The Mailbox is split on Vieira’s sacking, there’s joy in manager moaning, and Liverpool continue to be f***ed by the scheduling.
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I sent a mail in, back in August, predicting Crystal Palace would struggle this season. You didn’t publish it just as you haven’t published any of my (I’d like to think well written) criticisms of Vieira and Crystal Palace.
Vieira is basically massively overrated. His predecessor Roy Hodgson was also massively underrated. Hodgson may have bored people like Will Hughes and Jason Soutar, but Palace were never in danger of relegation under him, were they?
Hodgson officially retired after the end of the 2020/21 season, but we all know Palace fans wanted him gone by then thinking they could do better. He was pretty much forced out. Well, be careful what you wish for, Crystal Palace.
To be fair to Vieira recruitment, which I understand is the responsibility of Director of Football Dougie Freedman, has been poor this year. Conor Gallagher hasn’t been sufficiently replaced and a new attacker should have been bought (Eze and Olise are massively overrated, especially by F365). But Vieira was also never a ‘magnificent’ manager, he was never doing an ‘excellent’ job and he was never worthy of the Manager of the Year nomination which he got.
Fairwell Patrick, don’t kick any Everton fans on your way out.
READ MORE: Patrick Vieira becomes first Premier League manager to ever lose their job after facing Brighton
Mixed Vieira feelings
The sacking of Patrick Vieira at this stage of the season has left me with considerably mixed feelings.
It’s fair to say that things haven’t been going well lately, with few signs of improvement. Three consecutive defeats, four games without scoring, three games without a shot on target prior to the Brighton defeat, 12 games without a win (including the FA Cup defeat to Southampton), a single win in 16 competitive games and a failure to score twice in a game since New Year’s Eve. These are undoubtedly damning facts.
However, they also require some qualification. Prior to the international break, and including Sunday’s trip to Arsenal, the average position of the ten sides we faced is 5.3. It’s been a hellish run in which we faced seven of the top eight and Villa who are, obviously, much improved. Also, despite the unfortunate loss to Brighton, it was overall a very solid performance and one in which Palace should have gone ahead, were it not for our usual sloppy finishing.
The timing is also odd. Following the international break, the average league position of Palace’s ten remaining fixtures is 14.5, with Spurs the only top half side. It’s difficult to imagine that Vieira wouldn’t have turned it round in that time and picked up enough points to stay up.
Perhaps it was about more than just the results. His team selections have been frustrating at times and a huge over-reliance on players like Jordan Ayew and Jeffrey Schlupp have done little to improve our attacking ambitions. Ultimately keeping a clean sheet is admirable but how many outfielders should any team be committing to a defence-first mentality? There has to be some attacking intent.
Also, his in-game management was disappointing and bringing on Ayew for the hugely-talented Michael Olise against Brighton drew audible boos from the away fans. Yet, having said that, we’ve also taken the second-most points from behind in the league this season, which obviously contradicts my initial point.
It’s these contradictions that make this such a confusing dismissal, I understand why they’ve done it but am also very dismayed by it. My suspicion is that many of our fans feel the same. It’s also extremely annoying that we’ve given Brighton the satisfaction of finishing him off.
With so much at stake, it’s hard to believe that the Palace hierarchy don’t have a preferred candidate lined up, there is simply too much at stake to take such a gamble otherwise. The board should also take a huge chunk of responsibility for this, after failing to back Vieira in this season’s transfer windows. A failure to adequately replace the hugely influential Conor Gallagher or purchase a worthwhile striker lie among the decisions that made Vieira’s job so tough.
Ultimately I’m disappointed that he’s gone and, despite some frustrations, enjoyed his reign. Football is an unforgiving business and, regardless of recent results, he can feel hard done by that things have ended up this way.
The ideal candidates to replace him, Thomas Frank or Vincent Kompany, would be mad to jump ship and the list of available candidates, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Jesse Marsch and Ralph Hassenhuttl, make me shudder. I just hope the owners know what they’re doing.
Always an Arsenal legend
I really hope Patrick Vieira comes to the Emirates on Sunday anyway.
The man was, is, and always will be an Arsenal legend.
I wrote into this very mailbox the day he left Arsenal. It made me so sad I printed my redcurrant shirt with a number 4 and no name. And I honestly haven’t been that gutted at a player leaving the club since Rocky was sold to Leeds.
But wherever Patrick has gone since, I have always thought of Patrick as an Arsenal man – even when he resurfaced at City as a player and then Palace as a manager.
So good luck with whatever you plan to do next, Patrick. You will always be welcome on the red side of North London.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Burn Dave Tickner
I sincerely hope that both the editors and readers of F365 have drawn the obvious conclusion: Dave Tickner is a witch. And if West Ham trade Moyes for Vieira – which seems quite credible at the moment – he must be burned.
Chris C, Toon Army DC
Just noticed Liverpool’s next televised Premier League game is another 12:30…against City.
Complaining about fixture scheduling is for fools, so I’m in. We’re shite enough at the minute without having so many games in the timeslot we appear to be at our shitest.
Aidan, Lfc (if they could give us a different timeslot for the rest of the season, and change the year to 2019/20, we might make top 6)
I ended my last mailbox contribution by asking ‘when will we be rid of FIFA’ but is gaming an area we still need them?
I’m a regular FIFA player, playing exclusively on Career Mode. (Paris FC as you asked, 2nd in Ligue 1, following on from a pleasing 4th after promotion).
I could list the gameplay problems with FIFA 23, Or, laugh at the stupid things they think are a good idea (rating a transfer, seriously?!) but the biggest take away I always get from the FIFA franchise is…. they don’t seem to be made by people that know football.
How long have they failed to notice goalkeeper Kit clashes, something ‘real’ football fans would instantly see.
The new ‘fans walking to the ground’ graphics before a big game have “I watched soccer ball once” vibes all over them, I get embarrassed for them.
The list of laughable things is as long as your arm (I won’t go into the fact they clearly don’t play the game enough before release, just check the graphic quality)
Maybe FIFA could step in here.
I agree with Ian King that many at FIFA ‘look like they may not have kicked a ball in their entire life’ but, there will be many people that have, many with a genuine passion for the game.
EA ‘franchised’ the FIFA name and did their thing. Could a new game, with more FIFA input, bring a better experience for gamers who love Football?
I hope so, I hope the future brings a game for football fans.
For a brief moment you think this, then you remember, this is FIFA. The thought at the front of their minds will not be ‘how can we make a great game’, it will be ‘how can we make a tonne of money from add ons’. …. and thats a shame.
Graham (My 10yo loves that I’m a gamer!)
READ MORE: FIFA have split up with EA, but Infantino is not the controller the gaming community needs
I for one, am greatly enjoying the shithousery across the board from the managers. EtH whining (clearly falsely) about Arsenal not having injuries, Klopp whining about the weather, Arteta’s luck and everything else. Emotion is the heart of football and we can’t take it away by asking these managers to be expressionless.
EtH is moaning about Arsenal because he wishes he was in a title race that he isn’t in. Klopp wants to be involved at the top end but isn’t and has a big job ahead of him in the summer. Pep recognizes the four, maybe five-pronged title challenge he has ahead of him next season. Arteta is going to moan next season as he realizes the scope and pressure of a 4/5-pronged title race. This all just means that the football is exciting, competitive, emotional, and dramatic.
As a United fan I shouldn’t, but I’ve enjoyed watching Arsenal’s rise. They built the right way (just like Liverpool over the last 5 years) and they’re reaping rewards. They’ve got a culture, a story, history, and a fanbase different from other clubs. United are now building the right way and we’re going to reap the rewards with a culture, a story, history, and a fanbase different from other clubs. Ditto for Liverpool. What I’m thoroughly indifferent to and view as a distraction from the joy of football is Pep’s Man City and their oil-funded robotic, emotionless, pointless winning. Who gives a shit about them winning 7-0 with a terminator they got custom-made at fan-owned design shop in Leeds?
Similarly, I’ve enjoyed Napoli this season, AC Milan last year and this year in the Champions League, Inter being there and there-abouts. Good teams, great clubs, great emotional cores. I’m delighted that PSG are getting shown-up for the soulless shitshow they are and I hope the same happens with City and Chelsea.
I do of course recognize the hypocrisy in fanboying a club that’s about to be oil-funded. Hate it, but there’s nothing I can do about it. Hope FFP keeps us and the Qataris in check.
Adi, MUFC, NYC
Has the offside law changed again or was Newcastle’s disallowed goal a new low for the VAR? If the VAR and the referee thought the Forest defender’s ‘pass’ was unintentional, then we might as well give up.
G Thomas, Breda