All the reasons Arteta stands out and why Ole gets an easy ride…

Date published: Tuesday 10th November 2020 9:51

Thanks for your mails. Keep them coming to…


Subs saga

The criticism of Pep for asking for five subs when not using the three he’s got smacks of the simplistic nonsense that got us Trump and Brexit. A good manager pitting wits against another good manager will attempt to reduce risk, and it seems fairly obvious to me that you wouldn’t make all three of your subs with 30 or even 10 minutes to go in a big match just in case the very much imaginable happens and a player pulls up with a calf injury. Playing a man down against a team like Liverpool or Manchester City or Spurs is asking for trouble even if it’s just for five minutes. I remember learning in school why lane additions on roads never work to ease congestion because demand will rise to meet supply with public works (hence why other forms of transportation are critical to create a diverse mix of options). If you have five subs, the managers will use four instead of the two they use now. Sometimes they may even use all five when they need to remind the world that Phil Jones exists.
Niall, Denver


…It does look strange that neither Klopp or Pep used all 3 subs whilst complaining that they would prefer to have 5 subs instead of 3. F365 even highlighted that one of Klopp’s 2 subs was enforced by Trent’s injury.

But maybe that is exactly why they did not use all of their subs – subs were primarily introduced to cover injuries, (not for tactical changes), which only started being the norm in the late 80’s. So I tried to get my inside the head of the manager I pay most attention to…

Klopp likes to make 1-2 subs around 60 minutes and then use his other subs a bit later to try to bring about a change (go for a winner, hold a lead, or rest players if far ahead etc) or cover injuries.

And he was following that plan bringing on Shaqiri (presumably not to shut up shop!!).

But the injury to Trent, when you are already aware that your players are close to the edge must have scared him. Make another sub on 75 minutes to go for the win/close up shop? – no, what if someone else gets injured like Trent?

Then obviously you should rest a player? Who? Who is most likely to fall apart? Hard to say (probably Matip based on history, but he is also the most rested player on the team at the moment). It’s a gamble… rest Mane and see Salah pull up? No, too risky purely trying to rest a player and potentially having to play with 10 men for the last 10 minutes against one of the best teams in the world at exploiting space.

But if I hold onto my last sub I can make sure that if one player gets injured we don’t have to face the remainder of our toughest match of the season with only 10 players – remember what happened against Villa with 10 players and Adrian!!

However, if I had 5 possible subs… well then I would have no problem using at least 4 of them and leaving one to cover injuries in the last part of the match.

That all sounds reasonable. It essentially means that in tight games when coaches are aware how tired players are, they are afraid to use their subs in case they are left with injured players. What a horrible little catch-22…I want more because I am afraid to use what I have!

Possible retorts:

‘They could at least make a sub with 2 minutes remaining’…. what’s the point? That is for wasting time, not for resting players.

‘If we give them 5 subs will managers not then ask for 7, 8, 9???’…. maybe, but that’s not the point. They are asking for 5 this year because of the hectic schedule this year. Anything else is whataboutery.

Well that’s my thoughts on all this anyway.

READ MORE: Managers ranked by subs use – Pep makes third-fewest


Why Arteta is rated higher

Dean, Errrrr…

Cos he’s won silverware already?

Cos he’s found ways to beat Chelsea, City, ‘pool, MU, Leicester, and Wolves in many cup, and the odd league game?

Cos there’s a clear plan to try not to concede first (which isn’t going to work ALL the time…ask Liverpool in the league and City in the Champs League)?

That’s why


Dean Fairchild wonders why OGS gets more criticism than Arteta.

I suspect he’s spent an absolute bucket load more on players first of all. He also inherited a team that was in the Champions League as opposed to 6th-ish. Finally I don’t think Arsenal fans often tell us what a great manager Arteta is; they’re hopeful and optimistic whereas Man Utd fans tell us that OGS is the foremost tactical master in Europe because he beat PSG in a champions league group game. They must’ve forgotten last season when they got knocked out of the Europa League by Seville.

For what it’s worth I think Arteta has done enough to buy himself time to build a team. 1 covid infested transfer window is not a fair amount of time to cast judgement. OGS has been stinking the place out for a while now. Long may his stench continue.
Minty, LFC


…The reasons are:
Won the FA Cup in his first season
Transfers under his watch have all added value
Was decisive with Ozil and Guendouzi
Beat a big-six team away for the first time in forever
Arsenal have a clear identity – shifting from the conceding goals in bunches to being difficult to break down – showing progress towards Champions League qualification
Only other thing i’d say is Villa are pretty f*cking good at football – they’ve beaten United, Liverpool, Leicester, and are further along than Arsenal are in terms of embedding their style of play and have a first 11 the envy of many (most?) in the League. Not sure that caning Arteta / crying foul, for that loss, is warranted.

…Not that I would know how we played, alongside most folks I didn’t see the game. That being said it’s pretty nice not getting the usual angry Arsenal fanbase mail – the Mailbox Editor must have loved two Arsenal games on PPV..
Simon (Partey pooped), London


In response to that ridiculous one from Dean Fairchild….

I thought it was quite simple.

Why is Arteta rated highest in the DNA brigade?

….because Arteta has won the FA Cup, Community Shield and beaten City and Liverpool in the league last season.

Dean, Ole and your favourite Lamps have won nought!
Pradeep (F91 Dudelange), Luxembourg



…In response to Dean Fairchild, at what point does a 47 year old manager with over 9 years in the management game no longer qualify for the “young, inexperienced managers in the league“ category?

The comparisons to Frank Lampard & Mikel Arteta would lead you to believe that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is a young, inexperienced manager but his management career began when Sir Alex was still in charge at United.

I believe this misconception has lead to Ole being cut a lot of slack in the media as his poor performance in previous jobs has effectively been disregarded, he is being painted as a rookie manager starting out his management career at a club he played for previously à la Lampard & Arteta rather than a manager with plenty of experience who probably just wasn’t good enough to be given the job in the first place.
Chris Macgregor


DNA boys

To follow up the earlier mailbox , Why is there a level of snobbery against Locally made DNA boys , The refrain especially against the “PE teacher , is that no serious club would hire a guy with his prior credentials , let”s review the careers of some others and look at some of the elite and some DNA boys from other leagues’

Ole -Let’s start with the man with more lives than Jack Sparrow, Old Trafford playing Legend ,Super sub who had an identified trait of reading game from bench , Youth Coach at Utd around the time Pogba, Lingard and Morrison were discovered, Won Norwegian championship with then Norwegian underdogs, Relegated with Cardiff,

Pep – Barca DNA boy, Barca B team coach , Part of Cruyff’s dream team of early 90’s , Took over Barca team in need of discipline, built squad around youthful players previously discovered by his 2 dutch predecessors , implemented tiki taka, built one of the best teams to play the game went to Germany and won the 427 to 429th titles in their history.

Klopp Mainz DNA boy, Was afforded patience as he brought them up ,got relegated, failed to bring the team immediately up again ,got the Dortmund Job in 3rd season turned them into champions

Poch – Espanyol DNA Boy , Did modestly at Espanyol, Got Southampton Job showed promise with their best finish in years got Spurs job, where his results are well documented .

Ancelotti -played for 3 huge Italian clubs ,Got Managerial start at his home region club, Managed two of those teams.

Other famous DNA boys from:

Spain – Simeone. Voro, Zidane ,Abelardo.

Italy – Inzagi Brothers ,Mancini, Conte, Vialli, Pirlo , Gattusso. Seedorf, Mihalojivic

Germany – Klinsmann, Rose,

Players using their experience at a previous club to get a leg up is nothing new, Just because they are from exotic locations doesn’t necessarily make them better .As the Ancelotti’s Allegris etc get closer to 65 ,your going to see a lot more of these sort of DNA boys so embrace it ,

Harping on about a Norwegian having experience in Norway always doesn’t make sense his 2 main languages are obviously English and Norwegian so he’s probably not going to get as many opportunities to start from the German league is he……
Roode, MUFC


Gunners firing blanks

Anybody else seeing how impotent and boring Arsenal are? They create almost nothing. The tip-tap, control gamed is fine (though I can’t stand it) if you have Messi, Iniesta, Villa, Eto’o, but with Arsenal you get nothing but eye-glazing foreplay. Check out the stats in your spare time (or at work!) for the proof.
You can go through all the seasons and see how many shots on target, how many goals each team has scored etc. Arsenal, with Emery and now Arteta, are on the straight down trajectory. At least with Wenger you got a little bit of action, usually at both ends.
Dylan, Seattle USA


Friendly fire

This coming international break there are a series of Nations League fixtures, which can be understood, if a little bitterly but why a friendly squeezed in too?

What benefit can be had by these friendlies? In a season completely unlike any other that risk of injury, which might well have happened in a normal season, will be heightened this.

If England or Ireland were to see injury to players so important to their clubs during the match nobody but the FA’s can be blamed. Players reserve the right not to play but whenever that has happened the recriminations have, at times, been forever lasting.

The Nations League has to be played, so be it, but football players are being flogged as though they’re not susceptible to serious injury due to fatigue. We want to watch football, but we also want to watch the best players and the best matches, this won’t happen with players exhausted or injured before it’s officially winter.

Implausible as it is; the PFA ought to be taking a stand here for the welfare of the players.


…I believe that the three upcoming games are a big test for Gareth Southgate. Recently, we have played a back five with three holding midfielders sitting in front. This did serve us well against Belgium, but not against anyone else particularly. Ireland and Iceland will both set up defensively and look to counter. They won’t take many risks. Neither team pose much attacking threat either and so neither side boast players that we must contain at all costs. Why are we mitigating our strengths to mask our weaknesses when the opposition are unlikely to test our weaknesses sufficiently? We would be better off abandoning this and playing to our attacking strengths. Even against Belgium, we would be playing against an unfit Eden Hazard, and an out-of-form Kevin de Bruyne if both are selected.

In playing three at the back, we sacrifice an extra midfielder or forward. England are very unlikely to concede from open play regardless, so the way to improve is to play players which will move play forward, break lines, and make the transitions quickly to leave the opposition defending overloads. Harry Winks and Kalvin Phillips are both deep lying and tidy players, but neither seek to break lines or link play particularly. They tend to give and go between defenders and fullbacks and stay back. This tactic is limited and allows the opposition to always get back behind the ball and to set up well.

If he is trying to emulate Liverpool’s set up, they play with a back four and one holding midfielder, usually Fabinho. The other two, usually Henderson and Wijnaldum, instigate a high midfield press in conjunction with the full backs and the wide forwards. City also play with a back four and a holding midfielder, usually Rodri. United also play with a back four but at the moment, their system is less evident due to less attacking fullbacks and a confused midfield. Other teams with a strong English contingents in Everton and Villa also play with a back four. It appears that everything is being sacrificed to satisfy Conor Coady (as Wolves play a back three) when I am pretty certain he’d be able to cope in a back four as he’s an excellent centre back.

I propose a change. We have players in dazzling form at the moment and sometimes you have to play the hand that you are dealt. My system would be 4-1-2-3, with the following players with a high line: Pope (GK), Trippier (RB), Coady and Mings (DC), Chilwell (LB), Rice/Henderson (DMC), Grealish and Maddison (AMC), Kane (FC), Rashford and Sterling (WF). Dier, Mount, and Sancho are unlucky to miss out here, whilst Henderson could occupy an AMC berth also. Kane dropping back should allow Rashford and Sterling to run in behind, whilst Grealish and Maddison should transition the play quickly enough to not allow the opposition to get back into shape. This would be a team selected to play against teams that are hard to beat, and playing players who are in pretty good or excellent club form. The eight defenders and two forwards idea must give way to a more attacking formation. Recent results (Belgium aside) seem to support this.

If Southgate does not do this, I can see him out of a job very soon for ‘holding the team back’ and playing an unnecessarily cautious and defensive style when I just can’t see an argument to play that way given the squad and, for the most part, unambitious opposition.
Rich (frustrated Baggie), Cambridge.


De Bruyne’s flaws

To respond to those who implied that I was a chicken little type character in the afternoon mailbox, I want to note that my legitimate points were not addressed regarding KDB and big games.

First of all, the points I raised never made the case that he is not a great player or an unworthy winner of Player of the Year and I can happily say that Liverpool’s recent trophy haul is the most important silverware I would like to see players in red lift. Suarez winning POTY in 2014 was not worth much given the title chase collapse.

The 4-0 last season was was essentially a rugby friendly. The title was won and the team were arguably still drunk. With respect to Gini in the nou-camp, I would argue that Lionel Messi put in the type of performance that we should actually witness from KDB given the consistent narrative that directly and indirectly implies he is the best ever player to play in England. Gini is not as good a player as KDB, but in the big game, when character and spirit are needed, I would take him every day. You cannot point to any huge game facing City where he took the game by the scruff of the neck and lead the team to greatness.

J argues that there are 10 other players and a manager to blame and this is my exact point. KDB is considered the star player in the most expensive team ever assembled being managed by one of the greatest minds of the game, he should lead the team when the chips are down. It is this attribute which separates very good players from great players. We never hear the legitimate questions that need to be asked when a player of KDB’s alleged greatness fails to turn up in the big games.

I believe it was Sean in the same mailbox who asked where is the scrutiny that a player of his level playing in such a great team should face?

The great players of the game face criticism in their prime and it is the benefit of hindsight that allows us to gauge the overall impact of a player. As a Liverpool fan, I have heard the following players face criticism despite my view that they are excellent players who would walk into any team: A.Cole, J. Terry. R. Ferdinand, N.Vidic, G, Neville, VVD, Allison, De Gea, Neymar, Gerrard, Lampard, Torres, Suarez, Kross, Sterling, Ronaldo, Messi, Drogba, Keane, Shearer, Kane, Van Persie….I could go on and on.

There is a media narrative around KDB which implies that he is operating a different level to everybody else and there is no real objective questioning of his flaws. He has flaws and it is ok to admit it.
Jamie, Eire


Cock up

Somerset Dave made me chuckle with his Patrick Bamford write up on the potential VAR call on scoring with ones meat and two veg, but it surely could happen in the future, now before you all spit your drinks out in laughter I do remember two incidents in which a player scored with that part of the body.

First up was last year in the FA Cup between Brighton and WBA where Glenn Murray scored in Extra Time and the other incident was Shane Long for Southampton against Aston Villa of this year, oddly both goals were scored in the month of February, coincidence most likely or perhaps not, we shall find out in February 2021.

On a different note, Kevin De Bruyne is one of the league’s world class players, naturally he is human and will have off games, just like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo do, but even with all our attacking talent at Chelsea I would still welcome him back into our team with open arms.
Mikey, CFC



Is it surprising to see that Chelsea were not included in the Winners column this week? I think not. F365 is so biased against Chelsea and Lampard, you do not even mention the club after they’ve had their best performance of the season. Had this been an Arsenal or a Liverpool win, F365 would be waxing lyrical about those teams and their managers – just about Chelsea. Poor, poor bias.


Mark Smith and Matt Stead know all about disappointments. Join them to discover that Chelsea are the only Big Six club without representation on this week’s top ten.

More Related Articles