We have mails on Manchester United and more. Keep your mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ole doesn’t do knockout football
Monjur is correct in saying that Ole, who had an unbelievably good start after taking over from Mourinho, is a ‘good’ manager who can achieve immediate results, agreed. But the beating stick in my mail was that he is inconsistent and, as evidenced by the FA Cup exit, is not the man you want in your dug out for a knockout game 9 times out of 10, whoever the opponent may be.
And me questioning weather or not he would have a similar run like Tuchel is based off the professionalism and calm which Chelsea displayed in their games in the cup competitions. I seriously doubt Ole, the man who never takes risks or even removes players who are playing horribly just to always have 2 CDMs on the pitch in the big games, would have achieved similar results with this ease. For Ole to have the same start as Tuchel- unbeaten, club record number of home clean sheets, progressing to the next stages in both the Cup competitions, Solskjær would have to do something he has so far never done in his United reign- to perform on the biggest of stage without needing any element of luck (PSG tie) or individual brilliance from his creative players (Bruno, Pogba). Tuchel had very tough games in the FA Cup ties against Barnsley and Sheffield United but came out of them unscathed after rotating his team heavily and also switching formations. Against Atletico, he was missing 2 of his best players this season in Mount and Jorginho in the second leg and also took a massive tactical decision to leave Oli Giroud- the goalscorer from the first leg- completely out from the second leg. He enables ALL his players to have an A+ game by employing tactics which will be a hindrance to the opponent and then selects the correct personnel to execute the tactics.
When was the last time Ole showed any such tactical flexibility in a game and completely dominated a big team akin to Chelsea’s games against Atletico?
Ole is definitely a good manager. But there are better managers in world football and Tuchel is one of them. And for what its worth, any manager would have had a similar set of results after the players got Mourinho got sacked by ‘downing tools’. Not taking anything away from Ole, but the toxicity level in that dressing room was reaching new heights, and the players were just waiting for someone new to come along for them to give their 100% on the pitch.
So, please- you can’t just credit the entirety of that brilliant run United were in in the initial days of Ole to his managerial credentials, because if that were the case, United would not have been trophy less under him so far.
Aayush Choraria, New Delhi
AWB CDM LOL
Not one for a knee jerk reaction and yesterday was a massive disappointment but this result/performance had been coming for a while. Fred and Matic cannot play together in midfield especially against quality players such as Tielemans and Ndidi (no Technical Director needed to see he is best Defensive Midfielder in the league along with Kante).
Any way to answer Alex’s question. AWB does not play in CDM (typing Central Defensive Midfielder a lot of work…oh hold on i have typed it) as he is possibly the worst actual ‘footballer’ in the Utd team. There is a reason he is the target of most teams press as he has no actual football intelligence he’s just a very very good defender. No point winning the ball back to just give it the opposition for another go
Anyway fingers crossed we can win the Europa and finish 2nd which would be progress and then look to move Fred/Matic on in the summer
Stay safe, save the NHS and all that
Coxy (Maybe its more because Leicester are a very good team and not because Utd/Ole are so inept?)
As a neutral observer I wonder how the Spurs fans up in arms at the penalty awarded to Arsenal last week felt about the penalty awarded to Kane last night?
To my mind it was pretty similar, neither defender was close to getting the ball and neither really hampered the attacker much but I can imagine fans will clearly see a difference on how it impacts their team.
To my mind we need to get rid of all these nonsense penalties and there should be some sort of lesser award because the strikers are just milking this for all it’s worth at the moment. They should also have some sort of punishment for holding shins ‘in agony’ when they barely got a touch on the bottom of their boot as well.
Mark C, London
Easiest 16 conclusions ever?
If you had written a 16 conclusions for the West Ham 3-3 Arsenal game it would have probably been the easiest 16 conclusions you’d have ever written. From an Arsenal point of view it was probably the worst 35 minutes of our season followed by the best 45 minutes or so. The most frustrating part is the skill is there, there was just a poor attitude and application in starting the match, something we’ve seen too often this season. Fatigue and a European game midweek could be an excuse but plenty of players who played yesterday didn’t play the European game. Anyway the thing I wanted to talk about was something that has been discussed plenty of times in the mailbox but no one has ever received an answer on, let alone an acceptable one. It also amazes me that no pundit has the balls to put one of these expert ex refs turned pundits on the spot and ask them to explain it.
The incident is Lacazette getting completely wiped out by Fabianski after he lobs the ball over him and towards goal. If Lacazette touches it past Fabianski, or touches it to the side of him, or even doesn’t touch the ball at all, Fabianski’s momentum still comes crashing through Lacazette and everyone would agree it is one of the most cast iron penalties you’d see all season. So why because Lacazette had a shot does it not count as a penalty? GK doesn’t tuoch the ball, ball is still in play, GK fouls the striker. There is no advantage at any stage and we keep coming back to the old ‘anywhere else on the pitch is a clear foul’ – so the question needs to be asked of refs to explain where in the rules it states that these incidents can’t be penalties because it happens week after week.There is also a more subjective argument that if Lacazette had thrown himself to the ground from Coufal’s tug back (a la Kane and Salah) he would have got Coufal sent off, and perhaps Coufal’s slight tug was all that was needed to stop Lacazette getting to the ball quicker and scoring instead of it being cleared off the line. I’m fed up with refs not giving a proper advantage to the attacking team irrespective of whether a shot is taken or whether the player goes down.
Essentially refs are bottling decisions because they do give these elsewhere on the pitch because they know it won’t lead to a game deciding incident. It is pure cowardice on the part of our refs and another reason to hammer them for their incompetence to referee games at the top level in this league. Of course it was Jon Moss refereeing which will surprise no one.
Are you not entertained?
Forget about the boring Invincibles of Wenger, who would blow away teams for 20 minutes and then manage the rest of the game. Or the really soporific later-Emery period with its trademark mind-numbing horseshoe patterns.
This was the definitive Arsenal performance of the season. Slow out of the gates, like that horrible run in the first half of the season. Much better second half with the odd stumble now and then. Consistency, even within a game, is an alien concept and Arteta must be tempted to tear his carefully manicured hair out.
Tired (I can’t stop watching from behind the sofa) Gooner
Matt Stead’s depiction of Arsenal as ‘a ridiculous football club that exists outside of our assumed reality’ is spot on. Well done! LOL.
Jose Mourinho in the modern game
As Jose Mourinho continues to blame everyone but himself (nothing new there for the ‘Special One’) for Tottenham Hotspur’s recent calamitous run of form (last night’s 2- 0 wins at Aston Villa notwithstanding, of course), I think now is an appropriate time for a little appraisal of Senor Mourinho’s managerial exploits. It all really started when F.C.Porto defeated Glasgow Celtic in the 2003 UEFA Cup (now Europa League ) final in Seville.
From there, the Champions League triumph and the famous run down the touchline in Old Trafford in 2004. Chelsea came calling, Premier League title retention, FA Cup and Carling Cup glory soon followed.
Yet, the famous ‘ghost goal scored by Luis Garcia, at Anfield in 2005’s Champions League semi-final second leg still rankles to this day.
Inter Milan soon followed after a rather ignominious exit from Stamford Bridge. The famous treble of 2010, Champions League, Coppa Italia, Lo Scuddeto. was an incredible managerial achievement by anyone’s standards. Real Madrid came calling, but this was during the incredible Pep Guardiola era at Barcelona. A La Liga Title was all that Jose could accomplish, those Champions League semi-final reversals must have hurt. Chelsea came calling again, and, predictably enough, he duly delivered yet another Premier League title, as well as a League Cup Final victory over Tottenham Hotspur.
A calamitous title defense however led to another departure from Stamford Bridge the following season, of course, best remembered for Leicester City’s incredible 5000/1 title triumph, orchestrated, ironically enough, by Jose’s predecessor at Stamford Bridge, the enigmatic Italian Claudio Ranieri.
Manchester United was his next port of call, Europa League, and, again. League Cup success duly followed, but a 3- 1 defeat at Anfield in December 2018 proved to be the straw that broke this particular camel’s back.
Tottenham Hotspur then surprisingly selected Jose to replace Mauricio Pochettino and here we are today. Jose Mourinho undoubtedly stands on a managerial pedestal alongside the pantheon of managerial greats, the accomplishments I have already outlined are proof of this.
Yet, time waits for no one, and perhaps Jose’s managerial race is coming to the end. Personally, I think international management would suit Jose no end, so I have a feeling the ‘Special One’ will be around for a while longer. I would like to conclude this e-mail by paying tribute to Jose Mourinho. An outstanding manager, and, when he does television punditry, a proper gentleman with an encyclopedic knowledge of football from all over the world. Football has been lucky to bear testament to such an outstanding character and all he has brought to the game.
Optimistic Liverpool Supporter
Paul (i wouldnt) Manchester
Absolutely, yes please, where do I sign? Although I’m not sure how much that means to be fair as I’d swap mourinho for a cardboard cutout of Neil Warnock at this point
Simon, Spurs, London
Whatever Fred’s failings on a football pitch, and I’ve been vocal about them, no one deserves to be abused by mindless goons online due to the colour of their skin. I appreciate that Brexit and having a racist as Prime Minister empowers and emboldens the racists in this country to feel like they can abuse people because presumably they are prime examples of the master race but serious wtf is wrong with people?
So Fred, I know you’re not going to read this, but nonetheless I want to say while my doubts about your suitability for a regular role in a Man Utd starting XI stand, I’m sorry you were abused by racist keyboard c*nts.
Independent North XI
The news that the separatist Northern Independence Party is standing a candidate in the Hartlepool by-election has me wondering how their men’s national team would line up if they achieved their aim of freeing the north. The new nation would draw a border along the southern edge of Cheshire, the Peak District, South Yorkshire and South Humberside, and south of Scotland so any player born in those areas would qualify.
Southgate (Watford) wouldn’t be manager but I’m going with his current 3-4-3 system. For GK we have a choice of Pickford (Washington) or Henderson (Whitehaven) and for the back three we’re relying on a WC 2018 style Walker (Sheffield), Stones (Barnsley) and Maguire (Sheffield). Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool) would be a natural at right wing-back but things are trickier on the left; Chilwell, Shaw and Saka are all southerners. We’re going to have to go with Danny Rose (Doncaster) and hope for the best.
A Henderson (Sunderland) and Phillips (Leeds) double pivot might seem a bit pedestrian but I like the defensive solidity. It’s up to Calvert-Lewin (Sheffield) to score the goals, and he’d be ably supported by Foden (Stockport) and Rashford (Manchester). Greenwood (Manchester) and Harvey Barnes (Burnley) are options off the bench.
Bit worried about how one footed it is if Rose is unavailable, but I think that stacks up pretty well. I’d fancy their chances in a tense no-football-please-we’re-British quarter-final against the rump England team, which could line up as follows and is even more of a glass cannon than they already are.
James – Dier – Mings – Chilwell
Mount – Rice – Grealish
Saka – Kane – Sancho
Matt (Gerrard as manager – it’s him or Steve Bruce)
Dreadful forward lines
Great suggestion from Joel, (Firing Blanks) Nottingham this morning about dreadful forward line ups in the Premier League, i do like any reason to dive into the archives and bring up names from the past, naturally I assumed the overall rule was that they both had to be on the same pitch at the same time for the club, after a bit of research and reading up of old Match Reports, here are my duos:
– Michael Ngonge & Tommy Smith (Watford 99/00)
– Andy Gray (Nephew of Andy Gray) & Jon Stead (Sunderland 05/06)
– Brett Ormerod and John Murphy (Blackpool 10/11)
– Jozy Altidore & Danny Graham (Sunderland 13/14)
– Serhiy Rebrov & Chris Armstrong (Spurs 00/01)
– Nicklas Bendtner & Marouane Chamakh (Arsenal 12/13)
– Claudio Pizarro & Andriy Shevchenko (Chelsea 07/08)
Graham Potter w*nkathon
Without wishing to go all Marcelo Rodriguez on the Graham Potter w*nkathon. When Wolves played Brighton last season and dear, sweet Adama was running riot. Potter tasked his players with fouling Traore, often in fairly brutal fashion, until booked and the change positions with another player to repeat the process.
I have no problem with this, it’s pretty unpleasant and cynical, but that’s the game at times. What I do have a problem with, is said manager being referred to as “progressive”. Traore was assaulted time and again that game, under direct instruction from the manager, so please keep johnsons inside trousers, he’s more than capable of the agricultural stuff.
John Collins, Staffs
Silly Ndidi business
Man United made Alexis Sanchez their highest paid player.
Man City spend the budget of Burundi on full backs. Spurs spent all their ‘Bale Money’ on players they didn’t need. When it comes to player transfers, its obvious clubs really dont know what theyre doing.
Need proof? There’s still no bidding war for Wilfred Ndidi! Shocking. Of the traditional TOP 6, the only club he wont significantly improve are Chelsea and Liverpool. And thats because of Kante and Fabinho. Yet nobody will go for him. Watch Man City spend another 65 million pounds on a 21yrs old prospect from Real Zaragoza in the summer.