You might notice that we haven't included a single mail about teams in pubs, because most of them were terrible. Instead we have a disgruntled Fulham fan and Scouse maths...
If we were Alan Pardew, we'd feel a whole lot better if Rafa Benitez took a job far away from the Premier League. He looks the most vulnerable to a Spanish coup...
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Is Jones The Anti-Berbatov?
A more important question for the mailbox to ponder than the groundhog day-esque Wenger in-out emails.
Is Phil Jones the clumsiest player in the Premier League? The number of times that he either runs into players (incl team members) or, more often than not, contrives to injure himself on the ball with opposition players five yards away has now reached the stage where bad luck or coincidence cannot be blamed.
For a lion heart he does seem awfully brittle and not in full control of his limbs, like an over-eager labrador puppy still learning to slow down on the newly polished wooden floors. Are Phil Jones prayer mats to be a regular occurrence for the next 15 years?
Awesome player though and hope he recovers soon from what looked like a nasty ankle injury last night. Need him for Real round two!
Robert (Happy to see a fellow oaf playing professional football) Oudhof. MUFC
City Didn't Stop Arsenal Beating Bradford
In response to Chris Crook's email yesterday, regarding Chelsea and Man City helping in the downfall of Arsenal. Last time I checked, Chelsea didn't force Arsenal to do a huge defensive error to lose the Carling Cup against Birmingham. Man City didn't make Arsenal lose to Bradford City and they sure as hell didn't hold Arsenal back from winning a simple game against Blackburn a few days ago.
Malcolm, AFC (don't care if he stays or goes. He just needs to stop being so stubborn!)
...Hard to get any proper debating going, Chris Crook, when the subject has been taken in a totally wrong direction. First of all, the whole 70 million to spend in the summer thing is a non-story. You and anyone who's been an Arsenal fan for longer than a year knows that it's a fabrication, a smokescreen which is just something for fans to cling to for the future.
To the main points: The fact that Chelsea, and latterly, Manchester City are blocking Arsenal from winning a trophy is just wrong. Yes, the chance to win the Premier League would be much stronger for Arsenal if they hadn't stumbled upon a crock of gold each, but how are they stopping them winning any type of cup? Can they be blamed for you not beating Birmingham in a final? Or losing to Bradford this season? Arsenal won the FA Cup in 2005, the season that Chelsea were destroying all comers; how did ye manage to win a cup then? I really hope that you're not one of the people who believe that Arsenal would have cantered to the title in 2008 if it hadn't been for one injury, otherwise you've got conflicting views on the subject.
Like many of the recent mailbox entries, you haven't taken the idea of expectations into account. Yes, reaching the Champions League every season is laudable, but not when you've been used to much, much more than that. And don't give it the old "But we can't pay the wages!!!" argument, when people like Podolski are on 100,000 a week and players who barely see the pitch are on at least 60,000. It's a fallacy to say that Arsenal can't compete in the transfer market anymore; the players are there, and you don't have to pay 200,000 a week to get them either. Why was Wenger sleeping at the wheel when Cabaye, Sissoko etc were all ready to sign up? If they were offered a choice between Newcastle or a team in London that's in the CL, which do you think they would choose?
It astounds me that you are comparing David Moyes' situation with Wenger; of course he would be lauded if he reached the CL. It would be a sign of progress, much the same as it would be with Rodgers at Liverpool, not a sign of decline because the club is going backwards.
I'm not even an Arsenal fan, but it is obvious that Wenger's time is up. Of course it is not a birthright to win a cup, but with the resources he has, you think that he should not have won at least one of them since 2005?
Don't worry about the team going backwards when he leaves, it already has.
First of all let me say a big thanks to Chris, MUFC for enlightening us all on how FFP will help Arsenal beat a Championship side at home in the FA Cup...
I jest. It seems like every 'Arsene knows' and pro-FFP advocate on this site recently have completely missed the point that many fans (including non-Arsenal fans such as myself) are trying to make about Arsenal and Wenger entirely. This is how it looks to the rest of us:
1) Wenger isn't instilling a winning mentality in his players and his team. That is a massive part of a manager's job and he hasn't done the business for a long time.
2) He has spent a lot of money on initially decent players who fade out/get injured/get found out and then are forgotten by Wenger, hence the lack of fight: They feel and play as though there is no point. Moreover there isn't much of an effort undertaken to sign a better quality of player, which they can actually afford.
3) He isn't respecting competition and competitors properly: An unforgivable negligence as it disrespects fans paying huge sums to see games.
4) He isn't exactly fussed when they lose and fade out of the season, whereas Ferguson would have fired a boot at your balls with some kind of hairdryer gun and made you play with the reserves.
5) Lets their best players go, meaning he's clearly unable to sell the virtue of playing for Arsenal to anyone thinking about leaving. It's also worth remembering that RVP wasn't bought by a club owned by an oligarch or sheik.
If I was an Arsenal fan/member/season ticket holder I would be furious at how much of a wet blanket both my team and manager had become. This anger would have nothing to do with the economic might of the nouveau riche teams and everything to do with the defeatist, rip-off attitude of the club I supported: A club who seem blind to the fact that the manager has been failing to inspire performances worth being proud of for far too long.
I have never seen a more blinding case of split personality than Chris MUFC. When week in and week out, he heaps pessimism about United's chances, he was one of the few non-Gooners (probably the only one) to show them that there might probably be light at the end of the tunnel.
You surprise me yet again.
Would you rather finish fourth and Wenger stay, or finish fifth and he go?
I remember having this discussion with myself last year about Harry at Spurs and I was on the fifth side. Sad to say I might have gotten the best of both worlds if Chelsea hadn't ruined it!
Mark, (fearing for a couple of Gooner mates' mental wellbeing tonight), Germany
More On Wenger Replacements
The best manager to take over Arsene is Laudrup.
The fact that he's playing the style of football Arsenal crave and he would come in and put his own stamp on the team without ripping its heritage to shreds a la Swansea.
TJ (Wilshere to leave within two seasons)
...All this talk of Wenger/Benitez being replaced and no-one has mentioned Jupp Heynckes? Bayern have been ruthless this year and are storming to the Bundesliga title and have a genuine chance of winning the Champions League. Pep will inherit a team already capable of winning everything (like at Barca, which is another story).
...Frank De Boer with Dennis Bergkamp as assistant!
I'm putting £10 on that being the next management team at Arsenal.
Rob (I'm not really putting £10 on it) Moyes
...As a Liverpool fan, I feel your pain Arsenal fans. Roughly three years ago we were in a similar position and we did what some of you are clamouring for; we sacked the manager. That was fine, I supported that wholeheartedly along with the majority of fans but it was his successor who was the problem. Overachieved on a budget, bought wisely and even got his team to the inaugural Europa League final. Yep, that's Roy Hodgson's CV in a nutshell circa 2010. Fast forward three years and David Moyes' CV is virtually identical, albeit over a longer period of time and it was the FA Cup, not the Europa League, he almost won. So, Arsenal fans, what do you want? Another potential Hodgson or would you rather keep Wenger for a couple of years until someone who has actually won something is available or he returns you to whence you came? I know which one I'd have preferred three years ago.
...Simon, London, You are correct in that David Moyes does not have a glittering trophy cabinet. In fact, the only thing that he seems to have won is the second division trophy - which is still more than George Graham had achieved before he became Arsenal manager and, apart from the bungs, that turned out OK (John Nicholson even reckons he was better than Wenger). What Moyes does have is the ability to get the most out of his squad; what we seem to be lacking at the moment is that very ability. There was a mail a few weeks ago that compared the Arsenal first XI with Manchester United's and, although much of it is debatable, it is clear that the difference should not be 21 points (and counting). Basically, Arsenal are under-achieving and Moyes seems to be one of the best around to get the best out of an under-achieving squad (although I'd be happy with Pellegrino too - something that a letter writer suggested about 4-5 years ago, I recall).
Philip Lewis, Gooner since 1970
Dear Arsenal Fans
Please carry on with your whinging, moaning and wallowing in self-pity.
Anything to keep Liverpool/Suarez/Brent out the news.
Be Nice To Arsene
I have been quite reserved since Saturday's unthinkable home loss to Blackburn in the FA Cup, but after today's press conference, and the controversy that has arisen as a result of that, I feel compelled to write in. Rather inevitably, there has been a rather severe backlash towards Arsene after the second cup exit to a lower-league side this season. I understand these criticisms wholeheartedly, as in no way should a club of Arsenal's stature be knocked out of the two domestic trophies by lower-league opposition in the same season.
I also understand (and by that I do not necessarily agree with) that, let's say, a certain group of supporters, find it unacceptable that we haven't won a trophy in seven, and in all likelihood, eight seasons. Indeed, I can see why frustration grows at the same mistakes being made at alarmingly regularity, on and off the pitch. I accept the feelings of consternation that arise due to the spin, propaganda, lies and manipulation of facts that are used to paint the club in an entirely different light.
I can see justification and the reasoning behind those who argue that the club has altered its stance, damagingly, on what it considers competitive. I can sympathise with the incredulity that is felt in regards to clubs recent policy of consistently selling the teams best players, and purchasing mediocre replacements as a compromise. This is not to mention the unbelievably high prices that fans are demanded to pay in order to follow their team up and down the country, for seemingly, little reward.
However, what I find totally unacceptable, and frankly, embarrassing, is the vilification of a man (not just a manager), who has arguably overseen the most successful period in the club's history. This is not just from Arsenal fans, but also, the journalists who have thrived upon the steady decline of Arsenal since 2005. As highlighted above, there are plenty of reasons to criticise Arsene, the board, and lest we forget, the players themselves. However, the derogatory, personal, nasty, in no way constructive and downright vicious way in which these complaints are expressed in fact makes me more angry than the weekend's result (which is quite an achievement, I assure you). If you want Arsene to resign, be sacked, or to be moved upstairs in another capacity, I say fair enough, you're entitled to your opinion and I can see the argument for it, but that isn't what the this post is about.
Rather, it is the way in which you go about this, as Arsene deserves the utmost respect from each and every Arsenal fan and journalist for everything he has given to English football. Why is there need for such contempt and nastiness towards anyone in football, let alone a key figure in the club's history? I hasten to add that I do not believe that every Arsenal fan who feels Arsene's time is up behaves in this manner, but to those that do, I find it incredible that you can so easily disregard the success and the integrity that the man has given the club since his appointment 16 years ago. You're so desperate and greedy for success, you've forgotten what it means to support a football club. At the heart of this, and in what is indicative of his personality and career, is Piers Morgan, who consistently lacks class and humility. How the man attempts to moralise with anyone astounds me each and every time.
It is a real shame that firstly, Arsene has to go through this at all, and moreover, that it may well be the way he exits the club he has given so much to. To those suggesting that the club are in a worse position than when Arsene took over, I see very little to be gained in arguing with you, as I'm not sure we share the same definition of stature. As many faults as Arsene has, and as many mistakes that he has made over the past eight years, I still feel that he deserves great respect and admiration for what he has achieved. This previous success or however you want to define it, doesn't necessarily save Arsene's job in the present, but it certainly should alter the way in which those who support the club, and those who write about football as a profession, go about their respective criticisms.