Mails: Oxlade-Chamberlain is Wayne Rooney

Date published: Thursday 14th January 2016 3:24

Keep it up, pretty please. Mail in to


Bye, Dave
I guess United will be receiving a monster bid for De Gea in the next couple of weeks then.
Ted, Manchester


Ahh, that’s better
Manchester United

Rooney is crap

Van Gaal out

Why did Fergie leave us with an ageing squad?

Stats show Moyesey faired better than Van Gaal has.

The United way.
Dale (I’m in right?)


Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain = Wayne Rooney
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has been poor. He’s never been an Arsenal player I’ve ever warmed to, due to his lack of end product that has lasted for what seems like forever. Yet he somehow never gets the criticism that his shocking performances deserve. Kind of reminds me of a chubby fella with a questionable barnet strolling around the Old Trafford turf every week.

Recently some damning statistics were circulating wildly on Twitter:
1) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has never scored more than two Premier League goals in a season
2) Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain did not provide a single goal or assist in the Premier League in 2015.

Those are some pretty telling statistics, and yet somehow he seems to receive no criticism whatsoever from mainstream media or yourselves at F365 (MC – ahem). To my recollection I’ve never seen him feature in your losers section. Not even once.

This was the season (like the one before that and the one before that) where he was meant to kick on. He scored in the Community Shield vs Chelsea and all of a sudden this was going to be Oxlade-Chamberlain’s breakthrough year. How wrong was everybody.

The common thing pundits say about him is he needs a run of games, and needs to stay injury free. Apart from a couple of 2/3 week stints off, he’s been injury free all season and we’re still not seeing anything resembling competence from him. Poor passing, running down blind alleys, wayward shooting and shocking crosses are the things we’ve come to expect of Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Last night against Liverpool, Arsenal were 3-2 up and on the counter with Oxlade-Chamberlain on the ball. Giroud is wide open on the left screaming for the ball, but Oxlade-Chamberlain tries to take on one too many men and loses the ball. Oh so typical. If he’d squared it, that could have been 4-2 and game closed.

It’s high time he gets recognised for the fraud he is. He’s been at Arsenal for almost half a decade and we’re still not seeing anything resembling progress. If anything, we’re seeing regression. Some of you have him as a nailed on cert on that plane to France in the summer!
Craig Gooner, London
P.S Can we stop calling him the Ox until he puts in some Ox-like performances?!


What is an ‘Emre Can’?
Just wanted to see what the general consensus is about Emre Can. Looking at him he seems as if he has everything available to him to become a world class player but for me there is a couple of things that let him down

* Although he has great pace and power he very rarely lifts his head so constantly runs into trouble
* I lost count the amount of times he gave away the ball last night and this happens every game
* I would expect a midfielder that plays box to box to contribute a bit more with goals and assists than he does at the moment with only 2 goals and 1 assists in all competitions so far

I get that he is relatively young and has plenty of time to improve his game and he has the right manager with Klopp to help him get to where he needs to be. But some of his problems just seem to come from his natural way of playing the game so I don’t know how much he can change that. For me the issue is that some people are going on about him as if he is already the finished product. Which would be worrying for me as a Liverpool fan.

I’d love to see what other people think
John (Dublin, Ireland LFC)


Money talks
What’s the deal with Andros Townsend? The man wants to leave Spurs. Spurs want to get rid of him. Apparently Watford and West Brom want to buy him. How can he still be in limbo? Is it not lonely in limbo now Adebayor’s left?

I think Townsend has been really hurt by his consistent inclusion in the England squad/team while at the same time barely playing for Spurs. Watford et al are trying to buy a bit part winger but Spurs are only willing to sell a regular full England international and so Townsend stays in limbo. It should be a cautionary tale to the FA. If you want to fully invest in your future you shouldn’t pick bit part players. You’ll increase their price and make it harder for them to get regular first team football. It’s also a sign that rubbish English players’ agents really really miss Harry Redknapp.

Every cloud though has a silver lining though. If rumours are to be believed Spurs are looking to buy Saido Berahino (Adebayor Light) so Andros won’t be alone in limbo before too long.
SC, Belfast


Love for Joel
Well that was a fascinating match. And the usual last minute equaliser which as become the norm as Liverpool seek continuous revenge for 89.

Arsenal awarded their man of the match to Giroud who, sitter aside, was absolutely incredible. That finish was world class.

But Joel Campbell caught my eye, again. I emailed earlier saying he had never showed his potential but since the Alexis injury he has been phenomenal. Walcott and the Ox should be made to sit down and watch videos of the guy. The determination, the work ethic, the desire to take risks and make something happen. The Ox especially needs to take heed cos he is being left far far behind.

Campbell touch and pass for the first goal were exquisite, as was in role in the build up to Girouds miss. He’s a breath of fresh air and the big question now is, who does Alexis replace in this team when back?

I know my answer. Grab your coat Theo, it’s going to be a cold winter on the bench.
Manav. London


Swansea thoughts
Re: Peter on his iPad

As a Swansea fan, I’m not devastated at the sale of Shelvey, and the potential sale of Gomis. I’m fed up with people passing comment about my club and our players without watching more than the odd 30 seconds on MoTD. F365 summed up Shelvey perfectly, his inconsistency is so infuriating to watch. What is even more infuriating is his lack of fitness/effort. He worked hard over the summer to raise his fitness and we were rewarded with improved performances and he was rewarded with an England call-up. Since then he appears to have given up trying. His attitude in his last two games for the club was disgusting.

Gomis is an enigma. He misses far more chances than he even gets on target (let alone scores) and he lives offside. Permanently. I can only assume they play a different offside rule in France because he seems incapable of doing what he needs to yo stay onside. Another player whose attitude and effort can be questioned. He can make a forward run and still be wandering back onside 2 minutes later. The amount of attacking chances that we have lost with him up front because the player with the ball has looked up and Gomis is 20 yards beyond the opposition is disgraceful from a guy who earns about £70k a week.

If we can get somewhere close to £20m for the two, that will give us decent funds with which to try and strengthen. Dearth of quality? No, but we certainly need additions.

Two final points. That Big Sam admits the ref made poor decisions against us last night indicates just how rubbish Mr Scott was. I feel sorry for any club that has him as a ref during the remainder of the season. Which they will, because the PGMOL back their guy *every* time. Secondly, writing a mail on your iPad is no excuse for those spelling mistakes. I’ve written this on a phone about 1/6 of the size and I think I’ve successfully managed to avoid typing “p,Ayers”
James (Alan Curtis is a Jack)


What does each club need?
Seeing as a few people had a right old moan about all the United content (while not contributing anything to replace it with, I might add), I thought I’d try and do a “what they need” on each team. I’ll do half now and if this gets published I’ll do the rest later.

Not much actually. Elneny should give them the cover the need in midfield and they may need a striker but they seem to be doing pretty well with what they’ve got.

Aston Villa.
A miracle. Seriously, I really don’t know what they can do to arrest this slide, especially as Garde has said that players are turning them down because of their position. They need strengthening in just about every position, but a striker and a new ‘keeper would be top of my list.

I’d say they’re fine. Too many new signings in January risk upsetting the balance in the squad. Getting their players back from injury would do wonders, and Iturbe and Afobe are both good signings, though I’m not sure Grabban will have the desired effect.

A striker that scores goals consistently, but that’s not an easy thing to find. Keeping Costa on the pitch is the biggest challenge, while Remy should be given more opportunities. They just need their confidence back, which is happening slowly.

Again, a striker that scores goals. The goals have dried up since Bolasie got injured and Palace have started to look like Newcastle after they qualified for the Europa League (should be winning but not managing to). Remy would definitely be a good signing but I doubt he’ll be allowed to leave.

I’d say a striker but where would he fit in in the short term? You wouldn’t want to rely on Kone in the event of a season-ender for Lukaku, but a new striker would have to be pretty special to oust the big Belgian so where would the game time come? A ‘keeper would be useful but that could probably wait until summer.

Nothing; they’re absolutely fine. Didn’t think I’d be saying that at the start of the season.

Fit players. They have about a million forwards but only Benteke is fit and even he has a dodgy injury record. There’s no point making signings to cover their injuries now, because they’d end up with a bloated squad. Maybe sign some new physios and fitness coaches. A new ‘keeper as well, because Mignolet and Bogdan between them are, well…yeah.

Man City
I’m not sure on this one. In theory, they have an excellent squad. Possibly they could do with a bit more cover up front, but I’d be tempted to stick with what they’ve got. I rate Bony and Iheanacho seems like an excellent prospect. If anything, I’d say a centre-back to replace Mangala because he’s just not improving and Kompany is always injured.

Manchester United
A new centre-back, another striker, probably a full-back. We’re woefully short up front – if Rooney and Martial start there is no alternative on the bench. I’d be looking at Sam Byram actually; Darmian can cover left-back while Shaw recovers and Byram has bags of potential. Shkodran Mustafi from Valencia would be my pick for centre-back (also would be an excellent option to reunite him with Otamendi at City), though he probably isn’t available now (unless GNev does us a favour).
Ted, Manchester


The best MOTM performances against your team?
I was thinking recently about the best players I have ever seen play live against Utd, and the list was huge. But what about players who performed out of their skins in a one-off game, and aren’t necessarily world class? Players who have 1 good game then 2 bad games in general?

These ones spring off the top of my head:

Marcus Hahnemann (Reading) – Would Utd score that day in 2007 – they always score? No, the keeper saved everything on their 1st game in the Prem following promotion. 0-0.

Eric Djemba Djemba (Nantes) – rattled Utds midfield in the Champions League. So good they named him twice. And, er, so good we bought him. D’oh!

Marouane Fellaini (Everton) – much like Djemba Djemba – such a donkey, he dominated at OT in that 4-4 game which gave City the league.

Danny Murphy (Liverpoo, Bolton) – what is it about him and winners against Utd, eh?!

Chris Sutton (Chelsea) – didnt do much against anybody for Chelsea – but helped them to a 5-0 win in 2000.

Freddie Eastwood (Southend) – winning 1-0 at OT – not a name I remembered fondly in school amongst Liverpool fans.

Dean Ashton (West Ham) – scored a few against Utd, including a cracking overhead kick at the Stretford End. Shame injuries curtailed his career. He is the one player on the list that I thought was a good player.
Gary B (MUFC – still the jewel in the crown without the success)


A Reading rant
Lovely to see a mail from a fellow Royal in the mailbox, albeit he may be an ex-Royal now.

I completely understand your feelings towards Reading. I too was pretty loyal to the club. The days at Elm Park were amazing. Although quality sometimes lacking, you could always rely on a decent atmosphere, helped by the close proximity of the fans to the pitch. Who can forget the playoffs with Bolton? What a game and a classic sliding doors moment.

The move to the Madejski stadium was the beginning of the end for me. Division 2 was fun, if only to see Man City visit and Keegan visit with Fulham before getting the England gig. We had some good ding dongs with Stoke, memorably in the cup, and it was nice to finally get some modicum of success by reaching the playoff final, albeit to go on to lose acracking match with Walsall.

The next chapter saw some limited success, but then came along Mr Coppell and as they say the rest is history. A fantastic few years for all concerned, just an unfortunate ending. Things often get stale and it seems that this, perhaps along with some of the player’s motivation was the case here. Never mind, a cracking few years.

Unfortunately this is where my bug bear with the club began. Throughout the first promotion season and initial year in the Premier League, the atmosphere was fantastic. Fans were united in supporting the club and you genuinely got the impression that it gave the players a boost. However, as time passed and perhaps the club wanted to become more of an established Premier League team, the attitude of the club (read stewards) changed. No longer were we allowed to stand and sing. No longer were we allowed to participate in exchanges with the opposition fans. It came to a point where after 10 mins, the stewards would pick one opposition fan out that refused to sit down and eject him. This swiftly put an end to much of the atmosphere. Granted Premier League rules forbid standing, but in how many grounds is this actually enforced this religiously?

From this point on matches with a great atmosphere, for me, were few and far between. Yes we had another great year with Brian McDermott, and yes, the ownership situation has certainly not helped the general atmosphere around the club, but I relinquished my season ticket following the second promotion as I no longer get the enjoyment and release that I craved, which for me was the primary reason to attend the games on the first place.

I put the blame squarely on the club for this. There must have been a decision somewhere to strictly implement the non-standing rules. Relating it back to the fan owned club concept, maybe this is one instance where fans should get a say In policy rather than solely the club suits. It’s a crying shame and thinking about the wider picture, perhaps is another reason why atmospheres in general around the Premier League grounds seem to be flat (the odd exception granted).

Anyway, rant over.
Andy B, RFC (don’t get me started on the access to the ‘Mad Stad’…)


Exeter only
To add to the flurry of ‘other stuff’ invading the Man Utd/Arsenal/Liverpool mails, I thought I’d respond to Dan Bond’s about Exeter City.

I work quite closely with staff from the club, recently surveying the stadium and being friends with a number of the groundkeeping staff. Dan suggests that the FA cup replay windfall might give the finance to get a few players in that could get Exeter up towards promotion places, but that isn’t what the club needs.

The experience in League 1 previously was that Exeter weren’t in a financial position to sustain that standing in the leagues, and were relegated back to League 2 having lost money. They have consolidated, but financially haven’t been in a position to really want to get promoted – without an administrative nightmare that this well-run club could do without. What the Anfield windfall will bring is the ability to improve all aspects of the club to get it in a position to be able to look towards promotion with a sustainable long-term footing higher up the league pyramid.

Too many clubs lose out on a sustainable future by throwing any cash about before they are ready to. Look at Plymouth or Portsmouth for prime examples. Exeter City has too small a stadium with a pitch desperately in need of a drainage system (that they haven’t been able to afford), and needs investment in its infrastructure and youth before player purchases. Tying down some of the better players with improved contracts would also be a higher priority.

Buying players can make a big difference in the higher divisions, as if it doesn’t work out then they can usually write off any losses. At League 2 level it’s not worth the risk.
Phil (well that was a boring lunchtime), ECFC


My club is a mess
So Chalrton sacked their Interim(!) Manager yesterday. Not a surprise though and I fully expected this to happen some time ago – although he never should’ve got the job in the first place. The man was plucked from a 3rd Division side in Belgium and is basically a scout and theres already talk of the new man coming from the Hungarian top flight. He was an awful manager tactically, regularly emplying a 4-2-4 formation, however I wouldn’t blame him for the mess we are in at the moment.

The blame lies solely at the owner – Roland Duchâtelet. He and his Chief Executive Katrien Meire are slowly killing the club with their baffling decisions and calling of fans as ‘customers’. There’s no chief scout or DOF at the club, meaning the owner is basically plucking all our players from the various clubs he owns in the lower leagues of Hungary, Germany and Spain and they clearly arent good enough. However when they are in the case of Tony Watt (yes goalscorer against Barcelona for Celtic way back when) they’re loaned out or sold on for an instant profit. Katrien Meire has already come out and stated that the aim of the club is to bring through as many youth products as possible so they can be developed and sold on i.e. Diego Poyet, Joe Gomez with, it seems, Ademola Lookman soon to join them this summer.

Great to see the players refunding all supporters who made the journey to Huddersfield and had to witness that horror show. No blame can be laid at their door, they’re giving it 100% but too many of them are either too young to be relied upon or just foreign imports that are not good enough.

Don’t really know what the point of this mail is but its great to see more journalists and radio stations start discussing what’s going on and letting the public know of the continous protest. Really felt like we were getting a ‘Pozzo-lite’ type ownerships with the networking of clubs idea. But its just been a steaming pile of bull.
Guv (surprised we havent got even less points) CAFC


Academic, my dear
I really enjoyed Peter’s email to the mailbox this morning, not only because of the typos and story about Luke “Chadwich” but I agree with his point on the Swans too.

I don’t agree with the point about Barca trained players not making the grade at other clubs though, admittedly Bojan and Pedro haven’t been leading lights in the Premier League yet but there is time for them to find their feet and both have shown signs of quality.

Here’s a list of some La Masia graduates who achieved at other clubs: Fabregas (Arsenal, Chelsea), Arteta (Everton, early Arsenal), Thiago (Bayern Munich), Deulofeu (Everton), Mauro Icardi now doing well at Inter also started his career at Barca…so for players coming through in the last 10/15 years that’s not a bad list of players doing well at other clubs. Some of the players that stayed were good too.

Interestingly though, despite Real’s perceived lack of success with their academy, a number of their players have also done well at other clubs recently: Rodrigo (Valencia), Morata (Juve), Mata (Valencia, Chelsea), Juanfran (Atletico), Callejon (Napoli).
FR (Do Southampton still have the best Premier League academy?) BRFC


Peter asked if a Barcelona B player has ever gone on to be successful…..

Mikel Arteta.

At least until his last injury. He is now bobbins, but for Everton and 2 years at least at Arsenal, he was my favourite player in the premiership. We’ll never forget what a part he played for us in such years of mediocrity.

I’m sure there are many more, but what exactly would you call successful?

Take Gerry Deulofeu, grew up the “Barca way” but couldn’t make the grade for the A team so was farmed out to us. Did OK, but then went back to try and prove himself again, only to be farmed out to Sevilla again. It’s fair to say Barca haven’t needed him.

What I would say is that growing up as a footballer at Barcelona does not guarantee that you’ll get into their team, especially if you are a forward player.

In the same way that people talk about ManU bringing youth players through, Barca simply had the freak occurrence of Xavi and Iniesta being at the same club at the same time as Leo Messi. Xavi now gone, Iniesta still brilliant but on his way out, where are Barcas new players from their famed academy are departing for Everton and Stoke (and many more) because they apparently can’t make the grade.

With Suarez, Messi and Neymar up front, and a policy of buying the best players, all Barca B players will end up going to other clubs, apart from maybe full-backs
Fat Man Scouse, EFC


In all seriousness, though, Peter…

Deulofeu is doing well enough to be linked back to Barca. Nolito is also very much flavour of the month in Spain.

And there’s a Barca B player, later coach, who is the hottest property in World Football after leaving Barca and succeeding in the Bundesliga.
Nick, CPFC


Managerial excitement
With it being a relatively quiet January transfer window, fans are usually able to get excited by the prospect of new players arriving at their clubs. I for one have become increasingly interested in the managerial additions to the Premier League.

2015 saw the arrivals of numerous entertaining and intriguing figures including:

Eddie Howe – back to back promotions, 38 years old
Quique Flores – surprise package, devilishly handsome
Alex Neil – 34 years old (next SAF of AVB?)
Jurgen Klopp – Hipster Managerial God
Caudio Ranieri – ‘The Tinkerer’ who went from managing Fiorentina, Valencia, Juventus, Roma, Inter to taking over from Nigel Pearson at Leicester.
Slaven Bilic – Rock Star and Allerdici Mega-upgrade

It bodes well that teams finishing 6th or 16th can attract some of the world’s best managers, each has brought their own style and character to the league, with varied success and I believe has contributed to one of the greatest ever premier league seasons.

2016 should see the arrivals of Guardiola and Karanka and with Benitez and Mourinho looking for work and a whole host of young up and coming managers waiting in wings (Frank de Boar, Phillip Cocu and Giovanni Van Bronchurst in Holland alone), it looks increasingly less likely (decreasingly more likely?) that Brendan Rodgers or David Moyes will return and almost impossible that the likes of Mick McCarthy, Steve Bruce, Alan Curbishley will again grace the top tier.

Pep aside, want are people’s managerial wishes/predictions?
Nik NUFC (Simeone to Chelsea) Liverpool


Random football
A new topic for discussion: The most remote/obscure/random game of football you have ever attended.

For me, it was a game I attended in Sierra Leone, in a small village named Kamakwai. I was in the town volunteering for a project to train local teachers and the young man who ran the guesthouse we stayed in suggested that we go and watch the football match in town that afternoon. There was a cup that was contended between the four villages in the local area and we were there for the deciding match.

Now, Sierra Leone is clearly a very impoverished placed so thing like team kits clearly weren’t available. However, what was readily available was a huge supply of: a) old football replica kits donated from the first world and b) cheap knock of kits. And so it was that we sat down to watch Kamakwai Barcelona take on Diri Real Madrid. It was quite a sight to see 2 teams of Sierra Leoneans, kitted out as the two Spanish giants. Each kit of course was different and came from a variety of eras or was a completely dodgy knock off that only loosely represented the real thing.

The game kicked off, to a crowd of about 200 spectators, on a dirt surface that was about as smooth as a teenage boy’s face. Slopes, mounds, holes, dips, there was barely a part of the pitch that was flat. This made free flowing football tricky and Kamakwai Barcelona were not exactly living up to the reputation of their namesakes. The first half ended 1-1 not even a halftime glass of palm wine could ease the tension. Shortly into the second half there was the most torrential downpour I have ever experienced, accompanied by thunder and lightning. After 5 minutes of lightning striking all around us and my fearing for the players lives, play was suspended until the storm passed.

Play resumed when the lightning had stopped with the pitch now a lake with only small pockets of land available on which football could be played. After 40 minutes of splashing, thrashing and getting nowhere, full time was called and the match went to penalties. Rather than watch from the side of the pitch, the whole crowd surrounded the box to get a close up view of each penalty (this certainly added to the atmosphere and could be a great addition to spice up the FA cup). After 9 well struck penalties, the Kamawai keeper pulled off a splendid stop to win the match and the crowd erupted. Celebrations went on long into the evening and as the only foreigners in the village we were welcomed to be a part of it.

All in all it was a great day and certainly eased my earlier fears of getting Ebola (this being July 2014). So any other tales out there of interesting games in random places? There must be some…
Mike, LFC, Dubai


Stick by your man
In a vain attempt to see if I can squeeze ‘non Man Utd’ content into the mailbox, I would like to offer a response to ‘Mike, LFC Dubai’ query this morning about sticking with a manager.

I offer you the unassuming Keith Burkinshaw. He was appointed manager of a struggling Tottenham in July 1976, and despite (as the media would put it these days) overseeing pre-season and having a full season in charge, Spurs succumbed to the relegation that had been threatening for a couple of seasons. Not only that, but at that point with his agreement, Spurs let Pat Jennings go to Highbury, a decision which wouldn’t be forgiven today. I still hold a minor grudge after all these years, as Pat was a personal hero, to a rather rubbish aspiring goalkeeper.

Spurs stuck with Keith, and we narrowly squeezed back up at the end of the 1977/78 season in third place, and on goal difference only. At this point things took a turn. Ardiles and Villa arrived, Hoddle fulfilled his potential, Crooks, Archibald and Ray Clemence arrived, and over the course of the next six seasons Spurs won the FA Cup twice, and he bowed out with the UEFA Cup in May of 1984. A return which would keep the majority of football fans more than happy these days. He was the epitome of the dour Yorkshireman, but the way he got Spurs playing football was anything but dour.

Perhaps this tale could inspire Remi Garde, and cheer up Villa fans. Or, perhaps not.
Jim French (Spurs since ’59, Herts)


Proof of a weird season
Things you never thought you would hear an Arsenal fan say #457

‘…its just a shame Leicester snuck a win at Spurs.’

Proof, if you needed it, of what a bizarre season it’s been so far.
Michael, LFC


Rui Costa love/hate
Really enjoyed the piece on Rui Costa – mainly as it took me back to some of my earlier football memories (when United were competitive and fun at football/I still believed England could win tournaments). In an odd sense, I felt a great sense of nostalgia remembering the fear when Rui Costa would receive up the ball, look up and play killer passes for fun – that coupled with his ability to smash a ball into the back of the net from 40 yards out (wholeheartedly agree with his goal collection being one of the most aesthetically pleasing). He was one of those players that helped developed my football love, by representing an opponent that you could fear and love at the same time. Football is not the game we love without the fear! Sport in general is brilliant in that it develops your ability to truly appreciate something that simultaneously devastates you.

Rui Costa’s absolute sidewinder against England 2004 is a classic example of this. I can vividly remember the mile long walk home with a friend praising Rui Costa’s goal whilst feeling totally dejected by the result and what we thought at the time was unfair referring. In hindsight, we were probably wrong.
Phil GA (Mihajlovic to be the next icon – mainly because I love players that can smash a ball to pieces) MUFC, London


A message to Johnny Nic
I’m sure I won’t be the only wanting this but please can Jonny Nic do a special Football People on TV for Brendan‘s Goals on Sunday appearance?

Without wanting to get too excited, I can’t even begin to imagine what Reidy would make of Brendan’s teeth and fancy dan wisdoms.

Please make it happen F365.
FR (Brendan definitely took Country Antrim Burger Van Co. Body of 1989 home) BRFC

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