Arsenal, a bit sh*t, but is it part of a broader strategy? (serious)

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It feels so good for football to be back.

It feels even better to deliver a hammer blow to Paul Lambert’s Stoke in controversial circumstances. I mean, the penalty we were awarded wasn’t really that controversial, I thought Ozil was crunched in the box and the challenge from behind was certainly reckless.

The cooly slotted penalty reassured me Aubameyang is indeed the absolute man.

The man from Gabon dropped his second shortly after, smashing an outside of the boot low drive across goal. The Ozil corner nodded on from Mustafi at the front post felt like peak George Graham. You know it wasn’t planned, but one can dream.

The final goal gave me all the feels – like a young millennial seeing The Notebook for the first time. The cute story goes like this:

Lacazette who has been injured for months comes on, he plays real good, then he’s felled in the box. Everyone was like, OMG, and so was the ref. He gives a penalty. Aubameyang was on a hattrick, everyone expected him to take the kick, but he said, ‘no damn way babes, you take this.’

Laca steps up, buries it, and the whole world suddenly realises Pedro’s post about looking after those in need actually impacted player behaviour on the pitch. Un-fucking-real. Leftwing snowflake liberalism in full effect. What a moment.

The game played out, the fans left happy, Arsene Wenger racked up a 4th win in a row.

Was it a great game? No. It was utter shite. The first half was one of the flattest I’ve endured in a while. Simply put, we were clueless. Bereft of structure, character and desire. Stoke pressed us a little, and we fell apart. You can say the players were thinking about Thursday, but let’s be honest here, we’re 6th in the league in April, the issue of being predictably susceptible to a press is not new, and managements failure to counter the problem is why we’re so poor. Talent isn’t the issue. It’s the way the coach plans how we play.

Another issue we’ve suffered all season has been that we don’t supply our forwards with service. How can that be? We have Mesut Ozil, a player our fan base seems to think is the greatest creative talent in the world outside Messi. We have Jack Wilshere, the great white hope of English football, the man fans think will save our World Cup. We also have Aaron Ramsey, Roy of the Rovers extraordinaire, a stats god, a man with more untapped potential than a Zizou/Henry genetic engineering project perfectly executed.

How can we have a midfield with so much individual creative talent… yet we can’t pick out two of the most prolific strikers in Europe against a Stoke side so poor they’d conceded 58 goals before today?

Imagine what a good manager could do with the talent we have…

Still, the reality is we’re at the stage of the season Jose’s United was this time last season. Out of the mix for Europa places in the league, no chance of top 4. Our big bet is the next 5 games in the Europa League where we can make the Champions League via the back door. Do games like today even matter? Surely the only point is to survice 6th place and keep everyone fit? If Jose was doing this, the media would be celebrating him as a wily old fox.

A lot of fans dodged the game yesterday, it was brutally apparent on the TV. I saw a prominent AFC journo slate them.  A person whose main job perk over the last 30 years has been free tickets, expensed travel, and a complimentary sandwich platter on arrival. A statement of Bill Gates richness when you consider his role as the chief enabler of the ‘careful what you wish for’ narrative that’s once again served the paying fans a shit sandwich so grim, they’d rather stay at home than go to an event they’ve paid for.

Also, highlighting Newcastle fans as a bastion of great fandom? Please, they’re the biggest fucking myth in football. They bully managers out of the club, their fans have been top of the league for the most banning orders 3 seasons in a row, and they engage in all the same bullshit we do online and in the ground that we do (protests/banners). See how banging their attendances would be if they’d been forced to deal with 10 years of Steve Mcclaren.

Arsenal fans spend huge amounts on their season tickets, roughly double what Geordies pay. Factor in the cost of travel, eating, and drinking…  well, you have quite the expense. Arsenal offer up a toxic match day experience because they don’t match the effort for fans, yet promise them the world ever year. The club has no ambition. The only person who is important at Arsenal is the manager. He’s failing. Fans have known he’s failing for 5 years (some, 10). But he’s kept on. Who wants to put themselves in financial trouble for a serving of average in a season that’s basically over?

Also, fans are critiqued for protesting, critiqued for being negative online, critiqued for not going to games. We can’t win. Maybe we’re too soft. Maybe we should be a little more like Geordies, who statistically specialise in being aggressive and hounding out managers they don’t like. Funny how when you’re northern, that’s salt of the earth behaviour, but when you’re southern, it’s a different narrative.

Big question I ask myself is this… how long are Sky going to keep playing us live when our ground is so visibly empty? If a fan that spends £2k on a season ticket would rather go fishing than watch Arsenal, why would anyone tune in on TV? All a bit Serie A… not a good look for Stan, who is too wrapped up in making the LA Rams elite. Still, at least Wenger was on point with his excuse.

“It’s just the fact it’s Easter and people have been away.

That’s me done for today.

We made a new podcast. There shall be another coming next Sunday. We are going BIG this month, one or two a week with a rotating cast.

Enjoy. Rate. Share.








148 Responses to “Arsenal, a bit sh*t, but is it part of a broader strategy? (serious)”

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  1. UTarse

    Little p,
    Are you missing me you flip flopping spineless troll ?

    Same.. Will be disappointed if there is not a decent crowd there.
    It will show how deep the apathy is within the fan base.”

    This says it all about you, you’d be “disappointed” if the fans hammer another nail in wengers coffin ?

    Showing your true AKB colours.

  2. Pierre

    Nothing wrong in a bit of flip flopping is there.

    I suppose you can’t wait for Thursday nights game, sitting there at home counting all the empty seats.

  3. Peter12

    What I think about Ramsey is similar to a few of you (not the majority) it is like trying to slot a round post into a square hole. It is all about Wenger wanting to play players where their natural styles don’t fit. Wenger is adamant about doing that to every single player. I know Henry ended up playing main attacker rather than a winger that he started off – yes there are exceptions but mostly it is a rubbish idea. Ramsey has been instructed to play as a defensive – that is not how he plays instinctively. The squad consists of (quite) talented players, but Wenger then ask them to play non-instinctively, rather than utilise on their strengths. E.g. Don’t play a natural left-back as centre back, likewise don’t play a right-back as defensive midfielder, etc, etc, etc. Don’t ask players to not-shoot if that is their natural tendency (say, in Elneny’s case). Let Ramsey continue to play creatively from the midfield as he naturally. Wenger should not force the team against his fancy system positions. Sorry that is my opinion.

  4. Emiratesstroller

    Ozil is most certainly not one paced. He has deceptive pace, but more importantly when on song he produces movement on pitch which few other players can match.

    Elneny’s movement on pitch is pedestrian and more importantly his passing is
    predictable i.e. almost always square or backwards. You can count on one hand the number of occasions in any game that he makes an incisive forward pass.

    Clearly Arsenal are not going out and buying three or four central midfield
    players. We know that Cazorla’s career at Arsenal is over and most probably
    Wilshire’s as well despite Wenger’s attempts to keep him.

    Also Ramsey will be in his final season at Arsenal. Will the club allow him to
    stay without signing a new contract and then leaving on a Bosman?

    Arsenal need realistically 4-5 central midfield players on their books. At moment we have just two likely to be at club next season in Xhaka and Elneny.

    Maybe Maitland-Niles can play there but he has very limited experience in
    that position having played mainly full-back.

    So this could be a major problem area for Arsenal next season particularly with other holes in squad which need filling.

    Frankly I don’t see Arsenal spending more than £100 million in transfer window unless either a] we can make substantial sales or b] we qualify for Champions League and our commercial and tv revenues are increased substantially.

    One thing is for sure Kroenke is not going to dig in his own pocket as perhaps Abramovich might do in similar circumstances.

  5. Dissenter

    “One thing is for sure Kroenke is not going to dig in his own pocket as perhaps Abramovich might do in similar circumstances.”

    Actually it would be dumb for any billionaire that’s not an oil state to “dig into his pockets” and do what you’re asking. Even Abrahmovich has stopped spending his own money. He won’t spend his money to fund their stadium and they will rather have Conte resin that sign him to avoid paying him off.
    No one is digging into any pockets, got that?. It’s so annoying to read you keep wishing for the same goddam wish that will never happen.
    The Arsenal self-sufficiency policy preceded kroenke and it’s not going to change now. It was celebrated by gooners in the 2006-2010 period after we switched stadiums.
    It seems you’re trying to have it both ways; you shamelessly dissed the Uzbek Billionaire who wanted to spend his own money and preferred the American who embraced the policy that precludes “digging” into personal pockets. Now you’re acting like we just got here on a time machine; there were no preceding events.
    Enjoy the ride, enjoy the products of your choice and stop whinging.

  6. Dissenter

    ***He won’t spend his money to fund their stadium and they will rather have Conte resign that sack him to avoid paying off his contract***

  7. Michael24

    I would be optimistic about next season, if I knew Arsene Wenger was no longer holding onto the reins.

    The current squad, although in need of investment in some areas, would improve markedly if someone other than Wenger was calling the shots.

    The doom merchants amongst us, those who feel we need to spend massive amounts to rectify the problems created by Wenger, are forgetting one simple thing, which is –

    The players, just like the fans, crave change and when this finally happens, their individual and collective desire and motivation to succeed, will rise to the surface.

  8. DaleDaGooner

    Le Grove…ha ha…Elneny was miles above Wheelchair…and Aaron Zidane isn’t good enough for what we need. Elneny isn’t top classs, but he presses better and does what is required for a defensive midfield. I remember the Coq hate here too. These types of players keep it tidy! Matic keeps it tidy! It’s the Wilshere’s and Ramsey’s and Welbeck’s that make us uninteresting…especially yesterday. It was so blatant how ordinary Wilshere looked., as well as Welbeck

  9. DaleDaGooner

    Wilshere takes what’s on offer and expects he’s nothing more than a bench player, we bring in better holding midfielders and scrap Ramsey to the bench as well, cause lets face it, it’s either Ramsey, Wilshere, Mkhitaryan or Ozil…i know which players are starting in the number 10 for me.

  10. Danish Gooner

    Cant wait to get shit kicking that cunt Mark Hughes down a division,not really interested in the CSKA game much more looking forward to relegate that vile bastard,sorry nothing personal Southampton,actually always liked Southampton but not with that average cunt as manager.

  11. David Smith

    Kroenke certainly won’t be putting his money in, not sure there is even a mechanism any more without the dodgy sponsorship deals at City, and Stan certainly isn’t going there.
    All Stan ever does is rubber stamp a deal for a failing manager , let’s hope he knows and cares when to stop doing that
    But, if you believe a certain journalist, Wenger and stan are thick as thieves, and Wenger is complicit in making Arsenal a money vehicle for stans other projects in return for effectively a job for life. If this is true , hope it comes out , and a man who espouses values, but cheats on his wife, and is mates with a bunch of guys who run a slave state gets seriously found out. Why aren’t the media being a it more robust with him?

  12. Bamford10

    The most economical thing to do is to keep Ramsey, play his as the advanced midfielder in a three-CM midfield and shift Ozil wide right. Ramsey has contributed to more goals this season than Ozil — despite playing in fewer games — has a better engine and can play both sides of the ball.

    Doing this would mean we only need to go into the market for two CMs — the two behind Ramsey — whereas a lot of people here have us in an inflated transfer market for three. Add a GK and CB and we’re solid.

    Replace the manager, obviously.

  13. Bamford10

    Sorry, most people have us signing two CMs, but sticking with what is essentially a two-man central midfield — Ozil doesn’t contribute to central midfield play — a huge disadvantage IMO. They also have us going into an inflated market for a wide player, a CB and a GK. That’s five first XI players. My plan would require only four, and if you think Xhaka is good enough for the XI, only three (a CM, a GK, a CB).

  14. Bamford10


    Yeah, except that I wasn’t talking to you; I was talking to Pierre.

    And I didn’t say you were the “biggest problem” here; I said you were a bigger problem than I’ve ever been. There’s a difference.

    Cheers, though.

  15. Emiratesstroller


    I am certainly not advocating that Kroenke spends his own money on transfers and have never done so.

    I have pointed out that Arsenal’s current problems are unlikely to be solved overnight in the summer, because the club is not going to spend unlimited
    sums of money in transfer window.

    What I highlight is that other clubs like Chelsea might do so in that situation as they have done in past.

  16. Emiratesstroller


    I stick by what I wrote about Usmanov. I think that there is enough evidence
    elsewhere to suggest that he is not someone who should own the club.

  17. Bamford10

    Reading Le Grove, you might get the impression that Aaron Ramsey is not a good footballer. I am posting a few statistics and quotes below in an attempt to re-balance this discussion a little.

    “Aaron Ramsey is directly responsible for 34.4% of Arsenal’s league goals this season (per 90 minutes) compared with Ozil, who has contributed to 28.4%.” –

    “He can go from the first minute to the last and has the engine to do both sides of the game and that is what we want.” – Arsene Wenger

    “I’m an admirer of Aaron Ramsey and Arsenal must try to secure his long-term future at the club. Like me, he makes late runs in the penalty area and he showed that with aplomb for the second goal at AC Milan last week … On the other hand, I accept there maybe doubts over whether he performs consistently enough. He is class when at his best [however] and I do feel there is another level for him to strive for.” – Frank Lampard, this week

    “[Wilshere’s] performances this season, compared to Ramsey’s, surely make a firm case for why Arsenal should be doing everything to keep their Wales international at the club by offering him the contract he deserves.” – Chris Wheatley,

    “The Welshman [Ramsey] had spent much of the evening playing a deep midfield role with impressive discipline, but with the clock ticking down on the first half he spotted a hole in the inside-right channel and ran straight through it. Ozil once again provided the pass and Ramsey rounded Donnarumma, tapped home and wheeled away as the San Siro fell deathly silent.” – Ed Malyon of the Independent on Aaron Ramsey at AC Milan

    Impressive discipline. Interesting …

    Others who would like to offer Ramsey a little bit of support here might help add to this counter-argument with their own contributions. I feel like Le Grove is treating him a little unfairly at moment.

  18. Bamford10


    Given that we do not have unlimited funds, and given that keeping Ramsey would cost relatively little, why are you suggesting a scenario in which we sell him? Don’t you agree that signing a comparable CM will cost more or less what we get for Ramsey? Or do you just not think Ramsey is good enough?

  19. Michael24


    Personally, I feel that any player under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger should not be treated “unfairly” by any of us.

    Remember, it is not their fault we have such an incompetent manager.

  20. Emiratesstroller

    Bamford 10

    Please read carefully again what I have written.

    I have not advocated selling Ramsey, but he is moving into the final year of his current contract and has sofar not signed an extension.

    Do you want us to be in same situation as we have been in with Ozil, Sanchez
    and Wilshire?

    If he refuses to sign a new contract on realistic terms then of course we need to sell him and not lose him at end of season on Bosman.

  21. mysticleaves

    Bamford, having Ozil on the wide right means having Mkhitaryan on the left side, these two players naturally play in the centre and would spend most of the 90mins drifting in these places.

    If you watch Liverpool and Man city closely what you will see they have that we lack is one touch passing through the lines and then proper width out wide.

    I would rather we break free of Ramsey and Wilshere buy two CMs on a free then get a proper winger. That way we can play two proper CMs and Ozil behind ahead of them. It will be more interesting than your suggestion.

    Xhaka/New CDM – Meyer(my choice)
    Miki – Laca/Auba – New Winger

    El Neny and Ozyakup can be our other midfielders.

  22. mysticleaves


    out of curiosity can you mean another CDM in any team in the world that their main characteristics is to thread through balls forward? That is, CDMs that don’t retain possession or generally keep it safe with sideways passes?

  23. Pierre

    No one is saying Ramsey is a bad player, he is obviously talented… The question is, is he what Arsenal need at this present time taking into the equation that he has been in Arsenal’s midfield l a number of years and during that time has never formed a good partnership with another central midfielder… Arguably, our best partnership during this period was cazorla and coquelin which tells you something.

    Bamford, I would ask you to look at the last 15 minutes of the Stoke game at the weekend.
    We had on the pitch lacazette, özil, Aubameyang and mkhitarayan as our attacking 4 and the midfield consisted of xhaka and Ramsey.

    During that last 15 minutes Ramsey was in the opponents area or thereabouts probably ten times in a desperate effort to get on the score sheet.
    There are 2 ways of looking at this..

    1)well done Ramsey for trying to put the game to bed and we did go out on and win 3-0
    Or you could say

    2) why the fuck was Ramsey vacating his midfield position time and time again leaving us open to the counter attack if we lost the ball
    We had 4 attacking players on the pitch who were more than capable of scoring the necessary goals.
    There was at least 2 times when the ball came into the box that Ramsey was standing no more than one yard away from Aubameyang so was occupying his space

    If you are happy with the first option then you follow the Wenger line of attack with no discipline.

    The fact is that during the last 15 minutes Ramsey was playing for himself, he wanted to improve his stats.. If he had been playing for the team he would have made sure we were not open to the counter.. Remember we were only one nil up at the time.

  24. Michael24

    CSKA fast approaching. Interesting game in so many non-Footballing ways.

    How will the Russian fans behave over here?
    Will Putin put his spoke in?
    Exactly what will happen in the return(off the pitch)?
    How many Arsenal fans will travel to Moscow?

    The eyes of the world will be on this tie for so many reasons and although we all know that VP can’t afford to tarnish his reputation (?!?!?!)any further, I have a feeling that this game may be remembered more for the goings-on off the field of play, rather than on it.

    I hope I’m proven wrong.

  25. mysticleaves

    Emirates stroller

    All these players are CDMs. Is there anyone renowned for treading through balls to strikers or scoring goals or being the creative fulcrum of their team?

    All these players more often than not recycle possession with sideways passes. If you want to knock El Neny atleast do it like someone that knows what they fuck they are talking about.

  26. Emiratesstroller


    I am not advocating that Elneny never passes sideways or backwards, but there
    are occasions when a forward pass is more appropriate.

    That seldom happens in Elneny’s repertoire.

  27. Pierre

    I get your point but in fairness to elneny, up until we scored the first goal, Stoke closed down all the channels through to the attacking third so Elneny was more inclined to keep possession… .. Xhaka then came on and was able to utilise the extra space as the game opened up.

  28. Emiratesstroller


    The real problem at Arsenal at the moment is that there is a lack of balance in
    our midfield.

    Xhaka is supposed to be our starting DMF with backup in Elneny in that position. Ramsey and Wilshire are vying with each other for CMF position. Ozil
    and Mkhitaryan are AMF.

    There are questions about mobility and recovery of our DMF. The two CMF
    on our books are both injury prone and have propensity to attack rather than
    defend when required to do so.

    In an ideal world I would choose to rebuild our Midfield, but for the reasons
    outlined in earlier posts that is unlikely to happen. My view is that Arsenal are
    unlikely to recruit more than one CMF this summer even if we lose both Cazorla and Wilshire.

  29. Akilan

    Thing is Ramsey thinks he is no 10 or an attacker first. He has shown time and again that he can contribute offensively. Presuming we sell Jack, we have 3 no 10s with different attributes. If we bring in a proper winger (Malcolm, Mahrez or Martial(dream), we have 4 players for 3 positions which offers different combinations.

  30. Akilan

    Would anyone like another swap deal with united. HB + money for Martial. Martial has 1 year left in his contract(with an option of 1 year extension). Both are 22 and there are already rumours of manure interested in HB. HB has 5 years left in his contract. Martial isn’t playing much these days. He was given only 15+ minutes against Sevilla. Considering Alexis played well this week, he may never get his place back before the end of the season. HB + 10-20m and manure may sell him to us after all. Right now they don’t see us as their rivals.

  31. Emiratesstroller


    Actually you make a point which is part of the problem at Arsenal at moment.

    We have three Strikers on our books in Aubameyang, Lacazette and Welbeck.
    The first two cost a lot of money and expect to play in starting lineup. Welbeck
    is treated as a utility player.

    The club has in reality four number 10s [attacking midfielders] in Ozil,
    Mkhitaryan, Ramsey and Wilshire.

    There are two average DMF in Xhaka and Elneny.

    The only winger is Iwobi and some might argue he is better suited to play as an AMF.

    So when you look at our squad we lack a genuine top class CMF or a specialist

    There are at the moment too many players on our books who may be versatile
    but lack genuine specialisation.

  32. Goobergooner

    As a form of sort of ironic protesting,

    Could we somehow make a chant to go around the crowd that would be like it was his sending off season. Just like make the last few home games a farewell for Wenger. Surely he couldn’t stay after the fans have already sung him farewell haha

  33. Goobergooner

    It would sort of be respectful because we give him a send off, but it also lets the board know that we want him gone.

  34. mysticleaves

    “My view is that Arsenal are
    unlikely to recruit more than one CMF this summer even if we lose both Cazorla and Wilshire.”

    It is quite likely that Cazorla, Wilshere and Ramsey will leave. That’s what I want anyway but it’s also possible. If that happens we are left with only Xhaka and El Neny and AMN. Absolutely no way only one CM comes in in this scenario.

    Our sqaud is soo imbalanced it’s funny. Our CM options are AMs and our winger options are AMs.

  35. mysticleaves


    Your suggested deal is a bad one. HB plus 10-20m for Martial? HB has 4years left while Martial has 1 year left? Lets not get desperate here. If Man utd wants HB we should be in a driving seat so it’s more like Martial plus 10-20m for HB

  36. Emiratesstroller

    Mystic leaves

    You make the point I have just made.

    Lack of variety and specialisation in our squad. The same also applies to full
    back positions as well.

  37. Akilan

    Against spurs and city, we played Xhaka and 4 no 10s behind Auba. I say release Jack and bring in Max Meyer(could very well happen). Bring in a winger and rotate with Ramsey, Mkhi and Ozil.

    Meyer has been playing as a DM this season. May be he could play along side Xhaka after all. Meyer is fast, mobile and has shown this season that he can sit in front of the defense. He is press resistant too(has a bit of Cazorla in him) and is ambidextrous. He lacks height, long range passing and long distance shooting, which Xhaka has in his locker. May be they could form a decent partnership. May be.

    Remember I used to think Xhaka is useless. He still hasn’t done anything to change that. But the fact is there is not a single rumor out there that says he’s leaving. We might as well accept that he will be a starter for another year after all.

  38. mysticleaves

    Full back positions is better. Just need cover for RB. Not just a cover but someone that can actually challenge HB and take his place of found worthy. HB is not big enough or good enough yet not to accept bench places.

    I like our left side, Monreal and Kolasinac. Kolas failure is more on Wenger not knowing what to teach him than him being better suited to LWB.

  39. Bamford10

    Honigstein is saying that Tuchel has not been approached by Arsenal because Wenger is staying. Fans absolutely must stay away from the Emirates.

  40. Bamford10


    That’s a really good idea. A farewell and thank you song to be sung to Wenger at the final four or five matches. Not ironic at all, though. It would be a way for the fans to say: “Thank you, Arsene, but it really is time to go”.