There is some love for Neymar after our comparison to Paul Pogba while others have plenty to say about Scotland 1 England 3 and Harry Maguire in particular.
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Neymar vs Pogba
I am not a Neymar fan, nor have ever really been one, but it is undeniable he is a truly talented and special player of the game. The very same could be said of Pogba, and while Neymar hasn’t reached the Ballon D’or winners level, it would be harsh to compare him to Pogba as a “What If”.
Both are world beaters, and on their day, were second to none. Pogba had great success in Italy after leaving United, but he was never the key player in that team. His best year at United came in the 18/19 season, and at times, it had looked like the Pogba everyone had hoped for, had finally come of age. It was a false dawn.
He did win the World Cup, an achievement Neymar is unlikely to achieve, but just like Juve, he needed a system wide support network to perform to his best, but his motivation rarely seemed questionable at international level.
Neymar on the other hand, has achieved quite a lot, and the fact it is rarely seen this way, probably speaks to his vast talent and the expectations we had, or perhaps it was the lofty suppositions set by Ronaldo and Messi that made his rather impressive accomplishments seem derelict.
Neymar is Brazil’s record goalscorer – no small feat for a Brazilian – and he has won the Copa Libertadores for them. He has won the Champions League, and League titles across two major European leagues, and unlike Pogba, he was a key player in many of those successes. He is the only player two score in the finals of both the Champions League and Cope L, and he lasted 10 years at Europe’s highest levels – Sorry Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kake, Rivaldo.
He twice finished 3rd in the Ballon D’or, and in a Messi and Ronaldo-less universe, he would have been the apex predator idolized by the mob. He is a player that can single handedly take the game to the opposition. Pogba for reference, never went higher than 15th place, and needs at least two hard runners and one creative type for him to function effectively.
Pogba is probably my ultimate what if player. He was truly devastating for a period in that 18/19 season. Had he stayed fit, motivated, and had he been able to do that for 5+ years, then maybe we could put him in the Neymar category, and that category should not be “what if”.
We should instead call it the Icarus category. These are the players who are guilty of flying too close to the sun, with that sun being Messi and Ronaldo.
Andy Bollen: Total Football my arse. Men vs boys, more like.
This is the highest quality and deepest Scotland squad for decades. Alas, the same looks true for England who were on a different level from us tonight. Rice-Bellingham-Kane is a frighteningly strong and able spine, surrounded by skill and menace.
Gah, what we’d give for one elite attacker.
…At the risk of sounding overwhelmingly trite, what is the point of Harry Maguire? Surely now that Southgate can no longer claim Maguire has “never let him down”, his race must surely be run. Using his own selection logic the gaffer may as well have picked Jamal Lascelles. Not a defender but Jesse Lingard isn’t playing, why not pick him too?
I for one am looking forward to the return of John Stones to partner the composed county cricketer Lewis Dunk.
Oh yea…Jude Bloody Bellingham though!
My name is Maguire
I’m currently enjoying My Name is Earl for the first time. The concept of the show for those uninitiated is that bad things happen to Earl after he had done bad things. Most of the show is devoted to him doing good things and karma doing him right accordingly.
Got me thinking about our Harry. Now his first season at Man U was pretty good. He undeniably improved the team. Most people liked the guy. He was operating I suspect at the peak of his ability. He had been made Utd captain. His manager loved him. I’m guessing he was donating a lot to charity at this point.
Then he went to Greece on his hols…
From the moment he got back he became unquestionably the unluckiest man in the world and didn’t just plateau at his natural ability. He is consistently performing as Inspector Clouseau would should he accidentally get picked for club and country.
Now we know what he was meant to be accused of. Even if guilty of definitely bad reported crimes which he denies – does that explain his last few years? I think he actually got away with something even bigger over there and karma is having its revenge. Just saying think Greek police should have a quick look at missing persons or at the very least missing puppies.
When Earl confesses to his crimes generally karma repays him. Harry – it may be your only chance.
Here’s an e-mail I was hoping to send before kick off, believe me or not, I did.
Gareth “I talk bollocks” strikes again! “It would be ridiculous to make too many changes” he states, so how many is too many, 3, 4, 5? I would suggest that over 50% of the team is “too many”. As it is, he is very probably going to get lucky, there was an outcry not to pick Maguire, he’s out, there was a clamour for Henderson not to play, he’s out, most people can’t understand why Foden doesn’t start, he does, there was an outrage that Bellingham didn’t start in his preferred position, this time he does!
With qualification almost guaranteed surely the Ukraine game was the one to make the changes (not 6), as playing in a qualifier is of more value than a friendly(?), England will beat Scotland and the incoming players (Phillips excluded) will shine along with Bellingham playing a more central role.
Southgate yet again has had the changes almost enforced on him by the media and public opinion and when this has happened in the past, results have improved, he then reverts back to his safety first, negative, boring selections and tactics.
And here is my post match take:
After a superb first half scintillating performance, in which the players deemed not good enough to start at the weekend excelled along with our brightest star playing with freedom, I can hear the half time team talk.
“OK that was good and if we don’t do anything silly, we can win this game. Let’s keep the ball as much as we can, no trying to score as we don’t need anymore”.
What it should have been was “brilliant lads, you’re miles better than them, go out and stuff them, get a few more and I’ll send on some more lads to scare them to death”.
I actually thought someone had forgot to tell them you kick the other way in the second half, such was the paucity of our second half ambition. The Scotland fans were so deflated and couldn’t see a way back into the game that they reverted to amusing themselves by taking the piss out of Maguire. Of course the pantomime villain duly obliged but fortunately the players on the pitch decided to ignore Gareth’s tactics and started playing again.
Southgate is an awful manager who has gotten incredibly lucky, Souness (love him or hate him) is a very good analyst and his “they are still playing with the handbrake on”, epitomises Southgate’s lack of managerial ability.
Howard (but he got us to a final, BS) Jones
…Am the only United fan who still feels that De Gea really deserved a proper send off, after years and years of quite clearly outshining his disinterested team mates. quite measurably saving United on many an occasion from what could have been many more hidings in recent years?
I mean that’s just poor form, piss poor actually.
Classless from a club who currently face a challenge in this area.
ETH clearly doesn’t want Sancho, so we deliberately sabotage a loan move to the one place who could happily afford our asking price and his wages in a year if the loan goes well.
I mean, I’m getting a little bit tired now of constantly being infuriated by this club ownership, management and leadership trifecta of piss poor incompetence, there doesn’t seem to be a shred of coherence or forethought about anything happening here?
The Glazers will either feign astonishment or likely peddle all sorts of nonsense when United fans take a turn to actually arriving at destination No-More and scenes go far beyond a sit-in against ‘Pool.
As undesirable as it is for you to have to read that, I wouldn’t be surprised if it rubs many a non-United-fan up the wrong way as it implies chaos/hostility etc, really, they have done little over the years to arrive at any other logical conclusion to their tenure here.
Manc from SA (Everything is plan B or C, dressed up as the Only Thing We Wanted/Needed Anyway. Which is of course utter tripe.)
Is Graham of the Arsenal pyjamas and bedspread conveniently forgetting that Ramsey signed on at Juve for 4 seasons, played 45 games and was pocketing a reported £400k per week?
He doesn’t need to go to Saudi because he’s already utterly rinsed one club (although I couldn’t be happier to see Juve getting rinsed).
Take the Arsenal red tinted glasses off.
Brighton’s Exes that are worth dating
So Mike, CFC dropped a mail about Brighton players and manager that have left but hardly done anything, well I was shocked to see Moises Caicedo in the list considering he has barely played and also seeing Ben White on that list of flops who many neutrals would argue has been one of their best players.
So anyway back to my main point that I am trying to make about players who have left Brighton, I did a bit of a look through their outgoings to see who has been a success and this is what I got.
Ben White to Arsenal
Viktor Gyökeres to Coventry
Dan Burn to Newcastle
Leonardo Ulloa to Leicester
Ashley Barnes to Burnley
Tim Krul to Norwich
Leandro Trossard to Arsenal
Oscar Garcia (Manager) to RB Salzburg
Now I would say there are many that have done well after leaving Brighton and to me doing well is not winning a tonne of trophies and breaking records, modest success is just that.
Yves Bissouma is looking better this season for Spurs and I am sure Mac Allister and Caicedo will go on to impress Liverpool and Chelsea fans as the season goes on, we have only played 4 league games yet some reactions I have read on social media in regards to many a new transfer signing makes it out like that we are approaching the end of the season.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod (Marc Cucurella might be broken, but could be fun to fix)
Sitting at my desk at work, I can almost hear the furious typing of fellow Arsenal fans at Mike CFC’s inclusion of Ben White in his list of post-Brighton failures; it’s either excellent trolling or just plain ignorance.
Amro (I also think Trossard got something like 10 assists in half a season at Arsenal – best go back to Brighton mate)
Dave, Manchester (9th time lucky and ready to be hurt again) bemoans the signings of loanees and free transfers because, in his words, ‘we were desperate and broke’.
Must’ve been a different Manchester United that recently topped the worldwide list of spenders in the past 10 years with €1.39bn.
James Outram, Wirral
…Did Dave, Manchester just completely forget about Zlatan? Why Dave? Why?
Boo to Media Double Standards
A bit of booing can be fun but I cant help noticing the lack of media condemnation for Scottish booing last night.
If it had been England booing another country – imagine the reaction!
Jude Bellingham’s EA Rating
EA Sports FC rating for Bellingham: pace, shooting, passing and defence all rated under 80. For those old bastards who have no idea what I’m talking about, it’s pretty woeful. Anyway, goes without saying the guy is the Real deal, pun intended.
Ballon d’Or 2024 to Bellingham? At this trajectory anything is possible.
Belgium won too
Belgium had a comfortable stroll in the park against Estonia, but there’s still a way to win and there was certainly a gleeful panache about them (5-0) which wasn’t shown in Azerbaijan. Standout performances:
– Doku on the left wing, dribbles, chances created and an assist (De Ketelaere with quick feet).
– Vertonghen scored for his 150th cap, that’s more caps than Beckham for England.
– Lukaku scoring a brace with his right foot, one a typical off-the-last defender run and shot.
– Trossard dribbling past three Estonians before hitting it past two defenders and the goalkeeper into the top corner. Wow!
And nice to see a high press even though the new coach is still trying to get them to do it in a coordinated way.
Paul in Brussels (no De Bruyne, Courtois or Hazard this evening)