It's easy to mock Arsenal for being happy with fourth, but Nick Miller says the enormous changes coming up at the top mean there is a genuine reason to celebrate...
He is one of a number of solid shouts for players that look old before their time. We also have the final words on lovely D-Beck and a rejection of end of season playoffs...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Is Two Better Than One?
As an Arsenal fan I must say I thoroughly enjoyed last night. It was filled with much singing of: 'Walcott Sign Da Ting Mate' and the Giroud number. On to the football itself, I haven't enjoyed an Arsenal attacking performance like that the entire season. It completely overshadows any other performace (Reading and Southampton). In the second half we never once looked slow going forward, or unsure. All our attacks had quality and not one goal can be regarded as a soft goal.
Quick note about our defence, it was not their worst performamce of the season but had we drawn or only won 4-3, I feel they would be getting a lot more stick. (Yes I am referring to Gibbs)
Now for the main reason of this mail: I feel Wenger needs to experiment with two strikers up front. This whole season he has been adamant to just play one, even if that one was Gervinho (Lord knows why). The 4-2-3-1 formation is bringing us goals, but not against the top sides. (Only one goal against Chelsea, Citeh and Man U and disregarding Spurs as a tough game) I strongly feel that using a Wide 4-4-2 formation would be more beneficial. Jack and Arteta in their same positions, Podolski as a wide left wing and Cazorla doing the same on the right, he technically is an RM. Then up front we have Giroud with Walcott playing slightly behind him. With this formation, Giroud should be able to get better service from the flanks and Walcott gets his wish to play through the middle but doesn't have to do it alone. It would also allow him freedom to go out wide and play through the middle.
Interested to see if any of you agree with me?
Josh Kaplan, Cape Town (I think Wenger should take a break from his big coat after last night's fiasco.)
Funny Feelings About Spurs
This morning I arise from my slumber with a throbbing headache and a weird taste in my mouth. The headache is from the large amounts of alcohol drunk last night after watching Arsenal belt Newcastle. The taste in my mouth is also from the booze, but enhanced by reading Matt Stanger's article about Spurs' midfield. I agreed with said article, however it has left me questioning my very core. While reading the article, I felt uplifted and really good about AVB making the right team selections and having the Spurs players respond to his tactics. I also hoped that Spurs would continue their form to push Chelsea in the third-place spot. Just so AVB could stick it to the bloody Chelsea fans who idolise Terry, Lampard and co. And prove that with time and support behind him he would have been great for Chelsea. But then I felt really sick and the taste in my mouth grew stronger. I promptly threw up on my jeans next to my bed. As an Arsenal fan I am ashamed. This also got me thinking, has anyone else had some positive feelings towards their rivals before? Please tell me I am not alone...please.
Lawrence (slightly confused Arsenal fan) Melbourne
Contact Does Not Equal Foul
After hearing the furore about Bale yesterday, I made sure I saw the incident and one thing really annoys me about the way players defend themselves in these situations (and the way supporters defend them) is that 'there was contact therefore it was a foul'.
This is not true; contact is not an automatic foul. The fact is that the contact on Bale - the same as with Walcott against Wigan - is that the contact was not enough to send a grown man to the ground in that manner. Players feel contact, and then throw themselves to the ground, sometimes this gets you a free-kick/penalty and sometimes it gets you a booking. They know this, so why do they moan when it happens.
And with regards to getting a 'reputation', if you stop throwing yourself to the floor at the slightest brush of someone else's sock against yours, you won't get a reputation for throwing yourself to the floor!
Tom 'Gooner' Berry
...But He Was Running Really Fast
I feel I have to defend Bale here. It wasn't a dive. There was contact which brought him down. How can it be a dive?
He might have been able to stay on his feet if he wasn't running that fast. But this wasn't the case as he just had a pretty sharp acceleration. It's simple physics. The faster you run, the less the amount of force/contact it'll require to send you off balance.
Nabil (Lloris >>> Hart), THFC, Bangladesh
Are Man United Champion Material?
I am completely impartial when I say that Manchester United do not look like a champion side. Yet what is a champion side? I believe it is a team that is consistent, dominant and leaves no doubt that they deserve to be champions.
When I saw Manchester United play against West Brom, I was appalled by their performance. Not only did they refuse to attack, they were at least nine in their own area. Valencia seemed to become a right wing-back in order to form a 5-3-2 with only Welbeck up top. Yes the condition of the pitch was horrendous and the game took place three days after Boxing Day, but I did not feel like Manchester United deserved to win.
A class effort from Van Persie and an Own Goal put West Brom down like a small puppy with a terminal disease yet when you see Barca or Dortmund play, they beat every team without contest. Both those teams are indeed champions, not Manchester United who beats teams by leaving a bitter taste in the mouth of the viewers...
They're Certainly Not Convincing
Once again, 38-year-old Paul Scholes and 39-year-old Ryan Giggs conspire to produce yet another poor display from Man United. Despite the clean sheet, we didn't control the game and rarely threatened. Once again the defence was dodgy. How Ferguson can think you can place two nearly 40-year-old men on the bench, only around 10 YARDS from the pitch, and still expect the team to dominate a game is beyond me.
Ashley Young, in his 20s I believe, once again offered very little going forward. He seems to think he can fart the ball into the net - this has to explain why he ends up facing his own goal with the ball at his feet when he's on the wing 1v1 with the full-back.
Antonio Valencia once again kept the ball at 0 mph and tried to beat defenders with one trick, when this failed he just hoofed it and hoped for the best.
Cleverley is young and full of energy, but sadly he's only just decent on the ball. Strikes it very weirdly when he tries to play a long pass and it's always inaccurate.
Evans was immense. So was Carrick, once again.
Van Persie's quality isn't just in his shooting, but the way he feints, turns and has such amazing close control. That strike was stunning.
Great to see Kagawa back, he dropped off in the second half but showed good quality in the first half I thought. Can't wait for him to get back up to speed and settle in because he's a cracking player - in the Van Persie calibre of skill and class.
I just don't know what Welbeck is. Can do some nice tricks, great pace, but what does he really do? Had a great chance to play in Young in the final few minutes but was too greedy. Had a chance to keep possession and give it to Scholes in the last minute but held on, tried to be too clever and lost it. He definitely has potential but I don't know how much of it will be fulfilled because he doesn't seem to be any sort of player - neither a winger, striker or an 'in the hole' player.
Any journalists/mailers saying United were back to form simply because of the scoreline are just lazy; like the people who ignore Rooney's million mistakes just because he scores a goal. Still - nice result, very happy with that. The wings are a still a massive issue, though.
But They're Winning!
Just a comment on the below assessment of United from Matt Stanger's New Year piece:
'...in truth they are a ticking timebomb, lumbering from one sluggish performance to the next, ready to implode at any moment.'
Manchester United have won EIGHTY percent of league games this season. Dropping 11 points from 60. Beating Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and most recently City.
This criticism of United is boring, do you even watch the games? Or highlights? If so identify something to back up your humourless attacks, because you currently provide as much insight as a well-paid BBC pundit. I can do it, I see the full-backs bombing forward with no cover, a midfield lacking discipline in lesser* games and the lack of quality from our wingers. But they all go forward, score loads of goals and win 80% of games. Hardly lumbering.
* lesser teams such as wee clubs from the North East.
It's Just Sodding Brilliant, Isn't It?
Last night is perhaps the reason why English Premier League stands out as the best league in the world. Goals, goals and just goals. Tired legs, injured players and attack being the only way to win, all the 20 teams (even Stoke) seem to have embraced the idea of going all out. As a Man United fan, I was bored after the thriller on Boxing Day, and looked forward to Arsenal - Newcastle for a late-night bash (the game ended 0015 AM here in Mumbai) and it was amazing. Loved Walcott getting his hat-trick, shambolic defending by Arsenal and even worse by the Magpies. It must really be hard on Alan Pardew, when your team does not come back with even a point after scoring six at Old Trafford and the Emirates. Norwich-City game had me on tenterhooks, and that effort from City with ten men was superb. They deserve to be where they are and are by far the biggest threat to United in the league. Unbelievable Saturday, I just hope it is not followed by a tepid Sunday. How do Wigan win when they are least expected and the only way Stoke will have more fans than detractors is by not playing Shawcross and Huth together.
Have a great year ahead F365 and thanks for your efforts for the one going by.
Sagar Deo, MUFC, Mumbai
Just Because You're Paranoid...
Has anyone else noticed that the mailbox title seems to refer to Liverpool an awful lot, even if there are few mails actually about Liverpool in the article? For example, each of the past two mailboxes have had titles referencing complaints about Liverpool, despite only a total of three mails actually focusing on the club.
Seems to me that this is a concerted effort by Football 365 to paint our fans as hysterical and, quite often, paranoid, when we are actually nothing of the sort. Typical. Same sh*t, different day.
(Two mailboxes in the last 15 reference Liverpool in the headline. And you use the word 'typical'. Hmmmm - Ed)