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Can somebody please explain to me how and why Mesut Ozil has been omitted from the PFA Team of the Year? I know the award is complete nonsense and means nothing, but come on, you have to be either blind or stupid or, even worse, both.
Firstly, the guy is two assists away from Thierry Henry’s all time record of 20. Fair enough, they have dried up over the last few games (along with Arsenal’s form) however there are still more games to play, so this could still happen.
Also, according to Squawka, he has created 130 chances so far this season. 130!!! That’s four away from the Premier League record set by Frank Lampard in the 2008/09 season.
So, to summarise, he’s on the course to break two Premier League records in one season but he still hasn’t done enough to warrant a place in the Team of the Year. I guess if he was with Leicester or West Ham it would be a different story…
Six reasons why it’s great to be a Spurs fan
As a Spurs fan, this season has been enjoyable on so many levels.
First, we’ve seen the exuberance of youth triumph over more experienced outfits. Spurs have played the majority of games this season with an average age of 24. At a guess I doubt any club with the exception of the early 90’s Man Utd side and the famous Class of 92 have been so good, so young.
Second, the financial playing field has been levelled. Manchester City have a squad that has cost £350m+ and an annual wage bill of £200m+. As have Chelsea. Liverpool are not far off. Manchester Utd have had massive investment under Van Gaal and have scored just 2 more goals than Sunderland. Spurs, although not exactly an economic ‘midget’, have gone to hell and back in terms of personnel and transfer policy in the past five years but have now put together an excellent side with a minus net spend over five years and a wage bill of just under £100m.
Third. Coaching nous has been the real triumph this year rather than sheer financial muscle. The PL had previously been dominated by clubs with a larger number of top class players that simply overwhelm their opposition. This year, Tottenham’s extreme fitness regime and pressing game, along with Leicester’s dour defensive work and lightning counter attacking football has swept away everything in its path, losing just seven of their 68 PL games. The cynical fan will say it’s been a poor Premier League. Don’t listen. If it was so poor, the stronger teams SHOULD have been more consistent, not less consistent.
Fourth: attitude. Mauricio Pochettino has shown the sort of passion, endeavour and ambition that the clubs history was built on. The famous words of the late, great Bill Nicholson – “It is better to fail aiming high than to succeed aiming low. And we of Spurs have set our sights very high, so high in fact that even failure will have in it an echo of glory”, are lived and breathed by Pochettino and his team. There is no fear of failure here. There is no fear to express themselves on the pitch. We just go out there every game and leave it all on the pitch. And no phrases such as ‘they’ve never had it so good’ if we have a bad result. No mealy mouthed lip service bullsh*t about players letting the club down after you’ve played Kyle Walker in midfield at Stamford Bridge. When he talks about dedication and hard work, you know he means it, as it shows on the pitch on a consistent basis.
Fifth – old fashioned respect and team spirit. Pochettino has brought in a rule whereby the players shake hands with all staff at the training ground, whether the tea lady or chairman is walking around. Whereas this potentially sounds a little false or forced to outsiders, most Spurs fans, after watching our team this season, will tell you that whilst we’ve never been a more cohesive unit, at least in the Premier League era, we also have a hard working and ultimately humble set of players who all put in the maximum effort. They respect each other. They respect the shirt and they are scared of letting each other or the club down. They all fight for each other and it’s wonderful to see. And they look happy and relaxed.
Lastly, this may appear to some to be a childish point to make whilst wrapping up, but one of the best things Pochettino’s team is in the process of doing is leaving the era of Redknapp and Sherwood behind. The stench of self promotion and limited ambition will be consigned to the past. There’s no such thing as ‘never had it so good’ with Pochettino. Should we ultimately fail in our quest for the title this year, you know that he will redouble his efforts to go one further next season. There will be no ‘this team ain’t bad is it’, followed by ‘this lot are miles off top 4’ a month later. No soundbites to the press about players ‘not putting it in’ or fake squabbles with opposition managers to cover up the fact you’ve turned up too late to even give a team talk. Pochettino leads by example. And what an example that is. I’m excited as to how far it will go.
Ross H – THFC
When was the last time Arsene Wenger developed a player to the very peak of their abilities? He has this reputation for being a great coach and bringing players on but all I can see is a stagnant talent pool.
He doesn’t make world-class footballers these days, he just makes cogs for his footballing machine. The machine that anyone can slip into and the team will play the exact same way week in and week out. It’s admirable that he’s able to do that but it’s also disappointing because this machine seems only capable of getting 70-75 points a season, no matter what talent you put into it.
Recently he’s taken genuine world class talent like Ozil and Sanchez and has tried to make them sterile cogs in his machine. To a degree, it’s worked. The talent they have only comes out in fits and starts and Sanchez has essentially been neutered this season. His brace last night took him to 12 goals this season and that’s not good enough even with a spell on the sidelines for a player of Sanchez’s ability. It’s no surprise that these two world class players are stalling on their contracts and seeking an escape route from the man who understands the science of football but knows nothing of the art.
But their departure won’t affect Arsenal at all. And that is faint praise in itself. Their footballing machine will carry on getting 75 points no matter who plays as long as Wenger is there.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
Rondon under the radar
Just wanted to give a nod to the man who may have had the most difficult job in the Premier League this season: Salomon Rondon. Strong and hard-running, he’s been mostly left alone up front while a Tony Pulis side try to figure out what to do with this thing called a football. He gets a lot of action, since West Brom play so many long balls. But since there’s rarely anyone near him wearing the same strip, except on set pieces, he’s normally just clocking up distance on the Opta meter.
Still, he’s managed to make a worthwhile contribution. Seven goals may not sound like a lot, but six of the seven gave West Brom the lead, and the seventh was a second-half injury time equaliser. Four of the goals were game-winners.
Last night against Arsenal he came on as a second-half substitute, getting minimal support from fellow striker Saido Berahino. He looked weary and off the pace, and when he got West Brom’s best chance of the night (on a set piece, naturally), he flubbed it. It’s been a long season.
The odds are against his getting a better gig any time soon. He won’t rack up big numbers under Pulis, plus he’s under contract for three more years. And to be fair, the former Malaga and Zenit man has yet to prove himself against the more physical Premier League defenders. But if only because he’s fighting long odds every time he enters the pitch, he’s a player worth following.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Give the refs a break
The Surrey Youth League has announced that every club has to appoint a pitch marshal from next season. The role of this person will be to try to reduce some of the worst behaviour of supporters, particularly as it pertains to referees. Many years ago as an 18 year old I qualified as a referee but stopped after a couple of seasons because the hassle simply wasn’t worth it. On one memorable occasion the only way to stop an opposition supporting parent from standing next to a goal and telling the keeper all the things he had “done to his mum” the night before was to threaten to abandon the match, it was an u14’s game!
I didn’t know of a referee who hadn’t been at least threatened with physical violence.
With the opprobrium thrown at Jon Moss in the last week, I guarantee that abuse of referees will be a little worse this weekend as we get a little more desensitised to how supporters behave.
I really hope the SYL initiative works because I don’t know why anyone would give up their spare time for the treatment they currently get at every level of the game. With no referees there is is no football and nowhere for the next Dele Alli to hone their skills.
Whether playing or watching this weekend perhaps we should all try to be a bit more balanced and even where they make a mistake a bit more forgiving of the referee
Martinez turning Everton into Villa
Would I have Moyes back? Interesting question and one I’d have to answer in two parts.
Until the end of the season? Absolutely! Anything to stop us hemorrhaging goals, points, and to stop this plan of turning Everton in to Villa. I think the immediate benefit of Moyes would be, get this, learning to play defence again. Novel idea huh? Just stop the rot.
As a long term replacement? No. I thought Moyes did very well for us and established Everton as at least, a constant threat for top six and potentially top four (I said ‘potentially’). However, and most Evertonians would probably agree, it started to get stale with Moyes over his last two years. We’d have matches where we’d be down 1-0 or 2-1 with a real chance of getting something out of it only to see Phil Neville at defensive midfield replaced by Johnny Heitinga as his first substitution (and why was Phil starting the match at defensive midfield much less at all to begin with?) Would drive us Evertonians bonkers and you wonder why we are the way we are sometimes.
I’ve seen all sorts of names thrown about. De Boer, Koeman, Mourinho (haha..as if), Bilic, etc… Hell, I’ve even seen Rafa “Everton are a small club” Benitez’s name mentioned. You know what? I’d take anyone of those names right now over what we have. All sound good but who could we realistically get? I don’t have a clue at this point.
On a final note, and a bit of a sad one, is that Roberto Martinez is a genuinely nice guy, loves the club, and represents us well. He comes across as a classy guy. Unfortunately, that isn’t what he’s employed for and he’s failing miserably at the football manager part of the job. If things aren’t changed soon, even with the new owner, I fear we could find ourselves in a death spiral similar to what Aston Villa found themselves in.
TX Bill (would love to be published twice in two days) EFC
United could follow Spurs’ lead
A coach with a decent record takes over an under performing team and spends his time getting rid of a lot of junk from it. He identifies some top class youngsters, including a fledgling forward that no one had really heard of. He finishes 5th. He decides to stick with this young crop for the next season. Spurs are now title contenders.
Are Man Utd not following a similar course? Next season, we could see a Man Utd starting XI that features Rashford, Fosu-Mensah, Borthwick-Jackson and Lingard on a regular basis. Further graduates from the Academy could come through, after the U21s secured another league title. You never know, Varela may get over his one mistake and Januzaj might find that form which helped him burst onto the scene.
Spurs made a profit on transfers in the last two summers. Man Utd might want to stop spending with abandon and give the youngsters their collective chance. If it fails, so be it, but at least we stuck by a worthwhile principle. If it works, Man Utd will have a title challenging team for the next seven to eight years.
My only wish was that it was Pochettino in the dugout and not LVG.
In response to Priyat – speaking of scary line ups, just thought I’d remind everyone of what is likely to be a hugely impressive French team at Euro 2016.
GK: Lloris Sub: Mandanda Res:Costil
CB: Varane/Koscielny or Zouma/Sakho
CM: Pogba, Matuidi Sub: Kante, Sissoko, Diarra, Cabaye, Kondogbia
CAM: Payet/Ben Arfa
ST: Gignac, Giroud
I just hope they get their internal fighting out of the way to showcase their talents on the field. It would be treat to watch.
Suspensions based on injury lay-offs
Just read that Origi will be out for the rest of the season. This is extremely disappointing since the kid just started to hit form and could have been a great timing with the Euros around the corner. This injury couldn’t have come at a worst time. Which brings me to Funes Mori, who will be back to normal life in three games time.
Why not make a player who caused an injury sit out for the same period of time as the guy who he injured. Many players haven’t been able to hit the same level after an injury and it seems unfair that worst case scenario the offenders will only sit out three games while they pick up their weekly checks.
I’m aware that sometimes its not deliberate, but these things can be reviewed (the Suarez case comes to mind where he got punished for his actions based on a deep look into the incident).
Mor (0/20 for mailbox attempts. I’m the mailbox equivalent of Borini) Las Vegas
Sweet FA from semi-finalists
Just a quick observation, but is anyone else left with a slightly sour taste in their mouth with the performances (and not to mention team sheets) of three of the four FA Cup semi-finalists on Wednesday night?
With the obvious exception of United, who are still challenging for a top 4 place, the abject surrender of Watford, Palace and Everton was, at best, pathetic and, at worst, a bloody disgrace. Everton may have named their ‘strongest’ possible XI, but they certainly didn’t play like it, and that cannot all be down to the obvious deficiencies of the coach.
I am not a supporter of any of the clubs I mention, but whereas City (one of the teams scrapping for a Champions League spot) had a proper game on their hands on Tuesday night against a club fighting for their Premier League survival, United, Liverpool and West Ham all pretty much had Wednesday night gimmes! And I’m not picking on Watford in particular, as no one can begrudge them their Wembley run out on Sunday, but imagine the delight of either Norwich or Sunderland, both of whom have to play Watford before the end of the season, if they were faced with this Hornets’ line-up;
Gomes, Paredes, Prodl, Cathcart, Holebas, Guedioura, Behrami, Suarez, Abdi, Jurado, Amrabat.
By my reckoning, that team had scored three Premier League goals between them this season prior to Wednesday’s game.
A penny for the thoughts of anyone connected with Newcastle United if that were to happen.
And may I point something out the those three clubs. Leicester have already shown what positive momentum from the end of a season can do for the following campaign, so don’t think it doesn’t work the other way round.
Steve Paget, Cork
Elneny earlier could’ve made Arsenal champions
Watching the game today and can’t help but think Arsenal’s whole season would have been different had Arsene signed Elneny (or another defensively inclined but creative/ box to box player like Granit Xhaka) at the start of season.
I’m getting bored of the whole ‘Arsene Out!’ / ‘Arsene knows!’ cycle all fans seem to get into following corresponding runs of form every season, but for me looking at this season the key was when Cazorla got injured.
Sure, Arsenal were still topping the table after his injury, but it seems clear to me that the gameplay was never the same.
The decision makers (emphasis on the ‘s’ as Wenger isn’t the only one making the recruitment decisions) failed to recognise that whilst Flamini could maybe do a 5/10 job in Coquelin’s position, with Wilshire out (as he was before the start of the season) Ramsey and Ox would not be able to deputise adequately for Cazorla’s position.
This was addressed in January, but I wonder that given Elneny took some time to settle and only recently has started to become a fixture in the team, would this season have looked different had Elneny been signed in the summer?
Tan (Resigned Gunner), London
Quiz question. And answer
30 years ago today [so, yesterday by the time you read this] Alvin Martin became the answer to one of the greatest and weirdest quiz questions of all time, scoring a hat-trick for West Ham against Newcastle, each goal being past a different ‘keeper.
Martin Thomas started, went off injured, was replaced by Chris Hedworth who broke a collarbone, to be replaced by Peter Beardsley.
It finished 8-1.
Alex Stokoe, Newcastle upon Tyne.
Is anyone here on F365 seeing how good Fernando Torres is recently becoming? Oh Gosh.