It's easy to mock Arsenal for being happy with fourth, but Nick Miller says the enormous changes coming up at the top mean there is a genuine reason to celebrate...
He is one of a number of solid shouts for players that look old before their time. We also have the final words on lovely D-Beck and a rejection of end of season playoffs...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Phil Jones makes a magical recovery and is declared fit to start against Madrid. Jose is caught off guard and Fergie wins a small, tactical battle against his compatriot. Classic Fergie. Yes, you heard it first here.
In response to Simon, (83 just felt right), Paisley, scientists call these types of teasers 'thought experiments'. As a United fan and to your tremendous credit I don't think anything else has done as much to get me as excited over this match as your short mail. The thought of the 2 - 2 with 83 minutes played is absolutely tantalizing as a United fan. The absolute thrill of those final moments followed by ecstasy or dejection and pride no matter what is somewhat of a drug for us United supporters.
Oh and to answer your question in case I haven't made it clear enough already, I'd have money on United finding a way through with the score at 2 - 2 and would find it infinitely more satisfying if we did go through.
Just had to share my excitement.
Raoul, Sunny Durban, South Africa
I have to say, I think Sagar Deo's proposal of Rooney set to counter Ronaldo is a stroke of genius. He can still be dangerous, make his passes but also drive the team forwards from there and Ronaldo won't know what hit him (though I'm sure he'll roll around on the floor claiming it was an elbow, before winking at the camera).
Sometimes you just have to do something entirely unpredictable to throw a team off, and I think that could be the winning move!
Guy S (I do love a good curve ball tactic)
I'm sure you'll get a sackful of these but Simon, (83 just felt right), Paisley what the hell are you on about?
Would we rather be winning with 7 minutes to go or 'losing'? Dress it up all you like, mention the game against City with Ronaldo's late goal, but at the end of the day (thanks Roy) we would take B) winning 2-1, every day of the year.
Fox (excited is an understatement) Berlin MUFC
...Simon, (83 just felt right), Paisley in answer to your question -
With 7 minutes on the clock (plus injury time) I would rather be a goal up and going through to the next round than still needing a goal with time running out.
PeterMUFC (Too nervous for brackets)
...Can I call for a rule for contributors, call it Rule365 if you like, that all contributors must read and re-read their mail before clicking send, because the 'B, Obviously' title given to the mail Simon, (83 just felt right), Paisley sent in has once again...
1, Covered my keyboard with tea from my nose.
2, Caused my office to stare as I simultaneously choke and laugh.
3, Most likely ruined my scant chances with the new girl wearing knee high boots who watched me, bemused.
Please, following on from the safety-belt mantra, always ask yourself 'Is this thick, before I click'.
On footballing matters, If the game tonight is of a quality as your delightfully dry title MC we're in for a doozey, obviously.
Chris ITFC (Remember, Is this thick?... Click) Liverpool
More Gooner Moaning
The annoying thing, is that teams don't have to be *that* good to beat us. They know that they'll get a couple of chances due to our defensive failings and that we in turn are not likely to score more than 1 or 2 (fine and dandy if you're rock solid at the back a la George Graham and Mourinho's teams). It's not surprising we've not conceded a huge amount of goals, as we still generally retain possession a lot. However, when we do lose the ball, there's the sense that anything could happen and opposition teams pick up on this.
So it's not so much the amount of goals we're conceding, but the way we're conceding I guess. In most of the big games where we've lost we've not been spanked, but have never really looked like winning (Chelsea 2-1, Man Utd 2-1, Spurs 2-1, Citeh 2-0). Especially as we've gone 2 down in all of these games, teams can then sit back and soak up the pressure. Very frustrating. Spurs' two best players on Sunday (Lloris and Vertonghen) would have improved us no doubt, especially (in the case of the latter) as both goals came from suicidal mistakes from Vermaelen, who really shouldn't have been made captain.
NC Gooner this morning asked regarding Ramsey: "It was the same with Denilson, who got vilified, so how does this guy keep getting away with it?"
I assure you that any casual look at any Arsenal blog will reveal that Ramsey doesn't get away with it and is regularly and deservedly vilified. To the point where Gooners regularly post our poor winning percentage with Ramsey on the pitch versus a much higher percentage with him not playing. 99% of Gooners are just as baffled with Wenger's latest project in Ramsey, and seemingly always finding a place for him. He isn't getting away with it with respect to the fans, he's getting away with it with respect to Le Genius Wenger.
In Rambo's Defence
It's ever so easy to have a pop at Ramsey but I feel I have to defend the fella.
He's just the sort of guy whose career has gone backwards playing under Arsene Wenger and I bet he regrets choosing the Emirates over Old Trafford all those years ago. Granted Aaron is a limited player but it's up to the coach to play to his strengths and not just shunt him off to right back or the wing.
News flash Ramsey is a central midfielder - I'm sure Jack would suffer similar setbacks if he was treated as Ramsey is. Arsenal used to be a club that could get the best out of players - now it seems to take the potential players have and grind them down until they are a husk of what they once were.
I guarantee if Ramsey had opted for Old Trafford - he wouldn't be pulling up any trees but a la Phil Jones he would be performing to the best of his ability. If players do not perform to the best of their ability - you can either blame the player or the coach and due to the number of Arsenal players who find success elsewhere - I know who I blame.
Oh and on Arsenal never signing big names - Alan Ball, Dennis Bergkamp, Marc Overmars and Davor Suker say different.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Even former Gooner Kyle Bartley has more silverware than our lot, Norf London
...NC Gooner, you sir, have no idea what you are saying. I'll agree he may have done better before their first goal, but he hasn't been bad given the circumstances. For the first half of the season he was pretty much played on the wing, out of position and of course he wasn't great, but he always gives it his all in every game. When he was subbed against Bayern I remember he was far above the average in distance covered.
When he was finally played in center mid for a couple of times in January, he was great. Agianst Chelsea, he made 117 passes out of 123 attempted and against liverpool he had 105 completed passes while Gerrard and Henderson had 102 put together. He's even started playing at right back lately, both after Jenkinson got sent of against Sunderland and when he was subbed off against Spurs he's played well there. You also conveniently forget that Ramsey got us the free kick that led to our goal, and to no vision, I simply say watch this video:
Also, he hasn't been getting away with it, he's been criticised heavily, mostly by idiotic fans that don't understand not every player in a squad has to be Messi or Ronaldo. He may not be a world beater but he is a great squad player, willing to give it his all and play in RM/CM/RB without complaining.
Anonymous (I wasted my lunch break on this)
Power + Shift
A bit late I know but reading the mailbox has got me thinking about this shift in power from Arsenal to Tottenham. So let's break it down; One team has built a new stadium and medical centre whilst maintaining a top 4 finish for the last 17 years. They also have a mythical warchest, rumoured to contain a bazillion priceless jewels or something. Granted, the chest can never be opened, but they've got it.
The other team has Gareth Bale. Well, for next two months at least at least. Oh, and Adebayor. Hahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaaahhhhh! Sorry about that, I don't know what came over me.
Chris, (knickers no longer twisted), London
No More Moaning
Remember when we were all frustrated beyond belief about the Fabregas transfer saga that went on for what seemed to be years and years?
Well, multiply that by the frustration levels caused by the Hazard transfer saga then add that to the frustrated sum of the Neymar transfer saga and the number of dumb tweets that have spewed forth from Joey Barton's twitter machine and multiply that by a factor equal to the number of miles driven by Peter Odemwingie's agent on deadline day and you're almost at the level of frustration us non-Arsenal supporting fans are at regarding the constant bloody moaning you're doing about your club.
For the love of all that is good and pure, can we please discuss something else?
Ed (please?) CFC, London
I came into work this work and immediately opened F365 expecting the main headlines and the mailbox to be dominated by the day's big issue, yet somehow there was not a single mention of it...
What the hell was going on with those two astronauts last night? Seems like a lot of effort for a pretty naff pun.
DM (astronauts?), WBA
Ice Cream With Karl-Heinz
I'm sure many footballers are nasty up-themselves arrogant morons, however not Karl-Heinz Riedle.
I must have been around nine when I saw the German maestro dining on his own, and me being the excitable tosser I was, I went over to him, mid-meal, to ask for his autograph.
I sort of realised my folly when I had to wait for him to stop chewing and was expecting a lesson in ethics and etiquette, the same one I had just ignored from my parents. The man put down his napkin and said to me "Only if you have dessert with me" .
Now, that may sound rather odd written in text but it was the best outcome that could have happened for any nine-year-old. He had the frangipane, I the gelato.
Matt J (Also saw Paul Ince fall over outside blockbuster)
...Footballer encounters: the day Marcel Desaily came to Rwanda
All these stories about strange fan encounters with footballers reminded me of the day a few years ago when Marcel Desailly (together with Christian Karembeu and Basile Boli) came to Rwanda.
Now Rwanda is a football-mad nation, so Desailly was hugely popular here. When he took his seat in the stadium to watch a charity football game the entire stadium-tens of thousands of people- started chanting his name and going crazy. He looked completely flabbergasted.
But the moment I'll always remember is when the game ended and he tried to leave. The fans were surrounding him desperate to say hello or shake his hand and it was just complete chaos- at some point I started fearing for his safety. Then out of the blue, one guy jumped out of the crowd, planted a big kiss on Desailly's cheek and then ran off shouting with joy.
I don't think he'll come back to Rwanda anytime soon.
Turiyo Damascene, Kigali, Rwanda
Useful Tip In The Postscript
I've been enjoying the low amount of Liverpool mails in the Mailbox recently, but alas, I am here to restore order!
Thanks to a very boring lunch hour I decided to look upon Liverpool's remaining fixtures, and their corresponding results from last year. The results:
5 wins, 2 draws, 3 losses.
I replaced Southampton, West Ham and Reading with teams that were relegated last season. In those results, they lost to Bolton (A) and drew with Blackburn (H). They also lost to Newcastle (A) and Fulham (A). Brendanism optimism¿ here suggests that these results could easily become Wins should Liverpool continue to play well (and with Suarez on fire and Sturridge returning to the starting line-up).
I also noted that Liverpool have the same amount of points after 28 games as last season (42 points). Interesting, I thought... So how did they fair in their remaining 10 League games?
3 wins, 1 draw and 6 losses.
Brendanism optimism¿ here again points to the likelihood that Liverpool's current form should result in more points than a meagre 10. Is Brendamism¿ spreading? I'm feeling... Hope? Is that what that is? It's been a while. Let's say it's hope. It's nice. No doubt, another Bale master class will drag me back to reality (although, Played 29 - 42 Points would still be the same as last season).
What do we learn from this? Always try and get out of the office during your lunch hour, or prepare to procrastinate pretty perilously.
Alan (Alan's awesome at alliteration), Aberdeen
PS. I learned how to do a EURO symbol on my keyboard earlier. I'm probably not the only one to have wondered this, so... CTRL + ALT + E