Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org for a Mailbox to drag you through this afternoon.
Watching Everton tonight reminds me of Tim Sherwood at Tottenham but without Tim’s tactical nous.
The experiment is over.
Any other city fans want guardiola gone?
A 1-1 draw with Everton? Clearly can’t cut it in the prem or Europe…
DBM (feel for unsworth, walk into a sh*t storm) MCFC
Klopp’s loyalty could cost Liverpool
First time writer sat here thinking about the big game at the weekend for LFC v Chelsea.
A completely contrasting week in Europe that has been well covered already so not going to go into that but what does strike me ahead of the game is Klopp’s insistence / loyalty to certain players. Moreno will undoubtedly play and will undoubtedly get torn to shreds by Hazard and in that one duel could cost LFC the game. Conte will be no doubt targeting him and the backline. Most other managers would have no hesitations about swapping him out. Robertson or Milner should come into the team but won’t. Klopp got it wrong on Tuesday and is likely to make the same mistake come Saturday evening.
Don’t get me wrong LFC could win this game based solely on Salah and Mane, the former with a point to prove against a previous club and Mane well is just Mane he gives everything for the cause and has goals and assists in him. Emre Can is an annoying enigma reasonably good and downright awful with the tactical brain of a child and should not play this game. If Lallana is fit he should start in midfield his press and intelligence could be the difference and give Henderson some cover and legs in the centre of the park. Henderson cannot be as bad as he was Tues but then again this is Klopp’s Liverpool and nobody not even Klopp himself can say which Liverpool will turn up.
Klopp loses this one and big questions get asked because it’s another loss against a “Big Team” he wins it and all is good again until the next inevitable slip up.
The stat comparing Sterling to Sturridge in Storey’s article is a cracker.
I remember seeing him in the 06 (I think) FA youth cup and thinking he was going to be some footballer in the future.
Hard to believe he now has less appearances than Sterling. His next move will determine if he will be tagged a wasted talent.
Good to see an email in defence of Henderson this morning from Rowan, much of which I agree with.
Whilst Henderson obviously wasn’t great in the second half on Tuesday, I feel that he wasn’t helped at all, either by his defence, or his fellow central midfielders. Wijnaldum, who can be brilliant in certain games, completely vanished – I forgot he was actually playing – and Coutinho wasn’t much better whilst he was on. Emre Can probably even worse when he came on to replace him.
Rowan’s point about Gerrard having Carra is bang on, but also worth remembering that in the peak Rafa years, he also had Reina, Hyypia, Mascherano, Alonso, Kuyt and Torres and a few others who had either been captains of their previous clubs or national teams at some point, which made it easier for Gerrard to be “leader”. Same goes for Souness, who I’ve also seen people say would have grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck and shown leadership. He played alongside Hanson, Dalglish, Neal, Thompson, etc, who are massive leaders in themselves.
When neither Henderson or Milner played against West Ham, Simon Mignolet was captain. Simon Mignolet. Liverpool have a great and exciting team, but lacks supporting leaders. The fact that the majority of the defence is concentrating so hard on not making their own individual mistakes, means they are in no position to offer any, but is probably where it’s most needed and would be most beneficial to support Henderson further.
Don L Renegade
Eriksen too expensive
Rami (London) feels that Eriksen would be a good fit for Man Utd. and wonders why Barcelona were not interested in him instead of Coutinho. Well, according to reports in Mundo Deportivo Barcelona were interested and Daniel Levy was quoted as saying: “If PSG paid 222 million euros for Neymar, Christian Eriksen costs 225 million euros.” They couldn’t afford him.
It would be nice if football transfers were as easy as just throwing “all the money they can” but I believe Sir Alex himself said that dealing with Levy was “more painful than my hip replacement”. Man Utd couldn’t afford Dier or Rose and, if anything, Eriksen’s price will only go up this year.
Perhaps surprisingly as a Spurs fan I do not begrudge our players moving on and would actually welcome any successful bid for Eriksen because I would be content in knowing that the cost of our brand new stadium would be pretty much paid off in one transfer.
Big Weekend‘s little brother
West Ham United-Leicester City. It’s a rough spot for the Hammers, who in a tense atmosphere will be expected to play aggressively, but will face a speedy counterattacking Foxes side. In their first Moyes-match, they did a lot of lumping it proverbially up to the proverbial big man, but their best attacks came on passes through the middle. With Chicharito and Michail Antonio, still out Moyes is likely to reprise the 4-3-3 with Marko Arnautovic and Manuel Lanzini flanking Andy Carroll, and Lanzini coming into the middle as much as possible. For Leicester, Claude Puel tried to change his reputation all in one go by pushing forward against Manchester City, but here the cautious approach might pay more dividends: frustrate the home side, get the crowd uneasy, and look for Jamie Vardy. At Southampton Puel was notorious for rotating his squad, but has said he won’t start just yet, even with the holidays looming.
Stat: West Ham are 18th in the league in successful dribbles, but seven different players had at least one successful dribble in last week’s match. A new approach?
Southampton-Everton. The fans at St. Mary’s aren’t quite as upset as those at the London Stadium, but they’re getting there. Mauricio Pellegrino hasn’t changed things much, and the Saints are boring their way into the bottom half of the table. But on Sunday they’re playing Everton, led by the PE teacher who runs the best games period around. In his three matches in charge, teams have totaled 11 goals combined. If Manolo Gabbiadini starts, he should be able to run off the shoulder all day. Jonjoe Kenny impressed at right-back against Crystal Palace, and will be tasked with holding off Nathan Redmond or Sofiane Boufal, plus an overlapping Ryan Bertrand, in good form at the moment. Oumar Niasse has been told to sit in the corner, so Dominic Calvert-Lewin will likely start up top. After this match, Southampton face Manchester City, Arsenal, and Chelsea in their next five, so three points would be a good idea.
Stat: Southampton are the only team outside the big six to have at least 51% possession. They’re at 55.8%, ahead of Manchester United and Chelsea.
Newcastle United-Watford. The Magpies have lost their last three, and were embarrassed by Manchester United last weekend, but Rafa’s in charge, so no one’s panicking. Striker is the biggest worry, now that Joselu has gone off the boil. Dwight Gayle’s neat finish at Old Trafford doesn’t necessarily mean big things to come, and Aleksandr Mitrovic as usual hasn’t thrilled anyone with his attitude. But, like Southampton, they’re facing a team that doesn’t defend very well. After seven straight dirty sheets, Watford got a clean one against West Ham, but needed some sensational work by Heurelho Gomes to keep the laundryman at bay. Top matchup should be Richarlison going at DeAndre Yedlin, who is beginning to look like a Premier League defender. André Gray will start again at striker with Troy Deeney serving the last of his three-game suspension.
Stat: Newcastle United are the only team in the league who have a defender as top scorer: Jamal Lascelles, joint top with Joselu, with two goals apiece.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Europa League winners and losers
They are Swedish, they’ve only existed since 1996 and have only played top-flight football since 2016. They won their first trophy this year, are playing in their 1st ever European campaign and have made the knockout stage.
Do you think anyone else should top the winners ?
Their extended Annus Mirablis continues: they qualified for the 2nd round after dominating the shambles that are Everton (not that difficult nowadays). If they keep this up we’ll need to upgrade this to a golden Era.
Ah finally you made it after boring us for two games. Five goals and two braces. With the team in 7th this is slowly becoming the best route to Champions League football next year. Could they be this years Utd?
The hosts have made it the dream of playing in the final at home. It’s that bit closer.
Balotelli and Nice
A brace to carry his team to the next round. Super Mario. Why always him?
Spanish late shows
Sociedad and Bilbao’s match-winning goals this week were in the 90th and 82nd minute. Villareal’s crucial 3rd goal was in the 83rd minute. Villarreal and Rosenborg are in the knockouts; Bilbao are well placed.
Well now that Salzburg are through someone is going to write a SEOtastic article about what happens if Leipzig drop down to this competition
Well on their way to resurrection having won the second leg of the Podolski derby to move from 4th to 3rd in their group
The Others qualifiers this week
To Dynamo Kviy, Partizan Belgrade, Braga and Viktoria Plzen: well done guys
The nightmare is almost over
Arsenal’s fringe players and momentum
Not really significant as they still topped their group but this doesn’t help momentum or give confidence to the likes of Chambers, Debuchy or Arsenal’s Coq and the other second stringers who were allowed to play.
There was a piece in an Economist article that namechecked him as one of the worlds dictators who should leave next year but won’t……………… What’s that saying about the most important thing in comedy being timing
Konyaspor and Rosenborg
With ten minutes to go you score a penalty to put yourself in the driver’s seat to make the next round and then you blow it with an own goal in the 90th .What is Turkish for ‘Ahhh S…t’
You need to score to stay in contention, instead you concede in the 90th minute to end your campaign. What is Norwegian for ‘F……….g S….t’
Hoffenheim and Hertha
Both eliminated by late goals. You worry about the general strength of German teams this year.
With Vitesse’s elimination it’s official:
Vitesse/Feyernoord out in the group stage
Ajax eliminated from qualifying for both the Champions League and Europa
Utrecht eliminated in the playoff round
PSV out in the 3rd Qualifying Round.
And the group stage ain’t over I’m seriously worried at the state of the dutch league
Zulte Wagerem and Fastav Zlin
This is why you shouldn’t root for teams because they’ve got cool names
The rest of this weeks eliminated teams
Hapoel Beer Sheva, Lugano, Apollon Limassol, Rijeka, Young Boys, Skenderbreu – The knock-out round will send you a post card saying ‘wish you were here’.
Potential World Cup draws
In response to Terry Hall, Switzerland’s World Cup probabilities, I have a couple of issues which I simply can’t let slide.
First, yes there are certainly errors in there. Adding up the probability of each team getting England should give an answer of 100%, yours gives 108%. The probability of a UEFA team drawing England is smaller than 1 in 8 due to two of the UEFA nations necessarily having to draw Colombia and Peru, so they have a higher chance of being drawn against either of those. The second big problem with it is that the chance of England drawing Brazil or Argentina is considerably smaller than them drawing another UEFA nation, due to the fact that six smaller probabilities adds up to more than two larger in this case.
I’m not sure what the correct probabilities are, since as you said if they draw pot A first then there’s a high chance of England’s group having two UEFA teams in it by the time the third seeds are drawn, thus eliminating a lot of possibilities.
Daniel, a mathematician and a pedant, Manchester
I enjoyed Terrys look into the probabilities of world cup groups and fair play for trying to wrap his head around what might happen.
I’m not gonna try and delve deeper as my brain is already starting to hurt, and the exact method of the draw will massively affect the odds of who gets who, but by my reckoning England are still more likely to draw a European team than Argentina or Brazil from pot 1.
(Peru and Colombia take two European teams, leaving a straight shoot between the other 4 European or 2 Conmebol for England. Unless England are drawn before Peru and Colombia, then it’s 6 or 2 etc. Brain’s hurting more.)
However, this is where I can provide some more clearcut answers (from a good old pessimistic English perspective). Peru and Colombia are 95% certain to get Poland and Russia, leaving England approximately 0/100 chance of getting a point against their pot 1 opponents. At a glance pot 3 and 4 don’t inspire a lot of confidence based on recent tournament meetings either, so it’s a good job I just love watching the world cup regardless of who’s playing.
Dan, (I actually agree with those who say England have a better chance with less of the ball, so a group of Russia, Iran and Panama is our real group of death) London
Has mainstream TV coverage actually improved?
I follow the mighty Forest Green Rovers, who (as you know) are enjoying league football this season for the first time in their long and illustrious history. “Goal Rush” on channel 5 on a Sunday morning is now one of the high points of my dreary week. Partly due to FGR’s recent run of form after a rocky start, but also because of the ‘no frills’ format. It lasts 25 minutes (including ad break) and has all of the goals and key incidents from all 24 games in leagues 1 & 2, with a total of about 40 seconds of manager interviews and about the same of Chris Iwelumo’s views. Colin Murray hosts tolerably. It is brilliant. Contrast this with Match of the Day which contains a high proportion of fairly uninformative filler – opinions/interviews, or “analysis”, rather than pure football action.
It made me think, has mainstream TV coverage really improved since I started watching in the mid 1980s? It seems as if the actual amount of football has been continually diluted.
In the halcyon days of yore, football coverage was one game a week, 3pm on Sunday (probably hosted by Des Lynam), with the goals from all of the other first division games shown at half-time. Concentrated football for 105 minutes plus injury time. Perfect.
Are all of today’s multiple camera angles, computer simulations and hours of opinions/debate just putting lipstick on a pig that was sexy enough already?