That's one question posed in the afternoon mailbox, although it looks like the Japanese playmaker could soon be on his way. Plus, tipping Palace to go down under Warnock...
Plenty of fall out from Manchester United's shambolic 4-0 League Cup defeat, plus thoughts on Van Persie, Arsenal strikers, Benik Afobe, Celtic and Astroturf...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Lengthy On Giroud
I read Daniel Storey's article about Giroud today and I can't help but feel somewhat aggrieved. I have to applaud his audacity to try and paint Giroud as the one being let down by his teammates but it's as if he's come up with this narrative without actually watching him play football. I'm reluctant to brand it a "bad" article just because I disagree with it, but so many points have been wilfully ignored or glossed over that I had to write in and redress the balance.
The truth is that these apparent flick ons that Giroud wins are a complete fabrication, for someone of his size he's actually quite poor in the air and when he does receive the ball to feet, he's either dispossessed too easily or shanks the ball out of play with a poor touch. He does have the ability to slip people through (e.g. the pass to Rosicky yesterday) but for every good pass into a midfielder, there's 9 occasions where he'll get brushed off the ball and look longingly at the ref or his outside of the boot flick will go askew.
I'll be the first to agree that quality players such as Walcott being absent would obviously hurt the team as a whole, but this needs to stop being used as a licence for Giroud to be crap. As a professional footballer you cannot be so utterly reliant on your teammates that the absence of one or two players makes your entire game disintegrate. Also, so much of the talk has been about how the attacking midfielders make it so hard on Giroud, why is there no mention of how hard Giroud makes it on the attacking midfielders? It cannot be easy knowing that the second you give the ball to the striker, he's going to lose it and the only way he's going to score is if you slalom past the whole defence and square the ball to him dead centre in the 6 yard box.
The next point that is a load of rubbish is the now mythical "Giroud is tired" defence. What exactly is he tired from? Standing around all game waving his arms and losing the ball? Being serious for a second, I refuse to believe that a 27 year old who should be at peak of his powers with no recent serious injuries is so fatigued that they can't pass or shoot immediately from the start of the game. Why is Adam Lallana not "tired" despite having played more games than Giroud? Why after playing 34, 36, 37 and 38 league games in the last 4 seasons is it now that Giroud is suddenly so tired that he can't finish a one-on-one or control the ball when it's given to him? Montpellier and Tours were just as reliant Arsenal, if not more, on him playing so the tired excuse won't wash with me. I just can't accept tiredness as an excuse for missing one-on-ones in the first 5 minutes of the Chelsea match, that is purely down to a lack of ability.
When he's on form, Giroud isn't even that bad but it's so annoying that people are beating round the bush when it comes to his recent form and trying to find these tenuous excuses rather than facing the truth; Olivier Giroud is a very limited footballer who on a good day can be quite handy but when it's bad, he's woeful beyond belief. I have no idea why so many people are determined to bend the fabric of reality to try and avoid the fact he's clearly not very good. His 5 goals in 6 games at the start of the season is less to do with fatigue and the players around him and more linked to the fact we were playing against the utter dross barring Spurs.
I feel bad for him because it's not his fault that he's been forced to play every game and his deficiencies are so openly exposed for all to see, but Arsenal have always had this problem in that below-par players start too many games and people let them off because "on their day, they're alright" (think Almunia, Eboue and Denilson). It might sound dramatic but if Arsenal really have ambitions of winning the league, the likes Giroud, Arteta and Monreal shouldn't be starting more than 5-8 league games
Brett (I can't deny that his goal yesterday was unreal though), AFC
Why No Patient WHammers?
What is it with West Ham fans? Why won't they show any patience?
Sometimes you need to have a plan and West Ham have a very good one.
Now you could, if you wanted, opt for a track suit manager who will play wide expansive football. Perhaps give youth product Joe Cole a go in the dug out as he's a West Ham man. The problem is while your need for playing the West Ham way and promoting from with would be satisfied you would no doubt be relegated.
The following years are the most important in West Ham's history and the rewards are immense. Sure Fat Sam plays horrible football but it will be that horrible football that will keep you in the top flight when you move into your new home.
A new stadium on the doorstep of the City will see West Ham scale heights previously unknown - so shut up and enjoy the ride.
Graham Simons, Gooner, (Play like that every game and you stay on the pitch, Podolski), Norf London
Thoroughly agreed with Eoghan, LFC's point about Neville being cynical with regards to players diving to win penalties etc but the truth is, this has been going on with pundits and commentators for years.
We've all seen the way it goes, Suarez (or whoever else you care to mention) goes down in the area and squirms in agony after what appeared to be little or no contact, several slow-mo replays, a crimestoppers re-enaction and a 100x magnified close up later and Jamie Redknapp sagely nods and declares it a definite penalty because one of Suarez' boot laces drooped over the defenders shorts, as seen in the slow-mo close up. It's already endemic and there's no going back.
The apologists wave away complaints by decrying 'silly' tackles or saying they gave the ref 'a decision to make' by tackling (or in some cases existing in 3 dimensions).
I can't speak for everyone but diving and particularly feigning injury frustrate me more than anything else in football. I know there are worse problems but it just really grinds my gears. I think it's the inherent dishonesty that gets me. Diving is a conscious effort to deceive the referee and bag off your opponent by punishing them for something they haven't done. A lot of people bring up professional fouls and say 'there's no difference between diving and hacking down the last man' but there is. When you bring down the last man everyone can see it, you're not pretending you've done anything else and you get duly punished with a red card, it's just not the same.
As an aside, I think people who do 6 rolls and writhe in agony clutching their shins after brushing shirts with another player should be immediately red carded. It would please me greatly.
Ashley, (Going for 3 published mails out of 3) Burnley
Liverpool Can Move A Bus
A quick reply to Orts on parked buses (or is the plural bi?):
1) Teams have already tried to park the bus this season, but we've generally managed to cope so far! Sunderland's 5-at-the-back-with-2-DMs comes to mind, as well as West Ham. Although admittedly those have been the games that have been a bit touch and go.
2) This season we've heard about how Man Utd's struggles have come from their losing the 'fear factor' and teams actually being willing to attack them rather than merely sitting back. Which is it? Is it harder for a club to deal with parked buses, or teams that are willing to attack? Or maybe every game is different, and its up to the manager to adequately prepare the team for each match. (With CL football looking certain, this will admittedly be more of an issue next year).
I have to concur that next season already looks exceptional. Chelsea will sign a striker, City will buy some central defenders, Everton will look to strengthen (potentially with CL football to offer?), Arsenal will spend some of its 'war chest', Utd will surely be better, Spurs will have a non-Tim manager, and Liverpool will have CL money to spend. But as a Liverpool fan, you'll excuse me if I concentrate my emotions on the vestiges of this season for now!
Qu, LFC, NY/Singapore/KL
City Are F*cked
The recently published list of wages paid in sport make interesting reading, with Man City paying the highest wages in the world of sport.
How on earth are Man City going to comply with FFP given the amount of cash they have spent to get mediocre success ?
Man U, Arsenal and Chelsea will be OK with their net profits over the last couple of years, but City will surely get sanctions for their dodgy sponsorship deal and unexplained £40 odd million of revenue.
On the subject of neutrality, we had a discussion in the pub last week where my friend said any football fan cannot be a true fan if he is neutral, he should always favour someone. He went further to state a fan should be able to order the full 92 teams in order of preference based on something or another.
It will be different for every person but for example I (as a Chelsea fan) might want Huddersfield to beat Brighton cos Leon Knight once went on loan there from Chelsea and was really good whereas Brighton sacked Gus Poyet (a big fave of mine in a blue shirt). This can be the most spurious of link/reasoning, but if you think about it enough it is possible to order the entire 92 fairly easily, especially if you are a team who have been through the divisions (my friend is a Hull fan).
One day (not today) I will have a go at doing it, but for the record I'm fairly sure Liverpool will be fretting over their place in the top 90.
Sad About Villa
What is going on at Villa? Fans have had enough of Lambert, Lambert (plus squad and Randy) have had enough of Culverhouse and Karsa, I thought Lambert had had enough of Given but apparently it's not enough, and everyone loves Sid Cowans apart from Culverhouse.
So now we've got one manager nobody wants and four assistant managers, one of whom is a player we don't want, two who we don't want at all, and one that everyone wants.
Oh and we've got no money, rubbish players and not enough points. And the number of media opinions about Villa mentioning McLeish is going back up, to about one in three. Send help
Neil (sadface) Raines
Who Do You Want Out?
What with the end of the season quickly approaching and the inevitable transfer news gather pace into a frenzy of sh*t shovelling and rumour regurgitation I was wondering who do you most want to see gone from your squads?
For me as a Saints fan its pretty easy a selection. Osvaldo. What a weapon that man is.
There were a number of things I disagreed with in Eoghan, LFC's email. However, what really got me going was the following sentence:
"We have all admired the Suarez's, Ronaldo's and Drogba's."
1) When pluralising a proper name, there is no need for an apostrophe. The same is true of abbreviations (DVDs, CDs etc.)
2) Why are you pluralising a personal name in the first place? Is there more than one Suarez, Ronaldo, or Drogba? Actually, there are two Ronaldos, but not in the way I think you meant.
3) Please let the football commentators talk in clichés, there's really no need to start typing them out and emailing them into websites.
I'm sure people will read this and shout "pedant" at me, but my goodness it was annoying.