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...
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Thought Of The Day
If 300 people in Italy has penis enlargement surgery last year, and the growth rate (stop it) carries on at 25% per annum, by 2063, the entire male population of Italy between 15 and 64 (just shy of 20 million) will have an enhanced chopper. This makes me afraid.
Can this game be over with quick so I don't have to put up with the drivel coming out of both sets of fans?
I have never known two sets of fans with such rose tinted visions. Some people spouting that Giroud is better than Soldado or that Cazorla wouldn't start in a Spurs team is comical. I don't see United fans hailing Cleverley as better than Yaya Toure and I don't see Everton fans saying Suarez would be a benchwarmer at Goodison.
Can't you both just agree that you are both very good teams that have very little chance of winning the league? Win, lose or draw, it's only one game and chances are one or both of you are gonna drop points to someone near the bottom, rendering this game only as important as your away game at Hull.
Now can we just get back to the really important question this weekend, when are Hartlepool going to score a sodding goal?
Chris (Birmingham fan who doubts any of our current squad would be guaranteed in any championship team)
ARSENAL ARE DA GREATEST LOL
Genuinely insightful mail from Ross AFC, London, amidst all the incoherent North London willy-waving. Ross, as a Spurs fan, i agree with your assessment of our midfield. Capoue, Sandro, Dembele and Paulinho are all exciting players who would grace most top sides, but they really are just too gosh-darned similiar, and not players who tend to provide that sumptuous, defence-splitting throughball that you just can't defend against.
This was a problem we had last season, after Modric left, and, as you say, was papered over somewhat by Bale crashing in a thunderbastard every now and then. That our creative problems remain is evident from our first two games of the season.
However, I am, presumably along with lots of other nervous Spurs fans, hoping that one or all three of Lamela, Eriksen and/or Holtby can be that creative force that we so sorely need. Otherwise, we'll probably end up winning a load of midfield battles, but have to rely on long-range shots, having lost one of the finest long-range shooters in the game (apparently Paulinho's capable of the odd screamer, but against Swansea his shooting was woeful), or crosses from the inconsistent Townsend, Chadli and Bale.
Anyway, I am aware that my first two paragraphs were effectively just repeating Ross', so this might not get published, but imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and I just wanted to register my approval of someone who has something to say, other than "ARSENAL ARE DA GREATEST, LOL!"
In any case, two unrelated thoughts on Spurs:
1. Defoe seems to think that his 2 goals against Dinamo Tblisi proves he's a goalscorer. It doesn't. It demonstrates he scores goals every now and then, usually against weak opposition when pressure is off.
2. Bale's pink outfit was an abomination. He looked very much like the Fresh Prince of Bel-end.
Shaun (Having recently had it confirmed to me that there's no accent on the e of Capoue, I never get tired of saying it) Livingston
Kagawa Has To Play
As a neutral in this fight, I can't help but feel a sense of pity for the fans of Arsenal and Spurs. Whilst the other big three contenders focus on a title challenge, these two north London rivals have settled for petty arguments over, effectively, who would maybe possibly get into each other's first eleven.
Whilst spending £XXX doesn't necessarily guarantee results, Arsenal fans need to take off their anti-Spurs tinted glasses and look at who their rivals have signed. Soldado is a solid, no doubt about it 18 goals minimum a season. Add to that Lamela and Eriksen, who are without doubt two of the brightest young talents in European football, and Paulinho, Spurs have assembled a squad who quite frankly will should steamroller Arsenal's squad. And to be honest, that's not even including Lewis Holtby or Nacer Chadli, terrific young talents in their own right. Point being, if Arsenal don't get their 'finger oot' then they might find fighting on two fronts too hot to handle.
At a tangent, if Manchester United want to put up a good defence of the title they cantered to last season, then Shinji Kagawa HAS to feature more. Seriously, seriously SERIOUSLY undervalued player at the club. There's a reason every Borussia Dortmund fan the world over would drive to Manchester to bring him back themselves.
P.s, as a Celtic fan, Celtic to get at least Europa League qualification from the group stages...a bhoy can dream.
James Bradley, Glasgow
Thanks for your mail this morning. I was amused and I'm sure other people felt the same.
"A big name like Liverpool", "one of the world's most famous clubs", "Liverpool in their battle for the top four", and "until we are back in the Champions League" are all part of the typical Liverpool fan boom-bust cycle and each could individually be described as accentuating the positives or being optimistic. Amusing - but nothing much wrong with it, I suppose.
I do, however, have to take issue with your use of "any of the other top 6 clubs". It's very arrogant without anything objective to back it up. Quite the opposite, in fact.
A "top 6 club" is one which regularly finishes in the top 6, Shirley?
...Daniel Benevuto, seemingly the self-appointed 'Liverpool Football Correspondent', regularly comes in for more than a little flak in the mailbox from those red and otherwise. I actually liked his email this morning; I really do think Kaka would be a good fit for Liverpool this season and I agree it would work for the player and Real as well. Good stuff.
Of course he had to spoil it at the end:
"Maybe this is the way to go until we are back in the Champions League".
'Until'. This is what bothers me and likely many others about Liverpool; this sense of entitlement. Indeed just five years ago Liverpool were challenging for the title but that's no longer the case as last season proved. Since then, United have been dominant as ever, Chelsea got their sh*t together, and City inherited somewhere in the region of £73 trillion pounds... Those three teams are not going anywhere. Arsenal are still a stellar outfit (contrary to hyperbolic belief) and Tottenham are looking very strong this season. Where is this Liverpool CL place coming from? I agree Liverpool currently have as a good a side as they have since around '08 but this confidence arrogance displayed by their fans is, even by Liverpool standards, deluded.
On another note; has the mailbox found the antithesis of Jim White in Mort Snort? "As the transfer window gently slides to a close" is about the most eloquent and indeed accurate reference I've heard regarding this summer snorefest. I doff my cap sir.
Scott (Maybe England should start Lambert until we win the World Cup), London.
It's fair to say that I'm not well-versed in Ukrainian football, but seeing as United have drawn with Shakhtar in the Champions League, I decided to read up on them a bit. The first thing I found noteworthy is that in their last domestic campaign, they held first position in the table for the entire season, winning their first 15 games, and 23 of their first 24. That's formidable form.
Perhaps more interesting is that their first team squad of 30 players currently contains 15 Ukrainians (of which 3 are goalkeepers), but 11 Brazilians (and they have recently sold Fernandinho to City, and Willian, now of Chelsea, to Anzhi in January). Looking a little further afield in Ukraine, last season's runners-up Metalist have a squad of 25, containing only 8 Ukrainians in out-field positions, and almost all of their imports being either Brazilian or Argentinian. Whilst Dynamo Kyiv have a squad of 26 players, with only 13 Ukrainians, but a lot more diversity of nationality.
I realise that the proportion of English players at (English) Premier League teams will be similar in most cases to those above. This leads me to the question; is there a national media outcry over there about foreign imports stifling the development of home-grown talent?
Also, apparently, at the end of last season the winner of the second tier was promoted in place of a team expelled from the (Ukrainian) Premier League for financial irregularities, but beneath them two clubs refused promotion, and one club was refused promotion, and as a result, the two teams finishing at the foot of the table were reprieved. Madness.
So, should be a good trip.
Chris, SAF Stand
I was going to write in yesterday re. Lukaku following an excellent piece by Daniel Storey, and now I've read Justin's mail this morning, I felt compelled to. The point is: Chelsea won't let him go.
Ok, maybe on loan. But what does he have to prove on loan? After a great season at West Brom, he showed he could cut it in the league Chelsea play in. He's young, but he deserves his chance there. Torres has had plenty and you can't help but feel that given the same opportunities, Lukaku would come off much better. Why should he go to a mid/lower Premier League team when he's already passed the test at that level?
Another problem is, Jose is a buyer. Since when has he ever developed a prospect when a shiny new and expensive option can be bought instead? Chelsea live for the now, with little thinking towards the future.
This is the problem with a player like Lukaku moving to them. Despite obvious talent, chances are so limited because of the money they can spend at any moment and the competition in the squad which that brings.
I'd have him at Arsenal in a heartbeat (then again, just paying money for anybody would be quite nice) but Chelsea wouldn't sell or even loan him to us, and to be honest I wouldn't want us to help develop their player in that way.
They know they've got a good prospect on their hands, it's just frustrating for everyone watching knowing what a good job he could do for all our teams.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex
The Boy's Staying
In reply to Justin (are there any other sleepers out there like Lukaku? I'm sure he's not the only one.) LFC. and him asking why nobody is talking about signing Lukaku.
That may well be because Chelsea want to keep him and give him a decent amount of games this season. Just because he hasn't started a game (Chelsea have only played 3 games so far!) it doesn't mean that he's surplus to requirements.
I see the signing of Eto'o as a nail in the Ba coffin. It is he who I believe will be let go (on loan probably ?) Lukaku will be allowed to develop whilst remaining at Chelsea, with a view to him being No.1 next season. Just my opinion, but one based on the words that have been coming from Chelsea over past few weeks.
Neil (Chalobah...now there's a player who will impress this season - hopefully loaned to a Premier League side) Surrey