Wrong Decision, Right Decision, Unanimous Decision

By essentially fielding his reserves against Manchester United, Mick McCarthy made the wrong decision on many levels. For one, with United suffering from a depleted back four, Wolves could have battled to a draw and gotten a morale boosting result. Instead, McCarthy gifted three points to Manchester United. When Wenger was asked about this, he honestly said that it simply means that we compete with Manchester United over 37 games instead of 38. Many pundits criticized Mick McCarthy as well. In response, McCarthy claimed that he had more integrity in his finger than the people who criticized him did.

By winning against Burnley, he probably feels that he was vindicated. It doesn’t vindicate anything. The fact remains that Burnley had one less day of rest and is poor on the road. Had Wolves fielded a full strength side against Manchester United, odds were still decent that they would have gotten three points against Burnley. So, that’s no justification for devaluing the Premier League.

Now, I know what people say, people field their reserves from time to time. Teams that win the Premier League with games to spare do this occasionally. The difference between those instances and what Wolves did is that it was highly selective. If they were not playing Manchester United or perhaps another Big Four side, Mick McCarthy would not have fielded his reserves. He was choosing to essentially forfeit based on the side he was up against. When Manchester United fielded their reserves in the last game of last year, they did it blindly. They would have fielded the reserves regardless of who they would have played. That kind of selective decision is dangerous, and it can possibly impact the league.

Of course, Wenger was told to mind his own business. Gary Neville said Wenger should mind his own business; considering that Manchester United were the team that solely benefited from this, he should shut his mouth. People have cited our final fixture against Olympiakos as an example of doing the exact same thing. The difference is massive however. First, it only involves four teams. Second, all the teams had control of their own destiny both because of the small number of games and because they all played one another twice. Third, Arsenal were going to finish on top regardless and thus were not throwing away points which is what Wolves were essentially doing. When we rotate players, it’s always done with the intention that we’ll try to win the game, Wolves did not do that.

Mick McCarthy was wrong to do what he did, but what does he care? He thinks he made the right choice. And making such a ridiculous choice and subsequently taking the heavy criticism pretty much ensures that no other team will do this again anytime soon.

Sacking Mark Hughes was the right decision by Manchester City. Some claim that it came too soon, but Hughes had 18 months to make an imprint. Manchester City has no identity as a footballing team. After 18 months, they’re worse off than they were when managed by Sven. He brought in expensive talent, and they’ve largely failed to perform for him. He didn’t get his first choice transfer targets in Kaka, John Terry, and David Villa, but he could have easily molded a team to challenge the Big Four. Instead, he bought poorly and his team can’t defend.

The outrage from the British media is farcical. They mourn the loss of another British manager, and call Manchester City the new Real Madrid. Give me a break. They’ve been patient enough with Hughes and they seem committed to winning. Roberto Mancini has been disregarded as some kind of minor manager, but he’s won three Serie A titles and done well with Lazio as well. His teams play better football than Mark Hughes’s teams do.

Did the sacking come too early? I think giving Mancini the opportunity to shop in January is more meaningful than allowing Hughes to attempt to win the Carling Cup.

Mark Hughes was an overrated sack of shit who is more of a firefighter than an architect. Sacking him was absolutely the right decision.

Barcelona have won every competition they were involved in this year. They are the undisputed best team in the world. For this year. They deserve all their plaudits and are going to give it a good go this year. In my book, Pep Guardiola can come manage Arsenal when Wenger retires. In fifty years.

That being said, I’d like to think the Invincibles could give them a good run. Boy, that would be some match for football fans.

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