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
Frying Pan, Etc And So On
So Sunderland decided to get rid of their fiery Latin manager, known for his controversial views and strict training regimes, with a good track record in the lower leagues but zero top flight experience, and then wisely replaced him with...
Terry Hall, Switzerland
Moyes > Fergie (On This Thing)
Whoever'd have thought that David Moyes would surpass Fergie (if only in his approach to young players)?
United fans might, possibly, be going overboard about Januzaj, but Moyes, unlike Fergie in his later years, has given Januzaj the opportunity to make United fans excited. Pogba's stated that watching United lose 3-2 to Blackburn as an unused substitute, when Fergie finished the match with Rafael and Park in midfield, was a symbolic moment, when he realised Fergie wouldn't trust him in pressure situations. Between the obviously healthy appreciation of his own talents, and affinity for the press, Pogba clearly doesn't lack for confidence, but his Juve performances have amply justified the balls he showed in walking away on a free transfer to Turin. And most people, were they as good as Pogba, would have probably have done the same, if you'd watched full-backs, wingers, and the reserve team coach who comes out of retirement, all be picked ahead of you.
Januzaj's goals shouldn't disguise a scarily impotent performance (and United's reliance on crosses is now becoming embarrassingly predictable and ineffective), but at least Moyes is showing some balls in giving Januzaj an opportunity.
p.s. Ashley Young was still awful, even when not in the matchday squad.
United Fans right now
Who is the president of USA?
MoNk, Gooner in Vizag, India
Will Graham claims he would be "seriously worried" if his team (Liverpool) were having Man Utd's season... I'm seriously worried about the poor condition of his heart having watched Liverpool's league seasons over the last 25 years...
Are Footballers Role Models?
An awful lot has been made of the fact that Jack Wilshere was seen with a cigarette in his mouth. The press quickly jumped into overreaction hyper drive and loudly condemned his actions. To some he is now a bad role model to any young kids out there. However does this really matter? Does anyone actually believe that kids care one bit what footballers do off the pitch? When I was a kid my favourite player was Tony Adams and it wasn't until I was quite a bit older that I realised he had a string of personal problems. Did it affect the way I saw him? No because my admiration of him was based on the fact that he was a top quality defender (something I hoped one day to be).
Surely the way he has been lambasted by the press is setting a much more damaging example to kids. Whereas Jack had a cigarette which is admittedly stupid and bad for you, he didn't break any laws. The journalists that covered it are far far worse in my opinion. To them it's ok to make an entirely trivial affair personal by calling into question his ability as a parent, WHAT? Also why is nobody vilifying to person who took the picture exactly. Are kids supposed to think its ok for someone to hide in a corner and take pictures of someone without their knowledge or permission? Do you think any kids actually read the tabloid newspapers or look at football websites? I'd wager a lot of them are too busy playing Grand Theft Auto to care about what a 20 year old millionaire is doing with his spare time.
In response to Richard (good result Baggies), Cambridge
Yacob and Mulumbu are the league's best central midfield pairing.....
Comments like this ensure the mailbox only talks about the top 4 or whatever they are called this year
Rory Mc (a realistic palace fan)
England Are Playing Three-Five-F*cking-Two
Thank you Sean, THFC for giving me a fantastic segue! Speaking of "taking a gamble on a 3-5-2" formation, England should do the same! Wait, wait, wait! Hear me out! I know Miss. Winterburn detailed the dire talent pool that is centre halves for England, but with a little bit of fudging it, I think this could work.
Cahill and Jagielka are both obviously starting but who to partner them as the third centre half? Well, I gave this (not a lot of) thought and why not Baines? I sincerely want to hear the opinions of the mailbox. The debate between Cole and Baines at left back can be easily drawn to a close if Baines starts on the left of a back 3 and Cole plays wider as the wing-back. Similarly, I'd start Glen Johnson at right wing-back so that England has two 'attack minded' fullbacks that are more than capable defending if under the pump.
With that out of the way, let's talk about my reasoning for England playing 3-5-2. Firstly, England is not going to win the world cup doing the same shit over again (what was that saying that keeps being attributed to Einstein?). I suggest they go into their two qualifiers, do what they do, then go and practice a new formation in friendlies before throwing caution to the wind in the WC next year. Secondly, most international teams are playing with only one striker these days so with three defenders you can push one up, leave one to mark the striker and keep one spare.
To finish, here is my 22 man squad with subs in brackets:
GK: Who cares (Who cares).
CB: Cahill, Jagielka, Baines (Jones, Caulker and beg Terry to sit on the bench just in case someone needs to come off the bench while 1-0 up against a much better team and throw themselves in front of every shot).
LWB: Cole (Townsend and Baines can move up if needed)
RWB: Johnson (Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain)
CM***: Gerrard, Wilshire, Barkley (Lampard, Milner, Huddleston)
FW: Rooney, Sturridge (Welbeck)
The asterisks at CM are because of this: everyone has always said "Gerrard and Lampard are too similar to play together" but a) this has been shown to be bullshit if you're playing a 3 man midfield and b) if you have two world class players who are 30+ in the same position just play one each half so their stamina isn't an issue. Personally, I'd play the midfield named above for about 60-65 mins, then put Lampard on for Barkley and Milner on for Gerrard.
(Dear MC, I put a bit of effort in to this so I do hope it gets published; I'd offer you sexual favours to ensure this but I don't think I can fulfil them over the internet.)
A quick look at our browsing history tells us that sexual favours very much can be fulfilled on the internet - MC.
Credit For Allardyce
Simon (Spurs were toothless but never deserved to lose 3-0) London says Allardyce deserves no credit because he set his team up to hit Spurs on the break. They score from 2 set pieces, then for the third, hit Spurs on the break. So in summary he set the team up to play a certain way, which they did, in order to win, which they did, but he deserves no credit?
Also, I have discovered an intriguing scoring system which I'll share with you if I may. If you win at the weekend you are a winner, if you lose you are a loser. I noticed that there are some people who think that this achievement is diminished based on where they are in your Winners and Losers column, or God forbid even dismissed as irrelevant if they don't appear at all. People get very upset if their team are not validated by the internet. Personally I would find that column rather tedious if the winners were always winners and vice versa, but if that's what you want from your Winners and Losers you can find a concise version of this in most papers or on football websites under the heading 'Results'.
On a final note, thank you Januzaj. In a week which looks like seeing managers moaning about the FA, and ex-referees criticising current referees, you have at least saved us from an international break of the incessant kvetching from the Moyes out critics , and thus putting most sane people firmly in the Winners section. As much as I'd like to see you in the red and white of the three lions I'd have to recommend you look at Belgium first, not sure we have room for the new Messi.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
I GOT THE BALL REF
Sorry to be the pedantic, swotty kid with the rulebook, but can I just repeat (specifically to Richard from Cambridge) that just because somebody "gets the ball" does not mean that a foul has necessarily been avoided. According to the laws of the game (and I know that people often treat them as some kind of irrelevance), the referee can award a direct free kick or a penalty when a player "tackles an opponent... in a manner considered by the referee to be careless, reckless or using excessive force". This is distinct from striking, pushing or tripping an opponent.
The tackle on Jack Wilshere on Sunday where his standing leg is taken from under him might be a foul, it might not, but it depends whether the referee deemed it to be "careless" or not. I don't think it was "reckless" but force might have been "excessive". This is not to say that it definitely was or was not a foul, but that people are bringing up criteria that are unfit to judge whether a tackle was a foul or not (e.g. throwing their hands up and bellowing "he got the ball!").
This issue surfaced a couple of years ago when Cesc Fabregas was cleaned out by Darren Fletcher in the area after having got the slightest nick on the ball. I know Graham Poll isn't the fount of all knowledge, but he does know the rules of the game better than most non-referees and he said that the referee was perfectly within the law to dismiss Fletcher despite his touch on the ball as his tackle was such that he couldn't avoid taking Fabregas out in his follow-through, thus the tackle was careless. I know this might sound counter-intuitive, but if all you do is listen to the factually incorrect Sky pundits the whole damn time then things that are written down in the laws of the game might come to seem that way.
And before the "hilarious" comeback that he made a mistake once in dishing out too many cards is spouted, - Poll did not ever say that it was in the laws of the game to do so... it was an error, which he admitted.
Here endeth the lesson... Sorry if that was way too dull / late in the day to be published.
Mills, Arsenal, N7
Vaguely On That Subject
I may be a bit late with this and it may be one that Ref365 can answer but why do we never see penalties given when an attacking player is taken out in the moments after shooting? I noticed Wilshere get taken out by Jones (I think) just after he shot wide in the second half. This type of tackle always confuses me. It is a tackle that completely takes out the man after he has shot at goal - yet you never, ever see a penalty given. In the middle of the pitch it is a free-kick and probably a yellow card. You might use the argument that the shot went wide so the ball was out but I've seen countless times when a full-back whacks a clearance out of play only to get scythed down by a striker a split second after and it is 100% a free-kick every time. Why not in the box? Any ideas?
For some reason, I pictured Iago Aspas excitedly looking for Sturridge and Suarez in the dressing room before informing them in an overly enthusiastic voice: "Did you hear about this? They're calling us 'SAS' and they're saying we're an unstoppable force!"
Sturridge and Suarez then proceed to put on their most sympathetic faces before breaking it to their misinformed teammate: "The 'A' in 'SAS' isn't you, Iago. It just stands for 'and'." The duo then walk out, breaking into uncontrollable laughter just after they exit the room. A distraught and heartbroken Aspas is left sobbing in the corner of the dressing room, although he is consoled several hours later by the janitor who's come to lock up the place.
Aaron, Singaporean Gooner
Sorry to be the pedant, but if SAS is Sturridge and Suarez, then Wellbeck, Anderson, Nani and Kagawa would be shortened to WANAK.
John (Big Sam's genius has made me grumpy) Ramsay.