On Season-Changing Performances and Hopes

The dust is settling on the weekend’s football with most attention focused on Liverpool’s flop at Goodison Park. Jurgen Klopp confronted a ballboy (apparently) who frankly deserved a medal for sarcastically applauding the German off the pitch. If the lad got a snarling “F*ck off, you jug-eared twat” in response, he probably thinks it worthwhile. I know I would.

Martin Keown told the world this morning that “champions don’t bottle it”; I beg to differ. I remember Derby County and Wimbledon in 1989; we bottled winning the league at home. Displayed the steel need to win a title afterward but honestly, writing off Liverpool now is mad. Although I confess to laughing like a drain at the likes of Souness and Carragher – the professional Scousers – as the spittle flew threw the air.

Liverpool not winning the league in nearly 30 years still amuses me no end. I don’t know why given we’re 15 years and they are a damn sight closer to it. Actually, I do know why; I grew up in the era when they won everything, a bit like United and frankly if we weren’t involved in a tussle for fourth with them, their failures would amuse as well.

There ought to be a rule which bans clubs from sacking coaches during a season. Every summer, yes; in between times, no. You made your bed, you lie in it. I am deeply saddened by Mourinho’s departure because he was wrecking the club far more than any one man seemed capable of doing.

Sunday’s match does, however, come with added spice as a result of United’s upturn and the FA Cup exit. We know how Solskjaer will send his team out to play, the question is whether our master tactician can find the answer to countering their counters?

Meanwhile, Over at Arsenal…

Saturday saw promising signs the players understand what is required of them. It’s easy to be motivated and focused in big games, it’s the remaining matches which pose us bigger problems in that sense.

However, is it any coincidence we looked stronger at the back with players in their natural positions? Mustafi began life as a right-back and putting him back there relieved some of the pressure. Not all of it, he still contrived to concede a penalty. I’m not going there again.

Nevertheless, his dilettante defending cannot distract from the excellent performances of Koscielny and Sokratis in the centre. The transformation in the confidence in the defending generally which sprang from their command. Leno emphatically controlled his area for the most part with little sign of the jitters which surface in other matches.

Was it focus needed in a big match or the absence of Mustafi in front of him? I know what I think.

While the performance draws praise it means nothing if we don’t do the same against United this weekend. It was a great point but this Sunday, we must play on the front foot. That requires concentration and hard work in preventing United capitalising on our mistakes. We made few on Saturday with the midfield quartet working hard to shut Spurs down.

A repeat of that will be needed. Torreira’s red card solves the selection headache; Guendouzi plays against United and I hasten to add, Iwobi as well as Mkhitaryan. No Mesut Özil in the XI again with Ramsey, I thought, doing more than enough to retain his place. Two Europa League games suit the German better than the hardworking performance required on Sunday.

Tantalising Prospects

Therein is the danger of a good performance; we focus on the good individual performances and that of the team overall. However, we’ll need a different style on Sunday. We’re at home and will see more of the ball than we did at Wembley. United will try and inflict our own game on us.

As far as finishing fourth, I don’t think there will be many twists until mid-April with each of ourselves, United and Chelsea facing run-of-the-mill fixtures. But from the 14th of that month, Chelsea and United face tough fixtures, including each other, as long as we are in no worse a position than we are now, the prospects of a season of stabilisation and rebuilding being our best for a couple of years is realistic.

That certainly changes the summer from Emery’s perspective in getting shot of the expendables and bringing in the players needed to push us back into the title race in coming seasons.

The end of this season is certainly looking more interesting than it did six weeks ago.

’til Tomorrow.

38 thoughts on “On Season-Changing Performances and Hopes

  1. Michael says:

    Buckagh

    Why?….. Jonny is a cheat, I can live with that. 🙂

  2. Dalm says:

    I met a nice Tottenham fan last night, had been at the game and had a surprisingly realistic impression of the key moments !

    As an aside, the Mustafi foul – OK its a pen, but there were worse fouls not given in the other matches on MoTD….

    Lots of talk about the r back selection – Was Jenkinson injured ?

  3. Pete the Thirst says:

    Great performance on Saturday. Yes we should have won, but Emery got the tactics spot on.

    Despite the obvious Mustafi had a good game at right back. The back line looked the best it has all season. Monreal and Sokratis were outstanding.

    Ramsey’s finish was world class. That’s what the money is being paid for.

    Surprised that the Commentators didn’t point out that Spurs played long ball football. Their tactics revolved around dives and fouls.

    Maintain that level of performance and United will get a surprise on Sunday.

  4. Jonnygunner says:

    Michael:
    Buckagh

    Why?….. Jonny is a cheat, I can live with that.

    Too right-if half the Spuds team gets away with it….so can I 🙋🏼‍♂️

  5. Wailesy says:

    Agreed we need to have more of the ball against United which is why I’d start with Ozil. He’s more dangerous with it than Ramsey. Hear hear on Liverpool. They dominated for long enough. Right back is an issue. I’m done with Mustafi. I wouldn’t have him on the bench.

  6. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Agree that it’s way to early to write Liverpool off for the title.

    Their teams of the 70s & 80s allowed their fans to become as entitled & obnoxious as Utd fans are today….so I would be quite happy to see them miss out again.

    For me it’s still 50/50. City have more games & injuries – but also more experience & perhaps belief.

    I’m hoping that UE can put something different in front of our visitors on Sunday. No matter what manager they’ve had , the template has always been the same. Draw us on & pick us off……& we fall for it season after season.

    Perhaps he can come up with a masterstroke to make them think a bit more. Having beaten us playing three up with Lukaku wide right I would be surprised if they didn’t begin with the same tactic …so it’s up to us to deal with it better. Just trotting out our normal formation won’t do.

    Mustafi just may be a better full back than centre back (not difficult) but the thought of him handling Martial for 90 minutes gives me nightmares.

  7. Jonnygunner says:

    Paulie Walnuts,

    I was all up for Mustafi being deployed at RB…but he fucks up wherever he’s put.
    I just hope he’s on the ‘out’ list this summer

  8. thrill says:

    Guys you cant honestly think Mustafi had a good game at right back can you? Everytime that ball went into our right corner he just hoofs it out. No pace, no tracking back. We pretty much played with a back 6, iwobi and mhki helping out. Is there really no one else we can put out there instead of skhrodran mustachy. Jenks? Maitlan niles? I saw Mustafi trying to ‘track back’ after pushing forward (for god knows why) and he was literally jogging. These guys are pro atheletes and he cant even do a 30yd sprint to get back and cover his man!???

    The thing i liked about the match was how we sat back and countered quickly. Two solid banks of four, no gaps inbetween our CB, no space for the other team. Where is this performance consistently. We can shut up shop against one of the best offenses in the league. But when west ham comes to play we shit our pants as Arnoutovic runs around.

    I wish Emery would turn the tables on some of these shit teams. Let THEM try to play fancy football (seems like most teams nowadays want to ‘play’. except spurs, they just hoof it up top and hope the kane/son/eriksen trio can do something). They the other team push up the pitch and leave space in behind. When they run into our solid two banks of four, we pounce quickly.

    really refreshing to watch that defense, and organization. I was amazed at how compact and tight we were, given our experiences of this season. Such a joy to watch that, more please. And someone put some new boots on Laca, boy needs to tighten up a bit!

  9. ferkov says:

    Dukey,

    Candle burned at both ends, the middle ,and from the inside out. RIP.

  10. ferkov says:

    Juan Carceda, Emery’s right hand, was shown on numerous occasions, tutoring AMN on the bench.
    Once was when Monners messed his lines up and went for Iwobi’s man ( imo), instead of tracking the runner. Interesting exchange of views between the pair of players ensued! That was the last time that flank was left so open.

  11. C says:

    Haha so not only did Kane face no punishment over his headbutt BUT Sanchez won’t face any punishment for his stamp on Kos.

  12. Paulie Walnuts says:

    C,

    Come on. The officials saw both of them – which can now be added to the catalogue of errors we already knew about.

  13. Blue Yonder says:

    If I was told at the start of the season that, come March, we would be right in the battle for fourth, I would have been pleased. Now it’s the run-in that counts. We have a shot but we need some help. Step up from last season, I would say.

  14. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    We had close to 3 feet (close to 1 meter) of snow this weekend. Its been the best ski season in this decade and probably and possibly in this century. Wish you could all be here.

    Full credit to Ramsey. My respect level has gone way up. He only has pride and duty to his club to play for. He has several million reasons to pretend to be ill or have annoying injuries so he can be ready for next season and yet when he is on the pitch he is still playing full tilt. I wish all of our players had that much integrity and commitment.

  15. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Bill,

    Agreed. He’s gone up in my estimation this season.

    His reaction to the penalty miss on Saturday showed how much he cares for the club.

  16. Blue Yonder says:

    Why is officiating so poor in the EPL? The lack of consistency for a major sport is bewildering and with the money involved it’s unacceptable.
    Not the borderline calls – it’s the obvious ones that are the concern. And opinions on what constitutes a red card seem to vary with each ref.

  17. Bill says:

    C

    I read somewhere that Pochettino thinks the Spurs have been dreadfully unlucky this season with calls going against them. I am sure he and every Spurs fan and Spurs blog firmly believes Poch is right. Fans and even managers who should know better see what they want to see.

    The problem is that almost almost all the calls a ref has to make other then offside have some degree of subjectivity. Did he really do enough to be a red card? Did he do enough to call it a penalty? Almost every foul and almost all calls the ref makes are similar to pass interference in American football and you know how subjective those can be. The fans of the team the call goes against will almost always believe their side was the one which got the short end of the stick.

  18. Bill says:

    Blue Yonder.

    Almost every penalty and most red cards are debatable The way football rules are written there is no way to eliminate the subjectivity which is why the refs have an impossible job. Watch the expert pundits after any call and most of the time some of them will disagree even when they have multiangle slow motion replays and plenty of time to think about it. If you can’t get consensus from pundits who have all of that time to watch the play again and again then think how difficult it is for the ref who has to make an instant decision. That does not even factor in the fact that the ref usually does not have the best angle. Think how often a play looks completely different when you see it from a different angle on replay.

  19. C says:

    Bill,

    Its also funny that Pochettino is now talking about trophies aren’t everything and this and that about money. Funny thing is, Spuds are a dirty bunch who commit and get away with quite a number of fouls.

    For instance, Sanchez basically body checked Lacazette when the ball was going back to Lloris and the ref tols him to get up like he was diving. While fouls are and can be subjective, blatant things like Rose trying to put his studs through Leno’a chest shpuld be red, of Kane clearly headbutting the Chelsea player, Sanchez clearly stamping on Kos…those are clear and obvious fouls for all to see.

  20. ferkov says:

    Bill,

    Okay. But they are not snow blinded. And they have the opportunity to review video and report on the incidents after the game. To say,”I saw it” and so excuse themselves from addressing the incident is Pathetic.
    Yet that is how our refs work. They don’t have anyone to answer to apart from their boss who is not renowned for his open dialogue or impartiality.

    I wonder how much they get paid to continue to perform so badly.

  21. Bill says:

    C:
    Bill,

    Its also funny that Pochettino is now talking about trophies aren’t everything and this and that about money. Funny thing is, Spuds are a dirty bunch who commit and get away with quite a number of fouls.

    For instance, Sanchez basically body checked Lacazette when the ball was going back to Lloris and the ref tols him to get up like he was diving. While fouls are and can be subjective, blatant things like Rose trying to put his studs through Leno’a chest shpuld be red, of Kane clearly headbutting the Chelsea player, Sanchez clearly stamping on Kos…those are clear and obvious fouls for all to see.

    I am sure Spurs fans think Arsenal players are just as bad. Every team in the league can point to calls they don’t like in almost every game.

  22. Bill says:

    Ferkov

    I am sure the exact same mistakes have been made for as long as there has been football. Before the advent of ultra slow motion multi angle replays we did not know about it and everyone was much happier. Now that we know about all of the mistake and we have the technology to correct at least some of them the game desperately needs VAR.

  23. Bill says:

    A non arsenal fan would probably say that Torreira Lacazette and xhaka to name just a few are dirty players

  24. thrillbo says:

    I thought at this point that bad officiating and blown calls were just part of the ‘drama’ of the EPL. It’s been happening for years, no winds of change coming. Even in that match it seemed very inconsistent. Shove someone here, no call… Shove over here, foul. Even the commentators seemed confused.

    Something seems wrong that the ref makes a call, 10 seconds later millions of people see the call was wrong, but we cant actually correct it? We just keep playing on, watching, generating the billions for EPL suits.

  25. ferkov says:

    Bill:
    Ferkov

    I am sure the exact same mistakes have been made for as long as there has been football. Before the advent of ultra slow motion multi angle replays we did not know about it and everyone was much happier. Now that we know about all of the mistake and we have the technology to correct at least some of them the game desperately needs VAR.

    I take your point Bill, but I think the nature and frequency of the mistakes have been perversely affected by all the con artists in the modern game. It’s not just the TV angles that are revealing these imo. The nature of the players if evolving in an unsporting direction. Arsenal are not innocent .
    As far as VAR goes tho. I’ve already seen a couple of European games where VAR has been used and clearly missed the mark. Did anyone from the governing body give any explanation? Did they f.hell. Just removes the onus of responsibility another step away from the on field refs. Next thing we know it’ll be like NFL. The ref just blows the whistle at the behest of touchline personel, and refers the decision to a black box. Life ticks by.
    Kangaroo court the fuckers . That’s what I say!

  26. Bill says:

    Ferkov

    I can’t prove it but I am not even sure the divers are worse now then in the past. It’s hard for me to believe that human nature has changed and idea that players were more honest in the past seems hard to accept. The difference now is we know players are diving. Do you really think a player 30 – 40 years ago would give up a chance to go down in the box and win a penalty and potential cost his team 3 points because he didn’t want to cheat?

  27. Bill says:

    If I remember correctly Bobby Pires took a dive against Portsmouth to get a draw and save the invincible season. Emmanuel Eboue almost won the CL final against Barca in 05 with a blatant dive on the right wing to win the free kick that we scored our goal.

  28. Bill says:

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=0SYGgDM125Q

    This is a perfect example of how completely different a play can look if you have exactly the right angle and there is no way even the worlds greates ref can ever a perfect angle. Its a blatant dive but without that one angle on the replay there is no way anyone other Eboue and Pujol could have known that was a dive. No way any ref or the fans could have spotted that as a dive. I find it hard to imagine that sort of thing only started happening in the 21st century. My own speculation is that it happened in the past but we never knew it.

  29. Bill says:

    This play by Eboue is one of the more blatant dives you will see. However, If you listen to the commentary by the TV announcers they were praising Eboue for winning a free kick in a dangerous area when they watched the play in real time at full speed and when they watched the first replay at full speed without the proper angle to show what really happened. It wasn’t until they saw the replay in slow motion from the proper angle that they realized it was a dive and said Eboue was “lucky to get the free kick”. Unfortunately for the ref he has to make a decision in a split second based on what he sees without the benefit of the optimal viewing angle.

    If Arsenal had held on to win the CL we might still be hearing about what a bunch of cheaters we are and how incompetent and possibly biased the ref was.

  30. keef66 says:

    Frannie Lee at City and Allan Clarke at Leeds were highly successful divers in the early to mid 70’s.

    Jurgen Klinsmann loved a dive, including his time at Spurs. St Lineker also.

    Also Michael Owen, Rooney etc etc, been going on forever.

  31. keef66 says:

    And re diving Salah of course, the latest master – no coincidence Liverpool’s dip and Salah winning less penalties when a breeze knocks him over..

  32. ferkov says:

    Not contending it didn’t happen before. There’s always been divers and cheats. It used to be something of a defence mechanism for the slighter, more gifted player to stop Chopper etc from cutting them in half. get down early so to speak!
    Winning Penalties seems to have found widespread acceptance and even as you say applause . theres a different risk /reward balance there. But its the refs job to ensure that the RISK is realised more often, and Everywhere on the Potch. Rose should have been carded in the 3rd minute for being a Twat. might have been less of a Twat for the next 87 then.

    When half a team are doing it every time they get touched, often when they initiate the touch also, by backing in or slowing down, then there is a Disease.

Comments are closed.

Scroll Up
%d bloggers like this: