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Appoint Bould Until January
On needing another Arteta - the only reason Mikel has modified his role is due to his advancing years - he's a great midfielder but his days of being a marauding one are over.
Signing Cabaye at his peak and then trying to make him into a defensive midfielder would be a criminal waste of his talent. On balance I agree with my fellow Gooner's early assertion that we don't need Cabaye.
We should have acted in May or June - what we're faced with now is allowing Wenger to go and get all of the last minute buys having only just shipped out his disaster signings of the last summer he pulled this crap in 2011.
For me, Wenger has to be shown the door. We would save £7.5m a year - next Bould should be given the job until January when we can appoint a successor. All of our players should be told it's now a clean slate for them all so Coquelin and Djourou should be brought back from Germany, Bendtner should allowed to return to the squad and Flamini, who's training with us, should be given a contract until the end of the season.
We then batten down the hatches and become a snarly, aggressive unit like the Arsenal of yesteryear so when the likes of Villa visit, we go toe to toe with them and fight as the likes of Graham's 80s and 90s team would.
Come January we can install a new manager and give him the full window to sign the players Wenger should have done but failed to do.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Rare Praise For Arsene
I'm a Liverpool supporter and after looking through Arsenal's squad I was left with the conclusion that Arsenal's players simply aren't very good. I couldn't find any players that would improve Liverpool's (or any top six club's) strongest XI.
This being the case, I was left wondering how Arsenal consistently make the top 4. There is only one reason: Arsene Wenger. He is simply a great manager. Yes, he could be spending millions and challenging for the title but it is quite clearly not what he wants to do. He is content with Champions League qualification each year and he never fails to deliver that. Thus, he is a great, great manager.
Arsenal fans are always complaining that they are underachieving but I think they are completely wrong. Arsenal are overachievers, who despite having a weaker first team then Spurs continue to finish above them, leaving Tottenham fans scratching their heads in bewilderment.
I have no doubt that when Arsene Wenger decides that the time is right for a title challenge they will coast to victory. Until that happens, Arsenal fans should stop moaning and realise that they have the best manager in the world.
Simon(wishing for Wenger at LFC someday...), Ireland.
Toon Need New Coaches
Right first off, before we get all up in arms about Cabaye has anyone thought that as soon as the offer came in for him big fat Mike told Pardew to leave him out the squad in case he got injured. That's what my first thought was, and anyone who knows what Ashley is about shouldn't bat an eyelid at the possibility of it.
Secondly, the coaches aren't anywhere near good enough. Can anyone tell me what a John Carver or a Steve Stone is supposed to be able to teach a Hatem Ben Arfa, a Cabaye, a Santon or a Moussa Sissoko? It's no coincidence that when players arrive here they start well and then tail off. It's because all the good coaching is beaten out of them. They are taught to forget what they know about clever intelligent play, and instead told to 'fight for every ball' and 'get stuck in'. It's pathetic, they can't get the best out of any player above a Championship standard at best so what we expect them to teach international footballers is beyond me.
And lastly, I'm sorry to say it but the fans need to take a stand. We have an owner who doesn't care about where we finish as long as its 17th or above each season. How can we moan about him if all we do is line his pockets by buying the shirts and turning up to the games. The old argument is that they are the 'supporting the lads on the pitch'. That argument is old hat and redundant. It's embarrassing when people say that, it reminds me of what an 90 year old ex-miner would say. If you really want the best for the team, and the club, you'd step back for a while and force him into selling it. We will achieve nothing under him, nothing but mid-table mediocrity if we are even lucky. It's time we all played our part and took a stand for the good of the club.
Ben 'I know this won't make any difference' Oliver
The transfer (OK - loan) of Darren Bent to Fulham has got me thinking. Plenty of pundits talk about yo-yo teams - West Brom being the oft cited - but few to my knowledge talk about yo-yo players.
I'm talking about the classic example of a player breaking into a first team at a relatively inferior club, sealing a transfer to a 'big' club and then seemingly bumbling around clubs somewhere in the middle of the two when things don't work out. I reckon Scott Parker started the trend at Charlton, going to Chelsea for a hugely inflated fee (massive step up), dropping down to West Ham, breaking into the England team and earning a move to Spurs and now back down to Fulham - a true Yo - Yo man.
Other players that would fit the bill include Peter Crouch (though too many clubs to mention), and those currently enjoying the ride are Andy Carroll, Stewart Downing, Jonjo Shelvey and probably Gareth Barry. I may be being selective but I can't think of too many players from an 'inferior' club, stepping up to the top level and staying there during the prime of their career.
What a lot of these players seem to have in common, albeit there are exceptions to rules, is a move to a big club and/or a big money move too young. This applies too much pressure on a player so early on in a career that few (exceptions would be Rooney for example) seem to be able to overcome. I can't help feeling that players who make such moves, whether it be for money, to boost egos or whatever, would be better off playing at a level/in a team where they can become complete as players prior to such moves.
Of course, enforcing that would be impossible but it would be interesting to see what effect it had, say on England, if the players came from 10-15 instead of 7-8 clubs.
Trying Not To Hate Spurs
Daniel Levy has pulled off a masterstroke but firing all his scouts and using the spare money to outbid Liverpool for all their targets. Sigurdsson, Dempsey and now Willian apparently too!
That said, I can't fault any of those players for picking Spurs over Liverpool if they had the choice of both. Currently Spurs looks more likely to break into the top 4 and have a better group of players around in general. I suspect that the lure of Europa League football is not very strong for this season.
In truth though I am hoping we don't sign Erik Lamela (as long as Spurs don't either) - Rodgers was forced to give Sterling a chance last season because of a lack of options that weren't Stewart Downing shaped and I would love to see him do the same with Jordan Ibe. He's 17 just like Sterling was but he's stronger looking and has a better eye for goal. I really think he could do some damage so while some Liverpool fans on Twitter seem desperate for a big signing this summer I am hoping we do a Dortmund and focus on what we already have. In recent times Liverpool haven't been very good at Marquee signings anyway.
Willian would have been nice though. He seems rather good at football and hair styling. Maybe he could have helped Lucas, Henderson and Agger in the hair department.
...A few disparate thoughts for a sunny Wednesday:
Why is it so unbelievable that a player who has been approached by a clearly superior team, or Arsenal, would not be in the best condition to play? It's not that they physically can't cope, just likely that their #headsgone, their priority will be on avoiding injury at all costs and most importantly they just won't really care about what they're doing. Not sure about the rest of you but my notice periods don't tend to be too productive.
Following the updates as Willian seemed to be inching towards Liverpool only to divert to London at the last minute I found myself incredibly annoyed and harbouring a huge sense of resentment towards Spurs. Then after actually thinking about it, I realised I have literally never seen a minute of him on the pitch, his stats aren't great and there is little to suggest he would be a bargain at £30m, particularly when there are other areas we need to strengthen more. I realised it's purely down to childlike jealousy - everyone else has a new toy and I want one - so I've resolved to be less petty and childish in future. Starting immediately after Spurs go and f**k themselves.
That said I can't agree with the rest of Tom's letter. We play 3 wingers/attacking midfielders every game so a list of five, who have maybe 30 PL appearances between them and are all relatively or completely untested, is ludicrous. Particularly considering at least 3 of them are central players 'doing a job' on the wing. "Decent players" and "prospects" don't really cut it, we definitely need one more.
Also Michu and Ashley Williams for £30m would not, in my opinion, be great business. Williams at £7-8m would be OK but I think last year's darling Michu is set for an underwhelming season at Swansea, and would go so far as to say were he to move to a big club, or Arsenal, where the team would not be structured around him, he would be a huge disappointment.
I wonder how long it will be until the tabloids are publishing the fixture lists and then claiming FIRST AGAIN! when each week's fixtures are fulfilled.
I noticed in the latest premier league diary that F365 apparently has an editor in charge of removing genital references from articles. Send him over to Mediawatch would you, maybe then I could start to enjoy my lunches again.
Jon Gibson LFC
Everton Are Doing Just Fine
In amongst all the whining from Gooners, Mancs and other such that've clogged up the mailbox over the past few days, I'd like to say a few words;
Hi from Everton.
We're doing just fine, thanks. Given, a 2-2 against Norwich may not look like a great result, but our passing has improved, we're seeing our youngsters given a chance, we have enough Sky money to tell people with derisory bids for our stars to get lost for a change, and although it's very much a transitional phase early signs are encouraging. Even Nicki Jelavic looks like he's interested this season.
Just thought I'd put some positivity into the mailbox - and the weekend's getting closer.
The Mighty Thor
...Watching Everton against Norwich on Saturday, it was hard not to notice the much more fluid, sensual football that was being played by the toffees in an area of the pitch that they had rarely produced anything noteworthy for the last decade. The final third was constantly swarmed by intelligently positioned and alert attackers who found themselves with a wealth of opportunities and more promising than anything, showed the first flickering signs of entertaining football returning to Goodison since David Moyes took charge.
Roberto Martinez has arrived at the club on the back of a victory that trumped everything Moyes acheived at Everton (bar maybe their Champions League qualification, hastily quashed by Villareal), yet he has had to deal with a 'derisory' and 'insulting' bid from his predecessor. What was the point of Manchester United placing this bid? Moyes trying to unsettle things at his old club, so his shortfalls are clouded by a shaky start from the Spaniard? Or is he going to blame Everton's reluctance to sell and his inability to capture players who fit in to his style of play for a faltering United season?
Moyes' final few transfer windows in particular at Goodison was horrendous for a club that allegedly set out every season aiming for fourth place. Nikica Jelavic, Thomas Hitzlsperger, John Heitinga... these all looked like second string Champions League club players. Not one carried real potential. So now he has been put in charge of somewhere that is in serious need of first team choices, he has stood still. Meanwhile, despite Martinez only signing ex-Wigan players, they are lads who he originally scouted and bred into his style of play.
No one who saw Wigan last season could say that they didn't play admirable football; and now with some further player investment which is not only subject to less scrutiny than Manchester United but can also come from a much larger pool of players, the toffees have an excellent platform to challenge for a Champions League spot, especially with their performance against Norwich is taken into account. 88% pass accuracy and five chances from their left back according to F365's stats; it was gorgeous football. The defensive problems are still there, but with Moyes they were always considered a given. Manyoo didn't look sound against Swansea and they should be dreading their European fixtures.
I wish Everton and Roberto all the best, and I can see a lot of silverware coming their way. Manchester United on the other hand... employing someone who spent 12 years making a club as mediocre as possible without collecting any medals on the way? All it takes is a Capital One Cup victory for the Blues and Moyes will be exposed as the alehouse manager he is.
Peter, Wigan Athletic
I honestly don't understand why Paul Little believes that the worst problem in football today is benefactor money.
There are so many problems with football turning into a business that trods upon its fans and the public: Clubs like Portsmouth and Coventry are run into the ground, Cardiff and Hull change their colours/mascot/name, Arsenal take their patrons money and turn it into a stadium that they then charge people more money to enter, while Real and Barcelona get cushy loans from the same banks that have ruined the economy. But according to Little, a guy saying "I want my team to win so here's the money to do it right now" is the biggest problem in the sport?
Look, I have no problem if Little declares that all clubs should be true clubs - independent non-profits owned collectively by fans. That seems to be the logical end for his 'right way' and while some people might say it's a pipe dream, I'd still find it admirable.
Instead, he's decided that the current system is mostly fine, as long as every club is also run like a clever business, which strikes me as arbitrary, illogical, and simplistic. And even if you want to cheer for a business, I probably wouldn't pick one with as much debt as United.
More Pellegrini Puns
More "PELLE" headlines coming to a reputable daily publication soon:
Snowballs Chance In Pelle - Non-league outfit face City in the cup.
Pelle's Angels - City win the Champions League.
Pelle Hath No Fury - He doesn't get upset at a bad refereeing decision.
Pelle-End - He gets the sack (pun intended).
Dumb-PELLE - He does something stupid.
No-PELLE Prize - City lose a final.
I'll pro-PELLE us to the top - A story where he doesn't mention that he'll take City to the top.
Show and Pelle - No idea for this one.... maybe something about someone being shown a red card.
Jeze-PELLE - Something about his wife.
mademoisPELLE - He gets himself a mistress.
7th level of PELLE - City slip to 7th in the league.
A Few Thoughts
Some points from yesterday.
1. 'Swallowing Pardew Whole' is up there amongst the most horrifying mail titles ever, and I've been reading a while (see point 3). Quite frankly it belongs at the bottom of mediawatch.
2. Thanks for posting Ted, Manchesters mail. I couldn't have put it better, literally I suppose, because I tried, but it wasn't printed.
3. But the mail that really caught my eye was by Dave (can Everton already be called the 'draw specialists' of the league?) Allen, IOM. Many years ago, before filters, when I lurked around the forum as moistsquirrel I'm sure there was a forum member who went by the name PELL, (although it may be a John Nicholson styled flashback). If so, I'll see Daves headlines and I'll raise him the wonderful 'PELL gets tail caught in goth girl' or something similar (some nonsense about... well, I'm sure you can imagine). I'd love to imagine that cheeky chappy elevated through to the ranks of Man City manager, it certainly paints the new City manager in a whole new dimension.
Chris ITFC, Liverpool