Chelsea star James is England’s future, not Liverpool right-back TAA

Date published: Wednesday 13th April 2022 3:21 - Editor F365

Reece James comes on as substitute for Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold

Liverpool right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold is some way off the abilities of Chelsea’s Reece James. Plus, Chelsea vs Real Madrid, away goals rule, best games and lots more.

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Reece James over TAA all day
We see so many people on these pages proclaiming Trent Alexander Arnold as the best right back in the country. I have always argued against as these claims are always backed up with his individual attacking stats, not his individual defensive stats. Sure, he’s a brilliant player, brilliant passer and has a shot on him. However, he gets targeted a lot as the weak link defensively. Man City did it last weekend just as Leeds did 18 months ago.

Reece James, for me is the better all round player. Until I looked further at the numbers for this season, Trent is actually a lot further behind than I realised.
This season Trent has been involved in 14 goals through assists or by scoring. An impressive number for a ‘right back’. James has been involved in 11. However, Trent has played 2403 minutes, giving a goal contribution every 171 minutes. James has played 1246 minutes, contributing every 113 minutes.

Let’s look at defending. James is successful in 86% of his tackles and his team concede a goal every 113 minutes he’s on the pitch. Trent’s tackling trails at a lowly 65% and his team concede every 126 minutes when he’s playing, so that one is a bit better but points to how his teammates are covering for his tackling failure.

Gareth is right. Reece James is future for England.


Chelsea vs Real Madrid
Kudos to Chelsea last night – so near and yet so far.

I have to confess I wanted Real to win but sometimes you just get swept up on the ‘can they actually do this?’ bandwagon and I wouldn’t have begrudged Chelsea a place in the semi final.

However, it did all remind me of that year Barca knocked them out of the Champions League in the latter stages. I was with a Spurs-supporting mate in a pub in and around Holloway when upon being knocked out, and in the midst of gloating gooners, one Chelsea fan stood up and shouted indignantly, ‘I thought this was England!’ and left the pub in a huff.

I’m not sure I have ever seen an entire pub laugh at one individual more than they did that day.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


The season from a Liverpool POV
1. We ESCAPED with a point from the home of our direct rivals, City were terrifyingly good and should have finished the race off2. Having said that, the past teams of a title challenging Liverpool would have probably lost the tie, only May would tell how significant was the draw from a Liverpool perspective
3. I can confidently say most Liverpool fans were picturing a semi-final tie against Bayern; watching Villareal kicking the German giants makes one think… (Already picturing us in the final unless Benfica pants us or Villareal awaken their Europa league form coupled with us shitting the bed)
4. FA cup- Will need a slice of luck plus a stellar performance (unlike the unrecognisable side in the league at the Etihad) to dump City out, they’re the better team
5. Ending this on the premier league, as it’s the prize that some of us rate above the CL and FA cup, watching City’s fixtures in Fantasy football was just depressing- All fixtures in green (Come on Pep, over think again but in the league)

Mihir Nair. Mumbai. LFC. (Uncomfortable is the feeling right now with respect to the place we’re in but atleast I’m excited unlike my ManU supporting brother, who watches Mumbai Indians and has given up on Manchester Red)


The difference between Chelsea and Arsenal
I don’t support Arsenal or Chelsea but it seems the one obvious difference between Chelsea last night and Arsenal of old, is that apart from a few moments Chelsea actually looked quite good in both matches. As I recall Arsenal used to throw away the first leg by lying down and letting Bayern/Barca do whatever they wanted, and with no hope of a comeback they’d score a couple in the return fixture when their hosts were in cruise control. Chelsea could’ve had more at the bridge and absolutely could’ve added another couple last night. That said, once it went to extra time me and my housemate both immediately bet on Madrid to win it before pens because it’s just what they do.

If Chelsea continue to do this over the next few years, and stop playing decent football, then we can probably compare them to Arsenal, but for now, as much as I hate to say it, the better team went out.

Couldn’t agree more with Ken about that Modric assist though, that ball was worthy of a place in the next round.
Manjo, LFC


Away goals rule
I think Johnny Nic’s latest fantastic article on the away goals rule misses possibly the purest beauty of the rule – that in no other way and at no other time can a single goal represent a swing from losing to winning in a single tie. At any other time, a goal might be a consolation or it might extend a lead; it could bring teams level, or it could be the goal that gives a team the lead from a previously deadlocked contest.

There are, however, rare and glorious moments – so often in the dying moments of a match – where the swing from the absolute despair of being behind in a contest to the ecstasy of being suddenly catapulted into the driving seat comes with a single swing of the boot or flick of the head.

I’m a Spurs fan. I was deeply miserable as I stood, motionless, in a boozer in South West London watching the seconds tick away at the Amsterdam Arena in THAT 2019 UCL semi final. There was no way that a slick, professional outfit like Ajax would let things slip. Spurs couldn’t possibly luck-out as they had done against City earlier in the competition. Then, for the third time that night, Lucas Moura happened and the whole pub went into absolute meltdown. Pints were thrown in the air. I was hugging and kissing strangers (thankfully Covid wasn’t a thing at that time). Would the reaction have been anywhere near as emotional if that goal had simply brought about the prospect of extra time and penalties? Manchester United were beneficiaries in similar fashion in Paris that same year.

Maybe it would have been more emotional if the pub had been full of women… Isn’t that right, Kenny Shiels? Eh? Eh, Kenny? Isn’t that right, you absolute sexist neanderthal.

I’ve just thought about this and realised that my logic only really applies to a knockout tie and that there are a number of moments (Agueroooooo) where a single goal changes the entire complexion of a league contest. But my point still stands so, fuck-it, bring back the away goals rule and that tedious and interminable debate about whether it’s “fair” to apply it before or after extra time!!
Chris Bridgeman, Kingston upon Thames


It’s like an FA Cup tie
Not sure how Sarah Winterburn did it but her article had a “FA giant killing”or “plucky underdog” feel to it about Chelsea’s performance last night.

It was an enjoyable read but she probably couldn’t have been more wrong. This wasn’t some League 2 rocking up to a Premier League giant in the FA Cup 5th round looking to cause an upset, this was the current Champions League Winners, they won the flippin thing last year and then bought probably one of the best strikers in Europe at the time for nearly 100 million quid.

They should have had a go at Real Madrid, they are not a world class team, they are winning quite a poor La Liga but have dropped more points at home this season than away, the worst Barca team in living memory hammered them 4-0 at home a couple of weeks ago. In the words of the immortal Roy Keane , it’s their job, they should play like that in a quarter final of a European Cup.

For all their shots (which counts for squat unless you score to be honest) Chelsea lost because as Matthew correctly said in this morning’s mailbox, they were crap in the first leg and gave themselves too much to do. It had nothing to do with Alonso’s fingernail (they still scored a third) or Pulisic and Jorginho fluffing their lines (again near-misses don’t count), it was down to the fact that Chelsea gave one the top scorers in Champions League history the freedom of Stamford Bridge a week ago and then for some reason while winning with 10 minutes to go away to Real Madrid in a Champions League quarter final stood off a man who ran the first leg and allowed him to play a fantastic pass.

A recent story on Sky Sports had that Chelsea squad ranked as the 3rd most valuable in Europe. Unfortunately they only showed that in the second leg.
Robbie DFC. *people are aware that Modirc is the only person not named Ronaldo or Messi to have won the Ballon D’or since 2007 aren’t they?

N'Golo Kante looks disappointed as he trudges off the pitch

Liverpool Man City non rivalry

Regarding the lack of aggression between Liverpool and City I was watching the match Sunday with a couple of mates, discussing the same thing. The general consensus was that the players on both sides are so technically proficient that you finish up with less of the hard man of yore on the top sides. Those players who were decent but made themselves vital to their teams cause by upping the aggression level with a few reducers that obviously inflamed the other sides players and fans, led to the retaliatory reducer, argy bargy, handbags and food fights.

The academy system is starting to dominate team sheets now and I can’t imagine City’s, Liverpool’s, Chelsea’s, etc academy coaches saying to their protegees ‘you are a bit limited my son so why not just get stuck in and you will make it’.
Mel – Dublin, Berlin, Athlone Town


With all the conversation around whether or not Liverpool vs City is volatile enough to be considered a great rivalry and that the managers show too much respect too eachother unlike Ferguson, Mourinho, Wenger et. al it got me thinking.

Is all of this talk just another sign of the toxic masculinity that is still rampant across the message boards and entering back into our stands (and now our pitches as Nottingham Forest found out recently among others) in larger and larger numbers across the continent.

Is it seen as the last place for “men to be men” and all that nonsense that goes with it?

It mixes well with the “whataboutery” that fills the message boards and social media. If player a assaults someone, instead of the fans just accepting he may be an idiot in that moment, it’s instantly “well what about player b”…

It’s constant. It’s exhausting. And it’s absolutely fanned by the likes of this very website along with the British media and the ex players.

The world’s best sprinters, rowers, rugby players etc can race/play against eachother and maintain an enormous amount of respect. What is it about football supporters that we need the violence, the vengeance, the face rubbing, tribalistic shit eating nonsense.

What is it? Seriously… and if anyone has an answer without going down the “PC brigade” or “snowflake” route I would love to hear it.

VAR table?
Lee, I didn’t even realise there was a “VAR table”, can’t say I’m that excited to look into it though.

Trust a Liverpool fan, also founders of the net spend league, to find something else Liverpool can be top of (tongue firmly in cheek and yes, I am a utd fan).

I would have thought leagues other than the actual premier league that you still have a damn good chance of winning wouldn’t be top of mind.
Jon, Cape Town (also don’t know why Liverpool fans should be embarrassed, Klopp and co have built a fantastic squad with about the same amount of money we waste every summer)


Best games we have watched
Hmm so Steve (ex-Flixton and Timperley Red), Ontario is asking what are the best games we have watched are, i will try to limit just one from Chelsea and not include any cup finals because most cup finals are fantastic if you win the thing.

Barcelona 2-2 Chelsea | Champions League | April 24, 2012 – Since i imposed a strict “No Cup Finals” rule on myself i will simply go back a game from the Munich Final and choose that second leg against Barcelona, during an era in which Barcelona dominated European football, we were down to 10 men due to John Terry being so unfairly sent off (sarcasm everyone), Barcelona only needed a single goal to realistically put the tie to bed but Petr Cech was in inspired form, Lionel Messi missed a penalty and then Fernando Torres became an instant icon for the Blues repaying that entire £50m fee with his winning goal, one of the most exciting yet nail biting games i have watched as a fan.

Manchester United 4-3 Real Madrid | Champions League | April 23, 2003 – Another April Champions League game, another second leg and just a day prior all be it 9 years previously from my Chelsea selection, i was about 10 at the time yet this game sticks in my memory as if it was yesterday, watching it on ITV it was a classic, Ronaldo had one of the games of his career scoring a hat trick and David Beckham came on as a substitute in which was his final European game for United and scored twice with one being a truly lovely free kick, it is rumoured that this was also the game that convinced Roman Abramovich a spectator in the crowd that night to invest his money into football.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod


Female manager?
Is the world ready for a female head coach/manager in the men’s game?  I’m no rampant supporter of feminism, but watching the England women’s team last night it struck me how well Sarina Wiegman is doing with them, then today’s article sang her praises too.  Would her skills transfer to the men’s game?  Why not? Some pretty ordinary men keep getting another tilt at making a team equally ordinary, so is there a club out there willing to try? …That’s another question.
Al McBoro


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