Mails on Liverpool’s long-ball game and more…

Date published: Monday 22nd June 2020 7:45

Liverpool’s 0-0 draw at Everton was terrible so mail us about something else, perhaps? Chelsea? Newcastle? Send to theeditor@football365.com

 

It WAS shite
Never realised it took 16 Conclusions and God knows how many words to say a game was shite.
Mark

 

How to beat Liverpool’s long ball
So it seems Seb in his conclusions on the Merseyside derby was rather downbeat about the chances of the end of the season providing much entertainment. It’s going to take players a couple of games to get back to match fitness/sharpness so I wouldn’t write off the rest of the season just yet. I didn’t expect much out of this weekend’s games. Nevertheless, the remaining games will still miss the energy from the fans.

In terms of a ‘blueprint’ to beat Liverpool as mentioned in Seb’s article, and although they obv have other dangerous qualities including two great attacking FBs, they rely heavily on long balls into the channels. They are fifth overall in the PL for number of long balls played, Sheffield Utd are top. Interestingly, the rest of the top five in the PL are in the bottom five of the long ball table; so the long ball game has clearly worked for Liverpool this year as they have romped the league. If you can negate that by sitting deep then it gives you a chance. Their midfield is good at what it does but what it doesn’t do is create very much, which is why they bypass it a lot of the time.

Will be interesting to see if/how they adapt their game next season or if they can continue to use the long ball as other teams try to stop them retaining the title. Who knew Wimbledon of the 80s were the founding fathers of title-winning heavy metal football?!
Garey Vance, MUFC

 

Getting jittery
It’s early morning derby game in Malaysia at 2 a.m. Watching Everton wanting more, makes me feel jittery. Every Liverpool’s players are a step or a second behind their peak sharpness. Everton nearly got a goal.

I wonder, if God will let us win this one? What if we will be made to suffer another few weeks wait, and another heavy drama. And, God only let us ‘barely’ wins it.

Can anyone give the worst possible way for Liverpool to ‘barely’ win this year? You know, show a combination of results from now until the last game, so that we wins it on the last minute. I’m thinking a combination of a few losses and five draws or maybe two draws and a win.

Can anyone come up with predicting the most gut-wrenching combination of results for LFC to ‘just barely scrape’ to win it? My head isn’t quite fully working. Need the most creative of yous to help.

I just want to prepare myself, mentally…. You know, with covid 19, sickness, death, unemployment, and all ….please, please, please, Dear God, not another ‘Gerrard-slip’ moment.

Just give this one to us, even if it is on the last kick of the last game. I’ll take it.
Khairur, Penang

 

 

 

Cool for Kratz
I thought the mailbox might like to read my musings on the weekend’s football:

Arsenal are in deep trouble. If one were to pick through their squad, it’s a mixture of senior players who will never be good enough, one or two elite players who will shortly be leaving the club, a good goalkeeper and a few promising youngsters who have no senior role models to learn from. My question to Arsenal fans is this: after two managers, 200 million+ spent on players, and a rapid decline into mid table mediocrity, was the brutal campaign to have Wenger removed from the club worth it? All of the previous problems persist, except now Wenger isn’t around to form some semblance of a functioning team amidst the madness. My suggestion would be for the supporters to put some money together and pay for a banner to be flown over Arsene’s house that reads “sorry Arsene, please come back”

Maguire and De Gea’s clangers aside, that was another good performance from Utd. Tottenham were incredibly negative, and Utd’s ability to create dangerous situations in spite of the lack of ambition from their opponents was a far cry from six months ago, where they had to rely on Lingard or Andreas to provide creativity. Pogba made a positive contribution, but I feel his reintroduction to the team should remain slow and steady. Let him play his way back into the side with a few positive cameos. People need to cool it with the criticism of Maguire. Yes he was caught out, but the general consensus before the restart was that he’d been a positive signing. One mistake doesn’t change that. History is littered with slow centre backs who achieved legendary status, from Tony Adams to John Terry. I wouldn’t be surprised in the slightest if Maguire was spoken about in the same context in ten years’ time.

Liverpool’s midfield is in dire need of a shake up. Since Atletico Madrid laid the blueprint for stopping Liverpool, they have barely mustered a goalscoring opportunity. They had free rein of the centre of the pitch against Everton and they simply didn’t know what to do. The way Liverpool set up is essentially ‘press or bust’, and Everton’s refusal to risk playing the ball through midfield left Liverpool well and truly bust. A plan B is required in the form of a competent creative midfielder. Coutinho on loan? As for Everton it was enjoyable to watch a traditional 442 formation work so effectively against a more ‘modern’ style, and I hope it’s the start of a trend in the EPL.

Willian is a hugely underrated footballer. His willingness make himself available for the ball and carry it forwards is a huge asset for Chelsea and I cannot understand the criticism he receives. He was everywhere against Villa. Chelsea will miss him if he leaves. Lampard continues to impress with his substitutions, Pulisic was brought on at the perfect moment in the game. With the new signings coming in the squad’s strength in depth looks formidable. All is rosy at Chelsea currently.

That’s enough from Ken, I hope everybody had a smashing weekend.
Ken, Wisconsin

 

Chelsea just about did the business..
Well the Premier League is back and Chelsea start where they left off, not being able to defend from a set piece, dominated the whole of the first half but concede to yet another set piece goal this season, but in the second half we finally turned it around with two quick fire goals.

Overall I was quite happy with how we performed, Ross Barkley looked solid, Christian Pulisic looked sharp, Olivier Giroud looked handsome (and decent on the ball too), sadly same cannot be said for Reece James and RLC, neither looked at it against Villa but it is the first game back for them and for RLC since that dreadful injury, oh and all our rivals for the top four dropped points over the weekend, fantastic stuff.
Mikey, CFC (I still prefer Virtual Crowd Noise than no noise at all)

 

Maupay challenge not innocuous
Can we please stop referring to what Maupay did to Leno as innocuous. it was nothing but. After watching the replay multiple times, one thought comes to mind. Why did he jump? He had no chance of getting the ball. This was not a late attempt to get it. When you rewatch the images, Leno has the ball in his gloves just before Maupay jumps. Leno does not come out of nowhere. And it is not as if his momentum meant he couldn’t stop. He had ample time to get out of the way or stop. No, Maupay jumped to intentionally hurt Leno. I’m not saying he wanted to injure him for a year, but he went in to “make his presence known to the goalie”. And somehow in modern football we are ok with it. As long as the ball is in the air, players are allowed to do whatever the fuck they want. If this had happened in the center of the pitch and Leno was a defender heading the ball clear with Maupay jumping just as he heads the ball, it would have been a foul and a yellow. No question about it.

Quite simply, Leno was hit with both his feet in the air as he was falling down. He had no time to readjust his body weight. It should not be a shocker that he has a serious injury. And instead of apologizing for deliberately injuring a goalkeeper for probably a year, Maupay actually argued with him.
Guillaume (At one point we get reprieve, right?) Ottawa

 

Pogba > Fernandes
Two points dropped but it could have been worse (thanks Eric).

Maybe this is a little bit controversial, but all of the recent talk of Fernandes and Pogba being able to play together and getting the balance right, after the Spurs game am I the only one who thinks Pogba’s 25-30min cameo showed he should be the first choice?

Mediawatch themselves have jumped to his defence lately with the bashing he’s gotten after Fernandes’ impact Pog days are over.

I’ve written in before on Pogba ‘He is the complete midfielder; I don’t think there is anything he isn’t capable of in defence or attack’ and he showed what he can do when brought on, first touch was a blocked shot, and his second touch was a sliding tackle to dispossess Sissoko (who was fantastic for Spurs). He was physically able to stand up to Sissoko, who had bullied Fred and McTominay, and who else can move like Pogba did to win the penalty? Just watching it over he has Dier beaten twice before going around him, and the half volley through-ball to Rashford (who messed it up along with everything else he touched that day), just incredible, Scholes/Beckham/Veron level of passing.

Anyway, back to my original question, Pogba vs Fernandes, for all Fernandes is capable of (which is a lot), I think Pogba is a better player and United should move heaven and earth to keep him. I’d like to hear from the neutrals out there, who would you prefer to see lining up against you Pogba or Fernandes?
Consumer Dave
P.S. VAR got it right, we’re quick to jump on the anti-VAR bandwagon at the first opportunity but it overturned the incorrect referee decision and should be commended for this, imagine the backlash from Spurs if United had one 2-1.

 

The Stockley Park leg-up
Quick question for correspondents’ consideration: How many penalties will Utd need to get past the Blades at Old Trafford?
Sharky

 

Dier and Rice for England?
Interesting to see both Dier and Rice starting at centre back for their clubs, although neither covered themselves in glory (particularly Dier).

Both players are too cumbersome to play in midfield at the highest level, but they both have the makings of a top-quality ball-playing centre back (tough, mentally resilient, can pass, not nearly as slow as Maguire)…if someone could teach them to defend properly.

Luckily, both Jose and Moyes fancy a bit of defence – could this be the next stage of the development of both for club and country? It’s got to be better seeing either of them line up alongside Henderson in midfield.
Matthew (ITFC)

 

Man upset with product he does not pay for
I f**king despise the fake crowd noise. Just let me hear the players and staff. Maybe mic the handful of VIPs in the stands or something, I don’t know. But generic FIFA cheers and groans makes it pretty much impossible to suspend disbelief that we’re just watching some show on television. I know if I paid for the right to watch games, I’d be able to turn off fake crowd noise, but raw audio should be the default. Unfortunately, I’m sure EA will just come up with a greater range of emotions from outrage to ecstacy, then upsell Sky Sports.
Danny, Austin Spurs

 

Match fit?
Mike’s email about fitness is interesting. I won the overall Scottish Taekwon-Do title in March. It was part of a journey that was to culminate at the World Cup in Slovenia in October this year. I had been training so hard for this, sparring for hours every week. Not going to lie, I was devastated when it was cancelled. I’ll be too old for rescheduled tournament, but I digress.

When we went into lockdown obviously I lost the ability to train with my sparring partner. I’ve continued to do a shedload or cardio, stretching and technical drills on my own at home. Last week managed to meet up with my coach and do some outdoors pad work. After a minute I was goosed. I honestly thought I was fitter than pre lockdown.

I think it’s down to the mental side. So much of competitive sport is about split second decision making and This is something you can’t replicate in solitude – a significant part of training is drilling reactions.

So my thoughts are whilst the players maybe physically fit their minds aren’t at same level which can impact significantly on their performance.

Stay safe,
Bill, Aberdeenshire

 

It’s just nice to have it back
Can I just say how great it is to have football back? Thank you to the players, the clubs, the referees and the Premier League for all the hard work involved. It would obviously be much better with fans, and I don’t think anyone is seriously suggesting otherwise, but for now, I just genuinely appreciate having the league back.
Matt L

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