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 email@example.com
*Mourinho decides to not shake AVB's hand, so the match begins on a negative note.
*A growing Spurs outplay a shapeless Chelsea. Mata watches from the bench.
*Spurs go ahead because Cahill and Terry are Cahill and Terry.
*Mata comes on rather too late to make a real difference/Doesn't come on because a Ramires or Ivanovic have been sent off.
*Chelsea lose, Mourinho blames somebody who isn't him.
Thought For The Day
Marco Reus earns half what Ashley Young does, cost less, and is four years younger.
Who says United don't have money to waste under the Glazers?
Spurs Don't Have To Beat Anyone
I read your big weekend as it's a staple on a Friday morning. It always gives food for thought for the upcoming round of fixtures but I think you've missed the mark on Spurs needing to beat the big guns to achieve their aims. Top 4 is a realistic target, even without players with umlauts, but I don't think you need to beat the big boys to get there.
F365 used to always talk about the top 4 mini league deciding the league positions but that hasn't been relevant for a few seasons now when Rafa Benitez somehow managed to prove that the most wins and hammering the competitor home and away does not win you the league. United barely compete with their peers on the pitch but are ruthless against everyone else whilst Arsenal's 4th place last year was achieved with very poor results against the top 6.
Spurs will want to do well against Chelsea because they want to prove they are on the same level as them, which they are definitely closer to doing each year, but it won't necessarily affect their league position. For me what shows Spurs growth was a BBC match report which said Spurs had strolled to a "routine win". A routine win... for Spurs... when the f*ck did that start to happen?
Uncle Jonesy LFC (Seriously, when?)
Thoughts On Journalism
I loved the article by Andi Thomas ("The Tentacles of CRISIS Tickle Moyes") from yesterday. It is one of my pet hates when football commentators and pundits try to over-emphasise things by completely misunderstanding the true meaning of a word of phrase. I think Jamie Redknapp should literally run through a brick wall for his manager at Sky. If he would gladly do it again then yes, you may continue to use that phrase, Jamie.
I think the main point the article forgets, not to its discredit, is that the "good old days" of journalism never really existed, except in the minds of those journalists. As something which is a direct descendant of word-of-mouth gossip, sensationalising the truth for maximum reader/listener effect is one the key weapons in a journalist/gossip's arsenal; if it's not interesting, no one is going to listen or remember it.
People certainly aren't going to read articles and buy papers for the quality of their writing. One could argue that, if you're reading a tabloid newspaper (and even some of the broadsheets, sadly), you're probably not exactly expecting to find a literary classic. Journalism today is about speed and quantity, rather than quality, summed up perfectly by Sky Sports News' tagline; First, Fast, Now. Bite-size headlines and articles written for the mass-media guzzling public with short attention spans.
Of course, as a business, you give the people what they want, which is what we're getting, but there is an argument to made to suggest that we've been conditioned to accept this style; do we want more of this type of journalism because this is what we've come to expect?
Sports journalism in particular has become an elitist club; you can only play with the big boys if your face fits. If you're in any doubt as to whether this is true, just read through some of the articles about Harry Redknapp from his chums at The Sun, where he is now, shockingly, a columnist. Paul Merson on Soccer Saturday is another prime example - how can someone who has such a poor command of the English language be employed in a role where clear, concise communication is key?
That's not to say all journalism is bad, of course it's not. Unfortunately we really can't expect any better unless someone enforces a change, which is about as likely as Jamie running through that brick wall.
Eyjo, Iceland. Bit of advice, writing in to the mailbox to ask people to stop writing into the mailbox about the definition of madness is in itself the very definition of madness, unless you're asking them to stop writing in about the same thing over and over again, but some people are so ingrained in their beliefs their need to respond to a poor result is almost Pavlovian, (The final whistle being the stimulus provoking the now salivating contributor to click send and experience the rush of endorphins associated with it). 'Insert Manager' OUT! Ahhhhh.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Rob Melia in yesterday afternoon's mailbox raised the heart-sinker of "good footwork for a big man". Another thing that makes my heart sink is when a footballer, over 6' but not by too much, shows more pace than a snail, we will inevitably be told he has "great pace for a big man", as though no tall man is known for being able to run quickly. Indeed, being too tall to be fast has over the years proven a big hindrance to the likes of Linford Christie (6'2 1/2 according to Wikipedia), Asafa Powell (6'3") and Usain Bolt (6'5").
Ed Quoth the Raven, (if I've got this right, Southampton's binary sequence will continue with a 10-0 win) CPFC the Glaziers, Notts
...Hopefully I haven't missed the boat on this one but the thing that really grinds my gears is when a commentator calls a piece of action i.e. 'that was a harsh decision', 'he looked level to me' etc., and then comes the T.V replay. It clearly shows in super slow-motion, high-definition that in fact it was a foul/the player was offside. Does the commentator correct himself?
Does he b*llocks.
The ego that is Andy Gray used to be the main culprit and of course Clive Tyldesley is guilty of this too. Speaking of which, does anyone actually like or rate Tyldesley as a commentator? This is not a rhetorical question. How can someone be so apparently loathed by an audience and still keep their job without any question? See also Lawrenson, Mark.
David (Bring back Barry Davies), Cambridge
...I am enjoying reading the many heart-sinkers in the mailbox but I'm surprised that they have so far focused exclusively on commentators. For me one of the biggest heart sinking moments in football is a misplaced 40yard crossfield pass. The ball flies out of play, possibly shooting 20 feet over the intended recipients head. A terrible pass, poor in execution, a lazy attempt at displaying vision...yet without fail the intended recipient will feel compelled to overtly applaud the passer. Why is this the case- in the history of the game there has never been a single example of a misplaced crossfield pass going unapplauded. I think this is a fact.
Matt AVFC (this heart sinker may be the result of a long standing irrational hatred of the crossfield pass)
...Not sure if you are still running with these but the one that really gets me is when a keeper runs out of his area to head the ball away, cue the commentator saying 'good thinking by the keeper, he's used his head there in more ways than one', every time.
Timmy, Arsenal fan.
...Being from Ireland I have often suffered the misfortune of having to tune in to TV3 to watch Champions League football. There is one particular heartsinker from their commentator (forget his name) that really makes me cringe. Say Arsenal are enjoying a decent spell of possession and are probing around the opposition's box, maybe evening winning a few corners. It's only a matter of time before we hear "Arsenal are asking a lot of questions here". Just stop it please.
On a somewhat related note, the worst thing I have ever heard in my life was also brought to me by this commentator a few years ago. Manchester United were playing away to AC Milan in the Champions League in 2010. Rooney was in top form that season. As soon as the ball hit the net for Rooney's 2nd goal of the night to put United 3-1 up, I was bombarded with "Oh Wayne's world is a great place to be!". I'll never ever forget that.
...My heart sinks whenever the the following three variables inevitably come together on a bi-annual basis:
1. Transfer Window Deadline Day
2. Harry Redknapp
3. And an Open Car Window
Brad, THFC, USA
...You've thought about it, researched it, re read it, spell checked it, changed it, sent it.
Then you sit and wait.
Finally a new mailbox. You open it, read right through to the end.
Your finely crafted letter didn't get in.
The ultimate heart sinker.
How About A Heart Floater?
Mark Lawrenson (I could stop here) making a cringeworthy joke, usually deprecating the commentator he's with, then laughing at himself because of his painful lack of self awareness.
As it's a Friday and we should all be happy, how about a heart... floater? Paul Merson attempting to pronounce even a mildly complicated name and getting laughed at by everyone, and pretty much everything Chris Kamara ever says or does.
Alex G, THFC
Man United Musings
One of the things that is annoying me at the moment about Moyes' activity (inactivity?) in the last transfer window is the way people constantly refer to the fact that United ended up paying £4million more for Fellaini than they would have if they had signed him a few weeks earlier. That is true but am I the only one who thinks that Moyes and the United hierarchy were trying to sign a "Big Name Player" as his first signing to send a signal of intent? Hence the rather undignified pursuit of Cesc. I have no doubt the people who do all the actual transfer dealings were working hard to sign that "Big Name Player" and so left Fellaini (and Baines) on the back burner knowing full well that they both wanted to join United so there was no rush. It unfortunately didn't work out that way and United had to rush through the deal at the last minute and had to leave Baines behind.
I think a 4321/433 system with RVP, Rooney and Kagawa up front as a narrow 3 with Carrick, Fellaini and Cleverly behind them and Evra and Rafael bombing down the wings is the way to go. Rooney and Kagawa would then be able to drift to where the space is and in defensive mode move out to the wings.
Speaking of Rooney, while he is playing well, during the City game I think we saw why Fergie signed RVP and didn't want to build around Rooney as the lone front man. I know the example I am thinking of happened when United were 4 nil down already but it is a perfect example of Rooney for the past few seasons. He just doesn't stay in position when things are going against the team/him. While tracking back is important it is not good to see your lone striker winning a tackle of the edge of his own box, setting up a counter attack, with the ball getting to midfield and.......nothing. Nobody in front of them to pass to/create space/make runs because he was too busy trying to be Superman and doing everyone elses job. This is why Fergie dropped him against Madrid last season, he knew he couldn't trust him to stick to his position/game plan if things weren't going his way. Rooney needs to learn that it isn't the schoolyard anymore, he can't play in every position and still score the winning goal.
I was very interested to read yesterday's mails on the Gerrard problem as it is something that has also come to my attention over the last 2 games in particular. He does not look himself and lacks energy. I wouldn't be surprised if there was a non-football reason behind it, as these have been associated with dips in his form in the past. However, I think there is a solution to the Gerrard issue.
With Coutinho out for a month there is an argument for (temporarily, at least) playing Gerrard in a more attacking role, thereby relieving him of his tracking back duties and given him a chance to get more involved with the front players. A goal or two can end a players dip in form immediately and increase confidence etc.... Liverpool's forthcoming fixtures on paper, at least, do not require two rigid sitting payers, even with the changes in personnel at the back. If we need two sitting players and Henderson and Allen are not deemed defensive enough I think there may even be a case for putting Agger or even Kolo Toure in there with Lucas for a couple of games, while Sadhko finds his feet.
At the very least, I never understand why when Liverpool are searching for a winner, Gerrard does not get released into an attacking role. I have seen City in the last two years use this tactic in the last 30 minutes of a game very successfully with Yaya Toure.
For the record, I am in favour of gradually moving Gerrard into a sitting midfield role, but I think it needs to be gradual and there are games when he can and should be played further forward or giving a licence to go forward from him deep lying position. He should never as was the case against Southampton end up further back than Lucas.
Patrick (hello to Anthony, Kilburn) London
In response to Chris (I really have now (sic) clue) Charteris' quandary as to whether Arsenal's away win streak is ongoing, the answer is thus;
If one is an Arsenal fan - It's on. 11 on the spin baby.
If one is a Tottenham fan - The dream is over.
Hope that helps