Ask Crouchie! Our resident columnist is back to answer YOUR questions

Ask Crouchie! Our resident columnist is back to answer YOUR questions… on why Mohamed Salah is NOT a diver, Wolves CAN finish in the top four… and which footballer would make the best James Bond!

  • Peter Crouch feels Chelsea are becoming a real force after fixing the defence
  • The former England forward says Mohamed Salah was clever against West Ham
  • Our columnist has been answering questions sent in by Sportsmail readers
  • He has paid tribute to late actor Sean Connery and revealed his favourite animal 

There has been a bumper mailbag for Sportsmail columnist Peter Crouch to work through, with a definite hint of Hollywood…

Peter Crouch answers more of your questions as part of a weekly series hosted by Sportsmail

Four clean sheets on the bounce for Chelsea – and they said we couldn’t defend!

Joe Byrne via email

I’m very impressed with the turnaround, Joe. I said at the start of the season that you were going to score plenty and it looks encouraging for Frank Lampard that Timo Werner is starting to bang them in and Hakim Ziyech is finding his stride.

The situation has settled down now Edouard Mendy is in goal. Unfortunately for Kepa Arrizabalaga, his loss of form led to jitters in the defence.

I played with Kurt Zouma at Stoke and when I watched him a few weeks ago he looked unsure of himself — that isn’t the player I knew. Mendy has been important but so has Thiago Silva. He was once the best defender in the world and that class has not left him.

He has presence, others will learn from being alongside him and Frank will manage his minutes.

Had Chelsea been conceding as they did at the beginning of the season I would have said it was a huge problem for them to finish in the top four.

I don’t care how good a team is in an attacking sense, you will always get caught out if you keep shipping goals.

I am impressed by Hakim Ziyech and some of his fellow new signings at Chelsea

Did Mo Salah dive for his penalty against West Ham?

Mark McKay via email

Oh, Mark. That’s put me on the spot. I do not think he dived but Salah made sure that Kevin Friend, the referee, knew there had been contact from Arthur Masuaku – and if there is contact then it is a penalty.

You might not like the fact Salah went to ground or the fact he made the most of the challenge but the fact is, it was a foul.

Do I think Salah would fall over if he suffered such contact in the street? No. But his job is to do his best for his team and Masuaku gave him the opportunity to get the decision.

It will be debated now but, at the end of the season, if Liverpool win the league, do you think anyone will say anything about how they got three points against West Ham? Not a chance. The only thing Liverpool will be bothered about is that they got them.

Perhaps things would be different if referees started awarding fouls when players remain on their feet.

By that, I mean forwards get dragged and kicked so many times but don’t believe a referee will give them a decision unless they go down.

Mohamed Salah has been accused of diving but I feel he was entitled to hit the ground

Salah celebrates after scoring the resulting penalty to help Liverpool beat West Ham

I saw a picture of you with a Robert Redford-style moustache – are you going to grow one for Movember?

Sam Hughes via email

That’s the nicest comparison I’ve had, Sam. When I first tried to grow a moustache I was told I looked like Mackenzie Crook — aka Gareth from The Office.

The other one was Steve Murphy from the first series of Narcos (who is played by Boyd Holbrook). I was happy enough to hear that.

I had a beard over the weekend but today is the first day of the ‘tache and my ambition by November 30 is to have handlebars.

We did it a few times at Stoke and it was always a good laugh to see what the lads come up with. It’s a brilliant cause and I would encourage you to get involved.

Do you think Diogo Jota should start ahead of Roberto Firmino on current form?

Martin Kopite via Twitter

Very good question, Martin. I was of the opinion Firmino was one player who would never be dropped by Jurgen Klopp but, given their respective form, there is now a big decision for Liverpool’s manager.

I have been so impressed by Jota. He took his goal brilliantly against West Ham and looks like he will make a difference every time he is on the pitch.

He has given them an element of unpredictability and has made his transfer fee look very shrewd business.

He warrants a start in a game of that magnitude against City but I wouldn’t forget about all Firmino has done. It would be a big, big shout if he didn’t start next Sunday.

Diogo Jota hit a winner as Liverpool beat West Ham but Crouch also admires Roberto Firmino

Which former team-mate would have been the best James Bond — or would you have fancied the role?

Adriana Rodriguez via email

The great actor Sean Connery, seen here playing James Bond, has died

Well, Adriana, let me start by paying my respects to Sean Connery. I have met Daniel Craig and Pierce Brosnan, two of his successors, but I never met the ultimate James Bond.

What a man he was and what a life he led. I’m not sure I would be cut out for being Bond. I’d say Gareth Barry would fit the role perfectly.

He always had a bit of Keanu Reeves about him in terms of his dashing looks and he would sit quietly in the corner of room but give you a look that made you know he was deadly!

You have given me an opportunity to tell you a quirky little fact. One of my mates has a friend called James Pond and he has the greatest nickname of all time. They all call him ‘006’!

Good-looking Gareth Barry (centre) could be the best of my former team-mates to play 007!

What is your favourite animal in the zoo?

Dan Watson via Twitter

I often wonder in which direction the questions will take me each week, Dan, but I didn’t expect this one. They say variety is the spice of life and that’s what we are getting, having gone from Roberto Firmino to James Bond to the zoo in three steps.

I haven’t had to think too much about this: it’s got to be the giraffe. Always a giraffe, every day of the week.

They are tall, surprisingly good on their feet, very gentle, placid and always good natured. I’d like to think we share certain characteristics.

Wolves are flying high — do you think there’s any chance of a top four finish?

Stat Man Sam via email

They are such class acts, Sam. If you have been a regular reader of my column you will know that I have had my eye on them since they played Stoke in a pre-season friendly in 2018.

I love everything about them, from their manager to the players they have assembled. I’m a big fan of Raul Jimenez but I love watching Daniel Podence, who is making massive strides.

The way I see the league is as follows: it is still a top two — Liverpool and Manchester City are ahead of the rest — but the cluster in behind is getting bigger and stronger and Wolves are definitely established in the group that includes Chelsea, Tottenham, Arsenal and Leicester.

Everton lost on Sunday but they are ambitious too and the more depth we have in terms of competition the better it is for the Premier League.

Anyone who underestimates Wolves would be stupid. They have the ability and talent to stay the distance.

Wolves saw off Crystal Palace at Molineux on Friday and they are full of class acts

Do pro footballers get a work email address?

Jeremy Hutchinson via Twitter

Well, Jeremy, I’d love to tell you that there was a time when I had ‘[email protected]’ and that all footballers are informed of club developments through daily bulletins.

Sadly, I can’t. I got through my career without ever switching a computer on. Unless things have changed in the last couple of years I expect it remains the same.

I know you’re a fan of James Maddison — do you think he’s done enough to get back in the next England squad?

Jake Webster via email

Not at the minute, Jake. It’s a shame as he has been held up by injuries at just the wrong time. But injuries have opened the door for Mason Mount and Jack Grealish, who have both overtaken him in the pecking order.

I’m looking forward to seeing who Gareth Southgate picks this week and I believe both Phil Foden and Mason Greenwood should be in. They’ve made their mistake, been punished and it’s time to move on.

We can continue the debate about England next week. Until then, stay safe and well.

James Maddison (left) is behind Mason Mount and Jack Grealish at the moment, I think

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