Carabao Cup Final Review: Arsenal Find New Depths To Sink To

Manchester City 3 – 0 Arsenal

A pitiful postscript to the afternoon. Arsène Wenger provided a pitiful vignette on the final and in the closing years of his reign.

We’re on a Road to Nowhere

This is the umpteenth rewrite of today’s post.

I tried to capture the mood of the afternoon but gave up when I couldn’t find a new way to describe our performance. Abject is too kind.

In all the years I’ve watched Arsenal, it was the worst performance in a final I’ve seen. Yet in the dark moments following the defeat, I found empathy with my fellow supporters. I understand the numbness Villa fans felt as they watched goals enter the net in what they hoped would be a moment of glory.

There’s a moment in every game when you know the race is run. To call it as kick-off yesterday is cheating but when Auba missed from virtually on the goal-line, that was it; game over. We prodded the sleeping bear with a stick and it was furious. It took a while to get going but landed a serious blow despite its sleep-ridden state.

With a little help from Arsenal, of course. For £35m, we expect more. Shkodran Mustafi is an accident waiting to happen, much like the rest of the defence bar Nacho.

With 20 Germany caps, Mustafi can’t be a bad player; £35m was steep but we were in dire straits and needed a virtuoso. We got a three-chord wonder instead.

The mistake is beyond elementary. It was the sort a professional shouldn’t make yet we do so with alarming regularity. Sergio Aguero made no mistake with the lobbed finish. Earlier in the game but as catastrophic as Koscielny and Szczesny’s cock-up last time we were at Wembley in a League Cup final.

We huffed and puffed for the rest of the half. Matters weren’t helped when our leading scorer from recent weeks, Nacho Monreal, withdrew after 25 minutes or so, but we were already floundering by then.

They’ll Make a Fool of You

For a while, we dragged City down to our level, as if ready for a scrap but we neither fought nor went toe-to-toe to get outpassed in a passing battle. We did nothing but surrender meekly.

Lacklustre, rudderless, and leaderless; there was no desire and no connection between the three areas of the pitch. The gap between midfield and attack became too far to bridge while the gap between the defence and defending continues to grow unhindered.

A decade ago it didn’t seem possible; not even five years ago, but the truth is here: Arsenal are a long ball side. And not a very good one. Arsène opened the gate and treads the trail which Bertie Mee, Terry Neill, Don Howe, and George Graham blazed before him.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang found himself isolated, on the periphery of the game in the same way he was when we played Tottenham at Wembley. Mesut Ozil, marginalised as ever in a big match, was unable to provide any hint of a passing game.

Jack Wilshere, so often given a free pass on the pages for effort when there is nothing else in a performance to cling on to, was equally ineffective and considerably more petulant. Granit Xhaka, Sead Kolasinac; the same boat. Supposedly good players in Germany but failing to find consistency in the Premier League.

The transfer market is a risk, but we increase that by signing players who don’t fit in a system. Not that we have a favoured way of playing. Back three, back four; neither matters because we’re inept with both.

Wenger doesn’t like the former and prefers the latter yet our defensive signing this summer was the best left back in the Bundesliga in three. So, we switch to a four and find he doesn’t fit.

They Can Tell You What To Do

It wasn’t always this way. We used to be the team everyone admired but no more. We’re the team who used to be, full stop. We used to defend, we used to pass but there’s no uniqueness anymore. Half-a-dozen top-flight sides do both better than us now.

The fear at half-time was that while City had several gears to go through, we did not. And so it came to pass. Not from Arsenal, obviously. Our passing was all over the place – anywhere but where it was intended to go.

Prior to the match, Wenger dismissed Guardiola’s influence with Barcelona and on the English game. In not so many words, he dismissed him as a chequebook manager. That was the only defence of Arsenal seen from those who still believe in the manager.

Yesterday, he got his answer. Guardiola gave a half-time talk which elicited a response. City improved and made us look worse. From our perspective, you cannot distinguish between the two halves; that’s how low we’ve sunk and how ineffective Wenger is now.

While City’s squad are hungry for success and buy into the manager’s philosophy, nobody at Arsenal plays like they believe. They aren’t even louche about it; just disinterested.

Nothing at Arsenal will change until Wenger and his senior coaches have gone. ‘Wengerball’ is a distant memory and there’s little to be optimistic about. The league table tells us that win our game in hand and we’re within five points of the top four. The game in hand is against Manchester City.

Taking That Ride to Nowhere

We’re in no man’s land as a club. In two seasons, we’ve gone from the Champions League to fighting to be in the qualifiers for the Europa League.

On Thursday night, we suffered arguably the worst European performance of the past two decades but were told the heavily rotated side was to blame for it. What excuse for yesterday? New players, same problems.

There’s only one common thread: Arsène Wenger. Had the board and owner any balls, we would be rebuilding this season. Now, we’re treading water with lead weights tied around our ankles.

’til Tomorrow.

100 thoughts on “Carabao Cup Final Review: Arsenal Find New Depths To Sink To

  1. I’m all for players holding each other accountable but after a match like yesterday when our midfield was bossed and most of the problem was how ineffective our defenders and midfield 3 were, for Ramsey to talk about mistakes is beyond me. Sure it was a U7s mistake, but look in thr mirror before you throw stones because Ramsey you were utter shit with pundits spot on about you and your first choice mate Xhaka giving up. For what its worth Ramsey said:
    “Obviously we’re all very disappointed,” he told the official Arsenal website.

    We wanted to try and win the game but we made a silly mistake which led to the first goal and that was disappointing

    Perhaps we could have taken the lead, but we can’t afford to concede goals in the way that we did today.”
    It’s always difficult when they take the lead and they’re such a quality team. They deserved the win today,”

    “Yes, of course,” he said. “We were determined from the beginning.

    “We created a couple of opportunities and their keeper made a great save on one of them.”

  2. Delusion still exists in the manager and his acolytes.

    This new low will also be forgotten over the coming weeks as excuses are found and gratefully accepted by fools.

    Very tired of it and them.

  3. I never thought I’d ever be so disinterested about Arsenal in my 15 years supporting the team.

    You’re right Arsene Wenger is the common denomator, and the route to all our issues along with his staff.

    I honestly truly believe, despite other supporters disagreeing with me, that we don’t have a bad squad currently.
    All our first team players would be playing great football with other better managers.
    You can’t tell me the likes of Kolasinac, Xhaka, Mustafi etc ran the bundesliga and now look like relegation team players and we keep blaming the players. The issue is Wenger, hell even if we got Messi, deep down we all know Wenger still won’t make anything of the team and the players he has in his disposal.

  4. Ah, Guardiola the cheque book manager. Just like Graham Potter, Mauricio Pochettino, Carlos Carvalhal, and Eddie Howe – all of who have beaten us so far in 2018. Can’t say that for Forest of course as they didn’t actually have a manager when the played us off the park which says it all really. How bad is it? Well, I would even consider having Stewart ‘Cone Man’ Houston in temporary charge over Wenger right now. Never mind Wengerball, we can’t even do the basics effectively any more.

  5. The end of AW has been a long time coming and I am sure there will be throws of the dice before it finally arrives; even a Europa Cup basket to frantically place all our eggs.

    But there is no fight left, it is the end in all but contracts.

  6. Disgrace. Trust Me with AW continuing at the helm its going to get worse. There is only one way to arrest this situation. Sack him or he resigns. Neither will happen so this will continue to drag on.

    I get no pleasure at sll in saying this at all, there is a side of Me ( dark) that wants Arsenal to get hammered, humiated in the next PL Match v City.
    It may if not has not already stir ‘ the red neck Kroenkes’ to act. Who knows ? Its all past a joke.

    Which me leads me to the psychology of AW. What is going on inside his head? He can see he’s failed and yet is unable to acknowledge it and move on. He appears completely lost, a danger to himself and the Club. Very sad times

  7. A voice from Malta. Didn’t watch the game. I felt we were in for a hiding. Thing is we don’t have a team anymore, we have a set of individuals whom Wenger simply can’t knit into a team worthy of the name of Arsenal. He’s too much yesterday’s man. We have touched rock bottom. To cap it all club owner and board of directors are simply money men. To them Arsenal Football Club is just a property to be milked. I wrote recently that unless Arsenal supporters vote with their feet things are not going to change. RIP Arsenal Football Club.

  8. The cheque book manager has been preceded by about 10 others, who were just not able to do what Guardiola has with City. They are absolutely dominating the EPL and he will be challenging for European gold and none have got them close before.

  9. Before coming to the blog this morning I read all of the newspaper headlines…in the hope that he’d done the honourable thing and fallen on his sword…..dammit…no such luck.

  10. We’ve speculated on it before: it really looks like Wenger is losing his marbles.

    Ras:

    Which me leads me to the psychology of AW. What is going on inside his head? He can see he’s failed and yet is unable to acknowledge it and move on. He appears completely lost, a danger to himself and the Club. Very sad times

  11. Morning all,

    Thanks for the write up YW, unfortunately it’s a well-worn path and could have been attributed to any number of games this season. Maybe Wenger tries not to remember the poor performances, but I can’t believe he can so easily forget last Thursday as we got a carbon copy of it yesterday. We can’t even blame it on the inadequacies of Welbeck and Iwobi this time around. Aubameyang didn’t have a hope in hell with the supply lines behind him, but did manage to fluff his lines on the couple of occasions that the ball did break his way. On one it was a good foot in by Walker to just clip the ball off his toe, but it is bewildering how Kompany so easily shrugged him off the ball when the long ball was played over the top later.

    One thing that does really puzzle me about the first goal, Mustafa knows Aguero is there because he has a look round before the ball was kicked. So why don’t he get goal side of him? He must have realised that if he missed the ball for whatever reason Aguero had a clear run on goal. So why not concede that Aguero may get the ball in front of him and ensure he didn’t have that run at goal? That’s basic, isn’t it?

  12. I wish that Wenger actually had the best interests of the club at heart like he spouts off about all of the time.

    The sad reality is that he has no other life, so will cling on to the end.

    He really should be sacked immediately.

    12 games played in 2018 – 4 Wins, 6 losses, and 2 draws. Awful..

  13. I can honestly say I would rather have the rash overly aggressive Xhaka that came to us than what we have now.

    The other thing is, Pep brought on Bernardo Silva and Jesus and that is with Sterling now available, Arsene brought on Welbeck and Iwobi.

    For those, liKe Bill who already wrote off Lacazette….are you going to write Aubameyang too because to be quite honest, all the creative players your talking only Ozil has the talent and outside of that Ramsey tuns around and does exactly what, Xhaka has a good left peg but only when he has time and space and Jack is effective sitting deep linking defence and attack but not as a number 10. Aubameyang was feeding off scraps just like Lacazette has been unless Ozil is feeding him because we don’t have enough quality. Sure Mhkitaryam, Ozil, Aubameyang, Lacazette and I’ll throw Jack when on form, but honestly, who else in our team do clubs look at and think, ‘they are good enough to beat us or can create that moment of magic’ none of them.

  14. Wenger has ridden out the storms of previous seasons with FA Cup wins coming to his rescue.

    This time around the water level has reached his chin and the fast approaching waves from Man City and Inter Milan are about to swamp him. Even Stan and Josh must have doubts about throwing him another lifeline.

  15. …and lets not forget he could well be washed up on Brighton’s beach even before the Inter tsunami reaches him.

  16. No one, we have no one. My nan is harder than elneny and xhaka. We are royally fucked. All we have now is about 30 centermidgfielders.

  17. Orson Kaert,

    Sorry to correct you, but it’s AC Milan, not Inter in the EL. A Milan that are unbeaten in 2018 and have just won away 2-0 at Roma. No wonder Wenger lives in a fantasy land, it’s the only place where he’s still relevant.

  18. Aya,

    I have to agree with you.

    All of our players are miles better than what we’re seeing from them.

    We have players who’ve won the World Cup but who look like rank amateurs who’ve just come from the pub after 24 hours of straight drinking.

    The squad, as unbalanced as it is, would do better under at least 15 of the other 19 current EPL managers, and probably many from the lower leagues too.

    Wenger has absolutely no idea of what he’s doing.

    I’ve been an Arsenal fan since 1970 when I was 8 years old. I seldom bother to watch matches anymore, and probably wont until he’s gone.

  19. Be prepared for more of the same next season. In fact I’m predicting a 7th placed finish for next season. Then finally either he will jump or be pushed. That said, he maybe able to galvanise the team during his contract negotiations, just long enough to convince the money sucking, gutless wonders of a board into believing he can bring them more cash for another 2 seasons.

    I’d like to think he may see sense and jump ship, but let’s face it, nobody wants him and he’d be an absolute nobody without AFC. He certainly won’t be revered where ever he goes like AF (Big Mac). So don’t hold your breath on him pushing the eject button either.

  20. MJA_Gooner:
    Henceforth, I will help myself by expecting defeat in every game we play until Wenger leaves

    I’m surprised that you haven’t come to this conclusion a lot sooner, giving the year’s of utter dross we’ve been served up e.g. 6-0, 8-2, 5-1 need I go on. If this was any other football manager at any other club, they would have been sacked.

  21. Begeegs:
    I wish that Wenger actually had the best interests of the club at heart like he spouts off about all of the time.

    The sad reality is that he has no other life, so will cling on to the end.

    He really should be sacked immediately.

    12 games played in 2018 – 4 Wins, 6 losses, and 2 draws. Awful..

    You said it buddy, he is nobody without AFC. So he will cling on till the bitter end. Which if things don’t go our way could be another 2-3 years away.

  22. So with Neymar out of the 2nd leg of the Madrid clash with an ankle injury leading more than likely to Emery’s sacking, maybe just maybe PSG will give Arsene a call.

  23. Painful, Yogi.

    All those “doomers”. They were probably right all along. Look where blind faith and patience has got us.

    Man we used to be good under Wenger though, didn’t we. Something to behold. What days. Another season of this rubbish and Christ knows what state he’ll leave us in. He’s not so much sullying his reputation as setting fire to it. He needs to be sacked. Of course he does. Won’t hold my breath.

  24. Aya,

    Wenger will just coach the left foot shot, close control and mast dribbling runs out of Messi if he gets him…think am joking, where is the Xhaka with the thunderous long range shot, where is the Lacazzete with top touch and clinical finish…Wenger and his team has coached all those qualities out of them and coached in some insipid jelly like sideways and backward passing abilities. Just watch Auba, 1 month at Arsenal and he can’t outrun Vincent Kompany. Wonder what will become of him in 6 months.

  25. I pretty well took last year off here, because it was just getting too depressing to not just see the ongoing demise of Arsenal, but then talk about it.
    But like an addict, back I come to the Yogi drug.

    Wenger should have left 4 years ago. His claim that he stays for the club is rubbish. It’s all about him. A selfish man who was smart enough to see the club needed a change , but has continued to see himself as the only person capable of reclaiming success.
    He has ruined more careers than he has helped in recent years.
    Why anyone with any talent would want to come to the Arsenal right now is beyond me.
    Ofcourse he will not step down, he will just prattle on about always seeing out his contracts. Brilliant . We have a shit owner, a rubbish board, and a poor manager.
    So it doesn’t matter who is picked, there is a talent and tactical gap as big as the Trump comb over , between us and the ‘ big ‘ teams. We are mediocre, with occasional moments of quality.

  26. Sorry to say this, I needed to tell myself yesterday to take a temporary break from following this Arsenal team for now until such a time when the team is managed by a manager other than Wenger.
    Yesterday was a day to forget, as YW rightly puts it;” Rudderless, directionless, spineless”.
    Times without number we were second to 50-50 contest.
    Useless without the ball, wasteful and purpose less with the ball.
    Bring a Messi, a Neymar, a de gea and the likes to this team and under a manager like Wenger, we will still be crap.

  27. Mustafi nowhere not good enough.
    Kos, has gone backwards,
    Xhaka poor.
    LJW needs to stop whinging, stay on his feet and show some leadership. I was there on Thursday night, and he is not a leader.
    Chambers was never good enough when he was bought, and that remains the case.
    Welbeck not good enough.
    Bellerin has gone backwards.
    Iwobi thinks he is the reincarnation of the still alive Ronaldo.
    Harsh to judge PEA as there is better service from a bank, than a Arsenal striker gets.

  28. Adebanjo,

    Exactly my point, I’m pretty sick and tired of fans who don’t see the bigger picture.

    They constantly keep bashing the players, and mind you the list changes every season, but the managerial list doesn’t.

    Last I checked (at other more successful clubs), the buck stops with the manager.

    Example Mourinho in his last season with Chelsea, got bad results, got sacked. Chelsea got Conte, and with virtually the same squad bar Kante, he won the league.

    Same goes with our defence. Fans keep saying let’s get so-and-so in the team during the transfer period as if one player will fix the defence of a team coached by a manager who doesn’t bother with training defence properly.

  29. Talking specifically about the match, I think the hardest thing for me to watch yesterday not named out defense was our midfield pivots. I have to raise my hand as one who thought Xhaka was a superb signing who would bring aggression (even if sometimes rash) and an ability in midfield we haven’t had and yet this season he hasn’t and yesterday was brutally painful to watch. Pressed and hurried he was exposed for lack of quickness and quick feet and quick train of thought while defensively he was shambolic.

    Ramsey, everybody not named C’s, Wembley God was beyond dreadful and sure he just came back from injury but whatever, he ran around until he started to walk around and at no point in time was he helpful or useful. He isn’t a CM who wants to be on the ball nor has the ability to play quickly in that CM especially when pressed or hurried, and for a CM his passing leaves much to be desired. Sure he makes late runs BUT I think people mistake his late runs into the box for productivity and when those aren’t effective, what else does he bring to the match? Yesterday was a perfect example, he would drop deep to pick the ball up from the centerbacks and it was like a trigger for Citeh who would immediately press and Ramsey (or Xhaka) would give away possession and the only saving grace was that Citeh’s passing was off yesterday.

    I know Ozil will take the brunt of the criticism (he was bad yesterday there is no if and’s or but’s about it) but if Arsene’s plan (lets be honest, he was hoping) was to defend and hope Ozil and Aubameyang could get enough supply to make something happen, then the supply lines to those 2 simply weren’t good enough and haven’t been.

  30. Fuck it, I’ll stand and carry this flag by myself BUT with the matches that we have left and with the players available Elneny should be first choice DM an I wouldn’t even mind his partner being Maitland-NIles hell or even Chambers just to have them sit and break up play and pass it to the front 4 because I can’t take another match were Ramsey and Xhaka are in their and teams press them and those two immediately shit themselves because they can’t think quick enough and don’t have the ability to be consistent passers.

    Elneny might play it safe sometimes just to keep possession but ask yourself this, would you rather him play it safe to keep possession for a bit then move it forward or would you rather have Ramsey and Xhaka shitting themselves whenever pressed and the opposition having a free run at our defense and shaky GK’s?

  31. Phil,

    Funny you mention Aubameyang, its funny how much people kill Lacazette and wrote him off not realizing that for parts of the season he playing with Iwobi and Welbeck and he also doesn’t get much service not named Ozil.

  32. Great review Yogi. Not much to add.

    As Dukey says we have an unbalanced squad that is built around a group of over rated central midfielders. Unfortunately those midfielders don’t score goals and they are terrible at defending. The one thing you would think they could do would be to use their technical and passing skill to control the midfield and manage the flow and tempo of the game and help to make it easier for our goal scorers to be effective. Unfortunately the reality is they have not been good at doing that. It leaves us with a team that is utterly useless on the defensive end and completely ineffective and unexciting on the attacking end. The most recent Everton game looks like another false dawn and optimism some of us felt about the moves in the Januar transfer window and the new long term contract for our “best player” has faded very quickly.

  33. C @ 11:40

    “For those, liKe Bill who already wrote off Lacazette….are you going to write Aubameyang too”

    I judge players based on what I see when they play for Arsenal rather then their supposed talent level or technical skill. PEA has not been around long enough to judge. Let’s see what happens. With that said, anyone who has actually watched Arsenal play and seen how much all of the goal scorers not named Sanchez have struggled when they come to Arsenal has to be concerned. Anyone who is not concerned that he might have the same problem as Lacazette is not being realistic.

  34. Maybe its just my optimistic personality but for as pissed off as I am, I still think we have talented players and if we are able to get the balance right we could be a better side………..problem is I don’t think this manager can do it nor would he be willing to defend with 6 and attack with 4.

    You take a look at Citeh yesterday, they defended with 6 and attacked with 4 and those 4 also pressed us higher of the pitch and Gundoghen was able to be that link player for them but was sitting with Fernandinho for the most part. I mean not only that but when Fernandinho went off they were able to actually redo their team and yet continue to still be highly effective at the expense of our terrible midfield.

  35. C:

    “I would also say, before this year, Salah was exactly the same player as Mhkitaryan: a very talented creative winger who has the ability to score goals. The difference, Salah this year plays in a team that gets him one on one with thr GK quite a bit because of the way they play.”

    I copied and pasted this from a comment you made a couple days ago. You have been strongly disagreeing with me for a couple years now whenever I suggest that despite all of the creative talent we have not been doing a very good job of creating time and space and high percentage chances for our goal scorers. However, your comment suggests that you actually agree with me and you think other teams have been doing a much better job of creating those opening for their forwards. What’s up with that?

  36. Bill,

    You highlighted that part but you can’t take that in a vacuum. Lacazette has been starved of service unless it was provided by Ozil or Sanchez before he left and there were plenty of matches like the Chelsea match when he was played with Iwobi, Welbeck and Ramsey and none of them are going to provide service so you write him off. Aubameyang thus far has been isolated either through shit tactics or the ineffectiveness of the midfield to provide a supply line to our forward, i.e. Spuds and the Final yesterday. How about we put players in places they can be effective and lets see what happens. Judging a player based solely on how he performs at Arsenal makes little to no sense especially if they have a track record elsewhere and we have all admitted and accepted that Arsene is crocked as are his abilities to get the best out of players and tactics.

    For instance, people praise Giroud but lets be honest, he had 1 brilliant season before he came to Arsenal and before that he was in Ligue 2 and was to be quite honest, more of a journeyman than Perez. Look at Aubameyang and Lacazette, players who not only thrived in Europe’s top 5 but did so year after year after year and were chased by everybody from Barca to PSG to Madrid to Athletico to Juve.

    I mean honestly, if you are to judge players solely based on how they performed under one manager then why are you so high on De Bruyne, Salah, Kane, and others who had failed at their previous clubs prior to finding the right situation and then becoming the players we know them to be now?

  37. C:

    With regard to unrealistic optimism our old friend Harry who unfortunately does not come nearly as often as he should was accurate in his comment at 1:36.

    “All those “doomers”. They were probably right all along. Look where blind faith and patience has got us.”

  38. Bill,

    You have been missing it for all these years then my friend, I have NEVER disagreed with you about wanting to play at pace and a higher tempo and allowing our creative players to be and create better chances; the thing I have always and will continue to disagree with you on is that we are loaded with creative players. They may be creative players because they are midfielders but they are not that good and some aren’t even actually creative players. I mean think about this:

    Ramsey’s best attribute is widely accepted to be his late runs into the box NOT his ability to create which we all know is at best inconsistent (with loads of time and space to take touches he can be inconsistent but even that is inconsistent) and his passing is the same. He is lauded for being able to make those late runs into the box and get on the end of things not create things so if you really think about it, Ramsey is a forward trapped in a midfielder’s body.

    Xhaka isn’t a creative player, he is a tempo dictator, a deep lying playmaker who is good at setting the tempo and spraying balls to the flanks but he has to have loads of time and space as well otherwise he becomes ineffective and much more of a liability because he doesn’t have quick feet same as Ramsey and needs touches.

    Jack CAN be creative but his best attributes reside in the fact that he is the engine that links play and keeps things ticking in midfield and is supposed to be linking defense with attack. Sure he can create chances but that isn’t what makes Jack Jack and if you think that than you haven’t been watching him. He works best when he can drive the team forward and then play it to a more creative player or the forwards.

    Ozil is the creative player, operates behind the striker or in the free role and we all know that he will create chances given a supply line but he is not that link player ala Santi who links and dictates the tempo of the team, he does his work in and around the oppositions box and if your playing on the counter than he has that ability that few in the world have. The problem he has is that people want him to do everything in midfield and HE IS NOT that player and even watching the match yesterday he gets murdered for not helping in midfield but if you watch he was trying to support Aubameyang since Arsene put him in the forward role since there was nobody else.

    I hope that makes sense because not every midfielder is creative and to be honest, there are actually very few truly creative players in world futbol and the best are playing at the best clubs in the world or at the very least playing in a system that works best for the team AND for the forwards. At Arsenal, Arsene is playing a style that works best for nobody because not only does our midfield pivots(CM/DM) not possess the ability to consistently pass and not make mistakes but we also don’t play at tempo.

    Honestly, I would rather we went with a line-up that defends with 6 and we put our 4 best attackers on the pitch and tell them to play at tempo and press high up the pitch and the 6 behind you will defend and recover anything that gets passed you.

  39. Bill,

    Not going nor will I ever have blind faith mate, I’m a person that generally lives in the gray area between optimistic and realistic and while I did say I was being optimistic, I also acknowledged that it won’t happen under this manager 😉

  40. Thanks YW,

    Summons it all up quite nice and tidy, thank you. I imagine your first final words were something along the line “and don´t let the door slam your arse on the way out”:-)

  41. C,
    When strikers miss sitters , then they are culpable, but if they never receive the ball, there is little they can do, other than make runs, and compete.
    Completely agree with you re Lacazette. He has been wasted as will PEA.
    How many assists does anybody other than OZil have?

  42. I think all Arsenal players were poor yesterday….but the first thing I said when we sat down at Wembley yesterday was ‘why are we starting with a back 3? We haven’t played that formation for a month’. It looked as if the defence hadn’t practised it, and were all over the place from the start.

    It was a gamble by Wenger. It didn’t work. He is out of ideas.

  43. If I were Pep G AW comments that he’s merely a cheque book Manager, would be another incentive to slap and bloody AWs nez this Thursday.

  44. Phil,

    Yup and they will continue to get wasted until something changes and we all know when that will happen.

    So I did some digging about the assists thing and this is what I found:

    Ozil has 7
    Ramsey has 5 but none since 12/2
    Sead has 4 but none since 11/29
    Xhaka has 4, 1 on 1/20 against Palace but before that you have to go back to 10/14

    Funny enough, Mhkitaryan has 8 assists.

  45. Ras,

    Funny Arsene is calling him a chequebook manager given Arsene continues to get pay raises and being one of the highest paid in Europe

  46. It was a cheap shot (geddit?) but Wenger is right on that count. Although he misses the part about training the players and using tactics to win games.

    Pep has always been attack minded, but he uses a defensive midfielder to cover the defence, which is often just a pair when the full-backs are going forward. Wenger doesn’t use a defensive midfielder. If he plays one he tells them to get forward.

    Ras:
    If I were Pep G AW comments that he’s merely a cheque book Manager,would be another incentive to slap and bloody AWs nez this Thursday.

  47. C,
    Absolutely C

    If ( a gigantic IF) Arsenal were SERIOUS about Football on the pitch they’d do everything to get the Spuds defender Toby A. He’s a class defender and better than any defender currently on the Arsenal playing staff.

    The Roma goal keeper whose name slips me is top. Cech and Ospina are not what Arsenal need.

    The current malaise is akin to a cancerous wound. Surgery is needed but the bravery required to go under the knife and operate is another thing.

    It’s incredulous to think that paid professional’ experts’ are unable to see what is required to stabilise this Team/ Squad.

    There are so MANY current players in this Arsenal set up that are not what is required.

    From a footballing perspective solely The 2 keepers need to be gone. Kos / Mustafi / Chambers / Holding out.

    Xhakia / Ramsey out. Iwobi ( loan). El Neny and JW kept as squad players. If JW is averse to this then move him on.

    If anybody has seen PEA and Dembele In tandem there is one adjective to describe them AWESOME .
    I’ve no idea of his situation at Barcelona etc but I’d go all out to get him( YouTube and see Dembele and PEA together). It’s a la Liverpool I a sense.

    The Game of Football in 2018 has left AW way way way behind. In fact as we can see the decline has been over the last 3 seasons.

    However the Man is not for turning.The old adage of ” you lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink”.

  48. C,

    Tell me, do you people not get tired of critiquing players season after season, regardless of whether they’re new or not.

    It’s the same thing over and over, he’s terrible, he shouldn’t be in the team, he’s mediocre, he’s not worthy of the arsenal t-shirt.

    I mean are you serious telling me players like Jones, Winks, trippier, Ben Davies, lovren etc are better than most of our players?

    Hell no, those players have brilliant managers coaching them.

    WE MISSING THE MARK WITH OUR MANAGEMENT, PLAIN AND SIMPLE!

  49. Ras,

    Hard to disagree, though I still hold out hope for Mustafi under another manager, I mean look at what Pep has done to Otamendi.

    Alisson is Roma GK you are talking about and while he may cost a fortune, I wouldn’t be adverse to Arsenal having a run at Kevin Trapp who is currently the #2 at PSG and lost his job not because of performance but because their #1 is a PSG youth product who has come good and since PSG is the biggest club in France, like most countries they want the best players to be their first choice. Oblak at Athletico but he would cost a pretty penny too.

    I think though, at the end of the day, no matter who Ivan and the new boys sign, it will come down to whether or not Arsene uses them and uses them correctly. For instance, Aubameyang, we know that he has blistering pace, is a finisher and likes to link with players yet Arsene has played tactics with Jack, Ramsey and Xhaka together and asked Ozil to drop deeper leaving Aubameyang isolated.

    Players do need to be moved on and others need to stay but at the end of the day it comes down to selection and until that is fixed everything remains the same.

  50. Pete the Thirst,

    Leveling the charge of cheque book manager at Pep before the match was just ridiculous and clearly wrong. City have been big spenders for some time now and several managers have come and gone as they haven’t managed to firmly establish City as trophy winners. It’s probably too early to call, but it feels as if Pep is building a dynasty at the club. They could be at the top for the next few seasons and it looks like even the league’s best managers will struggle to keep pace.

  51. When you can’t even become as good as denilson then there is no hope, denilson could not impose himself in many games and elneny is even more unimposing. Not being able to outplay a bunch of Nordic sailors was the death knell for elneny. For people to be saying he should be our main man in cm then we are right up the creek.

  52. C,

    To be fair Ramsey has only played five games since December 10th when he had the hamstring injury one of which he was on for 6 minutes (Semi-final second leg against Chelsea) and another (Bournemouth) he was on for 16 minutes. He may not have added any assists but a hat-trick against Everton wasn’t too shabby.

  53. Even when Arsenal were a poor team like most of the 70’s and 80’s, I still used to stand each week come rain or snow on the North Bank because it was CHEAP and FUN. Now it’s expensive and no fun at all. I have long since stopped watching Arsenal (and of course paying anything to the club’s funds). But in my heart I love the club still and can’t wait for good times to return (post-Wenger). But times are hard and there are far better ways to spend my time and money right now. I simply can’t understand why Wenger is still there. The man is sick in the head. He needs a therapist.

  54. C,

    Agree C 100%. My last post was posted with a CHANGE of Manager implemented. The problem is AW. He’s the cancerous wound.

    I wonder when was the last time AW made to under go a Medical? His psychological state of mind and decision making has to be questioned.

    We often hear about the state of mind, the character of Players questioned. Is AW exempt ? He at 68 has to be questioned?

    In Game Managment is non existent. The ability to play without the ball is non existent. The ability to convey his ideas etc to the Team has gone. The decline is obvious. This was a team that was ALWAYS in the top 4. We are now well outside of the Top 4 and should we lose to City we will be 30 points behind Them. 30 POINTS.

    2018 its a different Mans game today. AW is past his sell by date. Somebody at AFC has to take responsibility.

  55. C

    “I have NEVER disagreed with you about wanting to play at pace and a higher tempo and allowing our creative players to be and create better chances”

    You have been telling me for years how much talent we have on this squad so why don’t they use that talent to play a higher pace and create better chances? They are experienced internationals and they watch other teams who are more successful because they play at a higher tempo and they have games where they are successful when they move the ball with more pace. However, in half of our games against some really poor teams they still go out and play like they are carrying my 50 pound camping backpack? Do you honestly think Arsene is out on the practice pitch and telling them to slow down and give the defense time to set up.?

    Yesterday we were outplayed by a team with much better talent. However, when we lose to teams like Swansea or struggle in the Europa league game against a Swedish minnow the problem is not tactical or a talent gap but for some reason these players just don’t execute. Man City did not execute when they lost to Wigan in the FA cup. The problem is that our players have games like that so much more often then most other teams.

  56. Bill,
    Arsene may not be telling his attackers and midfielders to slow down, but he certainly is omitting the more important messages, which need to be told. That’s the simple reason why we are blunt compared to the five teams above us on the league table.

  57. andy1886,

    The hat trick against Everton isn’t too shabby but the point I was making was that Ramsey is that Ramsey is a winger/striker 2 trapped in a body of a CM but who best attribute is his late runs. Him working in midfield doesn’t work because he doesn’t actually get on teh ball and when he does its too many touches or a stray pass. Just my preference but I would rather just go with two pivots who sit and allow Ozil and 3 attackers to attack and use Ramsey off the bench or as Ozil’s back-up.

  58. I have been advocating for Wenger to leave since 2004, even at the height of his prowess and tactical achievements, I could spot Wenger’s weakness, his common blind spot, the inability to best Sir Alex Ferguson over a period of time, with no back to back EPL trophies, even when he had everything at his disposal including the backing of David Dein.

    Wenger’s been gambling on a lot of decisions, having favorites, favoring french players at a time, a lot of skewed decision making. Gradually his reserve of fortune is eroded and even with funds at his disposal, since 2013 he has only been able to assemble cup teams. No EPL trophy since the 2003/2004 season, is the track record of a man who’s luck has run out.

    If we had a serious board of directors, they would hold an inquest and require Arsene Wenger to respond to such a question as this: In the run towards the UEFA Champion’s league final of 2006, Martin Keown was giving a role to fortify the defensive coaching, why has he not been drafted to help the team, given that he was a key part of the successful run of performances that involved excellent defensive performances over a considerable period ?

    This question is based on interviews and reports in the media which lend credence to the events behind the scenes, at the time. Arsene the megalomaniac, will not allow progressive contrarian views.

  59. Aya,

    Correction. Chelsea hire Mourinho to re-capture the ‘golden years’ they win the league with verve. The players get light headed and boycott the manager and club, tank in the division until manager is sacked. The same players decide to play football again and win the league again.

    The problem was the players. Matter of perspective. Still waiting for Hazard and Fabregas to turn on Conte, they’ve unstable guys throughout their career.

  60. Ramsey is definitely one who splits opinion. I think he could be a star if his legs hold up. He is massively unpopular with large sections at the Emirshits, and has been since he was filmed celebrating England losing in Euro 2016. His position is an attacking midfielder.

    What about dropping the Swiss international (pub player)?

    andy1886:
    C,

    To be fair Ramsey has only played five games since December 10th when he had the hamstring injury one of which he was on for 6 minutes (Semi-final second leg against Chelsea) and another (Bournemouth) he was on for 16 minutes. He may not have added any assists but a hat-trick against Everton wasn’t too shabby.

  61. Pete the Thirst,

    The thing is, I think Ramsey could be a good player, we all know that but I don’t think he fits this team and the position that is best for him is occupied by Ozil and I would take Ozil over Ramsey 10/10, just personal preference I suppose. Problem is, he is wildly inconsistent and injuries never help and he is prone to them.

    I was one of the few that were overjoyed with Xhaka coming because I had seen him play in the Bundesliga not just youtube highlights and what not, so I knew the player he could be and the one that Bayern wanted. Its as though, all the aggressiveness has been managed out of him and because of that he seems to have gone backwards not to mention I thought he would adapt to the pace of teh PL and he struggles when pressed. I would have no problem at all dropping him for Elneny, who might not be everybody’s cup of tea or some spectacular player but he is consistent and effective, does his job match in and match out and you because of his style you really can’t press him.

  62. C @ 2:55

    “I have always and will continue to disagree with you on is that we are loaded with creative players.”

    Ozil is supposed to and he is getting paid to be one of the worlds best creative players, you said Mkhitaryan is a top quality creative player. Lots of smart people of this blog think that Jack is better then both of them. That is 3 supposedly world class purely creative players. Earlier this year you said Lacazette was not scoring but he is great at holding the ball up and creating space, you have been telling me for years how good Bellerin and Nacho are on our wings and Elneny and Kolasinac are brilliant players. You have said several times in the past that we match up talent wise with almost any team in the world. Then today you tell me we don’t have enough creative players. You can’t have it both ways

  63. 7 years on from losing to Brum in our previous League Cup final, we plumbed new depths this week. The home defeat to virtual part-timers was perhaps our worst European result ever when you consider our resources vs theirs. Wenger all but called Guardiola a chequebook manager but Graham Potter did not need resources to outclass us at home.

    We didn’t even look like we cared or had the belief that we could do anything in this game. Our heaviest ever cup final defeat another part of Wenger’s legacy.

  64. Bill,

    Ozil is one of the best creative players in the world, Mhkitaryan didn’t even play yesterday and has just joined the team in the winter and Jack is better as a CM but he and Ozil are completely different players who do things in complete different parts of the pitch. Again, how many matches have they actually played together? Mhkitaryan again isn’t just some creative player he is more an attacker/winger capable of playing both providing assists and scoring goals but again, he just came into the team and funny enough he has 8 assists this PL season so he must be doing something right, no especially given the amount of match time he had at United? Lacazette is good at holding up the ball, creating space and scoring goals, if you judge him purely based off the first half of the season when their were he either started alongside Iwobi and Welbeck, got subbed off at 65-70 mins or he didn’t start, then that’s just not logical especially when you consider how isolated he has been. Nacho has been superb, are you denying that? Bellerin has seem to plateued and needs to be coached up which he won’t get with Arsene, see every defender that has come to Arsenal. Sead is a brilliant player but lets be honest, he started brightly, got injured and then we went to a back 4 so Arsene went with Nacho and Sead, who was voted best LB/LWB in the Bundesliga ahead of Alaba and quite a few others you probably don’t know, gets left on the bench and then thrown into the fire with little confidence or direction. Elneny, I have always said the samething about him: are there better players out there, absolutely BUT as a DM in this team he works perfectly because he works his socks off, is smart with the ball and athletic enough to cover space, keeps and recycles possession and has no problem just sitting.

    You say we don’t have talent, think about this: we have the 1.a or 1.b Bundesliga goal scorer from the past 3 or 4 years, we have the 1.a or 1.b. Ligue 1 goal scorer from the past 3 or 4 years (and that includes out dueling if memory serves Ibra and Cavani), we have a #10 in Ozil who is only behind De Bruyne (who plays with Aguero and Jesus), Suarez (who plays with Messi and played with Neymar), and ahead of Ericksen (who plays with Kane) in total assists since his arrival at Arsenal plus Mhkitaryan who was brilliant for Dortmund. Talent wise in the attacking third we stand up and defensively on talent we stack up; the difference is COACHING!

    Look at Citeh, Pep has managed to turn Walker into a quality RB who defends and attacks properly, has turned Otamendi into a good CB, turned Delph (who was a CM) into a good enough LB (did this once Mendy who he bought in the summer went down with injury), unlocked Sterling’s potential especially infront of goal, somehow turned Silva and De Bruyne into good midfield defenders when it was something that neither were very good at before and hell even turned Stones into a good PL defender.

    Talent wise we match up with Liverpool, Spuds, Citeh, Manure and Chelsea but the difference and I will stand by this even if I stand alone is that we have a manager that is past it, doesn’t get the best out of players or the team, has shit tactics and looks even more out of his depth once those other managers (Pep, Conte, Klopp, Mourinho and Pochettino) arrived at their destinations.

  65. So, Jack is whining about a foul and an offside that made us concede 2 goals and asks us to “stick together” and that the players “feel it too”.

    He is coming across as someone making up for his loss of pace and ability by being ‘spikey’. Not captain material. Not Arsenal material.

  66. C

    I doubt there would be anyone in the world not named C who could look at any team with Ozil and Wilshere and then and try to make the case that the team does not have enough creativity.

    For 2 years you have been telling me that the reason Ozil’s assist numbers have gone down has nothing to do with him and he is still creating plenty of great chances. Then you tell me that our goal scorers would be better off playing for Liverpool because their teams creates a lot more high percentage opportunities. Those 2 ideas are mutually exclusive.

  67. Yes Bob,
    Jack is old enough to start leading.
    Moaning and whinging and bitching isn’t leading.
    And I think it wouldn’t be a bad idea if he stayed on his feet. His preferred play is to tumble when contact is made, searching for a foul.
    When you are off your feet, you are out of the contest. ( an Aussie rules analogy, but still applicable.)

  68. C

    I do agree with you that Arsene is a poor manager and he needs to be fired before anything will change. I have been one of the dormers Harry talked about since 2008. However, Arsene’s problem is not tactical buts its cultural, IMO. Arsene can no longer get the players to execute and perform at anywhere close to an effective level on a consistent basis and its slowly become more and more stale as time has gone on. However, the players have to take part of the blame for allowing that complacency to infect them.

  69. Am I the only one who is not surprised that Ozil played better just before he signed his new gigantic contract but since then he has faded back towards being the invisible man that he has been much of the last 2 years? Which of us is surprised that Jack is making excuses and blaming back luck for being useless against Man City?

  70. Just read an article ar Arseblog where it looks lile the club has put a couple feelers out there for possible managers in Rodgers, Lowe and Jardim. The last 2 I would take today, Rodgers, I’m not sure how I feel because he did well at Liverpool and they played some sublime futbol and he was really the first to unleash Suarez as a #9 where at Ajax he was more of an attacking #10.

  71. Bill,

    And he was right Bill, for two years the only option we had as CF who could actually score was Sanchez. When he wanted to play he worked well with Ozil and you could see they looked for each other on the pitch. Certainly Sanchez downed tools over the contract/transfer saga and Ozil probably did too to some extent. The options beyond Sanchez were a complete joke with Giroud waking up for the odd game, whilst Welbeck has been awful. Walcott popped up with a few goals every so often, but also disappeared for games on end (even when he actually played). We actually have two top quality strikers now who have proven records in other top European leagues. Maybe Lacazette has had troubles settling in, or has had a drop in confidence due to being subbed (maybe he just isn’t suited to PL football, it happens), but you can’t question his quality. Aubameyang has literally just turned up and does have to adjust to the pace of English football, but he is obviously a top striker.

  72. Me,

    So are you saying that Wenger has lost the dressing room? I can’t think of a clearer reason for him to leave the club then. If he can’t get the players to do what he wants, then there is no point him being at the club. I suppose you could sack all of the players, but that seems to be overkill when you can get rid of one man. As you said, the players started playing again when a new manager came in, so that would seem to be the best way to get the team functioning again.

  73. All supposition, but here’s a snippett from an article in the Telegraph:

    “Wenger has ended all his previous 21 seasons as manager with either a top-four finish or a trophy, but the manner of Sunday’s 3-0 Carabao Cup final defeat against Manchester City, coupled with the lack of any Premier League title challenge, has caused concern among the club’s hierarchy.

    With Arsenal sixth in the table, preserving that record is now likely to hinge on winning the Europa League, which would also offer a path into the Champions League.

    A second successive season outside the Champions League, especially after a series of club-record signings, would put Wenger’s position under severe scrutiny and create pressure for him to leave midway through his two-year contract. Arsenal, though, will consider all aspects of the season and regard all options as open.

    Although majority owner Stan Kroenke has always been unequivocal in his backing of Wenger, he has also facilitated chief executive Ivan Gazidis’s off-field “catalyst for change” in a series of appointments around Wenger and the club would feel much better equipped to move on without their 68-year-old manager.”

    I do wonder if the signing of Aubameyang and the contract deal for Ozil came with specific targets being set. I don’t expect Wenger to leave of his own accord, but there must be a review of the season and this season is likely to look pretty poor. Whilst Aubameyang’s fee was largely covered off by player sales, it’s still a large commitment on one player. Maybe Wenger didn’t specifically target Aubameyang, but he would have known that a replacement for Sanchez was needed, if only to get Ozil to sign on the dotted line. Perhaps Ozil’s options were diminishing, but I doubt he would have signed up again without the club bringing in another big name. The wage deal was obviously the key, but he would likely have been questioning what was going on at the club if Sanchez had left without a name being brought in.

  74. Wavey,

    “has caused concern among the club’s hierarchy”

    F*ck me, have they only just noticed? Most people that actually use their eyes and ears have been more than ‘concerned’ for years.

    Of the clubs hierarchy only Stan, and possibly Josh, really matter. Maybe despite their protestations Josh’s little fact finding mission will turn out to be a little more than just that and Wenger’s torturous toxic reign will come to a close in the summer. It’s the only potential bright spot that I can see.

  75. Wavey,

    Thanks for answering an obvious question from “Me”.

    Fact remains the catalyst for Chelsea’s change was a change in management, I certainly think ours is long overdue.

  76. andy1886,

    If the Telegraph are right, the only reason there will be concern amongst the ‘hierarchy’ will be down to the potential impact on revenue. Cutting their cloth to be an EL club with the odd day trip into the CL may work for the club’s books, but I doubt not being in Europe at all does. Does just participating in the League Cup final get us into the qualifying rounds of the EL next season with City already in the CL? If it does they will have to cancel their extra money spinner, the Emirates Cup.

  77. Wavey,

    I have to say I find our ‘plan’ if there is one a little strange. We should have been able to comfortably hang on to EL status without spending big on PEA, yet by doing so we are still a million miles off CL qualification if we’re honest. And if it’s the start of a rebuilding phase how does that work with Wenger still in situ but for how long? (unless the decision has already been made). And if Wenger is ‘out’ then how do we know that his replacement would want either PEA or even Ozil at £300k a week draining his resources?

    In typical Arsenal fashion it’s all very confused and if there really is a plan I can’t see it. Are we accepting our new status as a top six side or are we prepared to do what is necessary to challenge? Are we really going to muddle through with a squad that’s totally unbalanced and that has no defined way of playing, that lacks identity and which will struggle to appeal to fans old and new as well as sponsors? Who or what are Arsenal FC? Other than to answer ‘a mess’ I don’t know any more.

    For a so-called business man Stan has made a piss poor job of running his franchise from both a commercial and a sporting perspective.

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