The Times, They Are A-Changing But Being Arsenal, It’s Very Slowly

On the surface, Daily Telegraph reports that the Arsenal board are looking for a sporting director should be greeted as a positive step but it’s Arsenal, and we’ll find a way of ‘Arsenalling’ it up. The most obvious will be letting Arsène wield his over-sized influence on the process. You may think that a harsh judgement but consider his words when Tottenham appointed Francesco Baldini to a similar post:

“I have a good experience of the game. I have played over 900 games here, but I don’t deny that the transfer market is a problem for me.

“It conflicts with the competition when that competition has already started.”

A man identifying his weaknesses but later on refuses the best help.

Furthermore, it was Wenger underlining what he had always said: he hates transfers and finds them distasteful. He emphasised that further when he continued, “People just want more and more (players). It is consumerism at any cost.”

His thinking was disingenuous at best,

“A director of football buys the players. When they don’t work you (the manager) are guilty for them not playing well. If it works, the director of football has bought well. I am not against having people to help me buy and sell. I cannot do it all – I am not Superman”

The only club I can think of which routinely ignores the manager is Real Madrid. A good director of football, such as Monchi at Sevilla, works closely with the manager to identify targets and their prioritisation. The manager’s input ends there. He’s told the club who he wants, the alternatives; it’s up to the director to deliver.

For he that gets hurt, Will be he who has stalled

Wenger’s own view is that, “the final decision has to belong to the manager to decide who comes in and who goes out”. In other words, the manager retains the right to veto the signings, despite drawing up the list of targets. It can’t work that way; it is a recipe for disaster.

Disturbingly in all this, there is no sense of urgency from the Telegraph reports. Arsenal, it seems, are planning to relieve the managers of the future, of some of the burdens which Arsène loaded onto his own shoulders.

Arsène, it’s claimed, has “indicated that he is willing to evolve how he operates”, while Dick Law will be put out to pasture, or work for KSE in some capacity most likely. I make no attempt to hide my cynicism about the timing of all this. Wenger and the club are under massive pressure and suddenly, an idea put forward for many for a number of year is happening? Do me a favour.

Maybe the board is genuinely preparing for the future but the reported lack of urgency suggests this is an idea that the directors feel must be investigated because they have no clue which way Arsène is thinking over his future. Reports since the win over Lincoln claim that Wenger has ‘rediscovered’ his belief that he and the squad can win honours, which misses the point of protests and changing manager by a country mile.

For the wheel’s still in spin

Arsène is looking to “reinvent himself” apparently. A tyre fitter at Kwik Fit, perhaps? There’s an increasing sense that the decision over his future isn’t going to be made in the next three weeks as he originally targeted, but at the end of the season.

It’s going to continue to be an uncomfortable time for him although there’s no doubt that reaching the FA Cup final is more likely facing Manchester City than either Chelsea or Tottenham. Whereas those two clubs will seek to stifle us, City will offer the opportunity to play. Whether we can win or not depends largely on whether the players recover their self-belief.

From memory, there are five games between now and then, with one them against City at the Emirates. I suspect we need to win them all to truly believe that we can get to the final. Of course, the nightmare scenario of losing the final to either Spurs or Chelsea exists but one hurdle at a time, eh?

’til Tomorrow.

92 thoughts on “The Times, They Are A-Changing But Being Arsenal, It’s Very Slowly

  1. Spin, spin and more spin from the club then. All of it looks designed to justify the retaining of the current manager (“Look – he’s changed!”), (“Arsene’s still got it, he just needs some help to carry the burden”). That he’d do a U-turn and accept a DoF in order to keep his job just goes to confirm how desperate he is to cling on. As I’ve said previously I don’t believe even for a minute that he was ever going to leave and even if he genuinely believed he might I think that deep down that was never going to happen.

    City is a winnable game, but take a few hits and our mentally weak squad will crumble. I can’t see a strong finish to the season so fourth place will reply on other sides having an even bigger collapse. It usually happens, and we scrape in some twenty points behind the title winners. That said even failing that (and it must happen eventually) Arsene will get his new contract. Short of torturing kittens live online while wearing nothing but a Kroenke mask and spandex pants I doubt that there is anything that would made our cowardly board retract their offer.

  2. Much happier that we drew City rather than the 2 London clubs in the semis. On current form we won’t beat any of them, but at least the atmosphere against City won’t be as poisonous as against the other two.

    In the Cup you always have a puncher’s chance.

  3. Good morning folks, I read that article this morning Yogi with an initial feeling of disbelief. Anytime a sports journo claims to have knowledge of the inside workings of a club my scepticism reading goes up like a rocket. I’m quite certain that there are hacks out their, from the lower end of the tabloid range, who are not averse to inventing a story to justify their continued employment.

    In the present case, some credence must be given to the story as it comes from the Telegraph’s well respected correspondent Jeremy Wilson. Is it spin, is it an attempt to dampen the growing firestorm surrounding our beleaguered manager? Or is there a hint that the endless will he, won’t he sign saga is irritating the board and the owner?

    To my mind there is no doubt that a root and branch overhaul of the club’s structures will take place once Wenger departs, this latest hint could indicate that the thinking has started. The problem is, when can it be put into effect, and that seems to be entirely in the hands of one man. Arsene Wenger.

  4. Managerial change is key. Most crucial however, is change in player caliber.liverpool have changed managers severally but havent yielded much as the have consistently bought players at the same level. Countinho, lallana, mane e.t.c are players who periodically grab headlines but are not among the best. They are equal to ox, walcott, perez etc at arsenal. Chelsea is a good example of clubs that changes both players and managers. Barcelona has changed managers but also maintained high level of players. I pray that we begin by sweeping the dressing room.

  5. a bulk of the players at Arsenal are common ilk and thus, susceptible to a have good spells, bad spells and even a collapse. Improving the level of players ensures that even if one player has a bad spell someone will step up, bayern, real, barca come to mind. Average players may have a good spell maybe even win a title but not consistently eg atletico m, dortmund,arsenal etc. Non of these teams has built on there cup or league triumphs in recent past

  6. AK,

    Agree in principle, although it’s the manager who buys the players and decides who to reward with a new contract and who to let go. Liverpool is probably not the best example though, and the players that you list were the very ones that have destroyed us twice so far this season! Our wage bill is £35m higher than ‘Pools (we are closer to Chelsea +£18m, United +£20m and City +£25m than Liverpool are to us). Also our income is higher by around £50m a season, plus AW has had far longer to build a side than Klopp who after 18 months can hardly be expected to have rebuilt an entire side.

    United of course would be a better example with the caveat that they also have a new manager.

    What I would say is I’m pretty sure that this set of players are not performing as well as they can, or even as well as you would expect. A different manager could revitalise them (for example the Ox, Jack, even Theo have more talent than they have usually shown under Arsene).

    The key though is that a new manager would almost certainly have a different style of play to AW and would buy players to fit that style. That for me would determine who stays and who leaves.

  7. Yogi,
    You say that the way Arsenal will display against Man Citeh depends on whether they have recovered their self-belief.
    If I am asked to help, the first thing I would do is to show them a video of the home game against Chelsea earlier this season.
    To play like that would suffice to overcome ANY rival. 😉

  8. Morning,
    If that article has any substance to it, its the clubs way of opening the door for AW to move upstairs at the end of the season if we don’t win the cup or win 4th place.

  9. andy1886,

    while it is true klopp has not had his full squad in place, i am afraid that kind of theory is why liverpool is stagnating. I pick liverpool because despite the mentioned players destroying us, it is the team we are closest on the table with two games in hand. This tells how these players are’headline grabbers’. They are ultimately inconsistent and not at the very top

  10. Good players do not need managers to perform consistently. Suarez did not at liverpool, costa/hazard poor form was clearly mutiny. My key point is that we should be quick to point out and drive out players who have stagnated, are not good enough or lack consitency. We need a ruthless manager. Oscar at chelsea was shipped out despite his brilliance.

  11. DFS-,

    From yesterday….

    You do realize that we have done the defensive park the bus thing plenty of times and got destroyed, we just lost 10-2 to Bayern trying to park the bus and hit them on the break, we tried it last year against all of the big sides and got ran. Against Chelsea earlier in the season we jumped on them and won, a couple years ago we did the same to Chelsea and if I’m not mistaken we did it against a couple other sides. I would take my chances Sanchez/Ozil/Theo/Perez or Welbeck against Sane/Aguero/Sterling/Silva.

  12. Parking the bus is not the answer, we know full well, and so do all the other teams, that at some stage in the game our defence will lose focus / discipline / concentration enough to gift them a goal. At which point all the good intentions will blow out of the window, and we will revert to suicidal, all out attack.

    Since we don’t have a forceful, vocal leader on pitch, and Wenger seems incapable of getting his message across from the touchline, the team will self destruct and any hope of winning will rely on a generous ref gifting us a penalty or two.

  13. Money, money, money – pre-season stuff:

    Arsenal will face their Champions League tormentors Bayern Munich in a pre-season friendly in China.

    Arsene Wenger’s men were hammered 5-1 by the German giants in each leg of their Champions League last 16 tie, resulting in a humiliating 10-2 aggregate defeat earlier this month.

    But they will do battle with Bayern again at the Shanghai Stadium on July 19, as part of the International Champions Cup.

    The friendly will be followed by a fixture against Chelsea on July 22 at the Bird’s Nest Stadium in Beijing. Chelsea then take on Bayern in Singapore on July 25.

    Arsenal chief executive Ivan Gazidis said: “It will be very special for our Chinese fans to see a game of this stature.

    “We have a fantastic following in China and the two games we are playing there this summer will be an exciting part of our build up for the new season.”

    Before heading to the Far East, Arsenal play in Australia against Sydney FC on July 13 and Western Sydney Wanderers on July 15.

    Serious question, why would we want to play two sides who regularly kick our arses just before the start of a new season? With our fragile confidence too.

    Makes no sense apart from the fact that we’ll grab a bunch of money.

  14. Also interesting to see that Gazidis has popped his head above the parapet to sell this while hiding safely in his bunker during recent discussions about AW’s future.

  15. However, Andy, playing those two fixtures in China will allow the new manager to see how much work he has to do with the squad and what he needs to invest in the transfer market.

    If it’s Arsene, fuck knows why we’re playing them. We win, he says that we don’t need new players. We lose, his acolytes will tell us (a) it’s a friendly, and, (b) what do we expect when we play the uber-rich. Arsene, however, will not make a mistake with the team selection nor will he get the tactics wrong. And they will spew a wealth of falsehoods disguised as statistics to support their insipid viewpoint.

  16. Sorry, but when did I use the expression ‘parking the bus’? That term applies to a team with little or no intention of attacking.

    When we played Manchester City in ’15, we sat deep, were disciplined then sprang into attack on the counter and won 2-0.

    Apart from the fact I seldom if ever use the expression ‘parking the bus’ – that is not what we did.

  17. A great place to play preseason warm up matches, average July temperatures for both Beijing and Shanghai are 30/32 c. The pollution level in both cities is medium to high during July, but when the wind blows into Beijing from Mongolia breathing becomes difficult for normal activity and can be dangerously so during intense exercise.

    Wasn’t it just last summer that a match between the Manchester clubs due to be played in the Birds Nest had to be called off due to the unsatisfactory playing conditions?

    But never mind all that, think of the money!

  18. Sigh….just look at Liverpool’s first team – how many of their players would you have ahead of ours? 2? 3?

    The disgrace here is that we have underachieved with what we have.

    Liverpool would take all of our back 5 in a fucking heartbeat.

    AK:
    andy1886,

    while it is true klopp has not had his full squad in place, i am afraid that kind of theory is why liverpool is stagnating. I pick liverpool because despite the mentioned players destroying us, it is the team we are closest on the table with two games in hand. This tells how these players are’headline grabbers’. They are ultimately inconsistent and not at the very top


  19. silvergunner,

    To be honest I can’t think of another Liverpool player who would make an improvement to our squad.

    I really think our problems come down to attitude.

  20. DFS-,

    Bill used the term and you agreed so I assumed. Either way, this current version of Arsenal simply can’t do that. They are an attacking side and sitting deep and hitting on the counter doesn’t work.

    To my mind, this team is a pressing team and naturally you can’t do it for the whole 90 but they also can do it to quickly win the ball back instead of simply sitting and dropping deeper and deeper.

  21. C,

    The problem with winning the ball back often involves tackling, an idea both alien to and technically impossible for our players. With the possible exception of Xhaka and Coquelin, evidence of which is their high number of yellow cards.

  22. C,

    You can’t use Ramsey, I’ve already swapped him for Coutinho. 😀 Is Winjamdum significantly better than the Ox? As to Firmino for Giroud, marginal at best.

  23. C,

    I’d take Mane any day. Still young, has a 1 in 2 record in the league for Liverpool this season and will get better.

  24. Great post yogi

    I am glad you have come around on the idea of a director of football. I remember you used to argue against the idea. The club needs other people in the organization who have some knowledge of football and the authority and cojones to have some input into the decisions that are made. Someone who could work with Arsene and have perhaps even question some of his ideas. We first started talking about this in 2008 when a couple of us were advocating a defensive coach such as Keown brought into the team. Perhaps in 2008 a defensive coach or a director of football would have been able to at least get Arsene to understand that you don’t win trophies without a very strong team defense and he might have reconsidered his attack at all cost philosophy. Perhaps having someone capable of providing a second opinion is part of what made the David Dein/Arsene partnership so effective.

  25. Orson Kaert,

    I actually agree but I think we do have players that don’t necessarily always tackle but are actually pretty good at nicking the ball off of opponents. Sanchez, Ozil (I know he takes a lot of flack but higher up the pitch he is good at reading and either intercepting or nicking the ball away), Elneny and even Ox are capable of intercepting or nicking the ball. Problem is, you have to either instruct the team to play that way or like Pep and Klopp, drill it into your team.

  26. Orson Kaert,

    Maybe because he is from the UK and homegrown we can get a 2 for 1 deal 😉 . Firmino might be marginally better but he is also younger, hungrier and would be brilliant on the LW with Sanchez centrally or even playing on the right since he not only scores goals but is a creator with an engine. Wjandinum centrally is a brilliant player, good tackler and his distribution and both passing and dribbling is more secured than Ox.

  27. andy1886,

    I would take Mane of course even if it meant swapping him for my beloved Theo. So that is 3 with the possiblity of 4 I would swap .

  28. I actually think that a sporting director would do a world of good if as the article and Yogi point out its Arsene giving him a list of Plan A, B and C players he wants and then leaving the situation alone until said players arrive.

  29. You could argue that Arsene was one of the best managers in the world in the first 1/2 of his reign. However, everything changed with the start of the Emirates era and especially in this decade. I really think that part of the problem was Arsene’s desire to have complete control of the football operations of the club served to divide his attention. Arsene is only human just like all of us and he only gets 24 hours in each day. How could he possibly focus on being a great field manager when he has so many responsibilities and his attention is divided in so many directions.

    I think Arsene sold the idea to the board that he had a grand plan to revolutionize the way football clubs were run. He would build a team based on a revolving door a talented players from the youth academy and the transfer market would become a secondary method of obtaining talent. He changed the focus to building teams around technical skill and creativity and attacking football and he believed that defense would take care of itself if we played his brand to total football. It was a grand an noble idea but winning without defense was never realistic. The failure of the academy to produce PL level players much less superstars and the wealthy owners and other sources of money that were coming into world football at the time totally overwhelmed what he thought he could do.

  30. Orson Kaert,

    Agreed attitude is without doubt a major factor in why we start so slowly, again the manager has to take the flack. I have said this before but AW mentality has shifted how can I tell this you might ask. Well in the past he used to use adjectives like ruthless and phrases like killer instinct. We are neither ruthless and we most definitely lack killer instinct.

  31. C,

    Should he stay, and should the board decide to appoint a D o F, Wenger must have no input as to who that should be. Whilst they will have to work closely together, the D o F must be strong enough and knowledgeable enough to challenge Wenger’s thinking on tactics and training, in particular the coaching of the defence.

  32. Orson Kaert,

    Tend to agree with you completely, he shouldn’t be involved in the chose of who the director of futbol is, ha to be somebody that is willing to tell him fuck off if they situation arises. Working together doesn’t always mean being 100% in agreement. The coaching of the defense has to be top of the list but as does having a particular style of play and bringing in players and having a full squad that are capable of playing that way but also capable of adjusting tactics should the situation occur.

  33. If that is true then I actually think it might mean that Arsene is staying, Jonkers leaving is quite the opposite of what we want because it was well known that Arsene and Jonkers didn’t see eye to eye on quite a few things. Jonkers has been on record as saying that how things were being run at Arsenal need a complete restructure and well now he is off to Wolfsburg and if Primorac is off then who the hell knows what the fuck is going on other than it being Arsenal at present are in full “WTF this shit is sinking mode” as its happening in the middle of the season when things should be getting ready for the final stretch of the season.

  34. I’d take Coutinho over Ozil. He’s like Ozil, but one that can run a big game. He also scores goals 😛

  35. C

    Your idea of comparing our 4 players with ManCity’s players might have some legitimacy if the game was going to be 4 vs 4. However, the last time we played City they totally outnumbered and overwhelmed in on our end of the pitch and we could not get the ball past the center circle which completely neutered forward attacking duo of Alexis and Ozil. We were able to win several games during the holiday period when Ozil was sick and Giroud and Sanchez were scoring but that game in the Etihad and the game against Everton where they stifled us in the second half was the preliminary stages of the terrible run of form we have seen in calendar 2017.

  36. Neither City or Everton have been great defensive teams this season but we made both of them look like the reincarnation of Mourinho’s 2005 Chelsea team that conceded only 14 league goals in the entire season.

  37. In some ways I regret to say this, but too many professional footballers today are simply not hungry enough. The wheel has turned full circle.
    The top flight are paid soaring wages which are nothing short of obscene. The once objective of international honours would appear to be no longer that attractive.
    Everything to do with successful clubs is just too comfortable ……for the players and their lifestyle. Global TV and advertising are the main culprits.
    Foreign investors have also played a part in providing the lure of money and now we have China entering the fray.
    The financial bubble will eventually burst because, like all bubbles it cannot continue largely unchecked. 😉

  38. Bill,

    True the match isn’t 4 v 4 but as you say, their defense isn’t that good neither is ours at present. With that though, part our our problem was that we weren’t able to get the ball to Ozil and Sanchez so they cut off our supply line and its why I would in midfield go with a player like Elneny who might not be everybody’s pick but in a match were last time we couldn’t keep possession, his skill set would be ideal plus we all know he will work his socks off and close down space so we aren’t losing anything defensively not having Le Coq in the line-up (lets be honest Le Coq has been exposed starting with the Everton and Citeh matches) for his inability to handle being pressured. We will need to get the ball to the likes of Ozil and Sanchez if we are to have a chance and its why I would go with a Welbeck or Perez on the flanks that not only will track back but also carry the ball on the flanks to help with the pressure. The other problem is that we can’t simply sit back and soak up pressure given we simply aren’t good at it, I’m not saying go all out attack but I’m not saying sit back either. Press without dropping deep when they are in possession. We have to close down their space.

  39. If our game plan is to constantly attack and out score them, we are setting ourselves up to get torched against a team with roughly equal talent that we can not overwhelm and impose our will

  40. if coutinho was as good as people claim, he would be at a bigger club right now, even Juventus which does not always target the creme hasn’t come knocking

  41. C

    I know you love Elneny but The idea that we can continue to send Ozil forward to wait for the ball and Elneny will completely change our ability to manage the midfield is highly optimistic.

  42. when Ozil plays for Germany he is a fighter looking for the ball and running with it especially if they are on the back foot, at Arsenal he’s different. I have always linked this to quality of team mates, i suspect at arsenal he views it as an effort in futility.

  43. AK:
    if coutinho was as good as people claim, he would be at a bigger club right now, even Juventus which does not always target the creme hasn’t come knocking

    He he, so you’re making my point for me now. Good-oh.

  44. Why? Why not? How do you know?

    AK:
    if coutinho was as good as people claim, he would be at a bigger club right now, even Juventus which does not always target the creme hasn’t come knocking

  45. when we bought Xhaka i hoped he would seamlessly replace santi, he hasn’t. Coq, ramsey and elneny all fall short, even arsene acknowledged Ozil suffers without cazorla. Last season he had an assist drought when cazorla was sidelined, thi season his early season form disappeared with cazorlals absence

  46. Damon,

    its pretty clear good or promising players don’t stay at a club of liverpool stature,plus he is south american a call from the la liga giant would see him whizz off. Bayern, man city, man utd, psg, juve, barca, real are all bigger clubs with financial muscle to whisk him off, none has. He is not good enough.

  47. Bill,

    Why is it optimistic? We need a player that is capable of getting the ball from defense to our attacking players and Le Coq has shown that when pressed he can’t do it, Ramsey don’t get me started and Ox is injured presently (not sure how bad). Elneny is a player capable of linking the defense to attack and that was our problem against Citeh. Its not about me liking a player or not liking a player because if Ox could it then start Ox, if Ramsey or Le Coq could do it then they start but Ramsey and Le Coq don’t do pressure well and Ox has performed better but is out and remains to be seen if he can do it long term. Elneny, even by you, is capable of not only keeping possession but getting out and dealing with pressure so against a side that likes to pressure doesn’t it make sense to have a player that is capable of not only maintaining possession against the press but able to link attack. Give me a player in that position that is consistent over a player that one moment is dynamic and the other giving away possession that leads to a goal. You want goals and the only way to ensure that is that we get from defending to attack quickly and Elneny is IMHO easily the best at the club at doing that consistently outside of Santi.

  48. C

    Elneny is good at holding possession but you tend to over rate certain players which I think is the case with Elneny and his ability to link defense to attack. I know that Cazorla gets better the longer he is out and we had plenty of poor runs of form with him in the team but he is the only player on the squad who has the potential to consistently overcome the numerical disadvantage we have in the midfield when Ozil camps out up forward and goes missing.

    I agree with AK regarding his idea that we have a squad full of good players but we lack game changers and impact players. I doubt that any of Webeck, Iwobe, Perez, Giroud, Ramsey, Ox, Elneny, Le Coq, Wilshere, Walcott, this season’s Nacho, Gibbs, etc etc etc would be more then squad players for any of the worlds more ambitious big teams not named Arsenal. Ozil would be a great addition to a team like Munich which has an over whelming talent advantage on its opponents but he struggles in a team that can’t just impose its will on its opponents and can’t afford for him to go missing when the rest of the team is struggling.

  49. Bill,

    I’m not overrating Elneny, I think you are underrating him if I’m fair, he hasn’t had a consistent run in the side but people tend to forget just how good he was when he arrived for us, he wasn’t dropped for form but because if memory serves Ramsey got fit and well we know how that goes. Every player on the pitch doesn’t need to be an impact player, you need players in your team, even the most ambitious sides, that you can count on to do their job consistently and that is exactly what Elneny brings. Take a look at some of the best sides in Europe really not named Bayern or PSG: Chelsea have Moses and Matic, Citeh have Fernandinho, Madrid have Casermo and to a thus far Kovic, Barca have Raktik (he is a good player make no mistake but his consistency keeps him in the side), Juve have the likes of Marchisio, Khederia at this point in his career. Yes most of them are good to really good players and I’m not necessarily saying quality wise (I think Elneny is much better than he gets credit for in midfield) but as far as consistency and knowing match in match out what you get, he is what we currently need plus he is a fighter and player that is willing to do the dirty work and defensively he does a job.

    We do need more game changers, there is no doubt about that; hell outside of Ozil, Sanchez, Bellerin and potentially Kos and Mustafi, no other would get into the bigger sides but then you could say the same thing about Moses, Cahill, Alex Sandro, Clichy, and there are quite a few others. The point is, we not only need more game changers but we also need to better use our squad. For instance, Ox was starting to find his feet in midfield yet was pushed to the wing inorder to accomodate Ramsey and Le Coq. Consistency is the key and I have said from the start that I would go with:

    Cech
    Bellerin—Mustafi—Kos—-Nacho
    ——–Xhaka——–Elneny—-
    ————-Ozil————-
    Theo——-Sanchez——Perez or Welbeck

    That is probably our best and most balanced line-up and should Theo struggle he could get dropped.

  50. C

    If we have Ozi sitting up front and not getting involved in helping with our transitions from defense to attack then we probably need a dynamic impact player in the cazorla position and without that sort of player ozil becomes a liability. Elneny is steady eddy but not the more dynamic impact type of player we need.

  51. Bill,

    Why do we need an impact player in that position? Ozil isn’t just sitting and waiting contrary to popular belief but he also isn’t dropping (though he can) to pick up the ball from the CB’s. Elneny is steady eddy as you say, he can do the job and that’s what we need in that position, once it gets to Ozil and Sanchez we know we can be dynamic but we have to get it to them. I’m not saying in the summer we don’t go out and by a Rabiot or Pjanic but right now, for me, Elneny is the best of the bunch because we know what he can do (though I still think he has much more in his locker including goals) and he understands and knows how to get the ball to our attacking player without giving away possession.

  52. Albrighton scores and 3-2 Leicester o aggregate and Leicester have the all important away goal. Leicester may very well move on against Sevilla who are 5 points from top spot in La Liga. Have to say, Leicester going through against Sevilla would be quite a result and it would actually piss me off when I think that we couldn’t beat Monaco yet Leicester beat Sevilla.

  53. They just explained it and it was for him getting mad and yelling but in nobody’s direction and hardly worth of the ref even paying attention to him.

  54. Vardy should have finished it there, hope it doesn’t come back to haunt them.

    Any way you look at it a far better fist of it than we have managed over the last seven years.

  55. Arsenal are at their best when attacking and pressing, but they have a manager who basically doesn’t seem to believe in either. It is incredibly frustrating that Arsenal has the best defensive forward in the world (Sanchez) and some tremendous speedsters (Theo, Welbeck now, Perez, Iwobi et al) and they are are not being used to smother opposing teams. It also helps Coquelin’s game when he gets forward and stands on the toes of the centre-backs. At least then he doesn’t have to help bring the ball up from the back!
    Arsenal were moving in that direction when Sanchez was at CF (the way he picked Cahill’s pocket against Chelsea is a sign of what he can do) but then it all seemed to dissolve. Maybe Sanchez was the instigator of the pressing and Arsene resented that. Its certainly obvious that Sanchez thinks the team should do a lot more pressing and isn’t getting any support.
    Coaches like Pep and Klopp must see the way Arsenal play and shake their heads.

  56. Well done Leicester.
    When you consider their skillset, how much they have had to fight and punch above their weight…well it’s a lot more than Arsenal have shown in a very long time.
    In Ranieri’s last 9 games Leicester had lost 7 and drawn 1 and conceded 18 goals.
    Under Shakespeare they have now won 3 from 3, scoring 8.
    Romance aside, it doesn’t seem to have been a bad decision, thus far at least. 😉

  57. wow……what a performance from leceister city…no one gave them a chance against sevilla which is presently the third best club in Spanish LA liga

  58. I take it everyone has seen the hilarious video of that spud getting a nuckle sandwich from that Millwall fan the other day. I really don’t see anything wrong at all with it. If you’re going to bait opposition fans with songs of hatred, expect a fight.

  59. Bill, I have to ask.

    When the whole point at issue is whether Arsene has lost his marbles, why do you rethink a supposed interest in appointing a ‘Director of Football’ matters at all?

    Just a polite question to an old friend but I just do not understand your seemingly complete detachment from what actually matters in the world of The Aerse.

  60. CBob

    I don’t think the interest in a Director of football is real and it will never happen as long as Arsene is the manager. It should have been done long ago. Separation of powers and having someone who can provide a dissenting opinion or at least have the authority to question the man in power is needed in any organization. Benevolent dictatorships can work for a while but when there is no one who can provide second opinions it inevitable that the dictator will eventually lose the ability for accurate self evaluation

  61. Wasn’t part of the reason that Leicester advanced was the fact that Ranieri put in a counter attacking system, brought in a couple of players namely Ndidi who have made them the Leicester that they are while at the same time making sure they were in striking distance of Sevilla with making a couple of changes to help them get the goal in Spain. Funny, the players are playing much better but Ranieri not only guided them to the PL, never threw a single player under the bus all the while helping them to advance to were they are. Even funnier is the fact that Arsene is still at the helm yet essentially Ranieri’s Leicester have not only won the title, advanced further than Arsneal but one manager got sacked and the other is being offered a much improved (assuming but lets not act like it isn’t) contract to carry on.

  62. I will say this, I hope Leicester gets smashed in the next leg, the players let him down plain and simple. Watch the players, they are fighting like they did last year and for Ranieri, its a shame that watching these set of players actually fight like they did last year now unlike they have, fuck Leicester players and hope they get both relegated and smashed in the next leg.

  63. C

    The Leicester players certainly deserve a lot of blame, however, when the team is struggling as badly as they were and facing relegation you need to change the dynamic. You can’t get a whole team and the only legitimate option is to change manager. Seems harsh on Ranieri but everything was quickly falling apart and something needed to be done.

  64. Watching Leicester and Barcelona players’ performance before and after the sacking of manager, in Barca’s case manager’s announcement, I thought, maybe just maybe, our players could be on a strike, deliberately lowering their performance to get rid of the manager. Well, I’m bored. hehe

  65. Mongolian Gooner

    I don’t think its a conscious strike by our players but more likely recognition that they are comfortable with the status quo. Consistent effort and concentration throughout the 38 game league schedule has never been necessary because they are only expected to achieve the minimum requirement of finishing in the top 4.

  66. Bill, yes. I agree with you about the lack of consistency and commitment to the full concentration throughout the season. I am frequent reader here and I, mostly, agree with the common views discussed around here.

    I was talking with a friend about Leicester’s form and I suggested, jokingly, that our players too could be in some sort of mutiny against our esteemed manager.

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