EPL Matchday 4 - On Optus Sport

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Cruyff14

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One for the Leeds fellas

Football in perspective and football to one side as Harvey Elliott, the precocious Liverpool teenager, left the pitch with a badly dislocated ankle. His stretcher was carried to the ambulance by Leeds United’s medics, all of whom ran on to help tend to the stricken midfielder.

The co-operation of both physio teams is the surest sign of a serious injury and thoughts were with the 18-year-old Elliott, who looked as mature and slick as any of Liverpool’s players in their 3-0 win at Elland Road. But from there it was left to Leeds to contemplate the consequences inflicted on them by a game which strayed too close to being chastening.

Elliott’s injury brought with it a red card for Pascal Struijk for the tackle in which the youngster was hurt on 57 minutes. Struijk’s dismissal was debatable (debatable enough to encourage an appeal, though Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa said he was inclined to accept it), but as their fourth Premier League game of the new season went by without a victory, their fifth outing seemed destined to arrive with only one centre-back available to Bielsa.

Struijk had come on for Diego Llorente, who limped out of the first half yesterday. Robin Koch was not fit enough to make the match-day squad. Liam Cooper is last man standing, for all Sadio Mane tried to run him into the ground.

To Newcastle United on Friday night, then, and an early pressure point in Leeds’ campaign.

The choice of players, or the potential lack of it, in central defence is beyond Bielsa’s control but the shade of vulnerability in a team who never shy away from a knife fight is an immediate priority to address.

Liverpool were too good for Leeds on Sunday; too classy and too adept at punishing the amount of space they were presented with, to the point where they were able to enjoy the heat of a full Elland Road. Time and again, Bielsa’s players were caught in the traps counterpart Jurgen Klopp set for them, and sliced open in transition.

Bielsa talked beforehand about the “dream” scenario of Raphinha, Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford outshining Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane. If Leeds were to win, that would have to happen, Bielsa said. But in the smoke of battle yesterday, there was no contest once Rodrigo wasted an early gift of a pass from Raphinha.

Leeds produced nine shots on goal in the game. Mane had 10 by himself. After so many near misses, his finish in second-half stoppage time wrapped proceedings up, a goal he had earned. “The difference between their offensive players and our offensive players was linked to the (plan) Klopp had,” Bielsa said. The German doffed his cap to Bielsa in the technical area beforehand and then sent his team out to take the Argentinian’s apart.

These fixtures are precarious for Leeds because, as happened at Old Trafford last month, the results can be savage when the opposition click and they do not. Salah was tailor-made as a foil for Leeds’s man-marking, manipulating Junior Firpo with merciless movement, helping Trent Alexander-Arnold overlap in a way that presented him with the first goal and touching the ball before half-time more than any of Bielsa’s side.

Leeds can strangle teams man-for-man but on off-colour days, the tactic can be costly.

“We lost by a three-goal difference,” Bielsa said. “At Manchester United (last month), it was four. And both results were fair.”

Liverpool have a spring in their step, more sprightly than they were in their Premier League title defence a year ago, and there is a sense of the division’s top four flexing their muscles, looking refreshed and more difficult to aggravate than they were last season.

A better benchmark for Leeds are the teams they expect to drive through, such as Burnley last month and Newcastle in four days.

Newcastle, like Burnley, are a club Leeds beat twice last season. They are a club forever on the brink of furious mutiny and a club who, as coach Steve Bruce came very close to admitting, stood still over the summer by signing nobody apart from Joe Willock. If Leeds are on for another stable top-flight season, Friday night on Tyneside is prime time — an occasion when they would hope to turn it on.

Bielsa was asked after Sunday’s final whistle how satisfied he was with the first four games of the season.

“What I’m dissatisfied with is my own performance,” he said.

It hurt that Klopp had outwitted him so emphatically. Leeds have lost soundly to Liverpool and Manchester United over the past month, Bielsa conceded.

“So I can’t be satisfied with the way I’ve managed these games.” In his three years at the club, it is hard to recall an occasion when he has blamed disappointing results on anyone other than himself.

He is pulling on the reins at present, trying to make good the things that cast his team as a handful. Possession in dangerous and advanced areas has been tough to come by in patches and loose passing was what Liverpool were waiting for.

It is true, too, that Bielsa’s midfield lacks a feeling of balance or permanency. The persistence with Rodrigo at No 10, an experiment the manager wants to make work, is struggling to bear fruit and Bielsa, having fought the Spaniard’s corner publicly, found himself substituting the guy again at half-time yesterday.

Had Rodrigo stuck away Leeds’s best chance instead of driving it straight at goalkeeper Allison, Bielsa’s post-match thoughts might not have been so introspective.

One thing that can be said about Leeds this season is that their ability to make matches turn their way at moments when those fixtures are in the balance has not been so instinctive. But against Liverpool, the 90 minutes were not a story of fine margins; just an away team with too much quality for their hosts.

The way in which Leeds failed to join the dots was summed up in the second half by Raphinha coming short as Luke Ayling sent a ball down the touchline in front of him. Not quite on the usual wavelength then, and beaten before Struijk received his red card with a third of the game still to play.

There were supportive chants for Bielsa from the crowd as the last few minutes petered out and applause for him from the gathering who stayed behind in the West Stand to watch his television interviews.

Nobody wants to think that this is more than a glitch because Bielsa has never had to deal with major glitches at Leeds, even in the 48 hours after that pivotal, and in some ways defining, evening at Nottingham Forest in February of last year.

Newcastle away now looms, a visit to a club with one point and a league-high 12 goals against from their four games and all the buzz of a human resources training day.

It’s a trip that should answer some questions.
 

TheGreatBarryB

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One for the Leeds fellas

Football in perspective and football to one side as Harvey Elliott, the precocious Liverpool teenager, left the pitch with a badly dislocated ankle. His stretcher was carried to the ambulance by Leeds United’s medics, all of whom ran on to help tend to the stricken midfielder.

The co-operation of both physio teams is the surest sign of a serious injury and thoughts were with the 18-year-old Elliott, who looked as mature and slick as any of Liverpool’s players in their 3-0 win at Elland Road. But from there it was left to Leeds to contemplate the consequences inflicted on them by a game which strayed too close to being chastening.

Elliott’s injury brought with it a red card for Pascal Struijk for the tackle in which the youngster was hurt on 57 minutes. Struijk’s dismissal was debatable (debatable enough to encourage an appeal, though Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa said he was inclined to accept it), but as their fourth Premier League game of the new season went by without a victory, their fifth outing seemed destined to arrive with only one centre-back available to Bielsa.

Struijk had come on for Diego Llorente, who limped out of the first half yesterday. Robin Koch was not fit enough to make the match-day squad. Liam Cooper is last man standing, for all Sadio Mane tried to run him into the ground.

To Newcastle United on Friday night, then, and an early pressure point in Leeds’ campaign.

The choice of players, or the potential lack of it, in central defence is beyond Bielsa’s control but the shade of vulnerability in a team who never shy away from a knife fight is an immediate priority to address.

Liverpool were too good for Leeds on Sunday; too classy and too adept at punishing the amount of space they were presented with, to the point where they were able to enjoy the heat of a full Elland Road. Time and again, Bielsa’s players were caught in the traps counterpart Jurgen Klopp set for them, and sliced open in transition.

Bielsa talked beforehand about the “dream” scenario of Raphinha, Jack Harrison and Patrick Bamford outshining Mohamed Salah, Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane. If Leeds were to win, that would have to happen, Bielsa said. But in the smoke of battle yesterday, there was no contest once Rodrigo wasted an early gift of a pass from Raphinha.

Leeds produced nine shots on goal in the game. Mane had 10 by himself. After so many near misses, his finish in second-half stoppage time wrapped proceedings up, a goal he had earned. “The difference between their offensive players and our offensive players was linked to the (plan) Klopp had,” Bielsa said. The German doffed his cap to Bielsa in the technical area beforehand and then sent his team out to take the Argentinian’s apart.

These fixtures are precarious for Leeds because, as happened at Old Trafford last month, the results can be savage when the opposition click and they do not. Salah was tailor-made as a foil for Leeds’s man-marking, manipulating Junior Firpo with merciless movement, helping Trent Alexander-Arnold overlap in a way that presented him with the first goal and touching the ball before half-time more than any of Bielsa’s side.

Leeds can strangle teams man-for-man but on off-colour days, the tactic can be costly.

“We lost by a three-goal difference,” Bielsa said. “At Manchester United (last month), it was four. And both results were fair.”

Liverpool have a spring in their step, more sprightly than they were in their Premier League title defence a year ago, and there is a sense of the division’s top four flexing their muscles, looking refreshed and more difficult to aggravate than they were last season.

A better benchmark for Leeds are the teams they expect to drive through, such as Burnley last month and Newcastle in four days.

Newcastle, like Burnley, are a club Leeds beat twice last season. They are a club forever on the brink of furious mutiny and a club who, as coach Steve Bruce came very close to admitting, stood still over the summer by signing nobody apart from Joe Willock. If Leeds are on for another stable top-flight season, Friday night on Tyneside is prime time — an occasion when they would hope to turn it on.

Bielsa was asked after Sunday’s final whistle how satisfied he was with the first four games of the season.

“What I’m dissatisfied with is my own performance,” he said.

It hurt that Klopp had outwitted him so emphatically. Leeds have lost soundly to Liverpool and Manchester United over the past month, Bielsa conceded.

“So I can’t be satisfied with the way I’ve managed these games.” In his three years at the club, it is hard to recall an occasion when he has blamed disappointing results on anyone other than himself.

He is pulling on the reins at present, trying to make good the things that cast his team as a handful. Possession in dangerous and advanced areas has been tough to come by in patches and loose passing was what Liverpool were waiting for.

It is true, too, that Bielsa’s midfield lacks a feeling of balance or permanency. The persistence with Rodrigo at No 10, an experiment the manager wants to make work, is struggling to bear fruit and Bielsa, having fought the Spaniard’s corner publicly, found himself substituting the guy again at half-time yesterday.

Had Rodrigo stuck away Leeds’s best chance instead of driving it straight at goalkeeper Allison, Bielsa’s post-match thoughts might not have been so introspective.

One thing that can be said about Leeds this season is that their ability to make matches turn their way at moments when those fixtures are in the balance has not been so instinctive. But against Liverpool, the 90 minutes were not a story of fine margins; just an away team with too much quality for their hosts.

The way in which Leeds failed to join the dots was summed up in the second half by Raphinha coming short as Luke Ayling sent a ball down the touchline in front of him. Not quite on the usual wavelength then, and beaten before Struijk received his red card with a third of the game still to play.

There were supportive chants for Bielsa from the crowd as the last few minutes petered out and applause for him from the gathering who stayed behind in the West Stand to watch his television interviews.

Nobody wants to think that this is more than a glitch because Bielsa has never had to deal with major glitches at Leeds, even in the 48 hours after that pivotal, and in some ways defining, evening at Nottingham Forest in February of last year.

Newcastle away now looms, a visit to a club with one point and a league-high 12 goals against from their four games and all the buzz of a human resources training day.

It’s a trip that should answer some questions.
Can’t argue with that although I’d say more outclassed than outsmarted.
 

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pantskyle

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More complicated than just not enough evidence especially when it’s one persons word against another. That SI article written by a lawyer best explains it.
I've read the reports, multiple times. Can you honestly say you don't think her story is murky?

Anyway, probably time to step away from the discussion, we all have our opinions and maybe one day it'll be definitive but I doubt it.

You're a good poster so I'm not going to create an issue with you.
 

Bojan KantKick

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This is the bit that stood out though mate. All of you United supporters are celebrating his return to the club. Idolise is the correct term. All this the GOAT is home etc, it's basically been overwhelming the amount of joy Ronaldo's return to United has brought fans on here.

Yet you cant deny the murky waters he swims in regarding this whole rape incident which look quite damning given some of the evidence. Some people say, if he's guilty he would be in jail but the justice system doesnt work like that. Not to mention the incident in question happened 12 years ago so it's difficult to get real evidence for something that happened so long ago. With Ronaldo's money and power and excellent laywers, it will be somewhat easy for them to tie the whole thing up in red tape and eventually make it go away.

I must admit I was a bit shocked by some United fans on here with the hero worship. And yeah, I get it, I've been there with Suarez. You revere someone and he does something pretty shitty and you dont know where to turn. The two incidents are obviously very, very different though.

Surely with a bit of common sense, United fans could just take a step back and admit that it's all a bit sh*t. Support him if you want to, I know it helps your club etc and sure if you dont want to call someone a rapist because he hasnt being convicted, that's ok too. But the blind loyalty and support and idolising someone who has been caught up in a rape scandal is a bit off for mine. And that's all I was trying to say about it.
These are the kind of generalisations I don't like mate. I support the club first and foremost and have seen many great players come and go but the club is always no.1. When a player I like leaves the club I generally want them to do well as I'm sure you can appreciate.

Sure, on the club forum there is a bit of hyperbole thrown around and United supporters hope he and our other signings can help us get back to the top. It is not much different to most clubs supporters when they have a good summer transfer window.

The whole thing is very unsavoury. Excuse me if I wait until a resolution to matters before casting aspersions on people.

I don't doubt that on social media like Facebook and Twitter you will find many people worshipping footballers but I'd say that those people aren't representative of the fanbase, more just ******* weirdos. If you see someone on socials with a handle like RonaldoSZN, GerrardGOAT or KDBEra, give them a wide berth mate.
 

Cruyff14

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These are the kind of generalisations I don't like mate. I support the club first and foremost and have seen many great players come and go but the club is always no.1. When a player I like leaves the club I generally want them to do well as I'm sure you can appreciate.

Sure, on the club forum there is a bit of hyperbole thrown around and United supporters hope he and our other signings can help us get back to the top. It is not much different to most clubs supporters when they have a good summer transfer window.

The whole thing is very unsavoury. Excuse me if I wait until a resolution to matters before casting aspersions on people.

I don't doubt that on social media like Facebook and Twitter you will find many people worshipping footballers but I'd say that those people aren't representative of the fanbase, more just ******* weirdos. If you see someone on socials with a handle like RonaldoSZN, GerrardGOAT or KDBEra, give them a wide berth mate.
How did you know Jod's Twitter name mate?
 

Art Vandelay_

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I dont really think there as much interest or passion in the UCL or La Liga as there is is for the Prem which 99% of us support passionately on here. Out of mind out of sight I guess.

Just my opinion that it's become more relevant now hes back, I dont think it's a United thing and he'd be copping the same sh*t at Chelsea, Liverpool or City too.

And I don't really have an opinion on it either way.
We need football conscription on here.
Once a month a Sky 4 fan Is consipted to follow a non-CL club from Spain or any of the farmers leagues (Scotland, Germany, France etc).

Diversify fandom and reduce the board’s plastic emissions. Win-Win.
 

Elmer_Judd

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We need football conscription on here.
Once a month a Sky 4 fan Is consipted to follow a non-CL club from Spain or any of the farmers leagues (Scotland, Germany, France etc).

Diversify fandom and reduce the board’s plastic emissions. Win-Win.
What the crap are you on about now ?

Bundesliga is arguably almost the best league in the world these days ? Certainly a lot more watchable than the overrated and boring trash that is a Serie A.
 

glenferry23

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Glen,

I understand both sides POV on this and listing evidence on both sides to support ones arguments is helpful. I hope you understand the perspective of others who do not like to label someone a murderer, rapist, or anything else of such a serious nature without the allegations being tested in a court of law.

For me, I am not dismissing the allegations at all and understand the conversation is uncomfortable for many, noting one poster in particular has referenced their own experiences. Whilst I privately make my own judgements on people I certainly won't label them publicly unless the evidence is overwhelming, there is a sense of injustice (OJ Simpson), or it is proven beyond doubt. The Der Spiegel evidence prima facie is damning but for many reasons (which I won't go into in this post but am happy to discuss), I take with a pinch of salt but do not completely dismiss.

I have empathy for people who know more about this stuff than I or have been personally affected. I think it was Jaymin who referenced this. However, I won't give much time for people who imply that United fans support rape or idolise a rapist. You seem to be one of the few willing to discuss the detail as opposed to just slandering people.
Thanks for the considered response mate. This isn’t easy.

It’s quite a complex topic and particularly uncomfortable for me as it’s one of the reasons why we’ve chosen to develop our orphanages in vulnerable areas of India. The majority of children under our care are sexual assault victims. It makes my skin crawl discussing this topic at times.

I try and best as I can to maintain balance and critical thinking. I don’t profess to be an expert on this though and fully acknowledge that my rationality can be questionable with topics as distressing for me as this.

I would be amazed if this was ever tested in court as you’ve suggested. It just simply won’t get there. For a host of reasons. An allegation from a US citizen against a Portuguese national residing in Spain, then Italy and now England. Just so many variables and limitations of the legal system to even get this off the ground.

He has all of the resources in the world to ensure that he never endures that day in court. It doesn’t automatically mean that he’s innocent because he hasn’t been charged/tried. Conversely, it doesn’t automatically mean he’s guilty because leaked documents said so.

Additionally, I understand your point that no one seemingly gave a sh*t here until he returned to United. I believe that’s partly due to out of sight, out of mind as a large percentage of posters on this board primarily follow the premier league. Now that he’s back in the spotlight, rightly or wrongly, so has this story.
 

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moomba

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I just read the part of the judgment which deals with the authenticity of the leaked emails, and it is far less damning than you have just made it out to be. Der Spiegel/Football Leaks are 'slaughtered by CAS' to the extent that they said "although this gives a somewhat distorted impression, the Panel finds that it did not affect the veracity of the Leaked Emails on which UEFA primarily based its case." [84] Again, if Der Spiegel did in fact chop and change the emails/answers that Ronaldo gave - then his team simply could take the paper to Court and bring up the original emails and essentially bankrupt the entire paper.

In the the rest of the judgment relevant to the veracity of the emails we can observe other quotes about football leaks legitimacy such as "MCFC explicitly acknowledged that the original versions of the Leaked Emails produced on 18 May 2020 were authentic" [83] "Mr Widdowson and Mr Pearce acknowledged the veracity of the Leaked Emails by their testimonies" [86].

Reading through the rest of the relevant part of the judgment [and perhaps there is something I'm missing hidden somewhere else in the judgment, but I've only got so much time to spend reading old CAS judgments], most of the Man City lawyers case focuses on the means by which the emails were obtained - not their veracity.

As I said, maybe I've missed something in the judgment which demonstrates why I should be more skeptical about football leaks/DS - and feel free to point me in that direction. Until then, I still feel pretty comfortable about my original position after taking this on board (as well as the Claas Relotius scandal).
It's been a while since I read the judgement but they were definitely criticised in it (or maybe the proceedings).

In fact even though UEFAs case was based entirely on the Der Speigel articles, UEFA disregarded them entirely and went off the full, unedited emails we provided.

If I can give another example, one of the pieces on us was a story on how we were breaching 3rd party ownership rules. It showed excerpts from a contract we had with another club which according to them showed we were in a breach. But they omitted one of the clauses which explicitly stated that the contract must comply with UEFA/FIFA rules on 3rd party ownership.

And the Relotius scandal paints the organisation in a really bad light. I think he might have been a contributor on football leaks but I could be wrong on that.

They might have been spot on with the Ronaldo stories. But I'll wait for something a bit more solid than Der Speigel before I'll pass my judgement.
 
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Sphynx

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For me the Son tackle was worse as he had no intention of winning the ball, just stopping the player.
Good to see Elliott come out in the last few hours in support off Struijk. Said he thought it was a fair tackle and not a red, just a freak accident.
 

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