There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...
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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
City Not The Best...Yet
While it's hard to disagree that City are one of the best in the world, for Sherwood to say that they are the bestest top top team in the world just because 10-man Spurs got thrashed (at home conceding five, again) is a bit much.
Let's see where things are at the end of the next few seasons before we start making claims as to who is the best. Last time I checked Madrid, Barcelona and Bayern Munich were all pretty f****g good too.
The best teams are forged over many years of consistency and success, not just a few thumping wins against teams who have also been thumped by plenty of others. They've only just gone top. By one point. In January.
Two years ago, when their obscene wealth was fresh and new and they were bringing in wonderful players and playing good football, witnessing Man City pip Man Utd to the Premier League title by literally two minutes was just fantastic. Mancini screaming obscenities at the pie in the sky, Martin Tyler shredding his larynx, the Eastlands crowd so excited it caused the Sky cameras to bounce up and down as they struggled on focus on Aguero's celebrations...
That was wonderful.
Two years on, Man City still have their obscene wealth, they're still bringing in even more wonderful players to play alongside the wonderful players they already have, they have a better manager (a nicer manager!), and they're playing infinitely better football. So why is it so boring?
Actually, perhaps "boring" is the wrong word. I mean, the furthest thing from "boring" is witnessing Yaya, Silva, Navas, Negredo and Aguero tearing teams to shreds, playing some of the best football seen in England for 10 years. It's just crushingly inevitable, isn't it? They've just hit top spot and we all know they're going to stay there until May.
Earlier today someone wrote in asking if Aguero doesn't get more praise because he's part of Man City's deep, expensive strike-force? He's right. I mean, Liverpool have their marquee £23m Suarez; Arsenal our £42m marquee Ozil; Man Utd make marquee signings every three years or so (Mata, RVP and Rooney - buying and selling Berbatov in that time, too); Chelsea have less marquee signings than City but will probably end up finishing second.
But Man City have Aguero, Dzeko, Negredo, Silva, Navas, Yaya Toure, Fernandinho, Milner (£26m don't forget), Jovetic and Javi Martinez. They've, in recent memory, signed Robinho, Tevez, Jo, Balotelli, De Jong, Adebayor, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott and Adam Johnston. They've got so many great players that the likes of Guidetti, Sturridge and Razak have to go on loan. There's a point where grossly obscene stops being fresh, new and wonderful and becomes, well... grossly obscene. Winning the league for them shouldn't be celebrated; it's the very least they should do.
Yes I am a gooner and yes, I'm pee'd off that we're no longer top, and yes this post is definitely a knee-jerk of losing top-spot... but still. I guess witnessing your team lose out to a gigantically wealthy mega team is not as funny as watching another team do the same.
Dale May, Swindon Gooner
Am I the only the person who feels that the quality of defending in general in the Premier League has significantly deteriorated over the past few seasons? Although there are still some defenders who I would put in the 'world class' bracket currently grazing our shores (Kompany.......errrr I'm actually struggling), the numbers have significantly depleted over the last few years. Watching some of the defending on show recently is embarrassing; I wouldn't expect my pub team to defend as badly. Perhaps I should have tried harder as a footballer because I would quite happily turn up on a Saturday, be equally as bad as some of these clown shows, and be satisfied taking home a fraction of the wage they're on. I guess the quality of defending (or lack of it) makes for much more entertaining games though!
And how good are Man City that they can still brush aside team after team when only playing with 10 men? Demichelis cannot be classed as a player surely? - he is probably the worst footballer I have seen in a long time - he must have some dirt on Pelligrini to keep getting selected.
Darren (fair play to West Ham though last night - their defensive performance totally throws my argument out the window)
More On Fernandinho's Handball
Bamboo (Spuds were robbed I say!) Gooner, Fernandinho should have been cautioned for the handball on the line when Tottenham scored, not sent off. If he had successfully prevented the goal he would have been sent off, however as he has not denied a goal the only offence is handball which should be punished by a yellow card.
Andy the Hammer (Allardyce deserves a pay rise)
...The very same though had occurred to me about Fernandinho, as he tried his very best to prevent a goal by deliberately handballing on the line. To further back up Bamboo's point, I remember Dirk Kuyt against Everton (I think) flying in with a bizarre two footed mid air scissor tackle, totally missing the player but getting a red card for the intent. Just because Fernandinho (who is actually an incredibly good player but rarely noticed) wasn't successful with his attempt, should he not also have gone for the intent? Same with Xabi Alonso for attempting to punch John O'Shea and missing. I think that yes, he should have gone. But I would say that.
Alex G, THFC (yep, definitely robbed)
Advice For Mourinho
Hey Jose! I love this whole new attacking youth-y football experiment you're trying. As an Arsenal fan, I wholeheartedly welcome you to the "real football" fraternity (and sorority, while we're at it). I feel like, having been through all the trials and tribulations of that approach (albeit vicariously), I should cheer you up after your recent out-witting by Orcaniser-in-chief and dormant Arsenal nemesis Sam Allardyce.
The thing is, Jose, once you've announced your new philosophy, all these dastardly relegation fodder types decide that they absolutely must double down on their dastardliness while facing you. This is a no-lose strategy - if they lose, well what were they supposed to try?
But you can't stop talking up the "young, attacking" game, can you? You'll get fired. You can play the dourest football possible, play to draw against anyone that vaguely looks like competition, but you have to keep saying all these wonderful things that mean nothing, because that is the party line these days at the Kremlin.
So what you need, Jose, is to be a bit more flexible with the counter-attacking strategy. After all, one can't counter when the other side refuses to attack, no? You need a guy with the ability to play in tight spaces and the maturity to stay patient with the ball when faced with a couple of Boeings in front of goal. Someone who consistently, unerringly, picks the most dangerous option instead of just hoping for the defence to make a mistake because of the pace of the break. It would help the consistency if you had someone at or entering the peak of his career.
The man you need, Jose, is... I'm sorry, sold?!....
As you were.
TG (Zelalem'll cost you 80 million quid. Lump on another 20, you can call him a Chelsea youth product) Arsenal
Ban This Sick Filth
As Vincent Kompany wheeled away in delight after his goal against Spurs, I was reminded of the token Spanish kid I went to school with.
Jose, his name. He wasn't very good at football, but boy did he try. When we had a kick-around, he wouldn't get much of a touch. But if the keeper rolled it to his feet, he would smash it straight back in the goal and celebrate maniacally. Any kind of unsporting or unworthy goal subsequently became known as 'doing a jose'. eg. Kanu was guilty of 'doing a jose' for Arsenal against Sheff Utd that time in the cup.
Which brings me back to Kompany.
To celebrate wildly after scoring a fifth goal isn't classy at all. It was 'doing a Jose'. To do it after scoring a fifth goal against a ten-man team who had already given up any hope of scoring, from 3 yards out no less, for a billionaire club that are scoring 5 goals a game anyway, well that goes beyond 'doing a Jose'. That was simply pathetic.
The experiment is done. We've seen what would happen to a football club if you gave them unlimited resources; they score 5 goals a game. It's time for the experiment to end. It won't, and as this season wears on, the idea of this being a competitive season at the top end of the EPL will dissipate, replaced with the realisation that City have done a Sim City instead; typed in 'CASH' 50 times and built whatever they liked. To see them garner some sort of sense of achievement from it worthy of exuberant celebration is wholly depressing. I found it tasteless, classless and frankly embarrassing.
I'm too shell-shocked from Man City's dazzling brilliance and the officials' dazzling incompetence to weave a coherent mail, so here are some random conclusions.
1. Man City are without doubt a phenomenal side. But Spurs were only 1-0 down and coming back into the game when Rose was wrongly sent off for a penalty that should never have been given. We were still in it but the linesman ruined any chance of a contest. Painful, when you've struggled up to Tottenham in the freezing rain.
2. Even if you say it was a foul, was Rose denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity? It's surely too tight an angle to get a decent shot away, so i don't see why Rose has to go.
3. The Spurs team you're seeing at the moment is playing with its third and fourth choice centre backs. Lord how I love Michael Dawson's attitude but he has been below the required level for some time now. Chiriches looked like he was still drunk. Vertonghen and Kaboul are badly missed.
4. Eriksen blows hot and cold but the one thing he definitely needs to improve is ball-winning. He seems to think that's not his job, allowing players to drift past him without even attempting a tackle.
5. Adebayor had one of his Bambi on Ice, can't-control-the-ball games. If you chucked a turd at him it would bounce off.
6. Bentaleb is a great prospect but no more than that. The sooner Sandro or Capoue (please don't sell him!) is in the team, the better. You don't even have to call them holding midfielders Tim/Les, just get 'em on the teamsheet.
7. To the bloke who sits behind me, must be East Upper, Row 6, Seat 138. You're an idiot who ruins every game. Don't come again if all you're going to do it shout 'USELESS!' and slag off players before they've put a foot wrong. And to your Dad who sits next to you, you seem like a half-decent bloke but you've got to admit, you've raised a proper f*ckwad there.
Rob Davies, THFC
Random one I admit, but I was watching Burnley vs Leicester the other night and it was really cold. I was stamping my feet and rubbing my legs but it wasn't doing much good. I glanced over at the assistant referee and there he stood in shorts and T-shirt. Sure, he does a bit of running about, but here's a lot of standing about and waiting too. Should assistant referees have a winter uniform? A long sleeve top at least?
Nick P. (Congrats Ricky G) Burnley FC