Arsenal’s dire on-pitch performance matched by shoddy off-pitch antics

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Well, that was a thud back down to earth. Arsenal are shit. Take me back to lockdown.

Our first game back was a nightmare, but so very, very Arsenal.

2 injured players inside 20mins, check.

Unforced error leading to goal, check.

Sending off, check.

Away loss in the Premier League, check.

Insipid performance, check.

It really was all there, about as familiar as an unchanged pair of pants you’ve been wearing for 7 years.

I think what a lot of people are missing is that behind the scenes, Arsenal is still an absolute shit show.

Mesut Ozil was dropped, again. He has a bad attitude and he’s already managed to fall foul of Arteta’s rules.

Auba played like a lost sheep, is that because we haven’t offered him a new deal?

David Luiz, if I can read the tea leaves, didn’t play because he’s had his contract pulled (wonder what took Raul from being favourable to that deal, to reneging). He was subbed on for an injured Mari and he played like a player worried about what he’d be doing in 13 days time.

“I said to the players after the game, nobody needs to speak (to the media), it’s me, I have to show my face.”

“I want to stay, the coach knows, the coach wants me to stay. We are waiting for the decisions.”

This is one of the worries I had about post-covid football. The market is fucked. He’s a luxury now. His contract has basically expired and he’s not focused because THE POOR MAN CAN’T FEED HIS FERRARI HABIT.

Everyone is VERY worried about Pepe not starting. From what I understand, there are challenges there. If he was pulling up trees, do you really think he’d sit on the bench?

Players are picked on what they deliver in training.

Mesut Ozil was dropped, so Joe Willock stepped in and offered nothing. That said, Arsenal haven’t won an away game in the Premier league since 2015. Might as well give Willock a go, even if he did stink out the place.

As a side snippet, the club have been training Saka in lots of different positions, he’s been great everywhere, but the hot talk is that he’s been VERY good as a number 10.

Anyway, back to it. Not a very good starting 11. Lots of promise, not a lot of ability to deliver right now.

The reality so many seem to forget is that City are Champions, they had a fully fit and rested squad to choose from, we haven’t won away in the league in 25 games. Even on a good day, we’d have likely been beaten. Today, we had a bad day, even without injuries, we were still going to lose that game bar a shithousery miracle.

Our squad lacks most things. We aren’t bullies, there’s not a lot of athleticism, and we’re short on experience. The absolute kicker for me is that there was nothing in that performance. Absolutely nothing. Could have been Emery, Wenger or Freddie.


There’s a lot of room to grow, but that’s going to be hard when there are so many fires going on with the squad dynamics, contracts, and the general unrest in the game at the moment.

This season won’t be 9 more games of that. We’ll win some, we’ll put in performances, but we have to eat a big spoonful of reality… this season is a write-off, and it tastes like cat puke.

That doesn’t mean you need to douse yourself in petrol and set yourself on fire in front of The Tollington.

Mikel Arteta is a great coach. He’s doing the right things behind the scenes. He’s holding players to high standards, he’s working out who can cut it next season, he’s modernising the club and he’s slowly but surely trying to fix the culture of mediocrity. He’s going to work out just fine, I can take the Ls right now, but know this, longterm, if you’re calling him a bum… you are wrong and I will come for you with your own words late at night when you least suspect it.

We have VERY talented young players. They might not be ready to blow up now, but they will do. With the right senior players supporting them, good coaching, and good life choices, they could be very special. Put Chelsea’s kids in with our seniors and they’d be shit too. The future of Arsenal is local, young and elite. City doesn’t change that.

We’re still being run badly, that’s what many don’t understand. The David Luiz stuff sparks a little bit of intrigue. Two weeks ago, his agent said the deal was close, why are we not there now? Do we think head office is paying attention to the games that are going on with Raul’s squad of feeders? There’s a chance on that.

Edu and Raul are not running a tight ship. It’s harsh on the Brazilian, so maybe I’ll leave him alone, but Raul has not delivered. He’s spent bad money on suspect players, he’s snuggled up on the super-agent comfort blanket, and he continues to let money  walk out the door (Rambo, Welbeck, Auba). It’s not good enough. Josh might be absent, but if there’s one thing I know about billionaires, they don’t like to look like faaaaacking mugs. I think Josh looks like a fucking mug at the moment. Raul needs to shape up or he should be shipped out.

If, if, if… the club can get smart about building a proper football club, then we might see some positives moving forward.

Edu talking to The Athletic about data and being smart with player purchases sounds like a reaction to the poor press he’s been getting lately. We know he can find better players than Soares because he let the club buy Martinelli. We know we have great scouts because Cagigao recommended him. We don’t have to be shit at transfers, we really don’t. Edu needs to detach himself from Raul and do his job properly this summer.

Arsenal will hit the bottom at some point, my hope is that we get it done sharpish so this summer isn’t another unmitigated disaster. We need a rebuild, no more transition bullshit. We need exec leadership to think about the club first. We need everyone to buy into the coach and give him the best possible platform to succeed with this batch of kids that could be really, really good.

We need to move on from the Arsene nightmare and stop running towards like irrelevance like we want to be 90s Liverpool for the rest of time.

… but first, we need to move on from City and win this weekend. Yesterday was a terrible performance. Everything went against us. We didn’t show up. That needs a response. We simply don’t have time to feel sorry for ourselves.

On that note, I bid you farewell. x

478 Responses to “Arsenal’s dire on-pitch performance matched by shoddy off-pitch antics”

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  1. Valentin

    I like Arteta and I believe that he is a great coach. What we are discovering now is whether he can also be a good decent manager.
    Both job do not necessarily require the same quality. Football is full of people who are great coach but poor manager and vice versa poor coach but great manager.
    I believe that with a good transfer window, Arteta has the ability to grow as a manager. He will have to make some difficult decision with regard to who to keep and who to sell. Some of the decisions may be taken off him for financial reason. (Özil, Mhkitaryan, Aubameyang, Xhaka, Torreira, …) So I hope that those external circumstances will not burden him too much.

  2. Freddie Ljungberg



    Lichenstiener (whatever)

    Your list can be divided into 2 groups, crocks on high wages in their last year of contract (Ramsey had 1 year more) and loan players/stop gaps that were signed of necessity because our finances were fucked from all the bad squad decisions taken by the former management, including the bloated wage bill holding us back.

    Almost every long term signing has been good, the debatable ones are Torreira and Guen maybe but they’re both still young and if Torreira leaves we’ll get our money back and we’d make a profit if we sold Guen, which I don’t think we should think about yet.

    The issue has been too many holes to fill and not enough funds to do it, not letting go of overpaid dross, crocks or has beens.

  3. Leedsgunner

    Last summer Raul Sanhelli was lauded as a master of the transfer window for landing us Pepe. It’s too early to pronounce judgement on Pepe… until he’s had a full season under his new manager.

    However, since then Raul been poor. He talks the talk but he doesn’t walk the walk in tying our best players down and he has been virtually ineffective in moving on our deadwood for good prices. What’s that about?

    He needs to start producing results or he needs to move on.

  4. Terraloon

    At most European clubs the idea that a coach determines the structure or has anything like the final say on transfers would be laughed at.

    Look at the likes of RM, Barca, Bayern, PSGand yes even Chelsea they don’t blink when it comes to replacing their head coach. If things aren’t going right after a few months they don’t keep giving the man more time they make changes and fast.

    Head coaches may get the privilege of appointing an assistant or two but by and large they work within a structure and with people that are already in place.

    What we are seeing at Arsenal is a bloated and confused structure where roles seem blurred .

    To me it is apparent that the of lack of leadership ,involvement and focus on football by the Kronkes comes about because they don’t actually understand football in the UK nor do any of their senior appointees seem to be truly accountable.

    In a blink of an eye a top club can be left well and truly behind. A big stadium, a history and “ a way” won’t be enough to stop a slide but until a competent and ruthless board are put in place nothing will change except perhaps non CL or EL EL qualification may become an accepted norm.

    These are truly worrying times for Arsenal and if we can see it why can’t KSE?

  5. Valentin

    Torreira has an ankle injury, hence his omission from the squad. Nothing to do with Arteta not rating him.

  6. Valentin


    I don’t think that Arsenal has a bloated structure compared to other club. What we have is a structure full of people who should not be in their position.
    Raul is a marketing guy why is he is charge of football operation?
    Edu is a former player who in his previous job did not deal with recruitment in Europe.
    Per was a great player who has been dropped into the position of head of academy without experience in dealing with such position before.

    The rest of the behind the scene is exactly the same. Full of people who may have the best intention but without the experience to do the job.
    Without a strong leader (and Josh is unlikely to be that man) and or a great organiser (neither of which seem to be), the club is just rudderless. No direction, no clear indication of where to go and how to get there. Afraid of making the big decision or taking the wrong decision out of sync to show decisiveness.

  7. Wasi


    How are all of them related to Raul?

    For Emery’s first window , Sven was in charge.
    And letting Jack , Santi and Welbeck was the right decision.
    Santi might have done his ankle again if he played in the Prem after his comeback . He needed a safer , slower environment and in La Liga he found that and ripped up the league.
    I dont know if Welbeck and Jack have a combined ten league games this season. I dont think they have.

    Ramsey wad allowed into his final year by Gazidis.
    Apparently the club did offer him a contract when everything was rosy under Emery but then Emery decided he didn’t want him and the contract was pulled back. ( Remember Ramsey in an interview saying the contract was almost signed but the club pulled it back in the last minute)

    Suarez was Emery signing through and through. The coach has owned it and so has the player. According to Suarez (in an interview) Emery personally called him and showed him how we would use him and so and so.

    Lich was a Sven signing.

    Luiz was a Raul and Edu signing. Edu connection is important here. Because he was the one who made this deal happen. But that doesn’t mean Raul should be absolved of blame here. It was a bad decision on his part too.

    Soares and Mari were sensible signings at the time.
    Or were you in support of the prospect of playing Sok at RB for the rest of the season ?
    Could have been disastrous.

    The negatives on Raul’s part is that he said he wouldn’t allow contracts to go into the final year and he just did that with Auba’s and Saka’s contract.
    And he should definitely be criticized for that. He talked the talk but didn’t walk the walk. At least in this context.

    What I find wrong is blaming Raul of essentially cheating to earn a little more bucks for him and his friends. All that without any proof.
    Whereas theres press saying Arsenal are one of a no. of clubs to take part in some online platform to cut agent fees. ( You’ll never see its mention in Pedro’s blog because it doesn’t suit his agenda ).
    I just stand with what is right.

    If we find proof that Raul is leeching money out of the club I’ll definitely be anti-Raul. But there isnt any.

    And how do you think an exec could trick The Kroenkes? ( They may not be good for the club but they are very very successful businessmen. They are in the top 0.0001%)

    Ive constantly stated im not a die hard Raul supporter. If it were me Id rather have Rangnick.
    (Ivan now bringing Rangnick to Milan. Why didn’t he bring him here !!!?)
    But that doesn’t mean I will blame him for all the club’s losses and downfalls.

  8. CG

    Question for Wasi.

    Tubby is 2 years into his contract.
    Presumably its expires in 18 months time or thereabouts.

    Do you:

    A) keep him until it expires?

    B) sack him now and get someone competent to clear up his mess?

    C) Renew it and ultimately get us relegated?

    There aint no more options.
    A, B or C…

    Off you go…. a bit of multiple choice for you.

  9. Terraloon


    Ok let’s just look at the exec board.

    We know Sir Chips has no gone but you’ve got the two Kronkes, (I was tempted to put Krankies ) Ken Friar, Richard Carr, & Lord Harris alongside Miles who is CO sec, Vinai who is Managing director and Raul head of football.

    Chelsea’s exec board you have Buck ( Chairman,) Granovskia, Laurence and Tenebaum.

    That board with the addition of David Barnard has dual responsibility for matters football.

    Granovskia is perhaps the most powerful woman in football but at board level you don’t see the owner.

    I agree fully about the competence but that then you can’t blame the individuals in those positions it’s the people that keep them in the positions of responsibility that must bear the blame. So back to my point

  10. Graham62


    The negative perceptions surrounding the club over these past few years will intensify if Arsenal decide to extend Luiz’s contract. In fact, I would go as far as to say that there will be mutiny amongst the fan base if this were to happen.

    This would not only show just how badly things are run, it would also place a massive question mark against Arteta’s standing and credibility as manager.

    I for one would not tolerate yet another cock up on contract negotiations with another player who is clearly a detriment to the progression of the club.

    It must not happen.

  11. Wasi


    This is the real world and there are definitely more options.

    My option no. 1 would be-
    If Kroenkes can find a good Technical Director with a proven track record. Someone like Rangnick or Luis Campos or Zorc then kick the tubby Spaniard out right now. Because even though he is clean and working in the club’s best interest he is no match for the aforementioned three.

    My Option 2 –
    Give him the end of this season i.e. until Ozil’s contract expires. If the club is moving in a positive direction on and off the field and we still cant manage to attract someone like Campos , Rangnick or Zorc or just someone of that caliber then extend his contract.


    You’d be kidding if you dont agree that Sven was in charge of the summer window year before last.(and the January window prior to that)
    And he didn’t leave a few games into the season. He left around End of January. And he left because Raul didnt give him the power ( tech director) he wanted at the club. Maybe it was down to the poor signings he made at the club. Now by no means I was or still am against Sven. With his track record he would have made a great Chief Scout or maybe even a great technical director. But his signings for the club werent really breath taking and he wasnt a peoples man ( Kicked out of / Left Dortmund for spat with Head Coach.) And you want your technical director to be a good peoples man, someone who can understand the coaches , the players , the needs.

    Which batch of players would you have if given the choice?(Best signings of Raul vs Sven’s)
    1- Pepe , Tierney , Saliba , Martinelli
    2- Auba , Torreira , Guendouzi ( I listed Torreira and Guen as good signings even tho many believe they are duds. But just for the sake of argument I wont go against my own beliefs.And I believe they will come good. Not Tierney , Saliba or Martinelli or Pepe good but good players nonetheless)

  12. Freddie Ljungberg

    There’s also talk that we’re giving Mari a contract and paying a fee of around 10m.
    Just save the money for him and Luiz and buy a proper long term CB ffs.

    Even if we don’t have the money for someone like Upa, or Gabriel there’s Disasi available for just a couple of million more than Mari would cost.
    Sure he’s not the finished article but at least he has all the physical attributes needed in the PL.
    Mari’s lack of pace is already showing and he’s only played 3 games for us.
    There’s also players like Kouassi that’s available on a free, there’s a lot of competition for his signature sure but with our clown school he’ll be a starter in no time.
    We have to stop doing what’s easiest every time and move away from slow, injury prone older players.

  13. Wasi


    Kuoassi is off to Bayern.
    Id be interested in Disasi tho. His concentration is a concern according to some but his physical attribute and young age is something that interests me a lot.

  14. Graham62

    The more money that has come into football over these past twenty years or so, the more undesirables have been attracted to the game.

    You see the suits these days are not just suits. Many of these people have one simple goal in life, which is to accumulate as much power and wealth as possible.

    Parasites, as I like to call them, come in all shapes and sizes and I’m sure you all have your own experiences of meeting and dealing with these sort of people. I certainly have.

    Many of these individuals are not trustworthy, have a tendency for backstabbing and undermining others and, significantly, never have the greater good of the business(club)at heart.

    Yes, they may have impressive qualifications and credentials but what they don’t have is the ability to be honest and trustworthy.

    Welcome then to the modern world of Arsenal FC.

  15. Pierre

    Wednesday night .

    How events unfolded

    5 mins …our defensive/holding midfield off injured.

    20 minutes…a central defender was taken off injured.

    45 minutes…defensive error leads to first goal

    50 minutes…red card and a penalty given by the Manchester born referee…game over.

    Considering we were playing one of the top 4 sides in Europe away from home, I’m not sure what more Arteta could have done.

    We had ten men , our left back was playing at centre back, our right winger was playing at left back , the only thing we could do was make it a damage limitation exercise….which we did.

    Yes, Arteta could have brought on Pepe but due to the fact that defensively he is poor, it may have opened the floodgates which would have led to increased criticism.

    So unless someone can come up with a way we could have got something from that game against one of the best passing sides in Europe, then it may be better to look at the match realistically and come to the conclusion that from a manager’s standpoint it was a really difficult situation to manage.

  16. shaun

    well I think we all hope that we haven’t hired the world s best number 2 to be our manager……………..managers seem to be very different creatures to coach’s and number 2’s .I am no expert but I just can’t seem to trust managers who are putting there faith in players like Xhacka and luiz they are both so obviously not suited to current Prem football .we all know Luiz should never have been bought in by arsenal that was just stupid as he was the last type of defender we required .Every aresenal fan will tell you we just need a pure defender ….see danger clear danger , no fancy shit as we just need the basics .As we have not had any basic defending for years .I don’t know about the rest of the fans but that school boy defending error shit drives me nuts and is what made me hate wenger so much , it’s just not professional and incredibly poor and any good coach should be able to fix that and if they can’t they out the player

  17. andy1886

    Pierre, nobody is slating Arteta because we lost away at City. It is however perfectly justified to question a line up that has our best players not starting in their favoured positions. What was he trying to achieve? Whatever it was it didn’t work at any point in the game.

    Graham, agree with your last post, the single biggest issue in many walks of life are the selfish, greedy self-promoting bullshitters that seem to rise to the top in direct correlation to their lack of ability. Just take a look at the White House, or to a lesser extent Number 10.

    My youngest is about to go off to Uni, I’ve warned him that it’s much less about how good you are at what you do than how good you are at BS,bluster, and exuding confidence despite any real evidence that you’re competent at all.

  18. Valentin


    Regarding the board, there was clearly a war of influence. They wanted to appoint David O’Leary to be appointed as advisor. Raul threw a tantrum at the possibility that the board could have oversight on him on executive decisions. It was not just a clash of personality, it was a clash on the principle that the board could have an football advisor to help them oversee the football operations.

    Nobody with football knowledge on the board means no possibility of any football reasoned rebuttal of Raul’s action. All the other departments are subject to the same scrutiny. People on the board have enough experience to view of the commercial endeavours are properly handled.

    That to me was red flag. Only people with either a personal hidden agenda or unsecured about their own decisions are against the appointment of somebody to review their decisions.

  19. Valentin


    Except that Saliba and Martinelli were not Raul signing. Saliba was a Sven’s signing even if that happen later. He spotted him even before he joined Arsenal and then initiated the deal.
    Martinelli was done on behest of our Spain and South America head scout. Remember that initially he was supposed to join our U21 team not the senior squad. He is on the official U21 team, but only appears on the second official senior team photo taken in October/November.

    Leno was a Sven signing, but despite his heroic I would say that there was better and cheaper player available at the time.

    Where the true comparison is not between the best, it is between the worst signing. And the average return. Then Raul really shines with his extra spending on average to bad players.

  20. Terraloon


    What more could he have done?

    For a start you wouldn’t have started with Saka on the right, Auba wide.

    Luiz if his mind wasn’t right, which clearly it wasn’t should l not have been allowed any where near the squad.

    There’s three things

  21. The Backpass


    Stop saying what you are not privy too, this is not the first time you have been saying Saliba was Sven signing, did you get this information from the execs, and how can you say Sven signing when Sven wasn’t with us when we signed him.

    Did he watch Saliba and different others, maybe, possible. But calling him Sven signing is ridiculous.

  22. Wasi


    Theres no proof that Saliba was spotted by Sven.
    There were 0 links to Saliba when Sven was at the club.
    And Martinelli was spotted by Cagigao who is a scout and thats his job to find good players for the club. The signing was completed by Raul.

    Bad signings under SvenMkhi – 180 k a week contract ( 1 and a half years he was at Arsenal so about 13 mil)

    Lich – 60-80 k a week contract ( assume 60 so about 3 mil a year )

    PapaSok – 17 mil transfer fee + 90k a week salary for 2 years so about 9 mil.

    Mavro – 2.2 mil transfer fee + 12k a week so for 2 and a half years its about 1 mil or something

    Total –
    About 45 mil.

    Raul’s bad signings

    Luiz – transfer fee 8 mil + 140k a week for a year ( about 7.5 mil a year ). Lets assume total package for 20 mil even though its about 17 mil

    Soares – total package 5 mil.

    Mari – 3 mil in fees and salary up until now.
    If signed total cost could go to about 12 mil.

    Denis Suarez – Even though it was forced by Emery , he was signed under Raul. Assuming a total lack of 5 mil even though it must have been way less.

    Total – 32 mil.

    Numbers are rounded up but other than that Straight Facts.

  23. Valentin


    Dortmund enquired about Saliba the year before when Sven was in charge. So what is the most likely that Sven went to Arsenal with the same list of players he had at Dortmund or that Raul discovered a youth team player?
    Same thing with Mavrapanos, who in your view spotted him Raul or Sven?