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Some Palace Thoughts
First of all, congratulations to Fulham. Likeable team with a lovely manager - if there's one positive from last night I'm glad we didn't get Big Martin the sack. Decent couple of goals too; although Dougie Freedman scored a similar-ish strike to Kasami's in a long ago victory over Sunderland...so, y'know, been there, seen that.
Apparently Holloway is facing talks about his future, and I for one dearly hope he goes. I'm sure if/when he does get the sack we shall be subjected to much clucking in the media about the dearth of loyalty in football, how Ian over-achieved in winning promotion and if anything, Garth, he's done too well and that's come to cost him...etc etc.
This frankly is horse manure. Last November Holloway took over a team at the summit of the Championship - boasting a player in Zaha who would walk into many Premier League sides - and managed to scrap playoffs on the final day of the season, winning two of the last eighteen matches. According to the excellent Palace blog, 'Hopkins Looking To Curl One', Holloway has managed "a grand total of 48 points in 43 league fixtures averaging out at 1.11 points per game. Even if you were to discount the Premier League from those calculations his point tally for the Championship alone averages out at just 1.28 points per game, which taken over the course of an entire season, would have been enough to secure 16th place in the 2012/13 Championship table."
On top of this is that transfer window, with Holloway's quantity over quality mentality so far yielding underwhelming results. When you decide not to register not one but two of your new signings for the league squad I think it's safe to say your buying policy is arbitrary at best, bat-sh*t mental at worst. The fact so many of the new recruits were former charges of Holloway illustrates the lack of inspiration that blighted our transfers. And whatever the question is, Cameron Jerome is not the answer.
I am grateful for Holloway, especially for masterminding a near-perfect playoff display in which we managed to keep three consecutive clean sheets against Brighton, the league's form team (plus the whole arch-rivalry thing), and then Watford, comfortably its highest scorers. (Seriously, Ian, how did you do that?) But the fact remains he isn't a Premier League manager, anymore than Danny Gabbidon is a Premier League centre half. God knows who we'd bring in (so help me, I'd take Dougie back) but if we are to have any chance of survival Holloway needs to go. Thanks for the memories, Ian. We'll always have The Amex.
Max, CPFC (spends every pre-match wondering if the eagle will finally go AWOL and start attacking the cheerleaders)
Rooney Needs To Play In Midfield
Having watched MUFC's opening few games it seems to me that United are struggling due to accomodating Wayne Rooney in a strikers position.
Now I know the above seems farcical, however we all know United's midfield is weak. Therefore at the moment, they need to play with three in midfield. (Carrick, Cleverley & Fellaini ?). As RVP is the main striker, he would need to play. This would put Rooney out on the left, where he can be effective.
Last season, yes, United did go with 2 up front (Rooney and RVP) against Chelsea and Man City. But this year, both teams have improved and United have not improved the midfield ,so it needs to be numbers rather than quality at the moment. If you look at the Real Madrid game, he was correct in the formation, but maybe should have played Rooney out on the left rather than dropping him altogether.
Now, this does not mean im not a Rooney fan, I am. But with other positions being weaker, I feel that we need to accommodate the midfield. Everyone can see there is no support from the midfield to the strikers. Plus I cannot remember a time when so many teams have outdone United on possession in games.
Basically, until midfield reinforcements are bought in, United need to bolster up and prove possession is 9/10ths of the law.
At first I read James/Ginge, Southend's email with disgust and thought I'm never getting involved with that! But sod it, it might be fun.
Ok, Arsenal are a good shout but for me it's a North London derby and following their recent signings I would have to go for Tottenham, in goal Lloris tall dark and handsome, Sigurdsson and Holtby in midfield both blond with good looking squeaky clean images and nice smiles. The new guys Lamela, Soldado and Erikson also Walker, Defoe, Vertonghen, Townsend, Lennon, Chadli are all surely at least 6 out of 10?
Now that's a celebration any young girl would love to be at the bottom of!
Ugliest team, Man City of a couple of seasons ago would be up there, I will always remember the joke that came out every summer, ' There are rumours that Manchester City are looking to bring a new face in before the end of the window, apparently Tevez and Lescott are fighting over it'
This got me thinking of who are the best and worst looking players currently playing in the premiership, best looking I would say Osvaldo, he has that Johnny Depp pirate look going on and great cheek bones, if only he could score. Worst looking I've always thought Rio looks funny and his mouth is far too big for his face, he makes me think of Peter Crouch's witty remark when asked 'what would you be if you weren't a footballer?' 'A virgin'
...There is no better looking team in history than United's vintage crop of a few seasons back. At one time we boasted a gorgeous backline of Rio Ferdinand, Vidic and a bum-fluff encrusted Gary Neville, who received defensive support from ace winger Park Ji-Sung. All this whilst the opposition defences stood enthralled by the resplendant vision of Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney. Also, it is a little known fact that Nani's tousle-hair is so irresistable, his crosses never beat the first man as people are so drawn to anything he touches.
Aaron Ramsay and Olivier Giroud have got nothing on that lot.
A Reason For Wanting United Failure
I am a Man United fan who was born and grew up in Manchester until I left in 1993. I spent my Saturdays and most Wednesdays in the Stretford Paddock from the age of 7 until 20. It was like my second home and I loved it no matter what the score/weather/referee. I even came home once convinced we had won 3-0, totally unaware that Brian McClair's goal had been disallowed, such was my total frenzied behaviour.
I also used to hang around the car park at the Cliff when I was little and actually speak to my heroes. I even opened Gary Bailey's car door open for him !!. It was such a great club to feel a part of. Then came the Premier League.
Don't get me wrong, I have been an armchair fan in the South for years and have have enjoyed the success the same as others. My son, who is a handy left footed left back has no interest in football other than playing for the school team because the girls watch.
I keep telling him that football used to be fun. My vision is that United's crapness will continue for a while (not too long), the corporates and the glory hunters will bugger off and I can actually get couple of tickets to show my son a full ground with a great atmosphere and noise and just to enjoy supporting your team.
I can only dream, but I am sure a large proportion of your readers in their early 40's and upwards will know what I mean.
Nez, (United 3-0 Barca, 1984 will live with me forever) Kent.
What Makes A Good Goal?
Joe, AFC, East Sussex is right to say that we can enjoy 2 goals without having to decide which one is the better one, although you don't have to be an ego-maniac to love an individual goal and you don't necessarily have to be a team-player to love Wilshere's. Saying you find one goal better than another one is okay, being a d*ck about it on social media isn't.
Everyone has different criteria for how good a goal is. My memory is a bit hazy, but I seem to remember the lovely James Richardson saying once that he likes goals which just look completely unexpected. And personally, that's what I like too. I do love a team goal, especially if it is preceded by a ridiculous amount of neat passes (remember Cambiasso for Argentina at some world cup that I don't remember?), even though most of the passes might have just been exploratory until the last few ones before the goal. But, I prefer goals which just seem impossible at that point in time (remember Cristiano with that insane long-range goal v Porto?). I don't know what it is exactly, but it just seems more magical and more of a pleasant surprise/shock than a meticulously worked team goal, which, of course, is beautiful in its own way.
Jay, Man Utd, York
Noble For England
I have no idea what he was banging on about with regards the Man City triumvirate of deeply average English back up players, but regards his comments about Noble and Tomkins, I do think he has a point.
He was not saying that they are the best Englishmen in their positions, what he was saying was that it seems as if Roy ignores them, as they don't play for a top six team.
I think that Mark Noble is particularly overlooked - he's been a first team regular in the Premier league (and, admittedly, the Championship) for nine years, has represented England at every level including 20 Under 21 caps, culminating in captaining the side to the 2009 European Championship final.
He consistently ranks near the top of the OPTA stats for interceptions and tackles and - rather uniquely for an Englishmen - is actually really, really good at taking penalties.
He is (and the stats prove it) a good defensive midfielder - not the best, by any stretch of the imagination - but surely good enough to at least get in the squad now and then, and maybe come off the bench in the 70th minute to shore up a small lead or help a tiring Carrick/Gerrard to keep possession and protect the back four. Basically, in the closing stages of a tight game, I'd much rather see Noble coming on than James Milner.
Every fan of every team from Championship upwards probably has at least one player that they think has been criminally overlooked, so I guess I am biased for Noble.
It just seems sad that every time an England squad is announced, particularly for friendlies, we mostly see the same old faces.
Tom (As for Downing, he's not even the best winger at West Ham, let alone the England Squad!).
More Wrong Than Wright
I've just read Mediawatch and it's good to see you take Ian Wright to task, however I feel you didn't rip it to pieces as much as it deserved.
Firstly Wright's claim that in amongst the storm Rooney kept his head down and played well culminating in the overhead kick against City is just wrong. In amongst the storm Rooney was out injured and saying things quite freely in the press. By the time he came back he'd signed a new contract and committed his future. Once the City game came along it was around 3 months after the storm.
Secondly Rooney played a major part in the title triumph. Aside from the hat trick at West Ham he was pretty lukewarm in the run in. He certainly didn't play as major a part as Nani, Hernandez or Vidic.
Thirdly I've just realised I've descended to depths of criticising Ian Wright. The shame.
Selhurst Park - Golazo Magnet
I'm not a fan of Crystal Palace or their ramshackle, archaic ground. But if you add Kasami's strike last night to the famous Beckham-from-the-half-way-line and the stunning Victor Moses overhead kick - from a few years back, can any other stadium in the country claim to have hosted such a sublime hat trick of all-time-great goals as the much maligned Selhurst Park?
Richard, NCFC [Fashanu v Liverpool, Rosario v Southampton, Safri v Newcastle], London