Liverpool have taken the Premier League title race into a last game. The campaign to get Mikel Arteta sacked at Arsenal has entered overdrive.
Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘It’s the hope that kills’ is the new ‘Next year is our year’
And breathe. I think it’s worth saying it before our two finals that are now coming; this is the best Liverpool side I’ve ever seen in my life. Better than the Premier League winning team of two seasons ago and better than the Champions League winners of three years before and 2005. Today was precisely why that is the case; no VVD, Trent, Robertson, Fabinho, Thiago, Salah, Mane. That is seven of the first XI missing and they have the attitude to stand up and be counted. A Liverpool second string of the past would go a goal down, let their heads drop and feel it wasn’t their day. It’s why Rafa had so many “embarrassing” cup loses but these boys are just something else.
The result today was far from a certainty even though Southampton only actually had a single shot on target. They defended very deep and congested the centre so much. I think their strategy hinged on Gomez and Tsimikas not being able to provide the creativity that Robertson and Trent usually would and initially I think the plan was looking like it was paying dividends. We were forcing it a bit and not getting much joy.
Elliott and Jones were the standout performers today for me. Both looked creative and made some great forward runs. They looked good with Milner behind them and probably would’ve looked even better with Fabinho as he is probably the best screen in the league as Kante ages and keeps getting injured these days.
I’ll be hoping Liverpool score early on Sunday because ultimately we have a chance to make Man City feel the pressure a bit more if they know that they have to score. Villa have a few decent players and if Man City start getting nervous and trying to force it a player like Ings could punish them.
It’s the hope that’ll kill me.
Just on my way home from Southampton after a big three points.
Fact it’s going to the last day is incredible. Genuinely, what a season Liverpool have had. Played 61 thus far. Lost 3. Two massive games to go. The stuff of dreams this. Two trophies down and a slim chance of one more, a 50/50 chance of another. You really can’t ask much more.
Whatever happens, it’s been a great ride this season. I look forward to our next two games with more excitement than I could possibly have hoped for in August.
A City supporting mate text me after Liverpool equalized and asked if I was nervous about the game. I told him no because I’d given up on the league despite City’s draw with West Ham. It’s the hope that kills after all.
Of course, Liverpool went on to win, teeing up a disgustingly tense Sunday.
Now I am one hundred percent certain that Stevie G’s Villa are going to beat City only for Liverpool to get humped by Wolves.
Still, always the Champions League to forward to.
Alan (fair play to Jake Daniels, amazing courage)
The endless snide against Liverpool and their manager sees ever varying contortions in the efforts to belittle their success at every turn.
Before Klopp took over Liverpool were described as an irrelevance, not our rivals anymore, a team living in the past.
Klopp arrives and as some early success is achieved in getting to finals, he is described as a serial bottler, a manager that never wins a final, show us your trophies Liverpool!
Inconveniently for this narrative, trophies do follow and a Champions League win against Spurs must therefore be described as the worst final ever, and needless to say Liverpool are only in this year’s Champions League final because they were lucky with the draw.
Liverpool are told the Super Cup and Club World Cup aren’t real trophies you know (this from the fans of clubs who happily claim the Community Shield as a trophy).
A Premier League is won and it’s just a Covid season. The prayers that it be declared null and void, unanswered.
Klopp doesn’t respect the domestic cups, Liverpool should win trophies, look at Chelsea they are always in finals winning trophies. The Carabao Cup and FA Cup arrive this season and it is a case of well you only won the finals on penalties, actually that doesn’t count.
On and on it goes, LiVARpool; teams A, B and C from eras X, Y and Z would destroy this team; this team won’t be remembered. The attack de jour is that the Premier League is the only trophy that really matters and Liverpool have only won one Premier League in over 30 years (hardly the fault of Klopp or this amazing team).
Banter is one thing, and if someone can’t bear Liverpool to have any success that’s fair enough but the incessant Trump / Johnson lite revisionism and attempts to diminish and erase the achievements of Klopp and his team is on another level. I can’t wait to see how it will be explained away if Liverpool defeat Real Madrid on 28 May!
It’s been amazing reading the views of fellow Arsenal fans on the debacle that this season has turned out to be, and i particularly enjoyed the missives that imply that as all the pundits didn’t have Arsenal in the top 4, that a top 5 finish is all well and good. I would like to ask them since when has it been the job of pundits to determine, before the season starts, where a club should desire to finish? Arteta himself has said the plan for this season was top 4. The only conclusion is that he has failed. Again. I say again because this will be his second full season and at every single point, he has failed to achieve his minimum target, but for some reason, there seems to be a mass delusion within this fanbase that cuts him every single slack and never holds him accountable.
Almost three years at the club, he has scored less goals than Emery, has never gotten as many points as Emery, has a way worse goals difference, the football is barely different, but because he talks about ideas like “culture change”, fans have decided he can’t be the problem. And this idea of a culture change is middle management speak for “when i fail, blame something else”, and that’s the thing. Arteta has failed at every single footballing metric possible. I saw a tweet from Arseblog after the game where he said something to the tune of being glad we at least have something to play for at the end of the season again. That’s an incredible comment, because it does the same thing, imply improvement, because Arteta has laid the bar so low that a Europa league placement is seen as improvement. And this having nothing to play for at the end of the season is a peculiarly Arteta invention. It started under him. In Emery’s only full season, we had 3 games to get CL at the end and he priotitised the Europa league final, so of course we always had things to play for. Arteta doesn’t have the excuse of Europe, we had no cup competitions, one game a week, and we were 6 points ahead of Spurs with a game in hand when the rest of the Premier League had played 29 games.
Last thing for tonight: as gutting as that was, I’d rather be at this point of the season and for the games to matter than to play dead rubbers like the last few years.
Plenty to do this summer, but there has been progress. Add well in key positions and we can improve further.
— arseblog (@arseblog) May 16, 2022
Arteta failed. And he failed in the exact same way he has always failed, by being unable to coach attacking football. We are 17th in big chances created this season with 37. That’s one big chance a game, and bettered by Burnley (!!!!) and Wolves. That isn’t a problem a striker can solve. It’s a managerial issue which he has shown he is incapable of solving after three years. If we were a serious club, he’d have been sacked when he had us 15th last season, or definitely now, but we’ve just handed him a new contract, so we’ll be here much longer.
I don’t look forward to it. I don’t enjoy watching us try to win every game by the lone goal after a battle of attrition. #ArtetaOut.
Gideon Deon, Loughborough.
Did I really read it right that Tony (Shelfside) wrote ‘Firstly I’d like to congratulate Spurs on achieving Champions League football’
Appreciate that it is 99% going to happen but really? Has he never seen Spurs before? Is he 5? The team that finished 3rd in a 2 horse race, the team that hasn’t won a significant trophy in decades? The Lasagne eaters? Oh my life how funny it would be to revisit those words next week if the implausible happened (to be fair they will probably lose to Norwich and Arsenal will draw or lose to Everton).
Reminds me of a text I got from a friend of mine on a Sunday in 2012 about 4.45 ‘Life doesn’t get any better than this, sitting in the Guiness brewery in Dublin having a pint and watching Man Utd win the league’. I did enjoy writing the reply about 5 minutes later.
Joff, Barton Gooner
Young managers on a pedestal
Here’s a genuine question, one that I hadn’t really considered until a comment caught my eye this week but why aren’t “young” managers, given the same lee-way as young players when it comes to inexperience?
I’m aware that it is divisive in these parts to get involved in conversations surrounding the leagues current triumvirate of young managers who had long and storied playing careers and I’m certainly not saying Lampard/Arteta/Gerrard are mistreated by any means, they’ve all arguably been bigged up and knocked down unnecessarily high or low because of their status as ex-players in sought after management roles but is it not fair to suggest that a manager in their 30s/40s should be given that same regard for inexperience as a player in the 17-21 demographic? Management of a football club is no-less a skill in the same respect of leading the back line, goalkeeping, or finding space, it comes from a combination of natural ability and pure learned experience.
I appreciate there is an argument for “well, they shouldnt go straight to a top club then” but why do we not make that case with young players who show promise but make mistakes?
Jimbo (Won’t somebody please think of the young managers feelings)
Lots of debate about Emma Hayes being appointed to a managerial role in a men’s team. Now, I have absolutely no idea how she would do. Maybe she would be brilliant, maybe it would go badly. I have no idea. Nor does anyone else really. What I haven’t seen mentioned though is the consideration that maybe she doesn’t want a job in the men’s game?
There seems to be an assumption that this is her natural next step. That her success should be a springboard for a career in men’s football. She ‘deserves’ a chance to prove herself. What if that isn’t what she wants?
Think about it: What message would it send about the women’s game if Emma Hayes left serial winners and recent Champions League finalists Chelsea for Championship Blackburn? The message would be clear. Women’s football is inferior. It’s a stepping stone to the men’s game, the men’s game is where everyone wants to be.
Emma Hayes is someone who has invested a huge amount of time and effort into the women’s game. The growth of women’s football has been phenomenal. Yes, the men’s game is technically superior and yes there is far more financial reward, but the women’s game is on the up. I am sure she is very aware how a move to the men’s game would be perceived, and I suspect she would rather continue to see the women’s game grow, rather than abandon ship at this moment.
Mike, LFC, London
Andy seems to have spectacularly missed the point I was making. I thought I had made it clear that I had no truck with a woman managing in men’s football, but I guess straight out saying something is too subtle for some folks. I quite literally said that the only arguments I could think of that could be made against a woman managing a men’s team all boiled down to sexism. How much clearer can I make it? All I was asking was for us to stop talking about how success in women’s football gives her a ‘proven track record’ as regards men’s football. It doesn’t. It’s irrelevant. It’s as irrelevant for her managing in the men’s game as it is her punditry. Just can her advocates please stop insulting our intelligence by pretending otherwise. That’s all I ask?
And, for the record, many of the best managers in football history didn’t play men’s football at a high level, and certainly many of the best pundits in the men’s game neither played nor managed in it at a high level either.
Incidentally, the ‘unamed [sic] academy side’ beating international women’s sides were unnamed because I thought they were common knowledge for anyone who followed football, and particularly women’s football. No naughty business going on: Australia lost to an Australian boys team 7-0 in 2016, USA lost 5-1 or 5-2 to the Dallas Under 15s (I think it was Dallas) a few years later. I’m sure there are plenty more similar results out there, those are just the two that stuck in my head. I’m not using this as a stick to beat anyone with, but as the snide comment was suggesting I was making it up, I felt bound to respond.