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BT Sport pearl clutching, ‘clever’ Foden and Atletico anti-football

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Atletico Madrid were a ‘disgrace’, but so were the BT Sport chaps. Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com.

 

BT Sport pearl clutching
Let’s be clear, Atletico were a disgrace at the end and after the final whistle. Felipe deserved his red and Savic should also have been off. One thing that annoys me about football is the amount of teams and fans that can give it out but can’t take it.

That being said, I thought the pearl clutching from Fletcher and Hoddle was a disgrace. Right from kick off they were going on about Atletico trying to influence the referee and totally ignoring when City did it. At the end Foden was trying to waste time. If that was an Atletico player the pair of them would have lost their minds.

As a non English viewer of BT this is something that happens time and time again with their European coverage when they are so biased towards the English clubs it makes them unlistenable.
Sam (hoping Linfield win the big two game tomorrow), Newtownabbey

READ MORE: Man City ‘cool heads’? They lost it against Atletico…

Atletico minced
So this has gone on long enough…………………………………………………

Ath. Madrid have some wonderful players at their disposal, but that ending just was a disgrace. And it must come back to the Shithousery of a Manager who, has somehow not only himself, but his team, got away with the most shithousery of shithousery ever to take place on football fields the last few years.Utter Shithousery of the highest order.

What happened the last 20 mins was a disgrace. Shithousery. Before that it was bad enough. It happens pretty much every year when they are knocked out. Why can’t EUFA watch that back again and do something about this Shithousery? And the SAD thing is, it was as if we ended up watching a Bullfight, the Ath. fans almost baying for someone to really do one on Foden or any other City player, by being wound up by an utterly disgraceful manager. Under Simeone they have become maybe the most hated club in Europe.

I know nothing will come of it, but just had to say Shithousery a few times after watching that too.

And now, relax………………………

Oh one last thing, I do hope that Simone’s dog ( His name is Shithousery by the way) bites his balls as he walks in tonight, thinking that with all that dark thick hair all of a sudden again the twat is a burglar.

Nite nite
Pick

 

Not gonna dissect the game. On behalf of anyone who’s team has had to play against Athletico Madrid – F*CK F*CKING YOU

What an awful awful team.

Ref and officials – I have (nearly) every sympathy but it was all recorded, why can’t you get it right?? You’re allowed to review this!!

It was so obvious what was going to happen after the first game, their was clearly no consideration from the officials to pre-empt the stupid and nasty behaviour. I know United at the very least have gone crazy over Athletico’s antics in the past, it’s not football and it’s doesn’t seem to be addressed by the officials effectively either.

Mainly frustrated because the team I support now has to handle injuries and cards that shouldn’t really have been apart of the game, where as other teams can conduct a relatively sensible passage, and/or be part of fantastic memorable games like Chelsea’s (even if it wasn’t good for them sorry).

It’s not football. I don’t mean the stoic relentless defensive and tough defensive nature of their style with vicious counter attacks, that’s good, fair play, it works, do what you need to do. It’s everything else,  what a load of sh*t, so just to be clear, Athletico, F*CK RIGHT OFF.

Well done City, and unbelievably well done for keeping your heads(assuming the tunnel drama I just caught wind of is more of Savic and Athletico doing their thing).
David –  apologies for my language, it just finished and unsurprisingly I’m a little worked up

A tale of two UCL ties
It was the best of ties, it was the worst of ties.

The worst meaning, City’s tie with AtlMad (quite apt).

As an lfc fan, i’m just so glad we didnt draw AtlMad yet again after playing them twice in 2 non elimination group games. We know what it’s like to play them, especially in an elimination tie, and it’s as enjoyable as having a root canal operation, by a dentist who’s taunting, provocating and winding up continually the whole time lol.

It’s the equivalent of wrestling with a muddy armed pig:

— getting dirty and losing one’s head from the numerous patented El Cholo provocative techniques perfected over a decade (f365 weblink on even cool heads City losing their collective cool: https://www.football365.com/news/opinion-man-city-cool-heads-lost-it-against-atletico),

— the pig seems to totally enjoy it,

— and the pig is armed with effective weapons to boot: griezmann, joao felix, etc.

One could very easily lose the tie, but one never quite wins the tie, more like survive.

Kind of the on-field equivalent of negotiating with levy : peeing blood, but over 180 minutes.

True enuf, city emerge broken (2 major injuries) while lfc were lucky to rotate 8 starters.

And of course, lfc retain the habit of inserting excitement into even as routine a tie with 6-2 aggregate score. One more score and we’d be thisclose to extra time. But otherwise, a straightforward tie. (Darwin Nunez – what a player).

City’s 2 injuries just before yet another marquee tie, just highlight in bold and large fonts, how congested the football calendar is. Fans lose out too, missing the chance to see the best players.

Certainly i’m forward to another cracking semifinal FA cup match, with possible advantage to liverpool becos of those injuries . (Having seen City in prior years enjoy and cruise through easy ties, i certainly wont be apologizing anytime soon for our draw of benfica lol).
Gab YNWA

Fodenici
“Foden, cleverly rolled back onto the field”.

Brilliant game of shithosery against the masters, but if his name was Fodenici, there would be no plaudits, just condemnation.

While an absolute waste of money and a football career on the way down the toilet, maybe Pep has found a use for Grealish. Waterboy/wind up merchant.
Paul

“Nobody wants to see that”
Rarely has a commentator used the phrase “nobody wants to see that” less aptly than when watching a great shithouse team lose their shit in their own house.
Aidan, Lfc (would’ve like a Madrid derby though)

The Champions League is not about underdogs
Like any football fan, I love the Champions League, but over the years, I’ve become frustrated that Europe’s premier club competition rarely produces a final that actually involves the two best teams in Europe. In my view, the UCL is not the FA cup or the World Cup , it is not supposed to be about fairytales & underdogs, it’s supposed to be about  the elite of the elite. It’s just my preference, but it bugs me that we’ve never seen a Barca/Real, Barca/ Bayern, or Real / Bayern final, when you’d think that the tournament designed to establish the best club team in Europe might have brought any of these  two together in a final.
I get that overcoming the pitfalls of knockout football  is part of being the best, but it does leave me dissatisfied when an elite team playing at a elite level are are knocked out by a silly clanger, dubious goal,  or by an otherwise average opponent who raised their game for 180 minutes, “rode their luck” and snuck through.
As a Liverpool fan I much preferred winning in 2019, when they could legitimately claim to be Europe’s best, as opposed to 2005 when they finished 5th behind  Everton.
Lopsided draws ain’t helping, which is why I rejoiced at this year’s  QF draw and results – now we might actually have the  final that I’ve been waiting for.
Bryan Stokes

READ MORE: Liverpool test boundaries of Klopp’s European ‘art’ once more

Liverpool without Van Dijk
That high defensive line Liverpool insist on playing, simply does not work without Van Dijk. Once lucky, thrice caught out. Christ that was closer than it ever should have been.
Nik (no allianz arena visit for me this year), Munich

 

Support the terrible Man United
You are all misunderstanding the current Manchester United squad!

They have listened to the supporters who want the Glazers out and have joined the protest by playing as S@%t as possibel to not only miss a Champions League spot but any European competition altogether. Given their current form, and with Liverpool and Arsenal still to come, 8th place is not unrealistic.

This significant loss of revenue will see top players leave, other top players refusing to join MUFC, eventually leading to mid-table mediocrity, forcing the Glazers to sell the club.

We should all be supporting their on-field protests!
Adidasmufc
(I’d still want Simeone as the new manager just to see him piss off everyone each week!)

 

The tiresome Trent v James debate…
In response to Pete B regarding the Trent v James debate, it is a bit tiresome now.  It rears it’s head on an almost monthly basis now and is quickly becoming this generations Lampard v Gerrard.

As a Liverpool fan, I think Trent is simply a quality footballer.  He can play crosses, passes or shots on goal from angles and positions that defy logic at times.  He is a phenomenal footballer.  Reece James is also a phenomenal football player.  We are genuinely blessed to have such quality English players at the moment.  Why not just appreciate them for what they do?  They aren’t the same, and have different abilities.

Personally, I don’t think Trent is a great fit for England.  The way he plays for Liverpool is a system designed to maximise his quality on the ball.  England’s is not, so he doesn’t look as good with the more negative system which will reduce his attacking output.  There is nothing wrong with that.

I don’t agree with this constant talk about how he can’t defend.  That is a fallacy.  The defensive side of his game has improved considerably.  If Lee wants to use goals conceded stats, you can’t add in the caveat that Liverpool’s other defenders cover for him. Where is the evidence of this?  He’s part of a defensive unit, they all contribute.   As Lee even said, Liverpool concede goals less frequently than Chelsea do, apparently despite Trent, whereas James is part of a defensive unit and the stats count for him.  Why is this?

Trent still gets caught out on occasion due to being so high up the pitch.  But guess what, so does Reece James, and Kyle Walker, and Andy Robertson.  All these players get caught out from time to time.  It will happen, certainly for Liverpool, due to the nature of the way they play.

Did people even really watch the Man City v Liverpool game?  Seen it mentioned quite a bit that Trent was seen as the weak link and City were targeting him.  This is completely untrue.  City targeted the space out wide, this is true.  However the side they targeted more frequently was Andy Robertsons side more than Trent’s.  Who remembers Phil Foden doing anything of note in the game?  Trent kept him very quiet.  Who fell asleep and was out of position for Liverpool’s second goal and defensibly poor, Kyle Walker, who is likely ahead of both James and Trent in the England squad.

Can’t we just enjoy these different, but equally good players?

Regards
Kevin

 

There are several topics that are very tired. One is the Liverpool play too high a line and the second is that James is better tan TAA, as raised yet again by PeteB, in the afternoon mailbox.

For those that haven’t been reading the analysts who actually analyse vs the pundits, you will see that Liverpool have sniffed out more attacks and goals by catching opponents offside by a far significant margin over competitors. As of Feb 22 (last stats I could find) Liverpool had caught opponents offside 101 times, the second best was City at 61 and then it drops down to the 50’s and lower down the top 5. At the same time, that high line allows Liverpool to press and win more balls in opponents half leading to more goals – hence Liverpool being the top goal scorers at this moment – with 15 more than Chelsea.  And as an aside, letting in one less goal than Chelsea, who have played one less game. (You could see that last year, unable to play the high line Liverpool found it hard scoring goals.)

Beyond the goals and assists TAA has 63 key passes (passes that could lead to a shot on goal) while James has 22.

This leads to the TAA vs James discussion. There is a lot more to defending than tackles. Many top managers see tackling as a defensive failure – a failure of the system and strategy. Interceptions or simply shepherding the opponent to a safer area is preferred. Regardless, TAA has made 80 tackles to James’ 44. Of course, James has played less skewing all these numbers.

But these are just numbers. The reality is that TAA is key to Liverpool’s strategy. He is a playmaker who happens to be a defender. He is also a defender in a team that plays a very high line. A high line judged to take advantage of the fact that VAR will catch more offsides and so less risky than before. But it does put more stress not just on the ‘rest’ of the defensive line to cover for TAA, and Fabinho and the right sided midfielder, but TAA himself – to be part of an attack and then back defending. But TAA is a key element of the team’s overall strategy almost regardless of the fact is a full back.

James is a great player and works well in teams that don’t play such a high mine. Like Chelsea and England. How well would James work for Liverpool? But both should be seen as brilliant for England that we have such talent.

Unfortunately Southgate plays a very conservative game. He recognizes that it’s hard to play the most progressive strategies with a squad that may change (due to injury), one where he can’t buy someone to fit, and has less time to drill for those progressive strategies. So he goes with tremendously defensive formations, with 3 at the back or 2 DMs or both. England don’t play a high line and pressing game, and the forwards make different runs into space thus negating the advantage having a TAA in place.  Whereas James can play a traditional wing back role, although Trippier does it better and fits in better to England’s primary formation.

That has always been the challenge for some great players in getting into the England team. Southgate’s approach is formation first, and fits players to fit. It clearly has been working to date – although we could do with a tad more progressive forward play.

Let’s celebrate all the great English right backs playing right now.
Paul McDevitt

 

I have to say I’ve found the TAA vs James debate a bit tiresome. But it always seems to be clouded in this ‘who plays for England’ – as if that in any way answers the question.

For me, Southgate picks the players that work for the system he wants to play.

England play nothing like Liverpool, so it makes sense that TAA doesn’t fit. Now you might say he should be able to adapt – but why make a player adapt when you have the ideal player (James or Walker) there already?

Playing for England under Southgate doesn’t mean you are ‘the best’, it means he thinks it will work.

Case in point – look at Sterling (terrible last season, fantastic at the Euros) and Grealish (fantastic last year – hardly got a game and did very little with the time he had). But England – made the final.

If further evidence is needed please see England’s ‘Golden Generation’ – and a midfield of Scholes, Lampard and Gerrard that was so appalling together they could barely get out the group most years (if they qualified).

Come on people. Today’s England does not equal best. It’s refreshing to see a manger not try to shoehorn them all in.

Cheers,
Marc (frankly the fewer games Liverpool players have for national teams the better – leave them nice and fresh for the important stuff thanks!)

 

PeteB has touched on something that I really hope doesn’t become a thing. TAA vs Reece James.  Gerrard vs Lampard was bad enough. In the darkest timeline Gerrard signed for Chelsea. John Terry probably slept with his wife…

For England I really don’t mind James being picked ahead of TAA. When people were claiming that he couldn’t defend and Southgate was picking Walker and Tripper ahead of him I was a bit more perplexed. James does seem like a good player and is more used to Southgate’s formation of playing 8 defenders, Kane and Sterling.

What I still find perplexing is the different standards that TAA is judged by compared to James. The day after James is knocked out of the champions league after conceding 5 goals over two legs we have PeteB claiming that James is the better defender. TAA gets branded a crap defender when one goal is conceded. Against City Roy Keane was bemoaning his body language when standing up to a cross. That’s the level of granularity TAA’s criticism gets to. At Anfield, James got sent off for handling the ball on the line. How’s that for body language?

PeteB says that TAA is targeted more including against City. Which is funny because I noticed that City attacked more down Liverpool’s left compared to other teams. Robbo was definitely worked harder and VVD took a rare booking. I think this is because 1) City can handle TAA and Salah’s attacks 2) City can work through the midfield rather than play percentage balls to an area between centre back and full back and 3) City aren’t scare of VVD. Its these reasons why TAA’s side gets targeted by other teams. Likely to be able to play in midfield against Liverpool – nope. Do we play percentage balls to VVD and Robbo’s side – hell, no. Do we play percentage balls to TAA and Matip/Gomez/Konate’s side – yep, you never know, it might stop TAA from getting a couple of assists too if he has to run back sometimes. Maybe the league’s top goal scorer would track back too.

Like PeteB says, people have been targeting TAA for a good 3 or 4 years now. When that defensive unit is in place, TAA concedes less than James. I assume that the stats PeteB used even include the Centre Back Year. Yes, it’s the unit and that his team mates too but he’s a big part of that. The high offside line or Fab dropping in as Matip comes wide to fill the gap as TAA moves forward isn’t his team mates picking up the slack. That’s tactics mate. That’s by design. It’s the same for Chelsea. By PeteB’s assessment James is conceding more goals than TAA in a team containing Kante. Kante!

You can count on one hand the number of players who successfully target that right hand side of Liverpool’s defence. This season the standout performance was Martinelli for Arsenal. That lad made Trent work for it. Martinelli had a good game because he was up against a good defender. Martinelli lost that game after managing one off target shot. And that is considered a MOTM performance when up against TAA.

Like I said, I don’t want it to be about TAA vs James. Both champions league winners unlike Walker or Trippier. Both good English lads playing for their local teams. James has his sister playing there too. Its great to see. I can see why Southgate doesn’t want to pick Trent. I can see why Trent picks up niggling muscle injuries over international friendly breaks. But if Trent is a bad defender then ruddy hell, what does it say for the state of left wingers these days?
Alex, South London – who has just remembered that Liverpool play tonight and has probably jinxed the lad

 

I’m tiring of the TAA-for-England debate. The question of his qualifications is as limited and as boring as the question of God’s existence. Either way, you’re left with a whole bunch of irreconcilable details that require interpretation.

For me, the fundamental matter for interpretation is not TAA’s qualities as an individual but the team of which he is a part. I’ve heard it said that humans are social animals, and therefore a person is only ever a “person-in-relation.” All the more so for a football player. TAA-with-Liverpool is great. TAA-with-England has been below par. Rather than asking does TAA belong on England, the more interesting questions would center on England, such as, “Would it be worth tweaking the system to get more out of TAA, or is England happy enough with what Reece James provides?” If nothing changes, nothing changes.
Jonny (not to be confused lightning-rod Nic of F365 fame)

 

Lovely use of per minute stats from PeteB to show James is the right choice for England. A goal/assist every 113 minutes certainly looks better than one every 171. But scratch the surface and more interesting is the fact that 64% (7/11) of James’s contributions this season have come against the current bottom 6, while – by coincidence – 64% (9/14) of TAA’s have come against the current top 6 (excluding Liverpool, obviously). TAA has contributed a goal or assist every 80 mins against the best teams in the league – he has at least one against all of City, Chelsea, Spurs, Arsenal, West Ham and Utd this season.

So perhaps Pete is right, James does appear to fit very well with Southgate’s England – a flat track bully who becomes ineffective against the best teams.
Shappo

Just seen the mailbox headline about Reece James being the future of England rather than TAA.

Don’t give a fuck about the reasoning employed I simply implore the FA to agree with whichever fuckwit would prefer Nathaniel Clyne 2.0 to the best English passer of a ball since Beckham.

Let him play like a legend for his hometown team rather than be a misused cog in a dysfunctional national setup.
James Outram, Wirral

 

Why dive?
Why do players dive? Go down easy? Make a meal of it?

Simple, it gets free kicks and penalties.

Looking at speedy wingers in Europe’s top 4 leagues Messi and grealish are awarded decisions every 20 mins on average.

Two players who aren’t averse to “making a meal of it”

At the other end of the spectrum is Salah who is awarded a decision every 180 mins or so. Salah doesn’t tend to make a meal of it much anymore after being heavily criticised for it a few years ago (which personally I felt was unfair)

So going down gets decisions. When refs stop awarding it, they will stop going down. Simple.
Lee 

 

Memorable games
Steve, Ontario asks about memorable games, for me it was Arsenal v Norwich at Highbury in 1989. We had already beaten Norwich 5-0 earlier in the season so the main issue was the celebration of David O’Leary’s record appearance for Arsenal (622nd game!).
Norwich hadn’t read the script and went 2-0 up, by the 62nd minute Arsenal had managed to equalise, only for Norwich to score again on 76 minutes. A couple of minutes later O’Leary scored with a header, his first goal in 7 seasons!
Into stoppage time and Lee Dixon had the chance to score his 2nd penalty of the game, the keeper saved it but Dixon managed to score with the rebound. As Norwich players rushed to grab the ball for the restart a mass brawl broke out with several players booked.
A few seconds after the restart the ref blew – 4-3 to Arsenal!
Joff, Barton Gooner

 

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