Thank you for your brilliant emails. Keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How good was this Liverpool side?
#1… Personally I still rank Arsenal’s Invincibles as #1. The last two seasons have shown how difficult going undefeated is, especially nowadays that the league is at its most competitive.
#2… probably has to be a City season, particularly the 100 point season in 17/18. 106 goals scored, 27 conceded. That’s a +97 goal difference over 38 games. Mental.
#3… As much as I admire Chelsea from 04/05 for their defensive game, I want to say I admire goals more. Chelsea scored 72 goals and only conceded 15, so +57. But then the City team last season managed 95 goals and conceded only 23 (+72), this has to be the more of an achievement. Chelsea only lost 1 game that season. City lost 4 and still managed to end up with more points (98 to 95). Let’s go City 18/19 as #3.
#4… The same argument must apply from our team this season. Although 85 goals, 33 conceded, that’s only a +52 goal difference. 99 points is the second highest tally ever, 1 behind City’s 100. We also tied the record for most wins (32, par with City 17/18 and 18/19).
I really wonder whether we would have been able to score against that Chelsea side. Think that’s the sole difference between us and them… comparatively they were much more solid defensively. For this reason I’d rank Chelsea 04/05 above Liverpool 19/20.
#5… By reasoning then: Liverpool 19/20.
Wik, Pretoria (honourable mention to Leicester for collecting more points than United 99/00), LFC
The Big Six remain
Is the Big Six still a thing? asks Paul in Brussels, well this big six consist of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham, they are considered this based on their consistent finishes over the many years in those 6 places in the league table, of course some years they do not achieve this, you think back to Arsenal this season, Chelsea in 15/16, you get the idea there.
He mentions the likes of Leicester and Wolves potentially creating a “Big 8”, now this is logical considering the investment, as well as their recent performances, Leicester perhaps not so based on their recent form and with Rodgers, all be it a decent manager he does have a tendency to have his teams go off the boil toward the tail end of the season, not including his time at Celtic where it was during a period where it was a casual walk to the title each season, even Ronny Deila won back to back league titles and a league cup there, if you wonder what he is doing nowadays, he was appointed manager of New York City FC, managed six games, lost four of those so far.
It may seem harsh but I do not feel that many players would choose to join Leicester and Wolves over say the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea etc, purely for a few reasons, one being the history of those clubs, all jokes aside, putting on the shirt of an Arsenal, a Chelsea, a Liverpool etc does sway their mindset, it may be a minor detail but it still plays apart, so does wages, can Leicester and Wolves provide the same financial packages the sides in the Top 6 can?
Out of Leicester and Wolves, you would likely choose Wolves based on a few factors, one being Nuno at the helm, his project etc, but you also have to wonder how long till a bigger side be it in England or Europe comes calling for him, I would not be surprised to see one of the giants of European football come in for him and offer a nice compensation package to prise him away.
In conclusion, many will disagree with my thoughts, that is fine, hopefully more agree, either way it will cause an interesting debate in regards to the Top 6 and I am sure someone in the comments will bring up how many commas and full stops I have used in this mail.
Mikey, CFC (I do read the comments, below the dreaded line as some call it)
Missing the CAS point
Rish- re the CAS judgement, you’ve missed a few points
– In CAS each side nominates one judge and they agree the third. That’s what happens all the time in this particular forum, there’s nothing sinister, UEFA clearly didn’t have a problem with it. What you’re doing there is questioning the impartiality of CAS, keep doing that and you’ll need your own lawyers on the phone. If CAS are so open to influence how come Russia are still banned from the Olympics?
– The Etisalat deal is peanuts compared to the Etihad sponsorship (both agreed fair value by UEFA, as well as independent auditors appointed by UEFA and consequently by CAS, by the way, as set out in the judgement). This is the time barred element, CAS actually said that there was no point looking at this as UEFA had contrived to time bar themselves, they didn’t intimate guilt, albeit the usual suspects have tried to infer this from the judgement.
– Laughably UEFA’s case depended on an email dating to TWO YEARS before FFP even came into effect and concerned internal debate about how to pay sponsorship funds. City were able to demonstrate that this “what if” conversation was never acted upon, hence the 12 (count them) times the judgement states that there is “no evidence” to support UEFA’s contentions.
-Whilst City argued that hacked emails shouldn’t be used in evidence it also consented to them being made available, in full, to CAS. What CAS did note, and the press have been remarkably quiet about, is that one of these emails had been doctored by persons unknown when they appeared in Der Spiegel to make them appear more incriminating.
– The fine, or proof of guilt on all counts if your José Mourinho and anyone with a vested interest in an extra European spot becoming available, was for not providing the full email chains and witnesses to the UEFA process. These full chains, accounts and witnesses were made available to CAS, as City stated months ago they would be. What City refused to do was cooperate with the UEFA process that was leaking like a sieve, which CAS has already noted as concerning. The fine was for a contravention of process and nothing to do with the money flows. CAS have opined that making such information available was on obligation so fair enough. City refused to provide information to UEFA and was fined for it. CAS has ruled that, having seen that information, it still didn’t prove UEFA’s case.
I’m not going to argue that City would be anywhere near the position they would be without Abu Dhabi involvement. But City have played the game UEFA created themselves and shown UEFA and the G14 up for the self-centred creatures they are. I’m not a fan of the Abu Dhabi regime, but then again I’m not a fan of the Russian and Saudi regimes that have partnerships with Manchester United or a convicted money laundering institution that pays Liverpool millions every year. There’s no arbitrary line that says money from a group of people we don’t like is unacceptable, unless it’s only a few million and we only have them on the shirts and don’t name the stadium after them.
City were demonstrated to have broken FFP years ago, albeit because of a retrospective change in UEFA’s rules around contracts signed pre 2010, and were punished for it at the time. The recent case doesn’t change that, but it does demonstrate that City now play by the rules of UEFA’s bizarre game around outside investment. UEFA meanwhile continue with the hysterics about investment at the top of the table whilst happily ignoring Bury, Wigan…
Regarding points. I’ve never read so much nonsense in all my life.
If everyone was equally brilliant and going into the last game of the season every match had been a draw, then 40 points would win it for you .
Conversely if everyone was equally rubbish, then you could still go down with 37 points.
The gap between 1st and last would be 3 points irrespective of how good the standard of the league was.
Marcus. Can we have more emails about weird football dreams, i quite liked those.
What seems to have been lost in all this debate about points totals versus prior year is that it’s being used to define whether a team has improved or not. How dumb is that? What’s the point of a football journalist if a computer program can print out the numeric differences for us and an objective result obtained.
Let’s look at United but the same approach could be taken to any team.
They finished third with the youngest squad in the league and got to the semi-finals of both Cups and are still in the Europa league
In a mini league of the top six they got 23 points doing the double over City, Chelsea and Leicester, taking 4 of spurs and a point of Liverpool
They introduced new exciting talent to the league via academy and transfer and played with flair becoming the first PL side to win by 3 or more goals in 4 consecutive games
Their three young forwards (average age 21) scored 57 goals between them
With facts like that, the only point I can see of getting into a point versus prior year comparison is an attempt to deny the undeniable fact that Ole is taking United forward.
I was going to ask if winning the Europa league would change ABU’s assessment but I think we know the answer to that. Denial runs deep.
Dave (what am I missing?) Mack
Here’s a thought I’ve had for a while, wouldn’t it be good if there was an extra point for every +10 goals scored each team had. That ‘goal difference counts as an extra point’ thing would literally be true and would reward attacking play. It would also mean certain teams would really have to go for it at the end of the season opening up some pretty turgid games. Who’s in? I’ll ask my mates at FIFA.
Ole good but bland
I liked Ved Sen’s very sensible mail. Ole is doing a very good, if slightly bland, job imitating the way Fergerson did football. Set up situations where your better players could outperform the opposition players. Isolate their weak players against your good ones. Keep your weak leaks covered. Ole less so.
Then there’s all the “CEO of a major corporation” stuff that he seems to be doing solidly at. He’s handled player personalities and got the fans invested again. He has absolutely met expectations, even if those expectations are not as high as is traditional at Manchester United.
That said, as an opposition supporter, I want him to continue. And I shouldn’t. I should want #MoyesBack. Because Manchester United is a juggernaut, and once it gets going, it’s going to be hard to stop. And there is evidence for why I think that in Ved’s email.
Klopps football is not simple. In fact is dramatically different to the type of football Ole (and his mentor before him) played. It is not about tactics as way to isolate your best player and their worst, but rather as using systems to reduce the need for that individual skill gap to be the most important thing.
That’s why there’s a line of thought that says that many Liverpool would looks so good in other teams, without Klopp. It’s not wrong. It’s also why very talented players show up at Liverpool and look poor for at least half a season. There’s a system, and it’s more important than the players..
The first time I was exposed to this idea of play was Rangnick’s Hoffenheim (or was it Hannover), who had had to buy all the players no-one else wanted. The ones that couldn’t win those duels. So he had to build a system around what he had, which was great first touch, movement and passing. It worked, and now he’s considered a very angry genius.
Pep is the same. He has great players – and sometimes he needs those great players to bail out the system – but he beats teams through the system. Grind, move, overload, overlap, far post cross and goal. Wilder and Bielsa are lesser lights showing the same ability. John Lundstrum is not Lampard reborn – but the system gets him goals.
So far, across Cardiff and United, Ole has not seemed like this sort of manager. And that’s fine. He’s doing the job right now. There’s a long history of what he’s doing working. But he’s not scary. And I’m okay with that. But then I support the opposition. If I supported United, I might be asking why the richest (non-slave) club in the country couldn’t get a manager who had the ideas to be a catalyst to make the team more than it is.
Andrew M, Johannesburg
Farage on the right wing
Ted, Manchester raised the prospect (in my mind at least) of Farage playing on the wing for Man Utd. Heaven and earth! Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?
Daniel (Austen is GOAT) Cambridge
Who cares about Pogba? We are alive
A week or so back, I wrote in infuriated about Pogba and his performance. He delivered a stellar performance in the last game and I was left with egg on my face.
Every year, after the season ends, we all see a similar pattern in the mailbox. Should a team celebrate or not. Should one be happy or not. Who did better than another.
This year though is 2020. A year where a raging pandemic has brought large parts of the world to a standstill. This year, does it really matter where one stands or who is in what position on a F365 ladder? All that matters is that we are alive, healthy and able to move forward in our personal and work lives.
And, in terms of football, just grateful that we were able to watch the rest of the season. The relief, joy, sorrow, the emotion that football brings to life felt awesome.
So my mailbox friends, who cares if we are 3/4 or 10th. We all share 2 things in common – That we are alive and that football is alive.
More on the play-offs please
Can I just interrupt this seemingly interminable, not to mention tedious, squabbling between Liverpool and Manchester United fans, to congratulate Brentford and Swansea on a terrific game of football last night? It had almost everything, a bit of needle early on, some tremendous football, Brentford’s opener was as good a goal as you’ll see this year, the tension after Swansea got one back. Even as a neutral I was on the edge of my seat.
I don’t know if Brentford will get up, I suspect Fulham (assuming they get past Cardiff) will be tough, but if they do, I think they could surprise a lot of people next season (kiss of death, probably). More of this sort of thing, please.
Paul Quinton, Wolves
No moral high ground here
I’m guessing Ferg, Cork’s email about the Man United goading Liverpool fans back in 2011 had a couple of typos. Namely the fact that Man United won their 19th top flight title back then (not 20th as he twice stated). They stretched that lead to 20 titles in 2013, when Fergie somehow won the league by 11 points with the dullest Man United team since 1992/93 season (or maybe 1996/97).
Also being a fellow Liverpool fan he’d remember that the banner thing (which I have jumbled memory of being unveiled at Anfield) was a direct response to our taunts to Man United supporters telling them to “come back when you’ve won 19”.
They did and they responded in kind. Neither of our supporters can claim the moral high ground regarding goading each other.
Simon, London LFC
Couple of quick retorts
@Dion Byrne: well at least I made you laugh that’s a good thing, you seemed quite the disgruntled otherwise, please forgive this Utd fan who’s seen dross for 7 years for believing 3rd was not a realistic goal for Utd at the start of the season therefore overachieving to get that spot.
@Ferg,Cork May 2011 was title number 19, 20 didn’t arrive until 2013. Anyway, Liverpool fans in ‘93 asked us to “come back when we had 18” so Utd simply took up the invite, don’t ask people int your house for a specific reason and then complain about when they do come in.
Vernon, Dublin Ireland