Top 4 fight looking like United and Arsenal?

by .


Well happy good morning to ya’ll!

Lots of talking points from yesterday.

We had the great keeping crash of 2015. Three of the worlds best keepers dropped major changers in big games. Courtois duffed a back pass as Chelsea stuttered to a win against Hull, Neuer made 2 mistakes agains Monchengladbach costing Bayern three points and finally, De Gea conceded near post as United beat Liverpool in a game that makes top four slightly more challenging for the Scousers.

United had a decent game plan, they stifled Liverpool early on and made it hard to play through them. Phil Jones concussed Lallana with a really clumsy challenge, the Liverpool midfielder had to go off at half time to be replaced by media darling Gerrard… Then after 38 seconds he saw red. Quite unbelievable a player of that experience could see red so soon after coming on. That basically handed United the tie leaving Liverpool 5 points off 4th. It’s not over for Liverpool, United have Arsenal and Chelsea to play, but it looks tough.

So as we approach the business end of the season, it’s going to rest on which manager has done his homework. I think there are some tough games to come and it’ll come down to player motivation and most likely, who has he freshness to last the pace.

Arsenal are jaded at the moment. We were lucky to stay in the game during the second half. Managers will recognise we’re susceptible to a second half dips. So we need to start thinking about using our squad a bit better. Ozil has taken a force leave of absence, but we need to think about how we get Sanchez and Santi back on the mend for the remaining game. We’re on a tremendous run of wins, the momentum is with us, if we keep it going, second could be ours. Stumble in the next three games and it could be very tough ploughing through those last few games.

Fingers crossed!

I took in a bit of El Clasico last night. Seems to be the most hyped game on the planet these days. One of about 4 games that are interesting in a pretty three sided league. There were some nice moments. Suarez took his winner superbly. They have so much talent on show. I just can’t stand the play acting, I know we have a bit of it here, but it’s different level there. It’s spiteful, it’s childish and it detracts from a spectacular spectacle of grotesque spending power.

Short post today. Under the kosh. HAVE A GOOD ONE. x

484 Responses to “Top 4 fight looking like United and Arsenal?”

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  1. Leedsgunner

    Qna @0656

    100% in agreement. Changing the homegrown rules is like changing the width of all your doors in the house so that your fat kids can get through — rather than thinking — why are my kids fat, maybe they should exercise more or change their diet…

    Well said mate.

  2. Dream10

    qna, Leeds

    Spot on from both of you. The lack of proper coaching is a big issue.
    As of 2010 England only had just 2,769 coaches who held UEFA B, A and pro badges. Compare that with Spain, Italy and Germany, who each had at least 24,000 coaches who held those designations

  3. nasri's mouth

    I think there’s an element of hypocrisy too.

    Apparently its absolutely fine to sell off every club to any one with enough cash, whether they’re from Kidlington or Qatar, but the idea of johny foreigner stopping little johnny from playing on the pitch

  4. qna

    Imagine if Wilshere had been at say Villareal since he was 16 instead of the PL. With protection from the Refs, but still quality players around him he would be a different player. Far fewer injuries, I think he would be the player we all dreamed he would be and maybe even Englands greatest ever midfielder. Being away from his bad influence mates would have helped too.

  5. qna

    All those kicks to the ankles that has ruined Wilshere should be weeded out of the English game from every division of football. Who cares about diving. Is it so much more horrific an act that pulling back the shirt of a player that has gone past you. Protect the playmaker at all costs.

  6. Northbanker

    Have a certain amount of sympathy with Dyke’s proposals but also totally agree we need to ensure this isn’t simply lowering the bar. Its a must that the likes of Sanchez and Aguerro should be allowed to play here but we have also had a huge number of cheap imports i.e. we’ve had other people’s ‘fat kids.’

    For example why was Sanaogo bought when we had an admittedly younger prospect in Chuba Akpom coming through. Yes he’s younger but as Sanogo was nowhere near Prem ready the development time required was immaterial (and frankly anyone other than Wenger could see Akpom was massively more talented but that’s a different story)

  7. Emiratesstroller

    Yesterday’s decision to change rules for non EU Footballers plus the requirement to increase number of home grown registrations will have consequences for EPL and Arsenal.

    The rules come into force in 2016 so that it might impact on Arsenal’s transfer
    policy not least when we discuss possible departure of Walcott and Wilshire.

    One of the consequences of this decision is likely to “inflate further” transfer
    and wage bills for the best talent and presumably increase dependence on youth programmes.

    Arsenal’s U21 and U18 Programmes have under performed this year. Our U21
    Squad are playing in Second Division and don’t look like gaining promotion
    and our U18 team are second from bottom in their league and have managed
    only 2 wins in home fixtures!

    This suggests to me that we are recruiting the wrong type of players. Having
    watched Zelalem I can see the problem. He may be technically quite gifted,
    but looks far too lightweight for English game.

    I have watched a number of games between Arsenal and Chelsea’s youth teams and we have been frankly outplayed. It is not so much about technical
    ability, but rather physical strength and stamina.

    You can of course argue always that technical ability is more important than
    athleticism and physical strength, which will come later. However, football is
    a relatively short term business and if you want to produce high grade players
    good enough to come into the first team by age of lets say 18 you need the right sort of players coming through at U18 level.

    That does not seem to be happening at Arsenal at moment and poses some questions about our Youth and Scouting Programmes. As I have said previously I was advised sometime ago by a Sports Journalist that Arsenal’s youth programme is significantly behind that of our neighbours Spurs.

  8. Nasri's Mouth

    Northbanker: Have a certain amount of sympathy with Dyke’s proposals but also totally agree we need to ensure this isn’t simply lowering the bar.


    Part of the problem is the disparity in costs. Unless the amount of young English talent is increased, making it harder to bring in better foreign players will simply increase that. Less talented English players will cost more, both in salaries and fees, and that will have a knock on effect to the ones at the top.

    This has to be handled at both ends.

    Increase the amount of available English talent, and the problem goes away.

    We didn’t buy Gabriel because he was foreign, we bought him because he was the best available at the price.

  9. Emiratesstroller

    Nasri’s Mouth

    I think that it would be most unlikely that we would have recruited Gabriel under the new rules now being proposed.

    It is highly likely that you will be only to recruit South American players if they have been playing in Europe for some time AND are established current internationals.

  10. Northbanker

    Nasri – I think Gabriel is can interesting point here and was in my mind yesterday when news was announced. Would be interested to know whether he was in the 33%

    Now here we may have a truly outstanding player (time will tell but so far I’m confident this will be the case) and yet he is a relatively unknown in England. Chances are that import quotas would prevent the likes of Gabriel being brought into EPL and yet that would be a loss to the game. It will also be a loss to young English defenders attempting to watch top senior pros so that they can learn the finer arts of defending in practice.

  11. Northbanker

    Still hope that we trade Walcott for Dybala! Quotas will have to wait! Also hope we cash in on Jack and fund Pogba (well why not!?)

  12. Nasri's Mouth


    Ultimately the point of the youth set up is to provide players for the senior squad.

    We’re currently pretty successful at that.

  13. Nasri's Mouth

    @Northbanker / Emiratestroller

    When we signed him, the suggestion was the new rules would prevent non EU players being accepted under appeal unless they cost more than £10m, so Gabriel would still have been passed his appeal.

  14. qna

    ES. Good point. But ultimately two things will remain true. The best players in the world will be south american in high proportion. There will continue to be a dearth of high quality English players.

    So this rule will actually have a negative effect in england as all South American talent will now come via other european leagues. So much of the huge sums of money that the PL gets from TV revenue will go in straight to these leagues each and every year. You will have your best 13 players and your home grown squad players making up the numbers.

  15. Emiratesstroller

    On reflection it may have less impact on South American players, because many seem able to apply for dual nationality.

    However, I do think that very few African and Asian players will come into English game. The Africa Cup has already had a damaging impact on recruitment policies.

    I get the impression that Arsenal are now reluctant to sign African players,
    because of the potential interruption. The new immigration rules may make it
    even tougher.

  16. Wallace


    the new rules would make it easier for a player like Gabriel to get a permit as more consideration would be given to the fact that he’s from one of the world’s top footballing nations and thus might find it harder to represent his country.

    the only dumb part of the new proposals is the 12 homegrown per squad.

  17. Nasri's Mouth

    I think changing the age of homegrown players from 18 to 15 is a concern.

    It means that 12/13/14 yr old kids are going to be pushed around by agents.

    They’ll be at an age when they don’t know what they want, their parents are inexperienced in such matters, they’ll be used purely as a way to make quotas, and they’re still young enough that no-one really knows how they’ll actually develop.

  18. qna

    ES. But the rules will mean that Dybala who is now worth £30m wont be eligible to play in the PL until he is worth say £50m. Similar to Vietto and the next Aguero, Suarez, Neymar etc.

  19. Emiratesstroller


    It will not affect Dybala, because a] the new rules will only apply from season 2016/17 AND in any event he has I believe that he qualifies for dual/triple nationality. I think that he is also qualified for Poland and Italy, although he has expressed preference to play for Argentina.


    I understand your logic about Gabriel, but he had only played one full season
    in Spanish League so that in his case I don’t think that he would qualify so easy under new rules.

    The new Home Grown rule will be difficult for the top teams although in Arsenal’s case I think that they have currently 13 in squad who would qualify eg
    Martinez [out on short term loan]

    Nevertheless it will make them reluctant to sell players from this group unless replaceable. My main concern is that there seems to be very little real talent coming through system who might make the grade.

  20. Bamford10

    The FA obviously believes that if clubs are required to make due with more HG players, they’ll work harder to develop HG talent. In itself, this seems like a reasonable conclusion to me. A couple of questions, though:

    1. How do Spain, Germany, France and Italy approach this? Are they more or less “protective” than the EPL?

    2. If the “problems” with English players/English NT result from something outside of or prior to the club setup — as some above suggest — what are these problems?

    3. Why are so many English football fans so indifferent to the national team and to international football? The same isn’t true, I don’t think, of the French, Germans, Spanish, Italians or Dutch, so why the attitude in England?

    I have no opinions on these things. Am just curious.

  21. Wallace


    although i haven’t seen a summary of the proposed changes there was talk in january of a rule to the effect that any transfers over a certain amount – i think it was £10m – are automatically given the green light, as the size of the fee indicates a player of good quality.

  22. gambon

    Greg Dykes changes are frankly ridiculous, and completely missing the point.

    The net outcome will be a lower quality league, more english agents making more money, and teams forced to play lower calibre players in order to meet restrictions.

    The big clubs will become very predatory, meaning all the talent will end up at UTD/City/Chelsea/Arsenal.

    The only people that will be pleased is the English agents, who currently dont hold anywhere near as much power as the likes of Raiola, Mendes etc

    I dont think this is in any way good for the game.

    You cant solve a problem that is centred around lack of quality english players by forcing teams to play English kids.

    You have to take the very opposite approach. Flood the league with the best players, bring youth coaching to a new level then let the quality come through.

    Restict all the signings at youth level, make all levels under 21 British only, then massively improve the coaching.

    This is corrupt as hell. Guarantee you Greg Dyke has a nice suitcase full of cash from the major agencies in the UK.

  23. Emiratesstroller

    Bamford 10

    1. These league do impose restrictions on number of foreign players.
    2. There is a problem with current system. You need only look at Chelsea’s
    Youth Programme, which has a lot of talent, but virtually noone is making
    breakthrough into first team.
    3.England are not very good. Arsenal are supposed to have some of the better
    English players on their books. How many of these would be considered
    regular starting X1 players?

  24. Bamford10

    Gareth Bale’s situation at Madrid does not seem a happy one. Fans assaulting his car, papers saying he is worth 20m, and Butragueno subtly suggesting Bale isn’t good enough. Wonder if he’ll soon be returning to EPL? Swap for Di Maria?

    He’s HG after all. 😉

  25. SomeRandomGunner

    Can PL reject rules from FA ?

    12 HG is too much , league quality will seriously come down. Already EPL clubs are struggling in champions league , with this HG it will severely hamper EPL clubs in champions league.

    Ideally with the existing 8 HG rule should give 160 players opportunity even if 80 are english that should give a decent players to select from.

  26. Bamford10


    1. Yes, but are those restrictions more or less restrictive than the new FA rules? If equally restrictive or more restrictive, isn’t that an argument for the new rules?

    2. Ok, but why is this? What are the main factors here?

    3. Yes, I was thinking that. But I would think that English football fans would still care passionately about their own side and want it to perform better than it has in recent decades. Perhaps the English care really only about their clubs now? That’s interesting if so.