Can Raphinha, Bamford and co. thrive away from Bielsa’s bosom? – Football 365

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Leaving Leeds
The recent transfer gossip around Raphinha, less than a year into his time at Leeds got me thinking…

If you were a manager/director of football, would you be comfortable taking the risk on Leeds players? Now Raphinha is possibly the exception, as he has recently been playing regularly elsewhere, but the majority of the squad were mid table Championship players before Bielsa.

I believe there are cases from Klopp’s time at Dortmund where players were great in the system but struggled elsewhere (Mkhitaryan, Kagawa). Obviously, there’s Lewandowski who continued being excellent, and many others I imagine.

Phillips for example, I believe, could play in almost any current PL team. But unless you’re going to allow him freedom to fire the ball like artillery shells around the pitch (to feet), you need the team shape to facilitate this. Wingers, CMs and full backs appropriately positioned to either provide a quick options to move the ball when it has been received, or win the second ball as the space is condensed. The kids may call that aggressive vertical play, I think?

Bamford seems to be a confidence player, and it may be no coincidence the lack of fans have contributed to him finding his shooting boots. But through 2 years in the championship, Bielsa stuck with him, upsetting numerous on loan strikers. Wherever else he went, he will never know that level of managerial support.

The overachievement of the club (so far this season) will likely draw some attention, but I wonder how much addition risk a club would consider a player to be coming from such a system heavy side when performing nowhere near PL standard under other managers?

F365 Says: Raphinha is perfect for Leeds… and Liverpool

Do we still need crowd noise?
Over the last few days I have been musing over our ‘need’ for artificial crowd noise, and what it says about us and our society. Personally, I’ve never been a fan and I’ve always found it quite creepy (similar to those almost-real-but-not-quite Japanese robots we see on TV). Clearly, however, BT/Sky/Amazon consumers find it preferable, or even necessary, in light of the alternative i.e. listening to what is actually happening on the pitch. That’s weird, right!?

When did we, as a species/society, become so far removed from reality that we need badly-timed fuzzy sounds to protect our enjoyment of football?

As far as I can see, this acceptance of a distorted reality is not unique to football and is mirrored throughout modern society e.g. the arbitrary sell-by-dates on food packaging, and selfie ‘filters’. I see this and lay awake at night (I don’t really) worried that these phenomena might constitute the baby steps which result in our full immersion in the Matrix, if we are not already there… Or, perhaps less ominously, turn us into those eerily familiar, perma-consuming humans that we see in Wall-E.

My (slightly OTT) solution is that every man, woman and child should live in the wilderness for a year – hunting, fishing and foraging for survival. Alternatively, they could watch a Sunday league match (when the world opens up again) or go to the park and play football for real. Reconnecting with the ‘real world’ will likely show how surreal, unnecessary, and annoying artificial crowd noise actually is.

Thanks for reading.
Joe (can’t wait to bore people down the pub with this gibberish) London


Silva lying
Sitting watching the Everton v Manchester City game and Bernardo Silva has just mistimed throwing his leg sideways in the area to try and win a penalty. This was quite a deliberate attempt to ‘win’ a penalty but absolutely no contact was made. There was a VAR review that of course confirmed no penalty. What is shocking to me though is that there is no suggestion that Silva would be punished for this, it was an absolutely clear cut case of diving. How can we ever stop this if not even the most blatant cases don’t even get looked at?
Mark C, no longer London


Were Liverpool any good?
I must be missing something because I cant see what all the clamour to praise the Liverpool performance is about.
It was like watching two rival lower league underage teams run about with no direction or plan except to get the ball up the field as fast as they could. The only different is adding elite level fitness to keep going for the whole game.

From the start it had all the hallmarks of a game that could be six or seven to either side just depended on who made the biggest mistakes, turns out it was Leipzig.

There are shouts about how brilliant Thiago was, but I really don’t see it. This should have been the game for him to shine, in controlling the tempo of the game , showing some composure and picking Leipzig apart with some of his famed passing, one first time ball through a split defense isn’t enough.

In reality there were only 3 composed pieces of play in the whole game, Salah and Manes finishes for the goals and the move put together by Leipzig at the start of the second half.

The rest was rubbish. City, PSG, Bayern and out of form Juve wont be loosing any sleep over this dross.

…Dont know what game Liverpool fans watched on Tuesday night but I was a wreck. There were positives dont get me wrong, but i didnt think we were much better than say against Leicester or Man City.

Correct me if i am wrong, but apart from a defender falling over twice, allowing our forwards to knick the ball and be clean through on goal, did we create anything of note? I still believe that the opposition team look more dangerous than we do at the moment in every game. This game was well in the balance in the first half and arguably Leipzig were on the front foot when those two errors occurred. Leipzig could have just as easily won this game.

The fact that i was more nervous at 0-2 then at 0-0, all the way until the 92nd minute tells you the mentality that i am in as a fan at the moment. It was excruciating with every successful pass Leipzig completed. In a strange sense, maybe this is exactly what we needed. not at our best but getting the rub of the green to take a lead back to Anfield (or wherever the game will be played).

One really positive thing yesterday was Thiago. You saw yesterday what he has been trying to do in EPL games and it worked yesterday. Fouls he was committing in the league turned to wonderful tackles last night. Maybe the Bundesliga is just a tad slower than the PL and Thiago needs to adjust.
Nik (why do i have to be so pessimistic…), Munich
P.s. Thanks Kiarian for the ‘NHL mic’d up fights tip’. Thoroughly enjoyed that!
They ask so nicely before throwing a punch. Magnificent : )


Ta-ra, Premier League?
Dave, LFC I don’t think I’m ready for Liverpool to exit the UK and head to some imagined utopic European super-league just yet. However, I can see some form of Super League one day, if officials keep pandering to the teams that ‘set the low block, foul with impunity and benefit from dubious VAR decisions’. Personally, I think they want to protect the collective PL gravy train so they must keep up the appearance that such teams can compete, influence and win stuff on a regular basis. This is why LFC are scorned and mocked at every setback by people who don’t watch the whole 90 minutes and buy their opinions from 5 minutes of highlights, where you’ll hear the agricultural defending from those other teams described as ‘stout’, ‘hardy’, ‘heroic’ etc…. genuinely makes me want to stick my fingers down my throat and regurgitate my honey Cheerios.

Yes, and sorry you are crap at history. Lots more important things have happened to us & Europe than Brexit and no doubt will in the future.

Being a Scouser, I would disagree that Liverpool is socialist – it has been (almost) resolutely Labour for some decades without question but I think that you’re falling into the trap that many Scousers willingly devour in thinking that Liverpool is, ever was or ever will be some sort of ‘werking-class’ socialist utopia where everyone is equal and the Labour Lord Mayor isn’t being investigated for corruption and intimidation. Liverpool became massive on the backs of slaves (domestic and foreign), capitalism and free enterprise. As a whole, Scousers are more wired in to capitalistic opportunity than practically every other distinct social group with which I have interacted. They’re also pretty good at ballsing things up as well. Don’t believe for a minute that it is some actual and metaphorical countercultural two fingers aimed in the general direction of Eton, native Scouse ‘good humour’ and quick wittedness alone that has made Liverpool great – you may as well ascribe the British Empire, Concorde and the Covid vaccine to everyone born within 30 miles of London having the talents of Fagin and the Artful Dodger. Scousers always like to think that we stand alone, apart and aloof and we do – except for all the interactions with eveyone else.

I can’t get misty-eyed about your version of the city – pure altruistic socialism sadly doesn’t exist at societal level. And as for the Carla Lane/Willy Russell/etc working class hero pap – entertaining certainly, but there are heroes and villains everywhere and not just the ‘us and them’. The realities of being working class meant my grandparents couldn’t wait to get out of the Dingle and into a council semi in Allerton – how very lower-middle class of them (#ClassTraitors …… yawn).

It is easy, lazy, self-serving, wrong and just pure inverse snobbery to blame everything from the Crucifixion to Covid on Thatcher/Boris/your least favourite toff. In doing so, you do a dis-service to many of the people who actually helped make Liverpool great – even if some of them weren’t, erm, socialists.

I agree however, that we are not quite English and definitely way better than everyone else.
SB, Surrey (…don’t you know!!!)


…I’m assuming Dave’s explanation as to why Brexit is the reason for Liverpool’s inconsistent season will be in the afternoon mailbox, given that there didn’t appear to be any sign of it in his initial mail. What was very much present was the standard self-pitying yet self-aggrandizing shite that we’ve all come to expect. Woe is us, poor persecuted Liverpool, and did we mention we are better than you, both morally, financially, and historically?

Dave, you do realise that a threat to leave is only effective if everyone else wants you to stay? I think you’ve spent too long listening to your manager whine about how unfair it is that teams don’t open up and let you win, it’s blurred your lines.

Or is the dramatic exit just because after all the talk of years of domination from this, the greatest side ever seen, it’s all gone a bit sour? Still, at least you’ve got that glorious miraculous season when this ragtag bunch of asthmatics managed to somehow get those wheezing desperate lungs to operate at Miguel Indurain levels. Somehow. Weird how the fall-off in performance is also mirrored at his other clubs. Maybe he should stop signing so many players who apparently have trouble breathing without assistance? Imagine the kind of team he could build if he wasn’t hamstrung by his devoted loyalty to the infirm?

Actually, perhaps the disappointing voting in this country IS to blame after all? Not Brexit, but the reelection of the Conservatives. The decades of underfunding the NHS and hateful policies towards the disabled have damaged and ended the lives of many, of course. But has there ever been a bigger impact than that on LFC? No, obviously. This means more (ventolin).


…So apparently we’ve now exhausted every other rational and logical reason and have come to the only remaining possible explanation for Liverpool’s struggles this year – Brexit. That’s pretty incredible to be honest, especially after Dave LFC provides us with the metaphor of post-Brexit Liverpool Britain being the sinking ship that is wallowing from a sense of self importance. In other news, having won a single game in the CL that hasn’t even decided the tie yet, and following 3 consecutive defeats for a combined score of 8-2 in the PL, Liverpool are now ready to “move permanently to our rightful home with the kings of Europe”.

MM, Man United, India (I would love to see Trent attempt to defend against Mbappe every week)

Mailbox: Thiago as Alonso and enjoying Barcelona’s struggles

…So, to sum up Dave LFC’s mail: He enjoyed watching Liverpool in the premier league when they were beating everyone last season. Now that teams have found a way of beating Liverpool he wants them to leave the league and go and play European teams instead, on the basis that they were able to beat one of those last night.

Seems fair.
Andy, Brighton


Bye, Barca
After yet another collapse from Barcelona in the Champions League, I think it is an appropriate time for an analysis as to why this is happening on a now annual basis.
The obvious place to begin is the situation regarding superstar talisman Lionel Messi.
Many seasoned observers thought Barcelona should have acceded to Messi’s request to leave last summer, as this would allow newly appointed manager Ronald Koeman to begin the process of rebuilding Barcelona without Messi.
I think that had this being allowed to happen, Barcelona would be in a much worse position than they presently are.
The mind-boggling decision of the aforementioned Koeman to sell Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid for 6 million euros looks like being one of the stupidest transfer decisions of recent times.
Messi not only played sensationally well with Suarez, but it looks like it could win Atletico Madrid the La Liga title.
Neymar has never been properly replaced, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, and Phillipe Coutinho have all failed to live up to lofty expectations upon their arrival in Catalonia, all for quite considerable transfer fees.
The lack of serious investment in their aging and increasingly leaky defense is also a contributory factor to the collapses in the Champions League Barcelona are now all too sadly familiar with.
I also think that dealing with the mental scars of these collapses is proving too difficult for a lot of the players involved.
Based on recent their recent Champions League exploits, it could be quite sometime before the once all-conquering Barcelona rule European football again.

Kind Regards
Satisfied Liverpool Supporter.


James McClean and the poppy
I’m a Liverpool supporter since I was 4 years old. I’m Irish my family are Irish & my surname is Rice. Rice as a name has three roots so I am either anciently Welsh, Irish or through Normandy English. I say this to point out our complicated roots and also to point out that supporting an English team as an Irish patriot is quite common.

Irish people who love football support & want to play for Liverpool, Man Utd, Leeds, Arsenal or if they’re desperate Tottenham or Everton. Not because we want to be English but because that is our tradition through economics, politics, emigration and the need to prove excellence. An analogy might be an actor from anywhere wants to be in a Hollywood movie or a Broadway play, not because they want to be American but because that is where you prove your value.

To Jamsie: James McLean is a thoroughly decent footballer, not excellent, not amazing but really f*cking good. He has played at premier league or championship level for over a decade. He also has 70+ Irish caps.

He is hated. He is derided. He is a terrorist. He has no respect.


That’s not true.

He is loved in Ireland.

Firstly we love him because he is on the pitch total commitment, never less than 100% and if he hasn’t started and we’re shit (which is common) he is our most fervent desire to be the first sub on.

Secondly we love him because he is a lovely man who has literally given away thousands and thousands and thousands of his own money to help children and areas without a thought for thanks. Look it up. He has done serious work.

Thirdly and lately we love him because he refuses to back down to f*cking idiots who threaten him & his children & his wife and his wider family because he DARED to refuse to wear the poppy.

Thousands of Irish men fought in the British army in WW1 & 2 and freely and gladly did so for a cause that was greater than the fraught relationship our countries had. If the poppy represents that then all of Europe would wear the fucking thing. But it doesn’t. It has been co-opted like the St. George’s flag and now illuminates the shadier and murkier aspects of your great land. It’s similar to Ireland in the seventies when our tricolour flag was synonymous with terrorism. It needs to be claimed back. How? Difficult. But maybe start by listening.
I am a proud Irish man. I also am proud to have many many friends from England & Scotland (yet to find a sound welsh man) (joke!)

James has been abused daily for a decade. He has been sent bullets in the post. Death threats on multiple occasions. If you can watch & listen to the above and still think him an asshole then f*ck.

Also matic refuses to wear the poppy is he an asshole or a terrorist?
Ivor Rice “The Pale”,  Ireland.


Sky hypocrisy
The clips have been seen the world over at this stage. At the time of writing, there are 1.2k retweets and over 5k likes. Alan Judge, the Ipswich player is confronted by the referee, Darren Drysdale. Drysdale squares up to him before giving Judge a yellow card. An entertaining clip no doubt. The type of incident that is rarely seen and one that ends with very little consequences or damage done on the face of it. The damage to Drysdale’s career however will become clear over the next few days and weeks.

While Drysdale and Judge think over their participation in the clip with regret, whoever runs the Sky Sports News Twitter page must be happy. The only other post on their Twitter that received a similar amount of retweets in the past 24 hours? An interview with Bernd Leno describing how he stopped using Social Media after the tragic death of German goalkeeper Robert Enke, the ex-international who took his own life in 2009 after struggles with depression. Hypocritical to put the two clips on their feed so close together.

So who is Darren Drysdale? Followers of the lower leagues in England might have known before last night but the majority of football fans didn’t. He’s someone who has worked his way up from the lower leagues and is aspiring to reach the top of his profession just like any other referee. Does he deserve sanction for his moment of madness? Of course he does. Do companies like Sky need to tweet and retweet the incident creating a platform for online comments, most of which will be negative? Of course they don’t. They choose to. They get more clicks. And when they post comments from Ipswich manager, Paul Lambert, criticising the referee, they do it all over again.

In October, Sky Sports united in a campaign to stop online abuse. The “It has to stop” initiative aimed to raise awareness of negative comments on social media and allow everyone to enjoy sport for what it is. Does this not cover referees and the abuse they receive on a weekly basis through Twitter? Is it that unlikely that we will see a Sky Sports News presenter telling us in a few weeks about abuse Drysdale has received and then cutting to Micah Richards, or another respected commentator on the subject, condemning said abuse?

They will promote Black Lives Matter during this weekend’s fixtures and for the rest of the season. They will throw their weight behind LGBTQ+ campaigns. However, when it comes to promoting fairness towards referees their agenda changes. Their hypocrisy shines through. Happy to share a clip that will no doubt result in online abuse directed towards a referee who had a moment of madness. Hopefully, Darren Drysdale receives support to get through this time. If he does come through it and continue his career, it will be in spite of large organisations such as Sky.


Arse Palace really crumbling?
I know I’m a bit late to the party, but I’ve just read the article re Palace and I think you could be treating Roy too harshly.

So Palace are safe, with little to no chance of going down, and are already on the beach? So what? There have been many clubs before with that attitude so this is nothing new.

What is new is that this season is weird as hell, with no fans, players in quarantine bubbles, a truncated pre-season, fixtures crammed in and the Euros to squeeze on to the end.

The entire season is only really being played as a matter of fulfilling obligations to the tv broadcasters – F365 themselves have argued that there are too many games and that maybe some of the competitions aren’t really necessary and should possibly have been scrapped this year.

Can you really blame the players/clubs for feeling the same once safety is guaranteed? Job done, safe for another year, well done lads and thanks for all the effort. Let’s get through the end of the season without anyone getting injured and hopefully next year won’t be so weird and we won’t all be in quarantine.

I’d probably feel exactly the same and I expect a few more teams will be winding down in the upcoming matches once safety is assured, or it’s obvious they won’t be getting a European place.

(PS Before anyone mentions letting down the paying fans – there are none there!)
Dan Wardle (MUFC since 1983)

Early loser: Crumbling Crystal Palace, waiting to be rebuilt


Oh Xabi
Did Minty LFC really just say Xabi couldn’t defend or tackle? Please God do not ever say that again. Xabi was a masterful midfielder in every aspect including defensively.
Jamie, LFC

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