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Just to preface this I think Allardyce is a prat. I’d say something far worse but I think the mailbox should be more civilised than what I really think.
My main issue at the moment is the opinion that Emery is some kind of idiot for implementing his philosophy against City. I understand the risks and I totally understand how in some ways it played into City’s hands but I still don’t think it was the wrong way to go about it. If we rewind two years to look at another team that adopted a strict philosophy where playing out from the back was a requirement at all times, despite a lot of the players clearly not being good enough and others unfamiliar with the system there are so many clear reasons why it is a good idea to stamp the philosophy on the team. Pep was absolutely slaughtered for the Everton and Leicester games, admittedly fair enough, where he played into the opposition’s hands. Watching Stones makes several mistakes and the defence creak and break under Vardy’s pressure was the height of Fraudiola and you could barely hear anything but the smug chuckling of luddites like Allardyce saying if he thinks he can come over here and do that then he doesn’t know our game and never will.
What Pep did though was build the foundations for the next season. Admittedly there were replacement players for massive money, but there was also a massive improvement in the understanding of the philosophy and individual improvement of existing players. Arsenal will become a team that will play out from the back all the time so why change that in the first game? Why set out on the first step, in the first competitive game and say to your players ‘we’re not good enough to play the way we’ve practised so we’ll do a bit of passing from the back but most of the time play long and send it up’. It sets the wrong precedent and that’s what managers like Allardyce and the pillocks on most panels miss. It’s not reactionary backs to the walls stuff, but it is imprinting an idea and a style on the team.
Let’s be honest, who thought Arsenal would get something from that game before? That’s not to denigrate Arsenal or take issues with fan optimism but to point out the realities that Pep has had this team for two years, had huge investments, just won the league and had a very strong performance against a Chelsea team that is probably still ahead of Arsenal. If Emery got beat 2-0 going long with Aubamayang chasing high balls and the rest of the players looking for the second ball then it would have been a write-off for a coach. We got to see the whirlwind of Guendouzi, both liability and most exciting player, the home fans got to see the commitment to the style (which for me would have been a plus) and I bet Emery learned more than in the entire pre-season. I get that losing 2-0 at the outset of the project is deflating but in the long run seems to me a no brainer and it’s easier to see the cracks when the systems under pressure.
DBM (Oooooooh Kevin De Bruyne ☹) MCFC
Spurs need to fleece the tourists
First of all, I was sceptical from the start that the new Lane would be ready on schedule. Can anyone think of a single large modern construction project that finished on time? Anyway, we’ll survive, just a shame that we’ll have a few more home matches away from home.
In the larger picture though, what matters is how the fans will be treated regarding the new stadium. The way I see it, there are four kinds of people who come to matches: the season ticket holders, others (mostly locals) who know all the songs but for some reason can’t come as often, and then fans who come from afar who care to varying degrees and don’t always know how to contribute to the atmosphere. And then there are the tourists, who just come once to see one match, any top club’s match.
The last two groups are the ones the club should be looking at making money from – I belong to the third group, so I’m shooting myself in the foot here. I can’t come over often anyway, so whether it costs 30, 60 or even 80 quid (please no more than that) won’t make that much of a difference. For some, the ticket price won’t matter at all, so by all means charge whatever you want for those few luxury seats, as long as they aren’t too many.
But the first two groups should really be getting their tickets on the cheap, preferably cheaper than even before the new stadium. They’re the ones who are going to make the noise, the whole atmosphere. Allocate the majority of the seats to season ticket holders, and other local fans via some loyalty scheme or another that doesn’t involve paying extra money. With the extra seats, you can still fit us faraway fans in. Even if you think about it from a totally cynical economic perspective, the atmosphere is what sells the club to sponsors – apart from playing good football of course.
When you come right down to it, with the new TV deals, the added money from the new stadium’s added capacity won’t be as important as it perhaps once seemed it would be. BBC recently investigated that ten clubs in the Premier League, Spurs included, would have made profits from last season even without ticket revenues. So how about making the most of the new Lane by acknowledging that even from a business point of view, loyal, vociferous fans aren’t just customers, but perhaps the club’s most important asset? Agree with me, Mr Levy?
Samuli, THFC, Helsinki
Sympathy from a Gunner
I do love a good dig at Spurs, celebrating when they lose, enjoying their misfortune (sadly a lot less these days) and revelling in the rivalry – no hate, its only football, not war.
But this isn’t that. This is merely an outside observer wondering just what the hell is going on. Reading Dave Tickner’s article on the travails of Tottenham’s new stadium and quiet summer could have been about Arsenal a decade ago bar one important distinction – Arsenal had just won seven major trophies in as many years, one of the best periods in our history, and the fanbase were all loyal and grateful to the mighty Wenger, believing anything he said and following him no matter what.
Also, we were (and are) one of most popular and famous clubs around the world with tens of millions of fans and (cough) countless social media followers. A lean period was expected and, for most fans, acceptable, if the end game was to elevate our financial firepower (Copyright Gazidis, I) and see us boldly stride into a new dawn. While that hasn’t exactly happened, for many and varied reasons, Wenger managed to keep delivering Champions League footie and reaching the occasional final meaning that our worldwide fanbase continued to grow and the stadium remained full.
However, as has been mentioned by another contributor here, the expensive Emirates season tickets and lack of season-long title challenges meant that the huge waiting list began to fall away, lifelong holders sadly cancelling their association and keen die-hard fans waiting in the wings giving it up. Where once it seemed there was a limitless supply of fresh blood, gradually the river ran dry until the last couple of seasons where the evidence was there for all to see.
Now, I feel Spurs may be on this same path, with lifelong fans grumbling of being taken advantage of and being unable to afford the season tickets. And while the club is experiencing a high point in their existence, building on a position of strength, the ground they stand on is far from stable as their fanbase is not as affluent locally or numerous globally as that of Arsenal.
Add to that a squad that may be in need of serious upgrade in the next year – Alderweireld, Vertonghen and Dembele are in the last 12 months of their deals and Eriksen the final two years – and you have a situation that could very quickly turn sour.
A lot depends on how they fare this year, if they can get their names etched once more onto Arsene’s Top 4 Trophy and push on in the Champions League then maybe things will even out. But a summer of inactivity will not be forgiven, nor a larger stadium continually filled, if they were to drop back to ‘Spursdays’ in the Europa.
I’m never going to want them to do well, but I’m certainly not hoping their project fails. They are a well-run, self-funded club with an ambitious plan that play attractive footie with a young squad, to see them fail would be sad for the idea that you can compete with financial doping.
As a fan of another self-funded club built on similar ideals I wish them well… I just hope they do the decent thing and finish below us.
Alay (Wolves and Everton to form a new big six at North London’s expense), N15 Gooner
Shouldn’t Man United covet an attacking manager?
adidasmufc (please not Zidane and DEFINITELY not Southgate!) wants Simeone to replace Mourinho based on 1 super cup victory over a Ronaldo-less Real.
May I suggest watching a few more Simeone games before coming to such a ridiculous conclusion. I would however like to ask one question:
If Man Utd really are all about “Attack, Attack, Attack” (TM) then why have all their managers since Ferguson been dour negative bastards with the commensurate footballing style?
You then advocate another one to replace Mourinho!
Surely entitled Man U fans should be dreaming about buying managers like Poch, Klopp and Pep rather than more of the same?
Fat Man Scouse
Siding with Jose v Pogba
I am with Mourinho on this. Pogba needs to shut up and play. The times of players taking managers ransom are long gone. Great midfielders like Iniesta, Xavi, David Silva, Modric and Kroos barely spoke or speak to the media. They do their talking on the pitch. You cannot perennially brag on how good you are and when given a chance you have nothing to show. Mourinho adored Pogba. He bought him and for long he was his untouchable. Actually in the first season Pogba and Ibra were basically untouchables. But at no point did he dominate the midfield. He bought Matic and this was expected to free him. He started the season well and thereafter started laboring. Especially in big matches, Pogba and the likes of Mickytaryan were passengers. One wonders whether it is up to Mou to go and dominate the midfield or it is Pogba to change and do so.
I watched all our games last season and I saw no game against the big teams where Pogba imposed himself on the game. He was paired with Herrera and Matic and many more midfield and he was basically lost. Even against Leicester recently Pogba was paired with Fred and Andrea and he again failed to dominate a modest Leicester Midfield. Much is said about his man of the match performance but all I saw was a labored midfield display against lesser opposition. What happens when we meet City and the new Chelsea. We shall be overrun then!
I would honestly prefer to see Matic play with Herrera and Fred. And supported by Perreira. These are players who don’t talk much and shall give their best and shall not take the manager by ransom. In the wake of the WC everyone has been praising Pogba but I don’t also see where he stood out. The French player as a unit. Kante and the other midfielders played the same role in ensuring the French won. The defense of Varane and Umtiti was imperious. Coupled with luck, the French emerged victorious. As usual the media picks a narrative and pushes on with it. I don’t think Pogba stood out like Modric or Mbappe did. He played in a three man midfield and he just did simple.things right. He did not flicks. He wasn’t pedestrian. He defended and tackled. It is the same midfield Mourinho played him last season and he was a no show.
Let Pogba stop blaming Mou for his inefficiency. Let him shut up and play. Or let him go. In any case he is going to Barca to compete with Busquets, Rakitic, Coutinho and Vidal for three Midfield slots. Good luck with that!!
Kroos: Not arbiter of racism
I suspect Toni Kroos has never actually experienced racism so his comments about Mesut have as much validity as those people, who will be telling A Level students today that didn’t get the grades, that they didn’t go to university because it’s a waste of time.
Unless you have actually experienced it, you cannot identify it – so my advice to Toni Kroos is to shut the hell up.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Invite Scots into Carabao Cup?
Whilst I think it would be all too much of a farce to include Scottish teams into the English football leagues at this point, I do think there could be at least some fusion.
Why don’t we evolve the English League Cup (Carabao Cup) into the British League Cup and invite the Scottish teams to join in on the fun?
There is no disguising that the Carabao Cup has limited use and I am not even slightly convinced it offers anything much different than the FA Cup.
Including the Scottish teams would give the Carabao Cup a different competitive flavour and I for one would quite enjoy a trip up to Celtic Park.
Has anyone got a contact at EFL?