The Mailbox shrugs its shoulders at Liverpool’s Champions League exit to Real Madrid, while one Arsenal fan takes issue with the notion that Mikel Arteta’s players haven’t won anything…
Get your views in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
March 15. Our last even remotely trophy-relevant match. That’s gotta be a recent-times record. Seems only Jürgen Klopp is surprised that having no midfield could be a problem.
Scott, Toronto, taking up new hobby
Time up for Trent?
The first leg was absolutely embarrassing, this was just a case of going through the motions. No one believed we’d turn the tie around – not the fans, not Jürgen and especially not the players. And that’s how they played.
Trent is an absolute liability now, teams focus on him because he’s just not nearly good enough at actual defending. Not exactly a revelation, it’s always been a bit of an issue. But previously he spent so much time attacking and creating beautifully, that the good massively outweighed the bad. Now the bad is seriously bad and god knows how much it’s cost us this year.
At a conservative estimate, the bare minimum we need to buy in summer is two top class midfielders. And God knows that’s easier said than done. In all honesty we need at least one more centre back and probably another right back as well – to provide serious competition for Trent or perhaps supplant him altogether. 4 players that will cost top whack is a massive ask and the other clubs won’t exactly be letting us buy whoever we want without competing for them. Chelsea in particular can outbid us on anyone while somehow mysteriously keeping to Financial fair play regulations.
So there’s a hell of a lot to do. However, there’s a fair whack of this season left and at least now we have just the one goal to focus on. Top 4 is everything and yet absolutely no-one knows if we’ll do it or not. Every game we are clueless as to who will turn up. Will it be the side who beat City, humiliated Bournemouth and turned over United? Or will it be the side who lost the reverse to Bournemouth and any other team who happened to be bottom at the time?
Newcastle are perhaps getting their second wind and they seem to be our main competitors for the 4th place. Spurs are just gonna Spurs and Chelsea are just too work in progress to do what it takes. We *should* be favourites but it’s not a bet you’d put a fiver on at this point.
The next three games are City, Chelsea and Arsenal – not exactly the easiest run. Chances are we’ll raise our game for City and Arsenal then f**k up the easier fixture against Chelsea. Or it could be the absolute opposite, it’s all a complete mystery.
Let’s not treat these three fixtures as *cup finals* though, we always play s***e in those.
Read more: Liverpool surrender to the inevitable as Real Madrid run down the clock
VAR and Real diving
Like many, I am completely in favour of VAR but have been seriously frustrated with countless decisions this season. To the degree the opening penalty decision for Manchester City against RB Leipzig was so ludicrous, for the first time I asked myself if corruption was actually in play.
That noted, while watching Real Madrid against Liverpool tonight something occurred to me regarding VAR improving its image, even with baby steps.
Most teams feature a player or two who are dive merchants, and it always frosts me so many referees (with a lifetime of experience) cannot resist giving say, a Jack Grealish, yet another faked foul. When does the routine get old? But Real Madrid tonight, though never shy of aggressively fouling, often threw themselves to the ground if a Liverpool play simply glanced at them. Replays showing unsurprisingly, at times they had not even been touched, yet they were writhing on the floor clutching their phantom injury.
If the collective viewership are being shown the fakery within seconds, we know VAR officials are seeing likewise from multiple angles. So under this specific circumstance, a player clearly faking a foul, why can’t the VAR officials instruct the referee to award a yellow card to the diver immediately? No consultation, no ref to the sideline for a review, just an instant yellow and play resumes.
Would this not go some way to cut out such stunts, and lets be clear, team tactics, such as Real Madrid employed tonight? It would be a win for VAR.
Arsenal are already winners
In the “Five Reasons Why Arsenal Won’t Win The Premier League” article, item 2 was concerning the novelty factor and inexperience that Arsenal have when comes to winning the league, and how signing Premier League Winners Oleksander Zinchenko and Gabriel Jesus from Manchester City might not be enough league title-winning experience to see them over the line. Well, it’s a good thing that Arsenal can also field:
Thomas Partey (La Liga Winner, 20/21)
Jorginho (Champions League Winner 20/21, European Championship Winner 2020)
Granit Xhaka (Swiss League Winner 10/11 and 11/12, and U17 World Cup Winner 2009)
Kieran Tierney (Scottish League Winner 15/16, 16/17, 17/18 and 18/19)
Leandro Trossard (Belgian First Division Winner 18/19 and Belgian Second Division Winner 13/14)
Emile Smith-Rowe (U17 World Cup Winner 2017)
Aaron Ramsdale (U19 European Championship Winner 2017)
Matt Turner (CONCACAF Gold Cup Winner 2021)
So on top of Jesus and Zinchenko, that’s 9x more league titles, a Champions League, a Euros, and 4x World Cups (albeit age group restricted ones).
Still… not a patch on the Man City squad medal haul I’m sure, but… it’s something
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
Last day ding-dings
So at work earlier, I looked at the last game of the Premier League season, for a nose at who Arsenal and City are playing ( both “easy’ games etc ).
But my eyes soon diverted elsewhere.
For anyone who loves a relegation 6 pointer, check this. On the last day of the season.
Palace v Forest
Everton v Bournemouth
Leicester v West Ham
Order that popcorn.
Adam Halliday , Glad Villa are out of it, Hot & Sunny (and no AC right now) Saigon
Graham (Seriously 12!) and the CWC; I’ve long thought this (and sorry if i’ve already written in to the mailbox to say the same), and given the characters involved it’d never happen, but why can’t the Club World Cup get amalgamated with other “trophy” games into one overall process, a la boxing where one fight is representing several belts / organisations. Or with Rugby, with the Calcutta Cup being within the 6 Nations; That the winner of the Calcutta Cup is determined during ties as part of a larger competition.
Eg, you have Uefa (and no doubt most if not all regional federations) having the ‘European Super Cup’ between the Champions League winner and the Europa League winner. Instead of that one off game squeezed in to pre seasons, they could send both teams to a Club World Cup, group stage of four teams. Say alongside the equiv two teams of the African Confederations. Each team would play three games as part of the WCC group, but the tie(s) between the respective two entries from one confederation would result in a trophy lift.
So we’ve improved the CWC whilst also being down one game in the summer. What else?
The Italian FA have long since shilled their version of the Charity Shield across the globe as they’ve no interest in their fans ability to attend the game and are instead more interested in raising visibility of the teams and therefore the league. Could a series of back-handers mean that this game forms a consistent and recurring part of the CWC? obviously this is rewarding teams who have not achieved anything in Europe to truly qualify for a world competition, but it would meet FIFA’s root need which is to expand their tournament. As a neutral I’d not necc guarantee I’d watch it, but i’d be more inclined to watch the Italian Supa Copa if it was more than just a meaningless friendly in China, Saudi Arabia or Qatar. And long term, it’s no more insane than a lot of custom and practice rules within football that are in place mainly because ‘that was how the competition was founded’. ‘Dunno why it’s like that lad, but it’s always been….’ Could the host country also get an invitation to add their equiv of the charity shield, if they want to (or their domestic league champions if they don’t have a charity shield)? That might add a kinda logic to the Italian Supa Copa’s inclusion, if the Italian’s was the first added and so is perpetually then in the CWC, and then each year a one-off inclusion of the host countries Charity Shield is built in on-top.
If there’s the hope to raise the profile of US soccer, as that’s where the money is, well give them entry for the MLS cup winners, the US Open Cup Winners, and the Supporters Shield as guaranteed; not just the CONCACAF Champions Cup winners. It’d be money grabbing, and demonstrably unfair, and clearly political. But then they are three key FIFA values :troll:. And may redress the European weighting Graham mentioned.
The end result would still be Real Madrid winning the CWC, and it may resemble a guardianesque school sports day where everyone may get some form of medal along the way, but it does introduce the possibility that Fulham could play Boca to be the best club side in the world. And I’d be on board with that.
A larger CWC could be an interesting thing, as long as it’s not just the same teams consistently playing more games. I’d not be a fan of the last four Champions League winners getting automatic inclusion as it’d perpetuate an existing financial imbalance in their domestic leagues.
Or, as this season is proving, would just provide Liverpool an unearned opportunity to utterly stink out the place. (Well done Mardid, and for the post game solidarity after the treatment of both fans in Paris)
This format may be adding circa 3 extra games for the winning team, but it is at least trying to take other games away.
Obv caveat about climate change and more teams travelling; About how competition sponsors could be naturally in conflict (eg Visa sponsor Fifa but Mastercard cold sponsor one of the competing federations and not want to give up their super cup) etc. But if boxing found a way past this, I’d love it if football could too. And it would mean every year looked different.
…While the new world cup fornat is stupid, the fact that it only adds one game to potential finalists (and 3rd/4th place) is not a train smash to the footballing calendar. But don’t crucify me for that, it is still taking a great format and replacing it with a stupid one again.
The club world cup on the other hand. This cup has been one of those tin pot trophies that you are rewarded/punished for being champions league winners. It does at least give Europe’s champions league winners an odds on chance to win that tin pot trophy and just stuffs them up domestically for a week or two.
I see the new proposed format is going to happen after the regular season with many more games now so truly will be a punishment. What premier league club or players are going to want to participate in this nonsense? Also, by using the European coefficients, they’re just making sure the big clubs have less chance of missing out so it’s their own way of starting their own super league of sorts. Sadly, FIFA will probably also effectively blackmail teams into playing their strongest squad like they did with Utd when we were forced to not defend our 1999 FA Cup.
Would be nice if the big clubs said no but no-one can say no to FIFA as they have so much money and so much power.
Jon, Cape Town (must be a way of sabotaging your coefficient to get out of it – have all the big clubs play their second string in the champions league group stage so they can drop down to the Uefa league and fight it out there)
Gary’s opening gambit
I can’t be the only one looking forward to the next Match of the Day for one reason: to hear Lineker’s opening gambit.
Thinking back to Des Lynam’s classic, “shouldn’t you be at work?” line from the ’98 World Cup, you can be sure Lineker and the MotD producers are currently hunched round a table, spitballing ideas for that killer line.
How far will he push it?
Any ideas welcome…
Pablo (on that note, bring Des back)
Does no one think it’s out of order for a BBC employee to compare a government policy trying to deal with the complex issue of illegal immigration/human trafficking with 1930s Nazi policies?
Or is it just emails agreeing with his view that are published?
…Gosh, I seem to have stirred up quite the hornet’s nest, don’t I? Too many points to respond to individually so suffice to say I agree with some, not others. I would concede I was a bit facetious about the reason for MoTD’s increased viewing figures. Anyway, the main reason for writing in again is to congratulate F365 on convening the discussion in the first place. Unless I’m reading it very wrong, the site leans ever so slightly towards the left and yet they still provide a platform for contrary views. Bravo.
…Geez mailbox complier, “let’s not get political huh?” For all the “let’s not get political,” I read nothing but political and read a bunch of responses of “people” upset about someone else’s email (which I haven’t read,) because politics apparently.
This is getting old fast. You want to be Football 365/Labour 180 I’m fine with that. Just be sure that if you want to be the bestest football website, that you give those dirty Tories (am I saying it right?) the other 180 to air their views as well.
Don’t care about the Lineker situation, don’t care about Tories or Labour really, don’t care period. I come to this website for the football (and good football information and analysis at that) and nothing more. If I want political discussion, there are plenty of other places I can go for that.
However, in closing, I’d like to remind Jon from Spurs of two things,
Not wanting politics involved is not a political position. It’s a position of “not wanting politics involved” Not difficult, eh?
Politics ruins everything it touches. Everything.
TX Bill (Why don’t you guys start a Politics365? I’m not joking, you’d have a large group of people from this website give it a try. Being the dirty capitalist that I am, I’d expect some royalties from my brilliant idea) EFC