After a disappointing end to his three years at Real Madrid, could Jose Mourinho struggle to bring immediate success if he completes his anticipated return to Chelsea?
The Premier League season has only been over for about 20 hours and already we're well into the summer-type Mailbox. Plus, a shout for the 2014 player of the year...
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Liverpool: So Good At Passing It's False Nine Time
Okay, so the scenario has eventually arrived. Luis has picked up his fith booking and we have no other strikers.
I don't know even if Borini was fit would the problem be closer to being solved as he looks pretty inept in front of goal so far.
So most recently Brendan implemented Jonjo in the false 9 role (vs Young Boys) - to some use it must be noted, that backheel was beautiful - but I don't see him getting the nod in the league.
The only only other option is surely Stevie G, his performance improved significantly at the weekend with Lucas on the field allowing him to maraud forward without worrying about a lil gnome being left alone in centre mid - instead that lil gnome was quite effective in running frantically upfield trying to join him.
Who then do we play in the centre midfield - Jonjo?? No, because we need him out of the left/right when he swaps with 'The Babymaker' as Stewie is no longer an option anywhere on the left side and we need Jose back there, since Andre is still a lil raw at times so Johnno is a better option for now until he develops further. Nuri Sahin - best player in Germany 2011 - nope not an option becasue he is sh*te and would get a game at Barnet (although they do have Edgar Davids in midfield) - in fact he is verging on a mercenary.
So who are we left with...that's right Jordan *Sigh* Henderson - has played well in patches of games this season but still has a tendency to play hide and go seek for 30 minutes a game. His worst downfall for me is his lack of vison? Or is it lack of confidence? The amount of times he receives the ball and plays is straight back is incredulous - I wish someone would teach him how to turn or roll the ball across his body and make him look forward - but alas this is what Brendan has at his disposal and that's who should be playing :(....
Martin (I critique footballers far better than me) LFC, Toronto
PS. By the way ye think MOTD is Bad - try putting up with the resident expert here, It's Danny Dichio!!!!!!!! That's right DANNY DICHIO! God he is horrendous - plus I endure alot of Andy Townsend too, it's astounding that neither of them have a clue!
Will De Gea Start v City?
Just thought I'd throw my theory into the mix about what Sir Alex has been doing regarding his rotating keepers...
In the league, prior to the last four games that Lindegaard has started, De Gea's previous four games saw us ship seven goals, perhaps showing he needed a rest. In Lindegaard's four games, he has conceded five, but these have been against the might of Norwich, QPR, West Ham and Reading (no disrespect intended).
We've won the last three games, so Fergie's selection has worked - however, by resting De Gea (who I believe Fergie still sees as his #1 goalie) this will give the defence a potentially important confidence boost when he is reinstated in the team.
Cue our toughest fixture in the league, away to City away at the weekend. I'll bet 20 quid* that De Gea is back in.
Stuart Thompson (*20 quid may have previously belonged to Liam Ridgewell) exiled in Melbourne
...Welcome to the party, United fans. I got published a year ago saying all of this about Lindegaard and De Gea. Since then I've had three or four mails published about it too.
Chris, MUFC, Lindegaard is not capable, reliable OR better at crosses. He is nervous, only makes decent saves and stays on his line rather than commanding his area. You don't see him flap, but neither do you see him catch.
Anyway, I'm bored. Lindegaard's averageness was SO last year.
Silvio (That Robson-Kanu looked very good) Dante
P.S. Since when was Phil Jones an attacking midfielder?
Why Sam Doesn't Deserve So Much Credit
Interesting article by John Nic on Sam Allardeci - an annoying character who is easy to poke fun (something I freely admit to) at. On the face of it he certainly has done well, turning a small club like Bolton into one of the Premiership's toughest teams, keeping Blackburn in the Prem and getting West Ham promoted. However, each of these achievements does come with its own caveat:
Bolton - Frequent turnover of ageing players on huge wages (for the size of the club) a model that was totally unsustainable causing the squad to be dismantled resulting in relegation.
Blackburn - Maintained mid-table with a good squad that was pretty much sold when Kean took over resulting in relegation.
West Ham - Got a team of established Premier League players back into the Premier League but made a massive meal of it, with one of the largest wage bills the Championship has ever seen.
Throughout all of this he maintained his 'direct' brand of football and despite all of his crowing the best he has ever managed is a mid-table finish. I mean honestly the amount of self-publicising he does you would think he was wining trophy after trophy but I'm struggling to remember him even getting to a final. The reason for this is that if your only goal is remain in the Premier League then managers like Pulis and Fat Sam are fine, but if you want to compete with the elite you need to get he ball down and actually play some football.
I can't think of a team since the late 80s/early 90s who have won anything with a Sam brand 'direct' game. I think the most worry thing about Allardyce is that he imagines himself to be like Mourinho, who undoubtedly plays the physical/direct approach on a regular basis, he also however backs this up with possession-based pass-and-move football.
Allardyce has been given the chance in the past to 'prove' himself when given the keys to Newcastle and royally cocked it up, leaving them in the bottom third of the league. So in response to what does he have to do? Simple - adapt. There is obviously a place in the game for his approach part of the time but you will never break the top five unless you can get the ball down and actually play some football.
Olly (Previously London but now loving the sun in Perth, WA) THFC
I watched 'The Big Breakfast' with Chris Evans and Denise Van Outen/Kelly Brook on Channel 4 when I was young, and they used to have a segment in the morning with Mark Bright called 'The Pressure Cooker' or something. Basically, he analysed which three managers were most under pressure. In light of your recent article, 'The Death of Excuses is imminent...' here's my attempt.
3. Simmering = Harry Redknapp. Two matches. Two points. One goal. Seven points from safety. Tony Fernandes made a labored decision to replace Mark Hughes after things had not been going swimmingly for him but replacing him with Harry could turn out to be a masterstroke. He's proved time and again that he can do a good job with teams facing the possibility of relegation, however, he needs to turn things around quickly. Villa and Sunderland were both winnable games and to survive the drop, we all know you need to beat the teams in and around you. The good news is they didn't lose. Important games against Wigan and Fulham are coming next, and after that, it's a really difficult Christmas and New Year period with games against Newcastle, West Brom, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, West Ham and City. Yikes. The transfer window is going to be interesting. A squad already packed full of new signings that haven't seemed to gel, will likely be complemented by Harry signing a few of his old tried and tested players, but will that compound the problem?
2. Warming up = Alan Pardew. Last season's highs have brought a tremendous amount of pressure and a new eight-year contract. But with only two wins in eight matches and a mounting injury list including Sammy Ameobi, Ryan Taylor, Jonas Gutierrez, and now Demba Ba, things could get a lot worse. Pardew, recently declared that Newcastle were in a relegation fight. If that was to cajole his players to win against Wigan and possibly turn a corner then it may have worked, but, if it's because he wants to ease the pressure and lower expectations, then it probably won't work. Eight-year contract or not, Mike Ashley is not a man of patience, having overseen six managers since taking over the club in 2007. The mathematics among you will note that is less than one season per manager. They need to get results against both Fulham and QPR or else Ashley's patience could run out.
1. Boiling = Martin O'Neill. Following Alan Pardew's lead on the other side of the Tyne Wear divide, O'Neill has also admitted his side are in the relegation dogfight. O'Neill was brought in a year ago to replace Bruce, but since his early good form, where his side won 13 from a possible 18 points, winning the Manager of the Month award in the process, the situation has become quite dire. With only two wins since the start of the season, O'Neill has replicated the form that cost Bruce his job a year ago. The next two fixtures see two home matches against Chelsea and Reading. A loss in both would surely be enough for a termination of contract. One wonders what exactly he has done to get the chance for these games considering his summer spend.
Nick (Arsene is only five points from the Champs League, he'll finish in the top 4) Poninski
PS. Notable mention to Brian McDermott. Despite being Manager of the Season in the Championship last year, and only spending seven million in the transfer window, with only one win this season, his chairman is going to have to decide shortly whether to back him or sack him. The next two games against Southampton and Sunderland are crucial.
What a flawed argument by Stevie Mac...
1. Milton Thieves Cons stole a Football League club. They stole a Football League place, it does not matter that it was eight years ago. Thieving does not get less relevant after time. It's not just our anger as Wimbledon fans, there is a club currently in the Conference who should be playing league football but can't because of the stolen league place.
2. Wimbledon did not gain 'fans' out of sympathy towards Milton Thieves or the hatred that exists towards them. Yes we have gained respect and interest from the football world but we have not gained plastic fans. Our average attendance for 2011-12 was 4,295. This is still lower then at most times in our history. Our average attendance has increased over the last nine years as we have grown more successful not based on these fantasy plastic fans who hate Milton Thieves.
3. Yes, there are worst things in football such as corruption, homophobia or racism but bringing these topics into the discussion is irrelevant. I mean for goodness sakes how dare the public and media discuss bad tackles, disallowed goals and offside decsions.
4. As Wimbledon fans we will always hate them. The reason the Milton Thieves topic is so hot at the moment is because we drew them in the cup and played them on Sunday.
5) I will not let an Arsenal fan lecture Wimbledon's fans on not focusing on another team. Have you ever met an Arsenal fan who has not mentioned Spurs within five minutes of meeting them? Have you been to a north London derby or seen just how the Spurs and Arsenal fans can act?
Sort Out Your Own Songs, Liverpool
Sorry old chap, Liverpool fans are not allowed to comment on anyone else's chants after inflicting that infernal "we won it five times" nonsense on every club they play.
...I'm so sorry Southampton didn't make enough songs up for you, maybe your 'fans' should make some up.
The problem you have is that Liverpool fans love to brag about your fine wit and sense of humour but as we fans get to your shanty town we find quite the opposite to be true.
Miserable as f*ck. No atmosphere (after 'You'll never walk alone' which is sung with the same amount of passion as my asthmatic granddad would muster when faced with sucking sh!t through a straw). Sh!t ground. Fans who only ever sing when winning. Delusions of grandeur. God, I could go on here...
Everton on the other hand is a banging away day (so's tranmere as well to be fair, maybe it's your own fans that generate atmosphere?!?!). Maybe it's the fact that Everton are supported by real people without delusional tendencies and people who are there to support their club not there merely for the assosciation of supporting a club that won a few pots back when Fred Flintstone was hitting strikes down the Dino Bowl.
Basically Man U and Liverpool are THE WORST AWAY DAYS OF THE FOOTBALL YEAR FOR ATMOSPHERE THAT'S WHY PEOPLE SING THESE SONGS AT YOU. YOUR FANS ARE UTTER GAMMON MATE!
It's not hard to work out...
Martin 'sing when I'm winning' Ansell
Anfield Is Poor, To Be Fair
On my recent trip to Europe I finally made the pilgrimage to Anfield, which I tipped to be one of, if not THE, highlight of my trip. Experiencing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' before the game was incredible, but once that had finished I witnessed something I did not expect at Anfield - silence from the home crowd. We were sitting right next to the Toon supporters who sang loud and proud from start to finish, and I thought their chant 'where's your famous atmosphere?' was bang on. Even though we dominated the first 20 minutes, the crowd was dead, and it wasn't until Suarez scored one of the goals of the season that the crowd picked up a bit. Even then it wasn't what I was expecting.
PG, Liverpool claims these chants are tiresome and unoriginal, but they are spot on. I understand the clubs going through a tough phase, but that's where I'd expect the supporters to get right behind the club, especially given they are our X Factor and what makes us such a globally renowned club. Given we don't haven't had any big European nights for quite a while, shouldn't we be getting right behind the boys in the league? And how is the team going to get competitive again if they don't have the supporters behind them? It seems like the majority of the crowd is along for the ride, and not willing to dig deep during the dark periods.
LFC at Anfield used to be a formidable opponent, and our home record backed that up. Last season we notched up 9 (NINE) home draws, and this season our home form isn't much better than our record away. If the crowd goes, so does a lot of the home advantage. If you want those special European nights again, then you've gotta put in the support, whether we're playing United or Southampton.
I had an amazing experience at Anfield, and I still enjoy getting up in the middle of the night to catch the games live on the TV. Even when we're battling. But the atmosphere at the ground was a real disappointment after what it'd been hyped up to be.
Leon, (Toon fans singing 'You dirty scousers, you paid for our team was a fair p***er), Melbourne, Australia
What About Away Fans At OT?
In response to PG, Liverpool, the away fan chants at Old Trafford don't bother me. Besides being too busy eating my prawn sandwiches and quaffing champagne to care*, they're mostly the same tired stuff you've trotted out, and 2000 away fans are pretty easily drowned out by 75,000, especially after we've turned over the early goal we've inevitably conceded.
There have been a few though that have made me laugh in recent memory:
- "You're just a sh*t Michael Jackson" at Nani, mostly because I had to check it wasn't us singing it.
- "We've come for our scarves", when Norwich made the trip up.
- "Why don't you talk fac*ing English" (phonetic cockney spelling) in response to our rhyming "he comes from Serbia" with "he'll foo*ing murder yer" (phonetic northern).
- "Race you back to London" (shouldn't do but it does, mostly because there's a very annoying and loud cockney somewhere behind me that's always going on about how he makes the trip up each week and has done for years)
Leeds also have one of the most childish infuriating ones, sticking 'Leeds' in front of us singing "United", which would probably be hilarious if I was a neutral. Or from Leeds.
As for our away ones at Anfield, we have more than our fair share of 'witty' anti-Liverpool songs, but then all some people pretty much do is sit and think those up. See our backhanded tribute to Ji-Sung Park for example. We even managed to turn that into one about you.
David P (*cup of tea and a Hollands pie) Manchester
Whilst I watch football tipsy and in bed most weekends (I live in Korea), I invent chants that I wish fans would sing.
This started a few years ago when I imagined one section of Old Trafford singing "Rooney Rooney Rooney Rooney" - and another section replying with "aah aah aah ah aah" to the tune of Ruby by the Kaiser Chiefs. It would be class.
This season, please tell me that the Southampton fans are singing 'Yoshida Battles the Pink Robots'.
"Cause he knows that - it's demanding - to defeat those evil machines. I know he can beat them - OH YOSHIDA!"
OK. How about 'there's only Juan Mata'.
Sorry - I'm out of ideas.
(ooh aah) Mike McGrath
Nice One, Coventry
Good question from PG, Liverpool re songs from away fans. Regarding the rotund behind of one Andrei Arshavin, Coventry City fans sang 'Arshavin's disco pants are the best - they go up from his knees to his chest'...
Naz, Gooner (And they were losing the League Cup tie 6 v 1 too - respect!)