Ineptitude of the Wenger-era exposed

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What the bloody hell is cracking friends?

Arsenal’s game in Vorskla looking extremely precarious. The home team were at one point saying they might not be able to attend. It appears they relented in the end and accepted a kind of neutral venue. It’s going to be a lot better for the Arsenal players. A nicer hotel, a nicer pitch and less aggressive Ukrainians shouting at them. It’ll probably look a bit like a closed doors game. Emery had this to say.


Long read: Summer transfer budget of £30m

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I heard through the grapevine; the vintage producing sort, that the Arsenal transfer budget next summer isn’t going to be what many of us had hoped for in the face of oligarchical cash rivers from seemingly flowing in from everywhere. The figure, similar to the number the AST is predicting, is closer to £30-40m, versus the £100m+ we were all hoping for with the new commercial deals about to drop.


Arsenal win huge 3 points + The expensive #10 issue

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There can be no doubt about it, our 17th game unbeaten was one of the sweetest. Arsenal powered to victory away at Bournemouth after a 2 week international break and 3 draws on the bounce. We hadn’t won for a little over a month. We were playing a team that sat 4 points behind us in the table, and 6 places above us in the xG league.

The game wasn’t pretty. The performance left a lot to be desired. There were some performances I could smell in New York. But once again, it was the 3 points that mattered.


Three areas to look out for against Bournemouth

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Chelsea’s run came crashing to an end at Wembley as a rampant Spurs picked them apart and showed that if you stop Jorginho, you stop all the good things Sarri has to offer.

That puts today’s game in an exciting light. Win, and we’ll close the gap on 4th to one point. Lose, and we’ll bring Bournemouth to within a point of our Europa League 5th place. A lot rides on this result, the most important item being confidence heading into a really tough period.


Make or break December

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So here we are, entering phase 4 of the season. The last international break of the year has passed, and we’re about to hit a traditionally muddy part of the season. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that the next few weeks will go a long way to deciding our #Top4Fate.


Emery talks politics, history, and presentations + Club linked to deep-lying midfielder

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Just as heads up folks, the only thing Black Friday is good for is watching middle-class folk fight over Calvin Klein boxer shorts deals. What a fraudulent holiday. A total con. Look at the shoddy deal Arsenal are trying to pull here.

Looool… Bantonio Banlencia with the cross, Alexis Bantchez is in on goal, oh my, it’s over the bar…

Sometimes you just gotta bring the A-game.

Something else that amuses me. Unai Emery looking awkward.

Emery: Guys, I don’t do pictures

Reporter: Come on Unai, just one

Emery: Ok, how’s this?

Reporter: Perfecto

Absolutely zero creativity in that shot. Just Emery, in a tracksuit, pointing at a picture. No esoteric layers, no filters, just pure Emery pointing at his job. Love it.

Anyway, his interview was very interesting. This bit was was worth paying attention to.

“In the past, teams had already approached me with their decision made: Paris Saint-Germain, Sevilla, Valencia, Spartak Moscow, Almeria… I wasn’t used to being another candidate and putting my arguments across. I prepared for the meeting with my staff. I went into it with the doubt of my English speaking, but they always said that this wouldn’t be a problem. And I spoke to them very naturally that day.”

Apparently one of the other managers in contention made a very impressive presentation, so Emery was asked to do the same to make it fair (in case it leaked). This quote still smacks of oddness, unless of course, Ivan Gazidis and Sven Mislintat could both speak Spanish. How was the interview structured if they were all speaking naturally?

The best line for me was when he was asked what his approach has been at Arsenal.

“Before Wenger arrived, Arsenal celebrated the 1-0 wins and were based on defensive solidity. With Arsene, they became an attacking team, with players who were good on the ball. And the perfect combination came with The Invincibles [in the 2003/4 season when Arsenal won the Premier League and remained unbeaten]. But with time, you can only take care of technique and attacking freedom, losing your defensive structure. What I want to do is unite the two and become more competitive. Arsenal were falling. We had to stop that and start to lift them.”

That’s a man who understands the now, but also what went before him. I’m extremely impressed at something which I guess should be a basic for £6m a year job. But really, for a Spanish manager to have a strong grasp of over 30 years of Arsenal football history is a measure of the man. Classy. Wisdomish. Mesmerical.

I mentioned in the post yesterday that I was wondering whether the clubs hierarchy would hold itself to account moving forward, which of course, I truly believe they will… but we have a little bit of self-preservation PTSD after 10 years with a CEO and a manager who were happy with hitting financial goals, working harder to reframe secondary success, versus actually achieving primary success (troooophies).

“We can improve this team. I want to be demanding. I am delighted with the treatment of the club in all areas, but I want them to be demanding of me because I will then push the club forward. I want to be demanding of myself, the team and the club. The Premier League is different to how it was 20 years ago, when City and Chelsea weren’t the same teams, and Everton were stronger. Money has changed everything. And Arsenal must be great, not allowing the four above to take advantage of us [there’s also Manchester United] and not allow the teams below to get closer to us.”

Good to see the manager wants to be pushed. Again, these are basics for competitive people who want to win things, but they’ve been sorely lacking.

Final quote before you go to the site yourself to read the rest, but it appears we had an answer on why he didn’t start with Leno and LT, and it wasn’t performance, it was political, as we suspected at the time.

“Because you have to respect hierarchy. [Bernd] Leno arrives, but [Petr] Cech is doing well and you must respect that. Petr was first. The same thing was true with [Matteo] Guendouzi and Torreira, who arrived later. I gave him [Guendouzi] the chance first, which I was delighted about, but now he’s not playing as much and Lucas is.”

Again, it’s all part of the onboarding process. You can’t shake the applecart too hard, you have to make sure you don’t completely break the spirit, and you want to make sure the leaders respect you. Dumping players doing a good job isn’t smart, and there’s no doubt Guendouzi and Cech were smashing it earlier in the season. Now they’ve been moved to the bench and that’s fine, because Torreira and Leno proved themselves. That’s the sort of fair competitive environment you want to foster.

Bacary Sagna, like so many ex-players and pundits are now coming around to the realisation that it wasn’t the players who were the issue last season.

“It is strange. From one year to another, it is totally crazy,”

“They enjoyed the summer to clear their minds and come back stronger.

“It seems like they give even more on the pitch and it is working for them. I am so happy to see the club back to its best. Arsenal is in my heart, it is my club.

Incredible how many professional athletes didn’t seem to grasp that a manager who doesn’t hold you accountable probably won’t extract the most out of the squad.

Big Raul reckons Stan K is a fucking ace guy.

“The one thing that’s crucial for the good management of a club is stability and now I believe we have full stability.

“Every time we’ve interacted with the owners, we get a total sense of support and alignment.

“We are in a new chapter of the club and the passion these people have for Arsenal has given us the right working environment.”

He’s never going to call him a ‘f*cking mugged up mug,’ but at the same time, you’d have to imagine he’s hearing good things if he’s going to the press about his boss. Right? RIGHT? £100m Dembele incoming people!

We’re being linked with Julian Weigl in some of the press. This move doesn’t really make sense to me. He’s certainly not a direct replacement for Aaron Ramsey as The Sun guessed, but he would be for Granit Xhaka. The German sits at the base of midfield and sprays balls around for fun. He’s very slight of frame, but certainly a talent. It does make me a little uncomfortable that half of the rumours surrounding Arsenal are exDortmund players. Can we just look elsewhere?

FINALLY, we’re being linked to Fornals of Malaga. This player is sexy on toast. An absolute delight on the ball, he can track back, he plays long, short, he scores and he assists. Check out his video here…

P.S. Get a hit of Arsene Wenger rocking blue sneakers with Gray and Keysey in Qatar. Bit sad to watch, the man wants a job and the offers don’t seem to be rolling in. Love that his opener was a jab about people with opinions… to move on Mr Wenger, you have to take responsibility for your own bad press (you don’t, but it would be nice if you did).