Keep your mails coming to email@example.com…
Will Guardiola or Klopp stay around for the rebuilds?
A question for Liverpool fans; do you think Klopp will stick around to see through a rebuild of your side or will he walk away as the current team reaches the end of its cycle in a season or two?
As painful as it is to admit, the current Liverpool side is the best in Europe, and will most likely still be next season unless City throw a hundred million or so at their defence. However, beyond that, as the average age article highlights, things may well start to get trickier.
Historically, the consensus was that players used to peak in their late 20s, but with the increased athleticism of the modern game, I think it’s been brought forward a few years, with players peaking at 24-28, especially attacking players where pace is so crucial. In these straightened Covid times, a major overhaul seems unlikely this summer, so there’s the prospect looming of having a raft of first team players (Mane, Salah, Firmino, Wijnaldum, Henderson) all hitting their 30s together.
Personally, I wouldn’t have been surprised to see one of Mane or Salah sold this summer for big money, and replaced by a younger man (is this the reason they pulled out of the Werner deal?) but with huge transfers unlikely to be common, this now seems a no-go. The chance to cash-in on one of these players and utilise the money elsewhere will have passed this summer, as I couldn’t see a club like Real or Barca spending £100m+ on a player that’s over 29. Signing world class forwards, or even ones with the requisite potential, is not cheap and becomes doubly difficult if there’s not the money coming in to balance their beloved ‘net spend’ figures.
City face a similar conundrum; Aguero, Fernandinho and Walker are all over 30, and de Bruyne and Mahrez both 29, though in City’s case it’s more apparent that Pep probably won’t be around to deal with that renewal.
It’s hard to look beyond Liverpool and City for next season’s title winner, but beyond that, they’re going to need to spend a lot of money or produce a few more Fodens to stay at the top.
Lewis, Busby Way
VAR from logical
Just read the 16 conclusions for Arsenal Leicester game and in have to disagree with the “Vardy challenge on Mustafi wasn’t a sending off.”
Off the bat, I am an Arsenal fan so you may say my view is clouded. But the inconsistency in VAR is maddening! Eddie was rightly sent off using VAR after a number of minutes, with the ref finally using the monitor (should of done that after 3 replays but whatever…) where there was no intention but reckless and potentially dangerous if the Leicester player had his leg planted. Yet the more I see of Vardy’s boot in Mustafi’s face, the more I am convinced the intent was there as a kick out on Mustafi and therefore, cause injury. You can see Vardy eyes looking for Mustafi as he controlled his fall in the slow down replay (the same slow down replay that got Eddie sent off). And the foot was raised higher than it should of been, reaching out to try and make contact with Mustafi. If he was naturally falling, I can’t see why he would stretch his leg out like that. Yet VAR was not even used. Didn’t even check for potential sending off.
This is my main problem with VAR. It’s supposed to make better decisions, yet it seems like it is creating even more inconsistencies than when we just had the ref making decisions. Surely it’s an aid to the ref so, like the Eddie challenge, the right call can be made. In this instance, Vardy’s challenge should of been reviewed using the same forensic process as Eddie’s.
And as for Vardy’s equaliser, when it looks tight like that, no lines or mathematical equations please VAR. Advantage to the attacker. Unless it is clearly obvious, its onside.
Cheers all, moan over.
Andrew Diacopo (Crossing all things hoping that fans get back to the grounds for the new season)
Loan system change…
Well after reading through the comment section of this morning’s Mailbox I was curious to see the response to Mike Pearson’s suggestion about changing the loan system for a single season to allow a buddy system between two clubs, one from the Premier League and one from the lower league of the EFL, I would assume League’s One and Two, it reminded me very much of how Chelsea had a good partnership with Vitesse for many years as well as Manchester United’s partnership with Royal Antwerp that stretched from 1997 to 2009, if you’re curious which famous names went on loan you have Danny Higginbotham, John O’Shea, Phil Bardsley, Tom Heaton, Danny Simpson, Jonny Evans and Ryan Shawcross among many many others.
Back to Mike’s idea though, is it realistic to implement? perhaps not, that exclusivity provides an issue, as striking up a partnership with a Top 6 side would be more beneficial than one who would be fighting for relegation, after all you would rather loan players from Manchester City or Liverpool than say the likes of Norwich or Bournemouth, with all due respect to both sides, then you would have to consider what benefit would the Premier League side get in return if they cannot guarantee the loanees would get significant game time within their new club sides, of course no player is ever guaranteed minutes, but if they are all within the same side it would then have a knock on effect for the youth of that League One or Two side, we have seen over recent years the talents of Dele Alli and Joe Gomez emerge from the lower leagues of the EFL and secure huge moves and then prove themselves at the top level.
For the sake of fun, lets say this idea was implemented, I would assume having local sides to the Premier League clubs be brought in, so that particular club can only strike up an exclusivity deal with an EFL side that is within a set mile radius, naturally this could benefit teams from the capital, with the likes of Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs academies, but then you have Wolves and Leicester for the Midlands, Liverpool, Everton and both Manchester sides for the North section, so maybe not to much of an advantage for the London sides.
I would love to see AFC Wimbledon and my side Chelsea strike up a partnership, we have had many players play for both sides over the decades, Dennis Wise, Neil Sullivan, Dave Beasant and Vinnie Jones to name a few, so to see the likes of Conor Gallagher, Marc Guehi and Billy Gilmour play for such an iconic team would be something.
Project Restart keep or discard…
I can get on board with this Project Restart keep and discard game.
- All games being broadcast. I don’t even mind it being on subscription services, I just love the complete abandonment of the 3pm blackout. I’ve long believed that it was a pointless rule that didn’t actually protect anyone at all. Even if the big providers didn’t want to cover every single game, clubs should at least have the option to air their games on their own website or channel – at least that way lower league clubs would have another potential revenue stream.
- Football most days. After so long without it, having some football on every day feels so much better. I know there are arguments about unfair advantages and rest periods and stuff like that, but it’s been great having something on almost every day. Obviously, that will continue to a degree when European football returns, but there’s something nice about having the Premier League on more nights of the week.
- No crowds. I know this one is a non-starter but, I have to be honest, football crowds do absolutely nothing to improve football in my opinion. I hate the songs with a passion. And who can honestly say that football will be better when you get some moron in the front row, frothing at the mouth and swearing at an opposition player as he lines up to take a corner or throw in? I also really like hearing the shouts from the players and coaches too, I think it adds a genuinely interesting dynamic to the game.
- More places on the bench and more subs. I have never understood why you’re allowed a squad of 23 but only 7 subs (you’re guaranteeing that at least 6 players are going to miss out on any involvement every week), so I like the fact that the benches are bigger and that you’re allowed to make five subs. That said, I would change the rules slightly for next season. I reckon you should be allowed to name 12 subs on the bench for a start, I don’t see why that would be an issue. I would also say that you’re only allowed to make 3 normal subs (at any time) but you’re also allowed to make unlimited academy subs – so, any player who joined your academy before the age of 16 and is under the age of 21. I think that would encourage managers to give some meaningful game time to youngsters, without it seeming like a massive risk to leave out a senior player.
- Drinks breaks. What’s the point now? Maybe if pitch temperatures get to excessive levels then you could make it optional on a game-by-game basis – i.e. up to the managers and officials to decide, pre-game – but it seems a bit unnecessary now and just disrupts the flow of the game.
- Fist/forearm bumping of opposition of coaches and players. I just don’t get why that’s allowed at all. Most of the time it’s been ignored anyway, I’ve seen plenty of examples of opponents going on as normal (Ole putting his arm around Ake, for example). Either make it zero contact or get rid of the rule entirely, because I can’t believe it’s making much difference – you have to get closer than 1m for a forearm bump anyway, so what’s the point?
That’s it, actually. I’m glad football is back and, in the main, I’ve enjoyed it a lot more than pre-Covid.
Three foreigner rule
I see in the defending of Firmino the trope of Cantona didn’t do it in Europe has been trotted out again. How many times does it need to be said the United team which got into Europe in the early 90s was never allowed to play together, Cantona was hobbled for the crime of being French and playing in a team where Mark Hughes, Denis Irwin and Ryan Giggs were all bracketed in the foreigner category, with a three foreigner rule the team had to play games without important players every week. Imagine Liverpool without Allison, VVD and Firmino, might not be enjoying number 6 over a celebratory pint rather lamenting the fact you had to play a kid in goal etc. Do enough of the didn’t do it in Europe tripe please.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
No doubt you’ll get a ton of these from United fans, but as an Arsenal fan who detested the man while he was playing, Cantona was lightyears ahead of Firmino.
Not even close.
The only ‘second striker’ better than Cantona in Premier League history is Bergkamp.
After those two, there is a chasm.
These are facts.
Jose with the comeback?
No. Spurs wont win the premier league next year and they probably won’t play in the champions league. But that scruffy, defensive and at times plain boring display against Everton showed one thing: Jose and his style are finally clear on Spurs. Whether for the good or the bad, any remnants of Poch’s style at the club seem to have gone down the drain. The ‘pass and run’ has been replaced with the ‘run and press’ and counterattack seems to be the likely goal scoring option. It is clear once and for all that Spurs are becoming a Jose Mourinho team. One can only hope the ‘special one’ can replicate some of his historic feats at our great club given the time Poch was given (and some extra funds).
Aggregate Premier League
To the guy who put up the aggregate Premier league can I just point out Liverpool beat Arsenal 3-1 at Anfield so Arsenal would have to score at least 2 goals.Matip and Salah(x2).
Probably being pedantic but if you’re going to do all that research and just point out Liverpools scores at least get them right.
They were also 3-0 up before Torreira scored so if it was based on aggregate score I doubt they’d have been so sloppy as to let him score late on. They also eased off when they went 3 up.They were also 2 up v Brighton before going down to 10 men and beat N’castle at home 3-1 but eased off after going 3-1 up.
In response to Mike Pearson’s loan idea, I have two points:Observation: As he noted, it will encourage clubs in the football league to release a lot of players. As well as that, it will also encourage clubs to lower the salaries of any players they want to sign/retain. In my opinion, this is a good thing, as I have felt strongly for a long time that most clubs pay much more in wages than they can afford to.
Criticism: Convince “me”, the owner/manager/director of football at a Premier League club, that it is beneficial to loan out players for nothing when the status quo is looking very rosy at the top thank you very much.
In football, as in most walks of life, those at the top rarely want to change the status quo.
One man team…
I saw an interesting stat about Newcastle doing the rounds last weekend. Somebody took the time to break down Newcastle’s record with and without Saint Maximin after another excellent display and it makes frightening reading:
With Saint Maximin starting: P18 W10/D4/L4 1.89 PPG – extrapolate this over the course of the season and this would put Newcastle in 3rd, 3 points behind Man City.
Without Saint Maximin starting: P14 W1/D5/L8 0.57 PPG – extrapolate this over the course of the season and Newcastle would be 20th, 3 points behind Norwich.
Sometimes stats can be misleading, due to cherry picking or small sample sizes, in this case the sheer disparity between the two makes frightening reading for Newcastle fans. Despite their excellent form post restart I can’t shake the feeling that it’s all built on sand; the possession and XG stats are still ranking towards the bottom of the league and these things have a habit of evening out over time. Is there any other individual player that is as crucial to their team’s results*? Closest I can think of is Zaha, although I’m not sure if his reduced goals and assists this year is a sign of reduced dependency overall.
*please don’t bring up Firmino as a response; we’ve all read enough about him for one week.
Finally I just wanted to respond to Glen, Stratford Spur; I think you’ve slightly misinterpreted a couple of the points from my mail on West Ham. I’m in no way a West Ham fan (pessimistic Newcastle supporter in case you were wondering) and would find it hilarious if they were to go down this year. Regarding my statement on “The West Ham Way”, I’m 100% with you in believing it’s all a load of guff. I brought it up because as much as I loathe the self-marketing terms like that and “The Academy of Football”, they’re mentioned often enough to clearly mean something to the fans. Seeing as they’re unlikely to offer European football or trophies to satisfy the fans why not go for something attainable like a playstyle that appeals to the supporter’s self-visualisation and youth promotion. That being said, the more basket cases in the league the better (I’d like to nominate Villa to join the others you mentioned for that mini league of chaos).
Fake crowd noises…
Am I the only person amused by the fact that, of all the crowd noises now being added to game, the one they seem to always get bang on is the boos from home fans about decisions they dislike?
The negs get them spot on.
Says a lot about perceptions of the modern-day fan.
The M Rod
Writing in about something off topic and hated by “proper fans”. Football tourism. Last November me and my friends went to the stadium of light to see Sunderland v Southend. I’m a man u fan but league 1 tickets are cheaper, plus a night out in Newcastle sealed the deal. To be brutally honest I fully expected the match to be shit. Perhaps it was arogence after being feed on a diet of premier League football. The skill level of most the players was exceptional. But the best thing about the match was the atmosphere created by the 30,000 Sunderland fans. Sunderland won one Nil. It was my first match and with all that’s going on my last for a while.
Jack Cavan ( looking forward to future football trips)
This Dier ban is a joke. He was trying to defend his brother! At a crucial stage of the season, Tottenham are going to be without him – including for the north London derby. Now try and tell me there isn’t an FA conspiracy against Arsenal.
Jaimie Kaffash, AFC, north London