Arsenal should be embarrassed by the admin error that led to Arsene Wenger naming only six subs against Bayern Munich. But this sort of thing happens all the time in football...
That's one thought in an afternoon mailbox that picks at the bones of Arsenal's Champions League exit. There are also views on Mesut Ozil and the Gunners' injury crisis...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wouldn't Hold Your Breath
I cant be the only one jumping back and forward to your lovely site regularly during the day (in between hard work obviously) half expecting to see a "Moyes sacked" headline any-day now?
Steve Limerick Ireland
Have You Been Naughty Or Nice?
Dear Father Christmas,
For Christmas this year I would like the mailbox to stop being a measuring competition between "plastic" and "real" United fans.
Should There Be A Squad Cap?
Having purused the Friday Gossip and read the really rather unsurprising news that Ilkay Gundogan is wanted by Real Madrid, I couldn't help but feel a rising sense of indignance. Now I am sure this will be familiar to every football fan: the sense that a few clubs hoover up talent whilst others struggle to get hold of their fourth or fifth choice players. And it got me thinking: why isn't there an actual squad cap? Why can a team like Real Madrid buy another immensely talented midfielder to add to the half dozen they have already?
People will say 'well you can only register a certain amount of players in the Premier League/Champions League/whatever'. But what about those players who aren't registered, who sit and rot on the bench? What I am suggesting, therefore, is a strict 'one in - one out' policy. You have a certain amount of over-21 players (or something like that) on your books and if you want to bring in somebody new, somebody else has to go. Obviously there could be extra allowances for those clubs involved in more than one competition, but on the whole, if you need new blood or more depth, you have to play youth team players. It would mean that teams - including my beloved Man United - wouldn't be able to say 'we've already got two world class playmakers, but let's add a third, play the best one and let the other two sit in the reserves so our rivals can't have them'.
I'm sure this proposal must have surfaced in some form before, but what do people think?
Joe (Brazuca won't make football more exciting; greater equality will) MUFC
Five Possible Transfers
With the best time of the year coming up (the Christmas schedule then the ever-hectic January window) and transfer rumours gathering speed I would like to give a top 5 transfer targets (that I think would be good and reasonable):
- Julio Cesar to Southampton - It just makes sense. So cheap and Southampton are in dire need of a good keeper.
- Alexandre Pato to Arsenal - Been in the gossip and I think it is ideal. Arsenal need a striker and even though Pato hasn't fulfilled his vast potential he has masses of ability and would be great competition for Giroud. AND if rumours are to be believed he could be cheap! (Wenger's favourite word).
- Nicklas Bendtner to Hull - They need a striker and with Pato going in to Arsenal Bendtner will not be needed and can go and win the golden boot in a golden kit.
- David Luiz to Barcelona - Their defence needs reinforcements and long-term interest should be backed up with a bid as it is sad seeing him left out in the cold by Mourinho.
- Will Hughes to Man United - Bit risqué but with the youngster catching eyes in the Championship I think it would be good for a club like United to take a pop and hope for quality!
Honourable mention goes to Juan Mata leaving Chelsea but with Oscar injured it probably won't happen! Any other ideas from the esteemed mailbox?
Finn (hoping to change the topic away from moaning Man U fans) Mannerings
Alright Mr Grumpyguts
In response to a recent mailbox and general viewpoint on how much better the Premier League is this season and how even the smaller clubs have top class talent, I ask where is the evidence for this?
Sunderland beat Man City by having 1 shot on target and conceding over 25 shots on goal. Cardiff beat Man City by corner kicks. If these teams had beat Man City through top class play and tactics, then there is a valid point about the strength of the league. This used to happen when Serie A was in its pomp in the 1990s when teams like Bari and Caligari used to give a clinic to the big boys.
Lets first go back to the start of the season when Norwich, after signing van Wolfswinkel and a few others for around £30 million, were going to be the surprise package this season. If not mistaken, even the super quality pundit Gary Neville made this claim. Fast forward a few months and youve seen them once again in a relegation battle having already been walloped for 4 by Arsenal, 5 by Liverpool and 7 by Man City.
West Ham another team that spent around £30 million and were projecting a healthy outlook but wasted it on average English players and now perhaps are worse then they were last season.
You can commend Everton for their transfer dealings and their performances this season but 1) they're key signings were loan deals and 2) there is always a team that exceeds expectations ever year, in any league, so why are we using their performances as reasons the PL has got better? Newcastle finished 5th 2 seasons prior, it happens.
There is a top 6, then there is another 2 in Everton and Newcastle that have the potential to be part of that group both in performances and in finances, another 3 in Southampton, Villa and Swansea that are Europa League potential [but also relegation potential at the same time] and then that leaves 9 teams whose main aim is to stay up. These are boundaries set before the season and will continue to be like this for quite a while, so whats so wonderfully exciting about that?
The point is the Premier League is no better then it was in previous season, nor is it worse for that matter. The only thing that has changed significantly is the performance of Man Utd which is down to Fergie retiring and nothing to do with the rest of the Premier League. Why do we need to continuely hype the Premier League? Its already the most popular, the most richest, the most exciting[ a matter of preference] Stop trying to make it sound even better then it already is.
Really? Come On
Reading stories about Arsenal preferring to rely on Bendtner rather than dipping into the transfer market in January, and Van Persie's rumoured malaise at the current United set-up got me thinking - Could a return for Van Persie to Arsenal ever be remotely possible? There are obviously some major pros and cons:
- Would almost certainly give Arsenal the firepower and star quality to not only win the league, but be considered a major European player, on a par with Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
- Would have no adjustment period, knows the team, the ground, the manager, the training set-up.
- Almost certainly be the final nail in the coffin of Bendtner's Arsenal career
- Despised by large portions of the Arsenal faithful
- Left for a major rival.
- Would be very expensive and have no resale value.
- Injury proneness still an issue (as we're starting to see again this season).
- His parting 'You guys' letter to the fans.
- Would be a huge disruption a team ethic and sense of togetherness that seems to be developing organically.
- Would mean much less game time and development for Giroud.
- Would require the entire team's style of play to be altered around Van Persie's strengths.
I admit the cons massively outweigh the pros, but the key pro is that Van Persie would simply make Arsenal a much better team. Once he started scoring goals and winning games for the club, I think you'd be surprised at how quickly general fan opinion can change, as the desire to be successful overcomes old personal grudges and resentment.
An Acewatch XI
Acewatch is the bestest part of Mediawatch and with 3 entries into the Ace hall of fame in the last week or so I wondered if anyone who has more time and internet tekkers than I do can cobble together an Acewatch XI of Aces that that graced the pages of Mediawatch.
Surely that XI would be the greatest team ever, way better than Real of the 50's & 60's, the Paisley Liverpool years and even Barcelona of a couple of years ago.
So far the team is made up of Delroy Facey, Glenn Little and Jake Thomson of Salisbury. Move over Aguedo, Suaridge and Van Pooney, this is the Ace-est strike force ever.
Simon Fitzwilliams (Powerleague Ace Nottingham 2002-2003) Cambridge
To all those Man Utd fans wishing the critics amongst them would just go and support City, Chelsea, Arsenal or whoever, please remember that Man Utd have only been good for the past couple decades for two reasons: Alex Ferguson and the almighty fan base that allows you to generate so much cash.
One has already left, I wouldn't want to encourage the other to do the same.
Jack Pegg (walking in an Bergkamp wonderland)
No-One Likes A Smartarse. But Well Done
Without doubt the best part of my day is going to be getting 17/20 on the World Cup groups quiz, after it being described as a toughie.
Through 14 games, 9 teams in the league average less than 1 goal/game.
That would suggest a lot of dross in the league this particular season.
Which leads me to a bigger question for the Mailbox - what constitutes a "strong" league? A league where any team can beat one another on any given day; or a league whereby there are more than 3 teams challenging for the title until the end?
Nick C. (MLS Finals this weekend, yeah I don't care either) Burlington, ON