Date: 15th May 2017 at 10:05am
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After an emotional farewell to our old ground, and a fantastic result which sees us cement our highest finish in my lifetime, we are very close to the end of this year’s edition of the Premier League.

Half of the teams only have one game left, and the other half of the teams will be playing any games in hand this week, ahead of Sunday’s Final Day special. In what has been an interesting season, there is unfortunately very little left to play for on the final day. Chelsea are already champions, we know which 3 teams are dropping down to the Championship, and realistically the only thing left to play for is 3rd and 4th place (and even then, all Liverpool have to do is beat an already relegated Middlesbrough to secure a top 4 finish, and City need 3 points from 2 games against Watford and WBA, neither of which have anything left to play for, to do the same).

Arsenal will surely have their sights set on the FA Cup final, and Man U will be focused on the Europa League final. Which begs the question: how do we approach the last 2 games?

Normally, teams are expected to play strong teams until the end of the season, as there is usually still lots to play for on the last day. Given how this season is unfolding, and the fact that we’ll be playing 2 teams (in Leicester and Hull) who have nothing left to play for, is there any point in playing strong teams?

From a team perspective, there are many good reasons to rotate extensively for the last 2 games. It would not only give lesser-used players a chance to start a Premier League game, hopefully improving their morale, it would also give MP an opportunity to see extended minutes from bench players in a game situation. I personally think that players like N’Koudou, which we still know little about, would benefit greatly from starting the last 2 games.

Finally, rotating the team now could possibly avoid late-season injuries to our star players, avoiding the risk of playing them in meaningless games when legs are tired. This being said, rotating extensively could have downsides too. Are we disrespecting the opponents by playing weakened teams against them? Are we disrespecting fans who have paid lots of money to see their favourite players on the pitch?

There is also the question of individual accolades. I’m sure Harry Kane still has his sights set on the Golden Boot. Would not playing him now, and/or playing a weakened team around him (with players less likely to create good chances for him) affect him? I personally think that some rotation is needed for the last 2 games, although not extensive rotation – max 3/4 changes to our best 11. I’d like to see Vorm, Wimmer, Sissoko, N’Koudou and Janssen start at least one of the 2 games left.

What are your thoughts?

 

31 Replies to “End Of Season Thoughts”

  • the season is over for us, another big improvement in our learning curve. The grand old lady has now gone for good we are wembley bound for a season or two…… keep the whole squad intact and get the two additions to make us better again next term. Onwards and Upwards COYS

  • Poch has named the young players he will give more game time to next season, why not start now ?

  • The only 2 I would like to see get some game time out of that list is Janssen and N’Koudou. However we cannot ignore the possibility of finishing on up to 86 points…. All of the first XI will want to play….especially whilst there is no major summer tournament…. There is plenty of time to rest. Kane will not want to give up a chance to score more. We also cannot ignore our opponents: Leicester are on a home winning streak, and play counter attack football. First and foremost we must line up intelligently for that opposition. After that, see if we can squeeze Janssen or N’Koudou in to start, or at least come on with 30 mins to go….. In the Hull game, I would definitely like to see Janssen start with Kane. As for Wimmer & Vorm, 2 games is not going to affect what happens next season one way or another.

  • Forgive Walker & play him for the next 2 games. We will only waste the money we get for him on another useless purchase like Sissoko. Never sell your best players ,especially to your rivals.Madness!

  • ghana,in the 3 years that Poch has graced our club with his presence.We have finished 5th,3rd & now 2nd. Despite spending far less than the big money clubs trailing in our wake.To moan that he hasn’t won a cup yet is ludicrous. If Levy loosened the purse strings to compete with the rest we would win everything with this man. If you want to moan ,moan at Joe Scrooge Lewis who has our finances in a stranglehold.

  • Wow Ghana, wow! That’s all I can say on your post. Poch out now! Let’s not wait a moment more, get a decent manager in who can win a trophy! Oh no, wait does that mean we go back to mid table obscurity but we won the FA or League Cup! Portsmouth anyone. I prefer to stick with a man like Poch who has my team fighting for the championship and putting my team in CL two year running. 3 of the best seasons in the last 10-20. COYS!!!

  • Since Abramovich took over Chelsea he has ploughed £ 1.03 billion of his own money into the club.They have bought success with Russian oil money.Trophies every season.Joe Lewis is the 6th richest man in the UK.How much of his own money has he put into Spurs? You tell me?

  • Ghana, you are allowed your opinion and some of what you say is valid but for me, it’s way to early to write off N’Koudou. We may now see him given proper showing in the remaining fixtures. I felt he added to the tiring legs y’day. I am sure Poch would’ve liked have rotated a lot more during the season, then may be ending up outside top-4. Won’t surprise me if his remit imposed a top-4 finish. When you are so close to the leaders, there just was not enough room to take risks. I am proud of the team for achieving the highest finish in PL, best point tally, best GD using a small core of players that are not only fully up with the philosophy but are maturing. COYS!

  • Greavesaboveall – And since they bought United the Glaziers have extracted £1bn, careful what you wish for.

  • This is the 1st time in several seasons that we have had continuity with players and coach, almost extending 3 seasons. The scouting department however is in a bit of a mess and that’s the only area I fear may let us down in finding suitable bolt-on acquisitions to kick on. Let’s hope that Levy and Poch have learnt to get the ins/outs done early this time round and please no more ‘a year or two adapt’ type of players.

  • The other issue I see is the Wembley hoodoo. Another adapting process which may curtail our progression.

  • jod,too right mate.The Glazers saw the earning potential of Man Utd .Bought the club with borrowed money knowing they could increase turnover & milk the club like a prize Jersey cow.Unfortunately Levy has not managed to match Utd’s collossal income. Hopefully with the best stadium in the country & with Poch managing us we will gradually become a club of their magnitude. Hope I live that long. Lol.

  • JVD, how very dare you. Now is too late, MP should of been sacked yesterday. I mean let’s think. 2nd place, 14 wins at home on trot. Unbeaten in every game at the lane. Fa cup semi. Youngest team in division … best defensive record. Oh 8 points higher than our highest tally with 2 games to go, 9 wins on the bounce. Cheek of the bloke he gave Toby Harry and jan injury breaks in the season. Seriously, he is working a great team. If walker wants gone let him go no player is bigger than the club end of. We can afford to replace him. But not lane Toby jan dele etc.

  • Ghana, it’s a combination of Poch’s high press game and the adapting to PL. There are enough examples in our recent recruitment to suggest some players taking too long to adapt. Soldado just couldn’t cut it, Lamela took 2 years, N’Jie is history, Fazio and Stambouli the others. Both Jannsen and N’Koudou have shown potential and for whatever reasons are not ready. Poch’s philosophy is clearly is more than what we see on the pitch. Harry Redknapps philosophy was arm around shoulder and run around a bit!. Poch puts a lots of emphasis on the personality, attitude and team work and what he sees in training to name a few. Either we are constantly buying duds or players just taking longer to adjust. To kick on after such a season must surely require the peripheral players to step up and newbies to be better identified. I have seen enough in Jannsen and N’Koudou suggest they could provide the depth. Philosophy can not be rigid, so Poch too must be flexible, thus have options for changing games.

  • The knock-out comps is an area that Poch needs to learn to deviate from his approach. A one off game can’t be bragged on about by highlighting possession, scores of shots stats, etc. Those game require a different approach, hence the like of Mourinho are masters in that field. Might not be pretty, but lifting a trophy helps negate the ‘boring’ tactics. Whilst FtF wants to see us play dazzlingly and win, sometimes the swash buckling style needs to be tempered. Poch is WIP but has earned his spurs. COYS!

  • …let’s not forget that Poch got us to 1 final, and a semi final in 3 seasons… With increasing points totals, increasing league positions… Trophy WILL happen. Having to play at Wembley next season may scupper league finish, and may cause us to chase cups more.

  • The areas to improve: lack of away wins. May have to gamble more away from home. Champions league approach – I think Poch learnt near the end that he did not have to play our 100% first eleven in every game and still win. We went on 9 game winning streak, completely without Rose, beginning without Kane, and missing Demebele, Wanyama, Walker at times. In a week with 1 CL and 1 EPL match, you should save 2 first teamers from starting both – UNLESS both games are toughies or key games. We need Eriksen to start from match one…. OR sign someone creative to alternate with him – especially at the season start. Need to get Janssen going – either as a goalscorer or as a hard working attacker who holds the ball up for others to score. If he doesn’t get scoring, then we need to get a kid with eye for goal and is an out and out striker (with patience) as back up. We need to get alternative CBs stepping up – is CCV ready? Will Wimmer remain? More pace – especially if we sell Walker… Will N’Koudou cut it…? If not, try someone else until we get it right. Dembele is our oldest outfield regular. Got to think about someone to take over long term.

  • Bit early to start talking about new recruits,but I will anyway. I like Llorrente or Joshua King as back up to Kane. I’m sure they would jump at the chance to play in the Champions League.Sahs is a loose cannon but has that special ability to upset the best defences that you need in the Champions League.Trippier is not fast enough to be our number one right back.Martial left him for dead yesterday for their goal.

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