Newcastle United: One Moment In Time

Arsenal 1 – 0 Newcastle United

If you see a better goal this season, I will be surprised. More than surprised; astounded, amazed. My gast will be well and truly flabbered.

The technique required to volley the ball from that height underlined why Arsenal paid £42m; it’s a different argument from his contribution to this Arsenal team. Indeed, it should never be mentioned in the same breath; Mesut Özil’s 24th-minute volley is one of the best seen in any match, let alone one of ours.

It resulted from the man everyone loves to hate doing what everyone loves to hate about him: chasing the ball. Alexis’ shot was blocked and as the ball dropped toward the head of the defender, he challenged. Not stood and watched, feeling frustrated and cursing his luck; made it as difficult as possible for an opponent to clear.

Özil applied the finish. Zidane-esque, better than Zidane although to be fair, his came in a Champions League final. A touch more of an occasion than Newcastle at home but does that matter. If the club produced end-of-season DVD’s, you might just sit and watch that again and again.

It was the brightest spot in the game, with Maitland-Niles and Wilshere the other positives. Jack finished another 90 minutes which surely confirmed a new contract; how much more proof do you need? His ninth full match of the season which is more than Alexandre Lacazette can lay claim to.

The question for Arsène is how to field Wilshere and Ramsey in the same line-up? As a pairing, there isn’t enough defensive thinking or discipline; it’s neither of their natural game to be a defensive midfielder. To accommodate them, Özil or Sanchez must drop out and that isn’t going to happen just yet.

Young Gun, Go For It

Ainsley Maitland-Niles was the final positive performance. It was another which deserves the praise he is receiving. A skip through the Newcastle defence almost crowned it with a fine goal.

Wenger said afterwards:

I believe he is the future. He can play left back, right back, central midfield. Of the three positions, maybe the least natural for him is left back, but he adapts very quickly and is a good defender. He has that sense of one against one, he is very strong, he is very quick, he has very quick recovery runs when he comes back. He has some aspects to learn: experience and he has to work on his heading. But overall, what he has done in the last three days is positive.

Is he ready for the central midfield role that is deemed his natural position? It might be worth trying with Xhaka out of sorts but not in a big game. That is the kind of experiment for the Carabao Cup and dead rubbers in the Europa League group stage; both those ships have sailed.

His inclusion was the surprise of the line-up but I suspect Kolasinac will be back for Liverpool. I wonder if we revert to a back three for that match? We gave up plenty of chances to a distinctly average Newcastle and better strikers will punish our laxness. They will; it’s not a flip observation, it’s simply the truth and there’s no point in denying it.

Tougher Than The Rest

Arsène made no bones about the result. It was more important to win than to produce a 5* display in his view:

I would say we had plenty of chances we didn’t take. You could see that we wanted sometimes to force it a little bit, the fact that we didn’t score recently, the chances we had, played a little bit on our mind. But I would have loved it to have been a bit more comfortable on the scoreline but what was even more important was to get the three points and that’s what we did.

And that’s how it should be viewed: job done. We haven’t solved the problems brought about by the defeat to United, but we’ve taken a step closer to that. Alexandre Lacazette, hooked on 72 minutes, isn’t firing on all cylinders but is that a result of the team’s performances or confidence? An adjustment period or bewilderment at being the sacrificial lamb?

The second half of the season will give us the answers to that but for today, the waves of relief at three points are lapping the Arsenal shore.

’til Tomorrow.

60 thoughts on “Newcastle United: One Moment In Time

  1. Lovely post.
    Wonderful goal.
    Niles really does look to be stepping it up another notch. I am delighted for the lad.
    JW’s passing again an utter delight.
    He must stay.

  2. Great review Yogi. You have to be happy with 3 points collected with a clean sheet in a must win scenario. I have to admit that I had expected a paper over the cracks type performance and prior to the game I predicted a 5-0 win. I missed that one by a long ways. The attack is still sputtering which is a concern because we are not specialists at keeping clean sheets and we are not going to hold on to 4th with 1-0 wins but a win is a win is a win.

  3. Orson from the end of yesterday’s comments section regarding Lacazette. I agree that he been struggling. C and I have talked about Lacazette a few times. He is a clinical finisher when he can find space and gets the ball in a good position and when he scores its usually been on the end of a passing move. However at least so far he depends on his teammates to help create his chances and he is not the sort of player who creates his own opportunities. When we allow the defense to organize they can cover the space in the dangerous areas of the pitch and even with Wilshere and Ozil on the pitch when struggle to create the sort of chances that he needs to be effective.

  4. Lacazette has been very good when he is given time and space but as a group our finishers are not the worlds greatest. We make it even tougher for them because we don’t create easy chances on counter attacks and we end up asking them to try and finish between and around organized banks of defenders which is much more difficult. Last season when Sanchez was playing better he could create his own chances and score a goal out of nothing but he is not doing that this season

  5. The reason the conversion percentage of the teams we play against is so much higher then ours is because nearly the all the shots they take come on the end of a move when they get the ball into our attacking end before our defense sets up. The margin for error when the other team is counter attacking or we give away the ball in a bad position is razor thin and one mistake is a killer. On the other when the defense organized there are teammates around who can cover if one player makes a mistake. You can work on how to cover for each other on the training pitch however when the opposition has the ball behind the majority of your defense then its just a matter of scrambling back to try to get into position and you can’t practice that on the training ground and you can’t cover for someone else when you are out of postion.

  6. Yogi

    I agree about Maitland-Niles. He has been a square peg in several round holes but he does not let that interfere with his defending. There is no reason that switching sides should turn a good defender into a shambolic player. A right footed player at LB is going to have a tougher time on the attacking end but he has clearly been our best fullback for the last couple of games and I would give AMN a run at RB when Mustafi comes back. We have Nacho and Kolasinac on the left but we have not gotten much from Bellerin in either end of the pitch for over 1 year or

  7. Bill,

    I don’t think we are particularly disinclined to attack at pace, just not capable of doing so, we no longer have players with pace such as Wiltord, Henry, Reyes and Walcott. Both Sanchez and Ozil gradually drop deeper to gain possession so our defenders have to delay the forward pass necessary to catch teams on the break.

  8. When you attack at a higher tempo the good chances happen and anyone can create and your finishers are much more likely to convert. You don’t have to wait for a creative genius to find space and make something happen.

  9. Bill,

    No Bill when you attack at pace it is the talented players who can pick the accurate pass that gives the striker the best chance of scoring, one only has to look at counter attacking sides, which do not have that level of excellence, to see how often their attacks come to nothing.

  10. Sorry, Bill, but we have often disagreed with your view as to what makes the most efficient attacker : Pace, pace and skill — creative genius, or goal scoring instinct.

    The Orse is correct in my opinion.

    We have had some very lively attacks involving intricate passing and clever run angles — but we cannot score from outside the box — altho Mesut proved the exception yesterday — so our attack founders because once again Orsey is correct — our pace is not at the level it used to be, and instead of taking on a shot our players pass to the next guy — afraid to fail?

  11. HenryB,

    Hi Henry,

    I also feel that we don’t use the width of the pitch effectively. Camping out just outside the area makes life too easy for the opposition. And trying to thread the ball through the massed ranks of a packed defence just doesn’t work. Width doesn’t have to be about throwing the ball in the air for someone to get their head on either. We have the players who can make clever runs into the box to give a wide man options, but we don’t and our wingers are just not practiced in the art of crossing. Just throwing a hopeful ball into the box just doesn’t work, but no one actually gets their head up to pick out a player. Bellerin almost seems to have a phobia against getting to the line. In the last couple of games AMN stood out because he was actually willing to stretch the play and give our opponents something else to think about. Even with Jack carrying the ball through the middle to put defences on the back foot, we still end up coming to a halt at the edge of the area as come up against the packed defence. We have become too predictable and have to rely on players like Sanchez and Jack doing something off their own backs to shake our opponents up.

  12. Excellent stuff from Yogi only topped by Ozil’s sublime goal.

    Jack performed well and I think he needs to stay there even when Ramsey comes back and Ramsey drops to the bench.

    Lacazette’s finishing ia clinical ans for me its a confidence thing but also a team thing. Bill is right, overall we don’t have finishers on a consistent basis but also the packed defenses don’t help. One thing that certainly will help is more shots from distance which draws the defense out but Arsene is opposed to it even though we have players in Lacazette, Ozil, Sanchez ans Xhaka who can score from distance. The other thing is we have players who score in bursts, for instance Sanchez isn’t a consistent goal scorer but if he scores its in 5-8 match stretches.

  13. Maitland-Niles is taking the step up and the thing for me is that its not about goals or anything he is playing within himself and has that calm demeanor about his play but its also positionally he is really good at knowing when and where to be somewhere.

    He deserves more match time even in the PL, why not play him in midfield not necessarily against the big boys but midtable and lower table sides.

  14. Wavey,

    Its one of the things I love about Pep, its not about having wingers nd players simply going around the back or flying down the flanks, its simply having players wide and stretching teams out to create space.

  15. Wavey,

    Almost all the PL teams use fast paced wide men who often (against us at least) have bags of room out on he wings with no challenge, so they can pick their spot for a cross, or can draw a couple of defenders out to tackle them, and leaving more room in the centre, and making more holes in their (our) defensive line to give a sight of goal.

    If between us we can see these opportunities/weaknesses it beggars belief no one at Arsenal can see that.

  16. I wish we played and more importantly Arsene wanted to play at pace and a higher tempo. Pace isn’t just about players running fast but pace of thought and talent to have the players capable of picking the right pass at the right time.

    De Bruyne and Silva aren’t pacey playeds but play faster than most players, we have that in Ozil and Jack but we dont play at tempo as a team.

  17. The other part is GK distribution, Cech is shit at it and doesn’t get the ball out quickly to ‘set us free’ like you see from De Gea or Ederson. Mignolet might be meh as a GK but he gets them moving quickly by distributing quickly

  18. Bill,

    You will be happier, perhaps, to learn I agree with you about heaping too much expectation on youngsters who after a good start can easily disappear into mediocrity.

    I do not necessarily believe that is the case with M-N, but I think that altho he is OK and with potential to go a long way, he is not yet the finished article, and to be honest I think he is no better than many other youngsters trying to carve a career in the PL.

    Belli Button is a case in point — he started off with great pace, enthusiasm and an eye for a shot — now — he seems to have lost a yard of pace, cannot tackle a baked potato and looks despondent with his disappearing class. Hope it is a passing phase, but ……….

  19. Much as I’d love to join this Maitland-Niles love in, I’d reserve judgement until we actually play a team that tries to attack!! Both West Ham and Newcastle were awful and barely committed anyone forward. Let’s not put too much pressure on the guy. I’ve not seen a blog today that comments on the awful atmosphere yesterday and lack of any celebration at the final whistle. Be interested to hear from other people who went to the match yesterday what they thought?

  20. C,

    Coutinho is going to be a great.

    Whoever signed him as a kid for peanuts (he is still young, of course) has done a great job of scouting/recruiting for the ‘Pool.

  21. Mike,

    I have a friend who went to the Wham/Arsenal game and said (what we could see too) that it was awful, and he went yesterday too, and said outside of Ozil’s goal the first half was tepid, and in the second half the defence was so poor that he and his mates were metaphorically biting their fingernails hoping we could hang on.

    A crowd pleaser it was not, by the sound of it.

  22. C

    Pep substituted Henry once for not holding his position on the left wing – even though he scored. Its exactly why Henry was told to stay there even if he did not receive the ball. Its about creating space for others in the middle and providing more options for the man in possession.

    West Ham was a great example of how our narrow formation congests the play centrally – ironically where we need it. We have always played a bit narrow under Wenger.

    Jack has to play and Xhaka needs putting down like a lame horse. He has some cute passes but is a horror show defensively. He get caught on the wrong side too often due to poor positional sense and a lack of pace and then dives in in desperation to make a tackle. He is also a constant source of the ball to the opposition.

  23. The other thing that is most worrying is the fact that if you take Jack and/or Ozil from this team, we look unable to create really anything. Sanchez has lookrd more fit but seems to be hit or miss but the work rate is there.

    I still fully believe that a new man and this bunch would look worlds different

  24. C,

    —- “The other part is GK distribution, Cech is shit at it and doesn’t get the ball out quickly to ‘set us free’ — Nelson Mandela he is not. 😀

    Seriously he has a weak kick to pass the ball out, and usually kicks it into touch, or to the opposition. Not good.

    In fact, and I am repeating myself here, I think he and Ospina should be replaced with a younger and better Keeper. Still, we are banging our heads on a firmly shut managerial mind here.

  25. Wavey,

    Salut Henri ca va? Yes I wound concur with you and Orson and Wavey. There is more than one way to break down a team that sits deep.

    We are currently light years behind Teams like City and Liverpool whom have pace and the ability to break on the counter.

    Sane Mane Salah Sterling Rashford Martial Jesus are examples. TW has pace but has never been a player whom can create for himself. He’s what I call an opportunist TW. Look at what Guardiola has done with the much maligned Sterling. He’s City’s top scorer. Borh are Very similar in attributes possesed but Sterling for me is able to contribute a lot more than TW ever has.

    Football is constantly changing. We have a player in OG whose in the vein of M McDonald, M Chivers, Bob Latchford, Duncan Feeguson , Andy Carrol etc. OG Is the archetype of yester year. You have to have someone to provide the bullets otherwise they are limited at best. This means wingers- players whom can get to the bye line and drop the ball on a sixpence on a regular basis.

    I tell you Miles is more than capable of playing in the midfield. He’s ready. Our dear beloved AW is not a Manager whom embraces change easily. He’s to conservative by nature.

  26. Orson and Henry

    Our team is packed full of pace. Sanchez Lacazette Bellerin Kolasinac iwobe welbeck Walcott and even Özil all have plenty of pace. Pace is good but those players are not as effective as they could be on Arsenal because we don’t play the game at pace. You don’t need a team full of Walcott’s to play at pace. Messi or Suarez don’t have blistering pace but they play the game at pace. There is s big difference.

    I am not saying creative players are not valuable. However you only have to look at Fergies teams after Scholes faded to see that if you play the game at pace then you don’t need brilliant creative players in order to have a very effective attacking team. Look what Leicester did a couple of seasons ago with journeymen forwards. Chelsea did not have a creative genius running the attack last season.

  27. Alex Ice Cream,

    Yup, to narrow and starting wide doesn’t mean staying wide, its just a place to start and then you have more space make runs and being picked out. We have players in Ozil and Jack who can pick those passes but when we are close and narrow they are restricted.

    Last season Sanchez would start wide and have more space to run at defenders but he is more narrow and thus gets crowded out when he cuts to his left.

    The other thing and main reason I prefer Jack to Ramsey is that Jack isn’y looking to get into the box so there is more space for Lacazette and Sanchez to operate and while Ramsey on occassion makes things happen, overall he gets in the way or the chances that should be falling to Lacazette or Sanchez are falling to Ramsey.

    Keep wide and make runs and allpw Ozil and Jack space in midfield ans centrally and things will work.

  28. HenryB,

    Exactly my point, we can’t play quickly if GK distribution is shit or being held up.

    Funnily enough its another reason why I don’t understand both Szczesny and Martinez being sent away and I am with you, we need to find a your better GK.

    The interesting thing is the recent chatter about ter Stegen, that would be a massive get.

  29. Look at what Liverpool is doing today. They have decent midfielders but none that are close to Özil and Wilshere but they get the ball forward at pace. A player like Mo Salah or Raheem Sterling would not nearly as effective in our system.

    We will never know but you could argue that Fergies teams in 06-09 or Ancelloti’s Chelsea in 09 would have been better with Fabregas but I am not sure that is true. If they would have focused more on ball possession and measured build ups because of having fabregas it might have hurt their team.

  30. C,

    Agree C. The first thing that would happen is that ‘ complacency’ within the squad would be shaken up.

    The players hsve become used to AW and his methods. Complacency is a human condition. A rot has set in. Footballers are not exempt from this. You can FEEL the desire and intensity from Guardiola.

    A clear out a culling is needed at the Emirates. I have been a big admirer of Santi. He’s been typical of the last decade of the Wenger era. Rosicky, Diaby were talented players but were held onto for far to long.

  31. None of Barcelona’s best teams were packed with pace. None of Xavi iniesta busquets David Villa or Messi were truly pacey players but they played the game at pace. As C points out Silva and De Bruyne are not pacey players but they play the game at pace.

    Ox has done well today for Liverpool and he was our our most effective attacking player not named Sanchez in the second half of last season because he could be a one man counter attack on the right wing.

  32. C

    Creative midfielders are supposed to be the players who help set the pace and tempo of the teams play. I know we talk about Özil all the time but he is supposed to be the best #10 in the world and the frustrating thing is that he does nothing to help control the tempo of the game. Creative players are supposed to be the ones who make the rest of the team better and get things when the team is struggling. it does not make sense that our most important creative player can only be effective when the rest of the team is playing really well.

  33. HenryB,

    No it was not, doubt the weather helps but the genuine lack of enthusiasm and empty seats in the ground can’t have gone unnoticed. Was just wondering if we’d got Pep 2 years ago what it would have been like! Going to games seems so joyless at the moment – apart from seeing your mates!

  34. Ox has done well for Liverpool today is what I meant to say. Overall I think he made a mistake by picking Liverpool because they have plenty of players who can do what he does only the other players have more upside then Ox.

  35. Ras,

    Agree and I think some players would need to be shifted out and others would simply be more consistent.

    I also think our best players would flourish, I don’t subscribe to the notion some like Ozil, Jack or Sanchez wouldn’t respond or be successful under a more demanding manager, I mean Ozil flourished under Mourinho and Lowe and I think more demand is what some need after what has been a decline of responsibility under Arsene and Arsenal.

    Until then, I guess we support and hope for the best.

  36. Bill,

    Your wrong mate, they are supposed to set the tempo and pace of our attack but generally the DM and CM set thr tempo of the team because they are the links between defense and attack, they recover or receive the ball from the defenders and if they move it slowly up the pitch, the tempo is off, if they move it quickly then we move up the pitch quickly. If Ozil wasn’t doing his job then we wouldn’t have something crazy like 60 shots on goal over the last 3 matches, he just like De Bruyne and Silva and Pogba and Inesta and all other creative players still need finishers and we have Lacazette and Sanchez (in spurts) but the rest of the players are meh at finishing and that is part of the problem. Fot instance, Ramsey leads our team in shots yet only has 2 or 3 goals, compare that to say a side like Liverpool or Citeh or even Athletico or Dortmund and you have 3 or 4 players who can score goals including a midfielder. If you actually look, Ozil scores as many goals as most creative /#10’s the problem comes when you have others not scoring.

  37. C

    The one thing Özil could do to actually help AFC would be to push the tempo of our attack. If he is as good as you say then you would think he would adjust/adapt what he does in order to help us to be a more effective attacking team.

  38. Hi, Ras, mon ami, ça va bien, merci. 🙂

    We all seem to be singing from the same song sheet. There will be many changes once a new manager is appointed — there is plenty of past examples of that — and frankly under life’s great big wheel of time it means that AW will let go eventually and a new man will take over, we are just in the waiting room becoming impatient for Arsene to except he can take Arsenal no further — bring on the new guy.

    Mike was asking/suggesting that things would have been very different if Pep Guardiola had taken over a couple of years ago, and the answer must be a resounding ‘yes’. He must be the best manager in the world now and he has set the bar with the Man City team, and unfortunately that boat has sailed for us, otherwise that could have been us running away with the PL.

    But there are others out there who could/would revolutionise our team and even under the current owners that will happen in the relatively near future. Here’s hoping. 🙂

  39. Evening,

    We’re playing lpool on Friday, jippie, no sweat there as their fast, pacy play and wingers can’t harm our solid defense (or can they and did they)?

    I’m a bit edgy to Friday’s game. They’ve pulled a number on us a couple of times and the ease with how they picked Bmouth apart was rather intimidating. I’ve got a funny feeling about this🙁.

  40. Bill,

    You sometimes fixate on one thing, when there is a much bigger picture that needs looking at.

    An important attribute of the top teams is to have a good proportion of pacey players on the roster.
    That is just one attribute. There are many more. You frequently mention ‘creative’ players, but that is just another way of describing a highly skilled player who is also intelligent. He has the wit to see a way to break down the opposition defence and the skill to make the ball go where it is needed to achieve this.
    Or it could be a defender with the intelligence to work out where the opposition attackers are likely to try and make an approach to lead to a goal, and the physique to do what his brain is telling him to do to stop them.

    And so on.throughout the team. It is a multi-dimensional requirement and not a mono-dimensional aspect.

    Take Pep Guardiola, again, he applies that logic to his goal keeper, not just the out-field players.
    For example, he does not want the GK to just kick the ball up field – and hope something comes of it – he wants the GK to be part of the defence and to play the ball with enough skill to interact with the out-field guys, either to start attacks, or to act as a sweeper behind them, as the circumstances dictate. And not to be seen as a sole performer just stopping shots or grabbing crosses.

  41. Henry

    What you say makes sense but we all tend to focus on certain things. Admittedly I go over the top sometimes but you always focused on pace and C focuses on specific players that he likes.

    The whole idea of playing at pace is a philosophy of how to attack and to me it is the most efficient way to play and it makes less talented and less expensive players more effective. A team that plays at pace can make a player like Vardy who is a journeyman more effective and you don’t need to spend money to have the worlds best #10. Fergies best teams after Scholes faded had role players like Fletcher and park who were not very talented or pacey and who cost very little in the midfield. I hope that makes sense.

  42. The Arsenal have no one who can dribble drive to the touchline or near or far post or at the other teams last third at pace, either against a packed last third or in open play other than Jack.
    Mane and De Bruyne have it while Silva provides it. So easy to see really.
    Exactly why I enjoy this Miles kid, a true pleasure to watch!
    The Arsenal of old had it in Pires, TH and Overmars provided by DB and others.
    Arsenal of today get bogged down to packed D’s and as a team don’t press high like $h*tTy or pooL. When those teams score early it opens up the other teams to have to actually try and play for a point.
    May we all see this and a solid back $ sometime soon in this lifetime.

  43. HenryB,

    Salut Henry j suis bien merci.

    Another very important factor is what a team does when it does not have the ball. Arsenal are not a team that does well without possession of the ball. Modern day teams have to be well versed in both aspects of the Game. We have possession of the ball but do what with it?

  44. Ras,

    You are so right. It drives me bonkers when we lose the ball and the online who tries to chase it down is Sanchez.

    On the other hand – when he gets the ball he dribbles with it until he loses the thing, often in dangerous positions for Arsenal.

    And the idea of ‘pressing’ the opposition — except for once every 10 games or so — does not seem to register with the team — or AW.

  45. It is obvious where our frailties lie: same as last season and the one before etc. A.W only knows why we let Gabriel vanish and nearly saw the back of Mustafi. I would have liked to see more defenders signed not gotten rid of.

    The other end is even more frustrating, you know the man who can receive and control the ball, beat a defender and slot it into the net come hell or high water. 31 chances against ManUre for one goals to their 8 for 3 and it wasn’t much better yesterday against less than moderate opposition.

    But there are a few names around suddenly. Sturridge could be looking for a loan spell come Jan and that might be what we need and given his history a loan could be a perfect try out. Or while we look for the permanent deal to replace all the nearly men or exiters we have.

    The hard thing for AW will be seeing the back of our real quality come the end of the season and then having to extend the contracts for the not quites.

  46. I think if Ozil goes then Jack and Rambo get to play. Jack has always been a false 10.

    When Sanchez goes we need to replace that quality with about 200 million to move forward.

  47. Damon,

    It’s all about team management, or lack of and selection.

    We had a Captain (Cooke), who lost form and to help him regain it the captaincy was taken away. Well that obviously didn’t work, he’s been an absolute disaster in this series.

    We had a batsman (Root) who was batting superbly and scoring lots and lots of runs, so the captaincy was dumped on his shoulders, he’s been an absolute disaster in this series.

    The bowling of Anderson and Broad on hard, flat Aussie pitches where the ball doesn’t swing has been an absolute disaster in this series.

    The bowling of Moheen on hard, flat Aussie pitches where the ball doesn’t turn has been an absolute disaster in this series.

    The attitude on the pitch and behaviour off the pitch, of the team, has been poor to say the least.

    A five nil whitewash is inevitable now.

  48. Disaster and spineless are words I have heard used by my work colleagues, and understandably, but I think it is a bit harsh.

    It is true that Broad in particular, and Anderson a bit, are now down on the slippery part of their careers where age is a factor. And a little like Arsenal there has been little thought to their future replacements.
    Cooke has been, and probably still is a wonderful batter, but he has not looked like one in this series. Root too has been a great disappointment – so maybe captaincy belongs with a bowler or all rounder.

    Anyway, all that has not done justice to the three brilliant young Aussie bowlers, Hazlewood, Starc and Cummins — there are not many who would fancy batting to them with the ball whizzing around their ears at 90+ mph, especially on a dodgy, rain affected pitch full of cracks.

    England were outplayed in all three Test matches — but credit the Aussie batsmen and bowlers in this game — they were, and are, just too good. IMHO of course. 😀

  49. The Arse Sores (AITG),

    I’ve always seen Jack as a false 10 too. But i would play him and Ramsey together now and with Ozil. I think Jack is more disciplined, can tackle and read the game better than Xhaka. I’d play JW in a holding role and revert to a back 3 against liverpool. Regardless i want to see Xhaka dropped.

  50. HenryB,

    Add to that Nathan Lyon who has had a remarkable 12 months and has been the better of the spin bowlers in the series by a long shot.

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