Football Insights – Kevin Campbell and Shaun Goater
Wall to wall football at the moment with domestic and midweek European football taking place, and ahead of week seven of the Premier League, former Everton and Arsenal striker Kevin Campbell and former Man City striker Shaun Goater spoke exclusively to Genting Casino about all things their old clubs. You can also watch Shaun and Kevin preview some of the weekend’s big Premier League games below.
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Shaun Goater On Manchester City
You're in the unique position of having spent time at both Manchester clubs. As it stands right now, do you see City or United faring better this season?
Shaun: As it stands, City have a better chance than United of faring better this season. From the point of view that when Ruben Dias and Laporte start to combine for Manchester City, along with Ake potentially at left back, I can see City being a lot more solid and having a good base to go from.
From a Manchester United point of view, Maguire’s form hasn’t been at the level that you would expect from a £75m player. Manchester United’s front three is brilliant and they’ve got Van de Beek who can come in, but he’s not been playing. Van de Beek will be questioning why he came to Manchester United, the longer that goes on.
Then Fernandes hasn’t been on the same level and yet, you know that he will get back to form. But I think defensively, Manchester United aren’t there and not consistent.
Guardiola has blamed a hectic schedule and players overworking for City's off start to the season, do you think it simply comes down to tiredness and too many fixtures or are there deeper issues?
Shaun: Guardiola has alluded to the exact same issues that all clubs have, because they haven't really had a proper pre-season. I think this is why we're seeing a lot of players have these injuries, just the other day was Fabinho who got injured through a muscle injury.
So, I think other teams will suffer with this as well. Guardiola, in terms of City, understands this, but City are in a better position than most in that, they have quality of depth of players. So, I believe the statement is to protect the players and perhaps have a more normal schedule and not two games every week or less, so that players have less days to recover from. But let's see, they have the quality to cope with it as well.
Do you think Pep can rescue Manchester City and get them competing for the title this season?
Shaun: I think City can compete for the Premier League title at this moment in time, because Liverpool have injuries and they have players out. I don't think teams are going to be as consistent as the record set that was set by City in terms of, 100 points at the end of the season. I think it's going to be more along the low 80s in terms of points the team that wins the Premier League will need.
We’re seeing Liverpool dropping some points and City dropping a few points too. So, City have the ability to go on a good 10 game run, we know that they've been able to do 18 games of consecutive wins in the past too. So, it’s certainly within City’s ability to go on and do that.
From Liverpool's point of view, and I know other teams that are around the top of the table as well, they've got some major injuries. So, there’s a big question on whether Liverpool can be consistent with Virgil Van Dijk and Fabinho being out. This is why it's certainly within Manchester City’s hands to still be able to catch them and win the Premier League.
With the Premier League season not going according to plan, will Pep put more emphasis on City working hard for Champions League success next week against Olympiacos?
Shaun: It’s cliché, but I think Pep will just be looking to put all his efforts into each next game. When he gets to the Champions League game he’ll want to win that and give everything to win that, but the Premier League game is first against Sheffield United.
Pep will not want to lose that game because it then becomes about trying to catch up with Everton, Liverpool and the other teams that are up there. City will not want to fall further behind even though they have the capability of putting such a strong run together - it would just put more pressure on the players and it’s better to be close to go on and catch them up and then set the pace.
If Manchester City don't see success the season, do you think Pep will leave the club?
Shaun: Pep is the only one who knows whether he will leave Manchester City, but I like to think that Pep will stay. I know he's not known for being at clubs for five to, eight years, but I really like to think that he has found a home at Manchester City.
When I say at home, I think a home that will rival his time at Barcelona and the reason I think it can even surpass that is because, his bosses are people that that he's known for years and worked with for years. I think that honesty and closeness will be good for him.
For him to go to, another club, that's the family that's also uprooted. And what I know is that, , his family are pretty settled and they get along with the hierarchy at the club as well because they've all been friends for years.
So, I don't think it's just as easy as Pep saying, he’ll go back to work in Spain Italy or some other country, I think it's a little bit more complicated than that. I think he is happy and he’s found the club that he can really build things and go on to go beyond the Champions League when that happens as well.
If Pep were to leave, do you think there'd be players who would look to follow him?
Shaun: I don’t think that players would necessarily leave if Pep would, but any player knows when you work with a manager you know if you really love this manager because of how he is, how he treats you, his tactics, his knowledge and his day to day operations with players.
If I was playing under Pep, I would be really enjoying working under him, he really challenges players with the demands but they know that with it comes trophies and being in finals. However, I think it's down to their individual relationships with Pep and how they get on. So it’s a tough one to say whether they'll follow him or not.
There are rumours that RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsman or Pochettino could be possible Guardiola replacements when the time comes, how do you rate their chances at City?
Shaun: I really like Nagelsmann, he’s a young manager who is brave, offensive in his game and that’s Pep’s style. The brand of football that City play is possession based with creativity, fullbacks going forward, fullbacks also being inverted and you don't see wide players or wingers, you see both.
Working with those front three, that’s a brand of football that Pep has created. Nagelsmann is a sort of manager that is brave when I've seen his teams and I like that about him. He sort of says “right we're coming to win this game” and he does tactical moves that that stretch the opposite and make them think differently and rather than playing a cagey game so I really like some of the things I've seen his teams do.
With Pochettinho we’ve seen how he operated at Tottenham and he was just starting to really build some good things as a good manager but he didn't quite win anything there, but again, played a great brand of football. So, both of them would be exciting managers.
Kevin Campbell On Arsenal
What mistakes were made in the loss to Leicester last weekend? Did the defeat expose Arteta's inexperience?
Kevin: Everyone must understand that Arteta is learning on the job so he will make mistakes, that's for sure. I think the team he picked was a good team and they were strong enough to win the game against Leicester.
I just don't think Arsenal are playing well enough right now. So, it's not really exposing his inexperience, I just think, it’s a situation that Arsenal have to get through and that’s all.
Martin Keown has said that Arteta is repeating Emery's mistakes at Arsenal by switching systems, do you think he's right?
Kevin: I disagree with Martin Keown, I think Arteta has proven that, albeit in cup competitions, but he can win by switching systems. The problem is, the team aren't playing well enough at the moment. So, it doesn't matter what system you play, when the team aren’t playing well then, they’re just not getting the result.
How crucial is it for Arsenal to get a result against Manchester United this weekend?
Kevin: It's always crucial for Arsenal to get a result and especially against another big club in Manchester United, who aren't doing as well as they would have liked. So, you've got two big clubs reeling to be honest. Both teams aren’t playing well, so I think it's going to come down to which team actually turns up on the day but it will be a difficult game for both teams.
Arsenal v Manchester United has always been a big fixture – do you expect any upsets for the game on Sunday?
Kevin: I think the upset will be if Arsenal win, and deny Manchester United – it will mean they haven’t won a Premier League game at home all season. Manchester United beating Arsenal wouldn’t be an upset, but if Arsenal beat Manchester United then it would be. I wouldn’t mind an upset but it’s going to be a very difficult game.
How stable will Arsenal fans feel that Arteta can have them qualifying for European football again next season?
Kevin: Arsenal fans aren’t very stable at the minute because of how the team are currently playing. Obviously, they know it's a long season, and there's only six games gone so I don't think Arteta should be judged at six or seven games. We need to wait until 10 or 11 games, when people start finding their feet and I’d like to think Arsenal will start playing better, hopefully from this weekend.
With Arsenal struggling for creativity, are you upset to see Mesut Ozil not included in Arsenal's Premier League squad?
Kevin: Arsenal aren’t struggling for creativity at all and I'm not even going to mention that man's name. For me, the key is that there are players there who can create, but they haven't been playing well.
Now, there was no rush to call in the omitted name this season, but now that the team isn’t playing so well, his name gets keep keeps getting mentioned. So, I don’t buy into it all. I think that when the team playing well, Arsenal will create and score goals. When they're not playing well, every team will struggle and that's the issue.
Kevin Campbell On Everton
How important will it be for Everton to get back to winning ways against Newcastle after their loss to Southampton?
Kevin: Everton’s game against Southampton is going to be very difficult. Lucas Digne won’t be playing as he's got one game suspension and Richarlison will be missing for the second game. I think Everton will find going to St Mary’s very difficult because obviously, it’s away from home and you haven't got Richarlisson - you only realise the work and players he occupies when he isn’t there, and that he gets players away from Dominic Calvert Lewin.
When he’s not playing, other teams will be scheming towards Calvert Lewin to stop him so I think it’s going to be a very difficult game for Everton.
What went wrong for Everton against Southampton?
Kevin: The bigger question is what went right for Everton against Southampton? The only thing they got right was showing up to the stadium. The game was all Southampton and Everton didn’t have the fire and didn’t create much of anything. For whatever reason, it can happen and I think it was a bad day at the office, they have to dust themselves down and go again next game.
Carlo Ancelotti said Digne's red card was influenced by events with Pickford the week before. Do you believe that to be the case?
Kevin: I don’t think Digne’s red card was influenced by what happened with Pickford against Liverpool. I think the referee made his decision on what he saw. Rightly so, the three-game ban has come down to one game, because it wasn't really malicious or anything.
I think, it's been dealt with so everyone moves on. I understand what Ancelotti is saying, there’s an argument for it, definitely, because, in the media, the witch hunt hasn't stopped for Everton.
James Rodriguez was visibly tired at the end of the game. Do you worry the pace of the Premier League might catch up with him during the course of the season?
Kevin: Rodriguez will be fine once he gets used to the relentless nature of the Premier League. He hasn’t played a lot of football over the years so I think he's just got to find his feet.
I truly believe he will - he just needs all the top players playing for him to really excel. Obviously, there's a few players who aren't going to be there, so it’s going to take him a little bit of time to adjust.