If you believe the papers, David Moyes has 12 games to prove he's worthy of the Manchester United job, but what can he do in that time? A win this weekend would be a start...
We have lots of people suggesting lots of things to Roy Hodgson but we suspect you'll be more interested in relative XIs, World Cup cliches and drawing Alonso...
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Some Friday afternoon Man United stats for your delectation:
1) In the 39 games David Moyes has been in charge of Man United he has not picked the same XI twice. For those unsure, I do not mean he hasn't kept an unchanged team between consecutive fixtures, I mean that he has named 39 entirely different lineups this season. Seriously. It's amazing.
2) Points wise, Man United are closer to West Ham than Chelsea.
3) Man City have won more league games by a 2+ goal margin (13) than Man United have won league games (12)
Will, THFC - loved the description of David Moyes as a furrow browed bus driver
On the occasion of Valentine's day, I would like to dedicate this short poem to Mr. David Moyes:
#United is red, Everton is blue.
Ever since u joined us, we've become poo.
Watching u move from blunder to blunder,
How did we sink so low, I wonder.
You've turned the champions into a team of fools,
Whoever watches us play, snoozes and drools.
How you got the job, I don't know,
But you've got to accept- it's time for you to go.
You'll never be like Fergie, no matter how hard you try,
So for the love of God, David, please say goodbye.
This is what happens when you're single on valentine's day!
Lorenzo (writer of bad poems since forever) Royle, MUFC
If Liverpool are allowed be on for the double, then can I just say that I think Moyes will solve all United's problems by winning the Champions League and qualifying us for next season in the process. Boom.
Also, loads of love to everyone in 365.
Stop Re-Writing History
Lindsay, Melbourne - I'm so tired of this re-writing of history that people seem so inclined to do when it comes to Ferguson's appointment at Man Utd.
'oh, they were so crap at the time - they were 21st when he took over, and he boosted them all the way up to 11th, then 2nd, and with no money'.
He took over in November, so barely a third of the way through the season. The team had finished in the top four in the previous five seasons. Minnows they were not - it was akin to Spurs in the '2 points from 8 games' type scenario. Yes, they 'recovered' to finish 11th, then finished 2nd the next year. The two years after that? Back to 11th, then down to 13th.
So Ferguson most certainly did need time, and was given it, by an extraordinarily patient board who funded a multitude of expensive signings - Neil Webb, Mike Phelan, Paul Ince, Gary Pallister and Danny Wallace were recruited just prior to their return to 11th place, following the purchases of Bruce, Anderson, McClair & Leighton at the start of his first full season.
The end. Please.
Blue Tim said this morning 'No soldiers, boxers, wrestlers, stunt-men or anyone with a bit of grit.' Well Blue, I give you Tim Henman, he once pumped his fist at winning an important point don't you know? Or maybe I imagined it as I'd just dropped my strawberries and cream on the floor and was slightly distracted by that.
In regards to the weekend encounter between the Islington Redsox and The Calm Down Crew I definitely see this game as a win for the Gunners. It's a certainty that Wenger is not going to let the team be caught on the hop like that twice in such quick succession and I wouldn't be surprised to see Gnabry and Podolski to start on the Right and left respectively. Gnabry has pace and is capable of driving at the defenders which will help stop the Liverpool left back from bombing forward at will which is what often happens when Walcott plays.
Also, Podolski might make some of the runs to get on the end of Ozil and Giroud's flick-ons and he also actually likes a shot. I'd like to see Arsenal line up without too many changes and to put out as strong a team as possible. If they can get past Liverpool then they'd have a fantastic chance of winning the cup.
I know that there's been some disappointing results recently but they are second in the table for a reason and I just can't see lightning striking twice on this occasion.
Cliff Mallinder, AFC
Hopes And Dreams
One footballing cliche that always struck me as a little silly is the idea that 'if you'd offered them that at the beginning of the match/season/tournament, they'd have bitten your hand off.' And they're right to suggest that we should all count our blessings and not get wound up over silly things. But circumstances change over time.
So, yes, Arsenal fans should be pleased they're still challenging. But they also have the right to be disappointed that the team have noticeably dropped off from how well they previously played. This time last season, Arsenal fans had no idea that Ramsey would flourish, that Wilshere would come back as sharp as ever, that Ozil's arrival would spark some scintillating football, that Koscielny and Mertesacker would form one of the best defensive pairings in the league, that Flamini would be welcomed back and add some steel to the midfield. Now they do, the current drop in form is understandbly vexing.
Same with a match. It's unlikely AVB's Chelsea came out of their 3-3 draw with Manchester United thinking 'we got a point, decent result!' It was a mental kick in the bollocks that undoubtedly affected their confidence. Or Harry Redknapp trying to convince the media that fourth place was a fine result for Tottenham, when in reality the team dropped off massively towards season's end. Context counts for a lot, if you don't understand that, you must not have a football brain or something.
I quote the Wikipedia entry for one E. Adebayor, former Tottenham disaster, current Tottenham great, future Tottenham disaster.
'Adebayor could not walk for the first four years of his life. His mother took young Adebayor around Africa looking for a cure. Adebayor then spoke about his 'miracle' saying, "... I was in the church laying down and, around nine or ten o'clock on the Sunday morning, I could hear children playing outside. Suddenly somebody kicked a ball into the church. And the first person to stand up and run was me, because I wanted to get that ball.'
Conclusion: Emmanuel Adebayor was born with a five year contract.
Darragh, Spurs, Ireland
The Perfect Tim
That's the non-apostrophised plural of Tim. "Tims".
If you want to feel better Tims, get yourselves the box set of Friday Night Lights and prepare yourself for a man-crush on the greatest Tim to have ever (fictitiously) walked the face of the earth; Tim Riggins.
I'm going to get myself a "What would Tim Riggins do?" T-shirt. Largely because I know what Tim Riggins would do. Tim Riggins would probably fix a truck, drink a load of beer, smash a few people up and sleep with some impossibly good-looking bird. In whatever order he damn-well pleased.
Cheers, Jim (nearly a Tim) Essex
B League Plans
Hi All, very long time reader, first time contributor (Hopefully). I want to discuss my views on the premier league B league. Designed for Players under the age of 23, however with a sprinkling of 4 over age players. I love the idea, but it needs to be more than just that. The clubs need to be restricted to the number of foreign players. Look at Chelsea, Man City, man Utd, Liverpool youth teams and they are inundated with foreign youngsters.
If the B league is essentially going to be a bigger stage than the various under 21 leagues around Europe, i.e. bigger stadia, televised matches etc, then it's going to appeal to a lot more of these foreign youngsters. Instead of coming over and rotting in a reserve squad on a cold windy night in stoke, playing in front of 50 men and their dogs. They would be playing in larger sheltered grounds, in front of a few thousand supporters.
This brings me onto my next point, I go to St James' Park and I always get there early, stand around watching the boring warm ups hoping for a ball boy to be pelted by someone lacing it off target. As happened at the recent Newcastle vs. Sunderland derby. My favourite moment of the day by far.
Can you imagine if instead of wandering into a mass of balls flying all over and passing triangles there was a B league match occurring at the same time. You get to watch the next generation and creates an entertaining pre-amble to the main event. Give the younger players to play in front a larger crowd. At half time of the B league game the first team come out ensure boots are correctly chosen, get a feel for the conditions then swiftly back to the changing room to text your best mates girlfriend about what you're going to do to her while your friend is away.
The only downside I can see would be the state of the pitches, but come on the quality of pitches these days are far superior and should last two matches especially with the amount of green keeping going on before a match and at half time.
But then again Mike Ashley will probably try charging us extra to sit and look at the crappiest decorated stadium in the whole world. Im sick of seeing pay day loan lenders, of al sorts not just wonga, the sports direct logo, and karrimor et al. We look like a cheap sports discount store like sports direct. Ah wait..........
Further to all this, Geordies get on the Mike Ashley Out Campaign (MAOC), but not if you're an idiot! Idiots stay at home and punch horses!
Adam (Newcastle United Football Club), Newcastle
...Very interesting proposal on the B League from Richard Scudamore. I know there have been calls from Premier League clubs to make the reserves league more competitive for a long time now, and perhaps they have finally cracked it. Perhaps. However, I think there is maybe a more dangerous element to all of this. As I see it, the potential impact is threefold.
As we all know, many of the squads at the top end of the Premier League are bloated with international players. The default position for players between 18-21 then is to be sent out on loan to a lower league club, or in exceptional circumstances, another Premier League club. By raising the age to Under 23, playing the games at the main stadium, and televising it, thereby creating a more competitive atmosphere, is it possible that clubs will no longer send players on loan? More importantly, will this have an adverse financial effect on lower league clubs? There are certainly those who dare I say it, rely, on Premier League clubs sending players their way.
On the financial side of things, there is certainly the possibility that this will have an impact on gate receipts at lower league clubs. Imagine the potential line up of a B team game between Liverpool and United at Anfield or Old Trafford (essentially a League Cup match). Surely this is more appetising to both the stadium going fan and the armchair fan alike, at least in terms of quality, than going to see Tranmere vs Oldham. No disrespect to those clubs intended. I'm simply pointing out that the financial solidarity of those clubs needs to be looked at in the face of this B League.
Finally, there is the playing side. This may take a while to kick in, but it's very possible, depending on ticket prices, that we could see crowds of 10,000 plus at some of these games. That's more than some Championship sides. Depending on how well this is marketed, we could see a situation where Premier League clubs start to cherry pick players from the Championship with the sole intention of playing them in the B team. And as a player, why wouldn't you? Very probably more money, at a bigger club, playing in front of bigger crowds. It's very probable that this B league will overtake Leagues 1 and 2, and possibly even the Championship in time, in terms of the lure it has to players. A lot of that depends on how the clubs approach it of course.
As an aside, given that most clubs take this approach anyway, is it now a good idea to impose B team restrictions (Under 23 with four overage players) on the League Cup?
Whilst I like the new B League as an idea, I think we have to be very careful not to essentially introduce 20 new professional teams, as this will further marginalise many lower league clubs that are already feeding off scraps (relatively).