Football Insights – Lee Sharpe
With the football season reaching it’s climax, former Manchester United and Leeds, midfielder Lee Sharpe spoke exclusively to Genting Casino about all things his former clubs, England’s chances at the Euros and the Premier League season. Read Lee’s comments below and if you are a new customer to Genting Casino take advantage of our welcome offer and daily boosted odds for all the major sporting events and fixtures.
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What do you make of the job that Ole Gunnar Solksjaer doing at Man United? Has he proved his doubters wrong?
A few years ago, Mourinho came second and won the Europa League and was sacked not long after because they weren’t sure if it was a successful season. So, I think Solskjaer has done a good job, I don’t think it’s been spectacular or great – I think with the players he’s got and the talents in the team, I think at times it’s been a little bit disappointing.
But then again, he has pulled out some pretty special performances and some good results – so I think inconsistency has been the key this year, I think he’s done a good job without being out of this world.
Are you surprised by the season that Man United have had this season?
I don’t know whether I see Manchester United through rose tinted glasses but I was expecting a little bit more from them this season. With the team they have and the talent they have going forward, I was expecting them to score more goals and for them to win more.
I think we’ve seen a few too many draws and dropped points when there was no need. I think they’ve done really well in the Europa League, but in the Premier League, we have to remember that, Chelsea have gone through a managerial change, Tottenham have struggled, Arsenal are still struggling. So, the big six, if you like, have not really been challenging – Liverpool have obviously struggled as well this year.
Plus, it’s been a difficult year for everyone with no fans, I think that’s probably played a key role as well. So, I’m just a little surprised at the season that United have had but maybe I was overly optimistic.
Can Man United go on to challenge Man City next year for the title?
United can go on and challenge City for the title next year. That’s the next step for Ole and the team, I think with one or two additions next season – I don’t see any reason why they can’t go on and challenge.
They’ve obviously closed the gap on City and Liverpool from the last couple of seasons. But they need a little bit more consistency and a little bit more of an edge, so I think with one or two additional players they should certainly be looking to challenge next year for sure.
Where do Man United need to improve in order to make that happen?
United need to improve in their creativity, goal scoring and ruthlessness - when a team defends deep and in numbers, sometimes they’ve struggled to create chances and break teams down. And other times they’ve played really well and just not put the chances away.
Defensively, they’ve looked pretty sound as a team but they need a little bit more creativity and goals going forward because teams do tend to sit back against them a lot as well, so they need that bit of magic.
Are we currently witnessing the best Man United team in a decade?
This is potentially United’s best team in a decade, some of the performances this season have certainly shown that. But I think with the consistency levels, that’s still questionable – with the talent and the players they’ve got offensively, sometimes you expect a little bit more.
But I think Ole’s building on the consistency thing. I think the fans not being there hasn’t helped that but they’re heading in the right direction that’s for sure.
Man United face Liverpool on Thursday. Which club do you think are now in the best position for next season?
Manchester United are in a better position than Liverpool going into next season. Liverpool have struggled, certainly with no fans, and with trying to retain the title. It’s always really difficult to retain it, and I think they’ve found that and they got off to a bit of a slow start, and when you do start slow it’s hard to pick up the momentum.
But Jurgen Klopp’s an amazing manager, I think he’ll probably strengthen, and we’ll see a few changes there in personnel over the summer, and I think they’ll come out all guns blazing and be ready for next season, so I think they’ll certainly be a huge challenge.
But I do think United will finish on top of Liverpool next season. If you look at the players, Man United have probably got stronger players in depth. They’ve also certainly had the better season this year. So, confidence wise, Manchester United will go into next season a little bit stronger than Liverpool – Liverpool will still be wondering if they’ve still got what it takes. United are in a strong position and they’ll fancy themselves to finish above Liverpool next year.
Solksjaer has criticised the rescheduling of the game, with United facing 2 games in the space of 3 days. Do players risk burning out?
I know people say, “Oh well, you’ve got a lot of money and you’ve got a big squad you should be able to rotate” but supporters want to see the best team on the pitch at all times, they want to see the best performances and the only way you can do that is with plenty of rest and time between games, and time to get on the training ground.
And it is really, really tough playing games so close together, physically and mentally – I know United played a bit of a changed team against Leicester last night, so they’ll have a few fresher players for Thursday - but it’s still so difficult to prepare and to be ready, and to get up for the games.
In a way, it’s good that it’s against Liverpool as the tiredness will go out the window for a game like that, and it will just concentrate everybody’s minds on the game.
What do you make of the fan protests that originally caused the delay in the game? Can United move the relationship forward with the fans under the Glazers?
The recent protests felt like everything coming to a head. There’s been a bit of unrest for quite a while with the Glazers, the way they put the club in so much debt, and they’ve not really invested like the fans would have hoped. It’s a positive step that Mr Glazer has come out and said he wants to interact with the fans and get talks going with them as to what they want, and what he wants.
I can understand the protest. I think it was possibly a little bit strong to actually stop the game from taking place, which is now resulting in a backlog of fixtures, but it’s a difficult situation and with the fans not being able to attend matches to let their voice be heard I think it was possibly the only way they felt that they could get their point across.
So, it’s brought it to a head, it’s got the Glazers offering some small signs of communication, it’s hopefully got them understanding that there’s unhappiness around – so let’s hope it starts further communication and they can put it right from here.
What do you make of Joel Glazer’s recent comments about opening a dialogue with the fans? Is it a case of too little too late?
It’s a positive step, but it’s early to say if it will come to anything, but more interaction with the fans can only be a good thing. If the Glazers go out this summer and invest heavily in a couple of huge name players, and Manchester United go on and challenge for the title and do well in the Champions League, then that could start to placate some of the fans. That said, there will be a group of supporters who will not be interested and feel the damage is done and do not like how they run the club.
Do you expect United to beat Villarreal in the Europa League Final this year?
I expect United to beat Villareal. I know it will be a tough game, and you just hope that United have got key players fit, and that they get off to a good start. We’ve seen a lot of times this year where they’ve started a goal down after 10-15 minutes, and it’s not an easy place to play from.
So, hopefully, they get off to a good start, declare intent and set up to storm the game.
Can United compete in the later stages of the Champions League next year?
Ole’s journey will be to improve at all times, and we’ve seen an improvement this year on last year. So, you expect the same next year. You expect a couple of signings to come in, change the dynamics in the dressing room.
You’ve got people in there that know what it’s like to win and to lose now – it’s painful to lose, so you have to draw on those experiences.
Experience is everything and for too many games this year, United started off one nil down and have to chase games. They need to start games better, add consistency, beating the lower down in the league teams, which they’ve not done regularly this season, and then they’ve got a chance.
They showed flickers of it and glimpses of it in the Champions League – but at that level you’ve got to be on the ball for 90 minutes and you can’t let up, these teams will crucify you in a heartbeat, so you’ve got to be on your metal.
Paul Pogba has had an up and down season at Man United – he’s now discovered some excellent form. Do you think he should stay at the club or is it time for United to cut ties?
I’m a Paul Pogba fan, I like him, I think he’s one of the few world class players they’ve got there. He’s had a couple of injuries that have disrupted his season. I think once he gets a run of games and gets himself fully fit – I think he’s probably one of the best midfielders in the world.
Talking of creativity, he takes the ball in tight situations, he turns defence into attack quite comfortably, and he can score goals.
I would want to keep him at United. I’m not sure the rumours are ever going to go away with the agent that he’s got, I think he’s always going to create headlines and interest in the media.
But Paul Pogba, he realises he’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world, I know there could be a Barca or Real or Juve that he’s been linked with but he’s at one of the biggest clubs in the world and if he can play regular, and play well, and enjoy his football, I don’t see any reason why Paul Pogba would be choosing to go anywhere else.
Do you think Edinson Cavani has been the signing of the season?
Edinson Cavani has been the signing of the season: his goals, his movement, his experience, his work ethic, I think he’s shown what a class player he is, and I don’t think anybody at the club will have not learnt something from him during his time there. He’s been an outstanding signing.
How important has Edinson Cavani been for Mason Greenwood?
The more time that Mason Greenwood gets on the pitch, the more he grows with confidence every time he goes out there. But without a shadow of a doubt, someone like Edinson Cavani in training you will watch, you will learn from him - we used to have the same when we were young lads.
We had Mark Hughes, Eric Cantona, Brian McClair, and you just watch them and learn and watch the standards they produce in training.
Mason Greenwood is vital and will be an outstanding player, he’s got two great feet, creates chances out of nothing, can score goals and he’ll keep learning from the movement of Cavani and the work rate off the ball which is unreal. If Mason Greenwood is not watching him regularly then he needs to be.
Do you expect Mason Greenwood to be the stand-out player for United next season?
Greenwood is still a young lad, I wouldn’t want to rush him into the team, I think maybe if they do make a signing or two. People are talking about Sancho, they’re talking about Haaland or Kane, so there will be people coming in, in that sort of front three line up.
So, it might be that Greenwood only plays the same number of minutes as he does this season, but that’s just a part the learning curve and the process for a young player. He will get a few more minutes than he did this year, but I still think he might be in and out the team because of the signing that they’ll make.
Has Rashford shown enough to prove that he is a world-class performer?
Marcus Rashford is a world class performer. He’s probably had a bit of an indifferent season, but I also think he’s been carrying a couple of knocks and a couple of injuries. He’s been one of the best players of the front three, and one of United’s best attacking players this season but they probably forced him to play, or pushed him to play when he’s not quite been 100 percent at times. Even then, he’s still one of the biggest threats going forward for Manchester United.
Where does Bruno Fernandes rank amongst the best players in the league?
The jury is still out for me on Bruno Fernandes in terms of him being one of the very top players in the League. He does something magical; he’ll spray a pass somewhere or score a decent goal, or a free kick, and then he’ll spend 10-15 minutes of the game giving the ball away really cheaply.
I’m not sure whether that’s just a form thing that he’s going through - or whether it’s actually him as a player. So, I’m reserving judgement at the moment whether he’s one of the best in the league – I think De Bruyne is right up there in the top three players in the league, I’m not sure Bruno gets into that top three.
I mean he’s scored plenty of goals again, a lot of penalties, but for me, when I’ve watched the games – he just gives the ball away a little bit too cheaply at times – when you really need him to hold the ball up or keep the ball.
Is Luke Shaw the best full back in the league?
You would have to say, as far as left backs go, that he’s definitely the best in the country. He’s had an unbelievable season - all credit to him as well, after he had a tough time under Mourinho who threw him under the bus with about his weight and his performances and said he couldn’t perform unless Mourinho was on the touch line telling him exactly what to do.
It seems quite funny that now Mourinho’s gone he’s playing the best football of his life, so I don’t know what Mourinho was telling him to do on the side-lines!
I’ve always liked Luke Shaw, I think he’s a fantastic player. When you look at attacking fullbacks, a lot of the time they are susceptible to a couple of defensive mistakes a game, and he doesn’t. He looks really defensively strong, makes the right decisions, gets forward, very rarely gives the ball away.
Who should start for United in between the sticks; Henderson or De Gea?
De Gea has been world class during his time at Old Trafford - he’s made a couple of high-profile blunders that have put him under a little bit of pressure but I still think he’s one of the best out there.
His distribution is decent, his shot stopping is world class – it’s just a tough time for him at the moment with Henderson coming through. Henderson is potentially a world class goalkeeper as well, and what you’ve got now is a difficult situation that Ole finds himself in.
He won’t want to stifle Henderson’s progression, but you don’t want to take away from what is one of the world’s best keepers in David De Gea. If they could find a decent number two to come in and get a decent price for David De Gea, it’s probably the time to let him go, and let him get back to Spain and fulfil a dream of going to play for one of the bigger clubs over in Spain.
Or you could keep them both for another season and just rotate the two of them and hope that it doesn’t stifle Henderson’s progression, and upset him a little bit. It’s a tough decision goalkeeper wise, but good to have two real, real goalkeepers at the club.
Do you think Jesse Lingard still has a future at Old Trafford?
Lingard can have a future at Old Trafford but that’s a conversation for Jesse Lingard and the manager. He’s shown at West Ham what a class player he is - he’s a forward running midfielder that can score goals and create goals – and you can never have enough of those in the squad, it just depends on how he feels his relationship with the manager is.
Manchester United will definitely bring in a couple of signings in the summer and how far down the pecking order will that put Jesse Lingard amongst the players that are already there, and the ones that come in. He’ll want to play regular football.
I know Jesse loves the club, I think he’s still well liked at the club, he’s still got class. And I just wonder at his age, whether it probably would be better for him, and his England chances, to go and play somewhere regular, and maybe it is time for him to move away.
United have been linked with centre back Raphael Varane. How important is it they address that position and sign him to play alongside Maguire?
The issue is that every team likes to play with a settled back four and goalkeeper and United haven’t always had that. I know Lindelof has played the majority of the season, we’ve just seen Bailly sign a new contract – he’s over his injuries and I like him as a player. If he can get a run of games, I think he’ll be a valuable centre back for the team.
Lindelof is a top draw centre half but is he world class? Tuanzebe plays a little bit but it would be good to get a world class centre half next to Maguire and have a regular partnership for him.
If they look outside of Bailly and Lindelof then they do need to go and get someone, and get someone quickly, and sort it out right at the end of the season so it’s all done and dusted, and there’s no drama about who’s coming in, and who’s not coming in.
Varane would be a good signing, but then again, Bailly coming back is also going to be a little bit like a new signing as well, because he’s been missing for so long. But they’ll need strength in depth there.
They’ve got Champions League, they’ve got Premier League, they’ll have a lot of games next season - so I’m guessing the strength of the squad will need to be improved, and he will be a great addition.
United have also been linked with Nikola Milenkovic. Would he be a better signing for them?
I don’t really know whether they need a young up and coming centre back, I think Manchester United need to bring someone in that can go straight into the team, that’s experienced, that can help the players in front of them.
They need someone that’s good at organising, that knows their role, and can help organise midfielders in front of them so that it becomes a defensive unit, rather than a back four. An experienced centre back on both sides would help the full backs as well. So, I would always go for experience in the centre back situation rather than a young lad.
Should Man United put all their eggs in one basket and go out to sign Harry Kane this summer?
Harry Kane is world class, and a superb player but would you buy Harry Kane, or do you try and go and get Haaland? My only concern with Harry Kane is injuries – I’m not too sure how much collateral damage he has on his body from the injuries that he’s already picked up.
He seems to miss little chunks of seasons - every season with ankles. He would slot into the United team fantastically well, he’s a world class player, sees things other players don’t. But then you’ve got Haaland, on the other hand, who’s young, fresh, fit, strong – it just depends on price and where these players would like to play their football.
I think United need to be seen as challengers for the title for both players to be interested in coming to the club, so it depends on if they can get a chat with the manager, and if he can sell the club to them and let them know they’re as ambitious as they are.
So, I’d love to see Harry Kane or Haaland at the club, I don’t know which one I would prefer - I think they’re both top drawer players and both really good to watch, but they do need to go and get one of them for sure.
How much of a sign of intent would it be for Man United to sign Erling Braut Haaland in the summer? Can they compete with the likes of Man City, Liverpool and Madrid for his signature?
Haaland is a Leeds fan so he could end up there! Manchester United do have the capacity to sign someone like Haaland. If Manchester United set their stall out at the end of this season and go and buy Sancho, and they go and buy Haaland or Harry Kane and say, “Right, now we are going to go and win the Premier League” I think it’s an exciting prospect for anybody coming.
If they sort of sit back and go, “Oh, we’re going to buy this player and this player, and get in the top four next season, then maybe the season after we’re going to challenge for the league”, then that won’t work. Players will only want to come to the club because they know you’re going to attempt to win things.
But it is difficult to compete with other teams because Liverpool and Man City have won the Premier League over the last couple of seasons, have played in the Champion’s League final, they’ve got two great managers, world class managers with history – they improve their players, they improve their teams. So, it depends on the conversations with the managers as much as the club badge.
Do you think United will pick up their pursuit of Jadon Sancho this summer?
Jadon Sancho would still be a great signing for the club. He’s got Champion’s League experience, he’s got great ability, he goes past people, which I think is what they need at United. Teams come and park the bus a little bit at Old Trafford and sit - to have someone that can do a trick and go passed someone and create a bit of space for others, and create chances to score goals, I think is paramount, and I think he would be a great addition.
If he’s going to be huge money, would I buy him to the detriment to having to buy a Harry Kane or a Haaland? Then maybe not, I might look elsewhere for someone a little bit cheaper with a little bit more youth on his side that United could mould and train a little bit. But certainly, if the money is there and they can buy him as well as other players that they need, I would love to see him at the club.
Should United look to reignite interest in Jack Grealish? Would he improve this United team?
Well, I’m a Villa fan, I absolutely love Jack Grealish – I think Jack Grealish is probably one of the best players in the league at the moment. And I would say - if I had a choice - I would go and sign Jack Grealish instead of Sancho – but that depends on the formation and how you’re going to fit Jack Grealish into the team.
Is Jack Grealish a wide player in a three? Is he a number 10? In which case you’re probably going to have to leave out Bruno for him, which I’m not sure the manager or the club will want to do.
But I absolutely love Jack Grealish, and I would love to see him at Manchester United, I think he would become an even better player, with even better players around him, and that consistency level in training.
I think John Terry has been amazing for him at Villa, setting standards in training, and in games for him. He’s grown this season so much as a player. As much as I’d hate to see him leave Villa - I think he’s ready for the next step.
How impressed have you been with Leeds this season?
I’ve been really impressed with Leeds United this season. I’m delighted for the club but gutted for the fans because they’ve not been able to get in the stadium and see what’s been going on live. They’ve been exciting, entertaining – energetic like you wouldn’t believe, I think their levels of fitness are incredible and I think it’s been a really successful season for them.
What do you expect from Leeds next season? Do they have the quality to compete with the Top Six?
If you’re a Leeds player or a Leeds fan, seeing the way this season has gone, it will probably be a goal to get into the top six, top eight next season. Second season syndrome is always a little bit more difficult, because teams have obviously worked you out, they know your strength, they know your weaknesses. So, it will be a test for them next season as far as coming up with something new that teams don’t really sort of get.
I’m expecting that they’ll buy a few players to strengthen, but they’ve also got to be careful that they don’t lose some of the better players. If they build on what they’ve done this year, then next year they would certainly be putting themselves up there with the likes of Leicester, West Ham and Everton. They’ve certainly got to look up there and think we can get top eight, if not top six with a few signings.
Can Leeds keep hold of their highly rated players – the likes of Raphinha and Kalvin Phillips – in the summer?
It depends on who’s interested in them as to whether Leeds can keep hold of their best talent. Raphinha has already been linked with Manchester United, Liverpool, Man City. And I think if a top six club come in, it would be very, very difficult to keep them, but anybody other than the top six - or even top four at the moment comes in, I don’t think there’s a bigger club they can be at. If Leeds can get fans back, I don’t think there’s a better atmosphere they can go and play in.
And with the way the team is growing and being shaped up - Leeds are on the ascendancy, so it would be a club to stay at for the next couple of years to see where they can take it. Whereas, when you go to a new club you’re always running the risk of whether you fit in, whether the team performs well. So, I think a lot of the players will stay because I think they do like the management, and they can see where Leeds are going, and what they’re building.
And like I say, the only way they would risk losing them is if you get a Man City, Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, if they start coming in then they might lose a couple.
How impressed have you been with Patrick Bamford this season?
Bamford has done superbly well, I think he took a little bit of stick last season and towards the start when at times he’s missed chances that you expect him to score. But I think he’s shown his value to the team. His work ethic off the ball, winning the ball back in hard positions, running endlessly and thanklessly into channels to give Leeds an out ball when they’re in defence and with their backs to the wall.
And he’s scored goals, he holds the ball up well, brings other people into play. He’s been fantastic, I also think he’s done a couple of great interviews after games to show his character, and I think he just seems a well-rounded lovely man. Credit him to his success, he keeps working hard, keeps believing in himself, and he’s getting the rewards at the moment, he’s been superb.
Is this the best chance that England have of winning the Euros?
We do seem to ask this question every two years – is it the best chance England will have to win an international competition? When you go into a competition you just hope that everybody goes into the competition fit – Jack Grealish I would like to see gain fitness over the next week or two, so that he gets to run a game before we go.
Every year we go into a competition, we take someone that’s half fit, we try and get them fit while we’re there, we’ve done it with Rooney, with David Beckham.
Let’s hope it’s not the same with Jack Grealish. We do have some phenomenal players in the squad at the moment, the likes of Sancho, Foden, Harry Kane, Sterling, all these wonderful attacking minded players.
And then we’ve got, Harry McGuire, Luke Shaw, John Stones, who has come really good this year defensively. So, we do have a great squad, I think we may lack a little bit of experience, but what we lack in experience I think we make up for in energy, quality, talent.
The manager’s doing a great job with the players and bringing the young lads through and giving the right mentality for these tournaments. So, we’ll see, but I certainly think it’s a great opportunity for everyone involved now.
With so much young talent in the squad and competition for places, is this a new ‘Golden Generation’ for England?
It’s a bit of a fresh and exciting outlook that we’re playing players that are so young. I think generally when you go to tournaments you’ve got players that are sort of mid to late 20s, and a couple of early 30s, so everyone’s a bit experienced, whereas these lads are, you have quite a few that are young 20s, 20 somethings.
It is a fresh outlook. When you’re watching them now there’s an energy about them that’s quite exciting to watch – and when that doubles up with the talent and ability these players have, you get a little bit excited for the competition.
And you just hope for good performances on the day, and you also hope that the general press doesn’t bring out some story to mix it up, and to create a bit of drama before we actually go to the tournament, like they like to do most years.
If Southgate fails to reach the later stages of the competition, is his job in jeopardy?
I don’t think Southgate’s job is in jeopardy if he doesn’t reach the final stages of the tournament. If he puts in some good performances and reaches the semi-finals, I think everyone will be bitterly disappointed not to get to the final, not to go all the way with the team that we’ve got, and the players we’ve got.
But I also think semi-final stages, I’m guessing, depending on how we’ve played to get there, and who we get beat by, and who else is in it – I would say that he’s building - he’s doing a good job.
I think he’s building a good squad; he’s building a good mentality – and I don’t think you should really look to change the manager after this tournament, I think you’ve got to give him at least another couple of years and get us to the World Cup and see what he does there, and then reassess.
But I think there’ll be disappointed people whatever happens, but I think if we reach the semis, or the finals then his job would be pretty safe.
How much of England’s success will rest on Harry Kane?
Harry Kane is the leader, I think it’s important that he keeps himself fit and we can get him in in the team, because I think on and off the pitch, he will lead the team. He reads the game really well and knows what the game needs at certain times in the match.
Sometimes you’re under the cosh, and he drops in and turns defence into attack, sometimes you’re on top and teams are defending – in numbers against you, and you need a little tap in, and you need a goal from nowhere. Harry Kane’s that sort of man that can score that tap in, that not too many can do.
He’s really valuable, experience wise and talent wise. He’s one of those captains on the pitch that will be vital to England’s success.
Does Phil Foden need to start for England?
Who am I to argue with Pep Guardiola? But I would love to see more of Phil Foden. I’d like to see him start regularly, I think when he does play, he’s exciting, he goes past people, his feet are unbelievable on the ball. He’s going to be a world beater, and I know Pep has nurtured him, nursed him – only played him in certain games and given him certain minutes.
But I think it is time for Phil Foden to be unleashed and play regularly, play from the start, play 90 minutes, and be given the responsibility. He’s still a young kid but, it’s time for him now to be given the responsibility that he needs to go out and win football matches for the team he’s playing for; I think he’s that good. And I’m sure Pep is ready to do the same, but I’d love to see more of Phil Foden.
General Premier League
Does Mikel Arteta have a future at Arsenal? Should he be sacked after results from this season?
If Arteta gets sacked, who do Arsenal bring in, and do they create better results? I’m not too sure. I think the Arsenal situation is not something that’s happened overnight, I think it’s happened since Arsene Wenger’s left - Manchester United have been through a similar thing since Alex Ferguson left.
They’ve just not got it right. The best thing to do would be to give Arteta time - I don’t know him personally, but I think his experience of working with Pep, I think the way he played the game - he’s a knowledgeable man, he’s an intellectual man, he’s a football man, and I give him a couple of quid to spend this summer, give him a couple of quid to spend in the January window, then give him another full season, see where he goes and reassess, but I think if you sack him now, you’re just back to square one – and you have the same process all over again, so I would give him a bit of time.
Who do you expect to win the Champions League Final; Chelsea or Man City?
I think the way Man City have been playing it would be hard not to back them but I’m going for a surprise Chelsea win. The job that Thomas Tuchel has done since he’s gone into Chelseas has been remarkable.
They very rarely leak goals, they are very sound defensively, high energy and again, another team with loads of talent going forward – Mason Mount springs to mind. So, I wouldn’t back against Chelsea pulling it off and just pipping Man City, although I do find it difficult to back against Man City - I’m going to go for a Chelsea surprise win in that one.
Can Chelsea challenge for the title next season?
Chelsea will be up there, whether they’ve got enough to challenge for the title, I certainly think they’ll upset a couple of the big teams along the way. Like I say, it’s hard to look passed City again for next season’s title at the moment the way they performed this season.
I think you’re going to have Man City, Liverpool are going to come back stronger again next season, Man United, Chelsea - I think that’s going to be the top four next season, and I don’t think the points difference between top and second, and third and fourth, will be as big this season. I’m not sure Chelsea have the firepower to actually challenge a City or a United, if you like, and get on the front foot. But I certainly think they’ll be comfortable top four placed next season.
Can Tottenham challenge again next season or are they a club in decline?
I think Tottenham might struggle next season. Look at managers around the world and think who are they going to replace Mourinho with – it’s a difficult one. It’s also looking like they could possibly lose Harry Kane and if he goes, are people like Dele Alli and Son going to be looking to move on as well.
If they start losing a couple of their big players, they’re looking at a new manager – it’s looking like a little bit of a rebuild at Tottenham and a reshaping. So, I would be very surprised if they challenge for the top four strongly next season.
Especially as you’ve got the likes of West Ham up there, who are going to strengthen and challenge Leicester, also Everton – it’s going to be a tough season for Tottenham next year.