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Tony Hill
1 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:16:35
It looks like The Damned United (read it if you haven't, and other David Peace books including his one on Shankly) are going to be back in the Premier League, top result for them tonight against Holgate's WBA.

Bielsa is doing a superb job and he will be a delight to have among us. I have a special loathing for Leeds Utd, like a lot of older Blues, but they're a proper club.

Looking forward to seeing Dowell, I hope, in the Sheffield derby on Monday. He was my great hope, Kieran, with his lovely, elegant running and touch but he's let me down. It would be wonderful if he could inject stamina and achieve a tougher edge to his game, and so fulfil his native talent.

But Baningime is my new great hope. That boy is an absolute jewel and I do not want him to drift away from us. He's got a beautiful style and he's a natural Blue.

Jay Wood

2 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:24:07
Anyone watch the Leeds game tonight?

Damn! They looked impressive. Our Mason Holgate for WBA stuck at it, but all over the park Leeds were snapping at the opposition heels with 2-3 players around them, similar to our all-conquering 1980s side out of possession.

There are a couple of very interesting pieces on the BBC right now about Bielsa, a written piece:


and a more in-depth podcast:


I flag them up because when you read and listen to how he has single-handedly transformed the mindset at Leeds (in the same time as Silva has been with us, remember) it rather makes a nonsense of some claims that a manager cannot be expected to radically turn around a club in a single season.

His attention to detail is extreme. In a new dormitory he had built for the players, he asked the constructor to re-align the plug fittings because they weren't exactly centred between the beds!

I'm guessing he has OCD - obsessive-compulsive disorder - the need to have everything 'just right'.

But it is his attention to detail on the football (as revealed by his 'Spygate' Powerpoint presentation) which is of course of most interest. Drill-drill-and drill again.

Patrick Bamford, their centre forward, commented he thought he was doing a particular drill well, but Bielsa pulled him aside and kept tweaking it until he got it right. Bamford told the interviewer he didn't understand why so much attention to detail...until he made the exact play in-game as the drill.

Unconsciously, the drill had improved his game.

Everyone at the club cannot sing his praises enough. A couple said even if he left tomorrow, the infrastructure he has put in place will make it very easy for a new manager to step into.

Well worth a listen.

Stephen Meighan
3 Posted 01/03/2019 at 22:43:58
Tony @27, so you think Dowell, Holgate, Baningime are the future of Everton Football Club? For fuck's sake, get real. I would love it if they were but it's not going to happen, is it?

Two of them are currently out on loan at Championship clubs. Baningime is currently injured, I believe, but what I've seen of him... okay, only a kid but nothing special – not exactly a Wayne Rooney. Only one I've seen the last few years who looks half decent is Jonjoe Kenny.

Now I'm not saying he's the finished article, far from it, but the lad has got balls. Something a lot of the current first team haven't. Hope he plays Sunday and leathers one of them Red Shite bastards.

Jim Bennings
4 Posted 02/03/2019 at 12:10:08
We are all praying for a Man City win and maybe draws between West Ham and Newcastle and other sides instantly above or below us not getting points.

City worry me slightly, the type of game where they have slipped up this season and the fact they have already lost four games this season suggests there’s always a defeat in them not far off.

We can only hope we do our part tomorrow.

Jim Bennings
5 Posted 02/03/2019 at 15:51:28
City stuttering and stumbling again. Let's hope they get their act together in the second half.

Anthony Murphy
6 Posted 02/03/2019 at 16:16:26
Man City take the lead. Just like against West Ham midweek, not playing well but scraping wins is the stuff of champions.
Jim Bennings
7 Posted 02/03/2019 at 16:36:19
We need to start getting regular points on the board because all beating Cardiff did was give us breathing space.

Palace are right up our ass and we have a group of hard games on the horizon without showing disrespect to Cardiff, a different kettle of fish.

Sam Hoare
8 Posted 02/03/2019 at 16:39:14
Another Zaha masterpiece. How much better would we be if we’d have bought him instead of Bolasie for £28m?!
Martin Nicholls
9 Posted 02/03/2019 at 17:01:04
And I thought we were bad! 23 shots and only 1 goal – shocking from City!

Only kidding! Come on, Blues – make our weekend now.

Dave Abrahams
10 Posted 02/03/2019 at 17:06:18
Make you sweat, Man City, don't they? Twice in a week... worse than waiting for Everton's score.

Mind you, Fernando has been missing from those games, he's a big loss for City, so that is something to be thankful for.

Let's give them a lift tomorrow, a big lift.

Sam Hoare
11 Posted 02/03/2019 at 17:09:54
Bournemouth without a single shot (on or off target) or corner. And 18% of posession. Allardyce-esque.
Jim Bennings
12 Posted 02/03/2019 at 17:58:25
Sam @8,

The answer is miles better off!

I thought Bolasie would be a useful player for us when he signed, I liked him at Palace but it never once looked like happening for him here even before the injury to be honest.

Zaha is a far better footballer and has come on more in the last 18 months, he always had really good ability on the ball but he's got end product now too.

Joe McMahon
13 Posted 02/03/2019 at 18:28:43
Sam, Sam A, isn't the worst manager we've had, he did a job over just a few months, with an awful squad.
Jim Bennings
14 Posted 02/03/2019 at 19:28:28
Oh well, back at 10th anyway.

Just proves that we are going to have to start winning more games if we are to have a top-half finish.

Sam Hoare
15 Posted 02/03/2019 at 19:33:41
Jim, I could be wrong but, even when we signed Bolasie, I think Zaha had a similar end product to Yannick and was 4 years younger. It was part of Walsh's master plan to buy tried and tested Premier League players but I'd always prefer the younger version with more potential.

Only way we'll ever crack the top 4 is by unearthing a bunch of gems, Dortmund style. I think Brands sees it that way too, luckily. Expect more 21- to 24-year-olds this Summer.

Jim Bennings
16 Posted 03/03/2019 at 13:09:26
Deeney scored again to put Watford 1 up against polished teeth Rodgers.
Steve Ferns
17 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:01:33
What drama for Man Utd. Didn’t see it all, only the last 30 mins. Looks like it’s going to be an English club this year.
Rob Halligan
18 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:07:12
Steve, that was never a penalty in a million years. Defender turned his back and his arm was not out enough to warrant a penalty. It smacked the defender on the elbow.
Steve Ferns
19 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:08:11
No Rob. But it was good drama.
Rob Halligan
20 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:09:58
Good tactics by OGS though. Played a 4-5-1 formation from 55 minutes onwards, and defended well, just hoping for that one break in the last few minutes. The RS will be going ape shit. 😁😁😁
Dave Abrahams
21 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:11:19
Rob (18), never saw it, it was given after VAR, I think this method of refereeing a game will cause as many arguments as solutions.
Rob Halligan
22 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:12:07
It was Dave. The referee gave a corner then got told to review.
Dave Abrahams
23 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:15:15
However United got through Rob, you are correct it will drive those Kloppites nuts, especially if they get knocked out next week.
Tony Abrahams
24 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:22:13
Fucking disgusting decision imo, and it makes me worry for the game of football long-term.

I reckon the United player would have been made up he was getting a corner, because I’m sure that shot was on its way over the bar, so to get a penalty was absurd, especially when you have to listen to people, justifying that it was the correct decision?

John Pierce
25 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:24:47
That was the most interventionist tripe I’ve ever seen. Not one player was in the referees ear about that. The players had settled for the corner, it tells you their thoughts. Yet VAR has to intervene. If as an official you insert yourself into a situation that does not need managing you deserve all the flack you get. Shocking. If that corner had played out and the game ended not one complaint would surface. Flawed system, flawed law, flawed execution. Designed by a koppite no doubt. Utter bollocks.
Tony Abrahams
26 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:25:03
Dave, if Man City get through and draw Man Utd, I think it might just give the league to the other crowd?

Rob Halligan
27 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:28:56
As far As I'm aware, there has to be intent to award a penalty. No way was there intent there by the PSG defender. As we speak a similar scenario taking place in the other game. VAR reviewers a penalty to Porto.
John Pierce
28 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:29:24
It just keeps coming. Porto - Roma: VAR penalty given when the player has zero chance of playing the ball. Insidious!
John Keating
29 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:33:12
I understand goal line technology cos it's instant and so far 100%

VAR is ridiculous. Ridiculous amount of time to make an incorrect decision!

This will cause more trouble than it's worth.

We need mistakes, arguments, Indecisions in the game to make it what it is. We need to spend hours arguing, disagreeing, having different opinions in pubs online wherever.

We are in danger of sanitizing the game. Ruining it

John Pierce
30 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:34:52
And there you go every marginal decision the players appeal for it and on and on. As we speak, Roma should get a penalty.
Rob Halligan
31 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:36:31
He was clipped from behind, John. Should have been given.
John Pierce
32 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:38:02
Rob. That of all three incidents was the clearest penalty yet it was ignored. Madness.
Rob Halligan
33 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:40:03
Why didn't the referee look on the screen for that possible penalty for Roma? What's the difference?
Anthony Murphy
34 Posted 06/03/2019 at 22:48:09
The Ronaldo elbow in the World Cup last year provides evidence of sorts to me that we will all be kicking off next season about how VAR favours the bigger teams/players. I may be wrong, but that's the concern here. I also think we may see adverts sneaking in during VAR breaks in play. Overall, the cons outweigh the pros but the ship has sailed.
Mike Gaynes
35 Posted 06/03/2019 at 23:00:24
Agreed that VAR pen award was a disgrace.

However, while VAR will never be perfect, it will still make the game better in the long run by taking referee prejudice and player influence out of crucial calls like that. There will never be another Collina, and that makes VAR worth it.

And as much as I despise Man Utd, the outcome was justified. PSG choked. Massively.

John Pierce
36 Posted 06/03/2019 at 23:03:50
Rob. Why didn’t he look? He absolutely should have, clear mistake, I can see that in real time. That’s the problem with ‘a technology that intervenes’, it’s subjective and counter intuitive.

If you have referral then it’s decided by the players, who frankly are in the best place to judge. The referee has no choice but to review. It also means the players don’t review things that are frivolous, they will use it only for massive mistakes. Sure it may get used tactically, that’s true but if you limit the review to one per half then it won’t happen repeatedly.
Once the review is lost the players know they’re out of chances. With this system players can open ended, petition for a review as the game nears its conclusion.

It’s a full on disaster for me. But as said above the genie is out of the bottle.

John Keating
37 Posted 06/03/2019 at 23:12:39
Mike, I don't believe it will take referee prejudice out of it. Can you imagine Clattenburg or Atkinson doing VAR? We'd still get shat on.

Let's say Atkinson spends 4-5 minutes looking at VAR on an obvious Everton penalty against the RS and as expected doesn't give us the decision, the time is added on at the end of injury time and the RS score in the 100th minute. There'll be mayhem.

We are in danger of making the game too clinical and, let's be honest, some of the VAR decisions are nonsense.

You would know better but even the NFL who have a similar system for years can't get it right. Wasn't one of the Championship games this year fucked up? New Orleans Saints, I think?

Mike Gaynes
38 Posted 06/03/2019 at 23:42:27
John #37, you just inadvertently made my case.

The NFL replay system works very well (although sometimes it still takes too long). The horrendous, season-changing play you mentioned was an obvious penalty not called -- a play that cannot be reviewed under the current NFL replay rules. Had replay covered a play like that, the correct team would have gone to the Super Bowl.

Furthermore, every major US sport now has some kind of VAR/replay system -- baseball, NFL, hockey, NBA, college football, college basketball and MLS -- and after various bumpy starts, all are now universally accepted and popular among players, coaches and fans. All have had to be changed/tweaked and the rules adjusted, a process that is ongoing, and none is perfect. But you'll find very few fans who would want them removed.

Watching that process in all these sports is what makes me support VAR for the Prem -- and be confident that within a couple of years it will work just fine.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 07/03/2019 at 08:59:00
I think PSG got there own Collina moment last night, Mike?

I felt sad for the game of football last night, made me feel sick actually, and this decision could have produced a riot in certain parts of the world, in places were passionate people don't like to see an injustice.

James Hughes
40 Posted 07/03/2019 at 09:10:42
Did anyone see Dzeko's disgraceful play acting with Pepe? It was laughable at best, cringeworthy and awful. How a grown man can fall over like that and still expect to be taken seriously is beyond me.

Derek Thomas
41 Posted 07/03/2019 at 09:13:30
Tony @39; With the new handball interpretation, which did nothing except make if a different type of vague and VAR, these are the sort of decisions we will see. Players will just hit and hope into the box, looking to hit a stray arm or hand that may or may not fit the silhouette as seen by the Ref on the day.

And we all know who will get the bad news first — Us!

Dave Abrahams
42 Posted 07/03/2019 at 09:17:06
John (29), don’t worry about lack of argument when VAR comes in, without doubt, whether you are for it or not, VAR will multiply the arguments.
James Marshall
43 Posted 07/03/2019 at 09:32:20
VAR is pointless in it's current form – they're changing the rules to suit the technology and last night was a joke of a decision. There is no way that should have been a penalty, and while I couldn't care less who won, or indeed who wins the Champions League, as long as it isn't the obvious evil over the road, you have to feel for PSG and football as a whole.

Yes, these things are great when they go for you (I know quite a few Man Utd fans who are deliriously happy) but at some point, the boot will be on the other foot.

Kimpembe turned his back and had his arms by his side and that's a penalty?! Seriously? VAR will not stop the arguments, it will increase them because it still comes down to the interpretation of the stupid new rules and the way in which one person, the referee, see's them at the time.

I enjoyed the drama of last night. and part of me is weirdly happy to see Man Utd doing well again (shoot me down here if you like) but VAR is bullshit. Trying to sanitise the game more & more will ruin football.

The only technology I like is the goal-line thing, the rest of it, nah, leave the game alone.

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