‘Smoking’ Arsenal never deserved Liverpool, Suarez stick

Date published: Wednesday 3rd July 2019 2:28 - Joe Williams

Luis Suarez Liverpool Arsenal

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“What are they smoking at Arsenal?” – A defense of Arsenal and Wenger
I’ve never understood the derision that Arsenal received for bidding £40m + £1 for Luis Suarez. The player’s contract said he was available for that much. If they paid £60m to get him then, we’d be calling them chumps for overpaying, even if he won them the title.

Liverpool acted roguishly in not honoring a contract they signed, and Suarez chose not to make a fuss. If he’d taken them to court Liverpool would’ve (or at least should’ve) gotten slapped down by the judge for their conduct. But I don’t understand why we’re sniggering at Arsenal and Wenger when all they did was follow the rules.
Jayraj (MUFC)


Palace’s offer for Zaha
Oh Ally, I think you’ve missed the point there mate. The frustration from Palace camp isn’t directly because of Arsenal’s derisory offer, but because of the dishonest nature of the offer. As 365 pointed out yesterday in a standalone article, Arsenal have made this offer knowing full well that it would be rejected – but hoping that it would elicit a reaction from Zaha’s camp, which it has done courtesy of his brother.

Your point about Arsenal “taking a stand” with the amount they are offering is so far wrong its laughable. Arsenal can reduce the amount they are willing to pay for a player as much as they like, and they will continue to be mired in mediocrity whilst these players sign for clubs willing to pay what the selling club is asking. This logic also doesn’t hold water when you look at the ridiculous wages Ozil is on – why didn’t they take a stand then with regards to paying silly money there?

“There are only a handful of teams able to pay over the odds for a player…”. Again, simply not true. Christ, Fulham spent 100 mil last season! Admittedly they did not spend it well, but this idea that the market is skewed to a point where only the big money players can operate is just flatly wrong. Arsenal have a supremely rich owner – so there’s the cash, he just chooses not to spend it. As for having the skills to find better players – how’s that working out for Arsenal? Their two most successful recent signings were both north of 50 mil. It’s almost as if better players cost more money…

Basically Arsenal have begun negotiations in bad faith, with an offer they knew would be rejected – an offer made with the sole purpose of unsettling a player they’re trying to sign. And Palace are rightly annoyed by that. This narrative that Arsenal are the good guys here because they refuse to buy into the new-age, success-buying football landscape is utter nonsense. They have paid big(ish) money in the past, but here they are simply trying to bully a smaller club into selling their prized asset for cheap. Not something to be lauded at all.
Ben, Oz (never seen someone so incensed over the use of the word ‘incensed’)


Calm down, Ally.

I think you may be a little more pissed off than Crystal Palace are.
Gaaavie, Kaapstad naaier


Ally, London… I’m afraid I have to disagree with “Man U are stupid and desperate enough to pay £50m for a player who isn’t worth it doesn’t set the benchmark for everyone else”. All you have to do is look back to when Man City signed Kyle Walker for… you guessed it… £50m. If that’s the going rate for a top right back (more importantly an english one) then so be it. I think in time we’ll see how £50m for AWB turns out to be good business if he can offer many years of service which is more than can be said for Walker (almost 30) and Mendy (broken).

Also on Arsenal offering £40m when it’s been widely reported Palace are looking for £70+… what do you think they’re smoking at the emirates?
R, London (Zaha to City if they sell Sane?)


In response to Ally, London and the rant on Crystal Palace – firstly the Wan-Bissaka fee is high in the context of 21 year old full backs with one season of top flight football but it’s a business transaction. Palace named their price and United were happy to pay it, based on what they can afford. Why would this incense you? If clubs believe that a transfer target is ‘overpriced’, they don’t (or shouldn’t at least) pay it., it’s all relative.

Secondly, are Arsenal really ‘taking a stand’? Or have they offered a price for Zaha that they can afford? Based on the Swiss Ramble analysis, I’d say it’s the second option. As you rightly say, Palace are well within their rights to conclude that Zaha is worth much more than £40m to them and will rightly reject it. If he is the difference between Premier League and Championship football then you could argue that he’s ‘worth’ more than £100m to Palace – again, it’s all relative. Having four years remaining on his contract, being eligible as ‘home-grown’, and Palace making an assumption that if this move doesn’t materialise, he won’t sulk or go on strike, all bump his ‘value’ upwards.

On your point about Palace being ‘incensed’ – I would assume that this is mainly emotive language for the headline writers but thinking about all of the above, shouldn’t Arsenal realise that a bid of £40m just isn’t going to cut it? The general information available in the press suggests that Palace would be refusing any offer below what they have just received for Wan-Bissaka and so this move by Arsenal could be considered time wasting at best and an attempt to unsettle Zaha at worst, hence why the powers that be at Palace should be rightly ‘annoyed’, rather than ‘incensed’.

I think your anger is better aimed at Arsenal who have made an offer they know is going to be rejected to placate a group of fans who have rightly become disillusioned with the direction of their club (“look, we tried to buy him at least. Now stop moaning and renew your season ticket”). I’m all for clubs not spending beyond their means so well done for Arsenal sticking to their alleged budget this summer but I would suggest that they are wasting their (and Palace’s) time with the pursuit of Zaha if they know that their upper limit is £40m.
Philip (Back in the big time…ugh)


Jonathan Pearce
Watching the game last night and something occurred to me, why do the women playing get such gentle treatment from commentators when their male equivalents would get coated.

·         The terrible penalty was met with something along the lines of ‘oh she was brave to put herself up for that, you have to admire her’ and ‘you’ve got to feel for her’

·         When the corner went straight out, nothing

·         When the throw in fell out of her hands in the last couple of mins it was just sympathy for having sweaty fingers

·         Constant misplaced passes, barely mentioned until after the game

If it was a man making those mistakes the commentator would be more likely to be saying ‘you’ve got to better at this level’, ‘that’s just not good enough’ or ‘this is a world cup semi-final, you should be able to take a throw in’.

I like Jonathan Pearce as a commentator generally but sometimes you’ve got to call people out when they balls something up.

Enjoyed the match though, please remove all technology from the game.


Offside law
Minty raised a point this morning about the offside law and how he feels that it should take more than a toe or two to make a person offside. I dont have any strong feelings either way but I do wonder about the consistency FIFA use in setting this law and the one regarding the ball crossing the line to be a goal/goal kick/throw in etc.

Why is it that only the bare minimum of a person’s body has to be in an offside position for it to be offside but the whole of the ball has to cross the line for it to be given as a goal? Whats the logic used to decide these things? If there is no logic, why not make both the same – the bare minimum of the ball crosses the line and a goal is given or the whole body has to be offside for that to be given?

If theres a good reason I’d love to hear it.
Ronan (No Im not just saying that so Liverpool would have beaten City and gone on to win the league, why would you suggest such a thing?), Galway


Really fed up with the complaining about so called “marginal offsides” being given by VAR. For all the ways in which the rules of the game can be (mis)interpreted, the basic principle of offside is an easy one to grasp – if you are beyond the penultimate opposition player when the ball is played then you are in an offside position. End of story. Doesn’t matter if it’s a fraction of a fraction of a mm.

There are a lot of sticks with which to beat the current VAR system but determining whether or not some is in an offside position is definitely not one of them.

On a side note, calling the Americans racist against the English because of that celebration is pathetic, especially considering the real problems of racism that exist in the USA (and everywhere else) today. As a snowflake millennial my response to Morgan’s celebration was to put the kettle on. It had been at least an hour since the last cup anyway…
Ashley (should’ve brought Eric Dier on for the pen) Metcalfe


Wait, how much?!
So I looked at my phone today to see Ayoze Perez is set to join Leicester for £30m….wait what? I respect times have changed with regards to transfer fees but 10 years ago roughly that same figure was enough to purchase Dimitar Berbatov in his prime, then I remind myself that players like Cesc, Diego Costa, Hazard and David Silva also cost around or below £30m and those signings were as recent as 2014.

Times change, fees change, but it still makes you second guess each transfer fee, when you cast your mind back.
Mikey, CFC (Someone one day will cost over £500m I am sure)


Storm in a teacup
I can’t believe that people are getting so angry about this goal celebration. Speaking as somebody who both is English, and loves his tea (Earl Grey, hot) I thought it was hilarious at the time, and I still do now. I quite admired Alex Morgan for mocking us in a very harmless way. It’s not like she lifted her shirt up to reveal a Brexit slogan!
Pete, Doncaster


I’ve had a bit of time to process now, and I think the first thing to say about last night is that it was probably the right result. This USA team seem to have perfected just getting it done. They may have wobbled a couple of times, but you got the feeling that, whatever England threw at them, they’d find an answer to it and keep their noses in front. Also, top notch shithousing in the closing minutes.

Moving on to England. I could see what Phil Neville was trying to do with his selection and shape change, but it just didn’t come off. Hindsight’s 20-20, but it felt afterwards like we might have been better off keeping the shape that’d been so effective. Nikita Parris just never got into the game through the middle. Dunn isn’t the most adventurous left back in the world, so it felt like putting Daley on the right for extra defensive cover probably wasn’t necessary. Lucy Bronze just wasn’t as potent without Parris on hand to offer her own pace and trickery.

I’ve seen various praise for Daley’s performance, but for me she offered very little beyond running about a lot. Beth Mead was inconsistent and sometimes infuriating (that corner she kicked straight out was pathetic), but we’d seen twice in the tournament how deadly her delivery from the left could be. Daley just didn’t offer the same threat.

Steph Houghton. Oh Steph Steph Steph. She’s been my favourite player for some time, a fantastic all-round defender and leader. However, as this tournament went on she’s played more and more like John Terry, which is both a compliment and a criticism. Yes she seemed to appear from nowhere to make several last-ditch, game-saving blocks and tackles. However, you could see her losing trust in Millie Bright in particular, dropping deeper and deeper, basically putting herself in position to cover for someone else’s mistake rather than defending the situation. as a result she played a US player onside for both of the goals, when she should have been 5 yards further up the pitch. And on the penalty, I think we need to stop letting the “brave” player do this to themself on penalties. I would take arrogance over courage every time for a penalty taker. She stepped up when the pressure was on, but just did not deliver any quality when it mattered. The attitude just seems to be “I need to protect my team-mates from the possibility of missing this.” Compare that to Megan Rapinoe’s confidence from the spot, where she just looks like she wouldn’t contemplate anyone else taking it because she’s definitely going to score.

Finally, on Morgan’s tea-drinking celebration, I suppose she might have been workshopping 200 years of colonial oppression with widespread ramifications for world geopolitics, but the tea thing was simpler. Oh, and if you’re clutching your pearls about it, grow up.
Pierre, devastated (again) of Bristol


Alex Morgan is playing in a World Cup Semi-Final against a country she has been groomed to feel superiority over since birth. Independence from their former colonial masters is at the very centre of American patriotism and school children learn about the Boston Tea Party at a very young age. The match also happens to be on the anniversary of arguably the most important date in US history, plus it’s Morgan’s 30th birthday. Scoring to retake the lead is kind of a big deal on so many levels, one worthy of celebration. And yes, I did mean the 2nd, not the 4th of July.

But how to do so? Alex Morgan’s already been criticised for celebrating too much and too often. Should she tone it down like Carli Lloyd’s sarcastic golf clap, or perhaps something more fun like a camera-friendly end zone celebration? Perhaps play it safe but keep it topical. Whatever she decides, someone, somewhere, will criticise her so you’re damned if you do, damned if you don’t.

Racial stereotyping? Yes, I agree with that, but I feel it’s way down the list of the most offensive examples. Unless I’ve missed something, drinking tea in this country is an everyday activity, rarely with any airs and graces or sensitivity. It doesn’t carry the same cultural and historical importance of say, a Japanese tea ceremony. Personally, I think Morgan’s celebration was quite amusing and a little mischievous. A little bit of fun in an often po-faced don’t-celebrate-against-your-old-club sport. Even if it’s referencing the American War of Independence, why is it so offensive?

If Alex Morgan is low rent, I’d love to be that low rent. I’ve not heard anything about Jill Ellis having to talk her out of planting the Stars and Stripes in the centre circle. You’d have thought Morgan walked off the pitch, not to be replaced, and then returns in full England kit to play the final minutes 12v10, constantly reminding her new teammates how they can only win with her support, just like in WWII. I’ve not heard any rumours that the classless and arrogant Americans are training in clogs, just in case the Netherlands make the final, or that they’re trying to hack the PA system, to replace the Swedish national anthem with an ABBA song, should they get through. To be honest, I’d be more than happy if my child chose Alex Morgan as a role model. She’d definitely be a better one than me as I can’t live up to the impossible standards she’s expected to.
CP, Cambridge 


Does Phil Neville have the makings of a good manager?
As a supporter of both Liverpool and Valencia, I have as big a distaste for the Neville brothers as anyone. It’s also fair to point out that he didn’t exactly get the job on merit. However, as an outsider with no team to support in this World Cup, I’ve been quite impressed with most of the things Phil Neville has done with the Lionesses. You can see that he has a clear idea of how he wants the team to play in a way that suits the players at his disposal. Sure, he got found out a few times (for example, putting Christen Press on Lucy Bronze to pin her back in the semi was something he didn’t seem to have an answer for), and some his ideas seemed a little undercooked. But no manager gets everything right in their first job. The main thing is that they had a clear direction, it looked like a Phil Neville team (stop sniggering). He has also received remarkable buy-in from the players and in general the mood in the camp seems very good. Phizza sticks up for his players in public and they seem to really want to play for him. Contrast this with his brother’s clueless reign of error at Valencia or the previous guy at the Lionesses’ helm who always seemed like a bit of a plonker in his poncy peacoat. Who knows where Phil Neville will go in his managerial career, but having a distinct style and getting the players to play for you seems like a positive start.
Kris, Helsinki, Finland


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