Nothing will change at Manchester United if they sack Erik ten Hag following their heavy loss to Bournemouth. Aston Villa are in a title race with ‘limited’ Arsenal and lots more in your Sunday Mailbox.
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A fish rots from the head
As a United fan, I don’t care if Eric Ten Hag stays or gets sacked. It is meaningless. In any failing organization, the particular makeup of the middle management is the most insignificant thing. This has been demonstrated from Moyes to ETH.
Sack Ten Hag, Keep Ten Hag. Get in an experienced manager or an up-and-coming one. Does not matter.
The fish rots from the head. I’d like to thank the fans who publicly declare how brain dead they are when they shout “The Glazers didn’t miss that shot…The Glazers didn’t let that goal in.” Some companies have, in general, great customer service. Others, in general, have shocking customer service. Are the board of directors working on the tills? or in the call centers? No. But the structure of the company, the ethos, everything flows from the top.
In a well-run organization, the middle management is empowered to put the organization’s goals and ethos into practice and ensure the lower ranks accomplish this correctly. In a shoddily run organization, from the top, this becomes impossible. A rotten structure leads to rotten results. And in a football club, though the glazers do not kick a ball, it all flows down from them.
And to repeat, in a rotten organization, it is the middle management that is the most insignificant problem, whilst acting as scapegoats for the rotten head, and substandard tail. This is not to say that if and when good owners came in, that the middle management might not need replacing. It is to say that until that happens it will make an immeasurable difference.
ETH In, ETH out. It does not matter one iota whilst the rotten owners remain, and the players know, just as well as I do, that whoever occupies the temporary role of middle management, is utterly meaningless.
A rotten head, the central nervous system, leads inexplicably to a directionless tail that does whatever it wants.
And the Glazers have played another doozy. But getting the same idiotic fans to believe that Jimbo is somehow going to be in charge with a minority shareholding. Fans so stupid that they call it a takeover.
Imo, as soon as the minority shareholding was announced i.e. the Glazers remain in charge; the fans should have gotten every home game called off until the Glazers are 100% gone.
But arguments about ETH in or ETH out are more important to the imbeciles than trying to understand that a rotten top of an organization will inevitably lead to piss poor performance at the lower ranks of the organization (the players) no matter what the middle management. Sure a one-off second-place season from time to time may happen just by dint of the vast funds chucked at it. But regression to mediocrity is the norm in a rotten, diseased organization
David (Glad to see Moyes doing well.)
It feels like that was our worst performance of the season, although that could be part recency bias and part my blocking out some of our bad ones earlier in the season. To go from a good performance against Chelsea and follow it with that insipid showing is a fair reflection of this team. We just can’t string together any decent performances.
We couldn’t lay a glove on Bournemouth and gave away three stupid goals, so it’s hard to argue that defeat was anything but deserved. Some of the defending was slapstick but Bournemouth showed great energy in the press and looked well up for it. To top it off, Bruno gets himself a yellow card to ensure he misses the trip to an in-form Liverpool. Given the tanking we took last season, it might well have been on purpose!
Bayern up next first though, can’t wait.
Garey Vance, MUFC
Manchester United has a serious bout of the Jekyll and Hyde syndrome. Against Newcastle – Bad performance, bad result
Against Chelsea – Good performance, good result
Against Bournemouth – Good(ish) performance, bad result.
I figure we are due a bad performance, good result against Liverpool.
Need to check my sanity.
Wow!!! That loss hurt on so many levels. It feels not like a slap in the face or a kick in the balls but a straight stab into the Heart. It is as if the fans can’t have any semblance of hope, forget the expectations. It hurts because 0-3 doesn’t justify Bournemouth’s performance. They deserved more. They could and should have had more goals.
Before the Chelsea game, I was not confident in getting a result and suddenly the team played well, at least on a attacking sense and eventually won the game comfortably. Going into the Bournemouth game, I personally felt that our confidence was good and if we played like we did against Chelsea we can get a result. How stupid of me to have such expectations. This was comfortably the worst performance at OT in the post Fergie era. Mind you we have had some bad performances in these last 10 years. With due respect to Bournemouth – they have been superb since the heavy defeat to Man City, this was an unacceptable performance by United.
Bayern next (will they vent their anger at us following their heavy defeat) at Home, followed by Liverpool away, West Ham away and Villa at Home. Ending the month with a away trip to Forest. What do we expect or hope to achieve in these games.
For me enough is enough. This club no longer needs a Open heart surgery, we need a Rebirth. I like Bruno. When he was appointed Captain I had envisaged him playing his heart out week in and week out. Not that he doesn’t try but the rot starts from him. Has he been consistently delivering the sort of performances we expect from him? The same could be asked about almost all of our players. And to say that they are being brutally honest and want to apologize after every bad performance or after every bad loss is becoming very common. They are just setting such standards.
All these players need to go barring the youngsters in the first team from our academy along with Malacia, Pellistri, Amad, Lisandro and Hojlund. Altay is yet to play so I know nothing of him in an United shirt. Rest all needs to be moved for us to have a proper reset.
And ETH. Based on this performance alone he can be sacked. Eventually we will come to that conclusion. End of this month may be. Or if Bayern and Liverpool play their football he will be gone next Monday. I feel sorry for him but he will go. Not saying he should go but don’t feel he can survive this.
This will take time, this may not happen, this might be impossible from the club’s point of view. But we are rotten from top to bottom, we don’t know what is in store for us. But one thing is for sure, we won’t be back anytime soon.
Vasanthan. Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, India
Onana, what’s my name
I don’t keep up with football as much as I used to, other priorities etc. I used to be a real statto, but now I go and watch my local non- league side most home games, England games on TV and Match of the Day, and that’s about it.
I still look out for the scores and read F365, but I don’t know who players are outside the top teams, and probably wouldn’t recognise most Premier League players.
Thoroughly enjoying weekly Match of the Day, what a season!
Anyhow, I didn’t know much about Onana before he joined. I assume he was good. But having just watched highlights of Man United v Bournemouth, he doesn’t look like a keeper. He looks like the guy who ends up in goal Sunday League because he’s no good on pitch. He doesn’t dive like a keeper, lacks basic technique.
The first disallowed Bournemouth goal, his save from the first header was dreadful. Everyone can get one wrong, but I seem to recall several occasions this season where he’s pushed it back in to the goalmouth.
I ended up in goal for 5 a side after I got into my 30s as the knees couldn’t take it. I was alright, but not naturally a keeper. I’d have been furious with myself if I’d done that.
The second Bournemouth goal, what was his dive? It wasn’t a goalkeepers dive. And the second disallowed goal was weak too.
But I’ll never get bored of Man United being rubbish, so keep it up!
1. Can we please hear the revisionism from Arsenal fans on Unai Emery please? I look forward to their rewriting of history, where Emery was given the same funds as Arteta and the same opportunity to fail! Watching Emery with a much lower wage bill and transfer spend, with the same squad Stevie Me failed with, compete fiercely at the top of the PL says it all. He was always a superior manager to Arteta but hey, the Arsenal Wenger Cult were still heartbroken, stroking that Wenger picture frame 😂
2. It isn’t a coincidence that Arsenal have lost both their big away matches at Newcastle and then Villa, 1-0. Same scoreline. What both those matches had in common was that Arsenal actually defended excellently in both those fixtures. They were undone because of a complete inability to be clinical in attack. Big away fixtures have few clear chances and once they arrive, you need to unlock games by taking big chances. Arsenal’s problem is that they have to keep clean sheets in big away fixtures to win. They can’t concede and come back to win a big one in the main, because they struggle to score. I write in two summers ago and asked why Arsenal still hadn’t invested in a top striker (eg an Osimhen). Arteta’s failure to address a glaring gap in his team is a dereliction of duty and his vanity-driven decisions to spaff cash on Havertz will haunt him.
3. Golden rules Arteta still has obviously not understood so I’ll remind him for free.
A) You will never win a title with a mediocre “striker” like Gabriel Jesus. He’ll look like George Weah away at Luton, and back to looking like a Brazilian Steve Bull against any quality side. B) You cannot start Havertz against any semi-competent side. Just, no C) You cannot play Zinchenko in defence away from home, period.
Arteta continues to ignore these golden rules, so Arsenal will continue to fail. Twenty years, no title.
4. If Citeh somehow fail to win the title, Liverpool will do so instead. I’ll carry on insisting. Arteta spent way more money than Klopp (again) but the difference is that Klopp addressed weaknesses in his squad and has a top striker. Arteta meanwhile, is still bringing on Championship Galactico Nketiah when chasing a game. Oh and subbing off his £50m “striker” when desperately chasing a goal 🙄
4. I assume ManYoo fans are just fine with the Bournemouth result seeing as they are “just 3 points behind Citeh”? 🤭
Stewie Griffin (some Arsenal fans remind me of Brexiters with the eternal refusal to accept reality and constant rewriting of history!)
One of many you’ll get over the coming days but I said it after the Everton game, Arsenal are limited..Saka and Martinelli are so one sided its laughable, I think Emery understood that you can give Arsenal 60/70% possession and still win a game. It also appears that the Zinchenko and Jesus impacts are well and truly done. We need 3-4 players at least to have any hope at making this work. There is NO urgency in any of the forward play. The work rate is just not goid enough.
As an aside, and this is no sour grapes but Villa are not within an asses roar of the title I’m sorry to say.
The over all standard of the PL has dropped too I think.
I should know better than watching these games and hoping for better…
I don’t think Arsenal handle pressure well. As a club they don’t as evidenced by the monumental bottle job from last season and against Villa was the first moment of pressure in the season.
As a Liverpool fan I watched with interest. If arsenal want to win trophies they need to handle pressure. They were outplayed and crucially – outscored by a very well drilled villa team. Until they learn to handle pressure and not bottle everything they won’t win anything but at least they will look pretty while not winning.
City have reason for their underperformance; 1 they have injuries. 2. They have hangover from achieving something the invincibles could only dream of doing.
Liverpool have played very badly over the last three games but still won, which is what you need for a title..
Credit to emery, I’ve always liked him and after Rodgers was sacked Emery was actually my first pick for the job (though I’m not unhappy we got Jürgen) it must have been sweet for emery given how badly he was treated and how little patience he was given by arsenal.
I’ll still maintain we are there for the taking, we’re playing very badly, though not quite badly enough for a united loss next week, and any team should be able to take us apart right now but we keep winning under pressure (deservedly or not) which is what arsenal need to learn.
Perhaps if arteta had blasted out some villa crowd noises in training this week they would have won.
So Arsenal lost again, but really there should be no panic over that. Villa are a good side, especially at home. We saw what they did to City, 20 odd shots to 2 and dominated them – this wasn’t that. Villa scored a genuinely good goal, but thereafter Arsenal dominated that game, poor finishing massively let us down. And again there are 3 big decisions, all close and debatable and every single one goes against Arsenal, just like the Newcastle game and pretty much each game since Arteta had his explosive rant at refs. To so consistently not get any of these close calls is astonishing, especially when we see the same decisions given the other way in other matches and the general haphazard inconsistency of referee decisions week to week would bring in the law of averages that you get a few for you. Jesus penalty was given for Palace only 4 hours earlier for gods sake. Look at the soft pens for barely any contact given for Slobazslai earlier this season and the two for Fulham and Newcastle v wolves, luiz kicks Jesus in the calf – enough to make him go down….Maybe not but it’s still a foul. Carlos threw an elbow at Nketiah. We were told Bruno Guimaraes wasn’t a red because it was a forearm not an elbow – what will the excuse for this one be?
Look, I know people will pile in and declare all the decisions perfectly correct because it’s more fun to laugh at Arsenal fans moaning than have a proper conversation about refs. Technically the Havertz handball is correct, even if the law is absurd, but strange that a ref was so certain he saw it from 25 yards away in real time when it took var 3 minutes and multiple replays to we the smallest of brush on the hand, he’s guessing, usually refs shy away from the definite in the hope var can sort out the mess. I think those that don’t believe unconscious bias is a thing with refs are being extremely naive. Any human would have some form of unconscious bias as a ref, it would be impossible not to. So Arteta rattled a cage and is paying the price. Liverpool had a shocking decision v spurs and have been given the benefit of the doubt ever since.
I’m sure ex refs and the PGMOL will defend every decision from the Arsenal game as correct but we know that’s worthless. Marking your own homework and all that. Arsenal fans main gripe is the sheer amount of big 50/50 calls that repeatedly go against us. And in such an inconsistent refereeing world you’d expect occasionally to get the rub of the green, or the benefit of a ref mistake. It’s also the totally unprecedented decisions that happen to Arsenal never to be repeated for anyone else. See even Arteta sitting in the stands because of an ‘excessive celebration’ – he’s been singled out for that and it’s obvious. Roy Hodgson has basically said the same as Arteta on refs but did it calmly and eloquently in his first language so people nod and agree.
As I said at the top, no need to panic, that was a very good performance except some poor finishing. Any title challenge this year will have to be done the hard way.
Our of interest, all clubs moan about refs and how they are hard done by – but can we turn it round and ask fans of all clubs to tell us the big game changing decisions they think Arsenal have had against their team in the last 18 months? Restrict this to goals, penalties and red cards. Havertz red v Newcastle, and I think Liverpool fans will point to a couple of decisions at the emirates last year – but what else? I rarely see anything in the mailbox. If nothing else here is your chance to show there is no unconscious bias and Arsenal get just as much luck as anyone else. I recall much backlash at Arsenal fans when we complain at decisions but don’t recall many fans moaning that Arsenal massively got away with one. Any takers?
Aston Villa and Unai Emery
Unai Emery is the only Manager in the close to 150 year history of Aston Villa to win 15 home league games in a row.
Before the usual suspects email in about Wenger, top 4 trophies and all the usual rubbish that comes with an Arsenal loss, I wanted to say well done Villa.
It was a fairly even game and a draw would have been fair, although apparently Arsenal had 3 big chances to Villas 0, more shots on target and generally seemed more threatening. Lots of energy, very organised. Few teams will take points from Villa park, if any.
What impressed me was the gameplay from from Villa (haven’t watched them before this season). The very high line, the offside traps, is actually the perfect foil for the possession dominator. Your build up is pushed back 30m, the pitch is condensed allowing Villas midfield energy to push you into errors. It’s brilliant and will take a while for someone to beat who isn’t sat deep themselves.
Apart from not being able to finish our chances, I was annoyed at our arrogance, which comes straight from Arteta. This complete belief that our gameplan will just keep winning is bearing fruit, but against the best we have to be more dynamic. We were lucky that City gave us too much respect, Villa did no such thing. Arteta has clearly instilled this absolute control but sometimes you just need to get creative and try something. Long balls over the best high line in England, is not creative.
It’s early in December and we know all too well you don’t win the league before Christmas. The idea of a 4 team title race (yes Villa are in it) is exciting and we should all relish it.
Rob A (yes it was a red for the elbow, no we still wouldn’t have won) AFC
So Liverpool :
Are top of the league.
Are the top scorers.
Have the best defensive record.
Have the best gd.
Are unbeaten at home in the PL in 16 months.
I though Klopp couldn’t rebuild?
I thought Trent couldn’t defend?
I thought Klopp had no Plan B?
I thought they were a 1 man team with Mane?
United fans are gone very quiet.
Utd have a negative gd in the PL AND the CL, have lost 11 of 23 games in all competitions and have conceded 3 or more goals 9 times already this season.
All shambolic right?
However, the most shambolic stat is Trent has scored more PL goals in Manchester this season than ALL Utd attacking players… COMBINED.
Bear in mind Utd only play 1 more home PL game in 2023, has this ever happened before? Not 1 forward scoring a home PL goal from August-January? I’m sure if the hole in the roof wasn’t there or the Glazers weren’t taking dividends that Hojlund, Rashford, Antony, Martial etc would be scoring?
PS. Not a doubt in my mind Fernandes got booked on purpose yesterday to miss the trip to Anfield. ETH making that brat captain is his Ole signing Ronaldo wtf were you thinking moment. At least Fernandes won’t demand to be substituted at Anfield this time.
Liverpool were pretty awful against Palace and they seem caught between two cliches – that winning while playing poorly is the stuff of champions or that they can’t keep getting away with it. I obviously hope the former but then I look at Arsenal and City and frankly none of them are playing well.
Palace were much the definition of Roy Hodgson team and I mean that both as high praise and pointed criticism. In that respect they can consider themselves as very unfortunate not to win the game. However, a huge part of why they were in that position and why they ultimately lost the game was one and the same thing – tactical fouling.
Liverpool were lethargic and Palace were great at getting back and getting men behind the ball to snuff out attacks but one of the reasons they were able to do so was their constant niggly tactical fouls. It cost them a penalty in the first half and eventually got them a red card in the second. Will Ford suggests the referee was alone in thinking the tackle was worthy of a second yellow and that very much echoes the incredulity of the commentary team but it’s not that the tackle was a leg breaker, it’s that it was another deliberate tactical foul to stop a promising counterattack – that’s the role point of tactical fouling. They are supposed to be soft and in and off themselves not a yellow card tackle and therefore often go unnoticed as a result with players able to get away with 3 or 4 without caution.
But the entire Palace team were taking turns to quietly pull down or push over or trip as soon as Liverpool got the ball. In fact Ward was lucky he wasn’t sent off earlier as he got away with a pretty blatant drag back before he got his yellow card for another tactical foul on Diaz in the first half. Several players were eventually booked for the same kind of incident including Gomez.
I’m not sure if it is manufactured controversy or some sort of underdog thing where a team with fewer resources are supposed to be given leeway to foul repeatedly or aggressively to level the playing field but stop the nonsense of suggesting that Palace didn’t live by the sword and ultimately die by the sword.
Anti Referee Commentary
I have no skin in this particular game, but watching Palace v Liverpool I can’t get past the commentator (was it Sam Matterface?) constantly trying to make the referee/VAR the main talking point/controversy of the game. Of course he has an influence as he has loads of decisions to make when teams bend/break the rules.
I have been reading F365 for a long time and have read countless emails complaining about tactical fouling. Palace clearly employed this tactic (even before they went1-0 up) and they paid the price for it when yet another tactical foul was committed and Ayew took a second booking. This was after a first booking for preventing a quickly taken free kick, another thing that frustrates fans widely. Two really petty crimes in this case, but crimes nonetheless., Both are worthy of being booked for in the context of Palace trying to ‘shorten the game/break up play. The commentator says that no football fan would see either as a booking – well I did. Honestly, the referee has not been perfect, but VAR did its job and got two penalty decisions correct and all the commentator does is complain about how long it took. We all complain about VAR at times, but let’s at least acknowledge when it helps correct injustices.
The media makes a huge thing about protecting referees and how fans need to control themselves but today, all the commentator has done is give a load of excuses to managers who have no problem creating injustices where there are none. Sick of it.
Rob (tired of the media, except F365 obvs)
PS – Sorry Ed Q, you have the right of reply….
That was one of the most disgusting officiating performances I have ever seen.
The only way they could have made it any more blatant was putting the board back up to show 1 minute after Elliott’s winner, realising 10 was an error as soon as Liverpool had the points in the bag.
Disgusting. Palace and Uncle Roy deserved a lot better.
We got lucky today.Don’t let anyone tell you different.
At 11v11 we looked lost, looked nowhere near scoring. Penalty was right, Palace deserved it and then Ayew decided to throw the game.
Strange 3 games, Fulham we relied on 4 worldies to get the win, Sheffield I didn’t see so can’t say much and yesterday was nowhere near good enough (plus red card stupidity).
Yet 9 points. Make of that what you will, Liverpool are top of the league!
Nik (where’s the remote), Paris
Spurs mockery – not warranted
As a Spurs fan, I find it really weird how much glee and mockery there appears to be towards Spurs from all sides. We are not one of the traditional mega elite like Liverpool and Man United. Don’t have the relatively recent success to build on like Arsenal and haven’t been taken over with petrol state money like Chelsea and Man City. Yet we’ve been able to be at least competitive against these teams over the last 10-15 years, even if that hasn’t generated trophies.
In the 20 years before last season the clubs outside the “big six” to finish in the top six were
Newcastle, Aston Villa, Everton, Bolton, Blackburn, Leicester, Southampton, West Ham United.
The clubs outside of the top six to win a domestic trophy are Middlesbrough, Birmingham, Swansea, Portsmouth, Wigan.
Now what have they all got in common? They have also all been relegated at some point over the same time period (apart from Everton who have come mighty close several times). Is that an odd quirk or a warning shot for someone like Brighton?
My point is, to compete at the top takes a toll and to do it consistently, without it all imploding is really very difficult. In that context, what Spurs have achieved, should be something most others teams should aspire to do. That with the right plan and with steady progress teams can compete at the top. We are obviously not perfect and lots of mistakes have been made, but I just don’t understand why there is so much derision?
It’s almost 2024…move on!
Not sure why our friend Toronto Gooner still wants to go back to something that’s already 6 months old…but for indulgence sake, let’s break it down:
1) Man City were not infallible (they had 5 losses!), even during Arsenal’s breakdown they were still dropping points. They also had midweek games chasing the Treble, whereas Arsenal could rest and recover each week.
2) Which key players were Arsenal missing? Only Saliba, who was really important but doesn’t justify all those dropped points (Partey is forever injured)
3) It would have been fine if they had lost by 1 point or Goal Difference, but they lost by 5 (that’s including Man City’s last game loss to Brentford)
Going even deeper, Arsenal’s results during the stretch run:
2-0 at Anfield became 2-2 (almost 3-2)
2-0 vs West Ham became 2-2
3-3 vs Bottom of Table Southampton (at home!)
1-4 vs Man City (surely a top of table clash should be tighter?)
0-3 vs Brighton (when the lead was 2 points and still in play, plus the mistakes made during the game)
0-1 vs Forest to seal things
That’s 3 losses and 3 draws in their final 9 games. Surely that’s a choke? To compare, people always mention Stevie G’s slip year as a choke by Liverpool, or the Aguerooooo year as a choke by MU. And those were lost by 2 points/Goal Difference!
It’s no shame to choke, as Gooner said those were inexperienced lads. Just accept it happened and move on, like the players are doing now. Why stay in the unchangeable past when Arsenal is trying to win it all in the now?
The Sunday Mailbox…
Oh, I can’t wait for Sunday’s mailbox.
Arsenal robbed by the match officials again? My tinfoil hat is ready to go.
Oh, and is today a Glazers out, a Ten Hag out or a players’ out? Or all of them? Or in, for that matter? I ask as a win in the week will surely mean a host of disciples writing in to declare that United are still in ‘Europe’ and ‘only’ x-number of points from the top four, won’t it? I get confused, you see.
Congratulations to both the Blades and Burnley though. Good effort.
Mark (Hoping for lots of Villa mails celebrating. You deserve it). MCFC.