While other managers have been quick to speak about limitations, Brendan Rodgers and Roberto Martinez have pushed the boundaries to embarrass their peers...
Liverpool cult hero Luis Garcia is returning to Anfield on Easter Monday to take part in the 'Celebration of the 96' charity match. Jon Holmes caught up with him...
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Anybody still want to argue that Arsenal should get Hart on loan and drop Szczesny?
Grease (misses the 'I am Vito Mannone' chant) AFC
Just Sheer Delight
To anyone who criticised Arsenal celebrating fourth place too much, this is why. We just beat Dortmund away and Spurs are looking forward to hosting Sheriff today.
Ecstatic Gunner (We have 15 wins and 1 draw in last 16 away matches. Bring on Man Utd!)
...We probably won't win the Champions League, we will probably lose Sunday, we probably won't finish in the top three. But if you can't enjoy a win away in Dortmund then what the f**k is the point in watching football!
LD (Piers Morgan being made to look even more ridiculous each week is just an added bonus)
...So far in the last week Arsenal have beaten Liverpool to go five points clear at the top of the table, I've bumped into the Real Ronaldo, resulting in me having the headline in the Mailbox and now we've done the undoable and beaten Dortmund on their own patch... Surely this is what football is about?
So to all the whinging Man U, bitter Chelsea and gloating City fans, I couldn't give a f*** which one of you wins the league...today I am a happy man.
Nick the Gooner
A Neutral's Point On Arsenal
I expect the paranoia will be out for the anti-Arsenal sentiment based on the current F365 headline of it being a smash and grab. Not one to disappoint, I will join in on this paranoia. As simply a happy, non-Arsenal supporting Englishman, I was delighted to see them win. However, unless my bias got the better of me, after Arsenal scored, they were the better team. They had much better chances, kept possession well until the nerves of the final few minutes kicked in, and really should have scored again. Now I appreciate that still only accounts for 33% of the match, but the way it's described is like they had 11 men behind the ball for the entire game and fluked it with some goal that was made in the land where Begovic is king. Arsenal deserved to win.
Smash And Grab v Lesson
I attended the Arsenal v Dortmund game at the Emirates and experienced a fantastic competition between two technically talented sides which produced a superb atmosphere (apparently, something that doesn't relate to Arsenal).
Dortmund controlled the game in the first half at the Emirates and took a deserved lead. Arsenal however, got themselves back into the game and were the better team in the second half but got caught out by going for a winner. Apparently, Arsenal were taught a lesson.
Last night, at Dortmund's 'fortress' the game was identical but Arsenal got the winner. However, Arsenal have not taught their hosts a lesson but carried out a 'smash and grab raid'?
I would be most appreciative if you can explain the difference in your analysis of the two games.
Chris Wrightson, Purely
...I wonder whether the fine folks at fussball365 are bemoaning Dortmund's naivety and sterile domination?
Chris Johnson (At least our striker didn't resort to cheating in the home leg)
...Right, I can now write this without looking sour, something that has been bothering me for a couple of weeks. The phrase, 'perfect away performance' is all to often written with the benefit of hindsight.
In the last two weeks, fans at the Emirates have seen witnessed two games that included away performances that were described as 'perfect' by multiple sources, including this very site. There is all too often a confusion between performance and result. Sacrificing possession in order to control a game defensively and limiting your opponents' clear-cut opportunities to practically nil while repeatedly carving them apart on the counter is the perfect away performance, and, yes, Chelsea demonstrated this admirably.
Being penned back in your own half and requiring a mixture of admittedly decent defending and some luck to keep the other team's goal tally down and then grabbing a winner against the run of play in the last quarter of the game is definitely a smash and grab. Arsenal did this last night, but so did bloody Dortmund at the Emirates! Both teams currently excel at counter-attacking when required and each possesses a decent defence (weird to write about Arsenal right now, but it's true). They essentially cancelled each other out over the two legs. Chelsea's League Cup XI at the Emirates was significantly better than Arsenal's and would beat them if they'd played on the moon. Please can we stop using this phrase to describe a good away result; it rewrites history.
On another note, did Eto'o remind anyone else of the Hooded Claw last night as he crept up behind the Schalke keeper for his first? Superb!
According to Sky Sports stats:
Shots on target: Dortmund 3 - 2 Arsenal
Possession: Dortmund 49.3% - 50.7% Arsenal
Interceptions: Dortmund 21 - 26 Arsenal
Passes: Dortmund 455 - 476 Arsenal
Tackles Won (%): Dortmund 73.7% - 85.7% Arsenal
Arsenal didn't mug anyone. They went to college, studied hard and got a good degree. Used it to get a respectable job. Worked hard at the job, including overtime and weekend work. Went for an interview, got the promotion. Saved up a little from the paycheck every month and then finally went to the football shop and bought that win.
Arsenal Are Just Like Dortmund
It's popular to argue that Arsenal clung on in their latest slug fest against Dortmund, but I think both games of this fixture show how each team's tactics give the advantage to the away team when playing against quality opposition.
I think both Arsenal and Dortmund are playing great football this season, but if you want to know why Pep and his Barcelona sought to dominate the ball, then look no further than these two teams to see why possession is nine-tenths of football's law when playing at home.
Arsenal And Conventional Narrative Busting
Most intelligent people know that received or conventional wisdom is the enemy of actual wisdom.
What Arsenal did against Dortmund last night questioned several conventional football fallacies about Arsenal, and the beautiful game in general:
1) Arsenal can't defend: Dortmund had, as the Sky commentators reminded us about 73 times, failed to score at home only once in 60 games. Arsenal were bound to concede, lose. It was a question of how many. Coming off our Liverpool result and the 0-2 against Bayern last season, can this be put to rest now?
2) Arsenal are bottlers: The Arsenal League Cup final defeat to then relegated Birmingham is oft-quoted as the ultimate example of bottling it, but how many people even remember, never mind talk about, Man City bottling it to then-relegated Wigan LAST season in a bigger stakes cup? The FA Cup. That, and our recent big-game results, surely suggest we can stop talking about that League Cup final now.
3) Arsenal are a team of foreigners: undoubtedly true at one point. Now we have a plethora of British players, including the Welsh wonderwall, Aaron Ramsey. English, talented players also include Theo, Wilshere, Gibbs, the Ox, even Jenko. Conveniently - despite successful United sides having British players who were great, not so much English players - the narrative has become the paucity of English players in a team, not British players. It was never a problem when Giggs and Hughes were smashing it for United. Now we're lumped in with City as an example of sides not giving English players a shot. Name another top side who gives this many British or English players a shot.
And another question for you:
4) Why is a foul after a player has had an attempt on goal in the penalty area never given while the ball is still in play?
Ponder on those and then wonder why no-one is giving Arsenal a shot of winning anything.
All the best to everyone,
A United Fan Is Scared
I have been at this support malarkey for 15 years now, and never have I been more scared of a downright rogering. I'll be really happy if we can escape with our dignity intact. No, I'm not asking for even a draw. A respectable 1-2 loss would be enough for me.
Going by what we've seen, we're closer to a reversal of the famous 8-2 than we are to a United victory.
AB MUFC (Please muzzle Patrice until the game is done) Atlanta, Stateside
It's Like 2004 All Over Again
Inspired by their summer signing from La Liga, Arsenal have established themselves as the team to beat. Now in November, Wenger's team travel to Old Trafford to take on a Manchester United side struggling to remain in contention. Despite an abundance of strikers, a pair of sibling full-backs, and an exciting new teenage winger, many believe that United lack quality in central midfield. Will their fiery Glasweigen manager be able to neutralise Arsenal's star man?
Oh, and Chelsea are enjoying their first season since appointing Jose Mourinho as manager during the summer.
It Just Doesn't Fit
Last night proved one thing - Mata, Hazard and Oscar are too similar and shouldn't play together. In fact, when Chelsea play with proper wingers like Willian and Schurrle there is only a number 10 slot available. So who misses out?
Young There To Stay
For all the abuse Utd fans throw his way, you know that come 2014 he enters the last two years of his contract and Utd would loathe to lose him on a free.
So given they spent best part of £20m on him they will be offering him a new deal soon, and he will sign it, and you are going to be stuck with him (as you have been with Anderson) for the next 5-7 years.
Enjoy that thought.
More On Pogba
If you play Park and Rafael in centre midfield, while an 18-year-old 'wonderkid' sits on the bench, he's obviously going to go to another club.
I have always always wondered this - if all that Ferguson does is in the interest of the club then how is sending out a player just because he has fallen out with the manager a correct thing to do.
Bala (Arsenal are winning. David Fkin Moyes is United manager. Feel like burying myself) MUFC
Paisley > Ferguson
I often hear people talk about Fergie being the 'greatest manager of all time' as if it's some kind of undeniable fact, which p*sses me off far more than it probably should. Tom, London's mail said that Fergie thought about himself more than the club in the last few years, something I agree with and furthers my argument that he is not actually the bestest there ever was.
As a Liverpool fan I am obviously biased towards him, but Bob Paisley seems to be ahead of SAF to me. The man won three European Cups in nine years, whereas Ferguson won 2 in over a quarter of a decade. Consider that Liverpool weren't in the thing in Bob's first year in charge (and won the Uefa Cup that year) and it's even more impressive. Yeah, Fergie won more league titles, 13 to Bob's 6, but again that was over a much longer period. Paisley won an average of two league titles every three years, Fergie one every two.
I know SAF rebuilt teams many times, but this is where I feel Fergie's selfish end weakens the case for him. Paisley left a team that won another European Cup and got to another final (and may have done more were it not for the post-Heysel ban) and dominated England for another seven years, until Souness came in and royally f*cked things up.
When you consider that Bob Paisley isn't even considered our greatest manager, Bill Shankly is. Or that Matt Busby went on to win a European Cup after the Munich air disaster, to just throw around the term 'greatest' when it comes to SAF seems ridiculous to me. You think he is the best? Fine. But it's not a closed case.
James (Busby, Paisley and Shankly all had more class than slagging off former players to sell a book, too) LFC