Arsenal welcome Leno and banish the ghost of mediocrity

by .



I mean, entertained is maybe the wrong word.

Are you not captivated by the ruthless efficiency of a well oiled Arsenal machine?

I am.

Arsenal is aggressively pursuing the goal of shaking out the mediocrity that’s hung over our heads for the best part of 12 years. Ivan Gazidis is finally demonstrating that he is a CEO with a vision. More importantly, his catalyst for change line from last summer wasn’t a PR soundbite, it was, in fact, the real starting pistol for life post-Highbury.

Inside 8 months:

  • We have someone sensible dealing with contracts (HUUUUUSS)
  • We have an elite Head of Recruitment (Sven)
  • We have the exSporting Director of Barca (Raul)
  • We changed our manager (#WengerOUT)
  • We ditched all his dross staff (Not including Colin Lewin or Jens Lehmann there)
  • We hired a new manager (#EmeryIN)
  • We let him bring in 5 of his pals (will talk on this another day)
  • We reshaped the spine of our side (Leno, Sokratis, Auba, Torreira)
  • We shipped out the deadwood (Theo)
  • We tied down Ozil (Should be a win)
  • We’ll likely tie down Ramsey (Could be SO good)
  • We binned Sanchez and he tanked (HOW’S THAT PIANO, MATE)

That’s how you say hello to the future. It’s how you shine light on the embarrassing carry on of the past. It’s everything we’ve been craving for ten years, achieved inside a single year.

Arsenal announced yesterday that Bernd Leno would be our new keeper. Sampdoria leaked to the press that Torreira is heading our way for €30m. The club said goodbye to Jack Wilshere, which was a shame, but a totally fair decision. One that I guarantee you would not have happened under the old regime. He’d be sitting pretty on a whopping £150k a week deal. Even more promising? It seems like we’re already eyeing a replacement in Banega.

I don’t want to enjoy this moment too much, but come on, how many years have we been castigated as the crazy ones? How many times were we told that it’s better to do deals at the end of the summer. That buying players wasn’t like going to the supermarket. That Brexit would make things difficult. That World Cups mean you can’t sign players. That only clubs like City can buy players. That it’s impossible to sell our shite players because they have big deals. That class, was the hallmark of rank amateur behaviour in the transfer market.

Didn’t we say that it was all nonsense?

The ‘careful what you wish for’ crowd are really eating a fat slice of ‘I didn’t have a clue’ pie right now. Even worse, the crowd of ITKs who faux-leaked that the issues were at board level and Wenger was just too honourable to rat them out. I told you at the time they were wrong, and fuck it, I feel vindicated. 10 years of having to listen to enablers talk bollocks about the real state of Arsenal and all along, the popular opinion was wrong. It wasn’t just a bit wrong, it was 1996-Gareth-Southgate-hide-your-head-in-a-Pizza-Hut-bag wrong. Each and every week that passes by, another nail gets hammered into the myth of yesteryear.

The banter era is over. At least from an infrastructure perspective. Sure the club will sign duff players, sure we’ll make mistakes, but the days of putting the club in the hands of total incompetents are long gone. We have the best minds our money could buy out there trying to prove they’re worthy of their status at the club. That’s exciting. The old boys club is over.

Can the playing side still go badly wrong? Absolutely. We have a horrendous start to the season. The players won’t know what hit them with the new management arrangement. There are still concerns about Emery’s ability to hit the ground running.

But it doesn’t matter. If he tanks, the club are now in the right shape to fix the issues. I honestly believe that outside a total disaster, we should give the manager two years. As long as we’re seeing a steady improvement as the months go by, I’ll be happy.

Fans won’t turn like they did before, the club is making a concerted effort to be better. They are serious about fulfilling Arsenal’s vast potential. This is what vision looks like. This is what strategic thinking brings to the table. This is how big clubs operate.

‘Careful what you wish for’ was an offence to progress. It was the talk of weak people happy with their lot. It was the death of curiosity bleated out by average thinkers who clung to the sagging teet of stale comfort. We were conned by positivity, fooled by stability, and held hostage by the past. That’s all over now. We’re about to experience the first season in over a decade where the feeling in the pit of your stomach before the start of the season will be butterflies. That’s something special.

I am so fucking charged to be an Arsenal fan right now. I hope you are too. There is no club more exciting than us this season, so enjoy it while you can

That’s me done, see you in the comments!


531 Responses to “Arsenal welcome Leno and banish the ghost of mediocrity”

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  1. Barking Arsene

    “Next season for me is a real case of trial and error, would not be surprised if we finished around 6th again but it will look nothing like this season from a performance level.”

    My sentiments exactly. Will be a bit of a rollercoaster but that unknown is much more exciting than another groundhog season.

  2. champagne charlie


    Totally agree, and I said as much in my original comment re:Torreira. He’s not THE midfield fix, he’s an exciting talent that could go along way to helping us.

    But I for one aren’t expecting it right from the off, and I think that’s why a name like Banega is a real option. He would come in with greater capacity to produce what’s expected right away, and could potentially allow Torreira to adjust at his own pace (which may be quicker as a result).

    All in all I’m like you, very excited for the season ahead – and not at all blinded by last seasons finishes from other sides. It’s a virtual reset every season among the top 6, give or take the obvious. Like you say, we are likely to go through stages of being brilliant at something we weren’t prior, but not quite as good as we were with others etc. Looking forward to seeing it come together piece by piece.

  3. Ishola70

    “Iran were excellent.If they beat Portugal, they’re through.Not impossible.”

    Shame they have two tough teams in their group.

    On tonight’s showing they would get through in some of the other groups.

  4. Marko

    “I’d say it’s easier for a CM to settle anyway”whys that?

    If it’s a defender or a keeper a couple mistakes leading to goals could affect him. If it’s a striker and he doesn’t score it could play on his mind same with an attacker not getting any assists but a CM? All he has to do is keep it ticking along and not be too adventurous and he should be able to settle

  5. Barking Arsene

    Also in terms of adjustment Banega could be beneficial to Torreira with that South American Link.

  6. Akilan

    Take it with a truckload of salt as it comes from a questionable source. Apparently Ozil won’t be an automatic starter under Unai. He doesn’t fancy him reportedly. Ozil has to prove himself.

  7. Marko

    I assume none of you twats watched the video of Leno signing. The lad speaks English already. Not an issue

  8. Akilan

    Most Germans speak English fluently. Some fuckers don’t even have an accent. They’re just too efficient.

  9. Receding hairline

    I don’t really share the skepticism towards next season. This league is a pretty average league. U don’t even have to be that good a team to finish in the top four.

    Last seasons away results was not a true reflection of where we are as a team

  10. Carts

    “Out of curiosity, what sort of an adjustment period do people find acceptable for a player?”

    Proper pre-season followed by 18 months.

    But I do think the exposure of top level football will play a big part; as well as she.

  11. Barking Arsene


    I wouldn’t call it skepticism as such, just an awareness that things may take a little time to come together.

    I mean, we might smash it out of the park straight away but if we don’t then it’s not #Emeryout time (well… for most)

  12. Marko

    Last seasons away results was not a true reflection of where we are as a team

    How about the last two seasons

  13. Ishola70

    Of where we are a a team?

    Where Arsenal are a a team at this point is that the team finished in 6h position season just gone and two seasons out of the CL.

    Those are the bare facts.

    This reflection talk is irrelevant

    The facts reflect not some fans interpretation.

  14. Bamford10


    “You don’t even have to be that good a team to finish in the top four.”

    Well, given the league contains City, United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Spurs, you do need to be better than two of those clubs, which means you definitely have to be pretty good.

    For me, City and Liverpool will both likely be excellent next season. I don’t see us being better than either of them.

    The other three — United, Chelsea, Spurs — will likely not be quite as strong, but none of them will be push-overs, and we will have to be better than two of them.

    I think we can do it, but it won’t be easy, and we’ll definitely need to be “a good team” in order to succeed.

  15. HillWood

    This top 4 is a trophy rubbish was a kop out dreamed up by Wengers losers mentality.
    There should be only one aim at the start of each season

  16. Ishola70

    No-one is saying top 4 is a trophy.

    Only Wenger said that and his acolytes.

    But now the top four CL qualification seemingly seems harder to obtain than in the past getting in the top 4 and automatic CL qualification will show the team would be going in the right direction.

  17. Receding hairline

    @ Bamford

    Somehow I have a funny feeling Liverpool will not live up to all these lofty expectations placed on them

    I mean they had a player just drop a 40+ goals a season out of nowhere and still had nothing to show for it

    I have a sneaky feeling they won’t be as strong or as consistent as everyone seems to think they will be… But we shall see

  18. gambon

    Liverpool have just signed 2 of the best midfielders in Europe….6 months after signing the PLs best centre back.

    If anything I think they get better next season.

    They are probably a good GK away from a title run.

  19. Bamford10


    Well, one, they do have something to show for it, namely £70 million in CL prize money for last season’s CL run and tens of millions of pounds in prize money coming their way next season. Money is not a trophy, but it matters. And we are seeing none of that CL prize money at present.

    Two, even if Salah doesn’t have quite the season next that he had this, they’ll still have a front three of Salah, Mane and Firmino, they’ll have added Fabinho and Keita to their midfield. And their much-improved back four will be even better. As long as they find a keeper, they’ll be a better team than they were this season, I think, even with a less red-hot Salah.

  20. gambon

    Would rather Golovin than Banega.

    Golovin looks a proper, quality 2 way midfielder.

    Creates chances, plays between the lines but does his defensive work.

  21. WengerEagle

    Never blown away by Can, decent all rounder but all in all not an incredible CM and not getting them any closer to the European elite.

    Just like Matuidi and Khedira he’s underwhelming for a top class side like Juventus.

  22. Carts

    Golovin looks very promising. Technically sounds and very mobile.

    Not sure why we didn’t tie him up when he was being quoted at £10m, but it’s fair to say he’ll be value at £25m>

  23. TheBayingMob

    ““Out of curiosity, what sort of an adjustment period do people find acceptable for a player?”

    Proper pre-season followed by 18 months.”

    You wot!? 18months!? I get an adjustment period but that’s WAY too much to put on the table. Even if a player struggles to adapt I’d want a return on the season depending on his position. Giving any player 18months is bullshit. If they haven’t worked by then it’s time to ship them on … no squad can give new players that much leeway, that’s what Wenger used to do …

  24. Sanmi

    Did Ishola just rooted for Emre Can? The nothing burger player. What exactly does Can do in a match? Nothing. Not the best marker, or passer or scorer. Yet same IshOla wanted Ramsey sold.

    Wouldn’t you want Wijdnodum (whatever the spelling) at this rate?

  25. Sanmi

    Please spare us Golovin, he played against us in Champs lge last season, and Ramsey outshone him. So pls.
    World cup isn’t the best place to choose players. They meet inferior oppositions

  26. Barking Arsene

    Golovin is a massive talent but we have most likely missed him now.

    The only thing that would maybe put me off him is the difficulty hat many Russian players have settling or adapting to our league. But really that’s just me trying to make myself feel better about us not buying him.

  27. WengerEagle

    Lol he still rates Bielsa as well, legend of the game but the guy is little more than an out of touch nutter now.

    Marble how did his spells at Marseille, Lazio and Lille go?

  28. kc

    So Golovin plays well against Saudi Arabia and Egypt and now we need him? Fucking hilarious. What would that give us, like 7 CMs? Get a grip.

  29. Steiner

    Did someone actually propose an argument of Ozil or Jack to stay?
    Come on now…

    I like Jack, wish him well, but we can remember the game where Jack tore the opposing team apart.
    That Barca game was sublime, but what other games did he really shine in?
    Compare that to Ozil who has showed his class on a number of occasions and split teams open.
    He may look like a lazy SOB and go missing at times, but please, Ozil and Jack is simply an emotional argument.

  30. Receding hairline

    Dunno what makes Fabinho and Kieta two of the best in Europe but like I already said we will wait and see

    I have my reservations… You have your absolute certainty.

    Bamford nice to see you counting money for others as something to show… Not surprised though.

  31. TonyD

    “This top 4 is a trophy rubbish was a kop out dreamed up by Wengers losers mentality. There should be only one aim at the start of each season”

    Always been my thinking, too. Sends the wrong message throughout the team and club.

  32. Emiratesstroller

    Personally I do not have high expectations for next season despite major changes in management, coaching and playing staff.

    The club has got a very limited transfer budget when compared to the two
    Manchester Clubs and both Liverpool and Spurs benefit from teams which were significantly better than ours last season.

    We do have some talented offensive players, but putting the house defensively in order despite recent acquisitions is a massive task.

    The million dollar question is who will be in charge of this department? Steve Bould is still at the club and his input in recent years based on evidence was frankly underwhelming.

    We have two very difficult games against Man City and Chelsea at start of next
    season. From my perspective two draws in these two games would be a good result if it can be achieved.

  33. Steiner


    Please don’t tell me you were unaware of the working situation Bould was under.
    Remember when Bould arrived and our defense went from porous in impermeable?
    The it was all the talk in the press, how we now had one of the best defenses in Europe.
    All went well until one journalist too many asked Wenger about the transformation in defense since Bould arrived.

    Wenger snapped at the journalist “Its not all him you know!”
    And there it was, Wenger’s arrogance in full flow and the team suffered.
    Wenger instantly curtailed Bould’s coaching, practically banning him from Colney.
    Arsenal started to let goals in again, we lost position and only made a late rally, when it’s rumoured Bould was allowed to coach again.
    We scrapped 4th by a point.
    So don’t malign Bould when the guy was shackled by an arrogant fool.

  34. Ishola70

    “Never blown away by Can”

    Twice the player of Xjaka in a defensive sense in front of the defence. Twice the concentration levels of Xjaka in front of the defence.

    You mentioned Matuidi not in the best light as well? Juventus on record as being very happy with that purchase.

    Juventus very good record in the transfer market for a good few years now.

    All irrelevant though because Arsenal where they are atm probably would not get Can ahead of Juventus anyhow.

    I agree with you about Khedira but not in regards the other two.

  35. Pierre

    With all respect steiner, most of what you said was made up bullshit.

    Here is a comment from 2012 from Wenger about bould’s imput
    “Wenger is very satisfied with Bould’s input so far. “He has taken over for the defensive job, where he is doing very well. Will we finish with the best defence in the league? I hope so.”

    I looked but as yet cannot find the comment that attributed to Wenger “It’s not all him”.

    As for banning him from Colney…. Seriously?

  36. Ishola70


    Your expectations for the team next season were pretty high a few days ago.

    And now we hear this from you today.

    I hope it’s not because of Bould being allowed to stay on this big shift from you in expectation.

    If Arsenal disappoint there will be other factors at play rather than just Steve Bould.

  37. Graham62

    Whatever happens next season, at least we won’t have to listen to the same old boring and predictable rhetoric, pre and post match, that had become part and parcel of Arsene Wengers regime.

  38. Emiratesstroller


    That may be the case. However, the facts are that Bould has been working as a
    First Team Coach with club since 2012 i.e. six years.

    If as you suggest the coach was effectively neutered then if he had any self respect and believed in his ability he would have walked out of the job.

    Speaking to a journalist who observes the club closely including at training it
    was unclear to him what exactly Bould did at club. That applied to most of the
    other coaches and staff who were working there in jobs which were “grace
    and favour” from Wenger.

  39. Ishola70

    Just a few recent snippets re: Emre Can from media in Liverpool the last 24 hours:

    “So continues the extremely strange case of the Germany international who opted to seek pastures new despite proving a success during the final 18 months of a Liverpool team he, in part, helped reach the Champions League final”

    “Indeed, only an untimely back injury prevented him from playing a more integral role during the latter stages on the road to Kiev.”

    “In some respects, you can’t blame Can. He is now a free agent and has the pick of Europe’s clubs, with Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City also linked during the course of the season.”

    Emre Can would have improved this team coming in for Xjaka.

    But as the Liverpool Echo noted he had the pick of clubs and is now Juventus bound.

  40. Emiratesstroller

    Ishola 70

    I have not until now expressed any expectation for next season.

    What I do believe is that the club is putting the house in order and making some sensible acquisitions in positions which needed strengthening.

    Whether that is enough to close gap on five teams who finished above us in
    EPL remains to be seen. What I do know is that our away form and goals conceded column need to be improved dramatically.

  41. Ishola70

    Seriously ES this lowering of expectations from you is just because of Steve Bould staying on?

    This when Arsenal still have the man-child Xjaka in front of the defence?


  42. Ishola70

    Yeah you must have forgot ES.

    You said on here a few days ago that you would expect at least top four next season.

    I replied that the more realistic way back in CL still remains winning Europa League.

  43. Emiratesstroller

    Ishola 70

    No I did not.

    What I said is that it is imperative that we finish in a top 4 position, because if we do not do so it would impact on our commercial revenue and potential to bring in top class players.

    That is still my opinion. Do you disagree with that view?

    Lets be clear we have to close a gap of 12 points to Liverpool who finished 4th.
    Man City were 37 points, Man Utd 18 points and Spurs were 14 points ahead of us.

  44. Ishola70

    Nothing changes from the previous two seasons.

    It is always important to participate in the best competition in the world despite what some say about only making up the numbers.

    But the path is not blocked entirely for CL. Wenger reached the semis of Europa and if not for a club that have been performing on a higher level for some time now in the shape of Atletico Madrid Arsenal could well have won that competition. Europa League is a very attainable trophy to win to get back in CL. It just depends on the clubs who drop out of CL group stage into Europa League and of course the draw on the way.

  45. Graham62

    Steve Bould is a “lucky lucky bastard”

    “What did Bould ever do for us?”

    Always great to start the day with a bit of Monty Python.

  46. TitsMcGee

    But now the top four CL qualification seemingly seems harder to obtain than in the past getting in the top 4 and automatic CL qualification will show the team would be going in the right direction.”

    The irony is that we stood still for so long and lets Spurs and Liverpool pass us because we indulged the whims of an old man who was scared of retirement. Now we have to play catch up.

  47. Ishola70

    “Now we have to play catch up.”

    Don’t say this to some posters. They don’t want to entertain the notion of catching up.

    The days of edging out an inconsistent Spurs and a team like Everton for CL looks and seems to be over.

    A combination of just doing enough to get in CL in previous years coupled with certain clubs improving see Arsenal where they are as of now.

  48. Danny S

    Regarding bould, the more articles you dig out, especially from around 2012 the more you see he was like a muzzled, whipped dog. Wenger didn’t like confrontation and I expect the first time bould ripped into the players he was told his place.
    The man has defence and arsenal in his blood and it must have been agony for him to sit there and watch the shambles we had at the back and not be able to scream at them.
    He’s not the ass man now, he will be a dedicated defence coach and he will be allowed to drill those players in the George Graham way of defence. We will see a much better unit at the back next season.

  49. TitsMcGee

    Wilshere’s attitude is the epitome of what was wrong with Arsenal under Wenger. The starting lineup was essentially given to the yes men and in return nothing was expected of them.

    Show up, put in minimal effort, if we win ok, if we lose ok, just don’t throw the manager under the bus and you’ll be rich.

    Wenger was world class at surrounding himself by mediocrity on high wages.

  50. TitsMcGee

    Regarding bould, the more articles you dig out, especially from around 2012 the more you see he was like a muzzled, whipped dog. Wenger didn’t like confrontation and I expect the first time bould ripped into the players he was told his place.”

    When Bould first started the squad looked good defensively the first few games. Wenger was asked about Bould’s influence on the new defensive form and childishly blurted out something to the effect of ” I am the one who handles the defensive drills not Bould”.

    Bould like the players never had a chance.

  51. TitsMcGee

    A combination of just doing enough to get in CL in previous years coupled with certain clubs improving see Arsenal where they are as of now.”


    Qualifying for top 4 almost by default for the better part of a decade then Spurs and Liverpool stumbled across good managers eventually and it’s no coincidence that’s when we see Wenger drop from comfortably finishing 3rd-4th to 5th and then far behind in 6th in consecutive years.

    The cake-walk was over and Wenger got exposed.

  52. TonyD

    “Bould like the players never had a chance.”

    So why stay? How can you have self respect in an untenable situation as you point out?

    Unless, of course, you are just a mercenary collecting your pay cheque for nothing.

    Bould just rode along with it like so many dross players.

    He was a legend as player, so it shouldn’t have been hard to get another job with a decent club.

    Can’t stand unprofessionalism and hangers on. He should have been moved on.