Moyes is lacking 'charismatic authority', Kieran Gibbs is defended, Chelsea's problems are examined and a dreadful chant attacked. It's a glorious mailbox...
Fear is stopping Moyes dismantling Fergie's team, we are told. Plus, one Arsenal fan digs at Gibbs and mails on Martinez, the Group of Death and a Spurs Christmas list...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Premier League Unsettled XI
OK, a hypothetical situation for a Wednesday afternoon:
GK: Julio Caesar (OK, technically not PL at the moment)
LB: Leighton Baines
CB: David Luiz
CB: Daniel Agger
RB: Luke Shaw (playing here to make the numbers work)
RM: Yohan Cabaye
CM: Michu (can play here, realise he usually doesn't)
CM: Marouane Fellaini
LM: Gareth Bale
CF: Luis Suarez
CF: Wayne Rooney
My question is, could this team - in their confused (an angry) mental state - win the league, rating their talent against how much effort they're likely to put in for their current team? Maybe if they don't get their moves by the end of the window and have to train with the reserves we could set up some kind of PL Unsettled XI against a European leagues equivalent to try and keep them all match fit?
Hypocrisy In Football
Love the way the Glazer family have now become the moral guardians of football with their stance on Rooney. Enough of player power forcing their way out of contracts, let's end player power. The press and United fans love it and in between it all is the irony lost on such a family and club.
It was perfectly okay for RVP to force his way out of his contact at Arsenal to facilitate his transfer to United. The Glazers found it perfectly acceptable for a player to plead to be released to realise his ambition. Where were the comments about player power then (no f%cking where).
The reality is United don't mind the system being abused if it's for their own gain, but when it happens to them, wow, roll out the moral bandwagon. Hopefully RVP will get injured and Rooney tells them to swivel, but we know that's fantasy, he and United realise he needs football for the World Cup.
...Assuming Gareth Bale does leave Spurs to sign for the obnoxious Real Madrid, I wonder how long it will take the gentlemen of the press to start bemoaning the loss of young British talent abroad?
This, after a month of wetting themselves, that after all the made-up headlines, Bale might actually stay at Spurs.
Never let the truth get in the way of a good story, eh lads.
Rooney For Bale? Whaaaat?
Can I ask for some of what Deiseboy is having? In which universe does he believe Spurs will pay Rooney's wages?
In which universe does Rooney accept a move to a non Champions League club?
And in which universe would AVB be remotely interested in that waste of space?
Best wishes from a (sober) Spurs fan
If Rooney Is Our Identity...
Rio Ferdinand: What is our identity?
Deiseboy: Rooney is the hero of the national side.
There's your answer Rio. I think that encapsulates the problem that everyone has with England. I wouldn't say he was our hero, but when he is at his best he's our best chance for success. The following day he's hankering after more money or complaining about the quality he has to work with, when that quality appears, he wants out. Our identity would appear to be petulant, blameless, big-boned, unfit, balding and self-expectant, albeit with glimpses of individual potential. Whilst we play to our strengths, I personally never recall being taught anything other than strength and speed are everything. Aside from the money, if you don't want to be like your hero, would you want to reveal your identity? Does anyone aspire to be him? Not me I'm afraid.
Confession time. In terms of identity, and ahead of tonight's friendly, I quietly consider myself in more of the John Wark mould, in Escape to Victory. Bring on Movember.
Chris ITFC, (in response to Stephen, THFC, I'm pretty sure I'd take the stairs) Liverpool
Well Done For Kick To Nuts
Hats off to Rodgers, Henry, Ayre et al. For the past two months I've been sat wincing at a computer screen as relentless druel poured out of my monitor in relation to Suarez's mercenary outburst. And at long last the nicey nice talk and hair tousling came to an end and the club showed it has a decent set of plums on them.
A player that has managed to hold his previous clubs to ransom has had his wrist slapped and sent to the bold corner. And he's done a U turn and declared he wants to stay "for the fans". We all know it's drivel and waffle. But Liverpool fans will welcome Luis Suarez back (not with open arms) and Suarez will shuffle back into the squad like a scolded child. From now on it's this is a partnership of necessity. Liverpool need Suarez at this late stage...And he needs Liverpool. The fact that the World Cup is on the horizon he cannot afford to go huffing and puffing and spitting his dummy out in the reserves.
So there will be no love lost between the two but it will be a functional relationship that will work. It's not an ideal scenario but it is the best we could have hoped for in the recent sh#t storm. It will be similar to Tevez. You don't hear of any west ham, ManU, or Man City fan talking about Tevez with any great fondness. But they appreciate he was a bloody good player and did a lot for them. It will be the same with Liverpool and Suarez going forward.
And the fact that Liverpool are standing firm and given a good swift kick to the nuts instead of pussy-footing around it at last very satisfying.
Suarez Makes A Massive Difference
Bloody brilliant. I've been hiding behind the (figurative) sofa every morning as I open F365 waiting for Suarez's next move following isolation, and if the reports are true then, well, I'm very happy.
I couldn't care less what his reasons for staying are, as long as he gives us one more year. A Liverpool team with Suarez is a team with an extra 10-15 points a season.
We still need to add a quality player to improve the first team, but a front four including Coutinho, Sturridge, Suarez and another of similar ilk should be good enough to get us challenging. With Gerrard and a (finally) fully fit Lucas at the base of midfield, it's only really the calamitous defence that would let us down.
As I've said to friends many times, history shows us that 76 points should be enough for fourth place irrespective of how much quality the other teams have added (it's been as low as 68 in recent years). In the end it may well come down to nicking a few points here and there from the likes of Spurs, Arsenal, United and Co to get us over the line, but if we continue to thrash the weaker teams a la January onwards then we at least give ourselves a chance to do that.
Of course, the season doesn't start until we've got the obligatory 0-0 home draw with Stoke out of the way first.
...I have read/heard from many Liverpool fans that they don't need Luis Suarez and that they would have only been 6/7 points worse off without him. Whilst I was quite surprised to learn this, it got me thinking. Sometimes it isn't just the goals you score, it is who you score them against and in what manner they are scored in.
I decided to look into Luis Suarez's goals that he scored last season. His first of the season came against Manchester City on the 26th August, a game that ended 2-2. Had Liverpool lost this game, it would have been a terrible start and might have knocked their confidence especially as it is one of the teams that they are desperately trying to chase down. His second league goal came in a 1-1 draw at Sunderland, a game that Liverpool really should be winning. Again, had they lost this (something they would have done without Suarez), what mind frame would they have been in going in to their next game.
A goal in the Merseyside derby was shortly after his hat-trick against Norwich, something that would have definitely hit the morale of the team had they lost. Further goals against top teams including a goal at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea to earn his side a draw, a goal at the Emirates that ended in a draw, against Spurs that Liverpool won and that last-minute equaliser against Chelsea in his last competitive game for Liverpool.
So whilst he may have only earned Liverpool an extra seven points, the benefits those points gave the team and how it affected the morale of the team are surely worth more. Add in the number of assists for Suarez and you can not deny that Liverpool really do need him.
Karl (pained me to go on any LFC website as a United fan) Manchester
Anyone else think that the real reason Suarez is staying is because ol' Stewie Downing has left?
That is all!
Sachin, honoury Scouser, Cape Town
Miller: Treating Us Like Sun Readers
I've been reading F365 for eight years. I love you guys. I don't think I would enjoy football as much if I didn't get my coverage from you. Seriously.
But I feel compelled to write in to say that in the eight years that I've been reading F365, there has never been as unnecessary and obvious a column as the one written by Nick Miller today, about how Luis Suarez is lying about staying at Liverpool ("for now") for the fans. I honestly almost feel insulted that Nick felt the need to point that out to F365's readership! We aren't Sun readers, for crying out loud (I hope?)
Also, if someone could please make fun of John Nicholson for being condescending about fans wearing replica kits, when he runs a music-and-football-themed t-shirt company, it would be much appreciated! :-) (Actually, he doesn't anymore; he sold the business last year - Ed)
Oliver (@odziggel) Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
Could it be that Arsene Wenger and Ivan Gazidis are just the best trolls in the entire world? They were never going to sign anyone (as everyone predicted), and now they are whipping thousands of people into a frothing-mouthed fervour! I refuse to be trolled by them, so I am now resigned to our season, and whatever happens, I hope it elicits a change because this is now ridiculous.
John Matrix, AFC
End The Season Now!
With Arsenal having beaten Manchester City 3-1 in a friendly on Saturday they have clearly already achieved their best result of the season. They have 'peaked' so to speak!
So with them proudly sitting at the top of the Premier League, narrowly above Aston Villa on alphabetical order, we should end the season right here right now! Engrave the trophy quickly because with the three stooges (Wenger, Kroenke, Gazidis) running the club, if we allow the season to go on for a single week longer we will find ourselves down the table and (heaven forbid) even below a Brendan Rodgers team!
Speaking of Rodgers...he will sell Suarez to Madrid but not Arsenal. So why don't Madrid buy him and immediately loan him to Arsenal for two years. That way it will save them buying him from Arsenal in two years# time (which would be inevitable), save everyone THAT transfer saga and p*** Brendan Rodgers off to boot! Everyone's a winner!
Chris (one year till the Wilshere to Man Utd stories start) Charteris. Negativetown UK
Spurs Midfield: Not All That
I don't know if this is another of F365's 'agendas' but people seem to be getting a bit carried away with Tottenham's midfield. Let's not forget Dembele, Sandro and Lennon have questionable fitness records (Lennon especially) and Chadli and Paulinho are very much untested in the Premier League. We got awfully excited about Holtby who's been pretty underwhelming so far. Don't forget this is a midfield that was Baled out time and time again last year too.
I'm just saying, maybe we should chill our collective beans a bit no?
Simon (new phone, sorry for typos) CFC
As United flap around like a student in Freshers' week trying to pull before the clubs shut, one prospect for the season does warm the heart: Berbatov and Tarrabt in the same team.
The aesthetic, Berbarotic quality these two ambling around Craven Cottage will be exquisite.
Golden Goal Over?
Apologies if this comes as an abrupt digression from the favoured silly season topics currently dominating the mailbox - but this is something that I have long wanted to put to the mailbox.
Is golden goal dead and buried? If so, why? I personally think it's a fantastic way to end a knock-out match. My understanding is that the key criticism of golden goal was that teams were too terrified to attack during extra time if the golden goal rule applied, which allegedly lead to more penalty shoot-outs (correct me if this wrong). Clearly the problem here is penalties - not golden goal.
The solution? Keep the golden goal and get rid of the penalties. I think penalties get a bad rap and generally speaking they are a exciting way to end a game after 30 minutes of extra time. But I have never been able to understand why extra time cannot continue indefinitely? Why not play forever until a team scores?
I can see what the knee-jerk reaction to this could be. "Don't be so romantic and frivolous - the elite modern game is brutally fast paced and players will collapse and spontaneously combust if required to play for one minute longer that the 120th" - after all, people pity players having to play in hot weather these days (read: Brits wringing their hands over the temperature at summer World Cups held anywhere other than Europe). I think there are a numerous precedents that show this to be rubbish however. All American sports have overtime. Brutal one-on-one tennis matches played in scorching heat can extend indefinitely out to five hours and beyond. Would it really kill footballers to play indefinite golden goal with a trophy at stake? An extra substitute could be given to managers in the 120th minute and perhaps again at the 135th. Would the indefinite scheduling really bother broadcasters who may get a nail-biting World Cup final that plays out for three hours? Given how variable scheduling is handled in tennis and cricket for example, is it so absurd?
More importantly - imagine the spectacle. The game stretches out into the 140th minute. The sunshine of the afternoon kick-off is descending into darkness and rain is starting to poor down. The fans are in a frenzy simply unable to bear the tension any more, knowing it could all be over for better of worse at any moment with one flick of the leather. The game inevitably opens up as the players become more exhausted and desperate. Of course the broader benefit is that less games would even get to extra time if this rule applied. Teams would start the game knowing they could not win without scoring. There is no playing for penalties - there must be a plan to nick a goal. Think about the effect this would have on, for example, every World Cup game that ever ended with penalties. Could the Divine Ponytail have nicked it with a 153rd minute goal in 1994?
Definitely think FIFA should look at it. Who agrees?
Nick (next president of FIFA) Perth, Australia
Are Leeds Fans The Worst?
Luke, Red in Sussex - although they're not a Premier League team, I find Leeds fans unbearable. I've lived in the city my whole life but don't support them thanks to family influences. It's things like their obsession with MUFC that really get to me- after they won that cup tie in 2010, I still meet Leeds fans claiming they're better on the basis of that one result.
I have tried to support them - I've been to Elland Road a few times but it's genuinely the worst matchday experience I've had and as a student at Huddersfield I now consider the Terriers to be my 'local' team.
For the sake of fairness I do know one or two Leeds fans who aren't like the rest- but they're definitely in the minority.
It Ain't Just Arsenal...
Luke, Red in Sussex (when you wash your hands and feet wash your Arse n'all), as an Arsenal fan I feel like I need to write in to defend us against your claim that we are a "bunch of whiny, small minded, paranoid and vocal babies".
Unusually for a defense, I'm going to start by agreeing with you that there are probably a fair few of us that fit that description. The thing is, as I'm sure you know, there are a fair few Liverpool fans who also fit that description. Quite a few Man Utd fans have acted like spoiled brats recently too. In fact, if you take a sample of people somewhere between tens of thousands and several million (something like a football club's fanbase), chances are that there will be some whiny, small minded, paranoid and vocal babies among them.
The internet has been a wonderful platform to share information around the world, allowing me to find out the names and ratings of every film Nicholas Cage has ever been in, or how to work out percentages. Unfortunately quite a lot of people use it as a platform to bitch and moan about whatever it is that seems to be most unfair in their self-centered lives. A disproportionate number it seems.
And find me any internet discussion where an article about a club doesn't bring out 'dozens of comments from keyboard warriors with no grasp of perspective'. It's hardly specific to Arsenal. Perhaps as Liverpool have been labeled as whiny, small minded, paranoid and vocal babies for the last few years you're keen to try and pass the crown on, but it's one we must all share. Our clubs all have the kind of fans that make us facepalm, but the minute you think anyone else is worse than you, you can add 'deluded' to your description of fans.
Ben Ghirardani, North London
Praise For Cornwall (The Man, Not The County)
I would like to take this opportunity to praise a certain writer at F365 towers who always seems to go under the radar. The comments section on his column are generally quite thin and doesn't have streams of knuckleheads arguing over each other. People don't write in the mailbox accusing him of bias or being an employee of Sky. His arguments are well-reasoned and his writing always has a feel of (dare I say) a proper journalist. He has been there for ages and his previews and pieces about the national team is something I always look forward too. He provides a perfect contrast to the more contemporary writers that you possess.
Thank you Mr Cornwall and keep up the good work.
Vinay (It's fun to see all Arsenal fans lose their collective s**t)
Mediawatch Misses Trick
I think Mediawatch missed a trick today when mentioning Martin Lipton's piece about how England are possibly not going to be among the top seeds when the World Cup draw is made in December.
The part I find funny is the fact that this guy is giving out about the fact that England may not be placed as top seeds in a tournament that they haven't yet qualified for. The arogance of it all is too much.
In relation to Oliver Holt's piece about players ALWAYS getting to move when they want out, Steven Gerrard surely has to be mentioned as another example of this not being the case at all. And, as things stand right now, Lewandowski, Coloccini, Tevez to a certain extent (City only sold him eventually on their terms) to name but a few off the top of my head.
John Whelan, LUFC
Every time F365 print a rumour about Willian I start singing 'William, it was really nothing' by The Smiths.
Also, when reading about Razvan Rat I start singing 'Rat in me kitchen' by UB40.
This was made worse when Shakhtar were playing in Europe on telly earlier in the year and they both played.
Saying that, when a story about Miroslav Klose comes up I start singing 'Closer than Close' by Rosie Gaines.
Is it Friday afternoon yet?
Andy Smith (Scunthorpe)
(Thank God Makelele has gone from Chelsea; that was a particularly grating earworm - Ed)