What the f**k were Man City supposed to do? Not shoot?

Date published: Thursday 10th January 2019 2:38

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com.


City did show Burton respect
Nonsense from Dan, Brighton in this morning’s mailbox. There’s a few important differences between the Germany – Brazil WC semi and the City – Burton LC semi.

Firstly, the WC semi was in Brazil. If Germany had put 9 past Brazil there would have been a fairly decent chance of riots, likely beginning in the stadium. Easing back when the game was won probably had an element of the Germany players thinking about their own safety.

Secondly, the WC semi was a knock-out game. When the game was won, Germany knew they were in the final. Unlike City who still need to go to Burton. A second-leg still has to be played. Guardiola now has options. With fixture congestion he has one less game to worry about. He could literally field the U-21 team in the second-leg and know that City will be in the final. If City had stopped playing at half-time when they were 4-0 up as Dan suggests they should have, and if Burton had have gone on to score a last minute fluke, of course City would still have been huge favourites to make the final. But not that long ago a 5000-1 outsider won the PL. At 4-1 City would have needed at least a handful of first-teamers on the bench.

Thirdly, Germany were playing their first-choice team, whereas City were playing a mix of kids, second-stringers, and players returning from injury. Jesus has not been in great form this season. 4 goals last night (the first time he’s scored that many) no doubt gave his confidence a boost. Should Guardiola have said to Jesus, and the other players trying to find form or impress the manager ‘screw your confidence, and your ambitions, won’t someone think of the Burton players’? The point of having a great squad is that nobody feels like they can rest on their laurels – everyone feels the pressure to perform in every match from another squad member breathing down their neck.

Finally, after the Liverpool win and the Rotherham and Burton thrashings it’s easy to forget that City have been in poor form lately (3 losses in 4 at one point in December). And that’s the point. City, and perhaps more importantly Wolves when Monday night rolls around, are supposed to forget the blip and have in their minds that this team has more recently scored 16 goals in 4 days.

Maybe I’m biased, but personally I think it would have been more disrespectful to stop playing at half-time – to assume that playing for 45 mins was enough to win a 180 min match. There were no oles, no stepovers, no rabonas. They weren’t taking the piss out of Burton. It was a team who looked desperate to impress their manager (contrast Liverpool vs Wolves) who showed Burton respect by playing properly for 90 mins.
gomez, MCFC


Dan, (my lumberjack mate got me a clock for Christmas… analogue) Brighton. Do pipe down you colossal bore. It’s this ridiculous, ultra-professional shite that has taken a lot of fun out of football. Fans pay a helluva lot of money to go and watch a football match, and it would it be far more unprofessional for Man City to just not bother trying in the second half. Fans want to see goals; it’s fun, it’s interesting and it’s entertainment. If Burton can’t cope, then I have sympathy, but that’s life – I’m sure their little souls will recover.

You mention Germany and Brazil, but Germany aren’t always that nice to their opponents. Just ask San Marino whom they once tonked 13 or 14-0 in a qualifier. Or is that okay because San Marino are smaller than Brazil and don’t really matter?

Also, I don’t remember United getting any stick of the sort when they beat Ipswich 9-0. Most of the media found it quite enthralling. As did Andy Cole I’d imagine.

I imagine you sitting in a Chinese all you cant eat buffet restaurant, and settling after the second plate because you don’t want to eat too much of their food.
Gavin, Ebbsfleet


I didn’t watch the City game last night but I am a United fan so I think that brings some balance to my opinion.

I have no idea what the outrage is about City putting 9 past a side, albeit lower league, in a cup semi-final. Every year we hear complaints that the top sides don’t “respect” the League and FA Cups and now that one has, we deride them for playing at 100%. Is there some sort of ideal score? 3-0 is fine but any more than 5 is arrogant? I don’t understand it.

I remember Fergie post match to United beating Arsenal 8-2 also suggesting that the wanted his team to go easy on them after about 6 or 7, so this is clearly a common thing, but I don’t remember outrage at United humiliating Arsenal. So if acceptable effort/skill level is dependent on the league status of the opposition, then at least please be consistent and allow the top sides to use reserve team players without chastising them for “disrespecting” the cup.
Langa (Johannesburg)


So, Man City get a caning for battering Burton 9 (nine) – 0. But, would be accused of disrespecting the competition and their opponents if they’d have (a) fielded a weakened team and/or (b) taken their foot of the gas.

Spurs get a caning for bringing on Kane when 6 – 0 up against Tranmere. But would be accused of not trying to win a competition if they’d have fielded a weakened team.

Poch needs to win something to be successful, but what are the odds that if he wins the League Cup, people will say ‘Ah, but it was only the League Cup’. So, then he wins the FA Cup, and will people say, ‘Yes, but he needs to win the league to prove his credentials.’ So he wins the league, and critics will say, ‘That’s all very well, but to be classed as a top manager, he needs to win the Champions League.’

When is enough, enough or not enough?

We’re a funny lot, aren’t we. Thank goodness we’ve a government to keep order…
Andy (Praying for signs of intelligent life on FRB 180814.J0422+73), London


Seriously, wtf was City supposed to do? Not shoot when the ball is at their feet in front of goal? Not put a team-mate through on goal when a pass opens up? Not try and win the ball back on defense? Just let the other teams in the cup have a good hit-out and develop more as a team with match practice, while City just sit down in the middle of the pitch and have a laugh? Can you imagine the outcry of matchfixing and lack of respect if they did any of those things? What’s that? You never actually thought it through? Well I am not suprised, you were too busy sharpening your pitchforks to actaully think about logic and the alternatives for City.

Can you just imagine a cup competition where teams from different divisions play each other, and then having people whinge about mismatches. Either the competition is stupid, or the people complaining are – and I don’t think there is anything wrong with the cup.
Shill Borten – Oz


Scoring as many goals as possible is literally the point of football.


I’m going to have to disagree entirely with Dan, Brighton who brings Manchester City’s class into question because they gave effort for the full duration of a competitive football match. Sorry, but they have absolutely no obligation whatsoever to take it easy on any opponent and the fact that last night’s were relative minnows is of no relevance. It is the responsibility of all players and coaches at Burton to study and train to their best efforts to avoid getting walloped, and indeed, aim to win any match they take part in. They should also relish being tested against fitter players with more tactical sophistication as a measure of where they stand in comparison and identify where they can improve. In my opinion, if there was any player in the Burton side last night who was thinking they’d like City to take it easy on them, they oughtn’t be a professional athlete.

In addition, I’m not convinced that Germany ‘agreed’ to go easy on Brazil in that fateful World Cup semi due to any compassion or embarrassment. They had the final to play a few short days later (the World Cup final that is; biggest game of their careers) and it was in their best interests to conserve energy and treat the final stages as a warm-down.

Also consider that for the likes of Mahrez, Sane and Jesus, there is frequently only one place in the regular side available to them, alongside Aguero and Sterling. They’ve got to put in a performance to make the boss take notice.

And, finally, the larger the cushion they managed to give themselves after the first leg, the more likely we are to see Phil Foden and chums in the second leg, right?! And it seems every man and his dog are clamouring for that at the moment.

No offence, Dan. I liked your joke btw.
Chris (and what of the home fans? I attended the 9-0 win over Ipswich in 95 and it’s a treasured memory fwiw), SAF Stand


I’m not sure if I’m on my own here, but I can’t help thinking that football fans are becoming very easily offended these days. Am I sounding like an old man? I’m 33 FYI…maybe that is old these days, who knows. But anyway I’ve just witnessed the outcry about Man City knocking 9 past lower league opposition last night and I find it quite bizarre.

Why are people getting worked up? They’re talking about lack of respect and lack of class, would it not be less respectful to play a weakened team and/or ‘go easy’ on an opponent? At 4-0 at half time should the paying crowd have been subjected to meaningless passes around the backline for 45 minutes? I suppose they had their fill of entertainment (yes entertainment, what the game is about) so really giving them anymore would just be unnecessary. Perhaps the PA announcer should have informed the crowd that the game was as good as over now and to make your way to the exits to avoid the traffic home.

It doesn’t stop at scorelines either, or indeed with fans. The players now get incredulous if an opposing flair player, say Neymar, starts prancing around when his team are 3-0 up. How about try tackling him? After all that’s what you’re there to do. Sterling got abuse by Mata recently for doing something similar. Where does this stop? Will we have to ban the nutmeg so as not to offend Generation Snowflake? Perhaps the overhead volley should illicit a yellow card as, quite frankly, it’s just taking the p***. So you can rule out those goals Madrid scored in the Champions League last year, especially the Bale one in the final. Oh and Karius didn’t mean to pass the ball to Benzema or drop it in his own net, that must have left him and the fans feeling particularly sorry for themselves. Play on, no goal. Let’s keep going until we get a fair one. Believe me, as a Newcastle fan I have endured many a thrashing (particularly from Liverpool) over the years and just had to grin and bear it. That’s all you can do while hoping that someday your team may inflict a similar thumping on someone else (maybe when Ashley goes….someday…please).

I’m digressing now, my apologies, I hope I haven’t offended anyone.
Simon (offended when Germany went easy on Brazil) NUFC


We might as well scrap VAR now
Ok I’m going to take the bait and reply Tom Birkert (A Double VAR Farce). To be open and honest like Tom was, I am a Spurs fan. Tom claims that there is no doubt that Kane is offside and as such VAR is a farce. Whilst I agree with Tom that the angle used for the official decision is not overly helpful, the Chelsea “evidence” is equally misleading. Firstly, as one of the letter from Wednesday pointed out, the captured moment is fractionally after Toby has played the ball. Secondly, whilst Tom complains about the official angle used, Chelsea’s angle is not, as they claimed, in line with the play. It is actually behind the play and as Toms says, “basic biology will tell you that if two people are level but moving in opposite directions then there will be different body angles and positions in play.”

Of course Chelsea would know all this but Sarri comes out sells the offside as fact. And so to the main point I wanted to make. Its taken less than 1 year, and for VAR to not even to be fully introduced, to reach a point where clubs are already releasing their own “evidence” to challenge a decision. I should’ve known we’d get to this stage so quickly. Managers will do anything to point the blame of a defeat to anywhere but the players and VAR gives them a new outlet. It’s what we’d expect from the likes of Mark Hughes. We might as well scrap VAR now and anytime the likes of Sarri moan about an incorrect decision we can point back to this moment and say well you moaned about VAR so tough luck.

Chelsea haven’t had much luck with VAR as I seem to remember their players throwing themselves on the floor in the box multiple times against Norwich in the FA Cup and asking for all decisions to be reviewed because they were desperate for a goal.
Joe, Chelmsford


Let it go
So the next time any non-Lfc supporter writes to you about the bias against their club on content basis or the ‘favouritism’ my club gets from your site, do point out the social media space related to British football in the recent days. Losing away to the best team in the country in a match on extremely fine margins (Bloody goalposts) and losing a domestic cup fixture while blooding the youngsters has clearly led to the collective lot losing their nuts.
The discussion seems to rival Brexit.
I have read opinions, criticism and complaining from city, united, spurs fans and from people who just write in something hateful when given a chance about our manager, without revealing their allegiances…
Can we all just look ahead to an exciting title race and CL games?
MIHIR NAIR. LFC. MUMBAI. (Just tired…)


Mental health and the lack of empathy in football
Great article by Alex Keble on mental health in football. Therapy can be beneficial for people in any walk of life regardless of whether or not they suffer from serious mental health problems. For elite-level footballers in particular, it’s very easy to see how there could be benefit from having a safe, confidential environment to discuss and express feelings with the support of a qualified professional.

We are talking about people who have typically not lived “normal” childhoods or teenage years, often dealing with great pressures at an early age and then suddenly becoming millionnaire celebrities by the time they reach their early twenties. You can see how they may find themselves quite isolated from society and what most of us consider to be everyday life.

They are constantly being judged by pundits, journalists and fans. They might struggle to live up to the impossible expectations implied by their salaries and might not know which of their friends/agents/staff they can really trust on a personal level. Social media is an ever-present torrent of comments full of criticism and abuse.

Of course, many footballers often behave like tw*ts, which makes it harder to emphasise. Nevertheless, recent events such as the footage of Chelsea fans shouting at Raheem Sterling illustrate some of the excessive nastiness that remains pervasive in football.

Collectively we should try to remember that footballers are human. I’ve perceived a general lack of empathy in the way Morata has been talked about, for example in relation to his muted celebration against Forest . This was a human being displaying genuine sadness, whatever the reasons may be (and there aren’t always obvious, identifiable reasons), even as he continued to try his best for the team following some bad misses.

This is a player publicly described as “mentally fragile” and “sensitive” by his manager, which might have been an attempt to generate more empathy. However, in a football culture still largely influenced by PFM, and characterised by Tweets like “Morata crying is pathetic”, it was perhaps counter-productive. Hopefully we’re headed in a direction where these issues can be discussed in a mature and informed way.
James Bruschini


Simple solution
Heres a super simple solution to improve the Carling Cup and FA cup. Play the majority of  cup games during the proposed winter break or just over December and January. That way if bigger teams dont want to take it seriously or want to rest players, they can do it over the winter break period, which is what most managers want. This would also give a lot more smaller teams more of an advantage. It would still be a spectacle and make for interesting travels over Christmas and new years and be would be less physical strain on players and you would get some nice meaty games over that period too.
Nate from Dorset


Cup conundrum
Quick idea how to make the English domestic cups more exciting/competitive.

Start of season all teams in European competition are ineligible to play in League Cup. That would mean this season Both Manchester’s, Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal and Chelsea are out. This would hopefully have a 2 fold effect as such: All remaining teams will see the league cup as a great shot at a trip to Wembley to win a cup and will hopefully take it seriously and thus give all fans some entertaining and competitive games. Would we rather watch a 9 goal drubbing or 2 premier league teams or maybe a high flying championship club go toe to toe?

The second effect would see the amount of available cups to be won by the European competing teams reduced. This would reduce the amount of games they potentially play so the excuse of ‘resting key players’ would be hopefully be lessened. It could also see them decide to take the FA Cup a lot more seriously as the league cup would no longer be a viable ‘back up’ option to win in an attempt to take away the glare, come end of season of any other cup/league failures.

Might be a terrible idea but I don’t think I’m alone in being annoyed at the resting of payers in the FA and League Cup and seeing a complete devaluation of these competitions.
Mark (bored and on lunch) LFC


I may be repeating arguments others have made before, but the lack of appeal of the FA Cup now compared to 20 or 30 years ago can be summed up by one word: money.  If progress in the FA cup was as financially rewarding as each place in the PL then you can guarantee that every club would take it seriously.  And once you have that, the competition gets back to where it once was…if the clubs care about it so will the fans.

I’m not suggesting this would stop some of the bigger clubs with strong squads from rotating in the earlier rounds.  But they would be doing so with the objective that it would be the best way of competing on multiple fronts, not because they don’t care about the FA Cup.  You have to believe that every entrant in the competition wants to win it or get as far as they can otherwise how can you get excited about it?  If there was serious prize money on offer for making it to, say, the 5th round, can you imagine the impact that might have on those lower league clubs who make it that far once in a blue moon?

Unfortunately the only way I can see this happening is if the PL and FA cup TV rights were somehow packaged together so there could be a legitimate basis for apportioning significant prize money for the FA cup.  That of course would also reduce the amount the PL clubs get which wouldn’t be popular, but for every winner there must be a loser.  And if it helps to share some of the wealth down to the lower leagues then surely that can’t be a bad thing?
Rob, London


Spurs’ new stadium
Dear Editor,

I’d like to take umbrage with Falooda in NY regarding his comments in Thursday’s mailbox regarding Spurs new Stadium.

He says “can the FA not simply force Spurs to continue playing at Wembley for the rest of the season so the away fans are not screwed (again) in March when there’s another inevitable delay?”

I’d like to understand in what way the away fans are apparently being “screwed”?

The fixtures that cannot be fulfilled at New WHL will be played at the National Stadium, giving (most) away fans are a rare opportunity to visit Wembley.

2. Wembley is in London, not that far from the aforementioned New WHL. It’s not like it’s in, say, Milton Keynes!!!

3. Tickets sales will clearly define the venue of the match before they go on sale, so away fans can decide whether they want to attend or not.

This faux-outrage over away fans being screwed is just nonsense.

As a season ticket holder, I am disappointed, to say the least, that I’ll prob get a maximum of a handful of games at the new stadium this year.

If anything, it’s the Spurs fans that are getting screwed, not the away fans.

I bid you good-day, Sir!

Falooda in NY seems quite angry about the delay in the opening of the new Spurs stadium, I’m not sure who you support but I really don’t understand how it affects you, or anyone other than Spurs and their fans for that matter.

‘They flipped fixtures….forced them to play in Milton Keynes rather than being allowed to play at home….barely given 3 weeks notice’. Who are you talking about here?! Watford? If so it was Spurs not Watford who were forced to play in Milton Keynes rather than their home stadium as we were the home team in that League Cup game! ‘Other teams and their fans continue to be punished for Spurs incompetence’ – How? It’s Spurs and their fans that are at a disadvantage not anyone else. So for one game of 38 an away team may have to travel to Wembley rather than Tottenham, how is this a problem or a punishment as opposed to a mild inconvenience at most?

I’m a season ticket holder and I personally think it’s frustrating to not be in our new stadium yet but that’s all it is. The new stadium looks amazing and I can’t wait to move in, I’d love it if there hadn’t been any delays, but if I don’t want to go to any home games this season at Wembley I get a full refund. Tottenham fans are the ones being punished as everyone is fed up of Wembley and the hassle of getting there, getting out after the game, the lack of atmosphere, the poor state of the pitch etc. If you think the correct thing to do would be to make us suffer more by making us stay there until the end of the season I think your anger is misguided.

We were told the stadium would be ready for the start of the season, and then it was delayed to September. Since then there haven’t been any promises, just updates on the latest fixtures to be switched to Wembley. They have learned not to ‘overpromise’. And I’m not sure where you’ve got the March date from but it certainly hasn’t come from the club. There may well be another delay but it won’t be the away fans that are getting ‘screwed again’ it will be Spurs and their fans.
Rob Pearse


Minty, LFC, makes a good point about Man City.

“If Man Utd/Chelsea or Liverpool are in a title race then every other fan base within the three will all opt for Man City to win the league. The reason is simple; you’re irrelevant to all of us.”

So what would be your preferred order be for the big 6 teams to win the league? Rhetorical question actually as I’ve already answered it below:

1st Arsenal – No justification required.

2nd Man City – Lack any history or rivalry with my team

3rd Liverpool – Detest them slightly less than the three teams below

4th Chelsea – Detest them slightly less than the two teams below

5th Man Utd – Detest them slightly less than the team below

6th Tottenham – Worst case scenario
Jaroda, AFC


Mediawatch – RESPECT
Guys, I absolutely love mediawatch and have the utmost respect for F365 just calling the daily BS out, that is spouted by the media. I know you only cover the Football section, but it’s fair to say the same amount of BS if not more, blatant lies find there way in non football matters as well.

Keep up the STERLING work.
Ash, LFC. 


Still defending Dejan
Dear Sir or Madam

So, Jonny, you’ve assumed that Lovren didn’t warm up correctly? Did you watch all of the warmup exercises done by the players before the match began? Maybe you did, but I doubt it.

Also, by your logic, any time any defender ever allows any space to a striker in the box, they are to blame? Wholly unrealistic standards being applied to the big Croat. Why cannot it be accepted that Agüero hit an amazing, unstoppable shot and move on? Teams concede goals, though my team barely concedes any, even with Lovren at the heart of the defence a lot of the time.

Andrew agrees with my assessment that Agüero was forced onto his weaker foot. Therefore, clearly, I am not talking codswallop as you put it. I respect your opinion but I think you are wrong.

However, Andrew, Lovren’s who scored.com rating did not improve drastically by scoring against Newcastle. He has consistently been one of Liverpool‘s best players this year according to who scored anyway. Again, this doesn’t fit in with any media narrative, but at least I can base my arguments on some objective basis whereas I think many people base their subjective opinions on the media narrative.

I agree that Lovren did not have his best game against city. However, every defender will get nutmegged occasionally, be in two minds about whether to attack the ball or sit back, et cetera. Your magnifying the so-called mistakes because of who the player is.

Doesn’t do it in big games? Wasn’t he our best player in the Champions League final? When he has played against all the other big teams this year, hasn’t he been relatively faultless?

“Not the worlds worst defender?” In my humble opinion, he is clearly one of the best central defenders in the Premier League. I would only rate Laporte, Vertonghen and Alderweireld higher than him, and put him equal with Luiz, Kompany and Rudiger

I guess people are sheep and will believe what the media say no matter what. It is also very depressing that my fellow fans cannot get behind a player who the manager clearly rates so highly.
Bench pressing lawyer


FA Cup final day was the biggest football day of the year
Every year, football media is awash with columns, voxpops and fan letters complaining about the diminishing prestige attached to the FA Cup. There are usually suggestions about how to make it a big deal again and some blame thrown at various stakeholders, be it Sky, the Premier League or the FA themselves. Champions League places or neutral semi final venues are not going to bring the competition back to what it was and none of the FA, Sky (well, maybe Sky a bit) or the Premier League are to blame for it.

DL from Geneva wrote in this morning and reminded me of a couple of VHS casettes I need to search for in my parents house of the 94 and 95 finals. He, erroneously in my opinion, blames several decisions from the FA on the Cup’s perception among fans but inadvertantly touched on the real reason with his nostalgic recalling of BBC’s all day long coverage. The real reason for the FA Cup’s descent into mediocrity is, ultimately, mass media.

DL was right when he said Cup final day was the biggest football day of the year. It certainly felt like it to me when I pressed the record button on my video when Grandstand started at 9am on the 14th of May 1994. In 1994 though, the vast majority of people had no internet and just terrestrial television. The BBC controlled most people’s football viewing. You had no idea what was happening in Spain or Germany. Alright, Channel 4 had Football Italia but that always felt like a travel show and had no relationship with what was going on in England. Your whole football world was a weekly 90 minute clip show about exclusively English matches. Of course, the live final of an English cup competition was going to be seen as a huge event, and not just for football fans. Obviously, it wasn’t just football fans that had, up till the mid 80s, only 3 tv channels and some newspapers to choose from for their media consumption. Cup final teams would record a song and perform it on tv. Bruce Forsyth MC’d a final for some reason. FA Cup final day was a big deal for English culture as a whole.

Then along came Sky Sports 2 and Sky Sports 3 and Sky Sports 4. ITV launched a sattelite channel and got rights for some Premier League games. The internet became cheap and ubiquitous. People who loved football had more and more games to watch (and from an ever increasing selection of leagues) and people who had no interest in football had more options where they could avoid all mention of it. This pattern was repeated all over the world and demand for glamorous football matches rose significantly. This led to what is probably the most tangible reason for the demise of the FA Cup; the expansion of the Champions League.

As has been discussed to death, Tottenham haven’t won any trophies for ages. Some think they need to, some don’t. A trophy is just a symbol. Tottenham don’t need a bunch of inanimate silver jugs that don’t do anything to be sitting in a glass case in their stadium. Clubs don’t want trophies for trophies sake, they want trophies because fans will perceive them to be a big deal if they win them. When fans had 3 tv channels, the FA Cup was only one of two competitions they could watch and as such, winners were seen as a big deal. Those days are gone. Did the FA Cup do much for the perception of Wigan when they won it a few years ago? Portsmouth? What did actually mean when they won those trophies? The fact is, thanks to mass media and the resulting influx of cash and demand, the Champions League has taken the place of the FA Cup for clubs themselves and for most of their fans. If you can’t prove you’re one of the best with a league title, you can do it with regular deep runs in the European Cup.

The FA Cup will never return to what it was. Probably. I mean, Brexit might see 1970s style rolling blackouts and food shortages come back into fashion. Why not the FA Cup along with it?
Eamonn, Dublin


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