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?
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ITV summed up last night just why I feel so compelled to point out how average Rooney is. Incase you didn't see it, the adverts before the United game were "Fulham travel to Old Trafford....and Wayne awaited them". They showed some clips of the game and then after said something like "And Rooney was back on form" then proceeded to show his goal and nothing else. Strachan spouted a load of tosh like him being a top top player who makes others play blah blah.
No mention of Giggs. No mention of how actually dire Rooney was. He played terrible overall but had one good moment and then gets all the praise. Unbelievable!
Silvio Dante (again)
Explaining Sagna's Poor Form
Regarding Kiraldo's email about Sagna, i think a lot can be put down to the leg break. Sometimes players come back well from injuries, i.e. Wilshere, but a lot don't like Djibril Cisse, Ramsey and Cech, who has never been that good again. Maybe you can put it down to seeing your leg at an angle or something. It can effect a player in a lot of ways; you miss a year or more of playing and fall behind in skill and pace etc, and also maybe fear of something horrendous happening again it detracts from their effort either consciously or sub consciously. In years gone by I would have baulked at seeing him go, but after warming to Jenkinson maybe it's time Sagna went back home to the easier French league or something.
Steve (in Arsene we trust!) Australia
Don't Judge Wilf By His Stats
One thing that really annoys me, and has steadily increased over the last few years, is the judging of a player based on his stats. The all mighty statistic has over taken actually watching a player and forming an opinion based on what you see. I will admit I like to annoy Liverpool fans with the fact Stewart Downing went so long without an assist but it was actually watching him be atrocious in games that made me feel comfortable slating him.
The thing which has me writing in now is obviously Zaha's transfer to United and the inevitable stat check by everyone and their dog, 5 goals and 5 assists for a winger in 32 games is proof 15 million is way over priced apparently. This ignores the fact he has played over a hundred games at a championship club and he's only 20. It's accepted that if you buy a young English player you pay an inflated price without bringing up obvious examples.The thing that really annoys me is where's the stats for wingers who beat a player or two and lay the ball off to a player who then passes the ball to the forward who scores? Where's the stats for corners, free kicks or throw ins won which led to goals? The stats for intelligent movement to pull defenders out of position? Players who win penalties are awarded assists but someone who beats 9 men and squares the ball to a forward who misses an open goal doesn't get anything.Would anyone say Raheem Sterling (2 goals 2 assists) hasn't been good enough this season?
What I'm not trying to say is Zaha will definitely be a success, I haven't seen nearly enough of him to judge, but what I have seen is undoubted potential and will reserve judgement until i see more of him myself .There is a reason clubs have people watched in person before signing them. I know it might seem odd to people who spend their Friday setting up their fantasy team, but there's more aspects to winning games than goals and assists that are just as important. Sorry for the rant but what I really wanted to say was put some trousers on, put down the laptop and actually watch some football and judge players properly.
On Schmeichel, Keller And De Gea
In response to Ben Baggie, Schmeichel wasn't a world class goalkeeper? I really shouldn't bite at such drivel, but alas I am. You have your opinion about what makes a good goalkeeper, an opinion you seem to think is the only one that matters. My opinion, and I think it's a view shared by many, is that a good goalkeeper is one who keeps the ball out of the goal, hence the name 'goalkeeper'. Schmeichel has the highest ratio of clean sheets:games ratio of any goalkeeper in the premier league era (except John O'Shea of course) playing behind a defence that was generally not as good as the one Seaman played behind.
So what if he was unorthodox? Michael Johnson's running technique was constantly criticised throughout his career, yet he set world record after world record. I would argue that it takes a lot more than good technique to make a goalkeeper, Schmeichel's ability to organise his defence was second to none, his presence was second to none, his reflexes were second to none, I could go on but I won't because it's absurd to suggest that Schmeichel wasn't a world class goalkeeper, are you saying he wouldn't have made the West Brom team?
...Ben (I could have included Alan Miller and Stuart Naylor in my good keeper list) Baggie. Still laughing at the Villa.
You had me. You really did. I read your whole piece with an open mind thinking "MY GOD MAYBE THE KID HAS SOMETHING!" in a 20's Chicago style voice. And maybe what you said was bait. SCHMEICHEL!!!!! SCHMEICHEL!!!! The behemoth of goalkeeping. The god of thunder. I used to be a staunch ABU but even as a kid I had to admit that Utd fans had every right to be arrogant over their keeper. Overrated? Maybe, I don't really care about that never ending argument, we can't ever prove an answer.
I remember Schmeichel pulling unreal saves, making himself REALLY BIG and in my opinion him being a total dick to Gary Neville made him a better defender than he ever had to be. It wasn't cause Neville was saving his bacon, Schmeichel demanded big d*ckish standards but hes got the medels to show for it. The epitome of a goalkeeper that defenders feel confident in front of. Goalkeeping is much more than technique pal, its about leadership too. And leadership by technique.
The worst thing I can remember about Peter was that he had a tendancy to be lobbed a few times. Aside from that I can't think of a fault. Kasey Keller may have probably been better for United but Peter also did pretty well in 92 for Denmark, a team that were definitely not considered among the greats (you might want to look that one up). I thought your argument was really thinking outside the box and something to rejoice, but I just couldn't get past this obvious "controversial" pick.
Past his peak Schmeichel also played for struggling Aston Villa and Man City teams that were flirting in the relegation game. And they stayed up, in an era were Leicester and Southampton were about the same standard, or a little worse or a little better.
You are a brilliant troll. I am still writing trying to remember the awesomeness of Russell Hoult. He was never top calibre. Good obviously, but never overly wanted.
I imagine there'll be a few of these.
Dave (I can't believe you forgot about Bobby Mimms), Ireland
...Sorry, sorry... Hold on.. Ben, Baggie, did you just say that Kasey Keller was a better keeper than Peter Schmeichal?
You may very well be still laughing a Villa my friend but I for one am still laughing at you!
...Your argument is so played out it all it highlights is your over-riding desire to be a contrarian and your general lack of respect for the readership of this website.
David de Gea is 22 years old. Not only is he 22 years old and playing in the Premier League but he's 22 years old and first choice keeper at Manchester United. Who are top of the league. And before you say it; they have a back four comprised of perma-crocked young pretenders; a central partnership whose salad days are far behind them; and no one in midfield tasked with the specific job of screening said back for. Add to that a new country, new team mates, a new language, new league and the tiny matter of the pressure cooker that is Old Trafford and what do you get?
A shaky handed, bumbling, clanger-prone experiment bleeding goals on the reg? No you don't. What you actually get is a surprisingly calm and focused young player who on his is capable of keeping out match-winners on his own. And he's only 22. I mean come on man - no technique? You think that's all reflexes do you? No hand-to-eye involved, no positional awareness to those 'tremendous saves'? Mate have you seen his footwork? Don't use a term like 'technique' when you clearly think all that means is 'one's ability to catch' (ps ,Nigel Martyn was not afraid a parry for the cameras).
It's true he's not great at crosses or necessarily communicating with his defenders but - and I know I'm going on here - he's twenty sodding two. He's better than last year, he'll be better next year. Right now, as David James did most of his career, he's winning Utd far more games than he's costing them so let's not write of a 22yr old for not being Buffon quite yet eh mate?
To be honest I could go on but my girlfriend's taking me out for a Thai (swag) and I think I've made my point. Someone else can address can address the 'Schmeichel was over-rated' angle for me.
Simon (hang on, do you even print mails on the weekend?) CFC
...Kasey Keller was a far better keeper than Peter Schmeichel? Not even just better, but far better? Ben, that is hilarious.
I know that one youtube clip isn't a fair representation of an entire career, but about 1.50 into this Keller does something Schmeichel would never have done (and if he did, it definitly wouldn't have been his fault)
...Ben Baggie; the ideal goalkeeper which you seem to be describing is one who is consistent, reliable and composed. Given this, I cannot believe that you are trying to put Ben Foster into this category; a goalkeeper who frequently makes a hash of 'routine' goalkeeping and who is constantly tense. He was allowed to leave Old Trafford because when he was given a chance in the first team he made a series of nervous errors; he was all over the place, and with all respect he couldn't handle the pressure. I simply could not put the words 'composed' and 'reliable' alongside 'Ben Foster'. However, he is a fine shot-stopper. In fact, Foster is a perfect example of the 'hero' goalkeeper whose reputation has been founded on great shot-stopping performances, rather than solidity. 'Fools', as you call them.
Whilst I don't disagree with every point you make, your central argument is, I think, wrong. Having been a goalkeeper for many years, I think I can say with confidence that goalkeeping is actually mainly about presence. This is both the mental fortitude which you alluded to with Joe Hart's arrogance and the physical size to intimidate strikers and cover the goal more easily. I agree that the right technique does make things easier, and being composed helps with decision making. But you simply cannot disregard the physical aspect of goalkeeping. Seaman was a great keeper but in the last five or six years of his career he turned into something of an embarrassment, because whilst his technique, reliability and composure were still there, he became cumbersome and immobile.
For my money, Van der Sar and Cech are both easily the best Premier League goalkeepers of the last ten years, for whilst they possessed all of the technique and composure which you hold in such regard, they were also big, physical keepers who possessed the raw goalkeeping attributes, such as agility and quick reflexes. In the final analysis, saving shots is what goalkeeping is about.
I can only hope that your tongue has spent much of its time in your cheek.
Joe (claiming Kasey Keller was better than Peter Schmeichel is possibly the most mental thing I've ever heard) O'Grady
Gareth Southgate on Peter Crouch: "There's no one better at pulling off on the back post"