The ‘Ole out’ brigade are back, Mikel Mourinho, and more mails

Date published: Friday 24th July 2020 9:50


Thank you for you emails. Keep them coming to


Mikel Mourinho
2 Spurs v Arsenal 1
Possession – 37% – 63%
Total shots – 15 – 13
Clear cut chances – 3 – 0
Pass completion – 81 – 89%

2 Arsenal v Liverpool 1Possession – 31% – 69%
Total shots – 3 – 24
Clear cut chances – 1 – 3
Pass completion – 64% – 85%

2 Arsenal v  Man city 0
Possession – 29% – 71%Total shots – 4 – 16
Clear cut chances – 3 – 2
Pass completion – 71% – 88%

1 Villa v Arsenal 0
Possession – 31% – 69%
Total shots – 8 – 7
Clear cut chances – 1 – 1
Pass completion – 76% – 88%

Arsenal are obviously better without the ball, but nowhere near the standard of the other ‘big 6’. Arteta is doing a decent job, no better, no worse. Manager of the year for parking the bus and sneaking a few wins? He might just sneak into the top 15. Next season we’ll see what he’s made of. You can say ‘Just give him time’, but no manager is given time these days. He probably has till January to see what he can do, then the planes will be flying over the Emirates.
Dave, Chile


Football exists outside the ‘Sky six’
It’s often said around these parts that Londoners are often terrifyingly ignorant of the country outside the M25. I make no comment on that, but I’m starting to think the same about supporters of the ‘Sky Six’ teams knowledge of the other teams in the Premier League, much less in the Football League.

The latest exhibit is the mail from DD, a Manchester United fan from Liverpool, in Thursday morning’s mail box, in which he says that ‘Wolves, Spurs and Everton fans are probably quite miserable’, as far as Wolves are concerned, at least, a frankly laughable statement. Three years ago last month, Nuno Espiritu Santo was appointed manager, and since then we’ve been promoted, notching up 99 points in the process, will have finished at least seventh in the Premier League twice (our highest League position since the early 1980s), reached an FA Cup semi final, had a tremendous run in Europe, beating clubs from Italy, Spain, Portugal and Turkey along the way, and seen players like Moutinho, Neves, Jiminez and Traore in Wolves shirts.

In short, it’s been bloody brilliant and part of me is half expecting to wake up from this amazing dream. Top tip, and this goes for F365 a lot of the time, look outside the Sky Six occasionally, football in the big wide world is great.
Paul Quinton, Wolves


Justice for the 96
The trophy lift happening on the Kop was a nice touch, in that the club could curate what banners were prominent in the (historic) moment.

My eyes were drawn to one in particular, directly behind the lads’ right shoulder. It read “15 April 1989” and then the number 96 directly below.

I didn’t cry at the lifting of the trophy. I cried at the idea of the club celebrating its greatest recent triumph with those souls who went to a football game and never came home.

Justice for the 96.
Aussie Red


It’s Him Again
I’m sorry but despite my promise to myself, to the contrary, I’m compelled to write in about Pogba. This is the league’s most expensive player, whose only significant contribution in a critical 90 minute game is to concede a penalty. Not a single key pass, not close to an assist, no real ability to carry the ball, very little positivity, and even less drive. A few fruitless runs into the penalty box, and a boat load of sideways and backward passes, is what you get for your money.

And let’s talk about the penalty. The only reason he has to make that reflex evasive action with his hands, is that he’s surprised by the ball. And why should that be, you ask? Watch the television angle from behind the goal. His body language will tell you the story of a player whose mind is anywhere but on the game. Any half decent Premier League player would be 100% focused on what was going on, and also that he was inside the penalty box. He would have ducked, or let the ball graze his head, or in a worst case, taken the blow, but not Pogba. That’s 4 goals conceded in 2 games through individual errors.

This will greatly amuse all other fans, and bring tears to my fellow United supporters. But the irony is that United are paying the better part of a million pounds per week in salaries to Pogba, De Gea and Sanchez. If Solskjaer bites the bullet, and manages to jettison the 3 of them, United can probably get half a dozen players of premier league calibre, and ensure that the squad has some depth. Today Pogba was the reason we didn’t dominate the midfield for 70% of the game, against a 33 year old Mark Noble.  We’re back to the 20% effort Pogba. Towards the end of last season, McTominay was consistently outplaying Pogba. I’ve no doubt he would have done a far better job today. I hope he gets the nod against Leicester.
Ved (Once again, has De Gea ever saved a penalty?) Sen, MUFC. 


£250,000 to get hit in the face
F365, I love that you defend Pogba on a regular basis, someone has to.

But, there is no excuse for his mistake versus West Ham. Defending his face you say? Paul Pogba gets paid £250 000 a week to take that ball to the face and deny a shot on target.

That’s Pogba in a nutshell. He’s a genius but, he puts himself before the team. That’s why many fans won’t be sad to see him go.
Ollie (I’d have done the same as Paul, but I’m not being paid silly money to do it) BT, Bangkok


Dear Editor, I realise that the whole schtick of mediawatch is to be contrary, so if every paper is having a go at Paul Pogba then it must defend him, by saying it is human nature to protect your face but come on, he didn’t even protect his face as everyone else would, his hands were half a yard away from his face and he fisted the ball away, not put his hands up covering his face. His “instinctive ” protection was a weird way of doing it and you know it.

Also Arse fans already clamouring for Arteta out, are you for F-ing real?!
Keith MCFC


Pogba the walking machine
* Man Utd were tired but dear God, Pogba was a walking machine. A mailer said it once so I thought I have a look and his presence really does take some energy out of midfield(which Bruno may try add to the detriment of the team).

*West Ham deserved it though, more organized and worked harder.

*Can see Utd losing on Sunday and then winning the Europa League..

*TAA has to be considered the new David Beckham…that whip on the cross from Firmino  and that free kick…Becks is back, and he’s Black!

*I do feel however, people are figuring out how to punish this Liverpool side, and thus(hopefully) next year we have a four way title race!

*Congrats Liverpool on the 1st in 30. Long may it be the last.
Calvino. Man Utd


Pogba defence
Thank you, I love but i have never shared my thoughts.

I felt that it’s about time someone tried to defend Pogba.He really is a wonderful player and just suffers from a lapse of Judgement like any of us. Sad he may have cost the team yesterday but he shouldn’t shoulder the blame of a truly knackered team.

We should blame Fosu Mensah for the crazy sliding tackle to give away the freekick in the first place or ask why Solskjaer didn’t really use his bench except to change Fosu Mensah and the relaxed Rashford.
Alexander Kenya.


There’ll probably be no surprise that I’m not in favour of selling or dropping Pogba, even after the West Ham game. We all know it was dumb for him to put his arms up like that but that’s all it was; a human reaction to protect his face when he should have just headed the ball, taken one for the team in the face or left it for De Gea.But Pogba knows it, acknowledged this in front of his team mates and apologised to them. Everyone makes mistakes where, upon retrospection, you think you could have done better. Let’s not blow it out of proportion.

Aside from that he didn’t have a poor game in the way that Rashford or Fernandes had poor games, however, I think tactically he was misused. Ole seemed to want him to play in a deeper role essentially alongside Matic. He did this but to the detriment of the attack. With Pogba and Fernandes further up the field, it makes it harder for the opposing team to press and stifle both Fernandes and Pogba, and it creates more time and space for one of them to put a ball into Martial, Rashford or Greenwood. With Pogba playing deeper, it was left to Bruno to produce some magic and he was simply mobbed every time he got the ball in addition to having a poor game by his standards. Our goal came when Pogba joined the attack and drew players away from Greenwood and Martial by running into the box, make of that what you will.

But I thought all the team put in poor to mediocre performances. Undoubtedly a lot of that is through burnout – the team played 3 high level matches in 6 days. They might be top level athletes but they are still human. And the blame for this burnout, as others rightly pointed out is in a lack of rotation. Ole has played more or less the same team since the restart and it shows. Ok, Lingard and Pereira aren’t really good enough to start regularly, but they’re good enough to fill in for either Fernandes or Pogba against the teams at the bottom of the table. If Ole doesn’t think they are, even for 45, they shouldn’t be at the club or in the squad.

And again, here is another issue – against West Ham Ole made 2 substitutions; AWB for Fosu-Mensah (F-M was on a booking so fair enough) and Ighalo for Rashford (who was having a poor game). Fernandes was having a poor game, Pogba and Matic were looking leggy. We had Mata (good for 30 minutes you’d think), Lingard, James, Dalot and McTominay on the bench. If the players are visibly knackered, he should know to bring on fresh legs! I can’t understand why Ole only used 2 subs out of 5 when the team clearly needed energy. And what does it say to the players on the bench when you’re watching that dross and still not getting on?

Despite the upturn in our fortunes, it’s for reasons like this that I don’t want Ole at the wheel still. I still don’t think he’s good enough, I think his team selection and squad management has been poor and I would not be surprised if this costs us against Leicester. I only hope that Wolves do a number on Chelsea and we can nick a result against a rested Leicester, even if it means parking the bus.
Daniel, Cambridge


Did no-one do GCSE PE?
To everyone who is saying that footballers shouldn’t be tired because they have had a 3 month break – just pipe down, you don’t get it. You can do as many sit ups and sprints up and down the garden as you like, do you think that is going to replicate the demands of a premier League football match? Or even training for that matter?

Did anyone at least do GCSE PE in school? When you stop training/playing, you lose fitness, it’s called reversibility. Going up a notch, anyone heard of periodization? A training programme that is designed for players to maintain fitness and PEAK at specific points in a season. Funnily enough, 99.9% of these programmes do not involve a midseason break for 3 months where you are stuck at home.

And before I go, 365, where the bollucks is the Liverpool V Chelsea 16 conclusions?
Ollie (I’d like to know how fit the “footballers shouldn’t get tired” brigade actually are) BT


Lots of spaff being flung about regarding tiredness and Manchester United of late, with one side arguing that multi-millionaires shouldn’t be tired after an unprecented 100 day break and others pointing out that they’re only humans and therefore will be feeling the effects of lots of games in comparatively fewer days than normal.

Both points have validity but both miss the essential context in all of this which is, whether you think they should be fresh as daisies or barely able to drag themselves over the white line, all of the Premier Leagues clubs have had a much more condensed run of fixtures of late so all will be in a similar position.

United kicked off two days earlier than Chelsea in June, and by the date of the semi-final both were playing their ninth game of the restart. So yeah, United had less days to prepare for that game, but that and the earlier start meant Chelsea had played the preceding 8 games in four fewer days, surely that will have led to tiredness In their players too no?

Granted, West Ham had played two games less than Manchester United prior to last night’s match, but then they have a much weaker squad so are likely to have rotated less than their opponents. One of the key complaints regarding the 5 substitutes rules was that it would favour the bigger clubs with stronger squads after all.

So, whilst tiredness may or may not have been a factor for Manchester United of late, let’s not pretend that they’re the only club affected by this because all are in a very similar boat.

In fact, Arsenal and Manchester City have each played 11 times since the restart, compared to United’s 10.
Jonny Dance


Pogba and co seem to all have same issue, the heads seem to go down quite too quickly and look like they are sulking. The perception doesn’t look good, makes them look as if they have given up.

They also seem to be slow moving the ball, and hardly seem to cross the ball. Playing the ball through doesn’t work if defence has players surrounded.

Need to go back to training and work on plan B if plan A is scuppered.

Leicester game will not be an easy game but let’s back them non the least and hopefully we come and win.

Peace out.


Bad management Ole
The way recent results have gone for Manchester United, it would seem fatigued has really slowed down the bright start post lockdown. But when you look closer it really comes down to bad squad management by ole . Firstly making the wrong choice by playing back three against Chelsea in FA Cup semifinal. United are so slow in bringing ball out of the back that adding Eric Bailly in the mix made it worse . In midfield he he could have clearly opted for fred & mctominay combination to rest matic. What’s with not playing Odion ighalo when United clearly needed a target man . Either you go with a full squad for a semi final game or make your changes . Don’t go the in between way.This lot of choices backfired in game against West ham where clearly half of the squad was not well rested. So the decision ole took against Chelsea really didn’t serve any purpose but only made it worse.
Secondly in the game against West ham if the players like Pogba(clearly uninspired ,and lack of desire) ,Greenwood(tired at 70min mark) are fatigued and not able to get in the game ,why wouldn’t the manager opt for a change . Ole could have clearly taken off Pogba at 60min mark and Greenwood later . It may have freshen up things .
But that has  been the case with ole in matches like this ,when things aren’t working he’s not able to come up with some on the feet thinking . If United need to make some real progress next season , manager really needs to learn from mistakes and do some quick in game thinking  instead of waiting for tired legs  to show up.
Suraj Pawar, India 


The ‘Ole out’ brigade
After Just 1 week 4 games, and mistakes yes, here appears the ‘Ole Out’ brigade again. Just been in the background praying for a dip in form so they can justify themselves again. Wait for the ‘If we had [insert big name manager] (e.g. Poch/Allegri etc) this wouldn’t be happening’. Well we tried that twice and how did that work out?? Now is Ole the most talented manager don’t think so but maybe he is the best fit for United with his knowledge of the club and its values. Will he take United as far as the Title?? I don’t know but he is going in the right direction overall and maybe he will be the one who lays the foundations while maybe someone else is needed to put the finishing touches in a year or 2! or maybe he will do it himself time will tell. but jumping on his back after a few iffy performances esp in a period of 10 odd games in 30 days while quite a few teams didn’t have FAC games is just plain wrong. Now if its next season and they have got Sancho et al and nothing has changed then have at it!
Joe, Killarney, Ireland


Transfer ban? Look at their squad!
I genuinely think Frank Lampard has done a good job in his first year at The Bridge. At some point he’ll probably manage England. This is coming from an Arsenal fan. But, please, can somebody explain to me how he’s struggled with the transfer ban. All I hear from pundits is “ooo, hasn’t he done well. Especially considering he hasn’t spent any money!”. It’s lazy punditry. But, then again, what do I know? It’s probably really hard to get results with a squad comprising a £70 million goalkeeper, Alonso, Azpilacueta, two towering centre backs in Rüdiger and Christiansen (good enough to bin off Cahill and Luiz), a midfield of Kante, Kovacic, Jorginho, Loftus-Cheek, Barkley, Willian, Pedro, Pulisic, Hudson-Adoi… Oh, add to that a proven Championship goalscorer (Abraham) who has transitioned well to offset the output of Giroud (a proven Premier League striker). I mean, what’s a head coach to do? Honestly, I’d be scared to face that squad in an FA Cup final even if it were the kit manager in charge.
Simon AFC 


Brucey bonus
Before I launch myself into a paranoid rant, a few disclaimers; I’m a Newcastle fan who loved Rafa, was dismayed when he left and was underwhelmed when he was replaced with Steve Bruce. Now that’s out of the way, James, Galway placing Steve Bruce 4th on his manager of the season list (ahead of Nuno and Brendan Rodgers!) I need to genuinely ask why so many neutrals think Bruce is doing anywhere between a good and excellent job?

If you judge his performance purely on stats, he’s taken charge of a team that ended mid table the past 2 seasons (10th and 13th) and is set to finish 13th with them. They’re comfortably clear of relegation and miles off the top half; to me this feels anywhere between okay and ‘meh’. My take is that our squad is about as strong as Crystal Palace (solid defence, workmanlike central midfield, exciting wingers and toothless strikers) and standing shoulder to shoulder with them in lower mid table is about where we should be.  Do all those who think Newcastle are having a strong season feel the same about Palace? This rush to praise Steve Bruce beyond his accomplishments actually does him a disservice, the implication being that everyone thought he’d be relegated this season.

Having got that off my chest, I guess it’s a frustrating rerun of the Pardew years when pundits and rival supporters would look at our place in the table, think “that looks about right” and use it as a stick to beat the Newcastle fans with.
Kevin, Nottingham


Footballisms that grind your gears
End of season vibe to this bit of fluff email but something to be considered in a light hearted end of season way!

What footballism sayings really grind your gears?

Here’s one to start you off – it really bugs me when a commentator indicates a player was ‘the first to react’ to a ball that just fell at his feet – it wasn’t that he reacted quicker than everyone else – it’s just that he was standing in the spot closest to where the ball landed – and nothing to do with his reflexes!!

Latest example and serial offender Jonathan Pierce on MOTD last night commentating on Sterling being ‘first to react’ to Fosters penalty save in City V Watford – he took the damn penalty (hence head start on everyone) and ball landed back at his feet – pure luck!

Any others?


Genetics is the key
In response to Dan, (looking forward to discovering The Secret of Football and becoming a pro player at the age of 36) Hassocks

The reason some players can absolutely tonk a ball with zero backlift is because… genetics. To compare it to a knock out puncher in boxing, i.e. Mike Tyson – no one coached Tyson to have that power, he just had it due to his genetics. Where the tendons and ligaments attach to the bones, length of levers, types of muscle fibres etc meant that he was always going to have that power. Same type of thing for footballers. They can improve their accuracy and consistency through repetition, and add some power through hitting the weights, but in the end, their genetics seal the deal.
Ollie (please let Utd scrape another draw at Lecister) BT, Bangkok


Balance please
Ads are for sure one thing…but they truly aren’t the annoying thing.

Its almost like you were the bullied kid in school when everyone was 15. Your thirty now, smarter, bigger and stronger than your bullies, you want to enact revenge for all those days of misery…even though the bully barely remembers who you were.

Yet, you do as you perceive they did, with of course, a gloss of superiority, as now is your time to shine. All before was inferior. This comes out in certain writers articles.

I feel this ideology breeds contempt and disdain. People can really see the obvious love for some teams, and disregard for others. People, as stupid as we are, can recognize click bait, we can recognize the story we read on skysports broken into five stories on your site.

You guys and gal are all football fans and no doubt that is injected into your writing, but it doesn’t feel balanced…think Neville and Carragher..they are both obviously one sided about certain things, but thats clear as day. I know when one is trying to wind up the other(and fans).

You seem to do the same…but not obvious…like you want that message like theirs, but with some venom hidden in it. More mean that tribal football fan.

But whatever, I still spend everyday here…


Sinatra swings
“And so the end is near. And now I face the final curtain”
Take it away, Frank. Everybody sing along!

Arse By Myself  v   Wat Now My Love ford

My Melancholy Burnley  v   Bewitched Brighton and Bewildered

When We’re Dancing Cheek To Cheekslea  v  Witchcraft Oh Oh Witchcraft Wanderers

Palace Will Say We’re In Love  v  Tottenham High Hopes

Every Body Loves Somebody Someton   v  Born Free mouth

I’m Gonna Sit Right Down and Write Myself a Leicester  v  For What Is a Manchester United

I Did it My Waychester City  (and screwed EUFA into the bargain) v  I Could Have Danced All Nightwich City

New Castle New Castle it’s a wonderful Toon  v  Let’s Do It. Let’s Fall in Loverpool

Sinatrampton  v  I Left My Heart in Sheffield United

I Will Drink The Wine Ham United  v  As Times Go By Villa
Cheers, Gary (United fan ex Pat in Pennsylvania) B


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