Ensure we have a (decent) Friday afternoon Mailbox, by sending your thoughts in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
United in crisis again
67 minutes in and I have come to one conclusion about Manchester United. Leicester really were terrible last Saturday. It’s going to be a long season.
The Wayne Rooney assist thought process
Thought-process on checking score app to see that Wayne Rooney has provided Zlatan’s assist off the bench:
– He’s back. The boy wonder is back. Being dropped gave him the kick up the arse needed and he’s off the bench to inspire United to the win. How we’ve missed you Wayne.
– But wait, what about Mata, the lovable Spanish rogue? Will he be resigned to a substitute role again now that Wayne has got his mojo back? Yes, maybe. But it’s a good thing for United if Wayne can play like he did tonight.
– Wait. Of course it’s not a good thing, he’ll be sh*t again on Sunday.
– Wait. He was probably actually quite sh*t tonight apart from the assist. I hope that he was just sh*t enough not to get his place back on Sunday.
– Wait. He probably didn’t even mean that assist and instead shinned the ball into Zlatan’s path. Now that would be funny!
– *on seeing goal, laughs head off* Oh Wayne! Never Change!
Dan (It’s Torres x10), Dublin
…If Rooney is being credited for that “assist”, can I be credited for ending world hunger because I skipped breakfast this morning?
MK (solved USA immigration problems because I’ve never been there)
Is Rooney’s agent calling in favours?
I read Sarah Winterburn’s assessment of Wayne Rooney in United’s recent Europa League game and nodded my head in absolute agreement.
However, I fear that Rooney’s agent is ahem, “calling in favours” with his mates in the media , such is the difference between what we see and what we’re being told. Not a day passes without some hack or ex-pro preaching to all and sundry that , Wayne has experience, he’s England’s talisman, he’s got an amazing range of passing, his goal scoring is second to none, ad nauseum. It must be costing him an absolute fortune (in favours – that is).
This, despite the fact that every football loving person I know believes Rooney to be way past his best, incapable of anything other than grandstanding passes under no pressure out to the flanks and that’s being charitable, he’s stunk out England for tournament after tournament and now appears to be doing his best to halt Mourinho’s United resurgence.
Rodgers at England would be tremendous
Now my first choice for the soon to be vacant England post would be Wenger. If we were to actually get Wenger it would be the most exciting England appointment since Capello (which admittedly didn’t end well)
Yet Arsenal will offer Wenger a new contract, so I have a potential back-up option, a back-up option which would be ‘tremendous’ ‘fantastic’ & ‘outstanding’ he’s managed huge clubs, worked his way from the bottom, learnt under the best and brightest at their peak & plays attractive football. It’s Brendan baby (as you probably guessed).
He’s got a very good track record with young players and is free in the summer, and you would imagine he’d be up for it. Of the potential managers around except Arsene he is the stand out candidate. Now as a Liverpool I’m more than aware of his faults but he brings out the very best in his star players and is good at improving promising players, look at how Jordan Henderson, Ashley Williams, Luis suarez and Raheem Sterling all improved under his management.
He wouldn’t be afraid to drop big name players (see Steven Gerrard) and would get the respect of the dressing room, and for the FA bigwigs he seems a stand up guy. Barring the last year at liverpool and spells at Reading & Watford he’s had a pretty successful management career.
(MC – You’ve literally named three of his five jobs there, and one he’s just started)
Of course he would have his detractors and clearly has his flaws but he can gets teams playing really exciting football the sort of football that I haven’t seen since I started following liverpool (been a liverpool supporter since 1997)
David (and you’d be able to play the Brendan bingo drinking game in his post match interviews) Burzio
This person seriously suggests John Terry as England manager
We actually have the perfect manager for England, and he is right under our noses….
Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you, John Terry. Before I continue I must say that I am not a Chelsea fan. Here are my reasons for his appointment:
– Pretty much directed Chelsea to European glory, even though the history books will have Roberto Di Matteo down as manager, JT was pulling the strings on the sideline.
– Is one of the best man motivators in the game. Has won pretty much everything with Chelsea, so will command respect from everyone who plays for him, for his medal collection alone.
– Knows the set up and has played with and against most of the players England will both select, and crucially, line up against. Knows the bleeding edge modern game, and has played under some of the best coaches on the planet.
– Is nearing the end of his playing career, could easily do this job alongside his last season or two with Chelsea.
There are one or two obvious downsides, but does he not tick some serious boxes?
John Paul Sutherland
Robbie Savage commentated, so we got a few Mails
Robbie Savage just said (of Fellaini): “just go in and smash everyone you’re bigger than them all”
Lost for words. That is some truly painful commentary.
…Surely I wasn’t the only one p*ssed off listening to Robbie Savage last night? He repeatedly criticised Fellaini who was actually solid, breaking up play and laying it off simply. He then proclaims Rooney’s “assist” as an act of genius simply because he hangs back and lets the ball cannon off his fat thigh. It bewilders me how this pillock gets a gig on TV.
The Dundalk adventure continues
We are two games into this season’s Europa League and Dundalk remain unbeaten.
Indeed, only six teams out of 48 have more points on the board than Dundalk’s four; one more than Man Utd and Inter Milan combined, in case you were wondering.
These are the kind of fairly arbitrary stats to get excited about when your prize money for beating Maccabi Tel Aviv 1-0 at home (€360,000) is treble what you got for winning your domestic league last season (€120,000).
Dundalk manager Stephen Kenny had said that getting to the last 32 was a realistic aim for his players. And after orchestrating an Irish team’s first ever win in the group stages of European competition, who the hell are we to argue with him?
John (Also, if any particularly behind-the-door scouts are reading this… Daryl Horgan of Dundalk, have a look see), Ennis
…A few years ago, Giovanni Trappattoni tried to defend his general rubbish management of the Irish national team by pointing out that there is no league in Ireland.
Tell that to Dundalk, who seem to both play in a league – also a Europa League, whatever that is – and be a football team able to compete and win at a professional level.
What we don’t have, though, is an FA with the interest in developing the League of Ireland and running it sustainably. Just over a month ago, for example, a controversy broke out after two Irish clubs refused to accept what they saw as an insulting €5,000 grant from the FAI for “strategic planning”. I can see their point. Getting new carpets in your house costs more than that. As a point of comparison, the FAI is taking in about €40 million a year.
To be honest, though, we can’t put all the blame on them. FA’s are corporations, essentially, and no corporation is going to change the way it profitably runs itself without public pressure. Irish people don’t care. There are almost no calls from the public, media or government to, for example, introduce a dedicated team to run the league, provide grants for basic stadium facilities, or make a concerted effort to get a decent broadcast deal. Irish fans and journalists seem happy enough to follow the Premiership (the letters after my name below indicate I’m as guilty as anyone) and watch the national team hoof it long during the international break.
Hopefully what Dundalk are achieving will wake everyone up to what’s possible. If they really capture the public’s imagination, the FAI will follow. With the path to England essentially shut now for Irish kids, a good domestic league is the only way Ireland has a future as a serious footballing nation – as it stands, the majority of players have nowhere to go after youth level in pursuit of a career. A viable domestic league could change that and then future national team managers would have the luxury denied to poor Mr Trappattoni of choosing players earning their trade in their own country.
Stephen O’S, MUFC
Your weekly three games to watch
The one everyone’s watching, so here are a few stats. Spurs have taken eight more shots than City this season, but City have scored eight more goals. That’s because Spurs have on the average taken their shots from farther out, and in part that’s why City have a notably higher conversion rate, 13.6% to 8.8%. So watch for the relative positions of their shots. On the other side of the ball, Spurs’ brilliant defensive record is unsustainable for long. Their opponents have converted a ridiculously low 3.2% of their shots, whereas City have a still low but more reasonable 7.1%. But the stats also show that Tottenham block a large number of shots from inside their area, City very few. So watch for that as well.
Last week Swansea fought fire with fire, pressing Manchester City and nearly getting away with it, but also nearly getting slaughtered. Will they be so bold again? And will Modou Barrow start ahead of Wayne Routledge, so he can run at James Milner? Leon Britton played very well against Man City, and much depends on his coolness. Liverpool’s stats are remarkable: they’ve taken the most shots and allowed the fewest. And because opponents have converted an abnormally high 18.8% of their shots, their defensive record should get better, although we still need a closer look at Loris Karius. (By the way, the odds are 8/1 that Swansea will be Big Sam’s next club. Get on it!)
Psychologically fascinating, because Bournemouth are coming off their best game of the season and Watford off their worst. The Cherries love to attack on the wings, which is Watford’s weakness when they play 3-5-2, particularly with Daryl Janmaat injured. Could Walter Mazzarri choose four at the back instead? If Eddie Howe goes with the 4-4-1-1 from last week, Jack Wilshere will come up against rough-and-tumble Valon Behrami. The Hornets tried way too much longball at Burnley, and are likely to keep it on the carpet more. But Troy Deeney can still be a decent weapon against Steven Cook (sorry Daniel Storey) and Simon Francis, both of whom are winning less than 60% of their aerial duels, poor for central defenders.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
Newcastle player ratings a day late. Why not.
Darlow – He did not have much to do bar pick the ball out of the net and some standard saves. He did not cause the penalty, his defence let him down for the second and the third took a canny deflection.
Yedlin – He is a fast young man isn’t he? Provided a good overlap and partnership with Ritchie on the right. The jury is still out on his defensive capabilities. He rolled about and kicked is feet like a spoilt toddler at one point. No one wants to see that, Clive.
Lascelles – Steady captains display. He lost his rag near the end and needed Dwight Gayle to tell his to STFU. He’s young but getting there (I hope).
Clark – It is nice to see a Newcastle centre back who is not a loon/’maverick’/sh*te. Nowts a bother for him.
Dummett – The boy has a lovely cross on him. No very fast but ok for the most part. He still needs someone disciplined in front of him…
Gouffran – Was disciplined in front of Dummet and still added to the forward play. I’ve been a fan since he signed, he is quite ‘unsung’ but I think the fans are starting to warm to him again. He took his goal well.
Shelvey – Ah Jonjo. You big bald confidence player you. He is capable of controlling a match from the centre. Until he messes up and it gets to him quickly. He was at fault due to poor tracking for 2 of the goals and he knew it too. He got back into the game half way through the second half and his confidence returned.
Colback – Tenacious and unpretentious.
Ritchie – Tenacious and feisty. He really is a very good player. And a bit of radge to boot.
Diame – Hmmmm…I don’t know. I am still unsure of what he brings.
Gayle – Quickly becoming a hero. He could have had 6 or 7 tonight.
Subs: Mitrovic is a f**king headcase. This is a good and bad thing. Astu is only wee and helped us win the game. Hayden probably should have started.
I felt for the Norwich fans. That is an awful journey to make on a Wednesday night especially after that result.
Also, I felt for Olsen, although I am sure he managed to sleep ok on his no doubt expensive pillows. He was booed by the Newcastle fans for having the audacity to be blatantly fouled by Ritchie. I am not sure what goes through some fans’ heads. The foul happened right in front of us. It was as clear as anything. Yet some of them were genuinely angry with the decision and him. He then went and outdid himself by letting his face get in the way of Ritchie’s outstretched hand and Mitrovic wanted to kill him! And then we won.
Paul (96min 3-2 down), Newcastle