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
I would like to confirm that you have had a Bradford fan in the mailbox since our PL demise and prior to Pete Scott this morning, I managed this feat by praising your Winty then calling her a dog botherer. I doubt this will work twice but wanted to try my luck in correcting you as I am still rather happy after last night despite having no voice left and quite painful seat burns on my shins.
For the record I do not want Leeds in the semi's, thanks, a proper club will do nicely.
Bring Back The Filth, Arsene
Is it my imagination, but since Arsenal have cleaned up their act on the pitch, they have had no need to clean any new trophies off the pitch? Just the old dusty ones that are 8+ years old.
Bring back the filth, Arsene. We need more filth.
Ben (Missing a snarling Vieira in the middle) AFC, Kingston
Why The Theo/Nani Swap Might Work
A few thoughts on why the Walcott to United deal would make sense...
My first thought was Walcott over Nani, not on your nelly but then I thought about it some more and scarily it started to make sense. Nani over the past few seasons has been inconsistent to say the least and not that it is particularly fair on the lad but he has always struggled to fill the boots of a certain number 7 which I feel the media have put on him. I think most United fans would like him just to realise his own potential but it seems destined to never quite happen for him. Plus there have always been the reported tensions between him and Fergie.
Then there is Walcott who has his own problems with developing his talent, but the few Arsenal games I have seen this season when he has played he has started to look like he has worked out how to cross a ball. This and the recent mailbox Walcott vs Valencia debate made me realise that he has a perfect role model to follow at United. Valencia is strong, quick and a direct player and most of all he is effective, I think Theo has similar talents that just need to be worked on. I can just see Sir Alex to Theo now, "get yourself down the gym lad and then copy what Tony does." There is also his understanding with Van Persie to consider and we would also have a back up striker if we had an injury crisis.
Then the deal clincher here is the business sense it makes and ever since the Glazer take over this has become more key when Fergie and David Gill are looking at transfer dealings. Nani is reportedly after £130k a week whereas Theo is only after £100k. Theo would cost £10m or free in the summer, Nani with longer left on his contract could be worth around £20m. This would free up some cash to spend on a new central midfielder. At the moment Nani is a squad player and Theo would just replace him in the squad. I know Walcott wants game time and as a central striker but I think he would throw this out the window if Sir Alex was interested.
Weighing everything up I think it would make a lot of business sense and could enhance the squad as well a beating our main rivals to his signature.
Right I'm off now to have a shower as after writing that I feel strangely unclean.
Mark, MUFC (that said if Barca are looking sell Sanchez, completely ignore what I've just written and buy him please Sir Alex)
To all the Arsenal fans calling for Wenger's head this morning. Chill the f**k out. It was a disappointing result but the bottom line is it was only the blooming League Cup. Lets shoot through the negatives. Gervinho is a bit sh** and is definitely not a striker (although he has scored 6 goals this season), Ramsey isn't improving at the rate we thought he would, Podolski actually isn't that great either and we are finding it hard to break down teams who stick bodies behind the ball. Lets just all take a step back and I will do my best to take some positives from last night.
1. Jack is back. Wilshere had some wonderful moments last night, really tried to put his foot on the ball and get hold of the game. We probably have the best young midfielder in the world at Arsenal Football Club, lets not forget that.
2. The back four played well. It has been fashionable to berate an Arsenal back 4/5 over the last few years but this year we look decent in that department and it is probably the least of our worries. I think Mertesacker, Vermaelan and Koscielny are all fantastic centre halves and Sagna and Gibbs are 2 very decent full backs. We have only conceded 16 league goals this season, the 2nd best in the league.
3. Rosicky is fit again. In my opinion he is vastly underrated. He was phenomenal last season and moving him into midfield dragged us into 3rd last year (yes.3rd.Last year.short memories people). I for one am delighted to see him back.
4. Oxlade Chamberlain came on and played well. He is England's 2nd best young player (behind Jack) and we have him as well.
5. Showed good character to score the equaliser. Ok ok it sounds mad because it was Bradford but we went one nil down on a frosty night away in a cup game. It can be hard to break teams down when they have 11 men behind the ball but right at the death we managed it.
Yes that is all I can think of, but remember that we are 2 points off of 4th (realistically our only aim in the league), through to the last 16 of the Champions League (AGAIN) and the FA Cup has not even started yet. Yes everyone is disappointed but lets all just get off of the teams back and recognise the miracles Arsene has performed during the last few years in keeping us in the Champions League while 3 other clubs blow us out of the water with their financial capabilities. It was extremely unfortunate that we decided to build a stadium during a period when 2 clubs gained limitless financial resources and so far we are coping pretty bloody well. Sometimes this kind of thing happens but you can be damn sure we will be playing Champions League footy next year and I am still hoping for an FA Cup win and a barnstorming run to Champions League glory. Thats the thing about cup football, the best team does not always win.
The Forwards Are The Problem
Arsene should go?
I disagree, he sent out a team that 99 times out of 100 would win that game (we hit the post enough times).
The thing that's annoying me is the revisionism that goes on when we lose. We weren't urgent? Well that's weird because I thought Sagna and Gibbs were excellent last night. Wilshere and Cazorla ran around the midfield like blue arse flies and didn't stop all night. Mertesacker was his usual dependable self (though he likes to fall over when the other team attacks every other game to make things interesting), Vermaelen is slowly playing himself back into form.
Our problem is up front. Podolski, again was completely anonymous. Walcott is out but most of the time is terrible, he just pops up with a great game every now and then that he thinks warrants 100,000 grand a week. Ox is full of running and one of our most direct players but he's still a kid and has a lot to learn. Giroud is great at link up play but patchy in terms of form.
The worst offender is Gervinho, had a clutch of goals at the start of the season, I actually thought he was finally coming good. It's time to stop putting him up front and if there's another option available it's time to stop playing him all together and get him sold before he becomes another player too sh*t to play but on too much money to sell.
This is the worst group of forwards Wenger has ever had and, sadly, I think they might be the end of him.
Luca James Sparks
Last nights events at Valley Parade got me thinking...
Given the cult status AW enjoys (enjoyed?) at Arsenal, and his reputation as an innovator, is it possible he's taken things a step too far and has moved on from 'tika taka' to 'seppuku'?
Perhaps not an ideal strategy given their injury problems but at least it would show the players are still listening.
After yesterdays match and coupled with the performances in the last couple of weeks I am getting more and more disillusioned with Wenger. However I still am not sure I want him out, mainly because of two reasons. First, I dont know how much of the blame lies with him and how much with the Board and the players. Secondly, I dont think we can get anyone better if we fire him.
In the morning mailbox Ben brought up a list of young managers of the top of his head. They included:
1) Bielsa - Young??? He's almost 60.. But not sure he'd want to come to Arsenal.
2) Klopp - Would anyone swap Dortmund for us
3) Blanc - Only success was in a subpar Ligue 1
4) Low - Pretty good but no success at club level
5) Emery - Consistently finished 3rd in La Liga while losing his best players.. Sound familiar? I thought that wasn't enough for Arsenal.
6) Laudrup - Great player but does not yet deserve to be on this list as a mangwr let alone replace Wenger
I know a few people will point to Guardiola but that was an already successful club with a great base in place which he took to dizzying heights. Arsenal are currently plagued with problems throughout their squad and cannot be compared with that team.
And finally to the mail that really got my goose from Ali, Kensington that asked Wenger to "f*** out of my club". Well, F*** YOU!!! It is Wenger's club more than it well ever be your club. As has been pointed out by the mailbox, the man has rejected higher pay at Real Madrid so that he could stay with Arsenal. I doubt if you would do the same.
So, in summary if you want Wenger out fair play to you but give the man the respect he deserves. And if you want Wenger out make sure you have someone with "good kuwalitees" (Wenger style) to replace him.
VK ( My kid cousin thinks Arsenal are named so because "Arsene" Wenger manages them), Arsenal
Wenger = Ponting
I have seen it a number of times recently relating to Wenger, although he is simply the most obvious example of the point I think needs raising; will a true great / proven winner know when to step down? In today's mailbox someone talked about Mike Tyson in boxing, and to my mind this easily relates to the debate over Ricky Ponting that had been present in Australia for the past few years.
A common quality that every successful sportsman, especially those at the elite level, possesses is the unwavering belief in their own ability. It is this self-confidence which has helped to get them to the top; indeed, it is this that has helped to sustain them through periods of relative failure (I'm thinking of Giggs here around the early to mid '00's when fans were calling on him to be sold) and go on to achieve more success in the future.
For me, Wenger showed this trait when he took the Arsenal job despite fans / media stating he wasn't up for the job and then went on to win the double. If he didn't possess it he wouldn't still be at Arsenal, and in all likelihood would never have made it there in the first place. Therefore can he be relied upon to step-down (if that is indeed in the best interests of the club)?
Imagine if Arsenal finished 5th this season; I think Wenger is more likely to argue that he is the man most capable of taking them back into the Champions League rather than resign and admit defeat. This is an admirable trait, but Liverpool fans know how hard it is to get back to the top level, especially since there is likely to be only 1 place for 4 teams (the top 3 have their own mini-league).
Therefore, would it be better for the board to sack him and hope that a new manager resurrects the season, before it becomes too bad to save? Sentiment has no place in the board room, and based purely on results, Arsenal are clearly regressing
Jack (Ironically, fans, who can allow sentiment to rule them in the face of facts, have been the quickest to turn) Manchester
As I am sitting around with some spare time I thought I would share with you my revolutionary idea for restructuring wages throughout football. I think everyone likes the idea of a salary cap (apart from some players) and some say how footballers have lost touch with the common man due to their massive wages and how wrong it is for someone like Scott Sinclair for example to be making more money than a more talented player at another club just because he is at Manchester City. Well my idea is aimed at a salary cap and to try and make leagues more competitive overall.
The basic idea is that every club will have salary grades to apply to their players. There can be say 4 grades:
Grade A - salary up to a maximum of 100k a week
Grade B - salary up to a maximum of 80k a week
Grade C - salary up to a maximum of 60k a week
Grade D - salary up to a maximum of 40k a week
The kicker of the idea though is that each club is only allowed a specific number of each grade salary. For example say a club can only have five players on a Grade A salary, eight players on a grade B, ten players on a Grade C and as many players as they like on a Grade D.
This will have the first obvious effect of no player earning more than 100k a week which im sure is a amount they can scrape by on if they buy a few less Rolex's a month. The competitive side will come in with the limited number of players they can have on each grade. Take Manchester City for example. Their 5 Grade A players for arguments sake could be Aguero, Tevez, Toure, Silva and Kompany. This would then mean Mr Balotelli is not able to get 100k a week and with he's ego and feeling he is one of the best players around he will then move to another club where he will be classed and paid as Grade A. This will lead to the more talented players who desire 100k a week to be more spread out around clubs creating more competition as there will only be a maximum of five at each club.
So the long and short of it is, money paid by clubs is limited meaning they keep more of their income, players don't earn astronomical amounts, better players will be spread around clubs more and contract situations should be simpler. The numbers above i have just plucked out the air to show my thinking so could of course be tweaked and altered for each division. The lower a division the lower the maximum salary of each grade. It will also promote clubs bringing through their own players and making them feel welcome as a player who loves a club genuinely may be willing to have a Grade B or C salary so that the club can bring in a new player on a higher grade which will increase the popularity of said player with his fans even more by showing he cares more for the club than the money.
I'm not claiming the whole idea doesn't need work and im realistic enough to know this will never happen but in my eyes this seems like a pretty good thing all round (unless you are Machester City or Chelsea maybe) and would be a good thing for football in general.
Martin (I declare myself available if the FA and FIFA want to talk) Coad
Not sure why I'm surprised that pretty much the whole mailbox was filled with the yawns from Norf Landan Wenger out brigade, but really mail box was there honestly not one email regarding the other quarter final last night? I know we don't come from London/Manchester/Liverpool or have handsome Spaniards playing for us but come on 365 we have the beast from Belgium and we just smashed Naaarwich in there own backyard.
Jamie (brackets still in fashion?) AVFC
...Amid the Gooners chucking themselves off cliffs, wanted to give a quick shout to Villa and Paul Lambert. While we don't look like much on the prem table, we've been playing pretty well recently - and last night we were bloody marvellous.
Bionic Brett Holman is doing wonders to rehabilitate the reputation of Australians in Birmingham at the moment (two Aussies + stupid phonecalls was a bad enough idea in a Foster's advert); Little Andy Wei Aye Mann is starting to look a less expensive version of Darren Bent who can run; and a mate on facebook this morning said defending against Benteke must be like a fight with Blanka from Street Fighter, to agreement from all. I thought I was going to *** when that last goal went in.
We're not going to win the CL soon, and we'll probably have our backsides handed to us by Bradford in the semis, but God it's nice to like football again. Thanks Lambs!
Don't mind your M's, this team is unstoppable.
Glenn Whelan Glenn Whelan Glenn Whelan Glenn Whelan
Glenn Whelan Glenn Whelan Glenn Whelan Glenn Whelan
Manager: Johnathan Woss.
I've set it up in a 4-4-2 but I think a 4-1-3-2 may work best.
They Ain't Got No Alibi
In response to Mohammad Ali Khan's email about the which is the most handsome team I couldn't rightly say. But what I can say without any shadow of a doubt is that the Liverpool team with Fowler, Bellamy, Crouch and Kuyt (2006/2007) contained, without doubt, the ugliest strike force in the Premier League.
Nikolai (yeesh!) V
Headline Missed Opportunity
I've looked everywhere but not found it, why did no newspaper or website come up with the obvious headline 'Semi Gone After Tommy Blank'
For all those with a man crush on Mata, if you look closer he's just a smaller, hairier Rooney.
Ned (my kinda guy) Galway