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Brilliant Benzema highlights why Chelsea must bin Lukaku



The Mailbox urges Chelsea to sell their £97million flop. Also: Everton are the new Spurs; Villarreal’s secret; and a World Cup to get excited about.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


The new Spurs
Sean Dyche’s half time team talk pretty much read “lads, lads, it’s Everton”


Lampard or Jewell?
A selection of quotes for everyone to enjoy:

“We have to get better”
“The players aren’t lacking in effort but we’re lacking in quality”
“We’re not good enough – it’s as simple as that. Some of the things that go on on the pitch among this group of players just beggars belief at times.”
“We’ve got to be bigger and stronger, and the players who are here need to be better”
“I keep on saying the same things over and over again and it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to work out that’s why we are where we are”
“It is a harsh lesson but it is a harsh league and we are not good enough”
“I’m embarrassed at the way we played … Some players are not worthy of being here and the sooner we can get them out the better”
“As soon as we concede we collapse like a house of cards … As soon as we face a bit of adversity we have not got enough leaders or men to get through it”
“The whole mentality here must change. When adversity hits you, you have to be able to fight. I want to see some real men in the trenches here next year”
“We have to be mentally and physically stronger”

Perhaps the most damning thing about Everton’s situation is that those quotes sound like things Frank Lampard might have said this season, but are actually direct quotes (from BBC match reports via Wikipedia) from Paul Jewell in 2007-08, while his Derby County side were limping to the worst ever Premier League season. That’s quite the company for the Toffees to be in.
Ed Quoththeraven (toyed with going to Fakenham Town v March Town on Tuesday, didn’t go and missed a 2-0 home win. Up the Ghosts)


Benzema tears Chelsea apart with a *real* perfect hat-trick


Sell Lukaku
Well Chelsea were shown the difference to a side when you have a World Class forward in your lineup, honestly Karim Benzema is incredible and yet still I feel he is underrated which sounds crazy to type out but it feels so true.

Romelu Lukaku, honestly? Sell him, it hasn’t worked out and I feel after that interview it showed his true intent and the relationship with the fanbase was over and done with once it aired, whoever our new owners are I hope this summer they help Tuchel build around Kai Havertz and sell Romelu and Timo.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod


Why Liverpool’s Quadruple means more
Why is the prospect of a Liverpool quadruple attracting so much more coverage than that of a Man City treble Mediawatch asks? Four obvious reasons stand out. First, a quadruple is a bigger achievement than a treble what with it literally being one more trophy. Therefore any discussion of a Man City treble has to be framed (for another ten days at the maximum) within the context that Liverpool could go one better. The quadruple has never been done before so of course it’s big that it’s still on, as it was when City have been in with a chance at this stage in recent seasons.

Secondly, given that Liverpool were regarded as relative outsiders for the title this year: 3rd favourites according to the bookies at the start of the season at 11/2, compared with 4/6 to Man City; picked by none of the F365 crew and none of the 20 MOTD pundits (only three of whom had Liverpool in the top two). It is thus a much bigger story for Liverpool to win the league plus the others than for a City stroll.

Thirdly, and linked, is that the title looked like a done deal in January and we now very much have a race.

Finally, and as Mediawatch well knows, Liverpool have many more fans than City and thus guarantee those precious clicks!

Really looking forward to the game on Sunday (as well as dreading it). Going to stick my neck out and say that Liverpool will win. Have never been confident about going to the Etihad before but this time I look at our squad and, as terrific as theirs is and has been, I’d only take KDB and Foden (both of whom I’m worried about on Sunday!). Everywhere else I think that our players are as good or better than theirs and that is a heck of a good feeling. I am sure that City fans feel similarly positive about their own squad but I feel for the first time there is proper parity in quality in depth. What a time to see two such great sides going at each other! Clearly not enough to warm Johnny Nic’s cockles (I’d recommend docking him pay for plagiarising himself over and over again) but for this Liverpool fan, these are the days!
Andrew LFC, Cambridge


Carabao Cup and FA Cup would be ‘sensational’ for Liverpool
Liverpool have already had an extremely successful season this year, whatever mocking trolls may think and post.

In light of the Benfica result last night, things would have to go pretty squirrelly not to go through in the second leg.

What this will mean is that, at minimum, Liverpool will be 2nd in the League, semi-finals in the FA Cup, semi-finals in the Champions League and winners of the Carabao Cup. Seriously? That’s pretty damn extraordinary.  And after last season’s c*****rf**k of a season, I’d have ripped quite a lot of arms off to have done so well this year on so many fronts.

In short, we’ve already had a really, really good season. To turn it into a great season, we need to win another trophy. I’m sure we’d be mocked by plenty for *only* winning two, considering where we are now. But, for example, winners of the Carabao and FA Cup, 2nd in the league and semis in the Champions League? That’s an sensational season for any club that isn’t Manchester City. And one that every other club in the Premier League would love to have.

Obviously winning three trophies is a legendary season and the elusive quadruple would simply be the greatest season of all time. Unfortunately we won’t do it, because we’ve got possibly the greatest team in domestic history in our way. Pep is in serious contention for his own treble – he absolutely won’t fail on all three fronts.

But basically, we just can’t lose from here. We’ve won one trophy, we’re in a great position to win another, we’ve played fantastic football and all without spending a ridiculous fortune. The squad is the best it’s been and Jurgen is managing better than ever.

So whatever happens from here, I’ll take this season and be extremely happy indeed.
James, Liverpool 


Top two way ahead
The funny thing is that neither City or Liverpool are actually playing tremendously well right now. I haven’t watched City as much as Liverpool, granted, but it looks to me as though they are huffing and puffing and nowhere near their best, often just scraping over the line despite them being dominant in just about any measurable metric. And having blown a 14 point lead (notwithstanding the games in hand that Liverpool had), it does look as though they are somewhat below their imperious best.

And despite a better run of results, you could say the same about Liverpool. Salah is way off the pace right now (I know Klopp has discussed resting him soon, but he may actually have to consider dropping him, which might make those contract negotiations a bit trickier), and the team has been stumbling along a bit, and are probably fortunate to have had such a run of results.

This tells us a few things – that Liverpool and City are massively ahead of the chasing pack in the Premier League, not just on points but on the sheer quality of what they are doing, even though they have a few more gears to shift up. The same can be said for most European teams, too, and until one of them gets to play either Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, we won’t really know if even they are at the same level.

And finally, anyone can win on Sunday. Obvious, I know, but it seems unlikely that either team is going to dominate on the day. A cagey affair settled by a single goal beckons, I reckons.
Mat (Salah will score a hat-trick now I’ve said that)


On the slide
When are managers going to tell players to stop sliding on their knees (‘…like children at a wedding’ Trademark Peter Kay) after scoring? After Kanate opened the scoring for Liverpool last night both he and Fabinho celebrated by sliding on their knees towards the corner flag. Fabinho got it wrong and his right knee dug in, causing him to topple over. Thankfully, as a Liverpool supporter, he was OK. But sooner or later someone will do the slide, have their knee dig in and the resulting ‘jarring’ will see them subbed off and some lengthy time in the treatment room. And for what?! What happened to the good old ‘running away with your arm raised’ or the classic ‘sshhhh’? Kids today, eh?!
Steve, Cirencester, LFC


Great January deals
As I read Mediawatch, the item about Luis Diaz maybe not being the ultimate January transfer caught my attention and piqued my curiosity. The examples on offer were all perfectly justified, but my NUFC perspective offers a number of other candidates, including Kieran Trippier (who has maintained a leadership role despite his injury), Dan Burn and Matt Targett from this year alone – if you take them as a package. (I’ll stan for the latter two despite the Spurs debacle.)

But I think I’d put Joe Willock’s loan from Arsenal last year above even them. We were nearly as deep in the mire, and he tied Alan Shearer’s club record seven-match goal streak while arguably keeping us up. And the there’s Papiss Cisse, who scored 13 PL goals in 14 appearances after his January 2012 arrival. In some ways, 2011 was even better, seeing Andy Carroll sold for silly money and Hatem Ben Arfa arriving for around 5 million pounds.

And that’s just Newcastle. Eric frigging Cantona was a mid-season transfer. I think Virgil Van Dijk was, too.
Chris C (Toon Army DC)


Villarreal’s secret
Villarreal have looked such a threatening side every time I’ve watched them this season. Being a team that contains several players who for the most part underwhelmed at their English clubs, how can they be on the “cusp” of a champions league semi final? They should have scored 7-8 against Bayern.

There seems to be discipline, buy in, belief, harmony. Not to say they are bad players, but how can this group of players be raised to this level towards the business end of the champions league? What is the explanation?

Less media coverage?
Lower expectations?
Different league?

It just boggles the mind how so many premier league teams are so quick to discard of players who can do a job at the top European level. Does England require instant gratification from signings more so than in other countries?

Thoughts please.
Pete, Cape Cod USA (aware Villarreal are struggling a bit domestically)

Isn’t football supposed to be fun?
I am a season ticket holder at Northern Irish side Linfield. We are one of the world’s most successful sides including winning 55 titles and under current manager Sir David Healy we have won four of the last five titles and are currently top of the table with 5 games left in a very tight title race.

There is a man who sits near me every game who no matter how well we are doing spends the whole game saying the players are rubbish, Healy hasn’t a clue etc.

This and reading mails from the likes of Stewie Griffin and Ashwin made me wonder why some people actually watch football when it seems they don’t actually get any enjoyment out of it?

They seem to want their team to do badly so that they can say their opinions were correct. It really baffles me. Football is supposed to be fun and while I can understand fans of Derby or Bury in recent years not having a great time, I really don’t get the attitude of some fans of successful sides.

I’d love to know what they get out of it.
Sam, Newtownabbey 

The best league in the world
I have to assume that Johnny is by miles the most narcissistic person in all of England, because imagine thinking of something being the best, and then still making the entire article about yourself and what you think is best. Let me define what best stands for: Capable of beating the others, being the top in their field. So if by all the metrics, EPL is the best. Then it is the best. Just because you have a sadist personality who likes to see bad football, please dont spew such nonsense just because you have a website you can write on. God forbid F365 get a decent editor with some balls to tell JN off when he comes up with such crap. For eg:

“Does the side that was in fourth playing so poorly mean it’s the best league in the world?” 

No, the fact that the side in 13th (before the match) can beat the side in 4th easily, makes it an interesting and desirable league that is clear of the rest of the 4 leagues combined. Stop trying to push your anti EPL agenda because it’s getting tiresome now.

In a world where facts are now considered opinions, Johnny comes up with the gem: “there is no absolute objective best. There is no absolute objective worst. We all have different tastes, enjoy different things, dislike different things”

Again, being the BEST is not about what the people think. We may all think England are the best, but losing to Italy in the finals is an absolute objective of Italy being the best. That’s the whole point of the damn tournament. Same goes for the WC, CL winners, Teams that enter the top 4 CL places etc. The whole point is that no matter what the people think, the reality remains that due to the metrics set by the rule makers, they are the literal BEST in that category.

You dont have to agree or disagree to anything, and can have your opinion, but to argue about the word best is a new low for any sane writer, much less a left wing writer who suddenly has a case of Trumpmania in trying to fight and argue with random words off the dictionary & to changing the meaning of best because the current best doesn’t suit your agenda.

For Eg: I hate City & Liverpool, but that won’t change the fact that they are the current BEST. My opinion matters for nothing. Get it?? I don’t have to like it for it to be true.


…I haven’t had time to read the site lately but was reading John’s article today and was thinking the Premier League usually gets labelled as the ‘best’ because it’s deemed to be the most competitive, so I wanted to dive a little further into the numbers across leagues. For fairness I originally looked at points tallies within the top 5 leagues without the top or bottom sides and used the points gap between the remaining teams.

La Liga: 57-22= 35
Ligue Un: 56-23= 33
Bundesliga: 57-26= 31
Serie A: 66-22= 44
Premier League: 72-21= 51

Then I obviously had to go back and check the points gap with the top and bottom teams.

La Liga: 69-22= 47
Ligue Un: 68-23= 45
Bundesliga: 66-16= 50
Serie A: 67-16= 51
Premier League: 73-18= 55

Now I should preface this first by saying the Bundesliga only has 18 teams and have only played a maximum of 28 games whereas other leagues or teams have played up to 31 games, however the general consensus is there to see. On the whole, Ligue Un, La Liga or the Bundesliga are the fairest, with Ligue Un ranking 2nd and 1st and La Liga ranking 3rd and 2nd and then the Bundesliga ranking 1st and 3rd. In terms of overall competitiveness within leagues (as in how close the teams are to each other) the Premier League is the worst on both metrics. I do agree with John that other metrics are very subjective, as in there might be more goals scored in one league than another but that doesn’t mean the attackers are better, it could just mean that defenders, coaches or tactics are worse.

I’m sure this has also already been said but Man United have become the most boring team to watch. At least under Ole before this season, they were a shambles but an entertaining shambles and were likely to at least score. Ragnick has made them boring and arguably no better than Ole this season. For my two cents United are a little like Real Madrid but obviously worse now: they’re ethos is based on having big name players doing big things, whereas football is now more pattern and tactic based than that; buying the big names is no longer the best strategy but they don’t want to effect the brand or irritate the fans by not buying them either, putting the squad and club into a mess.

I do however conform to the view that footballers are at such a level that it doesn’t take much to turn it around. Conte with Spurs is a good example, Tuchel to Chelsea another. It wasn’t that Chelsea’s team were bad before Tuchel, they just needed a coach that good. United have a lot of good players (some not so good), they just need a coach that good.
James, Galway


Buzzing for the World Cup
So while my students are/were doing a project here, I finally had time to look at The World Cup schedule etc …..

Obviously impossible to predict but if things kinda went to plan , after the groups it could/would be :

2nd Round

Holland v Ukraine/Scotland/Wales
Argentina v Denmark
France v Poland
England v Senegal
Germany v Croatia
Brazil v Uruguay
Belgium v Spain
Portugal v Switzerland


Germany v Brazil
Holland v Argentina
Belgium v Portugal
England v France


Argentina v Brazil
France v Belgium


Brazil v France


Every single knockout game looks of utter quality, wow.

My mind has suddenly changed (only in a huff ‘cos it won’t be in the summer ) …. This could be a legendary World Cup tbh.

Think I’ll book those few weeks off after all.
Adam Halliday, England & Villa fan , (Could see us crashing out vs Senegal though to be fair), Sunny Saigon 4 hours ahead of Qatar.


F365 Years
I have been feeling nostalgic over the last few days, and it made me realise that I have been following the Football365 website for close to 20 years. Other than this website, only my family is a constant, and that’s not by choice!

I started off as a young kid from Zimbabwe in college in the US, trying to keep up with football. There was no way of watching football at the time, and Football365 was as good as it got. And F365 was the first website I looked at every day. I remember the first days I came across the website. It was pretty light-hearted and didn’t take itself too seriously (when it had the look-alike section, which was either thought-provoking or ludicrous).

I remember playing a bootleg version of Championship Manager and imagining articles about me appearing on the website. To see Football Manager adapting and including F365 as a source that was part of the game.

Another era was the dark days of the Sky Sports partnership – which was the equivalent of joining Darth Sidious. I loved the articles from Johnny Nic, where he managed to relate partying with a bare-breasted lass in Vegas to Middlesborough’s failure to push on and challenge for the title (followed by Johnny trying to flog his shirts).

I remember the podcast era, which I enjoyed and seemed too brief. Then there was the lockdown period where staff were doing vlogs. I miss the awkward ones where authors looked like high school kids, forced to do their homework and doing the bare minimum. (Though a highlight was marvelling at how poor quality Matt Stead’s camera would be and how far we could look up his nose).

The current era is defined by this damn registration wall (i am sad I have to register just to read articles more than a week old) and the videos at the end of each piece.

It has been quite a journey with F365, and it would be great if F365 (Sarah Winterburn, this mission is for you) would share an article ranking the best and worst eras of F365. Mailbox, what have been some of your best F365 periods?

Zviko from Zim
(PS: Johnny Nic and Sarah have been the only constants I can remember over the years. Good on you both, but Sarah as Editor you have excelled and I hope you earn a lifetime achievement award for the work you have done)

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