What would be the Prem’s best three-man midfield?

Date published: Friday 3rd March 2017 10:20

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com.


Kante > Herrera
I literally almost fell off my chair in fits of laughter at James, Cape Town’s suggestion that Herrera is better than Kante.

Only a blind, deaf, dumb, delusional United fan would ever place Herrera above Kante – both in terms of skill and value to a team. Wasn’t Herrera warming the bench at the start of the season?

To answer your ‘statistics’:

-Herrera plays further forward – hence the *marginally* better offensive stats.

-Kante is about 5”6 (Herrera is about 5”11) – aerial duels stat becomes fairly obsolete, especially when Matic is probably tasked with aerial balls from Goal kicks, etc. In fact, the 17 duels that Kante has won should count double.

-Chelsea are top of the League.

-Chelsea have scored 17 more, and conceded 2 fewer

-Kante is a consummate professional that doesn’t engage in the dark arts, and Herrera is a human-sized douche.

I’m sure that mail was purely to make us bite, but I couldn’t resist. Next you’ll be telling us Fosu-Mensah will win the Ballon D’or. Man alive.
Lee (Must be something in the Cape Town water), LFC


Anyone else completely baffled by James, Cape Town’s point. Herrera is better because he won more aerial duels and clearances. Ok.

He should add in number of league titles to his statistics. Or number of weeks team has spent at the top of the league with Kante/Herrera in the team.

Put simply Kante would improve any starting 11 in the Prem. Would love to know which top 6 manager watching Chelsea this season is thinking they’re glad they didn’t sign him. In fact pretty sure Jose would have packed Herrera off to Everton to accommodate A Kante Pogba midfield duo.
Heavy D LFC (Feel for the Orient fans)


James, Cape Town, you’re talking complete bullsh*t.
David, Sheffield


Henderson > Herrera AND Kante
I love some good player stats to prove one thing or another and the email from James, Cape Town brings up some interesting stats for Herrera and Kante.  His email also gives me the opportunity to once again highlight how good a certain player is who I think is really underappreciated, that player is Jordan Henderson, a player who probably isn’t fully appreciated due to him firstly being English and secondly playing for Liverpool.  His stats compared to Herrera are as follows –

League apps
Herrera 22 (2 subbed on) – Henderson 24



Chances created

Pass success rate
88% (1415 passes completed) – 86% (1767 passes completed)

52 successful (136 attempted) – 88 successful (127 attempted)

Aerial Duels:
22 successful (37 attempted) – 26 successful (49 attempted)



You may notice I’ve not included Henderson’s “take on” stats, clearly not a strong point for him but that’s not his role, Liverpool have Lallana and Coutinho for that.  What is interesting though is the stats related to losing the ball, and I’ll include Kante for this as well –


Unsuccessful Touches 12 – 10 – 33

Dispossessed 18 – 11 – 21

Now the fact Henderson has been dispossessed so little must be partly due to him not taking people on but the stats show he doesn’t very often lose the ball, the same cannot be said for Kante.

So, end result Henderson = or maybe > Herrera & Kante but as James said, it’s about the team and 1 player does not win you the league.
Mr Binx (would gladly have Suarez back to try to disprove this though!)


Is this the Premier League best three-man midfield?
Long time reader, first time writer.

By eye, N’Golo Kante is the best midfielder in the league. (There are always two of him on screen, for a bloody start)

Statistically, Mousa Dembele is the best midfielder in the league.

For the glory and beauty of the game, Ander Herrera is the best midfielder in the league.

Granite-hewn Belgian monolith Mousa Dembele has more tackles won per 90 minutes played than either player, has a 92% pass accuracy vs 88% for NK/AH, and is dribbled past less than 1 time per game, vs 1.2 NK and 2.0 AH.

A midfield of all three – the duracell Frenchman, the silky goliath of Belgium and the glorious creative fun of the little Spaniard – surely would conquer the world.
Aaron, THFC, London


Rooney would be an asset to Everton
I enjoyed Matt Stead’s article about the brooding romance between Rooney and his childhood sweetheart Everton.

However, i do think that Matt is being a little too cold hearted about the matter.

Football has shown us that the romantic reunion brings results. Fernando Torres was written off for all the same reasons as Rooney; but tell Atletico that he’s a spent force. I get the sense that Torres would be a middling championship level striker at any other club in the world now, but at Atletico his romantic connection to his childhood club gives the fans more patience and him extra passion for the cause.

For my own team, the return of stalwart right back Graham Alexander in the final year of his professional career was a great moment for the fans: a final chance to see a north end legend turn-out for 18 more games made me feel good about watching the North End. And if you’re a middle of the road club like Preston or Everton, then these moments matter.

That Rooney is no longer the force of yore is not in question; but not good enough for a team finishing sixth? A change is as good as a rest, and with basically a full season without any meaningful football, Wayne will be raring to go next season as the undoubted star of his own show.

At Everton he could be loved as a footballer for the first time in years – and that could put years on his time in the top flight. But: only at Everton.
Lawless (PNE)


Very interesting article from Matt Stead in relation to Rooney going back to Everton.

Yes there is sentiment involved but to suggest that Koeman and the club in particular would bring him just for sentimental reason is ridiculous. Koeman is an astute manager and I’m sure any decision to bring Rooney back will be based solely on how he can help the team moving forward.

Will he start every game? No, will he score more than 10 goals in a season? No. What he will bring is experience, a winning mentality and he also has a point to prove. For Everton as a club it’s a win win situation, you get a player who will be hungry to play and prove himself, younger players will be able to learn from the current England captain.

The club has a bit of money so wages will not hurt the club. My guess is sign him on a two year deal, give him a season to prove himself. If the first season doesn’t go as planned we sell him for crazy money to a team In China. If the first season is a success then a lot of people could be eating their words like they are doing with Zlatan at the minute.
Kev, Belfast (Once a Blue always a Blue!!)


Sorry Matt

But beyond sentiment Rooney offers experience of big games which Everton will need with continental footall likely to be on the menu can help nurture the up and coming youngster and spending some time on the bench will not have as much effect anymore as he is now used to it at united add to that less expectation and a point to proof the only problem will be wages come on everton take him off our hands


Luck? Pah
What a terrible perversion of statistics for the site to once again hammer Pulis. Basically claiming he has just been lucky. Negating the fact he has added quality and pace in Chadli and Phillips and coached the other players to deliver better quality. More pace has also been added with the addition of Nyom.

To take a balanced view though yes we have had the rub of the green with refs giving us more this season. Take the West Ham game although replays showed the referee got all the controversial decisions right they all came in the I’ve seen them given category’. Hence some luck. How do you think Leicester won the league last season. Touching Vardy in the box was a penalty and Huth and Morgan could do what they liked. This year they have been given far less and look at the effects. Manchester United’s dominance under Ferguson was always associated with biased refereeing. Go figure successful teams have more luck with decisions.

Next year our players will be one year older and they are already old. Fail to replace and add to the squad we will be in trouble but as history has demonstrated even successful managers have a shelf life at a club such as Mourinho at Chelsea, Mancini at Manchester City and of course Ranieri.

When Pulis joined he inherited the worst squad in the league from the most under qualified manager ever. Our fastest player was Sessegnon who was not that fast. (Btw Stoke fans Berahino is not fast). Over the next two years he has patiently added quality and worked on set pieces. Set pieces are part of the game and actually part of the game you can control. Once Klopp and Guardiola realise this they may have a chance of winning the league.

What Pulis has always driven towards is results as that is all that matters. The article misses the point entirely as it does not acknowledge the difference of having Phillips, Chadli and Nyom providing pace on the break and better quality. It is also sniffy about set pieces. There is no luck in our improvement there. Just hard work and a magical 37 year old. Who season after season has scored important goals for us from defence. He now also has Dawson and Evans to distract defenders and Brunt has always had a wand of a left foot but now we have variation with Phillips, Morrison in the form of his career and the underrated Maclean who is also capable of good set piece delivery.

Tony Pulis has taken a team of at best average journey men to eighth. Funnily enough he had similar success at Palace when he had Zaha, Ince, Bolasie and Puncheon breaking at speed and with quality.

All this achieved today with the least effective big man up top in the league. If we could swap strikers with Palace for Benteke then we would achieve huge things.

So come on to try and say it is down to luck is pretty awful and refuses to acknowledge the success at one footballs hardest working managers. Hard work and not luck is the reason for success.
Ben the Baggie


Wenger has one more spell left in him
Does any Wenger-in supporter think that there’s still one last stint left in him? In the aftermath of Fergie’s decision – I’d wanted a manager who could keep the dynasty going, who would start a new one and carry on the tradition. And I felt guilty about hoping Wenger would jump ship.

Agreed, he’s been underperforming in a league that is no longer the same. Perhaps he has lost his tactical nous as well. But I also wonder how much of it is down to being at Arsenal for over 20 years. I think he’s right up there with the likes of Shankly, Fergie and Guardiola when it came to building a winning dynasty. And he did it on a budget too.

A part of me still believes he has one last hurrah left in him. And I would really like to see him take on the reins of a top 6 club somewhere, start something new and win a few trophies. It doesn’t have to be England necessarily.


Mancini for Arsenal
As we come to the end of the Wenger hoky coky (in-out-in-out) the real question is not if Wenger will be manager of Arsenal next season but who will.

Luckily, I know the answer.

Requirements to become Arsenal’s next manager:

– Can shore up our defence

– Has experience at managing at the highest level

– Does whatever it takes to win

– Has a track record of winning

– Will actually want to manage Arsenal

Please note that there is no requirement to play possession based football or all-out attack just because supposedly that’s what we’ve done for 20 years under Wenger, initially with success but in the last 5-7 years without challenging for anything significant.  I will agree there is a “West Ham way” as for the whole of my life this has been talked about although as Sir Alex rightly pointed out not many people really know what this is.  Before Wenger (if you ignore the Rioch season) we had a manger called George Graham, he was great and we loved him despite the fact that he played direct long ball type football and measured success as winning, be it 0-0 and penalties or of course the famous “1-0 to the Arsenal”.

I would love to have Diego Simeone as our manager but two things will prove difficult.  Firstly I assume he can’t speak English and second and much more importantly he would not join us.  We are Arsenal, we have a lovely 60,000 seater stadium however have not challenged for anything significant for a while.  We are the English equivalent of Valencia, Bayer Leverkusen or Lazio.  Would a man who has taken a non-Barca/Real team to 2 Champions League finals want to leave a wonderful job in Spain’s current 3rd biggest club to take on a team that is defiantly behind Chelsea and Man City and without the spending of Man U?  I think not.

So, who is the next Arsenal manger?

– He is a man that was a world class player

– He is a man that has won Serie A

– He is a man that plays to win and more often than not wins

– He is a man quoted as saying “I like 1-0 wins, teams that concede very few goals win titles”

– He is a man that speaks perfect English

– He is a man that has signed some of the best players in the Premier League (in recent history)

– He is a man that took a team of non-contenders to contend and win the Premier League

– He is a man that would happily manage Arsenal and is currently available

– He is Roberto Mancini

Paul London

P.S. Before everyone starts asking who these great premier league players he signed were I would point to Yaya Toure, David Silva and Serigo Aguero. 


Great stuff
Started reading Emad’s mail, and thought why is he on about Jose Enrique leaving Liverpool? (Wiki tells me he is actually gone!)

Further intrigued when he suggested joining him and Wenger together at Barcelona.

Then my brain kicked into gear and realised he meant Luis Enrique.

Cormac, Galway


When Mediawatch is doing one of those ridiculous starting XI’s, for the love of God, please list the other four when you’ve listed seven!

You’ve already given that drivel a click so that we don’t have to. But I’d say the insatiable curiosity of your readers has given it all the clicks it wanted and them some.
Conor (#endtabloiddrivel; Cazorla=happy/small,Crouch=robot,Carroll=70’s looking. Zlatan=Zlatan), Dublin


Congratulatory mishaps
In response to Name withheld to protect the innocent, after Anelka missed his penalty in the Champions League Final in 2008, I managed to bang my leg against a table in the pub after jumping up to celebrate which subsequently caused the following;

1. A cracked screen on my brand new phone which I had just purchased one week before. Replacement cost = £12

2. A full table of drinks to be knocked over which resulted in a hefty bar bill replacing the drinks for my friends.

3. Drenching an attractive girl in a white trousers with Guinness who one of my mates was trying to ‘get with’. Needless to say (I had the last laugh) he didn’t get anywhere.

4. Cutting my hand quite badly whilst attempting to pick up chunks of glass from the floor.

5. Getting a severe tongue lashing from my boss the next day for turning up late to work and looking worse than Iain Dowie after staying out until the early hours to celebrate.
Christopher (Still worth it!)


In response to “Name Withheld to protect the innocent”. The ultimate celebratory mishap has to be tony Adams breaking teammate Steve Morrow’s arm after he scored the winning goal in the ’93 Coca Cola Cup final. Peak Adams??

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