Make or break December

by .

So here we are, entering phase 4 of the season. The last international break of the year has passed, and we’re about to hit a traditionally muddy part of the season. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the next few weeks will go a long way to deciding our #Top4Fate.

We’re currently high off the fumes after an exhilarating hit of unbeaten. 16 is a big number, a crazy amount of games no one really thought possible this early in the project. However, the statistics point to us being in a bit of a bubble. You can cover your eyes, you can hide behind the couch, you can scream SHUT UP AND BACK THE MIRAGE, but ultimately, it’s clear we’re at a crossroads.

We’re 11th position in the xG league. That you dislike the metric of measuring luck matters not. Simple fact is, the methodology is sound enough to be used by elite management and it states we’re overperforming. Sky ran numbers yesterday showing our save percentage of 72% was the best in the league (about time) and our conversion rate is about 23%, which is again, the best in the league. That’s not sustainable, and we all know it. If our level drops on either one, as we’re currently playing, there will be an almighty correction.

This weekend, we play Bournemouth who sit 4 points behind us in the league and occupy 5th in the xG league. They’re where they are because they deserve it. This game is going to be very tough, especially after a fairly drab run of draws. Bournemouth are going to come at us. Teams don’t really fear Arsenal, we’re wide open at the back, we’re easy to get in behind and we’re susceptible to the basic counter. This is a massive banana skin.

We absolutely have to win, because we have Spurs and United coming up. The shape of the league this year looks very much like the top 4 are going to pull away from the chasing pack quite early on. If we have a disastrous few weeks and find ourselves 7 or 8 points back, that could be very hard to chase considering the lack of quality we have in the squad compared to the others.

This is the phase of the season where I think we’ll find out whether the ideas have settled. The ideal is that in the next month, we see that the defence has settled. Hopefully, the manager finds a way to bring composure to the back line, and works out a way of integrating Mesut into the side so we release his attacking prowess at the same time as finding a way for him to defend. Hopefully, we can find a way of being more creative as a team, because at the minute, we’re winning because we’re unbelievably clinical in front of goal.

There’s a lot we’re going to find out. Bournemouth is the perfect test. Let’s see what Emery has in store, and let’s pray he’s found a formula that brings us home a December to remember.

224 Responses to “Make or break December”

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  1. Pierre

    A well balanced post that mirrors what I have been saying ( and getting abuse for saying it) for the last few weeks.

    Will be interesting to see how Emery’s disciples view your post…

  2. Graham62

    Pierre (continuation from previous post)

    If Noddy had done as well as Emery has done over these past few months, I would have been singing his praises.

    Emery is not the “Messiah”. He is the catalyst for change.

    As I’ve always said on here, based on the infrastructure, resources and players at the managers disposal over the past decade or so, winning 3 FA Cups and not “genuinely competing” for anything else, was not good enough.

    For you, it may have been.

    For me, it wasn’t.

  3. Goobergooner

    Pierre,from last post:

    Spurs didn’t recruit in the summer so they had reason to play those players returning late from the world cup. How do you think their player fitness will hold up over a season.

    City has quality replacements in every area of the pitch so totally different view on players from them.

    It may have been the wrong move to not Play the players you’re saying, but in hindsight, guen was in form and was tested in a game that was pretty much written off by everyone but yourself it seems, Cech was on fire for the start of the session (except for playing from the back) and xhaka was used instead of torr, who you already mentioned came back late, because he was a senior member of the squad.

    Why rush players back when we have the whole season to bed them in?

  4. GoonerInNY

    Emery doesn’t have to be a messiah. The fact that he is minimally competent is a breath of fresh air.

    The players’ comments about how they now know where to be on the pitch were telling.

    Now if Arsenal can just rebalance the comically unbalanced squad and bring in a quality CB, LB and wing (two, really), things could be really fun.

  5. Pierre

    “The players’ comments about how they now know where to be on the pitch were telling”

    Not “telling” … is a sign that he is the messiah.

  6. Pierre

    “Emery is not the “Messiah”. He is the catalyst for change.”

    I thought for a second you was going to say ” he’s not the messiah,he’s a very naughty boy”…

  7. Rambo Ramsey

    Years of telling off ‘Le grovellers’ for not supporting the team, manager enough. Now he can’t handle the fact that everyone is totally behind the new man.

    You couldn’t make up the absolute infantile that is Pierre.

    Can’t somebody bin this droll troll?

  8. Graham62


    Everything you highlight makes perfect sense, if it had been based on a normal and logical handover. The fact that we are, at this moment in time, where we are, is a massive bonus as far as I’m concerned.

    Twelve games and 24 points is excellent, all considered. Yes, things have not always been pretty and yes some of the players are still struggling to adapt, but Emery deserves time and leeway to try and sort things out.

    Most importantly, Emery deserves our RESPECT for installing into the “team”, in such a short period, the hunger and desire to fight to the end. For me, body language and how the players react to adverse situations is critical if we are going to move forward and compete. It also shows the players believe in what they are doing. In recent years, under Wenger, this was never the case.

    Onwards and upwards.

  9. Pierre

    At least Pedro has the balls to tell it as it is……

    “Not creating enough”

    “Defence not settled”

    “A mirage ,we’re at the crossroads”

    “We’re overperforming, stats not sustainable”

    “, and let’s pray he’s found a formula”

  10. Al

    This will be the type of high energy game that you just know Ozil does not do well in which is why I would sit him out of this game.

    I’d love it if we set up 442 again as we did against Fulham. We looked so dangerous in that game with lots of energy.

  11. Rambo Ramsey

    Difference is Pedro is a sound critic, has been for years.

    But you, you are the caricature that had his tongue lodged deep in a failing manager’s anus until the bitter end.

    Now you’re giving it large to Emery for the supposed mistakes in team selection he committed for his very first game in charge. Changes that might have proved redundant for all we know.

  12. Graham62

    Thanks Pedro for allowing Pierre to ruffle his own feathers.

    He loves nothing more than someone massaging his ego.

    Just a pity he can’t see how ridiculous he looks.

    Have a nice day everyone.

  13. gonsterous


    you must be the first 60 year old to be on the computer the whole day. I wonder what your pass time was during your youth. The old days when the internet didn’t exist.
    Or are you just one of those pervy old men who can finally use the internet to watch young girls in bikinis ?

  14. Emiratesstroller

    The next three games in EPL could well decide our season.

    Ideally I would like to see a couple of victories, but that may well be difficult to achieve, Alternatively I would hope that we can avoid defeat against Spurs and
    Man Utd.

    Such results would of course indicate a progression from previous seasons.

    Whatever the detractors of Emery and the team will say Arsenal this season are now a difficult team to beat so we should not write them off.

    Arsenal have not played well this season in many games particularly in the first half, but the idea that we have been lucky is a non sequitur. Teams make
    their own luck.


    Pierre at 60 is a mere boy – says this 78 year old. Can’t believe the change into negative vibes on here. By good fortune we have recruited a world class manager imo. His CV at 47 is already impressive & his best years should be ahead of him – let’s hope the Wigmeister supports him with funds as necessary – not holding my breath though & would not be surprised if Unai walks away after a season or two.

  16. Marko

    No one can really argue against any of those perceptive points that Pedro has brought to le grove this morning.

    You might be right Pierre I mean he was spot on for years regarding Wenger. Anyway we only have to sustain it until January/February and hopefully get in some help

  17. T

    There is another possiblity to explain the stats.

    We might actually have some pretty damn good strikers and goalkeepers.

    And maybe we should just be happy that they are able to pull the team while things are not clicking too well which has been the story of the first few months so far.

    I mean lets be fair. How high on the table would spuds be without kane? Im sort of laughing at the prospect 😀

    Sure it is a simple way of looking at things but most often the simplest explanation also happens to be the truth.

  18. Cesc Appeal

    Arsenal apparently looking at Trossard of Genk.

    Mislintat is going to be made to really earn his money in January I think. Finding solutions to a very unbalanced squad which has lost Ramsey and Welbeck on a budget.

  19. Drey

    I’ve come to the realization that perhaps Arsenal’s biggest handicap lies in its players – many of them are simply not good enough … I mean you only need to look past Torreira, Leno, Guendouzi and Lacazzate as the genuine standout players to realize that what we have is a group of average players clugging about the place.. which brings me to another point. having average players need not be an hindrance, we saw Ferguson winning the league in his latter years with some average players, with the right mentality even average players can be boosted to perform above their weight .. which is exactly what Unai Emery is doing.
    The ratio of good Vs Average players in d team is too wide so he has to motivate them to perform above average, for this season at least.
    I think we will get to see the real Emery next season when we are hopefully in the UCL and has recruited the players we need.

  20. Receding Hairline

    Real Madrid proving this taking over a new team thing is not really that easy

    I mean they only lost Ronaldo, yes a lot of goals and assists left with him, but we were told they have World class players and very good up and coming ones, what is happening??

    We on the other hand are here expecting Emery to deliver champagne football and three points in every game with a squad of players that finished 6th

  21. Marc

    Not sure I’ve even heard of the team that’s just beaten Madrid 3 – 0.

    Expect some major changes in the summer there – bye bye Poch and Mong.

  22. Eduardo

    works out a way of integrating Mesut into the side so we release his attacking prowess at the same time as finding a way for him to defend.

    A challenge beyond any manager on this or any other planet.

  23. Marc

    Got to agree with Red on Kane, he might have scored goals at the world cup but he looked fucked for most of it.

    This is worrying, a red heifer has been born is Israel, something about the Sun in Uranus but that could be blood in UT’s anus and I’m agreeing with Red.

    Fuck me we’re all doomed!

  24. gonsterous

    red truth

    The only stat that matters is 3 points at the final whistle.

    this. The truth is always red, unless we are discussing Ospina 😉😉

  25. Cesc Appeal



    And a limited budget which is a direct consequence of our failures over the last 2 years when you listen to Venkatesham.

    Those who have always been critical and are applying measured criticism is fine, that’s football, quite rightly. But those who have spoken up against what the club and manager are doing more in a few months than they have in 7 years clearly have agenda and are best ignored.

    I really wish everyone would ignore the trolls.

    The sensible among us, which is most of us, realise what a big job this is and that it will take time but to look for the positive long term signs such as good recruitment, improvement in players and no players regressing.

    Its like favourable soil conditions to anticipate future growth, you’re a bit or a moron if you plant a seed and say ‘why isn’t it a tree yet’ after 2 hours.

    Maybe you should have done your gardening sooner?

  26. mysticleaves

    That’s right. Any sensible person knows a lot of work needs to be done. Any sensible person also knows we needed change to be able to progress and that Emery might not get us exactly there but will set us on the part.

    I mean that’s one thing I give IG praise for. He might not have got us there but he played his part in making sure we are set up to reach there.

  27. mysticleaves


    You look super excited about these players being linked to us. I am too. But I wonder, are the papers taking baits and just linking us to anybody, any name that sounds ‘hidden’?

    And are they actually any good?

  28. Cesc Appeal


    I would imagine there is an element of clickbait.

    At the same time the club have been far more proactive in the transfer market since the arrival of Mislintat and Sanllehi.

    So far as well Mislintat has not really let us down. Mavropanos looks a good find, Guendouzi looks a great find, Torreira was a find as well as there were not that many people seriously talking him, That’s not bad for 12 months in the job decent job with Leno as well and a solid CB for a bargain price in Sokratis.

    The idea of finding a Pepe, Ramires, Almiron, Andersen, Mancini etc as we have with Guendouzi is far more exciting to me that spending £60 Million on one player.

    The new team have yet to do anything to shake my confidence.

    This was always going to be a rough season which was more ends focused then worrying about how we get there. Venkatehsam has told us why we need UCL football. But going forward I’m very hopeful.

    We;ve made the difficult step, several years too late, but at least we’ve made it now.

    The only annoyance is if we’d sacked Wenger when we should have a manager like Emery would have come in with far more money to spend and with more power to lure players here.

    We were in a sharp dissent and instead of pulling up at 10 000 feet we allowed the dinosaur pilot to get all the way to 200 feet before deciding to relieve him of command.

  29. Pedro

    Redtruth, I think you just explained the post perfectly.

    Goals scored said Kane was one of the best strikers at the WC, but if you broke down his goals and looked at where they came from, you’d see he was maybe not.

    That’s why we’re at a crossroads. On paper, we’re doing the business. Which is marvellous, but scratch a little deeper and we’re getting by on luck.

    The hope is the manager can move away from luck carrying his side… and give us more solidity at the back, which maybe tough until the summer… and give us more creativity moving forward, which is going to be very tough if he insists on starting Mesut.

    Everything needs context, but just because the context of Emery’s story is that he’s taken over from a shit show… doesn’t mean we have to wait a year to be honest about what we’re seeing in the now.

  30. Bamford10

    While I agree the next few games are important, I don’t think they will determine whether we finish top four.

    Two things will be more important, IMO, to whether we finish top four, and they are: one, what we do in the January window; and two, any change or changes Emery makes to the formation.

    Based on what we’ve seen thus far this season, I’d say the current squad / set-up is good enough to finish 5th, but I don’t see this group (set up this way) being better than both Tottenham and United over another 26 matches.

    Thus any players we add in January and any tweaks Emery makes to the set up will be crucial, IMO.

    More to say on this front, but first I need some coffee.

  31. Pedro

    I was told from a good place that our transfer ambitions next summer are going to have to be fueled by sales and likely a lower wage bill.

    Dembele not even a pipe dream. I think we have about £30m to play with next season. The club are going to have to be super cute if we’re to move the squad forward.

    I think one of the craziest moves of Wenger’s tenure was taking his wage/transfer budget and blowing nearly all of it on wages.

    Our wage bill is disgraceful.

    If we dropped it down to Atleti levels, we’d have e60m extra to play with in wages.

    Surely our plan moving forward has to be to reduce the wage bill, bring in elite youth on lower money with the promise of football, and chop out players like Welbz, Mesut and Mikhi (Ramsey as well).

    No point in being half-arsed elite, we’re going to have to try a different strategy.

    So gutted we’re lumbered with Ozil forever.

  32. Pedro

    Bamford, fitness is also key. Emery loves to train his players very hard, and he’s had to do more sessions because his players have never been coached.

    If that takes its toll in December, we don’t have the depth to deal with it like the 4 teams above us (or United, really).

  33. Pierre

    Pedro has mirrored all my concerns of the last few weeks in today’s post ……

    How long will it be before we see the full backs playing more conservatively….it needs to happen if we want to look solid at the back and it needs to happen now.

  34. Pierre

    “If that takes its toll in December, we don’t have the depth to deal with it like the 4 teams above us (or United, really).”

    Spot on …some need a reality check on here.

  35. Bamford10


    Agree that fitness will be important, agree that we will need to be very smart re scouting / signings going forward, and agree that Wenger’s wage bill was poor money management, as was the re-signing of Ozil on absurd wages.

  36. Receding Hairline

    Reality check…lol

    What exactly is the alternative, the players stop training? Stop working hard to iron out flaws on the training pitch? Ozil being left alone to pull sick leaves like a pregnant teenager? The forward players being asked to ignore any kind of pressing from the front? The full backs asked to hold their position and deny us of width?

    What exactly do you suggest Pedro and Pierre?

  37. Pedro

    RH,we haven’t seen what the result of the over-training is yet. Emery might have the answer already. He might have a great rotation plan, he might let players have mini breaks in December. They might go dark on training during our busy month. They might have some unbelievable approach to periodisation that we don’t know about.

    I know it’s crazy to imagine… but there’s usually more than one method in football.

  38. Pedro

    Interesting to read Poch complaining about players fatigue so early… he’s picked up a lot of injuries after the world cup. That small squad of there’s is due a collapse at some point. That said, he’s always been good at managing fatigue.

  39. Bamford10

    Our relatively low xG number tells you we aren’t creating enough chances / good chances.


    If you had told us two years ago that we’d have both Lacazette and Aubameyang in the 2018 squad, most people here would have been pretty pleased and would have thought that that would make for a pretty strong attacking force. But it hasn’t.


    As I’ve said before, I think it’s down to a few things: one, weak wide play; two, deploying Auba wide despite his not being a genuine wide player; three, playing 4-5-1 rather than either 4-3-3 or some two CF set-up; four, Ozil’s limitations, e.g., is not himself a scoring threat, tends to drift wide rather than occupy the hole in difficult matches.

    What do others think? Should we be a better attacking team given our personnel? If so, what’s holding us back?

  40. Receding Hairline

    Nor have anyone ever told us they were over training. Its just your narrative

    And yes I for one have seen the result of their work on the training ground. I am not hung up on Xg or whatever fancy way it is written. I simply watch games for player improvement and I have noticed a few

  41. Vivek Arulnathan

    There are always a couple of teams who defy the XG logic every season. Burnley last season because xG couldn’t account for their blocking. United as well because of DDG.

    I agree with you on the fact that defensively, we are riding our luck. Saves and poor conversions by opponents is saving us. Offensively though, I think what we are converting is sustainable, at least for a season. Very few teams play with two strikers who have had such conversion rates over the past 5 years. 7amkickoff wrote a post saying that both Laca and Auba have been converting at a similar rate for some time now. They take fewer shots than most top strikers. Only thing he says is unsustainable is the goals from long range from Auba. But I feel if we keep creating those big chances, Auba and Laca will put them away at over 20% rate. They’ve shown they can do it over a season previously.

  42. Bamford10


    The only quibble I have with what you’ve said just above is your use of “over-training”.

    That Emery has trained the players hard is a fact; whether he has “over-trained” them is quite another thing, and I don’t think we have seen any indications of that at this point.

    Indeed, we’ve looked quite fit in second halves and have had relatively few soft tissue injuries, so I’d say Emery’s training regimen is looking pretty good at moment.

    If in December players start showing fatigue, or getting injuries, or complaining of over-training, then we might have something to talk about on that front.

    But at this point I’d say this team needed hard training and there is no evidence Emery has gone too far in this regard. I’dd add to this that as hard as the players might be training, photos continually show a great deal of happiness and fun and spirit in the camp.

    Whatever he hasn’t done — and this is an open question — Emery has instilled an atmosphere both of hard work and unity. This is good.

  43. Marko

    I think we have about £30m to play with next season

    Good one. Been spending conservatively and within our means forever and all of a sudden we’re down to 30 million. Europa League not an excuse because there’s Europa League teams who spend more than that sort of money in fact there’s teams with no European football whatsoever who spend more than 30 million. Never mind what we charge for a match day ticket or the new sponsorship deals coming in. Whoever spins the yarn of 30 million transfer budgets for a club like Arsenal is literally taking the piss. And of course we need to sell to bring down the wage and to buy I mean common sense still exists in this world

  44. Marc


    Hasn’t the Poch been praised for the high intensity of training that the Spud’s do. Double sessions and all sorts?

    I think our previous problem has been more akin to over playing when someone is carrying a knock or needs a rest.

    Also anyone who talks about us not having the squad to cope with a lot of fixtures of Christmas compared with Chelsea or the Spud’s needs to re check the squads available to the other teams.

  45. Bamford10


    I agree that £30m seems a bit low, but we spent £150m on Laca, Auba and Mustafi, we have a massive wage bill, we’ve missed out on CL money two years in a row, and we didn’t get money from sales of Alexis or Ramsey.

    That we have less money to play with is to be expected.

  46. Marko

    United are shite. Fuck me they are awful Palace if they’d won two pens would have won that. And dare I say it because everyone would prefer to highlight Pogba moreso but Matic has nose dived recently

  47. Marc


    Whilst it’s not a good excuse I also think at least we can blame 2 crazy penalties we gave away. Xhaka was well Xhaka and at least he can say he was playing out of position. The Mustafi pen was crazy for an experienced CB.

    Whilst we will never eradicate all mistakes over the next 2 transfer windows hopefully we can remove the guilty parties of some of these things.

  48. Marko

    but we spent £150m on Laca, Auba and Mustafi, we have a massive wage bill, we’ve missed out on CL money two years in a row, and we didn’t get money from sales of Alexis or Ramsey.

    What does the Laca and Auba deals have anything to do with the summer of 2019? Do you think Chelsea factored in the 50 million they spent on Torres when signing Jorginho and Kovacic last summer? Also I understand the wage bill has to be brought down but again that shouldn’t be a factor when discussing the notion of a club like Arsenal having 30 million to spend in a summer and whether that’s believable. Also where are you getting 150 million on those 3 players?

  49. Marc


    If we beat Bournemouth tomorrow and the Spud’s next week then even if we lose to Utd we’d still be 3 points in front – assuming they win they other game. In recent years we’d be looking at trying to keep the gap at single points even at this stage of the season.

  50. Champagne charlie


    Still trotting out the ‘shit wide play’ line, but also dressing Lacazette up as a dud wherever the opportunity presents itself. Classic stuff

    If you’d ditch the insatiable need to be correct on every utterance you’d be a worthwhile contributor on here. Alas…

  51. gambon

    We have a lot more than £30m to spend next summer.

    The big issue is how much we can spend from an accounting point of view.

    If they give Emery £30m to spend I hope he resigns.

  52. Marc

    I thought the Mustafi, Laca and Aba signings were more in the £115 million range.

    If the money was also so tight why did we spend £65 million in the summer?Weren’t the same people saying we’d only spend £30 million last summer?

  53. Graham62

    MC and Liverpool pulling away.

    Fancy Spuds and Chelski to be a draw.

    Everton just two points behind us.

    Need the win tomorrow.

    Not going to be easy.

  54. Cesc Appeal

    I think it’s more likely at worst we will have £60 – 70 Million again.

    No doubt the club wants to tighten up on wages after the socialist style spunking up the wall of our money. Time for a grown up approach grounded in reality and actual appraisal of worth.

    I don’t know who is responsible for the Ozil deal, whether that was Gazidis, Wenger or someone in the new team but what an absolute cluster f**k that is.

    We need to make every penny count after the damage Wenger did and we’re paying £350 000 a week to a lampshade.

  55. TR7


    A win against Mourinho’s side is long overdue and so is an away win at Old toilet. I still can’t get over losing that game against United’s B team a couple of years ago in which Rashford scored a brace. There should be no excuses this time around, United are a real mess.

  56. Marko

    I think it’s more likely at worst we will have £60 – 70 Million again.

    At least. I would say where we finish will have a big say in how much obviously. But no one is convincing me that next summer we’ll only have 30 million to spend. We’re likely to spend more than that this January alone

  57. Bamford10


    One, I didn’t say we have “shit” wide play, I said we have weak wide play, something many here (if not most) would agree with.

    Two, I didn’t say anything about Lacazette being “a dud”. That’s an invention on your part.

    Three, I’m just trying to add to the discussion here; I am in no way fixated on being right.

    Four, I am not the one creating conflict or unpleasantness here. That would be you. You are the one calling out another poster, misrepresenting what he has said and being hostile and unfriendly. You are the one harassing another poster, and calling him silly, petty names (“Banford”).

    I am not doing this kind of thing. I am simply contributing to the discussion.


  58. Receding Hairline

    Man United have a negative goal difference and has created less chances than Southampton but mourinho will rather put three fingers up and antagonize supporters after a smash and grab at Turin

  59. Cesc Appeal

    Eriksen is a player and a half though.

    When you think Spurs have assembled Kane, Alli and Eriksen for about £21 Million.


  60. Bamford10


    I agree that we should have more than Pedro’s low-ball £30m figure. However, my point is that we have in fact been spending money over the past two or so years and that people shouldn’t be surprised that we might have less money to spend at moment than we once did.

    Over the past two years we have spent, for example, £35m on Mustafi, £53m on Lacazette and £56m on Aubameyang. That’s £144m right there. Add in the £40m we spent on Xhaka and that’s a total of £184m on just four players.

    That’s not chump change. And when you factor in our big wage bill and our reduced revenue on account of not being in the CL, it is not surprising that we might have less money to spend than we would like.

  61. Pedro

    Hopefully, we have a lot of money, I’d imagine a lot is dependent on CL.

    Something will have to give if we don’t… quite a few players who will….


  62. Cesc Appeal


    Wow, uses the defenders and bangs one from distance. Kepa can’t see it, no chance.

    Spurs by far the better team.

    Alli is absolutely marking Jorginho out of the game.

  63. Marko

    How you went from 184 million over a 3 year period to all of a sudden just having 30 million is beyond me. Are we working on a 4/5 year budget or something? What relevance does the 50 million and 53 million and 35 million and 35 million on Laca, Auba, Xhaka and Mustafi have to do with 30 million in 2019? If anything it proves that it’s nonsense. We could spend over a 100 million inside 6 months and 35 million each on two shit players but NOW we’ve only got 30 million to spend? Nah

  64. Paulinho

    “People rarely talk about him but Son is such a dangerous player.”

    And he’s barely been doing anything this season. They still have him to come into form and it wouldn’t surprise me if contributed a huge amount over the next couple of months.

    Tottenham’s squad is much better and bigger than people think. They have plenty of players – and quick athletic ones as well like Sissoko – to fall back should legs get heavy in other areas.

  65. Cesc Appeal

    Let’s say it as it is.

    If it is £30 Million only.

    With a squad built by an imbecile for the last 6 years that is totally without balance and looks as if it was assembled by someone blindfolded in a dark basement.

    With nothing of value to sell to raise funds.

    Having locked ourselves in to a lampshade for £350 000 a week.

    We’re fucked.

    Emery is going to have to be an absolute miracle worker.

    I just don’t think it is £30 Million though. Even without UCL football.

  66. Jamie

    Plus, all this ‘we spent x amount on y players’ does nothing to dispel the notion that clubs pay full transfer fees up front for all player purchases.

    They don’t, because player amortisation.

  67. Champagne charlie


    It’s your name because you incessantly ask for bans. End of story.

    You’re arguing semantics to conflate the point being made. Call our wide play weak, shit, poor, garbage, less than stellar, whatever you damn like. The point is you acknowledge a flaw but still judge Lacazette negatively.

    You do this because you held a view early on that he wasn’t good enough, and you don’t want to be wrong. So as I stated, your view of Lacazette is comical with this in mind. But he doesn’t dribble like Aguero am I right?

    That Kepa is krap

  68. Pedro

    We’ll get a chunk back in salary in the summer.

    Ramsey 5.7
    WELBZ 3.6
    Cech 5.2
    Monreal 3.4
    Licht 4.6m


    Additional players to move:

    Kos 4.7
    Kolasinac 6.2
    Mustafi 4.7
    Mikhi 4.7
    Perez 4.1
    Jenks 2
    Chambers 2


    Total: £50.9

    That’d be a good summer if we moved all those names on. Not much in the way of transfer fees coming in though…

  69. Bamford10


    I didn’t say that we probably have 30m. In fact I explicitly said that I think that’s a low-ball figure and that I think we have more than that.

    My point was that where we once had 150m+ in cash reserves, we have spent a great deal of money over the past two and a half years — and have suffered decline in revenue — and that no one should be surprised if we now have less money to spend.

    This isn’t some strange, mysterious thing. The club’s executives, e.g., Venkatesham, have stated and explained this. It is also laid out and will be even further laid out in the club’s public financial statements.

    We don’t have this or that amount of money to spend simply because YOU think we should have this or that amount of money to spend. That’s not how an organization’s finances work — obviously.

  70. Champagne charlie


    Dead easy to list who you want out, but you know fine well a number of those need replacing and they won’t come in pro bono

    Ramsey, Welbz, Monreal will need genuine investment to replace. Same as Kos, Mkhi, Mustafi if you go that way. Arsenal ain’t losing 6 names like that in a window and bringing in the replacements.

    We’ve enough to deal with having two players out of contract (Rambo, Welbz), and two good players losing their magic (Kos, Monreal).

  71. Marko

    Exactly right Jaime. Not only do we not pay transfer fees fully but transfer budgets and income go by a season by season basis so what we paid for players in previous seasons shouldn’t and wouldn’t make a difference. Wages do though in compliance with FFP and common sense of course says you can’t keep adding players and wages onto a squad without any thought into it. In saying that Ramsey and Welbeck not being offered new deals and the likely departure of Koscielny, Cech and Chambers in the summer gives you a lot of leeway in that department. Not to mention hopefully binning Ozil. Even if we couldn’t (I think we will) the departure of the others mentioned is enough to save us a few hundred thousand a week at least

  72. Paulinho

    Think we will have pretty big problems over the next couple of months. Don’t see a lot of upside in our squad – apart from Torreira starting to spread his wings more offensively and maybe scoring some goals – so Emery will have to be creative as possible.

    Would like to see a leap of faith on Smith-Rowe. Still raw but he has got the skillset and attributes to deliver in those advanced areas. Think we will need him step in from the shadows and bring something of substance to our underwhelming attacking areas.

    Monreal needs to return as well. Iwobi is reliant on the overlap to be effective.

  73. Cesc Appeal

    I wonder if Emery might start playing all of Guendouzi, Torreira and Xhaka at once?

    I think that might be a way for us to see more control, more of a link to attack and more of a shield for the defence.

  74. Marko

    We don’t have this or that amount of money to spend simply because YOU think we should have this or that amount of money to spend. That’s not how an organization’s finances work — obviously.

    And obviously 100 million spent on two strikers means 2 years down the line you’ve got 30 million to spend… obviously. Also you mentioned the cash reserves no way we touched them to suggest that is ridiculous.

  75. Pedro

    CC, I think you could do some damage to the list and keep the wage bill low.

    Out of that list, Ramsey and Monreal are the most pressing players to replace, followed by Mustafi (who could be replaced by a younger model if Holding/Mavrapanos step up).

    Welbeck could be replaced with a blend of Nelson and Nketiah… obviously, I wouldn’t be averse to Pepe coming in.

  76. Paulinho

    “I wonder if Emery might start playing all of Guendouzi, Torreira and Xhaka at once?”

    Think it’s pretty clear now that playing three is simply not in Emery’s system/philosophy.

    He will be thinking, okay, we get more possession and control playing three but what do we lose by not having the advanced number ten, both on and off the ball in terms of pressing?

    His way of dealing with central midfield issues is to replace like for like and freshen things up rather than change to a three.

  77. Cesc Appeal

    ‘but what do we lose by not having the advanced number ten, both on and off the ball in terms of pressing?’

    You’re aware Ozil is our CAM, right?

    Who are you talking about here?

  78. TR7

    As per unaudited 6 month financial statement ending Nov 2017, we had a cash reserve of 160M out of which 23M is in what AFC calls debt service reserve account, basically amount earmarked for stadium debt servicing. That leaves us with 137 M.

    We spent around 70M in summer , so that’s 67M remaining. Now if we assume Arsenal’s net cash outflow from operating, investing and financing activities in FY 2018 and FY 2019 is similar to what it was in FY 2017, expect another 40M outflow from that kitty of 67M and we are left with cash balance in the range of 25-30M come March 2019.

  79. Bamford10


    “means two years down the line you’ve got 30 million to spend”

    This is one of the things that makes discussing things with you a bit impossible. I have twice now explicitly stated that I think we have more than 30m. That figure is Pedro’s figure, not mine. I have explicitly said that I think we have more than that.

    “you mentioned the cash reserves no way we touched them to suggest that is ridiculous”

    Are you suggesting that we paid for Mustafi, Xhaka, Lacazette and Aubameyang out of our operating revenues alone and that our cash reserves are more or less identical today to what they were four or five years ago? I don’t think there’s any chance of that. In fact I believe the club is on record as saying that we have lower cash reserves than we once had. The only requirement re cash reserves is that we keep roughly 25m there.

    So yes, I think we have dipped into our cash reserves in order to support some of the transfer spending we have done over the past few years.

    A careful review of the financial statements will / would tell us who is right on this point.

  80. Marko

    Ramsey, Welbz, Monreal will need genuine investment to replace. Same as Kos, Mkhi, Mustafi if you go that way. Arsenal ain’t losing 6 names like that in a window and bringing in the replacements.

    I mean we could. We brought in 5 last summer and there’s nothing to stop us from bringing in another 5 next summer. And Ramsey, Welbeck, Koscielny, Cech and Chambers are gone in the summer that’s just a fact and also let’s be honest here some of the players we’ll be losing have been ineffectual this season and losing and replacing them is honestly not that big a deal. I mean (for better or worse) we replaced Koscielny with a 16 million pound CB and we probably replaced Ramsey with a CM (Guendouzi) who cost us 8 million long term wise. Basically not impossible to replace some of these people is what I’m saying.

  81. Champagne charlie


    It’s less the wages and more the outright capital needed to replace the players. For those four name si mentioned how much are we getting in? Then how much do we need to spend to replace them? That’s my issue.

    I’m fine with binning Chambers, Jenks etc and throwing a youth lad in to trim wages. Just feel we have some players to address before we have any players to address if you catch my drift.

    If Arsenal can replace Kos, Welbz, Rambo, and Monreal this summer with no additions to wages, then that’s a fantastic summer. Or say we replace Welbz in Jan, then the three in the summer plus any “opportunistic” buys like a Dembele loan etc.

  82. Marko

    Think we will have pretty big problems over the next couple of months

    It’s really one month. We only need to get to January and bring in some bodies to get us over the line

  83. Paulinho

    Cesc – It is about positioning, he likes a player advanced to he can receive the ball high on counters and have numbers advancing on their goal, and it also gives the player a chance to press high and stop them playing out from the back and feeling comfortable. So overall four high pressers rather three.

    He has to work with what he has got, so talking about who we have playing there is a bit pointless. He obviously feels sticking to his system is important, even if it means playing someone has ill-suited as Ozil to it (in a pressing sense)

    I wanted us to play a Xmas three formation at the start of the season so get what you are saying, but it’s about what Emery will most likely so rather than what we want him to do.

  84. Paulinho

    Jesus typos galore.

    *Even if it means playing someone as ill-suited to the role – in a pressing sense – as Ozil.

    *Emery will most likely do

  85. Pedro

    CC, very true. I doubt there are too many Guendouzi’s out there for that money. Even risky players are £30m+.

    Stan K and Ivan wasted 10 odd years of CL money, concluding the cost of shooting for winning the league wasn’t worth it.

    Now we’re in a similar position again where to reach the CL, we’re going to need to gamble (if Stan won’t funnel Walmart money via the back door).

    My concern is we won’t… and the club will bet on Sven working miracles, and Emery (or whomever comes after him) doing the same.

    That said, miracles aren’t impossible. Nagelsmann is working them, Poch is, Liverpool to a certain degree (to get to UCL final).

    We just have to position ourselves in a way that extracts more from less…

  86. Cesc Appeal

    I agree that is what he wants, a sort of CM/CAM/CF type player in there. Some work load.

    The closet we got to seeing his idea work was Fulham, I think.

    But when you have Ozil you have to put your preferences on the back burner. He is an undesirable player for most managers. Watching this game and I’m thinking can you imagine Ozil doing what Alli is doing as a CAM or Eriksen? Absolutely not.

    Or De Bruyne or one of the Silvas at City? Absolutely not.

    Emery is going to have to be pragmatic soon because Ozil is a problem player he should not be having to deal with but unfortunately he is.

    We’re basically playing a 4-4-1 a lot of the time.

  87. Pierre

    “And obviously 100 million spent on two strikers means 2 years down the line you’ve got 30 million to spend… obviously. Also you mentioned the cash reserves no way we touched them to suggest that is ridiculous.”

    Do you not realise that the last 2 seasons we have spent 45 mill net which equates to 22.5 mill a season ….

    Don’t know why people just don’t admit that in comparison to Chelsea ,man united and city we are in the 2nd division financially and we have been for the last 12 years .

    We were supposed to be able to compete financially with the best in Europe …..

    Of course we should have massive cash reserves after only spending net 22.5 million for each of the last 2 seasons .

  88. Marko

    That leaves us with 137 M. We spent around 70M in summer , so that’s 67M remaining. Now if we assume Arsenal’s net cash outflow from operating, investing and financing activities in FY 2018 and FY 2019 is similar to what it was in FY 2017, expect another 40M outflow from that kitty of 67M and we are left with cash balance in the range of 25-30M come March 2019.

    So it just continues to wittle down no matter what? Man the life span of a football club is small. Bout two more seasons before we have to sell the furniture and start pimping out Jenkinson (you know he’ll still be here). I just don’t get how all those years penny pinching and making champions league football can be undone by a couple 50 million pound strikers and two years in the Europa League because killing us. Man we had a good run though Arsenal football club 132 years old but going out of business soon

  89. Paulinho

    Cesc – The good thing Emery is probably acutely aware of Ozil’s flaws. He has to play the long game though and give him the rope.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if Ozil upheld his end of the attacking bargain but he doesn’t. He’a a complete wuss who vacates the area the moment he is confronted with any real adversity; whether it be an aggressive marker or a sound defensive structure.

  90. Marko

    Are you suggesting that we paid for Mustafi, Xhaka, Lacazette and Aubameyang out of our operating revenues alone and that our cash reserves are more or less identical today to what they were four or five years ago?

    I would say that our cash reserves are more or less the same yes. Because realistically while we are spending more these last few years it hasn’t been beyond our means. We’re self sufficient. Us spending our cash reserves (cash saved) to the point where we’ve only got 25-30 million left as TR7 suggests isn’t very self sufficient to me.

  91. Champagne charlie


    Yea that’s what I’m concerned with. All for the savvy purchase life, but it has to be funded somehow and selling our current lot isn’t giving us much gold.

    I think we can get away with buying one player to replace Rambo AND Welbz tbh, Rambos position was never set in the side and we could promote Nelson or Smith-Rowe next summer to first team proper to fill it out.

    Chambers and a Elneny are money spinners for us, which says it all. Call it 85mil with sales, that’s a tight budget to get:
    – starting LB
    – starting CB
    – starting forward player of some description

    That’s just replacements.

  92. Cesc Appeal


    I agree.

    I just worry given how much the club have given Ozil there might be pressure to play him and that there is no team anywhere of any note at all stupid enough to give him the deal we did.

  93. TR7


    Yeah , the number should be in the range of 25-30M assuming there is no remarkable difference in our operating performance in last two financial years. The number can go up only if we have made some money from non operating activities such as sale of real estate etc.

  94. Pedro

    CC, I wonder if we’ll sell a prized asset, like Hector?

    Club essentially has to operate like Liverpool did for a few years… sell a big name, take a punt on 4 smaller ones, hopes the squad can continue to grow.

    Spurs kind of funded their current situation in the same way…

    What a goal by Son…

  95. Paulinho

    This is the Chelsea performance I’ve been waiting for all season.

    Always been in them, just need a decent side to show them up.

    One-paced and weak with Jorginho and Kovacic.

  96. Marko

    That said, miracles aren’t impossible. Nagelsmann is working them, Poch is, Liverpool to a certain degree (to get to UCL final).We just have to position ourselves in a way that extracts more from less…

    It’s worth pointing out that it’s all well and good saying that because we’re not strapped like a City or PSG that we’ll have to work miracles to be competitive like a Dortmund or an Atletico but what you’re saying with notions of 30 million pound transfer budgets is beyond a miracle it’s impossible. We’ve been out of the champions league two seasons and we’re expected to believe that now we have a budget less than a midtable European side. I just don’t buy it. Seems like fear mongering to me.

  97. Pierre

    “What do others think? Should we be a better attacking team given our personnel? If so, what’s holding us back?”

    How about the offensive players spend too much time chasing all over the pitch in playing a very poorly executed pressing game ,so they waste energy because we rarely win the ball back as we don’t press well as a team so consequently our offensive players are probably only playing with 50% energy when we receive the ball and so become ineffective as a strike force …..

  98. Cesc Appeal

    Wathcing what Spurs are doing is what Emery seems to want, the attacking press pressing with intensity, dropping back to help out and also attacking with intensity.

    You need the personnel though, we don’t have it currently.

  99. TR7


    We had an operating profit (net of taxes) of 15M in FY 2017 and we paid 14.5 million to service our stadium debt. So basically as long as we are in Europa, stadium debt alone will eat in to our earnings. On an average we spend 10-15 M on player registrations (extension of contract , signing bonu etc) , so our cash reserve will keep getting depleted unless we sign a mega sponsorship deal or sell a couple of players for big money.

  100. Marko

    Not to drag this out further but for me our budget next summer will be/should be the same as the previous summer as is right now (with notable wages gone from Ramsey and Welbeck leaving). Then obviously it’ll be more if we sell players like possibly Ozil and Xhaka and Cech and Elneny and Chambers. And then you have to take into account if we made it back to the champions league too coupled with the Adidas money that comes into effect next summer. None of which would explain 30 million. But anyway

  101. Marko

    What seems like fear mongering?

    Your mate telling you about us having a 30 million pound budget in the summer and you writing a blog about it. Scares the bejaysus out of me

  102. Champagne charlie


    Your guess is as good as mine, I think the Bellerin one has been and gone personally – but I’d rip 40 mil out your hands for what he gives us and his position in the side. Should’ve turfed him when he was pining for Spain, and bought Aurier for 18 mil. More than adequate for a modern RB, and scope for us to improve the key roles.

    Maybe we can sell Mustafi, call Sokratis his replacement, and Mavrapanos up a gear until the next summer. We have to be cute in any case, whether that’s expecting a lot from a few younger lads, or signing Monreal and Kos on for another couple of seasons until they just wheel out the building.

    It’s this situation that always leaves me scratching my head over Aubameyang. Great player, horrible purchase for us. That’s the new kids on the block too, so none of the Wenger shit. Just worried we still haven’t ditched our propensity to spunk good money on dumb buys.

  103. Champagne charlie

    Worth remembering Morata cost 70 mil and was clamoured for by a few on here.

    Better suited for one of them red bins with a black lid.

  104. London gunner

    Lol people keep forecasting spurs doom and yet they keep on winning and mostly convincingly.

    Let’s face it guys small squad or not they are a pretty good team and better than us. This is isn’t hyperbolic isn’t me saying they are all worldies but that there is a significant margin of quality between us and them this season.

    I can’t see us getting top four.

  105. Pedro

    Marko, it’s not fear-mongering, just laying down the realities of this regime. Stan ain’t putting in, Arsenal need to find other ways to make it happen. The person certainly didn’t call because he fancied worrying people.

    CC, there’s a great podcast on Aaron Hernandez you should listen to just because it’s a great bit of investigative journalism. But one part talks about how Bill B picks up the young kids and players who are misfits, but ultimately very talented. He pays them fuck all, invited them in for a last chance, and extracts the most out of them.

    Feel like Poch did that a bit with Aurier… not many coaches in Europe adopt that sort of approach (Ostersunds manager does on a smaller scale).

  106. TR7

    Spurs starting 11 when everyone is fit is second only to City. Kane, Son, Erikson and Alli all start together for the first time this season and they rip Chelsea apart. Could have been a cricket score if not for poor finishing.