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What Everyone's Been Talking About
Has anyone else noticed that Rene Muelensteen's ears are upside down?
Hyde Win! Hyde Win!
You may remember me telling you a while ago (22nd October 2013 to be precise) about how Hyde FC in the Skrill Premier were yet to win any of their opening 16 games having won 0, drawn 2 and lost 14. Alas, I return with some special news. After 28 games, HYDE FC HAVE WON THEIR FIRST GAME OF THE SEASON. Their fans have been through heartbreak and despair, they have come ever so close to recording their first won, but they managed to beat Welling United 2-0. This probably shouldn't be a big deal for me, as I'm a Lincoln fan, but I thought this was such a momentous moment I had to share it with fellow mailboxers who don't look down the leagues far enough to notice us. For what it's worth, Hyde's season record now stands at P28, W1, D4, L23, scored 23, conceded 72.
Ricky from Lincoln. (wasn't going to use brackets but I feel as if I must).
Should We Go Back to Two Points For A Win?
Straight to the point...
Should we give some serious consideration to reverting to the 2-1-0 points system for a win-draw-loss?
My problem with 3-1-0 is this: the fine line between a win and a draw is always single goal. The line between a win and a loss is a single goal. But the points system doesn't treat these goals equally.
Someone can correct this if it's wrong, but my understanding of the 3-1-0 system was that it was designed to basically encourage teams to go for the win.
Over the last decade there has been a declining number of draws in English football - ten seasons ago there was a draw roughly every 2.6 games. This season it's one in every 4.4 games.
It's also pretty interesting to look at how the Premier League table would be affected if that scoring system was in place this year.
Chelsea and City would be level on 32 points, one point behind Arsenal. Everton (30) would leapfrog Liverpool (29), with two fewer wins but three fewer losses (and a lot more draws). West Brom would jump four places ahead of Swansea, Stoke, Villa and Hull. Fulham would deservedly drop three places to second-bottom, having lost 14 times already this year.
The change has relatively little impact, but where it does it rewards draws. I guess that's a con, but the way I see it, by not rewarding draws the current system actually rewards losses. How can Fulham lose 14 of 21 games and not be in the relegation zone? They're two points behind West Brom, who have lost six fewer games.
There are obvious downsides, which I'm sure many will point out, and they include the added encouragement for bus parking. But having said that, I'd much rather see relegation strugglers attempt to part the bus against the better sides, rather than simply accepting a pasting and concentrating on the six-pointer the following week.
Firepower At Everton Needed
An interesting article from Daniel Storey today, highlighting most of what most Evertonians have been thinking.... we need firepower! If we had at least one great striker (which we haven't had for years) then we would easily be topping the league. Lukaku, for all his mouth, often lacks it in the trousers department. I can see exactly why Mourinho sent him out on loan again as he is a long way from the finished article, potential yes, but if we have ambitions of champions league football then we need someone who is more mobile, has a better touch and doesn't appear to be so bleedin heavy.
He's missed a fair few sitters this season and, having just sacked him from my fantasy team, I don't believe that he can rediscover his early season form. Happy to be proved wrong though
One thing that Daniel overlooks however is the contribution of James McCarthy. This guy really has to be the buy of the season because he can do everything (apart from score). Him and Bareth Garry are a perfect combination in the middle of the park and one that dominates games, allowing for the rest of our midfield (but mostly our full-backs) to provide Lukaku and Mirallas with chances to spoon over the bar.
Daniel is right, we will not have a better chance than this to establish ourselves in the top four. Kenwright needs to get his chequebook out and support his manager. Yes, (Traffic) Kone is injured for a long time, but we've just sold Jelly and need cover.
But then I see Arsenal don't really have the firepower yet they are top of the league whilst Man Utd, Liverpool and Man City are hogging all the strikers.
I believe Suarez will leave Liverpool if they don't get champions league football, perhaps he might only have to go across the park.....
Fat man scouse, EFC, London
That Mourinho guy commented on Man Utd when it doesn't involve him.... what a voyeur!
John Whelan, Dublin
I find the revisionism about Cesc Fabregas by some Arsenal fans - well represented by Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London - pretty embarassing.
He came into the team at 17, played with remarkable consistency and quality almost immediately, played over 200 games for the club, left to go to a bigger club (taking on the challenge of greater competition to get into the team) and then won the title at that club. He has also consistently performed well in big games for Arsenal, Barcelona and Spain.
You can not like that he left (although it is plainly not an outrage) and still accept that he was excellent for Arsenal, and is still excellent now.
Would he get in Arsenal's team now? Yes. Obviously he would. He would be one of the best players in the team.
It is possible to be happy with Arsenal's current team (and to no longer support Arsenal's former players, which I don't) without pretending that players like Fabregas and van Persie - who were head and shoulders above the rest of the team when they were at Arsenal - weren't any good.
They were good. We supported them. Now they're gone. We can ignore them unless Arsenal play against them.
It is a privilege of supporting a big club rather than, say, Spurs, that Gooners shouldn't to have to indulge in this sort of sour grapes thinking.
...Graham Simons makes an odd point. In the middle of his valid email about how much money we have taken off Barca in recent years he characterises Cesc Fabregas as part of a "gutless" group given Cesc's participation in our failed 2007/2008 title bid. My distinct recollection was that the team was utterly reliant on Cesc that season, perhaps more so in the run-in when referees' decisions genuinely went against us and certain players hit a wall and lost belief. He ran the show and at times we were ridiculously reliant on him, especially when considering his age. Most of the time he was more than up to the task. I know plenty of Gooners who think Cesc is a true great (just unlucky in his era) and I agree with them. For me just because he didn't play in a successful team in terms of silverware) doesn't alter how good he was for us. Some others think he was a fine player who acted badly to secure his transfer and thus marred his legacy. I get this. But gutless? Not sure there is any evidence of this in 2007/2008 or any other season he plied his trade with us for that matter. In fact I think he was a unique combination of skill and guts and I still miss him despite our (for now) resurgence.
Where Villa Are Going Wrong
Think I may have spotted where Villa are going wrong - according to Thom, Newport they are playing for 0-0 draws on the break! Does this involve a swift counterattack followed by an 'aim at the cornerflag' contest? That would explain a lot...
Rob, Boro exile
Ballon d'Or Squabbling
A good description of what the Ballon d'Or is awarding for, as copied and pasted from Wikipedia is as follows;
'The FIFA Ballon d'Or is an association football award given annually to the player who is considered to have performed the best in the previous year. It is awarded based on votes by coaches and captains of international teams, as well as journalists from around the world.'
This contradicts your assertion that the main criteria for winning this award is trophies won that year. It is awarded to the player who is considered to have performed best. Ronaldo has been a phenomenon over the past year, that is really not up for dispute, we've all read the statistics countless times in the last week. Ribery has had a good year, and you're right about him being part of a Bayern team that have dominated and won everything. Ribery has his prizes for being part of that team, namely the medals and getting to lift those trophies. During this dominance, Bayern's wing play was referred to as Robbery (amalgamation of Ribery and Robben), as the duo were considered such a vital component of this success, so why was Robben not considered to be a candidate for the award, he even scored the decisive goal in the Champions League Final? Ribery did not do enough himself to be considered the standout player in the world, he came nowhere near Ronaldo.
So, in conclusion, outstanding teams win trophies and outstanding players win the Ballon d'Or.
Money, Money, Money
The afternoon mailbox trotted out the usual BS that clubs like Liverpool and Spurs can't attract the top players because they aren't in the Champions League. Rubbish. The Champions League has got absolutely nothing to do with it, its all about the benjamins i'm afraid. Players just use the CL line as a convenient excuse to hide their greed. This point was well and truly proved by Falcao signing for Monaco. He could have gone to any team in the world, played in front 80,000 fans every week etc. Instead he goes to Monaco, a team not even in the CL, who can only attract crowds of about 10,000. Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Chelsea, Man City; he could have gone to any, but he chooses Monaco. Why? Because they offered truckloads of cash that no-one else could match.
It doesn't matter who you are. Heck, if Villa got bought out by a trillionaire tomorrow and offered the manager a billion pounds to spend on transfers and wages we could sign whoever the hell we wanted, regardless of us being relegation fodder (although lambert would probably spend it all on 18 year olds and gash championship strikers like Grant Holt to be fair).
If it really is the ambition of playing in the Champions League then why don't any 'superstar' players ever sign for Celtic, where they are pretty much guaranteed CL football every season? It's because Celtic can't offer 250k a week wages that's why!
Sorry for the ranty nature of this, but the Champions League/ambition argument really grinds my gears!
Stuart Edge (Kevin Walsh, I couldn't agree more!!), 17, AVFC