Liverpool’s chaotic win at Benfica is discussed but the big story is that Tottenham have wrestled the transfer window trophy from Arsenal.
A mixed bag
May as well start in the middle of that game. No idea what happened at the start of the second half but we lost all control of the game. It was chaos but mainly because both teams were so poor. It was end to end football but without any chances on goal.
It was strange to see because the first half was so incredibly controlled. Benfica could barely get their foot on the ball and Konate and Van Dijk marshalled all the long balls so well. It felt like we were going to record a big win and play the B-Team next week.
Trent looked like he’d had a much needed break to be honest. He was exceptional today going forward. Even before Keita single handedly created the third goal I thought he’d had a very strong day out too. I feel like Salah might have benefited from an earlier substitution today; he’s looked poor for a few weeks now. Mané looked a bit out of place through the middle too. Despite his goal I don’t feel he actually connected well on the pitch.
Bring on Sunday! Hard to say who will start in the middle or upfront for us but if it keeps Pep guessing too then it’s probably a good thing for us.
Kings of sh*thousery
You will probably get a few mails decrying Atletico’s level of sh*thousery but what they do is nothing compared to the North African national teams and their clubs. They take it to unimaginable levels.
Okembo, Nairobi Kenya
Great result against Benfica, but it still hurts that this line didn’t get more laughs around the pub table:
Hilarious guy: Shit they have Odysseus in goal, I hope they don’t have any other legends playing.
Charlie: There’s Darwin, although I thought he was getting a bit old…
H: It was a Natural Selection.
Aidan, Lfc (not good enough for the mailbox but might give the compiler a chuckle)
Has there ever been anything swept under the rug more by the British media than Raheem Sterling’s cringeworthy dives?
Good job football fans aren’t fickle or reactionary. Vieira has managed to fail in the MLS but has been a good manager this season the PL.
Enjoyed reading some hilarious takes in the mailbox today. The idea that Arsenal should be 4th because they spent the most last summer is great banter. Do you realise that other teams have bought football players in previous years? It doesn’t all depend on just one window of players. For example, Spurs have bought Ndombele, Lo Celso and Reguillon in windows that weren’t last summer. I know, it’s mental. Liverpool won the league and only bought Adrian! Wow. Very impressive winning the league with one player. Of course I’m being sarcastic but it’s the stupid idea people keep falling for. Arsenal had to spend last summer because their team was sh*te. They also had an absurd amount of deadwood which has been cleared out quite quickly.
“Arsenal fans have spent years claiming you “cannot compete with teams with superior financial resources”. Given Arsenal have vastly outspent Spurs and have a larger wage bill, how are Spurs ahead of them, and odds-on to finish the season ahead of Arsenal?”
Stuff like this is just mental to me. You realise they have the same amount of points? You’re talking as if Spurs have moved 8 points clear and Arsenal have been a shambles. Why are people creating a new narrative 3/4 ways through the season. Barely anyone had Arsenal finishing in the top 6, never mind top 4. Their signings were laughed at and some joked about relegation. Now Arsenal should expect to finish top 4 because they spent the most money in one particular transfer window. How about we look at it realistically and say that they have a good young team but poor depth.
Arsenal and Spurs are doing better than most people thought and United have underachieved massively. I had Spurs finishing above Arsenal at the start of the season for a simple reason: Son and Kane. They’re two of the best players in the league. I don’t think it’s a disgrace if Spurs finish 4th ahead of Arsenal as I’ve said it all season that I think they’ll come above us.
I’m not sure if your statement about Arsenal fans complaining about resources is even accurate. You can clearly look at the wage bill and Arsenal and Spurs are miles behind the others. What even is your point here? It’s literally harder for Arsenal and Spurs to get top 4 because they have a lower wage bill and spend less on transfers. I’m also including transfers before 2021 because those players are allowed to kick the ball too if you weren’t aware.
I won’t even address 95% of the lies in your email but one to me is particularly funny and just shows how disingenuous you are. You claim Vieira has taken a side that narrowly avoided the drop last year. At no stage were Palace looking like they would go down. In fact, they finished SIXTEEN points clear of 18th placed Fulham. Palace came 14th. By your same metrics, Arsenal were extremely unlucky to miss out on 4th as they finished just 6 points off 4th.
Firstly, I love it that Arsenal fans never write in the first mailbox after a game. I imagine it is because we are such a considered fan base always thinking before we speak. Only joking we must just all be lazy.
Secondly, I suppose someone has to respond to Stewie Griffin; unfortunately I didn’t read his mail because he is a boring troll. But based on the headline I think he has finally stopped banging on about Wenger and started talking about Arteta. Cool man: you do you. Enjoy being annoyed about that for the next few years.
A note on the game. Fair f***s to Palace, they were great. Love the running especially of Gallagher (who I think went to my old school) shame he is Chelsea hopefully a less odious club can get him when they have their assets stripped. I suppose if you have a very young team then these kind of games happen. I have never backed us for 4th because Spurs have 2 of the best players in the league and we don’t. If we can tie down some contracts then it feels like the best years under Arteta are ahead of us.
Arsenal as AJ
That game was like Tyson Fury v Anthony Joshua. Arsenal are clearly AJ, in that they’ve got ability, they look very pretty, but do they have the heart and desire when they’re up against it?? It is certainly in question. Palace were pure Fury. Plenty of ability and willing to give everything and do whatever’s needed to win.
You have to wonder what Arsenal expected would happen? Surely it can’t have been a surprise how noisy Selhurst is, especially under the lights and how Palace went about the game, so the question then becomes why weren’t they able to deal with it? Not good enough? Complacent? Just an off-night? They’d better hope so because otherwise there is the template to beating Arsenal right there. Vieira’s tactical nous being better than Arteta’s is a worry right now for Arsenal but a potential worry long term for us. Ah, well Arsenal fans, at least Xhaka stayed on the pitch.
As for us, we were magnificent from the get-go. Desire, passion, ability all evident in abundance. The highly-rated Ben White showed that you can take the boy out of Br*ghton but… with a needless attempt at bullying Zaha that gave us the free-kick and our first opportunity to laugh at some comedy defending. Duck under the ball? Check. Positioning all wrong? Check. Defenders drawn to the ball schoolboy-style leaving half the Palace team unmarked in the six-yard box? Check. The look on Mateta’s eyes said it all, CHA-CHING!
We continued, the 2nd goal was perfectly analysed by Carragher, who, credit to him managed to keep a straight face with some more comedy defending. Completely miss the ball? Check. Don’t track the runner? Check. Cracking finish by the underrated Ayew. Bosh.
Arsenal looked better in the second half, after all they have plenty of technically gifted players. But by then they were too knocked to make it happen for me. Then came Zaha, who I must say had a wonderful game. This was the best of him. Skill and attacking menace all game long. He really was just too good for them. I think most people would agree he could start an argument in an empty room, but he’s our GOAT and one of the best players in the premier league, certainly outside of the top 4. Last night, no arguing, just playing his game. There were what, 3 or 4 defenders around him when he picked up the ball at around halfway? They were terrified. No idea what to do. Odegaard clearly isn’t in the team for his defensive qualities so it’s a little baffling why he was there, but no matter. The only question about the penalty was why it took the ref so long to award it. About as stonewall as it gets.
Every single Palace player gave their all and were superb. The same could not be said of Arsenal. The stand-out Arsenal player was obviously Patrick Vieira. If this is the level you need to get into the top 4, well we might fancy our chances next season…
2 final points. Firstly the Arsenal away support was excellent. Most away fans keep pretty quiet at Selhurst unless they’re winning, but their away support kept singing. They could do with making a few more songs but the support was there. Very surprising considering how they are at home. And why do Sky have an ex-Arsenal player on commentary? That’s hardly reasonable. Of course his whole approach was about what Arsenal needed to do, how Arsenal had been and all the excuses he trotted out towards the end became embarrassing. Give me Ally McCoist all day long, an ex-pro who commentates like he’s on the sofa with you and is completely neutral, his only bias being to the football he sees.
Arsenal are not knocked out like Joshua would be, but if they want to be a contender they need to find that heart. As for Palace, well it’s hard to step up to the next level in the premier league and we’ll probably have to give Gallagher back, but if our approach remains the same then we’ve shown we can pick a good manager, sign good players and play exciting football. Then, who knows…
I just finished reading Dave Tickner’s latest piece on Arsenal’s bottle job on Monday evening which really was quite the head-scratcher. It was a very poor attempt at trying to justify an utterly pathetic performance from a side which really seemed to have to have left their choking tendencies in the past. Now I get that Arsenal have a somewhat youthful squad & were up against a coach who’s picked up a few scalps against some of the big boys this season, but trying to brush that off by implying that any team that isn’t Liverpool or City shouldn’t be pressed when they drop points at the business end of the season is utter bollocks.
Arteta still has to play Spurs(A), West Ham(A) United(H), Chelsea(A) & I can realistically see them coming out with no more than 3 points from those 4 fixtures so losing 3 points & significantly worsening their GD when they should be strengthening your top 4 credentials is not excusable even for a rookie coach like Arteta. But then again, bottling it at this stage would definitely be the ultimate piece of schadenfreude that would ease our pain in this post-Covid hellscape we now inhabit.
I’ve had to witness Arsenal being praised for their transfer business in recent months while Spurs chairman Daniel Levy has been ridiculed all season. I was watching Arsenal’s embarrassing defeat at the hands of Palace last night and decided to do some comparisons:
Romero 42 million Vs Ben White 50 million.
Romero is simply better in every department than White, I dont think anybody would argue with that. And he was 8 million cheaper. Winner: Romero
Tavares 7.5 million Vs Doherty 15 million
No comparison again. Tavares has been a total disaster while Doherty has made enormous improvements under Conte and is one of the best wing backs in the world on current form. Winner: Doherty
Kulusevski 30 million Vs Odegaard 40 million
Another no brainer. Kulusevski has set the Premier League on fire and transformed Spurs’ attack. Odegaard has flattered to deceive and contributed poor goal/assist stats. Winner: Kulu
Hojberg 15 million Vs Partey 45 million
Massive price difference and Hojberg has been the better signing by far. Where Hojberg has been extremely consistent and dependable, Partey has been injury prone and wildly inconsistent. Winner: Hojberg
When you see the signings of the two clubs compared like this it makes the negative coverage of Spurs’ transfer activity in comparison to Arsenal difficult to understand.
There has been a bit of a furore over the ref and VAR allocation for the potential title deciding City v Liverpool game. AnthonyTtaylor (born in south Manchester) is the ref and Paul Tierney (from Greater Manchester) is on VAR. The league publishes who these referees support, Anthony Taylor from Manchester is down as supporting Altrincham….! I actually think Taylor is one of the better refs in the league and I don’t think he would consciously favour the team from his home city but we often talk about unconscious bias which if you’re in any way human will always be some kind of factor.
I think there are 22 refs in the select group of refs who referee Premier League games. Only 3 of these 22 were born south of Birmingham and not one is from London or the South East, and 9 are from the North-West I’m not making this a north v south debate, but there is a pretty long standing ribbing between northerners and southerners that goes back generations. Southern softies? Would this ingrained feeling between north and south manifest itself in referees or are they immune to it? Why is there not a single referee from London when there are more people who live in London than the next 6 most populous cities in England? It just seems very odd.
I really hope Taylor and Tierney gets through the City v Liverpool game unnoticed but surely Mike Riley should have used a bit of common sense and given the game to someone else not from Manchester.