The mailbox is very much split between Arsenal fans saying 'f*** you, we got through' and the doom merchants. We also have a mails on Chamakh for Chelsea and...
More on the great Keano debate this afternoon, and who is and who is not bitter and so forth. Plus, a footballer who became a WWE wrestler, and Gaius Julius Caesar...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ignorant Moyes Has No Excuses
I am well prepared to give Moyes time to find his best formation, implement his tactics etc etc.
But he seriously needs to stop saying he is still getting to know his players! It's beginning to seriously p*** me off.
He has been in the job for three months, been on tour with the whole squad, seen them every day in training and not only has he been in the Premier League the last ten seasons he has recruited Ryan Giggs and Phil Neville to work alongside him. Every man and his dog knows pretty much United's strongest 11 bar one or two players.
Tonight is a massive game, he needs to put a strong side out to win and make a statement. Losing I can handle, but don't give me bollocks about not having enough time to get to know the players, how long do you think the new Sunderland manager will be given to 'get to know his players' before the club and fans demand results?
Orts (hoping to see Kagawa, Zaha and Hernandez tonight!) MUFC
Could United Be The Next Liverpool?
I understand that the manager of Manchester United will always be in the spotlight and will be expected to talk to the media, but David Moyes needs to pick his words much more wisely and carry himself with confidence and direction. Anyone who followed SAF would have an impossible job, but Moyes makes things worse because he is more than willing to blame any failure on a variety of external forces colluding against United instead of placing it on himself. Each day reading the headlines there is a new excuse. At first it was tough fixture list for the first five matches (yes computers are biased against United). After the Manchester Derby he complained about how his midfield never got to grips with City's midfield. Isn't the job of a manager to set a line-up in the proper formation and drill them on the proper tactics to lead them to victory or to at least hamper the other team and get a draw? United's loss on Sunday was a reflection of Moyes poor managerial decisions, which are factors he can control. People always use to criticise SAF for not getting the line-up correct, but Ashley (I can't defend or attack) Young, enough said. SAF complained but he won everything he could have, so he earned the right to complain. Moyes just sounds like a manchild not willing to accept the reality that he is a fish out of water.
To make things worse for Moyes, Roberto Martinez has had an excellent start to his managerial career with the Toffees. Everton have yet to lose and overall have looked solid at the back, and have shown they can play attractive possession football very well. United has had a much more difficult schedule so far but Everton have look of a team that is on the up, whereas United have looked quite unadventurous and lacking answers, especially against City and Liverpool. Moyes' Everton was also known for being notoriously slow starters, which may bring relief or hope to United fans. Moyes cannot afford to have a slow start with United, it is not acceptable to be mid-table in November because United's aim for the end of the season is to retain the title, not finish in sixth place just missing out on all European competitions.
I suppose that this is something that United fans should have expected. Remember how much Moyes complained about his shoestring budget at Everton over his tenure. Maybe United should have signed Roberto Martinez. He never complained about his budget and United have him to thank for the signing of Valencia, who never would have been discovered without Martinez. Martinez is also a young and somewhat excitable coach which can help in the transfer market if your team isn't owned by a Shah or Russian oil baron...AVB is a prime example of this over the past transfer period...Martinez was able to sign Lukaku on loan (probably because Mourinho eccentric to his own detriment) the deadline day which will probably help Everton pick up 10 points in the final table if they only had Jelavic up front through January. On the other hand, Moyes was only able to sign his former player, Fellaini, on the transfer deadline day.
If I was a United fan I would be most worried about this. How can one of the world's most prestigious clubs fail to attract any talent when it is sorely needed? A failure to sign new talent in one transfer period will not be the end of the world, but if this persists United can become watered down over the years. The true danger in all of this for United is if the Glazers are patient with the change in management. Moyes was given a six-year contract. Even if he sees out half the contract if he cannot turn around United's forays in the transfer market he could do long-term damage to the class of the club. Could United be the next Liverpool? I pose a question to all the United fans out there: If Man United fail to qualify for Champions League next year should Moyes be given a second year? On a lighter note, what is the next thing Moyes will complain about?
Matt (I'm going to complain if you don't publish this) Patry BCFC
The Cleverley Mediocre-Thon
Is it just me or has the 'Cleverley is mediocre' bandwagon got well out of control? Virtually every mail about Manchester United or England seems to have to include some kind of attack on the lad - the latest being Rob (Stark naked) Patrick telling us that picking him would be tantamount to accepting a draw. Yet, just over a year ago he was being hailed as the saviour and England's Iniesta (honestly!).
Aside from the standard attitude to English footballers - build em up, knock him down - the weird thing about the Cleverley hate is that he's actually the exact kind of midfielder that England fans claim to want - that is, a midfielder who doesn't casually concede possession all the f**king time. Check the footage from his brief cameo on Sunday - didn't lose the ball once, despite receiving it under pressure a number of times. He takes up good positions, receives the ball confidently, passes the ball intelligently, moves again. It's not mind-blowing stuff, but it's what good football is built on.
In comparison with Wilshere (let alone Gerrard and Lampard), last season Cleverley completed his passes more often (90% to 86%), gave the ball away less (1 per 101 mins to 1 per 75) and got it taken off him less (11 times to 23). Sure, his passing isn't as penetrative as Wilshere's, and he doesn't dribble past players too often, but isn't that part of the point? Now, we claim to want to see the national side playing passing football, but give us a choice between someone who uses passes and moves intelligently, and someone who can do the spectacular but gives the ball all constantly, we'll go for the second guy every single time.
Jack (not even a Man Utd fan) S
Don't Ask About Young
United refused to allow journalists to question Moyes on Ashley Young in yesterday's press conference.
Why on earth are they protecting the waste of skin from scrutiny?
Seven Points Is Fine
So I have been reading all the negative comments on Utd since we lost to City on Sunday. I can accept that we were thoroughly beaten on the day by the better side, however what I can't except is the fact that so many people are writing Utd off already. When the fixture list came out I thought to myself I would be happy with eight points from the first five games (considering the managerial change and the tough games), that's two wins, two draws and one loss (presumably to City). The only difference to my prediction is that we lost to Liverpool, whilst it's not the best start we have had, three tough games are out the way and considering our next seven fixtures, the table should read better come November. Everybody is saying Utd will be lucky to make the top four, but this is the same team that won the league convincingly last season, the only player we have lost is Scholes who was a bit-part player last season anyway, and we have added Fellaini and Zaha to our ranks, and Januzaj looks like he could be a player as well.
You don't become a bad team overnight, class will always prevail. While we may not win the league, I guarantee that come the end of the season we will be there or thereabouts!
The Day I Wanted My Team To Lose
In defence of AB, MUFC, I believe it is possible to want your team to lose. I remember walking up to Anfield on New Years Day 2011 with this strange feeling that I've never had before and never had since, in that I really wanted Liverpool to lose.
The reason being? It meant we'd surely be rid of Hodgson, with his manic face rubbing and his turgid 1970's football. It meant that the pain of dragging myself to Anfield with the mother of all hangovers to watch the Wolverhampton horror show a few days earlier may be eased.
I actually walked away disappointed we'd won because it had given him a stay of execution, although thankfully it turned out he didn't last much longer. Just a shame we brought in another relic to replace him, although to be fair Dalglish did keep us up that season (yes, things really did get that bad under Hodgson!!).
On a side note, the fact that AB is calling out glory-hunting Utd supporters when he is from Atlanta smells a bit whiffy to me. If he is genuinely from Atlanta, and not a born and bred Manc in exile, then out of the 92 Football League clubs what made him pick Man U I wonder?
PG, (could Moyes be Man U's Roy Hodgson?) Liverpool
Pellegrini is, basically, f***ing brilliant. He is the anti-thesis of the awful Jose Mourinho and even to some extent Roberto Mancini. He emphasises a team mentality which completely ignores the individual, both from praise and reprisal. One of the biggest failings of the City of the last few years was their inability to extricate their team's performances from the personal interests of their respective employees (see Balotelli, Tevez). In focusing on a team wide mentality it allows him to rotate the team not only without having to fear that the bigger names will kick up a stink but without having to worry about a loss of performance. It also removes any pressure from the individual to perform, where the entire team shoulders the blame for failing to play but at the same time encourages a greater degree of effort. S***, he even has Nasri breaking a sweat.
He encourages fast-flowing, incisive football which can fluctuate from high, hard pressing (see the first half against united) to quick, clinical counter-attacking (Kompany's assist in the first game of the season, Nasri against united). Contrast this with Mancini's slow, building play and Mourinho's pragmatic style and you have football that is actually watchable.
Okay only a few games in and we still aren't convincing, but at least the players smile now.
On Excellent, Excellent Spurs
- Nine games played, one goal conceded. Eight clean sheets ffs! Not sure what's happened to my beloved Tottenham Hotspur but I like this new version very, very much.
- This is the deepest squad I've ever seen us with. My friend asked me why we played such a strong team against Tromsø last Thursday, and I replied that it was because we couldn't really have made it any weaker. We have a squad to deal with pretty much any injury, and to compete for the cups without our league form suffering.
- Fritz Holtby, how glad I am we didn't sell you this summer. Four assists in two starts, and played a big part in the win against Cardiff. He provides good competition for Eriksen, has possibly the most enthusiasm in a player since Rafa VdV, and is a further example of the real quality we can call on outside the first-choice XI.
- Lamela > Willian. Good one Chavski.
- Speaking of whom, feeling pretty confident about Saturday. I bet we're looking forward to it more than they are, and think we've got an excellent chance of getting a result. Could be a big moment in our development as a team.
- I bloody love AVB, the handsome gravel-voiced genius.
Alex G, THFC
P.S. Saying Oscar is a better 10 because he defends from the front better says it all about Mourinho.
...Ok so it may only be five games into the season league wise, but Spurs somehow have the best defensive league record in the land. Admittedly we haven't had the most challenging start to the season, but adding in the Europa League and last night's match against Villa, and we have conceded just one goal in nine matches. This all seems to have gone relatively unnoticed, and of course now I've mentioned it I expect we will now get stuffed by Chelsea but oh well.
The likes of Soldado, Paulinho, Lamela and Eriksen have all been heralded as the names to lift Spurs into the top four this season. And why Bale's goals and attacking potency did indeed need replacing, I can't help but wonder if Lloris, Vertonghen and Dawson may prove to be the key. In seasons past, our defence has been shaky at best, and full of liabilities at worse. But our starting back five looks stronger than it has done in years.
I guess all this talk of our new signings has meant this run of eight clean sheets in nine matches has gone somewhat under the radar, and it made me wonder if there are other successes or failures that have gone unnoticed for whatever reason in the first month of the new season?
Iain, THFC (Daniel Levy should have been United's first signing when SAF and David Gill left)
...P9 W8 D0 L1 F20 A1
It's the hope that kills you...
Adam (expecting to concede a few on Saturday) THFC
The piece of commentary which always sets my teeth on edge comes during European knock-out ties, played over two legs (or a play-off semi-final, if you like, but it's usually Clive Tyldesley who drops this particular clinker during European matches involving English teams)...
Say the first leg, where the English team played at home, ended 1-1. It's 0-0 in the second leg, so currently the English team is going out on away goals. The blasted foreign team scores a goal. Cue Tyldesley, every single time:
"Well, in a funny sort of way, it doesn't really change anything... [English team FC] still have to score..."
In a funny way, Clive, it does change something - if English Team FC do score, the score will be 1-1 and the tie will go to extra-time. Previously, they would have won 1-0 and progressed to the next round.
I realise that my previous sentence basically constitutes a simple explanation of the very basics of football, but it seems that some commentators haven't fully comprehended it yet.
Dan (Also, Tyldesley saying "Ohhhh no!" when English Team FC let in a goal - as if all English football fans want Chelsea to succeed and aren't actually cheering them conceding a goal) Brighton
...It's the World Cup. Brazil are playing. A Brazilian completes a 5 yard pass to a team-mate. The commentator creams himself 'Oooh - what a joy it is to watch the Brazilians play'.
...Whenever a team scores seven in a match, I get that feeling I used to get whenever AVB brought on Jake Livermore, or when my girlfriend suggests watching New Tricks. Heart-sinking.
Because you know at least three of the tabloid subbies will now have written 'Magnificent Seven' in big bold font on their computer, and taken the rest of the night off, praying that the seven-goal drubbing won't turn into an eight-goal one (because what pun is there on eight? 'Gr8 Goals?' hmmm, even a tabloid subbie would have to be desperate to touch that one), or at least that it will turn into a nine0goal one, because then they can just delete 'Magnificent Seven', replace it with '[TEAM] on Cloud Nine', and then go off to hack Miley Cirus' phone or try and get Jamie Oliver to admit he'd advertise McDonald's if Ronald's daughter offered him a blowie or something, I don't know.
Shaun (aware of the decline in this e-mail once I'd made my point, but in my defence, my coffee machine's broken) Livingston
...The one that hits me hard every time - whenever a team that dares to employ zonal marking tactics concedes a goal from a set-piece.
The perfect cue for one of the commentators to pipe up with a 'You know, I've never really liked zonal marking...' before taking the next five minutes to expound on the virtues of man-to-man marking. Viewers are only saved if a more interesting incident happens shortly after said goal.
What makes this worse than all the other heart-sinkers mentioned so far is that this discussion will invariably continue during the half-time/post-match analysis. Hey, let's circle the goalscorer in case no one can pick him out, highlight every defender who isn't breathing down the neck of the goalscorer, and then cross your arms and wisely conclude that 'That's why this system doesn't work!'. At the same time, let's conveniently disregard nine out of the ten corners that didn't result in goals. Absolutely mind-numbing stuff.
Aaron, Singaporean Gooner
...First time mailer, but this got me. The worst piece of repeated commentary has to be Andy Townshend when a striker shoots right at the keeper...
"He almost hit it too well Clive"
...I die a little inside each time.
....Love the 'heart-sinkers'. The one that never fails, to the extent that I can usually say it in time with the commentator, is when a rough challenge goes in and the referee briefly pauses before giving the foul.
'Ginola tackled [pause, whistle]. Unfairly says the referee.'
Every. Freakin'. Time.
On a side note, what about those moments when a commentator says something so utterly weird that you're not sure you even heard it?
One that always sticks in the memory, if only for the way it made two teenage lads crack up at the time, was this decidedly odd effort to be 'down with the kids' by referring to Fatboy Slim's remix Renegade Master from 1998. Can't remember the commentator or player so I'll have to insert likely culprits.
Motson: 'David Batty there...with the ill behaviour, with the ill behaviour.'
Laughed for about three days.
Rob Davies, THFC (I chose Ginola in the first example because he's a bloody DEITY alright?)
Schmoke And A Pancake
Does the Chelsea assistant coach have to say 'for sure' at the start of every sentence just because he is called Steve Holland? Perhaps the same ought to apply to others, e.g. Stephen Ireland repeating 'to be sure, to be sure', Joe Jordan greeting people with a 'salaam' and Alan Brazil kicking off with a
double scotch 'Tudo Bem'?