We have mails on the north London derby but people do seem to want to talk about Harry Kane. Send your mails to email@example.com…
Arteta’s big balls
I wish I had the cojones of Arteta to drop his best player and captain coming into a North London derby when mid table in the league.
Paul (I’d take his looks too)
Calling out Kane
It’s good to win, get Lamela sent off (he’s had it coming for a long time)and annoy Jose all in one game. Only thing missing was a yellow card for Kane who consistently endangers his fellow professionals.
I think the idea that Spurs got their tactics wrong does not give enough credit to Arsenal’s magnificent display in the first half. We were vibrant and dynamic – and worked our socks off. Only thing missing was adequate reward for such a performance.
The last ten minutes though… Arsenal were caught in that classic dilemma with a man advantage. Stick or twist? Passing the ball out of play twice suggests we still need work on our psychological frailty.
Well at least we’re trending in the right direction.
Tired (but my nerves are shot) Gooner
…I will let others go in to length of the North London Derby, penalties, red cards etc. I want to ask yet again how Harry Kane is seemingly allowed to do what he wants on a football pitch without repercussion? Of course it is because he is England Captain. His ‘challenge’ on Gabriel was quite simply cowardly and thuggish at the same time. Zero attempt to play the ball and only interested to throw himself in to a player who is not braced for a challenge. When you look at the effect on Gabriel’s neck and head in the aftermath of the challenge it is about time someone called Kane out. Other sports clearly punish challenges that have the possibility of causing serious injury. Intent, accidental, off balance…none of these are excuses there is just zero tolerance to it and players have a responsibility to the welfare of their opponents on the pitch. Football has a long way to go, and an even longer way when the England captain is concerned.
…Your conclusions summed up the game nicely. Arsenal deserved the win but its scary to think what Tottenham might have done to us if they didn’t have Jose in charge. Great win for us and especially for Arteta who needed that under his belt.
I think one conclusion was missing though. Harry Kane must be the most protected player in the history of the Premier League. I don’t know if you add images to mails but his challenge on Gabriel is a red card from any other player in the league.
If you watch it, he doesn’t have his eyes on the ball, there is absolutely 0 attempt to make contact and its violent conduct. If he doesn’t get a 3 match ban retrospectively I will be furious. But you know he won’t. Match after match he makes dirty, sometimes violent fouls and never gets a card. He never gets called out for diving. Match of the day didn’t show it, the media won’t mention it and Kane will continue to get away with it until we’re in the latter stages of a World Cup, where a referee from elsewhere will not take his s*** and the media will have to act surprised because he’s “not that type of player”. Its like he’s got a diplomatic plate, he can do what he wants on the pitch and he knows it.
It’s doubly annoying because otherwise, Michael Oliver and VAR had a great day at the office in one of the toughest fixtures in the calendar.
Hopefully Saka can be the next England captain and we can start getting some of the same treatment. As if Tottenham weren’t hard enough to like as it is…
Rob A (Gabriel and Smith Rowe were immense) AFC
Hero to zero
What an unbelievable goal from Coco Lamela, he does love a rabona.
How unsurprising that he followed it with a sending off. Immediately after he got the first yellow I text my friend “Lamela is gonna get us down to 10 men with the next foul.” I do like to be proven right so nice on Erik.
Another game where we tried nothing until the last 10 minutes and almost squeezed out an undeserved result when we do. Some of these players are not good enough, neither is the management. Let’s move on now, shall we?
Fionn, Dublin. (Not even bothered saying it but for consistency – Jose Out)
…I wrote in recently querying what Erik Lamela does. Gets subbed on, kicked two Arsenal players, and then scores a Rabona.
And then gets sent off.
…Well what a goal from Erik Lamela, even as a rival fan I must stand and applaud at how he scored one of the best goals I’ve seen in ages, almost like a snooker shot as he pocketed the ball in the corner and through Partey’s legs, then gets a red card in the second half for being pretty much Erik Lamela.
No one will truly beat David Dunn’s rabona attempt though.
Spot of bother
While I admit I’m seeing this through Gooner bias, I don’t get the fuss around the Laca pen award. It’s a high challenge, that comes after the ball is gone. Make a challenge like that anywhere else on the pitch, and it’s a free kick all day long. Simples.
Nick, Irish Gooner in Berlin
…That’s a foul at any time on any part of the pitch. That is a foul any time of the game. That is a foul in any league. That is a foul on days ending in ‘y’. That is a foul above and below the equator. That is foul rain, sun, snow, overcast, or raining toads. That is a foul in or out. That is a foul on a train, that is a foul on a plane. That is a foul with a mouse. That is a foul in a house.
That is a foul.
– Firstly, fair play to Burnley and Dyche. Burnley scored two great goals, hit the woodwork twice, moved the ball all around us and deserved the win. The ‘world is against me’ attitude of Dyche can be quite tiring, but he’s done a fantastic job, reminiscent of what Moyes did at Everton. I don’t think a team looking to get into Europe would be diminished with him as manager. Finally, it sounds like it’s been a tough week personally for him, as well.
– Now to us. Jeez. There’s been a lot written this week on it being 365 days since we last had full stands and pre-Covid football. I remember our last game before the pandemic was a 4-0 tonking by Chelsea when Billy Gilmour ran the show. I wrote in then that Everton looked like a contestant on the Crystal Maze trying to work out what the rules and approach to the game needed to be: Obviously, we’ve improved since then, but this wasn’t a great performance.
– We seem to play football at a slower tempo than everyone else. I appreciate that games are coming thick and fast, and players are going to be tired – but that’s true for all clubs – we can’t use it as an excuse. Playing that slower tempo helps us (mostly) away from home where the home team try and make the running and dictate the play (the Liverpool win being a prime example) – but we look totally off the boil against teams we should be dictating to. Not just this loss, but the losses to Fulham and Newcastle, too. See close wins over WBA as an example where we get away with that approach.
– Another problem of our own making is the constantly changing tactics. This isn’t necessarily a criticism of Ancelotti – because I think having a coach and team who can mix up their approaches is an obvious positive. However, if you’re going to do it in a game you need to ensure that the players have been prepared in training to execute against your tactics, and clearly our players didn’t do that last night and have done similar in far too many games this season.
– The midfield diamond in itself wasn’t a bad tactic, and early on it allowed Richarlison, Iwobi and Gomes to drop into space between Burnley’s two banks of four. That’s a logical and sensible approach to counter an opponents strengths and tactics. The problem is that Iwobi and Gomes didn’t take advantage of this.
– Furthermore, filling the midfield should ensure you don’t give Burnley space and force them to go long against your centre halves, who in Godfrey and Keane can deal with Wood and Vydra. Now, Wood and Vydra played well, but what actually happened was our packed midfield made sloppy mistakes and allowed Burnley to run at our centre halves.
– So it’s individual mistakes caused by players who are in a squad that looks like it’s been put together by like 10 guys in 4 years. If I go through our squad there’s a very good First XI when everyone is fit but a couple of injuries and we’re left with the aforementioned Iwobi in a crucial role adding no value, Gomes playing like a shadow of the player he was pre leg break, or Mason Holgate playing out of position and offering nothing positive. Factor that with quality players going through a bit of a rough patch (which is normal) like Digne and Calvert-Lewin and it doesn’t build a positive atmosphere. We’re headed for another summer of trimming the fat and looking to bring in quality.
– Final note on VAR and handball. I am completely lost on what’s a pen. The pundits and commentators seemed to think Holgate should have been penalised for handball but I can see that Ben Mee was all over him so maybe you can’t overrule the ref on that one. But the one that didn’t get mentioned was the Godfrey (who was a bright spark overall in a bad game for us) one – that’s blocking a ball in an unnatural position – how was that not a handball? Was it because it wasn’t in the box? Regardless, neither seemed to get reviewed by VAR… why? What invokes a VAR review? I have no idea, and if Burnley hadn’t won that game I wouldn’t have begrudged a Dyche moan on that one.
– Oh well, it’s only City in the cup next…
Matt, EFC, London
Not the sharpest Blades
Well, that went well for Sheff Utd then, didn’t it?
Chris Wilder seemed a class act and had done so much for the club, getting them up several levels. It takes a while to get embedded in the Premier League and sometimes a relegation followed by promotion and a more experienced team that can stay up for a few seasons. We have seen that before when the club sticks with their manager.
Doesn’t bode well now, relegation not likely followed by promotion as this team was all about being a team and working with Wilder’s plan.
Wilder for Palace
With Palace having a major rebuild to look forward to who better than Chris Wilder to take over from Roy Hodgson should he decide to call time on his managerial career. It would be interesting to hear the thoughts of Palace fans.
Harry, Durban, Republic of Mzansi
My recent email appears to’ve touched a few nerves amongst Liverpool fans! They’re all up in arms that I’ve dared to question the merit of their teams 2 trophies. I’ve gone against the prevailing narrative, amongst pundit & punters alike, that this was “one of the greatest teams in PL history”. And I didn’t do it once they became crap, I was saying this when they were winning week in & week out, when virtually everyone else was saying how great they were (whether they meant it or not is another question).
I did say, “once your luck runs out, & it will, maybe not next week, or even next season, but it will, eventually”, you’ll not be this all-conquering team. And they can’t stand the fact that I’ve been proved right!
James Outram thinks it’s because they beat us in the CL final, with a joke of a penalty in the 3rd minute (an example of their phenomenal luck, despite being outplayed for the rest of the match). It’s not, that final is an example of how jammy they’d been, but other than that, it had no other affect on my opinion. Indeed the 1st email I wrote on Liverpool’s luck, predates that final by a good few month. I gave Liverpool fans way too much credit, thought they were actually “intelligent”! James alludes to my referring to “a fortunate goal here and a late win there”, not being able to process the fact that if I wanted to list every example of Liverpool’s luck in the past 3 seasons, I’d need to write a book!
My guess is they know I’m right, after all, if this team was so great, why did it fall apart after a couple of injuries? And before you say “it’s more than a couple”, it’s not. Every team suffers from injuries such as those to Fabinho, Henderson, Jota etc. It’s only the Gomez & VVD injuries that are unfortunate. Look at Leicester, they’re currently without 3 of their best players, amongst a lengthy injury list, & are about a dozen points ahead of pool. United, have been without Pogba for months, due to Covid first, & now an injury. Rashford, Martial & Cavani have missed large chunks of the season too, & they’re 2nd.
And why did they not win more trophies? Did Liverpool come within a light year of winning the domestic cups? See, Klopp is intelligent enough to know that his side, despite the hype, the fawning, & the hysteria of the conformant press, weren’t good enough to challenge for the domestic cups, as well as the PL & CL. Pep, & even Mourinho and other decent managers, go for every cup. Klopp never even attempted to win a domestic cup. The only time he fielded a strong team, was against United this year, but only after it’d become obvious, he had no chance in the league.
He knew his team were not good enough to win doubles or trebles. He knew he couldn’t push his “luck”! Great sides win doubles & trebles. That’s why I have such admiration for Liverpool teams of 70’s & 80’s, & the Fergie teams. That treble, god how I wish Spurs could so that!
Fred (Just witnessed a poor performance against Arsenal, Mourinho out!), London
Firstly, an apology to Fred. Starting an email about quantum mechanics is not ideal on any website (apart from quantum mechanics of course…..). Also having an email labelled ‘horse manure’ (thank you for not using the more abrupt ‘shit’) is disappointing. I was trying to put a different slant on things rather than lazily labelling something lucky / unlucky, which is another L, lazy.
Unfortunately you missed the point I was trying to make. A one off event at long odds can be construed as ‘lucky’ but a team and an organisation built up over a 5 year period to succeed cannot. Winning 28 and drawing 1 game is not ‘lucky’ its a consequence of excellence. If you look at the stats from every one of those games Liverpool dominated. Possession stats, shots, and of course most importantly goals.
Similarly this season we are not ‘unlucky’. Everton assaulted VVD & Thiago but we were top in November. Losing Gomez was a freak accident as he broke down when no one else was around him. Matip also getting injured was a function of ‘over use’. Both Gomez and Matip have injury issues but Liverpool cannot afford to have 5 world class centre backs. Their business model is a high quality first 13 who are paid well with the rest made up of bargains and kids. 4 years of intense football has also taken its toll. Another good example is Sheffield United. High intensity game but this season they have been woeful as the injuries mounted up and they could not match the intensity of last season. It doesn’t take much of a drop off in performance to be punished in the Premier League.
Football this season has not been great. The players need 2 months off. I love watching football but I am struggling with the games lately, all games, not just Liverpools.
Tossing off words like ‘luck’ to summarise what has happened to Liverpool is lazy, do your research.
Hong Kong Ian (next weeks letter will include existential isolationism in a digital world….) LFC
In an era when the Premier League has gone completely multinational in terms of players, coaches, managers and owners I realised that up until this weekend over a quarter of the Premier League clubs had managers from their local area.
Like many I was disappointed to hear on the radio local lad Chris Wilder getting sacked from Sheffield United (although I remember Southampton sacking Nigel Adkins in similar circumstances and that’s didn’t end up too bad for them). It got me thinking he must be the only local manager in the Premier League however directly after there was the managers interviews from the Newcastle-Villa game and sure enough both teams have local managers. Then I thought some more and realised Palace and West Brom also have local managers. Then I went through the league and decided Scott Parker of Lambeth south London is really only one borough away from Fulham so local
This has got to be the first time in several decades that this has happened.
And before all the keyboard warriors start going crazy I am not saying these managers are born in the exact stadium, borough, town or city but in an area that I have subjectively defined as local.
For clarity using Wikipedia they are:
Chris Wilder of Stocksbridge a town in the city of Sheffield managing Sheffield United
Steve Bruce who grew up in Tyneside managing Newcastle
Dean Smith from the West Midlands managing Villa
Sam Allardyce from the West Midlands managing West Brom
Roy Hodgson from South London managing Palace
Scott Parker from Lambeth London managing Fulham
Can anyone think of a time when there was more local managers in the Premier League?
And because I invented the question I don’t class Romford born Lampard managing Chelsea as local although I can understand the argument.
Paul K, London
Did John “pub bore” Nicholson really write a hymn of praise to Marco Van Basten without mentioning that AC Milan bought him with the “evil capitalist” money of the right-wing Italian politician, Silvio Berlusconi? I’d have thought that would have been more relevant to the article rather than his constant shoehorning in of references to how much he hates modern football. Or better still, mention neither and just praise the player for his magnificence, instead of using him as a cudgel for his own “I hate modern football” agenda.