The two managers ready to replace Emery at Arsenal…

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Poor Unai
Watching Emery on the touchline last night, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for him. The man just looks horribly out of his depth. He is clearly doing everything he can, but it’s just not good enough. The club refuse to put him out of his misery and the fans’ anger is turning into apathy. After what happened at PSG I wonder if emery will recover from this. The man looks traumatised by it all.
Jeff, Harare


Who’s next?
Blocking out, for a moment, the pathetic results at Arsenal, surely greatest the consideration any club must have before changing their manager is who is available.

The more time passes, the more Arsene’s run of top four finishes seems to deserve respect. But the mistake Arsenal made was to change things when Arsenal has run out of steam, not when the time was right to recruit the next long-term manager.

There was a point a few years back when it seemed Jurgen Klopp was almost certain to be Arsene’s successor. He took a year off. But Arsene was not ready to go, and the club missed their window. Things are different now, but it’s unarguable that Liverpool was a better job than Arsenal at the time Klopp signed.

The point is, Emery and Arsenal’s form is dire – but the decision to sack him is less important than the decision to recruit. If the board thinks Ljungberg as a caretaker is better than the status quo, then by all means pull the trigger.

But results aside, two facts stick out. Emery never seemed a long term option at Arsenal. There are two (Allegri and Poch) top tier managers without clubs who might consider the gig. Even without the dip in form, the recruitment of the right replacement should be more important that the redundant argument about when time is up for Emery.


Nuno’s made for Arsenal
Letting a 2-goal lead slip, no wonder Arsenal have Nuno as their top choice
Schlomo Jenkins


Brexit means Brexit
Click Here: Ireland Rugby Shop
I’d just like to say I’m really pleased Arsenal are the only club really trying to adhere to the results of the people’s vote. We are desperate to leave Europe and have no intention of returning. It’s a hard brexit all the way baby. F deals, F financial ruin and let’s really tow the party line of take from the poor and give to the rich.

Arsenal. The true people’s club.
Lee, Bristol.


…Well that was depressing. One of the most punctured performances I’ve seen from any team. Frankfurt were absolutely woeful in the first half and the Arsenal of even a couple of months ago would probably have put the game to bed then. Willock looks headless and unfocused, Tierney looked utterly bereft of confidence (in comparison to his debut v Liege, a startling decline in such a short time). The succession of players coming off injured only added to the sense of a house crumbling silently down.
Karen Carney is not great co-commentator, she is from the classic say what you see, cliché brigade. She seemed shocked that Arsenal could turn in such a performance, really the shock is that its not surprising anymore.
The game did at least have one bizarre, entertaining moment when Emery was forced to change out of his black coat as it ‘matched’ the Frankfurt strip. As if one of their players would send a raking diagonal over to the touchline thinking a teammate was in acres of space, mistaking his frantic gestures for inviting the pass.
A lackey was sent running and came back with a different colour coat, still complete with his initials. Always amazes me clubs think managers need initialled uniforms, do they think there is anyone in the stadium that doesn’t know who he is?
Anyway, Emery out. Sorry fella.
Dave, Brighton


The kids were alright
The result notwithstanding, I thought last night went really well for United’s youth. Despite the very respectful comments from Roman Hrygorchuck prior to the match, it was always going to be tough going for a team with mostly teenage debutants facing a team of experienced pros (whatever you think about the Kazakhstan league). On balance, the result was the right – we were much better in the first half and took a deserved lead, while Astana came out in the second with renewed vigour and ultimately made the pressure tell. My main concern before the match was that being on the receiving end of a spanking could do more damage than good, but the kids can come home with their heads held high.

I thought Ethan Laird was excellent on the right pretty much all game. He showed good concentration, strength and tackling ability when defending, and offered a good attacking outlet too. In some ways it’s a shame that we have Dalot and Wan-Bissaka in his way, but he is definitely one to watch. His main rival for man of the match (in my books anyway) was Dylan Levitt, who was excellent in the centre of midfield; excellent and economic use of the ball, great vision and technical ability, he looks a real player and hopefully it won’t be too long before we see him in the first team again. He and Garner worked really well together, though Garner wasn’t able to affect the game in an attacking sense as much as he usually does for the under-23s. Di’Shon Bernard was also really good at centre-back and was really unlucky to concede but he certainly shouldn’t feel bad about that – it was no Phil Jones moment.

Gomes and Greenwood looked lively in attack; you can tell that Greenwood has been playing more senior football because his overall game looks a lot more polished (and he wasn’t far off scoring, but for a great save from Eric) in comparison – I would rather see Gomes go out on loan for the second half of the season to get a bit more senior football under his belt. Tuanzebe continued to show that he’s a good prospect, if in need of a little refinement here and there, but he’s still clearly better than Phil Jones.

Beyond that, it was pretty much 7/10 for everyone, except Shaw. I know he’s been out injured and isn’t really match sharp but last night served as further evidence of why he is no longer first choice left-back. He’s been unlucky with injuries since he joined United but there comes a time when you’ve got to stop talking about potential or future improvements and start looking objectively at current ability. I think we’re now seeing a pretty fair representation of what Luke Shaw is capable of and, disappointingly, it’s not great. Brandon Williams, although still very raw, looks like everything Shaw used to be and more besides; I don’t think Shaw has it in him to reach the level he was expected to and, unfortunately, I don’t think even ousting Williams is within his gift right now. That might change now he has genuine competition for his place but it remains to be seen if he has either the fight or the fitness to see that through.

Speaking of players who haven’t lived up to their hype, it just had to be bloody Lingard who scored, didn’t it? He got the usual praise from his apologists (unfortunately Solskjaer seems to be chief among them) but, for my money, did little to really earn any plaudits besides the finish. In a game where he was handed the captain’s armband, there was no real evidence of maturity or leadership; if anything, he simply used the occasion to indulge his own ego. The number of times he ran down blind alleys or dribbled straight into a mass of defenders was so irritating, and his overall use of the ball was everything we come to expect – utterly pointless and forgettable. Maybe I’m being overly harsh but I cannot stress enough just how much I don’t want to see Lingard playing for us, and last night only feels like it’s going to make it more likely. Also, if Chong reckons he can cut it at Juventus then fair play to him, but until he can actually play football like a professional, I just don’t see that happening.

All in all, I was pleased with how the youngsters did and the best thing to come out of it is that a good number of them got some senior minutes in a proper game. I know it was a dead rubber ony paper but you try telling the Astana players that. Hopefully we’ll see a few of last night’s participants against Alkmaar in the final game, though it probably won’t be as young a team next time out, with first place still up for grabs. But Ole deserves some credit for having the guts to play such a young side – not many people in his position would go that far, whether the group was wrapped up or not. I just hope that some of those who impressed get another chance to do so in some more competitive fixtures.
Ted, Manchester


Snowflake mentality
I started a mail earlier in the week following JN’s piece but gave up on it. However DBM’s mail stirred the same thoughts.

My response to DBM is simply that’s it fine to think Mourinho is a bit of a shit, he is, and you’re entitled to say that he is. You’d be entitled to say it if he were a saint.

It was a well written piece, but you could have just tweeted “I think Mourinho is a dick”, it would have been a lot easier. Can’t we leave character assassinations with the SJW mobs on twitter and talk about football? It is the Football365 mailbox after all.

The “Mourinho is great” camp have fallen into this trap too, but it seems at least to link it to Spurs’ immediate future.

The only link I can make from the “we don’t like him” camp is that any improvement in performance will only be temporary, which is extremely nihilistic really. Their form was crap, short term improvement beats continued decline everytime.

Maybe he’s carved out a niche for himself. Certain managers have long been known for their powers to avoid relegation. Perhaps Jose can avoid relegation from the top 6? Return to champs league over 2 seasons, maybe a trophy.

Football 365 has already written about how it may be the perfect match. So let’s just leave it as “Mourinho is the perfect man for the Spurs job at the time”. Change my mind.

As for JN…

I was sorry to hear about the loss of your football, though I’ll admit I’ve not got round to reading the tell all tale yet. I assume it went over the fence and your neighbour is a real git. Wait, what? It’s not a literal football? It’s about the abstract concept of football? Well, yes I suppose that wouldn’t have been a very catchy title.

Until now I’d been making some weird assumptiond about people who profess to “love” football.

“Winning” is more than some divine mental ability granted only to the few, however the article lives between literal and metaphor. A fine example of taking offence at specific words; the style of the statement.

It’s much easier than addressing the substance of “Spurs are more likely to win something with Jose Mourinho than if the club had continued with Mauricio Pochettino and the form of the club at the end of his tenure”. But then that’s rather a mouthful, isn’t it? If only there were a short hand…

There’s a line in my favourite TV show (Friday Night Lights) where, on the practice field, Coach Taylor tells his players “Success in not a goal, it’s a byproduct.”

Sports are infinitely complex and can rest on a single mistake. Aim to be the best player and teammate you can possibly be. Do the tiny things which will give you an edge. Full commitment and focus in training sessions, prioritising the game over other aspects of your life, the fame, advertising deals, tabloid articles and social media.

Now clearly a psyche cannot be studied, but it can be observed in the acts and behaviours of an individual. These are conclusions drawn (imperfectly) from the past. However imperfect this is, it is less so than drawing a conclusion in the absence of evidence.

When rolling a dice you wouldn’t choose 6 just because it was a 6 last roll. You know each number has a 1/6 chance. However if the last 10 rolls were all 6s you might suspect there is something intrinsic about the dice which makes a 6 more likely. It might be a fair dice and a statistically unlikely outcome, or it could be rigged.

Football isn’t a game with known statistics, therefore arguably a history of “winning” is an even more relevant consideration. Every job interview I’ve had was competency based. Had I deconstructed the meaning of “excellent communication skills” instead of providing examples of me demonstrating this previously, I dont think I’d have been successful.

So either Mourinho’s success was a statistical improbability, or there is something intrinsic about him as a manager which increases the likelihood of his team being victorious. As with life, the answer will lie somewhere in between the two.

Adam Hurrey already wrote the excellent ‘Football Cliches”, you might enjoy it, it highlights all the literal absurdities of the football lexicon.

You write in a manner of which I could only dream, but its style over substance.

And now, to football… oh I’ve run out of time? Oh ok, thanks.


Hillsborough verdict
Can’t really say much on it in case there’s an appeal of some sort but thoughts are with the families of the 96 once again. Remarkable how a chap can admit to mishandling and leading a bunch of people to their deaths and then admit to lying in the immediate aftermath about what went on and yet not be held accountable or responsible.

In fairness in a country where the prime minister can be openly racist or homophobic and remain in charge whilst lying through his teeth on pretty much every other subject…I suppose anything is possible.

If you read this website and you’re 18 then make sure you register to vote. The 23 year old version of yourself will thank you.
Minty, LFC


Prime position?
Now, I know as much about business as I do about women (which is s*d all, natch) but if a fellow 365-er out there can I help me out I’d be grateful.

I’m talking about Amazon Prime (exclusively) screening 10 PL fixtures on 3 – 5 December and another 10 on 26-27th December. What I don’t understand is the business thinking behind it. If you had to pay to join Amazon Prime I’d understand, but all anybody has to do is sign up for a 30-day trial, which is completely free, and simply cancel before the 30 days expire and you get to watch the lot.

I don’t know what they’ve paid the PL for the privilege, but I can’t believe they’d have enough numbers of people wanting to switch to Prime permanently, purely on the back of watching some footie games? Or is this Amazon dipping their toes in the water in terms of seeing how many people watch with a view to repeating the exercise in the future but absolutely making that pay-per-view?

Now call me a bluff old heterosexual, but surely the latter isn’t feasible unless the intention is to outbid either Sky or BT for their ‘packages’? People wouldn’t swallow paying all 3 for PL games surely?

I don’t mind being called out as a dumbass if I’ve missed something spectacularly obvious. Equally, if Amazon have a plan that is more cunning than a fox who’s just been appointed Professor of Cunning at Oxford University, I’d really like to know as I don’t know of any major business that gives away freebies without a catch.

Ta muchly.
Mark (At least it’s not another mail about Mourinho) MCFC.


Frenk talk
Couldn’t agree more about the aimless group Barca look without Messi. You also have to spare a thought for Frenkie De Jong, he looks a class above his midfield teammates I assume he thought it was still the free flowing Guardiola football he was joining, you see him try to play quick passing football and everyone around him slowing the pace as soon as they get the ball. Imagine how good he could have been in Manchester city’s midfield, Rodri is a good player but the thought of De Jong driving play forward linking up with De Bruyne and David Silva could have been a Liverpool stopping recipe.
Aaron. CFC. Ireland.


Oh, Mr Fernandes
Last night I watched Sporting Lisbon beat PSV, one player who could be one to watch is a midfielder called Bruno Fernandes, scored twice and assisted two goals as well, would love to see him in the Premier League soon, wonder if he has a release clause?
Mikey, CFC


National traits
It’s 3am stateside and I can’t sleep, so naturally one’s mind wanders. From an international perspective, I’m fascinated by stylistic differences (footballing, of course). Brazilian fullbacks, Italian Centerbacks, Argentine Trequaristas, German everythings, etc. To spice things up, you can only choose from European countries that have never won major honors (World Cup and/or Euros… British Home Championship winners allowed lol). Here’s my best go:


GK – Polish
Fullbacks – Irish
CBs – Serbian
Holding Mid – Scottish
Box to Box Mid – Croatian
Wingers – Ukrainian
In the Hole – Belgian
Striker – Bulgarian

I was tempted to shoehorn Hungary in the side in some way, on historical pedigree, but couldn’t pull the trigger. I felt like Romania may have deserved a shout too. The soft Scotch underbelly of the side may be my undoing.

What say you?
Seth, Birmingham, AL – Hammer Down


Champ manager
It all began with Euro ’96 as anyone and everyone tried to cash in on the nation’s football fever. A magazine was released with Shearer on the cover and a CD full of demos for various football games – Premier Manager, Ultimate Soccer Manager and Championship Manager 1993/94 among them. I played them all and was most taken with Premier Manager, from memory, but leafing through the magazine I came across a feature on Championship Manager 2. Intrigued by the then-striking use of real pictures (even if only in the background), the fact that players had their full names and the reams of statistics available, I picked up a copy – only to discover that it wouldn’t run on my computer due to its measly 4MB of RAM (yes, kids, 4MB). Not for the last time I had to upgrade my PC to play Champ!

I’m writing this on a brand new laptop. I know that for Christmas I’ll be getting FM20, which by my count is something like my 27th edition of the game, and I’ll push my new laptop to its limit running every league so I can scout for Bulgarian youth prospects and Slovenian veterans who can do a job. I’ve spent thousands upon thousands on PC upgrades and new computers to play the game. I’ve taken imaginary press conferences on long trips when my phone’s died. My first day at university I made my first friend as we bonded over how good Ibrahima Bakayoko was on 97/98. I discovered Mike Duff, a 40k right back who’d dominate in the Champions League. I’ve guided the careers of Freddy Guarin, Willie Howie, Mark Kerr, Adrien Rabiot, Neil Lennon and Danny Murphy, Sam Ayorinde, Riccardo Montolivo and so, so many more starlets, journeymen and never-weres who will live on in my memory and those of countless others.

It’s a spreadsheet where the numbers never quite add up. The graphics have been terrible ever since the makers attempted to show football in 3D. The match engine always has at least one catastrophic flaw in it – whether it can be exploited by your team or is destined to drive us nuts as the opposition beat us for no clear reason is a flip of the coin each year. The database is always biased against your club. And let’s not get started on superkeepers, referees in general and the inevitability of your opponent’s star striker breaking their season-long drought against you…

In short, it’s football, or as close as most of us will ever get to making a living from it. And I can’t wait to see how obsessed I’ll get with the latest version, as always, and just who’ll be joining the pantheon of CM/FM legends who live on forever in a corner of my memory I know should be dedicated to actual important things…
Michael C


…Just like Taz, my first taste of Championship Manager came when I was a teenager in around 1996. The version I played was CM2.

For the kids that play it now, Imagine having to buy the German, Spanish, Italian leagues separately as they were separate games.

To up the game of memories related to these games. Did anyone do anything weird whilst playing it? I recall reading a book about Championship manager with stories from people. Someone actually put on a suit to play the champions league final in whilst sitting at their computer.


Geography corner
Dear Gregory W, Peter Kay is from Lancashire, Farnworth to be precise, remember the vertically challenged Bolton Fans in Phoenix Nights? A clue there perhaps? I know that and I am from Ireland FFS!!! Even his accent is a give away and again I am from Ireland!! While I’m talking here I just thought I’d say that we have our very own version of a “Yorkshire Man” here in Ireland – it’s called a “Corkman” – not a word of a lie a Corkman they will tell you that he is from Cork within 1.35 seconds of meeting him. Reason unknown.
Speedy B – Dublin – 5 in-a-row winners and the actual, and deserving, capital city of Ireland

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