Obviously quite a bit of the admin in the Champions League group stage is already done, dusted and polished, but Daniel Storey finds five matches that still have plenty at stake...
Moyes is lacking 'charismatic authority', Kieran Gibbs is defended, Chelsea's problems are examined and a dreadful chant attacked. It's a glorious mailbox...
If you have anything else to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
If people want to see evidence of the effects of 'financial doping' they have to look no further than the ridiculous prices that are being quoted for so-called top strikers. Fat Rooney for 40mill, Gareth Bale for an absurd 100mill and Suarez the liability, who could end up playing less games in a season than Tomas Rosicky, for 50million.
And while I would love to see Arsenal spend some fackin' money, I also love Arsene for not spending it. The man is an idealist. The rest of the world is having to cut spending whilst in football a player is worth 40, 50 or 100 million. But in reality there is no way that a single player is worth that much money. Instead of giving in to this absurdity he gives youth a chance, which in all other walks of life would be celebrated.
It seems to me that Wenger, the philosopher, understands that football does not exist outside of the real world and for that I can't fault him.
Al (Global Gooner) Red
De Rossi Better Fit Than Fellaini/Fabregas
One doesn't need to go overboard to make a point. Chris suggests that a box-to-box player might become a liability because the team needs to be built around them. This doesn't make sense. Keano barely ever ran the game considering that we was playing alongside Scholes, Giggs and Beckham. And what is this about being dangerously exposed? I thought box-to-box players tracked back better when the need arose thereby making the team more robust and not otherwise.
Defense-minded midfielders aren't what we need solely because we've had quite a few in these last few years with relative success in Europe. You tend to get overrun against genuinely creative and quality opposition. Besides, there's very little outlet for such players as most good teams would press you to the point that you lose the ball again.
What, I think, United need is a semi box-to-box/creative midfielder who can soak in the pressure, make the necessary quality passes and tackles and has the skill to dribble out of situations where teams are pressing hard to get the ball back. A few quality shots at goal, if possible, doesn't hurt either.
Now the question is who fits the bill? Fabregas can get you out of tight spots while picking up the ball with his creativity and skill and would invariably not lose it in Europe under pressure. But will he attack more than he defends? If so, can he track back like a quality defensive midfielder? I guess not. Besides, he doesn't possess the physical presence that is required to handle a team like Bayern these days.
I don't believe Fellaini would do any better except for his aerial presence which is an added plus. And he would almost invariably lose the ball considering his lack of skill. Like Chris mentions, Jones is capable of playing that part quite easily this season.
So who can United buy who'll fill the void in most areas in that position? I'd say Danielle De Rossi, because he has the skill, the incisiveness and the power that makes him a perfect foil for Carrick. Why the powers-that-be aren't putting half as much effort (as compared to Fabregas) to get him to OT is beyond me. Couple of others who'll also be better bets are Sami Khedira (Real) or probably someone like Roman Neustadter (Schalke).
Good point made by Tim Stannard about Soldado being overpriced for what he is. Particularly given that he's 28 years old and has minimal sell-on value.
The fact of the matter is however that Levy had to sign a centre-forward before the start of the season or risk being lynched by those Spurs fans insistent that we can't survive with only two centre-forwards (despite only playing with one recognised centre-forward role). And there were very few appropriate options left in world football.
So Levy broke nearly every one of his own rules and folded to fan pressure. Time will tell I guess if he lives to regret it.
He's A Finisher, Alright
Done my homework, and managed to sit through one of those dreadful music backed montages on Mr Soldado.
We have bought Gary Lineker.
Colin Williams, THFC
Just Signing Twunts, Brendan?
Given Liverpool have now been linked with Diego Costa, who, by all accounts is a bit of a horrible person on the football pitch, is anyone else starting to think that Brendan Rodgers has confused 'Twunt' with 'Winning mentality'?
I don't really mind either way, as long as he comes and scores some goals for us! Maybe bites someone too along the way for comedy value.
Reducing Lawro's MOTD appearances, and bumping up those of Owen, Savage et al., is comparable to replacing a brain tumour with a lobotomy.
Why is it so impossibly difficult for the BBC to stop wasting my licence fee on the retirement nest eggs of Messrs Hansen, Shearer and Lineker, and either get proper journalists to do the show, or try MOTD without banal, self-evident analysis?
Why Punditry Is Crap
To everyone who is going to write in this season to complain about the BT punditry, the BBC's obsession with monotone know-nothing ex-pros or Sky's lads brigade please bear in mind that punditry has always been crap. There has never been a golden age of punditry. Those of us who are old enough to remember Saint & Greavsie can honestly say it was utterly sh*te. The only thing that made it bearable was that there was so little football on TV that we got our fix between games however we could, but it was akin to a crack addict getting a couple of pulls on a Silk Cut Light. And they had a monopoly on this stuff.
The reason for this is simple: Football is bloody obvious.
Did Player X do some good kicks? Yes! Hooray!!
Did Player Y do some rubbish kicks? Yes. Boo!
With the amount of HD/3D cameras covering games everyone can see exactly what's happened and make their own judgements, we don't need pundits to debate this sh*t ad-nauseum in mock-fury at the latest tackle/dive. This leaves an increasingly small area for pundits to mine, mainly the laws of the game (which are a mess) and tactics (which most of them don't seem to understand). Given that tactics are the one area where there is the real potential for pundits to actually enlighten their audience it is remarkable how little attention is given to really analysing it. Gary Neville's success is a prime example of this and how much fans lapped it up. I'm hoping Carragher will provide more of this.
So, please Sky, BT, BBC etc. please do more of the tactics and maybe throw in some actual knowledge of the rules. I play and watch a lot of football and I know what a good pass/shot/tackle looks like, I don't need some brainless ex-pro to tell me how fantastic it was.
Luke, Red in Sussex
Sad About Coventry Et Al
Amidst all this guff about Gareth Bale and his £100m+ price tag, I'm slowly falling out of love with the game.
I remember the 1987 Cup final when the FA's centrepiece was the highlight of the season and Coventry City ran out winners over that lot from up the road.
Contrast their fortunes now. One is about to sell their star player for more than £100m while poor old Coventry have entered liquidation.
And so another old famous football name disappears.
It seems the only clubs that will survive are those that are as famous in Harare as they are in Highbury.
It's just sad that so many old community clubs are disappearing from their communities.
I blame the money men but most of all I blame the glory-hunters because if a few more of you actually bothered to go and support your local club rather than just following Man Utd for the reflected glory maybe, just maybe clubs like Coventry wouldn't be going to the wall.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Where's The Football Community?
Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for £100m+!
Luis Suarez forcing a move out of Liverpool for £40m!
Coventry City this morning moved even closer to closure and liquidation and probably another points deduction before a ball has been kicked this season. And why?
Because we have been badly run, poorly treated by the Football League, and have debts of around £35m. That's less than a top-flight club can pay for a player before anything like salaries are taken into account.
We talk of a football community, but here in Coventry, there is no sense of a football community. We never shook the world, we never upset anyone unduly, we had no dodgy criminal owners, we were just a plucky club that probably punched well above our weight for 34 years in the top flight. But we provided some great entertainment over the years. Keith Houchen's diving header in 1987 to defeat a star-studded Spurs team. Ernie Hunt's donkey kick against Everton. Darren Huckerby's solo goals against Man Utd and Liverpool.
We aren't the first, and we won't be the last, but this is a sad day that reflects the true sense of football community.
I think after last night Michu should just be known now by the simple nickname of 'M' like in James Bond.
That way we as a collective we can nickname Swansea's new strikeforce as 'Bony M'
That would be cool. In fact it would be Daddy Cool.