Achieving a brighter future (Long read)

by & filed under News Review.

courtesy @allthatchas

Today, I’m here to give you all a bit of a pep talk. NOT PEP G. Just whatever a pep is. What is a pep?

I’m here to give you a textual team huddle. NO, my office cleaning lady is going to take this one.

Over to you, Esther.

*hands over keyboard*

WE ARE GOING TO BE HAPPY

WE ARE GOING TO BE HAPPY

WE ARE GOING TO BE HAPPY

Good, right?

I think there’s a lot of deflated chatter amongst Arsenal fans at the minute. The lack of leadership at the club is breathtaking at times, we don’t seem capable of making good hiring decisions and we’re short on resource in important roles.

However, there is light at the tunnel.

Arsenal CAN compete at the top of the game. We don’t need £400m to get back to our best. There are other ways outside SPEND SPEND SPEND to achieve greatness.

Don’t believe me?

Look at Spurs. Our wage bill is at least £80m higher than their one. We spent £70m more than them last summer. They have dropped about £50m net since Poch joined. They are competing.

Look at Dortmund. 2 points off the top of the league with 3 games to go. They might not win, but they have found a way to make the league competitive. They’ve been to a Champions League final. They have won things.

Look at Ajax. They have been out in the cold for years. But, as Bamford from the comments said,  they are the most exciting sporting story in the world right now. Accident? No way. It was a concerted effort from a group of their old boys to get back to the top of world football. There was a vision, a plan, and the energy to follow it through.

I have written about this many times before… Arsenal’s main issue is we’re not prepared to be honest about who we are as a club. We are never going to be City, we’re never going to be Bayern, we can only be Arsenal.

That means we are constrained by the realities of business. Which, if you’re totally fair, look pretty good for us. I repeat… our wage bill is about £80m higher than Spurs. We are through the worst of the stadium debt and can spend what we make. Sponsorships keep rising for reasons not related to performance. We have an outrageous net spend over the past 5 years, 3rd highest in the league. We have a bigger net spend than Madrid since 2010!

Our wage bill is 4.8x larger than Ajax. Mesut Ozil would represent 40% of their TOTAL wage bill alone. Don’t tell me we can’t play nice football and compete at the highest level.

What we don’t have is a vision. I think we expected better from Emery. Outside the bland football, across most statistics, he’s tanking. This data from @ShivWhorra is compelling if you don’t believe your eyes. Note that he’s not comparing us to last season alone, because ONE DATA POINT IS NOT HOW YOU ANALYSE. Wenger had largely the same crop of players, and if anything, Emery has a better squad after the great additions of Sven last summer (RIP brother).

Factor in that we’re the most clinical team in the league, with facts pointing out that we’re worse defensively, our points total will not be much of an improvement over ten years of data, our xG league position has us as a midtable team. When the luck runs out, which it will (it has), what are we falling back on? There are no visible foundations that have been set in a year (bar being more competitive against bigger teams). Pelligrini has had a rough year, but you can see what’s going on there. Chelsea have had an even rougher year, but you can see what the manager is trying to do, what are we doing?

You can say all of this doesn’t matter if we make CL next season, and you’d be right on the surface. This is a game of realities not xG hypotheticals. If he makes the CL, he’s done his job. However, a correction is looming, and even if we make the Promised Land (which I genuinely think we have a good chance of), I would say it’s still the beginning of the end. Reality always catches you in the end… a bit like the trophies Wenger won papering over the shit show he was presiding over.

The players are leaking to the press. Matt Law wrote a damning piece where other players are chastising their teammate’s selection. Hugely disrespectful, but when it all comes at the same time, it’s hard to doubt there’s an agreement in the squad that they’re not enjoying what’s going on.

So, where is the light?

Arsenal are going to bring in a technical director. We know that’s on the cards. There is no way Raul is going to do a Ralph Rangnick and take the rebuild on himself this summer. We will be hiring someone and I suspect it’ll be to great fanfare like the Sven signing.

A technical director is important for many reasons. Firstly, they set the tone for the future of the club. They are the visionary film producers of football. They know what they want to make, and they bring in the people to make it happen (anyone that tells me producers aren’t important in the comments land a ban).

What I doubt will happen is anything drastic when they arrive. As many of us have experienced when we’re young, you take a big job and make big changes too soon, everyone hates you and you struggle to recover.

The new man is going to come in and assess what the fuck is going on at Arsenal. One of the things Emery has going for him is the whole club is a burning mess, there’s no way they’ll do anything drastic to his contract until there’s an understanding of what the plan is. Sometimes you have to let things break, that way, people beg you to fix it. Fix before and you’ll have doubters and moaners. Make them grateful for implementing your agenda.

For me, this new technical director needs to be grounded in reality. He can’t be an exBarca exec. They’ve lived the life of luxury. I read a great book called Principles by Ray Dalio, brilliant if you run anything, a very process oriented look at how he built the Bridgewater hedge fund. Anyway, in his book, there’s a loose comment where he’s like… ‘oh man, everyone needs an AI guy in their office’… errr… not in the real-world my friend.

That was always my fear with Raul. He’s never slummed it with an Elneny in his life. If we get a TD from Barca, and they’re like, ‘oh man, let’s get a Neymar in here’, things aren’t going to work.

We need to have someone who can assess the club for what it is. Bottom of the elite in terms of financial power, but built in the GREATEST CITY EVER, incredible training facilities, massive stadium, ability to play great football, and a wonderful heritage of winning things.

I will say this a thousand times. Our best way back to the top is to set an exciting vision of how the game should be played, i.e. Wengerball 2.0… then get the best young players, coaches and visionaries in the game to make it happen.

That’s what Ajax has done, that’s what Dortmund do, like it or love it, that’s what Spurs has done. To a lesser extent, that is exactly what the RB franchise has done (3rd in the league this year).

‘But who would manage Arsenal?’ is such a pony fucking response. Who wouldn’t! Ok, so maybe we’re not prime meat for Allegri. But why would we sign a coach that is in the top 3 in the world if we can’t offer him a reality he needs to succeed (big money / ready-made players / Champions League in season 1)?

We need someone capable of building a squad, someone who can develop players, a person with a point to prove, and a candidate with something a little special about the way they think. There are a lot of great coaches in the game, there are good options everywhere, we just have to be smart about where we look. It doesn’t have to be a big name at Arsenal. Poch came from Southampton, a massive risk for Spurs. Monchengladbach have just hired Marco Rose from Salzburg. Dortmund have been brought to greater heights by Favre. RB hired in Nagelsmann. Rennes just won the French cup with Julien Stéphan (38) and he’s been great for them in the league.

This simple approach works for the club as well. Tell Josh and Stan that we’re going to hire in a young coach with elite ideas for £2m a year and give him two hires of his own, we’re going to hire the scrappiest Chief Scout in the game that finds diamonds (RIP SVEN MISS U), we’re going to play the best brand of football in the world, we’re going to do it with young hungry players who we’ll heavily bonus, and we’re going to build out a backroom of elite coaches so if the manager tanks, we don’t lose ten people and get a massive bill.

If this works, we push into the Champions League and compete again. If it doesn’t, at least we have a squad of young players that didn’t cost a lot, but will likely still be in the top 6. We could also sell on players for massive money and build from there like Liverpool has done.

It won’t be an instant success, but if the club is honest and open with the fans, who wouldn’t buy into this sort of plan?

This technical director role is so unbelievably important. They will have their ear to the ground, they will make impartial decisions about the club, and most importantly, the brain we hire in will be the vision for the club for the next ten years.

Get it right and we’re on the way again after a sputtery start to the post-Wenger era.

Fuck it up, and we’ll slide into mediocrity and become an Everton like irrelevance.

All on you Raul, all on you. x

406 Responses to “Achieving a brighter future (Long read)”

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  1. gambon

    We can put to bed the best ever arguments for good now.

    Until Bukayo Saka overtakes him in 8 years.

  2. Un Na naai

    Benny

    Hating your own won’t change the fact that Israel exists.

    🇮🇱🇮🇱🇮🇱

  3. bennydevito

    Un Na naaiMay 1, 2019    20:34:26

    I’m not the the drunken slapper at an Ibiza after party cheering on Liverpool and Spurs on an Arsenal blog.

    Benny.
    Na, cos you’re a square. You’re dying your hair pink in some bristolian dive waving your Palestinian pom poms

    >>>>>

    Lol! Good one.

    I’ve never dyed my hair in my life let alone pink. What a weird little comment.

    And I’ve only ever been to one Palestine March. Syria’s where I’m active. The Bristol Palestine idiots all think Assad is the good guy even though Assad and Russia have destroyed the Palestinian refugee camp in Syria called Yarmouk, and Assad has tortured and killed Palestinians in his prisons. I only went on their march to infiltrate it to see who’s in charge.

    But back to football; Ajax and Barcelona have made my week.

    Beautiful.

  4. WengerEagle

    Messi’s nowhere near as dynamic a dribbler as he was before, doesn’t have that explosive burst anymore.

    He’s improved nearly every on ball aspect of his game though and his decision making.

  5. WengerEagle

    Reminds me of Barca’s 3-0 win over Pep’s Bayern in 2015 when they similarly stole the game 3-0 even though they were outplayed for large parts and Bayern missd golden chances.

  6. bennydevito

    Un Na naaiMay 1, 2019    20:50:31

    Benny

    Hating your own won’t change the fact that Israel exists.

    >>>>>

    I don’t give a fuck about Israel who mentioned that?

    And who said I hate my own? Hate my own what? Liverpool? Why would I give one fuck about them when I’m an Arsenal fan?

    I love England and voted leave on Brexit so fuck knows what the fuck you’re dribbling about you fucking retard.

  7. TR7

    Gambon

    He has lost some pace. A few years ago he could beat 7-8 players on his own to score wonderful goals nowadays he beats 2 to 3 players and then passes on to someone else. So I would not say he is as good as ever. Still by far the best though.

  8. Marko

    A punt on Dennis?

    I would imagine a technical director would have to do some traveling and that unfortunately rules out Dennis

  9. WengerEagle

    Not grabbing the away goal makes the picture pretty bleak for Liverpool because it’s hard to see them containing Barcelona for 90 mins at Anfield.

    Will take something pretty special, they are capable of it though, just look at Roma last season.

  10. Marko

    Theo was better at the same age
    £100m??? Do me a favour.

    Jaysus will you stop it’s beyond embarrassing now

  11. Un Na naai

    You take Messi and Ronaldo away and the britsh clubs will dominate Europe. It was only them who thwarted that dominance in the last decade anyway.

    Messi is an actual freak of nature. He’s abilities are beyond ridiculous

  12. TR7

    Yeah, very poor tactics from Klopp. In the search for that elusive away goal, he let Messi cause a lot of damage. Should have been 4-0.

  13. Thomas

    Dembele is fucking shit. How much did Barca pay for him and Coutinho? About £250m? Shocking really.

  14. Un Na naai

    Marko

    Hush your gums sham. I’m not addressing you. Why don’t you gonand contemplate incest some more. Seems to excite you

  15. WengerEagle

    Poor tactics?

    They blitzed Liverpool for half an hour in the second half before a comical gaffe cost them the momentum.

    Milner, Mane and Salah all missed absolute sitters and Messi summoned his inner Juninho from 35 odd yards.

    By the time you’re 3-0 down you have to go for the away goal which left them 1 vs 3 at the back twice in counters.

  16. Un Na naai

    Liverpool were the better side
    What they lack is a focal point sometimes and a striker with killer instinct. An assassin. Some great changes went begging there tonight. They had no plan b. A target man could have turned it around there but they can only play one way

  17. Marko

    You take Messi and Ronaldo away and the britsh clubs will dominate Europe. It was only them who thwarted that dominance in the last decade anyway.

    Only them… and English teams not being good enough.

  18. MidwestGun

    Oh Red… you crack me up dude.. Messi is average and Aguero is a headless chicken.. Yeah I know. Seriously did somebody from Argentina harm you in any way as a youngster? You have a giant blind spot in your football viewing.

  19. Marko

    We were good enough to make you lot bow to the queen though weren’t we??

    Huh? What are you talking about you greek idiot it’s the Republic of Ireland. A bunch of pissed up Irishmen waving sticks beat yis you fucking moron.

  20. TR7

    WE

    Barca missed as many chances as Pool if not more. Messi alone put on plate at least 4 clear goal scoring chances to Suarez, Coutinho and Dembele. I thought Liverpool were too open in what was an away game to a team which has players who can turn it on when required. For me they are out of the CL. Barca are going to score at least one at Anfield.

  21. bennydevito

    Got to be said Liverpool missed some glorious chances and should have had 3 away goals. They were very unlucky and you’ve got to take your hat off to them because we probably won’t get to a CL semi final for another 10 years.

    Who knows at Anfield and the kuck goes Liverpool’s way is it beyond the realms of possibility that Liverpool could score 3 or 4?

    I wouldn’t bet against it.

  22. Dissenter

    It is never shame to lose to Leo godly Messi
    Not unless you have a clown called Almunia in goal

    ……………………………………………..

    lol … all the silly talk about Virgil van Dijk being the best defender in the world.
    Did you lot get to compare him with Gerard Piqué?

  23. WengerEagle

    TR7

    3 of those chances came after they were already 3-0 down and committing everyone forward, Barca up until the 2nd goal were well outplayed by Liverpool.

    Agree, it’s basically over barring a miracle performance.

  24. Gazzap

    The key thing to tonight for us is simply how far we are behind both of these teams. don’t think we’ve barely got a player that would get in either team. Maybe Torreira. that’s it I would say. but just light years behind them. we used to play somewhere close to that level 15+ years ago. Hard to believe now. Years of poor decision making, by Wenger and others.

  25. Un Na naai

    Marko

    Lol, the northern third of your country still sings god save the queen and spends £££

  26. Thomas

    Ajax – Barca final and Barca will win

    2014 Real
    2015 Barca
    2016 Real
    2017 Real
    2018 Real
    2019 Barca

    Champions LeaZZZzzzzzzzz

  27. Dissenter

    Messi will score another hat trick at Anfield
    The bin-dippers will give him a standing ovation off the field.
    Messi earns every penny of his salary, what a stone cold killer.

  28. Dissenter

    Arsene Wenger commenting about the Barca first goal; “‘It is very interesting because Van Dijk covers but he should go with Suarez to cover that ball.
    ‘Especially from a central defender with that quality, he lets him go. From the start, his position is not bad but he refuses to respond.’

    Maybe the VVD fan club will ease off on the superlatives now.

  29. WengerEagle

    Dissenter

    Knee-jerk much? VVD has been a giant all season, he wasn’t even poor tonight Barca took their first goal very well and the 2nd was a gift via deflection.

    Not sure if he’s the best CB on the planet but he’s definitely in the conversation.

  30. bennydevito

    Un nai,

    All good dude.

    I was deliberately winding you up too.

    Takes one to know one, we can both take it but give it a damn sight better.

    FYI, I think it’s admirable your support for other British teams but me personally I cannot cheer on Liverpool, Man utd or Spurs. I can just about manage Chelsea but that’s because my old man was a Shed end regular, but any other British team O would happily cheer them on.

  31. WengerEagle

    TR7

    And if you’d believe it he scored his very first Barcelona goal [the lob finish assisted by Ronaldinho] 14 years ago to the very date.

    Averages 43 Barcelona goals a year lol, since his fucking debut.

  32. Marko

    Lol, the northern third of your country still sings god save the queen and spends £££

    You can have it. I suppose it was worth all the trouble

  33. gambon

    “Maybe the VVD fan club will ease off on the superlatives now.”

    The man who bought in Senderos, Djourou, Cygan, Squillaci, Mustafi isnt allowed to talk about centre back play.

    He hasnt a clue.

  34. WengerEagle

    TR7

    Haha Messi is in a league of his own, he’s better than he’s been for a few years this season. Treble would really seal it and a 6th Ballon D’or which I hope he gets because he deserves to finish with more than CR7.

  35. Marko

    Dissenter total knee jerk reaction mate also you’re going to listen to Arsene Wenger talking about mistakes a defender made? With his track record

  36. Samesong

    Messi 600 goals madness!

    I see a stat earlier something like 600 in 682 appearance for Barcelona.

  37. HighburyLegend

    “Arsene Wenger commenting about the Barca first goal”

    The only job he has found.
    What a surprise.

  38. WengerEagle

    Ah you can’t begrudge Ronaldo winning the Ballon D’or in 2008, 2014 or 2017 TR7.

    He robbed Messi’s Ballon D’ors in 2013 and 2016 and Modric robbed Messi’s Ballon D’or last year.

  39. Nelson

    Without Firmino, the Pool’s attack was weaken considerably. Arnold was sitting on the sub bench. Why play Gomez instead? He gave up on the play for the second goal. The wall was not lined up correctly for the third goal. Gomez didn’t jump high enough in the wall.
    It was quite a scene seeing Barca parking the bus and played counter.

  40. TR7

    Yeah, 8-3 if you take in to account success of their respective teams too in to the equation but for what is an individual award, the best individual should get it irrespective of how his team has fared in a given calendar year. Messi has been the best from 2009 onwards. Modric was perhaps the most underserved winner in last 2 decades.

  41. Dissenter

    Messi’s record with Argentina is a blight on his legacy though
    It’s not like he played for Aremania or Liberia, It’s Argentina with all their good players.
    I’m sure he hates Higuain with a passion because they would have beat Germany had Higuain done the business at the Maracana.

  42. TheLegendaryDB10

    Ahh where to begin? After luckily being saved by a non footballing following mate on Sunday after the game (I ranted at him for 20 mins about our game and current situation regardlessly before going on a serious bender 😁), I was able to think about the teams attitude after the defeat to CP. In bith games we realky looked disinterested. We all know what we could have achieved (3rd) if the players had put their heart in it. But they didn’t. And I fear it is a mix of distrust in UE and of knowing that they may be sold at the end of season, that we have players who look like they are giving zero fucks to what is going on.

    I have my suspicions that our senior management people don’t really look like they are doing their best in running our club (I am really curious how our summer TW will pan out; I realky have no faith in them.

    To see such toothlessness/ lack of fight in our team in what has now become our 3rd defeat of the week, seems to point to a problem within the team. We know the players are shit. We kinda know that the players don’t like UE. A bad mix of negative emotions brewing up here, imo, which is not a good mixture for motivating a player.

    What concerns me now is regards to tomorrow night’s game. Are we going to show some fight or are we going to flunk it because the players don’t like UE?

  43. TheLegendaryDB10

    What I should add is that the disinterest in the players looks like it was borne out by the wrong selection vs CP. We all know that he should have fielded the “regulars” that would have suited the 3-5-2 (that he rightly chose vs CP, funnily enough) he had successfully used against Napoli.

    I fear that we will be in for a real ride tomorrow vs Valencia.

  44. bennydevito

    https://www.skysports.com/football/news/11670/11708623/mesut-ozil-exclusive-im-happy-at-arsenal-and-want-to-stay

    Once and for all Ozil himself obliterates Pierre’s fantasy Jackanory stories.

    Ozil loves it at Arsenal, wants to stay, has no problem with Emery and their relationship is positive, anything else was just speculation, and the reason he didn’t play was because of injury.

    Like I said all along; Pierre talking bollocks.

    Also talking bollocks about Emery not liking Ramsey

    https://www-dailymail-co-uk.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-6980761/amp/Unai-Emery-hails-Aaron-Ramsey-Arsenal-manager-confirms-outgoing-star-rest-season.html?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQCCAE%3D#referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com&amp_tf=From%20%251%24s&ampshare=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.dailymail.co.uk%2Fsport%2Ffootball%2Farticle-6980761%2FUnai-Emery-hails-Aaron-Ramsey-Arsenal-manager-confirms-outgoing-star-rest-season.html

    Looks like Jackanory boy’s going to have to make up another story to desperately try to discredit Emery because of his butthurt Wengeriteous.

    Valentin too and his Jackanoryness.

  45. Valentin

    Like Özil and Emery are going to tell in public what they really think of each other. That could be cause for immediate dismissal for breach of professional contract.
    Özil and the club are just engaged in a media war.
    The club has briefed everybody that Özil is available if the buyer pays all of Özil’s wage. Özil does not want to leave, so he made it known that he does not want to leave.
    So now any club potentially interested in Özil knows that even if they successfully negotiate with Arsenal, they are unlikely to convince the player.

  46. China1

    I don’t think our recent collapse is because the players stopped playing for the manager

    I think these are just very fragile footballers. The selection was awful against palace which cost us first and foremost. After that our fragility that we’ve seen countless times before crept back in and emery compounded the issue with further poor selections and getting it wrong tactically

    I doubt these players are throwing the towel in at this key juncture in the season. They were on the cusp of a third place finish and favourites for the EL on top and overnight they want UE sacked so badly they are willing to throw the league CL spots and EL entirely?

    That theory doesn’t feel close to adding up – and if it was true the entire squad needs a metaphorical firing squad because that is an absolutely unbelievable way to purposely throw a season away right at the death like this

  47. TheLegendaryDB10

    China1

    I am just throwing my opinion. I just find it strange that we couldn’t muster anything throughout the Leicester game as a way to show that they had turned a page after the previous 2 losses.

    That’s why tomorrow is going to be interesting in the way we react to these 3 defeats. I already expected something of a riposte vs Leicester and we showed zilch. So my expectations are kinda low for this upcoming game unfortunately. I would be happy to be proven otherwise.

  48. China1

    Yeah mate I have mixed expectations too and I was also surprised how bad we were against Leicester, but I think our confidence was shot to pieces from the previous week and the players were playing with fear

    I think we have to remember that it’s not like we dominate most games even when we’re winning and we change our system all the time. When you’re winning that can be great and it makes us unpredictable to prepare for which is an advantage if we play well

    But when confidence is low and players are out there, it’s another story. The squad has pretty much no established leader (I love kos but he’s been a leader throughout much of our softest and lowest times so…)

    The players are on the pitch with some dubious selection, a bit of uncertainty about the constantly changing system, low confidence because of recent results and throughout the whole season we’ve probably dominated less than 10 games, regardless of what some of the possession stats say

    Add all those things together and the players walked out on the pitch against a good Leicester with uncertainty and fear which is toxic for all but a small percentage of people who can thrive in that environment (none at arsenal)

    So I believe we can blame the quality of the players and the manager for how things have panned out lately, but I don’t think anyone has been under par on purpose or w/e. They’re just not top class players who are down at the moment

  49. Dissenter

    Valentin is still talking like he has inside information about what is going on at Arsenal
    Challenge him to produce proof and he will post something from the “Daily star”

  50. Chitom

    DissenterMay 1, 2019 21:27:06
    Arsene Wenger commenting about the Barca first goal; “‘It is very interesting because Van Dijk covers but he should go with Suarez to cover that ball.
    ‘Especially from a central defender with that quality, he lets him go. From the start, his position is not bad but he refuses to respond.’Maybe the VVD fan club will ease off on the superlatives now.

    Right. Any minute now the PFA will rescind their VVD vote.
    Must’ve been a hard thing to swallow for you. Don’t worry though, I hear Motrovic is in the running for next seasons voting.
    You’ll get your street cred back , surely lol.

    Wenger is so clueless.
    Sometimes you just have to tip your cap and say well done.
    Suarez times it to perfection running onto the flat through ball that’s almost like a shot on goal.

    If anything VVD can be blamed for ball watching while Messi sneaks past him for an easy rebound for Barca’s second.

  51. China1

    Lol at wenger learning how to analyze defensive plays after 23 years of not bothering

    That is next level trolling arsene. A 23 year prank haha

  52. China1

    The weird part of it all is that if VVD has done that for arsenal under wengers tenure there’s no way in hell he pulls VVD to one side after the game and explains his mistake. He’d have just let it slide, blame the referee and hoped it wouldn’t happen again next time

  53. Un Na naai

    “Arsenal are a duvet that is a little too short and Emery has battled between hiding his second rate defence and properly supporting his overworked strikers. Ramsey, or a player like him, in midfield gives the team a little more coverage. At the moment, Arsenal’s strikers look cold and alone.”

    This line sums up the squad well.

  54. Bamford10

    China

    “I don’t think our recent collapse is because the players stopped playing for the manager.”

    It isn’t.

    “I doubt these players are throwing the towel in at this key juncture in the season.”

    They aren’t.

    LegendaryDB10

    “I already expected something of a riposte vs Leicester.”

    From whom, though? Xhaka? Iwobi? Mkhitaryan? Ozil? Torreira? Guendouzi? Without Ramsey, we are a sorry lot. That is the basic, sad and unfortunate fact of Arsenal at the moment.

  55. Bamford10

    Don

    It’s not that we’re missing those particular players, it’s that we’re missing certain kinds of players. We don’t need Theo Walcott — good riddance — but we do need a wide attacking player or two. We don’t need Jack Wilshere — who was crocked and broken years ago — but we do need better and more dynamic central midfield play. And so on.

  56. TheLegendaryDB10

    China1

    I hope you are right. Don’t get me wrong, it really looks like the team has hit rock bottom at the moment. I just hope that we don’t carry on like this next season and that we buy the necessary players to galvanise this team.

    We really need someone charismatic in this team to wake it up a bit.

  57. Bamford10

    Messi was incredible again last night, of course, but other players were excellent as well as were Barcelona as a whole. So much quality in that side, so well-organized, so efficient on the ball and in the final third. Pique was massive, Alba is fantastic. I think they will be two or three goals too much for Ajax, but it should make for a great match.

  58. Un Na naai

    Bamford
    Yes. I’m not saying we need those exact players
    I’m saying since we’ve lost those players we have become predictable and dull. We’ve lost our variety. As much as I wanted those players to fulfill their potential at arsenal they are gone. So they need replacing and for me, Suarez, Mkhitaryan, ozil and iwobi don’t compare.

    I think you’re underestimating Theo too. He always had goals in him. I actually think he was a better forward for us in his time than Aubameyang. He offered a run in behind, far better on the ball (I know) and I think he was a better finisher.
    He was never used properly, Wenger ruined him.

  59. gambon

    I’m sorry but Aubameyang is levels and levels above Theo fucking Walcott.

    Walcott has 120 career goals, Auba 230.

    Theo has played more games.

  60. James.wood

    Unai you disappoint me Walcott often looked like
    a rabbit in some ones headlights.
    The guy did not have a thought pattern in his head.
    His crossing of the ball was dire.
    His headed goals non existent.
    100 goals in ten years is not acceptable for a so called
    top striker.
    The bad injury he had took the edge of his dazzling pace
    and the goals based on his speed and hit and hope style of
    play well that was the end.
    Sorry have to disagree on that one.

  61. Chitom

    China1

    Wenger was probably torn between complementing the player he wanted at Arsenal for a cheeky 40m plus one( master negotiator lol) and blaming the player he could’ve had for 12m before he went to Southampton from Celtic but opted instead for a bargain priced world class Mustafi at 35 m.
    On advice of then his chief scout Steve Rowley and ………“ Dissenter” probably lol.

  62. HighburyLegend

    “Jurgen Klopp hailed Liverpool’s “best away Champions League performance””

    I feel sorry for him…. (just kidding)

  63. Into the Red

    Great analysis. Really, you should be in there at the Emirates, since no-one has displayed anything as remotely sensible and appropriate a critique as this. Completely agree that having a vision which, crucially, is tailored to our club and who we can be, is the first essential step. The default seems to be pretending that we are a step away from City or Barca, and then making utter fools of ourselves in the pretence of achieving it. The clubs and philosophies you mention are much more in line with our status and means. Ajax are playing like the ultimate dream of Wenger in his early years, one which in those days he threatened to achieve, before it became a cross he bore as a shield to excuse his crumbling empire.
    The question is whether there is any chance of this happening under the current regime, and that seems unlikely to me. Absentee ownership has created a dysfunctional heirarchy of power grabbers in the vacuum of Stan. Gazidis, though gone, has left his imprint all over it – a bland corporate structure, maximising revenue while having no idea what a vision, any vision, of a football club should be. Emery is just the hapless product of this directionless ship, a fall guy, while the powers behind the empty throne keep their heads down, reap the bonuses and gaze lovingly at their spreadsheets telling them everything is going swimmingly.