Mails: Could Mata Be The New Giggs?

The better solution may be to play him in his best position but that would just be plain crazy. We have lots of mails on Man United, a staunch defence of Olympiakos and...

Last Updated: 20/03/14 at 14:44

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Man United Fans Clutching At Straws

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While the focus is on Liverpool's move for Mario Balotelli, one Man United fan tries to convince the mailbox with nine reasons why Angel Di Maria would prefer them to PSG...

Rojo Is A Better Signing Than Hummels

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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...

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For Some Reason, He Wants This. Ish.
Liverpool beat Chelsea at Anfield. Arsenal beat Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. As a result, Chelsea finish fourth. Manchester United then win the Champions League and take Chelsea's CL place. Roman then decides he's had enough, sacks Mourinho (I have a bet with a Chelsea supporting mate that the Special One will get sacked in the summer) and then sells Chelsea to some dodgy American dudes.

But I don't want Man Utd to win the Champions League.

I'm very confused.
Arun (LFC), LFC

You're Celebrating That?

Interesting to see people fawning over United beating those European heavyweights Olympiakos in the media today. To put this into perspective Olympiakos' best player joined Fulham in January - he got a 29-minute cameo against West Brom and his solitary start came against Cardiff two weeks ago. When your manager is claiming a win against a side whose best player can't get a game for (bottom of the league) Fulham is going to be the turning point of your season perhaps that shows how far United's star has fallen, more than any 3-0 drubbing against Liverpool, I'm sure that Mourinho, Pellegrini or Wenger would not come out and say something like that after beating a Championship-level club.

I actually felt sorry for Davy watching him celebrate those second and third goals going in, his obvious joy at what was happening showing he is completely blind to the fact that this win doesn't change anything, it just gives him a little more time, but he seems too naïve to know.

One quote from this morning's mailbox made me chuckle at my desk, from Tinashe (Robin is my middle Name), ManU, Harare - 'After seeing ManU's game tonight I got thinking that of the other seven teams left I'd pick Borussia Dortmund as the weakest and on a good night like tonight we could do one over them and BANG we'd be in the semis'. Does 'a good night like tonight' mean a night where you get a penalty, a horribly inept piece of goalkeeping from a free-kick and face a side who squander all their chances? I'm pretty sure that Lewandowsi, Reus, Mkhitaryan, Aubeymeyang would be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of facing that United defence. Do you really think Giggs and Carrick are going to get as much space against in midfield against Gundogan, Sahin and Kehl? I won't even try and compare the defence and goalkeeper.

Good luck in the next round anyway, it must feel good to be the team that everyone else wants to be drawn against.
Conor, London

...Anyone else think United were just plain lucky on the night? Admittedly they scored three, but how many times was their defence cracked open by a 'poor' Olympiakos side. With better finishing the visitors on several occasions would have claimed the all-important away goal and it would have been bye bye Reds. Surely their next opponent will have noted this and will exploit the glaring deficiencies in United's midfield cover to better effect. And Ryan Giggs as saviour? Where's the rosy future in that? How about a headline of '40 year-old saves season/manager's job'. Reasons to be cheerful? You've got to be kidding? Watch them go t*ts up against he Hammers and talk to me then.
Mark Trotsky

Same Old, Same Old

Okay okay... Everything is suddenly rosy again after beating the mighty Greeks last night but was I the only one who saw the exact same idiotic switch-off once we went one up as we've been watching all season?

The second van persie's free-kick went in, we stopped playing football. It's happened time and time again and only the distinct averageness of Olympiakos prevented us from considering yet another 'shock' late goal.

A better team (like Sunderland) would have punished us and the headlines this morning would make very different reading.

I can't understand whether it's complacency, arrogance, mental weakness or the most misguided tactics in the history of football but it just keeps happening.

If it's complacency or arrogance, you have to ask at what stage the players are going to look at the league table and cop themselves on.

If it's mental weakness then Moyes has to question what he and his team are doing to undermine the confidence and belief of a group of players who were so mentally strong under the last regime?

And if it's his tactics (and his substitutions are leaning me towards this option) then I'm sorry but Moyes should be shown the door immediately. That isn't something which he needs time to build or adjust. It's pure stupidity and it isn't what Manchester United is about.
Diarmuid Connolly (watching Fellaini as our lone centre-forward taking the ball into the corner on 85 minutes was the first time I've been truly ashamed to be a United fan), Cork

Such A Waste Of Time...

Trying to waste time by taking the ball to the corner must be one of the most infuriatingly stupid things in football. No-one in the history of the game has ever wasted more than three seconds trying to do that before invariably giving away a goal-kick or a foul, or letting the other team break and attack (as happened last night to United). If you really must waste time then passing the ball around and stretching play when you're not trying to reach the opponent's goal can make it virtually impossible for the other team to get possession off you.

Everyone must heed this advice instantly.
AS Camden (MUFC).
P.S. Good result last night and credit to Moyes - doesn't ultimately change much, but nice for Moyes to enjoy a CL knock-out win/comeback.

Danny The Champion Of The World
I was lucky enough to be at Old Trafford last night to soak in the enjoyment of last night; ultimately I think we are still doomed to be eliminated but after the recent doom and gloom we have given ourselves an opportunity so you can't really ask for more.

I just wanted to give a nod to the vast attacking improvement that Danny Welbeck provided. Being young and still building the final attributes as a complete centre-forward, Danny sometimes struggled earlier on in the season when he had to lead the line in the absence of the bigger guns but as a foil from the left, the man is priceless. His close control and simple give and gos join the midfield with our attack in a way that our other wide players simply don't seem to be able to at the moment.

I am sure the kid goalkeeper De Gea will get the praise he deserves today but Super Dan was just as important last night.
Parmjeet Dayal (Super, Super Dan...Super Danny Welbeck)

What About Fellaini?

Was it me or was that cameo by Fellaini the most effective performance he has provided for United so far?

However £27m for substitute target man to take pressure off the defence in in the last five minutes is pretty pricy.
Red Tom, Netherlands

And Giggs?

Man of the match against Madrid both times last year, absolutely amazing again last night. I don't know why anyone ever thinks he's past it, age 40 and he's still the best player at the club alongside Van Persie.

Rooney looked a bit like 2006 Rooney last night with the way he was everywhere and actually able to run with the ball.
Silvio (What a double save from Dave) Dante

Could Mata Be New Giggs?

A consistent theme today seems to be the praise of how Ryan Giggs performed last night. I for one, agree. he was fantastic. At 40 he is obviously a bit limited in terms of strength and mobility but his vision and technique were incredible. It was the first time in a while that United looked to attack directly and without always resorting to going to the wings. It seems this could be his last year and as Moyes speaks of finding a replacement, I believe one lies within the squad...Juan Mata. If Mata played in that deeper midfield role he could carry the ball forward and influence the game like he did at Chelsea and help United become a bit more direct in attack. He has the quality required to play the smart passes that unlock defences. If Rooney was played in a withdrawn forward role he could drop in to help out defensively if needed and if we had Carrick in beside Mata with good runners like Welbeck/Valencia/Januzaj on the flanks I don't think it would leave the team too exposed at the back.

Obviously a new left-back, centre-halves and another CM are essential buys and I don't think it will suddenly turn United into title contenders but it may be a step in the right direction...

What does the mailbox think?
Danny (now to find out what to do with the guy with the afro) Dublin

Mata On The Bench At West Ham?

No, I'm not going to talk about the tactical (de)merits of such a change. I'll leave that to someone else. I'm going to talk about what that says about his performances so far, and how unfair we've been to a certain bug-eyed German.

When Mata signed in January, people all over (starting here), were going gaga over how he'd be UTD's Ozil. Note that they didn't mean he'd be the pivotal player for them, but more of a boost being a big name signing. 'The Ozil effect' as it was called, implied that he would provide a psychological shot in the arm, making everyone around him better.

When Ozil had a relative dip in form for Arsenal, they said that he was overrated, his sole purpose became being a big name (thereby becoming only the effect and not an important player).

Seeing that Mata hasn't done anything to improve UTD's form (quit kidding yourselves over Olympiakos, Fulham got their best player), could it possibly be that being a big name alone isn't enough to improve a team?

I mean it's all well and good having been Real Madrid's no.2 man, but his chances created and assists have tickled me silly.

Could it actually be that what improved Arsenal was not Ozil's name, but (sorry for this) his game?
Girish (someone should keep score of Stewie Griffin's entries as a marker for Arsenal's performance), AFC, Chennai

Olympiakos > Blackburn

I am in no way a supporter of Olympiakos or even a follower of the Greek league, but I think it is disrespectful in the extreme, and frankly incorrect, how you have painted that team on this site. It was stated in the Winners and Losers section that Olympiakos 'are simply a terrible team and would be no higher than the middle of the Championship if they played in England'. Is it seriously believed that that is the quality level of the side or was that just a claim to further enforce the anti-Man United agenda that is increasingly perpetrated by this site.

There are quite a few sides in Europe which are undoubtedly stronger than them, but they are runaway leaders of their domestic league and they did qualify from their group stage into the knock-out rounds so to dismiss them is to denigrate the whole quality of the Champions League. To call them Championship level is to tap into the Little Englander mentality that unless sides come from the top leagues in Europe they are just a bunch of cavemen who are incapable of stringing a few passes together.

Again, Olympiakos are by no means the best side around but to lazily criticise them in the manner you have done so, I think is incorrect and unwarranted.

Big Scorelines Mean Nothing

Although big scorelines and easy wins don't make for particularly enthralling two-legged Champions League round of 16 ties, I feel like people have been being a bit harsh, saying teams like Olympiakos, Galatasaray, Schalke, Leverkusen, Milan etc don't belong there.

Using the same argument, you could say that a team that loses 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals didn't belong there - but I don't think anyone made that remark about Barcelona last year. Similarly, United beating Arsenal 8-2, City beating United 6-1, Liverpool putting five goals past Spurs/Everton/Arsenal doesn't mean those teams aren't of the same caliber or standard. It just means they were crushed in a single game, rather than shutting up shop and playing to keep the score down. I think Mourinho is the one who has said he'd rather lose one game 5-0 instead of five games 1-0 - this is spot on.

Back to the CL, if you go back over the last decade, the standard of teams in the Round of 16 has not declined. There were always lesser teams present at this stage. On this occasion they disappointed and did not put up much of a fight - but in future years, who knows, we may get some more surprises. Don't start petitioning to revamp the competition and remove the Round of 16 just yet.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

This Man Is Bored. He Mentions It Once Or Twice

Why is it so tedious regarding Man u?

They lose and you are all over it for days, mocking and revelling in it.

They come back in a big European game and defy most of the doom mongers...and it's still not good enough.

We all know Utd are having an awful season. And nobody is trying to polish a turd in that regard. But it's beyond boring now.

I am sure if they won the Champions League you would have 195 conclusions to why everybody else was crap and that's why they won it.

No conspiracy theory. I am just sick of reading about it. Whereas 'brave' City with their trillions got beat of a Barca team past their prime. You would have thought City are a Conference team with no resources taking on the big boys.

It's just boring. Very very boring.

Change the record
Kevin, Blackburn (did I mention I find it boring?)

Fanmail For Stewie

I've been a harsh critic of our manager over the past few seasons but I think Stewie Griffin's timing of his comments is especially poor.

He refers to Wenger's three-year record in the Champions League - a man who will take charge of his thousandth game as Arsenal manager this weekend.

Wenger's Arsenal have underachieved in the Champions League but at least half of those years have come during a period where we've been competing under the shadow of a whopping great bill for our state-of-the-art stadium.

Just for once Stewie - can you just shut the hell up? Wenger's not perfect but his legacy is akin to our greatest ever manager Herbert Chapman and this weekend he deserves to be rightly lauded as not only the longest-serving Arsenal manager but the league's longest serving in an era where some clubs go through three managers in a single season.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

...I think it's obvious now that Stewie Griffin is actually Adrian Durham! Has to be.
JAW, AFC, Farnborough

Let's All Chant

Speaking of chants, I've had a bit of a hard time cracking this one. Set to Queen's 'Radio Ga Ga', I'll bequeath it to the greater football watching community in the hope it'll one day get the second line it deserves.

"How you say it, Shinji Ka-gah-wah? Shinji Kag-ow-ah? Shinji Kaga-wa?"
Sean Peter-Budge


Could it be said that todays non-football story of the day is probably the first and only non-football story to be published in Mediawatch that you would want to draw your missus' attention to?
Chris ITFC, Liverpool

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es, these stats are right. Rio Ferdinand definitely had a better debut than Fernando.

that man
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know it's only one game, and Arsenal have got an amazing midfield as is; but seriously, is Arsene Wenger the only person on Earth who doesn't want Cesc at their club?

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S - 'Squeezes [English] out of his mouth like it's an elastic band he's found in his lamb bhuna' - bravo. Marvellous stuff

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Man United Fans Clutching At Straws

While the focus is on Liverpool's move for Mario Balotelli, one Man United fan tries to convince the mailbox with nine reasons why Angel Di Maria would prefer them to PSG...

Rojo Is A Better Signing Than Hummels

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...

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