Send your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Raise a glass to Lucas
It really warmed my heart to see Lucas get the winner last night and subsequent headlines today.
No matter what happens in the future, for me, Lucas will go down as a bona fide Liverpool legend.
Signed from Gremio at a very young age, where he played a much more adventurous role; lumbered with the spectre of Xabi Alonso on his back. Oft-maligned, his low point came around November 2008. He openly admits that his anfeld “fans” booing him on in a stalemate with a decent Fulham team was a low point in his career. He could have left; many a gossip column inch have been filled with his name over the years But he stuck in there, got rid of his ridiculous barnet, worked his socks off, and became a key player under Rafa, Kenny, Roy and ultimately, Mr. Rodgers. Carra gives a great analysis here.
Also, who can ever forgot this comedy gold!!
It looks like there’s a gentelmans’ agreement for Lucas to stay on for the rest of the season, when it’s expected he’ll sign for Internazionale.
I, for one, salute his service to Liverpool and he’ll always be a legend for me.
Dan, Dublin, LF
Lot’s of love for Lucas in the mailbox, and claims that he is the least Brazilian Brazilian going. Without going full Jonathan Wilson on everyone, Brazil haven’t fit that stereotype since 1982. This is the country that has given us Felipe Melo, Fernando, Fernandinho, Dunga, Cesar Sampaio, Kleberson, Gilberto Silva etc etc etc etc
There was someone, however, who called out Lucas as essentially a Brazilian Dirk Kuyt. To me, Dirk Kuyt is the least Dutch Dutch player. A quick run through of typical Dutch footballing attributes are:
3. Scorer of volleys
4. Capable of falling out with team mates at any given opportunity, but particularly during summer international tournaments
5. Don;t work as hard as they could
6. Striking good looks
Kuyt is none of these. So as a Friday challenge to the mailbox, is there any other player who fits their footballing national stereotype less than Dirk Kuyt of Holland?
Matt, EFC, London (just thought of Michael Reiziger…)
A Liverpool fan struggling to enjoy it all
Quoting Carl (even though I know I shouldn’t, the Sunday Supplement is a guilty pleasure) Oldfield, Southport, “I enjoy reading other views such as Ed’s, Thayden and even Minty”…no need for the “even”!
Football365, you deserve lots of credit for the fine work you do. Many tune in for the analysis, some tune in the jokes (Some of the Storey puns stick out like a sore thumb) whilst many tune in wondering if Sarah Winterburn is related to Nigel (don’t tell me, I’d rather wonder forever). I can understand someone giving feedback if they have an idea on how to make the content more compelling but leave the outright criticism and pathetic threats at the door when you come in.
Also, thinking ahead to the weekend, I am so torn by what I want from the Man City vs Spurs game. A draw has to be the best outcome for us and yet I’d almost rather see Man City win. It doesn’t strictly get them out of their funk but might just disrupt the rhythm Spurs are finding. In some respects the big test for Spurs will really come once European football starts again though. They weren’t amazing at the start of the season but perhaps will take the Europa League a bit less seriously this time depending on their league position when it kicks off.
It really annoys me that Liverpool are having their best season in ages and are one bad result from dropping out of the top 4. I am struggling to enjoy how fun we have been knowing so much rides on every result.
Big Weekend‘s little brother
Crystal Palace-Everton. It’s hard to know where to start with Palace, a side malfunctioning in all areas of the pitch, and whose best player is in Africa for a while. Jeffrey Schlupp is an upgrade at left back, but he might be rusty, and that’s the side where Everton tend to attack. Assuming Joel Ward plays right back, James Tomkins and Scott Dann will be in the middle, their best pairing. But keeper Wayne Hennessey has been struggling badly, and there’s no real replacement at the moment. Christian Benteke’s body language hasn’t been the best lately either, but his midweek brace might pep him up. Maybe play him towards the left to put pressure on Mason Holgate? The big surprise in Everton’s win over Man City was the outstanding play of Kevin Mirallas alongside Romelu Lukaku in a 3-5-2. Lukaku is at his best when he has attackers close by, and for the moment that looks like the right combination.
Stat: Christian Benteke’s 2.6 shots per 90 minutes this season is the lowest of his career.
West Bromwich Albion-Sunderland. With injuries, a limited transfer budget, and away matches against all but one of their relegation rivals, Sunderland are neck deep in the Big Muddy. Last week’s surrender to Stoke was particularly ominous, because the Stadium of Light had been, if not a fortress, at least a pillbox. A few years ago Vito Mannone was player of the season, but so far he hasn’t filled Jordan Pickford’s shoes. Adnan Januzaj doesn’t seem to have developed under David Moyes, and Jermain Defoe can only do so much. Albion aren’t invincible, but they have a settled squad, a clear approach, and more talent. On the down side, Gareth McAuley finally seems to be showing his age, and Jonas Olsson has been ordinary subbing for the injured Jonny Evans. But Ben Foster is reminding everyone why he made all those England squads. It’ll take a special effort from the Black Cats to get anything here.
Stat: Incredibly, Sunderland have not scored a set-piece goal all season. Last year, mostly under Sam Allardyce, they scored 13.
Stoke City-Manchester United. Although it’s great to see Peter Crouch among the goals, color me skeptical about Stoke’s latest surge. Their wins this year have been against Sunderland (twice), Watford (twice), Burnley, Hull City, and Swansea City. Mark Hughes has to choose between three and four at the back, but the larger problem is preventing Glenn Whelan and Charlie Adam in central midfield being overrun, as they were against Chelsea. Maybe put Joe Allen on Michael Carrick, à la Lallana? Erik Pieters is going to need serious protection against Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Antonio Valencia, although Marko Arnautovic can defend pretty well when he’s in the mood. If Matteo Darmian is at left back, Stoke are risking less when Xherdan Shaqiri comes into the middle. In this week’s stats piece I noted United’s poor record at corners, and Stoke have conceded only one corner kick goal in their last 15 games.
Stat: Paul Pogba (61) has won more aerial duels than Zlatan Ibrahimovic (59). Incidentally, Ibrahimovic is the only non-defender non-goalkeeper in the league who has yet to be substituted.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Inspired by Bradford
The Bradford article got me thinking about the success of my local club, Limerick FC in Ireland. The club experienced historical high points, namely European friendly matches versus Southampton and Real Madrid back in the day. But to say they sank below the radar is an understatement.
Until very recently the club yo yo’d between top and first division. League of Ireland finances are an entire series of mails in themselves but needless to say the club hadn’t a pot to piss in and nor did the town itself. But recently JP McManus, he of part United owner fame, invested a shit load of cash into his home town club, one of many brillait gestures to his birthplace.
Now there are local lads like Shane Duggan. and Shane Tracy, former Arsenal trainee and brother of legendary ladies Arsenal player Yvonne Tracy, getting Limerick back into the Irish Premier league. The effect on a local community has been immense, creating a massive outlet for hundreds of people every week.
I’m not entirely sure what my point is but that Bradford article made me happy so good f***ing on Islam and his colleagues.
Rondon’s a wimp
Sorry but I have to take issue with Jeremy Aves’ assessment of Rondon and Pulis for that matter. Rondon is a wimp. He never wins 50:50 balls. His stats prove he gets at least two chances a game. He misses. He has 7 goals in over 20 games this season. 3 were against Swansea who gave him 3 free headers. He never wins a flick on. His first touch is woeful. He is slow. He has ducked taking a penalty in 2 out of 3 shootouts. He has only just begun to learn English.
We have actually scored a few goals this season and we are 8th because of our manager
Ben the Baggie
Just a couple of replies to points in yesterday’s mailbox and football news:
1. I also loved Lucas’ reaction to his goal – I can imagine that being my reaction if I scored a goal in any kind of competitive match. But what I loved more than that was his comment post-match when informed it had been seven years since his last: “Really? It’s been that long? I scored one in training last week.” Brilliant.
2. I don’t think it’s really an issue of bias to have Tyler – who isn’t as obvious in his support as some (Clive Tyldelsey always struck me as more blatantly a United fan) – and Neville on commentary of a United vs Liverpool match when you’ve got Carragher, Souness and Henry as the studio pundits.
3. Can you really have a thugs eleven without mentioning Julian Dicks?
4. I’m slightly sorry to see Depay go; not because he’s a wonderful player right now, but because of what feels like a missed opportunity. I was hopeful that we were going to have an exciting, effective player on our hands but, for one reason or another, it just hasn’t worked out. Still, I’m glad to see that we’re finally learning from Real Madrid and Barcelona and sticking a buy-back clause in his contract. It’s often irked me that we’ve let younger players leave prematurely without doing this. Granted, you might not use that clause very often, but where’s the harm? If we are to move on players like Januzaj, Shaw, and other future academy products, I’d much prefer us to do the same then.
5. Mark Kelly: seek help. If you hold that kind of a grudge against an almost universally liked football commentator, for one single slightly inappropriate moment in an otherwise exemplary career, then you’ve got issues.
Just a quick one responding to a few points in the mailbox:
Jeremy Aves – Really enjoyed this mail, mainly because I’d totally forgotten about George Elokobi and I realised that would have been a great loss from my life. On Giroud, nothing will endear him to me more than the rainbow laces advert he did with a bunch of other Arsenal players.
Dat Guy – Totally get where you’re coming from on biased commentators, but this is surely balanced a little by the pundits in the studio? I have slept since then so correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t it Souness (Liverpool), Redknapp (Liverpool) and Henry (Arsenal)? I’ll concede that commentators get more air time but the punditry at half- and full-tim is meant to be the in depth analysis rather than just summarising what’s happening on the pitch.
Peter, Andalucia – Interesting alternative league idea. Surely the fairest way is to look at each team’s cost per point? Take the total transfer fees and wages (including manager and backroom staff) and divide by the number of points. Not sure how you’d factor in a cup run, but I guess you could allocate the equivalent number of points for each of those matches. Teams with the lowest are most efficient. Mind you, you’d then have to try and combine this with their league position which is beyond my humble skills.
Dave, London and Gav, Ireland – Completely agree, the “And it’s live!” line is infuriating. The only use I’ve found is if you’re in the kitchen getting a beer and you hear it you know you’ve got the length of 1 advert to get back to the sofa.
KC – Lovely to see a mention of the big Traore. He was a beast on one of the old FIFA games. If you’re looking for a clan though, there are 11 Garcias listed by UEFA.
Dave, MUFC, Manchester
New year, new FIFA
So now we have Marco Van Basten (Technical Director!), the latest talking head from that esteemed organization known as FIFA to roil the waters with a quite staggeringly asinine proposal regarding abolishing the offside law. I only assume that the balmy and wealthly climate of Zurich has rather turned his head.
In the mailbox over the last few days we’ve had some healthy debate over boycott/no boycott of the Russia and Qatar World Cup tournaments. There’s a lot of head-scratching over the expansion of the World Cup to 48 teams. I think it’s fair to say that most of us believe that FIFA is a corrupt organization operating mainly to benefit their own executives and their favorites, not the game itself.
So instead of boycotts, instead of validating Van Basten’s lunacy by entering into debate with him, or arguing the pros and cons of a bloated World Cup, the various football associations around the world (at least the clean ones) might consider withdrawing from FIFA and leaving them to their own devices.
Blatter’s exit has made not one jot of difference to that group of corrupt sycophants. Van Basten is just another example of an egotist who has no clear vision of his role and simply wants to make his mark with no regard for the impact on the game.
There’s enough money in the sport to fund a fresh start.
I’ve even got a new acronym – IFFA – Independent Federation of Football Associations.
Suck it, FIFA
Steve (it makes me mad) Los Angeles
Thank you to Hulmy and David. The majority of what I have been told about going to Stoke seems to be temperature related, the forecast is a balmy 3 Degrees at kick off, so I think I’ll be OK without a coat.
Off all the things I could have expected, an Oatcake Barge was not up there, that sounds like a unique opportunity.
Keep the tips / advice coming, and I’ll happily report back.
Mark Kelly, if this is indeed the goal you are referring to, I’m pretty sure he’s saying “Oooooohhhhh what a goal”.
All those years of mis-directed hate…
Reading some mails on Martin Tyler got me thinking about commentary and a certain Peter Drury.
He’s the kind of commentator who you love to hear celebrate when your team scores, but completely hate him when he celebrates the exact same way when the opposition scores.
It’s really weird. I have this love/hate relationship with him.
I’d add Bowyer and Dyer to the bench for that match.
Not next to each other, or course.
Interesting work on the Chris, Sutton team. I would probably be a bit annoyed If I was Jack or Bobby, Charlton and stuck on the bench though