The Fiver | A wounded animal with its claws trimmed and fangs removed

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The Fiver's got a fever! The Fiver's got a serious case of Capital One Cup Fever, the symptoms of which include a vague sense of ennui, nausea, a strange desire to drink a double Worthingtons and coke with a milk foam on top, an even stranger desire to buy shares in Rumbelows, an inexplicable burning sensation and a weird rash in the nether regions. A bit like the one Weird Uncle Fiver was busy showing off in the sauna earlier. He wouldn't say where it was from, but he wouldn't stop winking or leering or nudging the Fiver, who really did want to be left alone and get on with treating its case of Capital One Cup Fever in peace and quiet.

Manchester United also look like they're under the weather. Tonight they get another chance to pull off a cup upset in the first leg of their semi-final at Sunderland, having failed to do so against Swansea in The Magic Cup on Sunday, a result that left David Moyes dangerously close to seeing that 'Chosen One' banner in the Stretford End removed and replaced with 'Do One' instead. Of course, United aren't panicking yet. But 2014 has been a total write-off for Moyes so far. United have lost every match they've played this year, Wayne Rooney is umming and aahing about signing a new deal, Nemanja Vidic's Mr 15% has ruled one out, no one who's not Leighton Baines wants to join them, Ed Woodward has locked himself in his office and accidentally swallowed his keys and Lord Ferg is threatening to register himself as a player in order to solve that gaping hole in midfield.

The pressure will only intensify if the defeat against Swansea is followed by another shellacking at the hands of Sunderland, bottom of the league and incapable of stringing together more than 20 decent minutes of cogent football at a time, even though they have enjoyed home wins over Chelsea and Manchester City this season. But Wes Brown, formerly of United and now at Sunderland, is approaching the tie with caution. He reckons that United might be a wounded animal, albeit a wounded animal with its claws trimmed and fangs removed. "They'll be hurting," Brown argued, although that can work both ways – after all, whenever the Fiver's in pain, it tends to disappear in the nearest cupboard and make the pain go away by crying itself to sleep.


Follow MBM coverage of Sunderland 1-2 Manchester United with Jacob Steinberg from 7.30pm.


"AFC Wimbledon is a truly extraordinary football club. Basically, they're the best football team in the world and I want to help them stay in the Football League" – John Green, author and video blogger discusses his link-up with the Dons.


"Nice to see Plain Old John Terry's warm welcome mentoring for young players in reserves. Did he give him a voucher to Poundland to apologise?" – Paul Jurdeczka.

"May I be the first among the pedants to point out that Dermot McDermott was remiss in stating that 1,057 pedants didn't take Christmas Day off to point out errors in Sherlock (yesterday's Fiver letters). They might have done as Sherlock wasn't broadcast until New Year's Day" – Tony Kibble (and no others).

• Send your letters to And if you've nothing better to do you can also tweet the Fiver. Today's winner of our prizeless letter o' the day is: Paul Jurdeczka.


We keep trying to point out the utter futility of advertising an online dating service "for interesting people" in the Fiver to the naive folk who run Guardian Soulmates, but they still aren't having any of it. So here you go – sign up here to view profiles of the kind of erudite, sociable and friendly romantics who would never dream of going out with you.


Blackpool striker Michael Chopra has been fined £10,000 for getting his social network on about dissatisfaction at the standard of training at the club. "[Effing] joke this come in training only 6 [effing] players here then find out the fitness coach taken the football session #joke," he tweeted, before deleting it. "The club can confirm that Chopra was one of number of players asked to report to training as normal this morning for extra work with the fitness coach," sniffed a club statement.

Former Arsenal striker Ian Wright believes Theo Walcott may never "truly get over" missing the chance to play in the World Cup in Brazil, after suffering season-ending cruciate ligament-knack. "With it being in Brazil – a fantastic place, a fantastic venue for the World Cup – it's a nightmare one to miss," he cheered.

Ambition's Sam Allardyce insists he won't be too fussed if West Ham lose at Manchester City in tomorrow's Milk Cup semi. "We have to come back with something realistic to beat them at home if we can," he chirped.

And Lionel Messi has recovered from thigh-ouch, and is in the squad for Barcelona's King's Cup game at home to Getafe.


Philippe Coutinho stars as a Ford Cortina and Harry Potter in this week's edition of The Gallery.

Arsenal and England share the pain of Theo Walcott's cruel blow, writes Daniel Taylor.

What happened next to Arsenal's next big thing Mark Randall? Michael Butler finds out.

Theo Walcott's knack symbolises the perils of the non-stop game, reckons James Riach.

Oh, and if it's your thing, you can follow Big Website on Big Social FaceSpace.


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