Arsenal players meekly own up to being weak minded | How Arsenal can plan for success

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Arteta blazing over... via the Le Grove instagram (

Arteta blazing over… via the Le Grove instagram (

What’s cracking my darlings?

Nothing massively pressing to report. Interesting to see that Alexis was being his mopey self for Chile last night. Seems to have shaken off that ghastly injury Wenger said he had against West Brom. Can’t wait to see what sort of condition he comes back in.

So what news do we have going down at Arsenal today? Mostly Arsenal players taking responsibility for their failings.

Here’s Mesut.

“We are having a difficult phase. Somehow something is not working with the team,”

“We are letting in a lot of goals. Maybe it’s down to self-belief. When I look at the quality of Arsenal though I’m convinced we will get on a run again soon.”

Here’s Laurent K.

“It’s him who gave me my chance at Arsenal, who fashioned me as a player and as a man.

“We’re in a complicated situation but it’s not only his responsibility.

“It’s us, on the pitch, who have to do more.”

Now, whilst I like to hear the players owning up to their failings, it’d be nice if there were a little more substance.

‘Self-belief’ really isn’t an elite response. I understand that confidence plays a massive role in teams succcess, but it’s kind of empty. Why isn’t there self belief? What could be better? How should the players be addressing these problems? Does a lack of self belief usually lead to players downing tools?

The situation isn’t really complicated. We’re rudderless. Wenger, in his old age, opted for the easy life by using money and his recruitment policy to hire in nice boys who don’t have the balls to call the manager out. Laurent K calls himself a man, well, what is he doing to hold Wenger accountable?

I’m sorry, but true leadership isn’t rolling into training everyday and doing the same thing. I refer back to Barca under Bobby Robson, a younger than Wenger was at the time. His tactical ideas, communicated in English, were complicated and bollocks. Mourinho, the team translator, would take his instructions with the playing Pep G, then work out something better and take that to the pitch.

Ruthless, but look, if having a f*cking clue what you’re doing helps you get to a better end product, shouldn’t you be doing it?

There are a lot of very smart footballers at Arsenal. If they’re smart, why don’t they do the tactics themselves? Why don’t they go out of their way to use the club resource (analytics / video team / scouts) sitting idle at the club to get better prepared?

Maybe it’s because Wenger hasn’t shaped men. He’s built a team of boys who don’t know how to lead?

There’s no excuse to go into the games unprepared. If Wenger challenges you for trying to do things the right way, ask for a transfer out of the club. That’d make him think twice.

Again, being ‘sorry’ is great. But what the f*ck are you doing to further the cause so our end of season parade isn’t a precession of weak players apologising on

This has to be said of Wenger as well. Most coaches can communicate their vision of what they’re trying to achieve succinctly. Wenger has never been able to communcate his plan. He couldn’t even explain what he meant by ‘the next level’ in that Jake Humphrey interview.

Ivan should force Wenger into crafting a plan. He should demand the following.

  • What is the footballing philosophy of the club moving forward?
  • What do you need to achieve this?
  • How does the vision play out on the pitch?
  • What are the weaknesses in our squad?
  • How do we address those weaknesses?
  • What are the weaknesses in our backroom setup?
  • What is your suggestion for improvement?
  • What don’t you have from a technology perspective that could help us further the cause?
  • How are we going to measure progress this season outside of points and cups?

This process should go hand in hand with an independent assessment of the state of the club, performed by a sporting director. If the proposal has weaknesses, they should be jointly addressed. Then a joint plan for success should be agreed upon with strict performance KPIs that if not adherred to, well, you get the idea.

This is a very basic framework I’ve thought of off the top of my head. But at least there’s a structure, some intropection, some assessment and a plan that is spat out the back of it.

We simply cannot look at our season as a ‘unique blip’ that is linked to a lack of ‘self belief’ that will be solved by ‘focus.’  That’s f*cking amateur hour. That is not actionable. That is purposely loose language to deflect from doing something drastic.

Anyway, see you in the comments. Listen to the damn podcast if you haven’t.

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Vive la révolution!

220 Responses to “Arsenal players meekly own up to being weak minded | How Arsenal can plan for success”

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  1. Boomslang

    I wonder how Xhaka would fare under a Manager like Conte. Considering how well Luiz, who was once derided for wayward defending is performing, and perennial loanee, Moses is playing well consistently under his guidance.

  2. Ishola70

    He really does have a lot to answer for this Wenger chap doesn’t he.

    Now such is his overwhelming negativity that all views on individual players, views that are in the essence of football discussions worldwide in every team by other fans and since a football was first kicked must be suspended and revoked. 

    Another very good reason to switch off from Arsenal once he signs on again. It’s just all completely about one man Arsene Wenger. Terrible.

    Damn you Wenger.

  3. Alan

    No surprise half the squad want Wenger to say:

    a) they’re all overpaid, thanks to him
    b) they’re all at Arsenal when they don’t deserve to be, thanks to him
    c) they don’t work hard on the basic ‘boring’ parts, thanks to him

    They know he’s going to stay so are now pandering to him to maintain the above.

  4. Ishola70

    “I no longer subscribe to vociferous criticism of players. So given the above, without seeing some of these players under a different manager and/or regime playing for Arsenal, judgement should be reined in or at the very least reserved or suspended. If one divorces completely the effect of management and player performance, is seems to me to be a somewhat shallow and misinformed position to hold.”

    See above Jeff.

    Sorry I just can’t agree with you at all on this one.

    We all may agree that Wenger is well past it and he can negative influence on players himself but to seem to want to take away such a vital ingredient in football discussion, the debating and judging of players on an individual basis seems a bit too far a step to take.

  5. Alan

    My assessment of this team

    Cech – well past his prime
    Bellerin – beginning to believe in his own hype
    Kos – top quality
    Mustafi – moany little bitch
    Monreal – same as Mustafi
    Walcott – only turns up for pre and post game interviews
    Iwobi – jack of all trades, master of only looking gormless
    Coq – would not get into any PL team
    Xhaka – can’t tackle…AT ALL
    Ozil – only produces against relegation fodder at home
    Sanchez – look at me making it clear how unhappy I am
    Welbeck – my body hurts when I move
    Giroud – I look really disappointed when I miss so that makes it OK

    There’s probably only 3 or 4 of these who’d get into other top teams in the PL. None of them play in midfield.

  6. Jeff


    My views on this are purely in the context of Wenger’s reign over Arsenal. There are so many examples of single players improving under different managers and more recently an entire team transformation for the better in the case of Leicester and Chelsea. It happened almost instantly as the change in manager took effect.

    I sat and listened to many people wade into Vardy and Hazard (to take just two examples) saying they were overrated whilst Leicester and Chelsea were spiralling into the abyss. Soon as someone else took over, the difference was palpable. This is not about the reasons why managers turn stale or become unwanted – it’s just an observation.

    There are many players that have come and gone from Arsenal and of course some were just very mediocre or simply without any talent. But this is not true of every player. The only constant seems to be that at Arsenal they fade away within the course of a season or two. All I’m saying is that we’ll never know the true worth or potential of any player until he plays under an astute football manager that has the will and the desire to get the best out of players and help them achieve it by any means he can. Wenger is not that man and hasn’t been for 15 years; perhaps he never was.

    Get this same set of players to perform under a different manager and we too might experience a great transformation. We may even get to start liking some of the ones that cop the most criticism!

  7. Ishola70

    I don’t disagree with your overall point of view Jeff just the notion that players should not be called out individually or a judgement can be made of them because they are playing under Arsene Wenger. I think it is unrealistic to think this will happen as fans have been discussing the merits or not of individual players as said before since a football was first kicked and will continue to do so.

    Take Xhaka for example that was spoken of earlier. Now I didn’t watch a lot of Borussia Moechengladbach when Xhaka was there but I think fans are entitled to make a judgement of that player individually so far regardless of the manager Arsene Wenger. It seems the view from plenty of fans is that he is a luxury player. Now I didn’t know or realise that Xhaka was this sort of player when Arsenal signed him and judging by the comments of many Arsenal fans when he first signed neither did many others. So a judgement can be made of him as an individual player. It can be said that he is not being used properly in the side or in a way that is best suited to his style of play but this in itself tells us that he is a player that needs a very defined role in a side which basically amounts and equals to luxury player. If he moved tomorrow to another club and that manager play him in a more defined role that best suited him he would still be a luxury player only difference being he is a luxury player that is being better catered for.

  8. China

    I think Jeff makes a fair point

    But I do think the players deserve the judgement and criticism they get and I’m happy to dish out judgement myself. But as well I can accept that under a better manager we might see quite a significant change in the players.

    Whilst I’d be happy to see the back of almost the entire squad and feel we have close to no massive players (Sanchez and kos are all for me) I really think the single priority is management

    The owner is a cunt
    The board are useless
    The players are underwhelming as hell

    All of these things could be drastically improved upon

    But if you improve the manager I feel we have a genuine chance of making clear progress. Changing none of the others is going to make any difference so long as KJW is here, so I’d be happy to see our dross given one more chance under an actual manager before I make a final write off for them

  9. Redtruth

    Xhaka hasn’t been at the club long enough to be Wengerised.
    He was shit from day one so we can confidently discard him from any future Arsenal teams same with Mustafi..

  10. alexanderhenry

    Kroenke has effectively pulled a giant con trick on arsenal fans.

    He hasn’t put a single penny of his own money into arsenal- for a couple of seasons he actually withdrew money from the club.

    In the meantime, fans and season ticket holders in particular have been paying off the stadium debt for him. Shares are currently worth double what they were when Kroenke first got involved and the man must be laughing all the way to the bank.

    The only way arsenal fc will realise its potential is if this awful man sells up.

    As the club have been such a gold plated investment opportunity for our remarkably unsuccessful owner, the only way to get rid of him is for fans and especially season ticket owners, to relinquish their tickets.

    It’s the only way.

    Don’t buy tickets, shirts, mugs, stickers , in fact anything ‘arsenal’.

  11. Elmo

    Good point, Ishola.

    Both Xhaka and Ozil are very poor when out of possession. If you are to play them in the roles in which they excel,the rest of the team has to be structured and staffed to shield that huge weakness. You simply can’t get away with playing two guys like Ozil and Xhaka and expecting another limited player like Coq to pick up ALL the slack when you lose the ball in the middle of the park and the opposition look to quick counter. You either need a superman like Kante or three men in the middle.

    Next season looks like the team will have to be structured around Ozil and Xhaka (noone is going to offer anywhere close to the wages we have offered Ozil, so he will either sign or wait for a Bosman; Xhaka is one year in so has to be given more time to adapt). The summer signings and tactical switches (hopefully under a new manager but we know that’s unlikely) have to be looking at covering their weaknesses to allow them to play, otherwise you might as well just pay off their contracts now and allow them to leave.

  12. Redtruth


    Yet you have been a fan of Wenger up until just a few weeks ago, which puts your argument in the too little too late catagory……

  13. SpanishDave

    I keep saying
    If the board are happy with Wenger, he wants to sign, the players want to have a cost life, why is the contract still not signed.?
    There must be some other reason. They must know the fans will react badly when he signs so why can’t they tear up the contract and say goodbye?
    It’s weird to say the least

  14. 5am

    Could the dip in ‘belief’ be anything down to Arsene’s rebuff back in November about positivity being down to the rugby coach – did he then get rid of him as it affected his ego?

  15. Redtruth

    Wenger has never voiced concern over high ticket pricing for the simple reason he’s joined at the hip with the board…
    A football man is a fan at heart and not a blood sucking leech like Wenger.

  16. Redtruth

    What is so bemusing is fans citing Wenger’s trophy record as a legacy and then in the same breathe trashing trophies and dismissing the FA Cup as secondary to finishing 4th.

  17. Redtruth

    What is so bemusing is fans citing Wenger’s trophy record as a legacy and then in the same breathe trashing trophies by dismissing the FA Cup as secondary to finishing 4th…lol

  18. ArseneisaFraud


    This article is based off the Bein interview…. I like how the author has focused on AW loser talk. It clearly seems that the man doesn’t understand that the ultimate goal of 99% of all sports clubs around the world is to attempt at winning the league that you are in. This is even more the case if the club is considered an elite club.

    And I hate how he bandies around the word “values” when he has none himself. If he had any values himself he would be declining the contract and the lure of the £10 millions pounds p/a on offer and leave Arsenal, accepting that he no longer is in the game. If he signs, this will show the world what a complete hypocrite the man really is!

  19. China

    The values of the club are cheating on your wife haven’t you heard?

    Wonderful philosophy the club has

    So much respect this guy deserves

  20. useroz

    If not already, add…

    * What is the ‘next level’, and how long will you need to take the club there’?

  21. GuNZ

    Spent yesterday afternoon getting sunburnt and sloshed at North Shore United up the road in Devonport. Good footie, cheap beer, free entry to watch two games, both home teams won easily. There were some younger players with great potential, all trying their hearts out for their club. If they get paid anything it’s peanuts. What a pleasant change from listening to a load of drivel excuses from the Mayor of Toytown and his noddy puppets.

    I thought he was going to let us know what he was going to do ‘really soon’. Have I missed it? Has he gone yet?

  22. Boomslang

    ‘I thought he was going to let us know what he was going to do ‘really soon’. Have I missed it? Has he gone yet?’

    He is still playing with rubber bands.

  23. Arsenal not Arsene

    “At Montpellier in 2011-12, Rene Girard was of the fighting mentality, of a player who never gave up, of open-mindedness, of fight. A barker.
    “We were the champions of France with him.” – Giroud

    Do they? Do they? I mean deep down do they find him boring and stale.

  24. Thank you and goodnight

    @Reliable sauce

    Give that Brazilian kid 3 months under Wenger and he’ll be lucky to make the Brazilian ladies team. He’ll be so wengerised his career will be over before it’s started. God I loathe that cunt Wenger and the owner and board. 35 years a fucking Arsenal fan and he’s turned me off my team.

  25. Bamford10

    “Wenger Out” sign photographed at Ultra Music Festival in Miami this weekend.

    And the newest line of defense from AKBs on Twitter is saying that the protests are negatively affecting the players and should thus stop.

  26. reality check

    All these quotes are just the Arsenal P. R team putting pressure on the players.

    It’s a standard requirement in contract negotiations that the club include Media obligations.

    They tell them what to say and how to say it. It’s called media training.

    Basically, don’t believe what you see on TV or read in the papers at this point.

    They’ve down tools. simple. Just take a look at the Chelsea players quotes during Mourinhos collapse. All very positive and full of togetherness.

    When in fact it was all absolute bullshit.

    Don’t worry lads, the players will get him out.

  27. Thank you and goodnight

    Our PR team make Josef Goebbels look like an amateur. Who remembers when RVP basically told them he’s off, and few months later the PR team put it out their that RVP had begged Wenger to take him back as he’d changed his mind and Wenger said no…..hahahahaha are we sure that the Arsenal PR team and Trumps aren’t one and the same?

  28. reality check

    He won’t last the 2 years, principles or not. Protests must continue.

    The purpose of protests imo, is not to get him fired. The protests won’t do that, the players will do that. The purpose is to tarnish and taint his legacy. This is about History.

    When they look back on his time here, after all the glory stories, whether they like it or not, they’ll have to talk about the Protests the heavy defeats the banners the social media melt downs. It’ll all be apart of our history thereby tarnishing his legacy.

    … so in conclusion No! He didn’t walk off into the sunset.

  29. Dissenter

    Ozil,is saying that “he’s very comfortable” at Arsenal.
    That’s a very appropriate us of “comfortable”; getting paid for doing bang average.

  30. Cesc Appeal

    Ozil will stay, that will cap it all off, Wenger stays, Sanchez goes and the club shit their pants and throw £300 000 a week at Ozil to avoid an absolute meltdown and hold it up as super duper ambition as we fend off Fenerbahce.

    Wenger in the dug out, and Wenger personified on the field in Ozil.

  31. Bamford10

    We’re in sixth, he’s been invisible for a month or so, the fans are protesting, but Ozil is “comfortable”.

    Forget adding Kroenke or Gazidis to the protest, let’s add Ozil.

    Ozil out.

  32. Marc


    I think Ozil decided fuck Wenger and to leave. Doesn’t matter what you are paid if a job turns sour and you’re working notice you slip into cruise mode. He’s got what two and a half months and that’s it as far as he’s concerned.

  33. Cesc Appeal

    Chalk up another ‘like a dad’ comment today.

    Anyone got any merits, any at all, players, pundits, whoever. A merit based rational reason for keeping Wenger that does not involve history or sentimentality?

  34. Marc


    I think to cope with this you’ve got to accept it’s happening. The positive side is that Wenger has lost the fans and the players. I think we’ll lose 6 more matches this season – City twice, the Spud’s and against Utd, after that take your pick from Palace and Stoke away, Everton at home and with the way we’re playing it might be more. We’ll be unable to recruit in the summer and the run of form will go into next season. Wenger will not survive another season let alone two.

  35. Whitty

    Wenger signing his new contract in the center circle on the pitch at the Emerites with 60,000 fans signing one Arsene Wenger……with sky pay per view live ….millions of fans watching all around the world…

    Thats how deluded this cunt is.

    Wenger out !!!