New outside bet for PL Champions: Manchester United

Date published: Tuesday 5th February 2019 2:28

Anything to add? theeditor@football365.com

 

The outside bet for the league…
New outside bet for Premier League Champions this year: Manchester United. Liverpool and City are falling apart, and Spurs may still not be consistent enough. Chelsea are disharmonious and Sarri will do a Mourinho and throw his squad under the bus. Utd under OGS are flying, could they repeat the 1995-6 season when they caught Newcastle from 12 points back? We’re “only” 14 points back now!

It’s a bold prediction but it might just happen!
Rohit

 

February 5 – best day for footballers
Word of advice if you want your child to grow up to become a world class footballer – try and persuade your significant other to get frisky around the 5th May.

Why? Because look at this XI that were born on 5th February…

GK: Rafael Puente (played 50 times for Mexico – only goalkeeper Wikipedia brought up!)
DF: Cesare Maldini
DF: Quique Flores
DF: Vedran Corluka

DF: Stefan de Vrij
MF: Giovanni van Bronckhorst
MF: Gheorghe Hagi

MF: Adnan Januzaj
FW: Cristiano Ronaldo
FW: Carlos Tevez
FW: Neymar

It’s a bit attack heavy but with Sven Goran Eriksson as manager I’m sure he’d get them playing a wonderfully negative way in order to ground out a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein (either that or he’d try and forge Gerrard and Lampard’s passports to fit them in that midfield together). Ultimately there surely isn’t a better day to be born if you want to become a professional footballer.

All that and you’d have to leave Billy Sharp on the bench.
Mike, Burgess Hill (its also my mate Birch’s birthday, but he’s rubbish)

 

Decisions not going Liverpool’s way
I think everyone who has seen the footage could see quite clearly that Milner was a offside but for Fallooda to mention certain decisions just going Liverpools way is ludicrous.It goes both ways.

Arsenal away Firminio had a perfectly good goal disallowed,City away Kompany should have been red carded and Leicester last week the most blatant penalty of all time was not given.Liverpool took 2 points from 9 when it could have been 9 from 9.Even last night the West Ham equaliser could easily have been disallowed for Nobles bodycheck/block on Keita.As for the penalties Liverpool went 400 days without a penalty yet were not given blatant ones numerous times.Spurs got more pens at Anfield then Liverpool last season.Salah & Lovrens pens were blatant v Arsenal,Salah was dragged v N’castle(as was Lingard v Burnley).Every club needs luck,City won their first PL scoring 2 goals in injury time(when QPR were told they were safe)& Utd won a treble when Arsenal missed a last min pen and Bayern missed about 6 easy chances(& hit the woodwork 3 times.)Even the ’08 european cup final Terry slipped & missed a pen that would have given Chelsea the trophy.

You mention the fans will never shut up if they win.
Gerrard slipped v Chelsea 5 years ago and opposition fans sing it every week,when will they shut up about it?
Klopp has said all season to wait till Liverpool are mathematically guaranteed top 4 to talk about the league.This is a club that has made the last 16 of the CL twice in 9 years,made top 4 three times in 9 years so I highly doubt fans are saying “this is our year.”
Follow your own club,enjoy the sport & stop being so bitter.
Ferg,Cork.

 

Comparison of midfield stats does not look good for Liverpool
Dear F365,

Some stats from Opta (as of this morning) on the number of shots taken so far this season by midfielders at the current Premier League top three:

Liverpool:
Keita 20
Wijnaldum 19
Milner 13
Fabinho 12
Henderson 7
Lallana 4

Man City:
D Silva 38
Mahrez 36
B Silva 34
Fernandinho 26
Gundogan 25
De Bruyne 12

Spurs:
Eriksen 41
Lamela 27
Moura 26
Delle Ali 25

A few quick observations:

D  Silva, B Silva and Mahrez have taken more or less as many shots individually as Liverpool’s first choice midfield of Henderson, Milner and Wijnaldum have mustered between them. Changing the composition of the Liverpool midfield makes little difference here.

Fernandinho, City’s defensive midfield powerhouse, has had more shots than Milner and Fabinho combined, and more than either of those two combined with Henderson. Gundogan, with 25, has as many or more than the above combinations.

De Bruyne, who has mostly been injured, has had almost twice as many shots as Henderson, who has been a regular starter.

Spurs have four midfielders with more shots than Liverpool’s top shooter.

A quick glance at Man Utd’s stats shows that Paul Pogba alone has taken 76 (!) shots, despite Mourinho.

This is something that has been bothering me for most of the season. Why do the Liverpool midfield take so few shots? It almost looks like they’ve been instructed not to shoot. Henderson has scored a few screamers during his time at Liverpool, but 7 shots is just pitifully low.

Different midfields for different purposes, I get that, but there has to be some threat from the players in the middle of the park. I think the burden on our front three is beginning to show. None of it is helped of course by the loss of half of our back line.

It’s not looking good.
Mick, LFC, Stockholm

 

Klopp is a bully
Tom, the Tractor Boy is more or less spot on I think.

Full disclosure, as a Man Utd fan, I’m not neutral (at all) but Klopp is the main reason (other than the fans, eurgh the fans) that I don’t want Liverpool to win the title.

He’s false, basically. He’s dined out on authenticity, passion etc for ages now and it’s being exposed as just being dishonest. He’s not a nice guy, he doesn’t give a sh*t about doing things the right way either. There’s a great line in High Fidelity about how someone shows that they have character by how they react when they’re having a bad day, and avoid taking it out on other people. Klopp is literally the opposite, a bully who stamps his feet when he doesn’t get his own way (NB – I am not saying for one single second that Fergie didn’t have those traits, and that this therefore makes me a MASSIVE hypocrite, just that I despise it in Klopp), who will happily throw certain players under a bus, who intimidates officials and tries to do the same with opposing coaches and players. He is, in summary, a sh*t bloke.

Some players and managers do definitely buy into all the #YNWA garbage (with Benitez for example, it felt completely real, much as I loathed him. He genuinely did/does care). With Klopp, it just comes across as self-serving cynicism. His mask has slipped and I hope to see him absolutely unravel in the next 2 months.

Though the worst thing about it is, I have my own issues with Pep and Man City, so this is a bit of a “Sophie’s choice” for United fans – a City retention or a Liverpool win. On balance I’d prefer the former.
Jonny, MUFC

 

Calm down, there’s quite a few games to go
Good God everyone hit the panic button didn’t they? Never mind Liverpool shitting the bed, the mailbox has done it for them. Calm down folks, there’s quite a few games to go. And we’re actually still on top. Maybe we’ll win, maybe we won’t, but I choose not to buy into the 24hr news, tabloid style, everything-must-have-narrative-implications mania that apparently quite a few do/have.

Oh and Tom, as a general rule, the number of times you use the word snowflake is inversely proportional to the degree to which you can think critically. I have never heard someone use that word, in that way and though “oh that’s a well made point, what an erudite fellow”.

Your farm. Calm it.
Rowan Hansberry. 

 

Master of manipluation Klopp has created a team in his image: losers
Well, dont say I didnt warn you.

Last week I said I think Liverpool are unlikely to win any games in February if Klopp remains, and I stick by it.

Amazingly, it was only one month ago that Liverpool went to City with the chance to go 10 points clear. Then Klopp waved a huge white flag with his team selection and it has been downhill since. By the time Liverpool next play, City will be top. Its an incredible collapse, completely orchastrated by the manager. He simply has to go.

That 7 point lead that Liverpool had when they went to The Etihad was the result of lucky decisions, deflected goals, last minute strikes and opposition errors. Or put another way, luck. I cant recall a season in which Liverpool have had so much go for them, and in those situations you have to take advantage. Klopp has blown it.

Liverpool fans need to open their eyes. Klopp is a master of manipulation. As I said last week, if he was a car salesman he would be incredible. But when you’re a shill like Klopp, manipulation is your main weapon. Many fans are completely hoodwinked by him.

Look at what he is creating at Liverpool. When Van Dijk signed despite apparent interest from City and Chelsea, Liverpool fans saw it as a coup. A demonstration of the “power of Klopp”. Yet in reality, Van Dijk was taking the easy option. At City and Chelsea, success is now expected because of the wealth of their owners. At Liverpool, if you dont win anything then so what? Theres no expectation.

Other players such as Alisson have spoken about Klopp persuading them, and I can see exactly how those conversations went: “Come to Liverpool! We’ll have some fun, you’ll make tons of money, theres no pressure to win anything (but if you do you’ll be loved so its win-win), and those morons in the crowd will believe anything I say!”

Again, Liverpool fans rejoice when players commit to new contracts, but why? Klopp is creating a squad of players who are simply happy to take part rather than win trophies. He is a serial loser. Hes been in management for decades yet has just one brief period of success with the back to back Bundesliga titles. That is an anomoly in his career. Its “Djimi Traore won the CL” territory.

Think about this: has Klopp ever signed a player for Liverpool who has experience of winning a league title in a major league, or the CL? The players that he does have with that experience (Milner, Sturridge) are bit part players. Coincidence? I dont think so. Out of all the players Klopp has had a Liverpool, the one you would say had the strongest personality was Sakho. Yes, he may not have been the best defender, but we’re talking about a player who was made captain of PSG when he was 16 years old. Klopp bombed him out at the first opportunity, because he needs to surround himself with weak yes men like Jordan Henderson rather than players with a bit of fight and desire.

Klopp loves the play the underdog, even though it harms the club. Look how he refused to address the keeper situation last season and ended up with Karius in goal for a CL Final. Look how the club announced that Gomez needs surgery the day after the January transfer window closed. Klopp clearly knew about it but still refused to buy. Its almost like he sees it as “cheating”, as if he has to go on with what he has rather than buy. His decision to let Clyne leave is laughable. And yet, the fans still back him. Its genuinely mind boggling.

The football that has been served up all season has been drivel. Last night Roberto Firmino was regularly picking the ball up from in between Van Dijk and Matip. Absolutely bizarre. Theres no plan at all, just simply hoping that Salah or Mane produce something, and then when it goes wrong play the blame game.

Liverpool will limp home to 3rd this season. They will never get a better chance to win the league than the one they were presented with this year through luck and circumstance. Klopp is 100% responsible for the failure. Remember that the next time he wears his Beatles t-shirt.
Smiddy

 

I was going to send in an email on the same lines as Tom, Tractor boy in Switzerland, but he beat me to the punch!

You’d think that a guy who is experienced in being runner up in so many competitions compared to those he’s won would carry himself with a bit more dignity when things don’t go his way.

It’s always unseemly to watch anyone come out with those passé “I’m not saying it was the ref’s fault, but…” excuses, but to hear a grown man effectively say that the offside goal his side benefitted from affected the ref’s performance to their detriment is beyond parody – just defend your undeserved lead Jurgen, and it wouldn’t have been an issue!

He’s one of those people who’s just insufferable when things don’t go their way… on one level, it’s sad for all of us. It may be just me but I think there’s been a turning point – all those “lucky to have wons” of a few weeks ago have now turned into “lucky to have drawns” in the last few fixtures, the nine point lead has become three, even though City have dropped points in the same period. Liverpool have lost the momentum, and with it Jurgen has lost his veneer of being a nice guy (though the veneer on his teeth is holding up).

I fear that there are going to be lots more insufferable backhanded complaints about referees not being biased enough in his team’s favour…
Andy (MUFC) P.S aren’t managers supposed to be punished for questioning the partiality of referee decisions? Because that’s what he was doing…

 

Sorry, Tom the tractor boy in Switzerland – you’ll not hear reasons why this neutral despises Liverpool.  Your mail reads like that odd prison planet kid who lives in his Mum’s spare room decided yesterday that he likes football and wrote down all his best thoughts. The Liverpool fans I follow on social media, and who I know in the real world (yetch), are either a bundle of nerves or rather enjoying their team being top of a very strong league. I’m sure you can find some extremes, that’s true of every club though. Somewhere out there, there’s a Huddersfield fan tweeting to his 35 followers that the manager should be sacked after losing to Man City, despite not knowing his first name yet. Probably.

This neutral (no such thing, obviously) is perfectly happy for Liverpool to win the league.  Reasons!

Klopp is adorable (but NOT PERFECT. Everyone MUST BE PERFECT NOW).
Mostly likeable players.  Salah has a kind face, Milner is a model pro, Shaqiri is matched for ‘unusual shape for a footballer’ only by our very own Tom Lapslie, Virgil is the best first name of any footballer on the planet.
It would be nice to get a new winner of the Premier League.
Their source of money seems to be less morally objectionable than some of their rivals.
I’m cool with Spurs winning the league too, for pretty much the exact same reasons.

I can’t imagine Liverpool fans care much that an Ipswich fan doesn’t like them (but spends the time to read up their finances), or that a Colchester fan does quite like them – I expect they’re focussed on the whole being top of the league thing..but I do think football would be much better place if we were all a bit nicer, and spent our time writing about our own teams.*

*Colchester update: Quite good for a bit this season, back to being rubbish again now.

Love and hugs,
Jeremy Aves

 

A question for the Mailbox
Is the primary reason why Marco Silva continues to get the benefit of the doubt a function of the fact that when he first came to England he was subject to the ‘Why does it always have to be a foreign manager’ brigade?

I think there’s a sense that people are desperate for Silva to do well primarily to show that opinions like that don’t – or at least shouldn’t – hold any sway in the modern football discourse. But here’s the thing:

Maybe Marco Silva just isn’t that cut out for long term management in the premier league? it doesn’t mean Paul Merson is right. It doesn’t mean that the scorn his opinions were rightly shown were wrong. It just means that Hull took a gamble on him that nearly paid off, and then so did Watford and Everton and it didn’t.

Sometimes managers just don’t suit certain leagues, sometimes managers appear to be better than they are. Sometimes, the short term uplift a manager brings is then easily countered and found out by other clubs and managers. Like, Owen Coyle was a promising manager once. Things change.
Simon, London (I like Marco Silva)

 

The ultimate bridesmaid is ruining the wedding
Last night was desperately disappointing, and yet another example of Klopp’s Liverpool choking in a high pressure game. There’s no shame in doing so (over and over again) in my honest opinion, because Liverpool, while spending significant sums (potentially sums that would demand greater improvement, granted) are sill a few spend cycles behind the likes of Citeh – there was a mail recently (yesterday?) that highlighted Liverpool have 2 world class players (VVD and Salah) whereas Citeh have almost a full world class 11.

But it’s not just in world class players where Citeh’s squad is vastly superior. Citeh’s squad is superior everywhere – individual personnel, the first 11, squad depth and experience of winning Titles and trophies – these are all critical advantages, and are why Citeh have been favourites all season long, and remain so. When Liverpool are fully fit, on fire and everything is going for them, the first 11 can blow anybody away, but as soon as this unsustainable perfection wanes then the gaps and limitations in the squad are laid bare.

Klopp’s latest excuses must be a smokescreen to distract his players from this cold hard reality – criticising a referee who gave us a blatantly offside goals smacks of desperation, and Klopp should be more concerned with our defence reverting to a complete inability to defend set pieces. We were well lucky to escape with a point last night – sterile domination is never going to bear fruit, and West Ham were way more potent. Klopp must be trying to deflect negativity with his blamestorming, in order to maintain some form of positivity in the players, as they must realise that they are cocking this up royally.

The most depressing thing about last night is that West Ham’s low block and counter-attacking game plan was so utterly predictable, but so damningly effective – it looked like Liverpool had found a solution to this earlier in the season, but now this blueprint can effectively be followed by any team – it’s proven to frustrate the team and the manager. It makes you wonder if Klopp’s visible frustration is rubbing off on the players, causing them to lose their cool and composure, and make bad decisions and look for excuses rather than improvement / goals? I hope not, as that would make Klopp part of the problem rather than the solution.

It’s not over yet, but after recent performances it is fair to assume that we are going to be chasing Citeh soon enough – hopefully this is our preferred state and will switch us back on, because we’ve had multiple chances to pull away any not had the composure to do so.
Gofezo (Tom, Tractor boy in Switzerland – couldn’t you say all of that about pretty much every top team?) Jesus

 

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