Arsenal: Talkin’ bout my preeeparation

by .

Happy Bank Holiday Monday to you all folks – James here with the final league match report of the season. I went for a pre-game lunch at the recently refurbished Canonbury with some friends. Lovely location and set-up, good selection of beers, shit-show in the kitchen. In fairness they knocked 50% off our bill – as a tight bastard, I couldn’t have planned it better myself.

The final game of the season is often difficult to get too excited about when it is a dead rubber and the mood was hardly ebullient pre-match, however I felt we were badly in need of a result to rediscover confidence and that goal-scoring knack ahead of next week’s final. Plus the chance to put one over Tony Pulis, the jumped-up little shit who looks like he’s been dragged backwards through Sports Direct, is always an incentive. It was clear on Wednesday that rotation was required, with some tired legs on show; and for once Arsene duly obliged. Gibbs came in for Nacho whilst Gabriel was given the nod ahead of Koscielny. Jack started the game from the right, whilst the most interesting selection was that of Theo leading the line in place of Giroud. I’ve never been particularly keen on Theo as a central striker in a one-striker system, but he showed today that against certain opposition it can bear sweet, juicy fruit.

It was apparent from the opening exchanges that Arsenal were in the groove, with Jacob and Morrison chasing shadows in midfield. What I particularly enjoyed about the midfield performance was the fluidity of interchange between Jack, Ozil and Alexis. Nominally, Alexis started from the left, Ozil the centre and Jack on the right; however these positions were purely to fill out on the team sheet. At one stage Ozil drifted to the left, Alexis to the right and Jack to the number ten position. When it works, it makes it nigh on impossible to accurately plan how to play that approach and we reaped the dividends yesterday.

Theo had a field day in the first half and opened the scoring with a rasping strike into the top corner, past the hapless Myhill. It was an instinctive finish, which Theo is famed for and set the tone for subsequent events. His second followed shortly after, as he wriggled free in the box and poked the ball into the bottom corner with the outside of his boot – another incisive finish, which pleased the whole stadium, save perhaps for a dashing Gaelic attacker on the bench. Our third was a complete thunder-twat of a strike from Wilshere. With the ball bobbling in the box, Gabriel flicked the ball out towards the edge of the box; and Wilshere with minimal back lift launched a half volley into the stanchion. A stunning strike and the kind of goal we really don’t score enough of. Theo completed his hat trick after 35 minutes, finishing off an excellent team move. Once again, Jack was at the heart of the attack, darting into the box after a one-two and flicking the ball out wide to Santi. His scuffed cross-cum-shot was finished at the back post by Theo, who showed great alertness and anticipation to nip ahead of Lescott.

The second half doesn’t merit too much discussion. West Brom came out strongly and we were clearly in energy-conservation mode ahead of the final. Their goal came from a corner, with Fat Dave trying to claim the ball in a crowd of players, leaving their man to head into an empty net. Again, Ospina’s lack of height and presence is exposed and it is costing us. We had a few good chances, with Ramsey on as a substitute and seemingly on a mission to find the net, hitting the upright and having a shot brilliantly saved by their keeper. It wasn’t to be Ramsey’s day as the game fettered out, but there was still time for an(other) Ospina clanger. Gardner’s shot from distance had some power but no movement and our ‘keeper’ somehow contrived to let it slip through his hands and deflect the shot onto the crossbar. Lucky boy. Nonetheless, it was job done and the ideal preparation for our showdown with Tactics Twat next Saturday.

I didn’t stick around to watch players parading round the pitch with their babies – life really is too short.

Whether the performances of Jack and Theo in particular have any bearing on Wenger’s selection for the final remains to be seen, but they have certainly laid down a marker. I’m not his biggest fan, but I’d be very tempted to start Theo against Villa. My impression is that Villa will come out and attack us, and unless Ox is fit enough to start, which seems unlikely, we’d be missing a trick by not adding pace to exploit the space we will have. Giroud will, and should start the game, as he does provide a platform to play from and in a tight game of fine margins, his aerial ability both defensively at set-plays and offensively could be important. I suppose that would leave Arsene needing to decide between Ramsey and Santi – two players I love. If I had to choose, I’d go with Ramsey, as his form is good, whereas Santi looks exhausted. Saying all that, I think Arsene will persist with the default side of late, with Santi partnering Coq and Ramsey on the right, but having an in-form Jack and Theo to call upon if things aren’t working out could prove very handy indeed.

With regards to Theo, he was excellent yesterday, but he’s had many good Arsenal games, but also far too many indifferent ones. It’s tough to judge him this season as it has been punctuated by injury, but I’m unsure as to whether he’ll ever be a consistent top-level performer. If he stays this summer, then great; but if he were to leave I’d like to think we’d replace him with a far more complete attacker. There have been murmurings of Sterling, which I think are fanciful at best. Besides that, I’m not sure he’s the player we need at all – he’s a precocious talent but brings zero goal scoring threat, which for all his faults, Theo does offer. I think a Reus or Lacazette would be far more suited to our needs and probably, somewhat perversely, cheaper too.

A word also for Jack, who had a super game. He’s looked great since his latest injury comeback, but at the risk of sounding like a broken Erasure record, he needs to stay fit. The only ceiling on his career is his ankle – if that can finally fix itself, he can be some player. I don’t think Arsenal would ever countenance selling him this summer, given the amount of time we have invested in him. Next season’s a big one for him though.

 In terms of how to view the season, clearly what happens next week will be decisive in that regard, but citing the league campaign alone, it is one of progress, permeated by frustration at what could have been. The first ten games killed off any realistic chance of making a title charge, which makes our remarkable run in 2015 all the more piss-boilingly annoying. But, for once, I’m going to opt for the glass half full option. Defensively we have improved, with only Chelsea and Southampton conceding fewer. Ozil has stepped up, we’ve added Alexis, Oxlade has developed well in spite of his injuries, whilst Coquelin has also added the long-lusted for robustness to our midfield. There’s plenty to build on ahead of 2015/16, but so much depends on what the manager does this summer.

In my view there are three positions we need to make big upgrades in to be considered challengers. The first of these is in goal. Chesney will surely say do widzenia in the summer, leaving only Call-me-Dave and Emi Martinez. People can point to our points tally all they want, but Ospina is not a title-winning goalkeeper. He’s a keeper who may not necessarily lose you points, but he won’t win you any either. What many fail to acknowledge is he came into the side just when we were able to pick a settled back four and replaced Flamini with Coquelin, making us far more robust. I would suggest this is far more prescient in our increased solidity than the personnel change in goal. My preference would be for Petr Cech who has won it all, has big-game experience and is still a world-class performer. There are some positive rumblings about this one…watch this space.

A midfielder is also a must, to play instead of and alongside Coq. As well as he’s done we can certainly upgrade in this part of the pitch. As I’ve mentioned before I like the idea of being able to line-up in big away or European games with two defensively minded midfielders along side each other. Beyond this, we can’t expect Coq to play every single game and beyond him there is a paucity of options. Flamini will surely go and see out the remainder of his days nurturing a moustache in a string vest and y-fronts, whilst Arteta’s fitness precludes him from being influential against the best opponents. In terms of names, it’s the usual suspects really. I think Schneiderlin would be great – he’s proven in this league, young, a leader, a good passer of the ball and is blessed with superb athleticism. If we’re going top shelf, then Vidal would be incredible. He’s not a defensive midfielder per se, but a player of his quality alongside Coquelin and Ramsey would be quite the formidable proposition. Vidal is probably a bit of a blue-sky transfer muppet signing, but I’d be delighted with Schneiderlin nonetheless.

Finally, particularly if/when Theo packs his bags, we need another attacker. Without getting drawn into the Giroud debate – a player I do rate highly – we remain one top class attacker away from pushing for the league. Team’s attackers tend to score in patches, be that Alexis, Ramsey or Giroud, one tends to pick up the mantle when the others have dried up; which is why one additional forward of genuine quality is essential. The names I’d propose aren’t anything new – Reus, Lacazette and Fakir would all add playmaking ability, pace and goals to our side. Crucially, they’re all versatile enough to fit into the fluid attacking system that we are gravitating towards. Should we do the above, I’m confident next season will be an exciting one.

More immediately, we have a massive game next week in our quest to retain the FA Cup – a competition that still gets my juices flowing…it’ll be a tough task, no doubt, but I just hope we can put in a decent performance and not a nerve-riddled, pant-pooing display as is our wont at Wembley. Fingers crossed and enjoy it wherever you’re watching. I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the game, but it does mean I’ll have to endure an evening at Wembley.

It’s been a pleasure writing match reports this season and I hope you’ve enjoyed them – I’ll see you again in the summer.

Until next time x

Give me a follow @James_Willson2

 

281 Responses to “Arsenal: Talkin’ bout my preeeparation”

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  1. Marko

    Lack of strikers or no we still need one so I’d take Jackson Martinez if we couldn’t get Lacazette

  2. Nasri's Mouth

    @Dissenter

    Toure is 32 now.

    He’s famed for his stamina, his lung busting runs from deep. He might still do it from time to time, but he’s definitely past his best now, and if they’re keeping him, it means they’re not replacing him

  3. Nasri's Mouth

    @Marko

    I was talking about Yaya being 32.

    Martinez is 29 in Oct.

    That basically means there’s no resale value, and realistically he’ll be on a downward trajectory in his 2nd season with us.

    So unless Porto are desperate to get some cash for him now, and sell him for peanuts, before he becomes completely worthless, I honestly can’t see us signing him

  4. Nasri's Mouth

    I could understand sacking Ancelotti if

    a) Real Madrid were looking for a manager to actually build a team, (because that’s not Ancelloti’s strength) but they move their managers on so regularly

    b) Real Madrid had a better option, but apparently it’s Rafa Benitez

    Just weird really

  5. Bamford10

    Dissenter

    Origi will come good. No question. Technical, polished and athletic — all evident at the WC.

    Plenty of younger players get off to bad starts here or there. Wasn’t Coquelin selected for Worst XI when he was at Freiburg? Feel like someone mentioned that here once, and Origi has more talent than Coquelin.

    Will come good. Just watch.

    Below is a Mirror article on why he shouldn’t have made the list:

    http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/football/news/liverpool-bound-divock-origi-doesnt-5759789

    Thanks for always thinking of me, though, Dissenter.

  6. Dissenter

    Why do people talk down Benitez?

    He’s an excellent manager who’s won two La Ligas with Valencia. He’s won two European cups in the past decade.

    He’s never had the pick of the best clubs unlike the Ancelottis and Mourhino.

    If he goes to Madrid, it will be his first chance of working in a dominant club.

    He earned my respect at Chelsea for the dignified way he competed himself.

  7. leon

    weather we win the fa cup or not I still feel if this team is going to another level and start making a real serious attempt at the prem much less the champions league they will need a new manager, someone who is extremley tactically astute. The problem with wenger is that he is far too stuborn and proud and this a very very ruthless and cut throat business there is no room for emotion.

    Only time will tell weather wenger is serious in the market but if has not completed his major business by late july then we will know its just talk as usuall.

  8. Dissenter

    Bamford,
    “Origi will come good. No question. Technical, polished and athletic — all evident at the WC”

    Haha
    You’re predicting a career based on 3 games played at the WC. I bet you had not heard of him before the World Cup.

    Oleg Salenko scored six goals at the 1994 World Cup too, he didn’t go on to “come good”

  9. Spanishdave

    Wenger hasn’t changed his ways in ten years. He is very predictable, he hangs on to players who are past it, he has favorites who are not up to standard, and he buys mainly potential rather than proven quality, he does this year in and year out.
    Arsenal will soon be entering the longest period without wining the league in our history another record for Wenger, to match our record defeats under him.
    Utterly disgraceful way of running our club.

  10. shad

    @Dissenter,

    Benitez has a good record esp in Europe but those Real people are a hard one to please. Ancelloti is a born and bred winner, and it’s hard for any manager to work there or stamp their style when they have near zero say in transfers. No security of tenure, just the prestige of managing arguably the biggest club in the world.

    I’d love Ancelloti at Arsenal though.

  11. shad

    @Spanishdave,

    Wenger fears winning because of the pressure it brings. He’d rather have an average season with less accountability such that surpassing the mediocre looks like improvement. People have harped on about us improving, which in fairness is true vis a vis personnel added and a bit of tactics played, but the same issues still dog us courtesy of the senile one.
    Running players to the ground, poor tactical ability and reading of the game, shoddy transfers (terrible scouting).

    I just hope all theae are the foundation stones for a better manager to build on.

  12. Nasri's Mouth

    Bamford10: Below is a Mirror article on why he shouldn’t have made the list:

    Major argument of that piece seems to be that he shouldn’t be on the list because L’Equipe give lower marks for performances than the English press. Regardless of whether that’s true or not, it’s immaterial as it applies to all the players in the French League.

    He’s scored something like 7 goals from open play this season, I suspect he’ll do better as he gets older, doubt he’ll become a superstar.

    Comparing his season to Coq’s at Freiburg is a little disingenuous too, given that Coq was played out of postion on the wing for pretty much the whole season

  13. Thomas

    Lee
    May 25, 2015 17:53:08

    Thomas

    Yes. You got whupped.

    ____________________

    Oh no how am I going to recover? lol

  14. Nasri's Mouth

    Shad: Wenger fears winning because of the pressure it brings.

    Do you actually think about what you type before you type it?

    How does that make any sense at all?

  15. Emiratesstroller

    I could see Ancelotti coming to Arsenal if he is planning to take a year out of the sport. He would be precisely the type of Manager that the club would seek to replace Wenger.

    Arsenal like managers who are “gentlemen” and behave correctly, which is exactly what Ancelotti is. At 55 he could also offer them at least 5 years service.

    Despite what Thierry has said today on Sky the club are not a million miles away from producing a Title winning team. If Wenger fails to achieve this next
    season it would be time for him to go. Indeed if he were to win the Title it would be the best time to go.

  16. Nasri's Mouth

    @Emiratestroller

    There aren’t many managers around that I think are good enough for us, Ancelotti might be one of them.

    If we went for him in a season, I wouldn’t be upset, but I’d be a little concerned about whether he’d look to build a side long term. If we gave him the job, I’d like it to be on those terms, because that’s the only way we’re going to compete

  17. Swiss guns

    Hard to say what direction Arsenal will go post-Wenger. I do think the age of long-term managers with power like Wenger or Ferguson is over tbh.

  18. Lee

    redtruth

    Then how has he won two doubles? How did he go 49 games unbeaten

    Don’t be so naive
    Nobody is that lucky. If they were he’d have won the champions league too.

  19. Nasri's Mouth

    @Swiss guns

    I’d hope for a period of longevity without excessive control. We’re going to have to bring players through if we’re going to compete with the big boys. That means a manager being in place for 5-10 years

  20. Swiss guns

    Nasri
    The problem is finding the manager who buys in to the project, has enough cache to attract the right players, and of course can get our players to compete.
    Who would you rate to last 5 or 10 years?

  21. leon

    In my opinion the problem with this club is not solely managerial problem its also at board level. I feel they the board have gotten lazy they with wenger they take a back seat things are very comfortable for them,if they bring in someone young hungry that manager with not be worry about transfer fees or any thing he is going have list players and he will expect the board to stump up they money bottom line a new manger ill much the board things are nice and easy right now for the board.

  22. Swiss guns

    One big question as well: do you think Wenger gets kicked upstairs (DOF?)
    When he retires as manager?

  23. Spanishdave

    Wengers achievements are over ten years old. Ten years think about it.
    He has had more time to build and develop than any manager in football history, and he still cannot produce a league winning side.
    He fiddles and farts about totally without any respect of the supporters who foot the bill.
    He is institutionalised with us and we are clutching annually at short rays of success hoping for someting to turn up.
    Our club is footballs BBC, stuck in past glories.

  24. Swiss guns

    Leon
    Wenger has lasted as long as he has for the same reason that any manager lasts: he has fulfilled his brief to the people that pay his wages.

    I’m not sure comfortable accurately describes the last 10 years from a board perspective tbh, but it’s certainly possible that the board is afraid of change.

  25. Nasri's Mouth

    @Swiss guns

    That’s why despite Wengers undoubted faults, I’m not desperate to get rid of him.

    Can’t see too many people coming in and not fecking it up in 2 or 3 seasons or wanting to move on.

    Wenger has now had 19 consecutive seasons in the top 4. Before him we’d never had 19 consecutive seasons in the top half of the league.
    That’s been massively important when we’re up against 3 clubs who can outspend us, and we couldn’t risk giving the CL money to another club.
    That still stands, though with the PL TV money going up and up and up, the CL money will be less significant than it was

  26. Nasri's Mouth

    Swiss guns: One big question as well: do you think Wenger gets kicked upstairs (DOF?)

    I’d imagine not, given what he’s said. I think it’s all or nothing for him, however painful that might be

  27. Nasri's Mouth

    SpanishDave: Wengers achievements are over ten years old. Ten years think about it.

    Hmm, thinking about it, I’m pretty sure we won something a year ago, and we’re in a good position to win something next saturday.

  28. Swiss guns

    And despise Wenger all you want, but his achievements are not ten years old.
    Or is an FA Cup not enough?
    Plenty said we would never win anything again with Wenger. Plenty now say we’ll never win the league with him. They may be right, but if we can legitimately compete I’ll be happy.

  29. Swiss guns

    Nasri
    It’s such a sensitive issue, almost any succession plan is inherently flawed.
    I almost hope we get an interim manager of high stature before the long term plan comes in.
    It’s hard to imagine any of the stars of today buying in to the project the way Wenger has

  30. daz

    Everyone loves to talk about the last 10 years and our lack of success im not going down the route of why we have struggled because it has been said many times I think some just need to realise how hard it is to win leagues and CL just for example take Real Madrid they have been the biggest club in the world for as long as I can remember so look at their last 10 years, they have attracted the best players in the world to their club and the best managers in that time having spent around 600 million on transfer fees alone although recouped around 250, that’s without thinking about wages and other costs now in that time they have 3 league titles and 1 CL that’s with the best managers and best players money can buy and with the attraction of being the biggest club in the history of the game I’m not knocking what they have achieved just saying its fucking hard to win trophies

  31. Nasri's Mouth

    @swiss guns

    I’ve said several times, we should use Fergie’s retirement as a case study of how not to do it.

    I wonder whether Wenger would go a year early or a year late to accommodate the right successor. Either that or we bring in someone like Ancelotti who will keep the ship steady for 1 / 2 years until the timing is right for a long term successor.
    Or we get lucky and get Guardiola for 3 seasons. I’d happily take that, even if I knew he would never stay around for long.

  32. Thank you and goodnight

    @Nasri’s mouth

    If Wenger got boot tomorrow I wouldn’t be overly concerned. What he gave us in the past I will always be grateful for as he gave us some amazing memories as well as bringing in some of the greatest players to ever wear the shirt. But I honestly believe he’s past it and to just keep him because of sentiment is madness.
    I’m not doubting that we mat need to go through a few managers before we get it right, but then who’s to say the next appointment won’t have the wenger effect on the club and take us on to greater glories? So we’ve been in CL for so many years now, apart from 1 year we’ve never actually looked like winning it and are in it these days just to make up the numbers. We’re too big a club for it to go completely tits up, no matter what some people might believe. And I know people will point at united and say “look how they’ve fared since ferries left”……. difference is the next manager has a decent enough squad to play with unlike United who the majority of their best players were on the wane.

  33. kwik fit

    Apparently Chelsea asked to change the bus route today so as to include Oxford street and Regent Street, so they could find a crowd to wave at.

  34. northern gooner

    TYAG

    “Ferries” was a great manager 😉

    How u and yours doing.
    The little fella has the chicken pox.

  35. Thank you and goodnight

    Years ago if a couple of teams stumbled wenger had the ability to bring the best out of his squad and win the big one. These days wengers teams are bottlers and he know longer has the ability to capatalise on other teams failures.

  36. Thank you and goodnight

    @Northern

    I’m good mate. Sorry to hear about your little one and his chicken pox, not to bad I hope? My eldest one had it 2 years ago but we were lucky as he got it mildly compared to his cousin who had it at same time and was completely covered from head to toe.

  37. Nasri's Mouth

    @TYAG

    I guess it comes down to concerns over what happens if we do slip up and let others ahead of us. Bringing in the right players when you don’t have CL football is so much harder, esp. when you’re basically giving up £50m to the team that replaces you in the top 4. A couple of seasons of that and we might just swop places with Liverpool.

    While Wenger was the 2nd biggest spender we were the 1st/2nd most successful team. While Wenger was the 4th/5th biggest spender we’ve been the 3rd/4th most successful team. I agree it’s not much to get excited about, but to do that year in year out for 19 seasons has shown that he still has that consistency.
    Like I said earlier before Wenger we never had 19 consecutive seasons in the top half of the league, let alone the top 4

    I’m all for chance but only if it makes a positive improvement.

    And at the moment, I don’t see too many (any?) that are available that would give us a better chance of getting it right, than getting it wrong.

  38. Thank you and goodnight

    @Nasri’s mouth

    We could pick am English guy from the 1st division and he’d come up trumps, or he could fuck it up completely. We’ll never know until we try but to keep a manager out of sentiment is just madness. I mean who really believed wenger would bring us the success he did when we signed him? Bet none of us on here did. And yeah it would be hard to bring in WC players if we’re out of CL for to long, but who’s to say we will be? Liverpool problem was football had started to move on and they didn’t. Also apart from last couple of years, how many WC players did we sign from 2008-2013? Money always talks and now we’re supposedly in a better financial position why should that change so drastically as everyone thinks it will? It’s my belief that a Klopp or an Ancelotti would get more out of this squad than wenger does.

  39. Swiss guns

    TYAG
    I’m all for optimism as well, and as I’ve said I don’t think the league will see managers like Fergie and Wenger anymore.
    It’s certainly not sentiment keeping Wenger in a job though. If we’d landed outside the CL for a couple of seasons he’d have been gone.
    I’d also say to call the team bottle jobs is harsh, but they were definitely young and callow at times.

  40. Emiratesstroller

    Nasri’s Mouth

    Arsenal are a club who value “stability” and “competence” in their management. Ancelotti is a manager who offers those attributes plus of course trophies. He has won the CL on three occasions.

    I don’t believe that Kroncke will recruit an uproven manager when Wenger
    retires.

    Arsenal is one of the most attractive and well paid jobs in world football as even Mourinho has acknowledged. There are very few top managers who will
    not take job if offered to them.

  41. Swiss guns

    Klopp or Ancelotti could get more out of our resources with time perhaps, but it’s hard to imagine them getting more than the manager who has built the team, unless you feel that Wenger has lost the dressing room?
    For me, it’s not even a question of whether Wenger should go. Wenger will go, sooner rather than later, he’s 65. The Arsenal needs the succession to go smoothly or we’re bang in it.

  42. Thank you and goodnight

    Some of us have been calling it right for last few years and no doubt we will again. We keep hearing next year will be our year but it never seems to materialise. This time next year we will be saying exactly same things we have for last 5 years….”if only we hadn’t had the injuries” etc etc then claiming that next year we’ll get it right which we won’t. Yes we haven’t had the money, but money doesn’t make you tactically clueless, money doesn’t run your players into the ground. Money doesn’t excuse the poor signings the club has made over the years. Just look at our youth set up, it’s excruciatingly poor. The scouting network he had in place while once it was the best in the EPL has been copied and improved on by many of the other clubs.

  43. northern gooner

    TYAG

    Unfortunately hes got them head to toe.
    Struggling to get a solid hours sleep.

    I can honestly take or leave wenger now. If he makes the right summer signings and give the league a good go great. Of he doesnt and its the same old arsenal.
    Lets get someone else in to finish the job.

  44. nasri's mouth

    @TYAG

    We could bring in someone from L1 and he could do better, but it’s a very long shot. chances are he wouldn’t. Chances are he’d damage the club in a way that would take years to recover from. In fact even if that long shot came off, he’d still fuck it up the following season.
    Wenger never does that, he always manages to come in where he should or slightly above. (For the record Mourinho is probably less efficient at Chelsea, he just had more money)
    Klopp did very well, but he had the advantage of a misfiring giant (BM) as his only competition. Once they got their act together he couldn’t get close to them in the league, and now this season he’s dropped the ball. Again some thing that Wenger has never done yet.
    Ultimately we are in a better position financially, but if we’re going to win the league we need a manager who is better than LvG, Pellegrini and Mourinho by a decent margin because they all have a better starting position than we do, AND we need a manager who won’t do a Klopp and chuck it all away a couple of seasons later

  45. Thank you and goodnight

    @Swiss

    I feel wenger is to soft. He hasn’t lost the dressing room, they just take the piss exemplified by the fact Chesney thought it would be ok to light up in the dressing room after a shocking performance against Southampton. He’s too soft these days and by keeping players like diaby who have contributed fuck all to the club over last 4 years in my eyes is proof. Yes I know it wasn’t diabys fault some twat has ruined his career but this is football and it should be a results game, and by keeping diaby proves to me that wenger is not tough enough to make the decisions that will benefit the club.

  46. nasri's mouth

    @ES

    Arsenal is the 4th best funded club in the Prem, a top manager might come for the money, but they’ll know they have a bigger struggle to win the league than they might in other countries

  47. salparadisenyc

    Nice post James.

    Note to Gazidaz…. Get Carlo he’s the one. Wants to take a season out, work the deal for 2016-17 you bad man.

  48. Swiss guns

    It’s funny, but the Manure succession should have worked. They on paper should have been big enough to ride out any storminess with a new manager.
    The players they had should have been enough, the background setup should have been enough, the money they had should have been enough.
    They are the 3rd biggest club in the world ffs.
    And they went to 7th in one season. And could have easily missed out this year if Liverpool had their shit together.
    That’s why the board are probably shitting themselves over Wengers approaching retirement.

  49. nasri's mouth

    @TYAG

    Whether next season is our year, or the one after is, realistically we will only have a less than 1 in 4 chance of winning it, because even with the extra deals, there are 3 clubs in the PL who have more

    As for Szczesny, the smoking seems to have cost him his arsenal career, that doesn’t look too soft to me

  50. Thank you and goodnight

    @Northern

    Oh your poor little man. I feel for you mate as lack of sleep is bloody horrible for you and the little man. Worst thing is that there is bugger all you can do to ease the itching. Hate it when they’re ill mate as you feel so bad not being able to make them better instantly.
    If I could I’d take every knock every bug and germ that my kids will get over the years I gladly would. How many days has he had it?

  51. Thank you and goodnight

    @Nasri’s Mouth

    It might of cost him his career mate, but fact he felt comfortable enough to even think to do something like that shows to me that even the players feel he’s a soft touch.

  52. Redtruth

    Lee

    Don’t be such a dullard

    Wenger’s record in Europe is atrocious and it’s all because of his tactical ineptness.

    Go check the tapes he makes the same silly subs in 1998 as he does in 2015.

    You don’t need tactics in the Premier league when you have Bergkamp, Henry, Vieira and Pires in the same side.

    Europe is different, where tactics is a prerequisite to success and where Wenger fails miserably.

    The quality of players at Wenger’s disposal is just not their, like it was in his early days.

    To cut to the chase, it’s the players who won Arsenal honours not Wenger.

  53. mysticleaves

    Fans are only concerned with winning that’s how leeds ended where they are now. Even if Wenger didn’t win the FA cup last season, he wouldn’t have been a failure in 10years

    People forget we built a stadium and had to survive on peanuts. The board gave wenger a mandate of making the UCL 3times in 5 years and he made it in all. For the thick heads, what this means is that from august 2006 to 2012 we were expected to qualify for UCL 3 times. This also means that Wenger was not expected to WIN the Epl, except by mistake.

    The board feared the worst, cos they knew we couldn’t compete with the other teams. Now we all know Wenger worked miracles and made top 4 in 5 of the years.

    What follows next is that in the next years, we have won the FA cup once, and wil probably win it again. That is 2trophies in 5years. Its not the best but definitely not as bad as people make it.

  54. nasri's mouth

    Oh and I’ve yet to hear a feasible way of getting rid of Diaby without the player being overly generous.

    With hindsight the last contract was a mistake, but he was playing regularly at the time and it was further fouls from Essien and Robinson that probably ultimately finished his career rather than the initial Smith one

  55. Thank you and goodnight

    @Northern

    Only asking as they reckon 5 to 6 days before it eases off. I feel for you mate I really do. Now I know your a good dad and you know more than me, but if at any time your concerned take him straight to the docs mate. Better safe than sorry is my motto and I’ve had more than one row with doctors when they’ve tried to fob me off. But maybe that’s just me, I won’t lie I’m too over protevtive .

  56. Swiss guns

    TYAG
    you may be right about Wenger’s softness, I don’t know.
    I know he likes to give chances to his players, and knows that there is pain in the process of their development. I think Wenger is well aware that his concentration on youth has cost him and the team points over the years, maybe even titles.
    Re Diaby, well Wenger gave him a contract while he was fit, and it’s bloody sad that it didn’t work out, but I don’t like using hindsight in judging transfer fuckups. Wenger has certainly screwed up more than a few transfers over the years, your right.
    If you’re arguing that Wenger is more inefficient with his resources than other managers, I’d love it if someone could provide more info on the subject, because I just don’t know.

  57. nasri's mouth

    @TYAG

    Even at the height of his powers, players questioned Fergie. (Stam, Beckham etc.)

    I think it’s more about Wenger wanting his players to think for themselves rather than being soft with them.

  58. Thank you and goodnight

    @Mystic

    Come on mate don’t even try to compare us with Leeds. And also no one on here is saying that we should be as dumb as leeds were. As I said earlier I believe we’re not that far off having a squad to genuinely challenge I just feel that our manager is the weak link.

  59. Thank you and goodnight

    @Nasri’s mouth

    Your probably 100% right. But years ago when he bought the players in with the right mental approach and abilities he could get away with that approach. But these days with an inferior mentality to the previous players under his command he’s been found wanting when they’ve needed a guiding hand and motivation.

  60. nasri's mouth

    @Swissguns

    Wenger has been inefficient in one area of spending, and that’s wages. Luckily he made up for that on transfers. He could still do better though, we’ve had too many flops but no manager avoids those

  61. daz

    Guys we could get a top manager I think they would come I have a feeling they will go with Steve bould, he knows the club inside out he has been working with the current team for awhile now already and Wenger was talking about Garry monk before the Swansea game about managers coming through saying you need to identify a person with the qualities to be a manager then get them working in the club before making the step up I know I could be adding 2+2=5 but just wouldn’t be surprised, it worked for barca pep now Enrique both worked in their b team

  62. mysticleaves

    TYAG
    Am not trying to compare us with leeds though the problem they had, which is spend above their means, landed them where they were. Is that not what most of our fans here want? To spend money? I get we have the money now (not as people make it) but then we didn’t have it and would be in a similar situation with leeds if not (primarily) for Wenger

    Also, that you feel Wenger is the weak link is legitimate, I feel so too. But it just sickens me when I see people post things like “Wenger has failed for 10 years” cos its plain ignorance and cheap shot at a club one claim to support.

  63. Swiss guns

    Nasri
    Absolutely
    I think Wenger and the club tried to protect their assets from poaching by offering those high wages to youth. It backfired pretty badly imo.

  64. Thank you and goodnight

    @Swiss

    Just my opinion mate but I honestly believe other managers would get more out of this team. I would love wenger to rub my nose in it and make me seem a bigger twat than I already am. Can’t see it somehow

  65. nasri's mouth

    @TYAG

    I think there’s truth in that. Players have lost concentration, focus, call it what you will.

    Chelsea scoring 6 past us, Liverpool 5 smacks of players being given too much freedom, but even the 2-0 at Stamford Bridge shows we’ve tightened up / matured or simply just figured it out.

    Still work to be done, Monaco and Stoke 1st half, but those ended up a lot closer than they might have done in previous seasons.
    And we’re not unique, Chelsea losing to Bradford, Liverpool 6-1 to Stoke, ManU to MKDons all bigger embarrassments

  66. northern gooner

    TYAG
    Lack of sleep really is a pain but to be fair hes never been a sound sleeper so we are just about coping.
    And indeed we would take them pox off him and every other illness etc.
    We are on day 4. Up until last night they werent very bad just iritating him but today they have gone into overdrive.
    Im back in work tomorrow as well so the mrs will have her work cut out.

  67. reality check

    If you’re arguing that Wenger is more inefficient with his resources than other managers, I’d love it if someone could provide more info on the subject, because I just don’t know.

    Interesting. On a slightly different subject. Still related to efficiency. How many goals has GIROUD scored with his head. How many assists has GIROUD provided with his head (knock downs, flick ons)?

  68. Redtruth

    Wenger’s is a lazy manager who has no time or acumen to coach players.

    Wenger’s longevity in the game is down to fans not being able to read the game which in turn enables Wenger to make monkeys out of the monkeys.

  69. nasri's mouth

    @Swissguns

    Yeah quite possibly, Nasri, Cesc and Rvp still buggered off.

    With hindsight we could have saved ourselves millions 😀

  70. Thank you and goodnight

    @Nasri’s mouth @Mystic @Swiss

    All I know is that all of us are Arsenal fans and we want what’s best for our club even if our opinions differ. I will not call any of you names or offer you out just cause our opinions differ. Wenger has 2 years left and I will continue to hope he proves me wrong and always support the team no matter what.

  71. Redtruth

    If Arsenal’s success is down to Wenger, why then is he unable to replicate his earlier triumphs afterall a football team still consists of eleven players last time i checked.

  72. Thank you and goodnight

    @Northern

    Well fingers crossed and hopefully today with it going into overdrive mate it’s the turning point and tomorrow he starts to feel a little bit more like himself. I’m sure your missus will cope mate, as much as we moan about the doris’s they’re a bloody rock at moments like these.

  73. Thank you and goodnight

    @Northern

    Night mate. Hope you all get a half decent night geez. Fingers crossed for little man .

  74. Joe

    Mystic

    How can you co relate ones support for arsenal as one for the manager right after you say you agree wenger is the weak link.

    If you want the club to move forward and the manager is the weak link then the manager must go

    So he does not have my support. I support THe Arsenal. Wenger is the one holding Arsenal back and has for the last 10 seasons. He has been the weak link for the duration, not just now.

    No one is bigger than Arsenal. Especially Wenger

    Again I’ll put money on it that the season wenger leaves is the season we win the league or CL.

  75. Joe

    Juventus built a stadium
    And were relegated and have come back and won the league multiple times and now in the CL finals.

    The stadium excuse is one wenger has made himself.

  76. Emiratesstroller

    Nasri’s Mouth

    Frankly I don’t think money is the issue when it comes to recruitment of a new manager.

    Wenger’s was until recent times the best paid manager in EPL and there are few managers worldwide who are paid better.

    Leaving money aside Arsenal as a club are exceedingly patient and loyal to their staff. Few other clubs in world football offer that level of support.

  77. TheBayingMob

    @Spanishdave
    Arsenal will soon be entering the longest period without wining the league in our history another record for Wenger, to match our record defeats under him.
    Utterly disgraceful way of running our club.”

    It was 18 years between 71 and 89, this season it’s 11 years between 04 and 15. Wenger still has a long way to go before we enter into the “longest spell” without winning the league. In fact he has until 2022 … ??

  78. gonsterous

    A question that’s been hindering me
    Are we really a top club in Europe now ? Bayern laughs at us when we get drawn to them, barca love it, and we got focking knocked out by Monaco. Surely we are there just to make up the numbers !!

  79. Thank you and goodnight

    @gonsterous

    We’ve been making up the numbers for years mate. Horrible to say it but we’re almost regarded as a bye to be drawn against us in the last 16.

  80. Thank you and goodnight

    @gonsterous

    But then in fairness we’ve never really been a big noise in Europe even before Wenger.

  81. qna

    gonsterous: Are we really a top club in Europe now ?

    It depends on what you are asking. In terms of our marketability we are regarded as one of the top teams in the world. There is a perception that we are. But the same can be said for Liverpool. In fact, they are arguably a bigger club, which is reflected by the fact that they earn more commercial income than us and they often are given higher preference in live broadcasts. They only need to smell like they are half decent and they overtake United for broadcast audience (see last season).

    So in that sense we are a big club and this is reflected in the fact that we are the 8th richest club in the world. I was surprised to find out the other day we have the 10th highest average player wage in all team sports including NBA, NHL, NFL, MLB etc. Football teams had 8 of the top 10, so we were the 8th highest in football. These things together do mean that we are one of the biggest clubs in the world. Arguably the 8th biggest.

    As to your question, it looks like you mean in a footballing sense. If you are looking for an answer to stroke your fan-ego, then you can get that here on LG from somebody without a brain like Keyser or Le Prof. So you have come to the right place. But these guys are worse than the clueless ex-Liverpool pundits that dominate the major media outlets and spew endless biased and baseless claims about how great the English league is, how it is the best league in the world and how Liverpool’s rightful place is along side Real Madrid and only those two clubs are Glorious.

    But I suspect you know the answer to your question without anyone needing to tell you. The EUFA Champions League is precisely the metric you can use to measure where we are in world football. So yes, we are still a pretty top club, but we have been somewhere between 9th to 16th for most of the past decade. The English league is currently the 3rd ranked League in the world (based on performances in Europa and CL), but we are at risk of dropping to 4th.

    I personally think the EPL is on the way up right now, with United starting to bring in strong talent, City set to do the same and Chelsea already having very good players. Hopefully, next season will see all EPL teams progress further than this season – I actually expect us all to.

  82. qna

    Real Madrid are mad. Its not Ancelotti’s fault that Barca have MSN. Wait and see what Rafa does next season. I bet Barca are happy.

    Ancelotti to Liverpool? Seems like a waste of time and money. He wont have the players he needs to do anything.

    Ancelotti to City? Seems like a good match. In modern football you need to freshen up your manager as often as you need to freshen up your squad. Pellegrini did a great job in winning the league, but has bought poorly. Would you give your next 150m to him? Why wait for Pep. Pep is young enough, he will get his turn at City, if not now maybe in a few years time.

    Ancelotti to PSG? Again very harsh on Blanc. But if they want to go to the next level in Europe you cant find much better than Ancelotti. For that reason, Ancelotti is the best available manager right now.

    Klopp to Liverpool? Does he want to commit 5-10 years. That is how long the project is for Liverpool now. Will the Pool fans accept their situation and be patient?

    In 2 years time when Wenger retires, I would take Ancelotti, Pep or Klopp. But I wonder who will actually be available. I wonder if Moyes will be free then 😉

  83. Wallace

    Madrid are crazy, Benitez is a fine manager, but if he replaces Ancelotti…that just makes no sense at all.

  84. Emiratesstroller

    The debate on who is a big or small club in Europe is ridiculous.

    Of course Arsenal are a major club. The revenues, UEFA rankings and our status in EPL tells you that.

    It is plum ridiculous to compare Arsenal with Liverpool over the last 25 years.
    Liverpool have not won a single league title since the EPL has been formed.

    We have won 3 league titles, which for the record has only been bettered by Man Utd and now equalled by Chelsea.

    There is also no comparison between Arsenal and Liverpool in most other
    variables eg:
    1. Arsenal has a considerably larger revenue. I am pretty sure that we will
    overtake their Commercial Revenue next financial year if not this.
    2.The major shareholders at Arsenal are far more substantial than those at
    Liverpool.
    3.Arsenal’s track record in winning trophies, position in EPL and participation
    in Champions League is much better than Liverpool.
    4.We are able now to recruit better players than Liverpool, because of
    spending power and location. Who wants to live in a ‘fish bowl’? Gerrard
    has more or less admitted it. Sterling does not want to stay there and Garry
    Neville summed up brilliantly that Liverpool continue to live in the past.

    Not all is “swimming” at Arsenal. The club owners/management need to be a
    little more ambitious and less cautious than they have been in recent years,
    but I do think that we are moving in right direction.

    The only question is whether the club will go the extra mile in competing with
    Chelsea,Man Utd and Man City.

  85. Leedsgunner

    “Sanchez has played 50 games for us and goes there again, having already played in the World Cup last summer”

    FIFA is not completely blameless in this but during the season isn’t Wenger the one that decides how of then a player plays? No use blaming FIFA for his fear of squad rotation. No doubt Sanchez is our talisman but I reckon that was at least 5 games during his long season where he should have been given the time off.. . Oh wait, I forgot it’s never Wenger’s fault… right?

    Congratulations to Alexis for having an amazing first season. You sir are amazing.

  86. Wallace

    Leeds

    no, i agree with Wenger here. crazy to have another big tournament the summer after a world cup. Arsenal pay Sanchez’s wages, not Chile, so the idea of Wenger resting him with an eye on the Copa America this summer doesn’t really make any sense. although i agree, he should have been rested/dropped a few times once his form tailed off after Christmas.

  87. gonsterous

    Qna

    When I say big club I mean having the fear factor.. teams fear playing us or dread hearing our name. In the EPL, we had that, we still do against the lower teams but not in Europe. We do have a bit of pulling power when it comes to players !!

  88. Thank you and goodnight

    @Northern

    How’s little man mate? How did your night go? Hope he’s feeling a bit better.

  89. Emiratesstroller

    gonsterous

    I might have agreed with you before Christmas, but I think that all is now changing. Arsenal are now a more balanced team than in recent years.

    If we upgrade a couple of positions I think that most clubs in Europe will be quite concerned to play us next season in Champions League and that will include teams like Real Madrid and Bayern.

    Wallace

    Agree with your last post. FIFA are a major concern not just because it is run by gangsters whose sole interest is power and money, but because they make some appalling decisions concerning welfare of sport i.e. running tournaments immediately after completion of Leagues in Europe and of course locating World Cup in Qatar.

    However, Wenger does need to review his playing policy next season and rotate key players better than he does particularly his main goalscorers. I agree
    with Thierry Henry that both Sanchez and Giroud need adequate cover so that
    they can be rested.

    Walcott despite his harttrick on Sunday is not a solution. How often in a season can you rely on him to produce such a performance? Probably once in two years if you are lucky when you factor in his injury record. As he pointed out Walcott was motivated by the fact that he needed a performance if he was going to play in FA Cup Final.

  90. Nasri's Mouth

    If anything Sanchez looks mentally off the pace rather than physically.

    Given his fitness levels, what he probably needs is a holiday away from football, rather than a week of training and then sitting on the bench.

    Still, while we berate Wenger for complaining that a player who gets the vast majority of his salary from Arsenal is being overplayed by other teams, it’s important to remember he’s played less than Eden Hazard, or even Raheem Sterling, the player who famously had a little rest in the middle of the season.

  91. Wallace

    Khedira to Juventus according to Gazaetta dello Sport. Juve are being pretty canny now they can no longer bully teams with money like they used to do to us with Vieira. doesn’t sound like his wages are that astronomical either – 2.6m per year.

  92. Nasri's Mouth

    ES: The only question is whether the club will go the extra mile in competing with
    Chelsea,Man Utd and Man City.

    But what IS ‘the extra mile’ ?

    The club isn’t going to spend money it doesn’t have, the owner and the largest minority shareholder aren’t going to put any ‘extra’ cash in the pot. (Indeed, I think we should expect to see Kroenke take another £3m out in the next year or 2)

  93. Nasri's Mouth

    @qna

    According to the press, Ancelotti is taking a year out, so he wont be joining anyone this summer

  94. Emiratesstroller

    Nasri’s Mouth

    “in mens sana et in corpore sano” [english translation sound in min and sound in body].

    The physical condition of Sanchez is impacted by his mental situation. If you are tired both mind and body don’t function as well as they should.

    Bluntly he needs a rest.

  95. Emiratesstroller

    Nasri’s Mouth

    Arsenal do not need to make wholesale acquisitions this summer, but they do need to ‘go extra mile’ and bring in a couple of acquisitions who will make a difference.

    Those acquisitions will cost serious money in both transfer fees and wages. The major shareholder and management do not need to break bank to do this,
    but they do need to be prepared to stretch finances which they can of course do if required.

  96. Nasri's Mouth

    @ES

    Maybe I wasn’t very clear with my post. I do think he needs a rest, but I think just resting him by sticking him on the bench wouldn’t be enough IMO. He needs to get away from football totally for a couple of weeks and focus more on his dogs

    …hmmm, that might not be too healthy

  97. Nasri's Mouth

    ES: but they do need to be prepared to stretch finances which they can of course do if required.

    Again, what does this mean?

    The club has £xxm available in the form of cash reserves.

    Do you want them to go beyond that ?

  98. Emiratesstroller

    Nasri’s Mouth

    Agreed.

    I think that part of problem is Sanchez himself. Players like him who are working so hard on the field and not prepared to take a rest when offered to them can be their own worst enemy.

    Sanchez in that respect is “refreshing”.

  99. qna

    Emirates Stroller: It is plum ridiculous to compare Arsenal with Liverpool over the last 25 years. Liverpool have not won a single league title since the EPL has been formed.

    This is actually biased. Dont make me play Devils Advocate for these scum. Please. But you are wrong actually. The statement was made with the stipulation that we are talking about how big the club was – vs how good they currently are as a football team at present – which by the way, the correct answer would be this season we are better, last season worse.

    Now apart from Arsenal Supporters and Liverpool supporters, how would the average football fan (remember it is a global game) view Arsenal or Liverpool as a the greater club. Arsenal have not won the League in 10 years, and only 1 FA cup in that time. Liverpools dry run stretches back to 25 years, but they have in that time won a UCL in the last decade. UCL >>>>> FA Cup

    Neither of these clubs have done much recently. So why should an unbiased fan make much difference between 10 years and 25 years. So you go to the full honour board, which Liverpool leads Arsenal without question.

    I look at it this way, if I were comparing two teams in Brazil, one who won it 10 years ago and one 25 years ago. You think I would give a shit about that? If you asked me which was the greatest club. I would choose the one with the fatter trophy cabinet.

  100. gonsterous

    Emirates stroller

    A lot of people would have agreed with me before Christmas coz that’s the time arsenal normally are on the low.. after March when we r out of all the competition Zhen arsenal are a force to be reckoned with !!

  101. Northbanker

    Don’t just think about next season; its the years after that too. Breaking the bank is pointless if we cannot then sustain it. We need brave spending but that should be with a view of a marquee signing each year as we have been for the last 3 years – Cazorla, Ozil, Sanchez. I think the only difference is that we need at least 2 to compete -possibly 3 this summer.

    If we base that on current rumours then Cech, Vidal and Martinez would be perfect. Add Sterling only if we sell Walcott (possibly a swap deal -might involve little cash). That could all be achieved without cripppling us – Vidal and Martinez apparently €28m each and Cech 10. So that’s an outlay just in excess of £50m but would put us in a great position to seriously challenge.

    It remains sustainable as the Puma / Emirates / FA Cup money plus TV will largely pay most of that without dipping into reserves. Stan can still have his £3m without hurting us.

  102. Nasri's Mouth

    @qna

    Liverpool won the CL, but they rarely feature in it, so their TV exposure is much smaller than ours.

    (I’m not arguing you’re wrong by the way, just pointing out another fact)

  103. Emiratesstroller

    qna

    I am not being biased, but actually stating facts.

    Apart from one Champions League what exactly have Liverpool achieved in last 25 year. They have not even managed to build a new stadium or upgrade the present one.

    As Garry Neville suggests they live in a “time warp” and as Gerrard also posted
    if you are a footballer in Liverpool you live in a “fish bowl”.

    The reality is that Arsenal are at least 10-15 years ahead of Liverpool in the development of respective clubs.

    People outside Liverpool are sentimental about the club, because of their history and perhaps because of Hillsborough as well. The same applied for a very
    long time to Man Utd who were also a second tier club for a very long time, but
    attracted huge support because of Munich Disaster.

    Manchester United rather like Liverpool were on brink of bankruptcy during Edwards era. However, their history changed with arrival of Ferguson who turned club into “winners” and those who owned and managed club took advantage of situation to build club into what it is today a “super power” of world
    football even when not winning.

    Arsenal are not on same level as Man Utd but they are probably the most consistent of the top league teams both financially and in performance.That applies also in Europe if you exclude Bayern,Real and Barcelona.

    The real test of Arsenal or Liverpool’s current status is a] whether they can attract the top players to join the club and b] the regularity of qualification to
    Champions league.

    On both counts Arsenal are miles ahead of Liverpool. Sanchez joining Arsenal
    in preference to Liverpool proved the former and the fact that we have qualified for CL in 20 consecutive years proved latter.

    Personally I do not club’s status based on measurement of popularity or the rose tinted views of ex players like Thompson, Carragher, Owen or Lawerenson.

    The two clubs are at moment poles apart in their progress.

    What Arsenal do need to do is become a little more ambitious and ruthless in
    the way they operate. They are more than capable of doing so.

  104. Le Prof

    qna

    ‘So why should an unbiased fan make much difference between 10 years and 25 years. ‘

    Let me get this right…Essentially what you’re saying is there isn’t much difference winning the league 10 years ago or 25 years ago? To an unbiased fan of course.

    You are special my friend, really special. You must of been joking when you said you were intelligent.