Mails: Doubting Arsenal’s title credentials

Date published: Monday 26th September 2016 9:26

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Oh, Guy
Ah Guy, I think I can speak for a lot of us when I say if I wasn’t laughing I’d be crying.

This must be the 427th changing of the goal posts on the Rooney debate. It started with “He’s being played in the wrong position”, which evolved into “Fergie sacrificed him for the team” to try and explain his fortnightly change of position due to being ineffective in whatever position his last stint was in. And on and on it went. Some of these excuses have/had a sliver of truth to them but to say that being on set piece duty and making himself available for passes (A.K.A playing football) weighs him down.. You owe it to yourself to do better than that Guy.

I am also confused by your ability to defend Rooney’s 89 minutes of being sh*t because of that 1 minute of good where he has come up with a goal/assist yet doesn’t seem convinced by Mata’s 89 minutes of good and 1 minute of brilliant.

What irks me the most about your mail Guy is the tone. You seem to think that now the team has woken up to how to play football again, we can just plunk Rooney back into it and he will be able to take it from here. Its no coincidence Pogba turned in his best performance so far and we’ve scored 3 goals from set pieces without Rooney, this isn’t statistical noise. The Rooney you reminisce on is the Rooney of 7+ years ago Guy. We have to move on, to reiterate on a previous mail of mine there isn’t a single team in the league with European aspirations that would employ him to kick a football. There isn’t a single aspect of the game that would be improved by Rooneys inclusion over any of the players who started against Leicester.

I understand you’re in this a bit (understatement of the century) too deep to turn around now Guy but please, I think you will feel relieved if you just come out and say you were wrong on Rooney and although he has been a great player for United that is the distant past and this current team has no use for him. Then you can stop making up these ridiculous excuses for him which I’m sure you worked very hard on since half time on Saturday to cook up.
John, Australia, MUFC


Rooney does being consistent set piece deliveries but consistent they are not. His last assist from a corner in the league was against Cardiff in 2013. Close to 90 games ago. So the snarky comment regarding finishing from Blind’s corners being ‘for a change’ really need to be revised.

We don’t see flashes of the ‘Old Rooney’ because he runs like a snail through treacle and couldn’t volley a beach ball from his own hand. The only Old Rooney most of us see is the petulant ‘man’ still mouthing off at officials for having the indecency of noticing he tackles like a walrus on roller skates and has committed yet another foul.

As for Mata being neat and nothing more then how would anyone without blinkered vision describe Rooney? Mata boasted an assist, goal and a pass completion of above 90%. Rooney hasn’t had a game like that this season and has had few of them in recent seasons. What shackling responsibilities do you refer to? When he drops deap to occupy a defensive midfield role when chasing a goal? That’s not by managerial order that’s poor tactical awareness.

Guy I hate to break it to you but the Rooney from 3/4 years ago isn’t coming back. There hasn’t been a hint of that for, well I’d say 3 or 4 years now. Find a new love while you’re still young enough, eh?

Wayne (Guy S is Garth Crooks, isn’t he?), Manchester


Guy S just doesn’t get it does he, what on earth is he rambling on about?

I can only assume he is a PFM caricature who has infiltrated the site to try and defend his fallen idol.

“You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time.”

Please Guy, stop. No more.
Plato – MUFC


But at least you’re nice
I don’t agree with Guy about Rooney and haven’t for the best part of two years.

Two years ago I was in the minority position on Rooney when strongly feeling he was finished and took mailbox beatings and disagreement in the comments, though never to the same extent as Guy has had to endure in the last few weeks.

So with that in mind and remembering my own behaviour when no one seemed to agree with me and wanted to have a go, I’d  like to say how much I admire GuyS for his restraint and determination to argue his corner without descending into abuse and anger, particularly this weekend.

I think you’re mistaken about Rooney, Guy, but you’re being mistaken with class.
Tim Sutton


West Ha ha ha ha ham
Before we all laugh at West Ham. Let’s recap their start of the season:

They get into a new stadium that was basically given to them.

The pitch is yards away and everyone’s mad about it.

David Gold tweets on September 13th: “There’s absolutely no reason why we can’t be playing in the champions league with in the next five years.”

That day, they had 3 losses, 1 win and were 17th in the league.

They were out of the Europa League from the same bunch of “Romanian farmers” they lost to last season.

Their fans fight each other.

They play Sunday, they lose 3-0.

They’re now 18th in the league. 10 points behind the Top 4.

Nobel said on the bright side he didn’t think it could get any worse. What about relegation?
John Blakeway (Is Bilic the new more terrible Martinez?)


Sam Allardyce 100% win record in his new job. West Ham down in 18th and out of Europe to some team nobody has heard of.

Be careful what you wish for.
James, Brighton


Spurred on
In response to Jonathan (I take that all back if we get tonked by Man City next week) Gold Coast and his issues with Spurs’ title odds- as a fellow spurs fan, can I suggest you don’t send in these kind of emails? You are right in many ways but surely you know it doesn’t work like that? We’re spurs! We do sh*t, we get sh*t on. We do well, we get sh*t on. And in fairness, we are notorious for ballsing things up just as we seem to be doing well.

But, as you may have seen in the comment section, most people are just going to hilariously paraphrase Ferguson with “Lad, you’re Tottenham”. But maybe it’s not the outrage at Tottenham’s lowly odds but perhaps teams like Liverpool’s second favourite tag. Well, Liverpool get installed as high up as they are because they don’t f*ck things up the way spurs do. Do you not remember when they won the title in the 13-14 season? I think that’s what happened but then again things can often slip my mind.


Slamming the brakes
16 conclusions
picked up on Vardy’s language after not getting a foul but Vardy was cheating in the first place. Refs need to get wise to it – where basically the player is being chased and then kind of ‘stops’ mid run so the guy behind makes contact.

Antonio has done it in the first half running out of his area, and it’s given more often than not, as the bloke in pursuit almost always falls over which makes it looks bad.

The one that refs need to learn to never give is where the striker is running away from the goal in the penalty area, all of these are normally examples of cheating. With car insurance the bloke behind is assumed guilty but insurers are getting wise to it. Scammers are doing exactly the same thing in the Premier League and the refs need to get wise.
Dave, Winchester Spurs


A happy Bournemouth fan (but Everton were poor)
I didn’t write about Bournemouth last week because there was only so much that could be said about a) their performance and b) City’s.  But back to work this morning so here goes.  For the first time this week Eddie Howe has had to deal with some discontent amongst the supporters; the performance against Preston was pretty limp and the club’s ticketing arrangements remain a bit of a mess.  Walking up to the ground on Saturday confidence was not high.

However from the start it was apparent that Eddie had been busy.  Bournemouth’s intent was clear when Wilshere took the kick-off (instead of Surman) and for the whole game he played in the ’10’ role.  Being liberated of any defensive responsibilities meant he was much more effective.  Unlike at City he then wasn’t trying to occupy the same space as Arter and Surman, and they too were able to play more freely.  Arter will always be a fan favourite (and with the departure of Ritchie an absolute shoo-in for sponsors’ man of the match) but on Saturday he was terrific, when Barry went off after an hour he looked run ragged.

The other switch Eddie Howe made was swapping Stanislas and Ibe over.  I couldn’t really see the logic to this at the time; I completely agreed with the mail on Friday about Smith taking advantage of Mirallas’ defensive indifference and thought him and Ibe might have had some success.  But Stanislas is more prepared to come inside than Ibe and this actually created more space for Smith to go at Oviedo.

And a word on Everton.  I was expecting them to be really strong, dominate the ball and cause a lot of problems on the flanks.  But Bolasie was quiet, apart from one brilliant cross at the end, and Lukaku was at his laconic worst.  Cook (Daniel Storey dream matchup, this) actually dominated him in the air at times.  As for Barkley, lots of endeavour and muscle, but looked frustrated by the end.
Andy J, Bournemouth


Some lovely weekend thoughts
*I’ve always been a Koscielny fan, but that was stupendous, the best individual defensive performance of the year so far. Diego Costa, the most in-form striker in the league, never got close. Color me skeptical, though, about Arsenal’s chances of finishing higher than third. A possible serious injury to Coquelin? Ramsey taking longer to get back than expected? It’s only one game.

*Harry Arter is fun to watch. He’s a slightly edgier (and much more piratical-looking) version of Mark Noble: never stops running, helps drive the team, does everything in midfield. He’s also that very rare bird, a true two-footed player. He was at his very best against Everton, and in a strong team performance, a clear man of the match.

*Statistics Don’t Tell The Story Department: in the last two seasons combined, Dusan Tadic had 19 assists. This year he has zero. But as Southampton settle into their new system, he’s playing some of the best football of his career. Against West Ham he was once again the dominant figure in midfield. Under Ronald Koeman he often found himself on the periphery of the attack, but now he’s at the center, and making the most of it.

*The more I watch the league, the more respect I have for Tony Pulis. How many teams have dropped through the trap door, or come way too close for comfort, as he’s gone about his business and survived with relative ease? West Brom have started very comfortably, and tenth place does them justice. Baggies fans want a better brand of football with higher risk, and good for them. But if West Brom do climb the ladder, let’s not forget who kept them off the bottom rungs for a while.

*Favorite kits this year: Stoke City (home), Watford (away), Crystal Palace (yellow—is that their second or third?)
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA


And some more
I don’t often write in, but this weekend’s Premier League action was so exciting that I couldn’t help but offer my thoughts to a good forum…

*First off. The United game was the first of the weekend, and I seen just the first half. In that half of football I think it showed what this team are capable of.

*Not a Mourinho fan, I would have rathered Conte(as odd as that looks now) but at least he had the common sense to put out United’s strongest possible XI.

*Mata was absolutely superb at No 10. He was everything that Rooney isn’t and his ability to inject pace into the game with his incisive passing rather than dithering on the ball was a joy to watch. Take note Wayne.

*I love Daley Blind. Since we signed Bailly I wanted him to be pushed into DM, but he was class at LB yesterday, and there are few better than him at delivering a cross from a placed ball too. Seems like a thoroughly nice lad as well.

*Herrera was immense, but that will come as little surprise to people who have seen him regularly. I doubt there’s a harder working player in the United squad at this time, and his passing and game intelligence when it comes to interceptions is top class.

*Pogba was everything I hoped he would be. Enough said.

*Onto the Arsenal game. I like how 16 conclusions focused on Iwobi. I don’t think I’ve seen him have a bad game in an Arsenal shirt yet. He’s such a good alternative to Danny Welbeck and fully merits his spot on the left. If he adds goals to his game, which he may well, he could be a superstar.

*Although Iwobi was awarded MOTM, lets not fool ourselves. It was either Sanchez or Ozil. The latter is so good to watch. From his turn around Kante, to his flick up the sideline and no look pass soon after, there’s certainly no player in the league that can make football look so effortless.

*The Kante issue that was touched on in 16 conclusions was interesting. While he may not be recording anywhere near the same stats as last year, I think it is frankly impossible. You’re interception stats and tackling stats will always be much higher when playing in a team that doesn’t see as much of the ball. Chelsea will enjoy much more possession than Leicester did last year, meaning there won’t be as many passes or attacks for him to cut out.

*If you don’t enjoy watching Heung Min Son scoring you have a heart of stone. Two lovely goals yesterday, and he just appears to be having the absolute time of his life. With Okazaki unlikely to feature that often this season, at least we have another lovely happy guy from the far east smiling so often.

*Wouldn’t it be hilarious if James Milner scored a Panencka penalty rather than smashing it?
Paddy(that was a fun weekend) Ireland


Aaaaaand some more
1. Man city are going to run away with this league aren’t they? They’ve played some wonderful football this season though I can’t wait to see them face liverpool.
2. If Liverpool keep this consistency, they’ll probably push City all the way. I can’t see them anywhere below the top four this season.
3. Rooney is never getting back into that manchester team. They played so well without him ( the only thing missing was a Pogba dab) and will probably do better if he stays away for a long time.
4. Arsenal Oh My. What a performance that was. But arsenal fans shouldn’t be carried away. This is typical Arsenal football. They’ll probably start cursing Wenger when they draw at Swansea next weekend.
5. Chelsea? I’d rather not say much about them. But with Cahill and Ivanovic still in that team, they probably ship in more goals than Burnley this season.
6. Sunderland are definitely getting relegated this time. Even Tony Pulis won’t save your asses.
Okeke KC, Nigeria (When will Coutinho stop scoring these wonder goals?)


It is Monday so I have a bit of a deep question for people to ponder.  I am a big Liverpool fan so I will relate my examples  to Liverpool players.  This thought came to me on Tuesday while watching the EFL Cup game and again on Saturday.

Footballers who are will to change for there club:  Jamie Carragher is a prime example of a person who will play anywhere, G Houllier changed him from a right back to a left back and Rafa turned him into a Champions League winner centre back.  He never complained publicly and just got on with the task.  More recently we see J Milner – convinced to join as a centre midfielder and now turned into a left back – F365 still thinks he may be the downfall for a Liverpool title challenge but at the moment he scores, assists and is playing quite well – again said he prefers playing in CM but is happy to be helping out the team.  Lastly we have A Lallana whose stock has risen since Klopp’s arrival – I for one asked several times what is the point of a Lallana in the first 2 years but he has transformed into a goal scoring attacking midfielder who is willing to run himself into the ground.  Though Klopp living next door probably doesn’t hurt – I am sure Lallana walks past his front windows doing keepy-ups shouting, “Look at me, I am up to 100 now boss”.

This now leads me onto Footballer unable to change: Jamie Carragher is again here.  He could change position but he was unable to change his core belief that the ball was a hot potato and needed to be got rid of as quickly as humanly possible, with all the training in the world her could never become D Agger.  Another payer that was unable to change was Xabi Alonso, he could never be quicker and finally David James was brought down by his inability to concentrate for 95mins

Finally we have Footballers unwilling to change:  Now this can be through arrogance or a belief that they are right – the too I think are different.  Mario Ballotelli is a prime example – possible in the 5 most gifted players on the planet – conversely possible amongst the 5 players with the worst attitude.  The stories coming out of Liverpool must be taken with a pinch of salt but there are enough of them to know there was an issue, corners, missing training to buy the new iPhone the list goes on.  Buy we must ask the question why is he like this?  Was he told from a young age that he was different and that he was special and when he was 18 his natural skill got him out of all problems?  Even now in Nice he has been dropped for he poor physical condition – Is he arrogance personified?  Alberto Moreno had quite possibly the 2 worst games I have seen back to back.  The Europa League final where he was to blame for 2 goals and the Arsenal game where he was at fault for the penalty.  But I think he is a man in such deep denial that he cannot change.  He posted a tweet after the EL final saying that Seville deserved it and where worthy winners – yes, you Muppet after you gifted them 2 goals.  Then he carries that same “eyes shut – headless chickin” mentality into the Arsenal game – gets dropped and on his return plays in exactly the same way against Derby.  I mean Alberto come on, even you must see a correlation here?  Or is he a person so entrenched in his own belief that he is right and Klopp is wrong that he is unwilling to change?

Anyway happy Monday
Ian Hewison


Congratulations, FIFA
I would like to personally congratulate FIFA on eradicating racism from football. What a stellar job they have done, and it only took three years.
Paul M, LFC


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