MICAH’S MOMENTS: Bournemouth are as good as safe thanks to Gary O’Neil’s brilliant decisions, and why I have so much respect for my departing Sky Sports colleague Graeme Souness
- O’Neil deserves credit for leading Bournemouth to 39 points this season
- Jurgen Klopp’s decision to play Alexander-Arnold in midfield is brilliant
- Chelsea have the opportunity to make things right when they face Arsenal
Bournemouth are as good as safe and all credit must go to Gary O’Neil. What an outstanding job he has done and this is proof of what young English managers can do if they are given time and patience and not saddled with immediate expectation.
Where Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard were expected to provide instant results because of their reputations, O’Neil – who had an excellent playing career of his own – has been able to get on with things quietly. The challenges he had after his initial appointment were negotiated without fuss.
He’s made a number of excellent decisions, such as making Neto his captain in February. I played with the Brazilian at Fiorentina and his character is outstanding, someone you cannot help but respect and admire. He is multi-lingual and the type of person who unites a dressing room.
O’Neil, though, has led the way. His tactics have been spot on and the atmosphere he has generated at the Vitality Stadium, making everyone believe they can stay up, has been magnificent.
It will be harder again next year but this experience will stand him in the best stead.
Credit must go to Gary O’Neil for guiding Bournemouth to 39 points so far this season
Making Neto captain was brilliant as he is the type of person who unites a dressing room
Bournemouth’s tactics have been spot on this season but next year will be even tougher
The end of an era at Sky Sports yesterday as Graeme Souness, my fellow columnist, covered his last game on the network. I want to take this opportunity to express both my utmost respect for him but also thank him for the way he has helped me along.
Graeme is immaculate in every sense. When he walks into a room, he radiates this aura and everyone gravitates to him. His dress sense is faultless, his diet impeccable. He is 70 next week and he looks better than men who are 20 years younger.
I wasn’t old enough to appreciate Graeme as a player but I have been in a privileged position to spend a lot of time in his company these last few years and every minute with him was cherished. I will miss working with him but I have not lost a friend.
Graeme Souness radiates aura when he walks into a room and he will be missed at Sky
Usually at this time of the season we start talking about who will be crowned the outstanding player. It’s easy this year: look no further than 50-goal Erling Haaland. What I feel this campaign should be remembered for, though, is the rise of the manager.
Eddie Howe, Unai Emery, Roberto De Zerbi, Marco Silva, Erik Ten Hag and Mikel Arteta have been the driving forces at their clubs and done superb jobs.
I’ve mentioned six names there without even referencing Treble-chasing Pep Guardiola. That shows how good the bosses have been.
Erling Haaland has made history but it is the Premier League managers who have impressed
Out of the Trent-ches
Trent Alexander Arnold’s move to a new position has coincided with Liverpool taking 13 points from the last 15 and him providing a raft of assists.
The change of tactics has meant Liverpool have been open at times but it’s something Jurgen Klopp will work on over the summer. It might turn out to be an inspired decision for this team.
Trent Alexander-Arnold’s positional switch has been a masterstroke by Jurgen Klopp
Never too big to go down
When Aston Villa were relegated in 2016, there was so much talk through the season about how it could never happen to us because of the size of the club. I see the same kind of narrative around Everton now and I really do worry.
This game with Leicester tonight is monumental and I cannot believe, with that amazing new stadium that is being built, Everton could drop out of the Premier League. They will have such a difficult challenge at Leicester, who look rejuvenated.
It’s time for Chelsea to stop complaining
Chelsea’s situation is really starting to annoy me. I have heard so many complaints about the manager, about the owner, about not having a striker. Enough!
Sometimes, as a player, it becomes about personal pride and putting things right yourself. They have got an outstanding chance to answer their critics at Arsenal tomorrow.
If I was in that group now, I would be desperate for the next game to put things right. I hope they are all feeling the same.
It’s time for Chelsea to stpo complaining and put things right when they face Arsenal
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