Football Insights – Frank Sinclair
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Football Insights – Frank Sinclair

With just six points separating Leicester in third, Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolves, the battle for the final two Champions League spots is starting to hit fever pitch. Frank Sinclair gives his exclusive insights into the battle for top-flight European football which includes two of his former clubs in Leicester and Chelsea.


 


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Your two former clubs, Chelsea and Leicester City are currently battling for 3rd place – who do you think will win it by the end of the season?

I think Chelsea will beat Leicester for 3rd place. At the moment, Chelsea may have had the poor result against West Ham but they will bounce back - I am worried that we haven’t seen form from Leicester. We haven’t seen the form that Leicester had before the pandemic return since they’ve come back. They’ve been struggling to get Jamie Vardy playing, along with the other important players. 

Leicester seem to be struggling and they’re more under threat from the likes of Manchester United, than Chelsea are. 

If both Chelsea and Leicester slip up again, Manchester United and Wolves could be in competition for 3rd place – do you still see Leicester or Chelsea winning out in a 4-way battle for 3rd?

I’m fearing how well Manchester United are doing with that link up between Pogba and Fernandes, it’s taken them to a different level. They’re strong contenders and Wolves have obviously done well, too. I think it’s going to go down to the wire but for me at the moment, I think Manchester United could go in for this and win the remainder of the games and secure themselves a position in the top 4.

Chelsea lost against West Ham, who are fighting relegation, will a Watford loss spark concern at the club?

There is concern Chelsea and there have been talks all season, around certain positions, like at let back where they need to strengthen and that evident the other day. This is something that has been spoken about all season, with talks of a LB coming in from Leicester too. Chelsea need to bounce back, I don’t think they can afford to lose two games on the spin with the form of the teams behind them. 

They needed that win against Watford to stay in the race for the Top 4. 

Chelsea have a few mid-bottom half of the table games coming up with Crystal Palace and Norwich over the next few weeks, how important is it they pick up points in each of these games?

Chelsea would rather by playing lower-positioned clubs like Watford, Crystal Palace and Norwich than their counterparts who are competing for positions in Europe. However, these clubs are fighting for their lives against relegation so they’ll still be tough games. If Chelsea realistically want to finish in the top four, they’ve got to beat Crystal Palace and Norwich, after the seasons they’ve had. These next few games will be crucial for Chelsea, as there are fixtures where teams up at the top are playing each other and they will drop points, so it makes it even more key to win these next few games. 

How impressed have you been with Christian Pulisic in recent games?

I've been impressed with Pulisic all season. I think he hasn’t played as many games as he would have liked but when you've seen him there have been glimpses of what he's capable of. He's got an opportunity since the restart of the Premier League, and he's taking it, at the moment he's always going for goal and he’s always a goal threat. Pulisic is playing with a lot of confidence, energy and he works hard and I can only see getting better and better. There is now becoming a likeness between himself and Hazard when arrived at Chelsea, and look what he went on to do. So there's high hopes for Pulisic. 

Are Leicester's recent losses against Chelsea and Everton a cause for concern?

Leicester’s losses against both Chelsea and Everton are a cause for concern. The team’s form, with key players like Maddison and Vardy don’t look quite the same. 

If could be that that's where you give credit to the opposition that have stopped them or just the fact that Leicester have not got going since the restart. It would be a massive shame if they were to blow it, as they’ve worked so hard, and been around the top 3 all season. At this stage, if that happens, it’ll be really disappointing with the goal of qualifying for Champions League so close. 

How much of a 'must win' is Leicester's game against Arsenal?   

With the top four teams – Wolves, Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester, I think every game is important. For Leicester, the game is important as they can look at it and say there are areas in this game where we can we can utilize our strengths and possibly beat Arsenal.

Arsenal have been inconsistent at the back, but every game is important for all the teams that are vying for the top four spots. I think the team that that goes on the in between now and the end of the season, out of those top four teams will probably finish in the top four.

Burnley look to be challenging for European football, how much would this mean to the club?

European football would be unbelievable for Burnley. Sean Dyche has done an incredible job at the club and he has slowly but surely improved every aspect of the football club and including their league standing every season.  The next step for Burnley now would be to try and finish in Europe again and then, try and strengthen the from there. But that's not an easy thing for them to do because they're up against it financially. So, you have to give Sean even more credit for that. 

Has Sean Dyche taken the club as far as they can go with the current budget?

Dyche could be looking at his options and thinking he’s taken Burnley as far as they can go with the budget. There's reports of unrest between, the first team management staff, and the board how true that is, I don't know you just listen to what you're hearing. 

Sean Dyche has probably recognized that unless he gets some help, there's only so much he can do with the budget he has got to go up against other Premier League teams. Dyche deserves backing, and he’s shown that with what he's done in the football club since he's arrived. If he doesn't get it, there'll be a lot of people looking at the opportunity to bring it into their football club 

He's obviously ambitious and has taken so much time in in putting a structure into Burnley, but he will probably look at it as a job not quite finished. H would imagine that he could get Burnley into a top seven club in the Premier League and finishing in Europe. So he’d probably look at it that from that aspect. But obviously, with the job that he's done, the frustration of not being able to keep up mens that he probably will look at his different options.

Where do Burnley need to invest to start challenging the traditional top 6?

Burnley need strength in depth to challenge the top 6. When you look at Burnley and see the 13 or 14 players that play in the Premier League for Burnley, there’s not much strength in depth. 

If you if you ask that question to Sean Dyche, he would want a host of players to strengthen a few departments in his team, whether it be defensively midfield or attacking options as well. You only have to look at Burnley having, two injured strikers at the moment and see them really been struggling now to build a team who can be a threat in the Premier League. So I'd say strength in depth and quality into the squad would be more of a concern for Sean Dyche. 

V: 1.22.1 All rights reserved. August 2021
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