Kicking Wenger, Arteta And Giroud...

The mailbox is very much split between Arsenal fans saying 'f*** you, we got through' and the doom merchants. We also have a mails on Chamakh for Chelsea and...

Last Updated: 12/12/13 at 09:55

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Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

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Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

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There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...

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Read This A Few Times
Former Blackburn Rovers centre-half Phil Jones is one of Manchester United's better central midfielders.

Just let that sink in.

Mad At Matt

I have to take issue with the normally excellent Matt Stanger's article about Arsenal's 'former frailties rear{ing} their head'.

Arsenal were admittedly not at their best, but they went to Napoli with the goal of qualifying, and although you wouldn't know it from the negativity of the aforementioned article, Arsenal will take their place in next week's draw for the last 16.

Arsenal were the better side for much of the game, and despite the nervy-looking 2-0 scoreline, were only at threat of being eliminated for a total of 1.5 seconds (the time between play starting after Callejon's goal and the end of the match).

Rather than lamenting a poor performance, we should be celebrating the fact that Arsenal have emerged from an extremely tough group. Yes, we will probably now have to face Barca or Bayern in the next round, but isn't that what the Champions League is all about anyway?! Besides, I can't be alone in thinking that, faced with the same group stage opponents, Man Utd and Chelsea would now be looking forward to Thursday nights on Channel 5/ITV 4/ etc.
Clock End John (not sure which member of the Mertscielny axis I love more)

Other Teams Should Fear Arsenal

When the draw for the UCL group stages was made, everyone said Arsenal, and indeed both Napoli and Dortmund, would be lucky/would have to work hard to even get out of the group. And so the group was dubbed Group of Death. Now that Arsenal have made it out of the group, everyone is harping on about how we should'a won the group, we face a nightmare draw etc etc. Granted though: given how the group played out coming into matchday six, and given our recent defensive solidity, it is a tad disappointing that we couldn't hold out for the point that would have seen us top group. Also, saying that we qualified by the skin of our teeth is a gross exaggeration, as at no point did we ever look like going out (Napoli's second goal came as last kick of game). How can you praise Napoli for going out bravely, yet berate Arsenal, who did actually did qualify, for not winning group in the same breath? It's not like Napoli were underdogs. Had you asked Wenger when the draw was made if he'd take a guaranteed second place, he'd have bitten your hand off (the one with offering in it).

Secondly: we keep harping on about Arsenal facing a nightmare draw, how about all the teams that could potentially face Arsenal (or Citeh)? Arsenal and Citeh are, by far, the strongest second-place finishers (on par with most of the group winners) and everyone who topped their respective groups will be looking to avoid us. The only real winners here are Man United and Chelsea...they can't be drawn against two very strong second-place teams. And anyway, is this not what UCL is about? The big European nights...some'a the best games I have witnessed (from my couch in South Africa), in terms of atmosphere, at the Emirates, and indeed Highbury before then, have been on big European nights, taking on European heavyweights (think Arsenal vs Juve, vs Real, vs Barca, the almost great comeback against Milan etc etc). That said though: I'd rather draw Atletico or PSG...hell, actually anyone...bring em on!!!!
KT Mokhele (soft red against Arteta), Gooner in Johannesburg

...Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid or PSG?

F**k it. We can beat every one of those teams.

Bring it on!
Matt Wright, Gunner in Aus

...Just getting this in before any moaning Arsenal fans bring the tone down. Top of the league, through to the next round of the Champions League. This is brilliant. Shut up.
RuairĂ­ Murphy, Ireland

Oh, Here He Is...

Arsenal finish second in a group they were in pole position to win, where have I seen that before?

Arsenal subsequently prepped for yet another last-16 molestation from one of the big playground bullies a la Bayern/Barca/Real. Again, where have I seen this before?

Arsenal follow up a promising opening 45 minutes with 45 minutes of apathy and tactical imbecility, resulting in near-elimination. Again , where have I seen this before?

Arsene Wenger's catastrophic transfer policy comes back to haunt him as top class striker hurts Arsenal, whilst cheaper average Arsenal striker, lumbers around for 90 minutes. Nope never seen that one either.

With Arsenal crying out for tactical innovation, and pace to stretch a susceptible opposition defence, the manager stands statuesque, making the totally wrong subs. Leading to Arsenal being under more pressure with no outlet. Nope, defo not seen that before!

This debacle to be followed by morale-sapping bitch-slap over the weekend against big PL team. Hmmm, I've definitely seen this one before!

Arsene I'll save you the trouble now: forfeit the last 16 tie. That way, we can't lose the tie more than 3-0, which I'm sure you'll agree, is more dignified than the lube Pep or Tata have prepared for you....
Stewie Griffin (Messi v Competition winner Jenkinson, Cristiano v Gibbs; Arteta v Gotze LOL)

A Few Points On Arsenal

1. Mikel Arteta should not start for Arsenal. This is not just because of his red card last night but it does highlight why he shouldn't start. Prior to this year he was Arsenal's only defensively minded midfielder. This was a position that he was moved too by Wenger due to the paucity of other options in that position. I have never truly been convinced by him there. Though accurate in his passing his distribution can be quite lacking in pace and at times I believe it contributes to the passive possession that Arsenal enjoy against a team who decides to park the bus. Furthermore he does not do enough defensively. He can be very easily overrun and picks up stupid yellows. Now I understand a defensive midfielder has to pick up yellows but usually it's for cynical/taking one for the team fouls or 'smashing the opposition's best player' fouls. All these things Flamini can do better in my opinion. He's simple in possession but crucially better defensively. Arteta is a good squad player for sure but certainly not a starter in the big matches. (I'll admit he was good against Liverpool this season that Liverpool midfield is/was muck.)

2. Wenger had a nightmare last night. Let's be frank, Napoli are good, not great. Whatever Wenger said before the game about going for the win did not transpire in the performance and attitude of the team. They seemed to be playing for the 0-0. Of the two DMs playing, Arteta and Flamini, it seemed Flamini was operating further forward. That just seemed ridiculous to me. What's the point in playing Flamini at all if he's going to be deployed in the manner he was last night? Also when Napoli upped the ante in the second half Arsenal desperately needed somebody to offer some sort of threat in behind the Napoli defence. The game was crying out for Walcott! Walcott has his faults no doubt but simply by placing him on the last defender's shoulder he would have pushed back the Napoli defence and given more room for Ozil etc. to operate in. Can't understand Wenger's reluctance to use him!

3. Arsenal need a top-class striker. Giroud is a good target man but that is not enough for a team endeavouring to actually win things. Giroud's lack of pace is a huge fault in his game. Sometimes his acceleration is so poor that it seems he is running in treacle. Other parts of his game are very good at times such as his hold-up play and the way he links up with the midfield. But his finishing is also lacking quite a bit. The reality is that Arsenal still need a top striker. The fact that Wenger was looking for one during the summer hopefully means he knows this but January is not the time to be looking for one.

As an Arsenal fan who was too young and stupid to truly appreciate the times when we won stuff, this season has been thoroughly refreshing but this does not mean that the Arsenal team cannot be criticised for what was a bad performance in every respect.
Cathal Groome, AFC, Ireland

...I'm sitting here watching Arsenal v Napoli...I'm not sure, We may win we may loose but it looks like we'll qualify for the second round anyway. There are a lot of question marks still about this Arsenal team...Giroud and Ozil are both great players but they seem to be expecting things to happen rather than making it happen.

Our most dedicated player on the pitch seems to be Flamini.

They also seem to be well behind the pace that's required, Saturday may not go well...We may go on to win a very average scrappy PL and I'd be happy with that...God knows Utd won their fair share of crap leagues...but still and all...I'm just not sure.
Liam, Cork

Chamakh For Chelsea?

It was amusing to read Aravind, CFC, Chennai's failed attempt at banter by writing "One can't blame him much after witnessing years of strikers of the likes of Chamakh and Bendtner the great Dane." in response to Seb, Gooner's mail. Allow me the liberty to inform Aravind that Maroune Chamakh now has three PL goals to his name this season while Ba, Eto'o and Torres have contributed a grand total of four PL goals to this Chelsea side. It appears to be the case that Chamakh would nicely add to the quality of Chelsea's striking department. Maybe Aravind should revisit his initial tactical analysis of this Chelsea side (which incidentally had a touch of Alan Sheaer to it) and see whether one Maroune Chamakh is the answer.
Ahmed, Pakistani Gooner
P.S: Hold tight, Mr. Sherlock. Lukaku will be back soon if he can be assured that he won't be treated like Juan Mata (whose inclusion into the team more often might allow Ramires and Lampard to be those 'ball-playing central midfielders to control a game')

What If Assem Allam Is Proved Right?
I'm not saying he is. In fact, saying "I know it will make a difference; shorter names have a quicker impact, it is textbook marketing" smacks of simple-minded thinking. Marketing is rarely that straightforward, and unless he has some data to back up his assertion, changing Hull City AFC to Hull Tigers is no better than burning chicken bones and or any other superstition.

What if, though, Hull Tigers suddenly becomes everyone's third club in Asia? (assuming the first two are Man United and whoever out of Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal or Liverpool are doing well). The club makes a bundle on shirt sales, and pre-season tour tickets are sold out, enabling them to make a marquee signing, maybe even get into Europe in the near future through one of the cups? Will the fans accept the name change, or will they continue singing 'City till we die'?

Every club's 'line to not cross' in the pursuit of success is different. Barcelona's used to be 'no ads on the shirt', Man United's probably is 'no selling the stadium naming rights'. What's your club's "line"?
Jayraj, MUFC

Another Successful Successor

Following Nippy's suggestion of a non-football successful successor in yesterday afternoon's Mailbox, I'd like to nominate Captain Picard.

I don't even like Star Trek.
Ed Quoth the Raven (Shatner's Denny Crane wipes the floor with Stewart's Professor Xavier), CPFC the Glaziers, Notts

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may well get slated by other United fans for this, but out of the three contenders, I'd far prefer Liverpool to win the title. Yes some elements of their fanbase can be a bit OTT, yes they're our biggest rivals and yes it will make our poor season feel even more like the end of an era (Fergie's gone, Liverpool are back on top). However I just have to applaud Brendan Rodgers and the way he's turned Liverpool around in just a couple of seasons. It...

Please Stop Telling Us What To Think


ooray! We are all excited now, we beat a very mediocre team! With all due respect to WHU supporters, not winning that game shouldn't even be a consideration. This is the problem, there is no winning mentality at the Emirates - we're all congratulating ourselves beating a team that we have a winning record against.

Wenger hails important win


s this meant to be an aspiration for United supporters? Moyes mediocrity strikes again. I see the Bayern boys don't want to sign for him, and his reputation amongst the senior European coaches make other key signings unlikely.

De Gea's Europa League target

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Mail Box

Mignolet Is The Reason For Liverpool Flying

Mignolet's bad kicking is the reason for Liverpool's success, whilst one man keep notes on F365 mails. Plus England excitement, Arteta and a bad Walsall experience...

City: Bottle Jobs, A Laughing Stock...

There are some harsh words for Manchester City and Manuel Pellegrini in the Mailbox this morning, as well as some rather nicer ones for Tony Pulis and his magic hat...

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