Keep those emails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Arsenal need a ruthless b*stard
We are now hearing that Arsenal players are skipping training, having to be picked up by the club and pulling sickies. That Wenger tolerates or allows it is a disgrace. That the club allows it is a disgrace. The apathy and lack of spine is astounding. As we no doubt go out to Milan in the Europa League, and then see next season potentially without any Europe, the club has to fire Wenger. Right? However if they appoint Brendan Rogers, I expect the Emirates to be nothing but a smouldering heap. What is frustrating for me, and other Arsenal fans, is can you imagine Arsenal players under someone like Simeone? Someone who demanded the best from them? Someone who held them to account? Can you imagine a player missing training for Ferguson? Or Mourinho? Wenger has utterly lost his dressing room, they are not playing for him. Gary Neville was ruthless in his appraisal of Arsenal football club, the player and the manager. I don’t think he has gone far enough. We have to dive into the Abyss before we will come out. We aren’t United, things are going to get a LOT worse before they get better. Arsenal fans need to prepare themselves.
John Matrix AFC.
Wilshere wasn’t wrong
Tony, I’m not overly sure what your issue with Wilshere is here. Word for word (with my observations in brackets) he said:
“Hard to put into words my emotions about yesterday. City are a good team and deserved to win yesterday. (I assume we all accept that)
“Alot of people have had their say on us and we have to accept criticism when we lose. That being said I can’t accept some of the decisions that went against us yesterday.
“What ever you say about the first goal, its a foul. (it is a wee nudge in the back. It doesn’t look like much but when you’ve planted both feet just pre launch, it’ll leave you stuck to the ground. If Mustafi did that to Aguero in the box, it’s a penalty)
The second goal is offside. (I’m genuinely surprised the second goal stood. Mane was miles off side & inches from the ball and obviously the keeper was aware of that)
There should have been a second yellow in the first half (aye and Ramsey could have gone too, so, debatable)
“Yes this happens in football but its still hard to accept. And people will say we are looking for excuses but these are facts.
“Anyway we need to respond, starting on Thursday. Thanks to all the Gooners for your support and trust me we feel the same but we need to stick together.”
So he thought City deserved the win and he thought some of the decisions went against us.
Which part is wrong? Did City not deserve the win? Or were all the decisions correct?
Doug, AFC, Belfast
More from Planet Sport: Buffon and Federer in mutual appreciation club (Tennis365).
It’s crunch time for Conte now. Despite playing excellent football at times in the last two games, we have come away with only a draw and a defeat against Barcelona and Man Utd respectively.
Conte himself appears at partly fault for this. Withdrawing Hazard at Old Trafford may have been a mistake, but Chelsea’s dire second half – in contrast to the excellent first – suggests that the half-time team talk was not quite right either.
Morata has long been highlighted as a weak link. Christensen has also played a part in our downfall in recent games. It sure would be handy to be able to call upon Costa and Luiz – main goalscorer and defensive leader from our successful last season (is Luiz really injured?). While there’s absolutely no guarantee that another “arm round the shoulder” manager could have kept the likes of Costa and Luiz in the squad and happy, at times like this you do wonder.
Man City travel to London on Thursday, while Conte has a whole week to prepare his team for the trip to the Etihad. Fernandinho is injured. In other good news for Chelsea, so is Bakayoko. As far as beating Man City goes, this might be one of the more realistic opportunities.
Presumably Conte’s end game is now to end the season well, so when he is inevitably sacked in the summer he can credibly hold on to his point of view that he has been sacked despite doing a “great job”. Lose to Man City and a top 4 finish starts to look pretty unlikely – and people might start to see his sacking as fair enough.
Getting Gary’s goat
Why did Gary Neville get so irate about Arsenal? I think it is pretty obvious that being as he is a Red, he hated seeing Citeh getting a trophy without having to work too hard. When United won the Treble there were games in each trophy that needed full on work, luck, saves, deflections etc. To watch a Cup final that enabled City to take a step closer to a potential Treble (although a lesser one) with the opposition dandering about looking for daisies to pick galled him and understandably so.
TM in this mornings mailbox explains that players cover their mouths due to gambling. I really can’t for a second imagine that, for example, KDB is about to take a corner for City in the 60th minute of the CL final as they trail to Barcelona and as David Silva runs over to receive it short, Kev is thinking ‘I better cover my mouth to tell Silva we’ll swap on the next one as no one is picking up at the edge of the box, because I don’t want a Malaysian betting syndicate to make any money out of this situation’. Even if the clubs are telling them to do it, I genuinely can’t believe players give a flying sh*t, if this really is the reason. For me, Clive, it’s all to do with not getting slated on social media as there is now officially someone who can get offended by literally anything.
Dave, Kongo United FC.
Long time. Reading through the various emails from heartbroken Gooners, you have to commend them for services to comedy and a total lack of self-awareness! There are Arsenal fans out there who genuinely believe Arsene Wenger will be gone this summer! LOL. Good one! Let us look at this in cold, simple terms. As that mug over in Washington would say, Arsene Wenger has been “failing badly and totally overrated” for at least a decade. It was back in 2006 that I wrote to the mailbox questioning Wenger’s tenure: Arsenal were a mammoth 24 points behind Chelski and fans were celebrating 4th place – whilst having to witness Wenger’s inept CL final substitutions (taking off Pires but keeping on Hleb to “keep the ball” and defend a 1-0 for 80 minutes against Iniesta, Xavi, Ronaldinho and Eto’o. Jokes!). The reaction from Arsenal fans was then was that questioning Wenger was akin to patricide.
Fast-forward 12 years and I have to hand it to Arsene, it has somehow gotten worse! The more under pressure he becomes, the more despotic his reaction. And all those who backed him hardcore basically double down the worse it gets. It’s at the stage with some fans that Wenger could take a dump in the centre-circle and convince them it’s a “world class player with great mental strength” (or Granit Xhaka/Calum Chambers). And guess what? Many, many Arsenal fans would be willing to believe that for a while. The problem is Wenger is going nowhere. His “base” are very much like that muppet’s in the White House: irrespective of how bad it gets, they’ll back him. The more evidence of his incompetence you present, the more they dig in their heels. They’ll carry on walking around like zombified morons wearing red and white caps and repeating stupid slogans “In Arsene We Trust”, whilst claiming a “new era” is on the horizon. All the while losing out financially when they can least afford it, as their Dear Leader stuffs his pockets and that of his inner circle.
Wenger lost 8-2 at OT and was under no pressure. He lost 6-0 at Chelski, 5-1 at Anfield, 6-3 at Citeh and 3-0 at Everton in the same season and was under no pressure. Blame the refs. He lost 10-2 to Bayern and that was fine. Ref’s fault. Lost a cup final to a relegated team and that was ok too. He’s now finishing outside the CL places and that is also, ok. That’s why I had to laugh at the idea of “fan boycotts”. Only took about 6 /7 years to work it out eh Gooners! Arsenal fans continually make excuses along the lines of “what can we do”- before again shelling out over £1k to watch the same dross season in, season out. Not once has there been open dissent in the stadium by all. Not once have they coordinated something as simple as waving white hankies in unison. Not once have they coordinated a mass boycott of a match. Not even loud audible chants of “We want Wenger Out”. So if you were a businessman like Kroenke, and like the POTUS supporters, you realise that no matter how much you take the p**s, Wenger’s “base” will continue to keep the faith, as you rake in cashmoney…why change a winning formula? The Arsenal fans have already proved they will accept anything. They are the kind of people who will get home, catch their wives in bed with the milkman and then blame the referee for it. Or alternatively, they’ll say they “cannot compete with milk money”. 😂 So Kroenke will laugh at any sudden growth of a backbone. I know I would! Say what you like but when LVG finished outside the Top 4, ManYoo (who also have money-obsessed distant American owners) chopped him on the spot. And he’d just won the FA Cup (which is bigger than winning X Factor and Strictly these days according to Gooners). They knew ManYoo fans wouldn’t accept it. When Hodgson started mailing it in for a few months, Liverpool fans coordinated a huge boycott of the Wolves home match and Liverpool’s money-obsessed distant American owners (see a theme?) sacked him via email the following morning. So: 2 clubs with distant capitalist American ownership had fans affect change – and yet, Arsenal fans keep on laughably claiming they “can do nothing”. Like their club is suuuch a special case. It isn’t though. Wenger is an employee and all employees can be sacked. However: spineless fans = spineless players = spineless manager. Hope you enjoy the ride! Toodle-pip.
Stewie Griffin (Travel ban for Wenger please. New contract until 2022 incoming. SAD!)
Firstly, thanks for entertaining us this season. But enough of the pleasantries.
We need to talk about Thursday.
Please Pep, play a full team. Turn up in that ridiculous, all conquering mode that you seem to do so well nowadays (well, except against Wigan). Start strong, score a couple before half time. Neutralise Ozil. Slot another just after the break. Maybe score a couple of late ones. Smash us 0-6.
Seriously. Do us in. Let’s get rid of Wenger together.
Stu AFC (an empty stadium might do some good as well)
So, it looks like Manchester City have won the league and the League Cup already. Manchester United are in with a chance of winning the FA Cup and are still in the Champions League. So what if City end up with the league title and the League Cup at the end of the season while United end up clinching the Champions League and the FA Cup. My question is who would have had the better season of the two?
Feroze (Lahore, Pakistan)
Adeel, There are so many problems with playing like this, and you seen to be over simplifying the game like a ten year old playing FIFA, trying to cram all the highest rated players onto the pitch regardless of actual position.
United have the joint best defence in the league, with Bailly back and a reliable partnership the issues you mean will surely decrease. I don’t even know what you mean by regardless of formation? One holding midfielder would add stability, two even more so which you have even mentioned in your mail so yes formation does matter
The formation you described would have two holding and to advanced midfielders, even if they start wide lingard, Herrera or Mata would drift inside causing congestion, united already suffer from a lack of width and quality crossing, playing 4 naturally central players wouldn’t help.
Whey united need is a natural right winger, the addition of Sanchez another left side player has added to these issues, the team lacks balance.
Dan MUFC Belfast
The table doesn’t lie
In response to Mike, LFC, our current measure of who’s the best team in the league is points: the team who wins the most points finishes top of the table and wins the league. They are the best team in the league at getting points which is he object of the league season. Similarly, the best teams in the FA Cup, League Cup and Champion’s League are the one’s that don’t get knocked out and are ultimately stood lifting the trophy at the end of the season.
City happen to play the best football but they have been the best team in the league this season because they have gained the most points. Spurs have been great for three years now but have been inferior at points gathering within a season compared to Leicester and Arsenal, Chelsea and now City, United And Liverpool (so far). So far this season United have been boring to watch but second best at acquiring points so sit in second in the table. It’s almost as if the table doesn’t care about Pogbas haircuts or whether Lukaku is a flat track bully, it just represents how effective United have been at picking up points. Now we can have a conversation about who will finish in that spot and at the end of the season we may figure out that Liverpool were eventually second best because they got more points over the 38 games than every one but City (they’re not going to be caught).
Liverpool and Spurs play better than United, definitely. But that’s a subjective measure and United have more points. When league performance is determined solely by goals then Liverpool will be second, and United will presumably still be 3rd (same goals scored, better goals conceded than Spurs). But then if league performance were determined in that way, United would have an entirely different focus and would likely score more goals (they only have 12 less than Liverpool now).
Basically our measure of success is how many points you have. Most points equals best team. The table correctly orders teams based on their number of points so it’s not that the table doesn’t lie: it can’t.
Ashley (very up for adding bonus points for goals though) Metcalfe
…Mike, LFC, Dubai raises an interesting point about whether the ‘best’ team wins the league, given the variables and uncertainties involved in luck. He does, however, seem to imply that increasing the amount of variables increases the chances of things being unfair.
This is, at the risk of being a laptop guru and a boffin, not true. When putting together all of the various ways and distribution curves of how you can receive ‘bad luck’, you actually get what is called a diversification benefit. What this means is that there is a chance of you
getting a bad sending off that costs you points, but the chance of that happening at the same time as getting something else bad that costs you points is comparatively smaller. So it is possible that you lose your best player to a false red card and it is against your rivals and it comes down to goal difference and they were playing badly and so on and so forth, but it becomes extremely unlikely very quickly.
Yes, luck will be uneven, and some teams will be at the sides of the bell curves, but the more curves you add, the less chance of an extreme event.
Playing 140 games would smooth this out even more, but it’s fair to say that the 38 we get so provide a decently fair assessment of who has been the best.
Andy, Villa, London