Good mails, now keep them coming you filthy animals. And read the latest Mailbox guest, Ted, Manchester, on the mess at Blackpool. He is indeed one of your own. Send mails to firstname.lastname@example.org
Sent before the game…
Just took a look at our starting XI and I thought why not send a mail early before I inevitably chuck my laptop out of the window in frustration.
Firstly, I see good ol’ Fellaini starting again, which could go two ways, somehow he’ll be striking with Rashford and Martial either side of him, or just elbowing everyone in sight and doing fuck all
Second, I bet we go the whole 1st half without another shot on target, not too far-fetched eh? I thought LVG said his “philosophee” starts taking shape in 2 years, still waiting now, don’t think any of us have the patience for another year of “philosophee”
Thirdly, Rooney is going to come on in the 60th, cause we’ll probably be 2-0 down and in need of a miracle, Ha! If his first touch is decent i’ll be happy
Rashford and Martial will probably be our only bright spark and the only players trying to make runs as usual.
I’ll end of by saying I think we all know LVG wont be running the strings next season so I do not see the point in just waiting it out, I think someone should just get their hands dirty and give him the sack now
…Foolishly, as it happens
Just like I thought it would go!
A thrilling cup tie and it’s been a while since I enjoyed a United performance that much. The understanding and link up play between Rashford and Martial is incredible and certainly makes you dream of a future partnership between the duo.
Timo Fosu-Mensah was absolutely phenomenal again, interception after interception and a few decent forward runs, I know he’s isnt a full back by trade but the way he’s been playing I dont see Darmian coming back into the line up very soon. and David De Gea! Wow! What more can you say about the man, those last two double saves were out of this world and I think keeping a hold of him should be United number one priority. Not too upset about the way we played it’s just a pity we can’t seem to see games out and you could certainly tell the players were nerving during that final period of the game.
I’d like to see Memphis a bit more now, Lingard has been doing well but Memphis has a bit more of attacking threat I believe, he is however a let down when it comes to the defensive side of the game. Have nothing to say about LVG today but great to be in a semi final again.
Jesse Lingard praise
Jesse Lingard is not world class. True. But he is 23. He has played about 30 games for Man Utd and is getting better quickly. He played very well last night but yet was not mentioned in Daniel Storey’s article, while Martial was given a chunky paragraph despite having a fairly poor game. I just cant work out what prompts this attitude (aside from him not being very fashionable).
As Storey correctly pointed out, Van Gaal has given youth a chance and should be applauded. I cant think, except maybe Poch, of any manager in the prem who would have taken the risk on a young 18 year old from the youth. Certainly not Pardew or Allardyce. Rashford put in his best performance last night and he would not have done that without experience under his belt. When you get a promotion it can take years to hone your art. When the wise people at Football365 all started as journalists were you as good as now? Amazingly, probably not.
Now the inevitable controversial paragraph. You all purport to support England but dont approve of giving youngsters a chance to grow without bullying them and making them jokes (see Ryan Mason for another example.). Youngsters need to learn like anyone else. Lingard is in his first season of top flight football, Mason his second. Why do you feel they are fair game for abuse? I mean I know you don’t praise Vardy wherever humanly possible (although weirdly write controversial articles on how amazing Suarez is), but why, do you attack poor lovely Jesse and Ryan?
(MC – I don’t praise Lingard that much because I don’t think he’s very good, nor that he’ll make it at United. Sorry, but I’ve been wrong a thousand times before.)
…F365 today I feel are bang on that United need to serve the youth, Rashford and Martial in particular. I would however like to say to Mr Storey please don’t use your praise of Martial to issue subtle criticism of Jesse Lingard who had a very good and lively game. The cross in the build up to Fellaini’s goal and an early through ball to the human microphone which he blasted over the bar stand out as a couple of excellent moments off the top of my head.
I really hope Lingard doesn’t find himself next in the football365 firing line of younger players overly criticised (MC – Oh, too late). After all youth must be served.
Toby or not Toby?
Having seen the nominations for POTY, I too was notably stunned by the omission of Toby Alderweireld.
Matt Stead’s article was spot on and I won’t repeat the facts, just read his piece. I will highlight the main fact though: Tottenham conceded one more goal than relegated Hull last season; now Spurs have the best defence in the league. You may argue the overall understanding between the players and the development of the pressing system has helped, along with Dier’s role in CDM, but with the press comes potential gaping holes infront of the defence. You need a brilliant defender to mop up the mess, not a Fazio or Chiriches. And it’s no coincidence that Vertonghen is back to his best, that Rose is the main contender for the England left back spot, and Kyle Walker is officially a good player (Remember when no one could gauge whether BAE was any good? Well Walker fell into the same boat last season). Alderweireld’s presence has boosted defensive confidence amongst the squad, and potentially given Lord Hugo a major reason to stay at the club.
If the players are heading down this dangerous path of almost solely rewarding attacking players for their contriubutions, then surely supporters can be slightly more intelligent and see the contribution of Alderweireld? Well…
After the nominees were selected, my friends and I had a small debate. They felt the nominees were fine, with one arguing a case for De Gea. Their arguments were also the same. Payet, Ozil and Mahrez are there for their creativity; Kane and Vardy for their goals; and Kante for overall dominance (even though Dembele beats hiim in all relevant power rankings, so where is Dembele’s nomination?)
So where has it all gone wrong? Since when should players, and mind-bogglingly defenders, be solely judged on their attacking output? Toby Alderweireld has been robbed of a nomination as player of the year. Simple. The art of defending is dead, and the appreciation of said art along with it.
Matt (Chairman of the Alderweireld Appreciation Society, and The Defender’s Union) Melbourne
Writing this just after Atletico Madrid’s extremely impressive performance against Barcelona. My admiration for their hard work, resolute defending and astute play on the counter is dwarfed largely by my admiration for the man who orchestrated it- Diego Simeone. The way he rallied his players and the crowd, even; the way Griezmann rushed to him after scoring the penalty- all signs of a fantastic man-manager.
And, through each minute of the game I kept wishing he was Arsenal’s manager. To instil a sense of passion, pride and belief, if nothing else.
What the f**k’s happened to Barca?
– For all the talk of the “Barca way” of playing, they resorted to the old age tactic of moving a centre-half up front in a frantic search for a goal. Big Sam would be so proud.
– What’s gone wrong with Messi eh? Another subdued performance, to go with poor showings from the S and the N part of the front three as well. Perhaps the off-field problems (tax evasion/Panama Papers) are starting to take it’s toll. Of course, if Ronaldo was going through a similar goal-scoring rut, and putting in the same amount of anonymous performances as the little Argentine, no doubt the mailbox would be awash with condemnation and doubt regarding his aura. Objectivity takes a back-seat when the shoe is on the other foot it appears.
– Yes, Barca should have had a penalty in the last minute, but then again Iniesta should have seen red for his deliberate hand-ball before that. And both Suarez and Neymar were lucky to escape more serious censure than a yellow as well. That’s not to mention Suarez’s “indiscipline” in the first leg. Decisions (or lack thereof) tend to balance themselves out.
– I know it’s generally a load of tosh, but how Diego Godin hasn’t been included in the FIFPro Team of the Year ahead of that walking time-bomb Sergio Ramos is one of the great conundrums of modern football. An old-school, tough as nails defender, who balances solidity with the odd moment of sh*thousery and brinkmanship (so literally the polar opposite of Ramos). A leader of men.
– Surely, the stars have aligned for an All-Madrid/Pep vs City semi final pairing? Subplots galore.
Brian, (give me a defensive masterclass over Tika Taka any day of the week), Wexford
‘Barcelona disgust me to my core’
I feel overjoyed that Barcelona have been eliminated from the Champions League. At least you get what you see with Real Madrid, but Barcelona, they pretend to be the good guys, I’ve never seen a team attempt to cheat and steal not only results in every match they play but also the hearts of football fans globally as much as these charlatans.
Watch them fly their ‘underdogs’ flag high while owning the most potent strike force on the planet. Watch them hack players down and then grin innocently hands clasped together at the ever sympathetic referees who joke along about the accidental coming together of a Barcelona defender with a ball-carrying forward in the box, card? no. penalty? jog on mate. Watch them roll on the floor like a child if you look at them the wrong way.
They disgust me to my core and I’m overjoyed they shall venture forth not a single step further in Europe’s premier competition. With any luck maybe Atletico Madrid will pip them to the domestic title too.
The Flan, (Gimme some of that hot, hot Benfica) North London
Leicester could get relegated next season
This season has been the aberration to end all aberrations, Not one but two challengers from the pack, one of which has come from another solar system away. One of the two will win it, one for the first time ever, the other the first for 55 years. At the same time regular champions and financial bullies Chelsea AND Man U will both miss the the CL
One of these events occurring is phenomenally rare (see Forest, Nottingham), but to have all of these things happen at once? A perfect storm. Once in a generation, or even once in a century. Average footballers playing out of their skins, out of this world (sorry Mr Vardy, Mr Morgan et all) and maintaining it over a season. This is actual fairy tale stuff.
Sadly I just can’t see this ever happening again. One of these events? Yes. But not all. I fear the natural order will return.
Given these events, next season I predict another Haley’s Comet season. If Leicester win I think there is a decent chance of the champions being relegated the following season for the first time since Man City in 36-37.
Benzema decision should be applauded
Not sure if many have seen the news that the French Football Federation confirmed Benzema is not going to the Euros. I don’t have anything against him personally (though there isn’t much worse than (reportedly) blackmailing a teammate), but feel the decision to exclude him should be applauded.
Playing for your country should be an honour for most players, and in turn for that privilege players should keep to a standard as role models. I think more national football governing bodies should make a point in similar situations rather than blindly defending their players despite any of their actions.
Grant J (looking at you Uruguay and Suarez)
Jarring cultural references
It’s always a bit jarring when any commentator observes the game with a comparison to something outside of football. As awkward as they can be, they’re mostly harmless.
During the West Ham v Man Utd FA Cup replay on the BBC, a comment on Bilic’s head gear lingered in the mind for some time. As the rain poured, Steve Wilson said, “Some time guitar player Bilic, sporting a Kurt Kobainesque hat there.”
Now, some could go for the soft option and mock Wilson for the outdated Kobain reference or for using Kobain (not famed for his guitar prowess – although underrated in my opinion) as the first guitar player that sprang to mind in order to link his observation or, more obviously, that Kobain isn’t even known for hat wearing, let alone West Ham beanies.
However, Wilson is being far more subversive than may initially be thought. He is clearly damning the recent state of music and its lack of authenticity through his Kobain reference.
This was no awkward attempt to relate the world of football to the outside world, like a teacher trying to spit slang to seem cool to the kids. This was deep. This meant something. Or not. Whatever. Nevermind.
Stefan. Gooner. Norfolk
Hating the George Best portrait
I thought this was a football website, where you read about football, as opposed to the bad decisions or acts George Best made in his life.
Yes he made some terrible decisions and hurt people along the way, but who on this page cares? That sort of writing belongs in a tabloid newspaper. Granted these incidents were only mentioned a handful of times but they should never have been brought up. He was a legend on the field, just leave it at that.
(MC – To leave out the off-field persona would be to completely misrepresent Best as a footballer and person. The two cannot be separated, as they were symbiotic.)
Weird, but true
My ex-girlfriend just revealed that she’s first soprano in the Champions League anthem recording that plays at every Champions League match, and on every TV show that covers it.
There’s an official UEFA making of video on YouTube with her in and everything.
I will never watch Champions League football again without a sense of vague loss for what once was, and will never be again. So, pretty much the same as Liverpool fans.