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Give Schneiderlin and Memphis a chance…
What’s going on? More specifically, what is going on with Fellaini playing instead of Schneiderlin? The latter is a far superior player, and offers both better passing and tackling. He would surely be the perfect foil to free Pogba to maraud, which is when he’s at his best. I don’t really understand, he’s done okay but only by contrast to previously.
Rashford used to play deeper before 2016 and is wonderfully tricky running at players, so he and Martial make perfect sense as true wing forwards, and England fans shouldn’t be upset as with Sterling added both helping Kane we’d be pretty damn dangerous in attack.
Ibrahimovic always offers class though pressure seemed to affect him with surprisingly snatched chances. But with the pace on the wings and a free Pogba, we can let Zlatan and whoever gets the gig at 10 (because I can’t be bothered to argue) just bring some guile.
For what it’s worth, I’d love to see Memphis have a chance there. He’s a wonderful player and the unpredictable danger that an interchanging three would offer could be scintillating. And maybe a little reminiscent of Tevez, Ronaldo and Rooney.
Swap managers and United would have attacked
First of all: WOW. What a derby game, I was worried the media might have pumped it up too much but I was engrossed from the first minute to the last.
You can dress it up as much as you like, you can maybe utter that Utd could have nicked a draw but any neutral (such as myself) could see that City were in absolute charge of that game, if it wasn’t for Crusty The Clown in nets that could have been 4-0 at half time. To be fair he looks like a decent centre-back, could this be the first time we see a goalkeeper turned into a sweeper?
When I first saw the challenge from Bravo on Rooney I thought to myself it was a bog standard 50/50 and didn’t even give a penalty another thought. I live in Spain and watched it on their version of Sky and both commentators huffed at the replay and one commented that it would be a penalty anywhere in Europe apart from England. I blame Brexit.
I was a little surprised that quite a few British pundits also called it as a penalty, maybe that’s the way our game is going. If so, then maybe Kevin De Bryune should have been done for high foot before his goal? That might have been given in a Champions League game.
My main point to mail in was to ask our mailbox chums to try and envisage a scenario if the managers were swapped. Exact same squads, same fixture at Old Trafford. If Pep was in charge of Utd and Mourinho a City side, do you think Pep would have given up 65% possession and lost that game? In my opinion, no chance. Bus parking Jose is back, there is no need to play that way with the squad he has. Look at the damage he caused when they attacked second half.
Last thought, it’s a real shame that we couldn’t have a derby with the side’s two best players playing. Hopefully Aguero and Pogba can feature in the next derby.
Another way to look at it is if/when City beat Utd at home how the hell are Utd going to make up seven points to win the title over City?
Jimmy (When did the FA bring in a rule that you aren’t allowed to mark KDB anymore?) Spain
The tractor in the room
Three mailboxes since the derby and no one seems to have mentioned what is surely the biggest takeaway from the match! It occurred at some point during the first half when one of the electronic advertising hoardings revealed that Man United now have an Official Tractor!
The question is will Jose be parking that instead of a bus in future?
The Not Sure If They Played XI
In the spirit of the Metro naming Danny Rose in their team of the week I’ve also decided to give my personal ‘not arsed to check if he played’ team of the week
GK – Joe Hart – Clownio Bravo has shown he’s a fraud and no doubt our dear Joe was off at some ‘minnow’ team showing how its’ done.
RB – Allan Nyom – Thankfully Pulis has finally bought a full-back and can stop playing Craig Dawson out of position
CB – Steven Caulker – Probably played on loan for a team he’s not good enough for.
CB – Mamadou Sakho – Hands down Liverpool’s best CB, imagine having to play Lucas there?
LB – Danny Rose – Can’t fault the Metro here, no matter how much Storey hates him he proved on Saturday he’s England’s best left-back.
CM – Bastian Schwienstager – World Cup winner, my United-supporting mates told me when he signed that he’s gonna lead them back to glory.
CM – Jack Wilshere – I assume he inspired Arsenal’s late win, showing his class, inspirational.
RW – Pedro – Top-class player, proving that his success wasn’t down to being a squad player in two of the greatest sides ever and definitely getting a game ahead of Victor Moses.
LW – Memphis Depay – Probably spent the appearance money he got this weekend on a nice new car.
ST – Andy Carroll – I may have committed to writing this before actually thinking of 11 players…
ST – Sergio Aguero – Genius tactical move in getting himself suspended to allow Kelechi to step up to the plate.
Would anybody actually want Ozil?
I’ve been thinking about Ozil’s potential options other than Arsenal in the wake of his contract negotiations, and I’m wondering if (unlike Sanchez), he may not have that many options to fall back on that would clearly be a step-up. You would presume that one of his key arguments for a higher wage is that he is (arguably) the best player at the club, and that he could have several suitors should he make his availability clear. However, I’m not so sure that any bigger/more successful clubs would be willing to pay for him, at least whilst he’s still under contract at Arsenal; most of them already have very good #10s and therefore bigger priorities elsewhere. A list of individual reasons for clubs (though many are essentially the same):
* The first point to note is a likely unwillingness to sell to a domestic rival; nevertheless, I’ve included them in this roundup of clubs.
* Manchester United clearly aren’t willing to shift Rooney for the time being, meaning there is little room for Ozil. Even if they do, they are still more stacked at #10 than anywhere else, with Mkhitaryan, Mata and Herrera all more than willing to play there, and the Mkhitaryan of last season is probably as good as Ozil anyway.
* Manchester City simply don’t need a #10 before they need at least 4/5 other players in the starting XI. KDB and Silva are definitely much more than adequate.
* Ozil is definitely a step up on Oscar for Chelsea, but he wouldn’t fit in Conte’s style of play as he simply isn’t defensively diligent enough. Oscar may be less talented but he suits that role very well.
* Presumably Ozil would not want to move to Liverpool/Spurs/anyone else in England, so that only leaves abroad if he wishes to force Arsenal’s hand.
* Bayern Munich are incredibly well stocked basically everywhere on the pitch, and even if they did buy someone for their front four, pace would likely be a requisite due to the lack of it in most of their other attacking options.
* Juventus are incredibly well stocked up front, and will not want to limit the gametime of Pjanic or especially the exciting Dyabla, even if Ozil is quality; another one of the clubs that may take him on a free, but simply don’t need to spend the money right now.
* Barcelona don’t play a #10, and Ozil isn’t taking Iniesta’s spot, so he isn’t starting there.
* Atletico have a transfer ban, but even if they didn’t Ozil is the antithesis of Simeone’s whole philosophy.
* Real Madrid are probably his most likely destination if their transfer ban is reversed (unlikely), but even then I don’t see them being desperate for a #10 between Kroos, Isco, Asensio and Rodriguez (even if he moves). They may be attracted by Ozil’s big name, but they clearly weren’t that worried about it when they sold him, and have won the Champions League in 2/3 years since he left. That, combined with his disappointing fitness during his first spell (not finishing 90 minutes in La Liga once in his whole Madrid career), may put them off.
* The only other team I can think of is PSG, who do love a marquee signing, but they also don’t play at #10 and are unlikely to change their system to accommodate Ozil. He may get gametime on the right wing, but is that what he wants, especially when that gametime isn’t even certain depending on the manager’s priorities for his attack?
As you can see, there may not actually be a clear step up Ozil can make from Arsenal.
This is all a sign of the large number of creative #10s now flooding the market, meaning it’s difficult for a player to move upwards right now. Another example is Christian Eriksen: if he really was looking beyond Spurs, where realistically could he go as a definitive step up and still start? Perhaps a couple of Italian clubs if they were willing to pay his wages, but I can’t see much else. Ozil could well be a victim of this too, and be forced to stick with what he has.
No style points for fouls…
I think Fionn this morning and Chris Sutton on MOTD2 missed quite an important point on their bicycle kick conclusions, and that is that refs don’t award style points for fouls. Scything your spiky right boot six feet in the air in a box full of fleshy heads is dangerous play, and probably should be a foul. If we want ‘consistency’ in our refereeing (we do don’t we? Every PFM on the box seems to think it’s footie penicillin) then it has to be treated as such. We can’t have the refs saying, “Well, you shattered his jaw and blinded him in one eye, but hey it looked pretty so a goal it is”. That would be more like ‘common sense’, and everyone knows that it and ‘consistency’ can’t inhabit the same space in time.
The defenders in the vicinity of Koscielny & Costa might well be justified in claiming that they were prevented from challenging fully by the whirling Morning Stars that were whistling past their ears.
That isn’t to say that I disagree with Fionn and Sutton, they were brilliant strikes and it’s what the fans want to see etc, but someone around here needs to show a bit of maturity eh.
Clippety M, WAFC
What do you expect Costa to do?
I am biased, I am a Chelsea fan but I really don’t understand how you expect a man who is being kicked all day long to remain calm. Any reasonable person would react.
Conte had to bring it up because the post-match interviewer and Sky ignored it. Can’t remember it verbatim but he basically said you always ask me about Diego, well today I think he was kicked a lot.
Your article this morning states it too but I think a proper examination of the other parties in these clashes should be looked at and not glossed over. If they are lucky not to be sent off then call them out for their sh*thousery too. How is someone who was lucky not to be sent off a hard man giving as good as he got especially when you can see the provocation or intentionally leaving a little extra on Costa. Sounds like double standards to me.
Not say the man is an angel and I think the media covers that well enough but I write this because I have a different perspective.
I wanted to highlight the above but also say Marriner is a blind muppet who cost us points.
Jay all day
Are refs only ones not allowed to be human?
Andre Marriner clearly made a poor mistake for the second goal. But I find it bizarre that all attention is focused on that one error, and how it ‘cost’ Chelsea the match.
Compare and contract with Diego Costa missing an open goal from one yard. That’s a professional football player, a striker none the less, who spends his entire working life being paid to kick a ball into a net, and is yet unable to do so from one yard with no one tackling him.
This isn’t to say that players won’t make mistakes, or that Costa is a bad player (obviously he isn’t). But just to make the point about how different the approach is to player and referee errors.
Wouldn’t it be refreshing if managers and players came out and acknowledged their own ridiculous mistakes, and pointed out that if they did their own job properly they wouldn’t have to rely on a referee to get every single decision right when players spend most of their time trying to fool the ref into making the wrong decision.
Thoughts from Bournemouth…
Despite the fact the game looked to be destined for 0-0 for long periods, this was definitely one of the more interesting games I’ve seen at Dean Court lately. West Brom were the last visitors of last season and they were unrecognisable. I think they did try to play a bit more football than previously, but the spirit and organisation just didn’t seem to be there. And it was apparent that the fans are losing theirs as well, first PL game at Bournemouth with empty seats in the (tiny) away end. The anti-Pulis chants got a bit of publicity in the Sunday papers but didn’t start until the 94th minute, I got the impression that patience is lost with the board as much as him.
As for Bournemouth, predictably Arter was the man of the match as ‘voted’ by fans and sponsors, but he was bypassed for the first 25 minutes. Alongside him Surman, who is surely more under pressure with the arrival of Wilshere, had his best game for ages. He’s never great in the air or in the opponent’s half, but his passing and tackling was really good throughout.
A word also for F365 favourite Jordon Ibe. In the first few matches he’s looked dangerous right up to the point he’s had to make a decision, at which point he has generally taken the wrong one. Saturday he was a threat from the start; he’s better with ball at feet and running at defenders than Ritchie ever was last season. I was really impressed with him.
Finally Wilshere. Where I sit there are some ‘experienced’ fans who are very vocal about their preference for ‘get it up the park’ football. But when he came on they were suitably hushed – “he looks like a footballer doesn’t he”. Didn’t do anything of huge significance but very calm on the ball, meaning the game was seen out without the scuttling backwards seen at Selhurst two weeks ago.
Notwithstanding how bad West Brom were, a really important step forward for Bournemouth, meaning City away this weekend can be approached without the ‘first win’ monkey on the back.
Andy J, Bournemouth
I had the pleasure of attending Celtic v Rangers at the weekend. As a Celtic fan, I was excited about seeing Brendan Rodgers’ fast and attacking team line up against the Rangers creaking, geriatric mishmash of journeymen and washed up pros. And Joseph Anthony Barton. In particular, I was looking forward to seeing how Switzterland’s fastest man, Philippe Senderos would get on on his Rangers debut. He didn’t disappoint. Below is a snapshot of Philippe’s big day out on Saturday:
1st Minute – Game kicks off. Things start to go badly wrong for big Philippe.
33 minutes – ‘Shocking defending from Rangers’ to quote the Guardian as Celtic take the lead from the corner. TV pictures show big Philippe lying on the ground as Dembele is leaping to head home. Not sure what he was doing down there to be honest.
42 minutes – Celtic set Dembele through on goal – He just needs to beat Senderos and then the keeper. To say he wrongfooted Senderos would be unfair to wrong-footed people. The big man was so confused he didn’t know what was happening and once again ended up lying on the ground, watching Dembele dink in his second goal with the outside of his right boot.
Half-Time – Philippe goes in for some well earned R&R, drink some lucozade and recharge the batteries. There’s a big 45 minutes ahead. can he redeem himself?
62 minutes – Scott Sinclair jumps to win a goalkick and Philippe comes through him like a steam train. As stupid a booking as you will ever see (And possibly the only time ‘Philippe Senderos’ and ‘like a steam train’ are ever seen together in the same sentence!)
70 minutes – Philippe makes his first well-timed tackle of the game. Is this the moment when his Rangers career really starts and he goes on to become an Ibrox legend?
75 minutes – RED CARD! This needs to be seen to be believed. A long punt forward bounces in front of Philippe and Dembele. Rather than head the ball away, Philippe decides to punch it for no apparent reason. And with that, the long slow walk to the tunnel begins, much to the delight of the Celtic fans.
90 minutes – Rangers only concede a further two goals in the big man’s absence and by full-time, a new bona fide Celtic legend has been born – Philippe Senderos.
Fanmail for Ed
Is it just me or do 99.99% of other mailboxers also straight up skip his boring, self-congratulatory, smug mails? Even his self-satisfied sign-off p*ss*s me off.
The analysis of F365 actually looking at how much time people send reading his sh*tty mails is probably quite difficult so I suggest to give him his own column to see how few clicks it actually receives?
Or how about this, use some editorial discretion and don’t just publish every piece of tripe he sends in.
Brian L, Brussels
Nice one, Johnny
I thought it was just my now-I’m-over-the-age-of-40 Grumpy Old Man Syndrome, but finally someone else sees how the European Cup should go back to how it was. My long-suffering girlfriend has to tolerate my regular ranting on the subject, which was very recently exacerbated when UEFA announced/proposed the points system for previous winners and gave more points to teams who have won it _after_ a lot of people think football began (1992, apparently). I don’t see that going down particularly well at the Bernabeu……
I realise that supporting a two-time-winner-but-now-fallen-from-those-heights in the shape of Nottingham Forest perhaps makes me more bitter than I ought, but this constant devaluing of the word ‘champions’ by UEFA doing their best to make sure that they can arrange matches that Sky can then sell is frankly blood boiling. Is it what the fans want, really? Have you asked all of them, or just those who increase the Sky Sports subscription count each year? The fans don’t want a European League, but UEFA are doing their level best to try and force the issue by a) making it harder for genuine League Champions to take part (are you from England, France, Spain, Italy, or Germany? Then no, you can start your season a month earlier than everyone else and play extra qualifiers to earn the right to be in a group with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, and Manchester United, get a couple of decent TV pay days, suffer humiliating defeats, and slink back to whatever backwater you came from) and b) ruining the European Championships so much to make international completely unappealing.
Who knows, fewer games for teams in the Premier League might mean a winter break, or better rested players for the Super Sunday games. And less opportunity for Clattenberg to continue his ego’s path of self-promotion and feel he can have another trophy tattooed on his arm…