The Mailbox selects every Premier League club’s most overrated player and calls out Arsenal supporters for not altering their expectations.
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I think at some point Arsenal fans need to recognise that expectations change as the season plays out. That point for Arsenal was probably around November when it was pretty clear they were fully challenging for the title and Man City with Haaland weren’t quite the all powerful football smashing machine we thought. That’s the point where the talk of “at the start of the season we just hoped for top four” should have ended but to still be regurgitating this in March is ridiculous.
So why are they doing it? The answer to that is obvious, it’s a defence mechanism, if you don’t get your hopes up then they can’t be dashed so badly. Which is fine but it’s just not reality. Anyone would think Arsenal are 5 points behind with 13 games left let alone 5 points ahead. Your hopes should be up, Arsenal’s performances up until now have warranted that. From what I’ve seen of a couple of dodgy calls they should really be further ahead, would you have your hopes up then or still set on only achieving Champions League football because that was the goal in August? If Arsenal are two points ahead with a vastly superior goal difference heading into the final day will the fans just be saying “we’ve secured top four and that was the original goal so it doesn’t really matter how today goes”?
Now I’ve closely witnessed these battles with Man City and it’s feasible they’ll win all 13 remaining games leaving Arsenal basically needing to win their other 12. That’s a very tall order and no disgrace if they don’t make it. Or they might not and 88-90 points wins the title. In that case Arsenal are 100% in this race and you will/should be 100% disappointed if you don’t win it. Not one single Arsenal fan will be pleased to have made the top four if they lose this title when it was there for the taking. A similar opportunity might not come around for a long time.
Liverpool vs Man Utd
It would be hard not to be extremely impressed by the job ETH has done this season. Handed a basket case of a club, he’s molded it to his will and transformed them into a side on the highest upward trajectory in the country. Sure, decent money has been spent, but the super-expensive Antony in particular, is one of the rare failures – though admittedly this may change. In short, United are not the comparatively soft touch they have been in recent years.
And soft touch is certainly a label that can be applied to us this year. I was personally fond of using the unsuccessful attempt at the quadruple as a big reason for this year’s decline. The emotional, mental and physical cost it took etc etc. But it’s a decent length of time ago now, so let’s just get over it already. The side just got too old for the system it plays and needs gutting. All of the midfield and most of the defence, so no problem there then.
All of this means that a Man U fresh off a Carabao trophy success should be considered favourites and rightly so. But at Anfield in a highly charged atmosphere, Liverpool may well manage to raise our game to our old heights. As we did against City and most demonstrably did not against Madrid. So it’s a pick ‘em for me. Either side winning or the draw wouldn’t surprise me but if it was particularly emphatic either way, that would be eye opening.
Most overrated player per Premier League Team
Given its a Friday, and I am certain half of my colleagues don’t work on a Friday having noticed a pattern over the last few months, I thought that it would be a good time for a random football article in stating the 20 most overrated players per team in the Premier League in chronological /alphabetical order:
Arsenal – Kieran Tierney – Hard to do this one given they are top of the league, but given he cost around £25million and hasn’t made a huge impact since joining in 2019, I would perhaps have to say him which is a bit harsh due to injuries.
Aston Villa – Leon Bailey – 4 goals in 23 league games this season. Scores a half decent goal every 6 weeks, but somehow starts most games for Villa.
Bourenmouth – Kieffer Moore – Basically the Welsh version of Andy Carroll, shouldn’t be anywhere near the Premier League.
Brentford – Mikkel Damsgaard – I almost felt guilty doing this one, but only person I could really think of given his hype before he came to Brentford.
Brighton & Hove Albion – Moises Caicedo – Okay yes he has been very good, but I am sorry he isn’t worth £70-75 million. Doesn’t mean he is a bad player, but a tad overrated should be half of that value.
Chelsea – Ben Chillwell & Kai Havertz – I could do a few Chelsea players here lol, but I would say Kai Havertz & Ben Chillwell here. Havertz looks like a lost puppy at times and Chillwell hasn’t done anything special since arriving from Leicester.
Crystal Palace – Jordan Ayew – Once again, should not be a Premier League, at best a top half Championship player
Everton – DCL – Without a doubt Calvert Lewin. I am telling you, he will partly be the reason they go down. Seems more interested being a model than a footballer which is a shame given his potential.
Fulham – Carlos Vinicius – Maybe a bit of a harsh one, but his goal record isn’t great. Perhaps overshadowed by Mitrovic and how reliable he has been in the last two seasons. If anything, a number of underrated players at Fulham.
Leicester City – Daniel Amartey – Doesn’t seem like a proper CB and makes a number of mistakes too. Not too sure how he starts most games!
Leeds United – Tyler Adams – A half decent physical player, but doesn’t look like he knows how to actually play football in a technical POV. No goals or Assists in 22 league games, probably part of the reason they are fighting relegation.
Liverpool – Jordan Henderson – No real explanation needed, think he has only had two or three decent seasons at Liverpool overall. Good leader, but so average on the ball.
Manchester City – Phil Foden – A bit of a controversial one here, but doesn’t look like a player who can make a MASSIVE difference when the going gets tough. Perhaps I have put Phil down because City have just so damn consistent in last 5-6 years.
Manchester United – Anthony Martial – Great talent, but such a half-arsed player. In the last 3 season, has only scored 14 goals.
Newcastle United – Callum Wilson – Another controversial one here, but personally speaking I think if Newcastle want to challenge for Europe, they need a top top striker. Too injury prone as well.
Nottingham Forrest – Morgan Gibbs-White – Just doesn’t seem to do much in terms of overall goal involvement and the game itself when on the ball, purchased for a ridicilously high price as well.
Southampton – Che Adams – Never seen him as the main striker, not a bad player, but part of the reason Southampton will most likely get relegated this season not consistent enough.
Spurs – Richarlison – 2 goals this season. That is £25million per goal, enough said.
West Ham United – Decland Rice – I have always thought Rice was good, but IMMENSLY overrated. How on earth he is being linked with a £100 million move is beyond me, defenitely better midfielders out there.
Wolverhampton – Matheus Nunes – Signed for £38 million and I don’t believe he has even scored a goal. a total of 10 career goals by the age of 24 years old is pretty poor.
Rami, Manchester (Incoming Anfield defeat upcoming for United, just watch Liverpool have the game of their lives!)
I saw it mooted on social media today that FIFA was considering changing to a clock that stops when the ball is out of play as a way to combat time-wasting. It was probably unsuccessful clickbait crap, but it got me thinking, and I wonder what F365 readers think of the idea.
The first thing I realized was that an “absolute” clock wouldn’t put an end to time-wasting; it would just redefine it as breather-forcing. Matches would surely take just as long to play. Starting from that understanding, I would imagine one’s response to the proposition might depend on whether one sees time added on as romantic and exciting, absurd and arbitrary, or yet another way for referees to put their fingers on the scales.
For my part, I think it makes sense to put the referee in charge of the clock, starting and stopping a 90-minute countdown while the ball is in and out of play. It would be a new skill for them to learn, and there would absolutely be growing pains, but broadcasting the clock from the ref’s watch to the scoreboard is hardly a technical challenge. And imagine how fun much the corrective roars from a crowd at a ref who has forgotten to start (or stop) the clock would be!
Unlike many Americans, most of them new to football, I rather enjoy the uncertainty of time added on. But as member of the Toon Army, I have to admit that the subject calls our first meeting with Liverpool this season to mind. I don’t mean to argue that our 98th-minute loss was unjust – heck, I was shouting at my screen for United to stop timewasting at the end. When Carvalho scored, my reaction was basically, “live by the sword, die by the sword.” (I’m also not admitting that goal wasn’t bullsh*t, mind.) The point is that a different clock might’ve prevented my club from shooting itself in the foot. I don’t want them to waste time, I want them to play football (and win reasonably often, natch). I should think a supporter of *any club would agree, at least hypothetically. Jammy Scousers and Mancs of both stripes excluded, for obvious reasons.
Anyway, and all that said: I have to think that when players and fans all know when that final whistle will blow, and they’re praying their side can hold out or get that winning goal as the clock expires, it adds to the excitement, not subtracts from it.
Chris C, Toon Army DC
Thoughts on Manchester United vs West Ham United
Decent performance from United in the cup last night, the team do seem to be gelling at the moment.
Given the context of the season this wasn’t the most important fixture for United, there is clearly more to play for in relation to the league and with the potential to win a European trophy very much alive these are undoubtably the main focus.
Some specific points on the game
Wasn’t it great to see a tricky left winger being prepared to continually take on his full back or come inside and cause problems. Yes the final ball wasn’t always perfect, but what a goal, cutting n on his right and whipping it into the far corner, beautiful.
Our Rolls Royce midfielder continues to impress week after week, where would we be without him!.
Having a Brazilian in your centre of midfield just feels so magical: I’d advise all clubs to try it! Of course not every team can have one of Brazil’s finest!
Thought we started very slow but came into the game well and had some good early chances, brings me on to..
Cant emphasise enough how we need a proper striker on the pitch. It’s all well and good holding the ball up and bringing others into play, we need someone on the pitch prepared to get in the 6 yard box and score.
Our world class international keeper was excellent. There should be no further debate or conjecture, he should be our number 1 for the next few years.
Thought their fans were quiet: noisy when they scored but otherwise disappointing.
Their niggly fouls and play acting where grating at times, not becoming of them, Although to be fair both sides were happy to concede mid field fouls to break up the game, surprised, but pleased, there were so few bookings.
Onwards an upwards. COYI
Ricardo (Manc fans don’t have exclusivity on ”United” or “City”)
Andy The Hammer – many thanks for picking up on my very late night typos re Perkins and Ashby. Well done. You have missed the point entirely. Can we agree that Mubama is a potential star in the making who is given no chance and who is way more fit for purpose that Antonio? No? Have you seen Mubama play? I doubt it from your letter. Do you not think that Moyes has crushed any prospect of talented youth players making it through?
As for giving Moyes a chance, he (kind of) saved us from the drop one year. But he is the reason why our squad was so crushed by the time of the Europa semis last year that we had no chance. He is also why Perkins and Ashby left. We have the oldest squad in the PL. Whilst our youth team is class, again.
You say that Soucek was never world class? Seriously? How long have you supported this club and watched global football? Not long enough obviously. When we signed him it was a massive coup. The season before he single handedly took Chelsea apart (albeit in a losing effort for Prague). And in his first season he was our most valuable player (with DR). The reason why his form has dropped off so badly is that Moyes gave DR free rein and told Soucek to play defensive mid. He also ran him into the ground, never giving him a rest.
Moyes persisted with a back 5 for 18 months, even though we haven’t had the players to play that system (Cresswell in a back 3??) for at least a year. You wrote in to criticize me immediately following a 4-0 win against Forest where, for the first time all season, Moyes bowed to enormous pressure and played a back 4, told Declan to actually be disciplined in playing his position, allowing Soucek to get forward, who dictated play. You know why Moyes did that? Because he knew he’d be sacked if he didn’t given in to pressure to play what everyone with any sense can see is our best team/tactics.
Moyes has a proven track record of mediocrity and failure. You say that we can’t aim for top class managers? Why? We obviously spend money, we have a huge (albeit depressingly soulless, but guess what, they all are like that now, stadium. I was at at old Trafford recently and it’s a total sh!thole). I see there being no reason why we can’t attract a Poch or other top manager.
We don’t need to accept this pathetic cowardly defensive BS. Antonio himself has said their instructions are not to go 1 down, and if they do to not go 2 down. Ffs….. I’ve wanted Moyes gone since October. He has a long track record of not being able to take a club higher than mediocrity. I dont accept that as our ceiling. With the squad we have Moyes is laughably underperforming. And it’s not acceptable.
MOYES OUT RIGHT NOW
Are Man United the next Newcastle United?
I have to say there’s few mails I’ve enjoyed reading more than Greg’s (Newcastle fan) entry a couple days ago. This is exactly the position I sympathize with. I can tell you that the Man Utd fans (and other football fans) that I know (myself included) that have it in for you are picturing those Magpies fans that were wearing kaffiyehs (Saudi headdresses) the day you were bought. The ones that celebrated the new owners on day one knowing they were trading morals for potential trophies and not thinking twice about it.
The reality is, us as Man Utd fans can’t be quick to judge as we’re facing down the potential of our club being bought out by Newcastle’s owners’ neighbours. It’s easy to say you should abandon the team you’ve supported since childhood for moral reasons until you’re in that position yourself. Will I continue to lose my voice when United score if we’re bought by Qatar? I don’t know. It’s a scary thought, and I don’t envy you one bit.
Jamin – (Man Utd fan currently in Honduras)
Ferguson vs Pep
Re: Badwolf and Ferguson ‘overcoming’ Pep. I’m not sure if Badwolf is merging Mancini and Pep reign’s together as United ‘overcame’ Mancini’s City in 2013 to win the title back (after Mancini had fell out with everyone in the dressing room). Ferguson hasn’t managed against Pep in the Premier League, so certainly hasn’t ‘overcome’ him there.
The only meetings I can remember between Ferguson and Guardiola are two spankings Pep handled out in Champions League finals in 2009 and 2011. Which to misremember such beatings is frankly embarrassing and undermines Badwolf’s whole attempt at a retort.
Andy D. Manchester. MCFC.
Fergie overcame Pep? Some Trumpian hyperbole, there. How did those two ECL finals play out? An aggregate 5-1 scoreline in Pep’s favour, if I recall. 😊
Rob, AFC (Not contesting the overall argument, btw)
Does sportswashing work?
Clive LFC asks – and it’s a good question as far as it goes.
I think it works when future generations questions it even less and just accept that it’s ok to be a ‘nasty’ regime if you’re spending a few bob to brighten up someone’s training area thousands of miles away. Just as younger fans of Man City and Newcastle will (or have) grown up knowing nothing other than the current ownership then the questioning will diminish – especially if success on the pitch is achieved. I know it’s a long way from this (but maybe not so far if you are a migrant worker in one of the oil rich countries) but saying that local communities benefit is in my mind not that far from saying that motorways in Germany ‘benefitted’ from Nazi rule and that certain car manufacturers and other companies did very well too by using a source of very cheap labour in the late 30’s and early 40’s.
I’ve been a Leeds United supporter since Jan 1970 and I’ve had my ups and downs but I’ve stuck with them and I would walk away if we were taken over by a regime such as Qatar. A personal choice but also one influenced by my age (60+) and my growing feeling of disenchantment with the money obsessed world football has become.
Incidentally – anyone else think it was odd that in the week the Glazers said they were putting the club up for sale, a sudden random bid of £3bn for Tottenham appeared almost like a magical benchmark for how much a PL club might be worth – has anything else been heard about that bid?
Steve – Leeds for a lot longer – no one in their right mind would buy us!
Clive LFC writes….
“Now, all these people/groups/owners have spent (or potentially will spend) millions of pounds on the club and surrounding areas. No-one can really dispute that that is a good thing. Local communities benefit, the club benefits and the fans benefit. Everyone is a winner, including the owners. So they have done some good”
Literally writing how sportswashing works.
It seems probable that Clive (LFC) thinks that advertising on TV and elsewhere washes over him without any effect.He is either and extraordinarily untypical member of our species or the people who decide to spend billions on advertising have been extraordinarily stupid for a few hundred years!
PS: I might have used “incredibly” here but I’m running an influencing campaign against its misuse!
In response to Clive’s LFC mail Does Sports Washing Work?
Of course it works. How many football teams are supplied kit & sponsored by Nike or Adidas. These companies use the cheapest of labour, not sure what the conditions are like but I’d imagine it would not be great but everyone just accepts it. As long as the kit looks nice, no one cares.
Paul (MUFC) Dublin