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...
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Pretty, Pretty Good
You may have received this already, but this new Arsenal chant is a gem.
"Cazorla to the left of me, Ozil to the right, here I am stuck in the middle Giroud". This has been circulating my head all day.
Grease, AFC (Wenger as Mr Pink?)
Despite the complete lack of decent business by my own team on transfer deadline day, I really just need to ask one thing which is bewildering me.
What kind of upside-down crazy parallel universe do we live in where Victor Anichebe is worth £6m? Why would any top flight team take a chance on a player with a record of 18 goals in 131 appearances for Everton?
Surely for less than half of that you could pick up a decent Championship striker with a good goal scoring record who wouldn't be as bad as Anichebi has been. This is the sort of calamitous signing made by a Premiership team that is only going one way and that's straight off a cliff!
D Lane, MUFC
Highlight of deadline day? 'Arry rolling down his window to explain how he's signing his mate Kranjcar for the third time, and how 'they' sold him to Ukraine, from where he was signed 10 minutes before the deadline.
He even managed to sneak in the words 'any free signing is a good signing'. Made my day.
Alex (Ozil makes me wet around the edges), LFC
How Long Until...
I'm not one for being overly sensitive in certain situations so I thought I would ask for assistance.
How long is it before :-
A. We can laugh at United and their "normalising"? Can a club be viewed as slipping from their perch so early into the season/after a single transfer deadline?
B. We can legitimately listen to THIS year is our year from the Liverpool fans?
C. Call out The Special One for the ludicrous loaning out of Lukaku? I wonder how many times this season we will hear, upon the latest scuffed shot, "the old (insert Eto'o / Torres accordingly) would have finished that"
D. Kinnear comes out fighting - his retaliatory meltdown could well be the best Newcastle viewing since Keegan's "I'd love it" halcyon days.
E. The reality of having signed a player, admittedly a very, very, very good one, for a position that wasn't a priority merely papers over the cracks of the two positions that Arsenal actually needed cover for sets in. I reckon it'll be around the time the Arsenal back room get their hands on Mesut with a "nothing serious, out for a few days" style injury.
I reckon I should leave it a couple days more, but am happy to follow your guidance.
As a United fan I'm currently going through "the 5 stages of grief "
Denial - " So what if Arsenal got Ozil!? He's never played in the Premier League! Any monkey could get 75 assists in the Spanish League! Their defenses are cabbage!! Felliani is an experienced Premier League player! He's just as good as Ozil! Hello? Are you still there??"
Anger - " We could have had Mourinho and Ozil but instead we're left with Moyes and Felliani!!?? What a f&*%$king joke!! I'm cancelling my Sky Sports subscription right away and spending the money on Netflix. I hear Breaking Bad is pretty good.
Bargaining - " Let's just see how he settles in. We've got Man City coming up and Moyes has a great record against them. Plus Felliani always gets stuck in against that lot. And he can't be any worse than Anderson!"
Depression - "Sir Alex is gone. Scholes is gone. Piers Morgan is happy. Where did it all go wrong?"
Acceptance - "This season was always going to be a learning curve. Granted during this transfer window we've displayed all the dexterity of an elephant peeling an orange but we'll brush ourselves off and move forward. It's not half as bad as being made out. Let's just get to Christmas before casting judgment. It's going to be a great season. The most open for years! Even Liverpool could win it!...Hello? Are you still there? "
Rob Melia ( Ozil. Holy sh*tballs I'm jealous )
Does Ed Woodward read the mailbox? Because he seems to have followed Smyth, MUFC's 'Deadline Day with Ed Woodward just about down to the last letter...
...either that or Smyth, MUFC is Woodward's P.A. and that was his itinerary for the following day.
Funk (Told you it was a quick one), Yorks
Pinning Hopes On Kagawa
Well done to Calum, MUFC, Reading in the mailbox this morning for highlighting something that I've been thinking about since all the shock/horror reactions of Kagawa not playing over the past few weeks. For a new manager taking over at a massive club with some glaring weaknesses, there has to be an emphasis on being solid first, then picking apart the opposition second.
Given the dearth of ability in midfield, Moyes needed three in there to do a job that 2 should be able for, at least from a defensive point of view. If, and of course this is a big "if", Moyes now fields a midfield of Carrick, Fellaini, and Kagawa further forward, then I have to say I'd be quite happy with the balance of abilities in there, even though I would have loved to see Herrera in particular coming in too. Relegate Cleverley, Anderson, Giggs to reserve status which let's be fair, they are well capable of, and it's not too bad. I'd rather that balance than the problem's Spurs might have in keeping very similar players of similar ability happy throughout the season, although obviously, I would prefer one or maybe even two of their individual players over ours.
Of course if Moyes doesn't approach it like that, I'll be disappointed but I suppose I'll have to wait and see if the established Premier League manager might know a bit more about it than me. Hey, even better: using that same reasoning means I can still slate the very much not so established Edwood Ward. As regards transfers overall, let's just see what happens in the next 2 transfer windows. Back in for Herrera? At least that might indicate he was actually a planned transfer instead of a panic buy. And even dear Eddie might learn a few lessons on how these staff redeployments they call "transfers" work!
...Just something on the transfer window and the resulting sh*tfit from United fans who think they should have moved for Ozil.
How can any Manchester United fan in their right mind think Ozil would have made sense? For them I have two words Shinji & Kagawa. United under Ferguson and Moyes have still failed to find a position for him to play. Last time I checked Kagawa are pretty similar players, albeit there's 20 million in the difference, they inhabit similar positions on the football field. Ozil and Kagawa are not centre midfield players, they operate in a position more subtle than that between the midfield and the striker(s). Ozil is not what United need.
Does any fan of a non nouveau riche club think it's wise to spend over 60 million GBP on two players for one position, a position that seemingly belongs to Wayne Rooney at the moment? Wait actually, I just realised it's United, just stick em' out on the wing.
Why Do People Care?
Reading the hammering that Moyes and Woodward are getting this morning for what was supposedly a 'farcical' last day of the transfer window for Man Utd got me thinking about why fans care about the transfer-money side of the game.
We all love the actual football side of it, and I know papers/websites have to fill pages everyday, but who does it really matter to that Man Utd paid 4 million more to get Fellaini now than they would have had to a month ago? Money obviously means nothing to these clubs if they are talking about signing a guy called Herrara (be honest - 90% of us had never heard of him) for over THIRTY. MILLION. POUNDS.
The actual numbers surely mean nothing when this is seen as a reasonable fee for an untested, pretty much unheard of player. The disgusting fees and salaries surely should make us angry, rather than be worn as a badge of honour for some fans who seem to be believe their clubs to be superior and 'better-run' because they spunk obscene amounts of money without a second thought, rather than take the 'dull' (read 'prudent') route seemingly chosen by Man Utd.
Fellaini maybe isn't the 'sexiest' signing Man U could have got but thinking about it he is surely what they need if they're going to have the lightweight - but potentially dynamite - Kagawa behind a Rooney and RVP strike force. (Christ, and we've got Chica and the quietly improving Welbeck too). Man Utd are alright you know.
G. West (hates that we all know the names of chairmen at our clubs anyway), China
Arsenal Need Ozil
In response to Dino Kantardzic ("Arsenal bought a TV when they don't have a fridge") and Pete in the Tuesday morning mailbox (and to all the others out there winging on about Wenger splashing the cash for the attack when we need to worry about the defense): Quite simply, you are wrong.
Clean sheets guarantee draws; goals win you matches. And Arsenal scored one goal or fewer in OVER HALF of their Premier League matches last season. Ozil is not only a very good player, he is in many ways the signing Arsenal most needed, as that statistic illustrates.
I'd say our biggest worry at this point is that Wenger will play Ozil out of position as he does with so many players (e.g. playing Arshavin out wide for his entire career at Arsenal). He loves to buy small, mobile, technically-sound central attackers and then squeeze them in all over the pitch. Please Arsene, play our new signing as a central playmaker, where he is at his best, and where no other Arsenal player is even close to the same level as him.
Now, as for what Pete says our 4 biggest areas of concern in the transfer window were (centre-back, holding midfielder, winger, and striker) I believe we actually have what we need at all of those spots except striker. Not bringing in a 2nd-choice striker is the biggest disappointment of this transfer window. Somehow... somehow, we are stuck with Barn-door Bendtner again, the player with the biggest gap between his talents in his own mind and his talents on the actual pitch in all the Premiership.
Alex Kueny, AFC
To Pete the Gooner
Press 'Ctrl Shift Colon' together, release, and then type a Capital O.....Ö
Let's hope The Armoury have Umlauts in stock and plenty of them.
Pleased With Palace
Really quite pleased with Palace's transfer window, a lot of hard work from everyone at the club has resulted in bringing in a great balance of youth and experience. We have signed some quality young potential on long term deals such as Jack Hunt, Jose Campana and Dwight Gayle as well as some proven performers like Chamakh, Kebe, Jerome, Thomas, Mariappa and Puncheon. They may not be the most exciting signings for anyone but a promoted side but Holloway's strength is creating a team spirit and hopefully a few of these players will be out to prove doubters wrong. Sure, some of them will underperform but we now have a much bigger squad with lots of different options for roughly the price of a Wilf Zaha.
If the Premier League holiday only lasts a season then we have some great youngsters on which to build in the future and players like Chamakh, Puncheon, Jerome and Grandin will either be shed or be signed on reduced deals. Considering our chairmen Steve Parish is new to all of this and has said that 6 months ago we wouldn't even have been able to afford to bring one of these players in I have to say I am impressed. He also found the time to go on the fans radio station and provide updates and information about what was going on.
Just goes to show United fans and Edward Woodward that inexperience in this arena does not necessarily have to mean incompetence, but to be fair, they have had their share of good times so their relative misery does not inspire me to feel much sympathy for them.
West Brom Woe
An unhappy Baggie here. Why oh why oh why oh why on earth did we fail to sign Lukaku back on loan for next season? He has moved to Everton on a season long loan instead. We should have moved heaven and earth to have signed him back the instant it became known he was available. He became vital for us in the second half of last season and was one of the reasons we finished so high. I am absolutely gutted we have not signed him up, especially considering he's gone to Everton instead. I mean, Everton. Hats off if he had gone to Dortmund instead, but... Also, I gather he was keen on coming back. What on earth are Peace, Garlick and Clarke playing at?
We should have concentrated on getting Lukaku back instead of purchasing Anichebe. I am so disappointed by his signing as he will spend half the season injured and I don't consider him an upgrade on Fortune who we let go. I am assuming Fortune was on lower wages. All that needed top happen was for Sessegnon (who I've always rated) to come in and to ship Odemwingie out. Instead of scaring us all with the thought that Shane Long might be moving on (and we really need him as I think he is excellent), they should have been on the blower to Chelsea. I consider the singings of Lugano, Sinclair and Anelka to have been good ones, although this was surely to bolster the squad.
As for recent form, Clarke has started the season with three central midfielders rather than with two; Yacob and Mulumbu. All of a sudden, Morrison is sitting alongside them and it's screwed everything up. Instead of giving and going in nice triangles like last season, this terrible new "shape" has served to confuse everybody. We have nobody in an advanced central position and it's no wonder we haven't scored yet. Not happy with this summer. Clarke will have to earn his money this season and serious questions must be asked as to why targets were not identified earlier.
Also, why are we so reluctant to spend? We finished 8th. 8th! Southampton and Norwich have spent much more. Instead of Anichebe, we should be looking at a higher bracket of player. We should have gone all out get Lukaku back and failing that, we should have gone for Mbokani or someone else that went nuts and scored hatfuls in another European league. I bet there would have been a few strikers from Serie A who would have been available for a few quid. Not happy with the Baggies this summer and transfer window, especially given our hopeless start.
Richard (8th-12th should be expectations now), Cambridge
Positive Thoughts On Newcastle
If we had signed Remy in January, then stayed up in similar fashion and gone out this summer and signed Sissoko, Debuchy, Gouffran and Yanga-Mbiwa, whilst keeping hold of all our first teamers, including those such as Colo and Cabaye who seemed destined to leave... Would you have been relatively happy with that business?
I was incredibly disappointed not to see a winger and additional striker added, but when I consider the business we've done across 2013 so far, I'm relatively content with it. It was the summer of 2012 where we were really let down.
This isn't to say I'm not hugely hacked off with Ashley, Kinnear, Pardew, Wonga and almost everything about the club at the minute, I just think our squad is stronger than a lot of people (including our own fans) give us credit for.
Agreeing With Johnny Nic
Let me start by saying that I really can't stand Guns 'n' Roses. I can pinpoint the precise reason why, too - it's on their abominable cover of Dylan's Knocking on Heaven's Door. Quite why Axel felt the need to add that, "aye, aye aye aye" bullsh*t is frankly beyond me. So is calling yourself Axel, but that's another one for another day.
But - despite being a Liverpool fan - I agree with his stance on United.
In fact, the whole situation rather reminds me of Hodgson's anointment at Liverpool. At the time - shellshocked, deluded and dejected - I convinced myself that he was the right man. Years of experience across a broad spectrum of jobs and some notable achievements. Sure, there was no rock'n'roll about it but at the time, that was absolutely not required nor wanted. We needed a soothing, calming influence on the club, to manage us steadily into new ownership.
Of course, the record books will show he was completely incapable. The man spent more time rubbing his face in the Anfield dug-out than he did anything else, apparently. He brought a soulless, timid "style" to Anfield and demonstrated absolutely zero leadership (foisting responsibility for poor performances onto his players) debilitating the team further in its greatest hour of need.
And worst still was that you could see, in Hodgson's eyes, that he knew he was beat. He knew the job was beyond him. He saw his "reputation" crumbling around him and fought the battle to retain it in front of the cameras, not on the pitch.
I see that same look in Moyes's eyes. I see it in his team selection. I see it in his substitutions. I see it in his transfer dealings.
United fans, take this as a rare moment of solidarity, from one of Europe's great sporting institutions to another. Up with this, you should not put. By all means, want to give him a fair crack of the whip because that's what clubs like ours do. Just be minded that Sir Alex is a one off, not the norm. He didn't deliver success because he was given time; he was given time because he delivered success.
Still, to put this back into perspective - winning 1-0 on Sunday felt like beating United and Everton at the same time. Which was f**king marvellous. So by all means, carry on.
Nick Glover, Scouser in Brum