Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...
There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Does the fact that Manyoo consider this a "massive win" show how much Arsenal have progressed this season?
In the past few years, this would have been a routinely comfortable win for them. This year, it was a fairly even match won by a set-piece. If was our toughest match of the season, then maybe we do have a chance after all.
Adonis (I wonder how many injuries we will get during the interlull) Stevenson, AFC
Look At Arsenal, Being All Good In Defence
So the popular myth is that Arsenal can't defend?
Over the week we have faced forward pairings of Sturridge & Suarez, Lewandowski & Reus and Rooney & Van Persie, only conceding one (some would say fortunate) goal from a 'shead' (shoulder / head).
Had you said we would concede only once in this trio of games I would've said you were madder than Paolo Di Canio's & Roy Keane's lovechild.
Hoges, (scared at the thought of Di Canio and Keane in the same room), Gooner in Aus.
Jones Better In Midfield Than Fellaini?
*Having spent 27.5million on Fellaini, might Jones be a better option?
Quick to tackle, fast with the ball , aggressive, a midfield drive which Anderson used to provide several moons ago.
*De Gea could have brought an iPad and watched Lord of the Rings.
*United should sue Carzola for watching the game on the pitch without paying. How did he breach security?
*I hear the Missing Persons Unit is investigating the disappearance of Messrs Aaron Ramsey, Santiago Carzola & Mesut Ozil.
* Furious at Ramires and furious at Marriner. Why couldn't the referee change his mind? We're not famed for surrounding the referee appealing everything (well, apart from Olsson perhaps), but when you have an entire team screaming at you, surely this must at least bring about doubt? Perhaps even consultation with the linespeople or fourth official? Perhaps even warrant use of a video replay? Swansea fans I'm sure can empathise. As goal-line technology is has integrated with success, why not judge match incidents via replay?
It could not be arbitrary but referee-controlled (else there would be endless appeals about everything) but for these instances where results and key games hang on these moments, how about if match officials raise sufficient doubt about a decision? Could they not order an in-game replay? It would take maybe 30 seconds from play, but then play would be stopped for longer anyway as seen in both matches with the amount of protesting about both calls. I'm thinking contentious penalty calls, last man challenges, whether both feet left the ground, etc... rather than throw in disputes.
* When the decision is clearly incorrect, can't the refeereing body come out with a statement to say that neither incident should have been awarded and rescind yellows for protesting/dissent? Surely all our yellow cards we got for protesting should be rescinded? We ended the game with 7 yellows most of which were accrued immediately before and after the penalty incident. At least half our first team are now one more yellow card closer to suspension.
* As we have seen out-of-control reckless lunges with the feet punished with red cards (and rightly so), then why doesn't the same apply in the air? Phil Jones should have seen red for his aerial "challenge" on Szczesny. He went storming in, his eyes closed, it was a late challenge and he was not in control. He left the 'keeper on the floor, and possibly unconscious. Why was this not a red?
Proud but disappointed Baggie
Demanding Wider Debate
Is it just me, or was there only one match played this weekend? Because this morning's mailbox seemed to suggest that the only topic worth discussing was Man United versus Arsenal.
Come on F365, there must have been plenty of other comments worthy of publication?
How about the two terrible penalty decisions that gave two undeserving teams a point? The Ramirez dive and the Stoke handball are further examples of the falling standards in the English game - the standard of match officials, and the honesty of the players.
I wish for the day when either a referee comes out and admits their mistake, or for a manager whose team benefited from said mistake to admit that it wasn't a penalty and that his player looked to gain an unfair advantage. Of course I'm not so naive to actually expect to see that day, but one can hope.
Or how about the crazy finish to the Blackpool versus Ipswich match, where two goals in injury time first offered Blackpool a point, the snatched it away again?
Or how about Amy Fearn becoming the first woman to referee an FA Cup fixture?
Or should I be asking my fellow F365 readers to up their game? Come on people, let's have a wider debate about the weekends matches.
Paul Watson, exiled Shrimper living in Surrey.
Did anyone else (men) read "nailed his scrotum" and just have goosebumps run up their spine from today's Mediawatch story?
I'm still shaking.
T, CFC, London.
Leave Dani/Pablo Alone
In response to your winners and losers section, the continued assault on Dani Osvaldo for not single handedly leading the line after his move to St Mary's in the summer is becoming quite tiresome.
We are where we are in the league due to team work, graft and organisation, not the individual talent of one man carrying us. Gaston ramirez, a very talented player is being kept out of the side by Steven Davis and James Ward-Prowse who are excelling, equally Dani is finding it hard to play his way into the team thanks to the form of Lambert, Jay and Lallanaand injury. It would be nice to see him feature more but considering that we are third in the league we have time to let him settle, get fully fit and start banging the goals in.
And your assertion that we looked poor when he came on was ludicrous. He came on for Lambert, perked us up after a lackluster start to the second half, looked excellent in possession, could have scored had he went in harder on the Hull goalkeeper at one point and was a general nuisance for the already defeated Hull defence.
Stop looking for negatives that don't exist. All is well down South right now.
Colin (I still want our stripes back mind...) Brown. Coventry
Fun game time - take the Man City back 5 who started the match vs. Sunderland, the Man United midfield 4 who finished their match vs. Arsenal and any of Chelsea's strikers and have a guess at where they'd finish in the table.
That team would be Pantilimon, Richards, Demichellis, Lescott, Kolarov, Valencia, Carrick, Cleverley, Giggs, Eto'o and Torres.
Europa League? Top Half? How on earth do the 3 richest teams in the league all have such a problem with a major part of their team?
Yes, you can point to the selective nature of the question, what with Zabaleta being on the bench, Kompany being injured or Fellaini not bedding in yet and that this is quite harsh on the admirably performing Eto'o (and ignores Chelsea's excellent array of attacking midfielders) but these 3 teams all changed manager in the summer and between the 6 of them (Mourinho, Ferguson, Pellegrini, Moyes, Mancini and Benitez), they did very little to actually try and sort this out. Save an Eto'o here or a Fellaini there - or worse a Demichellis anywhere.
January will be very interesting but really given the tallest dwarf nature of the league this year, at least one of these teams should've sorted their act out in the summer and be walking away with this league.
A Brief Riposte
Sir, your are an ignoramus. In addition , after a mail that long you couldn't bring yourself to type the words "in my honest opinion"?
Hrishi (waiting for the inevitable 'cribbing man u fans while my club is in administration' mails)
And Something A Bit Longer
This morning's mailbox was nothing short of farcical. Firstly it included deluded Arsenal fans joking United are a mid-table team (top bants) or claiming that the result doesn't matter and they it's just a small hiccup on the road to the title. Then it had deluded United fans bashing Rooney or pushing for Kagawa to become our new No. 10. Let me dissect some of the most ridiculous statements.
"United will lose more points than this Arsenal side over the course of 38 games." - Lee, can you share this crystal ball with the rest of us please? What a wild and stupid prediction to make and further to the point you have nothing that backs up your ridiculous claim.
"I believe City and Chelsea will be the top two still and we are on for third as the squads stand." - As the squad stands? You have an awfully thin squad. Based on your squad I'd say you're behind Chelsea, City, Spurs AND United.
"Without Mertesacker, I was worried our lack of depth will show, but Vermaelen did okay for a back-up defender. With Mertesacker we would not have lost this game." - There's that crystal ball again..
"It's not like United deserved to win. It was a close affair and Arsenal could just as easily have won if we could have got someone at the end of Sagna's crosses" - I'm sorry, United didn't deserve to win? I saw Arsenal create one clear cut chance all game.. In fact, for how much they dominated the second half they actually created f**k all and with this self proclaimed midfield three of yours that's embarrassing. United created the best chances to win the game and also did what Arsenal couldn't, which was score.
[On Kagawa playing centrally]"This belief was validated in the last half an hour against Sociedad where Kagawa was stationed centrally and created a couple of good chances and showed good touch and vision." - That is exactly what sums up Kagawa's performances in the No. 10 role "couple of good chances, good touch and vision", well that's not enough and when he has played as a no. 10 he's hardly been inspiring. In fact, for a guy who has such phenomenal vision, good touch and range of passing, why is it as soon as he shifts to the left those attributes decline by about 50%? He was poor yesterday and apart from the few decent touches you speak of every now and then, he's done little else. Yes, the team is imbalanced when Kagawa plays but what it means is that he needs to adapt his game to United's style of play or he's gone.
On Rooney; There were so many quotes and I couldn't be arsed to copy them all... I thought Rooney had a terrific game, giving the defence and midfield no time to thinking with his quick pressing. He didn't score, but his performance warranted praise because he worked hard for the team. Also he is having one of his best seasons in a long time and that's not easy for me to say because I've been calling for him to go for some time now. So, when he plays well give the guy a break, give credit where it's due.
"IMHO" - Stop using this, now.
...The mailbox this morning reminded me why I have not really missed competing for the title with Arsenal. Nearly every mail from the gooners (spell-check changed it to goners, possibly apt) could be filed under delusional and/or bitter. My favourite quotes were "Arsenal were unlucky not to get a draw", "United will lose more points than this Arsenal side over the course of 38 games" (on what basis?) and "It's not like United deserved to win". Forgetting that the biggest challenge to De Gea came in the form of his own defender (Vidic) you may want to have a think about the penalty we should have been given and the open net missed by Smalling. Tactically Moyes outthought Wenger and on the pitch we wanted it more. You did it to Dortmund and we did it to you, sup it up whiners.
Comments such as these are particularly hilarious given the smugness most Arsenal fans have shown since the start of the season; a season which, while Arsenal have been impressive at times, has flattered to deceive. No doubt they have been the best team over 11 games but the last time I checked there are 38 games in a season and they have some difficult games in the run up to January. Furthermore, they had a relatively kind fixture list to ease themselves into the season so let's see if they can get going when the going gets tough.
United have now only lost three matches this season, two of which were at Anfield and Eastlands. Given that Liverpool and City always raise their game against us as it is their cup final (take that George Edmund LFC) these were always likely to be difficult fixtures. Since losing to West Brom we have taken 13 out of 15 points and have the best form in the league - that is how to react to a defeat.
Small steps in the right direction for United and Moyes - growing in confidence, getting results and building momentum. This United team have won trophies; the same cannot (yet) be said of Arsenal. I know who my money is on.
Garey (TJ's mail makes me want West Ham to do well) Vance, MUFC
There is a recent episode of the sitcom, It's Always Sunny In Philadelphia where Charlie, the dumbest of all the characters (and they're all a bit dumb) is fooled into thinking he is taking medication that makes him more intelligent. As a result, he 'learns' Mandarin in a day, becomes a physicist and an all round super- intelligent intellect, resulting in his amazing invention that allows spiders to communicate with cats. For those that are interested, it's here.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g4kjVrkCSCw
So, this obviously brings me on to Andros Townsend who has obviously been duped into believing he is much, much, much better/clever/smarter (hellooooo, the English media!) than he is and who's own version of the cat-spider machine is to ignore his 9 outfield team-mates at all time and cut inside and wiggle and squirm and wiggle again until he gets a shot off. His performance on Sunday was among the most selfish and poor I have ever seen from a Premier League footballer.
I am by no means a Spurs supporter but frankly, he's a big reason why Spurs aren't scoring at the moment. Giving the ball away is giving the ball away whether it's from continuous poor passing or continuously shooting at evvvvvvvvery single, sometimes not even possible opportunity.
Forgive me, I've grown quite weeeary.
Kevin Walsh, Luimneach
Just to provide some light relief to the fallout from the weekend's matches (can't believe there wasn't at least one ranting Baggies fan in this morning's mailbox), I've come up with an XI of players with rhyming names. So I took the first name of one player and added it to the surname of another to make it rhyme. I've tried to ensure the two players play in the same position(ish) and also tried to stick to current players although I have nicked some from the past. Here's the team....
GK. Mart Hart (Poom and Joe)
RB. Dani Fanni (Alves and Rod)
CB. Jaap Papp (Stam and Paul)
CB. Bobo Yobo (Balde and Joseph)
LB. Gael Bale (Clichy and Gareth)
RM. Kevin Nevin (Nolan and Pat)
CM. Dong Song (Fangzhou and Alex)
CM. Giles Stiles (Barnes and Nobby)
LM. Yossi Rossi (Benayoun and Guiseppe)
ST. Niall Kyle (Quinn and Kevin)
ST. Thierry Vieri (Henry and Christian)
Would love to hear more from other mailboxers.