FOX Sports Radio 96.9 FM/1340 AM’s Dean Perretta was most recently interviewed by Egypt’s reputable mainstream media outlet Elmwatin to very candidly discuss the latest English Premier League trending topics and predictions for the current campaign.
In addition, Perretta spoke about the increased expectations for Liverpool this season, the uncertainty surrounding José Mourinho’s future at Manchester United, as well as English clubs underachieving in the UEFA Champions League in recent years, and the current form of Liverpool and Egypt superstar, Mohamed Salah.
Elmwatin sports journalist Mahmoud Afifi caught up with FOX Sports Radio 96.9 FM/1340 AM’s Dean Perretta to discuss the trending topics of the week.
Elmwatin: How do you see the competition in Premier league this season, and which team will be able to win the title?
Dean Perretta: When we talk about the level of performances, the divide between the top six clubs and the rest of the Premier League has become somewhat smaller in terms of incriments, notably on the field more so than financially. There have been a number of Premier League clubs this season, such as Watford and Wolves, who have displayed fearlessness against the bigger clubs.
Then, of course, in the mid and lower reaches of the Premier League, there are clubs such as Leicester City, Burnley, and even Brighton and Hove Albion, who have got positive results and surprised certain teams also.
Let’s not forget that Bournemouth are also currently sixth in the Premier League under Eddie Howe, so that’s credit to him and the players for their positive start. The Premier League is most unpredictable with regards to results. On paper, it’s always easier to call, but not throughout 90 minutes.
More importantly, as far as the Premier League title is concerned, it is a case of so far, so good for Manchester City thus far. It’s been business as usual. However, as you mentioned: Can City retain the title? At this point, yes. They are presently the best team in the land and Liverpool and Chelsea, for instance, at this particular stage will at least want to remain level, neck and neck, until January before they can both address an important strategy and find the final pieces of the puzzle to potentially dethrone the reigning champions Manchester City.
Elmwatin: Why can’t most Premier League clubs win the UEFA champions league or even move forward to the final stages?
Dean Perretta: In the last ten years, the last English club to emerge as champions in the UEFA Champions League was Chelsea back in 2012 and, of course, prior to that Manchester United under Sir Alex Ferguson in 2008. Nine years prior (to United’s 2008 UEFA Champions League triumph), let’s not forget, United won the UEFA Champions League in their treble winning season in 1999.
However, since 2012, the discussion of the winter break, or lack thereof, has been a very legitimate cause for concern for English club’s lack of progression in the competition (UEFA Champions League), as well as an excuse, to be honest.
With that being said, the much-needed winter break, which will be implemented in England next season, will hopefully have a more positive effect on English clubs advancing further and succeeding in Europe, especially in the UEFA Champions League.
Ultimately, there will then be greater parity to a certain degree, whilst also enabling England’s national team players to not experience burnout or fatigue, which has so often been the case of their underachievement historically if we are to dissect the past decade or so. Overall, It’s a win-win situation for all involved. Last season, Liverpool came so close (to winning the UEFA Champions League), but quite frankly, it was a night they’d rather forget and learn from moving forward.
Elmwatin: Many people believe that Liverpool will be Manchester City’s first competitor for the trophy this season, do you see that and why?
Dean Perretta: Liverpool, of course, were unfairly chastised for their perceived hypocrisy in relation to their transfer policy in the summer. The Reds correctly addressed their needs in certain areas to improve, and with their financial freedom and overspending comes a distinct expectation for winning trophies – something which Klopp has not delivered as of yet unfortunately at Anfield.
The question now is – Can Liverpool win their first league title since 1990? Yes and no. If the Reds big three up top (Mohamed Salah, Robert Firmino, Sadio Mane) have a greater surge in current form, there is no reason why they can’t (win the Premier League).
As mentioned already, City are unequivocally the team to beat, no question about it. Elsewhere, Chelsea under Mauricio Sarri have been more rejuvenated after last season’s relative underachievement under Antonio Conte. The Blues cannot be underestimated by either Manchester City nor Liverpool. It could be a fascinating three horse race which could go potentially down to the wire depending on the form and fitness of players.
Elmwatin: José Mourinho is about to get sacked by Manchester United according to many reports, so do you believe that he deserves it and if yes, who will be the best coach for the Red Devils?
Dean Perretta: In the modern game, player power reigns supreme – even over manager’s authority. This has been illustrated with the ongoing toxicity of the Pogba-Mourinho saga, which has essentially ruined United’s season so far, as well as the fact that Mourinho was not provided with sufficient funds from the board at United to buy a true top class defender. Invariably, if a team wins, nine times out of ten, it’s generally credited to the players hard-work and class. Conversely, if the team loses, the manager “doesn’t know what he is doing” and fan’s immediately want him out of the door, no questions asked.
It appears to me that we now live in a society which has a highly abbreviated sense of patience and attention span. Die-hard United fans, particularly from the Greater Manchester area, have grave reservations with Ed Woodward and have supported Mourinho during this unsteady period, but I personally feel Mourinho’s now walking on a tight rope – even when he leads his team to a win.
At this particular juncture, It is almost as if the mainstream media and, even rival clubs, are praying each night on his (Mourinho’s) downfall. Any potential cancellation of Mourinho’s contract would be costly, especially financially, as the Portguese alluded to.
If United do bite the bullet, they need to find somebody who can bring continuity and galvanization to Old Trafford – something which has been largely lacking in recent years. Zizou (Zinedine Zidane) is a smart man for publicly expressing disinterest in the United job, or could this be a smoke screen? Juventus are also interested in (Zinedine) Zidane, whereas Nuno Espirito Santo has also been added to the ever-growing list of candidates to potentially replace the under fire Mourinho.
In my opinion, Nuno’s best bet would be to remain with Wolves and resist all temptation of joining the global brand – and cauldron – that is currently reaching boiling point at Manchester United.
Elmwatin: Mohamed Salah isn’t in the same status that he used to be with liverpool last season, in your opinion what happened to him and will the Egyptian star be considered as a one season wonder?
Dean Perretta: Mohamed Salah’s well-documented injury in the 2018 UEFA Champions League has been cited as a reason for perceived so-so form this season, as well as a lack of rest post-FIFA World Cup Russia 2018. Statistically, the Egyptian’s first seven Premier League games of the 2017/2018 are not radically different in comparison to his first seven Premier League games of this season when compared. However, having scored 44 goals last season, Salah is now expected to replicate that very same form (this season).
Jurgen Klopp has positively spoken of Salah’s magnificent first season at Anfield and how it would be a hard task to recreate (this season). By all intents and purposes, it would be severely foolish to write-off or underestimate a player of Salah’s class and ability. Unmistakably, he is an exceptional trainer and professional, whereas his involvement and influence in games is still heard even when he is not scoring or making a decisive assist.
At Liverpool this season, the midfielders have actually been more impressive than the front line in fairness. In certain respects, a similar question has been posed about Tottenham Hotspur’s striker, Harry Kane. With both Salah and Kane, scoring goals is the only remedy to rectify this negativity and uproar which is circulating. All great goal scorers experience droughts and slight dips in form in their career. Salah is by no means any different. He is not a one season wonder nor is he bullet proof.
However, if Salah potentially scored less goals (this season) than he did last season, yet Liverpool potentially win the league title or even the UEFA Champions League, then the narrative would be somewhat different in hindsight. Last season, it was well-documented that there was way too much pressure and reliance on Salah at times. This time around, the pressure has been somewhat alleviated, but the chase is ultimately on both domestically and in Europe.
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