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
Where's The Love, People?
Very belated email and I doubt it'll make the mailbox, but I saw an article on the Daily Heil (don't judge me!) about a Mr Jason Cundy, the former Chelsea defender and LFC supporters he receives tweets from, regarding them as "the most bitter, twisted, bitchy, spiteful fans I've ever come across" that's fine, that's his opinion, the tweets he receives are hardly going to invites to the pub, but it was the comments at the bottom (which admittedly are always batsh*t mental) that disturbed me, partly because I feel it is almost a microcosm of supporters in this country, the bile and anger flying between opposing fans is unbelievable! Calling each other for everything, Liverpool's reliance on history, excuses, always being the victim, Chelsea being plastic, the usual tired insults, then a valiant Blue reminding everyone they mean Reds, not scousers.
Where's the love? I appreciate football is the modern endemic warfare, tribal etc, but isn't it about the game? I don't "hate" anyone, not United fans, not Evertonians, not Chelsea... Don't get me wrong, decisions irk me, by the ref or manager (and in some obvious cases Suarez's conduct) and I get aggravated during the game, but I've never felt the need to kick off or get abusive. if something did happen to me or LFC with another club, I wouldn't hold it against the fans, provided they were fans and not those arse's who bricked Hull's coach. this is an exciting season, my team have had (hopefully not past tense) a resurgence, so have Everton, I hope this particularly rivalry stays on the pitch, can't we all just... get along?
Robert, Southport Red
On Keepers And Mortality
To Shaun of Livingstone re whether Hugo Loris' concussion was affecting his game.
I think you might be onto something. This is a trend I've noticied for a few years - that keepers once seriously hurt seem to realise their mortality.
Look at Cech, who went from being ridiculosuly good to just very good post injury - I'm pretty sure knowing another hit to the head has a good chance of being lethal you affects your aggression when diving at people's feet. I also remember Shay Given getting that life threatening abdominal injury a few years back. While he recovered to be his normal self it took a few months, I wonder if he started to think about the fact that he had a family back home and had earned enough money for a life time was on his mind next time some striker slid in on him? I wonder if his kids told him how scared they were when they visited him in hospital.
It's natural and rational to change your game for the sake of your safety. Look at the career of Mika Hakkinen in formula 1. One of the best, had a kid, started to realise that he didn't want to die on the race track and had something to lose - and became an average driver.
It's got to affect you. I play keeper in social league. Strikers are usually gentlemen and will jump over you if you win the ball. A few years ago I remember diving at a guys feet and he actually stepped on my neck - it was a complete accident, he'd lost his balance under pressure from a defender - but he stepped on my neck. He was a big guy. Luckily my bones held. I remember going home that night and thinking just how dumb it would be for me to end up in a wheelchair over social league sport. I still play but I'm not as Kamikazee anymore, and it's probably negatively affected that aspect of my game. Would I put my fears aside for 50,000 pounds per week? Maybe. But then again if I'd been earning what Hugo Loris has been over the years, what would money mean to me ? It's got to affect a keeper.
This is one of the reason's I (in my biased pro-keeper views) wish ref's would offer more protection. Anyone who keeps goal is used to the odd cheap shot to the abdomen when your hands are over your head collecting a cross. It's what dirty players do - and most teams have at least one. I didn't mind that all we'd get for that is a free, as the risk of serious injury is low. But if you clatter a keeper's head - it should be a straight red and really, dealt with exactly the same as a leg breaker tackle because the head injuries can be life affecting, or even ending. I really do suspect that one day a keeper is going to lose his life at pro-level (it's happened a few times at amateur level already). Pro-active refereeing and prevention would be better than cure. Until then I guess we should expect keepers to be more cautious after head injuries.
Hugo (not Loris, NUFC) Adelaide.
Factors Other Than Moyes
I can't get to sleep. As I tried to doze off earlier, I read yesterday's very sensible mailbox comments on United. Perusing the witty and wise offerings of these mailboxers I realised that there are a few important differences apart from Moyes between the Utd that won the championship and this season's team that haven't received much attention and that I'd like to mouth off about.
In order of overlooked..ness they are:
* Paul Scholes. Last season the greatest ginger of them all made 8 starts and 8 appearances off the bench. Not exactly a stalwart, but his presence in the squad meant that Giggs could be rotated far more productively. When Scholes did play, he was far more effective and accomplished than Cleverley or Fellaini have been or, I might add, will ever be. A sprinkling of Absolute Class throughout the season made an impact last year. There is no-one near his quality in the centre of the park now and his absence is being felt. More alarming: as it stands, Moyes and Woodward just don't seem to have access to this calibre of player in the transfer market.
* Van Persie. You can't overstate the importance of RVP to Utd last year. As soon as I heard Lord Ferg had signed him up in the gloomy summer of 2012 I said: 'they are now favourites for the league'. And it was so. He is the difference. With RVP starting regularly, United would be in the top 4. Put simply, he' s better than Rooney. See Ferguson's willingness to alienate Rooney at the expense of his newly acquired silvering fox box in last season's romp to the title. See also Utd struggling as Moyes builds the side around Roo this season. Rooney is the sawn-off shotgun to Van Persie's sniper rifle.
* Glazers. I wonder how much of a factor Moyes' refusal to complain about the lack of funds at Everton under Kenwright contributed to his appointment over the summer. While City, Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea, yadda yadda have been setting fire to hay bales of cash in the transfer market over the past few years it feels like most of United's money is going to the Glazers. After all, it's not as if Moyes wasted that much money over the summer, he didn't seem to be able to offer enough to buy anyone. While Moyes is catching hell short term, I think United fans should be looking further up the food chain at their club. Ferguson's alleged advice to Solskjaer on choosing owners not a club smacks a little of 'do as I say not as I do'. Surely not!
* Wellbeck. Last and least. When Sturridge started doing well for us after being intermittently played out of position at Chelsea I said that Wellbeck would improve in a similar fashion if he was given an extended spell up front. I thought that Spurs should have gone in hard for him this summer but his stock seems to be rising now that he's playing in position for Moyes. Who would have thought?
Angus LFC Reading
A Five-Point Plan
All I keep hearing is people complaining about Moyes, United and how everything's gone a bit Tom Cleverley for us this season. Well listen here moaners, all you are doing is stating problems and I've had enough of it. We need solution people, not problem people - so here is a comprehensive list of solutions to United's current issues. Though it consists of five points, I am not calling a five-point plan, because I am not a w**ker.
Solution 1) Take a day trip down to West London, whilst there build morale with a lovely tour on an open top bus (so they don't forget what it feels like) and pop into Chelsea. Place a bid for De Bruyne and then, while they're all distracted, sneak Mata out the back door. Midfield sorted.
Solution 2) Now I haven't read the Premier League rulebook from cover to cover but I'm pretty sure there is no statute against dangling a Galaxy bar from the end of a stick and tying it to Anderson's head. Man management sorted.
Solution 3) Hire Paul Parker, Kleberson and Robbie Savage as coaches - they know the place and are proper football men. Training sessions sorted.
Solution 4) Any defenders caught doing anything other than defending, playing a match or otherwise, are to be savaged by raccoons. Defensive concentration sorted.
Solution 5) Hollographic images of Alex Ferguson and sound recordings of stirring team-talks accompanied by Wagner's 'Flight of the Valkyries' to be beamed into the dressing room at half time. Preferably also into the opposition dressing room.
That should do it, I trust the powers that be at F365 towers will pass this on to the Old Trafford heirachy.
Oh my! It seems I upset some people with my last mail. Sorry gang but it might have helped had you read and understood what I wrote.
Of course there are rough players in other countries. My point is that there are few other countries in which such players are accommodated and glorified so much.
Now I am not usually one to poke at cavemen with sticks but if the general opinion is that English football doesn't glorify the "get in and have it" player over the more technically gifted player , then I really believe you are more lost than you think.
I lived in England from the age of 2 til 13 and my first football club was Devizes FC in Wiltshire. A fine club but please don't tell me that English youngsters aren't enncouraged to "get rid" or "get stuck in" over playing the ball under pressure. I'd also concur here that the playing on full size pitches is a very valid point.
Players like Melo and Ramos are nutters but both are reffed more stringently than they would be in England. Ramos would likely have half the number of red cards. Messi playing in England would be kicked up and down the pitch, just as Ronaldo was, Robben was and players like Januzaj are.
Now Januzaj has gone down too easily on a couple of occasions this season and I'd like to think that's something he'll work out of his game in order to become a truly top player, but unless we protect skilful players, where is the incentive for them to stay up?
As for the "Newsflash guys" comment. No excuses, that one was truly awful.
Bielsa At United? Really?
In response to Dan, Stoke on who would replace Moyes, I have two glaring words for you. This would be a revelation but alas,
The guy is a gem and though I know he didn't do well last year at Bilbao, it's more down to the fact that he was unwittingly stripped down of decent players that he never wanted to leave the club.
There, in one shot, you have replaced a fiery scot (Sir Alex and not the disgruntled Moyes) with a belligerent Argentine who has a fantastic sense of how football should be played. Two shots with a stone.
And well if Moyes is good enough for United, then surely so is Bielsa and I bet better than him anyways.
Donnie (I asked Santa to make it happen this year. now i have stopped drinking) MUFC
Can we stop with all the "either it was a foul or a dive" business?
Sometimes there's contact, but it's not a foul. It happens all the time, all over the pitch. Two players go for a ball and one of them often ends up going to ground. It isn't always the case that this was a foul though, as football is a contact sport, and sometimes that contact can take you to the ground.
Especially when people have such differing strengths (imagine Januzaj shoulder charging Distin, then the other way round), what may look like a foul in one instance might not necessarily be one. So when someone goes to ground in the penalty area, and a penalty isn't given, just think, it might have been contact, not a dive.
KC (still hate diving though)
Jose The Crusader
Am I the only one irritated after seeing the lauding of Mourinho on the back of various newspapers yesterday after criticising Oscar after the match for diving? Oh, how brave of Jose to say! He knows all us Englanders hate that foreign diving and play-acting nonsense. Mourinho hates cheats - what a guy!
This is the same manager who said after Ramires' blatant dive to scrape a draw at home to West Brom: "It came at a moment when it's difficult for the team that is winning to accept, but this one was a penalty... No doubts." Then again he does admit there should have been a penalty during the game against Liverpool: "Of the 10 penalty [appeals] in the game, only one: Lucas on [Eden] Hazard [should have been a penalty]."
If Chelsea had somehow shipped three or four goals to Southampton and dropped points he'd have been crying and moaning about the referee daring to book Oscar for a stonewall penalty.
Is there a team which gets away with as many bullsh*t decisions in the Premiership as Chelsea? Who go unchecked so often for diving, kicking their opponents and just being generally odious. Is there a manager as insufferably smug and patronising over said incidents as Mourinho? Twunt.
Greg Benham, AFC
A Point On Young
Just a quick point.
After Lloris' challenge on Young, there has been a general acceptance that a penalty should have been awarded. I'm not agreeing or disagreeing; seeing Ashley Young receive nothing warms my heart. My point is that, Young had managed to get a shot (of sorts) away towards the goal, prior to contact. Sterling, in the Liverpool game had a similar situation; completed a goal bound shot, yet was then wiped out by a late/desperate challenge. Could this be why Howard Webb didn't award a penalty? We see this quite often; a shot that is fired and then 'contact' after, yet seldom see a spot-kick given.
Not an answer, just an idea. Webb was still diabolical in the Liverpool/Chelsea game, so perhaps he was wrong after all.
Cracking mailbox yesterday everyone! In response to Niall O'Gormann, if Hernandez is a full stop then Kagawa is a semicolon. Moyes has no idea how to use him. And while I'm at it, Cleverly is a colon: all he does is produce sh*t.
Angus LFC Reading
Dear Greg Benham, AFC
I liked your write-in about the state of pitches and refereeing, but can we all please learn some grammar basics when we write in?
"The pitch was utterly unplayable with the ball refusing to go further than five yards before nestling in a small pond and requiring a mighty hoof to relinquish it."
I assume you meant the ball refused to go father since farther measures distance (including the five yards you mentioned) while further measures degree. The grammar in otherwise good posts is absolutely destroying my soul so let's all try to do better in 2014. If we can't, I fear further reprisals will be needed.
Gareth Jones, Wrexham, you're correct in the intelligence Harry Kane displayed in booting the ball away. The fail was then throwing his spit down the front of his shirt when the camera focused on him afterwards.
In response to Will F's mail about footballers with foreign twangs.
Let me stop you there, you need no other answers but this.
Our own Joey Barton.
Phil, Please put a gag on Joey, Notts
Thanks to Fat Man Scouse, EFC London, we now have a comprehensive definition of the term 'racist': (noun) highlighting and commenting at length on racial issues without making any point.
Surely by commenting on Mediawatch commenting on racial issues, and by seemingly not making any discernible point, this makes Mr Man Scouse inherently racist himself?
David McCulloch, MUFC
...I think it's a fairly safe bet that I won't be the only person writing in to respond to Fat Man Scouse's suggestion that Football365 is racist, because "it keeps highlighting and commenting at length on racial issues without making any point". Leaving aside the fairly obvious answer, that by highlighting and commenting at length on racial issues Football365 is actually making a small contribution towards the eradication of racism in football, by his logic, anyone who witnesses a burglary and reports (or, as it were "highlights") to the police is just as guilty as the bloke running off with the stolen TV. You DID lock the door on your way out this morning, Fat Man Scouse, didn't you?
Also, Paul Milton's suggestion that Rome wasn't built (or rebuilt) in a day, forgets that Lazio basically built a Rome-based team in a day (or thereabouts) in 1999 by signing a ton of expensive but talented players all at once and won Serie A, before financial meltdown caught up with them.
Finally, and this is a new point for the Mailbox, but Paul Lambert's antipathy towards the FA Cup was entirely depressing, if begrudgingly understandable. However it does seem that managers who make noise about concentrating on the league seem to be the ones most likely to only be seen in future if one of their old teams draws a Premier League club in the third round.
Ed Quoth the Raven (meet the new year, same as the old year), CPFC the Glaziers, Notts