Arsenal fight back… but it disguises nothing. We’re in decline and the manager is blind to it.

by & filed under News Review.

So the topline assessment is that once again, Arsenal weren’t good enough. The… erm… second from topline is that despite us not being good enough, I really enjoyed the second half. Once again, Arsenal seem to have slipped into an irritating pattern we can’t shake. We’ve had them all, conceding early, conceding late, great first halves, great second halves… the trend at the moment is weak first halves and p*ss poor defensive performances.#

Last night saw us drop points because we can’t cut out the individual mistakes. No one seems keen on taking a leading role at the back. The first goal conceded last night started with a slip from Sagna, the ball was cut across the box, Vermaelen got no where near it, Sturridge had his shot blocked by Szeceney, the ball rolled out, it looked like Ramsey tried to back heel it away, then Suarez rolled up to smash it in and Mertesacker turned his back on the shot. A calamity. I’d like to put it all on Sagna but the issue was more down to the poor reactions after the save.

We didn’t roll over and die. Walcott went down the other and and had a powerful shot turned wide. Giroud shanked a shot on the edge of the box dreadfully wide of the post… things weren’t great up top. You really did feel yourself praying for a Villa.

Our keeper showed himself up with some daft 6 yard box shenanigans. He tried to Cruyff turn Sturridge in his area, found himself tackled which put us under pressure. A few minutes later, he made a seriously poor attempt at punching the ball clear from a corner. His positional sense and confidence for high balls into the box has taken a battering. Arsene Wenger should be out there right now brokering a deal for Steklenburg who is on the radar for Fulham. Our keeper has no pressure and his performances are being negatively impacted as a result. He’s arrogant. There’s no consequence for playing terribly.

The first half started to go stale, I remember one moment where Johnson was down injured for a few minutes. Steven Gerrard took time out to speak to 6 of his players. He was barking orders out, trying to raise their game. What was Vermaelen doing? Nothing. Hand on hips, staring blankly into space looking totally shell shocked. Really poor. The lack of leadership qualities in our squad is appalling.

Things went from bad to sour when Kieran Gibbs picked up his customary injury. Santos warmed up to the dread of the whole stadium. He’s like a worse less funny version of Eboue.  It’s not his fault though, which is why the booing is really shameful. There are too many people at the ground who seem to be there just for the bad times. Wenger really should be taken to task as to why, despite knowing Santos isn’t up to the job, has not looked to bolster behind Gibbs… who is an injury disaster.

The second half started off with a bit more intent. Podolski was clattered after a surging run into the box, we thought it was a penalty, goes without saying really. Theo nearly put us ahead after the German put a perfect ball into the back post… the header from 3 yards was a bit of a mess, even for a short man.

Disaster then struck when Jordan Henderson, a player so average even his own mother struggles to watch him, waltzed through our defence, hit a shot that Ramsey did well to block, Santos was in the way so it bounced back into Henderson’s path and he slipped it in. What a joke…

We really kicked into life after that, Podolski had a powerful shot that went just wide. The team started moving for each other and the chances rolled in. Our goal came from a Jack Wilshere freekick. Giroud managed to get his head on the end of it and turn it in. Finally… he’d scored. It didn’t take long for goal number two to arrive, this time Theo picked up a cross from Podolski at the back post and smashed it low from an acute angle to make it two.

Giroud and Theo had numerous chances to close out the game, but the finish just wasn’t there from either of them. Someone with a clinical edge could have had four goals last night, but it wasn’t to be. We were still conceding posession down the other end, so the game didn’t feel closed off until the whistle went…

At the end of the day, a point isn’t good enough. It may have come from being two goals down, but that doesn’t really disguise anything. We’re not good enough in defence and that starts and finishes with the manager. Like a friend said to me last night, Arsene Wenger is managing decline. People say he’s overworked, but what is he actually doing? He’s controlling the club, but he’s not working on defence. He’s not working on a game plan. He’s clearly not working hard to bring players in. He’s just managing the team like he was 10 years ago without the bells and whistles of success. No man in the modern game is capable of managing every aspect of the club, why someone hasn’t pointed this out to Arsene is beyond me.

There’s this theory that your wage bill is reflective of your final position in the league. It generally works out that way. Some use this to justify how we do every year. Why don’t we turn that theory on its head? Should the highest paid manager in the league not be performing to a higher level than his peers? In the same way you pay the best players the best money on the expectation they’ll over achieve… shouldn’t the same be true of the manager?

If yesterday’s post match acceptance that his squad is good enough didn’t convince you he’s dead as a manager in the top echelons of the game, I don’t know what will. As I’ve said many times before, I’m not sure it’s a player thing. Our defence has been the same regardless of who we put into it. Many of them leave and go onto better things. Vermaelen and Mertesacker aren’t bad players, but they’re not being given any instruction or support. Play on… and sort out the mess yourself seems to be the strategy. It’s killing us…

I was told last night that the mess hasn’t gone unnoticed at the top. Apparently Ivan Gazidis is also under pressure as well. If I owned a football club, I think I’d be asking questions of him. I know he can’t over rule the manager on the playing front, but when the manager you’re working with starts to affect commercial income because he’s so unbelievably rigid, you have to step in. If Arsenal finish outside the top 4 this season… who is going to spend out for a club level ticket? Who is going to want to fork out £500 a ticket for a box (that has 16 seats)? Blind loyalty to a manager who is lost in his own arrogance isn’t good CEOing. The fans are unhappy, the team looks unhappy, the pundits are all stating the obvious… so everyone in world football is wrong about this team bar Wenger who has once again said he can’t find anyone in world football good enough to improve his squad?

Utter drivel… it’s almost like he’s behaving the way he is to spite the fans… and in the process, he’s actually doing far worse, he’s spiting his legacy.

Leaving this post on a high note… I though Aaron Ramsey had a really good game last night. He reminds me of Flamini in the middle of the park. He likes getting stuck in and he seems to relish the pressing game. I also thought Theo was excellent. His control has come on leaps and bounds as has his footballing brain. 18 goals, not a bad return.

It’s transfer D-Day… let’s hope for a miracle.

726 Responses to “Arsenal fight back… but it disguises nothing. We’re in decline and the manager is blind to it.”

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  1. Arsene's Nurse

    marcus January 31, 2013 15:09:12

    Arsene’s Nurse,

    Arsenal have become the new North Korea. So closed down that there are little to none outside influences
    This is true. How many times do we see Mancini, Ferguson, Mourinho, etc watching other teams? Ferguson has kept things fresh by bringing in new staff, Wenger kept Pat Rice for how long?

    I don’t think that Wenger is aware of what goes on at any other club. I think he is solely obsessed by himself and what he does. Even if he was aware I doubt he would implement anything from another club’s set up or methodology to improve us because his philosophy is: “If I don’t come up with it it’s worthless”.

    He is so blinded that I don’t think he can actually see anything wrong. He may see that we are defensively poor, but that won’t mean that he will change anything to improve that. He’ll sincerely believe that all that needs to happen is more of the same and that at some point it will all “click”. His ego and subsequent stubbornness will not allow change.

    Wenger cannot adapt, everything has to be on his terms. eg: transfer window and his pathetic rambling of how it’s unfair.

  2. Bush Gooner


    It will be an ariel onslaught of the highest order. “Lump it forward” or “Hoof it long” shouts Pulis, as they attack our left back position… 🙂

  3. Jeff

    So 14 games to go we have to rely on other teams to drop more points than we are going to drop. The more teams we will rely on to do this the less likely our chances will be of making fourth. We have in front of us Everton and Tottenham who are on 41 and 42 points respectively whereas we’re on 38.

    We have been riveted to position 6 for a while now. We have only one top 3 club game left against Man U on 27th April. Presumably Wenger’s calculations have taken all that into account and seeing that our closest rivals above us have more top 3 club games than we have.

    That’s all well and good. However what needs to be taken into account is that we have got this far on pretty much a fully fit team. The rest of the season is all about survival of the fittest and we always have injury problems in the latter half of the season. Indeed with Arteta, Gibbs and Diaby out for the foreseeable the season is following a very familiar path.

    It’s hard to predict but in all honesty we probably will make fourth. We are still to play Tottenham and Everton so it is very much in our hands but of course if we defend like we did last night we might as well not bother.

    The bottom line; no ambition and no real desire to win anything (as has been the case for the last 8 years).

  4. Rrobbins

    It seems with little effort and concentrated practice time with focused Steve bould coaching, the defense would improve. What we are witnessing is performance decline. Sagna, the contract? Mertesacher stretching his leg not moving his body? Tommy not leading aggressively? Where is the coaching? The manager? We draw or lose games with our keeper constantly making rookie mistakes in positioning. Everyone sees the problems. I cannot fathom that wenger is blind or stupid. There has not been a kind comment about arsenal’s management in personnel or on the pitch. When does it change? So very sad it breaks our hearts.

  5. Bush Gooner

    Dear Arsene, Ivan the Terrible, Stan Syrup and the rest of the creeps.


  6. gambon

    Ornstein reckons we will sign a left back

    Yeah cos thats gonna help us get back into the top 4.

    Yet another panic buy, that worked out so well last time!

  7. Pedro

    Not quite sure why only an injury to Gibbs forces us into buying a left back… shouldn’t have the worst left back in the league be the prompt for that?

  8. LeMassiveCoq


    Just because you refrain from using profanities and swear words, does not make you intelligent. Conversely, using such language does not mean that you are unintelligent. I work with a lot of surgeons, senior clinicians and academic fellows on a daily basis, and trust me they swear like Navvies.

    We use colourful language on this blog, because we are for the most part grown up football fans. If you wish to partake in a conversation with flowery language, where everybody eulogizes your god Arsene, then kindly go forth and multiply.


  9. Bush Gooner

    Saying that, were the 5th richest club in the world and still we scrape the barrel for cheap bargains. What does that tell you about the man. If Wenger had his way he would buy food from Happy Shopper to sell at the Emirates.

  10. gambon


    Wenger is the prick that has a pair of shoes riddled with holes despite having £12m in his current account.

    He absolutely detests rotation, detests competition for places and has a very weird and unnatural fear of spending money (but not earning it).

    There is nothing proactive about what he does.

  11. Bush Gooner

    Official – Wenger has Chrometophobia

    “Fear of spending money: An abnormal and persistent fear of money. Sufferers experience undue anxiety even though they realize their fear is irrational. They worry that they might mismanage money or that money might live up to its reputation.

  12. Guns of Hackney

    Bush Gooner
    January 31, 2013 16:18:46

    “Official – Wenger has Cuntophobia”

    Steady on, that’s a bit strong!

  13. JJ

    Our back 6 are in shocking form and Santos is just a joke… So what does Wenger do? Looks to buy a striker (and failed) then tries to loan out our backup RB, who has actually been on decent form.

    How long can this insanity go on?

  14. Jeff


    But what about the £40-50m in wages for useless players that is being poured down the drain every year. Is that just transparent to his chrometophobia?

  15. michael

    The awkward seven hours wen u want to knock off ssn but sit hoping to see sumthing at arsenal

    if we buy a bong does that mean chamack is coming back

  16. Northern Gooner

    Ivan (Golum) Gazidis get off your fat corporate ASS and kick some sense into Arsole you Stanley fuckin bean counter !!!

  17. Kurt F

    Can’t sell anyone because their wages are too high, can’t buy anyone because paying big wages will upset the Wenger’s ‘socialist wage structure’ – bloody brilliant state of affairs, no wonder he’s getting £7m a year.

  18. Bush Gooner


    Must be. After he realised the amount of money he pissed down the drain with buying players like Squillachi, Santos, etc, his risk factor when buying has reached an all time low. Low outlay = low risk

  19. Cesc Appeal

    Great Article Pedders.

    Wenger is totally up his own arse now…has been for years but he’s really up there now.

    Siege Mentality is firmly in place and he’s lost touch with the outside world…more to the point he doesn’t want to hear the outside world.

    Any ruler that thinks they can do so without help/advice from arguably more knowledgeable people int heir respective fields will be toppled…purely through ignorance.

    Wenger’s stubbornness and ignorance will be his own undoing.

  20. g0tch34ted

    Thinking that, even they as bargain basement as they are, and even if most are just squad players. I’d welcome even some odd transfers just to say we’ve done something. To have some cover.

    Stekelenburg (loan) – Chezzers push to play better.
    Pogatetz (£2m) – Hugely experienced, likes a fight.
    Diame (£3m) – Terrier-like
    Beckham (free) – Experience, dead ball specialist.
    Holtby (£1.5m) – Typical Arsene type player.
    Soldado (£5m) – Fairly clinical, another option.

    As I said, just to bring in some new faces, some steel, some experience, on the relative cheap … even doing it vaguely Wengerway …

    I guess it’s bad that i’d actually be quite happy with something like that right now. Anything but this (again).

  21. Gunnershabz

    It’s depressing being an arsenal fan everyone knows our problems expect our board and wenger

    Rumours about some athletic Bilbao defender

  22. gambon

    David Beckham will be retiring in the next year or 2

    We should be looking to get him in as a coach, or in a Vieira like capacity.

  23. Gunnershabz

    His contract runs out this summer as well, so we can get him on the cheap

    Two defenders and defensive midfielder with David villa that’s wishful thinking

  24. gambon

    If we have done nothing for 31 days only to sign a shit CB in Amorebieta then the club deserve to fall out of the top 10, let alone 4.

  25. Ash79

    looks like Koz with haircut

    apparently we’ve pimped Squillachi to clubs in france and spain but he wont agree personal terms cos we pay him a fuckin fortune …

    cant blame the cunt

  26. wanger-wenker

    the question should be asked and then analysed as to how did wenger win all those trophies?
    was he just in the right place at the right time with the basis of an inherited team that just organised themselves on the pitch?
    To look currently at the calamitous management from this senile idiot the opposite question begs ;what has happened to this (apparently) once great manager ?

  27. TitsMcgee

    Steklenburg to Fulham more than likely and we are rumored to be in the running for some useless guy named Bong?

    You just have to laugh at this point. Makes no sense getting angry any more.

  28. Josip Skoblar

    Romain Alessandrini (Rennes) is another young lad to watch in Europe. First cap against Germany soon. He’s an attacking midfielder.

  29. Wenger's #1 Siberian Scout

    God damnet. I cannot fucking wait until gibbs is out for the season, and injuries commence. Cant wait for:


  30. Joppa Road

    Have we signed Bong and Nacho yet? (well excited).

    Fck me, you couldn’t make this up. It’s sad really. Had my boy in the car with me tonight and the hope and excitement “Are we getting Villa. I think we will get Villa”.

    What the fck am I supposed to tell him. We should be going for players like that.

    Wenger you are a c**t.

  31. Gunnershabz

    Looks like we buying players from Spain

    Montreal and amorebieta

    Would be useful additions and if we can get diame

  32. Marko

    Monreal is a very good left back he’s behind Alba in the spanish set up. And I wouldn’t turn my nose up on Amorebieta he’s still an improvement on Djourou and Squillaci.

  33. Arben

    If i had to choose, having Wenger in charge or fighting for a relegation every year i choose the second, at least i would feel a proper fan and relived,rather then scraping for fourth and be treated like a muppet from the managment and the board.
    It’s fucking anoying watching these wankers getting richer and richer and you are strugling to come to terms why i choose to be a football fan and i’m not getting treated as a fan,
    All this happen just because a sick french motherfucker has decided to make the whole world belive that he know more tha anyone else about anything,
    bar peoples feeling,

  34. SpanishDave

    Wenger says’ hes not going to buy just to please the fans’ and our chairman saying at the agm ‘thank you for taking some interest in our business’ sums up the management of our club now.Disgusting state of afairs

  35. TitsMcgee

    While Monreal looks to be an improvement over Santos we are still a pulled hamstring from Monreal(If it comes to fruition) away from having Santos back in there.

    Santos shouldn’t ever be a worry i.e he shouldn’t be on the squad.

    I’ll take Monreal I guess but still woefully inadequate transfer period.

  36. Gunnershabz

    In Spain basically real and barca run it especially with the tv deals

    But other teams we can grab players from

  37. Honest Bill

    Sweet.. now only a right back, two centre halves, a goalkeeper and a holding midfielder and we’ll be a pretty strong team

  38. bayo

    skysports reports…..the deal has been in principle for months but scheduled to be completed at the end of the season but gibbs injury made arsenal to bring it forward to january

  39. Bubble

    Lemme get this straight. Even when our squad is so bad my 5yr old dog looks like a better player atimes, it takes an injury to one of our players for wenger to dive into the transfer market? Any chance our first 11 can all get injured in the next 1hour?

  40. Arsenal 1886-2006

    Spanish lad I know has said Gibbs could lose his place to this new kid. Could be the kick up the arse that Gibbs needs to keep on improving.

  41. Bubble

    You look at Santos play & you wonder why a dead cat on a stick isn’t our second choice left back. At least it’ll scare people away.

  42. TitsMcgee

    Spanish lad I know has said Gibbs could lose his place to this new kid. Could be the kick up the arse that Gibbs needs to keep on improving.

    We need an entire squad that needs a kick up the arse.

    It fosters development.

    Any club worth their salt needs to be able to be 2-deep where the guys off the bench aren’t too much of a downgrade from the starters.

  43. Al

    Nacho is a good signing but i refuse to get excited when the clubs only ambition is to sign a left back. I mean that is so depressing because no matter how great he is we are still left with a back four that has no leader in it. I would have really loved it if we bought a CB that is a leader and vocal today but once again it looks like we have failed at that


    I’m suprised at you muppets who believe this story, have you learned anything?When this deal falls through i’ll be knocking on your door selling some good grade rope……..swing swing

  45. Bubble

    Problem with this Monreal Nacho deal is that if he signs, we still facing Bayern Munich with Santos at left back. The Nacho dude is cup-tied they say.

  46. Arsenal 1886-2006

    Bubble January 31, 2013 18:42:50
    You look at Santos play & you wonder why a dead cat on a stick isn’t our second choice left back. At least it’ll scare people away.

    Comment of the day for me, almost choked on me tea.

  47. Al

    Also considering how stingy wenger is and his reluctance to have competition, something tells me that gibbs might have picked up a serious injury and not this 3 weeks out nonsense because why otherwise would he break character and buy monreal?

  48. Keyser

    16 minutes before you’re last post bermyboy you were calling people muppets for believing the story, now it’s ‘IF’ ? did you find out something new ? have you got any sources ? You don’t want to lose all the credibility you’ve built up.

  49. DaHustler

    Monreal is up there as a full back, seen him play for Malaga quick a few times on SKY and thought he was great, loves a tackle and he’s quick, i reckon he will be 1st choice before end of the season if he comes!!

    As for bubbles comment about the dead cat, definitely comment of the day!! Lol “scare them away” classic

  50. kwik fit

    Get a load of this;

    BREAKING NEWS: Sources at Melwood have confirmed #Liverpool have accepted a bid for Jose Reina from #Arsenal. An amazing development #LFC

  51. Gambons mum

    In all seriousness though
    I predict Monreal as new LB to fight it out with Gibbs. Santos won’t go anywhere though, he’ll be our new, cheap, in house left winger.

  52. Leedsgunner

    Ho hum, Monreal? Who the F*** is He? For a manager (and I use that word very loosely) who declares to hate panic signings — guess what? IT’S A PANIC SIGNING!!!

    Wenger belongs at a relegation club… We the money and the stadium of the 5th largest club in the world and we act like the 1005th. Sadly it looks like we’re heading that way.

    PS. In light of what Beckham is doing with his salary I challenge the AFC board and hierarchy to do the same to the end of the season. At least that way they’ll finally something to show it when we finish the season with NOTHING AGAIN.

    Here’s a transfer I want: WENGER OUT.

  53. JJ

    If Wenger is smart he would play Vermy in LB for Champs league. Unfortunately he will probably not want to upset Santos and we will lose the game down his flank. I am sure Wenger will also think that benching Santos will decrease his resale value. Unfortunately he hasn’t worked out that playing him decreases it even more.

    Arsene is a ‘nose despite the face’ specialist.

  54. DaHustler

    Lol I am the only arsenal fan that knows of players that aren’t mentioned in the newspapers?? All this “who is monreal” talk is too funny 😀

  55. DustyDwyer6MPS


    Spanish football writer Andy West: “It looks like the deal to bring Malaga left-back Nacho Monreal to Arsenal is drawing closer, with various reports stating that the Spain international has completed his medical at the Emirates.

    “This would be a very good signing if it goes through. Monreal is an excellent ball-playing full back with a solid all-round game both defensively and going forward, and at the age of 26 he’s coming into his prime.

    “The only negative is that he’ll be cup tied for the Champions’ League but, if the reported fee of around £8m is accurate, it’s an excellent long-term deal.

    “It’s also worth bearing in mind that Monreal will be teaming up again with his former Malaga teammate, Santo Cazorla, which should significantly help the settling-in process both on and off the pitch.

    “It is believed that Arsenal had been in talks with Malaga to sign Monreal in the summer, but the injury suffered by Kieran Gibbs during Wednesday’s game against Liverpool brought the deal forward.

    “Incidentally, Malaga have moved quickly to line up a replacement – Vitorino Antunes from Portuguese side Paços de Ferreira.”

  56. Rutu

    Monreal could come it seems don’t know much about him to be honest 11 caps for the Spain NT means he has some good qualities . hope he is good. Reina WTF kwik could it be true ????

  57. g0tch34ted

    Twitter alight with Villa rumours again saying things like …

    “Barca’s resolve has been broken with a large bid”
    “Big money move on the way to the Emirates – it’s NOT Reina!”

  58. rph105

    Who ever is pleased to see Reina at our club, go and fuck yourself! I watch Liverpool week in and week out with my dad (Liverpool supporter), Reina is one of the worst keepers in the league. If you think otherwise, you haven’t seen his performances over the last three years.

    This signing has proved the club has lost it. Wenger, the board, our scouts, all need to go!

  59. Al

    We all know David Villa wont happen. It will be “WE tried really hard but they didn’t want to sell” nonsense we always end up with

  60. Doublegooner

    If we get this Monreal and he’s good.

    I can guarantee like all the other purchases he’ll go backwards and look shit within 12 months like Vermaelen now is.