Frank Lampard took a no-lose gig at Chelsea and still had his arse handed to him…

Ian Watson
Frank Lampard talks to Cesar Azpilicueta after Chelsea's defeat at Manchester United.

The Mailbox asks what’s next for Frank Lampard after his wretched return to Chelsea. Also: why should Man City comply and co-operate with Premier League and UEFA investigations?

Get your views in to

Lamps lost it
I remember a few pundits/fans describing Lampard’s appointment at Chelsea as a no lose for him at the time……is he the first manager to manage to lose a no lose appointment????

Genuinely intrigued to see who is brave enough to give him his next full time gig!
Paul, Manchester


Worst Derby > this Chelsea
Crikey Frank Lampard’s Chelsea really are rubbish aren’t they?

Extrapolate over a season and they are worse than the notoriously worse Premier League team ever (Derby)*
Brian BRFC
*not checked the maths….😂

Read more: You’ll never guess what Lampard thinks is key to Man Utd success under Erik ten Hag

Why should City co-operate?
Fent, your diatribe misses a crucial point. City believe that The Premier League (and UEFA, before them) have ill intentions towards them and, at the behest of those who stand to gain, do not have a neutral stance. You say City have failed to co-operate with the investigation. That’s true, I believe that to be the case too. However, how often does the Accused actually co-operate with the Prosecution? You may reply that the onus is on us to do so but we are in a process that City believe this to be a flawed process, in the first place, that many are trying to already fiddle/interfere with in order to ensure we’re found guilty. So…why should we condemn ourselves by helping when the public are being fed a narrative that we are guilty anyway?

That disconnect is the reason why City aren’t being especially helpful, you might not like that but, given different legal circumstances, it’s a fair bet that you’d agree that the Defence has a right to defend themselves by the means that are available to them, I’m sure. We have the right to defend ourselves in the way that we see fit and if that includes questioning the credibility of witnesses, etc, as what happens during a trial, ordinarily. We see it all the time so don’t think this is anything special, ok?

To Michael, LFC, has it not occurred to you that it’s possible that many of the 115 charges might actually be only those that a pedant would think important? That they are there to make this case against City sound more serious? ? That’s certainly the impression that was given when the charges were announced. 115 charges sounds like a horrifically high figure. How many are actually worthy of the name, ‘charge’? Or, is this an artificially inflated figure in order to impress upon the impressionable? In essence, we, the lay public, don’t really know but this is going to look ridiculous when thrown out. People may say that how do I know it’s going to get thrown out? Well, I don’t….but equally, many of the windbags on here don’t know if we’re going to be found to be guilty, either, but they insist we are without an actual shred of evidence so, in essence, anything you can say, we can reply to, in the same manner.

To Howard, you mention the cynical foul from Bernardo, I agree, it was a booking and rightly so. However, you’ve chosen to ignore the cynical fouls on Haaland and de Bruyne in exactly the same manner. Why? To fit the narrative that City are the Most Evil Team That Ever Existed? What about the foul from Martinelli on Kaoru Mitoma and the subsequent revenge foul from Caicedo? Cynical? Damn right. Milner on Foden? Ouch. Milner on Bernardo? OUCH. Casemiro is a regular offender, is he not? Fabinho? Worst in the League for this? If you want to focus on cynical fouls, fine, but give examples of all of them instead of trying to focus on City, yet again maintaining the narrative. Don’t try the easy route, it’s not a good look.

Garey Vance, you don’t consider 10th, then 5th, then 3rd, then 1st to be a gradual climb up the table? This took place over four seasons. That’s four seasons. Where were Newcastle before the money really took hold? 11th? This season they’ll be third or fourth, that’s a bigger jump than City made so are they ‘cheating’ too? Either they are or they’re just where they are because they’ve bought better players. Like we did. Is this rocket science? No, it bloody isn’t.

To Tim Sutton, this is football, not the parlous state of the country, get over yourself, for God’s sake.

Ok, that’s all for now but feel free to keep writing in with wild accusations and righteous, misguided anger, please. I’d be bored ‘celebrating passionlessly’, otherwise.

So much help,
Levenshulme Blue, Manchester 19


Financial dopes
Re: Garry Vance. I’d say 9th, 10th, 5th, 3rd, 1st was a gradual rise. They went up in increments over the first four years of the new ownership, including going back one place in the first year and ending 10th. That is literally a gradual climb from mid table, to top 6, to top 4 to first. It’s exactly the opposite of what you’re saying.

And Financial Doping is such a dumb phrase. At any point in the 100 years prior to Chelsea’s take over, rich owners came in an invested in their football clubs. This happened at all levels of football, and is happening at Wrexham and Stockport now. Because a combination of Arsenal’s expense of building the Emirates and Wenger objecting to spending large sums on players all of a sudden, Chelsea was the scapegoat for Arsenal’s decline. And his bitter “Financial Doping” comment was his lazy excuse for it all.

And yet rather than seeing it as a lazy excuse without substance, it is parroted and thrown around liberally at certain clubs that stop the Established Elite clubs from winning the league. Look at any Established Elite club and there will be a period where they had a rich owner and benefitted from ‘Financial Doping’ and would have failed FFP if was retrospectively applied.

Can we all be less hypocritical please?
Andy D. Manchester. MCFC.


City kidding us all
Wow, yet more ill-thought-out responses to the City ‘cheating’ and now ‘FFP’ to make a case for City just doing what a great team does.

It appears there is a fundamental misunderstanding regarding the precise nature of City’s transgressions. They are not being accused of simply outspending their rivals—although it’s worth noting that, until Boehly’s recent spree – City have outspend everyone in gross and net spend since 2008. No City are accused of deceitfully inflating their reported revenues to far loftier levels than they could genuinely generate, enabling them to indulge in overspending since the takeover. They spent money they never earned. Yes, United have spent lots – even after the Glazers take their Vig, but it’s all within their own revenues. This let City build a squad quickly and maintain that strength over the years. Sure, City is well run, unlike the United and Arsenal, both suffering from the vacuum in management and capability once their long-term managers left. But there is a difference between just spending oodles and doing it within your own means. This is the financial doping allegation.

FFP was not designed to keep the ‘elite’ in place, although it might inadvertently create that outcome. It was intended to curtail unchecked spending and risking clubs going into administration or extinction. All the audits across the top leagues in Europe show that most teams are on risky financial grounds. The EPL is a bit of an outlier in that it has dominated TV buys and sponsorships. But if you look at the Championship (and lower), you can see how teams, in trying to compete in the EPL and getting relegated or competing with relegated clubs with huge parachute payments, are in a huge financial mess.

FFP attempts to prevent this by allowing teams to only spend within a portion of their revenues over a rolling 3-year period. (Although that was modified a bit during Covid.) It doesn’t mean clubs can’t compete with the elite, just that it might take longer to get there. Right now, Newcastle isn’t cheating, as suggested; they spend within their means. Although, as someone said earlier, it doesn’t hurt to get players you might not attract in the past, knowing you have this colossal fund behind you.

City’s spending hasn’t made the EPL a better league. Their spending has caused player values to increase. It has meant more clubs have financial issues than before while attempting to up their spending to compete. Even well-run clubs like Brighton or Brentford may enter into risky spending to jump to another level to compete with City.

Either way, let’s not pretend that City didn’t and isn’t cheating. Let’s not pretend they are making the EPL a better place. And let’s not misrepresent FFP to support City.
Paul McDevitt


Fact checking the Mailbox
Just Mediawatching Martin’s diatribe from yesterday, “United were paying £30million transfer fees in an era when literally no other club could afford that”

Number of £30million players United signed prior to Abu Dhabi taking over City: Zero
David, Atlanta


Modern mavericks
So the term “Maverick” is defined as a player who goes against the grain, play their own way and live their own way, now there are certainly these type of players still out there for sure, here is a small list i thought of after speaking to friends and watching multiple compilations and various games this season:

– Rayan Cherki (Lyon)
– Neymar (PSG)
– Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
– Antony (Manchester United)
– Lucas Paqueta (West Ham)
– Noa Lang (Club Brugge)
– Teji Savanier (Montpellier)

Each of these players can wow you with a moment of true skill, true brilliance and they look happy to just be playing with the ball at their feet, this season i would say if you can watch a Lyon game you really should just for Cherki, he is one of those wonderkids talents that have been talked about since his debut at 16 for Lyon.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod (Sent before the Chelsea vs United game, im guessing it was a boring 0-0)


Stopping the cynicism
My suggestion for dealing with cynical fouls that stop breaks would be to require every player from the offending team who was the “wrong” side of where the foul happened to have to stay at least ten yards ahead of where the free kick is taken.

For example:

– Man City lose possession with their customary eight attackers passing it about for fun, with just Ake and Ederson covering.

– Gundogan commits a foul on the half way line. Yellow card for Gundogan.

– The other team gets a free kick from where the foul happened.

– Only Gundogan, Ake and Ederson can enter their own half to defend the free kick. The attacking team can commit as many players as they want to, while City’s other eight outfielders have to stay 10ft behind the free kick takers and race back when the kick is taken.

– The wronged team don’t lose the benefit of their break with numbers.

– the “Pep 101” tactic of overloading attacking areas with next to zero risk of a break no longer works.

If nothing else, the set pieces that result wold be entertaining!

As a starter for ten though, they need to just enforce the yellow card punishment for cynical fouls wherever they happen on the pitch. Too often they don’t get punished if they are in the wronged-team’s defensive third of the pitch (that’s the true art of Pep’s style of play, they make the tactical fouls before it even looks like the other team may have had a “promising attack”). Soft fouls where there is no real attempt to play the ball should be a booking every single time.
Andy (MUFC)

Man Utd winger Antony points to the badge

Gakpos and Antonys
Kevin Lowden says “for every Gakpo there’s an Antony”, implying that Gakpo is a fantastic signing and Antony is a flop. But that seems to be a rather blinkered view of the two.

In the league this season it’s 6 goals and 2 assists for Gakpo vs 4 goals and 2 assists, with Antony only playing 4 extra games worth of minutes. Antony and Gakpo both have the same expected goals + expected assists per 90. Antony has more passes attempted, a better pass completion rate, more progressive passes, more progressive carries, more successful take ons, as well as more blocks, interceptions and clearances (you can tell I’ve been on fbref). Considering Antony plays as a more defensive winger and Gakpo plays more as a forward/central striker at times I don’t think his output is particularly more impressive.

I’ve watched Antony a lot this season and the idea that he is a flop is way off base. Not saying that Antony has lit up the world or Gakpo is a flop, but your view that the reverse is true doesn’t seem to be based on reality. Both will probably be better next season after full pre-seasons with their respective teams.
Calum, (customary draw against Chelsea to confirm CL please) MUFC, Wokingham


Qatar effect
Remember when the Qatar World Cup was announced that it would be held in winter in the middle of the season? There was a lot of anger and speculation that players would be knackered from injuries or exhaustion from such a lengthy season.

Well now we are at the end of the season how do we feel about that?
Are the injuries worse than normal?
Do the players look more tired?
Performances down?

If not, how would we feel about future winter world cups?

Brian Clancy, Spurs, Vancouver.


Give it Garth 
It’s quite obvious who Spurs need to bring in.
There’s an ex Spurs player who has shown, week in week out, that he can pick an XI that scores goals.

It’s got to be Garth Crooks.
Peter B