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Here are this week’s some Unofficial Awards. Don’t take them seriously.
Premier League Player of the Week – Eden Hazard
A goal and a constant menace to a Bournemouth backline that was probably relieved he only found the net once.
Football League Player of the Week – Kieran Dowell
Back in August, when I saw Nottingham Forest v Leeds United, Dowell was generally the best of Forest’s midfielders, only to show his inexperience in a moment that led to United’s second goal. This week, against Hull City, he hit a magnificent hat-trick: the first was a driving run followed by a long-range finish, the second showed the positional sense of a high-end attack-minded midfielder, and the third was a kick from the penalty mark.
European Player of the Week – Stephan El Shaarawy
From great young hope, to possible fall by the wayside as injury curtailed his potential, to tearing Chelsea a new bumhole in the Champions League.
Premier League Loanee of the Week – Pablo Maffeo
The Girona defender, unsurprisingly on loan from Manchester City, made 7 interceptions, when none of his teammates made more than one. His 5 tackles were bettered by just one player on the field (Casemiro), and he contributed an assist – head and shoulders above all of his colleagues with a Whoscored rating of 8.56.
Non-League Player of the Week – Stefan Galinski
Some might say a player lucky to escape a red card for a cynical shirt pull on the edge of his own box would be a strange choice to single out, but that would ignore the main role he performed for Grantham Town. Up against a team determined to play long ball in a swirling wind, Galinski won more than 20 clearing headers, losing only one.
Best Goal – Darren Fletcher
Balls to the deflection, it was an incredibly sweetly struck shot.
Best Save – Joe Hart
Any of his saves to preserve his side’s lead, before it inevitably slipped.
Best Tactical Move – Claude Puel
Cleverly counteracted his lack of Englishness by telling Demarai Gray and Jamie Vardy to “putain, courir un peu”.
Worst Tactical Move – Slaven Bilic
His team failed to close out, and were largely battered by the worst team in the league for most of the second half as they threw away a two-goal lead.
Interviewee of the Week – Duncan Castles
Castles’ interview with the Anfield Index podcast could have been the perfect chance for Castles to either deny the suggestions his career is attached, limpet-style, to Jose Mourinho and Jorge Mendes; alternatively, he could have just told everyone why it’s in his best interests to be, as Anfield Index put it, “Mourinho’s mouthpiece”. Instead he did neither, and the weediness implied by F365’s favourite description, “lickspittle”, was fully evident.
D*ck Move of the Week – Sam Allardyce
While not the only spouting horrific opinions on the state of British coaching, he gets the nod for starting it all. While he’s a difficult man to agree with a lot of the time, I’m put in mind of a quote from Norman Tebbitt, describing how his unemployed father “got on his bike and looked for work, and he kept looking until he found it”. Consider the idea of Allardyce and Sammy Lee as captain and stoker on a tandem while you contrast the (admittedly devoid of context) words from Tebbitt with the British managers waiting in television and radio studios for a top job to be gift-wrapped and handed to them.
Inevitable Managerial Applicant of the Week – Sam Allardyce
Having resigned from Crystal Palace and implied he was retiring from club football, Allardyce this week resurfaced to announce that he would consider taking the Everton job.
Inevitable Managerial Decision of the Week – Simon Grayson
John Nicholson & Alan Tyers once pointed out that “no one seems to have got [Sunderland] right since Reidy’s monkey empire ruled”. That was in a profile of Gus Poyet, in November 2014. Sunderland haven’t won a single home game in 2017 and Grayson has now lost his job along with the decent reputation he had built for himself at Preston North End.
Bitten Tongue of the Week – Burnley
Having backed their manager following relegation and reaped the rewards through promotion, survival and current excellent form, I can’t wondering how Burnley’s board and supporters feel about having one of their club’s contracted employees talked up for jobs at other clubs. Either way, they seem far more dignified than any of the pundits complaining that Claude Puel, and not Sean Dyche, got the Leicester City job.
Mailboxer of the Week – E Ager
On Sunday, for “denying you’re biased against Manchester United simply proves you’re an ABU”.
Dembele of the Week – Mana Dembele
Don’t let a small detail like him not being in the match day squad detract from the influence he clearly had in Le Havre’s 2-0 win away at Quevilly-Rouen.
Compiler of the Week – Ed Quoththeraven
Scott McTominay early winner?
Scott McTominay for your early winner? Excellent, honestly couldn’t have put it any better myself – (no I really couldn’t).
I’m glad that you’ve picked him out as you’ve saved me having to write a long and drawn out email on the same subject. As you suggest, whilst McTominay’s performance was not ‘spectacular’, I personally felt that he was our best player last night. He was clam and composed in possession, consistent with his passing, and positionally very good. It was a very steady all round performance and here’s to hoping that we’ll see him introduced more often from now on. Jose must have some trust in him to throw him into a Champions League game regardless of our position in the group. I’m by no means suggesting that he’s the second coming, but it’s always nice to see an academy graduate seamlessly step up to a role in the first team in such style.
I will admit to being a regular critic of F365, and usually write in to whinge about something that I’ve taken umbrage with. However, I’d just like to say “bravo!” for a brilliant Early Winners article about Scott McTominay and United youth. It was great to see the boy get a start last night and it’s fascinating to learn a little more about his history of development and physical challenges. Moreover, Mourinho bashing is very much the fashion at the moment so it’s refreshing to see an article that acknowledges his significant efforts to develop youth at United.
Hopefully we’ll see more youth development from the top teams in the EPL this year, and more great articles about it from F365. Maybe that boy at Arsenal could be next?
British Managers: The other side of the coin
An excellent and balanced mail by Josh, AFC, Dubai yesterday. But I feel he missed one point in there. The exact same finances flowing through the English game which enables clubs to poach the very best managers does trickle down. So for all the complaints of Allardyce, Pardew and their ilk are they really that hard done by? Yes some have been denied better job offers they may have received on had they been a Spaniard in Spain, but where else in the world could a manager with Allardyce’s CV be paid upwards of £3 million a year? Lest we forget in the 13/14 season a man with zero trophies, one brief foray into Europe in his career was the 13th highest paid manager in world football.
And one other point….some Manager’s like to demean the achievements of those who’ve managed in “lesser” leagues, stating that anybody could win the league with Ajax/Olympiakos/Benfica/Porto (regardless of the number of titles that club has in recent years). But invariably when a manager is appointed from these leagues with silverware on their CV they are the oft referred to “sexy names” who don’t know how to dig in. So, if it’s so easy to win trophies in these countries…and clubs prefer manager’s who’ve won things….well, you can fill in the blanks.
In defence of Lukaku
I have seen a lot of criticism of Lukaku recently, mainly because his goals have dried up. While his barren streak can’t go on too much longer without it looking a bit worrying, I feel his overall game is being overlooked. Before last night he set up United’s last two goals, both with individual displays of strength and skill. Contrary to what “Lewis, Busby Way” says he does hold the ball up well and makes defenders lives difficult.
The problem is more that he isn’t getting the service, for several reasons. Firstly United are not committing players forward as much as they were earlier in the season, which results in Lukaku having at least two defenders around him most of the time. That also means there is no-one around for him to lay the ball off to. Secondly, a lot of United’s attacks tend to involve Martial or Rashford running up the wing, cutting in and either shooting or laying it off to someone on the edge of the box, bypassing Lukaku completely.
He is by no means the complete striker, but I think he is being harshly judged (funnily enough I think, partly due to his great start to the season) and compared to players who are of a very different style to him.
Give Jose a break? Nahhhh
About time I tried sending in a mail rather than reading from the bushes…..
Give Jose a break – Jerry, Manchester United fan annoyed me slightly…. Stating that Jose still has the same bulk squad and City have spent spent spent. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t deny the City fact, but out of curiosity, I thought I’d take a look at how Jose compares with the manager at my beloved Blues, Don Conte, specifically because of being in charge of their respective teams during the same time period and time frame…..
Players bought with fee: 6
Transfer expenditure: 349.400.000 €
Fee per player: 58.233.333 €
Players bought with fee: 9
Transfer expenditure: 332.700.000 €
Fee per player: 36.966.667 €
So whilst Jerry is “technically” correct, Jose hasn’t revolutionised his squad like Pep has, he has actually spent more, but brought in few players than Conte at Chelsea… So you could argue it is all his own doing and should be judged as such?! Where as Conte spent less, but you could argue has brought in more of his “own” players.
I already knew where I would end up after this…. Pep…. No words really need to be said, just the facts…..
Players bought with fee: 17
Transfer expenditure: 457.300.000 €
Fee per player: 26.900.000 €
Chris (After reading back it appears I like to use multiple full stop on the regular…….) Chelsea Fan
Thoughts on Chelsea
1. After the Roma game, having reflected upon our season so far, it is getting clear to me that Antonio Conte has to take some responsibility for the results (thank you, Sara, that is what I had in mind). I am all in favour of rotation, but there is one part of the pitch you seldom rotate – the defence. What is baffling me (and Sara also I suppose) is a manager like Conte not taking care of that. He may have his own reasons for chopping and changing the defence but in my view our lack of clean sheets and generic chaos off late is because of personnel change in our back 3. Please Antonio, stick to whatever you feel is the best.
2. That said, our best back 3 would be Andreas Christensen (our best defender), David Luiz (when everyone else is good, he’s our best player at the back) and Cesar Azpilicueta. Azpilicueta is many things but he is not a wing back by any stretch of imagination. In Conte’s system, the wing backs are defenders, midfielders, attackers and strikers at times. A lot of how well we play entirely depends upon our wing backs. Zappacosta is adept at dribbling and moving with the ball forward and I think he must be our first choice right wing back.
3. That brings me to left wing back – I love Alonso. But to me, he’s not a world class wing back and I would prefer an upgrade in that position with Alonso making the numbers so that we have good depth in that role. I also would like Kennedy to start games as he’s not that bad. Else Alonso who is naturally not a pacy player is going to burn out.
4. Gary Cahill was comfortably our best defender last night of entire back 5. That to me is a scary proposition because it meant Gary did not do anything on his own to harm us. He just did whatever limited he could. In the last month or so, apart from the Atletico game, every game Gary has been our best defender has resulted in a loss or poor performance. Contrary to popular belief I do not personally hate Gary. I just always felt he was not the type of defender we needed and now he seems to do better than the rest of the lot which tells our sorry story.
5. Cesc Fabregas, the aforementioned Cahill, and Willian must be transitioned out (and before that dropped for any game of substance) as soon as possible. I am pretty sure Mourinho would love to buy Cesc and Willian (please sell them). I still get nightmares of Willian’s free kick vs Man City hitting the one-man wall of little Sterling. He does more harm than good. I’ve been vocal against Cesc off late because I’ve come to realize he’s one of the main reasons our performances have come down since 2015 (I intend to write why I think so sometime).
6. About the game itself the half time score line was not a reflection of our performance and I thought we could’ve scored 2-3 goals in that half. Hazard who was electrifying suddenly went stale after that tackle on his ankles (perhaps worried given recent injuries), Morata is caught in a shell, Bakayoko is doing the job of 3 men in midfield (thank you Cesc) and the back line was horrible. Roma played well but they were a team to be beaten because their defense (at least in first half) was shaky and recent results ok. On the other hand, a better team would’ve scored half a dozen given how meek we were in the second half. I wouldn’t want to see another performance like the second half again. We’re likely through to round of 16 (god knows what’s the issue at Atletico but for us it is a good thing) but there are many issues to tackle, chief of which is the coach starting to trust some prodigious talent sitting on the bench better than the experienced players played week in and out despite under par.
7. A final note, this is the best time to come and get a result at Stamford Bridge. All Mourinho has to do is to set up an adventurous midfield and ask Rashford to run and harass Chelsea defenders. If they do so they can win actually. If Mourinho sets up a team to draw at the bridge, he’s the bigger loser. I would gladly take a soul killing 0-0 this weekend given our state of affairs. There, I just said it.
Aravind, Chelsea Fan.
Does anyone at F365 or anyone from the mailbox know what’s going on at Atletico Madrid? The team was once held up as the best teams in Europe but since their move to a new stadium this year their form has dropped markedly.
In the last 7 matches they’ve had 6 draws and a single win. That includes draws against Champion’s League newcomers Qarabag home and away. In the home leg Qarabag even played with 10 men for a third of the match and they still couldn’t win.
All of this has come after that last minute loss to Chelsea in the CL, they aren’t still hungover from that are they? Anyone follow them closer than I do and fancy sharing what’s happening?
Calum (Yes I’m salty they ruined my acca), MUFC, Wokingham
If you don’t want to hear opinion then knock Twitter on the head
Read Daniel Storey’s article with interest.
As someone who maintains a social media presence only in the loosest possible sense (I have a Facebook account purely to retain an address book and nothing else), one of the lines that really stood out for me was this:
“Why should they have to stop doing any aspect of their lives, and particularly one that can be so positive, because some people cannot be trusted to act responsibly?”
Like so many things in life, in an ideal world this would be a medium that was used positively. But it just isn’t. Why don’t girls wear revealing outfits and walk down dark alleys? Why are kids encouraged not to go and see a strange man’s pet rabbits? Was gonna do a third one, but they were getting a bit same-y. And you get the idea.
I know it’s what the kids are doing, and all that, but would it really hurt to just not be on social media? Or get someone (from the Liverpool’s media dept) to run it for you? Why is that such a ‘nonsense’? I seem to remember Raheem Sterling being advised about this after the Euros fall out and – whether it has just curtailed his use or he has taken advice on using it – it seems to have worked. (His last tweet was September).
Maybe I’m showing my age here, but why do people ascribe so much value to tweets anyway? Frankly, I’m not that interested in hearing the throw-away comments of a bunch of people I will never meet – most of whom present themselves as at best ill-educated. Rather, I come to F365 to hear reasoned debate from people who I believe know something about football and have opinions I can respect. The mailbox can even be a proving ground for that (see the work of the fabulous Peter G).
Surely joining Twitter as a famous person, you are opening up the floodgates to opinion – both positive and negative. You can’t change that because that’s how it works. If you don’t want to hear it, then ignore it or don’t go on Twitter.
Nick the Citeh fan, Chessington