That's the question that kicks off an afternoon mailbox full of debate over Arsenal and the size of Patrick Vieira's head. Plus, thoughts on colouring and Chelsea strikers...
The mailbox is very much split between Arsenal fans saying 'f*** you, we got through' and the doom merchants. We also have a mails on Chamakh for Chelsea and...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
What Needs To Happen
I know you probably don't dictate exactly how the Premier League unfolds (probably) but if you can do your best to seeing the following happen I think we might just see an end to p*ssy football fans emailing in reactionary, self-important guff and ruining your once insightful mailbox:
*Man Utd to win the title on goal difference, City come second, with both teams having played free-flowing, attractive football. Utd fans chill out safe in the knowledge that they're still the mutt's nuts, have something to gloat about and since City fans seem pretty level headed, I suspect they'll appreciate the irony and take this one on the chin. Furthermore, City make it out the CL group stages this year before being cruelly knocked out in the semis 1-0 by Bayern Munich. Well done boys.
*Sadly Chelsea come third again although Lukaku nets 20+ league goals and David Luiz deposes JT26 as club captain. Once again we're knocked out the CL in the semis by more shocking officiating - probably against Barca or some other pantomime villain. We'd still just be happy Jose's back and that UEFA "still have it in for us".
*Gets a bit trickier now. OK so Arsenal, despite having signed Suarez (who finishes top scorer and was - ultimately - gracious in his Liverpool exit) finish in 4th. Jack Wilshire plays his heart out until his knees fall off in March which ultimately derails a season in which you were otherwise nailed on for second. However, Wenger crucially doesn't play the kids in the cup this year and you win the League Cup beating Man Utd in the final. Small steps Gooners, small steps.
*Liverpool finish 5th (wait for it) despite playing some of the best football in the league. You narrowly missing out on 4th but all your new signings look like Rivaldo Mk II and Fenway Sports Group post mega profits for the financial year prompting talk of 'massive investment for the coming year'. Everybody picks you as the 'most improved team' - even Gary Neville.
*Finally Spurs. Sorry Spurs but you get 6th. Don't worry though - Bale decides he loves life in London too much and signs a Casillas style 'contract for life' with his beloved Spuds. Also, you win the FA Cup in style, beating Chelsea 3-1 in the final. AVB turns down the now vacant Barca job and Levy gets a hell a lot of money for a hell of a lot of old rope in January.
Now I appreciate that may not be to everyone's taste but I've balanced it against your individual club's need for success/reassurance and my contempt for your fans p*ssy entries in to this mailbox. Assuming F365 hold up their end of the bargain and make this happen, we can all get back to reading witty mails about anagrams and memorabilia rather than trawling through page after page of your uninspired whining.
Have a great weekend everybody!
Simon (if your team isn't on the list - keep it up, your fans are alright) CFC
"But is it [Brendan Rodgers' questioning if Arsenal is a step up] as crazy as it sounds?"
Answer: Yes, yes it is.
Aside from the obvious Champions League / higher pay / better players etc, I reckon the argument that Arsenal are a couple of players away from a title-challenging team is pretty valid. The problem is that Arsenal never goes after genuinely world-class footballers or spends the requisite cash to get them. By buying Suarez (who I imagine considers himself to be half-decent) the club would actually be doing this for the first time in a long time, i.e. he would be one of the 'two or three' players Arsenal needs.
Buying Suarez would also prove to future potential signings that Arsenal are serious about challenging for major trophies and not just keeping the status quo. I don't doubt that Suarez would prefer Madrid to Arsenal, but if the choice is between a mid-table team that isn't even in the Europa League or a Champions League club finally looking to kick on, I don't think, professionally, it's much of a decision for the guy.
On another note, I very much like the idea that Luis Suarez is "as real as you want him to be." Originally I viewed this as a sort of Peter Pan-esque "there's no such thing as fairies" / "do you believe in magic?" kind of gig. However, this has since been replaced by Suarez as a Patrick-Swayze-in-Ghost type figure making pottery with Demi Moore.
Demi: But are you even real?
Luis: [Quietens her by bringing his finger to his lips]
I'm as real as you want me to be...
Craig (having a slow day), Edinburgh
Making A Point
Sorry to have to do this but:
*Liverpool have last won a trophy a little over a year ago - Arsenal last won one over 8 years ago.
*Liverpool last won the FA Cup more recently than Arsenal (2006 vs 2005).
*Liverpool last made an FA Cup final more recently than Arsenal (2012 vs 2005).
*Liverpool last finalled in the league cup more recently than Arsenal (2012 vs 2011).
*Liverpool last won the league cup more recently than Arsenal (2012 vs 1993).
*Liverpool last finalled in the Champions league more recently than Arsenal (2007 vs 2006).
*Liverpool last won the Champions League more recently than Arsenal (2005 vs never).
Okay, Arsenal have been more successful in the league, particularly at the start of the millennium, but it's obvious that since Benitez took charge of Liverpool, Liverpool have outperformed Arsenal on the whole (even in the league Liverpool mounted a true title challenge more recently than Arsenal, coming second in 2009, whereas Arsenal last came second in 2005, where they weren't truly in the title race anyway, and not have they been beyond March/early April since).
So yeah, the line that Suarez needs to leave Liverpool for Arsenal to challenge for and win trophies is a bit ridiculous.
Alex (RVP was at Arsenal 8 seasons and won as many medals as he did in a single season at United - 1), LFC
Should Suarez Help Fund A Move?
While I'm a devoted Liverpool fan, I'd quite like to see the back of Suarez before the affair becomes detrimental to the team's performance and we find ourselves 10 points behind the top 4 by mid-October. So my contribution to the Friday mailbox is to suggest a simple tweaking of numbers to get Suarez off to Arsenal (if there are any rounding errors we'll use the proceeds for petrol money and a buttie at Newport Pagnell when I drive him to London myself).
Liverpool value Suarez at £50m. Arsenal have offered £40m and are reportedly offering £150k per week in wages. If Suarez wants to go to Arsenal he simply has to accept a £38.5k per week pay cut over a 5 year term which Arsenal can use to cover the £10m delta in their offer compared to Liverpool's asking price.
It'd be tough to survive on that kind of money, but I'm sure Suarez is so determined join a club in the Champions League he wouldn't let a simple matter of wages get in the way. After all, it's about the British Press/glory of Europe's Premier competition/whatever else the little vampire concocts that is driving his decision making, and not cash.
Anyway, I actually liked his advert so he could always take up acting to earn a few extra bob....I've seen far worse on Channel 5.
Matto (currently in Chicago - hence a little late to this mornings mailbox party)
Arsenal Need A Bastard
There are some fans who will say that the only reason we are chasing Suarez is down to being left with no options since Higuain went to Napoli. I'm here to argue it isn't. Arsenal need a player like Suarez and even Rooney, but preferably Suarez. For many years we have lots of really nice young men who are willing to do a lot of running but very few players who actually do some dirty work for the good of the team. Vieira did this and definitely the George Graham back four did this. Suarez (although cannot be said to be on a par with these guys for legendary status) is one who has a similar mentality to winning. Kick, Scratch and Bite if it means the 3 points.
He is manageable from Wenger's point of view because his lifestyle habits aren't an issue. Every controversial move he's made in England has been on the pitch, there have been no late night bunga-bunga parties or betting scandals. Arsenal could do with a few guys with his kind of mentality (but not mentalness).
Thanks, Mr Parish
With everybody talking today about potential signings - especially Suarez - I would just like to applaud a man who has definitively NOT signed a player. Steve Parish, erstwhile co-owner of Crystal Palace, made me the happiest fan today when he confirmed that we would not be signing Carlton Cole.
Another bullet dodged by CPFC. It would have been Akinbiyi all over again had Carlton signed.
Nick (Campana to be the 'new' Michu next year), CPFC
What Was Ian Saying?
I've seen a few Woody Allen films, and after reading Ian, LFC (I know the answer to that) Hartford, CT USA's mail, (more than once), on over-moralising that included Da Vinci, Dr Who, The Romans and a whole host of lions who never ask for seconds I got the similar feeling that something important was being said but in all honesty I really didn't have an effing clue what the hell was going on.
Suffice to say that anyone who says that they are going to leave the club they've supported for 25 years if they sign Suarez, is a bit much. Suarez has his faults, and has been found guilty of numerous things, but a boycott of the club seems to be taking things a bit too far. You may as well boycott football if your moral compass is that badly swung as far as I'm concerned. Righteous indignation is sometimes as much about how much attention you can get as much as the point you are trying to prove.
I think that was what Ian was getting at, but I can't be sure, my overriding thought was he's probably not seeing that girl anymore.
Chris ITFC, (How do you make God laugh? Tell him what you plan to do tomorrow: Woody Allen) Liverpool
...The mail from Ian, LFC (I know the answer to that) Hartford, CT USA in this morning's mailbox is excellent (apart from the fawning over Woody Allen). More please.
It reminded me of a conversation I had with a mate after Russell Crowe had tw@ted a telephone or something or other into a hotel bell-boy's dial. The gist of the conversation was - yes, he appears to be a c*nt, but without having the same upbringing, money, women and adulation - how could we be certain that we wouldn't turn out to be similarly c*nty? Best not to judge really.
It's helpful to apply that maxim to footballers - but it doesn't stop be laughing my arse off when Suarez commits another episode of pantomime villainy.
Mathive (Leeds Red Bulls)
Now, I'm no tabloid newspaper sub-editor; but have you noticed how the 'Roo' part of Wayne Rooney's name sounds a bit like 'you'?
Maybe headline writers should look into utilising this a little more often.
Scof (perhaps print 'Roo' in a different colour, really make it obvious) Mann, Manchester
Something Other Than Suarez
As we are in the silly season for football with the meaningless friendlies, crazy transfer rumors, player/fan tantrums and Brendan (please just shut up) Rodgers, it is refreshing to see the very best of football showcased by the simply inspirational fans at Feyenord.
If you haven't heard the story yet, a terminally ill fan of the club (called Rooie Marck) turned up to their training session at De Kuip (their stadium) as a last wish - to see his beloved club in the flesh one last time. Little did he know, an awe-inspiring tribute to him had been set up in the main stand, with a massive banner unfurled, flairs lit and song's personal to him - including "You'll Never Walk Alone" - being sung by a stand full of passionate fans. As you can imagine, it was an emotional experience for both Rooie and the fans and it brought him to tears. He wandered the stadium as a king and was given what must have been one of the most incredible, inclusive and memorable experiences of his life.
This is what I think football is about - a love for your club, your community and for the people who make this up. With all of the money in the sport now, it is easy to loose perspective on what is important to us as fans, and keeping this communal feeling and support network is central to what being a fan of a club is about.
As an AFC Wimbledon supporter who used to be a fan of Manchester United, I can tell you that I have had far more emotional times with them than I ever did with United. Yeah, you have less glory and there are some desolate moments, but it is all about the fans and the atmosphere is magical because of that. By all means watch Manchester United (or City, Chelsea etc) on telly if you want to watch the top quality players, but if you haven't already, go and support a smaller local team, you should find it incredibly rewarding.
JRF - Wanny Conny
Sticking Up For Wee Hleby
Saeed was a little harsh on Alex Hleb wasn't he? As I remember it, he was a thoroughly decent player for Arsenal. He might not have made it at Barcelona, but I'm sure we can all agree that Junichi Inamoto would be a much better inclusion in the Wenger Bad-Buy XI.
Oh, I'll always remember Stepanovs for that fateful day at OT when Dwight yorke netted a hattrick in a 6-1 win. That lad was atrocious.
Fergie brought a few cloggers in over the years. Imagine a front two of Bellion and Smith ahead of the creative masterminds of Miller, Djemba-Djemba, Bebe and Kleberson.
Chris, SAF Stand