I’m losing my edge

by .

Someone gave that guy on the fountain chair a child to dance with...

Someone gave that guy on the fountain chair a child to dance with…

Happy 65th Arsene. The big 65. Wow. Huge achievement. You’ve done some things. Won stuff. Made some cash money. You’ve got it all.

Question though. I have questions. How long do you go on for? When is it right to hand over to someone new? When does continuity become detrimental? When are you just holding onto power because of ego? When do you say, ‘I can’t do this anymore’?

Interesting that I raised the age thing yesterday to great fanfare. When people question the age of the board, it’s cool. When you question the age of the manager and his relevance in football, it’s ageist.

So when it gets like that, you have to put numbers into the game. Before we play this, my view is this. Football is a young mans game these days. The sweet spot for great managers is between 42-55. I personally think the real talent lies at the lower end of that spectrum. Usually when managers have done their stint as an assistant and are ready to emerge with fresh ideas.

The reason young managers work well is they don’t have a formula. They have access to more tools. They’re part of a generation more accepting of technology and its evolution. They have more to prove. They also have more of a connection with the youth generation. Especially in football, where you’re trying to connect with teenagers.

The difference between football now and football of ten years ago is immense. It’s the same in marketing. My Dad ran a successful creative agency in the eighties and nineties, but things changed. Digital became more prominent, data became more of a focal point and the world went from less than ten channels to hundreds. When Wenger took over Arsenal, revolutionary was stopping players from drinking 10 pints, having a strong play on nutrition and raiding the French market for talent. 20 years on sport has changed. All clubs have access to the same tools. Tech is cheaper, smarter and it’s being mastered by experts rather than managers. Teams like Barca and City have video analysts sitting in the stands cutting video for half time. Prozone are integrating with Football manager to improve access to scouting. Football globalisation has lowered the barriers to entry to pretty much all the markets. Football is 80%+ faster than it was. The players are bigger and faster. Managers are more tactical and flexible. Clubs aren’t about the domineering manager who is jack of all trades, they’re built out so they own process IP… they’re built out into departments that are run by experts who feed into the main man who makes the decisions.

The game is a million miles away from where it was. Our manager, however, isn’t. He’s still sitting at the starting line refusing to purchase the bus ticket to the future.

Ok, so before I crack into this, there are a couple of anomalies. Firstly, Pelligrini. Personally, I don’t rate him. Also, he’s dealing with the Man City squad. Don’t come defending him to me if you’re the type of fan who uses City’s resource to defend Arsene. If Jose was at City, I think you’d see a far more dominant team. Ferguson is the exception but he’s retired. Heynckes was replaced by a Bayern Munich who understand what I’m making a point about here.

Pep G 43
Carlo A 55
L Enrique 44
R. Garcia 50
Conte 44
Allegri 47
Mourinho 51
Blanc 48
Klopp 47
Simeone 44
Unai Emery 42
Rogers 41
Lopetegui 48
Jardim 40
Pelligrini 62
Loew 54
47.5

So above are the best coaches in Europe, either by performance or job. I’ve left LVG out of the loop because, let’s be honest, he’s going to be a disaster. Wenger isn’t an elite coach anymore. The rest up there have all won something major or they’re doing a pretty major job. Allegri perhaps shouldn’t be there, but he’s the new man at Juve, so there’s something in his appointment.

Anyway, average age of a top football manager in Europe is 47.5. Wenger is 37% older than the average, even when you factor in the City manager. 34% older if you wanted to the throw LVG into the mix.

Now, I’m not for a minute suggesting you can’t be dynamic at that age. I’m just pointing out that the clear trend with football managers is to opt for the younger man. I’m saying our problems stem from not accepting the future. Refusing to adapt. Not adapting the core team of backroom leaders despite clear failings.

Steve Jobs believed creative contribution post 30 was a tough ask citing musicians and artists. He had to go out of his way to keep his thinking radical and ahead of the curve, namely by always asking questions of himself. Mark Zuckerberg had a similar mindset when he was starting out Facebook. Now, whilst these are extreme examples and probably misguided (I am thirty, I don’t want to be useless), there is something in the idea that there’s a top out point when it comes to being innovative. There has to be a point where you say enough is enough. Looking at all our failings as a club, that all centre around one man who has been here for too long.

65 is great. Even greater if you’re still in a job. Not great if you’re only in the job because you’ve built an impenetrable power base no one can break.

TONIGHT

Enough on the birthday celebrations. What about the game tonight? Well, Koscielny won’t be about. Still injured. Ospina has some how managed to crock himself for the next three months. His injury powers are strong.

Arteta could be available as could Aaron Ramsey. That’s good news. The more bodies we can get back the better. We want people firing as soon as possible. Wondering when we’ll see Theo back in the mix.

You’d hope we have enough in the locker tonight. We’ve not responded well to anything this season. We’ve looked like we’re on a  permanent hangover all season. We need to wake up, we need to show a bit of passion and the manager needs to inject a bit of instruction into the side.

If you’re going, have fun. Stay safe. Drink all the Belgian beer!

I’ll leave you with this song by one of my favourite bands. I imagine Arsene Wenger singing the footballing equivalent of the below track in the shower.

885 Responses to “I’m losing my edge”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Doublegooner

    Happy 65th Arsene.

    AKBs have been busy making their favourite teacher home made birthday cards.

    I’ve been busy having a whip round for a Parker Knoll, fluffy slippers & a booking at the Totteridge Care Home

  2. leprofessorknowsbest

    Happy fucking birthday you senile sausage.

    Your present ?? The 4th spot in the end of the season and a pay rise of course!!

  3. Le Prof

    leprofessorknows

    ‘Happy fucking birthday you senile sausage.’

    Wouldn’t of expect anything less than that from a thick sausage like yourself.

  4. Bankz

    I’d rather come 4th for the next 10years than finish 1st – Arsene Wenger

    Happy 65th birthday.
    I hope Monaco comes calling soon.
    Monte Carlo is such a nice place to live in once you’ve clocked 65yrs.

    My grandma told me that before she died 2yrs ago.
    I hope Arsene listens to the voice of wisdom.

  5. Jim Lahey

    “Steve Jobs believed creative contribution post 30 was a tough ask citing musicians and artists. He had to go out of his way to keep his thinking radical and ahead of the curve,”

    Pedro I think you’ll find that Steve Jobs’ radical thinking was his downfall in the end…

  6. shad

    Wow..I doubt RP will be on here today. His Garcia led team got a proper spanking yesterday didn’t they?

    City on the brink of Europa if all goes to plan.

    Meanwhile, that old fool is turning a year older while at the club. If he had retired I’d have Yaya Toure personally deliver the cake.

  7. Emiratesstroller

    Pedro

    The fundamentals of work life have actually not changed.

    You mention that your father ran a creative agency. Actually working creatively has always been a young man’s profession not least in advertising. However, running a creative business is not the same and does require experience.

    The problem with Wenger is that he is obsessed now with technical ability and entertainment value rather than building teams which can win titles and major trophies. There is no shortage of talent at the club at moment, but the
    ‘team’ is not good enough.

    I watched yesterday’s games involving Chelsea and Bayern. They highlight everything that Arsenal are not i.e. work ethic and solid defence. When you
    watch Chelsea you see all 11 players working hard around pitch. If they lose
    the ball and the opposition counterattack the whole team tracks back quickly. Similarly their full backs are proper defenders and not converted wingers.

    Bayern are also proficient in all departments of the game. There is no weak link in their team. Interestingly though one of the best players on field was
    Gervinho. He could have scored a hat trick. He scored one, hit the post with another brilliant shot from from long distance and was only thwarted from scoring another goal through sheer brilliance of Neuer.

    Seeing his performance yesterday and how he played at Arsenal it reminds me of Ozil. The plain truth is the club are not bringing out the best in either
    player and the question to be asked is why?

    I agree with you that Wenger is past his sell by date, but it is not necessarily on
    account of age. After all Ferguson was in his 70s when he retired and still won
    titles.

    The problem with Wenger is that he has lost the art of winning and that is down to poor decision making coupled with a bunch of sycophants sitting as
    coaches on the bench who appear to have very little to say about our poor tactical planning.

    When I read that Ospina was injured before he arrived at Arsenal it poses yet
    another question about judgment. Arsenal brought in Kallstrom in January despite a fracture in his vertebrae. The question you should ask is why Arsenal are signing such players looking at the injury track record. It is yet another
    example of Manager’s poor decision making.

  8. Moray

    last time Arsene celebrated an anniversary he had his asshole turned inside out by Mourinho (fuck off). Let’s hope the result is different this time around.

    For me, I would be surprised if he won anything ever again, even including largely worthless trophies like the FA Cup.

  9. Seg

    Wenger has the safest job in football world! His job is safe no the amount of trouncing
    Ain’t that something? Take a bow son. Happy birthday too

  10. Orson

    Pppppppfffffffffffffttttttt.
    I hate the fact we are shit now. Always a couple of players away from competing. It’s just all sssssooooooooooooooooooooooooooo Fucking predictable.

  11. 5am

    Regarding KSE ‘strategic’ services to the tune of £3m, I wonder if there’s some mileage in recognising that it’s better to do a deal with an asset such as Wenger’s contract, rather than let it run it’s course to zero value.. ….

    That could mean if Monaco want to pick up the tab, then AFC could bring in at least a cool £10m by getting an agreed sale on the manager!!

    Hmmmm……

  12. Shubham

    Pedro, what happened to Roma last night? 7-1 at home with a full team. Surely a top manager like Garcia could have and should have done something. Guess sh*t happens…

  13. shad

    Wenger’s scout network is absolutely broken. Just like the players the sign. Is he going to blame the hard questions by the bbc lady for Ospina’s injury?

  14. kapslock

    Happy birthday Arsene. Right man for the job? Not any more but he does love the club and has done a lot so deserves respect. Going for a 3-1 win tonight. COYG

  15. leprofessorknowsbest

    @Shubbam : sweet memories lol
    We are sometimes trashed like that away from home…

    But I have the very bad feeling that this could happen to us soon, at the Emirates.

  16. Goondawg

    Happy bday Wenger!

    But my focus today is on pep! What a manager! What a beast of a man! The way he still harries his team to score more goals even after humbling a good Roma side by 5 goals n the first half hour. This guy strives for more and more. He doesn’t take a shit show like what has been going on at arsenal for far too long. I actually look at neueur and cry when I think of who we have manning our sticks. His save against gervinho was world class.

    Pep in his new book, has dissected and analysed arsenal and why we are so goddamn easy to beat. Because we are predictable and dont have a game changing plan. Unless damage limitation counts. Not for me.

    “At training the day before the match there are no clues as to the starting line-up. Pep still hasn’t decided whether they’re going out to get goals or erring on the side of safety and settling for ball domination. The session doesn’t focus on either of these approaches. Instead they rehearse how to defend the way that Arsenal begin their attacks from the keeper. They go over the co-ordinated movement the back line must make when the ball is being put long from the Arsenal keeper.

    ‘We know that [Lukasz] Fabianski almost always sends the ball to his right,’ Planchart reminds them. ‘If it reaches [Olivier] Giroud it’s so that he can chest it down and hold it up. If he puts it to [Bacary] Sagna it’s to make our full-back push up towards him and Sagna will try to head the ball onwards and into the space behind our full-back.’

    And on Monday evening they go over and over the way to defend against these Arsenal goal-kicks, with Neuer in the role of Fabianski. For 20 minutes, Dante and Schweinsteiger are busy marking Pizarro, who acts as Giroud, and Alaba tries to perfect the way to close down Sagna, whose role is taken by Rafinha.

    Next, Pep explains in detail how Mikel Arteta tries to draw in the opposing pivote in order to create a space in the middle of midfield into which Mesut Özil will try to appear. Pep walks through Arteta’s movements whilst emphasising to his players, who are spread out in front of him: ‘Özil is the dangerous one – he’s the one we really need to keep the closest eye on. Arteta draws you in, Özil pops up in that zone with [Santi] Cazorla and [Alex Oxlade-] Chamberlain around him and that’s the way that they achieve superiority in a key area. We can’t afford that to happen.’

    They test out the way to defend against this Arteta-Özil movement. The idea is that Robben and Ribéry squeeze infield and that Martínez, in his central-defensive role, pushes into the empty space which Arteta has created. In turn, Rafinha’s task will be to fill the space which the Spaniard has had to leave open in the middle of the back four.

    They go through a series of different actions, moving constantly. Pep keeps shouting out the names of Arsenal players – Arteta, Özil, Cazorla, Mertesacker – and these echo round Säbener Strasse whilst the Bayern players push themselves to a degree unheard of for a training session the day before a game. In fairness, they don’t go on for long. Just 20 minutes. It’s the rhythm and speed they’re working at that is so unusual.

    Something is changing. The players perform brilliantly and there is a growing sense of pride and total security so that it seems absolutely impossible for them not to win. Everyone is sweating at the end. Pep explains the thinking behind his approach. ‘You play at the rhythm you train at. In the match it’s down to each player to do the right thing tactically but the team’s rhythm depends on the training they’ve done.

    If you train badly, you play badly. If you work like a beast in training, you play the same way. And these guys, they train like beasts”

    Its amazing isnt it. This must be the attention to detail, over analysing extra 1 percent pedro loves to harp on abou, that will win you crucial games. And at 65, I have known for years Wenger does not share the same ambitions or harbour the same drive. If he did, he would as sure as hell bought a DM or a CB.

  17. andy1886

    Thanks Pedro you Bastard! You’ve just demonstrated that all but four of those managers are younger than me. It’s bad enough that I’m too old to play professional football any more, now you’re telling me that I’m too old to even be a manager? Well fuck you 😉

  18. Goondawg

    Honestly the way bayern were playing last night, so effeciently and with such power and grace. They would have swept away any team that night. You think Arsenal would have fared any better?? Ha!

  19. Rhys Jaggar

    Being radical post 30 is quite easy if you’ve mastered the ‘process’ of being radical.

    I’m not saying you’ve analysed it to the nth degree. I’m saying you know what innovation means.

    I knew it intuitively at 18 and the reality of being radical is that you have to gain systemic understanding of the field in question to understand what being radical actually IS.

    In Steve Job’s days in the 1970s, being radical was making a computer respond to events, rather than respond to pre-loaded code. Interacting with the computer user, not with a punch card of fortran. Nothing really radical about that: millions of blokes do that eyeing up horny women every Saturday night. They don’t go out with a pre-programmed picture of a woman in mind, they go out hoping to meet some hot totty. They don’t say it’s one dance, one drink then off to bed. They say: ‘let’s make a move and see what happens’. Been going on for centuries. But maybe not in geeksville USA…….

    Innovation in DNA sequencing was at the level of chemical reactions in the early 1970s, linking fluorescent outputs to computer data gathering systems in the 1980s, creating factories of that in the 1990s and moving onto bioelectronics and miniaturisation in the Naughties. The first was the boffin in academia, the second was the entrepreneur engineer, the third was the corporation, the fourth was the R+D-led VC-funded start-up with executives networked in big corporations. Different temperaments for different innovations. Genetic smart cards is next – your kids will be given one at birth (well, actually mum and dad will be given it, to hold in trust for them: you can have an 18th birthday hand-over). You’ll take it to the GP and they’ll stick it into some electronics gizmo to integrate your genetic make up with medical best practice.

    The important thing about innovation is helicopter vision to see where the next advances will come, then finding a way to achieve them. If you assume that you have to do both of those, then yes, under 30 it’s easier. If it’s more of a team effort, you can continue to innovate until death or dementia takes you out of the game.

    People who hack innovators can’t innovate, because they haven’t done the hard yards necessary to understand how to use the stuff they nick.

    Innovators in education know it’s about bringing kids to an emotional position of being securely grounded, inquisitive and physically healthy. Then they can innovate for themselves. It’ll happen this decade. I’m talking about 11 year olds innovating, not 18 year olds. By 18, they’ll already have had their first business succeed or fail.

  20. confused

    I am kinda drunk. So please excuse any irrationality that comes through in the next few sentences.

    Unlike a lot of you people, I am a relative young supporter of the club; have been supporting the club for about 12 years.
    I am sorry as it goes against what most of people here; but I really believe that Wenger stands for something beautiful, something that is about to be lost for ever, something that the new generation football fan will never know; and that is football at its purest.

    Football, that was not so commercialized and simple; football that was not as mechanized; football that was simply equated with talented individuals (read Pires, Ljungberg, Bergkamp) creating magic.

    I am as tired and frustrated as the next fan against Wenger’s strategies and vision for the club. But I can’t help but feel sad that the “pure” football is already dead. That I can at best only look back on it. That something that gave me such pure joy and happiness might not happen again. Don’t get me wrong, its not as if I am against competition; Fergusson’s squad kicked our ass on multiple occasions; but he was grappling with a simple world as was Wenger then.

    The club needs some new blood, thought, action; but today, I want to thank Mr. Wenger for making me as happy as I ever was. Where we as a club go from here is down to many variables/decisions; but it does reduce the gratitude I will always feel towards Arsene.

    today will not be the day when I rant against him . Today I thank him.

    there is always tomorrow.

  21. Carts

    Interesting that you’re wrting off LVG so soon. I believe he’ll come good. They too are only two more signings away from a complete squad. A DM and another CB.

    Rumours of Arsenal lloking to replace Wenger have to be bollocks. We’d have to miss out on top 4 by some-way before they’d even consider that.

  22. spandex dan

    Picasso did some good work in his later years. Arsene isn’t Picasso though. Happy birthday arsene please do the decent thing and leave soon.

  23. Babloooo

    Happy birthday Arsene and thank you for what you have done so far mate! However, don’t you think it is time to leave before you are disgraced out? My advise is that you should leave at the end of the season because I see disaster for yourself and the club if you insist on staying the whole 3 years of your new contract mate!

  24. leprofessorknowsbest

    “Happy 85th wenger”

    OMG, you have a time machine ??
    If wenger is still our manager at 85 years old, then there will have been a lots of suicide among the fans lol

  25. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    There cannot bra more arogant person in football than wenger?
    Even blather don’t come close.

    A win tonight will no doubt have stories linkin birthday an glorious years together,

    A loss will not link birthday an over the hill ?

    Lose lose situation

    If he had a ounce of decentacy he would announce his plans to step down in two years , them the club can offically throw the job out there to the right person,

  26. Leedsgunner

    Honestly what is the score with our injuries?

    We need to figure it out pronto. Hsa Tony Colbert given his resignation yet?

    I know people like to harp on about what we need to spend but it is completely useless if we cannot keep our players on the field fit and healthy.

  27. KurtF

    Interesting thing about Jobs’ success was that large parts of it weren’t based on his innovation at all – GUI’s, PC’s, MP3 players, touchscreen phones – all were invented by others, Jobs just had the vision to spot how successful these ideas had the potential to be, integrate them into his company and refine them to his benefit. If Wenger had the vision and humility to do the same re: things like our scouting methods, training methods, data analysis etc. Arsenal could be the Apple of football – as it is we’re something closer to Microsoft: lots of money but dull and predictable as hell.

  28. Leedsgunner

    Great point Kurt… re Steve Jobs. Arsenal is not Miscrosoft of Football, we’re more like Yahoo — once a market leader, now an irrelevance.

  29. Bristles

    Not sure about the age thing. Certainly older, established managers – even if they aren’t being innovative – tend to put in a reliable performance based on accumulated knowledge and skills. Wenger if anything is the exception in that he’s a one hit wonder who has been found out as the years roll by. Failing to even the do the basics is why we all him so frustrating, and I don’t honestly see that with older managers as such.

  30. Al

    Seriously Pep Guardiola is a next level type of man..Has the most dominant tactic and style but still manages to constantly evolve the formation. Yesterday it looked like they was playing a 3331…simply amazing.

    You have a manager that is constantly evolving his players…I mean Alaba has arguably been the best LB for the past 2 seasons….Now he is being played as a CB then moved into a DM then a CM and playing at a ridiculous standard.

    It really is amazing what Pep is doing at the moment.

    If you saw the looks of the Roma players and Coach yesterday they was confused and dazed…Had no idea how to hold onto the ball and where to go and had zero idea how to defend against Bayern…

    Whichever club gets Pep Guardiola in the Premier League will be the best and most dynamic team in the world for a considerable time…..I fear we are already out the running down to the incomepetence of the Board…

    I would give him everything….thats how important he is. If we are happy to pay wenger around £160k a week to manage us i would start negotiating at £300k a week with Pep Guardiola to show how serious we are to get him

  31. Steveyg87

    Regardless of how I feel bout the set up atm, its important that we get behind the boys..

    As pedro has pointed out a few times, they do not choose to be in the team the manager does and besides we have a few individuals in this team who give their absolute all every single second they’re on the pitch and that to me is good enough to receive my full support

    PS. Hazard was a fucking machine lastnight

  32. Emiratesstroller

    Interestingly I watched the Steve Jobs Film on Sky on Monday night.

    What came across particularly in the latter stages of the film was not just innovation of ideas, but the quality and design of products, which was precisely why he was brought back to the company. It had lost its way producing too many second rate products after he had been ousted.

    When you look at both the team at Chelsea under Mourinho and Manchester Utd under Ferguson the fundamentals of what they were doing were exactly
    the same. The team is more important than the individual players and they
    attack and defend collectively well.

    In the case of Arsenal we do neither particularly well and this season we don’t
    look like a balanced team with a proper game plan.

  33. Moray

    We would be a perfect club for Guardiola, as he’ll want to show what he can do at a club that is not a lady the strongest in its league. Plus we have a hands-off board and the best supporters in the premiership 😉

    However, what is manifest by now is that our Board lacks the balls and the ambition to make such an appointment. We will shoot for a second tier manager, who will do as he’s told.

  34. Moray

    That glimpse into Guardiolas team preparation is wonderful. If Wenger wants to know why he’s never won the European Cup and never beaten fuck off Mourinho, he just needs to read that. If you really want to reach the top levels, this is what you need to do. Setting up the same way for every game and sending the players out just to express themselves…it’s no surprise they look like boys against men when we play another big team.

  35. Moray

    A1…Guardiola is the manager Wenger wished he was. It’s refreshing to see a guy putting so much into the team and each game. Compared with our guy posting it home every weekend.

  36. Moray

    How did Ospina injure himself? Bending over to use the disabled ATM?

    This fitness situation is a joke. I thought we were supposed to be investigating it?

  37. peanuts&monkeys

    @leprofessor

    @leprofessor knows‘Happy fucking birthday you senile sausage. ’Wouldn’t of expect anything less than that from a thick sausage like yourself.

    WHATS THAT? ARE YOU HURT SOMEONE TOOK ON WENGER FOR RUINING OUR CLUB.

  38. salparadisenyc

    Reinvention is the key to longevity in a cutting edge manner. Acknowledging the fact new technologies might be more useful than the formula that led to initial successes. Which in turn is accepting you’re mortsikity in a way. All the greats have evolved and embraced the new but manage to maintain the same indentity or style.

    Michael Mann keeps rolling out the same film yet they alway feel relevant. Damon Albarn keeps making records that never feel dated and something tells me Pep will never cave on his killer mentality, sea change last night.

    Wenger is like Coppola in the late 90s, except he was smart enough to open a vineyard and pass the mantle to his daughter.

    TYAG

    Congrats man, nothing better. My 9 month old is surely a ball breaker in the wee hours.. Good luck!

  39. gambon

    The difference between Arsene and Guardiola…….

    Can you imagine Arsene doing this….

    image description
    Saboteur:
    Sabotage
    Read more from me…
    image descriptionSportWin An iPad Mini 16GB With Coral
    1069
    image descriptionFree StuffWin! An iPad Mini With Ladbrokes Poker
    348
    image descriptionLifeDavid Starkey’s Career Ending Rant Was Mad, Bad And Dangerous To Show
    256
    image descriptionMusicRead Sinead O’Connor’s Incredible Open Letter To Miley Cyrus
    168
    image descriptionMusicWin A Pair Of Tickets To Benicassim 2013!
    150
    image descriptionFootballWin Tickets To Watch West Ham vs. Spurs + Copy Of EA Sports FIFA 15
    141
    image descriptionFree StuffWin A Copy Of Heaven’s Gate On DVD Or Blu-Ray
    138
    image descriptionReportageFootballArsenalBayern MunichFootballPep Guardiola
    Bayern’s Pep Guardiola Dissects Arsenal In New Book
    by Sabotage21 October 20145 Comments
    Straight from the mouth of a genius…

    Screen Shot 2014-10-21 at 10.47.51

    Bayern’s Pep Guardiola Dissects Arsenal In New Book

    Thanks to /r/Gooner user boneykingoflimbs for posting some cracking excerpts from ex-Barcelona and current-Bayern genius manager Pep Guardiola‘s new book Pep Confidential, written in present tense around Bayern’s match against Arsenal last year:

    “At training the day before the match there are no clues as to the starting line-up. Pep still hasn’t decided whether they’re going out to get goals or erring on the side of safety and settling for ball domination. The session doesn’t focus on either of these approaches. Instead they rehearse how to defend the way that Arsenal begin their attacks from the keeper. They go over the co-ordinated movement the back line must make when the ball is being put long from the Arsenal keeper.

    ‘We know that [Lukasz] Fabianski almost always sends the ball to his right,’ Planchart reminds them. ‘If it reaches [Olivier] Giroud it’s so that he can chest it down and hold it up. If he puts it to [Bacary] Sagna it’s to make our full-back push up towards him and Sagna will try to head the ball onwards and into the space behind our full-back.’

    And on Monday evening they go over and over the way to defend against these Arsenal goal-kicks, with Neuer in the role of Fabianski. For 20 minutes, Dante and Schweinsteiger are busy marking Pizarro, who acts as Giroud, and Alaba tries to perfect the way to close down Sagna, whose role is taken by Rafinha.

    Next, Pep explains in detail how Mikel Arteta tries to draw in the opposing pivote in order to create a space in the middle of midfield into which Mesut Özil will try to appear. Pep walks through Arteta’s movements whilst emphasising to his players, who are spread out in front of him: ‘Özil is the dangerous one – he’s the one we really need to keep the closest eye on. Arteta draws you in, Özil pops up in that zone with [Santi] Cazorla and [Alex Oxlade-] Chamberlain around him and that’s the way that they achieve superiority in a key area. We can’t afford that to happen.’

    They test out the way to defend against this Arteta-Özil movement. The idea is that Robben and Ribéry squeeze infield and that Martínez, in his central-defensive role, pushes into the empty space which Arteta has created. In turn, Rafinha’s task will be to fill the space which the Spaniard has had to leave open in the middle of the back four.

    They go through a series of different actions, moving constantly. Pep keeps shouting out the names of Arsenal players – Arteta, Özil, Cazorla, Mertesacker – and these echo round Säbener Strasse whilst the Bayern players push themselves to a degree unheard of for a training session the day before a game. In fairness, they don’t go on for long. Just 20 minutes. It’s the rhythm and speed they’re working at that is so unusual. Something is changing. The players perform brilliantly and there is a growing sense of pride and total security so that it seems absolutely impossible for them not to win. Everyone is sweating at the end. Pep explains the thinking behind his approach. ‘You play at the rhythm you train at. In the match it’s down to each player to do the right thing tactically but the team’s rhythm depends on the training they’ve done. If you train badly, you play badly. If you work like a beast in training, you play the same way. And these guys, they train like beasts…”

  40. Goondawg

    Ssssssh Gambon! Pray that Wenger doesnt get wind of this and does a mourinho ala matic..

    Just be like him to announce that deadline signing come this january and break our hearts yet again!

  41. Gunner2301

    Pedro great post I see you didn’t wait long after wishing the senile one happy birthday before lacing into him. Good show.

    Emirates stroller – great post my man

    Goondawg
    I saw an excerpt from Peps book. The attention to detail is frightening. Real war strategy stuff. You soon realise we’ll win fuck all with Wenger in charge “Just go out and play your game” isn’t gonna cut it in 2014. And we know this is basically the instructions Wenger is giving by what the players say in after match interviews.

    WENGER OUT – NO LONGER FIT FOR PURPOSE!

  42. london gunner

    Hazard 54 PL games, 18 goals, 17 assists;

    Theo Walcott – 45 PL games, 19 goals, 15 assists

    last two seasons
    Cristiano Ronaldo: 84 goals
    Neymar: 67
    Lionel Messi: 66
    Theo Walcott: 27
    Eden Hazard: 24

    Both Eden Hazard & Theo Walcott made their professional debut’s at 16
    Both Eden Hazard & Theo Walcott made their international debut’s at 17
    Theo Walcott is 24, Eden Hazard is 23
    Both Eden Hazard and Theo Walcott’s best position is wide forward
    Both Eden Hazard & Theo Walcott have scored 74 club goals
    Both Eden Hazard and Theo Walcott have scored 5 international goals (Hazard has 6 more caps)
    Eden Hazard has played 282 games for Lille & Chelsea, Theo Walcott has played 281 games for Arsenal

    There output is the same (walcotts slightly better)

    So this is basically why I say Hazard is overrated! His a great player but his often compared to Robben ribbery and even messi,ronaldo

    If his not even beating lowly walcott in terms of goal and assists then I can’t say his world class.

    As for young players who are regularly out performing him just look at Neymar, Reus and I think goetze this season with 7 goals so far is on his way.

  43. Shaun Wilson

    I know that Jeff and a few others are convinced that Wenger will never ‘break’ his current contract and I agree with them but I do believe that he will go before the end of this season. I think that his dismissal will be couched as ‘health reasons’ (and given his relative frailty these days it may well be true.) This umbrella term will act as a get out for Wenger and not blot his legend even further by including the word sacking in any retrospective of his glorious tenure. I just hope that those upstairs baulk at giving him some executive position where his increasingly strange ideas of how to run a successful football club will still exert any influence.

  44. Ustynobaba

    Andy

    I assume you re Rudi Garcia’s age from you deduction right????

    Does age really matter??? I believe if you have the will to do anything and your are willing to adapt to it but thats iff your body and most importantly brains allow it,you can do it

  45. peanuts&monkeys

    Wonderful piece, Gambon. Thanks for posting this.

    I can picture it now. What Wenger does….he must be in his tracks roaming around casually…loitering up and down and making the Arsenal players Catch Me. How fucking lame!

    65 is a good number. A ripe one at that. Once-famous people should always mark 65 as the age by which they would want to knock at St Peters.

  46. peanuts&monkeys

    Fuck the goals. Walcott doesnt have even half the skills as Hazard. Please stop licking Wenger’s ass, at least now; he has ruined your club beyond recognition.
    Haven’t you seen the quality of ball control Hazard has? And BTW, Hazard is not Chelsea’s key striking option like Walcott has been for almost all those Arsenal games. Hazard is an AM, thats it. Moreover, Walcott is pretty much peaked. Hazard is hardly half way .

  47. Mark

    Arsene is analogue in a digital age.
    Arsene is dial up in a broadband age.
    Arsene is past his ‘best before’ date.

  48. N5

    Peanuts I agree with you fully on Hazard. Its madness that anyone would say he’s better than Wally! Numbers don’t tell a fully story.

  49. Radio Raheem

    I thought Heynckes’ Bayern was more dominant over Arsenal than Pep’s, especially in the first leg, although they did go to sleep in the second leg.

    If Arsenal fans know how the team will set up on any given Saturday I don’t see what’s so special in Pep knowing this and preparing for it. I’d be surprised if it isn’t common practice in the industry.

  50. Goonergirl

    Afternoon all

    I too find it silly that people say Theo is better than Hazard. Hazard is not yet at his best he’s still improving. He’s a great player.

  51. peanuts&monkeys

    Unhappy Birthday to you Senile Sausage! I am sorry but i dont treat you same as a human anymore. You are a tumor in the Arsenal body.

    If Hitler was alive, i would have hated him no more than i hate you, Wenger…………..Unhappy Birthday to you!

  52. N5

    That’s a really good point RR, you saw Everton last year had us beat all over the pitch so must have prepared in a similar way.

  53. williamgooner

    1st post on this site!

    i heard that the Europa Cup winners go straight into the Champs League Group stages in 2015/16 and winners of Champs League also guaranteed a place.

    Conceivably then, if the Europa winners are English and outside top 4 (e.g. Everton, Spuds) and Champs League winners also English and finish outside top 4 or 3 (e.g. spawny L’pool) then 4th or even 3rd in EPL may not be enough to qualify for next years CL?

    Or have i got this completely wrong…… ?

  54. gambon

    london gunner

    You are someone that I would say is dangerous with stats

    You obsess over stats without an understanding of them.

    Theo spends all his time in the oppositoon third, he is basically a wide goal hanger. He barely gets involved in any play that isnt in close to the opposition goal.

    Ask anyone to do that and of course they will be productive.

    Theo is a striker, Hazard is a midfielder, its silly to compare them.

    Ask Theo to play as a midfieldwer, get involved in build up, pass more and defend more, and see if he still produces. I would be willing to bet he couldnt.

  55. london gunner

    Peanuts

    I am not a wenger supporter I want him replaced as quickly as possible.

    N5

    Lets clear up some things. My main thesis isn’t Walcott is a better football than Hazard far from it. HAZARD IS A BETTER FOOTBALLER IN TERMS OF NATURAL ABILITY AND SKILL. JUST AS JAY JAY OKCHOA WAS A BETTER FOOTBALL PLAYER THAN LJUNGBERG IN TERMS OF NATURAL ABILITY AND SKILL.

    Anyways my argument is thus.

    1 Hazard is overrated. What do I mean by this? He is often compared to the likes of Ronaldo Messi Robben Ribbery Bale. All the players I have mentioned are far better they score more goals and provide more assists… they are match winners more often than Hazard and Walcott in some cases combined.

    2 Just because I say Hazard is overrated doesn’t mean I think his shit. I just simply think that if Hazard is World class how can his stats be the same(slightly worse than Walcotts) That doesn’t make any sense does it?

    3 A player is world class is not because of his potential but because of his consistent performances. A world class player gets the results others can’t. Hence Ibramhovich, ronaldo ect stats… STATS DO MEAN SOMETHING! Jack wilshere imo had a world class performance against man city but his not world class player until he can do that consistently (I am not saying every game but more games than not)

    4 Walcott though not a better player in the more typical sense has better performances and results.. It seems then that despite having less skill his more efficent. Hence why he has scored more goals than Hazard in 10 less games.

    5 If hazard was so much better than Walcott as you propose why do the stats I post below this say the opposite and why does Walcott have comparable stats to sanchez

    Hazard 54 PL games, 18 goals, 17 assists; Theo Walcott – 45 PL games, 19 goals, 15 assists last two seasons
    Cristiano Ronaldo: 84 goals
    Neymar: 67
    Lionel Messi: 66
    Theo Walcott: 27
    Eden Hazard: 24Both Eden Hazard & Theo Walcott made their professional debut’s at 16
    Both Eden Hazard & Theo Walcott made their international debut’s at 17
    Theo Walcott is 24, Eden Hazard is 23
    Both Eden Hazard and Theo Walcott’s best position is wide forward
    Both Eden Hazard & Theo Walcott have scored 74 club goals
    Both Eden Hazard and Theo Walcott have scored 5 international goals (Hazard has 6 more caps)
    Eden Hazard has played 282 games for Lille & Chelsea, Theo Walcott has played 281 games for Arsenal

  56. gambon

    “Theo Walcott is 24, Eden Hazard is 23”

    Wrong

    And its things like this that you always see on here.

    Im sure you know Theo is 25, but it suits the argument better to say hes 24 and close that gap a little.

  57. andy1886

    You’re correct Ustynobaba, and I agree, if you want to keep learning you can. It’s when you think that you know it all that you’re in trouble, which is what Arsene seems to come across like when anyone suggests that maybe doing it a different way might be a good idea.

  58. Radio Raheem

    Numbers do say a lot about efficiency and effectiveness. Judging by those numbers Theo may be as effective/efficient as Hazard. Hazard might be the more dazzling of the two, but this is subjective.

  59. N5

    Spot on gambon, I’m sick of being quoted stats that quite frankly don’t tell the full story. Anyone who really watches the players can tell that Hazard is a better player that does his job better than Theo would if he was doing the same job.

  60. Mark

    Hazard puts in a shift.
    Walcott doesn’t

    Walcott is made of glass.
    Hazard isn’t.

    I like Walcott – but he isn’t Hazard.

  61. gambon

    “1 Hazard is overrated. What do I mean by this? He is often compared to the likes of Ronaldo Messi Robben Ribbery Bale. All the players I have mentioned are far better ”

    This is where you are just blinded by stats again.

    Last season Hazard was 22/23, which is very young for a footballer.

    He scored 14 goals and got 7 assists in the PL.

    Compare that to these guys who you say are “far better”

    But how about you compare them at 22/23.

    Only Ronaldo is a clearly better player.

    Robben, Ribery at 22/23 are nowhere near Hazards current level. Bale is close, but id still give Hazard the edge.

    If you cant understand why people are excited by Hazard you are insane, he has everything needed to be a top 5 player in the world.

    Theo doesnt. Hes a goal hanger that will always pick up goals while he destabilises the team.

  62. N5

    Raheem, I agree that stats say a lot if you’re comparing like for like, but Hazard and Walcott play different games so it’s no telling the complete story.

  63. gambon

    Exactly N5

    Give Theos job (goal hanging, not getting involved in any build up) and he would double his goal tally.

    Give Hazards job to Theo and he would struggle to score 5 goals per season.

  64. london gunner

    N5

    Your being stupid again.

    “Its like I said, comparing Wally to Hazard is like comparing Barton to Santi, there is one very clear winner!”

    You obviously think Walcott is shit as you compare him to barton..

    difference is Walcott has similar stats to Hazard and Sanchez both players people rate highly whilst barton has never reached the stats of santi or mata…

    Your analogies never make any sense there just childish and ill thought out.

  65. N5

    Goonergirl, I’m good thanks, I’m off work ill at the moment so just lying in bed watching movies and Le Groving!

    Where did you go anywhere nice?

  66. london gunner

    DUIFG

    Where did I say walcott was better than robben?

    I said the opposite! I alluded to the fact robben is on another level and planet compare to walcott and hazard.. the data proves this.

  67. ughelligunner

    Lol, Pep love in-reactionary legrove.
    I hate when people come and talk about tactics that work out for them but ignore the failed ones.
    Before Pep came we lost 3-1 to bayern, can somebody tell the difference?
    Somebody should as well show me the tactics pep used when beaten Hanson by Realmadrid last season.

    Bayern Munich won at the emirates after ozil missed a penalty n we went a man down, i remembered arsenal playing good footy until the red card.

  68. Goondawg

    Its ridiculous to compare Theo with Hazard. Both good players. Clearly one has a much much higher ceiling, which is evident from just watching them both. Fuck the numbers game, stats don’t always tell the full story. You can bet on Hazard being one of the top-5 players soon, but can you say the same for theo?

  69. N5

    London, you’re the one being stupid if you think I’m comparing Wally to Barton, please try reading what I said, I said comparing those two is like comparing Barton and Santi, meaning there is one very clear winner. I could say it’s like comparing Arsenal and Bayern, or Germany and England.

  70. Emiratesstroller

    The real problem when people discuss age is not the sharpness of the brain or
    the concept of new ideas, but the stress of taking risk and responsibility and of
    course success is built on making right decisions at right time.

    Wenger has reached the point in his career where he is no longer making good decisions, but also one suspects that he is not coping very well with stress and that is bound to impact on the team itself.

    I suspect that pushing Mourinho at the match v Chelsea was down to precisely
    that situation. He is a frustrated man, because he realises that for all his effort
    things are not going well.That is bound to impact on the team.

    I made the point on many occasions that the team is rudderless and that shows in the way we play. Successful teams are not just those with good managers, but those with ‘leaders’ on the pitch. ‘Leadership’ does not mean captains who ball out instructions to the other players but lead by example.

    The Arsenal team of the first six years had such players including Seaman [a
    quiet and calm player in goal], Adams [a superb defender] complemented by
    the likes of Winterburn,Dixon and Keown [highly intelligent and knowledgable defenders and team players], Pettit, Vieira, Bergkamp and of course
    Henry.

    When you listen to any of these guys speaking today you see their basic intelligence and as footballers ‘common sense’. None were faded flowers when they played.

    The current squad/team is not short of ability, but realistically few of the players match the same character as their predecessors and sadly that is what is
    lacking in the current team. The four bad losses last season were not so much
    about being outplayed, but rather a lack of composure, common sense and
    leadership on the pitch.

    The lack of those attributes in the current team is I am afraid down to the manager.

  71. ughelligunner

    Pep, stating his tactics against arsenal and how hard they prepared in his book shows us how he/bayern rates Arsenal and wenger..

  72. N5

    I also said I like wally, I just dont think he’s of Hazards quality.

    And again calling me childish, didn’t you compare yourself to Gandhi the other day? my analogies work if you have the ability to read!

  73. london gunner

    gambon

    Maybe a better argument is Walcott is a better forward/winger than hazard then.

    Players are played to their strength if Hazard was a world class forward he would be seeking to score more goals…

    Arsenal went through a period without a quality striker Walcott was called upon to score goals it was needed.. he scored a plenty. Chelsea also had a weakness with a lack of quality strikers… hazard rose to the challenge just not as effectively as Walcott.. hence why walcott has better stats

  74. TitsMcgee

    last time Arsene celebrated an anniversary he had his asshole turned inside out by Mourinho”

    I LOL’ed

    We will win easily today however then Wenger will wax poetic for the next run of easy games until said asshole gets turned out versus our next non-minnow opponent.

  75. Radio Raheem

    N5

    I get your point. Although, I am not convinced that their roles in the team are so different as to nulify any comparison. Both are deployed primarily as attacking players. Both play forward wide positions for their teams.

    I agree Hazard is probably more involved in build up play than Theo. But that has more to do with his style. I don’t think you’ll get any argument as to who is the better dribbler which is why I said Hazard is the more dazzling of the two.

    How when it comes to being effective/efficient in the final third, and that is their primary role, they’re similar. I think most would agree Hazard is the more rounded player though.

  76. london gunner

    “Numbers do say a lot about efficiency and effectiveness. Judging by those numbers Theo may be as effective/efficient as Hazard. Hazard might be the more dazzling of the two, but this is subjective.”

    FINALLY SOMEONE IS INTELLIGENT ENOUGH TO GET IT!

    100 points to you good sir!

  77. MadeToLoveMagic

    WENGER !Over rated I hope a bird shits on your cake you slaggggggggggg !…………………………..

    That actually happened on my birthday, although i suppose i deserved it for ogling her best mates sister all night,

  78. N5

    london it’s getting harder and harder to take you serious.

    You quote 2 supporters from a Dortmund blog and use that as your evidence that Klopp is overrated, you said Messi is over the hill, you said Walcott is better than Hazard, you called yourself Gandhi, you like players that cheat, you discredit Henry and DB10 to make Robben look better and you consider yourself always right.

    No one was even talking about Hazard today and you found a little bit online that you thought would strengthen your argument and we’d all be wowed and agree you are the king of knowledge, yet all it’s done is yet again, have the whole of the Grove saying you’re incorrect.

  79. N5

    And there comes the arrogance, someone agrees with you and you say finally someone who is inelegant enough to get it!!

    Your ego is out of control.

  80. gambon

    ““Numbers do say a lot about efficiency and effectiveness. Judging by those numbers Theo may be as effective/efficient as Hazard. Hazard might be the more dazzling of the two, but this is subjective.”

    What you mean is ‘Theo may be as efficient as Hazard providing he is tasked with no defensive duties, no covering and no involvement in build up play.

    or taking it a step further…

    Theo is capable of being as effective as Hazard as long as you allow the whole team to suffer in order to allow Theo to play stupidly high up the pitch in a role that no other player in world football gets to enjoy.

  81. lord snotty

    No birthday greetings from me. Clear your desk, collect your P45. Go back to Monaco if they’ll have you. Otherwise manage some kids in the Paris slums. Just never set foot inside the Emirates again. Merci beaucoup.

  82. N5

    RR, that’s a much better assessment mate and I agree with you fully. I’m not even really sure what this conversation with London even is anymore?

  83. Goondawg

    There are some players who dont have blinding stats (goals and assists), yet if you watch them in every game they always have a big impact with their footballing intelligence, which you cant say the same for passenger-boy, goal hanger, oft accused of being brain-dead Walcott. The amount of times the potential of threathening attacks have petered out at his feet is numerous.

    So Hazard doesnt reach dizzying heights in the goals and assists charts, he is still young and the potential is there for all to see. David Silva is another that is criminally underrated, cos he is spanish and shadowed by xavi and iniesta. Yet IMO he is undoubtedly one of the best in the prem. And he doesnt have shocking stats in the goals department, a fair few assists here and there. These sorts of players have unparalleled control of the game and are beautiful to watch with their ability and footballing intelligence.

  84. ughelligunner

    Gambon, Thought you were no longer interested in watching wenger’s arsenal… Why comment on something you don’t like.

  85. Goonergirl

    N5 hope you get well soon mate.

    I went to Benguerra island. It’s in Mozambique. It was really relaxing hey. I needed a break

  86. TitsMcgee

    If you train badly, you play badly. If you work like a beast in training, you play the same way. And these guys, they train like beasts…”

    Brilliant.

    It’s no wonder he’s the best there is.

    Really makes you realize how much of a disadvantage we are at with this archaic manager of ours.

  87. london gunner

    Oh and Gambon…

    Hazard needs to score 15 goals and 13 assists to have a better season in terms of real end results than Walcott.

    As Walcots PR is 14/12 at 23…

    Hazard is certainly a more well rounded player… never will disagree with that.

    As is wayne rooney compared to ibramhovich

    Or benzema compared to falcao.

    Or jovetic compared to Dzeko

    Walcott is better at being a forward than Hazard but Hazard is a better footballer.

    Just because a player is very good at one function doesn’t mean his therefore a shit player.

    That neur is awful! Can’t score goals to save his life! World class save.. pahh never seen him score from a freekick. (exaggerated example but that’s the point)

    Everyone wants to act like “total football” like every quality player has to be great at every function/role on the pitch.

    Walcott instead plays to his strengths and because of that is more effective.

  88. N5

    GoonerGirl, I was going to say I bet you had some lovely weather but you’re always sunny where you are any way aren’t you?

    Thanks for the get well.

  89. Carts

    Tbh, Theo vs Eden boils down to one simple question: Who Would You Rather In Your Team?

    The speed at which the MAJORITY of people will answer that question speaks volumes of the disparity between both players. As papradoxical as it may seem, given their stats, the overwhleming majority will say Hazard.

  90. london gunner

    gambon

    “What you mean is ‘Theo may be as efficient as Hazard providing he is tasked with no defensive duties, no covering and no involvement in build up play.
    Theo is capable of being as effective as Hazard as long as you allow the whole team to suffer in order to allow Theo to play stupidly high up the pitch in a role that no other player in world football gets to enjoy.”

    LOL MOURINHO himself criticized hazard all last season for not being defensive enough and tracking back…

    Before you crtize Walcott actually watch Chelsea and Hazard he does nothing himself defensively

    “Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho criticises forward Eden Hazard, saying “he is not the kind of player ready to sacrifice himself 100% for the team”.

    The Portuguese coach says the Belgian international “is not so mentally ready” to help his defence, blaming him for the first goal scored by Atletico Madrid in Chelsea’s Champions League exit.

    Mourinho says he is “not happy” with Hazard, despite “speaking all season” with the player in a bid to “improve him”.

    LOOOOOOOOOOOOOL I just caught you out fam.

    .

  91. london gunner

    gambon

    In a weaker league…

    He has to reach Walcotts PR at 23… or you must concede his stagnating or just not a s good as the hype says.

  92. Goondawg

    Ughelli, he took full responsibilty after that dismal performance. Lifted his players up and vowed to make sure that mistake never happened again. Funny isnt it? Evolving from one’s mistakes

    You would have thought that Wenger would have learnt his lesson also, but it seems he has taken a liking to having his arse-hole turned inside out by the big boys

  93. TitsMcgee

    Gambon, show what pep said about the tactics he used against Madrid last season.”

    How about Wenger’s tactics versus, I dunno, Chelsea(the last two of them actually), Liverpool away, City away.

    Glass houses.

  94. london gunner

    its also important to register that Walcott stats are better than hazard despite being a worse team.

    I think most of us can agree that over the past couple of years Chelsea though hardly having a perfect team has had a better team than ours…

    Yet Walcott is hitting better figures? hmmmmm

  95. TitsMcgee

    You can always tell the AKBs who follow Wenger for the sake of it.

    Pointing out Pep v Madrid and trying to use it against him but then excusing Wenger v LFC, CITY, Chelsea(all in one season) and let’s not forget such timeless classics like Barcelona, UTD etc.

    lol

  96. N5

    Lol nurse it does feel like that. In this instance I would rather be Karl Pilkington

    RR, don’t you start too, London already think he’s Le-groves answer to Gandhi, do put him in the same bracket as Galileo Galilei because he’ll dare to go against the grain!

    Hazard vs Theo argument is as boring as Ozil vs Cesc now and I can’t believe we’re on day fucking 4 of it.

  97. Goonergirl

    N5

    Haha yeah its mostly always sunny. We get the few bad patches but our winter is nothing compared to yours. Believe it or not I’ve actually never experienced snow before lol.

  98. TitsMcgee

    Yea Theo doesn’t do much for me aside from pace(which remains to be seen if he keeps it after his surgery).

    Due to his speed and our system he gets into a lot of 1 v 1 situations but he’s an avg dribbler, an avg passer, an avg crosser, has no finesse or shot placement. He basically runs down one side of the pitch and tries to blast the ball across the face of goal.

    Glad to have him as I think he offers a service but I much rather have Alexis on the pitch.

  99. Arsene's Nurse

    ” Szczesny is suspended after being sent off against Galatasaray in the 4-1 win earlier this month but news that Ospina will be out for at least two months is another significant injury blow.

    “He had his first injury in Nice – a knee problem and I think he was a bit rushed back,” Wenger said.

    “He didn’t use his legs so his muscle became weaker, then he got injured during the World Cup. He came to us injured. It took him two months to play a game. I had to bring him on against Galatasaray without warm-up, without being prepared and he had a recurrence of that injury.

    “That means he is out for two to three months. Now we have to be really careful. It’s a long-term injury.”

    It was unclear whether Wenger had been fully aware of the severity of the injury when he spent £3 million on Ospina shortly after the World Cup. ”

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/11178455/Anderlecht-v-Arsenal-Arsene-Wenger-determined-to-go-the-full-distance-as-Gunners-look-for-Champions-League-glory.html

  100. N5

    GoonerGirl, you’re lucky, snow sucks! although I think if I’d never seen it I would like too just once, but once would be enough.

    I’m very jealous because I love the sun and hate the cold. Talk about being born in the wrong country then.

    Predictions for score tonight? I expect Mid will put a bet on. I’m going 2-0 us.

  101. TitsMcgee

    “He didn’t use his legs so his muscle became weaker, then he got injured during the World Cup. He came to us injured. It took him two months to play a game. I had to bring him on against Galatasaray without warm-up, without being prepared and he had a recurrence of that injury.”

    Piss-poor management and preparation.