In a Sunday Mailbox which is understandably dominated by Manchester United, there are a few little bits for the rest, specifically Chelsea & a Liverpool Christmas list...
One Mailboxer may have spent lunch in the pub in suggesting Van Persie could go back to Arsenal. Also, some Premier League meh-ing and a fine Acewatch suggestion...
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Footballers: All The Same
Footballers seem to be big kids who never left the playground. Hence the fact that when one footballer gets something new, the next time you watch your team play, the rest of them have got the same. If you were born in the 80s like me, a good example might be a tamagochi - nobody really wanted one, but it was the done thing to look after a Japanese image on an egg key ring.
What I am talking about, of course, is bad tattoos and well-cropped hair. How sheep like has footballing culture become, to allow the rapid uptake of (serious) tattoos on a scale never quite seen before. I started noticing this when Martyn Skrtyl's arms begun to break out in ink rash back in 2007. The experiment quickly become a full sleeve in 2009, and by 2010 both arms had become a full gothic statement. This is a symptom of a wider ailment with players from all teams and leagues doing the same.
It is not the tattoos that bother me, it is just the sheer fact that they aren't that different and it is a completely unoriginal trend. It almost seems forced, like a Tamagochi. David Beckham must be gutted.
Talking of trends, Raul Meireles has always been a guy with a different look (including his tattoos). He too must be gutted then, that his shaved sides with big top hair has been nicked by every Tom Dick and Harry footballer under the sun. Gareth Bale is an obvious end member with a highly defined separation between sides and top. Karim Benzema has a particularly interesting take on the style, with the shaved portion reaching ever further up on the scalp. Yohan Cabaye is sitting in the middle ground - I'd say he's the median (or is it mean) specimen, from which others could be compared.
I suppose it is only slightly irritating that these guys only have the imagination to copy each other, there are worse things in life. However, respect to those that keep it real, such as no fuss Frank, or ahead of the curve Agger.
Vijay, Edinburgh (NUFC - styles were fine until Debuchy arrived!)
Sink Or Swim Time For Spurs
As everyone's noticed, Apurs have been buying players left, right and centre which has everyone applauding their transfer dealings. Even I've been impressed with the type of money spurs having been spending and the players they've bought even though its been really annoying as well (I'm a Liverpool fan) But can spending all this money be good for AVB and his team? Most of you wouldn't hesitate too say yes but I have different opinion, let me break it down for you..
Spurs transfer dealings so far:
Paulinho - £17 million
Roberto Soldado - £26 million
Nacer Chadli - £7 million
Etienne Capoue - £9.6 million
Total = £59.6 million
Take into account Spurs are close to signing Willian and Lamela for a combined fee of £60 million bringing their expenditure too £120 million.
* AVB spoke to press today stating that spurs "are not title challengers yet" meaning Spurs' target for the season is to qualify for the Champions League. Now...£120 million is a lot of money to spend just to qualify for the Champions League when you consider Spurs were one point off Champs League last season and have been challenging for Champs League qualifying for the past few seasons. £120 million for three more points is excessive and puts pressure on the players and the team because everyone's expecting them to challenge for the title never mind qualifying for CL.
* Selling their third top scorer of last season, Clint Dempsey with 12 goals...that's a strange one!
* Replacing Gareth Bale with Willian. Although Willian is a top player, he's no Gareth Bale. Since 2008 until now Willian has scored 21 goals, last season Bale scored 21 goals so you can see just how much Spurs will miss him.
* Spurs top three scorers of last season wont be in the squad. Dempsey (3rd) has already gone, there's been talk of Defoe (2nd) moving club and Soldado has taken his place in the team. And Bale (1st) is off to R. Madrid. Soldado will score goals but Spurs can't just depend on him alone, so who else is going to man up??
* Selling their best player...Gareth Bale!! Spurs look lost without him as shown in the Palace match and games last season that Bale missed. I think they created three half0chances against a Championship defence, I know its' the first game of the season but still you'd expect more from Spurs. £80 million is a crazy amount of money to reject but Bale is the type of player that can't be replaced unless Spurs somehow convince Messi or Ronaldo to sign for them.
While on paper it looks like spurs will have a good season, personally I think they find it difficult to get that Champs League qualify spot. Let the fight for fourth spot begin.
Bale Will Be Phenomenal
As I write this in the news it has been widely reported that Gareth Bale is in 'Advanced Talks' with Real Madrid. So with with that in mind and knowing that young Gareth is more than capable of, and I quote 'doing it on a cold, wet, Tuesday night in [insert unfashionable and thuggish football team here]', then the Welsh whippersnapper will find it an absolute piece of p*** doing the business in La Liga on a warm and balmy night at FC Costa Del Sunshine don't you think?
In all seriousness I think the boy is going to be absolutely spectacular out there and will give 'No Tax' Messi and 'not as good as the first' Ronaldo a run for their money!
Mark 'given up on brackets' LFC
Why Wenger Doesn't Buy
I was just thinking about Wenger's lack of transfer activity, and it struck me that for all these years, he has always believed in promoting and bringing through youth. He now has a core of young British players that he has (sort of) brought through the ranks. These are players he believes in, and wants to push on. So why oust them from the team?
Then I realised that his plan ran deeper. In bringing through the youth, he can influence and mould these players to make Arsenal into exactly the team he has long envisioned: Wenger's masterstroke - a squad of 20 Tomas Rosickys. And it all makes sense. I thank you.
Tom (I see through you Arsene) Gooner
I just wanted to address the opint from Joshua regarding Arsenal's massive decline since the Invincibles' season.
You ask ''Is there any player in Arsenal's team now that would have got into that 'Invincibles' side?'.
You say no, but I disagree.
While the Invincibles were without doubt a magnificent group of players - Vieira, Henry, Gilberto, Campbell, Pires - that league campaign also included
18 appearances for Pascal Cygan, 37 appearaces for Kolo Toure, 29 appearances for Edu.
I would suggest that a case could be made that Mertesacker and Koscielny are both better defenders than Toure and Cygan and Arteta is easily the equal of, if not an improvement on, Edu.
There's probably not a hell of a lot in it between Sagna and Lauren either, to be fair.
I get the point you're making and I'm not arguing with the gist of the letter, our downward spiral is hard to ignore. But there ARE players at Arsenal who could have played for the Invincibles - they just wouldn't have been the stars of the show. Therein lies the crux - today's best players would have been support staff for the Invincibles.
Also, on a separate note, if last season didn't prove it, surely the Invincibles' back five of Lehmann, Lauren, Campbell, Toure and Cole are evidence that Arsene Wenger actually does know how to put toether an effective back line.
Can we just put to bed the notion - which I have read in several places today - that Fenerbahce are a 'strong' team. I live in Turkey and the fans are turning their back in droves because of Fener's poor performances last season and at the beginning of this one. They are a huge club with a massive fervent fanbase who create a tremendous match atmosphere, but on the pitch they are essentially gash. Liverpool dodged a huge bullet last year when they were linked with Moussa Sow for £10 million, and the rest of the team are Premier League rejects, has-beens and never-beens. Galatsasay are currently miles ahead and runaway favourites for the league title, which in a two-horse race is pretty depressing for the whole league - just ask Scottish fans. Fenerbahce would be lower- to mid-table PL club in their current stadium (which would be worth a few points a season), and relegated if they had to play in a quiet English stadium.
So, to Arsenal supporters: Great result, but you were essentially playing Newcastle with mental fans.
Jamie Bedwell (No, getting your fat belly out does not count as mental), Antalya via Cheltenhamshire
Mr. Wenger is going shopping for dinner. Mrs. Wenger has demanded that he spend some money on some quality cheese, a new knife, some amazing bread, and glorious wine. She also wants a new fridge to keep the cheese in, as the old fridge just isn't reliable enough anymore. Out shopping he sees many possibilities, but he simply isn't convinced that they are better than the Waitrose cheese and bottle of Chateau Neuf du Pape he has at home. After six hours' shopping he is bored and knows his wife will be angry and boo him if he returns home empty handed. He finally decides he will buy some excellent quality cheese and the best bread and some awesome wine. He doesn't buy a fridge as he was hoping his ropey old fridge would do the trick until payday. But late in the day, it seems payday is virtually guaranteed a week earlier than expected, and so he is trawling B & Q looking for super fridges made by only the best manufacturers. He is looking at Smeg fridges, he is looking at fridges that appear out of the ground upon voice command, and he is looking at fridges with in-built 3D surround sound television. He breaks the habit of a lifetime and spends all of his money on a fridge with all of these qualities and even spends money on an extended warranty. Once the fridge is purchased and in the back of his car, he realises he forgot to buy the knife. But now it is too late as the knives are all out of stock and the shops are closing. Arsene will have to make do with a few spoons tonight.
Ultimately, Mr. And Mrs. Wengers' meal will nourish him and his wife, and although she will be disappointed with the overall experience, she will put up with him because she loves him.
Tricky Dick (AFC)
So it seems as though Arsenal's transfer inactivity is down to a communication problem. Apparently for some reason Arsene thinks that the transfer window is from August 22nd and lasts for just 12 days.
Did that lot down the road spending £60 million not make him think his information was wrong?
Adonis (We only have 12 fit first-team players for Fulham) Stevenson, AFC
Sod Off Lambert
Fancy being hard done by a referee in a football match! Wah, it's just not fair is it?!!
It's amazing the difference a game makes isn't it? Funny how you thought the ref at the Arsenal/Villa game was excellent but as the Arsenal fans didn't think so you were so smug that you had to literally ram it back down their throats.
I used to like Villa but your level of self-importance and that Villa player applauding the referee after making that appalling decision to dismiss Kos that day made me decide that I want you and your team to fall flat on their faces!
I hate Chavski but it was sweet to see them get those decisions against YOU. Ha, Ha, Ha!
Chris Wrightson, Croydon
Chelsea v Villa Conclusions
* Villa were hugely impressive. It's well documented that their pace in the final third is more suited to away games but this team look so much more assured this season. Benteke, Agbonlahor and Weimann offer a threat on many different fronts. Lowton also stood out when causing Ashley Cole plenty of problems, especially in the first half. They can consider themselves incredibly unfortunate not to gain at least four points from the opening two fixtures. The 3-1 scoreline at the Emirates may not make Arsenal look quite so silly by the season's end.
* If anyone who watched the Chelsea game last night can tell me why Ivanovic didn't get sent off last night I'd appreciate it. Having taken a long look at Benteke, the deliberate elbow should have been a straight red. And it doesn't stop there. A dangerous high boot ten minutes later should have been enough for him to go as well. And that's not to mention a couple more cynical fouls later on. It was a physical game, sure, but these were fouls - and blatant ones at that.
Ivanovic's rough-housing tactics were so evident that even Brad Guzan could see it unfolding at the other side of the pitch, and he duly got booked for his remonstrations after the match. As an aside, Guzan's technique for long distribution is shaky at best. He reminds me of a toddler attempting to kick the ball, with his feet tied together.
* While Ivanovic shouldn't have been on the pitch when he scored, I don't think it would have changed much. Lampard's delivery was so good that four or five Chelsea players could have polished it off.
* As far as I could tell, the impressive Benteke got booked for being kicked in the face. If the booking was for dissent then it certainly wasn't animated or aggressive.
* In the first half, Mata drew one of the biggest cheers of the night as he trapped a long ball dead with two players around him. It was magnificent.
* Eden Hazard has every right to be frustrated with the opening two fixtures. Free kicks, corners and penalties have been shifted across to King Frank. Having scored a couple of penalties in pre-season, Hazard should be next in line for spot-kick duties.
* Another man potentially disillusioned under Mourinho is Lukaku. Having played so solidly in pre-season and from the bench against Hull on Sunday he could only make the bench behind Demba Ba. Perhaps he's being saved for Old Trafford having scored a hat-trick against them last season but few would be surprised to see Torres leading the line next Monday. With Mourinho insistent on bringing another striker in, Lukaku must wonder what he has to do to prove his worth.
Chris Henderson, BRFC
Player Of The Season?
Are people confused with how long the season has been going on for?
In the mailbox this morning you have someone asking what the most controversial incident of the season so far has been, and another stating that Aaron Ramsey has been Arsenal's best player this season.
This was after Sky Sports News last night announcing 'Chelsea stormed to the top of table opening up a three-point lead'.
Aren't we all getting ahead of ourselves, do Sky really need to point out the chasm that is a three-point lead when they have played a game more than everyone else bar Villa, 7/8 other teams all have a chance to oust Chelsea from that towering height once they play their next game.
It's a bit soon to start handing out awards isn't it? Just out of interest, who is the player of the season, I'm guessing it's a one-horse race, Van Persie, helped by Bale and Suarez having a stinker of a season so far.
Joehoover (LFC, London)
You Couldn't Not Celebrate The Villa Goal
Love the sentiment to Niall, Washington DC's email. It's much better when players celebrate goals against former teams rather than that weird no celebration, I-didn't-mean-it thing. Not sure he chose the best example though. Did you see the goal? Was he a celebrating a goal for Atletico against Barca or celebrating the fact that he had just scored an absolutely wonderful goal. I bet the Barca fans celebrated it too. Wouldn't have mattered if he'd scored it against his wife/mum/kids he had to celebrate that (Like Paolo Di Canio's one leg behind the other volley thing in training). That peach was, to betray the English language a little, clearly un-not-celebratable.
Adam 'Go on, Google it' Beck
Football: An Education
I would like to thank football for expanding my vocabulary. Before this week I didn't know what the word 'derisory' meant, but now I see it in the footie gossip pages numerous times everyday. I have even started using it in my everyday speech. Just this morning I told my wife that my portion of bacon was 'derisory'. She looked at me blankly and said "thank you very much, it is pretty good if I do say so myself". I didn't correct her on her mistake, but thought to myself 'football gossip columns really are an education'.
Tom (ridiculously small)
I love Mediawatch, it is by far my favourite part of your website. The piece today however commited the cardinal sin that it has been tearing into the redtops for the entire summer. On justifying Olivier Giroud's ability in response to John Cross' criticism it referred to his eight goals in pre-season. However MediaWatch had repeatedly asked these guys for three months to stop talking about pre-season friendlies as barometers of anything as they mean nothing. Do they suddenly matter now the season has started?