Howe is ‘talking utter cr*p’ about Liverpool goal. And more mails…

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Liverpool forward Diogo Jota scores a goal

The Mailbox claims Isaac Hayden wasn’t actually injured against Liverpool…

Send your thoughts on Chelsea, Liverpool vs Newcastle, player safety, Arsenal and much more to


Too soon to write off Chelsea?
It seems a teensy bit early to be writing Chelsea off, in my opinion. Man City were worse than this at the beginning of last season but ended up winning the title at a canter. But it is very difficult when City and ourselves relentlessly accumulate 3 points week in, week out. It’s not a good title race to drop any points in but let’s not get carried away.

As for ourselves, we made slightly harder work of Newcastle than I expected – but we won and that’s all that really matters. Eddie Howe was of course talking complete and utter c**p about the ‘concussion’ goal. If his player was so badly hurt that we should have stopped the game – he would have been so badly hurt that he would have been subbed off for his own safety. And he wasn’t. Which would have been potentially extremely dangerous *if* he was badly concussed. So he clearly wasn’t and Eddie should stop waffling garbage and just concentrate on getting the world’s richest team relegated – a task he’s taken to admirably well and I’m sure he’ll succeed at.

Mo, as ever, did what Mo does and makes it ever more perplexing by the week why we don’t just give him the damn contract he wants. Who can we get who can possibly replace him? This isn’t the seventies where we sold Kevin Keegan and got Kenny Dalglish and some change to boot. There is noone out there who does what Mo does better than him and the cost of even trying to get someone else would be prohibitive. Far more so, in fact, than just giving him the damn money. 30 isn’t the age it once was in football as evidenced by Ronaldo, Messi, Zlatan and Lewandowski. So a 4 year contract at top dollar for Mo will absolutely be worth it and he will give us more trophies in return.

And injuries permitting, the Liverpool juggernaut will just keep rolling on.
James, Liverpool


Sorry, Eddie, but cheats never prosper…
Dear F365,

I watched Liverpool v Newcastle game last night and as soon as it happened you just knew Jota’s goal would be the subject of debate, and Eddie Howe didn’t disappoint.

I can’t actually be arsed to go in what happened.  But here’s the thing. Isaac Hayden wasn’t actually injured. He was trying it on.  He faked what has the potential to be a very serious injury to try and get an advantage.  If he’d just got back on his feet, he may have been able to stop the ball reaching Jota. But no, he thought by staying down, faking concussion or something equally horrific, the game should stop.  In effect, he was asking Liverpool to reward his acting skills by putting the ball out of play.

Eddie Howe later claimed ‘he [Hayden] wasn’t 100% right afterwards….’  But then still let him play the remaining 69 minutes. Which if true, would make Eddie at best, negligent.

The whole thing reminded me of the [I think] Italian player in Euros.  Went down under a challenge in the opposition’s box like he’d been shot, Platoon style, hoping to win a penalty.  Only to spring up when his team scored from the continued play.  I wonder if Eddie would have been calling for play to be stopped and a free kick given to Newcastle if they’d cleared the ball, run up the pitch and scored. Of course not.

Eddie, cheats never prosper.  Right?!
Steve, LFC, Cirencester

It’s in our nature…
Following on from the wailing and gnashing of teeth over LFC “cheating” last night, I was always told to “play to the whistle” and it brought back a memory from my playing days, please bear with me as there is a plot twist!

In a Sunday game two of my teammates went for the same ball and both fell to the floor badly winded.  The ball fell to our goalkeeper who was told “kick it out”, obviously he was not going to put it out near our goal (this was before the days of sportingly giving the ball back), he kicked it as far as he could.  The ball came straight to me somewhere near the halfway line and I controlled it and set off towards our opponents goal whilst their players stood still!  A few seconds later the ball was in the back of the net, the referee awarded the goal and then ran to the two players still lying on the ground.

“You can get up now you pair of cheats”, one of them had to carried from the pitch!

At the end of the game the referee spoke to our manager and told him that this was the worst piece of gamesmanship he’d ever witnessed, tbf to our manager he responded that “You’ve got the whistle, blow it and my players will stop!”.

A week later the same referee was in charge of a game for a Saturday team and one of the players committed a foul, he was called over and told “You haven’t had me before, I don’t allow tackles like that, it’s a yellow card for you”, my mate replied “Yes I have, you did our game last Sunday”, “Oh, you’re one of those are you, in that case, it gives me great pleasure to make it a red!”.

Back at the pub my mate insisted that I pay the difference in the fine between a red and a yellow as it was all my fault!
Howard (of course I didn’t cough up) Jones 


Really glad to see various emails criticising Hayden and Howe’s behaviour
. Surely, now is the time to start punishing players retrospectively for feigning injuries? Feigning a head injury should be punished with at least a 4 match ban. Also, why is it accepted that a player can stay down ‘injured’ after a tackle, gets his opponent booked, has 2 minutes treatment, and then immediately after is running around as if nothing ever happened? I have never seen a player booked for this. Why not? Or does the magic sponge really exist?
G Thomas, Breda


Nothing says ‘one-eyed’ like the reaction of Liverpool fans to a controversial incident which they benefitted from. I jest of course (but not by much) and the points made are valid about Eddie Howe’s comments being very odd and hypocritical; if Hayden was showing signs of concussion he should have been taken off.

However my gripe is mainly with the inconsistency in the application of the rule that the game is stopped for head injuries. Yes you can take umbridge with players faking injury (to which most players are guilty), Howe’s made himself look a right lemon for saying what he said and Hayden was mysteriously spry for someone who has had a bash on the noggin, but the rule is the rule.

For every player making a meal of it, if 1 in 10 are genuine and in need of medical assistance then it is worth the disruption. We’ve seen with Jiminez at Wolves and Cech at Chelsea (amongst others) that serious head injuries can happen. Dean’s excuse that he thought Hayden was holding his back is either a lie, or it calls in to question what he observed and why the three other officials didn’t tell him someone was down holding his head?

I would hope by and large that players wouldn’t abuse this rule, and I don’t think it’s being widely abused now. Hayden may well have hurt his head but not badly, and Howe has made an issue of it to shield his players but looks a bit silly for doing so. We’ll never know, but what seems a lot clearer is that the referee did not apply the rule correctly in this instance.
Jim, Leeds


If the roles were reversed in last night’s game and those decisions had gone against Liverpool, their fans would be lighting candles, marching upon the premier league and demanding a special mailbox devoted to how everyone is against them.

We’ve had some appalling decisions go against us this season. If I was of the Liverpool persuasion I’d say it was a big conspiracy.
Chris Stockdale, NUFC 


Player safety
Another pretty comfortable win for Liverpool last night but the main talking point was Jota’s goal. For those not aware, following a corner there was a coming together of Newcastle players, one went down and held his head but the game carried on and Liverpool scored. Eddie Howe complained after the game that the match should have been stopped but I disagree completely. Over the years players have come up with many inventive ways to con the officials into gaining an advantage and faking injury has been one of the most frustrating for the fans. This led us to the situation where refs should only stop a game if they think there’s been a serious head injury but of course the response from players now is to fake head injuries. Watching the game in real time there seemed little suggestion to me that Hayden was badly hurt and that was confirmed after watching the replays where it was hard to ascertain any real contact at all.

This issue raises a few questions, starting with are players ever going to learn to stop faking injuries? It’s only a couple of weeks since David de Gea had his ankle trodden on and decided to lie in the foetal position for about a minute in order to gain an advantage. That did not go well for him. Amusingly last night Hayden could possibly have headed the ball away from Jota had he got up. At some point surely these people are going to figure out that the best way they can help their team is by contributing to the game instead of gambling on the ref stopping it. This could be a key moment in stamping out faking injury and I implore the officials to continue to take a hard line.

Then there’s the issue of player safety. Now I’m all for player safety, if someone is hurt I want them to be treated as quickly as possible. Something else players (and those calling for games to be stopped whenever one of them is lying on the floor) need to understand is that the greatest impediment to players getting treatment is players faking injury. If they reacted to a bump or a challenge like normal people by just carrying on then when someone stays down we’d know they’re hurt. Going back to de Gea, he should have got up, grimaced a bit, probably saved the shot that went in but if he didn’t VAR could have ruled it out if an Arsenal player had fouled him.

Back to the game last night and Eddie Howe’s comments. Apparently “the focus should have been on Isaac’s welfare” and the priority has to be “the safety of the player”. Howe also stated Hayden wasn’t 100% and was a bit groggy, sounds like a head injury to me, possibly mild concussion. So presumably Newcastle subbed him off at the earliest opportunity? Oh no, they let him play another 70 minutes of football. There’s a clear contradiction here, either he got a smack on the head, the game should have been stopped and Howe should have subbed him off or he wasn’t hurt, gambled on Dean stopping the game and it backfired. No prizes for guessing which one I think it was.

The bottom line here is that the players need to take responsibility and so do the managers when defending them. They have created this situation where we don’t know what to believe sometimes and they can resolve it by getting up and playing to the whistle. We have VAR now to sort situations out after a stoppage. There’s no need to gamble on the ref stopping the game, just get up and play on. And if you can’t then we can get the physio on quickly because we know you’re hurt.
Jim, Norwich

Everton starlet Jarrad Branthwaite scores the equaliser

A spirited performance by a youthful Everton last night against Chelsea. I refer back to one of my mails a couple of weeks ago where I implored Rafa to play the kids, and I think he’s made a smart choice there. Tricky game to put them into, but I suppose that’s why he’s a manager and I spend all day on Microsoft Teams. I think a few more performances like that will be enough to keep us up.

I think we played well, defended doggedly and held our positions against a Chelsea onslaught. Gordon had his best game for us and Pickford was imperious. If I could be arsed I’d do a F365 style World Cup ladder, but just of players who need selling and who need keeping. Maybe over Christmas when more of our games get called off.

It’s a bit frustrating to see us going and dropping 20m on a left back though, if Fabrizio Romano’s ‘here we go’ is correct. I think Digne isn’t in the best form, but we need depth not like for like replacements, and replacing Digne because him and Rafa have fallen out seems short sighted. We have Nkounkou on loan who could be recalled, and Onyango who can play in that position as cover if needed. Why spend what’ll probably be the majority of our January budget on a player for a position where (unusually for Everton) we’re NOT ravaged by injury and lack of cover.

Of course if Mykolenko turns out to be the Ukrainian Gareth Bale and is amazing I’ll happily eat my words, but given our current track record and to bastardise a Fergie quote:

Lads, it’s Everton.
Joe, EFC


Arsenal rant…
Wait, did Croydon Gooner just say that  Koscielny  was a good captain? The same dude who removed his arsenal jersey & threw it to showcase his move to a club? Hilarious!! Which leads nicely into my rant…..

Arsenal will always be a joke of a club because neither the fans, the manager, the owners or any players have any kind of ambition. Its always a “process” and they are always “in transition” or something else. Look at Chelsea, destroyed and rebuilt the team thrice over atleast since 2006. Same with City. Klopp did not use “Transition time” as an excuse forever, maybe a year or so. Even United with their horrific transition period came in 2nd, won UEFA CL and 1-2 small cups. They tried to challenge and when they failed, they made changes to try and challenge again.

Arsenal are forever doomed to be the way they are because no one from the top to the bottom believes they deserve to be on top. They could have easily got in a Salah, Bruno, Jota, Mane, T. Silva, James & many many more players without top 4 which would have boosted their chances of challenging for the league. But their buying is always horrendous and improves a sum total of 0 things. Auba came, won the golden boot and went, Arsenal are still there.

There are no balls to try and take on the big boys in the here and now. There is not time for processes and transitions in the EPL. There are 6-8 teams fighting it out for 4 places and 4-5 teams trying or aiming to wining the title. Then you have Arsenal who are always in limbo, because they have settled for that. And i dont know why. I have no soft corner for Arsenal, but Liv who were no better than Burnley a while back have gone on and won the CL and PL while Arsenal have been in transition since 2006.

Even United, who have not been close to challenging since 2014, believe every preseason that we can challenge, we plan and buy accordingly. Even when it all unravels, atleast United know/feel that they belong at the top and are trying to reclaim that (and largely failing). But atleast they are trying & have an attitude that shows that they desperately want to win.

I always thought i would see the old Arsenal back someday, but now it just feels like they have themselves resigned to a fate of 4th – 10th position. Saka & ESR arent going to change that no matter how lovely they play and are as humans. Neither is Arteta who is currently the worst manager in the premier league (My opinion, but i think its a clear fact), but is skating along nicely as there is nothing expected from him.

Aman (I think i just miss Arsene’s Arsenal, they atleast tried)


It’s hardly Gilles Grimandi up against Alan Smith is it?
Maybe Laca made a meal out of the challenge against West Ham because Tomi didn’t against Everton when he was kicked in the head and got nothing?

There was definitely contact in the box and Laca went down – it’s hardly Gilles Grimandi up against Alan Smith is it?

I was at Highbury the day Grimandi clumped Smith one and was convinced he hadn’t done anything… until I got home and saw the replay. How we miss Gilles.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


A spot kick of bother
Hi Rob Duffy, I think I can help. In real time I didn’t think it was a foul on Lacazette. However, the replay changed my mind. There are still those, like yourself, who believe the decision not to overturn the penalty was ridiculous. Alan Shearer was particularly upset on whatever broadcast he was doing alongside Ian Wright. He went as far as claiming Coufal won the ball twice. Now, if Coufal had made a clean contact with the ball (i.e. kicking through the ball) to either win possession or clear the danger then the subsequent contact with Lacazette is less of a problem. However, Coufal’s initial contact with the ball serves neither to clear the ball, nor get it under control. Furthermore, Coufal kicks “over the ball” (a la Leeds circa 1970) rendering the challenge reckless. That his trailing leg incidentally clears the ball after is made irrelevant by the fact that he’s already kicked Lacazette by this point. Thus, it’s a foul. Ian Wright suggested the yellow card was harsh as it wasn’t a studs up “over the ball” challenge. Well, that would be a red card offense. I think the ref and VAR were spot on in this instance. A similar incident happened on the opening day of the Premier League where Balogun was brought down in the box as he was about to shoot. A goal kick was given. The Brentford defender was praised by the TV commentators as he did actually touch the ball before scything down the striker. So f*cking what? Like Coufal, the Brentford guy made minimal contact with the ball without clearing it from the point where Balogun was about to strike it, without getting it under control, before then kicking the forward’s standing leg as he was taking the shot. Essentially, if you’re going to take the man then you’d better be determining the destiny of the ball first. Coufal didn’t do that.
Simon, Norf London Gooner


One day they will become sentient
When initially reading the response of “we’ve won 14 FA cups” to the suggestion that arsenal used to mean something, I couldn’t decide if Croydon Gooner’s email was a self-aware joke or not. Then I remembered that gooners have no self-awareness, and that it was therefore deadly serious.

Lording it over a club facing bankruptcy is a nice touch from the self-proclaimed moral arbiters of football. And it is simply glorious to see that they are still – STILL – beating the poor little arsenal drum. Oh, how wonderful it is to know that those plucky gooners are still fighting the good fight against the financially doped clubs, such as City, Chelsea, and… West ham? You’ll note I’ve avoided using the word ‘competing’ because lies do us no favours.

Until arsenal give up on this desperate noughties need to be a ickle baby Barcelona they will remain in this weird loop of pretending they’ve turned the corner and declaring Arteta to be competent, before screeching into the night because they lost to Brighton. But they won’t, because what arsenal stand for is pretence and show, narratives and bluster. It’s all ‘trust the process’, from the same supporters who annihilated their greatest ever manager (for doing better than every subsequent incumbent). Endlessly whining about doing things properly, while begging for a billionaire to come and throw money around. Banging on and on about their amazing young players, and ignoring the way they turn on them in a fucking heartbeat.

If there is one universal truth in football, it isn’t that Stoke on a wet Tuesday night is the hardest fixture in the game. It is that arsenal supporters are just plain weird.


P Didi, so far there have been 9 games involving 12 different teams postponed due to Covid.  Arsenal don’t get to rest any of their players having had zero games postponed and having just played a game against a direct competitor on Wednesday.  So Spurs, Brighton, Brentford, Utd, Burnley, Watford, Leicester, Southampton, Palace, West Ham, Norwich and Everton get to rest their players.  That’s if you can call isolating because you’ve got Covid resting.  Which you can’t.
SC, Belfast


Not much to say other than Chelsea really really really need Kante and Kovacic back and also I had to look up the Tom Davies / New York Fashion Week comment in the OOOO.

Thanks very much for pointing me towards that, it’s one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time.
Lee, Hornsey