Football hooliganism back with a bloody bang

by .


Well, well, well… aside from the game. What an absolute shame it is to see football violence creeping back into the beautiful game.

Such a very weird concoction of things going off here. The migrant crisis in Europe is fuelling extreme public reactions both sides of the coin. The Russians have been making political power plays stoking nationalist fires. You have the English, who let’s be fair, simply don’t travel well… and even less so when they’re in the middle of a Brexit. You also have local French mobs out to stir the trouble pot.

That led to grim scenes before the game, English fans complaining they were attacked by Russians and locals with little protection from the police. Then after the game, crowd surges from Russians (wearing tiny shorts, which was kinda cute) like nothing we’ve seen since the eighties.

I know it’s very difficult to tie politics to something like this… but you can’t help but think this sort of behaviour is a manifestations of hard right, hard left and anti-EU sentiment bubbling over.

Could just be thuggery. Either way, it’s so upsetting to think that our biggest fear before the tournament was an ISIS attack and it turned out the biggest threat was just bickering between nations… you’d have to say, it’d be a brave terrorist that tried to get in the way of a melee like last night.

UEFA have come out in the last 5minutes to say England and Russia could be ejected from the tournament if there’s more violence. You can see how this is going to end can’t you?

As for the tournament… well, we have our first glimpse of Xhaka for Switzerland, and his brother, who played for Albania. He was judged MoM, which said more about the quality of the game, versus his performance. He sprays the ball around nicely, he’s hard in the tackle… but he wasn’t exactly Kante from the France game the night before. I like him though, but he’s got to up his game if he’s planning on carrying the Swiss through.

The Albanians, in their first major tournament, kind of blew it. Geoff’s favourite, Lorik Cana, found himself sent off for a laughable handball 37mins in. His team didn’t crumble… though they did in front of goal, missing a plethora of good chances. Their right back Hysaj looked tasty, but again, hard to know how good he really was in a game that lacked quality.

The England match was more of a disappointment. Russia were awful for the most part. Our finishing wasn’t up to scratch, but we did take the lead from a powerful Dier freekick… but, as expected, we dropped the ball at the end and conceded a pretty tepid goal.

American friends were asking why I wasn’t sad… ‘I expect this sort of thing’… was the response.

I caught a bit of the Wales game… didn’t realise Gareth Bale’s carefully crafted ponytail, is in fact, a modern attempt at the side sweep or the Trump thing that he does. When £330k a week players can’t sort their balding heads, what hope do we have? So depressing…

Anyway, Ramsey had a pretty good game, he was allowed to play wherever he fancied. I like his new hair, it makes it really damn clear how out of position he is 90% of the time.

Interesting that David De Gea has been implicated in a pretty grubby sex case and he hasn’t been sent home. A touch of the Adam Johnson’s here? Both players have called the accusations lies, which is celebrity standard in these cases… but if Spain win the tournament, and he’s in goal, and he’s found guilty, how is that going to look?

Anyway, not much in the way of transfer rumours today. Maybe that’ll pick up tomorrow.

Just a word to the good folk who use the comments section here. This blog is not a place to share extreme views on race, religion or people. This is a football blog. A global one. Respect one another and keep any abhorrent views you have to yourself, or take them to another site because they won’t be tolerated. There are some horrendous things going off in the world at the moment, this isn’t the place we thrash out the rights and wrongs of those.

This is about the Arsenal. Keep it pleasant, please.

P.S. Thoughts are with the people of Florida today. Truly awful scenes.


418 Responses to “Football hooliganism back with a bloody bang”

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  1. Louis Almeida

    Emiratesstroller, he would be for me because of what he brings to the overall team dynamic as I said earlier with Welbeck. If you can make the team more dangerous through running the channels and creating space for others, that’s great. He will also score more with Ozil, Alexis and hopefully Mkhi behind him.

  2. Bamford10


    “Morata on his current goalscoring performance would not be guaranteed a starting place ahead of Giroud.”

    Complete and utter nonsense. One, he is a much better CF, so he would start over Giroud, regardless. Two, comparing his scoring tally at Juventus to Giroud’s at Arsenal is apples to oranges, not apples to apples.

  3. Tomtom

    Looking forward to seeing the mighty Irish smash the Swedes today.
    Pity we don’t have any Irish players in our squad, Wenger is racist against the Irish

  4. Bamford10

    Cesc sort of beat me to this, but regarding your either/or, Emirates, only taking a RW would mean another season of Giroud as the #1, which would mean another pointless season in which we accomplish nothing of note.

    And no, a Janssen wouldn’t solve for this.

  5. Louis Almeida

    Tomtom, which Irish players would’ve been good enough to play for The Arsenal in recent times? I can only think of maybe Seamus Coleman and now we have Bellerin who is better in my opinion. Sorry!

  6. qna

    Bamford: Complete and utter nonsense. One, he is a much better CF, so he would start over Giroud, regardless. Two, comparing his scoring tally at Juventus to Giroud’s at Arsenal is apples to oranges, not apples to apples.

    No Bamford. Your logic is complete nonsense. Your hate for Giroud doesnt make Morata a better goal scorer than he actually has. You seem to think that Morata’s lack of opportunity is the reason he hasnt scored goals. But giving him opportunity at Arsenal will overcome his actual lack of goals historically. This is just ridiculous. There is nothing that suggests Morata will come to the EPL and automatically score more goals than Giroud has been scoring now for 3 seasons.

  7. Tomtom

    Didn’t stop him signing many shit French or Eastern European players though did it?
    The least he can do is sign one shit Irish player.

  8. Leedsgunner

    Black Hei

    Re Cavani

    Isn’t Cavani now about 29 too? When his was in Serie A, before he earned his move to PSG he was lethal. I just wonder if Cavani MIGHT be worth a punt if he came with a decent price tag like Vardy… otherwise he’s too expensive. I personally wouldn’t pay more than £20m for him.

    Cavani’s mojo might reappear if he was allowed to be main man again, because at PSG he’s had to largely take scraps that he could from Zlatan’s table… a big “might” and “if.”

  9. Bamford10


    Good CFs do more than simply score goals. How many times must I say this? Good CFs create space and chances for others — via diagonal runs and dribbling — and these are things that Giroud simply cannot do. All he does is stand in the center and clog things up.

    No question Morata would score as many goals as Giroud if he were given the starts and time Giroud has been given, and no question he would do far more than Giroud to create space and chances for others.

    If you don’t get this, it’s on you.

  10. Jim lahey

    Anthony Stokes was the last Irish player under Wenger I believe… A friend of mine went to school with him, and in a very old school classic case of bullying shoved his head into a toilet!

  11. Bamford10


    BTW, how many goals did Thierry Henry score for Monaco and Juventus? Not very many. But he was long, pacy, intelligent and technical; Morata is all of these things as well.

  12. Carts


    Intersting that you say that re: Xhaka.

    So just to clarify, you’d have opted for Kante over Xhaka, and kept Coquelin/Elneny as DM?

  13. qna

    Bamford. Your general statement about CFs is not saying anything that every poster on here doesnt already know. It also doesnt mean that your statement about Giroud vs Morata is true. Giroud also does all of those things you highlighted (except for dribbling). But ultimately Giroud has scored significantly more goals, more regularly than Morata.

    I am not a fan of Giroud. Not at all. But I am even less of a fan of Welbeck and Walcott.

    I also would like us to buy Morata – but not because he is a striker that will lead us to the title next season, any more than Giroud will. But over the next 3 or 4 seasons, I think Morata can develop into that striker. Thats not to say he will. But he seems to have that potential. Only time and circumstances will tell.

    Also, what is your goals in Italy vs goals in the EPL comment supposed to mean? A goal scorer with a proven record in the EPL is worth more to us than a goal scorer with a record in Italy.

  14. qna

    Bamford: BTW, how many goals did Thierry Henry score for Monaco and Juventus? Not very many. But he was long, pacy, intelligent and technical; Morata is all of these things as well.

    People have got to stop picking out Arsene’s very few success stories in favour of the many many failures. You cant possibly expect us to believe that Morata will do what Henry did. The upside is there, but even the most ambitious person could not reasonably expect that much upside to Morata.

  15. Wallace

    watching him recently I might have been overly critical of what Kante can offer offensively, but he’s still a country mile behind Xhaka & Elneny in that respect.

  16. Bamford10


    Not exactly. What I’m saying is that Kante really impressed me on Friday. He was excellent. While Xhaka looked polished and solid yesterday, Kante was undoubtedly the more impressive.

    As for which of the two better fits our needs given our current personnel, this is harder to say.

  17. qna

    Wallace. On what planet is Kante a country mile behind Elneny. In what world is Elneny in front of anybody. Elneny offers nothing.

  18. Henry Root

    Despite the tendency to think football transfers are done like Football Manager,
    there is a case for not bringing in too many first choice players and not shipping out everyone who upsets a part of the crowd.
    Arteta , Rosicky and the Flamster have gone , Cazorla ( not Carzola note)!is ageing and had a long injury last season and Walcott, the Ox and Ramsey are all injury prone and had poor seasons. Coquelin is a good squad player but not top- quality. I would jettison Ramsey and Walcott.
    Elneny made an excellent start, Xhaka is signed but if Kante has a £20 million buy- out clause we should definitely try for him. This stiffening of our midfield would strenghthen our defence. Toral is an exciting youngster who may develop well as Iwobi has.
    If we sell Debuchy and Gibbs, Jenks, becomes a reserve and it looks like we may sign Holding and one other young defender. I would love a monster centre half to play with Koscielny . Chambers goes on loan…and may never return. Huth and Morgan proved you need strong, experienced defenders who know the PL..Ashley Williams is worth a try
    Ospina will leave and Ches will return to Roma. We need a competent standby goalkeeper like Rob Green or Darlow at Newcastle.
    Welbeck is effectively out all season and Akpom is not ready to return. I would keep Campbell and look at a wide attacker like Mahrez.
    If Vardy doesn’t sign I would chase Janssen ( if he’s that slow we could catch him) or Millik the Pole . Cavani is not a great finisher. If we really want to go for it Higuain is our man, what he did in Serie A last season was amazing
    That will ideally give
    GK- Cech, Darlow
    Backs- Bellerin, Jenks, Nacho, Holding( Coquelin can play full- back well)
    Centre Backs- Kos, Williams, Gabriel, BFG
    Midfield- Coquelin, Xhaka, Kante, Cazorla , Iwobi, Toral, Ox .,and Ozil
    Strikers – central and wide- Higuain, Giroud, Campbell, Sanchez, Welbeck, Mahrez
    That would only cost around a net £60 million and probably see wages on a similar level to last year. That team could win the title

  19. Tomtom

    Maybe your friends bullying of Stokes has led to his numerous “personal issues” over the years!

    James McCarthy was another one that we were linked with

  20. Jim lahey


    Ha! The way he tells it is that Stokes got in his face thinking to make a bit of a name for himself and ended up with wet hair!

    James McCarthy isn’t a bad player either! Our style of lay has been shocking for the last decade, the entire systems needs a complete overhaul.

  21. Tomtom

    How could Wenger not admire Kante?
    I can see him joining Zidane at Madrid within the next year.
    Kante reminds me of Makelale or even Essien and players of that quality are rare.

  22. Tomtom


    We really need to learn from the system that Belgium put in place over the past few years.
    Underage structure in Ireland is shocking and the FAI are only interested in making money.
    It’s a pity really as Ireland seems to be regressing and producing fewer quality players.

  23. Carts


    Oh ok, gotcha. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to see the France game, only the goals.

    But I heard Kante was good.

  24. Wallace


    “As for which of the two better fits our needs given our current personnel, this is harder to say.”

    no it’s not, Xhaka all day every day.

  25. WengerEagle

    Having said that, we’ve got a few decent BPL players in the National Team in Coleman, Shane Long, Robbie Brady and Wes Hoolahan.

    Sweden are no better than us aside from the big man.

    Ibrahimovic will likely decide this if he plays well or poorly.

  26. Jim lahey

    @WE – Tom

    We need to go back to basics like Spain did after the Euro 2000 (not suggesting we have the resources that Spain have). We need the game to be played correctly underage and in the next ten years build up a mentality of playing football on the ground. We already have the desire lets put the technique and talent into our game.

  27. Emiratesstroller

    Wenger is not going to make wholesale acquisitions or spend £200 million+
    on players.

    For all the rhetoric about how poor Giroud is the player is good value for money and Wenger is not going to sell him in this transfer window.

    I think that the fact that Wenger made an offer for Vardy is indicative of the fact that he would be competing with Giroud for the striker position in starting lineup.

    Morata at the price and wages he would cost would have to be guaranteed a place in starting lineup and when you look at his goalscoring record both at Real and Juventus that is not merited. For all the discussion about how good he is take a look at his goalscoring record for Spain and compare it with Giroud’s record for France.

  28. Tomtom


    The problem in Ireland is that the majority of kids are playing GAA or rugby and football has very little penetration in the schools.
    The FAI seem to be doing very little to change this.

    Shane Long is one Irish player that I feel could do a good job for Arsenal.
    Good finisher with plenty of pace, he would be an ideal back up striker and has a great work ethic.

  29. Jim lahey

    “The problem in Ireland is that the majority of kids are playing GAA or rugby and football has very little penetration in the schools.”

    Very true, my School was a big GAA school, also had a rugby team, but refused to have a football team even though there was a squad of excellent players asking time and time again for a team to be set up. Was such a shame.

  30. WengerEagle

    Jim Lahey

    I don’t see it getting any better tbh.

    Footballing coaching the kids in Ireland receive is cancerous, the bigger and faster kids thrive in the youth teams as they are the types of players to look amazing in a long ball system which is what everyone plays.

    Footy is also played an a hundred miles an hour, only one gear. Slowing down the play and retaining possession has always been strongly discouraged in my own experiences.

    There will always be a couple of players that buck the trend, Liam Brady was a magnificent footballer for us, Paul McGrath was as fine a ball-playing CB as you’ll see, Damien Duff was a starter and key player in a Premier League winning side and even Roy Keane was a seriously underrated baller though he wasn’t as technically gifted.

    It’s bizarre that we rely so much on our physicality as youngsters because when they do eventually progress to senior level, none of them can even perform the basics. The likes of the African boys and the French, English, etc will always be faster and more athletic than we are which is why our players usually look so shite at National Team level.

  31. WengerEagle


    Agree to an extent, around the country excluding Dublin GAA is probably the most popular sport and it certainly is in counties like Kerry, Cork, Kilkenny, Tipperary and Galway.

    In Dublin though I’d go as far as to say that football is the no.1 sport, definitely in the City Centre and North Dublin.

    South Dublin is a different story, Rugby dominates there.

    It’s also how poorly football is coached at grass-roots level, right from the u9’s in the NDSL up to the Airtricity League.

  32. Louis Almeida

    “It’s also how poorly football is coached at grass-roots level, right from the u9’s in the NDSL up to the Airtricity League.”

    It may be the culture of the country too. Growing up in Portugal and England I noticed distinct differences.

  33. Jim lahey

    @WE –

    You hit the nail on the head, growing up I was a very good footballer, I idolised Zidane and Bergkamp, wanted to play just like them! And being a small player (especially back then!) I had to be a skillful player to compete. But everything was stacked against me, opposition players would take turns kicking the legs from in under me, referees would allow it, its a mans game after all! My own manager once took me off for playing a ball back to a defender. I was all about retaining possession and passing it about, everyone else on the team were about getting the ball up the field as soon as possible, hit and hope. But that is what we were instructed to do! (one of my own team members once screamed at me “Why the fuck did you pass it back to me!”)

    We never had a chance of progressing as footballers!

  34. Louis Almeida

    WengerEagle, well to me England is very much how you describe it in Ireland at lower level. Big emphasis on strong, quick players. Very direct, no focus on combining and working with others, just wante to get it forward as quickly as possible. That works well to a point. Because if you find people as strong as you but with more skill, what is your comeback?? In Portugal from the moment you can walk you’re given a ball to make sure that you manipulate it well and that your control is as good as possible. Then you work in small groups and teams to emphasise this further. Only when you’re older do you get to play on bigger pitches.

  35. Wallace

    Cesc Appeal

    “Kante behind Elneny? behave”

    what I said…

    “watching him recently I might have been overly critical of what Kante can offer offensively, but he’s still a country mile behind Xhaka & Elneny in that respect.”

  36. Marko

    Worth pointing out any half decent young players in Ireland end up in England academies at a young age so there’s not much of a teaching over here in that respect

  37. Rambo Ramsey

    Xhaka Zulu

    “The worst people are those who won’t allow you to have an opinion on racism, religion, politics, furthermore abuse you for having an opinion”

    agree. sometimes I ask myself the same question: how much of all this sh!t we see is a byproduct of this ‘You can’t say that’,’You are supposed to say this’ rules that’s inflicting the modern society.

    you can get people to say what you want to hear, but does that change their inner thoughts? they’ll wear sweet,innocent masks on the outside while boiling away inside. but it all adds up to an uncontrolled eruption of emotion one day, resulting in these hate crimes that are increasing in number by the day.

    I mean, that Vardy racism accusations sum up how ridiculously sensitive people have become in this faux outrage era.

  38. WengerEagle

    Jim Lahey

    Part of it too IMO is the transition from 7-a side pitches to 11 a side pitches as 10/11 year olds which is nothing short of insane. Have you ever seen a 10 year old GK standing in 11 a side goalposts? Lol. Pitch is way too big as well and far too spacious which means that long-ball football to the taller, faster kids is what wins trophies. And that’s all the majority of coaches give a shit about, they treat it like it’s the fucking BPL, it’s embarrassing.

    All of these things mean that Irish footballers generally tend to have a crap first touch (on such a massive pitch as a kid, developing close ball control isn’t the priority), they can’t play the ball through the lines and retain possession and they usually are poor dribblers as that too is discouraged at youth level.

    Look at our Centre midfielders, Wes Hoolahan aside they can barely string two passes together and they usually just shit themselves in possession turning it over with a shit long pass attempt.

    The very first thing I’d do if I were John Delaney would be to make Futsal 5 aside/7 a side mandatory up until the age of 15 or so when kids are ready to make the transition to 11 aside from a physical standpoint.

    What better way to improve the technical ability of kids than having them in a confined area where everyone is on an equal footing physically and the borderline 6 foot 12 year old has to learn how to play football too.

  39. WengerEagle

    ”Only when you’re older do you get to play on bigger pitches.’

    That’s the sentence that stood out for me Louis.

    Exactly what should be done at youth level.

  40. Marko

    Yeah Wallace I hear you you think Xhaka and Elneny are better offensively than Kante by a country mile. I mean you’re wrong and considering they’re all DM’s/box to box midfielders why even say it

  41. Bamford10

    Absurd from Morata there. That one play demonstrates he’s LEVELS above Giroud. Run in behind, takes ball out of air acrobatically, plays clever heel pass to teammate.

  42. Jim lahey

    “The very first thing I’d do if I were John Delaney would be to make Futsal 5 aside/7 a side mandatory up until the age of 15 or so when kids are ready to make the transition to 11 aside from a physical standpoint.”

    Spot on!!

    I think we started playing on full sized 11-a-side pitches at U-14 level! Its ridiculous when you think about it!

  43. Louis Almeida

    “Where is the sense in having 10 year olds playing on the same size pitch with the same sized nets as grown men?”

    Yes it doesn’t make sense to me. I experienced this when I came over as a child from Portugal. I was quite big for my age but I still found it hard to adapt. Work on the technique first. The physical aspects can come later.

  44. Tomtom

    The FAI need to copy other countries successful development strategies and think long term.
    The plan at the moment is to hope any good young player gets scouted and sent to England.
    Totally agree with the culture being all wrong, I always had a good first touch and decent vision but if you try to beat a man or use the wings to attack you were sent home in shame to practice your long ball kicking

  45. Louis Almeida

    “Paul Scholes was played as a left winger for England in his prime.”

    Crazy! Especially as Xavi said Scholes was used as a reference point for all the young players in La Masia. And Xavi has a claim to be the best midfielder of the last decade.

  46. WengerEagle

    At kids level all the focus should be on technical ability because the physical traits as Louis has said will come with age.

    And the primary focus shouldn’t be on kids winning trophies IMO either, the style of play and encouraging imagination and creativity are much more important and will stand to you in the future.

    We all have medals we won as kids, what do they really mean?

  47. WengerEagle

    ‘I always had a good first touch and decent vision but if you try to beat a man or use the wings to attack you were sent home in shame to practice your long ball kicking’


  48. WengerEagle

    Germany and Belgium clearly did something to revamp the way that football is coached at grassroots level, apparently Germany pumped a lot of time and effort into it just after they were outclassed by Brazil in the 2002 World Cup Final.

    Took a while for it to come to fruition being outclassed by Spain in 2008 and 2010 and beaten by Italy in 2006 and 2012 but in 2014 it finally paid off.

    Germany lacked creative talent in that 2002 WC side, look at how much they have now in Ozil, Gotze, Reus, Draxler, Kroos, Muller, etc.

    Have Belgium ever had a side even comparable with the current team pound for pound talent wise?

  49. WengerEagle


    I heard that they show videos of Scholes in La Masia alright.

    You know you’re an amazing footballer when the likes of Zidane, Henry, Xavi, Iniesta, Guardiola and Xabi Alonso are singing your praises.

  50. Louis Almeida

    I read a nice article with Wenger a while back saying that in England youngsters are not that hungry anymore. As a kid you were used to playing football on the street but nowadays a lot of the young people are happy to just stay in and play on their playstation. Technology has made life easier so some people don’t really want to work anymore. It is why Wenger’s quotes about South America producing the best strikers makes sense. A lot of these people come from poor backgrounds so are working to make a living/street football may be all they know and their way to get out of poverty. There isn’t that hunger in Western Europe anymore I feel. In Portugal we have been looking for a good striker for years. Pauleta and Nuno Gomes did ok but we’ve never produced an elite one since Eusebio.

  51. WengerEagle

    One of my favourite ever quotes from the late Cruyff:

    “Had Michael been born in a poor ghetto in Brazil or Argentina with the ball being his only way out of poverty he would today be recognised as the biggest genius of the game ever. He had all the abilities to reach it but lacked this ghetto-instinct, which could have driven him there.”

    -Johan Cruyff on Michael Laudrup.

  52. WengerEagle

    Spot on Louis, most of the top players came from poor backgrounds with little else to commit themselves to other than football.

    Now you have 5 year olds with i-Phones that aren’t interested in going out and playing ball on the street.

    Kind of sad really.

  53. Jim lahey

    “Mourinho is a coach of titles, not football. Or rather, not a football coach if we understand the sport is a spectacle or entertainment for those who watch it, either at home or live in the stadium.”

    -Johan Cruyff


  54. WengerEagle

    ‘In Portugal we have been looking for a good striker for years. Pauleta and Nuno Gomes did ok but we’ve never produced an elite one since Eusebio.’

    Always found this weird, just down the road in Spain they have produced Raul, Fernando Torres, Fernando Morientes, David Villa and even now they have Morata.

    Why can’t Portugal source any decent CF’s?

  55. Louis Almeida

    Wenger Eagle, yes it’s true. There’s something about players that come from a poorer background having more hunger. It’s why Cristiano Ronaldo is so respected in Portugal even if he’s not liked that much. He’s from a very poor area in Madeira and had to graft. Mourinho is from a very affluent area and is the type that would not have socialised with Ronaldo if he was still poor. It’s that street instinct they have which can make them so innovative. It’s why I will always prefer Ronaldinho to Messi despite the Argentinian being the more consistent one. The former has more imagination to his game and the array of goals he could scorer were never the same. It’s another reason why I like Neymar so much. The street way of doing things. Football for me is about entertainment, a release from day-to-day life. It’s supposed to give you joy and put a smile on your face. It’s why I always prefer the artists to the athletes. And despite my fellow countryman being a great manager, it’s why I wouldn’t want Mourinho to either manage Arsenal or Benfica. Football is about winning of course, but the truly talented win with style.

  56. Tomtom

    I’ve just returned from a two week break in Italy where I failed to see even one kid playing football.
    I tried to speak to the locals about the euros but they had no interest.
    Seems like all kids want to do now is hang around in gangs and call everybody “Dude”

  57. Louis Almeida

    Wenger Eagle, your guess is as good as mine. We have some ok ones, or young ones who come through with hype but never meet the standard. It’s the only thing that’s cost us maybe a European title. We produce midfielders like there’s no tomorrow. Even our defence is decent too.

  58. Louis Almeida

    Cesc has no clue how to play as an #8 in a 433. Can’t forget that Pep hated him as a central midfielder, which is why he tried to change formation to move Cesc as a #10 behind Messi. He was supposed to be Xavi’s heir but when he moved to Barca it was evident he was nowhere near that level.

  59. WengerEagle


    Yeah you produce excellent defenders, Carvalho, Pepe, Bruno Alves, Coentrao.

    Everything but decent strikers, Nuno Gomes, Helder Postiga, Hugo Almeida have all won far too many caps for you.

    Pauleta was decent and had a good record but he was nothing compared to France, Spain and Italian stikers.

    Nelson Oliveira was supposed to be the next big thing, he’s struggling in the Championship these days.

  60. Louis Almeida

    “Nelson Oliveira was supposed to be the next big thing, he’s struggling in the Championship these days.”

    Yes I had high hopes for him when he broke through but he has the same problem as Morata and Welbeck. Everything is nice and pretty until it requires him to be ruthless in front of goal. Technically he’s well polished but lacks that mentality to be elite.

  61. Tomtom

    Florence, Lucca and San gimignano.
    Even the odd football pitch that I did come across seemed to be rarely used and in terrible condition

  62. WengerEagle

    Great post btw Louis about poverty being linked to footy.

    Zidane was another great that was dirt poor, past comes back to haunt certain players with the likes of Adriano and even today you have Benzema ruining his international career and possibly his club career by helping out a childhood ‘mate’.

    Messi is the GOAT for me but when I think of watching football for the joy of it, Ronaldinho will always be king.

    Some of the things he did will never be repeated.

  63. Marko

    Took a while for it to come to fruition being outclassed by Spain in 2008 and 2010 and beaten by Italy in 2006 and 2012 but in 2014 it finally paid off.

    That’s the thing England don’t get. It has absolutely nothing to do with putting a cap on foreign players in the premier league or a cap on the amount of English players in your team. If you want your national team to be better you have to teach them better at grassroots and there’s no quick fix it usually takes years maybe even decades. I mean you could probably pin point the time Germany did a whole rework on their teaching system it was probably around the time they had such a shocking set up around the time England beat them 5-1. Ever since then they’ve gradually gotten better and better.

    And yes this game sums up Morata to a tee. so much good but just lacking that clinical edge

  64. Louis Almeida

    I agreed with Wenger when he said it’s not good to cap the amount of foreign players. They play better when they play and learn from the best foreign talent. Wilshere said he has learnt so much from Fabregas and Ozil. Would he have learnt that much playing with Henderson and Milner? And what’s stopping English players going abroad to learn their trade and get game time? Lazy mentality in my opinion.

  65. WengerEagle

    Can’t help but feel that Fabregas has regressed.

    He was at the peak of his powers in 2009/10 for me.

    With half of the country calling for him to start at 18/19 years old at the 2006 World Cup it’s disappointing to see him being a bit part player a decade later, he had the potential to be as influential to the cause as Xavi was.

  66. Marko

    You could probably argue that better technical players like Wilshere, Dier (thought in Sporting Lisbon), Kane have all benefited from foreign coaching and playing with foreign players. I mean if it was left up to English thinking you’d have a team full of Ryan Shawcross and Peter Crouch’s

  67. WengerEagle

    True Marko.

    It’s no coincidence as well that arguably the most gifted English footballer ever in Gazza and the most gifted Irish footballer in Liam Brady both spent a chunk of their career playing in an elite Serie A.

    Gareth Bale is the only modern example of a British player thriving in a foreign league.

  68. Louis Almeida

    Wenger Eagle, Cesc isn’t really a controller like Xavi was though. I’ve never seen anybody completely control the tempo of a game like Xavi did. Knew went to slow it down and speed it up. They don’t have a direct replacement for him. Thiago is more of a roamer like Iniesta. Isco is also better utilised further forward. Xavi and Xabi Alonso both going at the same time was criminal.

    Also in my opinion, Germany’s attacking midfielders > Spain’s attacking midfielders. There’s more variation. Too many passers, not enough dribblers in the Spain squad for me. Germany have a nice mix of passers like Ozil, Kroos etc but also dribblers like Bellarabi, Draxler and Sane.

  69. Marko

    Yeah they just don’t travel do they. I mean fair enough the premier league being what it is probably has a big part in it but various players over the years had the opportunity to go develop in another country and they just didn’t take it.

  70. WengerEagle


    True but he was definitely more of a deep-lying playmaker from 2005-2007, in the 2007/08 season he started playing further forward with Flamini providing the protection and his goal return increased.

    I remember in the 2006 UCL Final when we subbed him off that our possession game fell apart, we kept turning over possession and being down to 10 men it was only a matter of time before Barcelona punished us which they of course eventually did.

    I think Fabregas is capable of dictating the tempo of the game, maybe not to the same level as Xavi as he was a genius at it but Cesc is definitely effective from deep. He pretty much played alongside Matic when Chelsea won the title and up until Christmas he was arguably the best player in the league.

    I think that you’re right though that he is more naturally a Michael Ballack/Frank Lampard/Steven Gerrard kind of player in that he is capable of scoring 15 goals a season when he’s playing in an advanced position and that he’s not as good at controlling the game as the likes of Xavi, Pirlo, Scholes were.

  71. WengerEagle

    Brazil and Uruguay out of the Copa.

    Brazil are a weird one in that they didn’t have their best players with them, Neymar wasn’t even in the squad because he chose to play in the Olympics instead.

  72. raptora

    Germany played very convincing for me for a good 80 minutes in their game. France also looked dangerous vs a good romanian side who conceded an impressive number of only 2 goals in their qualification group. Spain have a real problem not only scoring goals, but making real goal scoring opportunities. For me Germany looked the best, then France and Spain not even close as good as the other 2 favorites. Everything can change tho. There are so many games to play and we haven’t seen Italy just yet who even in their worst can always reach the final.