Defeat hailed better than victory – ask the British press

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It’s been quite a week – if anyone had told you back in May that in December you would be celebrating a Michael Owen hat-trick in Germany for the club and that Sir Alex Ferguson would describe the possibility of playing Michael Carrick at centre back against Villa as “good news” you would have either carted them off to the loony bin or checked their pockets for a copy of  Grays Sports Almanac.

Indeed, the worst revelation over the last week where United have had 8 defenders missing was the worrying sign that Owen Hargreaves didn’t even make the bench in Wolfsburg when it seemed assured he would be ready for at least one of the group games. The week started with one disgruntled Serb winger angry at United but the one we did sign, Tosic, will have every right to feel aggrieved – after all, it was at his cost that Hargreaves was named in the Champions League squad.

This is on the back of one of those bizarre fortnights that began with United’s kids being tore a new one by the media, a home defeat against Besiktas was tangible proof we struggled to score without Ronaldo and Chelsea as the only contender in a one horse race for the Premier League.

As things stand, United are back in the hunt for a fourth successive league championship after two consecutive four goal shows away from home – we are the only side of the “big 4″ left in the Carling Cup and topped our Champions League group winning all of our away games. On top of that, we’ve been linked with Sol Campbell. Crazy world.

Chelsea, meanwhile, continue to show that they are not quite the impenetrable, flawless outfit the media are trying to build them up to be, Arsenal’s kids get shown up as not quite good as the media build them up to be with Arsene Wenger’s continued pattern of raping his clubs history for a series of contemporary gimmicks, devaluing competitions that he has never won (yet somehow escaping a press backlash – strange how United’s youngsters can have over 20 shots against Besiktas and be labelled flops, and Arsenal’s get called “the Pride of Britain” – draw your own conclusions there boys and girls), while Liverpool..? No, that’s too easy.

Now, just to elaborate on my little bugbear with Arsenal – I quote from the Sun (I know..) who I were expecting to really rip into those underperforming little scrotes.

With five teenagers in the line-up Arsenal had an average age of just 21 years and 215 days beating the record set by Ajax six years ago against Club Brugges by 140 days

Well done, Arsene. Your team lose again but you have a shiny new “record” that will deflect any criticism. Indeed, he had his excuses ready made.

These youngsters play exactly like the first team, and they represented Arsenal well tonight, despite the fact that they are the youngest team to have played in the Champions League.”

Yes, Arsene, when you’re picking players solely for that purpose, that’s what will happen. Before any Arsenal fans start whining about injuries, United had them, and no-one could have blamed Fergie for naming a side with an average age of under 21 years and 215 days, but he didn’t, he chose to protect the integrity of the club even if by doing that it meant playing Michael Carrick at centre half. Having said that, I’m sure they would have had a go at Fergie.

You may ask why I, a United fan, am concentrating on Arsenal. The simple fact of the matter is we all like to read about football – that’s why you’re here, probably, not because of any particular love of my blogging, but you just like reading opinions. I’m the same. You’ll also then be aware that much of what is reported in the tabloid media gets repeated verbatim by Joe Public. Somewhere between the garbage being printed and a debate over a pint, this kind of idiocy becomes gospel.

I’m running a feature in our forum that is noting all of the Sun’s “player ratings” and on Saturday, Antonio Valencia had an absolute stormer at West Ham, scoring one, making another, in probably his most assured performance yet. He got a 6 out of 10.

It’s enough to baffle the mind on any ordinary day but consider this. I had a squizz at how Arsenal “rated” last night - and I watched the game, so I believe I’m entitled to scoff a little. For those who don’t want to click the link, here are some highlights. Walcott, Wilshere, Merida, all 7/10, Song, 8/10, and Ramsey, get this, 9 out of 10. This is in a 1-0 turnover in GREECE, my friends.

I know what you’re thinking – well, you’re probably not, because you’re not as anal as I am, but just for the fun of comparison, Darron Gibson scored two stonkers against Spurs last week. How did he fare? You won’t be surprised to hear he got a majestic 8. Well done, Darron, but not quite reaching the lofty achievements set by Ramsey just yet.

In fact, going by the Sun’s opinion, the mighty Ramsey put in a shift last night that is better than any United player all season. Rooney at Wigan? Giggs at Spurs? Giggs against City? Giggs at Pompey? (Giggs anywhere this season come to that) Fletcher against City? Even Owen’s hattrick performance, getting him a 9 – think of that, he had to score a hat-trick against the German Champions to even COMPARE with the apparent masterclass put on by Ramsey last night.

“Well done, Yolkie, you’ve pointed out the Sun’s opinion on football is worthless”. Quite.

But it’s not just the Red Tops.The Independent lead the match report with “Ramsey shines while young Gunners lose with honour“. He had a good game (9 out of 10 if you believe the Sun) but the crux of the matter was he individually and the team collectively were not good enough to beat a Greek team. Lose with honour? Did I fall asleep and miss something? They had 9 shots, that’s less than their opponents, and around a third of the opportunities created by United against Besiktas when we were apparently so disgraceful.

Perhaps you’re beginning to see how annoying it is, the myth perpetuated by all corners of the media is okay to laugh at but it’s not so funny when the quality of our own players gets understated while those of rivals is overplayed, to the extent where one is hyped up because his parents chose to name him after the short bloke from Top Gun. Yeah, he’s bound to make it then..

I’m sure Darron Gibson earns enough money for the media reflection not to lose him any sleep but as a professional it should annoy him – as it does me, and should annoy you, as a supporter – that he can run a game against an experienced Spurs side and score two belting goals yet his performance still apparently pales in comparison to someone who for all the huffing and puffing scored nothing and created nothing against a Greek side who beat them. This sounds like Ramsey bashing, it’s not, I actually like the kid (but soon enough he will be lauded to high heavens to the point where I won’t be able to stand him, he’ll be spitting at or slagging off legends who have won more trophies than he could ever dream of, believing his own hype).

Look at the media perception of Anderson and Fabregas. Fabregas is now just casually mentioned as “one of the best” while Anderson is woefully underrated. I’ll get panned for saying it but as things are I would rather have Anderson. The Brazilian has played a big part in our trophy rich recent history and after some criticism last season, has really started to kick on this year. Fabregas? Well, he’s been given the captaincy to stop him leaving to sit on Barcelona’s bench. He’s had the team built around him and regularly has two other midfielders doing the donkey work to help his statistics look favourable with notable dips in form when he doesn’t have two alongside him. And he’s won a total of, well, let me see. He was a substitute in the Arsenal team that won us on pens after getting battered in the FA Cup Final 2005.

Football365.com does a weekly stat run of each team with Fabregas’ assist tally given a new hyperbole alongside it each week. No mention of Giggs who has more assists in all competitions – although he was mentioned this week, who “only has one less assist than Fabregas”. That may be Premier League only but no mention of the fact that Giggs has started three league games fewer in that competition, either.

Now, though, I’m just descending in the intricate details of it all and I could go on forever. But maybe that’s the point, the fact that I could go on forever with more than just a valid argument to deconstruct the media perception that somehow failing to win has become a better achievement than winning. Of course it’s only a couple of months ago since there was a deluded Scouser claiming he had “irrefutable proof” that Torres was better than Rooney on the back of a hat-trick against Hull. He went onto claim that Kuyt was a more effective winger than Valencia. Those articles seem to have dried up, eh la?

And, to throw a cherry on top, all I’ve heard for the last two weeks is how solid Chelsea are and how they don’t look like getting beat or throwing the title away (this is even after two defeats) and how United still haven’t played well this season, this after two brilliant away performances that have been better than any performance by any other team in the league this season (bar the Spurs battering of Wigan of course).

But it’s getting to something when an Arsenal team with 3 defeats in 4 has had more praise over the last few days than our side that are playing some brilliant football in the very pits of footballing adversity.

I’ll end this rant/article/blog with a bit of perspective that maybe just sums up the entire piece in a nutshell. This week Paul Scholes was the latest to say that Ryan Giggs is the best player in the history of the club. By somewhat awkward reasoning, placing him ahead of the wonderful Best in the clubs ranking, this automatically creates a growing argument (one to which I subscribe and have done for well over a year) that he is the best player in the history of the game.

At 36, probably still the best and most natural dribbler of the ball in the domestic game, possibly the most intelligent player in the league, and on his day – thankfully, his day is still quite often – he is the most unplayable player in the league. All this in a career where he has avoided the media limelight and therefore his career began and will end encompassing the top level careers of the likes of Del Piero, Rivaldo, Beckham, Figo, Zidane, Ronaldo and Scholes of course, all of these at some point or other considered better than Giggs despite most of them themselves saying Giggs was the best.

It’s somewhat a reflection of the way that football and the general opinions about the game have been dominated and clouded by an agenda driven, negative media that backs the wrong horse for success time and time again and then refuses to truly appreciate the fact that right now we are still experiencing the best manager and the best player in the history of the game.

Of course it’s more important to win trophies than have people write nice things, and of course there’s always the thing of knocking down a winner, but it would be nice to think that somewhere, achievement equals respect. What kind of message are we as followers of the sport sending out when we are saying if you win you will not get any notable recognition but if you dive, spit and show disrespect in finishing as also rans you will be hyped as the best?

The financial riches in the game have never been greater; however, football was far richer back in the day when the proper greats were applauded by all and not subjected to derision because of jealousy.

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83 Responses to “Defeat hailed better than victory – ask the British press”

  1. elvido – How dare you.

    How dare you come on here and even mention in the same breath Cesc Fabregas and a slice of bread. Some people.

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  2. Yolkie says:

    Kobst.

    So Anderson can dictate a big game but that’s a lazy way of putting down a player.

    Anderson can regularly play in a team that regularly wins trophies but that doesn’t prove anything.

    Anderson can ability wise can easily be compared to Fabregas but apparently when I mention he has better ball skills that means I don’t understand evolution.

    Anderson can play a blinder in say a Champions League quarter final but if he doesn’t notch up 3 assists against Burnley then apparently they’re incomparable (by the way, look around this site, any reference to Anderson is usually accompanied by something like “we’d like him to score more but that doesn’t effect our opinion on his ability”)

    Fabregas can play in an underachieving side and look decidedly average in a two man midfield, rarely actually dominating any game against high profile opponents, in a team that is built around him and chunters its way through another trophyless campaign into 4th place and you’re expecting me to believe that the two are not even worthy of comparison?

    Come on mate, you’re entitled to your opinion, but dismissing mine as not even worthy actually decreases the validity of your own.

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  3. Gareth says:

    Well for starters you fail to recognise any correlation between Anderson failing to get into the Brazil side (containing Liverpool’s Lucas), which hasn’t won anything outside South America since 2002, and Fabregas playing in the (dare I say it) “Anderson hole” in front of the midfield two/behind the striker for the best international team in Europe. (He was a starter once Villa got injured.)

    Team for the final: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Puyol, Marchena, Capdevila, Senna, Iniesta, FABREGAS (Alonso 63), Xavi, Silva (Santi Cazorla 66), Torres (Guiza 78).

    The 7 players out for the Champs League match were Eduardo, Rosicky, Gallas, Clichy, Arshavin (cup tied), Diaby and Denilson (yes I know the last two were both on the bench but they were practically unplayable because of niggling injuries. They were only there due to no-one else being available to select).

    With regards to,

    “he looks good again in an Arsenal team that he inspires but yet can only inspire them to at best third place.”

    Exactly what basis have you got for this arguement? Since 2004 when we went unbeaten, our squad slowly disintegrated and our “invincibles” have been sold on to help fund a new stadium and scouting network. In this time, Wenger has been gradually rebuilding the squad, knowing that a few trophyless years were expected, in the knowledge that sooner rather than later a title winning squad would form and emerge.

    It’s taken a while to get the players ready, we cannot afford £30 million Berbatovs, £18 million Valencias or even £8 million (or £15 million depending on which source you read) Tosics (who if I’m not mistaken hasn’t played for you yet?) when the need arises. This year this squad has matured, and grown as more youngsters are deemed ready for first team action. I wouldn’t write us off as “also rans” this season just yet. Just because the media believe it doesn’t make it true.

    They were of course the ones that said Arsene Wenger was mad for saying his team could go an entire season unbeaten.

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  4. Gareth says:

    Also, for those who are saying Fabregas does nothing in the big games (even though he’s been bossing premier league midfields since he was 17) take a look at this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kZrcs-APRvg

    and this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SR74c8SlFSY

    and of course this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oHg5SJYRHA0

    ;D

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  5. KOfi says:

    If Fab was english he would be Fablous. If he was in United he would be exceptional. But in Arsenal he is ordinary

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  6. kobst says:

    cesc took Arsenal to a CL-Final with a two-man midfield, something which you seem to be pre-occupied with. He also took them to within 4 pts of the league with a two-man midfield. Even if you just account for those years, are you saying that cesc didn’t have any big games against big teams in those runs? Did cesc, the player the team was built around, not show up against milan or real or juventus or any quality premiership sides? Or are you going to tout Anderson’s blinder in the CL-quarters as proving that anderson has a better big-game record than cesc.

    and bro, the evolution comment was supposed to illustrate how opinions which are held by a very small percentage of people are most often wrong. My point is you are on the very edge of the “reasonable people can disagree” realm when you say anderson’s better than cesc.

    I will make one concession. It is less ridiculous to suggest, as above, that maybe one day anderson will be better than cesc. I won’t say that’s true but you at least have the uncertainty of the future to hang your hat on. The anderson > cesc right now? that’s just crap.

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  7. dave says:

    elvido.dont think you have bin to many youth games,man u r miles behind man city spuds and gooners.you didnt even get to the playoffs last year.and the fa youth cup.think they got beat by carlisle.but i might b wrong.might have bin year before.your reserves are diff though.good quality players.and the anderson fabregas thing is a joke surely.he has mor assists already this year than anybody.oh.and he,s got 9 goals

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  8. Yolkie says:

    Jeebus.

    Anyone would think I had killed Fabregas’ mother rather than just have the audacity to say I think a player who has been more successful than him is better than him.

    How dare I!

    That’s all it is. An opinion. Disagreeing with such venom is just showing yourself up and actually re-inforcing the initial point of this blog.

    — Gareth

    Ok, the national selection. The Lucas thing is a completely different thing and please don’t tell me we’re going down the route of you thinking Lucas is as good as Anderson because I will lose my faith in humanity.

    This wasn’t intended as a criticism of Fabregas, more a defence of Anderson. I happen to not understand the Brazilian selection and definitely not agree with it. I didn’t say Fabregas didn’t have an impact; I’m saying that he wasn’t a starter, not that that is an insult to him given his direct competition are the best two in the world.

    This is really a null point, all I’m saying is that it’s hardly fair to use the Euro’s as any true indicator when Fabregas wasn’t really a starter, and I’m choosing not to go down the route of Anderson’s achievements anywhere other than at United (though it is tempting to start going down the Copa America/Porto/Gremio route!).

    The CL semi final, fair enough, we had players out too, Neville, Rafael, Hargreaves, with Tevez and Berbatov on the bench, we’re nitpicking if truth be told, but if your opinion is that injuries and not a difference in class was the defining factor in the tie then that’s your prerogative.

    The basis I have for that particular argument that you quote is that Fabregas is clearly the best player in a squad that has not finished higher than 3rd for 4 consecutive seasons. This again is not an outright criticism because clearly there was a rebuilding period needed. However it is clear that in that same period United have been the most successful team in the country and so perform consistently to a much higher level than what Arsenal have, and during the last 2 1/2 years Anderson’s contribution has been important.

    This again is the point I’m making, Arsenal may be underachieving due to results or overachieving according to your expectations but the fact of the matter is 1st in the table is better than 3rd or 4th and trophies in the cabinet are better than none and over a long period of time there has to be some correlation in that, Fabregas is a factor in that even if he is the best player at Arsenal.

    I’m not trying to set out or make a case for anyone to agree with me I am just saying that it is my opinion and there are plenty of reasons why it is a perfectly valid argument. I have not said Fabregas is a bad player, all I have said is that I think Anderson is better.

    Being blind and suggesting otherwise without even acknowledging the role Anderson has played in a side far more successful than Fabregas’ makes those insulting my football knowledge far less clued up than they like to think.

    (By the way I thought Spurs wasn’t a big game for you lot anymore?? ;))

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  9. Yolkie says:

    kobst

    The “within 4 points” season (07-08) was with a three man midfield when Flamini and Gilberto were his runarounds. I won’t pretend to know details of every game and line up during that season or the Champions League run but two things strike out at me, 1) that every man and their dog noted that Flamini’s departure directly correlated with Fabregas’ downturn in form and the return of an extra man in midfield this season directly correlates with an upturn and 2) that you’re using examples of almost successes in a season where Anderson actually played a major part in winning a PL and CL double.

    I concede but can’t really remember Arsenal games from 4 years ago, perhaps Fabregas had outstanding games in the run, however I can’t really see how that would account for my opinion on his ability now as compared with Anderson.

    The CL quarters was one example, I’m not going to get into the pedantic side of how many good games each player has had, that looks like being your next weapon, needless to say that you can look back at the games in that 07/08 season and note in each that Anderson absolutely dominated Fabregas. Yes that’s going back a while but you chose to wander down the path.

    Regarding the evolution comment, yes, but always remember the concept of evolution was also ridiculed. Besides, we’re dealing with subjective opinions and not fact. Feel free to dismiss it as crap, I’m more than comfortable with my belief.

    Dave – Giggs has more assists than Fabregas.

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  10. kobst says:

    We’ll leave it at this yolkie. Like I said, you are entitled to your opinion, this is your blog after all. We were having a discussion I suppose. But gunners, like myself, would be fine to leave the anderson v cesc debate as is if you didn’t then go on to suggest some rather spurious things in support of your belief. We can’t argue about what you see in anderson that makes you think what you do, but we can point out your inconsistencies/ falsehoods in your reasoning which, intentional or not, come across as a rather groundless indictment of a player most everyone regards as top-class.

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  11. kobst says:

    ok. here we go again. Arsenal’s midfield in 07-08 was fabregas and flamini with two wingers which were hleb and rosicky when healthy. Gilberto barely got a game that season.

    So Anderson played a role in those double-winning seasons. If cesc replaced anderson, are you suggesting that those utd teams wouldnt have won as much? Or are you suggesting that if Arsenal had anderson instead they would have clinched silverware in those seasons?

    I wasn’t the one venturing down the game-by-game recount. I was the one that said it was lazy to level the big-game bottler tag to a great player.

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  12. kobst says:

    http://www.premierleague.com/page/Statistics/0,,12306,00.html

    ryan giggs – 9 assists
    cesc fabregas -11 assists

    You make it way too easy to prove you wrong.

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  13. Gareth says:

    Interesting points. I want to make it clear that I’m not saying Arsenal would have won the ties if these players were available. It still could have gone either way. But I do believe it’s hard to judge just how big the gulf in class is until you have all the players fit. On the day(s), United were the better team.

    I absolutely agree that trophies won is a good standard to set to exactly how good a team is, and you can’t win a long running competition like the Premier League without being consistently brilliant. That goes for each and every player in the team, including Anderson (who I do rate, even if not as highly as Cesc).

    I myself get a lot of stick from certain friends for suggesting Van Persie is better than Rooney, Gallas is better than Ferdinand, Diaby (when he’s not scoring for United) is better than Fletcher, etc. Each player has good and bad points, and I am quite clearly biased as an Arsenal fan.

    Thought I’d also point out that I have enjoyed reading your blog. You have an articulate and interesting view on the events and matches involving your club (and others going by this post) and it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Reminds me of our very own Arseblog (www.arseblog.com if you fancy a gander) with your humour and incisive analysis.

    Oh, and I believe Lucas is 10 times the player Anderson will ever be ;) haha

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  14. Yolkie says:

    kobst you’ve completely misunderstood.

    If you read the entire blog you will find that “Gunners like yourself” have been quite insulting and derogatory about what is merely my opinion.

    I’ve not said Fabregas isn’t a superb talent. Of course he is, he will potentially be one of the best midfielders in the world. Do I think Anderson is the finished article? No, it’s clear that Essien and Lampard are currently the best two central midfielders in the league and the best way to deal with them is to stifle them rather than play to your own ability which is something Anderson can do. It’s something Keane used to do before he ran games. It’s my belief Anderson can do the same, not because of Keane, but because of Anderson.

    Fabregas, if he stays at Arsenal, will doubtless go on to be one of the very best in the world -that’s not backtracking, or being inconsistent, I’ve always stood by this – and I believe the same of Anderson, I just think Anderson has more about him and will continue to do better than Fabregas just as I believe he has done up until this point.

    This argument used to rage about Scholes and Gerrard, Gerrard’s stats look good but can anyone seriously say that Gerrard has been as good as Scholes?

    The only disagreement has come from Arsenal fans such as yourself who vastly underrate Anderson and incredibly overhype Fabregas because he’s the one shining light in your otherwise relatively poor team (save for a few players) which is fair enough but as I’ve said numerous times that is the entire point this blog has made, the over-rating of players like Fabregas to the point it’s commonly accepted and Arsenal fans such as yourself cannot comprehend that someone like Anderson who has had so much success could possibly have achieved it because he actually is quite the special talent.

    I know you want to leave it and that’s fair enough; if you care to continue I would like to know just where I’ve been inconsistent or false when to the best of my knowledge all I have done is be honest about my opinion and listed the facts to support it.

    And to be fair I’ve been quite jovial and always friendly with it considering the amount of ridiculous and nonsensical abuse that’s been written about what I believe.

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  15. Yolkie says:

    kobst, try again using all competitions, don’t be pedantic, I’ve already written the PL thing in the blog.

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  16. dave says:

    well mate i didnt no that.but not saying you wrong.but didhear that fab has got more assists so this season,than anyone for all of last season.so giggs must b doin well.i could be wrong to though.got to say giggs is a credit 2 his profession.am still worried wen he gets the ball.99thing.

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  17. kobst says:

    champions league assists 09-10 as provided by espn.soccernet
    cesc-2
    giggs-1

    what else is there? Surely not the carling cup. I can’t find those stats anyway.

    When I have said one disparaging thing about anderson? Have I said he can’t run a midfield without 2 water-carriers? have I said he doesn’t show up in big games? Have I commented that I think he looks like a cartoon-version of a bull-dog? I have not once got into how I rate Anderson other than a comparative judgment with cesc.

    So how do you suppose I underrate Anderson? Simply because I take exception with you rating him above Cesc. That is your basis.

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  18. Yolkie says:

    kobst I’ll try and address your different comments -

    Am I right in thinking it was the 07-08 season that Fabregas scored loads at the beginning – if I am, then that would still ring true, because Arsenal started that season with 3 in midfield, I’m sure of it, I used that argument at the time. Then in the second half of the season you started getting injuries and his form dropped big time apart from the Milan game.

    I didn’t say Fabregas was a big game bottler, I said he had yet to really dominate a big game, or hasn’t done for a while, it doesn’t have to be one or the other and when we’re having a debate don’t try and put words into my mouth. Likewise, as I said in the previous post, I’m not “making it easy” to prove wrong, if you read the blog and my comments properly then you wouldn’t have to try and resort to patronising sarcastic comments when really you have proven nothing.

    I can’t keep saying that I think Fabregas is a great player, that should be understood by now, by the same token surely you can’t think he has a good record of single handedly dominating big games. I’m not saying Anderson has either, though I would say his is better, I’m just saying Fabregas is not the incomparable talent you’re making him out to be. To balance this out we should both be able to agree that Fletcher on the other hand has an excellent record in big games but is technically half the player of both Anderson and Fabregas. What I mean by this is that not being able to dominate a big game isn’t exactly a negative aspect, but being able to is one hell of a tick against your name.

    Gareth – I see your point but we can’t venture down the what if path, otherwise I’ll still be lamenting Ruud hitting the bar against your lot and Scholes’ goal being given offside in the 2004 CL.

    All we can do is go on what is fact and the rest is opinion. I can totally concur with the bias – I’ve already conceded that I am several times over in the blog, and we all have the prettiest wife don’t we?

    Clearly without intonation in black and white text it’s difficult to understand context or intention; anything said here is always in banter and I appreciate that you haven’t resorted to deriding the opinion.

    I’ll be checking the blog out, no worries, and in this world of subjective opinion, regardless of my feelings of media coverage, whatever your taste in the beautiful game, you’ll find the best example of it at Arsenal or United, I guess it just depends whether you like gravy or ketchup on your chips.

    dave- nice to see that among all the debate about our current crop there is a healthy respect for each others legends. Likewise, when talking of the Giggs goal I always say without thinking that it was against probably the best defence in Europe over the previous 5 years.

    You probably won’t be surprised that I hold what is unlikely to be a widely shared opinion about your greatest ever player, I know everyone says Henry but I have to say Bergkamp every time. Henry was a good athlete but Bergkamp’s level of intelligence was something I’ve only seen in Cantona, Giggs and Scholes. (Gareth maybe that might be a good subject for a blog on your page, eh, I’ll certainly comment there!)

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  19. kobst says:

    I really dont have to overhype Cesc since as you well know, he gets plenty of acclaim. Still, that doesn’t mean it’s not wholly undeserved.

    Further, I actually do rate Anderson. I think he’s got a great engine and shows flashes. For me, he doesn’t score or create enough. Take that as a put-down but I know plenty of utd supporters who feel the same. Would I take him over cesc is the question which you and most people including myself disagree.

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  20. kobst says:

    And again, you are are just wrong about the gilberto-three-man midfield theory. Gilberto was injured in the beginning of that season which is why flamini even got his chance. Please just drop it.

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  21. Yolkie says:

    Kobst – Giggs assists : 1 Chelsea Comm Shield

    2 v Arsenal

    3 v City

    1 v Wolfsburg

    2 v Stoke

    1 v Everton

    2 v Portsmouth

    1 v West Ham

    So that’s 13, 12 if you don’t want to count the Community Shield.

    -

    “you damage your own credibility regarding anything football-related by saying such things”

    “things, and then laughably attempting to back them up with ridiculous spurious rationalizations ie trophies over goals/assists/skill”

    “Your opinion doesn’t mean much I’m sorry to say”

    “It’s one thing to choose one of rooney or torres, evra or cole, terry or ferdinand. Those comparisons are actually interesting as reasonable people could disagree. Fabregas v Anderson? You are entitled to your ‘opinion’ but you are well in the minority my friend, an outlier, like a college grad that doesn’t believe in evolution. ”

    “The anderson > cesc right now? that’s just crap.”

    All of the above are comments you have made scoffing at the mere thought that there was a comparison at all, let alone a worthy one. Those are comments that clearly imply your opinion of Anderson’s ability next to that of Fabregas and also comments questioning my intelligence for holding the opinion.

    That is pretty clear that you therefore underrate Anderson’s ability rather than just “simply taking exception”.

    To me and, to paraphrase you, probably 8/10 people, it’s clear that’s a disparaging remark. The bulldog comment is just childish and really what I expect from Liverpool fans who start having a go at Neville because they can’t get their stupid head around the fact that he has won a lot of shiny hings.

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  22. Yolkie says:

    I used Gilberto as one example of a name because it’s the first one that came to mind. There were clearly other central midfielders at Arsenal, sorry for not having an intricate knowledge of each member your squad from 2 1/2 years ago, just some names, Diaby, Song, wasn’t Diarra there for a little while?

    In fact, wiki(!) says that Diarra lost his place to Flamini and from what it says about Silva, he lost his place in the winter, which would be around the time I said Fabregas started to drop his form. Strange that, isn’t it?

    Please stop speaking so patronising; I have extended you the same courtesy despite you clearly having no interest in a reasonable debate, instead resorting to this constant attempt of trying to make yourself look superior.

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  23. Yolkie says:

    shiny things that should be.

    hings, heheh

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  24. kobst says:

    As you pointed out, nuance and banter tend to wash out in words in black-white. That said, saying, in so many words, that you are being ridiculous is still not a put-down on anderson.

    A rough illustration…I would take Eva Mendez over Natalie Portman any day of the week, and I think that most any hetero-sexual man should agree. My views on the issue are such that if you told me that you’d rather have natalie portman, I would say you have no taste. Me saying this is not the same as saying natalie portman is ugly or not attractive, just that eva mendez is a clear favorite.

    A more sporty analogy, I rate Felix Trinidad as a great great boxer. If, however, I would tell you that he would have never beat Manny pacquiao, and that you are crazy for thinking that he would, then that doesn’t mean that all of a sudden I underrate Trinidad, or even think that the comparison is totally invalid.

    According to premierleague.com Cesc has 11 to Giggs 9 in the PL. According to soccernet, cesc has 2 to Giggs 1 in the Cl. You can give me a minute-to-minute re-cap of every game giggs has played in, but that doesn’t make 13 less than 10. If, however, you provided other sources which kept track of these numbers FOR BOTH PLAYERS, then we would have a disparity, and I would consider that maybe indeed giggs has more assists.

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  25. kobst says:

    As an arsenal supporter, I am telling you…there was no 3-man midfield at Arsenal for that 07-08 season. Furthermore, Diarra didn’t lose his place to flamini, he never got into the team. Your reading of wiki is not even accurate…

    “Due to the emergence of defensive midfielder Mathieu Flamini in the Arsenal side, Diarra saw limited action in the early months of Arsenal’s season. Diarra expressed concerns that he was not playing and this resulted in a transfer in the January window because he has not seen enough first team football.[7] After only five months at Arsenal, Diarra signed for Portsmouth in January 2008 for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £5.5 million.”

    He never got into the team, he didn’t lose his place.

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  26. Yolkie says:

    Having an opinion is not ridiculous. However, implying someone is just because you disagree with them isn’t really any intellectual powergrip is it?

    I’ll ignore your waffle about the other comparisons because the long and short of it is you disagree with my opinion, that doesn’t make you correct, that just means that you are content to believe that about someone who hasn’t actually proven that he’s a winner, just a modern day David Batty (who ironically was a winner, perhaps squash that), whereas I believe it about someone who has proven he is.

    A more correct analogy would be the basketball one I called upon earlier, you like watching pretty ineffectual football that ultimately is second best and I like watcing exciting attacking football that wins things.

    Re : assists. What else do you want, I’ve just given you the complete list of Giggs assists, the games the assists came in and how many were in each game! If you won’t accept my eyewitness recollection which I’m sure can be verified pretty easily with your own eyes, without having to attempt to get premierleague.com to change their information, what else can I do? If Fabregas has 13 then they’re tied, I don’t get what the big deal is, rather than another insignificant point you’re trying to prove having failed to prove that one person’s opinion is invalid, wow I was out by, at most, one assist. I’m not challenging whether Fabregas has 13, I’ll take your word for it.

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  27. kobst says:

    I really didnt need the list of games for giggs’ assists. I thought that I could link you to a page, quote a stat, and quickly put to bed your admittedly off-hand assertion that Giggs HAS MORE ASSISTS than Cesc. I thought that would be the end of it but if you wanted to spend so much time ultimately showing that you were mistaken I guess that is your choice.

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  28. Yolkie says:

    Jesus you really are anal about the exact wording. Ok Diarra didn’t “lose his place” he saw “limited action”. It makes no difference whatsoever, I can’t see what you’re gaining from it, you’re not really supporting your point by challenging the grammatical structure of a sentence.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/eng_prem/7065152.stm

    That’s the match report of the 2-2 draw between ourselves in November. I fully expect you to disagree but unless you’re now backtracking and going to say Rosicky and Hleb didn’t play on the wing, or that somehow Eboue started at double right back with Sagna, that it doesn’t look suspiciously like a 3 man midfield was employed.

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  29. dave says:

    u are right yorki.berghamp was my fav player. .1 in front of henry,adams close behind.bergkamp only had one fault.he couldnt tackle.so wenger told him dont tackle.think fergie should tell ginger that.cos he is the worst in the league at that.seen the qe2 turn quicker.

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  30. rewind says:

    Some valid points Yolkie, but some really pointless ones as well. Ramsey ran the midfield against Olympiakos away and supplied of the best passes I have ever seen an 18 yr old make and away from home, he has to applauded. Gibson has a great shot and has scored a few goals, apart from that i’m afraid to say he has not offered the team much else and at 18 Ramsey is a far more complete player and is exactly the type of player we need to replace the genius that is paul scholes. As a United supporter I am surprised Ramsey chose Arsenal but I am confident he will come to regret that decision as time goes on. As for the Anderson vs Fabregas debate, I see where your coming from but Fabregas is still a class act and to say you would choose Anderson smacks of ignorance but I do believe Anderson is stronger, better defensively and controls the tempo of a game better than Fabregas does, although fabregas has excellent vision, movement, eye for a pass and has developed his goalscoring abilities well recently….
    MANCHESTER UNITED 4EVER

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  31. Yolkie says:

    Dave – Bergkamp also had a bit of a naughty streak about him as well, seem to remember a couple of cheeky elbows around 1997! Not that it effects how I think of him now, many of the best imaginative players had that streak, I think it’s their internal arrogance and confidence, that fantastic unpredictability that made him and the likes of Cantona and Zidane as good as they were.

    It always makes me laugh to remember that Cantona stamped on Moncur at Swindon and was deservedly sent off yet Moncur still voted him for Player of the Year that season!

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  32. Yolkie says:

    rewind

    You’re entitled to your opinion mate, I’m not saying anything bad about Ramsey or Fabregas. Our club would be much the stronger for having them in the squad.

    I was merely pointing out that Gibson’s performance against Spurs was surely at least the equal of Ramsey’s; and that I struggle to believe that Ramsey’s performance last night was the equivalent of the best any United player has produced this season. People are saying “he only scored two goals”.

    Yep. He only scored two brilliant goals. What do people want him to do, rebuild the British economy and discover the secret of eternal youth?

    I can’t accept the ignorant comment, sorry, I have said many times over I think Fabregas is an excellent talent, I’ve used the same points as you and more to describe why I’m such a fan of Anderson. The only things I would say Fabregas has as a distinct difference to Anderson are his coolness (Ando is always far more vibrant and energetic) and his ability to pick an easier pass.

    I wouldn’t neccessarily say that these are negative qualities on Anderson’s part, either. He has immense potential and could go on to be the best in the world (Calm down, I know he’s not there yet). Does Fabregas? If you ask me, I say no.

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  33. dapxin says:

    wow, this is still ongoing….wow!

    well, offtopic:

    I think one or two games into Valencia’s career at old trafford if I recollect correctly, Alan Greene, the mouthy BBC r5Live commentator – you notice him even when you feel like spanking him – said to this effect:

    “If you are Valencia and you come suddenly in your career to Old trafford, you either take off, or take intimidated….I look at Valencia’s face and I see only one thing; Intimidation”.

    That statement stuck with me since that game, where he had apparently just mispassed a ball.

    I don’t know about other United supporter, but if there is any one recent buy that truly interests me, his increasing progress (fit in), Its ‘Tonio Valencia!!!!

    There’s an awful lot of things he’s got to learn still, but given the confidence with which he has begun to play – and especially having scored some pretty decent and key goals, can I just give it all hands to AF and Valencia—> thumbs up and keep it smoking hot, the United way.

    rant: over:

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  34. [...] no great fan of the tabloid media. Last weeks blog where I voiced dismay over the way Joe Public lapped up the woefully inaccurate judgment of players [...]

  35. Yolkie says:

    ….and further to the above point about Wenger picking a side purely for the gimmick award of youngest ever side, he’s now saying “We’ll compete with United over 37 games” after Wolves fielded an under strength side.

    Yes, they were in different competitions, but Wenger should really be quiet as he’s still being incredibly hypocritical.

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  36. [...] observation is that if you give Arsenal a bit of praise, they’re your best friends! However, if they disagree with you – they’ll hunt you [...]

  37. [...] blogged precisely this time last year, after the final Champions League group games, making a comparison with Anderson and Fabregas. [...]

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