Arsenal’s Top Ten of 2017: So How Was It For You?

It’s that time of year and a combination of our performance at West Brom with Mike Bloody Dean, quashed my enthusiasm for football today. I need a perk, a tonic; a pick-me-up.

If I wrote a review of last year, I might as well copy 2015, 2014, or whatever year of the past decade. It’s easy to pick the low-points which comes as no surprise to anyone. 2017 has been a largely forgettable year with little signs of progress, but overwhelmingly it was numbing.

Bertie Mee, Terry Neill, Don Howe and George Graham all saw their reigns crumble on the back of poor quality football. Supporters were numbed by the weekly fare served up and the end was inevitable, arriving for some sooner than expected. Arsène may not plumb the mid-table depths three of that quartet took us into, but there is no doubt in my mind that he is following their path.

It’s a different board now. While others paid with their jobs, Wenger claimed a new contract. Ivan’s PR spiel of Arsène being the best candidate for the job haunt him at every turn. We know he was spinning a pearl necklace out of a sow’s ear, or more accurately what Stan told him to spin.

Yet if these guys are as principled as they like to say, I’m just surprised that none of them quit over his re-appointment. Too fond of the free match tickets or in the case of Ken Friar, too red and white in his blood to let the club crumble without trying to do something about it.

So I’ll begin the countdown in reverse order, mainly so that you can see how far down the bottom of the barrel I had to scrape to find some genuinely good points about 2017.

10. Huss Fahmy

No disrespect but when you think that a bloke being appointed as contract manager is a good thing, the slim pickings for the year’s high points becomes painfully clear.

Storming into the charts simply because it was the first sign that a quiet revolution was going on behind the scenes.

9. Per Mertesacker Announced As New Head of Academy

This is another good thing. As close to a ‘Mr Arsenal’ as we’re likely to get in this day and age – only Theo Walcott can rival him on longevity – which says everything about modern football.

The BFG has a wealth of experience from which younger players can surely only benefit.

8. Jens Lehmann Appointed First-Team Coach

Got to love him. Nutty as a fruitcake, Lehmann’s appointment is a good thing. An Invincible and a winner who doesn’t tolerate fools gladly. A surprise appointment given Wenger’s aversion to confrontation; maybe Jens threatened him and neither Arsène nor Ivan has the brass balls to tell him he’s no longer wanted.

7. Sven Mislintat’s Appointment

There’s a theme here…

A breath of fresh air in the scouting department whom it’s rumoured has brought in new scouts already. A quiet revolution; a sign, perhaps, that Ivan realised that outnumbering Arsène’s allies is the way to win the power struggle.

6.  Ainsley Maitland-Niles

Maitland-Niles assuredness is a rare ray of light from the Academy. Still has a lot to learn, but with the centre of midfield creaking in its defensive duties, is 2018 the year when AMN gets the chance to put his case for inclusion forward?

5. Goalless draw at Stamford Bridge

For a while, we could dream. Stubborn and unyielding, Arsenal turned in a performance in a big away game we hoped for. No Özil, Alexis a late substitute; the future was brighter as the lessons from Anfield were learned.

And promptly forgotten when we went to Watford, Manchester City, and pretty much every away game since.

4. Alexandre Lacazette

Despite the current barren spell, a success in the transfer market. At £52m, you expect the player to settle quickly and Lacazette has done so. Which is surprising given Wenger’s willingness to hook him at 70 minutes on a regular basis.

3. Jack Wilshere

Everyone expected him to break down by Christmas but L’il Jack didn’t. Instead, he quickly established himself back in the side which is a welcome turn of events. Determined to stay at the club, which he can walk away from next year but hopefully, we’ll retain a talented player. And he’ll stay fit.

2. Arsenal 2 Manchester City 1, FA Cup semi-final

Cast as underdogs, Arsenal finished the day in the FA Cup final. City were supposed to walk away with the victory, particularly as we’d used a back three once before. Even the continuing uncertainty over Arsène’s future couldn’t derail the attempt to reach the club’s 20th FA Cup final.

We lost the 1952 FA Cup final when a goal was wrong allowed after the ball went out of play. We reached the 2017 final when City had a goal wrongly disallowed when the ball was adjudged to have gone out of play. What goes around, etc.

1. Arsenal 2 Chelsea 1, FA Cup final

No joy in the Premier League and the Champions League was humiliating, even by our low standards. Alexis took a break from his role as pantomime villain to score the opener as Chelsea were outplayed. Victor Moses saw red for a dive so bad that judges declined to give him a score.

Diego Costa equalised but before that sank in, Aaron Ramsey became the first player this decade to score the winner in two FA Cup finals.

And all was well with the Arsenal world. For 24 hours, anyway.

2017, a year of famine so far as genuine bright spots were concerned. Will 2018 be better?

’til Tomorrow.

62 thoughts on “Arsenal’s Top Ten of 2017: So How Was It For You?

  1. One of the highlights for me has been the ongoing excellence of your blogging Yogi. Many thanks and long may it continue.

  2. Morning all,

    A fair review of the year. I still love the FA Cup. Not convinced that much will change at Arsenal this year, but hopefully the first steps have been taken in preparing for life after Wenger.

  3. Guten Morgen, the lowlight has to be Wenger staying in for two more years.
    This guy is too much: He doesn’t like the January transfer window, so there is his ready made excuse not to do anything, but then says we cannot afford any more injury problems and we have to play a lot of games.
    You can’t budget for injuries, but the periods of fixture congestion are basically known. How about having a quality squad in the first place or even reinforcing mid season in the window?
    Frankly Arsene, the are the problems you are paid 10millions pounds a year to solve, and plenty of your peers do it for less.
    Time to call it a day, before you sink the entire club, which is bigger than you and your ego.

  4. The FA Cup final and finally playing in the EUROPA LEAGUE where we undoubtedly belong, at least for now.

  5. Arsene held his press conference this morning, but I honestly couldn’t find anything interesting to report from it!

  6. This theory about players regressing under Wenger and players maybe being able to perform better under different managers??

    …latest examples. Lacazette and the Ox.

  7. YW,

    Nope, regards transfers Arsene cannot confirm or deny anything at all and in preparation for his future in politics when asked about the usual suspects he said essentially “I refer my honourable friend to the reply I gave before”

  8. Morning you miserable lot and thanks again Yogi my man.

    FA Cup, what a brilliant performance and still brings a huge smile to my face thinking about Mert’s performance. Speaking of, tend to agree with you Yogi on Mert which is pretty ironic given how much people have continually slated him for his lack of pace but he has been a really good servant.

  9. 2017 was a good year. Won the FA Cup beating the best two teams in the league at the semi and the final. Still in Carabao Cup, FA Cup and Europa fielding varying teams to cope with the stress on the players. Good thinking IMO. Working hard to play in Champions league next season.Guess we are too harsh on our club and Arsene. What exactly do we want. Arsene to leave for the fun of it?

  10. Steve,
    I think you may have just lit the blue touch paper with that comment …..
    …you may require a hard hat!

  11. The appointments of the likes of Mislintat and the fella from Barcelona can only be positive things however we can only wait and judge them in time. Presumably being big hitters coming from serious European clubs they have a clear mandate as the mere fact they still have to work with or under Wenger and also Gazidis and Kroenke would be a concern.

    Less sure what the introduction of Lehmann does to be honest. I get all the ex-player and winning mentality stuff but I have no idea about his abilities to coach and work with first team players. Appointing former club players is admirable and always nice to see around the club but ultimately they have to play an actual role. People like Pat Rice and currently Steve Bould were both ex-players and presumably had winning professional mentalities but many have suggested they were stifled under the total controlling nature of AW.

  12. Good’day,

    Well, I’m a right miserable git when it comes to 2017🙂.

    I did think that there was something to Gazidis words of “catalyst for change” and to see another contract and 2 more years was disappointing (to say the least).

    But nows a new year and as things are folding out I believe change is coming.

  13. Steve,

    I’d challenge those ‘achievements’ somewhat along the following lines:

    Carabao Cup? Who cares? Arsene has never valued the competition. Yes I’d rather be in than out but as an achievement scraping past the likes of Doncaster, Norwich and West Ham are rather underwhelming.

    Europa League? My dog could have coached a team to win that group, let’s see how we get on when we face someone decent.

    The FA Cup? Yes, I’m one that still values it highly and really enjoyed our success. But to say we are still in it when we haven’t even played our first game in the competition is a little bit daft isn’t it?

    Working hard to play in the CL? Leaving aside that our recent performances have been embarrassing in that competition it’s a statement of the obvious that we are fighting to be in the mix – all the top clubs are, so how is that an ‘achievement’?

    Basically what you are saying is that we should be grateful that we haven’t been truly dreadful, because to have failed in any of those competitions against the opposition that we’ve faced would have been diabolical.

    Given that it’s going to be fourteen years without a title and a decade since we made any impression on the CL I’d say that for the seventh or eighth richest club in the world we’ve shown a remarkable tolerance of a manager that’s well past his best. When Leicester won the title all the other big clubs fired their manager, but not us. Our nearest comparable rival in terms of income, spend and wages are Chelsea – and they’ve won two titles in the last four seasons. We’ve been overtaken by a team that spends around £100m less on wages than we do and a fraction of what we spend in the transfer market (Spurs). We’ve also been overtaken by a manager that many of our fans claim is hopeless (Klopp).

    Makes you wonder how low the bar has to go before the Wengerites accept that this simply isn’t good enough for a club the stature of Arsenal.

  14. As far as transfers go, I think its looking more and more likely that Theo is going to be loaned to Southampton for thr rest of the season.

    I still want Dembele from Celtic. The midfield will be interesting to with Jack now fit and showing some form but out of contract, with Maitland-Niles possibly getting his chance; the Goretzka or any other CM player I imagine will be put on hold until that is resolved. I wouldn’t mind Goretzka or the other number of CM players that are there to be had with it looking liKe Jack is enjoying the central place but needs somebody with legs to partner him.

  15. Over the line cup final goal against was was 1932 Cup Final v Newcastle.
    I remember it like yesterday!

  16. With so much dross served up by Arsenal in the past year it should have been difficult to pick the low point, but for me no problem, the ten goals to two aggregate loss to Bayern Munich. That humiliation alone should have been enough to get convince Wenger his time was up, but having failed to fall on his sword he should have been sacked.

  17. Orson Kaert,

    Very true, how that man continues to get humiliated in big games (OT 8-2, Stamford 6-0, The Cop 5-1, most of the Bayern games) and yet continue on like nothing happened!

    What happened to “every loss is a scar in my heart (or thereabouts)”. I find it strange that he, who
    by all accounts is a intelligent and intellectual person don´t see the the writing on the wall.
    Don´t see that the trains no more comes to his station and that they haven´t been coming for quite some time.

  18. Could not argue with any of that list of 2017 ‘Goodies’, Yogi-maester, and credit to you for remembering and listing those uplifting matters of import. Chapeau !! 🎩 😀

    For the less gifted personages (well, me) I have a couple of more prosaic suggestions, good and bad.

    The Good:
    1) The re-appearance of some gifted youngsters in the Carabao, and to a lesser extent the Europa League. Good to see, and along with N-M, whom you nominated, could be added the names of Eddie NKetiah, Reiss Nelson, Joe Willock, Ben Sheaf and Marcus McGuane. Top youth talent with great potential — but don’t tell Buffalo Bill. 😀

    The Bad:
    1) The introduction of some other talented players who were given the kiss of death by being loaned, and subsequently disappearing – perhaps for ever from the Arsenal coil.
    Gedion Zellalem, Martinez, Mavididi, Bola and so on.

    2) Others kids who seemed shoe-ins for riding the pine, and eventually coming off the Bench with splinters in their ass to strut their stuff, but then suffered the — ‘where’ve they gone?’
    The Jeff, Bramall, Safari Moore and Bielik and so on.

    The Ugly:
    1) The geezer who sold my mate a dodgy burger from one of those ancient burger vans. Made me miss two minutes of the game dialling 999, on one of my infrequent trips down from Manchester. Disgraceful!

    2) Both my 2017 ex-girlfriends — yeah, well, I cannot afford to be choosy.

  19. Great job YW, top blog….
    2017 was ok only due to the fa cup final win which left a nice warm feeling after a premier league campaign that was dissapointing at best.
    We still have 18 months left of the Wenger era expect nothing other than extended Cup finishes.

  20. I see that AW has been charged by the FA for confronting Mike Dean after the match. I hope he stands there and tells them what he really thinks of Dean rather than apologise, I’d back him 100% in that instance.

  21. C,

    I can’t understand why we loan out older players, what is the point?

    Chelsea for example use the loan system to test youngsters and let them grow, then they make the decision to keep or sell. Arsenal seem to use it as something to do with those that haven’t made the grade or are out of favour.

    If a player is surplus to requirement, or has failed to make the grade then sell them. How many years did we hang on to NB52 and numerous others? Walcott at Arsenal has been a wasted career, one that has been no good for either party.

  22. HenryB,

    Ouch Henry, two girlfriends. That`s rotten luck and on top of that the Arse. May they taste the smell of chisel and brimstone and all the other nasty things that are bound to come their way and hopefully the girls will come to their senses 🙂

  23. andy1886,

    Walcott has at least won a medal or two and made enough money to see him through to his old age. A decent contract at Southampton will top up his pension pot quite nicely.

  24. Steve,

    While my turgid Arse-pulse has been quickened by the arrival of the backroom gurus Yogi refers to, the thought had just occurred to me moments before I read your comment at 12.30, Steve, that just as AW seems capable of neutering the most promising players, so too does he seem able to take the edge off the gifts of his backroom staff, if rumours, innuendo and the perennial fan guesswork are to be trusted (and they certainly should). He must surely/please be on his way out, squeezed however subtly by his CEO.

    In Ivan We Trust!

  25. If I was Arsene Wenger, I’d tell the FA to FUCK the Hell Off you freaking Hypocrites.

    If someone has the responsibility for a Corporation to win or lose, then they must be accountable for their mistakes and publicly as well. Those Referees with one mistake can send a Club to relegation or to winning the league, there is so much money, fates of players, and clubs involved and they can’t be protected by the FA against that, unless the FA condones their actions or instructed them to perform those actions.

    In this case, I would call to investigate the FA themselves, no one ever should be above the law and in this case, The English referees gone away with hundreds of murders unpunished.

    The mistakes are there on tape for every one to see, yet the English FA remains or chooses to be BLIND instead of resolving their mistakes. It’s the route that the weak would usually take, and no wonder English football is weak in everything….Refereeing, Wining Tournaments of note, Biased Pundits, etc…etc…

    I bet this FA board consists of some combination of: 80 years old Lord of the Farts, 75 years old, Lord of Ignorance, and the honorable 90 years old Lord of Arrogance, you get the rest……………All incapable of change or even the desire to improve.

    From me with despise: Fuck Off English FA.

    ****

    By the way, I’m not defending Wenger here because I think if we played better and scored a couple of goals….We would not be in this situation and we would put our boots up Dean’s and his Lords at the FA’ Ass.

  26. Thanks for the sympathy, Corgi, @ 3:45. 😀

    At just over 6′ 7″ [2.1m] and 20 stone [127Kg] I find that ‘normal’ sized girls are OK about it – but as I also facially look like the hunchback of Notre Dame that does reduce my options! 😀

  27. HenryB,

    Nearer 2 metres than 2.1 Henry(2.007 actually)-but at that size if ever we should meet I won’t be the one to tell you to your face😉

  28. Great post Yogi

    The FA cup was certainly the highlight of 2017. We were lucky with the draws in the prior 2 FA cups and we did not face many very good or highly motivated opponents. Both of the previous finals were against lower table teams However last season we beat City in the semifinal and Chelsea in the final so full credit to Arsene for getting the team ready. We rightfully blame Arsene for everything that goes wrong so if we are going to be fair we have to give him credit for everything that goes right. Over the years Arsene’s teams have shown incredible mental strength whenever 4th place was at risk and before last season he has always found a way to pull us thru to the 4th place trophy. Now it seems that we have transfered some of that mental strength to our FA cup runs.

    All of that said its clear to anyone who has watched the club that we have stagnated in this decade and now we are now going the wrong way. I have been saying for years that Arsene will never leave this job voluntarily. Hopefully our new front office acquisitions are a signal that our board/owner finally see the light and they will make it clear to Arsene that he will not be offered a new contract in 2019 and they will give him the opportunity to save face and retire with dignity. Hope springs eternal.

  29. For better or worse there is not much chance Arsene will retire or be sacked after this season. I think there is a realistic chance that he might not be offered a new contract in 2019. When the time finally does come, I hope he does not go out kicking and screaming.

  30. Whether the penalty should or should not have been awarded Wenger has no chance of beating the rap. Ranting at referees will never be excused.

    But fear not, his punishment will be a fine and touchline ban, he can easily afford any fine the FA will levy and as his presence on the touchline is totally ineffective, he will not be missed…..except by TV cameramen when he struggles to zip up his coat.

  31. Thanks, JonnyG, 😀

    Well spotted, sir. It was a typo – should have read 2.01m — not 2.1m

    A mathematician just like me — but you are better at typing.

    Now all I need is remedy for ugliness and I will be happy! 😀

  32. andy1886,

    yup don’t understand it from Arsenal’s standpoint but then again for Theo it makes perfect season for match time.

    I mean I know Theo doesn’t do a shit ton and is not mosts cup of tea but the fact that he can’t get match time ahead of Iwobi and Welbeck is strange when you consider that Theo at the very least offers a goal threat.

  33. Jonnygunner,

    It was a “Sunday Roast” and very good, the beef was well flavoured and tender, a well cooked variety of veg and helpful and friendly service. All at very reasonable prices too.

  34. HenryB,

    Kitchen and bathroom fitter H…….which is why I thought ‘fuck me….I’ve buggered up a few jobs if that’s the case!!’
    Don’t worry about the looks H……my mates reckon if beauty was skin deep then I was born inside out……and they’re friends !!

  35. I think Arsene sends players like Theo and Lucas Perez and Joel Campbell on loan because its so difficult to sell them. That is the only logical explanation. There is very little chance that Perez, Joel Campbell or even Theo are in Arsene’s long term plans and I am confident he would sell them if he could. There are no big teams in the world that want those players and their wages are much higher then most mid sized or smaller teams are willing to pay for that level of player. There is no reason for those players to take a big pay cut.

    Going on loan is the perfect scenario for someone like Theo or Perez because they go to a team where they might get playing time but they keep their Arsenal wage package.

  36. Llorente just score for Spuds and FFS his whole body was offsides and it wasn’t even close to the point that players didn’t celebrate because they thought it was the offsides whistle but Madly pointed goal good.

  37. Mavididi looks set to join Charlton on loan after being mainly used as an impact sub or not at all for Preston.

  38. Its funny Bill says Sterling will slow down for Citeh and yet there he is again scoring another goal today.

  39. Madly bottles it because Sanches for Spuds should be off after a wild swing and taking out the player. This has been a HORRIBLY reffed match with the goal NOT EVEN CLOSE to being onside and now Spuds should be down to 10 but Madly bottles it yet showed a Swansea player a yellow for much much less in the first half (a foul by the way that waa even borderline a foul).

    Should Swansea lose this match, they have every right to feel they got the shaft. Fuck mr, the standards of reffing in the PL is absolutely laughable.

  40. C

    Mike Deans bad call is inexcusable but nothing has changed. There have been controversial/debatable calls in almost every game in this decade and its been this way ever since the replay technology improved to the point where we now know exactly what happens in ultra slow motion with multiple angles and with offsides lines drawn on TV. Multiple offsides calls are missed in every game but most don’t matter because we only remember the ones that result in an offside goal being scored or wrongfully denied.

    Spurs could have had a penalty when Son was tripped in the penalty area. Inconsistency is impossible to avoid when any call requires the ref to make a subjective judgement.

    Sterling if not as good as he has been so far this season and I suspect he will slow down at some point in the second half.

  41. C

    Spurs could have had a penalty kick near the end of the game and Watford could have had a penalty kick near the end of their game against Man City. Both times it was the refs subjective judgement that the contact did not warrant a penalty. We won’t remember either of those calls because neither would have been very likely to effect the final outcome but controversial calls happen in every game and the same thing has been happening for at least a decade. Its absolutely impossible to have anything close to consistency when these calls are completely based on subjective judgement.

  42. C

    The other problem is everyone supporting Swansea will remember the ones that went in Spurs favor but you will quickly forget the ones that went in Swansea’s favor.

  43. Bill, I don’t think it’s a matter of who remembers what, more the inconsistency of decision making and the of failure all officialdom to do something to rectify the situation.

    Of course television has highlighted the mistakes referees make, and while that may not be good for the referees egos, fans can see the reality of the situation for themselves.

  44. Steve,

    Yeah, 2017 went swimmingly – as we headed into 2018 Arsenal had won just two of their last seven PL matches, taking just 10 points from a possible 21. In that run, they played five of the current bottom eight.
    Be a dear thing and lend me your glasses eh? I need all the optimism I can get right now.
    🙂

  45. Orson

    I think should be a video review of every goal that is scored in every game and and every penalty that is called and managers should have the ability to challenge and ask for a video review of a certain number of plays in every game. Until that happens we are going to have to accept missed calls on offsides and inconsistency in the subjective judgements by refs are an unavoidable part of the game.

  46. I am 100% sure that the exact same mistakes have been made and the judgement calls have been just as inconsistent for the last 100 years of football. However, the fact that we now know exactly what is happening now changes everything.

  47. Even with video replays there is going to be inconsistency in the judgement calls. Same thing happens in American football with offensive holding calls and especially pass interference calls. However the video review would almost instantly fix the problem with missed offsides calls.

  48. Many calls that are made during a game divide opinion among analysts and fans even after they have had the benefit of watching the same play dozens of time in ultra slow motion from multiple different angles. A ref has zero chance of being consistent when he only has one view of a play and only a split second to make a decision.

  49. Just read the story in the Mirror that, if Sanchez goes (surely he will) Lucas Perez will be called back into action. Tell me it isn’t true. One minute, you’re not good enough, and the next you’re leading the line.

  50. Freddo,

    Well, it would be the cheap option so fits perfectly with the skinflint operation that we’re becoming used to.

    All the noises suggest that AFC want to sell Sanchez, I guess it depends on if City want to buy now or wait until the summer.

  51. C,

    Always feel and believe I’m on record on these hallowed pages saying that Pep would either make or break Sterling. If you can’t get it together with the best coach in the world, it’s time to turn it in!

    Glad for he boy that he’s doing good. I hate to see natural ability go to waste because no one worked out how to direct it positively. Easy to say, but for a fan who wasn’t naturally blessed with ball skills but would run all day and listen and do as they were told by greats if they had the chance, it has to be the biggest grate going

    My attention now turns to the summer. In Kane, Sterling and Alli (even Jack maybe?), Southgate has enough star quality to put a half decent run together. Where he has to be brave is giving the stars a solid platform around them. Don’t pick names, pick form. For example, Hart isn’t even West Ham’s number one so he surely can’t be England’s?

    The summer England squad reminds me a bit of Leicester’s title winning team. A few stars and a manager that gave them the perfect conditions to be the best they could. Can agareth do what Ranierir did?

  52. Well it seems Christmas can still be a wonderland for some. Buffalo Bills 300 pound defensive tackle Kyle Williams, playing in possibly the last game of his twelve year career at the club, scored his first ever touchdown in a last minute heave. Enough for the Bills to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in eighteen years.

    A fairy tale ending if ever there was one.

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