It’s a monster of a Mailbox with views on pretty much every issue in football, with Frank Lampard taking a kicking along with Liverpool.
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Learn your numbers, Frank
There has been much debate over the PM’s move to insist on compulsory maths until 18.
It occurred to me that this might solve Frank’s managerial problems. Chelsea were beaten 2-0 last night and 4-0 overall yet Frank stated ‘I think the fans appreciated the performance today’.
Is it possible that Frank simply can’t count and had he had longer and more dedicated maths schooling he would know that you need to score more goals than the opposition after your club has spent 600M on new players?
Steve McBain, Singapore
Edging, the practice of engaging in sexual stimulation to the point of ejaculation before stopping and starting again. It involves cycles of stimulation that can lead some people to a more intense orgasm. Or Real’s second.
Peter Altschuler, London
What is wrong with Chelsea…
Do people still support ‘the English team’ in Europe or is everything more tribal now? I put myself through the experience of watching the first leg and then decided to watch the second as extra punishment.
Not being a Chelsea fan I haven’t watched them this season, but what a frustrating team to follow! Great build up, passing and movement, followed by a tame shot or a pass to the opposing team. All pressure and no cutting edge.
Various thoughts from this game:
-Sterling on the bench was back in the nightmare of 2014 when Rodgers decided to play his fringe players against Real in the second leg.
-Chelsea, for a bunch of professional players, really can’t take a corner or cross.
-There was also a tendency to pass it sideways for just long enough for Real Madrid to get all their players back and organised. So frustrating!
-Surprised to see Kante further forward than Kovacic who I think is a more creative player. Isn’t he?
-Fernandes is tidy in possession but doesn’t force anything, needs a bit more Frank Lampard about him.
-A lesson in finishing from Real, but for the first goal Kepa steps out of his goal instead of staying between the posts.
Ultimately there’s no shame in losing to Real Madrid -whose bench is full of amazing players- but Real were not at their best tonight and yet remained unruffled.
Paul in Brussels (will Real knock out City as well?)
Chelsea find selling players is well hard
There’s an element to this Chelsea omnishambles that I think has been under discussed, and it’s a topic as a Man Utd fan I’ve come to know well in the last decade or so; selling players well is really hard.
For all the money my club has wasted in our post-Fergie malaise, our gross outlay hasn’t exceeded many of our rivals, like Chelsea and City, but our net spend has because we’ve been appalling at selling players.
Gone are the days when you could offload your unwanted squad players to Everton, Sunderland or some other unsuspecting chump, and get a decent wad of cash back for them. Now, even the most modest player at a top club is earning the best part of £100kpw or more and no one outside the gilded elite can afford it.
This then begs the question, how will Chelsea raise their revenues from selling the likes of Christian Pulisic? No one is going to slap £35m on the table for him and pay him what he’s getting now. You might get someone to pay 50% of his wages on a loan with an option. That’s as good as it’ll get.
What I really don’t understand though is how much this fails in terms of basic business sense. Every single club in Europe know, that after spunking their proverbial wad on 427 new players, Chelsea are keen sellers. If it’s a game of poker, they’ve shown the rest of the table their cards; everyone will low-ball them knowing they’re desperate.
I have to say, it’s quite wonderful to no longer be the “big club basket case”.
Lewis, Busby Way
Stop the transfers!
I’ve emailed into here before complaining about the constant media push for Spurs to sell our best players, namely Harry Kane. I’ve called it a media witch hunt. Now imagine my shock at an F365 piece trying to sell one of Chelsea’s best players to Real or City.
Why is this? Why do the media obsess so much over transfers and who ought to jump for bigger and better things? The game would honestly be better if they banned transfers altogether and made it so that players could only move once a contract ends. Maybe that’d stop all this media bullshit which is clearly only there to draw clickbait.
Stop the mascot chat
The discourse around Arsenal has already been pretty deranged this season – remember when Richard Keys suggested the Spurs fan who kicked Aaron Rasmdale had done so because of the way Arteta acts on the touchline? But this storm in a teacup over the mascot video is just completely off the scale.
The girl’s dad revealed last night that reporters had been outside the family home all day – and yet we’re supposed to believe it was the Arsenal players who are the villains here, just because of one social media video that a whole host of bad faith morons (Piers of course, and if I want Nick Knowles’ opinion on anything, it’s his absolutely bizarre side-career as a David Brent-esque acoustic soft-rock troubadour) leapt on.
I actually can’t believe F365 felt the need to weigh into this full stop. Arsenal have just pissed away a second 2-0 lead in two games, and likely with it their hopes of the title. Have a good go at them for that by all means, but not for a bit of social media content that 90% of viewers would have just scrolled right past anyway.
(Already dreading the mascot “banter” that we’ll see on club’s socials this weekend)
…Pretty disappointed in F365 for saying anything much about ‘Mascot-gate’ let alone indulging in criticism of the club (even if it’s just the social media admin). Shame on you Ian.
As the dad, who posted under Nick Knowles’ comment (who went right down in my opinion tbqh) said, Arsenal’s players were great, especially Odegaard, her favourite and the captain. Arsenal mascots don’t pay for the opportunity either btw, unlike the hosts.
It was a stupid storm in a teacup issue; pushed by the usual Twitter outrage garbage peddlers online. It deserved the square root of f**k all attention but because a couple of oblivious celebs posted and got caught with their pants down, it obviously has to be someone’s fault.
As if everyone signing a shirt as part of a million pre and post game activities on top of a high-pressure fixture has to be analysed for meaning. Get a grip.
Tom (am actually quite pissed off with the clickbait coverage around the club now; every publication seems to revel in the “Let’s wind Arsenal fans up for enjoying their first season in 20+years, haha what losers” crap) Walthamstow
The mistakes of Klopp and Liverpool
It was great to watch Liverpool play so well against Leeds on Monday night, but what made me particularly happy was how we combined a decent attack with the lesser-spotted solid defence.
A big part of this combined improvement seems to have come from a change in formation. Now, there was a mailer last week who commended Klopp as a genius for switching Trent to a midfield/fullback hybrid in a 3-2-5 formation. I thought this was particularly kind to Kloppo for 2 reasons, firstly, because the tactic was taken directly from the Arteta / Guardiola tactics board, and secondly, because many Liverpool fans have been screaming for this to happen for a couple of years (me included, often from atop my house after we have lost to a bottom 6 side in which Trent was repeatedly exposed by a middling winger) I even made the case in this very forum, highlighting how TAA at FB was getting diminishing returns from an attacking side whilst reemphasizing what is accepted fact: that Trent is a pants defender, and that’s probably a little harsh on my threadbare underpants.
Despite plenty of my fellow fans howling about the same thing, Jurgen has treated such talk as pith and blather, avoiding the squarest of square pegs for the obdurately square hole.
It has taken a season of calamitous performances, particularly from TAA, combined with a tactical formation created by his greatest adversary, adopted by his competitive replacement (i.e. the team fighting gallantly against the City machine) with the season gone and only tactical experimentation left to keep the players and fans interested, for him to move Trent into his spiritual home.
I would have been less worried if Trent turned out to be shitdog there. If actually in the hubbub of a crowded midfield he couldn’t settle on a decision and played without his usual vision. But it didn’t happen like that, instead he showed that a brilliant passer of the ball, with an abundance of creativity will play very nicely indeed sat in the middle of the park, being just the right distance from the forwards to play defence splitting passes and just the right distance from the defence to rarely be the only player between an opposing attacker and the goal. And so the question is; why didn’t Jurgen play him there earlier?
I love Jurgen, he will always be a hero of mine, but hero worship aside, I’ve begun to notice a few chinks in the Klopp armour, and this season has stuck an array of pointy weapons through them.
Firstly, he is far too bloody minded for his own good. A couple of seasons ago he replied to a question about Southgate playing TAA in midfield with the immortal line, “Why would you make the best RB in the world a midfielder?” The answer Gareth might have uttered, should he have been petty enough to respond to a needless jibe, might have been – “Because Trent is a liability defensively, whereas we have loads of good RB’s who can defend as well as attack, but what we lack is deep lying playmakers, which is what Alexander-Arnold, with his skillset, should be able to do brilliantly.”
Fast forward a couple of years and TAA is still an awful defender, but now Liverpool are the ones in desperate need of midfield reinforcements, and who should ride to the short-term rescue but Mr Alexander-Arnold.
I doubt Jurgen will acknowledge this ironic turn of events because he rarely accepts his or the club’s shortcomings. 2 years ago the decision to sign Ozan Kabak and Ben Davies, who I assume we found in a skip round the back of some championship club, instead of a defender of proven quality, even on loan, should have resulted in us missing out on the champions league. The fact we didn’t was more down to the incompetence of Chelsea and Leicester, than our good form for the last 8/9 games. It was a decision that should have cost us £100m+.
That we got lucky should have meant the club noted how costly an error it could have been. Sometimes you have to take a financial hit to ensure the player quality remains sufficient to ensure you reach your minimum goals. Roll around to January 2023, Liverpool are in an even bigger crisis and what do the club do? They buy a player they don’t actually need because they can get him on the cheap. Cody seems like a good player and might go on to be world class, but the fact of the matter is the club prioritised a good value player over the required players. The same mistake in January this year will absolutely result in us missing out on top 4, and the cost could be even more than £100m.
Has Jurgen mentioned this? Yes. He said that you wouldn’t give a child a sports car, which was derogatory and erroneous. A club with the 3rd highest revenue in world football, ahead of Barca, Bayern, PSG and Man U, deciding not to sign a generational talent despite their obvious need is absolutely not equivalent to a child asking for a sports car.
This has been a season for Liverpool to understand its shortcomings and decide on a plan to rectify them, hopefully becoming better and stronger as a result. This should not be confined to our playing staff though, our manager, backroom staff, recruitment and most importantly, sporting directors and ownership team must also analyse past failures so we might avoid making further mistakes leading to further decline.
…I’d take umbrage at Will Ford’s statement that Liverpool’s win against Leeds, admittedly by a big margin, means that ‘there’s little doubt they are absolutely capable of being part of a team challenging for the title’.
Just like against United, Rangers and Bournemouth, Liverpool dramatically overperformed their xg in the match against Leeds. They had 6 goals from an xg of 2.7, 7 from 2.8 against United, 7 from 2.2 against Rangers, 9 from 2.2 against Bournemouth, that’s 29 goals from a 9.9xg over those four matches. These kinds of performances are wonderful to watch, and absolutely show the quality of the players they have when their opponents just collapse for them. Fans love seeing their team win this way and Liverpool have some fantastic players all through the team.
But to win or challenge for a title you need to consistently outperform most of the opponents you play throughout an entire season. Liverpool have done the absolute opposite which is why they’re struggling. They don’t make enough chances and give up too many good chances to their opponents.
Massive overperformances in individual matches are great, but they’re not sustainable for the long term, and I feel that this kind of result almost means the opposite, and shows they can’t compete for a title. To do that, they need to fix the fundamentals of their team. Whether Klopp can achieve that is yet to be seen, but I doubt there are many better managers out there who’d be able to take on the challenge.
Calum, MUFC, Wokingham
The Big Six really is a six
I went down a wormhole after reading the Spurs article, notably the comments which were mostly ‘discussion’ over what attributes made a club ‘Big’ and why ‘Six’. Argument ranged from stadium size, income, history, league positions, cup wins, time period etc. After some festering on the topic I decided this could be quantified.
Discarding everything but league positions and trophies (argue amongst yourselves), I came up with the following based on the last ten years (seemed popular in comments). League position is weighted as per Formula 1 (why reinvent the wheel), with 25 pts for 1st, 18 for 2nd etc. Cup wins weighting is more subjective (loosely based on league points) I’m afraid which I’m sure many will disagree with, but UCL, 22pts, UEL, 12, FA, 9, LC, 7. No prizes for coming 2nd and not counting any other cups no matter how Super or Milky.
The end result in points for a top ten is MNC:463,CHE:352,LIV:310,MNU:291,ARS:242,TOT:228,LEI:115,EVE:66,WHU:44,SOU:44.
There are gaps of over 100 pts all over that table, so where do you draw the BIG line? As a pie chart it is more evident that there is a clear 6 out in front of the rest so that would appear to be that but I think there is still more fun to be had off the back of those totals.
Rob H, Sarf London (run out of boxsets)
Spurs are a mess, mind
Spurs will finish 8th or 9th. My complete and total apathy for the football club has meant I’ve not provided any recent musings, however, I can’t help but look at where we’ll probably finish.
What with Brighton having 18 games in hand (and not being shit), plus us having to face 3 key rivals (if I’d be so bold to claim) in a row, 8th looks about right.
We will lose to the Toon, United and Pool. By that time, we’d have completely ruled ourselves out of top 4 and Villa, Pool and Brighton will be ahead of us.
Our only saving grace is that Chelsea are, somehow, even worse than us. That and Arsenal potentially throwing away the league. But, honestly, I’m at such a level of notgivingafuck that I don’t actually care if the Gooners do it or not. Whatever.
I hope we finish 8th. European competition (for Spurs) is a joke. The thing is, it’d actually be nice to win either of the 2nd/3rd tier competitions, but we would of course get knocked out by a 4th division Estonian team after being 10 nil up after just 7 minutes and them having 3 players sent off in the first 60 seconds.
But yeah, no Europe for us please. Let’s have a clean and basic slate for us. A new, and clearly inappropriate, manager for us just to focus on the league. A new contract for Eric ‘I’m indicative of what’s wrong with the club’ Dier. Harry Kane running down his final 12 months only for Danny L to try and flog him in January for £450m. You get the picture. The future is….well, exactly the same as the present. F**king awful.
Glen, Apathetic Spur
…Talking with friends about the continued hilarity at Spurs, and it all comes back to Poch. Not just “he should/shouldn’t come back” but right the way back to the summer of 2018 and the final, burning embers of his tenure.
And that is really what pisses most of us off. Levy lurching from vanity project Mourinho (quite possibly the most anti of anti-Pochettino’s) to the Nuno experiment, which many outside of Tottenham have forgotten happened, to the impractical appointment of Conte. There remains very little in terms of succession plans – except to have Conte’s stooge continue to bleed every supporters final ounce of pleasure from watching us play (Mason would have surely been preferable to every supporter).
The ultimate disappointment hasn’t yet arrived but watching Kane hold aloft a Man Utd scarf on the same day of Arsenal’s open top parade for winning the title, which somehow seems now to not be happening despite them actually being top, will certainly take some topping.
Then we can finally unveil Peter Odemwinge whilst announcing that new contract for Eric Dier.
Stop giving up, Gunners
Why are so many Arsenal fans throwing in the towel already?
Setting aside how pleased we should all apparently be for them (like Liverpool before them) stopping it being a procession for City to the title the moment the season starts – honestly, what planet are you on?!? – all you have to do is to and beat City and then it’s basically yours.
Sounds like you’re getting in with the excuses a little early, have a little faith in your side and manager – the one we should all be so grateful to.
Leeds and a slow death spiral
There will be loads of Liverpool fans happy at Monday night’s win, and I would be if we could play us every week. Guaranteed points and improved goal difference. For “the best fans in the league” tm, I have to say, they only got going when they went 3-1 up.
Onto my main point. I paid £53 for the privilege of watching that gutless, insipid, spineless and abject capitulation.
Not a single fighter or leader in our team. two oil tankers in midfield, inexperienced and ghost-like central defenders, two wingback punts – one a Barca reject, one an Austrian league winner. A dog-sh*t filled paper bag of an attacking midfielder in Aaronson who is scared of his shadow, and wingers who run down blind alleys.
Let’s not even get started on bringing on a £35m signing who dresses like an ice cream cone on a day out in his spare time and runs like the slenderman on ice. A goalkeeper who has forgotten the basics of shot stopping and positioning, and whose distribution looks like a paperboy in a rush to get home for school. An uninspired Rodrigo upfront and a Bamford who is seemingly broken again. Ludicrous decision not to start Gnonto or Summerville. Poor formation and tactics. We’ve played well this season against the better clubs taking the game to them. We parted like the red sea today playing a low block.
They say the fish rots from the head down and the club right now stinks. It’s utterly rudderless and the boardroom stasis is showing. Radrizzani is holding out for the full sale value but won’t pump in his own money, and the 49ers are itchy at picking up at Championship club. We’ve a director of football who has simultaneously told us we are following the Wolves model, and then the Leicester model, whilst also signing the cream of the championship and baulking at the prices, to then basically becoming a player farm to flog players on at profit, with the catch that he is so poor at identifying talented players that the price we pay won’t be recouped on sales. The only bonafide hits in Orta’s tenure are Gnonto, Adams, Wober and Raphinha. An awful hit rate for £250m+ worth of expenditure.
The one thing they got right, and the one thing that brought the club back together seems a distant memory. I’d take Bielsa back in a heartbeat. I could take the pumping against Liverpool and City last season with a team full of kids when the injuries ravaged the squad when we still insisted on sticking to the plan, but I can’t take two back to back 5-1 & 6-1 home capitulations with more or less a full strength side and 26% possession.
It feels like the first Prem relegation all over again.
We are doomed.
Mat, Leeds fan
Ode to attending matches and good managers
Firstly I just wanted to share what a privilege and brilliant experience it is to go to live matches in a full, rocking stadium. There’s really not much like the live atmosphere and Villa Park was packed and loud. The sights, the smells, no overly verbose commentators or mindless co-comms, the massive green pitch…. such an amazing place to be and watch football. I don’t get to go often because, you know, things cost stuff but I’m so glad I did. I know I’m lucky to be able to afford it and get a ticket but if you can, it’s always worth it.
I’ve got to point out though VAR is severely harming the live experience even more than watching at home. It really is the pubic hair in your cheeseburger.
Step 1: Your in-form striker scores a goal right in front of you. It moves you to 2-0 just as Newcastle were getting a bit of possession and fashion some chances. You celebrate with your kids like a loon for a good minute. Bliss.
Step 2: You see the purple VAR screen on the board and you feel sick. In your elation you have forgotten about the monster under the bed. You genuinely can’t see anything wrong with the goal as you were sitting directly in line with play and the linesman. You think it will be allowed.
Step 3: Another minute or 2 later they disallow it but you genuinely don’t know why. There’s a brief flash of some lines on the screen. Genuinely more confused than angry but there’s a bit of that too.
Step 4: Watch it at home and see apparently the skin of his knee is offside. Wonder how they can possibly be confident he is offside given the limitations of the technology.
The whole thing stinks as the next 2 goals we score I don’t celebrate half as much as all I can think about is if it is onside or will they find a way of disallowing it. THIS is what VAR is doing to the game. Stopping people celebrating goals.
Before VAR the linesmans flag would be up or the referee would have blown immediately. You would know straight away and could celebrate/complain. I know it makes me against accurate, data-driven decisions (which as a scientist you might think I would get behind) but just get rid. They won’t. But they should.
On to Villa. Wow. Here’s what a good manager does. Olly Watkins, John McGinn and Tyrone Mings especially, are great players. Villa fans love them and last year/start of the season they were all pretty great individually. What Emery has done is ‘just’ bring them together with a plan. Use McGinn’s combative style to terrorise Dan Burn all match and prevent him from helping his centre halves or get involved with play. Use Watkins pace and smart running to keep the centre halves pinned back and constantly running towards their own goal. Mings given clear instructions in terms of positioning that play to his strength of dominating in the air and using his pace to nullify threats. This is what a great manager does (amongst other things), best use the attributes of the players he has at his disposal.
Anyway, it is bloody good fun being a Villa fan at the moment, long may it continue.
Funstar (Champions League THIS season…. it’s ON! Maybe…) Andy