Man United and Spurs are finishing outside the top four

Date published: Sunday 3rd March 2019 10:39

Send your thoughts to


Deep breath,

HUGO! HUGO! HUGO!!!!!!!!

Jon (how about Jan with the follow up?!), Lincoln


Well done, Unai
Now would be a really great time to hear again from the Wenger groupies like Tom Goldenballs et al? Emery delivered the best away derby performance I’ve seen by any Arsenal team since 2014. As usual, Arsenal fans who are so conditioned by Wenger’s mediocrity were castigating Emery before a ball had been kicked, pining for their beloved elite donkey, Ozil.

Emery has beyond any reasonable doubt improved Arsenal. Putting aside the fact he has more point, wins, goals and conceded less than at a comparative stage last season, this derby is the first time I’ve ever seen Harry Kane not get a sniff all match. He was invisible, Eriksen was nullified and Emery’s tactical setup was imperious. Tottenham only managed to score due to a combination of Mustafi’s habitual stupidity (Wenger paid £35m!) and an inept lino and referee. Less said about Lacazette’s misses the better.

Arsenal were excellent and once Emery is finally able to get rid of Wenger’s circus trope (Mustafi, Jenkinson, Xhaka). Top 4 or not, well done Unai.
Stewie Griffin (VAR cannot come soon enough)


Spurs are finishing sixth, aren’t they?

They have still got to play both Liverpool and Man City away, their momentum has completely gone, the players are knackered and the injuries won’t be slowing down anytime soon.

But here’s the kicker: United are coming fifth.

Their luck under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is about to run out. A better team than Southampton would have punished them on Saturday, when they looked completely ordinary.

Next Sunday’s game against Arsenal is massive, and then they face Man City and Chelsea in the space of four days next month. I just can’t see them holding off Arsenal – who were very good yesterday – and a resurgent Chelsea.


Not offside
Obviously Kane was in an offside position but the way offside is officiated these days is that they don’t flag until you play the ball or at least get close to it.Since the ball was still flying through the air at the time Mustafi did his idiotic barge into Kane’s back, does that mean the foul occurred before Kane became offside and therefore the officials got the decision right?

Changing the scenario slightly, imagine the ball had gone to the near post instead and Mustafi did that at the back post it’s still a foul but it’s not offside…is it?

Would love a qualified ref to answer this because I’ve given up hope of Peter Walton on BT Sport ever offering any genuine insight.
Josh, LFC 


I wrote in earlier about how I wasn’t sure if Kane was actually offside and now I have looked it up and it turns out the decision was correct according to the FA guidelines on offside. These explicitly account for this situation and state:
In situations where:

a player in an offisde (sic) position is moving towards the ball with the intention of playing the ball and is fouled before playing or attempting to play the ball, or challenging an opponent for the ball, the foul is penalised as it has occurred before the offside offence.

This is from—offside for anyone who is interested in knowing more about a rule that clearly none of us fully understands.
Josh, LFC


A good advert for VAR
Well once again that was a pulsating NLD, these two just don’t do dull games.

Most of the talk will be about the officials, which is a shame because on the whole I thought Taylor kept the game going well until a number of key and inconsistent decisions.

Offsides are difficult to spot with the pace of the game, they are not difficult to spot from dead ball situations. The linesman can position himself perfectly, is not running and trying to make a call, and he can anticipate exactly when the ball is coming in. To not spot Kane and about 3 other spurs players offside was unforgivable, and easily turned over by VAR.

Aubameyang’s penalty is probably also overturned by VAR, but one thing not mentioned in 16 conclusions was the 5 yard encroachment by Vertonghen….who then gains a massive advantage by this encroachment by being able to get back and make the goal line tackle.

Once again, officials only really have 3 or so things to rule over at pens – why are two of the rules so consistently not applied? Linesmen never call a gk out for not being on his line (don’t think there was a problem with lloris) and refs never call on encroachment.

How can we take referees seriously when throughout the game when a rule is never applied?

Lastly the inconsistency between the Rose and torreira incidents is staggering. Torreira’s Red has no consequence on this game but means arsenal lose him for 3 games. The red Rose should have had (based on the refs interpretation of straight reds) would have affected the game.

If decisions go against you but you were clearly second best and got beaten 4-0 you can have less anger. But when Emery had set his team up very well and contained spurs to only 3 shots on target all game (2 of those in the Leno double save of the season!) then it is particularly failing to have the result decided by the one thing Emery can’t control.

Come the end of the season that 3 point swing could be the difference between champions league or not. If VAR means a few delays in order to get the fair and right result then it really cannot come soon enough
Rich AFC (Talk about shift in power when there are multiple trophies in the cabinet)


Aubameyang should have been awarded a second stab at taking that penalty.

Vertonghen’s ridiculous encroachment gave him the yards he needed to clear Auba’s follow up off the line. It wasn’t even close. Shocking referring all round really.
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus.


I can’t wait for VAR to come in. All this talk about it ruining the experience of fans in the stadium is b*llocks. The main thing is to get the correct result you can smooth out the fan problems later. Both pens in the NLD shouldn’t haven’t happened.


Official complaint
Okay, no penalty for the Spuds because it wasn’t a free kick and subsequently offside.

Why wasn’t Rose given a red card for simulation and dangerous play ?

Poor penalty by Abu but why wasn’t it retaken because Spud was 3 yards in the box when struck ?
Chris, Croydon


Picking on the Cherries
0 attempts means 0 shots on target, at home, from a Bournemouth team fairly famous for playing offensive football.

Sitting back against this City team is a fairly good idea, if it means staying in the game so you can ‘have a go’ later on. But if you don’t in fact even try this, what’s the point of football?

How many Arab Emirates dirhams does it take to not try to win a game? I’d be interested to hear of any other reasons for this pathetic excuse of a performance.

I appreciate this is not an objective position, but right now I care not a jot.
Barry, LFC


Don’t bottle it all up
All this talk of ‘momentum’ and ‘bottling it’ has really gotten on my nerves, to the point I’m finally ready to mail in. It’s all total crap. Man City are an exceptional team who were overwhelming favourites to retain their title. Liverpool were somehow able to keep up through the start of the season.

Man City had injuries to key players (Silva, Fernandinho) and subsequently had a few poor results which handed Liverpool a gap at the top. Those players returned and Liverpool had injuries to key players (Gomez, Alexander-Arnold – half of the best defense in the country at the time) and subsequently had a few poor results which eliminated the gap at the top. It’s almost as though injuries have a huge influence on how teams perform over the entire season, see: Leicester City’s title triumph. FiveThirtyEight pointed out in January that the ages of Silva and Fernandinho meant they were quite likely to suffer another run of poor form or injury before the end of the season, which seems to have happened.

First XI vs first XI, Man City are a better team than Liverpool. The thing keeping Liverpool in the race is younger key players that are less likely to miss games. If Man City can avoid dropping points while Fernandinho and KDB are out, they should win the league. Having said that, with Gomez coming back and Alexander-Arnold showing some semblance of form, I’m really hoping that Liverpool can win their final ten games so Man City’s form becomes irrelevant.


Can a fellow mailboxer please help me? I need to understand what utterly warped sequence of events could have possibly led to someone at Manchester City thinking it wise to offer Eliaquim Mangala a contract extension?

We have had some duffers over the years no doubt, but this guy stands head and shoulders over the rest. We’ve been saddled with him since 2014 and now just as the end is in sight they do this? He must have some serious dirt on someone up top…..its the only realistic explanation.
Marc, Bolton.



How we know United have improved
That attempted save from de gea out of a brilliant valery goal was really bad, keeping in mind how good he really is. When he had a bad day the other end of the pitch stepped up. This is exactly what is so good about united right now. We don’t need de gea to save ourselves any more. We can depend on other big players.

Sanchez, was bad, even though he laid few good passes he simply couldn’t make the most of it. If lukukau can step up, so can sanchez. Its just a matter of time.

As for de gea, he just got the weight taken off his shoulder.


Mourinho wanted more players, Ole is doing well with lesser number of players.

Mourinho wanted more stars and quality players, Ole is doing just with less quality players (Injuries).

Mourinho kept berating the board for not providing more transfer funds, Ole emphasized on the need to look inwards for more players.

Mourinho might have gone berserk and crazy over the number of injuries we’ve had, using it as a blame in case he lost again, probably also blaming heaven and earth while at it, Ole seem to have found a way around it.

Mourinho might have fallen sick just thinking of playing Dalot, Mc Tomnay and Pereira in a midfied 4, who knew it could be inspiring.

And the most surprising, he has players who are HAPPY to sit on the bench waiting for their chances to play for him, and to play in several positions ( Lukaku is a prime example, and Pogba hasn’t been playing on the left of a midfield 3 that much)

He has never complained about a single player (bar that motivation reference regarding Sanchez) and no player seems to have any problem with him.

Can Woodward just give him the job already?
Oluwaseun Adelugba, Nigeria (Ole Ole Ole!!!!)


The kids in America
MLS season kicked off yesterday with 10 games…and the 20 teams combined for ZERO clean sheets.  Not sure if that’s atrocious or entertaining!
Nick C. (Giovinco left MLS for a Saudi Arabian paycheque) Burlington ON


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