A Massive Old Christmas Mailbox...

We thought we'd really struggle for two mailboxes on Xmas Eve but not only have we managed, but this is massive and brilliant. Enjoy and we wish you a Merry Xmas...

Last Updated: 24/12/13 at 13:45

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Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

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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...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

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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...

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If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at theeditor@football365.com

Dear Santa...
So the season is nearly half over and Liverpool for the first time in an age on top at Christmas. So what do all the teams want in their Christmas stockings?

About 400 tons of cotton wool to wrap Luis Suarez in. The Uruguayan has been nothing short of sensational since returning from his ban. RVP dragged an otherwise mediocre ManU side to the title last season. Could Suarez return the favour this year?

About the same tonnage as above in steel and grit. Flamini has given the side some backbone but more is required for the big games they will surely need to win their first title in a decade. Superstar January signings are not required, just a couple of prudent ones, preferably with beards and tattoos and muscles.

Manchester City
Travel sickness pills. If City can sort out their away form (Fulham was a start) then the title looks theirs to lose. A wonderful squad with attacking options, pace and power to burn. Another central defender might not hurt either.

One of Luis Suarez, Sergio Aguero, Wayne Rooney, Radoman Falcao, Gonzalo Higuain and did anyone mention Romelu Lukaku? Chelsea need a first-class centre-forward who can do it week in, week out. A top-class holding midfielder wouldn't go amiss either.

A bigger squad. Roberto Martinez has confounded many critics (including myself) by doing an excellent job at Everton so far. Injuries and suspensions will bite and a couple more players could seriously help Everton's push for Europe.

Newcastle United
A period of serenity and calm. The Toon remain a comedy of errors perennially yet they have done superbly well after last season's and this summer's travails. Pardew is talking of adding a couple of players to an already capable squad. Could be a good season for the Geordies.

A tactics for beginners manual. Under AVB, Spurs looked incapable of scoring goals. Under Sherwood it is simple 'up and at 'em'. That served with some adrenalin and Emmanuel Adebayor will work for a couple of games but will not seem them in the top four.

A left-back, a central defender, two central midfielders and an attacking midfielder as well as a time machine to transport back Giggs, Vidic, Ferdinand, RVP and probably Paul Scholes and hey let's throw in Gary Neville too. The Reds are in poor shape but all is not lost. Quality additions to the squad required however.

Massage beds and more fitness coaches. The Saints have excelled but their high-tempo pressing game means that when the players fall off a fraction from 100% the results can go horribly wrong. They need to address the slide quickly before it becomes a problem.

Stoke City
Patience. Stoke should be the perfect job for Hughes. A limited transfer budget and a small club means he can do little harm in the transfer market like at QPR. A repeat of his work at Fulham and Blackburn would do nicely.

Swansea City
To be knocked out of the Europa League. Swansea's league form is suffering the seemingly obligatory drop-off associated with being in this tournament. May need to start looking over their shoulders soon.

Hull City
More of the same pills. City have done very well when they were expected to be wholly out of their depth. A few more wins and they can start dreaming of a mid-table finish. There are certainly worse teams than them.

Aston Villa
A new Cristian Benteke as their old one seems to have malfunctioned and is out of warranty. Villa are on the slide after a promising start. Benteke has gone to sleep, they need to wake him up and quickly.

Norwich City
Team-bonding gel. The Canaries may well survive again this season. They bought several players this summer and there have been sporadic signs of life. They should get better although the pressure will start to increase.

Cardiff City
A life coach for Vincent Tan. Cardiff have one of the most talented up-and-coming managers yet the owner seems hell bent on destroying the club he owns from within. It is hard enough in the Premiership without sabotaging yourselves. Unbelievable.

Romelu Lukaku. Everton's gain has been WBA's loss. The Baggies need to get some points on the board quickly.

West Ham United
A fit Andy Carroll. Big Sam's football has never been about aesthetics and without his spearhead there is no end product to go with the rest of the play. The Hammers are in serious trouble right now.

Crystal Palace
A season that started two months ago. Tony Pulis is slowly pulling the Eagles around but they are deeply in the mire and they only have questionable quality to get out of it.

Defenders. Fulham have conceded more goals than anyone and whilst the work rate of their forwards may be contributing they badly need some quality at the back.

A miracle. Di Canio has gone but Poyet looks to be slowly morphing into him. Their squad looks entirely unlike one that is geared to battle relegation. The Sunderland board has to decide whether to stick or twist in the transfer market.
Steve McBain, Singapore

Is Second-Half Malaise Actually A Tactic?


I've been thinking about Liverpool's second-half malaise this season. It goes back to the second game of the season against the Villa, when Liverpool clearly and delibarately dropped the pace in the second half, looking to soak up pressure and hold a one-goal lead. A risky tactic, but a tactic nonetheless and put to good effect against a Villa side that had humbled Arsenal with three great counter-attacking goals the week before.

It's been - with some notable exceptions - a pattern of play for Liverpool this season. Henderson, in particular, is an absolute force of nature over the first 45 minutes but then seems happy to retreat to a deeper line. Against Cardiff, part of me wonders whether that wasn't Rodgers opting for mercy in defence of his mate (which, in the circumstances, I can definitely applaud; pounding Spurs into the dirt was great but it would've been utterly cruel against Cardiff). But a bigger part of me wonders if it's not some form of squad preservation tactic.

Liverpool's squad is clearly short on bodies everywhere other than centre-back. Rodgers' 'Inverse United' tactics of trying to get the game wrapped up in the first half mean that the furious pressing can give way to a holding mentality and looking to utilise the pace of players like Sturridge or Sterling on the break. We can't employ a rotation policy at the moment, so I guess it's an attempt at saving our weary legs. Rodgers has previously talked at length about 'resting with the ball' and we certainly seem more content to pass the ball around the back and play keep-away when we're a couple of goals up nowadays.

It's an interesting one as a supporter, and certainly not something I expect to see against City on Boxing Day - but I have to give all credit to Rodgers. In my 28 years, I've never seen a Liverpool side this adept at annihilating teams, particularly the dreaded 'teams we're expected to beat' that so often flummoxed the bearded genius Rafa Benitez.

This is a young side that's only just starting to gel, with a young manager who genuinely seems capable of moulding a side, improving players and creating a playing style and ethos at a club. Hopefully he's given the backing by the board to maintain our unlikely title challenge and we'll be in for a really exciting second half of the season.

Merry Christmas, one and all.
Nick Glover, Scouser in Brum (regretting not taking Christmas Eve off)

More Thoughts On Liverpool

So, we're top for a few days at least. We are enjoying it while it lasts.

We're likely to get no points from the next two games, but at least this year we're talking about 'slipping down' to fourth or fifth, not desperately trying to catch up.

Try to defend against Manchester City - lose 2-0, try to attack, lose 5-3. I'd rather go at them. Keeping up a three-goals-a-game scoring average will be better for morale and better for the neutrals.

At the start of January, we'll be in sight of the leaders with our two worst games out of the way and recent form that brushes aside all lower clubs. Champions? Not likely. Top four? Believe it.

Maybe it's my imagination, maybe it's Liverpool's improved form casting him in a better light, maybe it's just diet and exercise, but Brendan Rodgers is looking a lot less like a potato these days.

Keeping The Dream Alive...

As a Liverpool fan in my early thirties I vaguely remember our last title wins in 88 and 90, I remember being happy that we were champions but then just going out and playing football in the park with my friends like any other day. I was too young to truly celebrate being champions and the opportunity has never come along since. The closest we've ever come since was the 08/09 season, we came second in 2002 aswell but that never felt like a title challenge. I've had some incredible times celebrating the cup victories over the years but as Mr Shankly once said, the league is our bread and butter.

Being roughly halfway between Liverpool and Manchester theres quite a mixed bunch of fans around here. I started high school the year Manchester United won the first Premier League and for the 20 years since I've never heard the end of it. Most of my friends, school buddies and work collegues over the years and as a Liverpool fan my team has always been the butt of their jokes.

Which brings me to my point. I'm a sensible fan and, like most, I know we're not going to win the league this year and that top four is the ultimate challange. I also know deep down that Man Utd wont continue to be a laughing stock and will be back in the top four come the end of the season. So that's why I'm going to enjoy it now while I can, to celebrate Christmas at the top of the league for the first time since God knows when. To enjoy listening to Man Utd fans losing their s**t and telling us not to celebrate. The last few weeks have been marvellous fun and long may it continue. So Liverpool fans out there, don't listen to people telling you not to get over-exited, enjoy the moment, revel in it and keep on dreaming that we just might do it. It's what football is all about right?

Merry Christmas everyone.
Martin (Warrington)

Arsenal Are Looking Okay Too...

So, this is my first e-mail in to the mailbox. I don't even know if this will be published, but hey-ho, miracles do happen at Christmas. I'm slightly confused by all the doom-mongering out there about Arsenal's recent run. Sure, it hasn't been great, even the most stubborn of Arsenal fans will admit that losses to Napoli, City and a draw with Chelsea is hardly shouting from the rooftops form. But, I have to ask, why is this (relatively short) run of poor form anything in particular to worry about? Yes, I'd rather we won all three, but the very reason teams aim to get ahead on points at the top of the table is so that when the poor run happens, they stay in the running. We're still joint top of the league on points having played City and Chelsea for two rounds of fixtures. Liverpool have a similar set of fixtures but face it without a points buffer, so two losses and they could be six points off the pace all of a sudden.

Secondly, yes we don't seem to be winning as much against the big teams as we do the small teams. But, we have beaten some; Spurs, Liverpool (Who are definite title contenders), Dortmund (despite their poor season); these are hardly second-rate teams. Looking at the league this year though, it isn't going to come down to who wins the so called 'six-pointers' at the top of the table, it's going to come down to who has the ability to beat the teams in the bottom half consistently - so far, Arsenal and Liverpool are the teams which are doing that.

It's easy to pick holes in a team's season if you're looking for them, but as an Arsenal, had you offered me joint top going into the Christmas period after the opening game of the season, I'd have taken it without a second thought. We do have work to do; Giroud is already looking jaded, as is Ozil; but we have players coming back (Walcott has looked sharp, Podolski will offer a different option) and the prospect of a January window where Wenger may well surprise us all once again.

I know patience is a rare thing in the modern game, but perhaps wait until closer until the end of the season to see how important a boring 0-0 draw with Chelsea will be.

Merry Christmas.
Sam, Sheffield

...First things first, Mike Dean isn't even bothering to hide his contempt for Arsenal anymore is he?

Now, it wasn't a great result - or game - but I think Arsenal should be happy with that point. Here's why:

1) You might say it's no wins in four and a slide back into the pack, but we've just come through an unbelievably tough run of games (I would say the toughest, but things will be pretty hairy in March/April) and we're second, only separated from the top by goal difference. A win would have seen us clear by two, but a loss would have seen us drop from first to fourth in the space of a weekend. Going for the win and losing is the stick we were beaten with after getting rope-a-doped by Dortmund (a loss which cost us first place in the Group of Death, and by extension contributed to the Second Round of Armageddon), and while the cagey, conservative approach doesn't win many fans in the short term, it can often be the better tactic over the course of the season - just ask Jose Mourinho.

2) Speaking of whom, after our annual thrashing, the last opponent Wenger will have wanted to recover momentum against was his nemesis. 'Nemesis' doesn't really do Mourinho justice, though; he will haunt Wenger to the end of his days, and then probably show up in the afterlife making tasteless wisecracks and generally p***ing on his chips (while a besotted Henry Winter giggles away). Mourinho will have fancied taking all three points yesterday and the tactics he employed were pretty much a carbon copy of his approach in years gone by. He didn't succeed, and if anyone doubts that Wenger was happy to take the point and draw the venom from his most feared opponent, look at the lack of substitutions. Better to keep them fresh for the Whammers.

3) We've now played our league title rivals and Everton (and Manchester United). Five points from 15 isn't great at all, but we're still in the thick of the race with a very nice run of games between now and Anfield in February. While City and Chelsea could still go on a decisive run this season, so far it's been the teams that can routinely beat the 'lesser' ones that have risen to the top, and we've been very good at that up 'til now.

4) While Newcastle is the toughest game we have until Anfield, Liverpool, City and Chelsea have to play each other in that period. What's more, Liverpool have a Merseyside derby, City have a trip to White Hart Lane (I know), and Chelsea host United. We should be top of the league when we travel to Liverpool, and failure to put ourselves in that position will be a far greater disappointment than any of the last four results.

5) Arsenal 0 - 0 Chelsea >>>>>> Arsenal 1 - 3 Aston Villa.

If you'd offered me second on goal difference at Christmas at any stage between the start of the season and last night, I'd have taken it. Only an idiot would question Giroud's contribution, but the table highlights that the weakness in the squad currently is goals. We haven't been able to bolster our goal difference while dominating teams or find the goal to turn one point into three, but if we can find a way of doing that then we're in a very strong position. With Podolski coming back and the transfer window a week away, Arsenal fans have many reasons to be confident.
Will O'Doherty

Blaming Mike Dean

What a dull game that was. I blamed Mourinho at first but looking back I think the blame must rest with Mike Dean. He played into Mourinho's game plan perfectly. He allowed two-three blatant yellow card fouls from Chelsea and one from Arsenal all go unpunished within the first 15 minutes which meant no one had to be careful and the teams continued to cancel each other out for the 90 minutes. Also when a game badly needs a goal to bring it to life Mr Dean refuses a stonewall penalty when he had a perfect view. Theo Walcott had the ball under control, Willian challenges, misses the ball completely and catches Walcott's standing leg. Penalty. Simply. The only people who would say it isn't are Chelsea fans. I don't think this is a case of 50/50 Arsenal fans say it is and Chelsea say it isn't. It was a penalty plain and simple.

Had Mr Dean given the penalty and Arsenal converted we would have had a game on our hands. Mourinho would have had to change his tactics or risk losing his impressive record vs Wenger and we wouldn't have had to put up with such a monotonous 0-0.

Also Mr Dean is doing nothing to silence the Gooner conspiracy theorists about his performances refereeing their games. From the jumping 'celebration' when Spurs scored against them to his record of awarding penalties (two for, six against), to the simply mental Arsenal record when he's officiating (W 1, D 6, L 9). What is it they say? Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean there isn't something fishy going on?
David M

...Mike Dean didn't even wave advantage for this tackle by Mikel on Arteta.

If you honestly think that's not a foul, not a guaranteed yellow and probably red, then you are probably a Chelsea fan.

Arteta revealed it BROKE his shin pad, he shoved it to Dean who did nothing. If that's not excessive force, I don't want to know what is.

He lost control of the game when he shouldn't have, if he had booked Azpilicueta early on for his cynical foul and one other Chelsea player who I can't recall the name of wouldn't have lost control like that.

Commentators blamed the conditions on some of the tackles, but only one team was making them.

Whether or not he's biased against Arsenal is debatable but I don't see why the FA can't simply not appoint him to Arsenal games to avoid this.
Anonymous (Can you recall a game Arsenal benefited from wrong refereeing decisions? I can name a lot where they (almost) cost us.)

A Defence Of Mourinho

In this morning's mailbox, Minty asserted that Mourinho failed to even come close to achieving Champions League victory with Real Madrid. I think three years as manager and three semi-finals, whilst not actually winning the cup, clearly is not as far away from winning it as you would suggest in your mail. His time at Madrid, and Inter also, were both successful and if you had watched either of those times play whilst he was at the club, there is no way you could say that Mourinho did not try and attack teams and play attractive football. Maybe this isn't the best example of my previous comment, I would like to gloat and say that I was at this game and saw Eto'o score this lovely overhead kick.

Now whilst I agree that to date Mourinho hasn't produced a huge amount at Chelsea this season, if you are to look at the way we are playing, I would say that we are playing much more attractive football than we did at any point during the first Mourinho era. The main issue is we are not putting away our chances, and therefore people like yourself see us not scoring the same amount of goals as your Liverpools (or should I say Suarez) and Citys. If we had been putting away more, there is no way that there would be any way to assert that what Chelsea re serving up is dross 'week in week out'. This screams of someone who likes to follow the papers' view on a team rather than actually watch that team play. In my opinion, Mourinho is managing a side which is struggling to adapt to his style of play, and is trying to keep his team in contention during that period. For me this is obviously the best way to go about things, as when the team do finally click, if Chelsea are still in with a shout (as they are after yesterday) then I doubt many teams will be able to compete. That or we buy a decent striker in January and everything changes.
Lori Peri, 27, CFC

For Giroud, Read Torres

When I read this morning's mailbox, the first letter from Greg Benham hit the nail on the head. Simply remove Giroud/Arsenal and replace with Torres/Chelsea. Done. It's scary. See:

What to say about Olivier Giroud Fernando Torres? If Arsenal Chelsea had a quality striker playing in his stead there seems little doubt that we'd be clear by some points at the top of the table today.

He's a trier, works hard and is happy to chase the ball; his dispossessing of Boruc goal against City a perfect display of his doggedness. Unfortunately though a club challenging for the league and in Europe needs more than a glorified Shane Long. There have been flashes of class, such as his goal against Sp*rs shot that rattled the bar (again) against City and his work in the build-up for Wilshere's goal of the season (ok. We have nothing similar to this BECAUSE..) they've been few and far between.

Every time I watch him play he reminds me more and more of A-League superstar Emile Heskey, and that is a not a good thing. His finishing is woeful, his favourite thing to do in the box is fall over and I get that same uncomfortable feeling watching him chase after the ball as I used to watching The Office.

So there you have it.

Thanks Greg. Couldn't have put it better myself.
Ash (Just happy with a clean sheet), London

For Me, That Was Poor

I sat down to watch MNF yesterday. I rarely watch football punditry, as it tends to be drab, monotonous and completely empty of any real insight into the game. Whilst I was impressed with their general level of analysis, one of two things did annoy me.

Specifically the phrase 'for me' before every single comment or opinion they had. Where has this sh*t come from? Does anyone say 'for me' in normal life outside of football analysis? Another one is being told to 'listen' before any comment or opinion. I'm already f***ing listening, therefore you don't need to remind me constantly to do so in order to emphasise your point. I tuned into talk sport the other day and had to switch off after five minutes as Darren Gough seemed to be repeating the word 'listen' repeatedly, in order for us to stop what we are all doing and listen to an ex-cricketer who thinks he's a football oracle. If I spoke like that in real life or at work, most people would quite rightly think I was a c**t.

In addition, Mourinho starting to really grate on me also with his reference to Arsenal players being soft. The vast majority of football players are soft and the game has now evolved into who can take advantage of the slightest touch or brush of an opponent. It's an utterly depressing and irreversible shift in the way English football is refereed. Even more depressing when ex-players and pundits condemn 'fouls' of minimal contact, as they've played the game and should know that a player did not need to fall over/roll around in agony.
Pete Chapman

City Fans Guilty? Not These...

In response to Chris (unless my name should be withheld), Toon Army Outer Banks, although I would never claim to speak for all City fans, I think it's safe to say that the answer to your question of whether we feel guilt about the reason behind our club's recent success is, generally speaking, no.

When all's said and done, all football fans are just mere spectators (or worse, customers) with extremely limited (if any) control over what goes on at our respective clubs. City fans didn't have a say in the running of the club but famously stuck by our team during the dark days of the Peter Swales and Franny Lee eras which culminated in the club's plummet to the depths of the third division and many reflect upon the collective loyalty shown during that period (and the slightly better but equally depressing era of Stuart Pearce's non-scoring City which followed) as a form of penance which allows them to unashamedly enjoy the football on offer nowadays.

It's rapidly becoming a boring cliche to say this, but it was only 15 years ago this week that City hit rock bottom with the infamous defeat away at York and the fans who were around to witness that shower of sh*te could never have imagined in their wildest dreams that we'd one day be winning the league title or beating the European champions in their own backyard. Since the club's takeover in 2008, we've had to put up with a helluva lot of bile from supporters of other clubs and accusations of having no history or soul, all of which should be obviously ridiculous to anyone who knows anything about football. If you think it's unfair that a struggling club can be bought by someone with vast swathes of cash and transformed into a super power then you've probably got a point, but as supporters all we really care about is success and good football and it isn't our fault that having lots of money has become the only real method of achieving this in the modern game. We didn't start the fire, it was always burning since the world's been turning.

I must admit there was a point during the summer when a David Conn article in the Guardian about the laissez-faire attitude to human rights in Abu Dhabi put the proverbial cat amongst my free-thinking, liberal pigeons and made me consider whether my support for City was contributing to what is clearly an unacceptable way to treat people wherever you are in the world. I'm not proud of that particular aspect of the club's ownership by Sheikh Mansour & co, but show me a person of extreme wealth who hasn't attained their riches via some form of personal suffering and I'll show you a liar.

I think the reason you don't see a lot of City fans writing into this esteemed website is not due to any guilt or shame but more because of the fact that the typical City fan is a humble soul who doesn't take themselves or their club too seriously. When I read some of the humourless, navel-gazing drivel that some of the fans of Arsenal, United, Spurs, Chelsea and Liverpool contribute to the 'Wailbox' I can't help but feel slightly embarrassed on their behalf. If you ask me there's far too much emphasis placed on such hokum as history (which most people seem to use as a portmanteau for 'winning' in a footballing context), tradition, morals and 'doing things the right way' in football nowadays and we'd all enjoy ourselves a lot more if we appreciated that's it's just another form of entertainment to keep us occupied on a Saturday afternoon/Sunday lunchtime/Monday night etc.

I'd love nothing more than to see City standing successfully on its own two feet a few years down the line with a great crop of local talent coming through the academy and I believe the club is working towards that. For now though, I'll just enjoy the wonderful football on offer and will thank my lucky stars that we're off to the Nou Camp in February and not Bootham Crescent.
Dan Burke
PS. My Christmas wish is that one day a group of away supporters will come to the Etihad and will realise that singing 'Where were you when you were sh*t?' is completely idiotic and unoriginal. The answer is, and always will be, 'We were here when we were sh*t.'

...Chris in America, you almost got it right, I don't feel guilt, just a surprising sense of indifference. I was having this chat with a mate of mine the other day, about how we really missed all of the excellent comedy players we used to have. I've been brought up a City fan, having a season ticket from 89 to 2000 until I moved to London for work. Throughout all that time which was the worst in the club's history, the one thing that kept us going was a huge ability to laugh at ourselves. We had such awesomeness as Gerard Wiekens, everyone though he was cultured and could play in midfield probably just because he was Dutch, but he was slow and crap! Georgios Samaras was a huge purchase to solve our striking woes, and he was useless, but we loved him because he looked like he should be in a shampoo ad his hair was so lush. Michael bloody Frontzeck! Useless and old by the time he got to us but he was still a complete barbaric nutter on the pitch so we loved him. I could go on and on. Looking at the squad these days, there's no one to become a cult comedy hero. Okay Aguero is awesome, Vincent Kompany is a rock, blah blah blah, BORING! I do have high hopes for Martin Demichaelis though with his van damme hairdo and David Luiz style positional play, but he hasn't got there yet.

About the money, I couldn't care less. I had no ill feeling towards any club in the past who have ever had a lot of money from whatever source. Whoever invested the most in their playing squad has generally been at the top of the league consistently, whether it's sugar daddies, corporations, sponsorship deals, whatever. My problem is just the level of success, I'm just not used to it. It doesn't feel like my City who made ridiculous transfer decisions and were generally a bit of a shambles. When we had the odd bit of glory or a really decent player in the past it was exciting, it was unexpected, now it's what should be happening. If the level of success continues then I suppose I'll become one of a dying breed, with most City fans then giving reactions similar to others we see in the mailbox whose crowns may have slipped a bit. I reckon this sentiment is shared by many City fans, which is why the old song from the 80's which never really went away but has become popular again recently can be heard at Premier League grounds -

We never win at home and we never win away
We lost last week and we lost today
We don't give a f*ck cos we're all p*ssed up
MCFC, okay...

I know it's sung in an ironic way these days, but I think behind it all is a longing for a return to the good (bad?) old days.

One final kind of related note, I found the attitude of most pundits and fans to the Champions League draw ridiculous. We're playing Barcelona for God's sake, two cracking attacking teams who are a bit dodgy at the back having a go at each other, just enjoy the sodding thing!
Andy, London (is that a bit too long?)

...No, Chris, Toon Army Outer Banks, we City fans don't feel guilty. Far from it in fact. The reason you don't see 'a lot of chest-thumping' from us is because the core of the fans - those who have been around for a long time - still remember all too well the utter crap we had to sit through. It really wasn't that long ago; just last week was the 15-year anniversary of being beaten away 2-1 by York.

Now, however, we have a team that is the envy of the World (well, most of them), and whilst perhaps we should engage in some good ol' chest-thumping, we generally don't. Not our style, really. We do like winding the Rags up though, especially this year - payback's a bitch, isn't it?
Mike (Manc in Germany) D

Bonkers Mailbox

Happy Christmas one and all...is it the bonkers season?

- Olivier Giroud the new Emile Heskey?
- Joshua thinks that Arsene's zipper problem will go away?
- Fred, Belfast seems to think all 'Pool fans think we can win the league?
- Lorenzo still claims to be a United fan?

Next I hear that Liverpool top the table over Christmas. It's not the bonkers season, this season is bonkers.

Peace out.
Barry, LFC, Cape Town

A United Fan Who Likes Gerrard? Yes, That's Crazy

I think it's safe to say that Lorenzo (All I want for Christmas is for this to get published) Royle was out at a Christmas party last night and has stumbled into the office in the same clothes; you know, one of those mornings that when the hangover kicks in you wonder how the hell you got into work and why people are looking at you like you need help. Then you open up your sent box and recoil in horror at the mails you have sent in the last two hours - they seemed funny at the time. So you spend the next half an hour trying to recall as many of them as possible before giving up and accepting that your office nickname will be 'Weirdo' from this day forward.

I suspect he has now read his mailbox entry back and is suitably ashamed for actually wanting Liverpool (and Stevie G) to win the league. The same Stevie G who, when he scores against United, will smugly run towards the camera and hold up five fingers with so much glee you just want to put your fist through the TV. I can only assume Lorenzo didn't grow up in the 70's or 80's and take dogs abuse from Liverpool fans given that they were a trophy-winning machine back then; if he did then he definitely needs help.

Regardless, Merry Christmas to everyone at F365 and the other mailboxers. My gift to you is to advise you to back United to win the league this season. You won't be sorry.
Garey Vance, MUFC

...Lorenzo (All I want for Christmas is for this to get published) Royle, MUFC and Steven Gerrard fanboy - A Man U fan who's second team is Liverpool and hero is Steven Gerrard? I'm going home early this Christmas Eve so I can throw up everywhere! Dis
Sean, CFC, London

And Now...A Liverpool Fan Who Loves Cech

No Lorenzo, you aren't crazy (well maybe a little bit for wanting YNWA sung at Old Trafford), I too must confess to loving a player of the enemy: Pre-injury Petr Cech.

I despise Chelsea more than United for a variety of reasons but mostly for taking up a place in the top four. But in President Mourinho's first term Cech was absolutely majestic. I was a goalkeeper and he was my hero, to an extent that I even had a Chelsea kit with his name on it and even wore it in public.

Luckily (for me), he had the horrible injury and looks like a human condom between the sticks these days, so I've been able to relinquish my love for him as a moment of weakness now overcome.
Sid (spent money on a f*cking Chelsea kit!) LFC

Saving The Best Til Last

I like football at Xmas it's good and means I don't have to talk to the family.
Craig Jones (Bradford)

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think


ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

Wenger hails important win


s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

De Gea's Europa League target

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Premier League: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers targets win at Norwich

Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers believes Sunderland's draw with Manchester City is a "warning sign" for his side.

Transfer news: Schalke's Julian Draxler set to stay put, insists chairman

Clemens Tonnies says it would take "something extraordinary" for Julian Draxler to leave Schalke this summer.

Premier League: Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood rues loss of Gareth Bale

Tim Sherwood feels Tottenham could have challenged for the title this season had Gareth Bale still been in their side.

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