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It’s time to grab Sanchez
On Alexis, I’ll put my cards on the table early and say I think he’s fantastic. Certainly my favourite player in the League and in my view the best (with nods to KDB, Hazard and Aguero). Watching him toil last night to try and make something happen makes me think he’s unlikely to commit to Arsenal. To all those questioning his attitude, maybe if you had a few more who hurt a little bit when getting smashed by Bournemouth your club might get a little bit closer to winning something.
But to my main point, Alexis is out of contract in just over 18 months…and doesn’t look like signing anytime soon. With the seemingly limitless amount of money currently in the Premiership the time to strike is coming. Man United, Liverpool, Chelsea and City should all be looking at this man now. By the summer there’s going to be one of the true headliners of the Premier league, a sure fire bet, available for c£40m-£50m. There are times when players become available at a price and it’s just a no-brainer – Kante was one (where would Arsenal be if they had him instead of Xhaka?), Mahrez at a cut price this summer may well also be, but Sanchez is the biggest opportunity here, this can shape a club’s aspirations for the next four years.
I think Arsenal are in trouble because this is a man who is seriously hungry…what would you be thinking in his shoes? Go and play for Klopp at Anfield in a team of fighters for one of the most charismatic managers in the world, go and play alongside Hazard and Costa at Chelsea for one of the most intense managers in the league (and a winner)…or continue to have a pleasant time at Arsenal watching Arsene on a weekly basis giving Monreal/Ramsey/Xhaka/Cech/Giroud a pat on the back and praising their mental strength.
Pointing a finger at Cech
It’s a point Daniel Storey made in Winners and Losers and I can’t help but feel that it needs more time spent on but yes: Petr Cech has been pretty crap for six months or so now.
Bought to be a commanding leader in goal that we’ve lacked since Jens Lehmann, I continually find myself surprised at how surprised I am when he makes a mistake. Last night wound me up.
For the first and third goals, though the defending was atrocious for both, Cech did absolutely nothing to try and keep the shots out properly, being easily beaten at his near post both times. Perhaps Charlie Daniels’ effort was hit a little too hard but Ryan Fraser’s was a savable shot and yet Cech sort of coiled up and if anything, made himself smaller rather spreading himself like a big Peter Schmeichel.
Then there was the penalty. Callum Wilson has now scored two, exactly the same penalties against us, in the space of six weeks. Neither were taken very well and yet Cech got nowhere near either both times. You’d think that Cech would remember that just a short while ago, Wilson hit one low, to his right but not in the corner. Okay, there’s a chance than Wilson recognised that the original effort was quite weak (an easy save if Cech guesses right) and he my change his tactic this time. But he didn’t and Cech went the wrong way yet again. I don’t recall him ever saving a penalty for Arsenal, with his last spotkick save probably coming in the CL final for Chelsea, I imagine?!
Either way, I’m quite sick of guaranteed goals once a penalty is conceded, near-post goals and susceptibility to long shots. His distribution also isn’t particularly impressive and for someone in this morning’s mailbox to label him alongside Ozil and Sanchez as one of our best players is laughable.
He would’ve been if we’d have bought him 10 years ago but that’s the difference between us and Chelsea. They buy players for title-winning sides and once they’re past it, they get replaced. £10m was and isn’t a bad deal for Cech but lets not pretend he’s the goalie that he was.
Wake me up in August when we can all dance the same dance yet again.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex
Not crying about the draw
It’s fine to lose your minds over the Everton and City losses but seven points out of nine over Christmas and with a brilliant comeback away from home isn’t a bad return at all.
We’re not going to win the league and to be honest after last season I never truly believed we would.
We’re treading water at the moment but an incoming Simeone combined with the signing of an actual striker would convince me that next season could be different.
I genuinely love Wenger and while I concede his tenure has gone incredibly stale our performance over Christmas should not be used as a stick to beat him with.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Defending Giroud for the daft dance
I don’t know about the rest of the mailbox, or other fans, but I watch football to see things I enjoy. I feel joy when anyone scores an amazing goal, doubly so if it is my beloved Arsenal. Yet if you look on the internet, social media, television, the mailbox, does ANYONE actually enjoy football anymore? Yes Giroud’s celebration for his goal was silly, and yes attitudinally it would have been a marker to rush back to the spot. But we lost a grand total of 13 seconds to it. And he had just scored an equaliser in the 92nd minute in a match we were 3-0 down in. To a ridiculously stupid penalty and a goal that came as a result of a foul that should have been given on Bellerin. Mock Giroud for it, sure, but he set up two goals and scored the equaliser.
Considering all he ever hears is he isn’t good enough for Arsenal, I’d probably do something like celebrate like he did. Can we all take a step back and get some semblance of perspective? We are told it is all about money, all about winning. I watch football because I enjoy people of skill doing ridiculous things.
John Matrix AFC
Not everybody agrees…
You’ve just scored the equalising goal in an away Premiership match.
It’s a season where dropped points are particularly costly and competition for the top four is intense with six teams battling for the Champions League positions.
The home side are rattled having conceded three goals, they’re down to 10 men and are running on empty.
You’ve a good five minutes of injury time to push for the winner and collect all three points in what would be an incredibly morale-boosting manner.
A) Pick up the ball and run back toward the centre circle to get the game re-started quickly, perhaps shouting some words of encouragement to yoru team-mates.
B) Run off toward the corner flag wildly celebrating and executing what has the be the most arse-clenchingly cringy goal celebration of modern times
If you answered ‘A’, congratulations, you are a ‘professional’ football player.
If you answered ‘B’ you are Olivier Giroud, go and stand in a corner, you sad sack of turnips.
Ollie McGlinchey, Ireland
Sanchez v Giroud
What a game!
I am a firm neutral but last night was ‘triffick’ (copyright Glen Hoddle) entertainment. But two things stand out, both of which have been mentioned before:
1- Alexis is a winner in a team of losers, he is the reason Arsenal came back, he dragged them into the game. As for people who think his attitude is petulant, do you think Man Utd fans said that about Keane or Schmeichel in their prime? Winners have high standards and don’t accept anything less.
2- Giroud’s celebration shows he is a loser. Your team got themselves in a sh*thole of their own making, you score to get back to 3-3 v 10 men, and rather than grab the ball and get the game going, with six mins to go, you celebrate like you have won the league, that’s what losers do, accepting mediocrity. Winners go for the win.
What Aaron Ramsey does…
First off: I’m not an Arsenal supporter.
But I feel that I have to respond to this morning’s mailbox heading of ‘What does Aaron Ramsey actually do?’, and Frankie AFC’s claim that ‘Aaron Ramsey is not a good footballer’.
Here are some stats from Euro 2016:
1. He was joint top assister (is that a word?) with four assists – alongside Hazard.
2.His combined goals/assists tally was 5 – joint third in the whole tournament behind only Griezmann and Ronaldo having played two more games!
I suspect that these facts prove that he does do SOMETHING – and that he is indeed a good footballer. Granted, he might not ‘fit’ at Arsenal – but is that not Monsieur Wenger’s job to get the best out of him/play him in his best position?
Gareth Cad, North Wales
Is it okay to bet on your rivals?
I thought I’d write in with an interesting offshoot from the Arsenal game yesterday (well, more interesting than Arsenal fans saying “Wenger must go” and then telling us their life story).
My brothers and father are Spurs fans, and while we were all therefore enjoying Arsenal’s initial collapse at Dean Court, my brothers were debating putting on a bet for our bitter rivals to make a comeback, reasoning that there were very attractive odds on doing so.
My reaction was one of disgust. You don’t bet on your rivals to do well. At this point, both brothers and father rounded on me, riposting that it’s not disgusting, it’s an entirely sensible thing to do. They don’t want Arsenal to win, but if they must, then at least it softens the blow that they get some money out of it.
I must say, MC, I was even more appalled by the reasoning than the act itself. There should be no attempt to soften the blow of your rivals doing well with financial inducements. Doing so inevitably compromises your status as a Spurs ‘supporter’. My brothers/father compared it to life or theft insurance. No one wants to die/be stolen from, but it makes sense to insure the risk. One brother went so far as to call it emotional hedging.
I remain adamant that it’s morally wrong and should be imprisonable. The main thrusts of my argument are:
1. It doesn’t make any sense to try to soften the blow of Arsenal winning. Arsenal winning should be a bitter pill to swallow, and trying to make it easier to stomach, not only calls into question your support for Spurs, but also inevitably brings into the arena, if not a full blown desire, then a certain lack of aversion to Arsenal winning. If you’re able to ‘cope’ with Arsenal winning because of something you’ve done, then surely this is an act of betrayal to the team you support?
2. While there’s no moral question involved in not wanting to die, or be stolen from, and therefore making sure financial arrangements are in place, there is certainly a moral question in making such financial arrangements in the pure emotional arena of football supporting. You should be sad if Arsenal win and happy if Arsenal losing. Any interruption to that equation is unwelcome and wrong. If it results in a windfall then it’s practically corrupt.
3. Finally, just as justice should be seen to be done as well as be done, you have to consider how it looks. How does it look to the casual observer to bet on your rivals winning? Would they accept the morally dubious, and twisted explanation that was offered to me? Would they be sated by mealy-mouthed comparisons to life insurance?
I am fairly confident in my convictions here. However, as I was outnumbered three to one, I would be interested to know what others think. Is it ever OK to bet on your rivals winning, or is this the sort of behaviour that should result in you being banned from your club’s ground, and your Spurs membership (and entitlement to 5% off a ‘Chirpy’ mug at Christmas) revoked? What difference, if any, does it make, if the situation is betting on your own team to lose, rather than a rival to win?
Have Saints fans been spoiled?
There is growing criticism amongst Saints fans of the style of play under current manager Claude Puel and the direction the board are taking the club in.
The response to this on the the always entertaining and BBC Radio5Live phone-in ‘606’ was for the presenter Jason Mohammed to claim that Saints fans were getting carried away with their criticism and that they had been spoiled in the last few seasons.
Are we spoiled little brats? Yes. Should we be? Yes.
Apart from having to pay exorbitant ticket prices to watch continually poor football (apart from a few exceptions), all the majority of Saints fans are doing is responding to the hype generated by the club.
This is a club who, early on, claimed that the Champions League was the eventual target. This was repeated only in April 2015. I think most fans felt this was ambitious but were happy to invest in the hype and ‘believe’ it to be possible one day. Saints have continually sold their best players in the last three years, for good prices, and invested a smaller amount based on our sense that our scouting system works.
Fair enough? Yes, to a degree. However to enter this season with Charlie Austin as your main goal threat and to spend 16 million on a player who was injured for two months and will be out for at least three more games due to the African Cup of Nations, smacks of either arrogance or ‘taking your eye off the ball’.
This league has many examples where teams have attempted to stand still and have been sucked in to oblivion. Saints were one example after reaching the FA cup final in 2003 and finishing eighth in the PL. Our manager at the time, wee and hilarious Gordon Strachan, and by most accounts asked for investment, it wasn’t given, he left, and we started our slide towards League One and administration.
As we live in this end-of-days capitalist world, the rule is grow or die. Saints could find themselves repeating 2003-08 or Swansea today if they are not careful.
(It was a lot of fun watching Wenger on the proper arms stretched-out-wide mode last night, he was on great form)
Let’s hear from the referees
Surely I can’t be the only one who sees Mike Riley as the problem? The wall of silence the referees are forced to show makes matters worse not better. If Mike ‘look at me’ Dean came out after the West Ham game and said “from my position it looks like the lad left the ground two footed and I deemed it dangerous, on reflection seeing the replay I would have given a yellow” while not changing the result would certainly give clarity as to why he made the call. Same with any ref: “It looked like got the ball first so I didn’t give a penalty, again looking at the replay I realise the attacker deviated the ball not the defender.” I for one would respect them a lot more and I think referees themselves would like to get their point across to alleviate the flack they are getting.
Paul Murphy, Manchester
A vote for easing off on referees
Excellent Winners and Losers today, especially the final section on Mike Dean. Yes he can be a bit of a t!t and yes he does seem to like the spotlight a little too much but some of the criticism (that’ll be you, Niall Quinn) was overly personal and way over the top. Referees, like all humans, make mistakes.
Thanks to Mr Storey for some perspective in a world of social media fuelled ‘Outrage’.
It’s a mutual love affair
Just wanted to say that counting a brilliant Mailbox, Daniel Storey’s Winners and Losers, and Winty’s article on Arsenal, that was an absolutely fabulous read to wake up to this morning. This really is the best website around.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA