Santi’s Sanity Clause

cBack with a bang and an unsettlingly early post again. Any sort of consistency is out of the window this week, rather like Arsenal’s form in recent months. The club of course off doing proper things such as preparing the for the upcoming date with destiny but not without dealing with the important issues in life and fair play to them for doing just that, making it public knowledge which pubs around Wembley will be absolutely stowed out on Saturday. Make sure you double up your rounds when ordering. So ends the public service announcement, no guitars unless of course you are listening to the current playlist.

And Wembley should on everyone’s mind as we pack up our troubles in our old kit bag and smile, smile, smile. It’s the week of the FA Cup semi-final and surely we can forget the trials and tribulations of the Premier League. As you have guessed, I am working hard to convince myself of that one as well. It’s not an entirely convincing argument – in fact, it’s nowhere near a convincing argument – but there are whole bunch of straws in the box and I am clinging onto them for dear life this week. And then you read that Aaron Ramsey is being lined up for a start against Wigan because Arsène doesn’t think that Mikael Arteta and Alex-Oxlade Chamberlain are capable of playing three games in a week. Except they don’t have to, Mathieu Flamini is only suspended for two, beginning with Saturday. It isn’t entirely clear why Ramsey would even be considered to start, the logical choice is surely to give the Arteta / Oxlade-Chamberlain two games and then bring back the Welshman to start next weekend at the KC Stadium. He could start alongside the returning Flamini. Kim Kallstrom is also being touted as a starter which, if a criticism of Arsenal at Everton was a lack of pace and narrowness, is not really solving the problem if you ask me. Which no-one did and I am well aware of that, thank you very much.

If the midfield isn’t down to bare bones, it’s because Flamini hasn’t been tackling hard enough in training. But being the week of a ‘big match’, we can expect a dash of bad news between now and the weekend with someone picking up a knock, knack or tweak with a late dollop of good news as one of the walking wounded makes the biggest comeback since, well, insert your own ending to that sentence. It’s the norm for Arsenal these days. It’s not unusual for the past either. Wenger must feel like the man who went to Monte Carlo and bet everything on red. The roulette wheel is about to be spun and he is think about throwing his shirt into the mix as well. The casino owners – the board in this case – are waiting to see if his luck is in. He could gamble on the fitness of Diaby, for example, in a one-off attempt to provide impetus for the run-in but instinct tells me that Wenger is too cautious to take the risk. Is that reckless from the player’s point of view as well but a risk worth taking from the club’s short-term view? Unless he is confident of the squad’s reaction to recent weeks, what other options does he have? For Arsène, the question is whether his luck for this season has run out and the absence of investment comes home to bite him on his Arsenal or can the magic be produced again?

The biggest question seems not be about fitness but mentality. Santi Cazorla echoed the views of many on here and among the wider Arsenal support in an interview with Sport360. It brought loud criticism of how the Spaniard had betrayed the club by speaking out about the ills in the lead up to Saturday’s game which is utter rubbish. Cazorla’s assessment is unpalatable because it destroys the utopian image they have of the club, of how there is nothing wrong and it is all the fault of supporters who don’t whole-heartedly believe in Arsène Wenger any more. The key thing which was missed amid the hubris, is that he used ‘we’ continuously through the interview. He didn’t say, ‘they’, ‘he’ or ‘them’, it was an acceptance of collective failings and his own part in them, not an absolution of himself, it isn’t the same as a player who has jumped ship and made a mea culpa into a youa culpa. Ambition underpins everything the Spanish international spoke of, the desire to win and he is not alone in the squad in wanting a career filled with medals. They all do; it’s why his views won’t be unique. If they are, there is a problem right away,

We’ve been unlucky in several games. We had a lot of chances to win against Manchester United and there was Ozil’s penalty (against Bayern). We couldn’t recover after going out against Bayern in the Champions League. And the defeat against Stoke finished us. You can’t lose against Stoke if you aspire to be the next champion.

We haven’t got a winning mentality and we have to believe in ourselves (more). Sometimes you can get used to not fighting, but we can’t do that. Arsenal is and will always be a historic football club, we have to look forward. Arsenal has everything to win. History, infrastructure, an incredible stadium and great players. But we have to improve at crucial moments and sign the best football players because if you don’t do that, you may lag behind others.

That is what makes it different at other clubs. You’ve a good example in Manchester City who signed Fernandiho, (Alvaro) Negredo… or even Manchester United with (Robin) Van Persie and (Juan) Mata. Arsenal know what they need next season, but it’s almost impossible to win a title if we haven’t got these kind of things.

The last two paragraphs of that are positive but at the same time, a damning indictment of the club. The foundations are there but there is no substance. It is a requiem to the missed opportunities of the summer; we know what everyone thinks about Higuain or Suarez, they are the past and only important when learning the lessons so that the failures are not repeated again. It’s a cycle Arsenal have not shown any inclination to break out of previously and more worryingly, little inclination to learn from the past to make a better future. The echoes of last summer are whistling through the winds, when the likes of Arteta and Wilshere made similar observations about signings.

There is no right to win trophies, of course not, but the phrase “We haven’t got a winning mentality” underlines why Arsenal need the FA Cup this season, it’s why I felt the League Cup in 2011 was so important; victory proved to the team that they could win, lifting a burden. Instead the millstone weighed heavier around their necks. That’s why, as he points out, losing at the likes of Stoke is not the mark of champions. It isn’t but it wasn’t the performance of champions either. Desire was absent. It is an almost mythical collective trait but the energy levels at the Britannia were non-existent for huge swathes of the game and that, I think, is why so many of this season’s defeats hurt. Yes, the scorelines are appalling but the repetition of previous failings, the naivety is just baffling. Quite simply we aren’t learning on or off the pitch.

I understand why some are critical of Cazorla, I understand the complaints that his form is such that he shouldn’t be speaking out now but what would you rather? Do you want players to tell you it’s alright, everything’s fine, they are working hard? We’ve heard that before so many times and it’s the same as standing in a room with your fingers in your ears, shouting, “LALALALALALALALA, I CAN’T HEAR YOU“. Well, I’m fed up with the mellifluous words, their saccharine sounds that make it seem as if everything’s alright. It isn’t; we know it and they know it. Burying heads in the sand isn’t going to solve anything, it doesn’t make me trust them any more. I trust them to try their hardest every day to understand why it has gone wrong and how to put it right. The trick is to put it right on the pitch as well. As Cazorla puts it, to discover the winning mentality.

’til Tomorrow.

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187 thoughts on “Santi’s Sanity Clause

  1. Mornin’ early bird!
    Illogical? Probably – but Ramsey shows leadership qualities just maybe with him starting he could galvanise the belief in winning?

  2. Morning Yogi

    I’m hoping that we learned the lesson against Birmingham. I’m hoping Wenger learned the lesson from the defeat against Birmingham.

    Confucius he say:

    “He who learns but does not think, is lost! He who thinks but does not learn is in great danger.”

  3. after reading alot of arsenal blog sites, it seems most people are of the same opinion of the club, i dont really understand how they cant seem to sign the right players?..i dont understand how they dont seem to learn from the mistakes and i dont see how they how they cant rectify them..these guys get paid alot of money, they dont need to to be wrapped in cotton wool, if people dont perform in their respective jobs they get fired or warnings. these guys are doing something most people can only dream of. on signings i understand the need to run the club financially sound, but surely signing the best players also increases profits. maybe im just ranting on about nothing. i find it funny though that mostly everybody including tv peeps and reporters seem to collectively see the things arsenal needs but the club itself dosent?

  4. I think if we’re to move forward, the board should be looking over to Diegio Simeone at Athletico and giving him £100 million to spend on our team! Watched them last night, they were actually fantastic! And i couldn’t name more of their players than Turn, Costa and Koke…Shows what a manager can do when he installs a winning belief in players and playes to their strengths!

  5. Northbank1969

    He should pass on some wisdom to Giroud:

    “He who fishes in another mans well, will catch only crabs”

  6. MLF

    I think Giroud has learned a lesson:

    “Man who scores with mistress will never score with balls”

  7. Crabs and balls aside – Mrs Giroud will have the final say and he will be trudged back to France toute suite! One less player to worry over!

  8. Besides the mentality issue raked up by Cazorla, I think, the problem with Arsenal is in its spine. Compare ours with any other top team in England and you’ll see the difference. The center of the midfield is shambles with Arteta regression. The drop in his playing ability is quite unbelievable. No pace, no vision, no quick passing etc. etc. His otherwise good deliveries from set pieces have also vanished. He is now only a penalty taker for the team. Put Flamini along with him and the team looses speed in transition. Also, there is Vermaelen, who is a relic of himself. And finally, not to forget Mr. Giroud who can’t beat a man or shoot or head. So to work Wigan’s defense on Saturday, we need pace and directness. Maybe, OX and Poldi can combine to get the necessary incisiveness. Rambo can come from the bench and keep working between their lines in the later part of the game. It a must win situation. Anything else an I sense a complete meltdown from supporters.

  9. I sometimes think we expect too much of our great Club.
    Historically and I’m talking about (say) the last 80 years, we have reached the heights in our national game from time to time, playing quite different types of football. Miserly in defence at times, delightfully exciting in fast attack at others.
    What is noticeable, however, has been the trend that having reached the summit of national success, we have never been able to retain a championship.
    We seem to take time to succeed to the top of our game and then, for one reason or another, fail to carry on at the same level.
    To be a supporter of Arsenal FC is simply not for the fainthearted.
    Games will be lost in the most bizarre fashion. And games won against all odds.
    The clear thread running throughout our history is to expect the unexpected at all times. We are rarely consistent in our results and I’m afraid we will always be so. Those who want a boring, winning, constancy are simply supporting the wrong club.

  10. I really hope that we have a good win on Saturday coz if we get eliminated by a team in the championship, Arsene would have no option but to either retire or annouce he’s not going to sign up for another couple of years. I truly hope it doesn’t end this way. He does deserve more.

  11. Shubham

    I’ve been saying this about Aretea all season but it’s been met with mixed reviews. I think he’s passed it, he’s not pace, he holds onto the ball too long and expects a foul when he loses it, when pressed, we fall apart because he lacks the athletisicm we need in that area to cope, and it piles extra pressure on Per and Kos, our weakness in defense is Per’s pace so add in Arteta’s lack of pace on top of that with high pressing high energy teams and we collapse. (Stoke, Villa, City, Chelsea, Bayern, Napoli second leg)! My worry is that Wenger is going to squander £100million on players who we don’t need! I think we missed the boat in summer with Gustavo, he’s high energy, athletic and has amazing vision! Combined with Ramsey there’s the spine we need! Now it’s too late, Cheslea will get a CF like Costa or Falcoa and we’re apparenly busy wrapping up deals for the Swiss lad for 8million? Come on!

    I really want them to offer Diego Simone the job and give him the £100million for a new squad….We’re seeing the trend happening too often now, disappointing summer a scramble at the end and then a season of disappointments and a rally for 4th!

  12. nicky

    I understand the point, “We are rarely consistent in our results and I’m afraid we will always be so” but I think the club has never been in the position it has found itself over the past few years off the pitch. We have a manager who has, according to the board, always had money available but chose not to spend it in his squad. Arguably the last title push was five years ago; had he invested a bit more of the money available, it might have given the impetus. He definitely had money last summer and failed to us it, the whole transfer window was a farce.

    This is beyond wanting a winning side, this is about using all resources available to challenge for silverware. Football has changed and is different from before; Arsenal are competing with three others for the top spot with one or two trying to get (back) into the top four. They can’t rest on their laurels, the manager can’t continue the same unbending philosophy because it is designed to stay in the top four and nothing more.

  13. Browsing thru bleachers – Lord Bendtner on his throne! Fecking hell that guy is a …………

  14. Yogi

    I fully agree, the scrimping on big signings changed with Ozil and i was hoping that with that we’d back it up with some serious signings but January appeared to be a complete farse and i don’t expect summer to be any better! I’ve already seen that Dortmund are wanting Jackson Martinez as Lewe replacement, and we’re busy trying to sign a 20year old swiss lad for 8 million! It shows the ambition! We’re entering a new era, new sponsors and a manager with old ideas, i say bring in someone now, Wenger has served us well, get someone young and ambiious in that can motivate us and get us going! Offering Wenger another 2 years is suicide!

  15. And more frustratingly, he’s once again single handedly proved every pundit 100% correct once again. Arsenal implosion Feb every year! Personally, if i was the board i’d have been considering the options after the Liverpool, Everton and Chelsea results! Outclassed isn’t even the word!

  16. Perhaps being very negative since the Everon result, but i just dont’ trust anything they tell us! “Ozil will be back for next week, Kosielny the following week” We’ve heard this all season. “Ramsey will be out for 2/3 weeks” Oh, thats 4 months now! Jacks initial ankle injury as well! Now Ramsey is starting, not fully fit in a semi final with Kim bloody Kallstrom. Sigh. Is it bad i kind of hope that a loss will lead to them going for another manager? A FA cup win and he’ll get another two year contract.

  17. @YW,
    You are of course right in all you say but I merely wanted to point out that since the late 1930’s, we have never retained a title (no matter how good we were the previous season). We are simply not consistent performers, and because of this, maybe too much is expected of a Club which so far cannot escape its long history.

  18. It’s certainly correct to suggest that the failure to learn from past mistakes is a collective failure, from the players through the manager and up to the BoD as well. Not having a winning mentality as Santi suggests is unacceptable at any professional sports club, and the buck stops right at the top. And although I do think that Stan’s ownership is a significant factor the trend started well before his arrival. This club has stagnated, there are no men of vision, only stubborn old traditionalists who refuse to take risks (and don’t point to the new stadium please, that was an investment, not a gamble). Until there is a clear out at the top we’ll continue to plod along, happy to meet the minimum target, accepting any real successes as a bonus rather than something to strive for. Which is why I expect Arsene to sign on for two more years as soon as he and the board decide the time is right to make the announcement.

  19. Nicky, past inconsistancy is no reason to accept it now – quite the opposite, we should be aiming to put that right using all the resources at our disposal. If not we are just apologists for continued failure. Just imagine telling your employer that you’ve never been particularly good at one aspect of the job so you’ve just had to accept it is that way and you’re not going to try to do anything about it. You’d be out on your ear, quite righly too.

  20. Morning all,

    Nicky, I’m not sure if failure to retain the title can be in a club’s DNA. Although our failures in 99 and 93 look a bit like a failure of concentration, in a comparable but different way to recent failures of nerve. But – interesting you draw the line 80 years ago – we were then in the middle of a hat-trick of league titles, a feat only done 5 times I think. Those aside the title has only ever been retained 10 times, so its not, historically been a common occurrence. Just lately – in the Premier league – we’ve had two of the hat-tricks (Man U: 99-09 & 07-09) and 3 other retentions (2 ManU and 1 Chelsea) so there is a negative comparison with our three “individual” titles.

    I wonder if every fan, at whatever level, thinks of their team as gloriously and infuriatingly unpredictable – except for the Reals and Bayerns of the world… The fact that Utd did that in England in the EPL for a period (now hopefully ended for ever) is the anomaly.

    On the subject of Saturday… I don’t see how, the way he’s been playing we can possibly start Arteta, but with Flamini suspended I bet we will…..

  21. Can’t believe that Wenger has come out and blamed injuries and not a lack of fight for our demise this season..Yeah we’ve had a lot of injuries, but we do every season! We still started vs Everton with a team of internationals yet got outclassed in every department. Giroud jogging around, no first touch, no desire to get into the box and Rosicky was only one that looked like he was interested. And now he’s out for the semi. Great!

    God sake. Go and get Diego before someone else does.

  22. @Andy 1886 & Halftime Lemons,
    You are both most welcome to join me as a trio of greatly optimistic supporters of our Club.
    Each season, I look for titbits of anticipation…..new signings, youngsters promoted from the reserves, a prodigal son returning and a resurgent Diaby putting on the shirt.
    It’s New Year’s Day and we are top of the EPL.
    And then, over my shoulder, appears the spectre of inconsistency…….bizarre mistakes, own goals, defeats plucked from the jaws of victory.
    We cannot escape our history but we must try to improve the future.
    Not much time left for me but you two must carry the banner. Good luck!

  23. Nicky- I empathise! I have been loving these boys since 1968 without question but I have often thought _ goddammit it’s hard work being a gooner sometimes!!

  24. Nicky

    Not sure I’m an optimist… I worry that the EPL might turn into a league like Germany or Spain or even Scotland where only a few teams can possibly win and we are not one of them. The EPL has several counter trends I think, but – like so many on here – I think the English game, the European game and most of all our club are at a crossroads!

  25. ML

    Kinda saying the rest of our team is not on par to Everton’s without Walcott , Ramsey, Wishere and Ozil.

    And whose fault is it for not getting some depth knowing every year we get injuries!?

  26. Clock end

    “_ goddammit it’s hard work being a gooner sometimes!!”

    And like me and a few others on here, it’s often been hard work during a lifetime of being a Gunner. I just hope that as I enter my twilight years I see some more glory before I eventually go to that great football team in the sky and shake hands with Herbert Chapman.

  27. could this be the cause of our injury problems?

    hereisthecity.com/en-gb/2014/04/09/revealed-wengers-marine-like-pre-season-to-blame-for-injuries/

  28. Nicky

    I’d like to think that every supporter is optimistic come end of season and start of a new one, but you have to agree that for the last 6/7 years we’ve neglected glaring deficiencies in the team for reasons that can only be Wenger’s arrogance. We’ve scraped 4th for 10 years and whilst other teams come out the blocks in summer and strengthen bringing in talent after talent, we’ve fallen behind failing to beat most top 4/5 teams when we play them and never progress past a certain point in Europe. Wenger doesn’t play the tactics game, he expects Arsenal to play to their strengths and win it that way, this worked in the invincibles days when we had a team of big, strong, athletic players who could win us games, but we traded that style in for small skilful players who proceeded to get bullied rendering our game useless and we’re not even playing attractive fast footbal anymore, slow, tedious possession game has taken over. Teams worked out that If they rough us up we can’t cope with it. Fergie and Jose etc saw our weakness from the get go and then changed their tactics appropriately and as everyone knows, Arsene doesn’t have a plan B! Then add in the stars we did have all decided that they weren’t going to win anything and left for rivals and other teams overseas and were replaced with “potentials” and here we are! For 7 years, we’ve been screaming for an experienced goalkeeper and defenders, this is the first season we’ve seen an improvement in our defence with Per and Kos partnership but still he retains faith in young or blatantly rubbish (Almunia) keepers that have cost us vitals points at vital times, look at the defenders out their we could have gotten that would have made the difference. We’ve needed someone strong in midfield to allow these skilful players to utilise their game, but we’ve never addressed it, Song wasn’t the answer, he was more attack minded than defensive imo and considering at one time we had Viera, Edu, Gilberto etc it’s a massive hole never addressed. Every season we all sit and discuss who Wenger needs to bring in, and every season he let’s us down and we’re faced with the same problems! I’ve sat and watched for three years and I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve said “Look, we’re away to lose possession here and get hit on the counter” and watched it unfold and lose us games and we get the same excuses….”it’s not fair Chelsea etc can spend as much as they do” “We have had bad luck with injuries” “We didn’t get vital decisions in the game” “We have the mental confidence to win do not worry” yet he’s had money and hasn’t spent it (wisely, Santos, Park, Chamakh etc urgh)….For a team charging fans as much as they do, it’s just not fair to let it keep happening. At what point will supporters stop paying and the board stops looking at the accounts and at the trophy cabinet and our newly adopted slow terrible football, we all know moving was going to be hard on us, but that doesn’t excuse a team of internationals are consistently, season after season, under performing and it’s at the same time every season as well!! We have the money available to fix it, but we never have.

    For me, this season has shown that Wenger doesn’t have the tactical nouse anymore! We’ve done well in the cup, but the inevitable collapse was seen by all! I refuse to believe Kallstrom was the only player we could get in January, bringing in a striker could have stopped this mess and in summer Gustavo, Higuian, Suarez, Bender etc all could hav come in if he’d paid their value but no, we got two free transfers and faith in Mikel arteta at CDM ! If we miss out on the Fa cup and top 4, I wonder then if they’ll rue not going for Diego Simeone sooner or someone along those lines, as they only want teams that are in the champs league etc. If wenger loves the club as much as he states, walk away and go upstairs or something! Get someone in with the hunger to succeed beyond 4th spot and isn’t intimidated by Jose

    Spurs will get a new manager this summer, Chelsea wil strengthen their strikeforce, Man u will spend a lot and Liverpool will also spend like drunken yuppies. Arsenal? We’ll prob spend 30million and reply on the fitness of players who are overplayed and all carrying various injuries then blame it on that.

  29. Northbank – please accept my apologies – any gunners hard work is a mountain to my molehill! Enjoy the game when you get there!! Don’t go just yet though!! – inshalla –

  30. To say I am disillusioned would be putting it wildly but tbh I think that’s the mindset of the majority of players and fans alike we dont believe we can win and that mental battle is probably lost before a ball is kicked.
    Then there’s the annual problem of injuries that Dutch guy might be onto something but in my opinion its probably a combination of the heavy pre season and lack of rotation earlier on in the season.

  31. Me, my self had made conclusion on our Arsenal after Chelsea’s trashed. We did land on the title zone, but not quite have all requirements (determination, balanced, and consistency )to be EPL champion. We should retained that 4th place and forget the title. What I was afraid about the fact that our men have possibly reach their turning point and hope that Arsene could stop the spiral down process. Now, it’s all come true. Everything is disappear. If I gone comma before season start and wake up now, I won’t believe if somebody told that we were on top for more then 20 weeks (any correction will be accepted). You guys seemed to forget this fact either. So, here we are neck to neck for that precious 4th place and desperate of FA Cup title. We have been in misery too much. I guess we deserve a happy ending.

  32. No need to apologise Clock-end……. inevitability is all part of life. As is the end of Arsenals last few seasons LOL

  33. Would love Remy and mandjukic.
    Resign song, sneiderland and coleman.

    But we all know non of those will ever happen.

    I dont blame santi for stating the obvious btw.

  34. @Mesut’s left foot,
    After years of financial restraint I think it’s too late for Arsene to spend liberally on new signings. Like many of us, he is stubborn and difficult to divert from his once chosen path. I also think that his policy of signing and moulding of the very young has backfired somewhat and takes too long before fruition.
    This season in particular has shown that we are short in first team numbers and unable to cope adequately with our above average injuries.
    If we fail to win the FA Cup AND do not qualify for next season’s CL, I feel certain that Arsene will not extend his present contract.
    If we ARE successful in both these targets, I think there will be unprecedented Board pressure on Arsene to spend much more freely during the Summer Transfer Window.
    We shall see….

  35. @ nicky the board are just as stuck in their ways as wenger trust me the only way they will put pressure on wenger to sign players is if the supporters stop spending on the season tickets.

    I know many hate Dein and it doesn’t have to be him but we need someone of that ilk to push through the transfers. Pardon my language but fuck the dithering and get shit done well in advance of the world cup.

  36. Yogi:

    “I think Andy’s banner carrying days are over now. If you’d asked him to carry a pint…”

    Damn right, although some of our performances recently have left me going all Bruce Banner (or his alter ego anyway).

  37. Alex Song remains for me one of the most over rated players from the Cesc/Nasri/RVP era. A “CDM” that had no dicipline, got caught out of position, disappeared in most big games and decided towards the end of his Arsenal career that he wanted to attack more than defend. Was a number one culprit for head going down whenever we weren’t playing well either

  38. Another question is if we do not modernise our methods and approach to games does it really matter who we sign? I think we need a clean sweep before we can get the club back into the twenty first century, just applying the same old methods to a new set of players really wouldn’t achieve much.

  39. andy1886

    Fully agree, the go out there and play your style doens’t work that well against the bigger teams who tactically know that pressing you for a mere 15/25 minutes a half and it will weild 4/5 goals! I feel sorry for Bould at times, he looks dejected at some of the defending he see’s! We’ve applied the sitting back tactic a few times this season and not looked too bad, but then it comes to big games and it looks like we’ve never seen a team attacking us before.

  40. When I’ve watched our defensive collapses in the games against the top 4/5 there are two words that come to mind: *Rabbit* *Headlights*

  41. Mlf well you and I are quite clearly on different pages song alongside Ramsey instead of perpetual arteta playing who imo has just been over played over the past two seasons would have given us more defensive solidarity from midfield we have no power in there I’m not saying song is the answer but he is available and already knows the set up.

  42. Song has hardly kicked a ball in two seasons. They’ve got a shortage of players mainly CB’s and he still doesn’t get a game! Know why? Because he’s lazy! In his earlier days, he wasn’t lazy but he’s just plain lazy now! I don’t doubt he’d be a better player in that position than Arteta, but that doesn’t mean we should buy him back…By that logic Eduardo was more skillful than Giroud should we re-sign him as well?! He contributed to nothing and was widely viewed as disrutping in the changing rooms prior to leaving. I’d rather Frimpong back than Song!

  43. Jesus Frimpong now that’s just crazy eduardo is past his peak otherwise I would entertain him also a damn sight better than giroud.

  44. “He knows the set up” that’s part of the problem though, isn’t it? Our set up is quite frankly a shambles at time. If Wenger spent money bringing back Song the fans would have his head given the talented non lazy players out there, But i feel any player brought in under this tacticless regime will be as useless as the next

  45. According to Wenger, losing playersto injury is the perfect excuse.

    Oooh i don’t know, maybe sign someone in january when you had the injuries.

    And if he is implying there will be no signings then the door is right there Mr Wenger.

  46. I don’t want to be disrespectful to him, but can someone please tell why Arsene feels so strongly about keeping a tight budget but will take an 8mil wage?

    What has he honestly done in terms of success to warrant to be the most high paid manager?

    So the supporters are ripped off their well earned money to pay for the stadium whilst he decides to take the wage rise?

    Why doesn’t he take a cut? If he is so holy good Samaritan that is after the financial well being of our club why not make the ‘sacrifice’ and get a smaller?

    Why does he expect players to take small wages when he earns so much?

    Lots of questions that piss me off.

  47. Moe

    What annoys me…Is half of these players return in time for a grueling treck to Brazil for the world cup followed by a pre season in USA, which to me means more injuries. We are obviously doing something wrong in pre season and in normal training as this many soft muscle injuries isn’t natural! My bet is very much that they neglect strength and conditioning sessions in favour of cardio endurance.

    But anyway, i agree it’s not positive from a transfer perspective is it! From what i’ve seen, the swiss lad from Nuremburg for 8million is a done deal..Whilst Dortmund are out for Martinez and Cheslea close in on Costa. Way to go Wenger.

  48. Yogi

    Another fantastic post. Myself I am happy to see Cazorla speak his mind. The mental weakness, lack of investment, lack of tactical flexibility and tactical nous, the weak minded board and the over stretched manager and all the other things that we are complaining about now have been around for as long as I have been following the blog. None of that is as unexplainable as the lack of team defense that we saw from 2008 – 2013. I am sure there are some people in our organization that have recognized the problems. Ivan has said some things in the past that sound like he understands but I suspect he is powerless to do anything. He is a business man not a football person. At this point I suspect that its hard for anyone who is in charge to actually get a handle on what is the right thing to do and inertia will take over and nothing significant will change.

  49. Yogi, brilliant post and quite an interesting read.

    I think the thinking behind many including myself giving Ramsey and/or Kallstrom a start against Wigan is the fact that the rest of our midfield has been shit and we exposed because of it. Time and time again we here about how great our midfield is and so good at keeping possession but they haven’t to be honest. Arteta and Flamini has regressed significantly over the course of the season and Santi, while his work rate is still high and his willingness to try and do something anything isn’t being questioned, nothing is coming off for our magical Spaniard. Ox in the midfield for me isn’t an option because we run into the same problem we did with Jack in which they give the ball away in terrible spots because they think they can dribble out of any situation.

    The thing about Santi’s comments as I stated yesterday for me is that while it is great to speak the truth and put pressure on Arsene and the board to help push our great club forward, its tough to stomach yet another player come out and say he came to Arsenal to win trophies and silverware and he hasn’t and if it continues he is leaving. That is why I personally think the FA Cup is massive for not only the fans but Arsenal Futbol Club as a whole. This is our best chance and we can not squander this opportunity.

  50. Yogi…

    Very well written…

    inch by inch you are moving towards the new ground we must all regretfully take…

    and if mea culpa/youa culpa is not already in Websters it should be.

  51. @Moe & MLF

    I agree with both of you about Arsene and his comments about injury. The most troubling thing about it for me, is the fact that yesterday right here people were talking about Santi and the team not having a winning mentality and not having faith, belief and confidence and how senior players like him should be pulling the club through this. How can you criticize Santi, when Arsene and the board aren’t giving him anything to be confident about and Arsene is out there making all these excuses about injuries when he could have done something about it? Theo and Ramsey were out before and on Boxing day respectively and were automatically long term absentees but nothing was done and Arsene himself came out and said that Kallstrom was a last min deal and that if he didn’t come then nobody was.

  52. I don’t think Arsene’s tactics have really changed that much. However, I think after all of these years of underinvestment we don’t have the players who can make this system work efficiently. Our attack has been slow and unimaginative and we have struggled to score for 16 months. If the players were capable of doing more themselves they would have done it long ago. I can’t believe Arsene has told them that he does not want movement or through balls etc etc etc. The problem has been that we don’t have any cutting edge or difference makers upfront in this team. We don’t have pace or power and we have very little technical skill upfront which makes us one dimensional with everything we do dependent on our midfield. One dimensional teams are easy to defend against and PL teams have figured out how to stop us. We end up passing the ball around the midfield because the opposition is easily able to stop us from doing anything dangerous upfront. Eventually we will lose the ball and then the counter attack is on. The reality is that we don’t the goal scorers to be able to make our system work. IMO The pragmatism we have seen in the last 16 months makes us even more unexciting to watch and makes it even harder to be creative, but the reality is the pragmatism is what has saved us this season. Look what happens when we actually do try to open up. Without the players we need to be a creative, aggressive, attacking team we have to play pragmatic football or we might well be a mid table team

  53. Bill

    Exactly what I said in my post earlier today in that we’ve cashed in on the tall, powerful athletic players in favour of small and skilful players and it hasn’t worked. Let’s be fully honest here, we’ve not really played the free flowing football for 3 years now….Not since Cesc and Nasri left but imo the best football in the last ten years was the 2006/7 season where we blew the lead losing Eduardo, RVP and other injuries etc!

    But I think our tactics have changed a lot in last 3 years….The system isn’t working now because we play to slowly. Teams of the past broke with pace and skill catching defenders off guard! Now? He seems scared to lose possession so he has Mikel etc pass the ball sideways and it leaves players like Santi, Ozil, Ramsey, Pod and Rosicky with a full midfield and defence to get past when we’ve got the ball before getting a look at goal which causes our players to sit high up the field looking for the space! It’s furthered by the fact that when we get caught out, we’re high up top and we’re useless at defending against any team that has pace and directness in their attack.

    Watched Athletico last night. Beak the bank and get Diego in and give him £100million to spend on a team…Not Wenger.

  54. Bill

    Sorry, i misread your post and i see you adhere to the fact we’ve been slow and unimaginative for 16 months. Agree…We’re on the same page there!

  55. As I said yesterday, I agree with te substance of Santi’s comments: mentality isn’t right and te club needs to bring in top players. However, instead of only “we”, Santi is certainly allowed to speak of “I/me” and admit that his form needs improving as part of that collective process.

    Sagna, for example, manned up and last year said publicly that coming back from two injuries had been hard and that he had not played as well as he wanted. He put that right and has been very good this season–that’s why he is a leader. He says it is embarrassing to him that we haven’t won anything, because he feels it is embarrassing to him personally. He is taking a bit of responsibility while not ignoring the the lack of player I extent and the sale of our best players, which he has commented on.

    Ultimately, however, the worst part of Santi’s comments were te routed statements about his contract and about how he would go elsewhere if Arsenal don’t win anything. Really? I understand the sentiment, but is the run in now the time for that comment, which suggests a lack of commitment and concentration at a crucial time for team morale and solidarity? I am not so much upset with Santi than I am impressed with how fully the confidence and commitment must have been undermined for a major player to have expressed these things. It makes me very nervous about Saturday and our remaining games–it really isn’t a good sign for us. Belief is low. Are the players losing it in Arsenal, themselves, the manager? Disturbing.

  56. Santi, will get a good telling off just like all those who speak out against the Bosses or Board of Arsenal.

    Giroud, missed 3 very chances to score v liverpool but, missed and f-ked all of them up but, then it was all made clear upon finding out that he was up all night cheating on his beatiful wife and kids and making fools of them.

    What was Girouds punishment? A place in the 1st eleven keeping in line with wenger’s policy on NOT telling players that they were wrong to do this or that.

    BLACK SCARF BECAUSE IN ARSENAL I TRUST & LOVE.

  57. Limestonegunner

    yeah that’s truw, Santi has been disappointing by his standards this season! We all expected Ramsey, Santi and Ozil to click but in all honesty the best pairing for me was Flamini, Ozil, Ramsey and Rosicky! and we’ve had two fo them out for a prolonged period with injuries now! I’d like to think that if Wenger won FA Cup he’d walk away on a high and they’d bring someone else in to precide over a new era, why give someone on a 2 year contract £100million to spend on a team? If players are coming out and saying that, how long till Ozil get’s tempted by PSG etc if we’re still doing same next season?

  58. Also, has anyone else noticed how Wenger has spent the majority of matches sat down and hardly moving. Vs Everton, Martinez was up, screaming shouting, reoranising and barking orders but even when 2 down Wenger was sat down. Again, watch Barca last night….Diego was pulling players aside and giving them orders, organising them and motivating them from the sides…Haven’t seen Wenger do that in years.

  59. I bet Wigan just can’t fking wait to face arteta and because it was so blatant that we have no pace in the side whatsoever until Ox comes on at er…..70mins. You can bet your cotton socks that Ox will be on the f-king bench again.

    Sick of this shit.

  60. Jonny Says

    Nobody availble in Jan eh?

    What about that thing called End Of Season where summer kicks in and other clubs can buy players etc?

    Wasn’t there anybody available then? Just wondering because thats a whole lot longer than January isn’t it?

  61. I agree Limestone,

    As things stand. I’d much rather players said it like it is, rather than all the usual easy platitudes we’ve heard this season after defeats.

    The bit about leaving for Silverware though, whilst hardly a surprise, is slightly ominous in it’s timing.

  62. Watching Atletico fight Barca into possession irrelevance was truly a glorious and exciting experience. What impressed me as well was the relationship between the personality of the coach Simeone and the character and style of his team’s play–relentless, fierce, indomitable.

    But more importantly, it was stunning to see how a comparatively modestly assembled squad was able to deal with the loss of two of its best attackers in Costa and Turan by bringing in Koke(sp.?–the goal scorer) and Adrian, relying on Villa, and then could sub off Adrian and Villa by bringing on Diego and c. Rodriguez who both provided immediate threat as well. How are they able to do this? How are they able to sell Europe’s top striker and replace with next year’s top striker while turning huge transfer profits? Torres to Aguero to Falcao to Costa!

  63. Not sure about Simeone though, looks too much like a mafia hitman. Or rather what I imagine a mafia hitman looks like (mind you, with Maureen still on the scene, that might not be a bad thing..).

  64. Limestonegunner

    Because they spend the money and replace world class strikers with world class strikers…Something Arsene should note.

  65. Nicky @9:03, what an odd comment! What seems to be frustrating many is how we are trapped in a boring repetition of constant semi-success. ALWAYS getting into CL but no higher in league and ALWAYS getting out of our group but making no impact on the competition in the knockout phase. Successful but no joy. I think supporters would accept more lows for a few genuine highs. We are constant participants at the top level, but we are becoming like furniture–part of te scene but incidental to the proceedings…

  66. MLF

    “But I think our tactics have changed a lot in last 3 years….The system isn’t working now because we play to slowly. Teams of the past broke with pace and skill catching defenders off guard!”

    I don’t believe for a second that Arsene’s goal in all this has bern to slow the team down. There is absolutely no logic to explain why he would try to that, especially given his attacking ethos. I think we have slowed down because we don’t have the players to play any other way effectively. You can try to move the ball up the pitch quickly as much as you want but if you don’t have the cutting edge upfront it will all come to nothing and once an attack at pace breaks down and the defense has had a chance to set up then the only thing you can do is pass the ball around midfield and hope you can create an opening. Unfortunately, we don’t even have anyone who you can count on to finish the few chances we do create and we have no one who can create his own shot. It’s become clear that we don’t have the cutting edge needed to play the sort of fast attacking football successfully because we can’t score many goals no matter how we attack. When we do try to attack aggressively our defensive solidarity suffers which compounds the problem and makes us slow down even more.

  67. MLF, indeed, we are clearly at some kind of turning point with this team, like in 2011. We have to win the cup, qualify for 4th and really, really invest this summer or we’ll lose the faith of the players, if that’s not too late. Getting an Ozil is one thing but keeping him is quite another. That is what Santi’s comments show.

  68. MLF, what is amazing is how well they recruit and develop those young strikers. What did they pay for Costa, Falcao, Torres and Aguero?

  69. Limestone.

    “Ultimately, however, the worst part of Santi’s comments were te routed statements about his contract and about how he would go elsewhere if Arsenal don’t win anything. Really? I understand the sentiment, but is the run in now the time for that comment, which suggests a lack of commitment and concentration at a crucial time for team morale and solidarity?”

    I had not really thought about that but you are absolutely correct. It’s almost like he is threatening to leave if we don’t do what he wants. Santi has really had a poor season compared with last year and he has been as much a part of the problem as anyone else.

    Like you I understand the sentiment and I am glad when players don’t try to hide the truth, but that sort of rubbish regarding his contract and the implied threat is much better kept to himself rather then shared with the media.

  70. Harry, he does look completely like a mafia hit man! Then again, that might be a competitive advantage… Tata looked like a perturbed bureaucrat and a bit nervous about the menace of his opposite number!

    Simeone was actually also geeing up the crowd to get noisy. What a cauldron it was at the Calderon. It will be interesting to see what happens when try move to their new 65-70k stadium. I don’t know how it is being financed, but it will certainly increase their revenue–their problem is TV revenue. But if they keep this up, they may be able to negotiate a nice contract individually like Barca and Real. They are certainly winning interest around the world trough this CL run. I hope they win the whole thing.

  71. Read the article earlier. It’s well meaning and all, y’know.,, and once upon a time, not so long ago, I maybe would have concurred with most of it.

    Ultimately it seems (another) rather long-winded way of saying: it’s everyone else’s fault but the manager. Which has become an increasingly hollow, and tired argument.

  72. Santi, maybe is fed up with completely shit out dated tactics and players fucking out on theirs wives and letting the team down due to lack of sleep and nothing whatseover happening in regards to telling that player he’s out of order?

    Santi, possibly sick of shit subs being made every match we play and the site of Podolski being subbed while waste of fking space Giroud stays on to miss some more chances.

  73. So I’m looking forward to our massive IMHO match at the weekend in the FA Cup against Wigan.

    If we want players like Santi, Ozil, Theo, Jack, Ramsey to all not only stay but want to stay and build and conquer not only England but Europe but also bring in more players with either equal or better quality than them, it starts on Saturday. Win the FA Cup and build in the summer by bringing in top quality players and a world class striker and lets turn Arsenal into what we know it can be.

  74. I’d take Diego in a second. He inspires his players! Minus Turan, Costa and Villa…Who from Athletico’s team can most people name? He shows what can be done with tactics…Imagine what he could assemble with £100million to spend! And…If he wanted Costa he could probably convince him to come to Arsenal over Cheslea! But…It won’t happen! And i worry we’re losing out on him as we’re not the only other team in transition. Both milan teams would give him money to spend i bet! And PSG won’t still with Blanc long i reckon!

  75. It’s the lumpen portrayal of everyone being the same that bothers me – it does not remotely address the different reasons why fans are increasingly open to the idea of change.

    I accept, understand and sympathise with many of the things it claims that I do not – that one can do this, still love AW and yet see a wider picture too, is being lost in increasingly hysterical, one-dimensional, myopic finger pointing.

    I swear to Jebus, a significant portion want the next manager to fail – just so they can have a day in the sun feeling self-righteous beyond all compare.

    I guess that tells you all you need to know about what has gone wrong in their heads.

    C – plenty of very decent players had release clauses in their contracts this January that we could have tested. AW felt it was not worth the risk and that he had enough ‘in the bank’. Not for the first time, we will never know about the former, but can categorically state he was again wrong about the latter.

  76. To top it all off, Arsene has said that Ox, Mozart and Gibbs could all miss the FA Cup.

    If this does happen then for sure Arsene will set up

    Fab
    Sagna—-Mert—Verm—-Nacho
    ——-Arteta—Ramsey——–
    ———–Santi———-
    ?————-Giroud———Podolski

    I would want to see

    Fab
    Sagna——-Mert—-Verm—-Nacho
    ——–Kallstrom———Ramsey-
    —————Santi————
    Gnabry———Yaya———-Podolski

  77. @Jonny

    I was just joking, I know there were plenty of players that were available, I mean the Chavs brought in Matic, Manure brought in Mata. I was just having a go mate. It both ludicrous and ridiculous that we didn’t bring in a winger or striker in the January window.

  78. Well, it will be interesting to see some people’s reactions to a new manager, especially if he has a slow start. I love AW, best manager in my lifetime, but for a few it’s starting to have an air of weird cult about it. I’m actually quite excited about “what’s next” for Arsenal.

    The atmosphere looked amazing, Lime.

    I do hope they win it as well. If nothing else, just for knocking out that shower of diving Catalan shite in such swashbuckling fashion. They were brilliant last night though, Probably won’t go all the way…

    Chelsea will win it against Bayern. Last minute header by John Terry in stoppage time. You just know it will happen like that (See..It’s a godless universe after all, kids. Sleep well).

  79. C – I think your ‘IMHO’ may be discarded.

    No one can be under any illusion as to what this game represents – least of all any one within the club.

    A good performance and victory would restore a much needed bounce to the club and remind us that an FA cup is in our grasp. Any kind of loss would be catastrophic and would point to a much bigger issue.

    Two ‘trophies’ are at stake and we must turn the corner right now in order to claim them both.

  80. The article Jonny posted about Ozil yesterday or the day before again raises concerns. Its not the first time we have heard something similar. Past experience has shown that such things get blown out of proportion by the media, however, history also shows that there is often some shade of the truth to rumors like that. Obviously it would be a huge long term setback if Ozil has a poor work ethic and is mentally weak. Clearly he has to be one of the main building blocks for the team for the next 5 years, and the only thing anyone can do at this point is ignore the rumors and assume its rubbish.

  81. It’s a massive game. Usually all that “must win” is just blather, but for once that is really true, for a myriad of difference reasons, it has taken on a real significance. Losing is really unthinkable. I can’t imagine what the fall out would be…

    Heh. Bit dramatic there. Ffs. I still believe we will do it 🙂

  82. See even if, like me, you tentatively somehow still hope for AW to stay and put things right then he comes out with something like THIS and you remind yourself that he simply can’t see the wood for the trees.

    WTF?!

    I liked it best when you said nothing at all…

    Arsene Wenger insists his priority will be to keep the Arsenal team together at the end of the season and says they will not need a major overhaul of the squad during the summer.

    The north London club have seen their title hopes disappear in recent months and they have only got the FA Cup left to play for.

    Despite smashing their transfer record to sign Mesut Ozil last summer, the club have failed to maintain their position at the top of the table and have crashed to big defeats against Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Everton.

    “Let’s see first how we finish, but we have the basics,” said the Frenchman, who has yet to sign the offer of a new contract extension.

    “What is important for us is we have our players back and available.

    “Our main task will be to keep the team together and think ‘where did we go wrong?’ because there’s a lot of positives in our season as well.

    “We have been the league leader 17 times and we dropped off when we lost our players at the important moment of the season, that is what we don’t want to repeat.”

  83. @Jonny

    I completely agree with you on the FA Cup. Failure is simply not an option.

    We all have days like that, especially as Arsenal fans.

  84. I understand he is probably playing things down BUUUT. FFS!

    He does realise the top players will depart without signs of investment…doesn’t he?!

  85. Jonny

    I would say he has to say that so that the squad don’t see an interview where he says “yes i’ll overhaul” but knowing Wenger he means it. He’ll stick with Giroud, Theo will get injured 3 matches in and then we’ll proceed to overplay Ozil, Ramsey, Rosicky etc and have the exact same problems. We’ll be sat here this time next year saying “I can’t believe Arteta is stil starting”

    I think it’s getting to the point of beyond ridiculous, Verm and Sagna will leave so that’s two needing instantly replaced followed by a CF, CDM, Winger and a GK (won’t happen, Wenger shows his inconsitent keepers too much loyalty).

    It’s just…I want someone new in, tired of he same shit different season. No point in us all sat here discussing it when Wenger comes out with statements like that. I sounds TERRIBLE but sometimes i want him to fuck up tot he point we’re forced to replace him! But then i don’t trust Wenger or the board to go for someone like Diego or Klopp who will demand money for a player they know they need.

  86. Also it’s a stone-cold fact we need AT MINIMUM 4-5 players. SURELY that’s indisputable??

    There is no way in hell I can see Sagna, TV5 or Fabianski staying.

    What madness.

  87. Jonny says:
    April 10, 2014 at 2:23 pm

    Maybe, but certainly could have got someone better than Kallstrom. No disrespect to him.

  88. Jonny

    if that is what he thinks then we are truly f*** beyond belief!
    Keep the team together? where did we go wrong?

    Is that even for real. did he really say that lol?

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