Aaron Wan-Bissaka at centre-half for Manchester United rears its head again, while Arsenal and Mikel Arteta are firmly under the microscope.
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I don’t know why Wan Bassaka isn’t seen as an eventual center back dream at Manchester United. He is famed for his one on one application, similarly as he is for his lack of offensive productivity. As the modern game full back has been made extinct in lieu of wing back, it seems strange that he’s not shoed in to his natural position. I don’t get it, is his speed not being exploited just seen as too much of a waste for the positives to be seen? He’s what, 24? Not even in his prime, arguably, he cost 60 mil. Full backs have often moved into the center in yesteryear when their legs aren’t all they’re cracked up to be (Thuram is my instant thought) and in his case and I’m sure plenty of others (Maldini, I’m only arsed thinking of top shelf examples today) they become just as revered if not moreso for their positional change.
His speed not being exploited (his greatest asset) makes it seem like a waste but not having to bust so much of a gut will prolong his career for a long time, as someone who is particularly goal shy but has a great encounter record I think it’s so obvious. I’m not just talking about Manchester United, if he moves on I think he’d be an ideal center back for lots of teams. They may as well take a punt on him now though seeing as they own his contract that they shelled out big money to get their hands on. Sans Varane, the rest of their center backs are seen as mediocre. He might not be the second coming but he’ll at least be as mediocre as the rest.
I feel he is seen as a player without a football brain, but that can be coached into him. Lots of players throughout history have been “just there” until they find a coach who let’s them see that they have brains they didn’t even know existed, then they’re off to the races, flitting between petering off after a few good years and staying at their new level until they retire.
I think any interim manager should (or any manager in their first season at a club) try everything they can to see how to get the best value out of what they have, including at Manchester United. Wan Bassaka just needs to learn to stay back and compensate for the lack of adventure on offer with getting to like being a predator in his own box. (Sergio Ramos is another fb redefined as cb, Puyol too, though I think they were just rb internationally not at club I may be wrong though – of course, all my examples are world class players to make my point easy sounding).
Either him not being tried out there will end up being stupid by unimaginative managers or the player being stupid unwilling to compromise for a role he’s better suited at. It’s worth a try considering his full back prospects at the top level for Manchester United currently look grim.
Dave (Micah Richards did too… For a bit… Is he considered a successful player? Definitely “burst onto the scene” but ran away from it suddenly one day), Dublin
Pick any team that is really struggling on form, even to the point of a striker or a certain midfielder who hasn’t notched a goal in a while and they always seem to turn it around against Arsenal. There is something about my team that just offers opposition teams hope that if they just push a little harder, or just press a bit more intensely, Arsenal will crumble. We are usually one misplaced pass or interception away from conceding a goal. That is the fragility of this team.
How many times have Arsenal gone up at the half or by an early goal, only to sit back and allow the opposition to take their chances, and finally concede? Inspired by the equalizer, the opposition now believe they are capable of scoring a 2nd, which when they finally do, Arsenal reverts to playing desperate attacking football, most often to no positive result.
This club almost always displays a weak mentality, especially when the game is there for the taking or when it seems like they have turned a corner. While I cannot fault Arteta for the clearly missed chances from our strikers, I can fault him for reacting to the equalizer by
then bringing on Aubameyang when it was clear that our attack was virtually non-existent since the first goal. Fred tried to save us and
we shot ourselves in the foot by returning the favour. Even VAR tried to save us against Everton and yet we collapsed under pressure from a relentless Richarlison.
Maybe at best, Arsenal under Arteta is a Europa team and there is nothing much he can do other than offer mundane responses in his post-match interviews. We are The Redeemers. We redeem The Strugglers.
How are Arsenal supposed to respond?
First, yes Arsenal were not great and yes everyone thinks that the refs are biased against your team but…COME ON!!!
Other writers to the mailbox have enumerated the many many times both recently and historically that teams have played Arsenal by physically beating the crap out of them and getting near total immunity from refs all because Fat Sam once said that “Arsenal don’t like it up ’em”. Complain about this and we are whiners.
A player STEPPED ON TOMI’S FACE and nothing came of it. A leg breaker goes in on Tavares and not even a foul! Yes we’ve talked about all of this before and it is what is…but how are the Arsenal players supposed to respond to that? Particularly as a young team. Retaliation will result in red cards for Arsenal. We’re supposed to act like these young men shouldn’t feel aggrieved, shouldn’t feel downtrodden?
I’ve been at this long enough to remember Eduardo (Players crying and vomiting on the pitch), Diaby (a senseless tackle in the last minutes of a meaningless game that ended up destroying a promising career) and Ramsey (bone sticking out of his leg, writhing in agony, while the crowd cheered Shawcross). But the players shouldn’t worry that this might be them?
And seriously, at this point, isn’t there more than enough clear evidence that Mike Dean just has total contempt for Arsenal. I’m not even sure why he’s still allowed to do the job at all after all of the drama he has caused.
Josh, Quincy MA, USA
Taking the Mik
We all know Arteta’s time is done.
We won’t sack him – he just won’t have his contract renewed and it will be left to another manager to tackle the departures of Leno, Lacazette, Auba and even Nketiah.
But this will all be done with a heavy heart.
Unlike Frank and Ole, Mikel wasn’t an Arsenal legend but he was a former player and we have all wanted him to do well. But Arsenal have to live in the real world – this is the age of the super coach and we simply don’t have one.
I could be wrong but I don’t think the Premier League has ever been won by a coach managing his former club. In fact I think you have to go back 30 years to George Graham and Kenny Dalglish to find the last two to achieve such a feat.
It’s just sad that the experiment of Frank, Ole and Mikel didn’t work and even sadder that none of the big six are ever likely to try it again – Liverpool with Gerrard, who knows but I think not.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
Says it all…
The day after Arsenal get battered by a team on the verge of dropping into a relegation battle, this was the top story on the front page of arsenal.com.
Young Kroenke was right. They are ambitious. They do want the very best for the club. They do want success on the pitch?
Does this give us bragging rights down Cafe Nero? Surely worthy of celebrating….. You can stick your Coop Medium Roast up yer *rse? We’re by far the greatest coffee shop the world has ever seen? La-vazza wo oh oh oh, La-vazza wo oh oh oh, the brew from Ital-ee, but two and get one free?
V for Vieira
Crystal Palace are currently 14th, the same position as they finished last season under Roy Hodgson. So Patrick Viera hasn’t improved the team, resultswise, at all.
I accept that they’re a bit more entertaining now, but I think all the optimism about Viera earlier this season went far too far. Some pundits (including on F365) seemed to decide that Viera was going to be a wonderful success almost before he’d even begun. Then they gave him glowing praise after Palace had won, literally, two or three games.
They’ve lost three on the bounce now (which doesn’t get mentioned much, I notice). If they continue like that then Palace fans will soon be wishing they had made more of an effort to convince Hodgson to stay.
In today’s data-driven world, anyone can become an armchair analyst, such is the vast quantities of data made available for free. There’s some great places for this, fbref, transfermarkt, whoscored, but also the premier league, who collate all their stats (some only available from 03/04) and let you view the all time lists. Whilst wandering around them I found some interesting points, some surprising points, and some funny points. Some top lists are an eccentric mix of world class players, and middling journeymen that have stuck around too long.
1) Henderson is everywhere. Currently second on the all time most ever passes attempted, with 46 fewer than Gareth Barry, he’ll overtake him at the game against Villa most likely. Unsurprisingly, half the top 10 have played for City, with Milner, Fernandinho, Walker, & Silva joining Barry.
2) You might expect all time touches to be similar, but you’d be wrong. Barry is still at the top, but Henderson drops to 5th, though could still catch him this season if he manages to overtake Walker in the process. Clichy is a surprise inclusion in the top 10.
3) Shot takers. A who’s who of great premier league forwards and midfielders, such as Gerrard, Kane, Aguero, Lampard, Defoe, Van Persie, and, erm, Gylfi Sigurdsson.
4) Hitting woodwork, unlucky or just a shade away from a goal? Amazingly Suarez is 5th in the list despite only being around for 110 games, what a player. Nothing else too out of the ordinary in the top 10, but just behind are a man we’ll mention later on, plus Stewart Downing and Theo Walcott.
5) Big chances missed. Got to have the ability to get there, but not to to finish it to get on this list. I know Salah’s brute force numbers of striking would get him on here, and it does, at 9th place on 84. Nothing to be ashamed of though with Aguero, Kane and Vardy making up the top 4. Of maybe greater concern here is Christian Benteke in 5th, a man who cannot really afford to have missed 95 big chances. He is also 12th for most shots taken & 14th for woodwork, he’s definitely “getting in the right positions.”
6) Another gong for Mr Benteke, as his on the shoulder stylings get him the 6th place for most offside player ever. I’m surprised at this, as the guy is slightly more mobile than my asbestos garage. Other notable surprises are Adebayor in 1st, and Berbatov 5th. Defoe, Bent and Vardy make up your typical offside players in the top 5.
7) next up an accolade nobody wants, most dispossess player. Obviously these are attackers, but there is one clear, far and away winner. The gap from Wayne Rooney with 671 to Agbonlahor with 499 is 172. The gap from Rooney to 1st is almost the same again (159), with Zaha in 1st place. Zaha has played half as many games as Rooney. Astounding. Sorry Palace fans.
Also nice to see Charles N’Zogbia and Eden Hazard finally mentioned in the same breath.
Anyway, I could go on forever with this list, and maybe will go again, but it’s getting a bit long so I’ll leave it there.
KC (armchair analyst)
If I did not already have you at the top of my football websites list, F365, you would be there now after your Mediawatch Special. The sheer moral emptiness that enables journalists and editors to use the senseless murder of a child to garner attention, it beyond imagining.
You have the honesty and humility to admit that sometimes, the commercial pressures make you prone to outbreaks of click-baiting. But over and above this, thank you F365 for being the voice of reason amidst the madness that surrounds the support of a simple ball game. This website has been that lone-voice on other issues too and I just want you to know that I appreciate you for being the conscience all media should have.
Carolyn, South London Gooner.