There isn't a great deal of excitement in the Mailbox regarding England's potential new captain, but we have good stuff on Gerrard's development and a one club man team...
Man United fans say a fond farewell to Patrice Evra in the mailbox while there are also thoughts on Steven Gerrard's retirement from England duty. Plus, some rare cricket bantz...
You know where to send your e-mails - email@example.com
A Fool And His Money...
I've just put €200 on United winning 2-0.
Spitting Out Crumbs Of Comfort
Interesting article by Mr Storey today, offering hope to United supporters ahead of this evening's match. Just a few comments really:
1) If we start like we did against Liverpool, City and Villa then it's curtains for us before half-time. I also don't think Bayern having a shaky defence means much; if we can't test Demichelis even once in 90 minutes I wouldn't expect it to be any different against Bayern.
2) Why on earth would you start Welbeck in a match like this? Okay, he works hard and runs around a lot but he also wastes possession a great deal and struggles to stay on his feet in/around the box. I'd rather see Kagawa, Valencia and Januzaj (or even Nani if he's fit) than Welbeck played out wide, where his one redeeming feature - instinct finishing - can't possibly be used.
3) Bayern may have struggled against English teams, but not as much as United have. Home defeats against Newcastle, Everton, West Brom and Swansea, plus draws against Southampton and Fulham don't inspire me with confidence.
4) I'd bet more on Bayern being the first team to retain the Champions League than us being the ones to knock them out.
5) I can't see any way in which Moyes gets the sack by losing what is basically a dead rubber. No one is expecting us to win or even draw, so he's not going to get the pot if we lose. The one thing I will say is that the extremely low expectations could work in our favour if Bayern get complacent or United's players decide to try and prove people wrong.
Other than that, yeah - feeling pretty confident! You're going down, Bayern!
Expecting a thorough drubbing tonight. Would love to see Januzaj and Kagawa playing up with/behind Rooney and Welbeck with Giggs playing in front of Fellaini - at least a signal of attacking intent. Expecting one of Valencia/Young/Cleverley to get the nod.
...I woke up feeling sorry for David Moyes and David De Gea this morning: please remember them in your prayers - Goliath is in town...
1. Humiliation for United (4 goal defeat or more)
2. Typical home form (2 or 3 goal defeat)
3. Respectable performance (1 goal defeat)
4. Humiliation for Bayern (a draw)
5. Pep resignation (any United win)
Also, what are the odds that, if either 1 or 2 above occur, the Sun's back page will feature a picture of a confused Moyes and a gormless Phil Neville under the headline 'April Fools'?
Gavin (Notwithstanding the above, I have a good feeling about United tonight...), London
Hating The Haterz
As I read through the messages attempting to discredit the team sat top of the Premier League with six games remaining, I realise how the modern-day football fan forms their opinions with jealousy, and their God given - know it all right, to moan, complain and contradict.
Liverpool have had luck with injuries. Maybe. However, had fans been told at the start of the season that Enrique would miss the majority and be replaced by Flanagan, and both Lucas and Agger would start less than half of Liverpool's games, they would have been concerned. Two candidates for young player of the season in Henderson and Flannagan, would have been laughed at by rival fans.
A lot more goes into a team's final resting place come then end of their 38 games than luck with injuries, a lack of football outside the Premier League or a consistent starting 11. They all help of course, but a team of strong medical staff, the right coaching methods, players managed and rotated in the correct way both physically and mentally are certainly more of a controlled driving force than chance or luck.
Along with self-belief and a team built around the club's academy, the manager's desire to give young British players an opportunity - whilst man-managing their expectation wisely - have contributed to the successful seasons of Liverpool, Everton and Southampton. A style of play based on energetic pressing of opponents, moving the ball out from the back and free flowing, lightning quick, counter-attacking football are yet more similarities these teams share. They are also the reasons why so many of us are tuning in to Match of the Day this season.
2013/14 is proving to be the most entertaining yet. Enjoy it! I'm sure if your team played a consistent 11, academy developed youngsters with desire and passion for the club, and an exciting style of football under the philosophies of a young manager who embraces the history of your club - you wouldn't be so quick to discredit the success of others.
F*** the haters Phil
One Of Many Mails About Liverpool Injurues
Can we just get something clear for the sake of Arsenal fans moaning about injuries (it's all they have left, bless).
We have gone without Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard, Coutinho, Sterling, Johnson, Agger, Sakho, Enrique for over a month each throughout the season.
We didn't have Suarez at the start and we were winning games.
We didn't have Coutinho for a fair while after Ashley Williams tried to eat him and we were winning games.
We didn't have Sturridge and Gerrard in December and we were winning games.
We didn't have Sakho and Agger and, while we've conceded goals, we were winning games.
We didn't have our first-choice fullbacks either playing or playing well all season, leading to the recall of Flanagan and we were winning games.
We didn't have Sterling didn't play at the level he's at now until December an we were winning games.
You see the difference between us and you, Arsenal fans? No matter the injuries, a good mentality can take you a long way.
BUT it's far easier to capitulate at the first sign of adversity, isn't it?
Arsenal. Bottlers Extraordinaire.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
Lack Of Europe Also A Disadvantage
In response to everyone saying that the reason Liverpool are doing so well is because they have not played as many games as the rest around them; yes this is true. What you all fail to mention is that due to Liverpool not being in the CL they have been at a disadvantage for many seasons and have not had had the extra money and pulling attraction so have missed out on many signings. These signings would have certainly made the team stronger and added depth. In the last two windows we've missed Kanoplyanka and Mkhitaryan so who knows how many more players we'd have if we'd been in the CL over the last few years.
Arsenal fans saying how would we cope if Suarez, Sturridge, Gerrard etc were injured, well we'd have a stronger squad so you never know. We may even have challenged for the league before now.
As they say - you can only play what's in front of you..
Damo, LFC (Make Us Dream)
A Perfect Storm
Agree with the diary today that there is really nothing more horrible than the possibility of Liverpool actually winning the title. If there's one thing worse than a whining Liverpool fan, it's a cocky Liverpool fan. If they do win, I will boycott the mailbox until such a point as it's clear that Liverpool won't win the league next year (I suspect about mid-October/early November).
In all seriousness - how on earth have they got into this position? Looking at the Liverpool side, there's only one player who would get into either City or Chelsea's team (pretty obvious who). I'm not buying the 'Brendan Rodgers is a genius manager' answer - can it really be that the advantage of not playing in Europe or Cups is so huge? Or have they just enjoyed a perfect storm of loads of players playing way above their normal level simultaneously?
The only silver lining is that John Nicholson is surely mistaken - Liverpool's past success is so ancient now that I suspect their name counts for very little with European stars against the cold, hard cash of other teams (remember that Falcao plays for Monaco) and even if they won the league this year I'd put them at best third favourites for next year's title.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan now cheering for Man City, London
Balls To You
All the people promising to eat their own testicles if Liverpool win the league this year, I do hope you're men of your word. One tip: pay a prostitute to bite them off: you'll get a mention in Mediawatch.
Martinez For Manager Of Year
In the past week I've been thinking a decent amount about the Manager of the Year debate and how Rodgers is a lock for having changed their style of play. I've been a little put off by him getting a ton of credit for changing a style that was clear to anyone with any sense was not working so, I'd be curious to hear from some Liverpool fans as to how they think Rodgers is to consolidate the gains of this year? Everyone has pointed out that Rodgers doesn't have to rotate his squad, but he also has a tendency to bring in some not very good players for decent chunks of money. He spent almost £30m on players in the summer, most of whom have not been good or an appreciable improvement. My questions are, how good actually is his valuation of talent, and how well will he deal with rotating players with real egos that he will need, as opposed to telling someone like Aspas that he's on the bench again? Maybe it's not the right time of year to get a totally objective response to that, but those seem like potential flaws for me, looking in.
And finally, I'll just add that I think Rodgers needs to win the league if he wants to take manager of the season from Martinez. Lost Fellaini (stop laughing) very late on and mostly value shopped, drastically changed playing style, made a respectable FA Cup quarter-final appearance, has the Champions League in his own hands in April and is likely going to see them finish above last year's champions, in his first year in charge. If Rodgers wins the league the award is his, no complaints. Otherwise, I can't see past Martinez.
Sat here watching the Monday Night Relegation Battle Extravaganza that is Sunderland vs West Ham, and never before have I seen such a large collection of players who wouldn't be Premier League footballers if they were three inches smaller or not English.
And as if the cosmos wanted to prove my point Roger Johnson has just come on for West Ham.
I am so tired.
Call Me Crazy...
...but are there some encouraging signs for England coming about at just the right time? Not only do we have some dynamism and quality youth available but there are also some likeable characters in there. Now all we need is a progressive young, energetic manager to get the best out of them. Oh, what's that you say...
I can't understand the fuss over the prices of these new England shirts. Just don't buy them. I won't, because I'm not an idiot.