Bobby Zamora thinks Man City are ‘crying out for Haaland’, analyses where Liverpool went wrong, gives Arsenal v Spurs prediction
We spoke with former Premier League striker Bobby Zamora ahead of Southampton v Brighton this weekend.
The England international gave us his thoughts what Man City need, who he things will win the north London derby and whether Brighton will avoid relegation.
Keep an eye on our social channels to see his Southampton v Brighton 5-A-Side team selection.
Man City are crying out for Haaland
I’m sure we’re all thinking the same thing when it comes to Erling Haaland; I just really hope he comes to the Premier League next season, I really do. The interesting thing will be how much money teams will have to spend given the current climate with the pandemic.
Revenue has been awful all year so how can a team turn around and go and spend all that money on a player like Haaland? It doesn’t make sense so I imagine that Financial Fair Play rule is going to go out of the window for a year or two.
Realistically, do I see Haaland coming to the Premier League this summer? I think ultimately it depends on the Champions League and how Dortmund get on, really. He’s such a good player that it would be hard for Dortmund to keep hold of him if they’re not in the Champions League next year – and luckily for a lot of teams they are having a bit of a blip in the Bundesliga. Every team would want him; it’s going to be some battle for his signature.
If he was in that Brighton team they’d be in a completely different place! They get into so many great goal-scoring positions and create so many chances, he’d have them right up there in the table on his own. But realistically he’s going to be so expensive, it limits things to probably only a handful of clubs that could actually afford him.
But Man City are crying out for a big-name striker who is going to come in and produce a world class return in terms of goals and I think Haaland is exactly that.
I saw something earlier this week that Pep Guardiola and Sergio Aguero are going to talk about his future at the end of the season. I don’t think that’s right. They must know where they stand on that front already because no one leaves Aguero available on a free.
If he doesn’t stick around then that obviously paves a way for Haaland. Again, they create a lot of chances; they’re good on the counter-attack. He’s got that ability to run in behind and drive with the ball.
Man City can learn from Liverpool’s mistake
I’d still like to see one massive name in central-midfield for Manchester City – if they’re short in any position it’s there. But they don’t really play with central midfielders these days – they’ve always got full-backs slotting in there throughout games and running the show.
It’s a funny one because if they go and win the Champions League and the Premier League you might argue that they clearly don’t need to spend big on a striker. But it’s all about progression, evolution and developing your squad constantly.
I think what’s happened at Liverpool is a good example of what happens if you don’t improve and strengthen while you’re on a high. They’ve brought a couple of names in but Virgil van Dijk got injured and you can’t say they’ve really strengthened – particularly in that area of the field – since winning the Champions League and the Premier League.
So maybe that’s a lesson in itself that other big clubs should learn from. Even when you’re on top, there’s another level you should be striving to reach to push the current squad.
It’s really not been a good year for Liverpool. I feel like it’s something I keep going back to, but again it comes down to that changing room. It’s remarkable, because it’s the same group of players who won the league last season that are struggling this time out.
When you’re on a winning run, your mindset is so, so different. You’ll turn up thinking you can beat anybody. But when you’re in a bad place as a team, you’ll turn up against anybody and get absolutely popped to pieces, and they’re just in that bad place at the moment. It’s so rare for them as well that they’ve lost even two games on the bounce over the past few years.
Liverpool players are looking at each other and you can almost see a little bit of the blame game going during matches. Heads are down and arms are raised; it’s just that mental place they’re in right now. And you wonder how it can happen to a team like that, but it’s sometimes a case of not being able to put your finger on one particular thing.
They’re missing vital, key players but they should have enough about them to not go on this horrible run at Anfield so it’s more than just a squad that happen to be missing a couple of key players – you can see it’s a mental thing. I don’t see them challenging for the Champions League either, so it’s not like that might be their saving grace this season.
For me, I don’t think I’d have played Jordan Henderson at the back. I think he was too good in midfield for Liverpool; I think he gave them to much so he’s just been wasted this season in defence.
Spurs win the north London derby 2-1
I think I’m going to go with Spurs to win this one. Arsenal have picked things up a little bit to their credit but they still have that tendency to go through little blips throughout the season, as we’ve already seen a few times this year.
Arsenal were unlucky last weekend but all credit to Burnley – I thought they defended really well and could have won it themselves to be fair to them.
I’m going with a 2-1 win for Spurs this weekend.
As far as Arsenal’s weaknesses go, it’s got to be that back four for me. I think that whoever is going to start at the back for Arsenal this weekend, they’ve got a tendency to always try and win the ball, and in doing so they become a bit too rash.
Whether it’s David Luiz or Gabriel, or whoever else might play – you never feel like they’re in complete control. You don’t have to win every single ball. It really frustrates me when I see defenders to that. It’s so stupid. The likes of Harry Kane, Gareth Bale and Heung-min Son will undoubtedly exploit that and we know they’re so deadly in front of goal.
Spurs’ defence worries me
Both Arsenal and Tottenham will be disappointed with where they are in the league this year, and it looks like Arsenal are more focused on the Europa League; I don’t think they’re too fussed about their position in the Premier League now.
Spurs still have a chance of getting into that top four and under Jose Mourinho they’re always going to have a chance of getting in there. Things seem to have turned a corner for Spurs though, they’ve had Harry Kane and Heung-min Son fit and firing all season but now Gareth Bale is rediscovering some form – so for the rest of the team it’s about just getting the ball to those three as much as possible.
Spurs’ defence still worries me. I don’t think the back four ever looks solid, and not only that but I don’t even think you could look at that team and guess who is going to be playing where for them. I think Mourinho is unsure of them and I wouldn’t be surprised if he improves that area in the summer.
I look at that Spurs defence and I think they’re always likely to give opponents chances. If I was playing I’d be thinking Davinson Sanchez is always likely to give me an opportunity. Serge Aurier looks like he’s always going to give away a penalty. I don’t think Eric Dier has had a fantastic season.
None of the back four have been consistent enough so for me this summer is all about going out and getting a couple of defenders in who are going to come and do a job week-in, week-out.
Mourinho has been right to leave Bale out
We don’t know how Gareth Bale has looked behind the scenes for the majority of the season, but it looks as though Mourinho has just been biding his time and waiting for him to get back to full match fitness before playing him regularly. Just because you’re Gareth Bale doesn’t mean you’re going to walk straight into the starting XI, especially under a manager like Jose Mourinho.
There’s only a handful of managers who would be able to make a decision like that about such a big name. He’s been under a lot of pressure this season from the owners undoubtedly, but also from the fans.
Everyone rightly expected Bale to be a regular pretty much from the offset so there were questions from the supporters and the media as to why he wasn’t playing. But Mourinho is one of the only managers who has the credentials and the trophy cabinet to say “shut up; I’m the manager and I’ll do what I want”, so fair play to him. I’m a big fan of Mourinho.
Every training session your distance is covered, your heart rate is covered, they’ll know exactly how fit he’s been and if he’s not been hitting the numbers, Mourinho has been right to leave him out of the side.
Newcastle will go down with West Brom & Sheff Utd
Down the bottom of the Premier League, it comes down to mindset in these relegation scraps. I think Fulham have turned a corner and that’s down to Scotty Parker drilling it into his players and giving them the belief that they can pull themselves to safety.
For all of the teams down there, you’ve got to question the togetherness of the changing rooms. Fulham definitely have it, but I don’t think Newcastle do.
Newcastle are in a bad place; from the manager, to the players, to the owners, to the fans – they’re in a real bad place.
Brighton have played some really good football all season and they’ve created so many good opportunities in pretty much every game they’ve played. They’re just lacking in that final third.
For me I was thinking at first it was just a little bit of bad luck. I thought it just wasn’t happening for them but fancied them to turn a corner. But looking at it now, it comes down to the quality of player. Brighton are just missing that extra bit of quality in the final third at the moment. Neal Maupay has done fantastic but I feel like they just need one or two more players of a similar ilk to him and the entire course of their season would be different.
I think Brighton have enough to stay up though; if they stick to what they’re doing at the moment the goals have to naturally follow. Once they get that win under their belt, and follow it up with another, they’ll be flying. But at the moment it’s just about scrapping to get a result from someone. The late goal to lose to Leicester was a real kick in the teeth for them because while it wouldn’t have been a win, they were on for a great point against a tough Leicester side and in the end they left the game with nothing.
I think Fulham have enough to get themselves out of the bottom three, and I think Newcastle will drop into it. There are too many things affecting the whole atmosphere at the club right now. I’ve been in relegation scraps with West ham and QPR and the one at West Ham, we were a very good team.
Results just weren’t going our way for the majority of the season. But at the back end of that season we had a crazy run and it was all down to the atmosphere in the dressing room and that togetherness. I don’t see that at Newcastle. There just seems to be too many issues up there for me.
Lamptey should stay with Brighton for the time being
At 20 years of age, Tariq Lamptey just has to be playing as much football as he possibly can, and I think Brighton is a great platform for him for the time being. He’s been massively missed this season on that right-hand side, and I know he’s been linked with Arsenal and even Bayern Munich in the last few weeks. But for me, he needs to be playing regularly, and I don’t think that would be the case if he was to join one of those bigger sides right now.
I look at the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, for instance. At Chelsea he played a few games and scored a few goals and there was so much hype about him but nothing really happened. But he’s now been given an opportunity with Fulham where he’s playing week-in, week-out and it’s only making him a better player.
For me I’d say stay at Brighton, you’re loved, you’re thought highly of and the manager clearly wants you to play a key role. Just keep plugging away and your big move will come but there’s no rush, and at 20 years of age you’re lucky to be playing in the Premier League.
For me, it’s that consistency all across the park which has helped West Ham get to where they are this season. That back four have been so, so solid. Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek playing in front of that back four are proper workhorses and then you’ve got Michail Antonio who is just so unpredictable which means he’s a nightmare for defenders because you just don’t know what he’s going to do.
Then they’ve added in a little bit of quality out wide with Jarrod Bowen who always works his socks off. Pablo Fornals and Said Benrahma have both impressed me this season, and then you’ve got the arrival of Jesse Lingard as well. There’s a solid base of players there who will work hard for each other and create chances.
Hats off to David Moyes. I’m very close to Mark Noble and when Moyes got sacked the first time, the lads were gutted for him because they really liked him. There were problems with fans, the new stadium, the owners, everything; it was a horrible place for a while – it was toxic. But the players liked Moyes so when he came back in I know that the players were very pleased.
I remember back at the start of the season Noble obviously caused a bit of uproar on social media with his take on the club selling Grady Diangana to West Brom. Speaking to him he said Grady was an incredibly talented player. He said he came in during pre-season, performed unbelievably well and everyone was shocked at how good he was. He said it was like a £20m player had just walked into the changing room which gave the lads a massive lift. So to see him leave was a bit of a shock to the whole team I think. I think Noble just wanted to voice his opinion, so fair play to him for doing that.
Top Four predictions
I think Man City win it, obviously, then it’s going to be Man United in second place, followed by Chelsea and I think Leicester finish fourth.
West Ham will get a Europa League place and Spurs will finish sixth.