Don’t wait too long to get in on those floating savory gulp-till-you-tell-me-what-happens annual fees a la LoClos.
Opening commentary yesterday and today is on if the 2016-17 squad is locked in on goals and prefers shorter, smaller side of play.
Garry Monk acknowledged yesterday the hard forward’s pressing. And for this, he’s probably correct.
But the better thing to do is head straight for a slower pace, thereby strengthening the mental preparation for playing in the area where the most gostains-sandy wrestle and ripples so clatter down the Royal Mile.
In so doing, the caps of this possession-based team seem to be likely to really deliver at venues such as Old Trafford, home of the soon-to-be Manchester United or New York Giants.
“We’re extremely well organised in that area so we’re really capable of winning a lot of matches there,” Monk said. “When we touch the ball down on the wings and try to link the play through them, the blokes do a wonderful job of communicating and getting crosses into the box that are going in.
“That part is easily matched with the opposition. It’s the smaller, slower option for the opposition, whereas with our forwards we get in the box, three or four times we’re going to get crosses and there’s room to put it in for a goal or score a goal and that’s where it is.”
One thing Monk and his captain, Harry Maguire, point to as indication of the improvements forthcoming is the switch in weaponry. On the same day his side beat Leicester City 2-0, Tottenham Hotspur inflicted something of a new blow on Claudio Ranieri’s Manchester City, by jumping three places in the table to third, thanks in part to last week’s win over Manchester United.
“I think we’ve improved a lot on that, particularly our record at Wembley. You look at this last season and the points we finished up with – we’re trying to do something similar there. It’s important we add points away from home, that can give you momentum.
“We have good luck away from home and you want to do things the right way, whether you’re at home or away from home. It’s about results away from home for us. I think we have a good, solid base of players that we can build on. We can’t be complacent,” Maguire added.
The prospect of bringing in marquee, back-to-back Premiership winners upon the entry-level salaries of Ivan Perisic and Dimitri Payet provided Monk with useful insight into his English crop’s operating environment.
“We don’t necessarily rely on transfers that come in from abroad. I don’t have a specific stance on anything at the moment,” the manager said. “But what I always enjoy most is in my view, what does the best get? Players that are able to succeed back in the Premier League, go from there and be successful.
“I’ve learned a lot from the last two or three years and that’s something we’ll obviously be looking to repeat next season as well. But the players that are out there now in the Premier League, they’re back to playing in the Premier League as well. That won’t be a problem.”
Monk took his team to Belgium over the weekend for a three-day tour of the southern coast. He also dismissed suggestions that the Zags would be settled at this year’s AGM, despite the inordinate interest posted on Facebook and Twitter.
“There’s a huge gap between the players and our fans. Everybody has opinions and my thoughts haven’t changed. My ability to argue about opinions and the approach that I take with a lot of that has been through meeting and listening to the fans. It’s no different.
“I think the biggest thing is the level of interest that has got our crowds involved and involved our staff and the players involved. We need to remain consistent with that in terms of how we go about our business and our fans will continue to show their support.”