Antonio Conte needs to stop complaining (it was offside) and Liverpool need players in January

Antonio Conte gets upset at correct offside decision Credit: Alamy
Antonio Conte gets upset at correct offside decision Credit: Alamy

The bottom line is that Harry Kane was offside and Antonio Conte cannot change that; meanwhile, nobody is fooled by that Liverpool win.

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Shush Conte…offside is offside
Last year Conte said this to Arteta – “he complains a lot, he needs to concentrate more on his team”.

Ever since then all I’ve heard is Conte complain about decisions, referees, his players, that he wasn’t provided with a team full of world-class experienced professionals….I may have paraphrased that last one.

Every manager moans about decisions, you must know that if your going to jump on your moral high horse and tell others to stop complaining it’s going to bite you in the arse.

Yes the offside decision last night is not one that occurs that often in a game but I’ve seen it explained that a ball going backwards has no relevance to offside and the deflection of the defender is not deemed a deliberate attempt to play the ball so is also irrelevant. Kane was deemed ahead of the ball when it was played so he’s offside.

I know many people don’t like offside with VAR but it is far better than it was, yes there is some subjectivity to where the lines are drawn but it is a binary event 99% of the time. Draw the lines as best you can and the tech tells you if they are off or not. Unless you actually believe the VAR refs drawing the lines are deliberately drawing them in the wrong place to favour certain teams then the system is the same for all teams and other than goal-line technology is the next best ruling for eliminating any subjectiveness over the decision.

I saw Andy Townsend say ‘it doesn’t matter if it’s onside or offside, it’s ruining the game’ dear Lord, where to start with that!

Going back to what we had before would be terrible for offsides, see Anthony Gordon’s goal at the weekend for evidence of that.

The improvement just needs to be the speed of the decision – although I think any fan who benefits from the decision is quite happy the referee team took their time rather than make a snap call, and the communication to fans. See how VAR works in the Australian football league for evidence of the open ands audible communication between the ref and the var ref.

In summary, Conte needs to stop complaining and concentrate on his team.
Rich, AFC


Raging at VAR
That was the most disgusting, absurd refereeing decision I have ever seen in a professional game of football. VAR spent over five minutes analysing the ‘offside’, did they somehow not notice that Emerson Royale headed the ball backwards, which means it was impossible for Kane to be offside? If VAR is going to get these decisions so drastically wrong then the constant disruption it causes to the atmosphere and flow of the game isn’t worth it at all.

I was going to write a mail in this evening expressing my happiness at being able to enjoy these big European nights again but my evening has been completely ruined. If I was to force myself to list out the positives, we are top of the group, qualification is in our hands, our second-half performance was fantastic and full of character and Bryan Gil was excellent. When he came on. But those can’t mask my disappointment at that shocking decision.

Get VAR out of the game we all love. Now.
Barry Fox

(There is nothing in the offside rules about the direction of the ball. It was a correct decision. Thanks – Ed)


Gutted though
That is f**king ridiculous.
Jon (deflated, again), Lincoln


Liverpool need new blood
We needed yet another reset for our season and that wasn’t it really. 3-0 away is great of course but Ajax could and should have been 2 up before our first goal. They were cutting us apart in the first half and missed a couple of really gilt-edged chances.

Nothing as bad as Nunez’s miss though, my goodness. I know you love his chaotic manic unpredictability on this site, but he could really use calming down a fair bit and obtaining composure. It’s reasonably mean to be too critical when he scored in the 2nd half though. The thing is though, I don’t think his quality is all that great aside from the energy. I have faith Jurgen can refine him, but Nunez seems extremely raw to me still though.

We were much better in the 2nd half but Ajax seemed to just fall apart after the break. It’s as though Mo’s goal completely sapped all the self-belief out of them, even though it was against the run of play really. Weird.

A good run in the CL should never be taken for granted, but it has been de rigueur under Klopp. We’re winning nothing unless we freshen up the team in January. I really think last season took a lot out of us and we just haven’t recovered. Mentally, emotionally and physically we seem very tired and drained. A shadow of us at our best.

But this is all very negative given that we won. An away win against a genuinely big European club should always be enjoyed. God knows what version of ourselves will turn up for the next game though. I think we’ll get up for Leeds, the history between us in the 70s still matters.

Wouldn’t put any money on it mind you.
James, Liverpool


The kids are alright though
The first half hour made things feel a bit ugly. Like we were about to have a very long game but then the lads just got it together and took complete control.

Salah’s finish is amazing but a lot of respect for the way Henderson knocks that ball into his path with the outside of his boot.

This might be a rubbish season for us in the end but I feel like there’s an awful lot of promise in our youth. Elliott, Carvalho and Jones are all making claims to be a part of the team but tonight Bajcetic came on and looked incredibly tidy and neat at the base of midfield.
Minty, LFC


Casemiro or Partey? It doesn’t matter
MAW has got his/her nose bent right out of shape because Rio answered a question without checking his Gooner phrase book first. I mean its Rio, he’s got a big mouth and talks a lot of shit, don’t let him get to you. Of course he’s not going to say an Arsenal player is having a better season than his United counterpart especially when its not at all clear cut. It would be like asking Martin Keown who’s the better centre back Gabriel or Martinez, you’re going to get a biased answer, wouldn’t make me mad though.

For what’s it worth Partey has had 8 starts so far this season with an average WhoScored rating of 7.21, Casemiro has had 6 starts with a rating of 7.59 so the “Partey has been better – period” carries even less weight than Rio’s bluster. Though I don’t see why you even take issue with this, are you that jealous that another kid has a new toy?
Dave, Manchester


…Let me give MAW the LA Gooner an answer.

What we as United supporters haven’t wanted is just signing a big name that won’t actually add value to the side but will cost a lot. That is exactly the kind of transfer that we hate the Glazers (#GlazersOut) and Woodward for. Ronaldo falls into that category, but likes of Varane and Casemiro do not as both have given us a great improvement, although Varane’s injuries are a concern, probably why he was relatively cheap.

Has Partey had a better season than Casemiro so far? Of course you say yes, I would say no, pretty much the same and that’s without taking into consideration the expected time to adapt. Martinelli was a great signing, of that there is no doubt, but so is Antony and Ten Hag didn’t have the luxury of buying someone to develop. He’s still just 22 so hardly someone old and bought for a name. Maguire was supposed to be the missing link rather than a name, and I think we can all agree he’s definitely the missing link just not quite the one intended.

MAW, you do seem to have a bee in your bonnet about the fees, but I think we can understand why that is, since Arsenal don’t seem able to spend big sums.

As for what pundits think, does anyone really care? Arsenal and United both have had a history of making relatively unknown players into big names. Henry, Vieira, Bergkamp, Fabregas, Pires, Evra, Vidic, Rio himself, Rooney, Keane, Cantona, Ronaldo to name just a small handful. Let’s throw in Robben, Hazard, Suarez, Salah and Torres for some balance and inclusion. Of course, plastics will always want to croon over big name signings but most true fans don’t. We just want quality.

Of course, the core of this mail was that you think Partey is hard done by in this interview. Well, Rio is an ex-United player, so of course he’s going to include United (and likely that WAS the context of the question asked). And yes, Casemiro has done as well as Partey. But that’s fine because both are doing well. Chill out.


The world is treating me bad…misery
So amidst all the Champions League mails and Ronaldo saga was curious about two rotten teams and different views from their fans.

I’m a Huddersfield fan and we’re rock bottom and heading to league one less than 12 months after a play off final. I’m pragmatic about this, accepting our fate and not too downhearted about relegation. We massively over achieved last year, even if the play off final left a bitter taste and a new hatred of Nottingham Forest. Hearing Corboran is going to West Brom wasn’t even sad. He’s a decent manager and deserves a club who will back him in the transfer market.

My partner is a Wolves fan and absolutely bereft at their current state. They also appear relegation bound and though she can see the irony of us not playing each other next season she can’t wrap her head around it and is convinced something is seriously wrong at the club. She pinpoints Coady leaving but also Ruddy as well. Though clearly number two he obviously held some influence on the team and doubled with Coady going seems to have left the team rudderless. Watching them on Sunday they had no direction and no winning mentality, Championship seems inevitable. News that Neves is also going in January makes it hard to see anything else.

Just curious what other fans think, and if they’re in a similar gloom ridden football relationship. There is a whole life outside the top 6.

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