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...
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Not Minding The Gap
This season has been full of interesting weeks, and last week was another good one. Pivotal, I'd say. Mancini's apathy over the seven-point gap was (via the simple reduction of its amplitude by 28.6% in one round of matches out of the 16 that were previously remaining) completely justified.
The title race is barely still three-horse, but a couple of injuries in the wrong places and a run in the Champions League that City and Chelsea (Europa Trophy aside obviously) don't have to think about, could put Man Utd under a spot of pressure. Or maybe it will be the refs that do it, can't trust those ba*tards. City could equally catch Utd or fall behind Chelsea, perhaps both, or spectacularly neither. To come a nice comfortable second would be pretty boring and stress-free of us, and is hence highly, highly unlikely. I've got a hopeful feeling that with the Sword of Damocles that was Guardiola's sabbatical having now been lifted from the neck of our Bert, he will get his swagger back, slap Mario into submission with his c**k, and go on to win us another shiny pot. However, I have no idea if this will occur. Some of it might.
Five points seems much less of an issue than seven did. Remember when Chelsea won the league in September? Seems a long time ago that does. That's why most City fans (I said most) don't write in all season long spouting utter s***e unlike our more generally puce brethren, we remember how long and hard a season can be; the blessed relief of a summer to iron out that nervous twitch.
The Neviller: The Yardstick
If I were Alan Shearer or Alan Hansen I would be ashamed to draw a salary if I'd seen Gary Neville's analysis and dissection of Carrick and De Gea on MNF before the Saints v Everton game. It was absolutely first class as well as being tinged with a hint of menace and dry humour. He sets the benchmark for analysis by treating the audience like adults and football as a sport which demands considered opinions and expertise.
Any pundits out there need to watch and learn quick and broadcasters need to expect more of their so called experts. The Neviller...whodathunkit!
Jonny Evans - Excellent? Really?
For the most part I agreed with what 16 conclusions had to say, but my point relates to a man not even on the pitch! To say that Jonny Evans has been mostly excellent this season is so over the top and incorrect it beggars belief. First off, Jonny Evans' ability to lose Utd a game almost single handedly by making some horrendously stupid decision is probably the most impressive part of his game. He can lose a man quicker than I lose my debit card on a Saturday night, and reacts much in a similar way. A shocked and disgusted face, claiming I swear it was there a second ago and looking around for someone to blame other than himself, it's infuriating.
Don't get me wrong, he is a decent defender, has played fantastic games, probably has the ability to become very good, but he has done nothing to convince me or a lot of other Utd fans that he is the man to play that position for the next four-six years as a regular. In fact I would say he is one of the weakest first-team regular centre-halves we have had for over two decades. Better than Bruce, Pallister, Johnson, Berg, Stam, Ferdinand, Vidic? Not within an arse's roar my friends. The only reason he is now first-choice centre-back is because Vidic was out injured, Ferdinand has lost a couple of yards and that back injury. Smalling has been injured and so has Jones, it's by bloody default.
To then finish the point by saying it must be reassuring for Utd fans to see Vidic and Ferdinand as first-choice centre-halves makes no sense. Surely if Evans was that good and fans have indeed lauded him as you say we have, we would be reassured if he was back in the team! Have we forgotten this is one of our worst defensive seasons in years, and it just so happens to coincide with the season Evans makes himself a first-team regular? Come on!
I will admit Carrick has proven me wrong this season though, but still think top European teams will eat him for breakfast! A continental breakfast ha ha...sorry!
Rowan, Red Devil Dub
We Should Have Kept Pogba
I'm rather bored at work and don't have a hell of a lot else to do so I thought I'd write to the mailbox. I'm not one of those United fans who think our midfield is so poor we need someone urgently, I'm a huge admirer of Anderson in fact. But I can't help but feel rather disapointed that United didn't manage to hold on to Paul Pogba. As I understand, all he wanted at United was more of a first team role. The arrogant 'we are the best' half of me thought he'll get his chance when his time comes, put your head down and work harder.
However, since he has moved on to Juventus he has grown in to a regular starter and has looked every bit the midfield presence we have so long desired. Composed on the ball, mature, has great passing ability and can bang in goals. Why did we not give him a chance? He looks a serious talent. Would it have been too hard to give him the odd start to keep him happy? He looks like he will mature in to a beast, and like Giuseppe Rossi and Diego Forlan (post leaving, not how he played for us!), looks like another great player we may never get a chance to see playing for United as once players leave, they don't tend to come back. Just a shame really, I'd nearly put him in a Jack Wilshere basket, just oozes class.
Sam, MUFC, NZ
Don't Blame Giroud
Pretty annoying that Matt Stanger chose to start his top ten alternative transfers with a pop at Olivier Giroud. Nine goals and nine assists thus far is not 'poor form'. Its a decent return. The problem is Arsene's creation; he sold a world-class striker and replaced him with a decent striker. If Giroud continues at this rate, a return of, say, 15 goals and 15 assists in his first season would be perfectly respectable for an individual of his calibre. Unfortunately Arsenal need more than just one good striker to lead the line.
Defending Wenger Against Johnny
In response to John Nicholson's latest missive (to summarise for those who haven't read it, John thinks different styles of football have different merits), one obvious defence of Wenger that springs to mind is that he has never, ever claimed to be a football 'purist' himself - this is a term that is exclusively applied to him by the media. Nor has Wenger ever stated that his preferred method of football is the only 'right' one. To steal a quote from the great man himself (am I still allowed to be impressed by his achievements?): "If I asked you who was the best team in the world you would say Brazil. And do they play good football? Yes. Which club won everything last year? Barcelona. Good football. I am not against being pragmatic, because it is pragmatic to make a good pass, not a bad one.'
Not some insane, mid-60s-Dylan-fan-esque emotional attribution of 'purity' or, of what is right and wrong. Simple pragmatism.
John goes on to say that 'Wenger has been vaunted for so long as this purist that he has been emboldened into believing that it is the only way.' When was the last time you heard anybody 'vaunt' Wenger? Rightly or wrongly, the man has received pretty much constant criticism from all angles since about 2009.
Joe Rice (just sensitive because the man has managed my beloved team since I was six and I can't sever that emotional connection)
Giving Up On Arsenal - Who Do I Support Now?
When I was 18, I managed to persuade the best looking girl in school to go out with me. Amazingly, she let me fumble my way to third base and we kept up an energetic and mutually successful relationship for six years.
But inevitably we grew tired of each other, the passion and the energy faded, and we both realised that there were 'plenty more fish in the sea' and I'd like to get back on the pier and dip my rod back in. I still think of her fondly, but I'm happily married now to an amazing woman and admit that I might have got caught up in the youthful flush of first love way back when.
I started supporting Arsenal a long time ago too. But I woke up after the defeat to Chelsea yesterday (I live in NZ) and had the same 'moment of clarity' I had back in 2002 - "There's plenty of other clubs out there I could support. I don't actually owe my loyalty to Arsenal forever, (anymore than I did to my first serious girlfriend). I don't have to feel frustrated, angry, and resentful any longer."
Well suddenly everything is clearer, I'm energised, excited, eager to see what else is available in the (probably still Premier League) ocean. It's like hitting the town again after my six-year hiatus. The music has all changed, the best club has been turned into a restaurant and the new women seem hopelessly out of my league. But I LOVE IT!
So help me out mailbox? What is available? Who would you support if you were 'back on the market' and looking around for a club to 'hook up with'? Or, if you are blissfully happy with your club, why should I drop by and see if there's room for one more rod?
OK, the analogy has gone a bit weird now.
Snelly, Nelson, NZ
Why Balotelli Is WORTH Less Than You Paid
Ant Cule (MCFC, by the way), I agree with your idea that the Mario Balotelli you bought is no better, no worse and no less crazy than the one you are trying to sell and as such has roughly the same value (two more years of no development might make people nervous though). Where you went wrong was to assume that you paid what he was worth. Let me give you a hint - you didn't, you paid WAY more.
That is why no one will buy him for £25m, because he is worth maximum £15m to anyone who isn't owned by an Arab whose favourite movie is Brewster's Millions.
Actually, try PSG...
Brandon (I know I'm right because we unfortunately have a lot of experience in overpaying for players), LFC, JHB
When Is An Assist Not An Assist
Does a dummy count as an assist? It is very unlikely that Suarez would have scored against Norwich without the pivotal part Sturridge played immediately prior to his colleague receiving the ball, yet the young Englishman didn't touch the ball (You've answered your own question there - Ed).
Adkins: Sacked By His Own Logic
"There was no contact. Jay was moving out of the way. Otherwise, there would have been contact. The challenge came in and Jay has evaded it. The referee has a decision to make and he gave a penalty. I don't think Jay even appealed for one. I don't advocate diving but we've not been given seven or eight penalties this season so maybe what goes around comes around."
After making these remarks, Nigel Adkins is the villain, with Ref365 saying he hopes that in the next game Southampton lose 1-0 with the goal coming from a penalty that's the result of a dive to see how Adkins responds (personally I much preferred the 2-2 result they got at Chelsea).
A few days later and Ref365 gets his wish (sort of) as Adkins, harshly dismissed, is now the victim. Enda Stevens was punished even though he didn't make contact, because he "would have made contact". Likewise, Nicola Cortese presumably sacked Adkins because he believed that even though Adkins had committed no 'foul' (i.e. Southampton are doing quite well in the fight for the much-coveted 17th place), if he had stayed as manager then he would have done poorly (i.e. Southampton would have done poorly in regards to where Cortese thinks the team should be, whether this be survival, top half, top six, or title contenders). So Southampton, represented by Cortese, have 'dived out of the way' of further Adkins' management before the 'foul' (poor performance by the team) is committed, even though there isn't any certainty that such a 'foul' would be committed.
So both Stevens (in Adkins' view) and Adkins were penalised for something that might or might not have happened, and either way most people believe probably still wouldn't have deserved such a harsh penalty anyway. I, and most other people, think that both the penalty and sacking shouldn't have happened, but it is ironic that Adkins was sacked by use of the same kind of 'logic' that he himself used. As Adkins says, 'what goes around comes around'.
Thanks For Acting Like...
If it wasn't for Fergie, diving, sacking and whatever Suarez does on match-day the mailbox would be dead.
Then I'd have nothing to read when I'm meant to be working.
So thank you football for being the inappropriate troll of the sports world. Sure beats doing my job.
Lukin (Brackets), New Zealand
Sloop John B Has Its Day
I know a few of the columnists on this site have in the past written about the overuse of Sloop John B during football chants. I agree it is becoming tedious and repetitive and more imagination should be applied.
However last night I, amoungst others watching Southampton Vs Everton observed how it can have its uses for a witty spur of the moment chant, and would therefore like to congratulate Southampton fans for these two beauties:
'He's been for a sh*t, He's been for a sh******t, Jason Puncheon, He's been for a sh*t...'
'He sh*ts when he wants, He sh*ts when he waaaaants, Jason Puncheon, He sh*ts when he wants...'
I laughed so hard a little wee came out.
Mark (part of me hopes The Saints get relegated for what they have done to Nigel Adkins) Endicott, MUFC