by .

Welcome to Monday. I’m back at work. So are you. Life is shit and miserable.

Still, at least we can bask in the mini-glow of a decent run of three wins.

Chelsea fans? They are probably not feeling so good right now. Frank Lampard started the season badly and was called a fraud, then he had his team firing and he was lauded as the real deal, now he’s back on fraud watch because Chelsea lost again.

The hammer normally drops at Chelsea. Their owner has no time for sympathy or feelings of nostalgia. Though I will say, nearly every manager has had fans calling for their head this season. Ole G had United sniffing around Poch, now they’re apparently going to win the league. Jose was the king for a bit, then he dipped and Spurs fans were crying about their savagely bad football, now he’s somewhere in the middle. Carlo has had it. Nuno is getting it. It’s hard to make rash decisions when there are 10 points between 1st and 12th.

Arsenal has a very important three games coming up. We play Newcastle in the FA Cup, which is a back door to Europe, so we need to take it seriously again. Then we have two 6 pointers against Newcastle and Crystal Palace in the league. All three games are at home. Really, it’s essential we win all three.

In the league, Wolves and Everton are playing + Spurs and Villa. Adding three points moves us closer or further past a rival in the first weekend.

The weekend after Villa and Everton play. United and Everton. Leicester and Southampton.

Our Premier League games are on the easier side. We simply have to make them count. Palace have been all over the place this season, we know they can damage us, but if we’re on form, we should have enough. Newcastle are a really bland team, but they are capable of parking the bus and nicking draws. The shit teams are more often than not the problem. We need to find a way.

The two key games that’ll shape our season big-time are at the end of the month. If we can head into the Southampton and United games on wave of confidence, and deliver, then we’ll be in the running for top 4 this season. If we sputter into those games, and our top 4 hopes rest on them, I’m not sure we’ll have enough.

Southampton has a ghastly run of fixtures heading into our game facing Liverpool, Leicester, and Leeds. United has an extra game squeezed in and one less day of rest before we play.

People have been comparing Arteta’s December escape from hell to the sort of thing Wenger used to do. Say what you will, but Emery didn’t stop the rot from Jan 2019 until he was sacked.

The true Wenger signature move wasn’t escaping bad runs, it was looking well and truly out of the #Top4Trophy race, then delivering it against the odds.

I don’t want to start hyping people about the idea, because it feels a bit lost in this terrible season, but we do have some things Wenger had going for him.


An absolute Wenger classic. After he’d crushed his players before December by overplaying his faves, our best players would come back to fitness around the end of January. Those players had a forced break, they were fresh, and they could drive us when others in the race were leggy.

Arteta has his marquee signing from the summer coming back into the side. We’ve had him for 2.5 games. If he comes back ready, he’ll be immense for a side that needs his qualities. Gabriel Martinelli might not be scoring goals yet, but his impact on the backend of this season could be very much like the one Anelka had but on a less grandiose level. We’ve also discovered a young talent in Smith Rowe. He’s fit, he’s hungry and he doesn’t have the weight of half a season in his legs.


Can we really look past Andrey Arshavin as the ultimate #Top4Saviour? The little Russian landed in the Premier League and set it alight until he discovered North London takeaways. He arrived saying ‘I AM GOONER’, we all fell in love with him, and he helped us smash top 4 with 9 assists and 6 goals in 15 or so games.

Arsenal needs to make a smart January signing. We are desperate for a creative solution that fits the profile of what Arteta needs. The signing cannot be a glamour name for the sake of it. It needs to be someone that knows the league, can run, that is looking to shop window themselves. KSE shouldn’t be wasting the little money we have on perm signings that’ll come at a premium and stink of panic.


Wenger always found a way in the end. It might not have been pretty, but he always found a formula that let him scrape by. Whether it was that legendary back 5 that took us to the Champions League final, the discovery that Coquelin and Santi were quite good, or Mikel and Aaron… there was always a way.

Arteta has been mainlining Old Players, the street equivalent of cooking up dishwasher cubes. He’s been slipped something new though, that’s HUNGRY TALENT, the high is hopefully addicting, and maybe he’ll keep doing it now he understands the error of his ways.

The system he has now works. Hunger, energy, with technicians built for the vision. We need to remember how we fell up the stairs and stick with it, even if there are inevitable bumps in the road.


Final one, generally, Wenger would have his nightmare in November, or February. That’d be it then for the season. We had ours through October, November, and December. There’s a chance we might have knocked it out of the system. Sure, we’ll lose games, but the hope is the worst of our bad runs might be over.

All of the above is a big fantasy. We could get done by an Andy Carroll 93rd minute header, followed by Zaha reminding us why he’s the boss in the Ivorian national team. Us Arsenal fans NEVER learn not to touch the extremely painful HOPE button, but fuck it… it’s the first Monday of the year, no one wants to be reading warnings, so have a great day, listen to my podcast RIGHT NOW, then I’ll see you in the comments.

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Jump to comment form ↓

  1. Jamie

    So the rest of world football sees something in Saliba that Arteta doesn’t.

    That’s why he’s been snapped up on loan by elite bottom half of the table club Nice.

    Or maybe that’s his level right now and we massively overpaid for him. It’s good for everyone involved that Saliba gets some minutes, and hopefully he’ll be ready for cup games next season when he’ll be just a 20 year old centre back.

    Absolute hysterics about a teenager being loaned out and ruining future chances of Arsenal signing any young players from France.

  2. Valentin


    Edu has made it clear that any loan for Saliva was for six months with no option to buy, but near guarantee of playing time.

    The only clubs willing to accept those conditions are clubs desperate for a CB. Any clubs with a decent defense does not need a reinforcement. So the only club that will be interested are not going to be dominating their league.

    Nice are in the bottom half of Ligue 1, because they have lost their lynchpin CB Dante to a serious injury. Since his injury they have mostly lost their games, so they have a need for a leader type of CB. Saliba fits their bill and they accept our condition. It’s a marriage of convenience.

  3. Jamie

    Val –

    Sounds to me like all parties benefit then.

    Nice need him, he needs minutes, he’ll get minutes there that he won’t get here, and no obligation to buy (which means he could well have a future with us).

    Can’t see a problem, apart from the obvious that we massively overpaid for him.

  4. Chris

    I still find it hard to believe that Saliba could not have at least played in the Europa League matches and/or league cup.

    At least now he will be playing but it has still been handled very poorly, clearly the player is discontent judging by his social media.

  5. Rich

    Finally an Arsenal Julian Draxler rumour for this window.

    I’m all for it, he’s still only 27

    Thought he’d be at least 40 by now.

  6. Valentin


    We overpaid for him, but when Raul was in charge we overpaid for nearly every players we purchased. So nothing new there.

    But more importantly, we misused him. He came back early from France to be ready for the beginning of the season. He trained on his own and we did not even make use of him for six months. If he immediately slot into Nice team, that make his omission from European competition even worse.

  7. Jamie

    For sure the situation was handled in an amateurish fashion.

    He should’ve probably remained at St Etienne for another season, and we should’ve clawed back some of this fee as a loan payment.

    Still, it’s been addressed now – better late than never. If Saliba is in the right headspace to perform in Nice, it can only be a good thing. He’ll still have 3 years left to his deal at the start of next season. No need to panic.

  8. DivineSherlock

    Just hoping all this doesnt leave a bad taste for Saliba and he ends up not playing for us at all . Man played against Neymar and Mbappe, and to go not playing for 6 months must feel like shit .

  9. Habesha Gooner

    I mean its all good saying Saliba isnt good enough, but what are you guys basing your opinions on?
    So far only arteta deemed him not ready. Claude Puel was praising him like he was the saviour to their defense. So has mourinho. We had to beat the competition for him from spurs and other clubs to land him. What goes against Arteta is he didn’t even give him a single minute before deciding a 30 mil signing wasn’t ready. His partner fofana is playing for Leicester since the start of the season. I dont believe he isnt ready for the likes of dundalk when he was starting in Ligue 1. I feel like Arteta is one of those vindictive coaches. He has his favourites. And for the rest it will only take one mistake to cut them out of his plans. You need to handle Egos in young players too if you plan on having world class youngsters. If you prefer a Yes man but crap player like Xhaka then there is a problem.

  10. Graham62

    What does it take to be become a scout and how much do these guys get?

    Just curious, as I was thinking of a career change.

  11. Danny

    One of the many things I don’t get about us is that (with the exception of Podolski) we always buy late in transfer windows, generally so bloody late e.g, Arshavin that we nearly miss out. It’s the 5th day of the window and we’ve signed no one and I just don’t get it. Surely after the worst start in nearly 50 years you’d think we’d have players lined up already but no, fuck all so far.

  12. Graham62

    Always thought if I could have convinced Wenger to purchase prime Chris Samba and Gary Cahill we would have achieved far more.

    Impossible task though as Wenger Mark 2 didn’t like natural born leaders/ winners.

  13. Chris


    Get a YouTube channel, put together some clips, add the techno music and watch the hits roll in! All from the comfort of your armchair!

  14. Left Testicle


    I used to hang around local parks watching young boys play football.

    I’m now on the sex offenders register!

  15. Graham62

    Played midfield. Combative/two footed and used to be quick until my hip started to wear away

    Represented my then home county Gloucestershire at U-16 and U-18 level and played for Expat Invitational XI v Bahrain XI in 1986. Also represented Dilmun Club in Bahrain between 1985 -1988 in expat football league.

    59 now and although the brain says “ No problem, you can do this” my body says “ No you frigging can’t, you tosser”

  16. Valentin


    Old school Real scouts don’t make a lot of money anymore. A lot of games are analysed via computer. So the good players are already known. Clubs have access to system where you can filter per nationality, position, dominant foot, age, height, weight, speed, shooting ability, scoring record, blocking record, tackle per games, successful tackles per games, interceptions per game, … Even for kids as young as 17 years old. It is now very rare to discover an unknown gem.

    You would be better off becoming an agent for 14~16 years kids. Tie them up to a devilishly complicated and lucrative deal and hope that at least one of them make it. 😈👹

    Short of that if you have some initial cash, start a football academy in a 3rd world country. Sign a deal with a local club.
    Hire a few disgraced (for alcohol or gambling reason but nothing sexual as that will kill any potential investor) but good coaches and the academy is set. Promise every poor, needy kid success if they are willing to work hard.
    Following the success of Marc Guillou Academy, the PV Dunbar academy there are now abundance of copycat academies. Most are just the human footballer equivalent of pill mill. Pushing a cheap product for personal financial gain without looking at the consequence.

  17. Chris

    I appreciate the data aspect of modern scouting, but I also think there is still a lot to be valued in having an old boy go and watch a player for a few games, once identified via a database of whatever. Clearly Arsenal don’t feel the same as they sacked all their scouts!

  18. The BFB

    Looking at their current position in the table, you have to hand it to Manure. They continue to get dodgy penalties even though there’s no longer a purple-nosed pillock shouting abuse from the touchline.

  19. Tom

    “Sounds to me like all parties benefit then.Nice need him, he needs minutes, he’ll get minutes there that he won’t get here, and no obligation to buy (which means he could well have a future with us).Can’t see a problem, apart from the obvious that we massively overpaid for him.”


    Leicester, who aren’t exactly known for making transfer mistakes, paid for Saliba’s ex partner in crime, Fofana ,$38m.

    Saliba at the moment of the Arsenal transfer was considered the better of the two, yet we paid for him $33m, so $5m less.

    Unless you come to a conclusion Leicester also overpaid “massively “for Fofana ,and by an even larger margin, then I fail to see how the Saliba situation can be classified as anything other than gross mismanagement of talent on our part.

    Fofana’s market value is $30m now while Saliba’s has plummeted to $18m

  20. Nelson

    William Saliba made both the NXGN (12th) & Football scout talent’s (10th) top 50 youngsters in world football in May and June 2020. No defender ranked better in each list.

    And Arteta thinks that he needs to spend six months with the U23 for his formation…

  21. Tom

    Fofana was the stand out performer in his Leicester debut with a rating.of 9, and his transfer was called a bargain.
    He hasn’t looked back since.

  22. Dissenter

    We didn’t overpay for Saliba
    We weren’t the only ones gunning for him at the time. I believe Spurs were willing to pay the same fee that st Etienne requested for.
    The lad chose us ahead of Spurs.

    Nice weren’t the only club that were interested in loaning him. There were several championship clubs and ligue Un clubs but the lad chose Nice, We had to concede to his request – there is no loan fee involved.

  23. Habesha Gooner

    I really hope he performs like a Beast and makes Arteta eat his words. We are going to watch how he progresses. He might perform to a high level and Arteta m8ght not accept him back too. Then we woll definitely know if Arteta is vindictive or not.

  24. Uwot?

    “ Too fat to track back”- CM only.£ 350,000 grand a week & im yours.Exceptional vision but can’t be arsed to put in a shift.Need breaks & a good supply of Doner kebabs for the benchwarming I’ll be doing.Any offers?

  25. Aussie+Gooner

    I see there are still some Saliba deniers around. He was sought after by many clubs including the spuds and for once we got in first before every man and his dog. Then what did we do? Yes Arteta ground him into dust and made him a shadow of his former self. Maybe he will never come back from it – who knows. But Arteta must take responsibility for this debacle – no one else. Probably just wiped off 15m from his price tag! This case alone shows that Arteta does not have the mettle to manage players that do not suck up to him – how insecure!

  26. Valentin


    I agree because I think that very few system collect information at low level enough to spot the entire characteristics.
    Also all statistical modelling system rely on a large enough sample, when a good scout should be able to spot the quality and value before there is enough data to be quantitatively enough.
    For a lot of people those system are a crutch to dispense from looking at a player.

    Moreover you also need to investigate the player character. He may be very good, but is he lazy, disruptive, does he have an addiction disorder (gambling, drug, …)?

  27. The Bard

    There is more going on with the Saliba situation behind the scenes. Its speculation I know but I doubt it is an ability thing more an attitude/personality thing. Some of the kids go a bit crazy for a while. He is what 20 earning roughly £100000 a week. Its enough to turn your head. AMN had a an issue a while back where he kept turning up to training late. Arteta maybe inexperienced but he isnt stupid.

  28. Anonymous Commentator

    The saliba situation is poor because these things are remembered by players and their agents and it will invariably make it harder for us to sign prime talent.

    I mean how many agents have seen their clients get wasted at arsenal over the years?
    Too many by now, it’s no longer an issue of one or another manager, it is a cultural issue within the club, a complete 180 from where we were a decade ago where the talent wanted to come but we lacked funds, now we have the funds despite them being wasted in certain areas but no longer have the draw because of how we’ve mishandled talent over the years.

    We are in trouble, will no doubt take a while for people to grasp so, but yeah, we’re definitely in trouble going forwards as of now. Especially if we end up selling Nelson and Willock and just one of them kicks on. That’s the death knell waiting in the shadows.
    Nelson will no doubt kick on btw, willock needs to find the right coach but probably will.

    We’ve been here before, it’s now too many times that we’ve been here, it now matters.

  29. Nelson

    There is rumor that Wolverhampton may want to sign Eddie this month. I think it would be nice to trade Eddie and sign Balo to replace him.

  30. Bob N16

    If Eddie does go, it could mean Balogun and his agent see first team possibilities as more realistic and worth signing a new deal for.
    Eddie’s transfer fee + Willock +/or Nelson on loan for Buendia could be a goer.

  31. Pierre

    Wolves would be a good loan move for Eddie.
    Silva is not doing it and Jimenez is out injured, so it could be a good opportunity to see if he can hack it.

    Having the very good Netto and Traore either side should give him the ammunition he needs.

    As been mentioned, it may open a gateway for Balogun to get some game time .

  32. Tee

    That people see saliba as the one with more potential than Fofana at rennes doesn’t really mean that’s how it’s going to be. Quaresma was seen as having more potential than cr7 but we know how the rest panned out.

    .it’s great that saliba has been released on loan till summer and I believe it will make him a better player than just staying put to play on or two games for us. He needs the playing time and no amount of stone thrown at Arteta and edu will reverse the action. Like Fofana tweeted, saliba is free now.q

  33. Mark

    Well done to Nice for signing a top young defender in William Saliba. To suggest he ‘isn’t ready for Premier League’ is disingenuous at best – and if you look at some of the guys who have been deemed ‘ready’ by Arsenal, it’s laughable

  34. Mark

    Tweet from Matt Spiro on Saliba
    “Well done to Nice for signing a top young defender in William Saliba. To suggest he ‘isn’t ready for Premier League’ is disingenuous at best – and if you look at some of the guys who have been deemed ‘ready’ by Arsenal, it’s laughable”

  35. Samir

    Eddie to Wolves would be very good for us when we already have a better player ready to replace him.

    Hope Nelson & Willock can go out on loan to increase their value for the summer sales.

  36. Mark

    What concerns me about the Saliba situation is that it gives me vibes of the Zidane and Ceballos relationship, ie no place for you whilst I’m here kinda thing. It’s just been handled so badly from start to finish that, it smacks of more behind the scenes.

    I read today that if the initial loan goes well that it could be extended to 18 months!!! I can see it now. Arteta says the team is settled,so in order to continue his development Saliba will stay for the next season. Then he’s sold for a profit after that.

    To see another Top talent go out the door especially since we’ve been crying out for proper defenders for years, is unforgivable. Every time I see Villa play I can’t help feeling regret how we fucked ourselves.

    So unnecessary, all Arteta had to do was keep Martinez as No.1 (as he’d earnt it) telling him it’s his to lose. Leno would’ve had to raise his game if he wanted it back. We have 2 good keepers. Leno not happy we sell for much more than the 17m we got for Emi. Simple.

    Arteta is a poor judge of talent and has that new manager syndrome, where they feel that they have to Flex, instead of being smart.

    Why so few minutes for Balogun if you wanted him to stay. He showed pace, finishing, good hold up play and something different to what we had. Yet still couldn’t get a sniff in the Prem when others were stinking out the place week in week out.

    Why are Mustafi and Kola getting any minutes over Saliba if they’re out the door??? Those who say oh Saliba’s not even played a game for us yet… I’m sorry a blind man can see he’s better now than Mustafi /Kola . Everyone else except the person who rates Xhaka and offered Mustafi an extension. Excuse me if I don’t agree with him.
    It will become apparent when we get to watch him play for Nice , as for him playing for us , let’s hope the choice isn’t down to Arteta.

  37. Dissenter

    Arteta is a very poor judge of talent.
    He’s the manager who offered Mustafi an extension, placed Eddie above Martinelli in January 2020 and thought Runnarsson was good enough for Arsenal.
    He should never have been afforded as much power as he has on the squad, not so early in his career.

  38. Valentin


    Arteta has been a professional footballer nearly half his life, a football coach for the last 5 years. If he can’t determine if a player is crap after managing him for close to a year, then issue is not about experience.

    Nobody needs 10 years of experience to look at Mustafi/Luiz and come to the conclusion that maybe a new well paid contract extension should not offered to the player.

  39. Valentin


    Yes he did and thank god, Mustafi turn it down a few months ago. Clearly he wants to leave at the end of the season. His agent may dream of him joining a desperate Barca now, but that’s not going to happen. It would be stupidity of the highest order if suddenly Arsenal were to lose Saliba, Sokratis and Mustafi in the same TW and be short of CBs toward the end of the season.