Mails: West Ham to finish above Arsenal

Date published: Tuesday 16th August 2016 2:14

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Announce Griezmann
Dear MC,

My knee-jerk reaction to your knee-jerk reactions. The only thing that will make me feel positive about Wenger (and Arsenal this season) is if we sign Griezsmann. That would restore my obsessive (and admittedly misplaced) optimism I had up until Sunday afternoon.
JazGooner (Who really wants to come to the toxic Emirates right now?)


A happy Blue
Decent result for Chelsea last night to clinch a hugely deserved win. There was an inevitability about West Ham’s equaliser from their only shot on target, in a match dominated by those in blue. The game really should have been done and dusted long before then.

Eden Hazard looks to be approaching his scintillating best, although I do agree with G Nev’s summation that he does go into walking mode once we are on top in a match. He is definitely at his peak when we are chasing games, and I suppose this is where the qualities of such a player really do stand out. If he wants to be truly convince people that he is amongst the top 5 players in the world, he has to keep his tempo up throughout 90 minutes. Nevertheless he was head and shoulders above any other player on the pitch last night and long may it continue. It’s laughable sometimes how he manages to keep hold of the ball in tight situations.

I must say I was a little disappointed with West Ham. They started the game well by all accounts, putting together some neat and tidy passing in the middle of the park. I think they went a little flat after the Ayew injury and were noticeably missing the spark of Payet and Lanzini. That said they really should have given Andy Carroll more support than they did. He grew more and more frustrated as the game went on and it’s understandable. Playing as a lone striker is a tough job at the best of times, but when your teammates seem uninterested in supporting you it’s almost impossible. They know what his main attributes are, but ignored them until a flurry in the last 10 minutes before we scored the second. He has caused Chelsea a lot of trouble in the past, so I’m surprised at the tactics deployed by Bilic for this game.

All in all a very satisfying start to the season and, with both Manchester clubs and L’pool starting with three points, relief that we managed to seal the win in the end.
Sean, CFC, London


Arsenal the fourth best in London?
Forget about the title Arsenal fans I think you have a battle to avoid being the fourth placed team in London. Only better than Chunky. Think about that for a sec!

Spurs have a young and hungry team and manager. A year to bed in style and strategy and a couple of sensible additions. Looking good to finish as London’s kingpins.

Chelsea have a new manager and no European football so the manager will have time on the training field to set up his team. Looking solid defensively although an ageing backline needs some new blood and attacking wise probably a bit of support for the sh!thouse. Between injuries and likely suspensions he won’t play much more than half season and I think the blues may struggle to score enough goals to finish above spurs.

West Ham didn’t look completely at the races on Monday although Chelsea away first game is tough. Squad looks a little thin to cope with league and Euro commitments but a rocking new stadium should get them across the line in most games. Fancy Bilic will have another stellar year.

I started writing a paragraph on Arsenal but I know others have written far more eloquently on the subject. Ed can you link me up please!

Might be a year too soon for the Hammers to best the Gunners but hey I have got the big balls to bet against Wenger and his weakass mob.
H, (I have the tingles of a fan who knows this will be an awesome season)


City have it too easy
When will people start to hate city? They seem to get quite an easy ride in the media, especially now that they have everyone’s favorite in Guardiola. But surely some objective insight is needed? Consider the following:

    • They have spent more than any other team in the PL, yet their spending is not criticized. Jose, on the other hand, is a checkbook manager.
    • They spent close to 100m last year and had the best squad in the league yet finished 4th on goal difference to a united team that was playing the worst football in the league bar the Aston Villas.
    • They have spent 100m+ on defenders yet Kolarov is now a starting CB.
    • They won 2-1 vs Sunderland at home due to an own goal (an underwhelming result by objective measures) yet people are praising the amount of passes they made.
    • Guardiola has binned Toure and Nasri, yet nobody is requesting he be sent to Jail.

This is just off the top of my head. I’m sure you could think of other instances were they were let off lightly by the media even though other clubs (traditional big 4) get roasted for much less. City have been competing at the top for about 6-7 years now, so where is the hate? Is it because their fan base isn’t as large as the other teams? Is modern football reporting all about winding up supporters? Where is the objective coverage and analysis (looking at you, F365)?.
Amine Wehbe


Another loser: England and Big Sam
Can’t help but feel one big loser was missing in yesterday’s Winners and losers column: England team and Sam Allardyce.

Saturday was probably the beginning of the end of Joe Hart in the City team – surely he will either sit on the bench this season or go to a team with less ambition and no european football. Liverpool coped very well without Daniel Sturridge, so well that he might not get back to the starting lineup even when the rare thing happens and he is fit. Harry Kane continues to look knackered and the question is whether he gets the time to rest a little more and get back to his best. Leicester looked like the old Leicester, which spells bad things for Drinkwater and Vardy (not even mentioning Wes Morgan), who got into the England team based mostly on form. Rooney not only was terrible again, but most importantly looks to retain the place in the United team, which makes it a lot more difficult to leave him out for England. Rashford didn’t get any minutes (ok, I know he will get games later, but it fits my narrative).

Then again Mark Noble looked ok, so did Andy Carroll and he also did not get injured, so the really important things went well.
Jan, Prague


Why build from the back?
When did this idea of passing the ball from the back or building up attacks from the goalkeeper take root so much that its given way to some childish stupidity? I know Guardiola and that Barca team has something to do it, but why are teams, especially those whose personnel lack the technique or drill still hellbent on doing it despite the risks it poses.

Last night, Antonio felt like Ronaldinho Mk ll and went on a dribbling run in his own box, loses the ball, panics and gives away a penalty. Even Adrian got the ball muddled up and gave Costa an incentive to lunge. What happened to simply booting that ball as far away from danger as possible? Its all good and fine if you were drilled in La Masia or your name is Rio Ferdinand or Gerard Pique. Guys, just get that ball away from the danger zone, stop messing around.

Also, 4 penalties conceded this opening round were from rash fullbacks going to ground when they shouldn’t and panicking players clipping someone’s foot from behind; not one of them was a goalscoring opportunity, so why the rush of blood to the head? I don’t get it. Can someone save the art of defending please.
Mere Godled, MUFC, Nigeria(what’s next? Playmaking goalkeeping maestros)


Questions from the opening weekend
I have followed football for far too many years now but I still don’t understand certain things, it may be that fellow mailbox readers can help me out;

1.       How was Diego Costa not sent off in the Monday night game? The foul on Adrian was an objective decision. That is, I felt it was a terrible foul but maybe the ref thought he was stretching to try and block the pass and the foul wasn’t too bad. That is his opinion. It is difficult to shake the feeling he just bottled the second booking (as with Kante as well) but you can give it as interpretation. However, after his goal Costa dived into the crowd. I might have missed a rule change, so forgive me if I am wrong, but this is a more factual booking. If a players goes into the crowd after scoring he is booked. Can someone explain why Costa wasn’t?

2.       Why are Palace dragging their feet on Benteke? This is a man who only started 12 Premier League games last season but scored 9 goals (obviously including substitute appearances). He averaged a goal every 168 minutes in a system he was ill-suited to. This off the back of a consistent 1-in-2 scoring record with a poor Villa team. Palace started Connor Wickham upfront on the weekend. Their response to this is to offer £23m for Benteke in a season when Jordan Ibe went for £15m. The new television deal has heightened prices massively. Benteke is worth what he is worth to the buyer and the seller. In this case Liverpool want their cash back and Palace (presumably) want to stay in the Premier League. Pay the money Chunky!

3.       Not a question as such but more an observation, but when you play certain teams has such a bearing on your season. For Liverpool to play Arsenal away from home in the opening game was such a gift. Liverpool have a terrible record at the Emirates and if the game had been mid-October the result would have been completely different. To play Arsenal without Giroud, Ozil, Koscielny etc is to play a completely different team. I know Liverpool were missing players but Arsenal left these players out by choice (they missed others through injury). Other top four rivals will go the Arsenal and play a full strength team whereas whoever plays them first knows they have a gimme.

4.       The problems that Newcastle are having shows that the Championship is a really tough league. However, does it prepare clubs for life in the Premier League? Hull City got a great shock result against Leicester (going to be a looooong season for them) however they and Burnley look hideously undercooked for life in the top flight. Surely a second tier with twenty clubs would encourage more quality. The 100 team plan for the football league looked a great one for me but I suppose self-interest will always rule over sporting-interest.
Micki Attridge


”I realised that I was witnessing what can only be described as the dictionary definition of sultry.’’ – Conor

As a Dutchman I sometimes run into words in the mailbox I am unfamiliar with. This being the case with ‘sultry’.
Given that this word was the whole reason of Conor’s email I did a quick Google search.

I’m still not sure what sultry means but the Google Image search was well worth it.
Stijn (hoping for some sultry weather in) Amsterdam


Keepers jeepers
I can only assume that S.Singh woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning, after having read his rant about ‘keepers and penalties. I’m assuming he didn’t get much sleep either, because his rant didn’t really make sense – at least not to me.

I tell you what would be more annoying than ‘keepers diving the wrong way for penalties: ‘keepers not diving at all for penalties. On the odd occasion that it actually works it’s brilliant, but those instances would become few and far between once it had become a trend to stand unmoved in the middle. What would happen? Players would start hitting it slightly out of arms/legs’ reach and scoring every single time; it wouldn’t even have to be in the corners to beat the ‘keeper in that scenario, just a couple of feet to either side would do it.

As for the idea of not diving until after the ball is kicked, I think S is overestimating the reaction time of the human body. I’m neither a biologist nor an expert on statistical analysis, but I am willing to bet that, in most situations, a ball can travel 12 yards faster than the human body can react after analysing its trajectory. As the penalty taker, if you know that the ‘keeper is going to wait for you to hit it, all you need to do is hit it sufficiently fast that he’s not got time to react. I can’t imagine that is a particularly hard feat to achieve for a professional footballer.

Finally, I would bet that at least the vast majority of top-flight teams do analysis on opposition penalty records and prep their goalkeepers prior to the match, just in case. All a ‘keeper can do is consider his opponents previous penalties and his body language approaching the kick, and then make a gut instinct call on which way he thinks the ball is going to go and dive that way. It’s not a perfect science because there are innumerable variables to consider for every penalty – from statistics to fitness to form and confidence, and everything in between. But I guarantee that goalkeepers would get measurably more grief from fans and managers if they conceded from a penalty while just standing still instead of making any kind of move.

Now, onto a more important subject: in the morning mailbox, was Daniel Storey suggesting that his arsehole is never wrong?
Ted, Manchester


S.Singh, luckily you can stop being annoyed about goalkeepers diving the wrong way because science shows that it’s impossible for keeper to wait and react quick enough.

Brunel University have done a study that shows the average penalty kick is hit at 112km/h meaning that it takes less than half a second to reach the goal from the penalty spot. If a keeper were to wait for the kick, it would take a second for them to react to the direction of the kick and start their dive by which time it’s too late.

Science bitch!
SC, Belfast


I was going to pen a lengthy riposte to S.
Singh’s critique of goalkeeping penalty strategy but instead I’ll just say this.

Try it.

Find a full size goal down your local park, get in net, and try and react real time to your mates taking pens. Once you’ve done that, consider how much harder it would be reacting to a professional striking the ball.

Do let us know how you get on.
Simon CFC


Leave 365 alone
*Wilful misinterpretation of legitimate, statistics-based, constructive criticism of an expensive new signing.

*Evidence of a total misunderstanding of the nature of a position (yes, I am being careful chucking stones around in my glass house).

*Complaints about the site dumbing down and “agenda driven [sic] score settling”.  I did that on purpose because I know people hate it.

*Implication that the correspondent is of superior intelligence to how they perceive the content of the website (“hi, is that the pot? It’s the kettle here. Now, about your hue …”)

*Suggestions that the readership are “mis or ill-informed masses”, who know less about football that “two village drunks”.  Well, I resemble that remark.  It’s not my fault the drunks in my village are experts on football.

That was as close as it gets to the textbook example of a pointless and frankly embarrassing resignation letter to a website. A website. Are you one of those people who tweets someone to say you’re unfollowing them, another weird pastime?

I feel sorry for people like D.  It can’t have been easy for them, these past few years, as F365 has transferred from batting away regular accusations that “Arsenal365” was a more accurate name for them, to being very critical of the Gunners’ inexplicable failure to address their very obvious shortcomings.  That said, I suppose we should all thank D, for giving us the warm nostalgic glow that comes of MC’s revival of Pete Gill’s Whingers & Loners.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven


Thanks to D for freeing up one mailbox spot this morning.

I’ll like to kindly request other folks who are tired of or about to tire of this “once great website” to send in their resignation in the course of this week.

Then folks like me who send mails fairly regularly but don’t get published can have the chance to be published fairly regularly.

Cheers D and enjoy the mirror. They love Arsenal over there.
Franklin (Hazard is back!), CFC, Lagos


I’m aware this is going to come across as horribly sycophantic, but thought I needed to reply to D who claims he is leaving F365 because of “agenda driven score settling by a handful of limited journalists.”. Just wanted to say that from my point of view, nothing could be further from the truth. One of my favourite things about your site is that you are happy to talk up or knock down anyone regardless of reputation, as well as frequently admitting that you got things wrong. It’s what keeps me coming back after all these years.

In contrast to many print journalists, F365 writers don’t need to curry favour with certain clubs or players for access, because the job is about opinion and commentary, rather than interviews or transfer scoops So you can call Rooney out for having the first touch of a particularly excited Yorkshire Terrier, without worrying that you’ll miss out on the exclusive syndication of his fifth autobiography. There also aren’t many of your writers that support teams in the PL either, which can create agendas in both directions (Neville was unbelievably harsh on United in his early days which I think was a conscious effort not to appear biased the other way). It’s just people watching football, and giving informed, well researched opinions on it in an entertaining way.

Realise that this sounds like unbelievable brown nosing, so I’ll close by saying that Mediawatch is probably a bit too snarky nowadays for my liking, and that the 50: Phil Neville joke has run its course.
Ali, London

(MC – The Phil Neville joke > you)


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