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...
The morning Mailbox has the usual wide and varied e-mails about England, with some taking a very gloomy stance but others just going with it. Oh, & the band is mentioned...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
"You need to have a football intelligence, a football brain, to understand first of all,"
What an absolute idiot. There really is nothing else to say.
...He can't even do a press-conference meltdown properly. No Trappatoni shouting, no Kinnear profanities, no banning journalists, nothing.
Rather than the usual stuff about Moyes, I was going to send in a truly massive mail about Manchester United's players and the various replacements we need as a matter of some urgency. But it would have taken me ages to do and I thought you, MC, would have gone 'Ho Hum, just another United fan with some weird, misguided ideas' - and you would have pressed the delete button without any consideration at all. (And probably fair enough too). So I thought I'd send in just one line which may catch your attention:
Does even Vidic remember the original shape of his nose?
Predictions For Arsenal v United
Arsene Wenger drops Mesut Ozil but starts with 10 men to prove that the team can perform the same without him. He later reveal that he asked Ray Parlour to play to show Ozil the meaning of "Hard work and determination", however Parlour had to decline because he was busy cleaning the floors in his ex-wife's mansion....with his tounge. Ramsey starts on crutches.
David Moyes decides that the formation that finished the game against Fulham is the way forward, and therefore starts with Januzaj, Van Persie, Rooney, Hernandez and Mata all up front ,Valencia on the right wing, Michael Carrick in midfield by himself, no one at right back and Jones replaces Smalling.
Uniteds adventurous formation works when they race into a first minute lead, a Januzaj cross is dropped onto Van Persie's head by Szcezney and into the net.
Van Persie is then booked and sent off for "over celebration" when he runs half the length of the pitch, tears his shirt off and punches Arsene Wenger in the face.
Moyes responds (despite it now being 10 v 10) by taking off Hernandez and bringing on Ashley Young, who is immediately booked for diving as he trips over whilst entering the field.
United sit back and try to kill the game by passing the ball around their own half, despite there being 89minutes left and Laurent Kosielney wearing a T-shirt which says "I'm going to have one of THOSE days".
After 20mins of stalemate, Arsene Wenger brings on Ozil for no-one. Ozil immediately scores four goals, 3 of them in the same move, however his fourth is later taken away from him when replays show it came off his cigar. HT: 4-1
Tom Cleverley is introduced for Januzaj at half time, in an effort at damage limitation, however he has a point to prove and so every time he gets the ball he turns and smashes the ball 40 yards up field for Rooney to chase. All this running makes Rooney turn a bizarre shade of purple. Permanently.
Jurgen Klopp is spotted in the crowd waving a #FreeShinji flag and sobbing, he is surrounded by discarded tissues. It becomes obvious he has been crying for some time.
United concede a fifth when Arteta's deflected shot from the edge of the area goes in, the ball first hits Carrick (of course) and then the linesman, a member of the crowd and Tom Cleverley (who was trying to hit it long).
United push forward for consolation and win a corner, De Gea comes up. However this results in them conceding a sixth when Mertesacker heads away, chases down his own clearance, outpacing Vidic in the process (whilst running backwards) and taps into an empty net from the halfway line.
Moyes makes his last substitution, bringing on Rafael for Jones (no one is quite sure why), this immediately backfires when Rafael is sent off for pulling down Rosicky's shorts and pants to reveal that Rosicky is in fact a woman. No one is surprised.
A seventh goal for Arsenal is scored when Valencia picks up the ball runs to the byeline and smashes his cross so hard into Sagna it loops up and into United's net at the other end of the pitch, De Gea is busy moulding his quiff as the ball bounces in. FT 7-1
After the Game:
Phil Jones gurns his way into a post-match drugs test, which he runs away from and is given a 4-year ban. He later reveals that he may have had one or two blue biscuits before the game.
David Moyes is sacked during his post-match interview when Edward Woodward threatens him with the chop if he says the word "try" once more. Moyes immediately blurts out "we will try to not concede seven goals in the next game", face palms and walks out into the rain without his coat.
Incidentally Arsene Wenger wears a jump suit for the entire game as it "has no Zips".
Mark Danger Endicott (MUFC)
Jose: Master Tactician?
Hopefully the mailbox will be full of abuse for Mourinho's tactics as he failed to break down West Brom a la Moyes and Fulham. The man that was hailed as a master tactician by most on here after beating City 1-0 has also failed to beat West Ham at home, been beaten by Stoke and parked the bus at Old Trafford. Chelsea and Mourinho shouldn't just receive a dollop of the abuse levelled at Moyes for the Fulham game he should get just as much
Kevo2424 ( only 16 points behind Chelsea with a game in hand, the league is still on...)
Lambert's Goodwill Is Dwindling
Dear Mr. Lambert
Didn't listen did you?
Another meh performance. 1 point from games against West Ham & Cardiff.
The identity and character of an 'Aston villa team' or 'a Paul Lambert team' is becoming one associated with hopeless long balls, no midfielders, woeful finishing & naïve defenders.
Any goodwill the fans (and even neutrals) may have towards you is fast dwindling away with what you are serving up.
If there was a better choice of manager out there, im pretty sure you wouldn't be in a job any more
The Villa Fans
Alex (lets wait till summer and have Tim Sherwood when spurs have Louis van Gaal) Sheedy
Could Be Worse
To all the Gooners moaning about Mesut Ozil, it could be worse, we could have Marouane Fellaini.
I actually have a lot of time for Wenger but when I heard him say 'accident' when discussion the Liverpool game I choked.
He might have meant anomaly but certainly no accident. It was no accident that Liverpool set out to take the game by the throat from the start, no accident that Liverpool pressed all over the park, but especially the weak underbelly that can be the Arsenal midfield. No accident that Suarez, Sturridge and Sterling attacked at pace. There were so many things that were deliberately done by Liverpool, that the term 'accident' just grated.
And lets face it, against Southampton in the first half, Arsenal were equally, 'accidentally' taken to task. The difference being that Southampton didn't capitalize on all their chances was Liverpool did and gave Arsenal a way back into the game in the second half.
Arsenal miss Flamini. He provided the midfield backbone needed to prevent being completely overrun in the middle. Arteta, Ozil and Cazorla are skilful players but not able to ride out a storm in the middle. Wilshere is a little better but out of form and still coming back after an injury. Arsenal rely on their midfield to out-pass and out-play the opposition. But when a younger, fitter, hungrier team goes head on with them, it is no accident they fall apart.
Having said that, I expect them to turn over United, as the United midfield is even weaker.
Cleverley: Not Xavi
I'm afraid, Jack Francis, Bristol, saying "Not saying he's in the same category, but..." doesn't get you off the hook.
Wash your mouth out with soap and water and never darken our pages again.
Kieron, Liverpool, Red (2:09 is my favourite pass of all time)
...Jack Francis, Bristol, You do have a point in saying that Xavi, like Cleverly, likes to pass short and sideways a lot. The small but important difference is that in most games Xavi combines the recycling with one or two killer through balls or pin-point crosses over the top for Messi et al to latch onto. Cleverley's lack of that one element to his game (evident in the fact that he has zero assist and fewer created chances than Chris Smalling this season, thanks Mediawatch) means that he is to Xavi what Emile Heskey is to Didier Drogba.
Joe (The same goes for Joe Allen) FFC
...I am not someone who gets sarcasm quickly and after having read yesterday's mailbox I have to ask.
Jack Francis, Bristol was kidding, right?
Ted (I worry for him if he wasn't)
Summer Transfer Predictions
Apparently stats don't lie so using Tom Barratt as an inspiration I figured there is no harm in giving my two top transfer tips for the Summer. So, from your Stat article,
'Marc Albrighton was on the pitch for just 34 minutes v West Ham but attempted 20 crosses and set up five chances' - imagine what he could do for David Moyes and his team of serial crosses over 90 minutes! MA to MU has got to be good odds so, as my workmate Kris would say, "Get on it like a car bonnet"
'Seamus Coleman did not attempt a single cross v Spurs on Sunday.' Don't panic Everton fans, this surely means he's not off to Old Trafford so don't bet on it. Kris doesn't have a saying for not getting on things.
Gavin MCFC, Incidentally another stat was, 'Wilfried Zaha was dispossessed seven times by Swansea players on Saturday' - who else was going to dispossess him?
Ed Quoth the Raven makes some great points about whether there is a footballing equivalent for Brendan Shanahan to act as "Chief Disciplinarian" for video reviews. Unfortunately the reality is that this will fall down in three places.
Firstly, the role would definitely end up going to an ex-referee, not an ex-player. Secondly, there would be a tug of war over who "owns" the role - the FA or the Premier League (Ed does admittedly note that the NHL model is cleaner than football here). But finally, and this is the real kicker, however much we football fans might hope for the insight of Keane, Souness and/or Vieira, the reality is we'd end up with Kevin Davies, Lee Bowyer and Robbie Bloody Savage.
Terry Hall, Switzerland (and if it was a ref, forget Collina, we'd get Uriah Rennie.)
I've read the last couple of mailboxes and there seems to be an awful lot of guff about building the England team around certain club teams. One contributor (I'm looking at you, Mark, Dublin) even went as far as to say that the powerhouses of European football, Spain, Germany and Italy build their teams around two club teams.
First, how do you explain the success of Brazil, Argentina, France and the Netherlands by the same logic?
Second, the Italy squad is predominantly built around Juventus, who are by some distance the best team in Italy. The same goes for Real/Barca in Spain and Bayern/Dortmund in Germany. It's almost like they're picking the best players! Furthermore Mark, if you take Italy out of the equation, what you have basically said is that the best two international teams in Europe are formed predominantly around the best four club sides in Europe (based on last season's Champions League).
What really goes on is that international teams pick their best players. England should, and do, follow suit. Completely independently of that, some leagues happen to have one, or two club sides that are head and shoulders above the rest and feature a decent number of home grown players. This is not the case in the Premier League.
...How many times down the years have we heard that "England should build their team around Man Utd/Liverpool/Everton/Southampton/Blyth Spartans/Brazil players"? It never happens and it wouldn't work.
In the last 15 years people have claimed that Leeds, Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Man City (Pre-Sheikh, I'm talking Hart, Richards, Johnson, Onouha, Jordan, Barton et al) should form the core of the team. And you know what? I theory its a great idea, but only if you had a full XI of players who are the best in the league.
Otherwise? Ridiculous. Can you imagine dropping Wilshere or Carrick or Lampard for Ward-Prowse? The reason Italy, Spain or Germany can build a team around players from two/three clubs is that those clubs are amongst the best in the world, and no dis-respect to Everton or Southampton but they are not. Liverpool - potentially
The Premier League means that we will never have a club that is both a) made up predominantly of English players and b) challenges at the highest level in Europe. The closest we had was the Nevilles, Butt, Scholes, Beckham, Brown, Cole and Sheringham from United and Owen, Carragher, Gerrard, Heskey, Murphy, and at times Barmby and Kirkland from Liverpool 99-01, and those squads were no better than the dross that have followed.
England's answer is not a core of players from the same squad, it is a core of players with the same footballing philosophy being put into the same side. Brazil haven't had a core of players from the same squad for decades, nor have Argentina or France or Netherlands. A team built around Lallana, Lambert, Rodriguez, Ward-Prowse, Clyne, Barkley, Baines, Jagielka and Osman is not the answer
Mike Coxon, HA2 via Northwich
Re; Nick Glover's email.
I too was amazed Crouchinho's hatty wasn't in the list, but at least I remember it. A) It was 4-1, not 4-0. Gallas scored to make it 3-1 and make me very nervous. B) There was no overhead from Crouchy in that game. It was a perfect hat-trick, right foot, left foot header (but not in that order).
He did score 2 wonderful overheads for us, one against Bolton (New Year's Day game if I remember rightly) and one against Galatasaray (that's a lot of a' in one word) in the Champions League.
Whilst typing this out I have come to realise why my long suffering other half gets frustrated with me forgetting almost everything, yet I can recall every moment of every Liverpool game for the last 25 years...
Dom (She's still punching above her weight) Littleford