Arsenal hopes for 2017 and Palace preview

by & filed under News Review.

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Good morning boys and girls, James here wishing a happy new year to you. Pete did a pretty good job of surmising our 2016 – it felt like a year of ‘what could have been’ – clearly the title was there for the taking last season and after Welbz’s goal against Leicester in February, I had convinced myself we would win the title. There’s no point raking over old ground as it has been done to death, but the capitulation at Old Trafford and limp final third of that season still stings.

Personally, whilst I’m not writing off this season yet (it’s January!), Chelsea look imperious and I’m also worried about Man Utd who have been ominously solid in recent weeks. Nonetheless, this is the best squad Arsenal have had since we last won the title – some might say 2007/08 was stronger, but this team has more depth in my view. The quality in the squad is undoubted, but the composition and balance has looked off all season, give or take the odd excellent performance – this is hardly a surprise, given we have bedded in a new first choice centre half, central midfielder and effectively a new front-line.

As is so often the case with Arsenal, one can see that this squad is not far away from being a serious contender, but be it tactics, form or cohesion, we perennially fall short. There are actions I would like to see taken this year, be that personnel, tactics and transfers, which could make a difference. Clearly the manager has forgotten more about football than I know, but hey, this is my soapbox and I’m going to damn well use it. So, in no particular order:

1.) Fix the midfield

Our midfield is a bit of a mess at present. Those of you who have read any of my previous pieces for Le Grove will know I’m no fan of Coquelin and I remain bemused by his continued inclusion in the starting eleven, with his recent role in the side even more infuriating, with him playing as a genuine box-to-boxer, often finding himself in advanced positions and totally stifling our attacking fluency.

As a run-of-the-mill, midfield ball-winner Coquelin is fine – that’s it. If he was at any other top eight club, I doubt very much that we as Arsenal fans would be batting our eyes in his direction. Furthermore, I’m not convinced he is an especially good ball winner. He has good stamina, energy and aggression, no doubt, but his positioning and tackling is often exposed against the better sides – recent showings at Old Trafford and the Etihad where we were totally overrun in midfield pay testament to this (albeit he can’t be solely blamed for this).

Coquelin has tended to be paired with Xhaka this season, with the Swiss making a solid if unspectacular start to his Arsenal career. Xhaka’s passing is exceptional, but there have been games where he has struggled with the pace of the match (City away in particular); however he should be starting the majority of games for us given his ability to dictate the play from deep and pass between the lines.

Personally, I view the next few rounds of fixtures, beginning with today, as an ideal opportunity to properly trial a Xhaka – Ramsey partnership. The Welshman’s form has been patchy to say the least in 2016, with some mitigating circumstances – namely injury and being shunted onto the wing. He remains however, a bona fide top class midfielder on his day and he’s good enough to be afforded the opportunity to show how he can perform alongside a deep-lying distributor – don’t forget his best form in an Arsenal shirt came paired with Mikel Arteta. Ramsey isn’t to everyone’s taste, but if he could rediscover his best form, it can only be a good thing for Arsenal.

2.) Show up away from home to our rivals

Now, I don’t fully buy into the ‘Arsenal are shit in big games theory’, but our points haul in these games tell a pretty damning story. This season we were totally dominated in Manchester twice and pathetic at Goodison, and I would hold a significant level of trepidation about our forthcoming visits to Stamford Bridge, Anfield and White Hart Lane. The reasons for this are difficult to pinpoint, as in terms of quality we are as good as any side in the league. I am also (perhaps naively) of the view that it isn’t necessarily some mental block in the side – there are World Cup, La Liga and Premier League winners in the side – but more an issue regarding our approach to these games, which may require a rebalancing of the side.

Against the best sides away from home, given his contribution in those games, it is hard to justify giving Ozil a free role in the number ten position. He should undoubtedly be in the team for these games – it would be obtuse in the extreme to leave out our most talented player for the sake of a system, but he may need to adapt to a slightly different system, more akin to that in which he performed for Germany in their World Cup triumph in 2014.

In Manchester we enjoyed such little possession and were relatively porous in midfield that I am firmly of the view that we should be playing a 4-3-3 in these games instead of the 4-2-3-1, which is perfectly fine against 90% of the opposition we face. We certainly have the personnel to line-up with this system, and Ozil has performed well from the flanks enough time in his career. Whilst some may argue it stifles his creativity, I would counter that by saying he is going to have more opportunity to be creative if the team is able to win more turnovers in midfield and have genuine midfield runners breaking into the opposition final third (see Aaron Ramsey).

3.) Be pro-active regarding the left back situation

I should begin this segment by clarifying that I love Nacho Monreal – the last two seasons he’s been truly excellent. However, his levels have seen a worrying drop this season. I wouldn’t get overly scientific about this – the role of the modern fullback is physically demanding and Nacho turns 31 next month. I wouldn’t totally write him off and he remains an important member of the squad, but this should be the last season with him as first choice.

The question is then whether Kieran Gibbs is given another chance to establish himself as first choice or we delve into the transfer market in the summer. I like Gibbs and as an academy graduate and true Gooner, I’d like to see him given a full run in the side for the remainder of the season – as much as anything, his performances this season when he’s played have been good enough to justify his starting regularly. If he doesn’t prove either his form or fitness though over the following months, we should be buying a new starter for the position – it’s such an essential role in their team and the way we play that it would justify significant investment. There’s no point speculating on who that might be at this point, but it’s an issue that may be pressing by June.

PALACE PREVIEW

I’ve gone on for long enough; so will keep the match preview succinct. Frankly, it’s a game where we should know exactly what to expect from our opposition – they are a team managed by Sam Allardyce – a man with the look of someone who has really terrible breath (I’m talking cheese and onion crisps, coffee, fags) – with pacey wingers, a physical midfield and a big lump up front.

I can’t imagine they will be hugely ambitious when they have the ball – they’ll look to counter us and get crosses into the box and probably not much else. Our full backs will need to be on their A-game, whilst whoever lines up in midfield will need to be alert and cover when Bellerin in particular is caught upfield. As mentioned ad nauseum above, Ramsey should start this game against Xhaka – his movement and intelligence of his runs could be crucial against what will likely be a compact side.

Up front, I would move Alexis back up front, flanked by one of Iwobi and Oxlade-Chamberlain on the left, with Lucas Perez given a chance on the right. It hasn’t clicked with Perez and Wenger clearly has reservations, but we need to rotate during this congested period and this is an eminently winnable game. I’d be interested to see what he can do, as whilst his output in goals has been good when he’s played, his general contribution in matches has been patchy at best – let’s see what he can do.

It will likely be a game in the mould of West Brom where patience will be key – it’s a must win game in a run of fixtures we have to be hoping to take maximum points in the run up to our trip to Chelsea in February.

Until next time and thanks for reading.

You can follow me on Twitter @BeardofPires

410 Responses to “Arsenal hopes for 2017 and Palace preview”

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  1. WengerEagle

    Dream

    Yeah I agree, Sanchez last season especially was extremely poor for a large part of the season. He received little to no criticism while the likes of Hazard, Costa, Toure, etc were butchered.

    He’s been much better this season for me, fingers crossed he doesn’t go through another slump because we cannot afford it. Our attack as a collective is so weak, he’s been carrying us on his shoulders all season.

  2. Bamford10

    Dissenter

    No, I don’t agree with that assessment of Benteke, and I “rue” nothing. He did nothing today, though. No question about that. Romford and gammon — among others here — rated Benteke as well, so I’m not sure why I always get called out on this one.

    Ankle-biters and trolls, is all.

  3. Bamford10

    Rollen (aka, dipshit)

    What “ridiculous” comments have I made here today? Saying Iwobi was excellent? Saying he plays the CAM role properly?

    Do tell.

  4. Thank you and goodnight

    @Daledagooner

    Fantastic performance against Chelsea. No way denying that……but one decent game against a top 4 side each season is nothing to write home about. We are flat track bullies.

  5. Paulinho

    “The premier league is really poor this season.
    There are too many crappy teams around just forth money.”

    Every time they talk about about one of the top sides fixture list they always say they’ve got a “really kind set of fixtures”, which shows his average the league is. Long stretches of playing absolute tripe that are only a danger if you have a really off day and give away silly goals like City did earlier in the season,

  6. DaleDaGooner

    Honestly, we need more from our forwards. The Everton, City games had us out on the front foot and we couldn’t take our chances and be clinical.

  7. Dream10

    Bamford & Eagle

    Alexis does work hard. Feel we need another creative player w/ good decision making in the final third, to give us a boost in the second half of the season . Alexis or Giroud will be able to stay central more often then. Just wish Chamberlain had better decision making on a regular basis. He’d move up a couple of levels.

  8. Bamford10

    Reasonable performance, but we will not be competing for the title, and we will be in a fight for top four. Unless someone falls apart.

  9. Thank you and goodnight

    @Dissenter

    I said the same thing a few days ago. 7-8 years ago we might not of won anything, but we played some stunning football for vast swathes of the season, except against the big boys of course. But last 3-4 years,even with the cash being splashed, we are so fucking boring to watch these days apart from the odd good game.

  10. vicky

    Have no faith in this team to mount a challenge even if Chelsea slip up. Too predictable and too inefficient. And then there is the mental aspect of bottling it on big occasions.

  11. Federer

    3pts and a clean sheet, fair result which could have been way better .
    I’d say rest Kos and Sanchez againt Bournemouth, we have enough firepower to take them down.
    Onward and upward.
    #wengerout all the same.

  12. Paulinho

    Dream10 – I’ve always thought Alexis and Ozil were B class. Very good players but both short of complete top class.

    Alexis has been B+ this season, however he doesn’t really have defined position, and that’s in large part due to him being a top level jack of all trades player. He can play at a very high level in a lot of positions in the front line but against top sides his deficiencies are exposed and he goes into his shell. A fiesty shell, but still a shell.

  13. Wallace

    solid.

    40pts and 3rd place at halfway. need to beat Bournemouth and hope Spurs get something out of the game on Wednesday.

  14. DaleDaGooner

    Mikhy says he’s scored goals like that, Giroud admits he scores with a bit of luck. I still like Girouds, it was great improvised goal and he meant to score.

  15. Federer

    In the unlikely event that Spurs take down Chelsea, the title race would be blown wide open once again .
    Interesting times , except for gooners, cos we would still come up short.

  16. DaleDaGooner

    Ha ha Flamini was trying to defend the Alexis cross for Giroud goal….Flamini, we had him in the squad, miss Flamini

  17. Dream10

    Paulinho

    You may have a point there. Alexis is more well rounded, but something about his style makes me have a bias against him. Many people feel the same way about Ozil.

    Alexis is multifaceted, but he’s not elite in any one category. Difficult to build around him tbh. He likes it at Arsenal not because we’re elite, but for selfish reasons. He gets to be the talisman in a good team. He has a lot of heavy miles on him from the last ten years, since the Under 20 World Cup in 2007. I don’t think he we’ll be as productive in two years as he is now. A few South American jourrnalists are saying this is his best spell as a club footballer
    I would have no hesitation in selling to China for 100m if he was willing to go.
    A quality unit can be built, but history shows we struggle to replace quality players quickly

  18. mysticleaves

    40points by half way point. thats ok but if we are a serious team theres no way we shouldnt be getting more than 40points in the second stanza. drew 4 times and lost 3. We can only afford 1more loss and 2draws. see where it gets us.

  19. Redtruth

    vicky
    “Would be funny if both Manchester clubs finished outside top 4, incidentally many people’s favorites for the league title.”

    Like finishing in the top 4 has improved Arsenal’s chances of winning the league..lol lol lol

  20. Paulinho

    Dream10 – There does seem to be very few top players coming through in world football, so maybe their value is enhanced simply through the passage of time. There’s not too many players out there to replace them.

    The standard in general I find to be verging on dreadful in nearly all the continents, at least compared to the nineties.

  21. WengerEagle

    Trips to Anfield, WHL and Stamford Bridge still to come.

    Our last 3 seasons’ matches cumulatively in these three away fixtures reads:

    Played 9:
    – Won 1
    – Drew 3
    -Lost 5

  22. Thank you and goodnight

    @Wenger Eagle

    Yeah but this year will be different. Did you not see the way we destroyed palace? Wenger is back to his best….treble this year I can feel it in my waters 😀

  23. Wallace

    halfway I’d go –

    excellent – Alexis, Koscielny
    good – Walcott, Mustafi, Giroud, Bellerin, Coquelin, Cazorla, Ospina
    okay – Ozil, Xhaka*, Gabriel, Cech, Iwobi, Ox, Elneny, Gibbs
    iffy – Monreal, Ramsey

    I think Xhaka’s influence will grow in the 2nd half of the season. need Alexis & Walcott to keep scoring, and for Ozil & Iwobi to step it up…and for Welbeck to hit the ground running like last season.

  24. steve

    So predictable. Two weak teams and Arsenal are back to winning again. Will probably win four straight now and then look Pathetic against Chelsea.

  25. Thank you and goodnight

    @Wenger Eagle

    Hahahahahahaha I know, how sad is that. He probably went home and knocked one out over that

  26. London gunner

    The Sanchez comments are an absolute joke.

    He was by far the best attacking player on the pitch and was instrumental in the build up to all the goals he is clearly one of the top 3 players in the league with his stats shitting all over hazards.

    It’s so pathetic people saying his not world class because of one shot that was directly at the gk

    As if Suarez never fucks up and misses sitters (he does)

  27. WengerEagle

    Sanchez and Hazard have been the best players in the league this season, IMO Hazard has edged it but it’s a coin-flip.

    Just hope that Alexis can maintain this for the entire season, he hasn’t before.

  28. underrated Coq

    Wenger is an ambitionless, gutless, clueless, indecisive old goat and it makes me sick to even see his face when cameras pan towards him during matches.

    We are at the half way point of the season and he still hasn’t figured out his best midfield or his best attack, its so infuriating to watch. A bunch of names–that he favors irrespective of form, talent or attitude, mind–thrown in together without any thought given to the collective, be it the system or the pattern of play.

    You don’t need to be a ex-player or an expert to see the difference between well coached teams and Wenger’s Arsenal.

    Does every player know his role? Nope
    Do they actually have specific roles and duties that they are well drilled about? Doubtful.
    Is every player onboard the team ‘plan’? Nope
    Is there evidence that there is a plan when you watch us play? Not really.
    What about teamwork, commitment and discipline? Some players show it all times, others when they feel like it.

    Don’t know what Wenger does that earns him 8 million per annum but it sure as hell isn’t top level management.

  29. Thank you and goodnight

    @Wenger Eagle

    Hahahahahahaha. Most people watch porn to knock one out. He watches Arsene interviews

  30. Wallace

    I’d say a minimum of 7 or 8 le grove posters who you’d back to do a better job than the fraud Wenger. weird, although kinda admirable,that they don’t seem at all interested in the millions on offer.

  31. Federer

    Wenger on the January Transfer:
    “Nothing planned at the moment,” he adds. “You look at the players we missed today – no Cazorla and Ozil, we hope to get them back. Welbeck is coming back – we have a big squad.”
    There you have it frfriends, Wenger has played us the Welbeck and Cazorla would be like new signings card. At best, we could get an opportunist transfer, more like when Wenger’s old friend rings him and begs him to take a broken midfielder for the half season.
    So those of us drawing up our transfer wish list, why not throw that shit outta the window

  32. underrated Coq

    Wallace, typical strawman from you. Attack the poster(s), rather than attempt to refute their opinion.

    1) I wasn’t purporting to be an expert. In fact the exact opposite, I said a person doesn’t need to be one to see the obvious differences between Wenger’s team and teams managed by the best in the business.

    2) I didn’t call Wenger a fraud. I said he doesn’t do top level management, if you think that isn’t the truth then I have nothing to say to you.

  33. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Pedro

    Can we have a countdown clock for when he goes ,?
    5 months 30!days …

    Roll on June
    Roll in new man

  34. kelvin

    Gone are the days when i would stick up for Wenger, these days i just want him gone but without the insults and name callings. Here is to a 2017 without the prof.

  35. Alexanderhenry

    A good win today and It’s encouraging to see Giroud start to figure.
    We’re in a strong position and there’s a long way to go. With our bigger squad this season we should be able to cope a lot better.

  36. Wallace

    underrated

    “I said a person doesn’t need to be one to see the obvious differences between Wenger’s team and teams managed by the best in the business.”

    I’m looking at the league table and there’s a few teams managed by some of ‘the best in the business’ who appear to be on less points than we are at the halfway stage. what’s that all about?

  37. Thank you and goodnight

    @Wallace

    Yes but 2 of them are at a new team and one of them is new to the league completely. Also we’re ahead of them by 2-4 points only. Hardly an unassailable total. Also even if wenger signed another 5 year contract, I’d bet my bottom dollar that at least 1 of them if not 2 would win the EPL once if not twice in that 5 year span, unlike wenger

  38. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Wallace

    He’s cooked well an truly now don’t you think ?

    He’s driven the bus as far as it can go …

  39. Wallace

    TYAG

    i do get bored of coming to his defence on here all the time, but not as bored as i get listening to posters make out like he’s some sort of incompetent fool.

  40. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Red

    I agree with Wallace

    Jose always spent big to buy him hours an tomget press off his back they love a spender …

  41. Redtruth

    Whether Wenger is incompetent or not is for others to decide.
    The fact remains Wenger has failed to deliver a title in 12 years and for that reason alone he should be fired regardless of so called mitigated (bullshit) circumstances.

  42. Wallace

    R S P C Arsenal

    “He’s cooked well an truly now don’t you think ?”

    2016/17
    pl – 19
    w – 12
    d – 4
    l – 3

    hardly the stats of someone on the ropes. we had a comfortable win today to move 3rd and there’s barely a positive post to be found. I get the indifference, and the desire for something new, but not the fury.

  43. London gunner

    Wenger Eagle

    You’re utterly wrong.

    Sanchez stats
    League
    Goals 12
    Assists 7

    Cl
    Goals 2
    Assists 3

    Total goals 14
    Total assists 10
    24

    Hazard stats
    League
    Goals 9
    Assists 2

    Cl
    Goals 1
    Assists 4

    Total goals 10
    Assists 6
    16

    Sanchez shits all over hazard from a distance.

    Before you lot pipe up about hazard being a midfielder hence why he gets less goals and assists that’s bollocks. I’ve been studying the heat maps and reading articles on hazard and conte is playing him as the most advanced player just ahead of costa as a false 9 and conte has made comments about hazard staying in the final third and not dropping deep yet he can’t match the end product of a sensational Sanchez.

    Oh and sanchez key pass rate 2.7.. hazards 2.1

  44. Little Mozart

    So the excuse is that Pep is new and maurine has a new team! Well The new Pep won while new at bayern and that other one spent gazzillions to assemble his team

  45. Thank you and goodnight

    @Redtruth

    Again I agree with you 100%. Surely success should be judged on trophies won, especially from any leagues top teams. In that department alone he would of got the sack many times over at any other ‘big club’.

  46. Paulinho

    “hardly the stats of someone on the ropes. we had a comfortable win today to move 3rd and there’s barely a positive post to be found. I get the indifference, and the desire for something new, but not the fury.”

    There’s been fury on here for years about him – because some of us had him well and truly worked out years ago and knew we would see the same movie, more or less, year after year after year. There’s only no anger or fury if you naively or stupidly believed his failure to win the league or progress in champions league was down to money. If you knew it was down to his methods rather than finance then pre-emptive anger about what was and is coming(he will be here for another two years at least) is completely understandable.

  47. Thank you and goodnight

    @Wallace

    Everyone on here, ok maybe not Joe,expected us to win today. For many of us it changed nothing as we know, as already been proven this season, that when the heats on and we come up against the better teams we bottle it. That’s where the fury comes from. It comes from fact that nothings really changed over last 12 years and this season is playing out exactly as the previous 12. It comes from the fact that we actually have a very good squad, even if a few disagree, yet as usual wenger can’t get the maximum out of it. With better tactics, in game ability to see what’s going on and change things if and when needed, in my opinion I believe as do many we’d have a genuine title challenge on our hands. I mean how many times have you watched a game and thought, they’re having a bit of joy down the right or left, we better sort this out or we’ll concede here. Yet wenger just sits on his hands and does nothing to only find ourselves a goal down 5 or 10 min later coming from the threat we could see ages before. We play the same bloody style irrespective of who we’re playing 90% of the season. That’s were the fury comes from.

  48. Wallace

    TYAG

    okay, fair enough, won’t argue any of that. while I doubt Wenger can take us to the title I do think, as you say, that we’re as strong a squad this year as we have been in a long time, and because of that I’m interested to see how things play out, rather than just assuming we’ll come up short.

  49. London gunner

    Rspc

    I’m just really sick and tired of all the numpties on this blog constantly bashing our top player.

    Fact is he was instrumental in our win today after being heavily involved in all the goals and the best attacking play yet people still want to betrate him.

    People even talk about selling him. Fact is we shouldn’t be looking to sell him to replace him with another world class player, after all that’s just 1 step forward two steps back. We need at add more WC talent to the squad to work alongside Sanchez perphaps Sanchez will be even better with other top quality talent in the first 11… it’s pretty common sense that.

    Also I hate the fact that Sanchez gets all this criticism yet players like hazard whose stats are pretty meagre get a free run

  50. Thank you and goodnight

    @Wallace

    You keep the faith. Nothing I’d like more than wenger making me eat my words and winning the title. Can’t see it somehow and I’m so certain he won’t I’ll have a bet with you. If we win the title I will have an ‘in wenger we trust tattoo’ on my chest. I’ll even post a photo of said tattoo to prove I’ve done it.

  51. steve

    @Wallace

    You don’t have to assume anything. If you had a functioning brain and have followed Arsenal for a while you would know by now they will fail because that’s what the specialist in failure and his losers does.

  52. Wallace

    TYAG

    nope, I think we’ll finish top 3 but beyond that I wouldn’t commit anything. don’t want my first tattoo to be a ‘Joe was right’ one :)

  53. Thank you and goodnight

    Funny thing is if you actually looked at his managerial record as a whole, from monaco to us, it’s actually just an ok record. Especially considering his record in CL. If we got rid of wenger and said the next guy coming in has been a manager for 30 plus years but has won titles just 4 times but hadn’t won one for last 12 years despite being at a big club, most Arsene lovers would go mad.

  54. bacaryisgod

    Before today’s game, it always looked like we had three distinct phases to the final 20 games of the season:

    1) The January Push: (5 very winnable Premier League games)
    Standing 9 points behind Chelsea, we have a relatively easy stretch of 5 games. We need a minimum of 13 points out of 15 to have any chance of catching them. This is also a stretch where our rivals have big games against each other. If we can’t make ground on Chelsea, we at least have a chance to separate ourselves from the others.

    2) The Make or Break Feb 1st -April 1st Stretch (7 mostly tough fixtures)

    Away games at Chelsea, Liverpool and Soton and home against Man City alone would be challenging but throw in a probable confidence shattering two-legged fixture against Bayern Munich and we can see this being the 7 game stretch that might finish off our season. We’ll probably pick up points against West Brom away and both Hull and Leicester at home but this is hands down our toughest run of games in the season.

    3). The Final Run-In (8 games of mixed opponents).

    If we’re still alive after the April 1st games against Man City, then we actually may have a chance of winning this thing. There are tough London derbies (West Ham, Palace and away to Spurs) along with a key home game against Man United but there are points to be had in all 8 of our remaining games particularly as the Tottenham match may come as they compete in the Europa and we’re already out of the Champions League.

    The other fixtures (Everton, Sunderland home and Boro, Stoke away) are all winnable too.

    The odds are very much against us. Just ask the bookies, they have us at around 10/1. However, momentum is a powerful force, and we have chance to roll into February with a lot of swagger. If we can close the gap then hold Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, then this really could be a race.

  55. Jim Lahey

    I hate to say it, but does anyone else think we played better without Ozil today… Now there could be a number of factors not Ozil related for this occurrence, but it does pose an interesting question about what our strongest 11 is.

  56. Samesong

    Ozil almost plays a free role in the team what impressed me today is how Iwobi stuck to his position in that cam role and also came back to defend. Always looking for space in the middle. Ozil drifts in and out of play far too often.

  57. Mustafi Magic

    People thinking Chelsea will replicate a 49 point total in the 2nd half of the season.

    Doubt it.

    Long way to go yet and we’ve got a good a chance of any of the top 6 to win.

    It’d help if we’re out of Europe sharpish.

  58. Wenker-wanger

    when he signs my heart will finally stop for arsenal…… As long as we are in the champs league as token opponents, this fraud will be welcomed by kroenke year after depressing year. He will never step down… Far too selfish and arrogant to do that. No, he will stay on till he dies…….Knowing our luck till he is 100.
    Arsenal are nothing I recognise from the days of Adams, Charlie George. McLintock etc.
    Yeah we beat palace and west from…..But that’s hardly a big deal……

  59. bacaryisgod

    Wenker-wanger

    ‘Arsenal are nothing I recognise from the days of Adams, Charlie George. McLintock etc.’

    Really? I’m guessing you are narrowing it down to a single year with Charlie George and McClintock. Charlie was with us for 7 years out of a 15 year professional career. In these seasons, here’s where we came:

    1968/69: 4th
    1969/70: 12th
    1970/71: 1st
    1971/72: 5th
    1972/73: 2nd
    1973/74: 10th
    1974/75: 16th

    McLintock was with us for 9 seasons out of a 21 season career. Like Charlie, he had a bust-up with the manager and got dropped. Unlike Charlie, he formally handed in a transfer request in order to secure a move to QPR.

    1964/65: 13th
    1965/66: 14th
    1966/67: 7th
    1967/68: 9th
    1968/69: 4th
    1969/70: 12th
    1970/71: 1st
    1971/72: 5th
    1972/73: 2nd

    Now, it’s clear that when you are talking about the days of Charlie George and Frank McClintock, you are really referring specifically to the 1970-71 season. Now that’s established, how about remembering the days of Wenger (1 997-98, 2001-02, 2003-04).

    I agree with you. When you look at his overall accomplishments compared with finishing 12th, 13th, 15th and 16th in some of the George/McClintock seasons, I think the days of Wenger might just be a little better than the ones you so fondly recall.

  60. Sandy

    for the more than umpteenth time- Its Cazorla that makes the difference. just look at the stats, he creates the space and time for Ozil and Sanchez to play.
    Without Santi we are a much poorer side.
    Sandy

  61. Mustafi Magic

    Wenker wanker

    ‘when he signs my heart will finally stop for arsenal’

    Poor old wenker wanker. Get some help…or a girlfriend

  62. Alexanderhenry

    Wallace

    Well said.

    I’ve been posting on here for about four seasons and you would think during that time arsenal were on the brink of relegation.

  63. rollen

    Wallace
    January 1, 2017 19:37:40

    I’d say a minimum of 7 or 8 le grove posters who you’d back to do a better job than the fraud Wenger. weird, although kinda admirable,that they don’t seem at all interested in the millions on offer.

    lol

    How low can u go to defend fraud?

  64. Goonereris

    Redtruth, “…more competitive back in the old days”?
    Yeah, right. Please, be serious.

    Bacary, liked your response to Wenker- Wanger up there. It beggars belief how far away from Reason some are willing to go, just because of the Wenger hate. At least, let’s wish the club well, despite our sentiments, right or wrong.

  65. Pierre

    I would have thought that people on here would be talking about Girouds goal and the brilliance of the move. A perfect counter attacking goal that started with a Perez interception on the edge of his own box and from then on perfection. The timing of the passes , the skill involved and the pace made it possibly the best goal I have ever seen in my lifetime…..or maybe iwobi and bellerins performances that were both Top quality, these lads are our future……… Instead, what do we hear… The same old anti Wenger relentless crap that we have heard a million times before….. How many of the anti Wenger mob celebrated the Giroud goal.. Probably very few.. They just sat there saying the same old shit “flat track bullies”..” never beat the top teans”.. “12 years, no title” blah blah blah….

  66. Wallace

    Pierre

    it was a stunning goal. the speed & fluidity of the whole move so easy on the eye. think Bergkamp’s at Newcastle edges it, but I’d be amazed if there’s a better goal scored this season.

  67. Wallace

    a few posters have talked about playing Ramsey ahead of Xhaka +1 in some of the more difficult away fixtures, but after watching yesterday and other games he’s played there I think Iwobi’s a more obvious selection. fascinating that after struggling recently on the flank he looked far more comfortable and confident right from the off in the centre.

    also thought Gabriel had another quietly impressive game. the lot of the squad player, you get a run of games due to injury, and just when you’re beginning to settle in and knock out some good performances the injured player returns.

  68. Red&White4life

    @Sid : Simeone always says that his dream is to coach Inter Milan, but you can keep on dreaming if you want.

  69. Sid

    Red&White

    Yes I know that. As of now, we have limited options and Allegri ticks all the boxes. Appointing Eddie howe type coaches will eventually lead to disaster.

  70. Red&White4life

    “Arsene Wenger believes English managers do not get enough chances, and praised Bournemouth manager Eddie Howe for taking the one given to him.”

    God help us… You know what he means.

  71. underrated Coq

    Wallace

    “I’m looking at the league table and there’s a few teams managed by some of ‘the best in the business’…”

    Yeah, shame we aren’t top else you’d be able to post the League table.. Like you did so memorably in Jan last season, eh Wallace?

    The point I or others make regarding how Wenger is nowhere near a top level manager these days is simple and I’m pretty sure you know that. Yet this bizarre tendency to play dumb and obsfucate the point being made… why?

  72. Emiratesstroller

    On the whole I am in agreement with Wallace that there is too much negativity about Arsenal on Le Grove.

    Yet there are fundamental reasons why we should be critical of the club and
    yesterday’s performance does highlight our shortcomings.

    Frankly Arsenal should have buried this Crystal Palace team. In the first half we were in total control of game and if we had scored three or four goals it would not have been a total surprise.

    However, as the game progressed and the score remained 1-0 the usual anxiety crept in. We know that with Arsenal a single goal lead is never enough as
    we discovered in games against Liverpool, Everton, Man City and Spurs.

    Arsenal is not a robust team who can grind out results against the top teams. There is always the feeling that we will capitulate and to be frank that feeling
    was there yesterday in a short period when Crystal Palace put us under pressure. Only when we scored a fortuitous second goal could we relax.

    The current team/squad is strong on paper, but is fragile when it matters.Monreal looked quite good in first half, but the minute we came under pressure his defensive fragility was exposed.

    The Mustafi/Koscielny centre back combination has not finished on a losing
    side this season, but it is clear that Gabriel is not a strong enough substitute for Mustafi and I don’t think that Koscielny plays as well alongside him.

    Arsenal’s midfield has been distinctly average this season. Apart from Ozil there has been a distinct lack of creativity in this department. Messrs Xhaka,
    Ramsey and Coquelin are decent players, but none are match winners.

    Cazorla is of course a very fine player, but he has struggled with injury the last two seasons and that needs to be acknowledged. We need a player of his calibre as a replacement. Wilshire has most definitely been playing well at Bournemouth, but can Arsenal afford to take a risk by bringing him back or more importantly would he want to return?

    Offensively Arsenal are a potent force. Sanchez should be playing in a central striker role. Giroud is good back up, but not in starting eleven. Walcott has played quite well this season when fit.

    The reality is that Arsenal will finish in top 4 once again, but I don’t visualise that they will win a trophy this season. Wenger’s recent teams have more style than substance.

  73. Wallace

    underrated

    “The point I or others make regarding how Wenger is nowhere near a top level manager these days is simple and I’m pretty sure you know that. Yet this bizarre tendency to play dumb and obsfucate the point being made… why?”

    if you were to say, ‘not quite very top level these days’ I’d let it slide, it’s the ‘nowhere near’ bit i find objectionable/ludicrous.

  74. Wallace

    ES

    “Apart from Ozil there has been a distinct lack of creativity in this department. Messrs Xhaka, Ramsey and Coquelin are decent players, but none are match winners.”

    I think Xhaka’s passing from deep midfield has been pretty sensational this last month or so.