There's some big talk in the morning mailbox, which claims that Man United were right to sign Marcos Rojo instead of Mats Hummels. Plus, one Gooner's happy Arteta's out...
A Mailbox that offers best wishes to a departing hero, defends Olivier Giroud, tells us to steady on over Calum Chambers and makes some amusing predictions...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Nothing Wrong With Going To See Beyonce
Flamini is meant to be Arsenal's 'hard man' in the centre. He went to see Beyoncé last night. I think that says it all really.
Cameron, Arsenal (Can't see Keane/Vieira going to Britney in the 90s)
Kagawa To Liverpool
Following his latest statements, and riding the high of Liverpool's resurgence, I would like to implore Mr. John W Henry to pursue a fourth gentleman: Shinji Kagawa. Here's why:
1) He's not appreciated and utilised properly at United.
2) Liverpool are currently playing a similar style to Dortmund; quick transitions, ruthless counter-attacking and pressing - a style which suits him all too well.
3) Liverpool need a marquee signing. And he fits the bill of undervalued, young, technically excellent, versatile player who is able to play across three advanced attacking midfield positions.
4) Asian market revenue etc etc.
Please make this happen, even if it means that twitter account would cease to exist once poor Kags gets played properly.
Dominic, LFC, Singapore (play-a-making)
Just a quick message I'd like to pass on to some apparently too "giddy" LFC fellow fans.
SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF GOD SHUT UP.
Oops sorry about that. Yeah but I actually kind of meant it, just not in such a crass manner. Let's just hope we don't cock this up and actually finally get into the Champions League, that would be absolutely awesome (especially with the recent financial reports). Anything more is just the cherry on top frankly.
CB (The last several years of supporting LFC have taught me to avoid ever getting too optimistic) West Palm Beach, FL
Be Ashamed Of Your Cowardice To Dream
To all those people 'embarassed' by Brian's optimism and belief in his team, you should actually be ashamed of your own cowardice to dream. If anything, the essence of life exists in daring to dream and having the balls to make your dreams a reality. This cautious realism you guys seem to be so proud of is a recipe for mediocrity. Chelsea and Man City having bigger squads does not in any way entitle them to a league championship. Just look at last year's runaway winners, Man United!!! Yes, City and Chelsea had better squads and that should in theory have made it easier for them to win but ultimately, as Johnny Nic so often says, it is the bollocks that get you past the line in sports and, actually, in life too. That is what United had last year. That ultimate belief and the will to overcome all odds.
What is the point of watching sport if you cannot dream of glory and hope to get your hands on the holy grail? All the great men in history have been recognized as such due to the fact that they did something others did not do, or did not do at that level. Which means they changed what had been accepted as reality. They pushed the bar higher. Cautious realism will never let you do this because it is existentially based on a belief rooted in futility, where one simply accepts the status quo and does not believe he can change it. Read any great sportsman's biography and you will see them explicitly state that it was not talent but hard work and belief that made them great.
So yes, Liverpool have a smaller squad but that is not the only variable in the winning formula. At the start of every match, every season, I am optimistic about Liverpool winning. If Liverpool finally do win the league, I am sure that the joy of people like Brian and I will be infinitely more joyous than that experienced by the cautious supporters, for it is when you have real faith in something or someone that true fulfilment is experienced. As Khalil Gibran so beautifully said, " The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain".
Azeem, Lahore, Pakistan
I think Joe (Big fan of Gus Poyet) WBA has missed the point my fellow Gooners were trying to make by equating defensive football with cheating.
We have no problem with defending like your life depends on it. We won 10 titles before Wenger came to the club during a time when 'boring Arsenal' wasn't a sarcastic nickname.
Trying to kick your opponents rather than the ball is cheating however and that's what should be penalised. If Stoke are robust but fair then good luck to them - trying to kick your opponents off the park however shouldn't be allowed.
I do agree we should adjust but when was the last time you ever saw Wenger adjust to anything? - he tried to attack Barcelona!
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
...Firstly, nobody was whining about it. Almost every Arsenal fan I has admitted that we didn't deserve to win that game.
Secondly, comparing kicking people to parking the bus is a terrible analogy. Parking the bus is not against the laws of the game. Stamping on someone's leg when they are lying on the floor is.
Thirdly, the point being made in the original email was that if going out to kick a team to win is fine, then why isn't diving? Both are illegal and should be punished by the ref but usually aren't spotted because refs are a bit rubbish. Diving however is frowned upon while kicking someone seems fine.
So in summary, Joe missed the point.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC
Cheating Strikers, Cheating Defenders
In response to Brad (Canada) 's letter about N'Zonzi and his cheating, strikers do cheat and try to justify it. The number of times we hear "there was contact so he had every right to go down there" or "If the defender is naive enough to do that then he deserves to give away a penalty"
All players are going to push the boundaries, these things happen in sport and if Arsenal, or whoever it may be, can't handle it then they need to get better at football.
Moyes Out, Lambert In
Paul Lambert to Man Utd - I think he is on to something.
In adding to the points he made to his email about their sweeping aside of Norwich from behind, there are some other things to really take point of.
When he arrived to Norwich they were going through arguably their lowest point in history, relegated from the championship and smacked 7-1 (at home I think) by Lambert led Colchester Utd. Alan Patridge drove up to Dundee one more time that night, and the Toblerone addiction was back with a bang. Delia and messrs moved swiftly and got the spectacled one on board. The objective was promotion but that was bordering on the absolute best possible solution, which as we all know doesn't always come true, especially in football. What did he do? He got them up straight away, he turned absolute gloom into absolute delight. This wasn't just your standard promotion though, this was a reawakening of a club that I think some people still don't give Norwich enough credit for these days (the club as a whole). 24 teams in league one could certainly go any way, there are always a few teams in that division that are likely to go up, and as one of the new entrants via relegation Norwich would have been in that crew. But the championship is a different beast altogether.
Literally, anyone could go up (except Barnsley), it is a crap shoot at best if you are making predictions at the start of the season. As with all predictions, you see teams get promoted and regardless of how they got promoted they are going to be in the reckoning for instant relegation. So Lambert, without very much money, he turned the sullen mood at Carrow Road into momentum and when it was "back to reality" for Norwich, they just gathered more momentum and got promoted one more time in a harder league. Back to back promotions is akin to winning it all, it would be like if Chelsea winning the Europa last season and winning the champions league this year, very unlikely, but a remarkable achievement. The fact that he took them up to the premier league and they comfortably survived tells it's own story, and again, with very little money, the very definition of a mr motivator manager.
Sure he hasn't been amazing at Villa, but every 10 years or so they go through 5 years of chaos and he arrived in that chaos. He hasn't done that bad though has he? With a large wedge of money he signed a sh!t hot prospect Cristian Benteke that no one else was after and made him a household name, so he hasn't has a lot of money to play around with, but when he has been put in charge, he signed someone no one was looking at seriously that dominated the pitch. Let's not forget also that he took the ultimate calculated risk last season, banishing Darren Bent from the first team, which was risky as he was top scorer and record signing. There are many other good qualities, he knows what top class footballers are like from winning the euro cup with Dortmund, playing in a successful Celtic team, gives young lads an opportunity and as mentioned not afraid to drop the big names, and his whole philosophy is clearly based on the team working together. Whereas Moyes lost some play off finals with Preston North End, had a medicore at best playing career (opposed to playing with Jurgen Kohler , Riedle, Sammer, Andy Moller, Larsson) and although did raise a lowly Everton team to a consolidated mid table presence, and did it admirably, was unable to be anything more. Yep, MOYES OUT, LAMBERT IN!!!
David (sign him up), Dublin
Mourinho: Justin Bieber
Now I know that headline is slightly confusing, but hear me out because I keep finding comparisons in their respective careers.
First of all, both of them got help from their parents, Bieber his mother and Mourinho his father. Both of them were spotted by people who had considerable influence in their line of work, Bieber was Usher I believe and Mourinho was Bobby Robson.
They have both achieved quite a degree of success in my opinion by being opportunists. One is a singer with little to no talent who has become an international superstar thanks to the people around him helping him to right lyrics with swag in them in a musical genre that doesn't require much though. The other is a football manager who doesn't really seem to do anything that special compared to other coaches but he has been afforded the opportunity to waste a lot of money without any consequence and essentially buy his way to success.
They each have their fans, who are often borderline delusional, though perhaps less so in Mourinho's case. However their detractors are both extremely fervent and react with sheer hatred when they say or do anything no matter how inconsequential that might be.
Oh and the ego, both of them have enormous egos.
Andrew (Mourinho's hair is more stylish though)
Losing The League
I don't quite understand why there seems to be a difference of opinion on whose league it is to lose this year. This is a maths question, not a opinion question. Statistically, City have played 26 games and recorded a goal difference of +42, adding a goals difference per game of 1.61 goals. Chelsea have played 28 with a goal difference of +30, adding only 1.07 to their goal difference per game. So assuming both teams take maximum points from their remaining fixtures, which would lead to the league being decided on goal difference, AND continue adding to those goal difference rates accordingly the title will be City's. Therefore the title is City's to lose.
Could all of Jose's mind tricks and lowering of expectations have just been a recognition of statistical inevitability? Doubt it.
Guy Adam, CFC, America
Well I'll try my hand at this exciting teams lark - rather than cast my mind all the way back to my earliest days as a fan (1990 and Terry Cooper's side running away with the old Division 4), I'll go for more recent successes and plump for Exeter City's 2010/2011 squad.
In goal, the young and promising Artur Krysiak replaced the aging master Andy Marriott, behind a defence including quick attacking full backs Richard Duffy and set-piece specialist Billy Jones, while our Captain Fantastic Matt Taylor held the middle of the back four alongside the developing talents of Troy Archibald-Henville. In midfield, Liam Sercombe and Ryan Harley combined youthful energy with a real goal threat, and the older head of David Noble was a calming influence to keep things ticking over when needed along with the rapidly improving James Dunne. Up front we had the pace and unpredictability of Dan Nardiello, and the still-sharp movement and trickery of Jamie Cureton. This squad managed to achieve City's best ever league finish of 8th in the 3rd tier, including a memorable away win against Huddersfield and remarkably taking 6 points from both Sheffield Wednesday and Charlton Athletic. All of these players bar two (Krysiak and Sercombe) have now sadly moved on and are plying their trade at bigger clubs for bigger money - even Cureton who is still going strong with a goal every 3 games for Cheltenham at 38 years old.
Sadly, this season will always be remembered more for the tragic passing of City's only number 9, Adam Stansfield, rather than the exciting football on display - but with hindsight, that was truly a side to be proud of for a club of our size and history.
Terry Hall, Switzerland (Living the dream - http://www.adamstansfieldfoundation.com/)
Exciting Bristol Rovers
Well seeing as you asked - the most entertaining Bristol Rovers side in my time supporting them was around 2007-2008. We got promoted to League 1 through the playoffs in 2007. And our first season in League 1 featured goals, entertainment, and a run to the FA cup quarter final (knocking out Fulham and Southampton on the way). The heartbeat of the side was Rickie Lambert - who scored audacious goal after audacious goal. But we also had the pace of Jo Kouffor up front. The cultured left foot of Jeff Hughes (who, like Lambert, never missed a penalty for us). Proper box to box midfielders in Chris Lines (hammer of a shot - the swerve on his free kicks was ridiculous) and inspirational captain Stuart Campbell, who in his pomp would cover every blade of grass.
To complete the entertainment we had fan favourites Steve Elliott and Byron Antony in central defence. Now Steve Elliott was one of those players the fans love - committed, brilliant reader of the game, great leader, tough tackling on the pitch and a gentlemen off it. However by this stage in his career he had completely lost his pace which often left Antony exposed. Antony was a brilliant goalscorer for a defender - in both nets! It wasn't unusual for him to get on the score sheet for both sides in the same game. And not to forget Steve 'flapper' Phillips in goal. A man who was as likely to pull of a Yashin style worldy as he was to fumble a simple cross to an opponent for a tap in.
In summary - the perfect combination of lots of goals (and they were brilliant ones too - check this out) combined with a slightly suspect defence (exhibit B, a 5-4 loss to Peterborough). And writing this has made me all nostalgic now! I hope I get to see another side that play with that much joy and belief again.
Mike, League 2, BRFC
On Strong Starts
Seeing as it is an international week, I have a little prompt for all of you mailboxers: Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge are currently (and wonderfully) the league's leading scorers, and both of them scored on their respective Liverpool debuts. So I would like to ask the mailbox to put forward examples of debutant scorers who either famously went on to achieve glory/legend status, or (and this is the real fun) those who distinctly did not, despite having such an immediately bright start.
Dan (PLEASE let there be no key injuries during internationals. Except for our rivals, of course.)
Are Gary Monk and the fella from Homeland the same chap? Not that I am accusing Gary of being a radicalised ex-marine...