‘All Or Nothing: Arsenal’ splits opinion on Arteta. And Aston Villa are in trouble

Editor F365
Mikel Arteta attends the premiere of All Or Nothing: Arsenal.

One Arsenal fan is firmly behind Mikel Arteta while another (guess who) isn’t having his ‘five-year plan’. Also: What Steven Gerrard needs to do at Villa…

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


Arteta’s plan
Apologies for interrupting the street carnival for Arsenal beating Palace away (having spent over £120m in the window)…but I wanted to pick up on something John Matrix AFC said. No, not the part where he claims “most Arsenal fans I speak to” (which sounds a lot like when Trump would claim “many people I’m talking to”….riiight).
No. What I was interested in was his comment that Arteta “has a 5-year plan”. Could he please point to any evidence that Arteta said this when he took the job? Where has this arbitrary “5 years” number come from? A cynic might ask whether after 5 years, it’ll change to 10 years, etc.

What is the objective after those 5 years is the question? Because it’s fine saying “5 year plans” but what is the actual target? I note John AFC doesn’t actually state one? Hmm. Arteta has spent over £250m in two summer windows – so please don’t dare tell me “Top 4” is the objective. I’ll have to repeat this for those hard of hearing: Antonio. Conte.

Turned up to a Spurs team who sacked their manager mid-season. Sitting in 8th place, having been spanked at Emirates. Arsenal were riding high above them. Conte arrived, no preseason, not his players, morale low, spent virtually nothing in the winter window. Yet in just six months, he took a Spurs side with a lower wage bill, much lower transfer spend and managed Top 4! So no, let’s not hear excuses that “he had two amazing strikers” because so did Nuno and we weren’t hearing that excuse when Arsenal were above them last season?

So I ask again: given that Conte managed Top 4 in six months with a club that was on the floor…I’m assuming that having spent over £250m and given over 3 years, the Arteta “5-year plan” must be to compete to win the PL and CL. Right? Because if you’re telling us Arteta is so great that with about £250m and four years patience, he might match what took Conte just a few months and no money…then I’ll leave that right there. Oh and as for the “Arteta changed the culture” – again, see Conte at Spurs. Kane working hard again, players tracking, no slouching. Standards that were absent under Nuno. Took him a few months. But hey, maybe after 5 years, Mikel will be able to improve on 8th, 8th and 5th (playing one game a week!).

Perhaps he could play YNWA on a megaphone before each game, hence ensuring comfortable 4-0 thrashings.
Stewie Griffin (might tell my boss I have a “5-year plan”, so hopefully I can be cool missing all my targets for the next 4 years)


All in for Arteta
Just finished watching episode 6 of the Arsenal all or nothing documentary. As a former season ticket holder of 13 years no longer to be able to attend I can say that I am impressed with the passion Mikel Arteta and current crop of players have for the club
Yeah last season ended in pain and having to let go Pierre Emerick was sad but the correct thing to do despite what that the right wing uncensored idiot had to say ( we know what the right wing people are like) attacking the manager
The owner has to keep backing the manager and we may reach the top four sooner than expected.
Tony Laforce, Hackney, London


Glazers won’t go
Ian King’s piece on Manchester United was very diplomatic. Of course the fans are entitled, after a while privilege stops being treated as such and becomes the norm. It happened at Liverpool in the 90’s, it has been happening at Arsenal for a while and now Manchester United but they can’t all win everything. There’s lots of reasons why the fans are unhappy with the Glazer ownership of the last decade but there was less noise while Ferguson was still winning them trophies. After the initial stink the majority of fans got on with celebrating all the trophies and if Ten Hag turns it around in the next couple of years then it’ll all be forgotten again.

It’s worth noting the Glazer’s ownership of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers has followed a similar theme. Lots of complaints of asset stripping and siphoning money out of the club to line their own pockets. With hope destroyed, the fans were adamant that they’d never win anything while under Galzer ownership. Then the stars aligned with a few draft picks and a steadily improving team, they then bring in Tom Brady and they win a superbowl. That wouldn’t have happened if all the Glazer’s cared about was the money but it shows they won’t throw money up the wall for a trophy. It also shows no matter how much people moan, it won’t do any good, they’ll keep on keeping on.

They aren’t a nation state but they have spent a lot of money over the last few years. Just like Liverpool, it’s not a bottomless pit and they have to have something to show for it. If Liverpool can do it, why can’t Manchester United? I’m not sure that’s necessarily the owners but the middle management. Since Gill and Ferguson went it hasn’t been good enough, certainly not as good as Liverpool have been in the last decade. Is the new guard the fix? Doesn’t look like it.

Manchester United Fans might not like it but their team has limits just like everyone else, even the nation state teams. It’s currently Everton wrestling with the FFP stuff at the moment not some billionaires plaything. Ultimately it’s 11 guys on a pitch and the difference between players can be really small, that back of house stuff seems to be far more important these days but I can’t decide if that is a good thing or not.
Rob, Gravesend

Manchester United fans want the Glazers out but Knighton isn’t the answer


All about Brentford
The Brentford match will show what Erik ten Hag and Manchester United are all about. It was a bold, but necessary move to bench Ronaldo given his intentions to move and lack of match fitness. Eriksen up top was not the answer, obviously, but Ronaldo’s omission demonstrated ETH’s authority, and very likely sent a much needed message to the team. Erik ten Hag passed a test there. But ETH’s starting lineup against Brentford this weekend will reveal all. There were some abject performers in that first match against Brighton, who simply must not start this game. If there are no repercussions, and if those same players start again–Fred, McTominay, Rashford et al, then nothing has changed at this club. There must be accountability and consequences for poor performances, otherwise it’s just Ole ball all over again. Looking forward to that starting lineup.
Keegs, Singapore


Ma Rabiot
Am I alone in finding the tone of coverage about Rabiot’s mum a bit… iffy?

Reading on your fine website that she’s a stumbling block because she’s asking to get her client a rise on his current wages. The monster!

She’s asking for more than his current £7m a year, or about 135k a week, which would hardly put him at the top of united’s wage structure (depending on what she’s asking for, which is unreported). Also factoring in that the transfer fee being reported isn’t huge for a player of his standing and that he could move for free next year… doesn’t sound off base to me.

She’s his agent, its her job to get him a good deal.

Just saying, I don’t think the coverage would strike the same tone if a dad was doing the negotiations…

No comment on whether signing him is a good idea.
Andy (MUFC)

Man Utd target Adrien Rabiot's mother and agent, Veronique
Young Villans
I was a staunch advocate of Stevie G coming to manage Villa but after what I saw in the first half against Bournemouth, after the very lack-lustre end to last season, I switched off and went to bed at half time (almost 1am in Australia).

Villa have talked a great game about improving but every year we seem to come up short in the transfer market and trust too much in players that haven’t got us where we want to go. The defence is leaky (Mings or no Mings, and his performances have at times been mistake-ridden and ordinary while Konsa is overrated too) so why not go with Chambers who has been excellent? Jacob Ramsey is overrated (but not as much as Mason Mount) and as an opposition coach I wouldn’t be too worried about consistent goal threat from him. Coutinho is slow, easy to double-team, and his first touch is often trap it dead or face backwards rather than opening up forwards, which slows down the impetus of attacks. He shouldn’t be playing either.
And now I see our joint most exciting player in pre-season, Kesler-Hayden – lightning quick and full of tricks and who should be playing every week – is going to be loaned out!! I don’t want to be, but I am very fast losing patience with SG. Very fast indeed.
It’s not only SG’s fault. We failed badly in the market under Deano too. Anguissa was superb for Fulham, available for a snip, just what we needed, and not even an offer (to my knowledge). Tammy Abraham should have been brought back too, and Ings should never have been signed (not hindsight – it was the biggest WTF moment I’ve had at Villa transfers for many a year when I woke up to see we’d signed him).
4-2-3-1 Martinez, Cash, Carlos, Chambers, Digne, Kamara, Iroegbunam, Bailey, Buendia, Kesler-H, Watkins; or

4-3-3 Martinez – Cash, Carlos, Chambers, Chrisene – Digne, Kamara, Kesler H – Watkins, Archer, Bailey.

Get the kids in and get some solidity, verve and desire into the team!
Paul, Villa fan, Australia


Trent maths
Morning Fat Man, I’l level with you, I’ve no inclination to trawl through the stats on Trent to see how many of his assist’s affected a game in the very specific way you want them to in trying to prove your point. It would be an arduous task given the sheer volume of them you see. If it was Reece James i’d do it as it would take half the time but there we go. Given he has the advantage of being an out and out wing back with a third centre back behind him as cover I would have expected him to have far superior attacking returns than Trent in a back four. Perhaps he’s maybe just an inferior attacking fullback?! Maybe it’s the sending’s off or injuries affecting him? I don’t know! *snirkle*

As far as this incredible amount of bollocks Trent seems to drop I again can’t really be arsed but given Liverpool’s record with him in the team over the last 4 seasons it can’t be many.

One thing though from having seen the majority of these games, the overwhelming factor in the games they have lost is not Trent being poor….it’s the all of the team having an off day. Fulham? About 3 Liverpool players were close to playing well. Champions League Final? Again, the entire team was poor.

As a side note, the Real goal where Trent gets a load of stick for not tracking the run all starts with Robertson chasing down and pressuring the last player in the world you should do it high up the pitch against in Luka Modric (what a player). This in turn drags the whole defence out of position. It’s lazy to blame Trent. Easier, but still lazy.

Now I feel I have to apologise to Reece James and anyone else shaking their heads at my barbed assessment of him above. He is a sensational footballer and even as a huge Trent fan I wasn’t someone who lost their shit when he was chosen before him for England. While we’re talking about right backs I also think Kyle Walker and Trippier are also world class. I honestly don’t think England have ever had a better crop of right backs. Maybe this is why some people feel the need to argue over and pick them apart to justify their guy being best.

I still wouldn’t swap Trent for any of them like…..so Delta those apples Fat Man.
Adam (Leeds)


…Riddle me this, Mike L (First time – LFC), because somehow I don’t trust your Reece James stat of: “Errors leading to a goal 0; Goal line clearances 0.”

It’s nonsense, so stop trying to be clever by quoting statistics you dullard.

I distinctly remember James getting a red card for a handball on the goal line. The match was v Liverpool, Salah scored from the penalty.

By my reckoning, that handball is an error that led to a goal. And if it wasn’t deemed as such, then it’s an (albeit bizarrely awarded) ‘Goal line clearance’. Has to be one or the other, in my opinion.

Considering it contradicts your quoted stats AND was against your team, Liverpool, let’s agree to make your ‘first time’ also your last, shall we?

Or at least hold off until you’ve outgrown your pseudo-data-driven answer phase and regained a sense of perspective.

You’re welcome.


…Look, I get the Trent versus Reese argument is a lovely proxy for yet another tired game of my team is better than your team. And fair enough, you do you.

But considering the instigating reason for this is that he lost a high, back-post header, when he had a standing start, versus the division best pure Target Man… is this not a situation he’s expected to lose out on a fair amount of the time?

He could have put more pressure on him, you said? I mean, sure. Maybe. Maybe he buffets him more. But again, Mitrovic is going to be stronger than most fullbacks he encounters (nominations?) both physically and in the air. So if he’d missed in that situation, it would have become “he should have done better there.”

Maybe the issue that we spend so long looking for faults, that we can’t look at what players do well and go “well done Mitrovic, you’re f*cking great at that.”

Andrew M


Five subs and Football Manager
Dear F365 Mailbox, meant to send this the other week but nonetheless: I went over to the BBC site recently to read about the new PL rules including 5 substitutes and was disheartened to see a “Have Your Say” section full of enraged punters calling out this change in particular and labelling it as biased towards “rich/big/top” clubs. i.e. the same argument that was used to delay the rule’s implementation in the first place. Is this how everyone feels? Because personally I don’t think this argument stands up at all – in fact I think it’s clearly b*llocks.

Let’s ask the supercomputer and consider why I use substitutions in FM 2022:

1. Replace Injured player

2. To support tactical changes (going more attacking, responding to red card etc) – including formation changes

3. To give a player minutes (eg we’re winning and blood a young player)

4. To replace underperforming player – no tactical changes but maybe I started with the # 2 for a particular position and they aren’t playing well so I replace them with the #1 or vice versa cause the 1 is having a nightmare.

Surely, it’s the same list in the real world and the same whether you are Carlisle or Real Madrid? I can vouch for FM and say it is. And even if I missed one does it really alter the core argument that none of the benefits of these change regardless of how much you spent on your players or what level you are playing at?

The BBC Mob have a slightly more detailed argument which goes: the ‘rich’ clubs have much better benches in relation to their first 11 i.e. the ‘smaller’ clubs suffer from having to invest more in just 11 players and so don’t have benches which are as good. There is definitely a better point here but I haven’t seen anyone actually substantiate this argument in any way whatsoever. Does anyone have any evidence to support this?

My view is that it’s really problematic to analyse. First of all: what is the first 11 for any club? The chap next to me at Spurs on Saturday thought it involved Skipp, but I don’t. What is the value of my first 11/12/13? And what problem are you actually trying to solve? Saying that Chelsea can bring on a 50m substitute and QPR can’t is no different than saying they can field a 100m player in the first 11 and QPR can’t. Why does stopping QPR executing better on the 4 points above help them?

And that’s without even going into the concept of ‘value’; no one seriously thinks that Maguire is bringing £80m of benefit to Man U do they? Are in house developed players supposed to be worth zero? So again, what problem exactly are you solving by denying this change that (in my view) clearly benefits everyone equally?

Of course, this assumes you do think 5 subs allows any team to execute better on the 4 points above. There is no real answer to why 5 and not 4? Or 6? I read the other day that when the prem started it was 2 subs from 3 bench – that would give me a heart attack if they put it in FM now! So, saying “it ain’t broke so don’t fix it” is of course a legitimate argument but no one seems to be making that – only that it’s evidence of bias towards ‘big’ clubs (whoever they are)

But anyway, I think there was clear consensus immediately that 5 was better when it was forced on us by the pandemic. You can retro fit a justification based on tactical or physical demands, the number of games but most people were happy to just set it to 5 and forget about it. Except us, where apparently we just make stuff up and people go with it?

I found it really depressing at the time and even more so when I saw the BBC HYS – am I alone? Or am I biased cause I really want it brought into FM ASAP!!?
Ethan (Master FM 2022 Player)