Luiz doesn’t deserve one of worst Premier League exits

Will Ford
David Luiz Arsenal Anthony Taylor

Thanks for your mails. Keep them coming to…


David Luiz bashing…
So obviously a lot of David Luiz bashing going on, very warranted from Arsenal fans after yesterday.

It is quite painful to see from a Chelsea fan. He won it all with us and brought so much joy and entertainment. He’s the geezer, brightened up the place, (lovingly) bullied an oversized security guard at Chelsea to make him instagram-famous, made foreign players feel welcome, and was a true second captain. He pinged ridiculously accurate long balls and smashed in some absolute worldies – especially in his first spell, and played (and mullered in a penalty) on one leg for our greatest night in Munich. Yes, his rashness was only tamed with Conte’s three at the back but that was the package you got and only a joyless soul wouldn’t pick that over a Cahill.

I can’t accept the bashing from people like Gary Neville and certain mailboxers. He was not always this calamitous – rash, yes, but I feel Arsenal has brought the extra banter out of him. I generally like Gnev but the PlayStation comments from the beginning were harsh and I remember him doing a sky feature somewhat retracting that during Luiz’s good days – now he conveniently excludes that when he’s always had it right about Luiz.

To be honest I’m happy he’s not our centreback, maybe just melancholic about the joyful geezer who’s won it all (absolutely ALL of it) having one of the worst ever exits from the premier league.
Saaj (CFC)


Ederson should’ve gone…
Why was Ederson not shown a red card after a clearly reckless tackle that endangered a player? If he had taken out Auba in the same fashion, it would have been a penalty and a red card. Or do we not have safety concerns when you’re endangering someone from your own team?
Kay Kay


Poor day for VAR…
Just a couple of observations from the 2 games yesterday.

So we all know that there was a technical failure with the goal-line technology that resulted in a valid goal not being awarded.

In my eyes, what there appears to have been a slight lack of in the ‘lessons learned review’ is why the people sat miles away in the VAR caravan did not recognise this as an incident that warranted closer review and advised Michael Oliver to pause the game. Michael Oliver appears to be pretty much blameless from what I can make out (and continues to be England’s finest matchday official), but I would be really interested to hear who was talking to him in the following 30 seconds of play as the ball went up the other end for a villa corner. Who was talking to him if it wasn’t the caravan crew ?

Imagine a reverse scenario: goal-line technology awards a goal yet clear camera angles suggest that there is strong doubt that the ball crossed the line. Are we saying that the VAR would not (should not) intervene ?

Surely their review remit has to include all incidents resulting in a potential goal !?!

Poor day for the concept of VAR in my mind.

The second thing that raised an eyebrow was the stadium announcer at the Etihad for substitutions. Who did he think he was talking to and why did he adopt the ‘rev-up-the-crowd’ style to his delivery in some cases ?

Quite possibly he was sat in a caravan with some other people detached from reality.

Just interested to hear what people preferred in terms of coverage – did you prefer the fake crowd noises or the unadjusted version ?

I watched the first half of the villa game with the crowd noise and recognised that it provided a pretty decent attempt at recreating the product that we have become accustomed to, but I flipped to the no-crowd noise version after that point and will probably stay that way for the foreseeable – just too interesting to hear the player sounds.

It’s good to be back.
Sparky, LFC


In defence of Dan James…
Anyone else feel the continual slating of Dan James is unfair? He’s far exceeded expectations for 15m championship player in his first season. Yes he shouldn’t have started as main games as he has but blame that on the only partial rebuild of the squad over the summer. Now the squad has a bit more cover the thought of bringing him on for the last 20mins against tired legs is frightening. He is still a work in progress but as fellow speed merchant Adama Traore has proven this season, end product can be coached but electric pace just can’t.

As for Fred, wouldn’t be surprised to see him play those big games were Pogba’s discipline may be called into question. His tenacity and workrate was the platform for successes against Chelsea and City, playing passes with a zip that elder statesman Matic just isn’t capable of anymore.

Roll on Friday night for Mourinho to prove all of the above wrong.
Kev Exiled to Edinburgh


It was a bit like a kiss from your cousin
I listened to both games last night on 5Live, and my word it was nice to have football back.

Without the sound background and energy potential having a crowd provides however, it felt very flat. Commentators barely raised their voices when goals were scored as they weren’t having to talk over crowd reactions and the whole experience was sub-par.

I don’t think JNic needs to worry too much about fans becoming obsolete, the TV and radio product does need that crowd energy to be a compelling product. Last night felt like the early rounds of low stakes echoey stadium Olympic football,  and not too many people will pay their £40 a month to watch that.

Onto Five Questions About The Pogba – Fernandes Axis At Oh God Please Stop, at some point will people realise that Pogba is happiest as a deep lying but box to box player? Pogba has always been the complete midfielder, his strengths are having no weaknesses. His defensive work is strong, his drive and energy are strong and his preference is to dictate play from deep. It wasn’t his fault that previously at United he was dictating play to people who fell over or stood still, so Pogba felt he needed to do it all himself. He is not prime Lampard, he’s prime Gerrard.

Fernandes is also strong defensively and ridiculously hard working, but prefers to operate forward of the midfield.

A midfield three of Someone sitting, Pogba deep lying box to box and Fernandes as a more advanced attack minded midfielder is very, very strong. All three players are good defensively and hard working, and at least two of the three excellent on the ball and huge goal threats. More importantly, all three are played in the position they are best in.

If United don’t play 4-3-3 with Fred, Matic and McTominay competing for the third slot then they are mental.

Pogba and Fernandes should be the best midfield United have had since Keane and Scholes, and even with everyone now playing in empty stadiums that sound like a full Emirates, I’m very much looking forward to seeing how they do.

Also Marcus Rashford ❤
Tim Sutton


Werner official, time to get giddy for 2021
Timo Werner officially confirmed as a Chelsea player for the 2020/21 season, honestly so relieved that it is now all sealed, you never can be 100% sure till it is done, hijacking of deals are so common practise now, Chelsea fans have been stung by this before with the infamous Robinho deal, when he ended up in Manchester instead.

But what a first three signing for Frank Lampard in his tenure, Mateo Kovacic, Hakim Ziyech and Timo Werner, sure beats the signings of Danny Drinkwater, Alvaro Morata and Bakayoko, cannot wait to see how the 2020/21 season plays out, I suppose it also means that the pressure to qualify for the top four is a little bit less since we have attracted these signings without the lure of guaranteed Champions League football.
Mikey, CFC



Random thoughts…
* At what point does Arsenal buying old guys from Chelsea (Cechm,Gallas , Luiz) stop being stupid or comedic and start  veering towards masochism’

* Will the big loser from Covid and  not playing the Euro’s this year, be  C. Ronaldo , I know it was just Italian cup but recent performances give the feel that Father time is finally going to win this battle,He would have been better off making this his final year in Europe playing one final Major tournament for his nation and if you believe Nani buggering off to the MLS.

* Is the decision to not complete the season by the french and Dutch looking a tad premature now.

* He’s still only 22 but is Tuanzebe destined to be the next Ledley King or Wes Brown Good when he plays but often injured,

* Bayern have just won their 427th title is the key to the end of their dominance not for one team to go to hell with the 50+1 rule and just do a PSG buy everyone who is not nailed down and try to win the title.
Rotimi Aruwajoye


Jack Grealish…
Cheers Jon, Cape Town – after all the good work done by Marcus Rashford recently it’s great to have the fans back to remind us all why we dislike Man Utd so much. Grealish doesn’t look much better than Pereira? Even if you haven’t seen much of Grealish this season you surely can’t have missed the goal he put in the top corner at Old Trafford earlier in the season (although David de Gea didn’t see it either to be fair). I’ve seen plenty of him this season and he’s more than capable of playing at the top level – writing him off after playing his first game in 3 months is a slight overreaction.

And also – any Sheffield Utd fans who were wondering why VAR didn’t get involved to overrule the goal-line technology debacle are presumably also wondering why VAR didn’t alert the referee to the pretty blatant shirt pulling on Tyrone Mings in the second half.
Dave Horgan, AVFC, Dublin


High hopes…
Following on from your players you’re looking forward to seeing, I was thinking of my own club, and the players who I have, possibly unreasonably, high hopes for.

Eric Dier is looking in great shape. He is naturally a unit but looks trimmed down, and could well be the defensive shield our team has been sorely missing. He had become cumbersome, slow to the challenge and too often out of position – a symptom of not having Dembele alongside quite possibly (and to be frank, since Dembele’s departure our form has plummeted so he’s far from alone).

Lo Celso and Ndombele in the team together. One of the most disappointing aspects of Pochettino’s sacking was the he didn’t get to play with the two players he clearly wanted. Lo Celso has shown what a talent he is, Ndombele hasn’t. However, and this is a slight to those who don’t see it, Ndombele is a class act. The few flashes of inspiration we’ve seen, the wriggle out of a tight situation, the threaded passes between the lines, have been missing since, here’s that name again, Dembele left – or perhaps even since Modric departed.

Kane, Son and Bergwijn in the same line up. Kane drops deep because we don’t have a midfield who are capable of controlling the match – well if the aforementioned trio of Dier, Ndombele and Lo Celso work then Kane spearheading the attack flanked by the directness of Son and Bergwijn is prospect that many supporters will be desperate to see.

Players, or perhaps positions I’m particularly wary of are both full backs. Neither instils a sense of confidence either in attack or defence, and both sides are prone to calamitous mistakes. Centre half where all our players have struggled badly, and that Dier position which, even if he steps up, still needs a significant upgrade.
Dan Mallerman


Bizarre rant…
Why is Minty LFC so angry? About everyone?

It was a fair point about club’s re-evaluating match day income, for the clubs at the top end of the league ticket and match income is insignificant – hospitality is the only real cash cow. It’s a fair point to suggest that clubs might want to look at alternative options for having fans in the stadium, whether that’s freebies, a more “vanilla” (sorry, corporate speak) day with just admission with none of the extras like £9 hotdogs and focus on the the revenue raising activities. As a season ticket holder at an underperforming premier league team myself, I’d happily never buy a programme or stadium catering again and if the club want to spend more time concentrating on treating a hedge fund manager to pay for additional transfer fees, all the better.

Why Minty felt the need for a bizarre little rant against City fans who, more than most, have nothing to prove is bizarre. Those of us that don’t suck on Klopp’s teat remember trips to a half full Anfield when things haven’t been going so well, so calm it down.
Gav, Edinburgh 


Arsenal’s transfer authority
For the question in your 15th conclusion on the Man City v Arsenal game, “Who is the ultimate authority? If Edu Gaspar and Raul Sanllehi differ on what a desirable footballer looks like, who casts the deciding vote?”, the answer is quite simple.

It’s Kia Joorabchian. Now that’s an unhealthy club.
Rory, Cape Town


Long time reader, first time writer.

It’s been an odd time in the lower leagues of late.  Whilst the debate raged around Project Restart, league 2 quietly just decided to leave it there. Probably best not bother all things considered, was the summary. Compromises were made, agreements with the leagues above and below reached. Is it perfect? No.  Nothing is or can be.  But it’s done.  Except we’re still having playoffs for some reason.

Whilst all else in the world seems universally awful, this is good news, unequivocally good news, for Colchester United. Our last few seasons have more-or-less followed the same basic pattern.

Slow start due to losing our 4 best players in the summer and bedding in the new signings.  Fans hate the manager and owner.

Picks up nicely. Top 4 by early December. Fans okay with owner and manager.

1 point from 9 over Christmas against objectively awful teams. Fans hate manager and owner.

Picks up in the new year.  Top 6 again by March. Fans giddy with excitement.

Odd run of mixed results no one can understand.

Awful through April and May. Everything is bad and we should just dissolve the club through embarrassment.

Picks up a bit.  Good results against top 6 teams.  False hope abounds.

We finish 10th.

When the season ‘finished’ we were, happily just about to hit our usual downturn.  We beat Carlisle away and ended up 6th, a point ahead of Port Vale in 8th. Previous results were mix of home losses, away wins and a 3-0 defeat to a presumably rather aggrieved Port Vale.

We might very well have stayed in the top 6 for the remaining 10 games. Who knows? Recent history was not on our side though.  But in the playoffs were are and tonight we play Exeter at home, in what would have been a rare sell out for the club.

I’m a bad football watcher at the best of times, but this one is especially nerve-wracking.  There’s no form, it’s basically the first game of a new tiny season.  Except the players you let go are still here somehow (we’ve told 4 first teamers we can’t afford them and won’t renew at the end of the month.  I expect most will play tonight) and there’s the impact of an empty stadium to take into account.  I have no idea how this will go, Exeter are a very good side, but we did show through our cup run that we can perform in big games. All I do know is that it’s football, it’s my team back playing football.  Weird, probably wrong football, on a wrong day at the wrong kick off time, but it’s football and it’s basically a free hit for us and I’ve not been this excited about anything for months.

Hope everyone is staying well and sane.
Jeremy Aves


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