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...
Even the lesser teams have players like Luis Suarez and Romelu Lukaku so it's all bloody good fun. But mostly the mailbox features United fans being told to grow up...
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This Is Making Us Laugh
If ever there was proof that football is insane.
Crystal Palace have left two of their new signings from the transfer window out of their 25-man squad for the Premier League.
Obviously for football read Ian Holloway and I don't mean 'madcap' insane, but 'idiot' insane.
Is Ozil A Coward?
The more and more stuff I read, the more I don't get this Ozil chap. He's my favorite player, but does he have insecurity issues? Does he believe himself to be inferior to Bale? Cesc is right about him being Madrid's #2. Why not show everybody that you're better? Does he really believe that Ancelotti would bury his career? Even if Carlo hates you, he would be forced to play you if you're better than Bale. Also, is it totally inconceivable to play Bale and Ozil at the same time, even if CR7 doesn't want to play centre? I'm happy he's here now, and I'm happy for the Gunners but I cannot help but question Ozil's character. If he said he doesn't like the city of Madrid or that he always dreamt of playing for Arsenal that would be one thing. But if you're afraid of the bench...you don't belong on the bench and you know it. Just go out there every week and prove it. It's not hard with your abilities.
For Ozil-Giroud, Read Bergkamp-Smith
When Tony Adams wrote his autobiography in his team of best players he ever played with he opted for a strike-force of Bergkamp and Smith.
Tony's tome was written before the signing of arguably the greatest forward Arsenal have ever employed which would explain Henry's absence but not Wrighty's. I can't remember Adams' explanation but I think it was something along the lines of Smith being more of a complete player who was able to bring others into play.
In short Arsenal fans were robbed of ever seeing this duo play together but this season we may see the next best thing.
Ozil is without doubt the most exciting signing we've had since Bergkamp and Giroud is the closest thing we've had to Smith in years. Like Smith we don't kid ourselves that Giroud will ever make us moist in the way Henry was able to or be as prolific as Wrighty but he is a complete striker who does the basics well - add to this the greatest provider we've has since Dennis and well all I can I say is I don't think I ever looked forward to see us play Stoke as much as I currently do.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Fellaini Can Do Everything
I think Andi Thomas' piece on feeling sorry for Marouane Fellaini raises a very interesting question apart from should we feel sorry for him (for my part, I do feel sorry for him - just look at that unibrow). The other question raised is what was he actually bought to do?
Andi asks 'Is he to enforce or to create? To put in a foot or pick out a pass? To charge forward with the ball at his feet, or to trace intricate triangles around defenders?'
My opinion is that he should be doing all of these things. He was bought as a midfield presence to fill the lingering void that so irked Utd fans. The fact that you have to ask should he be putting a foot in or or picking out a pass means that he has the ability to do both, the same way he can enforce, create, dribble, pass and move and score.
I understand that some players are more 'niche' in the way that they play, for example: Antonio Valencia has two attributes 1) The ability to sprint in straight lines and 2) The ability to kick the ball very hard either towards the six-yard box or into the stands. But more realisticly Young is an out-and-out winger, RVP is an out-and-out striker and even further afield we see Pirlo and his masty of the regista position.
Fellaini is not a 'niche' player, he was bought to do a bit of everything and do it to a high level. There are games when he will need to enforce (latter stages of the CL for example) and there are games when he may need to drive forward and create (Cardiff away??). Do NOT pigeon-hole a player who if given time to bed in could become a difference-maker and a real force.
Ciarán (Destiny Sausage) Dorney, Dublin
...Andi Thomas asks the question this morning of Marouane Fellaini 'what is he actually for?' and comes up with a different answer to me. I'll give Andi the benefit of the doubt that he's not a run-of-the-mill fantasy football expert who believe that goals = good player/performance (Kevin Nolan is still playing for West Ham) with the claim 'many of his most effective performances last season came further forward' (please note, I am not claiming that goals aren't effective).
It is certainly true that he was effective in advanced positions for Everton because he posed a much greater threat than last season's Jelavic and every season's Anichebe or probably any other attacker excluding Rooney that Moyes managed during his years at Everton. However, I believe that both Moyes and Fellaini himself repeatedly spoke about his true/natural/eventual position being at defensive midfield, but that Everton's continual striker issues (and failure to replace Tim Cahill's goals) forced Fellaini into an attacking role. A quick Google also throws up numerous stories about Fellaini's blossoming into a fine deeper-lying midfielder and praise for his effectiveness in that role.
Hopefully the situation at Everton should not be the case at United with the supposed goalscoring talents of van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez, Nani, Kagawa etc. The big man will be an added threat at set piece of course but with this purchase the club are hoping for a midfield presence. Someone who will add a bit of bite, intimidate the opposition, and deliver a few swift kicks to scouse shins, as Andi puts it. I hope so anyway. Otherwise our greatest fears are becoming reality and we are transforming into Moyes' Everton, albeit with a bit more gloss, half a billion 'fans', and Robin van Persie. Fingers crossed, eh?
Chris, SAF Stand (and I still think he should Bic his head)
Everything Except Get His Head Waxed
I've seen Fellaini on Sky Sports a lot over the last few days and there is something that is driving me absolutely bonkers.
This man earned probably over 60,000 pounds a week at Everton, drives a flash car, owns a very big house, sports expensive jewellery and clothing, yet, he can't be arsed to pluck or wax that bloody monobrow he has.
Seriously pal, get rid of it.
What Constitutes Success For Moyes?
For those who wonder why many refer to your site as Arsenal365, your headline re RVP says it all. It not only tries to belittle Moyes (current most popular ABU behavior) but also inspires some hope that RVP might just begin wishing he had stayed (the bitter sweet dream of all jilted lovers). It's perfectly understood and let's face it, Gooners had bugger all to base such hopes on in RVP's first year at United .
However, while I admit I haven't done much to keep you reading, that isn't why I write. I desperate to try to force the Moyes knockers into answering this question. 'What has David Moyes to do to be considered a successful replacement to SAF?'.
Johnny Nic has attacked him in three articles since his appointment (in May!) and the leaders of the ABU press Samuels and Powell are already dancing on his grave. It appears to me that no journalist could find a safer subject to take 'he's going to fail' position on given United's domination of the PL in the Fergie era but I've heard none of them say what they consider would be an acceptable performance for anyone following Sir Alex's 26 years at United.
Moyes has already been attacked for a weak start when any serious comparison could only conclude it's actually above average for United. They won the Charity Shield and in the corresponding league games last season, drew with Swansea, lost to Chelsea and beat Liverpool - so status quo - but let's look longer term. In the last seven years United won the PL five times and lost the other two by a point and on GD. Fergie won some sort of trophy on average ever year and won the league on average every other year. So does that mean these guys will consider their view vindicated if United don't win seven trophies and three/four PL titles by 2020?
Most of these detractors consider Moyes a failure at Everton because he only got them in the top six, a few flurries in Europe and no trophies. I personally consider him a success there and wonder what standard they intend to judge Martinez by? But back to Moyes. Course they'll never stick their neck out by setting the performance standard before they judge him but I will. Winning a couple of domestic cups, the league twice and making CL quarter-finals or better four or five times, with one final and/or win in the next seven years would represent a very successful transition from the greatest manager we will ever see and whose record will never come close to being equaled.
Love to know what others think?
Defence Not More Important Than Scoring Goals
Interesting piece from Daniel Storey on the importance of a good defence for struggling teams rather than concentrating on goalscorers. As a defender I enjoyed a clean sheet as much as a high-scoring win and also loved players such as Sami Hyypia who seemed to take pride in the art of defending rather than thinking he needed to prove himself as a midfielder. However, after this point I would take issue with the simplicity of the point the article is making.
Yes, good defences are a huge factor in keeping you up, there's no disputing that, but goals are equally important and to try to argue for one over the other is missing the point of football where you need to win and pick up points. If you can do that 1-0 every week then great, but 4-3 will do just fine.
Daniel makes the point that 'in every season since the Premier League began, the worst defence has been relegated'. Yes, but not the three worst defences and that's where his point falls down. It's happened many times where a better defence has been relegated because they lacked goals. Take QPR last year for example, who conceded less goals than two non-relegated teams and the same as two other teams, including Fulham in 12th position. See also Birmingham in 2011 who conceded less than five teams not relegated including Aston Villa in 9th position. To put this another way, they conceded fewer goals than seven other teams in the league and were still relegated. Sheffield United a few years earlier were relegated despite conceding fewer goals than three other teams who survived, and just one goal more than Spurs up in fifth.
You could also take the opposite view, where the team that scores the most goals nearly always wins the league. Therefore should all teams not concentrate on scoring goals rather than defending? Obviously the answer is that you need a balance of both. If you are poor in either one of these then you are probably in trouble.
Dave, Olten, Switzerland
When Andy, London suggested Atletico Madrid for the new hipster club of choice I was hoping he'd mention the real reason they're so cool. Diego Simeone, part-time up-and-coming manager, part-time psychotic Mafioso assassin? Nope, Arda Turan.
With his low centre of gravity and direct style, Turan has a bit of the Messis about him, and while he's of course not on the same level, his close control, power and eye for a pass make him one of Spanish football's best-kept secrets. He's been good for a while, but his ascent to hipster pin-up status is surely guaranteed now he's ditched his longish hair and alice band and grown the best beard in football. Yes, even better than Adrea Pirlo's. With his thick face furniture and crew cut, he currently looks like he's on day release from prison, but he can mix it up, grow his hair longer so the curls appear and look like Albert Hammond Jr's cool brother.
Anyway, this got me to thinking. In other parts of the world are there Premiership players and teams that hipsters love, or is the Prem too mainstream? Swansea seem the obvious choice, but now Ozil's joined Arsenal, what're the chances thick-rimmed glasses and vintage knitwear-wearing foreigners will start professing their love for the Gunners? Oh, and in terms of players, and therefore beards, Bradley Johnson's is outrageous.
Questions For Dyke?
Nice to see Greg Dyke setting some early targets for the England team. Unfortunately he gets his excuses in even earlier, reaching for that foul-smelling chestnut called 'Not Enough English Players in the Prem'. A few questions for Mr Dyke:
* If a greater number of domestic players equals greater success in international competitions why haven't Switzerland won any World Cups recently?
* How come the Golden Generation (Becks, Cole, Gerard, Lampard, Rio, Rooney) emerged when the Premiership boasted even more genuine world-class international talent than it does now?
* Most of the foreign players in the Premiership are pretty average. If your home-grown talent can't get into a mid-table team ahead of Bryan Ruiz or Victor Anichebe, are they really worth bothering with anyway?
* If these English players are any good, why don't they turn the tables - go to Spain and keep some local Spanish lad out of the Barcelona team?
* How many players do you need for a World Cup Squad anyway?
* Would you rather have 40-odd top quality players to pick from or 350 mediocrities?
If any readers would like to answer these questions on Greg Dyke's behalf, I'd be very interested to hear their thoughts.
English Youngsters Cost Too Much
Interesting mail from Nick Poninski. However I would like to raise an issue with point regarding clubs not taking a punt on lower -eague players. If rumours are to be believed, Liverpool were quoted a fee of £15million for Derby player Will Hughes. On top of this they expected him to be loaned back to them.
Now this lad may well turn out to be a huge star but £15million for a player who has played a handful of games, none of which are at the top level? No Premiership experience let alone Europe or international caps? This is why clubs do not go for lower-division players. Greedy chairman also play their part in England's failure.
Can you imagine a Second Division Spanish, German or Italian club in a similar scenario?
...As mentioned in this morning's mailbox, the notion that England are struggling because there are too many foreigners in the Premier League simply doesn't wash. There are but a handful of English players plying their trade abroad, the overwhelming majority play in England and are simply not very good. If the players were good enough they would force foreign players out of the team and nail down starting berths.
The reason foreign talent is so often preferred is because it provides so much better value. Man City spent the same amount of money on Yaya Toure and David Silva as they did on James Milner and Gareth Barry. And fixing a quota of the number of English players who have to be fielded is only going to drive up the prices of mediocre English talent and ensure that more young English players follow the route of Scott Sinclair. If, say, Chelsea had to field three Englishmen in every fixture they would require back up and rotation for Lampard, Cole and Cahill which would lead to a decent English player getting good game time lower in the league, say, Ross Barkley being signed for a stupidly high price to provide back-up. Then what if Barkley gets injured? Better go buy Jack Colback whatever the price.
Furthermore, does more game time at a top club actually improve a player? Despite starting most games for Man United, few would argue that Danny Welbeck, Phil Jones and Tom Cleverley are of sufficient quality to win the World Cup. Would regular involvement at Man City really turn Jack Rodwell into the creative presence England need in midfield? Or would he in fact be better off playing first team football at Everton and leaving the top roles to Yaya Toure?
Stop 11-year-olds playing on full sized pitches and emphasise technique rather than competitiveness and England will produce better players. Not for 15 years or so though.
After Tom Ince's whining today, I'm starting to wonder whether everyone moaning about there being too many foreigners in the Premier League is more of a problem than the number of foreigners in the Premier League.
Everyone is saying young players have no chance because of all these super-talented foreigners ahead of them. It seems this talk has convinced Tom Ince that is why he is at Blackpool, and it appears it may have frightened him into staying at Blackpool instead of moving to a team in the Prem.
Maybe, if all the English players worked harder to try to get ahead of all these pesky foreigners, then our national team would be better. In fact, if they did that you could argue that foreign players would actually improve the national team. But why work hard when you have your employers already making excuses for your failure.
I appreciate that there are obviously a good chunk of players who already thrive to be the best in this way, but Ince's comments have me worried that other youngsters may have adopted the same defeatist mentality.
Ross, AFC London
Spoiling The Ending
Is anyone else as disappointed with Greg Dyke's comments yesterday as I am?
One of the joys of football is the surprise and unpredictability it gives us. Now I know we're going to win the world cup in 2022 I think it'll take the edge off.
Can I buck the trend and say that I am actually a bit sad that Hansen is retiring. I've always seen him as the headmaster of the pundits. The others on the sofa may fawn over teams and players but if you got Hansen's seal of approval, it meant your team was actually defending well. An approach that has been copied by Simon Cowell no less. Let the others spew guff but I will tell it like it really is. He brings an air of credibility to the sofa and is the perfect straight man to others' jovial style.
Now as much as I like the Nev/Carra Sensible Soccer Show on Sky, it's not what I want on MOTD. I'm normally half-cut and want to see the goals without someone highlighting the top speed of the left-back. Comparing pundits on a BBC highlights show with ones on a Sky subscribed channel with more air-time to fill, is like comparing News-round with CNN.
Having said that, Lawrenson can gladly f*** Off. The last time anything he said was relevant, moustaches were in fashion.
HbY, Sawbo THFC
(The Beeb should make Becks an offer. At least his face is worth tuning in for)