Mikel Arteta splits opinion in the Mailbox, but we open with a question about whether Erling Haaland should be doing more for Man City.
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It’s Haal on Erling for Man City
Today, football commentator Mark Goldbridge made an interesting point regarding Erling Haaland. Goldbridge predicted Haaland would win the Player Of The Year Award and why he would find this disappointing. Goldbridge’s rationale was simple – best team in the world buys best striker in the world and the subsequent goal fest is hardly a surprise.
Goldbridge did not diminish Haaland in any way and defined him as world class. However, his preference for POTY would be Odegaard, Casimero or Guimaraes as they drove their teams and dictated play. The comments reminded me why I have found myself less and less excited by Haaland.
Like Goldbridge I would define Haaland as world class and I argued pre-season he would tear Premier League records apart. I was excited for his PL arrival, marveled at his athleticism and goal scoring prowess. But as each week has passed his abject indifference to be involved in any thing but a goal scoring opportunity, has seen my enthusiasm ebb. To watch a physical specimen such as Haaland seldom attempt to dispossess an opposing player a yard or two away began grating a few months ago, and now it truly bugs, regardless of hat-tricks.
Further. It is interesting to compare the influence ex-Man City player Gabriel Jesus has had at Arsenal. Most would agree Gabriel Jesus’ influence on Arsenal has been world class – the level of hard work and pressing from the front setting a tone for the entire team and explains why Arsenal lead the Premier League. But, Manchester City were expected to romp away with the title.
Questions are being asked about City regarding the adjustment needed to funnel play through a center forward such as Haaland. But, one question being avoided concerns the tone which Haaland sets. Is it not increasing obvious when asking the team to increase their intensity, as Guardiola has now publicly done, perhaps Haaland also needs to put in a defensive shift with regularity, instead of idling for much of the game.
I would imagine if Haaland bothered to use his abundant talents to actually strip the ball away from the opposition several times a game his team mates and the fans would be excited and elevated in a similar manner. If Guardiola had possessed the spine to tell Haaland to pull his defensive finger out early in the season to inspire the team in defense as well as attack isn’t it possible City likely be heading the table instead of Arsenal?
Mikel Arteta: A bit of a knob
Will Ford’s asks “why do I hate Arteta?”
While I think hate is too strong a word for anything related to football, I too have a distaste for Arteta.
The answer is fairly obvious though – he behaves like a bit of a knob.
The touchline behaviour is unlikeable, the brusque interviews are unlikeable, the getting caught on camera telling the City players in All or Nothing to commit their professional fouls early is unlikeable.
I’m not saying anything he does is heinous or unforgiveable, but it’s enough to annoy you.
Will then says why don’t we like him when we like Guardiola, Conte, Mourinho, Klopp etc. Well, two points:
First, I’m not convinced most neutrals do like the abovementioned coaches.
Second, Guardiola won the treble in his first season, by the time anyone in the UK had heard of Mourinho, Conte or Klopp they were proven winners who’d already won major trophies. By the time we all got to form opinions of those coaches, their undeniable success formed a part of it – they were edgy wunderkinds who may have been a bit obnoxious but, dammit, you have to admire their results.
Now, Arteta is currently doing a fantastic job (for which he’s clearly been laying the groundwork for some time) and he might go on to win the league this year, and then go on to be an all time great… but the perception of him as a bit of a knob was formed before his team were successful (if they ultimately prove to be so), so it’s difficult to shake.
…Is it just me noticing this or is there a new tactic for some clubs *Arsenal* where the warming up subs and worse the manager *Arteta* to get so close to the pitch constantly and essentially affect and influence play?
If I’m a winger and see/feel a body near me it affects decisions.
Seems deliberate. Small margins..
How dare you not like the manager of the football club I support?
Jesus Christ F365. Just read the ‘article’ by Will Ford regarding his dislike of Mikel Arteta. What the f**k was that? Did Will go to journalism school to graduate and write that drivel?
I know the standards for your site have dropped since the heady days of 10/12 years ago but honestly this article was one the worst things I’ve ever read on here.
Pick it up guys.
…While I’m sure the piece was meant in good humour and is an honest opinion, Will Ford’s piece ‘I Really, Really Don’t Like Arsenal Manager Mikel Arteta And I Don’t Know Why’ doing a pale impression of Jeremy Clarkson to rant about irrationally hating another individual for no particular reason doesn’t hit the mark. Particularly when he’s referring to Richard Keys as his lead antagoniser, a commentator who blamed the coach for an Arsenal player being physically assaulted. Stoking irrational hatred and giving it justification to others likely causes more problems in football than is worth it.
Whatever the intent, publishing a piece that justifies hatred towards a prominent football figure for no particular good reason, whether intended in jest or otherwise, does you and the game a disservice. I came to your site because you’re normally above that. Looking forward to you maintaining those higher standards.
Karlo, Newcastle, Australia, (obviously) Arsenal fan
In reading Will Ford’s article about Arteta, I was reminded of this Carl Jung quote:
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead to an understanding of ourselves”.
Perhaps look into what exactly it is, in depth, that you dislike about Arteta, and you’ll be able to unravel those feelings about him, and then ultimately yourself.
Man City should be the worried ones
All this talk of “Sure, they are 5 points ahead, but Arsenal still need to play City twice”, when surely we are getting to the stage that it really should be “City are currently 5 points behind, AND they still need to play Arsenal twice”.
Arsenal fans need to just enjoy it
For Izzy who is worried about the wheels coming off the Gooner train, just roll with it. Its not quite an asterisk season but this second half of the season is going to be unlike anything that’s been seen before. We are conditioned not to pick title favourites until after the busy Christmas period. The pre-covid season 2019/20 boxing day had Liverpool top after 26 games whilst here we are nearly a whole month later with Arsenal top after playing only 19 games.
What’s coming is a compacted season unlike anything seen before. Games and injuries are going to come thick and fast. There is a good chance that Arsenal will manage a few rounds of the Europa cup where you can’t rotate and of course you will eventually face a Premier league side in the FA cup. You are already out of the league cup. You have two league games against Man City to come. It could all go horribly, horribly wrong.
Top is top. Enjoy it! No point worrying about what might go wrong. But remember, if you don’t win the league then you have had a shit season, are a failure, should never had tried and will never live up to the invincible team. I think that this is how football fans measure whether you have had a good season or not.
Alex, South London
…Oh, lovely Izzy, I could feel the nervous stress emanating from your entry to the mailbox and I get it. I really do. We could have won the league in 08 (and should have but for a disastrous, leg snapping afternoon at St Andrews), and didn’t have enough in 2016 when the going got tough. Indeed, twenty years ago we were hardened, vibrant and strong double winners, and in late February 2003 I was at Maine Road to see us smash Man City 5-1 and go 8 points clear. Everyone then said it was all over, but we lost the title to United by 5 points.
Which is to say, at numerous times, much later than this point in the season and with vastly more experienced teams, Arsenal have lost momentum for various reasons and not won the big one. This isn’t going to make you feel any better, but I get the sense that City are stirring, waking up and about to go on one of their unstoppable runs.
I absolutely implore you, then, to just soak up the victories as they come. Drink in the fantastic performances from this young team and remember where we were at the end of last season. Hell, it was only a few years ago that we couldn’t beat a “Big 6” side and yet this season we have beaten them all (except for City – TBC!) This team is special, it has real talent and in the last four league games we have got 10 points from four of the top six in the table. Enjoy the moments and try not to get too hung up on whether we will win the league or not – at least, not yet!
When the final whistle went on Sunday, I felt something at the Emirates that I have rarely felt in my 40 years of going to games. The togetherness of the team and the fans, the unbridled support (that has been there since we returned post covid- this is not just down to being the best in the land right now), the outpouring of raw emotion and in a stadium that is actually beginning to feel like home. It made me feel alive, truly alive, and it almost brought a tear to my eye. I heard someone say that Arsene Wenger built the Emirates Stadium, Mikel Arteta has turned the lights on. As a club we are in a really, really good place with an extraordinarily young and exciting team and the future looks bright, wherever we finish the season. So, enjoy it my friend! We may not win the league…..but we might…..
John (come back to me in 10 games I may well be a wreck though) Foster, Brighton
As a United fan its incredible how quickly I have gone from checking Arsenals fixtures to checking Spurs’
Matt Utd NY (their next few fixtures are nasty)
Man Utd don’t have the bench
Watching that game against Arsenal again made me realise how average Manchester United’s bench is.
We don’t have quality back-ups for Eriksen, Bru…