We eked out a Bank Holiday mailbox. Watch Chelsea v Tottenham tonight and send in your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Fear that Liverpool will end up with nothing…
Going all out in the Europa League has been a great thrill, as has seeing the youngsters perform admirably in ‘less important’ games in the Premier League; however Liverpool have a very real chance of letting this season peter out to nothing.
Failing to go through against Villarreal would mean season over and crossing our fingers to have another shot next year through league qualifying.
Points lost against Southampton and Newcastle combined with the last three from Swansea would have put us two points from fourth, with an optimistic fixture list and City also preoccupied.
I’m not criticising Klopp for prioritising a tournament in England often given the cold shoulder, but am just nervous about the whole emotion of the season coming down to either trophy glory, or nothing significant at all. I guess the game against Villarreal is a season-definer, our final if you will.
Win and the season is a success overall (progression, better playing, time with the team, European final), lose and it’s another waste of games (mid-table finish, change of manager, no real performance change, same inconsistency).
Really hope in two months’ time we’re competing for transfers with Dortmund and Athletico, not Lyon and Fiorentina.
KC (all or nothing)
…No pressure on the return leg at Anfield then KloppMeister…
Could that team against The Swans even qualify as a second string? Anyway, is it only Spurs fans who do that stupid #COYS!?
#COYR (I’m starting it; even though it’s sh*t…)
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
Rare anger at Man City…
Rarely do I get angry when watching Man City however yesterday I was apoplectic at times. A few observations:
Iheanacho has been criminally underused this season.
Nasri found his motivation for one game and reverted to type yesterday.
Kolarov should be docked wages for his part (or lack of it) on the second goal.
How sh*t is Otamendi?
Mangala is actually improving game by game and for the most part looked very accomplished yesterday. With VC beside him I think he’ll be fine.
Raheem Sterling. What the shuddering F***? With the risk of after-timing I was against his transfer from the start however even I wasn’t prepared for just how dreadful he really is. He makes Darius Vassell look like Romario.
What’s in a name, Jack?
Does Jack Wilshere have the most misspelled name in football? He’s a certain starter for his country when fit, he’s the ‘missing link’ for Arsenal and he’s been in the Premier League for the best part of a decade now. Yet still, a sizeable amount of correspondents refer to him as Jack Wilshire/Wiltshire every week. It’s odd.
Tom (people get my surname wrong all the time, I feel for the lad)
Only City or Chelsea would sack Wenger…
Arsenal need to get a result away at Man City next weekend or not lose to already-relegated Aston Villa at home on the final day of the season to guarantee Champions League football and the riches this brings for another year. Pundits and fans criticise Arsenal for seeing fourth place as a trophy and Wenger being rewarded for relative failure. In purely football terms, there is plenty to criticise but in the modern world of football companies not football clubs and football as just another financial asset then Wenger and Arsenal are the equivalent of sticking your life savings in a risk-free high return bond.
The first priority of club owners and executives is the financial wellbeing of the company, indeed companies and their executives have a legal responsibility to act in the best interest of their shareholders. That means maximising financial performance and minimising risk with the matches themselves as a nice corporate jolly on the side. By regularly finishing in the top four, Arsenal are in a position where improved performance on the pitch will not cause a jump in financial return to their shareholders but a slight dip in performance on the pitch and dropping out of the top four would be a big financial hit. No normal company would take such a negatively weighted risk.
Spurs, Liverpool, Man Utd, West Ham have all recently changed manager which the football world saw us an aim to boost on pitch success but which from the reality of the football company is a clear aim to boost the financial return to the shareholders. These clubs are or were all in a financial position of nothing to lose, almost zero chance of relegation, and everything to gain in terms of becoming or returning to the regular top four. The exact opposite position to that of Arsenal. All these clubs are companies and all of the owners and executives would be delighted with the performance of Wenger and Arsenal over the last 15 years.
There are only two companies that would contemplate sacking Wenger – City and Chelsea. Due to their unique ownership both companies can value on-pitch success higher and take greater financial risk. They are therefore more prepared to role the financial dice and take a sporting decision that carries a large financial risk.
If you yank a man’s hair…
Oh Fellaini, there’ll probably be a “he’s not that type” excuse but he is. He does get fouled an awful lot, and penalised for non-fouls too but I digress.
If someone is going to pull and yank at someone else’s hair, they deserve a smack to know it’s not okay. It can only be done with the intent to cause pain as it hurts. Its rather instinctive to lash out when it happens too. On that, I fully expect Robert Huth should also get a three-match ban, if not more as it was unprovoked and frankly disgusting, unprofessional and cowardly.
Pete F, (Is that type of player) Eire
LVG doing a fantastic job; deal with it…
That Arsenal story was ridiculous, don’t do that again (pls), anyway here are two sides to the LVG argument between myself and Salad on WhatsApp this morning :
(After the game)
S: All we had to do was win 4 games. Can’t beat Leicester at home we won’t beat West Ham at their last ever game at Upton Park
S: We have like one of the worst away records anyway
S: Not even gonna get invested in any of the last games. If there’s something better to do I’ll do, this United is trash
C: What are you moaning about, United have bin this level or worse since Moyes, if anything the last 2-3 months have been our best
C: Can’t wait till LVG stays
C: We drew against the league leaders deal with it
C: “All we had to do was win 4” all we had to do in SAFs second last season was not lose to City OR Everton, shit happens
C: LVGs doing a fantastic job (yes interspersed with cheeks but no1 is perfect)
What do you reckon? Ted? Harry? Am I too optimistic or is Salad too pessimistic? Is the glass half full or half empty?
Cortez (just you wait till Jesse gets his shooting boots on) MUFC, Botswana
Even Arsenal fans can love Leicester story…
I read John’s missives on a regular basis. It’s kind of like a type of self-flagellation because I have, on many occasions, trouble overcoming my natural instincts that his thoughts are no more than rants from a grumpy, old, Northern b*stard with a chip on his shoulder the size of double decker bus.
However, while I may disagree with his views most of the time (read: 90%!) I do recognise that, when it comes to football, he knows his onions.
Today’s column regarding Leicester, the title, fans’ response from other clubs and dispelling the myth that you can only win the Premiership by pouring in billions of quid is heartfelt and resonates highly for many (if not most) lovers of football.
That may sound odd from an Arsenal fan who are probably fifth on the ‘splash-the-cash’ list (Chelsea, City, ManU and Liverpool being the top four) but I’m really happy for Leicester and for football in general.
With more money for the ‘smaller’ clubs, is it not beyond the realms of possibility that clubs like Palace, West Ham, damnit even Watford, will look at
this and think, ‘Why not us?’. Clubs like Stoke and Newcastle (should the latter survive the drop) with massive fanbases will surely be thinking about it even more.
Whatever happens, this season has been a watershed and I, amongst many, have loved it.
Al, Arsenal, Sydney
(Can’t believe I’m hoping for a Chelsea win tonight – for obvious reasons – although I’m sure the Foxes would prefer to win in Leicester)
Weekend thoughts from Peter G
* Jamaal Lascelles is fast becoming one of the best stories of the run-in. Virtually untried in the Premier League, first he talked the talk, publicly berating his more senior teammates for their lack of effort. And now he’s walking the walk, helping to stabilise a weak central defense. If Newcastle survive, he’ll be one of the big reasons.
* It’s no surprise that a half-strength Manchester City struggled at Southampton (and Dusan Tadic has been the best player in the league the past few weeks), but they played without hunger or heart. Pellegrini’s tenure hasn’t been too bad, and he may yet pull something out of the hat in Madrid, but it’s time to go.
* Here’s a surprise stat: Sunderland have scored more goals per game under Sam Allardyce than under any of their four previous managers. But the 4-1-4-1 he’s hanging his hat on doesn’t have enough juice. One goalscorer, two wide attackers, and that’s it. Expect the same against Chelsea next week, but if it still doesn’t produce, he has to change it.
* It was a brave effort at the Emirates, but to borrow one of my father’s expressions, Norwich City don’t have the horses. Alex Neil has tried absolutely everything this season. I still back them to get a win from their final three games, but it won’t be enough.
* The finish of Watford-Aston Villa was genuinely horrifying. With all they’ve been through, the Villa fans, and even the players, deserved a result somewhere along the line. Villa were the better side for large parts of the game, and even after a debatable red card looked full value for the three points. There’s really nothing you can say. Vaya con Diós.
* The best thing about van Gaal’s “sex masochism” line is that he used it twice. In the first interview, he was groping for the words and slightly mispronounced. But he was all ready to deliver the same line in the second interview. A great showman, and when he leaves, he’ll be missed.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
In defence of Cameron Jerome
Anfield, 9th of November, 2009. I think that classes as standing out, Luke.