Arsenal are playing to kill as they bring back memories of classic Sir Alex Ferguson sides. Plus, Man Utd are starting to buy into Erik ten Hag, Liverpool demolition and much more…
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Positive signs in defence for Man Utd…
After the game against Liverpool, many United fans were hoping for consistency in the team and in the play. Against Southampton, although a more physical game and not as convincing as against Liverpool there were some very positive signs for Manchester United with the back 4 staying the same from the Liverpool game and continuing on from their fantastic performance against Liverpool.
Varane and Martinez are my preferred Centre Back pairing and both show real quality when playing together. Malacia has won the Left Back position for me. He is a great example of a modern fullback with quality in defence and quality moving forward and he also has a trait that has been missing at United which is a desire to win every time. You can see him and Martinez always make sure to try to win their tackles and keep that ball out of the box and do not give up until the final whistle is blown.
Diogo Dalot was my Man of the Match. There had been many Manchester United fans who had written him off but I have always said that he is a great fullback if paired with the right defence. You can see the difference in his playing ability when he has Varane with him as that allows Dalot to go forward and show off his attacking ability but also he plays better defensively with Varane as they are not running into each other like when Maguire is playing.
Although it was not as good as the Liverpool game it is clear they are starting to trust Ten Hag’s plan and the defence should stay the same and unless there is an injury or a real drop of quality from the back 4 there should be no way Maguire or Shaw come back into the team.
Max of Whitegate
Any Glazer out mails? Or has it gone quiet after two straight wins and signing a midfielder? Almost like the supporters are more upset with the performances and uh, not so great(to put it lightly) signings than the owners. Maybe the kids are playing with the toys now rather than throwing them out the pram. Fickle football fans eh.
A strong week for refereeing…
So just on Saturday, McTominay can handle the ball 3 times in the same movement, gaining a clear advantage, and Ederson can throw a ball at a Crystal Palace player and get a foul. Also, Harvey Barnes has a goal disallowed for being rugby tackled by Eduard Mendy.
I want some of whatever they’re smoking at Stockley Park. It is clearly the good shit.
Pierre (the offside lines are nothing compared to this absolute abdication of responsibility for anything), Bristol
Gunners and cylinders…
At half time, was thinking of writing to the mailbox with the caption “Cute, Classy, But Soft Gunners…” but you have to give credit where due— for the improved performance after the goal. It was easily one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time on a football pitch in terms of courage, purpose, mettle, commitment, sweat and sheer grind. Brought back the memories of Sir Alex Ferguson and Man United in pomp. And that’s the key thing that Arsenal miss in their playing transitions: Purpose. Play (Slay) to kill, not just design.
We can see that the Gunners have some issues with their mentality, and I don’t say this negatively, because, to be honest, they’ve always managed to respond well to setbacks (some of their own doing), but it’s obvious they have the extra miles in gears, they don’t just turn it on until they’re in a tight spot, and it’s maddening to watch. Beautiful intricate passes zinging around the pitch, carving up the opposition, yet lacking purpose and end-product. As if the purpose is merely to reduce the opposition to training cones chasing shadows, and not actually to put balls in the back of the net.
That said, wonderful response to going behind, the script couldn’t have been written better! Was thinking how I would have made sure to drop Gabriel for the next match if I were the manager, but after the win, I don’t think I have the heart for it. I hope he gets a proper rollicking from the manager, though he already knows his fault. (But I’m really wondering how smooth a partnership of Ben Saliba would actually be. Rolls Royce, Bentley?)
A word for Odegaard though. My jury still out on him being captain. Might be weighing on Saka too, cause he’s still lethargic in his play. Great quality, but low energy. In a way, Odegaard embodies the team, sometimes guilty of overplaying, but heart in the right place. Loved what he did with Gabriel in the first half, ushering him back when complaining to the ref. We need more of that. Gabriel should also have gotten an earful for the goal he conceded, but I guess they’re all professionals. Well taken goal (again), but passing was a bit off at times, and decision making needs to be better at some key points, but I’m happy with him, he displayed some steel and mettle I didn’t know he had.
Now Saliba celebrating even more than the goalscorer (Gabriel), that was positively mental! Absolutely phenomenal! Nketiah, what a gift to the squad. Elneny, so underrated. Zinchenko was sorely missed. The battle between Leno and the Gunners was good to watch, but eventually he showed why I didn’t really fancy him anymore after seeing Martinez play. He seems a bit soft and cracks eventually, but Ramsdale sets the tone everytime, even when he makes errors. He comes across as more sturdy and more resilient than the German. He’s a mighty fine goalkeeper (Leno), but he needs more steel in his game.
Arteta celebrating and remembering tactics was a beautiful sight (lols) shows his head is in the right place. He also needs to set the tone for this team in terms of gears. Turn it up from start to finish, fire the gears and play with purpose. For that’s how football should be played, with purpose. We’ll take the positives and learn from the negatives.
Iyanu Tokede, Lagos Nigeria.
Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth
I think Bournemouth should be fined or deducted points for bringing the game into disrepute. Conceding NINE goals? This is supposed to be “the best league in the world”.
I triple captained Salah. Ffs!
Sean (Stuttgart, LFC)
100% going to be our year.
Imagine your team winning 9-0 but you’re here making nonsense comments about your rivals winning1-0.
Imagine your team winning 9-0 but you’re still bitter and are all about making useless comments filled with bitterness, rage, and depression because your rivals won 1-0.
Imagine being more bothered about your rivals winning 1-0 instead of celebrating your team winning 9-0.
Imagine watching highlights of So’ton 0-1 Man United to try and find as many flaws as you can instead of watching highlights of Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth.
Imagine being such a bitter and annoying LFC fan because that’s what some of you are.
Imagine there’s no LFC in the Premier League, it’s easy if you try.
PS – Liverpool fans should try and enjoy their team’s success more rather than being bitter when Man United are doing well. Imagine being such a bitter, angry, annoying, and depressed football fan.
Be honest, Liverpool fans. You’re a teensy bit miffed not to get 10 there aren’t you?
I’m far more excited about the three points. The only thing I’m miffed about is other teams get large scorelines and there’s nothing but love, liverpool get a large scoreline and it should have been more? A few days ago, mails and articles alike were full of observations that liverpool had fallen apart and needed an entire midfield rebuild and all of a sudden today they should be scoring 10 every weekend? Make your mind up.
Simon M. LFC
Cherries are on their way to Wembley
I spent far longer than I wanted this week seeing John Nicholson say “I told you so” every time a team playing out from the back made a mistake. At roughly 3.03pm on Saturday, Bournemouth keeper Mark Travers failed to find a teammate with a long kick, something that ultimately led to Liverpool’s first goal and to the Cherries collapsing like a house of cards. Are John’s thoughts on record? Or is it fair to say there are advantages and disadvantages to any style of play?
The last time a team lost 9-0 at Anfield, they ended up making the FA Cup Final after beating Liverpool in the semi-final. So put this behind you Cherries, you’ve got trips to Wembley to plan.
Away dressing rooms…
The away dressing rooms are of lower quality than the home dressing rooms on purposes. I took a tour of Anfield a few years ago and they explained this concept to us. The idea is to make the whole away experience as terrible as possible for the visiting team. The seats the players sit on in the “bench” are also part of this. The home side at Anfield has heated comfort seats for the winter months while the away side sits on ordinary crappy seats. The same concept is used at all grounds. Notice that in All or Nothing, you don’t see the away dressing room at the Emirates.
A mail about money. Yay.
Whilst Arsenal have spent a lot on transfer fees (and got precious little recouped), they have reduced their wage bill significantly. They don’t cancel each other out of course but it does mean the debts aren’t quite as eye watering as net spend would have you think.
Speculating to accumulate is also a factor, qualification for the champions league brings in revenue after all. TV deals will go up again next time and there are a few commercial deals due for renegotiation. Of course this feels like paying for today with tomorrow’s bread, but the economics, minus champions league qualification being a bit of a crap shoot, is reasonable.
However, the real truth of the matter is this. Arsenal have the youngest squad in the league, and a fair amount of talent scattered throughout it. If and when it comes time, they’ll be getting high fees for players they bought for (relatively) little, or for free out of the academy. That’s the business behind all this. Saleable assets. No fan likes to think about this, but unless you’re state backed, the only way to survive and compete is to buy low and sell high. This is what Arsenal have tried to do. We’ll see if it works, but I like this plan better than Willian on a free (22.5 million for the year).
So Exiled Gooner thinks that no money is going on the ground despite a £114m upgrade of the Main Stand in 2017 and the £80m upgrade of the Anfield Road End that’s currently underway. Just coz the away dressing room is shit doesn’t validate your point, it’s likely a psychological move (I’m speculating, I’ve not seen it). This is on top of the new £50m training ground that opened last year.
I’m not a massive FSG apologist but they’re running the club, and improving it, in a sustainable manner. And are getting shit for it from fucking whoppers in our fanbase who get put out by other clubs spending more on shiny new toys. Or getting called out as carpet baggers by fans of other clubs who are even more clueless.
Here’s a thought, we had a need to drop £64m on Nunez this summer and might need to drop £100m on Bellingham next season. Isn’t it a good thing that we can do these things without worrying about selling our best players let alone FFP (some clubs actually adhere to this without resorting to fake sponsorship to bolster the coffers) whilst still improving our infrastructure?
By the way Lee, I’d love to see your workings on player sales as a % of profit because Liverpool apparently have a net spend of £92m in the past 5 seasons (Premier League Club Netspend 5 Season – Transfer League ) meaning their profit would’ve been £4.6bn if that represented 2%.
James Outram, Wirral
I’ll bite. Just to point out to exiled gooner, Liverpool moved to their new enormous training ground in Kirby in 2020, and are partway through massive redevelopment of the Main Stand and Anfield Road Stand. Plus running the second highest wage bill in the league.
I have a great number of concerns about FSG, chiefly centred around their evident fascination with removing the competitive elements of the competitions we’re in, the likelihood that they will move to a Glazer model at some point, and what will happen to the club when they try to sell up. But right now, it doesn’t seem like they’re trousering the money that the club makes.
Dan, Plastic LFC