Who’s excited for Sunderland against Crystal Palace later? Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Ozil might just leave
An Arsenal fan from India, I was hoping this weekend we could finally beat United at Old Trafford and maybe, just maybe, have the legs to go on and fight for the Premier League which I have not seen us win since I started supporting them at the age of 13.
But obviously, the opposite happened. Arsenal folded like a pack of cards, some youth product who had a chemistry exam the next day scored 2 goals in 3 minutes and Ozil scored and assisted while Walcott was the usual sh*t player he is ( It really is shocking hes the third highest earner at arsenal. what does he even do!?)
Another top 4 finish beckons, which as a Gooner, I have become accustomed to. The only worry for me now is Mesut Ozil. He does everything an attacking midfielder is supposed to do yet ends up on the losing side. I just hope he doesn’t decide to leave us in the Summer cause he knows too well that with this current crop of players, an FA cup is the best trophy he can get.
Here’s hoping Wenger decides to call it quits this summer, Ozil signs a contract extension till he is 35 and Edinson Cavani gets fed up of french toast and decides to come to London for tea and ends up staying there.
Ahh well. We can all dream right?
Sad about Arsenal
It’s very, very hard to be upbeat about Arsenal right now. We’re taking an absolute pasting today from all quarters and so we rightly bloody should. How on Earth we didn’t thump that Man Utd side for 5 goals on Sunday is beyond me. I can take Theo Walcott struggling against Chris Smalling. I can take Morgan Schneiderlin man-marking Ozil. I can take Wayne Rooney dishing it out to Gabriel. I cannot take Walcott not making a single run when he’s up against Carrick and Blind, two of the slowest, least mobile midfielders in the universe, who have been thrown in at centreback for the first time.
The one thing that gets to me the most though is the incredibly high standards Arsenal are held up to, and how scornfully they are reviewed when they don’t hit the targets everyone said they wouldn’t hit anyway.
For example: Giroud. Now I like him, but you listen to just about anyone else around here and Olivier Giroud, quite simply, WILL NOT WIN YOU THE LEAGUE. (Montpellier say “hi” by the way). So why are people saying Arsenal “simply have to” win the league this season, when by the same token we are playing a striker who won’t win us the league? It’s like double-barrelled scorn.
Same with this Defensive Midfielder we supposedly still need. At one point we had Arteta first choice and Flamini as back up, however the masses will tell you we need a brilliant new CDM. So along comes Francis Coquelin, and he’s brilliant. People howl that we never expected Le Coq to develop in to such a fantastic CDM, but let’s give Wenger some credit shall we? He signed him about 8 years ago specifically because he saw the potential in him. Admittedly Le Coq has taken us by surprise, but we’ve now got that CDM that people clamoured for. However people STILL aren’t happy, saying Arsenal refuses to sign a CDM. By my reckoning, he’s brought in Coquelin, signed Flamini, Elneny, Bielik and Calum Chambers in the past 2 years. The guy’s done nothing except sign defensive central midfielders.
So whilst Arsenal do most definitely deserve a hell of a pasting for their shoddy, lethargic, gutless performance last weekend, I do wonder why Pellegrini, who has signed 2x £50m attacking midfielders this summer and is below Arsenal in the league, and is also below Spurs and Leicester too, seems to be getting a relatively free ride. Why is it that it’s Arsenal that HAVE TO win the league this season and not Man City? Because, believe you-me kids, Man City HAVE to win the league this season. Arsenal don’t HAVE TO, but as a Gooner for pity’s sake they probably should.
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
Numbers and eyes
I like the statistical element of the game, Opta and Whoscored and so on, probably largely as a result of growing up with Football Manager. But often I find it surprising when, having watched a game, I’ll check out some of these numbers on certain players and it won’t correlate to my impression of them. Often this will be because I’m a fan, not a scout, and my own bias and ignorance will affect my judgement. But it is also true there is a lot about a player’s performance that cannot be wholly measured in this way.
On Sunday I watched Theo Walcott ‘play’ for Arsenal. A few years ago I’d have been screaming. Now, worn down to the nub by years and years of ‘the players are really up for the fight, we’ve got a winning…blah blah blah’ I was just quietly whispering for his removal. The numbers backed up his performance as being woeful. But they tell only half of the story. What they don’t show is his attitude, his mentality, his lack of guts, his tendency to hide, his ability to somehow always be in just the wrong place, doing the wrong thing. As long as he – and I’m singling him out only as the most obvious example of this trait in Emirates era Wenger sides – is in the team, this team will never achieve what it should. Because we really should be winning this league, quite easily, and we have absolutely no excuses – referees; lack of money; lack of world class players – whatsoever. We’re massively underachieving considering our resources. To misquote something from somewhere: that might not quite be the worst Arsenal performance I have ever seen, but it’s in the top one.
Who would play Arsene in a movie?
First time mailer and so on. I’m sure this has been probably been said before but I long for the day where I will get to see the great Rowan Atkinson take on the role that I think he is destined to play, that of Arsene Wenger. Just think of it. The perfect pairing. On the one hand you would have great comic timing, utter buffoonery and hilarious failure and on the other hand you would have the guy who played Mr. Bean. It would make a great movie, just think of Atkinson delivering classic lines like, “We could have signed [Player A]” or “I didn’t see the incident”. I’m pretty confident this movie can get made if we will it into existence.
Declan, Ireland (MUFC) (Only having a laarf, we don’t get too many these days)
Shut up, Arsenal fans
This will probably not be printed amidst all the hand wringing and general verbal diarrhea by Arsenal “fans” this week.
Nonetheless I wanted to write a short mail on the subject of said fans support of their club.
Arsenal, as a club are not badly run, managed or represented on the pitch. Overall they are in good shape and many clubs would love to be in their position.
At the top level the board don’t seem inclined to part company with the manager. As a whole the fans don’t seem inclined to have an organised protest against this policy in the manner of, lets say Man Utd fans did with the David Moyes regime.
Taking all this into consideration, the best thing for supporters of the Gunners would be to give the club their unequivocal support. The only other logical option for disgruntled fans would be to respectfully protest the Wenger regime in the hope a new direction could be taken this summer.
The moany Michael, armchair-genius routine we see this (and many other weeks) is an embarrassment.
In short, Arsenal fans… shut your miserable, entitled mouths. You’re damaging your club.
Move on, please
Please don’t publish anymore emails from my fellow over excited Spurs fans. Or indeed write any stories about Spurs.
There are far more interesting stories. Leicester that’s more interesting – go look at them, write about Vardy, Mahrez, Ranieri. Can they do It? They’re doing great – some winnable games coming up. You should definitely concentrate on them – Not Spurs.
Or how about Arsenal? Will they bounce back? Should Wenger stay? What is Theo Walcott for? Loads of material there.
Or Man Utd – Rashford or Rooney, Is the old United back? LVG/Giggs/Mourinho. You could fill your whole site with that stuff.
Or Man City. Isn’t Pellegrini a nice bloke? Who will Pep sign? What does Yaya want for his birthday? They’ve already won a trophy you know.
Or Liverpool. Heavy Metal Football. Can Klopp bring back the glory days? They’ve got loads of fans – think of the clicks if you just write more stuff about them.
Or Chelsea. Will Terry stay? Who will be the next manager? Loads of people want to read that stuff.
Or just make up some transfer gossip or cover the Vanarama Conference or something. Just leave Spurs alone to get on with it. We’re quite happy but its nothing for anyone else to worry about. There’s nothing interesting happening at White Hart Lane. Honest.
Tom. Park Lane N17
The LvG out! and LvG out now! brigade (me inclusive) have been silenced by 3 resounding victories. I am sure the formerly embattled manager will be chuffed and telling us what noise makers we were and rightly so for he has done well. However, he has not won the league nor been in the final four in any cup competition so the praise must be toned down. Infact when put context, Manchester United has no business playing in the Europa league, chasing top four or relying on kids to win us games (defeats the aim of shelling out 250m for transfers). I am grateful to LvG for giving us the youthful gems and clearing the dross but his work is inferior to Pochettino who did similar work at Spurs. Maybe he has earned an end of season sack but Mourinho is available so I suggest we get him in on a 1 year renewable contract to win us a much desired trophy or at end of season, get Pocchettino who is the best young coach around.
Osama (Still LvG must go Brigade with a Vuvuzela plus Giggs must earn his right to coach Man Utd)
You absolute Kante
Kante out for 2 games. Andy King is his replacement.
The wheels are off!
Pep and his City route
Reading the mailboxes today got me thinking about the managerial changes in the summer and in particular Pep arriving at Man City.
Now by all accounts guardiola is one of the most meticulous managers in the game. Very few accounts of the man fail to mention his attention to detail etc. and he has always seemed to have a clear plan of what he wanted to do with his career, from choosing to play in Mexico under a coach he admired to taking a year out in America.
Now, his move to city has long been on the cards given the relationship he has with some of the city hierarchy. But I wondered if he used the bayern move or the experience to help prepare him for the premier league (not to do a disservice to a the huge club he moved too)
The bundaliga is closer in style to the premier league than la liga, admittedly I haven’t seen a huge amount of Bayern other than highlights but guardiola seems to be playing a slightly different brand of football with players like Coman and Costa which you wouldn’t traditionally associate with his barca side built on possession and their attacking interplay. I think they are more enjoyable to watch too.
I might be wrong but I suspect (excluding an anomaly like messi) that Pep’s bayern side would fair better than Pep’s barca side over a full season in the prem. Anyone agree?
Benjani (arsenal could do a lot worse than simione – he might provide the steel they have been missing for a decade)
I realise I am a little late with this, as these fixture changes were made public on Friday, but I’m still pretty annoyed by what Sky seem to have done for the games in late April. I understand that Sky want to show the games they assume could affect the title, and with four teams realistically still in with a chance, it’s logical they focus on Leicester, Tottenham, Arse**l and Manchester City and that all games involving them will be shown.
But my problem is this. Unless Chelsea reach the Champions League semi-finals, Tottenham have been told they will play three Monday nights in a row, meaning that our games will always be after those of our rivals for the title. Given that there’s a clear advantage in playing first, I think it messes with the integrity of the competition when one team is so clearly disadvantaged.
The weekends in question are April 16, April 23, and April 30. As Monday nights are pretty difficult for fans to get to thanks to work commitments, it would make sense that any Monday night game, if possible, would minimise difficulty for the fans.
This is what we’ve ended up with.
Saturday April 16 – Chelsea vs Manchester City (17:30).
Sunday April 17 – Leicester vs West Ham (13:30) and Arse**l vs Crystal Palace. (16:00)
Monday April 18 – Stoke vs Tottenham (20:00)
Surely the logical Monday night game here would be Arse**l vs Crystal Palace? Why not switch it with the Tottenham game? The following week?
Sunday April 24 – Manchester City vs Stoke (12:00), Sunderland vs Arse**l (14:05), Leicester vs Swansea (16:15)
Monday April 25 – Tottenham vs West Bromwich Albion (20:00)
Surely the logical choice here would be Manchester City vs Stoke? Again, why not switch it with the Tottenham game? The next week?
Saturday April 30 – Arse**l vs Norwich (17:30)
Sunday May 1 – Manchester United vs Leicester (13:30), Southampton vs Manchester City (16:00).
Monday May 2 – Chelsea vs Tottenham (20:00).
This last one actually makes sense. (a broken clock)
It’s weird enough for me that Tottenham are actually involved in a title race as we enter March, and maybe by the time these fixtures come around we won’t be, but it’s ridiculous to know that my team could be at a vital competitive disadvantage and that our fans get screwed as well? I thought it was only politics where things are rigged.
Of course I’m biased, but I’d feel exactly the same way if it wasn’t my team being shafted (and yes, i include Arse**l when I say that).
Lloyd Stiles, THFC, Vienna
Should football clubs make a profit?
There’s always a lot of talk about how many clubs are profitable and how many are losing money and are in debt but, for me (Clive), football clubs should not make a profit (or at least not sustained profits).
Clubs, almost by definition, are run for the benefit of their members. How does a Club accumulating vast amounts of cash (Arsenal, cough) benefit its members? Of course, these Clubs would argue that they are saving up for blockbuster signings, but how many of today’s transfers are paid up front in straight cash and therefore require massive cash piles? Very few I would wager.
If a Club is making a sustained profit (i.e. not from a one-off event like a player sale) then it should use this money to its members’ benefit. This could come either in the form of lower ticket prices (preferred by many, I would guess) or making more money available for player wages (there’s a scarily high correlation between wage spending and league position).
However, football clubs are not like other clubs. The main difference is probably ownership. Please correct me if I am wrong, but golf clubs do not have a sole owner, they are member-owned. Football, on the other hand, has owners who *can* look to milk the club for every penny (Glazers).
Essentially, if a Club is making long-term, high profits it can afford to either lower its revenue (i.e. ticket prices) or increase its costs (i.e. wages) and still remain solvent. I am not saying Clubs should make losses, merely that high profits are beneficial almost singularly for their owners.
I realise football clubs are entirely different animals to golf clubs, for example, and in today’s world of big business intentionally lowering a revenue stream would seem mental, but I think there’s a half-relevant point in there somewhere.
Like Neil in Swansea yesterday, I couldn’t help but like City on Sunday thanks in no small part to Kompany.
Twice I saw him protect the ref, firstly pushing two team mates away when the ref was talking to a Liverpool player and then again when he lowered his own teammates arms when he was arguing with the ref.
Can’t remember who the others were, just remember thinking that I wish more captains did that. More managers, too, actually (thinking of Clough…). Set some boundaries and give the refs some respect.
Henry (Forest fan) Wade
John Nicolson’s article perfectly reflects how I feel (like many others) after the weekend.
It has been a long time since I’ve been this happy after a Manchester United result. It has nothing to do with the “United way” or any of that guff. The team were spirited, fluid and tried to play a bit of football. Arsenal were pathetic, which helped, but I’m delighted.
This may be brought about by injuries and reliance on youth but I’ll take it as I don’t know if it will last.
On a side note, just watched Brighten score 4 goals against Leeds in under 40 mins. Leeds are a shambles. Be a long time before they return to EPL, if ever.
Cormac, MUFC, Galway
He drink sangria
I was going to write in slating Andy, London for his criticism of Luis Garcia, but instead I’m going to ask him to watch videos of his three Champions’ League match winners in 2005.
If he’s still not convinced, then I request he take a look at the Merseyside Derby from the same season where he played lone striker when Milan Baros had been sent off despite having been injured in the first half.