Watch out Liverpool, Spurs are coming for you…

Date published: Thursday 5th January 2017 10:09

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com.

 

Arsene Wenger is Mike Tyson
Arsene may not be the worstest manager in the world but he is most certainly tactically naive.

To use a boxing analogy, he’s like Mike Tyson, capable of being the most devastating and exciting performer but does not know what to do when up against opposition that’s worked out how to beat him. Tyson was never the same after losing to Buster Douglas as the mystique had gone.

Allardyce and Pulis are more like Joe Frazier – a guy who had all the bravery in the world but on occasion just didn’t have the resources to cut down a bigger opponent. Due to Joe’s short stature he just couldn’t win when up against George Foreman.

Then you have those rarities like Sir Alex, who was like a Lennox Lewis. Maybe once in a while you could beat him but he would work out why he lost and made sure it would never happen again. Lennox beat every man he stepped in the ring with.

Like Tyson, once Arsene lost his mojo he has never been the same since – a couple of cup wins but these days he’s a spent force. Tyson had one last hurrah winning the title from our own Frank Bruno.

What Arsenal require in the next manager is a Fergie but if they were that common everyone would appoint one.

Judging Tyson purely on his boxing, and not any of the other things he got up to outside the ring, you have to say he changed the game but then the game changed again and he found he couldn’t mix it with the big boys. It doesn’t mean we don’t cherish the memories of the Berbick fight when he won the title or the one round destruction of Michael Spinks, but you have to know when to call it a day. I’m hoping that unlike Tyson, Arsene knows when to do this. I judge that time is this spring.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

I have given up
We all live on hope. Hope that you will win the league, hope that you will not get relegated or have a good cup run or sign a new player or finish above your rivals or simply do better than last year, but when you lose all hope, when you recognise that nothing has changed or is going to change, the spark goes out a bit. As an Arsenal fan, I have given up all hope on my football team somewhat, until such time as we change the manager.

I now go to Arsenal to spend time with my grown up children and meet the mates I sit with at the game. The match in the middle is just a bit annoying now.

Sad, really.
Tim

 

Spurred on
Beating Chelsea was not a surprise to Spurs fans.

Last season Spurs played the best they could every match, which involved high tempo pressing every game, which over a long season proves too much (watch out Liverpool, even without Europe you may find you’re running on fumes in a month or two) and also encourages teams to come back at you in the second half.

This season Spurs are different. We developed different formations and a more patient and creative approach. What we do now is play to the level of the opposition, and rely instead on being better at football than they are. And it is working. We are better off than this time last year and can raise our game further if we meet position that warrant it.

We have only lost two games this season, once to Chelsea and once to Man Utd. That’s it, and we have yet to lose at home in our last season at White Hart Lane. And we have managed this while weathering a storm of injuries to the likes of Kane, Alderweireld, Dembele and Lamela.

If you think Spurs title challenge last season was a one-off you will find you are mistaken, and unlike last year we have improved and have a lot more in the tank.

It really is Chelsea’s to throw away though, they have a lead from their run which maintains them as favorites for now. But I can’t say Chelsea impressed me very much, we beat them without having to raise our game very much and I predict other teams will beat them in the coming weeks also. The title is truly open and there really are six teams in it. My money is on Tottenham.
Clark (have you seen our new stadium video? It’s WHL on steroids) Ellis

 

More thoughts
I didn’t watch the game live; I only saw brief highlights, so I don’t know the full story of the match. I feel pretty well informed having now read 16 Conclusions and this morning’s mailbox, and I gather that Spurs built a lot of their attacks down their right-hand side, looking to take advantage of Chelsea’s perceived weaker left-hand side. Clearly it worked, and I’ve seen criticism aimed at both Marcos Alonso and Gary Cahill. I’ve also seen people bemoan the fact that no one closed down Eriksen quickly enough to stop him picking his passes/crosses.

What I haven’t seen – surprisingly – is much real focus on the actual goals, and specifically on the opposite side of Chelsea’s defence. Firstly, Alli deserves credit for identifying Azpilicueta as the member of Chelsea’s back three he was most likely to beat in the air, but you’d still expect him to actually be challenged when competing for the header. For both goals, Azpilicueta and Moses were both deeper than the rest of Chelsea’s defence, playing Alli onside, but neither bothered to mark him. For that to happen once is bad, but to happen a second time is unacceptable.
Jimbles, WFC

 

We’re coming for you…
Only a Liverpool fan could take a fantastic performance by another team, who are only 2 points below them, and spin it towards THEM having a great chance of winning the league, days after drawing against North East dross. Yes Mike LFC Dubai, I’m talking to you.

We’re 2 points behind you. We’ve played quite a few more games than you in the Champions League. You caught us at a good time, controlled about 60% of the ball and mustered 1 shot on target against us in a 1-1 draw, in which you scored through a soft penalty. We could have won the game in the end after about 5 minutes of quality football. Such is your soft underbelly.

Liverpool simply don’t have a good enough defence to win the Premier League. They make basic errors time and again, and 15 months into his reign, Jurgen Klopp still does not know what his best back 4 is. Contrast that with the country’s best defence.

I’ll give you your dues, you’ve done well without Coutinho, but he is all you’ve really missed. Sturridge doesn’t count, as he was born injured. At some point this season we’ve missed Rose and Vertonghen for short lay offs. We’ve lost Kane for 2 months, Alderweireld for 7 weeks. We’ve lost Lamela for a couple of months now who was instrumental in our early good form. Still, we’re there, having to rotate formations and personnel and muddling through.

Looking forward, you have a cramped January program with 2 FA Cup ties, 2 League Cup ties and 3 League ties to add to the game already played, and this will be mostly without Coutinho and Mane, your two biggest threats. Spurs are just starting to pick up some form in the last 3 or so weeks, having previously not really broken sweat. Klopp is already moaning about tiredness, despite the fact he played against a team who had the same quick turnaround.

People will look at what happened with us last season and use it as a stick to beat us with. It isn’t. This team is new and young, and now know about the pressure and pain of a title race and are ready to go on a run. Discounting us when we’re only 2 points behind when you appear to think you can claw 5 back from a team that has only dropped 3 in 42 is quite frankly, staggering.

Do yourself a favour and keep your feet on the ground. Last season was a fallacy that Spurs would win. We went on a run after Christmas but were always chasing, never in front. We had virtually zero margin for error for half a season. Liverpool have more form in blowing title races in recent times with Slippy G and Palace away.

Let’s see where things are in May eh
Ross THFC

 

And on that note…
Just like that two points dropped away to Sunderland is now a point gained. Thank you Spurs! We’ve had our differences in the past but what a gift from the Lilywhites!

Liverpool have everything to play for now. Red Sunday (or whatever ridiculous name Sky will come up with for the game) should be a cracker. Liverpool will be high octane against Tony Pulis Jr. and I expect the Reds to bust open Manure at home.

Five points off the top, semi-final to play and two of our best players to return imminently, it’s going to be an exciting month for Liverpool fans!
Brian (Going for the double) LFC

 

It’s been a long time
Dear F365,

In the words of the 00’s dance diva Yoshimoto, “it’s been a long time, been a long time”. Firstly it’s been a long time since I’ve wrote into F365. 427 days. Also it’s been a long time since I have seen Jose M smile – good to see. It’s amazing how much turning that frown upside down can change a person’s face. None more so than Mourinho tho. Finally it’s been a long time since I have felt this good about UTD.

Only a few weeks back I felt that JoMo had lost his MoJo for good and that we were never going to regain our winning mentality. So I appreciate how quickly things can change and that my current optimism may again be shattered …. So indulge me this moment.

There are huge positives to be drawn from our recent run. Obviously Ibra has rediscovered his scoring touch. It is a pleasure to watch this freak of nature defy the fire in which we all burn … time. His symbiotic relationship with Pogba is improving week on week. It’s like they both send each other love notes saying “You make me want to be a better man”. Poggers is going to be a monster for Utd for years to come. Carrick and Herrera are both playing SAVAGE footie and give the team (and fans) a real sense of stability and confidence. Back four, in whichever incarnation, are also a very steady eddie. And of course De Gea is always going to be De Gea (1 or 2 blips aside).

But what has given me most reason for this mailbox sharing optimism, are the performances of both Martial and Rashford in the last couple of games. It’s been a long time, been a long time since we’ve seen AM9…sorry 11, anywhere near this kind of standard. Hopefully he has now turned the same corner as Utd and continues to put in performances like this. When AM11 is not available or we simply need an impact, then we have Ole Gunnar Rashford, who absolutely won our last game. He was epic when he came on. His turn or pace is electrifying, but it is his calmness to always pick out the right pass or shot at the right time that just blows my mind. Such a level of maturity for such a young dude. Add those on the left to the awesomely managed (hehehe) Micky Ryan on the right and I am really liking this Utd team.

Fergie’s teams have always been full of leaders, game winners and potential captains. Right now is the first time since his departure that I believe we are approaching anything near that level again. It’s been a long time, been a long time!
Paul Doc (Did I mention that it’s been a long time?) Cork

PS: Hate the fact that Memphis has the number 7 shirt!

PPS: Bring on da Pool!

 

Classtonio Conte. No? Antonio Classte. Guys? GUYS?
I have to say, I’ve always disliked Chelsea likely because Mourinho made them that, his whining, moaning, whingeing attitude publically really dragged things down.

Conte has not only with very little help from the transfer market, turned the team around and broadly the same batch of players but the guy is class in the way he represents himself in victory and defeat.

He shows true humility, gives respect where it is due but you still know he has the fire in his belly and the intensity required to do the job that he is doing.

Great manager and great leader doing things the right way, including the public speaking.

Of course I’d rather Liverpool win it, but if Conte did, I definitely wouldn’t begrudge him the title as the guy is pure class.
Ash, LFC

 

Swap Fonte for Sakho
(MC – We’ve decided not to change the ‘swops’ to ‘swaps’ because Rob needs to learn a lesson)

Long time reader never written in etc etc. Someone on the mailbox was discussing recently how there are no swops anymore. So, with this in mind I would like to put forward the following. Fonte has been brilliant for us over the last couple of years. However the love affair seems to be coming to a end and I can’t really begrudge him one last move to a big club. However we do need a replacement, so I would like to propose a straight swop with Sakho of Liverpool. Liverpool get a proven reliable defender who even made Lovren look reliable! Fonte gets a last hurrah at a big club. Sakho is not wanted at Liverpool and gets to play at a club with a decent reputation for helping players reach their potential. Southampton get a younger player who I actually think could be really good – what’s not to like?

Fonte would be welcome back at saints as a coach when he retires.

Honestly think this is brilliant for all involved.
Rob
Drunken saint
(Can you sort out my grammar/spelling etc I have had a couple of beers x)

 

A word on Paul Clement
Swansea City fan here, firstly let me dispel a couple of myths which will no doubt rear their heads upon the news we have hired Paul Clement:

Swansea City should never have sacked Monk: In short most fans agreed with the decision and many thought Monk was given too long. He dismantled out passing style which was so key to our success. I (and many others) believe if he wasn’t sacked we’d already be in the championship. He is a Swansea legend and I’m delighted he’s doing so well at Leeds. Clearly a talented manager given a prem job too early but now learning from his mistakes.

Bradley wasn’t given enough of a chance: Swansea went from being narrowly beaten by very good teams under Guidolin to getting pummeled by bad teams under Bradley. He was in charge of some of the Worst Swansea performances I have ever seen in my life. He was sacked purely because he was so obviously out of his depth. Nothing to do with his nationality (which is the only reason he got the job in the first place).

On the face of it Clement is our most sensible appointment since Laudrup. (Monk no managerial experience came back to haunt him/us. Guidolin, bit of a dinosaur, couldn’t speak English. Less said about Bradley the better). Experience with some of the biggest/best and probably knows of a tidy player or two. We seem to be planning longer term and looking to rebuild which seems more sensible than trying to stay up at all costs when the very best managers in the world would find it almost impossible to keep us up.

Jenkins out.
Chris M

 

Offside from a throw-in?
Was I the only person to notice Atkinson and his lino give offside from a throw in last night?  Thought was strange not picked up – or was it that he’d missed the foul by Rose on Moses and wanted to give the ball back to Chelsea?
Matt, London

 

The Posh view
Whenever a team needs a bit of a morale boosting win following a disappointing loss, temporary loss of form or whatever, it’s always nice to see that the next opposition are the Posh.

So fear not Chelsea fans, a morale boosting shellacking of some lower league rubbish should help.

On a more positive note, there (hopefully) will be two of the finest young midfielders I have ever seen on show at London Road. Leonardo da Silva Lopes is 18 and looks like a complete midfielder. He seems to have everything and by all accounts is a diligent trainer and keen to learn. I expect him to end up at the likes of Tottenham, certainly challenging for a starting role wherever he ends up.

Also delighted to welcome Martin Samuelson back on loan from West Ham. Looks about 12, a wonderful, languid midfielder. Excellent range of passing, lots of skill, far, far, far too good to grace the hallowed turf of London Road – if there is any justice, he will make it with a big club too, seems like a nice boy too. He has been capped by Norway (while he was on loan at the Posh last time) so could be destined for big things. He definitely looks better than the other young ‘un signed by Real Madrid.

Hopefully there will be some coverage (I’m sure some completely legitimate streaming service will oblige), as it’s sure to be a half decent game.
Dan

 

An AFCON 2017 preview
We’ve already seen articles bemoaning which players will be missed by certain EPL teams once AFCON kicks off. Fair enough, you Englanders will make noise about who’s leaving you for 2 weeks. But on our end of the world, we are looking forward to another feast of this biennial football tournament – doubt F365 will cover much of it anyway.

Like any pre-tournament talk, here are Top Ten Things guaranteed at AFCON 2017.

1. A coach will be sacked just before the tournament begins.
2. A coach will be sacked just after the tournament ends for his team.
3. A player to be sent home for ‘disciplinary reasons’.
4. Dodgy refereeing decisions (probably in favor of the hosts) that will make Mike Dean look like Collina.
5. Players versus country row over unpaid bonuses.
6. The birth of a new African ‘star’.
7. Unplanned dance celebrations that rival world-class choreographers.
8. The most weirdly beautiful (and beautifully weird) fan costumes.
9. West African trumpets and horns blowing for 90 minutes non-stop.
10. European TV commentators who can’t pronounce African names.

Will keep the emails rollin throughout for interesting updates, hopefully F365 will publish some of them.

Am already thinking of one email on a man who moved from politics to become the national FA Executive.

His national team qualified for the AFCON tournament while he was FA Exec and the usual promises followed. He then ditched the post to become regional FA Executive (overseeing about a dozen countries) while his team are failing to book decent hotels and fields in preparation for the tournament.

It’s time for Africa!!
Lee (African Voice)

 

Shirt numbers
Steven Chicken’s piece
about shirt numbers made for interesting reading, not least because the Last Defender is like one of those partwork magazines, but instead of paying 99p for the first bit of a scale model of HMS Victory or a DeLorean and then £3.99 per week afterwards, here we pay nothing but get to learn more and more about what a fascinating character Steven is.

It’s worth pointing out that even when teams were required to give their starting team the numbers 1-11, it was not strictly adhered to in terms of numbers equalling positions in the sense of rugby union.  Paul Ince wore 2 on occasion for Manchester United in his early days at Old Trafford, but didn’t play right-back.  Presumably no one dared tell he him wasn’t allowed to play in central midfield without an appropriate number.  Gary Speed wore 2 for Leeds United, as well, despite playing on the left-wing, though this was mainly so a certain French striker could wear 7.  There was also a trend in the mid-90s for full-backs to take the number 6; I can’t remember who started it, or why the first person to come to mind for this was former Charlton Athletic player and Ponzi scheme enthusiast Richard Rufus.  The point is, much like when Argentina experimented with numbering their players alphabetically, it doesn’t really affect how they play.  Anyway, if shirt numbers were supposed to correspond to certain positions according to ancient doctrine, but not required by the laws of the game to do so, surely the first thing any coach would do would be to mix things up and cause confusion, or drag opposing defenders out of position?

I’d be willing to bet most people who hate “stupid” shirt numbers also have similarly strong opinions on players’ hairstyles, coloured boots, and goal celebrations, but paradoxically also detest the fact that modern football lacks “characters” or “personalities”.   Ultimately, it’s a harmless way for players to express themselves, in a way that matters to them but shouldn’t really matter to anyone else.
Ed Quoththeraven

 

Not Messi
HNY to all f365ers, love you all.

There is something i noticed in the recent mailboxes, and that being no reaction to the great piece by Storey on perhaps the greatest player of all time (at least i think so).

I mean the guy is clearly a joy to watch and any football lover should appreciate him(unless you are an arsenal fan).

I would forgive him if he slept with my girlfriend and am a very jealous person,yes, he is that good.

So my question is why no love for messi folks?.
Fubara, (messi is a freak of nature).lfc, Aba.

 

 

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