A note of caution: Bayern and the Bundesliga ain’t all that…

Date published: Thursday 14th March 2019 2:49

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A note of caution
Obviously, congratulations to Liverpool on a v handy win in Munich, but I do feel a note of caution is needed in all the jubilation. Despite the hyping they got from the English media, Bayern really aren’t all that this year.

The reasons are all over the team / squad: Kovac is still new and needs time – apart from anything else, to prove he’s actually a good manager; Thomas Mueller seems somewhat finished – possibly burnt out given how long he’s been at the top level already; despite how controversial it was, there’s also a reason Joachim Loew has publically chucked Hummels and Boateng from the national team; Neuer doesn’t seem to have ever recovered fully from his bad injury. List goes on.

The only reason they’re fighting for the BuLi is that Dortmund have collectively wet the bed from January (which should be no surprise to anyone); the only reason they slaughter teams like Wolfsburg and BMG is that, frankly, German football is also not all that at the moment…

As I said, good win and everything, but not quite like demolishing the “fully armed and operational” Bayern of a couple of years back. That team is fading into memory (fortunately for most of Germany).
Sam, CFC [sometimes F95] SW6



Poch’s performing as he should
I would pose this question, does Pochettino constantly get praised by Media because we evaluate spurs players on prices purchased and the old spurs mentality of wanting fourth rather than the MV and squad goals they should have, since I am an accountant I thought why don’t I run the expected sale values of the players rather than what they purchased for, all investments are measured on what you sell them for afterall. Then we will see who is underperforming and who is overperforming.

Spurs XI: 543M
Liverpool: 666M
Man United: 502M
Man City: 679M
Arsenal: 396.50M
Chelsea: 589.50M

So what we can see is that Liverpool and City should be clearly ahead which is true, in fact Liverpool oddly would have a much lower valued squad if it weren’t for the favourable increases in TAA, Robertson, Firmino, Salah and Mane values: (260 million in total)

City similarly have big increase in sterling, sane, aguero and de bruyne fees (220 million) but there squad value is lowered slightly by the evaluations of players like David Silva and Fernandinho (26m in total) due to their lack of resale because of age and contracts, sliding in Bernardo Silva would increase City squad value by a solid 40M making them clear favourties and the only 700m.

Man United do okay Martial, Pogba and Lukaku somewhat retaining their values (fairly accurate) Lingard and Rashford net the most positive growth ( combined 100M as both free), Fred has yet to see a diminish in value but wasn’t included in the evaluation anyway do to not being a regular starter. They should be fifth based on XI MV and I would wager this isn’t too far off.

Chelsea underperformance as a squad shows slightly and we probably could all agree that the playing style, lack of preparation, etc shows the most in regards to Chelsea and they are not performing as they should (3rd in MV but potentially 4th in league however a large gap to 3rd in MV) their players tend to retain value, Kante being 90m and Hazard 110M rings true, Willian being 50M now is debatable but Barca did bid that for him. Having Higauin at 40m in their XI is a bit wonky since he was a loan but we work on value here.

Arsenal are the biggest performers, the majority of their value amongst their forward line (it shows in their stats) and their defence being the most low valued out of all the top 6 matches up perfectly with the present however their decent forwards and one or two midfield gems shows in their make up value.

So Spurs are Fourth in value (makes sense), and they are fighting for fourth/third place (makes sense), their forward line like most sides is spectacularly valued but what they lack in comparison to City and Liverpool is a bang on prime CB (one matching Liverpool and City’s 65M Laporte and Van Dijk) and their fullbacks are apparently 20m short each side. midfield oddly matches Liverpool overall evaluation. Keeper could also use an upgrade with 4 sides having a better valued keeper. With an overall growth in player value of 310M (across Son, Kane, Alli and Erikssen)

So what did we learn ?

Pochettino is doing apparently exactly as he should be, therefore making fourth is not a sucess however Media praises about his growing his squad do ring true.

Klopp is also bang on.

Guardiola is also technically performing as should however squad evaluations show he should possible have a larger lead at the top however but no faulting his performance.

Sarri has had difficulties but could potentially meet his evaluation goal eventually however should realistically have done better, again true.

Ole gunnar has righted the ship but those expecting Man United to have ever challenged were horribly out the loop.

Finally Emery is doing gods work at Arsenal, with qualifying for next season champions league potentially giving him a return of almost 30% of his squads value alone.

This was done with realistic line ups and current values.


Cech, mate
If Arsenal want to progress in the Europa League they need to play Leno. After this weekends heroics he is in great form and if Arsenal are to have a chance of overturning a 2 goal lead they need to keep a clean sheet and that means playing our best defensive player which is Leno.

This new fad of playing second keepers is crazy. Sure in the early stages of the League Cup its fine but in a competition where the prize is a season changing Champions League place why persist in handicapping your team by playing a keeper who is retiring in a couple of months, has made mistakes when he has played and is just no where near the level of Leno.

I remember our run to back to back European Cup Winners Cups in the mid 90’s and our manager George Graham would have been attacked by the crowd if he had dropped our world class keeper David Seamen for which ever reserve keeper we had at the time.

Yes Cech has been an amazing keeper (mostly for Chelsea), but there is no room for sentiment in this multimillion pound business where the difference of having Champions League football next season and not is so pronounced.

Sure we might get that through the league but Arsenal football club are probably the biggest under achieving club in Europe and have a wonderful chance to help change that this season when we are out of the other cups, not challenging for the league, and comfortably have the squad of outfield players to play the extra games in the Europa League and concentrate on the battle for the 4th place trophy.

However I fear it may be ‘Cech-mate’ and Cech will play and contribute to our elimination tonight.

Looking forward to being proved wrong.

Paul K, London
P.S. Anyone else hoping for a Messi vs. Ronaldo Champions League final to finally help answer the question who is the greatest…


Matip the man
The small joys of going through the mailbox the morning after a great win over a big team had a sprinkling of peculiarity in reading Mr.Sam’s two-liner “When is Joe Gomez back?
Matip is going to send me to an early grave.”

I wonder if I was really that drunk last night, because the Matip I saw was excellent all night long, save an unnecessary yellow card and a couple fouls. The OG wasn’t really his fault with Robbo and VVD causing the problem in the first place. He had to attempt the ball because Lewandowski was behind him ready for a tap in, and while it is technically possible to lift the ball over the bar, very few defenders would be able to do that from a low cross at pace in the same position.

Lewandowski quickly realised that he isn’t going to get much joy out of Van Dijk so seemed to attempt to target Matip instead, and Matip trumped him every time it mattered. Some excellent interceptions and key tackles in the box to boot. Virgil will get the plaudits but Joel provided arguably the best defensive performance in a grey shirt last night.
Sid, LFC.


Ideal draws
Ok Petey, here’s my ideal draw

Barcelona – City: A heavyweight has to go out, Pep returning to the Camp Nou narrative, ramps up the pressure further on City and makes not only makes the CL more interesting, but the Premier League title race that bit harder too

Ajax – Porto: Going into the start of the last round both of these sides would have been fairly unfancied and outside bets for the final (no, you haven’t been following this Ajax team for the last 3 years). Reach the semis and anything can happen

Liverpool – Man Utd: No explanation needed. Expect packed pubs up and down the country and two epic games (a la Liverpool – Chelsea in the mid 00s)

Juventus – Tottenham: This was left over by process of elimination, but given the football played by the two teams at their peak should make for an enthralling encounter nonetheless.

My predicitons went out of the window in the last round, but you can see a final four of Barca, Ajax, Liverpool & Juventus. Its like a greatest hits of the competition!
David, Sheffield (Of course the Europa is where its really at…)


What ifs
Yes Dave, Somewhere you’re right of course. If you remove over half of Man Utds league titles then Liverpool are five ahead of their nearest challenger, Arsenal. But if you take away Paisley and his 6 titles, 3 Euro Cups and 1 UEFA Cup then Arsenal have won most league titles which is awesome! Not only that but Liverpool have only won the same as Notts Forest who are way down the league’s right now.

Take away Shankly’s 3 as well and Liverpool have only won 9 league titles. Leaving Arsenal way out in front and Man U hot on Pool’s heels.

Double Wenger’s haul and we’re flying with 20 FA Cups and 16 league titles, going unbeaten for well over two full seasons and getting two double doubles!

I like this game.
Alay (Both Laca & Auba tonight please Emery), N15 Gooner


What a difference a year makes
This time last year English fans were whining that the only reason their clubs struggled in Europe was because of the intensity of the league and a midseason break would help the national team.

Fast forward 12 months and Liverpool made the CL final,England made the world cup semi finals and now there are 4 English teams in the last 8 of the CL.
The PL teams destroyed the Germans over 3 different ties but do you hear German teams whining that their league is way more intense compared to the PL and that is why they lost?.Barcelona are the only Spanish team in the last 8 but do you hear Real or Valencia or Sevilla fans saying they’d be in the last 8 too if they had Burnley,H’field,Cardiff etc in their league?

This tiredness/too intense argument was always utter rubbish but the hype over the 4 English teams in the last 8 is nauseating.Now,bear in mind none of them have won anything,the current holders of all European trophies(+ the world club trophy)are Spanish AND 14/15 european trophies(am including the supercup) have been won by Spanish clubs how is the PL the greatest league in the world???

I understand BT & Sky are English based and have English pundits but the dross coming from Rio,Michael Owen,Hargreaves,Sherwood etc is of epic proportions(& that is saying a lot when talking about 4-4 Tim).
At least wait until they have a few years of dominance of winning the European cup before going into hyperbole mood.
PS.Any sign of Smiddy who said Liverpool would win no games in Feb & March and go out to Bayern? Or has he been signed up by Sky on a 5 year deal??


Future football
What is it with the lauding of teenagers in the England squad? Why is having players who might turn out to be great in the future a blessing in the present? These teenage prodigies should, by rights, be in the U-21s, in the queue behind the guys who were teenage prodigies five or six years ago. Having teenagers and 20-year olds in the squad is surely a sign of failure.

Back before the 2014 World Cup, I told my Spanish friend to remember the names ‘Ross Barkley’, ‘Luke Shaw’, and ‘Raheem Sterling’. Even F365 was raving about Luke Shaw ‘nailing down the left-back spot for the next decade’. I’m not still in touch with that Spanish guy, but as a Barca fan living in Barcelona I wouldn’t be surprised if Raheem Sterling is the only name of the three that he knows. It’s heartening that Shaw and Barkley seem to have their careers back on track at big clubs, but you could hardly say that they are the new Ashley Cole and Steven Gerrard.

The fact is that salivating over teenage prospects is the greatest indicator of institutional failure in English football. What other great prospects were there? Jordan Henderson was one. Daniel Sturridge another. Let’s not even mention Jack Wilshere. Kyle Walker looked to have actually fulfilled his Young Player of the Year award potential until Rio and Joe Cole were caught slating him as a liability and then suddenly everyone – including Pep – seemed to agree. England’s best player is probably Harry Kane, and no one was lauding him while he toured provincial English clubs as a teenage loanee (not prodigy).

Eternally living in the future as though potential has intrinsic value in the present – while actually neglecting the present – is another of the cognitive failures associated with the England national team. In six years time Jadon Sancho will be on the bench having fallen out with his coach, Declan Rice will be a mid-table clogger, and everyone will be salivating over kids who are 11 years old today.

If there were a Future World Cup we’d definitely nail down a semi-final spot. Can’t wait for the Future Open-Top Bus Parade.


If I were Gareth Southgate, I would take myself over to Dublin this weekend.
Not only is it a fantastic city, its a Bank Holiday weekend owing to St Patricks Day falling on the Sunday.
Promises to be a great weekend with 6 nations rugby on the Saturday and the All Ireland Club Football Championships on in Croke Park on the Sunday.

But if thats not enough, he can take himself to RTE Studio’s and attend the FAI International Awards for 2019.
He will be able to see Emma Byrne join the likes of Damien Duff, Robbie Keane, Andy Townsend and Tony Cascarino pick up her Hall of Fame award.

He can enjoy a nice meal and a glass of wine, and maybe spot a star of the future for the England National team.

WHAT? At the Irish award you say?

Yep, because this Sunday, England International Declan Rice is to be named the FAI’s Young Player of the year, weeks after declaring for England.
Now, I don’t harbour any ill will for Rice in declaring for England, and good luck to him, but surely the FAI should have fudged this and awarded it to the guy in 2nd.
This comes 5 years after Jack Grealish picked up his U21 player of the year award and promptly declared for England also.
Again, good luck to him, its his choice.

So, forget all your expensive scouting systems and high performance units, get yourself down to Donnybrook to see England’s stars of the Future.


Pele > Messi and Ronaldo
Jesus wept, enough already with the Messi / Ronaldo GOAT debate

To put the matter straight and to correct each and every one of you arguing for either of the above as the greatest of all time. They’re not – they are unquestionably the greatest two players of their generation, and surely amon the greatest of all time, but THE greatest? No

The greatest footballer who has ever played the game is PELE

It’s always been Pele folks. He completely redefined the criteria by which you even judge what a great player is. If he was playing today given modern fitness / training methods the incredible feats of Ronaldo and Messi would only get them the silver and bronze medals. Not even that if Maradona was also active now.

For what it’s worth, here’s my all time top 10 players in order. I’m completely happy with the order of my top 7, but after that I think it gets much trickier so I’ve also done a bubbling under list of other candidates that occur to me off the top of my head

Ronaldo (C.)
Yashin (because keepers are footballers too people)
Also for your consideration, in no particular order and doubtless missing many more:-

Ronaldo (fat), Moore, Best, Zidane, Garrincha, Zico, Charlton, Alex James (indulge me – another mail for another time), Gerd Muller, Seeler, Xavi, Iniesta, Banks, Di Stefano

Over to you folks – don’t overdo the Premier League ‘legends’ but do add more defensive players and try to remember players were also great in the time before you were born
Rob, Bristol Gooner (obviously Bergkamp is my personal subjective biased GOAT)


Messi and Ronaldo > Pele and Maradona
Just wanted to say, I think we can all agree now that Messi and Ronaldo are better than Pele and Maradona. I know it isn’t a smart idea to pick this fight, but I genuinely believe it. The standard of the game has continued to rise exponentially, and these guys are the pinnacle. Sure, maybe they wouldn’t have survived 5 mins in ‘the old days’ when people could kick the sh*t out of people without fear of repercussions, but I think both Maradona and Pele would struggle with the pace at which the game is played now.
John Matrix AFC


Bugbear at Bayern
Not mentioned in this morning’s mail is a bugbear of mine that happened in the Bayern Liverpool game last night and is one of those things I’d like to see rules brought in to stop. That being when Henderson got injured, tries to play on, then when he realises he needs to go off he just sits down in the middle of the pitch and brings the game to a stop. We see this time and again, and players usually make sure they go down in the middle of the pitch to give the ref no option but to stop the play. They’ll sit there then until their replacement is good and ready to come on. As with last night the ref may make a token wave of his arm to tell the player to go off themselves, player will brazenly ignore the ref and adjust their socks. 2 minutes later then the game wlll resume. Rarely seems to happen with a player from a team chasing a game strangely.

It’s similar to players going down injured just off the pitch and then rolling back on to it for treatment. I know there are changes in the pipeline to make substituted players go off at the side of the pitch they are closest to in order to stop the tedious slow trudge across the pitch we’re often treated to. Well I think this sitting down to stop the game needs to be dealt with too. Indeed you could say the same for most instances of players getting on the pitch treatment. In most cases they are able to play on, and thus would be well capable of making their way to the nearest sidelines for treatment off the pitch but instead the whole game comes to a halt. Eventually they do have to go only to be waved back on a few seconds later. It’s a farce. Time to stop the time wasting and the deliberate breaking up of the momentum of games
Gav, Ireland


Tammy in trouble?
Rob, of Sweden – Are we talking about the same Tammy Abraham that has scored 21 goals in in 31 games for Villa, joint 3rd most in the Championship? The same Tammy Abraham who Wolves wanted to sign 2 months ago? The same Tammy Abraham who is currently listed as having a market value of £13.5m by Transfermarkt.com?

Who’s full of bullsh*t again?
Sam, Liverpool

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