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The uncanny valley theory holds that the more human-like a robot is the more unsettling we find it. We have entered the Premier League’s uncanny valley.
It looks like the Premier League – the players move in the same way, the managers still strut and fret, Man City still beat Arsenal 3-0, but something just doesn’t feel right. It’s not that it’s so different, but that it looks so similar and familiar to something we know so well that makes it so unsettling.
For an obvious reason, but one that we never properly appreciated before, it is the fans in the stadium that make Pinocchio a real boy, who put some soul in the woodwork. They are the connection between us watching at home and the game itself. They prove that it is a real thing, and that it is happening out there somewhere. They channel our experience and we channel theirs in some strange, unknowable, magical way.
In the absence of this connection I was left searching frantically for some proof that what I was watching was indeed authentic. It came suddenly with the words, “the ball just seems to have bounced off David Luiz there”. The Premier League’s very own Blade Runner style replicant test.
R.Harris, LFC, NYC
For such an experienced footballer Arsenal’s David Luiz lack of maturity and recklessness made it too easy for Manchester City to beat us yesterday.
Yes City were favourites but his horrible performance yesterday cost us dearly and damaged the team spirit etc.
I heard that Benfica were interested and i am very much hoping for a transfer because he is uncoachable
City were excellent and deserved to easily win
Tony Laforce, Hackney
…and the award goes to David Luiz who was on the pitch for around 25 minutes and managed to get two assists while “playing” for a team that didn’t get a shot on target during the whole game. Now that is world class footballing! Any chance of a hat trick was denied him by a ref determined to even up the game from 12 against 10 to a more competitive 11 against 10. And it worked too, Man City being shorn of their most effective attacking player managed less goals and shots on target in the half hour after Luiz was sent off than during the shorter time he was on the field. If the ref had really held any sense of fair player he would have issued Luiz a red card as soon as he started warming up and who knows the Gunners could have held on to a draw. Let’s be honest, scoring an actual goal seemed well beyond them.
Now as someone who has had long hair in the past and is generally a fan of people having whatever hairstyle they feel comfortable with I shouldn’t criticise, but I will. In the lead up to Luiz first assist he spent a fraction of a second removing his hair from his eye, a small distraction that may have only cost him a couple centimeters in movement but that small amount meant the difference between successfully blocking a fairly rubbish cross and being a complete arsehat. Get a haircut Luiz and take Guendouzi with you. Or at least learn how to tie it back, six year old children seem to manage it. Ranting almost over and feeling somewhat better.
Finally, apart from letting one of their own team play for the opposition did Arsenal make any other mistakes? Only the same one that they have been making for over a decade now. Stop playing central midfielders as wide men! Saka and Wilock may be the future but they are both attacking/central midfielders and their passing from out wide into the box was shite (as has been every Arsenal midfielder shoved out wide since I can remember), their shorter passing game was much better. Can we please stop wasting central midfield tallent out wide because it actually isn’t helping the team and somewhere in world football there must be one player who knows how to cross a ball that could consider playing for Arsenal. Surely?
Rant over and nope don’t actually feel any better.
…In any other period in football history a display that bad would surely result in a leaked “he was on the bench because he had flu” memo.
Nice to see some silver linings reality in all this. He is a shit defender with a baffling transfer fee total.
…Who’s more of a liability; David Luiz or Dejan Lovren?
The most astounding thing about Luiz is that he’s generated more than £100m in transfer fees. This alone should prove that most people in football are idiots; you can excuse Chelsea being the first idiots to waste their money but PSG, Chelsea (Again) and then Arsenal? All muppets. The most amazing thing is that he only ever looked good in a back 3 and yet everyone that buys him then wants to play 4-3-3.
Also only a Man City fan would suggest clubs would make more money from empty stadia; possibly true for the Etihad given they can’t give the tickets away for most games. I think clubs with a real fan base can’t wait to get everyone back into the stadium – the cost is a fraction of the benefit.
Aaron Grimes; no need to get so defensive, I don’t think Matt even name checks you. But I also think that saying Kante is one of the best DMs in the league when he hasn’t played the position since 2017 might be a stretch. It’s like thinking Jessie Lingard could win young player of the year despite being 40 and dreadful or claiming Mourinho is still a manager who commands cult like following from his players and wins at all costs.
Well Will Ford wrote an absolute banger of a piece about a player from each big six club who is fighting for their future, then in the first game up his pick of David Luiz, well he starts on the bench, comes on for the injured Pablo Mari, makes a mistake that leads to the first City goal, then in the second half gives away a penalty and gets a straight red card.
Some may say that David Luiz was simply being himself, but I say go read Will’s article and then play close attention to each of those players, because so far one of those six have already lost their fight for their future.
Prolong the drama
Having spent a small fortune (I’m tight) on a 30-day Sky Sports pass, I was pretty pissed when Luiz made me give up on the game after 51 minutes.
However, my wife reminded me I’d feel like a right mug if it was all over in the first 5 days…smart woman.
Aidan, Lfc (hoping it’s over long b4 the 30 days are up though)
The face of football’s sociopathy
I was really excited to watch live football again. I thought it was a welcome step on the long road to normality, and was really happy to see the solidarity of the minutes before kick off.
I enjoyed the Villa – Sheffield utd 0-0 (that obviously shouldn’t have been 0-0), it was real football and there was controversy that didn’t really matter outside of football! I was enjoying the City – Arsenal game, until that sickening injury to Eric Garcia. It was an accident, a professional accident from one colleague to another.
I was enjoying football until I watched Ederson not give two s**ts about his colleague that he had accidentally injured, seemingly badly. He spent the entire time Garcia was down and being attended by multiple medics more worried by his hand than the human spread on the floor in front of him. The injury was an accident, but in those many, many minutes he showed how much more he cared about his job and worrying about himself rather than the health of a fellow professional who was clearly in a much worse situation. He seemed more annoyed that Garcia had hurt his hand than the fact his teammate was clearly hurt.
After 10 minutes Garcia was stretchered off the pitch, past Guardiola. Did he seem bothered? No. He barley if at all acknowledged him. Even in the minutes while Garcia was down Guardiola was gesturing to his players to organise tactics rather than showing any concern for Garcia. Man city were in the lead and a man up at this point.
I thought I was really going to enjoy football, and then it showed me its sociopathic face. I hope Garcia is ok, and I hope Ederson and Guardiola were just putting on a game face. Because if not it makes me sick.
Yay football whatever.
Will – London – BFC
Is Grealish better than Andreas Pereira?
Wouldn’t normally watch this game due to other commitments but footy is back!
As a Utd fan, I haven’t seen that much of Grealish but it’s great to watch a game and see one of our future linked players looking so assured. I’m obviously talking about Henderson and not Grealish who doesn’t look much better than Perreira who I hope never plays for Utd again.
Jon, Cape Town (and a new goal-line technology / VAR balls-up for us to debate too – might even watch city v gunners too now)
Welcome back football. Now f*** off again
Well, after 100 days of anticipation and all the pantomime surrounding the first games, we’re back to the incompetence of the technology, the uselessness of VAR and Hawkeye makes its debut in the being absolutely shit stakes.
What a f*cking joke. We wuz robbed. I’m ready for another 100 days away from this nonsense.
Bladey Mick (Football – Aaaaaaarghhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!)
…40 minutes into the restarted season and we not only have a VAR F***-up, but commentators who refuse to state the bleeding obvious! The Villa keeper clearly brings the ball behind the line – he’s leaning against the inside of the post for feck’s sake! Yet the commentators go with the bland “It looks in to me” instead of saying “That is definitely in. It’s behind the post” etc. etc. etc.
Oh Football, how I’ve missed thee…. 😊
…So, anyone still thinks the Premier league shouldn’t interview referees post-match after that shambolic incident in the Aston Villa vs Sheffield match?
Now of course people might claim Oliver is not to blame but common sense should have been applied there.
Either the ref intervenes or VAR intervenes.
Anyway good to have the farcical EPL back
Bucky Dent (Bangalore, India)
…Well football is back everyone and it only took 43 minutes for a controversial talking point, I suppose the real question is why did Michael Oliver’s not state it was a goal, did he simply put his fitbit on instead?
The end isn’t nigh
A response to Mark MCFC from this morning’s mailbag. I see the point he was trying to make, but I think he’s wrong.
Even before COVID-19, there was no real reason to buy a season ticket to a major top flight club. They tend to be pricey, the extra costs can be prohibitive and if you’re a travelling supporter you spend thousands each year. In short, to be that into a club is fiscally insane when as Mark put it, you could buy a subscription, watch the games from home or go to the local and watch the games with like minded people and save tons of money in the process. COVID-19 hasn’t changed that.
Going to the games isn’t a logical choice, it’s an emotional one. The value isn’t counted in pounds, it is counted in experience and emotion.
And while the ratings will be up short term and the safety may mean that at least for the near future, supporters will not be in stadiums until herd immunity is achieved or a vaccine is developed, football isn’t football without those butts in the seat. The German restart is obvious of this. The football is the same, but the energy is different. It’s a short term compromise, but not a long term solution.
Mark H LFC (I did well avoiding a bit of snark about Man City being used to playing in front of an empty stadiu….oh damn!)
Actually, it probably is
This is the future of football and it is bleak.
The Premiership re-start is the best thing to happen to the TV companies (and the billionaire owners of the clubs). They’ll be using these games to test what they can get away with for future seasons.
Drinks breaks during each half are perfect for Messrs Winston, Stelling, Kamara and the like to give us up to date live betting odds.
(My tip: Martin Tyler to mention in commentary that Sergio Aguero once scored in injury time to win the title any time he’s shooting towards that same end. Odds 1/100)
They’ll be no room for us peasants to attend, as seats will be removed and replaced by endless hospitality areas. Those big screens showing ‘supporters at home’ will now hide the corporate customers smashing down the bottles of pop much better than the old black out windows ever did.
For those that do make it inside, A fake and bland atmosphere soundtrack will be pumped out to drown out any real groans of discontent.
Perhaps BT Sport will allow TV viewers to select any number of musical genres to match the performances on show – Bebop Jazz from the 1940s would perfectly accompany David Luiz’s defending.
Fixtures will be staggered at all times and on every day of the week. 8am kick offs for Chinese TV and 2am for the west coast of America. Gary Neville dipped his metaphorical toe in the water with his pretend musing during the 2nd half.
No need to worry about the lack of trains getting you home from London at midnight anymore, you won’t be allowed into the stadium.
Football without fans is nothing and the Premier League is more than OK with that.
Arsenal with Black Lives Matter across the back of their shirts and a sponsored Visit Rwanda on their sleeves.
Not a hair out of place
Yeah, yeah, football is back and all that. But where did all the players get their haircuts?
We could not keep away from the camera for long so we made a Football365 Isolation Show. Watch it, subscribe and share until we get back in the studio/pub and produce something a little slicker…