Mails: Karim Benzema/Mathieu Flamzema

Date published: Thursday 24th September 2015 9:45

Arsenal fans have found their midfielder and striker all rolled into one. The Mailbox revolution continues with more lower league sc*m, but Brendan Rodgers just can’t stay away. There’s no Ed Quoththeraven either…

You know what to do – send your thoughts to


Seriously editor, what the f*ck is happening.  why do I need to read about Villa , Leicester, Brighton, Hull and even sodding Leeds!

do these place even have Football teams.  Are they not just service station stop off points ?

I want more of the Wenger out and Brenda © emails with a smattering of Eva is sexy so shouldn’t be treated like that type mails (and Edquot’s letters of course)

really.  you call yourself a football site and dare print such varied sh*t as that…..
Neil (thank you…..) Surrey.


Oscar: Underrated?
Not many people seem to have noticed that the only decent performances by Chelsea so far this season have taken place when Oscar was on the pitch (against Arsenal, against Tel Aviv and in the first half against Swansea, before he was subbed off due to Courtois’s red card).

My geeky side took over today and I found an interesting stat.  Last year’s player of the season (Hazard) had a goal or an assist every 147 minutes in the Premier League.  Oscar, though he played less than Hazard, had a goal or an assist every 146 minutes.  I know stats aren’t everything but that’s pretty good going, considering Hazard had penalty duties and considering Oscar also puts in a lot more tackles (1.9 per game to Hazard’s 0.7).

Then I watched some Chelsea compilations from last season and remembered the quality of Oscar’s goals (we are talking outside of the boot, top corner type stuff, not deflections or tap ins) and of his all-round play (e.g. the backheel to set up Hazard against United).

With all the plaudits last season going to Hazard, Matic, Fabregas, Terry etc, Oscar now seems to be quite underrated.  As some of the other players seem to have succumbed to the pressure of high expectations, Oscar may be key to Chelsea’s success this season, possibly with Pedro keeping Willian out of the side in a lot of games (same running and work rate, more end product).
James Bruschini


This Is What Is Happening In Coventry…
Can I also add what a joy it was to read a non ManLivArseChels mailbox today. As a lower league myself, there’s only so many times you can read the suicidal, hyperbolic ramblings of them lot. Must be tough celebrating trophy wins in your lifetime, watching your club play in Europe, sign players for double figure millions, challenge for silverware and be on TV all the time. They have my sympathy.

Anyway, I thought I’d throw my club into the lower league mailbox entry fad, Coventry City. To your younger readers, we were in the top flight for 34 consecutive years and won the FA Cup once and as a founding member of the Premier League, we still delude ourselves into believing we’re a big club/sleeping giant (maybe we are).

However, in my 20 years supporting the club, bar the yearly relegation battles in the Prem, its not been great. Since 2001 we’ve had two relegation’s, one top 10 finish, no play off appearances, two seasons of points deductions, administration, transfer embargoes and a ownership/stadium fiasco that drove a lot of fans away. Our owners, rightly or wrongly (it’s ‘wrongly’) moved us to Northampton for a year after refusing to pay the rent at our “home”. The council sell the ground, rightly or wrongly (again, the answer is ‘wrongly’) to a rugby franchise who, upon our return from exile, kicked us out of (our) the home dressing room and started putting up massive clip art pictures of insects. Most of our managers during this period have been given a nickname by Richard Keys, that should tell you enough about their ability and stature.

This season is different though, well it feels different so far. In Mowbray, we now seem to have a manager who understands football and have an actual game plan and the results show this  (10 wins in his first 21 games versus 10 wins in the previous 46 before he took over). A mix of experienced players, kids from the academy (the stupidly talented James Maddison) and some talented loanees (including Newcastle’s future saviour Adam Armstrong) have seen us go to 4th, 2 points off the top. The football is creative, pacey and a joy to watch. For those Cov fans who still choose to stay away they should ignore the off field ongoing legal battles between council and owners and just enjoy the football for what it is. You support a club to watch them play football, not to analyse their yearly accounts and legal wranglings.

Roll on January when Mowbray gets poached, the loanees return to their parent clubs and the youth get sold for pittance. Wasps RFC will probably change the seating colour as well.
Dan, (I had Ndlovu on the back of my 94-95 Shirt), Brighton


…And Norwich
Another mail from outside the top clubs.

Norwich City fan here, and quite happy with things so far. Two good wins against teams we kinda need to be beating, a great point (and story for Russell Martin!) vs Liverpool and sitting in a nice position in the table.
Early days of course, but a decent start. We’ve got the right manager and haven’t blown a gigantic amount of cash on a poor striker this time round!

Things are good at the moment.
Daniel Rouse


…And Newcastle
Last April you were kind enough to publish my diatribe against John Carver and his incompetence.

After tonight’s result I officially give up.

How can an obviously astute businessman like Ashley keep making such disastrous personnel decisions? And I am seriously questioning the alleged competence of Graham Carr Head Scout in identifying the right kind of players for Newcastle because it looks like this lot isn’t going to be much better than the last lot.
Can anyone tell me, given these last few performances, one team in the Premier League that we could reasonably beat this season (other than Sunderland and I doubt that)
JH Aruba NUFC (another dreadful season ahead of us)


So Newcastle have just lost to Sheffield Wednesday reserves. If nothing else, that should give Arsenal and Liverpool fans a reason to feel better about themselves. Kinda like watching a world vision add after losing your wallet. Its bad but it could be Newcastle.

I’m trying to think things through rather than get upset about it. It’s my psychological defence. But the result defies rationalisation. In that team were Krul, Janmaat, De Jong and Wijnaldum – 4 dutch internationals and 2 former captains of prestigious Everdisie clubs. How can they not beat championship reserves? That’s like an MMA fighter getting beat up by a gobby teenager. Ladies and Gentlemen It. Does. Not. Make. Sense. And yes, my head may explode ala that Southpark episode.
Hugo (NUFC) Adelaide.


Is Steve McClaren the worst manager ever? He has to be a contender. He has failed at every single club he’s been at, even (rather exquisitely) looping back to FC Twente for a second spell because he didn’t properly mess up the first time. I suppose his defenders will say he’s won a League Cup but so has Brian Little. I honestly can’t think of another manager who has exhibited such incompetence at so many big clubs over such an extended period of time. Am I missing someone?
Matt Pitt


Steve mcclaren, Alan shearer, Paul Gascoigne, the fog on the Tyne, and and dec, Jimmy nail, Donna air, the cast of Geordie shore, Cheryl Cole, can you hear me Cheryl Cole… Your boys took one hell of a beating tonight
Luke (Wednesday fan- Dublin)


…And Liverpool (Oops, Sorry)
I’m predicting lots of annoyed reds venting in the mail box today but I’m looking on the bright side (to protect my sanity).

1) we played against a league two side in a way that almost ensures that Rodgers position is now untenable.
2) we managed to stay in the competition so at least any new manager has another trophy to aim at.
3) Dejan Lovren should be nowhere near the first time for quite a while.

Win, win, win.
Carl (47 shots and we never actually looked like scoring. Sheesh.) the Welsh


The most frustrating thing about following Liverpool versus Carlisle last night (and this season in general) was that whilst Liverpool have always struggled against lower league sides and in the really important games (which makes me wonder what games we don’t struggle in…is there anything in between?), I had always thought it was because we didn’t have a decent squad and couldn’t cope with the rigours of multiple competitions. The capabilities of some of the coaches/players/owners meant that the quality of the football was also predictably lacking (I’m looking at you Roy and Djimi). However, l have come to realise that it really shouldn’t be with this squad. When looking at this squad compared to the big/last season’s top four (for comparisons sake), I don’t think it is that far off – that doesn’t mean as good as or better before I get my a*** handed to me by the rest of you:

GK – Mignolet and Bogdan – worse off than the others who have four of the top six or seven keepers in the world

DF – Clyne, Lovren, Skrtel, Sakho, Toure, Gomez, Flanagan, Moreno – I don’t buy into the idea that our CBs are awful. Lovren had a pretty decent record before coming to Liverpool and Skrtel has shown he can be solid in lengthy spells previously. I have a love of Sakho that could be a mail in itself. However, they don’t seem to complement each other and/or don’t enjoy playing in a system out of their comfort zone. There isn’t much cover at RB and LB but the first choice options are reasonable, even if Moreno is suspect defensively. The other teams seem to have a more settled CB pairing but each with their own flaws; City – Injury, Chelsea – age, Ivanovic, Arsenal – Mertesacker, United – unsettled/lack of pace (although Smalling is developing into quite a player).

MF – Lucas, Milner, Henderson, Can, Coutinho, Firmino, Lallana, Ibe – A solid base with creativity coming from the players supporting the strikers. The main difference is someone deeper in midfield who can dictate the pace or create something from nothing. The other teams have someone who can do this; City – Toure, Chelsea – Fabregas, Arsenal – Cazorla, United – Schweinsteiger/Carrick.

FW – Sturridge, Benteke, Ings, Origi – Three proven goalscorers at this level each with a big ‘if’. For Sturridge it’s whether he can stay fit, for Benteke whether he gets the right service and for Ings whether his first season was a flash in the plan. The less said about Origi at the moment, the better – the more I watch him, the more it seems like the world cup was just a lone purple patch. The other teams seem to have one quality striker with some issues with the support; City – the best striker in the division and one of the best  in the world but a striker not quite as well suited for the system as back up, Chelsea – a s***head up front who scores goals with an out of favour Remy and one who looks better on paper (Falcao) support, Arsenal – A quality underrated striker and pacy winger both sharing first choice, United – hard to say who is first choice after the initial impact of Martial but suspect that Rooney is still first choice (though that will probably change sooner rather than later).

So in summary, Liverpool are clearly behind the other teams in Midfield and Goalkeeping ability but I think it is less clear defensively (it really is down to poor organisation and defenders that don’t complement each other) and up front. Whilst I’m not expecting us to finish in the top 4 or event challenge, this squad really should be making light work of teams lower in the league and it definitely should be able to cope with playing in 3 or 4 competitions. In the past, we have tended to have had a very good first team with overreliance on them to avoid injuries so it made sense that we were on the end of lots of upsets and faded right at the end of the season when fatigue plays more of a role.

This is why it is so frustrating watching Liverpool produce utter dross in terms of performance and entertainment at the moment, as it really shouldn’t be the case
Gurse (Literary F***wit first, Football fan second), LFC
P.S Apologies for the horrendously long email, this is what four weeks of frustration looks like


Liverpool say they haven’t spoken to Carlo Ancelotti… Maybe they should reconsider
Nikolai (my eyes, my eyes) V

As a Liverpool supporter, I’m relieved to see that the decline of our club has finally passed through the stages of infuriating to frustating to distressing to depressing and now onto the much easier-to-deal-with comically pathetic.

Thanks for laughs Brendan.
Olly, Brisbane.


Further to your piece in mediawatch about the independents analysis, What I would like to know is what are Pelligrini and his staff doing all week if they haven’t been trying all the formations out on the computer. It smacks of gross negligence on their very well paid arses. Time to get a spotty 12 year old in quick before they drop more points.
Damian, Athenry


Second Teams
I was interested to read the mail from Alex MUFC (Mailbox 23 September) displaying his love for his second team, Brighton. I’m wondering how many other fans have a second team they genuinely care about.

As a supporter of a big (okay, rich) club I’ve found it impossible to muster up real interest in my official second team, Stockport County. This is despite me technically growing up in Stockport, attending games regularly when I was younger, having friends and family who support the club and once having joined the supporters’ trust.

It’s now a serious practical problem for me because by a cruel twist of fate, one of my bosses at work thinks I am a County fan and keeps asking me how they did at the weekend. I generally have no idea. This has gone on too long for me to tell him the truth, but without fail I always forget to check on County’s result, league position etc. I usually make something up but I’m going to be caught out sooner or later.
Richard MCFC


Fun Football Trips
The excellent Wednesday pm mailbox asked about fun footie trips around. My jealousy over their Dortmund trip is unending, but have been blessed with a few fun footie days out though:

Wokingham town. I don’t think they even have a stadium these days, but the point is that a non league day out can be loads of fun. Comically overweight players, irreverence from the stands and a generally very casual easy going atmosphere. Never been, but apparently Dulwich hamlet is a great laugh.

Benfica. The stadium is identical to the emirates, kind of oddly so. The city’s great but the atmosphere in ground was absolutely flat. And you can’t drink in there, which is a problem at a stag/hen do.

Milan. It’s just a really, really really big stadium. Like you think you might fall off if you’re on the 3rd tier. Go get their before they knock it down.

Hertha Berlin. Saving the best for last. We saw a relegation showdown with hoffenheim a couple of years ago. 80,000 turned up, atmosphere was rocking throughout. Bier was reasonably priced and all present were entirely tolerant of the pissed English group who had all woken up with no hair that morning. Germany really knows how to do a football experience.
James Gooner


You were right about cracking mailbox – the usual speculations and pontifications about arsenal/utd/Liverpool formations/transfers/managers bore me senseless, even as an arsenal fan.

Anyway, european away trips – thought id chip in my two penneth worth:

Barca – went in the dog days of the rijkaard era, ronaldinho deco messi all injured but saw bojan get a hattrick, Thierry miss several open goals and iniesta give the most understated display of genius I’ve still ever seen. Honestly, worth going just to see his vision and close control up close. Got tickets on the door (with 90k capacity I think it’s generally pretty easy for the low key games) and sat up in the gods, enjoying the sunset over the back of the opposite stand. A beautiful experience. Couple local down the end of the row smoking joints the whole game added to the hazy end of season melancholia, too..

Sporting Lisbon – on holiday with the girlfriend last year and spontaneously decided to pick up some €30 tickets for a great game v Porto. Certain areas had the chants, flags and flares that you’d hope for – we just sat behind the goal sipping contentedly on a couple superbocks and laughing at nani. All very civilised. It’s also a great place to scout the next big things – William carvalho really was fantastic. After the game we headed back to barro alto for late night drinking in the streets, bowling around with some bloke called Carl who made a living collecting council tax in Croydon. Halcyon days.
Alastair, AFC


Potential Liverpool Signing?
Surprised Brendad didn’t take a punt on this Aspas chap who scored twice against Barca tonight…

p.s. Malaga is a good shout for a footballing weekend away. Cheap tickets, great weather, and excellent local wine.
Alex (Malaga)


Iago (corner) Aspas scored two against Barcelona

The end is here
Oluwaseun (impossible is nothing) Fabunmi


Is Iago Aspas at Celta on loan?  Maybe he’s ready to lead the line for Liverpool?
Niall O’Connor


Iago Aspas scores a brace against Barcelona. It’s really just Rodgers who is awful, isn’t it?

As for that Flamini, he’s like a new signing!
Greg Benham, AFC


Mathieu Flamzema
Well at least it looks like Arsene has found that striker we have been looking for. A goal every 45 minutes is a fantastic scoring record from the Flamster.
Adonis (Flamini scores when he wants) Stevenson, AFC


Arsenal fans wanted a striker and a CDM. Enter Mathieu Flamini.
(Debuchy was awful!)


Benzema scored two goals to help his team win 2-1 against their bitter rivals. And so did Matthieu Flamini…

People hate on him because he was free but imagine if we had signed him for 50m last summer as a striker after that performance.
Shreyas (yes, I’m kidding but he might be handy this season) Krishna


Fattest/Ugliest Prem Players
In this age of Instagram and constant Facebook photos there seems to be a real emphasis on the superficial. And rightly so, nobody likes a fatty…

This got me thinking who is the fattest player to ever make the cut for a premier league team (or English first decision proceeding)? I recall a fleshy robbie fowler returning to Liverpool and Rooney cops a lot of flack, but I’m hoping for a real rotund example, like John candy with a pair of keeper gloves.

And on a second note, who has the unfortunate distinction of being the ugliest player to have taken the field? I remember as a kid thinking luke Chadwick had a face like a sack of chisels.

Everyone let out your inner mean girls….


I know the common theme among most fans, and especially this website, is to give out about Rooney every time he takes to the field but his goal tonight was magnificent. Despite not playing well, that was a superb touch, evasion of the defender and finish.

Credit where credit is due.
Paddy(Delighted with Pereira’s goal too), Mayo


Not to drag the arse out of this any longer than is necessary. But for the first time ever I agree with something Jose Mourinho has said. He’s absolutely right in saying that FA decision makes retaliation ok. It’s a crazy decision, unless of course they plan to get him on the misconduct charge. Why are they leaving days between these decsions? Just decide and let us all get back to football!
Royston Queen


Mailbox XI
God, that was a stupid email from “Dan (Lewandowski. Wow), Medway”.

Ed QTR up front? Surely he’s wasted there and needs to run the game from midfield.

And no place for “obligatory third paragraph” or “brackets gag”? The man is a buffoon.

Let’s face it though, we’ve struggled ever since Smyth, MUFC and Martin Ansell stopped being able to play week-in, week-out…
Jonny, F365 #StozzaDIn
Enjoyed Dan (Lewandowski. Wow), Medway’s email on the mailbox XI but he missed out my personal favourite: the mail that begins (much like me bedroom escapades, arf arf) with “sorry for the length…” only to run to about 4 measly paragraphs.
Ben, WHUFC, Surrey


Load Of Balls
Matt (I still love you), Manchester, why were googling scrotum and checking the news tab in the first place?
Kevin (I’m quite fond of you), Dublin

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