You might have heard, but Davey Moyes could rather do with a no nonsense home win. It's also a Big Weekend for Southampton, Benteke, Norwich and the Berb...
A midweek bonus takes in master intercepticons Man United, Arsenal's wealth of scorers, Liverpool's set-piece mastery and Eric Lamela tackling but not creating...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
I just wanted to introduce you all to somebody. His name is Gedion Zelalem, he is 16 years old, he plays for Arsenal and he is going to be one of the Premier League's best midfielders in a few years. Remember his name.
Tom (and remember I told you first ;) Goldenballs
£50m For Rooney
I don't know much in life, but I do know that you are nuts to sell your best playing asset to your most likely biggest rival just as he gets into his peak, when he has been such an important player for us.
If we sell Rooney to Chelsea, it is possibly the stupidest transfer I've seen since Liverpool sold their best asset to Chelsea, and our stupidest I've ever seen. The only reason we should consider it is for £50m+. Anything less is laughable.
There is nothing except Russian (coincidence?) journalists saying that Rooney wants out. But we do need to make a big transfer to give him reason to want to stay. Time to stop flirting and spend on bringing in a couple of big players, or - and I didn't think i'd be one to say this - this could indeed be the beginning of the end.
That said, i'm confident that Moyes knows Rooney's value and importance...
Guy S (make that relatively confident)
It Does Seem To Be Overplayed
I had a thought the other day, during one of the rare moments of my gentleman's introspective time that wasn't spent watching naughty things on the internet.
With all this recent talk about players not handing in the dreaded Transfer Request to retain their loyalty bonus, what's stopping them just recouping any potential loss through signing on fees with their new club?
I'm happy to be corrected on this but considering the issue seems to be circling more than a few clubs at the moment I'd like to know if this a real issue or one the papers are using to further their 'football players are greedy' narrative they are so keen on ramming down our throats.
A Wedgy For United
The first mail in the mailbox this morning is surely proof, if needed, that Chris MUFC is new to this football malarkey. City and Chelsea should stop signing players? Oh the ironing. Man U have been doing exactly that in the Premiership for the last 20 odd years, apart from the Fledglings they hoovered up anyone who looked half decent as most other clubs looked on helpless. To moan when other clubs are doing it now is hypocritical in the extreme. Honestly, the current market is a result of their own doing.
The fact that the bully can now get bullied is rather refreshing though, especially now they don't have Sir around all the time anymore looking after the Premier League Pet. As I have said Moyes hasn't started yet, but a lot of people would like to see Man U get seriously wedgied.
As for trophies, any trophy is great if you win it, but for one munter of a cup look up the Texaco Cup, for 'teams who would have done well in Europe, but weren't good enough to qualify in the first place'. It's a pretty ghastly, short dumpy thing with a TEXACO badge on it, although we did win it once in 72/73, beating Norwich 4-2 on aggregate (2-1 at their place according to assorted sites). It's not worth another star on our shirt (3, oh yeah) but hey!
I'd use a 'I scored once with an ugly girl' analogy, but they're banned now right?
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
The Tide Is Turning
Unexpectedly, I find myself approving of Mr. Moyes. A significant frustration for United fans in recent years has, notwithstanding the splurge in 2011, been the sense of listless inertia each summer as competitors signed major players, whilst United did nothing, and neither Fergie nor anybody else said anything. Moyes, by publically acknowledging bids for Fabregas, giving specific details, and outlining progress, is at least demonstrating some sort of urgency and ambition, and publically engaging with the club's fans.
Generating support from fans isn't a one way, de haut en bas process. Mourinho has demonstrated the value of actively engaging with and courting the support of fans at his clubs. If Moyes can replicate this, in his more taciturn way, he'll be doing relatively well.
Still not convinced the Fabregas bid will come to anything (and I'd still rather the club bought a genuine defensive midfielder), but by publically showing ambition, and engaging openly with the fans, he's at least remedying the obsessive secrecy and sense of omerta that characterised Fergie's latter years at United.
On Vilanova's Replacement
There was an interesting article on F365 recently regarding the insular nature of our football reporting and the UK media's reaction to the situation at Barca instantly reminded me of that.
On the BBC website they posted an article "Where do Barca turn", which at the time it was published was acompanied by pictures of Roberto Mancini, AVB & Michael Laudrup. The article spoke at length about their suitability for the job, but we all know that the reason these 3 were prominent in the article was due to the fact that we know who they are.
My Mrs is from Barcelona and although her football knowledge is only just a tad broader than Alan Shearer's even she said to me when I showed her the article on Friday, "none of those 3 are even in with a shot". Her words were, "It will be either Eusebio (the B-team coach not the legendary Portugeezer), Luis Enrique or some Argentinian no one has heard of (Gerard Martino, I believe)". Whether that turns out to be true we will see later this week but she certainly made a more rational set of predictions than the BBC managed.
Now looking today before writing this mail I noticed the BBC have kept the title the same but changed the pictures and most of the content in the article itself, so I guess you will have to take my word for it that on Friday the article was as insular as I say. However, they still seem to think Laudrup is a logical choice even though most of the fans of Barca think he is a traitor and hate his guts, not quite on a Pig's Head/Figo level but still. They also still list Mancini, literally for no other reason than we have heard of him and he is available, I am 100% certain barca would never give him the job.
Now i'm not saying i'm an expert and I guess that is why I have to read the news to learn about these things but if my Mrs has a better handle on the situation than the so called "Spanish Football Writer" at the BBC then I might as well not bother with football news at all. Do British football fans REALLY prefer to read about people we know being linked with a job they would never get than actually reading something that might have an essence of truth? Or do the media assume we are just a bunch of idiots?
The fact is Barca will probably hire someone English journalists know little about.
Simon (It's a good job I stay away from The Sun, Daily Mail and the rest of that garbage, they probably tip 'Arry for the job) TUFC, London
Sell Bale Now
I think it's the perfect time to sell Bale. As a Tottenham fan I know that sounds treasonous, but hear me out.
Lets look at the facts, Bale is not Matt le Tissier or Paolo Maldini. The truth is sooner or later he IS going to leave. Right now his value is sky high, we have no guarantees that his stock will ever be at this level again. Do we have another player of Bale's quality in our ranks? No. But we have enough depth in midfield as of right now, to cover the amount of chance's he creates/assists. Dembele, Sandro, Lennon, Paulinho (I know, I know he hasn't played yet), Holtby, Townsend, Sigurdsson, Falque (a romantic inclusion honestly) and new guy Chadli should be able to cover his workload in regards to his midfield contribution. Notice I didn't include Huddlestone, Parker and Dempsey in that lot because I think they might go.
Now obviously this doesn't include his more important, more tangible contribution to the team - goals! That's what the money is for, sell Bale for a pretty packet, and use the money to get two top shelf strikers. I am not even fussy, just predatorary sorts who will stick it in the net. A Hybrid clone of Drogba and Tony Cottee would be first choice, but 60mill wouldn't even fund the research, so just buy someone good. Thank you.
Neil (I don't know if treasonous is a word) Green, THFC
More Trophy Talk
Thanks to Tim Royall (GFC) for bringing up the topic of trophies.
Here are my three favourite...
1. The DFB Porkal Cup. It looks like the vessel an ostentatious 13th century lord would guzzle wine out of as he bosses some serfs around.
2. The Stanley Cup. 90cm high and with the name of every player (not team, player) who has ever won it.
3. The Copa America. Still the same one from 1916 and has every winner engraved on the base. Simple and substantial.
..and the three worst.
1. The AFCA National Championship Trophy (for college American Football). It's a crystal american football on a wooden base. Cheap and mightily underwhelming considering the competition.
2. The NCAA Men's Division 1 Basketball Trophy. Looks like the sort of thing you'd expect to be awarded to the winners of a one day summer football tournament for u11s.
3. Maltese FA Trophy. I presume it's supposed to be a man proudly holding a football aloft but it looks like he's taking a throw in.
Anyone else got some they love or hate?
...Can't help but agree with Tim Royall - the UEFA Cup/Europa League Trophy is a thing of beauty, much better than 'Old Big Ears' of the Champions League which is about as exciting listening to Andy Townsend commentating on Stoke vs Bolton.
I am a big fan of the Stanley Cup off of Ice Hockey - now that's a trophy worth winning!! It's a beast!
On a separate note - is the playoff final trophy the most pointless trophy ever!? A symbol of trying hard but ultimately being the third best team in the league! It's like celebrating coming fourth in the premier league and nobody does that do they...
Andy (maybe you should get a trophy for finishing 4th) N
Are the likes of this morning's email from Justin evidence of the latest in football hipster criteria - caring about pre-season friendlies? I understand there's no real (should probably say "men's") football on at the moment but can we all just agree they mean sod all outside of raising fitness levels and lining pockets?
Case in point, last year United won the league by 11 points and so far I haven't seen an admission from Sir Alex this was only made possible by giant killing pre-season one-nils against AmaZulu and Shanghai Shenhua, or resolve-hardening draws against Ajax Cape Town and Valerenga. As for "diamonds in the rough" Januzaj and Lingard (you do realise Lingard played on tour last year too?) these one-nils came courtesy of the now undroppable Macheda and Bebe, whilst other players to get their chance and impress at various stages were Frederic Veseli, Scott Wootton, Robbie Brady, Marnick Vermijl, Tyler Blackett, Ryan Tunnicliffe, Nick Powell and Davide Petrucci.
That's not to say any of the young lads mentioned above won't come good, or that seeing how fat Anderson has got isn't amusing, but Moyes putting de Gea upfront for 20 minutes would mean as much as the result, and getting excited about Carrick and Cleverly making forward runs against a team that was disappointed Emile Heskey couldn't play is grade A nonsense.
David P (p.s. Kagawa is not a winger) Manchester
...Faux-hipsters are a divisive bunch for us normal folk. Some enjoy their curly locked, vest wearing, roll up trousers, moustachioed style, others quite simply don't. I say faux-hipsters because that's what they are (there is no such thing as a real hipster), and they'd be insulted if I used the word fake. They are a rising feature in the mailbox, with emails from self-confessed faux-hipsters (aka hipsters) and emails accusing people as being 'hipsters'. Ordinarily I fall into the group of live and let live, the sweet is never as sweet without the sour, we need polarising groups to reaffirm or develop our own character. But my Ghandi-like philosophies are being sorely tested with a growing trend amongst these trend-whoring goons to state things like "Spain are sure to retain the 'Jules Rimet' trophy" or more likely "Belgium (the faux-hipster national team of choice) are sure to challenge for the Jules Rimet in 2014".
Somewhere, somehow across football forums and in some reader comments on this site, in their desperate attempt to be hip, the cool new thing for these guys seems to be the need to refer to the World Cup cup as the 'Jules Rimet'. With 2014 fast approaching we need to nip this in the bud. So faux-hipsters, put down your jam-jar Pickleback cocktail and listen up, STOP IT NOW! The Jules Rimet trophy was a totally different trophy, in appearance, name and time. It was used from the first World Cup tournament in Uruguay in 1930 and retired and handed to Brazil in 1970 when they won the trophy for the 3rd time. It has sadly been stolen since and melted down.
The replacement trophy, which was created for the 1974 World Cup onwards is simply named as the World Cup Trophy. You don't need Wikipedia, or to be a genius to know this, it said so in the 1986, 1990 & 1994 Panini sticker albums and probably every World Cup sticker album before or since, and at some point in every newspaper in the lead up to the big event . Its not cool or quirky to call it the Jules Rimet, its wrong, and if you really need something to sound different then chuckle out loud to the fact that the current World Cup isn't actually a cup at all! Apologies for this Public Service Announcement, and to Tim Royal (GFC) if he was just mistaken and inadvertently swayed by this growing phenomena.