You might notice that we haven't included a single mail about teams in pubs, because most of them were terrible. Instead we have a disgruntled Fulham fan and Scouse maths...
Villa are the latest team to get the pub treatment, while the morning mailbox also includes missives on Tony Pulis leaving Stoke and Chelsea's future under Jose Mourinho...
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Why Would Wilshere Want To Join United?
If Jack doesn't look English it is perhaps down to the schooling he has received at Arsenal. He's been playing with foreign youngsters since he was quite young so International and Champions league football doesn't worry him.
It amuses me United fans actually think Jack might one day swap North London for Manchester. Have these fans actually been to Manchester?! Why in the hell would you swap living in the greatest city in the world for living in Manchester unless of course you're some sort of Dutch mercenary?
I understand why United fans covet him especially as Mr Potato Head is at his peak and isn't going to get any better but Jack is one Arsenal player that loves the club and his best years are hopefully ahead of him.
In fact when he took over our great Dutchman's number 10 shirt he paid tribute to him - declaring it was great to wear the number of such Arsenal legends as Dennis Bergkamp - no mention of that other Dutch bloke.
Nope Jack's our Steven Gerrard - he loves all things Arsenal - let's hope he fulfils the potential he promises. A Champions league win led by our mercurial maestro al la Istanbul 05 would do nicely.
Graham Simons, Gooner, United are more than welcome to Gervinho though, Norf London
Hold Your Horses
I missed the England game last night, because I was at work. I read various football forums during my break, and the way people were talking about Wilshere, I thought when I got home to watch the match I was about to witness one of the finest performances by an England player in 20 odd years. Such was the excitement, such were the superlatives flowing freely about how he'd played.
Well...don't get me wrong here. I thought he was good, and no mistake. He takes the ball well, his low centre of gravity and close control means he can shimmy past people and get forward quickly, and he played a few very incisive through balls. Including one that indirectly lead to Rooney's goals.
On the other hand: he gave away a penalty, there were numerous instances where he ran down blind alleys and was dispossessed, and he lost the ball in dangerous positions a couple of times as well. At other times, the game passed him by a bit. There are definitely still some rough edges there in terms of his decision making and games smarts (as there is with most young players, of course).
As I said, I definitely think he was good last night, and he's already a better creative player than the likes of Parker and Barry. But I don't think his performance was quite of such a jaw dropping standard that people should be proclaiming him a world class talent, and the saviour of England, just yet.
Shaolinpunk (who is not - repeat NOT - jealous that my club doesn't have him)
The Magic Toilet
I have the dubious honour of having missed Joe Cole's wondergoal against Sweden in 2006, and Michael Essien's long ranger in stoppage time to equalise against Arsenal a few years back (I am a Chelsea fan). Add these to missing a couple of less worldy goals for England, all in the same pub and they have become 'The Magic Toilets' (The Black Lion in Radcliffe on Trent if anyone needs to use their mystical properties for their own ends. Not that sort of end...). Since then, whenever we're watching an England game there and are in need of a goal, all my mate's keep dropping hints that after all this beer, surely my bladder must be feeling the urge...
On Carragher's Retirement
Sad to hear of Jamie Carragher retiring, however it is probably for the best.
Favourite Carra moments? Allowing the likes of Josemi to take centre stage whilst he tried to soothe his cramp ravaged body at the back of the presentation in the Ataturk, May 2005.
Running towards Dudek when he saved Shevchenko's penalty and then changing his mind, running past him (with speed not seen before or since) and going straight to the fans.
Anfield will be a lot quieter.
...The news of Jamie Carragher's retirement made me realise that this is probably the saddest departure from the Liverpool playing staff since the late 1970's, when Tommy Smith and Ian Callaghan left the club. Kenny Dalglish never seemed to retire, he just stopped playing after the 1986 F.A Cup Final and nothing was announced.
Jamie Carragher, the man and the player, is also well and truly in the mould of Smith and Callaghan too. No scandals, no embarrassing news stories, threats to quit the club, tiresome prima donna tantrums, just full commitment to Liverpool Football Club and full respect from not only the Liverpool fans, but the genuine football fans of other clubs too. For me, the real captain of Liverpool Football Club over the past decade and someone who should be an important part of the club for decades to come.
There have been other great players in the Premier League during Jamie Carragher's career, but very few with the honesty and integrity of this man.
The end of the era of Carragher - the Liverpool player, but surely the beginning of a new era, Carragher - Liverpool coach.
Steven Charles, Liverpool
...Has there ever been an outfield player with such a lame goal scoring record as Carragher? Serious question. Rob Jones perhaps?
Over 700 games and just 4 goals to his name (and one of those came in his first 3 games)
Clearly, a centre half's job is not to score goals, some of you will say, so why then do they get sent forward for all corners and attacking free kicks?
Compare his record with players of a similar mould, Terry, Adams, Campbell......it is abysmal. Even some like Makelele, who at least had the excuse that he had to stay back almost 100% of the time managed to notch 2 in 217 for Chelsea.
Brendan Leary, Sydney, you wouldn't by any chance be a Liverpool fan would you?! You have listed Kelly, Wisdom, Shelvey and Henderson as players that will be pushing for starting spots at the Brazil World Cup. You do realise that the World Cup is next year? Those four have some serious improving to do if they are to make that squad let alone starting eleven. None of them are guaranteed places at the club who currently sit seventh in the Premier League, and I can't see any of them getting into the starting team of any of the current top six so what makes you think they could potentially be starting for England next year?
And McEachran? McEachran?! He's currently doing a very average job at a pretty average team in the Championship at the moment, regularly putting in 6/10 performances. I can't help but think you have picked a random player who is supposedly a bright prospect and just stuck him in your list of potential youngsters who could make the next World Cup just to hide your Liverpool bias. I can guarantee McEachran won't be in that squad if he doesn't improve dramatically in the next year or so. If you wanted to pick a young player with real potential then Nathaniel Chalobah is your man, and another Chelsea youngster out on loan in the Championship. He is having a very good season at an exciting Watford side who have played some brilliant stuff this season. He's a year younger than McEachran and this World Cup will come too soon for him but I feel he has far more potential than Josh McEachran.
I can't imagine there will be many surprise additions to the squad that goes to Brazil as most people are aware of those players that are in and around the squad already. There could potentially be room for one or two youngsters who have a good year and a bit between now and the World Cup but I would be amazed if the Liverpool youngsters you listed and McEachran are pushing for starting spots at Brazil 2014.
Here's a team of players who have played in the Premiership, whose initials match that of their playing position.
GK: Gabor Kiraly
LB: Leighton Baines
RB: Raul Bravo
CB: Chris Baird
CB: Christophe Berra
LM: Lee McCulloch
CM: Chris Marsden
CM: Claude Makelele
RM: Ryo Myaichi
CF: Craig Fagan
CF: Caleb Folan
On paper, they're absolutely rubbish and would almost certainly get relegated, despite the presence of Leighton Baines and Claude Makelele. Craig Fagan and Caleb Folan boast a grand total of seven Premier League goals between them. In fact, I think that the presence of Raul Bravo means they'll lose every game by default.
Steven (this email was brough to you in association with Wikipedia and the Ctrl+F keys) Mole
...Not a full team but Brendan Rogers might like them....
Frank Nouble (False Nine-currently at Ipswich)
Stuart Holden (Seven & Half)
Paul (My postion would be Pie Holder), Newcastle
Is there a more bizarre player in England than James Milner?
Every time I see him play (and admittedly, I don't tune in to every Man City game that is broadcast) he appears to mix flashes of real class with total and utter incompetency.
I'm talking about stubbing the ball into touch like an uncoordinated 12 year old one moment, whilst putting in a sumptuous pass across the box the next (mostly without scoring though). One minute he ruins a promising move by being too-easily shrugged out of possession, the next, he's ghosted away from his marker and put a great shot in (he seems to have one great chance in every England international he plays in - but rarely scores).
Some players (like Balotelli) are great one game and hopeless the next; Milner combines the two within the space of 5 minutes... and despite such gigantic peaks and troughs (honestly, sometimes he has you cringing with embarrassment), he regularly plays for England and Man City. I just don't get it.
Don't get me wrong, he seems like a nice enough chap and I don't necessarily begrudge him his place in the England squad; he's just one of those players that you wish we could find a better replacement for.
Not A Friendly Man
In response to Philip Cornwall's piece 'Still think Friendlies are rubbish?', yes yes I do. Whilst yesterday was a decent game and a good result for the three lions you can't honestly pretend that it means something. Now for a couple of years the back pages will be plastered with England praise leading to the inevitable 2014 disappointments... It's happened before so why are allowing it to happen again? In 2011 England beat Spain. So what? At the end of the day it means nothing and an early Euro exit was only round the corner.
It's not even as if this game was at a weekend. Playing these things midweek assures players are either tired or full-on injured for when it actually matters in the League. The reason? So a little extra moneys made. So sure enjoy the new plastic Wembley and the £10 programs but it means nothing. Not a jot. I think I'll stick to the Prem.
I know this is a frequent frustration for mailboxers but the England match last night has left me with an incurable irritation, one moment of annoyance that I just can't get over, and for once it wasn't one/all of the players.
Clive Tyldesley. Not his generally poor commentary, which is bad enough, but the specific moment when the Brazilian player Miranda came on. What great insight or fact or stat did Tyldesley treat us to as he came on? "Here's Miranda... not Hart." Let me just type that again. "Here's Miranda... not Hart." I don't usually resort to abbreviations but WTF!? Is this the best the lead commentator of an England internation football match can manage?! A frankly awful "joke" based on the fact that a foreign player has a surname that is common as a first name in the English speaking world, and that at the moment there is a moderately well known TV celebrity with that first name. I genuinely couldn't believe what I was hearing, what next: "here's Oscar... not Wilde" or "here's Fred... not Flintstone." Surely someone at ITV will be having a word to tell his this is completely unacceptable?
I know I should rise above such irraitations but I really can't - please MC share my irritations to the world so they can shoulder some of the burden, otherwise I fear I might end up in some sort of specialist care.
Dave T, Spurs
Brazil = Wigan
If we compare the world rankings to the English football league structure, 6th-place Arsenal (big game chokers, haven't won anything in ages) line up with 6th place England. Wigan (entertaining, have some blue in their kit), in 18th place, are our very own Brazil.
Looking at the home nations' performance last night, the closest thing to a surprise is Mansfield's Norn' Iron struggling against non-league opposition (and I can't be bothered delving that far down the tables).
Arsenal (England) 2-1 (Brazil) Wigan Athletic / Port Vale (Scotland) 1-0 (Estonia) Rochdale / Wycombe Wanderers (Wales) 2-1 (Austria) Hartlepool / Barnsley (Republic of Ireland) 2-0 (Poland) Crewe Alexandra
(NON-LEAGUE) (Malta) 0-0 (Northern Ireland) Mansfield Town
Comparing rankings like this is fun (for me, anyway), and gives highlights like Everton and Colombia in fifth (flying higher than you'd expect), and Liverpool paired with Portugal (everyone thinks they should be good, but they're really not). Peru, Ireland and Slovakia are battling relegation from the Championship, and I've never been quite sure where Gillingham or the Cape Verde Islands (2nd in League 2) actually are.
From now on, I'm going to be supporting the team whose position matches mine in the league structure (Ole!). I should get back to work now, but I'll leave you with all of last night's results (unless the MC edits
AFC Bournemouth (Slovenia) 0-3 (Bosnia-Herzegovina) Middlesbrough Aldershot Town (Iceland) 0-2 (Russia) West Bromwich Albion Arsenal (England) 2-1 (Brazil) Wigan Athletic Aston Villa (Sweden) 2-3 (Argentina) Chelsea Barnsley (Republic of Ireland) 2-0 (Poland) Crewe Alexandra Blackburn Rovers (Romania) 3-2 (Australia) Birmingham City Blackpool (Paraguay) 3-0 (El Salvador) Newport Bolton Wanderers (Turkey) 0-2 (Czech Republic) Derby County Cardiff City (Japan) 3-0 (Latvia) Southport Colchester United (Albania) 1-2 (Georgia) Burton Leeds United (Hungary) 1-1 (Belarus) Oldham Athletic Manchester United (Spain) 3-1 (Uruguay) Southampton Millwall (Chile) 2-1 (Egypt) Notts County Morecambe (FYR Macedonia) 3-0 (Denmark) Hull City Northampton Town (Israel) 2-1 (Finland) Dagenham & Redbridge Port Vale (Scotland) 1-0 (Estonia) Rochdale Queens Park Rangers (Belgium) 2-1 (Slovakia) Peterborough United Reading (France) 1-2 (Germany) Manchester City Stoke City (Croatia) 4-0 (Korea Republic) Charlton Athletic Swansea City (Netherlands) 1-1 (Italy) Tottenham Hotspur Watford (Norway) 0-2 (Ukraine) Tranmere Rovers West Ham United (Greece) 0-0 (Switzerland) Fulham Wycombe Wanderers (Wales) 2-1 (Austria) Hartlepool United
(NON-LEAGUE) (Azerbaijan) 1-0 (Liechtenstein) (NON-LEAGUE)
(NON-LEAGUE) (Cyprus) 1-3 (Serbia) Huddersfield Town
(NON-LEAGUE) (Kazakhstan) 3-1 (Moldova) (NON-LEAGUE)
(NON-LEAGUE) (Malta) 0-0 (Northern Ireland) Mansfield Town
David (time on my hands), Salford