Jurgen Klopp is overrated ‘lucky general’ while Mikel Arteta is a ‘fraud’

Editor F365
Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta
Jurgen Klopp and Mikel Arteta

The fall-out from Sunday continues as Mikel Arteta and Jurgen Klopp both cop a load of flak. But there are also plenty of considered opinions.

This is a really very good Mailbox. Respond to any point here by mailing theeditor@football365.com. Many already have – find the latest Mailbox here.

‘Lucky general’ Klopp is overrated
I wrote in after Liverpool lost to Man Utd in the FA Cup, stating that they’d been riding their luck all season, and it’d simply run out. I got loads of abuse from Liverpool fans, understandably. I wonder if they still feel the same way!

I’ve always thought that Klopp, as well as being a great manager, is also a ‘Lucky General’, a priceless and rare combo.

Liverpool under Klopp have been a great team, but not an outstanding one.

A lot of their great achievements have been due to equal amounts of great football, and luck. Take their famous come back against Barca at Anfield. Dembele misses an open goal towards the end of the 1st leg, which would’ve killed the tie. & Barca, & even the great Messi, simply freeze in the 2nd leg.

They’d blown big 1st leg leads in the 2nd legs of knock out ties in previous seasons, to PSG & Roma I think, & as soon as Liverpool’s 1st goal goes in, instead of playing football, their collective minds go back to those games, & they simply froze. Then Liverpool reach the final, & beat my beloved Spurs, thanks to the most ridiculous penalty ever given in a CL final. We outplayed them the entire game, but they fluked an undeserved 2-0 win.

Their 2 domestic cup wins year before last, were achieved on penalties against the hapless Chelsea, whom they beat again, somehow, in this year’s League Cup final. Chelsea should’ve won that game by a clear margin in 90 mins, but the ball just wouldn’t go in the charmed Liverpool goal.

Admittedly, they did win the league during Covid, at a canter, can’t take that away from them (Asterisk not withstanding!)

This year, they’ve had myriad flukey wins, Newcastle (where they were battered but somehow won 1-2), Palace away (thanks to ref sending off Ayew for a non-foul & a deflected salah goal), Everton at home (Konate should’ve been off before Everton were reduced to 10 men), Forest away (ref just hands Liverpool the ball to go & score in the 150th minute! ) etc. etc. I can go on, but you get the point.

Even their recent home win against the bottom club Sheff Utd (Nunez who can’t score to save his life at the moment, blocks the goalie’s clearance which bounces in the net) was flukey.

But now the luck has finally run out.

On a separate note, surely it’s not a coincidence that ever since the thoroughly deserved loss to United in the cup (United ran them ragged for 35 minutes, but somehow Pool went in 2-1 up at half time, scored another deflected goal in extra time, but United who’d been the better team the entire 30 mins of extra time, just wouldn’t lie down), Pool just don’t look the same team. Perhaps the psychological effects of losing in the injury time of extra time to the bitter enemy, have been underplayed.

So maybe United did more that just end their quadruple dreams, perhaps they killed pool’s hope of winning another trophy!

Anyway, Klopp’s going now, Liverpool will do well to find another ‘Lucky General’.

Well, that’s made me feel better, after my beloved Spurs took a right spanking at Newcastle!?!
Fred (Klopp the ‘Lucky General’ is overrated), London

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Jurgen Klopp just not invested now
Having watched United score goals against us repeatedly and Klopp not seeming to learn from it I went into the Atalanta game expecting a bad result

I was very shocked to see Klopp refer to Atalanta as a team who would sit in a low block, don’t they scout their opposition? Gasperini never plays that way. I expected a high pressing fast countering team (like Liverpool 1.0) and that’s exactly what turned up.

Seeing us make the same mistakes as we did against United but this time even worse I also expected a defeat against Glasner’s Palace (he’s a very good manager, I think he’ll do alright) via the exact same tactics that had undone us in 60% of recent games and lo and behold…it did.

My personal opinion is that Klopp just isn’t invested now. He doesn’t offer any solutions to problems now and he can’t motivate the team to outperform it’s failings like he could before. That’s ok I think he’s earned his rest and I don’t criticise him for it (even if I wish it happened after we won more than a league cup – it definitely is the best trophy) the club should shoulder some of the blame here because we had an excellent scouting and data analysis team that helped win us both a champs league and premier league, Klopp was then handed greater control leading to him rejecting Edwards suggestion of replacing Henderson and Milner at end of 2020 with Enzo and Guimares (both at smaller teams and available for reasonable sums in Argentina and France) in favour of giving Hendo and Milner extensions.. Edwards left shortly after. His entire team at the same time.

Klopp got control and then got increasingly more stressed every month leading to burnout. The club should have known better and stuck to what was working. Sometimes we ask for things we don’t really want and I imagine Klopp won’t ask for full control again at his next club.

The season will likely end as a damp squib when it could have ended in greatness which despite how much Klopp has repaired our image kind of characterises his reign – it was very good but always fell short of being great.


No, Chicken has laid an egg
In response to Steven Chicken’s quite ridiculous and frankly awful knee jerk reaction to two bad games. Yes, the United game was 2 points dropped but we battered United until that mistake by the otherwise impressive Quansah. Two bad results at a bad time but it happens. The whole piece is an awful piece of journalism and I can’t understand how F365 would even post it.

The only piece of the article that had any truth to it was Salah. The rest was complete horseshit and he only looked at the league table in previous seasons to determine his writing.

Mane, Firmino, Henderson etc never had bad touches, never sloppy, never loose loose loose?? You clearly never watched them every game. How were we last season with Henderson and Firmino? How about the season VVD went down? How did Hendo, Mane etc stand up and be counted? It took a late run to scrape in to the CL.

We have always been majorly flawed over the years but this year you can see we are getting a better standard of player in. It says a lot that we’ve come back from deficits to win, both good and bad, but your Swiss cheese analogy isn’t clever, it’s quite lazy and poor writing with history revisionism. Also I noticed you never mentioned a British player’s bad touch etc. Go back to journalism school please.


Six Premier League weekend conclusions
This weekend just re-affirmed what I’ve known all along:

1. VVD is not an elite centre back and shouldn’t even be mentioned in the same breath as the likes of Rio F, Terry and Stam, never mind compared to modern-day greats such as Costacurta, Maldini and Baresi. My man makes at least two mistakes in every game leading to big chances….then stares his teammates down like it’s they’re scum.

2. Arteta is a complete fraud. His players openly praise him but I’m telling you now, they’re sick of his obsessive, near psychotic behaviour on the touchline every week. No man, and I mean NO MAN likes to be micromanaged in front of millions of people like he does. Some might argue that Pep’s done alright from it, but they have completely contrasting personalities. One is charismatic and the other is a d**k.

3. Angeball will get Ange sacked. Aye, it’s pretty and everything, when it works, but Levy will never spend the money (like Klopp’s near £1 billion during his time at Liverpool) to sustain it to any great, long-term effect. He needs a plan B or he’s gone before the end of next season.

4. Anthony Gordon should be the PFA Young Player of the year. Another outstanding performance from him vs Spurs this weekend in a team that’s continued to be besieged by horrific injuries. As for England, It shouldn’t even be a question of whether Fraudgate takes AG to the Euros, it’s should be who’s he dropping for him to start on that left side.

5. Eddie Howe is an incredible coach. The injuries at NUFC this season have been well documented. Over 700 days of combined football missed by ~50% of the first team squad through injury. Further compounded by horrendous cup draws and, statistically, the hardest fixtures list to start the PL season, I think it’s remarkable that he’s managed to guide a squad largely made up of backups to 6th in the league with 6 games to go. He’s also managed to get within a hair’s breadth of qualifying from the Champions League group of death, but for a corrupt, last minute handball decision in Paris. Beaten on penalties in the Quarter-finals of the Carabao cup by Chelsea, after defeating City and smashing ManU 3-0 at OT. Quarter-finals of the FA Cup, after consecutive away draws to Sunderland, Blackburn, Fulham, and City. I’m convinced, had Howe had even a 75% fully fit squad this season, NUFC would comfortably be sitting in a Champions League spot again this season.

But for narrow defeats to Liverpool and City, they would have a perfect home record against the top 6+ Villa.

Arsenal 1-0
Man U 1-0
Chelsea 4-0
Spurs 4-0
Villa 5-1
LiVARpool 1-2
City 2-3

6. The PL has forgotten the true art of defending. I’m not complaining though.

Yours sincerely…
Mr 6 of my own conclusions


Does Arteta have what it takes to be The Man?
As often mentioned, football can be a game of emotions, still, we cannot ignore the science aspect of it in the hope that luck will be on our side. Objective reality must inform our decisions. I am saying this as an arsenal fan who has been quietly lamenting the situation for the past three years now.

Let me start form the beginning, Arteta found us as an almost lost cause after the forced decline (under the great Arsene Wenger) and took us to heights not seen since before the rise of man city. for that we ought to be grateful to him. He also returned an exciting style of football Arsenal is known for, for that too, we ought to be grateful both as football lovers generally and Arsenal fans in particular.

He restored discipline brought back flair, but there begins the controversy. Why on earth did he make Aubemayang captain. His attitude was always an antithesis of discipline and proper leadership, thankfully, he eventually got rid of him.

Then there was an outstanding performer and now World Cup winner known as Martinez, who had been waiting on the wings for years and proved to be ripe and ready by the time Arteta arrived at the Emirates, the next we hear, is that he cannot be number one for some obscure reason. He leaves, but the folly of that decision never left me to this day. A team needs a great goal keeper to have a chance of winning big cups.

In comes Ramsdale, an impressive upstart but an upstart nevertheless. He surprisingly rises to number one instantly for reasons I can still not understand considering he is nowhere near Martinez’s ability between the sticks. Arteta let him go & brought in a perfect number two and elevate them to the top. I have nothing against Ramsdale but many would agree he wasn’t ready to be number yet. Were his performance not good enough ? Well some of them were and he arguably closer to the dream of success but on the whole this wasn’t someone to rely on as the key goalkeeper, promising as he was.

What was strange to me though is that that deficiency was addressed by bringing in someone who (despite loud protests), is somewhat at the same level as Ramsdale as replacement, his name is David Raya. We are told he is more comfortable at using his feet but certainly a marginal improvement to Ramsdale in my opinion. Just what was this supposed to accomplish I am left me wondering to this day.

The point in all this is that the issue is not just the starting line up, there are issues that need to be conforntd at Arsenal, including the issue of Kai Harvetz that many excuse for some of the fleeting moments of performance. The return value of Harvetz is not worth the time he spends on the field of play despite those exaggerated moments of comments his performances. A cheaper option could have provided more in return, however forgiving we wish to be, he is just not good enough. Not good enough to be a regular above A. Trossard whose real value we would not benefit from until he is a regular with a secured spot until he proves otherwise.

We don’t see players in training so the coaching staff knows best in that area, what we see though is a reflection of what happens behind the scenes. My view is that despite injuries, players like Smith-Rowe and Partey deserve more time when they are fit, we have seen what they are capable of which is what we require. Arsenal needed reinforcement to their teams last season, more depth was needed, it is a pity though that the comparison is allowed to cloud just how good Arsenal was last season considering how limited options were. I am yet to be convinced about the current teams better than last year’s though.

Finally, Arteta’s decision-making for me make me wonder if he would really take us to the promise land.There is no question though to him having restored the pride of the Gunners, but is he the one to take us there ? The record above says to me no, I hope I am wrong, very wrong for the sake of those of us who have waited decades for the moment of glory

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..In as much as I love Arteta, he made a costly mistake on Sunday.

1. He should have substituted his captain and Gabriel Jesus. Arsenal midfield collapsed when he removed the captain. Odeegard was a thorn in the flesh of the visiting team. After his removal, no penetrating passes and pressure in the vital area of Aston Villa.

2. Jorginho and Smith has no business coming in to play in the second half. The second goal was an error pass done by Jorginho.

3. Havertz was not a striker, he’s too slugging and shows no aggressive in his game. We need a striker like Drogba, Lukaku, Oshimen etc.
If care is not taking Arsenal will not win the Premier League.

4.Raya should be warned not to come out of the goal area, it is dangerous for the team.

If Arteta should learn from this last errors he will win the league.
Ayodele Barnabas Babalola, Arsenal Fan,  Nigeria


Is it all over? Is it balls
City fan here. I don’t get either the doom and gloom or ‘bottlers’’ narratives. City are just two points clear. Two! And having watched my team for over fifty years, I wouldn’t bet you a pound coin that we’ll win all the remaining matches without some form of hiccup. I sincerely hope we do win them all, but I just can’t see it. It’s still very much a three-horse race and any one of those teams could still get over the line.

Likewise, any talk of a double treble is just bollocks. If we get to an FA cup final, a CL final and we’re still in with a shout at the Prem with two games to go, then I’ll start to hope. But, peskily, we first have the minor matter of trying to beat those CL minnows Real Madrid on Wednesday, followed by Chelsea on Saturday who always manage to get themselves up when playing City. And you can bet your bottom dollar that our favourite (not!) bogey team Spurs are bound to throw a spanner in the works as they have so often done. It is written.

So, cheer up Gooners and Scousers. It ain’t over until my ex-wife starts to sing.

One whinge mind. Can we please stop with the City-spending-their-way-to-the-top whilst the ‘old’ elite have had to make do by emptying piggy banks and searching down the back of the sofa for a few spare coins? Puhleeze. Seems to be a favourite rant from certain Liverpool fans in particular. NONE of the so-called ‘top six’ have spared splashing the cash in the last five years. And it misses the crucial point that it’s not what you spend, but how you spend it.

And lastly, for the 115-ers amongst you, can I just state something for the avoidance of doubt? Let’s take a scenario where the PL find some, or all, of the charges proven. They then dock City 427 points, fine us £427 million, hand us a transfer ban for five years and relegate us to the National League all in one go. Sheik Mansour says, “Sod this” and sells us to a chip shop owner in Stockport. You know who I’ll be supporting the day after that? Manchester City.

Because, bizarrely enough, no owner has ever asked me about who they should sell the club to, nor have they ever disclosed to me which people they’ve ‘tapped up’ or who they’ve paid ‘off the books.’ Similarly, I’ve never had a phone call from the club hierarchy asking me which manager we should hire next, or which players we should buy or sell.

It’s almost as if it’s something I have absolutely zero control over. As if, like the supporters of Reading, Newcastle, Charlton, Bury, Coventry, and too many others to mention, that all I can really do is support my club through the good times and, perhaps more importantly, the bad.

Fancy that!
Mark (CTID. Literally). MCFC

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Are the top three simply reverse-jinxing themselves? Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com or join the debate here

…Now that Man City sits at the top, is it all over in the Premier?

If we focus exclusively on the last couple of seasons, it might well be over. Under Guardiola, City have the nasty habit of finishing seasons way beyond strong. They hardly lose. Specially when it comes January: City seems to kick into fifth gear come the time and leave the opposition well beyond. Take for example last season, when they compiled only two loses (one of which was highly controversial in their visit to Manchester United) in the second half of the season. The season before? One loss. Their record this season in that same second half? Yet to lose, in every competition. Who says they cannot do it again!

Is it really all over? Hmmmm. City this season is not necessarily the same team it was when they won the mythical treble last year. The most telling stat in these regards is goal conceded: 32 so far this season (in 32 games), 33 and 26 for the last two full seasons (38 games). City concedes on average a goal per game. That is simply unheard of when considering this is a team managed by Pep Guardiola. Those 32 goals become more important when considering their xGA: 30.6: not a big difference, but one that suggest a rather wimpy defense by Guardiola standards. 2021-2022 xGA: 24.6; 2022-23: 32.1 (remember, once again for a full 38 games).

Yet City sits at the top. Why? Have they scored more? Not really. They scored 99 goals in 2021-22, and 94 2022-23. So far? 76 goals in 32. That’s under 2.5 goals per game, when in the previous seasons the averages where above (2021-22) and just under (2022-23). The best statistic to measure the relative decline of this team is expected goal differential per 90 minutes (xGD/90): 1.68 (2021-22), 1.22 (2022-23), 1.14 (this season so far). That is to say, the opposition competes better against City that what they use to the previous two seasons.

What does this means with regards to the current season? The most obvious fact is that Man City is not as infallible as it used to be. This is important as the season winds down: City’s remaining fixture is full of potential potholes for the reigning champions. The most obvious one may be the trip to Tottenham’s, not so much from a stat point of view (a meager .08 xGD/90) but because City’s miserable record visiting The Stadium.

Tottenham is also in the fixture list of both Liverpool and Arsenal. We all know that the Reds remaining matches are somewhat easier. Yet we also know that for some time they haven’t been at their best. Sunday’s defeat (and the previous crushing by Atalanta) might be the definitive signal that this team is by now out of contention. Their xGA (38.1) may very well summed up their chances: way too many goals conceded, particularly at the beginning of matches. They are the kings of comebacks, but under such circumstances, defeat is always one mistake or a bad match away. And that is what has happened in the last two games. Depending way too much on teenagers have had its toll on Liverpool, as well as the lack of form of those coming from injury layovers.

That leave us with Arsenal. Are they capable of a rebound after the weekend defeat? Stat wise, Arsenal have the look of a champion: league leaders in xGA by a mile (22.4) and on xGD/90 (1.27). The Gunners have conceded only 26 goals all season long, and have look astonishingly good scoring. Yet, today they seat as runner-ups. They have several potholes coming their way: visits to both Wolves and Tottenham, plus the chaotic prospect of a trip to Old Trafford while receiving the severely underperforming Chelsea, and a tricky match at home against Bournemouth.

Yet, before yesterday, is hard to argue against the Gunners, as there haven’t been a team more in form than the Londoners. Solid in defense, ruthless in attack. They looked very good in the first half against Aston Vila; on life support on the second. Tiredness cannot be ruled out, after the Champions League match against Bayern. But there were enough evidence as to ask whether this team reached its peak too soon.

So summing up, while it is unlikely that Liverpool may regain its form, there are good arguments for and against the remaining two horses in the race. Manchester City have the pedigree; Arsenal have the numbers (and perhaps the hunger) to state their case. My bet is that Tottenham will have the last say in the title race. As mentioned, their xGD/90 tells the story of a where no one knows what to expect, yet they score (65 goals in 32 games) more than it and concedes (49). Arsenal’s defense may be enough to contained them; City’s flaky defense may not be enough.

Regardless… what a great season!
Javier Santiago Lucerna


Pochettino as a fraud? Really?
Maybe I’m asking a silly question, but are football fandom and hyperbole inexorably linked?

As a Spurs fan, I must admit I quietly enjoyed the fuming and the stone-throwing from the Liverpool and Arsenal defenders and detractors during Monday’s mailboxes. While seeing other good teams struggle this weekend has softened the pain of Spurs calamitous afternoon in Newcastle on Saturday, I find myself shaking my head at the hysteria. “Arsenal bottlejobs” despite being virtually flawless the past 3 months (as much as it pains me to say), “Klopp is done like dinner” — merely weeks after he was on the cusp on an incredible quadruple pursuit. And on, and on..

I could have let that all pass until I saw Monday afternoon’s mailbox offering, where one mail from Stanley starts his weekend conclusions by asking if we can now talk about the fraud that is Ange Postecoglou?

I can’t help but laugh. There’s no such thing as normal anymore.

Ange has been a breath of fresh air since coming into a horrendous situation at Spurs. Picking up the wreckage from Conte/Stellini’s reign, before losing Harry Kane on the eve of the season. Pundits laughed in August as they predicted a bottom half finish for Spurs, and Ange has them knocking on the door of top 4, having been without much of his team for much of the season. His style of play and vision has been an absolute delight for a fan who just wants to enjoy watching Spurs games again. Games like Saturday are a killer… but they are part of the price of progress, or God forbid this be allowed: Just a bad day at the office.

This hyperbole goes well beyond Stanley’s crusade to out Ange as a fraud, it’s everywhere.

One win and you’re not good – you’re the messiah. One loss, you’re a bottle job, choke merchant. One miss by a striker and he’s a donkey. One loss by Arsenal and ‘Declan Rice just isn’t good enough to be a 6’.

Maybe I should just sit back and be entertained by it. This week’s Champions League fixtures should be a fertile stomping ground for it: Beat Bayern, and Arsenal are resilient mentality monsters, ready to bounce back to a daring double pursuit. Lose? They’re confirmed bottlers, and should maybe consider ousting Arteta in favour of Alonso. If Kane loses? He’s cursed. If Bayern win? Could Kane be Ballon D’Or?

These sweeping narratives that write the fate of players, managers and teams in stone, on the basis of one game, which might have gone the other way, by the breadth of an offside, or the width of a post.

But hey, it’s entertaining.
Andy, THFC, Eire


On that man Stewie
I feel like it’s been 15 years since I’ve last written in, but I just have to have a say with respect to Stewie the shithead, which I probably have done before.

Question for Stewie: genuinely, if you are an Arsenal supporter, have you enjoyed any part of the past couple of seasons when things very clearly started improving? Or do you only enjoy yourself when the wheels come off? In fact, don’t answer that, and don’t write in. The shtick is old and you’re a bitter prune. You don’t offer analysis either, so you’re really only offering bottom-of-the-barrel, caked-on, dreary and wafer-thin content.

Anyway, to all the other readers and F365 employees, hello! I hope you’re enjoying whatever it is you get from this bewildering, enthralling, and infuriating global game we are all clearly addicted to.
Kyle, (I would love to be Gunnersaurus for a weekend), Cape Town


Ten Hag has been way too pragmatic
In terms of the league, our season is basically over and most of the players seem to already have their flip-flops on. We don’t deserve Champions League football next season, so I have made peace with that outcome. Watching us has at least been entertaining, often chaotic, with goals galore at both ends. Regardless of what happens in the FA Cup, it will not be viewed as a successful season; nonetheless, I refuse to advocate a change of manager (yet).

Everyone previously agreed that there was no quick fix with Utd. Open heart surgery (Rangnick TM) takes longer than a couple of seasons and a few transfer windows. So why are people seemingly forgetting this by expecting us to consistently play well? Nearly a decade of mismanagement and money wasted, creating the wrong culture at the club, is not an easy thing to unpick.

I admit, the manager has been far from perfect this season, but our season has been littered with individual errors and often a lack of effort which the players have to take a large portion of the blame for. Injuries have not helped either and we have looked reasonably decent when our first 11 has played. Erik leaning on Mainoo, Garnacho and Kambwala has been a positive.

That said, my biggest issue with TH is him being too pragmatic by creating a system and style as an attempt to suit the players. The key to success moving forward will be a more possession-based style to bring more control to games. This was how his Ajax team played, averaging in the high 60s in terms of % possession. This season, in contrast, we have averaged under 50%, whereas the top teams have 60% or above.

Erik came in, tried to implement his system then had to make changes because he didn’t have the right type of players and presumably felt immediately under pressure to deliver. This was wrong, and he should have persisted trying to implement his core ideas, even if it meant bringing more youngsters through and dropping out of the CL places for a couple of seasons. We have now effectively lost a season of progress (my favourite word) because we didn’t move towards TH’s tried and tested ideals.

The counter-attacking style hasn’t worked because we’re not clinical enough in the final third, and we seemingly don’t have the legs to get up and down quickly enough, or the right players to press high in numbers. Compounded by the fact that when the other team has the ball more you waste more energy chasing and closing down.

I’m not suggesting we turn into City-lite (although that wouldn’t necessarily be a bad thing!) but we need to hold the ball more and recycle it when required. And we need to press high and in numbers, not Bruno or Hojlund pressing in ones. The lack of control in games is making us far too easy to play and score against.

Hopefully a few new faces, the younger players maturing further, and a tactical reset in the summer, with TH going back to his core ideas he implemented at Ajax, will make a massive difference. If it doesn’t, and we continue on where we left off, then TH will go. In the meantime, we’re off to Wembley so it’s not all bad.
Garey Vance, MUFC


A quick one on Everton
I’m not sure but what does buying all the “best” players from relegated teams managed by a man who got a team relegated get you?

Nailed on for f***ing relegation is what.
Fat Man (please end this purgatory)


And a quick one on Man Utd
All jokes aside but would anybody seriously bet a fiver on Man Utd finishing above Chelsea?

I know I sure as hell wouldn’t.
Leon (MUFC)

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