What’s the plan, Edu/Raul?

by & filed under News Review.

If you came here this morning expecting a pat on the head for sitting on your arse for three months, here it is.

Well done you.

Now let’s crash into the MONSTROSITY that is Arsenal FC.

Firstly, the FA released the agent fee data and certain sections of the fanbase seem to be very pleased the number is only £13m. This comment from Terraloon might help you work through your joy and temper it with a little bit of caution.

You can not determine from the list of payments made in that period how much the club have agreed to pay out in respect of transfers in.The schedule only records the money paid out directly to the club by intermediaries over a set period. It doesn’t tell us what those payments were in respect of or indeed when those transactions actually happened.

The second attachment does tell us what transactions happened but again we don’t know over what time period the agents will receive their fees

Agents get paid for all sorts of things such as arranging contract extensions , facilitating loans out , transfers out and yes transfers in.

Often clubs agree to bear the costs of an agent acting on behalf of a player but when they do those sums don’t appear on the list they are paid in effect via payroll and treated as a benefit in kind.

To prove the point look at two clubs. Liverpool and Chelsea . These two clubs in the period 1/2/19-31/1/20 . These two clubs paid out £30.38 million and £26.183 million respectively.

In effect two transfer windows. Liverpool paid out just £8.5 million in respect of a couple of minor transfers in and Chelsea who were unable to sign anyone In the summer 2019 window bar Kovacic whose loan they made permanent and in the January 20 window they didn’t sign anyone.

I think we can move on from that and leave the magical thinkers to their own conclusions.

What I do want to talk about is the bigger picture with Arsenal, because we’re missing it when we’re debating whether Soares has a nice attitude or David Luiz is an agent of death.

Arsenal don’t have a plan.

You can hunt for it, you can retrofit excuses, but the simple fact is there is no coherence in what we’re doing.

Why? Because we’re not honest about our standing in football at the moment.

David Luiz, Cedric Soares and maybe Pablo Mari offer no real long term value to Arsenal. It’s money down the drain unless they drive us to the Champions League. Even then, what was the point? They have no resale value, they are not helping us to win the thing, they have limited ceilings.

We are pissing money up the wall with no credible plan to move the club forward.

Ivan Gazidis threw a lot of money at making the Champions League by bringing in senior players just before Wenger left. It didn’t work. Raul threw massive money at senior players when Emery arrived and it didn’t work. Now we’re 12th in the league and we’re doing the same again. Even if it succeeds, we’re still throwing money down the drain. At best, we’re thinking a year in advance.

‘Maybe Willian can help us’ isn’t a strategy, it’s naive.

Why is this happening? Because we don’t know who we are and there’s no real strategy.

We shouldn’t be debating drossy that had their best years 5 years ago. Arsenal should be honest about their position in the world football and rip the plaster this summer. Move on the senior players that are letting us down. A clean sweep. That’s Auba, Lacazette, Mustafi, Kola, Luiz and the loan players.

If Torreira doesn’t like England, sell him. If Matteo is a head case with a grim attitude and Barcelona have £60m, sell him on.

Then decide on the plan. If it’s Borussia Dortmund 2.0, go for it. There is absolutely no reason, outside a coherent plan, that we can’t replicate what they do.

Build a player profile. 20-24 years old. Fit. Mobile. Fast. A good level of emotional intelligence.

Know where to pick them up from. Look at the Eastern European leagues. Fish from the same ponds where the elite youth end up going, like RB Salzburg. Act quick.

Return to the future. Contacts football is shit and it rarely delivers. Ban Kia from the training ground. Never let Canales in a brainstorm again. Set a process for how you get to the right list of players. Leave no one in any doubt as to why you signed a name.

Stop trying to do things the easy way. ‘Call Kia’ is how great clubs die. Relying on people with a conflict of interest to give you good advice on players is quite frankly, fucking embarrassing.

Our current strategy is shit. Load up with bums, and pray to the footballing gods that one season, it might work out. That is not a winning formula. It hasn’t worked for Manchester United with a real budget, and it won’t work for Arsenal who have spent all their cash and borrowed from future pots.

Arsenal has a great coach. There’s a reason all the leaks to the media have cited everyone bar him for the mess. He’s in a tough spot. He’s probably worried about his future right now, he’s likely struggling with the dynamics of having two bosses with very bad taste, and he’s probably wondering how he’s going to get a turn out of these players.

But so would any coach. Carlo and Jose are hardly flying. OGS didn’t exactly cover himself in glory last season. A select few of the Chelsea fanbase have been calling Frank a fraud all season. Implementing change after picking up a midseason fire is difficult.

Our senior players have been problematic. The contract issues have spilt out into the training ground. The pay cut wasn’t great. He’s had a red card. A bunch of injuries. His season has been derailed by a club that was hoping to deal with these issues this summer, rather than during the season.

But don’t think that has the coach down and out. He has all the ingredients to attain greatness and I am sure given time, a good summer, and the culling of the dross, he’ll find a way to make it work. People giving up after such a short period of time will realise in time that the only magic bullet now is the reshaping of the squad in the vision of the coach.

There will be more bumps. We will lose again. This season isn’t ending in glory.

However, keep the faith. The coach will prove the doubters wrong is Raul and Edu can pull it together this summer. If that doesn’t happen, we’re fucked whoever sits in the hot seat.

Tonight, we play Southampton in a bid to escape 11th position. What a moment. It’s time for a reaction from the squad. A moment for the manager to show that he can rally a nightmare situation and make some magic happen. Maybe… we’ll see a performance.

Also, Sheffield United and Palace are opening up a some space for us to chase… maybe. Sad times that I’m excited by that.

Let’s see what happens!

See you in the comments x

692 Responses to “What’s the plan, Edu/Raul?”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Useroz

    We have sunk so low that our MF isn’t good enough to be able to release the. ball early. That’s a huge problem!

    For what’s worth the spuds are doing it all the time. Whether it turns into goals is another issue.

  2. Thomas

    “If we hold on and win here, will it make up for the loss against Brighton considering we always lose at Southampton?”


    Talk about low standards. Still need a complete overhaul.

  3. Guernsey Gun

    This is what we have been waiting for. Big mik showing the saints the back of the hand.boom.👊🏿👍🏿

  4. Ishola70


    “Some good defending or just bad finishing?”

    Southampton haven’t been that dangerous tbh.

    Bit of a sleepy match.

  5. prvhc

    Why isn’t AMN being tried in midfield? Isn’t that his preferred position ?
    He couldn’t do a worse job than Ceballos

  6. Ishola70


    “The win is needed.”

    Surely is.

    It’s been a poor match overall but you take what you can at this stage and what has been happening at the club lately.

  7. Radio Raheem

    This has been a better organised and spirited performance helped by Southampton’s mistakes.

    We win and move on.

  8. Versus

    All this reminds me of the Wenger days. We never fail too hard. And we never over achieve. Just do enough to be involved throughout the season. Which keeps mediocre managers and players on salaries for 7-8 years comfy.

  9. Ishola70

    “Abject quality of football”

    This is stinging coming from TR7.

    I think we can give them a break though.

    The whole match has had an end of season feel about it.

    And at least it looks like no goals conceded today.

  10. TR7

    Holding is potentially the best CB at Arsenal. The guy’s career has so far been blighted by injuries but he and Saka are two damn good youngsters.

  11. Wasi

    Emi has always been a very capable shot stopper.
    Only his decision making and passing needs to improve.

    Laca wasting another beautiful Saka cross. The usual.

  12. Dissenter

    I’m watching the SKY sports UK feed.
    The sound effects are delicious, they even have the aaaaghs right, probably from FIFA football.

    Rob Holding and Martinez have been quite good.

  13. Gazzap

    I said take guendouzi, Lacazette and bellerin out of the team earlier. I think the they’re all really overrated players. 2 of them didn’t start and we won.

  14. Upstate Gooner

    Another terrible, terrible game/performance… 2 lucky goals, and a couple of nice saves by Martinez saved our blushes today… But 3 points is 3 points, and an away win (if you can call it that) so I suppose I won’t complain too much.

  15. MidwestGun

    Ok then…. but our midfield my God it sucks. And no Ozil can’t fix it. We absolutely have to rebuild it this summer.

    Hopefully, Holding can stay healthy.. and continue to improve ..was motm. The less of Luiz I see the better.

    Lots to do this transfer window to get the balance right in this team. My confidence isn’t high.

  16. Wasi


    Keeper made errors sure but we created a good number of clear cut chances , 2 wasted by Eddie , 2 by Auba , 1 by Laca at the end.

  17. Goonies


    ‘ We are playing Southampton… Not Liverpool’

    2 always wins all season and you’re saying it’s only Southampton. Maybe you and a few other fans need to give yourself a shake and have a drink of reality.

  18. Ishola70


    “The kids have won it for us. Nkethia and Willock.”

    Good for Nketiah’s confidence to get a goal today but I’m afraid I still don’t see real quality in the lad.

    Hope I’m wrong.

  19. TR7


    yes, project restart has been a flop show so far. As somebody said earlier it is nothing more than a coronation ceremony for Liverpool.

  20. Wasi


    Chill out. I was just exaggerating. 10 mins not big enough to judge a player good or bad. His laid back attitude on the pitch needs to improve tho.

  21. Ishola70


    “The less of Luiz I see the better.”

    If Tierney is not out for three years after going off today seeing him and the way he was used today is much more preferable than any appearance from Luiz.

  22. Valentin


    Exactly the opposite.
    Distribution has always been one of Martinez forte. His passing was fine.
    He used to be overconfident and trying to go on every crosses but a few loans have ironed out those faults.

  23. Champagne Charlie

    Lacklustre and pedestrian game, heat sapped all the energy from them all and made it a dull spectacle.

    Was only ever one winner though, Auba can thank their GK bailing out his couple of poor misses.

    Firm footing at last in the restart.

  24. Thomas

    It took a pathetically bad Southampton for Arsenal to finally get an away win under Arteta. Still Arteta out.

  25. Goonies


    ‘ Not a sending off for me’

    Take it you’ve never played football. Took him down clean through…but not a sending off? Go home.

  26. Mics_

    Pleased with Holding’s performance. Early days, but perhaps he’s regaining some of his pre injury form.

  27. Wasi


    I can see the improvement in his decision making. Definitely. And im not stating that his passing ability is bad. Its just that he sometimes doesn’t know when to pass the ball to CB. For eg. Today 1 or 2 times he passed the ball to Mustafi when there were 2 players sorounding him and chose to punt it long a lot of times , Mustafi / Holding was free.
    His over the top ball to Auba was sumptuous.

  28. Wasi


    Believe it or not . Xhaka made a difference.
    Errors were there but we use the ball better when he is in the side.

  29. Valentin


    I think that pass to the CB is something that they train. They try to entice the players to come onto them so they can then pass to the midfield free.
    Some of their training video showed exactly those situations.

    Also you can see that Martinez wants to release the ball quickly but that the team is not yet attuned to that speed of thought and approach. They are still in defense mode after Martinez has catched the ball.

  30. salparadisenyc

    Should of put that to bed in first half but stayed the course. Xhaka and Holding both solid performances. PEA still a bit off but causes so much trouble.

    Overall performance awkward at best, this post Covid season is going to be dire, wished it was shelved.

  31. Wasi

    Could be.
    But those patterns looked really risky. When Mustafi passed it back to Emi under pressure he just fluffed the ball to the Saints players.

  32. G

    We are a cheap skate club.. Always have been.. Yeh we pay high wages but that’s cause we’re never gona pay high transfers.. We only got pepe cause of payment terms.. A Chelsea for example would have for Zaha or pepe on football ability alone.. AW first 10 years I think he over achieved and MA is going to have to over achieve to CHALLANGE for the league

  33. Valentin

    Xhaka made a difference, but again Ceballos was anonymous. He is a tidy player, but clearly not fit to play 6 with Xhaka.
    We need a more dynamic player.
    Arteta tactics were very strange.
    Started as a 3-4-3 with Mustafi, Holding and Tierney at the back, then switched to a 4-4-2. Both formation were very lopsided.

  34. Goonies


    ‘ Obviously too much wine in the sun.M

    See where your loyalties and priorities are. Thought plastic fans would melt in the sun

  35. Emiratesstroller

    Let’s look on the positive side of tonight’s performance.

    1. Saka is really an outstanding young player and it is imperative that we keep him at the club.

    2. Holding looks like a disciplined and proper centre back. Whether he is good
    enough to play against top level teams I am not sure, but I would still prefer to
    keep him in our squad in preference to most of the other CBs on our books. He should be certainly good enough as third or fourth string.

  36. Valentin


    Those patterns are risky, but when they work basically an entire line is bypassed.
    I also don’t think that Mustafi has the technique to play that style with confidence. And our midfield is not strong enough to handle the pressure. None of them play on the half turn Willock is the only one who does it, but because of his running engine he is regularly shunted into wide area.

  37. Spanishdave

    Holding had a tidy game.
    Bellerin was a bellend as usual. He holds back so is Arteta telling him to do it?
    We need Pepe to earn a crust.

  38. Redtruth


    So what has turned Saka from horse dung in his last two appearances to world beater, could it be the quality of the opposition .

    Arsenal really couldn’t of had it easier these last two games.
    Brighton without a win this year and Southampton with the worst home record in the league.

  39. Ishola70

    Slow match because of the heat so the players all were at Xhaka’s pace which is good for him.

    Xhaka can control the midfield when it is not to helter skelter. If it gets quick in there that’s when he has problems.

    He played two nice passes down the left channel today in the first half so fair play to him for that.

  40. Wasi

    Val we shifted to 3-5-2 when willock came on
    First Dani played the holding midfield role then Amn.
    To play those patterns first of all you need your keeper to have Ederson/Allisson level of confidence and first touch. Emi doesn’t even come close and Leno isnt there yet. Maybe with some intense training Leno can get there. Dont know about Emi.

  41. Jamie

    Goonies –

    “See where your loyalties and priorities are. Thought plastic fans would melt in the sun”

    Don’t hate because I’m living the dream.

  42. Dissenter

    ‘The Ceballos extension total head scratcher for me, ponderous springs to mind.”

    I believe we extended it for another 3 months to cover the end of the season. I don’t think it as a one year extension- could be wrong though.

  43. Champagne Charlie

    Ceballos has never won me over, that’s pretty clear, but he was awful today again. Numerous hooded switches of play and generally looking to play when he should’ve and not releasing quickly.

    That type of player is a massive miss in our midfield, and he certainly isn’t the man long term.

    Xhaka at the base with Partey and perhaps some genuine La Liga gem or similar would go a long, long way to making our middle more competitive and varied.

  44. Dissenter

    Sometimes I think Redtruth watches our games hanging from pierced nipples and dressed in a gimp suit.

  45. salparadisenyc

    Dissenter/ Was

    That makes so much more sense. Key for Arteta to build his MF our weakest link.

  46. Dissenter

    Leicester have run out of steam.
    Chelsea, United and the rest of the chasing pack will catch up with them.

  47. Freddie Ljungberg

    These are the only kind of games Xhaka looks half decent in though, slow, not much of a midfield threat from the opposition, barely any pressing.

    Any midfield combo with Xhaka in it next season is doomed to fail, far better to just cut our losses and try to recoup some money on him.

  48. Henry Root

    This is an amazing blog. So many people on here depressed when we win .
    ‘ An undeserved win’ – how often did Southampton come close to scoring? How often did we?
    Arteta is a fine coach . He needs time and a bit of faith from proper Arsenal supporters

  49. Freddie Ljungberg

    Match a bit of a snoozefest, pre season tempo, but those 3 points were sorely needed so who cares. Just get this season over with already

  50. Redtruth

    Champagne charliw
    “Xhaka at the base with Partey and perhaps some genuine La Liga gem or similar would go a long, long way to making our middle more competitive and varied.”

    Do me a favour, Xhaka playing in dead rubbers is one thing, playing competitive football is another..

  51. Ishola70

    “Ishola typically keeps quite hen Xhaka has a good tidy performance.”

    I’ve already praised him for two passes he made in the first half on here.

    He’s a pro who earns lots and lots of money so I don’t expect him to be a hindrance every match in fact even to have decent to good matches on occasions when he has his conditions.

    If you are telling me that he is good for this team overall over a whole season then I don’t believe you.

    If he is so important to the side considering he hardly gets injured and has been virtually ever present since he joined those years back and plays in such a pivotal position in the team how come the side has been failing since his arrival?

    Are you you going to tell me that it is all the others around Xhaka that are failing and he is fine?

  52. Ishola70

    Dissenter is such a u-turn.

    Slated Xhaka off. He looks even worse live he said than on the TV.

    Then all Xhaka has to do is to tell the fans to fuck off and Dissenter then loves him.

  53. The Backpass

    “Xhaka at the base with Partey and perhaps some genuine La Liga gem or similar would go a long, long way to making our middle more competitive and varied.”

    Yeah szbolazai is the player or something similar. I just wish we get him.

    Not going to be the best, but would elevate this side.

  54. Wasi

    Its not about Dani’s mentality I think. He’s just not suited to the Prem or maybe he needs a specific formation ro perform well or he just isnt a good enough player.
    If he wanted to , he could have rejected the short term extension and enjoy a vacation.
    As he has stated numerous times he wants a chance in Madrid . Dont know how he’ll get one after putting consistently worst performance.
    Quick Fact – Ceballos attempted as many passes into the final 3rd as Emi Martinez (3)

  55. MidwestGun

    Pulisic with a Messi- like slalom breakaway goal for Chelski, nice slotted finish That should give the scousers the title.. now can we just end the season, already? Seen enough of project restart. Reminds me of watching people play video games…with simulated crowds and about as exciting.

  56. Champagne Charlie

    Arsenals midfield options are on paper warriors.

    Xhaka, Guendouzi, Torreira, Ceballos, Willock

    Neither of the Spanish speakers have offered genuine value to the side, been flashes in between discontent. Heavily relied on two young players to offer some substance and that’s the glaring issue for me.

    Would bin Torreira and Ceballos for Partey and that Scrabble winning cunt.

  57. DaveB666

    Well a win’s a win.

    Thought Xhaka did a job and Holding is regaining form (also managed to avoid being a clueless twat so an upgrade on Sideshow Bob).

    But I just looked at the table – Liverpool have double the number of points we do – just let that sink in for a moment if you are in any doubt how far this club has fallen………..

  58. Champagne Charlie


    No doubts about where we currently are, but United are dog muck and look a different side with one key player added.

    We get the right ones this summer and we can perform next season at a vastly superior level imo.

  59. Henry Root

    Mikel Arteta has won as many as game in 18 matches as Arsenal manager in all competitions (W9 D5 L4) as Unai Emery and Freddie Ljungberg managed in 26 games combined this season (W9 D11 L6).

  60. Henry Root

    What’s the point of playing all those kids in a world where money is the determinant factor when it comes to success.

    Probably because Arsenal haven’t got the money especially with a self-sustaining model. Some of Arsenal’s great sides ( George Graham, Bertie Mee) have been composed largely of home-made players

    We could resign Ospina of course 😃

  61. Nelson

    I saw a system from Arteta being developed. The passing attack will mainly go through Saka on the left side. Bellerin is ordered to stay behind supporting the defense. Another attack is long ball to Auba, who can then use his speed to cause problem for the defense.

    Just saw red card for MC.

  62. Dissenter

    You’re such a slime bag when it comes to Xhaka; always crawling, sniveling and making stuff up.

    You’ve been accusing me forever of being a Xhaka supporter, now I’m changing colors?
    I told you he’s not the horrible player you make him out to be. I’ve told you I like his character even better because he wanted to get away from your hate until Arteta convinced him to stay.

    The one and only Xhak-alogist , our own “Ishola”. He only sees the negatives in the guy.

  63. Chrispy

    3 points and thats it and I’ll take them anyway they come at the moment.

    Some right miserable hatstands lurking here.

  64. Dissenter

    Yea, Liverpool are champs
    The good guys won’t have any rest for a while. Scouser pundits will be making so much noise.

  65. london gunner


    he is abit shit though mate a half decent performance against a shite southampton isn’t exactly amazing

  66. Goonies

    Where’s all the bitches tonight? Ahh that’s right we won a game so they’ve crawled back in the woodwork.

  67. Radio Raheem

    It’s taken about 10 years of John Henry ownership to win the Premier league and the Champions league before that.

    How long has Kroenke fully owned Arsenal? Not long to go then 🙂

  68. CG

    CG 5.

    1. You can keep clean sheets when Luiz is suspended.

    2. Holding /Xhaka best defender /midfielder ( Wenger signings)

    3. X 2 Goalscorers ( blooded by Wenger)

    4. Tierney has surprised me- he has lasted as long 3 games without breaking down.

    5. OGS and Lampard dont seem to have too many problem beating Pep’s City

    One more.
    Congratulations Liverpool.

    See what can happen- when you employ a world class experienced and PROVEN MANAGER.

  69. CG

    Liverpool =Klopp
    Man City =Pep
    Leicester City = Ranieri
    Chelsea =Conte
    Man City = Pellegrini

    Get yourself a bloody proper manager.