Mick McCarthy's team selection can change the face of the Premier League

By Barry Horne on Dec 19, 09 08:49 AM in Columnists

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I HAVE just watched a week of brilliant football Evertons two thrilling draws, taking a point off Chelsea yet seeing the London Blues still increase their lead at the top of the table, then a typical midweek of shocks and upsets which makes the Premier League what it is.

Unpredictable, exciting, compelling and above all, ultra competitive.

Enter Mick McCarthy, with a team selection that really does threaten to change the face of the Premier League.


It has long been received wisdom that there are leagues within the league.

If more teams are to follow McCarthys lead that could actually become a real truth.

I have seen a lot of Burnley this season and they always have a go. As a result they beat Manchester United, Everton and drew against Arsenal.

Eight of Owen Coyles men have played in every single game this season.

Sunderland went to Old Trafford and had a go. They were unlucky not to win, yet have lost or drawn to West Ham, Portsmouth, Wigan and Fulham. Oh and by the way they beat Arsenal and Liverpool too!

The moral must be that nothing should be taken for granted and there really is an obligation to make every game as competitive as possible.

In addition Mick McCarthy has now heaped incredible pressure on his players for Sunday.

McCarthy has been quite open about his plans, yet is still unlikely to be punished for blatantly breaking a law which requires a club to field its strongest team at all times.

McCarthy will undoubtedly point to other clubs who have gone unpunished.


Myself and Dave Watson were rested ahead of the FA Cup final in 1995. Nothing was said because there was nothing riding on the last league fixture of the season.

Manchester United and Liverpools defence would be that squad rotation is necessary and that their reserves should be good enough.

That isnt the point. The Premier League rule does not allow for ifs, buts and particular circumstances.

In not making a stand in the first instance, they are going to find it incredibly difficult to make an example of Wolves. I think the best we can hope for is a strongly worded letter warning clubs of their future conduct.

Europa League early starter is a nonsense

WHILE Thursday's Europa League tie might have been something of a non-event it was nonetheless heartening to see Everton put out a team consisting largely of home grown talent.

Whilst it was well short of Middlesbrough's achie- vement of fielding 11 Middlesbrough-born lads in a Premier League fixture it was nevertheless an indication that there is good work being done at Finch Farm,

Having qualified from the group stages Everton were then handed an almost perfect draw.

Sporting Lisbon are a team with tradition which should have ensured a decent gate, yet are eminently beatable.

Everton have, however, unfairly fallen foul of what appears to be a sponsor driven ruling regarding kick-off times and must start at 5.45pm.

What an absolute nonsense.

On any given Champions League night viewers can choose from between up to eight fixtures.

What does one more fixture matter?

There seems no reason why Everton couldn't kick of at 8pm to give them the opportunity to draw a better crowd.

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