Somebody mentions Paul Scholes and everybody writes in with those quotes from Zidane etc. Dull dull dull. We've ignored them. There's plenty more to enjoy here...
It does seem logical that the best thing to do with the best players is to play them from the start, when they have the most time to make an impact, rather than the last 15 minutes...
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Worried About Spurs? What About Ozil?
Three months on from the close of the transfer window and I think it would be fair to say Spurs aren't quite where I hoped we'd be. The results and performances have, overall, been OK - we look more solid at the back, Sunday aside, and our issue has really been at the other end of the pitch....i think that might have been mentioned once or twice before on this site/in every article I read about us in the papers.
It seems as if everyone has thrown their 2 pennies worth regarding what is going wrong at Spurs, particularly with regards to the lack of goals. Accusations of tactical naivety from the manager seem to be the no.1 choice for media-led AVB out brigade, but I disagree. As far as I'm concerned, you only need to look across the other side of London to gain a bit of perspective and appreciate why time alone may be the best healer.
By no means am I trying to argue that Mesut Ozil has been poor at Arsenal, or that he was overpriced etc etc, but I think it would be fair to say he has not quite playing at a level that one might expect from a £42.5m signing. He's done well in some games, not so well in others but the fact that Arsenal have been flying high and he has had others to pick up the slack when he hasn't performed has shifted the pressure off him. I have no doubt Ozil will go on to be a top top signing for Arsenal - much to my own dismay - but he clearly needs a bit of time to settle in and adapt and it is perfect for him that he has the quality and experience around him to help with that. Much of Arsenal's squad has been together for a decent amount of time (in modern terms at least) and the well drilled, free flowing attack that Arsenal have was not formed overnight.
Spurs have the opposite of that. Of our starting midfielders and forwards, I make it 8 players (Paulinho, Holtby, Capoue, Townsend, Chadli, Lamela, Eriksen, Soldado) who have been in the first team for less than a year and have just 23 games of PL experience between the lot of them. I saw Gary Neville said recently that a youth player would only be considered as a first team player at united when they had played 100 games. Well, of our midfield/attack, only Defoe, Lennon, Adebayor and Dembele (104) have played more than that. So, not only are our players struggling to adapt to the Premiership, but they are also suffering from a lack of PL experience around them...which is probably hindering their progress in adapting to the Premiership. Bit of a viscious circle you see.
So what's the solution? Sack the manager? For some, maybe it is. Maybe AVB should be integrating these players faster.
That's not how I see it. I like AVB (I think it's the beard mainly) but I certainly wouldn't describe myself at the world's biggest AVB fan - in my mind, until he delivers some real success, the jury will always be out. However, he is a young manager and, just like with young players, he needs to learn from his mistakes in order to improve and develop as a coach. However, he has done enough in his time at the club so far to convince he should be given a bit more time...just like most of the players.
No Smoke Without Fire
I know we all like to assume the press just make stuff up, but when publications like the Guardian are reporting that AVB's job is in jeopardy, there's probably something in it. I found Patrick Barclay's article in the Evening Standard yesterday quite illuminating - in it he criticizes the board member (without naming the guilty party) who has apparently been briefing the press against AVB. From that, I'd assume that the stories of the last week come off the back of somebody quite senior at Spurs talking to journalists about their frustration with AVB. Quite why, goodness only knows, and for sure some of the editorials have an agenda. But I think it's a bit naiive to assume this is a story entirely fabricated by the press. And, as you've noted, it's hardly without justification - AVB is currently under-performing.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
More Near Misses
Middlesbrough FC had to be the kings of the late nineties/early noughties leftfield transfers. Top overseas strikers and midfielders were bought on a regular basis, which for a deeply unfashionable North Eastern club that nearly went out of existence as recently as 1986, was very exciting news.
The list of ones that "got away" is also pretty amazing -
There were also rumours involving the likes of Ronaldinho, Rio Ferdinand, Robbie Keane plus many, many more.
Ian "Cows go" Moore, Stavanger
So Patrice Evra says that IF United had won three of the games they'd dropped points in (Southampton, West Brom & Cardiff), they'd be top of the league...well no sh*t Sherlock!
Then again, if any one of the other 19 teams in the league hadn't dropped any points they could surely make the same claim...including the current leaders!
It made me wonder about the IF word (and the intelligence of some footballers)...
IF Arsenal hadn't had a flu virus in the camp & sent key players home when they played United would they have still lost the game by a single goal? (possibly/possibly not - no-one knows)
IF Alex Ferguson was still in charge at Old Trafford, would United have dropped so many points in the three games Patrice mentions (probably not).
IF I was young, rich and good looking would I still be writing this email or partying with a bevy of beautiful girls? (sorry 365 I think we know the answer to that one).
I suggest Patrice you leave "IF statements" to software developers!
Chris (I deal in facts - hence why I'm writing the email instead of partying with a bevy...) Charteris
Zanetti > Giggs
Ryan Giggs is a legend, of that there is no doubt. He's excelled in numerous positions, adapting his game to the changing nature of his body and the shifting tactics of the league, and enjoyed one of the most glittering club careers in world history.
However, he's three and a half months younger than Javier Zanetti and looks like he could be his Dad.
And Zanetti's played in the World Cup twice. So he's better.
I've just read Joe's email in the mailbox and it took me back.
I remember reading said article with a mate of mine. As a Utd fan I was purring about this future football great.
My mate's instant reaction was "he relies too much on his pace. He'll do in his hamstring which will either end his career or see him playing down the divisions. There is no way he'll be playing anywhere near the top level when he gets to his 30's"
He never was good at predictions.
Does anyone else have friends that have made outlandishly wrong predictions that seemed perfectly possible at the time?