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Let’s give ‘miserable pr*ck’ Mourinho a chance
My feelings are thorn on the whole Arsenal management situation. I was never too impressed with Emery as an appointment, not least because I did not (and still don’t) see him as a ‘project manager’, someone in the Klopp/Poch vein, to come in and actively build towards a targetted goal through impressive coaching and seasonal progression in a clearly defined style of football.
But hey, I was willing to give him a chance, because we finally had a new manager and we needed to see something different. Season one started well, but ended quite disappointingly. His inability to know and pick his best players, and get them to fit into a style of play irked me no end, but I assumed a second transfer window – and one I was quite happy with – would improve that. If anything, this has gotten worse, and he seems so far from knowing his best team. And while I don’t necessarily agree with firing someone for playing unattractive football, Emery just doesn’t seem to know what to do with each passing game. He seems out of his depth, which is saying something for a relatively successful manager.
So yes, I think he should go, sooner rather than later. Klopp and Liverpool are the perfect example; the only hitch, there is no Klopp available. So who do we get? The immediate suggestions are Jose Mourinho (I’ll come back to him) and Allegri. While admittedly a good manager, I don’t know if he does it for me. Five league titles is nothing to be sniffed at, but Juventus have to win the league and anything else is a failure, so kudos to him for doing so, but can he build a smaller club into title winners? Julian Naglesmann seems like a prospect, but I think he needs to stay in Germany for a bit and earn some strips, before being given a bigger job. Eddie Howe? I wanted him to replace Wenger, but in the interim, he hasn’t seemed to kick on, and while I would be intrigued to see what he could do, I just don’t see it happening any time soon. Plus, Bayern now looking for a manger complicates matters further.
Which brings me back to Mourinho. A terrible last job, a miserable prick, the opposite of ‘the Arsenal way’, yet the manager who I want. While Manchester United was a shit show, I feel like he has something more to give. Always best as an underdog, that approach was never going to work at United, but Arsenal have fallen into that statusin the last few years. I feel that his time away from football has been good for him, and I see (hope?) the Chelsea manager that was Mourinho coming back in. He has something to prove, and while at United I, like many, had thought football had passed him by, he is still one of the greatest mangers/footballing minds to have ever been in the game. The last time he spent this long away from a club, was before he was hired by Inter, and look how that turned out? And anyway, my main reason for wanting it is mainly for the sheer craic of it all. It could be absolutely brilliant, or unimaginably shit; but at least it would be exciting!
Néill, (turned out longer than I expected), Ireland
The Son decision
There have been a few emails in the inbox saying that the red card was justified on the basis that the foul resulted in the injury even if it was a freak incident. That being the case, surely there will be red cards in most games from now on – there are fouls like that ALL the time. Take for example, James Milner’s foul at the end of the Liverpool – Spurs game – a deliberate foul that was as clear a yellow card as you could wish to see. But now we know that it could have resulted in a freak injury for the victim, surely that’s a red card too? Same goes for the Guendouzi foul vs Palace.
This has surely set a precedent for the future – or if it hasn’t, the red card should be rescinded. Surely you can’t have it both ways?
I get that Everton fans will feel hurt due to the injury to Gomes. I really do but to suggest that Son deserved the red is quite frankly ridiculous. It was cynical yes, he tripped him. Yellow card. Ref got it bang on initially. It was a series of unfortunate events which resulted in the injury and no human on the planet could have seen it unfolding as it did. As Carragher mentioned yesterday, if you give a red card for a challenge like that then we would see several reds per game. Nelson, Lagos, Nigeria, quite simply you are wrong.
And Steve LA, why should Poch, shut the f*ck up? He immediately passed on his thoughts to the player (as he should) but the reality is he’s seen his side reduced to 10 men and potentially 2 points taken away that may well not have been had it remained 11 v 11. Before the incident spurs were pretty comfortable and closing in on a very important win.
Again, clearly the game is secondary to the injury, and hopefully he’ll recover quickly, but a little dose of reality would be welcome.
Dave, Berkshire Spur
I’m surprised nobody really mentioned that a couple of minutes before Son’s challenge on Gomes yesterday, Son was down injured himself after a stray elbow from Gomes. It looked innocuous enough at the time, but would it partly explain the tackle and Son’s subsequent reaction afterwards? Obviously there’s no way that Son could have anticipated the awful aftermath once the tackle was made (the foot getting stuck in the turf and the collision with Aurier), but to me it looked to be a reckless and unnecessary challenge that had no hope of winning the ball and could have been avoided. Yes – he seems like a particularly nice person and not ‘that’ type of player, and he was genuinely devastated afterwards – but maybe, just maybe – the red mist descended briefly and he made a pretty cynical challenge with some terrible consequences.
Dave Horgan, Dublin
After reading Nelson and Steve’s mails on Son’s tackle in this morning’s mailbox, I couldn’t agree with them more. Moreover, I think everyone should take a look at the Son tackle alongside the Choudhury tackle on Salah a few weeks back, and reconsider what Jurgen Klopp was saying. Salah was fortunate and Gomes was dreadfully unlucky (it looks like he also collided with another player after the tackle, which could have contributed to the severity).
Klopp was making a general call for these types of cynical tackles to be always considered red cards (no attempt to play the ball), rather than assessing severity based on how horrific the ensuing injury ends up being. If you look back at these two incidents, maybe you’ll see that he had a point.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva, Switzerland
PS: if we are actually putting nominations together for a mailbox hall of fame, I’d like to nominate Dr Oyvind’s entry from this morning
United have 13 points from 11 games, 8 of those points have come in 4 games against teams in the top 5. They haven’t played City yet. So from the other 7 games they have 5 points. To me its looks like a motivation and attitude issue in that hey can’t be bothered their arses against what they consider teams of a lower standard. Is this down to the manager or the players? I am assuming its the players as I am sure the manager approaches every game with the same attitude. You only have to look at them against Newcastle, Bournemouth etc to see that they don’t play with the same intensity. Their passing is slow, they take an extra touch etc. It would be interesting to see their running stats in the games against the top 5 compared to other games.
Ken, Cork, Ireland
Atkinson hates Liverpool
VAR for offsides is meant to always overturn incorrect calls. It’s like goal line technology. It isn’t up for debate or interpretation. The law says that hands and arms don’t count (since the goal would be disallowed if scored off that) so you’re either off or on. Call it goal line technology with the last defender being the goal line.
On Saturday, Atkinson drew 3 lines. The first 2 started with Firmino and Mings’ body parts (armpit and knee) which were closest to the goal and then dropped to parallel points on the ground. Both of these lines showed Firmino onside. He then decided that he must find a way to disallow the goal so he drew a 3rd line on the ground where Firmino was offside and joined it to his armpit. That line is not parallel to the other one for Mings’ knee. It is also deliberate in its intent to disallow the goal. Chris Kamara has actually said that whoever drew it intended to disallow the goal even though it was onside. Even Andy Gray was questioning what Atkinson was doing by adding the 3rd line.
Considering that Atkinson was incredibly inconsistent at Old Trafford and now has deliberately disallowed a valid goal here, it’s probably worthwhile for Liverpool or Klopp to start asking questions to the FA about any bias he may have against them. While the Origi foul was certainly debatable in isolation. this is just blatant cheating and needs to be stopped.
I see that Joe, in this morning’s mailbox, has fallen foul of the all-too-often trotted out comparison of the consistency of performance of highly-paid football players with the consistency of performance of highly paid singers etc.
What this viewpoint fails to take into account is that while the highly paid entertainer is putting on a performance there isn’t an equally highly paid individual running around trying to unplug their sound system or throw stuff at the backing band or whatever else might affect the performance.
Darrin Cowen, Manchester
From one Joe to another I like being able to read my name in the mailbox even though it isn’t mine, but having said that Joe’s comparison between other entertainers and footballers isn’t that apt.
The only comparison is that you (the punter) spend money to be entertained (or bored out of your skull in some cases). That is it. Actors doing plays rehearse for months and months (akin to footballers training, true), but to execute a very specific sequence of uninterrupted events. Again, this is what footballers do with creating tactics and systems, I agree, but actors don’t have another group of actors come on stage with the sole purpose of ruining that performance. Although that would be mightily entertaining.
I agree that football isn’t always intense, thrilling, end to end action, but wouldn’t we all eventually get exhausted by it if it was? The Arsenal/Liverpool 5-5 was heart destroying in both a positive and negative way, so maybe having both ends of the spectrum with the majority sitting comfortably in the middle isn’t that bad?
Another Joe (haven’t kicked off about a JNic article in a while as life got in the way)
Premier League entertainment?
I was expecting a bunch of mails this morning in the mailbox about Matt Stead’s piece about the Everton Spurs game but it looks like VAR took hold so…
… Seriously Matt, you’re pissing and moaning about the Premier League being responsible for the match not being a 5-4 thriller? Can you maybe follow it up about why you expect to be entertained and what exactly constitutes entertainment to you? Entertainment is Avengers Endgame or Money Heist. Sport is not entertainment… it’s sport. There’s no narrative, there’s no plot, no script and no obligation to entertain. Two teams, neither of whom I particularly care about one way or another, played out a score draw in a match that will be remembered for that injury. Draws happen. Boring games happen. Teams cancelling each other out happens. That’s why we love football. It can be great, it can be shite but either way it’s 11 against 11 with no promise of entertainment so to be expecting entertainment especially as someone who grew up with the game really confuses me.
Tottenham 11th is inconsequential? Everton grabbing a late equaliser and giving Silva some breathing space is inconsequential? Even the injury, Son’s red card and his obvious heart broken reaction is inconsequential?
Mate, maybe you might like writing for and following NBA365. Exciting stuff happens every 30 seconds there and definitely better than the Countryfile levels of excitement your straw man argument seems to expect because Sky screams “Premier League Excitement” at you at every commercial break.
Daithi (Besides that keep up the good work, you’re an awesome writer) Cork.
Re: Matt Stead’s article about Everton/Spurs
The Premier League is like a soap opera which is no longer interesting. It’s on too often, the characters are not interesting, the plots are boring, the whole thing has just drifted so far from its original premise. In Mourinho, the Premier League even has the stereotypical panto villain who gets brought back every few years by a new chairman/scriptwriter to play out the same storyline he had before.
VAR is such a mess that I feel compelled to ask you to repost by proposal which I think works better than what others have offered. The American Football comparisons are not apt as that game is so slow and long already that stoppages don’t detract from people’s enjoyment and while losing challenges works in sports that last a long time
The VAR system should:
1. Ensure clear accountability for decisions.
2. Explain decisions made
3. Not unduly disrupt play.
4. Eliminate obvious mistakes from refereeing decisions.
5. Not affect decisions which are marginal (ie almost imperceptible offside that does not give a team a clear advantage)
So my proposal again is:
Each team gets 3 challenges per half for offside/other infractions that would otherwise lead to a clear goal scoring opportunity, fouls and goals. When challenged, clock is stopped and ref has to go to a screen to review the play with the fourth official and decide whether the decision needs to be changed- the 4th official provides the Ref their own opinion. Ref takes decision and gives a 5 word explanation to 4th official to print on screen for all to see. Ref does not get to use VAR when he likes so that he can concentrate on getting the decisions right. If the challenge is used in an unsportsmanlike manner (ie to disrupt a team’s momentum on a non critical play) ref can conduct the review and on his judgement add 5 minutes of additional time as a penalty. Team can also be penalised by having number of challenges available reduced in the following game.
No second guessing – transparency and accountability achieved at last. Who agrees with me?
Is Vinnie Pee a parody account? Regardless, it has prompted me to offer up some thoughts on my own team, Leicester, who probably have a better claim (along with any other team outside of the top 6) to all of the drivel in Vinnie’s emails than the multiple champions league, multiple league champions with huge financial backing ‘club of the people’.
These are good times for Leicester fans! As amazing as the league win in 15/16 was, the years that followed (Champions League fun aside) was always destined to be a bit of a come down. We had our best players cherry picked, inevitable downturn in form and struggles to try and replicate the style of play that led to our successes that year. A word on last year’s tragedy as well, which shook the club and the city greatly. Obviously none more so than Top, who deserves incredible respect from all Leicester fans in the way he has carried on his father’s work when nobody could have blamed him if he’d never wanted to step foot in Leicester again.
Now we find ourselves here. I think we have a better squad than 15/16, and we are playing the best football I’ve ever seen from a Leicester side. We have a great manager at the helm, and most importantly this time it feels sustainable. Vardy aside, we have quality competition for all places, and a style of play that it feels like it could be better replicated under a change in personnel. That’s without mentioning the state of the art training facilities that are being built, which I’m told will rival the best in Europe when it’s done. Talks of a stadium expansion as well
Early days, and a way to go this season before we get too excited, but it’s hard not to love being a Leicester fan at the moment! Roll on Arsenal next week – a win there would see us 9 points clear of them, which feels almost unthinkable at this stage of the season.
I don’t always agree with Jonny Nic – which is why I read his stuff – but he’s right on the poppies. There is definitely a swath of the population who think that they can demand that people wear poppies and vilify those who don’t. Because of that, I’ve chosen not to wear a poppy for a few years now. I still pop a few quid in the pot to support the charity but I believe that our military defends our freedoms, and that includes the freedom to chose to wear a poppy.
That being said, for football and TV, unless you are specifically making a statement for why you aren’t wearing poppy its easier to just chuck one on rather than cause a drama. Even the cookie monster wore one on the one show! BBC is a public service broadcaster who reports into the government. Best to toe the line. As for Sky and NewsCorp – fuck, there’s a reason the Sun’s editor had a dinner at Christmas that may or may not have been Christmas dinner with David Cameron before he was elected!
Football punditry is a pretty cushty job. You have like six or seven things to say and you are rewarded for being as lukewarm as possible. You want your pundit to say he’s hit that too well or he’ll be happy with that hat trick today. You don’t want your pundit to invoke a geopolitical debate about the appropriateness of modern warfare in a post-empire global society.
And lest we forgetTM, the football leagues had to be suspended during the world wars. And they were heroes to us before they left to defend our right to choose.
Alex (Not off the one show)
PS I think the ref did Son a massive favour red carding him. Got him off the pitch, its an appropriate punishment for the crime and it the focus can now be on Gomes’ recovery