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Referees, managers and the big conspiracies
Well if you thought the standard of refereeing in the PL had reached a low before yesterday you were mistaken. What an absolutely disgraceful performance from Mike Dean. I don’t need to go through his cacophony of errors (yes his performance produced a number of unpleasant sounds), but at what point does this move from incompetency to outright cheating? Niall Quinn hinted (ha) at his arrogance and perhaps that’s what it is. That clip of him saying to Obiang “don’t look at me” is actually quite difficult to watch it’s that awkward. But it cannot continue.
The problem does not lie solely with the refs. The managers are also to blame. Hearing Mourinho say that they are the “champions of bad decisions” is utterly laughable. But he’s doing it so that they don’t get an evening-up decision in the next game. Appalling. They all do it, but he is undoubtedly the biggest bully of all, always has been. Hours earlier Pep gave the rudest interview I’ve ever seen, seemingly appalled at the red card Fernandinho had correctly received. It seems that “I won’t speak about the ref” is the new way of abusing him.
Personally football at the top level is almost dead for me. It’s all now about money. I’m convinced that referees are under instruction to ensure a big side wins the league this year, as another Leicester would be bad for the global brand. I’m also sure that the Premier League wants Manchester United (another bug bear of mine is people like Gary Neville saying “United”, which one Gary? There were two yesterday) in the top four. It’s all about money.
£90 to go and watch Arsenal. No thank you.
I genuinely think if it wasn’t for this site and fantasy football I’d have switched off the premier league seasons ago.
Some conclusions from the football
* It’s a bit knee jerk making Klopp the early loser when the Spurs/Chelsea game hasn’t been played. If Chelsea don’t win then only Man U, West Brom and possibly Arsenal would have done better over the two rounds of matches. Even if you were going to go down this route you could have at least waited till Thursay. Who knows, they could by then end up having gained a point with a Chelsea visit on the horizon?
(Why do so many people struggle with the word ‘early’? – Ed)
* The complaint about Liverpool being the first to drop points doesn’t take into consideration the fact that Sunderland are fighting for their lives and in this second half you are going to see motre gutsy performances from those at the bottom. Sunderland with the outlet of Defoe will probably be the most likely team to deliver more surprises like that.
* I’m really hopeful Pep does well in the Premier League at some point but in my opinion his team were even bigger losers over the two games they failed to show up in the big game against Liverpool to become the first of the top six to lose up to four games and also struggled to perform against poor travellers Burnley. They really haven’t set the league alight since the first few weeks and will at this rate be lucky to make the top four.
* Mike Dean had a shocker that was never a red card and while it hardly ever looked like West Ham would come back the second goal (which was offside) did kill them. Maybe the next time we don’t win we’ll have to acknowledge that we have had some good fortune.
* That being said this has been an impressive run for Man U aside and if we beat Hull in the League Cup we should be able to go on a decent looking set of fixtures from now till about April (barring the Liverpool game) if we maintain that then there will be hope going forward it’s a far cry from the Jose is past it narrative of two months ago.
* I praised Sunderland for showing heart earlier and Hull have shown similar traits – unfortunately they have lacked the quality to see games out they threw away points in both their games over the New Year period and God help them when Snodgrass leaves or gets injured.
* Is Schneiderlin going to get games if he goes to Everton if Tom Davies continues to improve?
On the fitness of Zlatan and the decisions of Jose
I know this has been spoken of before, but it probably doesn’t get said enough. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s fitness is seriously, seriously impressive. The man is 35, and he was able to complete 90 mins twice in three days. An even more ridiculous stat was doing the rounds on Twitter last night – he’s apparently only missed 36 games in his career, in over 18 years! Absolutely mental.
United finally seem to have all the right elements to start challenging again. The core of the squad is relatively young (Pogba, Rashford, Bailly, Jones, Martial, Shaw, Lingard are all the right side of 25). Throw in the likes of Mkhitaryan, Herrera, De Gea, Mata and Valencia, all still with a few years in the tank, and we’ve got a pretty solid squad in place. We’ve definitely left ourselves with a bit too much to do this season, but it’s still utterly insane that a win vs Liverpool would put us just two points behind them. Things are certainly looking up.
Mourinho also seems to be getting his mojo back. His subs yesterday (and against Boro) were nailed on, and helped change the course of both games in United’s favour. Not since Fergie’s last season have I been able to watch United games with the confidence that we’ll find a way to get a result. And it feels pretty great.
DJ, MUFC (top four + a cup or two this season, and hopefully a title tilt the next) India
Klopp is one stubbon b***ard
Made only one change to the team that played 44 hours earlier. Only one fresh player. Why? To continue the momentum he said.
Yeah, right. Continue the momentum of going down. None of the player have the energy to stand up. Fatigue. Thus stupid passes and decision-making happens, a lot.
And he expect them to fight and try to win…against a team fighting for their lives. They said he gave opportunities to youth. I saw many youths. On the bench. Why not give them a chance?
And now, hopefully, he buys enforcement. Before we end up sixth…
Khairur, (I still love Klopp) Penang
Chill your boots; Liverpool are okay
Having a quick read through some of the reports and reaction to Liverpool drawing with Sunderland, at it would appear it was all of 2016’s misery rolled into one 90-minute foul nugget.
The Echo, Guardian, Times and others are all reporting this match in the tone of a disaster. Take some perspective folks.
Yes, disappointing result, but there are reasonable mitigating factors. Liverpool were absolutely banjaxed from the off. The City game required a huge shift from them all, so no surprise they were out of gas. 365 are right, Liverpool’s squad does look a bit light when a couple of injuries hit and this match might be the catalyst for some January transfer action (likely Dahoud from Borussia Mönchengladbach by my guess) but still, no disaster here. We have 16 players who can form our first team and deliver high-quality performances. Credit to Sunderland for a good performance, N’Dong was montrous for them.
This season has so far been a success for Liverpool, and if we finish second, third or fourth it will still be a success. Foundations have been laid, hope has resurfaced, the negativity over the club is dissipating, and there is clear tangible progress. I know being in and around the top has got people excited but the negativity in the papers from this result is ridiculous. Reshape the narrative Liverpool fans, we’re grand.
Paul, LFC, Mönchengladbach
…Little disappointed with the result, but I felt that it was coming. Short turn around and playing 10 of the same players has to be considered a fault of Klopp’s. I usually don’t disagree with the excellent Matt Stead, but I do question his thoughts on Liverpool’s squad needing more investment. They signed Karius, Klavan, Mane, Wijnaldum, Matip, Grukic and had Joe Gomez and Danny Ings returning. On top of that, no one would’ve predicted the Sakho scenario. Combined with injuries to Coutinho, Sturridge and Lallana to name a few at various points, the squad has been hit hard. You cannot tell me that Ings would not be a great option to have to come on?
Investment in the summer was done and done well. I think it’s a bit of an odd reaction to make him your early loser. Yes Sunderland deserved their point, possibly more, but a soft free kick and a stupid decision by Mane have gifted the penalty and the loss of points. The team were coping well with a side desperately in search of points. Your questioning of Lucas coming on was also questionable. Regardless of whether he is going to Inter Milan, he is still a Liverpool player and a defensive midfielder coming on to shore up a team. As aforementioned, it was only a stupid decision that cost Liverpool the three points. I’m still positive about the chances for the rest of the season.
Miguel Sanchez, LFC, Eire (Still love Stead’s work)
Managers show off too…
For all the flak (and rightfully so!) that referees have been getting about making the football matches about them rather than about the football (Mike Dean, Mark Clattenburg et al), I think it’s worth noting that managers are guilty of the same. You have to distinguish between passion vs showing-off.
Jurgen Klopp for one plays this “cool guy”. You can see this by the way he cusses in the media, and over-exaggerates his reaction on the pitch. He also constantly looks to the fans as if he is seeking approval. His interviews will always contain things that fans want to hear. I think he goes a bit overboard.
Antonio Conte, for some reason, convinces me that this is just passion. He will celebrate with his staff and will only engage the fans on the odd occasion. His media interviews are fine.
Pep Guardiola seems to try too hard. His problem is that when things don’t go according to plan, it seems he throws his toys out of the cot. Examples would be when he starts saying things like football needs six substitutions after a bad performance. Another example is his anger yesterday after the Burnley performance where he says something to the effect of “yeah it’s always our fault, it’s always our fault” while ignoring the fact that Fernandinho’s challenge was in fact a red card. The he proceeds to talk about his retirement plans and he has started saying goodbye already.
Jose Mourinho. I may be a bit bias about this one being a Man Utd fan, but it seems like Jose has reached the point where he does not care anymore but only because he’s been through it all with Chelsea and the Premier League and spotlight is something he is accustomed to.
All in all, I think managers are quite guilty themselves of trying to make it about them. It’s time we make it about the football again…
Yaseen Moollatjie MUFC (Cape Town – First day of work!)
Pep needs to man up…
After that post-match interview yesterday it looks like the beginning of the end for Guardiola not just at Man City but his career (and he admitted it). He just can’t accept things not going his way, it’s not perfectionism, it’s immaturity and arrogance. He took over at Barca when they were the best team in the world, won everything, was lauded as a coaching God then sulked, quit and ran away to New York that season he got outdone in Europe and ceded La Liga to Real. He takes over Bayern who were again the best team in the world at the time, made them worse with arguably an improved squad, didn’t win the Champions League in three seasons so walked away again.
Now at Man City, Guardiola is still a top coach but without having having the world’s best players in pretty much every position, pandering referees who let his players get away with everything and being unable to adapt his teams play to the added physicality and aggression of the EPL (bizarre considering the players with extensive EPL experience at his disposal) he looks a bit out of his depth.
Seems like Guardiola listened to the hype surrounding him when he was a world beater and now can’t understand why his tactics that won everything at Barca aren’t working and why the referees have the gall to make decisions against his players. Great coaches adapt that’s why they continue to be successful when the game and their personnel change. He just doesn’t seem to be able to do it, doesn’t seem like part of his psychological make up. Rather than try his attitude just seems to be give up and do an Eric Cartman ‘Screw you guys I’m going home’ act like even if he fails he still thinks he’s superior than everyone else and we are lucky to have him grace us with his presence.
There are many people who the EPL has been lucky to grace it with their presence, Fergie, Bobby Robson, Gullit, Zola, Cantona, Bergkamp, Le Tissier and Henry to name but a few. If Guardiola wants to be on that list he’ll have to man up, accept his faults, put the work in and earn it. The only way I can see this ending right now and very soon too is with the tabloid headline ‘Adiós Fraudiola’.
Why do people want Pep to fail?
* I think much of the criticism of him stems from good old-fashioned jealousy, particularly from the red half of Manchester, or simply either stubborness or stupidity from some ex-footballer pundits. It is disingenuous in the extreme to criticise him for failing to adapt to a different country with a unique footballing culture only six months into his Premier League career. If he hasn’t done enough to make him immune from such criticism then I don’t know who has. He has managed to combine three aspects of football management which 95% of managers could only do on Football Manager.
Firstly, he has won trophies.
Secondly, he has won trophies playing attractive, attacking football, showing up the flaws in the Mourinho philosophy of making as few mistakes as possible.
Thirdly, he has won trophies playing attractive, attacking football whilst maintaining a track record of promoting and developing young players in the first team.
Most football fans would be content if their manager was able to do just one of these. My knowledge of European football isn’t so extensive but the last manager to combine all of these three aspects in England was Alex Ferguson, widely considered the greatest British manager ever.
Yes, Guardiola has spent a lot of money but all that proves is that good footballers cost money, and spending money is not in itself a guarantee of success.
As for Jurgen Klopp being better, he is a very good manager but he has lost both European finals he has managed in and he has yet to prove whether he can deliver a Champions League trophy.
If David Moyes were German…
I’m on my honeymoon so I should be off the Internet, drinking colourful ‘Del Boy’ cocktails and expanding upon my current lobster tan.
Instead David Moyes has made me (yes it’s his fault!!) email you fine chaps and chapettes to put this into the mailbox spotlight.
After the Pool vs Sunderland game the Man Utd legend, Mr Moyes said:
“Maybe if I was a German manager, you might praise that, actually,”
“If I had been German, you might have been saying, ‘great, you’re doing something different’.”
What the shuddering sh*t is wrong with British managers at the moment? Why does he feel that these comments need to be made?
If he were German I imagine the press would have had a field day with their early form and he’d be looking for work elsewhere.
If only he had a big club on his CV that gave him the opportunity to show is skill set and cement his place as an elite manager. It’s a shame he is Scottish, none of the top six would ever hire…… oh!
Jamie (going back to the pool now), a sunny place
Saints already want Puel out
The Premier League is a tough gig and appointing a new manager is always a bit of a lottery, especially if they’re new to the Premier League. Deciding who to appoint and when to ‘sack’ a manager is probably one of the most important decisions a club’s board makes.
In Koeman and Pochettino two good managers were found and Saints have made amazing progress. We were perhaps due a less successful pick and after crashing out of Europe, while being poor in the league I was worried. It’s only got worse since then, further highlighting my certainty of how out of his depth Puel is. A view shared by anyone whose had the misfortune of watching us week in week out.
Sure we keep selling players (but that’s a whole separate problem!) but with recruitment poor and key players about to leave again. Wholescale change is needed over the next 18 months. We can’t afford to waste that time on a manager who just doesn’t seem good enough or we will be back facing relegation.
Many will read this with disgust, seeing a fan at a club safely mid table complaining about nothing. While I agree there are clubs in worse positions, it seems pointless to wait until the current problem becomes a crisis, perhaps with us flirting with relegation this time next year, to act. Palace fans with Pardew and to a lesser extent United with Van Gaal will have seen managers given way longer than needed before finally being pushed out. The brave decisions is to act pro-actively and there are some good options available immediately.
One would be Laurent Blanc. Currently free, he’s perhaps waiting for a bigger club. However he’s only 51, and 2-3 successful seasons on the south coast would be excellent preparation for that big job (Arsenal?) further down the line.
While awful at Inter, my number one choice would be Frank De Boer. Decent at Ajax, a club good with young players and handling the selling of key personnel. He is another young manager who would fit in well at Southampton and might well stay around for several years. Give him half a season to settle in, a transfer window to buy and we’ll just forget the 2016/17 season ever happened.
Tom Saints (Does anyone else keep spotting Ed Quoththeraven on BBC live text? His influence is spreading…. Oh and just seen that Mike Dean is at it again. Ruining perfectly good football matches at the first opportunity)
Mauricio Pochettino said, the other day, that everyone would be supporting Spurs against Chelsea. I am a fan of West Bromwich Albion, and I will not be. I have a good reason. Well I have a reason, anyway.
I bear a grudge against Spurs. I enjoy watching them play, as they are a fine team at the moment, but I never wish them any success. I am a football fan and I bear a grudge.
In 1993 Osvaldo Ardiles guided the Albion to success in the old Division Two play off final; it was one of the happiest afternoons of my life, which I shared with my Dad. I will always remember him standing on his seat, bouncing up and down, until his glasses flew off.
The memory was soured when Ardiles walked out on us to become the new Spurs manager. I have never forgiven them. I never will. I am proud to admit to being a football who bears a grudge.
I’ve been an active Albion fan for a lot of years. Over time there have been plenty of times when I have been moved to anger. Only a few of these have lead to actual grudges. Three more grudges in fact:-
1. Manchester United; they stole Ron Atkinson, Bryan Robson and Remi Moses. I hate them. I’m sure that I wouldn’t like them anyway.
2. Portsmouth; as a Premier League team they knocked us out of the FA Cup, in the semi-final, with a team that they couldn’t afford, as amply demonstrated by their subsequent financial struggles. To me, they cheated. A grudge was born.
3. QPR; this is the most petty of the lot. 442 magazine, in its season preview, used to invite fans of each team to give their view of the season ahead. One year, long ago now, the QPR fan voiced the idea that it was an insult to his team to have to play the likes of the Albion. QPR became, in my eternal view, utter scum.
Well, I said that I had reasons.
Anyway, I will hope to enjoy a flowing match on Wednesday, and I’ll cheer for every Chelsea goal. That’ll teach the Spurs directors of the early nineties! They won’t be coming for Tony Pulis. There might be other reasons for that though.
Tim the tum (WBA fan)