After the happiness of Monday comes the misery of Tuesday: Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal all came up short.
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Actually, Liverpool did bottle it
Two mailboxes full of Liverpool fans making it all about themselves. This is a club who failed one of their objectives on Sunday, yet somehow Scouse logic prevails. Lucky are we to watch the best team to ever be assembled finishing second. Lucky are we that they pushed City all the way.
I wrote in a couple of weeks ago to say there’s nothing exceptional about this Liverpool team and I stand by that. Imagine a team with character, playing at home attacking their favourite end when they hear the crowd roar that City are now 2-0 down. Do they up a gear? Do the bigger players step up? Nope. They couldn’t string a pass together. They froze.
Only when the news filtered through that City were now winning did the shackles come off and they started to play. This is because as a club there is no better underdog than Liverpool.
I’ve read some posts saying “At least we didn’t bottle it” I would wholeheartedly disagree, in fact you did bottle it. If City go 2-0 down knowing Liverpool were cruising then I don’t think they come back. There was no moment were panic washed through the Etihad as mumbles of Liverpool going ahead at Anfield circulated. Not one moment of Sunday were Liverpool top, just the way a team of plucky underdogs like it.
…I don’t mean to urinate on anyone’s fireworks or anything, but why on earth is the mailbox full of rampant Liverpool fans (most probably wore the red of United during the nineties, mind) celebrating Liverpool’s blatant failings?
They came second. Second is the first loser. When the pressure was on on Sunday they bottled it. When the pressure was off they took control of their game, including the hilarity of Salah celebrating like his goal meant more.
As Merson recently said, they blagged two cups on penalties. As I’ve said before, on these fine pages in my accurate portrayal of Liverpool’s luck, they’ve benefitted from a league full of big teams rebuilding and clearly lost out to the only club of quality.
Yes they may win the European Cup, following the luckiest path to the final to meet the weakest Madrid team in years, but other than that it’s a pretty overrated season made to look good by illusions of success borne from the vocalisations of fans bearing red-tinted spectacles.
This team will be remembered as, at best, one of vigour and effort, but mostly as a squad forever darkened by Manchester City’s shadow.
Take the heat, Liverpool fans
There are a few memories that sprung to mind after how Sunday’s final day unfolded.
First being the time when Blackburn thought they had thrown away the title; Jaime Redknapp scored to put Liverpool 2-1 up and United couldn’t find a winner at Upton Park, so close but so far. Talk about timing? If Blackburn were behind earlier in that half, surely we would have got a winner at West Ham.
Second being the time when we thought we had stolen the title from City after beating Sunderland, only for Aguero to pop-up and… well. The hysterics of Liverpool supporters that year despite finishing 37 points behind City, yet you can’t handle the same ridicule from United fans now in the same position?
One last response to the ‘if it weren’t for us, City would be dominating’ email, I have news for you… late 90’s / early 00’s Arsenal called, they want their ‘good but not the best’ trophy back.
Suck it up buttercups, it’s all swings and roundabouts.
Andy, Ireland – Man Utd
… Liverpool on another season with 90+ points and second place. Seriously, in a season with multiple real trophies and a CL final to come, it’s weird that you still find the ‘more points than Man Utd title winners’ as a comforting thought. Only slightly more weird than the ‘net spend’ trophy.
On the other hand, after all the build-up of Gerrard finally bringing the EPL to Liverpool, did he actually once again let it (figuratively) slip?
I wonder what he said in the Villa team huddle at half time.
Gaurav MUFC (Ten Hag at the wheel), Amsterdam
How good is Pep Guardiola?
I keep on seeing discussions and bickering all over the internet about just how good Pep Guardiola is, and also the retorts. Pep has won 4x Premier Leagues in five years, however look at the money spent and the squad amassed. I think it’s completely fair to say that both go hand in hand. If Man City didn’t have that money, then they wouldn’t have that success. No amount of fawning over Pep Guardiola is going to change that truth.
I am firm in my belief that if Pep never had that money then he wouldn’t have 4x Premier Leagues. However I am also firm in my belief that if Man City didn’t have the money then they wouldn’t have Pep Guardiola. Seems obvious, so what’s my point?
My point is that you could pluck a very good chef out of a very good restaurant and plop said chef in the kitchen of The Fat Duck, El Bulli, or whichever of these very high end fine dining places you can think of, and give them the kitchen gadgets, the best ingredients, and the recipes… and even a very good chef will struggle to recreate to an exacting standard, that food, that menu, as good as Heston Blumenthal does it.
Likewise, put Heston Blumenthal in the kitchen of your local Cote Brasserie and you probably won’t see any difference to their food.
Perhaps that’s the way to view Guardiola. He’s a specialist in handling extremely high end, and expensive, football. He probably couldn’t get Swindon promoted out of League 2, but then again I doubt Ben Garner would win 4x Premier Leagues with Man City.
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
Man City are not deserved champions
Let me start off by saying I am United fan so I have no horse in this race and am completely objective in that I should hate both teams equally. But even objectively it leaves a bitter taste in my mouth when we have the means to make clear VAR decisions ( by the rules offsides and handballs are clear everything else is still human error such as fouls, diving etc). City were wrongly given a penalty against wolves which won them the game. The ball hit Moutinho in the armpit which is not the arm, even if it had have hit him in the arm his torso was in the way of blocking the shot. The handball rule was brought in to stop protruding arms from stopping shots and crosses in the box. Decisions where the ball hits your arm when its either close to your body or the ball hits the arm but would have hit the body if the arm wasn’t there (Alonso vs RM) are completely preposterous.
Also they should have conceded a penalty against Everton which IMO was worse because that could have legitimately sent Everton down. Those four points gained in those two games have messed up the title race and stopped Liverpool winning the quad which would have made this rivalry the best in EPL history and Liverpool probably the best team in history and definitely EPL history. I refuse to believe that either team has never won a UCL and PL in the same season and Liverpool have won 1 out of 5 prems and call it a better rivalry than united v arsenal or Chelsea. Just doesn’t make sense. That was a tit for tat blood on thunder pizza gate on the pitch but arsenal were doing doubles winning the league every other year we weren’t.
People downplay the Invincibles achievement (was it Merse or Redknapp that stupidly said you can go unbeaten and get relegeated as you’d have 38 points) and if it wasn’t as impressive as 100 or so points why hast anyone else done it then? It’s like Pep’s weak excuse saying the prem is harder to win than the UCL. That’s like saying the Nations league or qualifying is harder than the WC/Euros because there are more games in the latter. Makes no sense.
Anyway hope this gets published as I haven’t been published in years.
P.S top 5 Prem teams of All time objectively are 1. 1999 united, 2. 2008 United, 3. You can make a case of Mourinho’s Chelsea, Invincibles this Liverpool team and Man City as none of these teams have even done a ucl prem double. If Liverpool had done the impossible they would undoubtedly be no. 1
That was a failure of a season from Man City
Now the celebrations have concluded from Citeh (Grealish and Kyle Walker will be still at it though) it probably time to address the elephant in the room – this season was a failure for Manchester City and Guardiola.
At the start of the season, most people believed that Man City were the contenders for the quadruple, not Liverpool. Having spent 100 million pounds on Jack Grealish, bringing Guardiola’s total spend in his 5 and a half years at Man City to 1 billion pounds – it was a question of who can beat Man City this year with the football manager cheat code in play. Sure, PSG upped the ante by adding Messi to their ranks – but City were still odds on.
Yet come May, there was talk of a quadruple …… but it was Liverpool – the challengers – rather than City. Klopp spending half the amount that Guardiola has in the same time. With the size of the squad City have with 3+ people in each position, winning 1 solitary trophy haul per season. The only reason for the wild celebrations in Manchester is because Liverpool ran them so close that they nearly bottled it until a 14th placed Villa finally capitulated to the title contenders.
As the dust settles, next Saturday becomes the most important day in Man City’s season. The trophy that Man City’s money cannot buy. The disappointment will be evident. If Liverpool win the final, they surely have to be considered the best team in England and Europe. Regardless of who is playing, next Saturday should be the moment when the penny drops for Man City players, manager and fans that this is an underachieving team who should have been dominating Europe for a couple of seasons by now!
PS – Haaland probably is the answer, but if that fails – the buck stops with the manager.
Mark D (Villa fan who bet on Villa to lose at 10-1 when we were 2-0 up)! London
No double unless you win the title, surely?
The recent League vs CL debate and talk of quadruples has inspired me to propose a new rule – the league title is a prerequisite for a true double (or treble/quadruple/whatever). The league is unequivocally the standard for measuring the best team in a country. When a team wins its league, and also wins a cup or two (much preferably CL and/or the premier domestic cup), that is true dominance. In the case of Liverpool this year, although they made a valiant effort in the league, they came up second best, and while the cups will offer some consolation to their fans, neutrals and history will not remember them as much more than a very good cup side who outlasted Chelsea in two domestic cup finals because, frankly, somebody has to be declared the winner so we can all go home.
Paul, Gooner (for examples of real doubles, see 1998 and 2002)
Too sensible, this
It’s pretty obvious to me that City (having won about twenty titles in the last three years) would swap this one for a proper crack at a first Champions League on Saturday….and Liverpool (having won all the European Cups and Champions Leagues ever) would swap yet another final against Real for number 20 in the league.
Paul (Geordie Liverpool fan currently cooking sausages in north London and not a fan of any of my local teams)
Mediocrity is rewarded at Arsenal
Wenger to Arteta, Arsenal is the same.
Here we go again, Arsenal fans coming out of the woodwork celebrating a “good” season with an almighty finish at fifth position. Since 2006 we have been hearing one or the other variation of “This is a team in progress” or “squad development takes time” or “give it 2-3 more windows are we are back” etc. If City are the mentality monsters and Spurs the perennial bottlers, Arsenal are the team who have no ambition, no confidence and absolutely no bollocks.
Liverpool won the 2005 CL, got destroyed for a decade after that, came back with Klopp, won a league, CL and multiple cups. Leicester won the league, Chelsea won the CL, United are having their worst decade in history and yet have more to show for it than Arsenal. Arsenal fans are an embarrassment talking about being a big club when the biggest problem to that is the mentality of the fans themselves. They don’t have that big club mentality, they are the same as West Ham or Brighton, just happy to be on the same half as the big boys.
It’s been almost two decades of building a “project” and now they have a numpty in charge who again shows no ambition, no big club mentality & clearly doesn’t get along with star players (Ozil Auba Willian etc).
To the Arsenal fans, where have you progressed since 2007/2012/2017?? You were excited by the youth of those days like Fabregas, Diaby, Wilshere, Walcott, Oxlade and gang. You are excited by the youth of today. You were trash then, you are trash now. Always trying to aim winning five years later makes you forget that you are still competing NOW. Again if you ask any Arsenal fan if they can compete for the league next season and the answer will be a resounding no. Because it’s not expected from them. So their transfers too will not be focused on world-class players, but gambles that they hope pay out.
And that’s where the problem lies. Arteta exudes no confidence and no faith that he can ever even compete in the league with Arsenal. So other than a cup run here or there, what is the use of Arsenal? How are their aims (To be top 6 and a cup run) any different for 22/23 season than: Newcastle, Brighton, Palace, West Ham, Leicester? Spurs are miles ahead of them, and despite being a weekly horror show, United will likely surpass them next season by miles too. City Liverpool are a world away and Chelsea too.
So reading the Arsenal fans talking in the mailbox about how fifth is good, it’s an embarrassment. Forget how shit Arteta is, the fact that you tolerate it shows that Arsen…