Has Wenger really learnt?

by .


I feel like the news keeps rehashing itself. Chambers landed yesterday and I think Ospina did as well? I can’t keep up. Whatever is going on, I think we’ve signed some players. Some good ones.

Wenger described Chambers signing as a gamble. Choice words to take from the man who signed Chamberlain from League 2 with 20 games under is belt and Theo from The Championship with 13 games to his name. Both at younger. The chances of success tend to increase with age and quality of competition if Billy Beane is to be believed. Calum has played 20 games in the Premiership, that’s a pretty good barometer he’s going to be ok.

The people are excited, some a little too excited. I’ve had people telling me Wenger has already delivered. Steady on kids, a ball hasn’t been kicked yet. It seems the manager spending some cash has sent some into a frenzy when all he’s done really is address gaps in the squad. Something he could have done over the past 4 years.

It’s amazing how history has rewritten itself so many times. Last summer the handbrake was off, now, this summer, people are reiterating that it’s THIS summer the shackles are off. Make up your minds. In fact, don’t, just look at the surplus cash generated over the years from player sales we’ve not reinvested for any reason. Then look at Dortmund’s expenditure and success. Then tell me in 8 years, it’s not been possible for us to progress.

This year is important because this new contract has obviously come with stipulations either written or verbal. Either the realisation that going out with a bang is massive, or the realisation of the board that they have no control of back room infrastructure. Whatever it is, I’m happy. I have what I’ve wanted for years.

Ambition from the manager.

Behaviour you’d associate with a big club. An attempt to rebuild our reputation in Europe as a ‘go to’ club. This summer pushes us up a level again. Which, if this season is good, will make us appealing to even better players. The project is looking good. We need to get beyond being a ‘project’ this season. Win a league and you’re the place to be. Players knock down your doors.

I took some flak the other day for suggesting that Arsenal weren’t in the elite echelons of European football, I’m not sure why. I can sell Arsenal better than anyone, because it’s my club. We have a great stadium, world class training facilities, revered manager, we pay well, we have a nice kit, Piebury Corner is excellent and North London is a beautiful place to live. However, you can’t avoid the facts when it comes to footballers. They go where the mega money is and they go where the trophies and prestige is.

Arsenal aren’t yet part of European royalty. Players don’t push Barca, Madrid, United or Juve to join Arsenal. There are few reasons for this. Firstly, we never compete for European Cups. Lately, like, ten years lately, we rarely compete for the league. Our trophy haul is low. We don’t ooze spectacular anywhere at the moment. You can join Arsenal and maybe win an FA Cup, you can go to Juve and win Serie A, a cup and compete for the Champions League because they’ll spunk tonnes of cash to make it happen.

… and I hate to say it, but the atmosphere at their stadium is incredible.

Arsenal are in the process of pulling a chair up to the top table of European football. We have some money, but look, money on its own doesn’t entitle you to an elite space. You have to start behaving like one of the big boys. You have to win a European Cup. You have to dish out sustained expenditure. You have to start making world class players again. You have to have BIG CLUB at the core of your culture. 4th place trophy gets you banished, acceptance of mediocrity gets you nowhere, being anything bar ruthless is sneered at. You have to behave how you want to be treated, you have to communicate ‘winners’ in everything you do.

Arsenal have been revered in Europe in the past. But that reputation died 10 years ago. Wenger now has the chance to rebuild that. Much in the same way  Brendan Rodgers is trying to reignite the stunning reputation Liverpool still have around the world. He has an easier job than Arsene, because Arsenal have never hit those heights. This summer will have people taking note.

… but like I said, this is just phase one. Phase two is what it’s all about. Phase two is where I’m not convinced by Arsene. The second part of the shift won’t become apparent until February next year. We need to see how Wenger fairs against the big teams, we need to see how our players react to better strength and conditioning, we need to see what the team will look like if we have a fitness coach implementing load management techniques, we also need to see whether Wenger starts dabbling in deeper preparation. Will Steve Bould be given more freedom? Will the new players adapt to our system? Will we have more than one system to operate under? How will he deploy his front line?

What’s the vision for the playing side this year? How do we capitalise on last years FA Cup and 128 days at the top of the league.

It really is a fascinating year ahead because it’s all about Wenger. The shackles are off, when I say shackles, I mean Wenger has realised what he has to do if he wants to keep his job and remain relevant in world football. That’s exciting. Let’s see what he can do!


667 Responses to “Has Wenger really learnt?”

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  1. Bamford13


    origi = sanogo

    What a stupid comment. Origi started (over Lukaku) for Belgium at 19 at the WC and impressed everyone who watched him. He is technical, clever, has pace and is a good dribbler.

    Sanogo, on the other hand, will never even be invited to the French full-team camp, and has nothing going for him save size and athleticism. Sanogo is a joke.

  2. Keyser

    I didn’t do anything to Paulinho, Lol, we’ve been here yonks, at least I hope not, I’m part joking, part worried about him, he used to put more effort in, he’s seemed very bitter lately even for him, I think he’s upset at the positivity because he feels Wengers getting away with it simply by buying a few players.

  3. Nasri's Mouth

    @relieable sauce

    I just didn’t work out very quickly where you were going with it.

    I think there were issues with Shaktar before the conflict, (don’t know for sure) but you can’t imagine it’s done anything to help

  4. Keyser

    No-one here think that Barcelona home game in 2011 was extremely impressive for a team that gets slaughtered for it’s ability to adapt or it’s perceived lack of tactics, I also think Barcelona were better that year compared to the team we played the year before.

  5. Emiratesstroller

    Wenger has said that he will offer Campbell the opportunity to prove himself
    pre-season, which means up to and including Man City game. I suspect that the same will apply also to Sanogo.

    I think that at the end of day one of these two players will be farmed out just as
    is likely to be case with Jenkinson,Miyaichi,Coquelin and possibly Gnabry. None of these players is likely to get much game time this coming season.

    At the end of day I think that Wenger will sell at least one player in our squad.
    That is likely to be either Vermaelen or Cazorla.

  6. Bamford13

    Paulinho & Keyser

    Congratulations to Paulinho for moving Keyser to say the following about himself:

    “and to be honest, I feel like a massively sad cunt”

    A moment of real insight here, I think, for Keyser.

    Yes, I’m aware that I’m taking his words slightly out of context, but I bet there are a fair number of Grovers who will nonetheless smile to think of Keyser saying this about himself.

    Play nice, gentlemen.

    There is a difference between changing TACTICS and changing PERSONNEL, and Paulinho’s point was that we only changed our PERSONNEL between 2010 and 2011 against Barca — specifically, Wilshere for Diaby — not our TACTICS.

    In your comment above, Keyser, you seem to suggest that any change of personnel — Wilshere for Diaby — IS a change of tactics, but I’m afraid that simply isn’t the case. Tactics and personnel are two different things. Now perhaps you can explain how our TACTICS were different in 2011 — not merely our personnel — but it isn’t enough to point out that we had different players on the pitch.

    And by the way, Paulinho, I don’t think your commentary has slipped at all. Don’t let Keyser try to get you down. 😉

  7. WengerEagle

    Talent-wise I’d say that we are now close to the 2011 side with the exception of RVP to Giroud.

    Szczesny and Koscielny are now better players than they were in 2011.
    Debuchy is comparable with Sagna of 2011.
    Gibbs is comparable with Clichy of 2011.
    Mertesacker is a better CB than Djourou was then.
    Ramsey is a better player than Wilshere of 2011 (not by a lot, Wilshere was brilliant this season)
    Ozil is comparable with Cesc of 2011 talent-wise.
    Sanchez is a better player than Theo of 2011.

    The only three players from our 2011 starting XI that I would rate as better players ability-wise would be Van Persie over Giroud (vast difference here to be fair), Song over Arteta and Nasri over Cazorla (not by much, just had a more versatile skill set and was a greater threat out wide).

    Excluding the talent and ability, the 2011 side was clearly the greater cohesive unit which makes sense as that side was built for years with the players building up a great understanding with each other. At that time Cesc and Clichy had been here for 8 years, Van Persie and Djourou for 7 years, Song for 6 years, Walcott for 5 years, Sagna for 4 years, Nasri for 3 years.

    In our current first XI Debuchy, Mertesacker, Arteta, Ozil, Cazorla, Sanchez and Giroud have all been bought in the last 3 years. The understanding and communication is still, developing as you can see with Ozil’s rapport with Ramsey last season and Mertesacker’s rapport with Koscielny. We’re still very much in transition as a team.

  8. Paulinho

    Keyser – I don’t think I’m anymore bitter than before – if I ever was. It’s just an odd label you put on people that sees through your bullshit. Your just a bit of an over sensitive petal and can’t really handle anyone calling you out on it.

    It was better performance because we had a much better player playing instead of Diaby. Simple as that.

  9. Keyser

    Bamford13 – Yeah, I was moved, Oh, Oh, wait, had to fight the urge there again.

    If you change Personnel for a specific reason, ie what that players skillset brings to the team or because of how he might adapt to the team we’re playing it’d be a TACTICAL change.

    Wasn’t the point though, Diaby started the season playing a similar role to Song alongside Wilshere, they basically held his hand as he was introduced to the team and league, a Wilshere mistake lead to liverpool taking the lead at Anfield the first game of that season, he got himself sent off against Birmingham a little while later but he only progressed and grew from there.

    I tried to explain what I mean’t more clearly in other posts and why I mentioned it to begin with maybe like Paulinho if you pay more attention you might realise this.

    Consider the Barcelona games over the course of two seasons and contrast the style of play we employed throughout the year to those games, whether you feel this was enforced by Barcelona’s excellance or not.

    Nice Pep talk.

  10. Paulinho

    “If yes, you’ve already indicated that btw so there’s no, NO, answer, then I’ve pretty much proved my point.”


  11. Keyser

    Paulinho – Nah you pretty much are more bitter, or there’s simply no method to your bullshit, see through what ? You tried to make a comment on something you hadn’t really followed and much like Bamford still aren’t following.

    Lol at least you’ve admitted you’re bitter.

  12. Bamford13


    I agree with you regarding today’s team versus that 2011 team. The three spots where we were better then are:

    Nasri > Cazorla
    Song > Arteta
    RVP > Giroud

    I would add one thing, which will probably be controversial to some. I think that side was a better possession side as well — through the center of midfield — because Wilshere and Fabregas worked and worked together and with others in close spaces better than Ramsey and Ozil do.

    Ramsey and Ozil are obviously both very good players. But they do not give us the kind of possesion in the middle of the field that Wilshere-2011 and the rest did. If you watch that 2011 game again, it is remarkable how well we kept possession of the ball against Barca. At that time, even a team as good as Madrid struggled to keep the ball against Barca’s pressing defense, but we stood toe-to-toe with them and did remarkably well.

    Now, possession of that kind may not matter as much to all, but I’m not sure we are a better counter-attacking side either. Watch the second goal we score in that game. Who makes the pass Cesc made there? Ozil? Maybe. Ramsey? More likely, I think. But I still don’t remember us countering that well at any point last year.

  13. Paulinho

    Keyser – Bitter, whatever. I just cut through your bullshit and that’s your only response. You can never really debate what I’m saying just question the source or motivation behind a comment – classic desperation tactics.

    I probably come across alot more confrontational that I actually mean to be(intonation hard to pick up on the internet), so you should actually take it as compliment that I just wade in. How many years has it been six, seven? You still seem shocked by it when I’ve been doing it for years.

    Oh, and cheers Bamford, although funnily enough I think I’ll get over Keyser’s scathing comment. Lol.

  14. Paulinho

    Although are some of his sycophantic followers probably need a change of underwear judging by their responses to it.

  15. Keyser

    WE – Exactly, you could debate over who’s better or the potential, Djourou’s speed, he wasn’t short either, mean’t while he might not have been a better defender, he was a better fit for the team, what’s clear and you can see it in almost every player or aspect of that team is how they developed.

    We’re nowhere near the level of efficiency that team was running at. Which is seen in Song and Van Persie’s seasons the year after.

    You can’t see that in this team, you can in some players, I used Mertesacker as an example, because almost every year we’ve tried a slight variation of how we play, and you can clearly see how we’ve tried to accomodate Mertesacker each year, but his lack of pace is something the team has to work around, and can’t really overcome.

    Which is why the Barcelona games were important, because despite playing a specific style all year we changed tact for those games, the second time to greater success than the first for various reasons.

  16. Bamford13

    Crazy. LVG is running Ashley Young as the left wing-back.

    _______________De Gea

  17. Keyser

    Paulinho – Lol, yeah you are bitter, or it’s sheer stupidity, you do this quite a lot, simply ending up mirroring what I say.

    You waded in today with no fucking idea what I was talking about, I’m not responding to your point because it has little relevance, why wouldn’t any sane person go back and work out if they’ve made a mistake or not ?

    So right now, you’ve either happy to wallow in your own ignorance, because you’re stubborn, or because you’d ratherg this descend into the usual tit for tat bollocks.

  18. moray

    WengerEagle, Liverpool almost always spend badly. Apart from the occasional gem, they usually overpay heavily for some second rate talent. Same as spuds. I suppose it is one of the dangers of falling into the 5th/6th place fight.

  19. Paulinho

    Keyser – We’ve probably gone through this before, in fact we have – numerous times. You always place too much into team evolution, consistency, injuries blah blah blah.

    Our tactics did not change. We simply executed it better because we had an extremely talented 19 year old taking the ball off the back four instead of a dopey overrated crock. If Diaby had played instead of Wilshere in 2011 the same thing would’ve happened again.

    I tend to skim over the rest of your stuff because it’s the same bull over and over again. This imaginary evolution of the team from one year to the next that is completely a figment of your imagination the vast majority of the time.

  20. WengerEagle


    Tbh I wouldn’t even say that’s controversial, the 2011 side were hands down the better possession team. We virtually matched arguably the greatest possession side ever to play the game for ball retention at the Emirates that season.

    Wilshere of 2011 was certainly more comfortable on the ball than Ramsey is. That’s not a dig at Ramsey, he does other things that Wilshere wasn’t capable of. I’d also agree that Cesc was more comfortable with the ball at his feet than Ozil is, tbh I’d even say that Santi prefers keeping the ball to Ozil. What Ozil does that neither of those two do as effectively is ghost into space and picking up dangerous postitions to play the killer pass.

    RE being a better counter-attacking side now, Sanchez’s addition will certainly improve us in that respect. We definitely need to keep the ball better though, in the big matches we just concede possession in the stupidest places. It’s why I would love Benzema up front, in addition to being a top class all round striker he’s a brilliant retainer of the ball and passer for a CF.

  21. Alexanderhenry

    Goonergoonergone, with all due respect, I disagree. You don’t win three titles , five FA cups and qualify for the CL 18 years running by being a ‘ tactical imbecile’ as you put it. That’s just common sense. As frustrating as the last 8 years have been, wenger has kept us competitive despite having to work under an enforced -and in my opinion unnecessary – zero net transfer policy. Up until last year he had to sell before buying , a handicap few other premiership have had to work with. Thank god he didn’t walk.

  22. Bamford13

    Phil Jones is playing really poorly. Just giving the ball away.

    Mata, Rooney, Herrera and Fletcher have looked good.

  23. Keyser

    Paulinho – Lol, you’re still not trying, and now you’re soo entrenched that this is pretty pointless, you’ll simply take this to some low point until you have an out.

    Whether enforced or not we changed tactically for Barcelona as opposed to how we’d played all year, not neccessarily tactically simply in relation to Barcelona, yet the second time we were more composed, efficient, compact and disciplined.

    You skim over what ? It seems like you pay no attention at all, again you haven’t understood the point, you haven’t offered anything of worth analytically and you’ve already resorted to being abusive.

    Evolution as opposed to what ? Wilshere’s better how, add insult. It seems this is about as far as your mind stretches.

  24. Paulinho

    “Evolution as opposed to what ? Wilshere’s better how, add insult. It seems this is about as far as your mind stretches.”

    And that’s what it boils down to. You simply have no idea how to judge individual footballers, hence whenever something happens that is markedly different to before you put it down to intangibles like team evolution, certain injuries etc rather than certain players/change in personnel(unless of course they’re on your agenda driven hit list).

    Yeah it’s funny how the team looks more composed and compact when you haven’t got a player giving it away every ten seconds.

  25. Keyser

    Paulinho – You’r either on a wind-up now, or you’re one of the dopiest people to ever post on here.

    How about you actually provide some constructive analysis rather than your usual destructve snide bullshit.

    Lol how about we start with how we’d played all year and compare it to the Barcelona games, was there a difference ?

  26. Paulinho

    Keyser – Story-telling is not analysis. You’ve displayed nothing but tedious story-telling and tried to dress it up as analysis.


  27. Wengerites be damned!

    It’s been a while since I commented here.
    Well, the world seems more and more dangerous and Obama with his partners- who endorse the technologies of control chaos-wants a war with Russia. They are doing everything they can to escalate the conflict. So a war is a very possible scenario.
    If that happens, be prepared because Europe will be the first place to suffer the terrible consequences of a nuclear war.
    Don’t even think the Obama administration cares about Europe. As Victoria Nuland said : ‘ F**k the EU.’
    Unfortunately, many of EU leaders don’t represent their people. They chose to turn their countries into mere vassal states of the USA.
    A war may be coming and this time nukes will do the talking. Football will be irrelevant…
    I hope I’m wrong.

  28. Paulinho

    “Wasn’t the point though, Diaby started the season playing a similar role to Song alongside Wilshere, they basically held his hand as he was introduced to the team and league, a Wilshere mistake lead to liverpool taking the lead at Anfield the first game of that season, he got himself sent off against Birmingham a little while later but he only progressed and grew from there.”

    Cutting edge story-telling, sorry, analysis.

    I await eagerly for the next installment of Wilshere and team’s ‘evolution’.

    Cuttind edge analysis.

  29. Keyser

    Lol can’t answer a simple question, and haven’t offered anything of note yourself.

    ‘Diaby shit, Wilshere better’, cutting edge alright.

  30. Keyser

    Except it didn’t start there, and you’ve still got fuckall idea where it did start.

    Answer the question if you want to actually discuss what the topic was about.

    Typical Paulinho.

  31. Dark Hei

    @Wengerites be damned

    Don’t be silly. Obama is a peace loving/cowardly hippie. A real war is not happening under his watch. A war will bust his popularity meter. That man is concerned only in how he is perceived in the eyes of the Americans. And he wants that perception to be a “genuine”, “concerned”, “progressive” ,”liberal”. He will do everything he can to maintain that perception.

  32. Dorobucci

    A tactical imbecile would likely play henry at left back and bergkamp at the goal post with viera playing as the striker along side lehman and still win the league according to you.
    Your foolishness has no boundary.

    Im not even a wenger fan anymore but the man has nothing more to prove to people like you. In football managements he remains one of the best ever tacticians we will ever know.
    Forgive me if it makes you cry WENGER IS OUR MOST SUCCESSFUL MANAGER.

  33. Wengerites be damned!

    Dark Hei
    By supplying terrorists groups in Middle East with weapons ???
    By orchestrating a coup in Ukraine to overthrow the legitimate government and install a puppet regime in Kiev?
    If he is all love and peace, then why is he surrounded by people of the technologies of controlled chaos ?
    Why is he trying to escalate a conflict with Russia ???
    America is bankrupt . They are buying some time with their Ponzi schemes, but the situation is bad.
    J. Biden’s son is already looting Ukraine’s gas. A war has the power to revitalise an economy (banks profit and arms industry) and new resources become available to loot.

  34. Bamford13

    Real Madrid sold 345,000 James Rodriquez shirts in 48 hours to recoup €26m of €90m transfer fee. One, that’s impressive. Two, it shows that investing in top class players — rather than hoarding more than 100m in cash — can be smart business, as well as smart football.

  35. Dark Hei

    @Wengerites be damned
    “By orchestrating a coup in Ukraine to overthrow the legitimate government and install a puppet regime in Kiev?”

    Wasn’t that pre Obama period?

  36. Emiratesstroller

    Arsenal are perhaps stronger than 2011 not so much in the 1st X1 as has been
    discussed, but rather in the squad players, which are now available.

    My one concern remains as ever the lack of physically strong midfielder to break down counterattacks and support defence.

    I would hope also that we will have fewer injuries this season. You cannot afford to have level of disruption that we suffered last season. Much of criticism directed to Giroud is a consequence of the player being ‘overplayed’ with limited rest and no options.

    We could still do with additional striker, but Sanchez and Walcott can alleviate our over dependence on him.

    Personally I think that Arsenal will finish third in EPL this season. Chelsea and
    Man City have stronger squads than we have and that will count for them. Our
    aim should be to close gap and stay ahead of the other teams such as Man Utd
    and Liverpool.

    What club does need to do is to continue to plan its transfer business well. This is the first time in decade where I felt that club were in control of their

  37. Nasri's Mouth

    Bamford13: Real Madrid sold 345,000 James Rodriquez shirts in 48 hours to recoup €26m of €90m transfer fee. One, that’s impressive. Two, it shows that investing in top class players — rather than hoarding more than 100m in cash — can be smart business, as well as smart football.

    Doesn’t quite work like that though.

    Firstly, there’s no way RM would be making that much per shirt, do the math, that’s 75 euros per shirt. It’s probably 10% of that

    and secondly it’s very unlikely they sold an extra 345k shirts, it’s simply that Rodriguez is the most popular name for all those people buying a shirt pre-season.

  38. Bankz

    Wengerites be damned!

    The Last Thing Obama Wants Is A War With Russia. ..Trust Me On That.
    Yes He supplied Militants Weapons In Syria Who later Transformed into ISIS But That was a Situation no one envisaged.
    Obama would avoid War with//by any means possible & that is exactly why The whole World seem to be in total chaos now.
    Obama is Perceived Weak. Scared to send Troops back into Iraq, Syria or Afghanistan even though he knows when a Terrorist state eventually emerges, The USA & Europe would become the first targets by Terrorist from such states.
    Isreal have turned a deaf ear to the ceasefire offered/influenced by the USA because They know stopping now will only empower/encourage HAMAS to recoup for a repeat of what we see now in 2/3yrs time.
    I feel for the innocent kids/women who have died. Both sides have a large portion of blame to all the innocent lives wasted.
    I hope They come to their senses soon enough.
    Main point is , Obama Would Avoid Full escalated War by Any means possible.

  39. Bankz

    Nasri’s MouthMouth

    It was on CNN on satuSaturday. Less than 5 days after Real Madrid completed his signing.
    I don’t know if it’s true because if it is, it’s totally crazy but like I sausaid,

  40. Bankz

    Nasri’s Mouth

    It was on CNN on satuSaturday. Less than 5 days after Real Madrid completed his signing.
    I don’t know if it’s true because if it is, it’s totally crazy but like I said, I watched it on CNN & was shocked.

  41. choy

    Ashwin ..apparently Reus doesn’t want to come to Arsenal.

    Bankz.. Adidas makes money on the shirts, like NM says Real Madrid just a get.

  42. Nasri's Mouth


    I’m sure the bit about them selling 345k shirts is true, but the important thing is how many EXTRA shirts they sell over the year.

    I’d bet the number of shirts with Bale’s name has dropped dramatically this season compared to last.

    That’s not to say they don’t make money on shirt sales and that big signings have a positive effect, but the actual additional profit isn’t anywhere near 26m euros.

  43. Gregg

    Reus contract extension turned down. Being linked with Barcelona ? that would be an interesting move, how much game time would he get there ?

    They’ll be a huge auction next year for him that’s for sure.

  44. Revving Kevin

    “365,000 shirts to recoup £26m of the £75m transfer fee”

    Lol. That’s a daft comment. First off, Real Madrid don’t make 100% on the shirt sales, they probably make 5/10%. So they might have made £2.6m. The sponsors are the real beneficiaries hence the money firms like Adidas , Nike and Puma are throwing around.

    Also, this is pre-season so those buying shirts will be buying them anyway, the choice is what players name to have printed. Its not all ‘additional’ shirt sales as you suggest.

    It is frustrating reading this rubbish but it exposes the ignorance regarding all things financial.

  45. Revving Kevin

    The maths to do is the “additional” shirt sales a club makes over the course of a season.

    If that is 365k MORE shits than they would usually sell in a season, then that’s 365k X profit per shirt. If their margin is say a tenner a shirt, after tax, that’s £3.65m. It’s all about ‘additional’ sales, over and above what they normally do, so did they sell 365k more than usual? Probably not. Doing 365k X £70 euros to reach £26m is nuts.

  46. Revving Kevin

    No problem. It’s typical of the utter crap the media distribute on a daily basis. You do have to ask yourselves how they get away with it. They are all the same, Pedro is often doing the same thing.

  47. rizal

    Will Steve Bould be given more freedom?

    why most people say that, do they just echo-ing from each other ?
    because it is pure speculation, does it really that more freedom given to Bould equal to better result, is Bould is soo astute ?

    these sort of question stem from frustration with Arsenal result and Arsene, that all it is to it.