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...
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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
That Clears That Up
I've just returned from a stag weekend in Barcelona with 20 other lads and wanted to clarify a couple of things to Somerset Dave:
1. It was our mate 'Hewitt' we were shouting at, not 'Hammill'. We do this because Hewitt is the politest man in the world and we know he hates it.
2. If you thought we were irritating early evening at the Nou Camp you should have seen us in 'Razzmatazz' in the early hours. Not pretty...
pApAi$h (at least we created an atmosphere, albeit an irritating one)
Thumbs Up For A Munich Trip
I hate them, but, yes, Somerset Dave, do the Bayern weekend. Been there a few times as I live but a stone's throw away.
The stadium looks like a tire, and lights up that horrible red colour when they play (although it is awesome blue when 1860 play), but the trip there is free if you have a ticket (are you listening PL?). It's a fortress, truly. Almost frightening in fact. It isn't the size of the place (or indeed the weird shape/colour) but the way the home fans behave. There's no malice to the opposition, it is simply "Heir ist mein hiem und bis du nicht wilkommen".
Beer flows everywhere (it is Bavaria, after all) and if you smoke (you bad person you) you are welcome, too - anywhere you like.
But you know how when you leave a Pl game and the coppers have already put a cordon up to separate fans? Not here. You mix and mingle after the game, and are then unceremoniously shoved in a tram with everyone to go back from whence you came (think Japanese public transport).
And A Thumbs Down
I wanted to give some advice to Somerset Dave - Don't bother with a trip to Bayern Munich if you want a weekend dedicated to football. This may sound a bit harsh considering that they're the reigning European champions and their history but let me explain.
Firstly, the atmosphere at the Allianz Arena isn't great. I've been many times and there is definitely more of a corporate feel about the place rather than some sort of footballing Mecca. The only place with singing and chanting throughout the game is the standing section behind one of the goals in the lower tier. These are mainly season ticket holders though so it's almost impossible to get in there. The best times I've had there was when I was with the away fans, firstly against Mainz in 2012 and then with my fellow Gooners last season. This is because of ticket prices as it's all a myth about cheap seats. The only 10 Euro tickets are in the standing section but you can't get hold of them. In the rest of the ground you're paying anything between 40-100 Euros.
Also, the stadium tour is pretty poor. In other tours I've been to you get quite good access to a lot of the ground but not at the Allianz Arena. For example, the changing rooms are roped off so you can see it but can't get inside, have a proper look around and sit on the benches like you can at other tours I've been on. It didn't help that the tour guide couldn't speak very good English, even though it was the English speaking tour (which was necessary for me as my German is still not great, even after almost two years living out here). This was strange to me as the majority of people here speak exceptional English so how he got this gig I'll never know.
Having said that, Munich is a great city and I love living here. I would recommend everyone to visit if they get the chance. The locals are all football mad, everyone (and I mean literally everyone - I haven't met a Bavarian soul that doesn't) loves beer and it's the friendliest and cleanest place I've ever been. For a weekend on the tiles it's great. For a weekend dedicated to football go to Dortmund.
Paul, Gooner in Munich
Why West Haaaaam Hate Lamps
In response to Paul-CFC on why west ham fans hate Frank Lampard. I am a west ham fan and these are my reasons:
1) Since he left west ham , not once has he said anything positive about west ham. This club gave him first opportunity for first team football and he has never praised anyone at the club for developing him in to the player he is now. Yes I admit he was booed sometimes , but he did get his first England cap playing at west ham. He always says how much he loves Chelsea and how much Chelsea means to him, fair enough, but he has forgotten his roots. He wouldn't be the player he is now, without all the hard work the youth team coaches put in to him.
2) When Joe Cole, Rio and even Tevez left, they have always said there roots are at west ham and they praise the club in helping to be where they are now. That's why they will always get a good reception whenever they play at Upton Park. They respect the club that gave them their first opportunity in top flight football
Another European Heartbreak
Having watched my beloved Celtic crash out of the Champions League yet again to superior opponents, and due to the lack of Celtic mails on these hallowed pages, I felt compelled to go on some what of a rant!
Last season we were thoroughly outclassed by Juventus, albeit in the last 16, the season previous we were undone by FC Braga in the qualifying stages. It has become glaringly apparent that we are a selling club, a position most of us are well used to. With both Gary Hooper and Victor Wanyama's departure to the tune of 17 million in total, surely this summer even 5 million could have been invested on a quality striker?
This year more than ever in Europe, we have played well against better opposition without scoring when we need to, to then go on to lose. A striker of Hooper's quality would have undoubtedly meant at least 1 or 2 extra goals, so why the board hasn't pulled out the stops to replace our top goal scorer in recent years is beyond me.
This summer saw us linked with several quality players such as Scotland's Jordan Rhodes and Charlie Austin. Instead we ended up with Shalke reject Teemu Pukki and Derk Boerrigter, who Ajax were only to happy to let go.
Without Rangers in the SPL for another 2 seasons, unless we spend money on a proven striker soon, we will only remain "the big fish in a small pond", who get embarrassed each time we face any big team. Or maybe it really is that difficult to convince any sane player to move to Scotland!
Dan (I told you I could do it Fergal) Donegal
Thoughts On Arsenal
- I've always suspected ITV hated Arsenal but I put it down to paranoia. Now I was right all along. I definitely didn't imagine Andy Townsend scream out "GET IN!" just before Thauvin's shot was magnificently saved by Szczesny.
- Talking of Szczesny, what a great keeper he has become. One of the top 3 in the league this season for sure.
- Talking of ITV, you would have thought that Arsenal were 5-0 down instead of 1-0 up at half time. It's funny how after the Dortmund home defeat they got slated for being too adventurous and going for the win. Last night they played it safe, never looked in danger and were utterly professional (apart from the penalty miss) but then they get slated for not wanting it enough. You can't have it both ways.
- That's how good Jack Wilshere can be when he's not surrounded by cart-horses. England should be building a team around him not whining when he has a dip in form following a long injury lay-off.
- Back to ITV, yes Marseilles weren't exactly great but you would have thought Arsenal were playing a pub team. They are 4th in the French league and yes, they don't have any points in this group but it is the group of death.
- Ozil may not be on great form but he got an assist and showed flashes of brilliance. It will take time but he will be a special player for Arsenal. Remember, Bobby Pires had a pretty average first season. He was player of the year in his second. Having said that, What's the point of buying a German if they can't score penalties?
- Going into December, Arsenal are top of the league by 4 points and top of the toughest CL group by 3 points. Only a defeat by 3 goals or more will stop them progressing. To me that's pretty good going but reading most of the mainstream press and listening to the TV pundits, they may as well give up now and not bother turning up to the second half of the season.
Adonis (Arsenal >> England) Stevenson, AFC
...In response to Winterburn's article, I still feel that if Arsenal want to be considered as serious contenders for the league and possibly CL, then they need to be more ruthless and finish off opponents like Marseille, who were there for the taking. This game should've been done and dusted at the half, but despite numerous chances, they still managed to keep a poor Marseille team in the game.
There still exists that habit from the past, when being a goal up, the team tends to ease off in certain periods and have a kick-about, with no real intention to see off their opponents, thereby creating an air of vulnerability for the opponent to capitalize upon, quite possibly from a counter attack. This has haunted them on many occasions before, the difference this time being, Arsenal have a more solid defense and a defensive midfielder in Flamini who knows his role and executes it well. While Giroud may not need replacing, there will be games like Utd where Arsenal will need more than a tall striker who can hold up play and harass opponents. Giroud can still start, but until Podolski comes back in full swing next month, or Theo starts burying his chances like the one he missed yesterday, that need for a lethal finisher like Higuian or Suarez will still be paramount in the club's quest for a trophy. I can only imagine how devastating Suarez would be in this Arsenal side, especially with his movement in and around the box and a midfield of Cazorla, Wilshere, Ramsey and Ozil providing support. Suarez possesses that knack for goals that can turn games in an instant and Arsenal will need that type of striker despite having Giroud.
With the upcoming fixtures in December, especially against City, Napoli and Chelsea, it will be an interesting test to see what my club can produce when facing the two sides predicted to be top contenders for the title this season. The demolishing that City delivered to Utd and Spurs is the sign of a team that wants the trophy and will embarrass their opponents to get their point across. The money has benefited them no doubt, but until Arsenal deliver that kind of ruthlessness, the question mark will still hang over their heads, just as it did with the Utd fixture: Do they really want it? A top striker will win you games even when the football is not beautiful. with the numerous chances that Arsenal create, they definitely need that top striker.
...Some observations on the win at the Emirates last last night;
1. Wilshere, Ramsey, Rosicky and Flamini were superb. Creative, all energy and high pressure. Ozil and Giroud were more subdued and it did not matter
2. That (Monreal aside), is Arsenal's best XI. Rosicky adds so much and brings the best out in Ramsey and Wilshere. Three of its best players from last year, Arteta, Cazorla and Walcott should all be on the bench for big games and that highlights how far we've come.
3. the officials were dreadful. Luckily the game was not even close, as I am sure that, if it were, their incompetence would have decided it.
4. Jack Wishere is England's best player by absolute miles. He is still young and getting back to full fitness (and has been inconsistent as a consequence), but anyone who has been getting on his back needs a reality check. Only Rooney and Ross Barkley are remotely fit to lace his boots. near him as a player. If England are going to come back from Brazil without having been utterly embarrassed, it will be beacuse of young Jack. So let's get behind him people.
And Ajax v Barcelona
After a long day at work, I fired up the DVR and treated myself to some Champions League football last night. Basel vs. Chelsea served as the appetizer. It was a fairly tame affair, with Basel doing just enough, and Chelsea looking rather like they couldn't be bothered. I then clicked on the Ajax match against Barcelona, and what a magnificent game it was. The home side pressed and hurried and dominated the opening half and were deserved of their 2 goal lead. Some fellow named Nicolai Boilesen ran Carlos Puyol absolutely ragged down the left before being withdrawn after a knock. Two minutes after the restart, Ajax were down to 10 men, and the resulting PK from the sending off, put Barca right back in it. But they defended for there lives and preserved all three points. The performance on the field was only matched by the unwavering, unflappable support from the stands. I then watched the Arsenal game and it was a fine home performance, but I noticed some obvious differences in terms of support.
The Ajax crowd never strayed from the rapturous noise that started before kickoff. Even after the sending off and Barcelona pulling a goal back, they kept right behind their team. Absent was that palpable nervous hush that descends over English grounds when a 2 nil lead becomes 2 -1. Take for instance the midland derby on Monday night. The whole mood in the stadium changed when Villa pulled the first goal back. I'm not saying that two all-time giants of European football (7 Cups between them, I think?) playing a champions league group match is comparable to a league game between two perfectly respectable and honourably run premier league teams, but why must the support and atmosphere be so different? And at the Emirates, the only singing that I could hear was the away side that was losing within the first minute of the game!!
And I'm not just having a go at Arsenal, Brom, and Villa fans. I support Liverpool. Our last 3 games at Anfield have been routes and even up 3 goals before half time, I can still hear Brendan Rodgers barking nonsense to outfield players!! Bring the noise people!!
Ok. That's that. All in all, a very enjoyable night of football.
Kenny Harrell - Liverpool ("I have contributed to the zeitgeist." - Brian Griffin. RIP Brian, thanks for all the laughs)
Whilst reading Joe (WBAFC)'s interesting mail on how fans are fickle, and how hoofing the ball long to a small guy is 'Pointless' I was reminded of an incident yesterday that ruined my evening. When asked to name the ground of a team that was in the Premier League or Championship last season one chap said Portman Road. Now I'm not expecting this to be higher than Old Trafford or Anfield, but FFS this was a pointless answer. Pointless! One of only four pointless answers (I missed the other 3, I walked out of the front room in utter disgust). I exclaimed (as I read recently), Sweet Jesus and the baby orphans how can none of the hundred polled have known that? It's Ipswich Town FFS. Not the Farmers Arms Veterans. I mean...just...?? I despair.
Anyway, the football, great win by Arsenal but they still need to kill off games when they have the chance (Ozil? Oh dear fella). Basle brushed Chelsea aside, ahaha...hmm , and Joe, fans are fickle because as Einstein said "Two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the universe". I share your annoyance sir. We're surrounded by Muppets.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
Long For Arsenal
Everybody knows Arsenal need a striker. Bendtner will never be the answer as he seems to suffer from grandiose delusions (thank you Wikipedia). I nominate, Shane Long. He is a hard working traditional forward. He is deceptively strong on the ball and a very good header. He is also comfortable with the ball at his feet and a good finisher. He can backup Giroud in the current formation or come in as a second striker in a 4-4-2. Arsenal have a very dynamic/creative midfield so any striker they bring in needs to be industrious. Suarez would be ideal but the combination of his character and cost make him unrealistic. Shane Long could be the cheaper solution like Flamini.
Another Football Odyssey
Well, wouldn't you know, I'm in the middle of a footballing odyssey myself that had me at the Camp Nou this past weekend.
Agree with most of what Dave had to say, but my god was the atmosphere dull. Virtually non-existent, really. When the teams came out it was like a scene from Bull Durham, with about 40 people politely clapping them onto the pitch. Then most of noise throughout was provided by a similarly small group, one of whom was doing a lot of the legwork seeing that he was in possession of a drum.
And the nuts! My god, the nuts. I was sandwiched in between two sets of fans gnawing away on them and spitting them into a little cup for the whole match. Not the same cup, they each had their own. It was like that scene in Ace Ventura on the plane.
Dave was spot on re. Iniesta and Neymar, but I was super impressed by Busquets. Kept the game ticking over, fed the front line, transitioned the ball, he was excellent.
There's no doubt they play football better, do the Spanish (there's a bit more grace, technique and patience. Whilst they completely snuff the opposition out, Barca do it brilliantly) but having done the Old Trafford and Wembley tours you English present the game and your passion for it infinitely better. I suppose thats something....
Living in Melbourne it's fair to say my access to premium soccer (we've our own football, as you might know, so for convenience and to avoid confusion we say soccer) is limited, its fair to say. As such you have to fly 24 hours to find a good version of it.
So far I've taken in my very first Old Trafford match day (the 1-0 against Arsenal), seen France's demolition of the Ukraine in the Stade De France and, of course, the Barca game at the weekend.
Wednesday night I'm in the Bernabeu to see Real tackle Galatasaray (might be back on Saturday to see them okay Valladolid, all depends whether Ronnie plays tomorrow), next week I'm back at Old Trafford for the Everton match, then off to Amsterdam to see Ajax, followed by Munich for Bayern and dortmund for, um Dortmund all before Christmas.
Then it's back to Manchester one last time on New Year's Day for the clash with Spurs.
Hopefully by the end of it I'll be qualified to answer your question.
Best wishes for adventures to come,
Probably get destroyed for this but fat kids make ridiculous mascots.