Why Spurs, Arsenal and Man Utd should all worry next season

Date published: Wednesday 5th June 2019 2:36

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Jesse Lingard Manchester United

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Why Tottenham, Arsenal and Man Utd need to worry
Daniel Kelly correctly identifies that Spurs, Arsenal and Manchester United are in tricky spots and that there may be a shake-up at the top table.  However he has not gone far enough when it comes to predicting the effects of the new financial landscape. Arsenal need a full rebuild, with only 40m to spend. Spurs have locked down sub-top-tier players like the laughably poor Eric Dier and the wildly inconsistent Delle Alli on long term contracts and may be about to go through their own major overhaul as players like Eriksen and Toby move on to bigger clubs. Do they even have the money to spend on a rebuild or is the stadium going to prevent that for a few years? Man U face a total rebuild and don’t seem to have any of the management infrastructure in place to carry it out successfully.  Meanwhile the likes of Wolves, Everton, Leicester and West Ham all have multiple interesting playing pieces already in place, proven top class managers and the ability to spend at least on a par with the clubs above. Leaving aside City, and to a lesser extent Liverpool, I’m hoping we will see a proper fight for positions 3-6. Rather than Daniel’s predicted “three teams (Spurs, Arsenal and Utd) battling it out for one Top Four Champions League spot”, I think those teams need to look further over their shoulders and don’t think anyone should be surprised if one or more of those 3 end up 7th, 8th or 9th next season.  And wouldn’t that make things more interesting for (almost) everyone.
Mike, Cayman

 

Managerial Ballon d’Or
Great article today on Klopp amid the Bayern links, especially with references to the likes of Sarri and Pochettino.

Being admittedly biased to English football because I watch more than other leagues, I wondered how a Ballon d’Or might look for managers based on this season’s performances. I think all 4 managers who made the 2 European finals merit a top 10 place (Sarri and Emery a bit underrated, maybe due to UK media coverage).

Guardiola, Klopp and Poch are my #1, #2 and #3, and i think the likes of Allegri, Zidane and Erik ten Hag would make most people’s top 10, but who else?

Do any experienced and historically successful managers (e.g. Ancelotti or Mourinho) still make anyone’s top 10? Are there any world-class managers at non world-class clubs (Rafa?) or the opposite (Solskjaer?).

Most importantly, can Phil Neville be number 50?
Graeme

 

Liverpool’s luck
I wondered how long it would take for someone to bring up ‘luck’. Matt says he is not a Spurs fan (he probably is) or bitter (he clearly is) but he is definitely not alone.

I have started writing this email a few times this season following similar Mailbox conversations but after the glory of watching this great Liverpool team get the rewards they clearly deserve it rankles a bit to see people coming out with suggestions of luck already.

Taking a step back from my own personal bias towards Liverpool (which I will freely admit) the concept of luck has always troubled me. The desire to attach some kind of mystery or indescribable unseen force to situations or events which are plainly just random chance (or not so random chance – I will get onto that) seems like a peculiar human quirk which can create fascinating ‘narrative’ but is quite often not based on any actual fact or science.

No amount of embedded clips from Twitter will convince me otherwise, sorry Matt.

Here is the crux for me. It is a cliche but the phrase ‘you make your own luck’ is based in logic. In a football sense it means this; if you play more passes, make more runs into the box, create more chances, press more defences, dink more balls at close range (hi Sadio) than the other team, then guess what – you have a higher chance of handballs, fouls, etc. going in your favour. You are increasing your the likelihood of favorable decisions by actively creating opportunities.

This is not controversial. It is just how the game works, for most of the time. Obviously there are often chance events that happen in spite of the flow of probability which is a large part of why we all love football, but that is why it is called probability and not certainty.

Look, I understand the desire to suggest that Liverpool winning a major trophy or just being quite good is the result of some evil Machiavellian force that seems to serve some teams but not others, but it’s a bit silly isn’t it. Liverpool supporters are still, mostly falsely, accused of being delusional. All I can say to that is that if you have watched this Liverpool team play with the mentality and will to win this season and your main takeaway is that it is down to luck, then that is true delusion.
Gaz LFC

 

Re Matt’s mail this morning bemoaning Liverpool’s perceived luck this season.  Well Matt think about this-Liverpool were 11mm away from at least drawing with Man City in January and got the third highest points total in PL history but still didn’t win the league.  How’s that for luck?
Derek,  LFC,  Dublin

 

A simple reply to Matt on Liverpool’s luck:

Napoleon Bonaparte once quoted “I would rather have lucky general than good ones…”.

Which was further reaffirmed by Eisenhower: “I’d rather have a lucky general than a smart general. They win battles…”

If luck helped us in the path the UCL win, so be it. Its just another tool in the arsenal. The end result is still the same : 6 times…
D. Johan “Oh what a night…”

 

Attn: Matt (still not bitter and not a Spurs fan).

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.
ZappsLFC, Australia.

 

To Matt (very much bitter). Lucky lucky Liverpool seeing Kompany not sent off 3 times including the match against us which effectively cost us the title. Lucky lucky Liverpool seeing the ball not cross the line by millimetres for us but going over by millimetres for them. Lucky lucky Liverpool seeing Kompany score the best goal of his life when Leicester were doing a job on them. Lucky lucky Liverpool to lose one game and get 97 points and still not win the title. Yep Liverpool sure did have all the luck!
Jo (still 6 times makes up for it) Deepest darkest Kent

 

Dear Ed,

I read Matt’s email form this morning and had to chuckle at it a bit. It’s like he wants to give us credit for winning the Champions’ League and coming second in the league with a record points haul for the club, but still think’s we were “lucky”. Sorry Matt, but you don’t go a season with only one league defeat (to the eventual champions no less) by being lucky. You don’t get to a European Cup final by beating the previous years French, Belgradian (is that the right term?!), German, Portuguese and Spanish champions on sheer luck alone. You do it because you are good and in a lot of cases, better than that opposition. It’s not a case of pundits backing us blindly – they see what a lot of Liverpool fans see. As a team/squad, we are excellent now and are playing the best football I have seen us play since the great 1988 team. Basically, it’s took us 30 years to play football that good again and that is down to the Jurgen Klopp and his tactics.

I have to look at some of his clutching at straws points he makes…

There was no enormous stroke of luck about Sissoko’s hand being where it was. If that’s the case, then nearly every penalty ever given for handball is an enormous stroke of luck that the player who gives it away has his arm is in the wrong place. 22 seconds into the game or not, handball in the box is a penalty at any point in the game. Would it have honestly mattered if the same thing happened 22 mins in? No. It would have still been a penalty. VAR saw no reason to over rule the referee and that has been brought in to stop such errors made by the officials. It’s a penalty.

I can only think of two penalties we got this season from Salah that might be descried as soft. Palace away and Newcastle at home…both of which were penalties. Two is hardly many though is it? Just because Salah is tricky and seems to get fouled a lot in the box, doesn’t mean they aren’t penalties.

I have to correct him on the Barca comeback. It wasn’t good; it was great. Beyond great even. Matt thinks we caught them on an off day. What rubbish. The best team won. If anything, we were better than Barca in both games and the score line from the first leg was flattering for them. A game we dominated for large spells and yet concede 3 goals…the first, a good finish, no doubt, the second was a massive slice of luck; a shot from Suarez that deflects onto the bar, comes back off bar and falls to Messi’s feet with an open goal. How lucky do you want it? 9 times out of 10, that ball hits the bar and goes over but no, it fell to Messi’s feet with an open goal in front of him. And the 3rd? A Brilliant, unbelievable free kick but one won because Messi tries to smack Fabino in the head, throws himself to the floor (again) and somehow wins the free kick he scores off by actually committing a foul himself. In the second leg at Anfield, Barca were soundly beaten by the best team over the two legs. No deflections, no one sent off for them unjustly, no controversial goals (not our fault that Trent and Origi were more awake than their entire defense and keeper). I accept the Barca team’s defense isn’t the best, but their midfield and forward lien is still brilliant. We just stopped them playing their game and they couldn’t stop ours. No last minute winners – we were ahead in the tie with more than 10 minutes on the clock so they had time to pull one back (and if they did, I still think we’d have scored a fifth).

Everton at Anfield and Spurs at Anfield were the only times we squeaked through in my view. That’s the sign of a good side though. Man United used to do it on a regular basis when they won titles, as do challengers. It’s the sign of a side that wants to win and keeps going until the last kick of the game. That’s not lucky; it’s a will to win at all costs.

As for luck for other teams…I mean Vincent Kompany hadn’t scored for over a year and then pops up and scores the goal of his life with 20 minutes left, in a game City had to win. He’d never score that again if he tired it 1,000 times. Never. I’d have cheered that goal any other time in my time for how absolutely perfect it was but couldn’t in that case. City’s first goal against Watford in the second half this season was also a massive stroke of luck. I think Sterling was offside and neither the referee or the linesman gives it. The game is 0-0 before that and the team put out by Watford was basically their reserves. They had done a great job in containing City in the first half and then that happens. The players were protesting to the linesman about it and their heads seemed to drop a bit.  4 minutes later, it’s 2-0…then 3-0…Not saying for a second that Watford would have won that game, but they were still in it until an offside goal not spotted by the officials was given. The one league game we lose all season, we lose to City. We hit a post in that game and the ball comes out. They hit the post and it goes in for the winning goal. We had one cleared off the line and if it goes another 11mm to the left, it’s in…but it never. That’s either luck or great defending by John Stones depending on your point of view. I’d also argue that City had some incredible luck with the cup draws they got, but you know what? Hats off to them as you can only beat what is in front of you. They won a treble and like any side that wins anything (let alone 3 prizes in one season) you need a bit of luck but let’s not pretend that City were lucky all season. They were brilliant for most of it.

So yeah, luck does play a part Matt, but nowhere near the level that you are making it out. Most of the time, the best sides to tend to find a way to win.

Cheers
Neil (no need for clever brackets – 6 times baby!) Mulvaney

 

I’ve written in on the topic of luck before, but some of the calls of ‘luck’ against Liverpool from certain quarters (notably Matt in this morning’s mailbox) are a little unfair in my book.

First, what constitutes luck? Matt states ‘it is an enormous stroke of luck that Sissoko’s hand was in that position in the first place’. I’d question whether that was down to luck on Liverpool’s part and argue it was poor decision-making from a player who should know the rules and know better than to unnecessarily raise his hands in the penalty area.

Similarly Jordan Pickford’s error in Liverpool’s ‘lucky’ late winner against Everton – was it luck that the goalkeeper made a hash of it and that a Liverpool player and no Everton defenders had followed it up, or was it poor goalkeeping, good awareness from Origi and poor covering from the Everton defenders? I’ll grant you that it was luck that the original sliced shot from Van Dijk dropped exactly where it did, making life difficult for Pickford, but even so a decent keeper should be expected to deal with that. As should Lloris in fumbling the ball onto Alderweireld’s foot to give Liverpool a late winner later in the season.

In contrast, Liverpool suffered with poor goalkeeping last season (incidentally, I didn’t hear too many people call Karius unlucky or Real Madrid lucky after the 2018 Champions League Final) and they recognised that and went and spent a world record fee on a better goalkeeper. Lo and behold Allison hasn’t made as many errors as Karius. That’s not because he’s luckier, but because he’s more competent.

Next up, ‘Liverpool had a tough group but they squeezed through on goals scored’.. Isn’t it strange to focus on the fact they got through, quite legitimately, on goals scored and call that lucky, as opposed to acknowledge the tough group but not cite that evidence of them being unlucky compared to other teams who may have had an easier draw?

With regards the argument around catching Barcelona ‘on a bad day’… well by that logic were Spurs not even luckier to produce an ever more spectacular and later comeback against Ajax? The first leg of the Barca semi-final wasn’t a 3-0 game, but I also noticed Barcelona weren’t considered lucky to win that game by a scoreline unreflective of the performance of each team. Even so, going back to Matt’s original point, were Barcelona poor in the second leg because they had ‘a bad day’, or because Liverpool and the occasion stopped them from performing well. If so, then that’s not luck. And even when having an off day, Messi still created enough opportunities for him and his team-mates to win the game which weren’t taken, largely down to good (not lucky) goalkeeping. It was hardly as though he couldn’t complete a pass!

Finally, for all the arguments about Liverpool allegedly being lucky, there’s rarely any consideration of the times things have gone against them, and which could be argued as unlucky. Mane’s goal wrongly disallowed for offside against Arsenal, for example, could be argued to have cost Liverpool the title. As could the 11.7mm in the City game. As could the fact that Kompany should have seen red for a foul on Salah in that same game. As could the fact Liverpool happened to face Manchester United at Old Trafford during the few weeks that United actually looked like a decent team rather than the 6+ months of the season they didn’t.

I’m not denying there have been occasions where Liverpool have been lucky this season – Shaqiri’s two deflected goals v Manchester United at Anfield, for example – but I think there’s some clear bias and revisionism as to what’s lucky and who benefitted. In my book poor performance by opponents e.g. Pickford isn’t usually luck, whereas poor officiating or a fortuitous cup draw is. And going back to the start no, I don’t count the Sissoko penalty as poor officiating because by the letter of the law, and as checked by VAR, the correct decision was made. Is the law an ass? Perhaps. But that’s an entirely different argument.
Jonny Dance

 

Funny that someone desperate for everyone to realize how luck Liverpool have been pays no attention whatsoever to their bad luck.

There is no doubt Liverpool were fortunate in games. A couple of deflected Shaqiri goals against Utd (although pool were miles the better tam anyway) and an Origi header at the death against Everton at the very least come to mind. But what about the shocking decisions against liverpool in the few games they dropped points in? They drew at the Emirates with the ref chalking a good goal off for offside (it was a close one to be fair to the ref). They lost to City at the Etihad when Kompany cleaned Salah out of it in the first half and should have seen red for about 3 different reasons on that foul – last man back, studs showing at knee height, out of control. Change the outcome of that game and pool win the league – and you only talk about good luck?!!!

Best part of your mail was trying to convince yourself that pool “caught Messi and his mates on a bad day”. Pool made that day bad and were undeniably the better team over 2 legs against the pre-tournament 2nd favorites.

They won the champs league and finished with 97 bloody points…a lot of teams were caught on bad days these season i suppose..the whole thing was a fluke.
The Monument Man

 

No doubt Matt’s mail was designed to rouse the masses into response so thought I might as well oblige.

The cliched points that are always made against the “luck” argument he uses for Liverpool’s success are (1) The luck evens itself out over time and (2) All teams will benefit and lose from luck in the end. In this instant the cliches are correct as far as I am concerned.

Moreover, I would argue that VAR and Goalline Technology is increasingly meaning that “luck” is less a feature of the game. As far as I am concerned, a penalty ruled a penalty by VAR should be accepted as just that. You can’t have another layer of analysis above that other than a ruling by god himself so just accept it. It won’t get everything correct but it will get more correct than without it.

Equally Liverpool could point to their lack of “luck” in the Premier League when Goalline Tech ruled a goal out by 11mm in Jan’s Man City decider at Nil Nil. Or Aguero scoring a goal by the precise measure of 29.15 mm against Burnley. Nobody ever mentions whether the Hawkeye tech that they use has a margin of error within it. What if this margin of error is 30mm? The Premier League trophy might also be at Anfield?

Some others that spring to mind over the season. How about the lack of VAR in the Swansea v Man City FA Cup tie? Swansea were at the wrong end of 2 decisions which might have stopped City winning their Treble. Lucky old City.

Or how about Ajax’s complete lack of ability to tie a 3 goal lead down? I thought that was more about Ajax errors than Spurs greatness. Didn’t Ajax hit the post too in the second half? Lucky old Spurs.

The question raised as to why pundits don’t question Liverpool’s luck is that it is overall true that you make your own luck. All other teams have the same over a period of time. In the end City, Liverpool and Spurs deserved to be where they were over the course of the season. It would be ridiculous and negative if all pundits did was point to “lucky” teams when it takes a much greater degree of skill and fortitude to win these things than fans perceived luck.

A more interesting angle on this might be to say what would VAR have made of the 2018 Champions League Final. Would Ramos have been sent off for his Judo roll? If you look at that incident and Liverpool’s lack of luck there, you get my point on it evening out…
Paul

 

Callum Hudson-Odoi
To Ian Watson and the rest of the F365 team who desperately wanted Hudson-Odoi to leave Chelsea for Bayern, I sing,”No, you can’t always get what you want”.

I’m aware of what lines come next, but this is seriously great news for Chelsea fans after reports of Sarri leaving and fresh managerial uncertainty.

Hope they announce it soon. He may not yet be ready to fill the gigantic void left by Hazard’s imminent departure, but he has tremendous potential and with him and Pulisic, I’m excited for next season.
Up the Chels!
Preetish, Munich

 

The game has gone summer
It’s a bit of a shame all the international players are totally knackered because a ¨semi final winner takes all revenge game against Ronald (should´ve been sent off )Koeman¨ is pretty tasty .

Then , If I´m understanding this new tournament correctly , a final in Madrid at an inaccessible time for me, against Portugal or Switzerland , ( probably the Swiss ) which would give the England team the first oppotunity to lift a trophy since Le Tournois in the summer of 1997, but the temperatures don´t suit football in Madrid in June  . And imagine , a  couple of eye catching performances and a player like Chillwell could go for even more absurd sums than that other full back dude who went from Atletico to Bayern .

As a backdrop to this I have to brace myself for incredulous chunks of money being spaffed across Europe on pretty average players . To use as a benchmark  the 2 best players of the past season – Raheem Sterling  for 50,000,000 or Van Dijk for 75,000,000 will be eclipsed willy-nilly . Clubs like Ajax , Betis ,  Leicester and  AFC Bournemouth being offered such unturndownable amounts that , rightly or wrongly the players agent is going to silver-tongue his client into thinking it´s for the best .

Meanwhile it seems that the richest (greatest underperforming ) English club is so broken that only by buying players younger than 18 can they slowly move in the right direction yet Ole would be the right man for that job .

To finish up , I´m presuming Liverpool are a very attractive prospect for any young super athletic player and I agree with others that Ryan Sessegnon would be a shrewd purchase and I can easily  imagine Virgil whispering wonderful things about Jurgen to his Netherlandic chums .
Peter (Kylian -please don´t go to Florence Perez´ flying circus ) .Andalucia.

 

Veterans/Senior UEFA Super League?
I hadn’t intended on writing in today, but I saw your plea for contributions in the morning mailbox, and I’ve had this idea for a while now.

Big clubs and other stakeholders seem to always be talking up a “Super League” as an alternative to the status quo, as a threat if they dont get what they demand from the latest negotiations with UEFA. This despite all the obvious arguments against it, such as the fact that a Super League would lead to most of these clubs finishing mid-table and losing popularity.

Back when the new Tottenham stadium opened, I saw that one of their test matches was Spurs Legends against Inter Forever. I didn’t watch, but if it had been easily accessible, I would have done. I have attended various legends games with Liverpool players, “Ronaldinho and Friends”, etc. These games are always well-attended and family-friendly in the ground, and presumably would be interesting to watch on TV too, on the right channels.

…am I alone in thinking that a Senior Super League between the worlds leading clubs would be both interesting and financially viable/lucrative?

Some of the finer points I’ve considered, to preempt possible objections:
– Fitness – the players are older. This can be circumvented by allowing rolling subs, or 3×30 minute games instead of 2×45, or similar.
– Squads – would not need to be fixed 23 man squads. Each club could include a roster of 50+ players who previously played for the club, and select from who’s available and fit for a given match.
– Players – could be eligible to play for more than 1 club. This is a feature, not a bug – this could add to the intrigue and retract from any sense of seriousness.
– Eligibility – players could be eligible from the moment they have been retired for 1 year. This would avoid someone retiring early just to play in the senior super league.

I had other specific ideas but this is the jist of it. Wondering what everyone else thinks!
Oliver (Switzerland for Shaqiri + the country, Holland for Virgil and Gini, England for Hendo and Trent – Anyone But Portugal has never been so much of a “thing”) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

 

Four-eyed footballers
As it’s quiet, I thought i’d try and generate discussion on a topic other than the CL final. At my job we’re lucky to have access to a 7-a-side pitch on Wednesday evenings for a casual staff kickaround. It’s completely mixed ability – some guys who are technically very good and some guys who, frankly, can’t seem to control the signals from their brain to their limbs. It’s a great laugh though, and always played in high spirits.

A couple of our gang are well in to their 50s, and remarkably are probably some of the fitter members. One of those wears glasses, but uses contact lenses on the pitch. A few weeks ago, he goes up for a header 5 minutes in and knocks one of his lenses flying out. We stopped to look for it, but to no avail. Then, 5 minute later – whaddya know? The other one flies out from another header. Our brave, silver-haired centre back has lost both lenses.

During a brief break (one of the lads kicked the ball over the fence on the half volley – which is normally my trick) I asked him if it affected his vision: “Everything is just very blurry. I’m basically just seeing shapes moving around, and it’s quite difficult to keep track of a fast moving ball”. This got me thinking – do professional footballers wear contacts when they play? If they lose one (or both, does that affect their vision? Some quick googling found that around 40% of 20-30 year olds need some sort of corrective eyewear, so presumably LOADS of PL footballers need to wear lenses during games. Another quick google showed that Kaka, Jerome Boateng, David De Gea & C. Ronaldo wear lenses (and of course Davids had his famous goggles). DDG apparently has ‘long-sightedness’ and wears lenses. Could that explain the howlers that he’s let in this year? Or do most footballers just get laser eye surgergy because to them it costs pittance? We see loads of pundits wearing glasses, so presumably they had eyesight problems as players, right? I have so many questions, but no answers. 20-20 vision just seems like a given for players, when statistically it can’t be.

If anyone can shed any light on this it would really help me sleep at night.
Lee (can someone also please explain the definition of luck to Matt), LFC

 

Geopolitics in football
In recent years I have developed a fascination with geopolitics. This has involved devouring books on the subject to now paying subscriptions for specialist websites. It then becomes useful to then view all news through this prism. Especially how mainstream media then report on news depending on their ideological bias.

Anyway, I’ll get to my point. I enjoy seeing how issues in football are affected by geopolitics. Take for example, the case of Mkhitaryan not being able to play in the Europa league final due to the relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He might not have influenced the outcome of the match, but how can you know for sure? Maybe his absence really did affect the mentality of the Arsenal squad in a subtle way. Also, I have read before how UEFA have rules about Ukrainian and Russia clubs playing each other in the Champions League, and this extends to how the draws are made.

I recently read on these hallowed pages, how Herrera left to go to PSG because he was offered a pay cut and felt disrespected. What I found interesting in the article was how the players at Man Utd, have noted how English players like Smalling and Jones have been given pay rises and long-term deals at the club. I know there are several factors involved in this, but it made me suspect that Brexit and the related immigration issue may be affecting club’s recruitment policies. Why else would you not get rid of Smalling and Jones to keep Herrera? (I’m a Blackburn fan – Jones is welcome to come home.)

I have seen the protectionist theme play out in my professional and personal life, and top-flight football will not be exempt from the current political flavour. Just think of the dinosaur PFMs and their theories that English players need to be given more game time ahead of “Jonny Foreigner”. See Phil Foden as good example.

My questions to the mailbox are: How might a strong Brexit (and subsequent strict immigration rules), affect the quality of the Premier League to attract and retain the best talent from around the world? How might it affect the development of the national team in the longer term?
Duckett

 

That penalty
Hi,

There has been a lot of discussion over the penalty after Sissoko’s handball. Am I the only one that on watching, seeing the replays thought – Mane has seen his hand go up, realised he’s in the penalty area and played for the handball and penalty?
All I can see is a quick thinking Mane seeking (successfully) to take full advantage of a situation where he didn’t have much else on. Perhaps he had a chat with Ramos before the game on shithousery. We certainly seemed to have learnt from last year’s final.
Al (still letting it all sink in)

 

VAR will create footballs climate change deniers
Just following Matt’s post on Liverpool’s luck, quick warning for the season: Liverpool are going to get more decisions and it’s going to send fans into some sort climate change denial conspiracy theory level angry. It even started at the final with some social media fans having a go at VAR for allowing the penalty to be allowed.

Not to dispute that Liverpool have gotten lucky most of the luck has been down to bizarre or dumb playing decisions. Where Liverpool have gotten really unlucky is poor refereeing decisions, the missed red card against Man City, Keita’s 2 missed penalty decision’s in draws against Leicester and West Ham, the disallowed goal at the Emirates early on (any of those decisions being reversed and we have different champions and possibly new invincibles).

Plus I remember the fuss opposition fans made to a study that the season before last Liverpool got the worst luck when it came to refereeing decisions because the online narrative of refs loving Liverpool being very prominent. And look decisions will go against Liverpool correctly thanks to VAR, that’s the nature of it but expect fans to say that VAR is somehow biased for the Reds next season and I’ll take a couple of decisions against Salah for that.
Tyla (seriously if VAR makes a 50/50 call against us, just chill) Roxburgh, Liverpool

 

Sticks and stones
In reaction to Oliver Dziggels piece.  Maybe others did see / hear what you witnessed but they really weren’ttoo bothered, at the end of the day they’re only chants, they’re not racist, homophobic whatever else, is it really that big a deal?

Appreciate there’s a line where morality should kick-in but surely most football songs are to be taken with a pinch of salt?

Do Liverpool fans really get upset when opposing fans sing “sign-on”.  What about the “have you ever been to Anfield” should singing that cause mass outrage?

Should Mesut Ozil walk off the pitch when opposing fans sing that his “eyes are offside”?

I could go on but you get the point.
Shaun

 

Dear Oliver,

I’m worried about your diet, there seems to be a lot of Pizza, fried food and heavy breakfasts on your Instagram page.

Please get some vegetables inside you.
Lee, (still got my Baku mosquito bites) Highbury

 

Nations League hype
Tonight is the first game of the UEFA Nations League Finals, yet we still haven’t seen the trophy, if there even is one, yet I for one am quite looking forward to the games coming up.

First up is Portugal v Switzerland, which usually sounds like a game that would be one you would watch the highlights of but not the game itself, the likes of Ruben Neves, Bernardo Silva, Ronaldo, Felix and Bruno Fernandes suggests Switzerland have no chance in progressing, but let us not forget how Switzerland got here, Belgium only needed a draw to qualify for the finals, they were 2-0 up after 20 minutes, Switzerland needed to not only make an incredible comeback against the FIFA ranked number one country but had to win by at least 2 clear goals, the end result was a 5-2 win in their favour, a truly incredible performance, this Switzerland side are not here by chance and they could still provide a shock to not only Portugal but perhaps by winning the entire tournament, no one expected Greece in 2004 to even get out of their group, Denmark in Euro 92 didn’t even qualify, this season has proven the comeback is always possible, the underdog can be king, Switzerland the inaugural Nations League winner? Quite possibly.
Mikey, CFC (Switzerland v Netherlands final?)

 

Iraqi football
In response to Fat Man, what do you mean Iraq NOW have a football team? Iraq has been playing international football for 68 years, normally as one of the best teams in the Arab world. The biggest achievements were in the mid-2000s: 4th in the 2004 Olympics, Asian champions in 2007, both driven by the brilliant Nashat Akram. Club football is even older.

As for Syria, they have been members of FIFA longer than England have. They are playing tomorrow (June 6th) against Iran – why don’t you check it out?
Salem

 

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