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Europa League Winners and Losers
They are almost there taking advantage of the slow starts for Everton and Lyon. One win in the next three games will extend their stay in Europe after 26 years away.
They just seem very comfortable in this competition. They still have a 100% record despite using players casual arsenal fans couldn’t pick out of a line-up, will get to the next round while wearing a robe holding a pipe and with bathroom slippers on at this rate. Win their next match and the words mental strength will make a return
Topping their group (in which there are teams from Germany Portugal and Turkey) at the halfway stage.
FCSB, Lazio and Zenit
The other three teams with 100 % records
Finally a first win. They may still achieve their dream of playing in the final, which they will host.
Ostersund and Zorya
For flipping the script in Group J. Both would have been expected to prop up the group before a ball was kicked in a group with Hertha Berlin and regulars Athletic Bilbao but the debutants Ostersund have 7 points and Zorya, who propped up their group last year, have now recorded two away wins. Not a bad effort.
Portuguese Clubs and Managers
In both competitions this week they played five games they lost all of them. They had seven managers in both cups; only Jose won.
It was meant to be easier. They spent a truck load of money, bought players that looked like sensible additions and had the carrot of knowing they had two chances of getting to the champions league including an additional spot for Italy in next year.
Instead they are 10th in the league and their results in Europa have been awful.People aren’t going to be as scared of them as the group stage rolls up
They had a stellar season last year but haven’t started so far well this season and their debut Europa campaign looks like it’s all but over. They will need a miracle in the the second half of the group stage to stick around
For being one of only two teams without a point in the Europa group stage so far. Then again, they only have a point more than that in the bundesliga
For being the worst team overall. No points, one goal scored, 14 conceded.
Timi, Man U fc
Big Weekend’s little brother
Okay, no one expects Burnley to get a result at the Etihad. But no one expected it during the holiday season in 2014 when matches were piling up, and the Clarets came away with a 2-2 draw. This is a much stronger City, but a much stronger Burnley as well. Plus, the home side faced a hard match midweek while the visitors had normal training. With Sergio Aguero fit again, will it be one striker or two against a packed defence? Burnley’s centre-halves usually stay put, so we’ll see how the rest of the side handle the movement of Gabriel Jesus and/or Sergio Aguero.
Burnley’s biggest problem here is their lack of pace, which will make counterattacking more difficult. But I wouldn’t bet against Steven Defour springing someone loose at some point during the match. Still, Robbie Brady’s set pieces figure to be the Clarets’ best chance, and he’s found a man on over 50% of his corner kicks.
Stat: In a mere eight games, Manchester City have completed over 2000 passes more than Burnley have even attempted.
Just about everyone is getting tonked by Man City these days, but the mood at Stoke has been so iffy that Peter Coates asked for some perspective from the fans, and got an earful in return. So it would behoove the Potters to start winning now, since they have only one top-half opponent (Watford) in their next five fixtures.
Bournemouth also have a fairly gentle run coming up, and need points even more badly. After sitting back against Spurs, the Cherries should come out pressing, as they did in this fixture last year on the way to winning what is politely called “an ill-tempered match.” Assuming Stoke stay with three at the back—not at all certain with Kevin Wimmer’s poor form—Bournemouth will use their natural wing attack to double up on Stoke’s wingbacks. But the Potters have to feel they can make inroads against Bournemouth’s defence with Xherdan Shaqiri pulling the strings.
Stat: Bournemouth have taken only 10 headed shots, lowest in the league. They’re also one of only four teams yet to score a headed goal.
Swansea City-Leicester City
Tuesday was “alas, poor Yorick” day for Craig Shakespeare, but while this game now takes on a different complexion, I’d be surprised if the Foxes get any kind of immediate bump from the move. Interim manager Michael Appleton isn’t likely to change things drastically, at least at first. More interesting is whether Swansea will take an untypically aggressive approach against a side that concedes a lot of goals.
The Swans will probably stick with the 4-3-3 that did the job against Huddersfield, so we’ll see if Luciano Narsingh can put together two good games in a row. Vicente Iborra isn’t up to speed yet as Wilfred Ndidi’s partner in midfield, so that may remain a weakness for Leicester. Against West Brom, Jamie Vardy so embarrassed Ahmed Hegazi that he was quickly shifted out of the firing line, but Federico Fernández, in good form, should prove more difficult.
Stat: Despite both being low-possession teams, Leicester and Swansea are 17th and 18th in interceptions.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (“I warrant you, coach after coach”–The Merry Wives of Windsor)
What the f*ck is going on at Everton?
But seriously I mean what the actual hell? The only positive I can see from that game is that is wasn’t quite as bad as we’ve played in previous games this season.
But honestly… Could we have tried any harder to live up to the stereotypical English team whose only aim is to kick the living **** out of our more skilful, more organised, more cultured European guests. It was embarrassing watching Ashley Williams lose control and I’m actually sorry that he scored as if that was some kind of cosmic vindication for his behaviour. It. Was. Not.
There is raw talent there. Vlasic and Lookman obviously have the skill. But they’re too young and inexperienced. They would flourish in a settled team where they could take chances, express themselves and know that there’s a solid rearguard just waiting to mop up the pieces. Instead they’re inserted into chaos and disorganisation. Sigurdsson was class but it just looks like the players have never really played together before or know what they’re supposed to be doing.
The defence was a shambles. I was surprised Lyon didn’t create more clear cut chances as we did our utmost to hand them possession in dangerous positions. Then seemingly the defenders all played a game of who can be the furthest away from where they’re meant to be in order to effectively stop the attack.
I hate saying it but I think that Koeman has to go. Not because I think he’s a bad manager or even that he couldn’t turn it round given time and a real striker. I just think it’s inevitable now. Who replaces him… and more importantly who’s going to actually score some goals… I don’t know. But something needs to happen quickly because I really don’t want the season to be over before Christmas.
Wilshere played really well
Whilst I agree with Matt Stead’s assessment of Theo, I think he was quite dismissive of Jack Wilshere’s performance against a team that were trying to foul every time a player went past them.
He was head and shoulders above the rest of our team and his role in the goal was pretty special. Arsenal (and England) don’t have a player who can pick the ball up in the middle of the pitch and beat 2 or 3 so effortlessly that is looks easy.
There is not too much you can read from a game like that other than Jack deserves to be in Arsenal’s first team. I would take him over Ozil, Xhaka or Ramsay on current form.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
Surely Klopp has to drop Henderson for Tottenham?
Yes, Maribor are definitely not Spurs. Yes the game will be completely different and yes conclusions from one game cannot be applied to the next easily. However there cannot be a single football fan who actually believes Klopp will give Milner the nod over Henderson. There cannot be a single football fan expecting Can to be in the holding role. Don’t even get me started on Robertson not getting a place in the team.
I am definitely not against Klopp. He’s a great manager and I truly believe he is the best manager we are likely to get for years to come. Sticking with him is the right move but I do find his stubbornness is frustrating to say the least. I desperately want to be proven wrong and see Milner, and Gini flanking Can in the MF three. I can’t wait to see Coutinho, Salah and Firmino line up in the front three and most likely be replaced as the game progresses beyond 75 minutes (save those legs we can’t be without these guys especially in the absence of Mane and Lallana).
Sadly there is little expectation that this will happen. Klopp seems to have a very clear idea on who his favoured first 11 are and it’ll take something close to a miracle to change his mind. When it all clicks we look unstoppable, when it doesn’t the reaction is laboured.
Martin (it’ll be a cracking game ) Jackson
What on earth were Everton fans playing at?
I wrote when Ronnie Moran passed away that I was glad that the next match was against Everton because they have the most respectful fans in the league. Boy have they proved me wrong since.
Last night was the cherry on the cake. I would draw particular attention to the fella swinging a punch at a Lyon player while holding a toddler.
What goes through your head as you leave your seat, carrying (presumably) your child, to physically assault a player? He then did a cracking version of the ‘hold me back, hold me back’ ritual.
Everton are falling apart as the seams, we get that, but have a word with yourselves.
Micki ‘reminded me of Begbie and his son in T2’ Attridge
Swapping Alli for Mkhitaryan
I read Dave, Ireland’s mail with interest – where he started off moaning about Mikitaryan. I drew very similar parallels with Dele Alli’s horrendous form this season and how the Spurs team could be adjusted in a way that is not unlike his suggestions for Man U.
So, for what it’s worth, I’ve copied and pasted the 1st bit of his mail, and replaced it with Dele Alli and a few Spurs bits in CAPS… Any fellow Spurs fans agree with me?
‘First of all, DELE needs dropped. He is playing in such an important position and he is constantly giving the ball away, making poor decisions and getting easily shoved of the ball. His position is pivotal in linking the midfield to KANE (especially in DEMBELE’S absence) and he is doing nothing. SON is CURRENTLY a much better option.
‘SPURS are lacking pace in key areas. SISSOKO on the right wing and WITHOUT ROSE’S PACE BOMBING ON at left back, we’re easy to defend against. The opposition can focus more on KANE/ERIKSEN without worrying too much about being caught by runners in behind.
‘DAVIES is a good option at left back until ROSE IS FULLY FIT, but POCHY could do with addressing the right flank. SISSOKO HAS BEEN DOING A HALF DECENT job of being the right back and right winger but it leaves the team disjointed and disproportionate. Either stick SON/NKOUDOU out there (G N’KD has had some poor games there) or go with LLORENTE up top with KANE.’
A long email on equal pay (that we don’t agree with, but hey)
I understand that I’m late to the conversation on equal pay but I’ve been on a overnight mailbox binge and only just got there. I think this is an important topic that shouldn’t just be forgotten and I hope F365 can acknowledge this by continuing to publish thoughts on the matter.
The problem with this debate is that people on either side of the spectrum seem to approach it in a very toxic manner. Sean has a legitimate point but instead of explaining it, he simply rants and goes off on a sarcastic tirade in a condescending manner. And while portions of some of the replies both in the mailbox and comment section were decent, referrals to constantly spewed ‘facts’ like, “men are more likely to get promotions or pay rises than women,” and “women earn less for the same job,” that have neither a basis in reality nor any appreciation for context was disappointing. Rants about it on a societal level also missed the point as football exists in a different spectrum and can’t be compared easily.
This is a disservice to the conversation as the quality discrepancy in football between males and females is not even remotely representative of that of society. The average man is about as smart as the average woman and I don’t wish to get into the argument over the wage gap as one side is very misinformed and this is a football website after all. On the other hand, the average professional female player is nowhere near as good as the average male professional player. This is a fact. Just last year, the Australian national women’s team lost 7-0 against an U-15 team from New Zealand. Just a few months ago, the USA’s women’s team lost 5-2 against Dallas U-15 side. These are both top 10 nations. When people say, at this moment of time, men are better than women at football, that is a fact. They are not being sexist, they don’t have an agenda against women; it is simply a fact. They are the ones selling billion dollar TV deals worldwide and selling millions of shirts and this is why they are being paid more.
And yes, there is clearly no defined metric for what a footballer’s worth is, but at some point, common sense has to prevail. Lucy Bronze is an outstanding defender who is a leader and the backbone of her team but Dejan Lovren (or even Paul McShane is you will) is a liability. Technically, Lucy Bronze does her job better, but wait till you see Liverpool fans react to her coming up against the likes of Lukaku, Giroud, Aguero and even Rooney for a season considering how Lovren is treated. An apt comparison would be an average CEO of a Fortune 500 company compared to an excellent manager in a local company. Who deserves to be paid more? People need to stop simplifying the job description and ignoring context. They aren’t just playing football just like the managers aren’t just managing.
A more interesting debate is why this is the case. Genetics obviously plays a part. Denying that it does is just as bad as pretending that it is the only problem.We have to accept this but there is more to it than that and this is where we can make a difference. I don’t think anyone has ever done a study on this so I can’t quote you numbers but I wouldn’t be surprised if, on an international level, there were hundreds of football academies for boys for every one football academy for girls.
This is where the disservice to girls exists. Completely ignoring genetic factors, if girls were given as many opportunities as boys are, there wouldn’t be nearly as much of a discrepancy. The clear example to follow is tennis. In youth tennis, the primary limiting factor is accessibility due to finance and there is little gender imbalance. Women’s tennis has reached a point where although even top 200 men will beat top 10 women (which means nothing when 1.2 billion people play the sport), the quality is so comparable that the wage gap is approaching non existent.
The national team appearance fee is paid for doing their job, not just for representing their country. They aren’t UN ambassadors. If players were only being paid to represent their country, how is that any different from paid promotion; and where is the pride in that? Women are good at football and they deserve to play just as much but let’s keep in mind that the problem exists in the opportunities young girls are given rather than how much women are paid.
Norway equaling the pay simply dresses up the issue that exists. It doesn’t fix it. It may on some level dig at a subconscious taboo that may exist in the country (which I highly doubt) but why not just invest some of that $370 billion GDP to build a hundred girls’ football academies around the country, provide coaching courses for women at half the price, or football tickets for women at half the price to get more in and around the game.
The assertion that both complying with the rules of the game means they deserve the same wage is also ridiculous. Again, there is more to it, stop stripping away context; just like all managers abiding to professionalism and general expectations of a manager doesn’t qualify them to earn the same salary. Ashley also noticed that private schooled people get better, higher paying jobs and proceeds to cry elitism.
They aren’t simply paying more money because they are rich for no extra value. They are paying it for better teachers, better facilities, a better education and a culture that more closely resembles the professional world. You’d think this would pay off somewhere down the line. Ashley also says this isn’t about people being better at certain things than others. It absolutely is. Dejan Lovren doesn’t earn more than Lucy Bronze simply because he is a man. It is because he also happens to be a better footballer. Ashley also manages to bring tax into question. Taxes are paid due to the services the country provides such as land, security, employment, etc… There is no logical argument for why rich people should pay a higher percentage of their earnings (they can afford to lose more is not logical, it is petty), they already pay more by definition and in a purely logical world, individuals would pay a flat fee. Rob manages to associate it with Trump and speaks on the privilege of the white man and oppression; attributing Sean with political beliefs that he can attack with little basis to do so.
I’m an 18 year old German kid and I’m not going to pretend like I’ve seen the world and performed psycho-analysis on an entire generation, but from my little experience, particularly in the UK and US, most people you could refer to as middle to late millennials and early Generation Z’s (where I find myself in the middle of) are conditioned to view competition and hierarchy negatively. A mentality no doubt spawned by years of participation trophies and games where you don’t count the score. Any discrepancy they see is immediately met with accusations of bias or corruption and they lack even an iota of self awareness.
The first step to fixing a problem is looking at yourself and considering that there may be more to it than racism, sexism, elitism or corruption. This Me Against the World mentality is a huge problem and one we may only realise when this generation reaches their 50s and 60s and are, for the most part, in charge.
You are allowed to refuse the outrage requirement.