Mails: Don’t judge Xhaka on that madness

Date published: Monday 15th August 2016 2:39 - Daniel Storey

Chelsea vs West Ham to come tonight, so give us your thoughts on that and more at…


RIP Dalian Atkinson
Sad news that Dalian Atkinson has lost his life. No idea of the circumstances but let’s just remember that he was a supremely gifted player, albeit he never made the most of his ability. But just recall what he was capable of…
Darren Whitehouse


Crying because his team didn’t top a list
It didn’t take long for the media fawning over United to get back to Fergie levels.

I was happily tucking into my salad (sob) and ready to spend a pleasurable ten minutes or so basking in the glory of Liverpool starting the season top of Winners and Losers. Unfortunately, a la Ashley Cole, my cherry tomatoes almost went flying across my desk when I saw that United (??!!) were top of Winners and Losers!

Not only that but Antonio Valencia (??!!) got his own, pre-screened, section while Phil Coutinho didn’t warrant anything!!

Just to clarify, United beat Bournemouth away while Liverpool beat last years second best team away, scoring two goal of the season contenders in the process.

How are United the bigger winners in this scenario? Yes Arsenal had players missing but we did too (Karius, Matip, Sturridge).
Adam LFC, London
(MC – Generally games that got 2,800 words on the Sunday won’t get the full Winners treatment)


Moreno would be fine with a proper holding midfielder
The consensus seems to be Moreno is garbage, worthless, and should be chucked away and Roberto Carlos/Jonas Hector/Klopp’s mum should be signed as a replacement. Moreno isn’t a bad footballer however, but a bad left-back.

What Liverpool need is a deep defensive midfielder to allow to relatively mobile centre-backs more freedom to cover. Someone who has no desire to score goals, and can pass from the back, a half-back, not quite midfielder, not quite centre-half. Hendo roams too much at the moment, and his lungs and pressing is wasted that far back. Sakho should be perfect on the left covering for Moreno, who needs the freedom as he creates to many chances and helps with offensive overload. In attack Moreno, and Clyne are the closest things we have to wingers (or were, until Mane arrived), so should get use of the flanks properly.

The defence should be able to adapt, in game, from two CBs and two FBs to working as a three-man defence with a midfielder sitting between the CBs. This midfielder acts as a pivot, so when the FBs are back in position, he steps up to challenge the 10, rather than the 9. Hopefully this would bring a bit more balance rather than the current, attack with eight players, panic, that we have at the moment.
KC (that midfielder should be Alonso by the way)


Don’t judge Xhaka on that
I know Xhaka didn’t have the best of 28 minutes when he came on vs Liverpool but:

-It was his debut, in front of a home crowd
-We were losing, at home, opening game of the season
-He cost £28m, the fans were expecting something
-Who wouldn’t want to be the super sub hero on your debut?

I may be proven wrong, and certainly hope I am, but I don’t think Xhaka can be judged on 28 minutes at the Emirates. If we judged Arsenal on the one game, we will be lucky to get Europa.

Also, has nobody mentioned just how absent the Ox is defensively? I mean, good goal, then he disappears. Why are both he and Walcott incapable of tracking their men? Wow…
Rob A


‘John Nicholson’s rant was nonsense’…
Sorry John but your article shows an absolute misunderstanding of modern football.

Gone are the days of players drinking through the week and eating chips pre match. Todays players are athletes, they have to be fully fit and physically ready to play.

What AW was doing is ensuring that the players that missed out are fully ready for a whole season, not one game. This tactic could ensure Arsenal challenge and not fade away.

Whilst as a Liverpool fan I was delighted to see these players missing, Johns ‘rant’ was was nonsense, FACT.


…Or it was spot on
I don’t normally agree with John Nicholson but his article today on Arsenal is spot on. I’m so apathetic towards Arsenal this season that I’ve lost almost all interest in the club. Nothing has changed, nor will it ever change under Wenger and the current board. There just doesn’t seem to be any vision.

What are the club aiming for this season? Do we want to win the league? The Champions League? If we do, why aren’t we acting like it? Why are we starting the season with a couple of kids at Centre Back? Why are players like Walcott, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain (who played well tbf), Debuchy, Jenkinson etc still at the club?

The whole club is just going through the motions, waiting for the day that Wenger decides to retire before it can rebuild and start again. The fans have lost interest, the players have lost interest and no one cares any more. We won’t win the league, we won’t win the champions league and we will struggle to finish 4th this season.

Another thing I noticed was Arteta on the bench (as Coach) for Man City this weekend. We’re stuck with the same faceless nobodies, pumping out the same tired instructions every week, every season, while other clubs display new tactics, new ideas etc.

I’m just so bored of it all. The season is only 1 game old!
Stuart Willsher


…Arsenal fans have been saying words akin to Nicholson’s for a long, long time now; personally, five years ago, but others much longer. What people, some Arsenal fans included, but fewer nowadays, don’t seem understand is that Arsene has turned Arsenal into a sub-elite English club.

As much as the board and fans’ money have served as a counterbalance to City and Chelsea’s relatively recent hikes in status, Arsene washes away all that work by seemingly never really trying to fix obvious issues or going all out for stellar talent.

And because the persistent nature of the issues and the platitudes in response to those issues causing repeated calamitous results, many of us don’t actually care anymore. I’m pretty much gone for sure. I’m a 37 year old man with more important things to concern myself with, and many other interests (including actually playing football) to occupy myself.

Unlike me, the fans that still pay good money to go and see the games (and rightly booed at final whistle yesterday IMO), are pretty much propping up the club and fan base at the moment – god help Arsenal if they turn away too. I really do hope it doesn’t come to that and hope it’s Arsene’s last season.


This Arsenal fan stopped supporting a year ago
Last year on deadline day I wrote in saying I refuse to support the club while Arsene is manager. People laughed and questioned my decision.

I was able to watch Leicester win the league and enjoy it from a neutral position. This season there’s literally no chance Wenger will get my support. He needs to be sacked for gross negligence asap.


Newcastle are struggling
Right, well this isn’t going as I’d hoped in the Championship…so some ratings from the weekend…

Matt Sels- He had 2 saves to make and didn’t. It is only 2 games and he has little to do so the jury is out.

Janmaat- Full of his usual marauding. Left exposed by the midfield for Huddersfield’s first. Surprisingly angry for a Dutchman.

Lascelles- Both he and Mbemba were left exposed by a lack of midfield. Clapped the fans and apologised at the end. Hopefully he kicked the shit out some of his lazy colleagues in the dressing room.

Mbemba- He made some good tackles and likes a jaunt up the pitch. See above. I think he was fouled leading up to the Terriers second.

Dummett- Played ok. Put in some good crosses. He’s not very fast.

Aarons- He is very young so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. He seemed lost at times and his decisions were poor, a senior player should have helped him.

Shelvey- I’m not sure what his role was supposed to be. Whatever it was, he was shit at it. If he spent less time getting in a huff and more time trying to get the ball back, I might not be blaming him as much.

Diame- Nope. No idea what he does. He’s quite big?

Anita- Ran around lots, tried to win the ball back (take note Shelvey). He is defiantly not a winger. He also drifted inside quite a bit…probably because he isn’t a winger.

Hayden- Me and my match going friends (I know this grammatically suspect, however, the correct way makes me sound (more of) a knob) are split on how well he played. He was neat and tidy but didn’t create much. My mate thinks he is a defensive midfielder so it’s fine that we don’t see much of him. We conceded 2 goals on the break so we’ll see.

Gayle- He was isolated. Scored a rebounded penalty. Has a bit of niggle about him, which I like.

Subs: Ritchie added a fresh impetus when he came on. He has a nice turn of pace and few tricks. He’s also tenacious in winning trying to win the ball back (I hope you are still taking notes Shelvey). He should have buried a seemingly simple header. Perez ran a bit, didn’t do much. He’s been poor since Christmas. Armstrong is too tottie, especially when we reverted to wanging it up in the mixer at the end.

Overall Benitez needs to sort out the midfield. They don’t provide enough support for the lone striker and are not covering enough in defence. I can understand a slightly cautious approach, but at times we should be going for the jugular. Huddersfield played us perfectly. Let us piss about passing the ball across the back 4 and 2 defensive (apparently) midfielders then close us down quickly and try for a break. I don’t think Gayle can play as lone striker and Shelvey and Diame don’t think.

Anyhow, onward and hopefully upwards against Reading on Wednesday.
Paul (ooh look at our new flags), Newcastle


Thank you, Matt Stead
I’ve only just got round to reading Matt Stead’s piece on Hull City. It’s terrific. Indeed, F365 has been terrific over the past couple of years with regards to the struggles of Hull City fans and the wider back story regarding our owners.

So, as a Hull City fan, I just wanted to say thank you for reporting the bits of the saga that other bits of the media often miss.
Richard Gardham


Responses to the bird guy on Palace
I know you have a resident Palace fan who has already written in today so two may be a stretch but I’d like to firstly dispute a couple of the bird guy’s thoughts and then add some of my own.

So to begin, Jonny Williams would not have brought much energy to the side given that he injured his ankle against Farnborough a week ago and could be out for up to 10 weeks. Chung-Yong Lee was fined for his comments about Pardew and has since said he is looking forward to this season and that he is hoping to show what he can do. His change in attitude reflected in pre-season where he has been given a fair amount of game time. He also played pretty well on Saturday.

Pardew has never been a ‘cult hero’ at Palace, maybe he would describe himself as that but I don’t know many fans who regard him that highly. Sure, he scored an important goal for the club but he didn’t endear himself to many fans when he came back and always seemed to relish getting results against us as manager of Charlton and West Ham.

He has a fair amount of goodwill with the Palace fans these days but the patience afforded to him tends to be more because he is a level up on managers we’ve had before, including the instability we’ve always experienced and he is an ex-Palace player. Anyway, now for some conclusions of my own.

The FA Cup run last season mitigated the slump in our league form, and that is fine, I’d take that personally, Cup Finals are much more fun than a few league places. This slump cannot be allowed to continue into this season though so Pardew needs to sort his squad out quickly. It appears he is trying to do this but it is his choice of players to seemingly move on that is angering fans.

What I’d be really disappointed about is the potential loss of Jedinak. Mile captained us up from the Championship and is one of those players that brings the crowd on to the pitch. He always, always gives maximum effort and drags his teammates up with him. He is a key part of the dressing room and these past 4 or 5 years it is the morale we have had as a team that has really galvanised some quite limited players into a Premier League team. Pardew has now replaced Jedinak as club captain with Scott Dann. This to me signifies Pardew trying to move things along a little from the core of the team that got us promoted and kept us here. If Jedinak goes we’ll definitely suffer as a result and Pardew will find it hard to get fans on side, Jedinak actually is a cult hero.

Pardew did a similar thing with Glenn Murray, a guy whose goals in the Championship got us here and who doesn’t look like a Premier League regular but can certainly score goals. The fact that he is back playing and scoring goals will not help Pardew’s case when we can only turn to Frazier Campbell as a Wickham alternative. But you’d probably give Pardew the benefit of the doubt with this one as the discontent voiced at Murray moving on was mostly emotional and many thought it was about the right time. This will be revised though if we don’t start putting the ball in the net

. Finally, Bolasie. This will be a great shame, he is one of those players that gets you up out of your seat and is fun to watch. He obviously enjoys himself as well which, in a similar way to Jedinak, brings the fans on to the pitch. I personally would rather keep him and enjoy going to a more volatile Palace than getting rid and sensibly spending the profit. But most fans can see the logic here and wish Yala the very best of luck, he has earned the right to move if that is what he wants to do.

All three of these players I’ve mentioned have been with us since the Championship and got us promoted against the odds. That is a lot of emotional connection between fans and team that Pardew is removing so his arrogance may prove to be his downfall. His reluctance to give young players a chance means he doesn’t bring goodwill through that avenue either so he leaves himself with being judged pretty exclusively on results.

For 2016 these results have been: LLLLLDLLDLLDWDDLLWL and now another L. He’s got this transfer window and probably up to Christmas, let’s see what he’s made of.


‘The Bird Guy’ with a silver lining
The one crumb of comfort for Arsenal fans yesterday is that their performance, and the subsequent scrutiny of Arsene Wenger, has totally overshadowed everything else about the weekend’s football – including at least three managers winning their first games in charge, some of whom may otherwise have been given more attention.

Jose Mourinho must be really hating this.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Loving Storey’s up-to-date cultural references
Thank you for the sublime Craig David reference!

I now challenge you to somehow insert ” When the crowd say Bo Selecta” lyrics into your Winners and Losers next week.
Miguel Sanchez, LFC


We tried something new AND PEOPLE LIKED IT
Thanks for not getting rid of the traditional Winners and Losers. Reading the morning winner and morning loser pieces was like watching Arsenal in the first half. They were really good. It felt a bit uncomfortable though thinking the old familiar Arsenal was no longer. However, reassurance arrived with this afternoons Winners and Losers, which was as good as Arsenal were reliably poor in the second half (quite the compliment). As Wenger clearly subscribes to, change is never good. (Unless of course its better).

Quick question for Arsenal fans. Is Robbie Lyle of Arsenal Fan TV fame the only fan enjoying himself at the moment?, in almost every clip I see of him he’s close to hysterics, or is it just because of the fans he interviews losing their collective.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool

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