Pre-Season Begins With Bile And Spite

TC

There are, it seems, more certainties in life than death and taxes. Pre-season training and Jose Mourinho’s barbs about Arsène Wenger join that list.

Those players whose summer didn’t involve an international tournament returned to London Colney yesterday, with the obligatory photos accompanying their endeavours. It might just be me but the absence of Santi Cazorla seemed to have the smile quota down by about, oh, 100%, as none of those running with or without a ball could manage anything more than a grimace.

Was the work too hard for them or just a sinking realisation among the English contingent that they weren’t even considered good enough for the shower of…whatever, which stank out France whilst masquerading as the England squad? Messrs Oxlade-Chamberlain, Chambers and Gibbs should ask Theo Walcott about the benefits of missing out on international tournaments; he’s a past master at it.

It seemed rather more low-key than years gone by. You know, the days of running up and down terraces with the sun beating down on their heads, or trips to the seaside for boot camps which always involved a manager or coach running through the dunes, seemingly lost in their thoughts. There was always a photo of a jester or two, having a piggy back, letting the fans know that the players were happy to be back, bristling with enthusiasm.

Not the current Arsenal squad, if yesterdays snaps are anything to go by. Even Arsène and the coaching staff couldn’t raise a smile. This is business, gentlemen; let’s go to work.

Which is what Jose Mourinho did almost immediately. The Portuguese Sourpuss listed 55 players that he had promoted to the first team or given a début to. They were all under-21; something he was proud of. It’s a list that included the likes of Lenny Pidgeley, Joca, Lassana Diarra, John Obi Mikel, Arjen Robben, Mario Balotelli, Raphael Varane…

At this point, imagine a stylus scratching across vinyl, bringing the listening to a crushing halt; it’s that kind of blog moment.

The latter were stretching the criteria to its limits. Wenger could quite reasonably include similar players such as, oh, World Cup winner Thierry Henry in a similar list. Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, too. We had as many flops as well, haven’t we Francis?

Not that Arsène is a paragon of virtue in this sense either. Wenger, like most managers, wants to promote from academies but the reality is that successes are few and far between. Arguably, whilst the primary role of these youth factories is to find stars for the first team, at the bigger clubs they are also molding players for a professional career elsewhere.

Mourinho though, has to dispel the image that he buys titles, even though it’s true. It’s true of most managers, just the scale of the spending which made the title-winning squad changes. United are reportedly in pole position to sign Paul Pogba, a deal which would see their summer spending crash through the £150m barrier. It underlines the extent of their decline under Moyes and Van Gaal.

It’s also a warning to Arsenal. Along with City and Chelsea, their vapid title challenge last season isn’t going to be repeated. Arsène has one signing so far with more chatter about Lacazette in the last twenty-four hours, including the emergence of a €40m release clause which was previously unrecorded. It must have been hiding behind the sofa, terrified to come out, knowing what havoc it would wreak.

Alvaro Morata jumped up high enough in Madrid, screaming, “Over here! Over here! Look at me! Look at me!”, only to find the £57m price tag tied to his ankles weighing him down and dragging him off into oblivion. Or the Real Madrid bench as it’s known in footballing parlance.

Crucially, Arsenal need to be ready for a quick start. With the changes being rung around the top Premier League clubs, one or more may stutter as the campaign begins and we need to be ready to capitalise on that, building some momentum before the big clashes in the autumn. We can’t afford a sluggish start like last season; it has to be dynamic. I’m not sure we do dynamism at the Emirates all that well.

But it’s the obsession that Misery Guts has with Wenger that is disturbing, to the extent that were Alfred Hitchcock alive, his next movie would the sequel to the film made five years ago about the feud. It’s going to be a long season listening to his whining about ten years and no title, about his barely disguised contempt for managers who are motivated by winning yet have better job security.

Arsène may not like the attention but it’s useful to him. The more bile and spite he gets, the higher the sympathy among his own supporters climbs. We saw that at the Emirates last season. And all Mourinho is likely to succeed in doing is making the Arsenal board more likely to give Wenger three more years and greater job security along with it. In all likelihood, that would see him outlast the Miserable One at Old Trafford, just to wind him up a little bit more.

’til Tomorrow.

99 thoughts on “Pre-Season Begins With Bile And Spite

  1. The latest news I’m told is that Mourhino will be taking the Man Utd team on occasional day trips to Calais, playing footer on the beach…….the only way he can boast that they are playing in Europe this coming season.

  2. Morning Yall!

    No Santi, should I worry?

    We do need to get off to a flying start as others will surely stutter but with Leicester and Liverpool in the first set of matches, it might not be that easy given most of those squads had most of thr summer off. Maybr tougher opponents us exactly what we need to start the season since the last couple haven’t gone so well with “easier” opponents to start.

  3. Sorry Nicky, they are in the Europa League thingy. But that’s good, not the cash cow CL and another drain on their playing resources to ensure they don’t have an easier run in the league.

  4. @nicky

    Yea but that means he can focus solely on the PL, though we might as well do the same given out record in Europe. 😉

  5. Think Andy has it right. Doubt Mourinho would ignore the Europa League. He tends to go all out in every cup, and besides, it’s another way to get noticed.

    Inevitably this will lead to a huge strop at some point because of the fixture list. And he’ll go on about conspiracies and whatnot.

  6. I think he’ll also become the first ManU manager to use that stupid ABU acronym used by their internet fans (Anyone But United). There’s so much to look forward to.

    Actually there may well be a lot to enjoy. This list thing isn’t the self-assured Mourinho of ten years ago; it’s more last season’s paranoid self-parody, Might not be the most auspicious start.

  7. @Big Al

    This version of Mourinho though worries me because while he seems different to the self assured Mourinho of years past, he seems ready to burn everything and everybody to the ground both inside and outside Old Trafford and for whatever Mourinho seems to be the one manager that Arsene just can’t help but engage and respond to.

  8. Oh, nooooo, I thought to myself, even Yogi is going down the transfer rumour route with nonsense about previously unheard of players Bile and Spite set to follow Takuma Osano into our 2016/17 squad.

    But, relief was in order, it was just a reflection on the appalling ego known as Me Jose.

    A list of youth players that Maureen had given debuts to was peed on by some journalist, and passed off as a little spillage of water, of course, turned out to be as accurate as his greatnesses’ modesty.

    Of the 55 suspects more than 12 had NOT been given their chance by might shit, and 39 players had played 5 games or less for his teams after their ‘debuts’.

    So 51 of his claimed list of 55 youth players that he had given their debuts to, and helped them nurture their careers — he had not. And the remainder had already played between 44 and 100 games before the Liar had got his hands on them, including Robben’s 102 prior games, and Houma’s 73 games.

    Well, if you are going to lie, then lie big — there are always idiots who will believe you!

    And ‘Top of the Morning’ to y’all. 😀

  9. Or, Jose knows he’s got Wenger’s ticket and “giving” him another 3 years means we’re not a threat to him?

    Baring the years he’s been sacked, has Arsene ever finished above a Jose managed team in the league?

  10. @Damon

    Not sure but consider last season was our highest finish since the move to the Emirates, I guess you can look it up based on that.

  11. Indeed Henry, most the players in question were established talents prior to Mourinho’s guidance.
    23 of the 49 made only one appearance under Mourinho with a further ten only playing twice.

    Arjen Robben, John Obi Mikel, Lassana Diarra, Marko Arnautovic, Raphael Varane and Kurt Zouma were all established talents.

    I wonder what AW’s figures look like utilising the same dodgy criteria…

  12. @Jonny

    The questino is what players do they consider to be brought through by Arsene.

    For instance, are we going by Santori who said Campbell was brought through by Arsene when in reality he wasn’t and only played at Arsenal just recently though on loan played for several years? Chambers certainly isn’t a youth product.

    Wait, why does Arsene take credit when its the likes of Jonker’s who actually bring them through?!?!?!?

  13. Agreed, Jonny.

    Well, it made me think of the old adage, ‘there are lies, damned lies and then there are statistics’ but Me-Me-Jose relies on people who take him at his word, and don’t bother check to see if he is lying – again – and in my case, reading the sports pages of the Times! 😀

  14. Given the sorry state of the squad left behind by van Gaal and the wholesale changes being made by his successor, The Despicable One should be getting the elbow just about the time our manager’s term is coming to an end.
    In view of that we need to initiate a campaign based on AbM. Anyone but Mourinho!

  15. Damon,

    I read somewhere that we have never beaten a Mourhino team by finishing above them, well up until now that is only Chelsea, provided you do not count his seasonal demises at the said club.

    I have always maintained that he is one of the luckiest managers ever because he has always been selected to manage at big money spending clubs, and Yogi referred to that in today’s Post, but look what he has, inadvertently, said in yesterday’s press conference.

    —- “To speak about one manager, one club, one enemy, I hate the word in football and in life, I don’t think it is right in this country.
    It is one thing to be a in a two-horse race like I was in Spain, or in Italy, [there] it was three teams fighting for the title, then that kind of approach [crapping on other managers] makes sense.”

    In effect, winning a league where there were only 2 or maybe 3 teams challenging for the title [he was mixing his metaphors] implies those clubs spent huge money on players, and we all know they do, but to that he could have added the English Premier League, because he came at a time when Arsenal were waning and going into a tailspin with the Emirates project, blah, blah, and the only other big spenders, prior to the arrival of the oil rich owners of Citeh, were Manure – again a 2 horse race.

    Whatever results his teams got it was done in a handicap race in whatever country where he won.

    I know he did not mention Portugal, and Porto, but really the same holds true there.

  16. @C
    It would just be the young players AW has given a chance in the first team – in this instance who brought them to the club is irrelevant. So Chambers certainly would count. His problem is that he has yet to take his chance.

  17. C,

    That’s nothing — I am waiting to see the pound dropping with a floating weight. Sinking weight? Pah, anyone can do that. 🙂

  18. C,

    Why are you being such a s**t stirrer today — the pound sterling, AW, Iwobi and the unconfirmed Olympics ban – oh, that counts as AW again I suppose, and then boosting Jonkers who is so good he is on his way out.

    Do you stay up nights thinking them up? 😀

  19. @jonny

    But based on what you were commenting earlier than Chambers was relatively established making 20+ appearances for Southampton the year prior to us siging him with the vast majority in the PL as a starter or have I misread your previous posts?

  20. @Henry

    The world is burning so I figured for a day I would try to Mourinho stance and just burn everything to the ground. To be quite honest, I’m already exhausted so for him to carry it on, he well and truly has to be an extremely shitty person.

    Though, I do not under any circumstance agree with Arsene and Arsenal’s decision to not let Iwobi go to the Olympics. Would they stop players going to the ACN, or the World Cup, hell even pointless friendlies when it seems most of the other “big clubs” aren’t sending all their players, we do. So why not let Iwobi go to the Olympics for probably the only chance he will have for his country. Is Arsene worried about not having players ready for the start of the season, well buy a striker and that would certainly help especially since thestrikers we are presently being linked to are either at home already from teh Euro’s or didn’t go.

  21. C,

    Fair enough. 🙂

    Actually I have also read that the ban on Iwobi going to the Olympics was not confirmed, and may have been speculation.

    The World Cup and the ANC fall under the authority of FIFA and none of the clubs can intervene in that, but the Olympics are different, and I suspect that players can choose to go if they want.
    The downside would be that if their clubs, who pay them a lot of money, objected to them going, and they still went, they should not be surprised if the clubs said there were other players available to take their place in the team, and they might slip down the pecking order.

  22. @Henry

    I get that and completely understand what your saying, the problem I have is that you hear Arsene talk about wanting to get Jack some mins for the Euros yet say no to Iwobi for the Olynpics. I don’t remember there being any fuss when Ramsey went in 2012.

  23. Never forget when mourinho insulted Ronaldos upbringing which was hilarious as he himself is possibly the worlds biggest chav. Dresses like he runs a big top ride and behaves like the chippy little prol he is. Every time he talks about Wenger i laugh he cannot bare the fact that Wenger is the better and more respected man. What we do know is at some stage his Man Utd career will spectacularly unravel

  24. The Chinese are coming!

    Berlusconi has sold AC Milan to a Chinese consortium for about £350m.

    Arsenal next? What do you make of that, C?

  25. I’m already looking forward to the day that Maureen implodes at Manure. I’m hoping that he doesn’t manage to win anything with them before it happens. Knowing him he will probably win the Europa League next season though.

    It’s all very amusing in the papers today. Now we are going to stump up for Lacazette and its €40m rather than £40m. We’re also willing to pay up for Morata and may even pay the £57m that Real Madrid apparently want for him. Are we going to buy both of them then? Not holding my breath on either to be honest.

  26. Henry

    If Stan won’t sell for a fat profit to Usmanov it isn’t likely he will sell to the Chinese either. It’s a very nice cash cow and it makes his balance sheet look very strong.

  27. @Henry

    Honestly, its both a good and a bad thing. Its a good thing because they were running Milan into the ground and doing so quickly while also keeping hold of their racist ways. Selling to the Chinese, well that was unexpected, they seem to be the new oil money. Strange, really strange times these are.

  28. C,

    This on Arseblog. You see, it is not quite what you thought, and Arsenal are probably not to blame.

    —– “It looks as though Alex Iwobi won’t be heading to Brazil.

    Despite being selected in Nigeria’s 35-man provisional squad, coach Samson Siasia says the player and his father have recently stopped answering his calls.

    “Alex Iwobi is not coming. I tried to call his father, but he wasn’t picking my calls. He used to call me frequently when he wanted his son to play for the country, but now that we need his son for the Olympics football tournament, he is not picking my calls,” Siasia was quoted as saying by the AfricanFootball website.

    “But there is no problem, Alex remains my boy, I love him like my own son, but I am just disappointed that he and his father couldn’t keep the promises they made to me.”

    There were rumours last month that Iwobi was worried about losing his place in the Arsenal team should he miss pre-season and the start of the new Premier League campaign.”

    Get on the phone, C Man, and apologise to Arsene!! 😀

  29. @Henry

    ““But there is no problem, Alex remains my boy, I love him like my own son, but I am just disappointed that he and his father couldn’t keep the promises they made to me.”

    There were rumours last month that Iwobi was worried about losing his place in the Arsenal team should he miss pre-season and the start of the new Premier League campaign.”

    That part right there mate, tells me that Iwobi wanted to play and had made promises but he stopped answering the calls so either Iwobi and his father are liars or Arsene and Arsenal got into his head and told him not to go or his place in the side would be in jeopardy.

    This is the story that seemingly was the start of everything, pair that with this and it makes complete sense that Arsenal and Arsene told Iwobi he wasn’t going:

    http://africanfootball.com/news/632371/AF-EXCLUSIVE-Iwobi-devastatedafter-Arsenal-stop-him-from-Olympics

  30. Wavey,

    A nice chunk of cash with a premium profit would not hurt their balance sheet either, and the entrepreneur will always find another investment to make another killing, me thinks.

    I was not being totally serious about it, altho the day will come when Stan will want to realise his asset, and he will not sell to Usmanov, who is going to take delivery of the largest yacht the world has ever seen, so I heard at the weekend, because the relationship between them has become personal and poisonous.

    The Arab states or the Chinese oligarchs wanting to buy, if ever they do, are a different kettle of fish.
    There could be good money in it for Stan, because Qatar and other Arab states are in it for prestige, and not simply to make a turn, and so too the Chinese will probably pay over the odds. We will see.

  31. I read that James Tomkins is going to Crystal Palace for £10 million. This for a bang average and slow centre back.

    What will a decent defender cost? Well we have £200 million under Arsene’s bed to spend…

  32. @Henry

    Here is another article from the Nigerian Newspaper dated June 23, 2016 –

    Nigerian U-23’s team manager Samson Siasia said:

    “The chances of Iwobi going to the Olympics depends how well his father is able to make Arsene Wenger to have a change of mind. Alex is a young man who will benefit much from playing against big stars like Neymer. He would be a great asset for us at the games,” he said.

    “Manchester City are not forthcoming regarding the release of Kelechi Iheanacho for the Rio Olympic Games. They are yet to respond to letter asking for his release and Kelechi is not helping matters with his attitude.

    “I need him and Iwobi, but if they are not released to us, we manage what we have.”

    Well sounds to me like Arsene vetoed it

    http://www.nigeriannewspapers.today/2016/06/23/2016-olympics-siasia-gives-update-on-avaliability-of-iwobi-iheanacho-ighalo/

  33. C,

    If you go back and read my 1:16 again, you will see you are telling me what I already said.

    Either way, and I do not care really, it is a jump from the Nigeria coach not getting return calls from Iwobi and his dad, to you automatically blaming Arsene again.

    Anyway, I think we have exhausted that topic, and I am aware that you have a view about AW that will not budge, so further discussion on it will simply go around in circles, as my opening sentence above shows.

    It’s OK, C, you believe what you want — it is not a problem. 😀

  34. Damon

    Yep, that gap is getting closer and closer. Some financial gurus are forecasting parity.

    Henry

    The Americans tend to buy football clubs as an investment, whilst the oligarchs, the Saudis and now it seems the Chinese want success. It’s the only reason I’ve had a preference for Usmanov over Stan. I agree that Stan will want to take the cash and run at some point, but the new TV money gives him an injection directly into net profits even if we didn’t sign a player. I don’t think he’s quite milked it enough just yet and it’s a seriously big part of his sports empire now.

  35. @Henry

    Seems neither of us will move from where we stand but so be it, don’t mind a couple of disagreements with you from time to time.

    Let’s talk futbol though I doubt you plan on watching Portugal v Wales tonight

  36. Campbell isn’t brought through academy.

    I never said that.;)

    I said Wenger has been better at bringing in young players into the squad from academy and including the likes of Campbell to some extent.

    So we have Coquelin, Bellerin, Iwobi, Campbell all young players in recent seasons who have come through successfully. And I contrasted this with the Denilson era where the team lacked some fundamental prerequisites for this to happen chiefly experience.

    Just to clarify things to people who seem to form their own impression.

  37. Actually, C, as the Euros are getting to the sharp end, I do intend watching the first semi-final tonight.
    I am going to root for Wales, and hopefully Rambo will get a chance to strut his stuff in the Final if they beat Portugal.

    Incidentally, C, I have loads of opinions, and these can change in the light of new information or convincing argument from others.

    That does not mean I object to you, or anyone else, having strong opinions.
    But, neither will I get involved in pointless and boring circular arguments — life is too short for that — its is best to talk about other interesting things – and you have some good ones, when we keep away from certain topics, including [cough, cough] Wenger [cough, cough]. 😀

    Life is too short to waste time

  38. Chelsea (under Mourinho) have enticed many a young home grown player and benched them to fill their quota. I believe this is not lost on the average player albeit of course the pay check is always the temptation.

    Wenger is seen by many rightly as a developmental manager. He may not have won titles in recent seasons but he is always up there challenging which is great for the profile of the younger players coming in.

    And he has an excellent pedigree in developing players since Henry. BUT also he has been able to redevelop players into new positions like Henry but also RVP, Santi, Arteta, Kolo to name a few.

    which is why the good and the great like to link players to us in the market. It is a de facto stamp of quality even if we were likely just keeping tabs.

    Many like to point to the failures which Wenger has also brought in from market but what is generally not said is most if not all of them were purchased at comparatively low prices.

    You only have to look at City, Liverpool, United and Chelsea at the sort of money they squander on frankly average players then hyped by the compliant media, to realise if we do not watch our bottom line, how quickly the money can go particularly for a self reliant club.

    Of the players Wenger has paid premium prices in more recent seasons, they have been great picks and frankly coups considering the attention they could have got from other suitors with equal requirement to us (and bigger wallets)

    Ozil, Alexis, Granit could have all gone to some of our rivals despite our big spend. Cech and Santi also quality Wenger managed to bring in for comparatively nothing.

    He is one of the best and shrewdest operators in the market where Mourinho relies on spending power which is why he can never last more than 3 seasons at a club.

    By the time he gets to 4th season, the same players he brought in for exorbitant prices are either waning or arrogant (like him) and lost their appetite. Jose cannot sustain the squad because his only recipe is to spend and the club just had the wool pulled over their eyes not 3 seasons ago (admitedly with some success of course delivered).

    Different approach I guess.

    I think if you follow Wenger, you must accept that there will be plenty of bumps on the road and that success must be judged beyond the tangible because he is also about development and in a sense he is more an idealist. Frustrating and likely to be a step away always but when it does come together, it can be sublime. Something Mourinho never can quite achieve.

    The consistency is the problem but beyond the tin pots, Wenger can produce some sublime stuff with his teams that just takes your breath away.

    We are looking to return to this sort of form again and we need rightly the missing element up top to add the final touch. Plus IMO the succession issue at Cback.

    Meanwhile we’ll have to hear the old broken record play again at old trafford.Here’s to United not getting Pogba, Mhykitarian proving to be average, Zlatan playing a couple of great games and then going out for the rest of the season, sitting on the bench incessantly irritating Jose with snide comments.

    😀

  39. Santori,

    You said; “I never said that.;)”

    Did you know that by leaving a space between the full stop and the emoji, you get a beautiful smiley face, which is what you seem to want, like this; “I never said that.” 🙂

  40. @C – yeah you did misread. I was wondering what would AW’s figures look like using the same dodgy criteria as Mourinho.

    Incredible tennis on at the mo. Hardly vintage Federer but he has fought bravely for everything, saving match points on the way, from 2 sets down to a nail biting decider.

  41. @Henry

    Glad your watching the Euros, will be interesting to see how Wales and Coleman have re-build his style and formation to accommodate Bale singularly as opposed to both Bale and Ramsey. I have enjoyed watching Carvalho in midfield for Portugal as he has shown his stuff and had a good to really good tournament. Sanches is a brilliant young player that has certainly grown more and more in confidence as the tournament has moved forward.

    My apologies, you had seemed dug in but I have no problems admitting I was wrong on that should more and new information come out.

    Tend to agree, no point in going on about pointless topics and actually I hold Arsene in quite high regards, my issues with him are pretty straight forward but that doesn’t mean that I don’t think highly of him. Its always tricky with some topics but so be it.

  42. @Jonny

    After going back and reading it again I did misread but understood what you were getting at.

    Hardly vintage Federer but just something about Wimbledon more often than not seems to bring out the best of him when he needs it when others would have surely wilted out.

  43. Cilic has not quite choked here but he has failed to hold his nerve.
    Some of Federer’s key-moment second serves have been just incredible.

  44. We are in accord, C.

    Cilic has given away too many unforced errors, and some of Federer’s shots have been outstanding.

    Anyway, the Fed is serving for the game.

  45. Incredible victory for bloody-minded belligerence. Truly incredible.

    He won’t win the tournament but what a joy to watch such spirit in the winter of his career.

  46. So King is likely to replace Ramsey. He might not do all the running around that Ramsey does but he certainly has enough in his locker to produce those bits of magic for one match to help tem

  47. I just think he is too inconsistent – like every time I have seen him over the last 3-4 years he always makes a lot of unforced errors.

    He has a chance of course but, should he face someone like Murray who just gets so many balls back, those mistakes will only increase with added pressure.

  48. Jose, did he get it wrong saying 10yrs? I thought it was 12?

    He also stated that others must feel even worse than him for no Title in so many years but somebody should of pointed out that Wenger doesn’t feel nothing because he likes to compete and has full backing of board and most fans who just can’t get enough of failing and over the moon about an FA Cup.

    Sanogo all smiles because he knows he is number 2 striker no matter what.

  49. I think the thing that can’t get lost is that while Arsene hasn’t spent big on established stars even in the early years of the Emirates, he did spend big on youth products. Consider the amounts paid (and at the tme they were paid) for some of the players:

    05/06:
    Theo – £9.1m
    Hleb – £11.2

    06/07:
    Song – £1.0m

    07/08:
    Nasri – £15.8
    Ramsey – £5.0
    Sagna – £6.0

    09/10:
    Verm – £10.0
    Kos – £10.0

    11/12:
    Ox – £12.0
    Mert and Arteta – £10m / each (for perspecitve)

    12/13 (for perspective)
    Giroud – £13.0
    Prince Poldi – £11.0
    *there are based on transferleague.co.uk

    So as you can see Arsene spent more on youth products as opposed to more senior players but when you consider the price, who knows. He did well during early Emirates era so hopefully he will continue it and finish the job because while clubs may struggle early, one thing that Conte and Pep have a history of is getting it right tactically.

  50. I’m usually not fussed about specifics when talking about transfers. I don’t want big money deals for the sake of it and I agree that some of our relatively inexpensive signings have worked very well, so the odd ‘dog’ isn’t a disaster if he didn’t cost very much. I was all for the signing of Podolski and thought that Gervinho was really exciting, but just didn’t work out. I even liked Santos, mainly because he was nice to my son, so I’m not going to jump up and down if some players don’t work out. It’s the glaring holes regularly left in the team when a window closes that really get to me. Or the huge gambles that just don’t pay off, like thinking Walcott could be a striker because he said he could, or hoping yet again that Diaby would be fit and therefore not buying a midfielder again.

  51. @Jonny

    That’s fair and Murray is probably the one player left that he doesn’t want to face. I think the inconsistencies have come from age and players around him simply getting better.

    The way things are breaking in the tournament, he could well use his experience in the semi’s and reach the finals. Wonder the impact this match will have on him though, he can still place it with the best of them.

    The two things you can never count out at Wimbledon no matter how poorly or inconsistent they have been playing is Venus and Federer.

  52. Good Afternoon everybody hope you are all well. Just had a quick browse through a number of sights and see repeatedly that We are ” In” for Mario Goetze? Any update? or I guess just pure filling of column inches and no foundation at all.? Another midfielder?

    Any news on a striker?

  53. Wavey @ 4:49

    Me too – tho I hunger for a really tip top striker – just like Thierry.

    Well I can dream. 😀

  54. @Henry thanks. I had the feeling it was fluff…

    Like yourself I LONG for a striker of TH ilk.

    I look around and see whom we can realistically attract It is only Higiain who does it for me.

  55. Higuain for me too, Ras, but how sickening we are hoping for him when Arsene passed on him and went hunting Suarez, and … well the rest is history. 🙁

    And if not Higgy — then maybe Morata — except the bloody sharks are circling both.
    But we are big sharks too, aren’t we?

  56. Its only a few months since the last season was over and the inadequacies that were rife in the Squad- Team have still to be ironed out.

    The addition of Xhaka is welcomed however one signing alone does not make a team.

    I hinted the other day that I got this gnawing feeling that we are not going to be at the races again this season.

    Yes there is time still to do our shopping but are we going to be at Poundland once again wishing that were at Selfridges?

    Call me a doomer before a ball has been kicked in earnest but previous seasons has sullied my view and the way we operate in the Market for players.

    So we all wait with trepidation for the ouveture of the new season.

    The North West – Lancs is going to be a hot bed. You got Klopp, Koeman, Pep and JM all within a stones throw from each other.

    I say smart thinking by Pep to bring In Arteta.

  57. @Henry

    Santori was discussing Arsene’s work in the market and not spending big on established players so I wanted to explain relative to the time and all things, including inflation, considered that Arsene was spending big on youth (16-20).

  58. @Jonny

    Serena is dominant but I meant Venus. IMHO, and you may be more informed then I, but it seems even when Venus is playing poorly for most of the season, that Wimbledon brings out the best and she might not win it but she plays well enough to make a run and it makes you wonder, could she potentially?

  59. @Henry Im undecided about Morata. I was listening to Up All Night a BBC Foorball podcast the other night. Higuain and his team are not happy at Napoli In particular with the investment of new players. It is apparently not a place where players want to ‘Live’ with Families etc in the same way that Marseille does not have such a good reputation in attracting foreign players.

    The release clause fee is another bone of contention for reps of Higuain .

    The only other striker is Pierre Aubemyang and we have no chance in getting him.

    So we wait and see and in the mean time the scouting team etc vacillate.

  60. @Jonny

    Unfortunately for Venus is that the later she goes, age and injuries are undefeated especially in more recent years.

    Anyways, she looks good so hopefully she can make one last run.

  61. C,

    I was joshing — I think your figures/reasons were spot on.

    Now, I need some help with; s = ut + ½ at² — and you are the man!! 😀

    [watch for the 😀 ] 😀

  62. Ras,

    Bloody hell!!

    We could end up with diddly squat.
    Meanwhile, if AW was looking to enhance his reputation with nurturing young players – he is too late with Janssen as the Spuds are on the verge of signing him.

    Am I beginning to sound desperate? 🙂

  63. And, Ras, I am undecided about Morata or Janssen as well, but I want to see Arsenal’s commitment.

  64. What a performance! What amazing acting! A truly great display of regret, sorrow and self justification. Tony Bliar speaking after the publication of a damning report into the Iraq War.

    Blair should be arrested forthwith and charged with war crimes.

  65. I think the thing with any striker we buy outside of Higuain, is going to be relatively young (23-26) so there is a bit of uncertainity be it Morata, Lacazette, Janssen, Icardi or Lukuka. The thing is that they have some or all of the following: have performed over multiple seasons (Lukuka, Lacazette, Icardi), have done well at the biggest stage for some of the biggest clubs (Morata) or are highly rated and have a clinical, ruthless side that other managers are raving about (all but Morata).

    With Morata you see the potential but he hasn’t been clinical enough with his finishing.

  66. Henrikh Mkhitaryan signs for Man United.

    We going to keep being associated with a million of players and end up with Xhaka as the only player we signed.

    And of course we will continue to be the laughing stock of all football clubs….

  67. Got to be said, they really are missing Ramsey. Just not getting the balls through to the forwards and Bale has tended to run into dead ends too often. Sorry, but the Arsenal DNA seen in one goal for Robson-Kanu isn’t there in the rest of his game. He is, after all, a player without a club having been released by Reading.

    Would love Wales to get back in it just to make the game a bit more interesting again, but don’t really see it at the moment.

  68. Whoever wins the other semi-final is nailed on favourite for the trophy. Portugal are very limited and I cannot see them winning against either of the team playing tomorrow.

  69. @Wavey

    Yup, Coleman built his system and team around BOTH Bale and Ramsey and taking one away forces the othet to do the work of both. Agreed on Robson-Kanu.

  70. Too bad for Wales, Portugal is sh*t since day one, yet they are winning. At least Wales can be proud of what they achieved, the same can’t be said for England.

    Ramsey is greatly missed and Arsenal fans should take notice.

  71. Well that exposes just how limited the Welsh squad was. One of their first choice players out and they look precisely what they are, a mediocre international team. The replacement and the rest of the subs did not make the slightest impact on the game.

    At least they can honestly say they did their best and games e their all, unlike the England squad.

  72. Clearly Ramsey missed.

    Bale tried but the likes of Joe Allen (trumped up once by the media as ‘world class’) clearly mediocre at best.

    No subs either from the bench to make a diff for Wales both coming in made the front line more static.

    Also the Portugese switched Ronaldo to right flank to good effect and he got the better of CHester when it mattered.

    Don’t see what the fuss was about Sanches though. Another over hyped player by the media. So many stray passes.

    Here’s to France over Germany tomorrrow. Anything but Portugal to win it but you never know, boring Greece did it.:P

  73. YOu speak as if we can pick and choose.

    MOrata, HIguain it will all come down to pricing comparatively and competition by other teams with more money to spend. also the player’s own sentiment and the agents (see Pogba) will come into play.

    So its a question of timing and how attractive we appear to be to the player plus money.

    If Arsenal is a team that say Morata can feel he has a good shot at developing at, he will have a better chance as will we of striking a deal.

    And if MOrata is considerably cheaper than Higuain and Wenger feels he can unleash him, clearly a better choice with more years ahead.

  74. @C who’d he replace? An ageing Cazorla who is most likely off next summer so I’d rather we start to build and plan on a longer term relationship in Xhaka-Ramsey rather than Xhaka-Cazorla. Also keep in mind Santi hasn’t played football since 2015 too so there’s going to be a massive amount of rust to be shaken off, especially at his age.

    Also is it just me or is it a bit odd that Santi wasn’t in the training photos, he should be back theoretically right? I mean he didn’t go to the Euros and as far as we know he’s now fit? I hope there’s nothing more to this than just him given a bit more time off.

  75. Hard to pick the next semi between two fantastic teams but I think the heart says Germany because of Mesut but the mind says France because you’ve got a firing Giroud and Griezman whereas the Germans have a misfiring Muller and I think a suspended/injured Gomez.

    Either way glad either Mesut, Kos and Oli will be in the final.

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