Who Will Be Next Season's Surprise Package?

With Southampton possibly set to struggle next season after losing Pochettino, one chap in the mailbox tips Stoke to leapfrog them in the race for a European place...

Last Updated: 28/05/14 at 11:04

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'Pride' Didn't Stop Wenger Signing Flamini

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Arsene Wenger's 'pride' in signings is quite rightly pulled apart. We also have a stupidly long email on going back, and one Mailboxer whooping about the FA Cup first round...

Wenger Kept His Pride By Turning Down Cesc

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What message would it have sent if Wenger had allowed those that walked out to stroll back in? Plus, why Pochettino needs to adapt and the folly of limiting yourself...

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I was delighted to see the big stories today linking Manchester United with the purchase of that young PSG midfielder.

I just love seeing a Rabiot in the headlines.
Steve Maybury

I have been playing Football Manager 2014 for a few weeks now. Last night my Brentford side whipped poor Arsenal 6 - 0. I did use the "In-Game Editor" to make all my players 20/20 on all attributes and reset Arsenal players to 5/20 (yes I am a petty and vindictive person but this is Arsenal for Lordy's sake). I digress! After the match I was accosted by one Matt Stanger who asked a pretty innocuous question which I forget, but what did catch my eye was that in Football Manager 2014 the journalist that asks the question has a few attributes of their own. According to Football Manager 2014, Matt Stanger is "devious" and his relationship with me is "sly".....oh er!

Anyone else noticed any Football365/Football Manager 2014 related japery or should I just grab my coat and make a swift exit now?
Pavel "The Head" Nedved - Hoping Ronaldo misses a semi or final penalty and cries. His "So Mach-o" "flex", post-penalty the other night was shameful.

I'm sure the Mailbox is going to be inundated with Pochettino emails, but nonetheless I'm going to throw my two pence worth out there.

In the grand scheme of things, it's a relatively uninspiring appointment. It's a gamble, Pochettino has only experienced relegation battles, until last season when he took a 'swashbuckling' Southampton side to the giddy heights of 8th place. This same side was beaten by our transitional side with Dim Sherwood in charge. That either says something about the quality of our squad, or perhaps Pochettino.

However, that being said, there are glaring similarities with Roberto Martinez and Brendan Rodgers, both fully justifying the Liverpool & Everton's faith in a philosophy which has translated into success with a better quality of player. Our squad is up to the high pressing game that Pochettino desires - players such as Sandro, Holtby, Paulinho, Lennon are natural hard-workers and should flourish under his management.

I also hope he can change our formation slightly. He lined up with a 4-3-3 at Southampton, with Lambert aided by both Lallana and Rodriguez. I'm hoping that next season this could translate into a front three of Adebayor, Lamela and Eriksen. What we are crying out for is less box-to-box midfielders and a to get a dictator of play in the centre of midfield. I for one hope we get Schneiderlin out of all the players at Southampton. I'd quite happily swap him for either of Dembele or Gylfi.

As a word of warning, five years means nothing. Levy does not believe in projects, that much is evident. He will get next season, but beyond that, if 4th place isn't met, im sure we will be scouring the market once again for the new hipster to come and make us winners. We are Spurs, we aspire to be with the best, but when we get there, we're bound to fall through the obvious hole everyone else seems to miss and start climbing again.

Onwards and upwards.
Chris, THFC

...What are Spurs thinking?

1) The guy has never managed a decent sized team with expectation.
2) He did well at Southampton, but he had a once in a lifetime crop of youngsters come through (nothing to do with him).
3) He seems to play a decent style of football - will give him that.
4) If Southampton lose Shaw, Lallana, Rodriguez, Schneiderlin, (Lambert is 32) in the summer they may be fighting relegation so he jumped ship....
5) He can't speak English.
6) His one signing for big money Danny Osvaldo was an utter disaster!
7) If he is 6th or 7th after a season and a half at Spurs he will be sacked.
8) When are people going to ask Levy what his strategy is.
9) He brings his entire backroom staff which will be hefty to unload in 18 months.
10) All the above is hilarious because I support Arsenal.
Michael (Chelmsford Gooner)

Fergie Not Wrong...Yet
I see that once again today the tabloids (in this case the Mirror) can't run a story about Henderson's magnificent season without bringing up Sir Alex Ferguson. Everything article screams "Henderson proves Fergie wrong" at you.

But he hasn't has he? Ferguson didn't say Henderson was a bad player; he said "he runs from his knees with a straight back...we thought his gait might give him problems with injuries later in his career. Now we could argue all day as to whether Ferguson should have said what he did but that doesn't mean what he said was untrue.

Jordan Henderson is now 24 and playing extremely well. He hasn't contradicted what Ferguson said about him though. If he avoids the injuries predicted by Ferguson in his late twenties and early thirties (and it is very possible he will) then he will have proved that criticism wrong. Basically Ferguson said that Fergie basically said Henderson is like an Alfa Romeo: he wouldn't buy one because it'll always be broken later down the line. Now just because you can drive it at 140mph+ and it looks great today doesn't make that assessment wrong. Only time will tell.

Finally I don't hold anything against Henderson himself. I think he has been very diplomatic, often saying that he was flattered that Ferguson was interested in signing him, that obviously he was impressed with his footballing ability etc. He has constantly played down something tabloids seem determined to turn into a feud.

Surprise Packages
Slightly off topic, but I was just wondering who people fancy as their surprise package for next season. With Pochettino now having left Saints and Lallana possibly on his way out,they may struggle to reach the same heights as this season.

As an Arsenal supporter and a person who used to hate Ryan Shawcross and Stoke, I find it very hard to say that they look like they are definitely on their way up. I started taking notice of their "change in policy" as soon as they signed Arnautovic, who I think was one of the league's most underrated players this season. Although he only scored five goals, there were glimpses of the talent that made him so highly rated around 2010 and I think he has the potential to explode next season.

In addition to this they have already/ are on the verge of signing Mame Biram Diouf who has been watched by Champions League clubs for quite some time. Hughes obviously found it hard to change the club's policy very dramatically in his first season and there was still some "rugged" play from the likes of Huth but even in their 3- 5 loss to Liverpool at the Britannia there were glimpses of real intent.

I honestly thought that Hughes was on par with Steve Kean as the worst manager in the Premier League in recent times after QPR's start to the season in 2012, but his pompous attitude seems to be around to stay, and a core of Begovic, Shawcross, Huth, Eric Pieters, N'zonzi, Arnautovic, Diouf and a few more creative midfielders could have them challenging for the Europa League spots next year. Expecting derision now and vindication in May 2015.
Albert T, Cape Town AFC

As there's bugger all interesting happening in the football world right now, I wanted to ask the mailbox readers something: Is anyone out there good friends with a high-profile football player or previously been good friends with one? If so, did fame change them and was it hard to relate to them in the same way? Could you still jest and do the same things with them as you had done previously, you know, as mates do?

The reason I ask is because watching His Royal Modesty C. Ronaldo rip his shirt off after that penalty the other night, I thought what a supremely d*ckish thing it was to do and that he deserved a good p*ss-take from his mates. It must be hard to be friends with such a super-sized ego of a man, unless you're that way inclined yourself.

Not looking for names or dirt to be dished, just some good stories if anyone's got some.
Rob (Did anyone else flex in the mirror to compare themselves with Ripped Ronnie? No? Yeah, me neither.)

On Redknapp At Spurs
In response to Brian, LFC's email yesterday in which he stated....

'Say what you want about the man, but Henry James Redknapp is a born winner. He proved his credentials once again by leading QPR back into the premier league. That is quite an accomplishment for a man who can barely write. You can say what you want about money but we all know if doesn't guarantee success, but Redknapp track record shows that where ever he goes he achieves his goals.'

I found it interesting that Brian included that paragraph about Redknapp in an article discussing Bale, Modric etc. I was a big fan of Redknapp - I have some wonderful memories of his time at Spurs, however, as time goes on and Redknapp continues to underwhelm at QPR whilst Luka and Bale do the opposite at Madrid, the question must be asked...did we qualify for the CL in spite of Redknapp or because of him?

Redknapp was handed a squad with Modric, King, Bale and was also delivered Van der Vaart on a Daniel Levy-shaped plate. Having watched Spurs for circa 25 years, those 4 are up there with the best I've seen. Maybe Harry did the best he could, maybe he should have done a lot better.
Joshua Graham

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Readers' Comments


xcellent! Not sure if he is any good as a manager (never thought about it) but the 'headbutt in the technical area' and what he said to Pelligrini were just brilliant, it was as if he was trying to recreate the end of the Alan Partridge Xmas special when Alan punched a man in a wheelchair and verbally abused Tony Heirs.

Football Managers On TV: Alan Pardew


think you spelt Inter Milan wrong in your headline.

Ince joins Forest on loan


e might be on a hiding to nothing, but I cannae feel any sympathy- You want to know why? Shakira. That's why.

Pique Taking Blame Burden Again...

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Mail Box

'Pride' Didn't Stop Wenger Signing Flamini

Arsene Wenger's 'pride' in signings is quite rightly pulled apart. We also have a stupidly long email on going back, and one Mailboxer whooping about the FA Cup first round...

Wenger Kept His Pride By Turning Down Cesc

What message would it have sent if Wenger had allowed those that walked out to stroll back in? Plus, why Pochettino needs to adapt and the folly of limiting yourself...

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