Saturday, December 23, 2017

Two teams that will not be champions

Liverpool and Arsenal tied 3-3 in a very entertaining but poorly played match. "Entertaining for the neutral but not for the knowledgeable" as I saw on a tweet that was later deleted. Liverpool are currently on a roll; they play intense and high pressure, and with a Mohamed Salah who is at the top of his career (I have never been a big fan, and I am still of the opinion that he misuses too many chances) they are a scoring machine. But football is also about defending, and here Liverpool can in no way be hoping to win the title! 0-2 ahead, in full control, and it only took them 3 minutes they fall apart! While defending is absolutely dreadful, you also have to question why they were not 4-0 ahead against a dreadful Arsenal. On top of that you have a goalkeeper in Mignolet who costs goals: I still wonder where his hands were on Xhaka's equalizer.
Jurgen Klopp is a great manager because of his approach to football, confidence in his young players and passion for the match. But if he does not also focus on defending, he will remain a great manager without titles.

Arsene Wenger has given Arsenal more titles than such a club could ever hope for. That said, one has to wonder whether he is over the top, or whether it is even his responsibility that his players seem unmotivated for such a match. Arsenal's first half was a disgrace in attitude and fight in front of their fans. There were some improvements in the second half, where Alexis Sanchez 1-2 goal seemed to give them some faith. But in the end one came away with a bad impression of players like Alexis and Ozil, who really only show glimpses of their quality. Maybe Arsenal needs an overhaul, and maybe, just maybe, it will have to start with the man who they owe everything to, Arsene Wenger.

In any case, a great match, but I will come with a daring prediction (because all prediction about the PL are notoriously hard): none of these teams will be Premier League champions!

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