Arsenal still has an identity crisis (long read)

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The more I pondered where we are as a club, the clearer it became that we’ve made a total hash of the rebirth. A lot of that comes from Ivan Gazidis who has to be one of the worst decision makers in the world of football. Guided by ego and shite people getting in his ear, he’s overseen a transition that’ll likely go down in history as poorly as the one at Manchester United. The main difference being that Arsenal doesn’t have the same resources to claw their way out like our northern brethren.

I think a lot of the issues start with our identity problem. Arsenal never recovered from our delusions of grandeur after the incredible progress we made in the late nineties and early 2000s. We won three Premier League titles, we built a new stadium, we were promised riches beyond our wildest dreams, but then Chelsea and City came along with petrodollars and we didn’t adapt.

Think about this, Ivan Gazidis and Arsene Wenger’s strategy for beating out the big spenders was to convince themselves that regulation would level the playing field. Guess what, it never happened. It was like the two of them had never watched megabrands like Starbucks and Amazon evade tax laws with armies of clever lawyers and influence purchase.

Instead of recalibrating for the modern era where we’d have to work out a strategy that went beyond pound note expenditure, we buried our heads in the sand and hoped. We effectively became a second tier club that believed it was top tier, and sadly, we’ve still not woken up to our place.

That’s why the club will still complain about money issues (despite being top 3 net spenders over 5 years). Our culture is built on excuses as to why we can’t, instead of how we can. As fans, we bemoan our lot in life while Spurs, Bournemouth and Wolves massively outperform expectations. There is absolutely no reason why we can’t be performing with the best teams in Europe. Our wage bill is 263m euros and it’s 55% of our turnover. That’s the 9th highest in Europe. Higher than Juve, Roma, Dortmund, Altelti and Inter. We’re a couple of players shy of Bayern.  We’re the only club in the top 10 for wages not in the Champions League.

The reason we don’t compete is we haven’t accepted our reality.

There is no guiding philosophy at Arsenal. There is no identity. Our structure is not built on an idea, so we get by throwing shit at the wall, but the chances of succeeding are greatly diminished.

Just look at how we hired. Emery seems like a lovely guy who wants to do well, but he doesn’t have that special sauce you need to win at a club like Arsenal. Sure, give him PSG and he’ll drop a title at the second attempt, but moving Arsenal to the next level? How is that ever going to be on the cards in a league that has Pochettino, Klopp, Sarri and Pep Guardiola. You need to battle ideas with ideas. Arsenal took the safe option. Someone who will come in and upgrade the basics and bring a bit of intelligence to the setup. That’s table stakes though, and we really were in a situation with Wenger where basic competence was needed towards the end. That lowered our standards and we landed where we landed.

For me, there is no scenario or amount of money that is bringing us up to our rivals levels. We’re 6 months into this project and we still don’t have a defined style. There’s no excuse for that, just throw on a Leeds game and tell me 6 months is too little time. Our defence is worse than last season despite investing in it and making it a focal point. We have a DM we all adore, yet we’re still leaking goals like a Sunday league team. Halftime subs were our drug at the start of the reign, now they’re starting to look like a predictable panic ripcord. We’ve not led at halftime in 18 of 19 games. Injuries are piling up like we suspected they would. They’re so problematic, Hector Bellerin is out. Double sessions come at a cost. For all the tactical nous we hoped we’d hired in, we went to Anfield with a game plan that was so bad we conceded 5.

Doesn’t bode well, does it? However, I can see the flip side. We went on a terrific run, he is modernizing the club, we fight harder, run further and we’re in better shape than we were last year regardless of what the naysayers try and convince you of. That said, it’s not good enough and nor will it ever be.

We have a historical example of a very similar situation like this just before Wenger arrived. Bruce Rioch came in after we’d finished 12th in the league (6 points off relegation), he purchased Platt and Bergkamp, and moved us up to 5th. David Dein knew he wasn’t good enough and pulled the trigger on his tenure, replacing him with someone who did have the special sauce needed to find the next level.

To find that next level, we need to decide what our footballing philosophy is. How do we want to play, what do we need to play that way, and how do we achieve our objectives without Man City money.

Liverpool are heavy metal football and guess what, they hire for it. The players they bring in are fast, powerful, technically gifted and hugely resilient from a fitness standpoint.

R.B Leipzig has a stunning approach to growth that’s brought them huge success in a short space of time. They play high octane pressing football, they buy in young players under the age of 23 years old, they have a very smart youth academy, and they build feeder clubs that supply them with the players they need. This is the group that produced Keita and Mane (Salzburg just dropped an unbeaten season). They know who they are, and what they want to achieve.

What are we looking to do? Why the fuck are we binning off Aaron Ramsey for EVER BANEGA? What is the vision there? What are we planning for? If there were a clear strategy of who we wanted to be as a club, tell me why Mesut Ozil was allowed to stay on? There is no defined vision for what we’re about.

We’ve had different variations of a north star in the past. Originally, Wenger wanted to play the most technical football in the league with the fittest and most powerful players he could find in the then closed markets of Europe. Then he shifted gears to Project Youth, which was taking strategic punts on the best kids in the world and growing them into world-class players.

What exactly is our policy? Half-baked again. We buy in a little bit of everything and it all looks a touch meh. But then again, what are the parameters we’re working within? This is not the sharp player purchase strategy we’d hoped for. We have two great strikers who can’t really play together. We bought an aging right back who isn’t fit for purpose. The swap deal with Mikhi has tanked. Guendouzi and Torreira are great. Sokratis has done well, but again, he’s at the heart of a defence that’s failing. Leno was an expensive gamble that doesn’t look to have worked. What unites all of those purchases? Nothing.

The youth academy is another area where you fail if you don’t have a guiding principle or vision. It’s also an area you can win greatly. I love Per Mertesacker, but if you are a club that can’t compete, growing your own is a great way in, however, you don’t put generations of young footballers in the hands of someone who has no experience of developing kids. I am not for one minute saying Per can’t be great, I’m just saying it shows the lack of leadership at the club. Taking a punt on a young manager is very different to taking a punt on the Dean of a University.

So how do we move forward from here?

I think the club need to be brutally honest about where we’re going and whether the current approach is going to bear fruit. There’s no point in pissing around for 2 years to find out that the decision we made wasn’t the right one, or even worse, a stasis move. We need to make a bold decision about the future.

We need to be honest about who we are as a club. We then need to craft a plan around how we make it back to the top, or at least to a level where we’re building towards something. #Top4 is not a strategy, it’s a goal. We need to envision a style of fast, powerful technical football and then figure out exactly the type of players we need to deliver on that. That means the best coaches, the best young players from around the world and that means and investment of faith from the fans because we’re going in an exciting new direction.

At the moment, it looks like we’re just going to keep on investing in something that has little chance of succeeding. We can’t spend another 10 years in no man’s land, we just can’t.

Happy New Year, thanks for reading! x

438 Responses to “Arsenal still has an identity crisis (long read)”

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  1. Don T

    If Arsenal didnt sack Wenger after the 8-2 the 6-0 the 6-3 the SIX 5-1 ‘s losing the Birmingham in a cup final . Emery has a job for life

  2. Pierre

    You can’t use Pierre as backup when he’s someone who thinks Wenger is the person to take the club forward.”

    Nice try Marc but if you look back ,you won’t find one comment from me that remotely suggests that…..

    But you will find many comments from me that predicted what is happening now and I can assure you ,this is only the tip of the iceberg.

  3. gambon


    Our next accounts relate to the 17/18 season.

    We sold

    And a few more

  4. Terraloon


    If only it were that easy

    Just about every club wants to discover the next big thing and yes when you uncover a gem the benefits are huge but there is no way that a club who aspires to be perennial CL qualifiers can operate in England without spending big

  5. Un na naai

    I don’t know how anyone can argue for emery thus far that he’s done anyhrhjng our previous manager didn’t do in his worst season.

    Our issue at the back is clearly a lack of defensive coaching. It has been for years and it is this season. We are worse defensively since emery took over!!! Not just statistically but clearly and visibly.

    Whatever he’s doing is having a negative effect and he needs to sort it out. I truly don’t believe our defensive personnel is bad enough to warrant such atrocious defensive form.

  6. Marko

    I knew those xg stats shite would end up annoying me. Doesnt tell the whole story besides it was a similar type of analytical nonsense that told us signing Xhaka would be a good idea and we see how smart of an idea that has become.

  7. Dissenter

    Your post just alluded to the fact that there’s no gunpowder left in he barrel. We do not have money to spend on big targets
    So how do we handle this situation?
    We need a different approach. That’s what Chelsea did to transition them from the Abhramovic spurge era; they bought up anything that looked like talent on the cheap and placed them loan…to sell them when they appreciated.
    It worked for them and it can work for us.

  8. Marko

    I truly don’t believe our defensive personnel is bad enough to warrant such atrocious defensive form.

    Really? Then how come said awful defence conceded 60+ goals each of the previous two seasons? You think a 34 year old back up RB and a 15 million pound greek idiot was going to make all the others better?

  9. gambon


    The people that understand xG are working for the biggest clubs earning big money.

    To just dismiss is because you don’t understand it is blinkered.

  10. Un na naai


    Yes and we spent more than we sold didn’t we?

    £70m this summer
    £60m Aubameyang
    £45m Lacazette

    Giroud £18m
    Walcott £20m
    Ox £35m
    Coq £14m
    Sczezney £8m

    Sanchez free
    Cazorla free
    Wilshere free

  11. Dissenter

    To add to my lost post to you.
    There’s no guarantee that big money spending will work as well.
    Examples aboun; Xhaka, Mustafi and Morata.
    Just spending big is no guarantee of success.

  12. Un na naai


    Yes I agree that those signings were sub standard but I also think that we have sufficient quality already to be a tighter defensive unit. Not to win the title but better than we are currently displaying

    And as you’ve pointed out on numerous occasions- we had the worlds worst coach previously. This guy was meant to improve us, he’s made us worse.

  13. gambon

    Un nai

    Yes but it’s all about the way transfers are accounted for.

    Most of the £140m we sold would be been booked as profit.

    Where as signings are spread over the length of contract.

    So if you sell a £50m player and sign a £50m player on a 5 year contract you make a £40m profit.

  14. Un na naai

    If Chelsea can make Gary Cahill and Ryan Bertrand champions league winners and part of an impenetrable defence then why can’t we??

    We hold the best champions league defensive record with flamini at left back, evoke at right back and senderous

    If Wenger I’d all people can get that lot to work as a unit then why not what we have now?? The current personnel are better

  15. Radio Raheem

    With no major departures expected in January and heavy investment in new signings and contracts over the past year, Arsenal do not have significant funds to spend in the upcoming transfer window.

    Any permanent acquisitions, loan fees and salaries will be drawn from a modest budget and therefore loan deals are more probable, with out-of-favour Barcelona midfielder Denis Suarez, 24, among those under consideration. That budget is likely to increase substantially in the summer.

    There have been conversations about recalling defender Calum Chambers and winger Reiss Nelson from loan spells at Fulham and Hoffenheim respectively, but with Chambers the chances are remote because breaking his season-long deal would incur a fee, while there is reluctance to disrupt Nelson’s progress in Germany.

    There is no indication Arsenal owner Stan Kroenke will inject any of his personal wealth, which tallies with the club’s managing director Vinai Venkatesham reaffirming their commitment to a “self-sustaining business model” during an interview with the BBC in October.

    – Ornstein

  16. China1

    Lol Pedro so you trusted arteta to be the next big thing in one of the toughest rebuild jobs on Europe, but you’re concerned that pet was a risky choice for the academy?

    You do realize that the academy is an easier and less important job, right? If it wasn’t, per would be the one on the 6m a year salary don’t you think…?

  17. Guns of SF

    Fucking Kronke.

    Loan deals? ok fine… but who the heck can we find? rejects from top clubs who do not merit playing time?
    It is so hard to understand why a top 10 club financially, cannot afford players when we need them.
    Kroneky out. Fucking ass

  18. Marko

    To just dismiss is because you don’t understand it is blinkered.

    Not totally dismissing it I just think it doesn’t paint the whole picture

  19. Batistuta


    You can’t really be honestly comparing the team that went all the way through to the champions league final with the pile of saw dust we have today

  20. Batistuta

    That Ornstein tweet

    The part about Kroenke not willing to put in any funds despite we badly needing it at the moment is one of the reasons we need to be rid of him and this stupid self sustainable model we are currently running, not with us still charging exorbitant ticket prices

  21. azed

    “The people that understand xG are working for the biggest clubs earning big money.To just dismiss is because you don’t understand it is blinkered.”

    Folks who have worked for the biggest clubs(earning big money) think Emery is on the right track but Gambon thinks he should be fired.

    Klopp finished 6th, 4th, 4th but its Emery that doesn’t have ‘sauce’.

  22. Terraloon


    Apologies just re read my post and yes the latest accounts will show a trading profit but the point I was trying too, and failed to make is that in 2018/19 without player sales there will be a significant loss .
    Chelsea are reporting a profit of over £120 million profit on player sales and in reality just selling off a few of their loan army will generate vast sums year on year they have huge value players on loan or indeed langusing at Stamford Bridge many now come from their academy players like Abraham and Loftus are unlikely to challenge for starting berths and are rumoured to be on this way for a total of in excess of £60 million.add to the mix Drinkwater and Moses and before you blink that’s another £100 million.Who has the same same sort of value at Arsenal?
    Around 6 months ago I asked who did Arsenal have who they could sale and not miss I cannot think of any save Chambers, who I have a sneaky feeling will if possible be recalled due to current injuries and lack of funds.
    Without CL income and without transfer profits Arsenal are heading into an abyss that is unless Kroenke injects capital and sorry I just can’t see that happening.

  23. Marko

    Yeah probably those same people thought Xhaka and Mustafi were going to be good signings and Lichtsteiner and Sokratis were value for money

  24. Un na naai


    I’m comparing defence yes

    Bellerin is better than eboue
    Koscielny and holding are better than senderos
    And nacho or Kolasinac are a better left back s than flamini

    All on paper of course but wenger managed to turn those guys into a mean defence. Surely the great Emery can get this lot to do a bit better than they currently are???

  25. Bamford10

    So much nonsense is being written here at the moment it is a little hard to handle.

    “Emery = Wenger.”

    The two literally have nothing in common.

    “The owner is the problem.”

    Our spending is determined by the new men in charge and the s-s model, not the owner, and the club has been spending generously for several years now. Might we need to spend even more? Sure, but the notion that the owner is the problem is nonsense.

    “We haven’t improved defensively.”

    Sure we have. The very fact that we even train on defensive shape and structure is an improvement, and our away results show improvement. If we are not improving as much defensively as we would like, this is down to the difficulties of learning new systems of play, to injuries, and to error-prone individual players.

    Again, Emery may prove to be inadequate to the task, but the notion that he has already demonstrated this is ridiculous.

  26. gambon


    Actually the reason we have slightly improved results is because everything we kicked in November went in.

    We have conceded more goals, we are facing more shots, our xGA is worse.

    A full preseason, £70m spent and 6 months training with the players….and no improvement over a list dressing room with a dinosaur in charge.


  27. Un na naai


    We have conceded more goals in 20 games this year then any other PL season.

    You call that an improvement?? No wonder you’re a high school teacher.

    There are those that do, then there are teachers

  28. Redtruth

    Wenger didn’t turn any guys into a mean defence.
    Keown was responsuble for the defence which reached the Champions leagur Final.. He then got duly fired for his troubles.

  29. Dissenter

    Un na
    We we all getting along well until you decided to launch ad hominem attacks on
    Bamford because he disagreed with you.
    You’re better than that.

  30. Graham62

    Where are these financial spreadsheets everyone’s talking about?

    Who says we don’t have money to spend?

    How come some on here seem to know so much about the financial situation of the club?

    Let’s be honest, we are only assuming we don’t have money. Twelve years at the Emirates with all those benefits. Believe me, we have dosh to spare if needed.

    Apart from the fact we have or, should I say, had, shite decision makers, should not blind us to the other clear and obvious fact that we were prepared to lose £60m on Sanchez and give Ozil £350k a week, which must mean something.

  31. Kayciey

    “I’m quite prepared to be patient, the club got rid of the single biggest problem we had and now we’re moving forward, if others aren’t that’s fine but you’re going to look very silly down the line.”

    The only person who’s gonna look silly is the author of the above piece. He’s been appealing to Csec to come back for the last 10 years……..Csec is now a pensioner and you are still appealing……some patience there…..just like you will be waiting for Arsenal to come good under Emery. If you think retirees like Lichtsteiner, Sokratis and Ever Banega are gonna move the club forward, then you are deluded. Some of us went through untold pain in the past decade under Arsene Wenger that we are just not ready to bear the humiliation again. I will very much wish to be proved wrong but a good day is seen in the morning and the morning tells me otherwise.

  32. TR7

    ‘even train on defensive shape and structure is an improvement, and our away results show improvement’

    What shape are you talking about ? As for away results, did Wenger not have unbelievable away record in one of the last few seasons and a shitty record at home and then exactly the opposite last season ? Not meant as a dig at you or anyone else but people are plucking anything out of thin air to defend Emery.

  33. Batistuta


    The away form on it’s own is an improvement, to me anyways especially with Emery’s record at Sevilla the season he left

  34. Marko

    A full preseason

    Sure we’ll just forget about the world cup and a transfer window closing in August instead of September

  35. Batistuta

    Xhaka( to a degree)
    El Neny
    Maitland Niles

    Can’t have a core of your squad filled with players who are this bad especially for a club like Arsenal, we’ve amassed so much dross the past couple of years

  36. Redtruth

    In 1999-2000 we finished 18 points behind Man Utd.
    In 2000-2001 we finished 10 points behind Man Utd.
    In 2004-2005 we finished 12 points behind Chelsea.

    We were never really competing even in Wenger’s supposedly prime years.

  37. Kayciey

    In 1999-2000 we finished 18 points behind Man Utd.
    In 2000-2001 we finished 10 points behind Man Utd.
    In 2004-2005 we finished 12 points behind Chelsea.

    You forgot 2003-2004 season. What happened?

  38. Champagne charlie


    Are you purposefully ignoring all the stats from this season that illustrate our defensive woes?

    Saying “we’re coached on tactics etc” isn’t worth a thing if it’s not implemented game day to the view of the fans. What can be seen every Saturday is that Emery ISN’T getting it right defensively.

    No better than Wengers defence in fact, that obviously doesn’t go down well here among those totally fixated with putting Arsène down and not critiquing the current state of affairs at Arsenal.

    I don’t get on with gambon much at all, but at least the cunt isn’t circling back to Wenger with every analysis this season. He’s being objective about things and drawing lines to judge things in isolation, Emery, Sven/Raul, Stan etc. None are being judged with a Wenger-context as standard.

    I said it yesterday, whether you think Emery inherited a club in ruins or a club at the top, his influence should be apparent 6 months down the line. It isn’t, and that’s an Emery issue.

  39. Un na naai


    Yeah cos we had soooo many stars at the World Cup this year


    The intellectual at work….again

  40. Guns of SF

    bottom line is that we will not improve without younger and better reinforcements. I also feel that Emery needs 2 full years to be judged fairly. Bar a complete tank…. I dont think that will happen.

    Kronke is such an asshole. I bet he cannot even name 3 first team players if you asked him. Maybe none.

    usmannov held out as long as he could with finally getting the message that he will not own this club. If that happened , maybe we could get more $$ infusion

    But that is old news.

    We need to have our so called “team” get into Stan Jr ears- perhaps he can ask daddy to open his money bags and explain what CL is….. and how that means more $$ and more success and better players and explain the cycle

    And now that Im hearing that Juve will take Rambo in summer. Fuck that… we need to sell his arse now. Entertain any offer that comes in.
    if PSG rumors are true then bite the hand

    We are operating at 85% and the extra 15% is going to take a lot of work and retooling.

    Bringing in additional attackers is a must along with a WC CB

    Personally, any wing attacker in addition to Pulisic I would be happy with.. Ozil will be benched and Rambo as well and Iwobi


  41. Un na naai


    He also forgot 98 and 02 as well

    We also finished 4 points off the top in 08 and was dominating the league until the leg break

  42. Redtruth

    2001-02 and 2003-04 we won the league but we had to break records to do it
    2002 we went the whole season undefeated away from home.
    2004 we went the whole season undefeated.

    Arsenal had to do one off feats to win the league..a bit like Leicester

  43. Un na naai

    How the hell untited are still drawing big names when they’ve been so shit for so long is beyond me

    I know money talks but how many players really want to play for them these days??

  44. Redtruth

    In 2008 we finished 3rd winning our last 4 remaining games when the title was already over.
    Man Utd dropped points which made it look closer than it really was.

  45. Marko

    Yeah cos we had soooo many stars at the World Cup this year

    The comment was a full preseason which you don’t have in a world cup year dummy

  46. Kayciey

    In 2008 we finished 3rd winning our last 4 remaining games when the title was already over.
    Man Utd dropped points which made it look closer than it really was.

    ..yea just like Arsenal dropped points to let Man U win the league

  47. Un na naai

    We were one of the only clubs who did have a full pre season marko
    We were missing 4 players

    We had a full pre season
    Don’t get all embarrassed marko. You should be used to making a doughnut of yourself by now

  48. Batistuta


    I’m sorry but Maitland Niles just isn’t good enough for us even as a squad player, he’s so relaxed on the ball you’d think he’s a 3x pfa winner. Much more exciting talent coming through than him


    I can’t make any judgements on whether or not Emery can make it at Arsenal, honestly my only measure of judgement on Emery will be the Europa league, that’s supposed to be what he’s good at and bar Chelsea, can’t see why we shouldn’t be winning that or getting to the finals at least

  49. Graham62

    The Ozil/Sanchez saga set a negative precedence and, regrettably, put Arsenal in a lose-lose situation.

    The message it sent has reverberated around the Footballing world and made Arsenal look like a joke of a club( if we weren’t one before). I wonder if Emery said anything at his interview regarding this. The added burden on Emery to deal with this ludicrous state of affairs has already had a marked effect on his brief tenureship.

    How can you treat the players the same and keep them all happy, when Mesut Ozil was promised the world?

    The most stupid business decision of 2018.

    Actually, one of the most stupid business decisions ever.

  50. Guns of Hackney

    Anyone got plans on amateur night?

    Personally, I’m in with wife, baby and cat…and the iPhone. A bit of celebrity chase, strongman and a jerk movie.

    It’s like a Led Zeppelin Riot House gig at ours.

  51. Archway Archie

    The real problem is a lack of LEADERSHIP. We have a remote owner who knows nothing about football and cares even less. He left Wenger in charge for years, allowing the Frenchman to drag the club into the mire. And now it looks like Emery will not be given the money he desperately needs to rebuild the squad. Stan only wants fourth place and thinks he can get it on the cheap. We have no future under the Yank.

  52. Marko

    Allisson is much better than Leno. It seems we just signed a keeper for the sake of it rather than looking for a great one.

    Should have been in for Alisson alright. Or if not him then Oblak or DDG. Surely. Or how about a favorite of yours Pavlenka at Bremen. A quick check on how he’s doing…30 conceded in 19 and just the 3 clean sheets. Leno has more clean sheets conceded less in one less game. Anyway what great keeper should we have gotten

  53. Pierre

    The question is …how long will it be before the manager realises that we are better football team with Lacazette (and ozil) on the pitch…he has backed himself into a corner regarding those 2 and he needs to eat a piece of humble pie and start them tomorrow…

    During our impressive unbeaten run earlier this season ,Lacazette(and ozil) played nearly every minute of the league games during that period , starting with the 3-2 win at Cardiff up until the 1-1 draw with wolves.

    At the very least Lacazette should start alongside Aubamayang.

  54. Un na naai


    We will see won’t we? He’s got nerves of steel that kid. Not fazed at all. Plays well wherever he’s deployed. Strong , great engine, good on the ball and loves a tackle. He will be an arsenal player for years to come

  55. Guns of Hackney

    Happy new year you sons of bitches.

    May our differences continue with good humour. Remember, we are The Arsenal!!!


  56. Dissenter

    Allison is a lot better than Leon, no doubt but the stats don’t tell the entire story.
    Allison came into a Liverpool team that was already solid at the end of last season, with the exception of the obvious goal keeping problem.
    I don’t think Allison would do any better that Leno with our current defense populated by slow oldies. Liverpool have the right personnel for the way Klopp wants to play out of the back. We only have Leno right for how Emery would like to play from the back.

    I’ve been a big admirer of Allison even when he was at Internacional. I’ve been calling him the best goalie in the world on this site for the past two years but eve he would be leaking as much goals if he was behind Koschielny and Mustafi.

  57. gambon


    Would be really keen to understand why you get so angry when anyone has ANY criticism of what Emery is doing?

    You have basically become everything you used to hate in the AKBs

  58. gambon

    One thing I would like to understand about the EKBs

    – do you think he is doing good things and we are on a good path?

    – do you think it’s just too early to judge if he’s good or not?

    I can sort of understand the latter.

    If it’s the former then you’re just making up progress in your head.

  59. Un na naai


    Yeah. Same. In tonight, watching “my neighbour Totoro” with the littlens and eating box baked Camembert

    Festive season well and truly over
    Been working all weekend and today. Hopefully nothing comes in tomo and I can just chill. Saying that it’s normally worse as the mrs normally ensures that I regret taking a day off with a list of random bullshit tasks that are actually either harder harder or than my working day or mind numbingly mundane.

  60. Thomas


    Same thing with Joe. He has become what he once fought against. An Akb. The difference is the object is now Emery instead of Wenger.

  61. Guns of Hackney


    Our baby was born this Christmas Day. After the past couple of years, a real gift.

    We’re new to this. Have a good whatever it is you do, peace out and let’s forget about the bullshit for at least a couple of hours.

    Up the Gunners.

    Let’s hope everyone gets through the night safely.

  62. Un na naai


    The difference is wenger loved the club and was our most successful manager ever who gave us our greatest ever side

  63. Sancho Monzorla


    At this point posters who seem to be in the “EKB” brigade are most likely just responding to the knee-jerk reaction by a lot of fans coupled with the fact that many of them had a different agenda in their efforts to make sure the ghost of Arsene Wenger was properly revered (maybe with the possible exception of Joe) even back when the team was performing better.

    The defense thing is a worry, and Emery will need to answer for that. It’s a fucking shit show currently, even with all the injury the team need to be drilled better. That said, I really don’t think any one manager would have improved us any noticeable measure further than Emery has, not this fast. The notion that any one manager can be a savior is a foolish rhetoric that probably lingers with so many fans because that’s the narrative Wenger tried to promote.

    Arsenal can’t be a club where now that we finally got rid of a dictator we are going to fire every manager after one season. I do see some improvement in terms of positioning and tactics and fight, and maybe it’s just me that sees this and maybe it is a bit of making up progress in my head, but I don’t think my visceral reaction to a few bad performances should negate my earlier assessments.

    More than anything if Emery performs so badly that he needs to be sacked, I trust he will be sacked, at a time that is appropriate and efficient for the club. I choose to believe for now that the club will at least try to make the smart moves after the whole Wenger scenario for years, and a few months is not enough to change that.

    If Emery were bad for an entire season and the moves being made continued to frustrate and confuse the fans like it did for years prior, there’s no way a lot of the posters who were so critical of the Wenger years for the same reasons wouldn’t be voicing the same opinion. Right now it’s just too soon.

  64. gambon

    Before I go….some worrying metrics:

    Goals 37 v 42
    Expected Goals 39 v 29
    Shots 353 v 249
    Possession 63% v 59%
    Goals conceded 25 v 30
    Expected Goals Against 22 v 28
    Shots Allowed 194 v 251
    Points 37 v 38

  65. Nelson

    Would anyone explain this to me. I read that if Kroenke puts in his own money, there will be a problem with the FFP rule. Does it mean that we are allow to spend only from the money that the club makes. In that case, how do PSG, Mancity or Chelsea buy all those players. Could it be the owner creates some fake sponsorship deals to fund the team?

  66. Un na naai


    No way!!! Congrats mate. (Or mazel tov)

    Lovely news!!! The second coming perhaps??
    Please tell me you didn’t name him/her Jesus?

  67. Un na naai


    Spite?? Looks like you’re the one harboring spite to me

    I think he was just an old fool who couldn’t let go. He’d long ago lost his “special sauce” but he loved the club. There’s no doubt about that. Any one who says different is harboring a little spite of their own I think

    I’d take 20 years of emery if he could give me the first 10 Wenger gave.

  68. Terraloon


    FFP is a minefield.

    Losses up to a certain amount can be funded by the owner but FFP is not straight forward
    As was pointed out earlier say you bought a player for £30 million on a five year contact and 3 years into that contract you sell him for £30 million you will show a profit of £ 12 million the difference of £18 million has been written off at the rate of £6 million a year over the previous three years.
    You then get the situation where say you’ve £100 million in the bank and decide to do out and spend it alas you can’t do that and not worry about FFP even though it’s your own money.
    It terms of how domPSG and indeed Man City generate their cash then the suggestion is that their commercial deals have been questionable and whilst people point the finger at Abramovich in terms of where did his money come from there is little doubt that he got in before FFP really bit hard and his focus has always been about generating cash for the business and their income streams now appear to be pretty robust

  69. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Thank you Arsene Wenger for not signing Vdv instead choosing to dither once again….

    May you never come to harm mr wenger,

  70. Paulie

    There’s a reason why we didn’t get a top boss this summer. A disaster for Arsenal aka Kronke. Don’t fucking delude yourselves that we will get decent players on this month. Only thing different now is that Wenger is gone. Cahill will be spun to us as experienced premier league defender instead of shit has been chelsea reject. We will be told about money in the summer window then come summer same bullshit will start again. Arsenal fans have to be the dumbest most gullible idiots in world football. We were once on the brink of becoming elite, then along came Kronke and killed us. We are small time now with a stupid deluded fan Base

  71. Guns of Hackney


    Thank you. He was one week early which happened to be Christmas Day. Total fluke. I’m Jewish because my mother is…he can’t be. He’ll actually enjoy Christmas! Ha ha.

    Peace out everyone and keep it real and safe going into the new year.

    Ps. Un…get your insides checked out dude and stop asking advic from the internet! Good luck, man.

  72. Pierre

    James .wood…for your information.

    Arsenal last 6 league games

    Won ……2…(ozil started both games )

    Drawn …1. (Ozil played first 45 minutes)

    Lost ……..3 ….ozil started zero games (played 15 minutes)

    Funnily enough ,Lacazette also started the 2 games we won and was taken off during the draw and never started any of our 3 defeats.

  73. Thomas

    @James Woods

    “Ozil rejects loan move.?Said he want’s to fight for a place in the side.?????”


    Translation: I’m happy collecting 350k a week whilst doing fuck all. Such a spineless player.

  74. James.wood

    Yes we certainly have had some players who new how to milk it whether
    injured or just non tries.?
    The crinkly one has a lot to answer for.
    “It’s all in his anticipated book.”.
    “My Speedo’s mistakes.”

  75. Dissenter

    Juventus are only offering Ramsey about 140k weekly, less that the offer that he dithered on at Arsenal.
    That’s if you believe the tabloids.

  76. Marko

    Grow up gambon. You said originally Allisson is much better than Leno. It seems we just signed a keeper for the sake of it rather than looking for a great one. Like everything you’ve said since the Liverpool defeat it’s all piss and vinegar and without solution. You won’t protests and Emery sacked fine then but who replaces him? You said Leno isn’t good enough and we should have signed a great keeper then fine who? Alisson for 70 million? Pavlenka at Bremen who’s statistically worse? How about Oblak? How about instead of complaining you come up with solutions and ideas otherwise you’re complaining because you love to.

  77. G

    ” The Arsenal team that reached the Champions league Final in 2006 finished 4th on 67 points so not much diffetence to the current side.”

    lol, yeh me to. Think the team that lost 5-1 to liverpool is better

  78. azed

    During our impressive unbeaten run earlier this season ,Lacazette(and ozil) played nearly every minute of the league games during that period , starting with the 3-2 win at Cardiff up until the 1-1 draw with wolves.

    Ozil didn’t play against Westham, Bournemouth, Spurs ,UTD or Fulham but why say the truth when stories can be made up?

  79. Champagne charlie

    “Thank you Arsene Wenger for not signing Vdv instead choosing to dither once again….May you never come to harm mr wenger”

    *Steve Rowley

  80. Valentin

    With the financial constraints that AFC must live under, what we needed was an inventive coach who could revitalise the entire club. Somebody who could coach young players and improve and make use of old heads. like Arsenal motto says victory via harmony.
    I am sorry, but Anybody who had followed French football recently knew that Unaï Emery was not the right man. A Europa League manager who was quickly found out when the going got tough.
    Now that Leonardo Jardim (he was always my preferred choice) is available, let’s go for him.

    With Chelsea ready to use the chequebook again and ManUtd revitalised, we will need luck to finish higher than 6th.

  81. azed

    “I am sorry, but Anybody who had followed French football recently knew that Unaï Emery was not the right man. A Europa League manager who was quickly found out when the going got tough.
    Now that Leonardo Jardim (he was always my preferred choice) is available, let’s go for him.”

    Emery left PSG as champions but he is rubbish, Jardim was sacked by Monaco because his team was bottom of the table but he is great.
    Real superb logic Valentin.

  82. emmanuel nwaneri

    As gloomy as it looked, today’s post is a bloody brilliant piece. It hits the damn nail on exactly why we are where we are as a club. Even the appointment of Emery was NEVER a longterm plan, It was a last-minute thing we fell into as soon as we learnt he was leaving PSG. Rmbr how Arteta, Henry were being lined up?
    So now Liverpool have exposed us as a non-Top Four side.
    Emery needs support from the top. He is a demanding coach, but such fire will die-out without the right tools and the message getting across to willing players.
    The team needs a serious overhaul. Players such as Ozil need to go, to start with. Thenceforth, we can look 4ward to a two-year rebuilding exercise. Its a huge reconstruction job, but its doable.

  83. Emiratesstroller

    Happy New Year everyone.

    Analysing Arsenal’s situation over the last 12 years we need to focus on poor decisions made by the club:

    1. The Board decided to become property developers at the wrong time. Development coincided with the banking crash. As a consequence sales were
    slow and profits generated smaller than anticipated.

    2. The club acquired two major shareholders in Kroenke and Usmanov. The
    former was the preferred choice of Board despite not investing a pseu in the
    club. All he has done has bought shares.

    3. Fiszman died during critical period and that impacted on decision making
    and transfer of his shares.

    4. The Board elected to sell key players and not invest in new high quality players. Wenger accepted the decision which resulted in Arsenal dropping down pecking order to third or fourth place for several years.

    5. The club has made some disastrous contract decisions in the last three to
    four years allowing contracts to run and then being forced to sell players for
    below market prices or being coerced into paying grossly inflated wages.

    6. The net spend is high because we are failing to make sales.

    7. The squad under Wenger’s stewardship was too much of the “same” and
    lacked investment particularly in defence. Also there were too many injury
    prone players on books.

    8. Since January we have acquired two good players in Aubameyang and Torreira. Guendouzi i s promising and Leno is acceptable.

    9. In my view we are short in quality of at least 7 players in squad including
    at least five in starting eleven.

    10. Moving forward the club needs as a priority to buy quality players in CB,LB,
    CMF and W positions. Buying the right sort of players will cost at least £150
    million if not more.

    11. The real question to be asked is whether Kroenke and current Board have
    the ambition and determination to improve the quality of team by making the
    sort of investments that Liverpool have made despite far more limited resources than ourselves.

    Sadly I don’t think that the club has that ambition on current evidence.

  84. TheLegendaryDB10

    Happy New Year all of you crazy (mf!) Grovers!!!

    The big test for Kroenke is that he wants to get back into top 4 mode, just like before. But as we all know, this ain’t going to be a walk in the park.

    Let’s not forget that Adidas’s £60 million will not start to drop until next season, when the new contract starts. That will be added on top of whatever we can pull out from under the mattress (Come on you misers! You can do it!).

  85. Nelson

    As I posted before, our club has selected Emery. He should be given 2 years to try to get us back into the Champions League. If he fails, then we’ll start over with another manager.
    There were a few Emery’s decisions that really confused me.
    1. The formation he used in a few of previous games were either 3-4-3 with 3 CBs or 4-3-3 with 2 CBs but 3 defensive midfielders. Against Liverpool, he used 4-2-3-1. This is an offensive formation against Liverpool’s strong attack. Our two midfielders happened to be very tired. We all saw that they looked tired in the Brighton game. Our players were sent out in a losing battle.
    2.. Most fans would agree with me the Auba plays better with Laca playing next to him. Currently, they are our two best players. Instead, Emery let Auba isolated up front. I accept that Iwobi and AMN played better under this formation. But I would rather rely on Auba to win the war instead of Iwobi and AMN. Our future relies on Auba/Laca and not Iwobi and AMN.
    3. During the second half, I commented that the game was lost already and I would rest Torr because he really needs a rest. Emery didn’t do that when he made his 3 subs. We needs Torr tomorrow and I am afraid that Torr is still tired.

  86. Champagne charlie

    “According to former Celtic assistant manager John Collins, Arsene Wenger had been keen on Van Dijk but the club’s now former chief scout, Steve Rowley, thought the elegant centre-half was too ‘nonchalant’.

    ‘Arsenal’s chief scout thought he was too nonchalant,’ Collins told beIN Sport. ‘Maybe that was part of his game but he ticks so many of the other boxes.

    ‘He’s got pace, power, balance, distribution and he’s good in the air. He can be a bit nonchalant but he is a quality player.“

    Maybe time for you to change Marko.

  87. Champagne charlie

    Windows open, let’s see the changes Arsenal, Stan, Sven, Emery..

    Happy new year all…well most….ok some…ehh a few..

  88. Marko

    But what about the whole great eye for talent stuff then Charlie was that Rowley? Cause you’re implying that it’s basically up to Rowley? He says they’re good enough or not and Arsene pulls the trigger on his word. It more and more sounds like Arsene did fuck all over the years

  89. Dissenter

    Iy your child scout told you that a central defensive prospect has “’ got pace, power, balance, distribution and he’s good in the air” but can be too “non challant”….is a quality player.

    Would you sign that player?
    Non chalance can be easily trained out of a young player.

    Steve Rowley did his job by presenting a dossier with strengths and weaknesses. Wenger made the bad decision.

  90. Valentin

    Like I said if you had followed French football you would know what happen at Monaco and PSG.
    Monaco had a great scouting network, however they changed the head of that department and replaced him with Emenelo who had just left Chelsea.
    His tenure has been an abject failure, every players he bought had been a disaster: technically poor, injured and unfit to play for the duration of their contract, lazy, prima Donna behaviour, bad attitude. For example one player was sulking because he did not get his favourite number.
    Monaco business plan was based on buying cheaply young hungry players and gradually reselling them at a massive profit 2 to 4 years later. Instead they sold their entire team in one transfer window. That year Jardim made a few miracles and qualified them again for the Champion’s league. How did Emenelo thanked him? By selling again nearly an entire team. As he could see the writing on the wall, Jardim asked to leave. Instead of letting Jardim go as he wanted, they then forced him to honour his contract. As the squad is really bad and the few decent players injured they quickly dropped in the relegation zone, Monaco finally agree to let Jardim go. He could not leave quickly enough. TH14 is now realising the mess he inherited. Without massive change in the playing personnel, Monaco is doomed and everybody knows that.
    At least if you follow French football….

  91. Valentin


    Emery spent two years at PSG. PSG who had won every domestic trophy for three years in a row prior to his appointment.
    His first year, he lost the league. Like finishing second in a one horse race.
    His second year, Monaco sold its entire team, including their main striker MBappe to PSG.
    With Neymar and MBappe and a squad costing more than half the entire squad of Ligue 1, PSG won Ligue 1, but they were far from impressive domestically.
    In the Champion’s league after being humiliated by Barcelona the first year, the second year they got spanked by Real Madrid. In both games they were tactically inept.
    Those defeats and the fact that half the squad were feuding with him made the decision not to renew Emery’s contract an easy one.
    Since his appointment Tomas Tuchel made some mistake, but you can clearly see he is trying to modify PSG style of play. A quicker, less possession based and more vertical style of play. Domestically they have only dropped points on two/three occasions. He is also integrating a lot of youngsters. Maybe more than anticipated because of players coming tired from the World Cup.
    In the Champion’s league he has been able to finish first in a group that included Liverpool and Napoli. Tuchel’s PSG are showing sign of improvement.
    Like I keep repeating if you follow French football you would know those things.

    There is a reason why none of big clubs were interested in Emery. Big clubs have seen enough. They know his level and it’s not Champion’s league level.

  92. azed


    You are blaming the players for Monaco being in the relegation zone even though the team was assembled by Jardim but you expect Emery to do wonders with a team assembled by another person?

    Also since Jardim was sacked, Man Utd and Madrid has also changed coaches but none of them went for Jardim care to explain why?

    Man Utd picked Solskjaer over the miracle worker Jardim while Madrid picked Soldado.

    FYI: Emery took Almeria from the 2nd division in Spain to finishing 8th in La liga. He also coached a selling team in Valencia and it was only in his first season that he finished outside the top 4. Everything Jardim has done, Emery has done more and far better.

  93. azed


    Jardim had coached Monaco for two years before the arrival of PSG and had finished 3rd before finishing first.
    That the who team was sold is also a big fat lie.

    Fabinho, Bakayoko and Bernardo Silva were all in the squad from 2014-2017. Lemar, Falcao and Mendy were add along the way. It took him 3 years to win the league but you expect Emery to perform magic in his first 6 months.

    Pep lost to Everton 4-0 in his first year despite inheriting a better squad than Emery and spending more money.

  94. Receding Hairline


    There is nothing remotely grown up about Gambon. Just an overgrown baby desperate for attention. Do not despair, he will soon go on exile until Emery is sacked then back the next gaffer for six months.

    Yet he wants us to believe he is a consultant,wonder who in their right minds seek his counsel

  95. PhD2020

    Receding HairlineJanuary 1, 2019 06:05:03
    EKBThere is nothing remotely grown up about Gambon. Just an overgrown baby desperate for attention. Do not despair, he will soon go on exile until Emery is sacked then back the next gaffer for six months. Yet he wants us to believe he is a consultant,wonder who in their right minds seek his counsel
    Come on dude..It’s just a football blog with posters offering differing opinions.

    The blog is a welcome distraction for many a poster to entertain,to learn,to share our collective thoughts.But all in all,nothing to take seriously.

    I think you are taking Gambon’s thoughts a bit too seriously.It’s just a football blog..
    Gambon,on the whole is a great poster,funny,concise,analytical and insightful.
    I do find his latest musings on Emery funny.In the sense that,there is so much more serious issues in life to contend with-that is nice to be able to smile once in a while.Rather than have to listen to the same back and forth arguments being regurgitated ad infintum.

    You need to lighten up a bit..

    Happy New Year..And may your life be blessed with peace,happiness and prosperity..

  96. Pierre

    When trying to find a reason for our poor results of late (3 defeats and one draw in the last 5 games) it can be difficult to pin point where it is going wrong .

    Is it solely down to injuries in defence.m
    Is it because Lacazette and Ozil have not started in any of our defeats.
    A combination of both
    Individual errors..

    Of course ,the injuries haven’t helped but Emery could have managed the situation a lot better …he made too many unnecessary changes in my view to disrupt the balance of the team.

    Tiredness …shouldn’t be a factor as the 2nd string have mainly played during the Europa and league cup matches.

    Individual errors haven’t helped but I think that sometimes players make errors in defence due to a lack of defensive discipline tactically which leads to a lack of composure so they panic in certain situations.
    For me ,the fewer changes you make in defence the better ,all it does is create uncertainty at the back and with the keeper.

    Lacazette and ozil……. Is it a coincidence that our results and performances are poor when they are not in the side and better when they both start. …maybe ,maybe not.
    To me ,it does appear strange that over the last 6 games ,Lacazette and Ozil appearances are identical in that both have played in our 2 victories ,both started in the draw v Brighton and were taken off early and both were left out of the team for our 3 defeats….is that a coincidence….maybe, maybe not.

    My theory is that Emery is a little power crazy and believes he has to show what a strong manager by putting high profile players in their place……
    Both Lacazette and Ozil were substituted in games and both didn’t hide their displeasure at being taken off…..I believe that Emery took it that they were questioning his decisions and authority and he would make them pay for it …he did exactly the same with Ramsey earlier in the season when he went off shaking his head after being substituted….the following week ,dropped from the team.

    Some would call it strong management …….I call it petty.

  97. Graham62

    The start of a New Year and with it, the hope that a few things get sorted at AFC.

    1. The Ozil saga comes to an end.
    2. Lacazette is given a fair crack of the whip.
    3. Our defence learn to defend.
    4. Ramsey leaves(?) along with some of the other deadwood.
    5. Emery is given some dosh.
    6. January see’s at least one or maybe even two quality additions, although I don’t hold out much hope.
    7. Injuries are minimised.
    8. We compete for top 4. Difficult, as it’s now a cert MU will be in the mix.
    9. Emery(although improving his English) learns to speak more slowly.
    10.We start 2019 with a win tonight against Fulham.

    Have a great 2019 everyone.

  98. Jay

    A man whose favourite formation is 433 don’t bring any proper winger in and let our best winger go on loan, he can’t teach his players how to defend in six months of work, I know they are shit defenders, but for fuck sake let’s get real, we hired middle level manager, who prefers to keep xhaka over Ramsey and can’t play aubameyang and lacazette together, where any other manager would start selection from that pair. Still don’t understand why with didn’t go for arteta or jardim but it must have been fucking gazidis choice

  99. Jay

    Transfer window opens so we can get another pair of retired centre backs, plus banega, the future is bright, happy new year every arsenal fan

  100. Receding Hairline


    You are preaching to the choir . I don’t take Gambon 1% seriously

    Lots going on right now in my life to worry about who backs Emery or not. Just dropping a comment like everyone else, no need for the lecture

  101. Valentin


    Did you read and understood my post?
    The Monaco team was NOT assembled by Jardim.
    He was the head coach, not the manager. Before Emenelo arrival he had regular meetings with the scouting department and they select together their targets. Once Emenelo arrived he and he alone chose the players. Jardim had no say in the players selected. That was one of his major gripes. Monaco was now selecting players a la Chelsea with no regard to the first team. They sold 3 fullbacks and did not buy a single replacements. They sold their two defensive midfielders (Fabinho, Bakayoko) and their two main creators (Bernardo Silva, Lemar) and replaced them with wingers because generally wingers can be sold at a higher price.

    Once again you are showing you have not followed French football.

    You would have noted that both Real Madrid and ManUtd went for former players who already knew the club. Both are in place because they could hit the ground running and a different manager will be installed during the summer. Both want Pochettino and Zidane.

    Moreover their need and Arsenal need are completely different. ManUtd needed somebody who knew the players and get them on board as quickly as possible. They also wanted somebody the fans could rally behind. Solsjkaer fit both criteria. He had coached Pogba in the youth team and they appreciated each other. Real Madrid went for Soldado because he was already in their book. After the Lopetogui fiasco, they needed somebody who will toe the official line. In view of their subsequent results, I am not convinced that he will finish the season.
    If you look at Emery’s result he has never exceeded the expected result based on his budget. Yes he got result at Almeria, but because they spend more money than anybody else in la Secunda. Spain is full of basket case owner who overspend and suddenly you have a great team. That never last. That does not mean that the coach in place at that time is great. He could be, but most of the time he is just lucky to be in place at the right time.