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3 minutes ago, Fulham Broadway said:

It was - QPR did similar I think.  A lot of my neighbours have plastic grass out the back now. Lazy fuckers

The old sand based skin tearing plastic pitches were brutal. I remember Liverpool had a shite record going to Kenilworth Road.

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I was bored...

Staying with City till the end of the season is not surprising (frankly, you have to be pretty naive or in deep denial not to see that he wanted to from the start). What is surprising, is that he neve

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37 minutes ago, Jason said:

I don't get your reaction. You don't think the government's handling of the pandemic has been abysmal? :carlo: 

It's not asif there is a textbook process of handling a global pandemic. I think all in all, they have done a pretty decent job. 

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Just now, DDA said:

It's not asif there is a textbook process of handling a global pandemic. I think all in all, they have done a pretty decent job. 

You think Boris Johnson has done a decent job?


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Following the government announcement that plans to allow fans to attend football matches from 1st October would not go ahead, I thought it might be interesting to see how this could impact the revenue of Premier League clubs this season via match day losses due to COVID-19.

long thread, I will not post it all

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State of the Club, a new series from Tifo and The Athletic. Episode 1: Arsenal



What is Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal?

It’s a broader question than it seems, not least because of the subtle ideological conflict in north London. Arteta is a portrait of footballing modernity, very much Pep Guardiola’s 2.0. Surrounding him though, are the rigid confines of a club which can’t quite decide what it wants to be — or what it’s willing to stake in pursuit of that nebulous ambition.

From one angle, Arsenal are fixing to run. They’re full of ideas, energy and — ultimately — life. From another, they’re anchored by the many concerns that have come to define this generation. The silent owner. The bad deals. The frothing conflict and deadening myopia.

It’s that duality that makes them the perfect subject for State of the Club, Tifo Football’s newest content series, in which we’ll be combining our style with The Athletic’s finest journalists to apply as many lenses as possible to everything that matters in the game.

In this pilot episode, we talk to David Ornstein about Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s new contract and the reconfiguring of the club’s hierarchy. Matt Slater describes Arsenal’s commercial future and the shackling effect of deals agreed in the past. James McNicholas also drops by to talk to us about the boardroom, while we lean heavily on Amy Lawrence too — first to speculate on what the future of recruitment may look like and then, on a baking hot day, to lead us and Adam Leventhal around Highbury’s marble halls, to remember what once was.

But this is still Tifo: Alex Stewart casts his tactical eye over what Arsenal are and what they may one day become while, in a debut appearance, Jasmine Baba digs into Mikel Arteta’s past, to sketch the person beyond the former player and the Guardiola patronage.

So, we’ve been busy. We’ve been trying a few things which we haven’t done before and asking a couple of people to step beyond their comfort zones. Hopefully, the result is the right people answering the right questions and our cameras trained on what matters — an eclectic show in which there’s something for everyone.

Here is what to expect in our brand new video (below) 1. Introduction. 2. Who is Arteta? 3. Tactical identity. 4. Recruitment with David Ornstein. 5. Tifo Audit with Matt Slater. 6. James McNicholas on the boardroom. 7. Amy Lawrence & Adam Leventhal revisit Highbury.


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Cox: Jota will score goals, ‘press like a monster’ and… get opponents sent off



Look up the statistics from Diogo Jota’s first two Premier League campaigns and you’ll be quietly impressed — 16 goals and six assists is a decent return for a young attacker (he was 21 at the start of the 2018-19 season).

What you won’t find among the usual statistical categories is a quality that remains undervalued: the ability to get an opponent sent off.

Over the last two seasons with Wolves, an opposition player has been shown a red card for fouling Jota on five occasions in the Premier League, and when you calculate how many minutes he has played over that period (4,670), it means he gets an opponent dismissed every 934 minutes — roughly once every 10 matches.

That tally probably should have been six red cards (more on that later). But what do all these incidents demonstrate about Jota’s game, and what he’ll now bring to Liverpool?

It’s clear that Jurgen Klopp wants his attacking players to be energetic and tenacious when pressing from the front — yesterday, his assistant Pep Lijnders said Jota is a “pressing monster, so he will fit right in” — which makes this first incident particularly intriguing.

Early in Jota’s Premier League career, Everton are hosting Wolves, and their captain Phil Jagielka is receiving a simple square ball across his defence. Jota doesn’t close down too early, for fear of the pass being played elsewhere, but as soon as it is played to Jagielka, Jota takes the opportunity to charge towards him.


Under pressure, Jagielka miscontrols, lunges in on Jota and is shown a straight red card (which could arguably have been awarded either for serious foul play or for denying a clear goalscoring opportunity).


Wolves had a numerical advantage for 50 minutes and drew 2-2, scoring both their goals against the 10 men.

That could have been an isolated incident, but Newcastle’s DeAndre Yedlin — unusually, playing at centre-back in this example — found himself in an almost identical situation in the December of that season. Again, there’s a square pass towards the opposition’s right-sided centre-back, and Jota glances over his shoulder to check his team-mates’ readiness for pressing.


Yedlin plays the ball on to right-back Javier Manquillo, who is pressed from behind by Jonny Castro Otto, so Jota senses the ball will be returned to Yedlin…


…and the American does a Jagielka — he miscontrols under pressure from Jota, is caught in possession, and hauls him down. He’s dismissed by Mike Dean.


Wolves played the final 34 minutes of that game with a one-man advantage and won 2-1 thanks to a last-minute Matt Doherty goal.

Pressing was a fundamental part of Jota’s game at Wolves, particularly in combination with Jonny behind him. This incident doesn’t lead to a red card — it leads to a goal — but it’s another example of his intelligence and work rate. Away at Brighton last December, Jota leads the press in the inside-left channel, which leaves right-back Steven Alzate free…


…the ball is played forward to Davy Propper, and then out towards Alzate…


…but Jonny is following up Jota’s initial press and pounces on the loose ball…


…and slips in Jota to score.

He started the press and then finished off the move.


Jota’s tendency to close down high up the pitch was also in evidence at Anfield in a narrow 1-0 loss just after Christmas last season, when he caught Virgil van Dijk in possession…


…and ran in behind to fire a decent effort at goal, with Van Dijk a spectator.


But back to the red cards.

Two days before that Liverpool defeat, Jota earned his most “valuable” opposition dismissal.

It came in Wolves’ 3-2 victory over Manchester City and meant his side had the luxury of playing against the defending champions with an extra player for 78 minutes in the busiest period in the season. It proved crucial — Wolves came back from 2-0 down after 51 minutes to win, again with an 89th-minute goal from Doherty.

This was a simple move — one of Conor Coady’s typical long passes over the top into the inside-left channel


…which allowed Jota to run in behind, forcing Ederson to sweep way outside his area. After Jota knocked the ball past the Brazil goalkeeper, he was bundled to the ground.


That run is a typical feature of Jota’s game and worked particularly well with the passing range of Wolves’ defenders and midfielders.

Here’s a fine goal Jota scored against Everton late last season, with Ruben Neves out on the right flank, and arrowing a long pass in behind…


…for Jota to run on to and finish excellently with his left foot.


That goal was familiar to anyone who watched Wolves’ 4-3 victory over Leicester City in January 2019, which featured a Jota hat-trick. Again, there was a long Neves ball into the left channel…


…which saw Jota streaking away from Wes Morgan and finishing coolly.


Jota also linked excellently with centre-forward Raul Jimenez, and that combination brought another of the red cards Jota earned — in a trip to Watford on the first day of 2020. This featured a bouncing ball that Jimenez got up above Christian Kabasele to nod in behind…


…Jota was first onto the ball, and Kabasele could only recover enough to haul him to the ground. On this occasion, Wolves couldn’t launch a fightback with their extra man.


Combination play between Jimenez and Jota became a familiar part of Wolves’ attacking moves, particularly when Nuno Espirito Santo played 3-5-2 rather than 3-4-3, allowing his forwards to combine more closely.

Wolves’ opener in a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge in March 2019 was particularly memorable — Jota slipped in Jimenez close to the halfway line…


…Jimenez returned the pass…


…then Jota dribbled forward before slipping in the Mexican to dink home. The two forwards played one-twos all the way through Chelsea’s defence.


Sometimes, Jota’s capacity for one-twos features wall passes with different players in the same move. The opener in that 2-2 draw away to Brighton last December showed that — Jota received the ball deep on the left and swapped passes with Jonny…


…then played in Jimenez while continuing his run into the box…


…and then converted from Jimenez’s stabbed ball into the box.


Another outside-of-the-boot Jimenez pass created what should have been another red card earned by Jota.

It came at home to Bournemouth just before Christmas 2018, when this excellent through-ball found him in his usual position…


…and Bournemouth centre-back Steve Cook — already on a yellow, for a foul on Jota — somehow escaped punishment for this blatant push on him, when he was otherwise through on goal.


But Cook’s defensive colleague Simon Francis wasn’t so lucky in Bournemouth’s 2-1 defeat when the clubs met on the south coast last November.

Making his first Premier League start in nearly a year after injury, Francis slid in to halt Jota’s run on the edge of the box for his first booking. Joao Moutinho whipped the resulting free kick into the top corner…


…then later, Francis cynically pulled Jota back on the halfway line to receive his marching orders.


Through these various situations, Jota’s game becomes clear — he loves attacking the inside-left channel, he’s excellent at playing one-twos with opponents, he’s very useful in terms of pressing, and his speed terrifies opponents.

What it doesn’t demonstrate is how two-footed Jota is.

He made 32 per cent of his passes with his supposedly weaker left foot last season, the fourth-highest figure of attackers in the Premier League (behind Pedro, Max Meyer and Cenk Tosun, all of whom played the equivalent of less than eight complete games anyway, which represents a small sample size). That suggests Jota would be happy playing on either flank, making him a capable understudy for Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah.


Although mostly used on the left of Wolves’ 3-4-3 — or left-centre in the 3-5-2 — he split his time more equally among the four attacking roles in Porto’s 4-2-3-1 in 2016-17, suggesting he can essentially play anywhere in attack.


Liverpool had the best disciplinary record in the Premier League last season — an impressive achievement considering their all-action, aggressive approach to regaining possession.

The next step can be offered by Jota, a player with a handy habit of racking up the cards for the other team.

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On 22/09/2020 at 10:01 PM, Fulham Broadway said:

Definitely gave them an advantage. Millwall decided to smash the place up in 1985


so wish we draw them some day again!!

or a miracle takes place and they get promoted

those fuckers even managed a pitch invasion at the new Wembley


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What next? Sissy Spacek and Jennifer Aniston to buy Solihull Moors?

Egg’s going to be on his face when he finds Woking away is behind closed doors.


The Fiver’s downtime is usually spent slugging super-strength Tin while watching 2. Bundesliga matches with chalkboard in hand. Who needs Netflix when Talking Pictures shows old episodes of Budgie, Catweazle and the late Jill Gascoine in The Gentle Touch? Superhero films are also a no-no at Fiver Towers. Who needs caped crusaders when you have Paul Lambert and Phillip Cocu? Thus, the news that Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have been revealed as potential investors in Wrexham AFC required some frantic googling on our abacus. Isn’t Deadpool a Dirty Harry sequel? It is really Always Sunny in Philadelphia? And what comes to mind about Wrexham’s football club itself?

Yes, Mickey Thomas thudding a free-kick past David Seaman in January 1992 and dumping league champions Arsenal out of the FA Cup when Wrexham had finished the previous season 92nd in the league. And yes, then Mickey T’s printing machine. Perhaps that lurid tale caught the eye of a 15-year-old Reynolds as he grew up in Vancouver or a 14-year-old McElhenney while he grew up in, er, Philly. Or perhaps the pull of a club that gave the world Dai Davies, Brian Flynn, Horace Blew, Albert Kinsey and Joey Jones did it. Either way, a wash of cold reality is required.

Wrexham are in the National League, an entity for which there is no guarantee the 2020-21 season will be started, let alone completed. And the second wave of Covid-19 is likely to starve lower- and non-league clubs of access to the lifeblood of gate receipts for the foreseeable future. The club is fan-owned, a state of being that would have saved Bury and Macclesfield from their recent collapses, and the Wrexham Supporters Trust Board voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing the interest to progress. There is palpable enthusiasm at the prospect of dollars and immaculate dentistry coming to Clwyd. “97.5% of voters (1,223 members) voted in favour of the resolution,” chirruped a statement.

Reynolds is something of a magnate, having made decent coin beyond the screen from having stakes in designer gin and mobile telephony. He and McElhenney see something in a small club that has struggled on for years. Should they be successful at Wrexham then lower-league fans begging random north American actors to bail out their club may become a common sight to behold on social media disgraces. Matt Damon and Bryan Cranston to buy Boreham Wood? Sissy Spacek and Jennifer Aniston for Solihull Moors? Scott Baio and Bronson Pinchot to rescue Rochdale? Struggling provincial football clubs could soon become the new Hollywood A-list must-haves.

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