There's more in the afternoon Mailbox about Jose Mourinho and his potential return to Chelsea, while there's also a link to some pictures of eagles that look like Arsene Wenger...
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?
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Question - Would anyone like to swap their current manager with Mancini? (Chelsea fans don't count. Because. Well...)
Some Arsenal fans moan about Wenger, but could you imagine having Mancini at the helm?
"He won the league!" I hear you cry. On goal difference ... with the strongest squad in the league by miles ... with the most expensive team in the league by miles. Any manager worth his salt would have wrapped it up by Christmas last season.
(ooh aah) Mike McGrath
Is anyone else wondering what cool message Balotelli had printed on his vest to show us when he scored?
Where Are The City Fans?
Even though I'm a staunch Manchester United supporter, I've often thought that Manchester City fans are badly/sadly under-represented in the Mailbox and, whilst they lost to United under difficult circumstances, I would have expected more of them to comment on the derby.
But, no! Go through Monday morning's contributions and you will find the United mails massively outweigh the City mails, like so:
(In the order in which they appear);
Sagar Deo, Mumbai
Budhaditya (I think he's United)
(I do hope I've not misjudged anyone's comments here).
I'm not commenting at all on the quality of any of these mails, I'm only mentioning the lack of feedback by City people. See, far from being the 'noisy neighbours', they are, in fact, the 'very quiet, almost silent neighbours', at least in terms of F365. Come on City folk - when I lived in Manchester years ago, nobody could shut any of you up!
PS To Loh, Basle, Chris MUFC used the term 'water carrier' rather than your preference 'water-boy' because that was the derogatory term Eric Cantona used to describe (and deride) Didier Deschamps, the current manager of France ,when he was playing in the UK.
Most of you may have already condemned fans like Chris MUFC and others for being pessimistic about their team's chance during the derby. But you are in a land far far away from truth.
We thrive on reverse psychology. Always have, always will. We know we are good, but we are United. We dont run along saying we will win which we obviously know in our heats but we rather pretend that we might not(maybe to induce a sense of false confidence in others, or just to make sure that when we do lose we can emphatically reply, I told you so)
It's a win win. Reverse Psychology is at heart of every fan (see last year's war of words between Mancini and Fergie). So next time, when we say we are going to lose, you should know, we will lose.
Donnie(That came out rather absurd)
Going on transfers from the last few seasons, I've come up with a computer program style algorithm to work out where Arsenal players go when they leave the club.
If [Youth player that couldn't break into first team];
Goto: Lower Division Side
If [First team player going abroad];
If [First team player staying in the PL];
If [Good but not quite as good as they think they are];
Goto: Man City
If [World Class];
Goto: Man Utd
Looks like it's Citeh for Theo next season then...
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
Big In LA
I'm currently at home and find myself watching a programme called Operation Repo. Think daytime Dog the Bounty Hunter.
It's set in LA and they've just repossessed the car of a rather feisty chap from him and his bunch of mates.
Now, any footy shirt in the US always looks a bit out of place. Seeing a Man City top perhaps even more so, but what was really weird was that it was Dzeko shirt!
Any ideas how the Dzeko fan base has reached the West Coast?
Marky B. MUFC
Michu Do About Nothing
With Lionel Messi breaking the record for most goals in a calendar year, the inevitable chat from English fans on many an internet forum seems to be that, with him playing in a second-rate league and all, this is not such a great achievement and he would struggle to get nearly so many goals in the all-conquoring Premier League. As this is a constant complaint about Messi, wouldn't it be great if someone from the Spanish league, perhaps not a big star but say a player from a mid-table side, would come and try his hand at the English game to prove them right.
I bet he'd be rubbish
Ric Duncombe, Kampala, Uganda
Spurs Have Always Struggled With Late Goals
I don't know what it is, but as long as I have supported Spurs they have struggled to close out games, and unless they have a 2 goal (3 or 4 against Man Utd) lead going into the last 10mins i will always be nervous....
I have seen that AVB is getting some criticism for this, and i guess some of his changes have not been amazing, but this is in the Spurs DNA, whether they have been managed by Harry, Big Martin Jol, or Hoddle...
Not sure what the solution is, but it needs sorting as it does my blood pressure no good!
... After all of the hyperbole around the Manchester derby dominated this morning's mailbox I (and I assume many others will) want to take a moment to appreciate that we live in the time of one of the finest footballers the world has ever seen. That he is still only 25 is simultaneously wonderful and scary as hell to me, at that age I was barely able to take care of myself. The "best ever" debates can be saved for once he's retired, but he is surely proven as the best in the world today - players just aren't meant to be able to score goals in that volume in the 'modern age' of football.
I can only hope that one day he winds up at one of England's moneybag clubs to finally prove to any remaining doubters once and for all, that even on a cold Tuesday night in Stoke he's the greatest goalscoring threat on Earth.
Mark, London (I'm sure Venky's will have a cheeky bid in come January now he's proven himself)
Shout Out For Lucas
I'm not sure if this was covered, but Lucas deserves huge praise for the way he has returned to the Liverpool team. In his first game back he completed more tackles than any PL player. This week he completed the most passes at Upton Park (as well as a solid defensive display). Say what you want about statistics, but the professionalism shown by Lucas is second to none.
After such a horrid run of injuries (and past critics), this is a testament to his hard work off the field. So to you Sir, I take my hat off.
Mark (2 games with Lucas = 2 victories), Dublin
I consider myself a fairly balanced football fan, able to see past my Arsenal-coloured prejudices and form objective opinions.
With that in mind, is it just me or is there a genuine bias against Arsenal when it comes to diving? Firstly, the whole Eduardo narrative of a couple of years ago which so ludicrously placed all of the blame for the entire concept of diving on one man.
Now, to a much lesser extent, comes the reaction to Santi Cazorla's dive against West Brom at the weekend. Now, that was nowhere near the most obvious dive of the season - even now I don't believe it is completely clear cut. And yet the accepted narrative is that it somehow 'marred' Arsenal's win. Not for me it didn't. Steve Clarke sounded like a man who had just been introduced to the concept of diving - many have noted Ridgewell's performance the other week which renders his astonishment totally hypocritical.
Most media outlets have gone with the line that Arsenal's win will mean less as it was brought about by nefarious means - does this happen to other teams? Or am I just feeling persecuted out of guilt that West Brom didn't have the chance to turn their dominance of possession and total control of attacking play into a win?
Then there was the 5Live Football Daily report, which featured an inane interview with Steven Reid who didn't think it was a penalty (gasp) followed by 5 minutes of mocking Arsene Wenger for saying (last April!) that he thought divers should be banned. 'And so will he be banning Car-zola?' (sic, why can't these idiots pronounce that name?) asked the presenter, his s**t-eating grin somehow clear even through an audio medium.
Sorry for the rant but I'd be interested to know if everyone feels that their team is singled out in this regard.
Joe Rice (the Daily Star headline was literally SHAME ON YOU SANTI)
Summat On Gary Hooper
I spotted in today's gossip column that Nigel Adkins is apparently keen on picking up Gary Hooper from Celtic.
I'm sure he is, but why would Hooper would swap the knockout stages of the Champions League and a more-or-less guaranteed domestic title, for a relegation scrap on the south coast?
Being naïve and setting aside the fact that Southampton probably pay a decent wage (Gaston Ramirez anyone?), the only upside for Hooper would be to prove that he can score goals in the Premier League and (maybe) stake a claim for an England shirt - and I'd argue that good performances in the Champions League (even if only 2 of them) would go just as far to convincing Roy Hodgson of his ability.
Personally I've not seen Hooper play often enough to decide whether he's England quality or not, but if I were him I'd rather be a club hero at Celtic and compete in Europe's premier cup competition, than move to Southampton just to silence the doubters.
Terry Hall, Switzerland (I still haven't forgiven him for that last minute winner for Grays Athletic against my lot in 2005)
This is a thought fairly apropos of nothing but is Mark Hughes' Achilles heel his complete inability to spot a suitable captain? I can't remember who his captain was at Fulham but Park Ji Sung when he had Ryan Nelson there and starting; Carlos Tevez when he had Vincent Kompany there and starting. I even remember at City he had Robinho captain the team against Hull... So there's that.
Also, I was at the derby yesterday; the hostile atmosphere wasn't helped by Wayne Rooney celebrating all three goals largely in front of the City fans. No excuse for chucking stuff at other human beings though.
Ant (Pablo Zabaleta; there's a proper vice captain) Cule
More On Liverpool v West Ham
1) Games between mid-table sides are good when managers are forced into making changes.
West Ham expanded into the match once Enrique limped from the field, and indeed their first goal came from an attack down their right. Similarly, Liverpool were being closed out of the game, chiefly by the impressive Diame, until his enforced substitution changed West Ham's shape and spaces began to open up.
Bigger teams with bigger squads can make like-for-like substitutions, nullifying the effect of the loss of most players, but the appearance of Joe Cole for Enrique, and Tomkins for Diame, showed that these were luxuries neither side could afford.
2) Liverpool's striker problem could be Luis Suárez.
In scoring three goals - albeit the last one quite freakishly - without a recognised forward, against a team who had until then conceded seven goals in eight home games was quite an achievement for a team and a manager roundly criticised for not having sufficient options up top.
Indeed, in watching the Udinese game on Thursday, what became more apparent was that Suárez can be just as frustrating for his own players as he is for the opposition's. Several times in Udine he chose to try and squeeze a shot in, or nick the ball through the defender's legs, with players arriving at the far post (including the rejuvenated Henderson). Last night, without a recognised forward, there was more of a cohesion about the way the team attacked; more predictability; that allowed players to execute training-ground moves with confidence.
3) West Ham are looking more steady than in years
Allardyce may well get a lot of criticism for his no-nonsense approach, but what is wrong with a manager who knows the capability of his players and builds them a formation and style to suit? Steve Kean was roundly condemned for his delusional approach to the game, and Rodgers this season has been tarred with the same brush, as players can look lost in systems that do not suit their abilities or personalities.
Just like fiddling with the data editor in CM0102 proves you can win the league in your first season with the best players (go in stick them all pending transfers, it's the best way to keep them happy), the reality of it is that if you play the game normally you will suffer until you find a formation that is most effective with the player at your disposal.
For figuring this out with successive teams (bar Newcastle where he wasn't given the chance), Allardyce is deserving of praise.
And that's your lot, courtesy of Match of the Day 2 showing the game last.
Matt (delighted to see some bouncebackability from Rodgers' famous men in er... grey and black), NI