One Mailer is telling us to hold fire on our Woodward criticism, whilst we also have some wonderful PFA Team of The year geekery, a well done to Vieira and much more...
Asks the morning mailbox, before hastily returning to the debate over who should replace Steven Gerrard. Plus, thoughts on Ed Woodward's spending plans and more...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
We've Found The Person Who Enjoyed Last Night
I actually liked the Chelsea - Atletico game last night. It reminded me of those classic tight affairs in Europe, big time life or death. Not the 6-5 game that we all love, just classic, no nonsense and serious football. No doubt Bayern - Real will be better tonight but I just had the european feeling last night. I hope Atletico do 'em over in the second leg, but I must admit I really respect Mourinho as a strategist last night, Pep will control the game, Ancelotti will try outscore the opposition, Atletico will try their best, but Mourinho will play a calculated risk and have it come off 95% of the time. Maybe modern footballs just too exciting for me eh?
I just wondered why people always write 'history won't remember how they won it', when clearly, it does. I wasn't old enough to remember Italia '90, but I know that England played crap, and have heard countless times about how brilliant teams of the pre 90's played.. I vividly remember Greece sitting deep in '04, and I'm sure when England win the world cup this summer we will all fondly remember in sixty years time how we did it playing Total Football. Maybe
Anyway, not to criticise Chelsea for playing a certain way, there is no shame in admitting another side is dangerous and adjusting your tactics accordingly. Just don't think that people won't remember, especially in an age of 24 hour news coverage etc.
Jack (Degree in history, PhD in predictions) Manchester
Can I put my balls on the line ? I can - good.
Liverpool 1 - 3/4 Chelsea.
I cannot see any situation that results in a Liverpool win this Sunday. Chelsea are too good to fall for the (admittedly very good) one trick that Liverpool have.
anon (Neil, Surrey) anon-ville.
On The LMA
Just wondering where Richard Bevan and the LMA were a year ago when Manchester United and Fergie were quite clearly tapping Moyes up, whilst he was still under contract at Everton?
They're as bad as that Black Lawyers society fella who only pipes up when it suits.
In August 2012, Arsene Wenger authorised the sale of Premier League golden boot winner to one of his bitter rivals. In August 2013, Arsene Wenger's prodigy Cesc Fabregas was heavily linked with the same bitter rival. Is it pure coincidence that Arsene is yet to sign a new contract with the Gunners and this same annoying bitter rival has just sacked their manager? If come first day of the 2014/15 season, there is a banner at Old Trafford "In Arsene, we trust" I wouldn't be even be surprised...
Aneet (I think the mass exodus of the past few seasons has taken it's toll on me) Grewal, Gooner
House Of Cards Spoiler Alert
Does Giggs remind anyone of Frank Underwood from House of Cards? He got himself into a seat on the inner circle last year and now he's schemed his way into the big chair.
Silvio (Please God no more mails about hilarious football nicknames) Dante
Do United Really Need An Overhaul?
Everywhere you look, people are saying that Man United need to rebuild. The players are not good enough for a title challenge. To compete, they need at least 5 new players of real quality and need to spend, depending on who you're talking to, between £100-£200 million.
To me, that sounds very familiar. It sounds exactly what people said about Liverpool at the start of the season. No one thought Liverpool could win the league. Everyone said that they were at least 5 players away from a title challenge and it would take £200m to make them contenders. And yet here they are, 3 games away from glory, with their destiny firmly in their own hands.
In United's squad for next season you have: Rooney, Van Persie, Januzaj, Carrick, Fletcher, Hernandez (I'm sure a new coach could persuade him), Welbeck, Mata, Kagawa, De Gea, Jones, Smalling, Evans, Rafael.
None of those players are rubbish. All of them have put in big performances for United at some point and been a part of a title winning side. They did not go from 1st to 7th because they all became rubbish, they went from 1st to 7th because they were coached poorly.
Brendan Rodgers has taken players like Henderson, Flanagan, Sterling and Coutinho and made them better. Moyes took his players and made them worse. Take Januzaj. At one point he was the best thing since sliced Giggs. What happened? If you had asked fans 10 games into the season would you rather have Januzaj or Sterling, all would have said Sterling. 8 months later and a great coach has changed that completely. United are not as far away as people would have you believe. I genuinely think that one world class central midfielder and a great coach (not just a great manager) could have that United squad right up at the top of the table.
I get so infuriated when people say the line: "He needs time to bring in his own players and shape his squad." Bollocks. A great manager will take the players he has and make them better. That is what United need. If they get it, write them off for next season at your peril.
Mike, London, LFC
Michael, MUFC compliments the dignified nature of David Moyes during his ill fated reign, and it is hard to disagree with the sentiment. Except if you're an Everton fan, like my missus, who now hates Moyes because she felt he showed a lack of respect to Everton when he left, and had 'tuned into a right moaning snide' in his general dealings with the press (see the great fixture conspiracy for example.) Also hard to disagree with that.
In my opinion, while he may not have said anything that would regret himself, as they preserved his dignity, he said many things that I would regret, due to them making him look like a paranoid loser who was way out of his depth... F365 handily catalogued them yesterday! Liverpool favourites at OT? Man City something to aspire to? Go and wash your mouth out. With creosote. LOSER.
Prior to this, the manager who I have heard most associated with this characteristic is Chris Hughton. Need we say any more on that? No, no we don't. Except that, what I see when I see 'dignity' like these two managers exhibit, is a damn coward.
Give me the undignified, eye-gouging, vindictive, arrogant Mourinho any day. At least he's honest with himself if not the rest of us!
Not Moyes fault he was offered the job? No, that is true. It was however his fault that he took it, and then valued his own 'dignity' over his ability to do it. He had failed in his own mind before he even started.
On another subject, when I wrote in earlier this season to bemoan Man City's lack of passion, our lack of British players, that we had loaned out Barry and how this would cost us the league title, I was fucking slaughtered. Even though I still feel City are in with a GREAT shout of the title, if it goes the way it seems to be, I would like to point out to Graham Simons, Howard the Duck et al that Liverpool have almost won the title with a team brimming full of all of the characteristics you all told me were worthless, and little else. In your miserable, grey, passive-aggressive faces, mutha fukaz!
Ben (if we sack the dignified Pellegrini and appoint Uwe Rosler then I will again support) MCFC
...I really had to laugh at Michael, MUFC, who spoke of the dignity displayed by Moyes throughout the season in the face of being the butt of jokes on social media, to having a plane fly overhead, calling for his sacking.
Although some of what you said has truth to it, I laugh because you basically described Steve Kean.
John Whelan, Dublin
Where Next For Moyes?
A lot of the focus has been on who next for ManUnited, but my question is who next for David Moyes? I think his reputation has been severely damaged from this spell, not just from the point of view of the results and failing to step up but the spot light of ManUnited has shown up the dull football he served up. Given the money he's got in a payoff he may be in no need for a new job anytime soon but where do my fellow mailboxers reckon he could turn up next?
Mark Hughes former manager of rising elite Man City had to start back at the lower reaches of the Premier League will Moyes suffer this fate? It wasn't that long ago that he was touted for Spurs job on the success of his Everton career but I can't see them replacing Tim with Dave. West Ham's fan base wouldn't shed a tear for Big Sam if he went but would they really chase him out for Moyes' brand of football? Would Saints fans be overly impressed should Pochitino be poached and Moyes was the replacement? The Swansea job will be up in the summer but after their previous footballing style/ethos and line of managers would they fancy him? For me (Clive) it leaves Villa and Newcastle as realistic options - how does that sound to their fans?
Bri Belfast Gooner (trapped in London) - Personally I think he should look to rebuild that reputation in Europe
Yes, ABUs. That's It. Definitely
Many things are being said about David Moyes' stint as United manager, but one of the ones I'm hearing most regularly is that it's all Fergie's fault because he installed his own man. I have to say this comes across as one final attempt to tarnish the reputation of the greatest manager the English game has ever seen by all those bitter Abus who have never been able to deal with United's 20 years of almost unbroken success.
Do people really think the Glazers and the rest of the United board just said "OK, Alex, we're off to the Bahamas for a few weeks. Just choose whoever you want and we'll sign it off when we get back"? If they do, they have no idea how business works. Yes, Fergie recommended Moyes, but that recommendation would have been reviewed by the board. As a Wall Street-listed business, it would be a gross dereliction of duty for the directors not to do so.
Football is an unusual industry in that the CEO is not perceived as the most important person in a company. However, other businesses will have different types of functions which are considered key depending on which sector they are in - for example, the IT director in a technology business or the buying director in a retail business. So let's say we have a business where the operations director is the key role and this director tells the CEO and the rest of the board that he intends to step down after many successful years delivering results for the business. Let's say this director has also got a successful track record in bringing through assistant directors and being able to assess whether they have got the ability to take up sales director roles of their own (Mr Quieroz, Mr McClaren) or whether assistant director is the limit of their abilities (Mr Kidd, Mr Phelan). As the CEO, who are you going to look to guide you through the recruitment process? The guy who has a proven track record of delivering results and developing people or a bunch of external consultants?
Now of course it hasn't worked out but if we all had the benefit of hindsight, every business would be delivering record profits. At the time Fergie was choosing his recommendation, there were probably only 4 viable candidates - Moyes, Mourinho, Klopp and Guardiola. All these wise-after-the-event people seem to think it was obvious that Moyes was the wrong man because he hadn't any experience of winning trophies. Well, Rodgers seem to be about to prove that this is not a critical criterion, and if it is the key criterion, then presumably Neil Lennon will be on the shortlist of replacements! There would have been a number of critieria to consider and the reality is that no one candidate would have matched up to them all. And so, Fergie made his choice and lo it hasn't worked out.
There will now be over-the-top outrage that he is to be part of the selection process again. Having run large businesses myself for 20 years, I know that there is no guarantee that recruitment for senior positions will be successful. However, this does not preclude me from still being involved and sharing the benefit of my experience.
Sorry if this is a considered attempt to explain a complex situation as opposed to a knee-jerk opinion from someone with an axe to grind.
Lord Sugar (ok, not really)
Possible Chelsea Team v Liverpool
Surely Chelsea could put out the team below to play Liverpool, mainly a collection of people who haven't played much lately, didn't play last night, won't play next week or can't play next week and it would hardly be considered a reserve team:
Jose just playing his games again...having the first leg Tuesday, second leg at home Wednesday scenario reduces fatigue and travel burdens as well so just get on with it chaps and do the rest of us a favour and keep the title race alive!
Dom, Southampton FC, London.
Dear Tim Colyer,
Try watching a match, not just "analysing it" using WhoScored statistics.
It helps you not say stupid things like "blah blah blah stats, attacking football is based entirely on possession, why not just Keep Moyes derp derp Simeone is a chump not good enough for United".
Fairly sure I wouldn't want to leave my Sunny Spain and Champions League semifinals for a debt-laden club who won't even be in Europe next season.
...I read Tim Colyer's mail this morning and couldn't help but be a bit taken aback by the ignorance of his comments.
First of all, comparing Atletico to Moyes' Man Utd, based on number of crosses in one particular game. What a dreadful comparison to make. Atletico have scored 74 goals in 34 La Liga games...not as prolific as Barca or Madrid but over 2 goals per game. They also vary their style usually...but it's obviously much easier when the opposition at least vary theirs away from defending in numbers all game.
Secondly, why are you taking this game as an example of how Atletico Madrid play generally? Aside from teams such as Granada, I doubt they play any teams as unadventurous as Chelsea last night. They average 45% possession do they? Well they got 62% last night. So what were Chelsea doing? Atletico play a high energy, high tempo pressing game but are also a highly technical side who are usually adept at dragging defenders out of position to make space for runners from midfield. I guess they weren't expecting to play against 8 defenders. The ironic thing is that you're judging Atletico on this performance, yet if somebody classed last night as a typical Chelsea performance you'd say they were clueless.
Thirdly, warning Man Utd fans off Simeone for the reasons above? This bloke is on the cusp of beating Barcelona and Real Madrid to the La Liga crown with a net spend of minus £40m. He is getting a great deal out of this squad against all the odds, and knocked Barca out in the previous round by imposing their own style, rather than playing 9 outfield players across the penalty area and hoping for the best. This is EXACTLY the type of manager Utd need. Atletico are an organised and motivated team who do not compromise their style for anybody, they impose their style on everybody. That is the perfect antidote to Moyes, who took Utd to Olympiakos and set them up like he would Everton at the Nou Camp.
How are they top of La Liga? Because they score 2.17 goals per game and only concede 0.65.
As for your last point, just because Roy the dinosaur plays these negative park the bus tactics with England, doesn't mean Chelsea have to, and doesn't mean it's right. Chelsea have spent hundreds of millions of pounds on players and they have basically turned up at Atletico and played more defensively than the likes of Levante would. That is a bit embarrassing.
Fair play for getting the first half of the job done. This isn't a hatchet job on Chelsea's approach, more just your general ignorance. Boreinho got the result he wanted playing the tactics he slates other teams for...lest we forget, other teams that use underdog tactics because they are genuinely the underdog, and not a multi hundred million pound super squad bankrolled by an oligarch against a team that isn't better than Chelsea overall.
Tactical masterclass? I don't think this can really be said until after the 2nd leg. I remember Chelsea going out of Europe on away goals in recent years because they were dour and unadventurous in a 0-0 first leg draw in Spain.
Manjo Sarkaria was seemingly baffled that I dared to suggest Moyes should be allowed to stay, and proclaims me as the only person outside of Liverpool and City who had these thoughts. In response I refer him to Mr Keane who made his views perfectly clear last night - Moyes should have been given more time, the players are to blame. As for a Liverpool fan calling a Palace fan "blinkered" when it comes to United and Ferguson, I'll just let that one rest. I'll accept his attack on my education - it really was rather poor.
As for "Jim French (Spurs since '59) Herts" the only thing wrong with the line you quote, is your inability to spell my name correctly.
Terrance (2 rr's and an a) Turner
Moyes: A Warning For Arsenal
As an Arsenal fan I have watched the Moyes situation unfold with some interest. Obviously I have hugely enjoyed witnessing the worst United team in my lifetime and the evolution of Moyes from smug to terrified to resigned. However, as the wheels came off and it became clear that he didn't deserve to be and wasn't going to be given the duration of his six year contract, it has become something of a warning for Arsenal and particularly Gazidis and the rest of the board. In appointing Moyes, United placed too great an emphasis on stability and not enough on quality and my fear is that Arsenal will do the same. Arsenal have generally been praised for sticking with Arsene despite a decline in our Premiership and European standing.
It must be remembered though that the stars aligned to allow Wenger to stay for as long as he has. The stadium move and the arrival of the oil billionaires changed the landscape and stability became one of Arsenal's only competitive advantages. The ability to plan ahead and invest in youth gave Arsenal some chance of riding out the losses of senior players to wealthier clubs. Now that the financial and footballing landscape has shifted again the emphasis has to return to quality and quality so when Arsene goes Arsenal must learn from the mistake that United have made and go for the best manager they can enticerather than one that may manage the club for 10 to 20 years. Gazidis would do well to remember that Arsene only ever signed contracts that were two to three years long. This does seem like a rather unnecessary worry given that Wenger hasn't even left yet, but fearing the future has become a full-time occupation for Arsenal fans.
Richard C (Klopp could well be our new Mata), London
Well, Because More People Will Watch An English Team. Obviously
I've no issue with how Chelsea play. They're doing what they must do to try and qualify for the champions league final.
St George's Day may be an odd choice to ask this but aren't ITV offered first choice of champions league fixtures?
I appreciate Chelsea are the English team but every man and his dog knew that last night's game was going to be the most boring match in years so why didn't ITV just rearrange their TV schedule and show the other semi?
Chelsea fans may have been entertained last night but I can assure you the rest of the football viewing public were not.
Graham Simons, Gooner, (Hoping for an all Madrid final - imagine the atmos), Norf London
Erm, Yeah, Sorry About That
So both Drew, Melbourne and Paul Healy carefully wrote mails building up to a great announcement of their wacky suggestion for the next Red Satans manager... and you put it in the headline at the top of both! Doh. Honestly, it's like re-titling that film as "The kid sees dead people and MacClane is one of 'em!"
Jordan, We've Got A Mr Woodward On The Phone For You
After reading Dan's CM nostalgia trip in the last Mailbox, it reminded me of a CM 00/01 season in which I managed to sign a starting 11 made up entirely of Patrik Anderssons - not including the former Blackburn Rovers/Barcelona star - play an attacking 3-4-3 formation and achieve a respectable 16th position with Bury.
I'm available if there are any Technical Director posts going.
Jordan (We all dream of a team of Anderssons), Brighton.
Ben in Bristol, while playing Champ Manager or Fifa over the years, there were always names which me and my mate couldn't listen to being called out without adding to it for no reason at all. These include:
Pablo Aimar W*nker
Cabaye Got News for You
Januzaj - Or 'John O'Shea', based on the terrible attempts of trying to get his name right when he first came on the scene.
Loic ya know, (In a posh Dublin 4 accent) Remy
I'm sure there were many more but can't think of them now. Anyway, totally pointless but fun all the same.
John Whelan, Dublin
I don't know if anyone else plays this game while watching a football match but this is the game my brother and I play. You switch the first letter of the forename and the surname of the player and then pronounce it. My personal favourites is Hordan Jenderson.Other ones include,
Can someone make a complete 11 of the best names with the letters switched?
Chris ,LFC, Baile Atha Cliath