Keep all of your wonderful emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org
It is quite the coincidence that IP’s totally unbiased criteria have 3 united teams in the top 5, and exclude this Liverpool team. While he does make some good point, I had to chuckle at the completely ridiculous statement that even the most idiotic fans would rather win 2 trophies than go unbeaten. Well IP, I guess I don’t register in your spectrum of intelligence, because I would much rather go unbeaten a whole season than win the FA Cup and Premier league. This could be because no other english team in history has done it, or because Juventus and Milan are the only other team in the big five leagues to do it for a whole season in recent history. That stat includes Bayern and PSG. The fact that it is that rare compared to doubles and even trebles just shows how impressive the performance is.
Personally, I find this debate boring and completely ridiculous. There are too many variables to look at. Injuries at the wrong time, strength of other teams, different eras, etc. Can we just not appreciate how incredible each achievement was?
As an aside, and this was brought up by Henry, look at this schedule in March/April for Arsenal. Can anyone remember in recent history a more insane 3 weeks? I’m not pulling a Pier Morgan here because you have to play everyone twice in the league, but holy shit that was an intense 3 weeks. 7 games against teams who all finished 8th and above, including the teams that finished 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th.
20/03/2004 – PL – Home Vs. Bolton (8th place finish in PL) Won 2-1
24/03/2004 – CL QF – Away Vs Chelsea (2nd place finish) Drew 1-1
28/03/2004 – PL – Home Vs Manchester United (3rd place finish) Drew 1-1
03/04/2004 – FA Cup Semi-Final Vs Manchester United (3rd place finish and eventual winners) Lost 1-0
06/04/2004 – CL QF – Home Vs Chelsea (2nd place finish) Lost 2-1
09/04/2004 – PL – Home Vs Liverpool FC (4th place finish) Won 4-2
11/04/2004 – PL – Away Vs Newcastle United (5th place finish) Drew 0-0
Guillaume (Also, the 03-04 monaco was anything but average. Morientes, Giuly, Marquez were already establsihed stars, Evra, Squilacci, Adebayor would go on to become that, Nonda and Roma were vastly underrated players.) Ottawa
I am finding it increasingly difficult and frustrating to understand United’s transfer dealings. They have been linked to numerous players but no serious bids have been successfully made. Chelsea has completed signing Timo and others, City just joined the race for Ake and I understand their offer has been accepted etc.
The difference between United and these clubs is that if the other clubs want a player, they act quickly and put money on the table and United is the opposite. Ole and the players have successfully done their bit finishing third in the EPL. It is time for Woodward and the Glaziers to act and do so quickly. Fans are frustrated with manifestly lack transfer market activity.
Professor David Achanfuo Yeboah
Complex transfer algorithm
Now that we’ve got the boring football bit out of the way (apart from the totally insignificant matters of the FA Cup final, Play-Off final and Champions League knockout stage), we can start talking about what really matters. Transfers!
I have used a complex algorithm/random guesswork to show who everyone/everyone important should sign.
First up we have Man City the best/richest/dirtiest team. It is difficult to see how they can improve the majority of their squad without spending silly money. Ake seems like a sensible signing as they would struggle to find a better defender at his age who fits into their system for less money. Additionally they may want another attacking player to replace Sane/Silva, with the algorithm/guesswork coming up with David Neres from Ajax.
Next we have Man United as the fans might get upset if they don’t get mentioned soon. I reckon they need two attacking players and a left-back. I think their defensive/goalkeeping crisis is vastly overstated and there isn’t anyone on the market for a reasonable price. My suggestions are Dembele, Matheus Cunha and Jamal Lewis, all for less than £100m.
Chelsea have already got most of their business out the way, however they still need a replacement for Kepa, who has been scientifically proven to be the worst goalkeeper ever. Onana is probably the best option. If they still have any money left they can sign Havertz, although his signing isn’t essential. They can likely raise the money for his transfer by selling (deep breath) Victor Moses, Ross Barkley, Davide Zappacosta, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Michy Batshuayi, Kenedy, Matt Miazga, Trevoh Chalobah, Jake Clarke-Salter and Lewis Baker.
Arsenal are according to some reports, very short of transfer money so I’ve decided they can only have one transfer. Isco can replace Ozil, who can go and play for the Turkish President at Istanbul BB, as it wouldn;t be Arsenal without an overpaid attacking midfielder. They can even fund some of the transfer by selling ‘defenders’ Sokratis and Mustafi, for whoever is foolish enough to give them money.
Spurs need to reinvigorate their squad, despite their recent form. They need new full-backs as their current ones can’t/don’t want to play football. My recommendation would be Tagliafico (poor Ajax) and Djibril Sidibe. They also need a replacement for Vertonghen (Gabriel Magalhaes) and a backup striker (Callum Wilson). They can sell some deadwood and end up with a net spend of about £60m.
Liverpool who may or may not be the best team ever, have already got a strong XI and several good subs. However, they have been exposed when Robertson and Alexander-Arnold aren’t available. However, they don’t need to spend heavily. I propose they sign Philipp Max and William from the Bundesliga as backups and Malang Sarr on a free to be centre back number 4. Sorry if you were expecting big name signings.
It is a similar story for Leicester, and my solution for them is to sign Ben Davies from Spurs and Clyne on a free. I’m sure Brendan can work out what to do with the rest of the squad. They may even make a profit if they can sell Albrighton, Amartey and Mendy.
Everton can sign some players who aren’t quite good enough for Chelsea in Victor Moses and Ross Barkley. They can also bulk up their squad by signing Jhon (not a typo) Cordoba, Mikel San Jose and Diego Laxalt for not too much money. They should sell Moise Kean, whilst he still has some value as I can’t see him coming good.
Elsewhere in Europe, my algorithm shows the big transfers as being James Rodriguez to Barcelona (you heard it here first), Philippe Coutinho to Bayern permanently, Alex Telles to Atlético Madrid, ‘Wonderkids’ Tonali and Camavinga to Real Madrid, Memphis Depay to PSG, Salomon Rondon to Inter Milan, Victor Osimhen to Dortmund and Crystal Palace reject Jose Campana to Valencia. The majority of teams will be unwilling to spend heavily resulting in a drop in the number of big money transfers (as demonstrated) due to uncertainty about revenue.
If you have a problem with my suggestions then take it up with the mailbox/comments section/the nearest wall depending on how articulate you are. I wouldn’t be surprised if none of my proposed transfers happen as the people deciding transfers are either morons or much more knowledgeable about football than me depending on your worldview.
Now, I don’t ever read ‘stories’ around transfer speculations as they are, literally that. Speculation. None of us on F365 including Winty’s team has, frankly, the faintest f*cking idea of what is actually going on behind the scenes whilst both agents and clubs use ‘their’ football journalists to apply pressure in the media to their own advantage. When I see an article accompanied with a picture of said player either on the pitch holding up the obligatory shirt/scarf or sitting at a desk with a pen in his hand and his beaming new manager next to him, well then I’ll pay attention.
Which brings me to Ben Bradshaw’s ‘prediction’ mail yesterday. Oh, and nothing personal Ben. Your only crime was having the first one printed.
Writing predictions after a post-covid season, and before the next transfer window has even opened (let alone closed) is, respectfully, utterly pointless and, literally, a complete waste of time. Drives. Me. Nuts. None of us know which players will be either signed or binned. None of us know whether clubs will severely rein in their spending in a world of dire uncertainty. Or, even if you sign a worldy, whether you’ve actually just copped a Sanchez or an Ozil, for example.
As for next season well, all the usual pesky unforeseeable Acts of God will clearly apply. Injuries, sackings, off-pitch shenanigans. Deadly viruses. The harmony of a dressing room being completely disrupted by a new signing or the Manager losing same. Managers getting sacked before Christmas. Entire clubs folding. You get the idea.
On the other hand for example, if you’re writing that, given the evidence of the past three seasons, that you think it’s a fair bet that City and Liverpool will end up in the top four in 20/21, then that I WILL read. Equally, if you’re putting your predictions to paper after, say, ten games into next season when all of us have some idea of where our own teams are at, then likewise.
Anything else is the same as most of my Leeds mates who, in perfect seriousness, are absolutely insisting THEY will be finishing in the top four. They’re not saying they HOPE they will. They’re adamant they definitely will. With, it would seem, the same reasoning, logic, and evidence that Ben used for his assertions yesterday.
Mark (Now if you’ll excuse me there’s some clouds coming up and I must clear my throat) MCFC.
Oh Ben Bradshaw (Fairly prolific BTL, first pass ATL), oh dear, Predictions are a mugs game, did Daniel Storey not teach you that this season? When he predicted that Sheffield United would be relegated, Kovacic would flop, Che Adams for the Golden Boot and Youri Tielemans to have the greatest positive impact from the 2019/20 season.
However, I do agree Chelsea will not win the title next season, we still have a lot of work to go in regards to our defence, but then again back in 16/17 our first 6 games resulted in us getting beat by Liverpool, comfortably beaten by Arsenal, before that a draw with Swansea and wins against Burnley, Watford and West Ham, the two former being involved in a relegation battle for the majority of the season, then Antonio Conte waved some magic over the team, changed formation, 13 game winning streak later we were well on our way to a debut Premier League crown under the passionate Italian manager, so anything is possible in the Premier League.
In regards to your Timo Werner as the next Mateja Kezman, Werner is coming from the Bundesliga, not the Eredivisie, where in regards to strikers you always take the risk they may not be that great in a more competitive league, for every Ruud Van Nistelrooy, Ronaldo, Luis Suarez you get an Alfonso Alves, Vincent Janssen or Luuk de Jong.
Mikey, CFC (Maybe the morale of the story is if they score more than games played, avoid, Suarez being an exception)
Top 10 predictions 2020/21 (or whenever it finishes)
1) Utd will come out the blocks fast. Utd fans will tell us all ‘this is it, our patience has been rewarded’ they will then not win over Xmas and only get back on track end of Feb by which point Ole is a dead man walking
2) Chelsea will not sign a world class goalkeeper or defender. They will be reminded of this every time they draw / lose. It will be fun though
3) Jose will bore the pants off us once he signs Hojbjerg and another def mid. Harry will poach the goals and Spurs will be 3rd with a Carling Cup win and a Europa League semi final. Jose will be happy. Spurs fans will accept the devils pact (technically 3 predictions in one there…..)
4) Aubameyang will leave, Arteta will do his best. 6th
5) Man City will saunter to the title as the 5 subs rule is perfect for them (why aren’t more people talking about this ?!)
6) Liverpool will be 2nd, knocked out in champions league semi final, everybody will laugh, Liverpool fans will still be happy
7) Burnley will get relegated after Dyche goes to Palace as Roy has had enough
8) Palace will sign Chris Wood and finish 10th
9) Leeds will be 4th by November and 3rd bottom end of the season
10) Villa will be relegated along with Brentford (who beat Fulham in the final so 2 predictions in 1)
11) go on one more….. Aguero to sign off with 35 Prem goals and a Player of the Season award to take back to Argentina. He deserves it
Hong Kong Ian (Liverpool will sign Ismaila Sarr) LFC
Thought I’d join in with some predictions for next season. It’s a month away and the window is totally unpredictable, which makes it more fun if anything.
1st – Man City: 93 points
They’re a brilliant team with a shoddy defence, hard to imagine that won’t be fixed. They won’t hit the heady heights of 97-100+ points but they’ll be close.
2nd – Liverpool: 89-91 points
They’re a brilliant team but it’s hard to maintain that consistency over 3 years, and the motivation after achieving something you’ve been going for so long. Also the forwards are only getting older.
They’ll only drop a little bit in performance but it’ll be enough to drop points they weren’t this year.
3rd – Man Utd: 75-81 points
Utd will improve by at least 9 points,mainly down to an added bit of consistency with those hard to break down teams. They’ll still cock up enough to be nowhere near the top two.
4th – Spurs: 71 points
Mourinho’s second season will return champions league football. They’ll be generally consistent but the squad won’t be deep enough to push further. Same old-same old.
5th – Leeds: 65 points
Completely dependent on Bielsa staying. If he doesn’t they’ll be in the fight at the bottom. More investment, a deeper squad, fewer games and Bielsa’s brain/methods will see them cause plenty of upsets and be consistent enough against the rank and file to do a Sheffield utd+.
6th – Arsenal: 65 points
Arteta will improve them across the season but they’ll still suffer the brain farts and lack of bottle. Defence isn’t good enough. They’ll be behind Leeds on GD.
7th – Leicester: 64 points
It’s going to be down to the wire all season for these top spots. Leicester are good, Rogers is excellent, Vardy is brilliant. They’ll bottle it in the end.
8th – Chelsea: 63 points
They’ll have lots of very exciting high scoring games, they’ll also have lots of disappointing 2-0, 3-0 losses against organised teams. The problem is not that they need to sign defenders (although they do), but that the manager can’t coach them in the first place.
9th – Wolves: 59 points.
They’ll be exactly as good as last year but it won’t be enough to move up the table.
10th – Newcastle: 54 points.
I don’t know why. The sale wont go through but if they pick up a striker I can see Brucey having a few more days in the sun at his hometown club.
1st – Martial: 26 goals
A feeling. Fernandes and pogba behind him for a full season where he’s truly locked down his position. He’ll improve again.
2nd – Sterling: 23 goals.
He’s brilliant, the team behind him will be better, he’ll be more consistent.
3rd – Vardy: 21 goals
I honestly can’t bet against him.
1st – Dean Smith: Aston Villa
They won’t improve, he’s not good enough in the first place. A terrible early season will see him on his way.
2nd: Brentford or Fulham manager.
I think this’ll be a tough year for the playoff winners, fulham are solid, Brentford are excellent. I don’t think it’ll matter.
3rd: Frank Lampard
He had a free hit last year but he’s just not qualified at this level and there are gaping flaws in his methods. He’ll lose the praise for playing youngsters, lose the cover of the transfer ban and their results won’t improve as everyone else’s does. His biggest problem is that abramovich seems to be interested in playing with his toy again, which has historically never gone well for Chelsea managers. Fan-fav or not, Lamps’ll be gone by Christmas. Poch will come in and probably win the league the next year.
League cup: Man City
I think its an obligation at this point.
FA Cup: Liverpool
Klopp will finally complete his treble.
Mourinho almost always pulls something out the bag.
Champions league: Man City
They’ll bottle it this year but win the first one they shouldn’t have been playing in.
If this is anywhere close to being right I think F365 are obligated to give me a job
GezzyVans, Swansea City (Cooper should be Knighted for getting that squad to the playoffs)
If you’ve got nothing good to say
I wrote in a couple of months ago staunchly defending Ole in a mail that read, “If you don’t have anything good to say…” just after we had turned City over to record a league double over them this season. The #OleOut brigade were in full force saying they hoped we lost for the next 2 years just so Ole would lose his job and they could have their beloved Mauricio (still no trophy and no club i see…) I digress. Matt Stead wrote his Premier League winners of the year and inevitably the losers as well. I am prepared to bet my bottom dollar that the section where he ended up putting ABU365 was the prime real estate he had been saving for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer had things gone belly up for United on the final day. It was probably one of his best pieces with all the inevitable anecdotes about how Ole “isn’t” the guy – some really smug stuff…..to bad you had to crumple it into your bottom drawer for later rummaging, when things take a turn for the worse. My point is this blind loyalty torwards one Argentinian job-seeker is blinding F365 from the stick it used to beat us with over the past 7 years. We had lost our identity and had spent 900 mil pounds on individuals who had philosophies that didn’t match how we wanted to play or entertain us as we were used to. But now we have a manager offering us the sort of football we had in those good times and he has done it in a relatively short period having stumbled upon Bruno so please stop. Just stop. I can understand your ABU365 thing, have you met us, we are an ENTITLED unlikeable bunch who were used to so much success and I bet it has been hilarious for you and everyone else here to see us rudderless and poke fun. But we are okay now, early days but we have already committed to 200 mil for Ole and will commit 200 mil more this summer so Ole is the guy , F365 has backed Mourinho and LvG for the United gig so no more! No sense starting over with a manager who has never won anything except the best employment PR team ever in f365. And I know it’s hard to praise Lampard and put down Ole for essentially the same thing but you do it so well. At least there is MEDIAWATCH bless them!
Simba (If you don’t have anything good to say)
Time to laugh at Newcastle
I see it’s time to laugh at Newcastle again. Ha ha, you dared to dream that we might be released from Ashley’s grasp and might, MIGHT, be able to compete on an even financial footing as the big 6, idiots. You will remain the PL jesters, entertaining everybody with your stupidity of thinking tomorrow will be better.
It would be hilarious if I wasn’t one of the poor bastards who are burdened with supporting a club that has stumbled through this accursed league for so long.
Truth is, I’m relieved this has all happened, we would have become the happy smiling face of a regime propped up on environmental vandalism, humanity right travesties and state sponsored murder, oh and the most egregious offence, from the Premier League point of view, TV piracy. I mean, children starving to death in Yemen due to Saudi attacks are bad, but Dave the ExPat in Dubai being able to watch Newcastle vs Aston Villa play out a 0-0 on dark Wednesday evening for free, over their dead bodies.
Would this takeover have taken place if it was a southern team, maybe but they would have had an answer faster that’s for certain.
Were Liverpool and Spurs selves serving in protecting their places from a cash rich pretender, damn bloody right, Newcastle were about to become Man city 2.0 or Chelsea 3.
We’re going to be stuck with Ashley, so laugh it up, the clowns are going to entertaining for a while yet, but as you laugh maybe look at your own club. This could happen to you, as our clubs increasingly become the playthings of billionaires and mercenary business we are becoming less and less.
It’s sad, the whole bloody lot of it, but you can’t stop, you just can’t once its claws are in you, I’m sick of the whole damn lot of it, I think I’d rather be in the Championship.
David in Galway
So after months of Newcastle fans being on the warpath to defend the Saudi takeover of their club, the would-be buyers have pulled out. Have to say this is kind of awkward.
Has any club had its reputation damaged by their fans this season as much as Newcastle? I’m sure the fans abusing journalists and fans of other clubs for raising questions were in the minority, but dear lord it was a very vocal minority and they were all over social media. I have no issues with Newcastle in general, but the behaviour of some of their fans during the takeover talks was really quite sad to see, and now it looks like it was all for nothing.
Turiyo Damascene. Kigali, Rwanda
My condolences to all the Newcastle fans out there. Your city deserves so much better
Dan, Plastic LFC
NEXT YEAR IS NOT OUR YEAR!
To all Liverpool fans who seem unable to concentrate on, and enjoy their magnificent achievement of joining Blackburn and Leicester on the Premier League roll of honour at last. I would like on behalf of all Utd fans ( at least those with a rudimentary knowledge of football anyway!)…
Deep breath now
NEXT YEAR IS NOT OUR YEAR!
More on City and CAS
To respond to James’ review of the CAS decision, albeit this could stray into an interminable exchange
– FFP was measured from the start of 2011/12 but the periods cover a whole season, so not effective until the following summer, a good two years after the email – hence why CAS itself says it’s two years before the implementation
– The independent auditors to which I referred were PwC who had previously satisfied UEFA that the sponsorships were fair value and not between related parties, this was not part of the CAS hearing
– Your inference around the sinister missing attachment is no more than UEFA’s conjecture, or part of the entire case being founded on “innuendo” according to CAS. As CAS notes, this inference is simply not borne out by the evidence. CAS also notes that there should be no criticism or inference implied by City not providing the missing attachment/sections of emails, what was provided is what was requested for CAS, in full
– The point around the email doctoring is to highlight the whole shallowness of UEFA’s actions, Der Spiegel, a paper subsequently found to have presented fantasy as fact on other occasions, found a total of six emails out of 5.5million messages that could only support a case based on “innuendo“
– Of those six they had to dress one up. Of course CAS said it made no difference, it didn’t, and it couldn’t as CAS have stated, there’s nothing there
– You’re turning the evidence from various stakeholders and accounting firms into a playground game of “of course he would say that”. You might be better with the quote from CAS that for UEFA to be correct then City had managed to mislead EY, Deloitte, BDO, Alix as well as, presumably, PwC in the previous review. To mislead one would be impressive, to mislead all would be incalculably remote a possibility, unless you want to imply a conspiracy?
And yes, sorry the old G14, a group set up explicitly to enhance their own interests have now happily stepped back and invited the likes of Anderlecht and Dynamo Riga in the European Clubs Association to set the agenda from now on. Nice guys. It’s a mere coincidence that it’s the executives of these exact 14 clubs that have continually preached to the press about the need to block money coming into the game from parts of the world they only visit on holiday.
A football dream
Man alive, please, no more Man City/UEFA emails! Beyond boring, and an immediate skip to the next one.
Also, feel free to skip this one if rambling mails about weird football dreams are not your bag, but I’d like to share one I had some years ago, inspired by Tim Sutton’s own recollections.
Waaayyy back when Arsenal were last relevant, circa 2007/08, I had a dream I was an Arsenal player, in the squad for a North London derby at White Hart Lane. At half time in the dressing room, Arsene Wenger, Le Professeur, had all us players sat at single desks as though he was the teacher in a classroom, in which he proceeded to dispense his pearls of footballing wisdom.
In trademark drab suit and red tie, with his silver, Mr Whippy-effect hair. Le Prof sidled up to my desk and simply said something cryptic along the lines of “Lee. When you work as part of a team, you can achieve the most wonderful things…” before telling me I’d be coming on at half time for my debut.
With some trepidation, I entered the fray at a febrile, white-hot White Hart Lane for the start of the second half. Within minutes, I received the ball just outside the penalty area, slightly to the left of goal. My confidence grew. I sidestepped around a couple of Spurs defenders, shuffling the ball onto my right foot so that I could get a shot away with my preferred foot. It whistled just inches past Paul Robinson’s right-hand post from about 20 yards and I trotted back into position for the goal kick.
But old Arsene on the touchline was furious and immediately subbed me back off for presumably disregarding his “work as part of a team” advice! Clearly, I wasn’t about to start passing the ball to better placed team-mates, or at least not enough for his liking.
I never did like Arsenal.
Thank you for reading, if indeed you did.
Lee, calling on Ben Bradshaw to give me the winning lottery numbers for Saturday’s draw…