Mails on Phil Foden, Ronaldo, Chelsea and more…

Date published: Thursday 12th December 2019 10:14

If you have anything to add on any subject you know what to do – mail theeditor@football365.com

 

Now play Phil Foden…
Very pleased with City last night. Mendy put a shift in that surely gave his manager food for thought and Jesus gets another match ball. Why he can’t do that at the Etihad is a mystery Sherlock Holmes and Stephen Hawking together couldn’t figure out. Also, and I love Senor Guardiola as deeply as one heterosexual male can for another but what exactly does Phil Foden have to do to start in the PL? David Silva has for me (Clive), been our most outstanding player since 2008 but Foden should’ve replaced him at half time during the derby. I get completely the need to protect him but, with the injuries we have and the changes in formations it consequently forces upon the team, he is a potentially winning plan ‘b’.

I’m also struck with how City played, with no real pressure, against Burnley and Zagreb (excellent) versus the game against Utd (terrible). I wonder if this is a pattern that will now form for the rest of the PL season? Sunday against the Arsenal will help decide that it seems to me.

Over to Liverpool and Leicester now to stress about each and every PL game. Good luck with that! Guardiola will never do it but personally, I wish he’d play the kids for the League Cup and focus on the CL and FA Cup as priorities.
Mark (Feel dirty as though I’m entitled to pick and choose which competitions my team ‘goes for’ but even filthier for even remotely having a pop at El Mago). MCFC

 

Ronaldo could still return…
I know Ronaldo is 35, so age could very well be a possible factor in his below-par (for him) performances. But I think that you may be writing him off too soon.

By his own standards, Ronaldo had had a poor back end of 2017, and we questioned his decline. Then, in the 2018 half of the season, he really kicked on, especially in the league. Real won the Champions League again. Their third in a row.. Turns out, Ronaldo appeared to be saving his energy for this half of the season, to help cemet the the CL, and save himself for the World Cup, to obviously add the only tournament his hasn’t won to his collection. He failed.

Euro 2020 follows this season. Probably his last international tournament. A second international trophy, join Spain as back to back winners, and hopefully play in a final which he missed last time around. On the club side, win a 6th Champions League with a third club. Yes, his 18th professional season could be taking his toll, or arguably the most hard-working footballer ever will show us how it’s done, once again.
Néill (wondering wishfully), Ireland

 

Well done Atalanta
What a fantastic turnaround from Atalanta! To qualify for the last 16 after losing their first three games, by an aggregate of 11-2, is remarkable. I think a lot of people probably wrote them off after the first game, maybe some waited until after the second game. This site said they looked out of their depth and that the Champions League was not the time or the place for their attacking style.

Atalanta might not have the budget or the star names of the bigger teams but they have a similar mentality in that they believe they can score right up to the end. For information, they’ve given up the lead in 7 out 15 league games, but gone on to win three and draw two of those. In those 15 games, they’ve scored nine goals after the 80th minute of games: two were winners, two were in a comeback against Fiorentina that ended 2-2, and one more was an equaliser. They’re currently 6th, one point off 4th.

Of course there are easier ways of doing things, but that’s not how Atalanta do it. It’d be less stressful but much less exciting if it were. It’s a great achievement to progress in the club’s first appearance in the Champions League, but even more so after that start.

Who’s up next?
James T, Ishikawa, Japan

 

Don’t cock it up now, Chelsea
In reply to Bird Cape Town, I usually find Ms Winterburn’s articles very fair, sure there are some I don’t agree with but the the article linked in the mail I find a fairly fair reflection if your looking from an outside perspective. We as a club up until Lampard was appointed were a shambles with what seemed like everyone pulling in different directions, Sarri doing his own thing, the players doing what ever they wanted, the board buying random players our managers seemingly didn’t want in the first place (looking at you Danny Drinkwater) the club’s owner was barred from the country, the new stadium has been put on hold again.

So let’s not act as if we we’re going to be expecting a title or Champions League push we are playing good football everyone seems to be on the same page for the first time in a long time enjoy it who knows how long it will last. And I genuinely think she meant United, Chelsea, Arsenal and Spurs to an extent as a collective with the comment about shambolic English teams being among the best in Europe and to be fair it’s not far wrong the point being the club’s are run shambolically some much more so than others. Getting back to the point about the board signing random players, I cannot wait to see how the club reacts to being able to sign players again, god I hope they don’t c*ck it up.
Aaron, CFC, Ireland

 

Oh West Ham…
The Mail says the West Ham board want to consult with the players whether or not to sack Pellegrini.

How’s that conversation going to go? “Right lads, are you all overrated, overpaid, lazy and a bit shit? Or should we sack Manuel? Honest opinions now, please”?!?

I’d say it’s utterly, utterly unbelievable, but…it’s West Ham, innit?
John, Chicago

 

On Arsenal midfielders
I don’t want to come across as each time I write into the mailbox I’m disagreeing with someone in the mailbox before, but alas here we are.

SC, Belfast claims the reason Arsenal struggle is because all the midfielders can only do one thing. Is this not true for all teams? I can think of Fernandinho, Dier, Rodri, Fabinho, Ndidi, McTominay and even Kante as defensive players not really known for their attacking prowess. Like Xhaka (supposed DM) and Torreira (actual DM) they get the occasional goal but their job is to break up play and move it on.

The same can be said for the likes of Jorginho, Kovacic, Winks, Henderson, Fred whose role is to get possession and cycle it on quickly to more attacking players.

It’s only super freaks like De Bruyne (or me in my younger days) that give the impression midfielders can do more than one job exceptionally well.

The problem Arsenal have is playing their right players in their right positions. Torreira should be sitting in front of the defence, attacking anything that moves. Instead he’s deployed as a #10. Guendouzi should, as you say be the box to box midfielder or the one recycling the ball quickly. Instead he’s played at the base of the midfield. Ozil is the #10, picking the final pass and the creative hub. Instead he’s played as an inverted winger.

If Arsenal did that crazy thing of playing their best players, in their best positions then they’d do a much better job at controlling and winning games. I will admit though, even with the above I don’t think it’s the solution. Guendouzi is a great talent with plenty potential but he’s being asked too much, too soon. Arsenal lack a midfielder like you said in the Ramsey role who can control the tempo of the midfield and work at both ends of the pitch. In this century alone I can think of Vieira, Edu, Cesc, Wilshere, Ramsey, Arteta, Cazorla off the top of my head as midfielders who controlled the centre of the pitch. We don’t currently have that link player. It may well be Guendouzi in a few years’ time, in a team performing to the best of its potential but it’s a huge ask of him to be that person now.

As for Xhaka himself. Supposedly he’s in the team for playing quick, long diagonal balls in behind the full backs. I’m sure I read somewhere that part of the reason for signing Luiz was to have a player that can do that more accurately and quicker when playing out from the back. The theory was that with Luiz taking on that role it would leave no reason for Xhaka to start. Of course once he was made captain it meant he was the first name on the team sheet and the game plan never really worked out.

Anyway, as we’ve gone all politics365 here’s hoping for a red victory on Thursday and Friday.
JDF (I spent three hours trying to buy the bruised banana shirt on a website that wouldn’t work. Arsenal can’t even get shirt sales right these days), London

 

Dear Mr Storey
You can exclude the racists, you can ban them, you can make it so that they never come anywhere near your football club again, but you can’t silence them.

Once again, F365 is talking about silencing people. What does that say? Fascism, simple as that. I’m not calling you fascists or owt like that, but if you advocate silencing people for their offensive views then you are no better or worse than those morons.

Isn’t it about time you took the real moral high ground for once? Not some fake, virtue signalling posturing. You know, start a real campaign or charity if you feel so strongly. Empty words on a football website isn’t going to change anything and frankly it’s cringe worthy.

Let’s get one thing clear, this is happening because the authorities don’t do their job properly. Look at pretty much every aspect of society and there is one common theme: Authorities are failing us.

I may not agree with what these dickhead racists have to say, but I will defend to the death their right to say it. If you like living in a free country, it’s about time you got on board with that. I refuse to give up my freedoms because some people can’t grow up.
Fat Man

 

…I support the sentiment of wanting to create a more inclusive and tolerant football going/watching public. For me Daniel Storey creates a hurdle and falls over it and he is not helped by the article title.

So how to get to our aspiration for more inclusivity and less meaness should be the question?

Daniel Storey’s efforts as far as I am concerned illuminate and exacerbate the problem rather than going any meaningful way to providing potentially helpful progress. The execution of his argument is baffling and just repeats more of the same from ‘a different side of the fence’.

Let me explain. Accusing people of being tw**s (a female body part as a term of abuse really?) and invoking the imperative ‘Silence’ is for me ‘the same meat different gravy’. By that I mean his (and his philosophical opponent’s) language is aggressive and not interested in listening and as an aside is overlayed with what I think is a wrong patriarchal tone ( I could be wrong). It’s a man’s game and all that.

Storey’s perceived approach leaves no room for dialogue in my opinion (not fact). Daniel like many others in/on (social) media present a binary handcuffed position of either you are on this side or that side of the fence. Welcome to inertia! Obviously other mailers can prove me wrong on how they have changed their opinions. At the time of writing this is not the case from the comments so far.

This is just one view and there are other views that will be more valid for others. But can we try to not dismiss each other so quickly? Or you may just prefer self-assured tribal opinion?

That’s it really.
Socially Constructed David lfc
(Think about not buying The S*n. I don’t think your life will get worse but I will feel better just because you thought about not buying it. Perhaps try it and see what happens?).

 

Norway talk
Know the Norwegian league doesn’t get a load of coverage in the UK (or outside of Norway to be honest) but last night saw one of the greatest comebacks ever possibly as their season wraps up (runs Spring to Autumn for weather reasons)

Lillestrøm, one of Norway’s biggest clubs and perennial European qualifier (Newcastle played them in the last Intertoto cup final) somehow found themselves third bottom after a tight season where the bottom ten were separated by only a handful of points. This meant they went into a relegation playoff with IK Start who finished third top of he league below.

Start won their home leg 2-1 meaning Lillestrøm had it all to go to avoid a shock relegation. Last night they scored two in the first ten minutes, another just half time and one more at 70mins, leaving them 4-0 up and 5-2 on aggregate. Then, inexplicably, Start went on the rampage, scoring two in five minutes and final goal in stoppage time. 3 in the last fifteen minutes, 4-3, 5-5 on aggregate and Start promoted on away goals and Lillestrøm relegated. Absolute scenes and an incredible end to the season. Lillestrøm down for the first time in their history, IK Start with one of the most impressive and consequential comebacks I can remember.
Luke, London

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