It’s time for someone at Arsenal to stand up to Wenger

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I was staggered to read that Steve Rowley (our chief scout) was sent to watch Scott Dann and Gary Cahill, the latter because Vermaelen is injured yet again.

First question is why? Did we not see enough of them last season to know what they can do? Were we not offered Cahill for £17mil in May? Why on earth is watching them in one pre-season friendly going to change anyone’s mind?

When Vermaelen had his first season and he looked class, we still shipped over 40 goals, the problem is the way we defend and the type of player we buy. I have heard many times that Kozzer will be better this season as overseas players need time, why? Vermaelen didn’t. Why spend £10mil on an unknown defender when we could have bought any number from the EPL, and still can that would have adapted straight away.

When will Pat Rice or Ivan Gazidas stand up to the manager and say, ‘you know what Arsene, zonal marking doesn’t work and Squillaci is absolute rubbish’ we can all see it but no one has the bottle to tell the nutty professor, no one. If he thinks the defence is good enough, then he clearly isn’t. (any more)

Gazidas comes in and amasses a huge management team to do player trading and sponsorship deals, well so far I can see we have done the Thomas Cook deal, hmmm I wonder what the return on Ivan’s crew is so far? Yes I’m sure there are others, but nothing big enough that warrants buying a player or paying for his team.

We were promised signings and big changes to our defence this season, so far we bought a 19 year old with potential, got rid of our regular left back and paid Squillaci a bit more, comforting, we can’t even win the Emirates Cup, we have a manager that seems more interested in giving Henry 5 minutes in our team than winning the Cup. Don’t forget Henry broke our hearts when he left for Barca. He wasn’t the victim, we were.

We signed Gervinho for Bendtner, who because he earns too much, we can’t get rid of, we should have got rid of Chamakh, and played Bendtner down the middle.

I suspect we’ll sign Chamberlain and Scott Dann, I also suspect we’ll get shot of Nasri and let Cesc go, and if we replace them the spin will be we signed this player and that. All we would have done is replaced two top players.

Why do we need to sell them before we can buy? What happened to our £50mil transfer budget? We are treated like children.

It’s scadalous that we are a few days away from the start of the season and we have 2 unhappy want-away players, a crap defence and even if he makes the signings we need, they won’t know each other, we should have bedded players in months ago, and all our management do is sit and do nothing. Sleepless nights and working around the clock my rectum.

Arsene Wenger seems hell bent on destroying his legacy which is a scandal in itself, what is the matter with him?

I don’t care if he falls on his feet, leaving it this long is complete madness, if we get lucky then that’s it, we get lucky, look at the Mancs yesterday, they did all their business early and looked settled, well settled enough to beat City, we couldn’t even beat an MLS team for goodness sake.

We were woeful against Benfica, Cesc not playing is the tail wagging the dog and Nasri having a row on the plane for me is understandable, I don’t blame him, he knows we need new players, Cesc does so does Jack, Theo and Robin, in fact everyone bar Wenger knows and not one person at our club has the guts to tell him, well bar Nasri and Cesc anyway.

Project youth is doomed, Cesc wanting out says that and that’s why Wenger is being childish, he can’t admit his madcap experiment has failed, that’s not stubborn, that’s autocratic and very, very dim, it will cost Arsenal, and Arsenal is about the fans not the ego of a manager that has gone way past his sell by date and surrounds himself with buffoons like Hill-Wood and the other sycophants.

I get sick of hearing from our manager that we were so close last season, we were miles away, our last 11 games form wasn’t as good as the teams that went down, close, are you blind?

Our team lacks fight, passion and mental strength, our team is brittle, why? Because we play them too young and too often, and that is the real issue with project youth, they get way too many injuries, so why doesn’t someone point that out to Mr Wenger?

We need a Barton in there, forget what you think of him, what he did was as stupid as Alex Song driving with out a license, Barton stubbed a cigar out on someone, Song could have run someones kid over, footballers do stupid things, it doesn’t take away his ability and he’ll cost nothing, better a Barton than a Chamakh for nothing.

Pat Rice won the double with Arsenal, I remember watching him at Highbury, from the schoolboys enclosure, he played with players like big Frank and Peter Storey, who make people like Joey Barton look like a girl, he knows what we need, get off your hands Pat, you don’t need to agree with him, you know what’s wrong.

Another interesting thing is Wenger pulling Jack from the England squad, why? We need him in the England squad, all that will do is piss him off and next season City or Chelsea will be after him.

It would have made far more sense to stop RVP going to play for Holland, those games have cost us his services for months at a time.

This post is a moan, granted, but I, unlike the Arsenal management teaam cannot sit by and watch this happen to the team I have supported my whole life, and not since 1996 like most of the twits that won’t like this post.

Before you think I have it in for Wenger, I don’t, we started Le Grove on the day he committed his future to us, we were delighted, he only started to go pear shaped when he became obsessed with young players, he still is and that will screw this club over, he will eventually get fired and we’ll have to start all over again, why?

Sign what we need now Arsene, this can still be saved, and you are the only person right now that can do it in time.

Kroenke, Gazidas and Wenger aren’t Arsenal fans so they don’t care like I do, Usmanov I’m ASSURED is at least an Arsenal fan…

Have a great day Grovers, something will happen this week, but will it be what we want?

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Fantasy Football…

That time of year has arrived again where we pedal a bit of Fantasy football! We have a £100 prize for the winner, which basically feels like I’m gifting myself and Geoff £50. The league comes with an app for your phone and it’s all very sophisticated! If you fancy your chances…

1. sign up the Metro Fantasy League HERE

2. The Join the below league, using the below pin!

League Name: Le Grove

League Pin: 4450

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Arsene has overseen a shocking summer | Joel Campbell and Scott Dann can save us

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Highlights

Frankly, the whole preseason has been a bit of an embarrassment. We were told contract situations would be sorted out early, they haven’t been. We were told defensive problems would be addressed, they haven’t been. We were told that we’d be busy in the transfer market, we haven’t been. Now we’re a week before the season, we’ve added a winger, about 10 sixteen year olds, a 2nd string right back, sold our left back, Cesc wants to leave, Nasri can’t sit next to Wenger on a plane, we’ve conceded 7 in 6 and we’re expected to look at this as progress?

Fine, tell me that perspective is needed, tell me that you honestly believe this is the calm before the title challenging storm. I just can’t believe you. I don’t believe in the manager this season and from watching the players, hearing the stories and seeing what’s gone on in the games… I can’t believe the players do either.

I said in the match review after the Villa game that my gut feeling was that Wenger wouldn’t change this summer, read the post if you’re interested, it’s very ground hoggish.

‘I have no expectation that he has it in him to change. I have no expectation he’s going to do what he needs to this summer and I have a horrible inkling this is going to end in a sacking next season.’

How can a man so esteemed in the game be so deluded about the quality of this team?

There’s only so long you can keep bleating ‘it’s just preseason’. There comes a point where you have to face up to it, the coach has failed this summer, now we’re on the back foot.

It certainly was a game of two halves, though I wouldn’t say the first half was exceptional, we did enough to take a one nil lead. Rambo, Rosicky and Song in the midfield lacked bite, pace and any sort of directness really. Gervinho certainly likes to force moves, if nothing is happening he has the ability to take the ball round players and that is refreshing to watch. Alex Song slipped Robin in and his chip just wide of the back post showed he was sharp.

Moments later, Gibbs was fed in outwide by a cushioned Arshavin pass, he cut it back for Robin who couldn’t miss.

Robin hit the deck about 3 minutes later. It was at that point you realised how horribly exposed our squad was to a Robin injury. We’re looking down the barrel of 4 months of Chamakh at any point. We already know how useful he is as a player, really, we should have a decent striking option, because that Moroccan has been next to useless since December.

Our defence was still doing its best to look shambolic. We play a kamikaze high line until someone is looking to cross the ball in, then we sit ridiculously deep and forget who is sitting 4 yards in front of that line.

The second half was a disaster, we made 62 changes and brought in the three players who give nothing to the side, Chamakh, Squillaci and Fabianski. It didn’t take long…

1) Gibbs fluffed a clearance outwide

2) Vermaelen failed to close down his man, Squillaci failed to close down his man

3) Pablo Aimar managed to get goal side of Vermaelen and slot home

A calamitous goal, but so, so typical of a defence who don’t have a clue what they’re doing. Pablo Aimar? I thought he only existed in Championship Manager? Another example of defending space, not players.

The second goal was sheer Squillaci. He swung a half assed boot at Nolito, who turned him like he was turning a tree in the park, looked up and rifled home a shot inside Fabianski’s post. Now, I’ve been saying Fabianski is a poor keeper for a while. He still hasn’t improved and should the Squillaci hit the fan, we have to rely on him against big clubs. That shouldn’t be allowed to happen, we know what he’s capable off, keepers cost us all too often… we need to sign in some experience.

Anyway, the rest of the game played out and we basically took a spanking from Benfica in the second half.

Conclusions…

Question.Why are we letting Nik B go? I’m not saying he’s a champion striker. I’m not saying he has a marvellous attitude. What I am saying is he’s a far better player than Chamakh. He’s younger. He has more Premiership experience that the Moroccan. He can play with his back to goal and he’s far more talented as a striker (not a right winger).

Answer. Wenger didn’t track him for three years, he’s not the favourite.

Question. Why are we persisting with Squillaci? He’s made a mistake in almost every preseason game so far. He has no potential, this is pretty much it. He scares the whole side every time he’s given a run out on the pitch. He was also a disaster last season.

Answer. Wenger signed him as a bargain and it takes at least 3 seasons for him to own up to a mistake.

I mean seriously, I know this is preseason, but this year, I was hoping we’d compete, I was hoping we’d at end the summer without a transfer surplus and I was desperately hoping that instead of begging players to stay, Wenger was going to show the whole world how ambitious he was with his buys and we were going to get players to sign off the back of that.

Turns out that’s not the case. We’re going to run with Ramsey and Jack in the middle. Two players with undoubted talent but with a real lack of experience. That’s risky. They don’t have the presence as a pairing to take on older teams and I think it’s grossly unfair to put the expectations of a club on their shoulders. People were asking me what we’d do with those two if we signed a decent replacement for Cesc. My retort was what would we do with them if Cesc stayed?

This club needs progress, not projects.

I know that Jack and Ramsey could be the best thing since sliced bread, but not for a few years. They simply don’t have the wherewithal to compete for the league next year and as we’ve seen with Jack, they don’t have the bodies yet.

This summer has been as disaster from start to finish. Even if we do sell Cesc this week, how much practice has Nasri had in centre midfield if that’s the solution? If he’s not the solution, how many Premiership games has Ramsey played there?

Don’t worry though, Joel Campbell is signing.

Scott Dann…

Scott Dann to Arsenal feels less like a solution and more like a two fingers up to Bolton and Everton. He’s a leader, has previously known how to play in a disciplined back line, he’s so outspoken Tony Adams kicked him out of Wycombe and he’s a bit of a tough guy.

Has Wenger thought this through?

Well, one thing is for sure, we’ll be told Arsenal have a 52 page dossier on him and that Giltube has been studying his career 8 hours a day 7 days a week. Truth is, this feels like a cheap ‘ lm clever’ deal. Though I can’t complain… I’ve made the case before that Lower league English defenders never get a look in… we’re willing to back Kozzer and JD… We should back Dann if he comes in. He’ll know what roughing it is all about and I’m sure he’ll fight tooth and nail to make sure he’s a success. A panic buy if ever I saw one… One that will be a tremendous success or a terrible fail… not really the ‘super quality’ we were looking for eh?

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Fantasy Football…

That time of year has arrived again where we pedal a bit of Fantasy football! We have a £100 prize for the winner, which basically feels like I’m gifting myself and Geoff £50. The league comes with an app for your phone and it’s all very sophisticated! If you fancy your chances…

1. sign up the Metro Fantasy League HERE

2. The Join the below league, using the below pin!

League Name: Le Grove

League Pin: 4450

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Nasri nearing exit | The real reason Cesc is staying at home | Udinese vs Arsenal…

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Well hello there fans of football finery. Today, we have much rumour and counter rumour to speak of. We’re at the end of yet another listless Arsenal week and some interesting stories with no substance have been cropping up all over the place.

Firstly though, let’s get straight into the major story and that was the one about our punishment from the footballing over lords for our embarrassing end of season collapse. Much in the same way they condemned us for losing our last three Champions League groups with a last 16 draw against Barcelona, they’ve offered us a similarly hard path into the group stages this season by pairing us up against Udinese, the Italian surprise package of last season.

On the face of it, I’m not worried. Personal opinion is that I’d much prefer to be playing a team of note. That means we’ll turn up, concentrate and give a good account of ourselves. I know we’ve been notorious for dropping our pants in the big games over the past few seasons, but let’s not kid ourselves that Udinese are any sort of powerhouse here. In fact, let’s not kid ourselves that Italian football is anywhere near what it used to be. We’ve taken out Milan and Roma over the past few seasons. Spurs gave a good account of themselves against Inter Milan last season.

The Italians have cut loose a lot of top talent this summer. Alexis Sanchez has left for Barcelona, long-term Arsenal target Inler has left for Napoli and Zapata has found a new home at Villareal. A pretty poor summer by anyone’s standards. They still have World Cup flop Di Natale who has been the top scorer in Serie A over the past 2 seasons, but with a rock solid defence like ours, we needn’t worry!

I’m confident we’ll pass this test, if we don’t, we’re in big trouble on a whole host of levels.

The Cesc Fabregas story continues to rumble on, Barca bid a low, Arsenal tell them what the ‘buy it now’ price is, Barca go back to their fax and argue amongst themselves, leak a few stories and the process starts again. I said last week that £40million is what we’re looking for and Barca aren’t offering that at the moment… so Cesc stays. The fact he’s rejoined training tells you all you need to know about how confident he is at landing his move.

I don’t think Barca want Cesc this season, if they can land him on the cheap, he’ll arrive. If they can’t, it’s not problem, they’ve given someone else the number 4 and they’ve disrupted our season already. They like doing that to us because we keep pinching their young superstars.

I don’t mind what happens with Cesc as long as 1) We get a fair price for him 2) If he stays he’s not allowed the Captains armband 3) He isn’t given a way straight into the first team when he’s fit (much in the same way Rooney was punished last year).

He’s not on the flight over to Benfica. I know people are keen to point out that this is crazy but the contacts I’ve spoken to have said that he’s in no shape to play football at the moment. He’s had a week of preseason, the others have been going at it for 4 weeks. If you play an unfit player this late in the programme, they could pick up an injury.

It’s amazing how many people are on the imaginary injury band wagon now… no one was so keen when I pointed that out earlier in the summer.

The Samir Nasri story doing the rounds is that he had a massive argument with Wenger on a plane as was seen storming down the other end of the plane. Now, if Wenger dropped something he shouldn’t have in the tight confines of the plane, I can understand Sammy’s reaction. If however, they had an argument and Sammy stormed off down the end of the plane… where was he going, he’d have to come back at some point? A very Saved by the Bell reaction. Anyway… rumour has it, he and Wenger are not seeing eye to eye. Players clearly don’t hold the manager in the same regard as they used to, mainly because he’s not giving them the platform to succeed I’d imagine.

Benfica are up tonight, that should be interesting.

It should also be interesting to see if Wenger does have some good news for us next week on the signings front. He’s had another shocker due to his feet dragging ways. I can just imagine how the players feel. New players inject fresh enthusiasm into a camp. The players are watching as the team is taken apart by want-away players and no one has come in. That’s not good for morale and it’s not good for future summers. Next year, this is only going to get worse. Whichever way we look at it, Nasri and Cesc definitely won’t be here this time next year, plus, we’ll have Robin and Theo in their last year. You think they’ll sign up with riches and trophies on offer elsewhere?

I’d be surprised.

That’s why we should sign Mata this instant. Even if Cesc stays we need a player like him to raise morale and be in place should the worst happen. He’s a signing of intent and he shouldn’t be signed as a reaction to a sale. He should be signed to show the rest of the squad we mean business. If we did sign Jagielka and Cahill, again, those guys would be two major shows of strength and ambition. Currently, we’re miles away from competing for the league, if you think otherwise, look at our friend history, he’ll show you what happens when you don’t strengthen in the necessary places.

Here’s hoping for a swift resolution to the summer of hell…

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Fantasy Football…

That time of year has arrived again where we pedal a bit of Fantasy football! We have a £100 prize for the winner, which basically feels like I’m gifting myself and Geoff £50. The league comes with an app for your phone and it’s all very sophisticated! If you fancy your chances…

1. sign up the Metro Fantasy League HERE

2. The Join the below league, using the below pin!

League Name: Le Grove

League Pin: 4450

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