The window hardly happened. So instead, the VAR score and what difference a manager makes



By Sir Hardly Anyone

Never has my name been more appropriate – remove my knighthood and the name rings true for who bought whom. in January.  And so with Hardly Anyone not moving anywhere at any price we are instantly into headlines such as

Come the summer, a striker is likely to top Arsenal’s wish list.   

One may well ask, does this ludicrous and inept guesswork never end?  And the answer is no.  It doesn’t because it doesn’t cost the media a penny to make up stories and run them over and over.  And over.

So instead for Arsenal we now have “Who they didn’t sell in January and might sell in the summer”   (Honest I am not making that up).   The tale from the Athletic is that Ramsdale was told he was not going to be sold, but that he along with Eddie Nketiah and Reiss Nelson will go in the summer, not because Arsenal need the money as such, but rather to balance the profit and sustainability requirements

So what else is there to talk about?  VAR has been an interesting topic and ESPN has kindly done a chart of the VAR winners and losers in terms of goals given and goals disallowed so far this season.  So yet another thing for Liverpool supporters to whinge about, although it might just be that they get goals disallowed because their players surround the referee so much that the officials are getting fed up with it.

  • Nottingham Forest +4
  • Fulham +3
  • Brentford +2
  • Manchester City +2
  • Chelsea +2
  • West Ham United +2
  • Newcastle United+1
  • AFC Bournemouth 0
  • Everton 0
  • Luton Town 0
  • Tottenham Hotspur0
  • Arsenal -1
  • Burnley -1
  • Sheffield United -1
  • Aston Villa -2
  • Brighton & Hove Albion -2
  • Crystal Palace -2
  • Manchester United -2
  • Wolverhampton Wanderers -2
  • Liverpool -3

But at least with the window shut we can also go back to Superleague, where the key clubs still involved have apparently demanded that Uefa not stop all anticompetitive behaviour – which is what the courts found them guilty of, in confirming that Uefa’s stance on Superleague was illegal.

Indeed given their pronouncements of late one would hardly know that both Uefa and Fifa have been found guilty in the European Court of Justice of breaking the anticompetitive behaviour laws.  

But as we noted in our earlier piece Barcelona, Everton, Manchester City: financial issues abound, but Barce is out on its own. Barcelona are the club in real trouble, and they desperately need Super League to help them survive.

Elsewhere, with hardly anyone going anywhere in the transfer window, there has been greater attention focussed on young players, and Football Observatory has done an analysis of youngsters who have played in one of the big five leagues before the age of 16.

We will probably all remember that in the Premier League the youngest player ever was Ethan Nwaneri of Arsenal who came on aged 15 and a half.

This review looks at the under 18s who have played in one of the five major football leagues in Europe and have found 402 of them in the 15 years from January 2009 to December 2023, and the numbers have been rising considerably of late (a consequence of club financial problems undoubtedly).

Players in the Arsenal squad who started playing professionally for a club in one of the big five leagues before the age of 18 are Kai Havertz who started playing at 17years 4 months with Bayer Leverkusen and Saliba at 17 years 6 months with St Etienne.  Martin Odegaard played for Real Madrid at 16 and a half.

Others who entered before their 18th birthday are Bakayo Saka, Serge Gnabry, Chuba Akpom, Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jack Wilshere who was actually 16 when he first played.

But for now one final thing is this sort of post-window round up before a new topic is found to get us all excited.   Patrick Vieira.

He was sacked by Crystal Palace on 17 March 2023.  Recently (so less than one year later) Palacial fans are once again up in arms and protesting like mad about their manager.   Roy Hodgson left Palace at the end of the 2021/2 season having taken them to 12th in the league.  He was praised, as I recall, for stabilising Palace in the Premier League.

Nine months later Partick Vieira was sacked with Palace… 12th in the league, although with a lower level of points per game.

Now 11 months after that, the Palacial fans are protesting because they are 14th in the league, although with a tiny fraction of more points per game than they got under Patrick.  If they keep changing managers eventually they might get one who will take them down.


Team P W D L F A GD Pts PPG
12 Crystal Palace end 2022 38 11 15 12 50 46 4 48 1.26
12 Crystal Palace 17/3/23 27 6 9 12 21 34 -13 27 1.00
14 Crystal Palace 2/2/24 22 6 6 10 25 36 -11 24 1.09


Patrick is now with Strasbourg who are exactly halfway down the French League.   It really makes one wonder if all this mucking around is worth it.

3 Replies to “The window hardly happened. So instead, the VAR score and what difference a manager makes”

  1. Interesting that media continuing with transfer “news” as if the window had not “slammed shut”.

    Also inventing anti-Arsenal themes, referring to historic transfers, former players, as “catastrophies”, “flops” and “mistakes”. Arsenal “missing out”, “failing” and “being snubbed” for not completing transfers which were only ever figments of journalists’ imagination, as well as failing to “unload” existing players.

  2. As I recall, Paddy V was was sacked after a run of games against top teams.
    Still think they should have waited for the subsequent set of fixtures that were eminently more winnable before pulling the trigger. Those games, after all, would have been a better gauge of whether he was improving them or not.

  3. Regarding Ramsdale , I wonder if as that Inaki Cana Pavon’s contract ends in June 24 he might just be hanging on in the hope that Raya’s mate might be going.
    Personally I still believe that Ramsdale is the better bet being 3 years younger and of equal ability to make saves and the occasional mistake.

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