Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll read them all in real time, then consult VAR.
Praise Winty (and that Hudson-Odoi fella)
Sarah Winterburn’s piece on Hudson-Odoi is a great insight into how the kid probably does feel. Hope it helps fans step back and think how would they deal with that kind of an offer like that from Bayern in his situation instead of holding a grudge against him for leaving, and hopefully no booing him if he does return to haunt us.
Aaron. CFC. Ireland
VAR, huh, yeah…what is it good for?
I went to the game last night and trying to filter through my bias, I observed a few things that seem to have been lost over the application of VAR.
The fan experience is awful – even with a notification on the big screen that it was taking place, we had to watch the ref stand near the penalty area with his finger in the ear for what seemed like forever and most of the spontaneous joy/despair of the penalty award was lost.
The linesman (because that is what he really is) didn’t put his flag up until after the penalty was awarded. Now this looked like the officiating team working together, the linesman saying – “I didn’t give him offside but it was close and you should check it now there is a penalty.” This is the right thing to do as if the keeper had simply picked the through ball up, then the game would not have been stopped needlessly. If I am right, we should applaud the officials (which I know is forbidden for most football fans). The only arm that I saw go up during the course of the move was the Chelsea centre half, I checked the rules this morning and the ref is not obliged to blow his whistle and stop play because a player appeals for an infringement. If the players choose to do that (which they didn’t) then that is up to them.
The idea that teams have their own version of VAR is ludicrous. If every time a decision goes against your team you can photoshop a picture with a red line to reflect your point of view then the whole thing has gone to sh!t.
I don’t like VAR in its current form, the delays are too long and will inevitably lead to advert breaks, the in-stadium fans are excluded from the process and frankly, if the objective is to rule out controversy then it is failing entirely. That having been said, I remember when replays were first introduced into the NFL, 15 or so years later it is much better. The downside is that if in doubt, the officials make an award that triggers a replay – the upside is that the process is shown on the big screen so the fans there don’t feel excluded.
Anyway, we were dead lucky as Chelsea were miles better than us last night.
Please publish this if nobody else makes the same point as it is making me so angry.
Since the match ended Sky Sports have been entertaining the Chelsea analyst’s laptop freezeframe showing that Kane is well offside compared to level on the view that VAR used but nobody is exposing the fact that they are deliberately trying to muddy the waters. Look at Toby Alderweireld in both pictures. In the one VAR used he has just struck the ball, his foot is in contact with the ball which has not yet moved. In the Chelsea version you can clearly see that the ball is on its way to leaving his foot and is thus slightly stretched in the still image. This split second of difference is obviously going to change the scene at the top of the picture which is why Kane is ahead of the back four.
The decision was spot on and Chelsea need to get over it and stop moaning.
John Stanley, Tottenham fan
Attitude of Liverpool fans and Klopp is reason why City will win title (their headline, not ours)
Although I was not too surprised Liverpool did play a weaker team against Wolves in the cup, I thought it was criminal that Klopp played both Fabinho & Lovren at Centre back as well as Moreno at left-back. Not too sure why some fans are saying they didn’t want to go through anyways and that it serves as a distraction in focusing for the League.
I am sorry for the language here, but f**king bullsh*t. It is January, and Klopp’s record in the FA Cup has been crap, he has never reached past the 4th round, clearly showing he has a lack of motivation of taking the competition seriously and he really should take it seriously considering they have not won a trophy since 2012 and that was the League Cup…
Although I did like the Peps Folly is Liverpools Jolly reference (very catchy), Ian is the perfect example of a Livepool fan who is obsessed with the success the Manchester teams have had over the last 15-20 years. The fact that he is bringing up United dropping out of the competition 18 years ago when they had the Club World Cup to tend to shows the obsession. If Liverpool drop points against Brighton this weekend (and you heard it here first), City will for sure win the league because they have the experience and deserve to win it because they treat every game the same and try to win. Liverpool have grown obsessed in winning the Premier League and will not win it until they just take each game as it comes.
Do not get me wrong, I think someone like Klopp is definitely capable and does deserve to win a league in England, but the sooner he drops Lovren out of big games the better, his concentration as a defender is appalling and he should drop him for saying the team can go undefeated just before they had the biggest game of the season against City! If I were some Liverpool players, I would call him out and tell him to get his sh*t together and stop talking and start playing.
Not #KloppOut, but…
First time writer ….etc. Let me say that I am NOT advocating a “ Klopp out” movement, he has been brilliant for the club, I will disagree with his approach sometimes though. It’s all very well saying that it’s the journey not the destination that matters, but there is NO doubt that the currency of success in sport is trophy’s, who remembers the runners up, no matter how many finals you get to. When I go on holiday, the journey is only a means to an end, and that end is the destination, ie in sport, winning a trophy.
As for last night, I think he made a big mistake in not seriously going for a win. In my opinion, the FA cup represented the best chance of a trophy. Deep down I think that City will win the league. Over a full season the team with the best quality players and the deepest quality squad, usually, will win the league. Yes, in any one game any team can lose, but over a season, when fixtures and injuries bite, City’s overall quality and strength will tell. Also, if you are going to play a makeshift defence, by choice or otherwise, then it’s common sense to play your best keeper. A second string goalkeeper should be about 80 – 90% as good as the first choice, but with the ability to improve. Mignolet is not good enough, but at least it has highlighted the need for a better goalkeeper. Another criticism, is his refusal to make substitutions earlier, when it is obvious that things aren’t working out.
I understand the need to give fringe players some game time and some of his selection decisions were made because of injuries, but overall I think he has sacrificed a more possible cup win, for a much more difficult, possible league win.
Jurgen, you have done a great job so far, but please take it to the next level by winning a trophy, not necessarily the Premier League title.
Colin Sugars ( far too old to bothered with silly postscripts )
It’s my opinion that Chelsea won the 2017 Premier League because they phoned it in/concentrated only on the Premier League. I could be wrong but I’m convinced by the fact that because Chelsea only ever seemed to play 1 game a week when their closest competitors all had to play 2 times a week was a major factor. This theory was further strengthened the following year when Chelsea finished 5th.
A team that only has one competition to focus on, is usually better placed to win said competition. However, on multiple occasions, a team that starts off winning , almost always continues to win. I remember Leicester, at some point, they seemed invincible, they just kept winning. Liverpool, before the City game, looked invincible in the league, now they have twice lost,and I believe they are very vulnerable now than they were a week ago.
If Liverpool win that game, people start talking about a treble, they would have become the best team in the world, this week, we have fans calling on Liverpool to phone it in. It makes sense,the only problem is, it’s not guaranteed, and the examples are out there. Barca won 6 titles in 2010, Man U won a treble, the team that wins the premier league usually also wins another competition.
If Liverpool are going to win the league, they cannot allow a looser mentality to settle in, they have to believe they are the better side, otherwise they will fall at the first hurdle. If they start thinking they need to only play 1 game a week, in order to win, they have already lost. These players have to try and win all the games they can, if they loose to Bayern, it should be because Bayern us a better side, not because Liverpool let them win, and I’m actually saddened by the fact that some fans think like this.
Dave(Its very hard to win anything in life, to choose to loose is a weird mentality), Somewhere
Ole, Ole, Ole, Ole
Many people have been suggesting that the freedom afforded to players is going to make them oblivious to the gritty nature of Premier League. In my opinion this is exactly what we need to lessen the stress that Premier League places on big teams. The smaller teams are ready to defend and get a result so that they stay away from relegation as every point matters but united have such a fire power that to even consider to not give freedom to players on that pitch to perform is anti-thetical to playing dominating football.
To afford freedom is to give responsibility and to have responsibility is to have such an amount of dedication to your role that to mis-use it means to actually try and rectify your mistakes. It is also a learning process and it makes you a better player. That is exactly what is needed. Against big clubs to do the dirty job would mean to have enough satisfaction of doing it but that only comes when you give your best as a player individually and growing individually. Scholes and Giggs played their natural positions only to change their playing styles all due to the change in their capabilities.
So to say that affording freedom is sort of a careless act is just plainly being ignorant of its possiblities and especially of how much a player can learn about facing unique situations. This wouldn’t happen under Van Gaal and Mourinho.
Missing the action
Was it Steven Chicken a little while ago who wrote a piece about the likes of Sky and BT having an endless obsession with showing replays or close-ups of managers doing very little in favour of showing us the viewers what is happening on the pitch? Well, he couldn’t have been more right. It was something I had thought for a while myself but his piece hit the nail on the head and has made me even more aware of it when watching games lately.
From what i’ve seen, Sky are bigger offenders than BT but both can’t seem to resist the allure of showing us a replay while the ball is still in play. Take tonight’s Spurs and Chelsea game as an example – there must have been half a dozen times where Chelsea had a shot and it went out for a goal kick and we then saw several replays of the effort at goal, but by the time we went back to the live action the ball was already out of play for a Chelsea or Spurs throw-in. There were even occasions when you heard the crowd noise pick up in the background while we’re watching the replay but we had no idea what was going on. Now, goal kicks aren’t number one on the list of what people watch football to see but with top teams now keen to play short out the back and other sides eager to press high there can often be quite a bit of tight, pressurised football being played but we never get to see it. We simply rejoin the action a little later and have no idea how the ball got to where it is, who gave it away or why the crowd seemed to get a little excited.
The biggest crime is opting to show a replay while the ball is still in play. I think Steven made the point himself that with the ball typically only in play for approximately 65 minutes out of every 90 minutes that leaves more than enough time to show replays when they won’t take us away from the action on the pitch. I don’t want to see Sarri scribbling on his notepad after Gazzaniga has saved a cross from Pedro and appears to be looking to start a quick counter.
Anyway, I just wanted to raise this bugbear of mine with the Mailbox in the hope that some production/director types at Sky Sports might be reading and choose to actually show us the ‘live’ football we pay sky-high prices for rather than endless replays of the same shot from five different angles or managers on the touchline watching the football on the pitch in front of them that in that moment we’re not getting to watch ourselves.
Make the FA Cup like the World Cup
In my opinion, the way to make the cup matter again is to play the whole thing in one block at the end of the season (with all the league fixtures moving forward into the gaps left in the schedule).
Imagine the excitement of a World Cup or march-madness style month of tournament football to celebrate the end of the season.
Not only would it create huge buzz, but the issue of teams not taking it seriously would be sorted – league winners, relegations and the coveted fourth place trophy would all already be decided, so everyone can give it their all. For all those fans of teams that secure their safety by March but aren’t going to win the league, there is still something to look forward to.
Imagine this hypothetical scenario: After cruelly being pipped to the post for the title by a rampant City on the final day, Liverpool needn’t be disheartened, this year could still be their year because they didn’t have to give up the cup to preserve their (sadly doomed) challenge! I struggle to see the downside!
I am heading to the UK this weekend to watch Liverpool for the first time in more than 30 years, and yet I’m not sure which I am more excited about – seeing my football heroes in the flesh, or the fact that there’s a chance that I may end up sitting beside mailbox regular Gregory Whitehead, LFC!!
Surely it’s time Chris Hughton moved onto one of the bigger clubs of the Premier League.
And despite being heavily linked with the vacant Stoke job, one wonders whether the current Luton manager might make a suitable replacement.
After all – Nathan Jones – he’s been gone too long.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London