Is this real Arsenal progress, or a temporary plaster?

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WhatsApp Image 2017-08-09 at 09.42.15

Nothing more glorious than rolling into work on Monday morning knowing you have a whole bunch of months to savour a NLD win.


I am still walking on air. I’m buzzing fam. I am so smug I’m heaving off my own fumes.

I was slightly saddened to wake on Sunday morning to one of the more ridiculous Twitter uproars I’ve seen around Arsenal, and look, I’ve seen people argue over whether you are 29 if you’re 28.5.

The TL:DR is some kid who was asked to provide an opinion to the Daily Mail was called out by the Arsenal main Twitter handle. The club responded with Mesut Ozil drinking a cup of tea. Light-hearted banter, which should be par the course.

The offending article was a ‘Who would your combined Spurs / Arsenal 11 be’, you expected the response to be weighted in Spurs favour, The Mail know riling Arsenal fans is good for business. However, one guy took the banter too far and picked an entire Spurs 11.

‘It’s a Spurs full house. I was not intending to be incendiary when I started noting down this line-up but in each position I found my gut instinct leaning towards a more vibrant and exciting Tottenham player.’

These are the not the words of a writer serious about balanced opinion. These are the words of someone looking for attention. It’s a stupid comment, and look, he’s young, we all do it.

Arsenal responded. Twitter pounced on him. Some of the comments were grubby.

That is a Twitter problem. Not an Arsenal social media problem. The bleating from journalists after was absolutely unreal. People paid to critique young men on a daily basis, up in arms that someone would hold them accountable for a stupid opinion.

‘It’s bullying’

‘It’s irresponsible’

‘Arsenal should know better’

Absolute nonsense. No one deserves abuse online, but let me tell you, if you want to have a voice on the internet in 2017, you need to grow a pair and deal with it. It’d be great if the world were perfect and everyone was nice, but it’s not. If you’re sensitive, perhaps you should firstly not elect to write for one of the most inflammatory publications in the world, secondly, don’t write about a subject that is seconded only to politics for pure nasty tribalism, and thirdly… if you’re feeling the heat… delete the tweet.

It did not go unnoticed that he kept the offending article up all day. Why? Because you’re hired on your ability to generate traffic.

The uproar though… I mean, unreal to see so many established journalists take offence. The same happens when a player mouths off back to the media. I just don’t understand it. The levels of hypocrisy are unreal. If an Arsenal player had a pop at me, I’d take it on the chin. If Wenger had a dig at me, I’d take it as a compliment. Arsenal having some fun is great news for writers. It shows the clubs social team are alive to the world around them, and it’s a little warning to people who write stupid things.

AND LOOK. I write for The Daily Mail. I know the deal. Don’t take the moral high ground when you dance with the devil. They’ll give you a platform, traffic and plenty of chatter. Complaining people are paying attention is beyond weak and it’s patronising.

Special call out to John Cross who was pretty damn honest about it all, he backed AFC TEAM SOCIAL MEDIA all the way. That man takes more flack than most and knows a thing or two about abuse. It’s part of the game I’m afraid.

Anyway, we all know the real reason for the sharp deflections. A lot of pundits were left with egg on their face after Wenger showed once again, he’s the real king of North London.

Can he maintain it? I very much doubt it. I can see a real chance for Arsenal to make headway this season, but I say the same every year. Mourinho, for me, has moved into dinosaur mode with his style and approach. We’ve seen it all before and it’s uninspired. Klopp is struggling to come to grips with a consistent Liverpool, and his defence is appalling. Chelsea look great in spells, but Conte isn’t as strong as he was last season. Everton are nowhere. Spurs are strong, but I don’t think their squad is good enough. Only City stand out in the league this year.

Are we going to win the title? No. Are we going to be top 4 this season? I suspect so.

If nothing else, we’re starting to look solid. Our defence was excellent against Spurs. Our midfield is starting to click. Our front three, if they remain fit, are right up there with the best.

We’re also capable of preparing. I think we did a reasonable job of at least thinking about what City had on offer, I mean, 18minutes was impressive imo. We certainly thought about Spurs and we delivered. Trouble is, what does he do against

Arsene really isn’t the right guy to deliver that on a consistent basis, but the good news/bad news, is we’re not going to be so far out of it this season we drown into obscurity. I just think we’ll move back into top 4 mediocrity.

The good news is we’re actually enacting a catalyst for change this season. New Chief Scout incoming (Head of Recruitment). We have that fitness guy starting fulltime soon. We’re rumoured to hiring someone in Football Operations. We’re hunting down Director of Football type characters. You make the right hires there, the club upgrades regardless of what Wenger wants to do. You don’t pay a £2m buyout clause if you’re not serious about implementing new ideas.

I just hope the manager at the end of the rainbow is elite.

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43 Responses to “Is this real Arsenal progress, or a temporary plaster?”

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  1. GunnerDNA

    Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund today authorised Sven Mislintat, its Head of Professional Football, to complete a switch to English Premier League side Arsenal with immediate effect.

  2. MW

    Hope we all saw this Wenger pearler post-Spurs:

    “I feel we had a very good game at Man City…If you analyse it with our model the game was a draw and the referee influenced the decision.”

    Maybe through his model he’s won the CL 3 times and is best manager ever.

  3. Do One Gambon

    Ha bankz with a zee lost again.

    Chuffed about signing that Dortmund guy! Now just hope his royal know it all will actually take his recommendations

  4. David Smith

    Today is another step into the modern world for the club, one that, whatever his kind words, Wenger would have normally resisted.
    A yes man is in effect gone, replaced by a man with ability and ambition, Wenger really won’t like that.
    Hopefully a DOF soon, whatever job title he takes

  5. loyika

    @ DS

    Really find it hard to believe AW is not in the know of these appointments.

    Probably he did have to compromise a bit to get the 2 years deal (still believe he will see it out and it will be his last) hence Ivan G not resigning.

    I don’t think Stan will let anyone be appointed over Arsene’s head without his imput…sorry bro can’t see it happening. Arsene is their shield and they know this.

    Evidence is that he was the only one that got something close to a cheerful response from the Fan/minor shareholders at the AGM.

    My opinion is he was given a 2 years contract to help them with the transition. With a gradual easing off of the old guard before a new manager is approached and appointed.

    Only thing that might move things forward quicker is if Anchellotti was being considered right now so Arsene would then decide to step down to pave way for him (I believe they are friends? Not Chums in the real sense but someone Wenger would have no issues handing over the reins to as he totally respects him)

    Anyways, who knows mate. At least the club are not just sitting down doing nothing, guess thats a start and a sign of positive things to come (hopefully)

  6. David Smith

    Maybe you are right loyika, and he has compromised. A strong Wenger is extremely resistant to change and delegation so if he has given the go ahead for mass change, I would imagine it is through gritted teeth.
    I get the impression Wenger wants to manage for four years from last summer, or at least that’s what he said,,
    but as you say,who knows.
    Ancelotti wouldn’t be the worst option , as long as he is not a mercenary after a few more pay days like Capello.
    But agree, can only see this as a positive step, and hope there are more to come. Get the dinosaurs out

  7. Pierre

    Imagine if sanchez and özil sign new contracts with Arsenal.. It wouldn’t go down very well with anti Wenger obsessives would it.

    They would know that by keeping sanchez and özil it would be great news for the club but they would also know that Wenger would get the credit for not selling them.

    From my point of view, I want them to sign because they are quality players and if the credit goes to Wenger then so be it.

    Will be interesting to hear what the Wenger obsessives think..

    Could they put up with seeing Wengers smug face on the TV smiling like the cat that’s got the cream or would that be too much to bare and would rather see our 2 best players leave to the detriment of the club.

  8. loyika

    @ Pierre

    Ozil might/should stay, but i think Alexis is going (hope I am wrong on that)

    Eitherways, still a shambles on how the whole thing was handled regardless of the eventual outcome. Even if they do sign, Arsene in no way comes out of the whole debacle smelling of roses in my opinion.

    But for the future of the club and its standing, I pray they both sign or are replaced by quality if we have to sell or they leave on a free.

  9. loyika

    @ David

    The more I look at it the more I feel Wenger gave some ground to Ivan G. Should explain the chummy photo ops and vids and trips abroad.

    I think Stan being the business Man that he is struck a balanced deal to keep everyone sweet. Arsene gets his contract with an increase and Ivan gets to make necessary changes to the staff and put forward his own “Power Base” behind the scenes (wouldn’t be surprised if Josh doesn’t have a hand in all this as well)

    Or I am begining to sound like Pedro here? Lolz! Whatever it is, more of this kind of changes please.

    One thing though, would really love to know one day whats been happening behind the scenes at the club for the past 20 years? Would be “block buster” material.

  10. Dissenter

    Adebayor just dissed Rosicky and Arsenal;
    “I was the strongest player on the team, despite the fact that I weighed 73kg,”
    “Chelsea had (Michael) Essien and (Michael) Ballack in midfield. We had Rosicky”
    ‘If you said as much as “how are you” to him, he would then be injured for two-and-a-half months.’

    I don’t think much of Adebayor but I have to admit that he is right about the second phase of Wenger’s reign.

  11. Rocko

    “The uproar though… I mean, unreal to see so many established journalists take offence. ”

    They don’t like it up ’em!

  12. TonyD

    This sums up the North London debate perfectly.

    “Arsenal are still a long way ahead of Tottenham, claims Jamie Carragher who believes Mesut Ozil would have been slaughtered had he played as bad as Dele Alli did at the Emirates”

    Read more:

    What’s going on behind the scenes is very encouraging and leans heavily towards the ultimate necessary change – Wenger.

    Getting away from the wind up subject of tactics, Wenger obviously set out his tactical or playing vision against City and for a short period it kind of paid off. This was improved against the Spuds, especially with our zonal positioning in midfield to support the front three’s pressing.

    The difference between the City and NLD was City passed around our pressing, which left our midfield positioning being less effective. Also, not playing Lacazette left an imbalance of our front pressing. The Telegraph recently reported that Pep spends hours in training for eventual play zonal positioning. As the play changes, so does the City players’ zonal movements was the essence. This was very apparent in their game against us and I’m sure not lost on Wenger.

    Against the Spuds they had no answer to the pressing and therefore had to go longer with their passing, which in turn was stifled in midfield. Kane was isolated so longer balls to him were easy for our back three to pick off. Our zonal positioning was extremely good, and the best I’ve seen for a very long time.

    Where it goes from here is anyone’s guess, as history shows we often regress after such great performances.

    Burnley in that respect will be interesting to watch.

    On Sven’s appointment, Wenger’s comment below is interesting.

    ‘It is understood that Mislintat will report to chief executive Ivan Gazidis, rather than Wenger himself, but the Frenchman said:’

    “We are delighted that Sven is joining us. Identifying and developing talent is a core part of our philosophy and Sven has an outstanding track record over many years. We look forward to him taking our existing recruitment approach forwards.”

    Make of that what you will. My guess is that Wenger has no option but to support the appointment, especially as Sven is going to report to Gazidis.

    Wenger also has a scapegoat when he says what players he wants and we don’t get them.

    I’m really looking forward to seeing how that battle (Wenger vs Sven/Gazidis) unfolds.

    And what of Gazidis? Is this the beginning of a fight back for power against Wenger?

    The plot thickens and I suspect Wenger will have to get results now he knows his perceived ‘Mr I Built Arsenal’ status is in Jeopardy.

    That’s got to be a win win for us as the players are sure to feel the changes are for the better and hopefully we’l see more wins on a constant basis.

    Or is that me wishful thinking?

  13. Thorough

    To he’ll with Ancelloti and coaches like Wenger with their testosterone running out. I want:
    1. Leonardo Jardim
    2. Leonardo Jardim
    3. Leonardo Jardim.

  14. TR7

    Regarding Wenger and tactics discussion on last thread-

    I think it will be too much of a stretch to say Arsene doesn’t do tactics. What I think people really mean is he does not employ tactics to counter the strength of opposition or to take advantage of their specific weaknesses. But my sense is Wenger does work on how we play, movement of our players, the link up play, the extent of pressing etc. Jack Wilshere would not score the kind of goal he scored against Norwich if we didn’t work on our link up play and movement in training and that goal was not a flash in the pan either. Wenger’s teams over the years have scored a few high quality link up play goal almost every season. So yeah, overall Wenger like Guardiola is more obsessed with our own game and unlike Mourinho whose tactics are more designed to stop the opposition. And in football it is easier to decipher or spot a tactic which is aimed at stopping an opposition than the one aimed at improving your own play. That’s why the likes of Mourinho, Benitez and Simeone come across as tactical geniuses while you would have very few people raving about Pep’s tactical genius although the work he does is far more difficult. Wenger is of course not nearly as thorough as Pep is but my sense is he does work on intricate details of our attacking play.

  15. Ughelligunner

    Bamford, you asked me a question on how dortmund, atheletico madrid and leicester won league trophys. Now, apart from leicester who obviously lucked out on the league because the big 4 in England fumbled (even Arsenal without buying any outfield player that season finished second) leicester ended up sacking their record breaking lucky manager. Dortmund are the second best team in Germany, who took the opportunity to win trophys when bayern where re-building, Athletico are the third best team who also made the leap when Real Madrid and barca where in transition different managers. Pls Bamford tell me why after dortmund, atletico and leicester super stars who helped them achieve so much were sold, the managers didnt replicate these tactics? Somebody also asked me why the galaticles didnt win much, have you forget from 99-2006 years, the competition was viral compared to now? Juventus, Ac Milan, Bayern, Man Utd, Arsenal, Dortmund, Liverpool, Inter, Ajax had worldclass players who played for the fans not money

  16. Pierre

    Tony, are you suggesting that Wenger used tactics to beat Tottenham.
    I take it you are not in agreement with Bamford who, now don’t laugh, thinks the players decide the tactics when they go out on the pitch.
    Imagine the scenario, özil, sanchez and lacazette on the pitch before the match having a chat about the game….. Lacazette says “What do you reckon, shall we press today or just take it easy and sit off them and let the defenders have possession”… Sanchez replies “today we will press OK”…. Özil says “that’s fine but Don’t you think we should tell Ramsey and xhaka of our decision so they know what’s going on”… Sanchez says “no, fuck them, they are rubbish anyway plus Ramsey is a glory hunting wanker”..
    And that’s what Bamford thinks happens or thereabouts.

    At least you are sensible enough to realise that Wenger will have a plan.

  17. Ughelligunner

    Liverpool’s Micheal Owen, Juventus Pavel Neved, Man Utd David Beckham, Ac Milan Shevchenko all won the ballon dor in the era of the galaticles. dont the likes of Dennis, Henry, Seedof, Kola, Del Perro who all played in the era of the galaticos for various clubs and nearly won it too. football in the champions league today wasnt as competitive as years gone by. The premier league is only the most competitive league in the world presently and man city looks to be running away with it right now just like fergy used to do in the 90s with spending the budget of a country.

  18. Redtruth


    It was fuck all to do with tactics. The players put in a shift.

    Like i said Wenger relies on.players to form rather than setting up a team to perform.

  19. Pierre

    It was tonyd who commented on Wengers tactics for the Tottenham game.
    If you have a problem with that, take it up with him.

  20. Ughelligunner

    Power isnt been taken from anybody like pedro is suggesting, wenger wont last forever and we cant expect a big club like arsenal to make huge changes when wenger leaves. wenger leaving today would mean a whole back roomstaff changes. the changes today would earmark for minimum change when wenger finally retires. mind you haters, wenger is still reverend and anybody would love to work with a legend. fans who think wenger is not important or doesnt have a say in the employment of footballing staff of arsenal are lying to themselves.

  21. TonyD

    I tend to support TR7’s reasoning.

    It was clear for all to see Wenger had us empoy a tactical pressing/zonal plan for both City and Spuds, as he did for the FA Cup final.

    Bamford is either baiting people or lost the plot to think otherwise.

    However I can never forgive Wenger for the last 13 years of non competing and his superior, belligerent incompetence.

    Just long for the day we can be rid of him. He has ruined the club and his legacy in the process.

    The cups don’t mean that much to me because of the above and because they have been his saviour in staying as long as he has.

    Yes Wenger does do tactics when it suits him, especially to save his job.

  22. Emiratesstroller

    I do not think that the weekend’s result was due to a change of tactics.

    What did change was that we put out our strongest X1 and the players showed for the first time hard work, better discipline and commitment to the cause.

    Arsenal have won all their home matches in EPL this season. What they need now to do is to start replicating those results away from home. Until now we have been poor.

    Burnley are a difficult team to beat. Let us see how we perform there.

  23. Pierre

    Yes TR7 got it right regarding Wengers tactics.
    Bamford is not baiting and yes you could be right that he sadly has lost the plot.

  24. Pierre

    You are right regarding our performance is definitely better with a settled starting 11.

    Our problems this season have been mainly due to Wengers tinkering with the team selection,especially in away games plus we have had some very difficult games away from home.

    I can see our performances away improving if we can keep a settled defence as our front 3 are as good as anyone in the league.

  25. raptora

    Re refs not being biased towards Arsenal.

    Refs are always on the side of the strongest team on the day. SAF and ManU were the team with biggest fan support and were paying the most money on the market. Refs were with them.

    Abramovich came to England, Mouninho became the top dog and Chelsea became the big spenders. Suddenly refs were making decisions in their favor.

    Man City came to the big picture and they have been in top 2 in the table for penalties awarded each of the last 4 seasons. They are leaders in the stat this season as well.

    Last 4 seasons penalty awarded: Man City – 32, Chelsea – 21, Arsenal – 18, Man United – 17.

    Of course that is based on the quality of the players. The time when those teams started winning a lot of penalties, was the time when they became a factor in the EPL because of being a top team.

    During the 2015/2016 or the season that Leicester shocked the world of football, which was a well orchestrated FA shenanigan in my mind, they registered a record EPL amount of 13 penalties awarded in a single season. They became champions that season so this stat happened because they were probably the best team in the country. I remember several of those penalties being laughable including Vardy’s dive at the Emirates, and several offside goals but that’s me.

    Anyhow, Man City has been the team in favour for the refs this season and no one has to look deeper into it to be able to see it. The play till you win game vs Bournemouth that led to Sterling’s injury time goal with the game ending in the 101-st min with 5 minutes officially being given. Then we go to the derby vs Liverpool where Mane saw the red card in a dodgy accident. Then to Watford when even if the game ended 0:6, goal 1 and goal 3 were from offside positions. Versus us a dodgy penalty and a goal from an obvious offside. Versus Leicester 3 days ago, Kompany makes a bad tackle as the last man in their defense, in the 3-rd minute of the game and is given a yellow card.

    You know that each of those decisions could have led to eventual loss of points. They had a decision taken against them that was a 50/50 one in the second round vs Everton and guess what – they lost points. And guess what – no one gave a single 50/50 against them again. And I could add couple of penalties not given for their opponents in my mind but I can’t remember in which game the situations were.

    It’s clear in my mind that refs as an organization have favorite teams to whistle for and against. Why won’t they accept VAR already then?! Cause they wouldn’t be able to play their silly games. Ref corruption is everywhere in the world and that my friends includes the motherland of football. Anything else is just burying your head in the sand.

    VAR is so easy to use. Give the managers the choice to call for it’s usage. Two chances to ask for it for the duration of the game. If you are right about a wrong call, your chance for a call is restored. A commission of three referees watch the replays and take their decision. Of course that they can be corrupted too, but they would not demonstrate it, or not as often as now, because that would be lying in the eyes of absolutely everyone and after watching the replays. It’s so easy it’s stupid.

  26. Pierre

    “You supported the nonsense that Wenger does clown.”

    I didn’t think that Tony was talking nonsense, I thought his post was insightful.