Football things

by .

Today’s post is brought you you by Jonathan. Enjoy, then give him a follow on the Twitter.com @jblauphoto

Well, hello again.

Do remember me? The 2018-19 monthly columnist from the American Wild West?

How are you all doing this fine April Day?

(Oh, right. Not the smartest question to ask in the middle of a pants-shitting scary global pandemic.)

Speaking of pants shitting, this is a true story.

Yesterday, I got a friend to admit he’d shit his pants, all because I was trying to be polite.

I mentioned I’d fallen and hit my head this weekend, (I’m OK,) which segued into talk of changing diapers, (we’re parents,) and then after the pants shitting expression was used, I said something generic like, “yeah, I know that’s a hard one.”

Right away, sensing community, he pounced.

“Oh, it happened to you too? Yeah, I was on the floor, working at XXXXXX restaurant in YYYYYYYY city. I sharted. So embarrassing.”

Speaking of embarrassing. I paused.

“Yeah,” I replied. “I was actually just trying to be nice, when I said I know how that goes. I’ve never actually shat my pants. Sorry.”

Then he paused.

Little did he know I’d be telling the story, but I’ve changed enough details to make it safe.

I mention all this, with great flair, at the opening my first article in nearly a year.

Why? To what end?

Well, I’ll tell you.

When I wrote last year, I correctly predicted Liverpool would kick it into massive trophy winning mode, that the Brooklyn Nets would soon make major moves, and that Unai Emery should be fired for shitting the bed in the Europa and Premier Leagues simultaneously.

There was no coming back from that, I wrote, and to delay in making the change would only dig the damage in deeper.

So yes, I’m here to take a bow, having been proven right.

I’m also back to write a football article, because Pete has been working so hard to keep this blog going, bereft of any football, or even the near-term hope of its return.

Sorry, but that part’s true. No one on Earth knows exactly when or how the games will begin again.

But they will begin again.

That much we know.

So I offered to jump in, from the vantage of nearly a year, to give an assessment of the Arteta era, now that the tragically-unhip-Unai-Emery-era is blissfully over.

(Quick sidebar: while I’ve been gone, Pete wrote something about sniffing a Wuhan sneeze, and then compared Joe Biden to Unai Emery. I’m proud to write for this edgy, absurdist Arsenal blog.)

First of all, thank god that we hired Mikel Arteta.

I was behind the move the first time around, but perhaps he managed to learn some extra tricks in the subsequent 1.5 years he had under Pep?

Maybe we got a wiser, more capable Arteta? (Though his hair is identical, and will be in 10 years time.)

We’ll never know, of course, and hiring him the first time would have spared us the joyless, sad, gray, prison-like football we saw under the vampiric Basque. (Not to pile on, but really, he did look more than a bit like a cinematic Dracula.)

Mikel Arteta represents all the things we want: attacking football, pressing, youth development, swagger, and eventually a return to football relevance.

Right?

That’s what we’re all hoping, anyway.

He’s young, we can see for ourselves he’s a great communicator, and he has Pep’s IP, as Pete is always fond of saying.

Given he was Arsenal captain too, and a genuinely excellent player for us, I think he came in the door with massive street cred.

Enough to have started with a locker room that believed in him, and the wiggle room from the players and upper management staff to figure things out, as he is a first time manager.

What’s the very first thing he improved at Arsenal, in his tenure?

That’s right, the one thing we’ve all been asking for for years: the bloody defense.

So many clean sheets, under Arteta.

And with the same defenders: Sokratis, Mustafi and David Luiz.

That I wrote Mustafi’s name, and you didn’t automatically cringe, is probably the best compliment I can give our new skipper.

He tightened up the eternally loose, he did the impossible. And yes, we were drawing a lot at first, but we weren’t losing.

Then the wins came.

Did we all forget how shitty it was to watch these underachieving players lose all the time? (And in case you’re wondering, yes, I’m accusing them of downing tools.)

I don’t want to write what Pete has, as it’s redundant, but I did pen in my column that I thought that development, buy low sell high, and reclaiming value by getting player improvement, was job one.

We’ve seen that too, as beyond Mustafi, we saw jumps from Reiss Nelson, Dani Ceballos, Bukayo Saka, David Luiz, Guendouzi, and Nicolas Pepe. (I know Real Madrid benefits from Ceballos, but still.)

Lacazette’s form was in the crapper, and Aubameyang produced at more or less the same level.

Martinelli kept his form, I think, from the Emery-era, and looks quite the prospect.

Some of these kids, the ones we want to root for, will get sold to places we don’t like, to fund the rebuild.

It will happen.

As for PEA, I’m fine with selling him for cash. I know his goals will be hard to replace, but if he were a more clutch player, we’d have made the Top 4 last year, (penalty against Tottenham,) or beaten Olympiacos this year in the Europa League.

You can give me analytics all day, and I’ll agree with every word.

But in my 40 years of sports watching, I’m damn sure the clutch gene, for the biggest moments of your sporting life, is there.

You have it or you don’t.

(Exhibit A: Eli Manning.)

PEA choked twice, in two seasons, at the critical moment.

The Arsenal teams of late-Wenger did win 3 FA Cups. Those players, your Aaron Ramsey’s and Koscielny’s, the Arteta’s and Alexis Sanchez’s, those guys had enough grit to win trophies.

Not the big ones, true, but 3 FA Cups in 4 years is now something we’d all happily take, after sitting in 10th, and losing to crap teams on the road for two years.

I don’t know how much I believe in Raul and Edu, yet, as the jury is out, for me.

But I do believe in Arteta.

And I think we’ve got the spine of an improving team.

What will Saliba look like? Will Leno, Saliba, Mari, David Luiz and some spare parts, (Mustafi, Sokratis or Holding,) be enough to build a sustainable platform for the future?

Where will our next-gen creativity come from?

Does Hector Bellerin’s new tough-guy haircut mean he can get back into future-core status?

In midfield, I like Guendouzi, for all-action, and Joe Willock looks like he could handle that too. But one of them will have to offer end product, a la Welsh Jesus.

Torriera is too short/slow, and that’s the truth of it. I’ve always though Xhaka was too dim, but maybe I was wrong? Next to an athletic DM who can cover his ground, maybe he could be a poor man’s version of Pirlo. (To borrow an expression from Bill Simmons.)

If forced to pass judgment on Xhaka though, I’d say no.

Sell him, Torriera, Mustafi, Aubemayang, Ozil, maybe Sokratis, and whatever kids you feel you must.

Beyond the defense, build around the remaining kids: Saka, Nelson, Guendouzi, Willock, Pepe, Martinelli, and a whole new round of purchases, paid for by the first wave sell-off.

I wouldn’t sell Lacazette now, while his value is low, but he’s proven he can be a bastard, and clinical, when he’s in form.

He’s also not old yet.

I’d give Arteta another season to plump his value, and let him be the wise old head on the front line, and sell him once he’s worth more again.

During my column year, I mentioned that sometimes in sports, you have to out-wait a dynasty. I mentioned how the Golden State Warriors, a juggernaut so fierce they took down peak LeBron James 3 times, would be done in the end by injuries or contracts, like all great teams before them.

And then it came to pass last July.

Liverpool will drop eventually, and Man City will have down years too, as they have before.

I think Mikel Arteta gives us a real chance to ascend in 2021-22, or 2022-23, at our current rate of progress.

Whenever the games come back, that is.

Sending you good wishes from New Mexico.

Follow @jblauphoto

 

110 Responses to “Football things”

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  1. andy1886

    “Auba’s goals will be hard to replace” is a bit of an understatement to say the least. Impossible would be more like it. As someone said recently we need more goals from central midfield and then maybe we could think about it. Auba is the only reason that were’re not nearer to the relegation zone than the CL places.

  2. CG

    Good Post.
    6.5/10

    “””Liverpool will drop eventually, and Man City will have down years too, as they have before.”””””

    Speculative talk of Liverpool signing Mpabbe this morning with the Sane funds.

    And with the FFP rules relaxed because of Corona- Manchester City could be back in business.

    And Manchester United are prime with their commercial firepower will be looking to exploit desperate selling clubs.( eg Kane)

    We are also rans , and will be for a while. And potless too, by the sounds of it.
    (that may be negative- but its undeniably true.)

    As for loosing PEA goals- as Andy states that will lead us into relegation areas.

  3. Micheal

    Thanks for the post.

    My own view is that the transfer market is all but dead and clubs will have to rely more heavily than anticipated on the youth development and young players. In that context, AFC are better placed than most other teams with the likes of Saka, Willock, Nelson and Smith Rowe.

    More by luck than good leadership from the absentee Yanks, Arsenal has a decent crop of youngsters who have already played a fair number of games. Maybe they are not all world-beaters but many have Premier League experience and the current financial climate means they will get the certainty of regular playing time.

    Of course, it would be wonderful to pop out an buy Upamecano or a proper world class defensive midfielder. But there is no money – with the exception of Man City and a few others.

    Kroenke is not going to inject funds, we are losing huge amounts of revenue and who is realistically going to stump up serious moeny for the likes of Mustafi, Xhaka, AMN, etc so we can bid for Upamecano ? Get real. The kids are the future.

  4. Sid

    “Mikel Arteta represents all the things we want: attacking football, pressing, youth development, swagger, and eventually a return to football relevance.”

    Matchdays speak a different story
    Signings speak a different story

    Im telling you this 4 free!

  5. CG

    Michael

    “”””Kroenke is not going to inject funds, we are losing huge amounts of revenue”””””

    I predict, we will be reading a headline or two in the next few weeks.

    KSE looking for a buyer for the club.

    I can feel it in my bones.

  6. Marc

    ” we are losing huge amounts of revenue”

    I’m not sure that’s true at this moment in time – most ST’s are paid up front and its been reported that the TV company’s aren’t asking for money back yet.

    We only had 4 home games left in the PL and with only 15,000 – 20,000 tickets not on ST’s that’s only about £1.6 million and a couple of those matches wouldn’t have been played yet anyway.

    It will go on to have an impact but until we know when football can restart its impossible to know how severe. If the season isn’t finished it will be interesting to see whether the club looks to refund the 6 tickets to ST holders or offers a discount off of next season.

  7. Spanishdave

    I think transfer fees will be at least half of what they are, some way towards sanity again
    This episode will make some clubs think hard about excessive fees and wages so new contracts won’t be automatic huge rises.
    If clubs weaken financially then they will loose key players to clubs with owner backing as like stocks it’s a good time to buy if you have cash.
    We will be like the government, stalling and dithering or way forward.
    We need to reduce our numbers at the club, get leaner and meaner, it’s a good time to do it.

  8. Rich

    We’re light years away from doing anything.

    If Arteta needs 2 – 3 years?

    Why was it considered Unai finishing 5th and delivering a Europa final, a failure?

    This logic makes no sense.

    We’ve got some exciting young talent, but we’ll struggle to hold onto them.

    We’re a club in steep decline, years of poor decision making, is now bearing fruit.

    We’ve got no goals in midfield, and without Aubameyang’s goals, things would look really grim.

    Blooding too many youngsters at once could potentially see us go under.

    If we’re battling it out in the bottom half of the table next season, I wouldn’t be at all surprised.

  9. Nelson

    “I’d give Arteta another season to plump his value,”

    I am sure it is a typo. You mean Laca, right!!!

  10. Micheal

    Marc:
    Clubs are currently losing 25% of their season’s matchday revenue and the contractural obliagtions with Sky-BT remain undecided. Unpaid obligations for past transfers (e.g. Pepe to Arsenal) would have to be met before anyone would resume normal transfer deals. No bank would offer you a mortage if you defaulted on the existing one.

    As far I am aware, season ticket renewals are on hold for the moment. And who is going to renew their season ticket at the moment ?

    Football’s crucial weakness is cash flow – the clubs are paying out wages, deferred transfer payments and general upkeep with no money coming in. Matchday revenue and TVaccounts for around 70% of Arsenal’s total income.

  11. CG

    “””We need to reduce our numbers at the club, get leaner and meaner, it’s a good time to do it.””””

    Well spoken as usual Spanish.

    I read somewhere, we have over 1000 people working at the club! ( I don’t know if its accurate?)

    But can you believe that?

    we need no more than 350-450 maximum.
    we need serious streamlining.

    KSE , by their absenteeism, have allowed the club to fester and potentially be destroyed.

  12. Marc

    Micheal

    If you read my comment I did say at this moment in time and also that there would be an impact, it’s just not hitting with full force at the moment. What that force will be is impossible to say until the we know football can restart – even if behind closed doors. If it’s in the next 6-8 weeks then the damage will not be anywhere near as severe compared to not starting in some capacity for 4-5 months.

    My general point was we don’t know yet what the impact will be.

  13. Uwot?

    Good post.agree most points.if you could say use a swap for Aubangthemin for a Luca jovic or a swap Lacazette for a partey or a swap bellend for a tits Umtiti of a swap a Torrirra & hacker for whoever all in favour of that idea if upgrades.Would keep majority of kids unless silly money offered for Gwen dozy.The rest such as miki,ozil,elneny get what u can.Its still a huge rebuild.Wont be challenging until at least two seasons if not three down the line.maybe sooner if syrup sells up.

  14. Marc

    CG

    I don’t know what the number of employees at the club is but if your 1,000 figure is correct it would include match day staff – stewards & security and people working in the food and beverage sections etc that could easily hundreds and hundreds of people.

    My guess is once again you’ve seen an opportunity to slag off the club without thinking it through.

  15. Marc

    CG

    I don’t know what the number of employees at the club is but if your 1,000 figure is correct it would include match day staff – stewards & security and people working in the food and beverage sections etc that could easily hundreds and hundreds of people.

    My guess is once again you’ve seen an opportunity to slag off the club without thinking it through.

  16. James wood

    Levy looking for up to 400 million for naming
    rights over 15 years for the new ground.?
    Seems highly unlikely at the moment.?

    But how about.”
    “ The Potlesss palace.” For starters.
    No money and No silverware but a nice ground.?

  17. Terraloon

    Marc

    Shown in the 2017/18 Accounts was the following:

    Playing staff. 77
    Training staff. 106
    Commercial& Administration 430

    Total. 733

    In addition on average another 840 temporary staff are employed each match day

  18. Terraloon

    Marc

    Sorry missed out the ground staff

    Playing staff. 77
    Training staff. 106
    Commercial& Administration 430
    Ground Staff 120

    Total. 733

    In addition on average another 840 temporary staff are employed each match day

  19. Spanishdave

    How on earth do we need over 400 people for admin and commercial sales?
    That’s caused by having too much money and people within the club empire building.
    Also it shows the utter incompetence of the owners and board.
    Pass the biscuits please, shall we have a vote on it!

  20. CG

    Spanish

    “””How on earth do we need over 400 people for admin and commercial sales?
    That’s caused by having too much money and people within the club empire building.
    Also it shows the utter incompetence of the owners and board.
    Pass the biscuits please, shall we have a vote on it!””””

    Exactly my thoughts.

    The frightening thing is (And thanks to Terraloon for his excellent research) they are 2 year old accounts. I am sure that those figures have mushroomed since then.

    Also, in comparison to our rivals- our commercial deals have always been poor.

    The whole club in every single department is failing.
    And its all under KSE.

    Arsenal used to be the best run club in England- bar none!

  21. DivineSherlock

    The only part of this article I dont agree with is about Aubameyang. You cant be more wrong than that sir. The man has scored insane amounts of goals in one of the worst Arsenal sides ever assembled ! I say sell Lacazette bring in Jovic or any upcoming ST. Renew Aubameyang . The guy is phenomenonal. If you are nitpicking about those two moments i.e. Tottenham and Olympiakos then you should really get your head checked. Tell me who else would have taken that penalty against Tottenham and who scored that stunning bicycyle kick before our defence conceded again .

  22. jwl

    “How on earth do we need over 400 people for admin and commercial sales?”

    Spanishdave – I remember interview from Wenger penultimate season where he said there were seven people in front office when he arrived in ’96 and now there were more than six hundred employees. I couldn’t believe it, what do all these people do all day, why do we waste money on bureaucracy when we need all money we can get for new players.

  23. jwl

    My impression is that people believe in Arteta like they do Santa Claus or Easter Bunny.

    I would love to know what coaching skills Arteta got from Pep that are useful to us because Pep has only managed teams with world class players, he never had to coach a bunch of numpties like most managers do. Sitting beside Pep when he has two top notch players for each position is not useful training to be a head coach for regular team like ours.

  24. Terraloon

    To gain a bit of perspective . Chelsea employ

    126 playing staff (includes players, managers and coaches)
    283 others. ( include all administrative, commercial and ground staff)

    Total 409

    They employ 950 temporary staff on matchdays

  25. Terraloon

    Liverpool

    Admin, commercial & others. 610
    Players managers and coaches 178
    Grounds & maintenance. 65
    Total853

    They also employ 2073 temp staff on match day and 36 coaches etc for their ladies team

  26. Pedro

    JWL, you think that Pep G just bought players at their highest possible level and it all just works?

    That’s a hugely misguided view of what elite coaching is… and the idea that this Arsenal squad have nothing to take from one of the best teams to grace the Premier League is ludicrous.

    For starters, off the ball movement was incredibly important for Manchester City. it was their thing. No one did it better. They won the league making the least tackles. They force opponents into mistakes by their structures in transition. You don’t need to be world class to know where to stand.

    Manchester City could actually defend. Arsenal could not. Arteta has stemmed the flow of shots at our goal, he’s made us more resolute, and he’s keeping clean-sheets with a group of players that everyone said were relegation fodder.

    He’s turned the fortunes of Ozil, Xhaka and Mustafi.

    ‘What can learning from the greatest coach on the planet’ as you’re witnessing it in front of your eyes is quite something.

  27. Terraloon

    Spurs

    Players and player administration/ support staff 244
    Administration staff. 217
    Retail and Distribution Staff. 100
    Total. 561

    They only have around 160 temp staff on match day which suggests to me that most of match day tasks are outsourced

  28. Marc

    “He’s turned the fortunes of Ozil, Xhaka and Mustafi.”

    You’ve got to say when Pedro goes all in he really goes all in.

    Ozil running about a bit more and Xhaka and Mustafi only being mostly fucking useless is admittedly an improvement however a better one would’ve been to drop Xhaka and not bring Mustafi back into the fold.

  29. Spanishdave

    JWL
    Right on we have slipped into mediocrity and filled our club with second rate admin and hangers on putting out cones.
    Nobody now seems to be in overall charge.
    The manager used to be but now it’s CEO s Tech dicks etc.
    Somebody needs to man up and grab balls when it’s needed.
    Peps been a cheque book manager like Mourinho no less.
    He’s flitted from rich club to rich club.

  30. CG

    I am afraid , I feel there is going to be some serious egg on our PedRo’s face with his MA hyperbole.

    But good for him- its great that he has strident opinions.Nothing wrong with them.
    And for all we know, he could well be correct but….

    I do often wonder, why Manchester City were so indifferent to his exit.

    If he was as fundamental to City’s success as he says- it surprising they didn’t fight harder to keep him.

    Obviously they clearly don’t see Artetas Arsenal as a direct rival.

    Bit like when Fergie let Steve McClaren go to Boro or Brian Kidd to Blackburn Rovers.

  31. Pedro

    No Marc, he’s turned their fortunes around.

    One player was leaving to go back to Germany, he’s been standout.

    Mustafi has been much, much better.

    Mesut Ozil is providing a very important role for the team, he’s working hard, and the fans appreciate what he’s giving.

    CG, first time around, they offered him the role of manager when Pep leaves. That’s not indifferent.

    Second time, what did you want? What has been the most aggressive push to secure an assistant you have seen?

    He took a job that was a step up and City went into freefall.

  32. Marc

    “One player was leaving to go back to Germany, he’s been standout.”

    If you’re referring to Xhaka no he hasn’t – he hasn’t even been close to standout. Not making constant mistakes is not outstanding.

    No behave or I’ll tell you Mum you’re taking drugs.

  33. Marc

    “One player was leaving to go back to Germany, he’s been standout.”

    We were offered low 20 millions for Xhaka – do you think for one second we’d still get that now?

  34. Marc

    Pedro

    Give it a rest – we’re setting up a formation to minimise the damage he does and not expose him.

    When did we ever do that with Vieira? When did we do that with Petit, Gilberto, Cesc, Rocky, Song (who was pretty average)? Even David fucking Hillier didn’t have that done to him.

  35. Pedro

    We’d get more for Xhaka now, obviously, he’s not damaged goods.

    The point isn’t that he’s the best player in the world, it’s that he’s been given a system that suits him and he’s doing a good job.

    Not something Emery managed in 18 months.

  36. CG

    Spanish Dave

    “””””Right on we have slipped into mediocrity and filled our club with second rate admin and hangers on putting out cones.
    Nobody now seems to be in overall charge.
    The manager used to be but now it’s CEO s Tech dicks etc.””””””

    Absolutely sensational.
    100% correct.

    Spanish Dave and CG combined would have Arsenal licked back into shape so quick – you would not believe it.

  37. Marc

    Pedro

    With what’s going on and the financial uncertainty if we managed to get what Berlin offered us we’d do well. According to a revamped Transfermaket that’s been adjusted to account for Covid19 he’s currently worth a small bag of jellybeans.

  38. Billp79

    Pedro is spot on…think of what Arteta would do with players craving to play…and improve their cost of living/ status… mindful of their age and competition within the squad…competitive redundancy …not golden parachutes

  39. Marc

    ” it’s that he’s been given a system that suits him and he’s doing a good job.”

    A good system gets more than the combined sum of it’s parts – what we’re doing with Xhaka just means other players are being held back or having to sacrifice part of their game.

  40. Spanishdave

    Ozil s working hard
    Come on Pedro he saunters about floating in and out of the game when it suits him, by 60 mins he’s done for then Arteta keeps him on until the 80 mins for his ego.
    Tell me why he hasn’t played Martinelli for a while, why , he doesn’t want to upset his favorite players.

  41. Billp79

    If we were offered good money for any senior player right now I’d take it…Bellerin has lost a step after his injury….problem is AMN does see himself in the position…and our other backups are fodder

  42. Billp79

    I always go on the belief that the manager is selecting the best available player….so I don’t subscribe to the notion that someone is being held back…unless we have back to back critical games in 2 or 3 days…

  43. Spanishdave

    CG
    You say some stuff but your hearts in it.
    The club needs a spring clean behind the scenes but the turkeys are not voting yet!
    How’s the time for change, but meanwhile or owner is picking up horse shit on his farm.

  44. Billp79

    Pedro- I think that KSE enterprises played it safe when they got rid of the golden smile….should have gotten rid of Raul

  45. G

    “” Aubameyang’s missed penalty against Spurs is the reason we are not in the Champions league. I think the wrong person was sacked.”
    Yeah we should of sacked Auba for missing a penalty.. Honestly u do write some complete bollocks

  46. Pedro

    Marc, he breaks the lines… which very few in our team can do, so he starts. He’s important to our attacking build-up play.

    Plan in the summer will be to find someone that can do that with more mobility, but for now, he’s doing a good job.

    Red, not sure what you do for a living, but there aren’t many places in the world where you’d be criticised for making the talent you have at your disposal, better. An innane comment.

  47. Redtruth

    The chair of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) shared a claim that those who had treated Mr Johnson in a London hospital had been forced to sign the Official Secrets Act, and that two doctors who had refused had been sent home.

    Ms Fox retweeted a post that read: “Dorset Eye are reporting that when the PM was admitted to hospital, all staff were required to sign the official secrets act. 2 doctors who disagreed with his diagnosis refused, and were sent home ‘on leave’. One of the doctors said ‘if he has Covid19 I am not a doctor.’”

  48. Pedro

    Red, shopping around hard-left nutter conspiracy theories from a Twitter account that isn’t even verified?

  49. Aussie Gooner

    Upamencano and Partey are not coming our way any time soon – no big signing is – so put that on the back burner. We will either have to make do with what we have or look in all the dark corners of the globe to seek a few new Martinellis to displace those not up to the task (a growing list I am afraid).

    KSE will not be dropping any money on the club. They only seek to take and there is not a lot of room there at the moment! This basically adds up to mid-table mediocrity for the foreseeable future. We will never know if Arteta is the wonder coach that Pedro thinks he is because he will never have the right toys to play with. Arsenal will be just a springboard for his career or a graveyard – which ever way it goes.

    These are facts – however unpalatable they might be. COVID-19 – the world will not be the same again. Worry about what is coming next year or the year after that or the year after that etc. We have been far too flippant with the earth’s resources and management – intensive agriculture/animal husbandry, destruction of rain forests, burning of fossil fuels, rampant consumerism, uncontrolled pollution, unmanageable population growth etc. The tipping point may not be too far away – the survival of the planet has always relied on man’s ingenuity and innovation to overcome disaster – this is a finite resource I am afraid!

  50. Uwot?

    Marc with u on hacker.Depresses me every single time he steps out onto that pitch.linking up play is all about he’s good for & not much else.in fact linking up play goes out of the window when he’s pressed which either leads to an error strewn pass or a foul by him.Hes so off the pace it hurts.In a European league,say Serie A fine.hell get the time & will prob look the part but NOT the prem.time & time again this has shown to be true.we can do miles better which would make a huge difference to this side.The sooner we replace watch us improve.-

  51. Pierre

    The recent events may have done us a favour regarding Saka signing a new contract as now he isn’t holding all the cards.
    He may feel he will miss the boat regarding signing a lucrative contract due to the financial implications that the virus will bring.
    It’s a good time to offer him a good deal as I believe he won’t want to miss out in case it all goes totally tits up…

    It will be a risk but a risk worth taking for Arsenal , offer him a long contract (5/6 years) with decent money now, increasing year on year as he progresses to elite level, also put in a large buy out clause.

    We can’t allow him to walk away for nothing next year.

  52. Aussie Gooner

    Even the players are begining to understand!

    “Hector Bellerin, Arsenal’s Professional Footballers Association (PFA) representative….. polled his team-mates earlier this week and went back to the board with the results which failed to demonstrate a clear consensus. According to The Athletic, while only a tick or cross was required, some players offered additional feedback questioning why majority shareholder Stan Kroenke, whose personal fortune is estimated to stand at around $10 billion, could not dig into his own pockets to ease the club’s financial situation.”

  53. CG

    Josh Kroenke

    “””””We have a Champions League wage bill on a Europa League budget””””

    Then we add :

    Edu
    David Luiz
    Pepe
    Tierney
    Cedric
    Mary
    Steve Round

    To it.

    (And not only that we drop further down the league table places in the process)

    No wonder , why the club is in such a severe financial predicament.

    Total incompetence and lack of planning throughout.

    The irony of ironies- the same man ( Raul) who is asking for the 12.5 % annual wages cut is the same man who keeps making it higher.

    Ineptitude of the highest order.

  54. Freddie Ljungberg

    We lowered the wage bill by a big chunk last summer by getting rid of some of Wengers overpaid dross. Get your facts straight. We didn’t just take our existing wage bill and added to it. It’s still much lower after the new signings.

    You seem very hung up on Soares and Mari, you know they were loans right? Because we didn’t have any transfer budget? Because Wenger mismanaged the squad and transfer and wages for years and years?

    oops forgot it was you CG, I know you’re allergic to facts.
    Carry on with your toxic bullshit.

  55. CG

    Freddie

    “””You seem very hung up on Soares and Mari, you know they were loans right? Because we didn’t have any transfer budget? “””

    Too right, transfer budget was blown on
    Tierney and Pepe.

    (Been absolute revelations these two.)

    One permanently crocked.

    The other so one footed – Its an affront to the term ‘ professional footballer ‘

    The reason I mention , Mary and Cedric- is tell ls you all you need to know about Arsenal today and the direction it intends to travel.

    Scabby loan signings, that even clubs like West Ham United would turn their noses up.

    Ill add ,Wenger never had us in midtable in 20 years.

    He also never lost Euro tie at home against minnows to exit the competition.

    Wenger in charge – we beat Olympiakos and we would not be midtable.

    Fact.

  56. Freddie Ljungberg

    We are where we are because Wenger disdained the transfer window for so long, made the team older and worse with every passing year, that culminated in his last 2 years in charge.

    Which left us in a situation not only with old underperforming players but also vastly overpaid ones with little to no resale value.

    That is the mess the club is trying to fix now. Without an infinite budget it’s going to take time. Some patching up with short term loans will be necessary to plug some of the many gaps left in the squad until we can fill those positions with long term, younger options.

    Pepe is 24 and was the hottest winger in Europe when we bought him, still has many years ahead of him. Has done really well so far considering where we are as a team, will only get better.
    Tierney is what? 22. One of the most promising left backs in Europe, who cares if he’s been injured for a couple of months, we bought him for the long term, we didn’t pay that transfer fee for him and then put him on a 6 month contract, smh.

    Sure, going young like we have with Martinelli, Saka, Saliba, Nelson, Guen, Willock etc will hurt us in the short term, so will shipping out too much PL experience at once, but it was the only way we were ever going to have a chance to climb back into the top again within 5 years.

  57. Freddie Ljungberg

    “Arsenal also announced that they would be paying all casual staff until the end of May and do not currently intend to make use of the government’s furlough scheme.

    The Arsenal executive team have also voluntarily waived more than a third of their earnings over the next 12 months. This will be a pay cut and not a deferral”

    Nice to see that the “Spivs” are leading the way with wage cuts. Now it’s the players turn.
    Spoiled multi millionaires want to get paid the same for not playing during a pandemic while the club has no income? Nah.

  58. CG

    FL

    “”””Pepe is 24 and was the hottest winger in Europe when we bought him,”””””””

    So if he was so hot, why were Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City etc not in for him?

    FL

    “””””Tierney is what? 22. One of the most promising left backs in Europe”””””””

    if he is so promising-why no were other top clubs in for him?

    They are average players , both clearly unsuited to the rigours of the Premier league that Raul paid eye watering world class prices for.

    Undisputed Fact.

  59. Freddie Ljungberg

    CG

    Because all clubs don’t have the same needs at the same time? Because all clubs don’t go for the same profile of players? Plenty of clubs after Pepe though at the time. .

    Nice of you to judge 2 new signings after less than a month like you did, would you have done the same if it was one of Wengers duds? I think not.

    Are you now complaining that we don’t go for the same players as Real and Barca? You know we would never make another signing if that was our strategy right?
    You really are dense.

  60. CG

    Freddie

    “””Nice of you to judge 2 new signings after less than a month like you did,””””””

    I could tell looking at a two minute montage of Pepes best moments at Lille he was a one trick pony and completely unsuited to Arsenal requirements.

    Our young lad Saha is a better player already. We didnt need Pepe.

    (It was a frivolous signing for the likes of you to get all excited.)

    As for Tiereny- has anyone seen him play well in the last two seasons? And was he stand out against Motherwell or Brechin?

    Incompetence.

  61. Sid

    The house of cards will cramble globally, billionares will realise their assets, real estate, stocks, are overrated, not worth much.
    Government printing paper money not backed by anything(fiat money backed by faith in governments ability to pay debt lol lol)

    Im telling you this for free!

  62. Freddie Ljungberg

    Saka plays on the left jackass.
    Pepe has 4 goals and 6 assists in 24 games in the PL 7 of those as a sub. 7 goals and 8 assists total. Hardly a flop.

    You just don’t like him because you’re not an Arsenal fan, you’re a Wenger fan, nothing that happens now after your glorious leader is gone is going to make you happy.

    Again. Tierney is young, he has plenty of time to prove himself, we didn’t pay outrageous money for him either. You’re just being your usual dickhead about everything Arsenal.

  63. Spanishdave

    Why would Partey want to leave Athletico and come to us?
    Surely he wants an upgrade, we can’t give him that. He’s using us to get a better contract that’s all.
    We ain’t buying nobody this window whenever that is.

  64. andy1886

    One of our biggest problems remains Ozil’s wages, something that no-one in their right mind would take off our hands even before COVID. Now there is absolutely no chance, none, that he’ll leave. Despite what Pedro may think he’s not pulled up any trees this season and is likely to be an overpaid drain on resources for another season. Probably couldn’t give him away.

    As for Saka this may convince him to sign a new deal but there will still be other clubs funded by oil states (or even ManU who still will not be skint) who could potentially steal our best assets on the cheap.

  65. James wood

    Not much between Pepe vs Deulofeu.
    Except the transfer fees.
    Deulofeu has better work rate and goal participation
    is slightly better.
    I like watching Deulofeu exciting player who constantly
    causes problems sometimes unreadable on the pitch.
    Pepe not for me spends to much time looking at how
    good he looks in his kit and his coloured boots (showboater.)

    Totally readable as he is so one footed.
    Yes he will have his moments but for 70million
    Deulofeu would have been the value.

  66. Freddie Ljungberg

    The difference is that Deulofeu is 2 years older than Pepe, and has played in the PL for 4 years already. Give the guy a chance to settle ffs.

    His fee was high because his potential is high, if he realises that is another story and something we’ll have to see but we didn’t pay 72m only for what he has been giving us in his first 6 months.

  67. Pierre

    Due to the fact that we dont and have never have had the financial clout of city, chelsea and united, 72 million on Pepe was extravagant and that money should have been used more wisely , centre mid should have been a priority.

    In saying that , Pepe may prove to be a success at the club, being one footed is no big deal.
    I like his little tricks on the ball that bamboozles defenders, I like his quick feet, his drag backs and his nut megs.
    He also has an end product and if he does get to produce his very best with us then he could prove to be lethal. Confidence will prove to be the key for Pepe to produce his best football.
    Playing in a dysfunctional team under a dysfunctional manager(Emery) hasn’t helped Pepe .
    He needs to receive the ball in the right areas and we will then see the best of him.

  68. CG

    “”””Totally readable as he is so one footed.
    Yes he will have his moments but for 70million
    Deulofeu would have been the value.”””

    Well said James Wood.
    Outstanding analysis.

    Deulofeu has played CL soccer before and proved he can play in the Prem.
    Scored a beauty against once in his Everton days.

    Pepe has one trick. And its a very predictable (and expensive ) one at that!

  69. CG

    Fred

    “”””His fee was high because his potential is high,””””

    You pay high fees for proven players.
    You pay low fees for potential.

    Basic Logic.

    I wish our Head of Football Ops knew that.

  70. Marc

    “Totally readable as he is so one footed.”

    He still managed to scare the shit out of the Liverpool defence including VVD earlier in the season (or is that last season now?).

    It took Pires and Henry time to settle and they came into a far more functional and balanced team. As Freddie said give the guy a chance to settle.

  71. CG

    Pierre

    “”””””Due to the fact that we dont and have never have had the financial clout of city, chelsea and united, 72 million on Pepe was extravagant and that money should have been used more wisely ,”””””””

    And even with their financial clout- they still didn’t go anywhere near Pepe for £72 million.

    A signing that Arsenal will live to regret.

  72. Spanishdave

    Trouble now is all players values are going to be down, so Pepe is probably max 45 mil. We will never get our money back ,his football brain isn’t good.

  73. Pierre

    Spanishdave
    “Trouble now is all players values are going to be down, so Pepe is probably max 45 mil. We will never get our money back ,his football brain isn’t good.”

    Swings and roundabouts, what you lose in selling you gain in buying.

    Arteta will be looking to do business in the window , that’s for sure.

    He will recognise where we need strengthening and if he has to sell a couple to bring the right players in , he will do.

    There won’t be any of this buying players in positions that we are well stocked, he will look to balance the squad out and I’m sure he already has a good idea on who he wants .
    I’m sure he recognises that the midfield area is a priority and I would expect at least 2 to come in and one,possibly 2 to leave.

  74. Sid

    With proper midfielders Pepe is dynamite, he would have so many options to release the ball to, at the moment xhakalson is at lb while ozil is nowhere.
    Saka, Auba, Pepe ( ting go skraaa…. SAP SAP SAP boom boom)

    Im telling you this for free!

  75. CG

    Pierre

    “””””Arteta will be looking to do business in the window , that’s for sure.””””

    I would have thought legally that would be impossible ( let alone ethical).

    Asking players for an annual 12.5 % wage cut to’ save the club’ and then at the same time adding to the wage bill with more players?

    (Can’t see that standing up in court.)

    If Arsenal get the players to cut their wages 12.5% for a year- there can’ be more signings for 12 months.

    Snookered!

  76. Jamie

    “I would have thought legally that would be impossible

    Asking players for an annual 12.5 % wage cut to’ save the club’ and then at the same time adding to the wage bill with more players?

    (Can’t see that standing up in court.)”

    That’s because you’re an idiot. Cite the law being broken by a private business asking some members of staff to take a voluntary pay cut, and then recruiting extra staff with the available funds added to the bottom line.

    Tick tock, halfwit.

  77. JAMES WOOD

    Pepe hate the wording give players a chance
    Pepe at 70 million should be well up to speed.
    Let’s see him with a couple of different more
    productive and athletic midfielders and lets see.

    He also needs to up his tracking back.
    Not convinced at the moment.
    Looks like a bat in a wind tunnel totally confused as to
    what to do.

  78. Mulerise14

    Not looking at Arteta with rose-tinted glasses,but i’ll rather him at the helms than emery,especially now.
    Arsenal has actual sruck gold with the kids as we have the most exciting crop of youngsters in England now.
    Martinelli
    Nelson
    Saka
    Saliba
    Smith-rowe
    Gwendouzi.
    These youngters are already squad players who would be saving the club huge money in the coming lean years.
    Then those who follow our teams will know,we are due for another batch of exciting youngsters;
    Balogun
    Jules
    Azeez
    Greenwood
    Contrell
    So by accident or by design,Arsenal are rather well poised to rise again,with quality youth,positive coaching and 101% backing for Arteta …..and yes each dynasty has its glory days in the sun and then fade away ……invincibles?man u tripple winners?its my belief man city is already on the wane and though Liverpool are on the rise they too would fade after a while.we need too hold on to our best players and let go of the dross.
    Its hope that kills……i look at the present crop of players(youth inclusive),and probable additions and hope against hope that goonners would return to the summit soon

  79. Freddie Ljungberg

    Jamie.

    A bit harsh on half wits there, CG is at best a quarter wit, and that’s at the absolute peak of his powers. Very harsh.

  80. Marc

    Players will only be taking a wage cut whilst the football is on suspension otherwise it’s just a straightforward new contract at a different rate and the transfer window will not open until football has got itself in a position where it knows when matches will recommence / will the season be finished etc.

    CG is revelling is the possibility that Arsenal will go bust, that way he can lord it that the club could only survive for 2 seasons without Wenger – he actually wants it to happen.

    Amazes me that Pedro will ban others for things that are nothing like wanting the club to cease to exist.

  81. Aussie Gooner

    Upamencano and Partey are not comming our way any time soon – so put that on the back burner. We will either have to do with what we have got or look in all the dark corners of the globe to seek a few new Martinellis. KSE will not be dropping any money on the club. They only seek to take and there is not a lot of room there at the moment! This basically adds up to mid-table mediocraty for the forseeable future. We will never know if Arteta is the wonder coach that Pedro thinks he is because he will never have the right toys to play with.

  82. Redtruth

    Mulerise
    “Arsenal has actual sruck gold with the kids as we have the most exciting crop of youngsters in England now.
    Martinelli
    Nelson
    Saka
    Saliba
    Smith-rowe

    I can’t comment on Saliba but the rest are overrated
    Gwendouzi.”

  83. Terraloon

    Pierre

    Swings and roundabouts, what you lose in selling you gain in buying.

    Not really.

    Arsenal probably don’t have any player that a top club is going to push the boat out for even if you were to argue that PEA is a top draw player his age and length remaining of his contract would have compressed his value and that was before Coranvirus.
    The bulk of the players who would likely be sold would end up at middle range clubs and these clubs are highly unlikely be able to stretch their finances when it’s more than likely that there will be a huge number of players , even more than normal, being put out on loan.
    There will be decent players available at quite reasonable prices , of that there is no doubt but are Arsenal in a position to invest heavily ?

    As for players accepting a reduction ( rather than a deferral) of wages , and yes I know these aren’t normal times, but unless the reduction is agreed by both parties then it can’t happen without consequences.

    I have no doubt that some clubs would be planning to unilaterally cut a players wages but let’s just say that Arsenal cut say PEAs wages by that sum as things stand he would become a free agent so highly unlikely that would be risked without agreement.
    On the other hand the club might be prepared to enforce a cut on say Chambers knowing he can’t ( excuse the pun ) walk away.

    The question would then be how would players who refused to take a pay cut and are too valuable to risk them walking on a free.

    The real winners in this will be clubs that don’t owe much in respect of historical transfers and have agreements in place to sell players and Arsenal aren’t one of those clubs!

  84. Mulerise14

    Redtruth,
    True one needs to tred with caution when it comes to youth,but not one of these young group will go for less than £20million if we decide to cash out and that in itself is money in the bank……and if they explode like we hope they would,thats gold indeed.