Normality, is that you?

by .

Dortmund and Schalke played out the first game of football in 56 years. The Westfalenstadion stadium looked sad and empty, but the fact Germany managed to get players onto the pitch without hitch was all that mattered.

The game felt training-esque. Dortmund ran the show and dished out a 4-0 spanking. Haaland looked exactly like he did before the break, the lad is built for the Premier League, I truly hope he doesn’t mess around in Paris or Spain. I love the youth in their squad. Great energy everywhere, high levels of technical ability and a clear DNA in the football.

There is no reason that sort of squad and output can’t be Arsenal. We have the excuse we need to lower the wage bill, we have a world-class coach, and we have a brilliant name to lean on. We are a huge draw. A great city, swanky training facilities and a beast of a stadium. There is no reason outside super agents that we can’t land the hottest talent in youth football.

There’s a big interview in The Guardian of Unai Emery. It’s another attempt at rewriting history and really, a job application to anyone that’ll listen. I wondered whether I should dissect it piece by piece, but it’s so meek, I thought better of it.

I’ll just give a summation: The content of that article is exactly why he struggles at the elite level of the game.

He is your typical ‘I don’t like to make excuses, but here are ten, and they’ll have my spin on them.’ It’s painful reading. The one thing you do get a sense of is that he knows deep down a lot of these issues were his to own. This one quote on language sums it up.

“I had a decent level, although I needed to improve. When results are bad it’s not the same. You lack the linguistic depth to explain. And take ‘good ebening’: OK, it’s ‘good evening’, but when I said ‘good ebening’ and won it was fun; when we were losing it was a disgrace.”

Here he’s acknowledging that he failed to take language seriously for the third time in his career (Russia and France), but he ends up painting it as a fan issue. ‘Ebening’ was funny the first few times he did it because it was the mistake of someone that was trying to learn a new language on the fly. 17 months into a £6m a year job, if you’re still making such a mistake, it’s willful ignorance. You know it’s wrong, yet you don’t correct it.

Other parts of the interview followed a similar track. He acknowledged that 5 captains didn’t really work out, but in the same breadth bemoans them leaving as the central problem. He does the same thing with the vote, trying to justify sharing the responsibility of a hard decision. The pumping of Aaron Ramsey was even weaker. I have heard that the player didn’t think the manager rated him after his contract was withdrawn and he was dropped. If Emery truly did believe the Welshman was incredible, why did he bench him until things started going down the toilet? It’s another excuse.

He also bemoans not landing Zaha, with Arsenal preferring the younger Pepe. You could feel sympathy but Zaha has done fuck all this season and the reality of the moan is Steve Parish wasn’t selling.

Emery took on a job that was too big for him. He treated Arsenal and the players like he was still running Sevilla. The ‘one size fits all’ style of management does not work at a big club with big-name players. When players are on short contracts and working for you because there’s been a fail in their career, they’ll get past the oddities. Premier League players are different, you have to convince them of your ways and you have to always work to motivate them. That ‘convincing’ isn’t one rallying talk, that’s making correct decisions every single day. Nightmarishly tough, I know, but that’s why so few can do it.

This sort of interview shows you why he’s not cut out for top-level management. He’s a blame merchant, he can’t manage egos, and he shirks tough decisions. Good luck to him. I couldn’t be happier we moved him on.

Now we have a coach that understand players as individuals. He communicates to the fans and the staff clearly. He has a distinct vision of where he wants to take the club and an idea of the stages needed to get there. He’s an elite coach with modern ideas. He delivers on what he says. Will he succeed? Who knows, but as fans, we have to pray he has the sauce to push us to the next level because if he doesn’t, we are going to be lost in the wild for a very long time.

Right, on that note, I’ll see you in the comments. Big love xx

150 Responses to “Normality, is that you?”

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  1. Tom

    The Arteta is world class and elite mantra is still amusing to read even though I probably should’ve gotten used to it by now.

  2. Guns of SF

    I think that they need to shut the mics down for the coaches on the sidelines. Nothing more annoying than hearing them screaming in German over the TV commentators.
    No need to have live mics down there anyhow…
    Other than that. Dortmund masterclass, although Shalke did do ok but their defense sucks

  3. Tom

    Emery’s good ebening was kinda funny but the stroking of his own chin on the sidelines is what I’ll remember him by the most.

  4. Marc


    “He’s an elite coach with modern ideas. He delivers on what he says. Will he succeed? Who knows,”

    Sorry but you can’t have it both ways he’s either elite level or if he fails he took on a big job too early in his fledging managerial career in which case he’s just not elite level.

    I like some of what Arteta has done and I think there are some things he needs to improve on.

    What gives me confidence in him is I think he’s aware of that.

  5. Marc


    I’m not really fussed what they do in Germany but I hope they don’t do that when PL football finally returns.

    Watching (listening) to some of the oafs we have in management over here will be hysterical. As will listening to some of the players scream in agony as they go down having not been touched.

  6. Guns of SF

    Dortmund is a good team … very technical players and great link up play. Superior to us…
    If we can play like that, it would be very pleasant on the eyes.

    This 5 subs things is a little annoying.. more game stoppages but I guess in a way this is good to showcase AMN/ Guen/ Mustafi and others who I feel should be sold in summer !

  7. Gentlebris

    Where are you getting this negative energy in a time like this, Pedro?

    Even your best friend would tell you that your Emery ramblings stink of hate.

    Leave the man alone already, he no longer works for Arsenal.

    Let’s focus on your ‘world class’ Mikel.

  8. NJ Gooner

    Pedro, thank you for an interesting piece.

    Let’s dissect Arteta as a manager for a moment:

    1. Exudes confidence (inspirational and aspirational)
    2. Great communication skills to an external audience (press and fans)
    3. Reputedly (I am not fit to judge) is exemplary on a technical/tactical level. Players say that they learn a lot from him.
    4. Again, seems to have the respect of the players (crucial) and supposedly generates unity of purpose (see Tierney interview), although I think that one or two have been notably silent on that issue.

    Question marks?

    1. what happens when results inevitably go badly? Does he have the capacity to maintain the players’ support and confidence, and turn things around?

    2. How much influence does he have with the management? Emery may have been wrong about Zaha. But we don’t know how Zaha would have fared at Arsenal this season and–– more importantly – it is hard to shape a team, either tactically or in terms of leadership, if you don’t get the support you request. Nothing is worse that being seen to be undermined by your bosses.

    3. Relatedly, if the management doesn’t support him, will he walk?

    While I fully support Arteta’s appointment, the jury will be out until we have the answer to the second set of questions.

  9. Tom

    “Sorry but you can’t have it both ways he’s either elite level or if he fails he took on a big job too early in his fledging managerial career in which case he’s just not elite level.“

    Pedro hedging his bets there a bit….maybe?

  10. CG

    Great post NJ. And off course Pedro too.

    That interview by the Clown today will certainly be a wake up call for MA too.

    How long will it be before the MA/Edu/Raul alliance breaks?

    Only one man associated with Arsenal wanted Emery as head coach , and that was Raul.

    And yet when his man wanted Zaha – he got Pepe.

    Raul has accumulated more power than any other club executive in world soccer (solely because of the KSE absenteeism policy)
    Successful clubs can be not run this way.

    Last thing.

    Credit to the German league and the German players ( especially in the Dortmund derby) no Spitting whatsoever.

    Who would have thought that would have been possible only months ago?

    And if they can eradicate this vile practice- (wheres there a will )they can eradicate another too. The influence of agents.

  11. rollen

    World Class Arteta will do very well to equalize garbage Emery’s career.

    He did nothing so far.

    Zaha is garbage and diver.
    Fuss-ball is back.

  12. Trask

    MarcMay 16, 2020    16:37:30

    Pedro is just flip flopping as per usual to his favorite

    “The ‘one size fits all’ style of management does not work at a big club with big-name players”

    What big name players. Maybe Auba and that’s even a stretch imo

  13. Marc


    Pedro did tell us all that we’d win the CL within 5 years of Arteta taking over.

    Bris has also got it spot on there – Emery’s gone time to move on. The one thing I would say is that Emery has provided a needed filler between Wenger and Arteta.

  14. Trask

    “Will he succeed? Who knows, but as fans, we have to pray he has the sauce to push us to the next level because if he doesn’t, we are going to be lost in the wild for a very long time.”

    So now we have to resort to prayers

    He either moves us forward and be termed a success or doesn’t and be termed a failure as you have described Emery

    Fans do not need to ‘pray’ for anything

  15. CG

    China ( from other post)

    ‘””””Zaha would’ve been a legend in the Ian Wright mould’

    CG literally what are you smoking lol”””

    Well Ian Wright would never have joined joined Arsenal with fans like you.

    We bought Ian Wright at 28.
    Zaha is 26.

    Zaha has been a bigger influence at Crystal Palace than whatever Ian Wright was to them.

    Zaha can play left wing, right wing, centre forward….. can Pepe???

    The Clown was right in this one instance.

    He wanted a proven player( Zaha) to hit the ground running this season…..not wait until Pepe can use his right foot….

    He held face to face meetings with Zaha
    He never had face to face meetings with Pepe.

    He was told to have Pepe.

    Clubs like Luton Town operate like this.

  16. Tom

    “Pedro did tell us all that we’d win the CL within 5 years of Arteta taking over.“

    He did?
    Credit to him for setting the bar high then.
    Me personally, if Arteta gets us back to CL places I’ll cal him elite.

  17. Chris

    “ We are a huge draw. A great city, swanky training facilities and a beast of a stadium. There is no reason outside super agents that we can’t land the hottest talent in youth football.”

    I never tire of reading or hearing this, because it is so true.

    Have to tie down Saka first of all, that’s still the big worry right now.

  18. Marc


    Hopefully the rumours about the contract offer length being the sticking point are true.

    At least that’s something relatively easy to get round.

  19. GunnerDNA


    “We have the excuse we need to lower the wage bill, we have a world-class coach, and we have a brilliant name to lean on.”

    A world class coach who couldn’t get a result against some Uber drivers at the Emirates for Arsenal to progress in the EL.

    “17 months into a £6m a year job, if you’re still making such a mistake, it’s willful ignorance”

    In 17 months Emery bounce with £8m from Arsenal, don’t think he really cares what Arsenal fans think. Don’t understand why you have so much problems with an ex-employee giving honest answers to questions directed to him in an interview. When MA gets sack, you will struggle with blogging, like how you can’t buy any listeners to your podcasts because you’re agenda driven. It’s just a matter of time before all the clout chasers in the fan base is no longer around!

  20. Guns of SF

    sell Guen, Laca, AMN, Mustafi, Ozil ( dream), Bellerin, Xhaka, Mikki, El Neny,

    Those proceeds can get us an entire new midfield, and another striker… and other needed pieces.

    Save our wage bill…. give Auba his raise.

    Covid specials…. summer 2020 only.. Special discounts and rebates avail

  21. DivineSherlock

    I like the look of Brandt , He has keen sense of passing was positionally aware of his teammates and himself got into very good situations. That flick for the first goal was Ozil prime like. He should be the types we should be looking at .

  22. Guns of SF

    I would not mind raiding dortmund for some of their mids…

    I would love to see Partey and Jota in our team next season… i know its a pipe dream.

    I will say for the 1000x time. We need goal scoring mids… I hope Arty Farty man realizes this and we go after those players. Xhaka, Guen, etc… no use.

    We get nothing from our mids… very little assists too.

    All this talk about bolstering our defense… great- we have a surplus now.

    Now it all about our midfield… goals and assists… needed pls

  23. DivineSherlock

    Gunner DNA

    Emery is just trying to save face , considering he damaged his reputation at Arsenal . Look at him no club has hired him since . Pedro is right , he wasnt cut out for it theres PSG and Arsenal examples for you . You pity Emery fine , but Pedro has been right about him .

  24. Guns of SF

    I would give Pepe one more season… Its time he shows and steps up.
    This time off, I hope to see some improvements in his movements… Im sure there have been extra film sessions with him and how he can get away from the same moves over and over. The right leg must be used some more… mandatory for a right winger

  25. CG

    San Francisco

    “””””I will say for the 1000x time. We need goal scoring mids””””””

    We gave the best one around away for nothing.

    One that scored goals on the big occasion time and time again.

    Raul Didn’t want him. Thought he knew best. Never kicked a ball in his life and yet he chooses coaches, players and Teck Decks.

    But we have Genduzi,Cebollas and Torreia though.

    Midfield Goal scoring machines that lot.

  26. GunnerDNA


    “Emery is just trying to save face , considering he damaged his reputation at Arsenal”

    How did he damage his reputation at Arsenal? Managers get sacked every season and they all bounce back. Only the deluded thinks Arsenal is still a big Club. Arsenal is a mid table team and that’s exactly why they hired MA

  27. Rich

    Arteta who got us kicked out of the Europa league round of 32, who hasn’t improved performances or results, and has managed for a couple of months is great.

    Emery who finished 5th and got to a Europa final, has had success at Lorca, Almeira, Valencia, Sevilla and PSG, hasn’t got a clue what he’s doing…..

    Pedro needs to go read a book on confirmation bias….

  28. Guns of SF

    I read the article. There are some valid points in there, and you have to feel for Emery a little.
    At some point the players and fans gave up on him.
    There needed to be some team spirit and bonding in the run to his last season… we need one win… just one win and the team needed to be with each other.

    The final in Baku was a like a virus in the team.. it was a crack that just kept getting bigger as the players continued to be ill disciplined and the lack of leaders in the team showed.

    Xhaka, Ozil etc… too much
    Emery, clueless as to how to get them together again.

    it was nails for sure after a while. I gave emery a fair shake in my assessment of him.. he failed at the end of the day…

  29. Marc

    “We gave the best one around away for nothing.”

    CG don’t be a cock – Ramsey PL stats

    09/10 – 3 goals
    10/11 – 1
    11/12 – 2
    12/13 – 1
    13/14 – 10
    14/15 – 6
    15/16 – 5
    16/17 – 1
    17/18 – 7
    18/19 – 8

    44 goals in 10 seasons – yeah a right fucking machine and the best scoring midfielder around.

  30. Guns of SF

    Arteta seems to have more clue than Emery.
    Emery I will say, was not scared to take on senior players. Arteta seems much more to be aligned with them, and catering to their veteran status.
    I appreciate Emery for being tough on Ozil. Wenger coddled him, Arteta has brought him back in. despite the same shit performances.

    Its to be seen how he is with player recruitment and sales… will be make tough decisions? Will he sell those that underperform?

    With little games left, to be seen how we finish the season…

  31. Marc

    Deli Alli in comparison, who I think is one of the most overrated players going. Ramsey’s numbers are in brackets just to remind you CG.

    15/16 – 10 (5)
    16/17 – 18 (1)
    17/18 – 9 (7)
    18/19 – 5 (8)
    19/20 – 8 and a quarter of the season to go.

  32. Guns of SF

    Rambo had a great engine, when it worked.
    Outside of that – he had to go. Not the player we need- his ship sailed a long time ago, along with Theo, Jack, Kieran etc.

  33. Marc


    The truth is our squad was in such a fucked up state that there isn’t a manager going who could of come in and made things right in one or two seasons.

    I love Wenger for what he did when he joined and I hate that he allowed himself to destroy such a legacy in his latter years at the club but the truth is that’s precisely what he did.

  34. GunnerDNA


    “Arteta seems much more to be aligned with them, and catering to their veteran status”

    He has no choice because MA was a average players during his career. What can he really tell David Luiz about the game?

  35. Marc


    That’s a lazy viewpoint.

    George Graham was nicknamed Stroller as a player because of his laidback attitude as a manager he was the complete opposite.

    Wenger was a really average player and Fergie wasn’t much better.

  36. Guns of SF


    Great point… some on here think that because he was sniffing Peps farts that he somehow has Pep powers… LOL

    Just kidding of course.

    I do hope we see something more from the team… As I said, this team suffers due to our midfield woes. It needs a complete overhaul.

    Our link play, our transition game is shit.

    We need creators in our midfield and scorers. We are predictable and ponderous many times.

    This summer cannot come fast enough. I worry that we stick with most of the same team… since COVID has put ice on players moving…and market values.

    A Jota, Grealish and a proper DM would go a long way next season

  37. Sid

    Nuri Sahin pre-injuries, Kagawa, Gotze, Lewandowski, Hummels, Aubameyang, Gundogan, Mkhitaryan, Diallo, Dembele, Pulisic.

    Most Dortmund players are overrated the only worthwhile players are Lewandowski and Haaland, the jury is still out on Jadon

  38. Guns of SF

    Haaland. A beast of a player but let’s see how consistent he can be

    Lewandowski legit bad ass

  39. Sid

    Would rather Saka than Pulusic, Gotze is a midget Ozil, sahin and Gundogan are Ramseys equivalent, hummels is David luiz

    You heard it here 1st!

  40. Bob N16

    Arteta is not a ‘novice’. Sure he’s new to the manager role but he’s played professional football in four countries, played with and for some great players and coaches and been a number 2 to won of the top 2/3 coaches in world football and captained the club he now manages.

    In most professions you progress through a system, learning from people above, you get promoted and progress further. It is so simplistic to say he’s a novice.

    Sure he’s new to being a No. 1 but would you accuse any CEO or Managing Director of being a novice when they get promoted to the top job? A person who gets the top job has been promoted because they have usually deserved advancement ;through their experience and ability/charisma. They have convinced those who are in charge of selection to give them the job. In Arteta’s case he has even worked and experienced life as an Arsenal player. He has already got people he knows there and understands the importance and history of the club.

    Novice my arse!

  41. Sid

    Hapless Hummels

    “Hummels, who spent eight seasons with Dortmund before moving to Bayern in 2016, was about of sorts in his BVB return. His brain farts nearly led to embarrassing goal concessions, and he was lucky Uerdingen weren’t more clinical in the final third.”

    Im telling you for free!

  42. Guns of SF

    Marc… good question. I would only due to age and upside. Haaland is a beast but I’ve yet to see him score auba esque goals..

    How about you?

  43. Sid

    One of the most abused fallacies is “ad hominem,” where rather than dealing with what someone is saying or the merits of their argument, the personality or character of the opponent is attacked.
    So hardened in their wide-eyed beliefs they usually don’t actually tackle the merit of the argument.

  44. Marc


    Yeah – I would he looks like he’s going to be the real deal, Auba’s not getting any younger and might be on the move anyway and there’s always some mug who’ll pay for a player because they think they know how to get what others can’t out of them.

    Except of course Xhaka started badly, then got seriously worse, then told the fans to fuck off, then didn’t play and we were all happy, then came back and got even worse and then £20 million plus offered and Arteta said no!!!!

  45. Mulerise14

    Credit to Pedro for keeping the ball rolling,one may agree with him sometimes and disagree other times,but its not as easy as it seems to muster up content every other day during this viralull…….i can only speak for myself,but sometimes i wonder why we are always at each other’s throat.
    Lets view some facts
    -Arsene was great for the first ten years of his reign
    -Arsene overstayed,he really should have gone before he was kicked years went by,his waning powers became painful to watch.
    -Emery was a wrong coach and the delay in axing him hurt us big deal am looking at ya messrs raul,edu et al
    -Arteta ,yes still much to learn,but right now the positives outweigh the negative
    Yes Pedro can whine lyrical about him,but who can honestly blame him?
    Just have a moment and think of where we were as a club when Arteta came in.
    The biggest thing Arteta has given to us is Hope and he brought back Joy in watching our darling team.
    Arteta may be the next generational coach and giving the youngsters on our hands now and the resources available,we are better served to cast our lot with him other than has been coaches like the Ancellotis of this world.
    Hiring Arteta may turn out to be a stroke of genius afterall……fortune favors the brave

  46. Guns of SF

    Can we get a cut price deals for crocks coman and dembele? Imagine those all healed up and in the same team… nice indeed. What an attacking frontline

  47. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    I’m surprised you giving time to emery…
    Look a bitter man says bitter words..

    Ignore him.

    As for this keeper we are linked with … nah yer alright… he stinks

  48. R.S.P.C.Arsenal

    Sell Auba
    He want out…

    So sell

    Anyone who don’t wanna b3 5here sell

    Difficult with ozil don’t want to be there but agent does…

    Shows what’s wrong with football

    Sack him.

  49. Bob N16

    Marc, you’re slightly exaggerating. If someone is willing to pay him say £100k a week and give him a signing on fee of £5m, we’d ‘only’ have to give him £8.2m to fuck off.

  50. Marc


    Only if he agreed to it – he could easily say I have a written contract that says you owe me 1 years salary which is £18.2 million.

    If you give your notice in does your employer say I’m cutting your last months salary because you’re getting a rise in your new job?

  51. Bob N16

    Sure Marc but if he’s not losing out financially, he might prefer to be play elsewhere, Turkey for example.

  52. R.S.P.C.Arsenal


    It’s the agent

    Look at the facts
    Ozil and his missus don’t want to be in London .,..

    Understandable after last year…

    U an I would would go go …turkey to play out last year…
    But agent forcing it,.
    Ou4 club will be to professional. About it but we know what to do,

  53. alex cutter

    “Emery is just trying to save face , considering he damaged his reputation at Arsenal . Look at him no club has hired him since . Pedro is right , he wasnt cut out for it theres PSG and Arsenal examples for you . You pity Emery fine , but Pedro has been right about him .”

    Unlike that pathetic cryptkeeper Wenger, who spends his time writing his memiors when not rejcting managerial offers from the elite teams beating a path to his door.

  54. China1

    CG you’re reaching like crazy. There’s literally no reason to believe zaha would magically be a monster for us when he isn’t a monster (and never has been) for palace.

    There are loads of wingers who are fast, trickery and can get a similar goals/assist record around the world. What makes it any more likely that he will explode and become a legendary player than anyone else?

    If you want a fast winger who is direct, beats his man and over a similar career length and number of appearances has dramatically outscored him, look no further than…. Theo Walcott…

  55. China1

    Since zaha isn’t a great goal scorer, surely it’s assists we should be looking at? Saka is already a better crosser of the ball. Saka is at least as fast as zaha. Saka is versatile enough to be LB. saka is a bigger goal threat from out wide.

    Saka didn’t cost 70m

  56. Bojangles


    The best way to purge Wenger from LG is to ignore all comments made concerning him. The main Wengerites are CG and Pierre; allow then to sing his praises to each other, they will soon become bored when nobody bites.

  57. Mulerise14

    Hindsight is a wonderful thing…..had we gotten zaha,the development saka and martinelli may not have been fast-tracked.And yes considering his output,being epl veteran and all,to pepe,who is new to epl does not reflect well on him.
    Pepe with all the criticism may still blow big time once he adapt to d pace of epl and to my own thinking has a higher ceiling than him

  58. Habesha Gooner

    I don’t get this hype about Zaha. He is No Mahrez or Mane. They were tearing it up at lower clubs. Lots of good wingers were Available who had his stats for a whole lot cheaper. his best season had 10 goals and 5 assists at 26 years old. This season he has 4 goals in 25+ games. And we could have done a whole better for 80 mil. I am not saying pepe is sound at 72 mil either but this is his first season, He has had 10+ goals in multiple seasons in France and is younger. Ziyech at 30 mil was the better choice last summer. Anyway I would give Saka a free run at LW next season. He has shown his ability and can be better than any o e we could get in the summer. Put Martinelli at 9.

  59. James wood

    Zaha is quite visionless in open play
    Mahrez makes him look mediocre.
    Mane makes him look Very mediocre

    And I’m sure he has a dodgy birth certificate.?

    It’s just CP upping the value of their only asset.?
    That keeps him in the spotlight.
    A bustling trier that does more when the cameras are there.?

  60. Northbanker

    A front 3 of Pepe, Martinelli and Saka next season will rip the guts out of a lot of teams. We just need a top level no 10 to really make it work. We’lll no doubt be stuck with Ozil and so I’d like to see ESR given the opportunity To deputise.

    I am resigned to the fact there will be little transfer activity and that we will need to let Auba go (keeping him will be financial suicide) but if we can get Partey as our only signing then that would more than make up for it.

    A CB pairing of Saliba and Luiz or Mari will be interesting.

  61. Graham62

    Zaha is a special player but question marks still remain regarding his ability to accept and take responsibility when it really matters.

    Playing for CP is not like playing for one of the top clubs. At CP he is the go to player, the main man. He fluffed up at MU and who’s to say he wouldn’t have fluffed up with us.

    I have seen enough of Pepe to know he can be a special player. Hopefully Arteta can start to get the best out of him on a consistent basis.

    Whenever the football kicks off again, let’s hope that Pepe hits the ground running.

  62. Bob N16

    Northbanker, agree with every word of your post.

    We must get rid of either PEA or Lacazette to create space for Martinelli and Saka, (and Nketiah) as well as to generate cash for quality midfielders.

    Midfield additions will make the greatest difference. I would hope for a couple 24/25 year olds who would go straight into the team. Partey and one other?

    Defence with Saliba and Tiernay establishing themselves and Bellerin recapturing fitness and form should be much stronger.

  63. China1

    Mule it is, but I don’t say this from hindsight really, I was saying the same points about zaha not representing anything near value for money when he was getting talked up all summer.

    I was banging on and on about what madness it would’ve been to throw that much money at him on a hope and prayer he can make a clear step up to a higher level than he’s managed before.

    I don’t know if Pepe will come good or not. He definitely hasn’t yet. But zaha for 70+ m would’ve been absolutely bonkers ‘silly season’ business, especially for a club like arsenal with players like xhaka, mustafi and ozil all still floating in and around the first 11.

    I would’ve paid 35-40m max for zaha and called that a fair price. If he was 20 years old then a higher price tag could reflect the expectation he will keep improving, but at 26 he’s not getting much better and he’s not a world class player. 70m should be buying elite quality, not just a ‘good’ player.

    We could’ve bought VVD for less only a couple of years ago

  64. CG


    “”””CG you’re reaching like crazy. There’s literally no reason to believe zaha would magically be a monster for us when he isn’t a monster (and never has been) for palace.”””‘

    But Ian Wright was never a monster player until he joined Arsenal.

    Eric Cantona was never a monster player until he joined Manchester United.

    Salah was not a monster player before he joined Liverpool nor Sane.

    Zaha is a Gooner. And has the fighting spirit and bedevillement that Pepe lacks.
    He is uniquely versatile. Can play in any forward of the forward positions and up front on his own.

    It may not have worked out for him at Manchester United- but Fergie broke the record for a teenager at the time to try and sign him. And Fergie like our Wenger recognize real talent.

    I have no doubts- Wilf Zaha would have had a similar effect on the club like Wrighty did when he joined us.


    A huge strategic error as some other club will have his qualities soon. Just imagine if George Graham had not signed Ian Wright but Spurs did instead!!

  65. China1

    CG but what you’re describing is a gamble not based on any particular evidence.

    If we were paying the going rate for zaha I’d have not had so much to say, but 70+m is a huge inverse inflation based on nothing more than a hope that he’ll prove value for it

    For any example you can find of a good player flying under the radar then being a beast, you can find a hundred who didn’t. Rolling the dice on a good player is part of standard recruitment, but paying elite prices for a good player already in his peak is a really bad gamble.

    Bargains are out there. Saka and martinelli have both demonstrated they can bring a load of value whilst costing nothing or pennies. Why pay 70m with our limited finances on not much more than a prayer it will pay off?

    Also fergie wasted plenty of money over the years. You can hardly suggest derive always got it right

  66. Thomas

    “Pepe will be among top 5 players in the world next seasonYou heard it here 1st!”


    Lol at this.

  67. China1

    Also compare the difference in fergie buying zaha and us

    Fergie had a league dominating team, some of the worlds deepest pockets and no major squad weaknesses. Zaha at that age wasn’t the finished article but he looked like he might be if he kept improving and they could easily afford to roll that dice and take a gamble

    Now he’s well into his peak and never kicked on. We’re still talking about what he ‘might’ achieve rather than what he has. Only a small percentage of wingers improve much in their late 20s and most elite wingers will have proved they are that at least a few years younger. On top of all that, he’d have cost more than the likes of Mane, Sane, Salah, Mahrez and would’ve been one of the most expensive wingers ever lol. Meanwhile arsenal have limited resources and an awful midfield. The gamble would make no sense at all

    And sure enough this season he’s same old good but not great player. He’s not demonstrated what we’re missing out on… he’s just good, nothing else.

    So feel free to criticize the Pepe signing as he hasn’t yet looked a 70m player and he might end up failing, but whether or not Pepe fails will not make zaha any less of a dangerous gamble. And at least Pepe looked elite last season – something which zaha has literally never achieved – and he’s younger.

  68. China1

    The one key aspect that separates the good from the great players is end product

    Fast wingers with quick feet are not hard to find, but David Beckham has neither and look at his career. He could put in a great cross 8 times out of 10 and that made him a far more potent player than any speed demon with step overs who only gets a handful of goals and assists each year

    And that’s why saka will probably have a better career than zaha. He’s a far better crosser already in his teens

  69. Graham62

    Can’t say I really enjoyed watching the football yesterday.

    If it’s going to be behind closed doors for several months( or longer) they have to look at simulating the fans reaction to things. Why not? The technology exists.

    It’s a start though.

  70. Dissenter

    Herr Pedro;
    Wir haben keinen Weltklasse-Trainer

    We do NOT have a world class coach.
    Arteta can be described as a young manager that’s shown promise.
    You are head over heels with this guy, same way you were all over Gazidis.
    World class coaches don’t lose to Olympiakos in the round of 16 at home.

  71. Graham62

    Zaha is an incredibly selfish player.

    Yes, he possesses power, pace and superb dribbling skills but you always seem to know that when he gets the ball, it’s generally all about him.

    Saka has already shown he’s a team player.

  72. Spanishdave

    Spot on, Pedros love gets embarrassing sometimes.
    Arteta has promise that’s all, he started to show some favoritism with some players and that is not world glass. He said he needs to be ruthless but that’s all hot air.
    Time will tell all, its a gamble with him and may not work out.

  73. Chris

    Well said China1 regarding Zaha.

    Pay £40 million for Zaha, that’s another discussion. £80 million is madness. You pay that for Ronaldo in his latter career, not Zaha.

  74. Jim Lahey

    I would gladly trade both Lacazette and aubameyang for Haaland. Even at this Dotmund would be stupid to take it.

  75. Graham62


    That’s something that Pedro will always have to live with.

    Gazidis was a leech of the highest order.

    As for Arteta, it remains to be seen just how good he will be.

    My gut feeling though is that we got the right guy in.

  76. Jim Lahey

    “He’s an elite coach with modern ideas.”

    Christ Almighty!!! 😂😂😂😂😂

    Man, other fans are not wrong when they call us lot deluded!

  77. CG


    “””World class coaches don’t lose to Olympiakos in the round of 16 at home.”””


    But that’s not to say – Arteta is not hugely promising.

    Mikel Arteta has got zero criticism from the olympiakos fiasco. Like it’s just air brushed from history. All forgotten.

    Crikey , imagine If Wenger lost at home to Olympiakos in the worst tournament ever devised.

    Arsenal have never exited a Euro tie when they have won the away Leg first.

    Arteta’s Arsenal did. And they did it with x 4 players alone costing over £200 000 000.

    He is not world class. He is just potential. All potential at this stage.

    World class coaches are ones that win trophies.

    Jose, Klopp, Wenger, Pep & Fergie come to mind.

  78. Jim Lahey

    @Dissenter –

    “World class coaches don’t lose to Olympiakos in the round of 16 at home.”

    Maybe not, but apparently “elite” ones do! 😂

  79. Dissenter

    Pedro’s field of vision is restricted once his gut flora takes over.
    He LOVES Arteta and just can’t see that besides him saying all the right things, all that’s left if just potential.

    My hope is that the club runs the way it’s set up to post-Wenger; with checks and balances.
    Raul and Edu have to sell Auba to avoid losing him for nothing next summer, over the wishes of a young managers who wishes to keep him.
    My hope is that they aren’t tempted to give the keys of the kingdom to a young manager who’s still learning his trade.

  80. andy1886

    “World class coaches don’t lose to Olympiakos in the round of 16 at home.”

    But apparently they do lose in the first round to PAOK (Wenger 1997).

  81. Terraloon

    If, and a big if Newcastle Utd are sold here what the league table in respect of owners wealth is said to be

    1. Newcastle Saudi Arabian Public Investment Fund (PiF) £320bn
    2. Man City Sheikh Mansour £23.3bn
    3. Chelsea Roman Abramovich £9.6bn
    4. Arsenal Stan Kroenke £6.8bn
    5. Wolves Guo Guangchang £5.2bn
    6. Aston Villa Nassef Sawiris £5bn
    7. Leicester Aiyawatt Srivaddhanaprabha £4.6bn
    8. Tottenham Joe Lewis £3.9bn
    9. Manchester United The Glazer Family £3.6bn
    10. Southampton Gao Jisheng £3.1bn
    11. Crystal Palace Joshua Harris £2.7bn
    12. Liverpool John W Henry £2.1bn
    13.West Ham David Sullivan and David Gold £1.6bn
    14. Everton Farhad Moshiri £1.5bn
    15. Brighton Tony Bloom £1.3bn
    16. Bournemouth Maxim Demin £900m
    17. Sheffield United Prince Abdullah bin Musa’ed £198m
    18. Watford Gino Pozzo £93m
    19. Burnley Mike Garlick £62m
    20. Norwich Delia Smith, Michael Wynn-Jones £23m

  82. Dissenter

    “World class coaches don’t lose to Olympiakos in the round of 16 at home.”But apparently they do lose in the first round to PAOK (Wenger 1997)‘

    Wenger had reached the finals of the 1992 cup winners cup with Monaco. He has also reached the semifinals of the 1994 champions league with Monaco. He had been cheated off a French league trophy in 1993 by Bernard Tapie’s Marseilles bribery scandal.

    Wenger was a known quantity when he came to Arsenal . Arteta is still a footnote we took a chance on.

  83. CG


    “”””Gazidis was a leech of the highest order.””””””””””

    Never forget- his mate Raul is now running the show.

    Not picked on his number crunching ability- chosen because of his contacts book and because he was his chum and was about to sacked at Barcelona.

    …..that’s Raul contacts

    We sit in 9th
    He arrived when we were 5th.

  84. Moray

    @Terraloon, where is the scrutiny over owners being fit and proper? It seems you would have to be Harold Shipman to get knocked back from owning a Premiership franchise these days.

  85. Sid

    If xhakalson and ozil are in arsenals midfield next season i will know all i need to about Arteta.
    Mustafinovs is forgivable as long as the other 2 are gone.
    Forgave him once once for keeping Xhakalson this January, twice will be shame on me

    Im telling you for free!

  86. Aussie Gooner


    The other players you mention did not cost a King’s Ransom. 80mil for Zaha would be a huge gamble at his age considering that he has never set the world on fire to date. I think I will pass on him! We have better prospects in the ranks already and should prioritise keeping players like Saka. I would rather the money be spent there.

    Ozil is going nowhere – he is on to such a good thing why would he consider moving to another team where he might even be expected to put some effort in! He knows that he is finished at the top level – why mess with the status quo?

  87. Bob N16

    This slagging off of Arteta for overseeing the loss to Olympiakos and concluding that he is not an elite coach because of this one result is pathetic.

    Transitional season, inheriting a disjointed squad, a new head coach is not allowed one bad result? Agenda -driven nonsense!

  88. CG


    We are Arsenal not bloody Aldershot.
    The name of the game is to win.

    If Arsenal can not beat Olympiakos over 2 legs – despite having a team consisting of Pepe, PEA, Ozil & Laca we as might disband the club.

    The same night – Man Utd under the much criticised OGS – smashed Bruges 5.

    They had Igalo playing on his own up front. A freebie.

    I remember it well – I bought Arsenal goals
    And suffered a rare loss.

    Worst result in Arsenal recents history since Wrexham.

  89. Northbanker

    Agreed Bob – elite coaches, whoever they are, still lose matches and continue to do so. They lose out on major trophies, esp if ko involved, because of a few mad moments on the field. This has always happened and will happen often with Arteta, Klopp and whoever else you would like to benchmark.

    Why there are so many on here hoping that Pedro will be found wrong baffles me massively. So much crap spouted.

  90. Northbanker

    And CG – to take your earlier post on Saha – Ian Wright wasn’t anyone special before he joined Arsenal. Rubbish – he was adored by CP fans as part of the Wright- Bright attack – a prolific partnership. He nearly beat Man U single-handedly in the 1993 (I think) Cup Final.

    Canton a was a huge star at Leeds before he went to Man U.

    Of course they become bigger names when at bigger clubs but that doesn’t mean they weren’t ‘monsters’ at their respective clubs.

  91. WengerEagle

    Zaha is overrated, isn’t even in the same stratosphere as the games’ elite widemen.

    Jadon Sancho is levels above him in terms of end product, decision making, composure and technique and he’s just turned 20 years old.

    Zaha’s level as a marquee player is a top 10 PL club, at a top 4 club and above he’s merely another player.

  92. Graham62


    “Worst result in Arsenals recent history since Wrexham”


    I could list numerous others and you could to, if you put your mind to it.🤔

  93. Bob N16

    CG, please do not comment on my posts, I will not comment on yours.

    Oh and by the way calling me Wally says much more about you than it does me.

  94. Jim Lahey

    @Bob –

    “concluding that he is not an elite coach because of this one result is pathetic.”

    He is not an elite coach because he has done nothing to earn that title yet!! Does he have potential, of course, but calling him elite after a handful of game is ridiculous.

  95. Bob N16

    Jim, my point is that he may or may not be an elite coach but to write him off as definitely not one on the basis that AFC lost to Olympiakos is patently absurd.

    The jury is still out but he is showing some excellent signs after having some great experience as a player and as a No put him in the position to be offered the job.

  96. CG


    “”””Worst result in Arsenals recent history since Wrexham.”””””

    I bet you cant.

    Team costing over 1/4 billion.
    2 legs . Home advantage and extra time.
    Alleged Elite coach in charge.
    Loosing to Greek minnows.
    Only trophy available to win.
    Final repercussions huge.

    Wrexham was worst without question no.1 humiliation in recent times.
    This was the 2nd.

    Arteta ( who I like) has actually got away with blue murder with the media and fans on this one.

  97. Graham62


    I can give you a few for a start.

    Arsenal 1 Monaco 3……….

    Birmingham 2 Arsenal 1…..

    Bradford 1 Arsenal 0…..

    Dozens more!

    Not to mention all the embarrassing capitulations.

  98. China1

    Yeah you can’t say Arteta is elite yet, even tho he might well be – he hasn’t done enough to demonstrate it yet

    I feel quite confident that he’s going to do good things with us, whatever that means, but he hasn’t done it yet and he has shown he himself also needs to work on a few points

    Namely he’s quite passive with substitutions and hasn’t always been as ruthless as we’d like (or he said he’d be) with certain players

    But overall I think he’s made us better and will continue to do so.

    That EL result was dreadful by any metric, but my opinion is always that you should base your opinion 80% on the overall trajectory. Every player, manager, team will have some clearly sub par moments and periods, so the question should be is it just a really shit moment on an otherwise positive trajectory (acceptable despite being frustrating) or is it a sign of not being that good and the result is just mirroring the trajectory (bad)?

    I believe and hope we’re on the up under Arteta so im not going to go that hard on the EL result as fucking bad as it was lol

  99. China1

    Seeing a celebrity chef as an owner of a PL team makes me chuckle every time

    Nothing wrong with it, actually it’s really cool compared with the usual evil villain billionaire with skeletons in his closet and corpses in his basement, but still makes me laugh

    Delia Smith in the same relative position as some of those other names is funny as fuck

  100. China1

    Graham don’t forget us getting knocked out of the CL by the mighty PSV ffs

    That one was even worse than Monaco but seems to have been forgotten by most!

  101. China1

    That was 2008 as well. We still had loads of quality in those days. Losing to PSV over two legs was absolutely bemusing

    To a Chelsea loanee as well (Alex)

    Fucking shit shit shit

  102. Graham62


    I only scratched the surface.

    Losing to Wrexham in 1992 wouldn’t even rank in my top 50.

    Best wishes CG.

  103. Marc


    I’d forgotten about the League Cup final loss to Birmingham – think I must have blacked that out. After getting grief from the media about “haven’t won a trophy for X years” we finally had a chance to put that to bed against a team we should walk it against and we fuck it up.

    How CG can call the loss in the EL our second worst defeat in modern history is laughable – unless of course he’s trolling.

  104. CG

    “””””Graham….I’d forgotten about the League Cup final…”””””

    There was a lot of them.
    Easy to forget a few.

  105. Santan

    While Arteta is cannot be classed world class or elite. He seems a very decent manager. For CG to focus on one result makes me think he’s a very sad troll. Your not going to find a manager who doesn’t lose some games. We’re unbeaten in the league if i remember correctly (feels like its been years) that is a very good start

  106. Northbanker

    I was there in 2011 and remember how bloody cold and miserable that day was

    Funniest moment looking back at it was I took my 2 sons who were then 9 and 7. The eldest mentioned as we drove to Wembley ‘won’t it be a long way to come back if we lose?’

    They learnt their trade that day as suffering Gooners

  107. Chris


    Re Olympiakos home defeat.

    We were sucker punched. We could have gone through in the final seconds of the tie were it not for a very uncharacteristic Aubameyang miss. To call that our worst result in recent times is barmy. Your opinion, but it’s a bit daft.

    8-2 against Man Utd has to be the most embarrassing in the past quarter of a century, Wrexham is up there, no doubt, but that game at Old Trafford was just absolutely appalling as a result of a botched summer transfer window by Wenger.

  108. Graham62


    Yep, gotta be trolling.

    How else would you explain a supporter putting the Wrexham defeat in 92 ahead of the 2011 Carling Cup Final defeat to Birmingham?

    There’s no other explanation.

  109. Uwot? can toss in the 6-0 at the chaavs & 5-1 at the mickey mousers amongst numerous others.i ‘d better stop there.Dont want to get too depressed….

  110. Pedro

    You can say that Arteta is a world-class coach for the work he did at City.

    Head coach, jury is out.

  111. Chris

    I remember PSV tie. Don’t think it is bad as people make out.

    We played poorly in the 1st leg away, but much better in the 2nd leg and should have been another 2 goals ahead by the time they scored. Again, another sucker punch. That happens in football.

    When you lose by 6 goals away from home because of lack of preparation, that’s a truly embarrassing defeat.

  112. Chris

    Meant to say that was 2006/7 season (PSV). I think we were profligate in front of goal a lot that season even thought the football was often sublime. We had a game at home to CSKA I think where we drew 0-0 having had about 80 attempts on goal it seemed, and Rosicky managed to miss an open goal but hitting it into the keepers hands who was further back from him

  113. Daniel Altos

    This slagging off of Arteta for overseeing the loss to Olympiakos and concluding that he is not an elite coach because of this one result is pathetic.Transitional season, inheriting a disjointed squad, a new head coach is not allowed one bad result? Agenda -driven nonsense!

    Bob I think you are missing the point and you know of agendas what would be legrove’s reaction if wenger lost a second leg tie at home against fucking olimpiacos after leading away?Or emery?…I can tell you for free it wouldn’t be this ‘good coaches are allowed bad results’ nonsense

  114. Marc


    No it’d be “Wenger has had 22 years managing the team and it’s his squad with his short comings”

    Anyone judging Arteta on the handful of matches he’s had is being unreasonable.

  115. Thomas

    “We’re unbeaten in the league if i remember correctly (feels like its been years) that is a very good start”


    Not true.

  116. Graham62


    I think if Wenger or Emery had been in the job a few weeks and had inherited a disjointed squad, we’d be fairly understanding.

    However, if they’d been in the job 22 years and the same thing happened I think our reaction would be slightly different.

    Oh shite….one of them was!

  117. Dissenter

    “This slagging off of Arteta for overseeing the loss to Olympiakos and concluding that he is not an elite coach because of this one result is pathetic“

    Actually calling him world class in the basis of zero evidence is appallingly pathetic.
    He’s a promising manager that we all hope goes on to do well.
    There’s some evidence he’s not all that, besides the happy talk.

  118. Mulerise14

    China1,i agree with you concerning zaha being overprized at £ you notice people comparing saka to zaha?do you think saka would have developed as he did if we had bought zaha?also martinelli?
    Sid,we can’t seem be able to give ozil away for free,so what will you have Arteta do? Arsenal will no doubt try their best possible to move him,won’t be surprised he would not move an what are the options;
    -force him to train with under 17 all season
    -squeeze what we can from him
    As to xhaka,if we are selling torreira,i think he will stay at least a season before we move him on.
    Midfield is the key moving forward;partey/zakaria/soumare

  119. Mulerise14

    I can’t forget that birmingham match…..the dimunitive Nigerian scored at the death( Obafemi martins)