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Arsene, please rest Ozil
Obviously Arsenal fans like me are feeling pretty good right now and I enjoyed all the various postings in this morning’s mailbox regarding the superb performance last night. However there was one significant detail that I hope is not going to be overlooked from last night as reported by the BT Sport commentators at kick off time.
This was the news that Mesut Ozil reported a ‘tight calf’ ahead of the game and only played after passing a fitness test. He was given the all-clear and clearly his (as ever nowadays) superb performance showed there wasn’t a problem for him to play last night in a match where we really , really needed him.
However, please Arsene – I’m begging you – for the love of God, heed the warning signs for once and DO NOT play Ozil against Villa this weekend
I’m not so disrespectful as to say ‘it’s only Villa’, but I’d much rather Ozil missed one match against the woefully out of form bottom club, than take even the remotest risk that he then gets injured and misses 5-6 games against every b*gger else.
Despite the hat-trick it looked like Giroud took a couple of knocks last night, and given the various niggles that Koscielny’s carried recently, I’d be resting both of them too
Perhaps this is also the game to try Chambers or young Bielik in midfield alongside Flamini with Ramsay getting license to maraud further forward, plus try and play Oxlade-Chamberlain back into some kind of form
Rob, Bristol Gooner (I love Arsene – but I know he won’t…
Chelsea can’t finish fourth
“While mathematically it’s still possible, let’s fight every game for every point and see if it’s possible to finish fourth”, said Jose Mourinho optimistically.
I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Jose (I really, really don’t), but mathematically it is also possible to score 50 goals in one game – but unless you play in the Nigerian leagues that just ain’t gonna happen.
If you want to talk about ‘mathematically’, I have done some very basic sums:
After 15 games, the 13 teams above Chelsea in the Premier League have picked up a total of 321 points. If you want to average it out, this means the teams above Chelsea have picked up 1.65 points per game. It’s impossible to know who will go on a good or bad run, so let’s say – amazingly generously – that for the rest of the season, ALL the teams above Chelsea keep picking up points at a rate of 1.65 a game, i.e. the current average for teams between 1st and 13th. At the end of the season this would give Man Utd (currently in 4th) 67 points. For Chelsea to get to 68 points and claim 4th they would need to finish the season from now on averaging 2.3 points per game! (or to put it another way; 16 wins, 5 draws and 2 losses).
However that is simply assuming that every team above Chelsea shares all the available points evenly for the rest of the season, which is beyond unlikely. What is more likely is the teams above them continuing to pick up points at the rate they have done for the first 15 games, which for Man Utd in 4th is 1.9 per game and would see them finishing the season on 73 points. This would in turn mean Chelsea need 59 points from their remaining 23 games, which is just over 2.5 points a game. That would be a better average than the PL record which they set themselves in 2004/05. To reiterate, if all teams in the league just maintain their current points per game, Chelsea would need to sustain a premier league PPG record for the rest of the season.
What people (in this case Jose) often fail to take into account in situations like this is the total number of points available to all the teams above (in this case) Chelsea. So whilst it’s possible for Chelsea to go on a good run and catch any one of the teams above them who may go on a bad run, the chances of all the teams dropping enough points is insanely unlikely..
Dan G (THFC)
Monk did deserve time
I’d like to second Wallace’s letter on the sacking of Garry Monk. The overall reaction seems to be “It’s a shame, but it sort of had to happen.” But I don’t think it did.
First of all, the stat boffins have conclusively shown 1) the eighth-place finish last year was an overachievement, and it was unreasonable to expect them to do as well this year; 2) the current side’s goal-scoring drought is unlikely to continue.
But even if you don’t care for stats, Monk could easily have been given more time. It’s way too early in the season to say they’ll be in a relegation fight. Teams go on bad streaks, even very bad streaks, and then recover. He’s not Tim Sherwood; he’s shown he can manage a team successfully over a whole season. And even if they wound up 15th in the league, would that be so terrible? Would it damage Swansea City, or their brand, irrevocably? In the most recent Deloitte rich list, they were ranked as the 13th richest club in England, so it wouldn’t be much of an underperformance. Plus, given the volatility in midtable, who’s to say he might not bring the team back more strongly the next year?
It’s certainly possible something had gone wrong in the dressing room and couldn’t be fixed, in which case maybe he did have to go. But otherwise it seems unnecessary to cut off a young manager’s possibilities when he’s learning his trade, and the side are not yet in serious danger of relegation.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA
No, he had to go
I was going to write in an extremely long mail in response to Wallace in this morning’s mailbox about Garry Monk, but can reduce the length because the article Mediawatch linked to did a great job of explaining why he had to go. It’s still not going to be short though.
This is essentially the same team who finished 8th last season, with some summer signings meant to push for first team places and no major departures. Bony of course left in January, but the Gomis proved once he got a consistent run in the side that he was up to the task (9 goals in 10 games covering end of last season and start of this one). Most sensible fans knew replicating last season’s performance would be extremely difficult, especially given the money spent by other ‘mid-level’ teams. We didn’t expect a relegation battle though.
Too many players are playing like shadows of themselves, with only Neil Taylor really excused from this. Only Ayew has made an impact of the summer signings, but while his goals have been vital, his tendency to drift in off his flank has created problems for the team’s shape.
So many players under-performing and summer signings not cutting the mustard. Is that all Monk’s fault? No, of course not. But we can’t sack the players and the board are hardly going to sack themselves, so the manager is sacrificed in an attempt to stave off relegation and keep the PL cash flowing into the club. It’s been this way in football for a long time now, so maybe a bit less of the hand-wringing yeah?
All Swans fans are aware of Monk’s importance to the club (we’ve lived through it remember, not just looked up his debut on Wikipedia to help make a point) and only a strange minority who still haven’t got over dreamy Laudrup are taking pleasure from his departure. It’s all very well people like Wallace talking about giving him time and patronisingly telling us to remember ‘we’re lucky to be here’, but if his team were in the same position, I can guarantee he’d be singing a different tune.
I don’t remember advocating a manager’s departure since Kenny Jackett, but it was clear that something had to change and sadly that had to be the manager. Swans fans are under no illusion that Jenkins and the board have to get this appointment right though. So Monk goes with our best wishes and many regrets about how it ended, but let’s not pretend it didn’t have to happen just because he’s a club legend and an English manager.
Garry Monk seems like a decent man, and as such his sacking is a bit of a shame, but let’s not get too wrapped up in the romance, like Wallace in this morning’s Mailbox.
It’s fair to see Monk was a little bit fortunate to get the job – he earned it with his City credentials, rather than his managerial credentials, of which he had none – his appointment came not all that long after he was alleged to have been involved in a training dispute that, brick or no brick, did lead to the police being called. Despite this, it’s fair to say he did a great job there last season. He may have worked his way up through the leagues, but at the same time, he has seen plenty of managers come and go, and will have been very aware that he was at a club who sought to replace departing managers with someone capable of continuing the club’s incredible upward trajectory; he will also have seen his predecessor, who let’s not forget led them to the League Cup, sacked for poor form too. With this in mind, Monk would have known that he would not be given limitless time to steady the ship.
While I agree with Wallace’s comments about the media, agents and know-nothing owners, I have to disagree that Monk’s sacking “only acts as a barrier and discouraging display to young, British managers trying to enter the managerial realm”. Monk was simply someone who had soaked up ideas like a well-groomed, managerial sponge from his predecessors, Messrs Martinez, Sousa, Rodgers, and Laudrup (apologies if the order is wrong), rather than someone expressing his own ideas on a passing style of football, and this lack of in-depth knowledge of tactics has been his undoing.
Often, the PFMs will say the only way a young British manager gets a Premier League job is to get promoted into it, like it’s a bad thing. Well, it’s a bad thing that no British managers are considered for the top, top jobs, but it’s a good thing in that they can get some experience of managing in the wild lands of the lower leagues or the Championship jungle, and earning their shot at the top flight.
I’m not sure where either City or Monk will go next, but I’d expect City to have their successor already lined up, as someone capable of bringing a winning, passing style to the club. As for Monk, I’m surely not the only one hoping he does a Reidy by dropping down a division or two to resume his playing career before taking up another management gig.
The literary Ed Quoththeraven
Cool it, Arsenal fans
Good grief Falooda, fair dues you’re a happy Arsenal fan, and sure, kudos to the team. But for the love of Gary Neville’s hilarious soon to be Valencian accent, can we stop with the hyperbole please. ‘Perfect away performance’ ‘Brilliant (ad nauseum)’. Can you hold your horses until there is a significant knock-out round demolition of a front-runner in their own patch? Seriously, all you need is patience and you’ll see it, typically from Pep’s Bayern getting spanked at home by one of the Spanish giants.
Beating Olympiakos 0-3 in the group stage is at best…. kind of expected of you. So yeah, good job Arsene, now…. get back to work.
André (Can you please congratulate me on my perfect away game email) London
I love it. As usual the champers is spraying about, the AKBs are out en masse and the bus parades will start. Reality.
1. Arsenal had the highest wage bill in their group. £192m. Bayern’s is £174m. The fact fans are celebrating scraping through in 2nd, is a neat summary of the low expectations.
2. We all know what happens in the last 16. Everyone knows. When will AKBs learn? Arsenal have as much chance of winning the CL as Donald Trump has of winning University Challenge.
3. Someone actually said that “only Aguero” would be taken ahead of Giroud. All it took was a good Giroud performance against a rubbish team. For the record: Lukaku, Kane, Martial, Sturridge (Arsenal don’t do crocks though right?), and yes, even Vinedine Vardy, would all be upgrades on Giroud. Olympiakos is about his level to shine.
Stewie Griffin (Hoping for another “easy draw” a la Monaco!)
Newcastle players should be ashamed
Having read the article on 365 about Newcastle, I think a point to be made regarding Newcastle’s players, new and old, is that despite Sunday’s win, they should be utterly ashamed of themselves, but probably more specifically, players like Wijnaldum and Sissoko, and any other notably higher quality players in Newcastle’s squad. From what we’ve seen this season, they only feel like putting in displays like that (as mentioned in the article, when they’re on TV) when they’re up against the better teams in the league, such as at Old Trafford, against Chelsea, and then Liverpool, and Norwich aswell for the purposes of the TV audience. It’s almost like they’re wanting to put themselves in the shop window, and couldn’t care less whether or not Newcastle stay in the Premier League as long as they put the performances in when people will take notice. It really is a dreadful attitude they’ve adopted, and you can see it in them when they’re losing at home to Leicester 3-0, and away to Palace 5-1, the lack of work they put in to track back and win back possession in those games in particular was absolutely shocking, yet put them on TV, against a team like Liverpool, when the whole World is watching, and it was actually rather predictable which Newcastle would turn up. You can actually see it in their faces, the difference in attitude when they play a “big” team. Trying to show the watching public that they “care”, yet put them up against the likes of Palace, and you can see they couldn’t give a damn whether they win, lose or draw.
Their players, especially the players you would rely on to be “big” players, need to have a long hard look at themselves, and decide whether they’re there to make a name for themselves, or whether they want to create something for the club they’re playing for, and not just to get their “work rate” and “passion” on the telly once a month. Because they’ve had too many players like that in recent years, fancy playing well against Man Utd or Chelsea, they get their move away and can’t wait to get out of the place. Perhaps a word to the recruitment department to do what Fergie always did, look into a players attitude before spending fortunes on them.
David Glen, Chester le Street
If you were writing Winners and Loser last night, why did we have to wait till 10am for you to post it! We don’t like waiting!!
MC – It was published at 8:58, and Storey began writing it last night before finishing it this morning. You know how many words he writes, bless him.
I’ll see your Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, and raise you Troy Archibald-Henville of Carlisle United.
He should play wearing a monocle.