That's the difference between him and someone like Cristiano Ronaldo - his body just isn't right. We have mails on him, Sparky, Brendan Rodgers and the Europa Lge...
Nice one UEFA, but not far enough. We have some ideas to make the Europa League better as well as more views on Wayne Rooney, Vermaelen in midfield and...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Why Mourinho Will Join City
The 48 Laws of Power pretty much nails why Mourinho won't opt for United.
41. Avoid Stepping into a Great Man's Shoes.
'What happens first always appears better and more original than what comes after. Succeed a great man and you will have to accomplish double their achievements to outshine them.'
What's the reward for Mourinho? He gets to be a short-term fix for United in a time when he needs to be looking for a more permanent position. He gets the joy of having to emulate Sralex's successes at a club where there will be little patience for transition and with less money to play with than he's had in the past. Plus, for at least a few years after Fergie's reign his philosophy is going to be dominant at the club - Mourinho doesn't play to anyone else's tune.
At Citeh, who I have no fondness for either, he gets a big pot of gold to play with, a team who still haven't really established their identity and who are crying out for Mourinho's 'us against the world' philosophy. He'll also get a club where he can establish his own legend, where a Champions League win would make him a god and where he also gets the chance to better one of his old foes for the second time - Roberto Mancini.
...I always hear people banging on about Pep taking over their clubs. Fergie is staying for at least another season, Arsenal have a manager, Arsene, who will out stay his welcome and eventually melt. Pep G has said countless times he wants a club with stability so that rules out Chelsea. Word is he has 90% agreed to join Bayern Munich which makes sense. So please stop with the Guardiola to (insert name of team here) talk please. It isn't going to happen.
For the record Mourinho will join city, so obvious, when Mancini doesn't win the title and Mourinho is hounded out, City will swoop, plus he gets his usual unlimited Championship Manager cheat of unlimited funds, something he will not receive at Utd.
Ben (Zee Germans pipped the Pep) Howarth
Responding to JR, Saigon, Vietnam, Arsenal. To say that Guardiola's success was already in the squad he inherited is a little disingenuous. Let's look at who was shipped out at the beginning of his tenure: Ronaldinho, Deco, Zambrotta, Oleguer, Edmilson, Belletti. Thuram also retired due a heart condition and Larsson had left the year before. Admittedly not all world beaters at the time, but there's a large part of the Champions League-winning squad there.
So after gutting a previously successful but under-performing team, Guardiola signs Seydou Keita, Dani Alves and the returning Pique - the less said about Alex Hleb the better - and promotes Pedro, Busquets and Jeffren to the first team. Guardiola then introduces a stricter training regime - made easier no doubt by sending the party boys off into the sunset, and despite wanting to ship out the disruptive Eto'o, who had actually refused to come onto the field of play once for Rijkaard, instead keeps him, allowing the Cameroonian firebrand to record his most productive season ever (until Inter's treble season), scoring more goals than his previous two campaigns combined.
All this while winning absolutely everything there is to win in his first season and fine-tuning a devastatingly effective playing style that allowed him to simultaneously develop and extract maximum value from Messi. He stripped that squad of egos and passengers, re-sculpting it in his own image. To say it was all ready to go and all he had to do was turn up is utter shash. Who else would have had the balls, vision and political clout/fan popularity to get rid of Ronaldinho and Deco because they had such a firm eye on developing the team for the future?
Obviously, if he'd only had rubbish players to step in and build his team from it wouldn't have worked, but he had a vision and made it happen. Fair play Pep, says I.
Is Guardiola As Good As We Think He Is?
With all the recent debate surrounding managers, a thought came to my mind. Is Guardiola as good as many think he is? Hear me out please.
It is Vilanova who - in his first year as manager of Barcelona - has the record for the best start of any La Liga season. 55 out of 57 points if I am not mistaken. And all this with largely the same squad as Guardiola had at his disposal. Yet no one seems to be mentioning Vilanova as a great (or even good) manager. 'Anyone can manage Barcelona' is a common refrain I hear. However he is undoubtedly doing something (whatever that may be) better than Guardiola. Add in his health issues and his record is even more impressive. I agree he has not won any trophies yet, but can anyone really argue he won't win much this year? All this leads me to conclude that either:
A) Anyone can indeed manage Barcelona, in which case Guardiola isn't so special.
B) Vilanova is a phenomenal manager.
Or perhaps we can argue that neither are as good as people would like to believe, and it is a combination of factors (players available at Barcelona, long-term planning etc) that have made Barcelona the dominant force they are. Yes, they are good managers and have been a factor in the team's success. But perhaps their riding of the waves of fortune has distorted their perception in the public eye.
I leave it to the mailbox to decide.
Where Did You Expect Moyes To Go?
Fred, Belfast was rather harsh when he wrote 'if he was [a natural winner], he'd have taken a top job before now and proved it' about David Moyes. Let's look at how that would have been possible. Top jobs since Moyes joined Everton would be considered Man Utd, Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, City and maybe Spurs (although I feel that's probably a lateral move) domestically. Elsewhere in the continent, Barca, Real Madrid, Juventus, Inter, AC Milan and Bayern. That's basically it for top jobs in the world. You could argue for Valencia, Dortmund, Ajax etc, but they all have had major issues with funding and/or league strength.
So let's assess this situation:
Arsenal and Man Utd haven't changed their managers in this period. Pretty hard for Moyes to get a job there. Liverpool are Everton's major rivals. He is unlikely to have moved there, aside from the fact that post-Rafa, it's hardly been a step upwards.
City could have been an option when Mark Hughes got the job after Sven, but since then, they've looked for top names. Mancini at the time was coming off major Serie A success. Chelsea too, have frequently gone for flavour of the month in their managerial choices, and whilst the trophy count has been decent, they've hardly rebuilt the Mourinho team until this year.
Barca and Real - yes Moyes wasn't in the running for these jobs, but Barca have promoted from within twice since Rijkaard, and Real are Real. Bayern have tended to favour old school German managers (and van Gaal, whose old school Dutch). So we're left with the Italian clubs - who are (take your pick from) financially vulnerable, punished for corruption and/or getting weaker.
So, realistically, which top job could Moyes have got? He was mentioned for the Spurs job, but they went with AVB. He's mentioned for the Arsenal job, though I too would rather Klopp. He's mentioned for the Utd job, and he's punched above his weight with Everton with cup runs and consistent league performance on a limited budget. Enough for us to notice domestically, but probably not enough for the European superclubs to have taken a punt on. That's not to say he's a guaranteed success, but he's definitely a realistic option if you want to plan for future success.
Rich (Plus, if they blindfolded the players at half time, they'd still think Fergie was giving the team talk), London, AFC
Elevating Managers And Losing Diaby
Though there are certainly some valid points in his mail, I can't help but feel that Fred, Belfast has got a few silly preconceptions on his plate. Quite how he knows that David Moyes' loyalty to a club and project (or perhaps waiting for the United vacancy...) is an indication that Moyes has realised his own level perplexes me, but perhaps Fred is onto something most of us aren't. I'm sure someone else will do a better job than I at debunking his mail (how on earth is a high-spending coach like Mourinho going to be a good option to tide things over whilst the debt is paid off?), I'll just raise one thing: the stupid English snobbery towards coaches who haven't held a 'top' position yet.
Rafa was coaching sides like Tenerife before he won the league with Valencia, whilst AVB and Conte both stepped into arguably the biggest jobs in their respective leagues with almost no prior experience, proceeding to enjoy incredible success from the start. These are just the most obvious examples, and I'd stress that in many other footballing cultures they don't look down on quality coaches who (like Moyes or Martinez) show loyalty to 'low' positions. It's silly and it makes Fred come across as a bit of an entitled United fan, which I don't think he actually is.
Anyway, onto the topic of my mail - I had an epiphany last night. It hit me very hard while I was lying in bed, and as a truth it seemed crystal clear as realisation dawned on me. Sometime soon - if not this season, then the next, Abou Diaby is going to have the longest run of match fitness since his original ankle injury. In fact, he won't miss a game for Arsenal, and will become an ever present, bringing a combination of skill, physicality and explosiveness lacking in the side since Paddy V left. As our star player he'll lead us to the lofty heights of third place and a cup semi-final, and become a fans' hero for reasons other than his encounter with John Terry's head.
Then, after a summer of doubt and uncertainty, he'll leave us for another Premier League side - probably one of the Manchester teams. What's more, he'll be great for them and his injuries will barely resurface. In fact, it'll probably be United he goes to, finally 'fixing' their midfield. I can just see it now - of course, he'll become hated by the fans for his 'treachery', and will proceed to win the league (or something better still) in his debut season for them.
Not taken with it? I'll admit it's a bit unoriginal of a narrative, but I wouldn't bet against it. Not with Arsenal, I wouldn't...
Francis, AFC (to be honest I'd be quite happy for poor old Abou - or so I tell myself. Then I remember his salary...)
How was that red card rescinded? Because it wasn't worthy of a red card in the first instance?
Kompany did not launch himself in to the tackle, he had his eye on the ball and at the exact moment he thought he could get the ball, he went for it, not in a reckless fashion, not intending to hurt Wilshere but purely for the ball.
How did you miss that he actually got the ball??
Yes there are challenges that need to be punished in games and the referee cannot be blamed in this, he saw something and he gave a red, so what if he was proven wrong, he moves on to the next game thinking about what constitutes a red card and learning from that game to make him a better ref.
That red was very harsh and speaking as a defender myself I can tell you that it was near-perfect. It didn't have excessive force in it.
Plus Wilshere was on his way down anyway before the tackle so Kompany didn't even take him out, he must have got a shove from someone else that made the tackle look worse than it is...or am I the only one that saw this?
I'm not going to say that Kompany isn't that type of player because everyone has a side to them but he's one of the best defenders in the league and rightfully so.
This is a classic case of 'oh look what those bullies are doing to us' mentality - it's typical Arsenal if I may say so.
Just because you pride yourself in tika taka football, doesn't mean everyone plays the same as you and shouldn't come near you. Teams will use their strengths against you and you better get used to it.
It's the same thing we did against Barca, defend deep and counter as quick as you can because if you decide to play against Barca you'll lose. This isn't cheating - this is using your teams strength to win a game.
Winning is something Arsenal have forgotten and now have a blame culture where nothing is their fault but everybody elses.
That's all I have to say.
T, CFC, London (sounds harsh when I read it back but I don't mean to be...or do I?)
...I agree with Stuart AFC. Instead of all this nasty tackling let's just give each player a feather duster. Then they can just chase after and tickle the opponent - if they manage to make him giggle the game stops, they all have a cuddle, and the defenders get a go with the ball.
OK that comment is more than a little facetious but if that was a straight red then we may as well do away with tackling altogether. I am no apologist for the 'man's game' stylings of the likes of Shawcross or Cattermole, but Kompany's challenge was controlled and took the ball without endangering the man. Crucially he does not run at the player and launch himself wildly, he just adjusts his position until the ball is close enough to be won, goes to ground and wins it cleanly (there's a great view of this on youtube). The fact his studs were showing is irrelevant, it's another of those fallacies like 'last man' that everyone thinks is a rule because lazy commentators say it is.
In my opinion, Dean went straight for the red card because the home fans had been on his back all game after he correctly dismissed Koscielny. The fact that the FA - not exactly known to prefer common sense over blind loyalty to their officials - saw fit to rule it an 'obvious error' (i.e. that it was not even a yellow card offence) should tell you all you need to know.
Jon Gibson, LFC (Vermaelen going through the back of Dzeko was much more dangerous, funny Stuart didn't comment on that)
...Good to see Stuart, AFC is taking the standard Arsenal mantra when looking at the Kompany red. You know the one, essentially because there have been a couple of horror challenges on Arsenal players in the past, there seems to be this idea that Arsenal are a team full of children who need extra special protection from the big bad monsters of the league in case they get a serious injury again. Let's make one thing crystal clear; Kompany's challenge was in no way comparable to the Shawcross assault on Ramsey.
The challenge at the weekend was strong, controlled, one-footed and unlikely to seriously hurt Wilshere, There was little suggestion of a foul, never mind a red, so your impoverished wails about the danger of another Arsenal player getting hurt sound slightly absurd to be honest. Players get hurt, players make nasty challenges, Arsenal are not focused on like this any more than any other top team.
I think this stems from the injury rates at Arsenal being seemingly disproportionately higher than other teams (not sure this is the case anymore anyway). But instead of focusing your ire at the clubs medical team for poor conditioning of your players, you blame the big bad world due to a couple of (admittedly severe) high profile cases. Stop whinging Stuart, it's boring and a few years out of date.
Won't Somebody Think Of The Manchildren?
I saw the mailbox header and knew instantly that it would refer to a letter from an Arsenal supporter. It's always them. Always. 'How many Arsenal players have to have their legs broken'? Christ. Stuart should have asked a five-year-old girl to write his letter for him, perhaps then it might have had less of a handbag-swinging red-faced feel to it.
Stuart, it is not an Arsenal thing. I know it seems that way, but that's only because you're a bit wet and have forgotten what it's like to see your own players committing strong tackles. Or any tackles (they prefer big hugs at the Emirates). When players 'launch themselves studs up and off the ground' then they have indeed gone too far, but that didn't happen in this case. Nothing of the sort. I think the tears in your eyes have obscured your vision, because it was a perfectly clean tackle. That's why the card was rescinded, no matter how 'troubled' the ref may have been at the time. I was 'troubled' by Norovirus recently, but it didn't mean that my decision-making was therefore correct. It almost certainly wasn't. You cannot vomit and poo into the same toilet all at once. It gets messy and causes untold spinal damage. I'm now almost as severely injured as Aaron 'honest, I was going to be amazing before my injury and certainly wasn't afflicted by the standard Arsenal injured-player-appraisal that sees talent multiplied exponentially based on length of time injured' Ramsey, and he's practically dead. If it were not for the intervention of Jesus (not that one, this is the Mexican donkey placenta king) then he would have literally disappeared, such was the beastliness of the vicious assault that tore him apart, like Mandingo meeting wee Jimmy Krankie (go on, let that image mellow in your mind. Enjoy it. You disgust me).
Stuart, please read that letter back. In fact, please read it aloud to all who know you. They will find it hilarious to see a grown man (actually, that's quite an assumption to make given the evidence, but I find it hard to believe that many toddlers read F365 so will stick with it) getting so worked up and emotional over a fine tackle that caused no injury whatsoever. For God's sake Stuart, your darling little scumbag Jack stepped on his own bloody foot before he was tackled. We all know how painful that can be; how many feet will have to be stepped on before someone does something about it? Won't somebody think of the manchildren like easily-disturbed Stuart? And what about those moments when your foot twists on its side and you jar your ankle? It's just so dangerous, the risks are infinite. Must we wait for a legion of crippled gooners before we act? Must we sit idly by until Arteta's plucked eyebrows are raised in horror at his now malformed hooves? No, I say. No we shan't. Ankle boots for all, enforced by law. But what about the poor knees? Oh dear Lord, we're heading for a paralytic Armageddon, in which the four horsemen will all be Ryan Shawcross - for there is no greater evil, except possibly Martin Taylor abd his gleeful murdersmile post-Eduardo - galloping rampantly over TV5 (a brief aside: if you've ever used this tag then you are such a spectacular c**t that I'm surprised Darren Day doesn't spend his hours trying to crawl up inside you) as he drags his legless torso out of position to allow the opposition just enough room to scamper through and score.
Please write in again Stuart. Write in regularly. Your foot-stamping, breath-holding, textual shrieks remind me why I don't want children: they're f**king pathetic.
Punishing Team Fouls
Peter Ford, in snowy Norfolk, raises an interesting point with his mail this morning that is accumulative fouling by teams on certain players. This tactic was employed with success by the Dutch recently and by Fergie back when Arsenal had the prettiest wife at home.
Players, specifically the creative dangerous players, were targeted with nigglely little fouls but never more than three or four committed by one player over the 90 minutes thus avoiding the cumulative fouls yellow card. This of course is a cynical tactic which might fall in the dreaded 'anti-football' sphere.
In rugby there are provisions to avoid this tactic. Infringements which are blatantly used by teams as a tactic to slow down the opposition, lingering offside, hands on the ball in the rucks or deliberating pulling down rucks, are spotted as team tactics by officials and teams are warned that if this obvious tactics continue then the next offender is sent to the sinbin.
Now of course I realise that I'm comparing apples and oranges, as my teachers were fond of saying, but I wonder is there any provision in football for the referee to spot obvious targeting, by way of the aforementioned tactic, by a team of a certain player. The ref could then pull the captain to one side and tell him to warn his players that the ref is hip to their game. If not perhaps it would be in the best interest of the game for the powers that be to create such a provision.
Patrick, in wet Galway
FC United Saved My Life
I started watching football at Old Trafford, when I was still small enough to fall down between the seat back and the unexpectedly folded-up seat. However, even in the eighties it was a rare occasion that my family could afford to take my two brothers and me to a United game. We went to watch Oldham, amongst others, and in the 90s figured out that we could all get the train to Burnden Park and watch (then Divsion 2) Bolton Wanderers for the price of a single adult ticket at OT. That was how I got to love the more traditional atmosphere of a football match - standing up in the terraces, half-time pies, Bovril and promotion pitch-invasions.
I occasionally went to watch United after leaving home, but finances rarely permitted. However, in 2005 a group of dedicated United fans (of whom I can't really speak highly enough) took the Glazer lemons and made the sweet, sweet lemonade that is FC United of Manchester. Once again, standing up for 90 minutes, singing without getting funny looks and the occasional pitch invasion were mine - for the cost of a tram ride and the (currently) £8 entry charge. Pre-/post-match booze is optional...
I am a convert, and can honestly say that I never expect to visit a premier league ground again, despite still having divided loyalties between the team I grew up loving, and the team who now get all my football-related expenditure. Hopefully you'll publish, and the last 5 minutes of my lunchbreak won't have been wasted!
Chris (props to BBC Radio Manc's 'non-league bloke' Ian Burke), Manc
Lori (too much time in work doing nothing) Peri,
I too have found Chelsea much more likeable of late, however, for me it is down to one man. And that man is Ramires.
Its a combination of his old school box-to-box antics, his ridiculous pace when running with the ball, the fact he seems to genuinely love playing, he can play a number of positions, scores some ridiculous goals and is confusingly nicknamed 'the Kenyan'.
Not madcap, not devilishly handsome but as a footballer he is marvellous to watch.
Obviously not happy he got on the score sheet in the 8-0 drubbing of the villa but then again who didn't....
Philip (Love Oscars skill as well) Thompson
...But Still Hating Chelsea
Lori (too much time in work doing nothing) Peri, CFC, London. Chelsea were never everyone's second team. You left out that people dislike Chelsea in part because of a lot of their fans. And lastly you're confusion a lessening of hate with satisfaction at Chelsea current dificulties (relative difficulties, a lot of fans would give their nuts to be in Chelsea's current position). These have all combined to create a good portion of what you describe as the 'nuetral hate'.
Mick (Oh and Tim Lovejoy, but fans covers him really) Dublin
Lori Peri, CFC muses that maybe Chelsea are hated less now than a few years back. While I agree that some of the players are certainly less horrendously unlikeable for the neutral now, this optimistic view reminds me of my first date with my then girlfriend a few years ago. Upon finding out that the young lady was interested in football (and was at the game when Cantona nailed the palace fan), talk turned to Chelsea who had just started winning the league, and our mutual dislike of the club and fans. I started to talk about my dislike for Chelsea fans due to legions of them suddenly coming out of the woodwork wearing kits in public whilst 'friends' of mine who I'd known for years started loudly claiming they'd always been supporters (without having given any sign of this for the 10 years pre-Abramovich). 1Ten minutes later, when I'd finished my tedious ramblings on fairweather fans, she replied, "Oh right. Well I hate Chelsea fans because they're all c*nts."
She's now my wife.
I've previously had an email published in the mailbox in which I criticised my club's captain for being an idiot and to paraphrase, suggested that whilst I supported JT the player, I did not support the man, because he's a bit of a twunt.
So with that in mind, may I ask why Mediawatch thought JT's collection of armbands was newsworthy and why this 'news' was presented on your site with just a fart whiff of mocking undertone?
If anything, doesn't this go towards proving that this overpaid, obnoxious idiot actually cares quite a lot, perhaps to the point of being hopelessly sentimental about his football and his status within the team?
Ed, CFC, London
...Despite being a Chelsea fan, I am no great lover of John Terry.
But is 'Man proud to captain Chelsea and England keeps armbands as mementos' really worthy of the otherwise brilliant Mediawatch's efforts?
If that was me then I know I would keep them.