Arsenal lost league when Arteta mistake told players he ‘didn’t think they were good enough’

Editor F365
Arsenal player Bukayo Saka and manager Mikel Arteta
Mikel Arteta thinks his players are rubbish

Arsenal are ‘starving’ and will be back again. But Mikel Arteta cannot repeat the mistake which told his players he ‘didn’t think they were good enough’.

Send your thoughts to


Arsenal will be back again
I’m a Liverpool fan and it’s fair to say we’ve suffered more at City’s hands than most. Jurgen would be leaving with 3 Premier Leagues rather than 1 if City had only been a tiny bit worse.

But the reality is that they haven’t and it’s forced us to be the best possible version of ourselves in 3 seasons.  97 points and runners up? Insane. But we were better than we ever would have been without City to fight against.

Jurgen’s not leaving with the hugest pile of pots, it’s true. But the quality of football his sides played at our best is some of the greatest we’ve ever seen. In my ever-so-unbiased opinion obviously.

The point of all this is that Arsenal have fallen only ever so slightly short this season and it’s no real fault of theirs. They’ve been bloody good. When they collapsed last year, the naysayers screamed ‘ That was your chance! It’ll never happen again! ‘ So they added Declan Rice and got better. Arteta learnt from the experience and got better.

We needed a world class centre back and goalkeeper to fix our most glaring flaws and went out and got them. Successful seasons then ensued.

Arsenal needed a world class midfielder and striker. They’re half way there – do you really think Arteta doesn’t know exactly who he wants this summer? And if he gets them then Arsenal will be better still. Just like we were.

Even with all that said, it’s bloody draining fighting against City for a whole season. It’s worn our players and our manager out. But only *after* we won everything and our hunger was somewhat satiated. Arsenal are still starving.

They’ve lost nothing this season, they’ve been beaten by the best team this country has ever seen, managed by the best manager this country has ever had. But they got blooming close.

They’ll be back next year, they will be better and I genuinely believe Pep will have to raise his game to match them.

Christ knows what kind of a season we’ll have mind you.
James, Liverpool 


What really cost Arsenal the league
Dear Ed,

Skim read the Jason Soutar article to see if the penny had dropped with Arsenal (fans) as to why they may not have won the league (it’s not over until its over).

It wasn’t the December slump.  City had a bigger slump this season.  It wasn’t bread and butter misses.  City have had their fair share of them too this season.  It wasn’t losing away from home.  That can happen all the time.

The reason Arsenal may not have won the league, is simple.  They came to the Ethiad and played for a draw.  They parked the bus.  If you want to win the league, you have to dethrone the champions.  You have to go to their place and (try and) play them off the park, not sit back and play like a minnow in an FA cup game.  It demonstrates that Arteta didn’t think they were good enough to go toe to toe with the champs and that filters down to the players.  Many of their fans were cock-a-hoop with a draw.  City fans looked on in bemusement and I very much suspect it gave their players a lot of belief that they were the best team.  It certainly didn’t rock their confidence or give them sleepless nights.

I remember when City played Chelsea in 2017 at the Bridge at the end of September.  Chelsea were champions and City were desperate to prove themselves.  They went to Stamford Bridge and outplayed them in every part of the pitch.  The win didn’t come easy and only after an exceptional KdB goal.  Despite it being very early in the season, it gave City real confidence and the team went onto become known as the Centurions.  Once you know you can beat the champions at their place you can beat anyone in the league and go on to win the league.  Belief and knowing your the best is everything.

Fingers and toes will be crossed at the Ethiad on Sunday.
Rosie Poppins.

👉 Arteta error, Havertz, Son miss: The five moments that (probably) cost Arsenal the title
👉 The four players Arsenal need to win the Premier League title next year


But ‘toothless’ and ‘rancid’ Man Utd humbled Gunners
People are a strange bunch. Prior to Arsenal, and following Palace, all the talk was that the mighty Gooners will smash United 4-0 or more. United stood no chance. There can be no excuses either. Arsenal may have had their same XI for the fourth game in a row, with the league’s best defense and one of the best attacks, aiming for their first title in 20 years, but them having only won once at Old Trafford in 16 years meant it was a 50/50 tie.

A team who have conceded one goal outside of London since Christmas, up against a team without their top goalscorer, creator and passer, both starting CB’s out, both back up CB’s out, both LB’s out, both CAM’s out, their back up forward out and with 6 teenagers from the academy on the bench.  Remember, this is potential champions against the chaos indulged, and shot relinquishing Manchester United in rancid form.

Result? Man United have more shots, more possession, more passes, more accurate passing, and in the end, Man of the Match? Arsenal’s CB Saliba. The mighty Gooners are praised for their resilience against a beyond depleted United, and United are castrated as toothless despite missing the top creator and goalscorer. And how did they do it? A massive mistake from Casimiro playing out of position. Arsenal truly are Majestic, and Ten hag clearly has no coaching ability.

United were everything people said they would never be, and with better decisions at both ends from their young and older stars, they could have gotten something from the game. United are guilty for playing with chaos, and guilty for playing with control.

Then they came up against a good Newcastle side in goalscoring form, and in an entertaining end-to-end game, they prevailed – beating people’s expectations – 3-2. Having the Fernandes back in the side mysteriously made them more of a threat up front – who would have known?

Amrabat was excellent again, and made a stunning and expertly executed and timed challenge to stop Isak from a certain goal(Lucky for the Gordon one though). Amad had another great appearance and got his first PL goal and got an assist. Kobbie had another composed game capped with a calm finish. Hojlund came off the bench to score the match winning goal with an excellent finish on his weaker foot. United then hung on and secured a win despite a late scare with a smashing goal from Hall.

Again, expectations were beaten, but so too must Ten Hag and his team for doing so apparently. “Its Newcastle at home..” I hear Roy jab as if the result of circumstances it came in, or that his criticisms from the previous game vs Arsenal had been answered.

Ten Hag got a roaring response from the Old Trafford crowd at the end, a hopeful sign for Sir Jim to hear when deciding whether to keep him or not, which I still believe they should. This has nothing to do with the Glazers as some like to proclaim, just that there is evidence he can coach a team down to its barebones to perform effectively(Minus the Cas mistakes). If he can make the mighty Gooners look toothless, shutting down Odegaard, Rice and co, and then defeat the rampaging Newcastle a few days later in style, then I am with him, especially when the squad is actually available.

You don’t go from the league’s best defense, have a bunch of defensive injuries, and then all of a sudden become bad at defending without realizing both are inexplicably linked. He has managed to get 3 finals in 2 years despite missing an actual consistent goal scorer as well, which bodes well if Hojlund can step up, and/or they sign one. He has the calm and the courage to face this spectacular challenge, and has not shied away from it. Erik In.
Calvino (FYI Mark – Attendance Vs Arsenal = 73,600. Capacity = 74,310. Not exactly the Emptihad you are so used to, but nice try)(PPS-There was no better metaphor for United’s season than the waterfall at the end of the Arsenal game = Why does it always rain on me should be their song of this season)


Manchester City fans are delusional
I’m sure there are a plethora of mails I would disagree with from recent mailboxes but I’ve only read a handful in totality and Mark (Did anybody else notice that Old Trafford wasn’t exactly, ahem, ‘sold out’ last Sunday? Empithad indeed.) MCFC – you’re the lucky winner.

First, let’s all agree that City are a well-run club. Because it’s true – they are. And let’s all agree that having “squillions” doesn’t necessarily equate to automatic success, with Chelsea and United spending the last few seasons seemingly in some sort of diabolical competition to prove which club is superior at lighting their money on fire.

That being said, what Mark clearly fails to understand is that if you have two clubs that are similarly well-run then the one who has spent more money will obviously have the upperhand – that’s just how it works whether it be football or, sadly, just life in general.

Let’s just imagine some rich oil oligarchs had purchased Arsenal in 2008 instead of City. And let’s also pretend that Wenger would have been OK with this (he wouldn’t have been) and would have definitely spent the money afforded to him as opposed to remaining stubbornly and philosophically opposed to accepting such financial gifts from such dubious owners while refusing to spend it for fear of being personally responsible for ruining the financial landscape of football forever (honestly, the latter is not out of the question and very much in it).

Does anyone other than Stewie (I read that mail, too, and have to say it was honestly awkward reading him be so…sane) really think Wenger had lost the plot that much to the point we wouldn’t have been at least as successful as City was during that time? Sure, Wenger had lost some of his powers and made big mistakes e.g. Mustafi but the benefits of having the financial backing of City’s owners is that you could take those misses in stride (City have too many examples to name here) while focusing on buying players like Ozil and Alexis Sanchez.

Mix in typically smart acquisitions like plucking Giroud and Kolscielny from France and it doesn’t take too much imagination to see what Wenger would have done had he had access to THAT amount of money – let’s not act like he wasn’t handicapped financially for many seasons at a time when City was shattering English transfer records left and right. By the time he started to not be (basically, when we bought Ozil), the aforementioned ruining of the financial landscape was already well underway and he still never had as much money to spend compared to Man City.

Let’s put this in perspective. From 2008 to May 2023, City had a net spend of 1.45 billion on transfers – near double Arsenal’s 766 million net spend. However, those figures are only even that close due to Arsenal having to play catch up the last 5 years in aforementioned, City/Chelsea altered financial landscape. Using the most recent 5-year net spend table provided by the good folk here at F365 – from 2008-2019 (Wenger’s last 10 years plus one) City had a net spend of 1.24 billion (with a B) and Arsenal’s was 361 million. If you account for the fact that we were horrific in recouping transfer fees while City were somehow pulling people’s pants down for a plethora of random, mostly unsuccessful academy products (btw, if you want to truly balance out that discussion take the £200 million check that was initially outlayed for building City’s academy in the first place and add that to the net spend figures) then the discrepancy in gross spend on acquiring players (because ultimately, yes, that is what truly matters when assessing the financial ramifications of how you’ve improved your squad, selling players you were never going to play for sums they were not worth is irrelevant) is probably even larger and as another Arsenal fan pointed out recently this is before you even take into account wages.

If you’re doing this at home, that’s ~113 million (City, obviously) net spend per season compared to ~33 million net spend per season from 2008-2019. That’s nearly ~3.5x the purchasing power (and, again, doesn’t include wages) from one club to the next. And, yes, City has reined in the spending in recent seasons (see what actually trying to enforce the rules does?) while Arsenal have gone in the other direction. But, again, as was pointed out in a recent mail we’re having to play catch up in this new financial landscape plus that money spent previously put City in a position where they only need to maintain their squad now that they’re done with phase 1. In other words, the effects of that money spent 10-15 years ago are still being felt today regardless of whether or not you want to focus on the most recent 5 years.

Plus, you might have also noticed how, now that we’ve started to bridge the astronomical gap between our historical net spend differences, we are also starting to compete with City on the pitch. Gee, what a f***ing coincidence.

If it’s dishonest to say that City have only had success because they spent all that money (which I agree it is), it’s straight up delusional to pretend that City’s financial dominance in the market relative to Arsenal/Liverpool has had little to no bearing on the success (in Arsenal’s case, “success”) those two clubs have experienced relative to City.
MAW, LA Gooner


Hey Mark MCFC.

‘Nothing to do with club management, recruitment, or coaching. No sir, definitely not.’

Do you think the management, directors, coaches et al would be working for ADFC is they weren’t being paid ludicrous wages?  How do you think the, admittedly excellent, club structures came into being?  Why won’t the supporters of the club own the fact that the team is where it is now as a result of the massive and continued influx of nation state revenue?

Also, Simon Wood, you may not be a journalist but you can presumably operate google or, you know, the website that you’ve written into.

‘Very little continues to be made of Manchester United’s £700m debt , Chelsea’s £1billion debts and Liverpool’s high spending year in year out’

The Liverpool that has spent less than Aston Villa, West Ham and Newcastle (as well as the other members of the big 6) over the past 5 years.
James Outram, Wirral

READ NEXTMan City fans see the jeopardy and feel the fear; don’t pretend to know how we think


What’s all the fuss about Pep?
I need to start this letter by stating that I think Pep Guardiola is a great manager, however, I don’t understand all the adoration that he gets. I think a lot of his success has been down to being in the right place at the right time. He hasn’t achieved anything that he couldn’t haven’t been reasonably expected to achieve at any of the clubs that he’s managed.

He got the opportunity to take over at Barcelona at a time when there was already the core of a strong team (they’d won La Liga and the CL only 2 seasons previously) and were a strong draw for any player due to their existing reputation + he knew the club, the players and the best of the youth due to his long association.

Bayern Munich had won both the Bundesliga and CL the season prior to his arrival and although they continued to win the league during his tenure they didn’t win the CL again until after he left.

Even Manchester City had the infrastructure in place and had won two recent Premier League titles. The knowledge of that, consistent CL football and the money they had sloshing around was more than enough to attract players who 10-15 years previously wouldn’t have looked twice at Man City as a serious destination and it still took a cut price deal for the goalbot (yes, I know that it was a release clause but with the wages on offer and the trophy guarantees he wasn’t going anywhere else) to win the CL. Who’s to say that if Klopp had joined City in 2016 and Pep had gone to Liverpool, Klopp wouldn’t have achieved more and Pep had been the one doing the chasing?

I appreciate that football is all about ‘ifs and ans’ but for me what Alex Ferguson achieved at Aberdeen (broke up the Scottish duopoly with 3 league titles and the European CWC beating Bayern Munich and Real Madrid along the way) and Manchester United, who although we always recognised as a big and well supported side had been fairly inconsequential in league and European terms for many years until he made them the giants they became at the start of the Premier League era gives him my vote as the greatest manager of recent history (Ancelotti is also definitely up there).

I’m an Arsenal fan with no skin in this game but I just see Pep as a great manager with some luck thrown in. There have been quite a few great managers in the last 40 years (God I feel old) who I think would have had every chance of achieving what Pep has done if they’d been in the right place at the right time.

I’m an Arsenal fan but, despite all the bitterness that’s thrown from one club to another in the mailbox and across social media, I just enjoy football. I enjoyed this season, last season and every season since I started supporting them, just because I love football. Trophies are special and add to the history but it’s a love of the game that I’m really there for. My friends support a large range of other clubs (PL and EFL) and even though there are some Spurs supporters we all get on…most of the time.

Just as an aside, my favourite side since I started watching football were the great AC Milan side of the late 80s/90s. I remember the first time I saw them play at Highbury and even though I wanted Arsenal to win (it was 0-0) just seeing them come onto the pitch in the red and black stripes sent a shiver down my spine that I’ve never had from Barca/Real/Bayern.

Sorry about the long ramble and it’s probably not interesting enough to make the mailbox as I’ve not mentioned VAR, bottlers of whether Spurs fans should or shouldn’t have supported their team on Tuesday night (I honestly don’t think it would have made any difference either way), but it has killed a bit of time on a quiet afternoon at work.

If it does get published feel free to rip me to shreds. I won’t take offence and (probably) won’t offer a response. Have at it.
Dave AFC (my dad still goes on about the 98/99 season when Wycombe Wanderers beat Man City home and away in League 2 bless him)


Stat check
According to PGMOL, referees were getting 82% of decisions right pre-VAR and are now at 96%. I remembered a stat from a few years ago that refs were getting 98% of decisions right, and a quick google brought up this article from 2018 quoting this exact number. So I would be very keen to know what data is being used for these new figures, because it seems to me that they are lowering the pre-VAR accuracy to try to make it seem like VAR has made things better.

There is no doubt that the introduction of VAR has increased the number of correct decisions, but at what cost? We cannot determine whether those additional correct decisions are worth the cost if we don’t actually know what the improvement is, and I am certainly not buying this increase of 14 percentage points.

Anthony, Kilburn makes some valid points, despite describing anyone that wants shot of VAR as a knuckle dragger. The ebb and flow of football is precisely the reason for me that VAR doesn’t work. So many decisions in football are in the range of 4-6 times out of ten given one way or the other, which means that a decision cannot really be wrong whichever way the ref goes and it also means that the side that does not get the decision will always be pissed off.

There is no chance that Wolves’ proposal to scrap VAR will pass. But I do not know a single person that regularly attends games that thinks the game is better for its introduction. I don’t know what the solution is, but does anyone honestly think that Bobby Madley or Anthony Taylor talking over the PA will help? People won’t really hear what was said, won’t understand the reasoning, and will still think the ref is a ****.
Andy the Hammer