Richards and Sutton give their predictions for the rest of the season
Will Harry Kane leave Tottenham this summer, Jack Grealish or James Maddison for England, and who will finish in the Champions League places? Sportsmail’s experts Micah Richards and Chris Sutton give their predictions for the rest of the season
- Sportsmail’s Chris Sutton and Micah Richards tackle 10 key talking points
- Debates include who to pick over Erling Haaland and Kylian Mbappe
- The duo also get into discussion over who will be Player of the Year
- David Moyes for Manager of the Year and Jose Mourinho’s future is also debated
After a week of big talking points, we head into a weekend of big games. A relentless season has gone through the gears, both in the Premier League and in Europe, to create plenty of debate.
Sportsmail columnists MICAH RICHARDS and CHRIS SUTTON love nothing more than jousting over hot topics, so DOMINIC KING and KIERAN GILL posed them 10 questions. The answers led sparks to fly…
Sportsmail’s experts Chris Sutton (left) and Micah Richards give their predictions across the rest of the season’s main talking points
1. James Maddison and Jack Grealish go head-to-head on Sunday: only one man can go to the Euros this summer – who is it?
RICHARDS: You know I’m Jack Grealish’s number one fan but I interviewed James Maddison recently and I love his confidence…
SUTTON: So what are you saying? You’ve been influenced?
RICHARDS: (laughing) Oh God! This is tough. Maddison can take a free-kick as well. How many times do we see goals from set-pieces in international football? All the time. He could be a secret weapon for England this summer.
SUTTON: You’re changing your tune, man! You were the head of the Jack Grealish Appreciation Society and now you’ve ditched him?
RICHARDS: Will you listen to me! Jack’s got star quality. You could be 1-0 down, 90 minutes, and you give the ball to one player. Jack Grealish could take on three men and put it in the top corner. This is marginal. It’s 0.00001 per cent. But it’s still Grealish.
SUTTON: It’s so tight. How can we answer this!
KING: You can either say Maddison or Grealish. That’s the whole point.
RICHARDS: (ROARING WITH LAUGHTER)
SUTTON: (laughing too) I’ve accused Micah of bottling it, I’m bottling it now, too! Maddison has scored more goals than Grealish this season. I’ll go with Maddison. By a tiny, tiny bit.
Jack Grealish (left) and James Maddison will both hope to represent England at Euro 2020
2. Where will Harry Kane be playing in September?
SUTTON: He’ll be playing in England, somewhere. That’s a naughty question, isn’t it?
KING: It’s been one of the themes of the week!
SUTTON: He could win the League Cup and the Europa League with Spurs but if he wants to win the biggest trophies, he has got to move on – maybe to Manchester City. If you are a top player – and Harry Kane is – there comes a time in your career when you have to have ambition and play for a club that competes for titles and has a chance of winning the Premier League.
He has been really loyal to Spurs and loves the club but he has to be competing in the Champions League. Fans appreciate loyalty. Look at Alan Shearer, he went to Newcastle and never won anything there. Nobody could have a pop at Harry Kane if he wants to move on and compete for regular titles.
RICHARDS: What about PSG? The only reason I don’t say Manchester City is what is he going to cost? £150m? I just don’t know if City are going to pay that money. What is he? 27 going on 28?
SUTTON: 28 comes after 27. That’s how it works! Hang on… do you know something?
RICHARDS: What do you mean?
SUTTON: You must know something!
RICHARDS: No! I’m just putting it out there. PSG have got Neymar and Kylian Mbappe but then they have Mauro Icardi. He’s not the same level as the other two. Now Mauricio Pochettino is there… Listen, if he’s in England in September, he’s at Spurs.
Richards believes Harry Kane will stay at Tottenham Hotspur beyond the summer but Sutton insists the striker should look to move on to Manchester City
3. You’re the manager of a club and your chairman has just said you can break the world-record fee for a striker – who do you sign: Kylian Mbappe or Erling Haaland?
RICHARDS: How am I supposed to decide that! This is so, so close to call. Again! I’m sticking with Mbappe. The hat-trick in Barcelona on Tuesday was Thierry Henry-esque. He’s ridiculous! But Haaland is ridiculous too! He’s like Shearer. He’ll get more goals but Mbappe has got va-va-voom.
SUTTON: You’re a big, strong guy, Micah. But Haaland would pick you up and sit you on top of the goalpost! He’s 20! He hasn’t even developed yet. I see him move – how quick he is, his awareness, his finishing. His second goal against Sevilla on Wednesday was just beautiful. He’s a super-intelligent player. I’m picking him but you’ve tied my hands behind my back!
Erling Haaland (left) and Kylian Mbappe are tipped to become the leading talents in football
4. Four trophies for Manchester City this year – yes or no?
RICHARDS: I’m going to say no. They are playing great football but sometimes in the Champions League you face a team that can come up with a flash of brilliance and see things out. Had Sergio Aguero and Kevin De Bruyne been fit and in great form, I’d say yes but I’m still not sure.
SUTTON: Who is better in Europe than City this season?
RICHARDS: City are performing the best but sometimes Pep will try to think of something outside the box. If it comes off, it is incredible. But last season he went to three at the back against Lyon and it didn’t work. I wouldn’t be over-confident.
SUTTON: So you’ve gone from ‘no’ to ‘maybe’? I’ll be briefer than you. I’ll just say no. It’s the law of averages. Of course there is a possibility but history tells us it is a tall order. They always seem to find a way of stuffing things up in the Champions League.
They’ve got the Premier League in the bag, Spurs in the League Cup final, Everton in the FA Cup quarter-finals…
RICHARDS: You know what, I think Spurs will win the League Cup.
RICHARDS: It’s Mourinho. He will do it and say that he has changed the whole dynamic of Tottenham as a club. He’ll deflect from everything that has happened in the league. He’ll win something because he’s Mourinho. If you want to have a bet with me, Chris, I’ll have a bet with you.
SUTTON: You’re on!
Pep Guardiola’s (above) side could still win all four trophies this season that they have entered including the Premier League which they currently lead by 10 points
5. Which brings us nicely to the next point: is Mourinho reaching the end of the road at Tottenham?
RICHARDS: No. It was a tough job to take, especially after Pochettino. He was loved there, wasn’t he? I just don’t like the way Mourinho puts everything on the players all the time. He needs to take some responsibility himself. The documentary killed them.
There was that Danny Rose thing and everyone was like: ‘What’s happening behind the scenes at Spurs?’ Too much noise, and we’ve seen his treatment of Gareth Bale and Dele Alli.
SUTTON: Has he treated Bale that badly?
RICHARDS: There was that post on Instagram from Bale, saying: “Good session.” That was him saying he was ready to go. Mourinho came out and said he’s not ready. That was a cry for help from a player.
I’ve done it. You put a tweet out, let everyone know you’re fit, so they can’t use that as an excuse or say you’re injured or this, that, the other. It’s a bit tedious now. If you don’t want Bale, don’t sign him, otherwise play him!
SUTTON: Talking of tedious, I’ve seen some of your Instagram posts… with Mourinho, I don’t see it as the end of the road. But you can see it unravelling pretty quickly at Spurs. That’s Mourinho’s nature and the blame culture when everything starts to go wrong. It’s everybody else, really.
But they’re in a League Cup final, they’re still in the Europa League. If they don’t win a trophy and finish outside the top four, possibly outside the top six, there will be questions and this could all unravel quickly.
Pressure has started to mount on Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho following poor league form
6. Is David Moyes manager of the year?
SUTTON: If Pep wins four trophies, probably not! I think it has been a pretty remarkable season for him so far. There was a lot of turbulence going into the season. You had the Mark Noble tweet, lots of unrest, West Ham supporters deeply unhappy.
All of a sudden the landscape has changed and it’s changed because of the results. David Moyes has done a brilliant job at West Ham anyway, keeping them up twice. He was never really well-liked by the fan-base. But he is now. He has to be in with a shout. But it depends on what Pep wins.
RICHARDS: He’s done a great job. But Dean Smith would be mine, because of where Aston Villa were last season. West Ham always talk like they’re a top-10 club anyway! So why when they’re in there, why is there so much surprise? Villa stayed in the Premier League by a point last season so it’s Dean Smith for me – unless Pep wins four trophies.
David Moyes (centre) has guided his West Ham United team to the centre of a top four battle
7. Have Liverpool been liberated by conceding the title?
SUTTON: It’s an interesting one. Are we going a bit early? Some of the stuff this week – the talk of Jurgen Klopp leaving – was just ludicrous and totally unfair with the job he’s done. It’s a blip for Liverpool. They’ve dropped below their standards.
To come out and concede the title race… if you’re a Liverpool fan, is that what you want to hear? No, but it’s realism. You could say with the nature of their performance against RB Leipzig, they did look a freer team. This is the competition they have to focus on now, the Champions League.
RICHARDS: People forget that for an hour against Leicester, it was incredible. They just didn’t put their chances away. It’s almost a weight off the shoulders. Liverpool have been playing well. It’s been daft mistakes. They have no defence so teams have been attacking them more. Alisson has made mistakes he doesn’t make, they haven’t been finishing their chances but they aren’t far away.
Liverpool’s hopes of retaining their Premier League crown look over after defeat at Leicester
8. You’ve just received your ballot paper for PFA Player of the Year. Who gets your vote?
RICHARDS: No easy ones here, are there! My mind has changed so many times. It was Harry Kane, then Bruno Fernandes, then Ruben Dias, then Ilkay Gundogan. Mohamed Salah is top scorer and his name isn’t even getting thrown into the hat!
SUTTON: (Mischievous grin) You haven’t mentioned Grealish…
RICHARDS: It’s difficult for Grealish. Someone like Phil Foden, I don’t think he could do what Jack is doing at Aston Villa, but Foden is so intelligent for what Manchester City need. Grealish has been incredible. But right now, I can’t look past Fernandes. His record is ridiculous. Manchester United without him would be eighth or ninth.
RICHARDS: They would! He’s bailed them out so many times – 14 goals and nine assists is staggering!
SUTTON: It’s a good shout, Fernandes, but who has made the biggest difference this season for Manchester City? It’s Dias, isn’t it? He gets my vote. He is the biggest reason why City will go on to win this title.
Richards has tipped Manchester United’s Bruno Fernandes to win Player of the Year, while Sutton has backed Manchester City’s defensive star Ruben Dias
9. We have all decided City will win the league – who finishes second, third and fourth?
SUTTON: You know what? I’m going to stick with the top four prediction I made before the season had started – City, Liverpool, United, Chelsea.
RICHARDS: I had City, Liverpool, Chelsea, United.
SUTTON: I want to say Leicester. I do. But I’m going to stick with my prediction.
RICHARDS: Yeah, you know what? I’m going to stick. We don’t twist, Christopher! We stick all the way to the end.
SUTTON: We’ll be totally wrong.
RICHARDS: I know.
10. And last but not least – do Fulham stay up?
SUTTON: I was really surprised by how well Fulham played at Everton. If you’re a Fulham fan, that gives you confidence. But I think Newcastle may just scrap to survival.
RICHARDS: It’s the Callum Wilson thing… but I’m going to agree with you, Christopher. Newcastle to stay up. Just.
Fulham have shown promising recent form but sitting 18th are still six points from safety
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