THOMAS PARTEY READY FOR BATTLE

by .

Thomas Partey is FIT for the Liverpool game. That’s massive news.  We need all our best soldiers ready for the fight in Liverpool. The Ghanaian midfielder also avoided a long trip to Africa, so he should be very fresh. With him in the side, you feel you have a chance. Let’s be frank, this season, he’s felt like the £45m signing we bought last season. It’s always amazing when people savage our 8th placed finish last season, they forget that our star signing wasn’t available 50% of the season. You think there’s a chance if he’d started the whole season, we’d have picked up an extra 6 points? I do. He’s so much more than a defensive midfielder. He gives us control, power, and vision from deep. Maybe his shooting will start delivering this season?

The major questions we’re all pondering is: Which Liverpool will show up?

  • The demolition crew that dismantled United in brutal fashion.
  • The slightly meek soft-boys that showed up for the West Ham game.

The league is better this year pound for pound. My concern at the start of the season was that we’d see the top 3 race away from the pack. That hasn’t happened yet. It’s close at the top. Last year, it was also close, but it had red herrings flying too close to the sun (Spurs). This year, it’ll be very interesting to see if the smaller clubs can keep up the pace.

I’d never post a calendar-year points total graphic to insinuate that Arsenal are doing pretty well overall.

WHO LET BEZOS INTO THE ADMIN SECTION?

Seeing tables like the above really does make a mockery of the SACK ARTETA narrative that was polluting the airwaves after three games this season.

What the fans are lusting for is a bigger performance against a team like Liverpool. There are only two teams I feel we give too much respect to. City and Liverpool. We gave City things to think about for about 20mins at home before the wheels came off. But I want to see a whole 90 of that.

There’s no point in going gung-ho to prove a point. But, I also don’t want to see Apocolypse Now scenes after three minutes against Liverpool. We are good at defending. Arsenal are tough to play against. It’d be really nice to see that translate against a team that boasts the intensity and ferocity of Klopp’s Liverpool.

This game is roll of the dice. Expectations are pretty low. Wouldn’t it be great if we could surprise a few? I’d take a point whilst keeping our unbeaten run in tact.

I’m not sure how the starting 11 will go. The big worry right now is Auba, he had an injury scare, but he seemed to be happy celebrating with his team after their game. Issue is, you can’t just play Laca up front on his own. So then you need to consider Eddie, who seems to be done with Arsenal Football Club. It’s going to be tough not having Auba from an edge perspective, he’s the one you’d want limited chances to fall to. So we’ll see where that lands.

Midfield will also be interesting. Sambi Lokonga surely gets the nod. But, this does feel like a man-marking masterclass opp for the in-form Ainsley.

Smith Rowe and Saka are absolute musts for me.

What will the surprise be? What will the tactical nuances look like? I’m sure there will be something. It’ll be exciting.

Finally, NBC signed a MEGA deal with the Premier League for $2billion. They are going to run all the matches over here. Their coverage is absolutely awesome in my opinion, so it’s great to see they will continue as a partner. I just wish they didn’t make it so tough with their average app they make you subscribe to. I also wish they’d just let me buy all the games in one place. But… they pay a lot to be annoying, so whatever.

… also, just a quick note. I am going to dive in on the advertising game. I’ve taken on the cost of this site on my own, but now it’s getting a bit of hand, and I want to pay my valuable contributors if I can. Servers are $200, podcasting is $40, Adobe is $20, Mailchimp is $20, buying sexy outfits for the show is $1000 a month. The partner I’m working with knows experience is my prime motivator, I don’t need ads that fuck with the flow, so rest assured, there will never be pop-ups. Thank you in advance for accepting this annoyance.

That’s me done. The whole gang will be there for a Sunday OTW podcast. Tune into that. Also, grab the Perry G interview while you can. It’s fantastic and thank you for all the nice comments on it.

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192 Responses to “THOMAS PARTEY READY FOR BATTLE”

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  1. Kroenkephobe

    It’s always amazing when people savage our 8th placed finish last season, they forget that our star signing wasn’t available 50% of the season. You think there’s a chance if he’d started the whole season, we’d have picked up an extra 6 points

    Pedro
    Come off it guey… Shoulda, woulda, coulda… Complete rubbish. We’re Arsenal and we finished 8th in England! One of the richest clubs in the world and we failed to qualify for the Europa conference. Arteta had the entire season and he fucked it… badly, saving his job by the skin of his teeth after beating teams that were not just on the beach – they had knotted hankies on their nappers and were buried up to their necks in sand by their kids. Simply put, 8th was not good enough and anyone who seriously believes it was OK needs to take a look at themself . This season is a different matter thankfully, but if you want to keep banging the Arteta is a genius drum, you really need to quietly forget how truly fucking awful he was last year and focus solely on the recent past and the present Oh, and Partey was hardly great shakes when he did play last year – it’s generally acknowledged that he was acclimatising to the PL. Sorry, my bullshit detector was flicking like buggery when I read that. It cannot stand, as the Great Lebowski once said.

  2. Tony

    Only read the first few lines, Pedro.

    Worst Arsenal manager of all time up until 6 weeks ago, but Pedro you just focus on fans who wanted Arteta gone, not just after the 3 losses this season, but for his antics for last season and falling over players to play them when injuries and suspensions.

    A manager who has cost the club millions.

    Do you base your management skills on Arteta, Pedro? Are you the Arteta of the AD world?

    The team is doing well in spite of Arteta. Just look at this in-game management still pants.

    Poor handling of the Hale Enders.

    Is the way Arteta conducts himself as a manager is your management style, Pedro? Do you practice his methods as a manager?

    You should do, as you seem to idolize Arteta so much.

    I fancy us tomorrow to get something as I’ve repeatedly said the team is good enough. My worry is Arteta.

    As always it all depends on Arteta, as to handbrake or no handbrake. We won’t know until the team sheets are made public tomorrow.

    For me I want to see how good we are with our new additions against the best and hope we’ve lessened the gap from the last TW buys.

    That and points from the game.

    The above and what K’phobe said.

    A moment’s silence for missing posters knocked down in their prime by Pedro’d bin for their wrong beliefs.

    Marc
    Sid
    Cesc Appeal
    Raptora
    Andy1886
    Gambon
    Kwikfit
    CC
    Marko
    Romford Pele
    N5
    Wallace

    Too many to name: gone and not forgotten.

    In contrast to the Arteta, Walter Mitty table posters led by Pedro are here in full voice: 3 as 1.
    ES
    EB
    AFCF

    Ah well the lack of football madness has seriously claimed many including Pedro and his trusty keyboard.

  3. Tony

    Why throw Partey in against Pool after an injury absence. He won’t be up to speed fitness wise and likely to get injured and the the Mirror is saying Partey is doubtful.

    Have Partey on the bench with the misfiring Auba where Lakonga and AMN should start in MF. Start Eddie with Laca. The back four should have CT as LB with Travares on the bench. Amn can cover LB with CT’s raids into their final third.

    It’s like Arteta can’t wait to play Partey regardless, so is likely to rush him back early: a trait of Arteta’s, especially with Partey and Ode.

    A match unfit Partey will get overrun and likely to get injured again trying to do too much.

  4. Havyn

    Play Tavares instead of Tierney. His runs will outdo Trent Arnold
    Tierney often is found short against Salah.
    Tavares has a chance to play like Chriswell against Salah.

  5. China1

    First the Christmas tree table now wengers favourite the calendar year table!

    It’s good to see he’s done better than Pool in that period tho you gotta wonder how much Liverpool were hurt by injuries to half their defense last season. In any case, good record

  6. China1

    Surely CC isn’t banned? He was pretty supportive of arteta. That surely gets you protection from Don Pedro round these parts

  7. China1

    I just assumed CC had had enough of all the angry negativity on here and couldn’t bare the stench of our urine soaked sheets each day so got out

  8. Zfree

    Bring on the unobtrusive ads, Pedro. You deserve to monetize this BEAST of a website, and yea would be nice to pay your other contributors.

    Appreciate the concern you have for what ads will do to the experience but I doubt it’ll be a hindrance. Get that paper

  9. China1

    Someone’s gotta pay for those sexy outfits Pedro and it might as well be an advertiser

    My suggestion is learn from the underground stream websites – have several windows of very low res but large sized animated gifs of women with blurred out privates which if clicked on link to malware. Then you hide the ‘x’ button somewhere almost invisible (it only appears after 30 seconds anyway) and there are also layers of fake ‘X’ placed elsewhere on the ad which also link to malware

    This model appears to make money for streaming sites. You’ve got nothing to lose

  10. Pedro

    Tony,

    Firstly, we haven’t had a lot of managers.

    Secondly, Arteta’s win ratio over the first 100 games is better than Wenger’s and the same GG.

    Thirdly, let’s have a bit of context. He picked up a mess, in a pandemic, with the biggest crook in football as his sporting director.

    FORTHLY: POOR MANAGEMENT OF HALE-ENDERS? Is this officially the worst take of 2021? ESR and Saka scoring for England?

    What I truly admire about this cognitive dissonance is that you’ve called Arteta the worst Arsenal manager in living memory AND said in the same post you fancy him beating Liverpool this weekend. The club with the second-best manager in world football.

    I’m 4 years younger than Arteta, so no, I don’t base my style off his. But I have a similar approach to building successful teams in highly competitive environments.

    Also, that list is way off my man. CC and Romford are my people. Andy was on here the other day. Raptora/Sid are hiding because at least they have the pride to hide from their shame when we are winning.

    Marc/Marko aren’t banned now, but they were so obnoxious when we were losing I put them in the bin for sure.

  11. China1

    Pedro if Saliba signs a new contract and rejoins us in the summer Arteta wins the youth debate

    But let’s not ignore that we lose a generational youth talent Martinelli along the way by the looks of things. Kid was high flying and saved Artetas bacon yet had his legs chopped off from under him by Arteta and looks like a shadow of the same player now

  12. Pedro

    I know easily attainable facts are hard to come by in the age of the internet… but here goes.

    Thomas Partey:

    PL Minutes Played: 1535
    1535/90 (minutes per game) = 17.05
    Premier League games available = 38
    17.05/38 = 44.8%

    Was TP available for the other 55.2% of those minutes? Probs not. Let’s be honest, Arteta made mistakes maxing him out earlier in the season already.

  13. Pedro

    China, I think he wins the youth debate has already been won by having the youngest team in the league. His squad of 24 might be a more important factor than what happens with one player.

  14. Pedro

    Quite spectacular that someone who spent so much energy telling me I was wrong about Arteta being a good coach has now pivoted to a pitty party to Martinelli and Saliba.

    Desperate stuff.

  15. Pedro

    Kroenke, yes, yes… we need to remember those first 14 games at all times. Not the context. Not the proceeding games. Not the calendar year performance compared to a top 3 manager. Not the recovery from our terrible start. Not our position in the table right now. Just those 14 games.

    Would be interested to know if you behaved like this in your professional life when you were working. Zero patience, lack of forgiveness, a grievance-based assessment of positive results … what a bore.

  16. Major_Jeneral

    Good post Pedro.

    I am looking forward to a good performance. It will be tough at anfield but I believe arsenal can get a good result there.

    I hope Romford and CC are good, it has been a while I have read a post from those two.

  17. Nigel Tufnel

    Pedro,
    I give you credit for putting up with these miserable commenters. I won’t name them. I don’t have to. Everyone knows.
    They don’t realize how it looks to an Arsenal fan with no agenda, to read their comments. It’s so obvious that there’s some personal animus for the man.

    For example, to harp on every error through 100 games, but give no credit to the man for a fair amount of success, a trophy and guiding young players he helped choose. All after taking over a bloated squad thrown together by Wenger, Emery, Raul, Sven, etc.

    After wins they literally say we won despite Arteta. Neither one of them have any gracious or fair qualities. Imagine them in a working environment, team task, even a family situation.

    Big men on Legrove, but avoided as much as possible by those people in their real lives.

  18. IAT-Robbie

    Some good counter-points made by Kroenke Phobe and Tony. I came across a chart of pass types attempted by EPL clubs this season

    https://preview.redd.it/oxgj4yheruz71.png?width=5712&format=png&auto=webp&s=20c9b92fff034f829531f0a652eb8a82f5f494e4

    Our team doesn’t excel at any one passing type. Every top 6 club excelled at least one passing style. Even Aston Villa and Leeds United have a wider repertoire of passes than we do and their midfield isn’t exactly world class. When I hear Pedro and other sportswriters describe our playing style as “progressive” and “scintillating”… It all just feels rather forced/OTT and data charts like above suggest exactly why.

    Other managers are seemingly able to get more output from less established but it’s heresy to suggest coaches like ten Hag and Galtier could get more out of this squad. If the likes of The Athletic and a certain someone are to be believed, Arteta is doing us a favour by “overachieving” with a relegation-level squad. Only Mikel can save us😊

  19. Tee

    “Pedro.Worst Arsenal manager of all time up until 6 weeks ago”

    Says who?

    How can a manager who has won a trophy for the club in his first half season be the worst Arsenal manager of all time?

    They can’t help it. It’s in their blood

  20. kjelli

    we have a chance if we can manage the puddles and our attackers are fired up..
    maybe we will see some surprise goalscorers tomorrow, that would help.

  21. Habesha Gooner

    Partey being fit is great news. As good as AMN did against Watford, this is a whole different ball game. We need Partey. I still feel like playing the 442 that we have been using is going in to Liverpool’s hands. We need to switch it to a 343. Put Ainsley at RWB and Tavarez at LWB. Take out Aubameyang. More protection and grind out a result. And it would also be exciting to give Tavarez more freedom on the left. He would destroy TAA. This is the game to be cautious for. Not go in to it gung ho and expose ourselves.

    Good Idea and the Ads pedro. It is not sustainable to run this without anything coming in. We don’t mind because the site is still free and we can bitch about arteta and all things related to Arsenal.

  22. IAT-Robbie

    Pedro, Solskjaer has a better “win ratio” than Ferguson over the first 100 games at Man Utd. Yet you’ve never taken him seriously as a coach with elite potential.

    Is it also not cognitive dissonance when you you use that same talking point when discussing Arteta?

    What makes Mikel this cultured tactician that Ole isn’t?

  23. Emiratesstroller

    I have tried very hard to avoid reacting to the posts of Tony, but those today demonstrate just
    how stupid he really is.

    As usual there are sly digs at Pedro and other posters who have different viewpoint to him.

    Then of course he starts off his first post by stating that he has only bothered to read the opening points made by Pedro before his usual critique.

    I don’t mind reading someone’s constructive criticisms, but the idea that Arteta is the worst
    manager or coach appointed by Arsenal is ridiculous. What exactly is the statistical basis
    of that statement and perhaps more importantly how many Arsenal Teams under different
    managers have you watched?

    Then again you trash Arteta with your opinions about how he has dealt with the club’s finances and even the Academy at Hale End.

    The club’s finances are handled by the Owner, the Board and the CEO. This is hardly Arteta’s
    responsibility.

    When it comes to the Academy I rely on people who have more expertise than you in making an assessment about how it was run and the performance level of the players. It
    was well known for a very long time that the scouting and coaching staff were both stale and underperforming.

    It is well known in football circles that the Arsenal Academy was uncompetitive when compared to those of Chelsea and even Spurs. The problems existed long before Arteta arrived as Head Coach and Manager.

    Furthermore the Academy is the responsibility of Per Mertesacker who for the record was
    appointed before Arteta. By all accounts he has professionalised the programme and there
    are now real improvements in both recruitment and performance levels.

    Arteta by contrast to Wenger is also proactive in overseeing the development of academy
    players. There is not a week where it is not reported that Academy players are not being
    invited to train with the senior squad.

    I suggest that you focus on your lifestyle in Thailand rather than express opinions about something which you clearly know nothing about.

  24. Kroenkephobe

    Would be interested to know if you behaved like this in your professional life when you were working

    Pedro
    No, of course I didn’t and I don’t in my current post-career businesses either. Pulling punches, personal truth, negotiating and being a man of your word are critical qualities.

    But football is emotional and matters in a different way. You ought to know that cos you don’t come across as a robot like some do on here.

    My job as a diplomat for 30 years meant far fucking less than my wish to see Arsenal succeeding near the top of the tree. When I wasn’t in N5, I used to go crazy listening to Arsenal commentaries eg on a short wave radio in some dingy dusty heavily protected flat in the backstreets of Tehran or wandering through swampy jungles in Central America, straining to catch the odd word while we lost to Wrexham in the FA Cup. All the demarches, notes verbale, and endless meetings and travel were always secondary. It was a rigid, highly-controlled, almost militaristic and cautious environment protecting and furthering national interests while trying to persuade others that you were also protecting theirs. After all that, and the crisis management in places like the Caribbean, Thailand and New Orleans I reckon I’m all right with myself about expressing a few forthright (but accurate!) opinions about a club I’ve absolutely adored since I was about 6 watching Arsenal win the double in 71.

  25. Emiratesstroller

    I want to add one final point.

    I spent time several years ago talking to George Graham post Arsenal’s league and cup double.

    We discussed amongst other topics the Academy Programmes of Professional Football Clubs. He pointed out that becoming a successful Professional Footballer and particularly with a top Football Club was a “chance in the million”.

    That was before the era of global recruitment. Success in recruitment today is still not an
    exact science. You are lucky if you recruit one great player every couple of years who make
    the grade whether coming through transfer market or from academy.

  26. Guembusy

    Nigel, you describe exactly what is in my mind. My English is not that good to write it myself. Nevertheless, some people’s first thought after they wake up seems to be, let’s go on Le Grove and dismantle Arteta… and Pedro. Obsessions or something more serious?
    Keep up the good work Pedro. A quiet overseas Arsenal fan, regular Le Grove reader since 2009

  27. China1

    Kroenke by the sounds of things it wasn’t only the bed you’ve been wetting but also the dusty mountains of Iran and the jungles of Cambodia!!!

  28. Kroenkephobe

    ES
    Don’t shoot, it’s joke Friday right?

    I bet the great man was thinking. ‘when is this gallous punter gonnae gi it a rest so I can get in that taxi wi TA, Pizza and Bouldy for a massive swally up the west end!’

  29. Kroenkephobe

    Hi China
    No need for bedwetting in the GG and early Wengo eras when we had proper leadership and the club was synonymous with success. But yeah, if Arteta had been around 30 years earlier I’d have had some serious laundry bills from the various ‘Hotel Los Bastardos’ that I rested my sorry head in.

  30. Kroenkephobe

    ES
    Cool man. Very dry too. Frankly I’m envious – as a former player, and for me our joint best manager alongside Herbert Chapman, I would have loved to have met him. I sometimes still watch that ‘backs to the wall chat’ he gave the team after our 2 point deduction. A proper genius. He had his foibles shall we say, but he put us back on the footballing map in the 80s.

  31. Willian dollar baby

    Pedro how do you find the time to argue with idiots? Surely the blog is to big for you to read and worry about every comment?

  32. Pierre

    If you look at Arteta’s time as manager and split it into sections , it highlights how certain players being excluded and certain players being included have made a difference to results and performances..

    Some of the inclusions have been more through luck than design , mainly due to injuries to his favourite players.

    The first period was pre covid..league games

    Played 10
    Won 4
    Drawn 5
    Lost 1

    I defeat in 10 was an acceptable start considering the state of the team when he arrived.

    2nd period…league games
    Post covid until Christmas

    Played 23
    Won 8
    Drawn 3
    Lost 12

    This is the period we really struggled with our creativity, the strikers were living off scraps and Arteta was really struggling and was probably very close to getting the sack.

    It us easy to say that excluding our most creative player during this period was the reason for this potentially catastrophic run of results and performances, but i struggle to find any other reason why our creativity nosedived to the worst in the league.

    The 3rd period was christmas to the end of the season and the arrival of smith rowe.

    Played 24
    Won 14
    Drawn 5
    Lost 5

    A complete turn around of our performances and results due to the inclusion of a real creative player in smith rowe..
    Would smith rowe have broken into the team if it wasn’t for injuries , probably not.

    The next period is the 3 games at the start of the season which resulted in 3 defeats.

    Arteta did have some .terrible luck with injuries for the opening 3 games but the fact is we looked poor in pre season and those 3 poor results and performances were just a continuation of a poor pre season…

    The 4th period is our most recent run of games and again , injuries have been beneficial to Arteta to give us the team that we see now .

    Xhaka, Tierney and Odegaard being injured forced Arteta’s hand in playing tavares , lakonga and Lacazette and we now look like a team that potentially is going places.

    Of course Arteta deserves credit for bringing in Ramsdale, White and gabriel to the starting line up and the way he has set up the team to play, we are becoming a good team to watch again .

    Tomorrow will tell us a lot about the manager and the players …a real test that i hope they come through. .

  33. Kroenkephobe

    Guem
    On the contrary mate. Your English is really good. You should contribute more if you get the time. It’s really good to hear what other Gooners think, especially if they’re in other parts of the world. Hoping to see you get fully on board.

  34. Terraloon

    Pierre

    Tomorrow will tell us a lot about the manager and the players …a real test that i hope they come through. .

    Games immediately following an International breaks are particularly difficult for clubs that have seen a chunk of their first team squad travel near and far away from the comfort of their home club and indeed the luxury of two weeks coaching and rest that afforded to those clubs that don’t have a gaggle or so of International performers.

    Playing Liverpool in London would have been far more beneficial but having to travel up north today further restricted the recovery and coaching time available. Indeed even the England players didn’t return to full training till Wednesday.

    Liverpool in front of their supporters are a different animal to Liverpool playing away and even then they are a menace.

    I listened quite carefully to Klopps comments about injuries and a lot of it was clutter . They may have a couple of players out but again the extra time afforded to the home team in that they will no doubt have access to their rehabilitation experts and facilities for an extra 24 hours will minimise even further any absences.

    One think Kloop did say which was interesting related to Robertson and that was his injuries, like many players, revolve around the intensity of International games and the fact that International managers at many federations don’t have many options whereas as we know England massively rotated.

    How does that comment impact Arsenals selection?

  35. Tony

    K’Phobe you’re our own crocodile Cardiff. Just thought the character we see here probably had not so much to do with accounting; counting bodies maybe.

    Kudos to you. Genuinely mean that. Looking forward to hearing your Spanish escapades in the future and more accurate Arsenal views.

    My son was sitting next to me in my office as I was reading LG. He asked what was I going to write about and I thought I’d go with Joke Friday with some Bantz ala Pierre and baited a few hooks.

    Did all right by the look of it comments has been flowing a lot faster than the preceding days.

    Probably landing the big Cahoona who put up a good fight has landed me in solitary. Looks like ES almost had a seizure at the length of his reply. Bless the dear old chap.

    Anyway, we’ll see how naughty I’ve been when I press send next here.

    Have a good weekend K’phobe and all Grovers

  36. Northbanker

    Pierre

    Your post is part of a general theme that Arteta only discovers young players due to injury of senior players

    Ever thought that he might be constantly watching them in training and assessing their preparedness for first team football, which is a huge step up for most players?

    Give him some credit. Injuries might accelerate the decision but they don’t create situations that wouldn’t otherwise have happened ESR would have made it by the end of last season – it was just a question of timing

  37. Pierre

    William dollar baby.
    “Pedro how do you find the time to argue with idiots? Surely the blog is to big for you to read and worry about every comment?”

    The thing is , Pedro spent years cultivating a negative viewpoint on Le Grove during the last ten years of Wenger’s rein, unfairly i would say as wenger never had the finances being afforded to Arteta, wenger qualified for champions league 18 out of 20 seasons, Wenger never finished below 6th and wenger never had us playing such boring, insipid football with a total lack of creativity in all areas of the pitch

    So yes, it is a surprise that he will defend the indefensible regarding Arteta and unfortunately he forgets that some of us have good memories of how he slaughtered Wenger ( and Emery) .

    The fact is, under Arteta for a period ( post covid until Christmas) the football was dire and he was lucky to hold on to his job and that period us still fresh in some fans mind.

    However, we have turned the corner hopefully, the football is better to watch, this is now Arteta’s team , his decision making has improved , the non negotables he has put to bed and there is a great atmosphere in the stadium, it’s good to look forward to match days .

  38. Emiratesstroller

    Kroenkephoebe

    George Graham was a very successful and methodical manager at Arsenal. The style we played under his management was diametrically opposite to how he performed as a player.
    He was a flamboyant player.

    The context of my discussion with him revolved around football academies. My son who was a decent footballer and athlete had spent time at a FA Camp at Lilleshall [the forerunner
    of the current FA Centre].

    He had been recommended by the coaches to attend a Football Academy [Centre of Excellence]. However, George Graham made it crystal clear that anyone who was academic
    and likely to pursue a successful professional or business career should not consider football
    unless he was seriously exceptional. As it turned out the advice was 100% correct.

    I read also not long ago a biography of a teacher at a leading independent school who had
    been an outstanding footballer and amateur coach. He discussed his relationship with Walter Winterbottom England’s first national manager.

    Walter Winterbottom sent his son to the school primarily because of the teacher’s reputation. Also because he knew that his son was never good enough to play football at a professional level and wanted to persuade him to pursue another career.

    The son was of course an excellent “amateur footballer”, and subsequently accepted both
    teacher and father’s advice and pursued a career outside football.

    The sad fact is that there are very few footballers in major academies who are going to make
    the grade. Arsenal are now faced with that dilemma when we discuss today Nketiah and
    Balogun. Both are decent footballers, but we are not going to keep both on the books.

  39. Pierre

    Northbanker
    “ESR would have made it by the end of last season – it was just a question of timing”

    Maybe , maybe not…i can remember there was talk of him going back out on loan in january as he was not good enough for the first team.

    Giving players the opportunity to shine is the only way we will know if they are good enough, who would have known that Tavares would be so impressive without the injury to Tierney ..

    Sadly , Eddie hasnt been given opportunities to shine in the league and it may be one that we will regret if he leaves.

  40. Bob N16

    Kroenke, I have unforgettable memories of travelling with a SW radio, desperately trying to get a signal to find out the Arsenal score, just after the regular news. Was in Quito for Anfield 89 for example.: “There’s been an unforgettable night in Anfield. Here are the highlights of the game……” On with the Arsenal shirt out the door…..

    You a ‘65 baby too?

  41. Tony

    Genuinely sorry Pedro if I took the joke too far.

    You’re far too smart to employ fear tactics and non-negotiables as part of your management. , as Arteta did/ does, but it has been deadly boring this international break, so I thought ……………

    ES comedy gold mate. Get a sense of humour, costs nothing.

    Time out for me.

  42. IAT-Robbie

    “They can’t help it. It’s in their blood”

    Tee, on the contrary, it might surprise you to find that folks who are more critical of Arteta now, were once very supportive when he joined. Myself included. You’d have been very hard pressed to find many people who weren’t willing to at least give him a chance. Especially as an ex-player..

  43. Bob N16

    Pierre, I’m sure you’d agree that it’s always been the case that young players often get their opportunities when older, more established players get injured. Th point surely is that they’re there ready to step up. Nketiah has been unfortunate in the sense that he was injured early in the season and since then PEA and Laca have remained available,

  44. IAT-Robbie

    It’s just that after 1 year plus, when you take off the Arsenal-tinted lenses and observe other clubs/coaches/leagues, your perspective eventually changes. You start asking questions you didn’t before like:

    Is Arteta really that special or we just telling ourselves that? – Similar triumphs have already been done in debut seasons by former rookies like di Matteo, Gullit, Martinez, Mourinho, Villas Boas. Most of these guys didn’t exactly set the world alight after.

    Has there been substantial progress since the FA Cup? – As is often said, Arteta inherited a difficult situation. But what of other examples of coaches who also came mid-season into underperforming teams:
    Moyes – Finished above Arteta
    Rodgers – Finished above Arteta
    OGS – Finished above Arteta
    Ancelotti – Finished below Arteta
    Tuchel – Finished above Arteta
    Mourinho – Finished above Arteta
    Most of these coaches were able to significantly improve on the table position they met their teams in whilst we weren’t.

    How much are we likely to achieve under this coaching set-up? – Especially when our two assistant managers already both failed at Man Utd before with similar recruitment strategies.

  45. China1

    Pedro I’m not desperately all I’m saying I have a feeling we’ll beat pool and we’re on really good form

    But letting Saliba slip away would be a massive mistake when he’s already our player. Likewise if martinelli gets fed up and ends up having a Gnabry career there will be a whole lot of I told you sos incoming

  46. Emiratesstroller

    My one regret as an Arsenal Supporter is that I missed the game when Arsenal beat Liverpool at Anfield and Mickey Thomas scored in last minute and we won league title.

    That game ended Liverpool’s domination of English Football.

    Otherwise I have been fortunate to have watched most of Arsenal’s major successes since
    the 1950s including the game between Arsenal and Man Utd’s Busby Babes before Munich
    and Arsenal’s victory at White Hart Lane when we beat them to win league title and then
    won FA Cup to secure our first double.

    Arsenal like most of our major competitors have had their highs and lows. You learn to
    appreciate them even when we have a poor team.

  47. Tom

    “I know easily attainable facts are hard to come by in the age of the internet… but here goes.
    Thomas Partey: PL Minutes Played: 1535
    1535/90 (minutes per game) = 17.05
    Premier League games available = 38
    17.05/38 = 44.8%”

    Pedro, are you sure you work in advertising and not for one of those accounting firms that cooked books for Enron?

    Partey played a total 2100 minutes for Arsenal last season including cup games.
    Unless you expect a fit Partey to give Arsenal 3000 PL minutes( will never happen) on top of his cup games, then I don’t see the point.

  48. Kroenkephobe

    Hi Tony
    Crocodile Cardiff. Nice one (although I’m actually 100 miles west of the capital). I think my catchphrase might have been, ‘call that a letter opener? ‘ rather than mick dundee’s version! Talking of the ‘diff, I’m taking K’ phobe junior and two of his mates up to Deepdale tomorrow in hope of seeing the Bluebirds beat PNE (the other invincible s). My first time there – looks a great ground and a team steeped in history). Everyone getting their prayer mats out for us tmrw at Anfield, please say a prayer for Cardiff too! Three 16 year olds hoping to have a sneaky beer before the game is going to test my mettle. I think I’ll tell them to get knotted. Half the 4 hour drive home will I hope be spent listening to us nick a win chez the bin dippers.

    Bob, I’m a late 64-er! So older but unlikely to be wiser…

  49. Markymark

    Don’t shoot the messenger particularly as I’ve looked this up on Untold – in reality Arteta over Arsenal’s first 100 games is only trailing Wenger and Graham and not by much. Graham was still 2 points for a win so his draw levels are higher . Wenger actually won less
    The f up was giving Arteta management control when they did . Since he’s built up experience generally there appears to be a gradual incline
    The thoughts that Arteta is Arsenal’s worst ever manager are simply wide of the mark . The lack of player rumbling would also support that .

  50. Kroenkephobe

    ES
    Interesting read that. I hope your son nevertheless hugely enjoyed his football.

    I’m not sure that academic attainment and football prowess are mutually exclusive. They certainly shouldn’t be of course but I think the professional football system in the UK works against kids by compelling them to be into football at the cost of other pursuits. I’d imagine it’s slightly less blinkered in Germany and the US where the college system appears to be an important gateway into the game. Le Saux, Coppell, Tony Galvin and Patrick Bamford are all too rare exceptions here although the latter gave up Harvard to stick it out at Chelsea. It was really heartening in that regard to hear about Bukayo getting some brilliant A levels. Wouldn’t it be fantastic if he was our manager in 20 year’s time? The second coming of Sir George Graham!

  51. WinOrDie

    I would also like to see arsenal put up a real fight for 90 maybe like brighton did since Arteta and Potter’s style have many similarities. fingures crossed.

  52. Tom

    Markymark, don’t mention the “strength” of Arsenal’s Europa League group last season that gave Arteta 6 easy wins to beef up his first 100 games win % whatever you do, or you’ll be called out by the ever vigilant Nigel T as a hater.

    I suppose when Harry Kane hangs up his boots having broken England’s national team top scoring records, while banging in a dozen or more against San Marino and Andora , our Nigel here will defend his record against Kane haters.

  53. Pierre

    Bob
    I wouldn’t disagree with that , though this season has shown that if a manager is brave enough to give younger players a chance they may reap the benefit..

    Arteta could easily have left Ramsdale, white and Tomiyasu on the bench to ease them in , but it is proving the right decision to put them straight in and add tavares and lakonga to the equation and you have team of technique, pace and energy and although some on here continue to worry about our lack of experience, for me it’s not a problem as they are gaining invaluable experience with every match they play …young players are very quick learners these days.

  54. Havyn

    My plea is that Arteta don’t play Tierney else we’re toast. Seems Salah and Trent Arnold knows Tierney game so much so that he gets destroyed anytime we play Pool.

    My choice is Tavares

  55. Emiratesstroller

    Kroenkephobe

    The professional football game has changed dramatically over last 20 years.

    Today there are a growing number of schoolboys who attend private schools who are
    attached to Professional Football Academies. Frank Lampard attended Brentwood School
    and several players at Chelsea attend[ed] Whitgift School. Currently Arsenal have close
    links with Aldenham School where Patino was educated.

    A growing number of professional footballers are academic and have even studied for
    degrees at University. Bergkamp took an Engineering Degree at Bath, Lehmann studied
    economics at Munster University and Vincent Kompany has a MBA from Warwick University.

    Historically most privately educated pupils did not become professional footballers. However there were several players who played as amateurs in the professional game.
    Bernard Joy was the last amateur to play for the full England side and the teacher I
    referred to who was a confidant of Walter Winterbottom played as an Amateur for Derby
    County when they reached the semi final of FA Cup.

    There are a growing number of children attending private and grammar schools who are
    now involved and make a career in professional sport.

  56. Kroenkephobe

    ES
    I wholeheartedly agree mate! Public, private, independent or whatever they want to call themselves as schools are a scourge and the first rung in the ladder of social inequality that has been fucking Britain for centuries. We’re chronically held back by fee paying schools. Cameron and Bojo are prime examples of the awfulness of the system. And they have the balls to talk about levelling up. Good job there’s still people fighting the system eh? So glad we’re on the same page on this important issue. 😉

  57. Habesha Gooner

    People under estimating Tierney is a real surprise to me. Tavarez has done well and he will be great competition for Tierney. But he hasn’t been tested yet. He is yet to face a top winger. Salah and TAA is as hard as they come. And as much as I love ESR and Saka they don’t protect their fullbacks at all times. I am all for Tavarez starting but he needs protection. Playing him as a winback with 3 behind him and Partey Sambi and AMN beside him will give him the freedom to play. But if it was a 442, and Tierney was completely fit and ready to start this game, I would choose him over Tavarez. Because he is better equipped to handle the attacks down the right side of Liverpool.

  58. Shaun

    Tierny is often found short against Salah ……yep that’s what I was thinking and he also seems to let far to many crosses come in from Arnold that’s why I would stick with Nunno for this one a bigger more physical presence and just as quick if not quicker and AMN for me as well for Lokonga who tends to loose the ball in very dangerous positions once or twice in a game and against the scousers that could be very costly

  59. Bob N16

    Kroenke – 6 months older than me = 6 months wiser?

    It’s unlikely that Arteta will play a different formation but as Rich mentioned yesterday,

    White- Gabriel- KT
    AMN – Sambi- Partey -Nuno
    Saka – PEA/Laca – ESR

    would certainly give TAA and Robertson something to think about!

    I think we’ll pretty much have the same team and formation, with the biggest decision over LB. Partey in obviously.

  60. Bob N16

    Spanishdave,

    Although the opposition was shite, do you not think ESR and Saka(and Ramsdale) won’t be walking a little bit taller from their experience of playing for the national team?

  61. Habesha Gooner

    Bob
    Tomi can’t be dropped. Take out Tierney and move both white and Gabriel to the left. We can also use Tierney as the LWB and Nuno as the RWB by dropping AMN considering Nuno is two footed.

  62. Emiratesstroller

    Tomorrow’s game will be difficult for us.

    Liverpool will come out of the block at 100 mph. We don’t have a great track record against
    them at Anfield since Klopp arrived.

    However, I do think that we might have a chance of a draw and that will be a good result. We
    are now a difficult team to beat with a stable and well organised defence which is conceding
    few goals.

  63. Ashwin Gunner

    Pedro

    do what you have to keep this site going. Ads or not, this site is amazing. Keep up the good work. There are many posters who dont agree with you, but they do give you traffic :P.

  64. Rich

    Bob, it’s individualistic, what works for some, won’t work for others, there’s no one size fits all.

    A talent is usually just a repetitive thought pattern, it’s why young people who go through early trauma, sometimes go on to do great things, what starts out as escapism, can often develop into either very good, or very bad repetitive thought patterns

    The earlier you imprint a set of skills on a young brain, the more chance it becomes muscle memory, and those skills become second nature

    Think about making a drink of water, or driving, you don’t really need to think about it, once you know how, you do it on autopilot

    It’s the same with trapping or controlling a football, I’ve not played football for 10 years, but I can still do a few hundred keepy ups, because I spent hours on end as a little kid practising on my own

    Understanding muscle memory will revolutionise how we help young people develop skills, and how people deal with stress, pressure and expectation

    You can’t eliminate human emotion, but you can imprint coping mechanisms to help people deal with negative emotions

    It’ll be the private sector leading the way on this, because where drippy career bureaucrats often allow emotion to cloud their judgement, the private sector is results driven, and when there’s billions, and potentially trillions of pounds at stake, you can guarantee that very clever + innovative people, will find a way to prepare professional athletes, both mentally + technically at the highest level

    The concern is that this form of research will also have a flip side, and they could get it wrong, or bad people could use it to do horrendous things

    But in a way, different societies have been using forms of this for hundreds of years. why do you think they invented religions? Why do you think they want people to worship the state?

    Having balance is important for some people, but for those with the addiction gene, which is definitely something hereditary on my side of the family, then you need to make sure you’re addicted to the right type of things

  65. Positive pete

    Nice of Tony to provide a list of the” Bedwetters”.But we all know who the hardcore are.Oh. & Tom ,other Arsenal managers never had any easy runs in their 1st 100 games to beef up their statistics? Talk about clutching at any straw you can find.lol!

  66. Emiratesstroller

    I am not sure that Partey and Tierney will start tomorrow’s game. They may sit on bench.

    Partey has not played a competitive game for three weeks and Tierney has only started
    playing competitive football with Scotland after several weeks out injured.

  67. Bob N16

    Shit Habesha, forgot about Tomy! He could come into the back 3 instead of KT and take your pick over KT and Nuno as LWB.

  68. China1

    You can only beat what’s in front of you

    Beat San Marino 2-0 and it’s nothing to talk about but 10-0 is an achievement. How many 10-0s have they taken lately?

  69. Bob N16

    Rich,

    Obviously one size doesn’t fit all. The most skilful, dedicated, physically robust make it but they are the minority, With academy players, there is a real likelihood that they won’t make it as professionals, that’s why it’s almost as important to prepare for a life outside football as their footballing development.

    Overcoming the challenge of seeing your dreams get shattered by being released, isn’t going to be straightforward, if you can see a decent life path afterwards then the adversity you’ve overcome can be turned into a positive.

    I’m happy to hear BFG talking holistically about the academy players at Arsenal and the importance of a rounded, thoughtful programme that recognises the realities of the likelihood of a successful, professional career.

  70. China1

    Kroenke I bet you’ve had a really interesting life to date considering your career as a diplomat

    What was the best bit? You are retired now or just changed career?

  71. Rich

    Bob, no club in this country has got more young players into the professional game than Arsenal

    That’s something the club can be very proud of, I’d never want us to become a chequebook club, or to employ a chequebook manager

    It’s not just about getting players into our first team, but helping young people into the professional game, and that inevitably means we’ll have to cut some serious talent loose, rather than stalling careers, and stockpiling talent we don’t have room to accommodate

    The level of talent coming through in this country, is like nothing I’ve seen before, and that’s set to go into overdrive over the next 20 years

    What I think’ll happen is that talent will flood the market in huge quantities, the more talent there is, the less beneficial additional revenue becomes, and the additional wages will become a burden, rather than an advantage

    It’s why I think they wanted to create a closed off super league, they can see the production lines of talent coming down the track, and that seriously threatens the statuesque, and the current order of things

  72. Bob N16

    Rich, super league status would potentially attract the best young players, even more than being a top 6 club does now. That said, I guess it could work the other way and young players might feel that they’d get more game time somewhere else.

    If you’re right about the talent supply then having a top manager will be even more important.

  73. Mulerise14

    Whichever formation we are going for,we must go in with believe that we can get a result…..if we defer to them,we gonna take in basketful of goals.Ramsdale’s distribution must be on point,that’s a very powerful weapon for us and the debate of the left side goes on, but I would rather not change anything from the hybrid 442 that has served us so well…. but if Auba is not 100% fit, let’s use the opportunity to play both Tierney and Tavares, keeping Auba till second half.
    If we have at them,the worst that could happen is a marginal loss,

  74. Fedda

    Rich

    “It’s why I think they wanted to create a closed off super league, they can see the production lines of talent coming down the track, and that seriously threatens the statuesque, and the current order of things”

    Or maybe it was all about money, money and money. Barca and RM having to compete on more competitive terms with other clubs in La Liga while being in a big shithole of a mess financially certainly pushed them to initiate SL this season.

    Barca suddenly could’nt afford to keep Messi after he agreed to cut his salary in half. After La Liga started doing a collective TV deal as of the 16/17 season the playing field is leveling out. RM and Barca were receiving 40% of the TV money prior to this. Now they are getting around 20%.

    Combine this with all their debt and the new “FFP” regulations in Spain it is no wonder why they were pushing so hard for SL to start this season.

    It has nothing to do with future talent production. It is all about being the top dog.

  75. LoveSausage

    My hope for tomorrow is that we don’t go too negative. I don’t want to see 3 at the back and parking the bus. We’ve looked pretty solid defensively with the setup we have. The thing that kills you against Liverpool is giving their fullbacks time on the ball 30-40 yards out. If we go with a super low block we’ll get thrashed.

  76. Rich

    Bob, what I think’s going to happen is that enough top talent will be produced to pack at least 20 squads with 15-20 top players

    Then take into account the financial might of the PL, and how weak the other league’s are financially in comparison

    PL clubs outside the traditional top 6 clubs, can now buy players off any clubs they want, outside 10-12 across mainland Europe, such is the financial might of the PL, the wages on offer, they can also attract the best coaches, right through the age groups

    We’d be crazy to break up the success of the PL, for the advantage of the dwindling European counterparts

    The reason they wanted a closed league, is because the more talent there is, the less beneficial money becomes, and higher wage bills become a burden, rather than an advantage, because it becomes impossible to shift surplus players

    Alex Ferguson once said “If you don’t change your team every 5 years, then they’ll change you”

    It becomes difficult to evolve your squad, and shift declining players, if they’re earning £250,000+ p/w, and that becomes the norm

    The more talent produced in higher quantities, the less pressure on wage inflation, and the bigger clubs will end up strangling themselves, as clubs with more nimble operating measures, will then dance rings around them

    Will players like Conor Gallagher + Billy Gilmour go back to Chelsea? Will they be happy to potentially go back to bit part roles? How long will Balogun wait?

    Or will we see talent filter downwards in huge quantities, and the quality of the other teams continue to increase significantly?

    We’ve already got the majority of the best coaches, the best academies, the best facilities, everything is setup for the market to be flooded with elite talent, which I believe will level the playing field

  77. Northbanker

    Rich

    Arteta now has an opportunity to grow Arsenal’s reputation as a career building club for young players much the same way as peak Wenger. It’s actually needed more than ever with the money-bags clubs now being swelled by Newcastle (although they will take a long time to buy into success as its harder than ever now).

    Our answer is not to match that but to build a system which attracts many of the world’s top young players. The Dortmund Mark II model can be finessed especially as Dortmund are now going bigger budget, having succeeded with Mark I

    The danger with the model is success – you can still end up with a bottle neck of top talent but that’s a great problem to have and helps ensure you can then cheerfully sell a Saka or an ESR for £150m – 200m – whatever the going rate is then for peak footballers at age of 26-28.. Cash in with a production line ready to step up.

  78. Northbanker

    A Super League is a miserable invention not wanted by most. The game needs some tweaks – get rid of meaningless internationals and international breaks; stop inventing new trophies that no one is interested in eg Nations League; the shit thing Spurs are in etc; stop letting Champions League failures into the Europa Cup ; get rid of the TW – but it doesn’t need that sort of massive overhaul. Money and greed are so blinding

  79. James wood.

    Sorry Pedro as much as I like the comparison.
    Liverpool have done it with PANACHE.
    Where as we have done it with a deal of luck
    and football most of the time that really is hard to
    watch.
    Take out either ESR or Saka and we will struggle.
    No depth.?

  80. LoveSausage

    Northbanker,

    I have to say I’m very skeptical towards this Dortmund Mk 2 idea. Sounds good in theory but I feel it can only be successful as a transition strategy to go from midtable to top 4.

    At some point you have to start spending serious money to compete for the #1 spot or you become a selling club. Top players at their peak want to win, not play at a club that’s just focused on bringing through more talent. I have huge respect for Dortmund but they are the permanent #2 in a league that’s a one-horse race.

    If you don’t spend the money and refuse to sell your players, you ossify like the Spuds.

  81. Kris

    What are your eyes telling you?
    Have you enjoyed watching us play these past 2 years?
    I, for one, have not, except occasionally.
    I would even say I enjoyed it more under Emery (who I nevertheless wanted gone at the start of his 2nd season).

    Arteta is lucky that the academy gave him Saka and ESR because his improvement of players bought has been mostly minimal, non-existent, or the players got worse.
    That’s why I always say,
    1. judge Arteta when at least 2 out of Saka, ESR, and Partey are missing.
    2. Judge Arteta long-term when he has to rotate due to midweek European games. A good manager has an established style of play, which dips only moderately with inferior back ups.

    Also, it’s weird that Pedro blames our 8th place disaster on Partey only playing half the time, but then gives a comparison with Liverpool who played most of those 33 games without an actual established center back.

  82. Rich

    LS, Arsenal are 1 of the richest clubs in the world, we can compete within our resources

    If we get our scouting, recruitment, squad planning, and contract management right

    Then combine that with quality coaching + world class youth development, there’s no reason we can’t build a competitive team within our resources

  83. IAT-Robbie

    North Banker,

    Newcastle United are about to appoint Michael Emenalo as their new Technical Director. Another good candidate with an actual track record of achieving at Chelsea. It will take them some time to get all the pieces but perhaps not as long as you’re suggesting.

    Emenalo was a Chief Scout at Chelsea before being promoted to his old role as TD. Arsenal could have done the same thing with Francis Cagigao but Josh Kroenke thought it a better idea to bring in a national team coordinator for the role as Raul Sanllehi wished. Now Don Raul is no more.

    If Josh was serious about transforming this club, he’d at least be making enquiries to Ajax about Marc Overmars and Erik ten Hag. Instead we will probably get another two years of “cultural change” slogans whilst we persist with the internship experience and better candidates go elsewhere.

  84. LoveSausage

    Rich,

    I agree. I’ve said the same thing many times when some of our fans are playing the victim card and saying we can’t compete financially. Except for 2-3 clubs in the world, we can.

    My point is just that Dortmund Mk 2 might get you to a level below the best. Not all the way.

  85. Northbanker

    LS – I totally get you on this – has it moved them on? The best strategies take the best bits from other successful ones and adapt them. Who said we need to be a selling club? There may come the time when we have packed in so much talent that something has to give and then you’re selling from a position of strength rather than weakness.

    Look at peak Wenger rather than late Wenger. We sell Anelka and use the funds to buy Suker (part ex) and Henry with 50% of the funds left over. Late Wenger sells RvP to our bitter rivals and buys cheap unresearched rubbish to replace.

    It won’t be right all the time but the key to this is to build the reputation for unearthing talent and giving them game time.

    With Dortmund – they were so far behind Bayern at one stage. Who’s to say their best is still to come?. They’re now spending more on new peak talent – maybe getting players 1 or 2 years older – maybe getting closer to Bayern’s overall financial and infrastructure strength. Even as we speak, BD are only 4 points behind BM in the Bundesliga.

  86. Irishgooner

    Our 2 big signings (Partey & Gabriel) last year had questionable debut seasons with us while the clubs that sold them both went on to win their leagues. Think that tells that the selling clubs didn’t miss them and made a nice few quid from

  87. Tom

    “Nice of Tony to provide a list of the” Bedwetters”.But we all know who the hardcore are.Oh. & Tom ,other Arsenal managers never had any easy runs in their 1st 100 games to beef up their statistics? Talk about clutching at any straw you can find.lol!“

    Positive Pete, do you have something more substantial to back up your claims of easy games for Wenger in his first 100 matches or just lols?
    Because if that’s all you’ve got , I’m not impressed.

    See, the thing is, 1996-97, 1997-98, and 1998-99 seasons were about four years ahead of my time starting following Arsenal so when someone mentioned those Arteta’s first 100 games and his winning % , I actually went back to check for myself how weak the PL was ( according to Nigel T) back then , or where those other easy games for Wenger might’ve come from.

    To my surprise I didn’t find any.
    The relegation battle during those seasons went to the wire and bottom three teams took points off everyone including Arsenal.
    There were a lot of draws and replays for Arsenal in the league and FA cup in Wenger’s first three seasons too , so no easy games there.

    And Europe was no picnic either back then since UEFA hadn’t managed to water down the competition with laughable group stages back then yet like they have now.

    But maybe I missed something so you go ahead Pete, let’s see those easy Wenger games he padded his stats with.
    I’ll wait.

  88. Kroenkephobe

    China
    Cheers. I worked in about 30 different places all told for varying amounts of time. All had something to recommend, even 6 months in Damascus. My probable favourite was the two spells in Argentina in the 80s and 90s. Interesting though sometimes hairy being there 7 years after the war, good colleagues including many brilliant Argentines, nightlife, restaurants and shit loads of the most passionate gripping football.

  89. LoveSausage

    Northbanker,

    Couldn’t agree more – we need to pick the bits that work. And ideally, innovate on top of that.

    The big thing that no one seems to have cracked is how to refresh squads while maintaining performance over time. It’s obviously a complex problem. But even Liverpool are on their way to fail because they’ve chosen to ignore squad freshness. And this is a team with owners who are known for sporting success and maybe the best manager in the world. I don’t envy the poor bastard who’ll need to execute that rebuild job in a year or two when the vast majority of their key players are 30+ and chronically injured because of their style of play.

  90. IAT-Robbie

    Tom
    No stat-padding by Arsene in Europe to be found. If anyone says otherwise, they are making it up.

    (Arsene Wenger’s 1st 100 games)

    Premier League:
    Played – 79 | Won – 42 | Drawn – 23 | Lost – 14
    Goals for – 126 | Goals against – 62
    Win Percentage – 52.7%

    UEFA Cup:
    Played – 2 | Won – 0 | Drawn – 1 | Lost – 1
    Goals for – 1, Goals against – 2
    Win Percentage – 0%

    UEFA Champions League:
    Played – 4 | Won – 1 | Drawn – 2 | Lost – 1
    Goals for – 5, Goals against – 6
    Win Percentage – 62.5%

    FA Cup:
    Played – 7 | Won – 4 | Drawn – 2 | Lost – 1
    Goals for – 10 | Goals against – 6
    Win Percentage – 87.5%

    League Cup:
    Played – 7 | Won – 5 | Lost – 2
    Goals for – 14 | Goals against- 11
    Win Percentage – 83.3%

    Community Shield:
    Played – 1 | Won – 1
    Goals for – 3 | Goals against – 0
    Win Percentage – 100%

    Total:
    Played – 100 | Won – 53 | Drawn – 28 | Lost – 19
    Points total – 187

  91. Rich

    LS

    We have to create a new cycle of being competitive and playing attractive football

    The generation of global fans who fell in love with Arsenal under the peak Wenger years, won’t be around forever

    With what we’ve dished up over the last few years, no fans across the globe would have any reason to fall in love with us, and we need to build a team that captures the hearts + minds of another generation of supporters

    There’s plenty of massive clubs who’ve fallen via the wayside, we need to put ourselves back on the map, hopefully KSE recognise the importance of that

  92. LoveSausage

    Rich,

    Agreed, that’s a real threat. I’m a non-British Gooner myself who, as a kid, saw Bergkamp perform magic and that was that. I could never muster up much interest for any other team after that, incl my national team.

    I’ve lived all around Europe, Southeast Asia and now the US and I rarely see kids wearing the red and white these days. Here in NYC I see more of them wearing the chicken shirt which blows my mind.

  93. Tom

    IAT-Robbie
    Who needs facts when there’s lols?

    Here’s the funny part, I’m not even that big of a Wenger defender ( I always thought he underachieved in Europe) but Arsenal fans can’t even have a reasonable debate about anything involving Arteta these days without being labeled a hater.
    You’d think I was bigging up Mourinho or Tony Pulis’ numbers the way some reacted to a simple question whether any other Arsenal manager had a group of three weaklings his second stringers could manage three points against six games straight.

  94. Rich

    LS, what Wenger was very good at was creating the illusion of an overall philosophy

    Football is about emotion, and Wenger was brilliant at telling a story, painting us as the underdog, as a club that did things the right way, gave young people opportunities

    It’s much easier for people to fall in love with a purist philosophy, than it is a scattergun approach

    Unfortunately Wenger lost his magic in the transfer market towards the end, it’s a shame the board didn’t back peak Wenger with the type of money we’ve squandered over the last few years, because he’d have cleaned up

  95. LoveSausage

    Rich,

    I get what you’re saying but I’m not sure money would have helped. In the last 10 years I just had the impression that Wenger had dug in.

    He refused to spend money on defensive players as a matter of principle. And he was obsessed with unearthing “gems” that no one else had seen. This worked when everyone was doing contact/eyeball scouting but once everyone else became data driven it just backfired. That’s how we ended up with gems like Park, Chamakh, Gervinho etc.

    The thing is, he had more money than he makes it sound like. He just refused to spend it until things became desperate and then he’d splurge without any strategy. Ozil, Auba, Alexis + plus the famous 8-2 trolley dash all happened on his watch.

  96. MidwestGun

    I think some of y’ all are losing the plot… Why would you want to switch to a more complicated and undynamic formation like a 3-4-3? Especially when what we have been doing is working. 3-4-3 requires a great degree of training.. communication and more rigid and unifrom spacing.. If something goes wrong it can go horribly wrong. And since our backline is used to playing with 2 cbs… I don’t even think it would make us better defensively. Think y’all are giving Liverpool way too much respect.

    For me, good teams do what they do .and if we want to be one of those good teams you keep building on what is working. You don’t mess with what we have been successfully doing.. And I feel like that with who we start in this one too. Why bring in a half fit Tierney who hasn’t been part of our recent success? Defensively before his inury he was making a lot of errors. Only decision we need to make is Loko or AMN. That’s it.. and play like we know how to play. Other then that depends on fitness of Auba. If Auba cant play … I would say anyone but Pepe. and I’m good with that. Be it Marti or Eddie. Changing too much to me would signal incomng Teta galaxy brain… and that would worry me going forward. To his credit I think he has avoided that .. no false 9’s or 3 at the back so far this season. And he has used ESR as a creative mostly and not over complicated it by playing Odegaard in a similar role in the same lineup where they are stepping on each other all the time.

    Anyhow.. very excited for the match for a change … no sense of impending dread that I have when Xhaka starts such as most of last season. If we play our 4-4-2 and Pool is the better team tomorrow then so be it… we will know what to work on. No shame in losing to Klopp in scouserland, imo. Just give it our best effort and make a game of it.

  97. Rich

    LS, I disagree, some of Wenger’s best work was between 2005-2013

    He should have gone after the FA Cup win in 2014. Not signing a single outfield player in the summer of 2015 really cost us, had Cazora stayed fit in 2015/16, I think we’d have won the title

    Not signing another top midfielder really cost us

    None of us really know what was going on behind the scenes, but the 2007/08 team was electric, the 2010/11 team was also really good, had we not had the Crown Jewels picked off, there was a good platform to build on

    But Wenger was forced to break up both those teams to pay for the stadium

  98. Bob N16

    Midwest, I think the idea that we’d play 3-4-3 was more a discussion point than expecting it to be introduced tomorrow.

  99. Tom

    Tom
    So what IS your ‘reasonable’ opinion on Arteta? Or don’t you have one?

    ————-

    EB, I think he underachieved vis a vis his circumstances in his first two seasons but I’ve been impressed by his squad building and overall performance this season.
    I don’t think the schedule has been as tough as some would have us believe but I’m still optimistic.
    Never wanted him fired even at his lowest point so why would I want him gone when things are going well?

  100. MidwestGun

    Oh ok Bob.. I think we shouldn’t switch to 3 at the back unless we want to play in every match that way.. And we have a preseason of training. with the players we have now maybe next season. Situationally as a one off to try and combat teams here and there to me rarely works. Would rather we go down swinging with what we have been successful at ,, is my point, basically.

    If Mo Salah is on one of his superman days or Mane. then I dont think we can tactic our way out of that.. Just tip your hat. Do what we do and try to avoid mental errors and I think it will be a tight match. Hoping for a 2-1. Arsenal result.

  101. Shaun

    MidwestGun exactly , however I would be tempted to go with Niles instead of lokonga as Niles is better defensively and Partey will need the extra defensive help as he is not fully match fit , will also do Niles confidence the world of good getting the nod for a massive game and will inspire a performance

  102. MidwestGun

    Shaun –
    I also think we should start AMN over Loko. Have been impressed with his last 2 starts. Physically he he is a little more imposing and he has excellent recovery pace. Always been a mental thing with him for me.. He switches off sometimes. And as a fullback I didnt like his positional awareness. As a midfielder I think he has been better, his range if passing isnt always dynamic but his dribbling skills are pretty good when he does it at pace.

  103. englandsbest

    Tom

    An encouraging assessment, though not entirely reasonable given the awful state the Club was in when he arrived.

  104. englandsbest

    Football is unpredictable, but I believe that Liverpool and Arsenal are pretty much on par at the moment. Two lines crossing on a graph, Arsenal on an upswing, Liverpool on a downswing.

    So, for me, a draw seems likely.

  105. LoveSausage

    Shaun/Midwest,

    AMN vs Lokonga is a tough one. I’m leaning towards Lokonga. Agreed that AMN is slightly better defensively. But we also need to be able to hold on to the ball to give ourselves some breathing room. And that’s where Lokonga is better. The nightmare scenario is a full-on Liverpool onslaught where we’re just kicking the ball long and they keep coming back at us.

  106. Tom

    EB, at least I’m consistent.
    Conte just started his Tottenham reign and no matter how many changes he wants to make or whoever he might want to bring in, their current talent level and wage bill dictates he takes them up the table to around sixth or higher come May………or he’ll have failed to deliver on his hype.

  107. Shaun

    “Always been a mental thing with him for me” exactly , Niles used to make me want to bash him over the head with a frying pan .He has all the tools and an excellent physical profile for any position but if he plays tomorrow he should be looking at putting Lokonga on the bench for a while with an all action display and if he does that we can finally say good bye to Xhaka ….not saying that would be an incentive or anything lol…………………..lol

  108. MidwestGun

    I think I read we haven’t picked up a point at Anfield in like 6 years and haven’t won there in 9 years or something like that… so .. a win would be massive . I’d take a point for sure. Just don’t get all crazy with the setup is all I ask. If I see Odegaard as a false 9 or something.. I might hurt my tv.

  109. Shaun

    LoveSausage , I am a big fan of Lokonga as well but he is not as experienced as Niles and with the full press from Liverpool I can see Lokonga getting caught and that’s my worry as he is very keen to except the ball under pressure which is great but he can sometimes get caught in very dangerous positions that can lead directly to goal attempts , of course with more exposure and experience he will manage those situations and we will have a hell of a player on our hands but for me tomorrows game I would go with Niles but that is just my opinion

  110. MidwestGun

    Well like.. I said … Loko or Amn is really the only decison for me. Tavares starts for me over Tierney. If we knew we were gonna get “A” game Tierney maybe.. but he hasn’t been A game Tierney for me all season. Probably due to nagging injuries.

    Think I would ease Tierney back in with Cup matches then go from there . He is better in and around the box.. but Tavares for me is more dangerous at the moment wth his pace. And defensively he has been spot on. Granted he hasn’t faced a Mo Salah.. and got it done.. but not many have lately. Will take a team effort between fullback and most likely Gabriel and Gabby and Tavares have a little chemistry going also why I think AMN.. think he can help with Mo perhaps more then Loko. Regardless.. Im ready. Got my pre game snacks and cold beer on ice for tomorrow.. plus the late start time makes it ideal for me.

  111. LoveSausage

    Shaun,

    As long as I don’t have to watch Xhaka stink the place up, I won’t complain. AMN has been good lately. I’d love to see him pull off another man marking miracle.

  112. Rich

    Liverpool made us dizzy in the 2 league games last season

    Our 4 worst league performances were the 1-0 away to City, the 3-0 against Villa, and both Liverpool games

    Arteta is edging Klopp in the head to head

    We won 2-1 with an ugly smash + grab at the end of 2019/20, we beat them in the Charity Shield + League cup last season, but lost both league games in 1 sided affairs

    3-2 Arteta, hopefully we can build on that tomorrow, 3 points would be massive

    I’m not confident, but if we can beat Liverpool, and Leicester can edge Chelsea, then the table will start looking much more interesting

  113. Northbanker

    LS -sorry bit of time elapsed there as i had to work, lol

    Your point o sustainability / freshness. I agree this is a modern problem but if you cast back in time to when Liverpool dominated the 70s and 80s they did so by making usually just one key signing each year. They also had the ‘boot room’ for bringing up the next coach Shankly – Paisley – Fagan – Dalglish

    When Man U dominated football in the 90s and noughties Ferguson (uiquely just him – no succession) did so by doing the unthinkable – getting rid of a star player and replacing. He got a few wrong but got more right. Stam, Van Nistelroy, Beckham etc all shown the door well before apparent time.

    It is that constant striving for not accepting top status but seeking to change. We’re not even at that starting point yet of course but I live in hope we will be if this premium talent strategy is maintained.

  114. Pedro

    englandsbest, I’m not sure we are… I don’t think we have a 5th gear like Liverpool.

    We just got to hope that West Ham game rattled them and everything goes right on the day.

  115. Northbanker

    Hi Pedro

    As you’re back in line thought i’d just say I for one am happy you do whatever is necessary to commercialise the site and make it pay for itself. My only bugbear was the other day when I was getting pop-up ads with no X inset box to delete. On the iphone the ad blocked the comments box and half the screen. It seems to have been a one day only issue though.

  116. Northbanker

    Someone earlier pointed out that a develop and sell strategy (which btw I wasn’t advocating, just the develop and constrained selling) would only take us to top 4 and not to trophy levels. Well our initial strategy has surely to be top 4 so we can continue to attract the very best talent. We will not be in the running for Vlahovic for example without the prospect of champions league football.

  117. Rich

    Trying to build stability + cohesion, while still evolving and freshening up the squad each season

    Fergie was brilliant at it, he wasn’t scared to dump a star, and he’d also change up his coaching staff, he once said:

    “if you don’t change your team every 5 years, then they’ll change you”

    He’s also on record as saying 27 was the optimum average age for a squad, most clubs try to aim for this.

    We need a first team squad of 23, backed up by a few really talented youngsters, we then need to replace 2-3 players from the squad every season, evolution, not revolution, while keeping cohesion + stability

    Most top players only play at the very top level for 3-4 seasons before beginning to decline, Liverpool are a top team, but they have a few players who look like they’re about to tip over the edge over the next 12-18 months

    They’ve been brilliant over recent years, but they’ll need to evolve into something different pretty soon, because they’ll have a lot of ageing players dipping at the same time

    We’ve put the foundations in place on a new team, it’s now about keeping it together, and adding well

    The vast majority of our current team are just starting out, we don’t need to do much, just sprinkle a bit of magic dust here + there, it’s now just about moulding + evolving our squad in the right way

  118. Sid

    “””””””Raptora/Sid are hiding because at least they have the pride to hide from their shame when we are winning””””””””

    Pavlov’s iPhone

    That pull you feel when your screen lights up?

    That’s addiction.

    A dopamine hit associated to stimulus