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I can’t help myself, I just can’t.
Add a really good keeper, another top centre back and you know what….?
Next year might just be our year.
Seeing Liverpool play these days is so stunning .. it feels very dissapointing if they don’t win by margin of 3 or more goals ..they look ruthless.. they look majestic.. at the end of the game the talk is all about missed chances …. Full backs are on song… Chamberlain looked fabulous.. why won’t Emre Can not stay here is beyond my understanding.. it’s not right to say this is our year or whatever.. they have already taken a big leap .. in terms of class.. entertainment..that’s Liverpool for you.. champions league is still in sights… YNWA
Robertson is not just going to be a cult hero at this rate, he’s going to be the most popular name on the team sheet. I don’t think we’ve had a left back as consistent since Riise. The only criticism I might have is that he had at least a couple of opportunities where a shot might’ve been a better option than trying to pick out a team mate. It’s good to keep people guessing because it makes it harder to position in order to defend when you’re on the ball so he should’ve had at least one go.
Our front three is a thing of utter beauty. So fast, such a strong team ethic and so bloody good. How many tackles did Firmino make in the middle third today? His pressing is just relentless. It’s so funny how quiet the “we must replace Coutinho” crowd has gone. I think Klopp worries about the atmosphere in the dressing room a lot and didn’t want to introduce a new face in a rush without vetting properly. I also vaguely recall Storey talking about the idea that Coutinho was a supremely talented square peg who didn’t really fit in the round hole in our team; a like for like replacement is not actually needed.
AOC strikes me as the future Adam Lallana in our squad; he’s quick, great with the ball, presses aggressively and can pick a pass. If he finds consistency (this was his first great performance since Man City) then he’ll play more regularly.
FAO: John Barnes
Liverpool 4-1 up at the time of writing. Firmino, Salah and Mane all on the scoresheet. Someone call John Barnes and ask him does he still think they need a striker.
Weather or not?
Given the fine margins between success and failure these days, interesting to see if any fellow mailboxer feels that a team gets a significant advantage depending on where they usually play the 1st and 2nd halves?
Watching the Liverpool West Ham game, it was obvious that everyone from the fans to the players had an issue with the bright sun towards the goal that West Ham were defending in the 1st half. Can’s goal came with the defenders and particularly the goalie struggling with the sun – look how far behind the goal line he is when the ball crosses the line. In the 2nd Half, not only were West Ham disadvantaged by the ‘Kop effect’ coming from the goal Liverpool were attacking (which is natural for any away team and something they must suffer for a full 1/2 no matter what), but they also didn’t benefit from the reversal of ends as the sun had largely gone down by then.
Appreciate there may be a meteorologist among us who can confirm how often the variables are such to offer significant advantages to starting at different ends, (and if there’s correlation between the combination of such variables and performance), but just by anecdotal observation, does any mailboxer think there is another specific ground like Anfield for any kind of weather?
The Big P, Vancouver
Klopp and Riise are cowards
Any respect I had for Jurgen has just gone out the window after that weak as f*** excuse he gave for not condemning the abuse his fans gave Evra for being racially abused by one of the former players of the club he now manages. The fact this comes just over a fortnight after one of his own young players spoke so openly and bravely about being racially abused makes his comments just so much worse. So much for the “decent man”. He’s no better than that pathetic excuse for a “leader” Dalglish who had to be informed by the interviewer about his scummy player.
As for Riise, well the simple fact that he got dragged mercilessly not only by decent football fans in the UK but also in his homeland for his ridiculous attempt at defending (not unusual in his case) his original tweet which people knew was aimed at Evra by trying to claim it was about any ex-United player even though he hasn’t tweeted anything like that when Liverpool have played West Brom, Stoke, Everton, or any of the other clubs with former United players, makes things a bit better but doesn’t stop him looking like a prat.
There’s a whine from Liverpool fans claiming that they’re unfairly treated. In this case supporting a player guilty of racial abuse doesn’t give you much firm ground to stand on.
As a last point, Suarez has NEVER apologised to Evra. He apologised to his manager and his club for lying about the handshake, he never had the decency to apologise to the man he abused.
Israel, (The return league game at Old Trafford is gonna be more lit than the last few years) MUFC since 1977
Greg blob of boringness
When Allardyce was hired, I was all for it. The Koeman regime wasn’t working at all, and there was a real danger Everton might end up relegated. Big Sam was an obvious hire, someone who would grind out the needed points for a midtable finish.
But now I think I’m beginning to understand why people get sick of him quickly. This is dire stuff. Even the games where we actually eke out a win are drab and joyless. The Watford game tonight could have easily gone our way – two mediocre teams trying to grind away a 1-0 win. But at least Watford had spurts of creativity. Everton is just a grey blob of boringness.
Really, even in the darkest days of the Martinez era, at least you could count on being entertained. The Big Sam Experience just makes me count away the minutes until the match is over.
And we’re stuck with him for at least another year.
The importance of managers
If they escape relegation, both Roy Hodgson (Palace) and Carlos Carvalhal (Swansea) will have performed minor miracles this season.
Higher up the table, Arsenal have lacked any form of pro-active management for years and seemed to have reached a natural level (5/6th) that their resources dictate. On a related point, my Granny could get England to the World Cup and out of the Group stage, but you need Managerial nous to progress further.
At the top of the table, Pep continues to improve, whilst Mourinho stutters, leaving us to question whether he has actually evolved over the past few years, or is stuck in the past (tactics, shape, etc) and is unable to move forward.
He clearly adds something, but he has a defence that may keep clean sheets but has a shambolic look about it, and a world class attack that lacks dynamism and shape. If ManU fall out of the top 4 and fail to put Seville to bed after the deliberately obtuse tactics of the first leg, you’d have to wonder if Jose is done at the top table.
George knows, but Arsene knows better
Paul K starts his little missive stating he remembers Arsenal before Arsene arrived. So do I Paul, I started going week in week out back in the dark days of 1982. So long ago that Spurs were the media darlings (no change there) and they actually won things…. (well that has changed).
Anyway I digress, Paul puts it that George Graham left Arsenal in a better position when he got his P45 for creative accounting. The main reason for the P45 was the signing of Pal Lydersen. Now I loved George Graham (Anfield ’89 was the greatest night of my life, sorry kids) at Arsenal but my god after we got beat by Benfica in 1992 the style of football and the team went down hill.
A rock solid back four and a big punt up field for Wrighty to chase down was the blue print for the rest of his time at Highbury. One nil to the Arsenal was sung for a reason. We did have some bright spots and great displays, Limpar from the half way line against Liverpool or the 7-1 against Sheff Wed leap to mind. But in the main it was bloody hard work watching the football and only the cups made it palatable. And Paul do you remember George’s last season? That stunk the place out. His last two signings were John Hartson and Chris Kiwomya good decent players but nowhere near good enough.
Anyway this not a pop at Graham as pre Benfica we played some fantastic football, as you said the 1991 team were supreme. This is more of a lets take a deep breath and look at this properly. The football is light years better under Wenger, the stadium is fantastic (I still prefer Highbury to be honest) and the trophy haul is better than 89 other teams.
We are now competing against a state sponsored team in City, a team sponsored by Russia gas company in Chelsea and the team built by the riches of the Premier League in United. Wenger is working with an owner who is never going to take the steps required to join the biggest boys. So three Cup wins in four seasons is not too shabby.
Trouble is the current generation of football fans demand a quadruple every season. The proof being the f***tards of Arsenal TV. Before the internet if you were a f***tard only your family knew, now give them a camera, an internet connection and the whole world finds out you are a f***tard!
I write this after the game against Osterunds, did of you really think the team would bust a gut 3-0 up after the first leg and with a cup final on Sunday? The last time we had a game this close to a final we ended up losing Cesc & Walcott for final due to injury and losing to Birmingham in the final.
So Paul yes we are going to be better off. He has made mistakes but he has done so much for the club. We have had the best 20 years at Arsenal since the 30’s and Wenger’s legacy will never be matched.
I know I will get pelters for being an Arsene fanboy, its not that at all, we should have won at least 2 more titles and don’t get me started on the line up against Forest in the cup this year. I honestly feel the old banner sums it….
“George knows, but Arsene knows better”
Dave Broxbourne Gooner (Didn’t know Pep was a goner, She wore a yellow ribbon….)
I’m a City fan, so this might seem like an odd time to write in defence of Arsene Wenger, which is an odd thing to do in the first place but hear me out.
I’m not trying to say Wenger is an exceptional manager because that is patently untrue but saying he leaves Arsenal in a worse place than when he found it is a bit harsh considering he brought the club into a position to be competitive in the 21st century, which was certainly an achievement (look at Leeds, Wimbledon…).
Arsenal’s league position is regularly slammed as failure, but when you look at their squad you have to say it is the 6th best in the league, particularly in central midfield so it seems to me that the main criticism is of recruitment. A common comment made by Arsenal fans is that he has the money but doesn’t spend it, but I’m just not sure he has the money in the first place and is astute enough to realise it. He could blow £150 million on a player but that standard of player wouldn’t want to move to Arsenal and so his wage would have to be massive, meaning every other player wants a rise. On top of this, Wenger knows he can’t afford to spend that kind of money with any regularity and so it is simply unsustainable. You buy the player, then what? You still have 10 Arsenal players. Rather than doing this, he buys Arsenal standard players for quite reduced prices (Ozil, Auba, Sanchez all looked cheap to me when they arrived).
Admittedly there have been mistakes, but no more than any other big club. The difference is they don’t have the money to correct them. The money they do have is almost entirely down to Wenger’s clever long term money management and rather than compare them to clubs who are clearly out of Arsenal’s financial league, Arsenal fans should be grateful for the sustained top 6 finishes over the last 20 years and worry that when they get their wish and Wenger leaves, will they be in a better position? I’d bet on them crashing and burning
Ben (admittedly defending Wenger did feel like one of Hercules ordeals) MCFC
Paul K made a compelling point in the Wenger v Graham debate and like him I can remember pre Wenger Arsenal as i suspect many fans do. I can remember Champagne Charlie scuffing the winner at Wembley in 87 (here’s hoping for the same result tomorrow!). Whilst Paul K has a point, I think theres a wider picture than just the first team. Yes the line up he quotes is a good one, but anyone who remembers the 94-95 season (12th place, no cup runs, lets not say anything about Nayim) knows that the classic Graham line up wasn’t always great and was supplemented by some dodgy squad players. George’s last three signings where Kiwomya, Hartson & Helder- no of whom really ever set the world on fire at Arsenal, or in the PL (apart from big John).
Looking at other factors though – George Graham’s reign loses out compared to Arsene Wenger. Whilst football has changed completely in Wenger’s time and AW has been manager for twice as long (neither factor in Graham’s control) the changes that Wenger has overseen over the club as a whole are massive compared to Graham’s time. In 1996, Arsenal where the equivalent of Everton. Similar history in terms of longevity in top flight, trophies and size of fan base. Also similar in terms of playing personal and recent success – Everton had just won the FA Cup and Arsenal were a season away from success in Europe. Fast forward 20(ish) years and the two clubs are far apart, with no disrespect to Everton. Arsenal have a much wider global fanbase, a much bigger internet presence, bigger stadium, more trophies, better playing personnel, better facilities’ are perceived as a more attractive package for recruiting than Everton (Theo?) and are a bigger draw to TV audiences. Whilst not all of this can be ascribed to Wenger’s management, much of it is directly his legacy or his influence.
Not completely dsagreeing with Paul K, the players he highlighted where certainly successful. how much better were they though with Wenger’s methods of training and diet (all of which the players who played under both managers say was more beneficial to their careers)? You could also argue how much better some of today’s defenders would have been with George as manager. How long would Mesut Ozil have lasted under Graham? But that’s for another email.
Graeme, Gooner exile (been in Yorkshire for twenty years)
Prophecy alert: I didn’t even need to edit the letter from last March which went unpublished after a typical Mourinho match and am using this as a prophecy that this is what will happen this weekend against Chelski.
I for the world cannot understand why the readers are up in arms about Jose’s teams being cynical, fouling as often as they can against difficult opposition, and just trying to win. The end result is what matters, and if we are d***s going about it to win, then what is so wrong about it. Anyone who has followed the Serie A closely over the past few decades can easily relate to what Jose is doing; i.e. make tactical fouls as often as possible before the opposition can counter attack. Darmian was tasked with doing so and so was Herrera.
Agreed that the plan occasionally backfires, but how is it different to any other footballing philosophy whose final aim is to hopefully win? Jose’s teams are capable of playing attractive football as well, but as the wise know, dark arts and s**thousery is part of football, and it needs to be implemented at times. I am flummoxed that some people cannot understand that.
At least it isn’t LVG’s philosophy putting viewers to sleep(never forget this). Jose keeps it interesting.
PS: Logan’s line about “no-sex” in the air is one of the most relatable threats ever.
In response to Ross, Edinburgh’s mate who has a habit of missing goals due to the call of nature and emerges just as the celebrations die down, I recall living with some friends a few years back and whenever anyone dashed out for a mid-game comfort break, we’d wait the appropriate length of time for them to be mid-flow then celebrate wildly as though they’d missed the greatest goal of all time. Cue hilarity as they came dashing back in just in time for a throw-in or substitution. After a while it turned a bit Peter and the Wolf whereby on occasion someone did miss a goal but had ignored the (real) celebrations, then we ended up all conditioning ourselves not to leave the game at all, but it still raised a smile when we managed to catch out visitors who weren’t in the joke.
More missed matches
I’m not sure if it necessarily counts, but I have something of a 2-for-1 missed matches story. I’m a United fan (in case nobody has seen any of my previously published emails!) and I go along to a fair few matches each season with my dad. We were fortunate enough to attend the 1999 Champions League final together, and 9 years later, my dad somehow managed to get his hands on tickets for United’s next European final.
Then disaster strikes! My University exam timetable is published and I have an exam on the 22nd May (the day after the game). Despite desperate attempts to find a flight that would get me back in time, I am forced to give up my ticket to my mum. I’m sure a lot of readers can remember what happened. Captain, leader, legend, John George Terry shows the humility and team-first mentality for which he is famous, and bravely nominates himself to take what looks to be the winning penalty.
It’s at this point that my Dad starts to leave the stadium, unable to bear watching the inevitable outcome. Just as he starts heading down the steps out of the ground, he hears the cheers from the United fans, and turns quickly to head back. Only the stewards have now decided nobody will be allowed back to the seats. He watched United’s winning penalty from the concourse, peering over a steward’s shoulder at the big screen. In 2009 and 2011, we are unable to secure tickets and, almost certainly as a direct result of our absence and nothing whatsoever to do with Barcelona being a better side, United fail to lift the trophy.