This Arsenal side will be forgotten unless they become a bunch of b***ards next season

Editor F365
Arsenal players look dejected after conceding a goal

This Arsenal side will be as memorable as the Liverpool runners-up of 2001/02 unless they do something next.

We have more fall-out from Man City 4 Arsenal 1 as well as some Frank thoughts. Send yours to theeditor@football365.com

 

It’s not failure to come second v this City
Overperforming is probably not the word most would use after a 4-1 drubbing, but I think this Arsenal team has been overperforming all season. When the wheels should have come off, Jesus’ injury, they didn’t. It was only in the final furlong, when the pressure for this young squad became too much. Losing Saliba was massive, and it proved that we still don’t have the strength in depth you need to push this amazing City side.

Personally, considering the lead we had, the results against Liverpool, West Ham and Southampton killed us. City just landed the knockout blow. I hope the squad can regroup, go into the final games with less pressure, and play their football. Congrats to City, three in a row is an amazing achievement, and personally, I hope you get your treble. If only to boil the piss of United fans. I hope Liverpool fans look back to their league win and see what an amazing achievement that was.

At the end of the season, only one team can win the league. That doesn’t make everyone else failures. I doubt Brighton see this season as a failure. I doubt Newcastle do either. I don’t think Arsenal will look back at this as failure, instead as another step in the process.
John Matrix AFC

 

Oh Nostrastewmus!
Ye of faultless 4-1 bets in madlad WhatsApp groups, successor unto Captain Hindsight, smiter of imaginary Arsenal fans and their invented opinions – teach us thine ways so that we too may be satisfied only with trophies and never with the twin evils of progress and enjoyment.

Spaff enough predictions into a mailbox and a few will come right, but Stewie doesn’t get to gloat whilst conveniently ignoring the duffers:

– predicting Arteta would never win a game at White Hart Lane
– predicting an Anfield ‘thrashing’
– claiming ‘Antonio Conte’s brilliance as a manager is going to expose the myth of Arteta’ (ha!)
– saying Spurs will be City’s closest challengers (!)
– seeing after 10 minutes that Mudryk (0 goals, 2 assists) is a ‘phenomenal’ talent
– predicting Arsenal won’t finish within 10 points of City (ok, this is still possible I grant)

To be clear, I’m disappointed with Arsenal’s performances in the last four games. A win against West Ham or Southampton or both would have kept the last few games interesting, even with City dismantling us in the usual fashion. But – shock – you can be disappointed *and* proud. Indeed, the fact that we’re disappointed that we dropped points in the last stretch of the season – and have finally dropped below the best team in the league, with the best manager, and the ridiculous robot Goal-a-Tron – is itself a source of pride.

Only one team can win the league. That doesn’t mean every other team’s season is a failure.
Jonny

 

Did Arteta get it wrong?
Look I’m more than happy with how we’ve done this season but I do reserve a little criticism with Arteta’s actions yesterday.

I think most Arsenal fans expected defeat but the manner of it is the problem.

During my time as an Arsenal fan when we’ve won the league, we’ve generally been the best team in the land apart from one season.

That season was 1988/89. That may sound crazy because it was Arsenal’s greatest moment ever but we weren’t the best team in the land that season.

The Liverpool team of the late 1980s is the best Liverpool team I have seen. You can keep your Salahs, Manes and Firminos, even your Gerrards, that team of Barnes, Houghton, Alridge, Hansen were a joy to watch. They were just brilliant and Barnes at his peak before the injury was just unplayable.

The scenario behind that glorious night at Anfield was Arsenal had been runaway leaders, stuffed up the run-in and had to go to Anfield and win by two clear goals – something you just didn’t do.

So what did George do when everyone – including England manager Bobby Robson – do when everyone said he should attack? He played five at the back with Bouldy coming in, and told the boys we’ll keep it tight in the first half, nick one at the start of the second half and score a winner late on. George Nostradamus Graham was proven right and the rest is history.

The lesson here Mikel is sometimes you come up a team that’s better than you so you can’t just pick the same team and hope for the best. Arteta should have tried something different and who knows? Maybe we’d be talking about a narrow victory with a Martinelli winner rather than the entirely predictable events of last night?

I came to terms with the league being gone after the West Ham game but I do think we could have made a better fight of it up in Manchester.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

READ: Arsenal title hopes ruined by stubborn Arteta as Guardiola, Aurier and Alexander-Arnold impress

 

This Man City side is unbeatable with or without Pep
Yesterday’s postbag posed the question, “Is Pep Guardiola the greatest manager in Premier League history above Sir Alex?”. Last night’s match revealed the answer. No.

To be considered a truly great, a manager must pick up a (relatively) struggling team, develop it, and achieve success beyond the norm. Widening the reference period beyond start of the Premier League, the obvious candidates are Revie, Paisley (although he benefitted from Shankly’s foundations), Clough (with two teams), Kendall (to some extent), Ferguson, Wenger and Klopp.

What sets each apart (except Klopp, for now) is that without their management skills, success at the club could not be maintained to the same extent once they had left. Guardiola took on winning team, bought a load of unbelievable players, and continued winning. Herein lies the problem.

Success in the Premier League is no longer a function of the manager and his backroom team’s ability to get the right players (here’s to you Peter Taylor), it is a function of money. When Pep leaves, City will continue to win, ad infinitum.

The uncertainty, the romance, the excitement of the League is all but gone. When Liverpool were at their very best in the 70s and 80s (in my youth), Arsenal, Aston Villa, Derby, Everton, Leeds, Forest all won the League, and there were 13 different winners of the FA Cup.

Arsenal did not bottle it this year, they ran out of steam. A normal sized squad cannot perform at 100% throughout the season. City are not normal, they have a large squad of exceptional (expensive) players.

City are outstanding, and regardless of Pep they will continue to be outstanding while ever they have the most money. And I for one can’t motivate myself to hope that Newcastle surpass them.
Rob

 

…I would like to congratulate Arsenal for ensuring the annual City title parade will be in May not March. Best of the rest is hardly a bottle job especially when the serial winners have now added a new option in a giant free scoring Chucky doll that makes Drogba look like a light weight. Even if City don’t win the lot this year and I find the thought of rooting for Real and Man U appalling it will be hard not to view the EPL as an uncompetitive one-horse race. Perhaps it could be more fun if City got handicapped by only being allowed to employ ex Chelsea Managers.
Ted Bythesea

 

It sucks when it happens to you
You are doing well… flying high, top of your job. You don’t believe anything could go wrong, and you’re destined for success.

You’ve seen your friends and peers, who play for a rival team. Just last year, they were in the same position as you are today. Things happen and the are not doing so well. They need your support and empathy because they are struggling. But deep down you think, you know, this will never happen to you.

Your friend needed your support. Because if did happen to them. It happens to everyone. But you ignore the warnings, think others may be jealous… you keep going per your “plan”.

And finally it hits you…. Yesterday was that day. All your dreams come crashing down. You hit a wall. There is not much hope left. Today, you are questioning why it happened, and what you could have done to avoid it.

Those were all the thoughts I had yesterday… When I learned that I got fired from my job… “Unexpectedly” but inevitably.

I hope Arsenal fans understand how we (LFC) fans felt last year and in 2018-19.

Take care,
Vkd

 

Will Arsenal learn from their mistakes?
So I had gone to a bar in Dubai yesterday to watch Arsenal vs City game with a couple of old school friends, and can’t say I am surprised with the result really following Arsenal drawing 3 league games on the bounce before yesterday’s game, resulting in dropping 6 points. Even my mate who is an Arsenal fan said it will be a thumping before the game yesterday, not like a lot of deluded Arsenal fans out there…and just watched with much anxiety for the rest of the game as soon as De Bruyne scored in the 7th minute.

The only two Arsenal players that looked like they were matching City’s quality was Partey & Saka, everyone else looked like a lost puppy, especially Zinchenko & Holding, clearly not good enough defenders or players for Arsenal.

Just a personal note that this City team is something else in terms of quality and just not fair when it comes to depth either. The scary thing is, it didn’t even look like they got out of 2nd gear yesterday and Ramsdale spared Arsenal’s blushes and it could have been 7 or 8 Nil if City kept pushing on the accelerator.

I feel like Pep probably said at half time, get a third and then step back in resting for the next game against Fulham. As soon as City beat Fulham on Sunday, that is it, they go top by one point and that will be that. Chelsea will have the game of their lives against Arsenal, and Arsenal will have lost a lot of confidence after a dreadful April.

Looks like Neville was right about Arsenal all along, he wasn’t just hating he knew this would happen come April/May time. To Arteta’s credit though, to finish 2nd in the league with this team that hasn’t got the best squad depth, is still a very good achievement and if Arsenal were chasing 1st place in the league instead of being chased for the majority of the season by a very experienced City team, it could have been different story due to the psychology of the situation.

Maybe Arsenal breathing behind City’s neck could have been more beneficial, however when you concede 11 goals in 4 games in April, you are asking for trouble. Arteta needs to make this team learn how to play differently and be a bunch of b**tards when 1 or 2 nil up in the game, Jose was the master of this even from a young age.

Yes some managers will argue and insist for their team to play with the mentality of ‘The best form of defence is attack’, and it makes sense for Arteta to think this way given its a young Arsenal and he was the assistant to Pep for 3 years, but I think when you come against certain teams, such as Liverpool & City, even United as well who look to be improving, you have to drop deep or have some form a Plan B or C.

Arsenal need someone like Fellaini in their team, as well as another 2 quality CB’s this summer. Holding & Zinchenko defensively are complete liabilities, I think Zinchenko isn’t actually a defender he’s a midfielder and makes TAA look good at defending!

Arsenal should go for Savic at Lazio, Tomori at AC Milan and another decent CB maybe from the Premier League. Someone like Mings would even do a job for Arsenal instead of Holding/Zinchenko.

I hope Arsenal do not lose momentum going into next season given they actually gave City a challenge this year, but they need to improve defensively and also not be so naive going into big games. To lose 3-1 & 4-1 to City this season isn’t good enough, but was their own undoing in a way and could have been the difference in the title race. It’s done now, City will win their 5th Premier League title in the last 6 years and it pains me to say they could very well win the treble too. Hala Madrid during May and good luck to United for the FA Cup Final!
Rami, Manchester

 

Dull? Man City are not dull
I actually have quite enjoyed the football on view from City the last few years. I’ll certainly remember Aguero, Silva, Kompany, deBruyne and Haaland. I’ve not quite got this “dull” narrative that keeps being peddled. At times it takes your breath away.

That said I’ve had to watch post Poch Spurs for 3/4 seasons now. Maybe I’m starved.
Jon, Lincoln

 

No, This Means Less
Liverpool’s self-aggrandising and totally up it’s own backside ‘This Means More’ tag line is pathetically laughable and extremely disrespectful to other clubs. But flipped on its head, ‘This Means Less’ should be Man City’s new motto.

A hollow club with no fans (can’t fill the Emptihad most games), which has been financially doped up to the eyeballs so that they have two 1st XIs with little drop off in quality (apart from KDB/Haaland replacements), clearly flouting FFP rules but a governing body unwilling/unable to do anything about it with balls like a eunuch, with a City chairman on the FFP council in deciding this guilt.

The undisputed kings of sports washing.

This definitely means less.
Damski (sick of their filth being dressed up as anything other than a disgrace)

 

It’s all jealousy and bitterness
Wish I owned a shop that sold towels, I’d make a killing what with the oceans of bitter, salty tears that need drying today.

To the latest Mailbox whingers, Pep has changed English football…forever. Just look at how teams throughout England try and play the same way, how other managers copy his tactics, how a whole group of Pep disciples are coming through as managers in the same style, how the National manager comes to learn, even how managers of teams in other sports, come to learn!

The beauty of his creation transcends all others even, according to Jamie Carragher, United’s Treble winning team. If you can’t appreciate the ethereal quality of the football that Manchester City produce, then I don’t really care what you think because your judgement can’t be trusted and shouting at clouds isn’t a good look, either way.

For what it’s worth, Arsenal have the makings of a fine team, they just need a couple of tweaks to plump out the squad and they need the time to grow into themselves, especially. Just remember, Pep won’t be at City for another five years, I suspect he’ll be gone in two.

THEN, there’ll be hope for those bitter, jealous, Mailbox whingers.

Helping, as ever,
Levenshulme Blue, Manchester19

 

…I’m a City fan and was at the game last night. I mention this because apparently we are so astonishingly rare, many glory hunting supporters of other teams living in London often say they have yet to meet a Manchester City supporter. It’s incredible isn’t it? Saying something like that just calls for derision.

There was one contributor (whose name I can’t even be bothered to look up) who said City are so sterile and boring they won’t be remembered. Seriously, that barely deserves a response, but here goes. Rubbery yellow bollocks. This City team is the decade-defining PL team. Centurions, beautiful to watch, stunningly well coached and committed to delivering titles in a way we haven’t seen since the United team do the 90’s. We are a brilliant football team and will be remembered for as such.

Who next. Oh yes every Arsenal fan who reckons it’s the fault of our spending that you checked points away against relegation fodder and got spanked last night. Talk me through that one again will you. Chelsea are literally the single biggest retort to the idea that all it takes is money. Worryingly you already know that though, don’t you.

Here’s an insight that is well known but scarcely mentioned. City always start seasons slowly because Pep never overworks them in the early stages. We are always undercooked until about Christmas which is why we come on so strong in the latter part of the season. We lose games, drop points and everyone wrings their hands in anguish. It’s called managing a team across a whole season to win titles when it counts. And City fans trust their manager and players to do that, so when we lose a game or draw early on in the season we don’t write it hysterically demanding Pep is sacked or KDB dropped. We know it’s about a season long campaign. We have a brilliant squad but it’s not the biggest. Again that’s deliberate. It’s a pity you still have to be schooled on why that is

Finally I don’t think Arsenal have bottled it really. It’s just a case of ‘reversion to the mean’. They inadvertently accumulated far too many of the 89 points they will end up with, early in the season. The fact they are going to get 85+ points is actually a brilliant season for them and Arteta has done a fantastic job to make Arsenal genuine contenders and the real deal. They were never going to get 100 points so 50 at the half way stage was a false position and the second half could only be negative.

They might still scrape over the line with City’s focus on the CL and if they do they will have fully deserved it and be worthy champions. See, it’s possible to be nice and genuine about another team. Arteta and his team deserve to be congratulated not ridiculed

A final final point. City fans mainly live in Manchester and we really don’t need the adulation of other supporters to make us happy. The fact that numerous contributors feel the need to say that nobody else cares is of absolutely no consequence to us. Because unlike you were became fans of our team because of community and family, not so we could boast about being a Liverpool fan in our north London school in the 80’s.

And the reason so many people from the Stockport area support City is because that’s where thousands of families from the 1960’s slum clearances in Chorlton on Medlock and Moss side (literally surrounding Maine Road) were relocated. They could have done a Liverpool or United and just supported whoever was winning, but they didn’t, they took their lifelong allegiances with them and handed them down through generations. That’s true fandom and something I’m personally incredibly proud of at my club.
Steve MANCHESTER (longer than I intended so apologies if you made it this far)

 

…“Remember City fans; nobody cares.”

Is there anything quite as funny as unintentional irony? That mail is a classic in the genre.
Gomez, MCFC

 

Will anybody remember this Arsenal side?
There have been questions about who will remember this City side fondly, placing the Arsenal team of (potential) glorious losers as someone everyone will look back on with wistful smiles. And it’s nonsense.

Don’t get me wrong, City’s achievements will hopefully have the asterisk of death. But this Arsenal team are not of the awesome nearly teams. They’re not the third best campaign in history, but coming second. They’re not the other half of Agueeeeeeero. They’re not Gerrard’s slip. Or even Tottenham coming third in a two-horse race. They’re not even going to be Rafa’s facts side beaten by the only good thing Macheda did in his life. Yes, I’m a Liverpool fan, how could you tell? But that’s the point.

I compare them to the Liverpool side of 01/02. Finished Second. Owen and Anelka. I can remember that side. They were, I don’t know, fine. They were fine. Lots of counter attacking football. Pre-Mourinho Mourinhoball. In hindsight, we were never in any danger of winning the league. But at the time we were ahead of United, and challenging Arsenal. This. Could. Be. Our. Year. Remember that? Ah, those weren’t the days.

Anyway, that’s how I think this Arsenal team are going to be remembered. They’re going to be a team that Arsenal fans think “what could have been” and shake their head at and no-one else will give a second thought. Leicester’s 5th places have more narrative weight. They just aren’t that good or that entertaining. They don’t have the big personalities that demand you watch, or the titanic battles. They’re just pretty good most of the time. Surprisingly so. But that only matters if you win something.

There is a way to avoid that though – other making these next five games awesome while City miraculously choke. And that’s by winning something big next year. Then this becomes part of the bigger story, the one about the team that missed once and then came back stronger.

Otherwise we’ll remember this Cheating Petrodollar City Robot longer than we ever think of Arsenal’s kindergarten.
Andrew M, (Please, Arsenal, win the league) Streatham

 

Can Spurs lead the pecking order?
Football has always had a pecking order and dominant teams. It has never been a level playing field. Currently City are top dogs.

Not long ago Man U blew everyone out the water poaching many a striker from my beloved spurs. Chelsea literally bought players they didn’t need to stop Liverpool in their tracks. Roll the clock back further and Blackburn and Arsenal have been in similar top positions.

I get the ownership thing but that is not the average citizen’s fault why begrudge them success after some tough years.

Arsenal have not bottled it they have just been reeled in by the most consistent footballing machine I have seen in this country. No shame there, only one team can win. I suspect if Arsenal fans had been told they would finish second, played good football and finished with a far better points total than recent years they would take it. It’s always disappointing when a lead slips but that doesn’t make it an abject failure.

On a side note I do worry for my club I look at the squad now compared with four years ago and it’s weaker across the board.

Young improving Arsenal. Villa with money and decent manager, Man U getting their expensive s**t together. Chelsea with more money than sense and the itch Spurs have failed to scratch at the helm, Newcastle cash and common sense, Liverpool being Liverpool I don’t see where we fit in. That’s without mentioning Brighton, Brentford and other teams doing things the right way.

I just hope we appoint a progressive manager, find an attractive style of play again and collectively have some patience. There is a pecking order, we ain’t top of it, recognise it, go back to buying up and coming players and build something that can compete, short term fixes and changing every 12 months in a desperate attempt to compete quickly with the big dogs simply does not work.

To end can we not just appreciate the level of football City are playing and be safe in the knowledge there will inevetably be a new top dog soon, all empires fall.

Can’t see it being Spurs next but here’s hoping!
Pj a patient (you have to be) albeit worried Spurs fan of 40+ yrs

 

Why Lampard should stay
In reference to Will CFC as to why Lampard should stay:

Lampard isn’t good enough to manage this club right now. Neither was Potter, neither was Tuchel. The question I’d ask you is… who on earth could be?

Five games left. A squad with zero confidence, having scored 13 goals in 22 matches in 2023, 1 in 7 since Lampard came in. A squad with too many players, our best players have been in and out with injury and have never been match fit, players here who clearly don’t want to be. A complete new Ownership, Board, Medical Staff, Technical, Footballing, Groundskeeping team as well as 16 new players in.

I don’t think there’s a single manager on the face of the earth who could thrive in those conditions, it wasn’t a failure or lack of ability from Potter, Tuchel or Lampard, it’s a complete collective cluster fudge that was initiated in February last year and perpetuated by an ownership who have tried to do too much too fast.

Lampard isn’t now and wasn’t the answer when he came in but we’re not getting Europe, were not getting relegated so what’s the point? St Alex Jose of Guardiol himself couldn’t salvage anything from this season. My only hope it has a lasting dividend and we are able to right some of the wrongs over the summer, regroup, get the right manager in and go again after a decent rest.
Aston Taylor (CFC)

 

…Hi, Newcastle fan here.

It’s very unfair to describe Frank Lampard as ”in the running to be the next Steve Bruce” in your article.

Bruce once did a good job at Hull.
Roger (Newcastle in London)