Chelsea drawing 1-1 in Madrid has not produced the reaction it really should. We have some mails on the Champions League but more on Paul Pogba and Liverpool needing investment.
Send your views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Chelsea coulda been contenders
The biggest game of the season so far for Chelsea, ends in a 1-1 draw but quite nicely we come away the side who should have arguably be winning the tie, three things stood out for me last night:
1. Eden Hazard in a Real Madrid shirt playing against Chelsea just felt wrong to see, what other players do you link purely to just one club and one jersey that come to mind? I remember seeing Roy Keane in a Celtic jersey and just feeling it was not right after his time at United
2. Playing a Semi Final in the biggest European club competition at a stadium that is meant for Real Madrid’s Castilla side was surreal, I know the reasons why but it still didn’t fit the occasion.
3. Imagine if Thomas Tuchel had taken over this Chelsea side from game week one, we genuinely could be pushing for the title, super ambitious I know, but the turnaround in our side since he took charge has been something remarkable.
Overall not a bad few days, beating West Ham and a draw against Madrid in Spain, on to Fulham we go!
Mikey, CFC (Expect Chelsea to go all out, yet again, for a forward this summer)
All power to the boffins
After Mediawatch was scoffing at ‘the power of mathematics and algorithms’, I hope they feel suitably chastised with the 1-1 draw last night.
Andrew (Technically a boffin but I don’t have a supercomputer so I may not be allowed to join the club)
They could all fail though
In the noughties and perhaps the early tens , I seem to remember on around three occasions the semi finals of the Champions league had three English teams yet none of them won it.
I am currently wondering if it is feasible to have four teams over the two competitions, including the two favourites and still end up with nowt.
The silver lining is that in Foden, Mount, Shaw and Greenwood, England can go to the Euros with flair.
Peter (enjoying the Spanish title race) Andalucia
Have we killed the thrill?
Thank goodness the Super League is out of the way, so we can get back to most EPL games exhibiting a low block with 6-4-0 formations.
For all that we are absolutely totally in love with the idea of relegation, unless of course you risk being relegated and will vote against any proposal that might impact your presence in the EPL (breathe)… the fact it places so much pressure on teams to not be relegated, is destroying the spectacle of the EPL. Imagine a cartoon cat hanging on to the side of a building, as the cat gradually slides down with all the claws scraping down the walls leaving huge indentations. Think the bottom half of the EPL for most of the season – until they are on the beach. Whatever it takes, right.
I hate Man Utd. At the same time I was glued to the screen watching the Utd teams from the late 90s and early 2000’s, every precaution into the wind as they threw it all at the opposition. You had to admire the spectacle.
But now, with the huge funds brought into the EPL (on the back of the big 6 – okay 5) every team can afford players beyond the top 1, 2 or 3 of all the other leagues. While it makes the rest of the EPL more competitive, there is still that twitch, that anxiety, that when they play ‘bigger’ teams, they have to play the low block, that will ultimately be the demise of the EPL. Their fear will ultimately kill the thrill.
The reason European games are so much more fun is that teams tend to play with greater abandon. They go for it like an old FA Cup game, when the FA Cup meant something. The away goals rule, reviled by some, does make it more interesting – making teams see an advantage to attack and score away from home – rather than two banks do 6 and 4 and pinning everything on the hope you can get a breakaway.
So you can see why, apart from the money, the notion of a Super League had merit. But it is also about the novelty and rarity of the possible match-ups. Over the years the novelty has lessened, the same match ups more frequent. When I was young I was enthralled by the World Cup. Keeping newspaper colour inserts with picture of each team and a run down of their players. It seemed exotic. Watching grainy TV games. Wondering at the skills of these players. But now? Meh. We know them all. We seen them week in, week out. Nothing new here, move on. The same is happening to the EPL, has happened to the CL and will happen to a ‘Super League.’
How do you keep the game fresh yet not have people say the game has gone?
Champions League still sexy sometimes
Your article on the toughest routes to the Champions League was very good.
I have to say that the Barcelona one was the one that really stood out. That is kind of what you want the Champions League to be. The team that wins to be an all conquering champion that no champion can stop. Topped with a treble.
Beating the English, French, German and Italian champions should be some sort of Grand Slam like in rugby. It would be great if the champions of each leagues play each other more regularly.
How did it come to this?
My rose coloured spectacles that I watched football through – and always made me believe that the beautiful game ” would be alright” are now smashed to pieces. I grew up loving to play and watch football ….and I know I 100% (by the way players/pundits there is no 110 or 120 %) I will sound like a tired old fogey, but let me tell you about the things that have turned a true love affair into a darker more ‘Love-Hate relationship’ …AND to be honest I am not finding much on the “love” side of the fence…So in no particular order…
- OK ..absolutely ZERO prizes for guessing… VAR wears the dark crown cloud with true shame…..and VAR has also been massively responsible for some of what follows below…such as…
- Players screaming at the merest of touches…foolishly I believed players would be too embarrassed to go down too easily or make endless end of life screams as the VAR would pick up on it….Could I have been more wrong?
- Diving – now this might be my memory failing me but am I right in thinking that no one ever seems to get booked for simulation any more?
- Referees( and of course this includes the VAR) – WHY can you not give a foul or penalty if someone does not go to ground?? My God we are reaping what our Men in Black continue to sow for us.
- Injury time – just scrap it !!!It will stop the ridiculous feigning of injury and pointless substitutes with 10 seconds to go. The game should always last the same length of time – easy one this….every game should have 60 minutes ball in play time
- VAR replays – if you (yes you Mr Referee) have to look at an incident endless times ..then stay with your original decision.
Apart from that I still love the game of course( I do hope sarcasm comes across well in print).
Yours (so depressed and broken hearted that I couldn’t be bothered to insert many brackets)
Pogba average? Shush
I would like to congratulate Aman for being the first blind contributor to the mailbox. Pogba may not have performed to the standard Man United fans would have hoped (at least not consistently) but anyone with two functioning eyes can see he is the most naturally talented player in the squad. He’s incredibly strong on the ball, skilful and creative. His decision-making and work rate have let him down in the past but let’s not pretend he’s at the same level as Anderson and Cleverley.
Thomas, MUFC (unpopular opinion but maybe Van De Beek isn’t all that?)
…Saw the mail from Aman and had to bite. You basically made the whole case for the accused in your first point mate. ‘He adds nothing to the team other than attitude and arrogance.’ That is exactly what United needs most. The workmanlike pair of Fred and McT doesn’t exactly scream arrogance does it?
I’ve taken aim at Paul Pogba before, for his commitment and his snakey agent, but even I can see that UTD is on a different level when he does play.
…Having spent half the week listening to my fellow United supporters arguing over why Pogba and Cavani did not start against Leeds, Aman’s email was..uhm..different, if nothing else. I am not a huge Pogba fan myself but his recent performances have been nothing but excellent. He has been asked to play some very different positions by Ole (left side of midfield, holding alongside Fred/McTominay) and for most part, he has performed his role admirably.
He allows Fernandes more space to operate since teams have now figured out that man-marking Fernandes kills United’s attacking threat, especially without Pogba on the pitch. He loses the ball an awful lot in the United half though but he has improved that to only a couple of times per game now. His ability to take players out of the game is second to none in this United team. Surround him with better players (I am looking at Fred) and he is a good player that we have on our books. Replacing him with someone is a hit and miss and that is when we might end up in another Di Maria situation.
And I do not understand this blind faith in Donny! Neat, tidy player, sure. You can make all the excuses you want (lack of minutes, confidence etc.) but he has done nothing to suggest he can replace Paul Pogba. From what I have seen so far, he does not have the range of passing to suit United’s game of quick balls forward to Rashford or Greenwood. Players are only as good as the systems they play in and Donny does not suit Ole’s system.
Hassan (Bring Ronaldo to replace Cavani)
Liverpool need a overhaul
It seems a quiet week in the mailbox, so I thought I would write in about Liverpool (and City); from a United fan’s view.
The downturn is quite something and in my opinion, I think Liverpool need four new players. The mental effects of this season won’t just go away with Van Dijk and Gomez returning. A month or two slump and I’d say fair enough, but this is different. It’s hard to say if it was since the Atletico game, maybe something Klopp said afterwards, but they certainly haven’t been right since winning the league. I wrote a mail at the time saying it, but I don’t think he should ever have accepted the dropping of standards for the remaining games. Top level professionals can’t really afford to mentally rest on their laurels; I always remember Ferdinand saying that about United, that they’d win a trophy, smile for the day and then next day no one talked about it. Neville says the same about Fergie and the expectation to keep standards at a constant high.
It’s also something I feel Pep does exceptionally well and why I slightly favour him to Klopp: you get the feeling a misplaced pass keeps Pep up at night, that when he goes for dinner he arranges salt shakers and imagines where Cancelo could be; it doesn’t seem to just be winning with him, it’s that his players constantly perform to their highest possible level in every single game. It’s also why the argument about the money City have doesn’t bother me, plenty of coaches and clubs spend big and do not play anything close to what he does, it’s magnificent.
I basically think Klopp is a better motivator for a certain goal or big games, but falls a little short in getting players to be their own competition – that’s not me saying he’s not brilliant too. But with the exception of Milner, and Thiago this year, none of Liverpool’s players have been serial winners of trophies so couldn’t afford to get complacent – you can tell by Milner’s approach that his focus is on playing to the top of his own game, as part of the group, as often as he can.
I think Liverpool need a new left-winger, new centre-forward, a midfielder and ideally a versatile full-back. If you’re not going to sign cover/ competition for the full-backs then I think he has to get more versatile with his formations, like the 4-2-3-1 against Newcastle. The workload on those two is exceptional and hard-wearing, not just because of the toll on their body having to make so many sprints a game, but then the mental wear of having to be creative with the ball at the end of those sprints.
The group has been together a long time, and most likely does need fresh faces as well as competition. A common strand of top managers is never to be overly sentimental just because players have performed well in the past. Football is ruthless and always in the present.