Joy at ‘gutless’ Arsenal ‘shows how the mighty have fallen’

Date published: Wednesday 24th February 2021 9:37 - Will Ford

Kieran Tierney Mikel Arteta Arsenal

Keep your mails coming to


Approving the Arsenal garbage
I just read Dale May’s email in total amazement!  I actually had the misfortune of watching the dirge that was Arsenal v Man City, and cannot quite believe anyone, Gooner or not, could’ve “liked” the Arsenal performance.  I was so bored I cannot quite remember if they actually had a shot on target, or a shot at all!  It was the most gutless performance by an Arsenal team, I’ve ever had the displeasure of witnessing.  They “settled” for a 0-1 defeat, with City barley breaking sweat.  There were myriad occasions when various City players saw the ball out of play, or shoulder-charged Arsenal players, without any effort from the Arsenal player involved.  And it kept happening again & again.

It was truly pathetic, and for an Arsenal fan to actually “like” that performance, just shows how the mighty have fallen.  This Arsenal team might never again finish in top 4, let alone win the league.  With City, Liverpool, United, Chelsea, Spurs (post Mourinho), Leicester, even Everton & West Ham all improving, there’s every chance Arsenal will not be in the top 4 in the next decade.

And that’ll be just what Arsenal fans like Dale deserve, for actually approving of the garbage Arteta’s team is dishing out these days.
Fred (I though Spurs were bad until I watched Arsenal), London

OPINION: Chelsea: Ingenuity by Giroud, structure by Tuchel


‘Tactical Tuchel masterpiece’
Aside from a miracle-against-odds, Chelea’s CL win against Atletico was a tactical Tuchel masterpiece. Our vegetarian German has out-thought and “out-tacticked” his counterpart (due credit to Sam Allardyce, syntagm genius.) In anticipation of Simeone’s initial onslaught against his surprising 4-3-3 Tuchel issued a down-to-earth “hack-them-down” mandate, duly executed by young Mason Mount on Joao Felix 30 seconds into the game. (Parenthesis: this Felix kid is from outer space; he may turn into a Very Real Thing in a few years. )

Tuchel even managed to concoct a successful plan to box Suarez in. His selection of Grandpa Giroud as sole strike was rewarded with a goal telegenic enough to forever feature in every Heineken commercial from now till Doomsday come (if scored by Ronaldo or Lewandowski). Chelsea’s positioning and tactical awareness was flawless, in stark contrast to Atletico’s often-Quixotic forward-rush.

Tallest among Tuchel’s exploits: motivating the squad to overrun their collective lung capacity. From Azpi to Giroud and way back to Alonzo they all selfishly delivered an honest 10km/game.

Let us not gloat. At this time Atletico is still a better squad. It is not at all inconceivable they may turn the fixture around in the second leg. But I bet you tonight Simone is banging his head against all available walls. Warrantedly so.
Radu “I woke up at 4AM for this game” Tomescu. Xindian, Taiwan


In that alternate universe that I wanted a few weeks ago but don’t anymore – ‘Ok yeah so maybe Lampard needs to go’.

I thought TTs early run of fixtures was easyish and Lamps could’ve got good results from them too (even if there is clearly more structure). Not tonight though, that early atleti counterpressure would’ve led to imbalance and goals.

Also our subs today were: James, Kante, Ziyech, Pulisic & Havertz. Ridic
Saaj (buzzing) CFC


Oli artistry
Olivier Giroud, when he retires the goal compilation videos are going to be pure artistry, that handsome forward just doesn’t score boring goals.

It is truly incredible how things can change, back in December when the draw was made, you looked at the form book of both sides and could only see Atletico mauling Chelsea to pieces, a change of manager amongst many other things later and the result was completely different to the predictions, let’s be honest from a Chelsea point of view that was huge, it does seem to be the case we get the job done against deep, organised defences under Thomas Tuchel but make no mistake, that’s one of the, if not THE, best defence in world football, Atletico have conceded even less goals in the league than Manchester City this season.

The second leg will be interesting, the tie is certainly not over, they do have the advantage of away goals if they were to score twice.

I’ll end the mail on the man of the moment Olivier Giroud, has there ever been a more underrated forward? He cost us £18m, now we are known for huge money signings, mainly in the forward variety which turn out pretty horrendously, yet I cannot think of a better bargain buy than Giroud for us in the past decade, many will say Eden Hazard based on what he brought to the club and the profit we made too, but let’s let Olivier have his moment.
Mikey, CFC 


Fernandes reliance
I agree too (United fan here btw) we have this tendency of finding someone excellent and then throwing all the team’s weight on them e.g Rooney, Ronaldo, Rashford, Fernandez. Unlike Man City who can function at at least 95 % even without most of their star players,for us, take out two or three key players and it’s clearly obvious they are not there.This is a matter that needs to be dealt with for the team to be among the absolute best on the world.
Ronuell Barnaby


Classic Jose just means being dick
Had to laugh in reading the Mourinho death spiral in Football365’s Prick of the Week. Interesting to think that the Athletic article seems to be causing a stir when one only had to watch the Spurs “All or Nothing” documentary.

Not a Spurs fan but thought there might be some insight into football in general and Mourinho in particular. It was fascinating in that it wasn’t, actually…fascinating. It was so boring and normal. Mourinho as the ‘boring one.’

If this is the height of football nous, wow, it doesn’t take a lot to be a top level coach/manager. Not that we need a documentary or two to understand this – just listening to managers and players doing press conferences should be telling enough. But we do give them credit for the fact it must get monotonous and, lets face it, the average press person asks god awful obvious, repetitive and boring questions. How do they get those jobs?

But the documentary showed Mourinho has no master plan, had no major people management skills, and has no great coaching expertise. Most players are not intellectually gifted and he is ‘the gaffer.’ So better do what he says ‘cos you won’t get a game otherwise.

We watch managers come in and players who were playing great suddenly benched or worse and we’re supposed to think a genius is at work. Until they aren’t winning. Not only not winning but nothing positive in the game to draw from. It turns out it is all about one or two players – in the case of Spurs – Kane and Son. And once you lose them to injury…

Classic Jose simply means being a dick and hoping that because you are being paid so much to run the club, you can keep on being a dick until the CEO realises its going to be him or Mourinho and, hey presto, Mourinho is booted. With Levy, we know he’s already doing the calculations of the severance costs vs that of a new manager. If he can get someone cheap enough and better, Mourinho is going to get dumped.

The question is, how many more teams will be fooled into giving Mourinho a chance? Now they’ve all seen the documentary, I should think few will.
Paul McDevitt


Roy vitriol
Interesting to see Dave Tickner agreeing with the LFC fanbase (for which we’ve been derided by easily led opposition fans) that Roy Hodgson has made a career in downplaying expectations. Unfortunately for Roy he encountered a fanbase that wasn’t prepared to accept that ‘Northampton are a formidable opponent’ or that winning a match against (an on paper inferior) Everton would be ‘Utopia’. We weren’t happy with him throwing our youngsters under the bus after a loss or suggesting that if Ferguson wanted to sign Torres then we couldn’t do anything about it.

I wonder if Dave will receive as much vitriol as we have.
James Outram, Wirral


Firstly, I have no idea what Athletico Mince is so most of Dave Tickner’s latest Prick of the Week column went sailing over my head, but I did bridle at the suggestion Roy Hodgson has no ‘previous’. What about resigning the England job after losing 2-1 to Iceland and then telling the media “I don’t know what I’m doing here” when they quite reasonably wanted to ask him a few questions? For a man who’s spent most of his career curating an image as one of the game’s gentlemen, it was spectacularly graceless. Much as I want to like a football manager who reads John Updike, I can’t help thinking the whole ‘Uncle Roy’ schtick is actually a lot of old cobblers.
Matt Pitt


Guys, it’s just a motto
Ok, I’m really fed up of people clutching their pearls and being offended by Liverpools milder than mild “this means more slogan”. It is 4 words long in total. It’s not an abbreviation of ” This means more to us than it does to you haha we’re the bestest club in the land” or  “This means more to us than every other club”. It is simply alluding to the fact that it’s about more than just the football matches. It refers to the sense of joy, community, camaraderie ,excitement & inspiration people get from being continually part of their club day to day.  Again, that’s not saying that other fans don’t feel the exact same way about their own club. I’m sure they do. And nowhere in the motto does it refer to other clubs in any way. It was just made by people working for Liverpool, as a way of encapsulating how they feel about Liverpool. Im sure they assumed that fans of other clubs could care less what Liverpools slogan was, and did not expect people to misinterpret it so that they could take personal offence to it somehow. For example, I couldn’t care less if Man united changed their slogan to “We win every match 8-0″. It’s a motto, it’s not a legally binding statement.
As far as I know, Everton do not sack all players and staff if they fail to win the league year after year because their not living up to their ” nothing but the best is good enough” slogan.Marseilles manager does not get sacked if his team play a pass back to their Keeper, in contradiction to their motto “Straight to goal”.  They are slogans people, they are not meant to be taken so literally, or personally.
The only mistake Liverpools marketing team made was underestimating how easily riled fans of opposition teams can be by even the most mundane Liverpool related comment. Unless they did know it,  and their plan all along was to get a reaction out of over sensitive opposition fans, in which case I guess they were also successful.
Pierce, LFC. (This email means more than yours does).


Oh Celtic
As a lifelong Glasgow Celtic supporter, I thought the good times would never end.
Then… well, Neil Lennon appeared like an uncle you have not seen for a while, but only he was changed.
The board thought that money would not be needed to be spent.
Anyway, the point is Celtic are now in a position where the new Cao in the summer replaces an outgoing CEO who is clueless, a manager who must be sacked but somehow I doubt will be, a squad of players that were they in the Premier League(as has long been mooted) would be relegated by January.
The money will not be spent by the board, who had Brendan Rodgers and a chance to create a team to achieve the much-coveted ten in a row.
I hope that Celtic can somehow return to their previous level of dominance, but without the necessary ambition, I fear that the club will regress to previous levels of underachievement.
Bemused Liverpool Supporter.


Qatar context
I read the email from John Matrix on ‘Qatars Shame’ with mixed feelings this morning, and felt the need to add a little context to the numbers he quoted.

I will also, for full transparency, add a little context about myself. I work in advertising and through my work have been to Qatar a number of times (before 2020 happened and all that international is now but a distant memory). But whilst I have visited the country, I have no vested interests in the success of the World Cup, but what I do have is a slightly different perspective than the average person on the street that I thought I would share.

So, let’s start with the number of deaths quoted in all the papers this week have some rather glaring holes in them which are being conveniently glossed over. To quote directly from the Guardian “While death records are not categorised by occupation or place of work, it is likely many workers who have died were employed on these World Cup infrastructure projects”. So, in actual fact, the story should be ‘In the last decade 6,500 migrant workers have died in Qatar and we are presuming that the stadiums are to blame’. Which is a very different story, but sod it, why let actual facts get in the way of a good clickbait headline, eh?

Qatar as a whole sees the World Cup as a chance to showcase themselves to the world, to step outside of the tired stereotypes and misapprehensions about their country. To change how people view the Middle East. I must admit, I personally was guilty of a complete lack of understanding of this country until I started visiting it for work. Once there, I have been blown away by the warmth, compassion, strength and passion of this country and from my own experience, I can promise people this will be a truly unique World Cup in all the best ways (for example, teams will have a single base of operations for the entire tournament, unlike somewhere such as Brazil where teams were travelling thousands of miles between games). The locations of the stadiums – all within 50km of each other – also means that if they so chose, fans could actually see 3 games in a day.

I don’t think anyone would claim that in the early days of the stadium construction there were not some pretty serious issues, but those were put right and the working conditions have been for years declared as more than above board by various international observers.

As we head into the 2022 World Cup what I would ask is that people approach it with an open mind, and for those of you who will be attending in person, I fully expect you to be utterly blown away by the Qatari people and culture, as everyone I know who has spent time there has been.
Nev in Melbourne (the worlds most lockdownable city) 


A reponse to The Big P, Vancouver asking about derbies that require a leap of faith to accept that there could be local rivalry at play.Way back in 2012 I was in Melbourne for a brief stay with work and bought myself a souvenir Melbourne Victory FC jersey.
A few days later I’d flown to Adelaide and was wearing said jersey as I patiently queued in a shop in the centre of town.
The guy behind the counter smiles, points at my jersey and says in a friendly banter way, “you can’t wear that in here mate, they’re our local rivals”. I didn’t question the man, just laughed and promised not to wear it in his shop again.
Bear in mind that it’s an eighty minute flight from Melbourne to Adelaide, a journey of approximately 400 miles.
Imagine Aberdeen and Chelsea playing a derby match and you get the sense of the distance.
Eoin (“working”from home but mostly reading about football) Ireland 


What is a derby? Surely it’s an historic rivalry between two teams. Usually two very successful teams, or two teams from the same city.

Let’s look at same city rivalries that actually count:
AC Milan v Internazionale
Real Madrid v Atletico Madrid
Juventus v Torino
Liverpool v Everton
Man Utd v Man City
Arsenal v Spurs.

Then let’s look at rivalries where the teams are not in the same locale:
Liverpool v Man Utd
Man Utd v Leeds
Real Madrid v Barcelona
Boston Celtics v LA Lakers
Boston Red Sox v New York Yankees
Baltimore Ravens v Pittsburgh Steelers

All rivalries. All derbies. All excellent to watch.

Prove me wrong.
Culk the Younger


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