Arsenal enjoying ‘easier’ title path than Liverpool and City; Havertz apologies, Ramsdale, Man Utd…

Editor F365
Arsenal duo Kai Havertz and Aaron Ramsdale after a win.
Arsenal duo Kai Havertz and Aaron Ramsdale after a win.

The Mailbox says Arsenal’s path to the Premier League title has been easier than injury-ravaged Liverpool and Manchester City. Also: there are apologies for Kai Havertz and bits on Aaron Ramsdale and Manchester United.

Send your views in to


What the donkey did at the Emirates
Stewie Griffin,

Wanted to let you know that the “£65m statue at Burnley”, the “immobile dummy with all the speed of a crustacean masturbating underwater”, the “£65m vanity purchase” scored the decisive winning goal last night against Brentford to send the “fodder-beating” Gunners to the top of the Premier League table.

Notice how the Bees set-up shop, a low/mid-block like a certain team in Portugal.

Maybe this would be a tactical dress rehearsal for the not-too intelligent Mikel Arteta ahead of the potential banana peel that is Porto on Tuesday.

Perhaps you’d be proven right that Arsenal will remain perennial also-rans and unmitigated failures. Who knows?
Alphonsus, Sunderland. (No matter what happens on Tuesday or at season’s end, Mikel Arteta has done a fantastic job at the Emirates, so far.)


Havertz gets his flowers
After the regularity of the mundane 5 or 6-0 wins Arsenal were due a tougher game we had to grind it out in and at the same time have something that will boil the p*ss of rival fans and pundits up and down the land!

Of course Havertz was trying to win a penalty by engineering the contact but once there is that contact then the ref is never going to be 100% sure and var can’t intervene. Where var could and should have intervened was the clear penalty on Trossard being dragged back by the neck, it seemed every ball in the box had Brentford more interested in wrestling players to the ground but the ref had decided there was no way he was going to make any decision in the box.

Then there is the apparent hard line refs were going to take with time wasting, dissent and showing imaginary yellow cards, which Brentford were allowed to do with impunity last night. Ball in play for less than 50% of the match. I completely understand it, Brentford wanted a stop start game and will look to break the rhythm of Arsenal with flagrant time wasting. It’s funny how all those cramps and injuries never need the physio and miraculously clear up as soon as Havertz scored!

Any new signing for Pep is given a free pass in their first year to get used to Pep and the huge detail and information he wants to get across to players, was Havertz not allowed the same partly to get rid of the Chelsea funk as well? He’s a vital part of the team, 4 goals and 2 assists in his last 4, versatile to play midfield and striker, physical and intelligent, the archetypical Arteta player.

We took Chelsea’s best player off them and they didn’t even realise it. Arteta has also been proven right on the Raya deal. He is a better gk than Ramsdale it’s as simple as that. Pleased for Ramsdale to make those 2 good second half saves so his first half mistake didn’t cost us.

Another criminally underrated player is Ben White, ridiculously consistent, up and down that right side and contributing at both ends. Rarely is his price tag mentioned and Southgate needs to get over whatever falling out may have happened because it’s laughable he’s not in the England squad as a centre back let alone right back.

There aren’t many things as delightful as scoring a late winner against an opponent who has wasted time and feigned injury all game, and then who proved to whine and moan about Arsenal seemingly wasting time once we scored the winner!

Still 3rd favourites for the league of course, why wouldn’t we be with such a young team and inexperienced manager in comparison with his competition.

READ MORE: Arsenal and Havertz finally give Antonio Conte what he craved with inspired Brentford victory


Sorry to Kai Havertz
Just a quick apology to Kai Havertz, who I may have appeared to doubt in an email to this site at the start of the season.

I was clearly joking and always knew he’d be an important player for us and score vital goals.

Especially against Brentford. Twice.

Also, Brentford are quiet dislikeable aren’t they? Time wasting, waving imaginary cards towards the ref and moaning about everything.

Still. Thanks for the 6 points this season. The lads had a nice kick about.
Stu (Havertz’ name on my shirt) – Gunner in France


Lucky, lucky Arsenal
Jurrien timber? Who is that? You can’t claim to be missing a player who never actually played a single game for you.

Tomiyasu fair enough since he was a regular first team player.

Party has been replaced by £100m signing Declan rice and I’m surprised arsenal fans even remember they have party anymore. And are arsenal fans really saying that zinchenko is the defensive lynchpin that holds it all together?

Finally there’s jesus a striker who regularly goes on strike.

None of those players would make the other top 6 teams and more crucially – none of them would make the arsenal starting 11 either and before you make their case ask yourselves – would you be getting 4 5 and 6 nil wins or better if you slot those players into the team in place of their current counterpart? Probably not.

Whereas city missing de bruyne, rodri and haaland definitely does change the chance of them winning.

Liverpool missing , Trent, Alison, Jones, Nunez, Salah, Jota does affect the chances of a positive outcome. Every single one of those players are starting 11 and I intentionally left off a bunch of others who would usually be on the bench.

Like it or not arsenal’s path to the title this year is easier than cities and easier than Liverpool’s. The team is largely settled group of players with little changes in summer playing the same football with injuries to minor players who wouldn’t start consistently anyway. For example do you think you’d be in a title race if rice had been out for as long as de bruyne was? Very very unlikely.

Take saka out for 3 months like Salah for Liverpool and are arsenal where they are now? Very unlikely.

When I say it’s more significant for city and Liverpool I’m saying that because circumstances have been tougher for both throughout this season because both have missed genuinely game changing players for big chunks of the season.

It’s not that it means more to Liverpool or city fans, you’re misinterpreting what I’m saying. I’m saying the path to the title has been easiest for arsenal. And even at that I’m not saying it was EASY I’m saying it was easier by comparison.

But it won’t matter anyway, the title is probably going to city. And next week after city win against arsenal it will trigger the annual arsenal late season collapse and you’ll get third, while probably having the best season of your history.


Stewie held at bay
In the long list of things that have annoyed me about Ramsdale and why I have never considered our long term keeper is exactly the error he made that led to the Brentford goal.

He ALWAYS does that – takes way too long to get a kick off when there is an attacker closing him down, almost intentionally (and unnecessarily) waiting until the last possible second. In his days as a starter he played with fire in this fashion repeatedly and has typically been very fortunate to get away with it.

I was screaming at Ramsdale to get the ball away as Wissa honed in – it was exactly what I was worried about prior to the match (I had texted friends earlier in the week “Ramsdale in goal worries me”) and exactly why Ramsdale was F365’s player to watch over the weekend.

Luckily, his teammates put in what has become their typically assured manner of performing and held Stewie at bay at least until the end of the month (when we play City). We all know what we would be reading in this mailbox (that bingo card email was great btw) had we drawn that match.

And I say draw specifically because we weren’t going to lose – if anything we were only going to win. This is the difference with Arsenal now – not only can we dig out close matches but we’ve added a level of control to our overall play that reduces the chances of getting caught out in our desperation to win a match. Despite yet another goal, this is where Declan has helped the most and I really think the injury-enforced absence of Zinchenko (plus the clear improvements of Kiwior who has started to settle) has solidified the idea in Arteta’s head that the player is a massive hindrance to this control. Control starts from the back – not the front.

Even if a draw had prompted the inevitable from Stewie, he would have been wrong to criticize Arsenal for faltering as people typically predict this time of year. That was the mistake of an individual who is rightfully being pushed out of the squad and not the entire team capitulating. Au contraire, the entire team actually stepped up to do their best to make sure the Ramsdale error could be forgotten and ended up willing their way to a victory they knew they deserved in a match they knew they had to win to put pressure on their title rivals. Ramsdale, to be fair, also acquitted himself well after the mistake when he could have made it worse on himself.

Arsenal are winning games and scoring goals in a variety of ways these days, all while gaining more experience and know-how to handle the various situations that will be thrown their way in a 38-match league campaign. As long as the current pattern continues, we have yet to see the best of this squad.
MAW, LA Gooner (If Lukasz Fabianski can carve out a respectable career, so too can Ramsdale…just not at Arsenal.


Initially I never understood why a keeper like Ramsdale should be replaced by a keeper I wasn’t familiar with as in Raya.

Ramsdale is second to none in stopping shots. However, does he concentrate on a game fully aside from having a laugh with the fans and subsequently make the defence jittery? Fellow ‘supporters’ moan about poor old Rambo being treated badly by that nasty head teacher Arteta haven’t got the right end of the ‘stick!’ He ain’t good enough!

Those same ‘fans’ moan about Leno over Martinez. Sorry a no brainer for me. Get rid of the Narcissistic plonker and keep the solid modest one. Who was Ramsdale before Arteta and his coaching staff put him in the map? All Arteta is doing is showing professionalism and, if you like, the ruthlessness to make Arsenal a force.

People have said that Raya has been sitting on a deck chair watching games with nothing to do. No, his handling and delivery is superb! He doesn’t bring the other teams back into the game by stupid cock ups. Maybe a bit jittery at Arsenal to begin with but looks solid as a rock now. Goals conceded v Lens and Porto unstoppable.

It’s about time the anti Arteta and pro Ramsbottom change the record. Well done Arteta we’re back on the map!
Chris Croydon


Arteta knows best
I like Ramsdale, he’s by no means a bad keeper,  but Raya would have passed that ball square to Saliba, and that’s ‘a’ reason why Arteta replaced him.
Strevs, AFC, Canada 


The Ramsdale debate
I was a little sympathetic to Ramsdale when he lost his place. However, I’m sure many Arsenal fans will remember how many times he nearly conceded a goal last season when trying to play the ball with his feet.

I feel for the guy, but in the current game, keepers are expected to be an outlet for the side in possession.

He just can’t do it with his feet.

He’ll move on in the summer and none of the ‘top’ teams will want him. By that I mean those playing European football. So Chelsea it is…..

The second half has only just started, so I’m hoping we can get the win to make him feel better.

But I’ve a feeling it could be one of ‘those’ nights!
Stu – Unsurprised Gooner in France


Arsenal’s desgracia
Just checking, given he wrote considerably more than four mails on VAR and yellow cards, whether Rich AFC has any views on what should happen if a player commits an orange + yellow + yellow, then scores?

(Spanish definition of) disgrace or something?

I for one was absolutely shocked yet again to see an Arsenal player, the side that never catches a break ever, have such difficulties with gravity. Just literally every game.

Definitely not a case of some decisions going in a clubs favour, and others not. No way. That never happens.
Tom G


Does he know?
70 f***in mins in. This is Peak Arsenal. FFS


Fundamental forces
As an Irish Liverpool fan, Saturday was an unpleasant double nut punch of late winners for England and Arsenal.

This means Liverpool vs City will lead to a conflict between two of the fundamental forces of the universe that Newton and his fellow boffins ignored.

“These things happen in 3s” vs “luck balances out.”

It’ll clearly (hopefully) be a draw.
Aidan, Lfc (never understood the phrase “luck of the irish”…unless someone was just taking the piss)


The Man Utd narrative
United won apparently, although you wouldn’t really know it. Even in winning, the narrative is unrelenting.

Just a reminder of the current absences:
Main and back up left backs, both injured.
Key centre back, injured.
Right back (who would allow Dalot to cover left back), injured.

Add in, Main striker, injured
Nominal back up striker, injured.

Most of these have been for most of the season so far, and doesn’t include the regularly missing Varane and others.

When Liverpool struggled with their defensive absentees in 20/21, they included Two centre backs and a cover full back/centre who most would say was back-up at best. Where was the media narrative against plucky Liverpool and Klopp then? I mean, they were league winners the year before, an infinitely stronger position than United currently, with a manager in place for 5 years prior.

Yes, United are inconsistent at best, at the moment. But a significant underlying issue is the complete lack of a consistent back line to build from. If you don’t think that’s an issue, you’re lying, selling a narrative or an idiot. Quite possibly all three.

Would it all be roses if we had our first choice back line? I can’t say 100% but I can absolutely say we looked much better with Shaw and even more so with both Shaw and Martinez.

United fans aren’t asking for sympathy, trust me we’re plenty critical ourselves, but maybe just ease off the click-bait narratives that mediawatch so desperately hates. Were we dominant against Everton? No. Are there reasonable excuses? Yes. Did we win? Also yes. Does that require another diatribe about how the a manager shorn of half of his team is a failure? Not particularly, no.

READ MORE: Ten Hag’s new favourite excuse exposed as complete nonsense by uninspiring Everton victory


Come dine at Erik’s buffet!
Reading Will Ford’s United piece got me thinking about Ten Hags style, “fine margins” and maybe ETH has something in that. I’ll explain.

In a world of “patterns of play” and “well drilled routines”, maybe United’s chaotic approach can, and indeed does, get results. They tend to do what others do not, almost as if United are counter-pop: counter-patterns of play.

While they do manage to give away many shots, it’s most often not with their opponent’s usual routines. Like the first half against City, if the Utd players are in the right positions, and don’t make mistakes, City can shoot at will but to little effect (Haaland chance aside).

It’s no surprise then when his teams fit and available – his first 25 games & the start to 2024 – that they’ve virtually won at will and looked very competent. Even getting wins against City, Arsenal and LFC.

Basically, it seems Man Utd are like an all-you-can-eat buffet set up you find on holiday. Where the breads, pastas, rice and salads are all the first stalls you see and eat, typically filling you up before you get to the steaks and fish. You feel overwhelmed by the perceived choice, you forget your usual diet and go all out.

Sure, the occasional experienced customer will know to skip the first stalls, and the customer who can’t read signs gets lucky, enters the tail end and goes to town on the good stuff, but when the right staff are there, it rarely happens.

“Fine margins” is what makes and breaks many things, but with over 61 wins in his first 100 games – 11 behind Peps first 100 and 11 ahead of Klopps first 100 – I think we should trust the set up, especially given the additional chaos, injuries and pretty much having no reliable striker during that time period to rely on.

Everton slumped to defeat at Old Trafford


Some Man Utd analysis
As frustrating as it can be to watch utd as a lifelong fan there has to be more than luck that finds them in 6th place while the media narrative tells us we’re playing as badly as those in the bottom three. 6th is nothing to celebrate but when you consider this current great (LOL) Liverpool side finished 5th last season with not much criticism based on their injuries, are utd really as bad as the media (f365 included) would lead us to believe?

It is easy to find stats to back up utd being rubbish but when they are so far removed from actual league position they no longer hold water. Utd may well have some alarming stats that match Luton and Sheffield Utd but difference in league position dictates those comparisons meaningless even as they get mentioned every game.

So, here’s some analysis using my eyes from watching all the utd games this season.

Utd do lose possession a lot, they do conceded a lot of shots and they do not control games in terms of possession. That is clear to see and the stats, as we are often reminded back that up. This frequent lost possession also makes them look chaotic and it hard to see any patterns of play. Believe me I’ve been trying to figure out what the plan is all season.

Also using my eyes, utd seem to allow the opposition to pass the ball around the flanks and in front of the box. They even seem content to concede corners. However, they do protect the box and prevent the attackers having time to set themselves. Most shots faced are wild and off target, a few are blocked and the few that aren’t tend to be comfortably saved by Onana who is also very good at catching crosses (if you don’t buy that, you can at least admit he’s miles better than de Gea was) Utd also seem relatively comfortable defending corners, they get plenty of practise every game. And they don’t seem to concede many dangerous free kicks just outside the box.

In possession, utd are always looking for a quick break. This is high risk in terms of possession and exactly why possession stats look terrible. It used to be just Fernandes allowed to do this but seems a team tactic now. However, when you consider the chances utd generate, is it that bad a tactic? Most games utd have less shots on goal than the opposition but they create so many more nearly chances. Those chances where a slightly better throughball would have led to a one on one, or a better timed run would have been a one on one instead of offside or slightly too close to the keeper.

Those are fine margins, they are good chances but in the stats they often do not end as a shot or even a chance. Stats can be misleading. Interestingly, the media tries to tell us the jury is still out on Onana. There are no stats to back this up which is not surprising seeing as he commands his area well, distributes the ball well and makes good saves when called upon. De Gea was a fine keeper in certain areas. Onana is the complete package.

Another stat utd get beaten with is goal.difference. We don’t have wins by more than one goal. Sadly, that is because ETH, if we are leading with 15 mins to go, will always protect the lead and shore up midfield and defence. A tactic I hate and never used to work for utd as it just invited teams to attack. As painful as it is to watch, it is working in terms of ensuring the 3 points way more often than not.

Am I happy watching this? Definitely not. Am I clutching at straws? Yes I am, although there had to be some reasons the stats narrative and league position don’t match and someone should have looked into this by now.

I can now see that with the full squad available for selection and marginal improvements in their play (losing a little less possession in particular) this utd side could actually be making some progress (it is the hope that kills us). Utd still have half a chance of 4th place despite the BS story selective stats can tell us.
Jon, Cape Town (can’t wait for the first person to tear apart my mail with stats thereby proving my point even further)


It does mean more for Liverpool
Did Andy D MCFC really just run the the Mailbox to to grass on someone from the comments section? FFS lad have some pride.

It’s insane how excised people are still getting about a marketing slogan.

To spell it out, TAA has articulated the fact that Manchester City used to be a yo-yo club with an incredible supporter base who were bought by a gulf state sportswashing vehicle. Now they’re an incredible footballing operation lacking in soul. They’ve won the majority of recent honours by virtue of assembling a financially risk free superteam, both backroom and on-pitch.

Their rivals in recent times have also spent (far less) money, earned over decades of hard work and success, but always within the financial parameters agreed by all of the teams competing for the same honours.

In that context is it really insane to speculate that the fans of the team that recently won their first title in 30 years might find it more special than the ones who could win it 4 times in a row and for the 8th time in 12 years?
James Outram, Wirral


Thanks Dave
But we’ve been watching that shite for years. There is nowt new about our situation, the way we play, or what the future holds.

Every year, I cant be f**ked but there’s always something that keeps me interested.

We’ve had allerdyce and now we’re stuck with darche. With over half a billion spent, woohoo!

We must know our place as a feeder team for the corporate c***s.

Everyone who does not support a sky 6 needs to wake up to that and cancel their subscriptions that feed the pigs at the trough.

Yours unwell and angry
Fat Man

READ NOW: Seven Premier League title deciders, featuring Liverpool, Arsenal, Man Utd, City and more…