Bruno Guimaraes is delighted to be a footballer but he wants to be “here with these guys; these guys make me happy”. He’s proud and everything in his life has become like a dream and doesn’t have the words to describe it, so thanks his family and announces that his son is called Matteo. “An unbelievable character, player,” says Callum Wilson of “an emotional guy”. He also notes that by this time this season, Newcastle hadn’t won, so they’re not getting carried away, but things are slowly coming together. He didn’t expect his goal to be disallowed because Lloris ran into him, and finds that VAR gets in the way, saying it’s weird to celebrate, stop, then celebrate again. Asked about England, he’d like to force his way into the World Cup squad – he’s trying to score more goals and improve his all-round game – and saw the stadia going in Qatar when there rehabbing his knee. He said he’d be back, and though I’d be surprised, he’s a good player.
“When Everton hired Frank Lampard,” returns Eric Peterson, “he brought with him two major concerns based on his prior stops in Chelsea and Derby: his man-management skills and his tactical nous. Re the former, I give him full marks: the way that Everton have competed through the homestretch of last year’s survival battle and the early stages of this season bear this out, along with individual cases like the development of Anthony Gordon and the renaissance of Alex Iwobi. Now, as far as tactics, that’s actually a concern. I personally love the 4-3-3 that Lampard has stuck with but also recognise that it’s inherently flawed unless your midfield is anything less than outstanding (we’re seeing that on a weekly basis with Spurs, including right now). I’m not sure we have what it takes yet to use it full-time, although it’s certainly way stronger than it has been in recent years, and I trust Lampard to know how to coach up a midfielder. I’d like to see a little more pragmatism when the occasion calls for something narrower and thus, maybe, easier to connect defence to offence (say 4-2-3-1, especially now that we have Dominic Calvert-Lewin healthy and showing some good form!)”Lampard is one of those players I thought might be a good manager: he’s a bright bloke and had to think hard about how to make the most of his ability. I’ve yet to see a team managed by him look like they’ve a proper plan, but he’s learning on the job, so if he’s honest about his failings, he’s got time to get good. I don’t think he is yet, though.
90+3 min “I don’t support either of these teams but time wasting really gets on my nerves,” says Sam Campbell. “any idea why referee’s have stopped making players go off at the nearest point when they are substituted? Seemed to last about half a season before being scrapped.”I saw it happen at Stamford Bridge yesterday, so it’s not gone altogether, but I agree it’s not uniformly observed. But with apologies for going on, if we standardised and displayed timekeeping, it’d still matter a bit because it’s a way of halting momentum, but it’d also matter a lot less.
79 min “I think Newcastle have to be considered a top-four contender along with the teams above them in the table at the moment,” emails Rick Harris. “I wouldn’t write off Liverpool so that makes City, Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs, United and Newcastle fighting for four Champions League places. I think we can safely say City will be in the top four so that means six clubs are fighting for three places.”If Newcastle can get Isak fit, they’ve got a chance, but think it’ll be a step too far for them this season. My best guess is City, Arsenal, Chelsea, United, but I’d be at all surprised to be wrong.
64 min “Nonsense,” says Brendan Murphy about my Lampard observation. “I don’t know what it is with you guys and Lampard. He kept Everton up last season and they’re improving this season. He’s steadied what was a very turbulent club, made them solid at the back, converted Iwobi into a decent central-midfielder and they’re very well organised. Obviously he’s from the entitled golden generation and he’s part of the unsavoury Redknapp clan, but if you can just set your understandable prejudices to one side and take look at what he’s actually done to a club that was in uproar by the end of Benitez’s reign, you should be able to see that there’s been substantial progress.”I’ve no prejudices against Lampard, I’ve just not seen much that makes me think he’s a good manager. Crediting him with keeping Everton up, when he was part of getting them into relegation trouble to begin with, is a reach, I think. And, though I agree he’s done a great job with Iwobi and got the fans on-side, I’ll need to see a lot more before thinking he’s going to take them anywhere.
51 min “There’s been quite a bit of positive comment about the style that Newcastle play with now, especially in contrast with the pretty dull approach taken by Benitez and Bruce. But what is perhaps most impressive from the coaching side is how defensively good they are, and what good signings they seem to have made. While Bournemouth always played an attractive style of football under Howe they were consistently poor defensively (so had to take an approach of trying to score lots rather than keep the score against them down). And very few of Howe’s signings after Bournemouth’s promotion made a great impact at the club, they were mainly relying on the players that got them up. He’s obviously gone away after he left them and worked on his weaknesses. Perhaps that’s not a great surprise, it’s his profession and vocation after all. But there does seem to be a presumption that managers can only ever be one thing, that they can’t really develop or change the way they tend to set up a team. Yet we think that players can improve and change, so why not managers too?”I agree. I find his press-conference belligerence, when asked about the provenance of his club’s money and improvement, distasteful in the extreme. but he’s done and is doing a terrific job.
47 min “Greetings from Pittsburgh!” begins Eric Peterson. “I’m an Evertonian with a family full of Fulham supporters and a best friend who hails from Bradford. Our circle is enjoying a quirky taste of schadenfreude right now thanks to the Cottagers, with their win over Aston Villa resulting in the sacking of a Liverpool legend and their win over Leeds maybe pushing their manager to the brink. I wondered about Fulham’s chances for a hat-trick of post-match sackings, checked their fixtures, and saw that … uh-oh … their next game is against Everton. Be careful what you wish for.”I think Marsch and Lampard are safe for now, but yup, both would be among my favourites not to start next season.