Mailbox: Arteta must go; he has s**t in his eyes

Arsenal have won two games but the Mailbox still thinks Mikel Arteta is nae good. Send views on this and more to


Arteta must go
Having just seen Arsenal win for the second game in succession I am now watching Arteta being interviewed and it’s clear that he simply must go. He won’t of course, after the two wins however it’s his delusion which has me extremely concerned.

After the victory over Chelsea he claimed that recent performances were good and it was just luck and results going against us. After the 0-1 victory over Brighton  it took him about five seconds before saying to the interviewer “results, not performances” when talking about Arsenal’s struggles. There appears to be some kind of mental block when it comes to being honest about the performances this season or possibly (and a bigger concern) he has s**t in his eyes and thinks that the performances have actually been good.

On top of these delusions regarding performance you have the percentage waffle of how likely we would have beaten the opposition based on data and my personal favourite which was of course the ‘pure maths’ when we crossed the ball 44 times against Spurs which resulted in 0 goals. So this ‘pure maths’ is what exactly? 50 crosses = 1 goal? So to win a game 2-0 we would cross the ball 100 times?

We do not need a manager who operates in such a fashion and although we probably won’t actually get relegated and we might start to climb the table he still must go.
Frankie AFC


Arteta is atrocious
I am not an Arsenal fan, but feel moved to talk about this club that was for many years the only rival to my club (Manchester United) when I was growing up.

What made Arsenal so special for so long? It was their brand of football. For more years than I would like to admit, Arsenal played the most attractive style of football in the league.

Now look at them. You have no idea when the next half-chance might come let alone goal. Even their 3-1 win against Chelsea must not be heralded as a turning of the corner. All three of their goals do not look like the type of goals that can be replicated very often. (A penalty, a direct freekick and a flukey cross that even the goalscorer must have been shocked to see fly in).

The worst part about is that one of their highest paid players blatantly holds the key to unlock the heart of this problem.

How can Mesut Ozil be frozen out of this Arsenal team so bereft of quality?

Arteta sold their best goalkeeper (Martinez), has frozen out the best playmaker, not managed to make them particularly hard to score against and made them impotent up top. If this is not enough, he comes out in the press and starts rambling on about some strange statistics – presumably expected goals!

The Premier League is supposed to be a premium product with elite players, grounds, managers etc. Arteta is not blending in.

Its a minor miracle he got the job in the first place – it will be a big one if he is still there at the end of the season.
Mustafa Rashid

Bruno the best
Who is the better player, Mo Salah , Kevin DeBrune or Bruno Fernandes? Salah requires a facilitator and he is a very good finisher but in a poor team, Roma for example, he is average. Kevin De Bruyne is average, sorry F365, he is good when the going is good, but as well average a lot of times. I expected a lot from Belgium in the world cup, and he failed to deliver. He just doesn’t do it for me. Maybe I don’t understand what KDB does, but I seriously doubt the brilliance that is touted on this site.

Bruno Fernandes gives the ball away but he makes passes that just seem impossible. He individually drives that team forward. He is the best player in the league by a country mile, he is MVP, and if they had a competent defence, they’d probably walk the league. That’s how good he has been. l don’t know what it takes to make a captain, but if Ole is going to survive, Bruno has to be made captain.
Dave (Martinelli is a pretty special player, he is Brazilian too), Somewhere


Lampard going manic
A great piece by Will Ford on Lampard’s current managerial faux pas.

When I read last year that Werner would be a great buy for Liverpool – being able to play in any position across the front line I watched him play and realized he was only dangerous when running at defences from a central or slightly off centre position- usually in a breakaway. This didn’t fit a possession oriented team nor would he work as a ‘winger’. So glad Liverpool bought Jota instead who fitted the team better.

Seemed to me Chelsea were doing their thing of buying lots of good players but without a plan of where they would play. Last year Chelsea were more balanced – even with their poor defensive set up – compared to this year. A testament to Lampard’s poor management.

Other writers who have complained that OGS gets a lot of flack while Lampard (and Arteta) seemed to be getting off easy have a point. While we are more fickle these days, with constant football exposure and jumping on to a team after one win or loss, Lampard never really impressed at Derby and has the same challenge in trying to build a team that can score while also not leaking like a sieve. Clearly harder than it looks – and partly the pressure of managing a ‘bigger’ club where the expectations are high. Yet here we are and nothing seems to have changed in that regard.

Einstein was reputed to have said doing the same thing but expecting a different outcome was a sign of insanity.

Lampard seems to be Mr. Angry all the time now, probably the onset of full mania.
Paul McDevitt


On Big Sam
I enjoyed TFF Paris’ email celebrating Allardyce the manager yesterday; it was informative, soaked in nostalgia in and included some critique. Admittedly I disagreed with large portions of the mail, being as I’m one of the Allardyce critics from previous mailboxes, that being said I feel the mail was an example of the mailbox at its best.

The purpose of this email though was to go over Allardyce’s suitability for a top side. I noticed that TFF acknowledged Allardyce’s character made him unattractive to the biggest teams while maintaining his ability would have made him a success. It’s this notion that led to me writing in. There are a few traits top clubs tend to look for in a manager; a defined attractive playing style, history of silverware, track record in developing players and the wild card of a successful history with the club. I feel few people could make a case for Allardyce on any of these grounds; he hasn’t recorded a positive goal difference since 2006 and I would argue that he moulded players to fit his system rather than improving them as players.

Beyond the absence of those positives though there is plenty of baggage that Allardyce has always brought with him. The allegations of improper payments to his son following the Panorama investigation in 2006, the same year as the Calciopoli scandal in Serie A would have scared off many teams. Additionally he has a famously thin skin, as evidenced by his relationship with Newcastle, West Ham and Everton fans. It stands to reason if he was capable of falling out with fans of traditionally mid table Premier League clubs that he would struggle under the spotlight at Old Trafford or the Emirates during a rough patch. If we’re to look further afield I doubt Real Madrid and Inter Milan (who he famously claimed to be suited for) even knew who he was, much less consider a manager with an unremarkable playing career, zero trophies and no second language.

If you were to take away all the bluster and headlines that come with Allardyce what you get is a good manager with a solid body of work who stands shoulder to shoulder with the likes of Hodgson, Curbishley and Moyes. Really nothing to be ashamed of. That being said it’s his character and ego that make him stand apart from his peers and the soap opera of the Premier League has been a richer place for his presence.
Kevin, Nottingham


…So… Sam Allardyce, where to start?

Send his team to Anfield, all players suddenly play well for West Brom, suddenly effort, commitment, passion.

Then… Wait for it. Play at home to another promoted team and get pumped. Where was the commitment, passion, effort?

Biggest problem a champion team face, others suddenly get better, then slump. I don’t blame the players, it’s natural.

But I do blame Sam Allardyce, great interview after pool game with a big radio station.

Lauded him up, firefighter Sam, he loved it, great motivator, tactically astute. Nope. Not. At. All.

Yes I’m bitter, but I’ll sleep a whole lot better tonight knowing that smug look has been taken off Sam Allardyce.

Guess there will be no interviews in the morning Sam?
Ade (20 coming United fans, and no, you are not a title contender ) Guildford


…Your last mailbox began with the brave header: ‘Only Jose, Klopp and Guardiola are better than Big Sam…’

You forgot Bielsa!
Remy the Saint


Right-back at it
I’m sure it’s been mentioned many times before, but I wonder if there’s ever been a national side who’s had more adequate cover in a single position than England’s current crop of right-backs. Sure, Brazil has had endless decent strikers and Italy has produced masses of exceptional center backs, but all at once? I doubt it.

Back in the not-so-distant day there was more or less only Gary Neville to choose from. The other alternative England-managers had at their disposal was his younger and albeit poorer brother, Phil. That was about it.

The list of current right backs who’s available to play for the Three Lions is however seemingly endless. The eleven (!) obvious top choices read as follows:

-Liverpool’s world class boy-wonder, Trent Alexander Arnold.
-Chelsea’s compact beast, Reece James.
-Manchester United’s tackling extraordinaire, Aaron Wan Bissaka.
-Atletico Madrid’s free-kick specialist, Kieran Trippier.
-Manchester City’s uneven, but still occasionally brilliant, Kyle Walker.
-Brighton’s exceptionally exciting Tariq Lamptey.
-Leicester’s ever-present and reliable James Justin.
-Crystal Palace’s resurrected Nathaniel Clyne.
-Aston Villa’s so far very decent looking summer-signing Matty Cash.
-Norwich’s promising Max Aarons.
-Southampton’s ever-improving Kyle Walker Peters.

In addition to this rather impressive crop, there’s also several other flexible players that easily could put in a shift at right back, despite preferring other positions. Arsenal’s utility man Ainsley Maitland Niles springs to mind. So does Inter Milan’s Ashley (forever) Young as well as Fulham’s Tosin Adarabioyo, Manchester United’s Alex Tuanzebe and Roma’s Chris Smalling.

Less favorable, yet available options are also Leeds’ Luke Ayling, Sheff Utd’s George Baldock, West Brom’s Darnell Furlong, Burnley’s Matthew Lowton, Wolves’ Max Kilman, Crystal Palace’s Martin Kelly, Bournemouth’s Adam Smith, Everton’s Jonjoe Kenny, Watford’s Jeremy Ngakia and even the forgotten man, Manchester United’s Phil Jones.

Right back used to be the most boring position on the field, however with these 26-27 players at England’s disposal it becomes quite the kerfuffle. Let’s all agree though, that Wan Bissaka could (and should) be an exceptional center-back. See? We’re freeing up spots already.
Andreas, Bergen, Norway


Do sh*t refs need crowds?
Having watched the Chelsea/Villa game on Monday night it struck how much space there is for referees to give the opposition both fouls and benefits that’s normally reserved for the home side especially the so called big teams. Now many would say that’s a real plus I get that, but conversely when a referee is having a shite match there are no home fans there to let him know.

Stuart Atwell ran around awarding fouls without so much as a worry. Incredibly it was Chelsea who had the high count as Villa players hit the ground with the slightest of inferred contact. This brings me to Grealish, someone had a stat that he is the most fouled player, he’s a superb player, but he’s not fouled like a Hazard, his stats are padded by his continual buying of free kicks. He spends 3/4 of his game in the air and the other 1/4 on the ground!! Last night Atwell gave advantage to him having fouled Christensen. The pundits claimed it was a 50/50 collision but the replays clearly show Grealish throws a leg out to try and initiate contact. It’s this attempt that clearly fouls Christensen.

My point being the crowd would have been on his back and would have made him aware of the foul. Good or bad refs are getting away Scot free.
P Didi


Anyone want some wings?
Have the Red Bull management been sniffing around any English clubs yet, do we know? I understand the English [+ some Welsh] league is a competitive field, but it seems there’s plenty of money in it for them. So got me wondering: would anyone actively want their club to be taken over by the marketing machine?

Some Newcastle fans seemed happy enough with a takeover linked to dodgy human rights as long as they could get rid of Ashley, but I expect branding the club’s name / kit / stadium would be a step too far for their rich history. (Sports Direct Arena, FFS)

But everyone has a history (yes, even MK Dons …kind of) – Austria Salzburg were already a top Austrian club before their takeover. I wouldn’t want my Cheltenham Town to become the Red Bull Robins even if it did mean tapping into some rich potential and taking us to, say, the Championship or beyond with the big boys. But maybe others would be fine with that.

So would anyone volunteer for the investment? Gao wants to sell Southampton and Hasenhüttl’s worked with RB before. If they have first dibs on players like Sabitzer, Szoboszlai & Upamecano then I can see the sense in it. RB essentially took over a fifth-tier club to make Leipzig so even Stevenage might fancy their chances about now.

Some Wednesday fans in their current predicament might be forgiven for wondering if their Owls could do with being given some new wings.
Laurie, CTFC #UpTheDuff