Jose Mourinho is getting a fair amount of credit for what Chelsea did to Tottenham while Daniel Levy and Man City are defended. Oh and there are more penii...
Is it a sacking offence if Arsenal don't win the FA Cup from here? Is it the players, the manager or the board who should go at Spurs? We have a bumper mailbox...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Zlatan For Arsenal
As Arsenal search for a world class striker "aka the final piece in the jigsaw"...surely they have to bring in THE MAN...the one and only Zlatan !!
Think about it:
*Arsenal have the cash to splash
*They need a devastating striker with unbelievable foot skills and close control
*They clearly have already got over their "d*ckhead" phobia with their pursuit of Suarez.
*They already have the man to feed him - Ozil proved himself feeding the King Cock at Real Madrid.
*There would be no "clash of the egos" as no other player at Arsenal appears to have a swollen identity.
*The whole Arsenal machine would revolve around him.
*He'd be playing in the EPL, not a Mickey Mouse league...and would be the best player in it.
*There's no other major team in England he could sign for - ManU don't need him, there would be problems at Man City, ego issues at Chels, and Spurs and Pool aren't realistic targets.
Zlatan for Arsenal !! You know it makes sense.
A few conclusions I feel I have gleaned from enduring England displays in the recent past:
1. England need to learn the importance of tempo
The team seem to stick to the same kind of tempo, running around pressing at 70% - creating barriers, but not forcing the opposition to make errors.
Once they get possession they look to create a chance within one or two passes. Making it difficult for players to get themselves in effective attacking positions, and link with one another and create fluid interchanges with result in goalscoring opportunities.
We are also easy to read, as we are one dimensional and lack a change of pace or tempo. Better opponents will slow the game down, grab a breather allow the construction of team offensive moves. Then spring into life when it matters and play the killer ball or defining move that creates a better opportunity.
Adopting our premier league style of play does not work on the international stage.
2. England lack the imagination to create football narrative
At the root of all that is great about the beautiful game is the ability to inspire. England seem afraid to imagine these moments up, to dare to dream. They seem nervous of failure, like they are bearing the weight of the nation on their shoulders. I never get the impression they are going to do pull anything awe inspiring out of the bag during a big game, which is surprising considering all the talent we undoubtedly possess.
3. Wayne Rooney is an Attacking Mid and not a striker
From time to time United fans suggest it may be time to play Rooney in the heart of midfield, where United seems short of creative flair and a real attacking force. For England he is already doing this. He now relies on another body leading the line further up the field, otherwise all these lung busting tracking back forays become useless and dare I say selfish(?!)
He now plays his best football when given a sort of free role, dropping deep to link up and then popping up unmarked in attacking positions. Hodgson must realise Rooney is not anywhere near as effective playing as the most advanced player. The question is does he have the bottle to play another striker further forward and allow Rooney freedom to roam against a team that isn't Poland or Ukraine?
Thank You, Chile
Time for a bit of the old 'verbiage' - the circumstances warrant it...
I'm actually quite glad England performed so lamentably on Friday. After the Montenegro and Poland games, my expectations had been unrealistically raised and a small part of me thought that next year's world cup in Brazil might amount to more than just the usual three weeks of psychological abuse followed by an early exit to technically far more accomplished opponents - The Christmas Islands for example, or Norway.
Yesterday evening's Shakesperean tragedy of a performance reconfirmed to me how irredeemably sh*t we are at football. As a result I will be able to enjoy next summer's festivities without that treacherous - and frankly ludicrous - grain of hope worming its way into my psyche and completely screwing the rest of my summer up.
Ave, Chile, morituri te salutant!
Let Rooney Leave
Mediawatch is spot on with its assessment of Rooney, Even as a United fan I find it ridiculous and sickening that Rooney might be offered a new deal. His form has been decent but nothing special. It used to be the case that when Rooney played well the team played well but it says a lot this season that even when he's supposedly on fire the team has largely struggled.
He'd been pretty ineffectual in recent games in terms of his primary job which is to score goals. I believe it's 2 in the last 7. Hardly world class form when you consider the likes of Ronaldo, Zlatan, Diego Costa, Falcao etc seem to be bagging a goal a game.
His effort & work rate certainly cannot be questioned but is that enough? People have also praised him for being fit & looking lean which is a smack in the face of all other players that bother to be fit & lean throughout their careers as opposed to when it's time for contract negotiations or when they feel like it.
I'd like to see him sold and then we can get on with rebuilding the side. £53m is a ludicrous sum of money to be paying a footballer who doesn't even want to be here. Hopefully the only reason we're getting him to sign the new contract is so we can get top dollar for him in the Summer. For that reason I hope he has a stellar tournament with England and then gets sold off for £35-40m to a mug that's willing to buy him (i'm looking at Monaco, PSG, Real).
Sometimes individuals need to be sacrificed for the good of the team. Much like when Ruud was sold off; not because he couldn't produce the goods anymore but because the style of play with him was detrimental to the side in the long run (his falling out with Cristiano being a confounding factor). The same can be said of Rooney. Gone are the days of bursting runs, beating defenders at pace and quick, incisive football. He slows down play, doesn't beat players anymore and, whilst, he still has quality he lacks dynamism.
I'd thank him for his service and wave him off into the sunset cos he's not going to get better anyway.
Joshi (hoping to get printed for the first time and braced for the inevitable abuse from United fans)
After the first spat of internationals, lots of interesting things to talk about. One thing in particular was of interest to me. Samuel Eto'o, back from international exile, has come out with the claim he felt there was a plot not to pass him the ball. By this insinuating that all his team mates were essentially ganging up to make sure he had a bad performance , and presumably not picked for future games.
This got me thinking, we see players succeed and fail at clubs all the time. We seldom really know what goes on behind the scenes, is this type of thing the paranoid nonsense of someones mind, or do teams really play against individuals they, as a group, don't like and wish to oust. I bring up this point as a few times I have been suspicious this type of things was going on, yet any mention of it, your looked at like you have a tin foil hat on and your trying to convince everyone that the earth is run by 6 foot shape shifting lizard's.
I am interested in the mail box opinion of this. Does anyone feel they know any one player who might have been the victim of this, for what ever reason? I had my suspicions about Chelsea old guard when Torres first arrived. They wanted the Drog, They made few chances for Torres and made him look a bit poo. We all know what happened after that, conspiracy? I am not sure.
Anyone think they have a full hardy case to prove the existence of player who's own team have made sure things don't go their way?
Ben, Sheffield...what a great question. For the answer look no further than one Gary Mcallister. Showed up at Liverpool with so much criticism about whether he could still rock it with the big boys and delivered five trophies in two seasons along with this against Everton: http://youtu.be/6-bc0wWMNT0
What better way to make yourself a hero amongst the Anfield faithful!
...Best oldie joining a club has to be Gary Mac joining Liverpool on a free transfer at the age of 35 in the summer of 2000. He left the club 2 years later having played a key role in the treble season, most parts of which are regaled in a song you'll still hear on match days today. Favourites include his last minute derby winner and his man of the match performance in the UEFA cup final where he played a part in 4 of Liverpool's 5 goals.
...As a fan of a lower league club, I do like Ben, Sheffields question on ageing superstars. Maybe it doesn't happen as often these days, but there are definitely still players out there who have dropped down in standard as the years have caught up with them.
In the past few years at my club Exeter, we've had ex-Premier league players such as Jamie Cureton in the ranks, and currently Matt Oakley is running our midfield - although even I would struggle to sell those as superstars. Other "well known" players League Two this season include James Beattie at Accrington Stanley (who are they?), Rory Delap at Burton Albion, and even Deon Burton still going strong at Scunthorpe.
Talking about "superstars" though, I guess you don't have to think too hard to remember big names like Michael Owen turning out for Stoke, or David James at Bristol and Bournemouth. Even higher profile than that, it could be easily argued that moving from Real Madrid to LA Galaxy was at the time an unexpected move in the twilight of David Beckham's global career. Moving out of England, I'm sure we can all think of big name players heading off to minnow leagues for that "last big payday" - such as Cannavaro and Trezeguet in Dubai, or Anelka and Drogba to China.
So although these names may not be as "superstar" as Rush or Wright, I think it's wrong to say that this has ended in real life - although the motivations are obviously very different.
As far as Ben's final question, which ageing superstar player would I take for my club? Dead easy - I'll take Kevin Phillips please.
Terry Hall, Switzerland (I was going to mention Emile Heskey going to Australia, but didn't want to completely undermine my own argument)
Still Backing Cole
Andy from Hampshire from Friday afternoons mailbox, thinks there are 5 lefts backs better than Ashley Cole in the PL yet fails to name these 5 superstars?
I'm a fan of attacking football and think Baines is brilliant, that left foot is priceless at set pieces and think Gibbs and Shaw will have their days as they are the future.
However, the reason you have a LB is to defend, of course Baines offers that attacking threat but if we come against Brazil, Spain, Germany, hell even Japan in the WC - i would much rather have Cole ... why? Well because he knows how to defend.
Baines is only good in a high pressing, quick feet playing kind of team who break very quick (Everton have been ok at this) BUT England are not that (i dare you to challenge me) - it is not the type of football they play and never has been.
If England are not that then why would you let your LB go forward further forward comprising your defence? I would understand if England played the type of game that was quick and faster paced but to be honest, we're slow and make hard work of things for ourselves especially in midfield.
For that reason, i think Cole should be the left back for England, because we'll invite pressure on to ourselves and he can mop up the mess at the end of the day, which he seems to be pretty good at doing!
T, CFC, London (not being biased either, honest, I'm not)