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1. Among all the revisionist rubbish being written, let’s take a second to remember that the “great Arsene Wenger” turned down the opportunity to sign N’Golo Kante for £31m and that same summer, decided to pay £36m instead for Granit Xhaka. Why? Because Kante apparently didn’t have the “technical quality”. And that, ladies and gents, is why Arsene Wenger is still unemployed, and still desperately whoring himself out to clubs every international break for a job – without success.
2. Arsenal fans seem to intellectually deteriorate every season. It never used to be like this? The clamour for Mesut Ozil is laughable. Let’s recall that 2 years ago, a younger, fitter Ozil had just 6 months on his contract left and would have been free to join anyone. How many big clubs showed interest? Zero. None. Not even Juve, who are dumb enough to pay Ramsey/Rabiot £450k a week on a free. Ozil wouldn’t get in the Leicester or Spurs team, let alone Liverpool. I doubt West Ham fans would have him ahead of Lanzini. Yet here we are, Arsenal fans begging for the return of an overpaid joke who has been a one constant in their years of failure. The only people who still rate Ozil as top class are deluded Arsenal fans and Mesut’s mum. The similes with Wenger here are funny. 😊
3. Emery’s handling of the Xhaka situation has been diabolical. Can you imagine Alex Ferguson letting any player insult the fans? Yes it isn’t nice to get fans booing but it’s elite level sport and Xhaka plays like a pub lout. Slow, unfit, weak, no pace, no positioning, can’t play under pressure. He should be ostracised ASAP – but won’t.
4. I have heard many Arsenal fans call for Allegri. The delusion! First off: Allegri has succeeded at big clubs where he’s under pressure and has had huge leaders like Zlatan, Inzaghi, Gattuso, Pirlo, Vidal, Chiellini, Bonucci etc…seriously what’s he going to do with Xhaka, Mustafi and Luiz? And a fan base that would be a-ok if he was spanked 8-2 in a big league game? Allegri also would never, ever pick Ozil. Oh and he was sacked from Juve in part for “boring football”. But yeah. Allegri etc…
5. It’s been long obvious that Diego Simeone should have been the manager Arsenal target. He’s the best choice. The culture at Arsenal has been putrid for 14 years. I laugh when I hear “Wenger’s final couple of years were bad”. When the reality is, Arsenal have been garbage since about 2010! 8-2 defeats. 10-2 CL thrashings, etc “oh but we want top 4 and CL football”. LOL.
Arsenal fans have this delusion that the club’s ethos is of “beautiful football” and that any manager needs to come in and deliver that. I get it if you’re Barca, Bayern or Madrid but…Arsenal? A team with zero European pedigree? That hasn’t won a league title in a decade and a half? I don’t hear Leicester fans demanding that, and they’re a more successful club than Arsenal over the past decade. Simeone would erase the Loser culture at Arsenal. Ozil would be a footnote, as lazy players who don’t press are out. Simeone would make that team hard to beat, proud to defend and horrible to play against.
Still. I guess winning isn’t “the Arsenal way” eh? Better to marvel at “great football” that wins sod all.
Even as I start this I know personally there is a bit of sledging going on. But to Arsenal fans, F365 and fans of other clubs (who despite your allegiances, you will have an opinion). If not Xhaka, who?
If you start at the back, Leno. Nope, not going to happen, decent keeper, that’s your lot.
Back four. Bellerin? HDC suggests that it was always destined to be him. I’m not sure, wasn’t it last season he was getting slated week in week out for being an issue in the team? Sokratis/Luiz. Sokratis seems like a decent defender, but I don’t see Captain. Luiz, I would say he’s the most obvious choice in the club but again, doesn’t seem Captain material to me. Tierney. Early days, not sure if he was the Celtic Captain or not but he’s not Arsenal captain material just yet.
Midfield – Guendouzi. I hate him as a player, genuinely hate him. He makes my blood boil. I don’t know why, I think it’s because he’s everywhere, attack, defence, just irritates me. Which is why I think in the next two years, maybe even this year, he could be your man. The rest of the midfield, nobody stands out. Torreira is combative but not a leader. Ozil. I’ll just pass on that one. Xhaka. I actually felt sorry for him. Yes, fans are entitled to voice their opinions. Yes, he’s not a game changer (I did like the thunderous tackle suggestion – he gets yellow cards for basic tackles, he’d be constantly suspended if you added thunder in there). Yes, he shouldn’t react like he did. If all my work mates screamed abuse at me every day when I’d had a bad one, I’d tell them to do one. Wouldn’t take my shirt off though, I’m not cruel.
Attack – Auba? I just don’t see it, amazing player but not a leader. Lacazette and Pepe wouldn’t be the choice.
Then the subs – Holding, Chambers (Maybe, No), Kolasinac (again, maybe but doesn’t seem influential enough). Then the young players including Ceballos. They aren’t there yet.
So out of all that, Guendouzi. He’s the only one I could seriously see making a difference. Thoughts?
Dean (It’s not important who I support)
What do captains do?
After reading about Xhaka being a terrible captain and Henderson being an ok one in the last mail box and the amount we have had about bloody VAR, I thought of a question that has come up in the mail box a couple of times ‘What does a captain actually do?’ with a VAR twist ‘What if VAR could only be called upon 3 times a match by the captain within 60 seconds of the incident?’.
The captaincy, while nice to have on your CV, means about as much as a D of E award. I’ve heard all the ‘They are an example for the rest of the squad’, ‘they are the voice of the manager on the pitch’ and ‘they give stability to the squad’, all of these can debunked, the first one especially as Roy Keane was one of the best captains in the premier league era but I wouldnt call him a great example to the squad, I’d call him the little pitbull you send out to savage opponents or your own team in some cases. If we give the captain the responsibility of when to ask for a call to be challenged (and no one else) then the captains role actually means something and the captain could actually make huge influences on the game instead of just shouting at players making it look like they are doing something.
Also if it did become a rule who would you choose as your captain, I’d go for Fabinho as he seems to have a good footballing brain and is a midfielder having the best view of defense and attack so if something happens at either end he is more than likely to have seen it. I cant think of one for Man City as the depth of that squad means rotation keeps it hard to have a consistent captain, maybe Ederson as he is the only one with a foothold on his position. De Gea/Maguire are Man Yoos only candidates that get regular games (Mata is my preferred choice cause of the beard and his sexy brain but no game time) and De Gea before his strop had great vision for passing so guessing is the same for just seeing things. For Arsenal I can only see Xhaka, his passing isnt very good and his tackling is poor but David Luiz is the only other candidate and he’s as daft as a box of frogs, he’d probably ask for VAR against his own team.
If Xhaka was given the captaincy on the basis of his popularity rather than his suitability for the role, does that make him a friend first, boss second?
Probably entertainer* third.
Jon (*unless you’re an arsenal fan)
Has anyone seen anything like the Frank Lampard revolution we’re seeing at Chelsea currently? Further back in history we had Dalglish and Keegan who did a very good job for clubs they’d played for but recently who do we have? Shearer, Sherwood, Solksjaer (still too early to tell, in fairness, but not looking great). I’m trying not to get too excited (only 10 games in and all), but it’s difficult when you’re waiting for the next game so feverishly. He’s made football fun again and I can’t thank him enough.
I was Sarri In (remember those dark days, Chelsea fans?). I could see the shoots of progress under him and wanted to give him another season. It didn’t work out and I’ll fully admit I didn’t think Lampard was ready for this job but the buzz around the club and, way more importantly, the football we’re playing in huge spells of games, is so good that I have never been happier to be wrong.
One of the biggest questions in my mind, however, is what to do with a fully-fit Kante. I love the bloke and his skillset is incredible but we’re playing very well with our 4-2-3-1 with Jorginho (captain in all but armband) and Kovacic (shoo-in for most improved and the reason why I’m considering Kante’s position). If we play 4-3-3 then he can slot in easily but I think, overall, it may weaken us as it will force Mount in to a position other than his strongest. But then I realise we’re in some bizarre world where Mount is more important to the way we play than Kante! As of this moment, with a fully fit squad, I don’t think Kante gets in and I never thought I’d be saying that at the start of the season. Luckily, form and fitness will need to be monitored closely and the squad will need to be rotated accordingly.
Basically, the season is so much fun so far and the next game can never come soon enough.
BlueLuke – CFC – Not even spoken about Reece James, check him out tonight against Utd
Mourinho for Arsenal
In light of the news that Mourinho is open to taking the Arsenal job, I would like to state that I am open to Mourinho taking the Arsenal job in the same way I am open to being shot out of a cannon and through a wire mesh fence.
In fact, the latter would at least spare me the misery of the final results.
Must be the hardest working PR person in the world! I mean the constant ‘leaks’ and ‘well-placed sources’ that fire off the relentless barage of Jose stories as soon as there is any kinda of potential job vacancy! This week — Arsenal. A few weeks ago ‘Jose was keen’ on a move to Spurs. It never ends.
So here’s my question footie fans: if Jose was to rock up at your club — would you be happy?
You’re almost guaranteed some kinda Pot – but then you also get the nauseating footie and emo-sulking.
Henderson not cost Liverpool?
I while I agree on the whole with Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland, one of the key memories of the 2013/14 season was Henderson getting sent off against City and being unavailable for the subsequent 3 matches, including that slippy match v Chelsea and the capitulation at Palace.
While there are plenty of reasons points were dropped in those matches, at the time Henderson was bang in form and the team incredibly finely balanced.
I believe the outcome of that season was significantly impacted by Henderson’s (rather needless) tackle and subsequent booking and red card.
I agree with almost everything you have written, and I think Henderson’s actions as captain have been exemplary.
However, I have to disagree with one point…
“As a player, I cannot recall Henderson ever costing Liverpool a game”
His sending off against City meant he was unavailable for the Chelsea and Crystal Palace games.
He had been magnificent that year, an absolute rock of a player. That he wasn’t on the pitch for the two games when other members of the team lost their heads (or footing, as other teams love to remind us) is probably no coincidence
That said, you would be hard pressed to find anyone who would hold it against him. He’s led by example and been a true captain on and off the pitch.
That his running style was mocked by Fergie, but he’s gone on to lift the Champions League, only makes it sweeter.
Gareth (LFC, now Glasgow)
“Keane is a sort of everyman in a way, existing to take umbrage with facets of the game which upset those of a certain age”
“As a football writer, when I rather effortlessly fell backwards into middle age, something changed; my age became an issue.”
Cannot wait for Keano 10 minute interview in which he talks about the emotional damage he suffers and the sleepless nights from the constant criticism of his opinions as a pundit due to his age.
I know you guys have different writers, but try not to look so lopsided when pushing against one section of the media.
You can not like Keane, you can write an article about him, you can draw a 15th century depiction of a European battalion storming the walls of his castle with him maniacally laughing over the deaths of the innocents, but at least make sure you guys have some kind of uniform presence on the matter. Does good old Joe now angrily send pouting gifs to Seb for chastising Keano partly due to his age ? or is he too busy writing a 15 page piece about how the new brand of commercial Bovril has ruined pies at football and thus ushered a new age of youthful degradation ?
Can we get an interesting piece regarding the stance of John barnes in comparison to Raheem sterling and how the social media presence has changed the fight against racism or something for your talented writers to actually have a go at, maybe how the differing perceptions and league choices have altered the careers of Martial and Mbappe ? two players who at the same age at the same club at similar times made choices that altered there current career projections ?
There are a bit too many, dreamy eyed, pieces about how ‘we’ apparently all view something wrong ( not to be taken directly as your readership the general footballing public) rather than actually discussing the multiple interesting facets of the game of football.
I see more people being ‘hunted’ down on twitter ( a platform where someone can scream about gender equality but only for white people while having a sexualised my little pony avatar breeding a chicken as their profile picture ) than actually hear about incidents of real culprits in the real world being caught doing really bad things, football needs to start reporting on the hard facts not that twitter cases of racism went up 10%, as Tyler the Creator said ‘ switch off your screen’
Cole (undefeated for the 9th season in a row on FM11, so basically my word is gospel)
JB, you wrote in about Seb’s piece on Keane by claiming there’s nothing wrong with taking your profession seriously.
I agree, there isn’t. Which is exactly the point Seb was making! Roy Keane is shit solely because he does not take punditry seriously. He just spouts endless cliches about desire and workrate and attitude. The most base and uninspired input imaginable.
No insight of any kind. No original opinions. No independent thoughts on the game. It’s just performance. A joke. Like a seal clapping for a fish. Embarrassing really, when you consider the stature of the man as a player.
Roy Keane isn’t a good pundit. Don’t start me on his coaching.
Dublin (Also a Liverpool fan)
Just a quick note to say Welcome Back Mr Peter Goldstein You have been missed.
Glad you are all well and fighting fit.
Keep up the great work
Thanks for all you do