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Go and read about Ozil
As a preview to this weekend’s football, I intended writing in on a few points regarding Ozil, his recent form and the importance of his contract extension from an Arsenal perspective.
However, I have just read Matt Stead’s excellent article on the man, and realised that he has managed to say exactly what I wanted to, just more eloquently.
Pherain (Go on, read it) AFC Durban
…Matt Stead fancies Ozil as much as I do.
I remember my dad having a go at Ozil for ‘giving up’ easily. Then he got injured, and I said to him…”watch us stink”, and we did. He hasn’t said a bad word about Ozil since.
I suspected that Arsenal have a better win/loss ration with Ozil in the team than Sanchez. I have no choice but to trust The Sun (and probably flawed deduction) to back up my hunch. Don’t get me wrong, Ozil has his flaws, but I choose to enjoy the positive aspects of this game. I am not driving around a Ferrari and wondering why is it not giving me the milage of a Toyota.. as that would be foolish.
Not Paul Merson
Salah or Suarez?
My friend and I were having a discussion on the qualities of Mo Salah and he said he would prefer a ‘Peak Salah’ to a ‘Peak Suarez’ in the Liverpool team.
Please could the mailbox clear up this situation. I was under the impression it would be Suarez all day long.
Jimmy (Really?) Spain
Keita could be hated
Myself a couple of mates were in Germany at the weekend to go see the Borussia Monchengladbach – RB Lepizig match and being a Liverpool fan I had a particular close eye on Naby Keita for the away side
(Side note: was my first time at a Bundesliga game, I can’t recommend it enough! Cheap tickets and beer and a great atmosphere!
My main takeaway from watching him in an otherwise quiet performance was the amount of times he was getting in the opposition’s faces and winding them up. This made my mind fast forward to next season where I can see his s**thouse behavior being a subject of much debate. Given that being too nice is a criticism sometimes levelled at Jurgen Klopp’s side, I think he’ll end up a firm fans’ favourite at Anfield, while being hated elsewhere – think Diego Costa’s time at Chelsea.
I for one will welcome this and I think he’ll fit in well at Liverpool. It’s clear that the club now identify very specific targets with very few compromises (like not signing an alternative to VVD in the summer) so it may be that Klopp may see this streak in his game as a big need in the current squad. Either way looking forward to see how it all unfolds.
Darren (Nice little run and finish by Lookman, hope he does well over there) Dublin
Swap deals ahoy
Seeing the success of the swap deal involving Alexis Sanchez and Henrik Mkhitaryan, I would like to see two other swap deal happening.
1. Luke Shaw for Danny Rose
Let’s face it, Luke Shaw hasn’t been the same player since his leg break. And having to deal with Mourinho’s mind games isn’t helping the situation. Danny Rose want’s a big fat paycheck. Tottenham is a poor man’s playground. A swap deal would suit both parties.
2. Phil Jones for David Luiz
Phil Jones is a limited defender with plenty of heart. However, we don’t want a repeat of the spectacular own goal during the Tottenham game. David Luiz is persona non-grata at Chelsea. Conte could do us a massive by sending David Luiz one of his famous texts…
Which other swap deal would you want for your team?
Press conferences: Pointless
I liked your article about post-match interviews, and it reminded me of something I was thinking about a while ago, probably after seeing the transcript of yet another banal pre-match press conference.
There are 380 matchs a year in the Premier League. Each match has two teams, therefore making a total of 760 managerial press conferences a year (just for the PL – not even including all the other competitions).
So in the last 20 years of Premier League football, there have been over 15,000 press conferences! And I bet most people would struggle to recall more than a handful where anything interesting was actually said.
Obvisously there was Joe Kinnear’s sweary epic, Benitez and his ‘facts’, Jose used to sometimes to say something funny/cheeky, but really 99.9% of them are completely pointless.
“Team X are a strong team, and we are expecting a tough match” This (or some variation) is what is said pretty much everytime. If Man City were playing the Red Lion (with Big Fat Dave in goal), Guariola would still feel obligated to say this.
Imagine how much better the world could be if all those journalists who attend were, instead, allowed to go and do something postitive for an hour a week.
Laughing at the Spurs fan…
Quick response to the hilarious email from ‘Ben A’ regarding his all-time Spuds XI and how apparently they would give any team a good go.
(Lloris – Walker Alderweireld King Rose – Modric Dembele – Bale Eriksen Ginola – Kane)
What a load of rubbish…where are the trophy winners in that team?
Firstly the current Man City team would clearly p*ss all over the above Spurs team – no explanation needed, let alone a City best XI.
The Arsenal Invincibles would likely pull their pants down also (I would personally love to see Vieira show Dembele what box to box actually means (clue, it does not involve running around in circles illustrating excellent ball control but little else)).
In fact, Dembele, best XI, hahaha!
Big Sol v Kane would be interesting.
Lloris is a good shot stopper who thinks he’s Manuel Neuer.
How depressing that Walker and Rose are considered your all-time best Prem full backs. Walker has improved a lot under Pep, and Rose had good spells under Poch, but come on.
King is a legend.
Eriksen is class, when he wants to be (more frequently of late to be fair, best player currently), Bale yes, Kane yes, Ginola yes.
That Spurs team would score, but boy would they concede, and very hard to accept they would give a City, Utd, Chelsea or Arsenal best XI ‘a good go’.
Fun read though…..
Hugo, not well hidden Gooner, Hertford
…I realise that Ben A is probably well aware that all the best players throughout the history of the Premier League have essentially come from three clubs (non of which are Tottenham) and is obviously on a massive wind up but i’ll respond anyway.
Schmeichel, Evra, Stam, Ferdinand, Neville, Keane, Scholes, Beckham, Giggs, Rooney, Ronaldo
Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Campbell, Cole, Petit, Vieira, Ljungberg, Pires, Bergkamp, Henry
Cech, Azpilicueta, Terry, Carvalho, Cole, Essien, Makelele, Lampard, Robben, Hazard, Drogba
In short. Not a chance in hell would a Spurs team get anywhere near this lot. I’ll also start another very unoriginal game, the all time Premier League XI. Mainly because I genuinely believe that this team has a very limited potential pool of players. Here are the only real options:
Schmeichel/Van de Sar/Cech
Tom (Gerrard had an 18-year career, only had two “title challenges”, and finished outside the top four nine times. No chance) Goldenballs
…In answer to Ben A,
Off the top of my head….
Schmeichel, Neville, Ferdinand,Vidic, Irwin, Scholes, Keane, Ronaldo, Giggs, Rooney (yes), Cantona (would link better with Ronaldo than Ruud)
Subs: De Gea, Evra, Palister, Pogba (he will be one of our best players so pipe down), Beckham, Van Nistelrooy
Cech, Ivanovic ,Terry, Carvalho, Cole, Makelele, Essien, Hazard, Lampard, Zola (Makelele and Essien would be so good they could cover Zola lingering up front in a 4-2-3-1), Drogba
Subs: Courtois, Alonso, Desailly, Kante, Robben, Hasselbaink
Seamen, Dixon, Campbell, Adams, Cole, Viera, Petit, Pires, Bergkamp, Sanchez (would fit system better than RVP), Henry
Subs: Cech, Lauren, Koscielny, Silva, Ljunberg, Van Persie
Reina, Babbel, Hyppia, Carragher, Riise, Mascherano ,Alonso, Gerrard, Salah,Torres, Suarez
Subs: James (Yikes), Jones, Haman, Coutinho, McManaman,Fowler (sorry Michael ‘we didn’t do it, Dad!)
And basically City’s current XI.
I’d have to say Spurs’ would come abouuuuut….6th.
Don’t have enough winners at the highest level you see. And their players also just aren’t as good.
Both are kind of important.
Nice team though
Chris, Stourbridge (I think it would go United, Arsenal, Chelsea, City, Liverpool, Spurs)
…Steady on, Ben A. Your Spurs Premier League first XI looks really nice, but the majority of it comes from the last 2-3 years, from teams with well-managed players who play very nice football but who don’t actually come close to winning anything real, let alone some imaginary best-in-show award encapsulating the last 25 years of top level English football. Putting Bale, Modric and an in-his-prime Ginola (seriously?) in the first XIs of the last few years might improve them from than their 5th position in the League or last year’s somewhat distant 2nd, but I still doubt they would stack up well against PL XIs from Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal, City or even Liverpool. You know, clubs that have actually bothered to win major, tangible honours in the last few decades, rather than Fantasy Football accolades.
…No doubt in my mind this team would be invincible. Combination of skill, speed, strength and determination…
Lehmann – Cole Campbell Adams Lauren – Vieira Ozil – Sanchez Bergkamp Pires – Henry
Subs – Seaman, Keown, Bould, Petit, Overmars, Anelka, Kanu
SB (Think of how many great players I had to leave out including the great Bendtner)
There were a few Man United suggestions
Manchester United All time Premier League XI to beat any comers:
Schmeichel – Irwin Rio Stam NevilleG – Giggs Keane Scholes Ronaldo – Cantona Rooney
Still got Vidic, Bruce, Evra, Carrick, Beckham, RVN, Cole, De Gea et al waiting on the sidelines.
Writing in to F365 after a really really long time. Getting printed used to be a big deal for me back in the day. Let’s make it a big deal again eh!
Coventry’s all-time XI
In response to Ben A’s All time PL XL, I thought I’d tag along for the ride.
Due to Coventry’s well-publicised plight in the last 17 years (gently weeps), thinking back to our glory days is what I do best. Here’s a team that will almost certainly avoid relegation on the last day of the season, aaaahhhh they were the days…
GK: Steve Ogrizovic
LB: Sean Lewis
RB: Roland Nilsson
CB: Gary Breen
CB: Richard Shaw
MR: Peter Ndlovu
MC: Mustapha Hadji
MC: Gary Mcallister
ML: Steve Frogatt
CF: Dion Dublin
CF: Robbie Keane
As much as it pains me I’ve had to leave Paul Telfer and Sean Flynn out of the side on the basis of them being quite awful at the sport. I’ve also popped myself in at left back just because.
Sean (Love you) Coventry Fan
Fascinating mail from a referee
I read with great interest Daniel Storey’s ref piece and thought, as a fairly long in the tooth referee id give my opinion: I’ve been refereeing at ‘grass roots’ level for around 10 years, after playing to a decent level on various Saturday leagues for most of my late teens and 20’s so have a fairly competent knowledge of both how the game is played and also the ‘laws of the game’. During my playing career I was a fairly ‘old school’ type of centre half, one that would quite happily ‘take one for the team’ if it meant the opposition not scoring, and also one that would throw myself into tackles and 50/50s with the sole intention of winning the ball and more often than not whining at the ref when he blew up for a foul and consequently getting booked for my protests.
It was only when I finally hung up my boots and went to the dark side that I had a full understanding of the laws, and suddenly became a lot clearer with regards as to why I’d been cautioned so many times, why I ended up having to play a lot of the game with my mouth shut and standing on 2 feet at all times etc. I think the biggest thing that players forget, and as supporters/fans is that ‘intent’ has nothing to do with any foul a player makes. It doesn’t matter if you meant to kick him, it doesn’t matter if you didn’t mean to clip his feet as he went past you, and my personal favourite “where else was I meant to go” (normally shouted as the attacking player is flat on his back after the defending player has body checked him!) One of the first things you are taught as a referee is exactly that – intent is irrelevant. Now clearly there is an element of common sense required here, and I believe having an understanding of the game makes for a better referee, but the principal is still the same, if you let one go then invariably it’ll come back to bite you in the ass later on in the game.
Pet hate number 1 – managers/coaches on the sidelines screaming at you from the other side of the pitch “F*cking hell ref, do you even know the rules?!?!” – actually yes, I do, and furthermore they are laws, not rules (that normally embarrasses them enough to get them to be quiet) closely followed by the players, I recently had to dismiss a player for denying an obvious goalscoring opportunity by basically doing an impression of his goalkeeper and pushing the ball off the pitch, when I then blew the whistle, pointed to the spot and called him over and dismissed him, pretty much the remainder of the team came over, surrounding me saying that it was double punishment and that “you don’t know what you’re doing”, players and coaches not knowing the laws is what, half the time creates drama, because they simply don’t know what they are doing.
Refereeing in general – I started reffing aged 31, im 6’1” and 16 stone, it takes a lot to intimidate me, and as such, I seldom have any issues when I blew up and, if required, call a player over to discuss, caution or dismiss him etc, however what grates on me massively is when a young inexperienced ref blows up for a foul and has 4/5/6 grown men surrounding him and giving him grief for only doing what he considers his best (note to all cynics – we generally do the best we can, nobody deliberately sets out to make a mistake) and the manger on the sideline starts giving his opinion (normally from 50+ yards away), it’s no wonder half of the young lads I have seen out on the circuit give it up after a season because it simply isn’t worth giving up your time to just get abused for 90 mins, after all it’s not like you see refs turning around to a forward whose just missed a sitter calling him a wa*ker! Don’t get me wrong I get that there are some whistle blowing lunatics out there to, but sometimes, just sometimes, if you just accept it, stay quiet, and get on with it you’ll find that the remainder of the match is played a lot smoother, we all make mistakes, we are after all only human much to your protest’s, but giving us a hard time just because you don’t agree with us will only mean that slowly but surely grassroots football will slide away as the new generation simply won’t want to stand in the middle.
As a final bit I’d like to agree with what DS said in his article – there is nothing more frustrating than watching a multi-millionaire prima donna scream “f*ck off”! at a ref live on the TV and get away with it, how are we supposed to caution players when the top tiers just let them get away with it? Until the FA finally grow a pair and enforce the respect campaign at the top it’ll only get worse at the bottom.
Cheers, the bastard in black
Taking issue with Pochettino and Kane
So right on the heels of Kane pretty much confirming that he will look to dive in the box the moment he feels any contact, Pochettino gave a bizarre press conference where he compared diving and tricking the referee to a ‘tactical’ move.
I’m surprised more isn’t being made of this, even despite Spurs being media darlings. The referee is not supposed to be the opponent in the game. Tactics should involve your team and the opponent team, no game plan should involve deceiving the match officials.
What’s even more ridiculous is Poch’s assertion that we should congratulate divers if they don’t get caught. Essentially, lets reward cheating instead of punishing it, if you can get away with it. What kind of f***ing logic is that? Everything is okay if you don’t get caught? And we should congratulate the cheats?!? The notion that in years past, the players and the crowd used to appreciate cheating as clever is nonsense. I’m sure Shilton did not go around congratulating Maradona after his “game intelligence”. The Irish were not singing Henry’s name for his “tactical trickery”.
While I’m sure other managers in the league also encourage their players to go down in the box, the on the nose statement by Poch is essentially tacit admission of the team being coached to deceive the referee and cleverly “win” penalties. With the ease with which the likes of Kane, Lamela, Son and Alli (most cautions in the league for diving over last 3 years) fling themselves to the ground, this comes as no surprise.
I get F365 stating the case for undue scrutiny of referees makes their jobs harder. But surely a manager stating that they are essentially devising a game plan to cheat the referees makes their jobs even harder. Interested to see what other mailboxers think about this.
Falooda in NY (incoming another Wenger ban after Anthony Taylor awards another three penalties to the cheats this weekend)
Being a part-time Farsley fan
Inspired by Rex’s Mail about wishing for less success. Prior to finally getting a season ticket for LFC after a 16-year wait (which let’s face it is a doddle compared to the purgatory of waiting for the league title) I followed Farsley Celtic around about 2008-9. They were a local team in the Leeds area where I now live. This was a club where I soon managed to get on nodding terms with many of the 200 or so die-hard fans who without fail turned up to the mighty but freezing Throstle Nest ground. I can remember one mid-week game where I was the only spectator on the coldest side of the pitch behind the dug-out. This position allowed me to eavesdrop on tactics and other tit-bits. It also meant I could politely ask (not shout) some questions to the opposing players at throw-ins. Like where is Forest Green and such like.
Anyway somehow Farsley had managed to get into the Blue Square North Conference. They were even televised v York City in a cup! Success you might think. Yet my understanding (proper Farsley fans will know better) is that these heady heights brought with them regulations and standards on stadia that the club could simply not afford. They were financed largely by fans going the extra mile and a local garden centre. The club sold land for housing and because of the recession were not paid in full. The club then went broke and got thrown out of the league. I knew a Farsley die-hard fan and it was gut-wrenching to see his dismay at how his team had been punished after they had got too good too quickly. I certainly am not qualified to say if the dream was worth it, but LFC or other ‘Top 6’ fans moaning about off-side decisions is not in the same league. So let’s open the doors to other voices.
Rex poignantly wrote about ‘seeing a tubby bloke on his debut unleash a rocket into the top corner only to move to Bognor a month later, taking his mercurial left foot with him’. Now that is a quote of Shakespearian quality for me. It encapsulates the wonder and magic of football. The paradox of ‘tubby’ and ‘rocket’ and the romantic irony of spurning (with his ‘mercurial left foot’) Burgess Hill Town for the harlot that it is Bognor! Respect to Rex and also to all the Farsley Celtic and other lower league die-hard fans. BTW Is there a better football chant than the grammatically correct yet politely risqué Farsley faithful imploration that ‘There’s only one ‘F’ in Farsley!’