Fixture fear: Overcome your insecurities right now

by .


Happy good morning my pretties.

Slumped out of bed this morning and tweaked my hamstring. Nothing says, ‘you fat bastard get down the gym’ quite like needing a warm up to support your own body weight.

Also had passport dramas this morning. I need two passports. TWO. Double the workload and I failed first time. But fear not, my dad delivered me to the airport 20mins early and didn’t even lose his temper at my flapping.

So we have some time to Le Grove and chill.

Arsenal are in good shape. Sitting pretty at the top of the league. Focus has now switched to our tough run in. I know there are some beastly games in there on paper, but I think when you look at them with this seasons fresh ‘WHAT IS HAPPENING’ eyes, they’re not that bad.

We’re all worried about Liverpool away. Heading to the Kop. Playing against the charismatic German we’d all have liked to have had stroking our Arsenal curls in a post Wenger era. But look, as a side, they’ve been utter shite under him bar one result against Southampton (ok, ok, and City). Nothing has really changed, crap results, underwhelming individual performances and no semblance of a vision yet.

I think the worrying game for me is the Stoke one. There’s no better case study for money in the league than those boys. Power, pace, organization, brutality and some absolute class. Stokelona as they call them on the continent (pretty sure they don’t, actually). They are going to be a problem, mainly because they are a mental block that now has real quality. The on-story of that game is if we lose, we then have Chelsea at home.

Now, Chelsea on paper have been shite this season. We have been great. Is there any reason this pattern should fail to continue? They should fear us. Creaking defence, fragile confidence and general sluggish play. This shouldn’t be tough, but we know it’ll be a ‘show us you’re champs’ game. But look, Hiddink has been a mega failure in his last 4 jobs, he looks like he should be reading storybooks to kids in Victorian films about the meaning of Christmas. I don’t fear Chelsea under him. Well, not right now.

February for me looks pretty good. Rest assured, Leicester will be dead and buried and I reckon Claudio will be under job pressure. Southampton at home will be revenge for us and look, if we’re having issues with Bournemouth away, then what’s the fucking point? We have a tricky game against Barcelona and possibly a rematch with a Mourinho United as our last game.

I see maybe a couple of draws in there, but I’m pretty confident. We just need to pray we don’t pick up anymore injuries and we have to hope there’s no more news of the dreaded ‘setback’ that we seem to get every other injury.

The run in is all about freshness. Who has it. Who doesn’t. Who managed fitness the best? Great news for us is the way we manage mid season freshness is breaking our players early on. The old ‘NoVenger’ 3 week hamstring rest has proven quite the strategy over the past few seasons. Coq, Ramsey, Chambo, Theo and Sanchez should be flying! They’ve had their midseason break.

So basically, I don’t have the fear like many others. My main fear is the switch off. The lack of drive kicking us over the line. Wenger not having it in him to motivate his players to the end.

… this for me is where leaders used to take over. Who is our Adams? Who is our Sol Campbell kicking Paddy up the arse? Who is willing to slam Chambo up against the wall when he makes a dunce mistake? Who is there, ready and willing to make the dressing room a scary place to be when someone steps out of line?

We’ll find out in due course… but hey, isn’t it exciting! (And marvelous that Spurs dropped two points. The dark horses this season.)

I’m about to hit my flight back to NYC. Can’t wait to spend the next two months pretending I get Super Bowl! See you on the other side!


644 Responses to “Fixture fear: Overcome your insecurities right now”

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  1. bennydevito


    Early post catches the worm!

    The usual suspects DM, Bankz, N5, hitman nowhere to be seen…

    Morning Grovers!

    Good post Pedro. I know what you mean about the fixtures but you forgot the “let’s play Arsenal like our lives depend on it” factor. Liverpool, Chelsea, utd, Stoke even fucking Southampton go all Tottenham on us like it’s their world cup final, always raise their game against us.

    I’m quite fearful. Chelsea also looked pretty good yesterday and Costa’s looking good again.


  2. bennydevito

    Can’t really see a great deal happening from anyone this January. Apart from one or two under the radar never heard ofs lime that Egyptian Elehny we’re being linked with.

    Certainly won’t be any big name world class additions we actually need that’s for sure.

  3. shad

    Chelsea yesterday played like they’ve rediscovered their swagger but the worry for Arsenal is how we manage our players (Wenger plays his favourites) especially in the big games. Saturday was proof that Wenger is an absolute tosser and doesn’t care for form. Ox has done nothing to be ahead of Campbell and we all saw how we looked much more balanced and composed with him on the pitch. Why aren’t we playing Gabriel more often? Need to start weaning him as a starter because Per looked as lost as a giraffe in the arctic circle and Newcastle kept isolating him and targeting him for pace. Gabriel has barely put a foot wrong and if we are at least to make it a contest against Barca, he needs a run of games.

    Other than that, not holding my breath for this window. Wenger should bring in a striker but he’ll only sign Elneny and then nauseate excuses on yet another year of failure. So fucking tired of that man.

  4. Jonraid

    Agreed with Shad with Gabriel and Kos pairing and Campbell over Ox.

    Ramsey has to have better vision to be certain of central role. The failure to square it for Campbell with the open goal gapping is a classic act of how we could drop points in tighter games than this below par performance at Emirates.

  5. Jonraid

    While the Campbell and Ox dilemma can be resolved with Alexis return, I don’t see Wenger going for striker after the recent spirited displays of Giroud and Walcott. Though their finishings are frustrating at times, I don’t see Wenger betraying players’ trust like this…

    While there are sufficient covers in Defence in the shape of Gibbs, Chambers and Gabriel, the only area for upgrade seems to be in central mid position, which May be bolstered by the arrival of the Elneny lad. Giroud seems to spill the beans on this one:

  6. Mick Kartun

    Another great post, Pedro.
    “My main fear is the switch off. The lack of drive kicking us over the line. Wenger not having it in him to motivate his players to the end.”

    Couldn’t agree with you more.

    The second half fixtures will be tough and the same bottlers like Soton spanking might happen again.
    Away: Liverpool, Stoke, Tottenham, ManCity, Everton, West Ham, ManUtd.
    Home: Chelsea, Leicester, Soton, Crystal Palace, West Brom.

    Not so easy as wenger thought.

  7. Dream10


    I’m in agreement with qna . You take Wilshere as an example. After he extends his contract until 2020 or ’21, he’ll be on 110k a week. He won’t be one of the two first choice CMs for Arsenal. His best position for us IMO is playing on the right in a 4-2-3-1. He can dribble and provoke w/out the responsibility of playing positional football in the centre. However, he has rarely been healthy in the last four years,
    Someone like Mkhitaryan or a Mahrez are better options in wide areas as they score and create at a much better rate than Jack. If we sign Wilshere, we are most likely foregoing the opportunity to sign a player better offensive player than him who will start in the XI.

  8. DM


    Nice one mate. Far too early a post for my liking 🙂


    No mate, if 31 was a record I would’ve broken it a long time ago. Alas, it’s more like 54.

  9. Dream10

    Alexis and Walcott (AW called both world class), Giroud and Welbeck are all at least on 100k a week. Our lack of quality goalscoring is limiting our progress.
    Happy we are top of the league and long it may continue, but we can move up another level or two if we acquire a couple of better goalscorers.

  10. tunnygriffboy

    Concerns for second half of the season

    Fatigue. Too many players playing too many games due to our injuries

    The inside right channel between Per and Bellerin

    Flamini. Not quick enough, not enough stamina to play in an open game

    Ramsey/Flamini partnership. Don’t compliment each other. Too much space afforded in too many games

    The high press. With certain players out we find it hard to cope with this.


    Great team spirit

    Ability to play in different ways. We can now press high when we have the right personel in the team. We can also sit deep, be organised and counter. This will be needed in many games during the second half of the season

    The transfer window is open and it looks like we’re buying. I hope we’re getting ahigh energy solid mmidfielder who compliments Ramsey

    We have some excellent players returning from injury. They will be fresh, fit, full of energy and enthusiasm. A great boost for the squad. It will allow key players a game or two to have a rest and recharge the batteries

    Key to it all will be the tough games in January and February while we await our injuries to return. If we can stay within 3/4 points of the leaders come the beginning of March then with players returning we are capable of a strong run until the end of the season

  11. Jonraid

    Thanks DM for letting me dream of TOP 4 trophy! Much as the same dream that Arsenal is in currently. Let’s hope that our dream can come through come end May!

  12. DivineSherlock

    We have done the first part well enough , I.e. top of the league after half a season . Now for the second part playing under pressure, every fixture we will have eyes on us waiting for a loss or draw . As soon as that happens people will come out saying the old Arsenal is back . Having said that our players have matured Imo , We have leaders in Cech , Per, Monreal in defence , the problem is that nobody is leading from the attacking point Except Ozil. Badly missing Alexis here.

  13. Jonraid

    While we have awful goalscoring-to-chances created ratio, I think the one person who is more frustrated is Ozil and his wasted assists, than the narcissistic Manager. May his patience and vision last forever.

  14. tunnygriffboy


    I agree there are better options out there than some of our homegrown players

    That wasn’t what I was arguing against. My point was we have to have a quota and that the ability of our quota wasn’t bad. Who do you replace ours with and how much would they cost ?

    My point was to keep our quota who are at a good age and rather than pay over the odds to replace them with similar ability of homegrown talent we should usethe money and spend elsewhere where we get better quality and value for money.

    Re the wages they will continue to rise due to the obscene amount of money in the game. It’s just the way it is.

  15. qna

    Tunny. Yeah the early post really caught me napping too. Feel like Flamini playing as a DM.

    As I said – regarding the home grown quota. We can have 17 non home growns. This means we only really need around 3 to 5 home growns if you consider we usually have at least 3 or 4 under 21s in the squad – trying to unleash the next Bellerin.

    If we have a limited budget then what we need to do is cram as much quality as we can afford into those top 17 players. Then, depending on how much money we have in our budget we can look to see which home grown players to keep. I think if we consider players like Gibbs, Jenkinson, Chambers, this new Chilwell, then we can make up that 3-5 players without much outlay.

    I actually dont have a problem with what we tried to do with Walcott, Wilshere, Oxlaide etc. However, when it became clear that their wage demands far exceeded their on field quality, we should – as a policy – look to sell these guys and bring in the next generation. The model should be self sustaining as well.

    If we do get a player that is worthy of a big salary – like I think Ramsey is, then I am not for a minute suggesting we shouldnt retain him. And if needed, we can pay a premium for him.

    However, when we have a squad of 22 players, the manager should not play favourites with them just because they are British. Team first. Success first.

    Tunny: “Out of interest who is celebrating being top at Christmas apart from the media who always mention it at this time of year as it’s the half way point. Wenger isn’t celebrating it. The players aren’t Posters on here aren’t as we’ve been stung too many times.”

    I disagree. If you look at the media comments of Wenger and the players over the past few weeks, they have been of a very different tone. Wenger has been speaking about how good Ozil is. Implying his transfer policy of having not too many and not too few players is the best policy. Walcotts recent comments. Giroud saying we dont need any more signings with Welbeck coming back. Heaps of comments. These comments are only valid in the context that Arsenal is successful. This is not being questioned right now – because we are top of the league. But if you apply the same statements that these guys are making at the end of the season when we have won nothing, then they read in a very different light.

    Wenger, Walcott, Giroud are in no position to make statements about success as Arsenal havent had success for 12 years. They only talk big in January when we are in these positions. The rest of the times they rightly keep quiet knowing how ridiculous they will look.

  16. tunnygriffboy


    Even the media and pundits are talking about how well Ozil are playing. Wenger is asked every press conference about him. What should he say ? I like the fact Wenger has been giving him a rest and it appears the core of the side is being given time of this week.

    Giroud was asked a question. I think he was just being positive and sticking up for his mates. Llet the cat out of the bag re Elneny but other than that the answerwas all it could have been. He’s not going to come out and say we need 3 WC players.

    What he did say which was interesting was that the senior guys of the team that have won stuff willbe helping the younger players and driving them on. That is a positive imo

    Re Wenger he was asked about the title (the press have now said it’s ours to lose which is ridiculous). He said it was far too early to talk about it as there were 42 points to play for. He said the objective is to focus on each game the quality of our performance and obtaining consistency rather than looking too far ahead.

  17. qna

    Tunny: That wasn’t what I was arguing against. My point was we have to have a quota and that the ability of our quota wasn’t bad. Who do you replace ours with and how much would they cost ?

    Tunny. I have saying that its not only the british guys who are overpaid compared to their quality. We should not have re-signed Arteta, Flamini or Rosicky in the summer and we should have already bought at least two central midfielders to replace them. We should never have signed Welbeck in the first place. Just shows me that Arsenal completely lack ambition if this is the level of striker that we see ourselves as having. We should have bought a quality player in this position already.

    I also didnt think Campbell was good enough. He has been impressive this season. The question still has to be asked. Is this guy good enough to hold one of our 17 non-home grown quota spots in Arsenal football club.

    Then you get to Walcott and Giroud on 140k/week. These guys should never in a million years have got that. Giroud for example, who is going to pay him this much. We should have offered him the same pay as his last bump or maybe a bump to 90k/week and I find it hard to beleive he wouldnt have accepted that looking at his options. If push came to shove we should have sold him and replaced with any other donkey CF. I doubt Benteke wouldnt have done as good a job as Giroud for us. Walcott wants 140k/week. Ok fair enough. He may be able to get that. So let him. Tell him to take a renewal on his current contract and ask him to actually earn a pay rise first. If he refuses then sell him and buy another striker who we can pay up to 140k/week – which is what he is asking. Highly doubt we couldnt find another headless chicken to run around for that amount of money and the fee that he would have commanded. I can understand Wilsheres last contract. He looked like he could go on to be a world class no 10. He hasnt. So now what do you do? Be stubborn and rinse and repeat? Or look at the alternatives available in 2016? He can fetch a pretty penny and there are young players that we could invest in that offer more than what he has up until now.

    My point is its not a matter of asking which guys we can bring in instead of our current home grown players. Its a matter of asking what the fuck has allowed our squad to get to the way it has with the quality it has and the wages these many mediocre players earn. Half of the squad could be replaced by any random player of the same pay and it wouldnt make a difference to us.

  18. qna

    Tunny: “Wenger is asked every press conference about him. What should he say ? I like the fact Wenger has been giving him a rest and it appears the core of the side is being given time of this week.”

    No. He should say the same thing he says after shocking loss in champions league. Nothing has changed.

    Tunny: Giroud was asked a question. I think he was just being positive and sticking up for his mates. Llet the cat out of the bag re Elneny but other than that the answerwas all it could have been. He’s not going to come out and say we need 3 WC players.

    No. He should keep quiet. How would he possibly know what is needed to win the title. He has never won one.

  19. underrated Coq

    Seriously? People making a big deal of things said to the press? Of all the things you can complain about…

    ” He has never won one. ”

    Actually you’ll find that he lead his side as topscorer to the the Ligue 1 title. He mentioned he would use that experience to help Arsenal achieve the same. That’s all.

  20. Carts

    Where did you really sleep last night, Pedro, you dirty stop out? Post is early AF!

    I’ve maintained, since the eve of the Community Shield, that Chelsea would concede more goals than ever. That Arsenal, even with this squad, should finish second. What I never envisaged was LVG continuing to dismantle Utd from the inside using a clip full of £250m bullets. Leicester mixing it with the big boys; AndChelsea being that far down the table, though.

    Is it fair to say , at this stage, that the league is Arsenal’s to lose? Takes me back to season 2007/2008 ditty pretty at the top, Eduardo has his ankle stolen, Gallas pulls his best Ronnie O’Sullivan impression and its shit street from them on.

    2 signings this winter could see us hold on to top spot (and who knows, beating Barcelona too. I joking -_-

  21. underrated Coq

    Re Ramsey: Jesus wept, come on people, way too much criticism is being given for that 90th minute shot.

    Look at this logically: You’ve just bamboozled two defenders with only the keeper between you and the goal. What would you have done after all the hard work? Is it really that much of a surprise that he went for goal? With the exception of Ozil and very few others, most footballers would have done the same.

  22. Red&White4life

    @jonraid, a good resolution for the new year : to stop the coke.
    @arsène, a good resolution for the new year : to buy seriously, or we’re done.

  23. Wallace


    ” These guys should never in a million years have got that. Giroud for example, who is going to pay him this much. ”

    he’s improved his goalscoring rate every year he’s been with us. this season he’s got 15 in 25(20 starts). Wayne Rooney is earning more than double what we’re paying Giroud. Aston Villa are paying Adama Traore, a kid they bought from Barcelona reserves, 70k per week, and he’s mostly a sub.

  24. Red&White4life

    “Saturday was proof that Wenger is an absolute tosser …”

    Shad, do you mean that we discovered that fact saturday ?

  25. shad


    No, he’s been a tosser since 2008/9 season when we were crying for a WC striker and GK. Wenger always under-staffs his team to make it look like he is making do or over achieving with what he has assembled.
    We came into this season short and as usual he played hard ball and now is forced to dip into the Jan TW which he absolutely detests and at one point said should be abolished. Hypocritical tosser.

  26. shad

    Normal Manager: Sells Wilshere and Ox, brings in Kante/Krychowiak/Xhaka and Isco.

    Wenger: “Oh you’ve played 3 games without a cough? We need to up your wages”.

  27. gnarleygeorge9

    I have two things to say to Arsene Wenger, firstly, Happy New Year, & secondly, don’t phuck it up, please!

  28. Emiratesstroller

    As I wrote yesterday and what Pedro has argued today Arsenal’s season could be determined by how we play in the forthcoming EPL games in January. The next three games are likely to be tough.

    The league this season may not be “vintage” as many so called football experts
    have suggested, but I do think that it is probably “the most demanding”. Apart
    from Aston Villa and maybe Sunderland there are no cast iron certain games as we saw on Saturday when we played Newcastle.

    If you are 5% off your game today you can lose and if you don’t come out and
    play properly as we failed to do against Southampton even the best team can
    get thumped.

    Personally I think that the league will be won this season by either Man City
    or ourselves. Our chances will be determined by resolving our current injury
    crisis as quickly as possible and also making one or two key squad signings
    most notably a Defensive/Central Midfielder.

    I watched Spurs play at Everton yesterday and whilst they play excellent high
    tempo football there is a weakness in the way they play. They are of course
    very difficult to beat reflected in losing only 2 games this season AND they
    score quite a few goals and concede even fewer. HOWEVER they draw far too
    many games and that is almost as bad as losing them.

    Manchester United are in my view a VERY AVERAGE team, but there are signs
    that they are beginning to improve. I don’t think that they will do very much
    this season but with their spending power I can see a light at end of tunnel.

    Chelsea are back on track and I think that they will play much better in second half of season. They will be hard to beat and Arsenal must not lose our game at home against them.

    For all the criticism by some posters the EPL is the strongest league in European Football. There are maybe 3 clubs in Europe with stronger teams/squads
    at moment but for how long?

    The facts are that our League is financially better resourced than any other in
    Europe and so long that remains the case the gap between English and Continental clubs will grow.

    For a start the League now has 4 clubs who can spend annually £100 million
    on net transfers in Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea and Arsenal. Only Real, Bayern
    and Barcelona can compete with that expenditure. Paris St Germain may have
    on paper that sort of funding but I think that they will find it increasingly hard
    to compete because of weakness of French Ligue.

    Then the next tier in English Football will probably be able to spend annually
    £50 million with clubs like Liverpool, Spurs and West Ham rebuilding their
    stadia and improving their finances.

    Below that tier you have virtually every other club able to spend annually
    £20-30 million on new players. When you look at the figures how many other
    clubs in Europe can match that sort of expenditure.

    The outcome is that you will see increasingly most of the top players coming
    to EPL. The standards will inevitably rise throughout the League.

    My main concern at the moment is how the Youth Academies will develop.
    Will most clubs continue “to buy success” or will they begin to focus more on
    developing their own talent?

    From what I hear that is the route that Man City are beginning to take. They
    have made recently a massive investment in youth development.

    Hopefully Arsenal will follow a similar pattern, because it will become increasingly difficult to buy more than one or two world class stars. There is
    now too much competition for the shrinking number of players who are available.

  29. tunnygriffboy


    I totally disagree on your views re our homegrown core. They are very good players. Not all automatic starters but well capable of playing for us.

    Welbeck was a really good signing for £16 million. He had a good first season until Can ended it. Versatile, a problem for defenders and ideal if we want to press

    You seem to have a thing about homegrown players. Re the wages we pay, it’s the going rate for players in the top four clubs. Whatever you think of Giroud he scores goals and has improved year on year

    Are things perfect ? No. They are nowhere near as out of kilter as you seem to make out though.

    We will lose a lot of money off our wage bill in the summer which will be great. I can see Alexis and Ozil get bumper new deals and other players get increases. The PL is awash with money and the way things are going

    If you have British players they are payed top rates. It’s the same at all clubs. In many they are payed a lot more than we pay ours. Who could we replace our British players that wouldn’t cost huge transfer fees and huge wages ? You still haven’t answered

  30. Wallace

    Sorry, apparently the offer for Sane is ‘imminent’. Will be interesting to see how this develops. I always think le grove is a little patronising when it assumes the big English clubs can just wave some money at their German counterparts and the Germans will give up their best players. Schalke’s manager said last week that Man City don’t have enough money to make them part with Sane. Looks like we’re about to find out if this is true. 55m euros for a 19yr old is certainly something for them to chew on.

  31. tunnygriffboy


    Giroud won the french title with Montpellier. His answer was more than reasonable as was Wenger’s in his press conference. I really don’t understand your beef with it all. Players and managers are askedqueations and they give answers. They were positive without being over the top. Quite sensible imo.

  32. Wallace

    ps – bearing in mind the Martial deal, looks like 45-50m is what you have to pay these days if you want the top young talent.

    pps – Sterling, De Bruyne, Silva, now Sane….are City trying to buy up all the world best attacking midfield players?

  33. tunnygriffboy


    Yes, transfer strategy is going to be interesting over the next few years. Barca, Real and Bayern will have first choice on players. We are in the second tier and while we have money we don’t have as much as others in the group

    With the new money in the PL it will become more and more difficult to prise players off clubs. All PL clubs are able to pay decent wages and will no longer have to sell their prized assets. It’s started already eg Stones, Berahino, Schneiderlin etc

    We should be looking at one, maybe two WC players and then either buy young 20 year olds or scour leagues to find good bargains like Gabriel. Hopefully Elneny will be a smart piece of business. Mind you 20 year olds are starting to go at £50 million. City and man u can afford to make £50million mistakes with youngsters. It’s a much bigger risk for us.

  34. peanuts&monkeys

    Every game from hereon for Arsenal will be challenging except the ones against Leicester, Bourne, WHU, WBA, L’pool. I predict Arsenal will certainly win these games. Thats 15 points only.

    What about the rest 25 points. at least 4 more wins 4 more draws and 6 losses wont get us there. That means we have to win 3 more from our estimated 6 losses. Which also means we cannot lose more than 3 more matches. Which also implies we have to win 12 more games. That’s a tall ask to make from a tired team and a tactically bankrupt manager.

    Particularly, every team which WERE piss poor – are now improving: ManU, Chelsea. City will get Kompany back soon. Spurs are anyways much fastyer and younger and more energetic than us. look at Watford…OMG! you shd have watched their game against City. Till 75 minutes they were the better team and breaking much faster.
    Even if Arsenal doesn’t get new players barring the DM, they need a trophy and leaague-winning manager. Mourinho should be called in. You get him and our trophy is asssured.

  35. Rhys Jaggar

    The whole point about a league is that you play 19 teams home and away. If people are ‘worried about the run in’, then they have simply raised their expectations too high as a result of the fixture list making the first half easier than the second. The second half is the same as the first, except that you play the teams at the other patch to where you played them in the first half.

    Arsenal have City away the second last game of the season. A real ‘We won the league in Manchester’ opportunity….except ‘at the Etihad’ doesn’t scan like ‘at Old Trafford’, does it?

    The weekend can be interpreted, as always, in one of two ways. Arsenal won playing badly, Spurs only drew playing very well. Which you can interpret has ‘Arsenal have the champions’ edge of grinding out results playing badly’ or ‘the warning signs are there for Arsenal’.

    Well, the reality of most successful title charges is that a few results stand out as ‘winning when losing might have happened’. Man City will certainly say that about Watford away. A smash and grab raid in the last ten minutes, with two quality strikes to take 3 pts when zero looked possible.

    Arsenal didn’t play very well against either Newcastle or Bournemouth, but won both without conceding a goal.

    Spurs took 10 pts out of 12 over Christmas, which will no doubt be seen as quite good up the High Road.

    Reality is: if Arsenal are going to win the league, they will respect all 18 upcoming opponents without fearing them to the point of timidity. They will find a way to get across whatever lines they have to get across to secure whatever number of points they need to be Champions. Right now, it is entirely in Arsenal’s hands, however it’s perfectly feasible that it won’t be for all the remaining 18 games.

    Have a look on March 1st to decide whether a title charge is on.

    The potential for it is certainly there. The next two months will confirm whether or not the opportunity presents itself.

    After that, it’s simply about remaining in control of one’s own destiny.

    There aren’t any excuses currently.

    So don’t start making them up……..

  36. peanuts&monkeys

    I think the scouting of Arsenal is either not interested or they are simply not made aware what we are lacking and what we shd be looking for. Else, an Ighalo and a Kante are exactly what Arsenal needs. How could theze players not be EVEN linked to Arsenal. Doesn’t that mean Arsenal manager the mothafuck@# Wengerscum doesn’ teven know what his team needs???? Bastard. Sack him. Today!

  37. peanuts&monkeys

    What Arsenal immediately needs after sacking the bankrupt manager is to Get Sanchez fit. he shd get his form back too. This season he has not been 20% of what he meant to us last season. And, then get that Egyptian in ASAP. Make him run the MF amok till we get Coq back. Wilshere and Cazorla shd be well nursed to become Ozil’s back-up ASAP. Ozil shd be spared of a few matches to kep him fresh against the top-10 teams.

    Welbeck and Chamberlain shd be sold this january.

  38. peanuts&monkeys

    Against the bottom 10 teams, Arsenal have been timid and too edgy. Unnecessarily. The manager doesn’t make them up well enough while such a match starts. idunno why Wenger can’ t ask them to be fearless and bold in their approach! The southampton result is typical of Wenger’s tactical bankruptcy. Fuck that bastard! sack him. today!

  39. Wengaball

    Spurs fitness has been their strength this season but it may turn out to be their Acilles heel.

    Pocchetino has shaped his team’s fitness and intense style with continental style double training sessions a day.

    BUT. The continent gets a winter break. And the games are not nearly as physically draining as the PL. And their squad is not massive.

    It’s to be seen if Spurs can sustain their fitness, intensity and consistency inspite of these factors.

    If they can they will obviously challenge. If not, the second half might turn out to be very different than the first.

    With half a season left in a tipsy turbo year, there are too many ifs and buts for every team. Not just Arsenal.

  40. Carts


    I agree with you that steals like Kante and Ighalo have been a couple of the highlights this year.

    But it’s like saying: why didn’t we also go for Vardy as he only cost £1m.

    The problem is this – we’ve gone along with Wenger and his sometimes eyebrow-raising signings that have turned out to poor, that if we dare signed an Ighalo or Kante 90% of North London, alone, would’ve imploded. God knows what Le-Grove would resembled!

    Now on the other hand, our scouting team should be able to look at someone like Kante and Ighalo and pay close attention to their weaknesses and even closer attention to their strengths. By doing so that’ll give you a close to objective answer.

  41. Emiratesstroller

    Rhys Jagger

    I agree with most of what you have written.

    Winning games when you are not playing particularly well is important. The
    one game that concerned me over Christmas holiday was our 4-0 loss to Southampton. It was a very similar performance to some of the bad defeats we
    suffered two seasons ago and it followed a very similar pattern.

    Arsenal’s current weakness is the absence of Coquelin, because neither Flamini nor Chambers are in his league and the rest of our midfield do not offer the
    same level of defensive cover as Coquelin and Cazorla combined.

    Hopefully Elneny will add some defensive bite to our midfield, but whether he
    can get up to full steam by time we play Chelsea where he will be needed is

    The real concern at moment is that we are without Coquelin,Cazorla, Sanchez,
    Welbeck and Wilshire. Only Sanchez is likely to be back in January. That is a
    big chunk of our squad unavailable and places too much demand on the other
    players in squad.

  42. Red&White4life

    My biggest fear for 2016 : Mesut injured.
    (Seriously, every time an Arsenal player fall on the pitch, I’m close to the heart attack lol)

    The day it happens, we will be done for good.

  43. tunnygriffboy


    Gabriel was a good signing for £10 million. Remains to be seen how this Elneny goes if we do sign him

    With the analytics system players are identified then watched numerous times I would imagine. It could be the way to go. Transfer fees for just above average well known players are aastronomical. WC talent, proven , I’d be happy to pay £40/50 million ( keep eye on Madrid this summer) for . Then the way to go is scour some of the less popular club and leagues for up and coming players. They are out there.

  44. Samesong

    Alot of emphasis on here about fatigue and fitness. When you are winning games none of this is a factor for the players.

  45. tunnygriffboy


    That list of missing players contains some serious talent (despite what many posters think) and anyone could come into the team, not weaken it and give players who need a break a rest.

    My concern for the tough January fixtures is fatigue to the players who have 7 out of their last 8 games. We have no back ups for certain positions with our injuries and it’s a worry.

    For me for the Liverpool and stoke games we should set up like we did against city. Flamini can thrive in this game plan. If we are chasing the game or when the game becomes open he really struggles. Elneny or another DM with versatility is a must asap in this window

    Good news that Coquelin has started running.

  46. Relieable Sauce

    I get the feeling Eleny is going to be the only midfield addition this window. It could be enough to get us over the line this season, but a WC CM should be our main priority imo. Xhaka sounds the ideal type of CM we need with Ramsey likely being our 1st choice CM mid/long term.
    Cant rely on JW or Santi to play many games next season, unfortunately Wenger has probably thinks otherwise.

    AM – Ozil, Santi, JW, Ramsey
    B2B – Ramsey, Eleny, Xhaka, JW, kid
    CM – Xaka, Santi, Eleney, Ramsey, JW, kid
    DM – Coq, Xaka, Eleny, Chambers, kid

    That midfield would give us a great chance to compete on multiple fronts whilst allowing the kids to play all LG Cup, certain FAC & league games and UCL dead rubbers.

  47. tunnygriffboy


    It is an issue. It certainly played a part in the Southampton game and in the scratchy performances v Bournemouth and Newcastle games. In particular v Newcastle we looked very laboured

    It’s good that Wenger has given the core of the squad who have played every game in the congested last two months a few days off this week ahead of the Liverpool game in particular. We’ll see a much changed team for the FACup game. Had we had everyone fit we could put out a very good side v Sunderland.

  48. tunnygriffboy


    Agree with you re those players. With Flamini, Arteta and Rosicky leaving two midfielders need to come in. Assuming we get Elneny for £5 million it leaves a lot of money to get a WC midfielder in the summer. Someone who may not be available this window

    Elneny interests me. He could be very 55interesting. He has insane energy like Ramsey and his stats though in the Swiss league are impressive. He also had good stats and performances when Basel reached the last 16 of the CL 2 seasons ago. Up until they were knocked out he had covered more ground than any player in the competition.

  49. Carts


    Gabriel has turned out to be a very shroud signing, reminiscent of Kos – relatively unknown and similarity in price.

    But the problem with Arsenal is that they’ve operated in such a archaic way, most times, that someone like Kante wouldn’t have resonated.

    For starters, the chap is tiny. What’s he like 5’6? cost a mere £4m and is African/French. Yet we’ve been crying out for a 5’10+, CM athlete!

    Can you imagine the response to that? after the tripe we’ve signed and currently still pay; to then sign Kante.

    It’s the look of the player above all else. Gabriel, as you mentioned, experienced next to no negative murmurs from us cos he’s a beast looking, 5’11 brazilian centre back

  50. freddylekgunner

    Though i hate Mourhino, if he’s charge of Arsenal right now he’ll win the league because he’ll select the games from the remaining fixtures the games not to lose and games to win. So much bullshit about taking each each at a time. For example a plan for a draw away at Liverpool is not bad if you have a greater plan to beat stoke and Chelsea. The only positive has been the patience of the team this season either against big teams or small.

  51. Red&White4life

    “I get the feeling Eleny is going to be the only midfield addition this window.”

    I get the feeling that El Nino is going be the only addition, period.

  52. Wallace

    sounds like Wenger’s going to rest most of our key players this weekend. if we lose he’ll get some shit for it – mostly, i’d imagine, from the people who’ll give him shit if he doesn’t rest them – but i think it’s the right move.

  53. Dissenter

    There’s talk that Arteta is back in training and will be match ready soon.
    After his performance against West Bram, how naïve is Wenger to be citing his availability as positive?

  54. Dissenter

    In Wenger’s mindset, he’s stuck in a dilemma.
    He might feel that he cannot make a bid for top players leaving their clubs for lack of game time because he has players who will need game time to make their cases for inclusion into their respective countries Euro Championship squads.
    Welbeck,, Wilshere, Cazorla and Rosicky will all need game time (when they return) to make their cases.

  55. tunnygriffboy


    The likes of Gabriel and Elneny are probably the way to go now

    We can afford the WC marquee signings like Ozil and Alexis. We should be getting one every summer. We have the money and missed out on one this year

    With average players going for £25 million and youngsters like Sterling, De Bruyne, Martial commanding huge fees and wages the hidden gems are the way to go in building the squad

    The analytics system we have invested in should identify potential targets then we should be scouting them meticulously

    Agree we’ve been burned before and as a fan base we do tend to be hypercritical when it comes to new signings. There iis the viewpoint amongst some that the more you spend on a player the better he is. That isn’t always the case.

  56. tunnygriffboy


    Isn’t that the case for most manager’s and clubs this window ?

    The majority of top clubs will not want to sell their jewels. Players with ambition of going to the Euro’s, now 24 teams, will want to continue performing in a settle environment without the worry of settling in a new team

    Hence scouring the ‘minor’ leagues for hidden gems is an interesting way to go.

    I would expect some big signings in the summer as we have players leaving freeing up wages. This window it may be two squad players at the most. Hopefully they will be of the quality of Gabriel and provide real competition for places.

  57. Wallace


    “We can afford the WC marquee signings like Ozil and Alexis. We should be getting one every summer. We have the money and missed out on one this year.”

    did we?

    tall fucker. plays in goal. spells his name weird.

  58. Carts


    I agree that as things stand, Gabriel and El Nino like signings are what we should be looking at the very minimum!

    Dropping to the Sanogo level is something I hope we’ve left in 2015, cos that shit isn’t funny anymore, whatsoever. Quite frankly this isn’t conducive for a team like Arsenal. Now let me elaborate: signing someone like Sanogo isn’t the issue here – it’s the unadulterated love that Wenger showed him.; and this is something I never want to see again unless that person is Messi 2.0

    Our financial position definitely allows for a marquee signing per summer, we can even make that two and still not lose sleep. But yeah, the likes of El Nino and Gabriel + a marquee player + a Crowley-like player

  59. Cesc Appeal


    That’s why I’m living in hope of Aubameyang, even though my brain says ‘no chance at all,’ that is the player we should have bought in the summer to cure our ST woes.

    £42 Million is a lot a lot of cash, but we signed no one in the summer, wasn’t our net spend £7 Million or something? We’ve got almost £80 Million to spend have an unprecedented amount of cash coming in in the summer and a good few players leaving or who should be sold.

    Plus, BvB’s chief executives comments today about ‘BvB not depending on Aubameyang…we survived when we lost Lewnadowksi’ etc are very encouraging.

    Would be such a perfect buy and as past it as I think Wenger is, that buy wins us the league, no question in my mind, 27 goals in 27 games, pace like Walcott but in a bigger frame with more physical power, far higher technical level, much better finishing and a much, much better work rate.

  60. Carts

    Ayy, I wouldn’t be mad if we “lost” to Sunderland.

    But the fact I don’t see us advancing past Barcelona; going for a double or at least taking every FA Cup match as it comes should be the motive!

  61. Cesc Appeal

    Also, it is sort of the same as the COC debacle, why can we not rotate our squad, our super expensive squad for cup competitions without fielding a load of youngsters or third rate players?

    Again, because that super expensive squad is one third crock. That desperately needs sorting.

    What is this Elneny’s injury record like…

  62. London gunner


    Our English players are a good bunch?

    Ox who has scored 2 goals in 39 matches and never scored away.

    Jack wilshere who is basically redundant because he is a perma crock

    Welbeck who is a crock and when isn’t crock is bang average and a complete donkey in front of goal

    Gibbs whose basically pure shite a nothing player

    And mr inconsistent Walcott another perma crock.Far far far from a good bunch.

    My issue isn’t having English players in the squad we need them for home grown quota reasons.

    My issue is that are guaranteed starters who stop us from buying true talent.

    The English players in our squad should be fringe players not regular starters they just don’t have the talent and are holding back our team.

    We could easily feel up the home grown quota with low wage young players who wouldn’t expect regular football.

    Think griezmann instead of Walcott

    Reus/fekir instead of ox

    Goetze/isco/pjanic instead of jw

    Anyone in front of Gibbs lol

    Igalo/mane instead of welbeck

  63. Cesc Appeal

    For Sunderland we could be fielding:

    Debuchy, Mert, Gabriel, Gibbs
    Flamini, Wilshere
    Oxlade, Caz, Rosicky

    Or the like…but we can’t

  64. Bamford10


    No offense, but I think you need to watch more football. Chelsea look like a different team since Mourinho’s departure — a much better team — and they bettered us when they weren’t even playing well.

    And Liverpool HAVE looked better under Klopp, though they do have squad weaknesses and have had a couple of sideways results. They’ll be a difficult fixture, though.

  65. steve

    “Welbeck is a good player
    His link up and movement are exquisite at times. If he can polish his finishing as many many arsenal players before him have done then he can become a top level forward.”



  66. Micheal

    Please stop talking about strengthening the suqad in the summer – we need players NOW. If we lose one more midfielder to injury we are in meltdown.

  67. Marko

    CA I’ve heard his injury record is good. Barely been injured for 3 years. We’ll sort that. Yeah the comments from the Dortmund chief basically to me sounds like he’d sell if he got a good price. Now the real question should be have we actually opened dialogue with them through intermediaries as has been reported? Him and Elneny might be enough

  68. wenker-wanger

    Wanna win the league Wenger?…go and pay 10 million over-the top for a top striker. (You wont get one cheap).Get a defensive midfielder that is also a leader. Get tony Adams to motivate in the dressing room and Arsenal will romp home. Of course it won’t happen…..its not in Wenger’s thoughts at all. After all we have players returning from injury… New players aren’t they!!!!. But hold on… Isn’t this what happens every season??…. So near yet so far. As always.

  69. tunnygriffboy


    Even if we don’t get him this window then the noises suggest we may well have a chance in the summer. January would be great though.


    Disagree totally with your analysis of our homegrown quota. Few are starters but they are excellent squad players. I agree injuries are a huge concern but ability wise they are certainly good enough to be squad members

    I like you like Walcott but I am happy with their ability. Different opinions an all that. As a group of homegrown players they compare favourably to anyone’s in the league.We can still bring in WC talent and keep our British core. There will be natural wastage this year and new players will have to be brought in.

  70. tunnygriffboy


    If it wasn’t for the ridiculous injury fiasco we could put out a strong team v Sunderland. As it is we may see JRA and Iwobi getting a run out. Sunderland will make changes as well though.

  71. gonsterous

    Sunderland is an fa cup game,

    Wholesale changes ? Give ospina a go in goal, bring in debuchy, let chambers play the dm role and let’s see how akpom and Rene and the lot perform.. They are in the squad to contribute right.. let them..

  72. S Asoa

    One thing I detest is the propensity to blame players for injuries.
    C’mon injuries are caused by opponent tackling in games or training, both unavoidable . However it is interesting to see how Ozil avoids injuries by proper positioning . Either he was properly guided by his earlier coaches or his intelligence .
    On the other hand Arsenal has the highest injuries in the league , which sort of exposes Wenger capabilities to guide . Apparently he doesn’t know nor does he realize . This is just another F grade on Wenger CV , in addition to :
    2- not winning the league for 10 years
    3- not winning even a saucepan or bedpan for 9 years.

    Coming back , may flay the players for bad play or attitude . But please let our injured recuperate in peace ( with exception of one Poofoo Diabo who turned it into a fine art )

  73. Bamford10

    Courtois says Chelsea could redeem season by winning the FA Cup. That makes things a bit more interesting on that front, imo.

  74. salman

    Our injuries are getting ridiculous. One of the main reasons I like Giroud or rather not hate him as much as other fans is his fitness. The guy rarely gets injured and gives it all in every game.

  75. Marko

    Yeah I still dunno about Chelsea Bam. You keep expecting them to go on a big run but every time it’s a false dawn. Even against Palace a Delaney slip and they’re 1 up and Palace missing Cabaye and Bolasie and a couple others looked limp. I wouldn’t be calling Guus Hiddink the special one just yet is my point

  76. qna

    Tunny. Its fair to throw that accusation at me that I have a thing against our british core. But I have also critisised the pay we have given to non-british players as well. But I cant deny that I am against the british core policy that wenger has openly tried to implement with Ramsey, Walcott, Wilshere, Gibbs, Oxlaide,Jenkinson and later adding Welbeck and Chambers.

    So, first I dont have a problem of having a core of British players provided they are capable of winning you trophies. For example, United’s home grown core of Giggs, Scholes, G. Neville, Beckham, complimented with P. Neville, Butt and probably others did deliver exactly that. And if we had this, I promise you, I wouldnt complain, I promise you, I would just enjoy the massive amounts of premier league trophies with a trickle of champions league and fa cup trophies to go.

    But our British core is actually not a winning core. So in fact it is therefore not a core. Moreover, if you take these 8 guys and play them in your first team season after season, year after year, I can pretty much guarantee you, we wont win a single trophy. In fact, if this is truly the core of the team, with squad players of lesser quality to back up this core group when injured, then I think we will be trying to avoid bottom 3, rather than thinking about top 4.

    The project is a complete and utter failure. The one and only thing that is truly world class about this group of 8, is their wages.

    Tunny, you have again mentioned that we can afford to pay these guys because we are going to have plenty of money with the new EPL deal. Well so is everybody else.

  77. tunnygriffboy


    Yeah realistically it’s the only hope for a trophy. Mind you they were trying to win it during the last two seasons

    Undoubtedly we would want to win it again but with the state of availability in our squad and the ridiculous scheduling of a PL game midweek after the ties and after an intense Christmas period will mean that many sides will rest some players.

  78. Wallace

    Cesc Appeal

    “pace like Walcott but in a bigger frame with more physical power, far higher technical level, much better finishing and a much, much better work rate.”

    won’t argue with most of the above, but I don’t agree that he’s at a ‘far higher technical level’. they’re both pretty weak technically for top level players.

  79. qna

    Wallace: “he’s improved his goalscoring rate every year he’s been with us. this season he’s got 15 in 25(20 starts). Wayne Rooney is earning more than double what we’re paying Giroud. Aston Villa are paying Adama Traore, a kid they bought from Barcelona reserves, 70k per week, and he’s mostly a sub.”

    He has got 15 in 20 starts. But so have Igalho, Mahrez, Vardy etc. Every year there is a striker who pops up with this many goals. Giroud is no more than any of these strikers. And if you gave Igahlo, or Benteke or Gomez or anyone of these mid-table strikers the opporunity that Giroud has got, they would do just as well. Giroud is a mid-table striker that is good enough to be a squad striker of a top team (like Arsenal should be). So he should be paid as such. He is not workth 140k/week. Neither is Walcott.

    Arsenal waste the money they are blessed to have. They have the 8th highest wage bill in football and yet dont even compete. By May, the same will have happened this season.

  80. Cesc Appeal


    There was a tweet from a German reporter someone posted here yesterday sort of saying BvB don’t want to sell, don’t necessarily need the money etc

    Now suddenly the CEO is saying ‘losing him isn’t the end of the world we’ve always adapted and moved on.’

    Sounds to me as if maybe there’s been a large offer, or there’s rumours of a substantial offer, £40 Million plus or the like, that BvB could not turn their noses up at.

    This is a team that got Reus and Lewandowski for under £20 Million for the pair, albeit under Klopp, but £42 Million to them could be enough to find 2-3 great Bundesliga talents.

    Fingers crossed, I really think Aubameyang would be hitting world class numbers at Arsenal, not that he isn’t at BvB already.


    Wins us the league if there’s truth in these rumours.

    I did say in the summer this was the guy, would be great to watch in our set up, we saw how good Sanchez and Walcott worked, now imagine Sanchez and Aubameyang who is a much, much better player than Walcott. Especially with Ozil going into assist machine mode.

    As soon as Coq got back I’d think about going to a 4-3-1-2, or 4-1-2-1-2, don’t really think much of our wing play, so a solid centre of Ramsey, Coq, Elneny/Caz (if he returns this season), Ozil in the pocket and then Sanchez and Aubameyang beyond.

    I’m getting my hopes up, but I know it isn’t going to happen, bit daft really, but honestly if you offered me Benzema or Aubameyang, I’d take Aubameyang. I know many would disagree.

  81. Bamford10


    No denying they look a different — and much better — team since M’s departure. However, they still have defensive vulnerabilities, no doubt. Ivanovic has declined, the back four looks spotty. But attacking-wise, they look better. I’m not saying they have returned to last year’s form, just that they’re better.

  82. Redtruth

    The very same people lambasting those knocking the FA Cup are now keen on ‘resting players’ in the competition.

    The illusion of winning the Premier league has really gotten to these folks.

  83. Cesc Appeal


    I would say Aubameyang has a higher technical level than Walcott, certainly in terms of dribbling and then an ability to occupy defenders, but maybe that is to do with him being 6ft 2.

    I should know better than to build my hopes up on Arsenal transfer rumours, but Aubameyang is a really exciting player, if we got him we win the league and honestly you’d have to say Wenger would have done exactly what was required, got a CM in and then gave our attack the massive shot in the arm it needed.

    At 26 as well, ST issue sorted for years, so £42 Million, for a guy I believe who has 27 goals in 27 games for BvB this season, I certainly know he had 24 goals in 23 games at one point.

  84. Bamford10

    I personally don’t see Wenger spending 30-40m on Aubamayeng in a January window. If he were to sign a CF at all, I’d see him signing someone in the 12-18m range. Are there players in that range who could give us goal-scoring through the center while providing (i) more pace/mobility than Giroud and (ii) more hold-up play/genuine CF play than Walcott?

  85. tunnygriffboy


    Our British core are not the core of our side. Most of them are squad players. I wouldn’t advocate playing them all together but if we bring say Welbeck and Wilshere for a game or Gibbs and the Ox for another then if we select the right games we don’t weaken the side that much at all.

    Henderson £100k a week
    Milner £160k a week
    Sturridge £150k a week
    Sterling £200k a week
    Delph £80k a week
    Rooney £300k a week
    Shaw £90k a week

    You get the general drift.

  86. qna

    Watzke says no player is replaceable. Fuck Aubameyang, what about Reus? 10x the player tap in specialist Aubameyang is.

    Actually, I am a little over Reus now. Throw eu60m at Juventus for Dybala. They double their money and we get the next big striker in world football.

  87. Marko

    Bam they couldn’t get much worse. Willian is literally the only player to have earned his salary this season.

    There was a tweet from a German reporter someone posted here yesterday sort of saying BvB don’t want to sell, don’t necessarily need the money etc

    From that Jan Fjirtoffey fella. CA that bloke has been so wrong with transfers the last few windows it’s no joke. I’d be surprised if they entertained the idea of selling Aubameyang but the Dortmund chief’s comments do give me hope

  88. Bamford10

    Confidant of Victor Osimhen saying there’s a “98% chance” he signs with Wolfsburg, who have shown “more interest” in the young Nigerian. – Gunners Today

  89. Wallace


    “And if you gave Igahlo, or Benteke or Gomez or anyone of these mid-table strikers the opporunity that Giroud has got, they would do just as well.”

    no, it’s not just the goals, you have to be a good enough player to play for a top side. also, isn’t Benteke getting booed currently by the Liverpool fans?

  90. Cesc Appeal


    Whilst I do agree with you, the £10-12 Million range if far more likely, it always strikes me as a bit daft, we add a Podolski for £12 Million, Welbeck for £18 Million, that’s £30 Million right there for example over the past few seasons.

    I know the cost is spread, but it just to me makes much more sense to go after real quality and just sort the issue instead of trying to cobble together a strike force from Giroud, Walcott and Welbeck who, if you could amalgamate them would probably be a really decent ST.

  91. Cesc Appeal


    As would I.

    But money talks, offer them enough and they will take it, normally like a stare down, who’s ceiling gets reached first what you’re willing to buy for or what they are willing to sell for.

  92. gonsterous

    Red truth.

    Win or lose the premier league I’m all for having a squad we can rely on, and resting key players. Wenger has a squad he has built and I expect him to have faith in his squad, if not, why have them at all. Rotating and keeping players fresh is one way to avoid injuries, ( something every man and his dog has been blasting our squad for)..