Is this man one of the PL’s most under-appreciated signings?

Date published: Thursday 6th December 2018 10:09 - Ian Watson

Tell us your thoughts for the afternoon Mailbox:…

Mou money, Mou problems?
My answer is no. The issue is that he has spent so much money bringing in players he does not field regularly including Bailly, Fred, Pogba etc. overall Mou has spent roughly as much money as Klopp, but Klopp has been buying excellent players who have been successful. Why let Mou waste more money? I fully support the Board in their reluctance to buy more players.
Professor David Yeboah- Australia


Satisfied Gunners
Two big games back to back, physically and mentally draining and we are still unbeaten.
We faced setbacks such as a dive and an offside goal in the Spurs match.
We faced an offside goal in the United match.
Incidentally, I remember after the Lacazette goal vs Stoke last year when his “toe” was offside and F365, the mailbox and others said offside is offside – well – it seems its different when its Arsenal. Almost nothing has been made of Herrera and the huge advantage he gained, because he was “marginally” offside.
For the other terrible call, can somebody explain how there is anything wrong with lacazette heading the ball out of De Gea’s right hand? That goal should have stood.

Moving on… I’ve heard in some quarters that Unai Emery isn’t considered an elite manager, I really can’t understand why when you look at his track record, trophies, and the impact he’s having at Arsenal. I was delighted when I heard he was replacing Wenger.
I’m really impressed with Emery’s ability to deal with setbacks and make in-game decisions. Lichsteiner in a back 3 for example, a big call…
Which brings me to my next point, Lichsteiner has been an excellent signing. Sure, he’s not set the world alight, but his job has been to fill in which hes done on both flanks, guide the young players – again which he’s done in the Europa/cup matches and hes also come in for crucial premier league minutes and not had a single error leading to a goal. What more do you want from a 34 year old free transfer. Throw in some excellent bastardry/sneaky experience and i say he’s been under appreciated.

In isolation, a draw with “this” United could be disappointing. But when was the last time Arsenal came out of two crunch games with 4 points and they perhaps should have had 6? .
Strevs, AFC, Canada.



…I know some are looking at last night as two points lost but it can still be seen as progress.

It’s not as if United are being beaten every week – they were at home, there is some history between the two clubs to put it mildly, and I’m sure all of those United fans travelling up with their fellow Londoners on the train wanted to put one over on Arsenal (sorry, couldn’t resist).

The first Arsenal manager, who took at team to Old Trafford in the Premier League and even score a goal was Arsene Wenger, and even he had to wait until his second season.

And the facts are that United team finished second last season (their performances indicate a team that aren’t playing for their manager but have enough professional pride to not lose), we lost at United last season, and we were playing just days after our biggest match of the season.

Four points out of six in these two games and only out of the top four on goal difference is a decent return.

Having said all that, I’m glad Unai isn’t happy as that is the only way we’ll improve but this is all very reminiscent of 1996 when Arsene took over. The old regime and habits still lie under the surface but we’re in a much better place now – long may it continue.

Hope to see Holding back soon but worth remembering that Koscielny is waiting in the wings.
Graham Simons, Glass Half Full Gooner, Norf London


…* Well that was a stressful mess of a match. I thought we just edged it but overall it was scrappy. For us to come out of the NLD and Old Trafford with 4 points is not to be sniffed at, but I can’t help feeling we should have left with 6

*Without Ozil and Xhaka we looked a bit short on creativity. Guendouzi is a good player and Ramsey is a better presser of the ball, but we lacked the guile to crack a 5 man defence with any regularity

*I’ll admit I haven’t watched much United this season but I now see what everyone is talking about. There is no game plan, no clear strategy or tactics, just chaos. in Mourihnos defence, his team have seemed devoid of confidence. However last night without Pogba and Lukaku, they seemed to have more energy, more creativity and more overall ability. Gone in January?

*Part of that chaos was all the fouling when games opened up from both sides. But I really hope Fellaini gets pulled up on his hair pull on Guen. It all adds to the general feeling that few, if any, of these United players are liked in the wider football community.

*Injuries to Holding and Ramsey just coming up to the Christmas period can’t be underestimated. It may force Emery back to a back 4 and leaves us with less options off the bench in general. Luckily our next run of games is fairly gentle but we will need maximum points over the next 4 games before we thrash it out again with the big boys.

*So Emery has now faced the rest of the top 6. 1 win, 2 draws and 2 defeats, 5 points. This is only marginally better than Wenger. But in the context of Chelsea and City being his first 2 games, I would suggest he has improved on before. If he can get 7 or more from these same fixtures in the second half of the season, I will be a very happy Gunner.
Rob A (Auba and Miki will feel regret this morning) AFC


Guessing game
Errrrr, people are going to talk about the fact the referee gave a free kick against Fellaini without actually seeing the foul right? It’s often unfair to question a referee’s integrity but it’s so blatantly obvious that he either saw Fellaini standing next to someone on the floor and assumed Fellaini’s fouled him (usually a safe bet to be fair) or he’s just guessed. Either way, he pretended he saw it -probably through embarrassment at getting in the way moments prior.

Whether he got the decision right or not doesn’t matter, it’s grossly unfair to give a decision without seeing the incident. I think referees should have to give post match interviews to explain this sort of stuff. Mariner should also not be in charge of any Premier League games next weekend – how can you trust him?

Decent game though.
Ash (Jose Out) Metcalfe


Hair-raising stuff
I was going to comment on how rare it was to have seen a contested drop-ball in a top level game, but then Fellaini goes and concedes a free kick by pulling another man’s hair. Utterly amazing.
Big D, Luxembourg


…A desperate Manchester United playing Fellani, desperately trying to make up a yard on a younger, superior player – by pulling his fucking hair.

Red card all day.
Jonno McSchmonno


You are the ref(‘s assistant)
Here’s one for the F365 rules expert. Recently, a goal was disallowed when a defender sliced a shot on goal into the path of an attacker who was standing yards offside. It was ruled offside because the attempt by the defender was seen as a deliberate attempt to clear the ball and not a deflection, so the attacker in the offside position received the ball from the opponent, hence not offside. So, yesterday, when de Gea palmed the ball into the feet of Mkhitaryan, according to the aforementioned situation, Mkhitaryan was not offside (de Gea’s action was deliberate). Does this mean that certain referees and linesmen aren’t aware of this change in the laws?
G Thomas, Breda, Holland


Pogba debate
Got a new haircut? You are not focusing on football. Posted a new video on Instagram?You are not focusing on football? Wearing ridiculous clothes? You are not focusing on football. Driving a swanky new Bentley? You are not focusing on football.

Notice a weird trend? Players getting judged on their behavior based on a supposed “code of conduct” for football players that is so dated. Judging a players commitment to football by comparing their behavior to that of players of another generation simply doesn’t make sense to me. All the things I described earlier might have stuck out like a sore thumb 10 years back but is pretty much normal behavior not only for footballers but most 20-something people in the world (well everthing but the Bentley, but hey a guy can dream).

According to my parents I too spend too much time on social media, have a different taste in fashion, music, movies, etc from them but that doesn’t make me unfocused. I post instagram stories from social events, from work, and even sometimes when I am sitting alone in bed and that has nothing to do with my “focus” on my work.

Pogba’s “distractions” have more to do with the media’s obsession about his distractions than himself. Most players nowadays do the same things that Pogba does. Neymar just missed the Ballon d’or ceremony because he was live streaming a COD game. Memphis Depay has a bunch of rap song and videos (most recent one to commemorate reaching a certain number of followers on instagram). Ronaldo used to have an appointment to fix his hair before matches (from his Manchester United days). This behavior isn’t even limited to football, most pro athletes today have considerable following and are highly active on social media. Be it F1 drivers like Lewis Hamilton (designed his own fashion line), basketball stars such as LeBron James (coming out with a new TV show), cricket stars like V

rat Kohli (imagine a player from an older generation having his lifestyle) or even NFL stars all across the USA.
It’s not like Pogba getting haircuts is a new thing, he’s been doing that since before his time at Juventus. Maybe just maybe him strutting around and not being motivated enough like most of his teammates is down to the manager but what do I know, right Jose?.
Yash, MUFC (Mark Hughes got sacked for drawing with Jose! Who would’ve thunk it?)

Knee-sy does it
I’ve just watched a thoroughly entertaining midweek Match of The Day. There was some sumptuous football, a good slice of calamitous defending, a great point away from home for my beloved Newcastle (Atsu should have made it three) and plenty of goals. Goals that bring me on to my midweek moan…

What the hell has happened to goal celebrations? I’ve been lucky to witness one of the most boring celebrations going more than 200 times as Alan Shearer banged them away for the Toon come rain, hail or shine; wheeling away with one arm aloft, joy on his face and a hairline yet to succumb to Danny Murphy-itis. But at least it was identifiable, Sheareresque you may say. So why oh why do so many players now have the identikit “I’ll slide on my knees and puff my chest out like a three-quarter height football shirt mannequin” celebration? Now players that didn’t even score are getting in on the act, desperate to get close and share an embrace with their goal scoring hero, as long as it’s all done at three-quarter height at the end of a prodigious knee slide.

I know the current mailbox trend is to discuss whether Pogba’s mane maintenance is detrimental to his performance but this is the real scourge of football today. Please can we support/coerce our players to improve their goal celebrations, even if it’s just a little bit? The only time the knee slide is ever, ever acceptable is if you do it like this
Chris (we could always clothesline them mid-slide), Edinburgh


Date for your diary
Thought I would chime in with a sack date prediction – I am going for the 9th December, the day after Manchester United lose at home to Fulham. Mourinho will then be sacked from a Premier League club for the second time in a row after losing a game against Claudio Ranieri… Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Tim Harrington (QPR), London


Pep can’t shake Reds
Ok so we are still on City’s tail. Yet so far unencumbered by City’s financial ‘fair play’? Really? Are we the Churchillian ‘Black dog’ to Pep? Still there where ever he looks. Where ever Pep steps we are still there. Just 2 points Pep.
David LFC (btw Hey Jude .is a Liverpool song)



Molineux mayhem
Well, that was a huge result for Wolves. After no win in 6, and struggling to see where the goals were coming from, turning it around against one of the best teams in the league is a huge confidence boost.

One of our concerns had been the lack of a plan B, our usual 343 formation coming up short against teams with 3 in midfield. Last night, Nuno let us all know he could adapt.
With Neves suspended, putting Morgan Gibbs-White in at the no.10 position proved a masterstroke. Never giving the Chelsea defence or midfield an inch.
And folks, believe the pundits, the kid is THAT good.
Seeing Jota get the winner last night was fantastic. No one deserved that winning goal as much as him.

To a man, the team gave as much effort, and showed as much work ethic as I’ve seen from any Wolves squad.

The noise last night was unreal, and it was a pleasure to be in Molineux last night.
Jonny, Wolverhampton (Nuno had a dream)


Christmas tat
I’m getting this in before the United and Arsenal fallout dominates the mailbox.

As the nights draw in and the temperature continues to drop, I find myself thinking about the summer and, specifically, the World Cup.

With Christmas around the corner and my family never knowing to buy for me, I wondered if anyone knew of any World Cup 2018 themed gift ideas? Ideally, DVDs of highlights (Youtube just doesn’t cut the mustard), or a book with some general information and some pictures of the tournament.

Do FIFA ever do anything like this? If middle of the road clubs can throw out Season Reviews DVDs every year then surely FIFA have got something for the greatest tournament I can remember since Euro 96!

What I wouldn’t give to see a replay of my son’s face as I was dancing around the room waiting for VAR confirmation of South Korea’s goal to knock the Germans out again.

Failing that, I’m a Bolton fan, so any of their merchandise might become a collectors item if the financial situation continues the way it’s currently going!

Many thanks,
Darryl Drummond

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