Send your thoughts on literally anything to firstname.lastname@example.org. Maybe on how Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is great, or how to link Djimi Traore to Pierluigi Casiraghi.
Let’s get quizzical
I’m having a half because I knew it was most substitute appearances but not Anichebe. That counts right
Kevin (Chris Sutton, Everton and Fulham if you were interested). ITFC, Vancouver.
MC – The high score in our quiz is currently 17/26. Best of luck.
I can see that some time away from football (which I’ve always felt some needed) has done nothing to ease the sort of nonsense that Ade ( bring football back please ) Guildford spouted. Laughing at Solskjaer, eh?
I’m not saying Solskjaer should have been or that he’s actually among the best tacticians in the league but then Arteta certainly isn’t. But to randomly pick out matches in which United were (admittedly) poor says nothing especially without context. And I see United apparently ‘hoof a long ball to martial’ every time. God you’re clueless. Well since you clearly need the education, United are 19th for most long balls this season having played four (no FOUR) more than City in 20th.
Other gems like the mighty Club Brugge outplaying United (in a 1-6 aggregate loss with an average of 36% possession across both legs) or that United is not a big club anymore (Leicester are ahead in the table and obviously a bigger club now, aren’t they???) don’t even bear thinking about.
There’s no point being disappointed in f365 again regarding Ole but it’s really getting boring now. Nothing puts your disdain for him in a more ridiculous context than your swooning over Arteta. He may end up being the second coming of Guardiola but ffs let’s not wet our pants yet. He came in as former player and the players have better attitude, run more etc. sounds awfully like something we’ve seen before. Oh wait… yeah Ole. Except Ole did so while winning but Arteta became the draw merchant. Playing the right back as part of a back three in possession isn’t exactly revolutionary or unique unless you are compelled to force a narrative. It’s a bit of a giveaway when ‘Arteta and turning chaos into order’ is the head rather than, you know, a tactical idea like you did with Klopp and Wilder.
As for the best tacticians, to qualify should probably require having an innovative but effective approach. So I’ll give you Klopp (obviously) and Wilder but the rest? Meh. Ancelotti made it too by keeping it simple and releasing potential playing a revolutionary 4-4-f**king-2.
I know you’re probably running out of things to write about during this hiatus (especially to disparage Ole as per usual) but come on.
AY (let’s stay safe)
I’m not sure why this rumor has stayed so juicy for everybody. In the case of the Leicester players, the position they are in for Champions League football and part of a project that is thriving with a top manager would be hard to leave, especially if you are playing week in week out and getting into the England team (Madison will soon enough). Rice could be a good signing for any club but I just get bored of people actually believing any of this.
Chilwell is the only one that makes any sense for Chelsea as left back is one of the most obvious holes to fill. Emerson is good but not entirely reliable on the defensive side (probably going back to Italy) and we all know Alonso is a wing back. But Chilwell also has not really impressed me that much this season. He is very good but I’m not sure he would be the best value for the price that would need to be paid.
As for Rice and Madison? Look at Chelsea’s squad in midfield: Kante, Jorginho, Kovacic, Mount, Barkley, Loftus-Cheek, Gilmour (Reece James also can play there). None of these guys are getting sold or moved on and that is a terrific crop to choose from for a season. We all know Chelsea need a striker to push Tammy Abraham and a left back. Let’s just stop paying any mind to the rumors that don’t fit. Lampard will surely push for reinforcements where he needs them but he will also asses players returning from loan and players coming through the academy.
And just to throw out some names that I think could be good options: Dwight McNiel, Luca Digne, Lukas Klostermann (Leipzig), Alex Telles (Porto). Mousa Dembele (Lyon), Odsonne Edouard (Celtic).
Let’s talk about things that make sense but also might happen.
What’s so great about…
Spurs weren’t having a good time of it in a season that would end near to financial collapse. Gascoigne and Lineker were going to lead us to FA Cup glory, even if Gazza’s impact during the final were the stud marks on Gary Parker’s chest and Gary Charles’s knee.
Half term in Camden there was a football school which would pick up roughly 50 kids and trundle us off to some pitches out in Middlesex somewhere. One day Paul Gascoigne turned up, it wasn’t unusual for spurs players to appear, Vinny Samways had shown up the previous year. He ran on to the pitch, proceeded to chip the ball from the half way line into the goal with a Rabona which, when you’re ten years old was jaw dropping. He then pinched my sandwich, ate it, played on the pitch with us for a few minutes (I have a photo of me and him jostling for a ball, a coming together that saw me shoved to the floor) and then he left.
There wasn’t one of us that afternoon who could keep the smiles off our faces. Gazza had just come back from Italia 90 a world star and the bastard ate my lunch.
Teddy to Pierre-Emerick
Teddy Sheringham played with Javier Mascherano at West Ham
Mascherano played with Ousmane Dembele at Barcelona
Ousmane Dembele played with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang at Dortmund.
All the answers
wow this is too much fun. thanks again to the mailbox for always being the shining light in dark times. here are my answers:
sheringham to giggs to kagawa to aubameyang
bryan robson to giggs to tom cleverley to jack grealish
vieri to cambiasso to jeffrey schlupp to luka milivojévic
anyway, the use of giggs twice got me thinking thinking about who the kevin bacon of football is. would be a one club stalwart or a career journeyman?
Yong Yao Loh, Singapore
The new challenges
My answers to the linking games from the morning mailbox:
Schmeichel to Schmeichel can be done in one via Man City, as they both played there, only four years apart. Richard Dunne works.
I couldn’t do Adams to di Maria in one player, but managed it in two (all club, as per Lee’s initial rules):
Adams – Michael Thomas (Arsenal)
Thomas – Nuno Gomes (Benfica)
Gomes – di Maria (also Benfica)
As for the afternoon suggestions, here are my best efforts:
Teddy Sheringham to Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang took two players:
Sheringham – Yossi Benayoun (West Ham)
Benayoun – Aaron Ramsey (Arsenal)
Ramsey – Aubameyang (Arsenal)
Christian Vieri to Luka Milivojevic I managed in two players too:
Vieri – Gael Givet (Monaco)
Givet – Scott Dann (Blackburn)
Dann – Milivojevic (Crystal Palace)
For Bryan Robson to Jack Grealish, I thought I had it in one, with Kevin Pilkington. Played with Grealish at Notts County, but didn’t debut at Man Utd until the season after Robson left. So I’ll go:
Robson – Steve Bruce (Man Utd)
Bruce – Pilkington (Man Utd)
Pilkington – Grealish (Notts County)
Only seems fair to keep it going, so who can link Teemu Pukki with the iconic Johan Cruyff? I managed it in two players.
Roy Bryan (Gerrard doesn’t work in the Seaman – Firmino one, he left the summer Bobby F joined)
Néill, (loving these games), Ireland – great shout. Luckily I ploughed the depths of my old Champ Man knowledge and remembered that Vieri spent time at Fiorentina with Anthony Van Den Borre in the late noughties (he of Kamara’s ‘I don’t know Jeff’ phantom red card on soccer saturday), who was at RSC Anderlecht with Milivojevic in 13/14.
Let’s go a bit more difficult – How about Shunsuke Nakamura to Bruno Fernandes?
Lee (gotta go obscure! keep ’em coming), LFC
I am really loving this 5 degrees of separation game.
If only Joe Cole had stayed a season longer at West ham, but here goes:
Teddy Sheringham (West Ham) > Thomas Repka (West Ham) > Joel Cole (West Ham/Lille) > Mathieu Debuchy (Lille) > Aubameyang (Lille in 10/11).
Now what about this one,
Roberto Baggio and Tammy Abraham.
In answer to Lee;
Sheringham to Aubameyang: Sheringham -> Giggs -> Welbeck -> Aubameyang
In answer to Guillaume;
Vieri to Milivojevic: Vieri -> Cambiasso -> Schlupp -> Milivojevic
In answer to Neil;
Robson to Grealish: Robson -> Giggs -> Richardson -> Grealish
For another question, how about Gordon Banks to Jordan Pickford.
Degrees of Separation time, yes I am jumping on the bandwagon, but what else is there to do?
Can you get from Carlo Cudicini to Lillian Thuram? It is harder than you think, all are connected via their club and NOT national sides, but here is a clue, it should take you only four steps and it includes a true icon of the game!
A Spurs nationalities XI sounded easy on paper, but turned out much tougher than I expected. That front 6 is a thing of beauty!!! That back 5 is a shambles looking for Lesley King to consistently bail them out!!!
Van de Vaart (Dutch)
Paul (Spurs) T.Wells
GK: Hugo Lloris (France)
LB: Benoit Assou-Ekotto (Cameroon)
CB: Jan Vertonghen (Belgium)
CB: Davinson Sanchez (Colombia)
RB: Stephen Carr (Ireland)
MC: Luka Modric (Croatia)
MC: Victor Wanyama (Kenya)
AM: Gareth Bale (Wales)
AM: Rafael Van Der Vaart (Netherlands)
AM: Heung-Min Son (South Korea)
ST: Harry Kane (England)
Subs: Brad Friedel (GK, USA), Lucas Moura (AM, Brazil), Christian Eriksen (AM, Denmark), Jurgen Klinsmann (ST, Germany), Dimitar Berbatov (ST, Bulgaria), Serge Aurier (RB, Ivory Coast), Gylfi Sigurdsson (AM, Iceland)
Manager: Mauricio Pochettino (Argentina)
A bit of a top-heavy team, admittedly, but I think that swashbuckling front line would terrify most opposition sides – imagine keeping all four of them quiet while Modric pulls the strings in the middle of the park! The back line is a bit shakier, but Assou-Ekotto and Bale had a great partnership on the left while a prime Vertonghen would do well shepherding the younger Sanchez through matches, and Wanyama would be a superb shield. Peak Lloris would stop 99% of whatever got through, albeit still with the potential to chuck one in from time to time. It was Carr or Aurier at RB and neither one really comes close to Kyle Walker in that spot, but I could hardly leave Kane out – even though picking from Klinsmann or Berbatov or even Robbie Keane in his stead wouldn’t have been a bad swap!
I can’t tell you how much it hurt to leave out Mousa Dembele from this team, but Spurs have been lacking enough in defence that I had to pick one of our Belgians there. The thought of reuniting Dembele and Wanyama with both at peak fitness (or pairing Dembele with Modric, for that matter) left me feeling a little nostalgic – although that’s not uncommon for Spurs fans these days.
Sigurdsson’s spot as 18th man could have been taken by Fernando Llorente (Spain), Emmanuel Adebayor (Togo), Giovani dos Santos (Mexico), Roman Pavlyuchenko (Russia), Mido (Egypt), Freddy Kanoute (Mali) or even more defensive players like Paul Stalteri or Wilson Palacios (Canada and Honduras, respectively) but I couldn’t quite bring myself to include Helder Postiga (Portugal) or Sergei Rebrov (Ukraine) – five attacking subs was enough, and all the ones I picked did actually score goals for us.
Michael C (Don’t think I missed anyone too obvious…)
With a little bit of help from Wikipedia, here’s an Ipswich team ripe for a glorious promotion push from the championship:
I’m too young to remember Warky at centre-mid and he could talk Herman through the game at Centre back. George is in there for his debut against Derby and Bontcho for a glorious chant based on 2Unlimited.
Kevin, (Bontcho, Bontcho Bontcho, Bontcho Bontcho, Bontcho, Bontcho Guenchev) ITFC, Vancouver
After seeing best 11 for some of the teams in mailbox, what would be your team’s worst 11 of all time?
A full house is all that’s required here. Please cite the following from the mailbox as from today. As we’re in lockdown we might as well learn how to write English and avoid cliches, no? First one to collect all ten wins.
The inability to distinguish between “they’re”, “their” and “there”
Apostrophes used to denote a plural. i.e “goals'” “games'” or “managers'”
Using UTD as a word to refer to the Manchester club
Spelling Arsenal as “Arsenil” or Chelsea as “Chel$ki”
Calling Manchester City “Citeh”
“Bantz’ in all forms, never complimentary, but double points for something like “Gaz Nevz suckz”
USING ALL CAPS
not using any caps. especially at the start of a new sentence. really. it’s not that hard. as an aside, see what I did with the correct use of that apostrophe?
Using “shoe-in” when you really mean “shoo-in”.
Using “pool” as a designation for the team or the city.
Thank you. Building a better and more literate mailbox one day at a time.
Steve, Los Angeles
The F365 Show is on hiatus until the football returns. Subscribe now ready for its glorious comeback. In the meantime, listen to the latest episode of Planet Football’s 2000s podcast, The Broken Metatarsal.