It does seem logical that the best thing to do with the best players is to play them from the start, when they have the most time to make an impact, rather than the last 15 minutes...
We have lots of people suggesting lots of things to Roy Hodgson but we suspect you'll be more interested in relative XIs, World Cup cliches and drawing Alonso...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
England's Phil Jones
While watching United turn in that woeful performance last night provided plenty of mirth, I couldn't help but consider the chilling inevitability of Phil Jones not only being in the England squad, but probably bloody starting too. Any Italians and Uruguayans watching last night must have been in stitches. To be honest, the Costa Ricans must fancy their chances as well.
Phil Jones is just a gurnier Carlton Palmer. He's a centre back who has responded to the setback of not being trusted in his natural position by taking to the holding midfielder role with the enthusiasm and technical ability of a really enthusiastic, especially malcoordinated Labrador. Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Jack Wilshere, Ross Barkley, Gareth Barry, Adam Lallana, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, or whoever has the misfortune of joining him in midfield will have their technical ability entirely negated by Jones' ball-repellent first touch and avant garde positional sense.
Still, at least I'm not a United fan, who lives the nightmare every weekend and has to try and make sense of Sir Fergie's preference for Jones and Tom Cleverley over Paul Pogba.
Will (Pogba's goal: yikes) O'Doherty
Overly Defending United
Think I might try and defend Man Utd a bit here, may be i have blinkers on but here goes
- Utd didn't do too badly, played well at the start only to be hit with a deflected suckerpunch against the run of play
- Yes Welbeck should have scored but it was a penalty
- Utd were done at set pieces, Hazard et al didn't rip through Utd's much maligned midfield and defence, in fact Cech probably had more to do in the game than DeGea
- I don't know if Chelsea weren't playing that well or if this just isn't a good Chelsea side either. Chelsea didn't dominate a midfield consisting of Jones and Carrick, probably one of the few top teams not to win the midfield battle comfortably against Utd.
- Injuries do matter. A fit Evra would have been able to jump at the corner for the third goal and if not won the header at least put Cahill off.
- Ask any team not to play with their two best players for one game let alone several and they will struggle. Rooney and RVP make a difference.
- A second goal would have been nice to see just to see how Mourinho would have reacted
- Vidic deserved a yellow card simply because his tackle was no worse than Luiz on Valencia. Daniel Storey wrote in 16 conclusions :'The Brazilian barged into Valencia without any hope or desire of playing the ball, and gave himself 70 minutes to walk on a tightrope.' isn't that what Vidic did, made a tackle without any chance of the ball, a one footed, studs down tackle?
- On to Rafael, there is no rule in football that bans a two footed tackle. When Rafael won the ball with his two footed tackle Ivanovic was not in control of the ball and wasn't trying to reach the ball so i'm not sure how people can argue it risked injury to a player. If Rafael lunges with two feet at a players ankle etc yes then it is a reckless tackle that endangers a player but he didn't do that.
-Nobody expected Utd to win that game but there was more to take from the game than previous defeats. Sunderland on Wed then a break as no FA cup and a run of 'winnable' matches before Arsenal away.
Kevo2424 (i still believe in Moyes)
...And Not Defending United
I know that this will probably be lost amongst the tidal wave of hate mail directed at Unite'd recent result but here are my thoughts regardless.
- This was a chance for Moyes to build upon success and learn from his mistakes against Swansea. In that game Januzaj had little to no impact playing off Welbeck and was considerably more dangerous not he wing. Also, Kagawa moving to the middle in that game meant he began to pull the strings in midfield and almost ended up scoring himself. So how the F*ck does Moyes justify regressing in tactics and reverting to his beloved 4 4 2 and playing Ashley Young?
- Welbeck is utter dross by himself upfront. Any decent striker would have converted "that" chance, whether he was fouled or not.
- Hernandez proved what an actual goalscorer does in games, i.e. score goals. Yet no doubt he will be dropped next game as Moyes prefers his hard working lads.
- Despite dominating the game again, United looked clueless in attack (mainly attributable to Welbeck not being in good positions)
- In what other Job at one of the industry's leading firms would their managing director/CEO have been allowed to make so many monumental f*ck ups and not be sacked yet? Can you imagine if Moyeswas in charge at Spurs? He wouldn't last a week.
Johnny Nicholson is spot on with his assertion that United look less like a league winning side struggling, but a seventh place side hitting par. If you compare the squads of the three sides directly above them competing for fourth place - Liverpool, Spurs, Everton - it's not unreasonable to suggest they have the worst of the lot. Remove Rooney and Van Persie, and even fourth place looks like a big ask.
This is a squad in desperate need of revamp. Like the England cricket squad, they are caught between a formerly excellent squad past their peak, a host of fresher faces of mixed quality, none yet truly able to perform consistently well, and a few higher quality middle men struggling to hold the whole thing together. Ferguson was well known for his ability to consistently refresh his squad, and Moyes needs to do the same.
Whether he can do that remains to be he seen. His transfer policy so far, and his team selection, have not given the impression of somebody that has a clear plan for what he wants to do, or what he needs to do. His tactics are stiff, old fashioned and simplistic, player selection confused, often counter intuitive, and transfers dithering and near non-existent. Contrast that to Mourinho, who has been unafraid to sit big name players and buy, and have faith in, the players he requires in order to shape a system that is now starting to look like a well-oiled machine.
I'm all for giving a manager 'time' (it's never specified how long is it, just 'time') to stamp his authority and get results his own way, but Moyes has failed to even indicate that he plans on doing this. Andre Villas Boas lost his job for far less, at a smaller club. Roberto Mancini was torn apart for having a difficult season and taking his team to a 'woeful' second place. Fourth is within United's reach if Moyes can find a system that works. If he is not allowed to make further changes, or if he is given the license but fails to do so, United will likely fall out of the top bracket for a few years at least. There are too many teams now that are capable of playing Champions League football for United to assume they can take a season off and waltz back in.
Good Team Beats Bad Team
Injury hit top 4 contenders (Man United) lose away to full strength title contenders (Chelsea). Why is everyone so shocked?
David Moyes is not as bad a manager as some mailers make out, in fact, I would say he's a very good manager, Moyes' problem is that he lacks leadership. If compulsory management courses have taught me anything (which they haven't) it's that a good manager makes best use of the personnel at his disposal, a good leader inspires those personnel to perform above and beyond expectation.
Moyes is beige. He lacks charisma and the ability to inspire/motivate, this is evident from his time at Everton, who were notoriously consistent but incredibly dull; beating those below them but never causing any real upsets. Which is why he will ultimately fail at Man United, not because he refuses to put Shinji in the hole.
Without doubt the worst saying in Football:
"Player A has poured cold water over speculation linking him with a move away from Stadium A."
If a player comes out and says he wants to move, does this mean he is pouring hot water onto speculation? It doesn't, but you get my drift.
Glazers Need To Come Clean
Isn't about time the Glazers come clean about just how much Moyes has to spend?
United have always found the money for the odd transfer here and there but it always seems to be offset by the announcement they have agreed a deal with a new official toothbrush supplier or something equally classless.
The problem United face is one us Gooners have had to contend with over the past few years. We had to make repayments on our new home. We knew that would affect the transfer kitty but we were never told by just how much - only that there was money to spend should Wenger need it. If you're told this you assume the manager is to blame for not spending the money.
These days the press appear to be plucking wild sums of transfer cash to spend just as they did with us but what if all of these reports are just rubbish? That should worry United fans way more than Moyes managerial performance because with every loss United's brand is being damaged and if the Glazers plan is to offset transfer kitty cash with new sponsorship deals then your club is simply screwed because sooner or later the likes of Tony the Tiger won't be interested in being the official cereal mascot of a club who can't qualify for the champions league.
Alex Ferguson turned United into one of the biggest brands in the planet from a club whose best days were way behind them in the 1980s - it seems United are returning to their previous state.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
I'm not sure if Robin van Persie was there at Stamford Bridge last night, you can't blame him if he wasn't, but I couldn't help but imagine him wandering the streets of London after the game...
Rain hammers it down from the above and Robin huddles deeper into his coat and turns up Celine Dion's "All By Myself" on his iPod. Seeking shelter from the harsh elements, he spots an alluring and warm glow from a nearby window which he stumbles towards. Putting his face up to the glass, he peers inside and sees none other than his former Arsenal teammates celebrating their position at the top of the league! Jack and Santi; Per and Laurent; Olivier & Nicklas; they clink wine glasses over plates of sumptuous food and revel in the friendly atmosphere. Mesut Ozil makes a comment which causes the rest of the table to erupt into laughter. Robin's brow furrows.
He approaches the restaurant entrance but is rebuffed entry by the maître d'. The place has been reserved by Arsenal Football Club for the evening. "But I used to play there - you must remember! Robin van Persie; the whole team was built around me. I was the team!" The maître d' checks the list of reservations but cannot find the name. Robin starts to slink away but suddenly notices a towering sleeping bag moving out of the gloom. It is Arsene Wenger in his favourite coat (actually zipped up this time), who is warmly greeted at the restaurant entrance.
"Arsene! Boss! It's me, Robin!" clamours the Dutchman. The maître d' asks M. Wenger if he knows the bedraggled, grey-haired spectre hunched before them. "Non," he answers succinctly before being seated with his team. Robin shuffles away back into the rain and looks about, lost.
"Oi, Robin! Whatchu doin' over there? I found a Wimpy down the road where we're eating." Turning his head, van Persie spots David Moyes in an anorak waving his hands and gesturing. Robin steals one final glance back at the restaurant window and elicits a pained sigh before following...
Greg Benahm, AFC
I'm sure I won't be the only one to point out the tiny flaw in the unintentionally hilarious letter from Leon, Basel this morning:
"he has so much attacking talent in his sides yet always shuts up shop when his team are 2 or 3 goals ahead . . ."
Think real hard, Leon.
The Dilemma For Spurs fans
The phrase "Everything's coming up Milhouse" is not used enough - please use wherever possible on the site.
On that note, as a Spurs fan of course I want the team to do well, however I don't want them to do so well where the board will continue to give Tim the job past the summer - you can see the bind I'm in....
Jim Barnett, THFC
Tackling The Big Issues
One thing I noticed from the weekend: Solskjear needs to moisturise.
That's about as much as I've got.