Champions elect Liverpool to win the best Premier League ever…

Date published: Wednesday 22nd January 2020 2:59

Thank you for you mails. Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com

 

Jurgen Arteta
I’m finding it fascinating, as a football fan (but traditional lowly league one rather than PL, ahem!) how Arteta is turning this arsenal team around.

Though the most fascinating aspect for me is who Arteta seems to be using as a role model! Arsenal (presumably) got him because some of Peps magic must have rubbed off on him (must have, right??). However I think the former number 2 at city has had more than one eye on Mr Klopp over the last couple of years, and sees his example as the path to a full club revolution!

1. Spending more time on psychology of players belief than physical attributes – tick!

2. Getting your front 3 attackers ( in a 4-3-3) to be responsible for the first line of your defence as a team – tick!

3. Working twice as hard without the ball than when you have it – tick!

4. Spend lots of time initially making sure there is focus on the team-fans relationship, so the fans know they have a responsibility as much as the team – tick!

5. Be smiley and friendly in your press conferences so the media is a supporter not an enemy (and I’m looking at you Jose!) – tick!

6. Take time after games with the team to acknowledge your fans (reinforcing point 4) – tick!

7. Sprint down the touch line wildly celebrating to show this means as much to you as the every-day fan at every possibility!! – tick!

I’m pleased for Arteta, he may just well be a chosen one. We’ll see over the next few seasons I guess. But it will be interesting to see how closely he continues to watch Klopp over the next few months – maybe he’ll be cuddling the owners wife and rolling out flags and a new club anthem at the Emirates soon…??
Pete, Oldham

 

Will people stop claiming that this Arsenal team are putting in “un-Arsenal like” performances?!

Arsene Wenger isn’t the only manager the club has ever had – it has existed for nigh on 134 years!

All Arteta is doing is restore an Arsenal identity the club lost in the Wenger years.

Here we have an Arsenal squad that boasts an array of academy talent led by a former player, who is trying to get this team to defend properly and fight for every point.

Sounds a lot like one George Graham to me.

Ozil’s done – if Arteta can find someone to create chances for that frontline we’ll start turning those draws into wins.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

The crowded goalkeeper pedestal
Now obviously Matt Wright is a bit over excited after last night but comparing Leno to Alisson??
Claiming Alissons record “isn’t that clean”
It actually is that clean,7 clean sheets in a row.
Golden glove in the PL AND the CL last season.

Leno “ballsed up the last time they played Chelsea.”
That was Dec 29th…Alisson hasn’t conceded a goal since Dec 2nd.
This season Arsenal have conceded 34 goals.
In the whole of last season Alisson conceded 22.
In the year and a half since he arrived Alisson has conceded 27 league goals.
Arsenal have conceded 34 since August.
Do a bit of research before throwing out lazy comparisions.
Ferg, Cork. 

 

The pedestal treatment of the really rather good Dean Henderson, and the continued lambasting of the best penalty taker in the world Jordan Pickford needs a little context. Strap in for some stat time!

Pickford’s errors leading to a goal = 1. Down in joint 9th with Ederson and flavour of the month Henderson. De Gea and Lloris in joint 2nd.

Clean sheets = 6. 5 places and 2 clean sheets above De Gea. Alisson and Ederson are 4th with one more clean sheet each.

Things get rather less flattering looking at goals conceded, with a rather dismal 35 flying past the doubtless high diving young stopper. But if you look at that in the context of how many saves he’s made as the last obstacle of our ludicrously porous defence, things definitely swing back in favour of Pickford. Level on 61 saves in joint in 11th with De Gea and y’ boy Henderson.

His ‘High Claims’ could do with improving laying in 15th with 9. Still only 1 away from Ederson in 13th and above the likes of Schmeichel and De Gea again.

His concentration is always a stick used to beat him with, not unfairly at times, but he’s still alert enough to have made 6 sweeper clearances to put him above Henderson (17th) and De Gea (19th)

His pass completion has dropped when playing in the Premier League and not for England but so does Henderson’s.  Even still, Pickford makes more passes per game (32 to Henderson’s 26) with better completion stats (57% to Henderson’s 34%).

In short Is Henderson better than Pickford? Not for me. Are Sheffield United better than Everton? Most definitely. Looking at the stats, I’d say it’s De Gea that should be more closely looking over his shoulder than Pickford. He did have a stinker against Newcastle mind you
Mark Hamilton – Everton

 

Boo Hoo Liverpool, Man Utd fans – you could support a shoer of shite
You may wonder why I rarely send emails about the actual football, well, just Everton.

To all those pissing and moaning about Liverpool and Man Utd, you could support our shower of shite.

Last night showed that only Everton can out Everton Everton. Arsenal try, but appear to have stopped the rot. Everton on the other hand, sheesh, what’s that saying, “it’s the hope that kills you”?
Fat Man

 

More Ole defence…
Have to completely agree with the mails in Ole’s defence. Would like to add something further regarding this particular website. This site does a conclusion piece on every game Man United plays (via winners and losers or 16 conclusions or a dedicated editorial). That would make around 50+ separate writeups during the season. Now at the start of the season, it was expected, particularly on these hallowed pages, that this would be a season of transition for Man United. A majority of their writers had not predicted United to make top 4.

A season of transition basically works with two steps forward and one step back. If you are making a conclusion after every game for such a team without a sense of perspective, you are going to constantly contradict yourself. F365 has tried to overcome this recently by reinstating the negative aspects on Ole even when his team does make one step forward. This change seems to have happened soon after the availability of Pocchetino. While I have great respect for the Argentine, he is a man who himself received the “Ole” treatement in his final months at Spurs. Suddenly, with one fell swoop (getting fired from his job) he was now someone deserving of the Man United job which is essentially a promotion. Makes no sense.

The problem is not as simple as whether Poch is a better manager than Ole. The problem is can Man United afford to rip it up and start again? They have done it 4 times already since the great man left and somehow managed to become worse with each iteration. There is a genuine dread amongst genuine supporters to do it a 5th time. Personally, enduring some short term (hopefully) suffering under Ole seems a more palatable choice. F365 in the mean time can enjoy the clicks they generate from writing articles about Man United now becoming irrelevant.
Zee (United to do a Megxit to avoid the press scrutiny while they rebuild)]

 

Liverpool won their 30th game out of 31 and everyone’s conclusion from this game is that Solskjaer is rubbish and should be sacked etc. As with the City game, conclusions from any game against Liverpool are entirely useless a) because historically anything can happen in a game between United and Liverpool and b) this Liverpool side is ridiculous. Would you look at the Old Trafford game, three months ago and conclude that as a United are the only team to take a point of Liverpool in those 31 games that Solskjaer should be handed a ten year contract? No. So behave.

Where United have fallen down this season has been against the dross (including Arsenal). This is where Solskjaer needs to be judged in the short term, progress against these teams. We’re just not at a level where we can be sacking managers based on losing games they are fully expected to lose.

As for him saying United were well in the game until the last kick. Well they bloody were, this isn’t some one eyed view, it was one nil until the last minute. Yes Liverpool should’ve had more but United should’ve scored at one nil. Liverpool likely would’ve had gears to go up through but we’ll never know now.

The same fixture may have done for Mourinho but that followed a period of him creating a toxic atmosphere and we were lower in the table than we are now. When Ole took over he had to reverse that and transform the squad. Sánchez, Smalling, Young, Lukaku, Rojo and Jones were all on that list. While the first four have been moved on, the latter two have been severely limited in time. Ole has brought in some young players and added a quality centre back (not everyone is VVD). And Jesse Lingard was also nowhere near the pitch on Sunday. That’s progress. Performances are still rubbish but have you seen the midfield?

I would much prefer that we had put a Director of Football in and hired Poch instead of Ole. But I don’t think many managers would’ve done better with such a squad (expensive yes but poorly assembled). If The Club has changed and are trying to plan ahead, sacking the manager 13 months into his tenure makes no sense when the performances are no worse than under Mourinho and there are positives (Rashford’s form, Fred’s improvement, Greenwood and Williams coming through).

Sacking Ole because of the Liverpool result makes no sense. It’s not part of a bigger pattern against the top sides, our best striker and two best midfielders were injured and I can remember some games with United travelling to Anfield and defending on the edge of our area for 90 minutes when we were flying high at the top of the league. We also got battered 4-1 at home when we we’re European Champions. The United-Liverpool game means everything but meaning can not be found in the game itself.

Plus, if United sacked the manager every time they lost to a rival, they would’ve sacked Fergie when we lost 5-1 to City in 89. Gary Pallister, not just the most expensive defender but the most expensive player in the league had a mare and United had finished 11th the season before (and would finish 13th that season, though they won the F.A. Cup). I’d imagine things looked worse then than they do now.

Still not saying Ole is the messiah, just losing at Anfield isn’t always a sackable offence.
Ash Metcalfe

 

…And the insane who fail to recognise the writing on the wall
To all the Man Utd fans that have their fingers in their ears, extolling the virtues of Solskjaer, these are the pesky facts after 23 games

2017/18  50 points, 48 goals scored, goal difference +32
2018/19 44 points, 46 goals scored, goal difference +13
2019/20 34 points, 36 goals scored, goal difference +9

Don’t look at the position in the table, this can change very quickly. There is a very subtle trend, which you don’t appear to have noticed yet and the man in charge has had a reasonable amount of time.

I can’t stand Man Utd and have absolutely nothing against Ole, so it is clear to me to ignore the facts and note that the right man is in the job. Long may it continue!
Peter H, Wokingham

 

How nice to see that Ole’s mum supports him and she still thinks he is just the bestest out there! I’m just confused as to why she sent two mails and chose to use two different names (DD,MUFC and Gaavie, Cape Town {Afrikaans swearword}). Because those opinions are surely not coming from sane individuals who understand the game of football.

Ole clearly is tactically out of his depth and has no clear long term strategy beyond selling any player that the club receives an offer for to help Eddie improve the bottom line. I do think United should keep him because no manager available to United currently would do better. But that says less about his acumen for the task at hand and more about the club internal structures that decent managers would refuse to work under. Just ask Poch…
Brandon, LFC, JHB (30 points and counting)

 

Liverpool to be the best champions of all time
I recently saw Paul Ince criticise the relative quality of the Premiership this season, particularly compared to the halcyon days of 1994, and coincidentally, his most successful season. This has been a theory bandied about recently; that the quality of teams in the premiership has been poor enough to allow Liverpool an easy run to their record-breaking dominance. As always with these knee-jerk reactions, and particularly when the proponents are from the Paul Ince, Stan Collymore, Paul Merson school of cognitive ineptitude, I raised an incredulous eyebrow. But, accepting a probable bias considering I’m a Liverpool fan I thought I would do a quick investigation to see whether some comparison might help illuminate this idea.

So, how to compare the quality of leagues from bygone era’s to our own, and moreover how to judge the quality of a league itself and hence have an understanding of a team within that league?

You cannot use intra-team performance, for obvious reasons, if we took the best team in the National League, who had perhaps dominated the other teams, we could not put them in the Prem and expect similar results. You need a reference outside of the league, so domestic cup competitions, and for the Prem European/international tournaments, to appropriately gauge its quality.

So lets review; In the European Cup (not Champs League, so smaller competition with just Champs of each league) Paul Ince’s Manchester United went out in the first round to Galatasaray on away goals. Galatasaray then came bottom of the subsequent group stage consisting of eventual runners-up Barca, as well as Monaco and Spartak Moscow. Uefa Cup – Aston Villa got knocked out in the second round by Deportivo La Coruna, Norwich made it to the third round and got beat by eventual champions Inter. (I remember watching this cup run and was amazed at Norwich beating Bayern, did they really only make third round?). Cup Winners Cup – Arsenal won it beating Parma in the final.

So a mixed bag. Lets compare that to last seasons European results. Liverpool won the Champs League beating Spurs in the final. All 4 English team made the knockout rounds. Utd knocked out by Barca in Quarter Finals, City knocked out by Spurs in Quarter Finals. Only 1 English team was knocked out by non-English opposition. Europa League – Burnley knocked out in third qualifying round by Olypiacos, Arsenal were runners up and Chelsea won the tournament. Admittedly this is perhaps an unfair year to judge as both finals were competed in by English teams for the first time ever, but regardless the English teams strength in these tournaments shows no signs of abating. On the international front Liverpool are World Club Cup Champions, while the two favourites for the European cup are English and the favourites for the Europa League are English. If this season is supposed to show the relative weakness of English domestic teams then Europe as a whole must also be suffering an appalling regression with its own football.

Additionally, England’s national team failed to make the 1994 World Cup, and it was certainly representative of the league considering the number of domestic players which made up the squad. Last WC we made the semi’s and subsequently got to the Nations League final.

Admittedly I could do a lot more research to suggest correlation more robustly but I can’t be bothered. Essentially, English football is in a period of dominance, certainly financially, and that allows the domestic league to bring in quality from abroad. You could spend an age discussing the quantum leaps forward in professionalism, fitness and lifestyle that facilitates the speed and stamina of the modern game compared to 1994, but its not really fair to apply that in this comparison, yet its not necessary, the current teams are clearly extremely good, and conversely to Ince’s theory, the share of points this season indicates that depth of quality instead stretches the full way down the league. Liverpool’s incredible success (thus far) was more difficult to achieve this season, or in this era than perhaps ever before.

Liverpool should be lauded. You knew I was going to say that, didn’t you?
Ed Ern

 

 

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