by .

There are certain snobberies I can’t abide by in the world of internet fandom. I have mentioned them many times before, my least favourite being people that openly admit they don’t like transfer gossip. You’re an out and out threat to society if that’s your stance.

I read a great story about The Athletic; the fancy af premium sports app every journo in the world is joining. One of their snippets was the not-so-shocking insight that player trading gossip drives the most clicks.

I absolutely LOVED this quote.

Feedback loops aren’t always kind to journalists, who want to believe that readers care about finely tuned phrases, hard-won insights, and nuanced portraits. But traffic data show that what many want are rumors about where free agents are going to sign, reminders about what time the Super Bowl starts, and opinions about whether, if LeBron James had a time machine, he could beat Michael Jordan one-on-one.


If you have read this site regularly, you’ll know my fave thing to write about is football infrastructure. It’s my thing. Nothing gets me to 2000 words quicker. I spend a HUGE amount of time extracting insights from people at Arsenal and around the world to land a fairly sharp narrative about what’s going on and what’s needed to succeed…

I’ll post it out with a standard headline… traffic is meh. Only the nerds care (love you guys).

If I post a shite story titled ‘GERMAN WUNDERKIND TRACKED’, the numbers go through the roof.

People who say they don’t like gossip are a bit like vegans that say they don’t secretly eat bacon butties when they’re alone. It’s a straight-up lie. I know it because I am the Eye of Sauron for the meat industry.

People that moan about clickbait are of a similar ilk. Like, honestly mate, is your life so uneventful you’re noisily going to complain about being cyber-hoodwinked by a 17-year-old intern that fooled you with a subversive ‘Messi to Arsenal’ headline?

The real-life equivalent of venting that fun-size chocolate bars are actually not that fun. Or reading a 600 word self-penned Facebook post about Brexit, aloud, at a social gathering because you had an above-average engagement rate on it. Telling your mates you made a deep and meaningful connection with a stripper in Magaluf, and she’s told you the £1,500 you handed over will be used to visit you in March.

Where was I going with this? Oh, I think I just wanted to moan about an article I read that was headlined ‘FAN REACTION TO CEBALLOS GOAL.’ The worst sort of journalism. I didn’t even click it. It’s like pointing out a window and shrieking there’s a pretty normal cloud there. Except the cloud has more substance than the article. Gathering tweets for such articles must be the 2019 version of writing listicles for Buzzfeed.

You know what else I find super boring? Away fans moaning about fixtures like they are doing the world a serious favour. Ok, ok, you bought an away ticket. We get it. Calm down babe. You are going for a piss-up in Portugal with your mates, you’re not saving mountain goats in Syria.

While we’re here, a few people have asked me to define what sauce is when I reference it regarding the manager.

Sauce. Aura. X factor. That special something. Presence.

Elite leadership is not simply about knowing things. There are literally thousands of examples throughout history in sports, business, acting, singing and countless other endeavours where special sauce or whatever you want to call it has stood people out beyond the basics of good technique.

A simple example.

Steve Wozniak was the brains behind the early Apple products.

Steve Jobs was the special sauce.

If Woz was left to his own devices, he would have lived within the confines of his perceived limits and never pushed the startup to greater things.

Steve Job bent reality to his will. He pushed people to levels they didn’t know existed. He changed the world as we know it.

The whole idea of special sauce is intangible, but you know it when you see it.

Arsene Wenger, despite what you may think about him, has it. His presence in a room was electric. Truly special. That’s coming from me. I felt it like an unwanted hand on the thigh.

Mourinho in his early days WAS the special one. He was a translator that dominated football for 15 years. He STILL commands a Sky Sports studio rammed full of alphas.

Allegri. Klopp. Pep. Zidane. Simeone. Nagelsmann.

Elba. Bowie. Moss. Liam G. Iggy. Warhol. Elvis. Lennon. Allardyce.

Certain people have an effortless ability to create electricity. It cannot be learned. It cannot be copied. It is just there, the perfect storm of knowledge, presence and control.

Why is it important to football?

… because you have to command 25 powerful men, that are badly educated, and incredibly rich. You have to push people who have already succeeded to go to war for you.

At the bottom of the game, even the middle, knowledge is enough. The manager is a kingmaker at a smaller club because their ideas are making more out of less and players futures are less guaranteed. At the top, you are guiding greatness, which is a different ball game. It’s more nuanced. It’s fragile. It requires something beyond what you can read in a Robert Greene book.

That my friends, is special sauce.

Finally, it’s Le Grove’s 12th birthday today. A huge thanks to all of you that continue to join the word Arsenal infused word vomit party every day. This year has been the busiest ever, more visits, comments and listens than ever before. It is still mad that it exists, so THANK YOU!

Right, that’s me done. See you in the comments. xxx

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234 Responses to “Sauce.”

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  1. Valentin


    I did not say that the pass was not important, just that it was a standard cross and that most of the work had already been done.
    Ceballos pass in space beyond the reach of the defender is the main destabilisation act of the movement.
    The fact that Kolasinac fluffed his line is just an indictment of Kolasinac’s quality. At international level or premiership level you expect a professional player to be able to cross the ball without the ball bouncing off him.

  2. Marko

    Good turnaround by the Dutch there. If Germany have any sense they get rid of the sniffer tonight. Should have been sacked after that world cup performance

  3. WengerEagle

    Really refreshing seeing the Netherlands having a top team again. Thoroughly outplayed ze Germans tonight. Went through a really bad spell there post World Cup 2014.

    Would be worried if I were a German tbh, Kroos aside they don’t have much quality in midfield and they’re very suspect defensively.

  4. UTarse

    “Never seen a german team got dominated at home.”

    I have, Germany 1 England 5 September 2001.

    They had their Arse handed to them on a plate.

  5. Olumide

    Happy 12th anniversary to Le Grove.
    First started reading this blog around 2009 (or 2010). My first visit was through newsnow during a summer transfer window.
    So many rumours in those days. And so few signings.
    Although I don’t write so many comments, I read most of the posts.
    Some names have disappeared over the years (Keyser, Kwikfit) & I’ve always seen some names (N5, Gambon, Redtruth, jwl).
    Thanks for keeping this place together all these years Pedro. Great job.

  6. Pedro

    Olu! Great to hear from you! Hope you’re well.

    Karim, Depay has been pretty great for Lyon. Scored at the weekend. Reckon he’d make it back to the EPL?

  7. Mysticleaves

    Pedro, I really wanted Depay at Arsenal this summer. He’s morphed into a sort of half CF now so I don’t know if he will be as willing to play wide left again. Maybe a roamer. But yea, I reckon he’s ready to come back and make more of an impact atleast

  8. China1

    Nketiah has had one hell of a start to the season

    He’s doing everything right. If he can keep this form up for most of the season he’ll be a fabulous option for next season. If he still isn’t expected to get chances next season then he could be loaned out again and either brought back the following season or sold for a probably very tasty fee

    I’d love for him to make it at arsenal mind

  9. Bojangles

    Happy birthday LG and Pedro.


    Your brown sauce post made me chuckle.

    The most successful PL manager, Fergie, imo didn’t have sauce, his hairdryer maybe but not the man.

  10. Sid

    Ze Deutsch need an injection of new blood from foreign soil like Khedira, Ozil, Boateng, miroslav
    Whatever happened to christoph Kramer? He was saucy over here some time back

  11. Gonsterous

    Happy bday le grove. Been effecting my life since 2012.

    Don’t understand all this sauce talk. I think it’s just another term for pedigree. I will say though, given the choice between emery and poch, I would take emery. Give me a manager that takes up challenges over one who sits in a comfy job any day.
    Poch has over achieved at spurs, ill give him that but he’s still not at the level of taking over a big team.
    Just like pedders wrote above, a manager is a big fry at small club’s. Ala poch. Won’t do much at a big club. Ala moyes.

  12. Silverhawk

    Happy birthday legrove!!

    I stumbled across this site in July 2011 through NewsNow looking for transfer news and even since then, I’ve never left.

    I visited this site every day but I never posted until 2014 to join Pedro in screaming Wenger out.

    I posted scarcely until this summer when I began posting more frequently.

    This is the best arsenal blog out there. My mates supporting other club usually wish that their clubs had a site such as this.

    Cheers Pedro.

  13. karim


    Happy birthday mate, thanks a lot for all these years of dedication !

    I’m with Mystic, Memphis is looking more like a professional these days. He’s more mature, hardly argues anymore and is focused on his football.

    Has received a lot of praise with his NT for the last 2 seasons and is consistent with Lyon.

    Yeah, I reckon he could make a pl comeback.

  14. Gentlebris

    Happy birthday Le Groove and Le Groovers.

    That article has a lot of sauce, Pedro. Hope you find enough sauce to continue the great job you do here.

    Many happy returns of the sauces!

  15. Freddie Ljungberg

    Happy birthday Pedro!

    Been reading pretty much daily since late 2007 so you’ve provided me with many, many hours of entertainment, for that I salute you. Hands down the best comment section of any blog.

    We need you back on the Peroni though, that oatmilk stuff is rotting your brain if you think Pierre offers some kind of analysis above ” man not play Ozil – man bad”;)

    Keep up the good work

  16. Silverhawk

    Martinelli needs to explode this season. I don’t want arsenal going big for a left forward. Let’s go big for a CM and CB instead.

  17. Northbanker

    Silver hawk
    Agreed we need a CB top level to give proper competition to Holding and Saliba when they both become available

    Don’t need a left side forward as we have Martinelli Saka and possibly ESR who will all push for that role

    We only need a CM if we don’t sign Ceballos permanently and then it would only be someone creative

    We do however need a GK who is better than Leno even though Leno is much better than we’ve had recently. I would like to see us go for Oblak again

  18. Major_Jeneral

    @silverhawk I agree with you on going big on CM and DF that should be the area of concentration now.

    Again Happy 12th Anniversary @Pedro

    Let me just mention this, in a discussion i had with a friend back home couple of years back, he said Le grove won’t have anything to post after wenger has left. I laughed and said “you must be joking right, that guy is a quite resourceful there are numerous things to talk about than just wengerout. Moreover it seems you missed some of his posts on other important stuff”.

    Personally I don’t always agree with everything you say but that is what having a conversation is like. Allowance for Diverse opinions and still being able to agree to disagree without ill feelings.

    The site has become even better after Arsene Wenger left. And long may it continue.

  19. Freddie Ljungberg

    “We only need a CM if we don’t sign Ceballos permanently and then it would only be someone creative”

    Don’t agree with this at all, first priority, preferably in January has to be a tall, athletic CM that can permanently banish Xhaka from the team, without that we’re going nowhere fast.

    If Holding steps up and Saliba continues to develop it’s possible we won’t need another CB next year but we have no one in the middle of the park that will stop us getting bullied by more physical teams. Torreira, Guen and Willock are all ok but it doesn’t exactly scream physical dominance. Xhaka just need to be sold or given away asap.

  20. Silverhawk


    I think Leno is gooe enough. And he’s still pretty young for a GK.

    Even if Holding comes good this year, we still need a top CB.

    And like Freddie said, we still need a tall athletic CM who’s on his way to being elite. (Sangare?)

  21. Freddie Ljungberg


    Sangare would be my pick for sure, think his contract expires in 2021 as well so perfect time to swoop in in January.

    Regarding another CB I think it depends on the budget, if we get Ceballos permanently it’s not going to be cheap, neither will a top class alternative to him, add that to the CM and the fact we probably have to pay more of Salibas fee next summer and we’ve already spent a lot.

    IF Holding and Saliba steps up enough to be starters we then have Luiz, Sok and Chambers as backups. Not ideal maybe but it would only have to be for a year.
    Personally I hope we splurge on Upamecano too but not sure we’ll have the budget, probably depends on if we can get any fees for the remaining wasters.

  22. MuddyGooner

    Happy birthday Le Grove.
    Didn’t realise you guys started in 2007 !!

    I must’ve joined around 2010. I accidentally clicked on your link after getting fed up on the arsenal-world blog.
    I’ve been hooked ever since !

    Keep up the good work Pedders 👍

  23. Cesc Appeal

    Yeah a big, powerful, athletic CDM/CM is a must for this team.

    You will actually see more from our current central midfield options if you have someone holding things together in midfield and providing a highly mobile presence.

    Too often over the years we’ve tried to cobble a midfield together that covers for the weaknesses of people which isn’t really good enough for a top side.

    You need to be able to put someone in at CDM and now worry about them. Not have to say well they aren’t very fast they will get caught out, they make a lot of mistakes, they aren’t physical enough, they don’t have stamina etc so we now have to add a CM to compensate and mean that position is running at less than optimum efficiency because they are having to give part of themselves to add up to one whole CDM.

    If you could add someone like Sangare and he develops into what many think, a future midfield of Sangare, Guendouzi, Ceballos could be very nicely balanced…if everyone develops as they’ve more than hinted they can.

  24. S Asoa

    Wishing Pedro, Le Grove , Geoff ad multos anos of happiness to Le Grovers

    Speaking of Sauce we currently have coloured pumpkin off Spanish restaurant masquerading as ketchup

  25. Northbanker

    Looking at the position today, can’t disagree that Sangare would strengthen us but we have bought LT for that role and he was awesome first half of last year and quite certain he will be again with more game time
    We are also developing Willock so can’t see Sangare happening unless we sell LT to say Milan
    CB will imo be a bigger priority and I think the key target will be Upemacano
    Also think GK should be targeted and as mentioned would love to see us sign Oblak

  26. Drey

    Happy birthday Le-Grove!!
    Stumbled on this site back in 2012 by accident cos the blog I followed then don’t post frequently and I’ve been hooked since..
    I may not post frequently but I make sure I read anytime I’m in the bus to work in the morning or in the evening train..
    Comments on here are mostly funny and sarcastic..
    I miss some posters like N5, and Keyser …
    Where is Bamford too by the way!!

    You have the sauce Pedro

  27. Freddie Ljungberg


    I still think Torreira will come good, was our best player first half of last season.

    That still only leaves us with 3 competent CMs all of which has question marks hanging over them, be it youth or adaptation to the league, we’re also severely lacking in physicality in there.

    Having 4 CM that can be relied on with different strengths would allow us to be more flexible tactically too and play 3 CMs in games like Liverpool without being overrun and still offer something going forward. That just doesn’t happen with Xhaka in the team.

    Torreira, Guen, Willock, Sangare, Ceballos, ESR (if he steps up) would be a good group for our 3 midfield spots.

  28. KAY Boss

    12yrs already? Proud to be part of this blog. This blog has in a way helped me polish my grammar(english). It may be a football blog but what I have learnt over the past years is beyond football.
    I don’t rate ozil that much now, but Germany’s poor form was/is beyond the scapegoating ozil was made of.
    Just a bit bored this weekend without EPL action.

  29. KAY Boss

    Yh still can’t understand the Torreira neglect. The guy maybe small but out doesn’t affect him in anyway on the pitch. In the Spurs game, I thought he was one of out brightest spots and was been fouled consistently.

  30. Chris

    Late to the party but a big happy birthday to Le Grove!

    A lone voice of reason way back when it seemed the only people who knew Wenger required ousting were on this page.

    Comforting to know the club seems to have a tighter grip on its present and future and not bound to the will of one man.

  31. Bob N16

    Northbanker, I’ve also been wondering why Torreira has received a fair amount of negativity from some posters. I personally think he’s an excellent DM. The problem has been the balance in midfield and let’s face it, Xhaka.

  32. Guns of Brixton

    Poor Scotland

    Seems these guys can never catch a break.

    I remember the hype among my old scottish mates really being hyped for that generation with Fletcher, Scott Brown, Maloney, Craig Gordon and Kris boyd etc etc.

    Nothing came of them. Tough times for the tartan army

  33. Nelson

    You should ask Emery regarding Torr. He prefers Xhaka to play the DM role and move Torr further up field. Torr’s strength is intercepting the ball. Playing more advance, he becomes just another runner. He is not even that fast.

  34. Pierre

    “I’ve also been wondering why Torreira has received a fair amount of negativity from some posters. I personally think he’s an excellent DM. The problem has been the balance in midfield and let’s face it, Xhaka.”

    All valid points, all made without a word of criticism towards the one person who can rectify the midfield balance , who can play Torreira as a DM , who can replace xhaka.

    So stop wondering why , because you know why …..just come out and say it.

  35. Pierre

    “You should ask Emery regarding Torr”

    There you go Bob, take a leaf out of Nelson’s book and say what you actually mean.

  36. Dream10

    Hopefully, next season, we replace both Xhaka and Torreira. More important to replace Xhaka with a player who less error prone and mobile, but retains his ability for ball progression. Torreira can be easily replaced. Should get good money for the pair. Looking forward to it.

  37. Micheal

    Torriera is like Kante at Chelsea – both played out of position. He is clearly an average central midfielder, like Kante. Play him at DM and get the best out of him.

  38. Dream10

    Believe Kanté played a higher position on the pitch in his partnerships with Drinkwater and Matic. He was sensational in the UEFA supercup against Liverpool a few weeks ago. Not a fan of Emery playing Torreira higher up the pitch. Not a box to box #8. Little Lucas is better as a small space player.

  39. Micheal

    I agree. Torriera is suited to playing higher up the pitch. Seems obvious to me that he plays there because Emery was to accommodate Xhaka, which is tactically a bad decision for the all reasons we have discussed before.

  40. Dream10

    Sokratis seems to be escaping blame from many Arsenal fans. The guy looks like he’ll make a mistake every match. One player who will suffer because of VAR. He is a grappler. Opposing attackers will fall at the slightest bit of contact. Players like him have to remember that we’re not a club who will get the benefit of the doubt from refs.

  41. Dream10


    If Emery doesn’t want Torreira deep, just drop him. Play Guendouzi and Xhaka. Have a feeling we’ll be using a back three more often, now that Kolasinac will play at least half the matches for the next couple of months.

  42. Micheal


    In my opinion, Xhaka is the weakest of the midfielders (Torriera, Guen and Xhaka) you mention. Most would agree that he is too slow for the Premier League, lacks positional discipline and cannot tackle. He only asset is the long ball, which is worth having but not enough to compensate for the weaknesses elsewhere in his game.
    Torriera and Guen are not great long ball passers but they have far better positional discipline, tackling strength and mobility – the necessary skills that Xhaka clearly lacks.

  43. James wood

    Arsenal’s determination to cut cost’s extends to preventing their match day
    stewards from drinking coffee from their official supplier Lavazza which is available to fans and guest’s.
    Instead of the freshly brewed filter coffee the clubs workforce are given instant coffee to keep them going matchdays.
    Arsenal have also stopped providing tea sheets to scouts who attend youth games this season instead they are sent an E Mail of the team line ups.
    The club insist it’s an Enviromental rather than a financial reasoning.

    Good to see them looking after their staff.🤔
    Matt Hughes Daily Mail.

  44. Distant legrover

    Le-Grove has that CRACKability. You make money, lose money, get married, get divorced, don’t have kids, have kids but you just keep coming back here.

    The THC……, I mean sauce is too strong.

  45. Cesc Appeal

    I swear Arsenal end up facing teams who’ve recently sacked their managers a disproportionate amount.

    Watford next.

    Never like facing sides who’ve recently sacked managers.

  46. TR7

    Le Grove and its comment section has been an integral part of my daily routine for the last 10 years and I am sure it’s the same with most people who read the blog or post on here on a regular basis. Sometimes I wonder if Pedro calls it a day a few years down the line, how will we reconnect with each other to talk about Arsenal.