Arsene back with a bang, the fight for his career back on!

by & filed under News Review.

Via @Arsenal Instagram

Via @Arsenal Instagram

Things have been so bad this year, I don’t quite know what to do with a good story?

Arsenal turned over Milan in their own backyard. I think I correctly called this the other day, because I know the Wenger story never really ends.

I was confident the hype bus was a little out of control, the Italians spent a lot of money on a lot of average players. So though their form has been impressive, and they’ve scalped some big teams, I didn’t think they’d cause us a problem. We have too many good players who’d be up for an away day against a legendary team. So it proved right, high on great food and fine fashion, we secured a great win in one of the worlds great footballing capitals.

We controlled the game start to finish, never looking in trouble. It was odd. We kind of Milan’d Milan. The first goal came from Mikki. Ramsey blocked a bad pass, Jack Wilshere picked up the loose ball and played it back to the Welshman, he laid off Ozil who first time clipped over the defence into the path of Mikki on the left side of the Milan area, he shimmied inside and ripped a fizzing shot in off a defender leaving Donnaruma no chance.

Arsenal going a goal up early was exactly what the team needed after a torrid run of away form. The nerves were settled, the thunderous pressing we were expecting didn’t land, and Milan was a long way off the pace.

Most of their chances came from sloppy keeping from Ospina. The Colombian nearly gave away a penalty, was super sketchy from corners, and just looked like he was desperate to concede. He was our only weak spot outside some painful finishing. I was tapping out my ‘we could pay for this’ tweet, but I needn’t have bothered. We finished the half strong. The goal was all about Ramsey, he flicked a Mustafi ball inside right into Welbeck, the Englishman sensibly spotted and played in Ozil who timed a perfectly weighted pass for the run of Aaron. The turbocharged midfielder rounded one of the best keepers in the business like Messi. A casual reminder he can be pretty devastating when he’s on form.

The second half was very composed. It was Arsenal behaving like an experienced Champions League team in an away game, the sort of performance we’ve generally lacked in away games in the Champions League. We weren’t overly adventurous, everyone looked like they knew their job and the centre-backs did a terrific job mopping up with very little drama to speak of.

Up front, Danny Welbeck worked tirelessly, but as usual, goals and end product were sadly amiss. I love the guy, but the ‘he always falls over’ talk in the Italian papers before the game was absolutely spot on. He blew some serious chances, that jokes aside, could cost us in the second leg. You can’t make a living running around and tiring out defenders. At least not at our level.

All in all, a very good game. If we can’t qualify with 2 away goals, then Wenger needs to be double fired at the end of the season.

So the good news is we’re back to winning ways. The team kept a clean sheet, played well away from home, and played some pretty exciting football at times. This should likely be a turning point in our season. We have a run of pretty easy games coming up, so there’s no reason for misery to continue.

My worry is Milan were naive. They didn’t show up. They didn’t attack us, they gave us far too much space and they tried to play us at our game which never works when your players are substandard. Watford might not give us that much respect at the weekend. We’re still fragile until we start winning in England on a more consistent basis. Hopefully the February blues can truly be banished with a beasting of Troy Deeney.

Turning the joy down a notch, as I mentioned before the game, a win against Milan doesn’t paper over the fact that Wenger is finished. If he wins the Europa, which is still a massive task, it should be the crowning glory of a fabulous career. The club needs to resist making an emotional decision if the best happens.

I know I should just let people enjoy the moment, and I’m not saying I didn’t love that performance yesterday. I’m merely pointing out that a Europa League win for Wenger is like being told you’ve had a last minute stay of execution whilst walking the green mile. No one is going to tell you not to celebrate that. However, reality will soon hit hard when you realize you have to share a cell with Big Horny Steve for the rest of your life. Wenger is Steve, you’ll regret the win if it means 5 more years of him.

Still, the two scenarios can coexist. The numbers and the data clearly point towards this being a disastrous season. We’d be even worse off if the team was playing a full-strength team in Europe. I’m sure the club know that. If Wenger wins, there’s no reason the club can’t still force him out of the club, just like Liverpool did with Kenny Dalglish before welcoming the mighty Brendan Rodgers. Imagine if exactly the same situation happens with us… I’ll be begging to bunk with Big Steve.

Right, that’s me done, see you in the comments!

301 Responses to “Arsene back with a bang, the fight for his career back on!”

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  1. Bamford10

    Great finish from Ramsey last night on that second goal. Cool, calm, poise, class. And a very solid performance from him all around and on both sides of he ball. The whole midfield can be shipped elsewhere, but we really should keep Ramsey. Which is not to say he doesn’t have his issues, but he’s one of the few genuine positives in our XI at the moment, IMO.

  2. Bamford10


    Actually, I think I’ll continue to chime in on anything said here. And I’m sticking with my view that Paulinho ran circles around you, a view I’m sure plenty of others hold.

    And I happen to think I have very “balanced” views. Just look at my take on Ramsey, a player I criticized for years.

    Anyways, you do you, Charlie.

  3. WengerEagle


    He’s the least of our midfield problems but here’s a question for you, does Ramsey start in midfield for a trophy challenging side?

    Which is ideally what we’d be aspiring to be post-Wenger you’d think.

    I don’t think that he’s at that level, you look even at Rabiot and Verratti getting bossed by Real Madrid and realise that there is many levels to this game.

  4. Champagne Charlie

    Rambo Ramsey

    Don’t get the wrong end of the stick, or let others create another narrative here. I wasn’t comparing the two players for the sake of comparing who’s better.

    I challenged Paulinho because he states Ramsey is a baller and Ozil is shit. So I grilled him about the criteria in which he judges Ramsey and Ozil, to which he clammed up.

    Then when he did spout something football related, amongst the idiot quips, it was that Ramsey provides “top level vision and intelligence”. When I said Ozil brings that in spades he again clammed up.

    So….appreciate what was being discussed here because Ozil vs Ramsey isn’t worth debating. It was the criteria of judgement. I’m still at a loss what they’re judged on.

    Sorry if “balls” isn’t my cuppa, I stated yesterday I’m not interested if Ozil is a wet noodle as long as he can orchestrate. Ramsey has these “balls” you go on about but talk specifically about what he brings to the table. Aubameyang goals, Ozil assists, Ramsey balls…. enlighten

  5. WengerEagle

    Paulinho and CC’s argument I thought made for pretty good reading, nothing wrong with healthy debate tinged with back and forth banter.

    I’d side more with Paulinho re Ozil and Ramsey although I do think that he overrates Ramsey (admits it himself as beggars can’t be choosers to be fair and he’s the only glimmer of hope out of the current CM bunch).

  6. Champagne Charlie


    Neo-nazis happen to think that they’re good people, but they’re not.

    You thinking you’re balanced oddly enough means fuck all.

    Why don’t you stick to having your own opinion and stop starting to draw others in as if you represent a faction. You’re a loud mouth loser on a blog, let’s not elevate yourself to anything more. Back to your box

  7. Victorious

    N’gambo, I was Wenger out when
    you were putting up Wenger
    posters on your bedroom wall.

    Lol,Epic banter here,the race for who called ‘Wenger out’ the first is on

  8. Bamford10


    Yes, Ramsey is good enough to start in a title-winning side. Definitely.

    Again, he has his flaws — though because these are decision-making-based, I’d argue these mostly go away when he plays well — but he is a very good player and is definitely good enough to start in a title-winning side. IMO.

    Watch any compilation of any of his good games — someone just posted one of these for last night’s — and it is very clear that he is that kind of player.

    Has he had some shameful outings for us? Yes. Outings filled with silly flicks and self-centered, Hollywood this or that? Yes.

    However, when he plays well, he is pretty fucking solid. And this is not a player I am historically-inclined to say positive things about.

  9. Bamford10


    No, I think I’ll continue to weigh in on what I feel like weighing in on, thanks.

    No shock, though, that you’ve resorted to empty insults and telling people what they can and cannot talk about. “Get back in your box.”

    Very Charlie.

  10. WengerEagle


    Would you really compare him favourably to City’s midfield? Or even United’s provided Pogba gets his shit together?

    I like Ramsey, but I haven’t seen any real level of consistency to his play in years, he just has mini-spells of looking excellent layered in with larger spells of looking ordinary.

    He used to be much stronger defensively.

    He has been our best player this season to be fair to him, still am not convinced that he’s anywhere near an elite CM.

  11. Champagne Charlie


    I don’t like you. You don’t debate anything, you goad people and then clamour for people to get binned.

    So fuck your self. I have no time or patience for you or your pseudo-intellect that you peddle on here.

    You’re the office cunt, nobodies day is any the brighter for seeing or speaking with you. Yea, yea, I know….classic Charlie. Swivel

  12. Bamford10


    “because [Paulinho] states Ramsey is a baller and Ozil is shit”

    Bit of an oversimplification regarding his take on Ozil, I’d say.

    “So I grilled him about the criteria in which he judges Ramsey and Ozil, to which he clammed up.”

    It should be “on which”, he provided his criteria clearly and repeatedly, and he definitely never “clammed up”.

  13. Victorious

    “I’d say Paulinho pretty much ran
    circles around you, Champagne,
    but you and I rarely see eye to eye,
    so perhaps I am not an unbiased
    observer here.”

    Then clearly you weren’t paying attention to the debate or maybe you hold some sort of contempt for CC because he actually wiped the floor with Paulinho on what was discussed

  14. Bamford10

    That kind of sounds like the “casual hunting” Pedro was warning people about a week or so ago, Charlie.

    And I love you of all people criticizing me for “goading” other posters: it was you who just a week ago admitted to DELIBERATELY MISREPRESENTING what I’ve said here simply to get a rise out of me.

    You’re a real piece of work, Charlie. Keep up the solid work here, though. It is entertaining.

  15. Champagne Charlie


    There’s that pseudo-intellect again. You’re not my intellectual superior, so let’s not go there.

  16. mysticleaves

    Lol, the conundrum

    The Real Madrid feat was remarkable on its own but the team can’t be compared to the other teams mentioned

  17. Paulinho

    Cheers Bamford.

    ” It was the criteria of judgement. I’m still at a loss what they’re judged on.”

    Yeah at a loss, despite the fact it was blindingly obvious from the start we were mainly comparing Ramsey’s runs versus Ozil’s assists or chance creation.

    You are at a loss because you had absolutely nothing to say. It’s about subjective opinion, so you can disagree, but I’m extremely comfortable putting my subjective opinion against yours, because we all know how that works out.

    I can only assume you’re suffering from some sort of PTSD after the Xhaka episode. You got ‘triggered’ like a right little snowflake after the mere mention of his name, and then bizarrely lost control of the wheel and started blabbering on about Ozil, accusing me of picking on him 24/7, despite me not mentioning his name at all yesterday :)

    I’ve already addressed the intelligence(Ozil/Ramsey) yesterday. The fact you haven’t noticed shows anything that’s not a stat from WhoScored flies right over your head, of of course you just ignored it, as you tend to do as well due to some neurological impairment, I can only assume.

  18. Carts


    “Also worth noting that they will lose their best midfielder as of now in Emre Can on a free in the summer.”

    “Best” you say? You reckon, though??

    To be fair, come to think of it I’d say he probably is, just!

    Doesn’t excel at anything in particular but broadly speaking he’s a good player

  19. WengerEagle


    Disagree, Barcelona had arguably the greatest player of all time in Messi.

    There also was not as many super teams in the Van Basten era, wasn’t there a number restriction on having more than 3 foreign players in squads? Dejan Savicevic missed out many a time for AC Milan in the mid 90’s because of this.

    Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Keylor Navas, Carvajal, Pepe, Bale, Benzema, Isco, etc these are all top class player that are comparable to any era.

    Ronaldo being the transcendent talent.

  20. Carts


    “N’gambo, I was Wenger out when
    you were putting up Wenger
    posters on your bedroom wall”

    Genuine LOLZ

  21. mysticleaves


    You see you thought Paulinho ran circles on CC while I thought CC ran circles on Paulinho.

    Both had solid arguments but it’s stupid to base a CMs strength on making late runs in the box and finishing alone. Ramsey (one of my favorite Arsenal players mind you) is so technically deficient that he decided to stop being the orchestrator of games and focused more on making runs and finishing.

    Ozil on the other hand does his work but not to the required level. The (non-)system doesn’t help him for now with Wenger in place but he sure needs to bulk up and okay more physical games. I saw him play very physically against Everton in the FA cup 2seasons back so he has it in him.

    It doesn’t help that the coaches don’t stay on them to get the missing parts of their games right too.

    Both have their uses and both will definitely start for title winning sides under a manager that will push them

  22. Rambo Ramsey

    Champagne, Ozil isn’t able to orchestrate because he’s a wet noodle. Swagger, mean streak, arrogance.. call it what you want, players need to have it.

    By ‘balls’, I mean the ability to do what you do no matter the situational stress. The very best sides have a lot of these players.

    Why do Arsenal fold most times we are up against the best sides or when the going gets tough? Because we have too many players who get confidence crisis and let their heads drop.

  23. mysticleaves

    Still on Ramsey and Ozil. it’s easier to cede games and just focus on making runs than to try to be the reason the pass will get to the person that made the run. All have their uses all are arts in their own respect but Ramsey should definitely bring more to the table.

  24. Champagne Charlie


    Ahh back to the neurological impairment I suffer, snowflake, dumbo, moron, etc etc.

    All the classic points of debate when talking football. Yawn.

    You’ve never addressed the criteria for comparing Ramsey vs deriding Ozil. Instead you’ve done as above, talked about subjective views and how I can’t formulate or understand any blah blah. Essentially trying to elevate yourself to some level I wouldn’t understand, all in the aim to avoid actually providing a sensible answer to a engine football question.

    It’s painfully obvious. Because from what you’ve said you rate Ozil as shit for not showing up in tough away games, and Ramsey as mint because he makes third man runs. Epic stuff, real football savant you are.

  25. WengerEagle

    I still don’t see what Ozil has in his skillset that’s elite other than his vision to spot a pass, his short-pass/through ball execution and his set-piece delivery.

    His range of passing is staggeringly poor for an offensive midfielder, he’s the most one-footed CAM I can think of, he’s scared to shoot, cannot dribble vertically and is a non-entity defensively.

  26. mysticleaves

    .”Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Marcelo, Sergio Ramos, Keylor Navas, Carvajal, Pepe, Bale, Benzema, Isco, etc”

    These players will struggle to make the barca team of 2009. Only Ramos would come close.

    As for Milan i think you underate that team a lot. They did a lot of things especially from 1992 to 1994. This Madrid team won’t break them down at all and Ronaldo will end up injured if he tried to force it.

    Maybe it’s me but this Madrid team never really dominated anybody and you just feel any team can score them

  27. Paulinho

    Mystic – You quite clearly didn’t grasp the argument then.

    It was about Ramsey staying consistent to his strengths, regardless of opposition and venue, whereas Ozil displays cowardice when he plays away at the venues I’ve mentioned about a million times now.

    It’s not a boring tedious argument about who is better, Ramsey or Ozil, it’s a particular nuanced one. I prefer Ramsey because he’ll try and make a run in behind at Anfield or Stamford Bridge, while Ozil will drift wider and wider, and display none of the talents he displays against the lesser sides.

  28. Paulinho

    “Essentially trying to elevate yourself to some level I wouldn’t understand”

    That’s not really difficult Charlie. That’s become patently obvious by now.

  29. mysticleaves

    “His range of passing is staggeringly poor for an offensive midfielder, he’s the most one-footed CAM I can think of, he’s scared to shoot, cannot dribble vertically and is a non-entity defensively.”

    All those elites you gave to Ozil Ramsey don’t have them. But then his range of passing is poor too.He is also one footed and cannot dribble. He has defensive work and shooting though. Mostly off when he doesn’t have the sight of goal

  30. Carts


    Outrageously limited.

    His eye for a pass is on Cesc’s level, that I must admit.

    But when you reel of his cons, it’s actually beggars belief as to how he’s come this far.


    Dictate play


    Pace( on the break, as opposed to tracking back lol)

  31. Rambo Ramsey

    ‘Still on Ramsey and Ozil. it’s easier to cede games and just focus on making runs than to try to be the reason the pass will get to the person that made the run.’

    Ramsey has near as many assists as Ozil having played fewer games.

  32. WengerEagle


    How can you say that they didn’t dominate Juventus in the Final? Or Atletico Madrid over the 2 legs? Or Napoli in the last 16?

    Even against Bayern Munich they overwhelmed them in the Bernabeu, they are a seriously underrated side in regards to history because people have a romanticised view of the past.

    Did Barcelona 2009 dominate Chelsea? Nope, quite the opposite, they were extremely fortunate to progress due to a brilliant last minute Iniesta strike and multiple horrendous refereeing decisions going against them, including a blatant penalty in the last minute. Even against United in the Final, wouldn’t exactly say that they battered them.

    As for your claim that nobody barring possibly Ramos would get into the side, cannot believe that you would take Abidal over Marcelo?? Let’s not revise history, as inspirational as he was, he wasn’t an elite LB, albeit a very solid one.

    As great as Eto’o was, he could not have done the job that Karim Benzema did for that Real Madrid side. That’s why comparisons are difficult, styles make teams and Eto’o was perfect for that Barca side while Benz was perfect for RM despite being very different CF’s.

    Xavi and Iniesta are the best 2 CM’s ever imo but Kroos and Modric aren’t miles off by any stretch.

  33. mysticleaves

    Well Paulinho, just like I said it’s an unfair one. Making runs are easier than orchestrating games or creating chances.

    When Sanchez was here Ozil made runs and scored good number of goals off them. Normally Ramsey should bring more to his game and stop hiding behind making runs and scoring goals off them

  34. Carts

    Funny that, because Valdes was consider the weak link in Barcelona’s team. He was a good shot stopped and has a decent punt on his, but he was susceptible to an almunia moment.

    I’d actually say Navas looks a far more complete GK. sadly, Florentine Perez’s raging hard-on for Dea Gea of Courtois is verging on disrespectful to Navas.

    The likes of Utd, Arsenal and Liverpool, even Chelsea would be mad to pass up on making a beeline for Navas if any of them needed a GK

  35. mysticleaves

    You know I didn’t remember Abidal started for them. Would definitely take Marcelo but talking about Benzema and Eto? REALLY? Eto all day for me. And it’s not even about style. He is just the better player

  36. Paulinho

    Mystic – Strongly disagree.

    Ramsey makes something very difficult look extremely effortless.

    Ask Wilshere to do what Ramsey does and you’ll see how difficult it is to do consistently.

    It takes a lot of intelligence and reading of the game to make those runs. Plenty of athletic midfielders around that are brainless and play it safe.

    Roy Keane perfect example of incredible intelligence shown by the runs he made. Check out the double he scored against us at Highbury in 1999. No one else on either side would’ve had the balls or brain to do what he did.

  37. mysticleaves

    Ramsey has near as many assists as Ozil having played fewer games.

    Ozil has scored more than Ramsey in the same period

  38. Carts


    I see your angle, WE, but Eto’o over Benzema without a seconds thought!

    Granted Benzema style suit Madrid because he effectively frees up his lunch for Ronaldo, but, imo, that smells more like him bottling it as opposed to asserting his authority.

  39. WengerEagle


    What’s interesting about Eto’o and Benzema is that most people would agree that Eto’o was your typical selfish CF that sniffed out any half chance and was a lethal finisher in front of goal, while Benzema was self-sacrificing and far too unselfish for his own good, often pandering his talents ala Rooney in 2007-2009 Man United for the benefit of Ronaldo particularly and a wasteful finisher when presented the opportunities.

    Yet when you look at their goalscoring records in the UCL:

    Benzema- 100 apps, 53 goals.
    Eto’o- 78 apps, 30 goals.

  40. mysticleaves

    Paulinho people have different games to them. Wilshere isn’t a scorer. Hes more deep lying than attack minded. He tries to dominate games and set off more offensive players. like Modric and Dembele?

    During the Roy Keane days EPL never really played with CAMs so there was space in the middle to make those runs. Viera made them, Edu made them, Gilberto made them. Pretty much every CM made runs them because of the nature of the game back then.

  41. WengerEagle

    Benzema is 5th of all time in UCL goals (53 goals), he could well equal RVN (56 goals) by the end of this season.

    That’s impressive for a CF that isn’t defined by his goalscoring ability.

  42. mysticleaves

    Can’t knock those goals. But I think Eto really only played UCl when he came to barca. He played for Mallorca a lot so didn’t get the chance until Barca.

    Benzema more technical though and unselfish but you would want your strikers to score a selfish side.

    Eto would score more in Madrid than Benzema has managed. Messi wants the ball as much as, if not more than Ronaldo wants it.

  43. Carts


    Oh, Benzema got stats like that then, yeah?

    Ok fair play to him. Those stats are to be saluted.

    I wonder whether he feels he should’ve left Real sooner or if the Madrid life and simply being in such a successful team was what sold it for him.

    He’s days are numbered now, I think. Perez feels emasculated by what both PSG and Barcelona have both done

  44. WengerEagle


    If Benzema is a bottler, what does that make Thierry Henry?

    Failed to win the UCL as the guy with us, missed multiple great chances in the Final vs the team that he joins a year later to finally win the UCL albeit in a subservient role to Messi and even Eto’o.

  45. mysticleaves

    Re Valdes and Navas I would choose Valdes too. The hardest job of a keeper is staying alert for 90mins in a team that has possession 70-30 in 98% of games. Both have faults but I would choose Valdes

  46. Paulinho

    Mystic – I know what type of midfielder Wilshere is.

    Still, give him free rein to do what Ramsey does and he would’t be comfortable at all.

    Same way Sanchez isn’t comfortable making runs in behind like Aguero.

  47. WengerEagle


    Cannot get behind that theory, Ronaldo is great but he’s the most selfish player I’ve ever seen and it’s not close. He shoots more than anybody else in the world, never delegates set pieces/PK’s like Messi does (ironically gave Benz a penalty a week or so back for the first time ever because his confidence was in the shitter).

    Also Eto’o didn’t play with Messi as a ball hog for the first few seasons in Barcelona, his record of 30 goals in 78 UCL apps is actually remarkably average considering how good he was in La Liga, his two goals in the 2006 and 2009 Finals skews people’s memories on how ordinary he was in the UCL at times.

  48. mysticleaves


    Henry was not really a bottler. His lack of joy in UCL is majorly on Wenger and the Arsenal team. I think at a time he got tired of being the go to guy. But he delivered some outstanding performances without scoring because he was a scorer and a creator. A hybrid if you like.

  49. Carts


    that’s a fair point.

    However, the context in which I called Benzema a bottler differs somewhat to how you described Henry.

    I’m talking more about Benzema stepping out of Ronaldos shadow as opposed to simply waving his medal haul at us.

    Henry flattered to deceive on numerous occasions – that includes the international scene too. Zidane proving how much of a boss he really was.

  50. WengerEagle


    Yeah his best days are behind him sadly, shame as he was my favourite CF in his prime.

    His goalscoring record has fallen off a cliff after a career high in 2015/16, and given his age and longevity at the top, it’s fair to say that he’s likely in decline now.

    Expecting some big moves out of Perez this summer, unless they manage to win the UCL again of course LOL.

  51. mysticleaves

    I would much rather give props to CMs that run games and score occasionally than CMs that base their games on being passive and making runs to score goals

  52. Champagne Charlie

    Let’s not start imagining things into existence about Ramsey’s creative ability compared to Ozil…

    From yesterday:
    “Here’s a boringly vague statistical comparison of Ozil and your hero Ramsey (whoscored), since 2014 when Ozil joined in the PREM and EUROPE:

    Rambo: 8,428 minutes. Goals: 22, Assists: 23 Pass %: 86%, Motm: 6

    Ozil: 11, 577. Goals: 29, Assists: 46, Pass %: 86%, Motm: 14

    So via WhoScored that has Ramsey scoring a goal every 383 mins, and assisting every 366 mins. Ozil scoring every 399 mins, and assisting every 251 mins.”

    Lest we forget an assist is only as such when it’s finished. Ozil is literally top dog for chances created in the prem since he arrived here. Trying to big up Ramsey in that department is misleading at best.

  53. WengerEagle


    Henry’s my favourite player of all time, just feel like he was sub-par in Europe in the knockout stages over his career. Some of that was down to Wenger’s ineptitude in the UCL I agree, our sides between 2001-2005 sorely underachieved in the Champions League getting knocked out at the groups on more than one occasion.

    2006 he was great but that Final is on him, I’m sure even he would admit that much. He had at least 2 great chances to win the match for us, a 1 vs 1 in the second half in particular sticking out and he choked. Lehmann getting sent off didn’t help and idiot AW subbing Cesc off coupled with Manuel the waiter in nets but TH14 should have won us the match.

  54. mysticleaves

    I think that stat is even wrong. Ozil has 63 assists for Arsenal since he signed. Stat sites were all saying he became a centurion in goal contributions after the Milan match.

  55. mysticleaves

    Agree to you last post. Henry should definitely have scored at least once in that game. But I thought it was Pires that went off.

  56. Paulinho

    Mystic – What if that CM runs goes missing every single time he plays at Old Trafford, Stamford Bridge, Anfield, or indeed any away game where the opposition keep their shape and press aggressively?

    And the ‘passive runner’ actually steps up to the challenge and continues to do- or attempt- what he does against all the other sides?

  57. Champagne Charlie


    Those stats are in the premier league and Europe only because I didn’t want people to start dissecting and suggesting they’ve come against fodder in the FA cup and such.

  58. HillWood

    Arsenal thought they could cruise through after they beat Ostersund in the first leg and had a rude awakening in the home leg
    No one should think we can just turn up against Milan at the Emirates

  59. Carts

    That season we went out to PSV. Fuck me, PSV, ffs.

    How that cunting ref didn’t give the pen for foul on Hleb, I’ll never know.

    If there’s something to deduce from our European exploits, it’d be this: Wenger never approached any knock out games with a strategy in mind. I don’t even think his approach was ad-hoc.

    Besides losing to Barcelona I the final, if we’re to recant all the other knock out games you’ll see how our approach was very one dimensional with us literally expecting magic from Ruth Henry or Cesc.

  60. Champagne Charlie


    Can you do us a favour and explain why our top 6 form the past 5 years has been atrocious? Bottom of the mini league.

    There’s not one player in the team that comes away from that diluted sample you keep bashing Ozil for with any credit.

    You can fuck right off if you’re going to tout Ramsey as a beacon of hope in those away games. You cited Anfield in 2015 as evidence of his contributions away. Is that not saying everything….

  61. WengerEagle


    Yeah Henry was never the guy for France, always upsurped by Zizou even when he was a pensioner and Henry was in his absolute prime in 2006.

    Not that Benz has been any better for France.

    I do get what you mean but it must be hard to vacate the biggest club in world footy where you’re being paid handsomely and are loved by the President and are enjoying incredible success.

    Lot of it comes down to personality, you’ll get Benzema’s, Rooney’s, Ribery’s, Bale’s, etc that are happy to be a part of elite sides without being the guy and then you’ll get your Totti’s, Gerrard’s, Neymar’s, etc that thrive on being the focal point and the centre of attention.

    Even in Basketball, some players would rather be a Sco.ttie Pippen and others would prefer to be an Allen Iverson.

  62. mysticleaves

    “And the ‘passive runner’ actually steps up to the challenge and continues to do- or attempt- what he does against all the other sides?”

    None of our players have stood out recently against top6 away. Not Ramsey not Ozil.

  63. Champagne Charlie


    Totally agree. Our form amongst the top 6 is squarely down to our shit managerial approach and totally anonymous mental preparation.

    It’s not because Ozil doesn’t fancy it.

  64. mysticleaves

    I totally forgot that. That game though. Not one I would like to remember in details

    Isn’t it obvious. Paulinho is just making points for his arguments

  65. Paulinho

    That’s my whole point and has been for a while.

    Ramsey is the only one in the whole squad – along with Monreal – that actually have the balls to do anything in these away matches. You can disagree all you like but again, I’m extremely comfortable with that.

    Who ran through the Chelsea team earlier this season at Stamford Bridge and hit the post? A little example of him actually trying to make things happen while Ozil was most likely joined at the hip with the linesman at that point.

    By the way Ozil has been doing this his whole career. Spain 2010, Italy 2012, and any away match for Madrid in Europe. The day he joined I said he disappear in those matches. Him and Sanchez are well matched in that department.

  66. WengerEagle

    In Benzema’s defence too we’ve never experienced two players in Messi and Ronaldo in the modern era to host a period of dominance for so long, basically any top player from 2007-present that has played for Manchester United, Real Madrid or Barcelona would have had to play second fiddle to Ronaldo and Messi.

    Some of these names include Rooney, Benzema, Higuain, Eto’o, Henry, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Bale, these are some of the biggest names in world footy.

  67. Champagne Charlie


    It seems a pretty measured observation. Seems Wengers accountability is turned off and on to suit.

    For me it’s his shortcomings that have us as also-rans against top sides – I’ve long said that.

  68. Zfree

    All this talk about Ozil, so I’ll ask – why is Xhaka taking more and more free kicks? I’ve seen Ozil over there as an option for a short corner but it seems like Xhaka is delivering the ball well over 50% of the time lately. Why wouldn’t you have the same footed, brilliant passer, by far highest paid player on the team taking these?

  69. Champagne Charlie


    Have you got anything to suppprt your incessant idea Ozil hasn’t turned up for any away games in his career.

    Seems a ridiculous statement made to galvanise a point you just admitted to making the day he arrived.

    Players and coaches across Europe tip their cap to Ozil as a creative force. Arbitrary numbers support the claim he makes the most chances. The reality of watching the game highlight this fact too. I find it odd that you’re hell bent on one facet of his game, yet so quick to dismiss the faults in other players.

  70. mysticleaves

    “Some of these names include Rooney, Benzema, Higuain, Eto’o, Henry, Neymar, Luis Suarez, Bale, these are some of the biggest names in world footy.”

    Did you leave out Ibra on purpose? Cos he won’t play second fiddle to any of them lol.

  71. WengerEagle

    Actually didn’t leave him out on purpose but that proves my point, he was basically the opposite of Benzema.

    Egomaniac and enjoyed individual plaudits and tonnes of domestic success however despite playing for Juventus, Inter Milan, AC Milan (when both were actually good) and PSG he never came close to winning the Champions League.

    He left Inter Milan in 2009, they won the UCL in 2010.

    He left Barcelona in 2010, they won the UCL in 2011.

  72. Pedro

    Charlie, what do you think the difference between a Chelsea game in the league cup. / a Brighton away game is for Ozil?

  73. mysticleaves

    Same reason Harry Kane takes free kicks lately for Spuds as against Erikson who is a dead ball specialist. Same reason Marcus Rashford takes all set pieces for man Utd

  74. mysticleaves

    It wasn’t down to him not being good enough as the main man though. Maybe he made the wrong choices because of his selfishness. Cos the clubs he played were all good enough for the UCL titles.

  75. mysticleaves

    I wonder how Ramsey would have scored yesterday if Ozil didn’t have the vision, execution and weight of pass to get him the ball.

  76. Champagne Charlie


    I don’t think there’s any difference, I think Ozil is capable of performing on any stage – he’s proved as such.

    I said yesterday that for me you can correlate Ozil going “missing” to games where Arsenal are unable to get a foothold. Be that against a top side outclassing us, or a lesser side out competing us. Wenger tings is them.

    As much as I’d love Ozil to be a super well rounded baller, he’s not. He’s the guy that turns control into production, which isn’t to be sniffed at. It’s just often sniffed at because we’ve not competed for ages and by default fans look to ‘star’ players. Ozil has never been that kind of on field personality so people wanting to see that will be there a while. His weak personality is his clear fault, but that doesn’t make him shit as some suggest. Give him (and others) a decent platform and they’d show their worth.

  77. WengerEagle


    You can give somebody like Ronaldo9 the benefit of the doubt for not winning the UCL as he missed half of his prime through injury and didn’t play at a great side until he signed for Real Madrid in 2002 already past his best physically.

    But Ibrahimovic had incredible longevity at some of the best clubs in the world, UCL quality winning sides as you say and yet he never even made a Final and only made the SF once, in 2010 with Barcelona.

    That’s not down to just luck, his record of 10 career knockout round goals in 40 apps is shite for a player of his class.

  78. Pedro

    Yeah, that’s fair. It’s a shame he can’t summon that fight and drive like he did at Chelsea in every game. He’s not a leader.

  79. Champagne Charlie


    He’s absolutely nowhere close to being a leader. That’s a contentious point for many but I don’t expect that of him frankly.

    Call that ‘luxury’ if you will, but if this Arsenal team was grounded in quality and managed properly in terms of tactics/approach you’d see Ozil being a difference maker time and time again.

  80. Pierre

    If I was to choose a centre midfield pairing it would be Spurs midfield of dembele and wanyama/dier ,why because they would be perfect for the Arsenal team … They do what a central midfield partnership is supposed to do , protect the defence ,control the game , hardly ever get caught out of position and keep it simple (scoring goals and making runs into the box is on the bottom of their list)…team players.

    With Ramsey ,his list of priorities are completely the opposite to the Spurs midfield .
    Making runs into the box and scoring are top of his list .
    Diciplined and protection of the defence is bottom of his list .

    What I don’t get with Bamford ,Paulinho ,marko etc who have seen arsenals weaknesses over the years ( centre midfield ) , is they cannot see the benefit of having a strong diciplined midfield pairing instead of one who sits back(xhaka) and one who rampages forward at every opportunity (Ramsey ) .

    I can gaurantee you that the first thing a new manager will put in place and that is a solid midfield pairing , he will say to Ramsey either play with discipline or you’re out as the team cannot afford to be one man light in midfield .

  81. Champagne Charlie


    I shudder at the idea Per is the closest thing we have to a leader tbh. Not disagreeing, just scary.

    Auba might prove a demanding personality when he’s fully bedded in. He’s all smiles at the moment but I think he may have a bit of an edge after he’s done making friends.

  82. mysticleaves

    “That’s not down to just luck, his record of 10 career knockout round goals in 40 apps is shite for a player of his class.”

    Guess who he broke the duck with? lol

  83. WengerEagle


    Yep pretty grim reality indeed, RVP was the last assertive personality that we had, whatever you thought of his departure he led the team by example in 2011/12, imo Cesc was a good Captain too besides 2010-11 where he looked a pale imitation of his 2009-10 best.

    Since then we’ve had a bunch of nice-guys/mellow personalities that don’t like to rock the boat. Per tried but as he was so limited himself it must have been hard to really get behind him, sad truth. He’s also what I would have called a soft leader, similar to Gilberto Silva in 2006-07 when Henry had to sit out much of the season.

    Re Auba, not sure he’s that kind of guy, think he’s more of a Sanchez type of selfish extrovert rather than a leader of men, his shenanigans at Dortmund do not lead me to believe that he’s the guy.

  84. WengerEagle

    And then you look at Juventus in stark contrast, leaders all over the pitch.

    Buffon and Chiellini are massive personalities, Higuain was a leader at Napoli too and Dybala definitely has leadership qualities that are evident in terms of taking responsibility that have belied his age and the ability to inspire his team mates.

  85. Champagne Charlie


    I’m hoping rather than expecting Auba to turn out as such tbh. That’s the level of expectation reached with Per as your dominant personality in the ranks.

    There’s potential in some guys I fancy, but the overriding tone is set by passive Weng. He’s ended up too far left in his thinking, all too idealistic and utopian in his beliefs.

    Confrontation has been eradicated at Arsenal and that is mirrored in the tepid changing room dynamic.

  86. Champagne Charlie


    Ahh mate, watching Buffon and Chiellini embrace as the latter deflected a ball wide of goal was immense.

    Didn’t know what I was watching we’ve been starved of such passion and respect for defending. Can you imagine Cech being like that with any defender we have? Lol

  87. Paulinho

    “I don’t think there’s any difference, I think Ozil is capable of performing on any stage – he’s proved as such.”

    As I said last night, he hasn’t created a single chance from open in five years at Old Trafford, Anfield, Stamford Bridge.

    Genuinely baffling you haven’t noticed him do absolutely nothing in any of those games. I would say the Liverpool 3-3 draw a few years ago he came into a bit in the second half with some take downs, maybe before a Giroud goal or something.

    Hleb, for all his faults, would do turn up at Old Trafford and Anfield, and actually raise his game.

  88. Paulinho

    “Anyone seen Thierry’s piece on Sky with Lukaku.Future manager right there?

    I could’ve swore last week you said you weren’t a fan of him at all.

  89. Paulinho

    Although even the likes of Neville seem to miss these things for years and years as well, until it hits them in the face and becomes self-evident.

    I pointed out years ago Sanchez dropped too deep, and was a lone voice for a long time . Plays a few games for United and Neville devotes a whole segment of Monday Night football to it, and all the herd jump on the wagon like Neville has split the atom.

  90. Paulinho

    “I can guarantee you that the first thing a new manager will put in place and that is a solid midfield pairing , he will say to Ramsey either play with discipline or you’re out as the team cannot afford to be one man light in midfield .”

    And yet Petit and Vieira used to take it turns to bomb on, and that was with only one central midfielder and Parlour slightly tucking in, and two forwards.

    You’ve got it completely backwards. What Ramsey is doing his displaying what a talented all-rounder does; attack and defend. Xhaka just can’t replicate the levels of quality that Petit or Edu could reach. Petit in particular.

  91. Marko

    I can’t believe that there’s basically been a 24 hour debate on who’s better (or worse) Ozil and Ramsey. For 24 HOURS!!! Why not just throw in Wilshere into the debate sure and we can all enjoy joke Friday. I’d give my left nut to replace Ozil with someone like Fekir or a winger because he’s a pussy. I’d give my right nut to replace Ramsey with someone like Goretska or Milinkovic Savic because he’s a headless chicken idiot sometimes. They both have shown they lack the fight to make us better

  92. Paulinho

    Pedro – Yep.

    Think he would be brilliant. His knowledge and understand is probably the most impressive of all the ex-players.

    People think he would be too emotional, but I disagree, he’s often the balanced one on Sky that doesn’t say things he regrets later on.

  93. Marko

    What Ramsey is doing his displaying what a talented all-rounder does; attack and defend

    …but he lacks positional awareness and defensive discipline by and large. He goes walkabout so much for a CM. He’d be better suited to play CAM or sit on the bench

  94. WengerEagle


    It wouldn’t worry you Re Henry that he didn’t take too kindly to sub-par players in his prime with us, treated Reyes like shit and wasn’t exactly patient with the likes of Hleb, Walcott and Adebayor.

    The great managers can maximise the players at their disposal, often getting an extra 10-15% out of them, Fergie and past Mourinho being the two best examples.

    I just don’t see Henry having the self-awareness to correct this personally, his footy IQ is exceptional but as a man-manager and motivator I would have my doubts.

  95. Marko

    Henry like Arteta has showed nothing to suggest that they’re ready for the Arsenal job. The next manager needs to be experienced or have obvious potential. Jardim is my number one choice

  96. Paulinho

    Marko – I think Ramsey adjusts to the level of opposition.

    That’s where his intelligence(his form of intelligence) comes in. He knows Stoke are shit so he makes more runs, while limited players like Xhaka treat them like Barcelona because he’s not capable of doing anything other than keeping it simple. Yet perpetually sitting deep fits the profile in the modern game of intelligence, hence all the ‘Regista’ tripe last year, whereas Ramsey is supposedly reckless. Unless he scores of course, then he is ‘picking his runs’ correctly all of a sudden.

  97. Paulinho

    “I mean what Fergie achieved with the likes of Fletcher, Park Ji Sung and Tom Cleverley in his CM over the years is remarkable.”

    Park Ji Sung is good example of what I’m on about. Less talented or easy on the eye, but could sustain his style of play regardless of opposition. He was probably better against the top sides than the likes of Fulham.

    Fergie was a freak. Still remember the Da Silva brothers being used in midfield with O’Shea against us, and winning.

  98. Paulinho

    WE – See what you mean. I do think he has matured a bit since then though. It seems Guardiola had big effect on him.

    Would be interested in his opinion on Hleb though. Never mentions him. Didn’t seem to have much time for him despite him continually creating chances and goals for Henry in that Champions League run.

  99. azed


    “His eye for a pass is on Cesc’s level, that I must admit.”

    This is blasphemy. Cesc vision and range are/were out of Ozil’s league.

  100. WengerEagle


    Know what you mean, some players are just built for certain levels of opposition, you’ll always get the guys elite against smaller opposition who shrink when it matters on the big stage and then you’ll get guys not as prolific over the course of a season but always turning up in big moments.

    Drogba was a perfect example, besides his 2009-10 season which you could argue was a purple patch in his career, he was never a prolific scorer. But he always turned up on the big occasion, be it in the BPL against us/Liverpool/United, in Cup Finals and in UCL knockout matches.

    Same for Thomas Muller, has a knack of producing his best against the best opposition.

    Draxler was another player that often underwhelmed in the Bundesliga and showcased his best stuff in Europe.

    Haha only Fergie could have John O’Shea chipping Lehmann to ice a game 4-2 at Highbury in a time where Henry, Pires, Vieira, etc were all in their prime.

  101. Guns of Brixton

    “Haha only Fergie could have John O’Shea chipping Lehmann to ice a game 4-2 at Highbury in a time where Henry, Pires, Vieira, etc were all in their prime.”

    Effing hell that game hurt.

  102. WengerEagle

    And yes think that Henry was short with Hleb because we lacked goalscorers back then and Hleb’s overriding tendency to pass on sight rather than shoot frustrated at times. But yes, strange given how many chances he created.

    I loved Hleb but his reluctance to shoot was legendary, way more so then even Ozil’s. He would have been an elite player if he had the goalscoring threat to go with the dribbling ability/creativity.

    As for Henry maturing, perhaps. His stint this summer with Belgium may give us a clearer indication if he really has.

  103. WengerEagle


    As much as the 8-2 when United dicked us around with Tom Cleverley, Anderson, Ashley Young, Danny Welbeck, Park, Evans? Lol.

    Or the 4-0 at OT when Nani was performing Circus tricks in midfield?

    Or the time they bent us over at home in the UCL SF with Ronaldo scoring a FK from virtually his own half on Manuel?

    I could go on and on.

  104. WengerEagle


    What are your thoughts on his record vs Real Madrid, most goals and assists ever in the Clasico?

    His brace in both UCL SF matches vs Real Madrid in 2011 and Bayern Munich in 2015?

    And goals in both UCL Finals of 2009 and 2011?

    Small matches, ye?

  105. Marko

    Marko – I think Ramsey adjusts to the level of opposition.

    Seem to remember him being caught out of position and jogging back when City were counter attacking in the final. Also seem to remember him earlier in the season at Anfield caught talking to the bench while Liverpool were scoring. Doesn’t seem to adjust to levels of opposition. That’s an interesting statement to make though it’s the kind of statement you’d make if he was such an obvious stand out performer in the big games. By and large that’s not him

  106. steve


    Don’t forget that game when Fergie had seven defenders in the lineup and still comfortably beat us 2-0. Pathetic.

  107. Marko

    Messi is a prime example of a player elite against smaller opposition who when it matters shrinks on the biggest stage of all.

    El classicos and cup finals European cup finals not big enough for you? I assume you’re just counting world cups with Argentina

  108. Paulinho

    Same with other sports.

    In Snooker you have someone like Mark Selby that can look average against poor players, be really uninspiring to watch, and yet a week later he manages to turn over Ronnie O’Sullivan, who usually destroys the lower ranked players in big tournaments.

    Remember Kim Collins winning 100 metre titles with pretty mediocre times, and the only reason he won them was because he could keep it together on the big occasion. Other sprinters would look great in the semi’s and tie up in the final.

    Ozil looks a different level to someone like Ramsey against a lower league side, yet his drops markedly once he faces a certain type of elite opposition away from home, yet steady eddie Ramsey and Park Ji Sung have that mental toughness to maintain their level.

  109. WengerEagle


    Our record vs United was so shit that all of the matches that we bested Fergie over post-Invincibles we can all remember vividly, the 1-0 at OT where Ade scored in 2006, the 2007 Emirates 2-1 win with henry’s headed winner, the 2008 Emirates 2-1 win where Nasri scored a brace and I think we beat them 1-0 in 2010 or 2011 with Ramsey scoring the winner in a dead rubber after they’d won the title already.

    Besides that we were bent over more times than I can even remember and usually lost out on the 50-50 matches when we were as good a side if not better (Invincibles era, 2007-08 season).

  110. WengerEagle

    Remember in Keane and Vieira’s documentary that Keane was 8-6 in their H2H rivalry excluding draws.

    Should have been the other way around, Vieira was the better player and we were the better team.

  111. Paulinho

    Marko – All these games you mention when Ramsey is coming back from some injury or something. Agree though, and I have said, he is not impervious to the deficiences Wenger-managed players are afflicted with,and he can be sloppy.

    When he is in ‘end of season mode’ fully fit, then he is not a liability. Problem is his fitness.

    Even then, the core problem at Anfield was the defence sitting too deep and not pressing up with the midfield, like they did in the F.A Cup final. Left a huge gap for Liverpool to exploit. Which is down to mentality.

  112. Redtruth

    “Ozil looks a different level to someone like Ramsey against a lower league side, yet his drops markedly once he faces a certain type of elite opposition away from home, yet steady eddie Ramsey and Park Ji Sung have that mental toughness to maintain their level.”

    I think you’ll find Ramsey in his so called purple patch season only managed one goal against top 10 opposition the rest came against teams struggling against relegation.

  113. Champagne Charlie

    Wasn’t the debate, said as much yesterday – and today so did Paulinho. Obviously you didn’t get the memo, or use your eyes.

    It was tongue in cheek re:Henry, he’s off being a homeboy to attacking players of big clubs instead of striving to be a better coach/manager.

    Being good at something doesn’t mean you can teach it. He was a superb player, absolutely no evidence he can hack it as a coach/manager. Wenger might be washed up but Henry isn’t remotely fit to lace his worn out boots.

  114. ArseneisaFraud

    Enjoyed the blog today. Great debate where for once the mud slinging was in the background.

    To out do Bamford in the teacher department, I will award you all a Gold Star.

    As for me, I am going to add something constructive (and original mind you) to the debate:

    WENGER OUT! KROENKE OUT! We just want our Arsenal back!!!

  115. Leedsgunner

    After the month the Arsenal has had we deserved a win. Yet, before we celebrate madly… take a step back, have a breath and look at the trend.

    It’s downwards.

    Believing yesterday’s performance to be the beginnings of a light at the end of the tunnel is foolish the reality is because a train is coming for us…

  116. TonyD

    The cynic in me sees PR written al over this, but having said that, there’s no denying the kids will remember it for the rest of their lives.

    Maybe Pierre, Northern and Victoria should write their own posters for Wenger’s Y-fronts.

    I bet those 3 have got Gunner’s Top Trumps! Then Wenger could play with them and make them so happy.

    Wenger would probably love to visit their homes and the PR spin would canonise him. Because let’s face it Wenger has been dead for a long time.

    “Hector Bellerin visits young Arsenal fan who asked for his signed shirt at Crystal Palace… and even stays to play video games and Gunners Top Trumps”

    Read more:

  117. GuNZ

    Let’s face it, Wenger’s going nowhere unless he gets committed. To put it in perspective my (maybe) future son-in-law is a Crystal Palace season ticket holder. He would give anything to have a European game at Selhurst Park. While the flabby-lipped Nougat-Boy shagging git is at the wheel (and the ship ain’t gone down yet) the Lloyds that are the Board, ain’t going to be clanging the catastrophe bell anytime soon.

  118. Kay

    For all the 3rd man runs Ramsey is making we need a Ozil or a Cazorla to pick him out.

    Just cut the slack on ozil.

    If the 10 million man cannot make Ozil turn up in games what fuck is he here for?
    Ozil not being a big game player is rubbish. He is one of the top 3 players for Germany for the past 5 years or so.

  119. Carts

    “Fergie was a freak. Still remember the Da Silva brothers being used in midfield with O’Shea against us, and winning.”

    Realist shit.

    Proves how a manager of Fergie’s ability was able to get players to rise to the occasion.

    When Wenger did it, it looked like he was on the take with some flakey betting gangsters based on Moldova

  120. Carts


    I think there’s a subtle nuance between Cesc’s and Ozil’s passing range, or what we’ve perceived.

    Cesc’s range of passing was more apparent, and I’ll have to attribute that to the fact that Cesc had more clinical strikers to play with that offered more variation with their movement.

    Ozil has had to contend with Giroud who isnt fast by any stretch of the imagination; and Welbeck – who is fast but has the shooting capacity Oscar Pistorius (and I’m not talking with a Desert Eagle or Glock) in a pair of Copa Mundial

  121. thank you and goodnight

    18 points off relegation, 33 points off the top. I reckon next year we will go down if Wenger stays.

  122. Leftsidesanch

    I reckon all 15 stones of Deeney and Watford might make life abit difficult for us tomorrow. They certainly won’t be overrawed by the match like Milan were.