Moving on from Man United (mostly)…e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Who do you think Arsenal are?
Daniel Storey’s article ‘Mes que un club’ may give you a lot of clicks and make your website more popular on google, but it missed the point.
Firstly, there is no shame in losing to the best side in the world. This is the type of game that good players dream of being in. Picking a reserve side in the Champions League is not even thought of at Arsenal. Who do you think we are? Players are attracted to Arsenal because of nights like this.
As much as a defeat could start a bad run, I think this Arsenal side would not see it like that. We have so much else to play for this season. Back in 2010, we had a much weaker and younger squad. A squad that could not defend, lacked leadership and a poor goalkeeper to say the least. It also depends how you lose and I think we can put in a competitive performance, at home at least.
So yes, loving and losing is better than never having loved at all.
Abhi (Gooner, hoping for another cheeky 2-1 tomorrow)
Actually, City fans are quite happy thanking you…
I don’t often write in but read every day, however after hearing how disrespectful we have been, I felt compelled to write in, despite being aware of the folly of internet ‘arguments’, I need to vent.
In response to the Utd fan this morning who wondered why City fans don’t write in after a loss.
It’s simple, we can take it and move on, you see as I’m sure you are aware, we have haven’t always been challengers for trophies and have had many thumpings over the years.
So when we lose we don’t feel the need to write into a website and cry about it. You know like Arsenal, Liverpool or Utd fans do.
We don’t think we have a God-given right to win everything simply because we won lots of stuff in the past, you know like Utd fans do.
You think the City players haven’t been interested this season, that’s brilliant. Of course they are interested, it’s just at times they have not been good enough and we have a team that contains Raheem ‘I can’t pass a ball three yards and can only shoot with any power 1 in 10 times’ Sterling.
Part of it is Pellegrini’s tactics and part of it is some players not reaching the levels they should. Also injuries have played a factor, as they do for all clubs. That is not an excuse but a fact.
There is no funny business going on because Guardiola is coming. Surely if players give up now and don’t perform then Guardiola wont be inclined to keep them?
Also I’m fairly sure Pellegrini will receive better and more job offers if he goes out on with trophies to his name.
Additionally there is the situation where teams raise their game against us as we are the team everyone wants to beat at the moment. I’m sure the Utd fan will remember when it used to be Utd everyone wanted to beat, you know back when they were good. You used to tell opposition fans they were playing their cup final.
You lot make me laugh, I spent most of my life being called bitter as City were worse than United, yet Utd fans have become more bitter than we ever were in what? Three years.
Also to the BBC goons, Why did we disrespect the cup but Spurs didn’t, they played a weakened team (Granted not as many changes as us) and lost yet on MOTD, it was all “well Spurs are hoping to progress in the Europa League and make a title bid”.
Is it because Spurs are this year’s media favourites.
Yet City who before the loss yesterday were in four competitions are disrespectful, because we didn’t kiss the backside of THE FA CUP. We have a trip to Kiev this week and an actual final on Sunday as well as a Premier League to try and win. So it becomes academic as to why Pellegrini played a weak team for the least important competition for us this year.
It’s much more important for us to get past Kiev, because we will be labelled the laughing stock of Europe if we don’t win, like we have been every time we haven’t won the Champions League, despite only being in it for a handful of years. Yet we have won it the same number of times as Arsenal have!
Yes it would have been nice to win the FA Cup again and for Pellegrini as it’s the only domestic trophy he hasn’t got, but hey at least we played in it and didn’t refuse like Utd did that year they went to Brazil to embarrass themselves.
Finally for the thick fools out there, I’m looking at you Shearer! It doesn’t matter how much money City have if you can only have a 25-man squad and some of those players are injured.
Ultimately what it all boils down to is people don’t like City because a rich man bought us and spent some pounds on players. Get over it. People are only jealous because they wish it was their club that had been bought. Plus as Utd have proved recently just chucking huge wads of cash about doesn’t win you stuff on its own.
Worry about your own club pal, we will be fine over here.
All the best against Shrewsbury!
DANNY B (MCFC – Would it be disrepectful if we had won?) MCR
…Just going to put Vatsyayan, MUFC (We may fade away, but we must never give up) right on a couple of points.
A dismal performance? Far from it. A very close first half actually, only one goal in it. An excellent response from Chelsea at the start of the second half, and overall too much quality for Chelsea to overcome a very, very, inexperienced City side. If one performance can be used to judge City’s academy (and it absolutely must not) then I would say Pep is licking his lips.
The first ones to pop up after a good result? Have you not read the Mailbox in the last few years? City fans almost never pop up, and if we do, it’s usually to correct some inarticulate, wide-of-the-mark assumption from a United, Liverpool, Arsenal or Chelsea fan, not gloat over a good result.
Anyway, job done. I’m going to sit down and read the rest of Monday morning’s mailbox. Hopefully I don’t find another ill-informed email to have to put right.
Blue Tim (‘City don’t give youth a chance’ *plays six teenagers from the academy in a cup fixture* ‘that’s too much youth. Disrespectful’.
…Oh FFS…I knew I’d have to write in again:
Phil, Wallasey, judging from the endless repeats of Blue Moon and the scenes in the away end when City scored their equaliser I don’t think City fans were particularly upset with the team selection. I get the impression (I wasn’t there) that everyone enjoyed themselves and were rather impressed at seeing the efforts of the younger players. Better than an insipid performance from the last few first-teamers still standing who have one eye on Kiev on Wednesday.
Blue Tim (has anyone made a ‘chicken Kiev’ gag yet?)
Pep cannot some soon enough for me…
I’ve just read Vatsyayan’s mail regarding City ‘giving up’ for the season or even Pellegrini performing some sort of Machiavellian undercover operation to usurp the owners. Notwithstanding that this is all tosh I thought I would try and provide a long-standing season ticket holder’s view on what’s going wrong (still pinching myself that we might make the top four – again – by the way, if that makes me small time then so be it).
We’ve an ageing core to the team and with the honourable exception of Kevin de Bruyne have not recruited well enough in the past two years to complement/improve the, still very, very good spine to the team of Hart/Kompany/Silva/Aguero. Recruitment under ‘charming man’ Pellegrini has been woeful. His ‘favourites’ (Willy, Demechelis and Navas) bring little to the party, I feel for Demechelis as he’s been a great player but is simply too slow at this level. Navas plays like a horny kid on a big night out, pace, pace, then falls asleep when the big chance presents itself.
We’ve brought in some other players for astronomical money (Fernando, Mangala, Otamendi (who may yet come good)) for no discernible improvement of the squad and the jury’s still out on Sterling, but he’s still young and counts as homegrown so will get time!
Yesterday’s FA Cup tie suggests that some of the academy talent may make it (the unpronounceable centre0half, Kelechi, Barker and Garcia all look very promising) but shouldn’t some of these ‘kids’ have been blooded when we’ve been 4-0 up at home in the league? Instead we bring Demechelis on and play him in midfield?!
Pep cannot come soon enough for me, Pellegrini has been a lovely guy to have around but his lack of tactical nous (plan A or nothing), inflexibility, over-reliance on key squad members and recruitment issues mean that those teams that have worked us out (Leicester parked ten men in the box and picked us off at will and Liverpool were all over us like a virulent STD) have shown up our lack of tactical awareness.
I’ve a feeling that we’re going to see some well-loved players exit stage left in the summer (please Pep don’t let Silva go) but we’ve just too many nearing the autumn of their careers now and need a breath of fresh air.
Oh and Yaya now walks faster than he runs.
Ten changes utterly justified
A lot of people are moaning about the death of the FA Cup, so I thought I’d chuck in my two pence. My team, Hull, made 10 changes on Saturday. This is disrespectful to some, offensive to others, helping to kill the cup to yet more people, but totally justified to me. We go away to Ipswich on Tuesday night, that’s a much more important game than the cup game against Arsenal. We then have a home game against Wednesday on Friday. Again, much more important than the cup. If we’d have played Hernandez, or Robertson, or McGregor, and they’d broken their leg (highly unlikely) then it’d be a big hit on our season. I’d love to win the FA Cup, who wouldn’t? But I’d much rather get promoted. I’d rather see my team in the Prem week in week out than win the Cup once. Is this disrespectful? Maybe so. But so what? I’m sure a lot of Wigan fans would trade their FA Cup win in exchange for not being stuck toiling away in League 1.
And anyway, as the past two seasons have shown, we won’t beat Arsenal in the cup no matter what team we put out. Plus, we played a 16-year-old at left back. Once I stopped feeling like the oldest man in the world, I was delighted with that fact. A 16-year-old kid playing at the Emirates? I think that’s something we can all enjoy. The fact he’s an academy product, and a local lad, all the better.
We better get promoted now, or I’ll look a right d**khead.
Rob (of all the positions, I don’t think I’ve ever complained about lack of left-backs in my life) Leeds
FA Cup Champions League play-off?
As a Reading fan, I’m still very fond of the FA Cup (four QFs in seven seasons and one game away from consecutive semi-finals) but I agree that something needs to be done to improve the health of the competition.
One of the more popular suggestions at the moment is to give the winners a spot in the Champions League, although Martin Samuel does his best to shoot down that straw man today. I don’t think taking away the fourth-place trophy to give the spot to a cup winner would be the best solution but a tweak to this idea really could work.
At the moment, all fourth place gets you is a place in a play-off to get in to the CL, if you lose that you go to the Europa League. So, my idea is as follows:
The winner of the FA Cup and the team that finished fourth have a one off game at Wembley (or even abroad) before the following season starts. The winner of this progresses to the play-off round of the CL whilst the loser enters the Europa group stage. The game could even replace the Community Shield, so the season starts with a bang rather than a glorified friendly – the FA could still use it to raise funds for Community projects so the charity side of that game is not diminished. In the event that the cup winner has already qualified for the CL, then the Europa position reverts back to the league and no play-off takes place. The Community Shield would take place as normal. Having the game at the start of August would give the time needed to plan for either a competitive play-off or a ‘competitive’ game whilst still leaving a couple of weeks for the winner to focus on the CL play-off.
UEFA could even still make the draw if needed as ‘England Play off winner v Fiorentina’ for example.
I’m sure there’s a hundred reasons why this wouldn’t work but it would something extra to the FA Cup whilst not overtly penalising the team in fourth compared to now esp. as for the game to take place they will be playing weaker opposition i.e. if in place the last time a play-off would have been needed would have been in 2013 and would have been Arsenal v Wigan. I would be interested in people;s thoughts.
Paul (More hair that Brian McDermott – just), Germany
Replays when and if…
With all the talk about the FA Cup and replays, here’s an odd idea that might work: replays only if the score is 0-0. If it’s a score draw, just go to extra time and penalties. This would have two positive effects:
* It would encourage teams to go for goals if they don’t want a replay;
* It would allow lower-league teams that can hang on and shut down the big boys a financial reward.
Seems pretty straightforward.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA (please no seeding!)
Save the FA Cup (or don’t)
A lot of people are discussing how to fix the FA Cup at the minute, with good reason. But, one of the suggestions I have seen that I am very much against is scrapping the League Cup.
The issue I have with the FA Cup is that it feels like an unwelcome distraction to the league. The games kick off at the same time and, usually, you play the same bloody teams. Add in replays and it feels like it goes on forever.
The League Cup, played almost entirely under lights in the middle of the week, feels unique and exciting. The atmosphere of Liverpool’s early round games against Southampton, ‘Boro, etc was far more endearing than the drab noise against West Ham, or other sides in previous seasons.
But, the crucial thing that seals the deal for me is the timing of the final. It comes in February, standing apart as a piece of silverware in the midst of league and European games – a breath of fresh air, a one-off event that can be particularly memorable.
The FA Cup comes at the business end of the season. At one point, this would have been an important piece of the spectacle, but now it is the weak middle in the trilogy of PL decider and CL final. It falls flat.
So rather than scrap the League Cup, I would like the FA Cup to try and emulate it.
Try bring the third round back a bit – say December? Play the next few rounds in mid-week. You can keep your semi-finals at Wembley and put them on at the weekend if you must, though I do think it would be better sending them to neutral grounds. And then, if it can be worked out, play the final in April. End of April if necessary, but if it has its own slot in the footballing calendar then the magic and luster might just start to come back.
And a final few points (apologies, this went on much longer than planned)
– Why would the Premier League give up a fourth CL spot to the FA? It is nonsense.
– Who actually benefits? Portsmouth and Wigan are the only two sides from outside the traditional big five to win the FA Cup in 21 years. Go back even further, you have to go to the mid 1980s for two non-traditionally big clubs to win in a row. Why would adding a back door in help? If anything, it just gives, say, Chelsea a reprieve for f*cking up before Christmas this season.
– Also, the famous coefficient – consider the damage done by Wigan and Pompey bombing out in the group stage? Unless every league in Europe was on board, it is a stupid idea, disadvantaging English sides for the preserve of a domestic cup.
– And, finalement, is the FA Cup’s demise as bad as made out? As said, just two non-traditionally big sides have won it in 21 years. In fact, since 1980, Coventry, Wimbledon, Wigan and Portsmouth are the only ones outside of City, United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Spurs, Everton and Arsenal to have won it. It essentially saved Arsene’s bacon to win it, City saw it as a major milestone to win it in 2011. If you consider how much focus the domestic cups get on the continent – f*ck all – I don’t think it’s quite as bad as people think.
Kevin, LFC, Cork
…I’ve heard a lot of people talking about giving the FA cup winners a Champions League place and also Mike LFC mentioned it this morning.
Here are the last 11 winners and where they finished in the league that season…
2005 – Arsenal – 2nd
2006 – Liverpool – 3rd
2007 – Chelsea – 2nd
2008 – Portsmouth – 8th
2009 – Chelsea – 3rd
2010 – Chelsea – 1st
2011 – Man City – 3rd
2012 – Chelsea – 6th
2013 – Wigan – 18th
2014 – Arsenal – 4th
2015 – Arsenal – 3rd
So out of all of these there was only three teams that finished outside the top 4 anyway. One of these was Chelsea in 2012 and they won the Champions League anyway so they wouldn’t have benefitted so in all that time just Wigan and Portsmouth would have benefitted. Wigan would have been representing England The Championship.
I guess the argument is to give the incentive so all managers want to have a real go at it but I’m not convinced. We’re still seeing weakened teams in the Europa League when it’s a guarantee of Champions League football.
As sad as it is I think it’s time for everyone to realise that things never stay the same and the FA Cup had it’s day and it’s never going to be big again. If things always stayed the same then Macauley Caulkin and Corey Feldman would have been cast as Batman and Superman in the upcoming film with Bros doing the soundtrack.
We need long-term players at Man United…
Since 2000 Real have gone through 13 managers but we all consider them one of the biggest clubs in the world, chopping and changing their managers has not prevented Real signing genuinely world-class players although it would appear it has impacted their success in my opinion, but they have had to compete against the best club side in Barca I have ever seen.
Chelsea have worked their way through 12 managers in the same period but it has coincided with Chelsea’s greatest era as a football club, multiple domestic leagues and cups followed up with Europa and Champions League success.
Barca (8) and Bayern (7) have gone through their share of managers too but have been hugely successful.
There is no link between success and having a long-term manager. I would actually argue that having players for long term is more important. The teams named above have all had the spine of their team at their club for a long time. Xavi, Messi, Lahm, Terry, Lampard etc etc
Man Utd’s greatest era was when we had players who spend majority of their career dedicated to the club, complimented with Evra, Ronaldo or Vidic etc who played six years plus in their prime.
United fans have wasted so much time and energy venting about Moyes, LvG and who will be next Giggs or Mourinho. The real problem United face is signing long-term players, even in the current squad De Gea, Martial, Mata, Herrera look like players who are destined to leave for Spain. According to people in the know, United are falling rapidly behind in the youth development scene and this spells huge trouble to me. United are struggling to sign top-quality players and are not producing their own.
You can have the best manager in the world but if the squad lacks quality and the spine lack long-term commitment to the club you will not have success. Look at Arsenal, long-term manager but very little success.
United need to have a vision for the club. Remove Ed as CEO, he has strengths in generating revenue streams but signing players is not one of them. Identify quality long-term signings with improved scout base. Rejuvenate the youth development. Once these are in place a manager can begin to take the road to success. Standing still is the worse thing you can do in football and United have been guilty of this for the last decade.
Paul (MUFC), Dublin
Putting us straight on goalkeepers
Ed. You say…
‘add to that list is that goalkeepers should never – or at least, without feeling shame – be beaten at their near post.’
This line is often thrown around (usually by people who have never worn a pair of gloves) and is utter poppycock.
A goalkeeper has to defend a whole goal not just the near post. Strikers are told to hit shots ‘across the goalkeeper’, therefore, goalkeepers must be prepared for this. So, actually from time to time a goalkeeper will be beaten near post.
Graham (Fully paid up member of the Goalkeeper Union)