Arsenal perspective comes but they now need about six new players including some ‘magic’

Editor F365
Declan Rice and Kai Havertz look dejected for Arsenal.
Declan Rice and Kai Havertz look dejected for Arsenal.

Arsenal did well to even get to the Champions League quarter-finals with a thin and tired squad as some perspective arrives.

Plus, some views on Pep Guardiola, Erling Haaland’s balls and more. Send your own views to


Some Arsenal perspective here
Arsenal v Bayern was a tight tie, and Bayern edged it probably deservedly. There is no need for panic and hyperbole.

These ties often come down to tight margins. Arsenal made maybe three mistakes over the tie and Bayern scored from those three big mistakes, Bayern didn’t really make any, they sat in a mid block and made Arsenal play very well for the goals or chances we did get. They are a very experienced side, their front six average 28 or so years old and ours is averaging 23.

It took City five years to make it to the semi-final of the Champions League and took Pep five years to make it to the final with City and seven to win it. Arsenal will have regrets from the first leg for sure, but it was probably a par for the course CL run.

I’m sure people will roll out the £600m spend by Arteta, but the context of that ignores the £50-100m less Arsenal spend on wages each year in comparison to the other big 6 teams minus Spurs, and that £600m has had to buy an entire new 23 man squad, the start point was so much weaker.

Pep had De Bruyne, Kompany, David Silva, Aguero, Sterling, Yaya Toure when he started at City for example. Under £30m per man for an entire new squad might seem ridiculously affluent to most clubs but it doesn’t go that far, and that doesn’t account for being able to correct any mistakes in transfers as was pointed out in previous mailboxes.

Three seasons ago Arsenal finished 8th, then 5th, then 2nd and have consolidated that title challenge this year. It’s inevitable that some players in the squad are players who were good enough for 5th (for example) but not quite there if we are to win the big prizes.

It’s noticeable still with Arsenal’s squad that beyond the first 12-13 players we have a lot not quite at the level required. People may say Arteta should have rotated more like Pep has so they can go full tilt at this stage of the season, the problem with that is we probably don’t find ourselves in this position if we’d given Nketiah, Nelson, Vieira substantial minutes this season.

Of course there are areas we can improve, a striker, someone else to take more of the creative burden, some more dynamism at full-back, and high quality depth in wide areas and central midfield. Arteta himself can learn as well.

So it depends on your view on football, if you’re someone who lives in a world where everything is to be either brilliant (and therefore not mentioned) or the worst ever (and therefore relentlessly mocked with no hint of self awareness) then sure go massively over the top about Arsenal’s Champions League exit.

If you live a more balanced and considered life then you can still take opposing views on Arsenal; one side is a team still growing, still very young and improving year on year. The other is that it is really time to win something now. Both are acceptable views. The inevitable views calling Arsenal and Arteta extremely poor and overhyped because he lost his 2nd CL knock out tie to six-time winners Bayern and might lose a Prem title to Pep or Klopp is not.
Rich, AFC (did City bottle their penalties?)

👉 Arsenal untouchables go missing as Rice, Odegaard and co. exit with a whimper
👉 Declan Rice claims the ‘fronting-up’ trophy for Arsenal as ‘axis of power’ shifts
👉 Thierry Henry furious at two Arsenal stars after Bayern defeat – ‘He’s not even in the frame!’


…* When your season comes crashing around you it’s important to remember what I, and most fans I know, expected for the season. From my review of last year:

‘Based on what happened this season and deals we are looking to get done, has to be title challenge and a trophy or late stage champions league this year.’

Tick, although I was hoping for more than Community Shield let’s be honest. No fan I know thought we would beat Munich. None of the larger social media communities thought so. But we hoped and that’s a good feeling after so long.

* We weren’t terrible at the Allianz and for the first half I felt like we were where we belonged. I can’t tell you how long it’s been since we felt like an elite European club. I love it.

* But I hate how rigid we are. When teams who have top quality, intelligent players, set up to frustrate, we have absolutely nothing. No magic, no creation. This team needs a something-out-of-nothing player, either through much quicker incisive passing or dribbling.

* This is also a symptom of Arteta ball. Because we are composed but rigid, we can’t break. Martinelli and Saka drop deep, Rice has a defensive mindset, and Jorgi isn’t pacy enough. This leaves us going back to slow passing against mid to low blocks which just won’t work.

* This is fine against poorer teams and that’s how you get our Jan/Feb run. But every time teams find us out, Arteta is too slow to change things and he doesn’t have the players to create something out of nothing, except…

* Saka, who is out of form, needs a rest, we have nobody to cover him. Time to go shopping Arteta.

* I think in games like this, we actually have the perfect player in Smith Rowe to replace Jorgi. We already have a lot of the ball, we need someone who spends more time making runs and trying to break through the lines to take the focus of Oodegard. But then you lose some control. Can we merge them?

* I wonder if the fatigue and slowness also comes from our pressing style and niggles/injuries. Arteta doesn’t use his squad well enough and players have to play game after game. I think previously our April shutdowns were mental but I think this team suffers less from that but something is going on again.

* Again Laimer and Goretzka were immense. Sane also had a great game. But my word what a played Musiala is. So composed, great technical dribbling. And some other striker was OK. Defensively they were solid but its easier when you have 11 men behind the ball and know you have the pace to worry

* Worth saying that Tuchel might get to yet another Champions League final. Whatever you think about Bayern;s league season, the man knows his Champions League. A number of those players won it not that long ago. Ask City this morning if that counts for anything.

* We’ve gone from laughing stock to 2 Title challenges and a Champions League quarter final. We’ve gone from getting battered by City and Liverpool to taking 4 points of each this season. If you can’t look at this season and think Arsenal are heading in the right direction, you are just a troll (here’s Stewie….)

* Hopefully the players learn from this. The season isn’t over just yet. City played 120m, lost the Champions League and have to hopefullly play another 120m at the weekend. Drawing at home wasn’t ideal, losing to Villa was bad but losing to Bayern away is not earth shattering. Time to pick ourselves back up and make sure this isn’t a habbit the new improved Arsenal picks up.
Rob A (nice to know we get to try again next season and with City out, Spurs won’t. Good times) AFC


…There’s gonna be the usual adolescent toy throwing from their prams by a certain segment of Arsenal fans at our being knocked out of the CL. No doubt Stewie Griffin has rubbed himself raw over the prospect of crowing ‘I was right’ for the umpteenth time, as if saying Arsenal not winning anything is some sort of Nostradamus level of foresight.

All I will say is that City’s oil money started flowing in 2008. They recruited Pep Guardiola in 2016. With that financial doping, and the greatest manager of his generation (I’m sorry, it’s true Mourinho stans and Kloppophiles), it still took them YEARS before they won the big cup. Look at PSG and how many hundreds of millions it took to get them even close.

What I’m saying is that we have a young manager, a young squad, a thin squad, and in our first season back we did BLOODY well. Arteta has taught me patience, something as a football fan, I never had.
John Matrix AFC (God do we need a striker!)


…There is some amount of wailing and moaning in this morning’s mailbox, apart from Simon. I don’t even bother with Stewie Griffin’s nonsense anymore, was funny at the start, but he’s trying too hard now and it is painfully obvious.

Lads, Arteta is still a top-class manager. Pep is still a world-class manager. Football isn’t played on paper. Bayern aren’t at their best, but they still have 11 of the best players on the planet at any given time. Real are Real.

Maybe, just maybe, the Premiership just isn’t as good as you think. It has the best marketing, for sure, but the best teams?? Looking at last weeks and this week’s results so far, not a chance. English fans are like goldfish, enter competition, qualify, constantly talk about winning it, get knocked out, pick a scapegoat to abuse, enter next competition, rinse and repeat.

City and Arsenal are top-class teams in England, but Europe isn’t England. England are a top-class team in qualification, but the Euros/WC isn’t qualification. You won’t win the Euros or a WC in the next few decades, same as the last few decades. Your clubs will win the odd CL, because that’s the nature of yearly cup competitions, “the magic of the cup”.

You’d think you’d be used to it by now.
Weldoninhio, BAC

📣 STRAIGHT TO THE COMMENTS? You know what to do…


A genuine question about Spurs
I have an honest question to all Spurs fans out there. Why do you take more pleasure in Arsenal’s failures than your own hopes, dreams and potential successes?

This topic really struck me this week. I’ll say as a disclaimer I’m not from North London so perhaps I don’t have the intense “hatred”, but I do find Spurs fans truly baffling.

My neighbour, a staunch Spurs fan, London born and bred with Spurs flags proudly flying at his house has been giving me all sorts of abuse this week – and rightly so. However, Villa’s win along with Spurs hammering at Newcastle means that Spurs chances of Top 4 are severely dented.

When I politely pointed this out to him, the response was “I don’t f**king care mate, as long as your lot win f**k all”. A little strange I thought but hey ho. Then this morning, cue the (understandable) abuse for the Champions League exit. I again politely informed my esteemed neighbour that Arsenal (and City) going out, probably means England only get 4 Champions League spots, and Spurs probably won’t qualify……you can guess the response (see above).

Now my neighbour isn’t the only Spurs fan that know who feels like this. They genuinely seem to revel more in Arsenal’s failures than their own successes. Why be a football fan if that’s the case? Where’s the joy? As much as this week has been disappointing, this season has been an absolute blast and it’s great to have something still at stake in April. Even if we don’t win the league, I say thanks for the bi-weekly escapism and perhaps “To Dare is to Do”!

I suppose, at least they’ll have a nice stadium and cool go-kart track to revel in Arsenal’s future failures!


Taking the p*** is fun though
Simon from North London getting his digs in against Spurs fans shows the true person.

The amount of messages I got from Arsenal mates after Newcastle is right – of course it is because it’s football and it’s about taking the piss.

Stop being such a baby, take your medicine and hope your club doesn’t fold like a deck of cards for the third season in a row.

Which, by the by, would be manna from heaven for you lot if it was Spurs.
Dan Mallerman


London is calling…
Is James sure about his claim that Chelsea are the only team in London with a European cup? I mean I know it was a LONG time ago but Spurs have two UEFA cups and a Euro Cup Winners Cup. We were the first British club to ever win a major Euro competition as well I think…am I missing something?
Jon, Lincoln

(Suspect he means the actual European Cup/Champions League – Ed)


Man City have underachieved
Ted Bythesea made an excellent point yesterday that whilst a lot of teams have now spent big, that buy must be a team changer or they will still not compete.

City fans will argue that up until recently they never broke a transfer record on a single player. However, when Pep arrived in the Summer of 2016, City paid over 50m Euros for both Stones and Sane, the year after it was more than 50m Euros on Laporte, Mendy, Walker, and Silva; Continued to this season, they have paid 50m Euros or more on 16 players.

Their closest rivals over the last few years, Liverpool, have bought 5 players for over 50m Euros in that same period. Now, spending money is no guarantee of success, but if you are spending 50m+ Euros on a player you are expecting results.

When Liverpool paid £75m for VVD and then £60m for Alisson they went on to win the CL and then the Prem, finished 2nd by 1 point twice and have been to another CL final. Game changers.

However, the lack of back up has cost them twice. When VVD and other center backs were out they did not have the resources to buy a big named player for 6 months. When the midfield was decimated last year, it was the same.

I think Liverpool have spent poor once on Naby Keita. But unlike City Liverpool do not have the financial power to simply buy a replacement and take a lose.

However, I would also like to point out that after last night’s exit in his 8 ½ years in the UK Pep has won 5 (6?) Leagues, 1 CL, 2 (3?) FA cups and 4 ELF cups – with arguable the wealth of a nation behind him and a (financial) sword of Damocles hanging over his, and Man City’s legacy.

In 3 years in Germany, it was 3 leagues and 2 cups – with undoubtedly the strongest team with the biggest budget in the entire league.

After 4 years in Spain, it was 3 Leagues, 2 CL and 2 cups – with quite possibly the greatest player of all time, 2 world class midfielders an armada of generational talent to support.

So, in my opinion Pep’s a bit meh!
Ian H

👉 Manchester City once again left ruing lack of knockout punch as Real Madrid eke out shootout win
👉 Guardiola reveals Haaland and two Man City team-mates ‘asked’ to come off vs Real Madrid
👉 Guardiola told to drop ‘poor’ Haaland after Man City trio ‘asked’ to be subbed – ‘I’m astonished’

Where were Man City balls?
No mocking the teams or their fans but I did find it curious that with penalties literally minutes away Pep took off the greatest striker ever and the greatest midfielder ever. Seemed like a very strange choice especially when Haaland takes all the penalties…

Pep did clear it up later when asked. “They asked to come off, they could not go on.”

They literally had to carry on for 6 minutes. And the fact that Pep revealed they asked to come off makes me think he was a little annoyed about it because who would come off in such an important game with penalties minutes away?

It’s pretty obvious they didn’t to be asked to take a pen and so came off thus making them ineligible to take one.

But they played such a long time! So did John Terry , he took one. In a bigger game. He missed but he had the balls to take it, that’s what it means to be world class. Riise played two halves and extra time against Milan and had the balls to take one, again in a bigger game

You can’t put De Bruyne in the same category as Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes etc because they all turned up in big games, took responsibility. De Bruyne isn’t one of the best ever, he’s just one of the best at City.

Haaland could be one of the best ever but he needs to step up more. Messi, Cristiano, Ronaldo (the real one) Shearer, Van basten, Batistuta, Baggio were all true legends who turned up consistently and had the balls when it was needed…

And before anyone points and says ‘mwaaaa he used Baggio as an example, he missed !’ Italy wouldn’t have even got there without Baggio and the point is he had the balls to take it – also after 120 minutes of football against one of the best Brazil sides of all time.

When your scoring robot (who apparently only turns up against weak opposition) and your ‘legendary’ midfielder don’t have the tenacity to fight to the end or the bravery to take a pen…what signal does that send to your teammates?

Finally Carlo proved again why for me he is the goat above Pep. Was it a classic Madrid performance ? No. But nobody knows how to win more than Carlo and he doesn’t use any one system, he adapts to his players and opposition.

Honestly Pep isn’t even the greatest Spanish manager of all time (that would be del Bosque).


Bootleg Bernardo
In fairness City can shop at Harrods every day but they must have got Silva from Wish!!!!!
Macker, Dublin


Football won and corruption lost? Really?
Now I’m not saying anything about City as it’s already been said in many different ways but seriously that’s a one eyed take on the situation, Morris. Maybe you should read up a bit about Real Madrid, the obviously squeaky clean Perez and the finances involved in selling their training ground, loans to buy Ronaldo when no other business could get a loan etc, friendly Governments and favours from friends of fascists or harsh regimes aren’t limited to oil rich nations you know.
Steve Leeds since 1970


…I knew it would come. After a bunch of United/Liverpool/Chelsea fans learn how to say “Hala Madrid” as soon as City are the opposition, today we get an email from Morris stating “Football won last night, corruption lost. Thank you Real Madrid!”

Is it only me that can’t see the absolute hypocrisy in this?! Real have been bailed out by their own government more than once, twisted the rules to get players signed in order to win the European Cup, benefit from an immensely twisted TV deal in Spain and tried to sort the Super League out in order to get richer.

You can hate City if you want, fine. But don’t be blind to the absolutely ugly edifice that those men in white represent.
Aidan, EFC, Hoxton