Arsenal’s perfect little and large combo, and Boehly failing as Chelsea’s Donald Trump…

Editor F365
Chelsea owner Todd Boehly and a Donald Trump troll
The Mailbox suggests Chelsea owner Todd Boehly is following Donald Trump's blueprint.

The Mailbox urges Todd Boehly to put down Donald Trump’s playbook, while a new strike duo are proposed for Arsenal. Also: Man Utd. Of course, Man Utd. Plus some Everton and Burnley.

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Football’s Trump
Most of the time when people compare someone to Donald Trump, the inference would be that they’re accusing someone of being racist, misogynist, corrupt, etc.

I wouldn’t use any of these words to describe Todd Boehly (and wrote in to the Mailbox previously defending his crazy American ideas), but I’m still seeing a clear parallel emerging between Boehly’s takeover of Chelsea and Trump’s takeover of the White House.

Trump was a political outsider who naively assumed that politicians were incompetent and that he, as a business-minded “stable genius”, would be able to quickly turn things around in Washington. It quickly became clear that this was not the case. Which is what brought us that hard-to-beat quote from the Trump Presidency era, “nobody knew health care could be so complicated!”

Boehly is a football outsider who naively assumed that football club administrators were incompetent and that he could gazump them with outside-the-box thinking, 8 year contracts and signing an entire squad of 18-23 year old athletes each transfer window. It quickly became clear that this was not the case.

We haven’t been given a fantastic Boehly quote to match Trump’s yet, but seeing Chelsea fail to acquire a shirt sponsor for the first 5 weeks of a Premier League season, when these deals are more-often-than-not negotiated and agreed far in advance, is a pretty visible sign of his regime’s utter incompetency. And Iong may it continue!
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland


The new Phillips and Quinn
There’s an article in today’s Irish Independent saying Evan Ferguson and Arsenal would be a match made in heaven.

I only mention it because I had exactly the same thought watching Everton v Arsenal.

Eddie would be brilliant, I think, in an old school Niall Quinn (Big ‘Un) – Kevin Phillips (Little ‘Un) combo. As a lone striker, I always get the sense that he’s reaching a bit? Great attitude, probably the kind of character coaches absolutely love, but I think he’s hanging in there based on that rather than trading off elite level talent or physicality. Eddie tries hard but he makes it look hard too?

Evan makes it look pretty easy to be the lone front man in a team that dominates possession. Hold up play, positioning, physicality, finishing. Maybe it’s recency bias, with Evan’s recent hat trick looking so impressive by its variety in the finishing. And if he keeps going on his current trajectory, his price tag is going to be utter lunacy. It’s a nice daydream though.
Niallo, Gooner, Uibh Fháilí


Everton anguish
Well, I thought I’d wait to write in to let the “big clubs” have their say first on the weekend’s results before I wrote in about little ole Everton.

What a load of garbage we were huh? Every week Evertonians keep thinking it can’t get any worse and yet it does. The midfield of Gana, Doucoure, and Onana just aren’t up to Premier League standards are they? I’d go as far as to say they’d get run over in the Championship, which is where we’re headed at this current point in time.

I don’t blame Dyche for setting up to park the bus against Arsenal. The gulf in class was there for all to see. Watching Arsenal pass around and through us with ease compared to when we had the ball was just miles apart. Everton look like a deer in the headlights when they get possession with no real intent other than “don’t lose it !!” As much as I like what I’ve seen from Beto and Danjuma so far, we were never going to score, even if Ramsdale was in. Once we go down a goal, it’s game over.

It clearly looks as if Everton are going to be hoping yet again this season that there are three teams worse than we are. That’s a poor way to run a club.

I’m not even going to get started on the potential new owners. It’s just awful all the way around with no end in sight. I wouldn’t wish what we’re going through on any club.
TX Bill, EFC


Clarets contentment
A few thoughts on the Burnley game last night…
1. What a relief to see Charlie Taylor back in the team. VK has been reluctant to play him for some reason, mainly preferring him on the bench or at CB. And there was talk of him moving to Leeds United in the summer – perhaps as some sort of cash injection so we could buy Maatsen. But eventually, (hopefully?) common sense has prevailed. He’s a class player. And I’m glad he got the opportunity to show that yesterday.

2. There’ve been a helluva lot of signings in the summer and I found it confusing who our best team was anymore. VK has been trialing out a few players in different positions in the past few games and I honestly didn’t recognise the team sheet at times. But he went back to basics last night and set us up with a team which fared us well in the Champo last season alongside a couple of new boys. And that was a good idea because we played well.

3. Speaking of the new boys, the LW played really well last night. His assist for the goal was beautiful. Skinned Joe Worral alive. And then the RW coming to the top of the box to finish the move off was lovely to see.

4. On a different note, our boys have to get smarter with VAR. 2 red cards in 4 games is ridiculous. Zaroury getting sent off against Man City wasn’t the worst thing to happen because we’d already lost the game, but then he was banned for 3 games. But Foster getting sent off last night was stupid. It took the wind out of our sails ‘cos we were pushing for the winner at that point. Once he left the field though, we had to sit back and accept a draw which is annoying. And obviously he’ll be banned for 3 games now which is annoying too.

5. A quick word on Foster who looks reborn this season. In the Champo last year he only got a few chances and mainly looked a bit shit. But last night he was holding the ball up well, and took his (disallowed) goal well too. Fair play, the woman on commentary (Karen Carney?) was right about his positioning at times, but overall, I was happy with his performance and delighted that we don’t have to rely on Chris Wood anymore. Because he looks like an absolute spent force. How and why Forest spent £20m (?) on him is beyond me.

6. VAR had 3 calls to make last night and got them all right and quickly enough. They were harsh calls and I wonder how Big Club Bias would’ve affected the calls had they been infringements for/against The Big 6~7 but that’s a conversation for a different time. But, regardless, the ref was called over twice and both times, yeah, there were infringements. Annoying as it is for me: a goal ruled out and a player sent off.

7. Defensively we looked a little shaky at times, and I think better teams might’ve picked us off, but on balance I think 1-1 was about right. We looked dangerous going forwards with some great passing, but we didn’t create enough clear opportunities really. Perhaps a creative player in the middle would help us better. Saying that, had Foster stayed on the pitch, I’d have backed us to snatch a winner late on.

8. Overall, we played really well, and if we continue to play like that, then we shouldn’t​ have any relegation concerns. But the season is long and lots of things can happen. I think losing VK would really damage us though, so hopefully a bigger team don’t come calling.
Nick P. Burnley FC. (Bring on Man Utd – I have a feeling we’ll get the better of them!)

Read more: A penny for Chelsea thoughts as Forest and Burnley wingers expose £88m flop


Tale of two Uniteds
There’s two teams in the Premier League with a remarkable amount in common so far this season:

– Just had most successful season in a long time…
– …in what was their manager’s first (full) season
– Spent quite big in the summer
– Have 6 points from 5 games
– Have played 2 of the “big 6”, losing both…
-…including a crushing injury time defeat in one of them
– Been beaten 3-1 by Brighton

That’s right – Newcastle and Manchester United. The similarities between the starts are remarkable, and I opened the mailbox to see email after email about Eric Ten Hag, how he’s a fraud or not good enough. We’ve had people blaming the Glazer’s all weekend, you name it. Where are the cries for Eddie Howe to go?!

Of course they’re not there, because of the recent history of the two clubs, but it shows how putting a bit of context around football is key. At the start of the season, I was saying to mates that you’d got a “big 1” this season, a “rubbish 5-6”, a “biggish 8” and then the rest.

What this means is that asides from a handful of games, there are a lot of very good teams in the Premier League that are going to beat your team week after week. It’s not a crisis to lose to Spurs away (started v well), Arsenal away (again, they’re good) and at home to Brighton (they’re very good!).

Man U will lose to other teams this season, as will Arsenal, Liverpool (both edging past relegation candidates this weekend), Spurs etc. Brighton somehow got thrashed by West Ham the other week despite having 80% possession.

The Premier League is now at such a high standard that you can’t expect to win them all. Every game is tough, and unless you appreciate that, there’s going to be a lot of fans getting very reactionary for the next 7 months…
James (NUFC)


Roof cause
On Manchester United, there is one, root cause issue with the club, and that’s the owners.

The leaking roof at Old Trafford is emblematic of the malaise and underinvestment in the club. They’ve taken an industry leading stadium and watched idly by as club after club have built or developed better ones. Old Trafford is something that fans and journalists get to see, but why would the areas that we can’t see be any different? The training facilities, the sports science team, the data analysis, the scouting department etc etc. We feel miles behind our rivals because we are; we’re operating in a bygone era. The best parallel is probably Liverpool in the 90s.

Opposition fans, who through either wilful goading or ignorance, will cry about how we’re the highest net spenders over the previous X number of years. We are, but that’s not by virtue of spending more than others, that’s through being appalling at selling, which is yet another example of our dysfunction. The money that we have spent, mainly badly, has been generated entirely by the club itself. The Glazers haven’t put their hands in their pockets; indeed, the club have spent £1bn in dividends and servicing the debt they levied on the club in purchasing us.

As for where we go from here, certainly from this fan’s perspective, our last remaining chips are pushed into the middle on ten Hag; if he can’t push us on, then we’re doomed until the leeches have gone. The parallels with Ferguson are there; although different, there’s myriad issues behind the scenes that will take a few years to fix. Can Erik do it? Don’t know. But if he can’t, we’re trapped in this cycle whereby our commercial income provides a floor that means we’ll finish top half at worst. We’ll get top 4 every 2 or 3 seasons and pick up the odd cup, but we’ll never seriously be challenging for the biggest honours.

The truly soul crushing thing is that for all I want these absolute parasites gone, the Qatar alternative is even more depressing…

Oh well, off to watch Altrincham tonight.
Lewis, Busby Way

The Glazers are pushing for AR cameras to be worn by the Man Utd players.

Keeping calm amid the chaos
As a Man Utd fanatic, it would be easy to feel demoralized considering the start of this season. However, I am keeping calm, whilst almost everyone around me are all out of their minds!

Through our first 4 games, I genuinely feel it could have been 4 wins from 4! We battered Spurs in the first half (if only Højlund was fit) and Antony hit the post just after we conceded, whilst we were undone by the incompetency of VAR at the Emirates!

Yes, we were awful on Saturday and in truth, Brighton could have scored 5 or 6. I do feel Ten Hag should have made changes at half-time; taking off McTominay and Eriksen for Mejbri and either Garnacho and Pellistri. We will never know if we had played much better in the second half. Another thing we do need to remember is that Brighton are a very well run club and De Zebri is one fine tactician.

United are in a mess, because of the incompetency that stems right at the top. The Glazers are fully responsible for their incompetency spreading to almost all sectors. Our Board consists of non-footballing people, our CEO is an accountant with a very big mouth, and John Murtough, who is our Football Director, is well-versed in administration. People have clearly forgotten that Ten Hag was surrounded by a footballing culture at Ajax – he was actually coaching the players, whilst Van der Sar, Overmars and whoever was working with them dealt with the other issues. At Old Trafford, Ten Hag has suddenly become a firefighter (situations of Ronaldo, De Gea, Maguire, Greenwood, Antony and Sancho – he HAS to be moved on by the way) and it has proved to be a distraction from his actual job.

I am of the belief that bad days don’t last forever! Most of our injured players (especially Amrabat) will be back either on Wednesday or the weekend. But most important of all, the Glazers are going to go. Certainly not in the immediate future, but they will be history. That being said though, I will stress that the new owners will need a lot of time to repair the mess that has been created!

As for those who wrote in the Mail that Ten Hag hasn’t lived up to expectations, I’m sorry but they can sit there and write on their silly little machines as much as they want! Last season saw us win a trophy, got to another Final and finished in top 3. If NONE of that had happened, then you can talk about not living up to expectations.


Reality check
A while ago (during oles big half season) I made the prediction that United would have a few false dawns.

Are you starting to believe me yet?

Honestly there’s no shame losing to Brighton I’ve watched their games this season and I was shocked that they’re actually BETTER than last season despite having their midfield gutted. They’re gonna be hard for anyone to beat (didn’t they do the double on city last year? Can’t remember )

But eventually you’re gonna have to realise … That you are not a good or big club anymore. It’s been over a decade in the wilderness now only ever finishing top 4 when the other teams take the season off and even then you make it look difficult. You’re only as big as your last 5 years or so, after that it’s not a blip…that’s a pattern. Trust me, as a Liverpool fan I know exactly what that is and how it feels.

Aside from the commercial side you’re not a big club really. You don’t challenge for anything. In both of your derby games you get brushed aside with ease and humiliated so badly your fans rage quit just after half time. You have a squad filled with over paid cast offs from other teams that somehow convinced you they still got it when everyone could see they didn’t. Never buy from Madrid, those don’t let anyone go unless there’s little use left for the player (makele being the odd one out) so when you signed varane I was pretty sure you were getting ripped off. When you signed casemiro (ever noticed he has the look of a masculine lesbian who’s been hitting the roids? ) I was sure you were signing a dud – we could have sold you a crap washed up Brazilian DM for 50m less if you asked nicely.

So what do you have? Not much. It’s a grim time to be a united fan but I really do hope you stick with Erik at least until we can give him the 10-0 defeat his name deserves.


Rules made to be broken
Can we please change the “intentional” part of the offside rule that pardons the likes of Beto’s intervention in the beautiful Martinelli goal that got ruled out for offside? And I’m not just saying that because I predicted that precise goal and assist. That kind of chaos makes for entertaining football. Also, I’m not against changing the offside rule to accommodate slightly offside goals like the Garnacho one at the Emirates. We want to see goals, goals, goals.
Simon, Norf London Gooner


Future icons
The mail from Chelsea fan Will made me think, when he was talking about seeing old Chelsea players at the Vialli testimonial and feeling like he had more of a connection with them,(this maybe because a bit of nostalgia or now Chelsea are a team bereft of anything but mercenaries), I think a question comes from this conversation, who do you see as your next squad players that make you go ooooooo?

The team Will was talking about only won an FA cup from what I can remember but even as a Liverpool fan I could probably name half that team because they were so much fun to watch, I couldn’t name half of Chelseas team now but who could you say will be named in the same breath as Dan Petrescu (loved him until that bloody Romanian goal).

This isn’t just a Chelsea problem, Man U seem to have the same problem, even during Fergie’s super successful period you had squad players like Ronnie Johnson, Blomqvist and Henning Berg but this squad all seem to be tarred with the lazy brush (apart from Bruno, who has the headless chicken moniker).

Mata played for both but I think Man U will see him as more of a cult hero than Chelseas squad player who makes you go oooooo just because he was a stand out player for a season at United, when at Chelsea he was surrounded by lots of talent that overshadow the sexy bearded man.

For Liverpool, we had Dirk Kuyt (famously 3 sh*t players rolled into one), Skrtel (just because you have to do the pokemon impression), Riise (what a left foot) as just a couple of examples of squad players who made you go ooooo who I would pay to see at Gerrards testimonial.

In the future I think Gomez (he’s sh*t but god bless him he tries), Keita (look at Gomez) and Origi (Liverpool’s Solskjaer just hope he doesn’t manage us) will be future squad players that I’ll look more favourably on in the future than I do at the moment. Who do you think will be yours?
Jennings, Hull (shout out to Benito Carbone, amount of Wednesday fans who love him even though he was poo)