11 hot takes after two weeks of Premier League football, Man Utd vs Liverpool and more mails…

·13-min read
Liverpool winger Luis Diaz is tackled by Raphael Varane Credit: PA Images
Liverpool winger Luis Diaz is tackled by Raphael Varane Credit: PA Images

We have some delicious hot takes from one of our Mailboxers on Wednesday afternoon. Plus, Man Utd vs Liverpool, weird tour, refereeing conspiracy and more…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


Hot takes after two weeks
Dear Ed

Some hot takes based on two Premier League matchdays –

United aren’t even funny anymore. Won’t be surprised if they stay in the mire til’ Sir Fergie’s aura dissipates. (Wondering if Busby’s departure left a similar impact, what was it, 26 years between titles?)

The prophecies spoke about Klopp having a problem in the seventh season. That’s now us conceded first in our last 6 matches.

Haaland is going to break every record. City’s title already.

Arsenal looking like a team. Jesus is redeeming Arteta’s football beliefs.

Thought Conte is a psycho but Tuchel trumps him. And not just by a bit.

The fraud across Stanley Park is still a fraud.

Stevie needs to sort his team out or he’ll be first to go after the fraud.

Bournemouth are as good as gone.

Moyes’ last season as a manager in the English game.

Thomas Frank to be United’s next manager.

Forest are back but f*ck Forest cos they’re Forest.

Wik, Pretoria (the light blue moon above England will be glowing brightly for a long time still), LFC


United Line up against Liverpool
After the abysmal performance from United against Brentford, which reminded me of the famous Brazil-Germany 7-1 again, some players are somehow already showing they cannot play the way the manager wants and seem uncapable and running when its hot as well.

So something drastic has to happen and Ten Haag now has leverage to drop some of those shitty good for nothing players against Liverpool, some of them just aren’t cut out when the pressure is on. Yes its a lot of pressure, but when you lose 7 away games in a row (with 3 of those losses being 4-0 losses), this is a sign of a team that is simply terrified to lose and have no chemistry between each other. This is the line-up I would go for against Liverpool and they need a result more than ever:

GK – Heaton (Drop De Gea, his display against Brentford has got me thinking he is done and not too sure why he can’t use this feet properly he trains everyday)
RB – Dalot
CB: Maguire (But start Lindelof if fit to play)
CB: Varane
LB: Malacia (Big game for his full debut, but Shaw is so overrated and has now defensive awareness, and Salah will tear him a new one)
CDM: Martinez (No one can tackle in our midfield, and he seems aggressive/fiesty, so put him at CDM and hope for the best)
CM: Eriksen
CM: Fred (We have no one better, wouldn’t play Fernandes because he gives the ball away more than anyone)
RW: Elanga (Was our best winger last season which is kind of sad)
LW: Sancho (Much more effective on the left)
ST: Rashford (Need someone speedy to cause Liverpool CB’s some potential issues, showed some weakness against Zaha on Monday and can run in behind)

No Ronaldo in the line-up because I don’t think he will be effective if Liverpool have most of the ball, but bring him on as an impact sub. Truthfully if I were Ronaldo, I would take a large pay cut and join Chelsea given they have Champions League football and would benefit hugely having him in the team. Anyone who says his legacy would be ruined is talking rubbish, United have brought this on themselves and didn’t have to come back in the first place.

Rashford really needs to get his head out of his arse and start performing. I heard a stat that he didn’t score in any starts in the league last season. Just looks like a complete lost player after the Euros that has now confidence and needs a goal more than anyone.
Rami, Manchester


Bad decisions happen in football
Three days after the game now. 3. Why are people still crying about decisions in football matches three days after the game?

Bad decisions happen in football. Last season Harry Kane had a goal disallowed in the game at Stamford Bridge because he tickled Thiago Silva. It changed the whole game. This season the decisions have gone our way. In the first half Cucurella stamped on Romero’s leg and got away with it. There’s no rule against hair pulling. Perhaps there should be but it was both teams walking that line at the weekend.

Over the years Chelsea have had goals given against us in an FA Cup Semi at Wembley that didn’t even cross the line! It’s annoying but it happens

But why are we now having Gooners complaining about decisions in a Chelsea v Tottenham game? We all know Arsenal/Chelsea is already an embarrassing derby, rolling over for each other when it mutually suits, selling players to each other etc, but writing a mail in with a huge pre amble about how hard done by Arsenal had been with referees as if to add legitimacy to this bizarre conspiracy being peddled? These two clubs cosying up to each other is hilarious

Lads, it’s football. It’s amusing to see people talk about a grand conspiracy which just doesn’t exist. These theories wouldn’t even pass the incredibly low bar for accurate info set on Infowars. It’s laughable that either of these clubs believe in some sort of benign force stopping them from winning. Our mutual enemy here is poor officiating, lack of accountability for poor performance and a lack of transparency of the decision making process on the field and on VAR.

Start a petition to review the process of referee accountability. If there’s a conspiracy, stopping Anthony Taylor reffing your games isn’t going to change anything. Let’s have refs out discussing decisions in the game. Let’s make their reports visible to the public. Everything else regarding the matches themselves are public except details around the referees. I’ll back fans of any club with this, but hearing fans of clubs who over the years are massively in credit when it comes to terrible referee injustice complaining about a ref having a one off bad game anymore I think I’ll have to Van Gogh both eyes and ears


Dale May, Swindon Wengerite, they say a little knowledge is a dangerous thing and this is certainly the case with your understanding of VAR. Yes, the VAR will look back to see if there was an offence in the build up to a goal that would rule it out, but they cannot go back beyond the previous restart. So if Romero had pulled Cucurella’s hair at the corner Kane scored from, the goal would have been disallowed. But as it was from the previous corner, it could not have been looked at. While this is very annoying for everyone connected with Chelsea, the alternative position would be that Spurs had a corner they could never have scored from which would be a complete waste of everyone’s time. It was an error to not send off Romero for violent conduct, but once that decision was made it could not be changed after the goal was scored.

Similarly, it was a clear foul on Havertz prior to Spurs’ first equalizer. But this was 44 seconds before the goal, there has to be a limit on how far back VAR can look. There is also the option for Chelsea to defend better, ceding possession deep in the opponent’s half and a corner are by no means guaranteed goals.

On your Arsenal conspiracy rant you failed to mention the terrible penalty decision in favour of Arsenal and red card for Coufal in the game at the Emirates last season – was the ref that day not at the meeting when everyone decided Arsenal MUST BE STOPPED? West Ham were on the end of a couple of iffy decisions at the weekend vs Forest, but it doesn’t mean there is any sort of agenda and David Moyes was very keen to stress that we need to be better and overcome those hurdles. If more managers took the same view the game would be considerably better.
Andy the Hammer


Dear F365

Re Dale May’s comical email about ref conspiracies which are somehow targeted against Arsenal. Much like Amazon’s ‘All or Nothing’ documentary he completely ignores Arsenal getting the North London derby called off because of a single case of Covid and only a week after they voluntarily sent two players out on loan.

Or the game against Man Utd last season when Cedric clearly handballed in the penalty area but no penalty was given. This was when Arsenal were leading 1-0 and clearly affected the outcome of the game.

A review of VAR decisions in games involving Arsenal found the following: VAR intervened and overturned 14 decisions. The Gunners found that it handed them six goals and chalked off two, while correctly handing them four penalties and pointing to the spot for the opposition twice.

No Arsenal players were sent off after intervention from VAR while their opponents had one player sent off. Six subjective decisions went in favour for the Gunners while two went against.

Be interested to know how Dale manages to square that circle…

A quick google search reads that for Arsenal fans this conspiracy has been in place for more than a decade (a period during which they managed to qualify for the champions league several times and win a few cups). See for example a Bleacher Report article dating all the way back to 2011.

There is clearly a long-standing issue with the quality of refereeing in this country which VAR has amplified but this is not targeted at Arsenal. To claim otherwise is beyond parody
Chris B (Exiled Spurs fan)

Anthony Taylor is at the centre of the current refereeing 'crisis', here booking Kai Havertz during Chelsea vs Spurs Credit: PA Images
Anthony Taylor is at the centre of the current refereeing 'crisis', here booking Kai Havertz during Chelsea vs Spurs Credit: PA Images

Dear Dale May, Swindon Wengerite,

1. The hair pull was not a clear red card hence why VAR didn’t intervene. There are plenty of examples of players pulling hair and not being sent off.

2. Tottenham were not pre match favourites. Chelsea were 2.25 to win the game, Spurs were 3.20.

Just because you present something as a fact doesn’t mean it is a fact. I’m sure Arsenal bottling 4th last season still stings, but it had nothing to do with a refereeing conspiracy. The more Arsenal fans bang on about refs the more bitter you look.
Rob Pearse


I’m sure you’ll get lots of responses to Dale May and SC’s claims of refereeing conspiracies and incompetence, but for what it’s worth, Dale, your interpretation of events does not make this a conspiracy. It makes it a classic conspiracy theory, along the lines of your Q Anons and your elections steals. You’ve got a highly partisan group howling conspiracy (as you put it) and the opposition laughing at them. You’ve got the head of your partisan group attending a meeting with a higher power, as if that somehow validates the conspiracy, even though no doubt their response will definitely be “nope, definitely no conspiracy here”. The rest of your argument is based around comment sections to online articles, as if the reactions of online trolls is finally giving the issue mainstream exposure.

Strangely, the second part of your email isn’t about Arsenal at all, and in fact is about a game where contentious refereeing decisions resulted in two of your direct rivals dropping points. I accept that Tottenham had the rub of the green in this game, but i think lots of people have answered that question: there are lots of incidents in the recent past where hair pulling has not been deemed a red card offence – it’s clearly not like a swinging elbow where any contact will be an automatic red. VAR deemed it not worthy of red and therefore could not intervene.

Incidentally, and i don’t know how this is relevant, Tottenham were not favourites – Skybet had Tottenham at 21/10 and Chelsea at 5/4.
GM, Spurs


Dale May, my heart bleeds for you. You make it seem as though Arsenal are the only side to have ever suffered from a string of poor refereeing decisions. You even try and use Xhaka as an example and imply that he’s been hard done by! I will admit the guy has the occasional good day but overall he is an absolute liability and if you cannot see that then, well, words fail me.

For the record, I’m a Spurs fan and Romero should have been sent off. However, the goal was not “straight after” the hair pull. Much the same as our first goal weas not “straight after” Bentancur’s alleged foul (when some angles show he does actually get the ball – so it was hardly the shocking decision that Chelsea fans are bleating on about anyway). People can and do twist the facts to suit their narrative, I get that, but there is quite clearly no conspiracy here and if you truly believe there is then you are as deluded as your whinge bag of a coach who, despite the fact he is a complete novice in his position, considers himself to be a top end coach and one in the position (which ought to be earned over time and experience) to poke holes at the set up.

Just stop moaning and enjoy the fact that your team are currently playing well – because it won’t last.

Oh, and Spurs were not the pre match favourites to win that game, Chelsea were.
Dave, Berkshire Spur


All-purpose refereeing conspiracy reply
Dear Football365,

To fans of the Arsenal, Chelsea or anyone else I’ve missed who has alleged that officials are conspiring against your team. Imagine for a second that there is, somewhere an organised effort to treat a club far more harshly than any others in order to harm their chances.

Wouldn’t they pick someone a bit better than your team?
Ed Quoththeraven


Weird tour…
I totally agree with Marco van Basten
when he says that it was an idiotic decision to go on tour when Man UTD have just installed a new coach in Erik ten Hag. The best decision would have been to cancel the tour, remain at Carrington, and let the new manager try to instill his new way of playing away from all the distractions.
It would also have been a great idea to tell Ronaldo to look for a new club while he was dealing with his “family issue” back in Portugal. By text. Like happened with Diego Costa. But hindsight is a bitch!
Melveaux (PS – I’m glad ten Hag has finally seen the light and has sanctioned the sale of our latest virus after we allowed the one we had to spread to Italy…)


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