We have a long mail on why Giroud isn't very good at all, plus some more thoughts on neutrality. Plus, who do you want out of you club this summer and Liverpool moving buses...
That's the real problem they're going to face next year, says one Man United fan who's already looking forward to the end of this campaign. Plus, thoughts on neutrality...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
I rarely have football related dreams and in the cold light of day, I've come to the conclusion that this awful advert which has made something of a reappearance on our screens, was the cause of 'inspiration' for the dream I had last night.
I'll keep it short, because it was. An England player (unknown - probably Walcott) was injured and it cut to the bench, where Roy Hodgson was getting ready to come on and replace him. He was taking off his bow tie (?) when his entrance theme started to play. I didn't even know Roy Hodgson had an entrance theme (and I'm ashamed to say that due to my viewing habits, I knew exactly where it came from) but the crowd went absolutely wild.
I now strongly believe that certain footballers should have entrance themes like they have in the WWE and it should be tried out in the Capital One Cup to see if it has widespread appeal. And probably the Auto Windscreen Shield too, if that still exists (?).
Arsenal For The Neutrals?
Greg Benham's line about Mourinho basically being a moronic twunt got me thinking about who, as a neutral, I would like to win the league.
I really, really don't want Chelsea to win the league, simply because Mourinho is a genital wart of a man. A b***end of the highest, highest order.
I don't want Man City to win it because it would be a victory for all that is wrong with modern football (buying success etc).
I don't want Liverpool to win it because could you imagine just how insufferable their fans would be if they did? Just thinking about it is enough to make one shudder.
I don't want Spurs to win it simply because of that Godawful slow 'when the Spurs go marching in' chant.
I don't think Everton are strong enough to win it and can see them tailing off towards the end of the season (If Lukaku or Barry get injured they are f*cked)
Which leaves Arsenal. They for me are the neutrals' choice, the people's champions. A club run in the proper way, sticking by their manager and growing organically. So that's it now, I'm rooting for Arsenal, seeing as my team's title challenge was over by the end of August!
I wonder what any other neutrals think? Who do you want to win the league and why?
Stuart Edge, 17, AVFC
(Message from The Editor: Any 'there's no such thing as a neutral' e-mails will be ignored. This question applies to anybody who supports a side not in the top six)
Why Lambert Should Care
Paul Lambert, and the other Premier League managers that no doubt share his antipathy, are wrong not to care about the FA Cup. Nothing to do with romance, but winning the FA Cup gets you into the Europa League, and winning next season's Europa League gets you into the Champions League. And as we all know, being in the Champions League is the be-all-and-end-all of football dreams and achievements. Dream big, Paul, dream big.
Keith Hodge, Birmingham
A Few Thoughts
* Solskjaer's hints that everything at Cardiff is not as it is portrayed in the media reinforces the impression I have building up about the whole Tan/Mackay affair. Don't get me wrong, Tan is clearly a tool whose arrogance and lack of understanding of the 'sector' in which he has invested threatens to turn Cardiff into a laughing stock. However, I am not sure that Malky is as blameless as has been made out. If you are in a dispute with your boss about a budget overspend (a dispute that has seen one of your closest allies fired), is it really acceptable to ramp up the pressure on the boss by making a statement about your intentions for further spending? In my opinion, Mackay overplayed his hand and, in doing so, arguably gave his employer the grounds to dismiss him - I am certainly not sure that his legal (or indeed moral) claims against Cardiff are as straightforward as they have been presented by the media.
* Much has been made of United's poor form and Moyes' ineptitude. However, the real reason for their struggles seems to have been overlooked. It is not just that Moyes is a dour, negative manager with no winning pedigree who has failed to get the best out of the unbalanced squad he has inherited or bolster to it in any positive way. It is the fact he does not understand how footballers' nicknames work. In an interview over Christmas he referred to Phil Jones as 'Jonah' and Nemanja Vidic as 'Vida', and presumably 'Roona' and 'Nana' are also key members of the squad. Every fool knows that proper footballer nicknames are created by adding a 'y' to the end (Giggsy, Scholesy, Incey etc) - unless Moyes realises this sooner rather than later, he will have no chance of clawing his way out of the hole Fergie has left him in.
* As a final point, given their respective league positions, managers and squads, why are Liverpool being 'optimistic' in sniffing around Mata but not Manchester United? For the record, I don't think Chelsea would let him join either club and PSG or Napoli would be more attractive propositions than either. However, if it was a straight choice between the two, surely playing alongside Suarez in the Champions League next year is more appealing than playing with Cleverley in the Europa League. Okay, so that it is a deliberately unfair comparison and everything can change in the second half of the season. However, I would genuinely question whether United will have any greater pulling power than Liverpool in this transfer window. How quickly things change...
Dear Juan Mata...
Please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please please sign for Liverpool.
Responding to Diarmuid's Response
In the spirit of Robert, Southport Red's request I'd like to respond back to Diarmuid with 'fair enough'.
I still don't think that it's the main cause of England not being very good at developing technically adept players, but I do agree that a football society that employs Robbie Savage as a pundit, gave a career to Vinnie Jones, and continues to give one to Lee Cattermole can certainly be accused of 'accomodating and glorifying' that sort of player.
Plus you apologised for using 'Newsflash guys', which was my main gripe anyway.
Matt, EFC, London, COYB
Some Things That Puzzle/Infuriate
A few things I have never understood about football, for the mailboxes perusal on this very quiet Friday afternoon;
1. It has been highlighted several times since the Young/Lloris incident that getting the shot away and being subsequently clattered in the box is not a penalty, or indeed a foul of any kind. How is this the case? Say for example you attempt a pass from your own half to a teammate and when the ball is gone, the opposition striker upends you. This is always a foul, and if it's late/dangerous enough it might even be a red card. Surely one cannot be punishable while the other is not, as they are the same incident but merely in different locations on the pitch. It just seems like an excuse for defenders and goalkeepers to wipe out the striker in question with no repercussions.
What's even more bizarre is that the striker usually just gets straight back up from said clattering with no complaints, when if the same incident had happened elsewhere on the pitch there would be much rolling around and theatrics and a foul/card/11 vs 11 mass brawl would ensue.
2. A less-talked-about rule but equally as baffling as number 1 is the 'foul goal kick rule'. If a 'keeper takes a goal kick and a defender receives the ball in the box then it is a declared a foul goal kick. The punishment? 'Indirect free kick awarded the opposition for breaking the rules!' I hear you I cry, as I once thought. But no, the goal-kick is retaken. What is the point in this? A foul throw-in results in a throw-in for the opposition, as it should. If you are trying to run the clock down at the end of a match can you just repeat the process of taking a foul goal-kick over and over again with no punishment? Why even have this rule in place if there is no real punishment? As I said, baffling.
3. The duration of the match. Possibly the most frustrating thing about football, especially if you're trailing towards the end of the match. We can put a man on the moon, we can even detect if the whole of the ball has crossed the whole of the goal line, but we haven't mastered the art of stopping the clock when the ball isn't in play. I can't be alone in thinking that the arbitrary '+3 mins' hardly ever matches the amount of time the ball has been out of play? Would it be so hard for the fourth official to have a stopwatch that is linked to the referee's watch/TV time so that everyone knows how much time is left? It would stop all the frustrating time wasting towards the end of matches, and would cost very little to implement. Rugby has mastered the art... why can't football?
I have plenty of others but at the risk of boring everyone it's probably best that I stop it there and wait for reasoned explanations for these strange issues!
Paul M (0 for 4 this season for Mailbox Publishes, time to make it 1 for 5) LFC
...Stu, Southampton has made a point which I'm always banging on about to anyone who will listen (usually nobody). When a keeper or a defender takes an attacking player out after he has got a shot away, surely that is still a penalty? Yet you never see them given! If a player knows he is going to get clattered it would likely put them off their shot and may be the main contributing factor to them missing their chance. If a challenge comes in from behind after the ball has gone anywhere else on the pitch it's a foul (and probable card), but again if the striker misses their chance then gets tackled a goal-kick is always the result. How is that not a foul? What amazes me is that the referee never even considers giving a penalty, and the attacking player rarely appeals for it either, perhaps because they are embarrassed about missing their chance?
In Ashley Young's case, watch the slo-mo replay and you'll see he deliberately leaves his foot dangling in order to be taken out, when he could have easily jumped over Lloris, which in my book is cheating. However, in real time it was a very hard call for Howard Webb to make. If unavoidable contact had been made then of course it was a penalty, and the only difference to the situation I outlined above was that the ball was still in play rather than having crossed the line for a goal-kick.
Another rule that definitely needs clarification is handball in the area. During the Swansea match the ball clearly struck Kompany's arm from a probable shot on target, even though his arms were clasped behind his back. It is arguable that he could not get out of the way of the shot. However, the 'deliberate handball' rule is an absolute nonsense, and - like the rest of us - neither the commentator nor John Hartson on Radio 5 had any idea whether it should have been a penalty or not. If Kompany had been stood on the goal-line and prevented a certain goal with his arms in exactly the same position, how can a penalty then not be awarded? Surely whether it deliberately hits your arm or not is totally irrelevant as a clear handball has prevented a goal - you don't need to dive like a goalkeeper a la Suarez at the World Cup for a penalty to be awarded!
But how can the referee clearly define whether is a shot on target in a split-second? Sometimes you see penalties given when a hard shot is booted at the arm of a player who is stood five yards away, sometimes not. Every single ball-to-arm incident is scrutinised endlessly in the studio and often without two parties agreeing. These debates would not happen if the rules were clear.
Jamie Bedwell, Cheltenhamshire
...One thing that really riles me in football from Hull down to Hackney Marshes is spurious claims for throw-ins, goal-kicks and corners. There are numerous examples week in week out of players seeking to gain an unfair advantage by lying.
'Laws of the Game' lists 13 examples when a player must be cautioned for unsporting behaviour. Is it not time we made this one of them?
AH, neutral observer
Keepers Need Special Protection
Hugo's entry this morning was spot on. I've kept goal for my college and can completely relate.
I've been kicked in the head, the ribs and the abdomen all more than once. Once, when I was collecting in the air, the opposition CF kicked me in the thigh so hard, I flipped over, landing on my back. Maybe because it was the dying moments of a game we were winning 1-0, but the ref only gave him a yellow.
All the referees see is a player coming in contact with another. What they should realise is that, keepers are more prone and vulnerable than any other player.
Facilities in India aren't exactly top notch. I've kept on dirt and gravel for years. The tournaments are finished quickly, so that the classes aren't interrupted. So I'd finish playing in the morning, and if we won (direct knock-outs), I'd play in the afternoon bleeding in several places. Once we were practicing pens in the dark as there was a tournament the next day, and we had to win as hosts. No floodlights meant I couldn't see the firm hit straight to my crotch. It might sound funny, but I couldn't stand for 15 minutes.
But referees consider a keeper as just another player. They don't consider that you're already probably carrying niggles and scrapes from collisions and think you're just as culpable if someone goes down in a 50-50.
Then there's the argument that keepers stand around a lot, so they don't feel fatigue as much, meaning that it isn't a reason they make silly challenges. That's bullsh*t. We don't get run as much, but it's a heck of a job, staying concentrated and screaming at defenders for 90 minutes while getting the sh*t kicked out of you every time you go for the ball.
It's silly for keepers at any level, professional or otherwise, to punish their bodies, when most referees and most forwards couldn't give a sh*t. They don't even receive individual recognition as much as the attackers.
Unless the men in power realise, that keepers require 100% protection, and people like AVB realise that a man who has a concussion can't be trusted to make the right decision, we can all expect poorer quality in keeping.
Girish, AFC, Chennai
Paul Parker Is Unavailable
In response to Smyth MUFC's solutions, I would like to inform him that Paul Parker was last seen coaching a bunch of sweaty, middle aged men in the tropical heat of Singapore on a Tuesday night.
I'm sure he's not too keen to make the step down to coaching at United.
Ming Kiat Tan (just joking, Paul seems like a great lad) Singapore
The Real Adonis?
It's nice when you find out who mailboxers really are. Boxers being the key part there. From the BBC boxing article 'Who could - and should - fight whom in 2014?'...
Adonis Stevenson v Sergey Kovalev
Stevenson and Kovalev smashed their way to the forefront of the 175lb division in 2013. Having done all that smashing - together they have knocked out 78% of their opponents inside three rounds - they might want to consider smashing each other.
So Adonis Stevenson the Arsenal fan...do you want to smash into *winks* Sergey Kovalev next year?
Mark, Cambridge (ITFC)
Nope...We're With You
After reading Robbie Savage's Everton predictions in today's Mediawatch, am I the only person who hopes the finish fifth?
Tony (325 mile charity run in 11 days #athlete) CFC
Dick Stories Fan Alert
For the first time EVER I understand what the headline in Mediawatch is in reference to. It's just nice to finally see a dick story that didn't involve it (them?) being removed.
Not that I'm a fan of dick stories.
Okay...this is awkward...
He Still Thinks Mediawatch Is Racist
My point was that commenting on racial issues without making a point is tantamount to racism because that person keeps raising it. Just like the commentary on John Barnes recently, pointless for Mediawatch to comment on this, so why comment if you're not making a point. Mediawatch makes a point on (almost) all other commentaries, so why not racism? If you're scared of alienating people, then why not just not comment?
That is my point. On racial issues, Mediawatch never makes a point, it just gabbles on with PC crap that wastes a normally good column. (or fills space on a slow news day)
If you are going to comment on contentious issues then make a friggin point! Otherwise, don't comment because you look pathetic. This is not about race, it's about doing your job and doing it properly. If you're too scared to do that then simple, don't comment.
Is that too much to grasp?
Fat man scouse, EFC London (sticks and stones may break my bones)