One Liverpool fan fears Martin Skrtel more than Dejan Lovren. Also, an Arsenal supporter would rather win the Europa than fail again in the Champions League, Erik ‘The Engima’ Lamela is assessed, and football lookalikes makes a brief comeback…
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Lawro, Lawro Laughs
A quick read of Lawro’s Predictions during lunch has alerted me to a gem that has been missed in Mediawatch today. Says Lawro on his preview of Stoke v Leicester “This is an interesting one. Like most people, I did not expect Leicester to be so near the top of the table, or Stoke to be so near the bottom.”
His statement may have made more sense had he not predicted Stoke to have 2 points after the first five games and be 19th in the table, one below where they currently lie. His predictions for Leicester so far – 9 points and no losses. It’s almost like he is surprised his predictions have been fairly close!
Skrtel The Problem, Not Lovren
I’d like to address a couple of things from this morning’s Mailbox.
First, the definition of ‘hopeful.’
Feeling or inspiring optimism about a future event.
Should Liverpool not at least ‘hope’ to finish in the top four?
Secondly, a cursory check of a popular betting website showed the following:
Odds on Liverpool finishing in the top four – 9/4
Odds on Liverpool winning the Europa League – 14/1
Assuming that bookmakers know something about this sort of thing, given that they are required to perpetually put their money where their mouths are, which one would you chase if you were Liverpool?
I’ll finish with something slightly more controversial. I believe that Skrtel is a bigger problem than Lovren in Liverpool’s defence. I suppose it depends which sort of defender you prefer. In my opinion, Lovren is actually a reasonably sound defender 99% of the time, but he is prone to the sort of cataclysmic error that almost always leads to a goal – these only arrive every few games though, at worst. He’s also much, much better on the ball than Skrtel.
Skrtel, on the other hand, makes relatively few of those errors than fall into the ‘clanger’ category. He does, however, make the sort of error, several times a game that you look at and think ‘Hmmm, could he have done a bit better there?’ Martial’s goal last weekend is a prime example, but half-cleared clearances, goals where the forward just gets across him and generally poor positioning, amongst other intangibles are typical of Skrtel. Also, as the person that I would guess is nominated for organising the defence, the blame lies with him when we concede the sort of goal Daley Blind scored last weekend.
I’d quite like to see a Lovren/Sakho partnership given six games. That said, the nervousness that emanates from our excuse for a goalkeeper really needs sorting out in January.
It appears some in this mornings mailbox have forgotten what hopeful means
It means they hope to, not that they will, deserve to or have the squad to, but HOPE to
Graham (Liverpool actually have a decent squad) LFC
I think Tom in Manchester needs to learn the difference between the words “hopeful” and “certainty”….
I was surprised to discover F365 had stayed silent on the subject of Fifpro taking UEFA and FIFA to court today to abolish transfer fees – not had enough coffee today, guys? MC – Bugger off, Mike.
Anyway, this is positively massive news as they wish to stop what has been going on for over 100 years, stating that the current system is a hindrance to players and clubs alike – oh, and they also want to put a stop to agent’s fees, something I think we can all get behind.
I appreciate that some will fear for the ‘little guys’ in the World of football, who, should this happen, will be unable to sell their star player for millions, but apparently, this happens so infrequently that to use it as an argument against change would be counter productive.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens, as Fifpro have yet to outline what they want instead, as all they’ve said is what they don’t want, but have said contracts would still be enforced but no longer than 4 years. I can only presume that players will be able to move whenever they like (perhaps abolishing the windows?) for free to whichever club is willing to pay them more; we all know the first £1m a week player is coming, don’t we?
I can’t decide whether I am for or against this. In no other walk of life is a worker sold for millions, yet irrespective of the fact that smaller clubs selling their stars represents a small percentage of transfers, it will greatly hurt some; even a couple of million can make a massive difference to a club’s finances.
What do you Mailboxers think?
Justice For Jack
The Big Weekend is one of my favorite features, and as usual Daniel Storey came up trumps this week. But in his bit on Stoke, he mentioned the loss of Asmir Begovic as a problem for Mark Hughes. Has he watched Jack Butland play lately? The man has been brilliant week after week. With Fraser Forster out, he’s right behind Joe Hart on the Euro ladder.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (Watch him let in three to Leicester on Saturday)
Today’s Mediawatch skewers the piece in the Sun headlined “999: Emergency!” with its typical panache.
I’d like to point out that if one were to actually ring 999 to complain about the lack of English players in the Champions League, it would actually be a criminal offence. At any other newspaper, it would allegedly be the worst phone-related crime ever carried out by a journalist.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven, CPFC the Glaziers, Notts
PS someone from Nick Miller’s home town once rang 999 because Manchester United were losing on TV. They live among us, they breed, and they vote.
Erik The Enigma
Has there even been a harder player to make sense of than Erik Lamela?
Last night was vintage Lamela in the sense that it provided ample evidence to support a case for both an immediate career change and a place in the starting XI against Crystal Palace.
It feels like he should fit the ‘all flash, no end product’ description but actually the opposite is true, he’s got a good assists record and tends to finish well. It’s just everything else he’s terrible at. Although he works hard and is very good at winning the ball back. The rabona is actually an outlier because his other good moments, like on Sunday, tend to be conventionally accurate through balls or finishes. So it’s not really true to say he’s flaky. Except for that fact that he’s very, very flaky.
You see? Impossible to make sense of.
To accept that Erik Lamela got the same amount of Premier League assists last season as David Silva despite playing fewer minutes is to accept we live in a world of chaos. Lamela got more Premier League assists last season than Mesut Ozil, Aaron Ramsey, Samir Nasri, Phillipe Coutinho, Wayne Rooney, Juan Mata and Christian Eriksen. How is that true F365? Rationally it can’t be, can it? He had a better minutes to assist ratio last season than Eden Hazard and Alexis Sanchez. Now, that one can’t possibly be true. But Who Scored say it is so it’s true. In last season’s Premier League Erik Lamela created goals more frequently than David Silva and Eden Hazard.
But, and there’s always a but with Lamela, there are long stretches of games where, put simply, he looks like he cannot adequately play football. There was a moment last night when he had the ball facing goal and he turned and looked at an opposition player advancing on him. He noted the players position, turned back to face goal and the next second, the very next second mind you, was dispossessed by the same player. Had, by the time he turned his back on the player, our Erik forgotten about him? Had it not occurred to him what his opponents intention might be?
I’m not sure what my point is. It’s impossible to reach a conclusion on an issue of such complexity.
I couldn’t say a single thing about Townsend’s performance last night so let’s end on a note of thanks for players like Lamela. They certainly give us plenty to talk about.
I’d like to go a step further than Guy S and Tom, Manchester. As an Arsenal fan, my club is the absolute epitome of a “top-four” club, but I’d love to see us win the Europa League.
With the strength of Barca, Bayern and Real (even with the random Rafa factor – he’s the master of ‘failing up’), the remaining 29 clubs in the Champions League are probably vying for the fourth semi-finalist crown. It’s the “fourth place trophy” writ large.
Let’s be honest, with Arsenal demoted to second-seed status, and our margin for error further reduced by our travails on Zagreb, everything points to the usual last-16 defeat. That, or appearing in the quarter finals, doesn’t compare to actually lifting a European trophy.
But what of the effect on domestic form? Here, I think it’s hard to argue that Thursday night football followed by a genuinely competitive game on Sunday (and likely routinely playing catch-up to league rivals) wouldn’t see us suffer, but given that the limits of our ambitions would seem to be, yet again, Champions League qualification, the truth is we’d only be choosing a riskier alternative route to our goal. And hey, variety is the spice of life!
The product of failure would probably be to drop out of the Champions League and that risk is probably too much for the economists in the boardroom and dugout at the Emirates. But this season’s chasing pack looks weak, and United have shown this is a problem that you can throw money at. While we’re not at the same financial level as them, we’ve certainly got enough hoarded away to have a good go and with a massive TV-money windfall due next season, this is as good a time as any to suffer the hit of losing the Champions League revenues.
Really, what motivates me is the thought of seeing our players lift a trophy on the European stage and the galvanising effect that success can have on all levels of the club. Like the Europa League, the FA Cup is another competition that people are quick to dismiss, but the fan and player response to our successive victories puts the lie to any suggestion that it doesn’t matter. Winning in Europe would be an even bigger thrill, a sign of progress, and it will hopefully feed the hunger at higher levels of the club to pursue glory above all.
I Did Not Say It
“My team is like the RAF….beep, beep, beep, I love it,” said Claudio Ranieri.
Just try saying that in the voice of other Premier League managers. Arsene Wenger sounded best to me.
I’ve changed my mind. I like Sam Allardyce’s version better.
Steve – Germany
Degsy’s Kiss Of Death
Now that Degsy has placed his kiss of death on Arsenal by declaring they will score twice I expect to see a goalless draw at the bridge tomorrow.
Declan (He didn’t mean own goals did he) AFC
Apologies for the lateness of this but I’ve only just seen the highlights of the Bordeaux v Liverpool game.
All I wanted to know was – does anyone else enjoy the French pronunciation of “Lallana” as much as me? I’ve been wandering around the house saying it out loud ever since I heard it. Smashing stuff. Vive le difference and etc.