Who's Arsenal's Best Back-Up For Giroud?

One (admittedly half-cut) man reckons big Nicky B could be the best option. Plus, we have mails on Bosnia, sleeve lengths & stats in a bonus Sunday Mailbox...

Last Updated: 10/11/13 at 12:36

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That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

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There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

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Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

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On Jose And That Penalty
'Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho on BBC Radio 5 live: "We have a penalty which is difficult to accept for winning team, but WBA know the ref didn't make a mistake"'

Exactly how is it a penalty when Ramires attempts a shoulder barge and ends up on the ground because he's an extremely slight athlete? Last week, Mourinho called his team out on their poor defeat to Newcastle, and I thought maybe he'd mellowed a little. The so-called 'happy one' may have finally begun to accept defeat graciously. But no, he's just as cocky as ever.There is no way Chelsea deserved anything out of that match.

WBA should feel so aggrieved. Steve Clarke has made the step up from well respected coach to Premier League quality manager. To watch his side tactically outperform Chelsea was fantastic and the two goals were indicative of this. If Mourinho ever complains about decisions going against his team again, I hope this is brought up immediately and any excuses fall on deaf ears. Classless manager' classless team. They deserve each other.

And now Allardici's side has gone a goal up. Glad Saints and Liverpool did the business today!
Stu, Southampton

You Didn't Read This Piece Then?
United got absolutely slaughtered for losing at home to West Brom. Moyes in particular took an absolutely hammering from Football365 and the media in general for the result, who cited it as evidence that he is way out of his depth. There was also a massive storm in the week about the Young dive, even though it ultimately accomplished nothing. Moyes was grilled on it and slated for denying that Young dived.

On Saturday, Chelsea should have lost to West Brom at home by the same scoreline, only for an obvious dive to gift them a point at the death. Mourinho went on to claim it was in fact a penalty. This of course was hot on the heels of a 2-0 loss at Newcastle, so should have been back to back Prem defeats.

Will Chelsea/Mourinho take the same hammering? I doubt it, but we'll see. Maybe because one manager is more fashionable/media friendly different rules apply?
Tom - MUFC (Cheshire)

Detestable Chelsea
Chelsea didn't seem to annoy people as much when Ancelotti, Di Matteo or Benitez were in charge. Now that Mourinho is back they are thoroughly detestable again.
Eoin (if that was a penalty then Cleverly is the new Scholes) Ireland

...After Eto'o's antics against Cardiff, Chelsea cheat their way to points against smaller teams once more. Given the money spent, embarrassing; especially as they're beneath the admittedly admirable Southampton in the table. Imagine where they'd be without gamesmanship?

The Best Back-Up For Giroud Is...?
Firstly please excuse me for this half cut rambling...

Just read about Bendtner complaining about his treatment at Arsenal and us not letting him leave. This made me think (and I often do my best thinking in a taxi home) who would I prefer as back up to Giroud? From the current squad would I rather Bendtner or Podolski? Podolski is clearly the better player but I feel Bendtner is better suited to our system and could possibly be more effective.

The other point this raises is who do we bring in? We have Sanogo who wenger clearly rates so do we try for a world class centre forward to challenge Giroud when he is in this form? Or do we go for an adequate back up? And if that is the case who could this player be?

Would like to hear some opinions.
Dave (first time I can remember looking forward to playing Man U) London

More On The Great Stats Debate: For...
The reason I like stats is because we are too easily fooled by decision making at critical moments. A fluffed cross at 0-0 in a game which you go on to lose is the only one you'll remember well later. The human brain seems to naturally do this and stats can lend a helping hand to make up for our human deficiency.

I thought it was cool that Wenger was once looking for a box to box midfielder and gathered stats on loads of players in Europe for distance covered per match...top of the list? Flamini. Obviously he needed to then scout the player but a simple stat can sometimes reveal a great deal.

Lazy use of stats is of course dangerous though. My pet peeve is to look at shots on target in isolation. Shots on target are obviously not equal; a shot to the corner of the goal is much more likely to go in than a shot at the keeper. Possession is also silly to focus on, but perhaps touches in the opposition box has some value.

I guess my point is, hate lazy journalism and lazy users of stats alike, but remember that good quality work with both can be very powerful and effective.
Minty, LFC

...And Against...
Lukas' email dropped a concrete filled piano on to the nail's head. Overuse of barely understood facts and figures sits alongside trademarked celebrations and Chris MUFC as the modern game's most joyless blight. Stats are the quantitative gooseberry on a qualitative date, the retro-shirt-clad pub bore who cuts short heated debates with 'I think you'll find's and 'Actually...'s. Football fandom is about 'which player past or present would you most like on your side in a fight?' (Oleg Luzhny, no question) or who would you most like to lock in a room with Piers Morgan and Tony Pulis for eternity (Teddy Sheringham, since you ask). It is not an exact science. It is opinion. It is not pass completion stats or kilometres run or who's provided the most pre pre assists on northern grounds on Tuesdays in October. It's hours spent constructing an XI made up of players with girls' names (Pegguy Arphexad in goal, natch) or misty-memoried bar reminiscences of improbable goals and ground-shuddering tackles.

But stats aren't just the enemy of fun. They come nowhere close to giving a complete picture of a game. There's no space in a stat for the Derren Brown-worthy misdirection of a Silva through ball or the deviousness of an Aguero off-the-ball run. Numbers can't measure how many attacks are stopped by The BFG's Mensa-level positioning - not tackling or intercepting but just standing in the right place. And you'd struggle to plot a graph of the number of defenders drawn to Mezut Ozil's flypaper touch against the acres of pitch left unattended as a result. How does one measure beauty? Where is the stats section of the NME or the Opta analysis of Gravity or Breaking Bad.

Football is inexact. It is imprecise. It is visceral and emotional. It is a game of geniuses not excel-wonks. It is not real life. It is better.

Please can we have it back?

Chris Baxter

Nice Mail About Bosnia
I am English, but I too will be lending my support to Bosnia in this world cup.

In summer 2012 something compelled me to visit; probably the fact that nobody ever goes to Bosnia and it made everybody at work think that I was hard as nails. The truth is that it is a beautiful country with the most welcoming people, and football is everywhere. Arriving at hostels I would immediately be asked where I was from (Liverpool) and my hosts would immediately reply with raucous renditions of songs straight from the Kop, and would excitedly discuss football videos on youtube with me and show me footage of their own clubs. There are Premier League and La Liga stars plastered all over billboards and shops throughout the country, and little kids run through the Ottoman bazaars kicking knackered footies around, like I did as a kid outside Tesco until the police started chasing us away.

One night in Sarajevo, my friend and I spotted that there were crowds of people walking from the centre in football shirts and assumed there must be a match. We were right. We followed the swelling ranks for 40 minutes into dodgier and dodgier parts of the city until we came up to the drab outer walls of the stadium, a communist relic from the winter olympics, still emblazoned with the five rings. Despite appearances, we soon found ourselves adopted by the home fans, learning tricky Bosnian chants and generally having a good time the likes of which haven't been seen in the English top flight for a good few years. All followed up with ridiculous amounts of beer and rakija and karaoke with our new friends.

The more sobering truth is that Bosnia is a country where only twenty years ago you couldn't cross the street without fear of a sniper taking you out. Genocide and ethnic cleansing was happening on a huge scale, neighbours who had been friends were suddenly on opposing sides in a war and children were starving to death. The country has not fully recovered. Some of the cities are still awash with the shells of ruined buildings and bullet holes pepper the masonry liberally. The many graveyards are heartbreaking, the dates inscribed reveal a generation of young men and women killed before their time. Bosnia has beautiful countryside and the people are amazing but it does not have the coastline that Croatia had to attract a lucrative tourist trade and the children growing up playing football here are doing so knowing that there are still land mines littered amongst the fields on the outskirts of the cities. That a promising team has emerged from a small country where the population has faced so much loss and adversity, and made it to the world cup finals is a huge achievement and their adventure is now of more importance to me than our own performance in the tournament. I can only imagine how much it must mean to the Bosnians.

We'll Ask
Whatever the rights and wrongs of BT grabbing the satellite and terrestrial coverage, am I being optimistic to hope I will get a reduction from Sky as they will no longer be supplying what I signed up for? Mmmm.
Mike Waring

The Next Big Thing
Virgil Van Dijk. VVD. The next big thing to come from Celtic and to be linked with numerous big clubs in England. The guy is a monstrously good footballer and defender. You heard it here first.

On Sleeves
This might be one of the most random and possibly pointless questions ever submitted to the mailbox, but last night I was watching MOTD and I was struck by a question about long shirt sleeves.

In the old days, players wore long sleeves if it was too cold for short sleeves. Now they wear long sleeve under armour. But can players still wear one if other players on their team are wearing the other? For example, some teams have designs (such as Adidas stripes) which run down sleeves but which wouldn't be present on under armour. Or some teams have, say, red shirts and white sleeves; a long sleeves shirt would therefore have long white sleeves, but under armour would give the player red sleeves, meaning two players with different sleeves on the same time.

I guess my random, pointless and alcohol fuelled question is; are there any rules about this?
Joe (still buy long sleeve shirts) MUFC

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think


ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

Wenger hails important win


s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

De Gea's Europa League target

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Mail Box

That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

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