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Now is not the time to sack Van Gaal…
Jesus Ted, you do know we won don’t you?! And actually played alright (not brilliant, but better than at other points this season). There was a lot of guff in your email, but I just wanted to address the point about Van Gaal.
I’m not Van Gaal’s biggest fan (although personally I’d keep him over Mourinho or Giggs), but to say ‘no downside to removing Van Gaal now’ is moronic; we are (somehow) only a point off City, and have an FA Cup quarter-final reply coming up – can’t see how removing the manager would really help us focus on either of those. F*ckwit. Fair enough criticise him when he deserves it (and there have been ample opportunites for that this season), but after we deservedly beat City it just stinks of having an agenda.
Jack (Although your points about Schniederlin and Fellaini were both bang on) Manchester
Thinking Ted is an idiot…
Sometimes I steer away from the mailbox, as it’s often a less immediate form of idiocy than reading the comments, but this morning, I began reading and was at first pleasantly surprised with a decent if optimistic mail from Chris MUFC; well thought and well explained reasonings. Then I moved onto the second mail, and whilst actually on the whole I agreed with a lot of it, I struggled to see past the second point, describing Chris Smalling as ‘a liability’.
The same Chris Smalling who has been Utd’s best outfield performer this season (I will accept arguments for Anthony Martial also), and this immediately made me think that Ted was an idiot, and I should really not bother with his opinion, to save myself the anger. Now, this is actually somewhat unfair, because the rest of the mail I actually thought was a reasonably good assessment (at least debatable), but because of the opinion on Smalling, I couldn’t help but let it devalue what I thought of Ted’s opinion on football as a whole. It felt like when you talk to a new person and the conversation comes to football, and you get an opinion like ‘Danny Welbeck, he’s s***, can’t control the ball, why is he in the England squad?’, and you immediately decide that person isn’t worth talking to anymore (usually about anything not just football if truth be told), because they probably have the IQ of a goldfish.
Now I know this is wrong, and I really shouldn’t judge someone as a person, or their intelligence on what they think of a couple of specific players, but I cannot help it. Does anybody else have this with other players, where you instantly judge someone based on what they think? I can imagine Michael Carrick or Xabi Alonso when at Liverpool (before he kind of settled all negative argument), are both players that some people may have felt similar things about.
Noz (apologies to all I have recently judged as morons, including DS)
Where are City’s kids…and more questions
Reading this morning’s mailbox discussing the derby yesterday and a few things sprung to mind.
1) Where are city’s kids? Other than Iheanacho I cant think of any young player being given a game this year (excluding FA Cup vs Chelsea). Players need to (Rashford excepted) be eased in, yet there’s none even on the bench. I’m sure some hungry local kid from Manchester could do a better job than Bony these days. A lot of the older city players are going through the motions, this seems like an ideal time to give some youth a chance. I’ve read too many articles to begin to count this year about how great City’s academy is, compared to United’s, but if I had a seriously talented kid, the best chance of them getting a genuine look in for the first time is undoubtedly at United. (Rashford, Lingard, Borthwick-Jackson, Fosu-Mensah, and a plethora of other kids who’ve been on the bench this year).
2) I’m no LVG fan, I don’t think he fully ‘gets it’ and I suspect Fellaini will be straight back in next game, but he deserves some credit. Through (bad)luck, he’s had to give kids a chance and they’ve shone. Martial and Rashford have both shown up Rooney, Lingard has grabbed his opportunity with both hands and is starting at 10 ahead of Mata (who really needs dropping) on merit. I’d like to see Perreira given a chance but for whatever reason that doesn’t look like happening. I’m convinced Memphis will come good and a fluid front four of Memphis, Martial, Rashford and Lingard is full of pace movement and fluidity which will worry a lot of sides. Add Shaw back, as well as a midfielder to play along schneiderlin and I think we’re okay. Lets give the kids a chance, I’m sure a lot of fans would get behind them, much more than watching Fellaini, Mata, Rooney etc amble around the pitch with no attacking threat.
3) Smalling has come in for some criticism today, which is probably fair, however let’s not forget he was up against the best striker in the league, and had been given a man-marking task. 95% of the time he is excellent, I’m not sure any other England defenders covered themselves in glory this weekend either.
4) Linked to point 1, but watching the second half of the Newcastle-Sunderland game yesterday, what stood out most was the sheer amount of bang average foreign players on both teams. Both of these clubs have academies and no doubt spend millions each year on running them. Yet it seems easier to buy some £5m player from abroad (or p*ss even more money up the wall on ‘big name players’ such as Shelvey and Townsend) who’ll happily plod along being no better than average, than to give some young kids a chance. Both teams were equally guilty of this. I suspect they’ll both go down and this is no great shame.
5) Alan Pardew’s programme notes this weekend. Seriously grow up. A debatable last-minute penalty isn’t the reason for a 13-game non-winning streak.
6) I watch Altrincham FC on a regular basis, this season we’ve had a lad on loan from Burnley – Josh Ginnelly. He’s been an absolute credit to himself and his (parent) club. Seems to have really bought into the club, he’s last off the pitch each week and stops for pictures etc with kids on the way off the pitch. His goal at the weekend was terrific as well. I’m sure he’s learning and developing as a player more at Alty each week getting kicked, doubled up on and playing on pitches which are iffy at best, than he would having knockabout games in training. Alty aren’t full team, so he can train at Burnley and enjoy competitive football at Alty.
Who should Man United pick? Really?
Just a note to Sudarsan Ravi…who should ‘you pick’? Get over yourselves and concentrate on scraping for fourth. Harry Kane has more important things to worry about.
…Sudarsan Ravi (For Sanchez and Ozil, Think Silva and Aguero. Those four deserve better) is the epitome of an self-entitled Man Utd fan.
Who should Utd pick (pick!) to play for them next season. Like there is no question of any of them not wanting to play for the great Man Utd. It’s almost Liverpool fan-esque.
Of those four names mentioned, three are pretty likely to finish above them and be playing Champions League football. One of them is almost certainly to have a Premier League winners’ medal too. Why would they want to trade down to United and Europa League football?
…It was mildly irritating (particularly as a Spurs fan) to read Sudarsan Ravi’s mail asking who United should ‘splurge on’. ‘Whom do you think United should pick?’ Well, how about whoever they have an offer accepted for who then decides, for some reason, they want to join a rubbish squad and a club in decline?
It’s far from the first time this kind of mail has popped up, as though Manchester United is able to take their pick of any player they fancy and the other club will just roll over and thank them for the money. Have they seen their league position lately? When last did they buy a world-class player at his peak? Van Persie? Can’t think of one since Old Purple Nose called it quits and even in his last few years they were hardly skimming off the world’s elite.
…Who do you think Utd should pick’? Like it is United’s god given right to ‘pick’ one of these and they will just down tools and get on the next train. (cos multi-million pound footballers still use trains, although I used to see Hangeland everyday getting off at Beckenham to go to training at Palace. And that is Southeastern…)
Spurs or Everton don’t have a say in this, no? Kane would want to go to Utd would he? He is currently working under one of the best and most exciting managers in the Premier League and are far closer to challenging for the PL title than Utd.
Things are changing – Utd are maybe not the pull they once were, if they don’t get CL and Spurs do (looking very likely now), why would Kane want to go to Old Trafford? Trust me, coming from a Liverpool fan I know how hard it can be to attract (and keep – see Suarez) top talent.
The presumptuous nature of that e-mail, from a typical Utd supporter, gets my goat. They just pick their transfer targets and they come running…
Paul – goodbye Martin – LFC
…You’re not getting Kane.
Man United shouldn’t buy strikers anyway…
Who should United buy as a striker? Nobody. Certainly not anybody for huge money.
This season has seen Martial emerge as a genuinely special young player. His current trajectory and record is comparable to that of Ronaldo or Rooney at similar ages, and signing a galactico for an obscene fee with the corresponding need to accommodate their every wish and massage their ego at every turn will do little for his development. Van Nistelrooy’s relationship with Ronaldo attests to how well elite strikers, with the attendant ego and solipsism, deal with bright young talented things. Add in Rashford and the various other young attackers at Old Trafford (Memphis, Januzaj, Pereira, Lingard), and United simply don’t need to buy elite young talent in to the club at striker. The current young players will, in three or four years time, be elite players.
United’s signing an elite striker at their peak this summer would be equivalent to their having spent £35m on an Eto’o or Ibra in the mid ‘00s and placing an immovable barrier to the development of Ronaldo and Rooney.
What they need is either a bona fide squad player to protect Martial et al. from burnout (think Saha but made of flesh and blood rather than glass), or a veteran to squeeze a year or two out of (a more permanent Henrik Larsson).
A large part of the problem at OId Trafford at present is the lack of consistency and cohesion that two and a half seasons of permanent turmoil and squad turnover have created. Sometimes, despite all evidence at Arsenal, continuity, stability and long-term planning really are best.
Who should Spurs splurge on?
I enjoyed Sudarsan Ravi’s optimistic mail about who Man United should “splurge on”. It got me thinking about which United players the Champions League clubs will be circling around this summer.
Rashford will certainly go to Spurs. He’s got great potential for the future, and will be able to learn from Kane while gradually being integrated into the team. Schneiderlin flourished under Poch previously, but he would probably be a target for Arsenal too and may find it easier to command a first-team place at the Emirates.
Leicester may want to bolster their central defence, so I can imagine them picking up Chris Smalling, and possibly Daley Blind too for his versatility.
Luke Shaw, if he recovers from his injury, would be a natural target for Man City, while Martial also seems like he might thrive under Pep though there may be competition from abroad.
De Gea is a fine goalkeeper and with Liverpool’s problems in that area well-documented, I can imagine he will see the appeal of playing for Klopp – possibly with Mignolet going the other way – especially if Liverpool win the Europa League. Otherwise Madrid will simply scoop him up.
United will retain a spine of Carrick, Schweinsteiger and Rooney, for Jose to build his team around.
What do you think mailboxers? Are there any Man Utd players you fancy your club picking up to bolster your squad?
Iwobi v Rashford
– Everton are sh*t. Arsenal are good. There’s no comparison in terms of opposition.
– Iwobi is significantly older than Rashford – who, lest we forget, is barely 18 years old.
– Why would the English media care more about a Nigerian scoring in essentially a “nothing fixture” more than an English player scoring twice in one of the biggest fixtures in the English football calendar?
– Rashford already scored twice the week before so there was already some buzz about him.
– When Iwobi scores the winner in the North London derby, or against Chelsea, by all means complain.
You’re an idiot.
Who Jurgen needs to jettison…
Martin Skrtel should be fired into the sun. Along with Benteke & Mignolet. The level all 3 have had me fuming is unreal and if they’re all still here next season then I have to say Klopp is an idiot who can’t recognise dross when he sees it.
Speaking of Klopp, as woeful as Skrtel was, he’s the one who brought him on. Yes Lovren was feeling the hate and was likely to get a second yellow but playing with Skrtel essentially is playing with 10 anyway. Albeit a 10 that is significantly less likely to wrestle with the centre forward.
Klopp just got it wrong yesterday and I hope he learns from it. Kolo on the bench and has performed well when called upon or Skrtel whose last appearance was in the sh*t-show at Watford? Koeman’s subs turned the momentum of the match and Klopp’s just handed them all three points without so much as a fight back.
If this result means that Klopp will now understand the liability that Skrtel is, good. If it means he decides it’s Skrtel who gets bombed out in the summer, great. If he strangles him with his bare hands in training this week, fantastic.
Kris, LFC, Manchester
Peter G’s weekend thoughts
* It’s a measure of how much Roberto Martinez is mistrusted that Everton fans and press have barracked him after the loss to Arsenal. If there’s any time you’ll be excused one of the worst performances of the season, it’s the week after a big win in the FA Cup. Not coincidentally, Watford weren’t at their best either.
* Tactical medal of the week goes to Alex Neil of Norwich City. He put powerhouse Dieumerci Mbokani up front against West Brom’s big defenders, and restored Robbie Brady to the left side of attack. Mbokani was man of the match, bullying the defense and holding the ball up superbly, and Brady got into the area for an opportunistic winning goal.
* Riveting Tyne-Wear derby. Rafa Benitez doesn’t have Newcastle playing cohesively yet, but at least they have fight. Meanwhile, it’s twice in a row that Sunderland’s defense has collapsed to allow a late equalizer. That’s not an Allardyce quality, and it shows he still hasn’t finished remolding the team.
* If West Ham want to push on, they’ll need a true DM. As against Manchester City, the central midfielders got caught too high in the sequence that led to the equalizer (admittedly not a penalty).
* Martin Skrtel’s penalty for a shirt tug less than five minutes in was one of the highlights of the season. “You mean they changed the rules while I was away?”
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Promoted and then…?
30 games gone. Let’s assess the promoted trio. Bournemouth, Norwich and Watford.
Bournemouth: Won the Championship and made some signings to bolster their squad. Lost highly-rated forward Calum Wilson and summer signing Max Gradel to long-term injuries early in the season. Dropped so low into the relegation dogfight around October/December. Have done okay by doing just enough to be better than five others below them. Massive credit to Eddie Howe for doing well with the team in its first ever season in the top flight.
Norwich: Basically the same squad that got them promoted. Started decently but has been found out and are now in danger of getting relegated as a result of having a terrible defence and playing an ineffective striker all season. Never scores enough to win matches and can’t buy a clean sheet. Could still survive relegation though.
Watford: Doing fine in mid-table. Ighalo and Deeney have contributed immensely to Watford’s position on the table. Have been solid defensively and are well placed than the above two. Currently in the semi-final of the FA Cup. A cup final will mean a lot to many supporters of Watford. If Ighalo and Deeney plays well, Watford plays well.
Hate, hate, hate that celebration
I watched the goals from the Liverpool game and, as funny as it was to see them get beaten, they made me really angry. Well, one in particular and it wasn’t about the goal itself or what it represented, but about the celebration. Of course I’m talking about that stupid Daniel Sturridge robot-body-pop-and-lock nonsense. It made me want to shout at the TV “cut it out you f*cking toolpiece”!
Then I read this morning that he was limping and had to be replaced and I couldn’t help but smirk and think – if you cut out the stupid celebration maybe karma would be better to you. Or maybe sh*t smug body-popping causes the hamstrings to tighten and you are bringing it on yourself.
Anyone else have any other most-hated celebrations as I might set up a help group if the demand is there.
Garey Vance, MUFC
Do Leicester make me feel warm and cuddly? Hell no.
This is my second effort at mailbox publication, after exhaustive daily reading since the early years. The first failed, so I’m trying a different approach by writing sober and more than five minutes after the game. And by offering something other than reactions to the Manchester derby.
In fact, I felt inspired to offer a general response to JN’s piece this morning, which I enjoyed, but slightly disagree with. He proposes that we should all be able to enjoy Leicester’s astonishing success and the refreshingly honest ‘Back-to-Basics’ approach that got them there.
Taking each match in isolation (say, watching them beat the likes of Everton, Chelsea and City), I agree. Am I now rooting for them to win the league in preference to the usual suspects (and bloody Spurs)? Absolutely. But over the course of the season, does any of this make me happy? Is there a ‘jolt of electric pleasure’ in my football soul? As a wise man once said, “Hell to the Nizzle!” (no).
I support Liverpool (which should be irrelevant to this argument, as every fan should surely feel the same way). EVERYONE else is ‘The Enemy’. Everyone. Of course, all enemies are equal but some are more gut-wrenching, utterly despicable devil-spawn than others; still, they are enemies all.
If you’re above us in the table, you’re in our way. If you’re behind us, you can bloody well stay there. If you’re an English side playing in Europe…success breeds more success which might hurt us domestically – I hope you crash out in the qualifying rounds to FC Whothehellarethey. Unless the coefficient which guarantees the fourth CL spot Liverpool may need is under threat, in which case, although I feel dirty…Go City! (But not Utd, ever). Playing against lovely little Jay Spearing’s Bolton this weekend? Come on Bolton! Even Villa…haven’t had a longer stay in the First Division/Premier League than us? Good, screw that record, eat Championship, losers! Not to mention Birmingham’s second city status, and closer proximity to London, which could be a threat if you’re ever bought by the Sultan of Brunei.
JN is right that supporting football is an emotional experience, but it’s also irrational, reactionary, often consciously and willfully obtuse to the point of childishness. I look at every single fixture every weekend, settle on the best result for liverpool, however tenuous or irrational the link, and feel genuine desire for that result. Nothing else matters. Leicester have done plenty to hurt our direct enemies this year, but they’ve also hurt us (twice), and they are sitting in the perch that we want back. So I’m sorry John. Leicester winning is the least worst result for us this year, but it doesn’t make me happy. And if I supported Boro, as you do, I’d be seething with rage, thinking “that could/should be us…and next year, maybe, just maybe…”
And don’t start me on bloody Spurs… #Istillrefusetobelieveharrykaneexists
Steve, (and I’m not even from Liverpool, but I’ve been immersed and indoctrinated since birth) Belfast
Are Leicester Status Quo?
So basically, with his three chord theory, is Johnny Nicholson is saying that Leicester City are in fact Status Quo?
Happy with that!
Will (Gary Neville has had it) York!