Arsenal will never be the best…

by .

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It’s Champions League draw day. Give me someone good, please. Would love a Bayern or a Madrid. Why? Because if we’re good enough, we’ll win. If we’re not, we don’t prolong the agony of proceeding to the next round, giving us some serious head space for the Premier League and the FA Cup.

Liverpool took a beating yesterday. Their defence really is a total joke at the moment. United, once again kept in the game by the outstanding keeping of De Gea. I’m not a fan of him, but I have to eat humble pie. He might look like a McDonald’s drive through attendant, but jeez, he knows how to keep that ball out of the net. What a performance.

I feel for Rodgers. He performed miracles taking Liverpool to the next level, but he’s failing hard at the next stage. Interesting that people seem to be taking glee in the demise when talking to me online. I’m not his agent, I just think he’s a very good coach. The bits around him aren’t working though. He lost two of his best players. However, despite him now facing talk of the sack… he’s still within 5 points of Arsenal. Win when we play them away, and he’s within 2 points. We’re singing the managers name in the stadium, Liverpool are sounding out potential replacement candidates.

… big difference there.

The great thing about United’s ascension up the league table is that it’s a massive fluke. So much luck is going there way, but scratch beneath the surface and it’s a big fat mess. Rojo picked up an injury. LVG still not taking responsibility for his shoddy management of the situation. That’ll come unstuck. There’s no resurgence there. I still think it’ll all end in tears. They’re doing what we did last year… winning games by a hairs breadth, which works and papers the cracks for so long… then it all falls to pieces.

… and when it crashes, it’ll really crash.

Picked up some stick for my comments on Arsene yesterday, mainly from people who sung his name at the ground. Look, you can do what you want, my view is that sort of thing is embarrassing. Especially if you booed when he subbed Chambo the week previously (and look, that booing was ferocious). I know that so many Gooners off the record just don’t get the same feeling of excitement about the club at the moment…. and look, I speak to more than most on the subject of the club. So it’s not like I have a small sample to pick from.

Anyway, we’ll see where we are at the end of the season. I always back the team. I love the players, I just don’t feel they get the tools they need to be the best they can. They looked great against Newcastle with a few days off. There’s a story floating around about Chambo getting 3 days off because he’s an injury concern already. That’s a worry. But the three days off aren’t especially for him, they’re for the whole squad. Which is great news. Look at the difference a few days off made to the team at the weekend. We had energy!

I’m reading books again, so my brain is bustling with all sorts of exciting thoughts about things that always seem to come back to Arsenal. I’m reading a book called Predatory Thinking by marketing legend Dave Trott. Marketing is very similar to football in the sense that you’re managing talent, it’s fast paced and the smartest thinking always prevails. He talks about reframing the problem and not accepting the status quo. The jist is reframe the brief so the context suits you. I love this premise, because that’s exactly what Arsenal don’t do.

‘It’s impossible to challenge clubs with revenue like Manchester City because of their wealth’

NO. Wrong attitude.

He talks about Dawkins, Dyson, Winston and Stephen Hawking… he said the common trait they all had was a quizzical mind and the ‘Why does it have to be this way?; mindset. Arsenal fans have been beaten into thinking that the status quo is so because it is so.

It never has to be that way. Which leads me onto another really interesting book called David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell (I know, pop culture-ish, but so what, he has a great fro for a white man). He talks about how ones strength is also their weakness. It’s about reframing the battle. His case in point is that David and Goliath was never an unfair battle. In fact, the battle was unfair on Goliath. He went toe to toe with a slinger (rock in sling that you could launch as fast as a shotgun) when he was infantry. Goliath never had a chance, because David reframed the fight on his terms.

Human perception tends to focus on size rather than attributes.

It also references the pressing game in basketball. Pressing in basketball (American readers, forgive my naivety) is a tactic weaker teams use to stifle the game. Weaker players cut off angles and press higher up the court to stop themselves being dominated by better players. If you can’t get the ball in the hands of the best players and you disrupt the flow and confidence, hard work and superior fitness can pay dividends.

You reframe the battle. Arsenal play Barcelona and don’t have a special plan for Messi, we get destroyed. We always go toe to toe with teams, even if we know they’re better. Dortmund took the pressing game and won league titles despite having way less resource. They reframed their style to stifle teams with more skill (they had great players as well). They reframed the scouting game and owned eastern Europe. They had a lot of success that is being found out now because that reframing has been sussed. Atletico are the latest team to take the pressing game to win a trophy. Limited resource, but not a limited passion for taking on the might of bigger clubs.

Arsenal could succeed with a pressing game if they planned properly. If we brough in a centre back who was better on the ball the Mertesacker and brought in a defensive midfielder with legs and energy like Sanchez. Our problem is only half the team press, which means it doesn’t work. Our players aren’t schooled in how to do it, because pressing clearly isn’t just running about like lunatics.

Arsenal should reframe the battle. We need to stop going toe to toe with everyone and work out where we want to fight the battle. Why try and fight in the same arena as Chelsea and City with player transfers, why not own the up and coming market? Why do we keep playing in Ligue One when there are untapped markets British clubs aren’t even looking in (eastern Europe, again).

Arsenal need to stop rolling over and blaming the world for their financial woes. Our manager is paid £8m a year to reframe the battle. Our CEO is the highest paid in the world, he should be forcing a smarter fight all over the club.

Henry Ford says, ‘there’s no problem that can’t be solved if you break it down into small enough pieces’

Arsenal should break down their problems into small pieces and let someone other than Arsene solve them. Transfers, scouting, fitness, recuperation, tactics… then Wenger owns the stream. He pulls it all together to create a functioning ecosystem that gives us the advantage despite it never being based on superior finances.

My point is, you never want to base your success on being the richest. Base it on being the smartest. Then when the riches come, you’ll be even further ahead of the game.

… so next time someone points out that Arsenal life is so unfair and it’s impossible for us, remind them that there is weakness to exploit and opportunity to excel in every situation. You just have to think deeper, be more creative and work a bit harder to find the battleground that works for you…

P.S. The title of this post is proceeded by… ‘if they fight the wrong battle’

556 Responses to “Arsenal will never be the best…”

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  1. Keyser

    London_gunner – You have to look at how they brought the team together in the first place, there is an onus on their own Academy and players they brought through because the German FA enforced this.

    Not to mention that Dortmund have kept themselves under pretty strict financial restrictions because of their past, they turned to youth because they had to.

    Atletico’s options or the lengths they’ve gone to are simply not open to Dortmund, because of the Bundesliga’s own version of FFP, not completely sure on their stance to third party ownership.

    So while Dortmund might have a better team, might, even then they’ve simply used the same options available to all the teams within the league, it’s not like they exploited something that wasn’t available to everyone else.

    You could try and say the same of Atletico, but the financial hierarchy is definetly in their favour if not to the teams above, but to the other teams that make-up the league.

  2. Keyser

    RR – It’s a complicated topic, I’d say Barca employed Toure because they needed some ‘steel’, any ‘steel’ as most teams do, the pragmatic part, they let him go because at some point what they’d once only employed theoretically became soo second nature, that they felt Busquets more embodied their needs.

    I think the defensive approach has always been the more pragmatic, ‘the longer we stay in the game, the longer we remain with a chance’, but at some point you have to score, as the higher you want to move up the table the more you need to score.

    That’s when pragmatism in football can only be applied soo far, or at least the talent required to pull it off and still win increases, on a rising scale.

  3. TheBayingMob

    “Arsenal should break down their problems into small pieces and let someone other than Arsene solve them. Transfers, scouting, fitness, recuperation, tactics… then Wenger owns the stream. He pulls it all together to create a functioning ecosystem that gives us the advantage despite it never being based on superior finances”

    This is how a successful business is run. The strange thing is, the staunch Wenger AKBs argue that AFC have been restrained through unfair advantage of the richer teams, and that AFC should be run as business first and foremost, yet they completely support the one man dictatorship; when real business models and solutions are offered in an argument they turn their back and just arrogantly state that you’re boring or that your pushing the same arguments over and over again.

    Just like the ‘doomers’ want change as they see a better future, the ‘positive’ fans want Arsene to stay in charge indefinitely and never offer any sort of long term solution to the managers position seemingly based on the notion that things could be worse under a different manager.

    And therein lies the true schism Wenger creates and the quite staggering irony of those who are terrified of a life beyond Wenger but paint themselves as the true fans and the positive saviours of the club from the ‘doomers’ and ‘naysayers’.

    Hilarious stuff if you think about it for a moment …

  4. MidwestGun

    Mob –
    I Agree. It seems like AW pays lip service to delegating/ problem solving. We brought in Shad, we brought in Bould. But to delegate you have to trust those around you and let them make decisions. Similarly, he has a low trust level in the squad. Like Gervinho was implying if your not one of the starting
    11 or so, you don’t get the attention. Part of it is in a large organization it’s physically impossible time and energy wise. Part of what made AW successful, the controlling aspect, early on is now holding us back. You see this in the business world all the time. People are successful at the lower management levels because they can control everything and then they get promoted and are overwhelmed by still wanting to control every detail. Then it becomes important to adapt and change and make good delegation decisions. Otherwise you are just putting out fires all the time.
    And these are the things I question about AW. Seems like we are continually in damage control mode.

  5. Bamford10


    “Mertesacker and Arteta were bought on the last day of a transfer window to provide stability, that’s why they’re there. Likewise Giroud, the problem isn’t that we bought him in, it’s that we lost Van Persie to begin with.

    Until you understand that, you won’t be able to appreciate how we move forward.”


    I understand all of the above quite well, and it all proves my point. Both Mertesacker and Arteta were last-minute signings in 2011 — and neither was good enough then — yet THREE YEARS LATER, they’re STILL in our starting XI.

    That’s the point.

    That they were brought in in the first place is not the principal problem; that they haven’t been replaced in the starting XI in the three years since is. They weren’t even good enough in the first place, and they certainly weren’t good enough to go un-replaced for the past THREE years.

    As for Giroud, we know for a fact that he was brought in as a number two to RVP. Wenger told us this when he was signed, then proceeded to lose RVP.

    Yes, it was obviously a blow to lose RVP, but why has Wenger stuck with Giroud as his number one for more than TWO years since then? If he is only good enough to be a number two — and he is — then why is he STILL our number one CF? That is the problem, not that he was brought in in the first place.

    All this time and it turns out Keyser simply doesn’t understand what the argument is actually about.

    Explains a good deal.

  6. Bermy boy

    This can be the best and worst thing for Arsenal/Wenger.
    Best……. They beat Monaco …..hip hip hooray move on.
    Worst….Monaco will beat them…….No where to hide baby.

  7. Keyser

    Bamford13 – Of course it’s about why we lost them in the first place, 3 years on and it’s touch and go whether which team you’d still want around.

    There’s no linear progression, once you lose players like Fabregas or Nasri, you’re having to think on your feet, likewise the year after with Van Persie and Song, there are no ideal replacements.

    So you see what you can get out of the players you have and add what you can, as in Sanchez and Ozil.

    They’re still around because they provide stability as we look to find their replacements or improve the team as a whole.

    You didn’t answer the question last time. If Giroud/Welbeck aren’t good enough and Sanchez isn’t what we need, what sort of talent pool are you looking at ?

  8. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Last one I remember was when we had three brazil liana playing against them

    Baptisma? The beast in the league cup

    Would love to have that score line

    Have you followed this fella on twitter

    Horse Racing Tips
    @RAcing Tipstar

    Got to know baby following a few other tips peeps

    Seems to do ok ?

    Like most has a few losers but it’s free an ok

    Check it out ?

  9. Bamford10

    They aren’t just “still around”. They’re still STARTERS. And instead of finding better players to start in front of them at some point in the past three years, Wenger has found weaker players (Flamini, Sanogo) to play BEHIND them.

    That’s the point.

    Is your claim that there were no better CDMs or CBs available in the past three years? I hope not, because that’s fucking ludicrous. Of course there were. Wenger just didn’t go after any of them because he is satisfied with, and loyal to, a host of average players.

    As for the article you dug up re Giroud being brought in as a starter, if this were true, it would be EVEN MORE DAMNING, because Giroud has never been good enough to be a number one, and he certainly could never be a replacement for RVP. If Wenger ever actually thought of Giroud as a replacement for RVP, then he is an even bigger dipshit than we thought he was.

    I don’t think he did, though. I think the article you’ve dug up represents Wenger rationalizing things after RVP had left. ‘Why have I not brought in a replacement for RVP? Because Giroud was always his replacement [even if I said otherwise in earlier interviews]’.

  10. Keyser

    It’s like you have a mental block, we didn’t lose Van Persie right away and it was two summers ago.

    He spent 8 years with us, and then scored 37 goals, you’re not going to replace the experience or the understandings.

    The year before it was Fabregas and Nasri, and even then we needed to add to them not replace them.

    So you’re basically scrambling to maintain your position. We replaced Van Persie’s goals, through Podolski, Giroud and Cazorla.

    Then there’s whatever money and sponsorship renewal implications.

    Answer the question, if you don’t think Giroud/Welbeck are good enough and Sanchez isn’t quite what we need where does that leave with players that would be acceptable ?

    You won’t answer because you back yourself into a pretty tight corner.

  11. Marko

    Perfect January for me Carvalho, Schar and someone like Inigo Martinez or Ogbonna they’re not cup tied and might be gotten on loan. Or if we wanna write off the champions league then Aymeric Laporte. Two defenders and a DM. And then you’re looking at replacing Podolski if he leaves.

    But alas I’m firmly now a realist and with Wenger it’d be one signing (cause he doesn’t like to work hard on transfers) and it’d likely be a loan maybe a defender. He’s stubborn enough to stick with Arteta, Flamini, Diaby and Coquelin till their contracts or hearts give out

  12. Bamford10

    “If Giroud/Welbeck aren’t good enough and Sanchez isn’t what we need, what sort of talent pool are you looking at?”

    Giroud/Welbeck are not good enough to help us win titles. That’s correct, and I gladly stand by that.

    Not to mention, by the way, that Wenger only signed Welbeck because Giroud went down with an injury. If he hadn’t gotten injured, we’d have Giroud and Sanogo alone as our two CF’s.

    As for Sanchez, your wording is a bit misleading. Sanchez is plenty TALENTED — obviously — but he’s a wide attacking player, not a CF. My point is that we needed a class CF far more than we needed another class wide attacking player.

    Does Sanchez help? Of course he does. But we needed a class CF and CDM more than we needed another wide attacking player.

  13. Relieable sauce

    You got it Bamford, summed up brilliantly . Well thats how I view it anyway.
    Although I think OG was bought in as a direct replacement for RVP, Pod as well to help with the goals to soften the blow. We had Park & Chamahk on the books as well & of course NB winding down his contract, so which ever way you cut it gross inefficiency & poor judgement…& then theres Sanogo.

  14. Bamford10

    And no amount of time would ever have enabled Giroud to replace RVP.

    And Podolski — Podolski! — can barely get 10 minutes of playing time under Wenger. Yet he was essential to the replacing of RVP.?

    If you point out that Podolski’s laziness has made him a disappointment, is this perhaps something Wenger should’ve known about before signing him? Or better, is this something a better manager might’ve addressed by, you know, MANAGING the player, motivating him, figuring him out?

    Instead Podolski has languished on the bench.

    Either way, Giroud and Podolski were never going to be — and have never been — adequate replacements for RVP.

  15. Jeff


    “…your idea of fresh ‘air’ is based almost completely on your dislike of Wenger and your want for change.”

    Well it might come across like that and perhaps our general views and perspectives make other people believe that is the case but on close examination of one’s conscience, I cannot say that I agree with that statement.

    To dislike a person, you have to have a valid rational reason otherwise we fall into the realm of racism, ageism and any other “nastyism” one can mention. I’m sure I don’t fall into that category and neither do many of those who comment on this blog.

    I think there is enough evidence to find myself in profound disagreement with the principles upon which he discharges his duties as manager of Arsenal and this can of course come across as dislike for the man as well – which is understandable. Therefore to say I dislike him for no reason at all is not true.

    If we were winning trophies or competing on a regular basis – would I dislike him or his principles? No. If, however I believed that Wenger was doing everything in his power to make us competitive again I would be the first to sing his praises. But he is not doing everything in his power to take us out of this rut. You may believe he is or at the very least that he is on the verge of doing it but I just don’t buy it and there are good reasons for thinking that.

    But can you also understand why it is so difficult to accept the premise of your argument which is basically that we have been waiting such a long time for the tree to bear fruit in the face of so much harsh weather and now that finally some sunshine is about break through we should get rid of the manager and not give him the chance to reap the benefits? The very real risk is that we could be here three years from now (I say three because that is probably what you have in mind for this “adaptation period“ to pass over) still treading water.

    The past has gone – nothing can be done about that now but the future is changeable depending on what decisions you take today. To do nothing and let it carry on is a bigger risk in my estimation than it is to make that leap of faith and see where it takes us.
    Can it get worse? Of course it can – there are no guarantees but it can also get better. As I said before, on the balance of probability with at different manager and a fresh approach (given all of the things that are currently wrong or inadequate) it is conceivable that we could do considerably better. You obviously don’t think so and that’s really the line that separates us and as I suspect many of those who want change from those who don’t.

  16. Highbury Daze

    You think Wenger signed Welbeck, he was signed on the lat day of window, when Wenger was praying with the Pope, this was never a Wenger signing, pure Gazidis, if anyting Wenger wanted loans, even though he had an injured Giroud there were still may attackers, Campbell, Sanogo,Poldi, Walcott, plus the injured Giroud

    Wenger never intended to sign Danny, never

  17. Keyser

    Jeff – It’s based almost solely on your frustration and angst, I’ve given you numerous oppurtunities to state your case and find examples to back your case, you can’t because there are universal truths in modern football that you can’t escape. Numrous managers hide from them for a while but are found out in the end.

    This is all fine to, but rather than admit this, you continue the pretence that it’s anything other than the above, you become abusive or insulting.

    What’s worse is that if you can’t admit or see this now, what’s to say you’ll be pleased breathing this ‘fresh air’, a new manager will need time and could still fail, will you accept this or continue as you do now ?

  18. SpanishDave

    Its simple really we have to find the next Wenger. An up and coming ideas man who can by estute management and an eye for quality players who can be hand picked for each position. This is how we were sucessful with early Wenger.
    If the board had any sense our number two should be that man, not Bould hes pathetic.

  19. alexanderhenry

    Pedro, so are you suggesting it isn’t about money? Are you suggesting that the fact that almost every year the biggest spenders win the biggest trophies has nothing to do with club expenditure? Despite a 9 year barren spell, the only teams to finish higher than us in the prem have spent considerably more over a consistent period of time. Do you really think that the fact they’ve spent more and therefore have had better players has had no bearing on this? There’s a big elephant in the room pedro and it’s called money. The more you ignore it the sillier you sound.

  20. MidwestGun

    Pedro is suggesting that if you can’t compete on monetary terms you have to
    find other ways to compete. Or you could just throw your hands up and say we are competing for 4th and make that the goal and convince your fanbase its like a trophy. If it was strictly about money then whats the point in trying? Swear, some people are deliberately obtuse.

  21. Dark Hei

    Pedro, here is a reality check for you.

    “Why try and fight in the same arena as Chelsea and City with player transfers, why not own the up and coming market? ”

    Want to know why Chelsea are the youth team champs? It is because they have the most $$. Check out Brady’s interview.


  22. Dark Hei


    ” if you can’t compete on monetary terms you have to find other ways to compete”

    Wow, that is like so incredibly easy to say. But the truth is what you have said, we were competing to stay in the 4th and anything else is a bonus.

  23. MidwestGun

    Dark Hei-
    I know it’s easy to say. But many managers and companies who haven’t had monetary advantages have been successful. It’s a big hurdle to climb in the Premier for sure. But what it boils down to, is are we doing everything we can do to be successful within our means?. That’s basically all you can ask as a fan.

  24. Highbury Daze

    Even if all you say is true, there is no need for Wenger to turn his back on signing a CB and CDM, that’s all the fans are asking for, have enough cover in positions, and you are telling me having two CB at our club is good management fuck off

  25. Highbury Daze

    This club spends 167 million a year on wages, I could finish 4th with that financial clout, beating Liverpool and Spurs home into 4th, and do it for half the fucking money Wenger gets

  26. Highbury Daze

    Actually if you want to break it down, 4th place is better than a trophy, it is for management, NOT FANS, win the Carling Cup, it pays 180,000 quid, win the FA Cup and you get, just under 2 million quid, finish 4th play in CL and it is worth anything from 30 million quid up, so financially it is better to finish 4th than win those 2 Cups

    And that is what Wenger was trying to relay to the people when he made that statement, 4th is a trophy, he should have said 4th is better than a trophy, financially, we the fans crave trophies, it is our way of measuring success, these businessmen have another view, they measure success by the amount of money they make, that’s why they are happy with 4th, but if they tell the fans that, well there might be a revolution they have to keep telling you they are trying to better themselves, they are trying to win, BUT IT IS A BLATANT FUCKING LIE,

  27. Highbury Daze

    At the start of each season AFC gives 1st 2nd and 3rd away, they concede those positions, City,Chelsea, and usually United, Liverpool upset the apple cart last time around and we got in at United’s expense, but for the most part its those 3 I mentioned, we settle on 4th, we spend 167 million on wages for the players, and 11 million quid on Wenger’s wages to run 4th

    The club could never admit that to the fans, they would lose many if they did, this is one big con job, by educated business men to deceive the working class football follower, who, nothing more out of blind loyalty follows the club of his/her choice, even when times are bad they still follow, look at the last 10 years, one lousy FA Cup, and the manager is treated like a fucking messiah, Wenger has become the club, he has managed your expectations downwards, just to save his own arse and 11 million quid a year, he has hypnotised the fans into thinking 4th is a trophy, and when he gets it at seasons end, the masses think he has been successful


  28. Highbury Daze

    Walcott, Ozil, Sanchez, Cazorla, Podolski, Kos, Giroud,Debauchy, OX,Ramsey, these are not bad players, any top manager in the world could get better from them than Wenger, I am convinced of that, it is his managerial weakness that we are winning 7 games from 16 played, less than half, whatever this guy had before it is gone, he is so finished, I would back myself with those players, and I would add a good CDM and another CB and probably win the league with them
    hey think their job is done

    But this club have aimed for 4th, so how can you go any higher than your aim, once they get there the players relax, down tools all together, t

  29. Highbury Daze

    In any sport, if you tell your self you can’t win, you can’t make the shot, YOU WON’T, you have told the brain you can’t do it, but if you say to yourself, I can sink that ball, I can make the putt, I can hit the treble 20, you invariably will, not every time, but the majority of times, but tell yourself you can’t or won’t and you never will, you will miss, so as far as AFC is concerned they think they can’t win because they didn’t spend as much as Chelsea City, so they are beaten before a ball is kicked
    Wenger tells them constantly, we must get 4th, or it doesn’t matter if we don’t win we have the resources to combat that, is it any fucking wonder they can’t win the Carling Cup against Brum, this manager is a fucking curse, he is the anti christ of winning, Mr 4th is a trophy, Mr 99.9 fucking %, I hate him with a passion

  30. peanuts&monkeys

    ” Gooners off the record just don’t get the same feeling of excitement about the club at the moment…”

    Nothings more correct. I prefer to stay out of anything Arsenal because it only brings bore and sadness. I feel like a loser every weekend after each tepid performance. I feel more like a loser everytime Wenger’s ass-lickers (N5, Wallace etc) allow this mess to keep perpetuating by singing his praises and defending his mistakes.

  31. peanuts&monkeys

    “The great thing about United’s ascension up the league table is that it’s a massive fluke”

    Arsenal drawing Monaco too is total luck. Wenger’s team will possibly move to quarters by this stroke of luck. There will be more singing by the morons. And both Kroenke will rob some more money from the fans.

    But the way luck has been seized by these two teams is the actual difference: ManU is only 8 points off, and we are 13. This in spite of ManU having an entirely new setup including the manager.

  32. Dark Hei


    I do not think there are actually “many” who were able to beat the trend. Klopp and Simeone did that by burning the fuel of passion. But that is not sustainable, not in the long run. Simeone is today’s Klopp, but he will burn out soon enough.

    JM did so with Porto. But it was a one-off and JM himself wisely went to the chequebook management. Here we have a very good manager who is blessed with a lot of $$ and the best infrastructure and support staff.

    Football is not business. In business, the small can defend their market share as long as they can differentiate themselves. In football, the only prize are trophies (as far as Le Grove is concerned), not subjectivities. As we hear often, you don’t get any trophies for coming in 4th. In other words, you don’t get any awards for being Ferrari. The only barometer of success is being a Toyota (they are the largest car makers).

  33. Dark Hei


    Hmmm, I probably should qualify myself further, in case I come across as a mindless AKB. Just AKB will do “)

    I think this season is a failure and Wenger and his team are responsible.

    It is true that City and Chelsea have vast resources, but FFP has come to the fore and the distance isn’t as great as before. With the new found riches coming in, Arsenal now has a shout.

    But the season is over. We have no chance of catching Chelsea. My goal for Wenger is for Arsenal to challenge for the top spot. Hey I did not even need him to win it. So it is over, as far as I am concerned.

    Our collapse owes a lot to do with Wenger’s failure in implementing that fluidity which we call “Wengerball”. I know he is moving on from the grind-it-out style, but that is no excuse. There is also that injury thing that is happening every season and the team’s failure to acquire the required players that Wenger already admitted they require.

    While he should leave, I am more concerned with who is going to replace him. Like it or not, the Brendan Rodgers/David Moyes experiment means that what Arsenal needs during the transition is a tried and tested name. A reliable and steady hand. Someone who knows the premier league and European football demands. If we can’t find that guy, my suggestion is to stick with the boring wholemeal bread that is Wenger. He is boring but if you stick to him, you won’t go wrong. You just can’t get excited.

  34. tunnygriffboy

    Dark Hei

    As you said, we will not catch Chelsea. Disappointing that again we won’t win the league. The lack of a DM and a third centre back plus even more injuries than usual has seen us drop too many points

    The season over ? Absolutely no chance. Loads of things to look forward to. Great football on Saturday, really enjoyed it. We have a really exciting front linefull of pace and movement. Walcott to come back, Santi looks to be getting his form back and Ozil yet to play with them. Get our players back from injury and see if we can put a great run together playing the dynamic football we saw v Newcastle. Less tipi tapi and more direct

    Why can’t we aim to catch City ( now getting injuries to key players. Ya ya going to ACN ). We have the fa cup to aim for again and a good CL draw. We may even buy a player in January. Loads to look forward to mate.

  35. Emiratesstroller

    I have maintained consistently that Arsenal are two players short of a team,
    which is capable of challenging for major trophies and that does not require
    massive investment.

    The two positions as have been discussed frequently are a ‘world class’ defensive midfielder with good engine and leadership skills and an experienced centre back who can play specifically on left side of defence.

    Other changes which need to be made are mostly tactical. For example the
    team needs to improve its positioning at corners and set pieces. I don’t know
    how many goals we ship in from these each season, but it seems to be a lot
    particularly in critical games.

    Saturday demonstrated also a fundamental change in our offensive play. The
    team played a far more ‘direct’ game than we usually do. There was far less square and back passing and we used pace. That is something that we have
    been lacking in most games this season.

    Playing Sanchez, Giroud and Welbeck up front is for me probably our best
    formation. They offer pace and mobility in wide positions and Giroud adds
    physicality. Walcott and Podolski are also useful additions.

    We have a wide choice of midfielders who can play offensive roles in the club
    with Ox,Ozil,Cazorla,Ramsey and even Wilshire to challenge for positions.

    However, the weakness of the team remains as ever the neglect of proper
    investment in defensive positions.

    Injuries remain a serious problem, which needs to be investigated properly,
    but my gut feeling is that if we play more direct football as we did on Saturday
    that will help to reduce the number that we suffer, because our players make
    fewer abnormal moves and are less vulnerable to bad tackles.

    To conclude I do believe that we can challenge the likes of Chelsea, Man Utd
    and Man City. Money is not everything. Chelsea are currently the best team
    in league, because their manager corrected weaknesses and brought in the
    players needed. Man City are not in my view significantly better than us as
    was proven in two games we played against them this season and Man Utd
    are in my view a lot worse than us despite the result last month.

  36. Ashwin Gunner

    Season might not be over

    Man utd caught Newcastle to win the season when there was a 13 point gap..

    We have overturned 13 point gap against spurs to get into top 3 (2012 if i remember correctly)

    13 point gap isnt that great. but it depends on two things

    1) Will Arsenal will all of their remaining PL matches( highly unlikely unless we buy CB and DMF in jan. and not one of those 16year old prodigies)
    2) Will Chelsea and Man city drop points. (yes they will)

  37. Highbury Daze

    In case you don’t know or disbelieve, AFC’s wage bill is now higher than Chelsea’s, fact

    So no more bitching crying and hiding, you hear that Mr. 99.9%, you are officially exempt from using that as a shield to protect your arse from failure

  38. Bankz

    Reading Keyser’s arguments/posts zaps so much energy out of you.
    How do y’all cope trying to get him to see your points?

  39. Ashwin Gunner


    Wage bil has to be high. isn;t it. Check the list below. these players are either currenlty injured or mostly on bench

    Diaby – 65 K
    Poldi – 100K
    Walcott – 100k
    Wilshere – 85 K
    Rosiscky – 80 K
    Arteta – 85 K
    Gibbs – 65K
    Ozil – 140K

  40. tunnygriffboy


    Agree that we played more direct against Newcastle on Saturday and the first half in Galatasary. We now have the players to do this. We had Walcott and the Ox last season, both of which missed the majority of it. We were stuck with Giroud and Ramsey running beyond him. We had no real pace. This season the additions of Alexis and Welbeck have been a breathe of fresh air

    I feel we were clogging the midfield at the beginning of the season cramming Ozil, Santi, Ramsey and Wilshere into the team. It was messy and over complicated, too many players wanting the same space and too similar in nature. Due to injury players haven’t been available and the team looks more dynamic and balanced

    According to physio room all our players bar Jack are back by the 1st of January. I hope he keeps the same formaton with the 3 up top with wide men dropping in to make a five in midfield or like first half v Newcastle pressing them in their own half. We have players to do that. When Ozil comes back, play him in the middle and rotate with Santi. The forwards and midfielders can be kept fresh. We desperately need a quality CB

    How man u have won 6 on the bounce amazes me. They create few chances but take them all and DeGea is making save after save. However due to their 1 game a week they will remain a threat.

  41. tunnygriffboy


    According to physio room all players should be back before or on January 1st. Some for sunday, some for boxing day and some 28th. Ozil is on the 1st. Only one not back is Jack

    Seriously looking forward to seeing what we can do when everyone is available. We have the pace to worry anyone. Just get defence sorted.

    Reports in papers saying Gilberto coming back to coach. If that true it’s a positive

  42. Bankz

    So Giroud, Arteta & Mertasacker were bought to stabilise the sale of RVP, Cesc & Co.
    Almost 4yrs later, they’re still STARTERs in our starting XI, meaning we’re still in the stabilisation process according to Keyser.

    Yet you argue with Pedro, when he says Jose Mourinho has returned to a new league, broke,drafted,shifted & stabilised his side under 2 yrs.

    Will they win the league? I don’t know because they have the might of City to contest with but I’m as hell certain they’d give it a good go.

    When you sit & dissect Keyser’s arguments, views & points one after the other, it all points to trying to exonerate Arsene Wenger of blame for our stagnation on the football pitch in the last 5yrs (of course Keyser doesn’t think we’ve stagnated in any way).

    Like Pedro said, you just BLOCK views that are not aligned with yours.

  43. tunnygriffboy


    Mourinho shifted out the players he didn’t need. 1 for fifty million the other for 37 million. He has a squad crammed with 20 million pound+ players to begin with. He has brought in two 30 million pound players and a sub left back for 15 million to add to this squad

    Our squad is full of players under 20 millon or youngsters that have been developed. Before Ozil and Sanchez we had bought no one over 20 million. Chelsea man u and city have been doing it for years, we are now playing catch up. We have good money now but not to the extent to catch up in one or two windows.. it has started though. I would expect one marquee signing each summer with supporting transfers like Welbeck. It will take time but once we have the base of squad like Chelsea then it will be easier to top up and improve. Ozil and Sanchez are just the start

  44. Emiratesstroller

    I think that Giroud is an undervalued player and he demonstrated that fact on
    Saturday. Provide him with pace along the flanks and he does look a potent player. Let’s face it he was flogged to death last season because we lacked alternatives and more importantly we played most games without pace on flanks and someone who crossed the ball properly.

    What was on offer on Saturday changed the dynamic of game. We have now
    the potential to play Sanchez,Welbeck and Walcott on flanks. Ozil, Cazorla
    or Ox in offensive midfield positions and Ramsey or Wilshire in central

    Where we are weak is in defensive midfield where the option is Arteta or Flamini. Neither is quick or strong enough defensively and that results in us
    struggling to control possession in far too many games when we lose the ball
    in offensive positions. Arteta is better than Flamini, but tends to run out of steam in second half of games.

    The other weakness is the lack of options in centre back position. Koscielny
    has been out for most of this season and his absence has cost us dear.
    Mertesacker is not comfortable on left and to be honest I don’t feel that Chambers is good enough to play regularly in first team either as centre back or
    full back particularly against top teams.

    My instinct is that Arsenal will buy one player in January to cover one of positions, but not both. Possibly he will opt for Centre Back rather than Defensive
    Midfield as that is likely to be a cheaper option and most critical at moment with injury to Koscielny.

  45. Bankz


    And this somehow justifies our 2 semi-retired players as our 1st & 2nd choice CDMs?
    West Ham & Southampton have better CDMs Ffs!
    Justifies SANOGO in our team.
    Whether they were £50mill or £25mill players isn’t the problem.
    Fact is Mourinho saw an unbalanced team according to his style of play & fixed/rectified that problem.

    We’ve had the exact same issues for 4yrs now & it has nothing to do with our inability to sign £25mill players.
    I’m certain there are CDMs for less than £20mill we could have got that would give us better chances than Arteta &Flamini but Wenger chose not to.

    We could started the season with Giroud & SANOGO Ffs!
    Only reason we have a Welbeck who isn’t even good enough, is because Giroud was supposed to be injured until 2015.

    I’ve said here repeatedly, SANOGO has shown absolutely nothing at all to suggest to any logical football pundit that he’s qualified to put on an Arsenal jersey.
    Question is why is he even starting games or sitting on the bench for us?

  46. Highbury Daze

    Very true banks, the board are the usual suspects that are hauled in, it is their fault we had 10 years of austerity, never Wenger’s ever,ever, it is always some other poor bastard’s fault, everything is Wenger’s fault, he has catre blanche, they trust his fiscal genius to oversee every part of the running of the club, and he does a remarkable job in every area and facet but one, the football side, he just can’t spread himself that thin, dictators have all the voice, and a club the size of the Emirates and the corporation that it is, these dumb cunts board/owner have painted themselves into a corner with him, but they are happy, he gets them the 4th place trophy on a regular basis, they don’t need to win it to enjoy the financial fruits of the Wenger labour, it’s a win win, an absolute BONANZA, just don’t ask to SEE the 4th placed trophies

  47. Dark Hei


    I do not know what is happening behind the scenes. But Wenger has been looking for DMs for ages.

    I won’t put it down to just him. In this instance, the transfer department has to take responsibility for failing to nab the player the club requires.

    I will also put down the lack of CB in the summer as a let down. Sure it busts the budget because of the striker requirement, but you can always mark it down as an extraordinary item in the report. Unless you know your shareholders wouldn’t want that and there is only 1 majority shareholder…….

    Wenger ain’t stupid. He deliberately let the media know that he knew Kos had an Archiles heel injury.

  48. tunnygriffboy


    Mourinho saw the problem and fixed it. My point was that he was starting from a position of huge strength. He was lucky enough that he was able to off load3 players for 50, 37 and 28 million respectively. That’s the calibre of squad they have. We have brought in a 42 million and 35 million players , we don’t have the luxury of doing that as our squad isn’t complete to that level. It will be but we are playing catch up

    Totally agree that Sanogo shouldn’t be with us and that we need a WC midfielder. The midfielder will come probably next summer, another piece of the jigsaw. It should have come this summer. We did spend 80 million and brought in some very good players

    As for Mourinho moaning about lack of options last season he let Courtois and Lukaku go out on loan. He had a top squad already, now with80 million investment he feels happy again. I really hope he fails this season. He won’t as City have lost Aguero, Kompany and Dzeko for the xmas programme and yaya will go to the ACN

  49. Highbury Daze

    Ssnogo is starting games and sitting on the bench for one reason, he cost nothing, zero, zilch sweet fuck all, Wenger will put a little polish on him and sell him for anywhere up to 5 million quid, profit, the name of the game at Arsene FC, the only game in town

  50. Dark Hei


    I will put the sales down as genius work from the executives over at Chelsea. JM reaped the benefits of those sales. And Torres loaned out as well! We had some good sales from our side last season too. Looks like we are better at selling than buying.

    Disagree with Sanogo though. His gait looks crappy but he gets results from tough spots. Like it or not, this rookie turned the FA Cup tie while the popular Podolski stank the place. He was also crucial for the Liverpool win in last seasons FA Cup run. And also that goal against Dortmund this season. When the going gets tough, the postman makes an appearance, or something.

  51. tunnygriffboy


    Options for CB :

    A world class one to replace Mert ( will one be available in January )

    A good solid pro to be 3rd choice. He will be here for 3 years.

    A young and up and coming talent with huge potential to be part of defence with Chambers for years after Per and Kos finish

    Agree, Kos has been the biggest miss this season,

  52. Highbury Daze

    Sorry for laughing dark hei, the AFC transfer department, and who is in charge of that my son, there is no transfer dept, everything goes through Wenger, unless he is that stupid at times when the Chairman has to step in, like when the transfer department didn’t spend a penny when they had 150 million quid got 2 free transfers Sanogo and Flamini, Keswick insisted, and pulled rank on dipshit Wenger and had him bid for Ozil, transfer department indeed

  53. Highbury Daze

    AFC is run like a stalag under Herr Venger, late for meals, 250 pound fine, making phone calls in the building 500 pound fine, is this cunt kidding, reading newspapers inside 100 pound fine, what a low prick, what happened to give me 10 pushups, not at this joint, everything is about money, vile fucking place with this Kommandant in charge

  54. minaj

    Why people respond to keyssier or whatever his name is is what I still don’t know. He is obviously suffering from “Romney sia” a word from Obama during his campaign with Romney… He runs his mouth like shit from ass,, arghhh.

  55. rollen

    Lol alexanderhenry big elephant in the room is 200 m in the bank and wage bill bigger than chelsea not to mention 2 multibilionare owners

    We got more than enough resources to complete with anyone

  56. Alfie

    “We get to play against either Basel or Porto after we are done slaying Monaco, yeah? OH happy daysss!”

    Where are people getting this information from?? Its a new draw.

  57. Highbury Daze

    Football agent to one of the players, rings AFC, receptionist answers, hello AFC , agent, can I be put through to the transfer department, receptionist, sorry sir, we do not have a transfer department, Herr Venger deals with player transfers, wages, sales and purchases, contracts, training the first team squad, arranging the meals, organising the transport to the games among other things, agent, can I speak to him please, sorry he’s busy right now and unavailable, he is collecting the fines from the players who have been naughty, agent, I thought Per Mertesasker did that, he does, but he is sick today and Herr Venger volunteered

  58. Bankz

    Dark Hei

    I thought Wenger ran our transfers?
    Is there a transfer department?
    Isn’t he contemplating dishing out brand new contracts to Abou NEVER PLAY Diaby & an extension to Mikel Arteta?

  59. Highbury Daze

    The Vatican, a state within a state it answers to no one, just like the Emirates, a state within a state, everything else outside the walls are irrelevant and answerable to no one, ruled over by Herr dictator Venger

  60. Leedsgunner

    The papers are awash with us being after Cavani again… *facepalm*. Why? The last person we need is another attack minded player.

    Ideally we weed 2 CBs, a DM and LB.

    I would go all out to sign Schrar, Laporte (who can also play left back) and Kognobia…

    If we come through this period with a couple more wins (no matter how weak the opposition are) sadly Wenger will convince himself that all his “coming back from injury” players are like new signings and don’t need anyone else. Despite having the opportunity to address our weaknesses in January he’ll say there isn’t quality.

    Then when we get beat by our rivals again in February and March he will bemoan such results as bad luck.

    The truth is unless we strengthen even 4th is a doubt because teams like Southampton and West Ham have improved whilst we have stood still at best.

  61. Zementalstrength

    TH14 is officially retired.
    Such a legend!!

    He has joined the Sky Sports team.
    My opinion is that he has too much respect for wenger for being his replacement.
    Well… Let’s see if Thierry will have a change of mind once he will have commented some “glory games” against the chavs, city or united lol

  62. Emiratesstroller

    I agree with Tunnygriffboy.

    Arsenal need to invest properly in our 1st X1 players and that means spending between £25-50 million dependent on positions.

    At the moment I see two positions in 1st X1 which need upgrading in next two
    transfer windows and those are CB and DMF. The first is more of a priority,
    because of injury to Koscielny and shortage of numbers. Chambers is not
    experienced or ready to play position on regular basis particularly against top
    teams. Mertesacker may be a decent squad option next season but not necessarily first choice.

    Looking at our squad there are a number of players who need offloading but
    not necessarily having to bring in transfers.
    Arteta [we need to recruit first string DMF]
    Flamini [we need to recruit second string DMF]
    Coquelin [we don’t need replacement]
    Diaby[we don’t need replacement]
    Rosicky [we don’t need replacement. Oxlade-Chamberlain can play centrally]
    Campbell [we don’t need replacement]
    Podolski [will leave and will need to be replaced]
    Sanogo [I would personally promote Akpom as third string Striker]

    To summarise we need 1 x CB, 2 x DMF, 1 x LW

  63. tunnygriffboy


    Apart from Wilshere all our players should be back before 1st January according to Physio Room. Ozil due back the first, some on Sunday, some on 26th some on 28th. Be good to get them all back. Looking forward to seeing us play after Christmas, hoping that he sticks with the 3 forwards pressing or dropping back to make 5 man midfield.

    I think we will get a CB. Do you want a WC one to replace Per ( assuming one available in January) ? Do you want a good solid pro to act as 3rd choice bearing in mind he’ll be with us for 3 years ? Or, do you wany a promising youngster withbig potential who along with Chambers could be our long term future ?

    Would you be prepared to wait until summer to get Schniederlin ?

  64. Keyser

    Bankz – What’s soo hard to understand, we sold Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Ebway, in 2011.

    Is the problem a matter of replacing them ? No, the problem is why did we sell them to begin with.

    Any progress we made in that 2010-11 season, we forfeited and took significant steps back, we didn’t want to sell them.

    The comparison to Mourinho is mind-numbingly stupid because he walked in and decided that ‘HE WANTED’ to sell them.

    We didn’t even replace the players we sold, we simply applied a bandage to the squad.

    If we followed Mourinho’s example, we’d have sold Fabregas because we wanted David Silva.

    We renewed Sponsorship deals last year, are we still selling players ? No, now people actually want us to.

    Since last year have we seen a change of policy ?

    We’re not going to find like for like replacements, but say Ozil and the rise of Ramsey helps to replace the years we spent on Fabregas, say Sanchez is loosely a relacement for Nasri.

    Now instead of thinking about selling players we’re back to 2011, obviously not quite because that was an extremely efficient team, but we’re back to thinking how do we add to the team rather than who are we going to lose next.

  65. tunnygriffboy


    Agree that we need a bit of squad restructuring. We really need a CB in January due to Kos tendons. I think the CM will come in the summer and Arteta will be the back up. If Campbell and Podolski go then that spot will need to be filled, hopefully with pace and skill.

  66. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Last week united were 14-1 looked at it !

    Can’t happen can it ?

    What’s happened to this blog ?

    Since he allowed more ads posts been eratic at times , late an now no posts ,,,

    Some grief must have happened . ?

    Hope it al resolves it self !

  67. Keyser

    tunny – I almost feel bad discussing it because there are legitmate gripes, Barney Ronay’s article summed it up almost perfectly, the boredom, the frustration, and the seemingly continuous nature of it, has left people rightly frazzled.

    To be fair each time we had to rebuild, it was always going to be harder to do so.

  68. tunnygriffboy


    This time when we are rebuilding we are not limited to youngsters or 2nd tier players. These will still come in because though we have money it is not unlimited. Difference now is we can keep players and pay higher wages. We are also able to bring in WC talent to supplement developing youngsters. We’re stilla rrelatively young side. It will take a few windows to pad the squad out properly. We did miss a trick in not getting cover for Kos in the summer.

  69. Emiratesstroller


    Last season we had three established first team centre backs on our books in
    Mertesacker,Koscielny and Vermaelen, which is why Wenger gambled on not
    replacing Djourou and keeping Sagna as emergency fourth string CB.

    With Vermaelen out most of last season we were in reality down to just 2 specialist CBs then.

    Realistically we need 3 good standard CBs who are good enough to play in 1st X1. Both Mertesacker and Koscielny are at moment a problem for different
    reasons. Koscielny because of injury and Mertesacker because he has been
    flogged to death without a break and also because he needs a mobile partner
    to compensate for his lack of pace.

    Chambers is too inexperienced to play regularly CB and in any event is right
    sided. We need someone who can play in LCB as replacement for Koscielny
    but also perhaps as a replacement for Mertesacker if Koscielny switches to

    Howedes has been touted in last two weeks and might be a better option than
    Hummels or even Schar. He plays for Germany in LCB position and also can
    play LB if required. He is also likely to be cheaper than Hummels.

    I like Schar, but I doubt that Basle will sell him in January even though his contract ends in Summer.

    The only CB playing in England of a decent standard who might be available is
    Reid at West Ham. His contract ends in Summer, but West Ham want an inflated price for him. Personally I would prefer Howedes because I think that
    he would be cheaper and also more adaptable as he can play left back as I suggested.

    What I don’t want to see is Arsenal buying someone else’s cast offs or a young
    players such as Mings who is untested at this level. We should not be in the
    business of gambling with such a key position in spine of team.

  70. alexanderhenry

    Midwest gun ..’find other ways to compete’. How exactly? If you’re playing a team with much better players, nine times out of ten you will lose.