Positive vacuum masks the bigger picture

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Afternoon all – James here after an eventful North London derby yesterday – one which we could, and probably should have won, but come the final whistle we were by far the happier set of supporters.

In the build up to the game during the week, the pre-derby trepidation was running at full throttle – I don’t tend to expect much at White Hart Lane during the good times, so given the respective form and perceived trajectories of the two sides, I entered the ground fearing the worst.

Getting into the ground proved surprisingly uneventful, with none of the police-kettling, mouth-foaming thuggery or violence for which this fixture is oft associated. Several vines and images emerged of some pretty unsavoury scenes outside the ground, which bypassed me completely – we made the decision to get into the ground earlier than we usually would and it proved a sensible course of action. They hate us so vehemently – and I love it.

The team news from an Arsenal perspective was interesting, with El Neny slotting in for his first Premier League start, with Ramsey shifted to the right. Gibbs got the nod ahead of an understandably fatigued Monreal and Welbeck deservedly got his chance to lead the line.

The game fell into a somewhat predictable pattern of Tottenham monopolising possession, with Arsenal content to sit back and absorb pressure, often looking long to Welbeck or Alexis as an out-ball. Wenger got his tactics spot on yesterday, particularly in his use of Ramsey and Alexis. The Chilean did very little work in our half and he was clearly under instruction to stay high up the pitch to support Welbeck and often act as the spare man. This put significant pressure on Ramsey physically, and tactically, to shift across the pitch when we were defending, with one of Coquelin or El Neny shifting to the left wing when Tottenham had the ball and Ramsey tucking in centrally. It was a tactic that was working well – whilst we struggled to exert control on the game, we limited the home side, save for a stunning save by Ospina from Walker’s deflected drive.

Whilst Ramsey had to be highly disciplined defensively, he had carte blanche in offensive positions, which in my opinion, brings the best out of him. This was evidenced when five minutes before half time, the Welshman gave us the lead. Welbeck – who’s direct running and intelligent movement had been causing Alderweiweld and Wimmer problems throughout the half – squared the ball to an unmarked Bellerin. His intelligent pass (it wasn’t a shot) was deftly flicked in by Ramsey passed a flailing Lloris. It was rich reward for our hard work and discipline during the half and it sent the away end into raptures.

I felt at half time we deserved our lead and appeared to have the tactical upper hand on Tottenham, who seemed nervous and slightly inhibited by the significance of the game. There had been some strong showings too – I thought El Neny was a pleasant surprise – he clearly has strong tactical awareness and was exceptionally calm in possession, which in a derby can be invaluable. His first touch is immaculate too and puts Coquelin’s, for instance, to shame. Welbeck also had a superb half, hassling and harrying but also showing intelligence in his movement. A friend commented what a nightmare he must be to play against, and whilst he could be slightly more assertive with the ball at times, he was a great asset yesterday.

As the second half got under way, discipline was going to be the key in determining the outcome of the game. Unsurprisingly, it was indiscipline which undid all of our good work, in an act of sheer stupidity by Francis Coquelin. As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m not a fan of the Frenchman and yesterday is illustrative of why. It displayed a real lack of in-game intelligence, which is endemic of the player. His decision to scathe down Harry Kane, rather than stand him up, was the kind that would result in a rollicking on Hackney Marshes – let alone in a Premier League match.

Some will say he’s ‘passionate’, he ‘understands what a derby means’, but I would give that short shrift. I’m all for passion and fight, but there are ways of channelling that. Winning 50:50s, running your socks off, not giving the opposition an inch of space – that’s what the likes of Welbeck and Ramsey were doing all game. Coquelin has a bit of a ‘hero’ mentality, whereby he wins affection because he slides into tackles, waves his arms and gesticulates at the crowd; but this manifest itself yesterday in the worst way. He is a hot head and has been an accident waiting to happen for some time (see Leicester at the Emirates where he was pulled as he had clearly lost his head).

It had a very Arsenal-ly feel about it – our ability to hit the self-destruct button is unparalleled at times and indiscipline has been a recurrent theme in big-games this season- see Messrs Gabriel, Cazorla and Mertesaker versus Chelsea. The question was then how we would stand-up to such a set-back and the answer was “not well”. Within five minutes, Alderweiweld had equalised for the Lilywhites, in what was almost a mirror image of Harry Kane’s equaliser in the same fixture last season. A corner slipped through to the back post and the Belgian was left unmarked to sweep home.

By this point, I and those around me feared the worst and two minutes later, our premonitions were realised. A long ball towards the corner was chased down by Per, who really should have hit the ball into row-z instead of shepherding it out for a goal kick. The German had a brilliant game I felt, but this was a poor error of judgement from such an experienced player. The otherwise anonymous Alli nicked the ball away and it fell to Harry Kane who had the freedom of North London to pick his spot and curl, what was in fairness, a beautiful shot across Ospina.

Given our recently tepid performances and seeming lack of mental fortitude, we could be forgiven for expecting to be on the wrong side of an embarrassing score line at this point. The manager was bold however and took off El Neny to introduce Giroud and it didn’t take us long to settle back into the rhythm of the game. With 15 minutes of the game remaining, Ramsey’s intelligent ball found Bellerin who played a delicious ball into the path of Alexis, who’s deft finish slipped through Lloris. The goal was met with both delight and a palpable element of surprise – I really didn’t expect us to be able to shift the momentum in our favour again. After the equaliser we looked the more likely to score, with Ramsey spurning a great chance under pressure from an onrushing defender.

The game finished with Arsenal on-top and the cheers in the away end at the full time whistle left no doubt about who was the happier of the sides with the draw. Admittedly, celebrating a draw against Tottenham may feel a little ‘small-time’, but given the context of the game and how it played out, our resilience and determination was a real positive. For them, it will feel like a loss – failing to win in a big game, at home from a winning position with the opposition down to ten men… feels like bottling to me. Can you imagine if the roles had been reversed?

Whilst I can certainly understand the frustration that we couldn’t show such grit and steel at Old Trafford and against Swansea, if you can’t enjoy snatching a draw from the jaws of defeat at the Lane, then you may as well not bother. Of course there is always a wider context to games, but as fans who expend so much time, money and emotion on following Arsenal, you should be able to enjoy results in a vacuum sometimes.

Conversely, it is these ‘vacuum results’ at home to Utd, Bayern and Leicester and away to Olympiakos and yesterday to a lesser extent, which mask what has been a massively underwhelming season. Throughout the term there has been a lack of any discernable style or vision of how we want to play – we aren’t quite a counter attacking side, not quite a pressing side and not a possession side either. We have definitely suffered from the loss of Cazorla and since losing him, we have muddled through. In part, this is a personnel issue with no other player (save for Wilshere) apart from Santi able to dictate the play from deep. We are also unbalanced by a lack of wide playmaker too – I think Wenger’s preference is (and always has been) to have a bombastic winger in the mould of Alexis or Oxlade supplemented by a more tactically astute player (a Mahrez for instance) to balance the side, relieve pressure from Ozil and crucially be another outlet to retain the ball. It sounds perverse, but Arsenal lack ball playing midfielders, which doesn’t fit the media driven adage of the club stockpiling diminutive ball hoggers.

Going forward, I fear that the gap to Leicester is insurmountable given their relatively kind fixture list and our inconsistency. The target has to be to topple Tottenham as a bare minimum and see where that takes us.

It’s a massive disappointment as I feel this squad has the quality to win this league, but we just don’t have that extra 10% that champions often possess – sadly a lot of the buck must lie with Arsene. If you look at Utd under Ferguson, he was able to make teams greater than the sum of their parts and extract those fine margins which are the difference between title winners and also-rans, which I fear we are perennially becoming. The boss did what few others could have in retaining our Champions League status during the barren years and he earned the opportunity to take us into the stage of anti-austerity. Three years down the line however, I fear he can’t take us much further. I hope I am proven wrong and I’d love nothing more than Arsene to lead us to another title, but at the moment it just feels beyond him. The abuse he receives from sects of our support is abhorrent, embarrassing and disgusting when you consider his achievements – if nothing else, he deserves respect – but in what feels like ground hog day, we just keep falling short.

Until next time.

Give me a follow on Twitter @BeardofPires

141 Responses to “Positive vacuum masks the bigger picture”

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  1. DM

    Lol, I never went anywhere, still reading every day but the posts have been put up at such random times recenty – either way too early in the morning or some point in the evening when I’m not in front of my computer anymore… When they’re up at regular working hours I’ll still kick your a$$ 😛

  2. DM

    Mourning seems fitting, though tbh I’m more angry than sad. Honestly kinda want Leicester to win it more than us – they deserve it and we certainly don’t.

  3. steve

    Why should any Arsenal fan enjoy these vacuum results? The only thing they serve to do is giving Wenger more time and breathing space. Nothing to celebrate at all.

    @Wallace

    Care to explain when Wengers defense conceded 16 goals on their way to a title?

  4. Jonraid

    I was watching a clip on the injury times goals by Man U, especially the Champion Leage Final against Bayern, and it dawns on me that’s what Arsenal lacks.

    That extra X factor from each and every player to put in a little more for victory. It all stems from desire, passion, hunger, determination and especially a little bit of CLASS which many of the players lack. One can only think of Henry, Pires, Bergkamp and Vieira. All classy winners.

    Wenger has built up a team the other way…

  5. Wallace

    Red/Steve

    “Care to explain when Wengers defense conceded 16 goals on their way to a title?”

    my apologies, it was 17, and it was the season after Wenger’s first title.

  6. Redtruth

    Wenger’s defence conceded 17 goals and failed to win the title in 1999 the following season they conceded 43 goals….lol..you wally wallace

  7. Joe

    Wallace

    So it wasn’t during on the way to the title.

    Anything to talk up wenger

    JAMES.

    Wenger deserves everything spit out at him. He has over welcomed his stay. He is arrogant and very disrespectful to the supporters. Lies. Stealing money

    He deserves nothing but to be told to fuck off. He has brought it on himself.

    And no I won’t celebrated a draw vs spuds in a vacuum. Why? Because we are playing shit under a crap manager so we should be happy with a draw? Who are we? QPR??

    You talk shit

  8. Wallace

    James

    disagree re Coquelin. unlike Flamini I think he’s genuinely tough. in a squad full of quiet introverts I like his aggression. could probably do with another one like him.

  9. london gunner

    how I do despise james the morons posts!

    Viera used to get red cards as did keane.. did they lack in game intelligence?

    So stop this petty vendetta or better yet just stop blogging.

    sincerely,
    someone who has a clue

  10. Wallace

    Rambo

    yeah, it’s more low key but he doesn’t mess around. hope he can establish himself in the first team over the next 12mths.

  11. Danny

    Redtruth
    March 6, 2016 15:31:31
    James
    Give a rest your post is stale and i’ve heard it all too often
    ———————————————————-
    It least he was at the match, were you?

  12. Joe

    James and his rose tinted wenger glasses.

    We will come 6th and he will still be saying ‘please be nice to wenger he’s done so much for Arsenal blah blah. Blah

  13. Danny

    Redtruth
    March 6, 2016 16:15:26
    Boycotting!!!
    ——————-
    Fair enough.
    Of course that is if you are based in London.

  14. Bamford10

    Good post, James.

    I said from the start that Coquelin had a penchant for rash lunges and tackles, and he has been a mistake waiting to happen for a long time. Two silly yellow cards, and the second was especially silly.

    While he is tough and hard-working, Coquelin is a squad player, not a first XI-caliber player — not for a top team at least. That Wenger didn’t sign a proper quality CDM this summer — or in one of the previous summers — remains one of his most glaring failings.

    Ospina deserves kudos for a number of good reflex saves yesterday, as does Elneny for a solid, tidy performance.

    Ramsey was what he always is: much garbage and Hollywood play coupled with a moment or two of genuine class.

    Welbeck continues to look like he has returned a better and more motivated player, which is a positive.

    Wenger remains the principal problem at the club, obviously. A dearth of quality in the side — esp. in central midfield and attack — which should’ve been addressed in the summer. Bringing Flamini on late despite his debacle against United.

    The old man simply must go — the sooner the better.

    Cheers, all.

  15. Bamford10

    Also, to repeat what I said yesterday, Arsenal will be fortunate to finish fourth. There is absolutely no reason for confidence right now given our form and play. None.

  16. steve

    “anyone saw Benteke’s expert dive? we need someone to teach them dark arts to our players. we rarely get pens”

    ___

    No beacuae it wasn’t a dive. Look at the replay.

  17. Danny

    And did anyone see Ozil all game?
    ————————–
    Yes when he let Alexis take that free kick late in the 2nd half!

  18. NYCgooner

    “The abuse he receives from sects of our support is abhorrent, embarrassing and disgusting when you consider his achievements – if nothing else, he deserves respect – but in what feels like ground hog day, we just keep falling short.”

    I doubt more truer words have ever been uttered on this blog

  19. Bermy boy

    Wenger will still be employed next season just push the F >button on your machine and repeat this season.You might as well just skip right to the end of the movie(spoiler alert) where we fall the fuck apart.The lead actor will be there but I can’t say much for a few of the other highly paid actors if there smart.

  20. NYCgooner

    Just to finish my thoughts on the Ozil discussion yesterday. I think we have a pass maker of historic ability and I don’t understand why some of our supporters continously try to minimize his immense talent and football intelligence. I also think Wenger has failed miserably in surrounding Ozil with the goal scorers to take advantage of his unique talent.

  21. Danny

    I also think Wenger has failed miserably in surrounding Ozil with the goal scorers to take advantage of his unique talent.
    —————————————————
    Maybe coz he wasn’t a Wenger signing but an Ivan one instead?
    Or simply coz Ozil has to play the Wenger way etc

  22. Thank you and goodnight

    @James Wilson

    Like fuck wenger deserves respect. When he starts to respect the fans and stops bullshitting us and acting in an arrogant condescending manner then he’ll earn respect. In any job you are accountable to someone, wenger sulks and whinges like a little girl if anyone attempts to question him or his decisions.

  23. Berg

    How does finishing in top four benefit the fans? We got no chance of wining champions league and it’s not like we will be aiming to sign top players.

  24. Bamford10

    NYCGooner

    “he deserves respect”

    If the “he” in question here is Wenger, then this comment is complete fucking nonsense, not ‘one of the truest’ blah blah blah. Wenger no longer deserves anyone’s respect. Sorry, he pissed away that privilege YEARS AGO.

    If the “he” in question here is Ozil, then the comment misses the point. Sure, Ozil is a talented player, but he lacks a good many things — spine, battle, goal-scoring, ability to take games on his shoulders, ability to dominate games, etc. — that many here demand in a footballer. He is also a little overrated by his admirers.

    Also keep in mind that there is a tendency for hyperbole and abuse on Le Grove, but that is part of what makes it a lively space for discussion/debate.

  25. kwik fit

    Champions league qualification should be just top 2 then teams who are ambitious will invest in top players. The top 4 has only served as a means to lace the pockets of the money people at arsenal , including inflating players wages.

  26. kwik fit

    ‘ But it attracts the best players’ Not relevant if your only interested in penny pinching deals. I mean would we not have been able to sign Elnenny if we weren’t champions league.

  27. Cesc Appeal

    ‘Respect’ is one thing, ‘excusing’ is quite another, some people get the two mixed.

    How about reciprocal respect? Shouldn’t Wenger recognise he’s an old man who makes cyclical errors and is out of date and out of time and step aside out of ‘respect’ for Arsenal, seems to have very little ‘respect’ for the fans as well, disregards their views and acts with incredulity at criticism.

    Wenger will get respect, but after he leaves, because people are sick of him and his stubbornness.

    Don’t condone people calling him foul things or hurling abuse, but at the same time, people stretch this ‘respect’ thing to mean he shouldn’t be sacked, you shouldn’t say bad things about him, we shouldn’t openly criticise etc

  28. underrated Coq

    Serious misjudgment from Coquelin yesterday but I have to say the reaction is a bit over the top. Unsurprisingly the loudest are the same bunch of numpties that have had a problem with Coquelin ever since he returned from Charlton. Now 1.5 years in, he makes one costly mistake and all the ‘I told you so’s’ come out from under the rock. Absolutely embarrassing.

    I would love to know the names of defensive players who have gone their careers without getting a red card.

    The popular narrative is Coquelin is a rash,reckless player who is a liability to his team while the stats tell a completely different story- that he’s one of the cleanest DM’s in the PL. He’s given away on an average one foul a game in his career, ONE, this season averaging 1.1. He’s got 19 yellows in 125 games, so an average of one yellow every 6 or so games with 5 yellows last season and 5 so far this season.

    You know what Le-Grove favorite Xhaka has for a discipline record? 4 yellows and 3 reds in this season alone. While yesterday’s was Coquelin’s 3rd red since 2011. Xhaka gives away twice as many fouls as Coquelin and collects yellows like some collect stamps.

    Perhaps people should do research instead of going by their agenda or following the popular opinion.

  29. Godfather

    ” The abuse he receives from sects of our support is abhorrent, embarrassing and disgusting when you consider his achievements – if nothing else, he deserves respect – but in what feels like ground hog day, we just keep falling short.”

    Probably the best lines I have ever read on this site. Some people here are particularly diagusting. The things have said about WENGER are not even being spoken about rapist and murderers, yet some people spend each day heaping scorn and abuse on a man who has done much more for th club than anyone else.

    Yeah it’s okay to want him out …. I want him too if a better replacement is in the wings … But the daily shocking abuse? Cmon people smh

  30. kc

    Fuck this post and Fuck Wenger. Where’s Geoff? He’s the reason I started reading this blog back in the day. Love Pedro, but really miss the Bear. Wenger has disrespected the fans for too long.

  31. Bamford10

    James

    I sped-read the post and didn’t see the bit about “respecting” Wenger. Sorry, but I’m with those above who reject this lame line of thinking. Wenger pissed away the respect he might’ve been owed some time ago. Sure, what he accomplished in his first ten years at the club is deserving of respect, but what he has done in the past ten years has both tarnished that and thrown some amount of it into question.

    He is dishonest, disingenuous, inflexible, contemptuous of the public and supporters and arrogant — and he is absolutely the principal thing holding Arsenal back.

    The respect is gone: he needs to fuck off.

  32. kc

    Bring us a guest poster that will bring the fire of a true Gooner. This is a joke. Respect for Wenger fuck you. He’s collected 8 million a year the last decade for fuck all. That respect died years ago. He mugs us off every year and we’re supposed to bow down. Fuck off!

  33. Cesc Appeal

    Really annoys me this whole ‘respect’ Wenger bollocks, he gets £8 Million a year and has had a decade of patience no other manager at no other club would have got.

    So how about, well done Arsenal fans, what a classy bunch, unlike Spurs or Chelsea or Liverpool or City supporters who hound someone out after a few months of shit?

    Where’s our respect from the club…from the manager…

    Everyone talks about Wenger with such reverence that it makes you think his position is totally unchallengeable, if you you shouldn’t challenge him because of ‘respect’ based off of past achievements then there is little nothing he can do to earn your ire.

    You say ‘sadly’ our issues rest with Wenger, why is it sad? The manager is at fault, the manager gets sacked, pretty much the way of the world…except at Arsenal.

    I’ve even read articles today where Arsenal fans are urged to have ‘patience’ with Wenger…fuck me, patience, for a 67 year old man whose managed Arsenal for near 20 years, ‘patience.’

    No, enough is enough, this season is no different from any others save for the fact that there is utterly no sensible reason we should not have won the league, that’s why fans are pissed, City, United and Chelsea’s implosions have lifted the curtain on Wenger’s excuses that were mainly horse shit anyway.

    Wenger’s been a great manager for us, 12 years ago, he will be remembered in all likelihood as the greatest Arsenal manager ever…but such reverence is for after he retires, not whilst he’s still in the fucking job.

  34. izzo

    Sorry but todays post was a fucking vacuum. Fence sitter, arse licking, Wenger apologist. He deserves ZERO RESPECT. SHUT UP WITH THAT SHITE. I’m tired of hearing he deserves our resppect. FUCK OFF!

  35. NYCgooner

    Bamford

    For me I see people who say the most vile and disgusting things about Wenger as forgetting one of the basic lessons we all learn early in life, that the things we say about someone often times say more about you than the person it’s aimed at.

  36. Danny

    I would love to know the names of defensive players who have gone their careers without getting a red card.
    ——————————————
    How many defensive players or any other players for that matter have you seen handle the ball like he did yesterday?

  37. underrated Coq

    Think that quote from one of the characters in Batman is appropriate here: You either die a hero or live long enough to become a Villain. Just replace life for career tenure and it pretty much perfectly describes Wenger’s managerial life at Arsenal.

  38. Highbury4ever

    You must understand arsène, just imagine the number of time he would have had to apologize!!! lol

  39. alexanderhenry

    The future looks very bleak for arsenal fc. After 8 years (at least) of unnecessary austerity, the club refused to spend enough money to secure major honours. The money was there, but our parsimonious, miserable owner kept it under lock and key. With the biggest match day receipts in world football and piles of cash made from selling off our former players, arsenal had a golden opportunity to really push on. Instead we stagnated.

    That window is gone and unless we get rid of Kroenke it won’t come back.

    Here’s what the future looks like:

    1) Spurs are about to build a 61,000 seat stadium which will bring them as much if not more money than us from gate receipts. Unlike us, I predict that they will continue to spend despite the debt they take on.

    2) Liverpool are also moving to a new stadium (or extending), so refer to the above. Unlike KSE, Fenway sports appear to be committed to success for liverpool FC. They’ve brought in Klopp and pledged at least £100 million for him to spend this summer.

    3) Man city will be frightening next year. They already have an excellent squad. Add Guardiola plus limitless funds and it’s not hard to predict that they will be an awesome force.

    4) Chelsea will get as good a manager as they can and abramovich will spend hugely.

    5) West ham will move into a free ex olympics stadium paid for by londoners- a business move of pure genius. They will have a lot more financial firepower as a result. They’re already looking pretty good.

    6) Man utd will almost definitely sack LVG, but they will continue to spend big. They always do.

    7) The rest will all receive more money from the recently renegotiated tv and sponsorship deals in the premiership. We’ve already seen the result of this with the improved form of teams such as west ham and crystal palace.

    Now on to arsenal.
    Apparently we have £75 million to spend this summer. Well, yippee. With arsenal, that includes wages paid over a year, so it will be more like £50 million. Firstly, why on earth didn’t the club spend that last summer? Secondly. is it enough? No, it isn’t of course. Posing these questions is actually irrelevant as arsenal fc is not run as a football club dedicated to winning. It is run as a business dedicated to making a profit. Anyway….

    Now on to wenger. Next season will be his last if he finishes top four. This season will be his last if he doesn’t. He may just quit anyway, and I wouldn’t blame him. What will happen afterwards goes something like this:
    Kroenke will either appoint a second string manager like david moyes, brendan rodgers or mark hughes, or he will appoint a fan pleasing ex player as manager such as dennis bergkamp. There will be a token cash splash to placate fans and then a return to ‘self sustainable’ business as usual at arsenal.
    Kroenke’s main concern throughout this will be the Rams move to L.A and getting funding for the $1.9 billion new stadium development over there.

    Arsenal fc will struggle.

  40. alexanderhenry

    Cesc

    To quote you: ‘So how about, well done Arsenal fans, what a classy bunch, unlike Spurs or Chelsea or Liverpool or City supporters who hound someone out after a few months of shit?’

    I would say that arsenal fans are the most gullible in the country. Continuing to pitch up week after week , paying the highest ticket price in world football while the club hoards the cash and hides behind wenger is a scandal.

    The only way arsenal will get to the top again- apart from this season, we could still do it incredibly- is to get rid of the owner.

  41. WengersSweeties

    “The abuse he receives from sects of our support is abhorrent, embarrassing and disgusting when you consider his achievements – if nothing else, he deserves respect”

    This is awful. Just awful.

    James,

    I can’t believe you were allowed to post that part.

    Wenger has had our patience, respect, loyalty and support for years and he’s spat it right back in the fans faces.

    Respect!??

    Has he afforded the same to us?

    I can’t believe that.

  42. Rustygunner

    Finishing Top four is toxic for a team run on a shoestring budget – warchest is a ruse. See what playing Barcelona did to Arsenal.

  43. TitsMcGee

    The abuse he receives from sects of our support is abhorrent, embarrassing and disgusting when you consider his achievements – if nothing else, he deserves respect”

    Respect?

    The same man who is fleecing the fans/club with his greed/ego?

    The same man who has utter contempt for anyone that dares to question /criticize him?

    The same man that treats the fans like idiots with his nonsensical excuses and obvious lies?

    Wenger is enriching his bank account. That’s all he’s accomplishing right now.

    But he deserves respect because 10+ years ago he won an EPL title?

    He deserves all the vitriol he receives and the only joy he brings to most fans right now is that he’s ruining whatever legacy he’s had.

  44. Ces1ne

    He (and the board, but mostly wenger) doesn’t respect the supporters, seems to hold us in contempt……so why should supporters that have lost faith in him years ago show him respect??
    I’m not one for the “more extreme” hatred he receives, but any divisive authority figure will get those type of trolls at some point…….boo-hoo, I’m sure the 8million a season & TOTAL control of our club help him get through it.
    The “respect” the author seems to be implying needs to come from both sides. wenger has done himself NO FAVORS with his holier-than-thou, I know everything attitude so spare us the lecture on respect.
    Banners like last season & the like are par for course at this point in his tenure imho…….too bad the club/wenger ban opinions once you step foot in the soulless Emirates.

  45. alexanderhenry

    Highbury4ever

    We’re third and have won back to back FA cups. Could be better, but that’s not really bleak is it? I mean really bleak.

  46. champagne charlie

    Bamford

    See what happens with concrete statements based on one game? United are how they have been all season, dogshite. Not on the same level as City or ourselves despite our stutters.

    Your ‘analysis’ to suggest United are our equals is nonsense. Today was further proof.

  47. Joe

    Hahah. We lost to this united team.

    And brom just beat him.

    But yes by all means less give wenger respect

    Fuck lets give him a new 3 year deal. #respect

  48. Joe

    Highbury4everWe’re third and have won back to back FA cups. Could be better, but that’s not really bleak is it? I mean really bleak.

    Haha

    A couple months ago it was we are 1st, in the CL still etc etc

    My April 1st it will be???

  49. Highbury4ever

    The fans who thinks that the fact to see leicester crowned will change wenger’s mind are so naive lol

    I can already tell you what arsène will say in may : “congratulations to Leicester. They are the proof that you can succeed without spending a lot of money, and so I think that we can continue to copy their model. And so this is why I don’t see why I should changed my policy.”

    Amen.

  50. WengersSweeties

    You can search on all four corners of the earth and you’ll never find a more forgiving group of fans like Arsenal fans.

    Arsene Wenger has had far too much support and respect.

    To criticise fans that folk out more than they can afford on the highest priced tickets in world football is disrespectful in itself.

    Wenger has lost all respect because he lies to fans routinely and has shown he doesn’t care what we think.

    12 chances we’ve given him. 12 years of support we’ve given him. 12 years of patience we’ve given him.

    Enough is enough.

    Show him respect!?

    My fucking arse!!

    I’ll be surprised if James doesn’t get the slipper for that statement.

  51. Cesc Appeal

    We’ve been so preoccupied with our ‘title charge,’ we’ve sort of failed to notice the teams catching us up, we’re eight points behind Leicester, yet City technically, if they win the their game in hand, are one point above us and two behind Spurs, West Ham are only three behind us now and we have to go there.

    We need to make sure we’re winning game like the upcoming West Brom at home, the title is gone but we cannot let ourselves slip too much.

    I didn’t except us to be fighting for top four, so for that to happen would mean us sinking below even my expectations of this Arsenal team.

  52. Rustygunner

    Is it true Trump has weighed in on Arsene and pointed to the exit sign (trying my best to be polite) and said he is a Gooner, whilst Wenger is a gonna? We come in all shapes.

  53. Mick Kartun

    Total dogshite season with the big clubs in garbage form and still the old anus unable to deliver and with west ham rising with only 3 points behind us, amazingly “IT’S FROM TITLE CONTENDER TO 4TH STRUGGLER.”
    How’s that still excuse the bollocks?

    Respect?
    Please get your face off wenger’s anus, so disgusting.

    Maybe all the PL clubs should be in Aston Villa’s current form in order the wenker wenger to win the league.

    Very frustrating.

  54. Mick Kartun

    Highbury, spot on with the leicester excuse.

    That’s why in order for the annoying AKBs to turn their back against their master wenker, I preferred the spud to win the league and west ham will knick arsenal for 4th trophy.

    Yeah, that’s will shake extremely even to the deluded die hard wenger’s apologist.

  55. Redtruth

    Cesc

    Are you a Pyscho, you give Wenger both barrels and now you part your cheeks worrying about a top 4 finish…for fuck sake grow a pair, you cunt.

  56. pliget

    I blame the Board. The sell-out shareholders who just wanted money and didn’t care what that did to Arsenal. Let’s say, they had appointed a Managing Director who could control the club and Wenger, instead of staying silent except to say “Wenger can have all the money he wants” (i.e. “don’t blame us at all”). The job was too big for Wenger and/or he needed a ‘partner’ to work with; someone who could be the bruiser (which AW is clearly not) when needed, and let AW get on with the coaching. Not quite a Clough/Taylor relationship but look how well they did separately. Even Fergie brought in outside coaches. We all blame Wenger but how much support has he had from the people who were glad to share the good times (and the money) but are absent otherwise.
    Just a thought.

  57. Joe

    hope we come 6th.

    Spuddies or Leicester win the league

    Chelsea catching us would be great too.

    Only then will wenger fuck off

  58. Joe

    The flip floppers are almost as bad as arsene.

    You want wenger gone or not.

    We need drastic things to happen

    Quit pussy footing about.

    Whatever it takes.

  59. Mick Kartun

    What would you prefer?

    2 years absence of CL to get things REVAMPED started from getting wenger’s too strong claws out from the club or another 5 years extension of same old shit 4th deluded “winning imaginary trophy” to pretend we’re big club and get UCL only regularly dumped out in round 16?

    Wenger’s deluded wicked magical spray already too long confused even the frustrated gooner to even still hoping to get 4th as submissive behaviour. It’s fucking contagious, wenger is like a disease and parasite to the club.

  60. WengersSweeties

    So, for any doubters here let’s see if we are indeed progressing or regressing…

    After 28 games in 2014 Arsenal had 59 points.

    After 28 games in 2015 Arsenal had 54 points.

    After 28 games in 2016 Arsenal have 51 points.

    In both 2013/14 and 2014/15 we lost 7 games. this season we are on 7 defeats with 10 games remaining.

    so here are the teams we’ve lost against in each season and i’ve highlighted teams which appear more than once:

    2013/14
    Everton away
    Chelsea away
    Stoke away
    Liverpool away
    Man City away
    Man United away
    Villa home

    6 away defeats, 1 home defeat

    2014/15
    Swansea home
    Spurs away
    Southampton away
    Stoke away
    Man United home
    Chelsea away
    Swansea away

    5 away defeats, 2 home defeats

    2015/16
    Swansea home
    Man United away
    Chelsea away
    Chelsea home
    Southampton away
    West Brom away
    West Ham home

    4 away defeats, 3 home defeats

    so, the defeat league table per club looks like this:

    Chelsea 4
    Swansea 3
    Man United 3
    Stoke 2
    Southampton 2
    Spurs 1
    West Brom 1
    West Ham 1
    Man City 1
    Liverpool 1
    Everton 1
    Aston Villa 1

    What we see is that the away defeats are fewer year on year although obviously this season isn’t finished yet. with trips to Goodison, Boleyn Ground, Stadium of Light and the Etihad still to come it isn’t inconceivable that another one or two away defeats may yet increase the tally this season – especially considering four of those five are teams that feature in the above list of Arsenal conquerors.

    The home defeats have got progressively higher and may yet be higher still come May despite them already exceeding the two previous years after the full 38 game season.

    However Arsenal’s home games are relatively kinder and so you could certainly make a case for the current number of home losses to remain the same in May.

    So what does this tell us about Arsenal’s ‘progress’? aside from the club collecting ever decreasing points tallies year on year, there are five clubs that feature as repeated defeats with, of those, only Stoke not overcoming Arsenal this season which indicates there hasn’t really been an awful lot learnt from previous defeats.

    The absence of Liverpool and Man City after 2013/14 is, of course, a positive but CHelsea are having their worst season in the Abramovich era but have taken 6 points off Arsenal while these three seasons have been the worst many people will recall in a generation for Man United but they’ve still chalked up a 50% win record against Arsenal.

    If there are signs of improvement, frankly i’m struggling to see them. It should also be noted that, across these three seasons we’ve focused on, Arsenal have a net spend of £111m.

    Despite that outlay, everything points to a club regressing rather than progressing. back to back cup wins are, of course, a fantastic and enjoyable experience particularly for the fans, but it is a very convenient and shiny bit of paper covering what are becoming more visible cracks at the club.

    Lets look into the possibility of life after Wenger.

    To suggest that no other manager, or even very few managers, could achieve continued appearances in the champions league would suggest to me that the person making that claim doesn’t rate the playing squad and available resources very highly. However, i’ve never met an Arsenal supporter in my life who doesn’t have a seemingly inflated sense of their players ability so that can’t be true. therefore, it stands to reason that if you acknowledge the players at Arsenal are ‘top class’ or whatever term you want to use, then you simply have to acknowledge that any decent manager will be able to replicate what Arsene is currently doing with those tools at his disposal. When you factor in the wealth the club has, it must be seen as an incredibly attractive job to the vast majority of people in management. In fact, i’d go as far as to say there’s probably only about half a dozen managers in the world that wouldn’t go to Arsenal and that’s only because they’d be unwilling to break contracts or the timing is off for some other reason.

    The board at Arsenal, i suspect, know very little about the sport and, as a result, probably dont trust themselves with an appointment. therefore, what better than the devil you know?

    I genuinely think that when Wenger finally decides to call it a day, the excitement at the club will be immense given the possiblities for them.

    Put in simple terms, the manager has become an anchor. A very expensive and very powerful anchor.

    However, far too many Arsenal supporters do not know a Wenger-less Arsenal. They’ve been brought up on him and have fully bought into the myths about their supposedly superior playing style and the ill-deserved sense of accomplishment and entitlement that gives them. They can’t see the wood for the trees and i’d be willing to bet that if you did a poll of arsenal fans split between those under 35 and those over 35 the contrast between the two would be staggering with the old guard ready to part ways and the younger generation content with their lot. They’ve got no soul and no bottle and their arrogance is helping to hold the club back by this continual insistance that ‘Arsene Know’s Best’.

    It’s time to roll the dice Arsenal.

  61. Howard

    I lost trust in Wenger when he had an opportunity to get rid of Arteta, Rosicky and Flamini but ended up keeping Flamini, and extended the contracts of Arteta and Rosicky.

    How he managed to give Flamini 3 years contract is just unbelievable looking at how crap he was before leaving AC Milan.

    Let’s get rid of Wenger. He can never win the title or CL for us. His time is past.

    He pampers players and their careers are more important to him than the club.

  62. pliget

    @WengerSweeties Lots of hard work put into your analysis and I agree with most of it. I take exception to “when Wenger finally decides to call it a day, the excitement at the club will be immense given the possiblities for them.” I think it would be the opposite. Stan, of course, won’t give two sh*ts as long as his ATM keeps paying out, the AKBs will be lost without their reason for existence, Chips will probably be off fishing that day and the rest of the board will have lost their ear trumpets.The question is will Ivan Gazidis decide it’s time to put his underpants on over his trousers (or underwear/pants :)) and take charge?

  63. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    I for one would love Leicester winning the league.

    It would rub wengers face in it as this would be the way he wanted to do it , being frugal.

    Also it would fuck up the big boys monoply , hence the private meets trying to stitch a new league,
    Greedy fuckers hope it blows up in their face .

  64. Bamford10

    James

    “he deserves respect – but in what feels like ground hog day, we just keep falling short”

    We don’t “just keep falling short,” Wenget perpetually LEAVES US SHORT, which is precisely why he no longer deserves anyone’s respect.

    It is not 2009, when a person could still be forgiven, maybe, for believing in Wenger. It is 2016 — and the truth has been obvious for a long time now. You “fear” we may become also-rans, James? Let me help you, mate: we’ve been also-rans FOR YEARS now, both in the league and in the CL.

    Wenger fucking out.

  65. crispen

    Haven’t read this blog for a year… because I am a dickhead.
    See you in 2017. I’ll still be a dickhead.

  66. Frankie T

    Cech

    Bellerin kos Reid (15m) Monreal

    Wanyama (20m)Cazorla

    Gotze (30m) Ozil. Sanchez

    Aubameyang (40m)

    Manager: anyone else

    Sell:

    Ramsey 20m (even though we know he’s worth 5)

    Walcott – 20m

    Giroud – 20m

    Ox chamberlain – 15m

    That is a realistic team. Those 4 additions would dramatically improve our team. We have the money to buy these types of players. 100m will get us back to the top regarding players. We just need a manager with the balls to make it happen

  67. Cesc Appeal

    Frankie

    I like some of your additions there, but I don’t think we can go with Caz at CM any more, he should take Rosicky’s role, bring him on to add some control, creativity and forward impetus.

    But he’s 4ft, 32 and a CAM, really we need a Xhaka type player who can dictate tempo and distribute, but also has physicality.

    I do think most of our CM’s are built for three man middles, because they aren’t enough individually or in a pair.

  68. kwik fit

    The last team to blow a 5 point plus lead after 29 games was ,,,,,,guess who,,,,,,Us of course back in 2003. Bottled it with possibly the best players in Europe at that time.

  69. Thank you and goodnight

    @Wengers sweeties

    Really really good post. In black and white, the stats that AKB’S love throwing at us proving they are misguided. We’ll done.

  70. Redtruth

    Thank you
    @Cesc
    “Here here in regards to your earlier post. Spot on as usual”

    You mean the one where he’s sweating over a top 4 finish….yeah excellent post.lol

  71. Alex James

    Alexander Henry’ s assessment of what the future holds for us echoes what I have said a number of times recently. The move to the Emirates was supposed to make us a super club. This has not happened, nor will it now. The chance to win significant honours post the move has been thrown away. It is difficult to see how Kronke can be dislodged and I hope Lady Nina has nightmares about selling her shares to him. In every organisation, it is necessary to change the guy in charge of everyday affairs every few years, to avoid stagnation. In Arsenal’s case, this translates to Wenger. Some day, the truth will come out about what has been going on in the background. The only thing I am sure about is the utterly insane choices Wenger has made over the last ten years , which had people like Denilson, Sanago and Bentner wearing the red shirt. At the moment, this is his legacy!

  72. Relieable Sauce

    With fans like James we will see Wenger move upstairs and Garde replacing him and they wont make a peep.

    and this is the attitude of an away supporter!…lollollol

  73. bishop

    @Wengers sweeties

    Top top analysis and post

    That should have been the post for the day and not the rubbish James wrote.

    James i don’t want to believe you wrote that. Wenger must have sent you to.
    Rubbish

  74. bishop

    How will Arsenal move forward when someone like James says/ writes this.

    My God am crying

    Who the F is wenger?
    Do u even realise that this man can’t live forvever?

    So either good or bad he will go at some point.

    So why not now when all is so so bad already after patience after patience

    I can’t even count the number of times he asked to be judged in may.Madman doesn’t really say that lately.

    OMG….people not even interested in football even laugh at me for supporting Arsenal cos the joke is everywhere about us.

    Yet someone comes to write a post like this in 2016

    Are u stuck in 2007? James ahhhhrrrrrrr

  75. London gunner

    Pedro that was am embarrassing post. Keep this clown off your blog really bringing the quality down.

    Why on earth should we show respect to someone whose been
    Failing whilst lieing to us for 12 years the fan base.

  76. bishop

    I can tell u for what I see every time

    If Wenger sticks and plays his best team as per form. We would have won the league by now.

    The idiot plays by favourites and some just make us play like 9 men especially idiots like Ramsey at times.

    See there are some games Ozil would have been better off taken off or not even start atall but cos the man has no balls, he sticks to one way plan.

    He has gone from Walcott to Giroud to Walcott to Giroud and at the end both became useless.

    A blind man knows both shouldn’t be first choice at Arsenal.

    A blind man knows Flamini should be playing in China by now not Arsenal.

    What’s the point of keeping rosicky and Arteta as playing staff when they can’t contribute

    Wilshere is always 3 weeks away from 4 weeks away

    Campell has been one of our best players this season but he’s guaranteed to be subbed momatterwhat

    COUNTLESS OFFENSES from this mad man

    What about transfer windows. He was going to be so busy the last one. Few days to go he’s Suprised at how quite it’s been.

    Aint u tired of that wretched looking face on the touchline. That man practically steals a luxury living off Arsenal

    I breakdown each time we lose some certain games yet u wrote this post.

    Mehn am just so disappointed in you

  77. bishop

    James

    You need to apologise for this post and I mean it

    You have a right to your opinion but common sense should tell you you can’t say what u like at a very volatile period like this.
    You should have more wisdom.

    It’s like calling us ungrateful fools

  78. TitsMcGee

    8 point lead with 9 games left.

    Pretty slim.

    27 points on table. I reckon we’d need at least 21 and hope LFC totally collapse and only get 12.

    Needless to say hard to see both scenarios occurring.

  79. Joe

    Tits

    Don’t forget we need spuddies and city to drop points as well.

    Wenger has fucked it up. I predicted at the start of the Season that we at least double figures points behind the league leaders at the finish.
    I stand by that prediction

  80. Sandy

    Alexander Hendry,
    Post of the year- I agree 100%.
    KRONKE IS THE PROBLEM – HE OESNT GIVE A FXXXX ABOUT ARSENAL, THE SUPPORTESRS OR WINNING TROPHIES.
    He is only interested in us, the mugs, propping up his other business interests.
    We will only progress when we get the illegitimate child out of our great club.
    KRONKE OUT NOW and take the liar Gazidis with you.

  81. Joe

    Sandy

    And give wenger a new deal?

    I guess wenger bought Ozil Sanchez wellbeck chambers debuchy and paying the salaries of dross like theo ox Ramsey all out of his own pocket.

    You really this thick?

  82. rollen

    The abuse he receives from sects of our support is abhorrent, embarrassing and disgusting when you consider his achievements – if nothing else, he deserves respect –

    lol

    yeah glorious last 12 years of lies and embarrassments

    Blind AKB

  83. Davido

    Yeah, James is a little bit deluded if he thinks fans who’ve spent that much money to go to the games won’t get upset when they see the same thing happen 10yrs in a row.

    Wenger deserves all the ‘ respectful abuse’ he gets especially if he’s ok with his paycheck and the lies he’s fed fans for the past 5 years or so.

  84. bishop

    SandyMarch 7, 2016 01:09:16
    Alexander Hendry,
    Post of the year- I agree 100%.
    KRONKE IS THE PROBLEM – HE OESNT GIVE A FXXXX ABOUT ARSENAL, THE SUPPORTESRS OR WINNING TROPHIES.
    He is only interested in us, the mugs, propping up his other business interests.
    We will only progress when we get the illegitimate child out of our great club.
    KRONKE OUT NOW and take the liar Gazidis with you.
    —————————————

    Another joker comes around

    So tell me

    Kronke plays Ramsey like a blind person
    Kronke subs Campbell when he is the best player on the pitch
    kronke pays Walcott 140k(dont forget Wanker calls the shot)
    Kronke keeps Flamini
    Kronke does the trainning and tactics
    Kronke writes the scripts at press conf full of lies
    Kronke picks the team

    I can continue all day

    Now come here you fool..
    Noone likes Kronke one bit cos hes a money grubber but not to see Wanker as a total failure now shows u r a STUPID/BLIND AKB like your brother who wrote this post.

  85. bishop

    SandyMarch 7, 2016 01:09:16
    Alexander Hendry,
    Post of the year- I agree 100%.

    —————————————————

    Even calls it Post of the year

    can u imagine this rubbish……….SMH

  86. gambon

    Lol great to see james’ post went down so well.

    AKBs gonna AKB

    Also hilarious how the AKBs have shifted their focus from endlesdly defending wenger to now blaming kroenke. Trying to shift the blame away from their hero.

    So its Kroenkes fault we are 8 points behind minnows Leicester City even though we have a wage bill triple the size of theirs?

    Its Kroenkes fault that we are behind spurs who have a wage bill that is half of ours….and a negative net spend?

    Spurs and Leicester both have new managers….we have a 20 year manager, unrivalled stability anywhere in world football.

    And yet despite the big clubs all completely failing for one season….he still cant finish above much smaller clubs.

    Total embarrassment of a man.