Match Report

“O, woe is me T’ have seen what I have seen, see what I see!” This no doubt is what Shakespeare would have said after watching the game against Newcastle. And David Sullivan was spotted in a pub on Sunday saying, ‘Who will rid me of this clueless manager’.

I will be seventy next week. Even though one can be in perfect health, I can tell you that a realisation dawns on you that you are not quite as motivated as you once were and that you realise your ideas are beginning to be out of date. Pellegrini persist with the same system he has used for years. There is very little variation. It’s as if he is unable to put his brain in gear. He’s an old banger coming to the end of his useful life as a manager.

Mark Noble says that Pellegrini exudes an air of calmness. No wonder. If I was on £10 million a year and knew it made no difference if I got sacked, because this was my last job, I would be calm. Calmness is not what is required in the current situation.

I suggest Pellegrini take a leaf out of the rugby coaches’ book. They watch the game from the stands so that can get an overall view of the game. I am sure that one’s view if distorted if one stands on the sidelines at the same level as the players.

Let’s start with our bad luck. It was unfortunate we lost Fabulanski. Roberto is what he is – a reserve goalkeeper, desperately short of game time. We can’t blame him for the loss, as Newcastle could have had five in the first half. But he was definitely at fault for two goals and we know that a safe pair of hands gives an air of confidence to the players in front of him.

Last night I dreamt that David Sullivan contacted me and asked me to take over. First of all, I would most definitely concentrate of defence and play Balbuena, Diop and Ogbonna as the back three. This would allow our full backs to becoming really attacking. I would put Zabaleta out to pasture( you could see on Saturday he completely ran out of ideas when going forward) and ask Fredericks to start using his speed to get to the byline and cross the ball to Haller, who is getting no service at all.

I would build a statue for Mark Noble and replace him by playing Lanzini in a deeper roll. With a back three, he would have the confidence to roam forwards.
I would let Snodgrass go and canvass for Scottish Independence. He’s made a good effort this season but is too slow for the Premier League. And I would bring back Grady Diangana from West Brom.

I have never understood why Masuaku is a full back. He is a wasted talent. I would move him to midfield and encourage him to using his skills on the ball to penetrate defences.
Then, I would call the players in one by one and tell them their performance is no effing good. I would want them to be first of the ball from the first whistle. I would end the regime of calmness and institute one of terror, like an effective king. Let’s face it, we sometimes forget footballers are young men and young men respect discipline. You can’t run an army by exuding an air of calmness. Was Napoleon ever calm?

Then, I would wake up and realise none of this is going to happen. I have just consulted my crystal ball. We’re going to drop like a stone and spend the rest of the season fighting to avoid relegation. OK, we’re not the only one in trouble – Everton, Norwich, Watford and Southampton also have problems to name a few, but I want to leave the London Stadium knowing our players tried, even though they lost.