Arteta could learn a thing or two from Solskjaer’s ‘humility’

Date published: Sunday 9th May 2021 8:22 - Editor F365

Mikel Arteta Ole Gunnar Solskjaer Arsenal Manchester United

Keep those lovely mails on Mikel Arteta or anything else coming to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Arteta & the anti-philosophy philosophy
Rob A hit the nail on the head with his mail this morning. He talked about Arteta having some quite pacy, potent counter attacking weapons ahead of a quite classic defensive unit and yet insisting on trying to play his Man City tribute act. He’s right, they just don’t have the quality to do it. And they’re not likely to get it. But Arteta is clearly too invested in his philosophy to rethink. Is it the case that he has total confidence that in the end, with enough work, they will get there? Or is it just pure arrogance?

I’m a Man Utd fan and so ultimately what i am about to say will probably come across as biased. But i feel that Arteta could learn a thing or two from OGS. Say what you like about him, he may not turn out to be the next Sir Alex, but perhaps one of the most interesting elements of his tenure so far has been the fact that he has no clear ‘philosophy’, no school of thought to which he subscribes. He came in, simply assessed the tools in front of him and developed teams/strategies to reap the most sucess. From day 1, he could see that the team did not have the quality to go toe-to-toe with the best teams. In takes humility to recognise that you are no longer the best team in Manchester and admit that you are unlikely to beat them their at their own game (much to fans dismay). So he set up his team to work with its strengths, to sit back, work hard and then hit teams on a devastating counter attack (he still does at times). And as time has gone on, he has adapted, bringing in players that can allow Utd to dominate possession more. But (again to many fans dismay) he still sets up Utd with the double pivot, holding back on some of our attacking potential, knowing that Utd are not quite strong enough yet to implement a more creative, fluid holding pair. But we can all see this is the next step, sooner rather than later, Utd should be able to go to the top teams in the PL/Europe and assert their game. Gradually this team is evolving, as is the manager himself.

Not everyone is Pep. And whilst it is great if you have the tools to play total football, perhaps the most important part of being a manager (in any walk of life) is to simply look at what you have in front of you and get the best out of it. I can’t help but feel with the right manager, Arsenal have just about enough quality to be fighting for top 4 but that if they don’t make a change (tactical or managerial), they could end up passing their way into a relegation battle next year.

Finally, nothing personal against this Arsenal team or Arteta, but it was incredibly satisfying to see Emery’s side go through last night after the truly disrespectful level of mocking he got in the time prior to (and immediately after) his Arsenal exit.
CDog (Would be really great now Ole if you have my back too and don’t go losing this final)

 

Just wanted to write in to say Rob A, that mail is excellent. I have about three mails in my draft typed up that all say what you have or there abouts in a much less coherent manner (and more swearing).

Arteta is trying to make us like City without any of the tools, money or underlying infrastructure/competence off the pitch.

I wrote before that he’s too proud, and wasn’t sure if he was really very good at learning from his mistakes. Judging by his immediate comments in interviews about ‘not being overrun in midfield’ when even a small child could see we were, I’ve never been more pessimistic for his future.

But anyone saying ‘oh he’s a terrible manager’ or ‘Arsenal look like nothing/no plan etc’ clearly aren’t watching the games. He has one, and Arsenal play it in equal parts devotedly and badly (and have seemed to have blunted the more dynamic/exciting parts of our young players’ games in the process – everything is so goddamn slow).
Tom (seriously, even our subs are slow to take place, Martinelli was stripped to go on at 59th minute, and still wasn’t on pitch until 65th – utterly bizarre) Walthamstow

 

Arsenal ‘fans’ get what they deserve
It’s not often I agree with Stewie Griffen but the majority of Arsenal ‘fans’ have got what they deserved.  Personally, I squarely blame AFTV.  Ray Parlour, who is a great servant of the club, is entirely correct when he said that AFTV are clicks first, club second.  They have chased Arsene Wenger & Unai Emery out of the club, plus hounded countless players.  This is NOT support.  It IS entertainment I’ll grant you.  And yes, they are entitled to their opinion, good for them, but they are deluding themselves if they think they are genuine supporters.  If they are, put up, shut up, get behind the club – in the mess that it is in and find a way to helping it out of the mess i.e. by supporting the players.  I do not remember the last time I read anywhere ‘the Arsenal support was magnificent’ .  We used to get that, all the time, especially away from home, but now we have AFTV and their bunch of whining click baiters.  Why would any owner want to engage with negativity like that?
Exiled Gooner (AFTV out)

 

Arsenal in contrast to Chelsea and Man City…
Good morning guys

Having watched football, much to wife’s annoyance, on three consecutive nights when my own team (LFC since 1978 European Cup final) weren’t even playing, although at least last night I had the excuse that my 12 year old son is a Gooner and was watching alongside me, it was starkly clear Arsenal weren’t going through last night.  In contrast to Chelsea and Man City, Arsenal looked like they had no identity or gameplan. I appreciate the Xhaka injury was untimely. But an identity should run through a squad and not just the chosen starting eleven.

However, can a lack of a clear plan, or common goal (pun unavoidable), explain the absence of energy and desire they showed for the entire first half of a European semi final that should have been there for the taking? It was 45 minutes that looked like a friendly. Even with players like Saka and Smith-Rowe, and a returning (albeit rusty) Tierney, they were totally flat. It wasn’t until Martinelli came on in the second half that they woke up, but even this was stymied by him being positioned on the left wing!

Going back to my own team Liverpool. They have been seriously disappointing this season, and Chelsea and Tuchel schooled us on how to comfortably deal with Real Madrid. However that Arsenal performance is arguably worse than anything I’ve seen come from any recent Liverpool XI.

Yours disappointed, but oddly looking forward to the Chelsea – Man City CL final
Michael Gibson LFC

 

Arteta and Solskjaer script
Look, I’m annoyed. It’s not me, it’s you. It’s definitely you. I’ve already written in about Arsenal and Arteta, and Ole and United, and yet here we are again. It’s starting to feel like you were given a script at the start of the season entitled No Matter the Results, Arsenal’s Players Are to Blame – while also given one labelled Unless He Wins Title, Sack Ole. It’s annoying. First, I’m going to look at Arteta:

There was an excellent mail this morning on the stats of his tenure, none of which covers him in glory. There is also a problem I have with your narrative, that shapes Arsenal’s players to be electricians by trade and play part-time. Arsenal don’t have a great side, no arguments, but you can’t tell me they have a squad that should be in 9th – one point ahead of second season Villa, two points ahead of newly promoted Leeds. They still have talented players, enough to be in the top 6 conversation, even if they were to fall short. They haven’t been. Of those players, Arteta either wanted or signed off on Gabriel, Willian, Odegaard and Partey and the extension for David Luiz. Saka and Smith-Rowe were youth products. Partey looks like he’s potentially good, but not a 50 million pound midfielder. I’d also question the management of a player who keeps getting injured, forced back quickly and then getting re-injured. This isn’t Kane level importance here. This is a squad with the fourth highest wage bill.

The biggest question is how long an FA Cup win can cover the league? While I do agree trophies are important, surely they can’t be that much of a mask. As in if United won the Europa, but finished 6th, I wouldn’t call it a good season. The FA Cup is a knockout competition (one leg) and is designed that even if the usual suspects do win it, upsets are easier. Southampton made it to the semi-final this year, despite being 15th in the league. Leicester City sacked Ranieri after he won an actual League title, how long does that cover Arteta? Indefinitely, according to you. And the other thing is his ‘method’. Method. Jose Mourinho had a method at Spurs, it just wasn’t a very good one. There was a mail saying Arsenal should be a counter attacking side, which I agree with. There is also the other option, particularly in big games, that since their attack is better than their defence – to outscore opponents, or at least try to. This would be similar to Klopp and Liverpool a few years ago when they had great attackers but they were pre Van Dijk, Gomez or Alisson.

I think Arsenal fans have a bad reputation, but 99% of the mails I’ve seen have all been based in reason and hope. I think the reason they’re annoyed is that they are seeing their team regressing, year on year. Not just in terms of league position, which is definitely happening, but in terms of watchability. There’s no great football, no extra heart; no passion. It’s called the Eye Test, and to a supporter, it matters. Which brings me to United and Ole.

Mediawatch does a great job of bashing the idea Ole should be rewarded for going from 6th to 3rd to what looks very likely to be 2nd. ‘Are we genuinely at the stage where being potentially 13 points adrift of the champions is worthy of such praise because they have been a bit shit for the past eight years?’ – yes? I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but Carabao Cup winning, FA cup semi-finalist, Champions League finalist, 3 titles in 4 years Manchester City ARE QUITE GOOD AT FOOTBALL. City’s bench against PSG in the second leg of their semi-final against PSG contained Sterling, Jesus, Aguero, Ake, Laporte, Mendy, Cancelo, Rodri and Torres. That team would probably get top 4. They have a manager who is probably one of the best of all time, with years ahead of him to cement that. I have no grievance against City, and United are not some paupers, and football means you have to try and beat the best, but surely those factors come into it? Surely finishing second to that team isn’t some show that Ole should not get a new contract? His transfers and team decisions have all (except Donny) improved the team, his finishings have improved, he’s beaten all the managers you’d want him to beat, what’s the problem with the new contract?
James, Galway

 

Pointing progeny in the right direction
My son is fairly young and has grown up across the road from the Emirates (although we’ve moved up the road now) and due to proximity and seeing the stadium every day, has decided he’s an Arsenal fan. We get the train to nursey every morning and he will tell every person on the train to look at the stadium as we go past etc.

I however support Chelsea, like my dad and Granddad as I come from that side of London (well Surrey but you get the picture) and I have a big dilemma. Obviously I want him to support his local team as it’s where he was born and he is genuinely from Highbury. However, I also want to look out for him and for him to have some joy growing up and not just constant disappointment. There’s enough in life that will kick him in the balls and he really doesn’t need it from his football team. I know how it feels, I had it through the 80’s and 90’s and it’s no fun.

Mailbox, what do I do. Do I put my foot down or just leave it to him?
Lee, Hornsey

P.s. To further muddy the waters. He’s now equidistant between Arsenal and Spurs (god forbid)
P.p.s I recall everybody’s favourite “Norf London” angry mailboxer declaring that Chelsea were sliding into irrelevancy a while back. Bit premature that statement

 

Arsenal fan Stan Kroenke

 

Jealousy behind the hate for Man City?
Hi Mark

It was an interesting point you made this morning in the mailbox at how the hate towards City is entirely about jealousy and maybe there is some truth to that

But the honest truth is that I hate what City have done to football, they have made the Premier League pretty much a closed shop

Hence you guys winning 3 of the last 4 leagues.

Somebody might ride to challenge for a year but they’ll be out back in their place because If City make a mistake in the transfer market the next year they go and spend a load of money to set it right, something no other club can realistically do.

Hence the number of centre backs you’ve signed over the last 5 years.

Your club has made football dull and it will pretty much never stop.

Look at the champions league this year, the semi finals were played by 3 clubs owned by the ultra rich and Real Madrid who for some reason would be the under dogs in this story.

This summer will likely see City buy the best striker in the world because they and PSG are the only clubs that can and the cycle will continue

Add to this the shocking human rights of the country that owns you and you start to see why people think your club is bad

I don’t disagree with people being able to buy clubs and improve them as otherwise you just have the same old clubs fighting, it’s the lasting damage of transfer and wage inflation that these billionaire owners have caused which really irks me.

Most clubs are going busy trying to keep up and won’t be able to do so which cause the ESL to be a thing.

So for me City are pretty much killing football and I think that will really come home to roost over the next few years as we see the fallout of COVID

But yep I’m just a bitter red so whatever
Leon

 

Safeguarding kids and grassroots football
The FA have made great strides in improving grassroots football for kids in recent years. Coaches and volunteers have to be DBS checked, and attend safeguarding courses. These are regularly renewed and are particularly important for Standard Chartered Clubs.

In essence, the kids wellbeing and safety should be at the forefront of grassroots football.

In our area of the country it seems that the desperation to not have a second season voided has meant the kids are no longer the priority, the priority is getting the season finished.

Teams were allowed to train from 29 March, and fixtures were then arranged from 11 April. If teams only train on a Saturday, that was two training sessions before a match. Many of the fixtures from that date have been double headers. So the kids have gone from three months of inactivity, straight into double headers on pitches that, because of a lack rain, are rock hard.

We are seeing an unprecedented amount of injuries, matches are frequently called off citing injuries. Personally we’ve seen non impact injuries putting players out for months.

I can’t believe that given the ethos of the FA to protect children, that individual FA’s have decided that finishing league seasons was the most important priority, and that the players should be run into the ground to achieve this.

Bringing football back is great, the kids want to play. Voiding the leagues and having mini world cup tournaments would have been great, but this desperation to give out some medals leaves me so frustrated.

It’s detrimental to the kids and our FA should be ashamed.

Regards,
Nick

 

Without capitalism Football365 wouldn’t exist?
TX Bill, can you please explain to me how without capitalism, Football365 wouldn’t exist? Call it that good old fashioned ignorance you seem to love, but please, elucidate me.

Is it because John Nicholson – clearly the biggest draw – wouldn’t have anything to write about if we lived in a socialist world, so therefore the site wouldn’t get enough traffic to survive?

Or is it because without capitalism, we’d only have the state media to give us their version of a match report between the hometown Reds vs the pigdog red/blue/white Stripes? Of course, as you so wisely pointed out, football wouldn’t exist either, because the concept for this sport and the idea of wages/salary only came into existence with the birth of capitalism, and ancient history isn’t littered with evidence of either.

Or is it plain determinism; because we live in a capitalist world, and F365 exists, so without the world the way it was and is, the site wouldn’t exist? Because, then you might as well say that without the dinosaurs, F365 wouldn’t exist either, and be equally correct.
Neill, (“wealthy white men” have it so hard, boo-hoo!), Ireland

 

Global fans
After skipping to the end of Prabashni’s email I unwittingly accepted his thanks so felt I owed him a reply.

Global fans get lumped in with the type of glory supporters who grow up in say Surrey but support Man Utd because they were winning a lot when they were kids.

I support a League 2 side because I grew up there, I still think that football in this country would be healthier if that was the case for most fans. I also though support the New York Mets, I have been there precisely once and am very much a plastic fan. I don’t tend to annoy other baseball fans though because they are shite, I follow them because a mate who got me into the sport grew up in Queens and I watched the Mets with him.

If a fan from outside the UK was a massive Burnley, Brighton or Southampton fan because of some sort of tenuous connection no one would get irate. But we only hear from fans of the usual big clubs and it’s tiresome and makes them seem like every other glory hunter we’ve been bored by at school and later in the workplace.

Also TX Bill, please start your emails with Reagan quotes and your worries for the fate of wealthy white men so we know we can safely skip the rest of your email.
James SUFC, Leeds

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