Mails: Noble over Wilshere? Are you mad?

Date published: Tuesday 17th May 2016 2:52 - Sarah Winterburn

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I can’t believe people actually think Defoe should be in the England squad. If you tit around in Canada for a year – you can’t expect to be.
Simon S, Manchester


Noble over Wilshere? Are you out of your minds?
There’s nothing like an England squad to bring the mouth-breathers out of hiding. Even as a Spurs fan who hates Wilshere with a blind passion, I can see he has to be in the squad. He’s a class above most of our other midfield options, so if he’s able to run and kick a ball, he goes. It’s that simple – you take your best players don’t you? People actually saying Noble should be there instead – have a word with yourselves. I can’t believe anyone in their right mind would have a fit, ready-to-go Wilshere sat on his sofa watching mediocre sluggers like Delph and Noble on his TV. Others saying Defoe or Carroll should have gone in addition to the three out-and-out strikers plus Rooney that are already there – when would they get on the pitch?? Carroll is often referred to as a ‘good plan B’ but in this case he’d be about plan E or F. What’s the point? It was never going to be five strikers anyway – Rooney is a number 10, and Welbeck is a winger for England, so when he dropped out, the direct replacement for him was Townsend.

Ultimately the squad looks pretty sensible to me. I was a bit surprised Jagielka didn’t make it, but as has been pointed out, usually the fourth-choice CB never gets a game anyway. Rashford will almost certainly be cut, and I expect Delph and then Drinkwater will be the others to go once Wilshere and Henderson have proved fitness. It has been suggested that we won’t take two right-backs, but I reckon if he’s planning to play the narrow diamond formation, which is typically more demanding of the full-backs, he might just keep two good options for both sides (potentially why Jagielka has been dropped to accommodate that).

Anyway, it might be that idiocy isn’t as rife as I thought and really I just need to cut down on reading Facebook comments – at one stage last night I saw a man demanding to know why Rashford had been called up ahead of Iheanacho. That was enough Facebook for one day.
Olly Cole, THFC (I don’t think it was Redknapp…he wouldn’t know how to work a Facebook anyway)
Not worried about Spain
Looking forwards to the Euros now, and how refreshing to have people arguing which good players should be in the England XI as opposed to which mediocre ones should fill the gaps is refreshing, but not as much as the announcement of a Spain squad lacking in match winners.

I understand how Spain play means that the team is infinitely more important than the individuals, but looking down the provisional squad I wouldn’t be afraid to draw Spain in the round of 16.

Beyond a strong Champions League standard defence, they don’t really have much compared to the Spain of the last six or so years. Busquets is probably their best player there, and again is more defence orientated, and whilst Iniesta is a truly amazing player, like most of the squad has had a poor season by his standards. Maybe the pressure has been off him to create as much with the forwards Barça have, but his return of one goal in 42 games indicates how far from the action he has been.

The rest of the squad, Thiago, Cesc, Pedro, Isco, Morata (whilst highly rated) and Arduiz have all been okay, but not European Championship winning quality.

I can foresee the tournament for Spain going very similar to the 2010 World Cup, tight at the back and very few goals, but maybe this year it could go very much the opposite way such a tactic can, and end up all a bit Man U, not enough goals scored to get them anywhere. I certainly would fancy the Three Lions against them at this rate.
KC (how to shoehorn Vardy, Kane and Sturridge into the same XI?)


Where is Kelechi?
Tremendously disappointed that Kelechi Iheanacho was not given an honourable mention in the F365 young player of the season, especially since this seems to be the only site on the planet that has given him any credit.
Nelson, Manchester


The grass is not always greener…
A player has a breakthrough season and the traditional big boys come a calling. It’s a cycle as common as night following day as the player leaves for more money to play at ‘the highest level’ and to fulfil their ‘childhood dream.

Unless you’re a fan of one of the truly global teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Then you’ve probably experienced this and as a Saints fan, the recent summer transfer windows have been particularly devastating. So while Kante to Arsenal may be the latest player to follow this well-trodden path. A wanted to give a word of caution, the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

Lovren (who was awful in his first season), Lallana, Lambert (never played) and more recently Clyne, all went to Liverpool to take the next step in their careers. Undoubtedly a huge club, Liverpool have unfortunately finished below us again and while I hope they win the Europa League and under Klopp the future is looking bright. They’re one loss away from another season without Champions League or any European football.

Schneiderlin moved for Champions League football and promptly lost in the group stages. He is being kept out of the team by Fellaini and has gone from one of the best defensive midfielders in the 2014/15, to losing his place in the French squad in a home championship from a lack of game time. At least there’s the Europa League to look forward to next season.

Chambers, Oxford Chamberlain and arguably even Walcott all left as promising youths to Arsenal. The first looked out of his depth, had his confidence systematically destroyed and is now injured. The second struggled for game time, never took the next step, gets injured and now isn’t in the England Squad. Walcott, well he’s never quite made it as striker or winger. He’s struggled to win over fans or manager and isn’t going to France this summer either. A common theme arising perhaps?

That’s without even covering the expensive flops of our own like Osvaldo and Ramirez.

While of course there are plenty of successes (Bale, perhaps Shaw and maybe some of the above in time) and transfers are a natural part of the game. I hope the biggest outcome of the 2015/16 season is that players, especially young players, seriously consider whether moving on at the first opportunity is really the best way of achieving their ambitions.

If Leicester can win the league and more teams, like Payet’s new deal at West Ham, can pay the higher wages. Then playing in a familiar surroundings, with a cohesive team, to realistically compete for Europe and silverware in a competitive league suddenly has a lot of merit.
Tom Saints (I’m going to look a right fool when come August we’ve lost five players again…)


Arsenal can’t win with you guys…
Football365’s gossip column says £33.8m is an ‘awful’ lot of money for Xhaka.

Bollocks I say. You have a problem when Arsenal don’t spend and now have a problem when Arsenal DO spend! Its like trying to please your wife after 20 years of marriage.

Hopefully they spend a more cash replacing the three players just gone!
London, Gooner, Anon


Judge Arsenal on same terms as Leicester…
So last night I penned an email regarding Giroud, Arsene and Arsenal. As always I hoped it’d get published – however the fact my argument made the headline means I know the backlash is coming. When the mailbox compiler adds a note, you know it’s on.

Now to the point – I am not claiming either Arsenal, Ollie or Arsene are winners, rather questioning how people are choosing to analyse the season and the conclusions they draw.

The MC makes a valid point, however the problem is the analysis isn’t consistent. If we judge by pre-season expectations then Leicester, Arsenal, Spurs, West Ham and Southampton had good seasons. So did other clubs that performed above expectations. We all played the same teams twice.

The issue is when discussing certain teams people decided to be dynamic in the time periods they are judged from, but not others. If we are to view Arsenal’s season as a failure, how can Spurs not be? They were in contention longer than we were and fell away later, ultimately finishing behind us. Apparently we didn’t even challenge, but they did. The only sense in which anyone but Leicester had a successful season is by definition subjective.

For Leicester to be an actual ‘fairytale’ we have to evaluate based on pre-season expectations. 30 games in Leicester were no longer underdogs. 34 games in they were effectively champions.

Vardy, Mahrez and Kante can only be viewed as having come from nowhere based on pre-season expectations. 25 games in it was clear they were going to some of the league’s stand-out performers.

I don’t think it was a particularly good season personally – but the way in which we analyse teams seasons needs consistency. Compared to pre-season expectations we did ok, compared to mid-season expectations we failed, but compared to expectations and projections with eight games left, who can say we didn’t do at least ok?

So was Arsenal’s season subjectively successful? It’s largely irrelevant really, isn’t it? At the end of the day, only Leicester were better than us. If non-Arsenal fans feel we should have won, thanks? I didn’t realise the Premier League hung its hopes of glory on Arsenal, Arsene Wenger’s transfer policy and Olivier Giroud’s clinical finishing….
BrixtonGooner (Watford had a good season too, started really well, couldn’t maintain it and dropped off; then rallied to finish higher than pre-season expectations)


Seriously, who had the better season?
Now the dust has settled, the goading has been done and the jokes told, I have a question about Spurs and Arsenal’s season – who had the better season? I am not talking about relative to expectations at the start (for example most Spurs fans would have been pleased to be in a fight for Champions League qualification). I mean taken as seasons on their own merits, which was better?

Spurs – a great feel around the club with a manager finding his feet properly. Emergence of one boy wonder (Alli), improvement of last season’s boy wonder (Kane), a great key signing (Alderweireld) and vast improvement in other players (Rose, Walker, Dembele, Lamela, Dier in new position). Finish third, but the last team to fall away in the title race while it was alive. However, they fall apart at the last and limp over the line in third, beneath bitter rivals (but not with a substantial difference other than that).

Arsenal – imperious old manager continues to deliver the goods. Only team to beat the champions twice. Champions League campaign only ended by Barca at their absolute best. Signed a new keeper the fans had longed for, continued performance of two superstar players. Show great grit to play through a lot of criticism and catch bitter rivals on last day to finish above them, taking second place. However, fans are frustrated and may feel a great chance to win the whole thing has passed them by, and were out of the title rice long before it ended.

I am not going to pass opinion now, just pose the question.

Quickly, I agree with Andrew Warmington’s decisive moment for Spurs. I specifically remember in that game after Kane scored and a league table was shown thinking “we are going to bloody do it!”, a thought that was instantly replaced with “I bet we are punished for this hubris”. We were.
Ryan (Spurs)


This is how we know Arsenal failed…
To answer all the Arsenal fans in this morning’s mailbox ‘why are Arsenal considered losers when the other big teams aren’t?

Well. Could it be down to the fact you’re celebrating like you’ve won the league?

In reality, you finished one point above the youngest team in the league, a squad that costs £100m less than your squad.

I’ve never seen Arsenal fans so scared of Spurs and it’s hilarious.

That doesn’t sound like winning to me.

Also. Ian Wright agrees with me.

*he’s one of our own
Martin THFC


Liverpool’s decisive moment: Bringing on Skrtel
For me, Liverpool’s decisive moment was bringing Skrtel on for the second half against Southampton at St Mary’s. We were cruising 2-0 at halftime and but for some poor finishing from Joe Allen and a harshly disallowed goal it could have been 4-0. Skrtel comes on and throws in one of the worst performances I’ve ever seen from a Premier League defender and single-handedly costs us the game and we end up losing 3-2.

Why was this decisive you may ask? Because I believe that when the full time whistle went it was at this precise moment that Klopp decided to jib the league and go balls out for the Europa League. It was this moment onwards that we started seeing hybrid reserve/U21 sides being played in our league games and going full strength in the Europa. If we had held on for the win at Southampton would we have scraped 4th? Well I believe it is a possibility given that we would have been playing close to our strongest XI in all the remaining league games and bearing in mind that we only ended up 6 points off fourth in the final table. And would we be in tomorrow’s Europa League final? It’s an interesting one, probably not if we still had something to play for in the league, we don’t have the depth in the squad to have competed on both fronts.

Anyway, whatever happens tomorrow things are looking up at Liverpool at the moment and I know for a lot of Liverpool fans including myself, the sacking of Rodgers and appointment of Klopp has finally given us closure on the 13/14 title heartbreak. And who knows, maybe we can use the momentum from the end of this season to challenge for the coveted fourth-place trophy next season!
PG (tomorrow does feel like it could be a real sliding doors moment in our history though), Liverpool


Actually, Beckham was awful in 2002
Ok I agree that the Wilshire return is not even close to the situation Beckham was in prior to the 2002 tournament in terms of fitness. But to say Beckham did fine in that tournament is a gross re-write of history (I concede that you said fine which is about as mediocre as it gets).

He did score however it was a penalty and he was lucky to get that in. As for the rest he was absolutely bobbins and I blame our failure in that tournament squarely at his door. He wasn’t fit, insisted on taking all free-kicks, the majority of which were terrible and constantly moved in field to attempt to dictate the play causing the team to be out of shape and chasing itself.

He was undroppable because he was Beckham. We could and should have got to the final of that tournament but had to play with 10 and a half men with the half taking all dead balls. So I guess I’m saying, and this is hard, that I can see what Shearer is saying.
Philip Thompson

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