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
I'm just going to say before all the Hazard and Chelsea/Swansea articles.
Arsenal won 5-1.
Even Giroud scored.
...Can someone hypnotise the Arsenal squad and tell them they have to go out for the second half twice??
Based on second half performances Arsenal would be a comfortable second 2 points behind City. Based on the first half they would be looking over their shoulders at relegation.
What happens at half time? Is it Arsene who is throwing the hairdryer around these days.
Wenger Had A Point
Probably 99.99999% of football followers scoffed at Le Prof when he made the statement that Arsenal fudged up an opportunity to win the league this season. But, he had a point! Arsenal have had very sporadic moments (in games) this season where they have been far more devastating than any other team in EPL. Yesterday's 10 minutes blitzkrieg is one the cases in point, I have not seen any other team in EPL have as devastating a period in a game.
The biggest problems with the Arsenal, is that these moments have been far too sporadic and too infrequent and are interspersed by moments of "timidity" and just brain-farts of stupidity. ManYoo and Citeh have not had such fleeting periods of devastating play, but have been far more consistent in applying just the right amount of pressure to get championship winning results.
KT Mokhele (That 10 minute spell was the perfect time to belt out a song to the tune of "We have our Arsenal back...." or something of that nature), Gooner in Johannesburg
Oh, This Also Happened
A few thoughts on last night's ballboy fiasco;
* I may have missed this, but since when have ballboys been very large 17+ year olds?
* If a member of the crowd had ran out and layed on the ball to prevent retrieval, would we all be applauding Hazard?
* How awkward must his father (a club director) be feeling today given the pre-match twitter boasts of time wasting his son came out with?
* Will this start a new craze amongst ballboys up and down the country?
Kevin (not a Chelsea fan btw), Boston
...I had a wonderful e-mail about the trials and tribulations of the young Iberian keeper. You then go and post a wonderful article by Andi Thomas and I have to delete the 500+ word composition I had meticulously thought out.
Maybe I could say something about Eden Hazard's comments sounding awfully like Roy Keane's.
Keane: "I think I kicked the ball and not the boy. I apologise."
Hazard: "I'd waited long enough. I ****ing hit him hard. The ball was there (I think). Take that you ****"
I'm pretty sure I got those the right way round.
...Please tell me everyone saw the Swansea media manager on sky sports this morning essentially say the ball boy is not that kind of player!
...Following by the embarrassing reaction of literally every Chelsea fan I know, I thought I'd try and put this incident in perspective. Firstly, a three match ban for Hazard for kicking a child, and the ball boy in question to not be allowed to be a ball boy ever again, are both perfectly suitable punishments. Secondly, whilst Hazard's frustration about blatant timewasting is understandable (not excusing the venting of said frustration), Chelsea fans lose the right to complain when they've spent years worshipping the absolute king of cheating, Didier Drogba.
Alex G, THFC (not to mention the semi final vs Barca)
...Hazard shouldn't have kicked him.
The ball boy shouldn't have acted the prat.
Surely the referee should have told everyone to calm down and stop playing silly buggers and let the game proceed without dismissing Hazard?
The sooner football insists on replicating Rugby Union's approach to refereeing, both in terms of referee's behaviour and behaviour of players towards referees the better. It's the only way to subdue the current ridiculous hysterical reactions of players, managers and media in everything to do with football.
Sean (I hate white boots too), Omeath
...Listen, we all know Hazard shouldn't have kicked the kid, but the combination of laying on the ball and then the resulting play-acting by the kid after he was (barely) kicked was positively Busquets-esque.
Advice for that kid- less time on the touchline and more spent in your local theatre to hone your clearly god-given skills.
Ryan, AFC, Chicago
...Oh dear god. Can't we just be rubbish? Do we have to make things even worse? At this rate Chelsea will overtake Suarez as the most hated thing in English football - although we may already be there.
Can I do a Snelly and change teams?
Michael, Chelsea (what did I do in a previous life that was so bad?), London
...Vicious, violent, unnecessary needless physical attacks. I sat in shock and awe and the whole spectacle wondering how such things are allowed to happen by everyone watching on.
No, I won't be watching AFRICA again. I'd sooner watch Chelsea.
Chris, ITFC, Liverpool
Loving The COC
Gotta say I am absolutely delgihted with the way the Capital One Cup has turned out. Not only Bradford City of all teams are in the final itself, but facing them in the final is Swansea City, only a "proper" looked upon team for 2 years now. I don't even know if in all the time I've been watching football that there have been two unlauded teams contesting a cup final. It could be a shower of crap, but I am pretty gosh darn excited to see this game.
Both teams will feel they can win the thing, and it will be refreshing not to have to sit through hoping an underdog can potentially beat Utd/Chelsea/City/Pool and eventually come up short like always. Hooray for football.
Dave (That ballboy's reaction is proof of divers being bad role models), Ireland
Tremmel and Williams will get all the plaudits for their performances last night, and Hazard the headlines, but for me, there was nobody better than Ki. Safe passes, and 40 yard first time volleys were all played with pinpoint accuracy and he helped Swansea get hold of possession in the second half after being overrun in the first. His completion ratio must be well above 90% in that game and I would love to see the stats. One of those players who never really gets noticed by anyone but his teammates.
KC (not a Swansea fan)
Simon CFC said that during Euro 2004 he "bet some patriotic Greek with more money than sense stuck £20 on them to win". at 200-1.
Well my wife was that greek, only it wasn't 20 quid it was 50, you do the maths.
More importantly when she placed the bet i laughed and sad that no Greek team would ever win a major football competition in our lifetime and that if they won i'd do the housework and cooking for 6 months. Watching the last seconds of the final in Greek north London i found myself jumping up and celebrating the win with everyone else, only for the reality of the situation to suddenly dawn on.
And yes she kept me to the bet, and no i didn't see a penny of that money.
Blind patriotism's great.
Nick, Washington DC.
...In regards to yesterday's letter by Simon (hope we're there to rain big blue droplets all over your parade) CFC, I was working in a blokes clothes shop. And one of our regular customers was a local Greek restaurant owner a nice guy who insisted on wearing the tightest leather trousers imaginable.
Anyway he had a grand on Greece to win at odds of 100-1, I think he was more shocked that they won a game let alone won the whole thing and as we were so nice to him he gave all the local businesses dinner at his place.
Still none of this Greek tale made up for my disappointing memories of Gerogias Georgiadis (who my Mrs is convinced was a character in Londons Burning rather than a Toon player)
Rob (still liked Nikos Dabizas though) G
Oh The Pain
Kudos to all the Villa fans who were able to write coherent letters yesterday, I'm looking forward to the moment where I'm in a fit state to analyse the game. At the moment I'm still at the stage whereby I watch a repeat of the game on mute, so that when I see Bradford abbreviated to 'Bra' and in Yellow, I can pretend we're losing to Brazil.
It hope it gets easier.
Mike, London. AVFC.
...In yesterday morning's mailbox Michael, Australia slated Phil Dowd's performance for the villa game claiming that he cannot handle "big occasions". You realise it was a league cup tie between Aston Villa and Bradford, right?
To follow up on Brian, LFC, Ireland's suggestion of forcing footballers to compete in various physical and technique trials. Up here in Scotland, SPL players took part (for sport scene I believe) in a long throw competition! The winner was Garry Kenneth of Dundee United, now of Bristol Rovers. So yeah, shows where our priorities are.....
CulturedPeg (I'd pay to see Titus Bramble vs Shaun Derry in a sprint)
...Re Brian, LFC, Ireland's e-mail about a Sprint Competition he may be pleased to know that this has happened at least once before. It was back in the halcyon days of Saint & Greavsie on a Saturday afternoon. Forgot who won, possibly Leigh Jenkinson. Alls I can really remember was Man Utd's entrant was Danny Wallace (slow as fook) who got absolutely monstered by Keith Curle, who i think was runner up in the final. I for one would welcome it again and I'm sure there'd be another surprise speed merchant.
Drew Peacock - MUFC, Manchester (Keith Curle's standing twisted start beat all the crouching starts - didn't work for me)
West Ham! Allardyce has done a good job getting us the mid table obscurity we needed after a few up and down seasons in Prem and Champ but after taking the lead to then taking a shellacking by le arse (another mid table team!) is a bad result for us. Not the loss but the ten min performance conceding 4 goals from folks like Giroud who almost needs to dribble the ball into the net since he moved!
Ally 'Happy if Allardyce doesn't try and play mind games in the media again and see us get smashed Hammer' Reid
Still Backing De Gea
A lot of my mails to you (printed or otherwise) mention how De Gea gets stick for no reason. I've kicked off, unsuccessfully, twice about Nev Almighty's punditry with regards to Dave. He criticised De Gea for Mata's free kick, when it's that little step that allows him to fly and make the top corner save (that everyone bummed him for last season at Stamford Bridge). Don't forget Schmeichel on the Basler free kick against Munich in the 99 final, it's what keepers do.
Nev now wants him to be able to come out on top of a clash with Vidic AND a defender. Are you having a laugh? I do think he could have tried to catch it, or maybe have gone with the left hand not the right, but no way was he at fault. He was brilliant all game and now he's getting his pants pulled down for something that wasn't even a mistake.
Begovic. BEGOVIC?! Did no-one see him cost Stoke 3 goals against City? Seriously, let's stick with De Gea and stop having a go at him every time something happens on a football pitch somewhere. Schmeichel didn't come to United until he was 28, and even then he made mistakes on crosses. Van Der Sar cost United the champions league final in 2011 with mistakes for 2 of the goals. De Gea is going to be amazing, and is already very good.