That was a pretty poor batch of midweek football, wasn’t it? Mail us your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
The old men are winning
The excellent F365 has rightly derided the farcical picture of the poor underprivileged British manager, but by god I’d like to draw an extra line under it after last night’s results.
Pardew, Allardyce, Moyes. All back in jobs, being paid inordinate amounts of money.
Take bows, sons, for turning what should be entertainment into anti-football, and for holding those sh*t-eating grins at full time for doing one over on those strange foreign types who think they’re turning up for a football match.
The future of football is bright. The future of football is a pint of wine.
The good, the bad and the ugly of Man United
Another sh*te win, but a win nonetheless.
Lukaku needed someone to tell him to stop playing the City game, you cost us a couple points (possibly) a few days ago, it’s done, move on. Only the overall leniency of the referee stopped him from getting a stupid sending off for a couple ugly challenges, boyo tried way too hard (yes there is such a thing).
Whole team was poor, it really is as simple as no Pogba no (Va Va) Vroom, although Scott McTominay’s performance was generally good, he did one or two nice things.
I love Phil Jones, if you support England you need to pray he’s fit for the WC next year as he is by faaar the best English defender and sorta like Ledley King really really consistent regardless of ‘match fitness’.
Arsenal and Liverpool dropped points (yes looking over shoulder, forget what’s ahead) doing Arsenal and Liverpool things.
One of the commentators said if we won last night we’d match (or was it beat?) our wins record at home last year, in mid December, don’t care how you look at it that’s a huge improvement already,so.. f*ck City for being so good.
Cortez (had one eye on Arsenal, Wilshere was good )MUFC, Botswana
What is Lukaku?
No longer a lethal striker. Poor first touch. Can’t defend at set-pieces. Can’t play in midfield. Can’t play on the wing. Definitely not a ‘keeper. So what is he?
PS. Any chance of a Lukaku-Morata swap deal?
Enjoying the positives
For all the negatives about the performance of the United, the criticisms of Jose and the non scoring center forward who does score goals and works hard for the team Lukaku, it was refreshing to see Luke Shaw on the pitch and Scott get 90 minutes. The world is a hard place, lets enjoy the positives while we can.
Swap Manchester managers and tell us it is all about money
I’m a Man City fan struggling to not bite too hard or laugh out loud at the frankly ridiculous over reaction to what is, undoubtedly, a fantastic run of results and performances. We are playing brilliant football, riding our luck occasionally, going for it when others might not and enjoying our turn at the table. I’ve a hundred counter arguments to the ‘ruining football’ narrative, but one thought keeps coming back to me and apologies if I’ve missed it already on this site: what does the mailbox think might have happened this year had the two Manchester clubs had each other’s managers?
Imagine a Guardiola United (makes me feel queasy too) and a Mourinho City (much worse). Do you imagine a Guardiola United would have let a wobbly Liverpool off the hook so easily at Anfield or spent 45 mins lumping the ball back to City in the most important derby in years? Likewise can you imagine a pragmatic Mourinho City going for it against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge and scoring late winner after late winner in pursuit of a win when a more practically minded manager might have simply accepted a draw?
I mention it not because I am naive enough to believe money has not part to play in success but simply because I could easily imagine an 8 or 9 point swing on the season so far if the above scenario had come to pass. So I think when fans accept the inevitable and talk about impossible financial competition I think you’re giving your manager and team an easy ride. Everybody started the season believing it could be a City or United title based on investment both teams made. I didn’t hear Mourinho complaining about his team or their potential and certainly the mood amongst united fans was bullish.
City’s success this year is down to Guardiola and the way he has moulded the team into a manifestation of the way he believes football should be played. We haven’t bought Messi or Ronaldo or Neymar – we bought Walker (apparently no where near as good as Trippier) we’ve re-energized Sterling (waste of money) developed Stones (waste of money) and built a team around an axis of Silva and De Bruyne (Mourinho reject). The common theme is the way Guardiola coaches and believes in his players. Other teams have great players too and we are very beatable as a team I think. I just think it might take a Guardiola to have the courage and vision to do it.
So don’t whine about the money and dominance, one day it will change again and be somebody else’s turn and when that happens I hope I’ll be magnanimous enough to accept and applaud the next team rather than blame big boys who did it and ran away.
First up – can Liverpool and Tottenham fans (though not Arsenal fans) ‘chat breeze’ at Rio again now that everyone has played the same number of games? Idiot.
Secondly, Liverpool may be ahead of Burnley again but they were absolutely awful last night. Turns out you can select your best players and still not get the job done.
Unlike at the weekend West Brom and Pardew deserve credit for getting a point. Like Everton they defended deep and in numbers and came for a point but unlike Allardyce’s rabble their first touch wasn’t a clearance and they didn’t kick for touch just to get up the pitch. They played football and created a few good chances and deserved their rewards.
Without wanting to sound like a whinger and for the record I don’t think Liverpool would’ve scored if they played another week, but what is the point of referees when it comes to time-wasting?
West Brom were doing it from kick-off. The referee spoke to Ben Foster twice in the first half and also to Johnny Evans the West Brom captain, all the while indicating that he was adding the time back on. One minute of added time in the first half.
The second half was even worse for time-wasting with West Brom players taking turns to sit down for 30 seconds after every single challenge. To my recollection not a single player was booked. Three minutes of added time. Three minutes of added time in a game where six subs were made.
The referee wasted more time than that speaking to West Brom players warning them that he was adding on time for their time-wasting! It’s the professional thing to do and all teams do it at some point but it is either something referees allow or it isn’t. If it is why warn anyone? If it isn’t, then wasting time warning players while not punishing them either in terms of yellow cards or actually adding the time back on is literally a waste of time!
Lindsay Bell, Dublin
Schrodinger’s Football Club
I was out for dinner last night, so was unable to watch the game or check the score.
Therefore, as Schrödinger’s cat, until I check the score, we have neither won, drawn, nor lost the game.
As the perennial optimist, until I see otherwise, we won the game.
I’m tempted to never check any score again, thereby assuming we win every game from here on.
Liverpool’s ‘goal’ and City’s ‘weakness’
As a United supporter it is difficult for me to say this, but I agree with Klopp regarding the disallowed goals last night. According to the rules of volleyball it was a perfectly reasonable spike down into the net. All joking aside, there’s a debate about whether it was deliberate and his arm was moving forward so it makes it a more difficult decision. But think of it this way, if it had been allowed against your team would you be happy? For me, definitely not.
As an aside, and without wanting to shake the hornets’ nest, there was a letter in the mailbox a while ago championing Klopp in regards to his attitude suggesting (paraphrasing) he’s amazing as he only focuses on his own team unlike other managers (Mourinho). Well he’s been doing a hell of a lot of moaning recently about decisions (type ‘Klopp bemoans’ into a search engine for examples) and remember he said he would quit football if Liverpool resorted to the dark arts of time wasting etc. After the Chelsea game? I think we can all agree Mourinho is no angel; however, the pressure of winning makes all managers fallible, even Saint Klopp.
Finally, Man City have conceded the least goals from set-pieces in the PL (one according to Whoscored) and scored the most alongside United (8). Now I know this includes direct free-kicks but they are leading on aerial duels won as well. Why is there a generally accepted consensus that City are weak in the air? And given the stats suggest they are not, just how the hell do you beat them?
Garey Vance, MUFC
Jack is back
Clearly he needs consistency, more game time and against top opposition before the World Cup, but last night showed he is by far England’s best CM.
He has an amazing turn of pace, good read of the game, decent vision and passing and can tackle. A fit Jack has a lot more in his locker then Henderson and co. He is also the player most likely to unlock space for Sterling, England’s current best player.
Now if only Wenger would start him a bit more…
Rob A (SHOOOOT FFS SHOOOOOOOOT) AFC
Arsenal are so very dull
Wenger’s new footballing blueprint – lacklustre, spineless, monotonous football. At least we’re consistent at it.
Mr. V, so Bored of AFC
…Well that was a drag. After their insipid performance against Southampton, this was somehow worse.
* Firstly the positive for Arsenal, Wilshere and Maitland Niles were excellent and involved in everything good in the game. A lot of people like to hate Wilshere, but the way he twists and turns and drives forward is a joy to watch. As for Maitland Niles, he played out of position but was great. His crossing was excellent, and were really the only times Arsenal seems threatening.
* Wenger got it wrong. It made no sense to put Wilshere and Iwobi in the middle if they were going to accompany Ozil and Sanchez. All four players pretty much played the same role in the central of the park. It just created density in the center and made every attack so predictable. He needed players to attack on the wings, and a player like Welbeck might have made more of an impact. Giroud was too isolated, especially without Ramsey there to make runs in the box. ARsenal struggled too much in West Ham’s final third.
* How long until Sanchez is dropped? Yes, he had a great assist against Southampton, but he keeps losing the ball and slows everything down. You can rail on Xhaka all you want, but he isn’t an attacking players. And to be fair to him, the only time ARsenal looked vulnerable were long balls to Arnautovic.
* I agree with Daniel Storey, these last few results are worse than losses. I expected the team to react positively after Southampton, instead we got another poor performances. This is so worrisome. I can understand losing to United 3-1. I can understand the mistep against Southampton. But when you compound the last three results, it is not good for Arsenal. This is around the time Arsenal were derailed last season. If the players are not careful, it might happen again.
* However, Credit must be given to Moyes and his team. They played a great game and could have won the game. Arnatovic was excellent and gave Arsenal so much trouble. Ogbonna was magnificient and it is easy to see why they beat Chelsea.
* More on Moyes. He was shite at Sunderland, but maybe there was no way to save them. It is evident West Ham are gaining a boost in the last few games, and he deserves credit. Dropping Hart for Adrian was a brilliant idea, as shown again today. He may not be everybody’s favorite cup of tea, but four points against the champions and Arsenal is an improvement.
Guillaume (It was really tough explaining to my girlfriend why I was writing an email about the Arsenal game to a website and why getting published is a big deal), Ottawa
…In recent years I’ve watched Aston Villa and Sunderland stagnate to the point of sheer futility, stuck in a brutally gradual-yet-irresistible decline to a relegation that, once it happened, seemed almost humane, putting everyone – including (especially?) the supporters – out of their misery.
Arsenal aren’t that badt, but if I were a neutral, I’m not sure there’s a club that would interest me less. Maybe Stoke? I dunno… can they be truly boring while the sight of Mark Hughes suffering misfortune, eyes creased miserably, throwing his arms up like a spoilt kid whose useless Mum got him the wrong Call of Duty for Christmas, is officially the best thing about football? West Brom? Not until Alan Pardew’s latest study in hubris and humiliation has played out, surely.
As the games against Spurs and United show, Arsenal are still capable of bringing quality and excitement to the Premier League, but ultimately their results seem to be more relevant for the opportunities they afford for gawking at the specimens on Arsenal Fan TV than their impact on the table. If we crossed any further from the realm of sport into that of soap opera we’d be Harchester United.
It’ll get worse: we’re losing our two best players for nothing this summer, others are patently on the decline, and we still have at least one more year of Arsene. If I hadn’t just been bored to death by that match against West Ham I might credit the club with putting people in place to start revamping the squad and laying the foundations for the excitement of life after Wenger, but I have, and this tedium feels unbreakable. If that’s how it feels for me, God only knows how it feels for people who aren’t even emotionally attached.
Spurs were poor too
Dreadful game tonight. We were awful as were Brighton, who are the only team I’ve ever seen timewaste when losing.
Their fans were great fun though
Dave, Winchester Spurs