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
A Theory On Ramsey
But has anybody considered the possibility that (in addition to the not playing Walcott angle) Ramsey was played out of position precisely because he was out of form and the fans were getting on his back?
By putting him out wide, Wenger gives him the ready-made excuse for not being awesome that prevents the fans from giving him too much grief and maybe distracts the player himself from any confidence issues that he may be having. Instead of tearing himself apart with doubt about his ability and form he mentally shrugs and reasons that he's not a right-winger so what does everybody expect. This allows him to play himself back into form.
Wenger's done this for years, playing centre-halves at full-back and centre-mids out wide to allow them to build confidence without really being in the thick of it. It's not new and it could really be a case of 'Wenger [sees his players in training every day and] Knows [them better than you]'
Jim (I don't know them either so at worst it's no less valid a speculation) Essex
This Co-Efficient Malarkey
According to UEFA themselves, Arsenal are the sixth-best performing team in Europe over the last five years. They are only bettered by Barca, Bayern, Real, and yes, Chelsea and Utd. So really no need to worry about Arsenal's performance, is there? The seventh-place side is eight points behind, and aren't even in the Champions League this year (forgoing an automatic four points).
The biggest threats to the English coefficient are the woeful performances of Man City, and the continued disinterest in the Europa League. Maybe it's time Liverpool (17) City (22) and Spurs (24) started contributing eh?
Andre (it's all in the numbers) E
...Disappointing to see Gez Errico in such a rush to jump on the Wenger-baiting bandwagon that he makes up a load of nonsense about Arsenal's lack of European achievement and how the coefficient works. To be this deluded, there has to be agenda behind it.
Arsenal being in the group stages is only down to the achievement of Chelsea and Man Utd? And Liverpool's achievement doesn't count anymore? You'd think that divulging all this information suggests the writer knows what he is talking about, but if Arsenal did not contribute to the coefficient, how come they are seeded 1 in the tournament? As opposed to Man City. And only two teams have appeared in the competition more times in succession than Arsenal, Man Utd and Real Madrid. Without checking every year, or trying to pretend that I know what I am talking about, Gez, I think you will find that Arsenal did not enter every year via the play-offs, they may have even been champions on a couple of occasions.
In the last 15 years Arsenal have only made it to the semis twice? Really, Gez? I must have been suffering some long-lasting hallucination in 2006, then. At one point, I even thought that they might win it.
Most of the Wenger witchunt has been tiresome but to see people going to such lengths, with information that could only be fabricated, it is so wide of the mark, is a bit embarrassing, really.
Gab 1965 (one of the 99% who wishes Wenger was managing their club)
The Turkish Fans' Perspective
Simon CFC asks if unity among Turkish fans is normal when playing foreign teams and the answer is a resounding yes. I am not Turkish but my wife is and I have lived there for several years. I was at the Champions League quarter-final when Fenerbahce won 2-1 and the Chelsea fans were cowering in the corner, and I have been to a couple of derbies. The atmosphere is always immense, bordering on scary, with the prospect of things kicking off never far away (watch the Youtube video of Danny Dyer's football factories, we were at the same game). But Turks are extremely patriotic and nationalistic, completely the opposite to British football fans, and will cheer on even their fiercest rival against a foreign club. Their pride at one of their own teams doing well far overrides their desire to see a rival crash and burn.
Imagine if the result was reversed and Besiktas had beaten Liverpool 8-0 a few years ago. Just picture the gloating Man U fans who would have been provided with ammunition to take the p*** for years to come. Well, my Fenerbahce- and Galatasaray-supporting colleagues could barely look me in the eye the next morning because of the shame another club had brought upon their national game. The Besiktas fans, meanwhile, all came down with mysterious illnesses which prevented them from coming to work that day. However, each and every one of them loves to remind me that Fenerbahce were the first European team to win at Old Trafford, and they all remember Besiktas winning at Chelsea a few years ago. I told them I couldn't care less because my team play in the fourth division, a concept nobody in Turkey can quite grasp.
While writing this I took a phonecall from a Besiktas fans informing me that Fener have had their two-year European ban upheld. He was really sad about it because ultimately it will affect the development of Turkish clubs (and Besiktas may well be handed the same fate tomorrow). The rest of England would be laughing their socks off if Arsenal were banned for match-fixing. Brits simply have a different mentality, the one that causes so much mickey-taking in the mailbox. Only in Britain could a shot that goes out for a throw-in raise the biggest cheer at a football match.
Somebody else in the Mailbox mentioned last night's Arsenal attendance. I also noticed how sparse the crowd was so had a look at the official attendance and, lo and behold, it was a 59,000 sell-out. I can only assume that the people who didn't turn up were all season ticket holders, otherwise the club is playing silly buggers with somebody!
Jamie Bedwell, Antalya via Cheltenhamshire
And In Poland...
I live in Poland, in Krakow to be precise and my first venture into the local football scene was to see Wisla Krakow play at home. I can't remember who it was against, but it was a team they were 'friends' with. I was shocked when I walked into the stadium because it was full of away supporters judging by the colours they were wearing, with only a small section for Wisla supporters. My friend informed me that because they were friends some of the fans wore the other team's colours, hence the huge 'away' support. They even started singing each others chants during the game.
But that's not even the end of it. He also informed me that where they are a friendly with a team, the home fans put on a marquee at the stadium and pay for the away fans' beer, with the favour being returned when they visit their friends
A Whole Barrel-Load Of Liverpool Conclusions
Having watched Liverpool beat Notts County last night I have come to some conclusions of my own doubt there will be 16 though!)
* Last night's game emphasised the importance of having a proper DMF, with both Gerrard and Allen preferring to charge forward, the defence was left exposed for both goals - especially the second - had Lucas been on the pitch, would that have happened?
* Alberto looks a yard off the pace of the English game, a lot of the time when we were attacking he would slow play down, as it was his first game in a very special cup it is to be expected.
* Allen looked like he was enjoying himself charging forward at the defence, and was more able to express himself on the pitch, whilst I still think he is somewhat lightweight and could do with bulking up a bit to go shoulder-to-shoulder with the more physical players, I think we will see more of this side of Allen from now on.
* Kolo Toure has been a revelation for us, slotted straight into the back four and has not looked out of place in the slightest, shown all of his quality in both attacking and defending and will be quality player for us this season, hopefully his injury is not too severe (although I doubt he will be ready for Sunday).
* From one extreme to another, Mignolet's perfect debut to Sissokho being injured after a few minutes, that's not a good sign!
* Wisdom had a bad game, against the bigger more physical players he struggled, but he is not used to handling these sorts of players in the Prem on a regular basis, so I think that the experience will do him good.
* Ibe looks to be a good prospect, although at times I found him incredibly infuriating, at first it was encouraging to see him charge at their defence, to show confidence in his abilities as a football player, but after a while, it's all he seemed to do and it got quite annoying, even when he had passing options on he would still try to pull a Suarez and go past four players but lose it.
* Daniel Sturridge, what can you say about the lad that hasn't been said? he has clearly shown he is up to the task of being Liverpool's main man up front. I was sceptical about Rodgers starting him, I thought Borini should have had a start instead, but as his fitness isn't 100% yet I guess in the long run this will do him wonders.
* Now onto Rodgers. It was clear for everyone to see that he has learned from his mistakes of last season, especially the Oldham game. But for me I think he emphasised that point too much by playing some key players. Whilst I agree with his approach, kill the game off then get the players off to rest, I think he went about it the wrong way. At 2-0 HT we were cruising, for me that was the perfect time to bring Lucas on for Gerrard, this would have allowed him to control the midfield and provide cover for the defence that was definitely needed! It also shows how we needed a second DMF, it Lucas gets injured again we really are in trouble with no other recognised DMF in our team, Allen isn't up to the task.
* If anyone wants to know how to give a half-time pep talk to their players, go to the Notts County dressing room, I don't know what he said but something changed in their team.
* If Notts want to win more games, I think the first thing they need to do is change their goalkeeper, there is no way the Sterling should have scored, and Sturridge's second should never have gone in but for poor keeping, it is easy to see why they haven't won a league game yet.
* Whilst I thoroughly enjoyed Henderson's bursting run and slotting it away, you have to look at the Notts defense, both their centre backs were caught flat-footed, had they been more alert to the possibility of Henderson getting past their midfield man then he wouldn't have gone clean through to score his goal.
If there are any other conclusions that people would like to chip in with please feel free to say so.
* David Moyes will have been very happy watching this game, not because he would have found potential weaknesses in our game, but beause Toure, Sissokho and Allen were all injured, and Gerrard, Agger and Sturridge had to soldier on for two hours of football, hopefully this will not tire them out for Sunday because it promises to be a good game. This game leaves Rodgers in quite the conundrum, with Kolo injured he has Skrtel, Kelly or Wisdom to choose from to partner Agger. After this game I don't think he will fancy Wisdom to go toe-to-toe with arguably the best striker out-and-out in the league, and both Skrtel and Kelly are returning from injury and have yet to play a game for us. On a 'goalfest' sheet I think this game will be ticked yes.
Why Torres Was Booed
A good article today from Nick Miller who asked the question why do players who want out, get cheered by the fans in some cases. I can't really argue with any of the piece but would like to add my thoughts to his question as to why Liverpool fans booed Torres when he left for Chelsea.
I think the main reason for this was down to the fans' pride. When Rooney says he wants to leave Man Utd, it's for reasons such as wanting to be the focal point of a team rather than a sideshow to someone like RVP. Alot of Man Utd fans have shrugged their shoulders at this and said 'Yeah Wayne, whatever'. Likewise, when Ronaldo left, he was joining probably the only team in the world that he would leave Man Utd for. When his departure came, Man Utd were still viewed as one of the top teams in the country and in Europe and so it probably didn't really affect Utd fans too much. There was certainly sadness, but very little anger, if any.
However, when Torres wanted to leave, it was clear that he wanted to play for a team who were at a much higher standard and a team who were capale of winning the league. I can only imagaine that this touched a nerve for Liverpool fans who probably weren't happy with the fact that Torres' train of thought was probably correct.
And what does anyone do when their pride has been damaged slightly or when something has cut too close to the bone for them? They lash out with a 'I don't care what you think anyway' mentality, hence the booing.
John Whelan, Dublin
Mediawatch Wrong On Rooney
Ah yes, the halcyon days of October 2010. A time when young upstart Wayne Rooney tried to hold Manchester Utd over a barrel, and the club shattered the notion of Player Power by flatly refusing to let him leave, vastly increasing their spending on players and cruelly forcing Wayne to accept two Premier League medals and an extra £15mn in wages over the next three years. Yes, he must ROO the day he went toe to toe with Manchester United.
Maybe Mediawatch did dream its version of October 2010.
Jon Gibson LFC (that one was a freebie)
On That Yeovil Thing
What do you think is the worse crime, Yeovil to allow Birmingham a goal to make it 3-3 or not giving the ball back at 1-2?
I'm all for good sportsmanship, but if the referee doesn't blow the whistle then I don't see why teams should have to give the ball back. It would obviously be a nice gesture if they did, but they're trying to win a game of football at the end of the day. To then take the lead, only to 'gift' Birmingham an equaliser is a disgrace, and they deserve to go out.
Larry White's Socks, SAF Stand
A Really Expensive Bus
Aaron (Where's Hernandez when you need him ?) MUFC. Eh you think that Jose has give teams the idea to come to Old Trafford and defend, or 'park the bus'? Oh yes, because no other team has ever tried that before. A minor difference is that Chelsea can do it with millions of pounds worth of talent on the pitch and on the bench! A very expensive bus, if you will.
Game Time? No Thanks
Something has been bugging me recently, and for once it's not my beloved Arsenal or the knuckle-draggers up the road.
It's the emergence of the phrase 'game time'. Where has this come from? I'm really not a fan of these sayings which I'm pretty sure have come from our cousins over the pond. What's next? 'upper 90' instead of 'top corner'? '6 yard zone' instead of '6 yard box'? I could go on, but you get my drift.
All it does is instantly remind me of a perma-tanned Warren Barton offering his two pennies worth in the Fox Soccer Half Time Show Sponsored By Pizza Hut¿, and it makes me shudder every time.
Don't Ever, Ever Go There Again
So after years of reading Mediawatch, I curiously thought to myself that surely the Daily Mail's football site couldn't be that bad so I decided to click on it for the first time today.
I was instantly greeted with the question 'Do you want to dress like Jermain Defoe?' to which my initial reaction was WTF?? The second article I read was an almost sneer that Arsenal bothered fielding a team last night against Fenerbache considering that they have now been thrown out of Europe. What a tactic that would have been from Mr. Wenger.
I got a pain in my head at this stage and quickly retreated back to my comfort zone of F365. They may have stolen one click from me but there will be no more in the future. I am more than happy to let Mediawatch suffer on a daily basis scanning through this tripe in order to bring the best bits to me in a neatly packaged feature. I have found a new level of respect for Mediawatch and wish to simply say, fair play lads!!
John Whelan, LUFC
She's A Keeper
A piece of advice for Mark, FFC.
Marry that woman.
Ciarán (wishing my girlfriend knew who AVB is) Dorney, Dublin
Mata Is Just Rooney With Hair
In response to Mark FFC's comment about Mata shaving his head and wearing a disguise - if he did indeed have a short haircut he would look almost exactly like Wayne Rooney. Which has always confused me as he is often touted as being very good looking - where obviously Rooney er...isn't. Girls? Any explanations for this?