Also, Koscielny and Alderweireld > Smalling, Vardy > Lewandowski, and aren’t we forgetting Chelsea drew?
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Football fans are d*cks
Reading the mailbox this morning I was acutely aware of just how big a set of d*cks football fans can be.
I’m a United fan and I love it when Arsenal lose, but there’s a time when you just have to suck it up and give them some props. AW masterminded a good victory against a great side, and currently has his players looking capable of winning the EPL for the first time in circa 600 years. Give them some credit! After all, aren’t we all supposed to be football fans, rather than solely tribal followers of one club to the extent that we can’t see any redeeming features in players/clubs outside our own little bubbles?
How much of a bitter little husk do you have to be to write into the mailbox just to “put them in their place”?!
And people wonder why everyone outside the game thinks we’re a bunch of t*ssers…
RQT, MUFC (Arsenal may have briefly borrowed the bus, but Chelsea have been driving up and down the country for more than a decade…)
They beat Bayern Munich. 2-0. Seriously, let them have their moment.
Bayern fans good, Chelsea fans bad
I wrote several attempts at an email this morning but knew I couldn’t verbalise what I wanted as well as other contributors so left it to the other Gooners. I’d like to add two observations though.
Firstly, the fans. I was at the game last night and the home fans have never sounded louder and more behind the team. If we can do that in every game, including the perilous mid-table visits, then we really could inspire a league victory. Players are human beings (aside from Diego Costa) and so need to feel encouraged like anyone else. This was demonstrated by the performance our players produced. Furthermore only a fraction of the home fans left before the end. That made a huge difference and may well have helped the momentum for our second goal. However, the most impressive fans last night were the Bayern fans. Their demonstration at the start of the match was extraordinary and extremely well executed (German efficiency?). I felt goose bumps when all of the home fans stood as one when they came pouring into the stadium after five minutes. From then on there was a cacophony of sound from the away fans like I’ve never heard before. Considering Bayern are such a global behemoth it is impressive to see such unity from a well orchestrated hardcore bunch. Before and after the game they were very friendly and polite as well. The icing on the cake came at the end when every single Bayern fan stood with scarves aloft showing respect for the game (presumable to Arsenal, our fans and their team). We did the same and it was ace.
Secondly, the murmurings of annoyance from Chelsea fans in this mornings mailbox is hilarious. Rather than comment on their own performance, they would rather talk about ours. For which they were wrong, we didn’t park the bus. Jose has not only turned himself into the ‘voyeur’ but he has caused his attitude to permeate down to the fans. So sweet.
JazGooner (I know it will end up being futile but I don’t really care. Ooh to be a Gooner)
We didn’t park the bloody bus
In this morning’s mailbox there were some suggestions that Arsenal’s tactics last night were akin to Chelsea’s famous bus parking. Last night I saw no deliberate time wasting, no tactical and rotational fouling, the manager slowing the match down by holding onto the ball nor 10 players defensively cramped inside the penalty area for 95% of the match waiting for the one goal opportunity at the other end.
Just a quick point to the mails this am suggesting that Arsenal essentially pulled a Chelsea last night and parked the bus.
Before the game a UTD supporting mate of mine asked (with a cheeky f*cking grin I may add) how I thought we’d fare last night. I told him that I wasn’t too worried over the result but that I didn’t want us to look naïve. Honestly that was my only wish for the game. And well f*ck me didn’t we do just that. Wenger et al seemed to realise that Bayern were always going to play a better version of the same style we usually have and for a change actually made the required adjustments.
What I’d like to say though is that there is a huge difference in Arsenal’s performance last night and your average Chelsea bus park fiesta bang.
When Chelsea park the bus their players (I presume either under direct or implied instruction from the manager) fall around and time waste from the off; the football is negative, the players are negative, the manager is negative.
Now, of course I’m biased as a gooner – and because I think Jose is a real piece of sh*t – but I didn’t see a single Arsenal player using ‘gamesmanship’ to see out the game last night. We sat back, looked relatively comfortable, had a bit of luck, profited from a couple of great saves from our No 1 and looked consistently dangerous on the counter.
Lastly (and I don’t mind if you only print this bit, if anything at all) to Stewie Griffin. Dude. Go outside. Meet some girls, or boys. Enjoy your life. Take a vacation. Enjoy it when your team wins without any if’s and’s or but’s for once.
Love the site, keep it up.
Cheyne, AFC. (Gotta love the Bayern protestesters) Cape Town
Is it even possible to park the bus when you have Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla and Ramsey on the pitch?
You definitely parked the bus
New online dictionary descriptions
I’m sure Sam Allardyce will be delighted to know, according to certain fans of a certain team, that if you defend with 10 men meters from your own penalty box whilst ceding possession ‘on purpose’ due to the “superior ball retention of Bayern” that you are only “let[ting] them pass it from side to side” so you can attack by “hitting them on the break” and this is not parking the bus at all at all at all. No siree.
The performance was impeccable, truly brilliant when you consider how good Bayern are/have been recently but don’t ruin it. Love it for what it was guys. A Jose master class. Backs to the wall resilience, a fluky goal scored by a hand from a long punt and an injury time insult. Perfect.
Anthony Kane, Ozil was key, Milan
Aren’t we forgetting Chelsea?
Am I right in saying there wasn’t one mail in the morning mailbox about Chelsea’s disappointing draw? Now I’m sure they’ll win at home, and the old CL adage of ‘win your home games & draw your away games and you’ll reach the final every year’ still rings true, but yet another turgid display was not what the doctor ordered for Jose. He’s lucky Wenger pulled off a win against Bayern to deflect attention away from yet another ‘meh’ performance from his side. Their fixture list for the next month isn’t the hardest and provides a good opportunity for them to bounce back, but then again you could have said that about last night’s game too.
As for Arsenal, as others said this CL campaign really is peak Arsenal. Lose first 2 games, beat Bayern at home, lose to them away, smash Zagreb at home leaving themselves to require a win away at Olympiakos (who beat Juve and Atletico Madrid in Greece last year) to qualify. Defy the odds to win 2-1 but come third in the group on head to head away goals, before getting to the Europa semis (taking a toll on their PL campaign meaning they come 4th) and going out on away goals to Fiorentina.
The conclusion of Lewa v Vardy
As the debate is still (somehow) going about whether Lewandowski is better than Jamie Vardy, I shall present the following as evidence:
– Lewandowski played against Arsenal and did fairly well, had a couple of chances but failed to score.
– Vardy played against Arsenal and absolutely terrorised them for 90 minutes, scoring two and could have had more.
I think this proves who is better.
John (Troy Deeney is better than Lewa, too) Porter
What’s in a position?
I thought I’d write in about something slightly different. Namely, why some people seem to get hung up on positions. I don’t want this to turn into an impassioned defence of Brendan Rodgers, but there have been a couple of cases in the last day or so of people criticising him for playing Sterling and Markovic ‘out of position.’
What is a position, after all? It is, ultimately, where you stand when the opposition has the ball. This is modern football we’re talking about not the era of Mike Bassett’s four-four-f***ing-two. I know we like to joke about ‘inverted seven-and-a-halves’ and suchlike. However, it is obvious that the role a player fills when his team has possession is less definable these days. Systems are designed to create space by being fluid.
We are in the age of universality when it comes to football. With the exception of goalkeepers and central defenders, every player on the pitch is expected to do a bit of everything. Why then, this need to compartmentalise? We often hear things like ‘I’m a number ten,’ or ‘I’m a right winger.’
The reality is that there is a huge overlap in the skill set required to play in most positions these days. The adage that a player can play ‘anywhere across the front’ is quite true. Likewise, a number of full backs are converted wingers. The skill set required is markedly similar – more so that full back/centre back, I’d suggest. Indeed, even if you are playing as a winger, you’re generally still expected to defend. Is playing as a wing back so different (Mr Markovic) that you simply can’t cope? Or is it, perhaps, more of an ego thing? Or maybe it’s because roles with supposedly more defensive responsibility make it easier for your mistakes to be highlighted. A lack of mental fortitude, then?
The idea behind any good system is to get your best players into areas where they can best influence the game. Suarez is nominally a centre forward. In reality, he’s given licence to wander wherever he feels he can make an impact, and we see him pop up all over the place. Gerrard had the skill set to play anywhere on the pitch. Giggs made a successful transition to central midfield. He likely always had the skills to do so, but was more influential out wide in the early part of his career.
Clearly, most players feel they have a ‘best position.’ There is probably some truth in that. However, football is a team game. Modern footballers can generally do a good job in 3-4 positions. If your manager wants you to play as a wing back, or a withdrawn-devolved-inside-forward, so what? If he thinks you can do it, it probably means that you can. Of course, you might be better as a right winger, but it really should be about the team, and not about you.
Koscielny/Alderweireld > Mike
What’s with the recent influx of mails from giddy United fans about Smalling being the best CB in the premier league? We even had someone compare Smalling to Cannavaro! (Yes, THAT Cannavaro).
Smalling certainly has come on leaps and bounds, so congratulations to all United fans on not having a calamity in central defense every match. But at most, you can call him the most in form English defender and no more. The only good team United have had to face this season scored 3 in under 20 minutes, let’s keep some perspective over here.
If anything, the fact that Smalling is now considered the best English CB in itself points to the absolute dearth of CB talents making their way into the game these days. Nothing quite represents how England have fallen (in terms of talents if not actual results) than going from embarrassment of riches at CB (Terry, Ferdinand, Campbell, King, etc.) to people clamoring for Chris Smalling. I suppose in the land of the Blind the one eyed man is the king, but Smalling has a long way to go before he can even be considered the best in the premier league, that being Koscielny and Alderweireld currently.
– Falooda in NY
Ahh, the good old days
I’m loving the current legends series of articles (Dennis Bergkamp here and Gabriel Batistuta here) and really look forward to seeing more of them. Nobody that grew up with Football Italia will forget the astonishing Dutch triumvirate at AC Milan that was just a joy to watch along with the lesson in defending handed out by Baresi. I do wonder though if the lack of live European football on TV back then has in some way heightened the mystique of these players a touch. Let’s not forget that England squads of the day included the likes of Ian Hendon and Neil Heaney (see, we were great before all these nasty foreign types came over and took all the best positions…), Michael Knighton was doing his stupid stunt on the Old Trafford pitch and Millwall were briefly top of the league, all of which was making the Sunday Italian game a glimpse in to pure exotica.
Today, I can watch almost any team in any league at any time. The exotic has become the ordinary. The likes of Messi would have been fabled players, glimpsed only if a European draw sent him to our shores. Whilst it’s great to be able to watch the worlds best players on demand, I am a little saddened that the aura around them has gone somewhat.
Lee (obviously ageing badly) LFC
While I really enjoyed Daniel Storey’s piece(excellent writer, by the way), I think Filippo Inzaghi was more of an ‘Amateur’ goalscorer than the delightful Gabriel Batistuta.
Batistuta scored many exceptional and exceptionally powerful goals in his time and while I can understand the joy it brought him.
Inzaghi, on the other hand, would score a tap-in(even against lower league opposition in a pre-season friendly), deflected off his arse, with him stood marginally onside, barely a yard from the goal line. Regardless, he would take off towards the touchline, screaming and waving his hair at any and all people who care to look. Any one just watching him rejoice would be forgiven for thinking he had just dribbled past 10 players and chipped the keeper to score the winner in the final minute of a World Cup final.
He really is the greatest ‘amateur’ goal scorer I have seen in my life.
Izu (nothing to see here ) CFC Lagos
Some burning questions for football365…
1) How do you pay Degsy for his Cheeky Punt column? I have a lovely notion in my head that instead of a flat fee you go to the bookies and put a tenner on each tip with Degsy getting to keep the winnings. Call it a form of performance related pay.
2) If Ed Quoththeraven didn’t send a mail into the mailbox for 3 days running would you feel morally obliged to file a missing persons report?
3) On a similar note – do you ever lie awake at night wondering what happened to former mailbox regular Conor Byrne – Villa fan? Where is he now? Should you have filed that missing persons report for him?
4) Stewie Griffin isn’t real is he?
Conor Malone, Donegal.
A message to F365 et al.
Dear F365 mailboxes… can we please stop using the term ‘et al’
It really winds me up.
Karlos (are we still doing the brackets thing?) Jonaz