Well done all. Back to work tomorrow and hopefully two Mailboxes a day. Send your lovely stuff to firstname.lastname@example.org…
On *the* goal
Giroud, you sexy bastard! Say what you want about the perceived lack of quality matches this season but goodness me, we’ve been treated to some absolutely spectacular strikes.
Last week’s Winners and Losers eulogized over Mkhitaryan’s goal for all the right reasons and perfectly captured why people are so enamored with football. An outrageous piece of skill that deserved all the coverage it got. Storey must be a prophet as he even mentioned that the goal was “the type you see once or twice a season” but even he must have been surprised by how soon the next one would come along.
Giroud’s goal took everything about that Mkhitaryan goal and upgraded it. A more important goal to open the scoring instead of a meaningless goal in a victory, check. A significantly better build up, started by Giroud’s magical flick, check. A higher level of technique being required, owing to the the additional height of the ball, being surrounded by more players instead of being in open space and having no pace on the ball, check. The pace, strength, anticipation, athleticism and technique on display all made the goal perfect. Even the ball hitting the bar as it went in automatically made the goal that much more sexier.
The ingenuity required to even come up with that, let alone watch the ball onto your heel at that height, generate the pace and precision on the strike and perfectly execute it was incredible. It is skill like this that makes football special and transcends sport into art. Take a bow, son.
Falooda in NY
I’m really looking forward to six mailboxes in a row with people arguing which one was better.
Aidan, EFC, Redditch
*Maybe this really is a different West Brom. After a soporific first 40 minutes at Southampton, they allowed a corner kick goal, then proceeded to dominate the game through neat passing, aggressive defense, and fluid midfield play. Chris Brunt, Hal Robson-Kanu, and Matt Phillips did a decent impression of Lallana-Firmino-Mané, and Robson-Kanu scores worldies as long as there’s a Cymro in charge. Would Tony Pulis do any worse with Man City than Pep Guardiola? (OK, that was mean.)
*Manchester United are playing better than a José Mourinho team has done for some time. Can’t wait for the matches against the rest of the top six.
*Here’s a proposition: let’s get every Premier League follower in the English-speaking world to contribute ₤5 to Bournemouth so they can buy Jack Wilshere. It’s such a pleasure to see him playing injury-free in a system built around him. Going back to Arsenal, at least if Wenger’s still in charge, will be two steps backwards. Oh, and Alfie Mawson is trying to grow a moustache for the second time. It’s going about as well as the rest of Swansea’s season.
*It’s not looking good for Hull City. I’ve been backing them strongly the past month, and they’ve been playing so well, but they don’t seem to have enough to translate performances into wins. Mike Phelan didn’t help himself against Everton by failing to make a defensive substitution when the game was crying out for it. But I’ll keep hoping.
*André Gray might be the most improved player in the league from week one, so his nifty hat trick wasn’t a surprise. The surprise was how really awful Sunderland were. Vito Mannone failed the first post-Pickford test, Papy Djilobodji disintegrated as soon as partner Lamine Koné went down injured, and the midfield were simply overwhelmed. David Moyes tried three formations and nothing worked, and against a team allowing more shots on target than any in the league, they didn’t get one until the 71st minute.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Mignolet has his confidence back
Been meaning to write this since he was re-instated, but I don’t think there has ever been any doubt about Mignolets ability as a goalkeeper. People always say he’s a good shot stopper but…
After Karius’ ‘blip’ people were clamouring for Hart to be signed (I’m sure the English rags would love it) but it completely ignores one important thing. The first statement Klopp made about his long term vision for the squad when he arrived, was to give Mignolet a five-year contract. At the time people said this was to get a good fee for him but that didn’t seem right. A poorly performing keeper will not get a good fee regardless of how long he’s tied down for. It seems Klopp might just have seen something in him this whole time.
Now after some time watching from the bench Mignolet seems to have developed a thicker skin, grown in confidence and looks ready to hold down the number 1 spot for the foreseeable future. Watching him juggle the ball around Aguero yesterday seemed to show this and he is controlling his penalty area with much more confidence lately too.
Of course, this will only last till he drops a boll*ck (probably against Sunderland tomorrow), and we see how deep this new found confidence goes.
Eoin K, Cork (biii)
Garth Crooks: What a douche
Oh for the love of my licence fee, can we please get Garth Crooks off the BBC? His entry for Andre Gray on ToTW is nothing more than a complete load of toss.
For those who haven’t read it, let me break it down. Garth was “a little more than perturbed by the severity of the punishment imposed by the Football Association for his inappropriate Twitter remarks”.
Garth (we all know you read this) they weren’t just inappropriate; they were claiming he wished gay people would burn and die, you know inciting homophobia and violence? It was also a four-game ban, one more than for a straight red card and substantially less than Terry and Suarez received for racist comments made.
He also claimed that he found it sad that the “governing body had no room for redemption.” This makes literally no sense. Redemption is, I believe, always possible, but that does not and should not mean the offender shouldn’t be punished for something. If someone commits a crime and a substantial amount of time has passed, that doesn’t exonerate them for crimes in the past. The same logic applies here.
But my final gripe is with the claim that he was “an immature teenager” which conjures up images of a 14 year old on a park bench getting skulled on white lightning and embarrassing himself, or a 15 year old acned boy listening to Slipknot claiming “no-one understands me, I hate you!”
Let’s do some basic maths shall we? Gray was born on 26th June 1991 (cheers Wiki!) and the tweets were the 9th of Jan 2012. Gray was 20 at the time he sent them, hardly an immature teenager. It’s concerning in this day and age, with the information available at your fingertips, how you can get fundamental facts so incorrect. We may live in a post truth society at the minute, but you expect the Beeb to actually check some facts.
Sam, LFC, North Yorks
Allardyce: Living in a greenhouse
I must say that I agree with Big Sam’s annoyance about fixture congestion but for him to be annoyed with money and greed makes him look totally, totally braindead.