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...
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...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Reaction To Kieran's List
In response to Kieran Garrard, bravo sir. As soon as I started reading your mail yesterday I had a strange tingling in my loins, almost like I knew this day would come. I have made so many similar threats over the years one of them was bound to come back to bite me on the ****. If I did follow through with that threat, and got YNWA on my Johnson, I foresee one of two outcomes:
1) I would walk alone, right down to the solicitors office to hand in my divorce papers; or
2) You would read about me and my missing member in the 'Non-Football Story Of The Day'.
However, I'm a man of my word so double or quits; if Liverpool win the league I'll get YNWA alongside a tattoo of you giving the thumbs up.
I just never learn.
Garey (you misspelt my name - get out clause?) Vance, MUFC
...I applaud Kieran Garrard of Liverpool for his pedantry and humiliation of a Manchester United supporter. Keeping a diary and going to such heights of sycophancy with F365 demonstrates an incredible effort to get into the mailbox. But it's actually as easy as this.
Jamie, LFC, Helsinki (see what I did there)
Yesterday's mailbox brought a tear to my eye. That poor, poor scouser with his list of notes from his phone. Who the f**k types notes into their phone about a stranger's opinion about football?
Pacman (worried that he'll make a note of this if you publish)
...Kieran Garrard needs another hobby.
...I have been struggling of late to articulate why I don't want Liverpool, more specifically their fans, to win the title.
Thank you Kieran Garrard for doing a better job of illustrating why I, and many others, do not want you to win.
And Someone Else Who's Been Keeping Notes
This is fun, here are a couple of quotes I took note of.:
Posted 12:30pm 11th January 2014 - tonyv25 (Manchester United) says... It's going to be so funny when they (Liverpool) finish 6th.
Posted 5:04pm 26th December 2013 - spacelord says... MUFC Yawn...We came from behind to win and Michael Carrick and Darren Fletcher are back from illness/injury, good enough for me at this present time. I still maintain that we can only judge this team at the end of the season and I believe we'll finish above Liverpool and Arsenal, but behind City.
Probably not so bullish now I would think.
Liverpool Have Won Nothing Yet
Am I the only one who missed Liverpool's trophy presentation? Reading the mailbox this week, you'd be forgiven for thinking that the table currently reads 38 games played, rather than what it actually says right now.
Don't get me wrong, what Liverpool are doing is amazing. They're playing out of their minds, and it's incredible to watch. I don't want them to win, but if they keep this up and win the rest of their matches, I certainly couldn't begrudge them the title.
But there are 4 matches left. If Chelsea win it, it will mean they've beaten Liverpool, Arsenal, and City home and away this year, so I don't see how anyone could begrudge them either in that case.
Derby (Man City limping to the title would be truly disappointing) NYBlues
Perplexed By Sunderland's Plight
Is anyone else surprised at Sunderland's plight? I've never really seen them play badly and they've good cup runs beating some decent teams, yet they're still bottom of the league - adrift - and likely heading for the champo.
On paper, there's quite a good team there. Bardsley, Brown, O'Shea and a screen of Cattermole and Ki Seung Young. Borrini and Giacherinni as wide players. They should be mid-table fodder surely?
Also, looking at the league, they have a goal difference which is 11 worse than 9th place Newcastle. That sounds a lot, but it really isn't. 7 less goals scored; which is about 1 goal less every 5 games. Also, only 4 more goals conceded; which is about 1 goal every 8 games. But 11 places separate them in the league.
Obviously they haven't scored enough and they've conceded too many, hence their league position, but considering this and their cup run, there's surely an argument they're massively under performing in the league?
Nick P, Burnley FC
Arteta Has To Go
Arteta - I'm sorry, I just cannot have it. If Arsenal are to start putting their weight about financially then he should be one of the first areas of improvement. Granted he can do a job, but does he do it outstandingly well? No. Is he an outstanding captain when standing in? No, Can he tackle or run, or score, or head or pass exceptionally? No. The final point of that question in that previous sentence I put to the Ramsey conundrum this time last year and figured 'If he doesn't improve two key areas of his game we should look elsewhere...' - thankfully his fitness, work rate, tackling and goals to shot ratio have shot up.
Well the same question should be put to Arteta, and at 31 we should move him out. Wenger often keeps faith for too long, and I fear this will be another area where he retains Arteta rather than give him some competition. Arsenal's three midfield berths for the next 2-3 seasons should be competed for between Flamini, Ox, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla and another.
I personally feel we should try and sell Arteta and buy in an improved version who can do the simple passing that he provides but also something else, even if it is just added height to head a few away...realistically though Wenger will retain him until Zelalem or A N Other comes to the fore, and that's probably the main reason Wenger should step down, to allow a fresh analysis of the team. Put simply, would Arteta get in Evertons (our most recent competition) midfield, or anyone else's in the top 6? No.
Cheers for helping out Mikael, you were signed on a whim and I prefer you as captain to Vermaelen (Don't get me started), but you aren't up to it if we are to make strides forward.
Clough > Pulis
I'm sure you'll get loads of these emails but:
Crystal Palace pre Pulis, 4 points in 11 games and post Pulis, 36 points in 23 games.
Sheff Utd pre Nigel Clough 9 points in 13 games and post Clough 47 points in 28 games.
And an FA Cup semi-final.
For a team in League One.
I rest my case.
David (Love United. Hate Wednesday) Baldwin
No, We Just Received Emails From People Wondering Where Those Opinions Were Rather Than Expressing Them Themselves
I have never felt compelled to write to F365 until I read Thursday's mailbox. I am quite disappointed that the only letter in the aftermath of the Spanish cup final was how Bale's goal was overrated and that Barca have no defenders. Was it just me that noticed Gareth Bale, a Welsh player, outshining Ronaldo and Messi in a cup final, torturing a giant in world football with his pace and grabbing all the headlines with an absolutely brilliant goal?
Instead all we got was talk about Tony Pulis and how Liverpool fans said this and Manchester United fans said that. Was there any mention of Bale shrugging off a ridiculous price tag and finally proving he is as good as we all hoped he might be? Did you just not bother publishing those letters?
Joe McCallion, Donegal
1 - I would love it, love it, if Norwich won this weekend. I am not neutral, but there is no team anywhere in world football I'd less rather won a league title than Liverpool. The excitement is awful to behold, the full horror of an actual Liverpool title win would be awful beyond comprehension
2 - What price Torres scoring goals that cost Liverpool the title and knock Atletico out of the Champions League in the next 2 weeks?
3 - People should wait until the end of the season before rushing to judgement. Last I saw, Jose Mourinho could still lead Chelsea to a league and Champions League double (it's 'in our hands'). And yet he's apparently not in the running for Manager of the year, but instead behind Roberto Martinez - who looks likely to lead Everton to the same 'not quite' position they always achieve before the heart of his team is recalled from their loans
4 - (sic) is one of the pithiest put-downs in written language.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London
Defending Chelsea Fans
Call me an old spoil-sport but I think this is a fair grievance and one that deserves to be aired. I don't mean to point fingers at Chris from Newcastle but it was your 'Chelsea have the worst fans in the world' comment that irked me.
In recent years it seems to be acceptable to say such things and often mailbox contributors have said worse things about Chelsea fans. What I find surprising about the all-encompassing damning of Chelsea fans is that is includes people like myself and my fellow Chelsea supporting friends who are (genuinely) generally good, polite harmless people. I do not dispute that a large proportion of Chelsea fans are unsavoury but it is ill-informed to tarnish us all with this brush. My general understanding is that negatively labelling a specific portion of society is generally frowned upon, so how has this become acceptable?
I'll refrain from pointing fingers at Chris' club in order to make my point because I don't want this email to be tarnished by the imagery of a grown man thumping a horse in the mouth. Rather, I'll focus on the how pleased I was to see the Newcastle fans at Stamford Bridge last season support their team with such heart that I was damn near in awe of them. Great songs and great guts make for a great spectacle.
Ed CFC (I hasten to add that Newcastle fans come in all shapes and sizes and don't all have 'great guts') London
Last On Diving
I'm with Gary Neville on the diving issue. Much as it pains me to say, but it's true that if a player gets clipped in the box but stays on his feet, he won't get a penalty. The problem is not the players, it's the refs. If referees would give penalties when a foul is committed, even when the player fouled doesn't go to ground, that reduces the incentive players have to flop down like a dying swan as soon as they feel contact. So let's say that's the 'carrot' part of a 'carrot-and-stick' solution to the diving issue.
So, to the 'stick' part. Currently, getting a yellow for diving is no real incentive to not dive if a successful dive wins you a penalty. A straight red still could lead to lots of in-game errors, and in some cases will still not prevent divers from attempting to gain a penalty especially towards the end of the game. So it's got to be a post-game video review. Now, here's my idea - instead of giving a straight 2 or 3-game ban, make it a cumulative ban increasing with every offence. So first offence = 1 match ban, second offence = 2 match ban and so on, all through a player's career (maybe maxing out at 8 or ten games, though I doubt that if implemented any player would allow it to go that high). The count is never reset (or maybe can only be reduced at the end of any season with 0 dives accumulated - depending how harsh you want to make it). Of course this would need to be coordinated at UEFA or FIFA level, so players carry their count with them when transferring clubs internationally.
The only snag I see is, how far down the leagues do you go, since most associations don't have the resources to video-review all games. But if FIFA can accept having goal-line tech only in select leagues, I don't see why not this. And that would really be a true disincentive to dive, because players will soon realize that clubs will be a lot less willing to sign them and pay them huge wages if they're one dive away from a 6 or 8 match ban. When the players stand to lose a lot personally in terms of career prospects and future income, rather than a simple match ban (that can be taken as a paid holiday by some), I bet they will stay on their feet a lot more.
You're welcome Mr. Blatter