Arsène Is Key To The Future


A week on the training ground for the players, licking their wounds from consecutive defeats. The excuses wheeled out repeated those from yesteryear; same opposition on Saturday, same result, same reasons. We’ve debated them ad nauseam, so there’s no need to go into them again.

The Arsenal squad is permanently in a state of flux; we’re always on the right path, only to be holding the same inquests as Spring comes into view. This year, I’d offer the view there are other reasons than the norm.

Two key players are holding out on new deals while Arsène won’t decide his future until it suits him. There are others whose deals enter the final year this summer: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs; three players whose place in the XI is far from assured, to varying degrees.

But let’s be honest, the most destabilising of any of those talks is Wenger’s. Not through the loyalty imposed on the players by his acolytes but for various reasons. The latter trio are fringe players; they are the ones a new manager will look at and hold no truck with selling, to make room for his own choices.

Mesut Özil’s refusal to sign a new deal until he knows what is happening with Arsène. It was a statement which lent itself to both sides of the argument and was a masterclass in PR.

The only losers were the board as attention turned to them and questions asked whether they can make the decision to find the best replacement for Wenger. Businessmen, one and all; the only director with any knowledge of a change of manager is Ken Friar.

That’s football; this is business

For the likes of Kroenke Sr. and Jr., it’s a business decision and football is not at its’ heart; they want someone who shares the same philosophy as Arsène. Not in the style of play but the development of the squad using minimal funds overall.

Success doesn’t matter; they don’t have the risk-takers mentality of ambition. They are scared to fail, and as a result, Arsenal remains the most conservative of clubs. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but the over-riding view of the board is that fear of change paralyses them.

The right to decide his future rightly remains with Wenger; we’re all the masters of our destiny in that respect, so why not him? However, there’s a difference.

Having been at the helm for so long, his can’t be a snap decision. The last renewal he freely admitted was an emotional decision made off the back of the Hull triumph.

This time, departing seems almost inevitable for a man who has the best interests of the club at heart. And it has to be a clean break.

A season-long procession around the Premier League was felt to be too disruptive to a squad focussed on winning the title. A crowning glory which can’t happen now. Far from being disruptive, the fare of the past two seasons offers the view that it might be the last motivational avenue he has.

Any who claim we’ve still got two cups to play for need to lower their sights. As Arjen Robben sneered, reaching the last sixteen is a good season in Europe for us. In truth, it always has been; we’re a top eight club financially, we should be on the pitch as well.

The question is whether Arsène is brave enough to take that decision now? I’d argue not; he’s hoping beyond hope that circumstances converge which make renewal a universally popular decision. That’s unlikely; 2006 and 2009 remain anomalies.

No-one can achieve the impossible, let alone Arsène

Hopes and dreams always underpinned football; no matter the level, no matter the circumstance. The consistency of achieving top four finishes is a businessman’s dream not those of a fan.

For a football man, that’s not ambition either.

There is a wider aspect to consider on this. The planning for next season has to begin soon if it’s not already underway. If Arsène has yet to commit to the club, should he be involved? He’s going to set the squad out according to his philosophy, one which has been proven to be unsustainable in the Premier League.

Are we, in waiting for his decision, holding the club’s fortunes hostage?

‘til Tomorrow.

91 thoughts on “Arsène Is Key To The Future

  1. As always , a fair and concise report of all things Arsenal.
    I know I’m banging my drum here,but I really do think that not only is his time up,but that he will see that the club is in no mans land at the moment and he’ll step down.
    If he doesn’t then it just highlights the fact that he doesn’t have AFC’s interest at heart and he’s a selfish old git.We are a rudderless ship at the moment-you could see it in the players demeanour on Saturday-they were lost.

  2. Indeed, YW.

    I suspect that he will renew. All the noises, what there are, coming out of the club and it’s mouthpieces seems to suggest so.

    Ozil’s comments were as helpful as his contribution over the last few games. A selfish statement to put off making his own intentions clear for public comment. I doubt he cares who the next manager is.

    Arsene has shown his complete faith in his own powers, as any manager has to I suppose, and I cannot see him walking away from another failed campaign. he will persuade himself that he can ‘do it one more time’.

    If he does go, we are left with the Board’s likely approach to replacing him. Not a mouth watering prospect. One fears that they will follow the manu/fergie route and we will see an ‘Arsene lite’ and any failure by that person will prove ‘just how irreplacable Arsene was’.

    I suspect that we won’t come out of this too well.

  3. Good morning and thank you Yogi for a concise appraisal of the situation.

    To my mind the entire problem sits firmly on Wenger’s doorstep. His refusal to make his intentions known leaves the spineless board of directors in limbo and gives Ozil and Sanchez free rein to piss the club about.

    What harm would it cause Wenger to state his intention to renew his contract now. If indeed that is his personal preference. Why is he stringing the decision out?

    I can only assume that he has decided to leave, that he has notified the board, and they have asked him to see the season out thereby giving them team to find his replace.

    I would hope that is the case, and that the board are already in negotiations with a new head coach/manager, and that the squad make up appraisal is underway.

  4. We’re in the middle of a 10 year purgatory that has only one solution: Wenger must go.

    It will probably be a rough ride for the seasons following Wenger leaving, but it needs to happen. If we drop out of Europe, so be it. Time to bite the bullet and get a new coach / manager now.

  5. Morning, I don’t know how you manage to find anything to say every day, let alone so well, so thank you!

    Wenger probably wants to stay another 2 years until he’s 70-odd. I think he has tremendous anxiety about his own life outside Arsenal; he also won’t want to be shown up by whoever is the next manager, so is likely to recommend to a compliant Board some up and coming young disciple. I hope he isn’t kept on upstairs.
    I hope I’m wrong and we get someone already proven to be class. My preference would be Italian as our totally disorganised rabble need structure, fight and organisation above all else imo. Either way, we are treading water as a club, with enthusiasm fading. Don’t know about others, but I don’t even get angry or surprised any longer, I no longer watch all our games on TV and I don’t miss going, paying £105 for a ticket in the gods to watch another limp display, with tourists weighed down with club shop tat taking selfies all round me. 3% ticket price rises next season too.

    I got more excited by Scotland beating Ireland in the rugby.

  6. Great post yogi

    Arsene is really leaving us in limbo. The board can’t begin a legitimate search for a new manager while they await his decision. As you point out, you want the next manager whomever he is to make decisions about the squad players and some of the fringe first team players such as Ramsey Giroud Gibbs Ox Wilshere, Perez, Walcott etc etc. Surely we need to move at least a couple of those players in order to “freshen up the squad”. We didn’t $90M in 2016 with no obvious improvement in results to date and if we sell a couple of those fringe players we could easily have well over $100M war chest. The fate of Alexis and Ozil also has to be decided. I think we need to keep Alexis. Ozil is an incredible individual talent but I have often questioned the actual degree of positive influence he brings on a regular basis. I think this season has added some more questions about him and I think it’s clear now why Madrid was willing to let him go 4 years ago. I favor signing him to another contract but I would hope that the idea of building a team around him and building our whole strategy around midfield ball possession and midfield creativity would be questioned by a new manager. Lots of things that think about and all of it remains on hold while we await Arsenes decision.

  7. Morning YW.
    I dare say if the club were to announce that Wenger has signed an extension it would be greeted with a mixture of meh and frustration.
    I hope that he has told the board that he intends to leave at the end of the season. That the board have already lined up a suitable shortlist of replacements, I would love tuchel or someone of that ilk.

    We indeed are a rudderless ship just coasting to another probable top 4 finish.

  8. consolsbob,

    I rarely disagree with you, but I do think that Ozil cares about who the next manager is. Would he or Sanchez really want to stay if say Howe was brought in as the next manager of Arsenal, I would lean almost exclusively to the side that said no. The other thing is that I’m not completely sure that either of Ozil or Sanchez would want Arsene to come back, not because they don’t respect the man but for his unwillingness to really go for it.

  9. C,

    c I am a big Ozil fan but he was poor on Saturday.
    I think a lot of this has to do him being the 1st name of teamsheet it wouldn’t hurt to drop him after a poor performance, I would label Cech with the same brush too.

  10. silvergunner,

    Ozil was poor on Saturday by his standards, though he did still give us a chance and he should have scored. There are a couple that could do with being dropped including Ozil, Sanchez (I don’t care for work-rate if your constantly losing possession and finding it difficult to make passes to players wearing the same shirt), Cech (I still think Sczcney is the best option moving forward) and Le Coq (thank God Elneny is back).

  11. Hi Orson,

    Rumours are coming out of Africa that you and your kaert have arranged 5-a-side games with elephants on one side and rhinos of the other. The rhinos tried to stick it up the elephants, but the poppy lugs were able to trumpet their victory in a trunk call.

    True? 🙂

  12. Afternoon,

    A great post as usual.

    I have heard some suggesting that an early announcement on Wenger’s departure could leave us in a Pellegrini-type limbo for the rest of the season, but I’m not convinced that will happen. Part of that is because the players already appear to be in limbo anyway, dragging themselves through performances with no real interest one way or the other.
    I’m more convinced that the announcement, when it comes, will be that Wenger has signed a new contract. The reason for the hold up is the animosity from fans and the likelihood is that the new deal will be announced when better results are achieved. If we are able to beat Liverpool and progress in the FA Cup I would expect the announcement to follow almost immediately. An FA Cup win in itself won’t be enough as victory in the next round is expected with the opposition we have drawn. Unless the BoD are daft enough to think that beating Sutton United is enough of a positive to announce the deal. I would say that I wouldn’t think they were that stupid, but they think we’ve never had it so good.

  13. C

    I mentioned this late yesterday but one thing that we need to do in order for Ozil to be more effective is to have at least 1 and maybe 2 players who are better at heading the ball in our forward line. For all of the time he spends drifting around the final 1/3 of Ozil only has 4 league assists this season and this year we can’t blame that on the forwards. Additionally, I suspect almost all of his assists at least in the league games are crosses lobbed into the box that Giroud headed home or crosses on set pieces. The wonderful thru balls and brilliant final passes just have not been there this season. In the game on Saturday almost all of the good chances we created were headers.

    Alexis did quite well at CF in Sept/Oct but he can also score from the LW. I am not advocating a slow footed target man like Giroud because clearly he is not the answer but long term I think we would be better off with someone who is better at heading the ball as our CF.

  14. C,

    I doubt it would be a relatively untried manager, though, C. It will be a known man. In any case, what player has ever felt tied by a contract anyway!

    Ozick is playing a coward’s game. He doesn’t want to admit that he is not going to sign again knowing the approbium that it would bring down on him. Frankly, I’d sell him anyway. He is not irreplaceable.

  15. I doubt we will know the decision on AW’s contract extension until May/June.

    He has always fulfilled his contracts, and so will not be walking away any time soon.

    It’s a pity that we only have that to keep us interested — the footie? Forget it.

  16. No need for five -side Henry, kept entertained by monkeys, antelope and a bull elephant that came within twenty-five yards of the hotel fence. Off now for another safari.

  17. consolsbob,

    We would think that it wouldn’t be a untried manager, but would an established manager come to Arsenal without the guarantee of being allowed to spend some cash on top players? I personally think that we will see somebody similar to Arsene’s philosophy of spending on players and because of that it would probably be an untried manager.

    I can’t agree with you on saying Ozil is playing a coward’s game, he just wants clarity same as any employee would if their manager’s contract is up in the air. Nothing actually leads me to believe that he won’t re-sign; I actually think its much much more likely he will re-sign and Sanchez will want to and eventually leave though I wish both would stay. No player is irreplaceable but for me if it comes down to Ozil and Sanchez or Arsene, well give me the players over the manager 10 our of 10.

  18. Realistically there is only one way the Wengerian holdout can possibly end and that is with him signing another contract, if for no other reason the board won’t have any other options. I can’t imagine our BoD moving very quickly on anything and they would have to find someone to do all of the various jobs that Arsene does now. Which other manager would want to do all of those things that detract attention from the real job of building the squad and being a field manager. I would hope a new manager would want to revamp the whole. coaching staff and how easy will that be if he has to start in June.

    I can’t imagine Arsene announcing his retirement during the season when he has a real fight on his hands for the top 4. For all our great football in Sept/Oct we are now 2 points out of 6th place and actually closer to 8th place then to first. All of the things that need to be done will take time and the bottom line is that Arsene will sign the 2 year contract at some point if for no other reason to prevent the cluster f**k that would almost certainly happen if he decides to retire and does not announce his decision until May or June.

  19. Bill,

    Morning my friend.

    I do get what you are getting it and it does make some sense especially given the league but to be honest, I just want a pure finisher. Sanchez can clearly score goals and Ozil will create them because we know he can put it on a platter so with those two, I wouldn’t be adverse to a good header of the ball. I don’t think that it has to be a big lad either, because there are plenty of quality CF’s who aren’t big but really good at heading the ball either because of them having a good leap or they just have excellent timing.

  20. C,

    Good afternoon YW A wonderful summation of all things Arsenal. What a sad sorry state of affairs we find ourselves in.

    Dean Ashton is another recently retired player whom has stated categorically that ‘ modern ‘ players are by and large selfish. There is very little loyalty to A Club.

    He states complacency has set in at The Emirates. The polite well spoken non offensive non confrontational non accountable attitude has bedded itself in like a Cancer.

    Good afternoon C. I must disagree with you re Nacho. He has been poor in comparison to last season.

    It would be interesting to see what a new Manager will do. Conte has used Moses on a consistent basis this season. He was loaned out to a number of Clubs by other Managers.

    Who knows what a new Manager might choose to do?

    I’m no real fan of AR but we know there is a decent player in there. He showed that in the 2013-14 season and at last years Euro 2016 Champs.

    AW failure to get AR to perform on a consistent basis highlights his bigger problems with failing to to get the consistent best.

    It’s been well documented that AW does not ‘dig ‘ players out.
    You imagine you at work and you as an employee coast in your post as you know your not going to be taken to task.

  21. HenryB,

    It is a shame mate, problem is, what other big club that you know of would let their manager go about the contract situation like this, I mean even Pep at Barca was given a deadline.

  22. C

    Alexis was very good at CF for a couple months but anything we do works well when the team is in one of its hot streaks. Long term I don’t think Alexis is the best answer at CF. You always talk about the partnership of Ozil and Alexis as the reason for using Sanchez at CF but that implies that they are combining to score goals and the reality is that despite Sanchez’ good form this season there have not been very many Ozil passes that Sanchez has turned into goals. Sanchez can score just about as many goals from the LW and we would be a better team if we had a CF who could move and scored with his feet but was also a good header of the ball.

  23. Ras,

    Dean Ashton is right.

    Cech should be dropped for that clanger on Saturday, and his recent leaky performances. Xhaka should have been dropped like a stone for that penalty he gave away at Bournemouth. Neither will happen. The players are certain of a starting position however they perform.

    Imagine Wenger dropping Ozil? Never going to happen , although his performances on the whole this season have been pretty average, he disappears in big away games, and doesn’t challenge for headers.

    They all need a boot up the backside.

  24. One thing I hope the next manager does is abandon idea of building around midfield ball control and creativity and having a whole team full of “playmakers”. We spent $35M this summer on someone who is supposed to be a deep playmaker in order to compliment Cazorla or whoever is our mid level playmaker and they can feed the ball to our worlds best #10 so he can make plays in the final 1/3. Our worlds best #10 is rendered ineffective by a some nebulous knock on effect if either of the 2 playmakers behind him are no in perfect synch. We also add another playmaker by putting a CM type player on one wing. That sort of tactical setup was popularize by Barca and the Spanish national team but we have never been able to replicate what those 2 teams have done and even Barca has evolved and moved to a forward dominated attack.

    There are plenty of ways to attack but to me the best tactical approach at least in England is to emphasize solid defense and hit hard on the counter attack the way Fergies best teams did and this current Chelsea team are doing now. IMO. Fergies best teams after Scholes began to age did not rely on midfield creativity. You don’t need a team full of incredibly pacey players to counter attack. This Chelsea are not slow pokes but we started a team that certainly had more pace throughout the line up. Chelsea also has no one even resembling a #10 or any brilliant midfield playmakers in their starting lineup and they are very effective.

  25. Bill,

    I can’t see why Sanchez can not play as a CF but our front 3 rarely stay in the positions they started in unless Giroud is at CF. The partnership of Ozil and Sanchez isn’t just about them directly creating and scoring goals for themselves but about the team in general feeding off of their partnership. Yes Ozil hasn’t been chief supplier of Sanchez’s goals and visa versa but you see the understanding between them. Naturally Sanchez on the LW with a proper CF would be better for the team but presently unless Arsene decides to start using Perez and Welbeck, IMHO the best option is Sanchez at CF.

  26. Just think, Aguero was 3rd in the PL goal scoring table and Pep dropped him and has openly spoke about Jesus being his CF moving forward because he likes the front 3 of Sane, Sterling, Jesus (if those 3 continue to develop together as well as adding pieces to their game, that is a fucking scary front 3 for ANY PL defense). I mean could you see Arsene dropping both Ozil and Sanchez after their recent performances, nope neither can I.

  27. For anyone who is still on fence regarding whether or not we have stagnated in this decade have a look at our total points compared with the league leaders in this decade

    75 86
    68 80
    70 89
    73 89
    79 86
    75 87
    71 81
    74 93. (Based on the current pace after 24 games this season)

  28. C

    Its just me but I think the brilliance of the partnership you see between Ozil/Sanchez is influenced by you deciding what you want and hope to see and then finding what are you are looking for. Henry called is bias confirmation.

  29. C,

    c we may disagree on Monreal but we both agree Wenger doesn’t have the bottle to drop his “favourites”.

  30. You are a romantic, C.

    Ozil doesn’t care about Arsenal, any more than my refuse collector cares about West Devon Borough Council. He gets paid, he has excellent working conditions and no one gives him grief.

    In that, he is no different than most other professional footballers. I have no attachment to any of them. No employee should make a demand, however bogus, over who his future boss should be. Not practical nor desirable. Arrogant too.

  31. Silver

    The idea that Arsene never drops his favorites has evolved into conventional wisdom because its been said so often, However, look more closely at the evidence from this season.

    Giroud has long been considered a Wenger favorite but he dropped him at the beginning of this season and then despite Giroud being our best scorer during the Christmas period and saving us with late goals several times he dropped him for arguably the biggest game of the year

    Ox was considered a long time favorite and Arsene moved Iwobe ahead of him last summer.

    Ramsey had been relegated to mostly a back up role until Cazorla was injured and Elneny went off to Africa.

    Wilshere was shipped off on loan.

    Arsene is stubborn but I think the idea that he is not willing to drop his favorites is over stated. Another one of those ideas that are mentioned so often that they seem to develop a life of there own.

  32. consolsbob,

    Your not the first to call me a romantic.

    I do get your side and I understand where your coming from but I also think that its not about dictating terms just more clarity. Say Arsenal bring in Howe, would Sanchez or Ozil or for that matter Kos want to play for such an inexperienced manager who barely is out of the relegation battle? I doubt it, but say a manager like Allegri or Koeman come in, managers they know that have and would give them a better chance at lifting the PL title, they wouldn’t stay and might actually give more.

    I don’t have a true attachment to the players just the club. But as an employee, I get wanting clarity and for all the stick that Ozil is getting about him saying he wants clarity people overlook Sanchez himself saying he wants to feel loved. The whole situation honestly reeks of a club that has not only stagnated but is at the mercy of one man, the manager, and because he like so many others know it; things won’t change until we see a change. I don’t blame Ozil, Sanchez, hell Jack or any other player for wanting clarity and openly saying it.

  33. Bill,

    Don’t forget that Giroud was not only out of shape but was apparently carrying some sort of injury. Ramsey has been in and out of the team because he has been injured. Iwobi did move ahead of Ox in the pecking order on the flanks. Jack was sent out on loan because he wanted to play regularly not because he was shipped out.

  34. C,

    No other club would allow a manager to delay confirming whether or not he was going to extend his contract, leaving so little time to find a replacement. AW knows this, of course, and he would not want to cause the club problems, so I think they already know his decision. He will stay.

    The thing is, he is a special case. At the moment a Premier League manager lasts about 1.5 years at any given club, on average. So holding out on a contract is hardly relevant for most of them.

    There are two main drivers at Arsenal. The manager and the club, the one with responsibility for the playing side and the other for the financial health of the club. Actually, there is also a cross-over too. Wenger has and wants some responsibility for the club’s finances too, and he has demonstrated this in the transfer market over the years.
    In addition, the club has also got responsibility for the impact of the playing side, as both the playing and financial sides of the business are inexorably linked.

    So how is this circle squared?

    With the retirement of old Red Nose -aka Ferguson – Arsene is on a managerial tier by himself.
    The Board (Kroenke) are well aware that his gamble on buying the club was successful in large part because of Wenger. His footballing success over 20 years has reaped great financial benefits for the club and its owner, the much derided 4th place has opened up the coffers of the CL to swell the bank account of Arsenal. The design and building of the Emirates Stadium was very much on the back of that income, and Arsenal will have a home for at least 100 years, long after we have all shuffles off this mortal coil.

    Therefore Wenger’s prowess in managing a team churning out solid performances every year and producing a substantial financial return for the club is very welcome to the club’s owner, and that explains the tolerance shown to Wenger when he seems to be hesitant to declare his future intentions.

    Do not forget – Kroenke is not a football man. He previously had no interest in football (soccer) and only became involved because he identified European football as a main chance to earn a huge return on his investment. If Aston Villa or Eastbourne gave the same level of return, for example, he would be out of Arsenal like a bat out of hell to make his money elsewhere. There is no evident love for the club per se, other than as a milch cow to increase the wealth of an already very rich man.

    So a perfect squaring of the circle between football and financial responsibility and needs.

    Well, not quite. The glaringly obvious black hole in the above theory is the poor, long suffering fanbase. None of us signed up as fans to be treated to a financial side show, where the main criterion is for the team to keep feeding funds into the club we all love.

    So Arsene, Mr kroenke et al;

    We want to get back to the ups and downs of a vibrant team competing on a level playing field, with no preset artificial financial targets clouding that issue.

    We want to watch a team of skilful players give and take against the teams of other top clubs – to cheer ecstatically when we win a major trophy – and yes – to shed a tear or two when we miss out.

    What we do not want is to stand cold and hungry in the rain, staring through the shop window, as other clubs pick up the best, scrumptious, top class players that we so desperately want, only to be subsequently told, year after year, about the ones ‘we nearly got’.

    What we do not want is for our needs and expectations to be consistently ignored and condescendingly dismissed, while the financial machinations grind away in the background, leaving us with the paltry sop of yet another 2nd tier ‘success’ of 4th place, and told ‘it’s a trophy, dummy’

    No! We want the club to remember what it is all about. We are the life blood of the club – we are the reason that Arsenal exists – without us, and all the long gone fans over the last 100 years, there would be no club.

    So, OK, we are not unreasonable — look after the club’s finances, by all means – secure its future, who could argue with that – but treat us fans with respect in return for the love we unstintingly give to Arsenal – give us some hope that we are not going to be served up with the same old, same old, next year and the year after that, and the next year after that, while the owner grows fat on all the money he is making out of us.

    You know that is the truth.

  35. Bill,

    This amply shows that we’re always so near and yet so far. That’s because we aren’t really any more ARSENAL FC but ARSENAL PLC. The owner and the directors are interested in just keeping the club afloat, thereby betraying the thousands upon thousands of loyal supporters. If our American owner says, “I did’t buy Arsenal to win trophies” and Wenger substantiates his master’s voice by uttering, “Winning is not everything”, what hope do we have for a truly competitive team worthy of the great traditions of this great club?

  36. C:

    Your not the first to call me a romantic.

    Quite right, C, those roses you sent me for my birthday were quite lovely – you old romantic you!! 😀

  37. C

    I have a go at Arsene as much or more then most but you we to be fair if the criticism is to have any credibility. No matter how you try to spin it, this season Arsene has moved several of the players that have been considered “his favorites” down the pecking order. He got rid of Flamini and I guess he could just get rid of all of them in order to convince us, but you know as well as I that is not realistic.

  38. Victor Fenech

    Those points totals show that we have not really ever been close if the objective is to compete for a league title. In the Emirates era we have only been within 10 points of the league winner in 2 seasons. 07/08 and 13/14. We have been closer to 5th place then to 1st in every season except 07/08. The league winner has had more then 80 points every season and but the only season we have surpassed 80 points was 07/08.

    Realistically other then 07/08 we haven’t even given our selves a chance.

  39. consolsbob,

    “Ozil doesn’t care about Arsenal, any more than my refuse collector cares about West Devon Borough Council. He gets paid, he has excellent working conditions and no one gives him grief.”

    At least, he thanks the fans what Sanchez doesn’t do… And no one gives him grief??? Are you kidding? Almost all the fans are against him + the media + the pundits! But yes, let’s sell him: i’m a Mesut’s fan before being an Arsenal fan and i wish him out of this ***.

  40. If Wenger himself decides not to renew at the end of this season, it would be the best solution. The club, fans, and players can move on and we go on a different path whatever that may be.

    There has to be an end point to the past and present to move on to the future?

    He has been with the club for 21 years, Kudos to him and the club did benefit from him greatly, he has taken us to the future but he’s part of the past. He should be commended for what he has done for the club, time to send him off with a bust somewhere and we start a new adventure.

    Does the Owner and the Board brave enough? If not, then we even have a bigger problem than Wenger himself.

  41. The only reason we made it to 79 points in 13/14 was the great start we had with Giroud and Ramsey scoring all of those goals then we need a really strong finish and won the last 5 games because but we fell into 5th place after Everton beat us in April.

  42. Bill,

    bill it might just be my opinion but I feel it takes him far too long to make changes to the starting lineup.

    I will ask you this failing injury do you think Wenger will drop any of Sanchez, Monreal or Ozil?

  43. I have found it interesting how much backlash Ozil has received compared to Sanchez. For instance, Ozil’s interview about wanting clarity is still a bat to beat him with yet nobody has spoken about Sanchez’s interview where he wanted Arsenal to show confidence in him, etc.

  44. Silver

    There are occasionally times when an ideal like this morphs into conventional examine because no one thinks about it long enough to examine the the actual evidence. Arsene is stubborn and sometimes it may take longer then we like but he will move a player down the pecking order if he thinks he has a better option. I am not an Arsene fan but to be fair its a lot easier for us to make those decisions from our keyboards. Same thing happened with the erroneous idea that he never rotates and over uses his players.

  45. C

    For several reasons Ozil divides opinions a lot more then Sanchez. Fair or not he will be treated differently. That is human nature.

  46. HenryB,

    I started reading your post and suddenly I could hear Jerusalem playing in the background. No idea where it was coming from, but it got louder and louder as I continued to read. By the time I’d finished your post I was nearly deafened by the noise and I’m sure I saw fireworks going off outside.


  47. Bill,

    Bill fair play we will have to agree top disagree on this because i think this is part of the reason we get into a malaise, i felt Giroud was in one before he was dropped I feel Monreal is in one now as with ozil, whether its a fault or a weakness like you said he does like to show faith in the players but is this misplaced faith?

  48. Silver

    I think Arsene’s obsession with using a 4th player with a central midfielders skill set such as Ramsey or Iwobe on one wing is remarkably frustrating.

  49. Hi Wavey,

    You are a top man – altho it was not Jerusalem, it was Club of Hope and Glory – but I think you are the only one who was assed to read it — the one liner’s rule supreme, anything else needs a bit of thought! 😀

    These ideas just come to me — and I just wish they would f**k off. 😀

  50. Wavey,

    I think I will join them — if Giroud had a pineapple – Nacho might not, in a 4:4:2 with Ramsey flambéed on the wing.

    [See, I can talk bollix as well!] 😀

  51. Silver

    Fair enough.

    My take on that is the biggest problem for Arsene is that he is often not willing to spend the money to get a better player then someone like Giroud since he knows that he can hold on the top 4 spot without buying someone else. Prior to this season he did not really have any realistic option other then using Giroud because someone had to score goals. Last year Theo was so incredibly bad that Giroud and Alexis were the only legitimate threats to score anywhere close to double figures in league goals. You can’t drop your leading scorer when you have no other legitimate options. This year he dropped Giroud without a second thought when Walcott hit his hot streak and Arsene had another option. Giroud did not come back into the line up until Theo was injured and for better or worse Arsene dropped Giroud again when Theo came back against Chelsea.

    With regard to Nacho we have tried Gibbs on and off for years and we come to Nacho because he has always been a more dependable and better option.

  52. Silver

    I am not a fan of Giroud and I have spent more keystrokes then anyone complaining about him for 4 years now.

    However, this season Giroud has started 6 league games and played 658 minutes and scored 8 goals and 3 assists and he won several games for us with late goals.

    Theo has done better then anyone expected but he has started 17 PL games and played 1462 minutes (more then twice as many as Giroud) and scored the same number of 8 league goals and has 2 assists.

    Our distaste for certain players sometimes gets in the way of our logic and if you look at those numbers its not a straight forward decision for Arsene to say that Theo is the better option right now.

  53. HenryB,

    Alo mon amis Henry I also took the time to read it. Very astute post. Like you and many others I hate hearing AW talk about how He ” nearly signed” this player and that player.

  54. BBC 5 Live Rafael Honegstein has stated( para phrasing) Arsenal Board have started looking at possible Managers should AW walk away.

    Charlie Adam ( BBC 5 Live) has stated the Emirates is one of the most difficult grounds to go t and play. He also said that They ( Arsenal) NEVER change the way they play. He says it’s madness.
    The front six of Arsenal look to go forward all the time leaving the back four to defend.

  55. C:

    If you are asking why Ozil divides opinions it’s because there are a lot of fans who people watch him play and they don’t think he has provided the same positive influence that you do. Assists are the main stat that we judge most creative players especially someone who spends his time around the penalty box and delivers all of the set pieces. Its hard to argue with the stats. He had a fantastic first half last season (15/16) and had something like 17 assists by midseason and there was no division of opinions when he played like that. However, it has been a full calender year since that purple patch and he is had something like 7 league assists in the last 40 games. Last year you could argue that his forwards let him down but that excuse is not valid this season. Players divide opinions when their game is not meeting expectations. That is standard fan behavior

  56. Bill,

    I get that and I even hear (don’t understand it though) people don’t like thr languid style but I just find it baffling that for all that Sanchez does for the team he because he is always on the move people have this “he can do no wrong” yet why hasn’t he signed his contract yet if he wants to stay? Why don’t people talk about the fact that Sanchez often times loses possession when a simple pass could keep the move going or how poor he has been over the past couple of matches? I’m not saying we focus on the negatives with either because without them we would struggle for top 4, just find it interesting when I see people talk about the clarity thing with Ozil yet forget the whole show confidence in me interview from Sanchez.

  57. C

    You raise a some questions that I can’t answer and I guess you would have to consult neutral who is an expert in sports psychology and fan behavior. Alexis came with high expectations but Ozil had far more hype and he was first big money signing and he was supposed to be the best at his position in the world and the ultimate difference maker. I think almost every fan likes a player who always looks like he always has a fire in his belly and gives everything he has to “the cause”. On the other hand the languid style, the extra long summer vacations and missing the first 2 games while the team is dropping points and taking 3 weeks off for a mystery illness around Christmas this season make it harder for the fans to feel like Ozil has the same level of commitment.

  58. Its been a while but I know I can always come back here to like-minded loyal Gooners. Unfortunately we are where we all thought we would be. Same time, same place.

    None of us takes any pleasure in seeing Arsene like this; a figure of fun, a cartoon character. This, about a man that created the “Invincibles” but if he cared about the club as much as he says then he should have already quit.

    It still surprises me that there is even any debate anymore as the problem(s) have been evident for so long.

  59. 2015 Gary Neville:

    Arsene Wenger has dismissed as “ridiculous” the suggestion that Arsenal fail to plan for their opponents in the mistaken belief that they will always prevail if they simply produce their own best football.

    Gary Neville set the agenda on this subject in his Telegraph column two weeks ago when he outlined a belief that Arsenal had failed to prepare mentally for the biggest games and that addressing this issue, as well as deeply analysing the strengths and weaknesses of their opponent, could be decisive this season.

    2017 Gary Neville: How dare Arsenal fans be unhappy at the performance of Wenger after 13 years without league title.

  60. Bill,

    That makes sense but Ozil was the start of us lifting a trophy for the first time in years and played a equally large part when we lifted it back to back. I guess I’m in the minority (I love Sanchez, have since he was a Udinese) but the whole ‘fire in the belly” always confused me especially when you look at some of the best in history didn’t always have that style but okay I get it. I think you underestimate the hype that was around Sanchez, I think he was equally as hyped given his performances at Barca and for Chile but didn’t come with the price tag (not by much though). Its always interesting to see how things like this play out with certain players, to say Ozil doesn’t care and then to watch Sanchez walk off the pitch not even acknowledge the supporters at the Chelsea match and there Ozil was yelling at both him adn Nacho, sure does paint a different picture. Sure Ozil was that player in his first year, but learned after a right telling off by Mert; Sanchez is in year 3 now and should know to at least say thanks. I still think though that the languid style is always something that supporters in England aren’t always fond of, so when Ozil says he wants clarity he gets often times destroyed yet when Sanchez says, “Its not up to me its up to the club to show confidence in me” its a sign of a player wanting the club to do better.

    Personally, I think both of their contracts are tied to each other, especially with both giving a few interviews talking about how much of a joy it is to play with the other. Arsene aside, I bet if Ozil was to sign Sanchez would and visa versa; in the even we get a new man in, they would demand more and have a set system and we could most certainly challenge. Ozil at Madrid had the languid style but defensively he worked for the team in a different system same as he does for Germany. Ultimately you have to judge the player but Ozil like Sanchez should sign and while both are replaceable, I bet should we lose one we would lose both.

  61. I like what you said there, Alex.

    There is no longer any debate really. Of course there’s still the usual litany of excuses as to why we always falter, familiar and new (rain?! ffs). Increasingly hollow. If the scales haven’t fallen from your eyes by now, they probably never will.

    I still hope for Arsene to leave with (most of) his dignity intact. Remembered fondly for what he did, instead of all this nonsense. At end of this season then. Even though I doubt it will happen.

  62. Harry.

    I am sure there will be some grumpy curmudgeons who will stay angry because that is what they do. However, I really think most of us will quickly forget most of the stuff we don’t like and quickly go back to acknowledging arsene for all the positive stuff and cheering for him and campaign for a wenger statue at the Emirates and maybe a Wenger museum at London Conley once we are convinced he will definitely retire and some new ideas will be coming soon.

    I just hope the board does not mess it up completely. I don’t think there is anyone left on the board who has ever been involved in hiring a new manager. I hope no other manager will be willing to do all the stuff that arsene does and they may need to find a director of football and director of recruiting. It would be nice if there was someone on the board who actually knew something about football but that probably won’t happen.

  63. G4E,

    I think the real problem is the owner. AW has changed alot in the time Stale Stan has been the owner and I fear down the line that Arsenal will go the path his NA franchises have gone.
    He really doesnt care as long as the club makes money and that creates an environment where mediocracy is ok…just as long as the club makes money. The difference between his NA franchises and Arsenal is that Arsenal can actually be relegated if it all goes down the drain, so he has to allow some expenditure. I think he understands that very well, but not sure he understand the history of the club, the affiliation of the area in which its placed and so on. I am sure if a business model would show that a relocation was good for the economy he would seek that option out.

    Now would Ushmanov be any better? Well I am sure he wants the club to be profitable aswell, but I am also sure that he cares about the club and its values more than Kroenke does.
    Does that makes him a better owner? In some ways yes, but there is also a risk that he could introduce chaos in form of sacking managers if they dont meet his goals, like what happened in Chelsea less than 6 month after they won the CL. To me it says alot that Dein was backing Ushmanov instead of Kroenke

  64. When Gary Neville said ‘What if they end up in eight position?’ after Wenger leaves, Jamie Carragher said ‘yes but they could also finish first’ and Nial Quinn said ‘Don’t you think the quest to become title winners again is the biggest part of the job?

    ‘Carragher said the the point of leaving Highbury was to be able to win the the champion’s league every season.

  65. “Grumpy curmudgeons”, Bill?

    You’re being characteristically generous there. You mean tiresome, argumentative, obnoxious bellends who will never let it lie 🙂

  66. I see Kos the Boss has been speaking about the Chelsea match:

    “I think we played some players in front of others and I think we should have played more as a team and there was space to do so. They hit us on the counter.”

  67. C,

    So many pundits are highlighting how easy it is to get out our defence. Simple pressing in the middle of the park as we try to play it out and forwards who are too far away from the midfield. We’ve seen Sanchez dropping deep to get the ball, but where are the ball carriers who are meant to be the supply lines? They also seem to be up the pitch looking for someone else to deliver.
    The whole basis of our system now seems to be dysfunctional and whereas it used to work against the weaker teams, its now been sussed by everyone.
    It doesn’t take skill and great quality to press your opponents, just discipline and organisation, Even the weaker teams are able to close us down if they prepare in advance.

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