That's the difference between him and someone like Cristiano Ronaldo - his body just isn't right. We have mails on him, Sparky, Brendan Rodgers and the Europa Lge...
Nice one UEFA, but not far enough. We have some ideas to make the Europa League better as well as more views on Wayne Rooney, Vermaelen in midfield and...
If you have anything to say, mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Arsene Wenger's management philosophy and my uni work philosophy seem to be the same.
Do the bare minimum. You can put in the hard work next year.
What did that get me? A Desmond 2:2. The university equivalent of Europa League...
Please Make It Stop
Upon reading Shane, confused Irish gunner in Melbourne's mail this morning I found myself confused. Why was he declaring his love for French channel TV5 in the middle of a mail about Arsenal? What has a French TV station got to do with it? Maybe they were showing the match...but TV5 would hardly be the best place to watch Champions League football from Australia. Maybe it's because of Arsene Wenger and the whole Arsenal-France connection...but that seemed like a bit of a stretch. Maybe it's because Arsenal were playing Bayern and Frank Ribery plays for...then it hit me. He was referring to Thomas Vermaelan. TV5. Thomas Vermaelan, no. 5.
Please, make it stop.
Aidan, Dublin (Confused by confused Gunner)
Arsenal: Ever The Tortured Artist
As sure as night follows day so it comes to pass that Arsenal's annual trophy 'hunt' will end in February to be followed by a brief, face saving win when the tie has already been lost. Sorry, the hunt isn't over is it, there's still the fourth-place medals up for grabs.
What amazes me is the Arsenal fans who start shouting for some credit. Congratulations then, your team managed to lose a two-legged tie in the first leg for the second year running. You then beat a strong European side in the second leg after the tie was lost. And now everyone can pat Wenger on the back and admire at what a good job he has done, it's a philosophy remember, right way to play football, Arsene knows etc etc etc ad infinitum.
Abandoned are the memories of being utterly outclassed just two weeks ago (for Bayern 2013, read Milan 2012) because you all beat them in the return, and that's what matter,s isn't it? Heroic defeat. Arsenal, the tortured artist. They stuck to their guns and they gave Bayern a good run for their money and that's what it's all about?
I mean, who would trade Arsenal's dedication to being Barca-lite (or is it Swansea-lite now?) for Chelsea's grinding pragmatism last year? Arsene gets another summer, maybe it will be different this time. Or maybe the decline will continue, punctuated by these anomalous results which mask the trajectory of the team.
How about, in a change of pace, don't be utterly chronic in leg one and give yourself a chance of qualification.
Nic AVFC (at least Villa keep it exciting right down to the wire)
Financially Outmuscled? Really?
Did I really just see an Arsenal fan complain that they are 'financially out-muscled' in the Premier League in this morning's mailbox?
This is the same Arsenal with the fifth-highest wage bill in the league last year, one behind fourth-highest Liverpool who are behind them in the league anyway?
The same Arsenal with £70m in the bank they choose not to spend?
The same Arsenal with the second-highest turnover in the league last year?
The same Arsenal whose massive turnover allows them to afford a wage bill 36% higher than the team two places above them in the league?
Financially out-muscled indeed.
Juan King, temporarily in India
Those Numbers Are Why You Should Be Unhappy
I was reading Jimmy Skew's mail, and the following line got me thinking:
'I know what people will say; I should be happy. we're currently fifth out of 92 teams, with a spanking new stadium and there are plenty of supporters out there who have it much worse.'
It reminded me of a couple of other mails from mailboxes past from supporters of smaller clubs that play in lower leagues. These are fans who have been supporting a single (generally small) club for the last 10+ years. The 'true fans'. And these true fans say that supporters of clubs like MUFC, MCFC, Chelsea, etc. feel they are entitled to success, and say we have no right to feel entitled.
The reason why we feel we are entitled to success is simply because these clubs have the most financial muscle. They have the best players, they pay the highest wages, and they have the highest ticket prices (something that doesn't concern me, since I live far away in India). The point really is that if I'm going to buy a Ferrari to race against a Smart Car, I expect the Ferrari to win...every time. If it doesn't, something's wrong.
So, if Arsenal fans feel that sitting in fifth is not good enough, screw your spanking new stadium and the fact that you're ahead of 87 other teams. You were/are among the best clubs in the world, and for the quality of players you have and the wages you pay, if you feel aggrieved at finishing fifth, you have every right to feel that way.
I expect a lot of backlash, and will be severely disappointed if people don't personally attack me and call me plastic fan.
Gurdit (Thank you for the RVP, how much for a Wilshere now?)
Dear Whining Arsenal Fans
So Football365 didn't pat you on the back after your victory against Bayern in the way you were hoping. Boo hoo. Who cares? Were you happy with the result and performance? Good. Surely that's all that matters? I can't stand these moaning fans who write in to complain that their club is being treated unfairly or that they aren't getting the respect or applause they deserve. Why do you care? You don't support your team in order for Football365 to say how great they are. If you enjoyed watching the game last night and felt good at the final whistle then that's all that matters.
Maybe the reason Football365 didn't lavish praise on your precious club is because YOU GOT KNOCKED OUT! When you were drawn against Bayern Munich the aim was to beat them over two legs and progress to the quarter-finals, no? You didn't do that because you weren't good enough. So why would anyone congratulate you? You weren't as rubbish as everyone thought you'd be in the second leg granted but you were still eliminated. Do you think Man Utd or Real Madrid would be looking for congratulations from the media if they had been knocked out in the manner you were?!
And this attitude of 'at least we can concentrate on finishing fourth now' also grinds my gears. Getting eliminated from any tournament is never a good thing. Football is about winning tournaments, not qualifying for them.
Rob Pearse (@RobJPearse)
Ramsey: Lucky Boy
As I watched Ramsey misplace a five-yard pass to Gibbs, which led to a break away move for Munich, my first thought was that he should thank his lucky stars everyday that Roy Keane was never his team-mate.
Kev (Robben's inability to use his right foot robbed us of a classic goal after Mueller's flick/through ball)
Leave Ramsey Alone
Enough with the Ramsey bashing. This is the player that pre-injury was stopping Wilshere getting any game time, the player that Cesc Fabregas worried about taking his place in the Arsenal team.
Last night was a generic Ramsey performance. Some people will agree and say that it was rubbish however you simply don't watch the game properly. Aaron Ramsey's vision is currently beyond his physical capabilities, the inverse of Walcott in seasons gone by who had a body moving and kicking faster than he seemed to be able to think of what to do with the ball. Ramsey sees Fabregas passes and has the confidence to try them, his body is just behind him in his footballing development, and we all know why that is.
Wenger has given Ramsey a five-year contract because, and I know this might be hard to believe, maybe he knows a lot more about football than the people slagging off Ramsey after his decades in management and a life dedicated to the game. Aaron Ramsey possesses incredible vision, confidence on the field and never stops running, these are the three things it's almost impossible to teach a player they either have it or they don't. If he's still bobbins by the end of next season then by all means slag him off but I'd put my mortgage on him being in the Arsenal starting 11 every week playing at a ridiculous level, before his eventual transfer to Manchester City/Real Madrid!
Luca James Sparks
On Bayern And Knee-Jerks
Bayern Munich suddenly being touted as the strongest team in the tournament after the first leg at the Emirates was as much of a knee jerk as everyone claiming Barcelona are a team on the down slope. A reality check for everyone, really.
I'm not claiming Arsenal were absolutely brilliant or anything on the night but Bayern were p***-poor and they definitely cannot be the strongest team in the tournament when you've got the likes of Madrid and Barcelona around.
How has nobody mailed in to talk about the ridiculousness of Arjen Robben's tights?? As if it's not bad enough that he falls over at every loose gust of wind, he looks ludicrous in his bright pink tights. On a more serious note, can someone enlighten me as to their purpose?
Ryan Maclean (it wasn't like this in my day, real men wouldn't be seen dead in tights, etc), MUFC, Aberdeen
One Of The Most Frustrating Things In Football
When you are in the dying seconds chasing the game, and give away silly, needless free-kicks.
Mikel Arteta what WERE you doing??? Made me want to tear my hair out.
Sean 'Try being an Argyle fan' Rapson
Decline Or Just Misfortune?
I've already seen a few exaggerated reactions from fans across the UK who seem to be suggesting that the Premier League is on a descending spiral towards the depths of hell. This year has been a strange one for English clubs in the Champions League and I dont think that it shows the decline of English football, rather the misfortunes of it.
Chelsea - The current holders who were in a period of transition at the beginning of the season. The squad had just received a large influx of talent such as Hazard and Oscar, two players only just beginning to get used to the new playing systems of their new club. Whilst Chelsea had also seen a few players leave (obviously referring to Drogba mainly). Di Matteo never had the backing he needed in order to move the team on and would've been consistently looking over his shoulder at the large Abramovich shadow bearing a knife. Chelsea's misfortunes lie with a trigger-happy chairman, they will be back next year in my opinion.
Man United - I won't dwell over this subject as it's already been spoken about far too much. Solid in the group stages and should have beaten Madrid until the Nani fiasco. I'm certain United will win the Champions League at least once more before SAF retires from the game and because of this will be a force again next year.
Arsenal - Unlucky last night not to score a third, but that's the price you pay for a poor performance in the first leg. They took a world-class Bayern team on and beat them at the Allianz, something not very often seen around those parts. To suggest they are a spent force in both the League and the Champions League would be foolish, they still have some very gifted players, however, there problems lie with consistency not their ability to beat the best, which is why their potential participation next year is under serious question.
City - Well last year it was said that they would be back again and would have learnt from their previous experience. That wasn't the case this year as they tumbled out of a tough group rather tamely. I do believe with their current squad that it will be third time lucky...how can it not!?!
Spurs/Liverpool - I think Spurs will be playing CL football next season at the expense of Arsenal in all honesty and I'm extremely intrigued to see what they have to offer after their brief cameo a few years ago. If Spurs can hold on to their best players such as Bale and Dembele, whilst reinforcing their team a litte, I don't see why they can't take English hopes to the semi-finals.
As for Liverpool...Well I think CL football is out of reach for them this season and if they were to sneak in to the top four then I think a painful group stage exit would be most likely for them as they are the lesser of these teams mentioned.
As was mentioned in another article on F365 today 'five of the last ten finalists have been from England' which suggests we hold some clout within the competition. To suggest a decline would be foolish, we'll be back in force next year.
Blackburn v Millwall Conclusions
- It was fitting that Danny Shittu got the vital winning goal over the two legs. He won almost everything in the air, led the team by example and nearly scored a 40-yarder in the first leg to boot. Although Shittu deserves credit for his performance last night, some of the Rovers players should receive some of the blame for allowing him to dominate proceedings. As was evident in the tunnel before the game, we were simply scared of him.
- Millwall at home followed by a semi-final against Wigan at Wembley. With all due respect, following victory at the Emirates could you ask for a kinder route to an FA Cup final? The more I think about the draw, the harder it is to swallow. Having said that, I wish Millwall luck for the remainder of the competition.
- Dunn shed a few tears at the end of the game, acutely aware that his career will most likely end without ever playing at Wembley. Whilst it was excellent to see his commitment, Dunn's reaction is symptomatic of a spreading disease; that is one of helplessness. As certain sections of the media have unfairly poured scorn on the behaviour of our fans, powerlessness is now the overriding sensation of an ever-decreasing fanbase.
- Having lost both Wood and Henderson in the January transfer window, Rob Hulse seems to have done a solid enough job. The sneaky elbow to Dann's eye in the first leg was, strangely, somewhat of a turning point over the two legs. A number of Blackburn players were disinterested in tackles after that incident, almost to the point of subservience.
- Sure, it's in vogue to have a pop at the commentators on this very mailbox so I'll dispense a bit of credit. Craig Burley identified that if a team is to adopt a long ball system, the delivery needs to be angled diagonally in order to take advantage of the second ball. Last night Jake Kean consistently pumped the ball in a straight line and, unsurprisingly, Shittu was in his element.
- Having only picked up one point since beating Arsenal on February 16th, perhaps it's not catastrophic to follow the cliché of focusing on our league form. Currently standing only six points from rock bottom in the Championship, would a day out at Wembley have further sidetracked us from an ultimately perilous league position? Following the victory at Arsenal, Appleton and the majority of fans were openly optimistic about a play-off position. It seems indicative of the capricious nature of The Championship that survival is now our top priority.
- Having despaired at the whingey reaction from United fans last week, I feel it unnecessary to linger on this point. Millwall had a penalty appeal turned down and then scored from a corner. It shouldn't have been a corner.
- Appleton's focus since arriving in January has been on stabilising the back four, perhaps at the expense of earning a few 0-0 draws along the way. The problem with such a philosophy, as was evident under Allardyce, is that if you concede the first goal of the game it makes it incredibly difficult to quickly modify the system to stir up a reaction. We could have played until sunrise and not scored. Any kind of 'plan B' is required.
- The long-awaited home game against Burnley is next up for Rovers. It's generally agreed upon by both sets of fans that Burnley should have beaten us in the opposite fixture in December. During my lifetime, Burnley have not had a better chance of embarrassing us than this Sunday. Let's hope they buckle under the pressure.
Chris Henderson (giving credit to Burley and Burnley was f*cking tricky) BRFC
F365: Too Sneery
There was some commentary this morning on how F365 covered Arsenal's exit from the Champions League, and it points to the growing realisation that the site's tone in general is getting increasingly and overwhelmingly negative on all counts. It's similar to the attitude of many former-players-turned-pundits who comment regularly on but appear to actually hate football. In Ireland we are regularly subjected to the opinions of people like Ronnie Whelan or Lou Macari who view everything through the prism of failure; a goal scored is always more likely to be a failure of defending than a success of attack. Of course, a goal could be said to be both, but they devote much more energy to discussion the negative than the positive.
What attracted me (and many others I suspect) to F365 was its irreverent and comedic tone; but irreverence has been replaced slowly by sneering. The default now is to take any story and make a joke at someone's expense; a transfer, a game, a comment, is taken and immediately turned into an excuse to attack. I'm not just stung because this latest volley was at Arsenal's expense; it happens to most clubs. Liverpool also regularly get it, as do a series of high-profile players.
When I open F365 most days I cannot glance at the front page without seeing a number of sneering, baiting comments, and I wonder if this is a conscious decision following the Daily Mail model - to say controversial, antagonising things to attract the attention and ire of readers - resulting in increased page hits. I am not saying that F365 should not be critical - this is a vital trait to have, especially as an antidote to the ludicrous fawning and positivity of Sky Sports, but it can be done without an overwhelming feeling of nastiness.
In recent years the fun, irreverent tone has been adopted by parts of The Guardian's sports coverage, but they do not seem to have fallen into the same trap of 'jokes = slagging'.