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As an Arsenal fan, I’ve had to listen to commentators repeat the adage that Arsenal ‘don’t like it up them’ , that they don’t like rough housing so stick it to them. I’ve seen referees let foul after foul go on our players, I’ve seen them laugh as our players beg for some sort of protection from cheating, which is what it is.
And now, it looks like Leno is out for a year. I saw Diaby’s career ended by an ‘innocuous’ challenge. Jack Wilshire, Eduardo, Aaron Ramsey, all players who had careers that were damaged by referees who let players get away with it, time and time again. Maupay knew what he was doing…the same thing happened to Debuchy a few seasons back. A nothing opportunity, players jumps into his back, and he breaks a collar bone.
I know every club gets bad injuries, but I struggle to think of another club who has received them because of fouls by other players who normally don’t even get booked. Our season is on fire and careening into the sea, and nothing is gonna change that. The least we could ask for is some sort of fairness from those who are there to ensure the game is officiated evenly. And post match, Guendouzi gets a ban (he didn’t – MC), but the player who injured someone so they can’t play for a whole year walks away free with no censure. Tell me how that is in the spirit of the game and fairness?
John Matrix AFC
I agree with Guillaume (Ottawa) on Maupay’s challenge on Leno (Maupay challenge not innocuous). For some reason, soccer does not seem to take people being taken out of it in the air as something serious. The only thing I would disagree with Guillaume on is that he says this would be a free in midfield, refs would often let it go there too. A classic move you will often see is a player glancing over their shoulder to see someone jumping for the ball and then nudging into the player’s body as they are in the air.
While the Maupay challenge itself is not a particularly vicious example, it is still a very dangerous type of tackle that has no chance of winning the ball and that leaves the airborne player horribly at risk of falling awkwardly on their head or back, never mind their knee. Refs generally let them go, and commentators often say things like “no foul, he’s got to be stronger there” about a guy who has been taken out of it as he is knocked off balance in mid-air (I can’t think of a specific example but it seems like the insight a certain G Souness would bring). Even Winners and Losers yesterday got in on the act, saying ‘he did nothing different to what strikers all over the country would have done that day’.
Look at what they do in other sports. Rugby has clamped down on tackling someone airborne, you have to clearly competing for the ball otherwise you are probably off. It often results in what seems to be fairly harsh red cards but it is a signal of intent to make the game safer.
For me, these tackles are nearly as dangerous as two-footed tackles. There are always some risks, bad falls will always happen, but at least recognise reckless play and punish accordingly. It’s just odd why soccer has a blind spot on this.
Burnley is white
I have always thought it a bit weird that since Burnley got promoted five or six years ago, they never seem to have any non-white players other than Aaron Lennon on loan for a while a year or two ago. Even tonight, starting 11 all white. All subs white also.
Just a coincidence then that it’s their fans flying that stupid banner. Another reason English football really isn’t worth bothering with anymore.
If Ben Mee is sincere in saying that that banner is not what Burnley FC represents then he should really have a chat with the Burnley board about a bit more diversity in the workplace. Maybe it would discourage such behaviour from their so called fans.
Kevin Walsh, Luimneach
Canned laughter is the universal dead giveaway of all crap comedy.
It is a cover-up for bad writing, unfunny jokes and hammy catchphrases. It hacks the brains of social primates to get us laughing along regardless of quality. Comedy producers who know they will fail to create a connection with the audience use pre-recorded mirth to get away with murder.
Is canned crowd noise the same?
Most of these games over the last week have been missing something on the pitch as well as off it. The TV channels know fans in the stadium bring the best out of players and teams. They know a crowdless game is little more than a training ground with consequences.
The decision to play canned crowd noise shows how inauthentic the life of the median Premier League football fan has become.
If canned laughter is for people who want to laugh but aren’t really interested in comedy, then canned crowd noise is the football equivalent. This is not just the prawn sandwich brigade – it’s bigger than that – it’s the falsely loyal, the sing-when-your-winning and boo your poor performers crowd. You know who I mean – the inauthentic fans that have driven up the tickets prices and driven out the real football fans who love their club, support their players and sing their hearts out no matter what the score is.
Will lockdown football remind us that this is not just the fans’ game but the real fans’ game? I hope when the pandemic is over, clubs find a way to make it about us again. They’ll have adjusted to no gate receipts so why not make the right move and cap the prices at affordable levels? Can they venerate the role of the passionate fan by demanding vocal support from those who attend?
When it’s safe to do so, we shouldn’t just demand that fans are allowed back in stadiums; we should demand proper fans. Those who make matches special, every week in every game.
The Premier League has been drifting away from real fans for decades, this is our opportunity to be back where we belong and clubs need to find a way to make that happen.
It’s either that or the descent to Mrs. Brown’s XI Boys.
Then versus now
In response to Fatman’s observations that the EPL is technically poor and compares to a fast paced version of a Sunday league kick around I just have a couple of points.
It’s precisely because of the fast paced game that you can appreciate the technical ability of the current players. La Liga and Serie A are played at a walking pace compared to the premier league, so because players have more time on the ball and are less hurried don’t misinterpret their passing ability to be superior. I could hit a 50 yard pin point pass without any pressure being applied.
Watch a match from 20 years ago before you watch the next premier league game and you will notice the difference immediately. It’s not only the pace but the ability to hold that intensity for 90 minutes. I know the players are much more athletic nowadays but you will notice the skills dropping off towards games in the 90’s as opposed to today.
Or even better watch a game from the continent, Germany/Holland excluded and tell me the pace and tempo is the same and then think about where some of the most technically gifted players originate from. The high tempo leagues.
And finally – Hazard being the only technically gifted player of recent times? De Bruyne? Mane? Salah? Or the vast difference in technical ability over the years – Pallister or Van Dijk (personally the answer will always be Adams but that’s a different story).
So in summation the technical ability is miles ahead of the majority of players previously but due to the pace of the game the occasional ball may go astray. I think the difference in calibre of ‘goals of the year’ packages from then to now would also prove the point with the rare historical gem like Le Tissier holding his own.
John (don’t always romanticise the past. Back in my day cigarettes were a lot cheaper, doesn’t mean that’s better.) DCFC
*Hate to break it to Mikey CFC, but Arsenal have been regressing for at least 15 years they have not actually qualified for the Champions League at least 3. And there are a few more clubs having either their best year. To be honest the only reason no one has talked more about is they are tired or it’s just more click worthy/fun for writers to talk about the demise of Utd. Some of the teams having great seasons this year may fade but Arsenal may still continue to slide till they start improving their recruitment process.
* Spurs unfortunately are almost in the same boat, the fumes finally dried out in the premiership last year when they stumbled over the line after a horrendous 2nd half of the season and used Luca Moura’s one good game a year card to get to the Champions League final …. like their north London rivals they will have to improve recruitment which had been allowed to become non existent due to the previous manager’s record. They do however look like they’ve started well with Bergwijn.
*Whisper it quietly but it will not be a surprise if Wolves make the top 4 from here they’ve got the best run in and seem to be able to cope with the pressure. If he pulls it off Nuno should be a contender for one of the big positions.
* So far CIty have been the most impressive of the returning teams (insert your own they’ve been playing without fans joke here). They are going to play their most difficult games of the return Chelsea away, Liverpool at home next, realistically they will fall short in trying to retain their title. Ultimately CAS will decide how they rebuild, they definitely need defenders something they have generally failed to do since the takeover (Lompany and Laporte are the only true successes they have had) Dias looks like he maybe next on that list so hopefully they don’t get him
*Bye Bye Norwich you’ve been fun but realistically it should be too difficult from here. Your main hope is that West ham, Villa and Bournemouth continue to be sh*te ( which is actually not impossible).
*The more I see Utd the more I feel that any failure to get top 4 will be down to mentality of young players, basic errors especially from De Gea and a lack of creativity (Perreira, Lingard) in the first half of the season. There have been games United have deserved to lose, West Ham coached by a fired up Pellegrini comes to mind, but a lot of the others have been a combination of the other 3. Two will be solved by the players departing or bucking up their ideas and increased maturity. United will need to spend wisely and try and avoid buying everyone on the planet simply to impress (for God’s sake don’t buy Kane and Sancho at the same time.
Roode, Man Utd
Heroes and Villans
I have a massive issue with the first Winners and Losers in months.
How the hell aren’t Villa listed as a Loser or indeed our manager.
We are utterly shocking with a complete lack of identity. What is the manager doing? We were completely overrun by Chelsea in the first half and got a fluke goal. What should you do in the second half. Option a) do nothing and wait for the inevitable or b) mix up the tactics, bring on fresh legs in midfield and try to take to the game to Chelsea – or at least manage to hold onto the ball.
If you are Dean Smith. You go with option A (as has done throughout the season). The Premiership is out of his league (as will Villa be in a few weeks). If it wasn’t for Covid, he would have been gone in March.
I know we are 95% going down with him at the helm, so why not get rid and give some else some chance to do something.
Paul (Don’t get me started on the Chelsea cheerleader JT – what does he do?) O’Sullivan
Is Pulisic good enough?
I recall a few months back a piece on F365 regarding something about each country’s most expensive transfer and when the USA came up, it was Christian Pulisic for 58M. The comment about him in the piece was something to the effect of “quite a bit of money but is he good enough? Time will tell.”
Well my non-published response was “Does anyone at F365 watch the Bundesliga because he was very good for Dortmund.”
I get for most players, there is a bedding in period for the Premier League due to the sheer pace of the league. But when healthy, Pulisic has just fit right in. I’d say he’s certainly “good enough” for both the league and Chelsea but I imagine he’ll have, as most players do, some ups and downs in form.
TX Bill (Thought we’d get smashed, then I thought we’d get VAR’d, then I thought we’d scored, then the game was over with a previously unimaginable draw. Typical Everton.) EFC
I may be a bit late to respond to Paul Murphy‘s email from the weekend, but life takes over when your teams not playing.
Firstly I must apologies to Paul that I forgot to mention the Nani ‘goal’.
I am the first to admit Spurs have the ability to shoot themselves in both feet, but a quick browse through Man U – spurs games particularly at the beginning of the century there are a lot of penalties for Man U and distinct lack of penalties for Tottenham, no matter how valid each Man U penalty may or may not. Therefore the 3 (reduced to 2) penalties this season made me ‘nostalgic’.
‘Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that aren’t after you’
Give me a break
I saw someone on twitter suggest that the water breaks could just become ad breaks, but I am more worried they will become a permanent feature of football.
Could it really go the American way of 4 quarters. I wouldn’t be surprised but would be disappointed.
The breaks really break up any rhythm. Too many rules have changed, it’s a joke.
A. Fox, Dublin
Liverpool and long balls
Trust some Liverpool fans to get overly defensive when someone points out something that they think flies in the face of them being recognised as the greatest team ever in the history of sport. Sure just ignore that I clearly stated the team have other dangerous qualities, and foam at the mouth about your team being thought of as direct.
Ronan, the reason why being 5th in the long ball table is unusual is because, as I pointed out, the rest of the top teams, who also make a high number of total passes, are bottom of that table. It’s merely an observation, that you took it as disparaging suggests you think there is something wrong with going long and direct. You should take that up with your manager.
John Morris, call it a long ball or a long pass, it’s essentially the same thing and is recorded as such. Totally agree it’s about the right ball, I never said about it being a right or wrong way to play. It has been effective. I remember Utd were near the top of the long ball table when LVG was in charge and some opposing fans took much glee at that fact, I said at the time (and still believe) there is nothing wrong with going direct.
Ferg in cork, I’m not sure you giving a couple of examples of when Liverpool scored without playing it long changes the fact that they still play a lot of long balls. And this part made me chuckle, “Perhaps worry about your own team and forget about Liverpool”. Last time I checked, F365 was a football website where people can write in about whatever football-related issue that tickles their fancy. Perhaps you should stick to LFC fan forums if you don’t want to read viewpoints that differ from your own.
Or alternatively dry your eyes, embrace long ball Liverpool and enjoy your title win which is long (ball) overdue.
Garey Vance, MUFC
…It’s very interesting to to read Garey Vance’s ‘blueprint’ on how to beat Liverpool and their long balls.
It’s just a shame the Norwegian PE teacher wasn’t in on this information as he’s failed to beat them twice season.
Jimmy (If you turn the crowd noise off you can here Maguire’s reversing signal) Spain
The Demba Bas
City rampant. Liverpool stuttering with Hodgson coming to Anfield next looking for revenge.
The Kop must be getting a touch of the Dembas right about now.
That is all