Keep sending your mails to email@example.com…
The Emery experiment has not worked. Most Arsenal fans were absolutely ready for a change with Wenger. And I think on the whole we’ve given him a chance: However to be mentally weaker than the later Wenger teams is quite a remarkable achievement. And at least under Wenger the team attacked and were often exciting to watch.
This is just pure dirge. I firmly believe the current squad is very very good and not many managers would turn down the chance to work with it. But enough is enough.
Hire Allegri, sack Emery. Let’s see if the owners have real ambition.
…Guillem Balagué warned us that Emery wouldn’t sort that clusterf*ck of a defence. He was right.
Teams will make mistakes but the goals we have gifted opposing teams in just five games would make quite the highlights reel. Contrast this with the brilliance of the goals scored by the two sods having to bail us out, and it’s a night and day comparison.
For me, Emery has until Christmas to turn this around – if he can’t and we’re still in the Europa League, fire him, give Freddie the job and bring in Keown to work with that defence.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
…I’ve been a reader for around 2 decades now. Typically, I avoid the mailbox (and articles in general) after bad Arsenal results because I can’t stand reading the freshest batch of criticism in the days after a poor loss.
Today, I woke up giddy in the hope that I’d get to read that fresh criticism because I’ve been convinced since at least last November that the new manager wasn’t worth a damn. Maybe Wenger had lost his touch by the final few seasons and the team suffered a few too many banterous results, but I could at least tell what the manager was trying to do with his lineups and tactics. The same applies to Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – they’ve had less time in their roles with varying results, but I know what those managers are TRYING to do. No one knows what Arsenal’s manager is trying to do – not even his players. If yesterday’s performance didn’t illustrate that fact clearly, then I don’t know what else it’ll take for everyone else to see it too. We can’t attack outside of relying on our attacking players’ talent or cutbacks from fullbacks and we can’t defend since every central defender turns into Mustafi within a few games, so what’s the manager’s purpose? Losing more “respectably” against the big teams?
He seems like a nice enough man but he’s clearly a reactive and cowardly manager that’s too obsessed with what other teams are doing – even teams that he should be beating with minimal fuss given the talent at his disposal. He can’t even provide basic defensive structure! It’s not going to get better. He’s done this sort of nonsense at every stop in his career and it’s a bit of a miracle that he continues to get decent jobs in the game. The sooner Raul and Edu bin the guy, the better – I’m mildly annoyed that I didn’t wake up to that news.
Oh and thanks to the Arsenal fans in this morning’s mailbox. You didn’t disappoint at all and I’m ecstatic that others finally see what was obvious from the moment this manager was linked to the job – he isn’t the guy. Don’t fool yourselves with notions of “patience” and “he needs his own players.” A coward is a coward and even Messi would sense that and fold accordingly.
…I get that Arsenal did not play well at all and the second half was worse but the morning mailbox felt like they have lost the game and yet its one point away from home to a club who had a new manager in the dugout and it seem as if his half time speech worked.
Now to Arsenal, i knew we would not fair any better as soon as i saw the 3 clowns (David Luiz, Xhaka and Ozil) in the same team. that performance was terrible and Auba must be pissed.
I cant wait to see how we fair when all the injured players are back and i can only hope that Emery pick the strongest and not his favorites.
Lwazi, Cape Town
…A couple thoughts on the Arsenal game yesterday (from a neutral observer)
1. For everyone saying Guendouzi had an off game and pointing at his struggles playing out of the back. Can we also mention Captain Granit Xhaka? The man cuts himself off by standing behind Watford players to ensure he doesn’t get passed the ball. The only time he seemed to want the ball is when he was upfield and in 20 yards of space by himself.
2. Is there a bookie out there who will take my long shot bet of Arsenal trying to sign Milner on a free and make him captain to start the 2020 season?!?
3. It’s still early (blah blah blah), but are we sure there were other bidders for Pepe? Or does he have the best agent in the world who made it seem like there was a lot of interest in him from other clubs?
Calm down over Arsenal
Serious, Okembo and others really need to calm down. Sure, not the greatest start to the season but 3 things:
1) Watford did not have 31 shots ON target. They had 31 shots, 10 of which were on target (which I concede is too much anyway),
2) “Rather have Tony Paulis…”? What are you smoking?
3) We’re joint third on the table, on points, and with our front line that could improve drastically in a couple of games. Also, 2 of our games have been against Liverpool and Spurs.
Why the panic?
I’n not saying that we’re going to all of a sudden mount a title charge but it’s a bit early for “Emery out”.
If we get to Christmas and we’re 12th then, OK, re-evaluate but 5 games in? Calm down. Please.
Al, Arsenal, Sydney (waking up to see that we’d drawn the Ashes was awesome. Waking up to see that we’d drawn against Watford; not so awesome)
It’s Liverpool’s year
The last time Liverpool won the league title was 1990. In the almost 30 years since, they have almost made a mockery of themselves by shouting this is our year from the top of every rooftop they can find despite being out of the race by December in most seasons. After 30 years of dashed hopes and providing much fodder for amusement for opposition fans, this may actually be Liverpool’s year.
Liverpool last year were brilliant; narrowly losing out to City and winning the Champions League; a feat City is yet to accomplish. That this year they were going to be pushing City again for the title was a given. That there was a chink in the armour of City that Pep failed to fix over the summer should have rung alarm bells early on. With Kompany leaving, City have only one solid centre back left in Laporte. Sure players like Stones and Otamendi can give a decent shift when paired with Laporte, but put any 2 of them together and you have a defence that is as porous as Liverpool’s before Van Djik or Manchester United last year. It is a fault that Pep was acutely aware of, but choose not to fix since the going rate for quality centre backs was too high. City balked at the 80m being demanded for Maguire while others in the market such as Koilibaly chose to display loyalty to their clubs making Laporte one of City’s most valuable players.
To then lose Laporte so easy in the season and for 6 months is a crushing blow to City’s title hopes. As newly promoted Norwich showed over the weekend, City without Laporte has a weak underbelly which even mid table clubs may be able to expose over the course of the season let alone clubs with the striking prowess of Liverpool and Tottenham. Guardiola may be able to bring in reinforcements in December, but by then, it may be too late. Liverpool on the other hand, continue to cruise in 4th gear and as the season progresses, the chants of this is our year may just get louder and louder. the irony is that without Van Djik, Liverpool too would in a similar position. the difference though is that Van Djok remains fit as a fiddle and continues to fend off oppositions attacks with the utmost ease.
Chelsea selling to rivals working out ok
Interesting to see another poor performance from David Luiz since his move to Arsenal yesterday against Watford, which brought to my mind, just how many players Chelsea have sold to rival teams in the Premier League in which many pundits alike are in shock, confused and feel it will return to haunt us, but in hindsight are the right move for the football club.
David Luiz is so far showing to be a correct choice, we got a small fee, a big wage off the books and an ageing calamity prone player out the team, cast your mind back a few seasons ago we let Petr Cech and Nemanja Matic leave, both for Arsenal and Manchester United respectively, neither improved those teams you would argue and again seem top decisions against the odds, Juan Mata was another player who left for the red side of Manchester during the David Moyes era, a great player and personality, honestly love the guy to pieces such a decent human being, but did he truly improve that Manchester United side?
The only direct sale that comes back to haunt Chelsea to a rival would be Romelu Lukaku to Everton, I don’t count Mo Salah, KDB etc for this opinion piece because they moved outside of the Premier League before returning to show their world class ability for rival teams.
Mikey, CFC (Champions League is back tomorrow!)
Modern football isn’t rubbish
Jonny, stop. Jonny, please stop.
How is this bloke allowed to re hash the same article each Monday morning? It’s so incredibly tedious and is the one dud section of an absolutely marvellous website.
I’m aware I’m not under any obligation to read his pieces, but it’s reached the point now where I don’t even have to. “Football is rubbish now. And I hate the premier league and any elite football competition.” The irony being that without the enormous popularity of the league, Jonny wouldn’t have anywhere near the level of audience for his missives.
I actually really like his writing style, he has a great way with words but they’re being wasted. The champions league was exceptional last season, and gave us Ajax and Tottenham as semi finalists. With Man City and PSG and Real Madrid not getting close. The premier league was also brilliant this weekend with a newly promoted side bloodying Man City’s nose.
Football isn’t perfect but the last couple of seasons have been fantastic to watch. The football league has been equally entertaining. I don’t want to be cast as some sort of football snob either, as i spend most of my weekends these days watching Darlington, although I’m still really excited for the return of the champions league.
Please change the record Jon.
…Not fully in agreement with John Nicholson’s analysis of the UEFA competitions being stale. Yes, he is right that knockout football can be more exciting, but fails to acknowledge just how many dead rubbers there were in the initial stages, especially in the Champion’s and Cup Winners’ Cups. While the Champion’s Cup was supposed to be the premier competition, the UEFA cup was often more competitive, with dozens of very strong teams compared to the handful in the ‘Champion’s only’ Champions’ cup.
John carefully selects 14 years prior to the start of the modern Champion’s League to show 12 different winners, however the first 14 years of the Champion’s league had 10 different winners, not that different. And the first 14 years of the Champion’s Cup had just 6 different winners. The ‘old’ Champion’s Cup was retained 13 times in 38 editions – more than a third. The Champion’s League has been retained just twice in 26 editions and not at all for the first 23. The new Champion’s League format actually provides more potential winners compared to the Champion’s Cup. The reason the same names crop up more and more often in the Champions League is that the feeder competitions ie European top-flight divisions, have become more ‘rigid’. I get that this is because Champion’s league money allows top teams in each local league to continue their dominance in those leagues, but that problem won’t be solved by having a more ‘knock-out’ type of format. That can only be solved if the leagues themselves are more fluid in the top places. The league places lower down which lead to UEFA cup qualification are much more fluid, keeping this competition’s traditionally exotic nature. ( I do completely agree that teams knocked out in the Champion’s League group stages shouldn’t feed into the UEFA cup)
As far as I know, UEFA is proposing a return of the Cup-Winners’ Cup (which would be brilliant), and UEFA, for the past few years, has also turned back from the ‘pure’ seeding model to promote title winners as first seeds irrespective of their UEFA coefficient, and rejigged the pre-group knockout stages to give league champions more places in the group stages compared to non-champions. They also rewinded the experiment that was the second group stage from about 15 years ago, exactly because it provided too many same-same fixtures and dead-rubber games in mid-season. And there has been a strong resistance to the megaclubs proposal of (semi-)automatic entry, and this has been rejected from the latest round of proposed reforms. So I think UEFA have actually been doing a pretty good job of balancing the format to one that works, on the whole, very well.
How to save the CL
As Johnny Nicholson continues to rightly point out, the Champions League has become a fraud, and only an idiot (or Gazprom) would deny that. I don’t necessarily agree with all of Johnny’s reforms for the UCL – particularly last year’s manifesto. I kinda like that it has a group stage and that it doesn’t involve only league champions. But I’ll suggest changing the system and letting the champions from the top 16 leagues automatically get through to the group phase. Then the champions of the following 16 leagues start from the play-offs, then the 16 after that get the third qualifying round. The second qualifying round will involve the champions from the final seven leagues, who will be joined in Round 2 after the second-placed teams from the top 18 leagues play each other in the first qualifying round. Scrap the BS of seedings, which means Liverpool could easily be playing Atletico Madrid in the very first qualifying round.
Do the ECA read the Mailbox?
A plea to journalists
Love Daniel Storey’s work but one line I need to take umbrage at:
“Judging anything based purely on Twitter replies is a fool’s game, but it was still disturbing to watch the social media reaction…”
Despite the disclaimer, Daniel has literally based his entry in W&L purely on Twitter replies. This implies Daniel considers himself a fool. (For the record, I don’t; I think he’s great!)
PLEASE STOP USING TWITTER AS A SHORTCUT TO GAUGE OVERALL FAN SENTIMENT.
A lot of us are not on Twitter, specifically because how how nonsensical it is and how extreme the opinions are.
If you actually want to include a “vox pop” element to your writing, by all means take Tweets into consideration in conjunction with other mediums. But if you haven’t also explored what fans outside of Twitter think, any conclusion is largely meaningless outside of Twitter.
Oliver Dziggel, Geneva Switzerland
My local pub advertises itself as the great bastion to watch Premier League football. Posters in windows, Sky Sports Logo plastered everywhere, but in reality the truth is anything but.
Watching Watford take on my beloved Arsenal yesterday was a joke. Sky Sports only gets put on just as the teams are in the tunnel. (This is the norm in this pub so as not to upset non footballing customers) but makes it impossible to know the line-ups. When it was finally switched over, just as a ball was kicked there was no commentary. I patiently asked for them to turn it on and when they did I instead got commentary from the England cricket team which was being shown in another part of the pub. After 10 minutes when they finally got the Sky commentary on you would have needed super human hearing to hear anything. Finally the bar staff agree to turn it up 15 minutes into the game, but it was still a lot quieter than I would have my TV on at home and I wasn’t the only one to comment on this.
I was wondering do any other readers have similar issues with pubs and football? It seems so wrong to me that pubs pride themselves on being Premier League super friendly but the reality is widely different? In an ideal world I would like pubs that are allowed to use the Sky logo to have random inspections to ensure the experience meets the expectations.
Dan Sweetman, Gooner