Mails: Dier and Dembele amongst underrated

Date published: Wednesday 20th April 2016 1:52

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Chelsea v Tottenham is massive for Leicester
Well, this title race has all got very exciting hasn’t it? If I was a neutral, I’d be very pleased as there is a real chance it will go right down to the wire.

I see Spurs beating WBA and Southampton, and drawing at Chelsea to give them seven points.

We have to think we’ll beat Everton and Swansea as we are in form and those teams have nothing to play for (unlike the impressive West Ham last week). Then, we could nick points at Old Trafford, but if I cautiously put down that as a loss, this gives us six points.

This scenario would be enough to win the league with the game against Everton. We could actually do this! Every one of these games is crucial, but, for me, the biggest remaining game is Spurs at Chelsea. If they manage to win there, it will come down to the last day in all likelihood. The difference is that we know this is probably our only chance of winning the Premier League. Spurs, with their young team, big stadium, more money, more history, will have other chances.

I really don’t know how the big club fans go through these emotions every year. It is brilliant, but also unbelievably excruciating.
Toby (Come on Leicester) Mitchell


Chelsea v Leicester will be a breeze for Leicester
Quick one for you, and I know I’m late to the party. But after watching MNF Fabregas was speaking about Spurs and Leicester going for the league title. When they got to who has the harder run in etc..Fabregas was asked how Chelsea would approach the final game of the season against Leicester, and he smiled and simply said “Well I don’t want Spurs to win it”…all to the backdrop of that totem pole Chamberlain and ‘aren’t I gas Carragher’. I mean how is this not even mentioned again? This is Fabregas blatantly admitting they will phone it in last game so Spurs can’t win it…this is disgraceful.

I know this behavior goes on, I am not naive but to for a current active footballer to freely admit this on TV is astonishing. How is more not being made of this…or are we simply at this stage of cynicism and corruption in the game that clear match fixing is a minor issue.

And yes of course I’m a Spurs fan…just astonished is all.
Lee (THFC)


An overlooked/underrated XI of the season
Gk – Gomes. You guys wrote a good piece on him the other day. One of the best shot-stoppers, had a good season back in the top flight.

Rb – Adam Smith. Scored some cracking goals, better attacking than he is defending. The full-backs were hardest ones to think of for me, so I’ve gone for attacking ones!

Cb – Jose Fonte. Lovren, Alderweireld and now Van Dijk. All of them got more praise and recognition but he’s been the mainstay in that defence over the last three seasons. Best defensive record outside of the top five in the PL.

Cb – Daley Blind. Hear me out. Second best defensive record in the league, he’s not naturally a centre-back either as we all know and can sometimes tell, but I would say he’s played fairly well throughout the season and seems to usually get stick more than praise.

Lb – Charlie Daniels. Again they’ve done remarkably to stay up and better, every time I’ve seen him play he’s looked good going forward and has a sweet left foot. Enough for me, Clive.

Dm – Mousa Dembele. Almost impossible to get the ball off him. Absolute machine.

Dm – Eric Dier. Rock. Solid. Can’t take anything away from Kante, but if he wasn’t about surely this guy would have to be on the team of the year. A great season. Very underrated for his actual footballing ability too. Also Dele Alli’s best mate. Cute.

Am – Roberto Firmino. Nine goals, seven assists. Same amount of goals and one less assist as Payet in 500 less minutes played. Not bad for a first season in England.

Am – Gylfi Sigurdsson. Okay, so didn’t seem to be awake for the first half of the season, but 11 goals is a great return. Wonder where Swansea would be without him?

Am – Marko Arnautovic. 10 goals and five assists for the impressive Austrian. Can truly thunderb**tard the ball, always good to see.

Cf – Jermain Defoe. 13 goals for a team still in the relegation zone, more than Giroud and Diego Costa to name a few. I’m not a big fan of Defoe and that cliché surrounding him, but he is natural goalscorer. Might be enough to keep Sunderland up, again!
Matt, Norwich. (Just noticed how Spurs this team is, sorry, really didn’t mean it to be!)


Shall we call them Magnolia City?
This isn’t a trolling email, I am genuinely interested in what people think about this.

Watching the game last night I got to thinking…are Man City the magnolia of the Premier League? Apart from City fans, nobody really cares if they lose, nobody really cares if they win.

They have players to admire like Silva and Aguero but they don’t really seem to have a public personality anyone can connect with. I admire their professionalism but is there anything behind these players we can relate to?

The City fans don’t really kick up a fuss about anything and can’t even be nailed down to anything (apart from a half empty stadium) for taking the Michael. They’re just there.

City just don’t seem to have an identity.
Jimmy (Magnolia kit next season?) Spain


What’s Danny Simpson’s car got to do with it?
There seem to be a number of double-standards coming into force on F365, mainly down to the ‘bias’ or otherwise against certain Leicester players. I don’t disagree with F365 thinking on Vardy, Simpson, Huth et al, but one of the reasons I especially respect the F365 thinking is because they generally play clean.

The Premier League Phoenixes feature pretty much shot that down. While Mediawatch mocks and condescends when flash cars are mentioned in a newspaper, this feature couldn’t help a cheeky dig at Simpson for showing up to community service in an expensive car. To paraphrase Mediawatch, why is this relevant? OK so it is community service, but rightly or wrongly Danny Simpson gets paid very well. Because of this, he has a £200,000 car, and you really can’t blame a man for driving to community service. While the image is jarring, it is in no way criminal in and of itself, and is exactly the sort of irrelevant tabloid-frenzied dribble that F365 is regularly scathing of.

Maybe there was a point to the mention of the car – and for the record, I have no issue with the assault of his ex-girlfriend being mentioned, as like F365 believe, this is something that people should be aware of when discussing footballers and portraying them as role models. If there was a point though, I can’t see it. Anyone care to enlighten me?
Michael (jealous of the car), Cork


Why Chelsea fans don’t blame Mourinho
Thomas Ewens
referred to my earlier mailbox entry about Chelsea’s problems this season and how I didn’t mention Mourinho.

There are a number of reasons why the fans do not blame Mourinho:

1. He is our most successful manager of all time, he shouldn’t have had to take sole responsibility for one bad season.

2. At the start of the summer he demanded a new centre-back (Stones/Marquinhos), a midfielder (Pogba/Koke) and an attacker (Griezmann). Our season would most likely have been very different if at least a couple of those targets were bought. Instead the board thought we did not need to improve a league-winning team. After a few bad games they realised Mourinho was right, but it was too late, and we panic bought Pedro and Djilobodji (both far weaker versions of what Mourinho wanted).

3. Even with Mourinho gone, our January signing Pato took three months to get fit and make his debut. How any of the board thought that this was a good move is beyond me (when someone like Charlie Austin was available as a back-up striker). It’s our technical board who continually make mistakes.

4. A number of players have just been terrible (Courtois, Ivanovic, Matic, Oscar and Hazard the most notable declines). The argument that Mourinho ‘lost the dressing room’ has been shown to be unfounded as these players have remained terrible. Only Fabregas and Costa have actually got better and both were big backers of Mourinho (despite Fabregas being incorrectly labelled in the media as the one who tried to get him sacked).

5. Since he was sacked we have been knocked out of the FA Cup, the Champions League and climbed about five places in the league. The fans think if we had kept Mourinho we couldn’t have done worse than this.

Our problems are clearly a terrible director of football (Michael Emenalo), incompetent board and some players who just don’t care anymore.

I would have hoped they have finally learned their lesson and let Conte do things his way without interfering, but that’s exactly what I thought when we brought Mourinho back.
Shane, London


…Thomas Ewens, you don’t like José, we get it and that’s perfectly fine. However, when you compare him to Moyes, and then say ‘Mourinho is a complete wally who literally took a championship-winning team and turned them into relegation candidates’ it’s best to remember that Mourinho made them champions in the first place.

Not bad for a wally.
André (Thankful gratitude in football is not so short-lived) London


And this Man United fan is in the pro-Jose camp
Thomas paints a very ugly picture about Mourinho’s disastrous 2015/16 season at Chelsea. He has used some gratuitous emotive language but I guess that’s because he is a Mou detractor. He is factually correct on most accounts I guess – it was a truly rotten spell.

I would like to try explain to him why Mourinho has been ‘let off the hook’:

Thomas seems to believe that a 16 game run overseen by Mourinho in late 2015 erases the 749 games that preceded it when he posted a 68% win record and collected 22 trophies across 4 European Leagues. Notably winning the domestic league EVERY single time he was appointed in a job – all of this spanned over 14 and a half years.

That is why Mourinho has been “let off the hook”. His reputation precedes him. Logic would tell me he has to be a disaster for at least three more seasons before he is “on the hook”.

I suspect that you don’t like him because he is an arrogant prick. That is why you are magnifying a very, very small part of an immense body of work.

Hope that helps.
Mandisi, MUFC


There’s at least one thing he did…
Jose Mourinho gets what he deserves (live by the sword, die by the sword, etc), but whatever you think of him (and as a Chelsea fan I have decidedly mixed feelings) you have to admit that his invention of the phrase ‘Specialist In Failure’ to refer to Arsene Wenger was a work of genius. It cuts straight to the bone, and the psychotic reaction of Arsenal fans to it only proves this point. Forget all the titles, Mourinho will be remembered for this, and Wenger will be lucky to avoid it appearing on his gravestone.
Marky Mark, London (more than happy to give Leicester a guard of honour on the last day of the season)


No doubting Thomas here
I’d just like to applaud Thomas Ewen’s mail from this morning.

Very well said indeed.
Ross (He’s sold me on the Mourinho for Manchester idea) LFC


Poor Ronny; blame Rangers
Ronny Deila – the only manager to be fired because another team got promoted…?
Shane Glass


Mailbox gold
James, Perth and Ed, how did you miss ‘sort of speak’ from ToonBano yesterday morning? It’s an absolute belter because if you’ve never seen the phrase ‘so to speak’ written down and only ever heard it in a Geordie accent, it’s believable that you’d think it was ‘sort of speak’ (go on, do the Geordie accent, you know you want to). Sorry ToonBano, sure it was just a typo.
Matt, AFC


…Floored Genius is the title of Julian Cope’s best-of album. Definitely not pre-Madonna as it was released in 1992.
Richard (World Shut Your Mouth) Pike


Why is abuse acceptable in football?
In my experience, there is something ‘about’ football, and there always has been, that makes random abuse acceptable. I remember playing for a hall team in uni, and a bad pass to a team mate caused him to unleash a volley of abuse at me. The same guy lived in the room next to me in halls, and away from the football field was one of the friendliest people I have met.
A few years later, I organised a 5-a-side tournament for all the different offices of the company I worked at. I naively assumed it would be a friendly kickabout. It was in actuality, open warfare. One incident stuck in my mind, a guy on our team put in a fairly ‘agricultural’ challenge on an opposition player, clumsy admittedly but not malicious. The oppo player towered over him and told him that “if you do that again, I’ll knock your f*****g block off”. These are stable, professional people that in the course of my everday work were a pleasure to deal with.
Our team got knocked out and I was called up to ref the final. Every decision was met with dissent and abuse. At the end of the tournament, the same players stood up and applauded me for organising things.

I don’t know why this ‘red mist’ seems to affect those playing football, I’m sure it’s present in other sports, but football is rife with it. And I’m struggling to think of a sport where spectators pour abuse on people they don’t know (e.g. at Rotherham vs Forest the other day the away fans were taunting the home fans about unemployment and Jimmy Savile, who was not even from Rotherham).

I for one, am tired of it. The solution has to be things like proper implementation of the Respect campaign. People like Vardy and Rooney are role models and should not escape censure for their actions.
Jim G (NFFC ‘hugs not thugs’)


Update from Name Withheld
With the abuse raining down on referees and assistants following the Leicester and Man City games, I thought it worthwhile updating you all on the incident I mentioned in my mailbox post recently. Last night I had to attend a ‘personal hearing’ so that a manager (the ‘adult’ who should have been responsible for the 15-year-old who spat in my face and assaulted me) could hurl further abuse and lies at me. He’s stormed out of the previous hearing when told that he couldn’t record it, so at least he managed to keep his temper in check this time.

All cases proven, club and manager fined £££’s and the 15-year-old was banned for five years! Yet, far from celebrating, I’m feeling more despondent about youth football and refereeing than at any time in my short officiating career. To whoever wrote in earlier this week to say that they regularly abuse referees – well done, you are killing the game.
Name Witheld

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