Spurs went from CL finalists to team with no game plan at City

Date published: Monday 19th August 2019 2:34

Mauricio Pochettino Tottenham

Send your thoughts – preferably the non-VAR ones – to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Stolen point
Dear F365,

I’m properly disappointed with our (Spurs) display on Saturday. I get that City are good and it was away but we were awful. I know they will keep the ball and stretch us at times, I understood that we will be defending and will be under the cosh for a large parts, but we aren’t a newly promoted side, we are CL finalists and consistently one of the best sides in the league and yet seemed to have no game plan at all.

Counter attacking made sense and at times it looked like our approach, soak up some pressure and defend on the edge of our area, track the runners and then when City over-elaborated or we got a tackle in we could release it early, Kane holds it up and the support acts react. Proper old school. But we didn’t, we seemed to then just try and build slowly and pass through the midfield, which was always congested. Made no sense to me and City seemed to be pretty comfortable in controlling our one-dimensional style of play. Don’t get me started on Lloris having the ball at his feet and a little time to kill either.

There is a gulf between the two sides, but not as big as was shown on Saturday. However, I thought City were starting to run out of ideas as well, so maybe we were ready to punch with a killer blow in the 89th minute and it’s another Poch masterstroke.

Definite pen to City in the first half, got fortunate on that for sure. The handball rule is pretty clear as well, and the handball was the only reason the ball found Jesus, without it then we actually had a fairly decent chance of a break up field (which we would have squandered). It wasn’t like his arm was at his side either. Harsh, maybe, but the ball hitting his arm had a significant impact on the ball being in the net. De Bruyne not knowing the rules shouldn’t really be the starting point of the debate either.

The celebration was excellent, resigned justice maybe that City had scored, then jubilation that they hadn’t. double bubble. I do wonder if the reaction is as such because it denied the better team a deserved winner. Had it been the other way round and it denied us an undeserved I think there would have been nods of approval.

Feel like we stole a point on Saturday, I can live with that.
Steve (THFC)

 

Be brave Roy…
Hands up anybody who didn’t see a difficult season ahead for Palace ? Palace did dominate the mailbox a few times which made a nice change for a few of us but not really for Ed I would imagine. As I said in a previous post there are a few things to deal with:-

Benteke – he used to be a handful now he’s handbags. I know it’s old school but do you need to set up the team to rain crosses in for him to attack ? Is his heading his best attribute ? I notice he’s in the last year of his contract, both parties are probably relieved about that.

Meyer – interesting he got substituted….again. I swear I heard boos from the Palace fans about him being substituted. He’s definitely got the talent but is he being utilised properly ? 170k a week, surely you try to build your team around him ?

Zaha – loads of emails over the summer about the fact he was going. I can’t believe Roy is saying what was he supposed to do ? When you only have 1 option you have to take it surely ? I realise Tosun McCarthy and 40-55 mil wasn’t taken along with Arsenals offer but why didn’t the Palace management work out a formula that works? You know you need goals and creativity. How about Tosun McCarthy & Walcott + 40m ? How about Iwobi Nketieh and 40m ? A striker was required, a reasonable replacement for Zaha and let’s face it they needed the money.

If you stop Zaha you stop Palace. Sheff Utd worked that out and it’s not rocket science. It’s not looking good is it. What can be done ?

Formation

As Roy doesn’t have a time machine what can be done ? As mentioned above the answer lies with Benteke. Initially you have to play him and try to get a tune out of him. Would 4-4-1-1 work with Meyer behind Benteke and Zaha / Townsend orthodox wingers? Benteke is complaining about his team mates so either give him fewer excuses or………

Drop Benteke and play 4-3-3 matching the Liverpool way with Meyer Townsend and Zaha, probably Meyer as the false 9. McCarthy McArthur and Milivojevic across the middle. I like this as you know Roy loves his defensive midfielders and they can win the ball back and give it to the front 3. If Zaha was allowed to roam, Meyer dropping to receive the ball between the lines and Townsend filling in out wide there should be enough movement there to cause problems. It also frees Meyer up from midfield defensive duties which seems to be Roy’s biggest issue with playing him.

You look at the Palace squad and it’s not good. Palace knew what they had over the summer yet chose to stick with what they had and hope for the best. I know it’s easy for me to say as I don’t run Palace but the Premier League relegation zone is like running around quicksand, eventually you accidentally get too close……
Ian (let’s hope Palace are looking for a new manager) LFC

 

Damn you VAR for being right
Damn you VAR for getting more decisions correct than has been the case for all seasons up to now! Who cares if the decision was right it ruined my celebration of an illegal winner!
Duck

 

Just read this morning’s Mailbox and I am breathing a huge sigh of relief.  I thought I was the only one, but my relief at hearing other people say what I think about VAR against the tide of ex-pros saying it is terrible, is truly refreshing.  The highlight so far has been Tim Cahill on MOTD2 saying that if he was playing today, he would no longer be able to give defender a nudge then go on and score.  That’s because it is cheating Tim and it is by far the lamest argument against VAR that I have heard yet.

Footballers and managers are never happy, last year Pep asked for the handball rule to be changed as he felt Llorente’s goal shouldn’t have stood in the Champions League quarters, this year he want the hand ball law changed because he thought Jesus’ goal should have stood – anyone would think that there is self interest in these comments.  Today has been an enlightening day for me, I feel like I have become an establishment man who supports the Premier League and FIFA/UEFA, never thought that would happen.  No doubt as soon as the players get used to VAR in the Premier League they will get undone by the fact that the EPL have gone in a slightly different direction to UEFA in the way VAR is used – still more reason for an ex-pro to stand up and say ‘in my day I could have cheated and got away with it…..”

Great Mailbox, I am so glad I am not alone.
Rob (it isn’t perfect, but it is better than complaining about referees who are doing their best)

 

VAR again!
To all those – including Rohit in this morning’s mailbox complaining about the offside application (“only being millimetres offside is not really in the spirit of the offside law”)… Can I ask a simple question? How far offside is acceptable?

Is it 15cm? How about a foot? 1 metre? There HAS to be a line in the sand somewhere. And the logical one – and the easiest one to manage is as it is now. Yes, some may seem harsh because they were only millimetres offside – but if you move that line in the sand, there will be some incidences were someone is millimetres past that line!

The same goes for the handball – by making it black and white it becomes easier to referee! Yes, there have been incidences where goals are struck off when they would have been given last year, but them’s the rules.
Gar Cad N.Wales

 

Its completely right for Daniel Storey and others to point out that in many instances, people are attributing their complaints to VAR when actually their complaints are with the laws of the game, some of which are “not fit for purpose”. The new handball rule is indeed an ass. But I don’t understand the disagreement between different standards being applied to handball situations for attackers and defenders. The alternatives are worse: either penalties are given against defenders in absurd situations, or we go back to referees needing to judge players’ intentions.

But I also think that Daniel isn’t being realistic when he says VAR/the game’s governing bodies shouldn’t be learning through trial and error. When major changes to rules and systems are implemented, there are always teething issues, unforeseen problems come up, better solutions occur to people, and the general consensus emerges + can be reacted to accordingly. His overall point that IFAB should have done a better job of revising the rules before launch is spot on, but even if they had, trial and error would still be needed.

This brings me to my next point, which is that it’s natural and even beneficial for us all to be talking about VAR, the laws of the game and their implementation. We are in the early stages and the sentiment of today will shape the tweaks of tomorrow. These debates aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, so those who find it boring might want to just skip VAR-related mails and articles rather than put themselves through unnecessary tedium. Similarly, if you find the current implementation of VAR to be ruining your enjoyment of live football, you might want to consider taking 2-3 years off the Premier League and slum it in the lower leagues – you’d enjoy it, those clubs would appreciate your support and after 2-3 years the whole VAR process and rules will undoubtedly be smoother. (I’m not telling anyone what to do – just that it’s worth considering, if you really hate it that much).

Personally I’m completely in agreement with Paul (Spurs) T.Wells in this morning’s mailbox, I don’t buy the argument that goal celebrations are ruined by VAR. Paul rightly points out that goals have always been disallowed retroactively by refs and linesmen, and this has never stopped anyone from celebrating. Surely this weekend should put that argument to bed? If anyone was going to stop celebrating a goal until the scoreboard changes and the game restarts, it would be City fans after a last minute winner at the Etihad vs Spurs. They celebrated in April and they celebrated in August. It’s a kick in the balls and I empathize with them, but the right calls were made. VAR may have prevented City from winning the CL through an offside goal last season, and if City fail to win the league by a margin of 1-2 points, VAR may have prevented them winning the league with a handball assist. Seems like this is exactly what was intended when VAR was introduced.
Oliver (this was probably too long) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

 

Something that has bothered me for a long time now, used to be about referee decisions, this season it’s all about VAR and I’ll use the Man City vs Spurs ‘controversy’ as an example.  People have written in complaining about the handball decision that ultimately ruled out Jesus’ late winner and how, even though the decision was correct according to the laws of the game, it robbed City of the win.  It didn’t, plain and simple.  They were not good enough on the day to win.  Despite their plethora of chances, they were not good enough to beat Lloris 3 times.  Having 30 shots in a game matters little if those shots are saveable.

You see it each and every week.  Team A will have a decision go against them that the manager will then use as a reason why they didn’t win/draw.  It is utter nonsense.  Any team that needs one controversial decision to go their way to get a win/draw simply werent good enough over 90 minutes to earn that win/draw.

I accept that a referee/VAR decision that leads to an early goal can change the outcome of the match but ”we should have had a penalty in the 2nd half when it was still 0-0 and then we lost 1-0” is a terrible, lazy excuse.  Every single football team in the world has some decisions go their way when they shouldn’t, and some that don’t when they should but can everyone please stop blaming those decisions for dropped points.  Man City didn’t fail to win because of a late winner correctly overturned (I don’t agree with the new handball law, but that is irrelevant).  City failed to win because their finishing wasn’t good enough on the day.  If the finishing had been more clinical, they could have been 4 or 5 goals up by the time Jesus had his goal disallowed and then the discussion would only be about whether or not the new handball rules are any good, not about how VAR, the referee, FIFA, Brexit and North Korea colluded to rob City of 2 points.

Stop blaming single decisions going against you for dropped points and start blaming the team for not being good enough on the day.  If there are 2,3 or 4 decisions that go against that all lead to goals, then by all means start raging against The Man but otherwise just accept the fact that your team wasn’t good enough to win.

Now, my wife has fled the room because I’m ranting at her about this so I’ll stop here and end with something else – as a Liverpool fan, having seen how porous our defense has been early doors this season, I’m worried about Aubameyang, Lacazette and Pepe this weekend.  Now watch us drop points from a single dodgy decision and I go batsh*t mental over it.
Clive LFC Evesham

 

What on earth is going on with people like Rohit, London MUFC claiming that 2mm offside isn’t offside in the spirit of the law? The land before VAR was not a halcyon era where strikers were given the benefit of the doubt and football tickets came with free candyfloss. Linesmen used to sprint 40 yards up the pitch and if it was at all marginal go with their gut, whilst praying not to get torn apart on Match of the Day.

No matter who you support, we all have memories of promising counter-attacks halted by a faulty linesman or goals erroneously disallowed. This will stop and in future the rules will be applied as written, which seems kind of fair. If there’s still a burning desire to allow the 2mm offside goals, then lets  change the rules, state that shoulders don’t count, or that you get 5mm leeway. Problem is that this just shunts the offside mark marginally further down the pitch.

Imagine if VAR had always existed and someone had just invented the linesman. Those arguing that linesmen will be better because there will be more mistakes and this will give us more to talk about would be laughed at. By all means tear each other apart over how/when VAR should be implemented on subjective decisions. But come on, surely nobody thought linesmen were a good system.
Sam, Bath, AFC

 

Holy hell.. this is so tiresome.

VAR good because it stops people blaming the referee every time he makes a ‘mistake’ (don’t get me started on ‘mistakes’, and the definition of a referee’s role in the game and the human parameters within which he operates).

I for one, liked the fact that football had incorrect decisions in it.  Referees are human after all and see incidents only once, at full speed, and are prone to blinking, sneezing and looking at something else at the time of said incident.  It was part of the game, and we had to accept it.

However, I despised the vitriol aimed at referees, when doing their best wasn’t good enough.  When they didn’t spot something, or thought they saw something they didn’t, or didn’t see something they might [should?] have.

If VAR stops people slagging off these guys, who do their damn level best to be fair and impartial, then hoorah for VAR.

Like Andy Mac said in the mailbox… don’t moan about VAR. Just look forward to the beautiful moment to come when your team will benefit.  ..Well bloody said.

As a Spurs fan, I have twice now been able to celebrate not being beaten by City in injury time, by an illegal action.  It was awesome, and feels as good as scoring a goal – if not better.. knowing the fall from euphoria that the opposing fans have just experienced 🙂  Going from the depths of despair to euphoria totally rocks.

It really is hilarious that this is causing such a hoo-hah.
Sean

 

2 weeks of VAR and we’ve had controversy galore, much gnashing of teeth and general displeasure at the why’s and why not’s of the decisions made and/or not made by the system and the people that run it. Here’s my 2 cents, for what it’s worth (2 cents???)

VAR has been needed in football, just like goal line technology has been needed in football, the difference being the goal line technology is absolute, it’s a goal or it isn’t that’s it. No person to adjudicate, no argument, no protest, if it’s a goal, it’s a goal and that’s that. Its been refreshing to see goals given by the smallest of margins and then to see players about to object before the ref calmly points at the watch and everyone gets back to business and playing.

So why can’t VAR be the same? Well because it subjective, it’s still based on opinion, what I see on the screen is still open to interpretation and therefore there will always be issues. My fear with VAR is that it will devolve into a check everything scenario, we’ve already seen players asking the ref to check things way too much, every perceived cant be checked the game would take 2 weeks to finish if it did.

The thing with footballers and managers are really good at remembering only the parts of the laws of the game that suit their narrative, for example, time added on, everyone (EVERYONE!!!) knows that the time at added on at the end of a game is a  minimum amount, the board can say 4 minutes but technically the ref can play for an hour if he deems it to be necessary, managers conveniently forget this when it isn’t in their favour and use it as a reason they scored that late winner when more than the suggested time is added, VAR will have this issue because it affects results of games. As a side note though I think it would be great if VAR had control of the timekeeping, a simple way to do it would be to stop the clock when the ball wasn’t in play for any period of time over say 45 seconds.

VAR at its core could be a brilliant too to help the game be fairer and better run, right now its new and new things always cause ripples in the calm surface of the water, especially in sport. Its up to the teams and supporters to get on board and ask yourself the question how may decisions has it gotten wrong, not how many has it missed, or how many you don’t agree with, just how many in the last 2 weeks have been wrong? Not too many.
Vernon (Dublin, Ireland)

 

Dear F365,

Following on from the glut of VAR emails yesterday and this morning, can I just add my twopence worth on one of the most tired and boring arguments against VAR which is ‘I can’t even celebrate goals now in case VAR overrules it’. It’s getting very boring hearing this put forward as a defence against VAR. I watch and love NFL and they review every single scoring play too – it doesn’t stop the players performing their cringe worthy, choreographed celebration routines in the fear that their TD might be ruled out once the video ref has looked at it. Why should football be some holy grail where you can’t get in the way of someone celebrating even if the goal was against the rules…

As Mike said in this morning’s mailbox: “Why does spoiling your jumping up and down trump my shaking my head for a week or more at a clear injustice?” That’s all that matters for me, teams (by and large) are now not losing out on valuable points by incorrect decisions being made. Yes, the implementation needs to be sorted but I’d much rather have what we have now than incorrect goals deciding matches against my team.
Simon, Guernsey

 

I’m hearing lots of noise about VAR and how it’s ruining the game but no suggestions (other than get rid) on how to improve it. I agree with those who say that VAR’s not going anywhere soon, too much has been invested in it (and not just in the Premier League). However I also agree that the experience of being at a match is severely altered by the existence of VAR and this is not a good thing – especially when we consider how much people are paying to attend these matches.

So here’s some proposed solutions, as opposed to rewriting the rules, I’m focusing on limiting the use of VAR. I feel the problem here is that we’ve changed too much too soon and a more incremental implementation of VAR would have been better (God bless you Captain Hindsight).

First of all – and this is vital – VAR checks are not done on every goal that is scored, here are a few scenarios that may result in a VAR check:

An attacker is put through on goal, the assistant ref thinks it’s offside. Instead of doing nothing, he/she raises the flag and keeps it raised (they can switch hands if they get tired). Play continues – whether the attacker sees the raised flag or not – and one of the following things happen :

1)     The attacker scores or otherwise contributes to a goal being scored. As the linesman has raised the flag (something the crowd at the game can see) a VAR check is done on the goal. If it’s offside, the goal is disallowed and if it’s onside, the goal stands. The crowd has (hopefully) seen the flag so has some forewarning of the VAR check

2)     The attacker shoots or otherwise contributes to a shot being taken, but the shot goes wide, over, or (if we’re really lucky) out for a throw to the defending team. Nothing happens, play on, no VAR check is done

3)     The attacker shoots or otherwise contributes to a shot being taken, the shot is blocked/saved and goes out for a corner or an throw in to the attacking team. The offside is awarded, no VAR check is done

4)     The attack breaks down and the defending team regains possession (this also covers if the goalie saves the shot and retains the ball). Nothing happens, play on, no VAR check is done

5)     The attack results in a penalty claim (this one is complicated, I’ve intentionally kept it simple). Whether the penalty is awarded or not, VAR check is done on the original offside, if offside, freekick to the defending team, if onside, the penalty decision is checked.

This would require an adjustment to the way we attack (e.g. don’t stop if you see the linesman’s flag) and defend (same) but I think it would be something teams would get used to reasonably quickly.

A goal is scored and the referee (or assistant) thinks there is a handball (or another violation) in the buildup. The referee signals (similar to rugby) that he/she wants a VAR check – this is important because it’s something the crowd can see – to specifically check for handball. VAR check is done before play is restarted.

A goal is scored and the referee (and assistants) do not see a handball (or another violation) in the buildup but the defending team does. The captain of the defending team (alone) can approach the referee before play is restarted to request a VAR check on the basis of a possible handball. Again, this is very visible to the crowd, the referee signals for VAR and a VAR check is done. Spurious use of this by a team (i.e. requesting VAR checks of goals willy nilly, where there is nothing even close to a handball/violation) result in serious sanctions (e.g. points deduction).

These proposals do not ‘fix’ VAR on their own, I just think they represent a more sensible (sort of a less is more) approach. Does anyone else have any suggestions? Or would anyone like to rip my ideas to shreds?
Ciaran H

 

I think everyone is missing the point with VAR (I know, get me!) I’ve hated it since it was introduced and will continue to do so thanks very much. I know it’s a source of immense joy right now to Liverpool fans (earliest league winning celebration in history) and spurs fans who can all pretend to nod sagely at the irrefutable claim that the right result should always be the priority. But VAR has only really just started. At the moment, we can’t help ourselves, we are all still celebrating the moment, but I promise you it’s changing. As a City fan who has now experienced VAR in the flesh on around 5 occasions (2 in our favour and 3 against) I can tell you unequivocally that fans are eventually going to rebel against the idea that we are there for your pleasure, to offer you a sumptuous feast of schadenfreude every time a decision is overturned MINUTES later.  And that means Liverpool fans, united fans, spurs fans, the lot. You are all going to suffer from being made to look stupid. Eventually VAR will work its way down to every level and create that moment of hesitation, the worst counter point to unalloyed joy.  No more Aguero moments for me. No more OGS European cup winning memories to treasure, no more Liverpool ghost goals against Chelsea, no more Michael Thomas somersaults or Tardelli moments of pure celebratory madness. To be replaced by that nagging doubt that someone, somewhere, is going to make you look a plank in 60 seconds. I’m feeling it already and I know the people who sit around me are feeling it.

I understand that others will tell me to shut the f… up and stop whining. I really do get it, and I don’t blame you, I’d probably do the same and enjoy your pain.  But honestly, for once, this isn’t about team tribalism.  I know it’s our fault for making referees the target of our abuse for just trying to do their best. I know other sports have introduced it successfully. But honestly, I just think football is different.  And tell me I’m wrong by showing me fans falling over each other in twisted euphoria at cricket and rugby and tennis. And whilst it might be a better overall experience for TV viewers, for those of us in the ground it will become less and less intense and we will reward you all with a more muted atmosphere. It will take away the thrill of an entertainment experience and replace it with the certainty of a surgical encounter. And I, along with a lot of season ticket buying/ away travelling/ atmosphere creating, fans will not let you make mugs of us forever and pay for the privilege.

Football is about entertainment, it’s not a military operation. Nobody lives or dies by the result. We get over bad decisions. We live to celebrate another day. It’s become the most popular sport on the planet because of that singular moment of joy. Now the plan is to mute that difference. Anyone who thinks differently just hasn’t been in a ground when a last minute decision is overturned. But it will happen and the point is not whether the decision is right or wrong, it’s how you react the next time it happens and the time after that.

We will have a perfect game and we will hate it eventually.
Steve – Manchester

 

VAR from someone at the ground
In response to the multitude of people in support of var from having watched the city tottenham match in the pub. I’m sure you had a lot more idea of what was going on than anyone int he ground, which is (one of) the problem, not that you’ll care.

The argument that city fans are making about the handball is that last season against tottenham in the chumps league that wasn’t a handball, and the ref was shown 1 angle on the var, despite the other camera angle backing up our point of view.

Now we’ve had 2 goals chalked off this season already, one for handball that I have no problem with, if it’s the same for all teams. One for an offside. Despite the player moving 13 cms whilst the ball was still ‘on’ the passers foot.

We were also denied a penalty on Rodri against tottenham for what would have been a foul in rugby.

Now with how much scrutiny they looked at the handball, with that level of scrutiny how didn’t they notice the arms around the neck of Rodri?

It all smells like the game is being directed to me for drama.

As someone who has had a season ticket for 26 years var has this season to prove it’s worth for me. Var taking the game off people for the sake of tv can suck my dick quite frankly.

I know not many will agree because football supporters rarely do, but wait till your lot are on super Sunday ™ and some faceless goon decides to set up a dramatic ending. Only if it fits the narrative of course.
Matt

 

Good story, sad story
Football has a constant capacity to surprise and delight.Heart-warming story of the week : Aduriz comes on against Barcelona, the 38 year old is playing for a minute and scores a wonderful overhead kick winner? In the 89th minute? Beautiful. Couldn’t be a more perfect surprise.

Sad story of the week: if you think Lampard is struggling, spare a thought for Vincent Kompany who is finding life difficult as a player-manager of Anderlecht. Two points from four games, and those were 0-0 draws. They were beaten by Kortrijk 4-2 to leave the Mauves in 13th place. Disastrous but compelling- can he turn this around?
Paul in Brussels, abroad

 

Somehow winning a close game with Burnley is more fun than smashing them
I love it when Dyche gets on his high horse, only to open his gob too wide, catches a gust of hot air that came out from same said gob, and falls on his arse.  Talking about cheating when his side are guilty of some really nasty stuff is really taking the piss.  Or is that again coming from the Pulis or Deeney playbook?  That it is ok to jump from behind and knee someone in the back, but not for the victim to feel the contact/pain?   Thankfully no real damage was done but I can easily imagine someone’s career being ended by that.  Dyche making those excuses was really pathetic and exposed him for not admitting that his team was second best on the day.

Another interesting incident from the game was Laca’s goal.  As the commentator said, he had no right to score that goal.  I agree as he was surrounded by 2 or 3 Burnley players and really shouldn’t have gotten a shot off.  Not only that but I think he was actually fouled, and hauled down and to his credit, he fought on and got an Ozil-like chop on the ball that was amazing.  But if he hadn’t scored, would we have gotten a penalty I wonder?  Would Dean have given it?…. Nah.
KC

 

Honestly, those Sean Dyche post-match comments are bizarre, lazy and pathetic in equal measure.  Don’t they constitute borderline libel against the Arsenal players?  Born out of frustration with his teams loss at the Emirates but that’s no excuse.  He should be ashamed of himself.
Andrew (Burnley got some ridiculously soft fouls during the game so what the actual hell?)

 

I was pleased that Daniel Storey called out Sean Dyche in Winners and losers. What I would also question is why Dyche is so passionate about cheating in relation to diving, when he sets the worst example about cheating in relation to time-wasting? I wouldn’t want to ask him either – but he does seem to get away with double-standards.

And shout out to Phil, London on his VAR analysis too. Note to the ever gracious Pep – this isn’t the first time VAR was having a coffee. Mane took aim and missed – smashing it against an area of the chest near to Sissoko’s armpit. Luckily for us it wasn’t a very important game.
Dave, (Lucas Moura – what a legend) Winchester Spurs

 

Pukki (goat) and Dyche (ass)
Hello,

I am not nationalistic person. I do think Finland is a very good place to live in, but especially nowadays, nationalism has a bit ugly side to it – us good, rest bad. Also, I don’t follow ice hockey or motor sports or other traditionally strong finnish sports so there hasn’t been much reason for flag waiving since Litmanen and Jarkko Nieminen retired in football and tennis.

But my god I felt proud of Teemu Pukki this saturday. I had resigned not to get viaplay (30 euros / month for premier league) this season as I have limited time to watch the games. But after first half my friend called me Pukki had scored again so during half time, I just had to suscribe it again and I wasn’t dissapointed. I felt elevated the whole saturday evening and can’t wait for next Norwich game. Pukki (translated as GOAT from finnish) was very promising attacker 10 years ago but seemed to fade a bit not fulfilling his early promise like many our footballers have done in recent years. I am no expert, but it seems he has gained some strength, confidence and he plays in a team, that suits his playing style perfectly. It just brings so much more fun to watch premier league, when there is a genuinely good player from our little country after a long break. Maybe he won’t be all that and he won’t score that many goals but atleast early signs are very promising. And seeing him top the winners & losers section in F365 made my monday so much better!

On a side note, how depressing are Sean Dyche’s comments. Excuses and moaning when not all goes according to plans. It is just pathetic to say how football allows a player to cheat once and keep on playing when his team cheats as much as others. Delaying throw ins is cheating, scything down opposition attacker against rules is cheating etc. Cheating is deliberately breaking the rules after all, isn’t it?

Have a nice week every one and let’s hope Norwich surprises early season predictions in the future games aswell!
Matti Katara, Helsinki

 

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