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...
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You Could Eat Your Dinner In A Fancy Restaurant
There I was, sat in the shower fully clothed, water masking the tears rolling down my cheeks as I gargled my way through Sinead O'Connor's (or Prince's, whatever way you look at it) 'Nothing Compares To You'. News had just broken that Cristiano Ronaldo had signed a new contract with Real Madrid.
As I struggled to come to terms with such devastation, I started to think about the good times and how lucky we were to have Ronaldo play here. But then my thought process moved on. Yes United may have received a (then) World Record fee for him, but does that £80m even come close to what we lost out on when he moved on?
203 goals in 203 games for Real Madrid. What if that had been 203 goals in 203 games for Manchester United since 2009? Would Bayern have knocked United out of UCL quarter-finals in 2010? Would Chelsea have won the PL by 1 point? Would City have won the PL on goal difference in 2012? I think we can say with a fair degree of confidence that the answer would be no.
Does what United have (potentially) missed out on over the last 4 years run over £80m worth of talent?
In my most biased and Ronaldo loving opinion I would say yes so if Real Madrid would be so kind as to donate another £80m or so to Manchester United's transfer funds, that would be great.
Kevin Kelly, Co. Armagh, living in Geordieland.
F*ck bringing in bans for diving, time to bring in bans for not celebrating a goal.
Sam, Northern Ireland
And Jonjo takes the piss out of his brother for needing glasses?
It's been too long but here are 16 one liner conclusions about Swansea v Liverpool,
- On the night Swansea probably deserved to win
- Brendan's Rodger's apparent tactic of soaking up pressure after taking the lead is a bad one; it was always destined to fail, I'm just surprised it hasn't happened sooner
- Asides from Skrtel and Sakho, Liverpool's entire team needs to learn how to win headers - simply pitiful
- Victor Moses will be a shrewd acquisition once his match fitness returns
- Jonjo Shelvey's performance was a perfect example of the argument of whether Liverpool should have kept him or were right to sell him
- Another well-taken goal by Sturridge - great value for money but he drifts in and out of games too much
- And a big negative is that he seems to lose interest when he's not playing down the middle up front
- Liverpool badly missed Agger and Johnson tonight
- Sakho looks good and hopefully it was his eagerness to impress that caused him to lose concentration a few times tonight
- I hope it was in jest but Michu really didn't seem to take too well to Sakho's flick around him (expect replay on Soccer AM) - quality!
- Bony also looks a good purchase, and will be a big player for Swansea this season
- Andre Wisdom is a weak link; he's not a bad player, but he's not a right back..
- Where were Liverpool's midfield in the second half - they were bossed around the pitch by Swansea as if they were schoolboys
- Liverpool finally have depth but no game-changers on the bench
- It's quite funny that Swansea were allegedly looking for £25m for Michu - all the while looking like a case of first season syndrome
- Breaking Bad > Liverpool playing, I will never make the same mistake again, probably because I won't get the opportunity, because it's the end..........
Where Be Kelly?
I have no idea why Brendan favours Wisdom over Kelly, he's twice the defender Wisdom is or ever will be. Not having a direct number 2 for Johnson will come to bite us in the bum soon enough, but from what I've seen of Kelly he's a lot better defending, and both aren't amazing going forward. It should be noted that nobody tracked Michu for his goal, I'm not saying Kelly would have, but I'd back him more than Wisdom in that situation.
Sam (Hoping Coutts isn't out for long) LFC, Yorks
As I write this, the Chelsea rejects have just gone ahead 2-1 at Swansea. I hope I'm not the only one becoming disillusioned with the state of the league. The way players are yo-yo-ing between clubs is a farce. Moses, plucked from Wigan, hardly plays for Chelsea, gets loaned out to a rival club (arguably). Same deal with Benny, who was at West Ham, goes to Liverpool, Chelsea buy him to never play him, send him to another rival, Arsenal, then back again, now a free agent. Ba scores loads for Newcastle, flavour of the month - we buy him and he can't make the bench.
Zaha's Palace's best player. ManU buy him, and he sits on their bench and doesn't get on against his former club. We've signed Willian and I can't for the life of me see how we can accommodate all our midfielders without more being sent away on loan or leaving early. We're honestly talking about Mata, who was our best (and the league's best in my opinion) player last year being shunned out the side, FFS. How about Chelsea's policy of having our best strikers play for other clubs? Sturridge was our best striker at Bolton, and Lukaku was our best at West Brom. Let's say he's brilliant for Everton this year and that we beat them on the weekend, finishing two of our million shots. Is it fair that such a top player can hurt our rivals for the title but can't touch us? Makes everything seem soulless.
I think clubs, especially the likes of the top ones, should have to have a limit on how many transfers they make forcing them to see through their investments. It's really becoming a joke, isn't it?
This Probably Wouldn't Work
For my sins I am a huge fan of American Football as well as the real football and there is something we can learn/steal from that game.
Video reviews happen about every 15 seconds in the US game, the stop-start nature of the game making it easier to do, with unsuccessful challenges being penalised with the loss of a time-out.
Time outs aren't just important to the team but critical to the coach. Football doesn't have time outs but it does have substitutions. Substitutions are critical and have a huge value to coaches.
If your player is deemed to have simulated to win a penalty, the team loses one substitution from that game or is carried over to the next PL game. Every penalty awarded could be quickly checked by the 4th and match official there and then. If reversed, a goal kick is awarded and offending player booked.
Player salaries make fines too weak a punishment; a ban is inconvenient but can be overcome with larger and larger squad sizes. The loss of a substitution on top of a ban and a fine makes the manager more interested and more aggressive with his players to stamp it out.
Astute managers will work ways round it but it would make an interesting experiment and the FA and EPL could and should identify more creative ways to punish offenders... And hell, it might well be fun (and mental).
Thanks for reading,
Andy R, Canterbury.
Does Carra Dilute The Neviller?
Just curious to know if anybody else feels having Carragher in MNF this year forces Neville to speak less and this reduces the quality of the show. Have nothing against Carragher, but think Neville is a better pundit and I'm not enjoying the show watching them trying to be diplomatic and agree with one another. Just feels like Carragher is trying too hard to just have an opinion on everything...
The Brits, me included, always complain about bad refs but they are only human.
They make mistakes. But, think of the North Queensland Cowboys who were dumped out of the Rugby League finals due to a ref that can't count to 6!
But, what the hell. It's only rugby league and no-one gives a flying f... errrr...... 'duck' about that.
My point is that English Premier League referees are awesome and we'd love to have some of that professionalism down under.
So quit yo whinging, bi-atch.
Al, Arsenal, Sydney
A Ref's Perspective
I have some sympathy for Atkinson.
As a former ref myself I made the same poor call a few years ago, blowing a foul just as an attack broke free which would have been better off called advantage.
The attack ended in a goal, but only because the defending team stopped running when they heard the whistle go. As you can imagine the striker got pissed at me, not that he necessarily would have scored if not for my whistle going - no -one ever seems to realise that a one on one is not a forgone conclusion yet either, my money is often on the keeper unless its one of the world's best running in. I
Anyway, don't know why I'm bothering writing this in because I learned 2 things:
1. Sometimes its better to keep your whistle away from your mouth for an extra few seconds.
2. No one ever wants to hear they/their team wouldn't necessarily scored had advantage been played. Everyone's a perfect striker in their own minds.
The mistake is with the ref, but to think the goal would definitely been scored if the whistle hadn't gone and stopped the defence/keeper seems to me to be optimistic thinking on the attacker's part.
Point 2 I'd like to make is that I agree re Halsey - refs writing books is bad form and should actually be against their professional code of conduct. I make no specific allegations about Halsey's motivation for doing so - but I don't think he should be allowed the choice of writing a book. It's not that no-one cares, its just that the desire for money and fame/notoriety are negative characteristics for a good ref.
On Goalscoring Opportunities
Quick question for James (Procrastinating since later on), Belfast, who writes that:
'Even though the player scored. That, by definition, is denial of a clear goalscoring opportunity. It can't be any clearer.'
If the definition of a clear goalscoring opportunity is that the player scored, doesn't that mean that all goals ever scored, past, present or future, come from clear goal-scoring opportunities? That sounds like madness.
You yourself mention Theo's one-on-one with the keeper where he failed to score as an example of a non-clear goal scoring opp. But people have scored from very similar situations in the past. Are you saying that had Theo managed to score from that position, we would then, and only then, describe the situation immediately prior to his striking the ball as a clear goal-scoring opportunity?
Surely an opportunity, by definition, doesn't necessarily contain only one particular outcome, rather the possibility of that outcome amongst others. The likelihood of a goal being scored from any given point of a match is down to personal opinion based on the state of play at that time. Had Altidore stopped when the whistle blew, we wouldn't know one way or the other, and it's the precise point when the ref blows the whistle that constitutes an opportunity or otherwise. The fact he happened to score doesn't, as we've seen, prove that it must've been a clear etc etc
Incidentally, I'm about to eat a nice ham, cheese and pickle sandwich. Now some sandwiches come from Cooplands ...
In case you didn't know - Jimmy Hoffa's disappearance is no longer a mystery. Its been (almost) conclusively proven that he was killed by a mobster named Frank Sheeran at the behest of mob boss Russell Bufalino. Sheeran, a close friend of Hoffa, lured him into a house, shot him twice in the back of the head and then left him for a second mafia hit squad to dispose of by taking to a funeral parlour and incinerating/cremating. Sheeran confessed on his death bed to a prosecutor turned writer by the name of Charles Brandt, who put it all in the book "I Heard You Paint Houses". His confession has stood up to fairly rigorous examination.
Martin Scorsese and Robert De Niro are set to bring Sheeran's story to the big screen in the movie, "The Irishman".
I remember a mail a while back which suggested that Swansea's strike partnership of Wilfred Bony and Michu could become known as "Bony M". Lovely stuff (not my words - the words of Shakin' Stevens). It got me thinking - if Wes Hoolahan and Gary Hooper can form a deadly partnership at Norwich, will the combination be come to known as the "Hula-Hoop"? And do the mailboxers have any other suggestions (not necessarily snack-based)?
James (I hope you're reading this Alan) McCormack, EC1