All the reasons Arsenal should axe Arteta…

Date published: Monday 30th November 2020 9:03

Keep your mails coming to theeditor@football365.com…

Arteta out
This has been brewing for some time now and yes this will get called out as a knee jerk reaction (I will explain why it isn’t shortly) but here it is I’m going to say it……Arteta Out.

This is not just due to the poor performance against Wolves, this is for many reasons as I will now explain to those who will inevitably jump to his defence.

Mikel comes across as more of a disciplinarian than a motivator which is all well and good when you have players not running, pressing or generally working hard for the team but that can only go so far. Imagine a player on the ball who might just have an idea in his mind, a bit of unpredictability, a pass he sees or an opportunity to dribble and make something happen but he then thinks “Oh but the boss will sub me off if I don’t pass it to the fullback”

It seems that Arteta has been so strict that he has taken any self expression out of the players. There was a moment against wolves when we had a corner and we were about to take a quick one and Arteta shouted out not to. Now imagine if Trent Alexander Arnold never took that quick corner! Sometimes you need players to play on a bit of instinct. It cannot be a coincidence that Nicolas Pepe no longer attempts any trickery which is his biggest asset. Arteta has scared him to death.

And then the Mesut Ozil situation. For all his faults (and he has many) but Mesut Ozil is quite clearly a level above most players at Arsenal. But because he doesn’t run as much he gets left out of the squad completely although he is the best passer at the club, and a player that passes forward and actually creates chances. How many chances have we created this season? Very few!

Arteta appears to overthink. He has a system he wants the players to follow but I think he plays the games out in his head too much and has become a little too obsessed with his tactics which explained the predictable and slow nature to our play. And it’s not a stretch to say he believed his own hype as the next Pep. The discipline was great to start with however that alone will never be enough and I just don’t think he offers much more.
Frankie AFC (Wanted Rodgers in 2016)

 

…People can legitimately criticise Ole Solskjaer, but it is sorely apparent that Mikel Arteta is doing nothing to justify the media hype as the heir of Pep Guardiola. The morbid turgidity of Arsenal’s recent performances certainly beg to differ, and for a variety of reasons:

That was a disgraceful man management performance by the Spaniard yesterday. The entire team bar perhaps Gabriel looked either directionless or devoid of any real ambition to take the game to their opponents.

Under no circumstances should David Luiz have stayed on the pitch for a further 30 minutes. He was let down by the Arsenal medical staff and then by his manager. It seems that a club doctor should not be asked to make those kinds of decisions. Serious consideration should be given to having the HIA protocols be administered by independent doctors appointed by the FA.

I felt so sorry for Joe Willock yesterday. He is being hung out to dry by Arteta, expecting him to fill the yawning gap in midfield creativity almost by himself. It is a terrible burden to place on such a raw young player and the struggle is patently obvious.

Another awful tactical call by Arteta: Set pieces. Those last 2 corners by Reiss Nelson. The palpable looks of disgust from the rest of the team as he couldn’t even beat the first man. He needs to be taken off set piece duties immediately.

Yet another poor display from Bernd Leno, further highlighting the error in dispensing with the services of Martinez. The defence looked much more stable with Martinez at the back end of last season but how was he was rewarded by his manager? A new contract? To be starting No. 1? No, better to consider him as an expendable asset to be sold. I would not discount the effect this ill treatment has had on the motivation of squad members.

And never mind Ozil, what is the story with William Saliba? At 19 he doesn’t need to be the second coming of Rio Ferdinand but for €30m the manager should at least be able to make him a contributing member of the first team squad. Even if he works out in long run, it was a horrendous decision by the club to sink that amount of scarce transfer funds into a player apparently not capable of playing for a minimum of two seasons.

North London Derby next week. Jose must be rubbing his hands in glee.
Robert Vard, Dublin

 

…Gawd – got shouted down for mere criticism of Arteta in the mailbox last time – pity it wasn’t taken as it was meant – never said sack anyone (calm down calm down!) – but come on. The defence is the only thing I have confidence in (they pass the eye test) but the midfield is breaking everything. Xhaka and Onions (yeah I know) – pure stodge – drop Xhaka, sell him – every opportunity he has to pass forward he bottles it, and still turns with the thought process and tries to pass like a total f*cking gumby – he is crap – please get rid. Don’t blame Willock and Saka – what about Willian and Auba doing less than f*ckall – we are screwed – the football is awful, the system that was working is not being used (3-4-3) and at this rate (which will be inevitable soon) they will sack Arteta – which is bad news – but he has to understand – don’t deliver the FA Cup and Community shield with the same squad then go all ‘it must be this way’ you aint gonna last past christmas at this rate!
Micky (AFC and proud of it – and can criticise when required – so stop being precious)

Solskjaer as Jack Sparrow
I’m not going to go all greatest genius in the game, What I am going to say is what I am going to say is OGS’s performance as manager reminds me a bit of Jack Sparrow. Looks like it shouldn’t work.

,A few people will tell you he doesn’t know what he’s doing but in the end he sails off at the end triumphant while his detractors look on in disbelief .It’s why his team can go from banter club in the lower reaches to top 8 in a matter of three weeks with 2 90-minute winners and a strange sequence of penalties in the 3 games , It’s why his signings can go from helping him top the losers section of the transfer window in September, to people questioning the point of them in October, to parody mails mocking Van De Beek’s lack of starts just this weekend to everything making sense to most of you all of a sudden.

It might not end well ,and I can see the reason why some people want the Argentine George Clooney/Brad Pitt/Di Caprio (insert your preference), However there is something Dodgy , Shady and chaotic enough about the current guy, that just seems to work , he will at this rate see out 2 years and personally should be allowed to see out this season., Whichever way it ends at least (like the 1st Movie) it’s been fun.
Roode, MUFC

 

…5 points off top with a game in hand and they’ve been absolutely awful. Imagine if they had a decent manager.
Pete, Canberra

 

…A club record 8th consecutive away win that puts us above City and 2 points away from the top after we win our game in hand, thanks to some managerial magic with those half-time subs. We are in this title race, and all I hear about is how we are mid-table despite finishing last season 3rd just a couple of months ago.. Maybe OGS will get the credit he deserves after he leads us to the title?
R

 

…Just say sorry and we’ll all pretend you never took on the brilliant Ole Gunnar Solksjaer, not like you ever stood a chance anyway
Manyooligan SoC


READ MORE: He stoops to conquer – Cavani was worth the wait


The curious case of Jan Bednarek
Whenever Bednarek scores in the premier league Southampton always lead 2-0 and lose 2-3.
April 14th 2018 SOU 2-3 CHE
January 18th 2020 SOU 2-3 WOL
November 29th 2020 SOU 2-3 MANU
Aodan

 

It’s not me, it’s you
Dear Football,

After nearly 50 years together, I’m sorry to break this to you, but it’s over. I don’t love you anymore. It’s not me, it’s you.

It’s true you’ve been irrational in the past, prone to bizarre decisions, but I could accept it then, you’re only human after all. Now you continually change your mind, agonising for what seems an age, before contradicting yourself and blaming “a clear and obvious error” when no one else noticed anything wrong. Worse, you’ve become obsessed with fine margins. We never used to worry about the odd millimetre, but now you have the tape measure out at every opportunity. This was never how it was meant to be.

I could accept all this, let’s face it, you’ve never been perfect, but you’ve sapped all the joy from our relationship. You used to send me into moments of rapture, but now you’re never sure if it’s right. We’re spending far too much time in front of the TV monitor, and it’s killing the moment. By the time you say “yes”, the excitement has gone. Without the excitement, what is there?

I can’t lie, I am going to miss you, and I’m sure I’ll still have furtive glances in your direction. No one will ever take your place, but unless you change, it will never be the same again.

Yours forever
Rob

 

…I’m sitting here, some 10 minutes before the Southampton, Utd game and not really that bothered if I get this email done before, during or after it finishes. I have my TV set up in the other room, kids are watching some nonsense on Nickelodeon as I no longer care if my son grows up to play or watch our once beloved game.
I don’t live in the UK so I have to pay Sky nothing to watch it as well.

Let’s be honest with ourselves. Football is in the gutter.
It’s become so commercialized, so much of a business, a wash with so much money yet is producing such mediocre content. I personally don’t care if clubs go out of business during this pandemic, nobody seemed to care too much when my Pub went bust due to the ridiculous taxes, and smoking ban. My pub was just the same as a football club, a business where I employed people and had a local following. One of many reasons behind it going under was the wonderful Sky contract where the wouldn’t allow me out of their contract and as Sky basically owns English football, I simply passed caring a long time ago. Anyway, I’m digressing.

Yes, Football is gone folks, it will never be back and it’s only going to get worse, more expensive and a lot less enjoyable.
I find myself astounded by fans and pundits lauding themselves over bang average players. Calling them world class at the drop of a hat. It’s only because the wonders at Sky print it into their contracts to keep saying the World Class narrative as it makes the EPL sound like the best league in the world. Let’s first say that it isn’t. Why do we say it is the best league in the world? sounds a little bit of a British upper stiff lip there doesn’t it. We’re British, we are the best attitude. It might have the most money but when you think that we have one of the highest stadium prices in the world and the highest paid subscription prices in the world, it’s bound to be a wash with the most money. Anybody who is paying a Sky and BT sport subscription cannot possibly be poor. How many kids would that feed and how many families are pleading poverty and with Rashford on his more free stuff for people yet still having all the ripoff sky packages?

The introduction of VAR has done nothing more than suck what remaining soul was left in the common peoples game. Let’s be honest, it is horrible. Just some instances this season, Leeds have a goal disallowed for offside a couple weeks ago. Not offside. Spurs concede a quite baffling penalty, Liverpool yesterday, Man Utd after the game ends get a penalty, Utd concede a penalty 5 minutes after the incident against Palace. Last season, Utd get a Penalty against PSG to take them through, even though PSG are possibly a vile club, that wasn’t a Pen. There are so many more. Now when players score they don’t know what to do, just imagine if fans were in the stadiums. We all kinda put up with it last season but it has now become a joke. You are offside if your lace is in front of the last defender who could be 30 yards the other side of the pitch.

Penalty run ups. A penalty taker feels he needs an even bigger advantage than he already has. I’m gonna hop, skip, do a baffling tiny steps run ups, stutter and such. The keepers were already at a disadvantage, now they kinda have no chance. Even if they save it, you are not sure it’s a save due to Var. But when a player pauses that split second before taking it, the keeper is going to move, it’s basically built into them from a young age.

Players care more about Cars and their image. Now I have no problem with players having outside activities, but I’m not buying into the short career thing here. They are paid such huge sums, in a week they earn more than the average fan does in 2 or even 3 years. And so what? They can no longer do a certain job, but there Is nothing stopping them getting a normal job when it all ends. Neil Webb is a Postman. Why do we think that when their career ends they can’t possibly do anything else?
These days you have kids who haven’t even made the first team bench on contracts that would make your eyes water. The standards will drop as they are now made for the next who know how many years. Do they honestly think that Pep is going to pop them in at Right Back? Of course he isn’t and they know that. But they’ve got a nice house and car with a WAG in the papers wearing a bikini. Sorry I just used the word WAG. I’m sure that’s a bit old hat now.
The overall standard of football has dropped. It’s not a nostalgia thing either, it’s a fact.

I like watching the lower leagues where people actually care.

BTW it’s just gone 2-0 Southampton, don’t care.

Ever wondered where the next Messi or Ronaldo is coming from. Simple, they aren’t. There will never be anyone near them ever. Maradona, Cruyff, nope, gone forever. Why? Because football is too soft now. You can’t tackle anymore. How did Ronaldo get so strong? Because he had to, same as Messi. Nowadays, you can’t touch anyone without it being a foul, yellow card. Roy Keane in this day would play 1 game a month, Neil Ruddock would get sent off warming up.

I heard recently that they are thinking about banning heading for certain age groups because the boys from 66 now have brain injuries. Ok, but I’m pretty sure that Football design technology has developed slightly from those dark days. Just another lame reason to suck more life out of the game.

The standard of the Refs isn’t that bad. This is a game played by humans who make mistakes, maybe, rather than trying to take all responsibility from the refs, which is what they have done, they should look into training and teaching them better. Allow for mistakes as we all make them and that’s what we love about the game. All we talk about now VAR.

Anybody over the age of 30, maybe 35, wont remember passion like it used to be. The Mersey and Manchester derbies were electric. The players genuinely hated each other. It was a battle. Imagine Utd v Liverpool from 25 years ago with todays soft rules. There would be nobody left on the pitch, not because it was particularly dirty (well sometimes) but because it was physical.
People can go on about it’s safer now, but is it? There seems to be far more injuries in todays game than there ever was back then. Despite the fact the pitches are better, boots better, ball softer, shin pads stronger, players seem to get injured doing nothing. Are the modern day footballers bodies not as strong as they once were? Are we more concerned with speed and agility than we are with actual strength.

We hear managers and players moaning about the tough schedule, and yes, Sky have a lot to do with that, but to play 3 games a week shouldn’t be out of their reach in the short term. If it is and I’m wrong, happy to be, but can we just scrap the internationals now? Where did all these international games crop up from? I cannot remember the last time I watched an England game, dare say I’m not the only one. The champions league is anything but the champions league now, can’t that be changed? But no, because football is no longer the sport for the common man, it’s a commercial money generating machine. Does anyone get that excited until at least the knock out stage?
About the schedule as well, it has really only been end of last season and this because of some virus, well they could always shut up shop like the rest of the country has had to, or stop moaning and get on with it. Like I said, lots of injuries, could it be that the style of coaching isn’t up to standard. When LVG took over at Utd, he had so many injuries coming his way because he said, the players are not fit enough, are not strong enough.

I don’t know what to make of it all really. I know that I don’t enjoy it very much, I don’t think the quality is there like it used to be, I don’t think the players have the same passion and will to win. I can’t get excited when my side is made up of so many unlikable players, players that I have seen Sunday drunk people make fewer mistakes. I can’t buy into this World Class attitude when we look at players, even from the 80’s, 90’s and 00’s, and then look at what we have now. Not just at Utd, everywhere.
Yet, we are expected to pay huge prices to watch literally nothing but mercenaries kick it about.
It’s got to the stage where you are not a real pro unless you drive a 200k car, have 1 million Instagram n twit followers, have a gold digging super model gf, sorry WAG, and have half your body covered in tats, maybe a shiny diamond earring as well.

Just to end, sorry it’s been long. I’m a Utd fan and I have to say that the Liverpool side right now has such similarities to when Utd were dominant. A great keeper, strong CB partnership, energy in the middle and pace with guys who can finish up front. Any of them world class? Maybe a couple of them, but they don’t need to be. They need to be good at their job, work for the team and be professional. Add in the sugar and spice of a few really talented players and you have a winning formula. Well done Klopp.

Utd 3-2. Can we never play Martial and Pogba again please. Utd have turned the corner, Ole is at the wheel lol
Marc the Mancunian

 

VAR doing its job
Like any other Liverpool fan I was angry when the penalty was awarded. I could just about stomach salahs boot laces straying offside but the penalty was silly. VAR is a joke, it’s all wrong. We need to get rid of it blah blah blah.

For context I was a huge VAR supporter.

But then I realised VAR is working exactly as it should. We know have a millimeter precise way of measuring on pitch data. VAR isn’t broken.

The rules are.

You see VAR is highlighting how silly the rules are when applied properly. Technically all the decision were correct. But realistically they were stupid.

I saw a few people suggest that for in box decisions were no intent to cause disadvantage to the attacker but an accident happens, should result in an indirect free kick inside the box. Perfect solution.

Offsides are a bigger issue, but to solve it we just have to ask – why does offside even exist at all? It’s not to rule out goals. It’s to prevent strikers from sitting in the box and toe poking long balls in. Essentially it’s to stop an unfair advantage. So let’s just ask one simple question – was an unfair advantage gained? About half the goals chalked off this season would be reinstated (fairly) if we just asked this.

Lastly any fan of a team playing a high line needs to remember that this can only be done if offside calls are accurate and spotted. This is significantly easier with VAR. No manager would play a high line successfully without this technology. Ten years ago it was rare the defensive line would sit at half way point because a long ball over the top rarely got called for offside and you got punished. VAR enables teams to play a high line and press in the opposition box and therefore attack more. Keep VAR – Change the Rules
Lee

 

Dear Jurgen
I completely agree with you about the fixtures and about the 5 subs.
I am delighted that you raised the issues and have argued well about them with journalists in public.

I would now like you to stop.

There is nothing more to be gained by continuing in public.

Keep fighting the good fight behind the scenes. I’d also note you started long before Liverpool were too badly affected so it’s certainly not ‘only’ for selfish reasons, and it would be nice if some of the other managers took up the mantle.

But please do not make this be the thing that people remember you for this year.

Thanks a mill
Joe LFC

 

Salty Reds
I realise that this letter may go to the back of the queue dependant on Sunday’s action. But it struck me that your regular scouse contributor went from Minty to Salty after Saturday’s VAR decision. Like his team’s manager it seems that while everything is plain sailing Klopp is a charmer, with the press eating out of his hand. But once it doesn’t go their way well, Klopp’s true colours come through.

For Minty and Klopp have a look at Salah’s 2109/20 penalties show reel going around twitter perhaps then you’ll both have the humility to realise you’ve had far more go for you with VAR than against you.
P Didi

 

…I saw a couple of comments below the Sunday Mailbox and just wanted to point out the silliness with respect to VAR calls.

Garey says, “The defender’s boot was used for the line because it was the part of the player closest to his own net at the moment the ball was played.”

A rudimentary understanding of human biology should highlight the nonsense of this. If you’re unsure, please go to the right side of a football pitch and try to move across it horizontally with your right foot beyond your left shoulder. Please send in your videos attempting this.

The thing that Garey has missed, and I don’t blame him in fairness, is that the camera angle is a bit deceptive to the simple human eye. It’s precisely why the VAR ref drew the line where he did and why Garey thinks it’s been done correctly.

Stephen Mooney says, “Offside is offside. Whether it’s 10 metres or 3 centimetres, offside is offside.”

This is also wrong. Offside is offside based on what we can see which is based on the frames per second that a camera can capture. The technology can only capture so much and this means that although we think we can see something this is not strictly what is really happening. There is also an issue known as the “stopped clock illusion” or Chronostasis. Essentially I get that you want to trust what you see but your eyes are lying to you; especially when moving objects are involved. These two factors, I think, are strong justification for some element of error being built into the way VAR is managed, particularly for offside decisions.

That said I like other views too – most properly horrific ref calls can be spotted within 10-15 seconds. Maybe VAR should only get 10-15 seconds to review an incident and if they can’t find an issue then it’s probably too marginal and can go either way. This means no chance to draw lines, fewer slow motion replays being agonised over and less slowing down of the play with fans and players having no clue what’s happening.
Minty, LFC

 

Speed it up
For me, the answer is clear and very obvious, when a decision goes to VAR, unless they can make an alternative decision within 15 seconds of looking at a couple of replays, it is not clear and obvious mistake. Therefore the in field decision stands.

Why is unlimited amount of time allowed to see each angle at each speed is beyond me!
Mark

 

A lesson for us all
As a teenager my friends and I had a ladies clothes stall on Bilston Market. The stall opposite us was run by the parents of the Poundland founder. We felt that his selling things for a pound was bloody stupid. He sold the company for tens of millions. McClaren despite being a serial failure is re-employed by Derby for a third time. I’m not sure what the lesson is from all this but there’s one in there somewhere and it’s a lesson I’ve obviously never learnt.
Dean WWFC (Jota should have been 80 million)

 

Alternative conclusions
1) A great tactical battle that was so totally expect most English fans to claim it was boring because it wasn’t full of headless chickens running and putting endless but aimless crosses in the box.

2) In the first half, Spurs had the better of the chances particularly the one Bergwijn sent over the bar after good work from Son and Kane.

3) Think Aurier’s double shot was great too but credit to Mendy he was simply brilliant.

4) Chelsea struggled to find their rhythm but as the first half wore on, they started to take control of the game.

5) By the way, how good is Thiago Silva? The man oozes calm and confidence not in himself but everyone around him. If Chelsea end up winning a trophy or two, he will be accepted by far the signing of the season.

6) Talking of calm defending, Hojberg is just what Spurs lacked last season. Without him, one can easily see Spurs finding a way to concede in this game. Shrewd by Levy.

7) By half time, it appears Jose realized that Kane Son combination isn’t quite working as Kante Kovacic suffocated Kane while Zouma and T. Silva never let Son get too comfortable.
José being José, he didn’t try to appease a section of fanbase by going gung ho and taking unnecessary risks in the second half.
An away draw against a side as strong as Chelsea is a good result and was wisely held onto.

8) Lloris had a comfortable game and did well everytime it was needed. No notes on your goalkeeper is always a good thing.

9) Rodon put in a decent performance except when he gifted Giroud the ball in the box late in the game. But let’s not forget he is stil inexperienced in the league and he started against Werner, Abraham, Ziyech, Mount and later on Havertz, Pulisic and Giroud. Overall, he gave a good account of himself.

10) Take another moment to think over the attacking firepower in the previous conclusion and remind yourself that Spurs ended up with a clean sheet with Dier and Rodon as the defensive pairing.

11) People accusing José of parking bus are, in my humble opinion, being carried away with the narrative. This team has become solid defensively but creates good chances too like they did in this game.
Not many teams are going to create chance after chane against this spine of Kante, T Silva and Mendy.

12) I am not really sure where Fat/Fit Frank stands these days in the estimation of the mailbox as Ole, Arteta and Frank seem to be stuck in a game of musical chairs.
Think it’s easier to say that after all that spending on the attack they should’ve scored some goals but I think Frank approached the game really well just let down by final ball/finishing.
Particularly in the second half, when he noticed that on the right side Aurier is being supported by Sissoko well so he shifted his attention on the left where Regulion was often found out of position. Reece James running in the space and sending in lethal crosses deserved a goal should Abraham escape the attention of Rodon. Think Giroud would have put those crosses away but hindsight and all that.

13) As day follows night, Ndombele was subbed out for Lo Celso. Not that it mattered much as Chelsea crowded the midfield enough to starve Spurs of any time on the ball in the middle.
This could turn into a problem in long term for José as the attack at the moment largely funnels through the middle despite having attacking full backs. Would be interesting to see how it pans out in the next few games.

14) Everyone was waiting for Bale to appear at some point in place of Bergwijn but I thought it was the sort of game where Lucas could have made a difference through his constant efforts and creativity.

15) Chelsea would not be overly worried or too pleased with a draw. They got a point against the form team so should be content, I think. Same for Spurs, a tough away point and a clean sheet while maintaining their league position seems good considering the tough run they are on.

16) What is up with Reece James’ hair? Is it okay only for English footballers? Pogba wants, nay, demands answers!
The Vocal Minority


READ MORE: Chelsea 0-0 Tottenham – 16 Conclusions


…That is the kind of game you come away from wondering if it was a point gained or two points dropped, Jose Mourinho sides are known to be tough to break down, the good old “Park The Bus” tactic, which does work, it won him many a trophy since the year 2000, many at Chelsea, however Spurs have a fantastic counter attack with the likes of Son in their side, so to balance that attack and defence mentality is a positive for us.

Every game Chelsea have played since Edouard Mendy came into the side we have looked solid at the back, this is even more enforced with Thiago Silva in the back line, has their ever been a more impressive start for a 35+ year old in their Premier League debut campaign as him? Well okay Zlatan would likely be top of the list.

Another clean sheet, and now on our longest unbeaten streak in two years, next up Sevilla.

Before I end my mail I’d like to wish a huge get well soon to Raul Jimenez after a really horrific clash of heads, I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who once they heard the sound the clash had made had them feeling sick to the stomach, truly hope as we all do to hear some positive news on his condition soon!
Mikey, CFC

 

More conclusions from Goodison
Congratulations to Leeds. I cannot believe their last 180 minutes of football has only produced one goal – they play such an open, fast, attacking game I’m surprised their games haven’t been more like their early season 4-3s versus Liverpool and Fulham. The fact they only scored one was down to their own profligacy and Jordan Pickford.

For Everton, the reason we didn’t score and therefore lost was threefold. Firstly, the chances in the first half fell to Doucouré and Holgate rather than DCL. If Calvert Lewin has either of those two chances in the first half, they’d have been taken. Similarly, if Dominic would have had Bamford’s chances, he’d have scored them, too.

Secondly, in the second half when Leeds started to tire and we started to dominate more, we revived a classic from the Silva era of conceding a goal. As soon as it went in I felt it was another that Pickford could have saved and was due to his “small arms/falling not diving” technique, but to be fair he made loads of good saves today and on repeated viewing I feel Godfrey didn’t do enough to block the shot in front of Pickford.

Finally, and this has been a theme recently under Ancelotti, once behind we didn’t really threaten to comeback. My opinion on that is that Ancelotti doesn’t really have a tactical gear shift, a Plan B or Plan C. It’s more that he’s relying on us to do Plan A better, or just making a player swap (in this case Bernard for Holgate) but without a tactical change behind it.

It’s the tactics for this game that were my biggest concern heading in. It was a trait under Moyes, and it’s about living to the mantra of ‘never change a winning formula’. Now whilst that’s a well-worn cliché with some merit, the flip of it is ‘waiting to fail to make a change’. There were issues in the win against Fulham, and so to leave that game and not making any change – particularly when the Man of the Match in that formation, Lucas Digne, was out – is negligent. Someone wrote into the BBC live text that our formation had “become a 5-2-3, where the 5 are being pinned back, the 2 are being dominated and the 3 are isolated”. I’ve had a go at Ancelotti a fair bit for being conservative with his tactics. One of the benefits we started to get with Ancelotti at the start was him getting a bit funky in his old age and trying some different stuff (I think influenced by his son, Davide, as Assistant Manager). After regressing from our flying start he just seems to have lost his nerve a bit tactically.

To be clear this is not an “Ancelotti Out” mail – just voicing a concern. Onto the specific player issues:

Digne out for months is a big loss. Nkounkou played really well in the Carabao Cup early rounds, but had a bit of stinker when deputising for Digne when he was suspended v Newcastle and if Ancelotti prefers any of Delph, Davies or Iwobi in your position that’s not great. But he’s young, and hopefully if Ancelotti gets a bit loose again, we see him back in the XI.

We were all glad to have Richarlison back against Fulham, but unfortunately, he had a bit of a shocker today. He snatched at his chances (including his disallowed goal coming off his shoulder – no issue with either of the VAR decisions, unlike some other fans [ducks…]) and just didn’t play very well. Like the BBC texter alluded to, this was probably due to frustration from being isolated and seeing Leeds fullbacks midfield laying on chance after chance for their forwards.

Holgate was dire when he returned versus United, so was dropped for Mina and Godfrey for Fulham, he came back today and didn’t play well either. Must be great in training, but needs to improve in matches, especially if he is going to be our Captain.

Ending on a positive, Allan was excellent. As Leeds tired he really seemed to come into his own and start to take back control of the midfield – if we use this loss to re-think the 3-4-3/5-2-3 formation then having him as the fulcrum of the midfield is a given.
Cheers, Matt, EFC, London

 

Godin gone
People were really excited to see Thiago Silva in the Premier league this year and, rightly so.

However surely a City, Pool, United or Arse must look back on seeing Diego Godin go away on a free to Cagliari as a missed opportunity.

Imagine Godin scoring the winner for Arsenal and screaming in your face to Bale?!!

Few years ago he was the best centre back in the world, I haven’t checked how he’s doing this season I will admit.
Rob, LFC.

 

Did Phil Babb die for nothing?
After watching the Man Utd vs Soton game and seeing DDG injure himself on the woodwork, I started wondering, why haven’t we padded the goalposts with some form of cushioning to reduce such impact injuries?

It’s not like such padding isn’t readily available, nor is it difficult to install or cost a great deal. In terms of the effect it would have on the game, I don’t see much difference it would have on the general flow of a game. Perhaps only that the ball may not rebound with great force and possibly create greater goal mouth panic, which seems like a plus point if you ask me.

Is such protection really not worth at least considering? I mean Phil Babb would approve.
Gormee Kornell

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