The big news of the week is, of course, the Guardian’s Top 100 men’s footballers, and here’s the special projects boss man, Marcus Christenson, on how we arrived at the idea Lionel Messi might just actually be the best around.
It is worth noting that although we have a 35-year-old winner and the same winner as 10 years ago, there is an abundance of young, talented players coming through.
It is clear to see that Mbappé is a likely future winner but there are younger players than the 24-year-old on the list who are upwardly mobile. Erling Haaland and Vinícius are 22 and in the top 10, while Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Jamal Musiala, Bukayo Saka, Pedri, Gavi and Tchouaméni are set to improve their positions.
These two just bloody love each other. It wasn’t long ago that Mikel Arteta was Jason Tindall to Pep Guardiola’s Eddie Howe, and supplying the aggro on the sidelines.
Brighton v Liverpool looks a key tie in this weekend’s FA Cup.
Jürgen Klopp was adamant that progress was being made following Liverpool’s drab goalless draw at home to Chelsea, but a truer test awaits the holders on their return to the Amex Stadium. Brighton ripped through Liverpool in the Premier League a fortnight ago, when Klopp described his team’s 3-0 defeat as one of the worst displays of his managerial career. Fabinho, Jordan Henderson, Joël Matip and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all withdrawn in a quadruple substitution midway through the second half against Roberto De Zerbi’s polished side. None have started in the two matches since. Eighteen-year-old Stefan Bajcetic has seized his chance in central midfield, injecting an energy and bite that was previously lacking, while Ibrahima Konaté and Joe Gomez have benefited from the improvement in front of them. Both managers should go strong with no midweek fixtures to concern them. Klopp must hope De Zerbi finds Liverpool unrecognisable. Andy Hunter
Here’s some meat on the bones from Andy Hunter.
Sean Dyche is set to be named Everton’s manager after Marcelo Bielsa told the club he would only take over in the summer.
Bielsa was the first choice of Everton’s owner, Farhad Moshiri, and flew to London on Thursday to hold further talks with club officials. That raised their hopes of enticing the Argentinian to Goodison Park, despite his reservations over the state of the club and the squad and his record of never taking over a European club mid-season.
The 67-year-old remained unconvinced about going to Everton at this stage, however, and negotiations are understood to be over. That has cleared the way for Dyche and the former Burnley manager could be appointed on Friday on a two-and-a-half-year contract.
The FA Cup fourth round is here, starting with a blockbuster tonight between Manchester City and Arsenal, though first, the big news comes from Goodison Park, where Sean Dyche is set to be announced as the new manager of Everton. It seems Marcelo Bielsa will not be coming, after all, and instead the Ginger Ancelotti, or whatever banterous name we can call the former Burnley boss, takes the reins. With Dwight McNeil and James Tarkowski in the ranks, there’s a couple of players to get the lookeylikey game in the dressing room. And woe betide anyone who wants to sit out the curry night. Sean Dyche is back. But what does that mean for Everton?