Quite a game, no? Nick Miller watched Arsenal's thrilling 1-1 draw with Everton and saw two teams who have improved, leaving certain others trailing...
In a Sunday Mailbox which is understandably dominated by Manchester United, there are a few little bits for the rest, specifically Chelsea & a Liverpool Christmas list...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Possible Cs Of Harry
Andrew (btw somebody please give AVB a strepsil or something) got me thinking.
Because I have no idea what the 'C' his friend call 'Arry, I came up with my own guesses:
Candleface (SORRY, SORRY! [toying with removing this one])
Crimi....oh wait, that's wrong.
Completely not responsible for anything bad that ever happens on his watch.
And of course....
Did I get it?
Marky B. MUFC
So Ameen Wehbe, MUFC Optimist believes that each of our next four home games would have been 'guaranteed three-pointers' under Sir Alex Ferguson? He's not the first to express similar sentiments, but it's getting rather tiresome hearing it. From the way some people talk you'd think we hammered every team 4 or 5-0 at home under Sir Alex.
In actual fact, I seem to remember home defeats to Spurs, Blackburn (twice, including the year they went down) and Aston Villa in the league, and even cup exits to Crystal Palace and Leeds (when they were in the Championship and League 1 respectively) in recent years. Not to mention dropped home points against teams like Sunderland and of course a 4-4 draw with Everton that all but cost us the 2012 title. We did actually beat Southampton last year but it certainly wasn't comfortable, and many would say they had the better of the game. Let's also remember that Ferguson's United crashed out of the Champions League in 2011-12 after home draws against Basel and Benfica. Real Sociedad are at least around the same level as these sides, if not better. It's almost as if the favourites don't always win every game in football.
Moyes is already taking over from one of the greatest managers of all time, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, with brings a huge amount of pressure in itself, so lets not exacerbate matters by pretending that the glorious past under Ferguson was even more glorious than it actually was. I understand that we were normally fairly formidable at home, and that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but nothing is a guaranteed three points and it never was, even under Ferguson.
This is also one of the reasons our fans have a bad reputation, as you are doing some quality sides (Southampton, currently 4th, and Real Sociedad, 4th in Spain last year) a disservice. We could really do with winning these games and are expected to do so, but the whole 'this would never have happened under Ferguson' argument is tiresome already.
Tom, MUFC (Cheshire)
Nice Job, Mr Little
Just read the hugely entertaining interview between Paul Little and Lee Mooney regarding the use of data as a recruiting resource for football clubs.
Firstly, I doff my cap as I found this a great read and very interesting to get some insight into the difference between someone who knows a bit from Footy Manager, and the view of an actual professional data analyst.
Secondly, the interview closes with the question 'what would a computer gaming Know It All on Twitter need to do to make the jump from a football management game to a real-life position at a football club...' by happy accident, Cardiff City have just given us the answer - get your mates dad to buy the club.
Terry Hall, Switzerland (apologies to the Bluebirds fans, a serious situation like this deserves more than a cheap punchline)
Wilshere Is The New Joey Barton
God you lot are a bunch of squares.
Good old thug Jack 'Engerrrrland for the Engerrrlish' Wilshere is fast becoming my most-hated player. He's like a half-decent Joey Barton. Yeah he can turn pretty well and can spot a pass, but he spends most his time on the floor after trying to take too many players on and barely scores any goals. At least Tom Cleverley has the state of mind to realise he's punching way above his weight and shuts up about commenting on anything. I mean does the bloke even have a twitter? Hes almost embarrassed to be profiting from Man United's consistent midfield blind spot. Thank Yeesuz for Ross Barkley, our new hope!
My point is, if the rules state he can play for England then why not? Using Adnan Januzaj (let's hope he's not another Macheda) as an example, he was brought over at the age of 16, so I imagine he is benefiting from some form of academic studies as well as a football education. Maybe he wants to give something back? Maybe he's proud and grateful of what this country and club have done for his career and family that he wants to help them achieve their goals? The young gent looks incredibly graceful and floats about the pitch like Kaka did in his first spell at Milan. Furthermore, Mo Farah winning those two golds at the Olympics was easily the best and most entertaining moment at London 2012. He was humble in his interviews after and he gave us so much joy and happiness. His pride at representing Britain was tear-jerking and I can't help but think by saying 'nah, mate you can't come in, only hard bulldog spirited Englerlish blokes are allowed you mug!' we are possibly missing out on more experiences like this.
Wilfred Zaha's birthplace is Ivory Coast, but was eligible for England because of the amount of time he spent living in England (same potential situation as Adnan). No one gave two hoots about that. Admittedly I'm unsure of his parents and grandparents' heritage (argument may fall down on that) but would it really be a bad thing to see Zaha scoring the winner from a Januzaj pass in a World Cup final? Germany aren't too fussed at having Podolski, Ozil (it's said he says quotes from the Koran when the national anthem plays), Gundogan, Klose, Boateng, Gomez, Khedira and more (Marin, Cacau, Tasci and Agogo). Last time I checked they were doing pretty well! A lot of them were immigrants from surrounding countries, but I imagine England will stay stuck in the dark ages for a few more years.
We are so much more exposed to different cultures and ways of the world nowadays that we should welcome these additions, and welcome people wanting to represent a country that has given them a chance, a job, a platform to entertain and the realisation of their dreams.
TJ (one half-decent response to this and I'll be happy)
A Qualified Janusaj Won't Be Good Enough
If you're still printing e-mails about this fairly boring story, I'd like to make my own boring point.
If Januzaj qualifies to play for England by virtue of five years' residency here, he'll be about 22 or 23 years old I believe. If he hasn't been picked for any of the other countries he qualifies to play for by then (thus ruling him out of playing for England), I'd suggest it's because he didn't turn out to be the new Messi after all, and is actually rather average. In which case England won't want to pick him anyway.
Rick (doubting he is the new Messi anyway)
Where You Were Born? Nonsense
Honestly, it's not just as simple as saying 'play for the country of your birth'.
Imagine if your Mum and Dad are English. Now imagine your Dad was in the RAF, and your whole family was therefore stationed in Germany for three years. After two years and 11 months you pop out, then a month later your dad is stationed back in England where you grow up, go to school and spend the rest of your days.
Why on earth would you play for Germany 20 years later?
Kieron, Liverpool, Red
...I have tried to stay out of this nationality debate as it is so far from black and white no one will ever get to the bottom of it! But I do have to disagree with Jamo (I enjoy watching Stoke), Nairobi, Kenya, and others who simply say that you should play for your country of birth. Just because you were born somewhere why does that mean you are automatically that nationality? As an example my parents did a lot of travelling when I was younger due to my dad's job, as a result my sister was born in Qatar and I was born in Italy. I lived in Italy until I was about one and a half, I do not speak Italian and have no Italian identity. I am 100% English, my parents are English and their parents before them and so on as far as I can be bothered to think back, my parents just happened to be in another country when I was born. Therefore if I was actually good at football I would play for England no question but are you saying I shouldn't because I was born in Italy?
This is why the debate will never be resolved, if you agree that I can still play for England then when does it become unacceptable? If I had stayed in Italy for 5, 10, 15 years would it still be okay? And when does it become acceptable for me, a 100% English chap to be able to play for Italy, after 5, 10, 15 years?
Country of birth is irrelevant, I think I am proof of that, so does it fall on your parents, where you have lived the longest when you have to choose your country, in this global world it will never be clean-cut. I love KP but hearing him talk about a great English performance in a South African accent is just a bit odd and feels wrong but I think it's something we all have to get used to.
How long will it be before China are paying money to South American countries to take the young children with ability and nationalise them in China to improve their team?
(I shouldn't have written that last sentence!)
Henry (99.99999999999999999% English)
Give Them An English Test
The solution is quite simple: A footballer's citizen test.
Anyone who wants to play for England has to hold his own on a night (or longer should it come to that) on the razz with an England committee. The committee would be made up of Gerrard, Carragher, Beardsley, Gazza, Merson, Wright and Channon and the hopeful young lad would have to understand and keep up with all the bantz, significantly contribute to it and, on account of his youthful advantage, be the last man standing. Smoking fegs, eating kebabs and punching the DJ or a photographer score bonus points. Being arrested for drink-driving in the small hours is a pre-requisite.
That'll sort the foreigners from the English.
Mort Snort, Saints
Wenger did some nice clarification for the not-so-eloquent Jack. You don't want international teams becoming clubs.
Finn (also KP is a tw*t anyway) Mannerings
Who The? What The?
Matt Stanger states that 'Wilshere has provided more second-assists (i.e. the pass to set up the player making the assist) than any other player in the Premier League since the start of last season'.
Who on earth is keeping track of these things? How far back do they go? Is someone somewhere tracking third-assists or fourth-assists? Do you trace goal-scoring moves all the way back to when the ball last went out of play? Is there any statistic that isn't tracked in this day and age?
The number of statistics generated by just one match must be mind-boggling.
Aaron, Singaporean Gooner
Tackling Should Not Be Your Identity
Paulo Maldini: "If I have to make a tackle then I have already made a mistake."
The point that Adonis has so spectacularly missed is that tackling shouldn't be a quality to lionise. Given that all players make mistakes, tackling will always be necessary, and typically the best defenders are very good at it. But to elevate it to a defining trait of a nation's football suggests that English football is more concerned with the sound and fury of error-strewn, manic matches, than with technically and tactically precise football of the sort that actually wins international tournaments. Xabi Alonso's actual argument, that players should focus on the technical and tactical skills that allow them to keep the ball, or pressure and press opponents rather than tackle them, isn't really controversial, and nor is the suggestion that English football should focus on these skills, rather than focusing on skills that only the less able need to use regularly.
...Hopefully I'm able to help you out Adonis. I shouldn't really need to because we both read the same thing but I believe I may have taken in some of the words you didn't.
Xabi Alonso's point was that there were other, better, ways of winning the ball. Anticipation, positioning reading the game, I'm inferring are some of them. He didn't say you shouldn't tackle nor that it was not a skill, he just said that it should be a fall-back not the first intention. You should be able to run 14kms in a game but purely doing so doesn't make you a world-class player in the same way that being able to tackle will not make up for not being able to anticipate, position or read the game.
The reason this is even more important now is because if Keane and Vieira were to 'smash into other in a full blooded challenge, both going for the ball but taking everything in the vicinity', particularly on the International stage, one or both of them would be sent off. Picking Cannavaro as an example makes a mockery of your point as the bloke is yet to make a slide-tackle*. Picking Keane and to a lesser extent Baresi, further so, them being examples of the art of intimidating an opponent with violence that is no-longer legal nor (thusly) relevant.
To simplify, tackling is good but nowhere near everything.
Cheers, Jim (Essex) *feel free to youtube looking for one, I was being sarky but you'll doubtless enjoy the experience, I know I would
Why Chicharito Isn't Playing And How Xabi Alonso Is Right
I'd like to wade into the debate on two issues that have been discussed recently in the mailbox.
The first isn't really a debate (yet) - just a lot of people asking why Chicharito isn't playing ahead of Welbeck. The answer is quite simple; Welbeck is a far better player. If your understanding of football is grounded in arbitrary and meaningless statistics à la (mailboxers please take note of the spelling) Clive Tyldesly then the confusion is understandable because Hernandez has a better goals-to-games ratio. However, nobody who actually understands football thinks Jardel was a better player than Cantona.
Welbeck may not score many goals himself but his pace, dribbling ability, clever passing, and general unpredictability help to create chances for his teammates. United always look far better going forwards with Welbeck in the team, and he works hard defensively too. Chicharito by contrast is about as much use as a chocolate teapot until you get the ball into the box for him. He's a great option from the bench if you're struggling to break down a deep-lying defence, but not a good choice to start in a team that is already struggling for creativity in the final third.
The second issue is the debate about tackling. Adonis Stevenson asks why you can't tackle and then play the ball skilfully when you have it. He has completely missed the point that Xabi Alonso was making.
Alonso wasn't contrasting tough tacklers with ball-players, but with players who defend by being positioned well and making interceptions. Paolo Maldini famously averaged one tackle every other game. I'd imagine that Cannovaro and Baresi who Stevenson cites as tacklers were similarly parsimonious with their tackling. In fact, Baresi's Milan team were famous for their defensive system which worked because the players defended as a unit and denied their opponents space. Tackling is what you have to resort to when Plan A fails.
To tie together the two threads of this letter, the idea that defenders can be judged on their tackling is as reductive and misguided as the notion that attackers can be judged on their goalscoring stats.
Drinking From A Penis Beaker
I am bit late out with this but, I do know a chap that took an unwitting drink from another chap's penis beaker.
To make matters worse the penis beaker was in use to disinfect the member due to a dose of the clap.
Has F365 Lurched To The Right?
What the hell is going on with Mediawatch today? We all know that, in general, F365 is a bit lefty and a bit Arsenal-y, but the bizarre defence of Jack Wilshere is borderline creepy.
Mediawatch tells us the poor little Jack's wording was 'confused', 'blown out of proportion', and that basically, because he's a bit thick, he made his comments without reflecting on them. It's odd that he'd need to reflect on them, when Mediawatch had just noted that 'there isn't a lot wrong with that' in regards to his 'English people should play for England'.
I'm getting confused now, because when Alan Shearer vomits out a statement that's not really a million miles away from what Jack said, Mediawatch describes it as 'enormously toxic and hugely embarrassing'.
Lefty leanings v Arsenal loyalties? Morality v Tribalism - an interesting battle that will hopefully continue until the international fixtures are out of the way.
(We made a pretty big distinction between what an uneducated young man said in a split-second to what a much older Alan Shearer (who is paid money for his opinions) said when he had clearly had time to form an opinion. We think that's fair - Ed).
Is anyone else getting fed up with every other email containing an 'Oh...' sentence.
Cannavaro didn't win much, did he? Oh...
It's not like he has bitten anyone, is it? Oh...
It's not as if smoking has ever harmed anyone. Oh...
It's not like it's annoying anyone! Oh...
Brian )don't know how to use brackets(, Belfast