Is Aguero A Better, Nicer Luis Suarez?

Is it playing for Man City that makes Sergio Aguero less heralded than other strikers? We have mails on City, West Ham's 19th century football and rather a lot more...

Last Updated: 30/01/14 at 09:58

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Pot, Meet Kettle
Who is Jose to have a go at anyone for playing negatively to bag a point away from home?
Chris, London, CAFC

...Chelsea go to Man United and play six midfielders with no strikers and get a point...tactical genius.

West Ham go to Chelsea defend like badgers and get a point...19th century football.

Classic Jose deflecting criticism from his teams inability to break down a poor team at home.
Simon P, Dublin

Study Your History, Jose

Jose is talking rubbish when he said that West Ham played '19th century football'. In the book 'Inverting the Pyramid', it describes how in the 1880s teams played with one defender, three midfielders and six attackers. Was it me, or did West Ham seem a bit more defensive than that?
Hoffi, Finland

Dear José...

It may have escaped your notice, but nobody in the football-following world, outside of the media and your own club, gives a monkey's what you think.

How dare you make me agree with Sam Allardyce!
Andy, Gooner in Chelmsford

An Unconvinced Hammer Writes...

Mourinho says we play 19th century football. I'm not so sure it's so advanced. We had one shot on goal (which was a Tomkins header from a corner) and 28% possession and our great saviour up front had a sterling 39% pass completion rate.

Good to see Fat Sam is all bullish about how he's a tactical genius again. That's twice this season he's claimed he's such - which has gathered up a massive total of four points. The other game playing a 4-6-0 formation against S*u*s which he continued with afterwards which got us some appalling results. Funny how he doesn't take the credit for the many other games this season that we've played where we've got nothing, been blown away and been completely inept...

Then again great managers don't get anywhere by blaming themselves. Allardici maybe you are destined for a job at one of the big boys very soon. I hear Goole Town AFC might need a permanent manager.
Andy Stone

Eff Off, Big Sam

Just a quick one, I am a Chelsea fan and having watched the game last night, do feel a little hard done by but boy, did West Ham defend well. Frustrating yes, but we did everything to try and win and as Mourinho changed players and formation to carry the attack to West Ham, I actually enjoyed the game. It was great to see Chelsea on the front foot albeit a little frustrating not to get three points. However, I am fed up with 'Big' Sam - there is nothing big about what he does or says. The quotes :

"He can't take it because we've out-tactic-ed him, out-witted him. He just can't cope. He can tell me all he wants. I don't give a shite, to be honest."

First of all, this game had relatively little to do with West Ham's having some sort of tactical masterplan, they played backs-to-the-wall football, swarmed the box and rode their luck a little. Credit to them, but it was not some sort of tactical defeat of chelsea, unless your tactics are to concede 80% possession and rely on last-ditch blocks to gain one point. Like I say, credit to the players, but I hardly think that it is appropriate for Sam Allardyce to be shouting about a tactical victory. Secondly, Mourinho's quotes were actually quite balanced, he praises West Ham's spirit, suggests that he would probably have played the same in those circumstances but is frustrated that there was no attempt at all from West Ham to take the game to Chelsea and, rightly, states this is a poor advert for the competitiveness of the league.

For Sam Allardyce to make it out like 'Mourinho just can't cope' is an absolute joke and tells you more about the mentality of 'Big Sam' - small-minded and selfish where any 'victory' is attributed to him and his tactics and any comments that dont match his own myopic view are essentially worthless, never mind his classless comment about not giving a sh*te. All this from the 13th highest-paid manager in the world.

Congratulations to West Ham players for a great result for their team, unlucky to our Chelsea boys and Mourinho for not snatching the win. But Big Sam - well, the sooner this relic is out of the league, the better.

Target Time-Wasters

Last night it was Chelsea's job to score and West Ham's to not let them. You'll not hear any moaning from me about bus parking or any such lark (incidentally, you won't hear it from Jose Mourinho if you read his full post-match interview rather than TalkSport's abridged notes). One team did their job, the other didn't.

What I do feel compelled to have a little cry about though is time-wasting, and more how absurdly ridiculous the Premier League's approach to it is.

Hanging on to a lead with ten minutes to go and your goalkeeper takes 15 seconds extra to take a goal kick? YELLOW CARD!

Take three times as necessary to take every goal kick, free kick and throw in from the very first whistle. NOTHING!

Pull the old 'I've change my mind about who I want to sub off now that they've taken two minutes to mournfully limp to the touchline' trick? I ENJOY THIS TIME-WASTING LARK, THINK I'LL MAKE THE PLAYER RE-TAKE EVERY DEAD BALL FROM NOW ON!

I don't really blame West Ham. I blame a counter-intuitive attitude to what constitutes time wasting and nonsense refereeing. Can someone please, please explain to officials that it is possible to waste time before the 80th minute?
Dan, London

No Shame For Spurs

Yes, just because you get the ball it doesn't mean it's not a foul. But equally, just because you get the man, it doesn't mean it is a foul. If Danny Rose had made that tackle on the sideline and the ball had gone for a throw, the officials would never have given a foul.

Given how we ended the first half and started the second, without that shocker of a decision we would have given them a game. Nothing to be too down about as a Spurs fan, and certainly no shame in conceding three to a City side in that mood with ten men. Just didn't go for us on the night.
Alex G, THFC (Daws was definitely offside though)

Some Points From A Spurs Fan

1. Man City are excellent! They are the best team we have played this season. I think they would beat anyone at the moment.

2. Thank god Dzeko left his shooting boots at home. He could have scored five by himself.

3. Spurs showed a bit more fight than in the return fixture and against Liverpool.

4. Dawson was onside for the disallowed goal BUT Adebayor was offside. Even though he didn't touch the ball, he was close enough and actually tried to head the ball so was correctly ruled out.

5. On the pen - watching repeated replays I think the decision was correct. Yes, Rose touched the ball but I think it was after taking Dzeko's legs. As soon as the pen was given he had to be sent off.

6. Our midfield failed to deal with City even with an extra body in there. I know Bentaleb is young but he looks a bit like a player who can only play well in a midfield that dominates a game (similar to Carrick). When bossed he looked like a lost little child.

7. Sherwood had to make a change at HT to bring a DM on. But why take off Dembele??? Much better than Bentaleb in that first half. Unless he was injured that was a big mistake IMO.

8. Eriksen has shown massive improvement recently but that was his worst game for Spurs. Lennon was barely involved at all.

9. Siggurdson was a curious one pick to start. Just back from injury and was well off the pace. Hardly involved and when he was he was dreadful.

10. If this continues we can wave goodbye to our best players Hugo, Super Jan and Sandro in the summer.
Westy, THFC

Should Fernandinho Have Gone?

Watching a replay of the Spuds v Man City match, I noticed Fernandinho's hand ball on the goal line for the goal scored by Capoue and it sparked a rather curious question.

Unfortunately for Spurs, the ball went off Fernandinho's arm and into the net. I say unfortunately because of the following possibility - Should the ball have stayed out, Fernandinho would have surely been red carded and a consequent penalty awarded. Thereby, evening out the numbers (making up for Rose's red) and giving Spurs a goalscoring opportunity.

Since it's quite clear that Fernandinho completely intended that handball, can't the ref allow the goal using the 'play on' rule, and then come back to the handball and issue a red? It's the same as coming back to a rash challenge, isn't it?
Bamboo (Spuds were robbed I say!) Gooner

Even This United Fan Is Enjoying City

I have been trying to suppress this feeling in my brain for some time now, but I am finally giving in. And as a Man United fan this is making me hate myself. But watching Man City tear apart Spurs last night made me remember why I started following football. The free-flowing football that they have mastered is absolutely exhilarating to watch. They play with no fear of conceding, playing like schoolkids for the sole purpose of scoring goals and entertaining football fans.

To make matters worse, most of their players are likeable (I said most!), their fans aren't usually arrogant (give success a few years, that's bound to change) and their manager is mostly humble going about his business quietly. In fact the only thing that most people hate about them (apart from being our city rivals) is that they have spent the GDP of a country acquiring their players. Something, I frankly have no issues with. If some sheikh is spending a billion of his own dollars accumulating a squad to entertain football fans with, good for us. Yeah United may win a few lesser titles, but on the whole the league is all the more entertaining. In fact, they are raising the bar which will make teams like United and Arsenal push themselves even more (see Madrid because of Barca). In fact one of the main reasons Chelsea is the club I detest most is because in spite of the money they spend they still seem intent on boring teams to death rather than trying to crush them with the obscene amount of attacking talent they have.

I really hope United take a leaf out of City's book and they rebuild the squad with this in mind. The way I see it, you can't keep winning all the time and I would rather United lost trying to entertain us than, I dont know, trying to make us rip out our hair while they put cross after cross after cross to no one in particular.
Apoorv (MUFC)

Is Aguero Better Than Suarez?

It is has become so common in top-flight football to describe players as underated that it has lost all meaning. This is obviously a consequence of over exposure to players and passionate football fans looking to distinguish themselves from fairweather fans by identifying the values of 'lesser-known' players. This is all a part of the battle for football subcultural capital that occupies most football fans' conversations.

However, every now and then a player who consistently excels is somewhat overlooked by both mainstream media fans and the football hipsters. Aguero is surely such an example. The man is incredible. His first touch, his pace, his link-up play and his football intelligence are better than any player I have seen in the Premier League. He is basically a Suarez without controversy, even a better player I would add.

Is it the lack of controversy that keeps him out of the loop in discussion groups such as 365?Is it the fact that he was signed for a similar price tag as several other Man City players at the same time? Is it because he doesn't play for one of the traditional big-named clubs? I just can't put my finger on why he is not discussed more frequently or even touted as one of the top 7/8 players in the world? Has anyone any idea why this is?

Fulham: F**ked

In amongst all the horrible numbers that represent Fulham's season, my favourite is the following: in 18 games prior to playing us, Hull had managed 16 goals. In the subsequent four games since playing us, they have scored zero. Against us they scored six! This has been the case for a long time now, but if you are experiencing a goal drought, just play Fulham, that will cure everything. We have 15 games left and I can't see more than ten points. We don't get draws, so it's either a squeaky win or get pummelled. The worst goal difference in the top four leagues. Unless we pull some signings out of our hat or another place, I think we are gone, and the bookies agree. It is a shame what Jol, and the management, have managed to do to my team in about three years.
The Peng, FFC, SW6

Brendan Is My Friend

I really like the way he manages football teams. Sometimes I think Brendan should do something and that it is the right thing to do, but Brendan does something else better. He makes mistakes but he learns his lessons. He's not afraid to admit he's wrong, like when he told Nuri Sahin to go away. I like sitting in front of the TV again watching Liverpool. They are really, really great.

Before Brendan came there were other managers. Kenny Dalglish was good at getting rid of deadwood but he played Andy Carroll who wasn't very good. Rafa Benitez was nice but sometimes when I watched Liverpool play I wanted to go to bed early.

Other managers are good too but Brendan is better. Manuel Pellegrini is very good but it's easier to be good when all your players are really really good. Arsene Wenger is good but he's old and his head looks like broccoli. Jose Mourinho's team makes me sad. David Moyes looks like my little sister trying to turn the TV on with the remote. She's one and a half and smells like milk.

I like Brendan. He's my friend. When I watch Liverpool now I feel like I did when I first supported Liverpool and not like a cranky old man like when Roy was the manager.
Dave, LFC

Do United Defend Differently?

With all this talk of philosophies, I have a question for Manchester United fans. A serious one;

But first I'll start with a disclaimer; I have relative ignorance on this subject because I only watch United on the TV, or on MOTD, not week in, week out. That's mostly why I have to ask. But...

This season, with Round and Moyes in charge (notably Round) have you noticed a shift in the way the defence performs? I don't mean 'are you now terrible in defence?' but do they play differently?

For context, when Round first came to Everton we began to adopt a sort of zonal marking system. Previous to this it was straight up man-marking where each defender knew his man and his position and his role. Under Round's influence, the team became - to put it politely - more fluid in defence but this often (a lot more often than we'd like) would allow attackers space to get at the defence because our players were too busy guarding their zones. And would occasionally bump into one another because they weren't entirely sure where to be.

I was wondering if a similar philosophy was in play at Manchester United this season? Everton eventually tightened it up (somewhat...but you'll notice Martinez prefers man-marking) but for the first season, perhaps two, it was definately a factor for Everton conceding soft goals.

Could the 'Round factor' be a thing?
The Mighty Thor

What's That Bang?

It's Tim Sherwood being brought back down to earth (boom boom)
Neil (AVFC), Dublin

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think


ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

Wenger hails important win


s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

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That's Why We Didn't Want Jose At United

There is plenty of reaction to Mourinho's antics (Isn't that exactly what he wanted?) plus thoughts on Connor Wickham, Fabio Borini, beach balls and Tim Sherwood...

Kieran's Not The Only One Keeping Notes

Another chap in the mailbox has been keeping notes on comments made by optimistic Man United fans. Plus, Garey Vance is offering a double-or-quits on his new tattoo...

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