Arteta is rubbish or Wenger’s final mistake has f***ed him

Date published: Wednesday 22nd July 2020 9:35

The Mailbox cannot quite decide. It is a busy old offering, with thoughts on Grealish, Chelsea and smoke.

Send your thoughts on Arsenal, Mikel Arteta, smoke, arses and whatever else to


Blowing smoke up the Arsenal
This Arsenal side has had so much smoke blown up its arse that I have felt the need to remind you that they are still tenth and still in danger of a disastrous season of no silverware and no Europa League qualification.

What does Mikel Arteta have to do to get respect? Erm, better than he was expected…

A single shot on target against Villa would be a start.
William Douglas Foster, Stretford


Remember when st totteringham day use to be a thing.
Paulo (that is all)


Taking the Mik
Dear F365,

I have just witnessed Arsenal’s pathetic, cowardly performance against Aston Villa. The game was best summed up on the stroke of half time, with Arsenal 1-0 down and in possession. They slowly passed the ball up the pitch until they found themselves with an opportunity to play the ball into Villa’s box. Rather than any of their players taking responsibility and making a run or an incisive pass, they passed the ball backwards, all the way back to the centre backs. Then the ref blew the half time whistle. They then proceeded to play out the entire second half as if they were 3-0 up, and Villa won the game.

I decided to do some comparisons between their position when Arteta took the reigns and now. The results are interesting.

When Arteta took charge, Arsenal were six points off Chelsea. They are now 10 points off Chelsea.

They were three points off Tottenham. They are now five points off Tottenham.

They were two points off Man Utd, they are now ten points off Man Utd.

They have also been knocked out of the UEFA Cup, their only chance of Champion’s League qualification, by Olympiakos.

So the football is dreadful,  they’ve fallen behind all of their rivals for a European spot and been knocked out of the UEFA Cup. Remind again what Arteta has done to deserve any praise whatsoever?

I’d like to finish this mail by reminding the Arsenal fans that they forced out their greatest ever manager with a sustained campaign of humiliating public attacks. His average final league position was 3rd, and his lowest finish was 6th.

Arsenal are set to finish tenth.

Kind Regards
Ken, Wisconsin


Squad goals
Therein lies the big problem Arteta faces. Moving to a back five may have (sort of) plugged the holes at the back but it completely blunts our attack against teams who sit back. The last two games have highlighted the stark contrast so clearly and there doesn’t seem to be an answer within this squad.

5 at the back and playing with all the strikers works wonderfully when having to defend deep a la the semi final against citeh, the two midfielders sit deep alongside each other and look to release the forwards/wingbacks. Tonight against Villa we ended up in a weird 325 formation when playing out from the back with the central midfielders sat next to each other 6 ft in front of the CB’s with all the other players in a line with villa’s defenders with no one to pass too. It just creates such slow sterile sideways football.

Few other things felt like an Arteta misstep too. Nketiah is no RW, Kolasinac a CB isn’t and Cedric is so bad he was replaced by Willock at RB. Not sure what Sokratis has done either. Logic would have suggested he played in the 3 and Kola could be the LWB instead of Saka who has recently hit a dip as any young player does.

Unfortunately I completely understand why we changed to a 3/5 and recent results have shown it can work (against the right team) but I’d much rather lose playing a variation of 4231 against a team like Villa than what we just watched. Again I completely understand it and Arteta is seriously hamstrung with the players he has at his disposal and I’m fully onboard with the fact it’s a rocky road back to anything half decent but it just highlights how much of a job Arteta has.

What makes it worse is that every arsenal fan is saying roll on the transfer window but that will probably be even more depressing. Some more signings from Kia’s unwanted player stock and some other pensioner on massive wages not good enough from a once rival.

We also need to be very specific with the players bought. Xhaka and Ceballos work in the Arteta system  but Torreira doesn’t (in this current 2 man midfield, maybe he works in a variation of a 3) so we need to go into far greater detail than he’s a good player and the price is right. Ho hum. A deep lying midfielder and a ball carrying midfielder in the summer please (and a replacement for Ceballos if not Ceballos.)

Ha. Wishful thinking.
Lee AFC (sorry, I wrote too much and combined 3 potential mails into one.)


Arrested on suspicion of Arsene
I know that Arsene Wenger was, for a long time, a great manager for Arsenal. He transformed the club. But, I cannot help but still feel a bit pissed off with him that under his leadership, Mezut Ozil was given a contract worth around 350K per week.

I cannot believe that he thought he was doing the club a great service by giving Ozil a long term contract. Unless he really had lost the plot.

It’s these ridiculous wages that are stopping Arsenal from being able to pay big money for the names they need. Especially in defence. Ozil earns around 18 million pounds per year for doing nothing. He’s not going to get back in the team and yet we can’t move him on, as understandably, he wants to see out his contract.

We could use those wages to offer PEA more money to stay as we certainly need him and that would still leave plenty for another one or two top class signings (assuming they could be persuaded to come).

I don’t expect we’d even get a transfer fee for Ozil now. He’s old news and nobody can afford his wages.

So yeah, thanks for the memories Arsene, but really, you f**ked that one up and Arsenal are literally paying for it.

A man with an economics degree should know better…..
Stu, (still, we do have another cup final to look forward to. Who’s going?) AFC in France


Half-time conclusions
This Dean Smith fellow is the real deal. It’s only halftime and the Villains lead the FA Cup Finalists 1-0, so I think this is as good a time as any to come to conclusions, make predictions and just generally focus on the small picture.

My Arteta looks out of his depth, his squad is keeping possession but is he really doing anything with it? Reminds me of LVG. And all of his multilingual talk about sticking together and working hard for each other, utter crock of shit. Put on a club blazer, this isn’t your local playground, Arteta.

Now Dean Smith, real man right there. British, dad-bod. That’s my manager. The team’s performance is spot on, soaking up pressure, probing but clearly being compact and rigid.

That’s it, i’m calling it: Aston Villa are finishing in a European spot next season. I really think Dean Smith is the reincarnation of Ferguson, just knows how to play the game, and does it looking good.
N.V.M. (aston villa is getting relegated and some people benefit from browned noses)


Pat on the back
This is a small and “probably-not-mailbox-worthy” point, but I felt compelled to write in…

Patrick Davidson was a class act in how he just interviewed Jack Grealish on Sky.

Grealish had given him a great interview with open answers on what tonight’s victory meant to him. He talked about the team’s zoom calls, admitting set piece weaknesses this season, even admitting he’s not felt fit enough since football has resumed.

Everyone knows there’s a big chance that was Grealish’s last game at Villa Park. Patrick Davidson knew it was a sensitive question and chose to pre-empt it with “Look, you don’t need to answer this, but….”. For a culture of journos desperately seeking exclusives, I thought that was class. As I watched it I couldn’t help think it was something the likes of Geoff Shreeves and others would never have said. Well done Patrick.
Graeme, Glasgow 


Aston VARlla
For all the talk about LiVARpool and Man United’s favourable decisions over the course of the season, the most glaring screw up of technology may well have given Villa the point that ultimately keeps them up. Far, far more far reaching consequences for the teams affected too. That ‘goal that never was’ vs. Sheffield United is THE moment of the season.

Yet I suppose having lol bantz about De Gea, Maguire, Jordan Ayew’s little toenail being offside, Firmino’s non-Anfield goals and dirty Chelsea means that happenings at the other end of the table becomes old news quickly.
Brian (still rather Villa to survive than Bournemouth and Watford), Wexford.


So Watford are in last place, hire Pearson, He gets them out of the relegation zone.

Watford fire Pearson.

Paul McDevitt


De crux of De issue
Dear Editor,

When reflecting the current United goalkeeping dilemma. How many goalkeepers have had a good solid 20 years at the top ?

In England terms, and going as far back as comfortable. Shilton was great up to his 40s, but Clemence was in goal for England for the first decade of Shilton’s England career, and Clemence wasn’t the best for 20 years because Shilton replaced him. Stepping forward, David James only got really good after 30, as did David Seamen. Chris Kirkland, Scott Carson and probably the biggest fall from grace Joe Hart barely got past 30 before form dipped.

The only goalkeeper I can think of that has been on top for (over) 20 year is Buffon, and oh my have I laughed at my Juve friends when Buffon has made another howler, there was one game he made three mistakes for three opposition goals. So many fans calling for his head. He still won a few more Scuddetos’ after that. He is still the greatest goalkeeper Juve have ever had.

Do we really think De Gea is another Joe Hart or a Buffon ? To be a great goalkeeper for 20 years, De Gea needs club support, strong internal competition and less short termism from fans. He’ll probably get two out of three

Kind regards,


Apologies for ‘next year…’
Dear Editor,

Enjoyed the fallout from United and Chelsea this week. Have to say though, as a Liverpool fan, I’m starting to see how those years without a title win and the straw clutching that came with it must have looked. A few examples from United fans:

“2nd best defence in the league” – you’re 5th

“Front 3 with more goals than Liverpool’s” – you’re 5th

“19 match unbeaten run” – you’re 5th

“48 hours rest between games” – you made the semi final

“Ole made too many changes!” – [seems the more changes the less the impact of the point above, no? – if you want to talk squad depth – £850m spent in 7 years, you made that very expensive bed] – also, you’re 5th

“If we get Sancho and Koulibaly then we’ll win the league” – ‘the missing piece(s)’

I’ve seen it and said it all myself before:

“Salah scored 44 goals” – we finished 4th

“2nd best defence in the league” – we finished 3rd

“16 game unbeaten run” – we finished 2nd

“Suarez, Sturridge, Sterling” – see above

“Fernando Torres, the missing piece” – 4th, 2nd, 7th, 6th.

United are 7 years out from the title now, in 1997 Liverpool had just signed ‘the final piece’ Stan Collymore (for £8.5m!!!), Michael Owen was emerging as the next big thing, we had the 3rd best defence in the league and yes, you guessed it Stan (16) and Robbie (31) had outscored Man United’s top two goal scorers – Ole (19) and Eric (15) – we finished 3rd, United won the league.

Not really sure what my point is here. Maybe I’m feeling unexpected, appalling, empathy with United fans. Maybe I’m apologising for “next year” – turns out it’s quite annoying to listen to.



It’s not often I comment on other teams but my cousin is a Man U fan, I love him but he does talk some shite.  As do I, we’ve been arguing so I thought I’d look into Uniteds recent form and this “incredible” 19 game run of no defeats…


Man City x 2
Sheff U



It’s pretty impressive, particularly beating City twice but outside of those two games it’s no more than you would expect from a team challenging for Champions League qualification.  A decent Championship side would beat Tranmere, Brugge (twice), Linz, Bournemouth, Villa and Norwich.

As a Liverpool fan, my fellow supporters have been guilty of this for years and years, “we are back, look at our form / results / haircuts.”

The bald truth is United’s squad at the moment isn’t good enough to consistently challenge for the league.  That’s not to say that won’t change with a few astute signings but it won’t be next year and probably not the one after.

Bruno Fernandes is an unbelievable signing, he seems to have everything and I love watching him.  However, De Gea is not good enough consistently, neither is Maguire, Matic, Lindelof, Shaw and dare I say it without being shot down by the anti racism police, Rashford.  Clearly a great guy and I doff my cap to his off field activities but he is not a goalscorer or a natural winger.  He’s a poor Danny Wellbeck.  And don’t get me started on Pogba…

Greenwood though, there is a player.  And Brandon Williams.  The potential is there, just get on with it and stop the ABU stuff.  Certain people raged about Mike Dean against Chelsea but were happy to see Harry Maguire chop a Chelsea player down on the halfway line then hoof the ball fifty yards away in disgust but not get booked.

United will be back, just not yet.

Mark Jones, LFC, Liverpool


Tammy pedal
Firstly let me start in my early season love for Tammy. He cares, he wanted to be there, he hit the post with a great effort before we were thrashed by united. Before moaning about him I want to say he seems like a lovely guy. However the one on one misses (Liverpool at home) the regular pull at the shorts pointing at areas in the box where the ball passes, where he should be.

I thought he is young, scored primarily in the championship, he will learn. He hasn’t. Giroud, who Frank, I thought rightly sidelined, has put him to shame. I wonder, Tammy is notably stalling on signing a new contract, what club he may end up at?

With Werner coming I make Giroud as second choice, where does Tammy see himself. Wolves supposedly offered 20-30 mil in the January transfer window when he was on loan at villa. Who in the prem would bid near that now? I would be interested to see what other teams think about him.

Lastly, another youth player. CHO that penalty was infuriating, if he actually pressed the united defence 40 seconds before the penalty, as Willian had all game, he wouldn’t have needed to defend around the box. Frank talks about Callum watching Sterling, clearly falling on deaf ears there.
Paul – (Rant Over)


The three Chelsea need
Chelsea team looks very Nicely balanced on the attacking front with Werner and Hakim joining.

Mariana seems to be doing the smart thing by letting season be done before telling Willian that he is going to block Hudson from playing and hence can leave . If Willian stays back then there is little chance for Hudson to start any/many matches.

We seem to be lacking a box to box player that Kai has been made out to be. And surely arrival of Kai would be clear indication for Kante or Jorginho or Barkley or Mount to be moved (Atleast two). Esp with good sell on value for all we should be able to make profits even after purchase of Kai.

The only outstanding area for improvement seems to be the defense … if we have first option on Ake we should exercise it .. even if it is to ensure ManU or City or worse Spurs don’t  get him.  Better still get both Ake and Koulibaly to make a statement. Esp given profits from last season plus sale of The mid field trio we should have no issue with ffp (Not that matters anyways).

Finally I m split between testing Kepa for one more season vs going after Henderson. We have usually seen keepers settle mostly in their second season in EPL. I do agree that Kepa has never inspired confidence in me… but maybe he was scouted and purchased at top dollar for a reason and deserves another season to prove himself.

Not sure if Chelsea can pull off these signings but I feel we are short of 2 good players (Kai/Koulibaly) from competing with the top Two.
B , CFC (Supremely Optimistic abt Super Frank)


King Eric
But he’s…Dier?

Am I missing something with Eric Dier? A new 3 year contract, 120 grand a week, in the current environment!? Surely that money is better spent on, I don’t know, some plastic bibs and hand sanitiser? Could some Spurs fans enlighten me? I’ve only ever seen the man play badly. He’s versatile you might say. True, he plays badly in defense and midfield. Honestly, it’s baffling.
Alan (of course I enjoyed him flattening Sergio Ramos that one time), Córdoba. 


Anyone else want the smoke?
Now, as a dual fan of one of another major international sport (ice hockey), I just have to say how refreshing it is to see F365 publish missives from fans truly all over the world. Go to a letters/email/ask the expert page from another sport and generally, they publish from a more specified location of readers. Fear ye not, Man Utd fans from Rwanda, Chelsea fans from Malaysia or Bournemouth fans from… er, Bournemouth, your voices shall be heard!

Anyway, just wanted to say keep up the good work of publishing the opinions of a huge cross-section of fans from all over the world/globe (depending on if you’re a flat earther or not) as it’s good to see an all-inclusive approach to the global game.

Obligatory third paragraph.
Mikey, COYS (Kent but soon to be exiled in Portugal)


From ABU365 to…
You don’t half make it hard to send to the mailbox.

Is this the place?

I’m just wondering at what point does Football365 change it’s name to Manchester/Liverpool365. I’m getting fed-up with the constant barrage of North-east coverage.


Take it on the shin
Does anyone at F365 or the Mailbox know why professional footballers wear such small shin pads these days? They barely cover half the leg, and seem to be significantly smaller that shin pads of the 90’s when I was a lad. Surely they’d want more protection than a Sunday leaguer not less given the speeds and forces involved in their collisions?
Calum, MUFC, Wokingham


Someone’s had a drink
Was at karaoke and just realised that it is “la isla Bonita” and not “Branislav Bonita” like I’ve been signing for so many years.
Hakim, Sri Lanka


One of my top 10 favourite movies is Branislav Actually..
Hakim, Sri Lanka


Branislav, baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me, no more.. works for everything!
Hakim, Sri Lanka


Branislav got to do, got to do with it. Branislav but a second hand emotion.
Hakim, Sri Lanka


Shots fired
Can someone please tell Mikey, CFC, what a full stop is?


Speaking of…
Well who would have guessed Aston Villa would pick up three huge points against an Arsenal side who had recently put Manchester City and Liverpool to the sword, an absolute massive result for them and a good one for the neutral too, it means this Sunday realistically two of Bournemouth, Aston Villa and Watford will be relegated, West Ham’s goal difference is basically an extra point unless a 13 goal swing happens, which is extremely unlikely.

Bournemouth take on Everton, Villa take on West Ham and Watford have Arsenal, yikes, whose your money on? For me I think Aston Villa will just do enough to stop up, either way it’s going to be an exciting final day, and tonight is the Championship final match day, again with so much to play for, cannot wait!
Mikey, CFC


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