Jose Mourinho is getting a fair amount of credit for what Chelsea did to Tottenham while Daniel Levy and Man City are defended. Oh and there are more penii...
Is it a sacking offence if Arsenal don't win the FA Cup from here? Is it the players, the manager or the board who should go at Spurs? We have a bumper mailbox...
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Best Never To Win The Ballon d'Or?
After all the Balon D'or business, it got me thinking. Who is the best player to not win the award? In my lifetime, I was always astounded that Thierry Henry never won, especially when he was the Golden Boot winner two seasons running in Europe. Obviously I am biased so I see it as a travesty. Can mailboxers think of any others who were wrongly overlooked? Is there a FIFA bias to the Spanish and Italian leagues and voting?
John Matrix AFC
More Points Fun
Ben Smee suggests a return to the old system of two points for a win and one for a draw. I have a more radical solution - 2 pts for a win, 1 for a draw and 1 for the winners of each half of a game, meaning you could get 3 points for winning or 4, you could get a point for losing (3-0 down at half-time, say, and end up losing 3-1) or none, goalless draws would only ever get 1 point, whereas a score draw could result in 2 points or 1... This would surely encourage more attack-minded play - you may have the game in the bag at half-time, but you've still got to keep going for it to win that extra point; you may be out of it at half-time, but a point for winning the second half could potentially make all the difference at the end of the season... The only downside I could see would be an exciting (say) 4-4 draw where it's 2-2 at half-time - both teams would only get a single point, but I guess it would encourage both to really go for that winning goal until the last seconds tick away...
...I had a bit of a think after reading Ben Smee's email about the 3pt system. I've always accepted the orthodoxy that a win needs to be properly rewarded in comparison to a draw - still do - but Ben does make a good point about the 3-1-0 system not sufficiently punishing a loss.
So I decided to look at 5-2-0 (as I have nothing better to do). In this system the points ratio for win-draw is less than in 3-1-0 but still better than 2-1-0. This means a win is still the best option but a loss is more severely punished.
If you apply it to this season, the table doesn't change much but the 3 teams who have a significant loss/draw ratio are affected.
- Everton have only lost twice and so move level on points with Liverpool (but stay in 5th due to goal difference)
- West Brom have drawn 9 times and move up to 11th ahead of teams who have lost more games.
- Fulham drop to 18th due to their woeful number of losses.
I'm not sure if this is better or fairer, I guess it depends on your point of view, but it would work better than 2-1-0 which was done away with for good reasons the first time round.
Gary, London, geek
...Ben Smee's mail on points for wins and draws was, er, interesting. Was this the first time someone's written in with an idea and clearly decided against it halfway through?
As far as I can see, the only benefit of going back to 2pts per win would be that, if big games are only '4-pointers' instead of '6-pointers', then Jose might be less likely to park the Death Star in front of the goal in games between the top sides. But otherwise, if a draw becomes half as valuable as a win...well, look at the bottom half: Pulis, Allardyce, Hughton? Good luck finding highlights in those games. Michael Owen's punditry would look like a Richard Pryor routine next to that toxic slime.
If we're going to change anything, I'd say zero points for a 0-0 is the way to go. Well, ideally anyone whose transfer spend flirts with the word 'billion' should only get points for winning games by more than two goals, but I can't see Scudamore taking an interest there. Or, if managers want to talk about refs post-game, they have to inhale helium first. Or, if Sky want to broadcast from a stadium on transfer deadline day, the reporter has to get on top of the stand instead of being filmed in the car park?
On a tangent, it's interesting that of the changes Jimmy Hill brought in (scrapping maximum wage, all-seater stadia, ex-players as pundits, journalists on the TV, etc.) most seemed like good ideas at the time, but apart from 3pts per win (and arguing regularly with Terry Venables), most people would suggest that these have probably created as many problems as they solved in the first place. Possibly a good indication that things need to keep changing?
It Can Be Just Like Cricket! What? Oh
If Scotland chooses to go it alone in this year's referendum, an interesting opportunity may arise for the English and Welsh football associations to merge and create an England & Wales national football team.
Ignoring the politics and the initial outcry, which would undoubtedly be one of incredulity, there are clear benefits of a football alliance. England & Wales have a shared history and identity, which simply not true of England and Scotland or England and Ireland; English (and Welsh for that matter) cricket is governed by the England & Wales Cricket Board and Welsh football teams have played happily in the English league for over a century.
The pluses seem to hugely outweigh the negatives. Let's face it, Wales is never going to qualify for the World Cup and whilst much has been said about how it is a shame that Ryan Giggs never got to show his talent on the biggest stage of all, less is said about the 3 million Welsh fans who will never get to cheer on their team against the likes of Brazil or Argentina, surely they are the biggest losers.
For the English, the advantages are obvious. At a time when the pool of talent that England national team manager is able to choose from is smaller than ever, imagine the fillip that Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey would offer a midfield lacking in dynamism.
England & Wales United. It seems the obvious choice; let's do it even if Scotland votes "no".
Ben, Birmingham, England (& Wales)
Is Selling Nani 'Nuts'?
Am I the only one that thinks selling Nani is nuts? He is by far and away Uniteds most exciting winger. His talent and ability to produce something special far outweighs his inconsistency.
I would be starting him every week if I were David Moyes, ahead of Antonio "OneTrick" Valencia and Ashley Young. Yes Januzaj looks a player, but he is only 18. Wingers like Nani are what United are all about. I am bracing myself for an imminent bid for Leon Osman.
Or maybe I just miss the days when we spent £30mil on Nani and Anderson and it all seemed so sexy. To see 1 leave and another halfway out the door is upsetting!
Short Skirt Stats
The drive for statistics in football has lead people to ignore the obvious. A great headline us usually caused by the ability to ignore some sort of reasoning when applying statics. For example, reading Liverpool are the king of individual errors pushed me to look for a causality, instead of just assuming that Liverpool players are more prone to "Brain Farts" comparted to similar players at West Ham. Surely a team that has a higher percentage of possession and attempt to pass the ball are going to be prone to more individual errors? Interesting to see that the top 5 on the list (including Stoke under their new regeime) typically look to pass the ball and have relatively healthy possession amounts during a game.
Statics are leading people to jump to conclusions in all sports, thanks mainly to the grounbreaking work of Billy Beane.
Statistics tend to be like a short skirt, you have a good idea of what you are getting, but if you delve any further, there is a "small" chance you might be shocked.
Colin (Hips don't lie, statistics can) Ireland
The Money/CL Question
I'm not sure that it's true that players ultimately follow the money Stuart Edge (Kevin Walsh, I couldn't agree more!!), 17, AVFC, whilst you are able to use Falcao as an example of a player who has currently chosen money over Champions League football you simply cannot use this individual players choice to dismiss the difficulty that teams such as Liverpool and Spurs have in attracting players of Champions League quality, although they clearly have had some success.
Champions League brings money, and players are attracted to both of these things (amongst other things). Personally I think that the model is to play for the team most likely to bring you a chance of glory (i.e. probably not Celtic) before moving on to one of the high paying clubs as you enter the latter stages of your career for the money shot if you will (i.e. if Celtic could offer £250k a week. Ibrahimović off the top of my head spoke about the Parkhead atmosphere recently). That's not to say there aren't some greedy sods out there, Falcao being one of them maybe. However, just like money follows the Champions League Falcao is most likely thinking that the Champions League follows the money too, and that Monaco, by wedging fist-loads of money into players PaddyPower jocks, will most likely achieve Champions League status at some point otherwise he'll simply toddle off to another payday at a club that aspires to Champions League football with loads of money.
Much like the 'B' in 'Benoît B. Mandelbrot' stands for 'Benoît B. Mandelbrot' the fact is that one follows the other follows the other follows the other...
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
And On Falcao
Stuart Edge - Falcao is owned by a third party (Pini Zahavi), so Falcao hasn't any say in which team or league he wants to play for. Zahavi decides and assuming he is only in it for the money (what an outrageous assumption) he will make sure that Falcao goes to the club that pays the most, in this case AS Monaco. And indeed, Zahavi won't be particularly bothered whether or not Monaco, and therefore Falcao, plays in the Champions League. And that is the future of the beautiful game.
G Thomas, Holland
More On Cesc
As a right to reply - I respect everyone's right to an opinion on Cesc but I do take issue with my supposed "revisionism" on Fabregas.
I have never thought him worthy of Paddy's shirt nor do I think Walcott is worthy of the number 14 or for that matter RVP of wearing Bergkamp's.
I concede Cesc was a great player - I just thought he went missing too often in an Arsenal shirt in comparison with Vieira who very often would drive us over the line himself. There are those that say Vieira only had a couple of good season at Arsenal but the fact that as captain we never drew a blank season speaks for itself.
As for Cesc getting into this current team - maybe he would but personally wouldn't pick over Ozil.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Why Thank You
I think the 'Coaches abroad' articles are the best thing F365 have done, so interesting and insightful. There really aren't enough British coaches abroad and Alan Hudson's comments about learning new languages is apt. Too many take it easy and just wait for the next job to come up in Britain instead of trying to improve as a coach in different leagues with different obstacles. It's embarrassing actually how few British coaches and players go abroad, it shows a lack of ambition to develop and educate themselves, if Beckham can learn Spanish anyone can!
Henry (Steve McClaren at least gave it a go but the German league was so unpredictable when he took the Wolfsburg job) M
Zing, Etc And So Forth
Re Stuart Edge...Why don't any 'superstar' players ever sign for Celtic,?
Because we sign players and make them superstars, hows them apples?
Paul Healy ( hinge ) CFC..the real one, not the English One
Hyde And Seek
I suggest Ricky from Lincoln takes a break from celebrating Hyde to spare a thought for Droylsden in the Evostik Premier League. I'm not a fan, but I check their results every week in hope more than expectation.