Keep the emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Tuesday’s Champions League round-up
* Look Utd were never going to lose 7 -0 at home so everything just felt like a bonus if there was one thing I would have wanted more it was more rest for Valencia with probably Tuanzebe getting a start.Hopefully Lukaku and Rashford gain confidence from their goals and Shaw get’s confidence from his start he does need to improve his defending a little though.
Pogba needs to also cut out the fouls.To paraphrase from one of my favourite shows Justified someone once said “if you keep getting taken to the principals office for biting your classmates you get labeled a biter .Two potential leg breakers in two games is a bad look it needs to stop before he becomes associated with it like Ramos and red cards
* How sh*t have Benfica been I mean really no points after six games two years after almost making the semis shame on you.How weird is it that Basel have 12 points though they do like being grouped with utd
* Well PSG blew their chance to make everyone sit up and take notice to be fair Bayern aren’t suddenly a bunch of mugs but this was a chance to lay down a marker .A few teams will be a bit less scared .
*Congrats to Celtic for winning the quickest one legged man race for third in this group I guess still having European football for early next year can be termed progress but eventually they need to be more of a threat at this level
* So Chelsea are the first of the English teams to fail to top their group the impact might be insignificant if Liverpool follow suit then Chelsea will have as much chance of meeting a team they’d be favourites against as Utd/City .For Atletico there’s an air of inevitability to their exit their better of regrouping and trying to win Europa it’s been a helluva of a run.
* Well played Roma they tend to yo yo between the competitions and were the team that would have been a safe bet fro the Europa spot so it’s a great surprise that they have topped their group .In the end this is turning into an alright season as despite losing strong characters in Spaletti and Totti they are still in the title race and the champions league.
* Juve are just going under the radar aren’t they.They are back in the title fight and now into the knockout rounds of the champions league .After being finalists last year you’d expect more people to tip them especially with some of the offensive acquisitions but that may just suit their purposes.
* When Barca prepare their shopping list they need to include a replacement/understudy for Luis Suarez.Like Ronaldo the years seem to be catching up with him and he’s less clinical than he used to be that being said it was nice to see that Jeremy Matheiu hasn’t stopped being a calamity or still loves Barca cause that own goal was class.
Unofficial weekly awards
The Unofficial Awards, in association with Don’t Take Them Seriously, are here:
Premier League Player of the Week – David de Gea
Heroics and mistakes by goalkeepers tend to be polarised in a way that doesn’t apply to their outfield colleagues. While Manchester United attacked superbly, the efforts of de Gea to preserve his team’s lead were incredible. With each save, you could see more wind coming out of the Arsenal’s sails, which had to be a factor in Manchester United’s victory.
European Player of the Week – Alberto Brignoli
From a goalkeeper making a big contribution at one end, to another making just as big an impact at the other. Benevento secured their first point of the season thanks to a stoppage time header from Brignoli that many forwards would be proud of.
Football League Player of the Week – Ollie Watkins
The Brentford midfielder had a goal and an assist in the Bees’ win over Fulham, and was enough of a threat to induce an opposing defender into a foul worthy of a second yellow card.
Best Goal – Roberto Firmino
His second goal, and Liverpool’s third, was a tremendous counterattack instigated by a Simon Mignolet save, before Liverpool carved Brighton apart.
Best Pass – Aaron Ramsey
Laying off the ball to Alexandre Lacazette, with apologies to the chip in from Alexis Sanchez
Best Save – Bartosz Bialkowski
Towards the end of Ipswich Town’s 4-2 win over Nottingham Forest, the Polish goalkeeper made a superb diving reaction save to claw the ball away and thwart all hope of a comeback for the visitors.
Best Tactical Move – Jurgen Klopp
Only at Liverpool could a lack of recognised centre-backs be a boost to the defence. Emre Can has been a ball-playing defender previously, and Georginio Wijnaldum didn’t want to repeat the experiment in a hurry, but it certainly worked this time.
Worst Tactical Move – Paul Clement
Swansea are joint worst in goals scored this season, finding the net just 8 times in six different games. They are bottom of the league and bottom in shots. As Wayne Gretzky supposedly once said “you don’t score 100% of the shots you don’t take”; making more sense, forwards don’t worry about goals drying up as much as they worry about chances drying up. City simply aren’t creating enough chances to win games at the moment, even though they were playing an uninspiring Stoke City
Premier League Loanee of the Week – Callum Connolly
One of two Everton loanees to score in Ipswich v Nottingham Forest, but Connolly gets the nod over the impressive Kieran Dowell by virtue of being on the winning side, and because he hasn’t already featured this season.
Dick Move – Mark Clattenburg
Revealing to the Men in Blazers podcast that he interpreted the laws during Tottenham v Chelsea to allow for “pure theatre” as Hotspur self-destructed, he proceeded to cast doubts over his entire refereeing career and give licence to conspiracy theorists everywhere to question every refereeing decision by everyone. By taking action to avoid being the centre of attention, he then became exactly that, something a lot of us suspect he wanted all along.
Pundit of the Week – David Preece
It’s goalie week. He was on the Totally Football Show, and very good.
Inevitable Managerial Decision of the Week – Hull City
Leonid Slutsky has been expressing his surprise at not being sacked in recent weeks, before he left by mutual consent.
Semantics of the Week – Brighton
Brighton & Hove Albion’s Twitter – “Coutinho shot deflects off Lewis Dunk”.
Everyone else – “Lewis Dunk has scored another own goal”.
Award of the Week – F365
Online Media of the Year at the FSF Awards. Congratulations everyone.
Mailboxer of the Week – Beefy
Last Friday, for being a Manchester United fan bemoaning Liverpool fans expressing admiration for Manchester City, combining a bitterness towards both his team’s main rivals and an obvious jealousy it wasn’t about his team.
Dembele of the Week – Siramana Dembele
Assistant coach of Porto, who sit top of the league after a 0-0 with Benfica. Currently second in their Champions League group, they can reach the knockout phase if they have a better result against Monaco than Lawn Ball Sport Leipzig do against top-and-staying-there Besiktas. At the very least, the Europa League beckons for Sergio Conceicao’s men (imagine a late-90s fantasy team with Conceicao, Georgi Kinkladze and Steve McManaman).
Compiler of the Week – Ed Quoththeraven
Is it just me…
I’m sure I can’t be the only person watching who was annoyed that 4 highly regarded ex-pros who now make a living by analysing football matches, and seemingly at least one current pro in the form of Juan Mata didn’t know the offside rule.
As far as I’m aware this isn’t a recent rule change as is being made out by the likes of Lineker to cover their ignorance. I can find references to similar situations from 2008.
Its simple, if the player has gone off with the referee’s permission in such a way that he would need the referee’s permission to come back on, then he doesn’t count. If he’s just slid off the pitch making a tackle then he’s deemed to still be part of play and stood on the goal line. Its been part of the rules for at least a decade and was the subject of much discussion following an incident at the World Cup in 2008. Its also always been the case that defenders nowhere near play and incapable of affecting it can play a player onside. That any of this could come as a suprise to ex-players at the level of those in the BT studio is ridiculous, especially as one was a striker (and a goal-hanging poacher at that) and one a central defender who you might think would know the law inside out as it it one of the most important laws of the game for their positions.
Also, whilst I’m bitching about Lineker et. al. what was all the guff about Rashford and composure. His first half shot that came off the post was well taken and was about 1cm away from where it needed to be, had it been ever so slightly to the left, its going in off the post. A miss is still a miss, and clearly Rashford could have placed it better and scored, but the way Gerrard, Ferdinand and the rest were going on you’d think he’d got one-on-one in the middle of the goal then shot 5 yards wide.
Love and hate
As is now seemingly de rigueur I wish to declare my undying, long term, unrequited love for all things F365 for well far too long actually…(about 2004 saw the loss of my Football365 virginity..)
However over the wonderful years I have had a gripe.. This may be because I am old, this may just be because I am a miserable sod.. but printed Mails, short or in this case very bloody long indeed, that take up valuable space in the marvelous lunacy of what is the daily double MailBoxand all its kneejerking, we are better, best, great, worst of all time on any given day / time / performance / season etc etc that are dedicated to Football F*****G Manager or ‘my team on Playbox online dotcom’ .. DOES MY BLEEDING HEAD IN…
People seem to think that it has a relevance in the real world.. or that anyone gives a flying f**k about players X’s stats or performance on a computer game..
ITS JUST A GAME CHILDREN.. ITS NOT REAL… (David Luiz wasnt really controlled by a kid in the stands….Gary was ‘jus messin widja’)
Sorry as Im sure 1 or all of you fall into this boat, but it just drives me crazy. utterly so.
I love everything else you do quite frankly, Mediawatch has been a particular fave for a long time (I haven’t purchased a ‘news’paper since I was 22 – I am 45 now)
Thank you very much for all your hard work and for giving me a platform to rant about nonsense.
Keep up the rest of the great work
Al LFC (Miserable old git) Err.. Klopps teeth…. better than Firminos ‘Ross Gellers’ You decide..
amongst all the ridiculous things that happen in football on a weekly basis,
Celtic “qualifying” for the Eurpoa League last night has to be high on the list.
With a goal difference of -13, and 5 defeats in 6 games, they were marginally the least worst team in their group, and possibly the tournament.
They were beaten 7-1 and 5-0 by PSG, home and away by Bayern, and even managed to lose last night to the team they beat in the away tie.
Overall they conceded 18 goals in 6 games and their reward is to play European Football after Christmas!!
No matter what way you slice it, this is nonsense.
Surely it’s time to either scrap this idea that finishing 3rd in your CL group is enough for a Europa League place, or if there really is a need to persist, then make it the 4 best performing 3rd place teams.
It makes a mockery of the Europa League (stop laughing), and in some ways is demeaning the Champions League group stages.
In reality, after beating Anderlecht in the away tie 3-0 in their second group game, they knew all they had to do was not get beaten 4-0 at home by the same team in order to qualify.
I am probably angrier about this than I should be but I am also in the school of thought that the Champions League should be for teams that finish no lower than 1st in their domestic league, and the Europa League for 2nd and 3rd, but really, Celtic had their chance, were soundly beaten, that should be the end of the road for them.
Finally, there is a lot to be said for bringing back the Cup Winners Cup.
We LOVE a world class debate
Manc in SA asks if Pogba is World Class. For me, (Clive) not yet. He’s decent but is capable of brain farts, he should score more goals and his defensive side needs work. Just an example off the top of my head was when Utd played Liverpool at home last season, he was shocking that day.
Also, below are the his ratings for the two biggest games of his career to date, The Champions League Final and the final of The Euros.
Champions League Final:
Pogba 5 – Booked. A frustrating afternoon for the Frenchman, whose struggles to impose himself on the game, brought clumsiness in his tackles. (The Mirror)
Pogba 6.5 – Overall, didn’t live up to the hype against Barcelona’s experienced midfield. (Foxsport Sorry!)
Pogba 6 – Disappointed on the big stage against the team he would like to play for when he leaves Juventus.
Pogba 6 – He didn’t really drive forward. It was a very surprising performance from the Juventus midfielder. (Sky Sports)
Pogba 5 – Is he really worth £100million? Hard to tell on this evidence. Booked. (The Mirror)
Pogba 6 – Solid, rather than spectacular – he did not take the game by the scruff of the neck in the way a £100m-rated player might. (BBC)
He should be having a bigger influence in these huge matches, that’s what real World Class central midfielders do.
Jimmy (Can’t beat Crimbo football) Spain
Whilst I certainly don’t agree with Souness, I can understand the debate about Pogba. He’s so important for United, and without him they struggle (Sunday Bloody Sunday), but would I take him above Modric for example?
Probably not. Me and some friends were discussing the term world class after Rooney’s hat trick last week, and whether or not he would meet the criteria. I’ve long subscribed to the idea that he is capable of such lofty heights but not of the consistent level of Ronaldo and co. Hence why he is probably not discussed in those same conversations. Not once did Pogba come up, even with a Manc in the room. Modric, Inesta, even DeBruyne.
I can see his importance to United, and how bloody good he can be, but I wouldn’t consider him a great, at least just yet.
Jon (he’s no Sissoko), Spurs
Southampton’s training centre and education
How do? Congrats on the award!
I’m a teacher with a year 8 tutor group. One of my pupils is currently on the books for Southampton’s academy. He has one day out a week, and I finally got the chance to visit and have a look around this morning.
Firstly, as someone who doesn’t work in football yet bloody loves it, it was incredible to see the facilities and how high quality and professional absolutely everything is, from the GPS and heart rate tracking bibs to the kit room to the boot steamer (?). We saw the kitchens, the changing rooms, all these remarkable things that the players, from first team to U11s have access to.
What impressed me most, however, was the commitment to these pupils’ education. Each year group had a different classroom with individual computers, and trained staff offering these kids almost one-to-one tuition during the sessions. The emphasis placed on the life off the pitch, using psychologists every day to deal with things like losing matches all the way to home issues was so heartening. Every student (I don’t just want to call them ‘academy players’, because it seemed so much more than that) said ‘Hello’ to my colleague and I as we walked around, and shook hands with us too (there were plenty of hand-sanitiser stations near where the younger kids were playing!), demonstrating Saints’ commitment to developing these kids as people as well as football players. They’re encouraged to complete further education from the moment they enter the academy, continually developing that culture of high aspirations. Their attitude charter adorns at least every other wall.
The boys clearly love it there. It’s a category one academy, and they do make it clear to the boys that not every academy is like this; indeed, some of the coaches say ‘these kids don’t know how lucky they are’, but it’s a little unfair to expect that of a 16-year old when this is all they’ve known from the age of 8. Southampton, and its surrounding boroughs, is fairly affluent and thus they mentioned that there were very few behaviour problems because the kids know that, if they do mess up, they’re out. The depth of knowledge that our guide had about every single child as we walked around and saw various age groups was astonishing. She could tell us their names, where they come from, and most impressively, their exam results to the letter. If the kids don’t achieve, they are made to take functional skills, ensuring that, if they don’t make it, they still are able to cope in modern society.
If you’re familiar with Staplewood, as you drive past it you cannot miss the inflatable ‘dome’ which sits proudly on the edge of the site. It is a fully air-conditioned indoor pitch which can imitate weather effects to vary training. Just stepping into it makes your ears pop! Then there are multiple league-quality grass pitches and synthetic pitches for the players. The whole experience really made me feel good about our beautiful game. Even the players that don’t make it have a succession plan, and the club helps them arrange trials, transport, accommodation etc. I also asked about mental health and the ‘lad’ culture, to which our guide said that, although still prevalent, is starting to soften. I’m sure everyone would agree that that’s a good thing.
Overall, it was a brilliant experience. My pupil was clearly made up when he saw that we’d arranged to visit him, thus not making it ‘out of sight, out of mind’. The youngsters still have to clean the first team’s boots too; it’s good to see that some traditions never change!
Oh, and I got to have a chat with Kelvin Davies. Happy days.
Ten worst players in the top six
What is the point of James, LFC’s email? He claims the list of the ten worst players in the top 6 is bogus, does a pretty bad job at explaining why, then gives off ten random names without explanation.
Firstly, it is the top ten players in the top six of the season. So previous form does not come into play. Alli’s inclusion is valid. He may Tottenham’s second top scorer, but that is 3 goals in the premier league and 2 in the champions league. He was also a ghost in many games this year. Same goes for Luiz, whose form has drastically decreased.
I would argue as well that Dier might not deserve to be there, but again this is an opinion piece substantiated by their reasoning.
Secondly, as for his list, maybe being a liverpool fan has given him Kloppitis, the inability to properly judge defenders. Only reason i can see both Koscielny and Monreal there. Going by his logic (I think Alli and Luiz have had more than a few bad games) he claims we shouldn’t target Alli and Luiz because they had a few bad game, which is exactly why he would pick Koscielny and Monreal.
Koscielny missed the first two games were Arsenal conceded 4 goals. Since he has been back, Arsenal have looked a lot more solid at the back, and while he has not been as exceptional as last year, he is still does the job. And Monreal has been one of our better players this year. As for Coquelin?!? He has played very few games. He was bad against City in central defense, but has been pretty decent when coming on as a sub, like against Spurs.
Fellaini has also been an important figure for United.
His list might have been valid for this season, maybe he is just stuck in the past?
I dont think F365 need to do another list properly, looks fine to me
We need to talk about Mediawatch
I have to take serious issue with Mediawatch over its headline story on Tuesday.
Was that meant to be sarcasm? Some kind of pastiche? Because it’s fairly indisputable that Lampard and Drogba are far more iconic players than Silva and Aguero.
Can you name me one iconic goal that David Silva has scored? Even one iconic moment. In my opinion, he’s generally lovely to watch, but I can’t think of any key moments involving him. He’s just there, flitting between the lines doing his best Steven Ireland impression with his failed hair plugs.
Obviously Aguero has a fantastic goal rate, and is responsible for a truly historic title win, but that’s pretty much it. One iconic moment between the pair, then.
Lamps is the all time top Chelsea goalscorer. Runner up in the World Player of the Year and Premier League, writers’ and fans’ player of the year in 2005. Triple premier league winner. Champions League winner. The only premier league midfielder with over 200 goals. 20+ goals in 5 consecutive seasons. How many times did he drag Chelsea through a game, scoring in the last minute?
Lamps puts Silva so far in the shade that he might as well be invisible. When you look back in 20 years time, few will remember Silva. He’s not even the best midfielder in his team’s two man midfield.
Let’s move on to Drogba. Remember that the man stopped a civil war. He scored not only an equalising last minute goal against Bayern in the Champion’s League final in their own ground, but then the winning penalty. 10 goals in 10 finals to win 10 trophies.
Is Aguero a better goalscorer than Drogba? Undoubtedly. But we’re looking at icons. Lampard and Drogba defined the attacking midfielder and target man positions.
So in summary guys, maybe get whoever compiled that hilarious Mediawatch to cool off for a few days, okay?