Sticking up for Sancho and Salah but bashing Burnley

Date published: Tuesday 14th September 2021 2:43 - Editor F365

Mo Salah and Jadon Sancho

Jadon Sancho is playing and struggling on the left for Man Utd because he is better there than Mason Greenwood. And Mo Salah deserves better.

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Sticking up for Sancho
I’ve seen this argument a few times in the mailbox so it could be Eamonn, Dublin all the time but the reason Sancho plays on the left is because he’s better there than Greenwood. I don’t think you can drop Mason with the form he’s in, and he’s been brilliant from the right so far.

Sancho may be English but this is the first time he’s played in the Premier League. And yes, while he has been signed to play on the right, he can and has played on the left throughout his time at Dortmund.

There are plenty of valid reasons to question Ole but his use of Sancho is not one of them.
Ross, Galicia


Eamonn, Dublin – Sancho is playing on the left because Rashford is injured and Greenwood was our best player until Saturday (& loses all effectiveness cutting inside on his right foot). Also Sancho has been pretty pants, left side or not.

Agree, Lindelof bailed Maguire out twice against Leeds. His positioning seems worse than ever, followed by one of: lunge in on the halfway line or sprint on top of the goalkeeper as quickly as his dense treetrunk legs will allow.

Unlike both of them, Varane has a leap and looks pretty bloody massive anyway so size shouldn’t be the prerequisite for his partner. Under no condition is this any sort of endorsement for Jones or Bailly.

And on the endless Ronaldo debates. Our midfield woes have nothing to do with signing [one of/the] greatest player of all time.

He’s sensational and I love him and we might, just might, win the league with the ridiculously handsome b*stard – even with Fred & Matic playing no-look passes on the edge of our box.
Simon (still in ****ing agony from that second goal) MUFC


Hi Guys,

First point, we don’t come back to win that game with Ancelotti in charge, I give Benitez full credit for having a plan, and being prepared to change said plan, those 7 second half minutes were pure Chaos Energy and I’m sure every other Evertonian loves it, shame they have to play like the dog and duck first.

Second, on Sunday we say a player red carded for “serious foul play – intensity and endangering safety of an opponent.” In the first minute, a tackle from behind including a scissoring motion, with Richarlison’s foot trapped under the players body. Slide tackles from behind have been yellow cards since France ’98 for goodness sake!

Later, Tarkowski comes flying in on Richarlison, way more “Intense” and “endangering.” Neither were given as fouls. How the hell can the Premier League be taken seriously when they can’t remain consistent for 30 hours!?!?! I’m not going to say they were brutal or thuggery, or whatever else, I just want the same criteria applied.

Still though, We won, thanks Andros, does he think it’s 2012/13 all over again? Sure, tell him that.
EFCraig (I actually said wow at the TV when it flew in).


So that stuff I moaned about yesterday, the consistency applied by referees?

Tarkowski and Brownhill escaped any kind of censure for their quite frankly reckless and atrocious tackles.

Not a single red card.

Club of absolute neanderthals managed by Ogg the Shouter
Mat, Leeds fan.


It was a red
So it’s been a day and I’ve watched the tackle multiple times.

I think people are getting hung up on the words maliceful intent. I completely agree that Struick had zero malice in his tackle.  But whether or not you intend to hurt someone is only part of the equation. You can make a dangerous tackle without meaning any harm. In my opinion this is what happened.

A dangerous tackle is one in which you’re more likely to cause harm than not. The tackle was a sliding challenge , from behind, he also leaves the floor (briefly) and while his forward foot does reach the ball his trailing leg lands on Harvey’s ankle, because he did not have control of the direction or strength of the tackle because he had jumped. That’s pretty much a text book dangerous tackle by all accounts.

Saying he didn’t mean it or he got the ball doesn’t really matter in the same way that someone with a high foot who wins the ball but also kicks a player in the face is also a text book dangerous challenge with no intended malice.

I felt bad for Struik because again I don’t think he intended to cause the issue and it was a bit of a freak that his trailing landed on Harvey’s ankle but it was a red.

Also – I agree that united should be considered favourites for the title. They’re the team with the strongest squad in each position bar one. City are great everywhere but literally have no decent striker. Liverpool are still working toward the same cohesion from two years ago and we’re gonna be missing a few key players at a time of the season when we always have a dip in form. United are the strong favourites if you ask me (and nobody did). On paper the best team by far.


There’s something I haven’t seen mentioned on the red card incident that probably should be. The whole reason that there was a drive to penalise tackles from behind in football was perfectly encapsulated by that challenge. Two things immediately spring to mind: the first being that Elliott couldn’t see the tackle coming because it was from behind so he had no steps to take to protect himself and the second that the follow through of the tackle was the dangerous part because of the physics involved.

As regards the first, anyone whose played any sport seriously will tell you that one of the first things you learn is how to fall (or crash). The thing is you can only do that if you have the split second to see something coming. The fact that the tackle was from behind automatically makes it dangerous in a way almost any other challenge can never be. You can’t prepare, you can only hope you have time to react, which poor Harvey Elliott sadly didn’t. As regards the second, because all of the momentum is going in a completely different direction to normal challenges, and because both players are moving in the same direction, their limbs collide in manners that they wouldn’t otherwise. I’ve not seen the graphic details, as they weren’t shown, but it seems reasonable to extrapolate that Elliott’s ankle was trapped in a manner that could likely only occur from this type of table from behind.

That the danger isn’t as blatantly obvious as a two footed lunge doesn’t mean it wasn’t still dangerous play by its very nature. That doesn’t imply intent, it just implies at worst not being aware of the dangers inherent in a tackle from behind. Did he get the ball before any contact? Quite possibly, but also irrelevant. Immediately his follow through clatters through the back of Elliott’s legs it becomes dangerous play worthy of a red.
Greg Bishop (he who has broken both ankles so often that he genuinely can’t remember how often!) Taunton.


A unique view
I just want to point out 1 issue that nobody has mentioned yet regarding the Struijk/Elliot incident. The only reason it went horribly wrong, was because Struijk was facing his own goal when he made the tackle. He won the ball cleanly, but wanted to turn at the same time, so he could counter the counter attack. The sliding tackle wasn’t the problem. The problem was, when turning, Elliot’s left leg got trapped under Struijk’s left leg, a perfect example of a freak accident. All sliding tackes are risky, the only way to prevent such injuries is to ban sliding tackles. No doubt, the risk averse would welcome this.
G Thomas, Breda


Underrated Salah
Thank you to TX Bill, EFC for moving the Mo Salah debate on in a fair and impartial way. Good to see our friends from across the park are able to take the blue tinted glasses off, rise above tribal rivalries and give us the benefit of their wisdom.

TX Bill says we need a few more years to consider Salah and where he sits in the list of premier league greats, especially compared to Ronaldo, Henry and Shearer. Well, yes. Ronaldo has played 197 games in the Prem, which is significantly more than Salah, with just 162. However, Salah has scored 100 goals in that time, as opposed to Ronaldo’s 86. So, 14 more goals than Ronaldo in 35 fewer matches. Henry and Ronaldo both had amazing individual seasons where they scored 30 and 31 goals respectively. But, wait, Salah scored 32 in Prem in 2017/18. Twice league top scorer and once runner up (and once 5th) in the last 4 seasons. Shearer was Premier League top scorer 3 times, Henry 4 and Ronaldo once. If, and it is a massive if, Salah is top scorer this season he is level with Shearer and 1 behind Henry.

TX Bill rightly highlights Salah’s ability to win penalties. He is absolutely correct, Liverpool get an astonishing cavalcade of penalties, all of them awarded for Salah dives. They have had an amazing 11 penalties in their last 118 Premier League matches, at a mind blowing rate of a penalty every 965 minutes. Dive, dive, dive, it is basically all Salah does.

Oh and he also has 45 international goals which is 15 more than Shearer and only 6 behind Henry, despite playing nearly 50 fewer games than Henry.
Micki Attridge (I thought refs were supposed to be letting soft fouls go, not sanctioning brutal tacking? Burnley against Everton were a disgrace last night)


A response to Tom
Why don’t footballers play to the whistle
and why do they seem to deliberately ignore the rule that ref / players don’t have to stop the game for a non-head injury?

[sarcasm] i guess if a player’s leg looks horribly misshapen (which the players saw) and he looks in great pain and may go into shock and swallow his tongue and choke, the players should keep playing till the referee blows the whistle.

Surely the players do not know difference between what’s a regular injury and what’s so serious that they feel sick just looking at it, despite the decision made not to replay the tackle. Player down, cart him off, put a sheet over him, next man up. I guess folks do like watching “ last man standing” gladiatorial football (let the game flow!). Players make millions anyway, what’s an extra crippling injury for life, they’re millionaires and made for life anyway…

Oh and …. By that same reasoning , should we be grateful that Christian Eriksen got the attention of the ref when he collapsed? It was a non-head injury after all. Marc Vivien Foe, Antonio Puerta, Baferimbi Gomis, Cheikh Tiote, Miklos Feher… i wonder if the ref blew the whistle for these non head injuries, and if he didnt, i guess the players should have continued playing…

Yes, given how much we pay for football, it’s too much to ask for the football to stop when there are extenuating circumstances: the human footballers experience something irregular and shocking and possibly life threatening that requires the game to stop without a ref whistle. The shame and the horror! Tsk tsk. To call themselves professional footballers even! [/end sarcasm]
Gab ynwa


I couldn’t have agreed more with the mails that came in after the Harvey Elliot injury and the seeming directive for refs to ‘let the game flow’. Advocates of letting the game flow will point to the success and enjoyment of the Euros. The problem here was hand in hand with that enjoyment were the elite level refs at the Euros who still generally made the correct decisions on poor and overly aggressive tackles.

We simply do not have that level of referees in this country. I saw the tackle by Tarkowski on Richarlison last night not even given as a foul let alone a yellow. Anyone who has played football knows that Tarkowski had one thing in his mind at that moment, yes of course he wanted to win the ball but he also wanted to hurt Richarlison with his follow through, it was reckless and out of control despite the smallest slither of leather he touched before cleaning out Richarlison.

My team Arsenal go to Turf Moor this weekend and I fully expect plenty of these sorts of tackles to go completely unpunished but Arsenal to somehow come out of the game with definitely the first yellow card of the game and probably more yellow cards than Burnley. But of course Arsenal ‘don’t like it up em’ so it is fair game right?
Rich, AFC


Popular isn’t the same as good
A response to Dave, if I may have one. To answer the first question, no, I’m not saying Beckham wasn’t a good footballer. He was a very good footballer. However, he wasn’t the best footballer of his generation, even though he was the biggest celebrity in world football at that time. Second question, was Zidane known around the world? Yes, but by football fans. He didn’t transcend the game in the way Beckham did. I lived in Canada for a year from 2002-03. I was struck that everyone, even those who didn’t like sports, knew who Beckham was. They didn’t know Zidane, (Brazilian) Ronaldo, Figo, Shevchenko, Henry or Raul but they knew Beckham.

Dave says that football is about entertainment. That may be true, but it’s not what we mean by the GOAT. The Greatest of All Time debate is about who is the best at football. Not who is the most entertaining.

Social media coverage reflects popularity. But popularity doesn’t equal greatness. It would be hard to prove, but I would be willing to bet every penny in my bank account that Beckham’s move to LA Galaxy received more worldwide press coverage than Zidan’s to Real Madrid, or any other move of that generation. It’s not a reflection on their footballing ability, but their celebrity.

I’ve no problem with Dave saying Ronaldo is the most entertaining footballer ever, or the most popular. But the GOAT debate is about performance on the pitch. Social media has nothing to do with it.
Mike, LFC, London


Arsenal are in a horror movie
Arsenal right now are like a scene from a bad horror movie.

The Norwich win was like the bit right before the end of the film where you think the bad guy’s dead – only for him to return to kill the remaining teenager who has thus far survived his clutches.

Arsenal fans should be breathing a sigh of relief, and we would be, if that win had been more convincing.

A goal in the first five minutes, a second on the half hour before Charlie Patino (remember the name) is subbed on to complete a 3-0 win.

But what we got was the sort of win relegation fodder gets against other relegation fodder.

The manager refuses to play Laca – even though he’s an Arsenal player until at least January – and there’s no end product from Saka. I love the guy as much as anyone but if you’re going to play a front three – then you need all three contributing something.

We used to despatch Burnley easily but Arteta seems incapable of doing so. I want to believe we’ve turned a corner but all I can see is Nuno schooling Arteta and the club desperately getting on the phone to anyone stupid enough to take the job.

I’m sure other fans take entertainment from AFTV etc and Arsenal’s demise but these days I just don’t feel anything – the underperformance of a once great club is just boring now and it’s filtering through to the fanbase.

Cheering a City goal? Singing we’re staying up? It’s not gallows humour – it’s an acceptance of how just how rotten we are.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

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