Mails: Don’t blame the referee, blame Pochettino…

Date published: Monday 20th November 2017 10:17

There you go, people. Another great mailbox. Mail us at


Tottenham not earned right to be sniffy yet
Enjoyed the NLD mailbox. It’s an interesting one because the early Spurs fans seem incredibly bitter and unable to give Arsenal their dues; after the first five minutes Arsenal were the better team. They carved out the best chances from set pieces and from open play and they ended up winning. Fair f**ks if you ask me.

I wonder though, does Poch sound clever when he talks about Spurs only caring about the Champions League and Premier League? Whilst I appreciate they finished second last season they were never really challenging Chelsea to actually win it. They’ve also never been remotely close to challenging for the Champions League. Their all time highlights involve two wins in the group stages if I’m not mistaken (Inter and Real Madrid).

I just think you should learn to walk before you run. Poch is a great manager and has built a sexy team but maybe he should win a trophy or two before turning his nose up at them. And maybe a small trophy or two might help to breed that hunger that spurred on the great Man Utd/Arsenal sides that we’ve seen in the past.

Cant help but also remember that David O’Leary managed Leeds team that were so memorable and won nothing but plaudits.
Minty, LFC


Blaming Pochettino; he should have left out Alli and Kane
I’ll start with the obvious point of contention, the first goal. It wasn’t a free-kick, it was a great bit of defending from Davinson Sanchez. Mustafi was clearly offside. I don’t think any but the most one-eyed Arsenal fan can dispute either of those claims. However, regardless of whether it was a free-kick or not and whether the guy you’re supposed to be marking is offside or not, YOU STILL HAVE TO DEFEND THE BLOODY FREEKICK. I played football from five years old and was constantly told by my coaches to play to the whistle. I was a poor amateur footballer, these are professionals at the very top of the game. Surely playing to the whistle should be automatic. Watching on TV (I work far too many Saturdays to get enough loyalty points to go to an away game) I said as soon as the free kick was awarded that Arsenal would score. Our defence was too busy being p***ed off at the award of the free-kick to bother defending it properly.

On the subject of our defence, we were awful all day. Throughout the whole team there was none of our usual pressure on the ball, we gave them time and space whenever they had possession. Nobody seemed to even notice that Lacazette was on the pitch, we just let him wander free pretty much every time Arsenal attacked (see the second goal). I think Alderweireld is a huge miss. Not only is he our best defender but he also massively improves those around him, especially Vertonghen. Before we signed Alderweireld I always thought Vertonghen was a liability. With Toby next to him he suddenly turned into a great defender, but as soon as Alderweireld is missing he seems one step away from reverting to liability.

After last season complaining that we had no alternative to Harry Kane, this summer we finally signed a decent back-up. Why? What was the point if we’re still not going to play Llorente even when Kane is clearly not fit? From the start it was obvious he wasn’t ready to play, he was slow to react and his movement was poor. There were a couple of chances in the first half that a fully fit Kane would have got to first and buried, on the day he was nowhere near them. I don’t blame Kane for this, he was clearly not ready, I blame Pocchetino. Surely he should have started Llorente and had Kane as a back-up off bench for the last 30 mins if necessary? Unless he doesn’t trust Llorente, in which case what was the point in buying him?

Also, why did Son not start? Over the last couple of seasons he’s been our consistent big game player, he has a knack of scoring in important games. Alli has been massively out of form so far this season so give Son the starting role and use Alli to hopefully make a difference off the bench. Alternatively drop Eriksen back to centre mid in place of Sissoko (who I still believe is awful, even if he has been a bit better this season. Watch the game, his first touch is awful and every pass is half a yard behind where it should be so the attack slows down) and play Son and Alli ahead, which he’s done a few time already this season.

Overall though, fair play to Arsenal. As poor as we were they were excellent. Constant pressing every time we had the ball they never gave us a second to settle. They were first to everything and put us under so much pressure we never looked in control. That’s then best I’ve seen them play for a couple of seasons at least.
Simon THFC, London


Spurs are not poor, they are just missing players
Could somebody explain why 16 Conclusions decided to ignore Toby Alderweireld being injured? And Harry Kane being blatantly unfit? And neither Mousa Dembele nor Harry Winks being fit to play 90 minutes, with Victor Wanyama being injured and Dier being needed in defence? That left Spurs with a grand total of zero central midfielders available to play 90 minutes. As far as I can tell from that piece Tottenham simply stopped being a good football team because Arsenal played well.

No reasons why Spurs were under par to be found in that last paragraph? No? Perhaps a wider point about how a team with comfortably the smallest wage bill in the top six are more vulnerable to that kind of thing? Nothing? No?

As for the free-kick, the footage unambiguously showed Davinson Sanchez winning the ball not just cleanly but superbly.

The referee believed he had comitted a foul. Any explanation for the large gap in perception between reality and the intepretation of the referee?

That doesn’t happen several times a match. It absolutely does not. I’d be interested to hear if F365 could back that assertion up?

As far as I can see F365’s view on the incident – at 0-0 when Spurs looked to have weathered a strong Arsenal spell and were starting to look dangerous – is that Spurs fans are annoying.

My wife regularly tells me I am annoying and I regularly find my fellow Spurs fans annoying so I can’t fault the accuracy of the observation. I’m just not sure it constitutes a thorough analysis of an incredibly significant moment in the match.

Football fans moaning about referees is incredibly annoying. But if you’re job is to review the incidents in a match then that does not matter. The incidents in the match do.

In the absence of any from 16 Conclusions, some relevant points/questions about Spurs away from home against the top 6:

– Pochettino has abandoned playing two central midfielders in front of his defence. In bigger games away from home should it come back? To me, they play 3-1-4-2 now. The 3-4-3 gave Alli and Eriksen more freedom and the defence more cover.

– Or are Spurs too open with three centre-backs away against the top six? Should they return to 4-2-3-1 for these matches? With Alderweireld out is it worth trying at City?

– Spurs have squad places for a winger (N’Koudou) and a centre-forward (Janssen and now Llorente) and no impact is made from those positions. Why budget for a plan B you don’t have, don’t use and don’t need? It’s relevant to big games because the attacking options on Spurs bench are so inferior to the others in the top six. Surely one more versatile, mobile and relevant to the style forward like Son would serve them far better than N’Koudou and Llorente combined. It’s mid-November. Have Spurs created a decent headed chance for Llorente yet? I cant think of one.

Well done Arsenal. They really were excellent. 16 Conclusions should be enough for both sides to be properly analysed though.

Best wishes,
Annoying Spurs fan
(Big fan of how one season has got people carried away about Spurs but one game is enough to confirm Arsenal’s superiority by the way…)


In defence of 16 Conclusions
Okay okay I’m coming out in defence of F365’s 16 conclusions here. Firstly, NOTHING Phil Neville says has any importance in life. The guy thinks British over everybody else. Moyes is still the man apparently yet openly criticises foreign managers for one bad result . He commentates on lots of games I get to see here on TV in New York. Everything he says is pure and utter sh*te. I hate his brother Gary but at least Gary speaks sense when talking about football.

Secondly, in my opinion when I first saw the Sanchez on Sanchez incident I thought foul. He put his arm across and impeded Sanchez’ movement forward. I don’t care what you say it was impeding. Soft free-kick but a free-kick. Not always given, sure, but a free-kick. You’re right, he was offside for the goal. However try being a Palace fan and thinking ‘WTF was that penalty given against us for?’ Now THAT was a shocking decision. I’ve seen much worse given or not given than that foul you got against you.

Anyway does it change the fact Arsenal were the better team and probably would have gone on to win anyway? Nobody can tell. Does it change the fact Spurs can’t win against the top five away from home which is becoming a problem for you? Sure you are top of the CL group but Apoel didn’t lose home or away against that lot so nothing to brag about. Plus you played Madrid who aren’t firing….yet. I don’t really care enough about Spurs to remember small decisions that have gone in their favour in the past but we all have crap go against our teams which brings me to my next point….your England woes. You all like to cry about those two instances. Remember the ‘goal’ in 1966 where the ball never crossed the line in a little final at Wembley against the evil west Germany? Or maybe something a bit more recent in 1996 in a little quarter final against Spain in the Euros also at Wembley? Spain had two clearly legal goals disallowed that day for offside. Both were about 1 to 2 meters on. Spain also had two blatant penalties not given that day. Home bias was it?

Speaking of Spain, try South Korea v Spain in the WC quarters in 2002, another game in which Spain were knocked out by the hosts on penalties. Spain had three, yes three!! goals disallowed that day. All were perfectly good goals. One was because they said the ball had crossed the byline when Joaquin crossed it. It was clearly on the line. So don’t talk to me about injustices and a little free kick given against you from a distance you should have been able to deal with anyway.

While I’m at it I just wanted to give Moreno some admiration for his improving performances this season. A big middle finger up to all of those, media and fans alike, that wanted to blame him for Liverpool’s defensive woes even from last season when Milner was our left back and he wasn’t playing. Keep it up son.
Alex (LFC)


…No sorry, I’m just not having Spurs fan after Spurs fan lay in to Sarah Winterburn for her 16 Conclusions. To blame the ref (almost solely) widely misses how off their game Tottenham were.

Phil Neville was right, the goal changed the game BUT you still have to defend the free-kick, marginal offside or not. To be honest, after a similar decision costing us something at Stoke and then the City game being put to bed on a similar call, it’s about time our luck turned. For the second, Lacazette’s arm was maybe off, but thankfully Dave Winchester Spurs remembers Maradona’s 86 and knows you shouldn’t really score with this part of the body anyway.

On the foul, no – it’s not one. But neither was Mesut Ozil ‘bundling’ over Jan Vertonghen, who dived in the seventh minute in his own box, winning a free-kick. This was an awful decision, and one which literally cost Lacazette a tap-in goal.

All in all, Arsenal were bloody excellent all over the park, Tottenham weren’t. If it helps to blame the ref fine, but you’re masking over a crap performance from the usual darlings of the country.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex


Tottenham are fourth and not in form
I know this comes in later than a Vinnie Jones tackle, but I thought I’d offer an opinion.

Firstly Arsenal were the better team no doubt about it. However although Arsenal started better, in the five minutes before the opening goal Spurs started to create some chances and looked more threatening. Then obviously the goal changed that. Never a foul but it happens.

Secondly Spurs were nowhere near full strength. So all the Liverpool and Arsenal fans shouting from the roof tops need to settle down. I’m looking at you Kris from the Wirral. Klopp gets away with murder because he’s a nice German. The fact that he is tactically incompetent seems to escape people.

Thirdly Spurs have been inconsistent this season at best, obviously we’ve had some great performances. Home and away to Madrid and the Liverpool game. However we have yet to really hit form and once we get Alderweireld, Wanyama, Dembelle and Kane fully fit we will be fine. Also Dele Alli will hopefully get back to his best.

So although we may be only one point ahead of Arsenal and Liverpool, we are still ahead and we haven’t even played well yet. Good luck on your prediction Kris. Makes a change from this is our year I suppose. We are through to the last 16 of the Champions League and sit fourth in the League. After years of mediocrity I like most Spurs fans are having a great time. I think it shows how far we’ve come that people expect us to go to Arsenal and Man United and win.
Richard King THFC (are brackets still a thing?)


Klopp is the German Jesus
He walks on wine – he was walking on water; then turned said water into wine.

From a humiliation at Spurs, a couple of tweaks and Liverpool won four on the trot with a three-goal aggregate. His lopsided defence (Gomez tucked in to create a
three-man central defence with Moreno pushing up almost at halfway line) – was pure genius. A work of art. Modern innovators like Klopp, Guardiola, Pochettino, they always
bring something new to the table. The furnitures – Mourinho, Wenger… what do they bring, really? And before you say trophies, money brings trophies.

Di Matteo has a Champions League medal. You think he won it with managerial skills? Tactical innovation is the future of football. With these cutting edge managers, the Premier League is fun to watch again.
Vinnie Pee


Saints have cocked things right up
Before I get into the meat (so to speak) of this mail I must point out to Minty that your back line inclusive of Lovren, Klavan and Moreno were up against the most insipid, boring, attack that the Premier League has seen in recent years, you’ll soon go back to hating on Lovren when normal service is resumed.

Anyway I digress – I was one of those calling for Claude Fool to be booted last season, yes I know we got to the cup final, yes I know we finished 8th (closer to bottom three than top six but that’s been well documented before) but the football was dire, it was boring, it made your eyes bleed and the club responded, they got rid of him (rightly or wrongly, and I do hope he has success at Leicester, seemed a fairly decent, if not a bit rabbit in the headlights kinda bloke) and hired Pellegrino, who appointment was heralded with “Mauricio believes with the quality we have we can play exciting, attacking football, taking the game to our opponents by playing a high-intensity game”….

Well, where the actual f*ck has that led us?…honestly, this bloke is another one that is clearly out of his depth. The football both at home and away has been nothing short of a borefest, sideways and backwards passing everywhere, no intent, no speed of attack, no ideas. Now I know I do not speak for all of the fans, and some will say ‘’give him time’’ and all that jazz but if we carry on in this vein, which judging by his most recent comments about ‘believing in our tactics and style of play’ we probably will then we will be firmly in the mix for relegation by Xmas.

The most annoying thing is that in Gabbi we have a forward that makes great runs and works his arse off, purely to see the ball get pinged back to the walking confidence crisis that is Forster, or slung back over to the other side.

It’s frustrating, it’s annoying, it’s boring and its crap, sometimes changes work, and sometimes as is this case, they don’t, the board at SFC need to take a long hard look at themselves (yes Mr Reed, you included) and sort this out.

Be careful what you wish for.


Pulis out and here’s why
Thank you to Sarah Winterburn for being the first pundit/journalist I have seen to correctly identify why the Albion fans would want Pulis out. After constantly hearing the usual patronising clichés from the likes of Alan Shearer, Paul Merson and Dean Saunders that ‘we should be careful what we wish for/who is going to do a better job’ and even the likes of Man United/Liverpool fans lazily observing, ‘What do West Brom fans expect/they would be relegated without him’ I’ll explain why.

I had the chance of a free ticket on Saturday and despite not having anything getting in the way of the game and the appeal of seeing the likes of Hazard and Morata I turned it down. This isn’t the first time, this has happened but this I has only ever happened under Pulis. I love going to watch my team play and having been going since the late 80s I’ve seen some truly awful Albion teams and also have had some great moments. I have no issue with seeing us lose but when we start games not trying to win you’re missing the point of why people watch football in the first place.

Last season seemed like progress until we reached 40 points. Pulis even said himself the other day when he was bragging about his record under us that we finished eighth. We didn’t finish 8th we finished 10th and that was all down to him, we were nine points ahead of 9th place with around eight games to go and basically stopped playing once there was no danger of going down. Why would you go and pay on the gate to see us in that period when you’re team don’t care? In the season of 2015/16 there were seven games where we didn’t have a shot on target, this season we have the lowest possession and while there are other embarrassing stats it’s the football that is the worst, there have been a handful of memorable games since he’s been there and in the rest some of the worst I’ve ever sat through.

We had been in the Premier League around four seasons in a row when he took over and while we were in a mess at the time after budget appointments in Mel and Irvine praising survival can only be used sparingly, after that it becomes patronising. Pulis is very clever with the media and he spent over £40m this summer and have a much better squad than when he took over. The players don’t want to play for him anymore and there have been rumours that some of them have clashed with him over his style of play. We don’t have inflated expectations, Hodgson was loved at the Albion and made us an organised team that played some decent football, and when he left he took away the man that really was the key to us ending our reputation as the yo-yo club in Dan Ashworth.

Rondon rightly has his critics at the moment but it wouldn’t matter if we had Aguero up front at the moment, we create so few chances. There is no style of play and we have stopped being able to score from set pieces and being able to defend. Yes we want the club to be run well but not at the expense of entertainment and if you can’t understand that, you were never a football fan for the right reasons in the first place.
S Ellis, Birmingham (Hopefully he will have gone by the time this is published)


Jobs for the Moyes: A terrible decision
Genuine question:

If David Moyes was brought in to turn around your local u12s from a poor season and debatable attitude amongst the players…do you reckon he would turn it around?

If your answer is = probably not tbh…then ask yourself, how the f*ck has this clueless miserable **** got himself another Premier League job?
Bano (It will be his last btw.)


Ed’s weekend thoughts
It wouldn’t be a chocolate festival in Melton Mowbray if there wasn’t a chocolate coated pork pie.

* Any time Crystal Palace don’t lose it has to be positive, but there is a palpable sense of frustration that this was only a draw.

* I genuinely thought our luck was in when Jordan Pickford palmed that rebound straight to James McArthur. He’s a player that often flies under the radar (just ask the Everton defence) but he has in the past come up with some timely goals. He’s a tireless worker and a genuine two-way midfielder.

This is the next selection headache for Roy Hodgson. With Christian Benteke now fit again, the Eagles look set to return to 4-2-3-1. While McArthur’s goal shouldn’t make his selection mandatory (this isn’t Garth Crooks’ team of the week, even if McArthur does have the sort of haircut Garth would approve of), it seems harsh to leave him out. He is less creative (but more defensive) than Yohan Cabaye, and less defensive (but more creative) than Luka Milivojevic. In some of Palace’s best performances under Alan Pardew, McArthur lined up nominally as a 10, to lead the press, with the de facto 10 playing in the space behind.

* That penalty was a shocking decision. If it had been any softer you could have wiped your backside with it. Oumar Niasse couldn’t have been more obviously fishing for a penalty, and I did wonder at first if he’d be in danger of the first Premier League player to receive retrospective punishment for simulation, yet both Niasse and Alan Shearer (on MOTD) seemed to suggest that the contact between Niasse and Scott Dann meant it couldn’t be classed as a dive, just a refereeing mistake.

On the one hand, if you’re going to insert all these get-outs then it’s pointless even having a system to review them. On the other, it’s probably better he doesn’t get punished, as a ban for the player doesn’t actually repair the damage done to the victims of the deceit (in this case Palace).

* Dann hasn’t been in the best of form but he was affected by the penalty award and then was too ponderous in possession in first-half stoppage time, gift-wrapping a chance for Niasse to double his tally.

* Ruben Loftus-Cheek is a fantastic player and, like Wilfried Zaha, is far too good for the club in its current state. Loftus-Cheek is reaping the benefits of following Gareth Southgate’s advice in the summer, which was that players wanting to be a part of the national team should be playing regular club football. He showed his worth for England, and had a tremendous game for Palace. Hopefully the return of Benteke will get even more out of him.

* The Eagles stay bottom and are five points from safety. There is still a lot of talk of xG and xPoints, which indicate Palace are playing like a mid-table side, but if there’s one team you can rely on to upset the odds, it’s Palace. More relevantly, the longer Mark Hughes, David Unsworth, Tony Pulis, Paul Clement and David Moyes keep their jobs, the longer it will seem like we can escape from the relegation mire.

* If you’re reading this, and you’re the sort of person who would run round the ground to shout abuse at a player, like several sad cases at Selhurst Park on Saturday, you have no right to complain when the player decides to respond. I found out about this on Twitter, that Niasse had responded to Palace fans calling him every name under the sun by grinning and doing the international sign language for diving. If I’d been at the ground I would have been annoyed, but removed from that, it does sound pretty funny.

Elsewhere on social media, it turns out that if you write something deliberately provocative, it tends to provoke people. Also, if you’re a football club with 12m followers, some of them will be the sort of c##t who thinks it’s acceptable to tweet threats or abuse to someone. No one comes out of it especially well.
Ed Quoththeraven


The media needs to look at themselves
Good morning. I’m not sure if it’s escaped people’s attention but the Arsenal media team appear to have upset the media. Scene: Daily Mail troll writes an article claiming no Arsenal players would get in a combined XI. Fine. Nonsense, but absolutely within rights to say that. Arsenal dominate Spurs and the PR team posts a GIF of Mesut Ozil sipping from a cup of tea in reply to said journalist (Adam Crafton). They replied only to him and not to everyone.

To say it has triggered him is an understatement. Quickly followed by absolute nonsense from the like of Neil Custis, Miguel Delaney (who appears to be having a breakdown over it) and Henry Winter. Appalled at the lack of respect shown by Arsenal to “one of their own”

Ignoring the remarkable irony of a Daily Mail writer complaining about respect, they are claiming that Arsenal have a responsibility not to trigger internet morons. The only possible way to counter this argument is to simply point someone in the direction of the Daily Mail comments section underneath one of their articles.

The main point seemed to be the amount of abuse Adam Crafton was getting from AFC fans. I agree that death threats, personal information releases and personal abuse are vile and somehow should be made illegal. But what has been most amazing about this incident is, that there is simply no evidence of anything other than a fanbase, rather brilliantly I might add, sticking up for its club. In an age when even deleting a tweet after 5 second is often not enough to save you, there has quite literally been no evidence at all of said abuse. Not one screen shot.

It’s been a pathetic response from the media. The implications of their attitude to free speech is breathtaking in its ignorance.

However, you would be wrong in thinking that Arsenal are the first club to ever tweet something mildly amusing to the public. Chelsea promoted this seasons Arsenal game with footage of Alonso flattening Bellerin. Classless, sure, but nothing worse than that. And did the media pick it up? No. Bayern Munich made a ten to two comment after thumping Arsenal 10-2. Funny, but was Neil Ashton outraged by it? No of course not.

This has been a very distasteful display from the media who appear annoyed that Arsenal didn’t get rolled over by a fairly decent Spurs team this weekend. They’ve been abusing people. Neil Custis, weirdly obsessed with why people have blue ticks, was particularly abusive toward a young journalist who was questioning why this issue was such a big deal.

In an age of click baiting and triggering you cannot poke a lion with a stick then complain when it bites your arm off. If your lack of imagination and journalistic creativity means that your only source of success is through trolling Arsenal football club in a national media publication, you have no right at all to cry foul when they troll you back. Will this be a watershed for 6th form journalism, I doubt it, but it’s held a mirror up to the old boys club that forms a large part of our written press. The worry is, that when they look in that mirror they don’t see the devil, they see Jesus.

Enjoy your week.
Brad Smith

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