Arsène Meets The Press, Talks Liverpool.


So why did you leave Barcelona?
As I said at the time, I was tired. I worked long hours and needed a rest. To take it easy and have no pressure.
Oh, so that’s why you took the Arsenal job.

Luis Enrique announced his candidacy to replace Arsène and did the Arsenal board a huge favour in the process. The Spanish soap opera seems favoured to play out with the manager of the third place team moving to the one currently at the top of the table. Jorge Sampaoli’s Arsenal cheerleaders are likely to be disappointed; labelled a “Bielsa disciple”, he’s seen as the next Pep.

It saves Ivan & co worrying about the Argentinean’s grasp of English.

No doubt there’s a slew of articles being penned which tell us which Barcelona players Enrique should sign when he becomes Arsenal manager. Well, duh…

Does that increase the pressure on Arsène to reveal his future? Only superficially. The media, ourselves will ponder the question. Wenger won’t discuss the issue, seemingly irritable with the media this morning:

So, no announcement this weekend, much to the relief of Sky who took a punt on collaring Wenger first after his announcement. Wenger relented later though,

So, over to you Ivan. As if.

Liverpool Ahoy

More important than any of that though, is the visit to Liverpool on Saturday. If you’re planning to travel by train, keep an eye on the latest on the disruption which affect your journeys.

You probably won’t bump into Mesut Özil. He was sent home from training yesterday, although Arsène hedged his bets on the German for the weekend,

“We’ll see, I don’t know. he should be OK.”

Hardly a ringing endorsement but Koscielny and Ramsey were both gambolling around London Colney, back from their respective hamstring and calf injuries. No Santi Cazorla, of course. Wenger commented that he hadn’t seen the Spaniard, “not even in fitness training”. He should read the papers more often; there are enough photos of Santi in his hospital bed recently.

Liverpool were so inept at Leicester that they are bound to be vastly improved on Saturday. That’s without factoring in our ability to make distinctly average teams look like world-beaters. Wenger believes the players “owe themselves” a big performance after the defeat in Munich.

Danny Welbeck has suffered “ups and downs” in his recovery but having missed Sutton due to the pitch, he has to be in contention. Özil’s performances in the ‘big’ away games leave a lot to be desired, that can’t detract from poor performances generally. The German is ‘everyone’s favourite scapegoat’ although I am sure Ox and Aaron Ramsey will make sterling efforts this weekend to steal his crown.

Welbeck would add pace to the attack and that’s something Liverpool are vulnerable to, unless they change their formation and personnel from Monday night.

The Endgame May Not Be The One You Expect

There is a sense that the football is becoming a by-product. The main event is fast becoming Wenger’s future, if it wasn’t already. It maybe something we are tired with, but until the decision is public it’s always there. This isn’t an elephant in a room, it’s a herd.

Defiance shone through Wenger’s words this morning, and you wouldn’t expect anything less. Two decades of his life devoted to the club, why should he walk away? He observed that he is “objective enough” to decide what was best for Arsenal. We shall see.

’til Tomorrow.

71 thoughts on “Arsène Meets The Press, Talks Liverpool.

  1. Thanks Yogi, another good un.

    “Two decades devoted to the club” and lining his pockets with little stress or pressure to succeed.

  2. “He observed that he is “objective enough” to decide what was best for Arsenal”.

    Objectively, that’s shite.

  3. Arsene’s future has been the main event since really the beginning of the season, always was going to shape up to be that way.

    Luis Enrique, a very underrated manager kind of strange to think that so many supporters and even reports since last season were about he wasn’t doing the job and yadda yadda yadda; he has won 8 trophies since taking over in 2014 / 2015 season.

  4. Cech
    ———Xhaka——Le Coq——–

    Also wouldn’t mind seeing Perez on the right instead of Theo.

  5. Morning YW. Exxcellent post YW. The Man has temerity to say he’s “objective enough”. Fucking pigs will fly.

  6. Here’s an article from The Times that reflects the uncertainty of AW’s future plans.
    [Incidentally, isn’t it odd that Arsene said a while back that he would announce his decision in March or April, rather than just saying “Sod off – I will tell you at the end of the season”.]

    —- “Arsenal’s attempts to plan for next season are being thwarted by uncertainty over Arsène Wenger’s future.
    The club’s long-serving manager has been offered a new two-year contract that would extend his spell in charge to 23 years but has not given any indication whether he will take it up. Nor has he given his employers a firm timetable for making that decision.

    Arsenal are discussing alternative targets in case their manager chooses to walk away, with Massimiliano Allegri, Thomas Tuchel and Leonardo Jardim among those prominent in their thoughts. All other aspects of the club’s footballing business are on hold pending Wenger’s decision.

    There will be no resumption of the on-off contract talks with Alexis Sánchez and Mesut Özil, who will both enter the final 12 months of their existing deals this summer, until Arsenal’s managerial situation has been resolved, while the club’s transfer plans are also being stymied by the confusion.

    Oxlade-Chamberlain, Gibbs and Wilshere will have only 12 months left on their contracts in the summer
    Arsenal’s priority this summer is to sign a world-class striker despite Sánchez’s successful conversion to that position, but even preliminary negotiations with potential targets are breaking down because of the club’s inability to provide clarity over the identity of their manager.

    Agents with a long history of working for Arsenal are understood to have approached several players in Europe with a view to setting up summer transfers, which is commonplace at this time of year, and been told to return when they know who will be in charge of the team next season.

    In addition to the Sánchez/Özil stand-off, which has been an issue since the club first moved to open negotiations 18 months ago, the futures of several other players are in abeyance.

    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Kieran Gibbs and Jack Wilshere will also have only 12 months left on their contracts in the summer and the English trio have not even been invited to talks with the club. The only contract extensions Arsenal have been able to agree in recent months have been those of Per Mertesacker and Santi Cazorla, which in both cases involved the players taking up an option in their existing contract for an additional year, which they were always likely to do as they are approaching the end of their careers and have missed most of this season with injury.

    Arsenal’s executives are giving mixed messages to the players and their agents over Wenger’s intentions. In a series of meetings last week one agent was told to expect a summer of transition, a prediction soon contradicted by another employee who expressed the belief that Wenger would stay.”

    Anyhow, this article does rather reflect what the indecision has done to Arsenal’s footie plans re player purchases and/or sales.

  7. buckagh,

    Contact Russia’s FSB, they may let you have some Polonium. Or try Bulgaria’s State Security Bureau for one of their surplus to requirements poisonous umbrellas.

    Please don’t mention my name when talking to these organisations.

  8. HenryB,

    Hardly earth shattering news, any one of the regulars on ACLF could have written something very similar, but perhaps not quite as grammatically correct.

  9. Ozil needs a holiday from the first team and quite possibly the football club. His whole period at the club has been a luxury all expenses paid private island holiday. I wouldn’t even have him on the bench vs Liverpool and i’d be possibly waving him goodbye this summer if i didn’t see an upturn in application and performances this season. If we can’t put up a good fist at beating Liverpool in their current form then there really is little hope……so we’ll probably be whipped.
    And then he can talk about mental strength some more.
    I know some will disagree but i see no value in us performing adequately this season, i don’t want the cracks papered over yet again….i’d actually like Wenger to make his intentions clear either way strikes me he is really hedging his bets, hoping that he can do just enough to announce that new deal. 10 million a year ? I’d rather have Jeffers back, he’d do less damage.
    There are so many exciting, relatively young, tactically sound coaches in European football, we are stuck in the dark ages. The only thing that matters now this season is that it is Wenger’s last.

  10. Wenger’s verging on negligence to the club with his pissing around on his decision.
    That’s not objective.

  11. Five players contracts running out in just over a year…..that is what you call bad business, talk about handing away their value and handing over the power to the player. We are mishandling situations left, right and centre from a football club perspective, sadly the accountants are having a party though. Stan, you are the man. See you next Tuesday.

  12. HenryB,

    Thanks for that. The first thought that came to my mind is that if Arsene does sign for 2 more years taking him to 23, there is no way he is not signing another 2 years after making it to 25 years at Arsenal.

    The other thing of note in that is that when it talks about the contracts of Gibbs, Jack and Ox; it states they haven’t even been approached. That is rather interesting if true because then you really start to think that those 3 really doesn’t have a future; I mean FFS even GIroud got offered a new contract.

  13. Bufallo,

    If we can’t beat Liverpool in their current form; mate (and remember I’m an optimist), if Liverpool can’t beat Arsenal in their current state their is little hope.

    I know Ozil is the team scapegoat, but can you name one player that has performed or done anything of note in our recent poor performances?

  14. Hi C,

    I notice you are at it again — “If we can’t beat Liverpool in their current form; — if Liverpool can’t beat Arsenal in their current state” — then we will both lose?? Is that what you mean? 😀

  15. Bufallo,

    I’m fearful that if Ozil doesn’t play Ramsey will.

    Leicester showed that the way to beat Liverpool is with pace, neither Ozil or Ramsey are suitable to play quick counter attacks.

  16. C:

    Thanks for that. The first thought that came to my mind is that if Arsene does sign for 2 more years taking him to 23, there is no way he is not signing another 2 years after making it to 25 years at Arsenal.

    The other thing of note in that is that when it talks about the contracts of Gibbs, Jack and Ox; it states they haven’t even been approached.That is rather interesting if true because then you really start to think that those 3 really doesn’t have a future; I mean FFS even GIroud got offered a new contract.

    My thoughts exactly, C, and if I am honest, Gibbs and Jack have looked on the way out for some time, but the Ox has just started to show his ability at central midfield — in my opinion, of course. 🙂

  17. One thing at a time, buckagh.

    New manager first. Then get a new structure at the club, then get a new owner.

    Whoops, sorry, got to be careful what I wish for, haven’t I?

  18. HenryB,

    Yup, wouldn’t be surprised to see a draw. Its funny, both teams are in poor form and both sets of supporters are probably saying the same thing:

    If we can’t beat them in their current form then then there is no hope for our season.

  19. Thanks Yogi,

    The club is floundering off the pitch and it’s playing out on the pitch. We are clueless from top to bottom. It’s head scratching stuff really. Liverpool will be too good for us and the excuses Wenger had built this squad around will be rolled out once more

  20. HenryB,

    Gibbs and Jack have looked on the outs for some time outside of the odd match or two. Ox has looked a much better prospect in midfield, but at the same-time we have seen Ox look good for a couple of matches and then revert back for even more matches.

  21. I know we all want some of the legends to return; with our current vacancy in the youth department; how about the return of Bergkamp for that role?

  22. Tell me, when we had ‘The Invincibles’, when we were winning ‘Doubles’, when we were probably the best team in the world, who ever thought that it would come to this shambles?

  23. Great post yogi.

    I have almost no doubt that Arsene knows what he will do. Why he is choosing to wait to make the announcement is only speculation. I am sure he has his reasons but its putting the club into a prolonged state of limbo. Anyone who thinks that Arsene is not the unquestioned captain of the ship only has to look at how weak the board and the owner are when they let a situation like this drag on and on.

  24. C,

    There is another really good article/interview with Sol Campbell that hits a similar vein of thought, altho not directly linked to the youth team set up, but concentrates on the first team.

    It’s probably not earth shattering enough to paste on here, unlike all the exquisitely hackneyed comments we have on here from Orsey. 😀

    [I don’t usually explain my puns, that would defeat the point, but as you are a Yankee Doodle Dandy – look up the word ‘hackney’.]. 😀

  25. Ah, screw it, C, just for you —- 😀

    — “Sol Campbell has urged Arsène Wenger to “bust a gut” and revert to the old Invincibles formula of building around players with strong personalities as well as technical talent, if, as he expects, the Arsenal manager stays on for another two seasons.

    Campbell won two Premier League titles and three FA Cups during a five-year spell at Arsenal — including the season of 2003-04, when they went unbeaten in the Premier League and earned the “Invincibles” tag — but he has been dismayed by the club’s lack of trophy success in winning only two FA Cups in the past 11 seasons. He believes that a winning mentality at Arsenal has been eroded over the past decade and that this trend will not be reversed without targeting different characters in the transfer market.

    “Obviously Arsène and Arsenal want to win, but winning comes at a cost,” Campbell said. “There are compromises you have to make through paying players and for personalities. Sometimes you might need to go back into your memory and remember the characters who won for you in the past and try to find those kind of guys. The type of characters who won for you in the past will be the same type of characters who will win for you in the future — skilful guys who have ambitions, but a little bit of something about them.

    There will be players who have the tenacity and have the skill but are at the wrong club
    “It’s not about really nasty guys. It’s about guys who are passionate and strong-willed — skilful in their own position but also with the will to win — guys who will keep that, whatever it takes, so that it would take a broken leg to stop them playing.

    “That’s the winning mentality and it takes a long time for that to build and grow. Once you’ve lost that, it takes a hell of a long time to get it back.”

    Wenger has often suggested that the type of forceful personalities who dominated that Invincibles team — Campbell, Patrick Vieira, Dennis Bergkamp, Thierry Henry — are much rarer in football these days.

    “They might be rarer, but they are out there,” Campbell said. “Look at [Alexis] Sánchez. Those characters do still exist. There will be players who have the tenacity and have the skill but are at the wrong club. You’ve just got to find them and you might have to be a bit cleverer or pay a bit more for them.

    “What Arsène has done for the club’s philosophy and how he has done it, he has been incredible. The fans and the media can be saying whatever, but it’s all about the main man at the top [Stan Kroenke, the owner] and Arsène ticks all the boxes for him. I think Arsène will probably take the two years [the contract he was offered by the club last year].

    “Has he got enough in the tank to take these two years that are on the table? And if he does, is he going to bust a gut to put people on the spot and see how much he can get out of them, not allow it to drift?

    It’s not a horrible thing. It’s just demanding more from your players and maybe buying a different kind of player who might not have all the other things you need, and might not listen to you all the time, but the type of player who will pull themselves up and pull someone else up when they’re not pulling their weight. You need players who will be honest about themselves and their team-mates and not be too embarrassed to demand that of each other.

    “If he [Wenger] takes the two years, that’s something he should look at.”

    He’s on the right track in my un-earth shattering opinion. 🙂

  26. HenryB,

    I will have to go-a searching for that article. I would mind Sol back in the fold in some form or fashiom working with players.

    Yup you lost me a bit but after looking it up, it makes sense now.

  27. I hope that either Perez or Welbeck start this weekend instead of Iwobe. I know that no one likes Giroud but if you look at what has actually happened this season and look at the numbers, Giroud has easily been our most effective forward not named Sanchez. We have been using pacey teams all season and looks where its gotten us. A few weeks ago a lot of us were trying to make a case that Giroud’s lack of pace was hurting our ability to play high pressing defense. However, our defense has certainly not improved since we dropped Giroud back to the bench and played a pacey front 3. Pace is a good thing but its certainly not a magic bullet and the ability to score a goal is the single most important characteristic of an effective forward. I don’t think we will ever win a PL title with Giroud at CF because of his inconsistency but our title challenge was ended in December and now its just a matter of winning as many games as possible to hold on to 4th place. The best way to beat Liverpool or any team for the rest of this season is to put our most effective players on the pitch irregardless of how fast they can sprint.

  28. HenryB,

    I actually think he is spot on. Its why I don’t understand a player like Perez not seeing more match time. The thing with those sorts of personalities is, does Arsene will really want and that is where me and Sol differ; not that they are rarer, but that Arsene doesn’t want to deal with them. For instance, Mert had that fire, leadership and not afraid to tell Arsene that something was wrong but how often did Arsene quell that (often times with Arteta backing him). Do I think that Xhaka is a bit too aggressive with his clumsy challenges, yes but he also is known for his aggressive nature yet you constantly hear Arsene (fairly or not) talking about he needs to be less aggressive in his play; this is the same manager that had Vieira, Petit, Keown, Sol, Kolo, Cole, Anelka, and a couple other players that would make Xhaka’s aggressiveness look like child’s play at their respective positions. So while Sol is right, I think Arsene isn’t overly fond of that type of mentality because its not something that he can always control.

    I mean even go to some of his comments about Sanchez and him wanting to play; sometimes you read them and you cringe because its like Arsene is scared of telling him no like bringing him on against Sutton; but then other times Arsene has little digs about him being too aggressive or whatever the case may be.

  29. Bill,

    Glad to see you have come around to the “play Perez” team. I actually use to get a good laugh when you would talk about Perez not scoring in the PL or against teams like Burnley but then would talk about Giroud’s little purple patch which was against those exact teams both. Play Perez!

  30. C,

    Good points.

    It is possible that the term ‘rarer’, in that article, meant both unavailable because other clubs had snatched up the type of player Sol was referring to, and/or by a logical extension he was implying those other clubs were financially powerful.

    Let’s face it – because of Arsene’s then network of scouts, we were able to acquire Henry for 2 Cents, Sol for a packet of cookies and so on. In today’s terms, most of the Invincibles who were brought in cost as much as a filet of fried air at that time — now they would be worth £40m to £100m each.

    What do you think?

  31. Well C Liverpool’s form is even ranker than ours and no i can’t think of any other player but that doesn’t change my mind about Ozil or Giroud or Ramsey or Walcott or Gibbs, i could go on…..soft as slow cooked pork belly. Ozil isn’t a scapegoat, he is being talked about because he seems to lack application and is clearly not performing. Despite apparently being ‘world class’.
    Orson Ramsey or Ozil. headless vs heartless. What a choice.
    Wenger has said it’s his preference to stay at Arsenal, rather than go to Barcelona. I can only imagine this means he stays 100%. Frankly i’d be all for him joining Barcelona would be interesting to see how he performed. Probably exactly why he wont go….he knows Arsene keep the old Arsenal pipe and slippers on

  32. Wenger said: ‘I’m not looking for jobs in other clubs or jobs of other people. I just focus on me getting to the next level and trying to improve.

    ‘Competent managers always try to improve and see what they can do better and reinvent themselves — that’s what I try to do, that’s basically it.

    Reinvent himself……if only, he’s been doing exactly the same thing for eons. He’s delusional.

  33. HenryB,

    You are spot on! I mean think about even Pires, if came down to Madrid and Arsenal; no way we would have gotten him for less than £50m. Henry even with his dud of a year or so in Italy would have still fetched quite the amount.

    Yes, the other thing I was thinking about is that even when he talks about is the winning mentality and lets face it, when Ivan and Arsene were selling the supporters on the Emirates, it was all about winning then it changed to the exclusive and mythical “top 4 / round of 16” trophy and by doing that Arsene himself allowed for this and that was no more evident then the collapse after the Birmingham City Final. I think even now as we have discussed, the club simply doesn’t know how to win “those” matches and the fighters that we need in the team simply won’t get bought as long as Arsene is here.

  34. Bufallo,

    Slow cooked pork belly, actually making some on Saturday prior to the match! I get it, there are quite a few which is why I never understood why players like Elneny or Perez who might not be spectacular but are fighters and obviously good futbolers are played more. I mean FFS, Conte has done a number on Moses and has him looking quite influential .

    I agree, I think for all the talk about Arsene saying he is yet to make a decision and that he will wait until March or April; when he makes comments about 100% choosing Arsenal, I think the decision has already been made in his mind he just is being cryptic in telling the world.

  35. consolsbob,

    Wouldn’t want him anywhere near the club Bob-on any level.He was a brilliant player-but thats where his affiliation with Arsenal should stop… my humble opinion…

  36. Zola on Bielik:

    “Krystian did very well, but so did Paul while he was on the pitch,” said Zola.

    “I will decide depending on who is the best for the game tomorrow, not because I have to play one or the other for other reasons.”

    Zola continued: “A lot of people may have been surprised how good he (Krystian) was, but not me or my coaches.

    “From the very first day we saw his personality and ability and the way he’s so calm with the ball.

    “So far he’s played the whole game against Preston and the 35 minutes the other day.

    “But even against Preston after the first 20 minutes he was very good and got better and better so I know I can rely on him.

    “And amongst the other players he’s getting a lot of respect.

    “Whether he is going to play tomorrow or in the next few games we will wait and see.”

    Seems Bielik has made quite an impression so far. For all the talk of Jonkers, I think this is where he has really left his mark, getting players with the right clubs while they are on loan so they can continue to develop. There are only a couple players that are currently out on loan that aren’t getting the match time or are struggling for form.

  37. C.

    Consistency over a 38 game season is needed to win the league title but consistency over a full season is much less important when you only have 13 games left and the tittle challenge is long gone and your objective has to be to take as many points as possible in those final 13 games. If you look at the numbers from this season It’s my contention that our most effective team during these final games would have Giroud and Sanchez both starting and then either welbeck perez or Walcott playing on the other wing. I have no problem with giving Perez more minutes, he certainly a chance but the whole play Perez thing has gone a bit over the top and developed a life of its own just like play Joel Campbell did last season

  38. Bill,

    I think saying our most effective team would have both Giroud and Sanchez starting isn’t anything guaranteed either. To be honest, I would rather have Perez because when he isn’t scoring he is still contributing and work hard for the team, the sort of fighting never-say die spirit that we have been discussing; can the same be said of Giroud? Furthermore, if you are saying our most effective team then surely our top 2 goal scorers would be automatic and last I checked its still Theo and Sanchez which means that it would be between Giroud, Perez, Welbeck and of those 3 I would go with the players that not only could score goals but help the team overall which means Giroud is the third (super-sub) option and its Perez or Welbeck.

    The difference between the Perez and Campbell thing is that Perez has scored more and assisted more yet still isn’t given the opportunity to play more whereas Campbell had that run of matches and played well but didn’t provide the end product consistently that was needed when he did play.

    Its funny, you are constantly banging on about Giroud scoring in high impact matches, but these are all of the goals that he has scored this season. Manure when they were poor and he came on as a sub; PSG he scored a penalty.

    Sunderland – brace
    Ludogorets – 1 goal
    Manure – 1 goal
    PSG 1 goal
    West Brom – 1 goal
    Palace – 1 goal
    Bournemouth – 1 goal
    Preston – 1 goal
    Swansea – 1 goal
    Chelsea – 1 goal (came as the match was already put to bed)

  39. I have no problem with giving Perez more minutes. He has played relatively well and it certainly could not hurt to give him more chances in the starting line up. At this point, I would much rather see him instead of Iwobe on the wing. What I find a bit frustrating is how often we go over the top after watching someone with a few adrenaline fueled performances in low leverage games or as a late game sub and then try to make a case that the same player would play like just that if he was in the regular line up. We have seen the same thing dozens and dozens and dozens of times and it never works that way.

    We know that Giroud has been effective and scored several critical goals in limited playing time this season. With only 13 games left Giroud’s inconsistency is much less of an issue and we need every point we can get in order to hold on to 4th. It seems logical to believe that the best chance we have to win any individual game would be using Giroud and Sanchez together and then we can experiment with Perez, walcott or Welbeck on the other wing to find out which one would be the best fit. IMO

  40. You can argue about the importance of various stats but one stat that every one agrees is important and easy to interpret the meaning is goals scored. Every league game is a high leverage game especially this season with the unprecedented tightness of the race for the top 4. So far this season in league games

    Iwobe 3 goals in 1305 minutes
    Walcott 8 goals in 1531 minutes. Great form early in the season.
    Perez 1 goal in 250 minutes
    Giroud 8 goals in 658 minutes. Several were match winners or critical equalizers.
    Ox 2 goals in 1053 league minutes

    Based on those stats its not difficult to figure out which forward not named Sanchez has been our most effective this season.

    IMO, The only real argument should be who should play the wing opposite of Alexis. I would give Perez a few games and see how it works

  41. Bill,

    Except the fact that we know Giroud and sure he had that little run of form, but we also know just how capable he is of not scoring goals and when that happens he doesn’t even work for the team. So to combat that you make him a super-sub, let others run for most of the match and let him come on. Lets not forget the last 4 years of Giroud, hell if it wasn’t for a hat-trick against a Villa side that put up less fight then a bunch of school boys he ends last season with only 13 PL goals.

    the more mins he plays the worst he is.

  42. The other reason to start Giroud is to help improve Ozil’s effectiveness. We need players who are a threat in the air and set pieces. 3 out of Ozil’s 4 assists this season were on headers. 1/2 of the assists came on corner kicks and despite his limited minutes Giroud has scored the goal on 1/2 of Ozil’s assists with his head.

  43. When Wenger first arrived at Arsenal he proved to be an innovative and inspirational coach. He left alone the thing he didn’t understand, defence, and concentrated on the midfield and attack. George Graham’s back five provided the solid base on which he could build his pacy, passing game which brought quite early rewards.

    With the passing of that memorable defence a new Arsenal was born, one that relied on outscoring our opponents, an attitude that seemed to say “if you score three, we’ll get four”. Thus the first decade saw Arsenal become a team to be feared and winners of League titles and FA Cups.

    Since then it seems as though everyone and his dog has worked out the Wenger tactics. First came Fat Sam’s Bolton side which peppered the Arsenal penalty box with high balls and robust forwards who simply brushed our smaller and more technical defenders aside.

    This was followed by the bus parkers, happy to let Arsenal have possession in our own half and to attack us on the break, safe in the knowledge that if they lost possession they would have more than sufficient time to regain there defensive formation while our players farted about with pretty passing patterns.

    During this time, and up to the present day, this appears to be our default tactic. High numbers of completed passes and a gradually dwindling number of goals scored. The result, just two FA Cups won in ten years, never closer than second, once, in the Premiership and consistent failure in the Champions League.

    It is the manger who sets the tone of the Academy, it’s brief to provide a string of technically proficient players who fit the above pattern. It’s also the manger who identifies transfer targets, again those that will fit the pattern.

    The team has stagnated, the board are held in thrall by Wenger while he dithers over his own future. The players know that their places are safe and their salaries guaranteed, they are happy in their own comfort zones.

    Players who dare to rebel against the status quo are the ones released, Sanchez will go in the summer. Ozil who has the talent to succeed will do so elsewhere.

    The longer the Wenger malaise is allowed to continue the less likely ambitious players will be attracted to Arsenal. Breaking out of the circle of mediocrity will become harder and harder.

    Only a new broom, with new tactics and a new winning mentality can make our great club successful again.

  44. Bill,

    I would say that’s why I would start Welbeck, not only does he work his socks off and is not only willing to make the runs but also run at players and he is physical with a really good leap.

  45. I also find it interesting that certain players are coming to the defense of Arsene recently: Giroud, Ramsey and Kos. Okay, Kos is wearing the armband so I get it, but Ramsey and Giroud should another manager come in are players that might not necessarily be wanted or would be in jeopardy of moving down the depth chart. Is another manager going to think Giroud is the answer given his time at Arsenal and his age? Doubt it. Ramsey is the other, another manager might demand discipline and a specific style of play, will a new man want to keep him or will he keep him as a sort of “worker bee” when the match is either won or we are chasing the match and need players to get forward without a disciplined role and given Ramsey’s age, I doubt he will want to be more squad player than “important” player.

  46. Orson Kaert,

    I think you are right and its interesting you bring up the youth because Jonkers was actually moving more towards a style that still focused on possession but possession with a purpose: quick passes, the front 4 attacking ruthlessly and the defense defending but still with the principles of even the early Wenger days. The other thing that Jonkers did with the youth set-up is focus more on gritty yet still technical players. For instance, Bennacer who is a gritty yet technically gifted youngster but then you have players like Adelaide who are more physical yet still equally gifted. For me, the best combination of both is Maitland-Niles who for his age is really good on the ball and passing yet when you watch him he is always breaking up play and in or around the right spot to make a play and stop the opposition.

  47. C,

    It’s quite certain that no player is going to openly criticise the manager. Even Wenger might actually drop such a disruptive influence.

    Mind you it might be a way of forcing an exit by a player with more ambition to win, rather than stick it out in Wenger’s team.

  48. Wailesy,

    “The club is floundering off the pitch and it’s playing out on the pitch….”


    I think people fail to underestimate how much. In part because naturally, the club itself looks very well run from ‘outside’. However, when you touch on issues as players out of contract and no one addressing the issue, it does not bode well.

    I do not think it indicates who could be on the outs as C poses (players such as Wilshere or Gibbs) – I think it simply another sign Wenger is drowning in overwhelming responsibility and indecision…just as he has done on the pitch.

    Take Szczesny’s situaution rather than Gibbs. Szczesny recently (blithely) admitted no coach from Arsenal (let alone Wenger) has contacted him the entire season to date, with months of his loan left and no clear indication of what the future held. He seemed unpeturbed, I was.

    How difficult would it be to schedule a five minute call every few weeks, even once a month, for the coaches or Wenger to stay in contact with Szczesny, to maintain a close tie? Why would this not be standard practice? This isn’t genius level thinking, just good management practice.

    So, I’ll presume if Szczesny receives little to no contact, most other loanee do not also. Its just another thing lost in the shuffle of one man trying and failing to juggle all the balls.

    When it comes to extending or addressing contracts which are running down, I am not sure it anything more than a sign of general incompetence.

    I presume at present (like last season) Wenger is getting lost deeper and deeper in the weeds. Those weeds being the soap opera, the increasing furore surrounding his own extension. This is the primary mental drain – levels of insecurty and rejection to surmount – and anything else of importance is receiving less attention.

    As has been said before, this will end up a text book case of erroneously ceding power (wholesale) to an individual who was slowly failing.

    This ‘failing’ was unrecognized by many for such an extended period we are possibly facing a serious collapse at the core of the club- there were indications we teetered on the brink of this last year as the season wore down.

    A win against Liverpool would stem the tide for now…but then we face Bayern with an inevitable exit from the CL. Sadly, I think this will be par for the course for the remaining fixtures, a step forward then one back with us finishing in 5th or 6th….and if so, that will take on a significance some are refusing to see at present.

    As someone said the other day, please do not let Arsenal paper over the cracks.

    I begin to fret each time we hit a new low, we are all so habituated (even the cynics) we accept it and move on – surely a corner will be turned? This could all catch up in a spectacular and very ugly fashion- and I have a bad feeling this will occur after another Wenger extension and therefore be all the more embarrassing.

  49. C,

    It will be interesting to see if Jonkers makes a move for any of our Academy players. He must know their strengths, weaknesses and potential.

  50. Orson Kaert,

    But we have seen Mert do it on several occasions, not necessarily directly (at least in public) but we have seen him say things about needing a 20 goal CF in the PL, better and more focus on defense, as well as more focus and discipline.

    I could care less about what they are saying but more who is saying it. For instance, Ozil and Sanchez might wonder why Arsene is taking shots at them but constantly backing Giroud even last season when he wasn’t helping the team or why Perez who when called upon has done really well gets put behind Welbeck (who is just coming back from injury), or Theo (at CF when its clear both Theo and the formations this year have him at RW) or even Giroud given that he isn’t this year (for me always has been) a sub.

  51. DFS-,

    Perhaps the decision has already been made not to offer new contracts to those first team fringe players.

  52. C,

    I don’t suppose Mert is particularly worried about his Arsenal future, I’m sure he could return to the Bundesleige, go to MLS or even China if he wished.

  53. Orson Kaert,

    I know but he has done it even when he arrived. I can remember on a couple of occasions over the past couple of years before Arteta left where Mert said something and Arsene and Arteta were quick to brush him aside as nothing more than Mert being Mert except he was spot on in what he was saying.

  54. C,

    I think we shall have to wait a while before we hear what some of his players truly think of him. So far we’ve only heard for former players, not ones that have been around in the last half dozen seasons.

  55. C,

    Yes, I said last week the PR campaign in support of Wenger was in full flow and this was prior to the 30 million a year nonsense.

    On the one hand I think there is affection for Wenger. He has provided many a wonderful life with little stress than others who find themselves in that fortunate position of a pro player.

    Hiwever, some seem acutely aware more demands and scrutiny will be placed on them following a regime change and are therefore easily encouraged to support him.

    Whilst I understand it, it leaves a really bad taste in the mouth – there cannot be a single one of them who believes in Wenger above all others.

    When Ramsey said ‘the players had let Wenger down’, to be frank, I just lost even more respect for Aaron. It’s as though he stupid to the point of thinking supporters cannot contextualize.

    I believe the comments were via – so I’d love to see this type of PR spin tried on a serious journalist who might follow up and ask Ramsey how he thought the Wenger of today compared to Conte or Pochettino.

    That would be a squirmy, revealing moment.

  56. Orson Kaert,

    Well, what I really hope -be optimistic for a second- is that the board is slowly getting a grip, understand they have to play a role.

    Until Wenger resolves his own situation, he should not be allowed to negotiate anyones contract or (if he had opted) to sign anyone in the January window.

    I do not however, think there have been decisions made on the likes of Wilshere. Wenger and the club know full well he enjoys a level of support within the fan base – its a card they think they can play if needed.

  57. C

    I have no problem with using Welbeck or Perez or Walcott on the wing opposite of Alexis but Welbeck is just coming back from a full year off for injury and he has been floating around the first team of ManU and arsenal for almost a decade and never scored in double figures in league goals. We need a second goal scorer who can give us what Theo did in Sept oct and Giroud is the most likely based on what he has done this season. We could use Welbeck/Perez/Theo as the 3rd forward. However, finding a line up that require one of those 3 to be our second scorer might not work and we can’t afford to drop points while we tinker and experiment and try and find the best combination.

  58. Orson Kaert,

    I can’t see Jonkers making a play for any of our players, surely something is written he won’t but if he did I could see a couple players going to work with him like Willock, Malen and possibly Zelalem on loans.

  59. DFS

    You are absolutely correct. The board and the club has put everything on hold while they wait for Arsene to make his decision and Arsene can’t negotiate long term player contracts or make contact with any potential transfer targets while his future is unsettled. It’s a totally dysfunctional situation.

  60. DFS-,

    So true, but I do also think that some of the players truly believe it. For instance, for all the talk by Gooners about would Ozil fit in a Conte system, does anybody think that Ramsey would fit given how little discipline he has when he plays?

    I would venture to say that quite a few players hope he stays so they can stay in an Arsenal shirt. I also would think that if it was PR by thr club they might want some of the more “expensive” players like Mustafi, Xhaka, Ozil, Sanchez hell even Theo, Bellerin or Cech.

  61. Bill,

    It’s this aspect which is beginning to frustrate the hell out of me. I cannot think of another significant enterprise where an individual would be allowed to hold sway in this manner with so many peripheral (yet important) issues dependent on his actions.

    “It’s a totally dysfunctional situation”….

    It is, and at times it feels it deteriorates by the week.

  62. C,

    Yes – agree on one level…that some would genuinely like to keep playing for Wenger under this system.

    However, I still believe they know better and a while ago noted that this was a version of nicking a living. It’s a very comfortable world at Planet Arsenal

    This is why I also changed my view a while ago concerning the squad. Until fairly recently I thought everyone should be given their chance in a post Wenger scenario. I now think I would back a manager who anticipated/decided a significant clear out might be on the cards.

    In some ways this comes back to the point Bill has underlined with “It’s a totally dysfunctional situation”.

    I want Wenger to declare his hand for two reasons. If he is staying, then we need to progress with the contracts and clarify who is staying or leaving.

    If Wenger is leaving that would give the whole squad a chance to prove themselves on the pitch on Wengers behalf and for their future (whether at the club or not). An coming manager would have a good chance to look at how players rose or fell through this period.

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