Asks the morning mailbox, before hastily returning to the debate over who should replace Steven Gerrard. Plus, thoughts on Ed Woodward's spending plans and more...
There isn't a great deal of excitement in the Mailbox regarding England's potential new captain, but we have good stuff on Gerrard's development and a one club man team...
If you have anything to say on any subject, mail us at email@example.com
Liverpool Or Arsenal's Year?
Genuine question for Liverpool and Arsenal fans - whose season would you rather have had?
Liverpool massively exceeded pre-season expectations, had arguably the most exciting attacking quartet in the Premiership and came this close to winning the league. They have a bright, progressive manager, a young team and belief that they are on the cusp of a sustained return to the top table; but, they capitulated, threw away the league when it was there to be won, may/may not come that close again next season and actually didn't win anything.
Arsenal exceeded pre-season expectations (most 'experts' had them pegged for fifth), spent a fair amount of time at the top of the league, were within seven points of the winners (their closest in a while), have genuine talent/more financial muscle than recently and, don't you know, won the FA Cup; But, they capitulated horrendously away against the rest of the top four, were out of the league race by the end of March and still seem pretty determined to shoot themselves in the foot at times.
The answer may predictably be drawn according to allegience and I suspect neither set of fans would willingly trade - for Arsenal, having Liverpool's season would have meant a 10th trophyless year and (even more) serious questions about mental fragility; Liverpool fans might have been happy enough with Arsenal's season (given that CL football was the aim) but they didn't need a trophy as badly as we did and would have been denied being in with a genuine title chance going into the final weekend.
Hopefully this won't lead to a p***ing contest but interested if anyone (from either group) would swap? Of course, we'd all rather have had Man City's year...
James (I made my six-year-old Spurs-supporting son wear an Arsenal top yesterday and I feel no shame)
Massive Praise For That Man Wenger
Well what a weekend! The sun was shining over north London and after probably the worst start to a final in the cup's history we managed to recover to land our first trophy in nine seasons.
For me the praise for the achievement goes to one man and that's Arsene Wenger.
I'm making my way through Dennis Bergkamp's autobiography at the moment and our Dutch master talks about his time in Milan and at Ajax and about the differing styles in Italy and the Netherlands. It's clear Dennis is committed to Cryuff's Total football philisophy over the negative Italian model and perhaps explains why we kept hold of Dennis for so long as Wenger too is an exponent of such football - the 2005 final aside.
Arsenal fans have been frustrated over the past decade and Wenger could have been more flexible with his philosophy. Indeed such flexibility could have spared us spankings this season and may have landed us a couple of league cups but as the sun shone over north London yesterday and I saw Wenger atop the team bus it struck me Wenger has always had a clear vision where he wants this club to be.
The introduction of FFP probably enabled us to sign Ozil and in the first season we spend the big bucks we get this trophy drought monkey off our backs. The 2004 Invincibles may not be the peak for Wenger because back then we were still at a stadium that housed just 38,500. Even then great players like Henry and Vieira left us in search of greater honours. Last summer players thinking about coming to Arsenal will have thought 'well maybe they have the money but they never win anything'. Saturday changed all of that. Suddenly we're the club in a huge stadium in the greatest city in the world and we've won the game's oldest cup competition.
I still think sometimes Wenger could be more flexible in winning football matches but you know what? This could be just the start for Arsenal. This will be a season long remembered. The highlights of Saturday for me were grown men in tiger facepaint, having to be pinched by some woman as I was walking around in a daze and couldn't believe it and some bloke telling Tony Adams' statue "We did it Tone!"
Graham Simons, (Where's Stewie?) Gooner, Norf London
Nine years and they put us through THAT cup final. Bloody Arsenal. Miss the tap-in and give you a backheel->outside of the foot half-volley. Typical.
Sanogo was...well, effective in his bumbling ineffective way. If he starts to grab a goal or two then he will be a valuable asset. Giroud was again good without being a match winner and so that big-name striker must be added.
So I'll put this out to the Arsenal fans, would you rather Benzema or Balotelli? Personally I would prefer Balotelli, but I'm sure Wenger if he had the choice would opt for Benzema.
Also I will not be mourning Sagna. He has been mostly solid but change can be good and there could be much better full-backs out there.
Hatim (or bring back Eboue) Abdulhussein, Melbourne
Arsenal were never going to make it easy but I think we deserved it over the 90 and the 120. Then, my Man United friend who I was watched the game with said you only won an FA Cup vs Hull...
Then I laughed, oh how I laughed. It was sweet enough winning the cup but realising how much the tables have turned...beautiful. I also think this will be the norm for some time to come yet, whether Van Gaal arrives or not.
Rob (Whoops, now progress is a Prem or Champs trophy...), AFC
Somebody Is Feeling P***y
Wow - from the car horns outside - is it possible Arsenal are the first English team, or even club team - to have won the World Cup?!?! - or did they narrowly beat Hull City?
I was in San Francisco the day Obama became the first black President in US history and honestly there was a comparable level of fuss, with maybe a bit more justification.
Didn't Arsenal fans used to be the most down-t- earth and pragmatic fans to talk to? Or was it the Spurs fans who were the ludicrous dreamers? Stop the world I want to get off.
What's happening in Islington right now has got to be the most tragic and pathetic example of triumphalism in sporting history.
I hope it's all ironic because...you know...karma can be a real bitch.
Well Done Atletico
Can I be one of no doubt many to congratulate Athletico Madrid on winning La Liga and also doing it the hard way at the Camp Nou and losing your two best players within 22 mins. Well played gentlemen, well played.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
...ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO! ATLETICO!
Dave (Atletico), Dublin
Big Sam For Barca?
So I guess Sam Allardyce is top of Barcelona's wish list for a new manager. He even has a home in Spain.
English Managers: Rubbish
Just wanted to write about English managers, and how poor they seem to be. Or, more to the point, provide some stats and some Monday trivia for those struggling to get back into the grind.
Of the 66 major domestic trophies available since the start of the Premier League, English managers have won just six.
Of the 50 major European trophies that have been won since the start of the Champions League (CWC, UEFA /Europa & CL) English managers have won only one.
Can anyone name all 26 domestic trophy-winning managers since 92-93?
Scotland - 27 trophies (5 managers)
France - 11 (2)
Italy - 7 (4)
England - 6 (6)
Portugal - 5 (1)
Spain - 3 (3)
Chile - 2 (1)
Holland - 2 (2)
N. Ireland - 2 (1)
Denmark - 1 (1)
Or all 38 European trophy-winning managers since 92-93?
Italy - 12 (10)
Spain - 12 (7)
Germany - 5 (3)
Holland - 5 (5)
Portugal - 4 (2)
Scotland - 3 (2)
France - 2 (2)
Argentina - 1 (1)
Belgium - 1 (1)
England - 1 (1)
Romania - 1 (1)
Russia - 1 (1)
Sweden - 1 (1)
Turkey - 1 (1)
Should England replace Hodgson before its too late??
Not A Fan Of Play-Offs...
Can I please just put an end to the debate over which teams should get promoted at the end of the season by saying it should be the top three...fact. The only reason it has been turned into a mini-tournament is, like the other farces in the modern game of the top four going into the 'Champions' League and the semi finals of the cup being played at Wembley, for the huge revenues it generates.
Lanky (nuff said) Manc
For a set of fans so averse to having their name changed to Hull Tigers, they sure like having their faces painted as tigers, dressing up as tigers etc.