Only two people can save Arsenal (long read)

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I did a little podcast with Matt yesterday, an Emeryista at the start of the season, struggling now. One of the items he touched on is the chat about our defence being 52 goals worth of bad. There’s a narrative going around that our defenders are uncoachable, and like so many meek takes, it just doesn’t rub.

Monreal is an excellent left back, arguably one of our most underappreciated defenders of the last few years. A warrior and perfectly capable.

Kola is an international and was left back of the year in Germany.

Kos was an international, would have gone to the World Cup had it not been for an injury, he is a very capable individual.

Sokratis has played for Milan and Dortmund. He’s not world class, but he’s been a hit this season and all his ex-teammates speak highly of him.

AMN is a solid reserve right back. Mavrapanos hasn’t had many games, but hardly the second coming of Stepanovs.

Bellerin is one of the best young right backs in Europe. Holding is excellent. A lot of people flag their injuries like that was the turning point for the defence… despite us clearly being on for conceding 50 goals when they were in the starting 11.

Then you have a keeper who has been in the top 3 this year. Much better than Kepa and I think it’s hard to deny he’s been better than De Gea this season.

Mustafi, who has been god awful, is still a World Cup winner. I know, I know, hard to fathom… but look, it’s not me that saw 4000 hours of him playing, wrote a prez about him being good enough, played him the most out of any Arsenal player in the league.

Anyway, my point here… players uncoachable? Really? It just doesn’t rub. Wenger didn’t give a fuck about defending, had a worse keeper who was making errors regularly, no defensive midfielder of note, no Sokratis and managed to do better defensively in a season most of the players gave up in January.

All players at an international level are coachable, in fact, they are the most coachable in the world, that’s why they made it, they listened and acted upon the wisdom. No one makes it to those heights if they can’t be trained. If they are failing, it’s because they aren’t being organised effectively, they don’t understand what they are supposed to be doing, or they don’t know what the vision is.

I found it amusing that many of the folk defending Emery yesterday were asking if we should have signed Brendan Rodgers. You are in a dark place if that’s where your mind is heading.

That said, it is hard to deny that he doesn’t have more pedigree in the Premier League than Emery. That team he set up for Liverpool played explosive football and he was a whisker away from something special. Leicester looked a match against City yesterday, only a moment of magic separated the two sides. Anyway, back to Rodgers, he’s a bit of a wally, isn’t he? How long before that carry-on would get a little boring if you were a player?

‘Guess what’s in my hand, boy?’

‘No Brendan’

‘I said GUESS’

‘Brendan, fuck off mate, I’m trying to leave…’

‘YOUR FUTURE, actually, as you asked, or it might be your past’


‘I messed it up…’

He does have charisma though, and he’s a bit of a boy I hear. However, I do think he’s found a good level. That’s a good hire for Leicester.

When thinking about a replacement hire for Sven Mislintat, we should look at the comings and goings at the Midlands club. They have a production line of unbelievable youth talent, as well as making very shrewd signings from around Europe at bargain basement prices. It all stems from having a longterm vision. Nothing they’ve done has been an accident, it’s all built on a plan, and executed with full accountability. As soon as someone fails to deliver what they need, they take action. Ranieri, gone as soon as things went south. Good decision. Puel, gone because they didn’t like the style of football. Good decision.

My hope is that Arsenal move in that direction. My view is that’ll happen when we bring in a technical director. Hopefully, that person is a visionary that will take time out to understand what we have to offer, map a blueprint based on a footballing philosophy they want to execute, then bend the club around an actionable plan.

That’ll mean one more season of Emery, but make no mistake, the new person will be spending the next 6 months working out how to move us on from this grim transition into a more stable situation we can build from.

Liverpool finished 8th in Klopp’s first season, however, after a rocky start to his career, and spending next to nothing in his first transfer window, Klopp went on a bit of a rampage, in his last 13 games in the league, Liverpool scored 31 goals (half of all their league goals came in those games). They reached two cup finals (one of which he lost to Emery).

Point here is this, though inconsistent, he was playing heavy metal football and it was electric (conceded less than Emery has this season). You could see what he was doing, and that was without a preseason.

His first summer he spent net zero, shipping out £70m and bringing in £70m worth of talent. He was selling absolute dross. Benteke, Ibe, Skrtel and Joe Allen. Don’t tell me our dross is worse than those names. There is cash on the table at Arsenal.

They made the Champions League on net zero transfer spend.

The next season they sold a HUGE name and reinvested that money in another net neutral year.

They made the Champions League final.

Once they hit the big time, they spent £130m net, now they are chasing down the Premier League with one game to go.

They have good owners. They have a vision, a belief system, a plan and they bring in the best people in to execute it. When it goes wrong, they make quick decisions, they don’t fester on talent that isn’t delivering.

Arsenal are struggling for good people, we hired a bland manager and we let him bring his mates with him (something Ivan wasn’t going to do). We have two major vacancies that could make or break our next ten years. The technical director is the architect of our future. The head of recruitment is the person charged with finding the talent to bring the future to life. We need to hope that that top dog is a person of extreme ability because there are a lot of bad actors at the club that need purging. We need to get into gear and really deliver to an elite-performance ethos.

We have two hopes of this happening. 

#1 Raul isn’t a fraud. I can’t help but stare that Denis Suarez deal in the face and wonder what the fuck happened. How could anyone of sound mind greenlight that move when our glaring issues were elsewhere. Who thought hiring in a characterless player that had no power, pace or record of achievement, was a good idea? £2.5m and £100k a week. Disgraceful.

Anyway, let’s pretend that was Emery. Raul has to make the right move with this technical director. It can’t be a hack. I don’t want Monchi. I don’t want someone from Barca. Give us an accountable leader that is here to make magic happen. Someone that is entitled, intelligent and truly believes we WILL become the best. A person that doesn’t believe in excuses and exits those that lean on them. A winner that looks under all the rocks and eeks out value from every penny, person and technology they have available.

A move can negate the bullshit… because it doesn’t matter how many people tell you STAN STAN STAN… if you hire a person who is a self-starter that has some fucking pride, you don’t need an owner to micromanage. People that blame the owner are the sorts that think religion stops you from murdering the drummer next door that fucks really loudly and keeps you up with his droning laughter then doubles down with his girlfriend that cackles like some sort of Wizard of Oz BITCH at youtube videos when stoned.

You think Beppe Marotta needs a to-do list to run a club well? No. Because he’s driven to succeed. Find the right person, give them the generous parameters Stan has afforded us, and they’ll make it work. Our wage bill is £235m. That is GIGANTIC. Our net spend is the 3rd highest in the league. We are the biggest opportunity in world football for the right person, they can literally live out their purest footballing fantasies at Arsenal. No one in your ear if you make your numbers. Fans will worship them. Amazing.

The second hope is Josh K comes down from the Super Bowl clouds and starts paying attention to Arsenal.

Get off the fucking yacht Josh, those babes will still be there next year.

KSE has made a lot of effort with The Rams, The Nuggets and whatever that hockey team is called. Huge turnarounds that have pleased the fans immensely.

Are they really going to ignore a billion dollar club like Arsenal forever?

I hope not. Why would you? Who is going to invite you to a super league if you haven’t done anything interesting in 15 years? There is always a chance that we’ll get some owner action at some point, because we are a high-value asset that is not doing very well… and I believe in patterns… our turn HAS to be coming.

So the long and short of it is this: Things aren’t getting better for at least a year. Next year will be another Emery bore fest, but we will absolutely have a Technical Director in place before the summer… so the pain will be temporary IF we get that hire right.

Then it’s all on that person because if we blow the next rebirth, I struggle to see how we make it back inside 10 years.

Over to whoever cares to make the next move.

P.S. Listen to our podcast!


179 Responses to “Only two people can save Arsenal (long read)”

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  1. Dissenter

    ‘Why are people so thick to believe Edu is only capable of signing Brazilian players?’

    You must have misread the posts
    No one is suggesting that he is only capable of Brazilian signings. All,we are saying is he will pivot away from just European signings and take us to places we never seemed to try like South America.

  2. Dissenter

    ‘We will not be able to sign South American players- because most of the players there are owned by third parties/hedge funds and shady finance companies- in contravention of Prem league Rules- post Tevez/mascernaho’

    That was the bullshi* that Wenger force-fed you.
    Isn’t that why we pay all these suits in the front office so much money. How have European clubs been signing South American players for the past 75 years?

    You either go to the street dealer or go to the source in the Colombian jungle, which one do you prefer?

  3. Champagne Charlie


    Right, but none of that prevents having a plan, establishing a philosophy, dominating a game.

    Errors and mistakes should undo good work. We haven’t done good work to undo, we’ve been laborious and in large parts awful + the mistakes.

    I’m just not buying this idea the mistakes have been reason for our shortcomings.

  4. Un na naai

    How can you defend emery after the last month? The fella just isn’t up to the task. He bottles it wherever he goes.

  5. Receding Hairline

    I think we at one point had a home record second to City alone. At one point we had outscored Chelsea, spurs and united.

    I daresay a lot of hard work was undone by needless errors over the final weeks of the season.

    If you do not believe that fighting for a top three/four finish over the course of a season is hard work then I dunno what to tell you.

  6. HighburyLegend

    @Un ai ai ai ai : first, let’s give him one more transfer window.
    2nd, if we win the ELC, I’m sure you will disappear from Le Grove for some time.

  7. Un na naai

    If you do not believe that fighting for a top three/four finish over the course of a season is hard work then I dunno what to tell you.


    Funny how you’ve just cottoned onto this now. Yes. We were in a great position and emery threw it away with his insipid performances. He’s had the players purring this season and rightfully took the plaudits. Now he will rightfully carry the can for the awful current form

  8. Micheal

    “There is always a chance that we’ll get some owner action at some point, because we are a high-value asset that is not doing very well… and I believe in patterns… our turn HAS to be coming.”

    Pedro, Pedro, please. I am normally a supporter and respect your passion and commitment.

    But is our best hope seriously that “Our turn will come” . Imagine going to a bank asking for a loan on the basis of “Our turn will come”.

  9. Dissenter

    Un na
    ‘Mustafi’s error to cost us one goal. Emery’s masterplab cost us the rest’

    Obviously you’ve never come to close playing football or any other sports competitively.
    Anyone who has knows about the ebbs and flow of any sports. There are key events that can ruin everything when they happen at critical moments. It’s like rivets that can bring down a mighty ship like the Titanic.
    We had been playing every 3-4 days for three weeks. We were down and equalized and were in the ascendancy playing at home…. then Mustafi does the inexplicable brain fart mistake and all the air is let out.
    There’s no coming back from that, not when you don’t have gasoline in the tank.

    Emery’s starting selection wasn’t right- it was done to rotate——-don’t forget we had just lost Ramsey the previous game at Naples
    Emery made the adjustment at halftime and it was rectified until the calamity of a defender showed up.
    How do you shied, the ball 22 yards from your goal…for a goal keeper who’s expects you to take care of the non-problem?
    He did even call for Leno in that sequence of play.

    Yea, Mustafi’s error caused us the game

  10. Marc

    The rumours about a Technical Director seems to have gone quiet. Is it possible we have a deal in place for Overmars but Ajax have asked us to keep it quiet until their season is over?

  11. Ryan

    Come on WOBs, admit it that Emery is not up to the job. He is not the man. Even you can see we are just as bad as were under Wenger and after the Burnley match may concede more goals after 70m more spent? And Emery tactics of attacking with full backs has killed our creative players like Ozil and Mkhi. They barely even assist anymore.

    Why should he stay when he hasn’t improved anything and world-class managers like Conte were available?

    Are you just backing Emery because you hated Wenger?

  12. DM


    Where are you looking, mate? All papers etc saying Edu has agreed a 5 year deal with us as our technical director

  13. Dissenter

    The search should never had been public
    It should have been on the basis of once your name leaks-you’re out.

  14. Ryan

    It is time to start protesting to get Emery sacked.

    Emery had a golden opportunity with all other clubs bottling it and a free run at top four. Why are you all WOBs making excuses? Would you do the same for Wenger?

    We are bad as last year but Wenger almost the League Cup and Europa League.

    You might hate him, but Wenger had the stature to manage a big club like Arsenal, unlike Unai who has the stature for mid-table Spanish clubs.

    Also weren’t you against Arteta as well? That went well didn’t it.

    It is just ego for you to admit you were wrong.

  15. Dissenter

    I have to say Ryan has come to the blog of the faithful. All you need here is an Emery bashing megaphone.
    Then you need an inside source in the PSG dressing room
    Voila….you’re a star

  16. KAY Boss

    We are gradually moving into the direction of Liverpool of old.
    Suppose we win the EL, does that mean Spurs won’t be in the champs league?
    Some players are just beyond redemption.

  17. CG


    ‘We will not be able to sign South American players- because most of the players there are owned by third parties/hedge funds and shady finance companies- in contravention of Prem league Rules- post Tevez/mascernaho’

    I did emphasis Prem league clubs,
    Spanish /Italian clubs have different rules,

    HOW MANY – young south Americans ( especially Brazilian ones) have flourished in British football,?

    they are suited to Spanish football
    We should Have a British based recruitment policy,

    Best player on the pitch yesterday.
    Harry maguire ( Ex Hull)

    Best left back in the Prem
    Roberston (ex Hull)

    Our best player
    Ramsey ( Cardiff)

    How does Edu- assist us- in getting us this next generation of British players..?
    or do we want more – Xhaka/Mustafi/Mikki/Sok/torreira /Lich -mercenary types?

    A typical Raul signing, (looks and sounds good,) – Kroenkes will probably swallow it – hook line and sink too.

  18. OleGunner

    I will add if you want a more nuanced take than Pedros bludgeoning and highly partisan podcast, take a look at Arsebog arse cast extra and Arsenal vision podcasts for better takes imo.

    They both cover arguments for and against Emery in a deep but respectable way, as well as addressing the over arching executive decisions, club culture and finances impact on our season and future ones as well as those things impacting the coach.

    Both great listens especially in comparison to what Pedro served up.

  19. Valentin


    It had been reported that Wenger wanted Martial in exchange for Sanchez . There was a difference of 10 millions valuation of Martial. So Management (Gazidis) refused to fork the extra and we settled for Mhikitarian who Wenger absolutely did not want.
    The worse thing is that six months later we forked an extortionate amount for Aubameyang who Wenger used on the left. The exact same position Martial would have filled.

  20. Pedro

    Ole, didn’t those guys do exactly the same for 14 years with Wenger?

    They did.

    Would prefer an accurate bludgeoning than to listen to people create balance that isn’t there.

  21. Pedro

    … and for context, I speak to people at the club. So I don’t guess.

    Everything I said in October has proved out. Just as everything I said on Wenger did.