You might notice that we haven't included a single mail about teams in pubs, because most of them were terrible. Instead we have a disgruntled Fulham fan and Scouse maths...
If we were Alan Pardew, we'd feel a whole lot better if Rafa Benitez took a job far away from the Premier League. He looks the most vulnerable to a Spanish coup...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
The Definition Of A Dive
Gareth Bale is really annoying me. He's just admitted on camera that if there is contact, it's not a dive. Well Gareth, you've just admitted going down upon feeling contact. But what's making you fall down all pointy toes and arms outstretched? Because it certainly can't be that small contact you just felt.
If you're going down of your own free will, it's a dive. If you're going down under a challenge then there's not usually much pointy toes and outstretched arms, more panicked flailing and disorientation.
A dive is a dive, contact or not, foul or not.
And finally, If it is a foul then you should be getting the penalty anyway, whether you're on the floor or on your feet.
Chris (how did the game come to this), AFC London
Enjoying The Attention
Also, another point on all this Liverpool fans are paranoid hoo-ha. I really don't give a sh1t what anyone thinks of Liverpool fans as a whole, paint any picture you like!
I think there are an awful lot of people interested in Liverpool, either because they hate the club or because they support it, either way, despite the team being very mid-table for a few years now we still get treated like a big deal. We're on TV a lot and there is lots of press about the team and lots of reporting. I quite like that. I live far away from Anfield and it's expensive to go up regularly so I'll take lots of exposure as a decent second best to watching every game from the stands.
If people didn't think there was a lot of interest in the team, whether it came from a small, extremely deluded section, or otherwise, there wouldn't be as much stuff about us. And then I'd probably have to read more about West Brom and Swansea which I don't want to do, but I will because the alternative is working.
All jokes about actually getting to watch a decent brand of football if Liverpool didn't get so much exposure are anticipated. No need to send them in.
A Few Bits About Liverpool
Firstly happy New Year to everyone at F365, many thanks for keeping me sane at work and giving me something to read every lunchtime
A few conclusions from the Liverpool v QPR game yesterday
- QPR are hands down the worst side I have seen us play this season, they just seem to lack any leadership and drive - I guess that's what happens when you fill your side full of players who are winding down their careers and pay them ridiculous sums of cash. If as expected they do go down this season they are in real trouble, very few of the players have any sell on value and I imagine most will stay and collect a massive pay cheque for doing jack, they could end up as Leeds mk2
- I thought Henderson had a good game as the point in the midfield 3, was disappointed he was taken off and didn't get the full 90. He has all the attributes to fit in to Rodgers's style of play and just needs a run in the side in a central position.
- Taarabt looks like Fozzie Bear with that beard
- With Enrique injured I hope to god either Kelly gets fit soon so Johnson can switch sides or Rodgers gives Robinson a run at left back, anything but Downing at LB, it is bad enough when he plays further up the pitch.
- Talking of Downing, he would be a superb rugby union player, he has this ability to move forward while always passing behind him
- Suarez is a greedy sod, but in fairness who is he supposed to pass too? Sturridge might be another overpriced & overrated British player, but at least it's another option.
- Johnson was superb and to be honest is far too good for us, in my opinion he is one of the top right backs in the world and could comfortably play for any top side. Pace, power, stamina, good control - he has it all.
- I really don't like the black/grey kit, but to be fair it is better than the purple monstrosity that looks like it has been designed by a group of kids with ADD after a Sunny Delight & Skittles bender
- Nice for Carra to get a 10 min cameo with the game over, great servant for the club and I hope he does the right thing and retires at the end of the season and moves into coaching
Anyway hope everyone has a great new year, as a Liverpool supporter 2012 has been a nightmare, I really hope 2013 is going to be an improvement!
Mark James (Party at the in-laws tonight, oh the joy) LFC
I feel I have to write in to express how utterly appalled I am at the criticism of United in the mailbox after the West Brom game.
Silvio Dante said Scholes and Giggs 'conspired' to create a poor performance and attacked Fergie for putting them on the bench. He said "how Ferguson can think you can place two nearly 40-year-old men on the bench, only around 10 YARDS from the pitch, and still expect the team to dominate a game is beyond me". Interesting opinion Silvio, but you know you could put Boris Johnson on the bench and it wouldn't affect the actual match, right?
As for the brilliant remarks by Sebastien, with his existential musing 'what is a champion side?' and suggesting United aren't because they don't crush teams every week like Dortmund do... that would be the Dortmund who are third in the Bundesliga with 8 wins, 6 draws and 3 losses yes? I'll take a scrappy win to put United 7 points clear, cheers though big guy.
Guys, if you're going to criticise something, at least understand it a tiny bit first...
...I have waited until the half way point of the season for this rant but frankly the slating of Manu is beginning to become tiresome. Lets look at some facts:
- they can't defend
- they score a lot
- they score more goals than they let in
- they are top of the league by seven points with 50 goals in 20 games
However apparently they are not champions because not everyone enjoys watching them, in fact per the latest mailbox they didn't even really attack against West Brom and obviously this is how they have played all season - hence the fact they have only scored 50 goals. When City scrape a game it's because it's the sign of champions but when it's Manu it's pure luck...
Someone else wrote a lovely piece about how they don't destroy teams like Dortmund and Barcelona and so don't look like champions - well good point except neither of these teams are in the Premier League and since the standard of the league has dropped this year they are currently the best team in the league whether it's believed or not. This is why they are top of the league....
Man U might not win the league but they are currently top in a game that is all about scoring more goals than your opponent. Since they currently do this very well regardless of sh*t defending I think we can conclude that they deserve to be where they are. No doubt someone will respond with a comment about how Chelsea or city have better teams - in which case why aren't they top? You can't use luck for an excuse after twenty games and let's not forget that Manu have played Liverpool, City and Chelsea away and beat them all this season.
Whilst on this rant I also find it laughable that people slate Rooney. Yes he has sh*t games but he has been one of the top scorers for a team that consistently challenges for honours for a good few years now so is he really that sh*t? If he has so many bad games he would not be up there for the number of years he has been.
P.s I haven't been following the German league lately but aren't the dominant Dortmund who destroy everyone and look like champions struggling?
...I'm very sorry Sebastien wasted his time watching United on Saturday. It must have been awful to witness such a weak and inconsistent side (most goals in the league, best goal difference and 7 points clear) struggle their way past West Brom.
United clearly have issues. Valencia is horrendously out of form, Young is rubbish, Nani is Nani whilst the numerous combinations of centre back pairings has clearly taken its toll. We also aren't as well stocked up front or out wide as people seem to think.
But bloody hell, just shut up. If United are so rubbish what does that make the rest of the league? Now you're perfectly right that we aren't as good as Barcelona but in many ways nobody is but guess what - they didn't win the league last year so maybe they aren't quite infallible either. I'd also rather have United being supposedly less dominant and consistent than Dortmund. Seeing as the rather pretty German outfit are currently 3rd and 12 points off the pace.
United are very functional at the moment but If this isn't championship form then I can't wait for it all to click in to place.
I've been having a footballing nightmare over the past 3-4 months. It is the same every day. It intensifies when days like today (and days like the Villa game happen). Alex Ferguson signing Frank 8 Lampard for free in the summer of 2013 on a 3 year contract (or a pre-contract in Jan 2013).
Aravind, (Roman, please sign our number 8 for 3 more years), CFC, Chennai
Theo & Olivier
Josh's proposal of Walcott and Giroud upfront is an interesting one that may be worth a pop. But I'm not convinced an awful lot will change if we do adopt it. When Walcott and Giroud have been in the same side this season, Walcott has pretty much played as a second striker anyway. His starting position has been a wide one, but as attacks unfold, he usually ends up in the centre anyway. It's hard to believe that's not by instruction as a kind of centre forward / winger hybrid. If Cazorla played on the right, he would presumably wander in field and Walcott would likely have to drift wide to fill in for him. That could still work, but basically, I think the question of who starts in the centre isn't important; it certainly shouldn't be to us as fans. It's a game of egos with Podolski and Walcott both wanting a central berth, but neither should worry too much about it if the team is at heart.
Walcott scored two goals from a central position on Saturday, scored one coming in from wide off the left and made two goals from the right wing. He won the penalty at Wigan with a run in from the right wing. Likewise, on Saturday Podolski made one goal with a good piece of wing play but was still able to score a poacher's goal inside the six yard box later in the game. It was much the same in the 5-2 win over Spurs. Podolski scored from the centre and made one with a cross from the left. Cazorla scored a tap in in the box and made one with a cross. Walcott made one with a cross for Mertesacker and scored a tap in in the penalty area. Basically, Arsenal's attack is at its best when Walcott, Cazorla and Podolski interchange effectively. If they do that, it doesn't much matter who plays in the centre, they'll all get chances to score and make goals.
Happy New Year to all at F365 and keep up the excellent work.
Being Nice About The Neighbours
In response to the mail from Lawrence (slightly confused Arsenal fan) Melbourne, I felt the need to admit my own positive feelings towards the bitter rivals of my team...
Supporting Wolverhampton Wanderers has often been a trial at the best of times, but this year it has been made all the more difficult by the success of the Tesco Bags down the road. Rarely have they done so well whilst we have done so poorly, but as they approach Europe and we stare down the barrel of a gun shooting towards League One, it would appear correct to point out where it is that they are doing so well, while we simply aren't.
First and foremost, the simple difference that has to be accepted and pointed out is Dan Ashworth. The role that he has played in keeping the ship in West Brom steady is remarkable and an example to all but the very top clubs. Despite a managerial merry go round over the last few years (they have had Mowbray, Di Matteo, Hodgson and now Clarke in a period that we have had just Mick and Stale) they have managed to maintain their upward curve. Much of this must be down to Ashworth, the way he runs the club and the fact he does the buying and selling.
I know it's Clarke's connections that brought in Lukaku but other than that, pretty much the rest of the team is there because of Ashworth. Just eighteen months ago Wolves had a very strong cluster of British players including Flether, O'Hara, Jarvis etc that were the envy of many, even those down the road. However, what we failed to do (and are still failing to do) was marry those to quality foreigners, which is where West Brom have come into their own. Without the likes of Olsson, Mulumbu, Odemwingie and this year Yacob, players like Brunt, Long and McAuley would probably be struggling. When you think of the "class" foreigners that Wolves brought in, including Milijas, Zubar and Mouyokolo the difference is tangible.
They also seem to be gaining in areas in which they have previously struggled. West Brom have never been good at creating their own players whilst we have had Keane, Lescott, Mark Davies and many more come through to play Premier League football while we looked on. However, it seems that they may even be beginning to get this right. George Thorne and Saido Berahino are members of the England U-19s team and, apparently the West Brom U-12s have just won the equivalent of the FA Cup in that age group which, whilst it doesn't guarantee future success, would appear to show that they are moving in the right direction. In time, they may even challenge Villa for the West Midlands top young talent (particularly if Villa continue to struggle for a few years) and if that happens Wolves will struggle to keep up.
On a more personal note, I have to say that the West Bromwich Academy school (opposite the Hawthorns) is currently one of the best in Sandwell and thrives on its relationship with the club too, so they are even doing their bit for the community in which they are situated! They are becoming so damn loveable!
Of course, I hope that with Ashworth heading off to the FA at the end of the year it will all unravel and they will hurtle despairingly towards relegation while trying to fight it out in Europe (if they make it) next season. However, for now, I have to accept that Jez Moxey has absolutely nothing on Ashworth and that Wolves are clearly their insignificant neighbours.
John (Plus Mick stuffed us at the Molineux too - can it get any worse?), Smethwick
...In response to Lawrence, my fellow premier league follower in Oz - I must admit to sometimes having positive feelings about Sunderland.
See being geographically isolated from Sunderland I don't have the same "stick at work if we lose" thing (not that NUFC supporters have had to worry about that much lately).
I do have a reason to dislike Sunderland and its simply the fact that you just know - every year - that Lee Cattermole is going to do a mad tackle and possibly injure one of our players/get a red card.
Lee Cattermole knows it, Martin O'Neill knows it - and the ref knows it. Wouldn't it be simpler for Lee Cattermole and whoever he is going to target to meet up before the game outside the hospital ED. Lee can bring a hammer and slam it into said NUFC players ankle - In exchange Sunderland will agree to start the game with 10 men. This way we don't have to be subject to the assault disrupting play at some point in the game.
But I digress, I've a fair chunk of Irish in me and for that reason feel warm n fuzzy toward the Ireland-Sunderland connection. I also have to admit that Sunderland is "a proper club" in the sense they seem to belong in the Premiership on the basis of having a decent number of fans. Really they should be in the top 10.
Also...I...like Kevin Phillips. If you ever read interviews with him he comes across as a likeable and funny bastard. Kind of like you're little brother - always annoying you but deep down you think he's alright
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide.
In regards to Sebastian's suggestion that Dortmund are playing like true champions whilst Man United are not. Is this the same Dortmund that have just gone third in their league, twelve points off the top, as opposed to United's seven points clear?
Mad As Hell, Can't Take It Anymore
I feel compelled to write now. The mailbox has been getting a bit weird for a while and I've had enough.
Lawrence, the slightly confused gooner; You can respect another team/player/club/manager etc without it affecting your support for your own club. They are not evil demons from the 3rd Reich, just people! Positive feelings toward other clubs? Yes, loads, because they play football and it is very interesting to see how other teams do it compared to your own. I am a football fan first, then Man United supporter. Ridiculous. And not funny anymore, just boring.
Contact does not equal foul. No it doesn't but I saw the replay (thought he dived at first) and he got a touch on his knee which made his knee try to bend in a way it doesn't want to. Not much but at that speed it's going to unbalance you.
What is a champion side? One which wins the sodding League! Arrgh!! And by the way Sebastien, Barca did not win theirs last year so they aren't champions. United keep winning without being completely convincing. Seems like champion material to me but lets see eh?
United player criticism; Welbeck and Cleverley are young. YOUNG! I know Rooney and Fabregas etc were playing like fully fledged professionals from 18 etc but everyone develops at different rates. There was a lad in my year at school with the most magnificent sideburns which I was very jealous of. There were some sensible/mature kids and some idiots/immature kids. There was a guy who passed his driving test without any lessons because he had been driving vehicles off road on his family's farm for years. Everyone's lot is different. Form is also a factor. Sometimes you're on form sometimes you are not. Welbeck to me seemed to have forgotten how to play as a striker. He kept on picking up positions as if he was on the wing, as he has been in his previous few games.
There are usually very good reasons why things happen. Cause and effect etc etc. It rains because the sun heats up water till it evaporates. Or is it because god is having a slash? THINK for goodness sake!
Oh, and a closed mouth gathers no feet.
Wonko the sane
Just a quick one on terrace songs. I've just heard one of the best at QPR.
QPR fans: 'We lose every week, we lose every week. You're nothing special, we lose every week.'
Mick T LFC
What Bastards We Are
Just read my amazingly insightful mail that you printed. I didn't realise how much I said "once again", did you notice? Why didn't you kindly edit and vary up the vocabulary on behalf?
Stitched me right up there, you gits.