As Gerrard and Henderson both struggle with injuries, was it a mistake for Liverpool to sell Jonjo Shelvey? Plus, thoughts on Arsenal, Everton, United and Chelsea's strikers...
They're a team full of loan players and ageing has-beens...can Roberto Martinez do better than David Moyes in the long term? Plus, more on Man United and...
If you have anything to add on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
KT Mokhele, Gooner in Johannesburg was asking about other false positions but omitted one of the most obvious ones.
The False Manager: Prime examples include Joe Kinnear - imagined that he managed several clubs for a total of five-and-a-half years.
Brendan Rodgers - imagines he is managing a paper company in Slough instead a mid-table Premier League team.
David Moyes - imagines he is currently the actual manager of Manchester United.
Stiafam Macky (Loving 'Irish Cricket' season after all) Áth Cliath
...False manager - someone who thinks that they are a manager when in reality they are less than qualified. E.g. Steve McLaren or Joe Kinnear.
Oliver Dean, LFC
...Why stop at players when discussing false positions, surely we should investigate this further:
- False Managers - Harry Redknapp
- False Directors of Football - Joe F. Kinnear
- False Pundits - Alan Shearer and Alaln Hansen
- False Commentators - Mark Lawrenson
- False Supporters - Man Utd and Liverpool fans from London and Dublin
- False European Football Correspondents - Antony Kastrinakis
- False Opinions - Spain are finished.
This list could really go on and on!
John Whelan, LUFC
...In response to KT Mokhele, Gooner in Johannesburg, my favourite false is the false 3. A left-back that is not predominantly left-footed. Dennis Irwin was the best at this, nothing like seeing him cut in on to his favoured right foot and having a go.
Brian F, Dublin
False-False 9 Next?
Following KT's email this morning, I was thinking about what will happen when defenders get used to playing against 'false 9s' every week; and stop following them into midfield, instead sitting back to watch out for the players running through from midfield.
What will happen is: strikers will fall back into midfield, and then with no markers following them, they'll turn and make a late run for the near/far post to get on the end of a cross.
Ergo - we will see the first false-false 9. No doubt collecting a cross provided by a false inside-out winger. Both, if at Newcastle, signed by a false manager.
Wing-Back Is Not A False Anything
A player who occupies central defenders whilst dropping deep to hassle midfielders and begin attacks from deep, thus allowing the midfield and wingers to push up alongside him (rather than holding up play and waiting for teammates to catch up) is what you might call a 'false 9'. I on the other hand would much rather describe the role a particular player has individually. I've heard Messi, Rooney, Suarez, even Jonjo bleeding Shelvey described as false 9s at one point or another.
Calling somebody a wing-back however is so not the same thing in my book. For Italy in particular, Maggio plays with nobody in front of him in a fixed position on the right wing, and he covers the whole flank up and down. This position has existed for decades under this particular set of circumstances, to me it is just as plain as calling somebody a winger in a 433 as oppose to a wide midfielder in a 442. What annoys me and I'm sure plenty of others out there is that positions and roles can always be described with actual real words that mean something to a footballing man or woman, whereas the likes of Brendan's '7 and a half' and whatnot could mean so many things. A forward who cuts in from a wide position does not need to be called such a thing. It's just a buzzword.
Wanting to describe a player for what he is in detail is not archaic. To lump together a whole host of different footballers with varying play styles into one, trendy new tag most certainly is.
PS Watch Maggio play. The outright position he occupies is on the flank between midfield and a 3 man defense. He's not a full-back who gets forward or a backtracking winger. He's a wing-back.
My favourite 'false position' - Left Behind. Never got bored of that joke as a kid.
Lanky (I tended to play in that position a lot) Manc
As the original Chris, both in the mailbox and in the original mail about the ridiculousness of the 'false 9' position, I agree with Jeandre, Cape Town (How does the plural for Chris work?!) from this morning's mailbox. I do find the mimicry of other Chris's trying to fulfil the same roles for other clubs under slightly different sign-offs a tad unnerving, but they are, and always will be, trying to reinvent the wheel. Bless them for trying though, their imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and the naivety of some of them is surely only the petulance of youth.
Given the hipster ones and their attempts to be like the best, despite knowing they'll only be a weak variation on a perfectly functioning original, I already refer to them as False Chris's.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Further to the post from Jeandre, Cape Town in this morning's mailbox, I have some sympathy with his assertion that there may be too many Chris's in the mailbox. Though I sincerely hope his suggestion is not to ban the name from future posts?
I do find it quite inconvenient the name is so popular, I must say. Chris MUFC is often (almost daily) published in your mailbox and whilst he supports the same team as me, our opinions on matters Manchester United do differ widely. I have been accused of being 'that' Chris on a few occasions, with some quite curt reposts to mails I didn't write. I don't have the time to write daily to F365, though I probably have a high % published success rate so thank you Mailbox Compiler.
Maybe we should all have some smart nickname to differentiate between the Chris's? I include my surname as I'm perfectly happy to stick by my opinions. However, if it pleases Jeandre I could call myself 'Red-C' if he prefers?
Anyway, whilst I'm on, united should sign Ronaldo, Thiago, Baines and be done with it...
Chris WILKINSON, Manchester United FC
Wishing They Were Goals
What goal do I wish went in? Err, Pedro Mendes at Old Trafford.
Matt Carr, Durham NC, USA
...Even as a Northern Irishman, I'd like to have seen Gazza's 'goal' against Germany go in during the golden goal extra time in '96. Every time I watch I can't believe he doesn't connect.
At the same time the unbearable press response had you won it, or if indeed you ever win anything, would be and will be unbearable.
Lucky in so many ways that it will never happen I suppose.
Neil 'Stretch Gazza, Stretch!', Tokyo
...Without a doubt, the goal I would have loved to see go in would be Marlon Harewood's swing at the ball with his half-knackered leg during extra time in the 2006 Cup Final... When it limped wide, I knew right then that Liverpool would win on penalties.
That day was heart-breaking and many fellow Hammers still can't bring themselves to watch that final again. Up until then, I was loving the final and even Gerrard taking us to extra time with that goal couldn't ruin it. But when Marlon swing his leg and it missed, it completely deflated me and I knew that was it...
If nothing else, winning that day would have least meant the awesome Dean Ashton would have won a major tournament medal before his career was cruelly cut short.
Stu, sent to Coventry (may well spend this afternoon crying now thinking about that day)
...I'd pick any of Andy Cole's chances versus West Ham in 95. Seriously, take your pick.
Or maybe Gazza or Darren Anderton vs. Germany in 96.
Mike Coxon, HA2 via Northwich (goal to not go in would be a certain goal by Sergio Aguero - you know the game)
...If time travel became possible, I would go back and ensure that Andy Cole put his left and right boots on the corresponding feet, prior to the West Ham Vs Manchester United match at the climax of the 1994/95 Premier League season.
To quote Michael 'Shitbag' Hughes (file his strike under goals I would erase from history): "Brian McClair scored early in the second half, then it was end-to-end for a bit. But in the last 20 minutes they had about 18 chances when Miklosko was unbelievable."
If memory serves all 18 of those chances fell to Cole and he contrived to shank the bloody lot!
The resulting Blackburn title win along with the Dalglish/Liverpool love in at Anfield still causes me large amounts of physical pain to this day.
Joe, MUFC (In fairness to Cole he was fantastic for us in the years that followed).
...In response to Ian Garner's email about which goal would you wish in...for a Spurs fan that's an easy one.
Let me take you to the Etihad 22 January 2012. Man City exploit gaping holes in the Spurs defence to score two goals in quick succession after the break. Spurs fight back through Defoe and a cracker from Bale. With the clock running down and the match finely poised at 2-2, Bale breaks down the left wing and whizzes a perfect ball across the six-yard box.
Defoe slides in and gets a good contact on the ball. The ball hits the back of the net. Spurs are winning 3-2 with minutes to go till full time. City are on their knees! Spurs are elated and hold on for the win! Three points away at Man City and Spurs push on surfing a wave of confidence, qualifying for the Champions League with ease and maybe (just maybe) pushing the Manchester teams for the title.
Come and join me in my fantasy! It's so beautiful here. Just a bit longer please.
Then reality! Defoe's touch goes the wrong side of the post. City break and Ledley gives away a penalty. Balotelli steps up and we all know he never misses. City break Tottenham hearts and Spurs go home empty handed. Our season falters and we end up watching Chelsea snatch the most undeserving of Champions League victories to ruin our season and leave us once again in the needy clutches of the Europa League.
Oh Jermain why couldn't you be a couple of inches taller????
I now wait for the Gooners to pick apart my analysis.
Rob (we've got Paulinho, you've got Gervinho!) Japster - THFC London
...That chance in the Bernebeu for Van Persie when he was six yards out and had a swivel volley on his left peg! You would have bet your house on him scoring a left-footed volley from six yards out. Or the one that crashed against the crossbar. Either one of those went in we wouldve brought an away goal advantage back to Old Trafford and moved on to the semi finals. We then would've beaten Dortmund, and met Bayern in the final. We played Bayern in the semis a few years ago and were in total control until Rafa got sent off, so obviously United would've won the Champs League and granted Sir Fergie's last wish of winning more in Europe's finest!
...Seems a bit greedy to do this as a United fan but here goes...
1) Gazza against Germany in 1996. Definitely would have fancied us to beat the Czechs.
2) Ronaldo against Barca in the first ten minutes in the 2009 CL final. United almost certainly wouldn't have won anyway, but you just never know...
3) It was several years ago now, but it was Djalminha against (I think) Barcelona when he was playing for Deportivo. He basically did the whole 'ball-behind-him-and-flick-over-the-head' thing, before turning about three players inside-out and hitting the bar. It was ridiculous. There's one on YouTube where he flicks it over three Real players to someone but that one sticks in memory. It was incredible. Can't find a clip but that is what the Mailbox is for, right?
One I wish hadn't - Paul Rideout, Wembley, 1995. Damn you Big Nev, you broke my heart as a nine-year-old...
...'After reading Paul Little's piece on removing any goal from history, makes me wonder...is there any goal that you would have wished to go in?'
A goal has already gone in, so it's a goal. You don't need to wish it has gone in because it already has gone in because it's a goal. But I think I know what you mean...
If Gazza had been several inches taller or a couple of kilos lighter he would have got his toe on the end of Shearer's cross-shot across the Wembley six yard box and poked it in and would have eliminated Ze Germans on the Golden Goal rule to the delight of the tabloids who would crown England as the first country to win the European Championship before they actually played in the final because it was only the Czech Republic (they have a player called Carol ha ha) and run a campaign to have El Tel, Gazza, Seaman etc knighted.
And then crucify them all when Karel Poborsky scores the only goal of the final.
Simon Fitzwilliams, (feeling old as they'll probably be readers of 365 who aren't old enough to remember all of the above in 1996) Cambridge
...The Paul Scholes 'offside' goal against Porto in the Champions League knockout stage 2003/2004. If that wrongly disallowed goal had been allowed to stand, then we might not have had to put up with the inane witterings of the luckiest manager in European football history, one Mr Jose Mourinho Esquire. At the very least his ascension to the top would have been delayed somewhat, until he got his lucky break somewhere else. The wholly decent Tito Villanova would also have avoided an eye gouging, and the Chelsea might have gone through 100 + managers in the quest for their first Premier League title, while wasting unseemly amounts of Russian Peasant's natural resource money.
Ian, Stavanger. 'Jose is a darling of the media' so let's see if this is published - reverse psychology on your asses.
...In answer to Ian Garner's mail about which goal I wish HAD gone in, the first one that sprang (sprung?) to mind was Jamie Carragher's 'almost' wonder-strike in his last ever game for Liverpool. The man only scored four goals in his whole career, but how poetic would it have been to score that chance which he struck so well from outside the box, only to see it hit the woodwork. It would have meant he scored in both his debut and his farewell. I wish it had gone in for him.
I'm sure there are far more important 'goals' I wish had been scored, for the Republic of Ireland probably, but Carra's was the most recent.
Jason (Hello Boardsies) Todd, LFC & WUFC
Wishing They Weren't Goals
If I could change one goal, it would be AC Milan's second in the first leg of the Champions League semi final against PSV back in 2004/5. Jon Dahl Tomasson hit a ball into the ground that bounced over our keepers head and made it 2-0 on the night. The return ended 3-1 to PSV with Cocu scoring in a breathless last few minutes but we went out on away goals. Had we won our team that year under Guus Hiddink with Alex, Gomes, Park, van Bommel, Farfan, Lee, Bouma, Cocu etc, would have certainly not let slip a three-goal lead at half-time!
...Great question by Paul Little on erasing one goal from history. At a club level I don't think my lot have ever been on the receiving end of a goal that made a huge difference, so my pick is an international goal - I'd erase Stefan Kuntz equalising against England in the Euro 96 semi final. Arguably the England team of the day with home advantage would have had a strong chance against the Czech Republic in the final (with the exception of Nedved, I think man for man England had a better team than the Czechs).
Winning Euro 96 would have brought its own disadvantages of course - the hype and expectation around English football would be even worse than it currently is, yet all the problems we have would remain largely the same - but the key benefit would be that there would have been no re-make of Baddiel & Skinners 'Three Lions', as two years of hurt just doesn't have the same ring to it. For that reason alone, this one has got to be worthwhile.
As far as having a goal that didn't go in, go in? How about Sol Campbell's disallowed goal against Portugal 2004...again, no guarantee of success afterwards, but at least there would have been no basis for the England fans to start making death threats to the referee...
Terry Hall, Switzerland
...In response to Paul Little's article on what goal you'd erase from history, mine, as an Irishman, is an obvious one. William Gallas' was about as heart-breaking as a sporting moment can be to 15-year-old football fanatic. Thierry Henry's filthy act of deception extinguished our World Cup dream. That night in Paris was probably the best Irish performance I have ever seen, one filled with attacking intent and epitomised a team with nothing to lose. Gallas' goal robbed Ireland of the chance of going to South Africa. Maybe we would have lost on penalties, but that would have been to recover from. As much as I enjoyed watching France falter and implode, I would have enjoyed the World Cup much more if it had been Ireland playing South Africa, Mexico and Uruguay...
...In response to Paul's piece on removing any goal from history - It has to be this 93rd winner from Fredrico Machedo v Aston Villa from the 2008-09 season. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X1pgPFmXjC8
Having just gotten a thrashing at Old Trafford by a rampant Liverpool and then losing 1-0 to Fulham in consecutive weeks, a draw to Villa would've given Liverpool all the momentum in the title race with about five games to go. But that wonder goal from a Premier League rookie, secured a four-point gap which United maintained until the last day of the season. Finishing runners up, led to Xabi Alonso quitting for Madrid and the dismemberment of one of the greatest Liverpool teams in living memory. And disturbing mails from Barry Crier's bum hole.
Ian Rosario (A mail from a solitary Liverpool supporter and Jonesey doesn't prove anything!) Mangalore, India LFC
Arsenal Do Business In Real World
Arsenal have been in talks with Madrid about the acquisition of Higuain for some time. Madrid's managerial vacancy stalled these for a while but they now seem to be going well with the parties are only a small way apart. At this point, both sides have devoted considerable time and money to the process and there is no reason to believe that either side is going to do anything stupid like walk away from the deal over a relatively small amount of money. However, the reported sum is not negligible (£400K is a chunk of wedge, even to football clubs) and so it is surely worth continuing the dialogue for a day or two to see if an accommodation can be reached (whether that be purely on the price or on some other aspects of the deal).
The reaction from F365 and fans to the above has been hysterical, with the implicit (and, in some cases, express) suggestion being that Arsenal should just pay the extra and be done with it to ensure that fans do not have to wait any longer for the signing to be announced. This may be how it works for the oil-funded vanity projects in Manchester, West London , Paris and the former Soviet republics but Arsenal is run as a business and rightly operates in accordance with standard business practice. I know it is silly season but for goodness' sake just calm down and let the process run its natural course.
It pleases me when Arsenal are signing an injury prone, young, unproven Frenchman, whilst being linked to an aging, slow, central midfield player on a cut-price deal, whilst we are signing a £17m Brazilian called Paulinho and being linked with some of the greatest prospects in Croatia. Anyone with 'inho' in his last name must be good.
Chris (Spurs, obviously). Southend on Sea
Upturn In Blackburn
What appears to be going under the radar so far this summer is the current upturn in the fortunes of the fans of Blackburn Rovers. The last two years have brought about a series of embarrassing and damaging incidents for anyone affiliated with the club. Dare I say it though, there have been some sensible decisions coming out of Ewood Park of late.
Anyone who has been keeping up to date with this situation knows that a once proud family club has been ripped apart, stripped down, shelled out and chucked about like scrap metal by bumbling owners, all the while shamefully and skillfully nudging the blame towards the only constant in any football club - the fans. For those who cast aspersions based on basic media reporting - yes, there was a chicken on the pitch.
The board is slowly being streamlined with the aim of clear communication and decisions. Paul Agnew was told to pack his bags in June with Shebby Singh now apparently being told the same. A statement was released by the club yesterday explaining why we didn't sign Luke Murphy, claiming that it was the player's choice rather than any financial package as to why he signed for Leeds instead. It may sound innocuous but this simply would not have happened two years ago.
The appointment of Craig Short under Gary Bowyer is positive (we've optimistically dubbed ourselves 'Team GB'). Bowyer's contract is a rolling 12 months, reducing the risk of paying hefty compensation again. I think a lengthy contract should be earned rather than being mandatory based on the philosophy of longevity. As a side note, the failings of last year were in appointing the wrong managers in the first place rather than being trigger happy when they didn't work out. Kean's dismissal was long overdue, Berg was utterly out of his depth from the start and Appleton approached every game with a 0-0 in mind and appeared to have no attacking strategy whatsoever (the number of caretaker managers doesn't matter to anyone apart from those holding a stick to bash us with).
Our transfer activity so far this summer have been sensible if slightly uninspiring. The acquisitions of Chris Taylor from Millwall and Alan Judge from Notts County offer solidarity and application when compared with the powder puff signings of Nuno Gomes, Danny Murphy and Kazim-Richards (none of which are currently with us) on bumper contracts last summer. The wage bill is rightly being slimmed down as we shed the fat of past splurges in the transfer market - our fans being particularly pleased with the exit of the time-ravaged Danny Murphy. However, keeping hold of Jordan Rhodes remains our number one aim for the summer and is obviously pivotal to success next season.
Perhaps the silly season is getting to me, perhaps Gary Bowyer will be sent packing halfway through an unsuccessful season on the pitch as administration looms large. Don't get me wrong - this is not a club in full health but, and only whisper it, it may be a club which is slowly on the mend.
Chris Henderson, BRFC
Inzaghi Video Anyone?
This is a long shot, but all these montage videos remind of that one video full of Pippo Inzaghi celebrations with some 80s hair metal band providing the backing track.
I can't find it and all the other videos on Youtube pale in comparison to its sheer awesomeness.
Help a friend out pretty please?
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus
Back To Mexico 86
That's not even the best World Cup '86 intro music. ITV came up with this beauty...
...that was so good, they reused it for years on Saint and Greavsie:
That second clip also features a 5-0 win for Arsenal against Aston Villa in 1991, where David Platt had to go in goal after an injury to Nigel Spink, and the start of an interview with Dave Basset.
Saint and Greavsie was s**t.
Graeme the happy Gooner in Reading
Desensitised To Penis Biting
Think it's time to move on from penis stories in Mediawatch.
For today's one there was a warning, so I was thinking this is gonna be bad. I read it and was disappointed that it was just a standard penis bite. I am now completely desensitised to all kinds of penis biting/sawing/hacking/cutting/removal and restoration.
Time for something new.
How Do You Get Your Penis Bitten?
Now I'm not being funny, but if somebody was arguing with me about music and they wanted to bite my penis, they would have to either strip me first, or I would have to be naked!
So either he let the man strip him during an argument and then watched him grab it and bite it, or he was stood arguing with a neighbour naked!
Anyone else think it was a blowjob gone wrong?
Orts (print both my mails...not like youve got anything else to do at 3.30 today!) MUFC