We're all laughing at the LMA's attempt to defend Malky Mackay using the phrase 'friendly text message banter' but at least we're doing something other than ignoring the issue...
...so Louis van Gaal really needs to get his thinking cap on. Does he abandon his favourite formation to make room for Adnan Januzaj? It's also big for Arsenal's Germans and Big Sam.
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Absence Makes The Heart Forget About Stuff
It's a couple of minutes before kickoff at Goodison. Why on earth would Everton's fans boo David Moyes? He managed your team pretty well for 10 years! He built the stability on which Roberto Martinez has pushed forward and upwards this season.
He is a terrible manager for Man United no doubt, but for what he did for Everton, I'd expect applause or at least lukewarm recognition. Any explanations?
Adi, Chicago (Que dice el Zorro)
Staunchly Defending Mourinho
With all of the anti-Mourinho emails coming in, I wanted to send a quick word in defense of Mou, the Self-Fulfilling Prophet (backhanded compliment if you didn't pick up on it). Will keep it brief, though there is lots to talk about. Three points:
1. I think Mourinho should probably take a few etiquette lessons, but let's be honest - he's not the first manager to throw a tantrum, use word games to put down refs, or blame just about everyone else for his tactical mistakes during a match. SAF, who I also have respect for, did it all the time. I read somewhere he had close to 9 touchline bans and near 18 fines as manager for comments about refs or media or UEFA. not to mention his rift with BBC. Not saying its right, just that Mourinho is not the first. Context, people. He just lost the league (maybe).
2. Usually trolls come out at the end of the season, when they can firmly use their 20/20 hindsight vision to say 'I told you so.' I like football because it is entirely unpredictable. 'Pool still have Chelsea (though the tactics change for liverpool and a draw is fine, ha, I said it) and Crystal Palace away, who seem impressive as of late. Wouldn't be surprised if City sneak in and claim it at the death.
3. Mourinho did say this would happen, whether he himself believed it or not, it doesn't matter. He said Chelsea didn't have a striker who could score goals in big games (true), he said Liverpool would be well rested as the league was their only competition this season (true), and that they were the little horse (compared to the talent that City have absolutely true). I actually believed him and so am not surprised by late season collapse (three loses in the past month). We've played a lot of games this year and with Mata and KDB leaving (and Salah needing time to adjust) fatigue got to the squad. You need a lot of midfielders when you play 5 per match. As season progresses injuries happen, ask Arsenal.
Jay B, CFC, DC, USA
Yay, Moyes Out Again
Moyes is quite simply out of his depth. Tactically inept, lacking any belief in a style or any way of approaching the game. He has to be removed.
Tom (oh god I'm depressed!)
...David Moyes: the arse that keeps on s******g.
Over the last 10 times I must have forgotten how bad it's got, because I've started feeling like he should get another year and get the chance to get some other players in and have a second crack at it. Then a game happens and I realise just how bad it is and just how badly Moyes needs to be sacked. Forget buying his own players, he has last years champions plus Juan Mata. And THAT'S how they play. Va fancul Moyes, get lost.
Shout out to Rooney for yet another utterly awful performance. How many times does he need to cut inside and fail with a Scholesy pass?
Let's get together a package and address it to Everton, it'll consist of: Moyes, Round, Neville, Fellaini and Rooney. Would they take any of these 5 muppets back?
...How many more records will Moyes cost us this season? First double by Everton in 44 years?
He simply has no authority over this team, there is no discipline whatsoever. Jones and Smalling were appalling. Kagawa should have been taken off at half time and Rooney looked half the player we know he is. He lacked confidence and the crowd got to him. We were out-thought and out-muscled throughout the game. Everton came with a game plan, do not concede and strike on the counter, and it worked.
I have been a huge silent supporter of Moyes, but this is clearly not his cup of tea. He cannot rally his troops when they need him the most, that is not the character of a leader. I suppose I have to get used to this, there is no light at the end of this tunnel.
Hans Athmaram, Manc in South Africa
United's Formation Is The Issue
Watching another United loss, I have to wonder if David Moyes is using a formation that best highlights his squads strengths.
It is painfully obvious to even the most casual football observer that Manchester United have been toothless in attack when up against an organised defence this season. Part of the problem, in my opinion, is David Moyes insistence on crossing. According to whoscored.com, United have made the most crosses per game (27) than any other team in the league this season. Couple this with the abject form and inaccuracy of our wide players (Young, Nani, Valencia) and you end up with ridiculous stats like Ashley Young completing one out of his first twenty crosses this season and those 81 crosses against Fulham. The lack of potency in our crossing game and the trend of using five players in the midfield has meant that teams can be compact in the middle against United and force the play out wide. So why persist with a system that relies on some of our most out of form players?
The other problem is the insistence on playing players out of their favoured/best positions. Accommodating Rooney, Kagawa and Mata into a 4-2-3-1 system is plainly not working. Kagawa doesn't play nearly as well on the left as he does behind a striker. Ditto for Mata on the right. My suggestion is play a 4-3-1-2 or a 4-2-2-2. First of all that would mean we could sell/give away Young and Nani (my biggest wish for the off season) and play a combination of Carrick/Fellaini/Fletcher/Jones/New Midfielder in the midfield two or three; Mata and/or Kagawa/Januzaj further up field and both van Persie and Rooney up front. This would also ensure we don't lose Chicharito as this would open up more opportunity for him should Rooney or Persie get injured; and gives him more support up front as he doesn't play as well as a lone striker. United have, in recent past, always had attacking fullbacks who would provide the width to this setup.
We have some technically gifted players and the thought of an attacking foursome of Rooney, Persie, Mata and Kagawa/Januzaj fills me with far greater confidence than seeing Young or Nani running up the wing and stopping and starting more times than these eco friendly engines in rush hour traffic only to hit the first defender EVERY SINGLE TIME! Thoughts from the mailbox?
Shaheer, Cape Town, MUFC
In response to Thom, Newport's assertion that Arteta must be moved on I would have to disagree. Arteta has been a mainstay in the team for the past 3 seasons and his calming influence on the team has been pivotal in keeping us in Champions League contention. I was always very surprised when we got him for such a paltry amount. He is a seasoned premier league performer who oozes responsibility and class. In his first year, many were surprised that Wenger was using him as a screening player. Of course he was never going to be the terrier, bulldog like player that many have called for since the days of Vieira. In fact for me he resembled a mixture of Edu and Gilberto, finding the right position to protect the defence whilst calmly distributing the ball to our more attacking players.
I understand that many supporters look on in envy at Manchester City and Chelsea as they parade Toure, Fernandinho, Matic and Ramires on to the pitch - but we are not in the habit of blowing huge sums of money on players that we could develop for a fraction of the price. Currently the Arsenal squad has a total of 6 central midfielders if you count Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Kallstrom, Chamberlain and Flamini. Many last year were calling for Wenger to spend big on Bender, Gundongan, M'Vila etc in order to replace the decent but limited Ramsey (may I take a quick second to humbly state that I tipped Ramsey last year to be Arsenal's best player this year) and since then Ramsey has blown us away with his performances.
The reason I don't see us getting rid of Arteta, and rightly so, is that we have two players in the Ox and Wilshere who are earmarked for a central midfield berth and I cannot see Wenger bringing someone in to 'kill their development' as he would say. In the meantime we have two experienced Premier League players who can sufficiently cover and play in there until either one of them fulfills their potential. Ideally, I would like it to be Wilshere who succeeds first as he has so many phenomenal attributes that can lend themselves to a defensive role whilst Chamberlain will be far more attacking.
Additionally, if we are to succeed in getting a striker which is surely top of our transfer list and a right back with Sagna likely to move on, not to mention a 3rd choice centre back with Vermealen likely to leave and a second choice keeper with Fabianski on his way, that is four players that we will need to bring in. A conservative guess alone would suggest that we will not buy any more than 4 players and I can't see two of them being high profile names either. I would far rather see us bring in a top class striker and a very good right back than see us go big for a centre midfielder.
And in case you have forgotten - Diaby is back in training.
JR, Gunner, Vietnam
A Lot Of These
Why does Rob feel that Sunderland have to be forgiven for the beach ball incident?
Unless that Liverpool supporter with the Liverpool beach ball was a undercover agent put in place to once again scupper Liverpool.
Damien (Please don't let Rhodes go) Hawe, Dublin
...How lovely. In the most unsporting of sports Rob, LFC, London manages to did deep down in his heart and forgive Sunderland for a Scouse supporter chucking a beach ball on the pitch.
Truly magnanimous. I see a peace descending upon the earth.
It's Not All Gravy, Baby
Watching Mignolet and Sakho having to do something with the ball at their feet you'd be forgiven for wondering whether they were actually professional footballers.
Sid,(..and Again!) LFC
"We go to Norwich, exactly the same".
Can we please not take Stevie's post game speeches so literally in the future?
Stuart, (Skrtel is immense) LFC