Luis Enrique announced that Lionel Messi would hold on to penalty duties after four misses from seven attempts, but is all going a little too well at Madrid?
Most Liverpool fans in the Mailbox are claiming to be pleased to see the back of the Europa League. Plus merging the Europa and Champions League, and winter WC...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Dear West Ham,
After reading F365's article on the top 10 freebies I urge you to do everything you can to sign Ronaldinho. He might not fit in with Big Sam's style, and he might be a liability with London's nightlife to distract him, but it's mother*cking Ronaldinho! He could be to us what Jay-Jay Okocha and Djorkaef were to Big Sam's Bolton.
Big Brass Balls
I'd just like to throw out that not all 'Pool fans are as willing to put their big brass balls on the table the way Gregory Whitehead did. I'm still trying to work out how they could get there with his feet so clearly stuck in the mouth. I've got to say, to that end, I am impressed.
Now, far be it for me to question the unqualified validity of internet polling (when citing a poll, you typically want to actually say which one, be tee dubs, G-Money), but I hardly think Van Gaal is going to walk out to his next presser waving a white flag because a bunch of Citeh and 'Pool fans happened to make up 13% of an internet poll.
If you want to impress someone, show your bet slip with the red Mancs in 7th last season rather than waving your willy around this year.
The addition of Falcoa, at least, certainly lays waste to your claim...Wait, I'm biting on a profoundly stupid email that is certain to be buried under an avalanche of biting ManYoo fans. There has to be something more productive I can be doing and for once, I'm going to get up and find out what it is.
Maybe this is the first day of the rest of my life. Thank you, Gregory Whitehead.
Ian, LFC Hartford, CT USA
Responses To Young Gregory
I'm assuming the spending thing is being wheeled out early just in case Man Utd finish above you in the table this year?
6/10 for effort seeing as I replied.
...Quick note to Gregory Whitehead (LFC) - some great points - lipsticking the pig in particular - all slightly undermined by his statistical analysis of the poll regarding where United will finish.
Apparently, "13% of those polled have you [Manchester United] down as bottom 3" because six teams "better 1st elevens, better squad balance, better tactics and play better, more successful football". Hmm, first off, there's a certain amount of mathematical confusion (the other 11 sides who might force United to 18th or lower are...), but more importantly, I think Gregory has missed the key statistical finding from that poll: 13 per cent of people pick the comedy option in polls.
George Wright (and one per cent say Frank Lampard).
...As Gregory Whitehead LFC stated himself, yes, your entry to the mailbox was a wind-up of the highest order. But I am not here to take the bait and would rather point out something interesting I learned (yes, you did provide something that wasn't complete and utter rubbish). 48% of the people who vote on F365 polls are Liverpool fans and 13% just want to watch the world burn.
Jordan (Say goodbye to a serious amount of money) MUFC
...I'm sure you will get plenty of United fans biting to Gregory Whiteheads trolling email from this morning's mailbox, but as someone who holds both Man United and Liverpool at similar levels of disdain, is he genuinely making comparisons between one of the most successful and experienced managers in European football taking over Manchester United with Souness, who had only previously managed Rangers, taking over Liverpool?
Sadly Gregory, your trolling has come a year too late, Moyes and Souness could have been comparable, and you could have compared the signings of Saunders, Paul Stewart and Nigel Clough to the underwhelming Fellaini addition last year; but let's not try and compare those players with genuine superstars like Falcao and Angel Di Maria, you're making yourself look pretty pathetic and extremely bitter.
Yes United have overpaid for certain players and maybe didn't buy in the right positions, but at least they have realised the err of Moyes' appointment, they replaced him with a world class manager and are buying world class footballers to try and rebuild within a year, Liverpool gave Souness and 3 years and replaced him with the world renowned...Roy Evans, the similarities with Souness reign are becoming more and more apparent, eh Greg?
Part of me looks at the young, exciting Liverpool side and looks forward to seeing how well that attack gels, but then 'Fans' with gloating, superior "WE'RE GONNA WIN THE LEAGUE" attitudes like yours take away any good feelings I, as a neutral, can have for your club, people like you Gregory are the reason why neutrals didn't want to see Liverpool win the league last year.
Conor, ("And now you're gonna believe us...") London
...I am far from being a United fan, and the recent decline has been pretty f**king funny, but Gregory Whitehead's mail is basically a summary of why I am so very pleased Liverpool didn't win the league last season.
If I'm not mistaken Liverpool finished second and didn't win anything; whilst royally ballsing up the chance they did have in the last few games of the season, including letting slip a 3-0 lead against Crystal Palace in the space of about 10 minutes.
Quite why that lets the fans laud it up over all and sundry is baffling, and yet another example of Liverpool fans' Joni-Mitchell-like blinkered view of the world.
Yes, United are 14th, but if you haven't noticed they've only played three games. There's another 35 to go yet. Don't quite agree that Di Maria and Falcao are quite as crap as you make out to be and I'm pretty sure that a 25 year wait for a league win isn't as "short term" as you make out.
Andy Smith (Sc**thorpe)
While everyone, myself included, is salivating at the thought of so many stars that have been brought to the premier league in this record smashing window, I've had enough with this and that clubs fans claiming that signing X or Y shows that they can attract top top talent.
Sanchez and Fabregas was surplus to requirements at Barcelona.
Angel Di Maria (like Ozil) was surplus to Fiorentino Perez's ideas of Madrid, and supposedly preferred PSG.
Balotelli was under-performing on a huge salary and Milan wanted rid.
Falcao was to fund Rybolovlev's ridiculous divorce and preferred Madrid as his destination.
Diego Costa is the only exception, coming off a spectacular season with his club wanting to keep him and others wanting to buy him.
Meanwhile in Spain...
World Cup winner Toni Kroos was snatched even though Bayern desperately wanted him to renew.
James Rodriguez, the big star to emerge from the World Cup, was promptly bought.
Luis Suarez, the best player in England by a country mile, was snapped up despite his club's wishes.
Rakitic, one of the breakthrough players of the year and the central force behind Sevilla's Europa win, was signed up at Barca.
So let's be clear everyone, you haven't attracted the best-of-the-best players in peak form taken from clubs reluctant to let go. You've bought extremely talented BIG NAME players who were no longer wanted by their employers for the variety of reasons listed above, often sold to you only because you're paying top dollar.
Despite the PL outspending every other league, it still remains the big two in Spain who can attract the best players in the world at the top of their game.
Jorge Mendes' Bank Account, Portland Timbers.
Getting Bored...So I'll Do Exactly The Same
I'm getting very bored with the "how will LVG fit all his new baubles into his / any system" discussion. There's no guarantee that he'll stick with 3-5-2 but he seems stubborn enough to do so. That in mind:
GK - De Gea
CB - Evans, Jones, Rojo
WB - Rafael, Shaw
CM - Herrera, Di Maria, Mata
CF - Rooney, Falco
RVP - 3rd choice CF
Blind - Cover for Herrera / Shaw
Simples. 3 mobile defenders, check. Two attacking wing backs, check. Combative midfielder, check. Midfielder with ability to beat a man and break the lines, check. Creative midfielder to play strikers in behind, check. Two world class finishers to put chances away, check. Improved options given injury (or recognising RVP is unable to play every game through the season), check.
The point of having 3 centre backs is that you don't need as much defensive cover in midfield meaning you have more scope for creativity further up the pitch. Saying that, Mata would probably make way for Blind against last year's top 6.
Oh, and I'm not saying this is the ideal, a guarantee of a top 4 finish or even a good way to go, but it makes sense to me.
Chris N (would still have liked another CB though) MUFC
Radically Stronger, Bodaciously Cool
Questions about United's accommodation of their assorted shiny new toys (and Rooney) into a viable starting eleven rather miss the point, I suspect. Post Welbz (sob) and Hernandez, United have three senior strikers, and James Wilson. Of these van Persie will almost certainly be injured for a few months of the season at some point, and Rooney has such little pace or dynamism now that he can no longer compensate for his lack of technical ability as a striker. Of United's strikers, Rooney can play in other positions (and is probably best deployed deeper, or wider, now), and van Persie can play across a front three. Only Falcao is a dedicated 9.
I'd still have liked another attacking midfielder with some pace, and have concerns about how United's acquistions will impact on Januzaj's development, but otherwise, playing two of di Maria, Mata and Januzaj is scarcely poor.
In central midfield, if Fletcher, Carrick, Herrera, di Maria (sort of) and Blind seem overkill, it's worth considering that Carrick is increasingly injury prone (and fell away badly last season in form), and Fletcher is a much reduced player (and frankly doing well to play at all) who may become indefinitely unavailable at a moment's notice. Di Maria excelled in a midfield three for Madrid, but doing so in the PL, with a weaker United team and more robust style of play, will be very different.
And comparisons with Liverpool under Souness, although superficially attractive and consistent with the prevailing about United, are inaccurate. Souness' recruitment was just bad. United have signed players from the level below the rarified plane on which Ronaldo, Messi and Bale play. They've replaced Cleverley, Welbeck, Kagawa, Nani and Evra, and what was left if Rio and Vidic, with Herrera, Falcao, di Maria, Blind, Shaw, and Rojo, and have replaced David Moyes with van Gaal.
By any standard, United are radically stronger in early September than they were in late May, and if their recruitment was opportunistic rather than strategic, and if it occurred later in the summer than ideal, this is largely a product of the delays caused by hiring a coach who was not available until after the w/c.
Is it just me or does anyone else not give a toss about the table until we're six matches in?
I thought it might be worth putting it to Arsenal fans to show a little perspective. Imagine the following; post-World Cup we go and sign Debuchy, Chambers and Welbeck. After 3 games we have 5 points, but have secured Champion League Football again. On deadline day, Wenger goes and signs Sanchez from Barcelona. I genuinely believe we've be far happier and be lauding Wenger's ambition and Arsenal's ability to compete for the title.
Karan (would still have preferred Balotelli for £16m) Burman
The Fabio Borini saga was one of the most drawn out saga's in the transfer window. When Liverpool accepted 15 million from Sunderland it seemed that his adventure in Merseyside had come to an end. It is now September 3rd and against all odds Fabio is still a Liverpool player. I for one could not be happier.
One has to admire the willingness, patience, and testicular fortitude for stay in a place you are not wanted. Once Liverpool had accepted bids from both Sunderland and QPR you would be hard pressed to find a scouser not willing to drive him to the airport. But now that he is staying a red he may end up being one of the most important squad players they have.
Liverpool are in 4 competitions this season. As a fan I would like Liverpool to concentrate on the Premier League and Champions league. That is not to take anything way from the league and FA cups, as winning silverware can do wonders for confidence in a squad.
Given the amount of games, the last thing I want to see if a team spearheaded by Balotelli and Sturridge in the 3rd round of league cup. Step up Mr. Borini! A ready and able attacking player ready to prove himself is just what Liverpool need not only pick up a trophy but to make sure our best players are rested for the competitions that will attract world class talent to Liverpool.
It is also not out of the realm of possibility that Borini could pull a Henderson and ignite his Liverpool career with a couple of stand out performances, but I wont hold my breath.
Either way I would rather have a larger squad than a smaller one and given his commitment on the field I'm glad we have Borini in the ranks.
Brian (Let's all get behind England and Captain Chubs today lads) LFC
Storey Can't Wait For January
Okay - i may be a little behind the curve but I miss the transfer blog - a lot
Thats is all
Ask Nicely Next Time
Thank you to Philip Cornwall for writing a piece on England vs Norway about as interesting as the prospect of England vs Norway. The importance of coefficients and rankings do nothing to disguise the fact that this game will be dross and the FA had no chance of selling more tickets charging the prices they are.
Get down to Telford instead to watch England Under 20's. £3 to get in, plus we can use all the exposure possible!
Dave, AFC Telford