It’s never easy to ruffle the feathers of cold turkey, but Robbie Savage turned it into a fine art with his half-term report and Premier League team of the season to date.
Tottenham and Liverpool fans were upset none of their players made Mirror Sport pundit Savage’s composite XI, and Arsenal fans seemed especially peeved with his remark about the “same old, same old” Gunners.
In our weekly dip into his online postbag, Savage responds to the critics in his inimitable style…
@arunspurs: Tottenham are 4 points ahead of the same round of fixtures compared to last season. And put the injuries they have suffered this season compared to last year – Spurs lost Kane, Toby, Dembele, Lamela to many number of games. Those four have hardly played 90 minutes together this season. But hey ho, Mr Savage thinks Spurs are going backwards when reality is they are coming into form and fitness at the right time.
SAV SAYS: “In terms of pure statistics, you make a fair point. But last season, most of the big guns – Chelsea, United, City, Liverpool – were asleep at the wheel, and they have woken up this season. At the halfway stage last year, Tottenham were third in the table, four points behind the leaders – but the current gap to Chelsea is wider and Spurs are currently fifth. By my reckoning, going from third to fifth is going backwards. Sorry if you don’t like it.”
@farukumaraminu: D for #ManUnited is a little harsh
SAV SAYS: “Why is it a harsh mark? Here we are, on the brink of the New Year, and Manchester United are sixth in the table and to all intents they are out of the title race. Yes, they are improving, and I can see Jose Mourinho finishing in the top four, which would be a recovery of sorts after United’s poor results in early autumn. But I tipped them to win the title and they are miles off the pace. Look at Chelsea, and how quickly they have turned it around this season. You say my grade is harsh – I say it’s fair.”
@SimonJHadley: #lcfc D- ? Jog on Sav – it ain’t great, but D- ?
SAV SAYS: “Hang on a minute, Simon – the champions are bang in the thick of a relegation battle, and you reckon D- is not fair? Leicester are one point above the drop zone, the Player of the Year (Riyad Mahrez) was on the bench against Everton on Boxing Day because he has gone missing too often in the Premier League this season, the new signings have not settled, they can’t keep a clean sheet and Jamie Vardy’s ban won’t help. I love Leicester, and I had a wonderful time there as a player, but they are lucky I didn’t give them an E.”
@AdiKa84624635: Hopefully Chelsea will finish outside the top four. 11 victories in a row is great but everything finally ends…
SAV SAYS: “I agree that all good things come to an end, but I don’t see that happening to Chelsea this weekend: I think they’ll make it 13 wins out of 13. They have proved they can win without their two most influential players, Costa and Kante, and for organisation, discipline, desire and being clinical, they deserve to be where they are. I know it’s an early call, but you might as well give them the trophy now – and I’m sure there will be plenty on here queueing up to tell me I was wrong if they fall away in 2017!”
@JONPAULFONG: Not man enough to tweet Carrick has started 6 Premier League games? Thought more of you
SAV SAYS: “Hello again, JonPaul! Long time, no criticise eh, mate? I’m not sure what you mean about me being ‘man enough’ to tweet that Michael Carrick has not started every Premier League game for Manchester United – why do you have to be macho to do that? The plain fact is that, in all competitions, United have won 11 and drawn two of the 13 games he has started this season, and he has been more influential in that team than players who have started every game for their clubs.”
@simonmcurtis: Spot on in your assessment of Hammers but I reckon it’s a generous grade
SAV SAYS: “West Ham’s grade would have been even lower, almost unprintable, without those three wins against lowly Burnley, Hull and Swansea. Andy Carroll’s return has been a huge plus, and if they can add two or three decent signings in January they should finish in the top half. But this season is a far cry from winning at Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester City last year.”
Ndayambaje Kassim: Zlatan of course
SAV SAYS: “If you are objecting to Zlatan Ibrahimovic being in my Team of the Season XI, I would point out he has scored 17 goals this season – 12 in the Premier League. How many do yiou think he has to score to make the cut? Just think where Jose Mourinho and Manchester United would be now without his goals.”
Ju Lio: None of them can be compared to Sanchez
SAV SAYS: “Alexis Sanchez has scored 12 Premier League goals for Arsenal – the same as Ibrahimovic. And he has the advantage of playing in a side with Mesut Ozil supplying the bullets for him, laying chances on a plate.”
Scott Bronson Pearce: I don’t like him but he talks the truth about Arsenal
SAV SAYS: “I just think perspective is required at Arsenal – lose two in a row and some fans are calling for Arsene Wenger’s head, win two in a row and he’s a genius again. Sadly, I think this season will be the same old story – they will threaten to win the big prizes but not get their hands on the title or Champions League.”
The key moments of Arsenal’s year
Jon Crowe: I can’t think of a single fan who likes this guy or respects his opinion yet he seems to appear everywhere. If Arsenal won the league this season he would probably make up some rubbish about how he had always predicted it.
SAV SAYS: “For the record, Jon, I predicted in August that this would be the season Arsenal miss out on the top four. And at least my mum loves me!”
Joel White: He’s a Man Utd fan and has been tipping them to finish above Arsenal for the past few seasons. He’s also a massive t***.
SAV SAYS: “You say I’m a United fan and that I’m a t*** – sorry, Joel, but you are wrong about one of those!”
Francois Hoorneit: All and everyone praising Chelski but we beat their a***es. Up the Arsenal
SAV SAYS: “Yes, and since losing 3-0 at the Emirates Chelsea have won 12 in a row, conceding only two goals, and the Gunners have slipped to fourth.”
@sidders000: Why anyone is interested in the views of this mediocre ex-player is beyond comprehension. JT was right. It’s like Pards commentating on Champions League or World Cup.
SAV SAYS: “Season’s greetings to you, too, Sidney. For the record, my column responding to what John Terry said about me produced the biggest online response of all my contributions to the Daily Mirror last season – and 80 per cent of the thousands who voted were on my side. But like John, you are entitled to your opinion, just as I’m entitled to mine. And I was proud to be a mediocre player who captained four different Premier League clubs and won 39 international caps.”