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After reading John Nicholson's article about Wenger's coat, I thought Swansea can win the Premier League by making Michael Laudrup dress in swimsuits for every game...that way the opposition will be too busy checking him out to perform their on-field duties.
Arsenal Need More Tough Love
Bit late to the party here but I saw something very interesting on Twitter last night, which was a back and forth between someone and the ever sensible Phillipe Auclair. It's something I don't believe anyone touched upon in the mailbox (apologies if you did, hilarious though it was the long gooner mails are very tedious), but I thought a very valid point. He spoke of the sense of the misplaced sense of entitlement amongst the Arsenal players, which is exacerbated by the constant refusal of Arsene Wenger to ever criticise any of his players.
They always made enough effort, are all of the required quality, but still manage to pluck ridiculous defeats from places very few other teams would. If he actually gave his players a few home truths about some of their performances, a kick up the arse to make them hardnosed and professional, they might shake this wonderful habit of bottling almost all major challenges. (Except, of course, for the obvious. Ahem.)
Although I personally think that he's replaced his project of taking previously unheard of players to the top with making a group of established internationals rubbish and is actually doing rather well.
Alex G, THFC
It's My Club, Not Arsene's
In response to VK; 'It is Wenger's club more than it well ever be your club.' Therein lies the problem, idiotic fans that truly believe this type of nonsense. Has it ever occurred to anyone that Wenger didn't have the nads to go and manage Madrid? Perhaps he just liked the comforting autonomy of running a club where he could sit on the board, was still assured a massive wage packet and could move the club in a way that no other manager on the planet had the chance to do?
I actually do have respect for what Wenger bought to the game and the trophy success he bought the club, the best part of 10 years ago. The new level of success of qualifying for the CL is to be respected but as I said before, he got terribly lucky on 2/3 occasions. He will forever be the 2nd best manager Arsenal have ever had but sometimes change is good. Arsene Wenger needs to realise this. He doesn't have to leave but needs to look at his team and realise something is not right and hasn't been for some time.
The club is not more his, it's mine, along with every other Arsenal fan. Without us, the club is dead, a meaningless commercial entity. I have no right to demand anything, other than hope the players and manager give it their all. I just hope Arsene Wenger has the testicular fortitude to try something new, as the world around him begins to crack. If he is unable to adapt, then perhaps someone else wouldn't mind a chance with the new money from sponsors and trimming the fat.
Point Out The Problems, Bro
Wenger pointing out all the things that 'aren't a problem' is the most worrying part of the problem at Arsenal.
I moved to Melbourne 2 years ago. So although I don't go to every Arsenal home game as I used to for obvious reasons, I still get the benefit - ehem - of seeing every game on TV. And after every failure the same positives and negatives are trotted out by Wenger like a broken record.
Since coming to Melbourne, I have become a season ticket to Melbourne Victory. Last year was shocking, partly because Jim Magilton was managing us for a large part of the season. It was a mess and we didn't even make it to the Finals (yeah, don't ask). The fans were up in arms. Noone knew what was going on
Anyway this season we have a new manager Ange Postecoglou. He won the league with Brisbane Roar last year - just so you know. This season has been much better. But there is obvious room for improvement.
Last Friday we got hammered by Adelaide United 4-2. We were woeful. The fans weren't happy. We knew exactly what the problem had been - well every fan is a manager aren't they? But what did Ange do. He came out and said "You know what everyone. I stuffed up. I got the tactics completely wrong. I'm not quite sure what I was thinking."
And we responded to that. A man admitting to his mistakes. Because we all make them.
Arsene should maybe try honesty. He may find it cathartic.
Justin Farmer, Melbourne Victory and AFC
Wenger To Bradford?
Apologies for the tardiness of my email but it's 7pm and I've only just sobered up from last night...
... but yes, I also have graced the mailbox a couple of times in the last year or so and am a regular contributer to the comments section. You're welcome. And while I'm here, I may as well share three observations from last night's game:
1. I would love to have Arsene Wenger come manage BCFC if the Gooners don't want him (although the fact that it would make Piers Morgan happy puts me off a little);
2. This is despite the fact that he looks like a total d**k in that huge, padded coat-sleeping-bag thing he wears on cold days;
3. Anyone else notice that it was only the English players who scored their pens?
This is in regards to Tom goldenballs mail in last night's mailbox.
If you think that Mertesacker is a great centre half then you are more delusional than your manager! Mertesacker just got owned by a guy that had to work his week's notice at the local co-op before he could start training with us!
Vaseline: The Missing Ingredient
I know exactly how to turn Arsenal's fortunes around. It all went down hill when they stopped wearing vaseline on their shirts.
Or maybe it's the fact that the players who wore vaseline on their shirt were Vieira, Gilberto, Henry and Campbell and they subsequently stopped winning when they left?
Anyway they either need players of Vieira and Henry's ability or more vaseline, I'm not sure which!
JR (Going for two out of three in mailbox posts) Arsenal, Saigon, Vietnam
Ban Piers Morgan
This isn't strictly football related (well it is really) but something needs to be done with Piers Morgan. His slandering of Arsene Wenger is beyond anything I have ever seen before. How this man has gotten to the position he stands in today is beyond comprehension on my behalf. Anybody who frequents the hip social hangout that is Twitter cannot help but be subjected to his presence. I didn't even start following him until Gary Lineker decided to take him down a peg. Anyway while I could write a book on how much he irritates me it is his abuse of Wenger that I would like to raise awareness of.
He is just short of 3 million followers and when somebody hash tags "WengerOut" about 15 times a week (not an actual tally, would take me too long to actually count it) it can't help but influence people's opinions. Obviously most people with a brain cell know that most of what he spouts isn't worth a sprout but unfortunately there are a lot of others who seemingly don't have one which will then role on the bandwagon.
Of course Arsenal could be doing better, but in reality how much better could they be doing? You have to account for the "magic of the cup" for the Bradford game, nine times out of ten Arsenal win that easily. Spending within their means is something that should and I believe will be in the future will be given great credit for doing so. Football is a business on one level and that level is rather important these days. If you spend beyond your means you will be found out eventually, unless you have a forest of money trees. It's basic economics. Arsenal do not have one of these forests. They have an organic 2 acre orchard which caters for a certain market, unfortunately the weather has been below par the last few years and the forest's have their own protection which allows them to blossom relatively unscathed.
Anyway enough of those tree analogies. Long story short, Arsenal are doing OK and Piers Morgan needs to learn a little humility and failing that somebody to take Twitter away from him as it's spoiling it for the rest of us and adding unnecessary pressure on Wenger. As if he's not aware of how things are going. I never thought as a Man Utd fan I would staunchly defend Wenger like that, but it feels like the right thing to do.
Evan (I think that part where I mentioned the forests/trees really helped my argument) Ireland
At Least Denilson Has Won A Trophy
I was fortunate enough to be watching a truly enjoyable Copa Sudamericana Final 2nd Leg, which on the off chance you haven't heard was won by São Paulo. They were two goals up at the interval, the first a tidy finish from Lucas Moura who minutes later slipped a nice ball through for Osvaldo to dink over Albil. Tigre refused to return for the second half citing security concerns as apparently some of their players were assaulted by security staff when they left the pitch.
Sao Paulo were declared Champions in front of the Le Doce and this sparked incredible celebratory scenes. Club captain and goalkeeper Rogério Ceni, with over 100 career goals to his name (including a free kick earlier in the tournament), waved officials away when handed the trophy so as to allow his team mates to join him on the podium. He then gave Lucas the trophy to raise, his last act as a Sao Paulo player before he departs for PSG in the new year. He was also awarded Player of the Tournament and Man of the Match.
I particularly enjoyed Arsenal's Denilson recieving his winners medal. Something he will be sure to treasure, assuming he gets to keep it of course.
...Brazil will embarrass themselves hosting the next WC. Just a few minutes ago during Copa Sudamericana Final between Sao Paulo and Tigre, the CBF and CONEMBOL showed they have zero capability of hosting a tournament of that magnitude. After being down 2-0 at half time, Tigre decided they would simply not show up for the second half. The reason? It was completely unorganized, they were threatened and felt unsafe. It is easy to point the finger at the Tigre team but I think it comes to a point where enough is enough.
Tigre were only brought to the stadium 1 1/2 hours before the game was set to begin. Before the match started Brazilian security did not let Tigre practice and warm up on the field. After things got heated towards the end of the first half, various Tigre players and Sao Paulo players argued and fought on their way to the dressing room. This led to Tigre players getting hit and being dragged into their dressing room by police officers with their guns drawn. These men are athletes and not criminals.
All I ask for the next World Cup is for it run smoothly but unfortunately, as a Brazilian, I have not seen anything that would lead me to believe that would happen. I'm embarrassed to be Brazilian.
Swansea v Middlesborough Conclusions
*There's 2 hours of my life I will never get back
*Michu aint that pretty
Dave(Éire)(not paying off credit card till after 21/12/12)
Yesterday was 12.12.12, and Juventus were playing Cagliari in the Italian cup. The game was won by a 12th minute goal by Juve's Sebastian Giovinco - number 12. It was, of course his twelfth goal for Juventus.
James (maybe there's something to this Maya calendar business after all!),Geneva
Fergie's Next Midfield Target?
Just catching up on your site after being away for a few days and noticed your feature on who had regrets over their summer business and the amount of midfielders that Man United had seemingly missed. It occurred to me that maybe Alex Ferguson is waiting on the right man to become available. Could the man he be waiting for be
> someone who has dominated Xavi and Iniesta in the Champions League
> someone who is already an established international
> someone who is well used to the pace of the Premier League
> someone whose club have a history of not holding onto their star players
Could Fergie be waiting for Jack Wilshere to leave Arsenal when they stop qualifying for Champions League and they can't match his ambition (and wages)?
John (the Piers Morgan would be absolutely sensational) Brennan
On Wage Caps
Wednesday afternoon's email by Martin (I declare myself available if the FA and FIFA want to talk) Coad takes an interesting approach to salary caps, with the addition of pay grades or tiers. However, wage caps themselves are bad ideas that hurt the wrong people.
Wage caps benefit only one group of people: club owners. Right now, any extra money that a football club makes or saves (and even money that it doesn't make) usually goes to acquire and pay players. With wage caps, the money that's saved will go straight to the owner's pockets, and not to season ticket discounts. As a fan, I'd rather my club's money went to the players that do the work, than help the Glazers pay off their debts.
Additionally, it results in clubs losing bargaining power against other clubs; no more luring away a rival's star player with blockbuster wages. Would Manchester City or Chelsea be relevant today if wage caps had been in place? Imagine if Abramovich or the Abu Dhabis never came to England. With Arsenal still in mortgage-repayment mode, Manchester United would have dominated the past 8 years and the Scottish PL would be viewed as comparatively wide open.
Furthermore, if wage caps are to come in at all, they have to do so all over the world simultaneously. Good luck getting even 25 FAs (I'm just counting the major ones/ones with comparatively rich leagues) to agree on something like this. If it's not a worldwide thing, then the non-capped leagues will pick off the capped-leagues' best players, which will make the capped leagues competitive, but mediocre.
Lastly, and maybe I'm in a minority here, but I heartily support the idea of a young kid from an underprivileged background working hard and earning, through his talent and dedication, a sackful of cash. Why put a cap on that, when the club that employs them has no cap on making profits?
There's only one way to fix football's economic ills: force football clubs to behave with financial prudence. Clubs shouldn't be able to spend money they (or their sugar daddy) don't have, on players or wages. And if you want to talk about increasing competitiveness, then maybe it's time to look at whether the loan system is really necessary.
Jayraj Jog, MUFC
Liked the article on giant-killing - I agree. To my curmudgeonly mind a giant-killing is a one-off event with little positive effect - the small team will inevitably go out in the next round or two and be forgotten. Rival fans will (and should) enjoy the failure of the big team - football needs schadenfreude - but it's that rather than the success of the small team that's noteworthy.
I also think the small team are routinely given too much credit - I watched the last 50 minutes of Bradford-Arsenal, and the only team that stopped Arsenal were Arsenal themselves. Bradford waved them through, at which point an Arsenal player hit a cross out of play, passed to noone, decided not to shoot or just missed the goal. Bradford weren't even that good on penalties - Arsenal players just kept missing. Comments like 'Well played Bradford, thoroughly deserved' are neither true nor sincere.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan, London