Mails: Player of the Year as things stand?

Date published: Wednesday 3rd February 2016 3:15 - Matthew Stead

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More on Leicester, and who is Player of the Year?
Apologies for my very giddy mail earlier, I just cannot believe what is happening at the moment!

I have to say Liverpool played very well for periods last night. The first half was very even with mistakes and chances for both of us. The start of the second half was all Liverpool though, some lovely pass and movement particularly down their left. Can and Milner looked particularly bright. The thunderbolt from Vardy was about the first time we broke away in the second half, and that seemed to kill any rhythm that Liverpool had built. I can see why their fans want a new striker, the finishing was at times atrocious.

I think it is results like this that have set Leicester apart this year. We were under pressure for large periods, but had that moment of magic to get in front.

On another note, i am obviously biased (and there is a lot of football still to be played), but are Vardy and Mahrez favourites in other fans opinions for player of the year as things stand? Alli probably has young player sewn up, but lack of performances from the usual big hitters (Sanchez, Aguero, Hazard, etc) has meant that i can’t see past a Leicester playing getting it at the moment. Though, if Payet didn’t get injured, he’d be right up there.
Toby (We’re staying up) Mitchell


What next for the Foxes?
To the Wolves fan talking about his Leicester mate giggling all day he’s spot on. That’s basically me this morning. I’m literally terrified we’re going to win the League because I don’t know what happens after that. It feels like some sense of life balance is being lost. It’s a bit like being average joe in a nightclub and pulling Scarlett Johansson. What do you do next? I can’t imagine coming into the office the Monday after and encountering someone who isn’t really particularly bothered by Leicester winning the league. Particularly living in London. Surely, if Leicester win the League we can all just have a few days off and talk about it? Or just watch videos of it again and again. I think I will basically be unable to speak or think about anything else and frankly become socially incompatible with about 95% of the population who after a few hours will just forget about it and get on with their lives.

An old Liverpool mate of mine who went to Turkey for the great Milan final often speaks about the massive let down attending any other football match has been since. This is far worse. If we win the league football will never ever be as good again and I don’t know how you deal with that.

Here’s to the inevitable glorious failure on the last day of the season. At least all will be right in the world once again.
Dan, Greenwich


Arsenal’s British core
Start of the season I thought this was the year that if we were to win it or even challenge we would see the British Core rise up to the occasion. Let’s analyse their roles in the season so far;

Ramsey-How I long for the days all arsenal fans used to grumble about Ramsey being stuck in the right wing. Was at the match yesterday and you could see how much we missed cazorla. There was absolutely no man in the midfield to build up play from deep. So often we just lumped the ball upto Giroud. The Ramsey Flamini pivot just does not work. One goes far too high, ones sits in line with the CBs, cue large open space in the middle which the likes of fabregas enjoyed and took advantage of. Ramsey’s trademarks are those late runs but he does not provide the pivot his role requires anymore. Cannot wait for cazorla to come back and for him to shifted out to the right. Also please stop the stupid Hollywood passes.

Theo- Wow, did he even come on yesterday. Dreadful. 10 years at Arsenal and he still looked like a rabbit in headlights. Zero movement, never offered himself for the ball, always lost it and let’s face it missed a sitter. Theo epitomises everything that’s wrong with Arsenal. Goes missing when it counts.

Ox-been awful for so long now I am pretty sure others have covered it before

Gibbs-second fiddle to monreal. Scored against Spurs though so he gets a reprieve.

(Also, Flamini and Gabriel cannot pass to save their lives. Gabriel made me miss Mertasacker, he was that bad)
Manav (felt like it was an ‘I was there when Arsenal threw away the league’ moment yesterday), London


Calm down, Gooners
Woah there! We are 5 points off the top. Southampton have been reborn of late so it was never going to be easy. Were it not for Forster being immense we may have beaten them. Citeh and Leicester (City as well) have to play each other and then we play Leicester after that. Anything can happen! We have now started seeing our players return from injury and that will take a little while. Coming through a period like that and being just 5 points behind ain’t that bad.

Also, you are all forgetting dat guy Welbz is nearly back. My very favourite Arsenal player and I’ve no idea why!
JazGooner (We’ll still win it. We win it every year)


City finances
Apologies, I had to bite at Steve, LA’s sycophantic praise of Man City’s finances and all round club administration. Whilst it is commendable to not overcharge fans it is also a lot easier to do when the majority of revenue comes from sponsorship. Again you could argue well done to their commercial team for negotiating such lucrative deals. That is until you see the list of Man City’s sponsors: Etihad Airways, Etisat communications, Abu Dhabi Tourism Board! Since 2008, City’s revenues have quadrupled and seen them move up from 19th to 6th in the Deloitte revenue league table. In this period the only other club that is seen bigger revenue growth is PSG..hmm I wonder what these sides have in common? As a Chelsea fan there is a lot to be envious about the other billionaire club in terms of their player recruitment, managerial stability and playing style but spare me the lecture on football finances. The only praise in this area should be aimed at City’s accountants and their “creativity” at avoiding FFP (does that even still exist?!)
Will, Wimbledon


No doubt you’ll get many of these in reply to Steve (nothing to see here)’s mail on Man City being financially stable but here’s my speculative take on it.

You see Steve, Man City “earn” around 2-3 times more commercial revenue than the rest of the top clubs through their sponsorship, stadium, kit deals . In no way is the club as popular or commercially viable as say Liverpool or Arsenal globally which makes these deals fishy.

The owners are fuelling the club partly through sponsorship via their own companies (to put it bluntly). Nothing wrong in that from the point of view of the owners – they’re just covering losses in Man City via funding (not a loan, but a gift?).
The question here is/should be – would Man City still attract these huge commercial figures if they aren’t owned by Mr. Mansour? If the answer is no, City are as sugar-daddied as the rest of them.
Karan (too lazy to look up that Swiss Ramble link), Pune


Ten reasons why Spurs can win the league
Most Spurs fans have been holding back from thinking about the title. With good reason too. History has shown that our promising season will come crashing down around us about this time of year. But with another solid away win under our belt, I’m sticking my head up above the parapet to say we have as good a chance as anyone else. Here’s why:-

1. Hugo Lloris – He is ‘World Class’. No two ways about it. He’s up there with the best. I wouldn’t swap him for De Gea, Courtois, Cech or Hart. I probably wouldn’t even swap him for Bayern’s big beast (Neuer at Spurs = my Mrs insisting I take her with me to the Lane each week).

2. Four quality full-backs – In the last 25 years it has been rare for Spurs to have even 1 decent full-back, never mind four. Both our left-backs are actually left footed! Young, quick, interchangeable and each with their own attributes. Pochettino rotates them at will depending on the nature of our opponent.

3. The meanest defence in the league – at Spurs? Really? Someone must have spiked my drink. Just 19 goals conceded in 24 games. Spurs desperately needed to sort out their defence last summer and they did just that bringing in excellent defensive reinforcements. Vertonghen is injured but Kevin Wimmer is the perfect replacement. Fazio has left because there is a young man named Cameron Carter-Vickers coming through the ranks.

4. CDM Eric Dier – A stroke of managerial genius by Poch (no hyperbole here). The last time we qualified for the Champions League we had the steel of Scott Parker and then Sandro protecting our back 4. Having missed out on Schneiderlin and James McCarthy over the summer I feared our defence was going to horribly exposed once again. But Dier has become an essential presence at the base of our midfield.

5. Midfield Monsters – Dembele, Dier and Dele Alli. These three will give any team nightmares. They give Poch complete control in the middle of the park. The Tom Carroll experiment didn’t work whilst Dembele was injured though. Poch likes him but he is lightweight. I’d rather see Bentaleb come in as first rotation.

6. Mourinho Men – Our creators in the final third of the park would be at home in any Mourinho team (apart from maybe this season’s shambles). Eriksen and Lamela certainly weren’t renowned for their defensive duties when they joined us but they now carry out Pochettino’s instructions to perfection. Harrying, tackling and tracking back, before breaking at speed to lay on chance after chance for Alli and Kane. We famously missed out on Willian but we don’t miss him.

7. Dele Alli – What more is there to say? A whirlwind of energy, technique and aggression. It is this aggression that sets him apart from the rest. Snarling and sneering as he plays with complete confidence and freedom. Don’t ever change Dele.

8. The one-season wonder? – I don’t think so. Like most, I was a bit worried when Harry Kane had his dry spell at the beginning of the season. He was playing well but he was trying a bit too hard. Now he looks relaxed and back in the groove. Converting chances and creating opportunities for himself… I think he could score more this year than last. 15 PL goals in 24 games so far. Just stay fit Harry!

9. Goals from all over the pitch – Kane’s goal scoring exploits are ably supported by his team mates. Alli – 7, Eriksen – 4, Lamela – 3, Dembele – 3, Dier -3, Son -2, Chadli – 2, Alderweireld – 2. Premier League goals in abundance coupled with a watertight defence means a Top 4 finish should be the minimum expectation.

10. Pochettino – All you hear for Pochettino in public is endless platitudes and football clichés. This appears to be due to the fact that he is still learning the language and he has a good grasp of the basics. But it is clear he rules the club with an iron fist. Discipline, hard-work, loyalty and the right attitude. All demanded by Pochettino without exception. Adebayor – out, Capoue – out, Townsend – out. Any dissent to Poch’s way and you will be shown the door.

There you go. I’ve jinxed it now. Apologies everyone.
Japstarr (2 reasons we won’t win – 1. Leicester City are awesome, 2. We are Spurs), THFC Hackney


Managers and refs
Aside from basking in the warm glow of another Leicester win (as long as we keep winning I will never tire of mentioning who I support when writing into the mailbox no matter what topic I am jabbering on about), two incidents stand out from last nights games that warm the cockles of my heart-namely some back chat in support of refs.

Firstly there was Wenger and his comment to Lee Mason that it was ‘always the same with you’ (maybe he was talking about himself haha!) and Koemans defence that they had created enough chances to win without the need for the ref to hinder them. Secondly was Alex Neil confronting Kevin Friend about the ‘soft’ penalty and Friendy (to his friends) replying sarcastically ‘yeah, yeah, it was my fault you lost’ #zing!

It annoys me immensely that managers continual blame the refs for their shortcomings. Yeah I get they are under huge amounts of pressure but, seriously, your (the managers) incompetence is the greater issue here. I wish they would just admit their failings occasionally and leave the refs alone. I also get that blaming refs is an acceptable part of footballs culture but hey, so was casual racism!

As for the ‘soft’ penalty-it would probably be a free kick for contact if it was outside the box. If that’s the case then well done ref for having the balls to give it just because it happened inside the penalty area.
Rob (I’m not a ref by the way-I’m not that crazy) Leicester


After reading Sam Allardyces comments regarding “the foreign players” I felt compelled to at least air my thoughts on this.
Even though his comments can be construed as typical of his ilk – the man bitter that others are more capable than he is and hides that fact behind blatant xenophobia -I think there are 2 issues that should perhaps be taken more seriously.
By intimating that Man Citys Otamendi was making a fuss of having an elbow flung at him, he is playing up to the idea that players are robots should just put up with any kind of physical discomfort/injury. In his eye players need to be “real men” – what would he have to say if Wilshere or Sturridge weren’t British with their records – wouldn’t be difficult to imagine the fecal matter he would come out with.
I feel that his comments on “foreigners” last night are abhorrent and deserve wider condemnation. Imagine if he had made a similar comment but specifically mentioned African players (for example). He would (deservedly) be condemned as racist in that instance, but hasn’t been so far for what he actually said.
He is making a distinction on character and personality based only on nationality as it fits his image and his permanent sense of injustice – pretty low even by his standards.
Treating his comments as a joke and typical of Big Sam means we can ignore him, but it isn’t helpful in the long run as it doesn’t allow the issue of xenophobia to be dealt with.

Another case of a problem being swept under the rug.

Just my thoughts, interested to hear anyone else’s on this.
Dave, CPFC, London


Hendo playing for the Euros
Before I start, I like Jordan Henderson, he works hard and when fit he’s a good solid player.

However, watching the past few LFC games I can’t help but feel that there is something wrong. This is a player who’s been praised for his clean living lifestyle and can run for days yet he keeps being subbed mid second half (last 3 games he’s averaged 65 minutes). I can’t think of another captain who’s regularly substituted when chasing a game? This can only mean one thing, He’s not fully fit.

So he’s carrying a knock, something that isn’t only limiting time on the pitch, something which is affecting his play- his passing accuracy this season is 75%… jesus!! This poor play is having an impact to other players around him ( See Can, Emre) who are having to pick up the slack in the middle of the park.

The question is then, Why is he playing? The only reason I can think of is it’s the Euro’s this year and with England lacking numbers in the middle of the park, he’s a shoe in to atleast be on the plane. If this was next year, with nothing happening in the summer, I think Klopp would have shut him down for the year, get this mystery problem with his heel/foot fixed and come back next season. I imagine Klopp has thought about this but you can’t force someone to go under the knife, so it’s really up to Hendo to rule himself out, hold his hands up and say right now his best isnt good enough. As our captain (and not Englands) this is something I would expect from him.

I’m not really mad about any of this, Just disappointed.
George, LFC (Get money on Henderson to score on Saturday)


FSG out
Liverpool fans wake up! I cannot believe how some of us let FSG get away with absolute daylight robbery. It’s pretty clear our transfers are funded by our players sold, gate receipts and other commercial deals. FSG are not putting a penny into this club. New stand you say? Well they have taken a bank loan out in our name to pay for it. Who pays that money back? You. Yes you paying 70 pounds for a ticket next year to watch our season be written off half way through.

Rodgers may have been replaced with Klopp but the same old problems still exist. The transfer committee is alive and kicking and it is they who get the final say over players! They are in charge of the club’s finances, not Klopp, they are the ones who sanction the payments. Expect more signings of the same ilk as moneyball Moreno and ‘Emre what does he actually do the answer is nothing but fire wide but it’s ok because we’ll make a bit of profit on him in four years Can’.

They aren’t putting a single penny out of their own back pocket to improve the club. If you don’t believe me then show me the club’s financial summary. Oh wait that’s right they don’t release it in fear of being found out.
Glenn, LFC (boycott the matches, they’ll soon run home when their profit dries up)


16 Ipswich conclusions
1. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
2. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
3. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
4. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
5. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
6. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
7. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
8. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
9. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
10. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
11. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
12. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
13. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
14. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
15. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
16. Ipswich like playing at home on a Tuesday night.
Chris ITFC (16 in a row! It’s the other days that we seem to screw up) Liverpool


Rooney’s return
After watching Wayne’s latest return to form, and reading the mails on how Van Gaal deserves credit for keeping him in the side, I have a slightly different line of thought as to why and how he has hit form again.

It was generally agreed that for Rooney to get back to his best, he needed to be dropped. I too believed this was the best course of action, as for a number of months it had seemed that his place in the team hindered the performance of the entire side. Now although LVG didn’t actually drop him, there is no way in hell that Rooney didn’t see and hear the criticism aimed his way. I can only therefore deduce that this played a large part for him, the desire to “prove them wrong”. He now seems to be playing with more confidence, aggression and ‘passion’ which produces moments like his disallowed goal last night, which smacked of the Wayne Rooney of old.

He may not be ‘back’, but right now he’s scoring, assisting, and playing very well. Long may it continue. If it doesn’t however, we should all just be shouty and mean again until he decides to shut our stupid mouths.
Rob, Kingswinford


Going Cuco
Was Cuco Martina for Southampton against Arsenal.

I can only assume Matt Stead’s article was actually meant to be entitled “the best 5 goals ever ever (this season) after the bestest best goal ever ever ever (this season)”
Imran Laher


Running gag
That Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is hilarious. Have you seen the way he runs? He runs like a T-Rex with his little arms flapping about by his chest. It’s hysterical 😀

How on earth did he ever make it as a professional footballer running like a dinosaur? I though Sterling was bad, with his ‘I’m a little girl running down the chocolate isle at Tescos’ style of running, but he has nothing on CBJ.

Any other funny running footballers? Pretty sure you can make a team out of them.
Parma Sira, London

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