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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
'Worldie' Is A 'Proper' Football Phrase? F*ck. Off
I have had enough of this stupid phrase "Thunderb*stard" it just proves to me this website is written by the geeks at school that wouldn't let anyone else play with their ball.
Whatever happened to proper football phrases like "worldie" or "screamer" I've never written in before but I can't take it anymore.
THERE'S NO SUCH THINGS AS A THUNDERB*STARD
Essien To United?
Flicking through twitter I noticed it is Michael Essien's 31st birthday today. That is one year younger than Carrick, United's best midfielder. Since Essien is struggling to make the bench for the league cup and 'Daddy' Jose seems to not care less, maybe this is the man Moyes should buy in January. He provides United's midfield with strength and the ability to take on players from the middle (this genuinely never happens at United). It would also be a cheap option for a club that just splashed the guts of 30 million on a player that fumbles around the pitch making fouls and winning the occasional header. So come on Moyes, think a little outside the box and if not think outside of Everton.
David (Happy Birthday Michael) Ireland
PS to the inevitable chorus of players don't move between United and Chelsea , I say Juan Veron.
Team Of Flaminis?
If you could get a team of Flaminis to play together, it would take some beating. But out of the 11, at any one time three would be injured, two would be on the phone to their agents revising their salary demands, one would be having a running battle with the kit man, and three would be stood in the centre circle shouting and pointing at each other. So you're left with one bloke holding the side together along with a 5'10" goalie.
Tom, Brighton Gooner (a team of Paul Davises - now you're talking)
And They Both Have Unusual Sleeve Arrangements In Common, Too
A teamful of Daniele de Rossis would surely beat a teamful of Flaminis. Plus it would put the fear of God into any team to see 11 de Rossis staring coldly back at them at the handshake.
In response to Syfq Amr, Malaysia question I would much rather have a team of Yaya Toures. The chap is a beast! Tall enough to be a goalkeeper, would be an excellent centre back, already bosses the midfield and has the touch, strength and shot to be a beast of a striker too. He can run all day and takes a mean free kick.
I'm a united fan, it doesn't even make me feel dirty saying this as its the truth. The chap is immense...
Simon P (Dublin)
...In response to Syfq (twt : @fabulistjiwa) Amr, Malaysia, I would propose a team of David Beckhams.
Imagine the shirt sales.
Tim, London, NCFC
Ozil vs Higuain
Seyi in the morning Mailbox asks Arsenal fans if not just on current form but looking at the entire picture objectively would we swap Ozil for Higuain. The simple answer is no chance.
So many times this season Ozil has been the key to unlock the defense. A striker is rarely going to be that guy, and if he is it's because he dropped deep and did something special, Higuain is a great finisher but definitely not that guy. For years we've watched Arsenal pass around the penalty area looking for little chinks in a teams 10 men behind the ball armour. Cesc Fabregas could only do so much and not every week, but even a yet to settle and nowhere near in form Ozil sees that final ball about 5 seconds before the defense.
The real question should be what happens when we buy a striker who typically scores every two or three chances he gets rather than Giroud's five or so chances per goal...
Luca James Sparks (perversely looking forward to seeing which stick the press tries to beat Arsenal with when we eventually end the trophy 'drought')
Si (I refuse to explain myself.)
...Seyi, LFC asks an interesting question in this morning's mailbox: Özil or Higuain?
Mighty fine player though Higuain is, I think most Arsenal fans would go back and make the same choice again if in Wenger's shoes.
I can see how it might make sense that a squad consisting of Wilshere, Rosicky, Ramsey, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Cazorla and Arteta on the one hand, and Giroud on the other, may benefit more from the inclusion of another striker than the languid genius of Özil. On a rational level, there is a case to be made.
But, had we signed Higuain, would Giroud be the player he is this season? He'd be starting most games from the bench; would he be effective from this squad position, when he's a player that thrives on confidence and a run in the starting XI? Ole Gunnar Solskjaer he is not.
Would Ramsey still be walking on water? Would he find himself playing in as much space as he does with a player of Özil's status preoccupying the opposition's attention? And would he be involved in the final third behind Higuain, who plays on the shoulder, as much as he is playing behind Giroud, who begins most attacks with his back to goal?
Would Gibbs be having the extraordinary season he's currently enjoying? Cole and Baines may take all the plaudits, but Gibbs is having an outstanding season and has gone on record to say: "a signing like Ozil is going to push our squad forward because you don't want to let him down."
Would Sagna's contribution have lifted noticeably without the boon of a genuine world class arrival? Would Szczesny's concentration have lifted a notch without the realisation that we could really be on to something? There are examples throughout the squad.
Özil's arrival has taken Arsenal to another level. Had we signed Higuain, we would have been naturally delighted. But the naysayers would have been queuing up to point out that we'd simply taken a punt on a Madrid outcast. Özil may well fit into the same bracket at a push, but there's few who'd argue with the consensus that he was in fact one of Madrid's best players - a superstar - and not the first to fall foul of the Los Blancos circus.
I'd wager that seven Higuain goals in 13 games would have been handy, but done little more thus far than solidify our hold on a place at the top four table. We may go on to crumble again this season, but for now Özil has the club truly believing. And that's priceless.
Dane Vallejo, North Bank.
...In my opinion it's a no-brainer, I'd have Ozil over Higuain. I can understand why people may disagree with me, given that we have a number of options for the no. 10 role in the squad and only one proper striker the logical option would be to bolster the forward line. However I think that Saturday's game was a prime example of why Ozil is actually better for us.
The past few seasons we've had lots of small 'creative' players who like to play with the ball on the ground, all one and two touch passes around the opposition box, but no real penetration. Even when we had the finest striker in the division in our team two years ago I'd frequently come away from a game thinking ''how have we not won that?''. Basically we had a lot of the ball but often created very few chances, the infamous 'sterile domination'. Ozil provides us with some fertility in the final third though. In truth, his general play was pretty poor against Cardiff. He looked pretty tired and was shrugged off the ball far too easily on many occasions. But he had two moments of genius that created our first two goals, something that none of our other players are capable of on a consistent basis.
There's no point having a great forward if we can't get him in positions to score. Ozil is everything we've been missing, and we didn't even know it until he arrived.
Paul, Gooner in Munich
Cleverley And Stats
AB MUFC failed to mention that of all of Cleverley's 60 passes in the game, not one of them was a key pass. As the Premier League Numbers and Stats section highlighted last week Cleverley and Fellaini have only accounted for 7 key passes in the league all season. Cleverley has played 10 league games and has ZERO goals or assists. He retained possession well against Spurs but what use is that if he isn't creating anything! Is it any wonder we've struggled creatively. He's supposed to be a creative midfielder! His play is symptomatic of our struggles in midfield so far. There is no midfield myth, we're weak in there and it hurts to watch it. It's not enough for United to just "not concede the midfield battle". We can't be content with mediocrity.
Brian, MUFC, Dublin
Agreeing With Roy On Sturridge
I just want to say that I completely agree with Roy on this whole Sturridge thing. Considering how many players have historically been withdrawn from international duty, usually for friendlies, because of mysterious yet miraculously quick healing 'injuries', clubs can't be surprised when a national manager either doesn't believe them, or down right ignores them about one of their players having some sort of ouchie.
The majority of clubs don't consider themselves duty bound to the good of the national team, so why do they expect that in return?
If Sturridge really was that unfit to play, he should have been the one to put his hand up and say he couldn't play. England have physios who, I've been lead to believe, are trained to check that sort of thing. Even if Liverpool ever so politely requested Roy use Daniel just a little bit, Roy had every right to tell them to 'do one'.
We're always hearing about players carrying on, sometimes for weeks, for their clubs with some sort of niggle. But if Roy expects the same level of commitment this is somehow A Bad Thing.
It's spectacularly unlikely, because it would involve the FA actually doing something, but personally I'd like to see them enforce the FIFA rule about not being allowed to play for your club for 5 days after an international withdrawal. It might go some way to restoring the trust between club and international managers about injuries being real injuries, and you never know it might help the England team be fractionally less s**t.
Chris, London (My money's on 7 withdrawals from the next round of friendlies now) CAFC
On Kyle Walker
Having had the 'pleasure' of watching Kyle Walker when he was on loan at Villa a few seasons back I find i'd have to agree with everything Gav from Dubai said is this morning's mailbox. When Walker was on loan at Villa his attacking flair and intent were obvious to see with him chipping in with a few goals and some assists. What however was more obvious was fact that he more often than not had a hand in the majority of the goals that we conceded second half of that season be it getting caught in position high up the pitch allowing the opposition to break and counter or just having a general brain fade moment.
In my opinion he has improved a little with regards to his defensive ability but is still larger bailed out by his physical attributes particularly his pace. He doesn't seem to have learnt or really improved in regards to his positioning or reading of the game. There no doubt that he has the raw ability and skill to become a top fullback but it appears that either he doesn't have what's required between his ears or that the coaches are doing what they should be doing Spurs or England which is obviously focusing on his defending. That's his job that's what he gets paid for.
All in all though he was an improvement for us over Alan Hutton who was terrible at the attacking and defending parts so fair does.
Nick Miller asks "How many more times can a commentator describe an 'uncharacteristic error' before it becomes, well, characteristic?". I would suggest it probably has to happen more than once for that to be the case. Yes, Lloris utterly despises his penalty area, and has an almost English centre-back (or Jack Wilshere) -esque love of a slide challenge, but his timing and decision making are usually impeccable. That was an error, yes, but a far cry from the days of Gomes and his ridiculousness (conceding a penalty, saving it, then instantly conceding another).
As for AVB, I would hope that Sunday will remind him how he likes us to play football, and how we can be effective. It was nice to hear his plan of being "aggressive with balls down the channel to try to create the situations in behind full-backs", and the speed and power play of Sunday, reminiscent of the first half of United away last year, was very effective. He seems to have been confused about how we should be attacking for the early part of the season, but actually Fulham being revitalised and having attacking impetus should create the opportunity for us to play in a similar way to Sunday. The march up the table begins!
Alex G, THFC (was totally joking about the reverse mindthegap thing btw, well done for noticing)
On The Top Ten Manager Meltdowns
Can't believe John Sitton wasn't included.
Lord Of The Rings Pedantry
You'll probably get a few of these but re: Brian Sheehy, you are mistaken in your Lord Of The Rings knowledge.
You refer to 'that horrible little gremlin' who 'protected the ring' and then state that this character was played by Orlando Bloom. Orlando Bloom in fact played the Legolas, the elf.
I assume you are referring to Gollum, played by Andy Serkis, or, at a push (although he wasn't particularly gremlin-ny just a bit of a wimp), Frodo Baggins, the hobbit played by Elijah Wood.
Otherwise I agree with your point, nothing better than a hard tackle being put in on a winger and them then doing nothing for the rest of the game.
Jake, Lord Of The Rings fan, Bordeaux.
We're Not Going To Hit The Sherry That Hard...
F365 please give Brian Sheehy (Hi Gachie) Sydney a column for his Christmas present. I would love to hear more of his thoughts after his wonderful rant.
I would like to know what Brian thinks about players in the wall that turn their backs on the ball.
Cliff Mallinder, AFC
Central Defenders: Pricks
Ugh, central defenders, what pr*cks. Why do they exist? Haven't they seen diminutive defensive midfielders like Javier Mascherano and Esteban Cambiasso play in their position? Look at these central defenders and what do you think? Terry, Ferdinand, Woodgate, Vidic. Twunts, the lot of them.
They think they're all that because they're 'hard b*stards' and love to let the player know he's there. Usually that player they let know he's there is some little winger or forward who they have to knobble because they'll never have the pace to catch up with them when they inevitably get skinned. Then they all start lumbering forward for corners and free-kicks, thinking their brute strength will lead to a powerful header and universal acclaim as a 'goal-scoring defender'. What actually happens? They smash into the midfielder/opposition goalie/post and get knackered trying to get back leaving the 'keeper and full backs to mop up the inevitable mess.
Even the ones renowned for being ball playing defenders are useless. Every time David Luiz gets the ball he thinks he's a bloody attacking midfielder and gives his teammates a heart-attack while he dribbles around. When he doesn't score a ludicrously flukey shank he's pulled everyone else out of position trying to cover him. Any central defender who shows any promise is quickly turned into a sweeper such as Beckenbauer, Popescu, Nesta and Hierro.
Anyway, whilst they get all the glory from last ditch blocks and getting all muddy and covered in blood everyone ignores my heroics as a 'keeper spent clearing weak back passes and missed headers. Who has to organise this lot? It's like herding lobotomized cats, telling them who to mark, which way to head the ball ('AWAY') and where to put the wall.
Why don't we get rid of them? Play the old fashioned WM formation and use two pacey full backs to mop up at the back with a sweeper-keeper. He's doing everyone's job at the back for them anyway.
This Is How You Throw Your Team Under The Bus
While 'Arry Redknapp's sternographer and former News Of The World (and current Daily Mail) scumbag Neil Ashton are renting their garments, resorting to wearing sackcloth and pouring ashes over their heads over ABV's comments after losing 6-0 to Mna City, this happened in the US.
That's 19 year old Alabama kicker Cade Foster missing a field goal which was returned for 109 yards for a touchdown which not only lost his team the game but also their unbeaten record. After the game coach Nick Saban spent most of his press conference blaming Foster and the rest of the players while absolving himself which led to him being given ESPN's Keith Olbermann's award for "Worst Sports Person In The World".
Auburn also had a win against Georgia a week before which was even more improbable. If they had put that in a sports film you would probably never believe it!
Israel, MUFC since 1977
Messi And Raving
Apropos of nothing, is anyone else irritated when salivating pundits say "if Messi scored that goal we'd be raving about it"?
Firstly, you are raving about the goal so what's your point?
Secondly, Messi scores lots and lots and lots of great goals so again what's your point?
Brian O, Dublin
Where Is Stewie?
It struck me lately that we haven't heard much of our old friend Stewie as of late. I assume he still reads the mailbox so I would like to see how he believes Arsenal's season has gone so far? Surely he must have an opinion how things are going at the moment so C'mon Stewie lets hear it?
Peter(Always have an image he was bald, don't know why?), AFC