Arsenal took a tactical loss against Brighton, Gunners ladder, Liverpool takeover and more…

Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes gives his team-mate a hug Credit: Alamy
Arsenal defender Gabriel Magalhaes gives his team-mate a hug Credit: Alamy

Did Arsenal take a tactical loss against Brighton on Wednesday? Your Mailbox also includes a Gunners ladder, views on a potential Liverpool takeover and more…

Get your views in on England’s World Cup squad and anything else to theeditor@football365.com

 

Tactical losses…
I’ve been thinking about this idea for a while, especially when it comes to Arsenal and our thin squad. I sometimes think there are games which you can lose for the wider betterment of the team.

Obviously no team likes to lose, and the impact of that loss could go either way. You get a reaction or you go into a slump, but the way Arsenal approach cups vs the league got me thinking that actually, some losses in the cups, where they may have little detriment to the club, can help maintain focus.

For example, our loss to Brighton. From what I can tell it was a wholly changed squad, and Brighton utterly out played us. Chapeau to Brighton. However, did Arsenal want extra games in a tournament which has little to no prestige? Even if we won that cup, no one would think of it as an achievement, let’s be honest. So Arsenal now have fewer matches to play, BUT, Arteta can use this as a stick to motivate his players. He can point to them and say that result wasn’t good enough. If there was any potential complacency creeping in with Wolves at the weekend, he can now remove that by saying they, the SQUAD, lost the last game, and that is what happens if you believe your own hype etc.

I think tactical losses are solely a thing of the cups, I don’t think they really exist in the league. And this isn’t me saying teams throw games in any way, that would be corruption, I just think there are some games where you can get a benefit of losing, and for us, with our thin team (our second string is not up to snuff), losses to PSV and Brighton could help us in our following matches.
John Matrix AFC

 

Arsenal ladder…
As we are one league fixture away from the Human Rights Atrocity World Cup, here is my second Arsenal ladder of 22/23 season.

This is my estimation on the thoughts of Mikel Arteta. Numbers in brackets indicate previous positions. Anyone in the top 12 (apart from Xhaka of course) could make a legitimate claim to be in a higher position:

1 (4) Xhaka – The Leader

2 (2) Partey – The Deputy

3 (11) White – There young Frenchman gets the plaudits, but White has been the best defender this season.

4 (8) Saka – Rising, deservedly so.

5 (10) Saliba – See above.

6 (3) Ramsdale – His deputy creates a little less worry if needed.

7 (1) Jesus – He stopped scoring, and the team kept winning.

8 (9) Gabriel – The only left footed CB, and Arteta loves a left footed CB.

9 (5) Martinelli – Glorious, could be higher.

10 (7) Odegaard – Frequently substituted.

11 (6) Zinchenko – Was absent for a sustained period, and the team kept winning.

12 (12) Tomiyasu – Gloriously versatile and dependable when called upon.

13 (13) Tierney – Less versatile, but very dependable.

14 (17) Holding – See above.

15 (21) Elneny – He’s back, and you can count on him.

16 (14) Nketiah – Could have done more with his Europa/Carabao minutes.

17 (15) Vieira – See above

18 (20) Turner – Still concerning, but slightly less so.

19 (18) Lokonga – Could have done more with his Europa/Carabao minutes.

20 (16) Smith Rowe – Needs to not be broken.

21 (NE) Nelson – Can he build on Nottingham Forest?

22 (NE) Cedric – He has now been seen!

23 (19) Marquinhos – Hasn’t built on FC Zurich away.

24 (NE) Hein – Unlikely to be seen again this season.

25 (22) Nwaneri – Busy revising for his GCSE’s.
Naz, Gooner

 

Domestic cup vs Europe
What have Schalke, Parma, Galatasaray, Feyenoord, CSKA Moscow, Zenit Saint Petersburg, Shakhtar Donetsk, Villareal, Eintracht Frankfurt and Real Zaragoza all got in common?

They have all won a major European trophy since Arsenal last won one.

It’s 27 years since Arsenal won the now defunct Cup Winners Cup, sure we’ve been to a couple of UEFA cup/Europa League finals and had the heart break of the 2006 Champions League final but are trophyless in Europe for nearly 3 decades.

In this time all of the other historic big 4 in Chelsea, Man U and Liverpool have won multiple Champions Leagues and UEFA cup/Europa Leagues.

For a club of Arsenals history and size this is appalling.

As I was watching us bow out of the League Cup to Brighton (congratulations to the Seagulls they took their chances) I was wondering how important really is the League Cup or FA Cup compared to the other trophy we can realistically win this season which is the Europa League.

I’m sure it’s clear to everyone that winning the Europa League is far more important than winning either of the domestic cups what with the guarantee of Champions League football as well as the prestige of a European trophy. I came to the conclusion that I would swap 5 League cups for one single Europa League.

It then got me thinking that as well as ourselves Man City also have a poor European history given their domestic dominance over the last decade.

So how many League Cups would a City fan trade for a single Champions League.

I think it’s quite simple, in the last decade Man City have won 6 League cups but no Champions Leagues, in comparison in the same period Liverpool and Chelsea have won only one League Cup but have both won the Champions League. Would a Liverpool or Chelsea fan swap there single Champions League for 5 League cups? No chance.

So question to all Arsenal fans would you swap 5 League Cups for 1 Europa League and would a Man City fan prefer to win 5 more League cups in the next 6 or 7 years (again) or 1 single Champions League instead?
Paul K, London

 

Arsenal’s B team?
City’s first Premier League title-winning side included Nasri, Clichy and Kolo Toure.

Did you refer to them as Arsenal’s B team?

Brian Kidd, Mikel Arteta and Patrick Vieira were all Arsenal players before they had anything to do with City as well.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

Dirty oil money? Yes please…
Paul – Manchester

No moral high ground, no social media hysteria

The ONLY reason other clubs tear into Chelsea or City or now Newcastle, is because they can

You are better than us, so we need to find a reason that isnt simply.. ‘becuase you are better than us’, because no one likes that

So its all about whatever we can pick on, Money, Corruption, Fergie selling his soul to the devil and controlling the Fa / Prem League, Refs / Newspapers etc..

Theres not an (honest) fan in the world that would stop supporting their team after 10, 20 or 60yrs suddenly because they had become rich overnight, and they werent happy where the money came from..

Its not our money, we dont spend it..
We just want the best team, players, manager. we dont care how, truly

I cant imagine any City fans long for the day before the money.. as they are now the best team in the world (no sarcasm, they are!)
Its just great to be the best team
City Fans cant rip Newcastle if they get overtaken, Chelsea fans cant rip City for having too much money..

We are supporters of football.. we do not get to decide who owns the thing we love. (for the mostpart)

So I dont care who owns Liverpool (We still arent actually for sale as far as I cant tell.. anymore than we were last year or will be next year) as long as they spend their money wherever the manager wants them too and make us better than we were… then happy days!

Lets not pretend otherwise (or we will be G Nev…)

FSG have made us better and I have no idea where their money came from (Im guessing there not a single billionaire who hasnt upset a few people!)
Al – Level headed? LFC

Liverpool owner Henry Credit: Alamy
Liverpool owner Henry Credit: Alamy

Paul, Manchester asks the question ‘what if an oil state were to buy LFC?’

Personally, that would be it for me.  With a heavy heart, having supported the team since I knew what football was in the early 80’s, I’d give it up.  I’m already increasingly turned off by what football is becoming with narrative driven agendas in media & TV coverage, the ‘epic bantz’ culture on social media that spills into the toxicity of the away end, the appalling state of officiating every single week, the shite that is VAR making things worse not better, histrionics on the pitch at the slightest touch, ever more egregious gamesmanship/time wasting (pretending to have a head injury to get play stopped being the latest scummy example).  I mean, I could go on.  But the point is that I’m on precipice of packing it in as things stand.

This would be the final straw.  Although even if I wasn’t already unenamoured with the state of play right now it would still cause me to pack it in.  It’s just that it would be easier to do so now due to the general state of the game.

If the club I’ve loved all my life becomes the plaything of an oil state for the purpose of burnishing their reputation by association, then I’m out.  If that’s what it takes to compete, funds channelled into the club by associated parties to circumvent regulations so that the club can spend ever increasing sums on players and wages?  No thanks.  The only teams able to challenge needing to be state owned due to the insatiable rise in wages, agents’ fees and transfer demands in some self-perpetuating cycle of financial excess?  Fuck.  That.

The last 7 years under Klopp has been enormous fun as a Liverpool fan, despite falling agonisingly short on record points totals in the league a couple of times.  But that’s been achieved through a combination of smart player transactions (selling to buy, spending big where necessary), innovative training & analysis and a generational manager.  If the next step is to no longer be a sustainable club that spends the money it earns from commercial activity and instead have to rely on state affiliated companies to prop up the wage bill/transfer activity, then I wouldn’t want to be a part of it.
James Outram, Wirral

 

Qatar…
It’s the debate that’s going to run and run. So let’s get involved.

Firstly, to Tony. No one is saying Qatar is not entitled to make its own laws. Of course they are. However, what people are saying is that if you want to be a part of the modern world, if you want to host a major international event then it probably shouldn’t be illegal for a percentage of the football fan base to attend.

If you remember back to apartheid era South Africa, there was a sports boycott because we and much of the world considered their laws to be wrong. Was that a mistake Tony? Should South African have just been allowed to make their own laws?

And Tom, no one is forcing the Qataris to abandon their religious beliefs. They are saying that breaking those religious beliefs should not be a crime in law. Especially for people who are not of that religions. It can be a sin but it shouldn’t be an offence that ends you up in prison. And if you do want such a law, don’t expect to participate in major world events.
Mike, LFC, London

 

People defending Qatars right to host a tournament because England and the US aren’t perfect blow my mind. It’s like Newcastle fans arguing that there are no good billionaires so why are theirs worse?

This tournament will be played in stadia built on the blood of migrant workers, who are effectively slave labourers once they had their passports taken away. Yes we have a lack of openly gay footballers but I could walk down the street holding my boyfriends hand and not expect to be put to death!

We aren’t mocking the very concept of Islam by pointing out the rampant homophobia, I personally several Muslims who don’t want to kill me because of my sexuality, but they’re not the ones running the state of Qatar.

Anyone still defending this needs to take a proper look at themselves and maybe just accept that you’re a bit of a selfish prick and you’d rather have your football than think about how and why it got to this. There is no redeeming the Qatar World Cup – guess I’ll be watching the darts this Christmas.
Manjo, LFC

 

Defending Qatar on the grounds that homosexuality was illegal in the UK when England hosted the World Cup (56 years ago) is the sort of disingenuous argument that is worthy of Richard Keys (“Keysie”).
Matthew

 

I have to agree with both Tony and Tom from this morning’s mailbox.

Qatar has laws in place, based on their culture. We might not agree with them, but demanding that they change them because they are hosting a football tournament seems rather arrogant. In the past, European nations imposing their rules on ‘savage’ places was know as imperialism, which is rather frowned upon these days. But apparently if you slap a rainbow sticker on it, it is fine for us to tell other countries how awful they are.

This also leads to some ridiculous overreactions to fairly innocuous comments. Look at what the current Foreign Secretary said recently

“One of the things I would say for football fans is, you know, please do be respectful of the host nation. They are trying to ensure that people can be themselves and enjoy the football, and I think with a little bit of flex and compromise at both ends, it can be a safe, secure and exciting World Cup”

Seems quite reasonable to me, and pretty much the advice given to anyone travelling to any country – respect the nation you are visiting. But the usual ‘progressive’ talking heads, given the chance to criticize a Tory, jumped on these as though he had suggested all gays be stoned to death.

There is also a huge amount of hypocrisy in a lot of the criticism, which highlights the very selective outrage of some people.

Gary Lineker is happy to play to the Twitter crowd about Qatar or global warming, but he will also be flying there to do a job he could easily do from a studio in the UK (he has also previously tweeted about flying business class for holidays…)

The Guardian have a “Qatar Stance” section in their WC team previews, and have written many articles about how awful it all is. But in 10 days, their reporters will be getting the best seats in the house for free. F365 are not (so) different. If you really felt so strongly about it, then don’t do any match reports or opinion pieces for 4 weeks. Have a nice holiday. But I suspect you won’t be so principled.

And I’m glad. Your articles are generally very good. And ultimately, people reading this website are football fans. And the WC is the biggest football event on the planet. We should all be able to enjoy it without constantly having one particular set of ideals shoved down our throats.

So get the beers in, try to draw Brazil in the sweepstake and enjoy the matches. There are enough other problems in the world without trying to make ourselves miserable about a World Cup!
Mike

 

Football365. It says it all. Football.

Not Politics365 or MoralHighGround365, but Football.

I’m looking forward to the World Cup. I’ll be watching all the games and probably listening to Gary Neville. I’ll be skiving off work to catch some games. I’ll be cheering England (and Wales). I’ll be wishing I could afford to be there. I’ll be debating matches and refereeing decisions with my mates who will also be watching the Football. I’ll be in the pub for the big games. I’ll thoroughly enjoy the tournament even if the Football is rubbish as it’ll give us things to talk/moan about for ages. It’ll be the topic of conversation at work (when I’m there anyway). I’ve already roughed out my FFL team for the tournament. I am ready!

For the rest of you moaning about everything, why don’t you just f**k off and go and block a motorway or something.

Football!
Bladey Mick (Bring it!!!)

 

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