De Bruyne is overrated and Arteta is a smoother Big Sam…

Ian Watson

Thanks for your mails on De Bruyne and more. Keep them coming during the international break to…


De Bruyne overrated

When it comes to big games for Liverpool, the biggest game of late has been against City. The media tells me this is the biggest game and I accept it. And when I think of City, I ask myself who can really hurt Liverpool in those intense moments when a player is needed to rise above the hype and deliver. Sergio Aguero is always first on the list despite his poor record away to Liverpool. Then I think of Sterling and I relax because he is clearly psyched out by the fixture. So then my mind wanders to Bernardo Silva. Leroy Sane used to scare me as he had Trent’s number every time and Trent was even rested for the fixture so great was the danger from Sane.

I never consider De Bruyne a threat in the big game against equal opposition. Why? Because KDB is not a big game player.

Yet, I am to believe that I am lucky to watch him play the game and when he plays poorly in big fixtures, the excuse that are made for him are outrageous. Tonight, I wast told that he was trying to be too accurate when he hit a penalty wide. No. He hit a bad penalty that missed the target. The first penalty on over two years of premier league football to miss the target to be more precise. We simply never hear these excuses made elsewhere for bad football.

I am lead to believe that he is a once in a generation talent. This I believe is media driven and simply does not play out in reality. He is of course is a very good player in an excellent team. When City are playing the lesser teams, KDB receives the ball in acres of space and spends 90 minutes playing target practice with the most expensive side ever assembled under the instruction of one of the greatest football minds to ever manage a team. And it is no shock to me that he racks up assist and goals against teams that are tiring and just not good enough to martial Aguero, Sterling, Silva, Jesus etc for 90 minutes. But Coutinho was equally good at this and so too was Christian Eriksen.

What is a big game for City under Pep? Realistically, it has been against Klopp’s Liverpool on a domestic level and those special nights in Europe where the great players shine. Even on a domestic level, City’s sensational league win in 2019 was done largely without him. When he returned to play in that wonderful team last year, he lead a team that never came close to catching Liverpool. KDB is playing in a golden generation of Belgian football and has lead them to no silverware. As an alleged world beater, he has gone missing in Europe when it really counts for City. He was anonymous against Liverpool in the Champions League and overall failed to progress past Monaco, Liverpool, Spurs and Lyon in matches where the greats step up and are counted for. Players like Gerrard, Rooney, Lampard, Giggs, Ronaldo, Ramos, Messi, Xavi, Ramos, Keane, Drogba and Salah just to name a few step up the in the biggest of games.

All of these anonymous performances at a time when he was playing in a City side far superior to all of the opposition and heavy favourites to lift the Champions League each season.

When the chips are down and the opposition are not afraid to get stuck in, KDB is nowhere to be found. And what we have to listen to is the mournful commentary that we heard tonight like ‘well, he has not turned up tonight ‘or the absurd ‘he was trying to be too accurate’ when he hit a bad penalty.

In tonights game, a great moment of individual skill from Jesus made the difference for City. Did you see Gini tonight, the man was exhausted in the second half from battling that City team. Is Gini a big game player? You only have to look at the game against Barcelona and ask yourself, would KDB do that when it seems impossible? The answer is no.

Jamie, Eire


…Having watched a thoroughly entertaining first half and a slightly disappointing second half, one question that I feel needs to be asked is why does Kevin De Bruyne get so much credit for everything somewhat positive he does and never get criticized for his failings.

Now don’t get me wrong he’s a very good player but is he really as good as people make him out to be. I don’t seem to recall him ever hurting Liverpool in a game when the chips were down. Sure he might have played well in the 4 and 5 nil wins when mane was sent off the the team were still drunk, but did he step up on Sunday? I think he was bang average even without the penalty miss. A moment that summed him up for me was when he saw Milner coming on at right back and tried to take him on. One tough tackle from Milner and he didn’t want it anymore. This is an aspect of King Kevin’s game that I feel isn’t picked up on enough. No other player in recent memory is afforded such a staunch defense from the media and football twitter than our Kevin. Salah, Mané, even Vvd (goes asleep?) all get criticized fairly even when playing well. Now don’t think this is a sore Liverpool rant. Bruno Fernandez gets criticized when he doesn’t play well even though he has dragged a team from mid table fodder to the champions league. Augero, sterling, Bernardo are all criticized fairly for different aspects of their game. However, when the greatest player to have never played in a champions league final plays poorly or doesn’t show up in a big game he’s let off.

If you think I’m being harsh, just look at the recent record of Man City in Europe and big games. Our kevin has led a team of superstars to four champions league finals in a row. Sorry four champions league quarter finals in a row where he failed to turn up in any of them. Even in the Lyon game where he actually scored he was appalling for the game. But as usual the blame is put on Pep when city lose not on the leader that is our Kevin. Can you really imagine Jordan Henderson letting Liverpool lose to Lyon last season (who has been criticized both fairly and somewhat harshly in the media and by fans including Liverpool fans)

Even on an international level Kevin has failed with a great team. Imagine our Kevin paired with the brilliance of Eden Hazard, two players that the media has told us are the greatest to ever play in their position in England. Those two hero’s paired together they’d defiently win the euros if not the World Cup as well. For all the fair criticisms that Paul Pogba has received over the years he turned up in the biggest games with the best players. Our Kevin simply hasn’t turned up on the biggest occasion. That’s not really a criticism though is it? He’s still a very good player. Just not the once in a lifetime player that the media tells us he is. I have to say I’ve been lucky to see some wonderful players in the premier league and I feel I’ve seen at least ten who’ve played at a similar if not higher level. Henry, Ronaldo, David Silva, lampard, Gerrard, Suarez, VVD, Bergkamp, Drogba, keane and Viera. Now can you really tell me that Kevin has surpassed all of these players in terms of quality.

I suppose the crux of my argument is why does the average football fan and the media take a fancy to some players who historically haven’t done it when it counts. It comes down to the classic, if our Kevin was as good as the media makes him out to be, Real Madrid and Barcelona would be after him. Instead they’re after sterling which shows who the game really rates. Bayern Munich went after Sané even when our Kevin was basically saying he’d be open to leaving. And if he was the leader the media say he is then why have the media been saying that Man City need leaders after Kompany and David Silva left.


READ MORE: Manchester City 1-1 Liverpool – 16 Conclusions 

Missed opportunity

Talk about paying for failing to make your early domination count. The first twenty minutes of that game we should have put it beyond them. I don’t know why Firmino didn’t chip the keeper when he was through on goal; put it down to a lack of confidence I guess.

Before the game I was pretty worried about us playing a 4-2-3-1. We have tried it a couple times this season and have conceded a lot of chances and also not looked great going forwards either. Today it was pretty solid in the first half but there were a couple of transitions in the second half where Man City cut through the centre like butter. I wonder if the original plan was to blitz into the lead then bring in Milner and become solid. Sadly it never panned out.

The penalty wasn’t wrong but it’s just a bit stupid. Did his hand touch the ball, yes. Did he gain an advantage from doing so, probably yes. Could he have realistically been expected to run and not let his arms move in the way they did? Hard to imagine how this is possible. To some extent context has been lost from the game with these var reviews; Bamford isn’t forgiven for pointing and Gomez isn’t forgiven even though he’s sprinting to make a recovery run. Had Gomez been stood still and the ball struck his hand on his side I would argue that he could’ve had it behind his back but within the context of him running back towards his own goal I don’t see what he could’ve done with his arms.

Wijnaldum was probably the stand out performer today. His job was ridiculous today but he managed to make it look like we weren’t a man short in middle. Matip was poor for me; in the second half he twice passed straight to City midfielders and twice put the ball out of play. I think we wanted to bypass the midfield given they outnumbered us in the area and he constantly caused pressure on the back line by turning over possession.

I can’t strictly criticise Alisson for the goal but I am a little concerned that we have conceded the first shot on target in quite a few games this season. I think Adrian was possibly responsible for a couple of those though so perhaps better to put it down to misfortune.

Given the season so far I think Klopp is happier with the result than Pep. Second in the league by a point having played Chelsea, Everton and Man City away plus Arsenal leaves us in decent shape. If we can just stop losing players to injury then we might have a chance this season.

Minty, LFC


Trumpian Reds

So Liverpool were winning 1-0 thanks to a legitimate penalty. Totally legitimate and any judge would agree.

Then something very suspicious happened. City scored a goal. We were winning easily and then weren’t. Doesn’t make sense, Premier League should award us the win. Clearly a fake goal, play should have stopped as soon as we scored and were winning. Three very good points, now just one. So unfair!

That’s how it works now isn’t it?

Al (learning from the worst)


16 knee-jerk Conclusions from Arsenal

1. We’re still rubbish and Villa was better defending, better going forward and they wanted it more (I know this site likes to make fun of Roy Keane for going on and on about passion, leaders and a winning mentality but I for one miss those things from my Gunners).

2. The narrative says Arteta is all that. To me he seems to be like a manager like he was as a player. Bang average (for us at least).

3. Of all the has-beens we tend to sign from Chelsea Villain is the worst one. Luiz who has been decent is the best. Chech was average and Villain is just rubbish.

4. Elneny had his best game for us against Man Utd (and that was like a 7/10-performance) but here he was predictably useless. Without the ball he sometimes looks like a football player, with it he is absolutely useless.

5. If there’s a league for most passes inside your own box we might actually have a shot of winning a trophy.

6. Tierney (one of the few Arsenal players I actually like these days) is left footed. Extremely left footed. He tried to use his right foot in the first half and fell over…

7. If Wenger had been in charge of this game, people would have callen for his head. I doubt we’d get better anytime soon with a new coach but I wouldn’t mind trying Poch

8. Martinez is better than Leno, isn’t he?

9. Laka and Nketiah – that has got to be the worst strike force we’ve had for like 30 years. I’d take Kevin Campbell and Alan Smith over those two any day of the week. I’d take Boa Morte and Wreh too btw.

10. I’d take John ”Faxe” Jensen over Elneny too and my god that Dane was bad.

11. Auba might be the best finisher in the league but what good does that do if he only gets the ball on the sideline?

12. Arteta must seriously have switched his real hair for some sort of LEGO wig.

13. We won against Man Utd but we were not good going forward in that game either. We won because Pogba gave us a penalty. Other than that we created nothing.

14. Pepe has not been a success. But the guy has a lot more to offer than Villain. If Arteta is unable to teach Pepe whatever it is he wants the guy to know in order to start ahead of Villain, then Arteta can’t be a very good coach.

15. I remember the ”boring, boring Arsenal-days” (yes I’m old). We were a lot more fun to watch then.

16. Konsa might be the most underrated defender in the league.

Dixon, Västerås, Sweden.


Arteta and Ole

A manager of an apparent ‘Big Six’ side, who sets his team up well defensively to strike on the counter against better opponents, but struggles to create against apparent ‘weaker’ opposition?

Is that an Ole in Arteta clothing? For quite a while now too..

James, Galway


Arteta: the hipster’s Big Sam

As an Arsenal fan the fawning over Arteta’s managerial ability by a lot of our fans and a lot of the media quite frankly baffles me. We’re playing some of the lowest quality and not to mention most tedious football I’ve ever seen us play. We’ve now scored 1 goal in our last 4 League games, a penalty, so haven’t scored in open play in 4 League games.

The sychophants talk about how he’s made us a lot harder to beat and score against (strange then that we’ve lost half our league games and conceded 3 at home to Villa today). If there has been any improvement in our defence since he took over it’s because he’s completely sacrificed any attacking flair to achieve it. Any manager could improve their teams defence if they decided to always play 5 at the back and 2 holding midfielders regardless of the strength of the opposition.

The FA Cup victory was great as a supporter but I don’t put it down to any Arteta tactical genius, rather City and Chelsea being wasteful and Arteta being brilliant and bang in form. As for the win at Old Trafford last weekend, they’re a team that had conceded 9 in their previous 2 Home League games.

He was an average player and I was massively underwhelmed when we signed him back in 2011 and I was equally as underwhelmed when we appointed him as manager. He’s just a hipster’s Sam Allardyce and if his name was Michael Arter and he was from Scunthorpe rather than San Sebastian people would be asking why the fuck Arsenal had appointed this once average player with zero managerial experience



Arsenal’s loss to a fantastic Aston Villa side at the Emirates was not altogether surprising.

Teams are beginning to figure out how to neutralize Arteta’s Arsenal; use the Rope-a-dope technique to absorb pressure then hit them on the counter.

Dean Smith deployed this tactic to devastating effect with the ridiculously fantastic Grealish and his midfield co-conspirators; McGinn and Barkley running the show. Aston Villa were everything Arsenal are supposed to be.

Even the blind can see that Arsenal have a creativity problem. I can’t for the life of me understand why Arteta decided to go into a new season without an out-and-out attacking midfielder.

But then I realized that the situation is so Arsenal. They’ve always had fantastic teams that lacked a vital cog that always hampered them- akin to missing a wheel from a car; be it a DM, a proper CB that can actually defend or an elite striker that can put away even half-chances.

Currently Arsenal has a very decent side but lack a traditional number 10. Once upon a time, Arsenal had the luxury of Nasri, Fabregas, Hleb, Wilshere, Cazorla, Rosicky. These artists created chances aplenty but there were either no competent strikers to finish those moves or proper DM to protect these players from malicious tackles and bullying from the likes of Stoke.

Imagine prime Ozil wasting his silver bulletis on a profligate Giroud. Losing Eduardo in 2008/09 cost Arsenal the PL title because despite the Croatian’s horror injury, Wenger stubbornly refused to buy another centre forward.

I predict that this lack of a proper attacking midfielder would cost Arsenal a top 4 finish come season-end.

Alphonsus, Abuja. (Why is Willian starting over Nelson?)



Sunday Night Lights

Can we play every Sunday evening?




Defensive shambles

Edison Cavani’s goal against Everton means that every Premier League side has conceded three or more goals in at least one League match this season

Stephen Moore, Northampton


Not convinced by Chelsea yet

I know I am a miserable old git but just to remind everyone out there that Chelsea are only one or two injuries away from having centre back pairings which went 3 – 0 down against West Brom and let a three-goal lead slip against Southampton.

I am very happy to have been so wrong about Thiago Silva. I was in the camp of why sell Luiz to just buy an older Brazilian a year later. Oh how wrong I was. He is 36 though and our cover for him hardly inspires confidence. Maybe Mendy is enough of an upgrade on Arrizabalaga to make up the difference and I think he rather than Ziyech is Chelsea’s best bit of business of the summer.

In conclusion I am very happy about a resolute defence and our burgeoning attacking prowess. I am very happy that all the doom mongers regarding our young english talent, being replaced by expensive signings, seem to have dissappeared. In general I am just a very happy blue right now. However I think it is still too early for anyone to consider us title challengers and certainly to early for us to be considered in the same breath as the best teams in Europe.

If we are still winning and looking solid at the back over a tricky December and January schedule then I will start to believe, for now I will be happy for us to remain in the top four and progressing in Europe.

and just so I guarantee to get published I will drop some SEO in here. So​lskjær ManU Maguire Pogba

Simon, Woking


Green-eyed monster

So Harry “do you know who I am?” Maguire thinks people are jealous of Man Utd. The team in 13th, with a mediocre (at best) manager, no recruitment strategy, a lopsided, unbalanced and overrated squad with no real prospect of things improving any time soon.

Maybe the real reason so many people actually hate them is because of this very attitude, this delusion that they’re still remotely relevant that permeates through their squad and certain sections of their fanbase. Just a thought.

Alex, LFC

READ MORE: F365’s Early Winner: Solskjaer and his Man Utd saviour

Ole is the managerial Martial

Trying to make sense of Man Utd’s last few weeks, a thought occurred to me: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is the managerial equivalent of Anthony Martial.

Martial can look amazing at times, but also completely lost and useless. He’ll go on runs of form that will make you think he’s finally fulfilling his early promise, only to follow that with abject, disinterested performances for weeks on end.

At the end of the season, he’ll have scored about 15-20 goals, a good return and enough to make you think it’s worth persevering with him. But there’s always a nagging sense that he’ll never quite reach the level needed for a club like Man Utd.

What I’m trying to say is that Ole isn’t a completely useless manager. He’s actually got a lot of natural talent for both tactics and man management, which is why he can take on the likes of Nagelsmann, Tuchel, Ancelotti etc. and get the better of them. It’s also why when his back is against the wall and he needs to find a result he’s usually able to get one.

But whether it’s because of a lack of application, guidance, or self-awareness, he fails to kick on. He gets complacent with his tactics, or team selections, or coaching, and ends up going backwards.

And at the end of the season, he finishes 3rd or 4th. A good return and enough to make you think it’s worth persevering with him. But there’s always a nagging sense that he’ll never quite reach the level needed for a club like Man Utd.

Unknown J


United’s united

Has anyone else noticed the uniting of almost all the Uniteds in th Premier League. West Ham, Newcastle Manchester and Leeds Uniteds sit from 12th to 15th in a united mass!

Only Sheffield are actually disunited from the gang. I vote they should have to drop the “United” from their name unless they pull their finger out. Sheffield Thursday?



Why bother?

It’s 10:30pm in Nairobi Kenya as I write this. After VAR chalked off Aston villa’s 47 seconds goal, something inside me snapped. Why stay up late to watch goals being disallowed for flimsy reasons when you can wait for the highlights. So I am voting with my feet and turning off the telly and going to sleep. Zzz
Keg Breezy (MBE)
PS- It’s time for a revolution. We’ve had enough of bogus offsides. Power to the people. ✊


…I’m watching the very start of the Arsenal vs Aston Villa clash, and, barring a Villa win (which did happen), I’m sure the 46-second goal being disallowed will be a hot topic. As an Arsenal fan, as soon as the first VAR replay was shown, I said “there’s no way they’re giving it.” It is a strange one, following the rules, of course it has to be disallowed, however, there is no way that it is fair. Have Barkley in the way or have him back in his own half, there’s no way Leno (or any other keeper on the planet) is saving a shot hit at that speed, from such close range, one inch away from the woodwork at the near post. Feels weird as a Gooner saying that the fair result would’ve been 1-0 down after 1 minute! What other occasions follow the letter of the law but are decidedly unfair?

Andrew M (then Partey nearly scores his first for the club from a defensive error), AFC, Australia


An idea

There seems to be a way around the 5 substitutions issue that as far as I am aware nobody has suggested.

So the problem is that it obviously strongly favours the big clubs with more players and better players and more resources. With most things already skewed in their favour at the beginning of the season the majority of the clubs understandably voted against it.

Now some clubs are suffering with injuries and managers such as Moyes have accepted there is a case for 5 substitutes.

Obviously though this is still yet another advantage for the bigger teams. Klopp et al claim to be all about player welfare. In which case they should have no issues with this solution. Basically – all players not in match day squads are available to all clubs with lower revenue.

The basic idea is that the match day squads would be picked the day before. Then the 10 clubs with the lower revenue can take their pick from a list of players who are not in match day squads. Maximum 3 additional players for any club with lower revenue. They can take turns picking a player until their turn comes again so up to 30 players could change squads for a day.

In this scenario Dele Alli may have refound his mojo at West Brom. Winks would be bossing the Burnley midfield. Mesut Ozil would be helping Brighton push for a champions league spot. Phil Jones probably would still be at home.

I look forward to this solution, with no flaws, being adopted by the Premier League.



It’s completely baked

Can we stop this nonsense now.

Aston Villa are not going to win the league, and if Tyrone Mings is the new John Terry I’m the new Newton.

Despite the second coming that appears to be the media reaction to Biesla Leeds are a quite medicare football team. All hail.

Roy Hodgson can endlessly be lauded as some kind of managerial genius but Palace are sh*t. They will not be relegated, they will do nothing interesting and the world keeps turning. Roy’s reputation appears to rest on Malmo. He had two opportunities in jobs which were above his pay-grade. Liverpool; out of his depth and England.;H Kane takes corners, bring on the (not meant insultingly, ) raspberry Wilshere and rather than watching Iceland his beloved deputy and sidekick had apparently never had a trip on the Seine. Apparently he couldn’t do it next week.

Ancellotti’s Cv speaks for itself but Everton are still quite rubbish due to the fact that most of their players aren’t that good. They absolutely will not win the league.

Burnley are bloody rubbish. However having spent £4.99 in the transfer market they won’t be relegated. Fact.

Ole can do everything or anything, it will not matter. Man Utd will be a reasonable team but couldn’t win a p*ss up in a brewery. That tends to be because all things considered the players are quite rubbish. If you think Pogba is the answer you’re asking the wrong question.

There is literally no point to WBA. They’ll appoint Big Sam in the international break, there you go.

Scott Parker is not only the most finely dressed but the most finely coiffed manager in the history of football, to what extent this will feature in the the near future of Fulham I really don’t know.

As for everyone else what’s the point of any discussion regarding the incredible biggest club in the world Newcastle, the festering filth of the gangster/oligarchical/oil rich undemocratic controlled Chelsea and M City, the intelligent owners (It’s not meant as a compliment but they know there’s gold in them there hills) of the Arse, Liverpool, Wolves Spurs and Leicester, the S*** g*****r’s who own West Ham and really who cares about Southampton and the lovely give us a hug Brighton.

All thing’s considered from my own perspective “it’s completely baked.”

Dean WWFC ( I actually couldn’t be bothered to mention Sheff Utd)