#UnpopularOpinion – The Football Edition

I’ve been away for a while, but I’m back and ready to push some buttons. Whilst we all wait for this dreadful international break to come to it’s conclusion, let’s debate on our unpopular opinions.

Pochettino and his North London army are the most over rated team I have ever witnessed in Premier League History… but we already knew that. We also know that Messi is the greatest footballer of all time and no team in history can compare to the giants of Madrid these last 4 years. These are mere facts. What we do not all agree on is the fact that Modric should not have won that Golden Ball award, Frank Lampard was miles better than Slippy Gerrard and Paul Scholes was/is the most overrated midfielder on this planet; and that’s not even the half of it.

Fraudulent Games – FIFA ft Luka Modric

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Let’s begin with the opinion that haunts my fellow football followers the most.

After a successful World Cup display from Croatia, Luka Modric has been finessing his way to claiming named titles. Not only did he win the Golden Ball ahead of Eden Hazard and Kylian Mbappe, he has also claimed the title of FIFA Player of the Year ahead of Ronaldo, Messi and Mohammed Salah. Whilst many insist that he is worth the title, others like myself suggest otherwise.

Luka Modric unequivocally is one of the best centre mids football today has to offer, however considering the weight behind being named Player of the Year is he really the man to bare the title? Understandably Modric’s role is not based solely on goal scoring. He holds up play well and is gifted with being able to control a game; on the other hand in comparison to the 40+ goals each scored by Ronaldo and Salah last season, with 2 goals and 8 assists Luka should not have been considered amongst the top 3. Yes the game is not all about goals but if Ronaldo was not there to net the goals for Madrid, would Modric’s ball control have won them the Champions League 4 seasons running? If his country had not made it to the World Cup Finals, he would not have been considered especially seeing as stats wise, 2017/18 was not his best season. The pinnacle of Modric’s career landed in 2012/13 and those of us privileged enough to remember will not dispute this.

Regarding the Golden ball, Eden Hazard put on a display that was unmatched in the midfield and going forward. How his skill idiosyncrasy and pace was quickly forgotten because Luka Modric had “single handedly” sent Croatia to the World Cup Finals with Rakitic and Kovacic by his side is bizarre. I wonder if Kyle Walker or Kieran Tripper would have received the golden ball for their role in the England squad assuming they’d reached the final. Far-fetched, I know but you understand my point ?

This argument has divided friendship groups, group chats but not the media. Seems as though once it was declared by Fifa it became indisputable. Without discrediting Modfric’s impact and defensive work for his club and country, the likes of Kylian Mbappe had to stand by whilst Luka was gifted with a reward that could have easily been his. Mbappe’s brace in what I consider to be one of the greatest World Cup matches I have watched against Argentina, his brace in the final and his perseverance through out the tournament, all undermined by Luka Modric’s claim to the Golden Ball? Let’s all just agree to disagree on this one.

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Slippery Slope; Stevie G diss track – Frank Lampard.

PREMIER LEAGUE                                                                                                                    Goals: Gerrard 120 Lampard 177
Titles: Gerrard 0 Lampard 3

FA CUP                                                                                                                                                      Goals: Gerrard 14 Lampard 28
Cups: Gerrard 2 Lampard 4

LEAGUE CUP                                                                                                                                      Goals: Gerrard 9 Lampard 23
Cups: Gerrard 3 Lampard 2

UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE                                                                                                              Goals: Gerrard 21 Lampard 23
Trophies: Gerrard 1 Lampard 1

INTERNATIONALS – England                                                                                                            Caps: Gerrard 114 Lampard 106
Goals: Gerrard 21 Lampard 29

steven-gerrard-frank-lampard-england-scotland_3150336

Need I say more? The most common argument regarding this battle is that Steven carried his team. In other words he practiced his job of a normal captain. Having failed to win the Premier league in his 19 years at the club, I say he didn’t carry them far; never mind carrying them through the Europa League for 4 seasons without winning the tournament.

The two arguably played the same central role for their clubs, however their style of play and number of goals is what created the difference. The frightening physicality that Steven Gerard possessed on the pitch alongside his passing technique and break up play is what landed him the opportunity to be mentioned among the greats. However, when it comes down to scoring goals, picking passes and controlling play, for me Lampard was one step ahead. At the denouement of their careers, whilst Steve’s attributes faded Lampard’s threat and synchronicity with the ball remained consistent.

Whilst some may argue vigorously against this, here’s a gentle reminder of how the one trophy Gerrard failed to obtain slipped from his hands. I know Lampard, Scholes and Vierra could never.

Pressing people’s buttons can become exhausting, thus the concluding opinion for today.

CHELSEA 2004/5 & MANCHESTER CITY 2017/18 > Arsenal’s Invincibles.

I can already hear the Arsenal heads spinning. This is the sad truth that Arsenal fans have not yet managed to fathom.

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The only golden trophy in history has been lifted by Arsenal F.C. Phenomenal team. Every single one of these players in their prime was a force to be reckoned with. We’ve all had an argument with an Arsenal fan and somehow they have always found a way to mention their precious Invincibles; well they can piss off with that. Without discrediting their incredible display that season, let’s take a retrospective look at both 2003/4 and 2004/5 tables.

2003-4 table2004-5 prem table

Just one season later, a burgeoning Chelsea side had severed Arsenal’s record of most points obtained in a  single season, even with one defeat to their name. The Gooners fell short of the Blues by 5 points, 3 more defeats and an extra 5 draws.

To go unbeaten is a sensational achievement, great way to demand all the glory but questions begin to arise when the stats are beaten just one year later. 14 years on and Arsenal’s invincible points are obliterated by a feared Manchester City side who lost twice.

17-18 prem

Despite City’s unbelievable campaign, it is still debated by radical Gooners that their precious Invincibles remain the greatest Champions in history…

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Bottom line is stats do not lie neither does a golden trophy tell a full story. As far as being the “Best Champions” goes, Arsenal does not come close to the top 4 and here is why.

Less Competition 

The former years consisted of a battle for the title. The battle for top 4 had only become a challenge once Liverpool F.C’s decline begun in 2009/10. Ever since, We Put Pressure F.C and Manchester City had fought to land a resident spot in the top 4 until City eventually won the elite trophy in 2011/12. As time has progressed, the league has become more and more competitive making it more strenuous to win the Premier League trophy, never mind do what City  managed to do last season!

“Arsenal played for draws…”

…”not the mark of a great side”. I concur. 12 draws out of 38 will not win you the trophy in this day and age. In fact, 12 draws is what landed a tense yet smooth battle for 4th placed Liverpool last season. Tell a lie, an Arsenal fan kindly informed me that it helped Leicester City win the trophy. That’s who we are now comparing the Invincibles to. Leicester City F.C.

It was one trophy !

Whilst Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool (just kidding) had all managed to win the PL trophy in the most competitive era we’ve witnessed, they’ve all also managed to win either the FA cup or Carling/Capital One cup along side it. The Invincibles however were knocked out by 3 premier league sides in both competitions and the Champions league.

Again, it is difficult to discredit the eccentric season the Invincible’s had achieved, never the less there is a lot to question.

Stay tuned for part two where I step on a few more toes.

Pep vs Fergie                                                                                    The Alexis Sanchez Saga                                                            The Ozil Obsession                                                                        Man United Ronaldo & Paul Scholes.. OVERATED.

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