‘Heir’ to Cazorla at Arsenal is the ‘bargain of the summer’

Date published: Friday 25th February 2022 1:34 - Editor F365

Arsenal midfielder Martin Odegaard celebrates

Martin Odegaard is the ‘most important player’ at Arsenal and could be the heir to Santi Cazorla. Plus, Manchester United at Atletico, big finish to the season, League Cup and lots more.

Keep your thoughts coming to theeditor@football365.com…


Heir to Cazorla
What an amazing comeback
! These are the types of games we have failed to win in years gone by. Anything less than 4th from here will be a disappointment. To think the three players who made the biggest difference in the end (Nketiah, Pepe and Lacazette) could all be leaving in the summer, and yet gave it their all to the very end. Arteta has instilled a great team spirit and should be commended.

Other Arsenal fans may find this controversial, but I genuinely believe our most important player currently is Odegaard. What an astute signing he is turning out to be! He’s the bargain of the summer considering what £30m gets you these days. Such a beautiful player to watch as well as being a total workhorse. You can imagine the hype if he was English. Reminds me of another under appreciated twinkle toe Spaniard we used to have by the name of Cazorla.
Ash (London)


More controversy…
Another game, another controversial VAR decision.

Martinelli must be wondering what he’s done to deserve this. Sent off due to some experimental refereeing in the away fixture and denied a penalty upon his return to face the same opposition.

Yet VAR has ridden to the rescue to reverse two goal decisions in successive matches against Arsenal in a single week.

It stinks and even some of our rival fans are beginning to see it.

Either apply VAR consistently or get an AI referee in who can. This cannot be allowed to continue.

All I can do is to praise the players, Arteta and the Emirates faithful. That result was down to them not backing down, keeping the faith and driving on until the very last minute.

And if that victory wasn’t one to celebrate, I don’t know when you should.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London


16 conclusions
I’ve seen lots lf people have a crack at this over the years and if there’s any game you could write 16 conclusions over is this one

• VAR once again rules against Arsenal, this time Semedo comes through the back of Martinelli, it’s looked at from 2 angles, once apiece…. play on.

• Wolves score a goal from a recycled free kick… obviously offside but VAR spend 3 minutes trying to find any excuse to give a goal.

• The ‘Pundits curse’ should be as very real as the ‘commentators curse’ Gabriel, who has been excellent all season and had until last night cut out needless errors was bigged up by Dixon and Co really did have a howler for Wolves goal.

• However there’s a reason why Arsenal have the third best defence in the division, they rallied and although they rode their luck at times as Wolves beat the press high in their half Ben White was excellent again.

• I think it was around the 20th minute that Woves first started wasting time, puppet master general Coady bossing a supposedly strict Andre Marriner around.

• If they want to he taken seriously as a top 8 (is this what we’re calling it now?) then the Wigan mentality needs to stop. The Jiménez substitution was a joke however the injury to Semedo took the absolute piss. Why Marriner allows them to waste 6 or 7 minutes on these two incidents alone I’ll never know.

• You would suspect they’ll be a queue around the block for Ruben Neves in the summer, the outside of the boot pass to Semedo late in the second half was worth the admission free alone. He improves everyone bar maybe City in this league.

• Moutinho was again the perfect partner for the main man Neves. It was noticeable that as he tired Arsenal took control of the midfield.

• I remember reading somewhere that at Bolton when a player shot from distance, Allardyce would fine them. Arsenal should bring this in solely for Thomas Partey, who whilst brilliant again at breaking up play and finding passes through the lines was an abject failure shooting from outside the box.

• Arteta seems to be learning fast on the job. He’s exiled Auba and Ozil as we’ve heard a million times but he’s almost completely sidelined Nicolas Pepe this season too. When asked about him in the pre match build up, sung his praises and told us all how important he will be. Last night was the first of 15 auditions to save his Arsenal career.

• What a job Bruno Lage is doing in the other dugout. He’s evolved an already excellent team, the likes of Neves, Podence and Semedo have improved immeasurably under his influence. You feel with the right investment they could certainly take over Spurs and Leicester over the next few seasons.

• If they weren’t before surely Arsenal are massive favourites for the top 4 now.  Man United have the hardest run in and Spurs are pretty much already out of it. They play at Old Trafford on the 12th of March, what price Spurs to do the Manchester double and hand Arsenal champions league qualification.

• Arsenal will need to vastly upgrade their squad in the summer if they do make the top 4. The squad depth has been questioned however with a week between games this season it’s no problem. Add Europe to the mix next season they’re maybe 5 players light.

• The most significant upgrade should be a striker. Watching Vlahovic score week after week must hurt but vindicates the interest in the first place.

• If Spurs want £150 million for Kane they should pay the money. He was an Arsenal fan as a kid and it might be his last chance for silverware.  Worked out well for a previous Spurs captain after all…

• Are you watching Barry Fox?
Adam (Herts gooner, obviously!)


Big finish to the season…
Wow, how much difference a few games makes.

We’ve gone from a title procession and about 5 teams fighting for 4th place to a title race back on and very likely 3 teams fighting for 2 champions league places.

If the Chelsea slide continues much longer then they are in danger of not even making top 4 and brining others into the mix – they do have the easiest league fixture run coming up but Cup distractions galore. Utd have a tough run of games coming up including City, Liverpool, Spurs, Leicester (not to mention the mighty Watford out to do the double over us) closely followed by six pointers with Arsenal and Chelsea. And Arsenal just never give the impression that a poor run of dropped points is not around the corner.

My money would be on City clinging on for a win, Chelsea remembering how to play and sadly, I think it is going to very tough for Utd to get that 4th placed trophy without some wins against the big boys in upcoming games. Those 6 pointers in particular will be crucial – a draw against Arsenal will not be enough.
Jon, Cape Town (looking forward to the twists and turns to come)


Why do we have to be so negative?
Why do we have to be so negative? I remember Liverpool once facing Atletico and losing 1-0 at the Wanda Metropolitano, if I recall, they didn’t register a shot on target that day. They will go on to lose the tie after completely destroying Atletico in the second leg, mainly thanks to Llorente’s heroics. It is not an easy place to go to.

Having said that, Man Utd played a most terrible first half, to use Rangnick’s words, “I still cannot believe”. But the guy is a good coach, just from his substitutions, you can figure he knows what he is doing. He said after the match that against this type of team, deep runs are needed, which is exactly what United have been lacking over the years. He didn’t sign any of them, I am not sure he would have signed Ronaldo, Rashford or even Pogba and De gea. But he has done a wonderful job,  I don’t think any other coach would have done a better job.

So, why? Why do we have to go around dissing players for a bad performance or for their incapabilities, De gea doesn’t step out of his line often enough, my mere suggestion that this might be a problem for man utd had someone saying that if he had been at 30% less or something, man utd would be farther down the table. I wanted to reply, but I thought, to everyone his opinion. De gea doesn’t claim crosses, doesn’t step out of his line when needed, his long distance passing is bad and he is not good with close range shots. My friend, if United had a more modern keeper like Ederson, my guess is they would have conceded that much shots less. Yes, they won’t even concede the shot in the first place. Despite that, he has had a great season and I am happy with him. Rashford did not do great but he is capable of doing many things, I think Rangnick should forbid him from shooting outside the box.

Sancho and Elanga do indeed deserve only praise, Sancho is the best decision maker of all the attackers at the club and as for Elanga, I am jumping on the bandwagon, it is not often you see a player who knows what he is good at and actively does it, always attacking space, truly, a good player, watch that Fred goal again and you will see Elanga free in the box waiting for the cross. Fernandes should be forbidden from making dangerous passes in his half, but I maintain, alongside Pogba and Sancho, he is one of the three best players at the club. I think man utd have good centre backs, Maguire may have made some mistakes, but he is one of their best players, you only have to watch that final to see how they couldn’t progress the ball without him. Varane and Lindelof complete the good centre back category, Shaw and Dalot are actually good fullbacks, Shaw in particular has been great recently, and I was not happy when Rashford opted to shoot from 35 yards instead of playing the pass to Shaw who saw the space and made the run attacking it. I think man utd need a striker, because I don’t know if Elanga can play with his back to goal, a defensive midfielder is necessary, everytime Matic plays well, he shows that a player like himself is needed, and a goalkeeper, here, I will suggest Jose Sa. It goes without saying, but if Pogba leaves, a replacement is necessary in central midfield.


League Cup
The League Cup sponsors league table
was a thoroughly nice trip down memory Lane this morning but surely the Rumbelows Cup should be a place or two higher, if for no other reason than its association with the Rumbelows Sprint Challenge? Truly the high point of Cup Final Day pre-match entertainment.

I’m still gutted we sent Danny Wallace rather than Sharpe or Giggs…
Bill Handley, Gloucester


Weekend update
Dear Football365,

A couple of things that might have escaped everyone’s notice this week with all the *points vaguely* going on.

*For safety reasons, Wealdstone FC have to play their game against Torquay United tomorrow behind closed doors. For one game at least, they’ve got no fans. Deal with ya.

*Bradford City have caused a bit of a stir by appointing a new manager with no experience of the fourth tier. I’m hearing rumours that the EFL on Quest boys are already frothing at the mouth in anger about this:

“These ex-footballers are spending four or five years getting their badges, and what for? None of them are getting a chance”

“This is a good job, Bradford are a good team, great stadium, some very good players”

“What’s he know about League Two? What’s he know”

“It’s totally astonishing that they have plumped for someone like this. It’s baffling, when there are a lot of people out there who know League Two, about what’s required to dig in. He’s not got a clue”

“It’s manna from heaven for him, with this CV, to be given a job like this”

“It’s just another slap in the face to some British coaches and managers”

Not really, though well done if you spotted the origin of those quotes. It’s a really surprising appointment, but has certainly got people’s attention. Even before the financial questions (suggesting either a massive pay cut has been accepted or there are a lot of performance-related incentives)  are posed, it begs a footballing question: are Championship and League One sides no longer interested in the sort of football Mark Hughes’s teams tend to play? I mean, fair play if they are, but it doesn’t seem likely.
Ed Quoththeraven

Mark Hughes is unveiled as the new Bradford boss

Hypocrisy? Stick to footy
To Drew (disgusted at the hypocrisy – LFC for #7) Dublin,

You have many very valid points, but I have to take issue with a few.

1) Whataboutism is special kind of bullshit. Please do not engage in it. Firstly, it does not solve anything at all. Secondly, it is very hypocritical (see what I did with your brackets here?) to say that current atrocities committed by one party are OK, because the other party was also guilty of similar atrocities. If you acknowledge those atrocities as morally reprehensible, than you should also consider the current atrocities as reprehensible. Otherwise you are just a hypocrite. So either condemn both or don’t condemn any. Finally, it does not allow for any improvement as it does not allow to learn from past mistakes (“you did it then, so now you cannot say it cannot be done” does not allow the other party to acknowledge that “yeah, we did it then but now we know better and won’t do it again”). By your logic, since the UEFA did not sanction the UK 20 years ago for its involvement the US-lead war in Iraq, it should never ever act if any country in the future starts a war on another country. (Small note: while the UK was indeed an EU country at the time, and is still an UEFA country after Brexit, the war happened in Iraq, which is hardly in the jurisdiction of UEFA and its member countries. Whereas Ukraine and Russia are both UEFA members…)

2) Similarly, it is very far fetched to liken the Russia aggression on Ukraine with the NATO war in Yugoslavia. My brother served in Kosovo. I can tell you that a) there was well documented and extensive ethnic cleansing in Yugoslavia (Srebrenica, for example), unlike in Ukraine; b) As far as I can tell, no NATO country took over Yugoslavia or any of the countries that came into being afterwards. Serbia, Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, etc. are all independent and not part of e.g. Hungary, a NATO country, even though there is a significant number of Hungarians living in northern Serbia. Anyway, the list of dissimilarities is very long, but you see where I am going with this.

So my long drawn-out point is: stick to the footy, mate. It’s fine to be biased and hypocritical there and whataboutism works fine in banters. It’s part of being a supporter. But football fans seldom roll in with tanks to take over someone else’s stadium (not even Chelsea fans do that directly)
Swedish Gooner


Fraudulent owners
For many Spurs fans the City match was always going to be an anomaly, even more so considering the two matches that had proceeded it, and so it proved to be.

Any supporter who takes pleasure from being right will be in the minority but perhaps the reasons for that feeling are increasing, however misguided. I read someone saying they’d sooner Spurs got relegated so Levy and ENIC can ‘fuck off’ but that isn’t remotely what would happen. We’d just end up paying astronomical sums to watch Championship football (which is, and has been for a long time, a superb league to watch), whilst the club becomes harder to flog.

Spurs owners have routinely failed to put their own money into the club, which has always struck me as being short sighted. Joe Lewis is frighteningly wealthy, yet there has long seemed to be a reluctance from the board to push the club that tiny percentage more to achieve so much more. The Redknapp and Pochettino eras will be forever tarred by the idea that both were so close, and yet neither received the true backing from the club.

The scenarios were different; Spurs under Pochettino had become a staple of the top four, and had two really very good seasons, one which delivered 86 points. Poch could hardly have made it clearer that the squad needed refreshing, that means players coming in but also leaving.

The Dier story is an oft mentioned one by Spurs supporters; United were interested for a reported £50m – a staggering sum, and one that Levy should have taken because he has to remove emotion from decisions, and do so for the business he so gleefully calls our club. That £50m would have swelled the coffers and could have been distributed into the squad but instead we had zero incomings for a year, the team, frazzled and dispirited ended up falling away.

Redknapp simply needed two players who weren’t Saha and Nelson – can’t and won’t talk any further on it.

Ambition is such an important factor, sadly the ambition for Spurs is to line the pockets of the owners with hysterical valuations of £3bn – do me a favour!

The decline was coming for all to see but the skywalk looks fun and there is a retractable pitch so the NFL can pop by twice a year.

Dan M


UEFA and ethics
Time to see if the richest thugs at UEFA have the ethics to cut off Gazprom from their personal funding.

Money talks louder than morals , so this will be a long agony .

Just remember that many Russian sports people do not support their dictatorial leader, just as many British were against Blair in Gulf ll .
Peter ( very sad & dark days ahead I’m afraid) Andalucia.


John’s PK questions
In response to John, Pelham NY (LFC)’s questions about penalties and whether the punishment is draconian, I would say the key to understanding much of the development of the laws (and their interpretation) is simply that football is a low scoring game that can get pretty boring if defences get on top. So the laws tend to evolve in favour of the attacker (harsher interpretation of handballs, lower threshold for red card tackles, benefit of the doubt goes to the attacker on offsides etc). The intention is not to have more penalties and red cards, it’s to promote more exciting goal mouth action and ultimately goals (remember, it’s a ‘product’ not just a game). You will get more of that if defenders have to try to block crosses and shots with their arms behind their back and avoid tackling players in the box or when they are through on goal – and the best way to drive that more cautious behaviour from defenders is to make the punishment pretty severe.

As an aside, John’s apparent first seasons of watching the EPL (2005/6 and 2006/7) were the two of the three lowest scoring ones ever and both in the bottom 6 lowest in the whole history of the English top flight. The two highest scoring seasons in the EPL were both in the last three years.


Roman mailbox message
So ‘lifelong Chelea fan’ MB, ‘will not attend or watch any games until I see a statement from the club and specifically Roman Abramovich on their position on what is happening in Ukraine….’.

Who are you to demand a statement?

I mean seriously, what sort of an email was that?

Do you think Roman was reading this and may then decide to change his never make a comment approach to the media (except Lampard sacking to my memory) because MB is withholding his custom?


Then for me, the only explanation for your email is you and your needy, hero-signalling.

Congratulations on “donating the money I planned to spend on games this year to organizations for refugee aid…..” it is a laudable action. Better still, why not stay away from Chelsea for the rest of your life? Think of all the money you could donate to charity mate – and all the people you could tell about it?

Leave the supporting to the rest of us, virtue-signalling, pompous people like you will only buzzkill the mood anyway.


Hi 365,

I wanted to comment quickly on MB’s email. Not a criticism per se, because MB’s intentions are good but, much like the Tories who decided to finally distance themselves from Johnson after Partygate (errr so the lies, the lying to the queen, the racist stuff etc that was all fine was it?!)….why now?
Roman Abramovich doesn’t need to make a statement about the Ukraine, because it’ll read as if it came straight from the Kremlin! We all know whose side he’s on. But what’s different about now? After all, Roman was in charge when Putin went into South Ossetia, in charge when he annexed Crimea, in charge when Litvinenko was murdered on British soil, in charge when Skripal was poisoned in Salisbury etc etc. These were all crimes of military aggression with immense humanitarian suffering, but Chelsea fans were silent. So why would Abramovich suddenly take any requests for transparency seriously?

If you lot win back to back Champions League trophies, trust me you will very quickly forget about Roman’s commitment to Ukrainian suffering. Just like the Big Three clubs all forgot about the ESL debacle and their owners the minute they started racking up PL points. Roman knows this, so nah, you’ll hear nada.
Stewie Griffin (Arsenal still going nowhere)


1. Toxic fans. 2. LFC
Jesus Mike, have a sit down. From your rant i can’t figure out if you are a United fan who snorted a few extra lines, or this is just a bait mail. Anyways to answer some of your nonsense:

– Bruno is better than KDB on current stats. Playing in a team 5 levels below City and yet showing up game in game out.

– Two shit performances against Leeds and Atletico you say? 1 goal and 2 assists is what the stats say.

– Imagine being so entitled that you criticise DDG.

– Varane had a bad game but has been our best CB

– We are not 4th (only keeping the position warm for now), Arsenal, Wolves & Spurs have a game in hand and will go above us, so there is your fight in a tough league.

– The worst you have seen United play you say? A draw against the Spanish Champions at their own home is what i say.

I sadly have to agree with the toxic twitter tirade on F365. “fans” like Mike are the reason most true football fans are embarrassed of being football fans. Lound, entitled and abusive, they are nothing but mini Trumps raging against anything and everything just to evoke a reaction.

Dont enjoy watching Manchester United lose/draw/play bad?? Cannt be bothered to support your team when they are in a decade long slump? Feel fuckin free to support City, Liverpool, PSG or Bayern Munich then.

Sidenote: Seeing LFC against Leeds play out at the same time as United vs Atletico, and I was shamingly more glued to the LFC game (due to Salah TC) than watch a really bad first half United performance. Liverpool reminded me of Manchester United of old. Excellent football, no fear and a smashing attack powered by a living icon in Mo Salah. In an ideal world neither City or Liverpool would win the title ever again, but I truly wish LFC fans the best and ask them to enjoy what will be some of the best moments of their footballing life. I miss those days with Fergie and United.
Aman ( There is enough hate to go around these days, lets focus on the good)


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