An awful lot of cash has been thrown in Southampton's direction for a collection of players with itchy feet who took them into mid-table. This is not a crisis; it's excellent business...
A varied Mailbox has thoughts on transfer targets, youth development, the obsession over 3-5-2, some innovative Blackpool suggestions and why Real bought Kroos...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Andy Carroll will end Liverpool's title hopes this weekend. You heard it here first.
Here's a prediction for you - not only will Chelsea drop out of the top four - long-term even West Ham will finish above them.
Chelsea fans have been spoilt over the past decade but that decade is coming to an end and the wrong man is in the hot seat.
Never was the nickname Chelsea pensioners more apt - the club has a bunch of overpaid elderly gentlemen whose best years are behind them and need to be moved on.
But these players will need to be replaced and here's the rub and it's called FFP.
These rules mean that any club with a golden generation had better ensure they have a conveyor belt of players to replace them emanating from their youth squad or a whopping big stadium so that matchday revenue can meet the demands the necessary transfer budget.
Long-term having a massive stadium or a fantastic youth squad will be a necessity. So don't be surprised if Arsenal or Southampton end up with some silverware soon.
Both clubs however will do well to match City who have learned the lesson before everyone and are not only increasing their stadia capacity but ensuring every youngster playing football in Manchester would be mad to pick United over City given their plans for developing youth.
As far as I can see Chelsea plans for a new stadium continue to be a pipe dream and they don't appear to have a new golden generation coming through either so in my view they're doomed - couldn't happen to a nicer club.
Graham Simons, Gooner, (honestly likes Spurs fans more than Chelsea's), Norf London
A Mail Entitled 'Borinho'
Seldom few Chelsea fan write in to the mailbox so I'm not overly eager to call shenanigans on Tim Coyler, Chelsea fan, London but it's worth pointing out:
- Ramires (and dare I say Cech) have definitely gone backwards this year. Arguably thorough being over-played but it's somewhat disingenuous to suggest there's been wholesale improvement across the board. Furthermore, I see no material improvement in Torres but that's just me.
- The players who talk to the press still love him. Not sure what Torres, Ba, Mikel, Lukaku and an army of other youth products being strung along would have to say about his tenure.
- Great record against the big teams is handy, but it only counts for so much when you're losing games to teams in a relegation battle. Also, again it might be just me, PSG are a fairly sizeable team and arguably the single most important one to beat at the moment.
- We're staring down the barrel of a trophy-less season, which is absolutely fine, but for all his bluster, all his sh*t analogies, and all the extra cash heaped on an already expensive squad, we're on course for a materially worse season than the last one.
I rate Mourinho as a manager but his greatest attribute isn't deflecting pressure from his team - it's convincing people that he isn't responsible for his own shortcomings.
Manc in SA has a fantastic point when assessing Rooney that some (sadly it seems like too many) simply don't seem to understand. Rooney's over all game has developed. It has improved from when he was a kid, even if he isn't thumping missiles into the roof of the net on what seemed like a weekly basis at one point.
The bigger picture here is that Rooney has had to adjust his game because of our total lack of decent and mobile midfielders since he signed. Scholes aged, and the rest have been, well let's be honest, a bit "pony". We have had no support from the central midfield in an attacking sense for half a decade, now. Carrick has been by far and away our most effective central midfield player, and that tells you all you need to know. To consider he has still managed to score 200+ goals in a team with zero support from central midfield is something of a feat.
Certainly more than Joey ***ing Barton has ever done in his entire career. Quite why this ****ing (sounds like) "tanker" gets any press at all is beyond me.
Harry The Manc.
I was just on a conference call with an Italian colleague of mine and it got me reminiscing about how fond I was about Football Italia...
As a boy, I used to train Saturday mornings for my local team and would enjoy training being cancelled as it meant I could watch the highlights show (long before the days of DVR and I would never trust my mother to record the show... it's the hope that kills you)
This was easily my first exposure to the fact there was more football than Match of The Day and I wanted to open the question up to mailbox users - what was your first memories of exposure to the wider world of football?
Jon (GOOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAAAAAAALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL) Andrews, LFC
What's Happened To Ba?
I am a little confused. Why isn't Ba playing more and/or why is he going in the summer? Now I am no Chelsea fan and I don't catch enough of ther games to form an opinion so I just want to ask Chelsea fans why Ba is not rated. His first two season starts at Newcastle, he was lethal. He has potential. Why has everyone forgot? Remember his goal for Chelsea against United? Mata assist? I just want to know the reason why people don't rate him.
Muck ( Torres is muck, no doubt) LFC
More Thoughts On Jose
When I was a young fella I got to go on holidays to Spain with my parents. It was a strange and exciting time of luminous green speedos, lilos and marvelling at young British kids with earrings.
What I used to find fascinating though was how the locals seemed to age. From bronzed beautiful men and women playing volleyball on the beach, they seemed to turned into swarthy middle aged men with a heavily made up wife on their arm who gave you a look that said; "what makes you think that you, a pale skinny irish boy with weird hair and braces, could ever have a woman like mine, ha!"
And finally the gnarled old men playing checkers in the cafe, looking like they had absorbed a lifetimes worth of sun and would soon turn into stone and crumble away.
I am reminded of these fascinating transitions today seeing photos of Jose's tortured face on the sideline from midweek. He's starting to look about half way between Stage 2 and 3 above by my reckoning. Cruel fate Jose. Your time in the sun may be starting to fade.
Dave (still pale with weird hair) lfc
Having just seen the tv advert for the 2014 world cup Panini sticker album, Does anyone else get p**sed off and boil with rage when you see that 'one player' you needed to complete one of the premier league albums???
I can't bring myself to look ex west ham keeper Stephen Bywater in the eye, thinking about the cash I spent on sticker packs trying to get him for my 02/03 album. Thank god he is never on the telebox anymore.
He was a bo***cks 3rd choice goalkeeper as well!
Reading the Winners & Losers column, I don't really understand all the criticism of Lambert. Since O'Neill left, the club's been in a downward spiral ever since. They spent big to try get into the Champions League, failed, dropped places and have completely reduced their wage bill since.
This team operates at a completely different level financially to O'Neill's one, and plenty of sides would have gone straight into relegation and financial difficulties following such overspending (Portsmouth, Leeds, Birmingham). Lambert's managed to steady the ship after McLeish threatened to (and nearly did) take Villa into the Championship. He's also managed to do it with a group of extremely young players, many plucked from relative obscurity (Westwood from Crewe, Bacuna from Groningen, Lowton from Div 1 Sheffield, Benteke from Genk, Sylla from Ligue 2), some of whom he's rejuvenated their career (Delph, Weimann, Guzan, even Albrighton), whilst playing a brand of football far better than the tripe served up by McLeish.
They win their game in hand, they're only 3 points off the top half (and equal on points with West Ham in 11th), which is really not a bad return considering the dramatic overhaul of the squad in recent years, the slashing of the wage bill, and the 'bargain bin' style signings he's had to make.