Mails: Somehow, this felt worse than ever for Arsenal

Date published: Friday 2nd March 2018 9:19

Let’s have something other than sad Arsenal fans this afternoon. Let’s have some joy. Send them to theeditor@football365.com…

 

It started here…
It’s the 28th minute. Some wonderful goals from City against a spirited yet doomed Arsenal. They are crying for Wenger’s exit. Please go Wenger. It’s sorry to see Arsenal in this misery.
Arsh Khurana

 

It’s worse that we weren’t awful
Same result… different reaction. All I want is to see some effort. At least they showed that.

What a damning indictment of Arsenal’s current situation, when just turning up against a top four team is enough to please some Arsenal fans.
Mike AFC

 

This one hit home harder
The lifeless performance. The hushed, apathetic atmosphere. The withering post-match assessments. In truth, there have been a handful of nights in Arsenal’s recent history that felt similar, but none have hit home quite as hard as this one. Something has changed in the air of this football club.

Arsenal are lost so deeply in the woods that it’s hard to remember the pathway they navigated to bring them there. The loss and non-replacements of the club’s famed characters, such as Vieira and Adams? The humiliating league cup final defeat to Birmingham? The mothering culture Wenger has cultivated over the last decade? Perhaps it’s all of those and more combined, snowballing over time. Fascinatingly, the reasons for the downfall are nearly as plentiful as the excuses we used to hear that enabled Wenger to stay in this job for so long. They’re a young squad. The stadium is being paid off. Arsene knows. Be careful what you wish for. Guaranteed champions league football every season.

You can’t even hear a faint echo of the aforementioned any longer in North London.

If last season – after the FA Cup triumph – wasn’t the appropriate time to leave, then there isn’t one. Wenger’s eventual departure, even with a Europa League crown, will be inglorious, and he and an inadequate boardroom should look in the mirror and shake their sorry heads for that.

Arsene may very well have turned down every job on Planet Earth to manage and stay ‘loyal’ to Arsenal, and he may very well love the club, but we need to stop buying the line that it’s an excuse for such chronic mismanagement and clueless underperformance. Watching an exasperated Jamie Carragher and an emotional Thierry Henry on Sky Sports last night and you’d be forgiven for thinking that a heinous crime had just been committed. Perhaps there had been. But one of delusion, not passion.
Jack, 23, London

 

And it’s so obvious to non-Arsenal fans
I’m sure you’re gonna get 100s of mails from Gooners of all shades of angry. But I just thought i’d give my tuppence, from the POV of a non-Gooner.

First up, I’m a Liverpool fan, albeit one that’s lived in North London, specifically Highbury for the past 20 years and so by default am surrounded by Gooner friends, colleagues, my daughter’s schoolmates, etc. If I’m honest I’ve always had a soft spot for them too, despite ’89 and Micky Thomas and all that. Or maybe because of, who knows how the mind works. Arsenal were a team that did things the right way, played good football, had players that we all loved – Wrighty, Henry- and just seemed like a ‘proper’ club.

But the main point is that I felt angry last night watching the City game. I felt like putting my foot through the TV at the latest shanked pass from Xhaka. I felt the pain of the few Gooners who’d braved the snow- and it was properly snowing last night in Islington- to turn up at the game only to be 3-0 down after 30 minutes. It was like the team were sleepwalking.

It’s so fundamentally clear that the team have stopped playing for Wenger. That they know he’ll be gone at the end of the season so why bother? We had this with the dog days of Benitez and Rodgers. I remember the 6-1 defeat at Stoke and the body language of the players and I saw it again last night. It’s a real shame that such a proud club are slipping into mediocrity and you’d have to be mean -or a Spud- to not wince every time the camera cuts to Wenger, increasingly frail, on the sidelines.
Dan, London

 

Not as easy as having a clearout
Let me start by saying that I’m not an Arsenal fan, so this observation is from an outsider’s perspective. The problems Arsenal face extend beyond simply sacking Arsene. Looking through the squad, how does a new manager clear out the players with years left on their contracts and high wages?

F365 last week pointed out 4 players – Ospina, Xhaka, Welbeck, Chambers – whose time at Arsenal should be up. Ospina is 29 and on £40k a week, Xhaka is on £90k and Welbeck £70k. Xhaka has 3 years left on his contract. Then there’s Mustafi (£90k; 3years left) and Elneny (£55k; 2yrs).

Realistically where could these players go for similar wages? They’d have to be willing to take a serious pay cut to move anywhere – something not many people are happy to do.

Arsenal have a number of players below their requisite standard on bloated wages that will be incredibly difficult to shift – and simply replacing the manager won’t solve that.
Dave, Durban

 

That’s when you know they’ve buggered it
The only question remaining: how long will Arsenal still get 16 conclusions?

They are now solid mid table fare and I can’t imagine the tedium of having to keep thinking up 16 conclusions to sum up how shit they are.
Richard (Let me know when he’s gone) Cape Town

 

I remember someone recently wrote in to ask would you be doing a 16 conclusions on Burnley given their early success this season. I’m wondering will you continue to do them on Arsenal?

Love the website.
Chris, Dublin

 

We are staying, say we are staying up
On the plus side, at least we have broken the 40 points barrier.
Adonis Stevenson, AFC

 

Not a good night for Mesut
Question for the mailbox: If Alexis Sanchez was a mercenary for choosing to join United over City for money, is Ozil also a mercenary for choosing to remain at Arsenal over going to any other club in world football this summer?
Sandy

 

Or Hector Bellerin
There’s a famous picture that exists of Muhammad Ali standing over Cleveland Williams. It marks a point in time when the Greatest was at the peak of his powers and a thing of beauty to watch as he decimated his foe.

But while Ali performed majestically that night, this wasn’t his finest performance. What made him the Greatest was his bouts against my favourite fight of all time Joe Frazier in that everyone knew they were in a fight when they fought Frazier. He would just keep coming and was relentless and actually won the first time these two met in the fight of the century.

Why am I bringing this up? Well, to listen to some of the commentators drool over City last night you’d think they were playing one of the best teams in the land.

This Arsenal team might have been wearing the red and white but like the manager they are a bunch of frauds. Arsenal were abject and City didn’t have to perform to put them to the sword.

Bellerin had a hand in all three goals – they all came down his side and this guy has the temerity to have a pop at the fans?! Well, the fans are the ones that pay your wages son, and last night they voted with their feet.

It’s also worth noting there was a clearly visible Argentina flag in the home stands last night. Unless that was a particularly enthusiastic Nelson Vivas fan, I would think a City fan got into the home end. I’d reckon the only Arsenal fans that turned up did so to vent on ArsenalFanTV.

It’s not just Wenger out – it’s Bellerin out as well. I think these others can be worked with but Bellerin has the same fault as Wenger in that he cannot see his own faults.

Onto Sunday’s Battle of Brighton where we could be facing our fifth defeat in a row and eighth of the year. And the muppets that run our club are actually giving consideration to firing the fraud? You draw up a list of candidates after firing the fraud not before you cretins!
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

But what about Manchester City
It’s only half time in but can I just say that City are seriously impressive. The goals have been beautiful and the interplay sublime. I’m an Arsenal fan but I’m not even upset, they are on a different planet to us.
George (I’ll focus on the cricket tomorrow instead) AFC, Wellington, NZ

 

Sane is the one Real Madrid should want
Mo Salah may have scored the most number of goals by a left footed player, but is Leroy Sane really any less impressive? He has to be the find of the season, and treated the Arsenal defence like U-14 boys today. Brilliant.

He’ll be the one Real Madrid target, not Mo. And I for one, would be happy.
Mahzaib (LFC, NYC)

 

Big Weekend’s Little Brother
Burnley-Everton
There are some very angry birds at Goodison Park these days, and yes, I’ve been saving up that line for weeks. At least Everton won’t face the ire of the home fans here, but by all accounts the away support wasn’t very charitable after the loss at Watford last Saturday. Maybe that’s because the Toffees have won only one away match all season (at Newcastle).

Moreover, for all the Allardycian emphasis on keeping it tight, the side have now gone eight matches without a clean sheet. For their part, Burnley are finally feeling the pull of gravity, and are drifting back to the pack. But the last time they lost at Turf Moor to a non-top-six team was August. Most of the attention will be on the strikers. Will Cenk Tosun get a start? Will Chris Wood, finally fit again, play alongside Ashley Barnes? Will either side get a shot on target?
Stat: Burnley have engaged in 723 more aerial duels than Manchester City.

Southampton-Stoke City
A six-pointer that feels like a sixty-pointer. The Saints are feeling a bit better after Manolo Gabbiadini snatched the late equaliser at Burnley, but their attack remains ponderous. The Potters have taken the lead in their last two matches, only to wind up with one point out of six. Expect Paul Lambert once again to start by pressing high; an early goal could get the restive St. Mary’s crowd much restiver. Peter Crouch is fit after an ankle problem, so will he go back in the lineup, or will it be Mame Biram Diouf?

Will Tyrese Campbell, who debuted as a sub last weekend, get another chance? The matchup of the game should be on the left of Southampton’s attack: since Xherdan Shaqiri figures to come inside a lot, Moritz Bauer, who has impressed at right-back for Stoke, may find his hands full with Ryan Bertrand and probably Nathan Redmond.
Stat: Stoke City’s keepers have made 102 saves, tops in the league.

Swansea City-West Ham United
Another very big match for both sides, and the tactics should be fascinating. Swansea opened up while behind against Brighton and got buried, so will we get a measured approach against a West Ham side with real attacking talent? I’m guessing yes, but even holding back I’d like to see the Swans switch to a back four (or even the 3-4-3 they used against Sheffield Wednesday in the cup) and use André Ayew in support of brother Jordan.

Turning the field around, will we get an aggressive approach from the Hammers, who may sense that the Swans’ defence is vulnerable after last week’s debacle? I’m guessing yes here too, because West Ham’s run-in is tough, and this is one of their most winnable matches. David Moyes will almost certainly stick with three centre-halves, but maybe he too can be persuaded to play two strikers, Marko Arnautovic and Chicharito.
Stat: West Ham have received 24 more yellow cards than Swansea.
Peter G, Pennsylvania, USA

 

On short corners
Watching Arsenal waste yet another corner by playing it short (my mind having wandered from the actual game itself) I got to wondering about short corners: anyone got any stats to support their success rate or lack thereof?

It’s probably been asked before on here and I will likely get flooded with hundreds of replies providing obvious examples (having not researched it) but, to my mind, I can’t really recall any that have led to goals or even looked mildly dangerous.

Anyway, this should provide a decent distraction from the Arsenal hate mail if nothing else.
Chris AFC

 

This feels like something that could never have happened
I’m pretty sure that Steven Naismith scored a perfect hat trick against Chelsea a few years back. Wait. What’s that? It wasn’t a perfect hat trick because it wasn’t scored in the same half. Ah well. It was still Steven Naismith…scoring a hat trick…against Chelsea.
TX Bill, EFC

 

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