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Wenger out – now
Everyone agrees Wenger should leave in the summer. However, even if they have a manager lined up to come in straightaway (and that’s not likely given our board), that manager will need the summer to review the squad, get rid of the unwanted, bring in new players (again a long, arduous process with us) and change the team’s tactics and mentality (the biggest job of all…these players have been poisoned by years of Wenger’s stagnation). And this is a World Cup year, meaning player recruitment is condensed to August when the season has already started. Any new man coming in will be at a distinct disadvantage turning around this basket case.
The solution is to get Wenger out now. Ancelotti is available, Luis Enrique is available now. Get someone in now so they can look at the squad for the rest of the season, present transfer targets to the board to start working on them now, and just start working on the team’s mentality. Pretty much every single player we brought in started off well (maybe not Xhaka) but then deteriorated over time, as they became Arsenalised. I’m sure they can be great players again, if only they did not have Arsene’s malign influence corrupting them every day.
…In 2011 the question was whether Wenger should be fired.
Last season the question was when is he going?
Now the question is what the hell is he still doing here?
We’re a club in stasis until Wenger leaves.
Before joining Arsenal, Danny Welbeck scored goals for England for fun, Kolasinac was one of the best players in Germany and while it’s still early Aubameyang was a goal a game striker. Equally, before Wenger got hold of him, Iwobi looked a real prospect.
I’m actually glad Nketiah and Reiss aren’t getting games because Wenger will destroy their careers.
I’m not even angry anymore – I’m just bored and getting more and more impatient.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
…The only reason I sat through the entire match (dross) yesterday was because I’d been reading the mailbox last week and all those readers who’d missed some classic games inspired me to keep on going. Weirdly though I found myself routing for Man Citeh. There, I admit it. We are so utterly w*nk now that I’ve found this a few times of late. City are amazing to watch and I almost found myself cheering when Silva scored. Does anyone else feel this way about their own team? I feel dirty for saying it. Kind of like cheating.
It’s a long way from my very first trip to Highbury when we won 4-1 against City in Wenger’s first season. We used to moan about Arsenal providing hope followed by despair. Now I don’t feel hope and don’t feel despair. Just apathy. Such a shame.
I just realised, because Arsenal are 6th, the highest placed team outside of European place, and Man City have already guaranteed Champions League football, Arsenal will qualify by default for Europa League even thought they didn’t win yesterday, which is nice (nicer to win a trophy obviously).
Wengers masterplan is at work. Wenger was just lulling City into a false sense of security so when they come to the Emirates they are met with an amazing performance, full of passion and drive, which pushes Arsenal to win all their remaining Premier League and Europa League games and we go on to a top 4 finish and bringing Champions League and the Europa trophy back to the Emirates.
Or we will again get spanked on Thursday, Burnley take 6th place and Wenger signs a new contract. Both are equally likely…
Rob A (never felt so resigned to defeat before a game until yesterday) AFC
So a when I first started out in the working world I remember being told by a boss that I needed to “shout a bit more” about the work I was doing. Personally, I found this a bit ridiculous as surely if you’re doing good work it should be recognised without you walking round the office going “I’m so busy, I’m so busy”. We all know the one though, they’re always “snowed”, print everything out to give their desk the “busy look” and are forever shouting at the top of their voice down the phone for all around to hear how busy they are. My question therefore is whether Jack Wilshire is a “shouter” or a “dooer”?
One mailer said that Wilshere “showed a lot of grit and will to win” but the fact of the matter is that he changed nothing. He crys and wails a lot which gets him some brownie points with the arsenal faithful but the fact of the matter is that it masks a constant ineffectiveness in games. I honestly can’t remember a time when he has actually turned a game around, a lot of Arsenal fans have dined out on that “famous” Barca performance way back when, but it was entirely irrelevant. They were still knocked out by Barca and Wilshire’s performance made no difference to that outcome. Like the proverbial office colleague that’s “always busy” it’s served Wilshire well constantly shouting and hollering but unless he becomes a true game changer making statements about his commitment, loyalty, drive or whatever you want to call it is a Moo point. It’s a cows opinion, nobody cares.
I had a terrible time watching sport this weekend. England lost the rugby and played crap, my twin daughters’ U-10 footie team contrived to lose 4-1 in a game which on balance of play they should have WON 4-1. Spurs won, Man Utd won, Bristol City lost to Cardiff (unacceptable this close to the Welsh border) and then there was Arsenal…..
This is by way of saying that I was not in the best of moods by the time Gary Neville lost his sh1t on commentary over my team during their calamitous cup final non-performance.
My first instinct was to fire something off to you this morning along the lines of Russ the Blade’s reaction saying that Neville himself was the disgrace
However, unlike Gary himself, I have allowed myself a moment to think clearly and express myself rationally, but I am still annoyed at him not least because most (but certainly not all) of what he was ranting about was very uncomfortably close to the truth for my liking
However there are ways of saying it and I’m afraid Neville at that moment turned into the love child of an unholy three-way between Stan Collymore, Alan Green and Robbie Savage. I’m afraid it was the worst kind of attention-seeking look-at-me-I’ve got-pashun PFM commentating, and when they showed the picture of the poor lad crying and Neville said “Look what you’ve caused” I just thought “That’s nothing more than a tabloid cheap sh*t you lousy b4st4rd”
Please Gary, don’t let this be the way forward for you. That was worthy of TalkSport at their most knuckleheaded, not the nation’s foremost football summariser. A calm, analytical dissection was required and it was really disappointing to hear him just mouthing off like that
Arsenal were utter, utter sh1te yesterday and they need to change hugely in order to get the fans back onside. For Neville to make the points he made was fair enough. The way he made them was ridiculous and I expect so much better from him
Rob, Bristol Gooner
West Brom mess
I just wanted to try and get across the mess that is happening at Albion at the moment and I genuinely fear there is far worse to come.
We aren’t a glamourous club and don’t pretend to be but have a good history (all before my time) and things to be proud of for the club (three degrees). However this is all being forgotten as the club is in danger of removing all traditional values that could see us going the same way that the likes of Portsmouth and now Sunderland are in danger of going.
I still stand by the fact that getting rid of Pulis was the right decision, regardless of division you are in if you stop enjoying watching your team something needs to change. However, while not all his fault Pardew has had no success, and if anything made things worse as the players clearly have no respect for him and his dinosaur tactics. Whatever his fault the Barcelona incident wouldn’t have happened under Pulis.
But this comes from way before even Pulis. When we lost Hodgson who was our best manager in years he took Dan Ashworth with him to England who managed to find some great players for us on a limited budget. We’ve tried to replace him but got nowhere near and have since attempted to bring in known faces who are there purely for a pay day (Yes you Gareth Barry) and expensive loans that haven’t worked (Krychowiak) which has only stopped talented youngsters like Field coming in and establishing themselves.
We were appalling on Saturday and most of the players clearly couldn’t care less. We completely deserve to go down and many won’t care as they still associate us with the Pulis dirge, but unfortunately we could be one of many that has suffered due to selling out. I always took pride in us being one of the few clubs still owned by a British owner with Peace but under the Chinese we are trying too hard to become like everyone else and football gone all out over the last few years to appeal to the ‘global’ fan rather than the loyal ones who actually go.
None of those will care about us as you won’t get anyone in India or Kenya supporting Albion but we are a sign of things to come. I’m slowly losing touch with it all and can’t say I’ll miss the Premier League as I had much more fun watching far less talented players than I am now who care about what they’re doing.
S Ellis, Birmingham
Why the FA Cup is better
Nathan asked why the FA Cup is more valued than the League Cup. Here’s why…
The History. The FA cup began in 1871 and is the oldest football cup competition in the world. The League cup began in 1960. That history gives it prestige.
The league cup final is mid season, whereas the FA cup final is (usually) the end of season showpiece. This again, gives it more prestige.
The FA cup final (usually) gets the weekend to itself. It doesn’t share it with any other top flight fixtures. Again, this adds to the prestige.
History begets history. In other words, because the FA cup final is seen as more important, we place more emphasis on them. Therefore we remember exciting finals more clearly. This then adds to the history and the value of the cup. I can remember every goal of every FA cup final I remember Liverpool winning. I had to look up who we beat in the 2001 league cup final (Birmingham).
Resting players. This may be a more recent trend, but teams generally play weaker squads in the league cup than FA cup. It’s a downwards cycle. Weaker squads, means valued less, means weaker squads.
In theory, the FA cup is no harder to win, but it probably is due the teams that are put out. More than that though, it’s just a more prestigious trophy. There are not many historic league cup moments that spring to mind, but there are dozens for the FA cup. And that’s why teams want to win it more.
Mike, LFC, Duabi
Sessegnon for England
Dear Mr. Gareth Southgate,
Leading league goal scorers of 2018 (selected):
Cristiano Ronaldo – 10
Luis Suarez – 10
Mr. Neymar – 9
Sergio Aguero – 9
Ryan Sessegnon – 8
Mo Salah – 6
Harry Kane – 6
You could take Ashley Young, a part time Left Back/Winger these days, or you could take a 17 year old who can do both of those jobs exceptionally well (and who scores goals).
Just please don’t take Andros Townsend.
Polite reminder that David Moyes passed on Willian in 2013 and signed Fellaini for an almost identical fee.
Why is this new trend of footballers talking with their hands over their mouths just so annoying? I can’t put my finger on it. I don’t blame them – they know anything they’re lip-read saying is back page fodder, no matter how banal. Whilst I’m on a Monday morning rant, what’s with the new photo’s Sky are using to show the line-up’s before the match? Are we supposed to read something into each pose? Hazzard’s “’m bored with this, I should be somewhere better” look of indifference, or Lukaka stroking his chin as he questions why he’s ultimately a little bit rubbish compared to Kane et al; or Sanchez’s “what are you looking at?” chin the air, come and have a go…oh I’ll leave it, I’m getting angry and it’s only Monday morning.
Sky swooshing in surround sound
I for one would be very happy to put footballing loyalties to one side and join Niall, Dublin (LFC) in a campaign to rid Sky’s coverage of the irritating swoosh.
Over Christmas I cobbled together a surround sound system for the telly and said swoosh gained new levels of horror, hitting me from multiple directions about 50% louder than the rest of the coverage. The only noise audible over this horror show is my muffled sobs as I remember the good old days of watching a questionably sourced stream with commentary in Arabic, Chinese or Klingon but no bloody swooshes.
Tomorrow we march on Osterley.
Simon, Reading (MUFC)
Lamps’ love letter
I know that today’s Mailboxes will dominated by ‘Wenger out’ and debates over how good (or bad) Lukaku is – which is understandable – but there are more pressing issues which need to be resolved.
Am I the only one who was disappointed that Johnny Nicholson’s – excellent – Love Letter to Frank Lampard, didn’t end with with: ‘1% said Frank Lampard’?
John MacDonald (Apologies to newer readers of F365 who will be oblivious to the reference)
Your correspondent Pete described Sam Allardyce’s reign at Everton as a “grey blob of boringness”. I would humbly submit it resembles more of a “brown dollop of sh*te”.
Now, I reckon slagging off Sam the Big is neither new or particularly clever. Everyone knows his brand of football is rank. But he came to Goodison Park because he gets Results, and he is not getting Results.
He is however being very good at arguing for his own sake. Everton is playing like sh*te but that’s because he inherited a crappy team. Talented players are afraid of touching the ball but that’s because evil foreigner previous coach didn’t instill proper confidence in them. Rooney and Gilfy look like shadows of their former selves, but that’s cause they’re too slow to play together, see.
Theo Walcott has been average and Cenk Tosun is already been branded a bust, but that’s obviously not Big Sam’s fault either, it’s Steve Walsh who’s to blame. If you just give Sam a full season or two, he’ll give you a proper Everton that will rise to the deleterious heights of 7th place on a rainbow cloud of 1-0 wins!
Lots of Everton fans are falling into the “well, this is crap but let’s give him a full season”, and I suppose the problems go deeper than the manager, so why not? But I’m not looking forward to another season of Everton in grey and brown.
*I thought before the game it would either end up as 7-0 to Tottenham or the ugliest 1-0 daylight robbery by Crystal Palace. While this is shameless, my take on the game afterwards was endorsed by Ed Malyon, a proper journalist. A player who shouldn’t be at the club gave the ball away, a player who shouldn’t be at the club lost his man, and a player who shouldn’t be at the club failed to make a routine save.
You have to admit though, the Eagles getting anything from this game would have been quite funny. According to Understat, their xG was 0.18, which may well have been the lowest of the season so far. That said, four shots on target compared to Hotspur’s five does not exactly suggest they turned up and rolled over. Ultimately, a 1-0 defeat will not make a huge difference to Palace’s fortunes. They have slipped down to 17th following other results but are still firmly in the mix.
*Daniel Storey in his piece on Hotspur’s perseverance listed all the players Palace were missing: Yohan Cabaye, Scott Dann, Martin Kelly, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jason Puncheon, Mamadou Sakho, Bakary Sako, Jeffrey Schlupp, Julian Speroni, Joel Ward, Connor Wickham, Wilfried Zaha. Some of these players wouldn’t even have merited a mention at most other clubs, but even when fit, there are names on that list who could do with being upgraded as a matter of urgency.
The injury crisis meant a defensive reshuffle was in order – Tim Fosu-Mensah moved to centre-back allowing a debut at right-back for Aaron Wan-Bissaka. While this may have caused alarm for some, surely the whole point of having an academy setup and a development side is to produce players capable of playing in the first team eventually. Our under-23s play in Professional Development League 2 (Southern) and are currently top of the table by an impressive distance – leaving aside the idea of winning every week not applying to the Palace first team, there are some players in the system who should be able to step up, or step in.
*A more gentle introduction may have been in the plans, but it was a case of needs must, and Wan-Bissaka acquitted himself well in tough circumstances, the way that you’d expect the best young players to do. His Whoscored rating of 7.2 was bettered by just four teammates and more pertinently, was on a par with Hotspur’s full-backs, Ben Davies (7.2) and Serge Aurier (7.1). I’m not saying he’s as good as they are yet, but it’s an encouraging start.
Incidentally among the Palace substitutes was Nya Kirby, who was part of England’s successful under-17s side. A debut for him would have been wonderful, but not necessarily appropriate.
*Roy Hodgson’s dearth of options hit home when he didn’t make any substitutions until the 85th minute, at which point James Tomkins was withdrawn with cramp and replaced by Damien Delaney. Soon after, Andros Townsend, who had worked tirelessly, was replaced by Chung-Yong Lee. Within two minutes Lee had conceded possession and Delaney had lost track of Harry Kane, who finally found the net at the 427th attempt. Given that Fosu-Mensah won’t be able to play against Manchester United next week, Delaney looks likely to come into the side, unless Hodgson decides that the team will be stronger without him and with just ten men on the field. Could go either way.
*Wayne Hennessey had another typical Wayne Hennessey game. He made some tremendous saves to keep his side in the contest, and then conceded a soft goal. He’s an incredibly frustrating goalkeeper, but one who we’re pretty much stuck with for the foreseeable future as Julian Speroni is injured. It’s understandable why the whole story never emerges, but it is mystifying why the deal for Vicente Guaita couldn’t get done in January over what seemed from the outside to be a fairly small amount of money.
*Ultimately, this went about as well as could be expected in the circumstances, but the amount of injuries just shows how much investment and recruitment is desperately overdue. The Manchester United game is likely to end in defeat next time out, but after that most of the remaining games (Liverpool aside) are against other teams in the relegation mix, so there’s no cause for panic just yet.
*Final thought: people are talking about the possibility of retrospective punishment for Dele Alli for his dive, but why isn’t there going to be retrospective punishment for kneeing a prone opponent in the ribs?
F365 for dummies
I feel compelled to respond to the mail from Curtis, Canada (give it to Hodgson for ALMOST getting the point) this morning.
While his email wasn’t the worst case of it (That dubious honour goes to the Comments section), the continued misunderstanding of the Early Winners/Losers column really winds me up. According to the Oxford Dictionary; Early is “Happening or done before the usual or expected time.”
The clue is in the title of the piece. EARLY winner or EARLY loser. For example, it’s not the Biggest, Bestest Ever Ever Ever Winner. It’s a slightly longer piece focused a particular winner or loser, published before the normal Winners and Losers column. It really isn’t a hard concept to grasp!
Darryl (The relegation battle in the Championship is the place to be!) Drummond, BWFC
What you missed
Chris, Essex re the last game you missed at the Boleyn…
Was there. vs. Man United, electric atmosphere, brilliant game, had everything!!
Just rubbing it in really and I’m not even a West Ham fan… sorry!!
T, CFC, London. (tongue out winking emoji)
…On May 25, 2005, I was scheduled to fly back from San Diego to Switzerland after my first year at university.
Liverpool fans and those with good memories will recall that this was the day of the Istanbul CL final. If the game had ended after 90 minutes, it would have finished before 12PM, well ahead of my 2:30PM departure.
Instead, *that* epic second-hand comeback happened, and I stayed to watch as much of extra time as I could. I nonetheless had to stop watching after the first period of extra time, and therefore missed the penalty shootout, as well as the Dudek double save on Shevchenko.
I then missed my flight due to traffic (Memorial Day travel traffic, probably). In these days before widespread Blackberry and iPhone usage, I had no contact with the internet until several hours later, When I logged onto Football365 and saw the news.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland