‘Kind fixture list’ and three more reasons Arsenal are top of the Prem in title challenge that wasn’t…

Editor F365
Arsenal midfielders Martin Odegaard and Thomas Partey look dejected

The Mailbox insists Arsenal are ‘nowhere near ready for a true title challenge’ after their 1-1 draw against Brentford. Plus, Manchester City, Spurs, Jurgen Klopp, Erling Haaland and more…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


Arsenal’s title challenge that wasn’t
When are people gonna realize that Arsenal were never gonna seriously compete let alone win the title this season?

As patronising as this might sound, the main reason Arsenal are in this position is due to an extremely kind fixtures list, a somewhat kind injury list, Citeh absolutely having a wobble (due to either not giving enough of a fuck or way too much complacency) and some good football which was about time anyway considering Arteta has been on the job for more than 3 years.

Don’t get me wrong, Arsenal have dominated most matches they’ve played and been very good overall, but they do NOT give you a Liverpool 2018-22 or City 2017-22 title challenging vibe cuz, quite bluntly, they’re nowhere near ready for a true title challenge.

Let’s call a spade a spade rather than glorifying Arsenal to something that they’re not.
Bucky Dent (India)


Work tomorrow but can’t really be arsed.

Might just forget to do stuff once I get there.
Joe, AFC, East Sussex


Manchester City…
It’s a hot topic and I was thinking – in the event that city are found guilty now they can’t run the clock down and count themselves out to retain the title like some cheesy wrestling heel from 1985 how should they be punished?

There’s been a lot of talk but I actually think the best punishment has already been done elsewhere. The Italian FA didnt mess about when it came time to bring down the hammer on Italy’s most prestigious and successful club. All of juve title wins have an asterisk and they were relegated to lower leagues and forced to work their way back up (which they did quite easily)

If I were city it might be tempting to make a deal where by no admittance if guilt is done but you do accept a points deduction, and I’d make that deal quickly and apply it to this season, a season which they’re not doing awesome in anyway.

However in the event they fight it and lose I think relegation should be the punishment and each trophy win should get an asterisk. even though Liverpool would benefit from title stripping I don’t think anyone really wants to get a title that way (even if it was seriously hard fought)

That’s all.


A word of warning for the gleeful. Pep is obviously exaggerating when he says City were completely cleared at CAS, but in reality the 100+ accusations boil down to 4 things and an umbrella accusation of fraud.

1 The Etihad deal…This was contested at CAS and after City cooperated and provided their evidence, they found the accounting evidence didn’t back up UEFA’s theory. Importantly they also found that City and Etihad weren’t related parties and City are privately owned rather than state owned. Don’t believe me? Then feel free to read the 1st paragraph of UEFA:s conclusions.

2. The Etilsat deal. This was time-barred so wasn’t contested. However both UEFA and City agreed the money was ultimately paid by Etilsat. The accusation related to it initially being funded by City’s owner and later refunded to him by Etilsat. City will argue that the accounts are correct because they rightly recorded the money on a services rendered basis (i.e. at the time the advertising services were provided).

3. The Mancini/Yaya payments. We’ll have to wait and see what evidence and indeed what rules have allegedly been broken here, but it’s relatively small money (E.g. compared to the Etihad deal) and you have to wonder why HMRC haven’t got involved if they believe tax has been evaded.

4. Non-cooperation. This will probably stick (like at CAS), but isn’t as serious as the accusations of providing false accounts.

5. The most serious on paper accusation of providing false accounts over a number of years. This relies on 1, 2 and/or 3 being upheld and the incredibly serious nature of it will require a very high standard of evidence. That may well prove to be a massive headache for the Premier League.

I’m not saying City will definitely be cleared, but I wouldn’t be counting my chickens just yet, if I wanted them seriously punished.
Richard (we’re going down with a billion), Sheffield

James Maddison, Leicester City, February 2023

I started to write out a jokey “Spursy” email, we beat city one week…something…typical Tottenham…something…Barry Fox…something something.

Then I just gave up. Who would be a Spurs fan, eh?
Jon, Lincoln


Just for Barry Fox, here’s reason 6 why Spurs can win the Champions League: Leicester aren’t in it!
John, Chicago


Random musings…
Forget Harry Kane, his 100m price tag is insane.
Forget Osimhen, his 300m price tag is profane.
Get Ivan Toney, he won’t cost a lot of money.
La, la, la, la la…

ION, Video Assistant Refereeing, what a VARce…the Brentford offside could be seen from the International Space Station. Socek’s save with the goal gaping was a thing of beauty…if you’re a ‘keeper. The second yellow card for Lemina was not made by a ref but by a lemming…
Mr. Steal Your Girl


A few random thoughts/responses…
Firstly, Jim, Norwich. I kind of get it although you have gone to cold turkey extremes. As a Utd fan, I supported through the hard times, loved the good times but actually the last few years haven’t been that bad when I think that I’ve got to a point where I don’t really care if I miss a few games and the result doesn’t bother me so much. I’d like to think that even if we manage to challenge again I’ll be largely the same.

Secondly, on Haaland being a detriment to the team. I’ve been thinking about it and also make the comparisons to Ronaldo’s last full season at utd but there is a big difference. Ronaldo is a legend and will go down as one of the best players to have ever played the game. He was also 36/37 in that last season so running around defending wasn’t likely to happen. Utd couldn’t change him and would have known that when they signed him (big assumprion there i know). However, as brilliant as Haaland is, he’s not a legend, he’s only done it in a farmers league (a bit harsh I know), he hasn’t won anything of note yet and he has a hell of a lot still to learn. The feeling that he hasn’t made City better is the fault of Guardiola who hasn’t challenged him to improve. The premier league is a different kettle of fish and you can no longer carry a player. Guardiola should have insisted he plays in the build up play and insisted he interchanges with other front players like City used to always do and like Liverpool have in the very recent past. In the comparison of Kane to Haaland, Kane does fair as a better option for City but surely with his skills Haaland has the potential to be better than Kane. A big ask for him but if managers let him just score goals then he’s going to be more of a Lukaku than a Kane. He has the talent but does he have the desire to get better? Ronaldo didn’t get to where he is by talent alone.

And lastly I think. For all the declarations on this site, I’ve never met a Chelsea fan who stopped supporting them when the oil money came in. Never met a City fan who stopped supporting them when they won the jackpot and the same goes for Newcastle fans. Anyone else?
Jon, Cape Town (I won’t stop supporting utd just because they have even more money. They’ve always had money, the issue is wasting it)


Three things…
Three things from this morning’s mailbox [Friday] to comment on, if you will…

1 – Great email from Dushyant on the differences between Klopp at Dortmund and Liverpool. Interesting points and they made sense to me. Bravo.

2 – Kane dropping deep at United was brought up by Tiger. Some of you may remember me writing in every week criticising Rooney from the 09/10 season until around 2016 when everyone else finally got on board (except Guy Shrimpton, obviously).

A striker shouldn’t be deep unless they’re driving forward with the ball like Messi (or Rooney in the 2013 headband era). Rooney’s vanity Scholes-esque passes to the fullback were pointless. Kane’s through balls to Son are a lot better but it still means he’s nowhere near the goals himself and he has no pace, which will only get worse.

He does still get the goals though and crucially he doesn’t make a lot of mistakes, he holds the ball up well and turns defenders easily. So I’m a bit torn. I’d have preferred Haaland but “at this point” I think Kane could be the new RVP if we get him.

3 – On the “life after football” point. I fell out of love with football and started seeing it as a bunch of multi millionires who cared more about shaking hands and hugging for social media than winning. Johnny Nic won’t like it but I was missing the days of Proper Football Men. And when I moved house last year I didn’t bother getting TV.

After a year without anything connecting me to the world, I decided to get the Sky and BT apps last month and f*ck me I was wrong. Football is amazing.

United being good again definitely helps but I watch anything I can get my hands on now. The atmosphere, the crowds, the fast-paced nature of the game, the fact contact is allowed again….and even the fact IT’S LIIIIIIVE. I didn’t realise how important it was to see things live. I have been in my own streaming bubble for a year and it was making me feel isolated. Now I’m checking the fixture list and being able to plan my weekend around the games.

I renounce my cynicism, football is f*cking immense.
Silvio Dante


Oh dear…
Oh dear. I’m guessing the crowing mailbox cheerleaders will be furiously searching the book of excuses? More points dropped in yet another match where Arsenal were outplayed and outfought. We all know what happens from here – yet we were seeing celebrations in January! They never, ever learn. Still. “Good business” lads.
Stewie Griffin (the Epic choke begins here!)