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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Signing Of The Season
Five games into the new season seems like the appropriate for some optimism and knee-jerk reactions...
So who is your signing of the season?
Given a few of big names have yet to shine (Willian, Fellaini, Schurrle to name a few) I'm gonna throw Matthieu Flamini's name into the mix.
Free, knows the club, what was required and another body in the midst of the annual injury crisis.
Any other candidates?
El Bandito Tinto, AFC and Chiapas (Arsene Knows)
I think Ross AFC is correct with his assessment of Giroud. What can also be recently observed is that aside from the swooning fans questioning their sexuality whenever he is on the pitch (I am happily married with two children but still fantasise about smoking a Gauloise and watching Betty Blue with him) Giroud appeals to the styling of his fellow players. In particular it seems as if Jack Wilshere is in total awe of him. And who would blame him? He too has created a side parting/undercut combo that creates a certain je ne c'est.. I don't know what. And, what's more he now runs in a similar chest puffed-out method. Before long I expect all the English players to be putting on French accents and saying 'er' with far more confidence than they do currently.
Giroud is quite the God amongst his fellow players and I too feel that he has aided the loss of Van Persie to the point where he feels a distant memory.
JazGooner (I hate the Dutch. And people who are intolerant)
Backing Jose Over Juan
I see Matt Stanger is the latest to bemoan the lack of Juan Mata in Chelsea's starting line-up. Personally, I think this is a good thing. Not the loss of Mata from the side per se - I'm sure he'll be back. But the truth is, especially in the bigger games, Chelsea have been a soft touch for the last couple of years - the remarkable Champions League win (in which Mata played next to no part) notwithstanding. We've lost our competitive edge. John Terry has become a mute shadow of his former self, Drogba has gone, Lampard has become peripheral and the team has lost its snarling, dislikeable edge.
That translates to losing close games, failing to come back in games where we're behind and occasionally allowing smaller teams to get a result against us. Last year's capitulation to Donetsk and the habitual November collapse are symptoms. We also won only 15 points last season from losing positions, fewer than any of the other large teams (level with Newcastle!). Mourinho's correctly identified this as a weakness in the side and is attempting to instill the right mentality in the side. With the number of young players, that's difficult but also urgent. There's a laxness in much of the side that he's right to address (only really Cole, Ivanovic, Terry, Cech and Oscar are exempt from this criticism) - we currently have lots of excellent players who are less than the sum of their parts. Dropping Luiz and Mata is probably a necessary step on the road to getting this back (and also makes sense of the Eto'o signing) - it's a signal to the whole squad as much as to them. On a tactical note it's also clear that Mourinho intends to play Oscar in the centre and wants Mata to play on the right.
The kick up the a*** to Luiz is also long overdue - he's an excellent player who's been indulged to the extent that he's not improved.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
...Here is another angle for all the "omfg how cuds he not plays mata rofl" brigade. What's the alternative? Not play Oscar? It's easy to be an armchair critic -easier if you have an agenda. The Jose-complex is even more understandable considering that this Mata sh*te usually comes from people who have to deal with small-time Moyes, fourth-place-trophy Wenger or just-ridiculous Rodgers as their own. (Haven't heard anything from Man City fans about this 'issue'. Coincidence? Me thinks not). However understand this. Oscar is top quality. For a high-pressing game that Jose is trying to implement, at this moment, Oscar is better suited than Mata as a number 10. It's simple really.
sagar (haters be hating), Mumbai via Washington DC
Do United Have A Stronger Side?
Paul Little raises the question of United playing either a strongest XI or a weakened one tomorrow night. My questions is - how will we know?
Would the inclusion of Kagawa, Nani, Cleverly, Welbeck, Evans or Giggs make it a 'weakened' team? How about Janujaz, Zaha or Evans who people have been crying out to see given more time?
If anything is clear right now, it is that Moyes has no idea what his strongest team is, for if that was them on Sunday (with the obvious exception of RvP), then we truly are in trouble this season.
Martin Burkitt, concerned MUFC fan, London
Striving For United Optimism
AB MUFC writes - 'We're better off without these deluded glory-hunting soulless fools" and "The reason I want United to fail is because it would siphon off a lot of the chest-thumping, froth-in-the-mouth maniacs'. This is one of the stupidest things I have ever read in my life and you are a complete and total cretin.
AB's stupidity is exacerbated by the fact that he (or she) wants United to 'fail' so that our manager gets sacked after EIGHT GAMES IN CHARGE. What exactly are you if not a froth-in-the-mouth maniac? EIGHT GAMES!!!
Wanting your team to win matches and trophies doesn't make you a glory-hunter, it makes you a normal football supporter. Wanting your team to fail because you don't like the manager after only eight games makes you a total chopper.
For the more rational United fans, don't panic. We still have the squad that finished 11 points clear last season. It's a squad full of champions who until recently were coached by the greatest manager who ever lived, and you don't forget how to be a winner.
City were great on Sunday, but they still lost to Cardiff and almost lost to Stoke. Chelsea don't have a decent centre-forward and their manager won't pick their two best players. Arsenal and Spurs don't have players used to a title race and neither have particularly convincing back-lines either. Liverpool are already faltering after a great start, and have the same problem as Arsenal/Spurs.
We're almost always slow starters, and we've at least got some tricky games out the way. Plus, Ashley Young might get injured or decide to leave or something,
I'm not saying we'll win the title. I'm not even saying that all five of those teams won't finish above us. I'm just saying that writing us off at this point seems a bit premature. See where we're at by the time we play Arsenal on 10th November or Spurs on 1st December - THEN we can panic...
Jonny. MUFC and eternal optimist
Wanting Your Team To Lose? Unacceptable
Does anyone ever believe a mail where the contributor says things like 'I actually wanted us to lose' like AB MUFC (Five games, Jesus Christ on a motorbike) Atlanta, Statesides mail this morning. Don't talk s**te man, no you didn't. Your reasoning is that in losing you'll lose those glory-hunting fans that kick off when you're not winning things? Err, like you you mean?
By wanting your club to lose you are spectacularly missing the point of being a fan, and in expecting failure (you consider fourth failure?) and in getting rid of Moyes, and in bringing in the best manager (the fabled 'Proven Winner') who will win everything effortlessly you become a parody of yourself because you are the deluded glory-hunting soulless fool you want rid of.
I've often wondered what percentage of your readers support teams outside of the Super Sixy Spice Teams at the top and consider mails like AB's one of your Heart-Sinkers, like your League Two fella Mike who I'd imagine considers success being able to put League Two after his name or the chap abroad who follows Exeter, or the guy who wrote in giving a fans perspective of Coventry, I cannot imagine they would EVER want to lose. How do you entertain such pithy self-absorbed thoughts?
Try hearing 'There's been a late goal at Portman Road' and finding your Acca has gone out the window as your team has actually let in 2 goals (Two!) in injury time whilst you also incur the cost of a window in the kitchen door because you've thrown the remote through it as you fall to the ground in a Platoon-style pose making a howl that the dog finds so unnerving he scampers out of the room.
That should be your reaction to losing, if you're a fan anyway. You sound more like a cheerleader, or a hotdog seller, people eat more when they're feeling down.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
View From A Blue
After reading the various mailboxes I realised there was no view from the City perspective so to balance out the opinions. I enjoyed that. Well played.
Gavin MCFC (Having your best player makes a big difference - Silva was missed)
Why 4-4-2? Ask Roy...
Alex, Fife, asks why Hodgson likes 4-4-2 so much. Well, here he is explaining it himself: http://www.uefa.com/trainingground/coaches/video/videoid=537341.html
Essentially, to successfully pull off three in midfield you need two things - skillful central midfielders and either a striker capable of playing without support or wingers who cut inside to great effect.
I'm not necessarily saying he's correct, but it would be fair to observe that the England squad is lacking in both of those areas, at least until the likes of Wilshere, Cleverly, Walcott and Sturridge mature sufficiently.
It's also interesting to note that the mainstream 4-5-1/4-3-3/4-4-2 debate is getting a little tired, given that all three are minor alterations of basically the same system, and the most effective teams know how to transition smoothly between such formations throughout the course of a match.
Shaun Russell, AFC, London
It's Not Just A 4-4-2
The obsession with tactics has hit it' peak, but I'd just like to briefly clarify that 4-4-2 does not necessarily imply 'Two banks of four and two up top'. Tactics are flexible and vary during the match depending on anything from whether the team is attacking, defending, countering, the whims and fancies of individual players etc. 442 can become 4411, or 433, 424, 4321 depending on these factors. Rooney WAS the third man in midfield, and I presume (as I can only do) that playing him 'in the hole' ensures an extra worker, capable of pressing the midfield two AND creating scoring chances, while Welbeck was there to work and hold the ball up first, create chances second. Same with Valencia. No idea about Young though, apart from being a pacey wide man to have on the counter. It seems simple to me, though perhaps I'm being a bit short-sighted? Playing a midfielder like Cleverley is tantamount to saying 'A draw is best we can hope for', and would leave Rooney in isolation up top, cutting off his multi-tasking ability. And for those saying Kagawa behind Rooney - that would, I believe, create a vast abyss in between the midfield two and the front two, due to Fernandinho and Toure running the show and cutting him out of the game. Remember, tactical shape is prone to changing throughout the 90 minutes, so perhaps it's actually the critics who are being archaic and rigid?
Rob (Stark Naked) Patrick
Lesson For Today: Stop Reading Daily Mail
Instead of musing over the intricacies of formations, the pros and cons of 4-4-2 and whether a lone striker is the future of football, I suggest this...
Stop reading the Daily Mail! Especially if you're looking for insightful football analysis. Anyhow, stop reading anyway, it'll melt your brain.
Ian, Ely (using football365 as my info source since 2011)
It's Not Always A Dive Or A Foul
If Amanda Knox is allowed to appeal then so should Premier League Strikers!
It seems this is the season in which a player being knocked over in the box is either a penalty or a dive. I have lost track of the amount of times this season that a player has been tackled and gone over in the box only to hear the commentator, the half-time pundit or the drunk in the bar (sometimes it's hard to discern the true academics of the game between them all) announce that it is either a penalty or a booking for diving.
Now there are two types of tackle. A legal one and an illegal one. In both instances the player being tackled is allowed to question which type of tackle they have received, after all you can get some very hard legal tackles and at the speed of game play I can imagine it is hard for some players to establish which kind of tackle they are on the receiving end of.
There are also blatant dives that warrant a serious card, in my opinion a red card as in the reverse situation the defender is also liable to be given a red card, it's only fair that the striker and defender face the same consequences of serious misconduct in the box.
The point I am making is that simply because a striker has gone over in the box and appealed the tackle does not mean they are diving and deserve a booking. Clean tackles can knock a player clean off their feet and I'm sure being on the receiving end of an Ivanovic tackle is going to feel like an illegal tackle regardless of how cleanly and legally the ball was won.
So far the referees this season have been on the mark with this but are now drawing criticism for not booking players who go to ground in the box. If this lobby continues I'm worried referees will start to feel compelled to issue cards to players who go over from a clean tackle appealing it was a foul.
As a final note: Should this make it into the hallowed Mailbox page I should add that there is an ongoing battle between myself and another reader/writer. We are 1-1 on entries being published although both refuse to believe the others claim...so this if from...
Tom (Flatmate to Saam Serajian the disbeliever) McConnell
Just Like Watching Brazil
'The best World Cup goal of all time was scored by a baldy Scottish guy, and it barely scrapes FIFA top 50 lists.'
This made me spit out my tea. Archie Gemmill's goal was absolutely brilliant, but Bergkamp, Nelinho, Carlos Alberto and Maradona all scored better goals than that in the World Cup.
Just because you dislike fawning over Brazil doesn't give you the right to state something blatantly ridiculous.
Sit down with a cup of tea and relax, think about what you just wrote.
And make me some more tea while you're at it!
Aidan, EFC, Strand (will the new Football Manager cost me my real life job?)
One thing that makes my heart sink more than anything else in football is the wretched 'oo are ya' chant.
It is mildly acceptable when a non-league side goes one up against a league side in a cup game but whenever I hear one Premier League club's fans use it against another it makes me want kick a kitten.
...The last two seasons of Ronaldo at Old Trafford. Whenever he headed a goal, no matter who the commentator was, the inevitable occurred...'Ronaldo, so underrated in the air.' Aaaaaahhh!
Angus, LFC, Reading
...The thing that really makes my heart sink is the appearance of any player wearing gloves.
This will act as a cue for whichever set of chuckle brothers that are in the commentary box to make a snarky comment and peddle their nostalgia about what hard bas**rds everybody used to be because they didn't feel the cold or something. Christ it's tedious.
Fortycoats (coloured football boots still trigger similar nonsense as well) LFC
...Loving all the heart-sinkers suggested so far but amazed no-one's offered this one..
Intelligent midfielder plays pacy forward through on goal with a promising looking slide-rule pass only for an alert keeper to charge of his line and boot it clear
I'm already shouting at the telly "DON'T SAY IT LAWRO, DON'T YOU F*CK1NG WELL SAY IT!!", but needless to say my spirits are inevitably crushed as our glorious co-commentator simply cannot control himself and the dreadful words "the Kkeper had a good starting position" come vomiting out of my TV speakers and my missus has to quickly remove all sharp objects from the living room.
Rob, Bristol Gooner