Arsene Wenger qualifies and still manages depressing new low

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Here I am, penning an ode to another insipid Arsenal performance, trying to add new flavour to same cardboard curry we’ve been consistently forced to chew down for the last ten years.

We won, on aggregate. We are through to the last 16, but the worry about Wenger’s decaying ability to focus players, even when there’s the prize of CL football at stake, is reaching new levels of panic.

Arsene fielded a heavily weakened side, but make no mistake, that insipid performance was not reflective of the talent on show. No, the effort on displayed was a reflection of a manager who allows players to switch off because there’s no consequence.

Arsenal are the most inviting club to play at if you’re happy to coast.

Francis Coquelin: “You tend to get into a comfort zone when you stay several years in the same clubs.

The Ox: ‘I felt the main thing was taking myself out of my comfort zone. ‘

Jack Wilshere before Bournemouth: “Sometimes when you are at a top club and you have been at a top club for your whole career and you are playing week-in week-out it is easy to get in that comfort zone.”

Theo’s comments last season: “I think they just wanted it more. You could tell they wanted it more. You could sense that from the kick-off.”

Thierry Henry after Liverpool: “It’s comfortable at Arsenal. There’s not that kind of pressure that you should have at a big club.

Mesut Ozil calling in sick:

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Our best player literally picks and chooses when he wants to play. Am I really that fussed about him resting before a cup final? No. The point being, he’s been doing this all season. It sets the tone.

I’ve been told by many people that Arsenal treat their players from junior through to senior better than any club on the planet. Alan Smith spoke to us about the difference in mentality between the Arsenal of now and the Arsenal of his era, stating that it’s a different world, the staff are not allowed to met out discipline like they used to. You can say that’s the modern game, but somehow Pep and Conte manage it. This is an Arsene issue.

I know from people in and around the place at the moment, that some of the players take monumental liberties and the manager simply lets it slide. Do you really think a club with an empowered mad Jen’s Lehmann and Steve Bould would be suffering lapses like tonight if they had their way? Do you think our defence would be so structureless? Do you think the absolute lack of leadership or accountability would persist? Not a chance.

That performance was one of the worst I’ve seen of Wenger’s last ten years. We played against lower league castoffs, against a team that has been in existence about the same amount of time as Wenger has been in charge of Arsenal, and we looked second rate. Fair play to Ostersunds, they were really good, especially considering they’re only just coming off their preseason. Imagine what could have happened if they’d scored that penalty and played a slightly calmer opening 25 in Sweden? Imagine what Graham Potter could do with elite talent?

Some will say that the players out there tonight were demotivated at the prospect of not playing on Sunday. Again, I can’t have that. It’s an unacceptable excuse, because we’ve seen that showing against Koln, who were bottom of the Bundesliga and beat us 1-0, we’ve seen it at Nottingham Forest, who trounced us with academy kids despite not having a manager, and we’ve seen it across the Christmas period where we dropped points for fun against the bottom 8 teams. We even saw it against Spurs, where the fight just wasn’t there.

The players on the pitch should have been playing for the bigger prize of Champions League football. The hope that if they threw their guts into that game, they’d land a starting place in a plum tie in the next round, when the competition starts to get exciting. Instead, they mailed it in.

Wenger, once again demonstrating that he is the master of new lows.

He’ll point to the win, but he can’t hide behind the stark reality that he has lost his ability to motivate modern footballers. A large chunk of our first 11 don’t really care. The second string look like they’d rather be on the beach, and it’s only February.

Arsenal are the most comfortable club in world football. We’re the cushy job in the country you take when you’ve had enough of the big smoke. You roll with the 9-5 every day, switch the e-mails off at weekends, you book a cheeky round of golf on a Thursday, you take all 7 weeks of holiday and definitely bring the dog to work on the regular. Arsenal are not a football club, we’re an old man’s lifestyle business.

How many more explayers have to talk on the record about the comfort of Arsenal before it becomes a club embarrassment?

How many more shocking results have to occur before the club connect to the reason the players don’t care?

How far must we fall before someone realises this obsession with preserving the career of Arsene Wenger is doing long-term damage to the brand and our chances of making a swift comeback when he leaves?

Who knows. Maybe Josh will get the DL when he undertakes one of Arsenal’s famous club reviews.

Tomorrow, we crack into cup final mode. If you want to move out of your funk, tune into our amazing interview with Alan Smith. It’s a cracking piece of nostalgia, with a dash of future talk that should moisten your loins!


373 Responses to “Arsene Wenger qualifies and still manages depressing new low”

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  1. TR7


    No, of course he is well within his right to demand a hike when Ozil is being paid 350k although he barely deserves 200k. All I am saying is we don’t need to overpay yet another player, plenty of players out there in the market better than Ramsey who will play for us for 180k-200k wages.

  2. Dissenter

    I agree that Ramsey won’t get that money from any of the top-4 teams, I’m leaving out spuds because they dont pay good money anyways.
    However, why should Ramsey stand aside when he watches the likes of Myki are earning 180 kw weekly. Even Chamberlain was offered 180k weekly.
    We set the precedent already.
    I can see the likes of Everton paying Ramsey 180k weekly.

  3. Bob N16

    Thanks for the kind thoughts. I did not ‘attack your loyalty’ , I simply said(clearly not simply enough for you) that if you are so disillusioned(apologies for the number of syllables) with Arsenal then give yourself some space from something that’s doing your head in.
    Apologies for patronising response, but calling me childish…oh the irony!

  4. Bamford10

    At the moment, Ramsey is our best central midfielder. While I think we need a complete rebuild of our midfield, and while I have long regarded Ramsey as a flawed player, I find it curious that he is the one getting so much stick here. This is a midfield with the likes of Xhaka, Elneny and Wilshere. If I’m keeping anyone as I rebuild, I’m keeping Ramsey, not any of those three. FFS.

  5. Dissenter

    Keeping Ramsey has to be a priority.
    This is from now who doesn’t fancy his typical Hollywood approach. Ramsey in the hands of a proper manager will be devastating

  6. Frankie Coffeecakes

    I dont think so, Bamford. Arsenal are full value for the criticism they are receiving. True, there are but a few who give their all, but for the majority its a country club atmosphere. These players are paid handsomely for playing what is tantamount to a child’s game. Is it so much to ask that they at least give a decent effort game in and game out?

    I dont think thats being excessive. Excessive is asking hard working supporters to fork out their hard earned money to watch a bunch of players play when they “feel” like it (Ozil comes to mind readily). Excessive is paying what many did on Thursday to watch the second worst performance of the season (Notts comes first by a country mile).

  7. Jim Lahey

    @Dissenter –

    I would love to see the club be ruthless, but nothing they have done to date would suggest it. Everything that is going on behind the scenes at the moment may be for a transition this summer, but maybe its for the summer after.

    Until it happens I am going to assume Wenger will see out his contract, hopefully I will be pleasantly surprised.

  8. NorthernGoon


    ‘ These players are paid handsomely for playing what is tantamount to a child’s game’

    And you wonder why posters question where you’re from and use it as a stick to beat you with when you come out with shit like this.

    You’re a clown and you should really step away from the keyboard before you embarrass yourself any further.

  9. Jim Lahey

    Wenger has survived more sackable situations than any other manger in history. Nearly 10 years without a trophy. Closing in on 15 years without a league. And what other “Big team” is good for 3-4 truly embarrassing results a season?

    I would actually love to know how frequently the other top teams are truly embarrassed every year? Once, maybe twice, even that?

  10. shaun ellis

    the midfield is so piss poor that Ramsey is the best in it by some distance …Xhaka, Elneny , Wilshere niles and iwobi are all poor and none would get games at any other top five prem team let alone top four and that is how poor we have become.our middle is a major weakness as is the back line …piss poor management no matter how you dress it….all city have to do is lock down the arsenal creative players and arsenal are finished it’s literally that easy

  11. Jim Lahey

    Liverpool 4 – 0
    Notts Forest 4 – 2
    Swansea 3 – 1
    Ostersunds 2 – 1

    There are 4 this season, and we’re not finished.

  12. Dissenter

    Yes Wenger survived for 10 years without a trophy
    He however delivered CL qualifications with all the associated commercial exposure and monies for those 10 seasons.
    The picture has changed since then.
    Last season they would have hoped on a quick bounce back because we lost out with one point to Liverpool. Even they can see that we have drifted farther away from tne top bunch.

  13. Bob N16

    Josh Kroenke doing his’due diligence’ in preparation for Wenger leaving this summer. Raul can tap up a new manager, Sven can start speaking to the agents of players new manager wants to acquire and Wenger encouraged to consider alternative employment, French job? Too hopeful for you pessimists out there?

  14. Frankie Coffeecakes

    You forgot 2-1 to Watford, Jim. 1-0 to Stoke, 2-1 Bournemouth, none of which highlighted glimmers of fashionable hope.

  15. Frankie Coffeecakes

    @ Boom…How have you been keeping my good man? Competition for the 4th Trophy is heating up. Dont know how you guys know so quickly that a new post arrives, but it’s entertaining. Take care, Boom.

  16. TR7

    Ramsey is an average player. Every season he produces 3-4 good performances but that’s not good enough. Besides he is injury prone, misses a lot of games every season. We need a Saul Niguez level central midfielder, not Ramsey level if we want to step up from 6th position mediocrity.

  17. Dissenter

    Paying Ozil 350k weekly will come to hunt this club.
    There’s no Europe league club that should pay s player like Ozil that type of money.
    I’m cheering for Ramsey to be honest. I hope he creates his own drama until he gets his 250k weekly deal.
    “Every bad precedent originated as a justifiable cause” – Sallustius Criptus

  18. Dissenter

    I’m very glad that Firmino was cleared of the racist comment charge.
    There’s very little difference between his skin complexion and that of his accuser.
    Excellent player, If only we had listened to Wenger Eagle.

  19. mysticleaves

    Arsenal are a joke. If we win tomorrow I will be happy. If we lose, I won’t be surprised. Expectations have soo lowered that within this last couple of years we have had none.

    The only defeat that got me really angry in the past 4 years was this latest defeat to spuds. And I don’t know why that happened to be fair. Well, I guess the positive jibes of January did me in

  20. mysticleaves

    Really the tr4phy race here is the thing I enjoy the most. This post was something else. First time I saw a tie.

  21. Dissenter

    Evra waltzed straight into Westham’s starting eleven
    What a shit*y club.
    They are trying to contain Liverpool’s attackers with Zabaleta and Evra, two footballing geriatrics

  22. Berg

    Few questions for those of you championing Ramsey.

    Does he have a great goal scoring record?

    Does he create loads of chances?


    Dribbling ability?

    Protects back 4?

  23. Dissenter

    Ramsey protects the back four when he plays for Wales. At Arsenal he is playing without proper instructions and is allowed to do stuff that many top managers won’t stand for.
    Let a new manager have the pleasure of utilizing him properly.

  24. Bob N16

    Thanks Victorious,

    Isn’t it amazing how people who support the same team can appear to be on different sides? I was told to ‘go f**k myself’ for the same comments that you acknowledged positively.

  25. NorthernGoon


    ‘Ramsey protects the back four when he plays for Wales’

    Maybe the oppositions back 4 as his shooting is that erratic.

    Tell the truth you’ve never watched Ramsey play for Wales have you?

  26. Berg

    Northern Good

    Fair enough Ramsey wants to be an attaching midfielder and it’s what’s he does when he’s on the field but his return is poor. He thinks he’s better than he is

  27. Berg

    Northern Goon

    Fair enough Ramsey wants to be an attaching midfielder and it’s what’s he does when he’s on the field but his return is poor. He thinks he’s better than he is

  28. Dissenter

    Actually Ramsey plays the quintessential box-to-box midfielder for Wales.
    In the last Euros he was everywhere putting out fires from the front of the back four to the top of the 18 yard.
    He has the most tackles in the competition and was the 2nd in terms of yards covered.
    When you said “protect the back 4”, were you referring to a pure defensive midfielder or a player that’s covering every inch of grass in the middle of the field?

  29. Berg

    He simply doesn’t over every grass

    Tends to give the ball away and is usually furthest forward. Sorry to say he’s generally a selfish player which would be fine if he had ability of one of the top players but he doesn’t

  30. Victorious

    Bob N16
    Cheers mate,Its painful to read at times, Those who refuse to see past Wenger when we discuss Arsenal are the’Wenger obsessives’ they obviously want to see the club crushing down because of their hatred for the man,sad,..BTW what do you make of our chances tomorrow?

  31. Dissenter

    Here you go again…you just can’t help yourself, can you?
    I asked Berg to clarify his comment. He certainly wasn’t referring to a defensive midfielder per se, if not his question was redundant.
    Ramsey’s role for Wales is to cover the full extent of the field, including defe five duties.
    Go check his tackles and distance covered for Wales in the last Euros. I wasn’t referring to him as a defensive midfielder, if that’s what you’re arguing for.

  32. Bob N16

    Ramsey appears to be to do his best work in the final third. Wenger has misused him by putting him in a role that requires more defensive discipline., particularly when Wenger hasn’t provided the team with a proper DM to allow more freedom for the other CMs.
    Unless a new manager felt Ramsey should be accommodated in his preferred position then we should sell him and prioritise strengthening our midfield/defensive spine.

  33. Rambo Ramsey

    ‘Dont know how you guys know so quickly that a new post arrives’

    Easy enough, sit your ass in front of your pc/mobile and press refresh all day.

    Pedro must love these people. Imagine the traffic

  34. Dissenter

    selling Ramsey and keeping Xkaha and Elneny is just as dumb as selling Walcott/Giroud and keeping Welbeck.
    I’m one who is also critical of Ramsey but by god how can you advocate selling a player who’s produced some good form when he’s fit.

    For all the criticism of Ramsey, he puts in more tackles and covers more distance than all the other midfielders in the team.

  35. Bob N16


    You’d have to be a real optimist to be confident tomorrow. That being said, it was the same sort of situation last season against the top club in the FA cup final. Like then, we need most of our players to be 8/9 out of 10 and the rub of the green with refereeing decisions.
    Mertsacker to start( possibly not).

    Let’s not forget, domestically we’ve been really successful in one off games in the last few years.

    That being said, we’ll probably lose, say 3-1.

  36. Victorious

    ‘selling Ramsey and keeping Xkaha
    and Elneny is just as dumb as
    selling Walcott/Giroud and keeping
    I’m one who is also critical of
    Ramsey but by god how can you
    advocate selling a player who’s
    produced some good form when
    he’s fit.’

    Might not happen often,but I completely agree with you on this,more of the same mate

  37. Bob N16

    I’d clear out all the CMs. Maybe keep Wilshere if we need home grown quota. I like Elneny’s work rate and possible squad value but I wouldn’t be unhappy if he went.

  38. alexanderhenry


    Despite spending all that money on strikers, arsenal have actually made a profit in transfers when you combine the last two windows.

  39. Dissenter

    Bob N16
    Ramsey has too be as much higher priority that Wilshere
    We can get Ozyakup on a free transfer who can do every thing Jack is supposed to do and more. He’s captain of Bekistas at the age of 25 year already.
    You really can’t clear out the entire midfield , it’s easier said than done. You would have to be willing to write off 1-2 seasons of being competitive if you decided to bring in a completely different set of midfielders.

  40. Dissenter

    England has a goal keeping crises ahead of the world cup.
    All the goalies in contention are really poor.
    I just watched Jack Butland give away a goal that cost his team 2 points in a delicately balanced relegation race.
    Utter shambles.

  41. Berg

    None of our midfielders are good enough but that doesn’t mean Ramsey deserves a big pay packet

    There’s those of you saying he’s best work is in final third. Is that reflected in his goals or assist stats?

  42. Berg

    Victorious he had decent euros which was a handful of games. Same as he has a few decent performances for us a year but that isn’t good enough

    Accepting average players like Ramsey is partially reason we in such a mess

  43. Zfree

    If Ramsey wants anywhere close to these numbers, the contract should be incentive based. Simply done do it by minutes played. He’s too often injured and recovers a bit slowly, not getting any younger, etc. look at this year, more of the same, and no champs league. He’s had every mid-week off, just playing weekends, and has still been unavailable for how many? I’d offer him something like 175k base and if he hits minutes played marks he can get various bonuses

  44. Bob N16


    Would Ozyakup count as home grown?

    Wasn’t really advocating or expecting a wholesale change of CMs. I suppose my point was that we won’t be competitive until we upgrade our CM and all of our existing CMs could be significantly improved upon. The irony is that Ramsey is arguably the best of the bunch but is rarely utilised in a way that suits him best.

  45. Marko

    Keeping Ramsey has to be a priority.
    This is from now who doesn’t fancy his typical Hollywood approach. Ramsey in the hands of a proper manager will be devastating

    I’d prefer not. He’s the best of a bad bunch sure but if we truly address the midfield issue then he sits on the bench 9 times out of 10 and considering we’d probably get a decent price for him I’d sell him. Like I don’t mind Ramsey and he’s definitely better than Wilshere and the piss poor Xhaka but as Bam says he’s our best CM and when you consider the amount of times our best CM vacates his position and gets caught forward or busts a gut trying to score it kind of begs the question is he even a CM sometimes. His best position like Wilshere is probably number 10 and in that regard they’ll never hold down that spot so get rid

  46. Zfree

    Has Gibbs done much of anything this season other than earn that bogus handball against us? Championship really probably is his level

  47. NorthernGoon


    You just can’t help get things wrong.

    Bale and Ramsey have a free role for wales. The whole team is set up for them to do this. 5 at the back with 2 holding midfielders that don’t move and a defensive CF who drops back when they don’t have the ball.

    Bale stays high and Ramsey does whatever the fuck he wants.

  48. Micheal

    Ramsey works best in a set-up like Wales where he is free to roam. Having two disciplined defensive midfielders in front of the defence gives Ramsey-Bale license to roam.

    Unfortunately there is no discipline in the Arsenal set-up which, apart from all else, exposes Ramsey’s gung-ho approach and his lack of defensive discipline. Any coach worth his salt would play to Ramsey’s strengths – not moan when he fails to deliver.

    Any team which offers Xhaka as the sole defensive midfielder to protect the back four is highly vulnerable and ripe for picking by a coach who knows what he is doing.

  49. NorthernGoon


    Exactly. He’s not indulged in our set up like he is with wales and needs to tweak his style to fit in our system. Don’t just leave Xhaka holding his cock while he goes roaming past the ball leaving us woefully short when the play inevitably breaks down.

    He is more diciplined against the bigger side (apart from the Liverpool game) and tends to pick his moments better than teams we’re expected to roll over.

    If he doesn’t accept a new deal in line with what we’re offering then sell him. Ramsey isn’t a player we should be getting bent over a barrel by.

  50. Masterstroke

    With Theo gone, Ramsey’s our most senior player. I like him & hope he gets a good deal. He would be an asset any any club in England.

  51. London gunner

    Ramsey is decent, but there are better players out there who are less injury prone and we could pay them less or the same as Ramsey is expecting.

    We need a full time player on big wages not a sick note.

  52. Redtruth

    “League cups are good enough for Chelsea, Liverpool, Man U and Man City but arsenal supporters think they’re above it?”

    They may be good enough for Liverpool (very doubtful) but they are certainly not good enough for Man Utd etc as Van Gaal was sacked after winning the FA Cup…