at home by Bayern Munich, this shocking result followed the loss to League Two side Colchester United in the Carabao Cup. Great things were expected of Spurs this season following their fantastic exploits the previous season, coupled with the fact that the owner released money for reinforcements.

The opposite appears to be the case. Spurs are so much worse than they were last term. They meet Brighton this weekend. Maybe they will get a chance to redeem themselves in this game based on the fact that Brighton who lost to Chelsea last weekend are not a top six club, but then, you got to remember that Spurs lost to Colchester, a club that is not even in the premier league.

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Liverpool host Leicester at Anfield tomorrow in a game that could be billed as the past meeting the present. Brendan Rodgers, Leicester’s manager was the gaffer at Liverpool when they had their best run in the league pre-Klopp. He is doing a great job at Leicester at the moment and a lot of people believe he will lead the club to champions league place at the end of the season.

Liverpool had a scare in the champions league during the week, losing a three goal lead but were fortunate to eventually win 4-3.

The Kop are having a mini crisis of their own, especially in defence. Allison is still out injured and his replacement, Adrian, is a calamity waiting to happen. To make matters worse, dependable defender, Matip is injured as well only to be replaced with match rusty Gomez, suddenly, Liverpool don’t appear that solid at the back.

If Leicester get to play as well as we know they can, this match up will be the toughest test for Liverpool so far this season.

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Manchester City host Wolverhampton Wanderers and you will be a brave man to bet against Pep Guardiola’s team not winning this one. Wolves were promising last and they were a lot of people’s favourites to gate crash the top six this season. However, they have not lived up to expectations  pundits believe it is due to  the stress of numerous travels to fulfill Europa League engagements. City can be ruthless and I expect them to take advantage of Wolves’ exertions.

Arsenal play Bournemouth on Sunday at the Emirates Stadium. The Gunners should be able to win this easily. Their shaky defence appears to be steadying now with the return of Chambers and Holding. They should be able to handle whatever Bournemouth has got lined up.

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