Man United fans can thank David Moyes for making them appreciate their club again. We also have mails on Liverpool, Newcastle, another Christmas XI and more...
We have plenty of reaction to yesterday's result, with Mailers sick of Wenger, Mertesacker and Skrtel in particular. Plus why it's not yet time for 'Austin for England'...
Anything to say on any subject? Mail us at email@example.com
Deano, Chicago, Liverpool FC says: "While Messi is a far greater player than Ronaldinho could ever have dreamed of being"
That's not true. They're just different types of player. I know football fans have memories that only extend back 2 years, but seriously - Ronaldinho was, and possibly still is, in a world of his own in terms of controlling a match, trickery, unexpected skills, through balls, no little goals. Yes, Messi is a machine, but here's what he does - stand on the right, dribble it round everyone, score/assist, job done. It's incredible, his control at speed is the greatest I've seen since Maradona, but it's an entirely different game to that of Ronaldinho. Messi can be out of a match for 80 minutes and still win it, that was never the case with Ronaldinho - he was at the centre of everything.
Watch Ronaldinho's performance for Barca when they win 3-0 in the Bernabeau and he gets a standing ovation FROM THE MADRID FANS. Not sure there's been a better performance in world football. I know Messi is incredible, and possibly just a smidgen ahead of recent greats (except Zizou) as the greatest, but to dismiss Ronaldinho like that is just plain crazy.
Mark Thorby, Norwich
...Deano, Chicago, Liverpool sent shivers down my spine this afternoon after reading the mailbox. How dare he say that Messi-one dimensional running merchant- is a far greater player than Ronaldinho- the best footballer my generation ever saw. I'd take it that he never watched Ronaldinho play else he'd never come to that conclusion.
I don't mean to take anything away from Messi-a fine player as they get- but to make such a claim is downright evil. Cue Gattuso being dummied, cue a blind pass to Ludovic Guily for the only goal of the match, cue all Real Madrid fans -with sentiments and all- giving a standing ovation to "le Magicien".
Messi cannot dare hold up a candlelight to Ronaldinho in his pomp. He was simply just too good, unplayable, peerless... He had a the tricks in his locker and didn't need to run and run like Messi and Ronaldo. Pure entertainment and to cap it all he did all this with enviable levity-if he was half as serious as Messi and co, he would have won the world footballer of the year many times over.
I am just too pissed off with this slight of a massively entertaining footballer.
PS: a youtube highlight would convince you if ever you are still in doubt.
George, LFC, Lagos (In Brendan Rodger we trust not Suarez)
...Only a quick point to make to Deano, Chicago...
Messi is not a far greater player than Ronaldinho could have ever dreamed of being, that sir is simply ridiculous.
As for the rest of your email, meh!
A Frustrated Uniteder...
As a Man Utd fan, reading the transfer blog and the gossip column has been depressing for the last few days. There may not be too much truth to any of the rumours but it concerns me that we are being linked to wrong players in the past few days and have missed out on the ones we really need.
Take Cuadrado for example. Where will he play in the 3-5-2 system? He can only realistically play as a right wing back. But we are well staffed in that position. The position suits Valencia perfectly, Rafael is a good defensive minded back-up and Young seems to have reinvented himself as a wing back (he is still a terrible winger mind you).
Then you have Daley Blind. Definitely wouldn't be the worst signing but we need a specialist defensive / box-to-box midfielder and a commanding centre back and Blind is neither. He would end up being a jack of all trades. Little Ed says we can break the transfer record if needed.
While there isn't a player available for whom United should break the transfer record but two big money signings need to be made fairly quickly. Of the realistically available players, Benatia and Vidal would be ideal. Both would be expensive but both would elevate United to a different level. They would add value in the right areas and are in the prime of their careers thus helping United win NOW.
If Vidal's knee is broken then De Jong needs to be brought in as a short term replacement till Strootman is able to prove his fitness. There has to be a decent centre back available for a club the size of United. How about Ron Vlaar? I know many people would find it a ridiculous suggestion but think about it. If we are unable to get Benatia then signing Vlaar makes a lot of sense. He is 29. Well within United's budget. Not a long term investment but does bring in much needed experience into the back line. Knows Van Gaal and has his trust. Knows the system we are looking to play this season and wouldn't cost a bomb.
It has reached a stage where I'd even settle for having the cheapest 2 names I have mentioned so far - De Jong and Vlaar. Both would consider United an upgrade as compared to the teams they currently play with. Both would love to work with Van Gaal. Come on Woody, go and overpay some money to Milan and Villa (ideally to Juve and Roma).
...And Another Cautious One...
Not to be the voice of doom and gloom but United fans anticipating a meteoric return to the Champions League at the expense of Pool/Arse or even a League title should rein themselves in a little bit. While it goes without saying that David Moyes was a total disaster, last season was not all of his doing. Serious issues that existed before Moyes arrived still pertain today.
The squad was badly in need of an overhaul. Midfield was unfit for purpose long before Moyes arrived. Our outstanding CM - Michael Carrick - is not a top tier player and advancing in years to boot. While Herrera is a step in the right direction he's just one man of unproven quality. Young, Valencia and Nani have all shown themselves to be beneath the required standard (I set no store whatsoever by preseason). Our best defenders have all moved on and left behind three decent if unspectacular replacements. What exactly will happen if Shaw or Evans get injured?
This brings me to a second massive problem - transfers. Moyes & Woodward humiliated themselves and the club last season in the market. Yet here we are a year later, with LVG at the helm, and the only two signings had previously been identified by Moyes. United are struggling. It has been clear for years. While they have often excelled in buying from their domestic opponents - eg. Rio, RVP, Andy Cole - under Ferguson they never managed to secure the established talents from Europe. Veron was the last (and only one) I can remember. Over a decade ago. This problem I believe cost Ferguson more CL victories and hasn't been resolved.
It's perfectly understandable to be optimistic but this side has had lots of problems for a long time. Moyes didn't create them - he merely exacerbated them. Oh, and created a whole load of new ones. With any luck we have now addressed the Moyes issue. But we have not addressed the other myriad issues. While our rivals, as they did last season, are buying Costas, and Fabregi and Sanchezs we have not yet show ourselves to have turned the corner.
Surely Pool have taught us we should keep our mouths shut when knocked off our perch? If you must be wildly optimistic Devils - do it quietly is all I'm saying.
...And One That Says Shush
Spot on Minty,LFC: There are truthfully no accurate or definitive harbringers of success or failure for United this season. But it would be wise for us United fans to not declare ourselves champions already, you know, since a ball hasn't been kicked in the competition yet?
Yes LVG is here now, yes we have improved (hopefully better than our 'improvement' signing last year) but still, to think that we could just walk through Chelsea, City, the Pool and the Gunners now, is just absurd.
If we win it, which I personally think is possible (not probable), it will be after a tooth and nail type of season, hardly a walk in the park.
Let's just be quiet, for once, until we do walk away with it is my point chaps. A second consecutive season of humble pie would burst my gut.
Manc in SA
A Liverpool Fan Defends His Team
I'm really enjoying the idea that Liverpool will drop again. Seriously, it's giving me a right hoot.
I can see where you're all coming from. I mean we do play overly negatively for a team with such talent. We're so dour to watch and have nothing special about us. No wait, that's not us. Silly me.
No no, we're the team that talks a big game but ultimately contrives a way to always finish 4th, playing the same football week in week out even if it is the right plan. Nope. Not us again. What am I like?
We must be the team that just spent £30 million to ensure we had the same players we had on loan last year. Surely this is the reason we will fail to make top 4. Still not us.
Are we the guys who lost their best player and replaced him with dross? THIS sounds closer to us. I must have stumbled on the right team by accident. No wait, these guys have always been touted as title challengers but have never actually come anywhere near that level. Definitely not us. I'm so rubbish at this.
How about the team that just had our lowest league finish in modern times, replaced our manager and lost tons of experience in defence and our only signings are an out-of-shape 18 year old and uncapped 25 year old? No, that's still not us either.
Are we the team that finished 2nd by 2 points playing really exciting football? The team who beat every team at least once bar one last season? The team who beat Everton 4-0, Arsenal 5-1, Utd 3-0 and put 9 past Spurs with no reply? The team with a manager who last year couldn't get enough praise but now apparently can't get the players he has to perform anywhere near the levels they were at? Yep. That's us.
By all means keep telling me how losing one player means all our good work since 2012 is ruined. I'm not a deluded man, I don't think we have a right to finish anywhere. However, I'm just tiring of the frankly patronising attitude that we were lucky to be where we were. We were there on merit, not because anyone was particularly rubbish, hell Arsenal finished 4th with 79 points and Everton were 5th with 72. But yeah, it was fluke, we were a one man team, it was a miracle etc etc.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
Neither Sturridge Nor Suarez Are Right For Barca
After having read Deano, Chicago, Liverpool FC's mail about Barca having signed the wrong Liverpool striker, i felled compelled to give my two pence on it too. I completely agree with you when you say that Suarez is far better then Sturridge, but that's about all i agree with in that mail.
Firstly, neither Suarez nor Sturridge are good options for Barca. By signing players for huge sums of money they are currently going against everything that made them stand out. Barca have always been the finest example of bringing up young kids from their academy and turning them into world class players. They were so good at it, they didn't even need a shirt sponsor for so long because they could afford to not spend massive amounts of money on players and still achieve fantastic success. I still remember the many memes on FB telling us all just how little money Barca PAID to assemble their all conquering side of 3-4 years back.
Now though, they seem to have degenerated into just another very ordinary, albeit very rich club like Real, Chelsea and City. Further, the ridiculous number of trophies they won during the reign of Pep were down to having a great team. Granted, individually, the players were all great and still are, but the reason they saw so much success was because the whole team fought for each other and played as a team.
In this context, a Barca team with Messi, Suarez/Sturridge and Neymar, who are all selfish to varying degrees cannot be guaranteed to produce the level of consistency of a few years back. Add to this the fact that the likes of Xavi are now past their prime, i would be very surprised indeed if they beat both Real and Atletico to the title this year. Their chances of another CL win are also remote.
United Fan, (Also a massive Ronaldinho fan, as you can tell), India
It wasn't long ago that Liverpool fans were claiming they'd rather have Suarez over Ronaldo or Messi. Now they'd rather have Sturridge over Suarez?
If we keep going at this diminishing rate then they'll soon be saying they'd rather Connor Salmon over Darren Bent.