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Someone shut Scholesy up
At what point do you lose respect for club legends and ask them to just shut the f**k up. Paul Scholes at it again saying how David Gill didn’t get the credit he deserved and how he was a proper football man but then goes on to say how David Moyes didn’t live up to the standard of Sir Alex by signing players like Fellaini and Mata who were not “United level” players. He makes a point but then goes and sh*ts all over it. Why do none of these so called club legends have the balls to stand up to glazers, woodward or anyone but the manager and certain players at the club? Scholes especially has been very out there when it comes to critisizing managers (except Ole of course) and players like Pogba but is somehow silent over the years of gross mismanagement? Why is no club legend calling out Ed for the laughable job he’s been doing for years now, we’ve chopped and changed managers, players and the only constant has been Ed and the way he runs the club. I’m getting really tired of these guys and slowly losing all my respect for them. If they really want to critique and want to see the club back where it belongs they need to get real and stop this self sucking sucking cycle.
Yash, MUFC (if I hear another when Fergie was here…)
VAR, what is it good for…
Today I refereed a game, as I do most Saturdays. There were decisions players didn’t agree with, but at the end of the day, I can only go with what I (think I) saw. The PL has VAR, but why? Before, we could disagree with a ref, but the sensible of us understood that they had a truly difficult job judging situations live.
The trip on Jonny Evans was correctly a foul, although any ref seeing that clearly enough in real time to disallow the goal is either amazing or lucky. But, if that is deemed an obvious mistake by the referee, why isn’t the Vertonghen penalty?!
Dele Alli is tricky. With the luxury of slow-mo, I say hand-ball, but technically only. I would never have given that in a game.
So, what is the solution? Take some of the responsibility away from the ref and the VAR people maybe. Let the managers have one or two challenges per half, for which the ref HAS to go to the pitch side screen to do a check.
The VAR people can still check for things the ref couldn’t see and the ref should be able to ask for a check as well, if in doubt. I would love that option!! It is a sad day when I have to agree with Shearer, but right now its implementation just doesn’t work.
Andreas (maybe VAR was actually introduced to create more debate….) Brussels
We have a problem with VAR…
… and it isn’t VAR itself, or at least, not to the degree that many are saying.
Some will hate it regardless but it’s not being given a chance in the Premier League. Alan Shearer alluded to it on MOTD on Saturday. It’s not being used properly. The question is, why not?
The answer? Probably Mike Riley. It appears (from what I’ve read/heard) that he has actively discouraged referees from using the pitch-side monitors. I believe this is because he doesn’t want to add to the game time. It also appears that he doesn’t want the Stockley Park official to overturn or undermine the referee. That seems to be borne out by (for one instance amongst many), the ridiculous decision (by both Anthony Taylor and VAR official) not to award Man City a penalty on Saturday. OK, City were 2-0 up at the time but a penalty is a penalty. The only incidents where VAR has been used to change decisions is regarding offsides. Fans, players, managers, pundits, commentators etc. have all been crying out for the rules to be applied consistently by officials. Now that we have the tools to improve that consistency, it’s being used inconsistently and making the situation worse! I regularly watch other leagues and whilst that doesn’t make me any sort of expert, I believe VAR has been used for the greater good. It’s not perfect, it never can be.
If all the above reasons for the lack of VAR deployment in the PL are true then it shows how ridiculous the situation is. Personal opinion of course, but pre-VAR the standard of officiating in the PL was lower, much lower, than in the other major European leagues, and it certainly wasn’t perfect on the continent. The difference in standards are now even wider.
I don’t know how much authority Pierluigi Collina (the UEFA referees chief) has to enforce changes with regard to VAR use here but if I were in his position I would prevent PL referees from being selected for Champions League games until such time that the PL officials are brought in line with officials in other leagues, who use VAR to the full. That may sound harsh on the PL officials themselves but if they’re not fully equipped to officiate to CL standards then it’s not fair to inflict them on those games.
The debates about which is the best league in the world will go on and on till kingdom come but right now the PL, whatever the quality of the football it serves up, is being undermined by the lack of proper VAR use compared to La Liga, Serie A, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Champions League etc. Surely it needs to be used fully for at least a season to assess whether its longer term use is going to be viable.
Dave Payn, Oban
Mings can only get better
I would be interested to hear if I have this one completely wrong, but I just do not get the hype around Tyrone Mings. I had little or no opinion of Mings before this season and my abiding memory of his previous seasons in the league is when he stood on Ibrahimovic’s head. He was given a lot of praise following promotion last year so I was interested to see him play this year. After watching Villas first few games of the season I was surprised to see such good reviews of his performances and even more surprised to see him get a call up. According to premier league statistics he has made as many tackles as he has errors leading to goals (2). From a more observational perspective I felt he was making some clear errors in defence (notably one on one duals when balls are played into the channel and closing down attaching midfielders/shots from outside the box) and having rewatched games I feel he has had a hand in Villa conceding/potentially conceding a goal in 6 of their 8 games this season. Bar the mistake against Norwich these goals all contributed to the result, be it Ayews winner for Palace or equalisers in comebacks for Spurs and Arsenal. He strikes me as a talker and pointer and I wonder what sort of attention these mistakes would receive if another central defender in a back three was making them who wasn’t British but did have hair just as big.
Ndombele – ducks out of way the way of first goal
Wilson – Slow to close down Wilson for second goal- perhaps harsh as good strike
Ayew – Beaten for pace and then weak in tackle v Ayew in a 2 on 1 in Villas behalf
V West Ham:
Rash in a tackle/situation with Fredericks and lucky not to concede a penalty. Also involved in an altercation with a teammate to ‘show how much he cares’
Cushions a lovely header to chambers for his goal
Titus Bramble tribute act from McGinns free kick to give Norwich a consolation
caught out by dummy free kick and caught under the ball for the opener
On walking off
The problem of racism in football is going nowhere soon and, as the events during the Haringey Borough v Yeovil Town game show us, is likely to rear its head pretty much anywhere. A lot of people have advocated for walking off as an appropriate response to racism from the stands. I agree with them. Racism from the stands or on the pitch is a problem for which the administrators of the game are responsible. All the viral messaging and workshops in the world will not dispel the truth that change only happens when those in power get hurt. Walk offs ultimately hurt the brand and revenue the administrators fight so hard to protect. Linking their brand and revenue to their handling of racism is the most likely way to get them to act.
Some others, including regrettably my idol Arsene Wenger, have argued that walking off plays into the racists’ hands and gives them what they want. Tenuous as that reasoning is, I’m willing to accept that there might be instances when crowds might resort to racist chants in a bid to have a game which is going badly called off. But they can also storm the pitch or chuck debris onto it. But those actions carry severe sanctions and, therefore, don’t happen often, unlike racism. To argue that players should play through abuse of the vilest nature unfairly places the responsibility of combating racism squarely on the players’ shoulders while letting administrators and authorities off the hook. Time and again we’ve seen racism being dealt with leniently and it is foolish to trust that the authorities will act appropriately without the stakes being raised. Sometimes a statement has to be made before anything is done about it and walking off is a peaceful protest that harms no one except the ones making money and arguing that the “show must go on”.
I find it interesting that both Sterling and Mings have taken to Twitter to publicly support the walk off yesterday during the Haringey game. Sterling, in fact, tweeted “more of this”. All this just a few days after the disgrace in Bulgaria? Are they trying to tell us something? Southgate came out and told the press that the players were consulted before the decision was made to continue playing. Yet a few days later, two of those players (at least) publicly support the idea of walking off. Did they feel pressured into playing on out of fear that they’d be letting down their teammates and considered pushovers? Questions need to be asked of Southgate. More importantly, someone needs to ask the non-white players in the England squad that night what they think about walking off in protest in the face of racism.
I’m not sure people ( other than those who were actually present) will be aware of the incidents that occurred at the Yeovil v Haringey game the other day but unfortunately racism raised it’s ugly head again.
Spitting, monkey chants etc. Gareth Southgate is correct when he says that we need to get our own house in order first. Whereas I don’t agree with the approach our Irish cousins (and believe me, I can say that because my mother is from Templemore and I really have lost count of the amount of relatives I have who get on with my English relatives..my dad is English and prodestant and my mum is Irish and Catholic and I’m English and Catholic and proud of it !) look on our apparent racism regarding past conflicts (if people are going to be that narrow minded than ask yourselves “who are the English and where do they come from?” Just by doing s little research, I find, other than ‘English’ and Irish, I also have Spanish and German blood too.
I think what I’m trying to say is: find out who we are and why racism exists in our society. I hold my hand up and admit to having made racist remarks (not necessarily about skin colour) because I don’t like a person and my wife was shocked because she knows ‘I’m not like that.’ However I was only able to stop by thinking about what I was saying which I have done.
So now I’ve got myself in order, how do I get other people to follow suit? Unfortunately, that’s the difficult bit. People need to identify themselves and not be influenced by others unless the other people are being positive. I think Gareth Southgate is one of those people and has proved he’s the right man for the job.
Sorry I’ve gone on a bit without actually getting anywhere but that’s the point: are we getting anywhere? Is it about who we are? Where we’re from? What happened centuries ago? I think it is, when it should be about moving on and looking at the future and how we can tackle it and not dwelling on the past.
If you’ve read this far, thanks for showing interest in my opinion.
xG doesn’t always even out
After reading the mail by Calum, (Liverpool to win by 3 or more) MUFC, Wokingham, I had a look at the understat data for 2018/19 and found that Liverpool scored 9.54 more goals than they should have, conceded 7.15 less and got 13.55 points more than they should have. So a side can actually outperform their xG etc. stats for a whole season. I’m not saying it won’t even out, but it often doesn’t as not many teams are close to any of these after a full season. Last season only Brighton and Chelsea were within one of their expected points, 5 teams were within one of their xG, and 2 were within one of their xGA (Chelsea were the only team close to all 3).
Interesting to see United fans moaning about injuries. I seem to recall before the season started United fans crowing in the mailbox about what a good season they were going to have. I even wrote in saying their first 11 could give anyone a run for their money but beyond that they had nothing. I’ve been proven right I think.
Regarding the comments about what if Liverpool had these injuries. They’ve been winning games with a freebie reserve keeper. The ox has been out for a while. If they had comparable injuries they’d bring in Gomes, Millner, Keita, Origi and Shaquiri. An improvement on the United options. I don’t think they’d be struggling.
As for the United kids, they’re not kids, mostly. Foden gets more time in a better city team than the older United kids do. And the Chelsea kids are younger and developing faster.
This is one very well polished turd.
Players I wouldn’t swap
Well Mike, LFC, London, it would be easy for me to suggest Ngolo Kante as that one player I wouldn’t swap for anyone else in the Premier League Era of Chelsea players, Claude Makelele is still the king of the DM role in my opinion, however I am going to twist this question on its head and say Mason Mount, now you could argue there are many a top midfielder Chelsea have had in recent years that are much better than Mount, but the huge potential he has to become a big piece of this Chelsea side under Lampard, the fact he is from our academy and we haven’t had a player feature long term in our XI since John Terry, it gives such a positive vibe amongst the fans, something the club has not had in many years, so for the potential, the positive vibe and the fact he is an academy player, I choose him.
OK, Mike, LFC, London, I’ll bite as a Chelsea fan… which current Chelsea player now would make our all time PL team – step right up N’Golo Kante!
Now I know what you’re all thinking – what about Dennis Wise Claude Makalele? He was so good they named the position after him! I know, I know – but Kante does the work of 2 players and in the past two years (whether you think it his best position or not) he has shown he can play higher up the picture and still do a pretty good job. I wouldn’t swap him for any other midfielder in the world (although there are a few other ones I would quite like to play alongside him!). Pretty damning inditement on the rest of the current team that no one even gets close though.
As an aside, here is the best all-time PL Chelsea team in my humble opinion (although I am crying inside that I cannot fit Zola into this side):
Subs: Courtois, Desailly, Makalele, Zola, Costa, Duff, Ballack.
The question is whether the current all-time best Liverpool side / current Man City would beat this team… I would very much doubt it!
Is Jay B, CFC kidding? Not only does Suarez easily walk into the team so does sexiest-man-alive Xabi Alonso and, my personal favourite, Daniel Agger who would complement v. Dijk well. I personally think Mascherano at his peak was better than current Fabinho but I’ll leave it up to you as the latter has plenty of time to improve. I don’t know if you’re hamstringing yourself with the current 4-3-3, but I’d be more inclined to play 4-2-3-1 of
Alexander-Arnold, Agger, v. Dijk, Robertson
Salah, Gerrard, Mané
I don’t understand the insane hype around all the Liverpool players right now. Yes, many of them are good but they’re thriving in a system that works well for them because they have a phenomenal manager who knows which players fit his system.
Ziggy (Unpopular opinion: Mané is a better player than Salah)
Palace Prem XI
OK, a Palace fan can play this game too.
Guita – impeccable since taking the gloves while Wayne goes off to sit GCSE history but I’m afraid Speroni gets the nod. Club legend and all that (plus he says bloody good).
Ward – sorry Joel you’re an outstanding servant but would a team pay £50m for you? They would not. Wan Bissaka’s back.
Sakho – yeah big Mamadou keeps his place – assuming he’s not injured. Then it’s Dann circa 2015.
Tomkins – Chris Coleman made the club’s Centenary 11 and that’s good enough for me. Or Gaz Southgate but apparently we played him in midfield. (Tad before my time.)
Van Arnholt – hmm. I assume we can’t count Ashley Cole? (14 games on loan back in the day.) Then PVW probably hangs on. I feel I’m missing someone, and if I’m not that’s alarming.
Milivojevic – big Luka keeps his place, if only for the pens.
McArthur – I like you James, really I do, but Yohan Cabaye gets the nod here.
Kouyate – gotta be the bald Eagle himself, Atillo Lombardo. Could make a fair shout for Puncheon though.
Townsend – Andros is great but Yannick Bolasie could be unplayable. Apparently Chris Armstrong was pretty handy but it’s my team and Yannick’s in.
Zaha – oh go on then.
Ayew – I’m gonna controversially pick Andy Johnson here. Your time will come Jordan. When AJ gets injured? No, then it’s Glen Murray.
Manager – hmm, this is tough. I guess Roy. It really should be Pulis but sod that.
Today’s performance begs the important question: How crap are Palace and Southampton?
Eric B, angry in NYC.
Marc (London) would like to know if silvas reputation has any bearing on our opinion of him.
No. Its simply results and the fact that he takes too long to make changes that everyone else can see.
1- Tom Davies who was unfortunately omitted from Ian Watson’s early winner piece, played a blinder today and directly influenced the way we played. He has been overlooked for Schneiderlin all season so far.
2- Dropping Sigurdsson. Needed to happen for a while
3- Silva still leaves it too late with subs
So no, reputation certainly has no bearing on my opinion of him, there are many more tangible and logical things to judge him on.
My goodness, we needed that.
Aidan, EFC, London