The dream has to be that the BBC produces mediocre football TV regardless of gender. Women threw themselves under horses for that dream. The boys like the girls...
We thought we would have to resort to another mailbox about maths but we've had some grand opinions about Man United, Newcastle, Tottenham and more. Oh and maths...
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So let me get this right. Spurs managed to lose, draw and win the same game?
How many other teams have managed such a nail-biting feat?
Slider_N17 (just another ride on the Spurs rollercoaster)
On The Seriously Flawed Away Goals Rule
Now I'm not going to complain too much about this because, as a Spurs supporter, I ultimately benefited from this rule last night. However I was thinking how I would feel if it was the other way around. Surely it's about time that UEFA look into this rule and change it.
Currently we are led to believe that as a reward for doing well in our group or having a high seeding our team will be rewarded by playing the second leg at home. This is all well and good when both matches are played over 90 mins. However...
If the game needs to go to extra-time, as last night's did, the advantage swings so heavily in the away team's favour I would actually go so far as saying it's unfair. The away team now gets an extra 30 mins to score an away goal which as we all know 'counts double'. The unfairness is that the home team didn't get this luxury and only had 90 mins to get their away goal, not 120!
Surely the rule should be changed so that away goals would only count over the course of the 2 x 90mins games and once it goes to extra time i'ts all square again. I'm actually thinking that golden goal rule from a few years back wasn't so bad after all.
Paul, THFC (happy Spurs fan that hopes we get the second leg away in the next round too)
...I've thought for some time that the away goals rule should be scrapped. It was brought in to solve a problem in the 70's that is no longer relevant today.
The height of its ridiculousness can be seen in Tottenham's win last night, they win on away goals despite having 120 minutes to score one as opposed to Inter's 90. In my opinion the extra 30 minutes Inter had at home to score is not equal to this as they have to score twice.
And anyway, what bearing does geography have to the value of a goal? Why not say that goals from outside the box are worth more? Or mark goals for artistic impression?
Surely the only thing that should settle a football match is who has put the ball in the net most times. Scrapping away goals would inevitably lead to more penalty shoot-outs, but they are always exciting.
If someone were to suggest the idea of away goals counting 'double' now they would be laughed out of town as a madman. It is only accepted because it has been this way for so long.
Andy the Hammer (funny words)
- Was that the opposite of the Bayern vs Arsenal game? - Glorious failure vs humiliating success.
- I love AVB but he got the tactics all wrong tonight. I think he underestimated Inter based on their no-show against us in the first leg. Playing 4-4-2 at the San Siro was asking for trouble. We were left far too open and the gamble to get an away goal didn't work until way too late in the game.
- Surely playing our normal 4-2-3-1 would have been a better option. Keep it tight and try and nick a goal on the break or from a set-piece. If we'd set up in a more compact formation we'd have had a much better chance of not conceding three times!
- We made too many changes and played too many players out of position; Naughton at left-back? Dembele right wing? Sigurdsson left wing? The team had a lop sided, disjointed feel about it all game.
- Having said that we started the game really well. Until the opener we looked well in control, were keeping the ball well and didn't look like conceding. As soon as they scored we entered Tottenham mode. Ie. PANIC! Suddenly a 3-0 lead looked incredibly fragile and the comeback was all too predictable.
- The ref was poor. He allowed both sides to get away with too many fouls and his decision to book Livermore for time-wasting after 14 minutes was ridiculous.
- Despite scoring, Adebayor continues to look rubbish and disinterested.
- Walker needs to be dropped/rested for Naughton. Naughton doesn't offer as much going forward but is far less prone to mistakes. Walker's push for the free-kick for Inter's third goal has happened too many times this season.
- At least we have a fresh Lloris, Assou-Ekotto, Dawson, Lennon, Bale and Dempsey for the game at the weekend.
- With nine league games to go we're in the quarter-finals of the Europa League and third in the Premier League. We'd have certainly taken that at the start of the season.
- Do do do...
Rob Pearse (@RobJPearse)
As a Spurs fan you'd think I'd be used to nights like last night but no that has to be the worst 120-odd minutes of my football life, please don't do that again Spurs I don't think I can take anymore!
And yes we are a one-man team but that man isn't Bale it's Dawson, without him our defence is just sh*t.
Fenspur (Somebody get me large drink to calm down) THFC
A Spurs Cultured XI (Actually It's Just a X)
Well that was fairly routine wasn't it Spurs? Come on AVB I demand more entertainment and drama - none of this ruthless efficiency nonsense. I have a maverick suggestion for you to make some football history against Fulham this weekend. Let's break the brains of the football hipsters by playing a Spurs Cultured XI:
GK: Hugo Lloris
RB: Benoit Assou-Ekotto
CB: Jan Vertonghen
LB: Danny Rose
RM: Andros Townsend
CM: Moussa Dembele
CM: Tom Carroll
LM: Iago Falque
CAM: Lewis Holtby
CF: Gareth Bale
It would mean recalling three loan players and playing a 3-4-1-1, but that's an entire team of left-footed players. I must add an entirely valid team made up of capped senior players, with only one person (BAE) playing in an entirely unnatural position. I would like to see anyone put together a Cultured XI to beat that lot.
Neil, THFC, Durban
The Juan And Only
Just to say, Juan Mata makes English football so much better. I don't even want to remember a time a before him.
Stu (sketchy finish but that drop of the shoulder, he's just the best) Chiswick
Finally, Rafa The Manager Comes Out
It was nice to see Rafa throwing the paper and pen (God knows what he scribbles during games) and actually come up and gave a motivating hand gesture to the players which meant "we got the second goal, now come on, keep doing what you were doing and get another". At times management requires the manager to throw all the brains out and simply come out and motivate players.
While we're at Rafa, when the manager says "I am happy he had the confidence to take a penalty, though he missed it", you know the state of striking options at your club.
Aravind, CFC, (really hope for the sake of fans who've put up with him, Torres delivers a month or two of goals), Chennai
Going Postal In Newcastle
I know it wasn't quite a vicious but there was a touch of Temuri Ketsbaia in Papiss Cisse's celebration last night. What's up with Newcastle's advertising hoardings, they must be pretty offensive to warrant two unprovoked attacks on them.
Simon, LUFC (I think GFH read your article on Leeds as season tickets have been reduced by 15-25% for next season!!!)
...Toon versus Anzi - let's face it, it was a poor game with very few chances. I admit to feeling a tinge of jealousy when occasionally switching to the wonderfully entertaining Spurs-Inter game. Nonetheless I sat through 90 minutes of tedium from four in the morning, willing my team on from halfway across the world.
Anyhoo. Happy that I am that Newcastle is through to the quarter-finals of Europa League, I can't seem to shake the image of Papiss Cisse's (quite frankly bonkers) celebration from my head. I can maybe understand the release of pent-up anger and frustration. God knows he was utterly dire for the 90 minutes before, and the Sportsdirect.co.uk/Stadium/St_James crowd probably got restless and turned on him a bit. But it was his cynical reaction that was shocking, kicking the board and cursing at no one in particular (or at the crowd in general?). Gone forever is the image I have of the good-natured, lively and play-with-constant-smile-on-his-face Cisse.
I remember last season when he scored an offside goal and it was disallowed, he just laughed, put an arm on the ref and got on with the game. No more of that, sadly. It's like a kid finding out that Santa is really a forty-something fat guy with a false beard, drinking alcohol while watching porn.
Zaid, Sunny Malaysia
I'm sure you'll get lots of Spurs and Chelsea conclusions, so to add balance:
- Cisse looks to have found his boots from last season at last. Like Rory McIlroy he should never have changed.
- S. Taylor obviously took the hint from Uncle Woy. Smashing MoM performance.
- Whatever "it" is, Sam Eto'o still has it but ain't as much left as there used to be.
- Lovely picture of S. Taylor doing the rounds with that lad in the wheelchair.
- I wish Nile Ranger would sign for another club, so he won't be described as 'ex-Newcastle player' when he's next arrested.
- Really don't want Chelsea or Spurs in QF as that would be just boring. (And we will likely lose).
- Good to see Adam Campbell get some game time, even if he did contribute hardly anything.
Michel de la Chateauneuf
Remember when Spain used to have three teams left at this stage of the Europa League whilst English clubs dominated the Champions League and the press would bleat on about La Liga's strength in depth and how only the top teams in England were any good? Nice to have the shoe on the other foot.
Is Wayne Rooney Like Tim Henman?
That Andi Thomas article on the potato-head got me thinking about him, in a non-sexual way, obvs. Seriously though, what are his skills?
Firstly, he doesn't possess lightning pace; He is not too bad in the air, but nothing special; His movement is acceptable and he has a bit of fire in his belly so that's good I suppose; He doesn't dribble exceptionally well, and he doesn't seem to be particularly skilful or tricky on the ball; He does score a few screamers, but I saw Djimi Traore score one equally as good as any of his the other day. It seems to me that he isn't that difficult to defend against.
I honestly believe the notion that Rooney has not fulfilled his true potential is complete nonsense. Like Tim Henman did, he has squeezed the absolute maximum out of his limited natural ability with sheer determination, and pulled the wool over everyone's eyes. He (again, like Tiger Tim) has taken advantage of a gap in the market for a national hero in his position. After Shearer we haven't had anyone up front that we can get excited about. Everyone wanted it to be Wayne but he's just not as good as we want him to be. It's not Wayne's fault, he just isn't the world-class player some make him out to be.
The sooner people stop putting up on a pedestal with the world's elite, the better off he and us will be. Wayne Rooney is just not very good.
Daniel (People that ginger aren't meant to be heroes anyway) Benvenuto
On Ramsey From Someone Too Old For The Playground
I have to say, despite disagreeing with almost everything Luca James Sparks says, I quite look forward to and enjoy his posts. I guess it's predominantly because they remind me of a ten-year-old me in the playground, where no-one at my club can do any wrong, the manager and players are completely infallible and everyone who says otherwise is quite frankly an idiot. The awful defence of Aaron Ramsey just another in a long line of these.
Maybe Ramsey was keeping Wilshere out of the team, maybe Fabregas was worried about him taking his place (although I highly doubt it) - maybe he was looking a better player in the past. But the truth of it now is that he is not very good NOW. That's why he's getting bashed. At the moment he is one of the poorest players in the sub-standard Arsenal team we currently see before us. A couple of things to point out:
- Having the vision to see the player you should be passing to, but not having the ability to make that pass to said player, is not a particularly impressive skill.
- Wenger has given him a five-year contract, and yes Arsene Wenger does know more about football than me. However he also spent £6.2m on Andre Santos, paid actual real money for Squillaci, and refused to sign a proven midfielder because it would 'kill' Denilson. So while he knows more about football than most of us plebs, he doesn't get everything right. Him giving Ramsey a five-year contract proves absolutely zero. It most likely means that if it is confirmed he is sh*t he will be stuck at Arsenal for a long time on decent wages, preventing you from paying a proper footballer proper wages.
- Your 'three things it's almost impossible to teach a player' - incredible vision, confidence, and endless running - are a load of crap. They are not skills, so no-one tries to 'teach' them to a player, and no-one of any note has ever said those are THE three things that make a great player, you've have just picked out three vague, broadly immeasurable things that may or may not apply to Ramsey.
- Final point, if you think Real Madrid are ever buying Aaron Ramsey, in a capacity other than tea boy, you have seriously lost your marbles.
AS Camden (Looking forward to seeing Sunderland fans doing 'the poznan' in the Championship next season)
Head Or Hart?
Martin Laurence's article about the performances of the various goalkeepers in the league was interesting, especially as Joe Hart is City's keeper. Personally, I reckon the cause of Hart's non-awesome form is partly in his head and partly in his legs. his is my nebulous reasoning:
Less the Shay Given period, Hart's been a regular starter for us since the age of about 19/20. He's always been quick across the ground, had near-lightning reflexes and a good leap, plus arrogance that compensated for his age. Fractions of seconds lost to inexperienced positioning or reading of the flow of the game were made up for with 'youthful exhuberance'. Now, he's still a cocky bugger, but is also fractionally slower than he has been and can't jump with quite as much of a spring. I'm not talking apocalyptic decline, just enough to turn 71% into 63% of something. So, perhaps it's not 'more' mistakes, just less of an ability to recover from the ones he does make.
Experience and knowledge of the game can win back those fractions of seconds hopefully, and I'm sure this dip happens to quite a few keepers who start out young and in the first team. There must be an ever-changing balance between becoming less physically able to stop the impossible and more mentally able to prevent the probable. What boll***s did Roger's spout? Progress is never linear. That guy thinks so far out of the box, his envelope is a rhombus.
Perhaps it happens at different times to different keepers and to a greater or lesser extent depending on the usual nature and nurture type-stuff, but Foster has been from Racing Club Warwick (according to Wikipedia) to West Brom, via Man Utd; arguably non-linear in terms of progress there. He could go 'up' again either with or without West Brom, further defying linearity. Van der Sar went from Juve to Man Utd via Fulham and you don't have to be Brendan Rogers to spot the non-linearity there!
Ben (No, Silva has not been crap; nobody has, we are second in the Premier League) MCFC
The Tweetest Thing
This goes out to Rob Pearse (@RobJPearse) from yesterday afternoon's mailbox. Do you really think that by putting your twitter handle on your signature that anyone will follow you? I mean come on...a bit cheap to gain followers that way.
But if it has worked, let me know, I could do with a few more.
Lori Peri (@BuckaLori), CFC, 26
F365: Not Sneery
For the record, I don't find your website sneery at all. It's by far and away the best football website I've come across - both humorous and informative. And personally I enjoy the headlines as they usually make me laugh. I even laugh at the 'Still laughing at Leeds' headlines and I'm a Leeds supporter! Can't believe you've been compared to the Daily Mail - that's just not right.
Lisa (Leeds & Sydney FC fan Down Under)
I Like Sneeriness
Re Ruairì, I don't like the Daily Mail website so I don't go on it. So if you don't like F365 anymore...
Dave (simple solution when you think about it), MUFC