Chelsea, your moment in the sun is ending soon…

Date published: Thursday 25th January 2018 9:54

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Christensen shows value of promoting from within
Completely agree with Daniel Storey about Loftus-Cheek and Chalobah being no worse than some of Conte’s signings. Their best ‘new’ player this season has easily been Andreas Christensen who has finally been given a chance after a promising loan spell and youth career.

Chelsea get to the final of the FA Youth Cup nearly every season and often win the youth league too. Whilst some players will not be good enough for the top there are definitely some players they could have promoted this season – e.g. Loftus-Cheek, Lewis Baker, Ola Aina, Tomas Kalas, Dominic Solanke and Tammy Abraham. In the case of the strikers they are more than capable squad players who would be better than Ashley Barnes, Peter Crouch or Andy Carroll!
Joe, Midlands

 

Crowing from an Arsenal fan
It’s not our fault you can’t build your new stadium due to one of your next door neighbours.

It’s not our fault even if you do build the thing, you’ll be reliant on corporate fans to fill the place.

It’s not our fault your success is bound up with just one man.

It’s not our fault you think football started in 2005 but your moment in the sun is coming to an end.

It’s not our fault your cretinous ex-captain finished his career defeated at Wembley – oh no wait – that one last one is – ah ha ha ha ha!
Graham Simons, Gooner, (We’re the famous Arsenal and we’re going to Wembley), Norf London

 

Well done Wenger
If the right signings can be completed before the January transfer window ends, Arsenal can make top four. That was tactical genius. Did Arsene Wenger purposely tell the players to give the ball away in the first half and conserve their energy for the second half knowing Chelsea would be knackered. Stupid it sounds, but even a genius asks questions.
AFC

 

It’s on!
The Mourinho Treble is still on!
Adonis (I love Nacho) Stevenson, AFC

 

Enjoying the away goals format thing
I’m maybe out of the loop here but how long has it been the case that away goals only count once a game has gone to extra time? (As was the case with the League Cup today).

I like this. It means away goals don’t totally dictate a game, as when Chelsea scored it didn’t mean Arsenal had to score twice in regular time. Though if at the end of extra time both teams are equal (after 210 minutes of football) then the team that managed to score away from home go through, avoiding the penalty lottery. Even though it means that a stalemate benefits the away team, I’m all for encouraging attacking away from home which would come in the extra time period.

I don’t know where I’m going with this, I just got surprised by the format and then formatted my favourable thoughts on the format.
George (got me thinking about something other than transfers) AFC, Wellington, NZ


Remembering when football was good

In response to Barnet Steve, the time I loved football the most was late 90’s early 2000’s. I admit as an Arsenal supporter the fact we were excellent then may have something to do with it but I preferred the sport as a whole in general a lot more then.

Reasons being, the Premier Keague had well taken off by then yet it wasn’t “quite” the all consuming monster it would turn out to be. International football felt like it wasn’t always an irritating distraction but I actually felt a connection with that team.

But I think the main thing for me was, all the best players in the world weren’t shoehorned into three or four teams. For example, in the 1999/2000 season Oliver Kahn, Lilian Thuram, Patrick Vieira, Alessandro Nesta, Mendieta, Gabriel Batistuta, Luis Figo, Zidane, David Beckham, Raul and Andriy Shevchenko were all absolute world-class players and they all played at different clubs. Nowadays a team of the year is 90% Real Madrid and Barcelona and it has gotten very dull.
Dave (Arsenal) Herts

 

Make football about goal difference
I was having a discussion with a friend the other day about how to make football exciting to watch again and he suggested doing away with the points system and just doing league tables based on goal difference. I totally dismissed it out of hand but now thinking about it I thought it does make some sense. Basically it encourages teams to keep going for goals but also keeping the defence tight which is how football should be. I then wondered what the current table would look like and if it changes anything majorly.

Man City – +52
Man Utd – +33
Chelsea – +29
Liverpool – +25
Spurs – +25
Arsenal – +14
Leicester – +4
Burnley – -2
Watford – -11
B’mouth – -11
Soton – -11
West Ham – -12
N’castle – -12
West Brom – -12
Everton – -13
Palace – -15
Brighton – -16
Swansea – -20
H’sfield – -22
Stoke – -25

So the first thing I discovered is how surprising it is that only seven teams are in +goal difference and 1 of these teams just about. Burnley in 8th with negative goal difference seems a bit rubbish. So the top 8 doesn’t change at all but it’s below them that things start to change. Everton drop from 9th in the real table to 15th in this one. Southampton jump up from 18th and in the relegation zone to 11th and West Brom also get themselves out of the relegation zone. Finally things are terrible for Stoke who at this point would need to overturn a nine-goal deficit just to get out of the relegation zone.

Just out of interest I wondered also if this would mean any different Premier League winners down the years…

94-95 – Manchester United would have won the first three Premierships in a row with the Blackburn league win not happening.

96-97 – Manchester United’s five-year title dominance ends with Kenny Dalglish’s Newcastle taking the title by one goal!

97-98 – Manchester United are back in business with a 13-goal margin, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal finishes runners up.

02-03 – Arsenal win their second league title in a row with a three-goal margin over runners up Manchester United.

08-09 – Liverpool end their title drought with a six-goal advantage. Manchester United and Chelsea have a play-off to decide the runners-up placing due to having identical goal difference.

14-15 – Despite Mourinho’s best efforts, Man City win the title for the second year in a row.

15-16 – Leicester miraculously finish third behind runners up Man City and the newly crowned champions, Tottenham.

16-17 – Tottenham start to create dominance in England with their second title in a row.

So in conclusion it doesn’t change a great deal but eight seasons out of 25 see different champions. I do kind of like the idea.
Bradley Kirrage

 

Defending Neville appointment, if not Neville himself
I think there are plenty of reasons to criticise Phil Neville’s apointment, but Wilf (I can’t even stand how he speaks), York misses the mark, I think, when he says that he has as much “girls’ football” knowledge as Phil Neville. Neville has a UEFA pro-licence – a pre-requisite for management at elite level, regarded by the FA as International, Premier League, Football League and the FA Women’s Super League. He has also been a coach in the England U21 set up as well as at United and Valencia. Now, he may or may not be a good coach – I have no idea, but to criticise him as unqualified from that point of view seems unfair.

It’s also important to note that, as there are plenty of women players lining up to criticise him, there are plenty in support of him (Rachel Brown-Finnis, for example gives a defence of the appointment on the BBC). And from a profile point of view, the women’s game now has an ex-pro who was consistently playing for the one of the Premier League’s best ever sides, an England regular and serial trophy winner. That alone could be a massive influence in the decision to appoint him.

It’s also not as if unqualified men are not given plum jobs in the men’s game, either: Giggs at Wales, Hughes at Wales, G Neville at Valencia, Shearer at Newcastle, hell, Kenny Dalglish had never managed before taking over at Liverpool! – so it’s not a unique situation for ex-pros at elite level, be it in the men’s or women’s game.

Finally, I think we need to be very careful about saying that a man is less qualified to work in the women’s game due to his sex. I’m pretty sure we’ve been fighting for a long time to rid the game of the idea that women can’t work in the men’s game. I’d like to think that if a successful female WSL manager moved into management in the men’s game, we wouldn’t be bemoaning her lack of experience there. It’s a fine line.

Overall, I’m not defending Phil (good God no, that would make me feel dirty), and I actually don’t think it’s the right appointment (even without his tweets), but I think a lot of the criticism is misdirected and unhelpful.
Rich

 

The big question
With his appointment at England women’s national football team, does he go to being no. 50 on the female football ladder???
Gaurav, MUFC

 

Some UEFA Nations League excitement
The UEFA Nations League has drawn mostly yawns and bewilderment, but looking at the groups, it might actually be a breath of fresh air. For some time now the various European qualifying groups have been a sure thing for some teams and a no-chance for others, with a lot of noncompetitive matches. The expansion of the Euros from 16 to 24 hasn’t helped a lot, because although mid-level teams are now in the hunt, it’s easier than ever for the top teams. But these groups are all fairly evenly matched, and if the countries take it seriously (a big if, I admit), it should be an enjoyable competition.

Given that the club game is becoming more and more unbalanced, this can only be a good thing. Who knows? Maybe it’ll help international football get a little of its mojo back.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (and maybe not – but I’ll be watching)

 

…I have to admit, I’m actually quite enjoying the upcoming Nations League.

The basic concept is surely one most football fans can agree with – a league and play-off system to determine who the top teams are. The promotion and relegation part adds real meaning to each game, and the prospect of being crowned league champion of Europe should certainly appeal.

The problems seem to be in the execution. It would have been better to have not added in the Euro 2020 qualification element, as this just looks messy. Having it as a completely standalone competition would have made more sense.

And the three-team groups are asking for trouble. Imagine being relegated because you are not playing in the last round of matches, and the other two teams play out a mutually convenient result.

Overall though, it should be good. Anyone who isn’t looking forward to the Germany-France-Nethlands group needs to have a look at themselves. And the best bit is that one of those three will end up being relegated to the second division of European football!
Michael, Basel

 

But it does have flaws…
I can’t have been the only person who watched the draw for the inaugural UEFA Nations League having only learnt of its existence a few hour prior? By which I mean, sorry if this mail has already been written some months earlier by someone with their finger actually on the pulse. Anyway, having read about it through F365, I was intrigued by the whole setup, I like it, the idea of international teams playing teams of their level is an interesting development with some cracking groups, especially in League A.

However, there needs to be changes, the whole idea of being able to qualify for Euro 2020 is surely a huge error they’ll need to rectify? The winners of League D qualifying? Really? Azerbaijan are the current top ranked team in that league, the Faroe Islands are 7th out of 16th so surely stand a chance, and people thought Euro 2016’s standard was diluted.

Also, surely UEFA can see what’s going to happen? Here’s an example:

Game 1: Denmark 5-0 Republic of Ireland

Game 2: Denmark 5-0 Wales

Game 3: Wales 0-0 Republic of Ireland

(I don’t actually know the fixtures for this group, but you get the picture.)

After this set of circumstances, surely Wales and the Republic of Ireland would suddenly be giving international debuts to 40 year old amateur players they’ve found on Twitter? I mean, if you can qualify from any league, you may as well make it as easy as possible for yourself next time by getting relegated once you can’t realistically qualify anymore. Especially if four teams are coming down from league A, it’s only going to be harder next time around. Which is another point, why are a third of League A teams coming down anyway? You wouldn’t relegate six or seven teams from a league of 20.

In conclusion, I like the idea of tiered international leagues (smaller teams will still get to play stronger sides in the actual qualifying), and this could be a lot of fun with promotion and relegation, but I can’t imagine it’ll stay in its current format for very long.

Still, beats international friendlies.
Mike (AVFC), London

 

On time and Frank Lampard
I always think that I found this fine website a couple of years ago.

However reading Ed Quoththeraven ‘1% Frank Lampard’ gag made me realise I’ve been reading this website for 10 f*****g years.

I need a pint.
Danny (I need several)

Johnny Nic: Is Formula One sexist? (PlanetF1)


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