If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What's Wrong With Optimism?
I keep reading mails questioning the optimism of Arsenal fans in particular and I was just wondering what is everybody's problem exactly? Ok yes Arsenal haven't won a trophy for a long time now and yes we have gotten a bit over excited with the signing of Ozil and the great start to the season, but does that deserve such vitriol from everybody?
What is it about us British that whenever someone is happy for a change we have to immediately shoot them down. You're top of the table but obviously that wont last and you just wont win anything anyway so shut up ner ner ner ner ner. This might end up being the case, but what if it isn't? What if Arsenal maintain their form and mount a serious title challenge? What if they win the F.A. Cup or the League Cup? Can't we at least just be happy for once please? Can't you just let us have this moment, why do you want us to be so miserable?
Andrew (Never mailed before, but you need to answer all my questions)
The Difference Between England And Clubs
Finding it interesting to read and listen to comments about how Utd's draw in Donetsk last night was actually a good result. The performance wasn't the greatest but, as has been pointed out by many people, they went to a tricky place yet didn't lose. A point's a point. I happen to agree and think they did well.
Now...let's imagine for a moment England had to play an important game in Ukraine and despite playing poorly, managed to earn a point. How would fans and the media react to them playing poorly yet not losing !? Sorry? you say that happened and everyone lost the collective sh*t about England lacking quality and basically being a bit rubbish?
Why is it fans view England games so negatively yet, those same same fans are often pragmatic when it comes to their club side?
Neil (Manager Flatmate = Leonardo. Imagine the sorts he'd bring home with him?) Surrey
Hart The Scapegoat
It is astounding that Joe Hart is being made the scape goat for what was an extraordinary display of football of the highest caliber by Munich. Yes we did make some poor defensive errors. I don't see Clichy hanging from the yard arm this morning just Joe. Munich are an exceptional side. The off the ball movement which you cannot see on the TV was wonderful and they hunt in packs. We at the moment may have the squad but we do not have the experience or the understanding that Munich have. Joe is being hung out to dry by the press. Shut up Gary Neville your bias shows through yet again just as it did through the last 3 months of the premier league last year. Yes your eulogy about the City performance in the Derby was noted but what you should have been saying is United were woeful. Get off Joe's back.
Do I care if Joe ever plays for our useless international team Absolutely not. We are dreadful. Every time he plays he runs the risk of being injured. So if all you moaning whiners want Foster go get him because for sure when he makes his first mistake he will be hung out to dry. Do we want Joe as our goalkeeper every day of the week.
Souness was last night the only voice of reason.
Bayern Not 'Too Good'
I have to completely disagree with Nick Miller's conclusion about City against Bayern. Throwing up your hands because Bayern is just simply too good is the same defeatist BS that we always heard from people about Barcelona, and it's going to lead to people being equally sick of hearing about them.
It's not the case that Bayern were simply too good for City. Pellegrini set up a side that was flat, and had two strikers who didn't help out defensively at all against a side with 5 in midfield. He simply lost the tactical battle straight out. The individual errors were silly, but that's inexcusable for a side with as much talent as City has.
Pep's Bayern, just like his Barcelona, are only too good if you play right into their hands. A good manager wouldn't do that.
City's Kids Won't Play In The First Team
Interesting mail from Gavin MCFC regarding Man City's youth team thrashing Bayern's 6-0. Unfortunately though I found this email thoroughly sad. Not because I'm an arch Bayern fan but because it seems something of a footballing tragedy that not one of this obviously very talented, mostly English, team will get the chance to become a first team regular at Man City. The next Lionel Messi might be in that side, but that's irrelevant, he won't ever be given enough of an opportunity to prove it when City can just buy an established, but possibly worse, player for £30million.
People who say that the overuse of foreign players by certain top clubs (mainly City and Chelsea) can stunt the England team are often derided as having some insular, anti-foreign agenda but is there not some level of truth in it? This great City youth team are simply not going to be given a chance at City whereas if they happened to be born in Bavaria or Catalonia they would potentially go on to be world class players, clearly benefitting the German and Spanish national sides in the process. Suppose that Barcelona and Bayern had the same 'buy good-but-not-great players rather than give our youngsters a chance' mentality that the likes of Man City have? The Spanish and German national sides would potentially be without the likes of Iniesta, Xavi, Müller, Lahm, Schweinsteiger etc.
Man City's 'throw money at it' philosophy is clearly not working as they would have hoped. I'm very much aware that Barca and Bayern also spend a shedload of money on their teams, but the fact that City were utterly outclassed last night by a Bayern team that started with several players that had come through their youth system should be a sign that giving a chance to youngsters can work spectacularly well. Barcelona, the most successful and lauded team of the past 20 years, would be another rather good example that you don't necessarily have to spend tens of millions on every position, something that clearing isn't working wonders for City given their stuttering start in the Premier League and Champions League. There's nothing in the water in Munich and Barcelona that creates top class players that isn't in Manchester also.
Matt, Bognor Regis
A Good Result For A Small Club?
Not trying to start a war here, but I can't quite believe that a number of United's fans writing in are actually happy with that performance yesterday.
The game I was watching last night displayed a United side that was completely shorn of creativity, attacking nous and perhaps more worrying - A lack of belief from the players and a lack of ambition from Moyes. RVP was the only player that seemed intent on winning the match, and even he must have been disappointed by the lack of attacking intent around him - Fellaini was deployed as an advanced No. 10, with the role of winning headers and long balls. While Carrick and Cleverley offered little going forward and was mostly working on the defensive side of the game.
Midway through the game, one of my mates mentioned the irony that United are playing nothing like a top seed of a group, which is quite true. I hear that Ferguson would be happy with a point away at Shahktar, but that is really besides the point. United considers (& markets ) themselves to be among the biggest European clubs in the world - Bayern, Barcelona, Madrid - but you just won't see any of these clubs looking happy with a draw in the group stage. While nicking a draw here and there may lead to qualification from the group stages, we're always more likely to getting found out when in the knock-out stages.
Yes, a draw is a good result - Especially in UCL group stages where a draw denies competitors of 3 points - but what I'm really disappointed with is how Moyes went into the game with that lack of ambition. When you look at United's starting midfield last night; More than half of the midfield were filled with players that generally contributes more defensively than attacking. Contrast this to an arsenal midfield (when fit) who contributes offensively; Ozil, Ramsay, Rosicky, Cazorla, Walcott and to a lesser extent, Wilshere - It's not surprising that United are finding it hard to score goals from open play.
Point is, Manchester United as a big club, thrives on the culture and expectation to "win every single game". The lauded "Fear Factor" of a big team really comes with the innate ambition to win every single game they play, and that ruthlessness of Mourinho's early Chelsea, Wenger's invincibles, United's treble team fully epitomises that.
If Moyes is truly looking to have United create more chances and start winning their games, perhaps he should show more ambition and start playing naturally attacking players instead.
In the midst of all the Moyes misery (Moyesry?) around Old Trafford at the moment one thing should be a comfort to all their glum and dejected fans: United are actually playing well in Europe at the moment. Like, really well.
It's difficult to explain why this is exactly is. Perhaps Moyes' defensive, containing tactics suit the European competition better or maybe the players feel less under the microscope than in the domestic league. Whatever the reason, United have actually played some decent, free flowing football in Europe this season and, as a non-United fan, I've been impressed by the way they transition from defence into counter-attack much quicker and with much more aggressivity (thank you José) than in the league.
Which leads me to my point (I know, get on with it!) - I think United will do very well in Europe this season. They might, whisper it, even go on and win the bloody thing. It's definitely got that feeling about it. The same feeling some people had when Liverpool seemed unstoppable in 2005 or when Chelsea's name seemed pre-etched on the trophy even in the semi-final against Barcelona. United are playing the same brand of containing, defensive minded tactics as both Liverpool and Chelsea and when you take into consideration Moyes' statement that they won't win the Champions League it only starts to feel like another reason why they just might. Destiny can be a fickle bitch like that sometimes!
I wonder would United fans be satisfied with a CL semi-final/win but a mid-table finish?
(Fully expect this mail to be deservedly quoted back when United go out in the Knockout Stage!)
Liam - MUFC - Brisbane complained about Ashley Young being left on the bench.... Yikes
Ricky P, London
Liam - MUFC - Brisbane
Apart from Moyes being to attractive football what King Herod was to child-minding, there's a very simple reason why United aren't particularly creative at the moment: Vidic. Vidic is absolutely central to United, as a defender, leader, and organiser, and looks to be back to something like his pre-injury best. However, he's long since lost what pace he had, and (much like Terry at Chelsea), therefore forces United to play deeper. This was avoided earlier in his career partly because he was quicker (though still never had any real recovery pace), partly because the defence and midfield were generally better than they are now, and so United had more of the ball, and partly because he had Ferdinand, Evra and Brown alongside him, all of whom were rapid c.2008/9. With Ferdinand and Evra significantly slower, and Rafael, though quick, more attacking than any full-back United had in the Ronaldo team, United are therefore very, very vulnerable on the break. Hence how they were picked off by City in the 6-1, in the schooling by Bilbao, and (albeit earlier) in the 4-1 defeat to Benitez' Liverpool.
United are therefore forced to play ten or twenty yards deeper than they were five years ago, which firstly inhibits them as losing the ball in their own half is more dangerous than losing it in the oppositions, and secondly because what creative players they have are trying to create from much deeper, and without the players to hit on the break. Of Fergie and Moyes' preferred 11, Rooney and van Persie don't have real pace, and Young and Valencia can run fast, but get confused by the round thing at their feet. So United are relatively impotent on the break, but don't have the resources to securely play further up the pitch against high level opposition.
This was particularly obvious against Shakhtar, because they have Douglas Costa (remember when United signed Valencia and Obertan instead of him? Inspired idea), Taison, and Alex Teixeira, all of whom are vaporous. But the problem is hard-wired into United's squad, and until a replacement for Ferdinand is found (and cudos to Moyes for pushing Smalling, he was bought to replace Rio), United will remain uncreative and unthreatening.
'The Great Robert Jones'
While I can't help but admire an attempt to quote Blackadder at every possible opportunity, I have to object to the Mediawatch dismissing of the great Robert Jones' Liverpool career. The man was ten (exaggeration) times the player Gary Neville ever was and would, legend states, still be playing for England now if not for a series of unlucky injuries. No Liverpool fan over the age of 30 will ever forget THAT debut - when he marked a teenage Ryan Giggs (the immense winger version, not the current incarnation) out of the game in front of the TV cameras.
Shame on ye all.
On Arsenal And Optimism
Nick Miller has once again written an article warning Arsenal fans about our apparent over positivity this season after what he terms six games. Now, I've had issues with some of what he's written about Arsenal being unnecessarily negative but never felt the need to actually write in and respond.
First things first, this run of form by Arsenal is at least 6 months going. We've kept churning out wins for what seems like an age with this team . so Mr Miller, we're not knee jerking, you are because we've lost just one game since March.
My next point is this, if as an Arsenal fan, I can't enjoy this, what's the f*cking point of supporting a club?
Dondeon (I enjoy it when Flamini commits a foul)
Wazzing On Some Chips
Not to spoil the mood for fellow Arsenal fans, but for the equivalent fixtures from last year's Premier League (home games against Spurs, Stoke, Aston Villa + away games against Fulham, Sunderland and Swansea City), Arsenal won all 6 of them, picking up 18 out of 18 points. So we've already dropped 3 points more than we did last season for the same fixtures!
Of course, the momentum is very different this year vs. last year, but just making a point to keep calm, and keep winning. It's too early to hyping up ourselves as title challengers.
Zulfi Shah, Berkeley, California
Who's That Guy?
This might be slightly out of context bearing in mind its all Manchestah today but I've been meaning to ask this question of Sundlund fans all week. Does anyone know personally that slightly chubby bloke with the glasses and spikey hair that pouted and shrugged at Paolo Di Canio when he was doing his latino sign language/dance thing at his last game for Sunderland? You know, the one that gets replayed every single time there is any mention of Sunderland or even football for that matter? Anyway, I am curious to know whether he is delighted with his fame or whether he is embarrassed. Is he even a Sunderland fan? Was he actually not even bothered about what happened to Di Canio (even though he is now personally to blame for his sacking it would seem)? Does he get teased or congratulated like a hero for his powerful shrug?
I wonder how many more times that footage will be played before the end of the season (when there will DEFINITELY be a montage involving him).
JazGooner (And why did Di Canio make a sign that was implying he was pregnant?)
Players Going To Sh*t
To answer an excellent question by Lindsay, Melbourne... Let me introduce you to this left-back named Paul Konchesky.
He scored an absolute belter for West Ham against Liverpool in FA Cup Final 2006. He brought Fulham all the way to UEFA Cup Final.
However, after his blockbuster move to Anfield, Liverpool.... well, he's just simply turned to sh*t.
Vincentius, Newcastle upon Tyne
...Sure you'll get his a lot in response to Lindsay, Melbourne's email but the most dramatic I can think of is the dismantling of the then probable best right back in the world Maicon by Bale.
Never the same player after those two games.
Lee, (annoying Napoli fans scared my dog on Tuesday night!!) Islington
...In reply to Lindsay's missive this morning regarding Joe Hart and Pirlo's penalty there is one game and one individual that springs to mind.
Old Trafford, October 2004. A game infamous for the end of Arsenal's unbeaten league run. It was also where the Neville brothers exacted a terrible targeted attack on young Jose. Every time he was near the ball he was clattered, barged, kicked and fouled while the ref' looked on in admiration at the Nevilles' bare faced cheek and ignorance of the rules. By the end of the game Arsenal had lost, an era was over and Reyes was a shadow. He never recovered.
Tom (I'm sure United fans have a different perspective on this - but they're wrong) Cheshire Gooner