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Mane, Salah cop it as the Mailbox dissects an ‘appalling’ Liverpool display…

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Let’s have your views on any subject – not just Man Utd and Liverpool both being crap this week – to theeditor@football365.com

 

Appalling Liverpool
Seriously, I don’t remember a more frustrating game than that in a long time.

Every Liverpool touch seemed off. every pass, every cross, every challenge…did not look like any player i have watched over the last few months.

Salah – missed penalty and apart from that anonymous
Mane – what a miss…seriously. what a miss.
Trent – so many poor touches, crosses, and responsible for losing Lookman for the 1-0
Tsimikas – for god’s sake go past someone and/or overlap.
Every Corner – a joke
The midfield looked out of touch with the rest. Even after Ox was subbed for Keita.

Mind you, Leicester seemed to block everything that came into their penalty area. I still blame Liverpool players for that.

I don’t know how we managed to lose that. should’ve been 2-0 up before Leicester had their first shot on target. Never should’ve happened.

Each Liverpool player should look at tonight and hang their head in shame. This was appalling.
NIk (using theEditor as an excuse to vent), Munich

 

Ian King: Leicester defy the odds, ride their luck, take their chance

 

…We won’t win many matches in this league playing like that frankly. Of course on a different day Salah slots the penalty home and maybe it’s all different but we did little to deserve to win today. Virtually everything near the box was awful. It was weird as we were meant to be the team that had a week off whilst they had just been spanked by City a couple days ago. We looked lethargic.

The penalty was poor; it was at an easy height and not in a corner. It’s basically the worst kind of penalty you can take. After missing it Salah did very little of note.

Mané was the stand out awful performance of the day though. It’s weird and worrying that he can no longer beat a man, struggles to play a killer ball and can’t finish guilt edge chances. In the past few weeks he’s done little to merit his continued inclusion in the team. Origi, Firmino or Oxlade-Chamberlain all would’ve done better in his forward role. A break would do him good at this point because he looks unlikely to play himself into form. He’s played a ludicrous amount of football in the past 4 years and I think it’s really starting to show.

Sadly the title might have just moved out of our reach. 6 points isn’t a big gap when we still play Man City in April but this City team have such depth that anything less than perfect simply won’t do. There’s also a chance they spend in January following the Torres sale whilst we are unlikely to bring anyone in.
Minty, LFC

 

…First things first, The Leicester players were incredible tonight. They battled so well and I have a huge amount of respect for their endeavour. We missed a few chances but so did they. Ultimately they ended up putting one away and we didn’t so fair play to them.

I’m pretty sure that, in amongst all the whinging last week because Liverpool fans had the temerity to demand that the rules of football were applied to their team, we were told that Liverpool get to tactical foul with impunity. Matip yellow carded on 3.52 wants a word.

Ironic that Leicester fans gave a rendition of ‘we support our local team’. So you support your local team by singing about feeding the scousers do you? About scousers signing on? About Steve Gerrard slipping against Chelsea in 2014 which had literally f*ck all to do with your club? Or the whole away fans songbook (this is a library, your support is f*cking sh*t, shall we sing a song for you?) at Anfield. Very supportive. I’m sure the Leicester players feel so good about your support.

Timekeeping: Minimum of just 5 minutes despite Vardy being down for at least 3 plus all the other Leicester players wasting time whenever possible, a goal (plus celebrations) and 6 substitutions made during the second half. Still, the whistle goes at 94.55 with Liverpool on the attack.

‘Minimum of 5 minutes’

But sure lads, the big 6 refereeing bias is strong!

Half a season to go, bring it on. We always grow stronger and get fitter as the season goes on, this will boost our motivation.
James Outram, Wirral

 

United are the next Everton
Oh dear. What with Man Utd stinking the place out at Newcastle and Liverpool losing at Leicester, the next few mailboxes are going to be the F365 equivalent of Harry Enfield & Chum’s two Old Git’s aren’t they?

Marvellous.

Oh, and do any other 365-ers remember the multitude of giddy mails after United had signed not just Sancho but CR7!!! I know most will have been writing in with their hearts rather than their heads but goodness me, what United were going to do, apparently, with these two didn’t bear thinking about.

I seem to remember silverware and even actual title challenges being seriously discussed because United would now have one of the scariest attacking line-ups of any team in the Prem.

Well, it’s the 29th of December 2021 and 19 games in and, somewhat appropriately, Manchester United are nineteen points off Manchester City. Who are top.

City have scored 50 goals and conceded 12.

United have scored 27 and conceded 25.

I wrote in two months ago stating that replacing Ole would not solve the core problem at Manchester United and I added that the smarter move would’ve been to hire Rangnick to overhaul the club’s entire behind-the-scenes organisation, root, and branch, rather than yet another stop-gap manager.

MUFC are turning into another Everton. No real danger of relegation. Probably safe in the top ten and occasionally, and rightly, get into a to 4 or 6 position. Might get on a good cup run but, either way, are most unlikely to win any silverware.

All I can say, as a city fan, is please ensure that Woodward stays doing what he’s always done, and that is to make loads of money for the owners, whilst not giving two hoots about what’s happening on the pitch. Especially if he now does it with a change of job title and operates from the ‘shadows.’

Please please please keep on buying ‘Star’ players like Ronaldo and Pogba, both of whom score more goals in their football game and betting app adverts than they do in real life, rather than the actual midfielders and defenders that Manchester United need.

But hey. Manchester United are the biggest club in the world, right?
Mark (Nineteen points folks. Explain that) MCFC.

 

What if…
I just couldn’t help but wonder this weekend where Manchester United would be had they stuck with Moyes for longer than they did. I’m sure most if not all United supporters would say they’re still better off today but are they? Van Gaal, Mourinho, and Ole certainly weren’t better options in hindsight and look at what Moyes has done with West Ham. You could argue that Moyes wasn’t going to get a song out of the “big names” in the squad at the time but again, none of the subsequent managers (who have dealt with the “big names”) were able to either. You could also argue that Moyes may have been the right man but at the wrong time. That certainly could have been true and hard to deny.

I don’t know what the point of my mail is other than I guess managers just aren’t given enough time these days although, ironically, I think Ole was given more than enough time. Maybe United just aren’t as good as they used to be and I think that’s more than a fair point. It happens to every club sooner or later. It certainly happened to my club. We were dominant in the 80’s. Now we’re just another top division side with, at the moment, no realistic shot of a top four place much less winning the whole thing.

Is it then United fans pining away for the “old days” when they swept all before them? That’s not unreasonable but how long does that go on before reality sets in. No one denies their financial clout, worldwide fan base, etc…. but is that enough now? Right now, it doesn’t count where it matters most and that’s on the pitch. I look at West Ham United and Moyes is getting it done with a club that has a smaller budget and is “less attractive” than United and wonder what if?
TX Bill (my mind wanders sometimes) EFC

 

Judging Ralf
I find it strange that you are saying Rangnick is being exposed as a fraud and out of his depth at Man UTD.
On his appointment Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel both stated that they were very concerned at his appointment as he was such a good manager and would undoubtedly improve United to the extent that they would be real challengers again.
To be quite honest the man has much work to do as it appears there are too many players at United that are just not putting in the work.
Let’s see where things go at the end of January but i would expect to see a good clean out of players who are acting the maggot.
Finally judging the man at this stage is typical of the Media and he needs to be given more time before assessing his time is up.

Regards
Gordon Steen

 

…As a Liverpool fan, I thoroughly enjoyed the Man Utd – Newcastle game.
Can’t really blame Ragnick for that piss poor Utd performance though.
Yes, the 4-2-2-2 formation was a bit weird and didn’t work, but the individual performances of most of the Utd players was appalling.
How Maguire even gets into this team (and the England team) is baffling, he has zero ball control and I’ve played with played in Sunday league games who would wipe the floor with him.
I’d love to see Fred’s pass conversion rate, did he actually get one pass to one of his team mates? All he seemed to do was give the ball away.
Marcus Rashford, when was the lat time he actually had a decent game?
And Ronaldo has to have the poorest attitude of any “professional” footballer I can remember, I really wish he’d have gone to City and brought their team down a bit.
Although, I can’t really see Pep standing for those antics.
Utd were lucky that had De Gea last night or it could have been much worse.
Neil, LFC, USA

 

Rashford criticism
Dear Ashwin, I’m sure there will be a glut of replies to your strange rambling. I’m sure there will be many people who take football far too seriously who agree with you. The fact that you spent most of your email devaluing what Rashford is doing outside of football and are stern in your condemnation of his lack of application on the football field is a fair summary of society in this modern day. What we should be doing is complaining that more footballers haven’t realised that their occupation is horrendously overpaid on all levels, that they only really work for a few hours a day with a requirement for good behaviour the rest of the time and that perhaps it’s a little embarrassing that they aren’t doing more on the community level.

Also, Rashford isn’t playing very well? What a shame, nor was Kane up until he supercharged his adrenaline level by attempting to break another footballers legs, no one is moaning that Kane has been doing too much community work. How about the underperformance of Messi for PSG?

Football is one of the most pointless society distractions in the world, perfect for finding occasions to pass unsavoury bills through parliament. I can’t believe when a product of this extraordinary waste of time industry actually uses the ridiculously high platform he’s been given for, again, kicking an inflated balloon around a park, to do something good we get people moaning that he should take his “profession” more seriously.
Nu (my face has never been slapped more by my palm then when reading that email)

 

Christmas at the Palace
Two games for Crystal Palace this week saw them on opposite sides of a 3-0 scoreline. That’s the thing with the Eagles: much like when I open my Christmas presents from some of my relatives, there’s a lot of trepidation about what you’re going to get.

*There has been little festive cheer at Selhurst Park in recent years. Between 2007 and 2009, Palace won their Boxing Day fixture three years in a row; since then, they’ve won three in total. In the grand scheme of things it matters very little but testing the patience of those who love you is not the obvious aspect of the family Christmas gathering to lean into.

*Sunday’s game against Hotspur was a dire performance in general, from the messing about over whether the game was going ahead to the post-match social media efforts from people wanting the club’s best player’s head to roll.

*From a Palace perspective, the story revolved around Wilfried Zaha, who let the team down when his emotions got the better of him. While his actions merited a second yellow card, there are some extenuating circumstances to take into account. He is routinely one of the most frequently fouled players in the Premier League, so it is not surprising he is incredibly tightly wound. It should also be pointed out that it is possible to produce work to a very high standard while being near-permanently bad-tempered about your working environment – just ask my colleagues.

A few years ago, when I was able to watch Spanish football on a semi-regular basis, something that struck me was how often a foul on Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo resulted in a yellow card for the offender. This was presumably because the offence was deemed likely to have prevented a possible scoring opportunity. It is not much of a stretch of logic to suggest the same applies to Palace games when Zaha is on the ball.

*The Ivorian’s last red card came against Soton on 30 January 2019, for the heinous crime of sarcastically clapping the yellow card he had just received. At the time, it seemed like a weird position to take in light of the Respect campaign: around the same time, Ashley Barnes was caught on camera unleashing a volley of abuse towards an assistant referee who had flagged him offside (correctly, as it happened), and was not punished. To any rational mind, these two offences were not punished proportionately. For Zaha, it was a culmination of a season in which his frustrations had nearly boiled over several times. Prior to that game, he had scored five goals and received four yellow cards. After he returned from suspension, he scored six goals and was cautioned only twice. While AFCON may mean it is a while before he can fully redeem himself in the eyes of Palace fans, he’s proven before that once it’s out of his system, he comes back stronger, to everyone’s benefit.

*A much-changed Palace side took on Norwich City. Thankfully, the full-strength back five (including Tyrick Mitchell, the best player against Hotspur) took the field, but elsewhere the team looked very makeshift and quite functional. However, there was more to them than that. In the absence of Conor Gallagher, Will Hughes stepped up and dominated the midfield. His attacking play led to the penalty, which was converted by Odsonne Edouard; the ex-Bhoy needed the goal, it’s been a while since he last found the net.

*An even more surprising scorer doubled the lead. Just seconds after Jacob Sorensen had spurned a glorious chance, Edouard turned provider as Jean-Philippe Mateta punished the Canaries. Only a couple of minutes previously, Matt Woosnam of the Athletic had tweeted about how lost the Metz loanee had looked, and how he had had the fewest touches of any player. Rubbing salt into the wounds, Jeffrey Schlupp made it 3-0 shortly afterwards. Schlupp has been an important player over the past few seasons but has found his playing time limited this year. His importance is the way that he makes everyone around him play better, even if it doesn’t translate to his own personal statistics.

*A 3-0 win over a depleted version of a side that, even when it is at full strength, is the weakest in the division, is not a season defining result. However, it’s the sort of game teams looking up the table tend to come a cropper in, so a professional job must be done, and those otherwise on the fringe of the first team must take the opportunity presented to them.

*After this result, and with the caveat that teams below them have games in hand, the Eagles reach the halfway point of their season with 23 points, in tenth place. All in all, quite good.

*Final point on depleted squads: there was an edict earlier in the pandemic that teams were supposed to keep their first team and under-23 squads in separate bubbles. This probably explains why first team squads are short if there are a large number of regulars unavailable. I also recall reading somewhere that some clubs are struggling to fulfil under-23 fixtures because of players with covid, so it makes sense to keep the groups apart.
Ed Quoththeraven

 

Player welfare concern
While it is hard to be empathetic to highly paid footballers today, they do have a point regarding being used by organizations to make huge profits from their toils.

Modern footballers are by and large much more professional than the pundits who comment on their failings. Watching current teams like City and Liverpool, for example, you realise the level of performances over 90+ minutes is phenomenal. The combination of distance covered along with multiple sprints, allied to the skills and concentration required, is far superior to anything in the past when players would smoke and booze on the way home. They are supreme athletes who also need high levels of skill.

Yup, they get paid extremely well and some will piss you off flaunting their wealth, like say, Neymar, or act like a child, looking at Yaya Toure and his birthday cake. But on the whole they do have to watch their diet, physio, training as well as none more tactically astute.

So when we see FIFA touring how much more money FIFA will make off their backs, the EPL having some bizarre and unknown protocol for deciding when or when not to postpone games, and spectators like Ciaran Boyle (can’t be a real fan) who all think it doesn’t matter, that’s complete bullsh*t.

If you care about your club then you must care about the health of their players. The new refereeing guidelines are great at making games flow but also risking player wellbeing. So you can see why players are a little concerned.

Having said that, while it is true that while vaccine percentage of EPL players is lower than the overall population it is in line with their age group, there should be protocols put in place to ensure they understand the risk to others around them. The unvaxxed players should be forced to be tested daily out of their own wages and receive some fine if they miss games as a result of being positive. Otherwise it does seem a little hypocritical to be harping on about player welfare while not protecting themselves and the others as part of the club.
Paul McDevitt

 

Super Saints
48 hours after a tough, rollercoaster game against West Ham, how tough must it have been for Saints to play a whole half with 10 men against Conte’s Spurs? The players deserve immense credit for putting in a real shift and holding on for the point. And Broja could have nicked it at the end!
Remy the Saint

Spurs robbed
Review the footage and you will see that Foster dropped the ball, and back heeled the ball into his own goal. VAR ? Huh ?
James (How?) Singapore

 

…I admit I am slightly biased as an Arsenal fan, but how can pundits (from multiple sources) keep going on about how Spurs were ‘robbed’ two goals last night?

Firstly the offside goal was close, yes. But it is an objective decision, nothing to do with the Refs in VAR. Infact last season it would definitely have been offside. This season the widened the lines so overlap favours the attacker and still it showed that Kane was offside. Only by a little, but you literally have to draw the line somewhere.
The problem is that pundits just cannot move past what their eyes see on a 2 dimensional screen with no depth. They are basically flat earthers.

The foul is subjective, but come on, it must favour the GK there. Spurs players jumped back first, eyes off the ball into the GK. It is inconclusive whether he had it fumbled it before spurs player make contact with his arm. 9/10 that is a foul called. there is nothing that states the keeper must catch the ball at its highest point over his head (looking at you Wrighty). The ref made a perfectly acceptable call and VAR is never ever gonna overturn that. Could Spurs have got ‘lucky’ and ref let it play, yes, but it would have been the 1/10 chance, like how lucky they got when they decided there was nothing to see with Kanes non-red last week.

Anyway. Keeps it all very exciting now.
Unfortunately the 1st game of new year will be customary thrashing of Arsenal by City, but we are on the right path, to Europa League Q next season at least.
Hats (Arsenal, Colombo).

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