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England are now Manchester United. Chill out everyone. Southgate’s at the wheel. He doesn’t know where he is going or how he will get there but neither does anyone else. What’s new for the national team?
England’s traditional inability to recycle the ball forwards for more than a couple of hopeful flung passes coated this wasteful performance. England’s passing vision was literal. Just get it to the next man, pass the buck and it’s their problem now. Point and shout like you and only you know the master plan and your job’s done. With Keane in the team you might just go unnoticed.
The team’s attacking plan was to try to play a single killer pass to our speedsters. Southgate’s tactic can only really work if you have a midfield that includes a Pirlo, Silva (take your pick) or KDB. We all know Henderson isn’t that player. We are learning Rice isn’t that player. It may take a year or so to know Mount isn’t that player. And no F365 swapping Winks for Henderson should not get us dreaming! The contrast to the Czech team’s quick, short imaginative pass and move was stark.
Amazingly we did get the ball clean through to the best front 3 in the world on several occasions. Mostly unrehearsed blind lumping is a thing. We even won and converted a ‘there was contact’ penalty after Sterling bumbled, stumbled and wasn’t rumbled. Unfortunately the Czech defence learned on the job and refused contact with Kane, Sterling and whoever else in the box thereafter. England’s most potent attacking threat of kane-iving penalties was marked out of the game. The Zeitgeist Czechs had Coleened us out.
The veneer of international footballing quality was exposed yet again. We can blame the players. We can blame the coaching and tactics. Can we still blame mid-season breaks? The truth is England like Man Utd now are a mid-table team chasing the shadows of past glory. Both are stuck in a pergutorial conversation/rant of What-iffery and If-onlyry. At least judging by the crowd the FA are shifting plenty of replica shirts and who doesn’t like Engernoodles?
David lfc #prayforpenalties
Rating, sorry, salting, the players
I’ve just picked up my kindle to email in and before I started typing, England have gone 2-1 down! However,I don’t think it will change my opinions!
That was something that sounds like ducking drawer full, where we’re the “technically gifted youth”, where we’re the tactics of an innovative, forward thinking coach, ffs, where was the “we might not be very good but at least we have spirit” of old.
The only thing any England player looked any good at was pointing.
Pickford , had little to do and did little, awful distribution 6/10
Trippier, was ok, did he put in a cross? 6/10
Maguire, 10/10 for pointing, 3/10 for passing, £80 mil !!!!!
Keane, looked like a centre back who plays for a team in the bottom three. 2/10
Rose, never has a rose smelt this bad, no idea, fish out of water 2/10
Sancho, must have been a lookalike, no control, no ability to go past an opponent, never a threat, 1/10
Rice, invisible, ineffective, 4/10
Henderson, as I’m a Liverpool fan, I’m a big fan (he’s lifted the Champions league trophy), but awful, poor passing, poor pressing, ran a lot, 5/10.
Sterling, f””k me, I’ll say it again, that Man City must be some team, to be fair, had a couple of good runs but the moment that summed him up was we he continued to play after the whistle, it was 3 against one and not only did he not play in one of two unmarked teammates, he didn’t even get a shot off. 6/10
Mount, showed just why you shouldn’t start for England 5 games into your career, picked by the press, 4/10
Kane, the only player to come out with any credit, was our best forward, our best midfielder and not our worst defender. However, missed a couple of good chances so 7/10
Southgate, the commentator said that 9 years ago he was just being sacked by Boro when in the championship, nuff said. 4/10
A disgraceful, embarrassing performance, too many players picked because of who they play for not how they can play.
Just don’t know how to express just how bad this was or how unsurprising.
Howard (at least we’re not Scotland) Jones
Half term grades
So… given it is international week why not still how a selection of the class of 19/20 is doing….
A* – Liverpool. They haven’t looked great in every game, and have been lucky to get 3 points in a few games now but in truth, they are really beginning to remind of Chelsea circa 2005 – somehow finding a way to win. They now have the *aura* about them. If this is not their year I’m not sure it will ever be.
B+ – Palace. Given the sheer pessimism surrounding them at the start of the season (and from a site not a million miles away), it has been a great start. Cahill has bolstered their defence, and Zaha has yet to even start firing on all cylinders. Great work Uncle Roy
B – Chelsea. Where to start. The 4-0 defeat to Utd had me worried to begin with, but my god, Lampard Has had his faith in the youngsters rewarded. Tammy especially has looked the real deal. The defence still needs some work, and having to score 3 every game just to ensure we win isn’t sustainable but I’ll take this for now. The joy is back at the bridge for the first time for a while.
B- – Arsenal, Leicester, Burnely. All of the Arsenal fans I know seem dejected and depressed and yet they sit 3rd in the table. Maybe Emery doesn’t have a plan but points on the board this season more than most will count for a lot. Ditto Leicester – not quite as good as people want them to be, but sitting 4th after away trips to Liverpool, Chelsea, and Utd – thank you very much. And Burnley back to being Burnley. Keep up the good work.
E – Spurs, Everton. Oh Spurs. Every time you get close you have to shoot yourself in the foot. Toxic atmosphere, toxic rumours (you know the ones), and hopeless performances. Reminds me of Jose last year at Chelsea. Poch out by Christmas. Everton, well where do you even start. Compare their team to West Ham and Leicester and then look at the money spent over the past 4-5 years. How, just how? Lucky to finish in top half
F. Man Utd. How strange that opening day seems now… and how the mood has changed. Slow turgid play, slower players (I’m looking at you Matic – how we got £40M is a true wonder), a manager with a haunted look in his eyes. It’s going to be a long long season for them. And who would want to go there at the moment with Ole in charge? If I was Maddison / Sancho, I’d say no thank you very much. A rot that will take years to heal (here’s hoping). Must try harder. Much, much harder.
Another mail about ‘big’ clubs
Some very interesting mails recently, especially Johnny Dance’s pointing out that when Man-U were at their most successful, Liverpool was still the most supported club. It reminds me of something i witnessed way back in 2005. I was doing building work on some new retail units right beside Tottenham’s White Hart Lane and next to the job was a secondary school literally in the stadium’s shadow. What i couldn’t help but notice was the sheer number of Arsenal hoodies/tops/bags the kids had. i think i maybe spotted a single Chelsea supporter and a Liverpool supporter. I didn’t see a single Spurs top. It made me think back to my time at primary school in Highbury. I was an Arsenal fan by default… they were the local team and i didn’t follow football much so if anyone asked, that’s who I supported. There were quite a few Spurs fans though among the local kids as at the time (late70s early 80s) they were a more exciting team to support.
Now to the present day: a friend who grew up in north London as an Arsenal fan has two Chelsea supporting teenage sons, as when they were at an age to become interested in football Chelsea were the most successful team at that time. I have a few friends my age (45) who grew up in London and are Liverpool fans for exactly the same reason. If Man-U carry on the way they are they will still be the biggest (most supported) team next year, and the year after that, but right now if you’re a kid there’s only one team to get excited about… and it isn’t Man-U. The question that intrigues me is: who is going to be the “biggest” team in ten years time?
Neil, Glasgow may be being a bit optimistic in thinking Gerard wouldn’t consider the Leeds job if it was on offer. I seem to remember a lot of Celtic fans saying there was no chance Brendan Rogers would leave for a ‘step down’ to Leicester when he was on the verge of a treble-treble. That didn’t stop him…You might point out that Leeds are not in the same league as Leicester but Rangers are also not on the verge of a treble-treble. Lampard got his dream job after a spell at Derby, maybe Gerard could do similar…
Jon, Cape Town
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Would someone with refereeing experience please explain why play wasn’t stopped after Danny Rose was floored in the lead up to the goal? I’m sure I’ve seen play stopped in Champions League games in similar circumstances. Maybe Danny Rose should have held his head, or feigned being knocked out just to get play stopped. So much for stopping play for head injuries.
Ben, Up T’North
I read somewhere about us Arsenal fans being entitled, people talking about how Emery needs time to cleae out the rot from Wenger’s last years. How Pep and Klopp where not exactly pulling trees in thier first seasons, how much both spent to get to this point….this people that say this, do they even watch arsenal play? First of all Pep and Klopp had enough credit in the bank that warrants them to be given time. Emery managed to be the only manager that has failed to win the french league with ParisSG in recent memory. Secondly even in that first season, thier philosophies where apparent… Possesion football and Gengenpress… after 16 months, there is no evident strategy on how Arsenal is suppose to play. No body cares about a way, even if you want to pack the bus and counter…do it, at least lets know thats how we play. Because right now, I am not sure… are we pressing from the front? Are we packing a bus? What are we doing? Forget the vertical gibberish we all know, that arsenal forwards are suppose to fend for themselves, look for your ball, score your goal. God forbid Emery comes up with any tactical input.
You know in Nigeria, the current administration have been busy blaming the past administration for the country’s problems, rather coming up with a strategy to help the country, conveniently forgetting the fact that they have been ruling for 5 years
We all wanted Wenger to go, but even Wenger didn’t have this much quality in his last 7 years..and he still played good football and got us in the champions league in 5 of those years
Best in Europe = best in the world?
The Club World Cup is something relatively recent, and yes, it has been absolutely dominated recently by the UEFA Champions’ League winners – currently 6 straight wins and 11 of the last 12. However seeing as realistically the only teams in with a chance are the UEFA and Copa Libertadores (CONMEBOL) Champions, looking at the history of the Intercontinental Cup is instructive – CONMEBOL just edges it 22 wins to 21. Combining the 2, up until very recently (2012) CONMEBOL and UEFA were tied at 26 wins each, it’s only the last 6 straight UEFA wins that got the total to 32-26.
European clubs have long hoovered up the best South American (and indeed, global) talent, but that doesn’t automatically translate into the single best team. Thinking that the best South American teams would struggle in a big European league is a bit of a fallacy.
Maybe Bellerin and Tierney hold the key…
Hey MC, long time no speak. Even manchildren like me have, at some stage, to get their heads down and do some work, I guess.
Anyway, sorry to say this, but Alex Keble’s piece on Unai Emery and Arsenal’s “boom” moment is wide of the mark in a tonne of ways.
That’s not to say he doesn’t get one thing absolutely right. The paragraph which mentions us playing like s**t and relying on moments of individual inspiration gets pretty much to the heart of the matter, yet even then it needlessly pins the fan’s concerns on some post-Arsene hangover, rather than fear of wasting another opportunity to achieve top-four qualification while so many rivals dither.
Generally, that paragraph is suffocated by a desire so strong to make excuses for Emery that we very quickly detach from the facts. In order to make the argument, Alex has had to:
– pretend that there weren’t plenty of modern traits present at the club when Arsene left;
– claim that regaining a Champions League position was a reasonable objective for 2020/21 at the earliest;
– pin failure to achieve that on dropping points at Brighton, as opposed the utterly dismal run in to the season that saw us win twice in seven games, including losing at home to Palace, and away form that read P19 W7 D4 L9;
– suggest fan dissatisfaction is tied to a self-delusional sense of identity/style, as opposed to the far more pragmatic sense of seeing a team increasingly playing as if the manager’s plan had been delivered in Aramaic;
– compare Emery, a manager as ideologically loyal to a tactical style as a stray dog is to mating partners, to arch-auteurs like Guardiola and Klopp, then appeal to us judge them by the same timescales in implementing a system (I would genuinely take *any* system that was implemented coherently and without relying on luck to succeed);
– and suggest there’s no rush to get things sorted because Arsenal have to go all the way back to last season to see the effect of results eventually being undermined by performances.
I was very tempted to lump in his assertion that Emery has even the makings of a discernible plan. Truly, his one obvious tactical constant is his use of Granit Xhaka as the fulchrum of the team and principal shield of the back four, which is… risky, considering he has the speed and press resistance of the Tony Adams statue outside the North Bank. How the s**t are a couple of centre backs going to fix the problem when Emery seems intent on answering the question “could you succeed in the 2019 Premier League by basing your team round Jan Molby?”
But I’ll give Alex the benefit of the doubt and say maybe he’s right about the potential impact of the full backs. Maybe Bellerin and Tierney hold the key. It’s a big if, and I wish I could say I was confident. But I, like a lot of Arsenal fans, have everything crossed.
Could babyface assassinate Man Utd’s revenue?
Ferguson had the perfect storm at Utd to create dominance of the premier league for over a decade could the opposite now be likely with Solskjaer?
Bear with me, examples of Ferguson’s perfect storm are as follows:
Fergie time an innovative tool to maximise points gained from weak match official’s.
Mugging off Leeds, Everton, West Ham, Nottingham Forest, Aston Villa, Newcastle, Arsenal and Spurs for their best player’s.
Sky TV money much greater than previous prize money.
Champion’s League money that other club’s didn’t receive.
Class of ’92 (Once in a lifetime strong academy team).
Ability to buy the most expensive Midfielder (Keane), Striker (Cole/Van Nistelrooy), Defender (Stam/Ferdinand)
Stadium Capacity increase to biggest stadium in premier league (Therefore, more bum’s on seat’s).
Increase in global fan-base as every 20 year old at the time wanted to be associated with a winning team.
Increase in revenue to sell Noodle and Tractor’s to said fan-base.
Fast-forward to the Solskjaer perfect storm
Team on par with other relegation candidates (Wolves, Leicester, West Ham, Spurs, Bournemouth and Burnley are all better team’s than Utd currentlye.
Yes, Spurs are having a blip but still better than Utd (Add Liverpool, City, Arsenal, Chelsea to that list and you have 10 team’s that are better than Utd.
That leaves Utd and 7 team’s fighting it out to avoid the threat of finishing bottom 3 and relegation.
Too many people comparing Utd to Liverpool in the 90’s (Liverpool didn’t get relegated, Utd could)?
No real ability to mug off other team’s in the premier league without the selling club dictating the terms due to the new TV deal.
Utd have no firepower up front and are pedestrian in midfield and this is a recipe for disaster.
De Ge is no longer worth an additional 10 point’s a season.
When I suggest that 10 team’s are better than Utd that means they play as a team and are managed to do so.
Solskjaer planned a clear out of player’s he didn’t want as he thought the youngster’s under his management acumen would do better this has been proven to be a gamble he won’t collect on.
The similarities between Shearer at Newcastle and Solskjaer at Utd shouldn’t be missed bought had very little management experience.
Relegation would cost Utd at least 100 million due to lost premier league TV money and no chance of European football. In addition, penalty clauses in sponsorship deal’s will come into play.
Top tier player’s will be reluctant to go to a championship Utd unless they get Sanchez type weekly wages.
Pogba will force a move out of Utd are become a bigger problem if made play in the championship.
Shirt sales will diminish as will the recruitment of new global football fan’s to replace the current lot when they die and stop spending money on this product.
Utd need at least a proven goalscorer in January to help avoid relegation that will have to be purchased plus a (desperation premium of probably 40% on top of player value).
Global sponsor’s will be less inclined to stump up large 5/10 year contract’s without significant penalty clauses.
Utd’s share price will fall if relegated as will revenue’s TV monies, Sponsorship clause rebates.
Those handsome Glazier’s will have to get used to taking less money out of their cash cow to keep themselves looking so good in their finery.
The main question is with Ole at the wheel are this current Utd side better than Villa, Sheffield Utd, Norwich, Brighton, Everton, Southampton and Newcastle?
All the above have some problem’s with goal scoring or defending etc.
Utd’s choice is to panic in the January transfer window and pay what they are asked (with a desperation premium) or risk finding out that in a team game money is not the only deciding factor for success.
Daniel (I’m loving it)!