Degsy is tipping Spurs to pile more pressure on Nigel Pearson with a 3-0 win at Leicester on Boxing Day. He also predicts easy wins for United and Arsenal...
One Man United fan isn't happy with the rate the team is progressing under Louis van Gaal, while the mailbox also wishes Liverpool fans a Merry Mid-Table Christmas...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Another transfer window has closed and once again a fortune has been spent on importing expensive stars from overseas at the expense of home-grown talent.
But at least one young English star has improved his lot by moving from a club hovering just above the relegation zone to his new club currently in the top 4. Congratulations Tom Cleverley. Good luck to him. I hope that he's up to the step up in class.
...I see Danny Welbeck has picked up an ankle injury today.
Didn't take him to long to get to grips with Arsenal's style, did it?
Damian (which one of Falcao, Rooney, RvP, Mata or Herrera takes Welbeck's place on the bench?) Kildare
Welbeck Good Value?
As a United fan, I was very disappointed to see Danny Welbeck leave the club.
Yes, I know he had been shunted out wide and was becoming an impact sub and with Van Persie, Rooney, and now Falcao, he was unlikely to be given the permanent no 9 position long term.
But he loves the club and always gave a good account of himself when he played. Especially in the big games (we'll always have the Bernabeu Danny). What I think I will miss most though is his high top fade Kid n' Play haircut. Wonderful.
That is not the reason for this email though.
It's the fee. £16 mil. Seems a bit on the cheap side in todays market. Seeing as Ross McCormack has become the benchmark for this summers transfer window, I though Utd could have got more for Welbeck. Maybe they waived the English players premium. But in a world where 18 yr old full backs are moving for £30mil, getting an international centre forward with Premier League winning experience for a little over half that seems like a bit of a bargain.
But with United spending money like Monty Brewster, maybe they didn't care!
I think he will go on to be a massive success at Arsenal and wish him well.
Odd Way To Look At It
So basically taking a view over a 2 year period United have swapped Van Persie for Welbeck with Welbeck being loaned back to United for 2 years in the process and Arsenal only making 8 million pounds profit? Beginning to wonder if Sir Alex put a gun (or hair dryer) to Wenger's head? Still get the feeling Danny will be back to haunt us in the very near future...
Phil, MUFC Salford
I've read a lot over the last few days about a shift in United's philosophy of giving youth a chance, but if United fans are honest with themselves, the players coming through just aren't good enough. Welbeck vs Falcao? No contest - we've gone from a promising talent (over the last five years since that incredible debut strike against Sunderland) to one of the best finishers in the world. It's a simple fact that seeing Welbeck and Cleverly on the team sheet didn't inspire confidence with the fans and would hardly strike fear in the opponents.
Cleverly, Powell, Zaha and Keane have gone out on loan, meaning that they will get a ton more competitive game time than they would have at United, and Van Gaal will be able to monitor their performances and see if they are worth keeping on next season. Okay, Lawrence leaving is a bit disappointing, but it was probably a toss up between him and James Wilson of who would be the fourth striker/youth player to blood going forward, and Wilson wins that hands down.
It's also disappointing though that Welbeck has gone to a rival, where I think he might flourish given an important role in the first time, but I don't know of many United fans who don't wish him well (obviously not too well though). But Van Gaal knows that there isn't time to nurture the youth - United have to finish in the top four, bottom line, and Welbeck's sale allowed United to recoup some of this year's massive outlay and provide a place in the squad for both Falcao and Wilson.
Having said all this, three fifth's of the backline this season will be English/Northern Irish with Shaw, Smalling, Jones - young English talent bought for a fortune - and Evans, Blackett - brought through the youth system - filling the roles.
Either way, its going to be an exciting season with goals likely whenever we attack and whenever the opposition attack. There could very well be lots of spankings for and against.
Gregg (will this draw your attention away from my surname?) Cocking
...I'm getting quite annoyed by all these people saying United have lost something with Welbeck leaving. Things at United are different now to what they used to be.
This is Fergie's first great team....
Spot the Mancunian in that lot! That's right there are none. The subs in that team were Sealey, Martin, May, McClair, Robson, Sharpe and Dublin. Yep still no Manc.
Basically the class of 92 was exceptional ( and one of them was from London) and that has skewed people's thinking. A lot of people that come from the youth systems aren't good enough and eventually drop down the divisions. As sad as it is Welbeck and Cleverley aren't good enough and it's taken Van Gaal to see this.
Loving all these giddy Mancunians who seem wilfully ignorant of the fact they are rightly fourteenth [even The Moyesiah never had them plumbing such depths] in the table and have just spaffed a vulgar amount on players who simply won't arrest the freefall. I have serious money on them finishing out of European spots for a second successive season and nothing I have seen in their stuttering start nor their scattergun recruitment causes me anything other than immense amusement (will they still bang the Citeh/Chelsea bought the title drum!?).
Given my team; I am naturally fond of history. And, put simply United fans, this is Graeme S**ness MKII. Time will tell who is his Dean 'You Ain't Dean Nothing Yet*' Saunders or his Paul Stewart or his Nigel Clough et al. Obscene amounts are being wasted on mercenaries because they simply don't really want to come to a mid-table team. It is the very epitome of lipstick on a pig. The living embodiment; played out in glorious HDTV and Dolby Surround Sound.
I suspect this will be viewed as WUMing but the parallels with Graeme's ill-fated tenure are there for all to see! Our fall from grace was every bit as rapid and irrecoverable - short term - as United's is being and will end up. You will thank me, United fans, for getting it into your heads that there are now at least 6 or so teams that are just more relevant. They have [even now] better 1st elevens, better squad balance, better tactics and play better, more successful football. It's why you finished 7th and are highly likely to do so again. As the song from my favourite film Grease goes 'how low can you go?'... It's why 13% of those polled have you down as bottom 3 and (the height of your realistic ambitions) 48% have you down as 7th. It is not without the realms of possibility you become embroiled in something of a relegation scrap.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
*We had seen everything Dean, you didn't score much primarily because you were crap.
How Will It Work At United
Guy S. asks, "Can [LVG] really fit Mata, Rooney, RVP/Falcao, Di Maria and Blind into a 3-5-2 or will it push back to a 4-3-3 with Rooney out wider?" Even leaving Blind aside--he'll probably be in central midfield with Herrera, representing a big step up from any combo of Fletcher / Carrick / Cleverley--this question really gets to the heart of why United's transfer business in this window is so perplexing.
The truth is, right now Louis doesn't have the personnel for either system. There's a glut of attackers who simply don't all fit in with either of those formations (or any other known formation, for that matter), and Man U don't have enough fixtures this season to rotate players freely and afford all of their star talents the playing time they want in the positions they prefer.
In particular, the 3-5-2 that Van Gaal so loves seems like the worst possible option for the current squad. In that setup. one of Rooney / RVP / Falcao is likely to get benched. Rooney could be dropped back to the CAM role, but that would mean benching Mata and shifting Di Maria to a wing-back role that's less than ideal for a new, star attacker that cost 60M+. It would also leave their 30M, 19 year-old left back out in the cold, in addition to demanding the inclusion of 3 center backs, each of whom would struggle for playing time on a good number of squads in the league.
In a 4-3-3, Di Maria could line up on either wing and Falcao would be the most natural striker, leaving Rooney and Mata to battle for the CAM role, or shuffling them to an unfamiliar wide role. RVP could also shift wide--he began his career as a winger--but,at best, it would limit his goal-scoring opportunities. He's also a potential defensive liability, and these days he doesn't exactly have pace to burn. This might be the best option, since it would ensure a place for Blind, Rojo, and Shaw, but it still represents a big gamble, and a potential squandering of talent.
The team clearly wanted to make a statement of intent, and they did so in a way that would make Florentino Perez proud--buying star players and building their club's brand. Unfortunately, no matter how you slice it, at least one 30M+ star will be on the sidelines. A benchwarmer who can sell shirts may be good for business, but I'm not sure it's good for football.
Andrew (Maybe they could try a 2-5-3?) English
No Sympathy For Hereford
There's a reccurring story which is really getting my goat. People saying Hereford should be bailed out, how they only need £170,000 to stay in business. The thing that gets me is they shouldn't of got themselves in that state in the first place.
If they ran the business properly; and let's be honest football is a business, they wouldn't be in this mess. Look at Portsmouth - ridiculous bonuses in the players salaries drove the club to the edge of extinction. It was no one else's fault but Portsmouths, be it the owners and management, but still their fault. Now Hereford are now in debt and on the edge of extinction, people claiming how the owners 'took a gamble but backfired' with bringing players in. This seems a noble and respectable thing to do, however, when you can't cover yourselves when the proverbial hits the fan then it isn't respectable; it's just irresponsible.
Now I know there will be people at that club who could lose their jobs and my heart does go out to them - I have been in that same situation myself (oddly at another football club), however it is not the leagues responsibility to constantly bail out failing clubs. The FA spend the money on building a successful England side with St. George's Park and that has been a great investment!
England went out in the group? What?....scrap that. This message is now redundant.