After Raheem Sterling rediscovered his composure to see off Bournemouth, Brendan Rodgers will be encouraged that his new system can help Liverpool beat Arsenal on Sunday...
One Mailboxer believes that Tony Pulis managing Liverpool isn't as silly as you might think. Plus Bournemouth aren't that romantic and we're all guilty of ignoring Everton...
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I'm starting to get where the 'Ozil is s**t' camp come from.
Against Besiktas, midway through the second half Arsenal made a break and from memory had a 3 on 2 situation. A player of Ozil's quality should/could have teed up Sanchez for a one on one with the 'keeper. Instead Ozil slowed the play down, was promptly caught up and dispossessed by a Besiktas player and then fell over under what appeared to be little contact. In the end the opportunity was completely gone, Besiktas were breaking up field, and Ozil was left lying on his back staring at the sky. This one one of a number of 'FFS' moments from the German that I can remember.
I'm definitely not on the same page as No.1 Arsenal fan Stewie Griffin, but something has been up with Ozil since he joined. Not just for Arsenal but for Germany as well. Definitely not the player I saw at Madrid or in South Africa. There are a whole bunch of potential mitigating factors here like where he's being played, increased media exposure from playing in England, the actual style of game played in the Premier League and so on.
I'll give him last year being his first year in a new team and league, but second year you expect experienced players to kick on. It's early days and hopefully he does pick up but so far, not so good.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus
No Good Strikers Around
Can we all (particularly f365) stop having a go at Wenger for not signing a striker better than the options he has and actually start naming those options, realistically the best strikers are settled at big clubs and won't be sold, Wenger only wants improvements but the reality is there aren't many out there a decent striker is a dying art!
Henry (sad but true) M
'An Arsenal side living on its nerves' - that's just how we like it. Football with a bit of 'will-they-won't-they' drama. Games that make you nervous all day at work while you wait for 7.45pm to come around. Football with real emotion.
This isn't like following a club pumped up on oil revenues, where you barely give losing half a thought because most of the players cost massive sums of money; where you sit back with arms folded at kickoff, cynical sneer on your face, demanding to be entertained with endless galactico football.
This is following Arsenal - uncertain, nervy, sometimes ridiculous, sometimes sublime, never boring!
...I know some younger gooners will no doubt be berating last night's performance but come on, that was all a bit old school wasn't it?
Dubious sending off against us? Check, solitary goal wins the day? Check, nervy display right 'til the end? Check, fans getting right behind the boys to get us over the line? Check and double check.
It has been the best of starts to the season and it's clear the understanding between team-mates isn't quite there as of yet but thus far we've got the results rather than lamenting decent displays with naff all to show for it.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Given's Arsenal's usual proclivity for wildly underestimating the severity of their players' injuries ('2 weeks out' ='6-9 months out'), should we now assume the Olivier Giroud's (back in January) career is over?
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
I really honestly feel real sympathy for Arsenal fans at the moment.
Coming from a United fan that might seem ironic, but after so long suffering the effects of Sir Alex's attachment to certain midfielders and an unwillingness to spend some money on getting a top one in to fill the gaping hole there, I really feel their pain in watching Wenger refuse point blank to buy a decent striker.
He has the money, he has the clout in the transfer market to attract top players, the club is attractive and in all the right competitions with a diamond of midfield. With a top striker there is surely no doubt Arsenal would be banging on the door of the title but instead will have to 'settle' for 3rd or 4th. Such a shame!
The last good striker Arsenal bought was Henry, and he was a winger when he came in that Wenger remoulded (or maybe just released). It resulted in titles and the best football I've ever seen in Arsenal colours. That was a long time ago.
Maybe someone on the board needs to go over his head and buy him Cavani. Anything to stop the blue monopoly that's gathering.
Guy S (I take no pleasure in this)
...I'm not even an Arsenal fan and I'm getting pi$$ed off with Wenger. Just go and buy a striker. Shove your principles, you aren't going to win anything unless you do.
A frustrated neutral
Sorry for bringing up what is but a trifling issue, but whilst watching the football last night, I cracked. Is it me or are the media being deliberately obtuse with the pronunciation of Louis van Gaals name? It's not as if it's even that difficult. It is pronounced Haal, not 'G'aal, yet it seems to me (with my minor OCD complex) that the commentators are actively accentuating the G. When the guy was introduced at Old Trafford and they asked his name he almost gobbed on the front row such was his throaty emphasis on the H and not a G. It's not like we haven't been told.
I know this loses something in written form, but damn it people, if you must be taught phonetically its Louis van Haal. 'Hhhaal'. Also, If we begin blurring the lines between H and G, there will be some idiot running round the comments section called Gump, and that won't do either. Come on commentators and panellists, at least TRY and look like you are making an effort. Congratulations Arsenal by the way, and Arsene Venger (You don't call him 'W'enger do you?).
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Happy To See Welbeck Go
If reports that Danny Welbeck was told by LVG to find his way out of the club are to be followed, then I would be one of a few smiling. Honestly, I've struggled to identify the best position of the 23 year old on the pitch and if it's there, how does he compare with other players in that same position?
I have read tweets and articles of people who seemed to be p*ssed by the reports of Danny having no future at United, but they all share the same points that are being forwarded to disagree with the coach (if reports are to be followed) "He came from our own academy, has pace, he's physical" and so on.
But all this being said, they tend to look at the fact that he is a striker like it's not that important. To me, I consider it the most important. The guy is not scoring goals but wasting a lot of chances. Besides, even with his pace and beating one or two players, he's not creating assists for others to score. He doesn't know when to hold on to the ball and when to release it. Where to stand so they can give him the ball to score or how to move without the ball to create spaces on the opponent's back line.
He simply doesn't have the basics every striker should possess, and that is the 'sense of positioning'
"BUT HE KNOWS HOW TO RUN"
Coming from our academy does not guarantee him a place in the team. In the late years of the Ferguson era, we didn't have as many graduates from the academy being promoted to the first team as we would have expected simply because we kept fringe players, denying the academy players a chance to prove that they would be better. This explains the refusal of both Ravel Morrison and Paul Pogba to sign extensions with the club, simply because they felt they were not about to be given the chance in the first team.
Why limit Lingard's or James Wilson's chances to break into the fist team by keeping a Danny Welbeck who is never going to give you 15 goals in over 30 appearances?? How do you let go of Pogba and keep a Fletcher to play in your defensive midfield?? The same mistake would be made if Danny stays at United because he doesn't have a position in the new 3-5-2 system as every player on the pitch is handed a specific task that he should do with efficiency. Not pretending to be doing everything but in the actual sense doing nothing.
I wouldn't even be offended at all if Chicharito was also showed the way out as it wouldn't only help us cut our wage bill but also give a chance to a few really talented youngsters to grow with the team. I would really love to see if James Wilson would fail to convert the chances created by the likes of Mata, Januzaj, Rooney and now Di Maria . If Danny Welbeck will go to some other premiership side and score 20 goals....I don't care if he goes to Liverpool or Arsenal because he would arguably find it had to be named on the bench at City or Chelsea.
In light of Nikola Zigic's rumoured move to Arsenal, here's a baffling signings XI:
GK: Julio Cesar- Inter to QPR (from the player's perspective, obviously)
RB: Tyrone Mears- Derby to Olympique Marseille
CB: Sol Campbell- Portsmouth to Notts County
CB: Ronnie O'Brien- Boro to Juventus
LB: Paul Konchesky- Fulham to Liverpool
RM: Julien Faubert- West Ham to Real Madrid
CM: Javier Mascherano- Corinthians to West Ham ('s bench, for extra bizarro points)
CM: Adel Taarabt - QPR to Milan
LM: Ronnie Ekelund - Barcelona to Southampton
CF: Nikola Zigic - Free to Arsenal
CF: Bojan Krkic - Barcelona to Stoke (Can he do it on a rainy Monday night in Stoke? Probably not.)
Could have gone with a host of players for the second centre forward spot (Tevez and Owen spring to mind) but ultimately plumped for what must be the ultimate little-and-large combo. Zigic could probably pick Bojan up and swing him at crosses like a baseball bat.
Anyone I've missed?
I've noticed something recently. With all the discussion of Louis van Gaal and his impressive (or not) trophy haul, Steve McClaren has come in for a lot of incidental criticism. "Van Gaal won the Dutch league, but so did Steve McClaren, so that must be really easy."
That would be the same Steve McClaren who took Middlesbrough to their highest ever Premier League finish, their only major trophy ever with the 2004 League Cup, and a UEFA Cup final after consecutive thrilling four-goal comebacks against objectively superior opposition.
I know the England job didn't work out for him, but that doesn't make him a suddenly terrible coach. Football fans in England really need to learn how to forgive mistakes. So go ahead and criticise van Gaal all you want, but leave Schteve alone. He's been through enough from you lot already.
Harry, THFC (this one goes out to my family, I'm sorry I don't support Boro too)