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Romelu Lukaku is not world class
Oh, Eamonn… no, no and no again. Having watched him repeatedly at Old Trafford he is absolutely not world class. He’s not even the best striker at Inter.
If you play him always facing goal, look to get him in behind, then he’s a good, if very one-dimensional, striker. Reasonably quick, a powerful runner, decent finisher (though questionable when the pressure is on). That’s it.
However, if you want to actually play football. One and two touch stuff, quick interplays etc., (eg the stuff that has propelled City and Liverpool to summit of football in the last few years) then he won’t just come up short, he’ll embarrass himself. His touch is not just bad, it’s diabolical. He’s also patchy form wise and likes a good sulk.
We did well to basically get our money back on him. Good riddance, glad he’s gone, never should’ve bought him in the first place.
Lewis, Busby Way
In the same game Zlatan scored and assisted,Sanchez Assisted .Young was on the field for over 80 mins and already has an assist maybe we should bring them all back.
Or we can acknowledge that while we would have been better off , keeping him in the short term ,He is enjoying having people throwing crosses to him in Italy which was how he scored in this game and which Manchester United weren’t prepared to do .Also While he was in the Uk F365 was receiving a mail a week complaining about his first touch,, which would have further reduced his playing time . Also if he was around Rashford wouldn’t have almost 20 goals already , Not replacing him immediately with a 50m striker was a definite mistake (which will only be rectified in the summer . Letting him go not so much.
Just like Eamonn I too watched the Milan derby last night, always had a soft spot for AC Milan and wanted to see the Rossoneri inflict a dent into their rivals Inter’s title challenge hopes, so what a surprise at half time a Zlatan inspired side were 2-0 up but then came a second half which shows where both Milan sides are at in this current phase of their development.
AC Milan conceded 2 goals within 8 minutes of the second half, from that point onwards you knew only one side were going to win this tie and so they did, Inter came back with a 4-2 victory in arguably one of the best Milan derbies in the last 10 years, it may not have the names of Cafu, Zanetti, Kaka, Rui Costa, Vieri and Ronaldo that it used to, but it certainly can live up to the hype, I would love to have been inside the Inter dressing room to hear the halftime speech from Antonio Conte because whatever he said worked wonders, it also showed why this Inter Milan side are so highly regarded and the team most likely to stop the Juventus title monopoly, however I would say watch out for Lazio as not since the days of Sven-Goran Eriksson all the way back in 1999/2000 when they lifted the title has a Lazio side looked so strong and so consistent, for once the Serie A will not just be Juventus’ to walk and we are lucky to have a three way race for the title.
Special shout out to Christan Eriksen whose free kick will likely be one of the contenders for “Best Goals Never Scored”, his free kick from roughly 35 yards out was almost inch perfect, aimed right for the corner, if you have not seen it I highly suggest you check it out.
Random thoughts and a lesson for Woodward
Winter break : Good idea. Hopefully teams will be fresher for the final push of the season.
Ole : Should stay. He’s cleaning up a mess which came about due to sudden changes in managers which led the team to consist of a ton of square pegs for all the round holes they need to fill. Take a call at the end of next season. He could look at some changes to his back room team
MCFC : Holy crap have they gone to pot. There’s a chance they finish out of the top four. Wouldnt it be fun to see Pep play the Europa.
Bundesliga : Bayern are top again. Plus ca change and all that stuff
FC Barca : They’re one injury to Messi away from a disaster. Nice to see there’s at least one club with a worse plan than MUFC has had over the last few years
Inter Milan : They’ve quietly bought an entire squad (well almost) over two Transfer windows. Woodie should take a lesson from them
Juve : Love the team, but starting the season without a proper right back will bite them in the ass at some point
Liverpool : It’s their year.
Pogba : If anyone’s stupid enough to pay 150 million GBP for him, do the deal
Halland : A wonderful player. Could do with a better agent.
Phil Foden : Look for another club. It’s doubtful Pep will play you much.
Holding onto leads
Just an observation, seeing as it is a quiet week and my hope of publishing might skyrocket as a consequence.
Daniel Storey in his (never-ending – lolz!) winners and losers today made a few comments about the strength of a team taking points from a losing position. And vis a versa, a weakness when losing points from a winning position in matches.
I’ve always found this a slightly odd metric to praise/bash teams with and it is something I often read on this site in particular.
My question is, why is this metric given so much import in your analysis?
Football is a see-saw game and goals are such a valuable currency. You only have to see the Spurs v Man City match last week to know that the ‘better’, more dominant team may not win. So a team only needs one chance to equalise even if their opponents are utterly bombarding their goal with shots and creating opportunities.
So, losing a one goal lead and only taking a point is not really worthy of analysis. In the Premier League this is two high quality teams (yes I would even include West Ham v Arsenal in this-ooh vicious) going toe to toe. Even if the team with the lead were utterly solid in their defensive shape and organisation, a moment of genius, slight mistake, huge stroke of luck is all it takes. Suddenly they are a side that lost a lead. They are bottlers. It is a harsh metric all things considered.
Maybe, more telling, would be to analyse those that have two goal leads/losses and the percentage of those that are turned around. Suddenly you can begin to see which teams bottle it and which teams fight to the end to take something from a match with much more clarity because they had something to defend/attack that entailed more than one moment of inspiration/madness/luck.
I’d love to know what the mailbox thinks, is this a metric that deserves such scrutiny and is used regularly to laud or denigrate teams? Surely there are more suitable measures than this?
Rob (enjoying my winter break at my desk!), Leicester
Pick it up, lad…
Confidence is important. We all know that. So too, I would argue, is having it in the correct balance.
An excess of it leads to Nicklas ‘best player in the world’ Bendtner (see also: D. Lovren). Not necessarily a bad thing, though it can lead to silly statements in the press.
A lack of it can ruin a player. Teammates all waxed lyrical about Stewart Downing in training at Liverpool, yet come Saturday he was almost always crap. Torres had the perfect balance of confidence and arrogance, lost it and was never the same again (albeit injury did play a role there). Deli Alli recently suffered a huge drop, which badly affected his performance on the pitch for what seemed ages, despite his obvious skills.
Which all brings me to one J. Pickford. Falling firmly into the former category. Fair play to him for fighting his corner, however I can’t help but feel the criticisms are more to do with his form and ability to keep the round thing out of the net, than his (under threat?) status as England’s No. 1.
Still, this Ancelotti fella looks quite decent (sure I’ve seen him somewhere before…), so it’s not all bad news across Stanley Park.
Spoons (he’s only got little arms) LFC
The epitome of the ‘between game’ mail
I think we need to get to the bottom of one of issues that is really bugging me right now.
What is the shortest goal ever scored?
Beckham / Alonso scoring from their own halves and then the ball hits the back of the net. Beautiful things. But what about when there’s a tap in from no distance, a defender gets in a last millisecond block but the ball goes over the line by 0.02 cm’s, thereby activating the ref’s watch.
The long booming drive looks way more impressive than the tap-in but they all count the same on the card. How can we work out the shortest ever goal?
Yes, boredom reigns supreme. But some things must be resolved.
Barry, Cape Town
The Premier League will continue to grow…
I thought I’d write in to disagree with Johnny. I suspect Premflix is indeed inevitable, but I don’t think it will mean the demise of the premier league, for the simple reason that successful parasites don’t kill their hosts.
Of the owners of current top 6, none except the Glazers (and perhaps ENIC) have demonstrated any proclivity for strip-mining current value out of the club at the expense of long term benefit. I say benefit, as a good number of them are in it for status or sportswashing rather than direct financial gain. If the top 6 go their own way, they will as you say kill off the premier league and immensely disrupt everything about British football, and in doing so lose a good bit of connection to the person in the street that doesn’t look to closely at exactly what’s happening.
All four big American leagues (where this idea has undoubtedly come from) operate Premflix style services, and all of them share that revenue evenly. Even the most rapacious of city moving, name changing corporate parasites recognise the benefit of some sort of host body. Premflix will arrive, and the Premier League will continue to swell in size and revenue. Sorry.
Dan, Plastic LFC
The idea of a “Premflix” is quite appealing to me.
Currently, in South Africa, we watch all football on SuperSport (who have a monopoly on pretty much all sport in South Africa) who broadcast all matches across most of the big leagues, which is nice.
However, in order to use SuperSport, you need a DStv subscription, which includes about 200 channels with absolutely nothing of interest to watch.
DStv’s main rival in South Africa right now are streaming services like Netflix and Amazon. However, due to the fact that streaming services do not offer sport, DStv can rest easily with their prices sitting at around 8 times the price of a Netflix subscription. Most people I know are paying full price for DStv, despite only ever using it to watch football. There are no “sport only” options available.
Give people here a cheaper option that doesn’t require a R800 per month subscription to DStv to watch football, and people will immediately flock towards that option.
Give it to me now.
Gaaavie, Kavas Guavas Kaapstad
Interesting article by Jonny Nic on the future of online streaming. Just to pick him up on something though. The model he is describing is not the Netflix model, therefore to call it Premflix is inaccurate. He describes the number of “sales” the bottom 14 clubs would get, when not playing the top 6. That is a pay-per-view model, not a Netflix model.
Netflix (just in case there is a single person out there who doesn’t know) is a subscription service. You pay your monthly fee and you have access to all the content they have available. That is what a true Premflix model would be. Pay a monthly subscription and you can watch any match that is on at any time. Time will tell as to what model develops, but I’d definitely be more in favour of a true Premflix than the PPV model Jonny is describing.
Mike, LFC, London
Sadly i found your article extremely uneducated and written more on just made up thinking rather than facts. Lets take this for example “if you have to live or die by your own popularity with streamers in Hong Kong or Mumbai, God help the likes of Brighton”
I am from Mumbai, hello. We have a streaming service (Indian version of Netflix) that shows all EPL games online for a nice price of 10 pounds a year. These games are also shown on TV by the same provider, so it is very easy to be watching 2-3 games at a time like i usually do, two on the laptop running on different tabs, and one on cable on the TV.
I mean the streaming is just such a convinience that there is undeniably a need for that, and streaming broadcasters would pay pretty much the same amount that sky or BT pay, so no the money in the premier league will not be lesses.
Amd the same people who dont switch on the TV for a Brighton match will not be watching Brighton on stream. And the same people who watch a match on TV will stream the same. I do not get the logic of how streaming will reduce viewers??? That is just false logic.
You guys in the UK do not know the BLISS of having football on stream. I watch it while travelling, in a fam event or any other way. You can watch multiple matches together, the pricing is insanely cheap in India and there is almost no lag ( a few seconds behind live play).
It is the future, and its shocking how the UK has not evolved to the point where most of the world is.
Theres a lot of issues with John Nicholson’s argument (some I’ve already argued in the past before), but I’ll focus it to this. I’m actually skeptical its something he would want based on his specific philosophical leanings.
Let’s assume he is right that broadcast income will drop tremendously, guess who that benefits? The clubs who already have massive brand value and merchandizing revenues and sugardaddies. The UAE isn’t going to sell Man City because theyre not getting broadcast income, Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool are not going to lose their global audiences, IE people like me and my friends. Their aggregate income will drop of course but their income relative to others in the division will increase. While the broadcast income isnt equal split based on position, its way more equal than their non broadcast income.
Oh, and those other clubs in the top tier, guess where they’ll try and get more revenue? They’ll do it in ticket prices, or at a minimum not going to drop them anytime soon.
We already have plenty studies and historical data over decades showing high correlation between relative wages and league position. With less competition from other first division teams, the top teams will pay less wages (which means they can add more their annual surplus) and transfer than now and the other clubs without broadcast income will be in less powerful negotiating positions, will accept.
The scenario he is envisioning isnt going to make things more equal except in making some non Big Six regular EPL clubs poorer, while the top clubs will benefit even more.
I’m not saying the occasional upset or surprise high finish will never happen. Anything is possible in one or two seasons, but if he wants to make a free for all league, this scenario isn’t going to be giving it.
Mikey’s windy goals
Storm Ciara has nothing on the mighty winds that plagued a Lowestoft Town game I attended last season. Non-league games are always an enjoyable affair and whilst back home for the weekend my mate and I attended a Trawlerboys game at the glorious Crown Meadow in February last year as the coastal winds were a’whipping. The rain was lashing, the mud was flying and as we bunkered down in the stand we witnessed a battle of a game.
It finished 4-2 to the visitors and on not one, but two occasions, we witnessed the finest finishing that wind can provide. Either side of half time, one for each team, from the same corner, in identically comical fashion, a corner was looped into the box heading for the penalty spot, the wind caught it and curled it into the far top bins. Cue wild celebrations all over and blushed faces on both keepers. It was exceptional.
Joe (wild windy salutations to all), London