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What a bloody bloke Tony Pulis is!!
Ben (There are no words that can do justice to this!), LCFC
First and foremost, incredible season and the following is no way intended as criticism, but just some things to think about for next year.
The ONLY bad thing I can say about Spurs this year is that they haven’t quite (yet) developed the ability to shut up shop. We saw it early in the season throwing away winning positions against the likes of Leicester (before we knew they were brilliant) and Stoke. But we’ve also seen it against 10-man Arsenal, and now WBA. Even the City away game we were hanging by a thread at the end.
Carragher made the point last night that Leicester have ground out numerous 1-0 wins with their back four under the cosh, and that’s what champions do, so fair play to them. If Spurs ‘Plan A’ isn’t working, or it’s the last 10 mins and they’re 1-0 up, they sometimes just need to get two banks of four, get men behind the ball and claw their way back into the game. Then, either the game ends, or slowly you earn the right to play your good football again. This is something 2005-2016 Arsenal have never been able to do, but the great Mourinho/Fergie sides were incredible at, win when not playing well.
IF Spurs can develop that side of the game, take the sting out of a situation, and frustrate the opposition from time to time, then that coupled with the expansive football they will continue to play 80% of the time, we could be on the verge of something very special.
Title failure hurts
The league is gone, can’t actually believe how painful it felt when the whistle blew last night. It’s the hope that kills. Consoling myself that I don’t have to shout for Utd on Sunday.
Spurs: Not really all that
I know I will be condemned by Spurs fans for saying this, but they’re not that great. They’re a decent side, but in no other recent season would they have been a title-challenging side.
They’ve got 69 points from 35 games (average 1.97). Last year Arsenal got 75 points from 38 games (average 1.97) and finished third. What did everyone say about them?
And remember, Spurs have got their 1.97 points per game in a division in which Man United and Chelsea have been awful (Chelsea have only got just over half of their points total from last year), City have massively underperformed, Arsenal have been worse than last year when everyone called them bottlers, and Liverpool have been nowhere and changed their manager early in the season.
Spurs have made a big improvement and fully deserve a CL place, but they’ve been overestimated because of a lack of opposition. Leicester have been by far the best team in this league, and it would have been a burglary if Tottenham had won it.
Spurs went all Spursy in the end
Spurs are getting quite a lot of accolades this season, and fair enough, they are playing well and look threatening. But, putting on my red and white tinted spectacles, shouldn’t we be asking why Spurs aren’t leading the table? Everyone keeps saying that this was Arsenal’s best chance to win the title. Which it is. But it’s also Spurs’ even better chance, and the best they’ll have in a long while you’d imagine. The Premier League is stacked full of money and top-class managers, and Spurs are about to go on a spending diet for their stadium move. Winning the title could’ve been the start of a dynasty; perennial top fives finally taking the final step.
Spurs not winning the title this year when everyone around them is falling about like wounded Crystal Palace soldiers is just about the Spursiest thing they could do.
…Are we going to see Spurs as head losers in an updated Winners and Losers then given there MASSIVE choke last night to a team that even the ever pilloried Arsenal managed beat comfortably ?
Looks like a different take on St Totteringham’s day came last night to me.
Nick H (AFC)
…Looks like Pochettino should have let his players out on the razz for the PFA drinks after all.
Never mind Totts, I’ll have a drink for you instead.
Joolz (Well done Leicester) The Gooner
Really? Look at yourselves
Unlucky to get a draw, as we hit the post three times. Well done West Brom for playing as they always do and managing to get a point. Disappointed with the result and so are the players; it’s still not completely over so whatever happens happens.
What I don’t understand is why some fans (on Twitter and wherever else), especially quite a few Arsenal fans and their online Piers Morgan-esque army, are talking sh*t about Spurs after this result and even before simply because we’re not winning the league and Leicester is. Do you comprehend simple logic? Just as Leicester, we weren’t supposed to be up there. So where does that leave your clubs then?
And yes, Alli deserves a ban. I’m not delusional enough to defend him like some have defended Vardy. Dier will probably be okay so it’s not like it’s completely over as long as it’s mathematically possible. Realistically it probably is though, and we’ll see next weekend, but part of being a football fan is to have hope in your own team. So, come on you Spurs!
Spurs fan attempts to defend Dele* shock
*Not for the punch – that’s indefensible. But if you want to see why, look at the few seconds before he and Yacob arrived in the area together. Running back to defend, he gets shoved (once again) in the back by Yacob.
This followed two terrible tackles by Yacob on him in the first half, endless ‘leaving the foot in’ challenges (cleverly shared out so that no one person got booked) that are so typical of Tony Pulis’s horrible teams, and even in the second half, and mentioned by one of the commentators in the stream I watched – “another blatant kick off the ball by Dawson”. Nobody will look at that because nobody is mounting a hysterical Twitter campaign about it.
Of course Alli shouldn’t have let himself be provoked, and the FA will justifiably give him a three-match ban. I’m not defending what he did – I’m just pointing out why he did it. Given the amount of provocation, you could understand anyone with any balls, eventually, lashing out. I think most of us would like to think we’d do something about it in the end, just from a point of basic pride: everyone has to show there’s a limit to the amount of crap they’ll take.
People talk about Atletico Madrid’s constant nasty fouling and cynical approach, but Pulis teams have always made them look like shrinking violets. Isn’t it about time his teams got pulled up for the endless sh*t they dish out in every match? Even for the West Brom goal, they were up to their usual tricks – Olsson (I think) blocking and then grabbing Lloris, which was clearly visible from the shot behind the goal. Only in the Premier League would they get away with all this without so much as a card.
Anyway, I’m sure the West Brom chairman enjoyed his “revenge” on Daniel Levy and congratulations to Leicester. Given that two Chelsea players and their manager have already said they don’t want Spurs to win the title, Leicester can send out members of their family for the next two matches and still get a guaranteed three points on the final day, which is all they need.
Wilson (despite the moaning, just happy Spurs have had a good season) Beuys
Vardy deserves that ban
I for one am delighted to see Vardy receive an extended ban. Not because it’s Vardy or I hate the “fairytale”. Simply because of what the ban is for. Whatever you feel about his dive, or not dive, to earn the red card, his behaviour afterwards was a disgrace.
There have been a number of mailboxers recently detailing stories of how they were forced to give up being a referee due to the due to the abuse they received. This happens every week in the Premier League and there are a number of serial offenders who should receive lengthy bans for their behaviour.
I personally don’t care what a player does in his private life, but we see stories about players smoking, taking laughing gas etc. and told it’s awful because they should be role models. Well if they are to be role models in their private lives, surely they should be role models on the pitch too?
Seán (fair play Leicester, and Vardy!) Dublin
Vardy: Makes the likeable unlikeable
As I settle into my office chair for the day, the morning after Spurs drop points against West Brom which now sees Leicester marching ever closer to the title with almost German-like efficiency, something doesn’t feel right. Now, I’d like to think I’m a footballing romantic. I love a David Vs Goliath cup upset, or an unknown international minnow scoring a single goal in the World Cup and performing a well-rehearsed dance routine. But for some reason I can’t 100% emotionally invest myself into Leicester. At first I wasn’t sure what it was, they play fast, attacking football for the most part, Mahrez is a joy to watch, and Ranieri is like your crazy uncle that still waffles on about a ‘good old fashioned 4-4-2’.
Then I realised what the problem was…Jamie Vardy. I’m sure you’ve had a million other messages in a similar vein, but isn’t the man just so unlikeable? Of course, there was the race storm before the season even began. (How this is even a defence in some circles I don’t know) But he’s a footballer, they all make mistakes and he apologised so we try and move on. Then he went on that phenomenal record-breaking goalscoring run, and you really could do no more than take your hat off to him. But I think I was done with JV (Jamie Vardy, not John Virgo) the moment that he scored the goal against Manchester United that actually broke the record. This was a man who had come from non-league (we heard about it enough times), made his way to the Premier League and had now scored in the most consecutive games in Premier League history. You’d think he would be elated, and one could forgive him for celebrating like an absolute lunatic. But even then, he ran into the corner beating his chest like Tarzan with the face of a man who looked like he was about to commit ABH.
From that moment on, I don’t feel like I’ve ever truly been able to get behind Leicester. Things calmed down for a while, the Foxes continued to steam through most people and Vardy even managed to fly fairly under the radar until last weeks incident against West Ham. And what happened there is very much part of what is a larger problem within the game, but with Vardy’s past form you struggle to look past such behaviour.
But none of this is even Vardy’s biggest crime. No, his biggest crime is that one of the greatest and most unlikely title victories in English football history is about to take place, and I, an avid football fan for 26 years and as I said earlier an old football romantic, can’t even enjoy it. Sure, if (when) it eventually happens I’ll raise a smile at seeing Ranieri lifting the trophy, Mahrez, Schmeichel and Huth playing with their medals. But then the camera will cut to Jamie Vardy, and my smile will turn into a grimace.
Jamie Vardy – making the likeable unlikeable.
The ‘right way’ is all about attitude
Just a quick word to add to the debate on playing football ‘the right way’ as per Jonny Nic’s article. For me (Clive) playing football the ‘right way’ is about playing to win rather than a specific method of scoring goals. I would agree with Jonny that I find Leicester much more entertaining to watch than Barca – but that’s because Leicester are a thrilling attacking side who play to win each game. Turning up for a game just to defend for a draw and hopefully snatch a win if you’re lucky feels like the ‘wrong way’ because that would only be your plan if you felt the opposition were vastly superior. It’s an understandable strategy for a one-off game, but if you do it every week fans don’t enjoy watching it (see West Ham last year and West Brom this). I think trying to impose a strong game plan, be it high pressing, quick counter-attacks, possession, skill on the ball, crosses to a monster of a centre forward, etc… are all just as valid ways of winning a game depending on the players at your disposal. It is playing with a winning mentality that makes your way of playing the game the ‘right way’.
Mike, League 2, BRFC
Mesut Ozil: Not all that
Totally agree with Paddy’s (Ireland) mail on Ozil.
I feel one good way to judge is through the actions of your teammates. Are you the go-to player when the team is behind and looking for inspiration?
In his first season, it is clear that the Arsenal players pass to Wilshere/Ramsey as the first option. When Sanchez came on board the players look to him for inspiration.
Example: Mcmanaman when he joined Man C. He was literally waving his arms about and no one passes him the ball. He had to go to take the ball off his teammates feet in order to get the ball.
Ozil – not all that good
Win five games and stay, Louis
And he should keep his job. If Man Utd win all their remaining games this season it almost guarantees the FA cup and fourth spot. Only if Man City and Arsenal draw this weekend and win all their remaining games as well, would we miss out on 4th, and it would be on goal difference.
If LVG manages to do that, I think he deserves to see out his contract.
Shifting loyalties: Unacceptable
Having noted that his loyalties are “shifting towards Atletico Madrid, I’d just like to point out to Stig MUFC that it is actually possible to support a team who have gone more than a couple of years without winning anything without feeling the need to jump ship. Despite the fact that you are clearly in your twenties, you remind me of the seven-year=olds in my class who proclaim to support whomever is top of the English, Spanish and German leagues and are astonished when I tell them that the team I support aren’t in the Champions League.
The clue is in the word loyalty, which I think suggests that you should stick by your team, despite the unimaginable shame of only reaching the FA Cup final and being fifth in the league.
Perhaps, once you tire of Atletico due to them drawing a couple of games, you should try supporting your local team. You may just find that the feelings of camaraderie and community that you get from supporting a local club, where the primary reason for support isn’t to bask in reflected glory, mean that you won’t have to spend half time checking the foreign leagues to choose a new team for next week, just in case your current one can’t win by more than one goal.
Tom, HMFC (Blood doesn’t show on a maroon jersey)