Get your mails into email@example.com…
Moyes treats Man Utd like an ex-girlfriend he can’t get over
Thats the second time I’ve watched my bubbles fade and die at Old Trafford this season.
I’m hugely impressed with what Moyes has done with West Ham, so I begrudgingly understood the tactics in the first half. Keep it tight, wait for set pieces, nick a goal. Have faith in the Moyesiah. But then when we had to change it around and have a go after the goal we looked bloody good, if not a little toothless at actually testing Henderson. We should have set up more attackingly from the start.
Thats twice now we’ve gone to Utd and set out to play the club, not the team. Utd really ain’t all that. Yet when we went to City we had a proper go and really competed with them. It doesn’t make sense. I can only conclude that Moyes still has a bit of a crush on Utd, the one-time girlfriend who was way out of his league and he never really go over it. He still holds a flame, but years later is actually a now bit of minger.
An opportunity missed that I think we will come to regret at the end of the season.
Phil The Hammer, Norway
Everything is awesome
Quick one on Arteta – there have obviously been highs and lows in his 15 months as Arsenal manager and there’s a lot of work to do. But remember when we were almost guaranteed to lose every game against the better teams for literally 3 or 4 years? Since Arteta started we’ve beaten:
Liverpool twice (admittedly in the community shield and league cup)
Man United twice
Leicester twice (once in the league cup)
… and little Tottenham too.
For all our flaws we’re at least competitive again.
Fed up with Fred
Football is a game of opinions and occasional snidey comments (all in good fun!), but most of the time people retreat from absurdities, when they read / listen and pay attention. Fred is not one of those people.
The facts and stats are all there and whilst you so want them to be wrong, they are not – Spurs lost 2-0 in the Champions League final and as goals count for everything, you can try your best to scrub these off, you’re struggling to create imaginary Spurs winning goals. Liverpool and Man City over 3 seasons have accumulated significantly more points than any other teams in top flight history. Luck along the way, yes, but enough to significantly change the world – no.
You are stuck in your own confirmation bias and many have tried to help you out of it, but to no avail, so we will just smile and wave if that makes you happy.
Peter H, Wokingham
In response to Hong Kong Ian’s email, I too have to apologise for not making myself clear.
I do, wholeheartedly believe Liverpool have enjoyed unprecedented luck over the past 3 seasons. But I do still believe they were deserved champions last year. My main argument is, their tally of points, had more to do with luck, than with them being “The best PL side ever”. Similarly, the previous season, they deserved to be 2nd, but again with an inflated points total, due to inordinate good fortune.
They were 100% lucky to win the CL, I don’t know any unbiased person who thinks they were the better team in that final, or “that joke”, was a penalty.
That also explains the dramatic, & unprecedented drop in points tally, this year. It seems dramatic, due to the previous 2 seasons totals, but if you accept that 12-15 points of those were due to “luck”, the it’s a lot easier to explain this season’s eventual points. You can moan about injuries all you like, but “that does not compute”, as Mr Spock would say! Other teams, past (e.g., United without Cantona for almost an entire season), & present (e.g., Leicester currently) have fared infinitely better with loss of influential players.
I take Ian’s point about years of high intensity football taking their toll, but that contradicts your (and Liverpool fans collectively) claim that, the success was down to meticulous planning. Was running them into the ground part of that grand plan?
I guess we’ll find out who’s right, next season. If Liverpool storm to another 95+ points total, then I’ve been talking b****cks”! On the other hand, if they’re in a battle for top 4, then you lot have to eat lots of humble pie!
Finally, luck comes in many guises. Playing a team “at the right time” is a form of luck. “Do your research” Ian, & you’ll see Liverpool played teams, when the opposition’s best players were missing, on inordinate occasions in the past 2 seasons. Playing Spurs in the CL final, when “The Harry Kane Team” had just welcomed back Harry after a couple of months out, & he was consequently useless, is a prime example. We still outplayed you, effectively with 10 men!
Fred (Next year is Liverpool’s year, or is it?!), London
Moaning Arsenal fans…
Is there a more paranoid, moany set of fans around than Arsenal?
You’ve just enjoyed the rarity that is an Arsenal win in the North London derby, maybe give the conspiracy theories a rest for a while, eh?
The reason Kane didn’t get sent off, and no one mentioned the challenge, is because it was a late shoulder barge. Nothing more. The sort of challenge that happens multiple times every weekend. Yes it was a foul, but play continued. Who cares. That sort of challenge has never been deemed a red card and never will be, no matter how many times you slow it down and share it on social media. Get over it.
And thinking Kane gets preferential treatment because he’s England captain is just bizarre. What about the likes of Gerrard, Rooney and Terry? Did they also get preferential treatment? Maybe the reason he doesn’t get sent off is because he’s not a particularly dirty player.
So please do everyone a favour, and give the conspiracy theories a rest for the week. You’ve just won the biggest game of your season and are now comfortably clear of the elegation zone.
Just a quick note on Rob A (Gabriel and ESR were immense)’s post… even if Saka was to ever captain England, we know he wouldn’t receive the same generous treatment from the media and we also know why, don’t we?
I would like to thank those who wrote in this morning to highlight the dangerous, nay lethal, behaviour of Harry Kane. I was still rather pissy after the absolute shambles of yesterday, so that cheered me right up. Standing still while a defender runs full pelt and launches themself at you: dangerous play that will seriously hurt someone one day (not sure that day has come yet, but they tell us it’s coming). And shoulder barging a surprisingly-weak defender of the pitch? Assault, innit?
He’s a one season wonder. Just scores penalties. He’s no Aubameyang. Swore on his daughter’s life. He’s not well spoken. He swears too much. He’s a dangerous player out to deliberately injure opponents.
Have any of you delusional maniacs considered he’s just a very, very good footballer and that bothers you immensely? He is the best striker this country as produced since Shearer (and it is very arguable that he is better, given his overall game is light years ahead). The need of certain supporters (and it seems to be mainly the same two notoriously strange fanbases) to insist that he’s actually awful is now quite sad. Having given up on the total futility of trying to pretend he isn’t the best striker in the league/Europe, they now have to fantasise about a violent thuggish monster barrelling around the pitch. They’ll probably start claiming he’s got a shiv in his boots next.
Meanwhile, lovely phenomenon Harry will continue his gentle and beautiful ascent to the top of the all time PL list. Oh, and let me save you some time before you reply: no he doesn’t have any club honours. Well done for noticing.
The Spurs dilemma
How do you solve a problem like Tottenham? A team of front-foot players with a back-foot manager.
Matthew, Belfast has got it pretty much backwards with reference to Berlusconi’s career: “Right-Wing Italian Politician Silvio Berlusconi” didn’t buy AC Milan. “MIlan owner Silvio Berlusconi” went into politics, possibly initially to evade prosecution for various crimes due to Italy’s laws on Parliamentary Immunity. I’m not sure that “football clubs being owned by flamboyant criminals as a means to launder their reputation” is a MODERN phenomenon in any case, certainly not in Italy.
Also, Milan sold Mark Hateley to Monaco for more than twice what they paid for Marco Van Basten that summer.They did also spend £6m on Ruud Gullit, however, but their expenditure was not outwith their means.
Anyway, I hope the terrorists who are keeping you chained up in a basement and forcing you to read John Nicholson’s articles against your will free you soon, Matthew.
Dara O’Reilly, London
Well, this is what we can look forward to going forward. The biggest humping in 21 years the day after they get rid of the best manager we have since the 70’s.
I guess Birmingham and Pompey have already been on the phone to Crissy boy, and if they haven’t, they should be.
I think almost every Blade had accepted our fate this season but were already looking forward to next season when Wilder would bring us bouncing back having re-discovered our mojo in the Championship. Now, all the verve has gone and the acceptance that our owner has blown it is all we are left to bemoan.
Anyway, does anyone want to buy a £23m striker who can’t score or a £18m goalie who can’t keep a clean sheet? What about a couple of other £10m strikers who can’t score? I think we’ll be lucky to get two bob and a bag of chips for the lot of them. Only Berge has the possibility of being of any ongoing value, but he’s crocked too. Can’t see him hanging round the Championship with the prospect of League One looming. I guess we’ll offload and the fake sheik will trouser the proceeds.
Sorry to moan but I’m massively pissed off.
Bladey Mick (football – ………………………k’nell)
The departure of Chris Wilder from Sheffield United is one of those strange situations where nobody is really to blame yet both are losers from the separation. From the clubs perspective there was a desperate need to modernise to protect their long term status and transition from plucky over achiever to a top 30 club. Regardless of the truly excellent past achievements of the manager his recent transfer activity has been poor; Sheffield United have outspent Crystal Palace, Brighton, Burnley and Newcastle over the past two years (as well as Norwich, Fulham and West Brom while they were each in the division) so the board can hardly be accused of failing to back him. If Wilder was refusing to accept a structure that a large proportion of teams in the top flight operate with, especially while negotiating from a position of weakness given the clubs performance this season, it’s reasonable to argue this parting of ways could benefit the clubs long term health. From Wilder’s perspective I can see how he has earned that trust to be the main figurehead; the rise Sheffield United have experienced the past four years is astonishing, especially considering how long they’d been vegetating in the league one prior to his arrival. Debates over the wage budget (reportedly Sheffield United were in for Ollie Watkins, Matty Cash and Jesse Lingaard were all reportedly targets in the summer) add an asterisk beside their transfer dealings and word is their training ground has had zero investment since returning to the top division. Maybe taking £20m off the transfer budget to invest in one or the other there would’ve satisfied Wilder.
It’s hard to see where both go next from here though. Personally I doubt we’ll see any Premier League clubs taking a punt on Wilder, with this seasons form and the manner of his departure leaving a stain on his resume. Drop down a division though and he’ll be extremely sought after, with his achievements of multiple promotions plus Premier League survival looking extremely attractive. Personally I can see him popping up somewhere like Bournemouth, Bristol City, Middlesbrough or West Brom next season; clubs with either a bit more financial muscle due to the parachute payments or ambitious sides that have spent a few years skirting around the play offs unable to make that final step. As for Sheffield United…I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Hopefully they’d follow their lead from several years ago and look down the divisions for someone on an upward curve rather than plumping for a Championship journeyman like Aitor Karanka or Gary Rowett. Are the Cowley brothers still looking for a job?
As for someone suggesting Wilder for Crystal Palace in the morning mailbox, I’m not sure if it’s just me but I’m absolutely convinced Frank Lampard will end up there this summer. A high profile manager who’s main strength appears to be promotion of youth working for a club with one of the finest academies in the country just feels like a natural fit.
There’s not much to say about Crystal Palace v WBA, let’s just acknowledge that it was a game that happened. Touched on in the Early Winner piece, Roy Hodgson’s contract expiring looms large over Crystal Palace’s summer and their plans for a time when an overhaul of the squad is needed. Away from the usual “be careful what you wish for” comments – Leicester City did quite well out of replacing Nigel Pearson, after all – that come with side orders of “know your place” and “how dare you want to be better than you are”, it’s clear that sticking with Hodgson would send a message to the rest of the league that Palace are content to stand still.
While understanding of the fixed-term contract is widespread in most industries, particularly those where projects (I know people hate that word in football) are prevalent, that hasn’t permeated to all levels of football. There are a lot of British managers and pundits, it seems, who think that having a job for a moment is the same as having it for life. There are industries where it is perfectly normal to work somewhere for two or three years for a specific purpose, and when that comes to an end, all parties move on; sometimes contracts get extended, and while it’s disappointing for the project worker who has done a great job there, you take the contract knowing when it is likely to finish. It might be a misconception on my part but it doesn’t seem like managers from other countries think the same way; Pep Guardiola is a high profile example, but Serie A has plenty of people who have, either as player or manager, given their all for three years at one club then moved on to do precisely the same somewhere else, with minimal stigma.
For Hodgson’s part, it is to his credit that he has warned against getting complacent before the end of the season. However, the subtext of this is that he will continue to employ the eyesore football that has both taken his side to more points than any relegated side in the past ten years and kept them looking over their shoulder at the relegation battle even though, at the time of writing, they are 11th.
Most fans recognise the need for the sort of defensive solidarity that Hodgson, or a manager like him, can bring to a club. However, most fans also recognise that another manager may find a more effective way to combine that mindset with a system that really plays to the strength’s of the team’s most skilful individuals, Eberechi Eze and Wilfried Zaha.
In reply to Harry, Durban, Republic of Mzansi suggesting Chris Wilder for the next Palace manager…
It would feel a deeply uninspired appointment. He did a fantastic job with Sheffield United but Sheffield United and Palace are two very different clubs in two very different parts of the country. What worked there wouldn’t necessarily work here.
Ditto Sean Dyche, although Dyche has achieved more than Wilder and seems a more amiable individual. Neither man really feels the right fit for Palace and neither has any past association with the club. I hate to use this word but the synergy feels all wrong.
Of the other frequently mentioned possibilities… Eddie Howe would be my pick. Young, plays attractive football, successful with a similar, smaller club in Bournemouth. Could well get relegated but the ceiling is higher.
Lampard / Terry: I’d take Lamps, if only for the ride and accompanying spotlight. Suspect Terry would be more successful but he’s SUCH a prick – and yes, liking your manager is quite important. I cheered for the team under Sam Allyderce but I much prefer cheering for them under Roy, even if the football is dire.
Fancy Continental Coach: Could be the next Pochettino / Hasenhüttl. Could also be the next Frank De Boer. I’d take the risk but Parish won’t – see previous sentence for why.
Another season of the Hodge: very fond of the man but it’s time. Weirdly, I think the biggest argument for his retention is the one often used for his departure: with so many players out of contract, this will be a seminal summer at the club, one of huge opportunity but also huge risk. Investing heavily in a core of young players while retaining Roy’s experience mightn’t be the worst idea – and despite the less than sterling football, Roy isn’t afraid to play the youth. (AWB, Tyrick Mitchell, Eze.)
I suspect we’ll see the old warhorse saddle up for one last campaign: and while the heart doesn’t beat faster at the prospect, I can see the logic behind it. There’s something mighty reassuring about Roy – in uncertain times that is something to be treasured. We’ll miss him when he’s gone, more than we think.
Be the change
Just read the article on sexism by Nicholson… Can’t disagree with a lot of what he said but it all feels rather superficial. Instead of complaining about sexism in football, how about you write some articles and do some match reports on women’s football? The site is called Football365. Not Men’s Football365.
Ollie “guitly until proven innocent” BT
I know F365 get some flack for not covering the women’s game, but they run off a tiny staff and don’t have the budget for much apart from the Premier League.
— Adam Millington (@AdamGMillington) March 15, 2021