Keep your mails on Lingard or anything else coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liverpool Lingard loan?
Now before I start, I should say I am a Liverpool fan, so what I am about to say may upset a lot of people. However with Sadio and The Egyptian King going away to AFCON…. why not try a sneaky loan deal for Jesse?
Don’t get me wrong, the goal celebration is way too Ronaldo for my liking, but if we could get a tune out of him for 6 months much like West Ham did around Christmas time he could be quite a low cost, but high return loan! We aren’t signing anybody else, that much is for sure but a dabble in the loan market and for a lad who won’t play for Utd but could play for us… I don’t think it could be the worst idea! That and the lad does need to play, whether for its, Liverpool or whomever… I just can’t see a negative outcome. One for you all to consider…
Lingard can’t be ‘crucial’
Am I missing something here? England’s player ratings has Lingard down as a “crucial” player, and one we should get used to seeing for a few years. Personally, I don’t think you should get used to seeing him for club nor country for a few months at minimum.
With United’s squad now where it is, he’s not in a position to get any game time at all, and with that the credit he earns at West Ham will fade away. Add in other prospects coming through (Greenwood for example not picked this time round, Ox likely to play more games this season) and I can’t see him playing a game of football until he leaves in January. And that’s if someone can afford him. West Ham are sorted in attacking mid now, so he better cross his fingers and hope Everton can get rid of James Rodriguez and spend too much on him instead.
KC (so crucial he didn’t make the Euro squad)
England v Andorra thoughts
Yesterday’s reaction to the 6 shots on target we had against a pub team really was remarkable. Getting a hearing in a climate where England win a game (any game) is very difficult no matter how unconvincing we are. And let there be no doubt that for 3 years now we have been unconvincing. Here are some facts;
1) we have been involved in three matches against top 10 ranked teams over the last Euros and world cup cycle. 2x Belgium (ranked 3rd) and Italy (ranked 5th). We lost them all without looking like we’d win any of them.
2) to get to the final and lift the Euros, Italy had to play 3 top 10 teams (Spain, Belgium, England). England had 1. Which we lost.
3) to get to the final and win the world cup, France had to play two top 10 ranked teams and five top 15 teams. England on the other hand, had to play just one nation in the top 15 (Belgium) and were spanked. We played two more in the top 20 though (Croatia 20th and Colombia 16th) losing one (again) and penning the other.
4) over 2 competitions England have played an average ranking of 24th (compared to Italy and Frances 13th each). We haven’t looked comfortable against a single one of those opponents in the top 20 (Italy, Colombia, Denmark, Belgium, Croatia, Germany), winning just one within 90 minutes (Thanks Herr Mueller for your gift) and losing 4 (four!!!). Please don’t pretend that we looked like beating the Italians despite them playing two (very good) 50 year old centre backs – it is still so outrageously unforgivable that he demured from utilising the incredible pace that squad had against Chiellini and Bonucci. Sitting on the edge of your own box for 100 minutes against a team who aren’t that much more superior on paper (if at all) isn’t a tactic. It is incompetent.
Why then would we be surprised by the bilge we watched last night? Mr Southgate has overseen blunder after blunder throughout his tenure and it is only the quantifiably easy draws he has been given which has saved this country from further embarrassment on the footballing stage.
The luck won’t last forever though and the minute we again have to play a top 10 team in the second round in Qatar, we are getting Twatted as we have on the previous 3 occasions during his tenure. No amount of denial and no number of unconvincing wins against the likes of Andorra changes this. Please, Mr Southgate, you are clearly a humble, decent and honest man who’s done this country proud just by the way in which you hold yourself, but please just go.
1. Fair plays to Andorra. Good defending kept the score respectable for so long. Only the big guns coming on and tiredness got them in the end.
2. Kane is good isn’t he? His all round game is immense. His own skills and his relationship with his fellow attackers always shows. Far more oomph and directness when him, Grealish and Mount came on. Very tough for an understudy to take his place. Which leads on to….
3. Patrick Bamford. Didn’t score but played for England on his 28th birthday. Whether or not he is good enough, young enough and can show the form to dislodge Kane (I’m a big fan of Bamford but Kane’s stats are ridiculous) is moot at the minute. He got his reward for a good season. However….
4. He made some decent runs and was crowded by an impressive 5-4-1 formation, but didn’t get enough passes into him. The defensive structure didn’t help (plus I imagine the team know Kane’s game inside out) but reminded me of when you play FIFA and get bored of scoring the easy goals so try and get the most impressive goal you can at the expense of simplicity. Didn’t really matter at the end but would have liked him to score, plus if he gets his scoring boots back he will get another chance.
5. Well done Jesse Lingard. Probably not Good enough for that man utd bench but I love a happy player scoring and enjoying his game.
Tom, Leeds fan in Newcastle.
Bamford plays – are Greenwood, DCL, and Watkins all injured, or do we really consider him as an option.Lingard plays (and scores twice) – as above, seriously?
TAA plays in midfield
Tripper plays left-back
England xG in the first half is 0.97
England xG from open play is 1.48
6 shots on target, 88% possession
Against Andorra…well done Gareth, another tricky hurdle negotiated.
Klopp v Ole
It’s really hard to care about England qualifiers when I know I won’t watch a world cup held in mausoleums for several thousand migrant workers. That being said, I really enjoyed both Rating the Players pieces. Not least because it’s great to see them still doing well, and players like Sako be fully rehabilitated. At the Euro’s England had a fabulous squad just a tad shy of players who could put the ball in the net; Vardy & Ings through absence; Rashford though injury/form (if only we’d had the Rashford of the PSG game available); Sancho being a massive enigma; Calvert-Lewin through opportunity. I’m hoping as the qualifiers progress folks like Ings and Mason Greenwood (if club appearances allow) can join what is ultimately a likeable squad, and make them more efficient in translating controlling football with goals. Would just be my luck to have England win a world cup I won’t watch.
On the Maitland-Niles thing, I’ll caveat everything I’m saying because I’m not an Arsenal fan and those lot could well have ample evidence of him not trying, but he’s surely the next James Milner? He’s played over 100 top flight games; an FA cup win and Europa League runners up at left wing back; won the U20 world cup in the midfield and forward three; played as defensive midfielder and right back for West Brom & Arsenal too? And English. And only 22? Get Klopp to give him ‘the milner’ chat about getting more playing time as a full-back-playmaker and you’ve got cover for Trent, cover for [Andy/Kostas], and cover for or to play alongside [Fabinho/Henderson]. I just cannot see why clubs with thin squads like LFC or Leicester or West Ham wouldn’t want him (alongside Everton; Rafa knows what he’s doing). Milner has been one of the best signings LFC have made under FSG and he’s his replacement at the same price.
To reply to Badwolf’s defence of Ole over the weekend, and his argument that Klopp needed a new team to win: Klopp’s first trophy was the ’19 CL win against Spurs, alongside a points total that United have never achieved in the league. So that squad, yeah? Five of the 14 who took the field in Madrid were not klopps, plus a youth player he brought through out of position; north of 50% of that league squad were not his (6 of the 8 unused subs in Madrid). But yeah, if you wanna hold that as the bar then let’s see if Ole can match it this year, having inherited a better squad and spent at least comparable money on Maguire, AWB, DVB, Bruno, Sancho, Varane et al. But ultimately his argument is based on an inaccurate premise. Not least that using the number of players still in the United 11 that Ole didn’t sign is a reason to mitigate expectation, and not an inditement that he inherited several great players in addition to the ones bought at great expense (De Gea, Shaw, Rashford etc), though perhaps if Ole was brave enough to bin off Pogba a la Coutinho he could have done better? I think so. Even ignoring that, in Klopp’s first 2.5 years he’d had finals against Man City, Sevilla (holders) and Real Madrid. Ole had one final where they were the favourite and blew it. United fans have a right and entitlement to defend their manager if they feel the media – in this case F365 – are unfairly targeting their club, and you’re enjoying feeling connected to the team again or a return of rock’n’roll football. Good for you. But if you start bringing other clubs into your defence the supporters of those clubs get to challenge the faux comparison. Frankly I don’t understand why you’d want to, as it’s not very flattering to Ole. One is claiming they need time; more players. the other had a demonstrable style and shape after 4 months. Klopp hadn’t lost a European two-legged tie and Ole has been humiliated by Demba Ba (welcome to the club). Ole’s already behind, and now has to deliver a miracle to mirror what Klopp did in his first 3.5 years.
As for optimism on LFC’s title challenges, it comes down to interpretations of last year. LFC were in title winning form for 24 of 38 games (5 clear at Christmas; 26 points from 30 in the final 10). So how do you reconcile those 14 games in the middle. Having no VVD, Matip, Gomez didn’t make that much of an impact as they were top without them, and finished the year strongly without them. But did lengthy injuries to Fabinho, Henderson, Thiago, Milner and Jota play a part? Non-LFC fans apparently say no. LFC fans say yes, having your defence and midfield all injured at the same time, and unfortunately having their understudies injured at the same time, and having your big summer 40m+ striker also injured at the same time does affect a team in a season 4 weeks shorter than norm and with no winter break. It’ll be interesting to see which biased reasoning is more accurate. The side have conceded one goal, from a well rehearsed set play from the best team in europe who spent big yet again. The side created more decent chances against Chelsea (Henderson clean through; the scramble that resulted in a handball preventing a certain goal; the two Elliot shots, amongst others) than Man City did in a Champions League final but it’s apparently LFC who are poor rather than Chelsea being ostensibly very good. Okay. So we need to see if the other 19 teams can defend as well as them, then. There’s far too many good teams to be confident of any certain winner of the league this year. But certainly reason enough for Liverpool fans to have faith in their own side, even if they lose points at Leeds this weekend. There’s a long way to go.
The way that football fans can creative a narrative that suits their own team is quite hilarious. I’ll happily admit to seeing things sometimes through Liverpool tinted glasses but Badwolf’s email really took the biscuit.
Firstly, the idea that Liverpool ‘bought the title.’ I don’t understand what that’s supposed to mean anymore. Surely to buy the title means that you’ve outspent your rivals? Did Liverpool do that? No. From Klopp’s time in charge to the end of the 2020 season, Liverpool had the 6th highest spend in England. Not net spend, gross spend. Did they spend money? Of course. But I’m not sure how anyone could objectively claim that they bought the title when they spent less than all their title rivals.
Secondly, Klopp supposedly had to buy a new XI while Solskjaer hasn’t. And that’s supposed to be an argument in favour of Solskjaer. Have you seen Klopp’s first XI? Not a single player, except perhaps Countinho (later sold) who could be a part of a title winning side. OGS inherited Pogba, De Gea, Rashford & Shaw are all above what Klopp had to work with. But having players you don’t need to replace supposedly makes Ole’s job harder?
I’ve nothing against Solskjaer. My personal opinion is that he’s a decent manager, but not a great one. I don’t know why he is even being talked about with Klopp because their track records aren’t remotely comparable.
Ole has spent more in 3 years than Klopp has in 5 and started from a stronger position. He’s spent more than Man City since taking over. He needs to deliver something this season, or he must be considered a failure.
Mike, LFC, London
So, after the fiasco tonight with the game between Brazil and Argentina, seriously, how are FIFA going to justify sanctioning players that the PL blocked from travelling to Red Zones?
I mean, you couldn’t make it up, Brazil blocking and potentially deporting English based players because they’ve been in the UK in the last 14 days, when Brazil has the highest infection and death rate after America, and a President who denies Covid exists, and says it’s just the flu, and continually refused any lockdowns!
Honestly, you couldn’t make it up.
Over to you FIFA!
Pogba remains a world-beater
An esteemed contributor mentioned in the last mailbox that United would be better suited leaving out Paul Pogba and having him start on the bench for a “McDonny” pivot. There is an element of truth in Pogba not being a suitable partner for a less defensively astute partner. Donny Van De Beek being a better replacement, however, may not be too much of a good idea.
A brief foray into why Pogba does not do well with either Fred or McTominay. Wolves and Southampton games as examples. Whenever teams sit back against Manchester United, they sit back and allow United to have the ball. If Pogba gets the ball, these teams usually trigger a press of 2 players. Essentially, they are daring him to give the ball to whoever his midfield partner would be, knowing full well not enough damage can be done. When Matic plays there’s a bit less of a risk as he is a capable ball progressor, but his legs are basically gone.
I do not think the United hierarchy was willing to give Pogba a last dance and let him leave on a free only for them to bench him. He is a world-beater still and this is the best squad we have ever had since he signed. So best believe Pogba will be on the pitch more often than not. As part of a pivot, as a left winger, hell, even as the right-back until we get Trippier in January. The probability of success is definitely much higher with Pogba on the pitch.
Wrote in a few days ago about the Ronaldo signing and asked what IS and what MAKES a good signing and it sparked some good debates and answers. A bit shocked that no one agreed with me that n’zogbia was clearly number 1 but I suppose I’ll let you have your Cantona’s, your Lampard’s and your Cruyff’s…
just watching the Gary Neville debate with those 2 college professors Webby and O’Neill and they’re talking about Pogba. Neville says he knows that pogba – albeit content and relatively happy at Utd – wants to play for Real Madrid, in the same way that his best mate Beckham did and quite understandably, certain players want to experience different things and go play for a club of their choice.
And it made me think… in regards to Madrid, with Beckham, back then, yes I get it… with pogba or bloody Mbappe, I can’t help thinking, like, why?
The question is, what would make you want to go to a club, and which club??
For me it was Barca 2010-12, just imagine that. I’d have sold my parents if it meant I could’ve joined Barca.
We all know from say 2001 upto say 2019, Spain was the holy grail for footballers, or more specifically, Barca or Madrid. No matter who you were and who you were playing for, if either of those were interested in you, you automatically WANTED to go, like it was pre programmed in your brain.
But, surely not now?? Surely these things are transient, and dependant on the current lie of the land or current status of the club / league. The key word is here is ‘CURRENT’ right?? For those 6 years maximum you might be at your peak…
I can’t help asking myself why the hell mbappe wants to go Real. Paris will pay him a billion euros per minute, he’s playing with Neymar and Messi, they’re faves for the champs league and Spanish football at this current time isn’t the prestigious Hollywood show that it was 10 years ago.
I know some will say it’s coz the French league is the ‘farmers league’ (which is ludicrous btw) and doesn’t have the glitz and history but isn’t that an arbitrary thing?? His CURRENT situation at Paris HAS to be the envy of every other footballer??
The Spanish league just seems and feels different now, all the high profile exits etc and Barca have Martin Braithwaite up front… I’d rather stay with my parents.
Depay seems to be smashing it to be fair but I bet he and Aguero, given a few more months thinking time wouldn’t see joining Barca as such an attractive prospect.
So, where would you go NOW, today?? What should Haaland, pogba, mbappe and the rest who want their ‘mega move’ be thinking. Is Hazard regretting it??
Is it still Real??
Is it Paris?? Top notch players but always seemed a bit of a mercenary collection.
Is it United??
Wigan are on their way back up…
So again the question… considering wages, personnel, chance of winning, manager, fans, stadium, prospects bla bla bla, who should these guys want to play for? And who would you yourself have suited?
Wigan Dave (That FA cup winning relegation team under Martinez was surreal to support)