Would Eric Dier winning the Champions League be the most Spursy thing ever?

Editor F365
Bayern Munich pair Harry Kane and Eric Dier
Bayern Munich pair Harry Kane and Eric Dier

Eric Dier winning the Champions League with Bayern Munich would be incredibly Spursy. Plus, thoughts on David Raya and more.

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com


The most Spursy season ever?
It’s 2-1 to München. Kane just netted the pen. I want Bayern to win the whole thing, just for Harry. He deserves to have a trophy. A proper f*cking trophy.

But….if they do win, is Eric Dier winning the CL the most Spursy thing ever? Seems like a lovely bloke but just a terribly smelly footballer. By that, I mean bad. I’m sure he smells fine. Don’t check this but I’m certain 93.7% of players who leave us go onto win one of those shiny things we seem to have a phobia of.

Eric Dier winning the CL would be absolutely bananas. Not just as a squad player, but as a bonafide starter. It’s Spursy, right?
Glen, Stratford Spur


Disappearing acts
For context I am an Arsenal fan, and I love Declan,. I wrote in after both Bayern games, asking about Declan because I did not see him in the match, yesterday I only noticed Jude when he was being substituted. What is it about this Laimer and Goretzka duo that they hide the two of the best midfielders in the world (according to English media)?

I love Declan, but he is not a No 6, he is not technical enough, see the freedom in our play when Partey plays there. Rice is a beautiful classy Gattuso, and his work out of possession is second to none, but the No 6 has to also be phenomenal when in possession.

Oh, my heart tells me we will win the league, but my head tells me to stop fantasizing, but I am enjoying the journey and loving the fact that Ben White plays for us.
Kufre, Nigeria

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Is Declan Rice actually any good? Join the debate here.


Why are modern defences so bad?
I suppose the first thing you’ll say is – are they bad? On what do I base that?

No matter which team you look at. Any time the teams do badly fans are always saying the same thing – if we had a good DM this wouldn’t happen.

Except maybe City I have never seen a modern City fan make this claim.

I’ve seen Liverpool fans say it today. We saw arsenal fans say it all last season. I’ve seen Spurs fans say it, United fans.

The crazy part is each team claims to have world class defenders. So why are they so bad that they need a DM to ‘protect’ them? I grew up in an era when you had DM when your defence was bad. Early to mid 90s in Milan’s heyday they did not have a battling DM to protect the back four because the back four was literally legends of the game and possibly the greatest back four of all time. Madrid often had one…because their defence was mostly four training cones so Redondo sat in front of them and mopped up.

Juventus had Pirlo in that position (actually inter and Milan had him too) and pirlo BARELY EVER MOVED. A strong gust of wind was more of a challenge than Pirlo.

At the end of Fergie’s reign of terror his midfield was Carrick, Giggs and Scholes – all ready for retirement. And he won a title with that, again because the back four was phenomenal. Fast forward a bit more and Klopp won a title with Milner, Hendo and Wijnaldum, none of them blessed with defensive prowess (unless you count the elbows Milner swung around like he was auditioning for the next kickboxer movie).

So why suddenly does every single team need a defensive midfielder to protect them? The only real explanation is defenders are not as good as they used to be OR attackers are far better than they used to be. Liverpool won that title four years ago, has so much changed in four years that it now necessitates a dedicated player whose soul job is to babysit a back four which includes some people’s choice for top 5 prem league defender of all time AND probably a top 3 prem league keeper of all time ?

Same for Arsenal. All the bleating about how good Gabriel and Saliba being the best ever but they need someone babysitting them?

I find it hard to believe that attackers have gotten THAT good that four defenders can no longer repel two or three attackers. Defenders today are quite clearly very overrated. I see Liverpool fans label Van Dijk as best ever for Liverpool? Van Dijk wishes in his wildest wet dreams he was the standard of Hansen. That’s not even close. I don’t think Saliba is even close to Tony Adams either and United … Well actually United defenders are just bad and prob do need a DM.

Players like Hansen, Maldini, or Beckenbauer would seriously be worth £250m+ in today’s game.

Anyway that’s my rant which the comments can say makes no sense and I’ve quite clearly been sniffing too much ketamine again.


Why Arsenal do not need a new goalkeeper
I think you knew when you published MAW LA Gooner’s mail that you were setting some lovely bait for us, so here I go.

It’s amazing that in a season where we have the best defence, our goalkeeper is going to win the golden glove and we still have a chance to win the Premier League, that our goalkeeper needs changing. Genuinely baffling.

The article on the best keepers in the Premier League shows exactly why statistics can’t ever be used in a vacuum. The top 3 teams in the league by far this season have the 10th, 14th and 21st keepers in the league apparently, pretty impressive.

Or, could it be that these teams have such control over matches that the very few shots they concede tend to be high Xg. Arsenal have an expected goals against for the season of 26 with an average of 8 shots per game, so an average xGA of 0.3 per shot. Man City face 0.26 per shot, Liverpool 0.25, Aston Villa 0.22. So every shot conceded by Arsenal has a higher xGA than their closest competitors, in fact they have one of the highest in the league, so Raya should struggle to save them because these shots tend to have a higher chance of success.

A key metric that you wouldn’t go and find is cross collection. The average cross collection in the Premier League is 6.6% of crosses collected by the Keeper. Raya is 12%, best in the league. Between this and Saliba and Gabriel, set-pieces have become a non problem for Arsenal, conceding almost nothing from set-pieces and using these as a platform for attack. Raya has five shot-creating chances by himself which is high for a keeper.

Are Allison and Ederson better goalkeepers than Raya? Probably. Are there dozens of more elite goalkeepers out there ready to move to Arsenal, no, not really. As always it’s easy to say “upgrade here’ without suggesting who they should upgrade to. And on the priority list, GK is way way down the list compared to a RW to help Saka (Olise, Neto, Cozier Duberry, Striker upgrade on Nketiah to move Jesus to RW) and a CM to replace Partey who is available for more than 10 games a season (Zubimendi, Luiz, Thuram).

Arteta has shown plenty of ruthlessness and I’m sure if a better keeper became available, I am sure we would go for it. But let’s be honest here, a new GK is not something Arsenal need to actively pursue.
Rob A (Bournemouth has banana skin written all over it, they are in ludicrous form) AFC

👉 Martinelli, Rashford, Salah, Son among players every Premier League club should sell this summer
👉 William Saliba in exclusive nine-man Premier League club with Andre Onana
👉 16 Conclusions from Spurs 2-3 Arsenal: Stupidity, set-pieces, perfect outcomes and inverted centre-backs


…Respectfully, citing three random individual errors (that weren’t exclusively Raya’s fault) as evidence of the conclusion that Arsenal needs a new goalkeeper is a tad reactionary.

Every alleged superior option has committed similar or worse errors for their clubs this season & the conclusion rests on the misguided assumption that a “better” goalkeeper wouldn’t have made any of those errors and that clubs can only win big trophies with a ‘perfect’ goalkeeper.

Every player in every position, minus the very elite, will make mistakes. Some lead to goals, most don’t. Mistakes are always frustrating. Goalkeepers are particularly unlucky in that regard and even the most legendary of the bunch have bloopers in their reels.

Nonetheless, I’d argue that Raya’s general proactivity, calm demeanour, and likely development make him good enough for an elite team that wants to win big trophies. There’s a reason why Arteta binned the incumbent and why Bayern Munich were interested in Raya last summer.

All that said, I wish Raya was at least 3 inches taller… but that might mean Arsenal would have had to attempt to buy him from an elite club as opposed to (respectfully) Brentford.
Deen, Texas Gooner (COYG)


Arsenal were more than a little Dychey
After watching the NLD on Sunday where Tottenham really were the better team by most quantifiable metrics, I found it really strange to read some of the analysis post-game. I know that generally the narrative is in favour of the victor but even by those standards I found the press quite one-eyed on this one.

I am by no means saying that Tottenham are the better side overall or that Arsenal are not one of the top two sides in the PL right now. But for this game Arsenal were not good. In fact, it really was ridiculous that they were 0-3 up by halftime. The goals? 2 corners and a fast break. Excuse my French but that is proper Sean Dyche territory.

F365 wrote in 16 Conclusions that both teams really didn’t do that much to be 0-3 up or to reduce the deficit to 2-3 and I really agree with that.

However, I don’t think you can really write 16 conclusions on the game and not talk at all about Michael Oliver. This is in no way some conspiracy theory bullshit but this was an off day for him. I don’t mean to go on about VAR but for our leveller that was chalked off the ball first hit Arsenal players who were trying to block it/kick it in another direction hence playing the ball and that’s why the offside in my opinion a wrong call. Then we have Arsenal going up 0-2 after VAR failed to give Kulusevski a penalty because he *checks notes* tried to carry one instead of going down straight away.

Now I know this is now the only time this has happened and it has happened to almost every other team but could we PLEASE not punish players who try to carry on after a foul. If VAR get this right the scores are (assuming Son scores the penalty) 1-1 instead of 0-2. A HUUUGE call that could mean chalking off a goal and awarding a pen at the other side and VAR spend all of 20 seconds looking at it.

Fine, VAR is terrible – we are used to that but why didn’t Michael Oliver call it? Or by the way, any number of fouls happening right in front of him. It was as if he was determined to give us nothing the whole match. That feeling was really summed up by the time he watched Rice miss the ball, kick Davies in the balls while standing 5 meters from it and not giving a pen. The fact that he was made to give one by VAR absolves none of the blame from that. Horrible day for him.

In conclusion to my sour ramblings – Arsenal are a much better team than Tottenham right now. However, Sunday’s match was not a “display of champions” or any other tiresome phrase the media have said about it. It was quite an even match where Tottenham were the better side but were ultimately undone by their inability to defend corners properly mixed with questionable refereeing.

I am really positive on the future under Ange and we have really outperformed the preseason expectations but we really need our Rice in the midfield if we are to do anything next season. A proper big money 6 and a 9 or a 7 and we have a XI capable of doing great things next season. Up the Spurs!

P.S. The Arsenal set piece coach…. what a tw*t.
Sibbi, the Icelandic-Spur


Man City fan in favour of restrictions
I have seen that the Premier League clubs have majority voted to explore the Anchoring proposal and as a City fan (and even though my club voted against it) I think it’s a great idea.

There is a difficult balance in the top division to reward well supported clubs while also allowing smaller clubs to be competitive. American sports have a draft system to keep this balance in check as well as a Luxury Tax. With gate sharing abolished, four champions league positions and the aggressive Commercial revenue strategies from the biggest clubs, there is now an extremely stratified monetary situation in English football. With FFP/PSR in place it is so difficult to challenge the established big clubs, even with Rich Owner investment.

Wages are the biggest statistical indicator of a club’s likely league position, unless you’re a basket case (hello Manchester United, hello Chelsea). Having a mechanism that forces players at the top clubs to either accept less or move elsewhere for more, will add something to the competitive balance of the league. And removes some of the justification to keep increasing ticket prices. And also be great for seeing who are the mercenaries in football.

As I have argued previously, most of the fans of the traditional big clubs who dislike City’s spending (and alleged rule breaking) and like FFP, don’t want a level playing field and just want their monetary advantages back. Well here is something that actually will create a level playing field and I’m all for it.

If it was up to me, I’d also bring in a Luxury Tax and bring back Gate Sharing.
Andy D. Manchester. MCFC


Ed has his Palace say
Seeing as I had some fan mail this morning asking about my wellbeing, here I am. This email is brought to you by the song Broken But I’m Fine by Ariel Posen.

I don’t necessarily expect Al LFC to know his Crystal Palace history but I’d expect F365 to know better: Palace fans don’t celebrate reaching 40 points given we’ve previously been relegated with 49 and 45 (equivalent to 44 and 41 in a 38 game season).

Mathematically we’re safe now and looking up the table, but even then, it’s a case of what might have been. Oliver Glasner has overseen ten games and we’ve taken 15 points; those ten games feature two of the top three and two of the bottom three, so there’s as good a spread of opponents as can be expected. If we’d picked up points at that rate for the whole season we would be 8th; if we’d carried on at Roy Hodgson’s pace, we would be 16th.

It’s easy to see in hindsight but there is no doubting that this team was ready and capable of a more exciting style of football than Hodgson was prepared to use, and that attempting to stand still in the Premier League only ever takes you backwards.

However, Saturday’s game had a bit of an end of season vibe to it. 13th v 14th with nothing really riding on it. Jeffrey Schlupp scored a goal that didn’t quite match Patjim Kasami, but was definitely in the tradition of fine goals in games between Fulham and Palace. Adam Wharton also had another excellent game and has started people talking him up for place in the England squad for the Euros. He’s incredibly talented but it’s too early in his career for him to risk becoming a cause celebre, as the player most likely to be clamoured for as someone offering more dynamism than Jordan Henderson or Kalvin Phillips. He also needs a to show he can step up a level now everyone knows what he’s about, but I can’t wait to see how he goes about it.
Ed Quoththeraven (complaining about the length of an email is a weird way of telling people you find reading difficult, but I’m proud of you for admitting it)