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Observations From Arsenal 3 West Ham 1
I can't have been the only one who noticed the disturbing gap between the A and the R in the name on the back of Jarvis' shirt? It really distracted me from the game.
And surely Cazorla is the most Welsh-looking non-Welshman in history?
Jamie Bedwell, Cheltenhamshire
West Ham Woe
Wigan gave Arsenal more of a game... Wigan...
Could anyone tell me what tactics the West Ham team were sent out with last night? As far as I could see it was pass it backwards to the keeper then an 'UP THE ORIENT' hoof to Carroll (No offence Orient fans). In some cases we were on the wings near the box and it still ended up with the keeper. This was basically a full strength West Ham team and that's how BFS sets the team up to play. Shocking. And I tell you the best way to defend against Arsenal? Just stand off em and don't track any runners, that always works! When you're losing 3-1 and Arsenal have the ball back its always best retreat to the edge of your own area and gift them easy possession in the middle of the park. To say BFS is a dinosaur is an understatement.
All is not lost when you have the best League 1 player in the Premiership though! Step forward Mark Noble, dallies in possession, can't pick a pass but he runs around a lot and he grew up in Canning Town 2 miles from Upton Park, always good reasons to keep a player in the team.
The fact West Ham are mid-table and will avoid relegation just shows the Premiership for what it is. The only difference between the Prem and La Liga is we have more teams with money, hence more teams challenging for the title. The gulf in class between the top 7 and the rest is huge. You only have to look at Swansea of 2 years ago and Southampton this year. Teams without any real superstars that play inventive, fast paced intelligent attacking football and they've blown the also rans away.
I don't know what the answer is but I am moving to Canning Town and buying my son a new pair of football boots and a West Ham kit. Easy money.
Steve (Joke Club United - BFS OUT) Coatsworth
Liverpool Won't Have To Sell
I really don't understand Strachan's fears about Liverpool becoming a selling club. Liverpool may not have the financial resources of Man Utd, Chelsea and City but they are a million miles away from the kind of situation Dortmund and Atletico find themselves in.
Firstly, Liverpool have wealthy and successful businessmen running their club. They know that selling a bunch of your best players is not prudent for the club's long term financial future. Put simply, for Liverpool to increase their commercial sponsorship deals they need to be playing Champions league football. They are more likely to playing Champions league football if they keep their best players.
Secondly, the law in Spain states that all football players must have a minimum fee release clause in their contracts. That means that even if Atletico had wanted to keep Aguero or De Gea they could not have done as the clause was met and they are not prepared to pay the wages other clubs can. If you remember Atletico did replace Torres with Aguero and Aguero with Falcao (for 40m euros). Dortmund also uses release clauses and whilst it isn't mandatory in Germany it seems to be used as a way to force higher fees from clubs. I mean no way is Porto's Mangala a £37m player but their negotiating stance is simply 'pay the clause or go away'.
Thirdly, with all due respect to Dortmund and Atletico Liverpool are in a different league to their clubs in terms of stature and worldwide fanbase. They have been a sleeping giant for most of my life but this title challenge seems to be re-igniting the club.
I would also add that it is rather interesting to me that as a Utd fan and not being near the top I don't hear too much about dodgy decisions in our favour this season and yet there is a lot of that being directed at Liverpool all of a sudden! I hope those blinkered individuals out there can finally accept that being amongst the best teams in the league inevitably leads to more penalties etc. It also means that more people watch the games on tv as the games are more important. Put simply, controversial moments in Norwich vs Newcastle don't interest people because the title race isn't on the line.
Lastly, if Liverpool end up winning the league after finishing 7th last season can everybody agree that makes Utd favourites next season?
Mark B, MUFC
P.S. doesn't the fact Suarez wasn't sold prove Liverpool are not going to be bullied into selling.
Already Looking Forward To Next Season
I see people are now contemplating what will happen to Liverpool next season - will they sell? will they buy more? Will their squad be able to cope with Europe and the league?
I think the biggest thing you will now find next season is that teams will now park the bus, sit deep and not let you break on them. Then we will see how you go. This is something United, Chelsea and more recently City have had to cope with and maybe the reason Liverpool have been on fire this season is that because teams haven't sat back and defended? thinking that they can go toe to toe with them with the belief they would still win?
Next season is going to be massive! Will United challenge again? How will Jose strengthen? Can Liverpool, Spurs and Everton continue to improve and which superstar will find his way to the premier league?!
Orts (Actually looking forward to the transfer window, dont dissapoint me dithering Dave) MUFC
Defending Moyes. Sort Of
I don't even know why I care about this, but it's irritating me. I keep reading comments/mails about David Moyes being all negative in his interviews and comparing this to Sir Ferg stating that he wanted to knock Liverpool of their perch. Thing is - Moyes is talking now, live in the present. The present in which his team keeps losing, thus stating they will win would make him look mental, since they keep 'not winning'. As far as I'm aware at no point in his first season in charge did Fergie ever state that world domination was his long term plan. I believe he said this in a book. After it happened.
There are many real sticks with which to beat Moyes - please stop using this pretend one.
Moyes out, Wenger out, Sherwood out, Aves out.
Annoyed By Neville
Watching The Arsenal game last night I was surprised to see Gary Neville after the game basically calling Matt Jarvis an idiot for not going down in the box after Sagna's tackle. The fact it came out of the mouth of a no-nonsense, call-it-as-it-is northern defender from one of the great football teams surprised me even more. Years of being duped in Europe has led to even Gary Neville becoming cynical, calling for players to go down in the box when a late tackle comes in ... Even if it is in their nature to stay on their feet.
A player should play on instinct. If he goes down it is because he can't stay on his feet and not because he thinks...Oh, I might get a penalty here. If soccer pundits and managers start suggesting that a player should have hit the ground because of a certain tackle, then football is no longer a "sport" . This behaviour is up there with drug taking and match fixing. It's disgraceful. And if people start giving up on the issue of players intentionally going down under a tackle, the game is lost. I for one will eventually stop watching it.
We have all admired the Suarez's, Ronaldo's and Drogba's. However we have always been disgusted when they have fallen over with a light tap or a stiff breeze. If people start taking the Gary Neville approach of rolling your eyes, shrugging your shoulders and taking the "if you can't beat them...Join them" approach, then football is going down a murky path.
It's a problem that can be easily rectified, however given how slow and archaic the football authorities are to adapt to change (goal line technology etc... ) I cannot see it happening anytime soon. Like in tennis or American football, teams should be given 3 challenges each to dispute a referees decision using a television match official, be it a dive or an off side decision or what have you. If a player is caught diving they should be punished retrospectively. You won't catch all divers, but you will surely cut a huge portion of it out of the game if there is the fear of potentially getting caught.
Neutrals Should Want Liverpool To Win
I agree with Matt Stanger and others' stance that it is irritating to be told what to think, and that there is no moral obligation to want Liverpool specifically to win as a neutral.
I would argue though, that neutrals should generally want a team that finished 7th last season to win the league. This season that is Liverpool. Next season it could be Spurs. Or United.
Liverpool winning could renew a sense of pre-season optimism for supporters of all clubs, that this really could end up being "their year". If City or Chelsea win it's business as usual. Whoever wins deserves it though.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
Just some thoughts on the recurring theme of Liverpool being the 'neutral's favourite:
Perhaps it is because the team consists of a (relatively) large contigent of English players who are likely to feature for (and captain) England at the not-too distant World Cup. Especially as their title rivals offer far fewer English players in their regular starting line-ups.
Having young, English talent winning the league will surely do wonders for not only their own confidence, but also for the belief and confidence of the team heading to Brazil.
Perhaps it's a media ploy to build up expectations for the Three Lions, ultimately using Liverpool's title success (holding thumbs!) to create a positive hype around Roy's men.
Elias (neither neutral nor English, LFC) Johannesburg
Surely if someone were truly "neutral", they wouldn't actually care who wins? The very act of wanting any one team to win over another involves making some sort of subjective choice based on some kernel of relevant information you have at hand i.e. not neutral. For example, I want anyone but Liverpool to win the league, based on the fact I don't really like Liverpool, based on the fact that they beat us in the 2001 cup final and made me cry. Not. Neutral.