The Mailbox reacts to Liverpool’s FA Cup exit and new priorities; Brighton’s stance over Moises Caicedo and Arsenal; Leeds let-downs; and the grief Anthony Gordon is getting.
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Give Gordon a break
As I read the numerous comments about Anthony Gordon’s perceived ugliness as well as the various memes coupled with so called experts predicting failure before he even kicks a ball, I can’t help but revert back to seeing a young 21 year old getting hammered in public view. Football fans have lost all sense of perspective and seem to think anything goes and then wonder why players end up failing to meet expectations. What we have here is a 21 year old lad who is new to the game, worked his way up and spent the last two years in a failing team with an average coach. What did anyone expect to happen?! I have a 20 year old son and it would break my heart to see the level of vitriol and personal comments heading Gordon’s way. Only a fortnight ago he was being barricaded in his car by so called fans, how frightening must that be for anyone let alone a 21 year old kid.
I’ve often wondered the same about Dele Ali. If I recall correctly he was held at knifepoint in his home during lockdown which must have been horrific and coupled with public dressing downs from managers and the public lynch mob is it any wonder his form went down the toilet. Many footballers have spoken about mental health and pressures they face something the likes of Rashford, Saka and Sancho have probably struggled with following the morons after the Euros.
Football is a passionate sport and we all have opinions but come on these are young lads. Just because they earn more money than most of us doesn’t give us the right to say what we want. We all must do better.
Good luck Anthony, I’m sure under Eddie you will thrive and we all have your back now son!
Adjusting expectations for Liverpool
Exiting the FA cup is the latest confirmation of where Liverpool’s season is going. I’ll let others try to work out where it all went wrong. Perhaps having all the quadruple chat during the whole of last season meant the disappointment and disillusionment with winning “only” two trophies scarred the team. Perhaps that kind of effort is only possible for a short time in your career.
We now need to readjust our expectations to trying to get into the Europa League spots and look to be a better, hungrier team next season.
There have been a lot of new fans jumping on the Liverpool bandwagon these last few years, and they are impatient -they haven’t waited 30 years.
But older fans will remember winning the Uefa Cup in 2001 and that was Houllier getting Liverpool organised as an attacking force to be reckoned with in Europe. It was great fun.
Klopp also led us to the Europa League final in his first season I believe. It wasn’t as prestigious as the CL campaigns but it you’re a fan you can still enjoy it.
Liverpool wasn’t built in a day and it won’t be rebuilt in a day. But dreaming of seven teams getting into four spots or claiming that our most successful coach of the last 30 years needs to go, is just ridiculous.
Paul in midlife realism (trying not to be entitled)
Where it could go wrong for Brighton
Brighton have been lauded for their squad progression and succession plans. Having Caicedo integrated into the squad, ready for Bissouma’s inevitable departure is an excellent example of the planning they have done numerous times. The only problem is that other clubs will notice it and try to take advantage.
Arsenal and Chelsea are banking on Brighton having done the hard work on scouting a player and getting them acclimatised to the Premier league. And rather than wait to see if he is a like for like replacement for the player he is replacing, and gets significantly more expensive, they are willing to take a bit more risk and buy him now. This causes a few problems for Brighton. It messes with their succession timeline. And it shows the existing players that the “time served” is very much at their discretion if they so wish.
They have some options to try and get back on track. Stand firm and refuse to sell. Or strike a deal with Caicedo that he can be sold in the summer, and try to find a replacement in the meantime, although that puts them on the back foot too. It’s a shame to, yet again, see the processes of a well run club be torn up by a bigger club with too much money and too little patience. Caicedo has not covered himself in glory either.
Read more: Arsenal have a unique opportunity. Don’t blow it by low-balling Brighton over Caicedo
We see it every now and then, two players poised to challenge for a high ball, one jumps, the other changes his mind and ducks, and the jumper ends up in an awkward, horrific-looking landing. We saw it happen to Keita today and he was lucky.
We’ve been fortunate the worst that’s happened on screen is a concussion or a sprained neck. However, I’m certain this move is repeated in amateur games, on school fields and at all levels, with the consequences unknown to most of us.
I hope this email gets some attention to spread the word to outlaw this dangerous move. My hope is the FA and ultimately FIFA deem this offence worthy of an immediate red card to highlight to players worldwide of its very grave risk.
Tldr: ducking while challenging for a header should be a straight red
…Of course Tickner is correct that Fabinho should’ve received a red. Robertson and Konate were less obvious but questions could’ve been asked.
Weird that in his missive about referring ineptness he failed to recognise the frankly ridiculous yellow that Bajetic was brandished for a minimal first foul early in the game which would’ve affected his actions from then on.
Or the fact that the highly dangerous backing in to Naby Keita that could easily have resulted in a broken collar bone or worse. But wasn’t deemed worthy of even a yellow let alone a red for dangerous play.
From the FA rules about red cards:
A tackle or challenge that endangers the safety of an opponent
But anyway, Brighton were hard done by and overcame the refereeing bias to secure a place in the next round.
Narrative, narrative, narrative.
… Why was Fabinho not sent off today?
Why is Andy Carroll allowed to continually maim other players?
Very harsh on Patrick Bamford in your ‘slumps’ article. The man has been injured for the best part of 18 months and most professionals would tell you that its bloody hard to be consistent in those circumstances.
Think again. You could have Jack Harrison, Robin Koch, Diego Llorente instead of Lord Bamford. Also, you can see the influence he has on the team and whilst we are not fully firing yet, most leeds fans are a lot more positive than we were now he’s back.
I do agree on Rodrigo. Great player who is finally showing consistency and is stepping up to lead the team.
Can someone please explain to me how Weghorst is considered offside during the Rashford disallowed goal, when Salah was considered onside for a similar type of occurrence a few weeks ago against Wolves in the FA Cup?
The inconsistency is both mind-boggling and infuriating.
Garey Vance, MUFC
…I believe if you asked any football fan what they really want from referees it is just one thing above all: consistency. Not accuracy, actually.
And the beauty of VAR is that it enables better consistency, because there are multiple camera angles and time to make a decision.
So when we all scratch our heads at Salah’s goal in the FA Cup being allowed by some weird interpretation of a subpoint of a rule, we go okay, doesn’t seem too right to me but I guess those are the rules. And when the exact same thing happens one round later, why is it too much to expect…consistency?
Ryan, Bermuda (wish my performance was evaluated as gently as VARs)
Celebrate good times
One of my very first football memories was Ireland vs. Egypt match at Italia ’90. The match ended as a draw, and the Egyptian players were celebrating. I was very confused, because, why celebrate if you did not win? When I asked my dad about this, he told me they were expected to lose the match.
This is why I am finding all of this hysteria over teams celebrating their victories despite the fact that they have not won anything yet. Some people are mad that Newcastle United’s players and fans were celebrating getting to the League Cup semi-finals. Why? They haven’t gotten that far in goodness knows how long. Even if they lose, it has been a successful run for them.
And why the gripe with Arsenal? Unless you support either Man City or Liverpool, your team has almost certainly not been at the top of the league at this point in the last 10 years. And who decides what proper celebration looks like? Are Arsenal fans turning over cars, looting shops, stabbing random strangers, and setting houses on fire after every win? No? Then please let them be. It’s not as if non of those angry at Arsenal do not celebrate when their teams win.
As far as I can tell, this just seems to be rooted in jealousy. But more importantly, success means different things to different people. If Arsenal finishes in the top 4, it would still be a successful (albeit somewhat disappointing) season.
Weird thing is that a lot of those complaining about Arsenal and Newcastle’s celebrations are the very same people that have spent the last 5 years yelling “it’s coming home” to everybody. Barnsley getting to the FA Cup semi-finals in 2008 was success for the team. A lot of teams would love to be able to boomerang back and fort between the Championsip and Premier League like Fulham has done over the past few years. Hell, getting promoted to Division 1 would be considered success by AFC Wimbledon fans.
Let Arsenal and Newcastle fans celebrate as much as they want. They are having the time of their lives. And yes, success may make them insufferable. But please show me one fan of a successful team that others do not consider insufferable.
Bolo (why you hating?) FC Barcelona, Abuja