Xhaka opens more doors; time to sell Spurs?

Date published: Saturday 27th May 2017 9:32

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Defending Arsenal and Xhaka

Is F365 just trying to troll us? Between the Daniel Storey article and the one from Toby Sprigings saying we don’t deserve Sanchez, can we stop with the Arsenal hate? Yes we have been rubbish. Yes we are not in the Champions League. Yes it has been a poor season. But this campaign against Arsenal fans is getting tiring. Let’s not forget we’ve amassed 75 points, finished top of our CL group and are in a FA Cup final.

Firstly, while Sanchez has been one of our best players, his form has been suspect at times too. For example, he was as much to blame against Bayern as the rest of the team. And while Giroud, Welbeck and Walcott should not be starting for title chasing teams, Ozil is. Cazorla (when fit) is, Xhaka will be. Those aforementioned players mainly started from the bench this season. And as far as I am concerned, getting angry because a former player who has no official title at the club made a stupid comment is absurd. Insulting Arsenal because of it is

As for Xhaka, it is not that we Arsenal fans are biased, it just seems that we are tired of hearing the Kante comparaison over and over again. But if we are going to compare him honestly, let’s do it fairly, which Daniel doesn’t.

Firstly, since Chelsea were not in Europe, they accrued no significant injuries, compared to Arsenal and others. That means that Xhaka has played with SIX! different players in midfield, from Coquelin, Cazorla, Iwobi, Chamberlain, Ramsey, to Elneny; Kante had the benefit of always having the same midfield partners (Matic and Fabregas). They also have different roles. Kante is there to break up attacks and intercept the ball. Xhaka is there to transition the play from defense to attack and find teammates between the lines.

It also is his first year in England and he’s had to adjust, and based on his form lately he looks like he will deliver. He has been our best player, consistently playing between the lines and transitioning from defense to offense on counter attacks. F365 always makes fun of journalist who wrote off Bergkamp or Pires in their first years, and while he may not reach that level can we give the boy a little time to adapt? Wenger didn’t buy Xhaka for this season, he bought him for the next five. Anyone who can look past their nose can see that.

No one is saying he has had the best season, but he has averaged an 90% passing average, completed the second most passes in the premier league and seems deadly with long balls. Xhaka is not the reason we are fifth. This is a team sport, let’s remember that.
Guillaume (here’s hoping we win the cup) Paris

 

Time to sell Tottenham
As a Tottenham fan I truly believe now is the time for Joe Lewis and ENIC to sell Tottenham to the right buyer. Since ENIC bought the club they have done a fantastic job growing every aspect at the club with the right vision, transfer policy and manager appointment. The club is now on the verge of great things with the new stadium soon to be finished and a squad that could possibly win the premier league.

The problem is that our current ownership model can only afford to pay a certain level of wages and this amazing crop of young talent could have their heads turned with the lure of big money at a big club. By selling to a cash rich owner we could keep the current squad and match the money on offer from bigger rivals and also make big moves in the transfer market to become one of Europes elite. We will have the best stadium in Europe, the best young squad, the best young manager and Champions League Football, now we need to find an owner who can fund our ambitions and push for our place at the top table and then cement it for many years to come. The danger is to lose our best players and become a waning force like Arsenal and let’s be honest that’s something we really don’t want! Thank you for your amazing stewardship Mr Lewis and Mr Levy, but please now find us a cash rich billionaire to propel us to the highest highs and you can watch on with a very nice profit in your offshore bank accounts!!
Robert Braine – Marbella, Spain

 

Rooney is going nowhere
Where will Wayne decide to go? Oh come ON. Do the papers genuinely think that Rooney has his pick of clubs?

Lets go through the league and see where he might be welcomed, shall we?

Let’s charitably assume his wage demands will be halved with United making up the difference, so choosing to have Mr Lumpy No-Control will only cost his new club £150,000. A week.

Chelsea: Pfft no
Tottenham: Pfft no
Manchester City: Pfft no
Liverpool: Pfft no
Arsenal: Pfft no
Manchester United: yes of sodding course he will stay, on full wages
Everton: Pfft no (really. There is zero chance of Koeman taking him.)
Southampton: Pfft no
Bournemouth: Pfft no
WBA: Pfft no
West Ham: Maybe
Leicester City: Pfft no
Stoke City: Pfft no
Crystal Palace: Not now Fat Sam has gone
Swansea City: Pfft no
Burnley: Pfft no
Watford: Pfft no
Hull City: Pfft no
Middlesbrough: Maybe if they’d stayed up, but Pfft no
Sunderland: Yes

So that’s Sunderland, with West Ham as a maybe if the owners overule Slaven.

You could probably go all the way through the top half of the Championship too with the same result. I can certainly tell you that he would be incredibly unwelcome as a Fulham signing.

No-one wants him for the wages he will demand. No one.

China is the only option, and with how badly they have been burnt with Tevez, the general mood over there against more mercenary has beens and how awful Rooney has been I don’t even think they will be in for him.

Rooney will be at United next season, a last lingering reminder of the disaster that was Ferguson’s succession.

Think of him as chlamydia from the ill-judged rebound that was Moyes.
Tim Sutton

 

Celebration police
Dear Mike in Dubai,

Could you sod off with your advice on how fans should celebrate an FA Cup win?

Fans should have the freedom to celebrate however they want.

So sit in silence like a misery guts, lamenting our loss to Bayern Munchen if we win if you want, but I intend to do a jig if we beat that lot in devil’s blue tomorrow and I don’t care who’s watching.

We’ve never won the Champions League and haven’t won the league in 13 years – you seriously want me to be nonplussed about the prospect of winning the cup?! Not on your nelly sunshine!
Graham Simons, what did she wear?, Gooner, Norf London 

 

Bust a move, Arsene
Good luck to both Chelsea and the Arsenal in the FA Cup Final. On the subject of over-celebrating, as long as neither manager follows that idiot last year who celebrated his team opening the scoring by, as one observer put it, “dancing like a c##t at an ar$eh0le’s wedding” (still proud of that), then I don’t think they can be accused of overdoing things.

Arsene Wenger busting a move would be funny, though, wouldn’t it.
Ed Quoththeraven

 

Meow
It may be a couple of days late, but having read many of the comments of United fans in the mailbox I feel compelled to congratulate them on a magnificent achievement. It has been many years since anyone has achieved a treble in England, let alone such a prestigious one.

I mean, it’s an incredible, no astounding, feat to finish 6th while playing such exciting and free-flowing brand of football. I think they gave up on the league in March because they felt like they already achieved everything there was to achieve.

But to combine this with the slaying of such European giants as Rostov and Anderlecht, then an under-21 Ajax side? That’s just making us football fans feel ashamed and envious.

But to go on and win the highly prestigious EFL Cup? Oh my. That’s the one where all the top sides field all their best players in hopes of one day achieving the dream.

But most of all, I want to congratulate Man United on the magnificent achievement of the Community Shield. The Holy Grail of English football. The one every kid dreams of winning.

And what a managerial masterclass it has been all year! Who would have thought that all of this could be achieved by spending about 200mil quid per year?

Congratulations!
Patrick (THFC), sad to be supporting a team of so little substance and success this year…

 

Are trophies a measure of greatness?
I really don’t understand this “Spurs must win something” nonsense.

There are no guarantees in life – or football.

An excellent Spurs team didn’t win anything this season, whilst a 6th placed Utd has won three trophies. Explain that. No one can – winning a football match on a given day has many variables, and being an excellent team has minimal bearing on the matter. Just ask Southampton – they are still wondering how they lost the EFL to Man Utd. As Americans would say, “go figure”.

Every knowledgeable football fan knows that the Dutch national team of the 70’s was one of the greatest football teams of ALL time. Does anyone really think that the fact that they didn’t win anything (WC or Euros) in that decade in anyway diminishes them? No.

Spurs may win something, or may not. However, as a Spurs fan, the last 2 seasons have been brilliant. And I can’t wait for the next – regardless of whether they pick up trophies or not.
Kirit, NW London

 

We’ll give you Van Persie. But Valencia and Keane?
In response to Apoorv, MUFC mail I would like to point out another practise that was done in the Fergie days and done by the elite around Europe. It’s the purchasing of players from direct rivals/teams within your league to make the league weaker and your team stronger.

Under Fergie we did this all the time whether it was the likes of Valencia (team within the division making them an easy out) or Van Persie and we look like we could be repeating the same trick by getting either Van Dijk or Keane this summer. Burnley I feel will find it very difficult to find a better replacement even with the £25 million pound fee. I would have more hope for Southampton getting a decent replacement given their track record of being able to replace the players signed by their parent club Liverpool over the last few seasons. However it seems a lot more difficult to prize away top talent from direct rivals than in Germany Italy or Spain.

You only have to look at Bayern (Hummels, Gotze etc), Real (Isco) Barcelona (Andre Gomes, Paco Alcacer), Juve (Higuain) and PSG(Aurier and Ben Arfa) to see that this practise is fairly rampant and by buying these players it dilutes the league of talent and therefore defeats the competition before a ball has been kicked.

I am sure there are many other practises but this was the first that came to mind.
Oisin, NZ (If Sanchez doesn’t sign a new contract he will end up at Bayern)

 

European Super League
Sean, Chelsea Football Club supporter, South East mentioned yesterday the inevitability of a European League and I agree there must be some issue with this, the first of which deciding on the criteria of who makes it into the league in the first place. The Prem now has a big 6 (plus Everton) all of which would stake a claim to be in the Euro Super League.

However, I have given the format some thought and this is what I came up with. Champions League and Europa League would obviously be dropped and I’d suggest the teams in the “ESL” would only be involved in 1 domestic cup.

League starts with 40 teams, everyone plays each other once (39 games) this would be complete in April. The league is then split in 2, 16 top teams and 24 bottom teams. The top 16 get split into 2 groups and play each other once (a further 7 games, total 46) the winner of each group then play in the final to be crowned ESL Champions. All 16 teams in the top half of the league are guaranteed entry to the league the following season.

The bottom 24 teams are split into 4 groups, all teams play each other once, the bottom 2 teams from each group are relegated and the top teams from each group then play in 2 semi-finals, followed by a final, to compete for the Euro Super League Plate (the new equivalent of the Europa Cup).
8 teams are therefore relegated, the winners of each of the European domestic leagues go into a knockout competition to replace those 8 teams.

Seems very workable to me, all the top teams in Europe will play the same amount of games, so no more comments about fatigue in international tournaments for premier league players. It could also revitalise the FA and League cup. The League Cup wouldn’t have the top English teams in it so gives a chance for other teams to win silverware, and the FA cup would have unfamiliar match ups as the English ESL teams would be up against the domestic teams. Any further thoughts from the mail box on how a European Super League could work? Thinking about it, it sounds like quite an exciting format. I’m sure there are plenty of negatives I’m not thinking of!
Mark, Oxford

 

Mourinho v Pochettino
When LvG got the boot last year, fellow United fans I know had only 1 criteria for the next boss: an experienced manager with a track record of winning things, especially in Europe. Applying this criteria led to the appointment of Ferguson, after all, so it was a good yardstick.

Mourinho has in that respect proved to be a good choice, with 2 trophies in his first year. And it’s for that reason that I’m glad United didn’t go for Pochettino. There’s no doubt he’s done a good job at Spurs, and he’s built a very good side. I don’t know yet though whether he’s got enough about him to lead them to a trophy. The first trophy will be the hardest one to win, but it’s important to win something soon, before an Arsenal-style exodus. The likes of Rooney and Ronaldo started out at United with FA Cups and League Cups; these were both a springboard for greater success, and an introduction to what United were about, i.e. winning things.

Do Spurs have the mentality yet? Does Pochettino? That remains to be seen.
Kevin, Dublin

 

…So I’ve sat back and watched the debate over Spurs season vs manyoo’s season , which one was better, would you take Poch over Jose, would you swap squads etc, for me it’s a very odd question really.

At the start of the season there were 4 trophies on offer to all of the top 6 clubs, the league the Champions league (for the top 4) Europa League (for 5th and 6th) plus the EFL and FA Cups. Now the goal of all 6 sides is to win at least 1 of these 4 trophies I think every supporter would agree with this, after all football is about winning. With this in mind ANYONE who says they’d rather have gotten 2nd place than won two pots is, well, delusional!
Now I’m not saying spurs didn’t have a good season in that they played some pretty awesome football, improved to 2nd and garnered 16 extra points which shows progression but they still didn’t win anything. I think this about perspective and expectation, Spurs fans will tell you they are on the up that they are heading for something special, all aboard the Poch train to trophy land, I say if you’re 2nd your nowhere! 2nd place gets you in the champion’s league, great if you believe you can win it, flat out right now Spurs cant or should I say won’t win it next season, English football in general lags behind both Spain and Germany currently, with Juventus also showing that they can mix it at the highest level. My point is that at the start of the season of the 4 pots on offer Spurs could realistically say that they were in with the best chance of winning either the FC or EFL cup, they won neither. Next season depending on the recruitment at Chelsea, Liverpool and Manyoo they may well be in the same boat.

Give the above Manyoo’s season performance wise was way below that of Spurs of that there can be no denial, that they were early 2nd favorites for the title was nonsense, that had more to do with Jose being at the reigns and some flexing of financial muscle, in terms of what they had a realistic chance of winning they had 3 trophies FA and EFL cups and the Europa League they won 2 of them, and as a bonus got champions league qualification, that stands as a more successful season than pretty much anyone outside of Chelsea’s, football is not about performance it’s about winning, are spurs better to watch? Yes, did they have a better league campaign? Yes, did they have a better season? Nope!

As for which manager I’s prefer? Let’s see Jose has just had probably his worst season maybe ever and still won things, Poch has had probably his best and came up short, so you can have you’re good coach that’s fine I’ll take a serial winner please.
Vernon, Dublin, Ireland

 

Embrace the Europa League
I don’t get the disrespect over the Europa League. As an Arsenal fan, I will fully back the Europa League. It’s a trophy we can win. We can’t win the Champions League, so there’s no point comparing it to that. Same with the PL, FA Cup, EFL & the Community Shield. I want my club to win everything. If Arsenal wound up in League Two, I’d still be the same.

Each competition should be seen in its own right. United winning the Europa League is great for them, because they won that competition. Saying it’s a lesser Champions League, or the run they had was easier or whatever knock is irrelevant, because they were the best in that competition. The joy is in that! Only one team can win it, and United were that team. The Premier League is the same. As is the Community Shield. And the Club World Cup (the main reason I want to win the Champions League – it unlocks another trophy!).

Saying you’d rather finish lower to avoid it, or mocking it as a Thursday distraction misses the point. I want to finish highest in the league, and fifth is the highest Arsenal came. That brings the Europa League and another trophy to win. Next season I want to finish first in the League, the Europa League etc. United won three trophies out of five they could have. Let them enjoy that success and fun. Next season I hope it’ll be me!
Néill, (Bayern to finish third in their group and get Arsenal), Ireland

 

Chelsea’s unbreakables
There’s a great Chelsea team which isn’t mentioned in the same breath as the teams of 2004 and the likes. Yes they were not league champions but their performance that season is almost superhuman in my opinion. I’d like to tip my hat to the Chelsea’s Europa League Champions of the 2012/2013 season which I call ‘The Unbreakables’. Anyone remember Chelsea’s ‘holy trinity’ of Mata, Hazard and Oscar otherwise called ‘MAZACAR’? They wrecked havoc on premier league defences… remember them now? Sadly they only lasted a season together no thanks to Mourinho who promptly ushered Mata out of the door before unpacking his bags in his ‘second coming’.

Anyway, the excuse for Utd this season has always been games played and injuries. The latter may be as a result of the former or poor conditioning of the players (a shakeup of the medical personnel is in order). But that Chelsea team puts Mourinho’s clutching of straws to shame.

Chelsea played a herculean total of 69 games that season (compared to Utd’s total of 63 this season)which included games spread across 6 different competitions and two continents.
-Premier League
-Uefa Champions League
-Uefa Europa League
-FA Cup
-League Cup
-Fifa Club World Cup

(I’m excluding the Community shield and the UEFA supercup games which were a game each).

Mourinho can talk about travel fatigue all he wants but it’s nothing compared with Chelsea’s mileage that clocked that season. This included travel to places as far away as Prague and Bucharest in the Europa League. That Chelsea team also made the semi finals of the League Cup and FA cup as well as traveling to Asia for two games in December 2012 for the Club world cup. This meant that had a two league game deficit by the turn of the new year. As a result they also played Midweek or Thursday games from January through to May 2013.

That Chelsea team finished third on 75 points (just 3 points behind City in second place and 14 behind Utd) a few points ahead of Arsenal and a Gareth Bale inspired Spurs team. The team scored a creditable 75 league goals all this with a misfiring Torres leading the line. This goal tally was second only to Champions Utd’s goal tally of 86. They never threatened to win the league but they played as well as anyone that year in the league.
Lagosblue, London.

 

Wind your necks in, Spurs
I note that everyone’s favourite bottlers have moved on from their unseemly spat with fans of my beloved club to an even more unedifying handbag-waving episode with fans of United. Now ordinarily an enemy of my enemy is a a friend of mine but I’m going to do something unusual here and side with United by saying “f**k off Spuds”.

How about you actually win something first (preferably over a sustained period) before picking a fight with fans of England’s most successful club side and then separately with fans of Manchester United!? I can just imagine you all doing that geezer walk, wearing your flat caps down the boozer, reading your copies of The S*n and giving it Bertie Big Bollocks as if you’re top dogs. Kudos for runners-up spot and all but last time I looked they don’t give out trophies for that. This is your highest position since you last won it in 1961 and the only time since ’61 you’ve been runner-up. Granted the new stadium should make you even more competitive financially and you’re playing some nice stuff but less of the Lording it over your betters, eh? Have you so quickly forgotten you were such a joke in Europe this year that you made your Norf Landan neighbours look like a European powerhouse… No mean feat. Lest we forget also that your best player would rather be plying his trade in L4 and would have been but for our ridiculous offer in wages to the (then) boy.

Honestly, Wind. Your. Necks. In!

Ta muchly.
Gregory Whitehead *Off to fish out my comedy Harry Enfield bubble perm and tash*, LFC

 

The 12th man
Dave, I imagine if Conte had been playing 3-5-3 all reason it was an absolute masterstroke, as no one has noticed or picked up on their extra player.

That sneaky Italian genius.
Will

 

Curtain raiser
Does anyone remember that in the late 1950s on the evening before the Cup Final there was a match, for a couple of years, between an England over 30 team and an England under 23 team ? The oldies won both and in one of them Stanley Matthews scored a rare goal after dribbling half the length of the pitch. The oldies couldn’t run so much but played brilliant close passing football. I loved the games and would like to see them revived but I guess any extra games nowadays would be unwelcome.
Ian Hugo

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