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Pogba getting a free ride
When will everyone stop suggesting that Mourinho changes to a 4-3-3 to accommodate Pogba and accept that his performances have simply not merited having a team built around him?
Yes in a 4-2-3-1 he is played deeper than he would like but he’s not being played at left back, if he was putting in solid displays but never got into positions where he could damage the opposition then this would be another matter. Just because he played well on the left of a 4-3-3 before doesn’t mean he would at United. They have already bought Matic supposedly to ‘free up Pogba’, how much more will have to be done to get any kind of performance from a £100million player?
But then again I’m a City fan so I’m more than happy for Mourinho to keep doing whatever he’s doing.
Lukaku looking good
Romelu Lukaku scored his 20th and 21st goals of the season yesterday. Seems like far too many goals for a player so many people can’t help but call rubbish every chance they get. To put this in perspective the supposedly superior Alvaro Morata only has 12 goals this season in almost the same amount of games. To add, this is now the 4th season in a row Lukaku has scored 20 or more goals, definitely the sign of a not very good striker obviously. Interesting that!
Also a special congratulations to Michy Batshuayi for scoring 5 goals in the his first 3 games for Borussia Dortmund. This puts him on 15 goals for the season which is more than Morata (and Giroud who was brought in to replace him) but he still wasn’t good enough to lead the line for Chelsea because he was too short or something (he’s 6’1” by the way). Interesting again!
VAR is the best thing in more than 100 years
Before all the hullabaloo about VAR and despite BT Sports trying to manufacture controversy to generate interest (if VAR corrects contentious decisions, guess what Robbie Savage would have to talk about. Actual football!), Mata was offside. He wasn’t miles offside. But it’s like a goal. It’s either a goal or it’s not. His knee was slightly ahead, therefore offside.
You can cry all you want about VAR, but it made the absolutely correct decision. Yes, it took long (I’m not sure what the squiggly lines were all about or indeed why BT Sport should be sent VAR video analysis). But it stopped a travesty (Huddersfield were fantastic in the 1st half). I’m actually excited about VAR. It’s the best thing to happen to football in a more than a century probably.
Monty (I think it might lead to better punditry), MUFC
F365 part of the anti-VAR conspiracy
VAR has received tremendous abuse from the English media. It’s like they are all in bed on this one issue. It’s not just print media, it’s the blogs, blogs, fan shows, and the newly introduced fantv. Watching it from outside, I think the English football culture is trying it’s level best to sabotage the VAR system. There seems to be a collective cohort agreement in England to vilify VAR. F365 are in bed with the Sun and the Mirror for this one time. They all agree VAR is a threat, and so they will spew numerous articles to show how VAR is the devil that will somehow destroy all of humanity.
Only problem is, the world is slowly but surely moving on. The effect that media used to have on the public is slowly dying away as evidenced by Trump’s election. VAR is here to stay, and I for one welcome it. Man U were rightly denied a goal that was offside, yet all heard was, “he was only millimeters offside”. In my head, It doesn’t matter if he was a nanometer offside, he was offside.
F365 will probably not post this, but I’ll save my thoughts in the sent box for the next progressive forum.
Dave (publish everything, not just the stuff you agree with), Somewhere
The problems with VAR
OK I am a City fan and would have been happy to see United go out to Huddersfield but I have to say that is exactly what I don’t want to see from VAR. A number of times over the last few years I have seen goals we scored stand despite being marginally offside and I felt no guilt because I don’t think offside should be something you have to look at 10 times before you give the decision. To the legalistic of us that might seem unfair but the spirit of offside is to prevent players goal hanging, not so we can get our knickers in a twist when a player’s knee is beyond the defence. Sometimes the linesman misses the incident or is out of position but I think if in doubt after another look, give the goal, don’t spend two mins reviewing the incident.
Saying that the FA are not doing their creditability any good ‘showing their work’ regardless of whether the wobbly line was used for the actual decision or not. Did Neil Swarbrick drop his e-ruler down the back of the sofa or something?
Another point to make is just how exact everyone is trying to be in regards to the line when there is another very important aspect of the decision. What’s the science behind the determination of exactly when the ball leaves the player’s foot? Is there one? With the speed of play, a millisecond difference can lead to a kneecap being on or off so shouldn’t we scrutinise this aspect before getting the millimetre ruler out.
Back to my main point. Robbie Savage was asking how can we give more subjective decisions over to VAR when the supposedly definitive ones take so long to decide upon. This is looking at the problem backwards for me. The problem is that we are using VAR to scrutinise the tiniest details, instead of tackling major mistakes such as a bad tackle or stamp going unpunished because the ref had a bad angle or an obvious offside was missed. Give the Video ref the license to intervene in the above circumstances rather than get picky over decisions that could go either way. Or give the video ref 10 seconds to decide and get on with the game.
…So there was a football match yesterday featuring a big club and VAR, so therefore we are absolutely obliged to talk about it!
Now firstly, I am a Liverpool fan, so if you feel that in anyway impinges on the points I’m about to make then fair enough. But to be honest as someone who naturally wants Manchester United to lose every game they play I wouldn’t have wrote in outraged if that Mata goal had stood, and not just because he’s a nice fella (!), as that was barely offside if we’re all honest.
No, what I found most interesting was the information conveyed by the commentator, that the VAR officials had looked at the Smalling possible handball incident and decided it wasn’t clear enough to give a penalty. Now to my mind, Smalling’s arm was never in a month of Sundays in a natural position considering it was a dropping ball from a looping long thrown in, it almost looked like a self preservation move – well i’m sorry Chris but sometimes the ball will bounce off your head, or hit you in the mush, even if you really don’t want it to!
My point is, many people will have viewed that as a penalty, and (and this is the contentious part given my allegiance) therefore feel this was something of a bottle job by the VAR in favour of a big club.
In terms of the future of VAR, I feel this relates to the scandalous bottled decision of the ref in the Champions League in midweek not to award Neymar a second yellow card (obviously it’s not a direct comparison! It was not as bad! It was not as bad! OK?!). Even with VAR, officials will still feel pressure, will still make mistakes, as they have done in football for a century or more – but unsurprisingly the world’s most popular sport has survived. I think we need to continue with the philiosophical premise that the best fans of all clubs take, that is that football is a reflection of life, you don’t always get what you want, people will make unintended mistakes, it isn’t always fair. But sometimes it’s also fantastic.
I think VAR has it’s place, but i’d go down the route of other sports and allow each manager one ‘appeal’ per half (everyone knowing from the outset the maximum number of times and likely time taken up would be better surely?), even then it may return a decision that still divides opinion, but still, correcting some errors in matches is better than correcting none at all.
I fully respect the fact that other football fans may feel all of the above is complete b@llocks.
…I have sent many a mail in defending VAR but that seriously can’t be how they decide offside? You’d be better off with a bloody ruler
Rob A (Its like a conspiracy to ridicule it) AFC
…Ok, so maybe Mata was a little offside after all is said and done. But honestly, I could comfortably live the rest of my life waItching football without VAR.
The Flan, North London
Fantasy Champions League
A lot of things to argue with on Sy’s picks for his dream Champions League tournament from the 1993 Marseilles team paying off teams so they could ease off and rest players for CL games, to the Juventus team being “equipped like a small hospital” which is just one quote about their “medical” practices.
Calling Arsenal invincibles when their league run ended in 2004 is another, while being a fan of the 2009 Liverpool team and Dinamo Kiev in 1999 who had a 2 goal lead, twice, in the first leg of the semi final vs Bayern and blew it, as well as missing a simple chance to wrap things up.
If you have a problem with Spurs not winning trophies, then you should be no fan of this team either. But looking at this list, not many of your thoughts are consistent.
Four into three doesn’t go
Doug wrote: “For my money, a fluid three of Martial, Rashford, Sanchez, Lingard would cause more damage than what they have now with Lukaku an ever-present…… There are zero holes in this idea.”
Erm…..that’d be pretty fluid definition of “three” you have there Doug…!
Stu (one, two, twelvety) Oxford