Solskjaer will outlast Klopp, Pep and Dyche…

Date published: Tuesday 18th February 2020 2:32

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Ole keeps pulling rabbits out of hats
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s that kid at school who hands his homework in right at the last minute when the teacher’s told him he’s getting suspended if he doesn’t.

All logic and reason dictates Poch should be doing the job over Ole but he has a habit pulling a rabbit out of the hat just when you think he’s finished.

On this evidence, he’ll outlast Klopp, Guardiola and even Dyche.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Fair play to Roy Keane…
Great win for United but after watching MNF I just want to say fair play to Roy Keane.  The flawed idea of discussing the combined XI of United’s ’99 team and Liverpool’s ’20 was as pointless as anyone could have predicted but the simpering fool they had presenting made it all the more arduous by ducking out of any contentious points, often relying on Carragher to keep the segment moving.  The chap, in closing, even had the audacity to call Keane a “wind-up merchant” when all he was doing was giving his honest opinions.  Don’t invite the man on and then belittle his responses.

What did anyone expect Keane, a Treble winner and multiple league champion, to say about his teammates?  That he just about allowed Van Dijk in over Ronnie Johnsen and then later changed his mind to put Gary Neville in ahead of Trent Alexander-Armstrong showed a charitable side to Roy I didn’t think he was capable of.  It was obvious he was never going to go gently on this.  That Carragher (who to be fair at least tried) wanted to place either Cole OR Yorke in his team showed a basic lack of understanding on how strike partnerships work and why that one in particular was so deadly.  You can’t have one without the other.  Jamie really let himself down there.

On reflection I think Roy probably got it right.  The ’99 United is unlikely to ever be bettered and although an argument can be made for Liverpool only being able to beat what’s in front of them, history will remember this team as strong in a weak league, capitalising on the lack of any proper challengers (through no.fault of their own, it must be said).

I can’t recall a Premier League where every top team has been thrust into turmoil before.  It really is the perfect storm for Liverpool.  So until at least one of their challengers has overcome their afflictions and is in a position to run against them then we won’t be able to adequately assess this Liverpool side.  Roy was right to point out that they’ve not won anything yet.  When they’ve overcome even the meekest of challenges then we will be able to make a case for comparing them against the United of ’99.
William Douglas Foster, Stretford


Chelsea 0-2 Man Utd
Dear Mailbox,

First things first, I’d just like to get in a few words on what a jammy bunch of jammy buggers United were last night…  I’m not complaining, don’t get me wrong, but three big decisions went our way, no denying it.

I’m too biased to comment on Maguire or the first disallowed goal; but the Giroud offside was both ‘technically correct’ AND a total f-in disgrace.  I was out having a fag, watching through the window, when that went in.  I was praying for it to be ruled out for offside right up until the moment that I saw the still image, and realised it was going to be.

I hate this business where a toe can be offside now, and would like to see some sort of rule change to give the decisions in these cases to the attacking side.  I’m not sure it’s possible to define where a pass starts and ends in that split second, and these ridiculous hairs-breadth decisions seem to punish strikers for playing right on the edge of the line, off the defender’s shoulder.  Should have been a goal, and what a goal it should have been.

That match demonstrates the pointlessness of VAR, whereby, three arguable decisions have all gone United’s way, and Chelsea are left feeling cheated.  Nothing has improved or changed, other than the mechanism by which the human beings tasked with running the show balls it all up. Royally.

Ecstatic with the win though, regardless!

I’m not going to claim this result has proven Ole is the man for the job.  I think he is, as I have said before, and this result didn’t surprise me.  But it wasn’t convincing in any way, and so I don’t expect those who want him out to have been swayed.  Quite the opposite probably, sigh.

It was a great game though, both sides played well overall, and both were excellent in spells.  Some great moments of fast, attacking, quick football.  Lovely stuff.  Thanks to both Frank and Ole for trying to get their teams playing football how it should be played.  Unlucky Frank.  Again.  Maybe next time?

Now on to the other team in Manchester.  The blue one.  Far be it from me to defend City, however…  I’ve been reading a lot of sensational bollocks in the mailbox on this one.  Wow.

From what I’ve read, the charges relate to what amounts to a £67 million per year sponsorship deal with Etihad Airways.  This is for the shirts, including the youth and women’s sides etc.; the stadium naming rights; the training kits; the Etihad Campus – all sorts of stuff.  Of that, Etihad Airways paid a bargain basement £8 million, and the owner of Etihad Airways (who also owns City) paid the rest through ADUG, his holding company.

I’ve seen an independent valuation of the current Stadium rights of £21-ish million per year, and shirt sponsorship must be worth up to £40 or £50 million – at present.  United get £50 or £60-odd million per year just for our shirts.  Add in training kits, women’s team, etc., etc., and based on today’s City, £67 million annually, as per the charges, is not over inflated at all.  What am I missing here?

Maybe going back to 2014, you might argue otherwise; but it would be an argument to be had as to the correct valuation between 2014-16.  That £67 million per year is an over-valuation is not a ‘fact’ by any stretch.

What is a fact is that the £8 million Etihad paid directly would be a bloody massive undervaluation.

So the issues at hand are:

–  Is £67 million per year an over-valuation compared to other clubs of a similar stature, for kits of all club teams, the stadium, ‘the campus’, training kits and whatever else it includes?

Uefa are on dodgy ground there, in my opinion.  I am pretty sure ADUG’s accountants and lawyers will have made sure it all tallies up on the ledger.

–  If it isn’t an over-valuation, then is the fact the owner of Etihad Airlines decided to keep most of that figure off-the-books of his Airline company, by paying it through a holding company, a reason to throw the book at City?  Or even a legal justification of any sort?

If there has been some law-breaking here – as in, real laws as opposed to some imaginal law, contrived by a vengeful Wenger and his UEFA cronies – then okay.  I don’t think that is the case, however.

If there hasn’t been any law breaking or fraud, and I suspect there hasn’t, then I reckon we might well see CAS throw this one out like a week old curry.  I actually hope they do throw it out, just so I can watch Wenger’s press conference afterwards.

ADUG, the holding company that paid the balance of the cash on behalf of Etihad is owned by the owners of Etihad Airways – the beneficiary of the displayed sponsorship, and a huge business in it’s own right.  It is not *just* a vehicle for pumping money in to Man City by any means.  Just ask Manchester City Council.  Man City isn’t the only huge, multi-million pound investment in Manchester that ADUG choose to splash the Etihad logo all over, without Etihad Airways paying a penny.

If I was a cynical man, I might suspect ADUG are only doing that to mask their preferred method of financing City… but that would be far beyond Uefa’s ability to prove by waving about some illegally obtained emails.  ADUG’s financial and legal teams will eat those clowns at Uefa alive in a court of law.

What we have here is the owner of an Airline company, ostensibly, wishing to monopolise the sponsorship exposure of the Premier League football team that he owns, and paying for that (if indirectly) at what is not far from the going market rate.  We all know it is also a method of financing City to the maximum possible degree, but as long as it all makes sense on the ledger, it’s not a crime.  No one-line email is going to alter that.

That, unless I have missed something, is it.  Fuck all, basically.

I want to see City put it their place as much as the next man, but I’d rather do it on the pitch, than by virtue of some grubby, trumped-up shenanigans.

DD, MUFC, Manchester



* Well after getting my excuses in I’m here to gloat , …. na not really this was always going to be a tough game ,it was good to see some of the improvements that have happened to individual players I find myself wondering if that is Fred’s brother playing and colour me shocked full backs from the 90’s get assists too.The marque player acquired in the 2nd window also seems to be blending in and making the team gradually better .See Big D it’s not just about identifying deadwood and shifting.

* VAR played a huge part overall and that unfortunately will be used as a lighting rod by doubters , but on the day the Giroud goal was offside and the taking out of Williams,was significant.There was something, about the game itself, that gave you the impression Utd would have been the team to score a late winner.

*Oh so now it’s sack Lampard ? get a grip ,As I’ve said time and again, the members of the DNA squad (and groan Jose) should be given some time to install solid foundations lets not forget Lampard hasn’t even used the cheque book yet . Looking at that squad ,you could understand why he has chosen ,to use a lot of his young players, that will create a bit of inconsistency .
It also doesn’t help that the likes of Pedro, are winding their careers down .Chelsea are probably going to do what they always do ,dump the coach who doesn’t win a trophy  ship him out and bring in the new hot thing like a rich playboy going through models eventually this playboy will have to settle down before he wakes up old and ugly .

*Spare a thought or (don’t for) Pogba having spent a year strutting around choosing  his moments , he might make himself available for a triumphant return against City , and be told to sit on the bench or in the stands. There is something satisfying about that.
Roode, MUFC


Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a better manager than Frank Lampard.

That statement is not intended as a compliment to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Lewis, Busby Way


Okay I’ll give you my take on last nights game, firstly the Maguire possible red, I thought Rudiger pushed Maguire initially but the raised foot could be construed as a kick so could be given either way. Chelsea’s first VAR goal, Fred was shoulder to shoulder it wasn’t a push but both hands in the back of Williams was a push so I think a correct decision, the second one although correct in the letter of the law is harsh, hardly a clear mistake and a matter of cm’s so very harsh.

A few other decisions baffled me, Christiensen went through the back of Martial yet because his arm caught Christiensen as he fell he gave a free kick to Chelsea, the other was the foul by Zouma on Martial the ref booked Zouma for the foul then gave a throw to Chelsea. Lastly he played on with De Gea prone in the box after colliding with the post, I thought the ref had to stop the game if the keeper is injured or is that just discretionary? Fernandez looks to be a real buy, some of the passes he tried although not all came off really stretched the Chelsea defence and he was so unlucky with the free kick which hit the post.

Great three points for United but will be all for nothing if they fail to beat Watford at weekend.
Paul Murphy, Manchester


Firstly, VAR.  Maguire should have been sent off, don’t think there is any real doubt about that.  I would be curious though how many of the “neutrals” who are criticising the decision to take no action against Maguire also criticised the decision to send Son off earlier in the season for low blowing Rudiger?  The Giroud goal was rightly called offside.  Those calling for a buffer zone for offsides of, say 10cm, are deluded if they think that people won’t be complaining that someone’s armpit or shoelace was only 11cm off if that happens though.  VAR is certainly flawed but the same people now complaining that it is killing the game are the same people who have cried for years about refs getting things wrong and how this was killing the game.  It is almost as if people will just complain about absolutely everything….

Bruno Fernandes looks like a very good signing for United, excellent on the ball, good tracking back as well, and he already seems to be willing to direct his teammates when United have the ball and when they don’t.  All very encouraging and he seems to be very handy with a dead ball.  Fred was, again, magnificent in his new role.

Martial, excellent header aside, was bloody awful again.  Every time the ball gets played up to him with his back to goal he takes a touch, loses the ball, and then holds his ankle or thigh or somewhere else as if to suggest he was either fouled or lost possession due to a knock.  He still doesn’t take games by the scruff of the neck, and still doesn’t lead the line.

United defended well and attacked slightly better than they have done recently but there is still so much wrong with the set up, the structure of the team and the reliance on counter attacking (and now apparently set pieces as we have spent £46 – £63m on someone who can whip in a dead ball) all of which will see the same inconsistencies and errors hampering any progress.  I still think a change of manager in the summer would be of benefit.

Wan Bissaka deserves credit for his assist and his general play which was again excellent.  And Ighalo did more as a target man in 4 minutes than Martial has managed in his last 4 matches.

As for Chelsea, they are even worse that United defensively and look completely out of ideas in attack.  Batshuayi had a mare and I cannot fathom why Lampard seemingly has no faith in Giroud to lead the line.  But it has to be noted that no manager in England seems to have had faith in him so maybe there is something lacking in the Frenchman that we do not see?

A final thought on the constant stream of abuse that could be heard emanating from the stands courtesy of the pitch side mics that seemed to capture a constant stream of vitriol coming from some of the Chelsea faithful.  They really do come across as a nasty bunch, though it could well be a very vocal minority.

All in all a decent game in terms of entertainment if not quality.  Manchester United in microcosm that is, reasonably entertaining but really not very good in the grand scheme of things….
Mangore United, Belfast


‘Opposite Midas touch’
Dear F365,

In the 16th of his 16 conclusions from the Chelsea v United game, Matt Stead says Lampard has the ‘opposite Midas touch’.

I agree, and long may it continue for Solskjaer Lite who’s sole qualification as Chelsea manager is he played there once.  On that basis, I should be an astronaut or more recently, head Chef at The Fat Duck.  But I digress.

In the future, and for the sake of brevity, can Matt simply use the correct term rather than talk in round-about opposites?  Allow me to explain via a re-write:

‘How Lampard must crave that sort of impact.  It seems he has Sexy Fingers at the minute, his pointed change of goalkeeper resulting in four goals conceded…’

For those unfamiliar with the term, you are said to have sexy fingers when everything you touch, you f*ck.  Surely this eloquent turn of phrase is the correct and diametrically opposed description to Midas Touch?

Dr Oyvind, Earth


Dear Matt,

Your assertion in ‘16 Conclusions on Chelsea Man Utd’ that Roy Keane’s punditry was neither entertaining or perceptive, would have been almost as funny and entertaining as Roy’s punditry, if it didn’t sound like an old school teacher reprimanding the most hilariously entertaining messer in the class. We had such a teacher in our school- The Trout of No Craic. Roy is both entertaining and perceptive. Your trying to light a wet cigar there, Matt. You’re pissing on your own cigar.
Stephen Murray


No, no, no, no, no, no. no. Oh, mama mia, mama mia. I got to conclusion number five of 16 and had to stop reading so I could rage-type this. I will absolutely not have that the problem with the VAR is the technology. Far too many people have a fundamentally flawed understanding of what VAR is, evidenced by statements like this from 16 Conclusions: “the lack of any punishment whatsoever was a damning indictment of technology that offers more angles but no less subjectivity.” By its very nature, the VAR system absolutely is providing all the subjectivity it is physically possible to provide. VAR stands for “video assistant referee”, which is more instructive about where the problem lies; the technology is absolutely incredible, and genuinely rivals the systems used in cricket and rugby for its ability to provide clear, objective evidence for a human referee to consult. There is no argument to be made that can cast the VAR technology in a negative light as far as I can see; the problem, as ever, is with the people using it and the laws it enforces.

It might sound like I’m being pedantic but the VAR system absolutely has to stay because the technology is working way better than anyone is giving it credit for, and getting rid of it now would be throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Can anyone really say that the technology failed to record and demonstrate that Harry Maguire stuck one on Batshuayi? Can anyone honestly say that the technology did not accurately and clearly demonstrate that Giroud’s foot was, indeed, in an offside position? Or that Azpilicueta pushed Williams in the build up to the disallowed Zouma goal? No. The answer to all these questions is no.

Now, I can totally understand people getting riled up about the offside law – it always was a bloody ridiculous rule, and this current incarnation is just barmy – but it’s the rule that is to blame, not the technology being used to enforce it. I can totally understand the people who say that Fred also pushed Azpilicueta before the subsequent push on Williams but the replays showed it and it was a person who made that decision, not a computer. I agree with all the people saying that Maguire should have been sent off because it absolutely was a red card but, once again, the cameras caught it and the replays showed it, so it was the person adjudicating it who is the problem here.

The biggest problem with VAR is the misconception that it was magically going to solve all of footballs problems, but anyone who bought into that notion was severely misguided. It was sold to the public as that, so the people involved in doing that need to take some of the flak, but VAR, as a system, is doing exactly what it should be: providing the match officials with the means to review in-game incidents with more evidence than they had in real-time. It’s long been said that the referees in the Premier League are not up to scratch and that remains the case, as demonstrated over the course of the season, where they have had more information than at any time in the history of the game, and still manage to come to the wrong conclusions.

For what it’s worth, I thought that Maguire should have been sent off, the Zouma goal was correctly ruled out (Fred slightly nudged Azpilicueta, sure, but he wasn’t off balance and still had time to stop and two-handed shove Williams), and Giroud’s excellent header was correctly ruled out by the current interpretation of the law (but the law is wrong and the goal should have been allowed to stand).

I can tell you for a fact, as someone who works in technology/software, that a system is only as good as its users and the rules that you build into it; this system is being failed by its operators and the rules it is upholding. So please stop blanket-blaming this woolly misconception of VAR for the mistakes being made; blame people like Anthony Taylor and whoever was the video assistant referee last night (absolute legends, cheers!). Blame PGMOL for their directives resulting in the misuse of the system. Blame the lawmakers for further screwing up a bunch of already flawed rules, but please leave the technology alone.
Ted, Manchester



In response to Matt Stead’s 16 Conclusions article,

The difference between Son’s incident and Maguire is that Maguire was sliding backwards (as opposed to forward) quite a distance while falling. In addition at the latter fall of the slide, the field switches to an incline as opposes to a flat surface.

The incline is only visible when seen from a specific low angle from a camera opposite of the bench side (I saw this angle shown during half time on Malaysian cable TV when it was discussed here). When you see it from angle from the same side of the bench, its harder to see the incline and it just looks flat. Batshuayi’s distance to him wasn’t even constant, unlike if both if them are

In Son’s incident, he was upside down directly againts the other player but he wasn’t moving and the distance between him and the other player was set for that few seconds.

Maguire may have kicked out, but he was also doing so while sliding backwards really fast while also falling down an incline. His head wasn’t directly looking at Batshuayi either when he kicked out and Maguire’ body suddenly jerking to Batshuayi’s overeation implies he wasn’t even his focus.

Is there a chance that Maguire purposely intended to kick him out of spite? Yes, but the combined factors: direction of slide, speed of slide, change in relative distance to Batshuayi, and inclined surface gives him enough mitigating circumstances to give him enough benefit of the doubt that it was a reaction to a worse than normal fall.

Red cards can only be given when you are 100% certain and in addition this is a subjective incident which is supposed to have a high bar for VAR. If this was slower moving on a flat surface, then there would have been reasoning against Maguire.
Yaru, Malaysia


Continuing praise for Fred
I just want to write in to continue Fred’s praise. I’ve watched him when he was in Ukraine and I was so pleased when we got him from under Pep’s nose cuz I just knew he would be a hit.

After a difficult year, it is really so nice to see h get the plaudits he deserves for his play, he’s finally stepping up to the plate.

But as a person I think is where he stands out the most for me. Even though Marti was exaggerating his pain perhaps (he fell on the small of his back so I assume it was still painful) Fred was the only United player to rush to his teammates side and put himself between Tony and that jackash Azpi. And that wasn’t his first moment of genuine human decency and its just great to see.
N.V.M. (Its good to be a good person)


Play Kante in the correct position
N’Golo Kante is not being used correctly. It started with Sarri and has continued with Lampard. For whatever reason, this was a huge media focus when Sarri put Jorginho in the deepest midfield spot and pushed Kante out to the wing of a midfield 3. It’s been all but ignored now that Lampard is doing it.

If you want to get Kante back play him in the correct spot. If you want to get him to play at his peak effectiveness sell him to a counter attacking team (like France, like Leicester and like Chelsea when he won titles with all 3). He can act as a one man shield covering massive gaps in the midfield and he is quite good at starting quick attacks while running with the ball. He is not good at playing slow or methodically or with a ton of possession.

The perfect fit for him now is actually Manchester United. As Leicester fan, I want to welcome him back but he doesn’t fit the current Leicester.
Nathan (Newark)


The new Howard Webb?
Some post match comments from OGS, perfect man for the United job, although I’m a bit surprised he’s picked up an Arsene Wenger trait as opposed to one of Fergie’s.

“I didn’t see a foul by Fred for the disallowed goal.”

“Was Harry Maguire lucky? I don’t think so. He was fouled first and Batshuayi was going to fall on top of him so he put his leg out and hit him where it hurts.”

Oh and I had a lovely chat with Anthony Taylor on the plane home, he was born in Manchester you know, nice man, lives not far from me now in Cheshire, be nice to see him again when we play City.
Howard (offside is offside) Jones


Dyche – he even moans when he’s winning
What a truly monumental d*ck Dyche is, from the get go moan, moan, moan – amazing though, his players NEVER go down under any sort of tackle, long ball is not long ball but 35 meter passes (how is that not a long fu*king ball!). If his players feign injury  then his players are truly hurt – everyone else is not – especially those non-British isles players – get bile in my throat every time I see the man.

He really does hate everyone and everything that does not fit his blinkered, narrow view of what football is – and hey Seany – youv’e got it ALL wrong – why do you think any club worth their salt (and lets face it Burnely are not salty) never, ever approach you – even West Ham ignore you for the ‘winner’ that is David Moyes – cos you are a shite, narky looking moaning grouchy man!

Burnley is a lovely place but they all seem affected by Dyche and boo everyone and every thing – boo, boo bloddy boo – the fans seem to reflect the grouchy looking dope they have as a manager (and people say Arsenal fans are bad!)
Joe (Dyche, your a poor man’s modern Mourinho – thats about as bad as it gets!)


Stripping Man City of titles
Interesting point made yesterday by Andrew M about retrospective punishment for City and the possibility of them being stripped of their Premier League title from 2014. There is certainly merit in the idea. Indeed, if City have broken the rules, then you could argue that this would be a just punishment. If cheats are allowed to prosper from their rule breaking, then does this not encourage others to do the same? The precedent is of course there in the Olympics where drugs cheats are stripped of their medals and the athlete in 2nd (or 3rd, 4th etc) are bumped up to receive the medal they would have won.

However, as a Liverpool fan I really wouldn’t want this to happen. Athletes often talk about the lack of joy that a retrospective medal brings. You’ve been denied the thrill of winning, that moment of celebrating on top of the podium. Winning the Premier League this way would be exactly the same.

When Jordan Henderson lifts the Premier League trophy, it will end my own 25 year wait. For older fans, that is of course 30 years. Can you imagine how jarring it would be if that suddenly became the first title in 6 years? And more than that, the moment where Liverpool fans finally celebrate the end of a title drought, comes not from the final whistle, but from an announcement from the Premier League. It would be terrible.

You could argue that the team of 2014 deserve it (and it would be bring us level with United’s 20 titles) but it just wouldn’t feel right. I’m sure Steven Gerrard would love a winners medal but his time has passed. This Liverpool team deserves to be the one that finally ends those years of hurt.
Mike, LFC, London


Top ten biggest questions facing English football?
Hi Mailbox,

Interesting ten questions raised by Seb in his article today. I will attempt to answer two questions raised by him.

Question 4: What are we going to do with VAR?

To say the application of VAR to the Premier League as controversial will be an understatement. But I believe that VAR will be very useful as long as it is applied more consistently and vigorously. It struck me during Klopp’s post-match interview by Lineker on Saturday’s MOTD, where Klopp said along the line “well I accept that, because at the end of the day we want the right decision”. Yes, right decision. Not emotional one. This is coming from a manager who is often labelled as emotional one!

Just rewind to past couple of seasons where pundits and fans alike micro-analysing the referees’ decisions through the luxury of slow-motion replays? A substantial number of pundits and fans (me included) were wondering why the video replay was not being used? Well here we are, where the referees in Stockley Park are doing exactly that.

The antipathy we are feeling towards VAR at the moment was perhaps being felt by the referees when their decisions got micro-analysed. That’s just the nature of slow-motion video replay, people tend to over analyse it!

Some of the arguments are being blurred about decisions or not. Some of them (even majority!) are not about VAR application per se, but about the rule itself. And as any human decisions can be, there is a chance being wrong (to err is to human, remember?)

So I am not sure how to answer Seb’s question about VAR. But I can propose some things that I believe can improve VAR (I am in for VAR): Stop the slow motion. Just do it in normal playback speed! If it’s not obvious from the playback speed replay, then it’s definitely not clear and obvious. The referee’s original decision stands. Regarding the offside decision, it’s the same. But I guess it’s easier to draw the lines and specify which part of the body gain advantage (anything other than hands, as footballers cannot score goals with hand and therefore cannot gain advantage).

Question 1: How will Liverpool improve?

The short answer is: no, they will not. This season is an extraordinary outlier. What we are witnessing is truly unbelievable. The reasons that Seb mentioned in the article are valid. Other teams in the league will improve.

Historical comparison on how Klopp’s team doing can be used. Either Klopp will win the league again next season (ala Dortmund back-to-back title) or he slumped all the way like his last season with Dortmund.

Regardless, the past two seasons have been special. Liverpool fans are cherishing this no doubt.
Vincentius (still mathematically not confirmed), Cambridge


Just copy rugby with forward passes for offside
Hi Mailbox

I only ever write into the mailbox to discuss VAR so here is another one. I’m no rugby follower but was interested to see in the brief glimpses of games I saw from the recent world cup that when a try is reviewed for a possible forward pass there are no lines drawn on the screen to decide if the ball was passed forward. The video ref makes a considered decision based on how it looks in the various slow motion replays. For heaven’s sake, let’s do the same in football – if, when it comes to reviewing a goal for offside, you have to start getting out the digital pencil to draw lines on the screen then it’s probably telling you that it’s so blinking tight that it should warrant the goal stands. If it’s clearly offside you’ll know straight away – like the Aguero offside for the disallowed Sterling winner in the Champions League versus Spurs last season.

Giroud’s last night should have stood based off the above analogy as it looked level from the initial replays so just go with it. Same with Firmino and Son’s armpits earlier in the season and that Wolves’ lads studs the other night against Leicester. Let’s stop over-thinking this madness.

Simon, THFC


Everyone’s VAR names
The main feature of this morning’s mailbox was the gleeful crowbarring of VAR into Man U’s name. Here is my best go at an equi-VAR-lent for every team in the prem…

VAR-senal (most satisfying of all, so downhill from here) ;

Aston Vill-VAR;

Brighton & Hove VAR-lbion;

Burnley aka the Clar-VAR-ts;

Cryst-VAR-l Palace ;

E-VAR-ton ;

Leicest-VAR City ;

Li-VAR-pool ;

Manchest-VAR City ;

Manchest-VAR United ;

Newc-VAR-stle United;

Tottenham Hots-VAR ;


West Ham United aka the Ham-VAR-s ;

Wol-VAR-hampton Wand-VAR-ers

This leaves the mailbox with a challenge for the remaining few.

Bournemouth ; Chelsea (something to do with Abram-VAR-vitch?) ; Norwich City ; Sheffield United ; Southampton

On the continent look forward to VAR-celona, Real VAR-drid, Bay-VAR-n Munich, etc

Nice one,
James Warren

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