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Really enjoyed the Balotelli article. Read it over my morning brew.
I have to agree with the words of Carragher though. Has Ballotelli actually shown this talent we’re all assured is hidden deep within him?
Watching Benteke against Arsenal showed Liverpool fans exactly what Ballotelli could’ve been. Question is did he not achieve these heights because of lack of effort (as we’re constantly told is the case) or is he, in fact, just not that good.
Is the “can’t be bothered” persona hiding the fact that his potential was not reached and his development has all but ceased.
Van Gaal: What?
Is it just me, or is anyone else worried that Louis van Gaal might be going senile?
He says that we need pace and creativity up front, citing the need to replace di Maria who had both those attributes, then proceeds to do a*se all about it while messing around with the Pedro deal to the point where Chelsea signed him.
He says that he wants to sign a striker, “not the one you think”, then backtracks, making out like he didn’t actually say that and he’s already signed a striker in Depay.
Next he says that he will only play a striker behind Rooney in the No. 10 position, then uses Januzaj, Depay and apparently Fellaini in that position, all while insisting we don’t need a striker.
Finally he says that David de Gea won’t be sold to Real Madrid, presumably because he wants to keep him, then leaves him out of every single match.
“I think we can take a leaf out of rugby’s book. They do it really well.” Aaron Ramsey.
See? After all these years our Aaron doesn’t bear any ill will to Stoke.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Defending Ozil On Monday
I wanted to respond to two comments in the mailbox yesterday…
“I thought Ozil was pretty poor except for a 15 minute window in the second half” – Minty, LFC.
“Another disappearing act in a big game from a so-called £42m player” – Stewie Griffin.
There is plenty of ammunition to be critical of the start Arsenal made to the game on Monday, and indeed the start to the season as a whole, but Ozil is not one of them. Here are 5 (not 16) conclusions about Ozil from Monday night…
1) No player had more touches than Ozil on either team.
2) No player made more key passes than Ozil on either team.
3) No player made more accurate crosses than Ozil on either team.
4) No Arsenal player had more successful dribbles than Ozil. Firmino managed one more successful dribble.
5) Of the eight defenders that started the game only Gabriel and Gomez made more tackles than Ozil.
I’m not sure what is worse, the agenda driven racist media or the fact that people allow their minds to be manipulated in such a way, and are unable to formulate their own opinions based upon what they can see with their own eyes.
On The Neymar Rumours
I think you guys are being *a little* too harsh on the transfer rumour-mongers. Take the Neymar transfer.
Here’s how I think it went:
– Neymar and his agent decide they’d like a pay-rise from Barcelona
– Neymar’s agent looks for leverage, so looks around to see who might be splashing the cash
– Man Utd are talking a big game, so he plumps for them. However, knowing that Barcelona are wise to rumours simply leaked to the press, he instead indicates directly to Ed Woodward (or maybe a Man Utd agent) that his client might be interested in a move. Naturally, Utd are interested in Neymar if he’s available
– Woodward/Man Utd agent leak it to friends in the media (i.e. Jamie Jackson in the Guardian); possibly as a way to see whether there’s any truth in it, possibly just to give the impression in the market that they’re willing to make galactico-type signings with other people (Muller?) in mind, possibly they all know it’s rubbish and they’re just doing a free favour to Neymar’s agent to build the relationship for any future transfers
– The Sun just jump on the bandwagon by inventing some vaguely plausible numbers and then adding them up in a completely spurious way to get to a big number
The only fault in all this is: (a) The Sun for the continuing abuse of the word ‘Exclusive’; (b) Any readers stupid enough to think this was for real – though to be fair, it would only be slightly more surprising than transfers like Ozil to Arsenal.
Tim Colyer, London
Taking The Fellaini News Well
I have just read a report on Sky Sports News that LVG thinks Fellaini could be the answer to our Striker problem.
Every day we are experiencing new levels of tw*tishness from this great football club.
Chris Wilkinson MUFC
United’s Reputation Damaging Transfer Policy
Every time Manchester United bid for a player and they don’t sign damages the reputation of the club, how many times have you heard Bayern Munich making a bid for a player this summer?
The Schweinstiger deal was great but then Munich just come out of nowhere and sign Vidal for 12m (or thereabouts). United were linked with a 50 million deal for him only 12 months ago.
All the while Bayern Munich were quietly going about their business getting a deal done the following summer. United need to take a leaf out of the Munich book and go back to identifying players at an early stage. Bidding for Bale and Muller now just reeks of desperation and is just embarrassing.
It’s time to stop making silly bids, If United can’t get the payers, fine, concentrate on the youth development instead of making these ridiculous audacious bids. The club should only enquire about a players availability, if he’s not available just move on.
Losing the Pedro deal to a title rival was also a big mistake and a huge blow to United and their pulling power, this would have never happened in the Fergie – Martin Edwards/David Gill days.
Man U would have been the club coming in and pinching players last minute, making sure he doesn’t go to a top rival.
The club is being dragged through the mud with this current transfer policy. After this window closes the Board should go all out to identify and install an experienced chief executive (maybe one from another European club) who can run the club with a bit of respect. The club needs to re-establish its values and become more of an attractive option for top players.
Chris the Sheep
Wants Five Teams In The CL? Take The Europa Seriously
La Liga will have 5 teams in the group stages thanks to Sevilla winning the Europa league and Valencia beating Arsenals conquerors Monaco over two legs.
My question is why don’t Liverpool and Spurs put more focus on the Europa league? I’ve often heard on this platform how weak laliga is outside the top 2/3 and one mailboxer even went as far as to say Spurs would easily finish 3rd in laliga. Sevilla finished 5th last season so surely Spurs would have walked it had they taken the Europa league ‘seriously’.
If the goal is Champions league football and the Europa league provides a genuine chance to get straight into it, why aren’t the much hyped BPL teams pushing to win it? Its a trophy after all and can be used as a launch pad, via additional revenue and increased attractiveness for new signings, to try and break the long standing hegemony of the top 4 places?
Praise For A Fellow Mailer
Gough, LFC, Dublin wrote in yesterday talking about James Milner and his contribution to Liverpool so far, in particular to their pressing game.
It was a good mail but what I loved most was the bit about the ‘trigger’, the action(s) on the pitch that signal the team to begin harrying. In Liverpool’s case, Gough suggested this was when the ball is passed inside, or when someone takes the ball with their head down.
Such little tidbits of insight and analysis might not hold true, but maybe they will. I know for sure the next time I watch Liverpool I’ll be looking out for it and what’s more it’ll be a more enjoyable experience as a result. And if it’s true I’ll sit back, cross my arms and say, “good job Goughy, good job.”
So much pish goes back and forth these days about transfers and clubs being big or not and manager’s needing sacked after 2 games of a season and it gets so tedious at times. But the wee pieces of tactical insight and analysis that sneak through are a real treat.
It was like when Guardiola’s Barcelona were brushing aside everything in their path and someone told me about the six second rule, whereby every time Barca ceded possession they had 6 seconds to harry, press and try to gain it back. If they didn’t get the ball back within the 6 seconds, they’d retreat to a compact bank of 10 players and suffocate any chance of a counter-attack.
It meant the next few times I watched Barca I was counting along every time and two things struck me: 1) they were incredibly good at getting the ball back within 6 seconds and 2) either everyone was counting or it was someone’s designated responsibility to count and command the team – either way they must have drilled it so hard so many times on the training pitch.
So, basically, it’s nice to read something a wee bit different in this bloody rumour period. All fart and no shite with the majority of media. F365, you soar above them like a proud eagle.
Does anyone have any other similar little treats and insights to share?
Doug (also go for 6 seconds) Glasgow