Mails: No to Arteta, but what about Mancini for Arsenal?

Date published: Tuesday 24th April 2018 2:17

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What about Mancini?
Nowadays when a managerial vacancy comes up it always seems to be the same list of managers that are linked with a job. This seasons relegation fighting teams did not deviate at all from the Allardyce, Pardew, Hodgson and Hughes axis the only surprise was that Pulis had to drop down to the championship before taking his normal seat managing a team of a Premier league also rans.

At the upper end of the league we find the same issue hence I thought I would propose an alternative list of candidates to the ones being banded around for replacing Wenger.

The passive Italian option. Riding high in the betting is Ancelotti, another Italian who is famed for his hands off and relaxed management style. As an alternative I would propose another loveable Italian who’s also won the premier league and managed Chelsea, Claudio Ranieri. For the record a passive manager is not what Arsenal need.

The ex-French international . Viera was a manager on the field, kept everyone in check and lead by example, now he’s making his name as a manager over in New York. However, when I look at the team sheet of the French 1998 world cup winners the ex-player I would suggest would be Lauren Blanc who has managed at the highest level in Europe and won league titles.

The ex-Arsenal player. Artea came across as an intelligent well considered man who seems to have the right set of morals to be an Arsenal manager and is apparently learning all there is to know about management under the Dutch-influenced total football teachings of Pep. If I was going for an ex player I’d want one that has cut their managerial teeth somewhere else first hence I’d go for Van Bronckhorst who seems to have been doing a reasonable job over in Holland.

The ex-Barca manager. Sure, Luis Enrique did a great job at Barca winning everything that is on offer, but he’s hardly the only one. Instead of going for the one that followed Pep why not have a look at the one Pep took over from, Rijkaard was a hell of a player and although his star has faded post Barca, he is not given the credit he deserves for delivering what at that point was only Barca’s second champions league, you could argue he not Pep was the catalyst for their decade plus of greatness.

The Celtic option. Brendan Rodgers seems to be doing amazing things in the one league team that is the SPL, but of course also won nothing at Liverpool while having the likes of Suarez, Coutinho, Sterling and Gérard. Why he’s linked to the Arsenal job I will never know. But if you want to push an ex-Celtic manager then you might as well throw Martin O’Neil’s hat into the ring, he did more in Scotland when there was actually a team to compete against and had moderate success in the Premier league and in international football. I’d be completely against this appointment as I think O’Neil is overrated but would literally take anyone over Rodgers.

The Argentina option. Diego Simeone is not going to leave Atletico for Arsenal. Hence if you’re going to band about names of high flying Argentina coaches who aren’t going to leave their current club why not put the cat amongst the pigeons and talk about Pochettino making the move across North London? Yes, I know I’m currently looking out the window at the flying pigs.

The big hitting International manager. Sure, Joachim Low has done great things with Germany but we all know this is not a great barometer for club football management. However, if you are going to look at a manager currently managing a major European country why not look at Deschamps?

The pragmatic Italian option. Everyone is going on about Allegri when we all know there is no chance of him swapping league leading Juventus for Arsenal. Instead I would suggest another Italian manager that is equally pragmatic, has won in Serie A but more relevant and important speaks English and has won the Premier League as a manager, step forward Roberto Mancini. He’s the one I’d go for.
Paul K, London


Against Arteta
So I’ve been Wenger out man since 3 seasons ago – time when only if the board had some courage to replace Wenger we wouldn’t witness 2 years of dissapoinments or pushed out some of the decent players, now here we are – squad is lacking quality on every single position except forwards I’ll give that to the old man, and when I hear Gazidis wants to bring Arteta in I’m getting nauseous. Clearly business move, he knows bringing top shelf manager will require quite significant investment as no one sane from top level will come in to take over that squad with no decent transfer budget, to me that clearly says where the board wants to be – top 6 team is their ambitions with this sort of thinking. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Arteta might be a decent manager but it’s not the person we need right now – we are not Real Madrid where after winning La Liga and Champions League on a (bi)yearly basis for so many seasons and squad full of top shelf players they could afford the gamble of appointing Zidane – Arsenal needs someone strong to come in, clean up the dead wood buy 3-4 top class players and get this club to a decent level for a start.


Champions’ handicap
First time writing in and I’ll start by admitting I’m a United fan, frustrated by the gulf between City, us, and the rest of the league. But this isn’t just about me, us, or even England. The financial might of PSG has rendered Ligue 1 irrelevant, the Bundesliga has been a farce for years now, and La Liga is only marginally better. At least there’s something to follow in Serie A.

So here’s the solution: in a year when say Man City win the Prem at a canter with a 16-point lead over the nearest challenger, they are forbidden, during the summer transfer window, from buying any players in the top 16 teams of any of the big five European leagues. If Juve sneak Serie A by an odd 4 points, then they are only restricted from buying from the top 4 teams in the big leagues. In short, the bigger the margin of victory, the bigger the restriction.

One season won’t immediately right the wrongs, but consider 2 or 3 seasons when Bayern cannot hoover up all the talent of their closest competitors in the Bundesliga – gradually a more balanced competition will emerge. In Ligue Un, perhaps the brilliant Monaco side of 2016-2017 would not have been so thoroughly pillaged after their breakout success and might have had another crack at the CL this season. In Spain, Barca and Real will alternate most years between being held back while their competitor tries to claw back the deficit; but importantly, regular challengers like Athletico, Sevilla and even Valencia could have runs of 4-5 years un-plundered to build teams capable of taking on the big 2.

It’s not an outright ban, so the big clubs will be able to depend on their scouting networks and feeder clubs and will be encouraged to bring through emerging talents, and can also look at other leagues like Holland, Portugal, South American leagues, etc.

It probably wouldn’t be without controversy either. Imagine a situation where Citeh are 9 points clear next season and have been eying James Tarkowski, who’s had an excellent season. In order to get ‘access’ to Burnley, Pep fields his C team in the last game of the season and drops 3 points against Swansea. Now here’s the rub: that 3 points helps Swansea climb out of the relegation zone, while Cardiff slip to 18th and Warnock actually spontaneously combusts. It wouldn’t be pretty. But these are similar arguments to the weakened-teams-in-the-cups issues, and the league would have to find a way to regulate it.

Of course the big clubs will always try to game the system and the super-agents would resist anything that impedes their ability to pocket tens of millions every summer from ludicrous transfers, but long term it could create fantastically competitive leagues across Europe. It’ll never happen then.
Mark, Prague


Likeable Liverpool?
Sorry to have to point this out to DL in Geneva, but Klopp is actually the only thing that the majority of football fans like about Liverpool FC.
John (Come on Roma) Foster.


…As a Spurs fan I have three words on tonight’s game.

Fenspur (I used to support Liverpool in Europe… ) THFC


Ranking the seasons
I doubt you want another ranking of the United seasons (perhaps not, if we’d had any other mails. Come on, people – MC) but here’s how I’d compare to Timi’s (complete with England ladder styles position movements)

25. 2013-14 (-): The Moyes season. Horrible home form, horrible performances against the other top teams, lots of crosses, out of the FA Cup in the 3rd round, losing on penalties in the League Cup semi. Very few positives – not bad in Europe, David De Gea emerging as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, Januzaj looking like the future…the Community Shield win?

24. 2014-15 (19): The brave new era under LVG that started with a defeat to Swansea at home and within a month we’d also lost to Leicester (after leading 3-1) and MK Dons 4-0. Getting back in the Champions League was a positive but most of the signings were crap (Herrera and arguably Rojo are the only successes) and the football was still dire. Some bright moments – the derby win, Gerrard’s swansong lasting 38 seconds, but ultimately forgettable

23. 2015-16 (18): We won the FA Cup but finished 5th. The football was still rubbish but the emergence of Rashford and Martial (plus a whole host of other youngsters to varying degrees of success) at least offered a bit of encouragement for the future. The way the club handled LVG’s sacking was very embarassing

22. 2004-05 (23): Probably our worst Premier League season under Ferguson. Never looked like threatening to win the league, comfortably knocked out in Europe by Milan and an agonising FA Cup final defeat after dominating Arsenal. The signing of Rooney (and his glorious debut) plus an improving Ronaldo are about the only positives I can really remember, very much a “meh” season. And I’ve banished the Champions League winners that year from my memory

21. 2001-02 (21): After three years of unparalleled success, and two years of comfortably winning the league, we came back down to earth with a bang. Lots of money spent, with Van Nistelrooy being brilliant and Veron being frustratingly inconsistent. Replaced Stam with Blanc who wasn’t as bad as some would have you believe but wasn’t adequate (we famously lost to Bolton, Liverpool, Arsenal, Newcastle and Chelsea pre-Christmas…). Plus Arsenal won it at Old Trafford and we should have been the team losing to Real Madrid at Hampden were it not for too many missed chances

20. 2003-04 (17): The FA Cup win was a cherry on top of a shit sandwich. Far too many defeats (especially considering that the “Invincibles” won it), Mourinho sprinting down the touchline and a midfield of Kleberson and Djemba-Djemba on far too many occasions (once is too many). We did sign some young lad from Portugal who looked pretty promising though

19. 1994-95 (22): We were close. So close. Ludek Miklosko and Neville Southall close to this ranking in the top 5. Instead we won nothing, crashed out of Europe embarrassingly and Cantona kicked that fan. On the plus side Cantona kicked that fan and the first signs that we had an amazing crop of players emerging came through in the form of Butt, Gary Neville and Scholes.

18. 1997-98 (20): The narrative that we handed the title to Arsenal is a bit unfair on a very good Arsenal side (they were 11 points behind but with four games in hand so go figure) but it was the first post Cantona season and was again pretty unmemorable. For the first time in the modern era we looked capable of competing with the big teams from Europe (the 3-2 win over Juventus is often overlooked when it comes to great European nights) and it was the first year that Andy Cole looked consistently worth the money spent on him

17. 2005-06 (16): Chelsea walked the league again, George Best passed away and Roy Keane left under a cloud but the League Cup and moving one place higher up the league offered some consolation. We were awful in Europe, but the signs of what was to come began to emerge as Rooney and Ronaldo looked a lot better and van der Sar significantly improved the goalkeeping situation.

16. 2011-12 (24): Painful. Very painful. Missing out on goal difference, to City, on the last day, in the last minute, having been eight points clear…horrible. But the team wasn’t bad and scored a lot, it was Rooney’s last great season and for the first five games it looked like Tom Cleverley and Anderson would be the new Scholes and Keane. Dreadful in Europe, but then for some reason everyone from England apart from Chelsea were. Just imagine if we’d given up on De Gea after that start.

15. 2009-10 (15): A good team that lost out because Chelsea seemed to score 5+ goals most weeks. Unlucky to go out to Bayern in Europe after a blistering start in the second leg (Darron Gibson scoring in that game seems incredibly bizarre), and we won the League Cup which was nice. Plus Rooney finally looked the player he’d promised to be, as did Nani, and Michael Owen and Paul Scholes broke City’s hearts twice with late goals. Fun fact – we lost to Fulham with a defence of Patrice Evra, Michael Carrick, Darren Fletcher and Ritchie De Laet – surely the worst we’ve ever fielded

14. 2016-17 (14): Breaking my pattern of largely following league positions – a 6th place finish was made up for by winning two (no, not three Jose) trophies including the Europa for the first time. At times the football was horrible (ok, ALL the time) but for a brief time Zlatan was a God.

13. 1996-97 (4): I would argue that this is the worst overall season of the Premier League era. We won it with 75 points in what at times looked like a race to the bottom by all concerned (I remember a feature in Match magazine that included Wimbledon and Sheffield Wednesday as title challengers). There was THAT Beckham goal and THAT Cantona goal, and the emergence of Solskjaer from nowhere, but we were shown up by Dortmund and Juve in Europe and promising signings in the form of Jordi and Poborsky flopped. And then Eric broke our hearts.

12. 2000-01 (9): On paper this looked like another dominant United season but the signs of regression were there. Comfortably knocked out by Bayern in Europe, Thierry Henry looking world class at Arsenal and Liverpool winning a “treble” gave an indicator that next season wouldn’t be so easy. Still, there was the 6-1 (my friend John Foster even featured in the coverage sat in the away end. Hi John!) and the start of Teddy Sheringham’s Indian summer.

11. 1999-00 (13): Utter domination in the league (even this City side probably won’t win it by 18 points) coupled with going on holiday to Brazil instead of playing in the FA Cup and getting shown up by Real Madrid and Redondo in the Champions League. But everyone who was great in the treble season seemed to get greater and can you imagine City winning the title in the manner they have with Bosnich, van der Gouw, Taibi and Culkin to choose from?

10. 1992-93 (5): Probably lower than it could have been because my memory is sketchy (I was 5) but the historical importance is huge. The first title in 26 years (Liverpool have now gone 28, not that I’m counting) after blowing it the previous year and starting the season terribly. Signing Eric Cantona changed United and, pretty much, English football.

9. 2012-13 (10): Fergie’s final season was characterised by van Persie’s brilliance and some otherwise pretty rubbish football yielding results. Wrestling the title back from City convincingly was lovely and it was the last time we actually looked competitive against Europe’s elite (Nani’s red card is a great “what if?” in United history), and somehow Evra, Evans and Rafael scored 11 goals between them

8. 2010-11 (11): I loved this season. Berbatov (or should that be “Berbaflop”) answering his critics in style, Chicharito popping up with so many important goals and a Champions League final to go with the title. Losing to a much better Barcelona side was nothing to be ashamed of but harrowing to show how far we’d dropped in terms of quality against them. The (first) Rooney transfer debacle left a sour taste in the mouth before unexpectedly getting resolved. I’d forgotten that we got to February before losing in the league.

7. 2002-03 (6): Felt like revenge on Arsenal for the previous season after coming back from a pretty poor start to win the league. At times van Nistelrooy looked like the best striker in the world, then Ronaldo came to town. Beckham’s eyebrow probably got more column inches than the performances but we scored 11 goals over two games against 3rd place Newcastle (no, that’s not a mistake kids, they used to finish 3rd) and Diego Forlan finally turned up and preceded to make the scousers cry…

6. 2006-07 (7): After three years in the wildnerness United were finally back. Ronaldo became one of the best players in the world and it seemed to be a season of dramatic comebacks and glorious thrashings. The back five were great, the midfield was great, the attack was great, we beat Roma 7-1 and somewhere between scoring in the last minute in front of the Kop and putting on the goalkeeper gloves at White Hart Lane John O’Shea became a cult hero. Milan humbled us in the San Siro and the FA Cup final was maybe the worst in living memory with a Drogba sucker punch at the end but on a personal level I probably love this season more than any other – I started going out with my now wife and pretty much can milestone that first six months of our relationship with games from the season. First night spent together? After a 2-1 win at the Riverside. Her birthday? Ronaldo’s late goal at Fulham. Meeting her Dad for the first time? 4-1 win over Blackburn. Don’t tell her that though.

5. 2008-09 (12): Bit of a come down after the previous season but another year of domination, the League Cup and another Champions League final (seems strange to think we were favourites going into that against rookie Pep and the Barca team we beat the year before…). Liverpool made it difficult but for a brief time Federico Macheda was the future. Me and my best friend deciding to hug strangers instead of each other when he scored against Villa pretty much sums up our friendship. Berbatov’s troubles and the Tevez side-show were a shame, and it was Ronaldo’s final flourish – I’d probably give up his goals against Porto and Arsenal in return for Fergie persuading him to stay another year…

4. 1993-94 (8): The original double and a season of domination. Possibly Cantona’s finest season in English football interspersed with moments of madness (back to back red cards in the league, fighting with the police in Istanbul). Nobody looked even close to touching United which as a theme seems to be when things go wrong the following season. Lee Sharpe reached double figures in terms of goals.

3. 1995-96 (3): I liked football before this season but this is the one that made me fall in love with it. Still remember so much of it so vividly, where I was and what I was doing for most of the matches. The come back from 12 points behind, the return of the king and his goal in the cup final, the emergence of the Class of ’92 before they became a brand. You can go through the squad man for man and pinpoint a moment that they made a really important contribution…apart from Tony Coton who didn’t feature.

2. 2007-08 (2): The title went down to the last day, the Champions League final went to penalties, but it’s those fine margins that make it so great. Ronaldo put in probably the best, and certainly the most effective, individual season of any player in recent English history (Salah might come close in a months time) with Rooney and Tevez forming an amazingly potent back up team. Wes Brown played more than anyone AND somehow looked like the best right back in England. And John Terry crying…couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.

1. 1998-99 (1): Scraping to a 2-0 extra time win over Bury in the Worthington Cup seals it for me.

That took far longer than it should have but brought back some lovely, lovely memories (and, at the start, some rotten ones).
Mike, Burgess Hill


…Matt Stead, or is it the other one that supports Blackburn Rovers? (You’re thinking of Matthew Stanger – no longer of this parish – MC) I am surprised you haven’t picked up that Timi (morning mailbox) refers to Blackburn being in Lancaster!

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