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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Busting Man United Midfield Myths
I get it, United play a defender in midfield, or a grandpa, or a fatso, along with everyone's favourite whipping boy Tom Cleverley. When I read the teamsheets before Sunday's match, I was quaking in my boots. Tottenham's brick sh*thouses Sandro, Dembele and Paulinho against Jones, Kagawa and Cleverley. I saw the game and as soon as Sandro's shot went in, I groaned; not because we went behind, but because someone would use this stick to beat Cleverley with. I was expecting 16 conclusions to do it, if it were still being compiled for what an Arsenal supporter helpfully reminded me was a mid-table clash. Instead, Brian, MUFC, Dublin obliged in the afternoon mailbox. 16 conclusions was lazier and summarily dismissed the midfield battle in a parting jab as our midfield of lightweights being 'easily overpowered'.
Maybe I watched a different game than others and was happy with United's game. In my eyes, they did not concede the midfield battle at all, contested it fairly and kept a lid on Spurs dribbling and attacking from the middle, apart from Sandro's goal, obviously. So you know what I did? I went and took a look at the numbers.
United had 60% of possession and played 504 total passes compared to 338 for Spurs. Jones and Cleverley made 65 and 60 passes respectively, the highest numbers on the pitch. Spurs' sh*thouse trio made 87 among the three of them. Oh, and Brian, Cleverley's pass percentage was only below Kagawa and Danny Welbeck (he had attempted more passes than those two put together) and higher than all of Spurs' XI starters. So no, Cleverley's game is not summarised by falling over for a thunderb**tard. Just as Lionel Messi's game is not summarised by him not tracking Scholes before he scored that thriker against Barca in 2008.
And Abhisek from yesterday morning's mailbox, if you did the courtesy of watching United against Spurs, surely you would have noticed that de Gea does not flap at crosses any longer. He was supreme at his command of the box on Sunday. All aerial crosses coming in the six-yard box were either caught or punched away to the centre circle (he has developed a rather strong punch of late, I wonder if he's taking lessons from Wayne). And for the first goal, it is not the goalkeeper's job to study the opposition free-kick taker's technique. That would be the job of the goalkeeping coach. And common sense on the part of the wall when they see the opponent preparing a long run-up for the free-kick. I was watching a dodgy stream of the game (Owen is the laziest commentator I have ever heard, he is worse than the 'soccer' commentators on this side of the pond) and even I knew that Walker will blast it and not place it. De Gea's distribution remains head and shoulders above any current keeper in the league (note the usage of current, Reina is the king of distribution among Premier League keepers) so Szczesny still has some way to go, remarkable though his season may have been.
AB MUFC () Atlanta, Stateside
Bring Back Becks
Is it just me or does Valencia deliberately make it difficult for himself to cross the ball? To have to watch him on the right after Becks and CR7 is just plain painful. There are times when he's ahead of his defender and you'd invariably see him take two touches by which time he's blocked, or when he's well ahead only to see him make a useless turn only to find himself on the wrong side again! And to hope for him to miss his opposite man when he's right next to him would be like expecting snow in June.
Surely Zaha is better, surely Beckham would be better. If Giggsy can play patchy, once-in-a-while football and continue on till eternity I rather implore Becks to give it one more shot with Hernandez up front and watch the fun for a while (till it lasts). Maybe then we'd get a glimpse of what a real winger should be, one who can actually cross. As for the the rest of the United midfield, the less said the better.
Wingers? I Hate 'Em
Death to the Winger!! Yeah I said it. I hate em. Who actually likes them? Ribery, Young, Nani, Robben...Urgh I feel sick. Who doesn't love seeing them get booted around the park? I know I do.
When I was younger, the fancy b*****ds on the team were always the wingers, they would skip up and down the line like little gazelles being hunted by the opposition's lions, graceful yet absolute pu**ys when it came to the crunch. Nobody cared about me majestically heading balls out for throw-ins from centre-back, it was the lad in the luminous yellow boots getting all the attention. These guys main aim is to run away from people, little cowards trying to protect their precious little ball like that horrible little gremlin in Lord of the Rings protected the ring...Orlando Bloom I think it was.
They are all at it, the little dwarf freaks, buzzing up and down the wings scared stupid of a tackle or two. They are not even real men, they all still look like skinny spotty teenagers showing off to the birds in their class, trying flicks and dribbles and other nonsense. THEN, when they try to shoot and it hits row Z they have the ultimate get out clause..."I'm a winger, it's not my job to score". COWARDS, BLOODY COWARDS. Man up and take some responsibility wingers. Left and right-backs are now called WING backs. They are taking over your turf and you are too much of a fairy to do anything about it. Typical!
Check out Damien Duff next time he takes a tackle, watch him cry like a fat little kid whos just been spanked by his daddy. Watch the tears run down Nani's spotty little face when he gets lumped out if it by a proper man, these people are a plague on the game. It's no coincidence that these soft c**ks are only a 'H' away from being a whinger. You'd never see a centre-back behave like this. Get rid of em , make the pitch narrower. All they are doing is hiding from the real action in the middle.
WINGERS, YOU SUCK!
Apart from Giggsy. Absolute legend!
Brian Sheehy (Hi Gachie) Sydney
Give The Referees A Voice...Just A Voice
On Sunday, I watched Hugo Loris appear to get the ball in a challenge with Danny Welbeck.
The ref thought differently, and gave a penalty.
Cue dogs abuse. Boos. He's a w*nker, not fit to referee, and a c*nt.
Get home to MOTD2, and a look at the replay appears to confirm Loris got the man and not the ball.
If we're going to say refs should come out and explain their decisions, or apologise for mistakes, maybe the fans as a collective should either:
1. Stfu until they've had the benefit of a reply; or
2. One person for each mistake should be obliged to come forward and apologise for calling someone a w*nker for making the correct decision. Explain that they got caught up in the moment, but they were guilty of judging a difficult decision prematurely. They now accept that they were wrong, and will perhaps remember this moment the next time they decide to throw invective at someone for getting something right.
I know it's supposed to be a release for red-blooded males, etc, but the abuse given to refs really is ridiculous.
By the way, the ridiculous abuse they suffer got me thinking of a new idea which will revolutionise the way we ref.
Commentators and pundits get to watch the game on a massive screen, and have the benefit of instant replays etc. So why do we need a ref on the pitch at all? Just have him in the studio (and make him anonymous), watching the game on a screen, and have him announce his decision on a tannoy. This would be awesome. You can't abuse him or influence him, because you'd just be shouting at a voice. And the whole stadium would be able to hear him having a massive go at the players, who might actually look suitably humiliated, like little schoolboys.
Shaun (imagine that...a voice just going..."No Wayne. It wasn't a free-kick. And you can leave the wounded animal look at home too") Livingston
Slightly perplexed that there hasn't been any mention of Kyle Walker in the Winners and Losers section this week.
As far as I see it, he, more so than anyone else in that Sp*rs defence, was culpable for the penalty conceded after Sandro's thunderb*sterd of a strike.
I get that he's an attacking full-back and all that, but looking at this, and all I can think is, "wow, you utter moron".
There's a time and place for charging forward as a full-back, but when you're about to be hit on the counter-attack by a team that has it built into its DNA, is not one of them.
I've been discussing this with friends, and while they say that if he'd be a second earlier, he'd have been able to nick the ball away, I disagree. Looking at that clip/gif, that's not the run of a man looking to make a tackle, he's shaping up to have a pop at goal.
So arguably, that rash piece of misguided thinking contributed to a stretched defence panicking and Lloris conceding the penalty, at least in my opinion.
It's not the first time he's done this, as far as I'm aware, and I know F365 aren't his biggest fans. To be honest, I've never really paid much attention to him, but holy mother of f*ck, if he's going to be England's first choice RB, you boys are in a world of trouble.
Gav (Wondering when AVB's negative spiral is going to end), AFC, Dubai
Patience With Rodgers
Conor, London. I'll start by stating that I'm a United fan so I want Rodgers to fail, and fail miserably, relegation would be great, but I also have the objectivity of an outside observer. I appreciate that you're frustrated by the rate of progress made, but you cannot deny that Liverpool are a better side that they were when Rodgers took over. He took over a hodge-potch side with little quality and no philosophy of playing. So far he has managed to stamp his philosophy on the club, now he's trying to bring in the players to make the club successful. This takes time, and given the progress he's made so far, I think he's earned the right for more time to do what he think needs done.
You can beat him round the head about transfers all you like, but you can do that with every manager, for every Cantona there's a Djemba Djemba, for every Henry there's a Francis Jeffers, but you need to look at things in their entirety, and on the whole Liverpool are going the right direction. None of us know how far he can take Liverpool, and maybe you're right and he is out of his depth, but until it looks like he can take them no further, or he's successful, he should be given a chance. As for the Everton game, one of these 'poor substitutions' scored Liverpool's equaliser.
Ozil Or Higuain?
While watching Higuan bag his seventh goal in 13 games for Napoli, a thought crossed my mind and it's a question for Arsenal fans. If you had the opportunity to swap Ozil for Higuan right now, would you do it? Now in answering this I don't want you to simply make your decision based on who is the better player. The things to consider would be things like squad depth, consistency, previous seasons' performances (the club, not the two players), player mentality, wet Tuesday nights at Stoke (or should that be Palace now?), and of course Mystic Meg type predictions on what you anticipate might happen to the team and any other gut feeling you might have that a neutral like me might not be clued up on concerning your club.
Answers on a postcard (email? Mailbox? Aahhh whatever!).
A Team Of Flaminis?
..,probably you often heard the lines like 'wish we got 11 Cantonas' or '11 Messis surely will own the world', but for me however, after his recent performance, I would wish to have a team with 11 Flaminis. But why?
He is well known for being a good defensive midfielder, and used to play at almost all positions at his club. A utility man he is and quite a good one too. As a right/left back he can track runners, he is also a box-to-box kind of midfielder, can run in behind defences and he can score belters like last week too.
Since he can play almost all role, 11 Flaminis can interchange around well and fluidity is not a concern. And if you know him very well, commitment is really not an issue here, those 11 will fight for the ball until the whistle blows.
Plus by having 11 defensively good Flaminis, the team can opt for a classic 442 and drop the DM positions. The team can switch the tactics from offensive to defensive in any moment in the game without making ANY subs. And I sincerely believe these 11 Flaminis will definitely hold that 1-0 lead away at Nou Camp. Having 11 Flaminis on the pitch and seven more on my bench, I believe I had all the qualities and depth to last the league pace. The only issue is in the GK position, where in that GK kit, he look very much like Almunia. But I dunno, it's probably just me.
How about yours?
Syfq (twt : @fabulistjiwa) Amr, Malaysia
Making Arsenal Win Through Babies
There are a lot of things to talk about with Arsenal at the moment.
- Is Szczesny the best keeper in the PL right now? (yes)
- Can Arsenal challenge for the league? (I just hope everyone keeps writing us off)
- If Ozil already has the most assists and he didn't even play at the start of the season, what will he be like when he gets used to his team and this league?
There is something that hasn't been mentioned though. My wife and I had our second child this weekend. We had our first when RVP scored that late winner at Anfield in March 2012. As a football fan I'm naturally superstitious, so from that evidence it's clear to me that Arsenal always win when my wife is in labour.
Sadly, due to the limitations of the human body I can only guarantee us one win a season, but in a tight one like this one, it could be the difference.
So my question is, if (and it's a big if) Arsenal win the league this season, which stand will they be naming after me at the Emirates?
Adonis (tired) Stevenson, AFC
Heed The Warning, Arsenal
There's been talk about Wenger resting a few players for the Hull game, which isn't surprising if you look at our upcoming fixtures: Everton, Napoli, Man City, Chelsea.
I was all for this line of thought until I read Ash's comments yesterday on how his team may have adopted the 'It's only Hull' approach. There's a real danger of underestimating the opponent, especially given the form we've been in of late.
So I dug a bit deeper and realised that we've been pretty fortunate on a number of occasions this season - warnings about lower-placed teams have been given and heeded by Arsene and his charges. Stoke drew with Man City right before we beat them at home, WBA won at Old Trafford before we earned a point at the Hawthorns, and Cardiff drew with Man United before this latest victory.
I'm fully expecting Wenger to use Hull's win over Pool to show the players that we have to take the Tigers as seriously as any other opponent. It's absolutely vital that we pick up maximum points in these sorts of games, so as to build up a points buffer and maintain our position should we drop any points in the coming weeks. Heed the warning, Gunners!
Aaron, Singaporean Gooner
Yes He Is
Arsenal might be sitting on top of the league, playing quality classy football. The envy of all. Well my two-year-old daughter pointed at a picture of Arsene Wenger and said, 'That is an old woman'.
An irrefutable argument.