Would Brendan walk? You bet he would....

Published: Monday, 02 December 2019

The general view was that Freddie didn't change much. That he had little impact on Arsenal. What on earth did people expect? He only had 24 hours to plan for the game at Norwich!

But I saw one very dramatic change. Gone was the suicidal madness of trying to split centre backs and play from the 6-yard box. Arsenal simply can’t do it, so why did Unai Emery insist on playing that way? Most weeks Arsenal are an accident waiting to happen anyway, so why inflict friendly-fire?

I’ve maintained for a long time that there isn’t much wrong at The Emirates. I still believe that. They really aren’t far off, but is Freddie the man to get them going again? If there weren’t two other obvious options I’d say yes - but would you take him over Mikel Arteta or Brendan Rodgers? No, you wouldn’t.

Arteta would be more of a gamble than Rodgers, who did nothing in his interview with Geoff Shreeves to deter Arsenal from making an approach. In fact, he did quiet the opposite. He’d take the job in heart beat - and now if he had to. And he’d be right as well.

I’ve mentioned my taxi ride with him before. He was with us here at beINSPORTS after losing his job at Liverpool. I won’t go into detail, but during the journey back to his hotel, he left me with absolutely no doubt that Arsenal’s was the job he coveted, but he had to be careful how he got there. If he wasn’t going to get it post Wenger, then he had to make the right choices to still be in contention down the line. He chose brilliantly - won a bucket load of trophies at Celtic and now he’s got Leicester the closest to Liverpool. They’re not going to - but could you imagine how he’d feel if he denied them this title? He must’ve thought about it.

Rodgers has proven what a good coach he is. He remains a little too verbose for my liking, but he’s got something going at Leicester. And he’s tamed a notoriously difficult dressing room.

Would he leave Leicester now? You bet he would. He’s already shown that he’s prepared to make big decisions by walking out on Celtic and the prospect of a ‘treble treble’.

I reckon he knows he’s about at his limit at Leicester. Where is the stability and guarantee of longevity if he gets it right? Were he to take James Maddison and Caglar Soyuncu with him he’d start to address areas that Arsenal need to improve in. He’s got Jamie Vardy playing some of the best football of his career right now so imagine what he’d do with Aubamayang and Lacazette.

One other thing that he’d love would be to mix it in North London with the man he still calls ‘the gaffer’. Jose Mourinho was his boss at Chelsea. He tried to get one over on him that fateful night of Stevie G’s slip and failed. That still gnaws at him. He’d love to put Mourinho in his place!

I reckon somebody at Goodison was reading this blog last week. How else did Eddie Howe start getting name checks for the Everton job?!? I’d take him. He’d be good. Don’t believe this nonsense that he can’t work away from Bournemouth because things didn’t work out at Burnley. There were matters going on in his life at the time that made it impossible for him to succeed there.

I must admit I was a little surprised to hear John Barnes support my view they Rafa could be the man for Goodison. The subject came up Sunday afternoon on beINSPORTS. John reckons Benitez would be perfect. As I said last week - he’s certainly have the brass neck to do it. It was timely perhaps that a rash of interviews were conducted with Rafa through this past week. What a co-incidence. I’m not sure how long his ‘long term’ project will last in China after a poor finish - one in 15 and 10th place in a 16 team league. Still, his team finished 11th the previous season so I suppose he’s had an impact.

Sadly there’s no change in the habits of the mad house that is Watford. I read that the players want a British coach next - let’s hope so, but working there can’t be fun for any coach. I had them down for relegation last season - perhaps I was just ahead of my time again!!

We’ve got a great PL week ahead of us and a ground breaking week in the UK. Good luck to everyone involved in Amazon’s coverage. I know a few of the guys there and I wish them well. I hope they pull it off. It’s about time UK audiences had the chance to enjoy their football the way we’ve been presenting it in the Middle East for getting on for a decade now. It’s the future in the UK - if they get it