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Your Unofficial Weekly Awards
Don’t take them seriously…
Premier League Player of the Week – Son Heung-Min
Excellent for Tottenham Hotspur as they demolished Stoke City
Football League Player of the Week – Sammie Szmodics
He scored a brace and forced an own goal as he lit up Colchester United’s win over Exeter City, earning a wry voiceover mention on the Goal Rush to boot, and briefly raising the hopes of people like Jeremy Aves that a playoff push may be hopeful.
European Player of the Week – Martin Terrier
Strasbourg’s star man with a goal and an assist as they beat Bordeaux. Le Racing are on something of an upward trajectory, having made it all the way from the fifth tier to Ligue Un following liquidation and reformation in 2010.
Best Goal – Jermain Defoe
His second goal against Crystal Palace, a strike out of nowhere.
Best Save – Ederson
A late double save to deny Manchester United a point.
Best Tackle – Christian Benteke
Used all of his strength and presence to win possession of the ball from Luka Milivojevic and deny the Serbian a clear-cut scoring chance.
Best Tactical Move – David Moyes
Faced Chelsea and the Arsenal within a week, took four points and kept two clean sheets. It’s not that we were wrong to doubt him, just that he deserves praise for his good results.
Worst Tactical Move – Jose Mourinho
Playing defensively against a team as superb as Manchester City is a sensible plan; isolating your target man is not. By the end of the game, Manchester United had lost to a centre-back pairing of Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala.
Premier League Loanee of the Week – Sheyi Ojo
I’d completely forgotten he was on loan from Liverpool to Fulham until I saw his goal on Saturday.
Dick Move – Sussex Police
The Five Year Plan fanzine managed to force an apology out of the Old Bill for circulating falsehoods about Crystal Palace fans having weapons confiscated on their trip to Brighton. Their suggestion this had come from Albion’s management and stewards has now been denied by the Seagulls. I highly doubt we will ever find out exactly what happened, but the knock-on effect, other than demonising an entire team’s fanbase, has been to impose extra restrictions on an already contentious upcoming fixture.
Interviewee of the Week – Jurgen Klopp
But only if the person interviewing him knows about football
Proud Moment of the Week – Sean Dyche
As Burnley went briefly fourth in the table, Dyche described himself as “the proudest man in Proudsville”, which was far more endearing than the chippy paranoia that arguably contributed to his side getting that high up the standings. Arguably the greatest display of pride in a football setting since an unnamed pundit complained about something F365 published.
Worst Punditry of the Week – Jonathan Pearce
Not technically a pundit, but the highlights packages on Match of the Day require one person to be commentator and co-commentator in one, or at least, that’s how Pearce interprets the role. What would Chopper Harris and Billy Bonds made of Michy Batshuayi’s hot water bottle? Given that both were integral parts of their respective sides for a long time in the days before squad rotation, how to keep warm as a substitute probably wasn’t an issue for them. Also, who the f##k cares?
Incidentally Wikipedia suggests Harris deputised at right-back after the retirement of Eddie McCreadie – presumably that was when he moved to Balamory to be a bus driver.
Inevitable Managerial Decision of the Week – Peter Bosc
Borussia Dortmund’s struggles meant the writing has been on the wall for Bosc for some time. Replacing him with Peter Stöger, last seen bottom of the Bundesliga, is an interesting move, not least because it’s hard to imagine such a thing happening in England.
Dembele of the Week – Siriki Dembele
Man of the Match for Grimsby Town in their game against Forest Green Rovers. Hopefully this makes up for the dubious honour of being linked with moves to Crystal Palace and Swansea City.
Compiler of the Week – Ed Quoththeraven
Liverpool’s problem: Scoring once every 35 shots
Everybody is wrong about Liverpool.
Ask anyone what their problem is and they’ll tell you. That defence. Lovren. Klaven. Stupid goals. But that’s not it. It’s their attack that’s likely to let them down, probably due to not having that one focal point. Let me explain.
At home Liverpool actually have the best defence in the league, conceding three goals in nine games (same as United and Burnley), whilst laying fifth in the home form table (drawn 5, lost 0).
Away from home, they’ve conceded 17 (fourth highest), yet are joint third in the away table (lost 2, drawn 2 from 8). So where the defence is letting them down is actually not too much of an issue, having dropped the same points at home as away, whilst other teams tend to fare worse away.
The matches against West Brom, Everton, United, Chelsea and Burnley all realistically could have added an extra 10 points and put them ahead of United in second.
Liverpool outshot their opponents in all these games, making in total 107 shots (scoring thrice), and conceding 31 (conceding thrice). Which of those statistics shows the anomaly?
I would expect a team to concede around 1 in 10 shots, but to score 1 in 35?
A clinical finisher (Salah is great, but can’t do it alone, whilst Firmino is having a good year, but not enough) would change the team completely. Maybe Sturridge could be the answer in home games if he could return to form and fitness, maybe even Ings, but at the moment Liverpool’s scintillating attacking play isn’t getting the rewards it needs, and it could cost them come the end of the season.
KC (and what if Salah stalls?)
1) What is up with Mane? Does he feel overshadowed/threatened by Salah on the opposite wing? That chance just before half time against Everton would have always been a pass had it not been for Salah’s remarkable goalscoring late. His status as top dog has been challenged and so far he has not responded well. He had a poor game again against West Brom and did not seem to complain when subbed.
2) After last night’s draw, you could see why Klopp was so aggreived against Everton. Steven Chicken called that a perfect away performance and I have to strongly disagree. When Pickford punting the ball out of play is used as a deliberate tactic, there is no defense. Everton were truly playing anti-football and deserved 0 points from that game.
3) After Everton, I expected 11-13 points with possible dropped points at Bournemouth and Arsenal. Last night’s draw has put a dent into those expectations. Still, teams around us fighting for the top four seem to be routinely dropping points so we just need to show a little more consistency. We went through January without a win and still finished in the top four last year.
4) For me, the most damaging aspect of a bad result ( i.e draw against Everton) is the lack of response. The really really good teams always seem to quickly recover ( eg Man United) while we always stumble around for a bit before regaining balance. Klopp continuing to talk about and defending his team selections did not help.
5) As a statistic that should surprise no one, Liverpool have scored NO goals of any major importance after the 80th minute this season. The only goals after the 80th minute have been against Maribor twice, Spartak, Stoke and Brighton all when we had comfortable leads. Compare that with Man City and you can see why we’re 18 points behind. The fans do not help one bit when they choose to leave games early.
6) Coupled with the above is the inability to retain leads ( gainst Watford, Chelski, Everton, Sevilla twice) and is also a major factor in why we will probably finish the season trophyless.
7) After the UCL draw, to revise expectations, I say fourth in the league, UCL quarter finals would be a good season. Add a FA Cup run and it would be an excellent season.
Man United just like all the rest at Anfield
I’m really tired of Man U supporters claiming they let us off the hook earlier this season.Fact is, we pinned you in your own box for ninety minutes the same way we did Everton, Chelsea, West Brom. All those games ended as draws. Why do Man U feel they “let” us off?
Fact is, very few teams have the courage to attack us at Anfield. Give me one game where a manager actually did attack us and got away with it. Guardiola did, and was beaten. Wenger did, and was massacred. Pochettino, 2-0. To my knowledge Swansea and Crystal Palace won at Anfield by absorbing pressure and waiting for their opportunities .Get over yourself Manure fans. You didn’t let us play. We earned the right to play.
Dominic, LFC (earned the right to complain too!)
Dyche to United?
After reading the article by Steven Chicken on Burnley’s potential Top Four finish, I got to thinking; is it beyond the realms of comprehension to envision that Sean Dyche could be the first English manager to win the Premier League?
Stay with me here…
If he were to take Burnley into Europe* and maintain this level of competitiveness in the league, just about the time that Jose leaves Man United then he could be a serious contender for the job at Old Trafford. Man U have been playing defensively-solid, direct football under Jose so it seems like a natural transition.
Given what he has achieved on a shoestring with Burnley – a title tilt when backed with the mega-bucks on offer at United seems well-within his range.
Food for thought.
* Maybe even the Europa League would suffice given United’s embracing of the competition last season.
Leave Lukaku alone
Did I miss something, or did Romelu Lukaku not score the only goal of the game in which his team won last night?
ie – What he is paid to do?
Get off his back.
It’s not as if he is missing chances left, right and centre.
…Lukaku has three goals and an assist in his last eight games. Those stats are exactly the same as Morata and Lacazette over the same time. Stop trying to beat a man for a price tag that he had nothing to do with. He had a bad patch but hes coming out of it and he needs support, not critisism
Rafa is the real loser here…
Daniel Storey is playing Newcastle ‘compare the XI’ game on the losers list again today. Good game. Now do the same with Burnley with the rest of the Premier League and tell me the results…
Football is sometimes decided by huge margins, see Man City versus Swansea. But most of the time it is decided by fine margins.
Karl Darlow made a ridiculous error to hand Rooney a goal. Now, Darlow made a ridiculous error to allow Mahrez to equalise from 25 yards in the last game and also was at fault for Hazard’s equaliser in the game before. He should have been dropped for the slightly better keeper Rob Elliot, who was dropped himself for making smaller errors. It doesn’t add up.
Our two best chances fell to Mo Diame. He typically didn’t have the guts to get on the end of either chance to put it in the net. Why is he playing as our second striker when we have Mitrovic available, who wasn’t even in the squad and Perez? Even Joselu is a better choice than him.
Why is Mo Diame in the first team squad at all?! He wouldn’t get in our u23s.
If, is a huge word but completely relevant, Elliot were in goal like he should have been and anyone but Diame was on the pitch, we may well have won that game 1-0 instead of losing it. Can just two players make that much of a difference? Yes.
Speaking of fine margins, we hit the post twice as we didn’t play badly on the night. It was purely down to the wrong personnel being in the key positions to get us the result.
Rafa has been given a mediocre squad to work with to stay in the league, this is a fact. So, therefore, it is even MORE important that he picks the correct player for the right occasion. This point seems completely lost on people.
He is failing in this task wholeheartedly. He should be not allowed to get away with this, as if he does, he will just carry on regardless. All the way to relegation.
Bano (Diame? Really? It’s unfathomable. Really is)
Build a team around Jack, Arsene
It was an abysmal performance from Arsenal yesterday. I wonder what is Wenger thinking playing Sanchez/Ozil week in, week out. Any other high profile manager will isolate these players from the squad. Their attitude of these players can be infectious which can have an impact on the whole squad. Wenger clearly needs to sort out their contract stands and not play around with door-open/close statements. It is time to accept and move on and start building a team around Wilshere (with a new contract), Ramsey, Iwobi, Mustafi.
Ideal scenario for Arsenal would be to sell Ozil and Sanchez in January buy a decent CM (N’Zonzi?) and a winger in the form of Draxler.
Top four finish is still possible with at least one of the teams losing points every week.
This is the best we could hope from Arsenal this season(with Man C running the show for the PL title) with a decent run in the ‘Arsenal’ cup (a.k.a FA Cup) and Europa league.
Arun R, Eindhoven, Netherlands
Embrace the Arsenal drop into mid-table
I think that as a club supporter, I have come to a realization that this is Arsenal’s trajectory. A return to the latter years of Graham. And no I do not mean just the dire football. But that we need to return to a 12th position for Wenger to finally depart.
The season before Arsene took over, Arsenal had finished 5th. This is similar to the season that just was. He then took over and turned the club around into an attacking force to be reckoned with. Years later the club finishes a season unbeaten, and the season after the club makes it to the CL finals. This is where the bell curve begins to drop.
Followed by the 2007 season where Arsenal had a good shot of winning the league but absolutely bottled it. Rebuilding with youngsters such as Lord Bendtner and the dynamite kid Denilson. Then came the Chamakh years of where our positions of 3rd and 4th were still manageable.
Then the few years where Spurs, City, Liverpool, United and all took turns to bottle it for fourth and Arsenal managed to scrape through. And then finally, the drop off from CL. The one thing Wenger always managed to do but finally didn’t.
This year it seems that the club have regressed even more. Seventh and we’re not even halfway through the season, possibly dropping further, given that our best attacking player in recent years will switch to a team that is already 19 points ahead of us and possibly running away with the title.
By now it should be acceptable that nothing is going to change. Wenger won’t. The team is a reflection the manager. So is the game play. Might as well ride it out till the end. The downward spiral must continue before hopefully, Wenger leaves us in 12th, for Ancelotti (hopefully) to take over.
But it won’t end there will it? This is a Kroenke club. Go through any of them and he’s sucked the life force out of all of them. Just cash cows with a false pretense of winning. Even the motto, ‘Forward’ is such a farce when you see what has happened since the take over.
Arsenal are capable of giving hope to any club. Any club. Because no one knows which Arsenal will show up on any given match day. For all I know, we might trash Chelsea on New Year’s Day and then again regress after some false hope and twitter exploding with back room pics of players celebrating.
Let’s accept the downward spiral until we end up in mid-table position. Because if we qualify again for the CL, this board will look at it as a success and Wenger will be praised for being…Wenger.
Has Allardici found his Real Madrid?
Allardyce did some great work with Bolton but it was never going to be enough to get a top, top job. but certainly enough to give him a shot at a club challenging for Europe rather than aiming to avoid the drop. He has shown himself excellent at the latter, and now has the first real chance to prove himself at the former. First, because let’s face it, the basket case that was Newcastle was never realistically a top club.
Now at Everton he has the perfect platform. It’s the biggest club outside the ‘big six’, with considerably more money than Moyes (or Martinez for that matter) ever had to spend. At the same time Everton are in a situation where they will take moving up the table and challenging for a Champions’ League place even if the style is a bit agricultural.
Allaryce is on record as saying he could manage Real Madrid if he was called Allardici, but if anything he should be looking towards Atletico for a template. Simeone has shown that creating a hard-to-beat tough-tacklng pragmatic team can be done without completely sacrificing style (as indeed Allardyce himself did with Okocha and Djorkaeff at Bolton). At Everton, Allardyce has the resources to finally show that he can get into the Champions’ League. Conversely, if he fails, there, why should anyone else ever offer him a big job. So, this one is going to be interesting…
Leave the old British men alone
Paul’s mail this morning encapsulates the issue the recently appointment British managers are going to have – whether its Big Sam, Moysie or Padrew.
If Moyes set West Ham up to attack City, Chelsea and Arsenal and loses all three by an aggregate score of 10-2, individuals such as Paul will be writing in mocking the British manager and deriding the decision of said clubs in hiring experienced managers such as Moyes.
As it is, West Ham have performed pretty damn well over the past three games, gaining 4 points and still Paul finds it within himself to criticise Moyes…Everton have been on an impressive run since Big Sam’s appointment, even given the rather fortunate point against Liverpool.
These clubs have hired them to steady the ship, improve them defensively and keep them out of trouble, which is exactly what they are doing. What do you expect? How can either of these managers win?
…Don’t get me wrong, I totally get that it’s now cool to denigrate British talent to make oneself look more tolerant and progressive.
However, are we not a tiny bit worried that, actually, emails like Paul’s this morning are just plain racist?
Is it really OK to slag off a group of people based purely on their nationality; belittling their achievements and ridiculing their generalised characteristics based on nothing but where they were born? Just because Pardew, Allardyce, Moyes are British, is it really OK to say they all drink ‘pints of wine’ and ‘eat sh*t’?
I’m not sure I’m OK with this.
Would we be happy if Paul had written his email about French managers? South Americans? Would earning lots of money and pulling off a draw against a superior opponent warrant such vitriol if done by a manager from another country?
I love F365 and I totally get that part of its appeal is that it mixes football news with amateur political views. But should it really allow itself to become a mouthpiece for this type of subtle (but nonetheless sinister) racism? I have real concerns.