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
Time To Rest Ozil?
Can't help thinking it might be an idea to give Ozil a rest and let him take a fortnight in the sun before getting him back for the City game.
Cazorla can fill in until then and a fresh Ozil could prove the difference against City and Chelsea where it will be moments of brilliance that prove the difference.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Reading A7med's mail about Shane Long being ideal for Arsenal reminded me of when people were saying Arsenal should sign Kevin Doyle...Don't really know what my point is other than it made me chuckle.
Deano (easily amused)
...It's weird because I had the same argument with my friend the other day. Shane Long has a couple good games and suddenly he can be our back-up striker?
We just got rid of the utter dross and average players collecting high wages and you want us to add another mid-table average player. Where is the sense in that?
Deshope (or is it because Shane Long has huge shlong?)
Long: Not All That
A7med, I assume you want to sign Shane Long after watching the Midlands derby and now think he's a fine player.
On his day, he's everything you described, and you can never knock his work ethic, he's constantly chasing around up front for the team. The problem is his inconsistency and being hampered with a few months out every season through injury. You've already got one frustrating striker with Bendtner, why sign one that has just as much of a knack for making you full your hair out at times?
He'll always be popular at the Baggies and he seems a nice enough lad, but there's a reason we were happy to sell him to Hull for 5mil in the summer when our only other strikers were Anichebe and Anelka. There's also a reason we couldn't believe our eyes when the lad bagged that brace on Monday night. Not because of how good the goals were, but also that he'd managed to score them within eight minutes of each other rather than eight weeks.
Joe (WBAFC - isn't perspective wonderful)
Take A Loic Elsewhere
Regarding A7med email 'Long for Arsenal', the more I watch of Remy at Newcastle and the more I think this guy is an Arsenal player.
Quick, intelligent, good with his feet and a deadly eye for goal.
If I was Arsene he would be top of my list as cover for Giroud and Walcott he would fit in perfectly to our style of football.
Anyway, I am very happy with our performances this season as we are leading the pack while quite obviously not playing at our best. As long as that ruthless streak comes through and we are able to step up to the level we know we can play at I think we are a good shout for some silverware this season.
Luis (December and March will decide our season fingers crossed we step up to the plate) Gooner, Brighton
Justice In Chelsea Progress
I'm going to go right ahead and assume that due to a lack of Chelsea fans writing in to the mailbox this morning, you specifically engineered the frankly ridiculous line 'There doesn't seem a whole lot of justice when Chelsea lose to Basel for the second time (without managing a single shot on target) and still go through to the knock-out stages of the Champions League' on the front page to provoke a reaction. Well, I suppose it has paid dividends then, because here I am to react.
Firstly, last night's performance was dismal. I'm not going to dispute that. In all my years of watching Chelsea, I cannot recall them failing to register one single shot at goal in 90 minutes of football. I'm not quite sure how this is even possible. Given the law of averages you would have expected Willian, Lampard, or Ramires to have managed not to completely fluff their lines at least once during a game, surely? Baffling as it is frustrating.
No, I am here to take umbrage with your skewed concept of 'justice'. You are aware of course that Chelsea's progress through to the next round is a consequence of the three matches in between the Basel games, where Chelsea won twice away and once at home, scoring 10 goals and conceding none? Progress secured thanks to the ineptitude of the other teams in the group, who have failed to provide any kind of challenge to the indifferent form of the top seed? Even Basel looked like they couldn't be bothered, unless they were playing the blues. Are these not the reasons Chelsea are through, not some kind of karmic injustice. Have a word with yourselves.
Perhaps F365 needs to reflect for a moment, accept that a football team can progress in a tournament without looking especially convincing, at all interested in winning, and just damn right awful at times. Lord knows you're going to need to next summer.
Chris B (CFC)
Sticking Up For AVB
Just a quick one on AVB, although writing in after a champions league night is probably not the best chance of getting published!
I'm starting to feel really sorry for him; the papers, especially the Daily Racist (Mail), are really going to town on him and giving him a good kicking. Martin Samuel is at it again today, dedicating a full article to all of his perceived failings. I feel that the press vendetta against him is getting silly now and has gone on for too long.
In my opinion that 6-0 defeat was just a freak result, it happens in football every now and then. In my time I've seen my team Liverpool lose 5-1 to Coventry. I've seen United lose 6-1 to City, 5-0 to Chelsea and 5-0 to Newcastle (if my memory serves me correctly the Newcastle result was followed up by a 6-3 defeat to Southampton, a 2-0 home defeat to Chelsea when Chelsea were bobbins, and a 1-0 home defeat to Galatasaray).
Freak results, all of them (Man Utd went on to win the league after both those 5-0 defeats). I don't remember all the ridiculous hyperbole in the papers back then, committing character assassinations on managers, so why all the hate for AVB now?
I obviously don't follow Spurs very closely so I'd be interested to know Spurs fans take on him. Is he genuinely useless or are the papers just gunning for him because he didn't dance to their tune when he was at Chelsea and, more importantly, because he 'nicked' good old arry's job?
When It Ends...
Spurs play West Brom on Boxing Day.
So, yeah. Keep an eye on that.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
A Spurs Fan Writes...
- Firstly, I must state how generous it was of West Ham to give 'Lampsy' his first opportunity in England, out of nothing other than the kindness of their hearts. In fact, how generous it is of football clubs everywhere to, totally selflessly, give talented youth players the opportunity to improve the quality of their clubs. Lampard should feel ashamed that he has never praised or respected the fans who sang songs about his dead mother.
- Shane Long for Arsenal? Talk about a snap judgement based on one good first half. Yes, he's a good player who works very hard, but his option of leaving West Brom this summer was to go to Hull. There is a reason for that.
- A day late here, and currently trying my very best not to think about Spurs, but only just caught up with yesterday afternoon's mailbox. Ben, Arsenal - you should wish you were a Spurs fan right now, as we are set up for our seasons to be the polar opposite of the previous two. Not long now til you plummet down the table and suffer the pain of us overtaking you at the business end of the season.
- Our signings were 'based on reputation'? No, our signings performed exceptionally well for their previous clubs/national teams and very few eyebrows were raised at the time (unlike Monobrow Bosingwa et al). As for the 'eye-watering contracts', that's just total rubbish (makes for a good story though). The fans and board have not (yet) turned on AVB, even though he appears to have temporarily forgotten how to coach or set up a football team. He needs to a) stop trying to shoehorn his players into the system he wants but they don't suit, b) loosen the reins a little and give them some attacking freedom, and c) be very nice to Emmanuel Adebayor who, if he plays anything like he did under Redknapp, will be a massive asset.
- Essentially, I think AVB can turn it around. The basis is there for a very strong team, in spite of the past few results. He's still young and pretty inexperienced as a manager, and will still be learning every week about the players and the league. As long as he learns quickly and, imperatively, keeps the players onside, I'm sure we'll be fine. One result (however jammy) can change everything, as Arsenal discovered last year. If the players decide that he doesn't know what he's doing, or if we somehow continue this baffling trend of creating so few actual chances (I can count on one hand the number of times we have created a chance that we should have scored), then we won't get anywhere near Europa League. It's roll up the sleeves time at Spurs.
Alex G, THFC (still believe, just)
AVB v Mourinho
Was Mourinho just trying to show up his ex-'protege', AVB, by showing how to protect his players thereby increasing his player's loyalty rather than giving them a complete and and embarrassing stripping down in public?
If ever there was an example of good versus bad man management this week, it would have to be the contrast between the two.
I know who I would rather have managing my team.
AVB IS To Blame...
I found odd the comments shared by Mr. Stanger last night on 'the' twitter. These tweets then carried over into today's F365 says column. While Mr. Stanger does make valid points throughout his column, his love affair with AVB is laughable.
I agree with Mr. Stanger that it is unfair to criticize someone for they way they watch the game. If Andre feels that his best tactile analysis comes from the 'crouching tiger hidden Boas' position then who am I to say otherwise.
I also agree with Mr. Stanger with his comments about what AVB actually said during his post City match versus what the media has supposed he said.
However if AVB didn't 'pass the can' earlier in the season by blaming the Spurs supporters instead of his tactical ineptitude than maybe the media may not have gone in that direction.
Let's make something clear, AVB tactics did not lead Spurs to their highest-ever points total, Bale did that. On his own. This can be observed by simply watching this season as AVB tries to apply those same tactics by using Townsend instead of Bale.
There is a reason AVB is struggling in England and his character has something to do with it. He lost the dressing room and fans at Chelsea because of his character and he is in danger of doing so at Spurs. His spat with Adebayor blew up in his face and his willingness to pass said 'can' are examples of this.
In conclusion AVB is beginning to show that he doesn't know what he is doing. From what I can see the blame needs to fall on AVB the manager, and AVB the man.
Brian (at least when LFC blew 50 mil on Carroll and Downing we got two cup finals out of it, hard to see that coming from 50 mil Soldado-Lamela cock-up) LFC
Liking Pardew On The Quiet
I'd just like to add to Winty's article about Alan Pardew. I've had a bit of a soft spot for him ever since that outrageous 'dad dance' he did when West Ham scored against Middlesbrough in the 05/06 FA Cup Semi. He seems like a nice-enough bloke; hard-working, with a pretty good grasp of tactics. A friend and I were discussing his lack of credit a few days ago - even though he has some good players at his disposal, he still has to get them playing together, and currently (including the resilience in the 2-2 draw against Liverpool) appears to be doing a better job than (the much maligned, though I also have a soft spot for) AVB.
Popping To Finland For The Weekend...
In response to the fella who went to Barcelona for a footballing weekend, yep, me and me pals have done it loads over the years although mainly for internationals.
We went to Helsinki a few years back for Finland v Azerbaijan and Jari Litmanen's last international game. That was one to remember. Finnair lost my bag and I arrived in -20-odd degrees with barely more than a velour trackie top to keep me warm. They offered me an overnight bag which was kind although the pair of tights and make-up remover wasn't what I had in mind. A drunken 3am conversation with a Finnish MP we met in a bar and teaching him to do the haka to a bemused audience kept the cockles a little warmer though.
None of the locals believed three English lads, one without a coat, could possibly be in Helsinki to watch this game and were convinced we were there for ice hockey. Anyway, Azerbaijan went 1-0 up which prompted a local to fire a flare toward the pitch, it hit a fireman on the hand who put it out in the snow and then calmly walked from the running track, into the stand and chinned the flare thrower before retreating back to the track for a swig of tea from his pal's flask. Magnificent, efficient crowd control. Woy's Finland won 2-1.
I got my luggage on the morning of our departure.
Another trip, closer to home and the west end of the Central Line in fact was Trinidad and Tobago v Iceland at Loftus Road. Easily my best trip to Loftus Road since Graham Rix scored direct from a corner circa 1987. Iceland had a travelling army of about 12 in the School End Upper with the rest of the ground a buzz of passa passa dancing, rum, and taking the mick out of me and my mate as they thought we were two lost Icelanders. The mickey taking was absolutely fine though because every jibe was delivered with another bottle of rum and we ended up at a random party on the White City Estate 'till all hours. Even bumped into Leo Beenhakker and Shaka Hislop.
Much better than watching England play a dull 1-1 draw.
Could I recommend the Olympiastadion in Berlin for a weekend football experience?
Firstly you can buy tickets via a well-known ticketing agency in the UK - I got 8 tickets at €18 each for Hertha Berlin vs Borussia Dortmund posted. Superb seats. The walk up to the stadium was fun in itself with beers galore and suspiciously large sausages for sale and fans mingling side by side.
Aside from the football the phenomenon of the 'handled' 500ml or 1 litre beer mug is a feat I am compelled to share. Each mug has a handle and the handle fits into the handle of another mug, thus making it all too easy to carry 8 beers back to your seats. 8 people, 8 pints, 1 trip to the bar. Genius.
The only downside I noticed is that there is literally no respite from the drinking which may result in quite clouded judgement, leading to the possibly of attending a squatted nightclub that evening, and getting relieved of €50 by a midget, before having to run away.
In summary, Berlin is mental.
Brendy (Not that sort of nightclub), Belfast
In further response to Somerset Dave, you absolutely must take in a trip to Istanbul for one of the big derby matches - preferably Fenerbahce v Galatasaray, though Beºiktaº would also do nicely. As you said yourself, Barcelona matches are a multi-cultural affair where people go to be entertained, much like the theatre, but there is little passion involved. Hop on an Easyjet flight, accommodation is good value and plentiful, and food and drinks are also cheap. Don't miss the famous 'wet burgers' in Taksim square after a few beers. The atmosphere both in and out of the stadium will blow your mind - I was at the same game as Danny Dyer in this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTiM5IO-JTU. Start watching from about the 30-minute mark for the match action. I have seen a lot of football in a lot of places and if there is one place you absolutely must watch a game of football before you die, it's Istanbul.
Sean Peter-Budge - Enjoy the Galatasaray fans tonight, they will invariably be more entertaining than the pasting their team will receive on the pitch!
Jamie Bedwell, Cheltenhamshire
On Mediawatch's Non-Football Story...
So, be honest. Who else thought:
a) Would I really miss one of them?
b) What would I buy?
Lee (I have $70,000 plums) LFC