Is this the end of Arsenal as consistent top four contenders?

Date published: Monday 22nd June 2020 2:41

Hector Bellerin Arsenal

Thank you for your contributions. Keep them coming to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Arsenal Woes, and awful loan signings?
Well I expected more mails on Arsenal in the Mailbox this morning, but after watching their performance against Brighton it makes me wonder if we are seeing the end of Arsenal being a realistic challenger for the Top 4, maybe even the Top 6 each season, I certainly hope not because I grew up seeing the likes of Pires, Henry, Bergkamp, Ljungberg, RVP, Cesc, Viera and so many other incredible iconic names in the Arsenal XI, a team in which whenever you played them you were nervous at what they could do, now it seems you take on Arsenal and no matter who takes them on you expect that opponent could get something from the game.

Now this is not why I wrote in this afternoon, why I did was to talk about pointless loan signings, in January Arsenal signed Cedric Soares from Southampton, whose contract at the Saints expires in 8 days time, a player who at the time many wondered why he made the move to Arsenal, he has had a few injuries also with his knee since, yet he hasn’t played a single game for them, which made me wonder have we seen a more pointless loan signing in football history?

Oddly enough the ones that come to mind are Kim Kallstrom to Arsenal, signed even though he was injured and played 3 league games, Denis Suarez signed by Arsenal and played 4 times, didnt do much, Arsenal and January loan signings certainly have a strange pattern going on, but who else comes to fellow Mailboxers’ minds? Be it signed in Summer or January windows.
Mikey, CFC (Alex Pato is the Chelsea pick, or even Quaresma)

 

The Premier League’s technical level is woefully poor
So football is back. We’ve seen some of the worst football in living memory, but also some great goals. Chilwell’s and Neto’s being particularly brilliant but these were bright lights in a sea of shite. Then as an Everton fan, a 0-0 draw at home to the champions-elect is a good result, yet what a terrible game.

I’ve been saying this for years but what makes people pay good money to watch this week in week out?

I think we’re seeing the Premiership for what it is. High octane, high passion, but without the baying masses the technical level is still, after all these years, woefully poor. Thing is, I also found the Bundesliga to be similar (unlike Seb for whom foreign is always better) grown men struggling to pass more than 10 yards.

Think of all the greats we’ve had in the past, Bergkamp, Henry, Zola, Okocha, Drogba, etc etc and tell me where you see the equivalent in today’s premiership. Aguero better than Henry? Give over, Firmino better than Bergkamp? having a larf, and I could go on but I won’t.

Only Hazard has been in that bracket in recent years so I think it’s time for a price reduction. Surely increased wages, increased turnover, high consumer prices means better football? To me, it seems the complete  opposite and the lack of crowds has just shown to premiership for what it has now become:

a sunday league kickabout between cloggers

Prove me wrong but please, say how you feel rather than what the stats say because let’s not forget P Neville has 50 England caps…
Fat Man (old enough to see the decline)

 

 

Football without fans
Dear Editor,

Just a few points from this weekend/this morning:

1) Liverpool are just 5 points where they want to be with 8 games left to play, that’s all you can really take from that derby
2) Please fellow Liverpool fans, don’t panic, don’t get on the teams back, don’t be the absolute worst. Played 30, won 27 (and see point 1)
3) Call me crazy, but I get the feeling John Nicolson is not on board with an empty ground? I wish he would just express a straight opinion on this
4) Personally, I don’t think football with crowds will be back this calendar year. Next season will start like this. What’s more, you could argue that 50,000 people in a ground won’t be safe until we have a vaccine (at least two years away, likely more). So, we’d better get used to this, and quick

Cheers,
Marc

 

Long ball?
Garey Vance is perhaps being a bit disingenuous comparing Liverpool to crazy gang era Wimbledon with regards to use of long balls.

First of all, is being fifth highest at anything really remarkable? Dominic Calvert-Lewin is fifth top scorer, is he comparable to peak Alan Shearer? Wolves have conceded the 5th least goals, are they the new George Graham’s Arsenal?

What he fails to add, perhaps disingenuously, is that Liverpool are also second in overall passes made and long balls make up about 10% (I’ve a baby in my arms, can’t do super accurate stats) of them – hardly a main tactic and I’m guessing Wimbledon’s long balls made up more than 10%? Also 2nd in the midfield 3rd possessions so Hendo and co are not being constantly bypassed, not even close.

Finally, as Garey mentioned, the long balls are into the channels to break a high press or busy midfield and for forwards to chase, it’s not lumping it up to the big man for knock downs or general chaos. Wimbledon were crude, chaotic and making the most of what you have, more punk than heavy metal. You can’t really call what Liverpool do heavy metal anymore either, it may have started like that but they’ve had to change and adapt to become more dominant and mainstream. Not sure about a suitable comparison for them, maybe Foo Fighters? Actually they’re more like Man Utd, their best stuff was in the 90s too.
Ronan, Galway

 

Garey Vance, MUFC

You need to understand the difference between a long ball and a long pass. A Long Ball is into a general area on the pitch whereas a Long Pass is to a particular player. WhoScored’s definition of “long ball” is “An attempted/accurate pass of 25 yards or more.”

Liverpool are indeed high on the list of Total Long Balls played but that stat combines both types of Long Ball/Pass. Liverpool are actually 16th when it comes to the percentage of passes classed as long balls, roughly 10%.

Liverpool play a lot of passes to Mane and Salah down the touchline to feet, not hoofed into an area to create a challenge and a second ball opportunity which was Wimbledon’s tactics. Just look at our forward line! Any Fashanu-type player in there? A significant amount of these Long Balls are in fact cross-field switches of play to feet.

As a great man once said “It’s not about the long ball or the short ball, its about the right ball”

Ken, Wisconsin.

It’s true Atletico blocked us out in the first leg, but 37 goal attempts, 15 off target and 12 on target, and Oblak being MOM in the second leg suggests the ink isn’t quite dry on that blueprint yet.
John Morris, LFC

 

OK Garey Vance, I’ll stupidly bite but Liverpool play the long ball..really??.

First game of the season Salah scored a goal v Nwich which was due to crisp incisive passing. Arsenal at home Adrian got the ball and the ball never left the ground till Salah scored to make it 3-0. Mane did the same v Leicester at home to make it 1-0. Trent ran the length of the pitch v Everton at Anfield for Mane to score.  Wijnaldum scored the 5th on the same game due to intricate passing.  2 of the 4 goals v Leicester away(Firminio and TAA) were thanks to passing moves and attacking en masse. I could go on and on and on. In a lot of those games keepers conceded a lot of goals and still played well.

They have a +45 gd. Cant remember Andy Thorn,Hans Segers,John Scales and Co ever managing that. Pogbas pass to Martial v Spurs would be considered a “long ball” for gods sake. In the 30 league games played this season Liverpool have failed to score twice.  No team in the top 5 league games has ever had as many points or as big a gap points wise as Liverpool now have. Liverpool have the best defensive record and are second highest scorers.Everton sat deep. Put 11 behind the ball and had 33% possession. They were organised and hard to break down.  After 102 days without a game it was the last team Liverpool needed to play.

As someone said,”they could have had a nice easy game like Arsenal at home and won at a canter” but those are the breaks. When Liverpool scored 5 v Everton,4 v Leicester & 3 v B’mouth in December alone the “league was poor” according to Utd fans. Now Liverpool,after 27 wins, draw their second game in 30 league games(or 39 wins,3 draws from 42 if you include the last 12 of last season)are a “long ball team” according to the same set of fans.

Mathematically Utd could not win the league in February despite huge investment.

Perhaps worry about your own team and forget about Liverpool…they most certainly have left Utd way, way, way behind in the PL.
Ferg,Cork

 

After reading Garey’s email this morning I found myself thinking how the stats don’t lie, Liverpool do hit a number of long balls. I also ended up thinking if this is long ball football then give me another serving!

I appreciate Garey probably prefers a cultured centre half like Maguire, somebody who will dazzle with a 9 yard dribble out from the back before laying it off sideways. Personally, I will stick with Van Dijk who can ping a ball 40-50 yards into the stride of a galloping Alexander-Arnold.

Taking of fullbacks, this is how Liverpool spread the play and stretch teams, fast diagonal *long balls* from one fullback to another or to Salah or Mane. Frustratingly this only around creates about 70 goals a season.

Sometimes when countering they will also knock it in behind. I agree with him here, there’s nothing that makes me think “Oh no, another long ball!” like seeing Salah at full tilt chasing down a sublime ball over the top before beating a man and curling it past a helpless keeper. For the 14th time that season.

Liverpool’s midfield is not Man City’s but they are not asked to be. But Fabinho is one of the best defensive midfielders in the league. Henderson has grown into a magnificent captain and box to box player whilst Wijnaldum for me is the most underrated midfielder in the league. Mobile, excellent in possession and delivers massive goals in big games every season. Look through most of Liverpool’s big results over the last few years and I bet you will find one of the midfielders on the scoresheet. I’m not sure if any take a penalty as well as Fernandes but if Liverpool get 16 pens next year maybe we will find out.

Maybe teams will figure out *long ball* Liverpool. This is the way they have played for pretty much two and a half seasons now after a 96 point season and a CL last year, a couple of pots and a romp to the league this year we are still waiting to find out.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is…LONG LIVE THE LONG BALL!!!
Adam (Leeds)

 

Wenger back? Nah, you’re alright
Replying to Ken from Wisconsin, I just knew that someone would bring Wenger up with the defeats we had this week.

In a nutshell, no. We were declining under Wenger from top 4 to top 6 and further, things were always going to get worse before they get better. Sorry to say, but Wenger’s acumen in the transfer window had escaped him in his latter years (2015, no outfield signings, 2016 Xhaka, Mustafi, Perez for £80 odd million). Things had stagnated horribly both on and off the pitch, and Wenger was damaging his legacy at the club.

That isn’t to say we don’t have problems now, but for us to ever got back to Top 4 and hopefully one day beyond that we had to make a change with the manager. I think Arteta could be the man to do that if he is given time and the resources to do that. He has a nucleus of very promising young player – if he can move on some of the deadwood on and invest it well then things can improve.

At least it will be interesting…
Tom, London (rebuild, rebuild, rebuild)

 

In response to Ken,Wisconsin in this morning’s mailbox.  I certainly don’t want Wenger back.  I think we need to be clear that Wenger was taking us slowly backwards for a number of years and there were some decisions in his final throws of desperation which the club was going to feel the effect of for a number of years.  It was never going to be a case of having a clean slate once Wenger was gone.  I’m not saying there haven’t been mistakes in the 2 years since but a few of the things Wenger left us with:Ramsey running his contract down to leave on a free losing the club £50m

Sanchez debacle when we turned down £60m from City and then swapped him for Mkhitaryan and paid him £200k per week. Gave Ozil his shiny new £350k per week contract as we didn’t want to lose both our stars for £0Spending £60m on a striker after spending £50m on a similar one 6 months previous. Now Aubamayang has been brilliant but we pumped a lot of money in to two players who both occupy the same position.

Still have Xhaka and Mustafi from the doomed summer of 16 arrivals.  Arsenal have been trying to get rid of Mustafi every summer since without success. A socialist wage structure than paid poor players well above what they should have been on making them impossible to shift
Selling Gnabry for £5m, selling Szczesny for £10m

Wenger left an extremely unbalanced squad that was going to need years of work.But he is of course not alone in the malaise Arsenal find themselves in.  The starting point is to look at an owner who has openly said he didn’t get involved in Football/Soccer to win things. If Arsenal are to really challenge again in the future it has to start by getting Kroenke out of the club.

I’ll leave my plans for what Arsenal need to do next for another email – or at least wait until others have outlined their plans first because it certainly doesn’t seem like the club has much of a plan.
Rich AFC

 

Random thoughts…
A few random thoughts after the first few days of the PL being back

1) Perhaps the most serious point first: Home advantage. It was well publicised in the build-up to the restart that in Germany the % of home wins had dropped, and various studies showed that a lack of crowd support even things up. But the immediate results are still interesting. Just 3 home wins from 11 fixtures.
But the funniest part is definitely the bottom 6. Many of them claimed that neutral venues would be unfair as they all expected their home fixtures to secure their safety. This rather ignored the fact that if they had won more home games already, they wouldn’t be at the bottom of the league! And lo and behold, from the 7 home fixtures from those 6 teams, there was just a single win, against 4 defeats. I guess that is why they also wanted to have relegation removed!

2) I watched the BBC match on Saturday, and they kept making excuses for players, by saying that they probably needed the crowd to get them going. Why are footballers excused in this way? If you are a relegation threatened team, and you can’t motivate yourself unless people are shouting at you, then you probably deserve to go down.

3) Will any team take the plunge and switch managers this late in the season, after the restart? I suspect none wanted to sack a manger during the shutdown because it would’ve looked bad, and also they wouldn’t be able to work with the players for a while anyway. But now things are closer to normal, will any of the bottom 6 take a punt?

4) Are clubs still printing matchday programs?
Michael

 

Subs?
When the restart rules were formed, we were told that 5 substitutes would be allowed but only in 3 possible times. Yesterday Liverpool had 4 separate substitutions – Gomez for Milner in the first half, the Ox for Minamino at halftime, then Origi and Wijnaldum came on together, and then Lovren later for the injured Matip. Any explanation?
Brian

 

Not sure if this is already the case but…if the drinks breaks are mandatory, couldn’t they also be used as another substitution opportunity during the game?  You’d at least have five opportunities during the game to make your five subs,as well as half time (although I appreciate the 22.5 minute mark may not be the most desirable time for a substitution).

Regards,
Tom, Swansea

 

Harry Maguire…
Just wanted to write in regarding some of the criticism of Harry Maguire following Friday’s game.

It was poor, of that there’s no doubt, and pace, particularly on the turn is his biggest weakness as a player. However, hasn’t there been talk of how the smaller, technical players have got up to speed quicker in other leagues? The lad is a unit, and as such it might well take him a game or two longer to get back to his best.

More widely, though, his signing has been good business for United. United desperately needed a centre back to lead the defence, someone who could (as Maguire has done) take the armband and organise. Not potential, not someone to develop; an at their peak defender. Consider the options and it becomes clear that there is a lack of top quality centre halves in football at the moment; Van Dijk, Laporte, Varane, Marquinhos and Koulibaly are the only world class ones I can think of in their prime with the likes of Ramos, Chiellini, Bonucci, Thiago Silva and Boateng all the wrong side of 30 and beginning their decline. Of the players I’ve listed, the only one that was in any way attainable was Koulibaly, and the fees quoted were even higher than paid for Maguire, and he’s a few years older and never played in England (and I’m guessing doesn’t speak English, which would hardly help on the organisational side).

Is Maguire as good as Rio, Vidic or Stam? No, he’s not. But he was probably the best we could get that could fulfil a specific need in the team. He’s done pretty well as an individual overall, got a really good attitude and has improved the defenders around him as well. No, he’s not worth the sort of money we paid for him, but that’s modern football. Has he improved the team? Yes. Ultimately, that’s the only measure of whether a transfer is successful or not and we’re a better side for having him than not (see Jones, Smalling and Rojo for evidence).
Lewis, Busby Way

 

Crystal Palace…
Dear Football365,

Bournemouth versus Crystal Palace is apparently the live match with the highest viewing figures in Premier League history, simply by virtue of being on BBC One. Much like the films of Adam Sandler or the music of Justin Bieber, just because lots of people like it, it doesn’t mean it’s any good.

*Crystal Palace winning, the indefatigable James Milner going off injured, Joelinton scoring for Newcastle and none of Bournemouth’s yellow cards going to Jefferson Lerma; truly, these are strange times.

*Saturday’s evening kick off was largely short on excitement – three shots on target in the whole game tells its own story – as befits a home team having a poor season and an away team that looks to counterattack and maximise the returns from minimal attacking output. However, both goals were moments of high quality.The first was Luka Milivojevic’s free kick, conceded in the perfect spot for a right-footed player. Milivojevic placed the ball perfectly into the top corner, where the goalkeeper could get a hand to it, but couldn’t keep it out.

Palace’s second goal was a thing of beauty. The ball was worked out to Wilfried Zaha on the left wing, who then moved inside to entice two defenders to challenge him. Zaha had created space for an overlap by Patrick van Aanholt, and found his left-back with a pass. Meanwhile Bournemouth’s left-back, Adam Smith, had his attention on opponents in the penalty area and left Jordan Ayew, loitering on the right wing, completely unattended. Van Aanholt then played his pass as though it was intended for a near post runner, but was actually weighted perfectly for Ayew, waiting near the penalty spot. It was a goal made by intelligence, skill and teamwork.

*To varying degrees, the best, or maybe best-loved, Palace teams have always been bands of unlikely heroes. Players who either haven’t done especially well elsewhere, or whose statistics do not look particularly good on paper, but who combine into a team whose whole is somehow greater than the sum of its parts. People like James McArthur, who made his 200th Palace appearance, considered by Whoscored to be a weak passer, but who works tirelessly as an effective link between defence and attack; or Christian Benteke, the dictionary definition of goal shy but whose all-round centre forward play has enabled Ayew to have a stellar season. Similarly, Zaha, who didn’t register a goal or an assist on Saturday, still played an important part in both goals.

Maybe best of all it’s epitomised by the man in charge:

Roy Hodgson is the oldest manager in Premier League history. A lot of (younger) managers of his generation have found it difficult to get managerial positions, mainly because they are seen as yesterday’s men, whose ideas are out of touch and whose methods won’t work with today’s footballers, and yet, almost half a century after his coaching career began, he is on course to take his club to one of their highest ever finishes.

*Last week a detail emerged that the FA are considering exempting clubs in European competition from the League Cup. This should have been done years ago, but presumably Pep Guardiola’s admiration of it has been the resistance. For Crystal Palace, this is a positive step on two fronts: in the unlikely event they qualify for the Europa League, it’s another distraction done away with; otherwise,  they and a lot of other clubs of similar stature will have a genuine chance of winning a trophy.

*Next up for Palace is a trip to Anfield. After last night’s Merseyside derby, Liverpool know that beating the Eagles means they can secure the title with a draw against Manchester City. Will they be overcome with nerves on Wednesday, or will they become the first team to score double figures in a Premier League game? I think we all know which is more likely.
Ed Quoththeraven

 

Timely opportunity to revisit this pre-season piece questioning CPFC’s transfer approach and overall ambition compared to that of Bournemouth – after the Eagles dismantled the Cherries with ease live on Terrestrial TV on Saturday evening.

I did deride the article’s logic at the time and thought the Palace ethos and squad was attacked prematurely and harshly. Turns out it was the seasiders and Eddie Howe in need of the grilling. Dear me they are atrocious. The gaffer match up saw Roy Hodgson with all of the years and with those years all of the managerial savvy, the EH on the Bournemouth coaches tracksuit seemingly missing a question mark (EH?). Another foray in the Premier League for Eddie Howe may be some time coming, for sure the Cherries are going down.

Who knows what will happen with the Eagles but this season has not for a minute been predictable. Palace are now 2 points above the Arsenal with 8 games to play, after 6 consecutive hours without conceding confidence is abundant and the club now have an outside chance of winning a European spot. What a result that would be for a knackered squad that is negative £32m in transfer spend since Roy Hodgson took over. Lots of positives across the board but the key differentiator in collective confidence and on pitch assuredness has to be down to one man – that lack of ambition signing Gary Cahill.
Matt Ring

 

Premier League XIs: U&X Team (Combined)
I have been enjoying the alphabet Premier League XIs series but was surprised to see no U team listed. Upon further research, I discovered that only 8 players would actually qualify for such a team but I also noticed only 3 players would qualify for an X team which makes U & X the only two letters in the alphabet to not have enough players to form a Premier League XI.

So, I thought I would have a stab at creating a combined Premier League XI UX team.

Goalkeeper: Abel Xavier

Picking a goalkeeper for the UX team was a real challenge given that no U or X Premier League player actually played as a goalie. However, I have gone for the flamboyant Portuguese full back Abel Xavier on the strength of his infamous handball save to stop what would have been a golden goal winner for France in the Euro 2000 semi-final. So, on that basis, I reckon he could put in a decent shift in between the sticks. Xavier signed for Everton in 1999 before moving to Liverpool to become one of only five players to have played Premier League football for both Merseyside clubs. Xavier then signed for Middlesbrough in 2005 where he became the first PL player to be found guilty of using performance-enhancing drugs and was subsequently banned for 12 months.

Right-back: Ifeanyi Udeze

Played for West Bromwich Albion in 2003 whilst on loan from PAOK Thessaloniki. Nigerian Ifeanyi Udeze was predominantly a left back and centre back but will have to settle for a spot as right back in the UX team given the paucity of eligible players. Udeze is probably best known for being part of the Super Eagles team that qualified for the 2002 World Cup but his Premier League record is not so impressive having made just 11 league appearances for the Baggies as they ended the season in relegation from the top flight.

Centre-back: Matthew Upson

Matthew Upson joined Arsenal in 1997 and initially struggled to cement a starting place in the side given the longevity of Tony Adams, Steve Bould & Martin Keown but played 22 times in the 2001-02 season to help Arsenal win the Premier League. Upson went on to join Birmingham City but after the Blues were relegated in 2006, he joined West Ham United where he stayed until 2011 and experienced relegation again before finishing his Premier League career at Stoke City where he played for another two seasons.

Centre-back: David Unsworth

David Unsworth spent most of his Premier League career at Everton during two separate spells and was affectionately known as Rhino by Toffees fans. Unsworth also played Premier League football for West Ham United, Portsmouth, Sheffield United and Wigan Athletic. His standout season was probably 1994-95 where he helped Everton to win the FA Cup and earned his one solitary cap for England. During his career, Unsworth was a dead ball specialist and still sits at eighth on the list of players to have scored the most penalties in Premier League history (22 from 26 attempts). Unsworth will also be the UX player manager having twice been caretaker manager of Everton in 2016 and 2017.

Left-back: Robert Ullathorne

Completing the back four is Robert Ullathorne who played his Premier League football at Norwich City and Leicester City. Ullathorne was part of the Norwich team which had an amazing run in the 1993-94 UEFA Cup where the Canaries famously dispatched Bayern Munich before finally losing out to Inter Milan. Following a short stint at CA Osasuna in La Liga, Ullathorne returned to the Premier League in 1997 to join Leicester for three seasons where unfortunately several injuries saw him turn out just 31 times for the Foxes.

Right Wing: John Utaka

Another Nigerian for the UX team, John Utaka spent most of his career as a pacy winger so he cements the right wing spot. Utaka joined Portsmouth in 2007 as a record signing for the club. Unfortunately, his return of 7 Premier League goals over 3 seasons for Pompey was fairly mediocre but he did earn a place in the fans’ hearts by putting in the cross for the winning goal when Portsmouth won the FA Cup final in 2008.

Central midfield: Granit Xhaka

The only player in the UX team who is still currently plying his trade in the Premier League, Granit Xhaka signed for Arsenal in 2016 from Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach in a £30 million deal. As a deep lying centre midfielder, Xhaka is the UX team captain and the cultured Swiss playmaker has the potential to be the star of this team although his temperament is up for debate. He helped Arsenal win the FA Cup in 2017 but Gooners are hoping he can further improve to help the Gunners mount a serious challenge for the PL title in future seasons.

Central midfield: Fredrik Ulvestad

Fredrik Ulvestad is a Norwegian defensive midfielder who signed for Burnley in 2014 and stayed for 4 seasons. He made just 2 Premier League appearances for the Clarets as they were relegated at the end of the 2014-15 season. Ulvestad stayed with the club in the Championship the following season and helped them regain promotion to the Premier League whereupon he was loaned out to Charlton Athletic in League One but did not feature in the Premier League again.

Left Wing: Hakan Ünsal

Probably most famous for booting the ball at Rivaldo’s thigh in the 2002 World Cup which left the Brazilian on the ground clutching his face by the corner flag and resulted in a red card for Hakan Ünsal as Turkey lost their opening match in the tournament. Ünsal spent most of his playing career at Galatasaray but signed for Blackburn Rovers in 2002 where he played just 8 times before returning to Galatasaray less than 6 months later.

Striker: Leonardo Ulloa

Another Premier League winner for the UX team is Argentinian forward Leonardo Ulloa who won the title with Leicester City in the 2015-16 season. Ulloa spent 4 seasons at the King Power Stadium where he found the back of the net 18 times in 86 PL appearances which included a last minute winner against Norwich City in the title winning season that caused celebrations at Filbert Way which apparently led to a small earthquake registering on the Richter scale.

Striker: Xisco

Spaniard Xisco joined Newcastle United in 2008 after signing from Deportivo La Coruña in a £5.7 million deal. However, Xisco is not fondly remembered by the Toon Army despite scoring on his Premier League debut as he then failed to find the net for the remainder of his stay at St. James’ Park. Xisco finally left the Magpies in 2013 and was listed as one of the club’s worst ever strikers by local rag “Newcastle Evening Chronicle”.
Phil (exiled in Brisbane) Chiz

 

Patrick Bamford…
Dear F365,

Lockdown has caused great hardship on a great many people. Financial and emotional turbulence. Isolation. Loneliness. But, lockdown had made me forget one thing.

It made me forget that Patrick Bamford existed.

But now he’s been allowed out of his house, and back onto a football pitch.

And he’s back ruining my day.

This utter moron of a footballer might cost us promotion.
Jonno McSchmonno

 

All-rounders…
Hey Consumer Dave. For me, it would definitely be Pogba. Obviously, I don’t watch United as much but trying to compare in terms of type of player (non-footballing characteristics excluded) it has to be the big athletic player with the magician’s touch and dribbling ability. Pogba, Yaya and hopefully our very own RLC (I know I know, he has a long way to go) are just a sight to behold when dribbling through a team. The combination of gifts can make them the only true allrounder, think Freddie Flintoff in the 2005 Ashes. The great box-to-box midfielders like Gerrard impact both ends of the pitch but the 3 mentioned can often do it literally singlehandedly due to their strength and dribbling ability. Add on great vision and passing ability and can be at times unstoppable. The greatest version of this player is my all-time favourite and Hazard-snatcher, Zidane.
Saaj (CFC)

 

This season is a hard stool that must be flushed away…
Worth pointing out to Johnny Nic that all stools, regardless of where they lie on the Bristol scale, must be flushed away.
Alan G, Paris 

More Related Articles