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05-10-2018, 04:10 AM
Cardiff are promoted!!! Warnock for all his undeniable flaws has done an incredible job.

The Premier League is all but finished. But we have the World Cup and Various playoffs ahead of us.

Use this thread to discuss all things football.

Prime Time
05-10-2018, 04:15 AM
Warnock always does a great job in that division. His record is tremendous. There's a few guys who do - Mick McCarthy is another one despite what some malcontented Ipswich fans would have you believe. But I think Warnock might be the best.

It won't stop him from being pretty much universally considered a cretin, mind!

05-10-2018, 05:10 AM

05-10-2018, 05:14 AM
Just one more week to go. Who's people's pick for the Arsenal job?

Prime Time
05-10-2018, 05:41 AM
Ray Parlour.

05-10-2018, 05:45 AM

Prime Time
05-10-2018, 06:01 AM
In all seriousness they're making the Juventus manager, Allegri, the favourite for the job.

05-10-2018, 06:44 AM
Whoever it is will get a grace period from me. I mean the last guy did fuck all for a decade and kept his job.

Prime Time
05-11-2018, 04:20 AM
Won a few FA Cups mind. There's always a chance you'll go backwards badly.

Anyway, Villa have Boro in the playoffs. Fair to say with Derby and Fulham in the other tie that a reasonably big club is coming back up this year, regardless of which one of the four it is.

05-14-2018, 11:51 AM
Arteta should get the Arsenal job. Him or Viera, anyway.

Moyes is apparently now no longer our manager, his short-term deal expired at midnight, so we're back to being managerless West Ham. I actually think the last three games have been as good an audition for getting the full time job as he has had in his time managing us, but have my concerns still about the defensive side of things - something which is possible as much personnel as it is Moyes himself. Converting Cresswell, who never really liked a tackle anyway, into a left-sided CB is probably the only poor decision he really made there, but otherwise the fact that we sold Fonte and Nordtveit (who was sadly much maligned and will be in the Champions League next season, assuming he stays at Hoffenheim) plus loaning Burke and Oxford out and Reid getting his inevitable injuries. Basically for the last couple of weeks we've only had Ogbonna, Cresswell, and Rice because Collins tweaked a hamstring too.

It's the obvious area we need to improve in the summer, plus a new goalkeeper (or number 2 goalkeeper, because I'd just keep Adrian between the sticks), right back, and (again) a defensive midfielder. And we're going to start that process with no actual manager so...joy, I guess?

Prime, I really hope you give Collins a contract. I don't think he's getting his with us renewed this summer and it makes me sad.

Oh, and something I've always meant to ask fans of other clubs - what do people think of Winston Reid? A lot of our fanbase seem to think he's severely underrated and should be alerting the big clubs every summer, but I'm not sure if that's really an opinion held outside of our little bubble.

And a third thing, because I love doing this - here's a starting eleven from the players who are set to be released this summer:

---------------- Hradecky
Fredericks - de Vrij - Chiellini - Shaw
Bamba - Can - Ozyakup - Meyer - Bernard
---------------- Balotelli

05-14-2018, 12:30 PM
Oh, and something I've always meant to ask fans of other clubs - what do people think of Winston Reid? A lot of our fanbase seem to think he's severely underrated and should be alerting the big clubs every summer, but I'm not sure if that's really an opinion held outside of our little bubble.

Was clamoring for Arsenal to sign him maybe 2 or 3 years ago. Can't honestly say I've heard much from him since then. Good defender, same level as perhaps an Ashley Williams in that not elite.

05-14-2018, 10:52 PM
Best person for the arsenal job?

Rafa Benitez

Heís the best person for that particular job.

Second best: Graham Potter

Who will get it. Some big name who managed at a big club before and will be gone in two years

05-15-2018, 04:18 AM
Rafa would have to bring results in though, because the style will lose him brownie points. I think the fans would only accept a slight change in style if it meant were there or thereabouts come May. If not, they'll turn on him. It doesn't have to be tiki taka, but it does have to be attacking.

The biggest legacy Wenger left isn't the FA Cups or Premier Leagues, it's the style of play that was never seen before 1996 in the league. Garth Crooks (though I hate him) said it pretty well; he was Pep Guardiola before there ever was Pep Guardiola. The game has changed and Wenger hasn't adapted enough to new methods and tactics.

05-15-2018, 05:58 AM
Rafa has played attacking before, Liverpool and Real werenít as cautious as heís had to have been at Newcastle and probably Chelsea too.

With the players he has there, he could go back to what he does best, being a tactician.

Itíll never happen, but he has the coaching knowledge, budget ability and high level expertise to make it work

Prime Time
05-15-2018, 06:03 AM
Liverpool had cautious and attacking seasons. You're right, it's totally about what's available to him. I don't know whether he'd look at Arsenal, though, and see a side that needs to be attacking, or one that needs solidifying and a defensive hardness. It could go either way.

I've regretfully had to admit over the years he's a good coach. I still really don't like him though.

05-15-2018, 06:34 AM
He certainly wasn't attacking at Real Madrid, they got rid of him within 6 months because of it. The irony was he was sacked right after their most successful scoreline, think it was 6-1.

I'll give you that, Liverpool were very watchable during his tenure, however I wonder how much that had to do with having Torres there. He really was on fire for a couple of seasons before he went to Chelsea. However since then, Napoli, Real Madrid, Chelsea and finally Newcastle have all utilised a more conservative approach in terms of style, by and large. At Newcastle and Chelsea, it's understandable, but not with Madrid and Napoli.

05-15-2018, 08:48 AM
Inevitably, given he's been their number one choice for about three seasons, we're being linked with Benitez.

Apparently Moyes isn't going to get the job because the board want a 'big name manager' and/or a 'young and dynamic coach'.

Prime Time
05-15-2018, 09:06 AM
Just spotted the thing about Collins. Doubt we'll be in for him, haven't heard anything. Besides, he didn't leave us on the best of terms and after a good first couple of years there were some real question marks about his attitude in the last two seasons.

The way Rafa has moved around, you'd think that he'd rather stay at Newcastle. He's becoming a bit of a folk hero up there, quietly, and he knows as well as anybody that in football the next job isn't guaranteed to be a success. I'd keep the job going if I were him, particularly if the noise from the board isn't too bad. Besides, it's not like West Ham's lot are any better than Mike Ashley, is it?

Arsenal I could see him taking, even though it is a poisoned chalice. Still, it's one of the very few jobs in English football anyone would love a crack at.

05-15-2018, 09:00 PM
I have a dislike in Rafa, but canít agree heís a defensive minded coach. Horses for courses though. Although I do kind of feel sorry for him working like he is and doing a good job.

In other news, Germany can leave Gotze out of the World Cup squad. That squad is ridiculous

Prime Time
05-16-2018, 07:01 AM
I don't know if anyone else has seen but JLloyd Samuel, the former Villa left back who got to the fringes of the England squad in the David O'Leary era, died in a car crash at 37 yesterday.

05-16-2018, 07:52 AM
Saw that and remember him well. Was a regular throughout 2000 to 2004. Handy player, never did quite hit the next level. Would have made well over 200 PL appearances all in I reckon. Surprised there isn't more news coverage on him. Awful shame, only 37. RIP.

05-16-2018, 07:55 AM
A quick note about change of style. We don't even play nice football anymore. 10 years ago it made up for not winning anything any more. 5 years ago it became a joke. Now it's not even there. Of what I've watched this season, plenty of teams play more eye-pleasing football than Arsenal.

After today's news I reckon Big Sam and Moyes get locked in a room and the one who leaves alive gets the Arsenal job.

05-16-2018, 08:39 AM
I'd disagree that it has been that long whereby we don't play the nicest football. Perhaps 2 or 3 years, yes.

While it's true it's not been as attractive lately, and this season especially, it's not down to a lack of trying. It's down to the fact that the players we have are no longer of the standard we require to play that way on a consistent basis.

It has to be said too, our defence was a joke. So many errors cost us this season it was unbelievable. The away form was also the worst I've seen in my life time.

In terms of the manager talk, Arteta is the one most papers are going for. Don't know what to think about that one, massive gamble for starters.

05-16-2018, 08:45 AM
Oh yeah, that has only been the last 2-3. What I meant is it didn't really make up for the lack of spine/results. Not gonna be an easy fix for whoever comes in. My worry with Arteta is are we just looking at a wannabe Wenger clone. That would be my worry. Whoever it is has a big job to do though. I was desperate for change and while Arteta wouldn't have been near the top of my list, I'd certainly give him some time. The biggest positive right now is that he has that winning scent to him right now. That is something that I think has been sorely lacking this last decade. He never had it as a player but coming off a title win may be good. I get so tired of excuses for mediocrity. I saw Rambo giving out a pat on the back tweet about a loss to Leicester the other day. Couldn't believe my eyes. It's a poison. So many winners sold over the years and replaced with that wrong attitude.

05-17-2018, 06:43 PM
So...West Ham want Benitez. Is that correct? But Newcastle want to keep him. If I’m Benitez I’d stay in that situation. In reality he’s better than both clubs but he’s truly loved at Newcastle and always will be. I like seeing him and the club happy at last. I can’t see that ending well at West Ham.

Henry and Arteta are the two favourites for the Arsenal job. Neither inspire me. Are Arsenal fans happy with Arteta?

Then Everton have ditched big Sam despite his performance which baffles me. I don’t get that st all.

Then there’s Southgate’s team... I’m Welsh but like to see the English doing well. In my opinion, Smalling and Tarkowski have been the most consistent defenders this year. What did Smalling do wrong? He’s light years better than Jones or Cahill in my head. I’m so confused.

And poor, vulnerable Sven. I’d like to think in hindsight he’d be deemed successful and unlucky but apparently not. I’ve always found that weird too. I’d still say he was a very good manager, as was Capello.

The answer to it all is that Warnock should be manager of Arsenal and England. Immediately. Getting the best out of mediocrity is his specialty and our Cardiff team is utter shit.

05-18-2018, 04:06 AM
Nah, neither Henry nor Arteta inspire me a lot but I will give whoever gets it a good shot. If it's an ex-player, Vieira would be top of my list. Strangely, I wouldn't be adverse to fighting it out with the Toon and Hammers for Rafa. It does concern me there doesn't seem much of a plan though. I want someone in asap so they can start building and putting their touch on the team.

Prime Time
05-19-2018, 12:36 PM
Fa cup final currently on. Apparently Hazard's 300th appearance for Chelsea today.

And he's just won a penalty.

05-19-2018, 01:55 PM
Jones is dreadful. And shouldn’t be on the pitch. Poor England.

Prime Time
05-19-2018, 03:33 PM
I don't know if I would go so far as dreadful. Too many coaches have fancied him for me to think that.

With that said, you know he has a rick in him. As a striker no matter how well he was playing you'd be waiting for the opportunity.

For England, you just know they will be up against people who can find him out.

05-21-2018, 03:59 PM
Emery set to be announced as Arsenal manager. Suffice to say I am not impressed at that appointment. This is the guy that masterminded a 6-1 loss to Barcelona after beating them 4-0 last season...

05-22-2018, 03:59 AM
I'd take him over Arteta all day long! I mean a treble with that PSG side could be done by any of us but 3 ELs with Sevilla is impressive. He should have some decent contacts. Plus we aren't in the same footballing stratosphere as Barca or PSG these days. We need to try and get there. He wouldn't have been a top tier choice but got a little bit of hope.

05-22-2018, 04:05 AM
I feel it's a bit underwhelming as a choice, considering who else is without a job at the moment. But like you said earlier, the fans, and me, will give him time to prove himself.

05-22-2018, 04:34 AM
Surely Pellegrini is a better manager? West Ham have been lucky there.

05-22-2018, 05:18 AM
Definitely looks like a good get for them. As for Emery, I guess it starts as soon as he's announced. Let's see what business he can do and how quickly. One of my big biggest criticisms of 2nd half career Wenger was he faffed about so much in the market, waited til it was too late, had to sell and then panic buy second rate replacements (ironically like Arteta!).

05-22-2018, 05:25 AM
£7m a year for the pleasure of Pellegrini, though. Plus £5m a year to cover his backroom staff. Talk that we're looking at bringing in a proper DoF to work with him, possibly Husillos who worked with him at Malaga or Macia from Leicester. Apparently we've given the reigns to Pellegrini on transfers too - but then that's exactly how both Bilic and Big Sam started off and then it immediately tailed off - supposedly every pick in the first summer, Payet, Ogbonna, Lanzini, and so on, was Bilic's, and then he had it all nicked off him the next summer.

I saw a great comparison the other day saying that what Sullivan has essentially done is bought an old car as a teenager, and then spent the bare minimum to keep it going until he can afford to do it up. Now he's doing it up with an eye on selling it on at a profit because of all the work he's done, so is investing serious cash in it. I think he can sell in 2022 without incurring any financial penalty, so you can bet he's looking to keep that value up.

Jones is dreadful. And shouldn’t be on the pitch. Poor England.

Listening to Football Ramble today and they made a really good point on Jones - he's a defensive player with no sense of what danger there is. Like in the FA Cup final, he'd recovered well after not first anticipating the danger, and then instead of realising where he was and that Hazard was never likely to score from there he lunged for the ball, again failing to see the danger of doing it.

How he's on the plane but Smalling isn't, I don't know.

05-23-2018, 05:56 PM
I think Southgate will end up falling on his own sword with Jones and Smalling. Smalling will be the hero when he returns etc...

On a totally different note: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/44195987?ns_linkname=sport&ns_source=facebook&ns_mchannel=social&ns_campaign=bbc_match_of_the_day .... I’m excited to see the Grant Holt thread in the general wrestling forum.

05-24-2018, 04:14 AM
Right, roster of footballers who would make it in pro-wrestling?

I legit thought they should have done Vinnie Jones vs Stone Cold to promote the Condemned. Vinnie would have made a fantastic heel.

05-24-2018, 08:43 AM
Joey Barton would be an amazing shit talking heel.
Adebayo Akinfenwa would just throw people around.
Zlatan has his kung-fu.

05-24-2018, 10:16 AM
Zlatlan would immediately become an internet darling and win the WWE title within a year.

In other news, Ronaldinho is to marry 2 birds. What a nutter!

05-24-2018, 08:02 PM
Will anyone else be watching the Champions League final this weekend? I don't watch a whole lot of football but generally try to catch the Champions League.

I read today about Heavy Metal Football which sounds as awesome as its name. Can anyone confirm how likely this really aggressive style is to work against Real?

Prime Time
05-28-2018, 05:45 AM
Surprised no one watched the Champions League, by the look of it. I didn't, but I would have had to have gone out and I'd only recently got back.

Can't say I'm too diappointed about losing the playoffs. Fulham finished third, and I always feel that the 3rd placed team deserves to go up. And they played better on the day. Bright side is having at least another year in the more entertaining division.

05-28-2018, 07:21 AM
Yeah, watched the CL final. That's Karius' career finished I feel.

05-29-2018, 08:04 AM
Poor Karius. Guy's been getting a load of death threats and stuff on Twitter which is just dastardly.

I actually thought it was a really enjoyable game of football. The obvious narrative is that once they lost Salah Liverpool had lost the game, but they stil looked dangerous enough to be a serious threat to Real throughout. At 2-1 it did feel like they were probably still in with a shout of pulling it back. And then...well...Karius. Poor guy.

Looks like he'll be replaced by someone this summer, and with Mignolet not fancied I guess he'll become the number 2. And Liverpool have already signed Keita and Fabinho this summer for about £100m combined, so are clearly looking to build on this with more money. They might be serious contenders next season if Salah can reproduce his form (or someone else step up to fill any reduced impact he has).

Apparently West Ham are in for Marlon from Barcelona.

Prime Time
05-30-2018, 06:05 AM
Marlon Harewood played for Barcelona?!

I did see the West Ham managerial appointment and thought, wow, that is quite a coup. And it probably goes some way towards buying the owners a bit of time too, doesn't it?!

Steve Bruce has said that he'll stay on 'if we still want him'. In my opinion, we'd be mad to change now. He turned the side around from one that could have plunged into the third tier to one that was a bad 45 minutes from promotion in about a year and a half. You never want to try and predict the Championship but I'd say there's a decent chance if we keep him and the summer business is good that we could win the league next year. Boro will be up there and you've always got one eye on Derby, and it depends on how the relegated clubs sort themselves out, but it doesn't look like there's anyone to really worry about it, with two good footballing teams and a very solid Warnock outfit going up out of the way.

05-31-2018, 07:26 AM
Massive news. Zidane has resigned. Going out as three time European champion ain't half bad.

Prime Time
06-05-2018, 10:29 AM
Hearing five days after singing Benik Afobe, Wolves might sell him to Stoke for twice what they paid for him.

The transfer market in 2018.

06-05-2018, 12:05 PM
Great bit of business that? Surely not just a "missed the boat" thing though? Did they have a buyout clause or something?

06-07-2018, 08:35 AM
Wasn't Afobe on loan with an option to buy? Was that the story? I think it's what Madrid were supposedly set to do with Morata a couple of seasons ago, they were buying him back from Madrid for £30m and then allegedly selling him immediately to Chelsea for £50m-£60m. Of course, that move didn't happen until a season later, but they still did pretty well from it.

I did see the West Ham managerial appointment and thought, wow, that is quite a coup. And it probably goes some way towards buying the owners a bit of time too, doesn't it?!

I have to admit, they got me. That said, they do seem to be up to their usual tricks - interest in Pastore up until the season ticket renewal deadline, then suddenly 'oh, actually, he's too expensive'. Felipe Anderson repeatedly reported as 'very close' but it doesn't have feel like the Lacazette/Bacca/Batshuayi/Carvalho situations we've been in over the past couple of summer windows, where it rumbles on and on and in the end we find out we're just not bidding enough to match any kind of valuation (like Carvalho, where I think in the end it turned out we'd bid £10m below the asking price - something that Sullivan himself revealed when trying to confirm there had actually been a bid placed on him in the Dildo Brother fallout). Marlon has gone quiet immediately after the renewal deadline with us suddenly deciding he's not big/strong enough for the Premier League - did we even scout him before supposedly bidding?

Fredericks looks like a good signing, mind you. Young, English, Championship pedigree, speedy. Think it's now 12 years since we spent a transfer fee on a starting right back.

Thing is, the problem lies where it has for three seasons now - we need at least one starting centre back, a strong defensive midfielder, and (possibly) a reliable starting goalkeeper. We've tried to fix things with signings like Fonte and Hart, but really none have paid off.

At the moment I'm just hoping we can keep Rice at the club.

Prime Time
06-07-2018, 06:11 PM
I'm a lot less positive about our next season than in the post up the page. Sounds like our finances are FUCKED. There's even been talk of phoenix clubs. We're now looking at staying in the division, and staying in business, as what we're aiming at for the next few years.

06-08-2018, 05:45 AM
I feel sorry for you, Prime, in the same way I felt/feel sorry for Leeds and Sunderland fans. You've all had/got chairmen who, when the good times were rolling, were more than happy to be a public face and splash a bit of cash without really considering what it meant long-term. The evaporation of investment has got to really, really bite, especially for someone like Leeds where the chairman was being completely reckless.

I hope it gets sorted out. Never like to see a club suffer for financial reasons, feel like it just shouldn't happen in this age of the game when there is so much money sloshing about that Liverpool can spend £150m on three players before the end of the first week in June.

Speaking of money sloshing about - what do people make about this new finances split that got approved yesterday, whereby clubs that finish in the top six (which I guess we might as well call the 'big six' now) will get a merit-based split of any money made from TV in excess of the current price of the deal?

I worked out yesterday, based on figures that someone gave me (supposedly it means the difference between bottom place and top place will change from 1.6 times to 1.8 times) that it essentially means the team finishing first will gain an extra £25m in TV money than the team finishing last. I guess it might not seem like much, but given you can pretty much guarantee the top six in any one season at the moment, disaster aside, it feels like they're just going to pull further away from the rest of the league.

Prime Time
06-08-2018, 06:22 AM
I can't see anything happening with that deal except what you suggest here. Just more reason to pay no attention to the Premier League, really.

As for our chairmen.... Lerner, at least, seemed to keep things on an even keel after his own money started drying up a bit. I don't think our fans really appreciated that about a third of his fortune went up in the credit crunch, so naturally you're less inclined to give O'Neill £10m for a player if the last time he sat him on the bench and asked for someone else in the same position (best example was Curtis Davies before the signing of Dunne/Collins). That's not to mention selling on Gary Cahill on the cheap because you'd rather spend £4m on Zat Knight, only to see Chelsea sign Cahill for around £8m a couple of years later.

The problem was that he just got so many things wrong, once O'Neill was gone. Houllier was fine on paper but he got ill, and you do have to look at his age and health problems in the past when you analyse that call. McLeish was a weird call, especially to do what was basically a tourniquet on the club with no money. And then Lambert. Well, there were ups and downs, and going through all that will take a lot longer than I have to spend on it right now.

As for Tony Xia... he won a lot of people over by loosening the purse strings. But it seems like he doesn't know what he's doing, and he threw everything at it in the first year or so in sort of a 'shit or bust' kinda deal. It's not even like we spent a lot this season (though he ploughed a lot of cash in last year), except on the wages of the guys we brought in on loan and of course on Terry. And I'm also left wondering... what the hell happened to this guy's personal fortune? I know financial fairplay could hit us then, but we were talking about not being able to pay the fucking taxman, and you'd think you'd provide enough of a cash injection to get past this if nothing else, right?

I don't know, but I've got a horrible feeling we've been taken for a ride and we're being managed by people who don't have a fucking scooby. And that we've been suckered into it by a couple of high profile transfers and because we were so used to losing that winning most of the games shuts up most questioners.

06-20-2018, 06:49 AM
Moving away from the World Cup briefly, Jack Wilshere is leaving Arsenal. Gutted to be honest, while his injury record is horrible, he was possibly the one "Arsenal" guy we had left. Been at the club since a young boy, I believe every other senior player we have has been signed from elsewhere.

Leno signed as keeper. Good player to have on the books, probably a step up from a declining Cech and Ospina. Can't help but feel that both may move on now. Both will want to be playing week in week out.

06-21-2018, 10:42 AM
I've got a small hunch that Wilshere won't be going far, Gooner - wouldn't be surprised to see him in Stratford in a couple of weeks wearing claret and blue. In other news we've signed Issa Diop (which is an incredible signing, in my opinion) and Lukasz Fabianski (which is...I don't know, a solid signing, I guess).

I like Leno. Think he'll probably be good for you guys.

06-21-2018, 10:57 AM
Leno is a very good signing for sure. Shame about Jack but it just never happened. Although, to be fair, the dream should have been dead way before now. Wenger's slipping quality kept that door open for him. I do hope he can stay fit wherever he goes and fulfills some of that potential. And doesn't act like a cock. Think West Ham would be a good fit for him as it goes.

Prime Time
06-21-2018, 10:59 AM
Just hope he doesn't become another Ravel Morrison....

To be honest at this point I was a bit surprised so much of a fuss was made about it. I thought it was already fait accompli that he wasn't going to make it at Arsenal and was/had moved on.

06-21-2018, 11:09 AM
Just hope he doesn't become another Ravel Morrison....

He's got way more quality than Ravel. But he needs a season or two uninterrupted with injury. Still think that, completely on form and fit, he's the best English midfielder currently. But he's like that for 10% of the season. Not enough.

06-21-2018, 11:16 AM
Remember when David Bentley was the heir apparent to Dennis Bergkamp... Good times.

06-21-2018, 11:20 AM
Nope. Don't remember that. Guess that's the point...

06-21-2018, 11:25 AM
Haha not quite that bad. Not really sure the best comparison. They're all either better or worse. Redknapp and Anderton spring to mind as guys who couple have been worldies without their injury issues but they still did more than Jack. Maybe if he trends upwards from here.

06-21-2018, 12:00 PM
Jack has definitely done more than Redknapp! Anderton perhaps no.

06-21-2018, 12:23 PM
Ah but Jamie married Louise. Thinking on it further Redknapp might actually be the perfect comparison. Jack wouldn't go to Spurs though.

EDIT: Maz fact - I once wrote fan letters to Jamie, Gary McAllister and Neville Southall. Only Nev replied. He will always be a fucking legend to me for that!

06-21-2018, 01:17 PM
But Jamie loses points for divorcing Louise (or the other way around, can't say i'm that up to date with celeb life).

06-21-2018, 02:04 PM
Yeah, I mean I'd argue that she's in her 40s now but she's still absolutely stunning. I'd swear blind to anyone who'd listen they were the good version of Posh and Becks back in the day.

06-22-2018, 03:52 AM
Probably true.

Anyway, back to football! Rooney is apparently being encouraged to go to DC United by Steven Gerrard. Is it me, or would he not fit pretty darn well at Rangers??

06-22-2018, 05:33 AM
If Ravel had, like, Jesse Lingard's brain, or half of Lingard's brain fused to the creative half of Ravel's brain, he'd be starring in the 2018 World Cup for England. I watched him play for West Ham when he was with us and sometimes all I could say was 'fucking hell'. He was that good, and yet was also so stupid in his off the pitch life.

I once wrote a fan letter to Roy Evans.

06-23-2018, 06:11 AM
The manager or the bloke that was married to Pat Butcher?

Prime Time
06-27-2018, 08:16 AM
I don't know, but I've got a horrible feeling we've been taken for a ride and we're being managed by people who don't have a fucking scooby. And that we've been suckered into it by a couple of high profile transfers and because we were so used to losing that winning most of the games shuts up most questioners.

Just on this last, apparently we're for sale again.

06-27-2018, 11:13 AM
The manager or the bloke that was married to Pat Butcher?

Missed this - the manager. I think it was to do with a recipe book for my school or something, I asked him to provide his favourite recipe. Possibly ended up being a Victoria Sandwich, but for some reason a fish pie has stuck in my head.

06-27-2018, 12:08 PM
LMAO That is a fantastic story.

So, World Cup hey. Fuck me, 3 absolutely intense finishes to groups in 3 days. Germans are gone. Where we are right now I can't remember a more exciting group stage in a world cup. I am so back in love with this game right now, I saw the Batista threat up top, thought it said Batistuta and was about to join in.

06-27-2018, 12:43 PM
Batistuta. My favourite ever non-West Ham player. Screw Maradona, screw Messi - he is truly the best Argentinian of all time.

All this, and Brazil could still go out tonight if Mitro has his scoring boots on!

06-27-2018, 03:07 PM
So far, so bad. Mitro has looked decent though

07-11-2018, 07:14 AM
And what feels like about 10 years later, Yarmolenko signs for West Ham. Finally happened Oli.

07-11-2018, 11:58 AM
Very quietly, Arsenal have made headway into the squad rebuilding process. 5 signings now. None are amazing stars, but they do strike me as steady heads. Sokratis, Leno and Lichsteiner are experienced players. Torreira looks decent and one to look out for. And today signed Guendouzi, who I have no clue about.

Wilshere has left. Gutted, but I understand it. Cazorla too, who I wish all the best in Villarreal.

Ramsey, Monreal, Cech and Welbeck have a year left on their contracts. Could see them all leave before the end of the season. The only one I'd be disappointed to see go would be Ramsey, I think the others would be replaceable. Ramsey it would cost big money to do so.

07-11-2018, 01:37 PM
Yeah I like what Emery has done so far. Making some smart signings to fix things rather than sign a big name for a position we didn't need. Definitely wouldn't want to see Rambo go for nothing, although I wouldn't lose sleep if he left.

07-12-2018, 04:12 AM
I agree that Ramsey going wouldn't be the end of the world. But he'd likely end up at a direct rival in the Premier League and we'd have to pay more than we get for him to be properly replaced. Ideally, he'd stay, but if he doesn't sign on by the end of the month, we should be looking to offload.

07-13-2018, 04:41 AM
And what feels like about 10 years later, Yarmolenko signs for West Ham. Finally happened Oli.

It's finally real! What a time. Felipe Anderson supposedly doing his medical today as well.

This summer is ridiculous. Mind you, some things never change - Andy Carroll and Winston Reid both need surgery and are out for 3 months each.

We're probably nearly all set for the season if Anderson does sign, althought we might get another center back (supposedly we've paid the release clause for a Paraguayan from Corinthians) to add another body there.

The Pellegrini-era is fully underway. I wonder how much that 2p that hit Sullivan on the bonce had to do with it.

07-20-2018, 05:26 AM
Is it just me or does Alisson look like Bobby Roode?

I was reading an article the other day about sides struggling with the new transfer deadline, combined with the World Cup, meaning that a lot of clubs will have about three weeks to complete the predominance of their deals in. Makes it all the more amazing that West Ham have got seven players in over the past month or so, including a club record in Anderson, and we are now (reportedly) just sitting tight with what we have and unless a good offer comes in for someone on the fringes (biggest names seeming to be Antonio and Kouyate) so we sell.

May be a loan or two before the end of the window, talk of Batshuayi (again) or one of the other out of favour Chelsea players like Drinkwater, Barkley, Bakayoko, or Loftus-Cheek coming to us. If I had to pick one I think Bakayoko could be a game changer for us.

Ronaldo to Juve is amazing. I'd make a point about his age and so on, but he's a ridiculous specimen, and at 33 seems as fit as fiddle.

Prime Time
07-30-2018, 06:19 AM
So apparently since my last posts and the fears above we've been bought and we're something like the second richest club in the country now, or something like that.

I honestly don't know what to make of anything anymore.

07-31-2018, 04:53 AM
Mental right? My boss is a big Villa fan and he was filling me in. What's your view of the managerial situation and does the cash change that? The Henry stuff came and went pretty quickly. What would be the best move right now?

Prime Time
07-31-2018, 05:04 AM
I think they've made the smart move, to be honest. Stick with Bruce. That's maybe something you have to assess if he hits a wall back in the Premier League, but history seems to suggest that there's hardly anyone better to manage you in that division. After last year you'd have to say he deserves another crack at it, at least.

What I'm less sure about is how much the cash can benefit us in the short run, given that we were already under hefty financial fair play pressure from last year, and we've got less parachute money now. I don't know how much they can spend, or what the consequences are. But at least we're not going out of business.

07-31-2018, 06:17 AM
Ah good old FFP. The thing nobody is quite sure how it works lol. My guess is it will be a do what we want and worry about it later because we have money type deal

Prime Time
07-31-2018, 06:27 AM
That seems to be what every one else does, doesn't it? So long as it doesn't lead to points deductions and cost us promotion or something....

07-31-2018, 07:23 AM
I hear Messi is arriving for a medical in the morning!!

Prime Time
07-31-2018, 07:30 AM
He'll love Birmingham. I bet he's never even heard of a Balti pie.

08-02-2018, 05:56 AM
Honestly, I don't know what Rafa is doing at Newcastle, at least work for a team who are willing to spend.

Prime Time
08-07-2018, 07:55 AM
I think it's that he's been at the top clubs and has been fired by a lot of them. It's not like he's suddenly going to change his style, or win so much more, that he'll get more of a chance at them. Newcastle is basically his level, and he's popular there. I guess he's thinking, why risk that going somewhere else?

Good come from behind win for Villa away at Hull. Probably the sort of performance that'll put a few million on the Grealish valuation, from what I've read. Still expect him to go to Spurs though, even though they have four players like him already.

08-07-2018, 09:12 AM
Is the Fantasy Football league active this season? This is the first year I'm going to take it proper serious as I'm in a few paid leagues, so thought I may as well clean up the LoP one too if it's live!

Prime Time
08-07-2018, 10:06 AM
I think Maz usually sorts that out?

08-07-2018, 10:51 AM
I'd be interested in that, the official premier league one I assume?

08-07-2018, 03:52 PM
Yeah, official premier league one. On a side note, if anyone wants in to a paid one - £10 in - PM me and I’ll get your feet under the table!

08-08-2018, 07:30 AM
How do people feel about the window closing before the season starts this year around? On the one hand I'm kind of glad that we don't have weeks of endless transfer talk after the proper football starts, and it's got to be less disrupting for clubs to work in this way. But equally it feels like, with the World Cup and everything, the whole window has been squashed into about three weeks in total, and that no club has probably done all the business they want to as a result.

08-08-2018, 07:45 AM
I'm marginally for it. I think from a business standpoint, it's probably for the best, as some clubs were certainly prone to panic buying after the first couple of games went awry. However I would have kept the midnight cut off point, added to the intrigue long into the night (the window closes at 5pm I believe tomorrow).

That being said, when the panic buys were happening for other clubs and not your own, can't say it wasn't entertaining...

Prime Time
08-15-2018, 11:03 AM
^ I'd probably agree. It felt strange being so early but equally it's good that it's done before the season really gets going. There was nothing worse than being on egg-shells for weeks and then having to reassess your entire season when someone got poached at 11.30pm on deadline day.

Villa sneak past Yeovil away in the 1st round of the League Cup to keep up their unbeaten start to the season last night. This week we have Ipswich away. Not the easiest assignment in the league but probably easier than it was when they had Mick McCarthy as coach.

08-19-2018, 05:44 AM
Why do Arsenal fans hate Hector Bellerin so much?

08-20-2018, 10:38 AM
It's a difficult question to answer, especially for me as I fall on the other side of the argument. I rate him fairly highly. But I think most of the hate stems from a few reasons:

First of all, he's very attack-minded. That in itself is not a problem, but for a side whose biggest problem is the defence, he goes missing at important moments because he is too high up the field. He's not a good defensive full-back and while in the past he has been able to use his pace to get back to a defensive formation, most of the time it's too little too late. We are suckers for counter attacks, more so than most other teams.

Secondly, probably across the last 12 months, when he is further up the field and in an attacking position, he either makes the wrong decision or a poor cross. We lose possession, which starts a counter attack for the opposing team and thus our frailties are there to be seen.

Finally, he simply hasn't stepped up his game and has slightly regressed as a player. Two or three years ago, when he first burst on the scene, there was an excitement to his game and the fact that he was 19/20 meant we thought he could only get better. Only he hasn't, at least not as of 2018. I personally don't completely agree with this opinion that he has regressed, I think the whole team has worsened defensively so it's not fair to lump the blame on him completely. But I agree he certainly has not improved his game since then.

Add in the fact that he's a bit of an oddball when it comes to fashion (doesn't bother me in the slightest, but some people will misconstrue what his "priorities" are), there's a lot of fans laying into him at the moment.

On a larger scale, I'm very much waiting before passing judgement on Emery. Two sickening games to start the season with, I'm not going to criticise too harshly on that. We'll see towards the end of September where we are before I start forming opinions on the style of play...

08-22-2018, 09:10 AM
I'm the same as Gooner with Pellegrini/West Ham at the moment. Giving it ten games before I make any judgement on how we're actually doing.

The Bellerin stuff sounds a bit like the Coquelin stuff. I always thought that Coquelin looked like a decent, if not great, deep lying midfielder for Arsenal when he played, but I know some people absolutely scapegoated him for everything that went wrong during the later Wenger years.

Then again, Noble is constantly the scapegoat for West Ham fans and I think he's bloody brilliant, so maybe it's me that's wrong.

08-22-2018, 09:30 AM
Yeah I didn't get the hate for him either. He was a solid player, bit prone to rash tackles at times and not a great passer, but did his job well. My little 8 year old cousin actually met him shopping at Build-a-Bear, just a curious fact.

Prime Time
08-25-2018, 09:51 AM
I saw that happen at Villa a few times over the years. Last one I remember is Warnock. Truth is once you're tarred with that brush it does not matter if you have a good game or not, people don't see it. Only guy I remember having that and escaping it was Stiliyan Petrov, when he moved from creative to defensive midfield.

08-29-2018, 10:49 AM
Man, I never thought I'd feel so relieved to beat a ten man League One side. Very disjointed start to the season from West Ham, although I think we looked better against Arsenal at the weekend than we had before.

I'm trying to give it ten league games before really judging anything.

08-30-2018, 04:04 AM
Yeah West Ham gave us a good game, especially first half. A lucky second goal turned the tide in our favour.

Champions League draw today. Liverpool in pot 3 suggests they'll likely be in a group of death:

Pot one: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Juventus, Paris St-Germain, Lokomotiv Moscow.

Pot two: Borussia Dortmund, Porto, Manchester United, Shakhtar Donetsk, Napoli, Tottenham Hotspur, Roma, Benfica.

Pot three: Liverpool, Schalke, Lyon, Monaco, Ajax, CSKA Moscow, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia.

Pot four: Red Star Belgrade, Viktoria Plzen, Club Brugge, Galatasaray, Inter Milan, Hoffenheim, Young Boys, AEK Athens.

Imagine a Real Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool, Inter Milan group... scary thought.

Then again, they could get Lokomotiv Moscow, Benfica and Young Boys. Pick the odd one out from Pot 1...

08-30-2018, 04:48 AM
I visited the Emirates for the first time yesterday (was down in Islington for work and had an hour to kill before my train back up North). Was an odd experience but was nice to finally take it in. I think it speaks wonders I've been back in the country 6 years, had multiple London trips but that was my first time. As for Hector, I am not sure myself. If he leaves us, he is sure to upgrade. I am convinced he should be a winger however and not a full back. Actually I do know why he is hated, that fucking awful fashion sense and manbun.

08-30-2018, 05:44 AM
Actually I do know why he is hated, that fucking awful fashion sense and manbun.

Add in the fact that he's a bit of an oddball when it comes to fashion (doesn't bother me in the slightest, but some people will misconstrue what his "priorities" are), there's a lot of fans laying into him at the moment.

Yep, knew it haha. I agree he should be a winger though. Not saying he's anywhere near his quality, but there is a certain Gareth Bale vibe in the sense that, if allowed, he would just attack all the time.

I myself went to the Emirates quite late on (maybe around 2012? 6 or 7 years after they moved there) first of all just to see it. They have done a decent job in making it feel like their own, with the statues, shop and walkway. It's still no Highbury, and quite frankly never will, but as a modern stadium, it is one of the better ones. Also, in terms of watching a match there, there isn't a bad seat in the house in my opinion. Even high up you feel fairly close to the action.

Got tickets to see Newcastle vs Arsenal in a few weeks (I live in Newcastle), should be interesting to see how the team will have progressed after a couple of "easier" matches.

08-30-2018, 06:57 AM
Yeah will be interesting to see how quickly they find their feet. And I did love the statues, selfied with them all lol. That Adams one was my favourite. Probably my favourite moment as an Arsenal fan. That was my prime time as a supporter. I'd take that 98 team over the invincibles every time. The visit has made me want to get down for a match though. It's a damn impressive stadium even if it's not the home I grew up in

08-30-2018, 07:45 AM
They really have got the statues bang-on. Discounting Chapman, the three main ones (Adams, Bergkamp, Henry) show them in their most iconic poses. Wenger will be there soon, I'm sure. It would be deserved, but no need for it so soon after his departure. What do we think, him struggling with his zip? :D

Yeah, the "Would you believe it!" commentary makes it even better (and not the re-dubbed version that came out later that takes out the emotion from it). I still watch that clip on Youtube occasionally, usually after a heavy defeat...

I'm very torn on the two teams, I was 8 in 1998 and 14 in 2004, so each have different memories at different times of my childhood. I'd probably opt for the Invincibles just, bit more variety in the team and a greater appreciation then of tactics and strategies. But I loved Wrighty, who was coming to the end of his Arsenal career in 98. Fun fact, I don't know if you read the fan quotes that adorn the outside of the stadium, but for Ian Wright's one, it's about how he went to a Crystal Palace game as a fan (he was suspended I seem to recall) and the fans around him started chanting his chant so he got up and sang along with him. A 5 year-old me was two rows in front of him. Burst into tears when I got his autograph, too overwhelming an occasion!

Plus we won 3-0.

08-30-2018, 09:36 AM
Either that or arguing with Fergie or Jose. Yeah get him in there. Now he's gone I'm over the last decade and can appreciate those amazing early years again.

Haha that's an amazing story. I was 18 in 98, had a season ticket, went to a bunch of away games, the cup final. It was just magic for me at that point. I'd passed me season ticket onto someone by 03-04. Went to just a couple of games so it didn't have the same connection. Even so my love for Petit pushes it over the edge for 98 I think.

EDIT: I met Big Tone once. Was working filling up my van in Roehampton of all places, the summer he retired. He was doing a course over that way apparently. That was pretty awesome.

09-16-2018, 07:37 AM
Was lucky enough to go to the Newcastle - Arsenal game yesterday, though perhaps not too lucky as it was a fairly drag affair. Newcastle came out the traps the better of the two teams, a good 20 minute spell but not creating any decent chances, a few corners being the most they made of it. Second half Arsenal shifted gears and started much better with two quick goals. rest of the half mostly just passed by without too much incident.

No real stand out performances, but some notes. For me, the real problem with playing out the back is a lack of confidence, which I hate to say it, but it stems from Cech. Mustafi and Socratis looked fine with ball so long as it didn't reach Cech. It became a problem from goal kicks; in open play they passed the ball around fine, even deep in their own half. Granted, Newcastle did not press high up, except for the first 15 minutes or so. Another thing I noticed is Xhaka being the pivot between the defence and the rest of midfield just doesn't work. He's late into position, doesn't move the ball quick enough and we got caught a couple of times. I'd much prefer Guendouzi doing that role (bit quiet yesterday). Torreira must start the next game. Came on at half time for Guendouzi and dominated the midfield. Always looking forward, but careful with his passing. He has an intensity not too dissimilar to Alexis, but in midfield. I'd drop Xhaka for him and have him in there with Guesdouzi. Xhaka overall didn't play too badly yesterday, but he has more off games than on.

Up front, Aubameyang was pushed wide left mostly, Lacazette through the middle. Ozil started right, but with licence to wander and Ramsey in behind the striker. Auba didn't have a good game, but Lacazette showed some nice touches and was unlucky not to score.

For Newcastle... worrying. They came out and gave a go, unlike against Chelsea and Man City, but after not scoring in the first 20 they just sat back and invited pressure. I'm convinced if they had kept to their guns they would have gotten at least a draw. They need a win and fast, there was smatterings of people starting to question Benitez. It's all very good playing defensively so long as you pick up wins (a la Pulis), but they haven't done so. To be fair, a Spurs, Cardiff, Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal is arguably the worst possible start you could imagine. Even Cardiff with their first home game in the Premier League for a while wasn't to be sniffed at. They need to now turn it around though.

Prime Time
09-17-2018, 05:10 AM
West Ham appeared to do just that at the weekend. I can't say I saw lots of the game but I saw the first two goals and in that whole period they looked very, very assured and much the better team.

09-17-2018, 09:52 AM
They looked much better from what I saw. A change in shape supposedly helped them up top and in midfield.

09-18-2018, 08:16 AM
Remarkable, really, because a lot of people had been saying that we needed a third man in central midfield rather than as an attacking midfielder. But yeah, the three man midfield of Obiang, Rice, and Noble really worked for us. Very much helped by Everton probably having as poor a game as they'll have all season, mind.

Wilshere's got ankle knack and had surgery. Predictable, but kind of a shame for him as he was starting to look a bit key for us recently. Hopefully it's a simple thing and his recovery goes well.

I feel really sorry for Newcastle fans right now, though. Ashley has completely wrecked that club, hasn't he? Poor Rafa, too.

Prime Time
09-24-2018, 09:21 AM
Anyone else seen that Grant Holt is apparently now a wrestler who has teamed with Paige's dad in Norfolk?!

09-26-2018, 05:34 PM
I’ve read that about Holt... he’s coming to Biggleswade soon! I’m tempted.

Also, West Ham should play their reserves again United on the weekend.

09-27-2018, 07:51 AM
Anyone else seen that Grant Holt is apparently now a wrestler who has teamed with Paige's dad in Norfolk?!

Teaming with her brothers, I thought! Apparently won a 40-man Rumble recently.

I love these kind of things - it's like Stuart Tomlinson or...the other guy. German fella? Tim Wiese, that's the one.

Prime Time
09-27-2018, 08:05 AM
You could be right - I've just gone back to the place I saw the original story and it's changed to say those two. I reckon a sports journo who didn't care about wrestling got the facts wrong.

I'm completely out of the Premier League loop at the minute, but huge game for us away at Bristol City on Friday night.

09-29-2018, 01:24 PM
So, that was fun.

Didn't think we'd see a win for us against United at all, let alone the sort of match that was - felt very even, broadly speaking.

Rice certainly, for me, showed he is worth being paid what he is supposedly asking for. He's going to be a regular this season, and we have to sort out his contract before January when he enters the last six months of his contract. At least, I think that happens in January.

09-29-2018, 06:26 PM
I actually think with Anderson, Arny and Yarmalenko you have one of the best attacks in the league. Manchester United would kill for those 3. I’d rather them to Lukaku, Sanchez and company.

Ps: anyone else think it’s now Cardiff, Huddersfield and ? To go down ? Neither team will survive this season.

09-30-2018, 05:56 PM
Ps: anyone else think it’s now Cardiff, Huddersfield and ? To go down ? Neither team will survive this season.

I'd add Newcastle to the hat, they've been just as bad. Then again they perhaps a bit more to them then Cardiff and Huddersfield longer term.

10-01-2018, 04:19 PM
I hope The Saints join them. Fuck Mark Hughes.

10-01-2018, 05:57 PM
I would if he presented himself in front of me. A true Welsh Deity.

10-02-2018, 01:37 AM
I'd throw Fulham in there too - which is perhaps a shame. But their only win this season was over Burnley during their poor period, and otherwise they've not looked that impressive.

They should have enough attacking talent to stay up on paper, and as long as Mitro keeps up being a goal threat they'll pick up some points. But defensively they've not looked to be at the races at times.

Probably a bit early to be certain on anything, of course, but would agree on Cardiff and Huddersfield currently. Then again, three or so weeks ago I'd have said we were definitely on trouble this season.

Prime Time
10-04-2018, 06:11 AM
Bruce sacked. No idea where we go from here. Two names I've seen so far are the Brentford manager, who has been linked with us before, and Rafa believe it or not.

But I guess it won't be too long before the Henry rumours start up again.

One way of telling how we've struggled in recent years is to look at the turnover in the coaches. In my first eight years as a fan we had three managers. In the last eight years, so a similar timeframe, we've had seven. And Bruce is actually our fourth longest serving coach of those to take over in the 21st century:

Martin O'Neill 190 games
David O'Leary 131 games
Paul Lambert 115 games
Steve Bruce 102 games
Graham Taylor (2nd spell) 60 games

It's astonishing if you look at the rest. Houllier didn't last a seaon. McLeish was literally one season, almost to the day. Sherwood was eight months. Remi Garde took over on that fool's errand and lasted five months. Di Matteo got just twelve games and preseason lasted almost as long. Staggering, really, when you lay it all out like that - as derided as he was Paul Lambert is probably the third best manager we've had in the 21st century, because really, where is the challenge to it going to come from?!

10-09-2018, 01:55 PM
John Terry and Thierry Henry collabing as super best friends forever!! One great attacker? One great defender? What could go wrong?!

10-10-2018, 06:48 AM
It would be amazing if that happened.

I've heard a rumour that Henry is being lined up for the job at Monaco, which is curious.

Prime Time
10-10-2018, 09:32 AM
Honestly, that convinced me of the merit of Brendan Rogers more than Brendan ever did by himself.

10-10-2018, 11:59 AM
I get the feeling Henry is going to get mentioned for any manager's job that comes about. I think he'd fit in well at Villa, the only possible drawback is that it may feel difficult for him to go against Arsenal should they get promoted. He's always said he would never 'play' for another English team, so not sure if that would relate to managing too. The other side of it is if he would get the time; you'd think he would, especially with Terry there. Is it just me or should the roles be reversed, Terry the main man and Henry as the assistant coach? Terry is more of a leader than Henry in my book...

Prime Time
10-10-2018, 12:00 PM
Henry's already turned us down if you believe the rumour, so there's now chat about turning to Dean Smith (with the possibility of Terry returning as an assistant).

10-10-2018, 12:04 PM
Have to say, it would make sense. Started his career there, so he has roots in Monaco.

For the love of Terry Funk
10-11-2018, 04:55 AM
Smith is a good get for villa, you'll be happy with him ��

Prime Time
10-11-2018, 11:25 AM
Hope so. It's a popular appointment with the fans anyway.

In other Villa news, RIP to the inventor of the bicycle kick and our one-time chairman, Doug Ellis.

Prime Time
10-15-2018, 06:19 AM
Gone quiet in here with the Premier League on a break. Anyone see the England game in the empty stadium? That was pretty weird.

Also, funny bit of news came when the guy doing the livetweeting of the Stourbridge game had a typo so it read something like "25 minutes - Smith shoots wife from 30 yards".

Naturally football fans had a bit of fun with that one.

10-15-2018, 09:22 AM
Yeah saw the game out of the corner of my eye (playing Fifa at the time). Only real talking point for me was the Rashford miss. The sky is the limit for him, but he needs to start putting away the easy chances. Too many 1 on 1s he's fluffed his lines. There's still plenty of time to rectify that.

Spain game tonight. I'm expecting a loss, just hope it's with guts.

10-15-2018, 02:31 PM
Enjoyed non league weekend. Was entertaining. Wembley FC are a great little team.

10-15-2018, 07:42 PM
Spain game tonight. I'm expecting a loss, just hope it's with guts.

Well well well... Now that is a turn up for the books. Haven't seen highlights yet, but heard we picked them off on the counter. Sterling getting two should silence his critics a touch. I think he is a little overrated overall, but some of the stick he gets in the press is quite harsh at times. I don't usually buy into the whole "agenda" theory that the press have for certain people, but Sterling is one that makes me wonder at times.

Prime Time
10-17-2018, 11:29 AM
Sterling does take way more than his fair share of stick and it does make me raise my eyebrows at times.

As for whether he's overrated... I tend to think the reverse might be true. There's some obvious flaws in his game because even I'm actually a better finisher than he is, usually. But I think people get so hung up on his flaws that there's a whole swathe of people out there who don't rate him at all and don't seem to realise he's probably the most important attacker. His off-the-ball work and his movement seem, whenever I've watched England, to be where most of the opportunities for other players come from.

I mean, if he could finish like a young Robbie Fowler he'd be world class. As it is, he's a good international player. But to hear some people out there talk you'd think it was an Illuminati plot that he hasn't been dropped already!

10-22-2018, 05:42 AM
I think if Sterling was actually a striker, I think his lack of finishing would be an issue. But equally, his finishing surely can't be that bad if he scored, what, 23 goals for City last season was it?

The real problem with him is that he's got a twat for an agent. The same twat that is the agent for Reece Oxford and Domingos Quina, and caused a hell of a lot of trouble for both at West Ham behind the scenes, by all accounts.

Prime Time
10-22-2018, 06:02 AM
I think it's just that he misses things that look easy. But you're right, his record actually isn't that bad when you dig into it. His shots per goal ratio is better than Harry Kane, Mo Salah and Sergio Aguero, and roughly comparable with Lukaku and Firmino. He outscored the latter two in the Prem last season too, not to mention Hazard, or as many as Alli and Silva combined.

10-23-2018, 07:54 AM
I said I would give Emery a couple of months before making any form of judgement and seeing as we're now approaching November now seems to be the right time to assess how it's gone so far.

All things considered, I'm fairly impressed. The first two games of the season was a horrible start in terms of luck of the draw. Possibly the best team ever in the Premier League followed by a notorious bogey team in Chelsea for your first two games of your Arsenal career was bad luck, plain and simple. Most people would have expected 0 out of 6 points and that's what happened.

Since then though we have won every single game. Ten in all competitions. It's interesting to note how they have been achieved. Let's look at the results:

(H)West Ham - 3-1
(A)Cardiff - 3-2
(A)Newcastle - 2-1
(H)Vorskla Poltava - 4-2
(H)Everton - 2-0
(H)Brentford - 3-1
(H)Watford - 2-0
(A)Qarabag - 3-0
(A)Fulham - 5-1
(H)Leicester - 3-1

A couple of things to note. First of all, it's clear that the defence has started to click. Before the Everton game, it was quite honestly a shambles and we really were lucky to grab 3 points at Cardiff and against Wet Ham. Slowly but surely, they've gotten to grips with playing from the back and, while far from perfect, they have limited the stupid mistakes that took place earlier on in the season. Now, on the surface, you could say that's due to Leno coming in, but that would only be partially true. A bigger factor for me is Toreira. He really does look like the real deal, a much better DM than Xhaka, especially as that first point of attack. The back four looks more stable and more confident now also.I still don't trust Mustafi, but Sokratis looks very decent and Bellerin and Monreal have done well. The Everton game was the turn around point; a first clean sheet. Since then in 6 games we have conceded 3 goals, the 6 games before that we conceded 11. A good response.

Secondly, the attack has goals written all over them. In the last 10 games (counting the Chelsea game), we have scored at least 2 in each match. Emery started with either Aubameyang or Lacazette, but switched to mostly playing them together and it shows. That's good management, something we didn't see a lot with Wenger. Emery isn't afraid of changing things up when things aren't going well. Wenger, for all his positives, was too loyal at times. Besides that, Ozil has gotten into the groove (last night he was different class) Ramsey and Welbeck are also contributing... It's a very good sign.

The naysayers will point to the teams that we have played, and with a fair point. The best team we played is probably Leicester or Everton. Liverpool in two weeks will be interesting to see, provided we get the points at Palace next week.

Expectations remain the same, perhaps with more vigor and hope than before. Top 4 is achievable. Anyone thinking we can win the league is delusional, but it's a transition and I can't see a reason not to suggest that perhaps next season, we'll be better positioned for a title run.

10-24-2018, 08:11 AM
I think the thing with your naysayers point, Gooner, is that you can only beat what's in front of you and Arsenal have looked good doing it. It's not like you've scratched for ten 1-0 wins there, you've started to overrun and dominate teams.

I'm doing something similar to you with Pellegrini's start to the season, and aside from winning the games back to back I've got to say I'm coming out positively right now after a number of games. Most significant is that he realised the formation early doors wasn't working and, while it took him up to an International break to do it, he changed it up. Our last five in the league, we've looked significantly better as a unit.

Our biggest concern has to be that we're still picking up injuries. I'm starting to think we're just cursed now, but we've lost Yarmolenko for the season (pretty much, I think he's estimated back at the end of April) just as he was starting to make a mark, Sanchez for easily that long, and Wilshere to his ankles. Add in Lanzini's injury in the summer, and Reid being out for an unknown time because (reportedly) his back is completely shot, plus Carroll never really being fit, and we've got a lot of potential starters of squad members on the benches and are now looking at fielding Diangana on the wing, which is fine and I like him but he's still quite raw.

The most frustrating aspect of it has been that we haven't followed up the four points against Chelsea and Man United by beating, for example, Brighton. We need to change that and beat the teams we expect to be around come the end of the season if we're going to press forward, and that makes our next three - Leicester (A), Burnley (H), Huddersfield (A) - before facing Man City at ours really key games, in my opinion.

But overall, I think we've improved and are still improving. Hopefully we can get through these next three with some positivity, although equally it would be just like us to go on another winless run.

10-24-2018, 08:54 AM
True, you can't pick and choose who you play. The test however will come from November onwards with Liverpool, Spurs and Man United games scheduled in a span of a month or so. Got to look at Christmas too, which with the exception of a trip to Anfield, does look fairly manageable.

West Ham are a weird one... very stop and start. Yarmelenko was definitely looking good so that's a shame, but do you get the impression that West Ham have over paid slightly for the players that they brought in? I think they brought in £80m worth of talent in, but apart from Anderson and Yarmelenko I can't of another signing that I would classify as an over £15m worth...

10-24-2018, 10:09 AM
Well, equally, apart from Anderson and Yarmolenko the only player we paid over that for was Diop at £22m, I think - Fabianski was about £8m, Sanchez, Balbuena, and Perez £4m each, and Wilshere and Fredericks on free transfers.

I like Diop. He had a couple of rickety moments early on, but since he's steadied himself and formed a partnership with Balbuena that's working nicely. He was probably our MotM against Spurs last weekend. He's also really young, and so if there's still potential in there I think that will pay off in the years to come.

The only real let down from our summer so far is probably Ryan Fredericks. Thought we would have seen more from him, but his three Premier League games didn't impress.

10-24-2018, 10:28 AM
Right, but would you swap Sanchez, Balbuena and Perez (Fabianski is a good signing, so I'll leave him out) for one £20m - £30m player?

Prime Time
10-24-2018, 11:20 AM
Phoenix from the Flames, in the reading and non-wrestling writing forum, is touching on some of those very same issues, guys.

Go check them out - they're a quick read and hopefully entertaining. And if you like 'em, by all means spread the word.

10-24-2018, 11:44 AM
I never check that forum... good spot Prime, will check it out now.

Edit: it's your thread haha, not just a good spot, good plug too!

10-25-2018, 08:32 AM
Right, but would you swap Sanchez, Balbuena and Perez (Fabianski is a good signing, so I'll leave him out) for one £20m - £30m player?

I mean, Sanchez and Perez at (say) £10m combined I might swap for just one player, especially as Rice has clearly marked his place ahead of the former (injury or otherwise). Balbuena's been good at the back for us so I'm not sure I'd swap him out, but I would have said if you'd offered me those three or one centre back for that money in the summer I'd have certainly taken the one centre back, if that makes sense.

10-25-2018, 11:24 AM
Yeah I get what you mean. And I can't say I have followed West Ham too much so far this season bar the headlines, so perhaps I'm doing those players a disservice. There's certain players that are £20m players (Bernard at Everton springs to mind, even though he arrived on a free) but are undervalued and I felt those players were the opposite in that they were £10m players and overvalued. I suspect once you get a few players back from injury things will start to looking up. As a club there is so much potential at West Ham, they just need to grasp it.

10-28-2018, 04:10 PM
So the event at Leicester are absolutely horrendous. I’m still hoping for a miracle. But yeah, it looks like the owner for their title winning season and one the best owners in football was on board. There’s also the pilots, other passengers who have lost their lives potentially. There’s been a lack of news on it all and rumours have started linking half of the football to the flight.

It’s a sad, fucked up situation.

10-29-2018, 05:17 AM
Terrible weekend overall with Hoddle also in a serious condition and I believe a Brighton fan passing away during their match.

Newspapers today seem to suggest it could have been a lot lot worse but for the pilot who navigated the malfunctioning Helicopter to a mostly empty car park.

Prime Time
11-02-2018, 05:42 AM
Yeah was a horrible weekend for the game. Still seems to be casting a bit of a pall over everything too.

Only game in England today is us against Bolton. Need the win here, and should get it, really. Only lost once at home all season.

11-02-2018, 10:27 AM
Very much so. Interesting to ponder how this would have gone down if it hadn't been Vichai and had been, say, Ashley*. Vichai was undoubtedly one of the better, if not best, chairmen in the league and I think that's been very much reflected in the past week. Makes me even sadder that Brady was really catty to him in her Red Top Rag column once.

Is Paul Lambert the first manager to cross (indirectly or directly) the Norwich/Ipswich divide? The Old Farm derby in February could be extra spiky.

(*I realise this could seem in bad taste. I don't wish death on anyone, but I'm not sure Ashley's loss would be so keenly felt in Newcastle as Vichai's has in Leicester, for example)

11-02-2018, 07:17 PM
Is Paul Lambert the first manager to cross (indirectly or directly) the Norwich/Ipswich divide?


Villa looked good, Pete. Think they’ll get to the playoffs?

Prime Time
11-03-2018, 04:43 AM
Honestly? No. Hate to be a pessimist about it but right now I think you'd have to be mad to predict that until we sort out our issues away from Villa Park.

Might change my mind but right now I'd be a liar if I said I believed we'd finish in the playoffs.

11-06-2018, 06:22 AM
Am I the only person that doesn't like these 'International Testimonials' like Rooney is due to get, or Sneijder and Podolski have had? All seems a bit cheap, to be honest.

11-06-2018, 06:32 AM
I don't find it to be a problem personally. If it was a competitive fixture then yes, but a friendly... it's not as if much else would happen. While you could say it cheapens the achievement of getting a cap, it is for one of our best ever players (like it or not, it's true), our record goalscorer and very likely a reason many young kids that are now starting their careers decided to pursue football as a career. I'd say he probably deserves it.

Plus, I'll likely watch the game now. I do think there needs to be a qualifying process, such as reaching at least 100 caps, never playing for England again, for a charity (which I'm led to believe is the case)... Yeah don't see anything wrong with it. And I doubt this would happen often, probably once every generation or so. I'd say only Lampard and Gerrard in recent memory would deserve a similar recognition.

Prime Time
11-06-2018, 11:42 AM
I'd have probably been a lot more hardline about it at one point in time but now, I see the argument. Probably better that you can do something for charity than not. It's not like international caps mean anything like what they used to anyway. There was a point in time where playing for the national team was the highest honour in a players' career and I'm pretty sure that isn't the case anymore. For the biggest stars it seems like a burden, and everyone talks about the meaninglessness of international friendlies. At least this gives it some meaning, even if the meaning is located outside of football itself.

11-07-2018, 09:35 AM
Plus, I'll likely watch the game now. I do think there needs to be a qualifying process, such as reaching at least 100 caps, never playing for England again, for a charity (which I'm led to believe is the case)... Yeah don't see anything wrong with it. And I doubt this would happen often, probably once every generation or so. I'd say only Lampard and Gerrard in recent memory would deserve a similar recognition.

Apparently it's now not 'directly' for a charity, as the FA will take the gate receipts, but there are a number of activities around it for Rooney's foundation.

I think it probably wouldn't be an issue if this was in a standard qualifying period and this November break was two back-to-back friendlies due to us having qualified. But given that it's essentially a tune up for facing Croatia in the Nations League, it does feel a little strange. If I was, for example, Callum Wilson and I wasn't getting a call up to the friendly squad because Rooney's occupying a spot, I might feel a bit aggrieved.

11-07-2018, 11:46 AM
Usually the squad is made up of 23 players for each call up; perhaps for this one time they may allow for 24? Would resolve the issue of someone "missing out".

I take the point on the example of a Callum Wilson or some other English player that may have started a season well, but I would suggest that if he continues playing at this level, he will get his chance. If his form dips, then nothing is lost.

One of my biggest pet peeves is handing out debuts (not necessarily caps, hence why I'm for the Rooney situation) to players based on one or two months of playing at a decent level. David Nugent, Kevin Davies, Frazier Campbell, Carl Jenkinson, Jay Rodriguez, Joey Barton... the list is long. Most if not all had an outstanding month or two before their call up and then regressed back to mediocrity. A player needs to perform at a high level for a minimum of 6 months before consideration for me. Otherwise it's pointless.

Prime Time
11-07-2018, 11:51 AM
The exception to that might be if you're just about to go into a tournament. If someone has had a great last 6-8 weeks then it might be worth taking them when they're in-form, because the success or failure tracks so closely to what is happening there and then.

Generally speaking calling someone up for the odd friendly or qualifier when they've barely any track record is a bit pointless, I agree.

Prime Time
11-07-2018, 02:45 PM
Sorry for double posting but found this old document, ranking all the then league teams in order of size. I don't have the scale used to draw this up unfortunately but I can remember it took into account seasons in the top flight, titles and trophies, and the size of the club's ground (as the only reliable marker as to the size of their support). But even though it's impossible to really look at the method without a full list I thought it would be interesting to post it and ponder how it might have changed since 2010. I've only posted the top 35, but the original thing had all 92.

Man Utd
Aston Villa
Sheffield Wednesday
Nottingham Forest
Manchester City
Sheffield United
West Ham
Crystal Palace

11-08-2018, 10:23 AM
Looks like Wilson made the squad anyway...

I think Talksport in 2017 did their own list, measured thus:

"A variety of factors, including size of support, wealth, standard of stadium, current standing and historic success. We’ve taken all these aspects into account – giving more weight to current situation than the past (with less and less importance attached to events as you delve further into the history books) – and come up with a ranking of the top 30 biggest football clubs in Britain."


From Prime's list, I'm sure Man City will be higher up, possibly Leicester and West Ham too. Amazed Sunderland are higher than Newcastle, even back then in 2010.

11-08-2018, 10:25 AM
Four goalkeepers in the squad again, too. Very interesting.

Man City would presumably be the obvious movers, probably up to the top five?

I mean, from an entirely selfish point of view I would assume that West Ham moved up a fair bit just based on the stadium size barometer, even if we don't own the place. Spurs possibly edging up too, especially with their new ground. Neither of those likely to dent that top five, really - especially when you consider that only three clubs outside of Man City, Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool have won either the FA Cup or League Cup since 2010 and all three aren't in the Premier League anymore.

11-12-2018, 07:39 AM
That list is clearly racist as there's no Welsh teams on it. I think it just voids everything.

The relegation battle this season is one of the best ever. However, the quality of the league has to be one of the worst. Fulham, Newcastle, Southampton, Burnley, Cardiff and Huddersfield would all be certain to go down in a usual season. West Ham, Brighton and Wolves aren't setting the world alight- they're just better than the utter rubbish that's below them. There's never been such a gap between top and bottom and it makes me feel quite sad.

On the plus side, Cardiff might stay up! Purely on the inadequacies of other teams.

On the flip side, The top 3 (I don't consider Spurs and Arsenal on the same level) are interesting. I fully expect Manchester City to continue pulling away and win the league at a canter. Chelsea are looking strong but don't have a consistent striker. Liverpool are looking strong but their front 3 aren't playing as well as last year, which is strange. I'd argue Shaquiri and their other midfielders are the ones truly firing. Despite being a weaker team, I do wonder if Arsenal could sneak up to 2nd or 3rd.

The Stadium farce at Spurs is amazing. I don't understand how this happens with every stadium and yet people are still surprised by it.

11-12-2018, 08:53 AM
On the flip side, The top 3 (I don't consider Spurs and Arsenal on the same level) are interesting. I fully expect Manchester City to continue pulling away and win the league at a canter. Chelsea are looking strong but don't have a consistent striker. Liverpool are looking strong but their front 3 aren't playing as well as last year, which is strange. I'd argue Shaquiri and their other midfielders are the ones truly firing. Despite being a weaker team, I do wonder if Arsenal could sneak up to 2nd or 3rd.

I dunno, Liverpool look very threatening still. Their front 3 aren't playing at the same level as the end of last season, but they've still got a bunch of goals. Salah isn't quite hitting the same heights, but then again it was around this time last season where he started to shine, and the goal at the weekend will certainly help. Mane and Firmino... pretty much are the same as last season. Still think Man City will win by double digits mind you...

If Arsenal make even 4th I'll be ecstatic, for Emery's first season. Fully believe Chelsea are there for the taking without a striker, even though they have been impressive thus far. If Hazard was to get injured... Tottenham are wobbling at the moment, but overall they are a better team so I expect them to finish in the top 4. Though dropping into the Europa League will not help their cause.

Prime Time
11-12-2018, 09:14 AM
That list is clearly racist as there's no Welsh teams on it. I think it just voids everything.

While this is obviously silliness, there is a kernel of a good point in there. I did this list in 2010, Cardiff and Swansea were 37 and 38 respectively, so they just missed out on the top 35.

But that means I did it just before each has had the most successful run of their existence. One of the things this took into account that I can remember was seasons in the Premier League - and Swansea were promoted a year after this and had six seasons in the top flight. Cardiff have had a couple, too.

I can't say for sure that Cardiff would make it in if I update this list. But I expect that they would, and I'm 100% certain Swansea would be shooting past people and might be in the top 30.

Prime Time
11-12-2018, 10:35 AM
Double post but just run a (simplified) quick update on this, and this is how it turned out. I went as far down as any team to have won a major honour in English football, and anyone who would come in above them just on the size of their ground.

Man United
Aston Villa
Man City
West Ham
Nottm Forest
Sheffield Wed
Sheffield United
Crystal Palace
MK Dons
Bristol City
Notts County
Port Vale
Oxford United
Luton Town

Obvious takeaway straight off the bat - Chelsea have gone from being just ahead of Villa and have actually reigned in Arsenal. They only took them by a couple of points, but they did finish ahead. Man City do climb a lot, from 16th place into the top 10. Everton and Spurs stay where they are, but although you can't see it from this shortened version I can tell you that they are both likely to overtake Villa in the next 12 months, whether they win anything or not. Villa would need to be promoted to prevent that from happening.

West Ham climb seven places, and will definitely crack the top ten in the near future given the issues Sunderland are having. Speaking of which, Newcastle have overtaken Sunderland. Leicester actually don't gain a great deal, just the one place, but actually if you have the full list they have closed the gap to traditionally far bigger teams. I'd say that again, you can see them sliding into the top 20 in the coming seasons. I'm not sure how but there's no improvement for the Welsh teams, Swansea stay where they are and Cardiff lose a few places. I guess there was something about the old model that benefit them that I've forgotten. I think both could claim to have a few places but it's all a bit of muchness around there, and I don't think either could claim with a straight face that they are as big as Palace and deserve to be in the top 30.

Finally, some conclusions from this list. The biggest team not to win the European Cup is Arsenal. The biggest team not to win any major European trophy is Newcastle. The biggest team not to win the league is West Ham. The biggest team to have never won the FA Cup is Leeds. The biggest team to have never won the League Cup is Everton. The biggest team without a major honour is Fulham. The biggest team to have never played in the Premier League is Preston. Those actually all look pretty accurate to me.

11-12-2018, 11:38 AM
The biggest team to have never won the FA Cup is Leeds. The biggest team to have never won the League Cup is Everton.

Those are great (and very surprising) facts. Would never have guessed Leeds hadn't won an FA Cup.

Prime Time
11-14-2018, 10:51 AM
No, fuck, miscounted. They did in 1972. That throws it out slightly. They don't gain anything but they are closer to Wednesday. And the biggest club not to win the FA Cup is Middlesbrough....

Anyway, did anyone see that referee who left his coin in the locker room and so decided kick off with a game of rock, paper, scissors?!

11-14-2018, 11:15 AM
No, fuck, miscounted. They did in 1972. That throws it out slightly. They don't gain anything but they are closer to Wednesday. And the biggest club not to win the FA Cup is Middlesbrough....

Anyway, did anyone see that referee who left his coin in the locker room and so decided kick off with a game of rock, paper, scissors?!

Ah fair dos. And it looks like they beat Arsenal in the final....

Yeah, have to say, how hard is it to get a coin? Maybe an extra 30 seconds tops? If this was to happen in the Premier League, the ref would be in much bigger trouble than he is.

Not that it really matters I guess, but it's a pretty well defined rule that happens in most team sports.

11-16-2018, 10:32 AM
I think it's kind of ridiculous that ref has been banned for three weeks, mind you. Seems to be the equivalent of bringing the game into disrepute.

Prime Time
11-16-2018, 10:35 AM
Yeah that's overkill. Slap on the wrist should have done it I'd have thought. I wouldn't even have said it was a problem at all if it weren't for the fact that it could get challenges to the game and maybe end up with some legal headaches.

Players get away with worse in every game.

11-16-2018, 12:42 PM
Oh yeah, I wasn't of the opinion that he should be fined or banned, but I find it hard that the ref's first inclination was to play rock, paper, scissors instead of asking anyone for a simple coin.

Prime Time
11-16-2018, 07:50 PM
Apparently he got flustered because it was on TV. truth is you need to say fuck TV and ask someone to fetch or lend you a coin....

11-19-2018, 10:16 AM
So, I've not followed the Nations League format properly in my head since it started, but England are now in the finals given the win over Croatia, which is nice. I think the final four are ourselves, Switzerland, France/Netherlands, and Portugal.

But also (again, if I'm following it all correctly) we're now guaranteed a spot in at least the play-offs for the Euros in 2020 - right? It's something like the play-offs will be the top 16 teams in the Nations League that fail to qualify for the Euros - and given the top two in each group go through you'd anticipate we'd manage it anyway, but it's a backstop. Seems more likely, however, that this will trickle down to involving teams currently ranked lower in the Nations League - the Repbulic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, even Scotland could all be involved in the play-offs assuming that the top 20 ranked teams in it get to the finals automatically through qualifying anyway. Kind of interesting, anyway.

And we're also guaranteed a five team, rather than six team, Euros qualifier group.

Prime Time
11-19-2018, 10:20 AM
I'm in the same boat as you Oli, I haven't paid enough attention to it either. Should probably brush up on all this.

11-19-2018, 10:29 AM
It's overly complicated, granted, but it's a much better idea than throwaway friendlies. Would have preferred 4 team groups to three, but it's not big deal.

Getting to the finals would be a deserved reward for an England team that has come on leaps and bounds in the last 12 months. And looking at the opposition, Switzerland who managed to beat Belgium, Portugal and possibly an improving, but not imposing Netherlands team, there's certainly reason to suggest we could win it.

11-19-2018, 04:17 PM
Is what you're saying, Gooner, that this could be the equivalent of winning the Toulon tournament before Euro 96, guaranteeing us a gutting semi-final penalty defeat to someone in Euro 2020?

11-19-2018, 09:03 PM
Is what you're saying, Gooner, that this could be the equivalent of winning the Toulon tournament before Euro 96, guaranteeing us a gutting semi-final penalty defeat to someone in Euro 2020?

I'd almost bite your hand off for that! That constitutes progress in my book. A Euro 2020 semi-final would still be an achievement for this young England side, considering the 4 semi-finalists at the World Cup were all European. Also Germany finished 3rd (WC 2006), 2nd (Euro 2008), 3rd (WC 2010) and 3rd again (Euro 2012) before finally winning the World Cup. So long as we're reaching semi finals, with an eventual final hopefully, I'd be satisfied...

11-20-2018, 07:01 AM
Of course, I meant Le Tournoi and not the Toulon!

I think we'd all be happy for us to keep plugging away and getting deep into tournaments, though. A good Euro 2020 would be excellent for us and show that the World Cup wasn't just a luck of the draw kind of thing but we're actually a strong team. The Nations League stuff is a hint at what we could be capable of. What I think I really like, watching England now, is that we're level headed. In previous squads and years, you know that once a goal goes in we're going to panic. Now it seems like we know we're doing well and can create chances (granted, from set pieces) so we'll get our shots at pulling level and possibly taking the lead.

11-20-2018, 08:17 AM
Yeah absolutely. And it's an attitude that you could say is inherently found in young players. They're mostly fearless, going a goal down or goalless after 70 minutes doesn't seem to faze them. They keep plugging away and in Kane you have a player who is always going to have chances. Teams of old really were scarred by previous failures, they never played with freedom.

It also means I'm finally genuinely enjoying watching England play, probably the first time in 15 odd years.

11-21-2018, 01:00 PM
Wales losing to Albania has reaffirmed my opinion that Giggs is turning Wales back into a laughing stock. It’s really depressing.

Prime Time
11-22-2018, 08:48 AM
I guess it's just coming back down to earth after the highs of a few years of growth, really. 2016 and having a couple of really high profile players has made us forget that for most of our lives Wales have been a fairly mediocre national team at best. Albania looks like a poor result by any stretch but taken against a wider, longer term backdrop, hardly a staggering one.

Albania also beat Turkey in the last year or so, so you're hardly alone. And almost eight times as many people live in Istanbul as live in the whole of Albania, so....

12-03-2018, 05:34 AM
Arsenal 4-2 Tottenham. Game of the season so far?

Still reeling from that win, a fantastic performance blighted by a 5 minutes period where we conceded two goals.

What it seems to prove however, is that below Liverpool and Manchester City, it must be a three horse race for the remaining Champions League spots between Arsenal, Spurs and Chelsea. I'm not sure Manchester United can recover now. That said, we have them next on Wednesday...

EDIT: Hughes sacked as Saints manager. Can't say I'm surprised.

For the love of Terry Funk
12-17-2018, 04:50 AM
Gonna gloss over Northampton being mired in mid table and just say huge win for Liverpool and Man U look like a spent club right now. Dynasty is completely finished.

Prime Time
12-18-2018, 07:47 AM
And on that note, ding dong Mourinho's gone.

12-18-2018, 08:05 AM
There was a distinct air of inevitability about that.

This caretaker business seems a bit odd, given that the ideal candidate for United is currently a free agent. I'm trying to work out who the individual who is 'steeped in the club's history' might be...Keane? Mark Hughes?? Ole Gunnar Solksjaer?

12-18-2018, 08:47 AM
Laurent Blanc appears to be a shout going around. Has coached at a high level, currently unemployed, played for Man U...

12-18-2018, 12:52 PM
Give it Giggsy til end of season.

Solksjaer is the interesting pick - has done well at Molde but had an absolute shocker at Cardiff. Blanc seems very high profile as a caretaker, and I would have thought he'd be better as a full time appointment. I would assume it's going to be the worst kept secret in football that they'll want Pocchetino next summer if they can prise him from Levy's hands (or Real Madrid's, for that matter), so someone more temporary seems logical. Can they get Eric in or something? And have Teddy and Ole as his assistants?

Big Sam?

12-18-2018, 04:32 PM
Funnily enough, I still like both Mourinho and Van Gaal, it just didn't work out for either of them. Be interesting to see what Mourinho's next move will be, I reckon either back to Inter or Portugal national team.

Reports are suggesting that it's going to be Ole with Phelan as his assistant until the end of the season. Hopefully we'll see some attacking football and he'll get the players and fans onside again. I would imagine if we're going down the caretaker route, then the club will be going all out to get Poch in the summer, otherwise surely you'd just appoint Zidane now.

12-19-2018, 06:38 AM
Unless Zidane has some kind of weird non-compete? I don't know. It seems pretty clear that if they're not appointing someone now full-time they are targeting someone who's employed currently.

Guess which Hammer might be out for the rest of the season? If you guessed Jack Wilshere, you are correct.

12-20-2018, 03:44 PM
I guessed Andy Carroll.

Prime Time
12-21-2018, 06:49 AM
So the rumour out there is James Collins signed a short term deal to return to Villa, injured himself in training, and promptly ripped up the contract. The injury would have ruled him out for the whole spell and he didn't want to get paid for not playing - so he cost himself 50k a week.

Plenty of people saying fair play to him. And yeah, I can't imagine everyone would do the same. He had a... let's say, 'mixed' spell and legacy at Villa when he left last time, but I imagine that one act will go a long way towards shifting perceptions of him back to the positive.

12-22-2018, 10:48 AM
Good on him, I actually had no idea he was still playing. I remember him being decent for West Ham in his day.

I really hope it works out for Ole at United, he's come across really well in his interviews so far. Of course I wanted it to work for Jose and LVG, but even more so now for Ole.

12-23-2018, 04:55 PM
I love Ginge. I miss him and his upside down face. But I do genuinely think he might be one of the 'good ones' in football, if that makes sense.

He was a bit old school, kind of like Terry was, he'd just throw himself at things and hope for the best. What a man.

Palace beating City throws the door open to Liverpool a bit, doesn't it? Suppose they just have to not let it slip now...

Really puts the pressure on City for the game against the Scouse at the start of January. Lose that and, at seven points down, the title race looks like it might be conceded. I just can't see Liverpool losing that many points outside of that City match right now, unless someone like Man United really get their act together under Ole and become a serious force. Sure, Arsenal and Chelsea will be stubborn tasks, and they still have the second Mersey Derby, but I don't think they'll be games they lose.

Prime Time
12-31-2018, 02:59 PM
West Ham sign Nasri the day after he completes a doping ban...

01-05-2019, 05:59 AM
I had completely forgotten he even existed, or was even still playing football.

01-14-2019, 06:13 AM
Time will tell if Nasri is a good or bad signing. Rumours were he didn't have a good personality, but watching him on Saturday he looked like he'd retained his technique. Bit of fitness and it could pay off.

Equally, I feel sorry for Lanzini in all this. I hope he comes back soon, because he should be the first name on our teamsheet for me.

Just hoping Arnie isn't off to China at the moment.

01-14-2019, 10:13 AM
He makes me happy, when skies are grey.

Don Franc
01-14-2019, 05:44 PM
Yeah West Ham needs him. I was disappointed that Chicharito didn't really do much there.

01-16-2019, 06:03 AM
Yeah West Ham needs him. I was disappointed that Chicharito didn't really do much there.

It's interesting, because of course with the rumoured money coming in for him (plus the sale of Chicharito and supposedly Perez) we're obviously getting linked with a load of high profile strikers. Piatek from Genoa and Gomez from Celta Vigo seem to be prime targets for us, but also rumoured is Callum Wilson which...I'm not sure I'm into him at the pricetag Bournemouth want, if I'm honest. I like him a lot as a player, but it very much feels like there is an enormous English premium on his head.

Personally I'd like to see us do the deal for Hernandez, then sit Arnie down and say 'look, if it's money we've just freed up £130k a week - have half of it and stay here where you are loved'.

01-21-2019, 10:15 AM
Double post, but for a reason - Kevin-Prince Boateng is apparently going to move to Barcelona, which seems ridiculous to me considering he's a complete journeyman who's never really looked like making good on his potential.

Arnie has apparently been told he's staying, by the way. Remains to be seen how that works out over the next four months. Probably be off in the summer now that everyone knows our asking price.

Prime Time
01-21-2019, 10:45 AM
That's a weird old situation you've got there.

Meanwhile Villa continue to be unable to defend.

Are Liverpool *actually* going to win the league this time?!

01-21-2019, 11:52 AM
I'm in two minds about Liverpool potentially winning the league. On the one hand, they've not won it in my memory (I must have been three when they last did) and I love to see a new winner emerge. On the other, their fans are going to be insufferable if they do it!

Honestly, it might be that Man United play unlikely kingmakers. Both City and Liverpool have to go away to them still. Liverpool also have Everton away, and both have Spurs, and Chelsea, at home.

There's not really much to choose between them in the fixture lists, so I think it likely comes down to who comes away from Old Trafford with a better result.

01-21-2019, 12:53 PM
Nah, Liverpool will choke. Surely...

I actually love their team, but yeah, their fans will be insufferable.

Don Franc
01-21-2019, 02:24 PM
I am a Man Utd fan and every fibre in my being does not want Liverpool to win. And like Gooner mentioned, there fans will be insufferable acting like they won the league 10 years straight.

But with that being said, I wouldn't mind it too much if Liverpool wins the league because of the utmost respect I have for Klopp as a manager. I'd rather have Liverpool win than City whose fans think they own Manchester.

Liverpool is only now starting to feel the pressure of being at the top of the table and their players are not conditioned to withstand that pressure so it wouldn't be surprising if they slip up (like Gerard did!) and don't take the title home.

01-22-2019, 05:00 AM
Cardiff signed Sala but it looks like his plane has crashed en route to us. If true it’s really horrendous and my thoughts go out to his family.

Prime Time
01-22-2019, 06:41 AM
Good god. Awful season for football and aviation, not known anything like it before.

01-22-2019, 07:07 AM
Yeah, horrifying if true. Like the Srivaddhanaprabha and the Chapecoense crashes, some things are above football.

01-22-2019, 09:34 AM
Looks pretty much confirmed. It hasn’t really sunk in yet. It’s hard to go about your everyday business when this is happening. I can only imagine how Nantes players are feeling, as well as his family.

02-05-2019, 09:48 AM
Have Liverpool peaked too soon? They're 2-2-2 from the last 6 games in all competitions.

And you can't help but feel Man City are probably over their little blip.

Prime Time
02-07-2019, 07:09 PM
It's been confirmed that the body they have recovered from that plane is Sala. Pretty much as expected but doesn't make the news any better.

02-10-2019, 01:33 PM
The Sala news is horrendous. It’s broken a lot of our fans. But huge love for all of them over their reaction. And the rest of football.

Meanwhile, Aguero is incredible.

02-11-2019, 10:24 AM
Is Aguero (strangely) underrated? He never seems to be really talked about when people throw out lists of the top players, but his consistency and ability is just unrelenting. His only season with less than 20 goals in all competitions was in 12/13, which as I recall was really injury interrupted. He's phenomenal.

Prime Time
02-11-2019, 10:34 AM
His style of player has always been a bit underrated compared to the fancy-dans. There's always been a bias in favour of a Maradona, Cruyff, Messi, C. Ronaldo or Pele ahead of the likes of a Eusebio, Shearer, Van Basten, Fat Ronaldo or Gerd Muller.

I suppose it kinda depends on what you want out of your footballers, but most of these conversations privilege how attractive or entertaining their individual skills are over their sheer effectiveness. And I'm not saying Aguero doesn't have the entertaining side down, but he just is top, top level when it comes to being an effective striker. Deserves to be with anyone in that conversation.

02-11-2019, 10:46 AM
Think they mentioned on Match of the Day how he has only been awarded one PFA team of the year (2018) and has never been pfa player of the year. Probably the best player in the premier league to not win that award. He's coincided with RVP, Suarez, Kane and Hazard for the team of the year honours. Seems very much to always be the bridesmaid in those instances.

Prime Time
02-11-2019, 10:48 AM
That's interesting, because RVP and Kane are also players that I could put in that same kind of bracket. The other two are very much the kind of player that tend to get the rub of the green when it comes to those things.

02-11-2019, 11:37 AM
The other great statistic was Aguero vs the so called 'big six' (or five, considering he plays for one). In 64 games he's scored 43 goals against Manchester United, Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Spurs. That is just staggering. Kane is close to Aguero, but has played less games (he's on 21 goals from 41 games I believe)

Prime Time
02-11-2019, 11:57 AM
Also one of only a few people to have hit over 150 Premier League goals...

260 Alan Shearer
208 Wayne Rooney
187 Andrew Cole
177 Frank Lampard
175 Thierry Henry
163 Robbie Fowler
162 Jermain Defoe
153 Sergio AgŁero
150 Michael Owen

Prime Time
02-13-2019, 06:38 PM
Didn't see it but gather it was a big European night for Spurs...

02-14-2019, 05:57 AM
Yeah, have to say they put in a great second half performance. Dortmund were marginally on top at the break, but an early second half goal seemed to wake the crowd up. Deserved winners in the end.

Even more impressive that they're doing this without Alli and Kane.

02-19-2019, 09:30 AM
Kane's a funny player - every time I watch him, I always think 'oh, he's not doing much/being ineffective' and then he'll poke one in from a few yards. Or, even more often, I'll think 'oh, he just pokes them in from a few yards' and he'll do something ridiculous from outside the box, or that run and finish against Southampton a couple of years ago, or that Everton goal he curled in from somewhere over near the corner flag.

I suppose the mark of a great striker is doing the bread and butter so regularly - finishing from six yards or do - but then ever so often being able to make a goal for yourself from nearly nothing at all.

I mean, he's no Batistuta, but still. Being a second tier striker behind the GOAT is still pretty notable.

02-20-2019, 11:40 AM
I've thought the same way up until probably last year. Good player, but lucky player. I've revisited that opinion and I have to say now that he his in the upper echelon of strikers. Not, not Ronaldo good or Messi good, but damn good. On a par or even better than the likes of Lewandowski, Aguero, Griezmann... He's stronger than he looks, his finishing is fantastic but I think most of all, it's his positioning and getting into the right areas off the ball.

His World Cup campaign solidified that thinking. Take away the penalties, but the three goals he scored were down to being in the right place at the right time. The two goals against Tunisia were off 'second balls' and even the Panama freak deflection goal you could argue he was in the right place!

He does still occasionally fall into the trap of not 'doing' anything for 85 minutes, but I think if you make sure you make your mark in each game, he should be forgiven that.

Put it this way, I'd have him at Arsenal in a heartbeat.

Prime Time
03-03-2019, 05:48 PM
Only just occurred to me that if City win the league this year, they will be the first team to successfully defend the EPL title since the last great United team under Fergie won three titles on the spin, which was a decade ago now if you can believe it.

03-03-2019, 05:49 PM
Apologies for the double post, just thought I'd mention the race for 4th place, which after this weekend should probably be renamed as the race for 3rd and 4th.

It's set up to be very intriguing.

Tottenham have a tough run in, with away fixtures to Liverpool and Man City to come and loaded with banana skins such as their last fixture against Everton and an away day at Bournemouth. Some nicer fixtures before then could assist them though with two home games against Brighton and Huddersfield to come.

Manchester United arguably have it tougher; Arsenal, Everton, Manchester City and Chelsea all have to play them. Away day at Wolves also, but last two games are gimmes (Cardiff and Huddersfield).

Arsenal have a nicer load, but are more susceptible to slip ups. Just United left from the top 6 (next weekend), but Watford, Leicester and Burnley away days will surely see them drop points. If they don't then it would be hard to see them not finish top 4, which would be a decent result for Emery.

Finally Chelsea who have a nice March followed by a horrible April, Liverpool and United away, London derby against West Ham and a home game to Burnley. Watford and Leicester in May. They don't really have an easy game left.

Who have we all got for top 4?

EDIT: NOT a double post then! Prime beat me to it. Yeah, hardest top-tier league to retain in Europe I'd say.

Prime Time
03-03-2019, 05:55 PM
Good analysis. Looking at that lay out I'd say on paper it should be Arsenal and Spurs in some configuration, but I dunno, I've got a funny feeling United might still play spoiler. Don't see Chelsea finishing in the top four at all, so it'll be from the other three.

03-03-2019, 07:17 PM
I could see Chelsea and Arsenal. I actually think Kepagate might unify Chelsea.

03-03-2019, 07:18 PM
I do too, Tottenham on paper, and currently in the league, the best of those 4. But a Champions League run plus two very difficult games could derail them. Arsenal... well, I wouldn't be surprised to us win next weekend at home to United and then lose to Watford. If we're able to navigate those tricky games, then surely one of the two positions are ours. But United have the momentum, are certainly playing a lot better and will probably be out of Europe by next week. Chelsea... don't ever count them out. But it appears they're on a downward trend at the worst time, despite their wins to Spurs and Fulham this week.

03-05-2019, 10:51 AM
Yes, but who's going to win the Everton Cup?

Wolves and Watford currently level on points there, Wolves with a +2 goal difference advantage courtesy of Liverpool thrashing the latter last week. Wolves have a tough run in, though, facing Arsenal and Man United at home, Chelsea and, on the last day, Liverpool away. Watford's is arguably just as uncomfortable, Man City, Man United, and Chelsea away, with Arsenal visiting. They also both have to play each other in the final nine games, making 5 out of those 9 tough challenges on paper. The good news on both parts is that 3 of their remaining 4 games are clubs from the bottom 5 - Wolves have Burnley, Southampton, and Fulham, while Watford have Southampton, Fulham, and Huddersfield. It could well be that the deciding factor comes down to the outstanding match - Brighton for Wolves, and West Ham for Watford.

Speaking of the Claret and Blue Londoners, they're currently four points back in 9th, but could be argued to have a kinder run in - three of the top six away in Man United, Chelsea, and Spurs, but otherwise home games against Huddersfield, Everton, Leicester, and Southampton, away at Cardiff and Watford on the last day. Three fellow mid-table teams there, but home advantage in two of them could help and you'd possibly fancy them to overcome some, if not all, of that four point deficit.

Two points further back, and possibly the last of the contenders, sit Everton. A big gap to overcome to the club in pole position for a trophy they had previously made their own, but with Arsenal and Man United visiting them before they have Spurs away on the final day, and this coupled up with some nice looking away days at Fulham, Palace, and Newcastle, suggests they could be in with a shout. Hardest for them outside of the top six matches will be West Ham away, based on the table, but the blue side of Liverpool has recently been something of a bogey team for the Hammers.

Leicester sit a further two points back, and you'd have to think that even the Rodgers Bounce won't see them overcome a eight point gap to take the trophy.

03-11-2019, 06:07 AM
After this weekend's results (fantastic weekend for Arsenal by the way!) I went ahead and predicted the last 8 fixtures of the top 6 to see where things may land. I tried to be as fair as possible, and not just have Arsenal win every game...

Man City ended up top with a three point gap to second placed Liverpool. I did have City winning all their remaining fixtures, with Liverpool only dropping points once (draw against Spurs). I doubt this will happen this way, but on paper, I just see City shading it.

The battle for 3rd and 4th is fascinating though. Spurs edged ahead by two points in third place. But I had Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United all on 75 points. It very well could come down to goal difference, so I had Arsenal in fourth (they're ahead as of right now, so fair to say it could stay the same).

In any case, it should be a belter of a run-in.

Prime Time
03-12-2019, 05:34 AM
Surprised not to see anything about Grealish in here, even though it did happen outside the top flight. The clown admitted the assault in court and has been jailed for fourteen weeks.

03-12-2019, 01:31 PM
I was outraged by the incident, albeit it happened to one of the least likable players I know. There’s no place for it anyway and I have huge respect for the way Grealish handled it.

I’ve seen Grealish play twice. Once against Stevenage, once against Cardiff. Both times he was utterly painful and brilliant in equal measure and wound the fans up greatly.

Prime Time
04-11-2019, 05:25 AM
Must admit I didn't expect Liverpool to still be top of the league at this late stage.

04-11-2019, 08:41 AM
Me either - there's an argument that it's luck of the fixture list as City have that game in hand, but I don't think many would have expected them to make up the gap to City so fully this season after last year.

City arguably have a tougher run in, with Spurs at home and Man United away as two tricky fixtures, while Liverpool will look at what they have coming up and, beyond Chelsea, must fancy every game as being theirs to lose.

That said, I fancy City to win every game they've got in the league between now and the end of the season, even with those two harder matches. Might very well see a final league table where the top two teams have got 98 and 97 points.

04-11-2019, 08:48 AM
Liverpool have looked a little shaky, albeit they have won all their recent games. Man City, bar last Tuesday in the Champions League have been playing within themselves I think.

I can see both reaching 90 plus, but there's twists in the tale still I feel.

Meanwhile, just as interesting, is the race for top 4. All four teams have been in and out of the top four within the last couple fo weeks. Fascinating subplot to the title race.

If Arsenal can get to grips with their away form, they're surely nailed on. Tottenham will kick on surely with their new stadium.

Manchester United have dipped in form at the worst moment, I suspect they may just miss out.

As for Chelsea, god knows. They could sink or swim. Whatever the case, Sarri will surely see the exit at the end of the season?

Prime Time
04-15-2019, 07:14 AM
So... all four EPL teams in the quarter finals. Only one from any other nation at this stage. Does this mean that on the European stage, the Premier League is back as a legit powerhouse, as they were in the previous decade?

04-15-2019, 08:40 AM
They've certainly returned to form, but I'd say the big three in Spain + Juventus + Bayern + PSG will have something to say about it come next year.

With Porto and Ajax in the quarters, it's fair to say that the big teams in Europe this year have not performed particularly well. Real Madrid and Bayern especially. Atletico got a little unlucky, PSG got very unlucky.

But English football is definitely on the rise. Just don't expect we will have another 4 teams in the quarters next year. Two yes, three at a push.

04-16-2019, 08:51 AM
It's tricky to know because while, as you say Gooner, the big European sides have slipped up this season, equally the only result that I think is a surprise is Man United reaching the quarter finals over PSG. Liverpool I would fancy to at least have an evens chance of getting past Bayern, Spurs vs Dortmund was a pretty even toss up too.

Think when you get to that last 16 round, though, it's all pretty close normally. Could be a repeat next season, could be no English teams in the quarters. You have to wonder how much of this is down to it being the Premier League, richest league in the world and so on, though - are the teams basically seen as 'buying' success on the continent?

Actually, on that point - how comfortable are we with the emerging narrative (I've heard it a few times recently) that Liverpool are essentially 'plucky underdogs' against the 'financial behemoth' of City? Seems to be becoming a slightly louder story to shout about now, but I feel it's kind of nonsense - Liverpool spent more on a goalkeeper last summer than some teams in the Premier League spent on their entire transfer business.

04-16-2019, 10:04 AM
Yeah the whole 'Liverpool are underdogs' compared to City is ludicrous. They've both spent ridiculous amounts, but more importantly they've spent it well. Whereas Man United for example have just wasted money.

I have to give Spurs credit though. The fact they have gone a whole year without signing a single player and yet remain fairly sure of a top 3 place is astounding. Says a lot to how good their squad is, or at least their first XI.

04-16-2019, 11:00 AM
And Son. Son is a ridiculously good player, and yet seems to get more of a reserve role.

The thing that's really impressed me with Spurs, and Pocchetino, is that somehow they've turned Sissoko into a near unplayable central midfielder.

04-16-2019, 11:48 AM
Absolutely, Son has been class all year round. Would deserve a mention when it came to the end of year awards.

As for Sissoko, bar a few months with Newcastle where he was damn good, he's largely been irrelevant. But no more, he's a bully in midfield and is asking the question who else fills that role next to him, with Dier and Winks injured and Wanyama just coming back.

04-25-2019, 04:19 AM
PFA Team of the Year has been chosen:


Van Dijk

B Silva


One of these is not like the other....

I'd like to see an alternative Team of the Year without Liverpool or Man City players, purely for recognition. It's not a surprise that they dominate the team selection, but there's been plenty of players down the league that deserve at least a mention.

Prime Time
04-25-2019, 01:37 PM
A statistics based team of the season as a point of comparison, compliments of whoscored....


Van Dijk



04-26-2019, 05:11 AM
Not sure about Pereira (I assume the Leicester defender, not the Man United fella?) or Schar, but Digne has been good for Everton. I don't Sane has played enough for me, Sterling and B Silva have started ahead of him mostly this season.

Going back to the main PFA team, surely Pogba falls out in place of Hazard. Without Hazard, Chelsea would be mid-table!

I feel a Spurs player deserves a place too, perhaps Eriksen or Son. Yes, they're 20-odd points behind the leaders, but I have to say they have been very good on the eye this year.

Prime Time
04-26-2019, 06:40 AM
When players rack up stats like that, I sort of assume they've just been quietly playing well all season, even if no one really notices them - especiall in defence. Though you could sub out Pereira for Aaron Wan-Bisaka without hurting the stats, I've just noticed.

If you change it so that you need at least 30 starts to get past the Sane problem then you end up replacing him with either Ndidi or Maddison, both of Leicester.

As for Spurs, if you were going to pick their players, Kane is top, Trippier second, and Eriksen third.

04-26-2019, 06:49 AM
I'd like to see an alternative Team of the Year without Liverpool or Man City players, purely for recognition. It's not a surprise that they dominate the team selection, but there's been plenty of players down the league that deserve at least a mention.

Doing a non-top six one becomes quite a fun exercise because there's so many arguments to be had. Mine, for example:

Lukasz Fabianski (not West Ham bias, for me he's had a blinding season - 133 saves to date is 13 more than any goalkeeper, without him and with, say, Adrian we'd probably be 10-20 goals worse off and having a long stare-off with relegation (and a -30 goal difference...))

Wan-Bissaka (a breakthrough season for him, without doubt, and one of the best tacklers in the league while offering a considerable forward threat. Would probably be in double digits for assists if he was aiming his crosses at someone other than Aaron Benteke)
Conor Coady (seems underrated despite Wolves' success this season and them having the best defensive record outside of the Top 4)
Fabian Schar (think he's been super key in defence for Newcastle, when he's played)
Jose Holebas (Digne was close, but I think Holebas's season at the age of 34 just edges it for me)

Joao Moutinho (terrific season, creates and breaks up play from deep)
Declan Rice (possibly a bit of West Ham bias coming in, but for me he's been the standout 'keep it simple, stupid' defensive midfielder this season. Gueye or Ndidi might have something to say about it)

Wilfried Zaha (I was tempted to go with Felipe Anderson, but felt like having three Hammers was a bit too much...Zaha's had a good season)
James Maddison (terrific season, think he's really started to shine with Rodgers' management)
Ryan Fraser (arguably part of a tandem that has kept Bournemouth afloat this season)

Raul Jiminez (the standout non-big team forward in the league, both for scoring and bringing his opponents into the game)

Prime Time
04-26-2019, 07:13 AM
A purely stats non-top 6, just for Oli!

1 Lukasz Fabianski (West Ham)

2 Ricardo Pereira (Leicester) or Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Palace)
3 Lucas Digne (Everton)
4 Fabian Schar (Newcastle)
5 Sol Bamba (Cardiff) or Willy Boly (Wolves)

6 Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester)
7 James Maddison (Leicester)
8 Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton) or Luka Milivojevic (Palace)

9 Wilf Zaha (Palace)
10 Troy Deeney (Watford)
11 Felipe Anderson (West Ham)

So you're actually pretty close to a lot of the numbers there.

04-26-2019, 09:36 AM
I'll pitch in my non top6 starting XI, with no look at stats, just what I feel:

GK - Foster. It's close between him and Fabianski. He's been solid all season.

RB - Wan-Bissaka. Keep hearing good things about him and when I have seen him he's looked sharp and dangerous. England call-up soon?
CB - Coady. Brilliant for Wolves, the best team to come up from the Championship in years.
CB - Ake. Every time I've seen him play he's been a rock in defence for Bournemouth. Surprise no one has snapped him up yet since joining from Chelsea
LB - Digne. Mentioned him earlier, he had a tricky start, but has really come into his own. With the dependable Coleman, Everton now have 2 very good full backs.

CM - Milivojevic. I think that's his name! Palace penalty extraordinaire, but has much more to his game.
CM - Maddison. Break out year. Heard he may not 'fit' into Southgate's plans as he's a traditional number 10, but he must make the next squad at the very least.
CM - Doucoure. To me, the best player outside the top 6. He would fit in so well at Arsenal...

RW - Deulofeu. Close between him and the likes of Redmond, Fraser and Anderson. He blows hot and cold, but he's awesome when he wants to be. A better Taarabt!
ST - Jimenez. Can't complain with what Oliver said a couple of posts previously. But honorable mention to Murray at Brighton.
LW - Zaha. Another great season for him, Palace still are completely reliant on him. If he moves, they'll probably fall into the Championship.

04-26-2019, 09:55 AM
Doucoure is ridiculusly good, completely forgot him when putting my list together though! Entirely my bad on that one, as I would probably have him in there.

04-26-2019, 11:51 AM
He does go unnoticed, but to be fair players in his position tend to go unnoticed.

Prime Time
04-26-2019, 06:00 PM
Sorry to change the subject on you guys but Bolton Wanderers won't fulfil their fixture tomorrow because the situation at the club has deteriorated to the point that the players are now on strike...

Prime Time
04-27-2019, 05:40 PM
Am I right in thinking Cardiff now need to beat United on the final day to stay up (barring a ridiculous GD turnaround in the next round)?

04-30-2019, 09:09 AM
Am I right in thinking Cardiff now need to beat United on the final day to stay up (barring a ridiculous GD turnaround in the next round)?

I think so, yes - they need to win both their remaining games and hope Brighton don't take two points off Arsenal and City.

05-01-2019, 06:04 AM
So Ajax beat Spurs...that's pretty huge.

Is anybody not enjoying watching this Ajax team right now? I've even taken to putting their matches on at the weekend when I get a chance, so I've ended up watching a fair bit of Dutch football recently.

By the way, the Dutch title race is even more exciting than the Premier League one - Ajax and PSV level on 80 points, Ajax top by goal difference (+81 - they've scored one hundred and eleven goals this season in the league) and two games to go in the season. Ajax have to play Utrecht in fifth, who have an outside shot at qualifying for Europe (need to win their last two games and hope Alkmaar don't get more than a point), and then travel to De Graafschap, who will be trying to avoid a relegation play off. Meanwhile, PSV have to go to Alkmaar and then have Heracles at home, who have nothing to play for.

I think I'm going to remember this season as the one where I (re)discovered watching European football. Started off catching a bit of Serie A on a whim and have branched out from there.