Arteta must learn one Arsenal lesson from Aubameyang farce

Arsenal came to the right decision but in completely the wrong way. Mikel Arteta should have dealt with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang privately.

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Arsenal captaincy
Look, Arsenal are apparently doing their best not to be Arsenal lately, but we all know who the new captain will be. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss: Granit Xhaka.

Merry Christmas to us all!
Harry, THFC


A lot of the defence of Aubameyang centres around this being an isolated incident and the punishment being too harsh. It’s not. Even the club’s statement reads “latest breach”. We don’t know how many times this has happened and how many times it would have happened if allowed. Arsenal is full of young players who more than anything need leadership.

I didn’t understand the captaincy decision in the first place. It is lazy to hand over your captaincy to your best player. This new trend alarms me. Best players are not necessarily strong leaders. Should we on the this argument now hand over the captaincy to ESR or Saka? Makes no sense.

The decision I support. How we arrived at the decision not so much. Story should never have leaked. We should have only heard about the incident after the punishment. Arteta will need to learn and learn fast.
Damola Bremen


It really doesn’t seem that difficult. Pick a player who will play pretty regularly who shows up early and leaves late, and puts in hours asking questions showing they have an eagerness to learn. Natural talent should take a back seat to the desire to improve. Or to put it in terms the cubicle dwellers can understand. Ask around the office and if a name pops up time and time again as someone reliable who others trust to go to for help, maybe just give them the armband. Tw*tting it up is one of those things the unwashed masses can point to when they want to say it doesn’t take any talent to do the big jobs. In Arsenal’s case, they may be right, filthy as they are.
Niall, Bethany Beach


Harsh on Leeds
I’m a City fan. There are some clubs I’d love to see us smash every time we meet them (‘Pool and Utd for example, obvs). For me (Clive) Leeds isn’t one of them. And it’s more than ‘the enemy of my enemy is my friend’ shtick. Even in the second half, Leeds didn’t stop trying to attack, to be on the front foot. To get forward and find a goal. That was impressive and is a testament to both Bielsa’s methodology and his player’s obvious willingness to carry it out.

If you want to beat this City team, you need to get stuck in for the first 30 minutes. And by that, I don’t mean kicking ten bells out of them, but being aggressive and having an attack first mindset. Press, press, press and don’t allow City to get into their possession-based rhythm. Even if City go one-up, keep on pressing and there will be a chance to score.

What you can’t do, respectfully, is to make daft mistakes like Leeds did in the first half last night. If you allow City to go three up, then that’s when they (City) relax and start to take the p*ss.

Harsh on Leeds I thought but will read their fan’s views in this mailbox with interest.

On an unrelated note, it seems increasingly likely that this title race will go down to the wire. I certainly can’t see Liverpool or Chelsea dropping points this week against Newcastle and Everton (respectively) for instance. Fingers crossed mind!

Oh, and again for those that are ‘bored’ by how City play or how ‘joyless’ they are.

Yeah right. You keep going with that.
Mark (Saying thank you to Aguero simply isn’t enough) MCFC.


‘ard knock life
Just read Paul in Brussels’ mail about why Steven Gerrard is cut out for management, and he makes some good points. Just one question: shouldn’t Steve Bruce, Bryan Robson and Roy Keane have been great managers as well?
Kim in Copenhagen.


With reference to the glowing reports on Gerrard as a manager from Paul in Brussels and many more, let’s just see how the man fares over a few transfer windows and how Villa go after the managerial honeymoon is over.

This is a man who once stated “Anything Messi can do, Joe Cole can do as well, if not better.” He might yet have a bit of a blind spot for signing players who just aren’t as good as he thinks.

Every manager will face a stage in their career where they need to dig themselves out of trouble. Gerrard hasn’t reached that step yet. Let’s wait until he hits that phase and see if he has what it takes. He could slip yet.
Gary B (Lockdown, coming to a town near you in ’22)


1. Nothing against Paul in Brussels (who’s not Gerro’s agent lol). Nor against Stevie Gerrard. But many of the substantiations pertain to StevieG being a captain, having lots of managers, being an elite player, and not mucking about.

Well, I hope Stevie G gets off to a better start (and he’s had a good start!) than the similar folks in this same bin: Bryan Robson, Graeme Souness, Paul Ince, Roy Keane… all tosh lolz. Equally inept as managers.

Others in the same generation as Gerro: John Terry and Wayne Rooney. Jury still out, just as for Stevie G. Hope Stevie turns out more success, like Franz Beckenbauer, than the aforementioned Liverpool/Manchester United hall of shame captain-turned managers.

2. And in response to Dave, somewhere: Yep, Stevie G was lfc’s only world class and relevant player around the dark ages during the mid to late aughts, and early 2010s. He was an incredible elemental force of nature. Hendo isnt a force of nature. Equally, hendo had the good fortune to be coupled with good owners and incredible coach, to be the first captain to break lfc’s hoodoo in 29 years. That counts for something.

That said, i know it’s heretic as a liverpool die hard fan, to say that Hendo had certain qualities superior to Gerro.

a) Tactical discipline. Both hendo and gerro could play all over the pitch. Physical beasts. However, Gerro’s tactical discipline was not as good as Hendo’s. Rafa famously got the most out of Gerro by putting him where his incredible otherworldly drive could be best deployed, and where his lack of tactical discipline couldnt hurt the team. Whereas Hendo.. he’d play whether he’d get asked to. He finds a way to excel in his position to make a positive contribution without the coach worrying he’d be caught out of position. Plays more with his head.

b. Critical brain farts. Gerro passing the ball to a french player in euros 2004. To suarez in some other world cup? Slipping and falling in 2014. The next time i see hendo making such critical errors would be the first.

That said, hendo is an all rounded, 7/10 captain. Stevie G can win games on the biggest stages when he’s got it going (and lose the odd game with ill timed mental errors). And Stevie got it going for a loooooong time. Way more good than bad. But let’s not forget the bad, and let’s give Hendo his due for being so mistake free! Steady eddie captain. Just what lfc needed at this stage with all the stars around him.

I love them both.
Gab ynwa


Sports journalism is failing us
One of the things that surprised me is that there does not seem to be too much said about the Crouch report and in response to some of the reports regarding the negotiations between the EPL and Championship. So much so that even Ian King’s article is more a reflection of work done by the Swiss Ramble than anything news

I recently listened to an interview with Rick Parry regarding the Championship finances and it actually changed my mind on many things I had previously thought. The whole ‘parachute’ payment does seem to be the catalyst for a lot of bad behaviour. In order to compete with clubs relegated back into the Championship, armed with parachute payments that allow them to keep many of their higher paid players, the remaining clubs have over extended themselves. The current parachute payments are many multiples of the original payment percentage compared to the TV funds and player payments. In reality these need to be severely reduced.

What does stick in the craw are the owners or senior management of clubs who have benefited from these payments, have recently been promoted or are more at risk of being relegated being the most outspoken and condemning Championship clubs. Looking at West Ham, Leeds and Crystal Palace here. Similar to the way several clubs opposed 5 subs or playing games at neutral venues as part of a plan to convince the government to let the EPL resume during Covid. The same clubs who for high on their horse to decry the ‘big 6’ for looking to create a new European competition. On the evidence of the Swiss Ramble charts, those self same clubs are a little better run, no?

Probably the most surprising thing from the Rick Parry interview was that there were some things clubs could do to alleviate their debt burden or re-organize their finances but were prevented from doing by signing on to the EPL’s requirements for their smaller solidarity payments. With the relegated teams getting about 10x what a non relegated Championship club would get.

The hypocrisy all around football’s top two leagues in England is staggering. They opposed regulation but it seems that as long as clubs can vote to sustain their short term self serving nature, nothing good will come of it.

I guess an in depth look at finances and regulation are beyond the average sports journalists, who MediaWatch does a great job in showing how useless many are. It’s such a cosy little club.
Paul McDevitt


The point of Burnley
In response to What’s The Point of Burnley? by Darryl, Cape Town (Hate non-football), they may be cast as constant underdogs, but at least Burnley are constantly staying up (not to mention they were playing in Europe only three seasons ago). Call me a romantic, but Sean Dyche and his men are refreshingly “true grit on a budget”, quite the opposite of all that top-of-the-table glamour of playing fantasy football with Pep, Klopp and Tuchel.

Still, none of them have a local pub named after them.
Ebrahim (what do you mean “sour grapes”?), MUFC, Seattle


The long Con
Rob Duffy wanted to hear from Chelsea fans on Conor Gallagher. Now being the host of a Chelsea based podcast, I feel I can offer a good insight on Conor (yes, i am taking the mick out of myself).

Anyway, lets talk Gallagher.

As it stands the loan move to Crystal Palace has been tremendous in regards to his development as a midfielder. Many suggest that Gilmour is the most talented loanee right now but I would strongly disagree. Both play different positions but right now I would rather have Gallagher in my squad than Gilmour. However, I would not recall him in January due to a few reasons: one being that a full Premier League season of first-team football is important to continue his development as a player, as well as the fact that we have a good relationship with Crystal Palace in regards to loaning players from our squad over the years. Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Patrick Van Aanholt, Michy Batshuayi and now Conor – each time a player has gone to Selhurst Park they have been given game time and a good amount of game time at that, why jeopardise such a relationship when we can easily hold out till next summer?

Another thing to take into consideration is how it would impact our loan system with other teams going forward – clubs could be wary or reluctant to take on a player from our books if as soon as they show their talent they are recalled in the new year. Football is still a business after all, he will remain at Palace and I am sure of that for the rest of 2021/22.

Onto next season and whether or not he can break into our first XI, my only concern would be not can he do it in the Champions League and against that level of opposition, but how will he adapt to playing for Chelsea when teams will set up very differently against us than they do against Crystal Palace. Can he break those deep blocks, those defences that just sit in and protect their goal and break on the counter attack etc? That will be the difference between success at the Bridge. He has shown that he is a top player and I really hope he continues that for the rest of this season and breaks into the Chelsea XI next season.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod


Reece-ncy bias
Three weeks after it came up in the mailbox, just thought I’d stir the pot and ask where the Reece James vs TAA debate is, after four games in which James’s team have conceded 9 goals, he has picked up 3 yellow cards and made no goal contributions. I guess we’re finding out how effective he is when playing alongside only one of the world’s best central midfielders, instead of two of them.

James is clearly a fine player and all young ones have their ups and downs. But his apparent elevation to world class status based on a purple patch of four goals and four assists in seven PL games was, let’s say, a little rash. Not least because they are also his only PL goal contributions in the last 12 months, putting him just the eight behind TAA and one behind other fellow RB Stuart Dallas in that period.


Silkay Gundogan
Dear Editor,

Pleased to see Mr Gundogan so far up your list of top players of the year so far. He amazes me on a weekly basis and I still find it hard to believe we got that player for £20m. In the modern market that is beyond a steal. Love the man, what a hero.
Alex, Manchester

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