A ‘lifelong Arsenal fan’ has gone in on ‘bottle job’ Arteta, the ‘choker’ Mertesacker and the ‘specialists in failure’, including Bukayo Saka. The mailbox also includes reasonable opinions.
Send your thoughts, no matter how bonkers, to email@example.com.
Arteta and his bottle job DNA
Mark my words, under Arteta, we will never ever win a Premier League or Champions League. I will shave my brows if we ever do.
As a lifelong Arsenal fan, I can tell you that Arteta is a bottle job. It is in his DNA. He was never and will never be good enough.
Throwback last year, after a run of shocking results against Palace, Brighton & Southampton, Arsenal was on the verge of bottling the top 4.
Arteta declared on May 8, 2022 before the top 4 decider with Spurs: “I can’t wait to play the game.”
Result? His team got smashed at Spurs and then followed the bottle job with a loss at St James.
Fast forward a year, Arteta’s Arsenal have once again bottled 3 straight matches and facing the SAME crunch season decider (albiet title this year), Arteta makes the same claim as last: “I cannot wait, these are the games you want to play,” Arteta told BBC Sport.
Result? I am betting my live savings that Arsenal will lose and may even get smashed.
Doing and saying the same thing whilst expecting different results is a fool’s dream. Arteta have tried the Bring It On approach when his team have bottled, lost focus but tactically, mentally nothing will or has ever change.
Arsenal will lose and fans will be in denial.
Arteta as a player has never had real success. He has been part of teams that are specialist in failures. His idol Wenger has accepted, endorsed & embraced failure whilst being let down by players.
And why do I say that? Just look at who leads the Hale End Academy where the likes of Saka, Smith Rowe came from? Per Mertsacker.
Google Per Mertsacker vomit & you will find an admission: Per Mertesacker says pressure of playing makes him vomit: ‘I choke so violently until my eyes water’
Imagine your club best youngsters is being trained and led by a person who is AFRAID of Big Matches and Crunch time.
Arteta has lined is back-room staff and playing staff with people who have failures written in their DNA. Xhaka has never and will never win a major trophy. Thomas Partey left b4 Madrid won the title. Saka for all the starboyness have missed 2 crucial penalties at the Euros and against West Ham. Rob Holding for heaven’s sake has lost his hairline due to stress from football and is still starting matches. Aaron Ramsdale has only been part of squads that got relegated. Even Jesus and Zincheko are deemed surplus and not good enough for City.
Arteta telling his players he love them after one failure is acceptable, after two failures is not acceptable & after 3 is criminal.
Real winners like Alex Ferguson, Jose Mourinho have took the tough love approach and won trebles and countless top trophies.
Arteta and the entire Arsenal team lack cojones, spirit to win anything major. Arsenal have SPURS in their blood and will never win anything major with this tactically naïve and stubborn Arteta. Remember, before the main job at Arsenal, Arteta was just Pep’s Ball Boy.
Miles (Islington), Life Long Gooner of 33 years
Look’em in the eye
There’s really no long pep talk (no pun intended) after this game for me.
Look the players in the eye and tell them it was always on them to beat City on Wednesday. There were gonna be no oddly-placed doors leadings to secret passageways on the way the title.
Stewie is gonna be absolutely f***ing ravenous tonight…
MAW, LA Gooner (Did we talk ourselves into this reality?)
Here he is
So reality is fully set in, and we can now absolutely state that Arsenal won’t win the PL (it was a pipe dream that was never gonna happen). Arteta has done a great job this season overall, no doubt. However there’s a few things that should concern Arsenal fans:
* Wenger is gone but the Loserville “Fear of winning” weak DNA remains. How else do you explain the capitulation at Anfield (just froze and stopped playing after 45 mins), the shitshow at West Ham (again, froze and stopped playing, dropped points). And now this farce. I don’t want to hear excuses about “young team” because I’d expect Arsenal Pensioners to beat bottom Southampton at home FFS! Seriously.
* Gabriel Jesus: great at pressing, working etc. Check out his Xg underperformance. Arsenal are at home to the basement team and the number 9 cannot score? Said it before and I’ll say it again: Jesus needs to learn how to finish or be upgraded with an eg Osimhen. Because right now, even Jordan Ayew looks more menacing
* Where see this is the anatomy of a complete choke job from Arsenal is that for some reason, they’ve now suddenly stopped playing their positive football. It went sideways, no pace, no invention. Yet again Arteta dithering with the subs – how on Earth did Fabio Vieira last as long as he did? He was diabolical and should have been hooked for Trossard at half-time latest.
* Rob Holding. The last of the Wenger sores. It isn’t a coincidence Arsenal’s defence has completely imploded the minute Saliba got injured. Granted Saliba is excellent and Holding “is a squad player”. But that’s the exact problem: Holding isn’t even as good as Southampton’s reserve CB, so what is he doing at Arsenal? Shocking at Anfield (see the pen), useless distribution, unsettles the entire defence. Arteta has to learn and needs to ditch such crap – you didn’t see Pep hanging around when Cancelo and Walker started costing the Citeh defence did you? Haaland is going to humiliate him on Wednesday and the smart money is on a Holding red card (after he’s out of position, all at sea).
Overall it’s an epic bottle job because, this is what Arsenal do. It’s the flipside to the Spursy bottle-jobs – I think it must be a north London delicacy!
Stewie Griffin (never believed in the tooth fairy)
Never apologise for that, Bukayo
Choosing to focus on the positives. Dropped 6 points in the last 3 and it’s still in our hands. At the end of the day, that’s a good position to be in. Win your games, win the league. Unlikely but possible. Maybe this also works in their favour. Maybe the pressure of leading the table is too much for these young group of players. I keep asking myself, what if it was the other way round. What if instead of leading the table for so long, we just kept pace. Stayed 1 or 2 points behind City and look to nick it now at the end. Would it be a different outcome? Because if these were games we played at the beginning/middle of the season, we would have won them all. Even Liverpool at Anfield. Everybody thinks the title race is over. Maybe that works in their favour. Pressure is off at the Etihad.
One thing is certain though if you think that the youngest team in the league on their first title charge are bottlers then you’re the one of the problems with the modern days mental challenges these athletes face. The expectation is too much. I was reading Saka’s message Post West ham and I was wondering to myself, why does he think he has to apologise for the penalty? He is human and he is allowed to feel pressure in a situation he has not been in before. Show some fu**ing decency.
City and the full-backs
In answer to Garey Vance’s query, here are my thoughts as a City fan. As i’m sure many of you already know, Pep has mostly played a defender in midfield as a tactic to reduce counter attacks. We have used Delph, Cancelo and Zinchenko from left back previously, but all three have now left the club and as City haven’t signed a first choice left back since 2017, we don’t have a replacement for the LB-Midfield role.
With Haaland joining there has obviously been an adjustment period, and with one fewer ball playing players in the team this season, Pep was worried about a loss of control of the ball and a greater threat of counter attacks. One of the changes Pep has made to counter this, is the defenders defending and not marauding up field and out of position, which is why Pep started playing Ake ahead of Cancelo.
With Cancelo out of the team/club we did try Walker in a RB-MF role, but he looked terrible in that hybrid role, especially at Newcastle away. We also tried Rico Lewis, but although he has great potential and played well in some games, he got physically bullied, especially against Spurs. Then we also tried an inverted LB-MF role, with Bernardo starting in MF and then dropping into to cover at LB, which wasn’t terrible, but wasn’t great either.
Then John Stones came back from injury and we started him in a RB-MF role, which worked great. But as this is Pep, he went for another iteration of this, with Stones starting at CB and then going into MF.
With City playing a back 3 when Stones is in midfield Pep has wanted his wide defenders to be good at centre back and at full back. Ake has been fantastic in his hybrid CB-LB role since Cancelo left, and as an aside, no Cancelo has really helped Grealish as they used to occupy and attack the same spaces. Wiith Dias back as well from injury and in the middle, the last position to fill is the CB-RB role. And Pep went with Akanji, who again has been excellent. Pep either sees Akanji as better at that hybrid role or Walker has annoyed Pep with his off field antics.
In conclusion, it’s a mixture of circumstance, tactics and player availability how we ended up with four CBs in defence. And i’m all for it with how well we have been playing this year.
Andy D. Manchester. MCFC.
The Maguire pressure
It’s beyond doubt that Harry Maguire has reached then end of the road at United. And while I’m not trying to defend him or his performances (he has shrivelled mentally under the glare of United, whereas Fernandea has grown) I do think there’s a lesson to be learned about the damage an employer, particularly an erratic, dysfunctional, slapdash employer can do to an employee.
Maguire is not a dreadful defender. In fact he’s a good defender. What Maguire is not is a player worthy of “most expensive defender ever”. He’s nowhere near that good. But that’s outside his control – he didn’t set the price. Leicester did. United were extremely foolish to pay it.
Worse again, he was brought into the cauldron of Old Trafford, with all the pressure and scrutiny that goes with it, and it was expected he would be transformative. Why? United were in chaos. He had no real captain, no settled management, and no experience of playing at that level (with respect to Leicester and England). The coaching was clearly inferior and his playing partners likewise.
Then Mr Happy – OGS – the nice guy who raised the mood – has a brainstorm. Let’s make Maguire captain. There’s literally no one else in the squad worthy.
But again – how on earth can it be claimed Maguire is ready for that? For me a United captain is a certain starter who almost never lets his game drop below an 8/10. Someone who is a difference maker – turning losses into draws, Draws into wins. They have experience of winning trophies – at United – having been there for long enough to gain that experience under other successful captains. They inspire the players around them and never EVER
Give up. Now I appreciate not many candidates tick those boxes at Utd (none in fact) but it was far too soon and far too much pressure for Maguire to have to deal with.
Maguires inexperience at the very highest level, the unfair burden of trying to carry a broken empire on his forehead, play for multiple Managers with poor players, has ruined him. He has become a punchline. He has been poorly coached and managed by an organisation that really got it wrong at every single step of its interaction with the man.
Maguire is done now but the blame in my opinion lies squarely at Uniteds door. Let him try and rebuild his confidence in mid table where he probably belongs.
Man Utd overreactions
Dear supporters of all teams not called Manchester United. I am so sorry for the ridiculous, overreactions from some of my fellow United fans this morning. We really don’t help ourselves in confirming we’re a bunch of entitled arrogant whingebags lacking common sense.
Look, it was a bad loss and a rubbish performance. But take a breather and remember where we were last season and what we all felt would be a good season. Most people were predicting top 6 at best and the hope was some signs of progress. Top 4 (as it stands) and a trophy were beyond any sane United fans dreams. It was the very best we could hope for.
Yesterday confirmed what we already knew. We have a very good first team of perhaps 10-12 players who when lined up could beat most teams on their day (wins against City, Liverpool and Barcelona show this), but aren’t quite ready to challenge for league titles. But, we also know that there is a drop in quality in the other half of the squad. All good players but not quite good enough to play the way Ten Hag wants us to play. Which means if we’ve got too many of those players who can play his way out, we will always struggle. Anyone with half a brain cell knows Martinez and Varane are better than Maguire and Lindelof. So with the first two out, we are going to see a marked drop in quality. Its why EtH has not been rotating like he would have given the games we’ve had coming thick and fast. It was a risk, but if it delivers top 4 and a trophy then it has been a successful season based on the aims at the start of the season.. And before anyone says EtH should have adapted, well, yes, but we are also trying to build something and play a certain way so we also need to get used to it. Did Pep or Klopp change in the early days at their clubs when trying to implement their methods? Pep in his first year at City came 3rd (only three points off 5th) and went out early in every cup and they had recently won the league.
So, what happened to all the talk that this is a 3-4 year project and that we need to remain patient? Now people are actively questioning EtH! Did no one take in the various articles and podcasts at the start of the season that said we would have some really rubbish performances due to the time it takes to learn the methods of a manager like EtH after zero years of being coached? Unlike social media fans, most sensible fans will understand you can’t build Rome in a season, and they can’t buy a 25 man squad straight away. EtH has done well with his buys with each one improving the position they play (Malacia being the only one who hasn’t but he’s one for the future). But £220m was never going to solve all the misspending of over a billion since Fergie left that left us with a bloated squad of one or two great, most good or ok and some poor players, all signed by different managers with different ways of playing. So, the next stage is to carry it on. Either by developing the young players or again spending (I don’t want to see the usual “oh united spending again” mails – every club does it – Liverpool broke world transfers on a defender and a goalkeeper to solve their weak points under Klopp).
If you need immediate success, then please do us a favour and go and support City. Patience is needed if we’re going to return to the top. And there will be slipups along the way as progress and improvement is never a straight uphill line – its staggered.
John “even as someone who quite liked Ole as a manager, even I know he is nowhere near the coaching level of EtH” Morgan, South Derbyshire.
United capitulated under the weight of expectation away from home again last night. Again we played Sevilla and we’re found wanting. I have to admit I am starting to get worried about our ability to completely implode when put under a bit of pressure – Brighton are going to murder us – and actually I do wonder if Ten Hag has any sort of answer for this as his Ajax sides managed this on a few occasions.
However, let’s not suddenly start to pretend that United haven’t improved this season because that’s bollocks quite frankly.
We’ve progressed in the league. A year ago United finished the Premier League season with 58 points and a goal difference of 0. We have 59 points and an improved goal difference with eight games remaining this year. We’ve got the most clean sheets so far and conceded 37 (17 of those in three games) so are well on course to have conceded fewer than the 58 last season, though we’ve got Maguire at centre back now so who knows.
We’ve progressed in the FA Cup. Last year we went out on pens at home to Championship Middlesbrough. This year we’re in the semis and could still go all the way.
We’ve progressed in the League Cup. Last year we went out at home in the first game to West Ham. This year we won our first trophy in a while.
In Europe we’ve won every game but four. We were cruising against Sevilla until some cautious subs and disastrous injuries to both our centre backs. No surprise that Maguire was on the pitch for every Sevilla goal in that tie.
Obviously just winning the League Cup will feel like a bit of a damp squib when it could’ve been so much more in January. But let’s be realistic- the squad that Ten Hag inherited was woefully short on quality. The club have started to address that with intelligent signings. Martinez, Eriksen, Casemiro have all improved the first team. I would argue Anthony has as well though perhaps not as much as his price tag might have promised. Sabitzer looks like an upgrade to McFred and could be signed relatively cheaply on a permanent deal. Weghorst hasn’t been a great success goals wise but has contributed and was free anyway. Not sure about Malacia but again was cheap and signed as cover and potential anyway. We are unbeaten when our first choice midfield 3 start.
Erik inherited the Ronaldo problem and dealt with it admirably though if I’m being critical might have sold him in the summer (though no one wanted him). He’s improved Rashford immensely. De Gea, while still not your modern keeper, is better at playing out though of course he will make mistakes because that’s not his game. Dalot and Wan Bissaka are improved players though remain limited in different ways, as do McFred. Martial remains injured and unsellable and Sancho an enigma but Erik has tried.
I’m not sure why everyone has an issue with Erik giving players a chance. They’ve all gone from being barely managed by OGS for two years to god knows what happened under Rangnick. Erik was right to give them all a clean slate. This summer I expect decisive action on the playing squad but without significant funds (which I don’t see any sign of yet) United aren’t going to be selling ALL the players you hate. Many remain unsellable.
Instead I think Erik will rightly prioritise evolution over revolution. A striker, midfielder and “all-in-one” right back will be the immediate shopping list. If we can sell Maguire OR Lindelof, then maybe a centre back. Then I’d rather we signed more strikers than trying to replace all the other less than adequate parts of the team. If we signed 30 year old Kane for instance and he gets injured, we are back to looking for Wout on loan in January. We have to look at the real gaps in the squad (striker, striker and striker). And if anyone else is in doubt about building a team slowly, look at Chelsea this season.
Also, if we actually slung De Gea, Lindelof and Maguire out to the highest bidder we might get about 50p and a forgotten Costa loyalty card that someone found in their pocket. De Gea is out of contract and other people watch football and know that Maguire and Lindelof are not very good. It’s a terrible policy when the club are £1Bn in debt (before any takeover anyway).
Anyway, in summary, it’s been an improved season on all fronts though worries remain about our soft underbelly. The only thing Sevilla proved was that you can’t polish a turd. Or, indeed, Harry Maguire.
The 427 mystery
This is something that I’ve noticed for a while now & thought that somehow I’d slipped through the matrix and noticed things that other people just didn’t spot (or at least weren’t sad enough to write in about) but is there any reason why the number 427 is used an inordinate amount of times on the pages of F365?
In today’s ‘Five Utd Careers Ended by Sevilla Debacle’ there’s a reference to Anthony Martial’s ‘427th attempt to nail down a place at OT’. I’ve seen this number used with carefree abandon for quite some time now on your site and seeing it today just meant I had to write in. It’s also a quiet day at work as well…
You might wonder why I’ve noticed this number? Unfortunately it’s not some mathematical talent or having a decent memory. Rather that’s the number of the bus that I used to get on for about 10 years of my life so everytime I see the number I smile to myself and think back to my rubbish days of going to school & college and then wonder why that is the most random number F365 can come up with? In fact it appears to be the *only* random number that F365 can come up with.
Am I showing my football naivete by not knowing 427s importance to football? I checked to see if it was a fancy formation that Pep was trying to get off the ground but the numbers just don’t add up. Was it Erlind Haalands xG when he played Man Utd in the derby in October but no, I can’t see the link. Is it actually the meaning of life?
Yours puzzlingly, Dave MUFC.