A varied Mailbox has thoughts on transfer targets, youth development, the obsession over 3-5-2, some innovative Blackpool suggestions and why Real bought Kroos...
We can't help but agree with one mailboxer who tries to calm the crisis-mongers gathering around Southampton, while we have mails on Man United's squad...
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Liverpool Highlight Wenger's Failure
Who at the beginning of the season would have honestly thought that after 32 games, all Liverpool will need to do is win all 6 of their final games and they will be Champions!
I doubt anyone really thought this would be a possibility. Just highlights how Wenger has gotten it so wrong over the past few years.
Tobi, Gooney Boy London
Mourinho A Bigger Failure Than Wenger?
A few points to ponder from this weekend:
1. With an expensively assembled squad having a healthy mix of veterans and players in their prime, Chelsea were one of the big favourites for the title. While Mourinho has taken every opportunity to criticize Wenger, we might see a season where Wenger wins a trophy and Mourinho wins none. Which manager can be said to have failed this year?
2. To see it further in context - this is arguably the first time that Mourinho has a few players who cannot be said to be proven, world-class players (though purchased at significant prices). And he will most likely not have a trophy this year. Wenger has been forced to work with younger, less expensive, worse-paid players for 8 years. Can we see Wenger's lack of 'success' in a better context now? Also, can Mourinho build a young side from the ground up?
3. Chelsea's failure to break down organised teams was a feature even before January, but there were many games where they only scored after Mata came in and introduced some creativity. While Mata has more or less struggled to have a big impact at United (though he looked better this weekend), can we say Mourinho made a mistake letting him go?
4. Flamini's performance this week highlighted further what a mistake it was to not play him against Chelsea. Wenger knows his value, but doesn't it seems at time that Wenger holds a grudge against Flamini for leaving? Even after the Chelsea game, Wenger justified his decision to have dropped Flamini by saying that they drew 1-1 at Munich with Oxlade starting instead of Flamini - which misses the point a bit.
5. Finally, while Liverpool are being talked up for the title, saying they just need to win all their games now, same is true with City. In fact, City don't even need to win all their games - they can draw against Liverpool and still win the title. Also, Liverpool still need to play Chelsea. It is not in Liverpool's hands - it is in City's.
Fanmail For Sherwood
I wrote in a month or so ago (after our 1-1 draw at Hull)to put across my 'dislike' of Dim Sherwood and the fact he was a car crash of a manager and a dreadful appointment by Daniel Levy. As much as it's fair to say I was downbeat on him at that point, I had no concept of just how bad it could get under him.
Up until the Hull game, Sherwood hadn't really been tested. You could argue Manchester City at home, but there was some bad luck there as well as bad tactics and preparation and therefore there was SOME scope to excuse him.
Since then, the reality of the situation has really come home to roost. The bloke is well and truly out of his depth. It's seen as a cliche that you don't learn anything about a manager until he has some adversity to deal with, but never has this been so prevalent as the Spurs and Sherwood situation.
We lost terribly at Norwich. We were thoroughly outplayed by a much weaker team than us. We made Cardiff look like a seasoned Premier League side. But worse was to come. His reaction after Chelsea away was an absolute disgrace. The goals we conceded in that game were genuine errors and although you need players to cut down on these, I saw an incredibly honest and hardworking performance by the team that just fell away with daft errors, mainly caused by players having to play in strange positions. To call the players out publicly was not only managerial suicide, but was also completely uncalled for.
Then we get his pathetic childish antics against Arsenal. Slamming that f**king gilet on the floor and his babyish behaviour with Sagna. His childish spat with Jorge Jesus, who clearly has some information from his pal AVB about Sherwood's behaviour behind the scenes and just had a cheeky little wind up. Sherwood's response was enough to tell me he isn't mature enough. It became Sherwood v Jesus and was utterly pathetic.
We then get to yesterday. He sat in the stands again and was rightly derided for it. We were singing 'where is our manager'...and why wasn't he there? In his own words "I felt I couldn't influence the game". That is utterly shocking not only to think, which seems to me that he's losing his cockiness and arrogance under tiny amounts of pressure, but to say. He's admitted he's not up to the job.
PS. Big shout out to Spirit of Shankly and the Liverpool fans for a lovely touching tribute to Darren Alexander, who was co-head of the Tottenham Hotspur supporters Trust, who passed away recently. Very classy touch
...Someone on Twitter said Football Manager should include a Sherwood scenario, where you have to get Spurs to 4th place, with tactics disabled
The most hilarious thing I've ever read.
Alex (Can we dream now?) Jegede
Tim: Right Les, big game against Liverpool on Sunday, they are flying high and lots of people think they will spank us but I reckon we can cause 'em an upset. Any thoughts.
Les: I like your thinking boss, did you see their game against Sunderland.
Les: Me neither, but I was reading on the internet earlier and some bloke in the F365 mailbox reckons Sunderland did well by pressing Liverpool high up the pitch then dropping back into two solid banks of four whenever Pool crossed the halfway and looking to hit them on the break.
Tim: Look Les, you know what I think of all this tactics guff, I wanted proper football advice, not some mumbo jumbo off the interweb. Also, what I have told you about reading...
Les: But boss, Sunderland almost got something out of that game and I reckon if we used similar tactics with our better players we could could really snatch this win!
Tim: Stop it Les, I won't warn you again mate. You and this bloke off the interweb have got it all wrong, the reason Sunderland almost got a point was because they tried really hard. We just have to try even harder than they did and we will be fine. Now, let's pick the team. GK has to be Lloris, agreed.
Tim: Right, now for defense... defense... ah feck it, I hate defense, it's so boring! Tell you what Les, you just pick any four of them, try to pick ones who are fit.
Les: Alright boss
Tim: Now for picking the front six, I like this bit. Well, let's see. Chadli, Sigi and Eriksen have all scored recently so they must be trying really hard right now so we better pick all of them.
Les: Makes sense boss.
Tim: I know Nabil really well so he has to play. We have to have at least one striker, I can't be dealing with any of this false 9 foreign muck, Ade is injured so let's go for Soldado. That leaves one place left but we have a problem. So far we don't have any English men in our team.
Les: I was planning on picking a couple of the English lads for our defenders boss.
Tim: Come on Les, you know defenders don't count! Right, one spot left, who can we play that is English. Well Lennon is English and so is Townsend. To be honest they have both been a bit crap this season but I know Aaron a bit better so I guess it will be him. We can always swap them on 60 minutes anyway. Done, this management lark is easy, time for some golf?
Les: one thing boss, don't you think we should play a couple of our holding midfielders, maybe Dembele or Sandro, they are both pretty good and could really work well in this game.
Tim: I would love to Les, but there is no space left. The others are trying really hard or are English or know me really well. I don't make the rules.
Les: Hmmm, alright boss, it's a bold line-up but I think it could work. Lennon and Chadli on the wings, Eriksen just behind Sodado, I reckon we could cause them problems.
Tim: No no no, Eriksen has got to be on the wing.
Les: You what?
Tim: Think about it, he is our best player, but if we play him in the hole he will be up against Gerrard. Gerrard tries really hard and is really good and is English so Eriksen will get no joy against him there. Right, unless you have any more bright ideas Les I am off to play golf!
Oscar THFC, Geneva
Liverpool's Defence Has Improved
Write that off as a Spurs no-show, by all means, our season's all but gone, but I think we may have learned something of Liverpool's title credentials recently, though. Their defense doesn't look so shaky anymore, when they just feel the need to show up. Those few chances we did get were quickly and efficiently smothered out.
In their five supposedly toughest league matches in 2014 (Everton, Arsenal, Southampton away, Man U away and now Spurs, though I never really dreamed of giving them a tough time), they have conceded one single goal in total, always scoring at least 3 in the process. In the eight other matches, they've conceded 15, while still winning six of those matches and drawing the other two. Defense switched off, committing Spurs-like mistakes. Ah, bottom half opposition, let's go to the pub, eh, SAS'll fix it.
Two 4-1 beatings back to back. I don't know which I'm more disappointing about. Being the only team ever to concede four to Stoke at home is something, we're a lower mid-table team at best, so this type of result is well within our means.
But against United, yes they are still light years ahead of us, but after watching other teams go OT this season and get something why did we just go, roll over, and get our belly tickled?
Others have gone, smelt blood and gave them something to think about, got at them, we gave them respect like they were the United of old. Both United's fullbacks are suspect at best of time, and were on yellow cards within the first 20mins. Why with players like Gabby and Weimann were we not getting at them?
Actually, I'm gonna just stop now before this becomes one long rant...
Alex (we now give the fans hope by going one up, then we get beat) Sheedy
Who Will Want To Stay At Spurs?
All hand wringing aside, my real concern about the future of Tottenham Hotspur revolve around the long term damage Tim Sherwood is doing. His public comments and rumoured locker room comments, coupled with the more tangible evidence of his team selection, is going to send a lot of players on their way this window. Holtby, Capoue, Dembele are almost certain to leave. Loris will leave but I can't really blame Sherwood for that, he just wants to move on and that's fine. Then you get into a group of Sandro, Vertonghen and Paulinho. These three might go as well judging by the murmurs. These are all quality players on reasonable wages that we can't afford to lose if we want to challenge for fourth next season.
We can lose maybe any two players from the above group and hope Levy pulls a couple of rabbits out, starting of course with Van Gaal. If they drag their feet in firing Sherwood and hiring someone "inspiring" and we lose four or five from the above group we will be starting from scratch again. We can't afford the transfer fees, and we can't/won't compete with the wages that our competitors will be offering the most desirable players available. Especially not in a post-world cup window.
I haven't mentioned Soldado and Lamela. These are two players that it seems too many Spurs fans wouldn't mind seeing the back of. I happen to think they will be fine, even great signings if we keep them, but if you asked me to back up that statement with statistics or anything I wouldn't be able to.
Neil Green, THFC
Stop Singing For Moyes
I wrote about this a while ago and since it's doing the rounds again thought I'd bring it up again. Jamie raised the point of United fans singing Moyes name despite their disappointing season and I couldn't agree more.
The blind support of Moyes reminds me of the support of us Irish fans for our team at the Euros 2012. We cheered on after the 4-0 defeat in Gdansk when we really should have demanded more from our team (not a win but at least some gusto, some effort, some cohones). Roy Keane was vocally critical of the Ireland fans and in hindsight he was right. I just wonder how he feels about Utd fans doing the same now...
Ben (everyone could do with showing some more cohones), Dublin
I was a little bit enraged after reading Daniel Storey's last conclusion to the Arsenal - Man City game where he makes a plea for patience. To put my cards on the table, I'm an Arsenal fan who has lost faith in Wenger. I've had many arguments with Arsenal fans about our manager and I've heard all sorts of defences for him. What I'd like to talk about is the new defence for Wenger that I've seen creeping into the zeitgeist over the past month. It's a defence that Daniel uses in his article, the notion that Arsenal are now coming into the third and "golden" era under Arsene Wenger.
What bothers me so much about this isn't the fact that it's yet another empty promise surrounding Wenger, but that we're only hearing about this new golden age now, when Arsenal have once again capitulated. It's a lovely thing for Arsenal fans to believe in. The theory brings hope that things will start to look up for Arsenal and that maybe we can start competing against our supposed peers once more. It's very easy to get sucked into the notion that this was the plan all along. We've weathered the storm, ridden the recession and now we're all set to blow everyone away in our golden age. But if this was the plan all along, why is it the first time I've heard about it?
If the plan all along was that we'd have to weather the storm for the past 8 years then why did no one tell the Arsenal fans? If Wenger came out in 2006 and told the media that the next few years would be rough for Arsenal because they would be financially constrained and that the goal would be to keep hitting Champions League football then I would have been ok with that. If I knew back in 2006 that we would have a few rough years ahead thanks to the Stadium, but it was all towards the goal of permanently improving Arsenal as a football team then I would have been prepared for the slip, and it would have kept me believing that Wenger knew what he was doing. But we weren't told that. We were told that Arsenal had a brand new team coming forward, the Young Guns. Fabregas, Nasri, Flamini, Diaby, Hleb, Aliadiere, Song, Clichy, Denilson etc. That was the Arsenal line, that Arsene had faith in the young guns. And I believed. Why wouldn't I? Wenger could do no wrong in my eyes. A few years ago he won the Premier League unbeaten. Arsene knew. Every year he told us we could win something. Every year he told us to look to our young talent developing. He didn't make signings, not because he was financially constrained but because he believed in his squad.
Then year after year passed with nothing. Still no big signings, no replacement for the "Invincibles". All of Arsenal's young talent started to mature and leave. Cesc, Clichy, Nasri.... It started to become more and more apparent that Arsene maybe didn't know. But now Daniel and others are telling us that this was the plan all along. That Arsene didn't actually believe in his Young Guns and he was just looking for fourth every season. So, if Arsene knew that his goal was a Champions League spot then why did he keep telling everyone that Arsenal could win the title at the beginning of every season? This year Brendan Rodgers' goal was to maybe squeeze in a Champions League spot. Now everyone is talking about Liverpool as potential champions yet still Rodgers only talks about getting the goal they set out for. Why didn't Wenger do that once in the past 8 years? It seems to me that the narrative has changed to cover the many, many mistakes that Wenger has made over the past 8 years.
Mark "The Mutineer" Quane