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Writing this before the Leicester v Pool game is over, so this might come and bite me in the ass but maybe now we can stop the fawning over Soyuncu, Periera and Chilwell. The last two games have shown that though good players they are nowhere close to the best. Chilwell was run ragged by Mahrez, Periera was caught out almost everytime, Soyuncu was left for dead by DeBruyne and was culpable for the penalty vs Liverpool as well.
Now maybe people will stop saying how Leicester pulled a masterstroke by selling Maguire for 80m and ended up with a better defender. They did not. And as I type this, TAA is left with acres of space to cross in and Pool bag a third.
Good to see a rousing performance from United earlier in the day. Hope AwB will add some more assists this season and put the 90s fullback discussion to an end as well.
Yash, MUFC (TAA gets the fourth! Liverpool bag 3 goals in the time it took to write this hell, bloody hell!)
Liverpool: Premier League champions 19/20
Well that game was just plain weird. As a Liverpool fan, it was also wonderful, but it still had a surreal quality. I don’t remember seeing a more one-sided match in the Premier League. Leicester set out to nullify our quick counter and facilitate theirs with a low block but, as we showed we could play through it, they retreated deeper and deeper. At one stage, they were letting us have the ball unchallenged halfway into their half. It looked like an attack vs defense drill. As for their counters, they only broke through the first two lines of our press perhaps ten times and, on all but two occasions, van Dijk and Gomez swept up with no fuss.
Apart from Allison, who had nothing to do, and Salah who had one of his trampolines-for-boots days, everyone played brilliantly . On this form, I’d take Henderson over Fabinho holding -always there to double up when a teammate needed help and launched countless attacks. . Gomez was back to last season’s form with his pace, foresight and runs through midfield. And Trent! Can anybody remember a better performance by a full back ever?
We now have at least four dangerous attacking outlets – the counter; long aerial passes from Trent, Henderson, Robertson; crosses and set pieces; and playing through the lines with Keita, Firmino, Gini.
Other than Schmeichel, Leicester looked overawed. Not Brendan’s finest hour. I felt sure he’d improve them at half time, but they just got worse.
Hard to dispute your conclusion that the league is now over as a contest although, after thirty years of top division hurt, I’ll believe it when I see it.
…It wasn’t meant to be like this.
Leicester were at home where they had conceded 5 goals all season. Vardy was doing his impression of a juggernaut. Liverpool had done all the traveling etc etc. If someone offered me a draw in the tunnel, I would have turned the boys around and told them to get back on the bus.
That’s the beauty of this team. I think they are surprising even their own fans. Last nights performance was plucked from the sky, a perfect sunset on what has been an incredible year. And sprinkled in and around the wonderful Bobby celebratory kicks there’s a very clear understanding that there are many more of these sunsets to come, if we are to fulfill Klopp’s dream.
You know something special is happening. My eldest went to sleep in his Liverpool kit last night because despite the flawless performance the two hour difference was just too much for him. Then the middle child who doesn’t normally watch opened her eyes this morning and the first things out of her mouth were ‘what was the score…?’
A team for the ages.
…How much would you hate to play against that?
Win the ball in defence or midfield and you’re surrounded by bees swarming to win the ball back and create chances.
Dare to attack the nest and you end up running backwards, blindly flapping at the hornets who’ve already stung you in the ass before scoring.
Aidan, Lfc (even as a fan, I found that a bit scary)
Trent Alexander-Arnold is a cheat-code. That is all.
Nikhil, LFC, Chicago
…Trent Alexander-Arnold is a magnificent baby-faced assassin. I love him to bits, and he was easily MOTM. His goal celebration in front of the traveling Kop encapsulated the team performance, complete control paired with complete calmness. The young scouser is a special operator. But I must mention the middle three. Klopp has rotated the midfield three constantly this season, and they have been magnificent, whatever combination. All three were everywhere tonight. I can only hope Keita was taken off early to play the full 90 on Sunday. Must be disheartening for the rest of the league that this was Liverpool’s best league performance this season.
I always thought Liverpool would win this game, but I genuinely thought it would be tight, 1 nil, or 2-1. Leicester were terrified of Liverpool, beaten before the team sheets were turned in. How many times did Liverpool bypass their midfield with 1 or 2 balls? Seven, eight times?
Liverpool have dropped 2 points this season, and haven’t lost a league match since January 3rd. Happy Christmas y’all.
Kenny, Stateside Reds
…I was thinking somewhere in the middle of the second half about how good Keita had been, all over the place, first to everything, seemingly impossible to dispossess and Trent decided to take matters into his own hands and make it all about him. What a performance. Could easily also single out Henderson (again) or Firmino for praise.
Arguably it should have been 6 when you think that Salah and Mane wasted huge chances. Leicester are an excellent team but to some extent I think their formation possibly played into our hands a bit. If you’re going to give up possession and play a 4-5-1 it’s going to mean very long periods under the cosh. Vardy is super quick but also isn’t always going to win a race with Gomez or VVD. They might’ve been better off playing Ihenacho up front with him and both of them could’ve worked to split the centre backs to create spaces to play the ball into when counter attack opportunities presented themselves.
Pride of England
As I continue to bask in that wonderful bit of table-top domination and the Club World Cup victory that was less than a week ago (wow!), a thought occurred to me. Surely there can be no doubt that Jordan Henderson is currently the best English central midfielder? At the very least, the most complete.
Anser (only thinking of the next game, yes sir, no thoughts of the title at all here), LFC, Toronto
Three losses at home without scoring or even looking capable of doing so makes for worrying times for Chelsea. Of course there was the narrow win at home to Villa and the win at Spurs was a fantastic performance but even then, as Mourinho mentioned grumpily afterwards, the goals scored were a short corner routine and a penalty. Have other teams sussed the kids out? Defend deep, let them tire themselves out, and wait for the opportunity to land the killer blow. Credit to Southampton though, it was a fantastic performance and they deserved the win with two fantastic goals. I was just hoping it would be the team that lost 9-0 at home.
It will be interesting to see what happens in the transfer window. While performances in every part of the pitch could be improved, the only position that I think could be upgraded is goalkeeper. Kepa’s great with penalties but quite passive and stays on his line a lot. I’d like to see him dominate the box more and apparently Lampard wanted to bring Shay Given into his setup but the board decided against it. However, at 25 years of age and sadly, the worlds most expensive keeper, I don’t see Kepa being replaced. I imagine Pedro and Giroud will leave so perhaps replacements for them, but seeing as they’ve barely featured, maybe Lampard will choose to keep the squad as it is. We’ll soon find out. Hoping for a result against Arsenal!
Can Chelsea just play all the remaining games of the season away from home please?
Another dreadful home defeat, will be interesting how we approach the January transfer window.
Mikey, CFC (Hope all the F365 team had a wonderful Christmas!)
So I have just seen that Mandzukic has just signed for Al-Duhail, a football club in Qatar, and once again United have missed out on another player who they were linked to and in all honesty I would rather have Mandzukic starting upfront that Martial. The reasons being is because A.) He is experienced. B.) He has won 6 league titles. C.) He actually works hard and runs off the ball (Take note Martial and several other players.) D.) He can actually head the football and is a TARGET man. Rashford and Martial aren’t these kind of players.
The target man point is probably the biggest point because against so called smaller teams, United just do not know how to break down a team. These smaller teams simply just make sure they are organised and compact, soak up the pressure and counter and it works every time on United. Happened against Newcastle and Southampton earlier in the season as well as some other games. Bloody rubbish and lazy from United if I am honest. Can’t keep depending on Greenwood who is 18 to score us some goals, it is ludicrous. Mandzukic has played for some of the biggest clubs in the world and we could have EASILY handed him an 18 month contract on good money too.
Rami, London (Ole to leave at end of the season if United fail to get Top 4, he would have had 18 months to improve things).
How terrible were the Spurs fans against Brighton. One of the lethargic rendition of the when the saints go marching in. It can put any child to sleep no wonder the match was quite terrible. With that kind of support the fans shld never point the finger at the players for poor performances
So Son’s stupid but slight kick was deemed violent conduct but aggressive pushing and shoving in the chest by Sissoko today is not?
There was a push and shove in the same game as well where Son was shown the card. The clear aggression that last a good 4-5 seconds is ignore but a second of stupidity is violent conduct?
Or do we just consider boots the only weapon?
The Befuddled One
A Christmas miracle
Wan-Bissaka did a cross! Truly a time of miracles!
Alan (happy holidays), Córdoba.
Building on Tom’s mail on Thursday morning – can we please put to bed this notion, and frankly myth, that gooners are the worst and most spoilt fans? It is something that has been creeping into mainstream thinking.
However, it wasn’t long ago that mainstream thinking and coverage (including this site) routinely laughed at gooners for accepting mediocrity for so long. So devoted to toeing the company line that despite sustained and decreased competitiveness we were happy to publicly defend our club’s “values” for “self sustainability” despite it churning record and sustained profits not very long actually after the Emirares were built.
All while, no other fan base in world football proportionally contributed more (not to mention the highest prices individally) to their club’s revenues. Our model for such a long time was based and relied on what the fans brought in more than any other club!
All while, being publicly marketed and SOLD by the club what Tom said (you can all go back to read the quotes over the years) was a necessary move to compete with the best of the best. And let’s not act like gooners were not patient, they were! For almost a decade the majority were still happily singing about values and Wenger knows (he was part of the problem but yes, not the only problem, but still on merit he deserved to go which most on the outside agreed and wondered why gooners accepted it for so long ), all while accepting and parroting pretty silly and constant redefinitions of success! (4th place trophy, calendar year trophy , bank account balance trophy, and the list goes on).
And you (including F365) all laughed, rightfully saying for years that this would not happen at any other club, and certainly any other big club, nor would their fans just accept it, but rather we clapped like happy seals while clearly being taken for a ride by the club, while they made bucket loads of money, and our fans paid premium prices for a product that was clearly not that and was diminishing.
Also, prior to this past summer Arsenal was the only club, I believe, in the entire premier league, whose ownership didn’t invest any bit of their own money into the club. The single only club! Yet we have no right to speak up and are spoilt if we do so? And it’s not like out ownership is skint, you know, that behemoth thing called Walmart and its various spin offs around the world, and investing multiple BILLIONS (yes with a B!) In a stadium project in Los Angeles whose financing undoubtedly is at least partially secured by Arsenal Football Club’s value and their hefty fan generated revenues and profits.
Not to mention the club’s often very public dismissive attitude over the years to the very fans people now call spoilt, things like (paraphrasing) – they have never managed 10,000 games before like me; fans are just noise; they are just silly people ..and many other gems from the Hill-Woods, Sir Chips’, Wengers’ and more over the years to petualantly dismiss any reasonable questions being asked by fans, all while still proportionally leaning on them more for revenue than any other club did or does!
And please stop acting like this was some sudden overnight thing with the fan base turning, no it was a process that dragged out over years and years and gradually built (again at any other club fans would have been calling for an forcing changes 5, 6, 7, 8 years prior).
And not to mention the football. Again you all laughed (including F365) at how comical and naive our defending had been for many many years, how we had no plan b under Wenger, constantly kept faith with underperforming and injury prone players, how soft we were, how we kept buying players that did not address our actual needs properly, how we predictably and consistently got exposed the same way every time etc. Yet still, there were gooners touting how we played the right way (which became largely pointless and impotent sideways possession for years) and even that went away in the last couple years!
And still it got worse in recent years under Emery (which has nothing to do with Wenger deserving to go on merit). One just has to look factually there were many recent well covered stats and indicators that showed that some of what we have been doing recently has been at times the worst in 30 sometimes 40 years! And yet, we shouldn’t react to that? I challenge any other fan base not to.
And then the litany of bad on and off the field moves that have paralyzed our play..no need to get into them, just rest assured most thoughts from the fanbase about them like giving ozil 350k a week are not hindsight but were rather foresight as to their badness.
And please do not trot out the no-one has a Devine right to win anything cliche.
Literally no gooner thinks that.
Rather the fan base is well within its rights to expect a more competitive team (like Tom said) given all the above and given we are still one of the most valuable clubs is world sport.
So to close, please stop this myth and this hypocrisy – because everything I said above was widely covered and spoken about for YEARS by the football public as a source to rightfully ridicule gooners for putting up with shit for so long that no other club or their fans would have, only arsenal. Fans FINALLY have the temerity to speak up everyone is getting all precious?
Its alternative reality stuff to suggest gooners are impatient and spoilt – when the reality is no other fan base in world football has been more patient while being taken for a ride, like gooners have been for many many years.
Prince, gooner in the states.
…In reply to Tom: So your hierarchy have similar expectations as you, they are not going to say move to a new stadium and we will be non contenders because like you they don’t believe that.
Similar size to Bayern, well you are but they don’t regularly compete with clubs with the financial clout of Chelsea, Liverpool and the Manchester 2.
So if your hierarchy lowered their expectations you would?
Highest tickets prices, well beer is more expensive than in Manchester doesn’t make it better. Maybe your overheads being in London are higher than say Liverpool.
Your success over the last decade with your 3 FA cups better than everybody except the 4 listed above.
Third most successful club, well how long is it since the second most successful won the league.
Hope that gives a bit of perspective, perhaps lowering your expectations may make you enjoy the games more which is what I got from the gist of JN’s column
Gary in Germany
Can Amazon get a lot more games please.
All the Saints fans
*Lost: one dressing room, last seen a few weeks ago. If found, please return to the Meres.
*Crystal Palace love a Christmas cracker. Last year Andros Townsend lit things up on 22 December with a stunning volley against Manchester City, and yesterday Jordan Ayew sealed a win in spectacular fashion. He made Declan Rice in particular look a bit foolish.
*A lot of Palace fans got one of their Christmas wishes, which was to see Max Meyer start. He started on the right of a 4-3-3, though played a bit deeper than either Ayew or Wilfried Zaha. This helped the Eagles to dominate possession (58%) and find space between the lines of West Ham United’s 4-4-2, albeit at the expense of width, though Patrick van Aanholt and James McArthur did regularly try to send Zaha away down the left.
*In the past I’ve said Palace are single-handedly keeping the Premier League interesting, mainly through their insistence on defying expectations of any kind placed upon them. As Gary Taphouse of Sky Sports points out, at the halfway point of the season Palace sit in midtable with 26 points despite not doing what comes naturally to most professional football teams:
Fair play to #CPFC getting to 23 points despite:
⚽️ scoring just four first half goals all season
⚽️ failing to score a goal from a corner
⚽️ failing to score a goal from outside the box
⚽️ failing to score in 8 of 18 PL games
⚽️ worst injury crisis of the Hodgson era#CRYWHU
— Gary Taphouse (@garytaphouse) December 26, 2019
This does look like a lot of symptoms of Hodgsonball that will come back to haunt the Eagles, but for now, things appear to be working.
*On the subject of the injury crisis, van Aanholt had been rushed back from a previous problem and appears to have aggravated it here. Jairo Riedewald replaced him and perhaps had his best moment in a Palace shirt, a block to deny Robert Snodgrass a second goal. Before the match, it was reported Christian Benteke will be out for a few weeks too. That seems less of an issue because of Ayew’s form and because Connor Wickham was able to make an appearance. Hopefully he can maintain his fitness because it’s been four years since he was able to play a decent number of games in a Palace shirt.
All for show
Davinson Sanchez has just held and obstructed Aaron Connolly in what was a blatant foul and was rightly yellow carded and like usual the player committing the foul has both hands are in the air pleading innocence and looks shocked that it is even a foul. Do players genuwinely believe that they have actually made a good tackle in these instances or do they know they are in the wrong and are trying to make out like the ref is the one in the wrong?
Gaz, CFC, Sidcup (don’t forget to cancel your Amazon Prime subscription before you get charged!)
Postcard from Europe
Decided not to focus on the madness that is the premiership and instead look at the rest of the Europe’s big leagues
Spain A proper race for once, team in 6th 9 points off top spot ,Barca are barely leading the league and should have lost the classico , Valverde is wanted out about as much OGS and will possibly quit at end of the year.
have gotten past their issues ,Bale even gets games now instead of just playing golf. Sevilla ,Atletico will continue to give chase, this one ain’t over
Germany Almost as close Spain with Leipzig led by Nagelsmann topping the table ,the other Borussia are 2nd Bayern are gradually becoming contenders after chasing away Novak , With the Ruhr rivals (Dortmund and Schalke) 3 points behind bayern and 7 off the top,It’s going to be an interesting race.
Italy- Ahh the Conte effect, Juve are in a battle this year ,and it could go either way.Inter are matching Juve ,so far but a lot will depend on squad depth as Conte, has been moaning about injuries to players Ronaldo’s form also be a factor, in the second half of the season and don’t write off Lazio if they win their game in hand.
Milan are currently in 11th. but look like the 427th club to sign Zlatan so that’s that for this season
France- It’s PSG ,where you expecting anything different, Villas Boas may get the Marseille project to finish 2nd which maybe the start of a proper race again but for now it’s still PSG
.Holland -For Once it Ajax vs Alkmaar ,Alkmaar actually beat Ajax last week to draw level at the top before losing the very next game ,so they are 3 points behind. Traditional challengers PSV and Feyenoord have been substandard so far .Special praise to Ado den haag for giving Pards another relegation fight to battle…………… Apparently Big Sam and Pulis turned them down.
Belgium – Brugge are giving themselves a good head start, for when that strange playoff thing comes up. The Kompany experiment at Anderletch didn’t work so it’s Man city will definitely have to replace Pep with Richard Dunne.
Scotchland – This looks like the year the scousers finally win the premiership .., except maybe Stevie G whose team are at least giving a good account of themselves .
Celtic currently lead by 5 points ,having played a game more and the old firm derbies maybe what finally swings it ,will someone other than Celtic win the league for the first times since the very 1st Christmas?
Portugal – Benfica lead Porto, with sporting a bit further back. Can I suggest to in future , Porto and Benfica just play ,rock paper scissors and save everyone the trouble.
Greece Defending champs PAOK have a slight advantage over former serial winners Olympiakos ,tide could be turning ??
‘Turkey _Sivasspor are leading this particular marathon this year, expect one of the regular Istanbul clubs to claim it at the end