Tag Archives: jurgen klopp

I LOVE the FA Cup (just a pity foreign managers are trying to destroy it)

I love the FA Cup.

For me it will always be the greatest cup competition on earth.

I grew up in the 90s (was born mid-80s) in a working class family in North-East London. We did not have the money for Sky TV. That meant the only football I got to watch was the FA Cup.

It was actually the FA Cup that made me fall in love with The Arsenal.

Watching the FA Cup semi-final between Arsenal and Tottenham in 1991 as a 6-year-old, I had decided to support whoever loses (I grew up in a family with little interest in football). 6-year-old me’s favourite colour was also red, so I was hoping Arsenal would lose so that I could support them.

I do not remember the game but Arsenal lost, and from that moment I became an Arsenal fan.

My next real memory of Arsenal was the 1993 FA Cup Final.

Back in those days the FA Cup Final was an all day event. The BBC would start off in the teams hotel for breakfast, live broadcast the coaches going into the stadium players on the pitch and so on.

I remember being in my kit, going out to the garden to kick a balloon pretending I played for Arsenal – no player in particular. At this point in my life the only connection I had with Arsenal was the kits I was bought. From memory I had never watched another game on TV since 1991, and did not know the players.

It finished 1-1. I do not remember watching the replay. It was past my bedtime.

The 1994 European Cup Winners Cup followed and that was it, I was hooked. But it all came from the FA Cup.

My love affair with the competition leads me to being extremely offended with the way managers, the media and the FA themselves treat the competition.

For as long as I can remember, people have questioned “the magic of the cup” and talked about its decline. But clubs, TV companies and the authorities are killing it themselves.

Tonight we play Bournemouth away. We will get some obnoxious pundit talking about the demise of the cup, whilst ignoring the fact that playing a game on a Monday night is part of the problem.

In recent years we have seen more games then ever be played on a Friday night, Saturday lunch time and Saturday afternoon.

3rd round FA Cup day used to be a day out. Sit in the pub with a huge accumulator watching the 3o’clock kick offs come in. With them now spread out over 4 days, it just is not the same.

The FA have removed the European place for the runners-up (if the winners had already qualified through the league). No longer will you get Millwall having a favourable run and going on a European tour.

A place in Europe was a well deserved prize for a lesser club if they had made it through to the final only to face and lose to one of the big boys.

The change happened from 2016, which denied Crystal Palace fans a European tour. Likewise Watford last year; thrashed in the final, no European football to help drown their sorrows.

For clubs like Palace and Watford, a cup run was their best chance of European football. Hull City, Stoke City, Cardiff City & Southampton have all qualified for Europe in recent years having finished runners-up in the cup. By removing the chance of getting into Europe as losing finalists, the FA enforce the view that survival in the Premier League is more important.

We then have the clubs themselves.

I have no issues with managers but out changed XIs in the cup. They have a squad of 25 players. It is there job to shuffle the pack and use them how they see fit. And with the top 6 especially, they have a wage bill of hundreds of millions and a squad filled with internationals.

What I can not stand is the (usual foreign) managers moaning about the cup.

We have Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola recently moaning about replays. About how England should scrap either the League Cup or FA Cup.

I am sorry, but these are foreign men who simply do not get English football. They want to come here, be paid millions, but then change the things that the fans love. If they do not want replays, if they do not want 2 domestic cups, maybe stick to managing in Spain?

Klopp yesterday talked about how in the replay against Shrewsbury Town he will be putting out the U23 team and Neil Critchley, the U23 manager will be taking charge.

Liverpool have a squad that is paid £264million. It contains over 20 players capped by their country.

Klopp put out a team that contained experience centre backs Joel Matip and Dejan Lovren; behind them was Adrian in goal. Fabinho, Takumi Minamino & Divock Origi were also in the team.

An experienced team, they were 2-0 up against Shrewsbury Town – 16th in League One. They drew 2-2. Mo Salah, Firminho and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain were all bought on to try and grab a winner.

Instead of deflecting and moaning about replays, Klopp should be calling out the performance of his own players who let a 2-0 lead slip.

Shrewsbury Town’s wage bill is just £3.5million. That is less than what most Liverpool players earn. The youngsters who started for the Scousers will also be on more money than any Shrewsbury Town player.

Liverpool might have already played 37 games this season; but Shrewsbury Town have played 36.

Whichever way you look at it, Klopp has no excuses over his side drawing against Shrewsbury. And his post-game comments shows that he just does not get the magic of the cup. It is no wonder that Liverpool have never made it past the 5th round under Klopp with his attitude.

And it is an awful attitude.

My problem with the likes of Klopp and Guardiola is these are not men who going to spend decades in the English game. Both will soon move on to their new paymasters. But whilst they are here, they are determined to wreck the greatest cup competition on earth. It just is not right.

If you can not respect the country you are living in, its customs, then maybe you should find another country.

Scrapping replays, letting the U23 manager take change, it is damaging in the long term.

The FA Cup is why I fell in love with football. It builds greater bonds for the children of Shrewsbury, Oxford and Exeter to their local club. Taking them out of the grasp of those super clubs that are hundreds of miles away.

A replay against Liverpool at Anfield will earn Shrewsbury Town in the region of £1million. It will mean a new training ground, or a new stand. It will transform the club. Transform the town.

But Klopp is sitting there in his ivory tower earning himself more money than Shrewsbury’s annual turnover, commenting about English football and English competitions. It shows he just does not understand.

Liverpool fans should call out Klopp. Make it clear that they do not agree with his stance. Likewise if Guardiola, Mikel Arteta or Jose Mourinho make disparaging comments, fans of Manchester City, Arsenal and Chelsea should make it clear that they disagree.

The FA Cup is the fans competition. From non-league to Premier League. If you do not understand its importance in English football, then you do not understand English football.


Yesterday we were informed that Yogis Warrior had sadly passed away. Stuart wrote A Cultured Left Foot. He was one of the best bloggers out there and inspired many others to “pick up a pen”. He wrote for years because he loved Arsenal. RIP, thoughts with his family.

Unai Emery has best “first season win ratio” of top 4 rivals

Unai Emery’s win percentage after 47 games stands at 61.7%

This is higher than any of Mauricio Pochettino’s, Pep Guardiola or Jurgen Klopp’s 1st season in England:

Unai Emery: 61.7%
Pep Guardiola: 58.9%
Mauricio Pochettino: 50.9%
Jurgen Klopp: 44.2%

Now I expect Liverpool fans to moan that “Jurgen Klopp came half way through the season”. So these are the year by year figures:

Jurgen Klopp

2015/16: 44.2%
2016/17: 57.5%
2017/18: 55.4%
2018/19: 67.4%

Unai Emery

2018/19 – 61.7%

Emery’s record v Pochettino is also favourable, with the long-term Tottenham manager only bettering Emery’s current win %age once:

Pochettino:

2014/15: 44.2%
2015/16: 49.1%
2016/17: 62.3%
2017/18: 60.0%
2018/19: 61.7%

Emery:

2018/19: 61.7%

Unai Emery’s (current) win ratio is Arsenal’s 3rd best of the decade::

UE – 2018/19: 61.7%
AW- 2017/18: 51.7%
AW- 2016/17: 63.4%
AW- 2015/16: 51.8%
AW- 2014/15: 61.8%
AW- 2013/14: 60.3%
AW- 2012/13: 54.71%
AW- 2011/12: 57.4%
AW- 2010/11: 50.0%
AW- 2009/10: 60.0%

And finally…

I know it is early in Unai Emery’s career but:

Unai Emery: 61.7%
Arsene Wenger: 57.2%

Of course, a good win ratio is nothing if it does not lead to winning trophies.

Keenos

The Myth of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain

Last night Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored his 1st goal in 12 games for club and country.

Since joining Liverpool, he has played less than 50% of the available minutes. Let’s stop pretending that he is anything but an average, inconsistent footballer.

It almost feels with Oxlade-Chamberlain that there are multiple agendas at work.

Firstly you have the media. Every time he has a good game, they bash on about how much he has improved since leaving Arsenal for Liverpool – even though he hasn’t. This suits their duel agenda of bashing Arsenal and praising Liverpool.

Then we have The Arsenal fans, who blamed Oxlade-Chamberlain’s lack of progression on Arsene Wenger.

Now whenever Oxlade-Chamberlain has a good game, they use it as a way to bash the Frenchman. To highlight how much a player can improve under a “proper coach” like Jürgen Klopp. There are plenty of things to criticise Wenger for, but Oxlade-Chamberlain’s lack of drive to improve himself is not one.

The reality is Oxlade-Chamberlain has not improved. He is still the same inconsistent ball of frustration he was at Arsenal.

Capable of moments of brilliance, such as his goal last night against Manchester City, and then weeks and weeks of dross and poor performances and miss placed passes.

He will stick one in the top corner (every 10-15 games) then spend put 4 crosses in a row over the bar. Or over hit half a dozen cross field balls. Or run with his head down until he is suddenly over the by-line.

The only difference now, for Arsenal fans, is we do not notice the average 10 performances in between two great games because we no longer watch him every week.

We see him when he scores a screamer, like against Manchester City, and think “gosh hasn’t he improved”, forgetting that his last decent game – also against Manchester City – was a dozen games ago.

The fact that in a fully fit midfield, he does not start for Liverpool. That he has started less than 50% of the league games under Jürgen Klopp. Averages 46 minutes a game in the Premier League (which drops below 40 minutes when you add Champions League and the cups) shows that even Klopp does not trust him.

He was fantastic last night. As were Liverpool. No one saw them beating Manchester City, and he was key in that. But that is the point.

Sandwiched between his 2 9 out of 10 performances against Manchester City, he went missing against Swansea, WBA and Southampton. And barely got off the bench against Huddersfield, Tottenham and Watford.

Since joining Liverpool, he has played 90 minutes just 8 times. He is often the first man taken off when he starts.

Liverpool fans would agree that he has been a flop, that he has been average. The only reason they do not is because they do not want to admit Arsenal got one over them, that he was not a waste of £40m. Their fans are deluded that everything Jurgen Klopp is great – even though this will be his 3rd season without a trophy.

Last night was his 5th goal of the season. Not exactly Ballon D’or worthy is it? In fact, he has now drawn level with Arsenal left back Nacho Monreal.

He is not exactly doing what Mo Salah is doing for Liverpool, or what Raheen Sterling is doing for Manchester City. He isn’t even out performing Aaron Ramsey at Arsenal.

Let’s call a spade a spade. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is still the frustratingly inconsistent player that many fans called “dead wood” and were happy to get £40m for.

And no amount of Nivea will change that.

Keenos