We have more mails on Diego Costa and fall-out from Liverpool, but it’s Manchester United who dominate. All hail the new king; let’s drop the old, slow one…
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Costa Not The Only Villain
Maybe I’m getting old (actually I am), but I can’t be the only one that is puzzled by the backlash to the Costa stuff. His reputation has much to do with this but to single him out as the sole perpetrator seems really odd. As I saw it:
There was a tussle between Costa and Koscielny in the box with Costa being held, he then used his hands to push Koscielny away and then had a little glancing slap on the forehead whilst looking away. Neither player seemed bothered by it, I didn’t see why Costa was on the floor but assume he didn’t just trip but as he got up he chested (is that possible?) Koscielny to the ground causing Koscielny to get up straight away, neither player seemed bothered.
Paulista came over and grabbed Costa round the neck and Costa repaid the favour before a couple of little pats to the upper body from each of them, both got booked and spoken to, I imagine about calming down and then a few seconds later a sneaky backheel to the shin and Paulista was off.
It’s rubbish and not even remotely as one-sided as reported, I know Costa is also criticised by waving an imaginary card to try and get a player booked, but then the managers are using the national media to influence the FA as well – ban both or allow both.
And why is the ref getting criticism for allegedly trying to take centre stage? He booked the players and had a lengthy conversation with them both, what else was he supposed to do other than issue another card when his advice wasn’t heeded?
It’s probably the perfect result for Arsenal though, they can feel aggrieved by a loss which despite having no basis for thinking they would win but all focus is on a single Chelsea player and ref rather than those involved in it all from Arsenal.
As a Spurs fan I honestly don’t know who out of Chelsea or Arsenal I dislike the most and can’t imagine I have any real bias to either, but the focus seems to be so ridiculously one-sided in all of this and that just seems wrong, surely football fans have the capacity to digest a neutral/s view and not only a bandwagon-jumping pitchfork-wielding lynch mob of a press pack that loves to apportion complete blame rather than sharing it around.
Apparently a football game happened as well, but let’s not worry about that.
Steve (football spats are getting worse) THFC
…All the reaction in the Sunday mailbox was to the douchebaggery of Diego Costa or Mike Dean’s officiating.
You may ask how did it went from Costa hitting Koscielny in the face (twice), pushing Koscielny over, smacking Gabriel on the back in front of the ref (after already having received his yellow), stopping in Gabriel’s path to make sure Gabriel walked backwards into him and taunting Gabriel under the ref’s nose before the ‘kick’ to the situation where an Arsenal player was sent off but let’s look at Gabriel for a second.
Costa should have seen red but for Gabriel to be that naive to be suckered into that act as a professional is more unbelievable than Costa not seeing red. Wenger, ask your own players to watch Costa more closely in preparation for a game next time to see what he does game after game before asking Mike Dean to do so.
On the please don’t send e-mails about football can learn from rugby the other day. Sorry but I loved it when the ref said to an Argentinian player “don’t ask for a yellow, you’re better than that” after tuning into the Chelsea v Arse game just as Costa waived an imaginary yellow at Mike Dean in the second minute to ask for an Arsenal player to be booked.
Ismail Laher, NUFC, JHB (Springboks and Newcastle fan. That. Went. Well.)
This Is Why We Hate Chelsea (Part 10,000)
There was a question asked on why people hate Chelsea and not City considering they have both plowed money into winning titles.
With City you have a team who play great to watch football which should be expected from a team with such resources. There manager doesn’t act like a d*ck. Their main striker doesn’t actually like a d*ck. Their captain isn’t a d*ck.
All of which can’t be said about Chelsea. The fact that Jose thought Costa not Oscar was the man of the match shows what Jose drills into his players.
I’m not going to argue about the result. I think we would have probably lost anyway as we were pretty poor with 11 men.
But the distasteful way in which a so-called team of world-class players behave to get an advantage over a team which quite frankly they should on paper beat by just playing football makes me sick.
Tobi, Gooney Boy, London
Chelsea Fans Not All Neanderthals
Esteemed Mailbox. It’s long been known that you are a window facing the world as seen by the real football supporters.
With this in mind, I plead that you don’t tar all Chelsea fans with the same brush. Chelsea fans are taking some serious flak at the minute but please realise most of us aren’t the brainless Costa-supporting morons you see on TV banging their hands together and hooting when little Diego has had another tantrum. I, for one, would be prouder to see DJ Campbell leading our line than Costa.
We all know you sometimes don’t get a choice in the team you support and I, for one, cringe when I see the latest headline dragging the club’s name through mud (and, I know, it hasn’t exactly been Daz-clean for many years). Our high point probably came with Ancelotti or pre-Abramovich-Ranieri, people actually seemed to like us, imagine that!
I know we’ll never be anything but the most despised club in the Premiership while the likes of Mourinho and Costa are there but if this mail makes just one person think “you know what? Maybe all their fans aren’t as sh*thousey as Costa” then I’ll see that as a real victory.
BlueLuke, Defending the seemingly-indefensible since 1986
The First ‘Let’s Take A Lesson From Rugby’ E-Mail…
I think the controversy surrounding the Chelsea-Arsenal match on Saturday should re-invigorate the discussion on using technology to ensure correct decisions.
I’ve watched a couple of matches in the Rugby WC that are thankfully being broadcast live on free TV here in Germany and the refereeing teams are more than painstaking in making sure their decisions are correct. In the All-Blacks game vs. Argentina a Kiwi stuck his leg out and deliberately tripped an opponent which the ref missed and would have penalised a forward pass that resulted from the stumble, unless he had been made aware of the foul and had a video review made. (The offender was sent to the sin-bin for 10 minutes)
Why can’t this happen in football? The offside law has been tinkered with as have the rules about backward passes, goalies carrying/bouncing the ball and many other things, so why not bring refereeing into the 21st century too?
The only problem then would be getting Mike Dean to realise that he is not infallible and actually make use of the technology…
Oh Bloody Hell Theo…
I’m not going to moan about Chelsea and the ref’s display – you know you have a point when it’s Spurs, United and Liverpool fans coming out in your defence.
For me, the biggest problem with Arsenal at the moment is that charlatan in Thierry Henry’s shirt.
Our front three at the moment consists of last year’s player of the season in woeful form, an attacking central midfielder farmed out to the right and an adequate right winger masquerading as a striker.
Paying Walcott £140k a week and giving him Henry’s shirt just because he’s reached the right age doesn’t automatically make him our top striker.
I honestly don’t know how Arsene looks at our squad and presents a team sheet with so many round pegs in square holes.
Right now, we just need to get back to basics and you give yourself a chance of that by playing everyone in their best position. For me, that means Chambo on the right, Santi on the left, Giroud leading the line, Ramsey moved into the middle and Walcott and Sanchez both benched.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Thanks For That, Diego. Love Liverpool.
Diego Costa is an asshat! (yes, I definitely like that word).
But his dickishness and Mike Deanhs utter incompetence has thankfully kept our utter incompetence off the headlines.
Enough chances made but we canht have excuses not to beat Norwich!
Sadly I am about to join the Rodgers out brigade.
Two seasons we have struggled for goals.
We have sold all our pace and flair (Cout’s looks sick of having to try do it all on his own).
Please Jurgen. Please come and sort out the sh*t.
Man Utd are poor and second because they take chances (Martial can’t control or pass or dribble (his first 10 touches maybe were all to give the ball away) but he can finish and that’s what matters most.
Loving Leicester though, why would you not?
Al, Liverpoool – Cant believe we are still above Chelsea.. Give it two more games…
The Silver Lining
…of yesterday’s match against Norwich?
Mamadou Sakho played a good enough match to guarantee Dejan Lovren should never get anywhere near the starting XI ever again.
Divided On Rodgers Now
The positives do stand out for me; he dropped Lovren, he set us up in a way which did create a lot of chances (we had more than 10 shots which hasn’t happened all season) and he brought both Ings and Firmino on and both had great influence on the game as subs.
The negatives were the same as usual though; inability to hold a lead, dodgy defending from a cross, zero courage in the performance. You do start to wonder if it is him, if it’s the club or if it’s the players. Today we got to add on terrible finishing to that list which made life really tricky.
Milner had his worst game for the club. He was trying to join the Iago Aspas corner club but also his forward passes were consistently disappointing. Moreno on the other hand was outstanding and Sturridge looked rusty but sexy. I would love to see him and Ings paired together regularly as I think Ings has that battle for every ball mentality and the two of them would cause a lot of pain for defences.
I think I’m at the point of indifference. If he went or stayed I’d feel pretty meh about it. Are FSG really going to bring Klopp in? Would he really want to come? I think if we got rid of Rodgers we would end up with another second-rate manager and then the question becomes why bother trading the mediocrity you know for the mediocrity you don’t? At least we will go on a 10-game winning run once we are firmly out of the running for the top four! That’ll be exciting and morale boosting for all. Until we lose one game and Rodgers abandons the entire system, set-up and players that won us the 10 games and reverts to Lovren. Eugh.
Manchester United Conclusions
– Darmian was poor again, rightly hooked at half time. Valencia was actually decent defensively so I have a feeling he may get the nod in the next match.
– Rojo isn’t much of a threat going forward.
– Blind was exposed again by Pelle. I’m glad they stopped targeting him so early. He’s a good footballer but looks like a good U-16 playing Senior football.
– Carrick & Schneiderlin really struggled against Mane, Utd have some good footballers in midfield and defence but have some very slow players.
– Rooney was terrible yesterday. I try not criticise him too much but he played far too deep. Southampton are a good side but individually their defenders are not great, I think if he had have played closer to Martial they could have caused more problems. Neville highlighted it well when comparing his positioning to Mane’s.
– Mata still doesn’t look comfortable wide, he drifts inside a lot which then means Darmian/Valencia has to push really high up the pitch to give an option that side. Given van Gaal’s penchant for tactical discipline I’m surprised this happens so much. Must be because Mata scores/assists most of our goals!
– Martial looks promising. So does Depay. So far he has produced moments of quality in games but not really had a good 90mins yet. I have patience that will come.
– Likewise I have faith (blind hope) that when Rooney scores, he will go on a little run.
– De Gea is class. So is Schweinsteiger.
– Ward Prowse & Mane are excellent. Would be surprised if they are not on a lot of people’s shopping lists next year.
Overall I don’t think Utd played amazingly well, and were lucky to get through the first 20 mins relatively unscathed. If that Pelle shot goes in I think Southampton win it easily enough. That’s a tough to place to go and get three points so very happy with the result and the start of the season. 13pts from six games is an average of about 2.16 per game which is 82 over the course of a season. It’s something to aim for anyway.
Dan, Ireland, MUFC
…1. Stoke was supposed to be Barcelona lite this season but Manchester United definitely look the closest to the all-conquering side. It is boring but it is effective.
2. This is the new Man United. I miss the swashbuckling style of Fergie’s teams but that’s gone. This is the new posession-based approach we must learn to accept.
3. Whoever suggested that Schweinsteiger and Carrick can effectively play as one player this season in pre-season is a genius.
4. Whoever suggested it was idiotic, stupid and criminally negligent to buy Martial over Pedro is not.
5. Thank you deadline day, thank you La Liga, thank you shoddy paper work, thank you Ed Woodward, thank you slow fax machines. (How good was that save? Schmiechel would be pleased!)
6. Number 9? Martial. Number 10? Mata/Herrera. There is no place for Rooney in this team.
7. This Manchester United team will do well in Europe. There are probably not going to win the Champions League this year but this group of players playing this game will do well in Europe, which will have less physically imposing players and the pace will be slower for most parts.
8. Mane wouldn’t have been a bad signing either. He can probably play in the starting 11 over a couple of players.
9. Late goals are still a part of Man United. We might not get goals from throwing the kitchen sink at the end but the posession-based approach may slowly tire the opponents enough to gift goals to United at the end.
10. How was there no talk of no club buying Tadic or Pelle this year?
11. Somebody check Anthony Martial’s birth certificate. He doesn’t look 19, he doesn’t play like a 19-year-old. Wow.
12. Yes he was gifted a goal by an awful back pass but great job being alert to it and finishing the chance. Also he is making the defender make mistakes by constantly Harrying them.
13. Thiery Henry has been mentioned. Louis Saha has been mentioned. Let me throw another French striker into the mix for the Anthony Martial comparisons list:
Eric f**king Cantona
14. Schwienstiger is Louis Van Gaal on the pitch. We haven’t had a midfielder bark orders like that since Roy Keane. Nobody listens to Rooney, and even when they can they probably can’t understand a thing but everyone seems to respect Schwieinstiger and he is able to dictate passes on the field.
15. Louis Van Gaal would be happy to get on over Koeman. It’s time for Wings tonight!
16. For all the talk of unrest, the entire team looked absolutely delighted at the end. There seems to be a good atmosphere in the dressing room and unless the Iron Tulip is awakened, or we get on a losing run, that will guide us towards a good season this year.
Shehzad Ghias, MUFC, Karachi, a very satisfied Manchester United fan
Rooney: As Bad As Fellaini
Two years ago, when people realised Rooney wasn’t a ’10’, people said he drops too deep and he should play that deep midfield role because he can be Scholes II. Then he played there last season and was awful, so the rhetoric was he’s always been a striker who scores goals, put him as a ‘9’. Then he went there and couldn’t score a goal, people were saying he’s always been best as a 10 linking the play. Yesterday Neville was saying he was playing too deep, and he was as usual, generally sh*te.
What next – Rooney to replace De Gea in the summer when he goes to Madrid?
Martial is everything Rooney isn’t – fast, skilful, can dribble, great touch, clinical (okay, Rooney has always been a decent finisher but now he doesn’t have the pace or ability to get near the box). At one point yesterday Rooney dribbled the ball out of play in the second half and didn’t even react.
He’s as bad as Fellaini.
Silvio (Martial and Dave – heroes) Dante
Officialy that was a hat-trick in his first 90 mins of football for the club…just saying.
Sean Gorman (I feel we are entitled to be getting a small bit giddy about the boy now.) MUFC, Ireland
Crystal Palace Conclusions
* Well done to Spurs for their win yesterday. I did wonder if Palace might get something from the game, with our away record being so good, but it wasn’t to be. We had a couple of good chances, but were always second best.
* Alan Pardew deserves some credit for trying to incorporate all of Yannick Bolasie, Jason Puncheon, Bakary Sako and Wilf Zaha into the same team, but something isn’t quite clicking without a target man up top to play off. Officially I’m still undecided about Connor Wickham, because I don’t think he has it in him to score enough goals to justify the amount spent on him, but the rest of his centre-forward play has been good this season – not sure how this can be measured statistically but on an anecdotal level, the other attackers have played very well in combination with him.
* When Fraizer Campbell signed for the Glaziers at the start of last season, he was effectively an upgrade on Cameron Jerome from the year before. However, things have moved on since then. I was probably as surprised as anyone to see him on the pitch.
* Damien Delaney is not the best defender in the Premier League, and is probably not even the best defender at Crystal Palace, yet I would be surprised and impressed if anyone handles Diego Costa better than him in a game this season (apparently he was pickpocketed on the Tube on his way home, but the thief made off with Costa instead of a wallet or phone). This was my reaction on hearing what had happened between Costa and Gabriel, so I was pleased to see Big D (as no one calls him) get some appreciation in 16 Conclusions.
Regardless of your choice of unpleasant adjective for Costa, Gabriel has to take some of the blame. Costa is no longer new to the Premier League, and everyone knows what he gets up to. Costa is a bully, and like all bullies, he wants a reaction and the best way to handle him is to rise above it.
The old cliché trotted out when players jump in to tackles is that it gives the referee the chance to make a decision. Similarly, having just called the two players over and told them to pack it in, it should have been fairly obvious that he would be keeping an eye on them. While the punishment meted out was harsh compared to what went unpunished, it was a blatant act done while the official was watching, giving him no choice. All Gabriel needed to do was keep his cool for a little while longer, and wait to exact his revenge.
Delaney’s performance that day was a masterclass in old-fashioned toughness, the way all defenders used to be. While simulation and gamesmanship are never going to go away, and while I don’t advocate on-field violence, I do think football would be a lot better if the players were tougher – Graeme Souness often makes this point about when he played, people tried to hide their pain and not show they were hurt, because it was a sign of weakness for opponents to exploit.
* A listicle on The Poke this weekend suggested, in tongue in cheek fashion, that if rugby players rolled around like footballers each game would take approximately three years to complete because of the injury time. One can only wonder how long a football match would take if referees – like their counterparts in the posh code – referred all their decisions to a TMO. Between the two systems, a happy medium on the use of video technology can probably be found that suits both (and other) sports.
* A piece by Jonathan Liew on the Telegraph website regarding Matt ‘Daws’ Dawson and his banterrific ‘Hakarena’, described Dawson as ‘imagine if Tim Lovejoy had not only played professional football, but had won the World Cup with England’. Go on, imagine it. Good luck concentrating on work any time soon.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven, CPFC the Glaziers, Notts