An excellent Mailbox! Look what happens when people mail in with different stuff. Keep them coming to firstname.lastname@example.org
Floodlight football is so much better.
Many, many, many conclusions
· That was a lot of fun.
· Despite leading twice, it was hard, as a Liverpool supporter, to be disappointed with a draw.
· The game was played at a frantic pace by two teams really going for it – the Premiership at its best.
· Arsenal faced a big test of their title credentials tonight and passed – they are rightly favourites at this stage.
· I really miss Lovern (and I never thought I’d say that).
· The miss from Giroud was comedy gold, a sack of potatoes would have buried that.
· His second goal would have made Cruyff proud.
· Arsenal played for about 12minutes in the first half but should have went into the break 4-2 ahead.
· Benteke is a very expensive but good Plan B.
· Steven Caulker is an ‘interesting’ Plan C
· Firmino is frustrating most of the time but has showed enough to demonstrate that he needs to be given more time – he could be great next season.
· If Liverpool play like that at the weekend they’ll hammer Man Utd.
Ollie McGlinchey, Ireland
*Fantastic game last night. I expected a timid careful game from both sides but I have never been so wrong. If only all games were this exciting.
*I don’t think Arsenals defence can actually be blamed for the loss. They were solid at most of the standard defending they had to do. Mert seemed sharp to cut out passes, Kosc was mostly composed and Belerin and Monreal had decent games. But if the midfield are going to keep losing the ball like that, we cant expect the defense to keep every shot out.
*Joel Campbell and Giroud are bang in-form. When Sanchez is back, we can drop Walcott to the bench and have a much more impressive front three (Walcott just isn’t a good enough winger). The other bonus to this is we can play Walcott up front when we go away to exploit our counter attacking capabilities
*Ozil disappeared. He doesn’t like that kind of pressing game. Hopefully not too many teams will be quite as in his face as Pool were
*Firminho looked very confident and comfortable and will surely grow into a great player. I would play him behind a striker though, as he seems to like drifting into space and playing him behind someone like Benteke would allow him that space. Not convinced he is a centre forward long term…
*With a solid defence, Pool would be a top 4/title challenger. They have that youthful enthusiasm and attacking verve but need solidity at the back as a platform for that
*A point away at Anfield is a decent result, its just a shame Leicester snuck a win at Spurs.
*I love football and the Premier League. What a time to be an english football fan
Rob A (Hopefully Nenny can offer competition to Le Coq) AFC
What a fantastic game of football! Top notch goals by both teams and it was good to see a high quality affair between two top teams both determined to win. If there was one moment that encapsulated both managers’ determination and willingness to enjoy the game, it was Klopp and Wenger engaging in a heated discussion and then laughing it off moments later.
You will probably receive loads of conclusions on this match I’m sure but the one thing that stuck out to me last night is how Arsenal are really feeling the impact of their injury hit squad. The Ramsey and Flamini partnership is just too open and not suited against a high press. Ramsey has a fantastic engine on him but he does his best running off the ball (as for his goal), as opposed to with it. Cazorla is the ideal man in the middle against a high pressing team as he can dribble his way out of tight spots and keep the ball under pressure (as in the Manchester City and United games). Not only does this allow Cazorla to break the press and get between the lines, this gives him time and space to initiate attacks and control the game. Arsenal desperately missed their Spanish magician and his twinkle toes last night.
Additionally, while Flamini was not horrendous last night, he does not have the athleticism and physicality of Coquelin that allows him to cover more ground by himself. This leads Flamini to frequently drop back and ends up opening gaps between him and his (always bombing forward) midfield partner. The Cazorla-Coquelin is a fantastic midfield partnership as they both cover for each other’s shortcomings (passing and physicality respectively) whereas the Flamini-Ramsey partnership only exasperates flaws in their partners. Much has been made of Arsenal’s chances for the league this season but the fact that they are doing so well with their first choice and most balanced midfield out speaks volumes about their strength in depth and bodes well for them in the coming months. As a duo, there are not too many better partnerships in the Premier League and it would be interesting to see how Elneny slots in.
As a side note, it looks like reports of Liverpool’s injury crisis were greatly exaggerated. Only Skrtel and Coutinho would be ahead of the first team Liverpool put out yesterday, with Sturridge no longer reliable enough to be considered part of the first team. Contrast this with Arsenal who had unarguably the worse injury hit squad with Cazorla, Coquelin and Alexis all guaranteed starters. Of the remaining players currently out for both teams, Welbeck, Wilshere and Rocisky will have a greater say on Arsenal’s season when they return than Ings, Origi and Lovren will have for Liverpool.
All in all, a fantastic game of football from both sides and I reckon both teams would be happy with the point, even if Arsenal feel they should have held out at the end.
– Falooda in NY (Campbell over Ox AND Theo)
A few Liverpool ramblings while i wait for the sandman.
Lallana – is hard working, great movement but needs to start adding goals to his game. Liverpool can’t carry non-scoring attackers at the moment. He adds to what we can do, but needs to contribute more.
Caulker – good back up. Toure can’t play consecutive games and it seems Sahko also struggling to be consistently fit. Over 200 apps and no top players are going to be available for a short term loan, no point buying for the sake of it – we’ve seen what happens when we do that before.
Ibe – The problem is that he seems to have the skills but lacking that ‘football brain’ he’s a breath of fresh air when he comes on with his direct dribbling. Starting a match however he can get tiresome dribbling up to defenders and losing the ball. Klopp just needs to teach him how to play.
Joe ‘the beard’ Allen – I feel he’s playing for his Liverpool future here. He’s impressed in his very few appearances for Kloop and scored an important goal tonight – he just needs to keep playing to a high level when given the chance. He divides the Liverpool fans it seems but I hope he stays – solid squad player. Welsh Pirlo.
Mignolet – I’m not sure how Simon Mignolet is getting a new five year deal so early in Kloops tenure. Especially as he’s just come out with giving the players till May to impress. He did nothing tonight to make me feel he should be our first choice keeper for the next five years. Fingers crossed its to inflate his transfer fee.
Firmino – another example of why you need to give foreign imports time. Faded towards the end but let’s hope we see some more of that first half Firmino. Seems to link up nicely with Lallana, who could learn a thing or two about smashing them in.
Overall deserved point – great going forward, less so at the back/in goal.
Regards, Paul, Windsor
I saw enough in that humdinger to convince of me two things:
1) Liverpool will become a very good team again under Klopp. There’s a lot of work to do but the foundations are there. Henderson and Can in midfield could be something special, the players are strengthening their mentality and the forward movement is getting more intelligent and incisive. We all know what needs improving.
2) Arsenal will win the league this year. They’ve showed once more something that recent Arsenal sides have lacked; mental toughness. Yes Bellerin (I think) half asses the challenge on Allen at the end, but the assertion with which Arsenal came out after half time had the air of a champion team. Plus, that third goal of there’s, jaysus.
Paul, LFC, (Can is only 22. F*** M*) Wycombe
First of all while it’s nice Everton are capable of having a spine (sometimes), 2 lucky penalty decisions and an offside goal, either I’ve crossed over to the Bizarro universe where we are getting this ludicrous luck, or (more likely) City are going to get a Bazillion penalties in 2 weeks.
Mesut Ozil. My word, what a player. I know this website and the hacks don’t see eye to eye over this feller, but it’s clear these sports writers haven’t a clue. Ridiculous touches that killed the ball dead I am a fan of, but he was doing in a sleet storm. A particular moment at 2-3, a ball up in the air, he is surrounded by 3 players, excellent control to get the ball to his feet and then sprint away from 1, fakes to go left, goes right, loses the 2nd, plays the ball against the 3rd, wins a throw in, pressure off for a few moments at least. Insignificant over the grand scheme of the game, but fantastic, he’s boss.
Regarding Giroud, score the difficult goal, miss the tap in (when all you had to do was shin it in) there are rumours of Lukaku to Arsenal, forget transfer fees, Kenwright should demand the magical Arsenal “War Chest” that generates £100m every summer.
EFCraig (Provided it isn’t injured)
P.S Do we get to start calling them Wimblepool yet? Liverdon? Stool?
He’s really the Welsh Xavi, ain’t he?
David (Disappointed Kenyan gooner)
“How can we expect to challenge for a CL spot when our “game-changing” options from the bench are Joe Allen and Steven Caulkner?”
Very entertaining match but our defense is a complete shambles. Their inability to defend corners might even make them an omni-shambles.
And Simon Mignolet.. Being beaten at your near post for the first goal.. Schoolboy stuff..
Dazza, Dublin, LFC (Liverpool unbeaten against the top four and still 9th.. WTF?)
All this time, maybe Xavi was the Spanish Joe Allen.
Greg Tric, Nairobi.
Liverpool: The great entertainers
Whether it is calamitous defending or sumptuous attacking, Liverpool are one of the most exciting teams to watch in the Premier League right now. You never know if you’re going to hammer Man City & Chelsea, get overrun by West Ham & Watford, or exchange goals blow for blow with Arsenal. Great entertainment, roll on Sunday!
On a side note, I’d take Klopp’s touchline passion over LVG’s cool guy note-taking any day.
Paul M (Giroud’s turn & Firmino’s finish… Absolutely quality) LFC
A game to perfectly sum up Giroud?
After watching the game I thought about Giroud’s performance and came to the conclusion he had a great game. But it epitomised his Arsenal career IMO
– Lovely near post finish for his first goal. One of his greatest skills
– Missed an absolute sitter (Great clearance to be fair)
– World class turn and shot for his second goal. He’s a big game player, so many goals against some of the big teams (Liverpool, United, City, Bayern etc.)
For what it’s worth I think he’s a very good striker and is good enough for a title challenging team – in this season of all seasons – unless Leicester keep it up. But they won’t. They just won’t
Guv (Cech Should’ve saved it) CAFC
Just as one is born…
A quick note on two Arsenal players at either end of their career.
Joel Campbell just seems to be getting better and I think he is now at the point where he would make the starting eleven if everyone was fit. Possibly Wellbeck might get in ahead of him if he ever reaches the level he was at before his injury, but he is way ahead of Theo now and should keep his spot when Alexis comes back. He has the creativity, vision and directness required in the position but also the work rate and defensive awareness that caused Arsene to put Ramsey in that position. Well done to the lad and it goes to show what can be achieved with a bit of luck, hard work and a run of games.
It also goes to show how little we all know as armchair pundits. One year ago who could have predicted that Joel and the Coq (possibly the name of a new CBeebies programme?) would be first choice players at Arsenal? Not me anyway.
Finally onto Mikel Arteta. Now I really like the guy and he is by all accounts a great person to have in the dressing room. He helps the young kids and will make a great coach one day but he is past it as a player at this level. He looked lost when he came on. He came on to shore up the midfield and I saw him miss a tackle on the left wing which left hi lying on the floor while Liverpool charged forwards. He then proceeded to miss a series of challenges in the middle and generally caused chaos in a team that looked fairly solid up until that point. It’s time for Arsene to stop being sentimental and put him out to pasture.
Oh, and what an entertaining game that was by the way. The draw was probably a fair result but it didn’t feel that way after being 3-2 up with a few minutes to go.
Adonis (Firmino only does it against the good teams) Stevenson, AFC
The Leicester question
You know those jokes that you laugh at but you don’t really truly get it, and then after a while you get sick of laughing and not getting it and actually want to know what is going on, and so you have to ask for someone to explain it because you have tried to understand it, but try as you might you simple can’t fathom it?
What is Leicester all about?
Chris ITFC, Liverpool
I daresay that I need not introduce the astute readers, gifted writers, and Man-U fans of the mailbox to the story of Leicester’s season thus far, but across the pond we’ve got something else happening that I can’t help but see reflected in the current table. You see, it’s an election year in the US (although the politicking began quite a while ago), and there is currently a surprise front-runner in the GOP nomination race whom I doubt any of you have heard of, a Mister Donald J Trump.
Donald Trump and Leicester are here to stay, and before you dismiss this with a scoff or a chuckle, bear with me.
The obvious point of similarity is that predicting the rise of either once year ago would have gotten you quite a bit of ridicule (as well as some decent dolla dolla if you’re the betting type). And throughout their unexpected rises, people have been predicting they’d fall away the entire time. Yet they haven’t. Leicester started to slip in recent weeks—people thought the magical run might be coming to a close—but they’ve gone and done a proper job this week on fellow fairy tale character Harry Kane. Trump’s numbers started to slip in November, but ever since December, it’s been up and up for the man whose hair make’s Van Gaal look like Harry Styles.
And if you allow me to let the poster boy of the Flying Foxes, Jamie Vardy, to stand in for the rest of his team (who seem quite nice and I
Oh, it’s just wonderful. And there’s nothing we can do to stop it. Get ready for a new social order. President Trump and Perennial Premier League Champions Leicester City.
Nathan (Chelsea == Jeb), WFC, California
We have to have *some* United stuff…
Jimmy tells us that Smalling is a very average/poor defender because of his showing at Newcastle.
Just to summarize Jimmy’s logical process:
1. Player plays extremely well in a period from his red card at the Etihad on 2 November 2014 to 12 January 2016, in the process gaining praise from fans, pundits, and managers alike.
2. Player has a shocking 90 mins at St James’ Park.
3. Player is a “very average/poor defender”.
You must have been waiting for a very, very long time Jimmy.
I think all Utd fans are happier seeing an attacking performance like that one against Newcastle but would also like to see the team a little less prone to conceding so many goals every time they try to play like that. It seems that at the moment Utd can play attacking football and score goals or play mind numbing defensive football and not score at all. How to solve such a problem?
How about buying an actual defender to play in defence next to Smalling? Forget these outragous attempts to buy the best players in the world. Just spend a fraction of that money on someone who has been trained to defend and has experience. We’ve just seen that the players are capable of attacking and scoring goals, so that’s not the problem. If the defence is somewhat competent (which it is nowhere near being) then the team can be more adventurous without leaving an improv comedy group shielding De Gea. As for which defender to sign, that’s what scouts are for. For me, it doesn’t really matter because whoever they bring in would have to be better than whatever midfielder LVG puts in there at the weekend (or Jones).
Kirk, (is that solution too obvious to work?) MUFC
Spurs: Not contenders
Because there is no plan B!
Our attack is predicated on regaining possession high up the pitch and playing through the middle against out of possession defenses. But organized teams that sit deep, narrow (only our fullbacks provide any width), and play direct from back to front, effectively nullify this tactic. This result is we dominate possession but don’t actually create enough high quality chances. This leaves us in too many close games, where one mistake, or one piece of misfortune, can cost you points.
A striker to pair with Kane and provide another target in the box, along with some flexibility in tactics/personnel to play with more width is essential for these kinds of matches.
Brad, THFC, Dallas, TX
Welcome back Fraser Forster. It was just like old times. A clean sheet on your first game back (14 clean sheets in 30 games last season with only 21 goals conceded).
Yes my team played last night/this morning (cracking game by the way), but I imagine plenty of others will discuss it ad infinitum. Or at least until United play again.
Anyway, I want to throw my hat into the ring with some different content. Reading your article on icons who arrived almost too late, the bit on Jurgen Klinsmann struck a chord with me. See, I come from a family whose primary sporting interests were based solely around Cricket and Rugby. However when France ’98 rolled around, a lot of the games were on TV right around the time I used to get ready for school. I’d had never watched a game of professional football in my life, so whilst channel hoping I found it interesting to see how mad people were about the game. One of the matches I was tuned into on one particular morning included this goal from the great German:
It blew my little mind. Watching the goal now, I can say it’s nowhere near as good as I remember. It would have been harder not to make contact if I’m honest. But everything was better when we were younger, right?
Anyway, it got me hooked. I started playing FIFA, I took more of an interest in the game at school, and it gave me a soft spot for die mannschaft (let’s face it, Australia doesn’t get very far at the World Cup, and it gives me a team to follow at the Euros). That goal started something I had literally no interest in 5 minutes prior, which has continued on unabated for nearly 2 decades since.
Does anyone else have a similar story? Or were we all born into football ‘round these parts?
This period in my life was also the time I blew my (very small) chance with one of the popular girls at school. She knew nothing about football so I said she should go for Brazil in the final, and I’d go for France; football illiterate me thinking the result was a forgone conclusion and that she’d somehow be thrilled I picked the winning team for her. If that doesn’t drive the women crazy, nothing will.
She didn’t like me much after that.
Matt (her loss) Wright, Gunner in Aus.
Something I’ve always found interesting is the idea of giving a manager time. Things are going badly and people often say “Oh, he just needs more time.” I used to agree with this but the more football I watch, the more I think it simply holds no merit. I also think there is one man that has a lot to answer for and has dramatically shaped the perception of football fans in this regard.
That man is Alex Ferguson. I am of an age where I don’t remember Ferguson’s early struggles at United, but the story is repeated so often that I know the history very well. We all know that Ferguson had mixed success at first. We all have heard how he was one FA cup game away from getting the sack but that the board kept the faith and thus ushered in an era of unheralded success. With the wonderful fairy tale ending of this story, we now hear it every time a manager is under pressure. “I know he’s struggling, but remember, Ferguson nearly got sacked. They kept the faith and look what happened.” So often is this story repeated that many fans seem to regard it as the rule rather than the exception.
I have been racking my brains for similar examples. Where a manager has faltered at first and seriously under performed but managed to turn it around and been a great success. I am seriously struggling to think of any. Yet I can think of plenty examples where a team kept the faith and paid for it (West Ham under Grant immediately springs to mind). I can also think of plenty of times where a team has sacked their manager and reaped the rewards (most recently Crystal Palace and Southampton).
So am I wrong? Are there times that a team has kept the faith and been rewarded? There must be some. I am not saying sack anyone that isn’t doing well, but when someone is clearly not doing the job well (Moyes and van Gaal spring to mind) why do so many have the belief that things will get better if they are given more time?
Mike, LFC, Dubai
Some random thoughts
Since there has been a dearth of interesting things in the mailbox recently, I am writing 3 mails.
Writing on iPad so p,ease correct any mistakes. Cheers guys. (MC – No. Haha)
Firstly regarding Barcelona B players such as Bojan and Pedro. Neither have set the premier league alight and I wonder if these players are actually one dimensional because of their training at Barcelona. They spend their whole education being trained in one style and then struggle if they ever leave Barcelona. On the other hand, Many Real Madrid B players have gone on to great things such as Etoo. Perhaps the mailbox can give me an example of a Barcelona B player that has gone on to be successful.
Second Mail- Swansea,
At the start of the season, I think most people would have picked Shelvey and Gomis as 2 of the top p,Akers (MC – haha) at Swansea. In fact both were playing superbly until the middle of October. Now it appears that both will be sold for the right offer. If I was a Swansea fan, I would be devastated. Sure the funds will be used for other players but there is no guarantee that they will be successful. These players played bad for 3 months and now they have been written off. I would have expected the new manager to come in and boost their confidence rather than undermine them. After these players are gone, Swansea will have a dearth of quality players and I think will really struggle to survive. This will be the first knife in Curtis’s back once he is eventually fired/relieved of duties.
My 3rd email is about look-a likes. For all my life, I have been told I look like Franck Ribery (without the scar). I have lived in Europe,America and Asia and it follows me everywhere. At immigration,on the street,nightclubs, beach in Bali and awkwardly in toilets. It is the bain of my life but at least he is a good player. However, when I was in school watching united on to there, Luke Chadwich (MC – haha) made his debut. Cue the entire school shouting my name at the TV. Never in my life have I wished a player would die or fall off the map. Luckily I got my wish in this case. Any of my fellow mailboxers get mistaken for footballers?
I am a supporter of 2 clubs. The mighty Reading, and the mighty Exeter City. Only the mighty clubs for me.
Following 2 clubs like this has, at times, worked like putting your savings away in a variety of investments. It spreads the risk. When one club is doing badly, the other is (hopefully) doing well.
In recent times, however, Reading have been going through a somewhat schizophrenic period. From stable ownership of one man for many years (the great, if slightly eccentric Sir John Madejski), to changing hands between a Russian (who it turns out didn’t actually have any money) to a consortium of Thai folk with varying degrees of financial capability (we think, it isn’t very transparent).
This sudden change has, in some ways, diminished the club for me. It used to be a club with an approach that was more sensible and stable. It was set apart from other clubs like that. But now it feels like that has been eroded. We’re now a medium-sized club chasing expensive, unstable rainbows.
in contrast, I have grown closer to Exeter City. If you are unaware, Exeter is a club owned by the club’s supporters though the Exeter City Supporters’ Trust. Anyone can join the trust and, essentially, become a club owner. Doing this myself really has brought me closer to the club. To the point where I not only want to know the results of games, but also scrutinise anything to do with how the club is being run.
- What contract did we sign him on?
- How much will that sponsorship deal bring in?
- Is this promotional email delivering the clubs values in the right way?
This lead to celebrating the recent draw with Liverpool, that got a replay at Anfield, in the FA Cup with the joy-filled phrase “well, that will help the club meet its fiscal responsibilities.”
It might also mean we can sign a couple of players on short-term contracts that will help us mount a play-off challenge. And I’m havin’ it, Jeff.
I feel in many ways I’ve moved from a shallow relationship with a showy girl, to a deeper relationship with one not so pretty, but more sophisticated. Which is what we all want. Eh? Eh?
Have other readers had their relationships with clubs realigned like this? Perhaps they could write in with their own views and observations. That would be nice.
The national anthem
You asked for some diverse topics and I’m giving it you.
I’m Stewie will write in to claim Arsenal’s fragile mentality was to blame for last night’s result but he’s talking nonsense as usual and sometimes you just have to sit back and enjoy Premier League football in all its grandeur.
No, today I’d like to talk about a national anthem for England. The idea moved one step closer yesterday with the topic being discussed in Parliament.
One of the favourites is Jerusalem – great tune and worked in the Commonwealth Games in India but I think we can do better.
England isn’t really getting an anthem. The nation’s anthem will remain God Save the Queen – a tune I’ve belted out myself at Wembley. The union isn’t coming to an end anytime soon so we’re essentially choosing an anthem for sporting occasions.
A lady on the news last night jokingly suggested Heroes by the late David Bowie. But why the hell not? Bowie was an Englishman, the tune sums up perfectly what we’re trying to achieve on that day and it works for pretty much every sport. Plus our anthem will be much cooler than everyone else’s in the union and the world.
So I’m backing Heroes and so should everyone else, if just for one day.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London