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Teams like Tottenham and Everton need to use this weekend to show they are in the title race.
Because if Manchester City can get beat letting five goals in and Liverpool can get beat letting in seven, the door is open this season.
The fear factor with those teams is gone. I think it’s down to having no fans in the stadiums because all the top six clubs have lost already this season.
I think having no crowd is really kicking in now. I think it’s affecting players and teams and performances.
It’s going to keep on doing that too so there are going to be a lot more shocks.
Once you get into a rough patch in a game, it can be hard to get out because the fans aren’t there to pick you up and energise you.
The top clubs are feeling it.
But it just shows that if you start well and you have the belief, you could be right in there with them at the end of the season.
Gareth Bale coming in for Spurs could be a game-changer because I can see him, Harry Kane and Heung-min Son scoring 50-odd goals between them.
Bale could play his first game back for them against West Ham and you just know he is going to be desperate to turn it on.
Don’t discount Everton either though. If they beat Liverpool this weekend for the first time in forever, they will believe they can do something special.
Everton are flying. They still need to prove they’re the real deal. But what better way to do that than by beating Liverpool?
That would be massive for them. It would be huge mentally. It would show they have what it takes to be contenders.
And if they can stay in the race by January, they have the money to go again in the transfer market as well.
The league is as open as ever before and Everton are taking advantage.
Carlo Ancelotti is not there for a holiday. He wants to win. Why shouldn’t he be ambitious?
Before, I would have said Everton would take a draw in this game. I’m not sure about that now. They have threats all over the team now.
James Rodriguez can unlock a defence. Dominic Calvert-Lewin is absolutely on fire. Richarlison can cause you problems. They are dangerous.
Everton will definitely be thinking they can get in the top four this season. They just need to be consistent.
Not having Alisson is a big, big miss for Liverpool too. Jack Grealish breezed through and dinked it over Adrian when Aston Villa thrashed them.
That doesn’t happen if Alisson is in goal.
Over the course of a season a top goalkeeper saves you points. Alisson probably saves them eight or ten points over a season.
Liverpool have got to get through this period without him. Top teams bounce back from a result like that. But it’s an opportunity for Everton and they need to take it.
Are they a flash in the pan or are they in it for the long haul? We’re about to find out.
Centre-back is the problem for England
England will not win a major tournament while there’s such a shortage of top class centre backs in this country.
I don’t want to have a go at Harry Maguire because he’s having a hard time right now and some players cope better than others.
I had all the problems in the world when I was a player. When I was on that pitch they all disappeared. But some people take that stuff on the pitch with them.
This is bigger than Harry Maguire anyway. Kyle Walker is a full back. He’s lightning quick but he switches off when he plays centre back.
Eric Dier is a midfielder. He just doesn’t look as secure as a centre back. John Stones must be thinking: “Where’s my career gone?”
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Conor Coady has probably been the pick of the bunch lately. But Tyrone Mings is not ready. Defensively we are just not good enough.
We’re not blessed with world class centre backs like we were when Rio Ferdinand, John Terry, Sol Campbell and Ledley King were around.
Now, it’s our Achilles heel. And it might be time for Gareth Southgate to try something different there. Maybe give Declan Rice a go?
- Tottenham Hotspur FC
- Everton FC
- Premier League
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