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  1. #281
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    Can't believe none of you have mentioned Keegan's Entertainers in the top 3 Premier League teams of all time.

    There's part of me that's looking forward to seeing what City do next season. Arguably City, and Guardiola, won't be satisfied until they win the Champions League - so do they prioritise that next season over anything domestic? I doubt it makes much difference given how deep their strength goes, but could we see periods where City are essentially playing a 'second string' in the Premier League in order to focus on the European compettion?

    Someone pointed out that they've played 61 of a possible 63 games this season. That's incredible in and of itself.

  2. #282
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    Can't believe none of you have mentioned Keegan's Entertainers in the top 3 Premier League teams of all time.
    I'm gonna be completely honest. I think Keegan's team is vastly overrated. Though I live in Newcastle so it may just be grating on me when they talk about those days.

    Entertaining? Sure. One of the best teams in Premier League history? Not for me, I'd put Pochettino's team ahead of them and while they're great to watch, no one would argue they're one of the best teams assembled.
    Last edited by Gooner; 05-20-2019 at 11:32 AM.


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  3. #283
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    I have the feeling it was a slightly tongue in cheek inclusion. But just in case it's not, while I don't mind including anyone in the 'next rung down' conversation, I think to be considered at this level I do think you've got to have won things. Had Newcastle gotten over the line playing that kind of football, we'd have a decision to make, but it didn't happen.

    61 out of 63 games is ludicrous. Be interesting to see if this FFP stuff does anything to stop the team becoming a true dynasty in the seasons to come, though.

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  4. #284
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    Oh, 100% tongue firmly in cheek, but I would have them in a 'best of the rest' discussion for what it's worth.

  5. #285
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I'll give you that. One of the best teams to not win the league, for sure.


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  6. #286
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    So we've got Keegan's Newcastle and Pocchettino's Spurs. Anyone else in that discussion?

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  7. #287
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Brendan Rogers' Liverpool must be there


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  8. #288
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    That was another that came to mind.

    01/02 Leeds, maybe? You could perhaps argue that 97/98 Man United would be up there, but given that team was the nucleus of the one that then won three title back-to-back perhaps they don't really count.

  9. #289
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    You could perhaps argue that 97/98 Man United would be up there, but given that team was the nucleus of the one that then won three title back-to-back perhaps they don't really count.
    By all accounts they should have own the league that year, but faltered badly which allowed Arsenal to pip them to the title. After Christmas they won 9/18 games.


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  10. #290
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    Klopp's Liverpool will be in the frame after another good season next time out. Huge points total and champions league final is a top foundation.

  11. #291
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    I'm actually surprised we hadn't already mentioned them! I suppose the final verdict may come with whether or not they win the league next season. In the same way that I said the 97/98 Man United side could be considered but they were the foundation for winning the next three, the same could be said of Liverpool this season - if they win it next year, can you really consider the team this year to be one of the best to not win the league, or is the case that they're the same team?

    There's part of me that would love to make a case for 99-00 West Ham at this point, by the way. Which, I appreciate, is completely biased and very much with Claret specs on. But there's a reason why the names Hislop, Lomas, Potts, Sinclair, Di Canio, Ferdinand, Lampard, Keller, Foe, Moncur, Wanchope all spin of my tongue. My favourite West Ham side, for sure (although I also have a soft spot for the 01-02 team).

  12. #292
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    I was toying with the idea of throwing some Villa references out there - but the fact that they didn't put in a good enough league finish counts against them. I guess the problem with arguing for West Ham that season is if Leeds were better at the time, surely Leeds would trump them, easily? Similarly, if I tried to argue for the best iteration of the O'Neill team, Wenger's Arsenal and Moyes Everton always overhauled us every year, so.... yeah.

    On the Liverpool thing, I think it depends on how much of the spine of the team remains intact. If they won it with broadly speaking the same players then I'd count that as 'the team' winning the league. For that reason I think you've anticipated my objection to including the '98 United side.

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  13. #293
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    If you're throwing out 97/8 United, you got to have 98/9 Arsenal. Title went to the last day and Spurs actually led at OT at one point that day (I've never seen a goal celebrated less) and we all remember just how tight that double legged semi of the cup was. FWIW I would take that 98 Arsenal team over 02 and the invincibles. And it's gotta be Liverpool 19 as the best of the rest. Citeh went to another planet to wrap it up and they had to.

  14. #294
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Nah I'd take the invincibles over 98, but 98 were better than 02.

    Possibly more to do with the fact that in 1998 I was 8 and so in 2004 I was 14, but that 04 team had everything, there was no weak link. I think the 98 team is still a superb team, but perhaps a little less cover on the bench.

    04 also had Henry at his very best, probably the best single season any Arsenal player has had?


    But going back to the topic, I have to agree. In every other major league this year, Liverpool would have stormed it. They should be remembered for their efforts this year, and will certainly be remembered if they win the Champions League.


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  15. #295
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    My heart is with 98. I went to every home game. Was at the Cup final and semis. OT, WHL, Anfield. All the big away games that year. I was so into the game at that point so that's why I have such a soft spot for them. Still had my season ticket in 02 but wasn't quite as involved. I had a lot going on by the invincibles, I'd dropped my season ticket and was about to leave the country. So the personal element plays a big part for sure.

  16. #296
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    Playoff final kicks off in 40 minutes. First time I've really had the butterflies in years, to be fair.

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  17. #297
    Congrats to Villa! Nice to see them back in the Premier League Prime.

  18. #298
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    Proper haps. Villa belong in the Prem.

  19. #299
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    Happy for Villa, but fuck John Terry

  20. #300
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    I've had a lot of people say something similar, I think outside of the midlands (where pretty much everyone doesn't like the big boys next door) people are generally glad to have us back.

    Going to be a big ask to stay in the division next year though - a lot to do this summer.

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  21. #301
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    It's genuinely great to see Villa back in the Premier League. No team deserves to be in the league on name alone, but Villa are one of the few teams that feels right being in the top division.

    Cautiously optimistic tonight, Chelsea seem to be a bit disturbed in their build up whereas Arsenal seem to be more relaxed and focused. It's pretty much a 50/50 game, but if Aubameyang and Lacazette play up top, we've got a great chance.

    Also, something that hasn't been mentioned but is certainly an important point, is that whoever wins tonight gets to be in Pot One when it comes to the group stage draw on the Champions League, therefore virtually guaranteeing a more favourable draw.


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  22. #302
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    Personally, I quite fancy Arsenal to win this one - just a gut feeling, not based on anything, but I think they've got the edge over Chelsea.

    Shame Ramsey is out for you, though, Gooner.

  23. #303
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    Personally, I quite fancy Arsenal to win this one - just a gut feeling, not based on anything, but I think they've got the edge over Chelsea.
    Which is why I'm cautiously optimistic to be honest! For years Chelsea were our biggest bogey team, however since Conte came in we've actually had the better of them mostly, especially at home. They're not a scary team to play against anymore, however they have the one player from either team that can win them the trophy, obviously that being Hazard.

    Yeah, Ramsey is a massive blow, but so is Mkhitaryan. It means Ozil is guaranteed to start, which isn't a bad thing really, but it's whether he's up for it or not. He could be a 9 or a 4 out of 10 tonight, whereas Ramsey gives you a minimum 7 and Mkhitaryan a minimum 6, if that makes sense.

    Will be a special night for Cech too. Last ever game, against the team he is most associated with. Hope he doesn't have a Karius moment, or even worse, Emery chooses Leno...

    EDIT: Having said all that, this is a horrible stat: In all European competition, Arsenal have faced opponents from 27 different nations and beaten teams from 26 of those countries... with the only exception being against English clubs.
    Last edited by Gooner; 05-29-2019 at 07:27 AM.


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  24. #304
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Well, that was a horrible second half. Chelsea well deserved winners.


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  25. #305
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    Yikes, sorry Gooner. Hoping for your sakes that Spurs don't pull it off tomorrow.

    Does anybody actually have a preference for the CL winners this season? Part of me wants Liverpool to win and validate their season, part of me thinks it will be an incredible story if Spurs win it despite not signing anybody new for 18 months. Part of me is really envious of Spurs' previous transfer business, buying younger players and bringing them through a lot of the time.

  26. #306
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yeah I'm pulling for Liverpool tomorrow for the obvious reasons, but usually I'd be against Liverpool; not because of the team but because of their fans are the most annoying in the UK in my opinion.

    So if I were an unbiased neutral, yeah, I'd be pulling for Spurs. And I think it would be a better story were Spurs to win it.


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  27. #307
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    Word on the street is that Grealish will reject a move to Spurs to remain as the Villa captain. Big coup for us. He's obviously got to prove it in the Premier League this season but in the past year he does seem to have taken a big stride forward. I know the opposition has been at a lower level but don't be surprised if he makes a much bigger impression this season than he did when he was playing as a kid in the top flight last time.

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  28. #308
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    Not sure if this is the best place for it, but...

    I spent a week out in Normandy last week with the family and took in two separate Women's World Cup games - Netherlands vs New Zealand and England vs Argentina. Both of them were excellent, although the Dutch played with the ball too much when they could have popped a shot on goal. Not really a fair criticism, I guess, as the Kiwis played quite deep and held them back for much of the game and the Dutch were very good on the ball.

    The England/Argentina game looked like it might go a similar way at points, but Argentina hardly created anything - unlike the New Zealand team who countered really well - and as a result it was only ever one way traffic.

    Anyway, the atmosphere was OK - it was a bit muted, I think because we were in the neutral sections of the ground and as a result it was a mish mash of England fans, Argentina fans, and a lot of locals just turning up to watch the game. I'm kind of hopeful that this is a really good World Cup, for both the English team and in general, because the sport needs a kind of breakthrough moment to really elevate it and I don't think it's quite had it yet.

    Anybody else been watching the games?

  29. #309
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Been watching the England games and the occasional other (USA, France games soring to mind). I'm enjoying watching the games so far, though games like the 13 (14?) - 0 USA win against Thailand I believe are not good for the competition.

    I think if you go into them not expecting the fluidity, speed and skill of the men's game, then it's fantastic to watch. Plenty of drama, plus the skill level is ever improving. Very similar to Tennis, in that the women's game is played differently, but it's not necessarily worse to watch.

    I do however sometimes have a thought that crosses my mind. Would it make it a better spectacle if the pitch/goals were smaller? I don't mean to say this as a 'women can't play on the same pitch as the men' inequality statement, I just mean that some of the goal keepers don't seem to even be able to reach the top bar and legs seem to tire a bit sooner. Just a thought.


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  30. #310
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    The goal size point was raised by one of the players, or ex-players, before the tournament - I don't remember who now, unfortunately. I can see why there is an argument for it, especially as women are, I believe genetically, shorter than men anyway. So it kind of makes sense.

    Equally, there have been a couple of cracking goalkeeping performances - Vanina Correa against us, and Christiane Endler against the US. Both of them are 5' 11", for the record.

    I think it's a difficult one, especially right now, because if you start to make changes to the regulation pitch/goal size you kind of validate all the talk that they aren't as good as the men because you're then saying they can't play the sport on the same terms as them, if that makes sense - kind of what you've said you're not saying in the above.

    To use the tennis analogy, Gooner - the women don't play on different sized courts, or with different height nets, because they are shorter and have less arm reach. They just play the sport different. Maybe that's how women have to approach football.

    England vs Japan tonight should be fun, and a good barometer of how good England really are. They beat Japan earlier this year in the SheBelieves cup, but it was very much a second string Japanese side that went out for that - this could be a completely different kettle of fish.

  31. #311
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    I think there's an argument to the goal size thing, but I'm a bit more resistant to changing the size of the pitch. That should probably be an 'adapt' thing.

    But to give an alternative to tennis, in women's cricket there's pressure on making the size of the pitch slightly smaller, because women's batting has gotten better and better with professionalisation, as it's a technique thing and there's really no biological component - but physiology limits the ability of pace bowlers, in particular. So the one has improved at a rate far outstripping the other, and it's now an uneven contest. The theory is bringing the bowlers in a bit will even up the game a little between batsmen and bowler.

    So for me, bringing in the goals could be interpreted as doing the same thing between keepers and outfield players, while the size of the pitch could be seen as just the playing area that's the same for both sets of players and should be adapted to - in the same way that teams with physical or more technical players have to adapt to tighter or wider pitches in both the men's and women's games generally.

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  32. #312
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    I'd certainly say that reducing the goal sizes would be the more preferable approach than reducing the pitch size. But I think if you consider one, the other should also be considered too.

    Quote Originally Posted by Oliver View Post
    To use the tennis analogy, Gooner - the women don't play on different sized courts, or with different height nets, because they are shorter and have less arm reach. They just play the sport different. Maybe that's how women have to approach football.
    If I were to play devils advocate, I'd suggest that the difference isn't as big as the playing area is a lot smaller than a football pitch, and thus there isn't a need to reduce the size in tennis. But it's a perfectly valid point nonetheless. Tennis players have adapted their game to their surroundings, perhaps that should remain the case in Football.


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  33. #313
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    I think I'll stick to the position in my previous response - if it disadvantages one set of players over another, adjust, if not adapt. Seems a good rule of thumb for me.

    Seen the Scots manager complaining about VAR and officiating after the game last night. Honestly, though, I can see going after the refs if you lose by a bad decision in a close game, but when you are 3-0 up with 20 to play it really shouldn't be a factor. You've got to look at yourselves and your game management first and foremost. Just not buying it.

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  34. #314
    Senior Member Gooner's Avatar
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    Yeah, I agree. Losing a 3-0 lead is the main issue, but I can understand the frustration.

    VAR was always going to highlight these little infractions that traditionally almost never get caught up, like the goalkeeper on the line or rushing the penalty box. It was always going to be an adjustment for the players to the 'new' old rules, now that there is a better way of policing them.


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  35. #315
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    Premier League undoing that by saying they aren't going to police the goal line with VAR next season. Which is basically the same as saying they are going to let players cheat.

    All the talk is that Lampard is going to be the next Chelsea manager, and that he'll be leaving Derby in the next day or two. I think we all expected he'd get the job at some point but this feels faster than anticipated.

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  36. #316
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    All kicking off in the North East, Rafa Benitez has left Newcastle.

    Their survival chances have just taken a knock.

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  37. #317
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    Remarkable that Ashley has allowed Benitez to leave - appreciate they couldn't come to agreement, but I'd have thought he'd give his left nut to keep him at the club. He's achieved a lot with what looks like a reasonable, but not groundbreaking, group of players.

    Be interesting to see who they appoint next. I think Pardew still has a year left on his deal there...

  38. #318
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    Got to looking at Ashley's managers after this sacking.

    He came in just after Allardyce was appointed, and binned him off after 24 games, and then - when he was still very popular - hired Kevin Keegan. The Geordie Messiah obviously did a lot better than expected but after the hugely controversial sacking and the 'cockney mafia' standoff, it makes for interesting reading.

    Joe Kinnear and Alan Shearer took over for the rest of that campaign, and they were relegated. Chris Hughton bought them back up and was sacked with the club in midtable. Alan Pardew took the job and was able to survive huge unpopularity at various points, so he was able to become the club's longest serving manager since Bobby Robson with 185 matches in charge. He eventually got fed up of being the Ashley scapegoat, and Carver just about kept them in the league. The following season he was replaced by Steve McLaren, who lasted until March, and then replaced by Rafa Benitez, who wasn't able to survive but saw them return at the first attempt and kept them there ever since.

    It's not a glorious record, with Keegan, Hughton and Benitez all allowed to go or sacked and the unpopular Kinnear, Pardew and McLaren all tolerated or seen as patsy's for the regime.


    And yes, Pardew's Newcastle contract would have been valid for another year at least, had he not left!

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  39. #319
    Better showing from England women last night but still look like they could have let in a bunch of goals through slack defending.

  40. #320
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    Yeah, though I guess getting to the semi-final is good enough anyway, though they will have to raise their game.

    If you're keeping track of such things that does mean England women/men combined have made the last three world cup semi-finals, which is something to smile about.

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