Gushing over Arsenal’s new Cazorla while Raya gives off Seaman vibes…

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Leandro Trossard celebrates after scoring for Arsenal against PSV.
Leandro Trossard is reminding Arsenal fans of an old favourite...

Arsenal fans in the Mailbox laud the second comings of Santi and Seaman. Also: selling Salah would be a massive win for Liverpool; and more clubs as bands…

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Santi sequel
Game after game I watch Trossard for Arsenal, as he continues his metamorphosis into Santi Cazorla 2.0 (but with more end product!) with absolute joy. I think back to that transfer window. We tried so hard for Mudryk, and I will not lie, I was crestfallen when we didn’t sign him. I’d watched the same YouTube compilations, and I thought he would be perfect for us. Like Martinelli 2. Yet we didn’t sign him. Chelsea did, for a huge amount. The crowing of Chelsea fans was embarrassing for me, as it felt for all our progress, we weren’t at the big table and would never be.

We then signed Trossard, a player I had no inkling about, he seemed small in stature, and had no stand out ability that I could see (oh, how wrong I was. Turns out ball striking is his super power!).

And yet game after game, he has shown me that we had a sliding doors moment with his signing, and that actually 27 million seems like daylight robbery. I know many will say Rice, or Jesus are the signings of Arteta’s tenure, but I think it may be Trossard. That Brighton are so well run that they have barely missed him is a testament to them and their club, but I think I have fallen for the Belgian Boy who became the reincarnation of Cazorla. The kind of skilled dynamo who is always loved at Arsenal. Some players need the big stage to truly shine, and I hope we can provide it for him. He gives us something very different and is an ever present threat. If Rice is proving to be worth every penny, then Trossard is truly a steal.
John (Boy is it good being back in the CL!) Matrix AFC


Raya > Ramsdale
I know it’s VERY early days but I haven’t felt that calm about an Arsenal goalkeeper since Seaman was in goal.

I love Ramsdale but he brings the chaos. With Raya, you feel like you’re going on a nice quiet drive in the country.

Raya, thus far, is proving a very welcome addition. Mainly because Arsenal fans like to panic – we had the Highbury screamer and Stewie has gone so far down the rabbit hole of panicking about Arsenal that he’s come out the other end absolutely hating us.

I also enjoyed the commentary on Wednesday night both questioning why Ramsdale was dropped and pointing out Arsenal always concede at home – like those two points aren’t linked in any way whatsoever.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


Back in the game
I remember thinking recently, that when I started to wain from football being a bigger part of my life, I always chalked it down to a variety of things. Firstly, age. And with that came other interests, or less time watching football regularly – I’d still read and listen to things, but with less need or devotion. Other factors included the sensationalism, the money, the overtly entertainment nature more than sporting merit, the endless Messi v Ronaldo style die hard tribal fans and the social media influence of a pure and utter lack of nuance. It all just seemed a bit much. Coincidentally, this all coincided, in my mind at least, with Arsenal taking an enforced break from the Champions League. I love the competition. It’s arguably my favourite thing about football – not so much the product but more the concept of a continental competition (bring back the old European Cup). It adds a sense of adventure, of the new, the foreign and unknown, plus a sense of prestige because you have to earn your place there. Maybe my Football Manager days are to thank for this, but it became something to be unlocked; to win all trophies took time because you had to do well in one competition to earn the right to play in another.

So, it’s no surprise to see that this season (and last too tona certain extent) have garnered more watching interest since Arsenal are back in it. Sure, they’re starting to be good again which always helps, but I never not followed them, never was unknowing of what was happening. I just cared less. I still care less than I did previously, just now, I’m a bit more excited. I actually listened to the Champions League draw live because I was so excited. And seeing them do well tonight was, dare I say, fan-bloody-tastic! Of course, it’s one game and anything could happen – knock-out tonkings for one – but this feels different, earned. Optimistic.

Not to win, but maybe. But definitely put on a good show. Give a good account of what this squad is all about. And this squad has a lot about it. I feel the narrative has been (ever so) slightly dismissive so far this season, with a bit of flack for the Fulham draw, Havertz, and the RayMsdale situation. But, in another light; including the Community Shield win, Arsenal have won 6 of 7 games, are unbeaten, have scored 14 amongst 5 players, and kept 3 clean sheets. The squad has been improved with stronger options from the bench (even if Tierney should have been kept), players who can actually shoot from outside the box (something I feel Arsenal lost for a little while), play some beautifully technical football, and surprisingly, looks hungry. A phrase I wouldn’t really use too much if at all, but jumped right at me tonight. Seeing the players, seeing their energy, their faces. How much they wanted it. And why not? They’re young, they’re talented. They’ve earned the right to be here. Saka, Odegaard, Saliba, Trossard, Jesus et al. Either young prodigies eager to showcase themselves at this level or older players finally making it here, here being either the Champions League itself or in Jesus’ case specifically, dropping down to be a bigger fish, and doing so on the biggest stage. No matter who, the mood amongst the players, the coaches, the fans seems hungry. Excited. To do more, to show more. To see more. And a win this weekend could really put some winds in these sails and wouldn’t surprise me to see it as the start of a City-esque run of results (provided we win of course). It’s been a while forbme, but it’s nice to have some optimism and excitement around the team one supports. A return to the top table as only whet the appetite, long may it continue!
Neill, Ireland


Selfish Salah
I enjoyed Matt Stead’s Salah article this morning, but I wholeheartedly disagree with one of its key premises: Mo Salah was certainly selfish and guilty of poor decision making inside the box during various stages of his Liverpool career.

I don’t know how to justify or quantify this. I have seen every single (non-pre-season) game Salah has ever played for Liverpool. I have seen him do infuriatingly selfish things while ignoring teammates in better goal-scoring positions. (Is there an OPTA stat which reflects “number of times a player should have passed, but shot instead”?) I believe Sadio Mané was the better player at various stages of their time at the club, even though Salah has certainly proven himself to be more consistent and long-lasting than Mané. I know I’m not alone and that Jamie Carragher felt likewise.

Salah has seemed to begin to play less selfishly in recent seasons, certainly this season. It is possible to acknowledge this without claiming that “he was never selfish to begin with!”

Related tangent: I would describe Luis Diaz as Liverpool’s most important and “best” player, not Salah. Selling Salah to Saudi Arabia in the summer would be a huge win for the club (based on the likely transfer fee). Selling Luis Diaz, in my opinion, would be a disaster at any price.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland

Read more: Salah has replaced Kane and made a mockery of ‘the most selfish player’ claims as Liverpool leader

Rock n goal
Honestly I need to give some flowers to Greg, AFC in Thursday morning’s Mailbox because that was genuinely one of THE best mails I have read in quite some time, the Chelsea comparison with Guns N Roses was truly spot on however i did imagine Imagine Dragons might have been a shout as they are disliked by many despite being quite successful in their career so far, however GNR is much better as a comparison.

I thought i would give my hand at a few for the European sides, but decided to go a bit rogue and add in some non-Rockstars for variety:

Lyon – Westlife. Huge in the 00s, you would be able to name every single member but as the years went by they have have slowly fallen off the top and are now currently in a position where you don’t even recognise them anymore if they were to sit down next to you on the bus.

Montpellier – Gotye. 2012 was an amazing year for them, you knew exactly who they were and what they achieved but ironically now they are both somebody that i used to know.

Real Madrid – Elvis Presley. They are timeless, they changed the game starting in the 1950s and each decade they were successful, even after the one era ends they still continue to be adored and find new fans.

FC Santa Claus – Mariah Carey. They always appear at Christmas time however you dont pay much attention to what they do after the festive season ends.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod


…Arsenal aren’t Queen. Liverpool are Queen – massive in the 70s and 80s but less relevant by the 90s ahead of a more recent resurgence.

Arsenal are Iron Maiden. (Yeah, I know Steve Harris supports West Ham). Capable of long stints of success – 20 years in the Champions League compares well with Maiden’s run of seven albums in a row before the first stinker. Both have very loyal fans who will seemingly forgive them anything – the loyalty to Wenger until way past his sell by date can be likened to the fact that Maiden’s post reunion albums have been pretty mediocre bar Book of Souls and they can both be considered institutions despite being really hated for some reason by fans from rival groups.

Arsenal are even actually represented on TWO Maiden albums – in a scoreline on the back of the Somewhere In Time album and Marc Overmars, Ian Wright and Patrick Vieira all appeared on the sleeve for the 1998 album Virtual XI.
Graham Simons, Gooner and Maiden fan, Norf London


…I’m sure this one will run and run, so Calvino does have his uses. Man City are Ed Sheeran. No-one had paid him much attention up to about ten years ago, and when he first came on the scene, he had some catchy tunes and it was good to see a new face breaking through. Now though, he just repeats the same thing over and over, bores the hell out of everyone and is richer than Croesus.
Matthew (really hope we turn over West Ham after Antonio’s nonsense this week. Always suspected he was a gobshite, good to have it confirmed)


United were good
So I see the Manchester United Overreaction Industry is full swing. A 4-3 loss away at one of the three CL favourites, with key squad members missing and with a soft pen and a goalkeeper error thrown in too.

It was a good and resilient performance. Get a grip people.

Rasmus Hojlund and Bruno Fernandes despair

Bayern can-can
If Bayern were 3-0 down at home and scored a 90th min consolation, would they still play the can can?
Andy the hammer


Beyond the big boys
Is it just me or does nobody write about clubs other than the premier league anymore? I’ve been busy at work so could have missed it but skimming through it’s all the same stuff about the same teams?

I occasionally write in about either Wolves (who my partner supports) or Huddersfield (my team) but there’s been nothing from other fans of other teams. Happy to be corrected if I missed it, I don’t always have time to read all the mailbox.

For me I was sorry to see Warnock go. Love him or hate him he is a genuine guy and actually not bad at management. How many other managers effectively sacked get the opportunity of a lap of honour? And sent on his way with genuine affection? As to who we’ll get next am not sure about the names being thrown around. I wouldn’t mind Rooney as his record isn’t too bad or Darren Moore but please not Nathan whiny Jones.

Perhaps football365 could help and bring back championship winners/losers? Or just a football league winners/losers to cover them all?

Any other lower league fans want to share their team updates?