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There will be lots said about when he should have done it. But all that needs to be said for now is thank you Arsene.
James, AFC, North London
Never said a bad word against him.
The best decision
As a Newcastle fan I’ve not been too concerned with Arsenal’s love/hate, In/Out relationship with Arsene over the last few years but I think everyone agrees a change was long overdue.
However it stills feel sad that he is stepping down, especially with the team having performed so poorly (by their own standards) this year.
I guess I just want to say that this is the best decision for Arsenal and Wenger and I hope all Arsenal fans can appreciate how much he gave to the club even if he did stay 3 seasons too long.
Michael (made me realise how much I miss Bobby Robson) Dublin
Screw all the haters. I love Wenger and all he has done for Arsenal. I will appreciate his efforts for ever. A thoroughly decent man and a genuinely great manager. Thank you Arsene for everything.
Please don’t take my Rafa away.
Michael Bush (NUFC)
Olivier Giroud: football’s litmus test
Haven’t written in for nearly 10 years but- after watching a bit of the Burnley v Chelsea game in the States and hearing the commentator say something like ‘not sure who will start for Chelsea at the weekend but if you’re the opposing defenders, you’d be much more worried about facing Morata than Giroud’- I can no longer keep quiet. I’ve never been able to understand this blind spot that so many, otherwise reasonable people have. I find it harder and harder to take any football fan/pundit seriously when they say Giroud is overrated, not top six quality, or generally crap.
I really don’t think it matters what team you support either. It’s like if someone told you they don’t rate nails. Maybe you prefer screws…or glue?..but surely you can acknowledge their usefulness right? You’d either assume this person was just trying to wind you up or you’d quietly nod, smile, and walk away resigned to the fact that you’ll never be able to have an intelligent conversation with this person about anything ever again.
I suspect it often comes from people that haven’t played the game at a competitive level. Perhaps these folks don’t understand how one touch football can be extremely useful in breaking down a packed-in, stubborn defense. Perhaps they are not paying attention to the runs he constantly makes? The link up play between other forwards, wide players, attacking mids…? True, the flicks don’t always come off but those are the chances you’re supposed to take inside the box and when he does give the ball away he nearly always tries to chase the ball down and win it back… albeit with that weird run he does where he looks like a centaur losing at keepaway.
There are many other players who elicit opposing views or can be very polarizing figures- but for me, Giroud has become a bit of a litmus test. If you’re unable to appreciate that he can, at the very least, be a useful player in virtually every type of system at the highest levels of the game, surely your opinion on anything and everything must forever be met with a playful, patronizing back-pat followed by a little eye roll. It’s true he may be past his best and maybe wouldn’t be ‘plan A’ for a quick counter attacking side but surely any team with outside backs that enjoy a cross, forwards that like a cushioned return pass onto their favored foot or supporters that like effort… and goals, would want him on their team right?
A bottom-half XI
I think I’ve nailed it lads,
RB Adam Smith
Thoroughly enjoyed Matt Riley’s piece on Ethan Ampadu and refreshing to have such an account as the lead article.
This is one of the bugbears of most fans from the non-elite: a) not being recompensed fully for developing a talent and b) seeing said talent not going on to get game time for the bigger club he chooses to join.
As a Blackburn fan, I perhaps don’t have quite the same right as an Exeter fan to bemoan this flaw in the modern day system of all talent being sucked through the Premier League vacuum but it rang true in the case of Conor Mahoney, a player who came through the system, and played a handful of impressive games at the backend of last season – enough to create a real buzz among the fans that we’d finally unearthed a gem.
But with his contract expiring he thought a move to the Premier League was for the best and he joined Bournemouth in the summer for a moderate compensatory fee. Zero appearances later (and zero for Barnsley for whom he’s currently on loan), I can’t help but wonder whether he may regret not being a part of a promotion campaign (hopefully not jumping the gun here) and a chance to thrive in the championship under a manger and fanbase that clearly had a great deal of support for him.
Yes, he may well earn enough money to not need work again in the foreseeable future but Conor Mahoney, like Ethan Ampadu, might be a name lost in the ever-growing list of jumped-too-soons.
Rob, BRFC Tokyo.
Depends on how you define “spending money”. An important distinction must be made between transfer spending and wage bills even if both generally fall under that broad category.
A lot of research (one being by Soccernomics book but many others) have shown that there is very little correlation between transfer spending and league placement however a clear correlation can be seen with wage bill and finishing placement.
You mention the correlation between the last ten years and winning the league but the issue is that in statistics 10 is a very small and unreliable number since you can still have a lot of randomness thrown in. Of course the modern “big money era” might possible have different rules and effects than the previous decades however we still unfortunately don’t have yet enough of a sample size to tell for sure whether it creates a new statistically significant trend or merely continues the same one. We just need more seasons to collect data on.
Reading the F365 article, it looked to me like it was referring more to transfer spending than wage bill given that it mentions many example of transfer spending but makes almost no mention of wage bill. I feel like the article should have made a better distinction between the two since both really are “spending money” in general but it seems clear to me that the intent of the analysis was on transfer spending variable as opposed to wage bill.
Your comment about wage bill being a predictor is spot on as current research have shown. However I also feel like the article was mostly talking about transfers and investment decisions though I agree that it needed to be labeled as such better to show distinction between the two variables.
Since it’s Friday (or it will be by the time anyone reads this) and with next week bringing the first leg of Liverpool’s Champions’ League semi-final against Roma, I thought I’d use the mailbox to find out if I’m the only person who does something in particular (not like that!)
A few years ago I took a holiday in Rome. I was living with a Roma-supporting friend at the time so I decided to be nice and buy him a Roma shirt while I was there. I didn’t want to be too nice though – male friends tend not to be like that – so I bought myself a Lazio shirt as well, which I wore around the house ALL THE TIME!
Anyway, that started a bit of a habit for me, and now whenever I go abroad I try to buy a replica shirt of a local team, time and money permitting. So far, in addition to the Lazio top, I have Porto, PSG, Ferencvaros and – my personal favourite – the Gibraltar national team away top. I didn’t manage to get the Ajax top when I went to Amsterdam because the only chance I had to look for one was in the airport and I wasn’t willing to pay the £90 they were charging for it.
Does anyone else do this, or is it just me?
Stuck at the bottom with Hughes
Why is Mark Hughes threatening to make Southampton great again? Why is he threatening to salvage his tattered reputation? I wanna see So’ton relegated so bad my left nut hurts. Stripping the club of talent over the years like the club has should only lead to relegation. The fact that they strengthened Liverpool in the process only makes it worse. Damn you Saints and so long suckers…
Ciao, and thank you
Nice article of Ciao by Adam Hurrey. My first world cup as a football obsessed 10 year old that I can vividly remember. Thank you for the article and the remembering of the mascot that even now when I see it gives a subconscious feeling of delight.
One thing struck me in the article though, the picture Lucio Boscardin in front of the ciao model looks suspiciously like a character devised from the mind of Keith Lemon…
Anyways, thank you.
Evo-Stik Northern Division Premier League conclusions
Not doing winners and losers as I don’t like being mean, so imagine all these are winners.
*Matlock Town were the only team to take maximum points from their two midweek games
*Whitby Town are however one of the few teams at that level to have radio commentary for all their games. I tuned in last night to hear them lose 5-1 to Grantham Town. Also, their home shirts are an homage to Sampdoria shirts.
— Whitby Town FC (@WhitbyTownFC) July 21, 2016
*Barwell, Nantwich Town and Matlock Town all of a sudden have an interesting run-in. The three sides contesting the final two playoff places – Ashton United, Farsley Celtic and Shaw Lane – will each play two of those teams before the end of the season.
*Despite not playing, Farsley Celtic had a good midweek because they held on to both their fifth place and four-point advantage.
*Shaw Lane were the only team to lose twice, albeit the the top two sides. Their final four games are against teams between 9th and 15th, so would definitely be classed as winnable, but it’s whether they can cope with the fixture pile-up.
*The top three had a good midweek. Warrington Town’s win over Shaw Lane on Tuesday was enough to seal them a playoff place and also to prevent Altrincham from claiming the title. Grantham took four points, including their biggest away win of the season.
*The biggest game of the weekend sees Grantham take on Altrincham at the Meres. A win for the hosts will see them cement their playoff place. An Altrincham win means they will clinch the title. Should be tense, could be fun (I won’t be there, I’m in York for a concert).
Round up, round up
As it’s a weekend I thought I’d do a little round up of where we are in some of the other big leagues.
Barca are one win away after Atleti’s loss this midweek, due to Spain using head to head. They will have to wait til maybe next weekend though as this week they battle Sevilla for the cup. Madrid are really just playing on Tuesdays/Wednesdays.
The best race in the top 4 leagues. Juve and Napoli are separated by 4 points and play this week. Even if Juve win this the trophy ain’t completely guaranteed as they’ve got Roma and Inter in the coming weeks. Beyond that the top 4 race is also quiet entertaining with Juve’s next two opponents in a three-way battle with Roma’s local rivals Lazio for two spots.
Germany and France
Bayern and PSG again see money can win you the title if you still steal your rivals’ best player/buy Neymar. The Champions League races are at least still interesting with any of five teams battling for two spots behind Schalke and a straight dog fight between Marseille’s new money and Lyon’s young squad built on other big teams’ castaways and Nabil Fekir.
Celtic one win away from number 7 and on course for a second treble. Aberdeen, Rangers and Hibs separated by 3 points for 2nd which could be the difference between a decent euro campaign and starting your season two days after the World Cup.
Holland and Belgium
PSV have sewn up the Dutch title, dethroning Feyernoord who finished in the cheap seats. Belgium are in that weird playoff phase; Brugge have a healthy lead
It’s advantage Porto after beating Benfica in Lisbon last week and the Lisbon derby is the only big game left .
Ukraine and Russia
There are no surprises this year. Lokomotiv are in pole position over their two big Moscow neigbours and Zenit. The Ukrainian title will be won by Shakthar or Dynamo.
The battle of Istanbul? The traditional Big three and Basaksehir are separated by three points and with the current two (Gala and Besiktas) expect fireworks .
There’s been a changing of the guard. After Olympiakos winning virtually every title since the ten plagues, another of the traditional Big three – Aek Athens – finally get a first trophy since the mid 90s