F*** the celebration police, Arsenal should savour this…

Ian Watson
Arsenal celebrate betting Aston Villa.

We have a wide and varied Monday morning mailbox, with missives on Arsenal, Lampard, Spurs, Vieira, VAR, El Clasico and more.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com


Celebrate good times
First Ruben Neves ripped into us for celebrating a hard fought victory against Wolves (certainly won’t help his chances of moving to us in the summer). Now Man Utd legend, Ashley Young has to decided to criticise Arsenal’s celebrations after the win against Villa.

I ask why would they not celebrate? After only THREE games this season, people were calling us relegation candidates. Keane joked that we may have enough quality to avoid relegation. Every pundit said that Arteta was out of his depth and should be sacked. All our new signings were criticised as B team quality. Even now, with all the wins racking up and beautiful football being played by Arsenal, we have experts like Neville saying he doesn’t trust Arsenal enough to finish fourth with all the evidence pointing to the contrary. This is a team that is being judged on the failures of poorer quality Arsenal sides of the last few years.

Every celebration is a response to the naysayers and critics. This is the new Arsenal. And whilst we may not yet be good enough to challenge City and Liverpool, every player has bought into the idea that Arsenal will be a force in a year or two.
Ash (London)


…I don’t know if this is a recent fad or its just become more noticeable in the constant stream of media we can receive but is there anything more laughable at the moment than the ‘Celebration Police’ dictating when, how and by how much victorious teams should celebrate? Surely the players, ex-players, fans and pundits must have even the smallest inkling that calling out celebrations by the team that just beat you is only going to make you look like sour or bad losers? “X Team celebrated like they won the league” As an Arsenal fan we’ve seen it directed at our team for winning 1-0 away to Wolves when down to 10 men and then winning 1-0 away to Villa having had a number of days less rest than our opponents. The mistake these players and fans of these teams make is thinking the celebrations are anything to do with them….. “it shows how good we are that they celebrate like that”. For Arsenal it is about moving towards the goal of getting back in the Champions League and celebrating those victories with the fans which is helping create a united attitude and mutual support and respect between players and fans that hasn’t been seen for some time at Arsenal.
Rich, AFC (celebrating every goal like we’ve won the league!)



Frank talk
Pretty big bollocks from Lampard to question whether the players he manages and whose job it is to improve as footballers mentally and physically – have the mentality to play for Everton. The absolute temerity of that man to question whether they can play for thier club after he’s arrived a couple of months ago, with no prior connection to the club, a questionable CV and no evidence of being good at his job.

But it’s ok because Everton aren’t rubbish because of HIS tactics, because they worked for 20 minutes, didnt you see? If they only work for 20 minutes maybe it’s because they aren’t good enough to last for more? There are clearly problems at the club beyond Lampard, but his pathetic attempts at face saving and an inability to even consider his own failings really grate with me.

When Lampard is sacked from Everton for not being a good football manager, where does he go? Is he the new Proper Football Man who gets multiple high profile jobs just because of his name?
Bill, CFC, London


Justice for Xhaka
Bit late with this one but if ever there was a case of a player being refereed on reputation and perception then Xhaka was booked for ‘persistent fouling’ vs Villa for his one and only foul the entire game. The ref even pointed 1,2,3 to other mythical fouls around the pitch he simply made up in his head. It is frustrating to see players say ‘it’s my 1st foul’ when they are given a yellow for a particularly bad foul, Xhaka himself does this, but when it’s your first foul and the reason is persistent fouling I think there are decent grounds for complaint. Then to compound matters further the ref then lets Cash and Youngs have 3 or 4 fouls each without a yellow card once he’s already set that as the persistent fouling benchmark.
These sorts of things don’t exactly support the naysayers when Arsenal fans say we are treated more harshly than other teams.
Rich, AFC


Spurs finally won a must-win
Was that Spurs’ best performance of the season?

We’ve taken bigger scalps but this wasn’t a freebie of a game, unlike the 6 bonus points taken from City.

This season has been a series of ‘must wins’. When a game has had that tag (and that pressure), we inevitably don’t.

This was a genuine must win game… for the faint hope of 4th place, but also to restore some well needed pride against a team that has recently stepped out of our shadow.

When Spurs have won this season, it’s often felt like we’ve had to or been forced to cede control of games to score on the break. This game was different.

It felt like it was perfect execution of a plan… control possession and territory and then set traps when we drop a little deeper. With Kane and Son we have the perfect predators to take advantage of those traps.

Looking at weaknesses (this is Spurs… our glass isn’t allowed to be more than half empty or half full), we are still David Luiz in team form… a big mistake is often compounded by an even bigger one.

Doherty giving away a cheap corner? Goal conceded. Son giving away a cheap corner instead of just clearing? A goalmouth scramble that we just got away with. To be a team fighting for anything more than just 4th, this mentally has to improve.

Ending on positive, a shout out to Eric Dier. He’s not perfect, but he’s a genuine leader and one of our most important players. England could do a lot worse (see Maguire, Harry)
David, Battersea


Project Palace
Watching the FA Cup demolition of Everton by an increasingly impressive Crystal Palace side, one thing that stood out was the camaraderie that Patrick Viera engendered within the Palace squad. In the post-game interview, you could see that the players respect the boss. He’s made them a better squad and in turn, he’s made them better players individually too. A lot of them are playing at the peak of their powers – they are starting to fulfill their ambitions as a group and that is driving them forwards.

The same can be said (even more so) at clubs like City, Liverpool and to an extent Chelsea and West Ham too – the managers are proving their worth and making the most of the talent available. They have managers and squads that believe they are heading towards the pinnacle of their careers together.

When clubs don’t have that shared purpose, like currently at Everton and United, you get a mix of underachieving players that aren’t progressing to the required level, alongside players that built their preordained-lofty-reputations in other teams or under other managers, making the squads feel imbalanced. The teams lack cohesion, so finding managers that can single-handedly marshal the array of capabilities and egos is nearly impossible.

This again highlights the benefit of calculated strategic leadership in modern football – hiring a manager and then purchasing players who align and not only fit a footballing system but build an aligned culture and ambition. But it takes time, there is no quick fix.

This takes us back to Palace who are quietly making fantastic progress under Viera. With more sage investment and hopefully more time with Viera, they could really progress – after all he’s only just started this “project”.
Jack, Wandsworth

Could this be Crystal Palace’s greatest ever season?


In the dark over VAR
A quick note on the Jota goal/commentary/analysis (lack of)…get Dale Johnson on co-comms or anyone else prepared to do some basic research to understand the phenomenon of the offside parallax. Commentators and pundits just blithely stating “this will/won’t be given offside” as inaccurate TV replays air whilst the VAR cameras look at the real angles to give a FACTUAL on or off decision is driving me mad….remember the days when pundits lived up to the job description of telling the viewers the extra details which weren’t obvious to the naked eye….most viewers dont have a detailed knowledge of the VAR process now but to me its inexcusable that commentators and pundits dont and as its such a huge part of the game these days then they should be fully swotting up and educating the viewers. It seems to me that they are largely actively avoiding commenting on the VAR decision-making process because of their lack of knowledge when the reality is every decision given by VAR has a process behind it even if occasionally goes t*ts up.
As an aside, if this point was driven home and people learn that TV isn’t god when it comes to football, maybe people may start to give linesmen more credit?….no thought not. Best stick with the feeding false notions of inherit bias and corruption in officials that led us to this position where people somehow believed that technology would give everyone a feeling of a level playing field.
Michael (just take me back to the days when we knew the “live” decision was final)


Another Ox off-day
I feel a bit sorry for Oxlade Chamberlain. You could see as he was coming off today that nobody was more frustrated with his performance than he was. I feel that the injuries have maybe just caught up with him at this stage. When he joined Liverpool his first season he was a massive influence. He played more than 30 games and was a scorer of huge goals and generally looked great. This season and last he just looks like a guy trying to find some rhythm again but increasingly it feels that his best chance of doing that might be elsewhere next season. At 28 it’s hard to see him breaking back into this team.

Overall that was your classic squeaky bum time game. We were poor all over but managed to find a win. There can’t be a Liverpool man of the match because they were all average to dreadful. That said Gomez did ok on the right.

I’d be intrigued to know who the VAR was tonight. I was pretty surprised he didn’t give Forest a penalty. It’s clearly not a penalty because Surridge drags his foot looking for the contact but VAR rarely demonstrates enough intelligence to actually think about what’s going and make a call based on how football is actually played. In that replay all the idiots who usually handle the premier league see contact and say penalty. It also looked a lot like Pawson bottled making any call at all. He almost preferred to give no penalty and leave it to VAR to decide.
Minty, LFC


Sloppy City
Now, I’m writing this in a thoroughly bad mood as it is so am probably being overly negative but if ever a score line belied what actually happened in a game, then Saints v City is it. 4-1 is a poor reflection of the outstanding work ethic shown by Southampton from start to finish and I think that if they had a quality striker then they would’ve put that game to bed in the first half.

Whilst this might be recency bias as well, I genuinely can’t remember City making so many sloppy mistakes and passes in a game as they did today (this season that is). Also, what the actual f*ck was Steffen doing wasting time with 70 minutes on the clock? It was downright disrespectful to a more than worthy opponent.

Yes, I know. It’s the result that counts and grinding them out when you’re not playing very well is what champions do and here I am moaning about us winning a game.

But still.
Mark (Bah humbug) MCFC.

City all over the world
I’m not really sure what decade Michael thinks it is or if he has travelled much but I wanna offer an alternative perspective on his theory that nobody cares about Man city outside of Manchester.

My gf is from brazil and I was in Brazil as recently as one year ago. You know what the most common UK football shirt I saw was? Man City. My gf is also a man city fan, her dad (if he is forced to choose) also Man city.

My best friend is from the Philippines, guess what football shirt she wears? Man city. A former classmate of mine is from Zambia, guess which team he supports? Man city.

They’re actually pretty ubiquitous, but the only way you would know is if you had some friends in other countries or did some travelling because we’re never really exposed to foreign fans in the UK apart from those international “tournaments” during pre season which hardly anyone from UK watches.

Secondly – this isn’t 1950, it doesn’t matter where fans are. It matters that people enjoy watching any particular team and by extension the sport in general, which again if you’d actually travelled, you’d know most foreign football fans watch tons of football from many countries. In the UK we tend to support just our team and country whereas foreign fans tend to celebrate the sport as a whole, perhaps why they keep being given international tournaments all the time.

And just in case your assuming I’m taking the side of foreign fans or mam city I’m a born and bred dude from Lancashire and a Liverpool fan. I just think your views needed a bit more context as it seemed to be lacking.


Semi draw
So no Liverpool vs Manchester City final. Booooooooo


Clasico confusion
I understood football. I thought I knew it very well. However after that El Classico, I only have a tenuous grasp on it at best. Stunned from the fourth goal, I wandered over to my wife, and attempted to simplify what I was witnessing. Not for her sake, but my own. So the runaway league leaders were 4-0 down at home, the architect being a player who had been reprimanded for a bad attitude at his previous club only a handful of months ago. How? What?
Michael, FFC, Dungarvan (‘understanding of football’ card willingly handed in).