Mario Balotelli might be facing a fight for his future at Liverpool, but Degsy likes the look of 7/4 that he starts against Hull. Plus, United could play right into Chelsea's hands...
Amidst all the talk of improvement it's still 12 points from eight of the gentlest league games United could have wished for. Plus, why Pochettino needs to change the mood...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Why oh why did you guys have to put "Gerrard: reds will be stronger" and "Alonso medical" right next to each other on the home page? For about 3 beautiful seconds I thought my bearded love was returning to Anfield.
Yes Henry (sad but true) M is correct that the "world class" strikers out there aren't available. But don't tell me that Remy, Bony, Jackson Martinez or Javier Hernandez aren't better than Sanogo and wouldn't improve the team. Even Balotelli has just moved for (relative) peanuts.
If we end the transfer window with Sanogo as our only fit central option (Walcott, Sanchez, Podolski, Campbell are all better wide) then this window can be deemed a poor one.
Especially as this was the one when the "shackles" were supposedly coming off!!
Joe, AFC, East Sussex
...Henry (Sad but true) M, sorry to say it mate but you sir are what I would label as a true delusional Wengerite!
Obviously it has passed you by or you've been watching Arsenal with those rose tints on but Giroud really isn't that good. To say there are no strikers out there who could replace him is laughable.
Off the top of my head I would say Remy, Benteke, Lukaku, Diego Costa (before the Chelski move obviously), Jovetic etc etc. Basically there's loads!
All I'm saying is don't be one of those Arsenal fans who everyone hates!
Steve (77th in the 365 fantasy football league!) Coatsworth
Poor old Hris ITFC. Stitched up by the mailbox ed, sold down the river, kicked under the bus and shoved in front of the firing squad. "It's pronounced Haal", says Hris, wondering why everyone keeps on getting it wrong. Surely we've all learnt, many times over, that the Dutch G is essentially an H (alternatively, the Dutch G is running game all over town, shipping keys, pimps up/hoes down). Hullit taught us that. And Hoddle (true facts, real name was spelt Goddle and he was born in Buurse, but raised in Utrecht after his father got a new job disagreeing with authority). And van Hogh, obvio...no. No, I've gone wrong somewhere. As has Hris, it would seem, because Auntie suggests otherwise:
"Louis van Gaal: loo-EE vun KHAAL (-u as in bun, -kh as in Scottish loch)"
So Hris, what's it to be? Do you accept your mistake, and subsequent foolishness in pointing out the failures of others, or do you challenge the BBC? Do you hang your head in deserved shame, or are you going to be that guy, that awful guy, who refuses to accept that he has f**ked up despite all the evidence that proves otherwise? Don't be that guy, Hris. That guy is a d*ck.
Matt Wright, I expect you were "tired" of the Giroud displays too. Next time Arsenal play, actually watch the game and see how much work Ozil does and how perfectly weighted his passes generally are (especially when compared to the supposedly exceptional Ramsey, who's passing reverted to par at Goodison last weekend). I have lived in the US for the past 22 years (having grown up on the drudgery of the Don Howe era at Highbury) and I learned something from basketball, where the point guard is responsible for delivering passes to players in a shooting position: a good point guard can complete the pass, but a great point guard delivers the pass in a position where the recipient can receive and shoot in one movement, thus giving the defender no chance. In Ozil, Arsenal has a great "point guard" and all of you moaning Gooners out there need to recognize this exceptional talent for what it is.
On a different note, it is surely no coincidence that we see a great Jack Wilshire performance in the absence of the lumbering pair of Arteta and Ramsey, who slow down the midfield so much with their 180 turns and Ray Wilkins passing. Let's get shot of Arteta, build the team around Jack and find a place for Ramsey's goals.
Brian, Gooner in NC
...To Matt Wright, Gooner in Aus,
Your inductive reasoning astounds me. According to you, Ozil failed to properly execute one counter attack (which was hardly a 3 v 2, more of a 3 v 4, but that's besides the point), ergo "he's sh*te". Brilliant!
How about this attempt at some challenging inductive reasoning: Ozil's assist enabled Alexis to put Arsenal ahead and eventually into the group stages. In fact, this was no simple pass--it was a lovely, one-touch through ball that threaded four (!) Besiktas players. Ergo, he's the best playmaker ever!
Following your logical process, my argument doesn't even need support from other instances of Ozil's greatness. So I won't mention that Ozil created space for Monreal to cross to Oxlade-Chamberlain in what should have been Arsenal's second goal. Nope, discussion of other instances of success is completely unnecessary...
On a more serious note, Ozil has only featured in two games after a short break following a long season. The man looks leggy. Additionally, he is playing out of position. Oh, he's also playing with a new striker for the first time. Perhaps we could give him some time before taking up arms with the Daily Mail brigade.
Nickolas (always preferred deductive reasoning) Milan
Chelsea Also Need A Striker
Hopefully, the injury (or at least injury scare) to Diego Costa will have underlined for Chelsea management the precarious position of the club's striking options. Another striker - in place of the loaned-out Torres - is absolutely essential to any title chances. The prospect of playing the 37 year-old Drogba as the only striking option whilst Costa is injured should be hugely embarrassing for everyone involved in transfer policy at Chelsea...
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
Dear Dom, London
I can only assume your reference to "a club pumped up on oil revenues" in your missive about 'Typical Arsenal' from this morning's Mailbox was aimed at my club, Manchester City (or maybe you were talking about Chelsea...or PSG...you should probably try not to be so darn opaque).
Now, it might shock you to hear this, but those of us who followed City before the Abu Dhabi money started rolling in (which, contrary to popular belief, is the vast majority of us) became so accustomed to regularly seeing our team snatch defeat from the jaws of victory that we even had a name for it: 'Typical City'.
There was a time, probably before you were born, when humiliating defeats were par for the course and anything better was cause for wild celebration amongst the City faithful. Those experiences have a tendency to stick in your mind and even now, there are some of us who spend every minute of every game on tenterhooks, utterly convinced that our team of "Galacticos" will somehow contrive to shoot themselves in the feet.
I realise it obviously doesn't compare to beating a Turkish team in a Champions League qualifier, but does the final day of the 2011/12 season ring any bells? I'd definitely describe that as an uncertain, nervy affair which went from ridiculous to sublime in a matter of minutes and was certainly far from boring.
You're perfectly entitled to your opinion when it comes to City's financial might and its wider impact on the game (I'm gonna guess you think City or anyone else spending money = bad, Arsenal spending money = absolutely fine) but your e-mail seems, more than anything, to be making a comparison between what it's like to support our respective clubs. If you ask me, given the choice between paying the lowest ticket prices in the Premier League to watch brilliant players win titles, or paying the highest ticket prices in the country to watch a team scrape a 1-0 win over Besiktas and finish fourth every year, I know which one I'd choose every single time.
Dan (I'm becoming more convinced by the day that some of the worst people in the country support Arsenal Football Club) Manchester
Rooney As Captain
I'm entirely nonplussed at the idea of Rooney captaining England (and Man Utd, as it goes, but couldn't care less about that), as I just don't see what he offers. As a player, he has been ineffective since 2004; even more so when England are playing poorly, when he starts doing his headless chicken impression and seems to operate exclusively in the wrong areas of the pitch, get angry and make stupid tackles etc. He doesn't seem like an organiser, or even particularly vocal on the pitch, and doesn't seem able to inspire those around him (admittedly a tough job in an England shirt). What exactly does he offer? Can anyone enlighten me?
Alex G, THFC (as you can probably tell, I do not think much of Wayne Rooney)
Welbeck To Hit 20-25 Goals
I knew there would be a few United fans who would bring this up and I'm sure other united fans will respond but I can't let Edrine's e-mail without sending in a reply.
Go back and watch Welbeck in Euro 2012 - one of the few occasions he has been given the platform to play as a no. 9 in games at a high level. He excelled and surprised most England fans except those who followed United. The impromptu flick vs Sweden was one of the best goals of the tournament and his movement off the ball, ability to stretch defence and bring others into play was of a high level. Everything which you've mentioned Welbeck can't do he ahs shown he can do.
The reason why he hasn't shown this more recently is that when Welbeck is played as a wide forward in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1 he is often given specific instructions; to track a full-back or close down a playmaker (ala Alonso; remember the game vs Real in March 2013). This makes it increasingly difficult for him to get into the box and get into goal scoring positions. Contrast that with Rooney, Henry or other no.9's when they are shunted wide left they are told start from the left flank but feel free to join in the attack and wander inside (remember Rooney setting up Sturtidge vs Italy at the WC?).
Admittedly Welbeck does have faults. He's never really had a finishers instinct, or composure in front of goal - he was never ruthless in the mould of Raul, Fowler or Ruud. However neither has he been given the chance to improve his composure and decision making in front of goal because he's rarely given the chance to play as a striker.
Edrine then mentions that Welbeck doesn't have a position in the 3-5-2 being implemented but its quite obvious he does - he is a back up (and a pretty decent one) to the two strikers. In fact I wrote in the other day mentioning how RVP struggles to play with other no.9's and in some ways a Rooney-Welbeck partnership might be more fruitful than a Rooney-RVP partnership.
Welbeck is a player I would put in the same bracket as Daniel Sturridge. Like Sturridge he has problems dislodging the bigger names (torres and Drogba in Sturridge's case) from the team sheet but if he does ever move I know I'll be picking him for my fantasy football team because over 38 games he will quite easily get 20-25 goals. I often think we have a culture in English football whereby if players are more selfish they are more likely to develop and be appreciated. I remember watching James Milner break through in a central midfield role at Aston Villa but it seems as though his willingness to take one for the team and carry out the odd jobs has meant he has developed into a jack of all trades and master of none.
Personally I would like Welbeck to develop a more selfish streak as I think his talent means he deserves more than just being pigeon holed into the 'work hard' bracket. I think Welbeck like a lot of our academy graduates has put up with some unfair stick (Fletcher and Evans are two others who have endured the fans ire) but if you ask me he is probably one of the better players we've produced and I wouldn't bat an eyelid if I saw him starting up front in place of Rooney or RVP.
Ibrahim (going for two e-mails in one week!) Ali Khalid. MUFC.
Every time I watch Derby - which admittedly extends to once a season plus highlights - I'm more convinced they have one of the best midfields in the country. In Hendrick, Bryson and Hughes they have a midfield trio that have solidity, pace, creativity and goals. Lots of goals - over 25 in all competitions last year.
That got me thinking - if I were to assemble a team of players but only allowed to pick all of the defense, attack etc. from one club outwith last years top seven, with a view to European qualification, who would I pick.
As things stand Southampton probably have the strongest pair of keepers. Boruc is clearly mental, and prone to the odd howler but he's a decent keeper and Forster has been excellent for Celtic the past 3 years.
Attack is trickier as you need three consistent goalscorers and not many teams outside the top clubs have that. Stoke and QPR look good on paper but can they cut it at the top end of the league? Do I really want Peter Crouch leading the line? Instead I plumped for Swansea, on the understanding that I can recall Michu from his loan spell should anything happen to Gomis or Bony.
Defensively there aren't many teams that have a solid centre back pairing and enough quality on the wings too. However Hull, with Davies, Bruce and Chester in the centre and Figueroa and Robertson as wing backs are both dependable and assured. I reckon we could be challenging Everton for sixth. Any thoughts?
Danny, (I had to Google parentheses) Scotland.
Ps. Only a United fan (Mark Endicott MUFC) would say something as laughable as 'no disrespect' to a team that's just beaten them 4-0.
"Keown-ly Way Is Up"
More Strange Transfers
As a Spurs fan the king for me was always Robbie Keane from Coventry to Inter Milan, where he surprisingly failed to oust Christian Vieri, Ronaldo and Alvaro Recoba from the starting line-up.
But there's also Gary Lineker from Spurs to Nagoya Grampus 8 (when he was still only 31, and had just scored 28 goals in the league), Danny Dichio from QPR to Sampdoria, Claudio Caniggia from Atalanta to Dundee, Thomas Gravesen from Everton to Real Madrid and Valenica winger Vicente to Brighton.
Ben Stark, Spurs
I see someone clicked the 'Comments On' button. Well, I'll try and sneak in one. I do so love thaydens prose.- hump3.