The stars aligned for Arsenal this season, yet the team blew it – and their fans are complicit

Editor F365
Mikel Arteta reacts during Arsenal's defeat to Brighton as Moises Caicedo watches on.

The Mailbox reckons Arsenal have chucked in their one golden opportunity to win the title, and the fans haven’t helped. Also: admiration for City; ta-ra, Leeds; and backing for Patrick Bamford.

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Arsenal blew their big chance
Arsenal Football Club has just inflicted the kind of torment and pain on its fans something you do not wish for your most hated enemy.
On top of the League for 90% of the season, columns and videos dedicated to their first Championship in 19 years, citywide parades planned and holidays announced, only to see it so cruelly snatched away by… Arsenal themselves.

Everything went right for Arsenal this season, weird goals flying in, baffling calls went in their favour, no injuries, team conversion rates and wins off the charts, and most importantly, rivals falling off like they had some voodoo hex. And still, STILL, they couldn’t win it. It’s like a penalty with no keeper and they struck the post, then blaze the rebound over. The fans are complicit, the armies coming out to defend the team with ‘second is an improvement’ argument – you are not football fans. You are the reason why your club is in the dung heap. Pat yourselves on the back for your almost-fourth cup next season, leave the trophy winning to us.

Some think next season they will get better. That’s not how it works. You get 1 chance when the planets align – see Leicester, Spurs, Newcastle and if you don’t win it, you have to wait another 20 years. Enjoy, Arsenal fans!
Vinnie Pee


Here’s Stewie!
In light of Arsenal’s latest capitulation, and given all the raging debate from Arsenal fans about Citeh and “financial doping”, I had a couple of end of season questions

* Is it Citeh’s oil money that resulted in Arsenal’s thrashing, and total inability to defend basic situations in the absence of Saliba?

* Is it Citeh’s “financial doping” that led to the farcical scenario where Arsenal are paying Citeh £50m for a “striker” (lol) who “links play well” but can’t hit a barn door or you know, his actual job of scoring goals? Someone should tell Haaland he’s doing this “scoring goals” thing all wrong. It’s all about “nice touches” and “linking play”! 🙄

* Is it down to Citeh that Pep and his team scouted a top youth talent like Julian Alvarez, signed him for just £15m and now have a top WC winner for years to come? Handy to have £50m just handed to you for an upgrade! Citeh even have spare change left.

* Is it down to Brighton’s oil money (lots of oil on that south coast!), that they consistently unearth talents like Mitoma, Estupina etc? Arsenal are literally trying to hand Brighton £75m for Caicedo, when a club with a serious scouting network would be spotting more bargains (as opposed to scouting whoever happens to have an agent who is mates with Edu! 😂)
What world are we in when Everton can stick 5 past Brighton, but Arsenal play for several hours, and never look like scoring against them?

If we ever get to the bottom of that, as well as the “100 breaches” Citeh have never actually been convicted of, that would be grand!
Stewie Griffin (Think the Arsenal Excuse-generator needs some new additions. The Eurovision shambles is another possible reason for Arsenal not winning yesterday)

Read more: Arsenal taught £77m lesson by brilliant Brighton and De Zerbi as title finally slips from Arteta’s grasp


Nice while it lasted
I am writing in just after the 3rd goal. It really is the hope that kills you…

Still, despite the Stewie Griffin “bottle job” rant that we are all presumably about to be subjected to, they really did play admirably well for about 30 games. Unfortunately for Arsenal, the season is 38 games long.

Bring on the UCL and some exciting signings that will hopefully address the lack of quality and squad depth!
Suds (Durban Gooner)


Angel Gabriel?
That martinelli is a rotten sportsman, if he’s not backing into people and upending them while they jump for the ball then he’s elbows McGraw. I’ll be happy when Arsenal can’t win the title any more, which is a shame as otherwise it would have been nice to see them win it.
Finlay x


Brighton extremes
There needs to be a full public inquiry into how Brighton can play like 2011 Barcelona against Man Utd (repeatedly) and Arsenal, but also lose 5-1 at home to Sean Dyche’s Everton.
Chris, Barnet


Nervy Newcastle?
Don’t want to jinx it, but I would argue, on paper, now if liverpool gate crash the champions league, it will be at the expense of Newcastle. If I was a liverpool fan I’d be more worried by Brighton than anything else.



Respect City
I’ll preface this by saying I used to have the same disdain for city as everyone else.

A team which cheated the financial rules then was declared innocent in the same way that R Kelly was once declared not guilty – not because he didn’t do it but because of technicalities and legal manoeuvreing. The smoking gun in both cases actually existed but was thrown out of court because it was stolen evidence.

However ive spent two – three years watching city as a second team just to see why they find stubborn defensive teams a breeze while Liverpool even at our best struggle against them. Over time I’ve grown an admiration for both how they play football and how pep manages the team.
An infinite budget is pretty pointless if you’re spending it on Harry Maguire and romelu Lukaku. Pep and city don’t get the credit they deserve here because not only do they spend the money on players which fit their system (mostly) rather than players who are marquee names they also immediately ship out disruptive, unwanted or wantaway players too, even if they’re key cogs. For pep the sum is always greater than its parts.

So for those reasons yes, I would be happy to see city win the title (if Liverpool can’t) it would also be hilarious to see them win a treble because it would finally retire that United fan talking point of being the only team to do it.

I have respect for city and guardiola because having an infinite budget doesn’t make it easy – ask United and Chelsea. You need the right coach making the right decisions about the right players at the right time. Which I would say pep is the only manager doing that consistently. Even klopp regularly gets that wrong which is how we held mane for two seasons longer than we should and failed to replace a midfield which everyone knew was dead 1 year before klopp did.

Man utd takeover

Glazers have been great for the Premier League
First of all, please allow me to say that I have been a lifelong Manchester City supporter. I was there in the old days of Maine Road and Shaun Goater, so people can save the ‘you started supporting City in 2008’ presumptions.

Anyway, onto the point. It is well known that United are the biggest club in the Premier League, and more importantly to the point of my message – they generate the highest revenue which leads to huge annual profits. Far more than any other club in the league.

As Financial Fair Play (FFP) is now going to be made more stricter in all areas – especially as a result of Todd Boehly’s reckless-but-clever-loophole spending at Chelsea and the current allegations of cheating against City – it now means that the clubs with rich financial backing from it’s owners (Newcastle, City, Chelsea, etc.) will definitely have to curb their spending and watch over their shoulders regarding their methods of financial income in the future. Despite people complaining about FFP being “ineffective” (usually from Manchester United, Arsenal and Liverpool fans for some reason, heh) over the years, this is not true at all. FFP has always been something for the clubs of money-rich owners to be wary of and it’s always had an effect to a degree.

The FFP rules, especially when they are made stricter, is where Manchester United could have a ridiculously unfair advantage over all the other clubs in the league if they are financially unhindered. Because you see, as United generate so much revenue and profit, under the FFP rules it means that they would be allowed to spend far more than all the other clubs in the league. What this would basically lead to is United being able to outspend the likes of City, Chelsea, Newcastle, Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, etc. for the best players, which would mean that United have it all their own way in every transfer window regarding the Premier League clubs, eventually dominating and making the league a boring and tedious one-horse race every season. It would also mean that only the clubs with the mega-rich owners can come close to even competing with them. Now before anyone makes the claim that no club can compete with Manchester City of now – Liverpool and Arsenal have competed with City, and both of these clubs do not have owners which throw money around.

Just consider this – even though United are financially hindered by the Glazers, they still managed to spend the likes of £35m for Sanchez (£400,000-a-week wages), £90m for Pogba, £50m for Martial, £80m for Maguire, £50m for Fred, £73m for Sancho, £50m for Wan-Bissaka, £47m for Fernandes, £60m for Martinez, £80m for Anthony, £40m for Varane, £60m for Casemiro, etc. And United are also said to have the highest wage bill in the Premier League. Therefore, this just goes to show you how terribly frightening and unfair it would be if United had unhindered capability to spend money on new players – especially if they have financial backing from Sheikh Jassim if he takes over the club (here’s hoping he doesn’t).

This is why Manchester United being financially hindered by the Glazers has been a good thing for the Premier League, as it ensures a level of fairness for all the other clubs in it. And I genuinely say this without any bias nor malice.

I mean, we (including the United fans) are always complaining about and mock how the French Ligue 1 and German Bundesliga leagues are just one-horse races every season, as well as mocking how the Spanish La Liga is just a two-horse race every season. That’s how boring and tedious the Premier League would be if it were just Manchester United as the one-horse race.

This is why the forthcoming United takeover is a vital and significant point regarding the Premier League’s future. From what has been reported, Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s takeover/ownership would involve high levels of further debt, as well as United’s existing debt still not being cleared. He does not have anywhere near the financial might of Sheikh Jassim. This is why Sir Jim talking ownership of the club would be a good thing, because it would hinder United’s financial power, ensuring fairness for the other clubs in the Premier League. United are more than capable of competing even when financially hindered, I would even say that they are still on par with or even more advantaged than the clubs with money-rich owners. Again, I genuinely say this without any bias nor malice.

Don’t get me wrong, I have no problems with football clubs spending money. However for the interests of fairness and healthy competition, potentially extreme spending power needs to be curbed.

Yours faithfully,


Leeds doomed
Decent game for the neutrals but Leeds-Newcastle made things crystal clear in my minds:

1. We are doomed – no composure or quality. We at least showed some fight but it’s been 2 seasons of the same errors.
2. Whether we stay up or not, we need a clear out. Too many championship level players who Bielsa maximised as best he could.
3. Adam Forshaw played well but trouble is, he’s playing above his level as well.
4. Patrick Bamford – thanks for your efforts but a move would benefit all parties. He’s worked hard and did well 2 years ago but those injuries and missed chances have depleted his confidence. A nice guy but not good enough – hope you get your mojo back somewhere else lad.
5. Why isn’t Rodrigo taking that penalty? 2 nil up if he does.
5. We were found out last season and didn’t adapt. Bielsa captured lightning in a bottle.

Two side notes:
1. Glad to see Newcastle go for the kill rather than shithouse. Like most hypocritical fans I would have taken a shithouse 1 nil though
2. Social media has some dicks on it – Bamford seems to get blamed rightly or wrongly for a lot of things and has taken the flack alongside Firpo for this draw from what I saw. Apparently he took himself off twitter after he got abuse after the arsenal home last October. Football shouldn’t matter enough that you threaten another human – if it does the issue is with you, not the player. Same point re the pitch invasions she saw.

Championship here we come – after the fire sales of Gnonto, Rodrigo and Harrison et all first.


…So Patrick Bamford and his family received online abuse after Saturday. I was still shocked but not surprised.

A reminder to the ‘fans’ who have done this – piss off and stop following football. It’s just a game. If it means this much to you then do something else. Whatever Paddy (and any other footballer who has received abuse in the past) has done – he’s not the issue. You are.

Rant over.