Arteta’s five-year plan explained; Man Utd right to want ‘fantastic’ Rabiot, not ‘overhyped’ De Jong

Editor F365
Frenkie de Jong and Mikel Arteta

A single mail from a Mailbox stalwart has got everyone talking and Man Utd’s signing of Adrien Rabiot makes more sense than their pursuit of Frenkie de Jong.

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Mikel Arteta vs Stewie Griffin
Any person with a pulse watching All or Nothing: Arsenal would watch Arteta draw his heart-energy-clarity picture with at the very least a smirk, maybe even a smile. I imagine Stewie Griffin would be beet red, lambasting the poor drawing skills on display. Where to even start…

Comparing culture is ludicrous. They’re not even in the same postcode. One was a short term (literally one off-season) issue with one player while the other was deeply rooted after festering for almost 10 years. Fixing that takes time. Totally different challenges for Arteta and Conte.

As for Arteta’s “5 year plan” – yes, you won’t find that specific language being used around his appointment. If you could be bothered googling you will find plenty of interviews where Mikel has talked about short, medium, and long term plans going back more than 2 years. Who knows what Arteta talked about in his application and interview. Sadly I suspect because a narrative isn’t being fit, it might not make any difference to a person’s perspective.

Something a little more nebulous. I love that we had the same manager for 22 years. It made things feel a little more…family. I look at clubs that swap managers regularly and all I can think is “soulless”. Arteta was a former player. A former captain. We should always give someone like that time to prove they’re up for it before hiring the next mercenary mega-coach.

Insisting that a significant discrepancy in squad capability is not relevant for the sake of validating a toxic perspective is not discussing in good faith.

One last thing – Arteta won a major trophy in his first 6 months as Arsenal manager. Remind me what trophy Conte has won with Sp*rs?
Matt (I suspect Stewie is an F365 plant to generate discussion) Wright, Gunner in Aus.


Arteta/Arsenal’s five-year plan explained
Ok Stewie, normally I skip your mails but you called me out so I thought I would tell you what I think the 5 year plan is for Arsenal based solely on my external view of the club as I am not privy to their actual plans.

Year 1) Stabilise the rot. We had a bunch of overpaid millionaires who were phoning in performances, a bloated squad of players not good enough to deliver. Triage out those who don’t fit your long term plans. A club who’s attitude was 4th is good enough

Year 2) Continue to clear out dross and sign players who fit your system. You are never going to overturn a squad in one or even two seasons. You need to know your direction of travel and build a squad towards that. Continue to bed in YOUNG players with quality older talent to support – we didn’t have that. Our older players let us down

Year 3) Get back into Europe, and further amend the squad. Be capable of having depth and talent that pushes the other players and raise the overall level and have a squad of players who can press – Get rid of players like Auba and Laca and replace them with hungry youth, and proven in league talent. Get for top 4, and also sign promising global youth. We have the youngest squad in the Prem FFS, you should be proud that they can semi compete already, but you’re a glass half sh*t man, so you wouldn’t see that.

Now comes the guess work…

Year 4) With CL football, we can attract the top tier talent, further augment your young squad who have now had almost 3 seasons of playing together and bonding. Further jettison the remnants of the squad who are not bought into your new ethos and work environment. You now have a squad and a team ready to challenge for the league. Top 4 again, and a good run in the CL is the target

Year 5) You have the squad you want, playing the way you want, in the image of the manager. Players who give their all, who buy into the vision Arteta and Edu had for the club. As winners, not perennial also rans who ‘put the pressure on’.

It really isn’t that difficult to see, unless of course you have your own blinkers on where you can’t get past the manager, the squad, or more importantly the club. You hated Wenger in his final years, you hated Emery throughout and now you hate Arteta. I’m gonna say it, I don’t think you like anything about Arsenal at all. You represent everything bad with the current way football is viewed with immediate results expected.
John Matrix (AFC)


Oh, Stewie…
The problem with being contrary on a public record is that with the fullness of time, you can sometimes be revealed as a complete idiot.

Apropos of nothing, in a mailbox from 7 years ago, Stewie Griffin states that Olivier Giroud was unable to break into ‘an average French team’ that reached the final of the Euros that same season, and won the World Cup with Giroud leading the line three years later. Additionally, Stewie said a few days earlier that he would rather have had Ayoze Perez leading the line for Arsenal than everyone’s favourite French hunk (who would later win the CL with Chelsea, scoring 6 in 8), and that ‘Giroud will never be good enough’.

Giroud has clearly never been the greatest in the world, and I’m sure no-one would have predicted these highs in 2015, there was sufficient evidence that he was certainly better than Ayoze Perez. This little snippet of mailbox digging does, however, give a little demonstration of how ridiculous the character of Stewie Griffin actually is.
James Jones, STFC (What a sad little life) 


A Mailbox stalwart
I’ve enjoyed Stewie Griffins mixture of fact, opinion and general baiting over the years. I particularly admire his unbending commitment to hammer everything Arsenal related.

Is it borne of a frustration stemming from years of perceived underachievement for his beloved Gunners?
Is he a Tottenham fan revelling in putting the boot into a rival at every opportunity?
It’s quite possible it’s neither and we’ve just had the pleasure of reading a decades worth of trolling.
I wouldn’t seek to criticise Stewie for his stance, it’s important to always listen to different views and simply listening doesn’t equate to agreement.
However one observation is key.
For all his righteousness, never once has he suggested a course of action for Arsenal FC.

Ladies and gentlemen of the mailbox, I’m sure we all look forward to reading the next contribution from Stewie Griffin, the man with a problem for every solution.
Eoin (nice weather we’re having, guarantee Mr Griffin knows when the rain is due) Ireland 


Edu said it best
Ahhh Stewie, ever heard of Google?

“I gave the club a five-year plan. I said to Mikel and to the board: ‘Guys, 2022/23 will be the season we’re going to be much better.”

That’s from Edu, Arsenals technical director. He has quoted this plan dozens of times.

And tbh the majority of fans, not the twitter “fans”, are all on board with this project if we get champions league and compete this year. Let’s see what happens.
Rob A (come on Stewie, your better than this) AFC


The problem with Marcus
Not often do we see a fall from grace with the same velocity as Rashford’s. When we think about underachieving players, we conjure images of Dele, Wilshere, Betamax. Deli flattered to deceive from pretty early on, Jack effectively imploded physically, and VHS was simply a better quality product.

Rashford is different. Rashford came in at a time when he was needed. He got better with each season and became a player who could get in to most teams in Europe. He maintained this level for a decent period too while many around him were, frankly, sh*te.

Looking chronologically, around the time when he started to help the poor and vulnerable children by holding up a mirror to the tories showing them that they were being tories, his form started to dip. In my mind I put it down to distraction. I subconsciously held him in such high regard as a player that I couldn’t believe he could fall foul of the curse of united as he seemed to be immune for so long.

I saw the rumours about him leaving and, for once, a move to PSG made total sense. I get it now, Rashford is still a quaility player, he just needs to not play in one of the most toxic environments top flight football has seen. As an LFC fan it’s usually nice to see Mancs fail, but Rashford is a quality player and more importantly a very nice person.

Rashford to PSG, I’ll tell you, honestly, I will love it…
Mike (LFC)


Keeping up with the Icardi’s
United fans need to get a grip.

The current trauma & pearl clutching around the state of affairs at United is a bit much. So let me break it down point by point:

1. Arunatovic: Always a bad idea, clubs listened to the fans and cancelled that. Shows a club that listens atleast.

2. Rabiot: A fantastic midfielder, miles ahead of McFred. Had a good time at PSG & a bad one at Juve. Worth a punt at less than 20m. Who gives a shit about mothers and agents. If we can handle Raiola, we can handle Veronica. Grow up people.

3. Icardi: A man who at the age of 29 has managed to consistently score and is a much much much much much better striker than any we have at the club bar Ronaldo.

But we seem to be rather interested in the following:

1. De Jong: Overhyped player for 85m (Atleast 50m above what he is worth) who wasnt anything great at Barcelona. Add to that the fact that he doesnt wanna come. But sure, lets go get another overpriced mediocre player.

2. Gakpo: Decent player with decent stats. But again who? Untested and unproven in the premier league. If Sancho cant cut it, Gakpo is a flip of a coin.

3. Random other names that seem to hype up the youtube boys, but no one who can come in and make a difference on DAY ONE ala Haaland, Darwin, Sterling etc. We are acting like Arsenal and its embarrassing honestly. The fact that a club that is under team renovation for 15 years is better run that us has to be the absolute bottom.

As a fan there is always hope, and I for one hope that whoever comes, will do a killer job and add some class and respect to the United way. Waiting 2 months for football to come back, just to get manhandled by Brighton is just depressing. So blind faith and optimism is where I am at. United fans just need to stop fretting about on social media, and have a little more faith. Just because Pogba was a virus doesnt mean everyone is.
Aman (It is hope that kills)


What every Premier League club still needs as the transfer deadline creeps closer


McFred a victim of clickbait
As a Manchester United Fan I am dripfed by the day millions of clickbait and opinions from Media, Experts, Fellow Fans etc. It is apparent to me that you go on any platform, especially when United, or any team for that matter, are playing and you see constant comments, reactions about the game and players. 99 Times out of 100 you can guarantee that the people “commenting” are not even watching the game, they are people with Agendas that want to drum up Hysteria for the likes of Toxic hacks like Luckhurst, Samuel and Marshall, Tyrone to name a few will jump all over.

I am not a Fred or McTominay apologist but the abuse that they seem to get is OTT. Some of the things you see people say are disgusting. For the sake of being level headed these 2 are not playing because they won a raffle, they are selected because they earn the right to do so. They are both International Footballers who play in Tournaments, I guess they won a raffle to do that as well? Irrespective of which Nations it is they are still International Footballers. The problem I find is that Media people use their positions to influence the public and in regards to “McFred” it is pretty prevalent, it is the same scenario with Maguire. It Always interests me how Bruno especially is consistently one of the worst performers, he was worse than those 3 last weekend yet not a word gets said? Why is that? The fact of the matter is because slating Bruno does not get the same hype, clicks and bites that is, toilet paper publications like MEN, The Sun etc feed off of the constant negativity.

Football as they say is all about opinions and that is what is great about it but this Media/Social Media Hype that in turn causes a bandwagon of hate and vitriol needs to stop. People just need to chill and trust the process, it has been 1 game not 38. If they cannot support United through thick and thin, that includes the Players, then go and support City instead.


Amad isn’t League Two standard
There has been a lot of talk over the last few days on how to ‘fix’ Manchester United and a number of contributors have waxed lyrical about the young players. Whilst I can’t really comment on your Hannibals, garnachos or zidanes, one player who I saw a lot of (well very little due to his performances) last year whilst on loan at rangers was amad diallo.

From what I saw I would doubt that the lad is ready for league 2 football never mind spearheading a top 4 PL place.

I would say when you can’t get any game time ahead of luminaries such as Scott arfield and Scott wright it is a worrying sign.

So can I ask all those saying he is the answer what exactly it is they have seen?
J, Belfast


Trent is Liverpool’s Achilles heel
Great passionate response from Adam (Leeds), someone who can’t be arsed to go through all the stats, just like me. However, I merely gave the formula to prove the point beyond reasonable doubt.

As this is all anectodal then, let’s try a different hypothesis: Trent is targeted by other teams.

It’s just what I see in the games that I watch. Brilliant player, but in my opinion, Liverpool’s Achilles heel. I also know that many fans will defend players to the hilt and I respect that passion. Maybe we should ask Sky to settle it? Happy to be proved wrong.

Enjoy the weekend.
Fat Man (still working out how to delta an apple).

All or Nothing doesn’t tell the full story
I’ve been Arteta In from day one, and the released episodes of All or Nothing have only validated that in my eyes. He seems like a classy coach. However, the sheer brazenness of the propaganda at work in the “”””documentary””””” does rub me the wrong way.

Isn’t it insane that we haven’t seen a single interview with Aubameyang? He’s the club captain, at the time an icon of the club and one of two major parties in Arsenal’s biggest controversy of last year, and yet we hear more from Nuno Tavares. NUNO TAVARES. With all due respect, who gives a flying f*ck what Nuno Tavares was up to last season?

They go so out of their way to glorify every single decision Arteta makes that it gets slightly sickening. I’m sure Granit Xhaka is a lovely man and a great father, but that sequence made me gag a little, and then they do it AGAIN with Arteta. It’s so blatant that it’s almost comedic.

Why didn’t we get an interview with Ainsley Maitland-Niles? He was so integral to their FA Cup win that he received an England call-up, only to be so frozen out by Arteta for no apparent reason that now his career has completely backslid. Why don’t we actually know what it’s like to be forced to train on your own for months, being isolated from your friends and teammates? Why didn’t Aubameyang tell us about his sick mother that he allegedly missed training for? Because, seeing as Arteta is still at Arsenal, they couldn’t risk anything that might show him or the club in a negative light.

Again, I’m still a fan of Arteta. This strikes me as a creative decision that was made higher up than him. But for a series named All or Nothing, I’ve never seen such an obviously sanitised “fly-on-the-wall” documentary.

PS: That conversation between Edu and Martinelli was obviously staged, right?


A different perspective on the five-subs rule
Just like to quickly say I appreciated Ethans mail on 5 subs and agree that there is a deeper argument to be had rather than the commonly accepted view that it benefits the bigger teams.

I also think it’s all relative. Overall the difference in player standard between two teams hasn’t changed. If City have a first XI of 10/10 quality players and a bench of 9/10 quality and Brentford have a first XI or 6/10 quality players and a bench of 5/10 quality then the difference between the two remains similar for the 90 mins.

Assuming the above is true, I see this as a positive for the smaller team. Differences in quality between two teams often changes during 90 mins when one team has more possession and the other tires. So City could wear Brentford players down to perform at 3 or 4/10 effectiveness by the end of the game whilst City players’ standard barely drops. Well now Brentford can swap half their team and minimise that impact. The manager of the so called ‘smaller’ team also has more opportunities to make tactical changes to influence the game. I hope we see more formation changes and curveball subs this season (we can all agree we want to see more CBs coming on as No.9s for example).

As Ethan points out, the opposing argument is that smaller teams have a much bigger drop in relative quality from first XI to their bench. There will definitely be teams that suffer from this more than others but does it necessarily correlate with club size/wealth? I always think of the 2008/9 Liverpool squad here. That team had significant investment and was the 2nd best in the league but potentially had the starkest drop in quality from XI to bench. If 5 subs existed that season they probably would’ve finished with less points and teams below with more balanced squads may have picked up more. Would be good to hear which supporters are most concerned about their First XI>Bench drop this season.