We thought we would have to resort to another mailbox about maths but we've had some grand opinions about Man United, Newcastle, Tottenham and more. Oh and maths...
We have one Chelsea fan who recognises the job done by Rafa Benitez while there's maths from Liverpool, Newcastle and Manchester. And Shawcross to Arsenal? Nah...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
As much as the Magic of the Cup seems only to exist to sell lager or televisions these days, the third round did show what was great and what wasn't about football. While I do feel that teams devalue the competition by fielding weakened teams (this is more noticeable outside of the top five or six Premier League clubs), watching the highlights and hearing of several players scoring on their full club debuts does mean the "magic" of the FA Cup is still just about alive. Take Lopes for Manchester City, it might be he's destined for greatness, or he could end up being the next Daniel Sturridge, but he scored on his debut, aged 17.
On the other hand, the worst thing about football (and footballers) came to light on Sunday. Liverpool seem to struggle in the FA Cup against lower league or non-league opposition, such as when the difference between them and mighty Yeovil was a penalty earned by Harry Kewell diving - he admitted as much to the defender who (hadn't) fouled him. This time, it was Suarez who resorted to cheating, although the most infuriating thing was once again his manager defending his actions. When Thierry Henry did his handball against Ireland, his comments to the media were to the effect of "don't blame me for cheating, blame the referee for not stopping me".
Similarly, Brendan Rodgers was very generous in saying the Suarez handball looked accidental, and then said it wasn't up to him to 'fess up to the referee if it hadn't been spotted. Gordon Strachan made an analogy on ITV of someone parking on a double yellow line and getting away with it then writing to the council with a cheque to cover the fine.
Both Rodgers and Strachan miss the point that it's not about retrospectively admitting your transgressions, but of not doing them in the first place. As for Rodgers' assertion that no player would do differently, well, Miroslav Klose did. Earlier this season, in a game between Lazio and Napoli, he told the referee he had handled and the goal was chalked off. Although as Napoli then scored twice and won the game, the reason few players have followed in Klose's honest footsteps is probably clear.
It's just a shame, really, as the main selling point of the third round is that an upset might happen, that minnows can take on giants and anything can happen on the day. The sad reality though is that some things don't change, such as top teams declining the chance to outplay a lesser opponent and instead resorting to cheating.
Ed, CPFC, Notts
Make Him Wear A Hat
If Luis Suarez weren't a Liverpool player, and therefore automatically beyond redemption, he would be the most gloriously caddish player. Liverpool may well be onto something with their Dick Dastardly inspired third kit: I suggest forcing Suarez to sport a suitable moustache and hat.
Steal His Shoes
To anyone who might be thinking of criticizing Suarez for (what I believe to be) an accidental handball, please consider the words of a mystical wise man:
"Never criticize a man until you've walked a mile in his shoes. Because then you're a mile away, and you've got his shoes."
Not entirely sure that these two thoughts are actually interrelated, but there may be some wisdom in there somewhere.
Luke (chuckling at that line since 2010) Red in Sussex
The Liverpool View
So I'm hoping that you won't publish the hundreds of mails with people spewing hatred towards Liverpool, how Sturridge is utter crap, how Suarez is a cheat, how Liverpool needed a handball to win against a 5th tier team, how we are forever destined to be mid table yadda yadda blah blah etc. But that's unlikely.
Regardless, I will try to give an honest perspective from a Liverpool fan:
- Sturridge's first goal was classy and what we've been lacking up front for so long, but then he exhibits the typical Liverpool malaise (except for Suarez) and missed some easy chances. He could've easily gotten a hat trick and it would've done wonders for his confidence in the upcoming games. Instead he teetered off for the rest of the game until he was yanked off and replaced with Suarez. People are going to jump up and start proclaiming that Sturridge is crap and not worth 12M and all the other tedious crap people love to yell and kneejerk about. In that respect, give him at least half a season before you declare him a flop or success.
- Here we go again with the Suarez soap opera. Expect the words "controversial", "pantomime villain", "cheat" and for good measure "racist" to be thrown around liberally for the next week or so. I thought Nick Miller nailed the issue on the head with his excerpt on Suarez. I personally believe that it wasn't deliberate (maybe it's the red vat of Kool aid surrounding me), it's easy to claim otherwise when you're watching a slow motion replay but chances are you've already made up your minds so not much point debating it. On the bright side I felt that both Rodgers and the Mansfield manager Paul Cox handled the incident in a classy fashion in their post game interviews, credit to both of them, a shame most football fans aren't so sensible.
- Look all credit and the utmost respect to Mansfield for out hustling Liverpool and playing their hearts out, but I cringed every time one of the commentators kept banging on about what "an amazing cup tie game" this is. Is it just me who felt like it was an absolute horrible game to watch? I don't even say this because I'm a Liverpool fan, I really wouldn't have been upset if we had lost because if we did it would've been deserved, it was just an awful game. Liverpool played like crap and Mansfield kept hoofing the ball up forward and hoping a lucky deflection or two would allow them to score. Honestly from a personal opinion, if this is how every Premier League game was I wouldn't bother tuning in. People may slate me for this, but it wasn't even remotely entertaining to watch besides the possibility of a "giant killing" which I get but football wise, just horrid.
In conclusion I really wanted a non-eventful game but twas not meant to be. I do also feel really bad for the Mansfield fans and players, I still think goals should be allowed to be video reviewed like basketball and NFL plays here in the United States but it's not up to me. Not looking forward to the visit to Old Trafford, their fans aren't known for being polite and their front line is in scintillating form. Until next time.
CB (Rodgers should've played a 4-4-2 with Sturridge) West Palm Beach, FL
This Chap Has A Point
Just to clarify, from now on I expect everyone (defending or attacking) who handballs it should immediately hold their hands up and admit to the crime or face a press campaign against them.
Seems slightly unrealistic, no?
Also, I don't seem to remember a cheat campaign against Peter Crouch after his basketball display and goal against City. But he's Englsh and not a dirty foreigner.
Elliot, reverse round the corner is a driving test manoeuvre not a striker position, Stamford Sent
Practice Makes Perfect
Dear Mr Arsene Wenger Arsenal Manager Type Guy,
I watch a fair amount of Arsenal matches. I have noticed quite a while back and it seems to be persisting. I can only imagine that by some massive coincedence you are talking to someone else every time it happens. Santi Cazorla, steaming into the box, ball cut back, at least 5 yards over the bar, every time. If there only there was a way to organize for some time for him to practice this skill. I appreciate that it is probably hard for you to get your hands on him during the day because he has a real job and all that, (I think he's a postman), but maybe a couple of evenings a week down the local park for the next few weeks should sort it out?
If Newcastle United Football Club possess an ounce of decency they will refund the match ticket and travel costs of every supporter who made the journey to Brighton on Saturday.
That's all I have to say on the matter.
...As I was watching quite literally one of the worst, if not the worst performance from a Newcastle side in my 18 years of supporting them I began to wonder how bad this team we had playing were.
Now before I get too critical, it was a VERY young team and some of those players should not even be near the first team; but injuries have dictated our fortunes this season. However another way to look at it is that this team would be pretty much our squad team, only Santon can be called first team, Shola is good to play the mackems and nobody else and Williamson has only played alot of games because of injuries to others. Now a Premier League squad team should at least rival a Championship opponent, surely?
This got me thinking, we were quite easily dispatched by Brighton, we had no attacking threat whatsoever during the game. Where would the team honestly finish in the league system we currently have. Here it is,
GK Elliott, RB Tavernier, CB Williamson, CB Perch, LB Santon, RM Abeid, CM Anita, CM Bigirimana, LM Obertan, FW Sammy Ameobi, FW Shola Ameobi
Premier League relegation would be a certainty, fair enough its only our squad team; but I honestly think this team would struggle to survive in the Championship. Forest and Blackburn are certainly better, Bolton too, you'd be looking around Ipswich, Birmingham territory 19th/20th. Now as I said before this is a young team and they shouldn't have been put into this kind of pressure but they just aren't good enough, quality-wise its the WORST Newcastle team I've ever seen fielded in 18 years. Anita, Bigirimana and Santon will turn decent but that's about it.
What does this say about how we've strengthened our squad since promotion, or since finishing 5th! We've brought in some great players (Cabaye, Ben Arfa, Ba etc) but paying pittance can only get you so far.
Ashley its time to get your sausage fingers in the wallet, you've rode your luck with the finance in the last couple of years, it's time to invest now, Debuchy is a good start but we need at least 4 more quality players or we could be back in the same situation as in 2009.
Coz, NUFC, Doncaster
Sorry Sir Alex
Having just seen Van Persie save Utd against West Ham, I would like to apologise to SAF for thinking that we paid way too much money for an ageing injury prone striker. I would also like to apologise for thinking it was bad to spend loads of money on Ferdinand and Rooney, a poor decision to buy Valencia who had only proved himself for Wigan and lamenting him for selling Stam, Beckham and Van Nistelrooy at what turned out to be exactly the right time. There may be a trend here.
If you see him also let him know that I think it would be a bad idea to sign Messi or Ronaldo and a terrible idea to sign both.
Bonglim, king of the double bluff.
Thoughts On United
If he hadn't celebrated the goal so much, I'd have thought Fergie set his team up to lose that game. Which is funny because I remember writing in when United went out of the FA cup last year to kick off about the team, substitutions and tactics. This time was no different.
*Scholes was the best player by a mile
*Kagawa was awful from about 30 minutes onwards
*Welbeck had one good moment, some nice one twos but generally was selfish and possessed no goal threat
*Hernandez was holding it up well and needed 1/4 of a sniff to get a goal
*Rafael was playing on the wing and was clear from the start it wasn't working
*Valencia is hilariously bad
With those stone wall FACTS in mind, my head is still pounding from trying to work out what Fergie was playing at with the subs.
*The team were a shambles when Scholes went off
*Kagawa continued his poor display sitting behind Van Persie
*Van Persie was upfront on his own
*Welbeck stayed on the pitch
*Hernandez, fresh from 2 goals and showing signs of a developing partnership with Van Persie, was hauled off.
*Valencia was put on the pitch and showed the world that he still can't take on a full back, can't feint and make a bit of space, can't cross and can't shoot
*Rafael was put into central midfield until the last 12 minutes or so
What the flying f**k? Can anyone make sense of that?
*I'd have taken Rafael off for Young
*Van Persie for Welbeck
*Giggs for Kagawa or maybe Scholes with 10-15 minutes to go
*Would have made more sense, wouldn't it?
I really wish players would run with the ball. Buttner had acres of space to run into on the counter attack at one point, but turned back and passed sidewards or backwards. Welbeck had lots of these moments where he slowed down the play during a counter. I really miss seeing a young Giggs, Kanchelskis, Ronaldo, Beckham etc flying down the wing at pace. This fannying about is annoying.
Thank God for Giggs and RVP eh? What a pass, it was on the half volley too which made it even better. THAT first touch, the composure, the finish. Argh. Glorious!
P.s did no-one think to mark that giant bald ginger man? Even after he'd scored 2, he came into the box and remained unmarked for a free kick in the box