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Boring, boring Liverpool
Liverpool are actually winning football matches. Comfortably, without lapses in defense, with authority and with second-string teams. There’s this sense of calmness around the squad which is totally alien to me. For someone who’s used to Johnson and Skrtel giving us a mini cardiac arrest every time the opposition makes a pass in final third, this is way too simple for my taste.
Borderline boring, to be honest.
In addition to that we…
– have a CB pairing which doesn’t shoot itself in the foot at regular intervals.
– boast of a fluid midfield where Emre Can is now a surplus.
– neutralised the Moreno threat with a central midfielder.
– are not entirely dependent on a Daniel Sturridge for goals.
Woah! This is not the Liverpool team I know, Jurgen. I don’t even recognise them anymore.
Seriously, where’s the fun in all this?! Damn you.
Abhinav, LFC, Chicago
Did anybody else notice how insanely white Roberto Firmino’s teeth were this evening?
The man has either taken dental hygiene to the next level or is Ross ‘The Divorce Force’ Geller’s biggest fan.
Something brewing at Arsenal
Writing this at half-time during the Arsenal/ Notts Forest match. I’m a bit drunk, and you like bullet points so this is a sexy match:
– Xhaka – f*** me everything we have hoped/dreamed/masturbated (hang on scratch that last one) for for a long time. Sometimes it’s not hard (see what I did….)
– Young Players – Feel like saying this till I f***ing scream. Press, don’t lose the ball, look for your team mates, if your team mate is good, give him the ball then watch the magic.
– Rob Holding – Happy birthday, Play for the badge, not the name. (sorry but I’m a fan….)
– Whatever the f*** Arsenal do this season…Ive been through the mill, f*** it let’s just have some fun this season. This team have something brewing I swear it….
Adam (this’ll resurface come May, mark my words) always yours, France
Why doesn’t Jose use the Europa?
Does anyone else think that think Jose is making a mistake with the Europa League? He is trying to bed in new players and a new system after three years of confusion under Moyes and Van Gaal. Why not use every single opportunity as a means of doing so? You can’t prepare for your next league game whilst you have a EL game hanging over you so why not prepare anyway as if it was an English team you are playing? I strongly believe that we saw the signs of what Klopp wanted from Liverpool in that run to the final last season and the players have kept that going. Obviously our league form suffered but that’s because our squad is so much weaker than United’s is/ought to be (first XIs aren’t too far apart though). United could make a few changes for the EL and freshen things up for the weekend and not suffer too much – he doesn’t need to be making eight changes.
Same thing will apply for the Northampton match tonight of course.
United ought to have more than enough for any team in the group stages of the EL (before the CL rejects drop in of course in the knock-out rounds) and against lower -eague opposition that they don’t need to set up specifically to stop those teams.
If full-backs aren’t used to passing it forward instead of sideways or if the midfielders aren’t used to getting beyond the forward players, let them use this as a quasi-training exercise with low risk.
Just a thought.
James, 31, London
Blind in midfield please…
I am completely baffed by people defending team selection/tactics etc. By no means am I saying this is the full problem here, the players must also take a look at themselves of course, but football is obviously a lot more than “you play for Man Utd, you should be great all the time, especially when you’re on £200K a week blah blah”.
You have a manager here that has come in saying he wants to play his specialist players in their specialist positions. He went and added four players who are this mould of player to help this. This is the problem. We are NOT playing the right line-ups, the right team, the right positions for the formation that we are starting with. Who looked at Fellaini and thought he was a specialist ‘destroyer DM’ before the season started? He hasn’t played his whole career in that position so how can he be asked to play that position at a top-class level? He’s actually done rather well at the destroying park, but what’s the point in destroying when you aren’t a natural playmaker once you have the ball?
United play three in the middle….with two out wide and one up front. Surely the proven winning midfield formula here for top teams is:
Deep Lying Playmaker
Box to Box Box to Box
DLP – Herrera can do that role, I wouldn’t say is a specialist. Probably more suited to a box to box. Blind DEFINTELY could play that role, with two midfielders to compensate for any lack of pace. Let’s not forget, Carrick has been in multiple league-winning teams with some cups to boot and he has never been the quickest. Just an intelligent reliable player to cover the back four. Blind should be this guy, it’s bloody clear. Take him out of the back four and you have two out-and-out centre-backs who need a calming presence.
Scheiderlin is NOT a deep-lying midfielder. He is clearly a box-to-box player. He did that very well and Southampton, winning the ball a bit further up the pitch is key here. Don’t have a player that is great at pressing doing it in our own half in front of our own defence!
I can go on about this, but it drives me mad that people can’t see this and just shout claims that the players need to buck up their ideas etc.
Oh…and Rooney must be dropped.
Don’t judge Jose yet
Thank you Seb Stafford-Bloor (Mediawatch’s suggested reading) for a reasonable view of the situation at Manchester United at the moment. One summer of excellent transfer business does not undo the Moyes/Van Gaal era. Nor does it address the years of squad neglect Ferguson was able to cover up with his freakish ability to make average players great.
The fact that Valencia, Fellaini, Blind, Rooney, Rojo, Lingard and Young are anywhere near getting game time in a team that supposedly has title aspirations speaks for itself. Valencia is not a right-back, Blind is not a centre-half etc etc.T here are still glaring flaws in this squad.
Mourinho should reasonably be expected to get into the top three this year with this team. A title push would be much more realistic next year.
Pep has enjoyed an excellent start with City, however he took over a relatively settled squad which massively underperformed last season. Mourinho took over a squad which performed at around about their level.
Again, one good summer of targeted acquisitions cannot be expected to fix this. Mourinho should be judged after his first season, not after a month.
Could Giggs have been a success?
Looking at the success Zidane is currently enjoying at Real, while Mourinho seemingly is struggling at Man U, will F365 and others now admit that maybe, just maybe, Giggs COULD have been a success as manager?
The truth is that sometimes left-field appointments work out, but you have to make them to know.
Andreas, (I know Zidane has more experience, but first team is a different thing!), Brussels
Memories of that night in Manchester
Thanks for the Beckham portrait this morning and for particular emphasis on THAT goal v Greece.
I was at Old Trafford that day and it remains in the top four of the best days of my life (placing somewhere alongside wedding and birth of two kids, if you must know). Beckham was unstoppable on that day, it’s sending shivers down my spine as I write, and this from a staunch follower of the ABU/BeckhamKeaneVNistelrooy hating bandwagon of the times.
His goal was one of many highlights of that day and night in Manchester, which went thusly:
…Met up with pals, two of whom had been involved in a vodka fuelled prizefight on the streets of Manchester the night before, one half of whom then decided to put £50 on Rio Ferdinand to score first…THE MATCH…stumbling into a brother-recommended hooligan pub at Manchester Victoria (we were students, it was proper scary)…getting escorted out of Manchester by the police like blinking tourists in the big city, managing to escape on a bus…ending up in a curry house in which my mate took on a bet to down the lime pickle tray, resulting in him vomiting in said pickle tray and expertly filling one of the pots to the brim.
Great days. We still talk about it 15 years down the line (Christ was it 15 years ago? ☹)
Andy Smith (Scunthorpe)
Another great Beckham moment
Fully understand the importance of that free-kick against Greece, but I’m not sure there’s a Beckham goal I’ve enjoyed more than the freekick against Barcelona at Old Trafford.
Technically excellent shot, exceptional timing in the game, and part of a series of games against Barca in the 98/99 group stages that were beyond compelling.
Thank you Danny boy…
The portrait which I have been waiting for. It was exactly how I thought it would be. My reason to start watching football – David Beckham, so perfectly described. Can’t thank you enough.
Anish, Chennai (got me all teary and nostalgic)
Unheralded, underrated and unappreciated
…it’s the bloody magnificent James McArthur.
Quite rightly, much has been made of the attacking vigour of Crystal Palace’s front three in their dismantling of an admittedly poor Stoke on Sunday but it was enabled by the Glaswegian midfield colossus as he harried all across the field and I was delighted when he got a goal, albeit from an enormous deflection.
I’m pretty sure it was McArthur who unleashed the pass of the game; a 45-yard crossfield pass to Jason Puncheon to not only clear the Palace lines but set up a great counter-attack.
It is no coincidence that our horrible run of losses coincided with McArthur’s injury against Bournemouth last February. Yes, Yanick Bolasie was injured as well but without the beating heart of the midfield chasing down everything, nipping at heels and giving opponents no time on the ball we were rudderless. Some eyebrows may have been raised by his £7m fee back in September 2014 but with him in the team we are a much more effective team.
James McArthur, keep doing what you’re doing you magnificent b**tard!
Shatners Bassoon (Not EdQuoththeraven in disguise, honest)
Please don’t change the line-up, Antonio
– Have to admit, sometimes the games won after going two down taste infinitely better than any run of the mill victory.
– Having said that, Chelsea’s play of late seem to be this (a) play some ridiculous attacking football in patches and (b) defend like clowns in patches
– Conceding two goals for the third consecutive game is not good at all. The issue seems to be Conte’s instructions of playing from the back. Antonio, we’re not yet there, our defenders barring Luiz cannot pass to save their life, just ask them to hoof it up!
– Actually Antonio, just ensure Cahill doesn’t start, and if he does start, ask him to clear the ball to row Z.
– Now to the positives, two players suddenly looked like their former selves – Matic and Fabregas. While rightly, all the plaudits goto Fabregas for his man of the match performance, credit also to Matic, he was absolutely imperious, quick to the ball, sniffing attacks in the bud and tackling them, and genuinely put his best Chelsea display after that Ashley Barnes tackle game and it can only be a good thing (he was totally pedestrian in the game vs pool).
– Now how do you solve a player like Fabregas? Can easily produce moments of magic with his passing range and through balls, but definitely needs a system to accommodate him. I think it’s time Chelsea started to build around the little genius than Oscar. Oscar has had his time, now time to set up Fabregas. Drop Oscar to the bench and play Fabregas Antonio, especially after his run to the away fans, I cant see him on the bench!
– Marcos Alonso had a very decent game. He did make a mistake in the first half (and followed by mistakes by other defenders), but other than that seems a solid left-back. A good left footed player, tall, physically seems sharp for the league, and has a good cross on his left foot. Please, let him hold this berth so that we dont have to see Ivanovic on the right side again!
– David Luiz had another good game, hardly did anything wrong and Vardy got him carded (which is okay, Vardy does to many). He actually played two killer balls from defense to Costa akin to Bonucci’s balls for Juve/Italy. That is probably what Conte wanted, apart from no-nonsense defending which is what Luiz has done quietly for the last two games
– Diego Costa had another killer game. He seems imperious, and now is in no mood to pick fights and could’ve had a hat trick on his own. I would never let him go until we get a player like Suarez. Sorry Atletico.
– A final note on Thibaut whose comments to Marca about wanting to goto Spain have irked me. Chelsea sold Cech to a domestic rival, removed Christopher Lollichon to a reserve role to accomodate Thibaut’s demands and his attitude currently stinks. Cech was a pro, model player and a leader. And he proved his loyalty to earn his move. Thibaut, I suggest you to get to the training ground, work harder and start competing against DDG for the goalie of the league. Then (and it is a big if) we can think about a transfer.
Was watching the the very entertaining Chelsea Leicester game last night and was left wondering why everyone is so desperate for David Luiz to be terrible?
When he is pinging 60-70 yard balls on a sixpence up to Costa, nothing is said, when he is digging Gary Cahill out of yet another hole, nothing is said, but one slight mistake which he recovers from and all you hear is what a liability he is.
Although it is not key to defending, his long passing last night was ridiculously good, there is possibly no player in England (let alone defender) who is close to being able to do that so effortlessly.
It was the same at the weekend, before the Liverpool game when Jamie, Thierry and Graeme took turns to say how terrible he was going to be. Gary Nev carried this on for almost the duration of the match before finally admitting that he had actually played pretty well.
Give the guy a break, he a joy to watch at times and I for one am very glad he is back.
I’m sure he is only singled out because he has big hair!!
While I’m here, any chance of a bit of credit to a Chelsea team going to the home of the champions, scoring four and knocking them out? No one slating their defenders at all?? Wes Morgan was apparently ‘a rock’ despite the four goals flying in.
Also nice to see Nat Chalobah finally get his Chelsea debut, long overdue and hope he gets a good few more games this season. (Yes I know it ain’t gonna happen but one can dream).
What about Wes and Robert?
You seem to have missed the league winning CB pairing from your best over 30’s list. Come on chaps, get your sh*t together!
Jamie LCFC (wondering if Rooney was included just to prolong the tired debate)
If you will excuse the obvious and craven bias, here is one from the ‘Derry Pele’ Paddy McCourt, back when he was at his hometown club. I like watch this video of the mercurial man at work at least once a week.
Just in case you weren’t sure it was a Derry man playing for Derry City, that’s ‘Teenage Kicks’ playing in the background. Maybe the video editor didn’t have time to cut in a few shots of Dana. Enjoy.
Soupy in Weimar (via Derry. Seriously.)
Late to the party on this, but this from Fred has stuck in my mind for years. At the time I’d never seen anything like it.