The Mailbox acknowledges Tottenham’s flaw but Antonio Conte’s men are better equipped than Arsenal to maintain their fine start. Also: Haaland the GOAT?
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Spurs: sh*t or great?
Dave Tickner’s piece on whether Spurs are good or not certainly echoes the mood amongst spurs fans – the glass half full view is we’re a point off top without things clicking and the glass half empty view is we can’t keep being this poor in possession without results catching up with us.
But overall I think it’s pretty clear that we are good, and this is sustainable. As Dave himself acknowledges, we create high quality chances and concede relatively few. But Dave said Leicester created ‘by far’ the better opportunity from open play, and actually they really didn’t. Over half their xG was a needlessly conceded penalty, the other goal was a tough chance shinned into the corner. Other than that, I remember two decent saves from Lloris, an outstanding header from a very tough chance from Daka, and one really good chance for Maddison. Spurs scored 4 goals from open play, which seems relevant.
Spurs have won games under Conte in freewheeling style (see end of last season) and they are winning games this year without that panache, but the point is our lack of possession and control in the middle of the pitch is a feature, not a bug. The system means spurs typically have at least 5 players hitting the box aggressively when they attack, but are extremely difficult to break down even when they (repeatedly on Saturday) give the ball away in their own half. It’s not pretty but it is sustainable, and it works against good and bad teams. By contrast, Arsenal are pretty but they’ve played one team likely to finish top 8 (maybe even top half) and got turned over. Maybe we need some articles on whether they are actually good or flat track bullies as well?
Haaland the GOAT?
He is going to end the debate of all debates isn’t he? Ronaldo vs Messi will seem like child’s play after Erling drags Norway to Euros and then World Cup glory. Unreal.
Nik (didn’t rate him) Munich
Cherries in Toon
I love Newcastle away. Used to live up there so still got some mates in the city and having now been five times with Bournemouth it’s never failed to be a great weekend. In the pub before the game we were treated like a rare species by the locals, ceaselessly hospitable as always.
That being said, if I was a fan of Bournemouth’s opponents I would absolutely hate watching us. Oddly, it’s for all the reasons that Eddie Howe used to get criticised for not doing last time we were up. Killing time from the off, sitting very compact and deep and only occasionally trying to break out. He was very careful not to openly criticise Bournemouth after the game but it was clear he was frustrated. Newcastle looked pretty limited but points like that would not have been won under Parker and I am sure the overwhelming majority of Bournemouth fans would take ground out points like that any day of the week.
Quick shout for Jefferson Lerma. In the last year of his five year contract as the club record signing, he is the absolute definition of a cult hero. Penalty was harsh but right but his positional discipline is outstanding. I still don’t imagine we stay up but really hope he stays.
Finally we really really need a song for Phil Billing. A lot of fans get on his back as he often seems to be coasting and just looks so laconic but that’s two great finishes in the last two games and his contribution to the defensive work can go unnoticed.
Andy J, BH7.
Arsenal keeping Stewie quiet
Stewie is totally just biding his time until the next shambolic Arsenal display. Keeping abreast of league developments, he will presumably busy himself by enjoying the explosion of Haaland, curiously observing whether or not Liverpool can regain anything approaching table-topping form…all while maintaining his Great Eye fixated on the Arsenal. That email will come.
This isn’t “Arsenal pessimism” – it’s just being realistic. Those days are extremely unlikely to be completely over and done with. I think the culture has changed for the most part – to me it’s mostly that we are still the youngest team in the league. It just hopefully doesn’t happen in the next match or the one after that. Hopefully it doesn’t happen for a while. Even the best teams have terrible days – they just rarely happen. Last year there was a regular pattern of dropping form that was typically precipitated by some terrible display. This has been well documented. This needs to stop happening and we need to start playing well for weeks then months at a time.
Keep the rate of Stewie submissions at it’s current slow rate. Hopefully, one day we won’t have to get them anymore. Then we shall truly be title contenders.
MAW, LA Gooner (6 first-team players out for Arsenal during yesterday’s nice kick about. Yes, we need to try to get a holding midfielder in January…if we can get a good deal which is notoriously difficult but we know of some options. See: Luiz, Douglas. Hopefully, Villa will be solidly safe and willing to negotiate. That being said, all in all, our depth problems have been over-exaggerated as it relates to just being a top 4 team.)
The big one
Now that the Brighton v Crystal Place game was called off at the weekend due to the lack of police numbers (presumably), does this mean that the A23 rivalry can take it’s place alongside the great rivalries of sport such as EL classico, the Yankees/Red Sox, India v Pakistan and Fraizer Vs Ali?
Aidan Boyce, Wexford
All as bad as each other
Reply to James Outram, Wirral. Dear James…
As you keep writing in about the human rights abuses of the UAE, I’m surprised that you support Liverpool, which
1. Is owned by an American. There’s enough examples of human rights abuses by Americans towards their own people as well immigrants (De Santos shoving them off to another state in false pretences. Is it that those abuses are okay because they’re perpetrated by a white man?
2. The club you support wanted to not pay its lowest earning employees during the covid lockdown. Is that not abusive behaviour?
…When Leicester won the premier league I enjoyed it. After I stopped being annoyed at Arsenal of course, but I did. Because of what Andrew says, it’s nice seeing the established order being overthrown.
Man City were taken over by a country for the purpose of sports washing. They have spent £2 billion to do so. Plucky underdogs dirtying the eye of the evil empire they ain’t.
Enjoy your dominance, Andrew. You should. But let’s not play make believe.
Tributes for the Queen
Applause in the ’70th’ minute.
I hate to be pedantic, and I hope I’m not the only one….but, everyone realises those applauses were in the 71st minute…don’t they?!
Adam, LFC, Belfast
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