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Why no tears for Bastian?
Just wanted to add my own two cents about Man United’s poor treatment of Bastian Schweinsteiger doing the rounds in the press. We as fans have the same distorted view of loyalty as our clubs do. It seems to only apply to great players. For example, if Eden Hazard or David De Gea angle for a move to Real Madrid, both club and fans will cry abomination. The ungrateful b@stards!!
Nobody bats an eyelid when Johnny Evans is shipped off to West Brom or Nani is farmed off to Portugal. Clubs have shown us time and time again that when you are not part of the game plan, you are out on your arse, whether you like it or not.
While I don’t know the ins and outs of Bastian’s current predicament, I have not seen any Utd fan clamour for him to be given a fair crack of the whip. There will be no sign held up in the stands. No one will chant his name. His media posts suggest he is willing to fight for his place and he has yet to make a single disparaging comment about the club.
No one cares because he isn’t a superstar anymore. Clubs have been doing this for years and years while at the same time crying “how very dare you” when a top player leaves against their will. It’s this huge hypocrisy and the fans’ blindness to it that really grinds my gears.
Agents know this more than anyone else. Yes ‘Agents’ the black stain on the game we are constantly told. The people who understand that clubs are not families. They truly don’t give a blind crap about their employees unless it happens to suit their agenda.
Now I am not crying for Bastian because he is a very wealthy lad and has done more in the game than most can even dream of. At the same time, I also won’t cry if De Gea gets his move to Madrid or if Pogba/Martial are poached by Barca down the line. I will however be royally irked reading comments from my fellow fans condemning them to hell for their lack of commitment should that happen.
Neuer today has chimed in with remarks of how abhorrent United have been. He can afford to say this because he is a superstar. He has only ever known loyalty from his club because he is valuable to said club. I don’t recall him ever commenting on the vast amount of players Bayern have chewed up and spit out who weren’t grade makers. Take your blinkers off Manuel, this is the game. If a new hot shot stopper finds himself come through at Bayern and your performances dip, you will see first hand how club loyalty is such a bullsh*t term.
Chris Crook (MUFC)
Assessing blind spots; Jose doesn’t have them
I completely agree that there seems to be a trend that a lot of managers have. Blind spots. This got me thinking further about this and which teams are stockpiling in one position whilst ignoring others. In doing this my chain of thought went down a what if route. EG what if the 30m a team spent on one player was spent on a player they actually need.
I kept my thoughts to the perceived big six plus Leicester.
Gold Medal: Man Utd. Jose knew what was needed. The board said yes sir, here you go sir. Don’t implode (Jose’s Chelsea 2015/2016) and you are probably favourites. What if LVG was still there. Shame.
Silver Medal: Spurs. Needed depth and cover for Harry Kane (Is this the year he gets found out????). Mason out (Soon) Wanyama in. Pretty good and likely to add winger.
Bronze: Tough call but just Man City. I question the purchase of a £17m 33-year-old keeper. Is Joe Hart that bad? Surely a full-back this side of 30 would have been better use of money. Needed Youth and bought youth. Oh and does anyone else thing Nolito for 12-13m is now looking a bargain?
4th Place: (Photo finish with City). Needed striker, bought one. Did they really need Kante? Good player though. Do they need a centre-back? Yes and they are looking. They have two right backs, no left-backs and they seem happy with that. Not sure why.
5th Place: Leicester. Needed depth, bought some depth. Enough depth. I’m not sure. Musa looks good, Mendy vs Kante not so good. Teams have had a summer to work them out. Sit deep. Not sure why it took so long but they are champions and have the bragging rights. Could do with a couple more.
6th Place: Liverpool. The glaring hole at left-back cannot be ignored. Just avoided last place as Herr Klopp has noticed that people needed to be moved. Also Mane is looking rather good. But surely keep little Joe Allen and use the £25m for Wijnaldum to buy a left-back. Or play Milner in midfield and buy a left back. BUY A LEFT BACK.
Last: Arsenal: Xhaka. Bought early. Vardy failed deal. Just pay the money for Lacazette and buy a bloody centre-back. Don’t get it. One year only buy Cech. Next year only buy a midfielder who is likely to be banned more than he plays. Take your blinkers off and loosen your purse strings. What if the board actually grew some and got a new manager. Moyes was available…now that would have been brilliant.
A few notable ‘What ifs’.
What if Hull bought a player.
What if Pardew hadn’t danced in the FA Cup final.
What if Big Sam got the England Job…Oh!
Paul (LFC) (Going to go home and dream of left-backs)
Do big players no longer see Arsenal as draw?
Okay so I am on record as having lost faith is Wenger some years back and don’t have any rose-tinted glasses left to view his transfer dealing with but these two just continue to make the point of why it is time he leaves. If both Perez and Mustafi are to be signed late in the window it is because AW was unable to sign the better targets he was chasing earlier – either he wasn’t willing to meet the market value or they didn’t want to come to Arsenal. Frankly, I am beginning to believe more and more that it is the latter (after all AW keeps telling us he is willing to spend the money), that within the football world Arsenal is no longer seen as a club to go to if you want to win a major trophy. I don’t think it is a coincidence that (if they sign) four of the five signings this summer come from clubs not in the Champions League and are players that other teams in the CL didn’t want (or in the case of some couldn’t afford – I am sure Celtic or Ludogorets would take all five).
I really believe (based purely on, you know, the evidence) that the genuinely class players with ambition won’t be coming to Arsenal while Wenger is the boss and the signing this window are more proof of that. He has lost his mojo and seems increasingly incapable of getting it back. Top four and any sort of cup run will be a pretty good achievement with this squad but from one of the best supported and richest clubs in the world that is simply not good enough.
Sick of the Arsenal hysteria
We came second last year – has everyone forgot? As far as I know everyone else apart from Leicester finished below us – I remember all the same stuff being said at the beginning of that season – odd, agreed as fans we like to see big signings, the big shiny thing – BUT I AM JUST A FAN – don’t want to run the club I just want to support it (and have for 41 years). I prefer football when it was classed as unpopular, we went and had a few beers, went to a game, vented and became elated all in 90 mins (probably one of the most satisfying parts of watching a game you can’t get on TV – shame as I now live as an expat). It’s one thing to have an opinion, another to think it is as qualified as the guy who spends more time with the team than you or I ever could – this seems to be endemic in modern life, IF I DON”T GET WHAT I WANT I WILL SCREAM AND SCREAM AND SCREAM – cmon stop moaning – have your say then move on – there is a big life out there waiting to be lived!!!!
BTW – can we stop being patronising to LCFC, they were better than everyone last year and deserved the title – and the easy CL draw – damn they are going to win it before us.
Joe (a Gooner in Oz)
Why would Spurs want Zaha?
Trying to get another talking point started rather than the mind-blowing tedium of Jose vs Pep, Wenger’s frugality and Klopp going from hero to zero after one bad result at Burnley.
Does anybody think Zaha to Spurs is good for any of the parties involved?
A 23-year-old English talent whose England career need not necessarily be over despite failing at United and hardly shining at Palace going to a side where he’ll be back up seems like a lack of ambition from both Zaha and Spurs.
Assuming Spurs bin off Chadli and/or Son and use Zaha as a replacement, it’s a wonder why they didn’t just keep Townsend.
I realise £15m might not be a lot of money nowadays but I’d sure rather have Redmond.
Finally, what sort of ambition does this show for a team who are supposedly title chasers, I couldn’t envisage any of last season’s top half going in for Zaha and I can’t work out why Spurs are so keen.
It’s becoming a mediocrity merry-go-round at White Hart Lane.
Zaza for £25m? Italians don’t work
So according to the gossip Big Slav is set to spend £25m on a man who made five league appearances last season and is most well known for a terrible penalty kick. Even his best season only sees him score 18 goals in 36 and after that it’s 12 in 34, pretty average really.
But the biggest issue is nobody seems to have told Slaven Bilic that Italians just don work in the Prem. That the most successful Italian in the Premier League in the past 10 years is probably Graziano Pelle says a lot.
Let’s look at the current Italians knocking around for proof. Starting at the back Vito Mannone has only managed 60 appearances in four seasons for a very poor Sunderland side, but was never expected to be great so we’ll give a pass here.
Matteo Darmian came in with United fans professing him to be the right-sided Patrice Evra, sadly it turns out Antonio Valencia is better than him, according to two Champions League-winning managers. In midfield we have the (recently departed) Emanuele Giaccherini, who clearly is a very good footballer, having just signed for Napoli, it turns out a relegation battle with Sunderland just isn’t the same as playing for Juventus or Italy.
Up front is where the true stinkers are, Fabio Borini has a 1 in 5 goals record and at one point cost £11million (pre-Jordan Ibe).
Dani Osvaldo (Italian for case of argument) was the classic record signing gone wrong and SuperMario has been anything but Super for Liverpool, another clearly talented player who for some reason just isn’t doing it. Other notable examples are Alberto Aquilani (not an Italian Alonso) and Davide Santon (Mourinho described him as the next Maldini, Paul Dummett knocked him out of the Newcastle team.)
A key thing in these transfers is them seeming to get back into decent teams following seriously sub-par seasons. The flop thing also runs through foreign players coming from Serie A (Cuadrado, Jovetic) although there do appear to be some good signings in there too.
Could this be why some big players over there consistently turn down good offers from the Prem (De Rossi, Bonucci) – do they know it just won’t work?
Is it Serie A’s fault, Italian coaching system, or are the scouts just consistently getting it wrong?
Whatever the reason, I predict a poor spell for Zaza, followed by a loan to Roma/AC/Fiorentina.
KC (I do think Pogba will work out though)
Three games to watch this weekend
Crystal Palace – Bournemouth. Week One of the Benteke Era at Selhurst Park. On paper, Bournemouth are just about the best opponent Palace could have. They attack, and their full-backs, Adam Smith and particularly Charlie Daniels, aren’t the best defenders. So Andros Townsend and Wilfried Zaha might run wild on the counter. Simon Francis and Steven Cook are good in the air, so duels with Benteke should be worth watching. On the other side, Callum Wilson has been quiet so far, but Josh King seems ready to have a breakout season. Jordon Ibe is still bedding in as a replacement for Matt Ritchie. The two sides have only one goal between them, but this looks like a lively one. (Last year this fixture had seven yellow cards, too.)
Hull City – Manchester United. Lots of fascinating matchups. Curtis Davies has been brilliant in the first two games, so Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be put up against whoever partners him, Jake Livermore or Harry Maguire. Hull’s 4-1-4-1 allowed way too much space between the lines against Swansea, but can Wayne Rooney as number 10 take best advantage of Sam Clucas? Will Tom Huddlestone and David Meyler be able to slow down Paul Pogba? Will Anthony Martial feast on Ahmed Elmohamady? City have been excellent on set-pieces, with Davies excelling here as well. As in United’s first two games, it’s likely to be cagey early on. But hard to imagine Hull’s getting a result here.
Everton – Stoke City. Mark Hughes is already under some pressure. The biggest problem is the back four, which hasn’t looked the same since Jack Butland was hurt. Shay Given’s weak point has always been organising a defence. Almost as bad, Mame Biram Diouf’s struggles mean the central striker role might as well be vacant. Will he give Jonathan Walters or even Peter Crouch a chance, and go more direct against an Everton back line that’s average in the air? Given how four at the back did the business at West Brom, Ronald Koeman will be tempted to repeat it, particularly at home, which means young Mason Holgate will come up against Marko Arnautovic. According to Ladbrokes, Everton are actually a bigger favorite to win here than Leicester are to beat Swansea.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Nailing that Champions League draw
Porto, BOOM! Copenhagen, BOOM! Brugge, BOOM!
Just call me Mystic Bob.
My wife has just earned herself three romantic mini-breaks this winter.
If anyone wants my group placing predictions I am happy to supply them for a small fee.
Rob (oh go on then, second place and Barcelona in the last 16) Leicester
Rob should be happy. Maybe a little frightened of himself too.
Can they cope with being favourites?
Writing this in the immediate aftermath of the draw for the Champions League; is the draw worse for Leicester than it originally appears?
Yes, they have avoided such heavyweights as Dortmund, Atletico, Napoli and Moncao, among others, but the one heavy weight they did not avoid is the weight of expectation (eh? eh? – I’ll show myself out).
The social media reaction and regular media reaction seems to be that it’s an easy draw or a happy draw. And I agree, on paper it is a handy draw, but now Leicester will have to contend with being favourites for Champions League games.
Last season Leicester did what they did cause no one saw it coming and no one believed they could keep it the going. This season, no one thinks they’ll do it again, but they’ll be wary of them. The teams in the Champions League will be wary too, but the Leicester fans will be expecting wins and points. If there was perhaps a Champions League luminary in the group (with the greatest respect to the teams in there), the expectation would be lower and Leicester could do what they do best.
Do Leicester fans agree with me? Or am I being curmudgeonly?
More football, less celebrity gossip please
The only thing the last couple mailboxes have established is that no one, absolutely including myself, has any idea about anything that goes on behind the scenes at football clubs. Which is why we should stop offering opinions on it. I think it is all well and good to say ‘I think manager X has dropped player Y as he doesn’t fit into his system’, as that is something you can deduce from having watched the teams manager X has managed, and games player Y has played in. The moment you start talking about it being because of anything outside of on-pitch activities, you don’t know anything; pretty much no one does. I think there seems to have been a shift in the lexicon of discussing footballers being dropped/left out of the first team squad. No longer do pundits or media outlets (mostly looking at red-tops and clickbait Facebook football feeds) look at the football reasons a player may have been dropped, but instead play up on the ‘human’ aspect of this. By human, I mean pretending, for example, that Jose Mourinho has a problem with Bastian Schweinstieger unrelated to his football ability, that somehow he has a personal vendetta against him.
These social media feeds have changed the discourse around this completely, fuelled by ‘cryptic’ (read ‘irrelevant’) social media posts by players that are hyped up as anything approaching news, as if they are pulling back the curtain on football clubs behind the scenes. It’s not the case at all. I understand that these areas of the game will always be ripe for discussion, precisely because it is all conjecture, but it’s complete nonsense. I, like I would imagine most readers on F365, come to this site, read Mediawatch, precisely because they see through this vacuous side of game, and want to talk about the sport, and the 90 mins, that provides everyone with the real joy.
I like this site because it offers a mature, nuanced view of the SPORT, not the BS that surrounds it. Sometimes I think it is because I am a neutral, I don’t have any interest in this side of it. Is part of being a supporter of a club needing to be privvy to everything about the club? Knowing who your players are following on social media, what they’ve said (or not) about the managers, their teammates? Does it make you more of a fan if you know all these little things picked up from social media?
If a player is dropped, the first assumption should be it is football related. It might be he didn’t perform, it could be he has trained poorly, or that the team is changing game plan for the particular team they are facing next. The problem, perpetuated by some of the media, is that there is a personal problem that is enforcing the change, and this seems to always be the route of reporting in the first hand; it is celebrity gossip mentality. More football please. Sorry for rambling…