Blood drawn with dry slap + Szoboszlai on the menu

by .


Yas qweeeeeen.

Some extraordinary stuff going on in the world of Arsenal yesterday.

Firstly, Don Ornstein, the man that made contacts journalism a thing, was called out by Dani Ceballos as fake news. We spoke about it on the podcast, the feeling is that 2020 has been rough enough and I refuse to accept that David Ornstein is in the wrong here.

The story centres on Dani and Luiz having a bit of a ruck at the training ground.

‘FAKE’ yelled Donald Ceballos.

I suspect it’s probably the details that bother Dani. Being smacked on the nose by an older boy probably isn’t a good look in a dressing room of alphas. It’s quite interesting what a little shit Dani is. Starting a ruck with Eddie and now the banter king of the dressing room? Man needs to get himself into shape.

I will say though… I quite like it. We’ve never really been a John Hartson vs Eyal Berkovic kind of club. I thought Theo Walcott telling the world he liked to go to the cinema, sit in the frontrow, and make his eyes go funny was the exact sort of vibe we had in the changing rooms. Players rucking is standard fare at football clubs, if this is happening, it means there’s an edge on the training ground. I’ll take that. Smacking someone’s nose is weird though… Dave Luiz does have a thing for noses if the Arsenal IG is anything to go by.

In more continental news, Marc Ingla, mate of Don Raul over at Lille… has been ousted by Lille scouting magician Luiz Campos. Apparently, over a deal in which Luis thought Ingla put transfer bonuses over club. I mean, colour me shocked people. Nice to see grifters getting the boot all over the world in 2020.

Talking of The Athletic, they ran a glowing piece about the Kroenke’s and how totally amazing and wonderful they are. The crux of the story is that we were in for Jorginho and Auoar for reals this summer, not as backups… and we’re going to go for the Hungarian chap if things work out this January.

Great news.

If you get the structure right under the Kroenke’s, you’ll have a good run as a club. They put a lot of money on the table and they’ve not really taken much.

As I wrote at the start of last summer, we really didn’t have much in the way of cash. We still don’t. We haven’t addressed our wage bill, we’ve lost revenue from the stadium, and probably on lots of other things. The fact they’re still pumping the squad is good news. There are still questions over some of the players, but look, you can’t knock the focus on youth and you can’t deny that on paper, all of our signings this summer are top quality.

I also like how these papers keep saying Edu is a good negotiator. Like negotiating a release fee is some sort of FBI Hostage release magic. He gave Willian £250k a week for 3 years at 32. That’s getting your pants pulled down and taking a spanking with a paddle inked with ‘LOLOLOLOL.’

Arteta said in his press conference that good leadership is ‘how you navigate difficult moments.’ He is not wrong. We are in a difficult moment.

We play Leeds away at the weekend and things are looking pretty fucking rough on the injury news front. Thomas Partey is out with a thigh injury, Mo Elneny is out with Covid, and Willian might get punished for treating himself to a steak with Salt Bae.

I don’t know how we’re going to cope with the power and pace thrown at us, but injuries are part of the deal when you manage in a 2020 season. Granit Xhaka would be exposed aggressively in our midfield, but experience-wise, we’d be really lacking without him. AMN just played for England, he has the exact profile you need against a high energy team. Dani Ceballos will, without doubt, be back in the squad. Then you have to wonder what he’ll do with the attacking options. Does he take a risk on Willock without the protection of Mo and Partey?

Big questions. I’m dreading it to be honest. Still, losing 3-0 will be ok as long as Auba plays through the middle, right?

It’s going to be a tough game. Arsenal fans are expecting a wholesale change to the setup, I’m just not sure where I see that coming from at the moment.

On the pod, which I am about to tout, Dom made the point that what Leeds lack in technical ability, they make up for with a pack mentality to the football. They don’t care about pristine formations built around positional trickery. They’ll just blitz you. Arteta tends to approach these games with a purity that often ends with one of those Mike Tyson punches to the mouth. He needs to have something for tomorrow. All teams suffer against Leeds, we need to have a smart way of dealing with a side we know will come windmilling in, keys in hand.

Right, onto the podcast. I had a NEW guest on, fellow Essex boy Johnny Cochrane (@iJohnnyCochrane) who you might recognise from standup comedy or his ‘Hows Your Father Podcast’ (check it out here, lots of elite guests). We also welcomed back Dom (@dommy_daniel), who is studying to take over a football club at the moment.

We talked about the pressure Arteta is under, we discussed ways he could open the game up, and we gave a lot of time to the wonderment that is Bukayo Saka. Tune in, it’s a good one. Also, excuse the lack of music, I don’t have a laptop built in this era to mix properly.

Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Play

254 Responses to “Blood drawn with dry slap + Szoboszlai on the menu”

Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Marc

    With Partey and Elneny out not only do I not expect Arteta to change things up massively but I think it’ll make him double down on what he’s been doing.

  2. Ovia

    Looks like Luiz is bringing in that Aggression that we have lacked.
    And if I can remember correctly Raul sanctioned the willian deal not Edu. Rest on the agenda pedro.
    Very good read overall.

  3. Ashwin Gunner

    doesnt matter who came up with the idea to sign Willian, it was expensive and not futuristic at all.

    As for Leeds, the game is going to show what Arteta is made of. taking a low morale injury ridden squad to Leeds away is going to be tough. if he indeed is the “Chosen One”, as Pedro puts it, then he will come off with a win. Hopefully it is true. I hope he as good a tactician as he is a politician.

  4. Nelson

    Sources claimed Luiz was one of the senior players who had repeatedly taken issue with Ceballos over his rough treatment of some of the younger players.

    Ceballos should save his aggression to opposing players.

  5. andy1886

    Marc, no reason why Willian can’t play, he doesn’t need to self isolate and I expect that he will have been tested multiple times before Sunday. Depends if MA has the hump with him I guess.

  6. Rich

    Expecting Leeds to come out the blocks quickly, they’ll leave space in behind though, which will suit us.

    If we can control the game early on, get ahead, we should be able to pick them off, they don’t have the level of talent at Villa or Leicester.

    A midfield pairing of Xhaka + Ceballos should have this comments section spitting bullets like an AK47 before kick off….

    Hoping Willock gets a run out, I really like him, he gives us something different, and people have been too knee jerk in writing him off.

    Smith-Rowe got another goal for the under 23s today, worryingly came off at half time though.

    I’d like to see both players given opportunities before we rush into the market, not all improvement has to be external improvement, the emergence of another academy player would give us a real lift.

  7. Rich


    Bit worrying that there’s leaks coming out of the training ground.

    This stuff likely happens all the time, shouldn’t be getting leaked though.

  8. AC

    Pedro, Normally I won’t expect arteta to involve Joe willock this weekend as he kept talking about how one should not radically change things because resultts are not there. But partey injury, Mo covid and willian disobedience means both Joe and Reiss will be involved in the squad. This can end up being the lucky break that arteta is hasn’t got so far.

    What is your actual take on willian? When you want to praise willian signing you call it a good move to bring an experienced campaigner for 120K a week and when you want to criticize the transfer you call it a pensioner getting in the club for 250K a week.

    Fun fact: Chelsea fans tell me that willian’s performance is inversely porportional to the length of the contract remaining in his deal. He is probably a washout.

  9. into+the+red

    Arteta will field a defensive setup, hoping to grab something on the break. I know, what a surprise eh? The question is if we go behind, does he stick or twist? Leeds have a great pack mentality, but they have suffered some unpredictable ups and downs. So I reckon, as usual, it is how teams come back after the break – sluggish and disjointed (likely) or fired up and fresh (wishful thinking). So, a draw, then.

  10. MidwestGun

    The training ground incident totally happened.. it went something like this…

    My name is Inigo Dani Ceballos… You killed my father .. Prepare to die… *slap* *slap*

  11. Ishola70

    With the midfield absences and Xhaka back in the fold Arteta will have no option but to play deep and look for countering and longer passing.

    Could work out.

    Depends on whether Arsenal can keep Leeds out in the first half.

  12. Marc

    ” When you want to praise willian signing you call it a good move to bring an experienced campaigner for 120K a week and when you want to criticize the transfer you call it a pensioner getting in the club for 250K a week.”

    I won’t have it – the very idea that Pedro would push “distorted” information or have an agenda.


  13. Guns of SF

    whatever formation will also come with 90 minutes of Arteta barking orders from the sideline.

    Does not matter the formation really. Just listen to the barking….do not try anything other than the barking

  14. Ishola70

    “I believe we will play the Xhaka ” blackhole” formation. the 7-0-3 .”

    lol very good description. The blackhole midfield. Ceballos may encroach into the blackhole on occasions.

    And remember we also have the option of overloading on the deep left with Xhaka involved.

  15. Left testicle

    I’m torn between 9-1 and 10 – I mean that 9 -1 is pretty radical.
    That ‘1’ will be Auba wide left.

  16. Rich


    This game could turn into a basketball game.

    From what I’ve seen of Leeds, they only go straight for the throat, they wouldn’t recognise the word pragmatic, if it jumped up and bit them.

    We’ve got the forward line to out score them, and since they won’t be sitting back, we should play them at their own game.

    Leeds don’t have the overall quality of Leicester or Villa, or the defensive organisation, we should throw caution to the wind, hopefully we get a front four of:

    Pepe Willock Auba

    Leeds dominated us in the first half of our FA cup game in January, but lacked the cutting edge in the final third, then tired late on.

    Providing we can control the initial onslaught, we should have far too much for them going forward, I’ve defended our pragmatic approach at times, but this is the type of game I expect to see much more ambition from an attacking perspective.

    Leeds won’t sit back, and neither should we.

  17. englandsbest

    Well, there we have it: the corporate lawyer in the DD role. Bodes well.

    And a nod to the Kroenkes for sparing a few minutes from the Rams to talk to him about Arsenal. Boy, does that make us feel good!

    An away win at Leeds will not surprise me provided Arteta goes young. Playing Xhaka would be defeatism. AMN better by far.

  18. Champagne charlie

    Ceballos hardly needs to add to his rap sheet does he? From ‘fuck the Catalan scum’ to starting beef with a kid and being slapped by a senior for general dickhead levels of petulance/aggression in training..

    I’m sure many brand that as pashun, when in reality he comes across as a beta-male with his mouth guard nibbling fake hard man shtick.

    Still, he’s quids in because he’s managed to con enough fans that he’s “excellent” so happy days.

  19. Pedro

    englandsbest, David Dein was a sugar trader. Not sure why it matters that Stan’s eyes on the ground is a lawyer. Point is, he’s a lifelong gooner and he’s already made big decisions.

  20. Rich

    I’ve made the argument for pragmatism plenty of times this season.

    We’re more dangerous as a counter attacking team, than we are when we dominate the ball

    The more we have the ball, the more dangerous our opponent becomes

    We lack the dynamism to pin teams in their own half

    The creativity, craft and guile to break teams down

    And central defenders who are comfortable pushing up the pitch.

    We’ll see plenty of teams content to give us the ball this season, in the expectation of picking us off.

    Nothing I’ve seen from Leeds suggests they’ll take that route, they’ll look to get at us, and for that reason, we should go straight for the throat on Sunday

  21. MidwestGun

    If we really are going for quality young reinforcements in January…Like Sboz… then January can’t get here soon enough…. for me. it would be a shocking move by the Kroenke clan, though, must be said. Maybe the old man has given up control of the wallet to Josh now that he has completed his Taj Mah Stan in LA.

  22. WengerEagle

    January window is generally shit for transfer movement but deals can definitely be done.

    Salzburg actually lost two of their key men in Haland and Minamino last January so plenty of smoke around this kid leaving them.

  23. S Asoa

    Attacking is
    Auba at far left where he does not sniff a ball for 15 minutes.
    Laca in the middle shooting into the sky like Mary with the diamonds.

    Sniff , poor Arteta deprived of William, Elmeny and Kola.
    But at least he has Laca for shoehorning practice

  24. Rich

    There’s no guarantee the Hungarian lad will be an immediate upgrade.

    He looks the part, but it’s one thing having a YouTube compilation to rival Draxler and Kinkladze, and doing well in the Austrian league, it’s entirely another performing consistently in the PL.

    I’m not against us taking a relatively cheap punt on a young player, but unless we’re 100% certain he’s a definite upgrade on Willock or Smith-Rowe?

    Then numerically we’re not short, all we’re doing is adding another body, to an already congested squad.

    We don’t lack quantity, we lack balance and overall quality, we need a player in that position for now, not another who might be 24 months away from maturing into a consistent regular, particularly when we already have two players of a similar profile.

  25. WengerEagle

    ‘Being smacked on the nose by an older boy probably isn’t a good look in a dressing room of alphas.’

    Not sure how many alphas are in our dressing room, let’s be real. Lack of characters and leaders has been a feature of this club since the Invincibles.

  26. WengerEagle

    Willock has yet to show anything at all at PL level. Arteta hasn’t trusted him to even play despite our comical lack of CM options.

    ESR at senior level again is close to being completely untested. Had a loan at Leipzig where he didn’t play and at Huddersfield in the Championship where he didn’t do much of note.

    These boys wouldn’t get a game at a lower level PL club so why are they good enough options for us?

  27. Freddie Ljungberg

    Szoboszlai is being linked to Us, Real, Bayern, Liverpool, Man U and AC Milan. And seen as one of the top young players in Europe.

    As much as I like ESR and hope he makes it he’s not anywhere near that quality, neither is Willock despite a few decent showings in the EL against piss poor opposition.
    ESR is also hella injury prone.

  28. Leftside

    Arteta saying the Willian incident has dealt with so he can shove him right back into the starting 11 to stink out the place some more with Laca in that funny midfield role he plays in nowadays.

  29. Rich


    Willock was just 19/20 last season, and playing in a struggling team that lacked structure.

    He’s consistently got into goal scoring positions, he’s willing to have a pop with either foot, has good technique and movement, and is a menace in and around the penalty area.

    Arsene, Emery, Freddie and Arteta have all spoken well of him, and given him opportunities.

    I think he’ll develop into a top player and regular goal scorer, we lack a goal threat from midfield,, he just needs to take the opportunity when it presents itself.

    He’s been comfortably the best player on the pitch in the two Europa games he started, was also good against Leicester and Liverpool in the league cup.

    He’s earned his chance, I’d like to see him start on Sunday.

  30. Karsa

    I agree with Rich concerning Willock. He has the useful knack of finding goal scoring opportunities on a regular basis.

    Not so sure about ESR however.

  31. NJ Gooner

    You can listen to the Kroenke story journalist being interviewed on the Handbrake Off podcast.

    It isn’t quite a sycophantic as Pedro suggests, although it is in the ballpark.

    Still, I found it quite interesting– although not as good as Pedro’s podcast, of course! 🙂

  32. Ishola70


    As Freddie has already pointed out when clubs such as Bayern are reported to have an interest in Willock as they have been apparently in Szobz then more people might be in favour of passing on Szobz in favour of Willock.

    That these big name clubs have been linked with Szobz may see that we keep on with Willock anyway and will have to forget about Szobz.

    Szobz has shown genuine class in his play. Willock hasn’t thus far.

  33. Captain Tierney


    ESR was one of if not the best Huddersfield player for the time he was there.


    DS is the real deal. 30+ G/A for a 19 yo is outrageous even if its the Austrian league. January is probably the only time we’ll face the least competition for him. If we wait until the summer there’s going to be huge competition for his signature.
    +25 mil over 3 years is a steal for a player of his ability.

  34. Rich


    Who knows how players will develop, they develop at different rates.

    The idea anyone on this forum knows the trajectory of our younger players is absurd.

    He’s just turned 21, Ian Wright didn’t turn professional until he was 22, and didn’t sign for Arsenal until he was almost 28.

    There’s plenty of examples of players who have a sudden spurt in development.

    Bale, De Bruyne, Vardy

    Maddison was in the championship at 21, Grealish was physically a complete lightweight until last season.

    Players like Saka are the exception and not the rule.

    There’s a real opportunity for Willock, he has characteristics we’re seriously lacking, he’s not the finished article, but as we’ve seen with Pepe, spunking a load of money on a player ripping up a weaker league, doesn’t automatically mean they’ll do the same here.

  35. G8

    Cebellos might be a dick, but Luiz has always been a clown!
    No Mo and no Party, could have done with the Guen..
    Play Saka/Auba/Pepe or Nilson
    I don’t want to see Lacazette, Willian or Nketiah in the starting 11
    Big game at the back of the Villa shambles., hopefully we show some balls and go for it
    Though I could see the excuses already lined up if we failed to..

  36. Ishola70


    “spunking a load of money on a player ripping up a weaker league, doesn’t automatically mean they’ll do the same here.”

    That Arsenal paid a ridiculous fee for Pepe doesn’t mean that you never go to players impressing in so-called weaker leagues again. French Ligue 1 is not a weak league anyway. It’s not a good example.

    Besides Arsenal will not be paying heavily for Szobz according to reports of his transfer fee.

    You are likely to get your way anyway Rich as I can see competition from the big boys for Szobz signature and you and others can see Willock “develop” He will need developing we know that much.

  37. Guns of SF

    Play AMN somewhere/somewho in this game… we will need that athleticism and for cover against their attacks.

    I dont trust Xhaka or Dani to help repeal all of the attacks…. and they will attack us.


    shore up that right side….

    Or drop Xhaka altogether…..


  38. Ishola70

    The only younger players the big boys would be interested in taking on at this time from Arsenal would be Saka and Martinelli was showing good signs before his disappearance.

    Willock doesn’t make the short list.

  39. WengerEagle


    It’s one thing to spend 70 million on a player and and another entirely what Szsobzalai would likely cost us.

    For every Grealish/Maddison I could find you 10+ Lansbury’s/Merida’s/Zelalem’s. And they developed in lower table teams/Championship, not for a top 4 chasing team that has invested a lot into the team being competitive now.

    KDB didn’t make his name at Chelsea, he made it at Bremen on loan.

    I’m not against blooding younger players but they have to reward your faith with at least flashes if not performances. Martinelli and Saka are already capable of having an impact on the team in the PL, Willock has shown that he isn’t ready to add to us at that level just yet, he needs a loan to show if he is capable.

    We can’t afford to give players as green as Willock serious minutes. It will also be terrible for his confidence if he is made a scapegoat which he would be, fans are ruthless.

  40. Rich


    Just because an agent or the media says top clubs are interested in a player, doesn’t make it gospel.

    God hasn’t descended from heaven, and etched Bayern’s interest into stone.

    He might be a top talent?

    I’m certainly no expert on Austrian football, and Haaland has hit the ground running at Dortmund, so I’m not against the signing, it’s a relatively cheap punt,

    We already have an impact player in Pepe, and to kick on, we need players who can perform consistently through 90 minutes from game to game.

    I’ve been burned by YouTube videos and watching the odd worldy before, so I’m happy to just sit back and see.

    All eyes are on Edu + Arteta, they won the power struggle, they’ve now got no one to hide behind in their decision making, so whatever they choose to do?

    The pressure will be on.

  41. Marc

    I think most would be shocked if we didn’t go with 3 at the back on Sunday, what will be interesting is will Arteta go with Tierney at LWB and play Gab, Luiz and Holding at CD’s or will he drop one of the CB’s to get Saka into the team.

  42. TheBayingMob

    ” in a dressing room of alphas”

    Being good at football doesn’t make you an alpha male, this implies ‘ONLY MEN!’ get to be in a dressing room. Being an ignorant, egotistical cunt (as most sportsman are) doesn’t make you auto-alpha

  43. Pedro

    TBM, most men that play professional support are pretty alpha. They grow up in life being the biggest, fastest, strongest and most lauded. They have freakish talents that stand them out. It’s not a jump to say that football is full of alphas.

  44. Marc


    I can’t remember enough of Gnabry playing to give a fair opinion. I’d say Saka’s got more first team PL games under his belt for us (waiting for someone to bring up the stats to show I’m completely wrong there) but opens up other questions.

  45. WengerEagle

    I mean they’re certainly alphas compared to your average Joe but football is like any other profession, it’s full of beta personalities along with alphas.

    You can’t tell me that guys like Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos are made of the same stuff as your Ozil’s and Higuain’s.

  46. Captain Tierney


    From what I’ve read and seen it seems Gnabry didn’t play as much as Saka at 18/19. But I am just curious to know how his talent was perceived by the fanbase. Did he have the same aura as Saka.

  47. WengerEagle

    Gnabry was MOTM vs a good Spurs side in the FA Cup the game that Theo banged his knee up. Gave their FB fits.

    Was unlucky to play under that swamp creature at WBA for his loan spell, could have turned out very differently were he to play with any PL side that actually played football on the ground.

  48. englandsbest


    Eminence grise. The guy in the shadows pulling the strings.

    DD did that in Wenger’s golden period.

    The corporate lawyer’s role with Arteta now – hopefully with similar results.

  49. Captain Tierney


    From the social media and the YT clips it seems Ozil is the alpha among their little German speaking group. They are always hanging around him.

    You dont always have to be outspoken or a warrior to be an alpha.

  50. Marc


    I think WE’s nailed it – why we sent him on loan to a Pulis team staggers me. I wouldn’t be surprised me if he didn’t see it as an insult.

  51. WengerEagle

    Haha Marc hard to blame Ozil for not tackling the machete-wielding bandits though, Kola is a nutcase as well as being alpha. Just a shame that he’s fooking shite on the pitch.

    Ozil has shown more than enough actual beta behaviour here over the years.

  52. Marc


    “You dont always have to be outspoken or a warrior to be an alpha.”

    Agree – I think the definition of what makes an alpha is something that can vary from person to person.

  53. Guns of SF

    Watching Serge in the CL last season, what an explosive player- great movement , power, trickery, always attacking and putting pressure on the D…. cannot take your eyes off him for a second.

    Whatever the circumstances, it was wrong to see him leave.

    Wenger’s mismanagement once again

  54. MD-Gunner

    Interesting story here:
    Arsenal’s former equipment manager sells off incredible stash of shirts, medals and memorabilia for £100,000 after he ‘fell out of love’ with the club that let him go following 30 years of service under George Graham and Arsene Wenger.

    This may also be the sentiment of a few others here.

  55. Captain Tierney


    Everywhere you go you’ll find a different kind of Alpha.
    For eg The bully who was an alpha in primary school is now beta to the scholar kid he used to bully.

    Luiz is a different kind of Alpha to a Per.

  56. WengerEagle

    Fabregas was an alpha for sure. Fearless going toe to toe with grown ass seasoned world class talent in Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes, etc as a teenager and getting the better of them. Never once shirked responsibility or hid in a game.

    Literally was the heartbeat of the entire side as a kid. At a time when we were a much better team and actually competitive.

  57. WengerEagle


    Letting Malen and Bennacer go were blunders too.

    Every club has them to be fair, just is more painful for us because we really could have done with these two lads in the current side. Chelsea didn’t miss Salah, Lukaku or KDB at the time.

  58. Chris

    The Fabregas talk is making me want to dig out the season reviews from 2006-2008, when he had Rosicky and Hleb for company, among others. That midfield was technically supreme and I must be honest, I am craving to see us play that kind of football again.

  59. WengerEagle


    Back when we weren’t a complete joke to United and Fergie. As soon as we ceased being a threat, he softened towards Wenger.

    If we didn’t choke the 2003 PL title him and Fergie would have been 4-4 in PL titles from 1996-2004. Pretty nuts considering United’s near monopoly on the PL in the early to late 90’s.

  60. WengerEagle

    Hleb was brilliant, Iniesta-lite and one of the most creative players that we have ever had.

    Actually always preferred him to Rosicky even though his end product wasn’t as good. Better dribbler and could always find gaps even against teams that parked the bus at the Emirates.

  61. Rich


    Gervinho would destroy Hleb in the lack of cutting edge competition.

    His right leg didn’t know what his left leg was doing, he was so uncoordinated.

    Scouting Hazard, and then signing Gervinho, after selling Cesc and Nasri, is the perfect metaphor for what happened from 2011-2020

    Absolute car crash decision making

  62. Chris

    I was behind the goal when Hleb scored a quality solo goal against Blackburn, sometime in 2006-07, he passed the ball into the net almost and looked apologetic for shooting in the first place, hardly celebrated the goal!

    He was so great to watch at times though, could drift past players with little effort and had a real eye for a pass.

    Basically all the stuff we are lacking right now.

  63. Rich

    I remember Fergie talking glowingly about Hleb, in how he would help us control the game.

    The narrative for a long time was Arsene needed to add some steel, and move away from the technical no10 types.

    The narrative today is we lack technical No10 types

    We’ve gone full circle.

    We were close in 2007/08 and again in 2010/11, just lacked a bit of squad depth, and experience to get us over the line.

    After both seasons, we dismantled what we’d built, United had rebuilt with Ronaldo, Tevez, Rooney, and after that we had the emergence of City.

    We’re desperate for structure, cohesion and some much better decision making, we’re currently light years away from a title challenge.

  64. Kesses+gunner

    Wenger Eagle the fact that Wenger substituted pires and left hleb in 06 final says alot the confidence Wenger had in him

  65. WengerEagle

    ‘We were close in 2007/08 and again in 2010/11, just lacked a bit of squad depth, and experience to get us over the line.’

    2007-08 we lacked quality in a couple of really key areas in GK with Almunia being awful and Clichy at LB was also a liability. Never rated him always felt that he was an erratic mess of a defender that got by on freakish athleticism and stamina rather than any real footballing ability. Gallas and Toure were also a bad pairing as good as both were individually. Both under 6 foot, temperamental and rash defenders that played on edge, needed somebody with a Mertesacker game/demeanour back there to pair with either one.

    We were also pretty unlucky in terms of losing Eduardo to a freak injury that looked like it has lasting psychological effects on the team and losing to Chelsea and United in really tight matches down the stretch both of which we were winning.

    Didn’t feel that we were anyone near as close in 2011 even though we had a really gifted bunch on paper. We only had Van Persie for half of the season and had to suffer through half a season of Chamakh as our CF. Also had Squillaci and Djourou at CB for large spells and Almunia/Fabianski in net for more than half the season. Fabregas’ head was already in Barcelona too, wasn’t close to the player that he was the year before.

  66. WengerEagle


    Spot on re Gervinho over Hazard being a microcosm of the past decade as an Arsenal fan.

    Gervinho was about as terrible a striker of the ball as I’ve ever seen. Welbeck, Chamakh and early Sterling up there for company.

  67. WengerEagle


    Na I actually think that he fared worse amongst casuals back in the day before data outside of G/A was widely available as it is now.

    His Whoscored rating would have been pretty damn high with the amount of successful dribbles/key passes/through-balls he made.

  68. Rich


    I thought in 2010/11 our first team was excellent, we just lacked depth and a bit of tactical nous and experience, after losing to Birmingham in the final, we picked up a few injuries particularly the Van Persie one, and we fell off.

    In 2007/08 we were within 4 points of the title, and only conceded 31, the Eduardo injury hurt us for sure.

    After both seasons, we sold off the Crown Jewels, and started again.

    Cohesion is important, United had it with the class of 93, we had it with the famous back 5.

    Building a winning structure is difficult, we need a core of players to build with for the medium to longer term.

    The title was there for the taking in 2015/16, and had Cazorla not got injured, I think we’d have gone on to win it.

    But that would have been more to do with the poor standards elsewhere, rather than our overall quality of our team that season.

  69. GillespieRoadNoMore

    I hope Mikel has something planned for Sunday rather than tomorrow, like the Tyson reference – everyone has a plan until they are smacked in the mouth.

    Can Arteta out think Bielsa, fingers crossed that he can.

  70. gunnerram

    As someone put it – we were a great team with great midfield to now great team with elite striker and steely back line but no midfield. If we don’t have the midfield to control the game we are dead. Like the team we face on Sunday – Leeds with be Gung Ho from the very beginning and if we don’t have the tempo to control the game we will be under pressure at every point when Leeds have the ball.

  71. China1

    Sboz can be had for 20m sterling paid in installments. That’s not a huge amount of money – that doesn’t even get you a AMN level player who the manager doesn’t even plan to use

    Slobby’s manager came out just yesterday saying he’ll be off in January if anyone pays the release clause and he won’t try and talk dom out of it because he’s glad to see him get the opportunity at a bigger club

    There’s no guarantees any player will be a success, but he literally has every single quality we are looking for in abundance and is cheap as chips. It’s a no brained to roll the dice on him. Low risk high reward gambling is where it’s at

  72. China1

    Hlebs dribbling was elite as fook, but he literally had an ozilesque phobia of shooting. He might have been best used deeper alongside a good DM as a deep lying playmaker who can easily beat the press and drive forwards, akin to cazorla. His close control and dribbling were awesome

  73. S Asoa

    Merson quote.

    “The former Gunners playmaker says a Brazilian winger is struggling for a spark while a talismanic forward is being held back in a wide role
    Article continues below
    Willian is looking “lost” at Arsenal, says Paul Merson, while the struggles of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang in the final third are considered to be down to opponents working him out.

    The Gunners thought they had pieced together a fearsome attacking unit when acquiring an experienced Brazil international from London rivals Chelsea.”

    Sauce has gone rancid. Easily and obvious solutions. But Don Quixote must only see windmills to react

  74. Goobergooner


    Only thing I disagree with is steely backline.

    I don’t care if we concede less. If we can’t score more we are still shit

  75. Goobergooner

    The thing is, our top 4 rivals have way more balanced squads, and don’t have as big a teething problem as we do with a properly fresh off the bat manager.

    This season is still a write off for me. If we get top 6 I’ll actually be stoked.
    Our squad has lacked in key positions for years, and apparently the change of managers has only changed the part of the squad that needed addressing the most.

    I’m not a doom and gloom merchant. I just think even Wenger’s last squad had more to them than this lot.
    Not so much technically. But tactically we are now exact opposite of Wenger and it isn’t great to watch.
    And I say that as someone who has wanted the defence addressed since 2010.

    8 games in. 30 to go.
    We definitely had one of the roughest starts to the season. Let’s see how the team and tets bounce back.
    This is a very much anticipated game to see the response that’s for sure.

  76. Goobergooner

    Also fuck international football during covid. Fucking idiots at the helm. Governments aren’t allowing proper international travel, yet a fucking football association is allowed to take the absolute piss, and players are all over the place spreading this shit.

    How money talks hey, disregard common sense for a fucking friendly.


  77. Goobergooner

    Also I see that the elite sport bubbles are somewhat working. But what’s the point of meaningless games and literally spreading this shit?

  78. Guns of SF

    I agree on international football. During a spiking pandemic, this makes little sense but the mighty $ talks the loudest.

  79. Guns of SF

    Hleb was skinny as skeleton.
    However, a great dribbler, and combined with TR and Cesc, was great.

    Now we have nothing close to the sort.

    Wenger wanted conductors, creators…. now we have ?

    We do need 2 creative mids in Jan. I keep saying this… One is not enough…

    Wenger played with 3 creative mids at all times mostly…. our most beautiful football was with 3…..

    How to couple that, with the solid defensive side is the question.

    again 2 creative mids in Jan please

  80. Burgkamp

    Sid – yes because in CL/Europa you’re still only training, travelling and competing with your own squad. You only come into contact with another squad during the match.

    Biggest problem with international football is each international squad brings players from 20 different club squads together to train, travel, eat, sleep and play together. Its madness.

  81. Sid

    We should check the data on rate of infection during international games vs rate of infection during CL or Europa games.
    That would give us a better perspective

  82. London gunner

    This is a super important day if spurs beat City they have to be favourites to the title. If city win this kills spurs season. A lot is riding on this match.

  83. Graham62

    I have to be careful coming on here at the moment because my perceptions at what’s going on at AFC, specifically in regards to Mikel Arteta, makes it difficult for me to be able to look at things in a measured way.

    I’m on the edge with him at present and a loss, or even a draw, at Leeds tomorrow, would definitely tip me over the edge.

    Nothing to do with not having the flair or style we all desire in the team, it’s the way negative things seem to be manifesting amongst the players.

    Won’t give a prediction but I hope that Arteta doesn’t stick to the regimental systems and do the obvious, which I feel will play into Leeds hands.

    Some on here think it will be a cakewalk tomorrow.

    I wish I could feel as optimistic.

    Oh to be an Arsenal supporter.

  84. London gunner

    Jamie and Graham

    I know its early in the season but I think its games like this that win belief in a team and spur them on.

    This season is a real mixer with multiple teams outside the top 2 with a chance at the title. For me its about who wins the big crunch time wins against liverpool or City. Teams like spurs typically lose these games but if they can win these clinchers plus on top of this we have seen this season that spurs can shithouse a win against the rest of the league by son or kane or bale bailing them out.

  85. Jamie

    London –

    Sure, there are games and there are big games. But it’s far too early to be making predictions based on a single result this weekend.

    No team has reached 20 points yet, and there are still 90 points to play for. Only Dissenter makes outrageous predictions about who will finish where this early. Don’t do it.