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Ozil for Liverpool
Not sure if this particular idea has been mused by other mailers before, but here it is anyways.
Liverpool have lost a creative midfield genius who while playing in midfield, can run with the ball, dribble, pass short, long and through, and shoot. All this while covering several km per game of hard running, tracking back, etc. Doesn’t this description suit a certain ex-La Liga player at Arsenal whose contract is running down and could be available for much much cheaper than 140 million?
Yes, Ozil is about 4-5 years Coutinho’s senior, and I daresay Coutinho may run a tad bit faster than him, but he could be a perfect fit into Klopp’s system. He could play on the wing as an inside-forward with ability to roam anywhere, as he does now with Arsenal, or he could play in central midfield- a la De Bruyne, Silva, etc. coupled with the fact that he’s naturally left-footed, it would provide a nice balance in midfield. Just imagine Ozil and Keita in front of Henderson (?)/ Can, Mane, Firmino, Salah up front, a solid back four behind, and numerous options like the Ox, Lallana, Milner, Grujic to rotate with constantly. I’m about to cream my pants slightly. Please, Jurgen, make this happen…
King of his own destiny
What people seem to forget when they wonder why their club doesn’t bid for Sanchez is that he is the master of his own destiny.
He wants to go to City and play for Pep. If Man Utd make a better offer (and the one they are rumored to have made is a better offer because it includes a player) that Arsenal accept, he can just refuse to go and wait to go to City in the summer.
The person who will decide where Sanchez plays next is Sanchez. Arsenal have practically no say in the matter other than to accept whatever offer City make now, or let him go for free later. It is a situation of our own making and we only have ourselves to blame for it.
So Manyoo can make as many bids as they like, but why would he choose to go from one archaic manager that wins the odd cup to another? And Chelsea are welcome to offer 50 million if they want, but why would he go and play for a manager that probably won’t be there next season?
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
Read more from Planet Sport: ‘Pliskova lurking, but women’s draw wide open’ (Tennis365)
Just wanted to say that yesterday’s e-mail from Alex, Zurich about the media’s attitude to young footballers was the best, most incisive thing I’ve read in the Mailbox for a very long time.
Am I being pedantic when I say that Neymar is not the world record transfer? Technically, PSG did not pay £198 million to Barcelona, they loaned it to Neymar so he could pay his release fee and then signed him on free. So it was not a transfer fee. This may seem like semantics but someday you will be at a table quiz and this knowledge could be vital.
Kev (pedant and table quiz enthusiast)
Taking the Rooney rule further
This is a long one, so forgive me. I spent the first 21 years of my life in India. While the caste system may be fairly well known outside of the country, whats less well known is the concept of reservation that permeates Indian society. A large proportion of government jobs( seen as plum positions due to the almost negligible firing rates ) as well as seats at the most prestigious universities are reserved for people belonging to historically oppressed communities. As the Indian caste equivalent of a straight white male, this means that less than 50% of the jobs, openings and university seats were available to me. Personal heartburn aside, I think the general consensus is that this reservation has led to a drop in the quality of government doctors, teachers and administrators.
Opponents of this rule, and I include myself here, would rather have a reservation system based purely on financial merit and familial background. What this avoids is someone driving a BMW, who’s grandfather was born in a certain community, being given a tuition waiver due to their caste status.
While I applaud the Rooney rule, the FA needs to be careful about the next steps it takes to avoid going down the similar reservation route. You already have a bunch of PFMs feeling hard done by, lets not make sure that their wounded feelings never actually have a legitimate source.
Subir, CFC Singapore ( if this gets published I’m putting ‘Thrice published – F365’ on my MBA application resume)
Read more from Planet Sport: ‘EurAsia Cup a super start to 2018’ – Noren (Golf365)
City’s success is fleeting
The subject in recent weeks has been how Man City, with all their wealth, are rolling over this league, ala PSG and the 2 Spanish giants.
I disagree that the PL will become like the French, Spanish and German leagues, purely because of the last few seasons in the PL.
In the last 5 years, we’ve had 4 different winners of the PL, even the teams that finished runners-up were different each year. Even though Man City, Man U & Chelsea have the money, they couldn’t stop Leicester winning, they didn’t stop Arsenal finishing 2nd that year.
For me it’s a cycle, each year is going to be more difficult than the last, just look at Chelsea winning in 2015, we were sh*t the following year, same for Leicester the year after their win, same again this year for Chelsea once more, although yes Man City have the current reigns, I genuinely do not believe they will do the same next year, it’s just too damn difficult and that’s why I believe Man City are not ruining the game or the PL, it’s just their turn, the turn for the others will come around again.
Players lose focus, teams figure out teams, managers lose the mojo, comfort sets in and you become complacent… not since Fergie was in charge have you seen any team truly dominate year in year out and you won;t see Man City win it again next year, I “almost” guarantee it.
If JoMo stays at United for the whole year then I can see them taking it next year, if Conte is given the signings he needs and the support, I see us winning it, If Liverpool can continue their ethos, I don’t see why can’t either… all I’m saying is, Man City will not win next season.
T, CFC, London (defo don’t want spurs to win though, please someone buy Kane)
Sick of City
B CfC and his desire to have Man City become the one stand out team from the league at the expense of the rest is disgusting, and is a prime example of why City are really starting to bug me. How could an apparent Chelsea fan, whose team won the league last year, be ready to sacrifice their own ambitions so a rival could potentially win the Champions League?
Which brings me to my main point on City, they are not nearly hated enough. I literally can not believe the seemingly pervasive sentiment that everyone wants City to break all the records, never be beaten and for Pep, de Bruyne et al to be knighted and proclaimed Lords of football. Yes City are the best team in the country, but the best part about football in this country is the blind tribal loyalties and the delight in seeing other teams slip up, preferably from up high. Hoping rivals do well for ‘the good of football’ is just bonkers.
City are very lucky in that they’re one of the only teams in the country that could attract such praise and good will from everyone because:
1. They were too small and unsuccessful to bother anyone else at all in the past.
2. Their only classic rivals are United, who everyone hates and are very happy to see fail.
City will win the league this year and have a brilliant chance of winning the champions league, and will continue at the top for the foreseeable future. But if you support another top six team and aren’t hoping it all implodes for them in spectacular fashion, you need to sort out your priorities.
Dave, (wait a couple of years before before gushing over a rival team, it’s acceptable then) London
Read more from Planet Sport: ‘Pliskova lurking, but women’s draw wide open’ (Tennis365)
Change is coming
I can’t help feeling Arsenal will do what they’ve needed to do for years and actually change manager.
Wenger is usually the one that undermines his subordinates but the times they are a changing.
The biggest clues are Walcott, who Wenger has publicly said he wants to keep, now seemingly up for sale, Sanchez, who Wenger also wants to retain, now apparently imminently off and the new lad who we’ve just signed being told he won’t be sent out on loan after Wenger said he would and now apparently has changed his mind.
The fact that there are new recruits in place undermining Wenger’s powerbase smacks of the club trying to annoy Wenger into leaving at the end of the season.
There may be hope for Arsenal after all. There’s a still a great football club in there somewhere. We’ve just forgotten who we are. The first move should be restoring the motto to the badge and then getting a manager that can instil that message into everyone connected to the club.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Super League could save football
I read today’s mailbox with a bit of a sinking heart. As B Cfc states, in City we may have a footballing super power who could go toe to toe with Bayern, Real, Barca and PSG. From some weird sense of nationalistic pride, I am glad we have someone of their calibre. However it made me think, as the prices for players become more and more inflated, surely there will inevitably be a super league formed of Europe’s elite. I cannot see a footballing ecosystem that can claim to be competitive when in each league there are 2 to 3 teams who can pay 4 times as much as anyone else and who are the only ones realistically able to win (Leicester being the exception). Maybe to protect football with a small f, we need to let Football with a big F to F off. I think for most modern (not you old skoolers) Real / United / Bayern fans they’d be happy to get to see only big games, which allows them to think they are the bestest, while also allowing all the other leagues to have a fairer, more even playing field.
I used to be against this idea as I felt that was what the champions league was, but actually, there is a rarefied field of teams at the very top who really are on another level above the CL (for the record Arsenal are very much NOT part of this group)
What do other fans think, do they think losing the ‘big clubs’ would ruin their respective leagues, or make them more competitive and enjoyable to watch?
John Matrix AFC
Just read Alex Kebles preview of the Liverpool Man City game. I really like the direction of it as a more technical article. However how is a full back playing narrower an inverted fullback, and how does a false 8 even work? Wasn’t Scholes a false 8 because he didn’t have to track back?
Bit too much moustache oil maybe?
Alex (feeling old) South London
VAR debate continues
I may be too late to this debate – in fact the horse may not have bolted but is certainly eyeing up the open stable door and gathering some pace – but I’m not a fan of VAR. There’s several reasons for this:
1) It’s moving the game further and further from the one you play on a Sunday morning. Yes, the pitches are crap, the ref is just hoping to get through without too much abuse and the assistants are whoever can hold a flag and happens to be passing but the laws themselves are the same. Now, it’s not. The same goes for goal line technology by the way. Teams playing in different divisions now play to different rules.
2) Anyone that’s watched a Rugby League game will see the complete abdication of responsibility that comes from VAR. All decisions are referred, even the apparently obvious ones. If there’s always someone watching over your shoulder then what’s the point of the ref?
3) Creep. We’ve already seen it in this mornings mailbox. The suggestion of “challenges” makes my heart sink.
Football isn’t pure, it isn’t always correct. At the Premier League level it’s the bestest players in the world doing what any number of Sunday League players do only at the peak of sporting development. We shouldn’t strive to make it every decision correct, every time.
Lee (sorry it was more than three paragraphs)
…I’m a supporter of VAR, really I am. But i’m tired of people using the success of VAR in cricket and tennis as some sort of yardstick for football. To do so demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the differences in the laws and rules which govern the respective sports. I’m a referee myself and the laws of the game repeatedly make referee to ‘in the opinion of the referee’ – something which nods towards the inherent ambiguity of certain judgements during a football match. In tennis and cricket, VAR is used to deal entirely with matters of fact and if the evidence is insufficient to make a clear decision either way, they stay with the onfield decision.
A great recent example is the two matches between Arsenal and Chelsea. In the first match, Bellerin tackles Hazard, makes no contact with the ball, makes contact with the player inside the box and a penalty is awarded. In the cup game, there is a very similar incident where Maitland-Niles is tackled, there is no contact with the ball, there is contact with the player and it is inside the box. I’ve spoken to several other referees (none of whom support either side) and there has been a real mixture of responses, with every possible outcome proposed. Some feel both were a penalty, some neither and some call for one only. VAR will never be able to ‘solve’ this – we will always have incidents where even after the video replays, we hold different views on incidents. I’m also sure that there will be cases where the match officials involved have different views upon viewing replays.
…My final thought about VAR is around corners. We have all come to accept the wrestling which occurs at seemingly every corner these days. I wonder if VAR will be instructed to completely ignore this or whether it will result in this practice being eliminated? In the Arsenal/Chelsea cup game, I noted at least 5 instances of shirt-pulling, holding and obstruction at corners with the most obvious being the tussle where a Chelsea player was pushed to the ground. I don’t see how VAR can be credible if it ignores the most obvious penalty incidents in a match.
…So I’m going to try for a third time to get my point about VAR published in the mailbox.
This morning it’s Adeel’s turn to say how the system will work, and references being given 2 challenges each.
Adeel is not alone in this suggestion. Nor is he alone in referencing cricket as a sport where technology and challenges work well.
I agree, technology works very well in cricket, most of the time. But in cricket there are some fundamental differences that football will have challenges with.
· Challenge 1 – technology in cricket is used to arbitrate on matters of fact (was it a clean catch? did the batsman hit it?) or a prediction of a fact (ball tracker to adjudicate on LBW decisions). Football needs technology to judge on matters of opinion too, such as did the player dive? Was there sufficient contact? Etc… This will need some serious thought to get it right.
· Challenge 2 – in cricket the game has already stopped when a decision needs to be made. In football the game stops because a decision was made. This might seem subtle but it’s pretty crucial. Football has to work out when to stop the game to view footage.
· Challenge 3 – the two appeals/challenges give to each team. Again, this works in cricket because the game has already stopped. How does this work in football? Giving the power to stop the game to anyone other than the referee or other match officials is fraught with danger. How long before wily managers start to use their challenges tactically to stop the opposition from breaking away, or to deny an obvious goal scoring opportunity?
· Challenge 4 – technology was originally introduced to cricket to correct obviously wrong decisions. It is not intended to solve every marginal decision. Football needs to set clear objectives about what it is trying to achieve with technology.
· Challenge 5 – technology in cricket allows for a margin of error, especially ball tracking. The use of technology requires there to be clear evidence to overturn a decision. This often gets forgotten and the technology is seen as fool proof.
In short, comparing the use of technology in cricket to the use of technology in football is to compare apples and oranges. Yes they both fruit, but vastly different. Technology is coming to football – let’s just hope football gets it right.
Paul Watson, exiled Shrimper living in Surrey (starting to suspect F365 don’t want an alternate view on VAR)
2012… Balotelli gets immediate red card for stamping on Parker (rather than 3 games retrospective ban) and doesn’t win and score last minute penalty in a 3-2 win.
United beat city to the title by 2 points with no Agueroooooooo moment.
Spurs get a point from the game which sees them go 4th and Arsenal 5th on Goal difference (by 1 goal)
I wish we had VAR then.
Read more from Planet Sport: When did England lose the Ashes? (Cricket365)
…Dom Littleford (and everyone else)’s narrative of “had pires not dived, Arsenal would have not been invincible/title winner’ is absolutely ridiculous, yet has been accepted as doctrine. Pires’ dived happened at the 37th minute, not the 90th. That means Arsenal would have had 50+ ‘minutes to find a goal had that not happened. Arsene had rested a few players before a 4 games stretch that included Newcastle, Liverpool, Chelsea and United. Arsenal had won their first four games, were on form in the league and happy to take a point against Pompey. I’m saying all this because we dont know what would have happened, but it is very likely Arsenal would have rescued at least a point even if Pires had not dived. I doubt it fully changed the course of that season.
Does anyone else have narratives of past incidents regarding their club that they completely disagree with?
Liverpool’s relatively eventful January window has got me thinking back to that mad picture of Kenny grinning ear to ear, one arm round a certain L Suarez and the other round Mr A Carroll (who had just been bought for £13m more than Suarez). To stave off the Friday afternoon boredom, can anyone find a picture of 2 signings announced on the same day where there is a greater gap in quality?
Matt (Who would have thought 7 years on we’d buy 1 CB for more than 3x Suarez…and be happy about it!) LFC