Cup Win Can Take Arsenal Forward But Will It?

vvNot even the rain could dampen the celebrations, complete with the obligatory Jack Wilshere taunting of Tottenham. Outraged of Tonbridge Wells vilified the midfielder for his cruel taunting of the Middlesex pub team, who were holding their own open-top bus parade at the same time having won the AIA Cup against Sydney hours before Arsenal triumphed at Wembley.

Wilshere has ruined Arsenal parade, so the narrative goes, with his “expletive-filled” and “foul-mouthed” outburst. While the rest of football goes for an acid bath and scrubs itself clean of all known germs, Jack’s rating with his own supporters went through the roof, if social media is anything to go by. It was a moment that ‘endeared’ himself further into Arsenal hearts and is best summed up by – and I genuinely forget who said it, sorry – “If he was a Chelsea or United player, I would hate him for it but they would love to have one of their own say something similar“.

Which is very true. I don’t recall anything similar from the parades I watched in the late-80s and early-90s. Mind you, I don’t remember them taking place in the rain either. There was no online coverage for the world to share in those days. The national news would carry a snapshot of the day in the “And finally…” spot normally reserved for a septuagenarian tap-dancing Esperanto-speaking Labrador’s. Now we have Britain’s Got Talentless People By The Bucketload for that and Arsenal Player for the parade coverage. Times change.

I’m not going to criticise Wilshere for his behaviour; I didn’t last year, in fact he didn’t even warrant a mention but this time, the constant sniping of the media irritates. It feels like the bigger problems are ignored with Leicester’s racist boot boy players and Sepp Blatter shoved to one side in the ambulance chase for ratings.

This summer is another of hope, fed by the cup triumph. According to reports this morning, Theo Walcott will sign ‘da ting’ but suggestions that it will be this month appear generous if his comments at the weekend are anything to go by, placing it further down the pecking order than having a tipple or two in celebration and playing for England. Not quite sure the latter’s more important but each to his own.

It could be a relatively quiet summer or that’s what the wilful misinterpretation of Arsène’s words would have you believe. Quite rightly, he has said he won’t be going after someone like Pogba when the fee quoted is £75m. Were we sitting in awe at a double-winning Invincibles 2 season – a rare moment when the sequel was better than the original – I might have a different view. The squad would be better developed in those circumstances to the point where a summer invested in one player with other smaller fish, is acceptable.

But we’re not in that position. Talk before and after the final was about catching Chelsea; it was a twelve-point gap this time, a fair reflection of how Arsenal didn’t perform in the opening weeks of the season. Eight points were dropped by the time the two sides met at Stamford Bridge; it was eleven when the final whistle blew. From that point, they pretty much traded blows points-wise and that’s the story, where the hope can be drawn that these cup wins are genuinely stepping-stones to better things.

The fly in the ointment is that there are three other teams with the same genuine aspirations. Arsène believed Liverpool and Spurs could win the title but the reality is that is pandering to their delusions. United and City will invest heavily in the summer to launch their own title challenges. Whether that is money well spent only becomes clear at the end of the season, even if we do get a very good hint along the way.

Arsenal have the third-best squad in the country at the moment. The Premier League table doesn’t lie, there’s no point in making spurious arguments to the contrary. Retaining the FA Cup shows they have the winning habit, a desire to win silverware and the manner of victory underlines that. It doesn’t mean we’re better than Manchester City even if four points out of six might point to it. Over the course of the season, they were more consistent and when you talk of titles, that’s the missing ingredient for Arsenal.

It’s also the difference between now and two years ago. Remember when the club was crowned Calendar Year Champions, a title invented to signal how the good the squad then was? They obviously suffered a trophy-hangover as it all fell apart as soon as that cup was hoisted.

And that’s what Arsène has to conquer. Arsenal have become very good at playing very well over anything from a couple of months to half-a-season. It’s the patchy form beforehand that needs to be eradicated. A significant part of that is investing to ensure that the squad is properly staffed, not fitting square full backs into round central defensive roles but buying the right cover, if not upgrading.

It’s not a popular view to have but the brutal truth of football is that there is nearly always a better player out there. The key is whether they will improve the team. It’s harsh but that’s how football has always been. It’s not new to this era so there’s no point in trying to state otherwise. The problem is that you’re not allowed to at Arsenal any more. In those circumstances, the argument is always reduced to your opinion of the manager in a footballing equivalent of Godwin’s Law.

An example of that comes with Francis Coquelin. Arsène got lucky when he recalled his compatriot from his Charlton loan spell but that’s now dressed as a masterplan. Of course it wasn’t. But that’s not to say he didn’t deserve a bit of luck, so much of football success depends on such moments when the fates turn in your favour; why should Arsène be any different but please don’t try to tell us that he meant it.

But the question is whether Coquelin is Mr Right or Mr Right Now? The XI was desperate for a defensive midfielder, he arrived took his chance. That does entitle him to some loyalty but not at the expense of improvement. If anything happens to him, we have no genuine cover in the squad, capable of fulfilling the same role. As much as I like Mikel Arteta, he isn’t young enough to be as industrious so investment is needed. There’s nothing wrong with competition either; it ensures that Coquelin doesn’t go Alex Song on us as well as ensuring new arrivals know they have a fight on their hands for a place in the starting XI.

For Arsène, the decision is about balance. How to balance rewarding those players who won the FA Cup and recovered the Premier League to third through loyalty with the need to for the club to improve, to do better in Europe, become the first club to win a hat-trick of FA Cup wins and to challenge for the title. Or all three.

Not an easy task at all.

’til Tomorrow.

177 thoughts on “Cup Win Can Take Arsenal Forward But Will It?

  1. C says:

    Apologies for the long post and the shit grammar.

  2. Paulie Walnuts says:

    Ozil & Sanchez have whetted the appetite.

    Another marquee signing will really show we mean business.

  3. Els says:

    Damon, I get it. I also get that you are waaaaay cleverer than me from your fantastic patronisation.

    What is wrong with what I said. Defence was our only department we didn’t have cover. We have added a centre back and with growth (an alternative to signatures, nothing less) Bellerin and Chambers are now viable options for a good few games in a season.

    Therefore with this current squad we are equipped. Equipped to handle the rigours of injury and poor performances a season can throw up. That really shouldn’t need to be spelled out as “challenging” should it? I don’t know maybe I’ll try harder for you.

    Oh I’m so tired of this. I’m not trying to rub anyone up the wrong way and I’m only trying to put over my school of thought. I think I’m making decent points and remaining civil to people with a difference of opinion.

  4. Els says:

    I’ve just written a post to you Damon but for some reason it didn’t make it through.

  5. Els says:

    Okay really hope I’m not being shut out for having another opinion. Why are my comments not showing now?

  6. andy1886 says:

    Unfortunately the team to beat right now are Chelsea, and to be fair we haven’t looked even close to them in the games this season. The players that were out weren’t the sort that would have got us a goal, if you recall the home game we could have played for a week and probably wouldn’t have scored. We need a more clinical striker than Giroud who yes can get the odd great strike in but on balance misses far too many chances that a truly top class striker would bury.

    The fact that we didn’t close the gap on Chelsea when we had a fully fit squad (more or less) suggests that we still need to improve. I don’t expect two or three WC signings (I’m not mental), a better striker than OG would be a good start though because on the whole his finishing isn’t awesome at all, if you look back at who preceded him (RvP, Adebayor, Henry, Anelka, Wright, Bergkamp) I’d rate him as the worst finisher that we’ve had as our #1 striker in the last twenty years.

  7. C says:


    To be honest and I am a massive fan of all 3 of those young lads, but all 3 need to go on loan. I actually think that Gnabry is probably the closest to the first team and I would send him on loan to a side like Southampton or even Everton; Akpom to either a Championship side that is really going to battle for promotion next season or a PL side that is set to try and stave off relelgation. Bielik, he is an interesting player but a loan spell to a top Championship side next season will surely tell us more if he doesn’t end up staying and playing for the U21’s all season(which is a real possibility).

  8. C says:


    You know the media loves to hype up and then try and tear down young English players, add to that Jack plays for Arsenal and well you get shit like that.

  9. andy1886 says:

    Els, I don’t think that any of us have a problem with you having a different opinion – we just may not agree with it!

    For example, you say we always finish strong but that isn’t exactly true. We finish strong if a CL qualifying spot is in danger but that’s about it. How many times have we been right up there and then faded away? At least as many as when we’ve had a late surge to reach top four.

    All most of us want is to use our resources as best we can – having the best part of £200m sitting in a bank wouldn’t be doing that just as much as overspending would be irresponsible too.

  10. Els says:

    Andy the fact that Chelsea didn’t try to play us suggests that they are scared of us now. Previous years they’d have swept us aside.

    Also with a bit of natural squad progression from players getting to know each other better and youngsters improving we are going to be there. I think maybe 1 more first team signature, that would be for momentum and confidence building as much as anything and they’ll be beatable. We have bettered City this season so that’s progression.

    You make a good point about Giroud, with that list he’s not the best finisher but the tactics or this team are different. Giroud is there to play in the likes of Sanchez, and I guess Theo (was the plan) as much as getting goals himself. Put him in that list again for hold up play and link ups and he’ll be favourable.

  11. Els says:

    C you could be right. Who knows on Beilik, I have no info on this subject. would be nice though. In my opinion though I think Gnabry may get a few games next season.

  12. Bill says:


    its not conjecture that we have seen 10 years of a highly predictable pattern of inconsistency and we have never weathered storms in the past. We were in first place by 7 -8 points in December of last season and playing great football before we lost form and melted down.

    The problem has been that we are excellent when we are good but we drop far to many points when we lose form. Its inevitable that teams go thru ups and downs during a season. However, the big difference is teams that compete for titles like Chelsea did this year still manage to take most of the points during their down periods. When we lose form we drop lots of points very quickly. We had more then enough talent in the squad in August to do a lot better but we started in bad form for the first 15 games and we dropped so many points that we were out of the title race by the 10th game. Same thing happened in May when we dropped 10 points in 5 games.

    You and I have a long history and I know I won’t change your mind about how you want Arsene to build his team and I hope you are right that next year will finally be the year we break thru. Time will tell.

  13. andy1886 says:

    I’m not sure that they are scared of us Els – Maureen’s record against Arsene would hardly suggest he loses too much sleep before we play each other. I think they play that way because a point was a decent result, certainly a better one for them than for us if we had any hope of the title. Pragmatism suggests that if you win your home games and avoid defeat in the way games against your rivals you’ll probably win the league. Unfortunately if they are the bench mark then we’ve been a long way off doing that against the Chavs over the last several years.

  14. Els says:

    Sorry about the outburst on the difference of opinion. I didn’t think everyone had an issue. I just didn’t know what was happening.

    Andy I’m only talking the last few years, we have tended to finish well. Whether that’s for ECL or not it still happened.

    The £200 million I don’t think we should concern ourselves about too much. You can’t deny that that £200million is being used up by retaining players as opposed to losing players to city every year. That’s what that has brought us. The £200million will be easily eaten up when it comes to renewal of contracts for the likes of Theo, Ramsey, Sancez, Ozil… We are obviously better off but you still can’t go out and buy a mini busses worth of stars just because we have the money. Even if we found the suitable players are there enough slots in the team and what of the current players. Also if you go and sign anyone on more than Sanchez or Ozil you’re going to have a problem with their agents.

  15. Damon says:


    Sorry, I was saying I’m tired of the same old falling just slightly short of being really competitive every season, hence the repetition of the comment.

    Sorry you think I was being patronising. It wasn’t intended. Having read my post back and I can only draw on the use of the word “buddy”. I meant it genuinely, as I didn’t want what I was saying to be seen as an attack on you personally and draw some affinity between us.

    The rest of it though, you were probably spot on 🙂

  16. Els says:

    Damon. Sorry mate! Oops. It was probably me getting tetchy. Yeah good point it’s not easy being so close is it. It’s a different kind of misery to just scraping into the ECL. Still it’s progress.

    Thanks for clearing that up and not in-turn reacting to my pissy reply. Sorry again.

  17. Bill says:

    Over the years the ups and downs and runs of good form and bad form that we have gone thru is far more pronounced then any of the other title contending teams. When we lose form we drop so many points so quickly. We have changed players and rebuilt several times in the Emirate era and the same thing still happens. It happened again this year. The 10 million question is why?

  18. C says:


    Yea, I think Beilik is probably a year or 2 away from joining the first team but a loan or 2 will do.

    Gnabry is probably set for a loan, he has played and showed good in the U21 ranks but now its time to do it against other competition playing regularly. If Ox wasn’t already fighting for a wide berth than I would say, yes Gnabry should stay but I think Gnabry would do well on a loan next season and then come back the following season ready adn rearing to go.

  19. Limestonegunner says:

    There are more than one way, Els. But none of them are to decide we don’t need to be better despite finishing 3rd in the league without ever posing a challenge and going out perpetually in the CL. Youth development and nurturing young talents is a part which we will not give up on. But we need to do more and have started doing so.

    Jack and Ox could become great players but they aren’t there yet and have not developed as much as they need to because they are never able to stay fit, so at this point I don’t think either of them are getting into the too sides. I am not advocating their sake but I also don’t think you can just rely on them getting better and being fit. In any case, there need to be competition and there are two positions I feel we need more in: DM and Steiker because we are vulnerable to injury and complacency.

    Are you opposed to the purchase of Alexis and Ozil? And what will you say if AW dies but a DM and a top striker this summer? Will you come in here and Telly’s that you are against these expensive signings and that we should only give Coquelin and Giroud/Welbeck the chance to play in these positions? I doubt it very much. I think you will be excited and pleased like the rest of us. You probably just don’t believe we should have any expectations that it will happen or place any verbal demands on the club to do so. But we’re AFC fans and we want to discuss how we can get better. That’s all we are doing.

  20. Els says:

    Bill – yeah, each to their own. That’s why it’s all fun and games as a fan.

    I do see your point, I admit that my stance has never really changed. Even over 3 years ago, when it probably should have. Surely now though the players at Wenger’s disposal are much better than even 12 months ago. I think Gabriel and a DM, regardless of how he came about are the last pieces of a puzzle. I’m not saying that it’s the perfect squad, that doesn’t exist. I do think we can go toe to toe with anyone now.

    I would like to see another Defensive minded midfielder come in to give Coquelin a battle. If we could do that and retain everyone we have, I’m laughing.

  21. Limestonegunner says:

    We’ve been waiting for natural squad progression and youth players to just fulfill their talent for a decade now. Why wouldn’t there be natural squad regression as well? We’ve already suffered the inconsistency of youth players. As I said, we have a short window of opportunity to hang onto the best players we have assembled. We can’t just hope we’ll be better next year. We need to prepare for the inevitable injuries and have the mentality that more is expected.
    And one thing that can help is leavening the loaf with some quality signings and competition and cover in a couple key areas where we are a little weak. Just waiting for the team to improve all by itself mc is a recipe for disaster and, frankly, would be deeply irresponsible.

  22. Els says:

    Lime. The CL is a different thing entirely. It hurts my head thinking about that. Just speaking domestically I don’t think you can say we haven’t challenged in the last 3 years. We sat top of the league for long periods. We didn’t sustain it, but we challenged.

    Regardless, I think that it’s in the last 3 years we’ve become a real threat. It’s with the arrival of Ozil and Sanchez, Cazorla as well as the emergence of Ramsey, Koscielny…. that have contributed to our current quality.

    It’s only now that I think we’re a very good team. Before that I’ve always supported project youth and thought we were close but that it would take a certain amount of luck to get us over the line. Don’t forget that having money retains players as much as signs them. If we had kept hold of certain individuals we would have been there perhaps.

    Admittedly I’ve had faith in players that could have been bettered down the line. I don’t think that that would be the case now though. You’d have to go a long way to better our players now. It’s obviously possible and if it happens I’ll be happy. What my thinking on all this stuff is, is that how likely is it that we’ll sign 3 or 4 players? I think we just set ourselves up for disappointment with that mindset. With that in mind I think that very specific signings and a emphasis on development has kepped us in the CL and now coupled with these signings is getting us to a title.

    Don’t get me wrong I’d like another DM that’s probably the part of the squad that could do with more depth, due to Arteta getting that bit older and with that injured (possibly) and Flamini is one of the weaker first teamers. So if we got one in that’s good. Regarding a striker…. I don’t know honestly. I’d feel for Giroud who I think is underrated. He’s as good as Higuain, Llorente, Benteke (is it fair to say those are in the same mould as OG) and probably not too far off Benzema. If you could show me a striker that fits the system and is a marked improvement that is worth taking the risk on of he is going to settle and click with the squad then I’m all for it. However that’s not an easy task.

  23. Els says:

    I understood Lime. I’ll rival anyone for typos!

    Good point about regression. It happens. I think Jack is a case in point. I’d say the main cause for it is settling from injury and regaining confidence. Wenger is a master of combating this though. He seems to know when to play people and when to rest them.

    When I say we have a squad to challenge, I’m looking at it with these things considered. Our creative midfield and goal threat is covered amply. Our defence is, as of the inclusion of Gabriel and the emergence of Bellerin and Chambers, that were afforded us through having to rely on them (every cloud and all that). Perhaps we are a little reliant on Coquelin to supply a bite to midfield. I think our game has perhaps moved on from the way we played with Arteta and upon his return I wonder if he will still be considered for the same role he adapted to or if he would be in contention for a place alongside Coq (I don’t know though).

    But yeah, I think the small window of time is very real, that’s not to say you can’t overstock players and have a negative effect. Sanchez and Ozil will want to win things, and we are, surely they will be comfortable that progress is being made. Don’t forget that Sanchez said he was surprised by the quality we had.

  24. Els says:

    Limestone, where do you think we are weak. Which positions do you think need strengthening? Also how realistic do you think it would be to improve on what we have there and retain the same shape come the start of the season. I say this as I don’t think we’ll replace the Giroud type striker with a Wellbeck type. If you know what I mean?

  25. Bill says:


    We have always had a lot of good natured debates and I miss having you around.

    If we have money in the bank then what is the point of not using it to strengthen the squad? Certainly no one would argue that spending money to add players like Alexis could possibly hurt our chances to win so why not do it? It might block the path of some players but that is a normal part of what happens at big football clubs and the players know that and it can not be avoided if we really want to be a title contender. You know that the players want us to win and they get just as excited as us about new players.

    if we leave the money sitting in the bank then ultimately in one way or another it will end up meaning more money in Stan Kronke and Usimov’s pocket. I have nothing against them per se but wouldn’t you rather we spent the money and helped give the team a better chance to win more trophies? Winning the big trophies begets winning more trophies and ultimately it brings a lot more money into the club. Its a win win for almost everyone involved.

  26. Els says:

    Yeah I enjoy it too mate. I need to find the time more often.

    I just don’t see it as being that black and white I guess. My feelings are that 1 or 2 big signings a season are ample. If you have a squad that’s close and sign more than that then you’re doing it wrong. Especially when you couple it with a youth project as we do. Also the fact that we have a young squad comes into play.

    I’m all for a signing here and there but if it gets to the point when you sign a midfielder for instance it doesn’t just block a path to the first team, it goes against the whole youth policy that we are invested in heavily. Don’t forget we get the likes of Bellerin from Barca, Ramsey from under the noses of Man Utd because of the fact that they know they will get chances. If they don’t work out we sell them and that is part of what makes up this money in the bank.

    I hate the fact you need a degree in economics to be a supporter nowadays, I don’t know what the situation is with the board but I think it can’t be all bad as we are able to compete much more since Stan’s involvement. He can’t be just milking us.

    I really do enjoy a signing, it’s just a fine line before it’s signings for signings sakes.

  27. Bill says:


    The idea that we don’t have any real weaknesses and we can’t realistically improve the team is the same argument that was being made in the days of Alex song and Denilson and Gallas and Vermaelen. People believed it with just as much zeal back then. It made no sense back then and it makes none now.

  28. Pete the First says:

    Lots of talk about Higuain. He’s a decent striker. Lacks a bit of pace, similar to Giroud.

    I think if we do buy a CF it has to be somebody with pace. A Plan A/B alternative to the Big Lump OG.

  29. Limestonegunner says:

    why wouldn’t it be legitimate to sign another Alexis level player and a top CDM. Most people here are advocating 2 or at most 3 signings, less than either of the last two summers. So who are you arguing with?! With AW?!

    I think I can deal with my disappointment. If I feel it, it doesn’t mean it is illegitimate, just that I have to accept the situation isn’t in my control. We are trading views and ideas not actually legislating club policy.

  30. Els says:

    Bill you have to admit that none of those names would make this squad now. There’s always room to improve but it’s just not likely we’ll be able to land Hummels, Pogba, Carvalho, Reus…. Is it, or whoever is regarded as world class nowadays. Don’t you think 3 or even 2 first team outfield starters would be detrimental to the start of the season.

    Oh I don’t know. It’s just obviously not that simple. Surely

  31. Limestonegunner says:

    Els, Stan is responsible for draining away 7 million pounds from the club, btw. And the growth of the club commercially has nothing to do with his efforts. I would like someone to point out one thing Stan has provided the club in terms of contacts, expertise, or investment that the board couldn’t have managed without him. One thing. All the hard work was done before him in building the stadium and financing it ourselves.

  32. Limestonegunner says:

    At the start your position was no signings. Then it was a DM to cover/compete with Coquelin. Now you can envision a couple signings. That’s progress, Els, but not natural progress! We’ve had to work hard on you–same goes for the team! 🙂

  33. Limestonegunner says:

    Why can’t we land such players, Els? You would have said perhaps that we couldn’t land Alexis or Ozil? Now that we gave those two, have won a couple domestic cups and don’t have a CL qualifier, we should be attractive. And we can offer high wages as well. Don’t be fooled on that score. We are top 8 in wages in ALL of sports globally.

  34. Els says:

    Lime that was last season. Not now. It was after we lost sagna, vermaelen. Alexis was needed as we still lacked a rvp calibre player. If we lose cazorla and monreal (i think both rumours are untrue) then obviously I’d see a need for more.

    I’m not arguing that point at all. I’m against all these calls for a striker and keeper and a dm and maybe 1 other, type of comment that instantly surfaced at full time on Saturday. Admittedly that was mainly Twitter but I couldn’t have a good convo on there if my life depended on it.

    I don’t like the thought of higuains of this world. That to me is signing just to be seen to do business. He’s no improvement on Giroud and shows a lack of respect to Oli. I think that’s what started me off if I’m honest.

    Also that YW mentioned we didn’t compete. That we aren’t close. I think we are and because of that I’ve inflicted my moaning on you all today.


  35. Bill says:

    Els @ 6:41.

    Fair enough. I am not advocated spending lots of money just for the sake of spending but we can improve the squad. We have a different philosophy and the things we think are important are different and that will never change. If you look at what has happened this year there are some really positive things but there also plenty of evidence from our last 10 years and this season to think that we are still need some significant improvements and some changes to move up the ladder in the PL and in European football. The easiest and most reliable way to improve is by intelligent but aggressive spending and strengthening the squad. That means some players will get blocked or lose their spot but that is unavoidable. That was true back when we first joined the blog but it’s even more true in today’s environment.

  36. Limestonegunner says:

    I mentioned it before, Els: DM and A forward, preferably CF.

    I think it is perfectly reasonable to find a DM. There are half a dozen or more food options there, just ask C to go through his favorites.

    Striker is harder but we need to try. If we can’t then a wide forward like Reus or others (C will give you a list) would be good.

  37. Els says:

    Lime at 7.21 haha that’s a cheeky post.

    Nah mate I didn’t say no signings at all. I’m open for reasonable signings. A bit of cover for coq wouldn’t go a miss. I don’t have an exact number I guess. It’s just the call for spending without thought.

  38. consolsbob says:

    YW, a ‘new age radical’.

    Bloody funny. He’s a pie and several pints man before and after a football match with his mates. Before, during and after he will also be moaning like all football fans have done for all time.

    Bloody funny, LSG.

  39. Limestonegunner says:

    Interesting that you mention Vermaelen. We didn’t really replace him until Jamuary. Don’t tell me Chambers, a 16 million 19 yr old talent who played mostly RB and was pressed into CB service because of emergency. We had to get Gabriel but it was too late to help us when we really needed him.

  40. Els says:

    Bill you can’t hold this squad responsible for the last ten years. Maybe Theo. Yes he’s been around for that I think. Let’s get him!

    I just can’t agree with comments like big changes, or aggressive spending. It’s not needed.

  41. Runebreaker says:

    We need to move on from the last ten years. Regardless of where one stands with respect to managers or players it will be very difficult to win the league and be considered a threat in Europe if we don’t recognise a change in culture and how the club is ran is paramount.

    Simply put we need a winning mentality one that recognises that we have to be the best and set up a structure to achieve that. The winning culture needs to permeate every part of the club. Defending the FA cup is a start.
    Winning is not simply an aspiration no amount of wishful thinking and potential will get us there. We need players who are winners and they will cost a pretty penny. Our transfer strategy needs to address that. The message right across the club has to be focused on winning. Players coming in have to be better than what we have. Arsene has shown in the past he can mould a winning team, it’s not simply about fancy football. It does not make any sense that the Arsene who brought Edu Petit Vieira, all of sudden has to rely on chance to find how vital a dm is in balancing the team.
    This is the weakness of the club, even the great man needs to be firmly pointed in the right direction. Will we complain if winning the title means project youth stalls in the short term? I won’t. If anything establishing a winning team means that we would have more capacity to bring in successful youngsters.
    Credit to Arsene he has ridden the storm and found himself steadying the ship. Now he needs to show the lessons learnt in the past. If we line up in the community shield with a top notch striker, a top notch dm, break transfer records if need be on these positions and no major players leaving then we are on the right track. Strengthening goalkeeper will be a bonus.
    And yes my pet hate stockpiling expensive south American teenagers who never make it needs to stop.

  42. Limestonegunner says:

    Fun chatting Els. I don’t think we are very far off but we have the resources and have at least 2 positions where reinforcements or higher quality are needed. Possibly GK as well, but I’m happy to go with WS and Ospina next season. I don’t think I’m being unreasonable at all in that. The counter view you started with was that we need do nothing because we are great as we are. That’s not a wise position, I think. Not for today’s Arsenal. It is more like blind faith and complacency. It is ideological at base, I think.

  43. Els says:

    limestone yeah good point. If you can land one of those you’d have to do it wouldn’t you. I you. An push me to a DM plus reus but no more do you hear me?

  44. The Arse in the Gamb says:

    Bill @4.51
    I have a feeling we had the worst start to a season in many decades. Not too many losses but draws and no wins. A couple of dodgy games late on was nothing in the scheme of things, but the start was our undoing and with Chelsea imperious nearly all the way through, we did not stand a chance at any point.

  45. Els says:

    Yep good chat lime. I’ll have to get back to you on anarchy start point was. It how I worded it. I do think this team is there. I don’t think we need signings. If however they happen I’m sure they’ll be sensible. I just don’t think that’s what 90% of people are asking for. Huguian? Give me strength.

  46. Limestonegunner says:

    Surely we need a signing or two, Els. If we can get top quality. I’m not saying we must land Pogba!

  47. Els says:

    Hang on a minute lime. Was it not just ten or so comments back that you practically promised me pogba? See this how it starts.

  48. Yogi's Warrior says:


    No apologies necessary. I contend we didn’t compete for the title – that was a MOTD invention – you think differently. If it brings out the curmudgeon in us both…what’s new?! 🙂

  49. Bill says:


    You could argue that there are subtle differences but the inconsistencies and problems that plagued the last 10 years showed up at the start of this season and again in May. I don’t hold this squad responsible for the last 10 years because the squad has changed 2-3 times. The only thing that has remained constant is the manager.

  50. Two Owls says:

    @ Limestone… Excellent point about all the development essentially taking place before the arrival of Stan The Man Shithead. We can expect pretty much nothing from that prat with the exception of taking money out of the club as you have suggested. By the way I don’t know if you have noticed while you have been on her majesty’s soil that the Leaf’s have signed the Wings head coach for something like 50 million dollars.

  51. Els says:

    YW fair enough. Nothing wrong with a difference in opinion as long as everyone realises i’m right.

    Good convo on here today. Thanks for making it happen

  52. Els says:

    Bill the problem at the start of this season was a defensive numbers thing. With Mertersacker and Koscielny playing we are getting very secure. It was just paper thin after the loss of any established cover. That’s nothing like the bigger issues of the last ten years. I think we are currently head and shoulders above the last ten years squads.

    If I was at a desktop and not my phone I’d be tempted to do an all time Emirates 11 v the current squad. I think this squad would win out overall.

  53. Runebreaker says:

    Lime it’s certainly been a long time I joined when I was still a student lawd have mercy
    Yogi must be positively jurassic

  54. The Arse in the Gamb says:

    Hard to say where City will be next season. Whilst they are second in the League they look lost. Nowhere near the Champions League and not really a cup team yet either, although that is the obvious thing that could change their fortunes a bit. They certainly do not look like they are heading in the direction to catch Chelski and take the League, who you have to assume will be stronger next season.
    Mourinho did some unbeleivably shrewd business last summer and, whilst I doubt if he can repeat that, I do not even know if Pellegrini will be at ManSour. If he is it suggests that the owner’s interests have wained, if he isn’t they are going to have to invest to get rid of unwanted players and then quadruple it to get good better ones in.
    They pay their players too much for everyone else to be able entice them away, so they have to buy out their contracts if they want them to leave. Nasri is a good example, nobody is going to pay him more than 90k p/w and he is on 180 or something, so they have to buy him out. then they have to entice some Gallacticos or some seriouse wannabe Galacticians coz nobody wants to play in the wrong side of Manchester for peanuts.
    We don’t know until we know the manager, the best investment to my mind would be finding the right guy who can maybe motivate this band of talented misfits and stick with the band that he has.
    It is worth remembering that if ManSour decides he has had enough he needs to find someone who is going to cough up 50 million a year to keep it going as I am sure his ‘travel arm’ will not want to continue to shoulder that burden.

  55. Bill says:


    Prospectively on paper I think the squad in 2010 looked as good or better at the start of the season then any we have had since the invincibles. We had Cesc Van Persie and Nasri and Sagna. In retrospect we clearly over rated a lot of players like Vermaelen Clichy, song Nik B Vela Arshavin Djourou Denilson chamakh etc etc etc etc. At the start of the season in 2010 if I would have told you that all of those players were over rated and that team would have an epic collapse after leading the league in January you would told me I was a doomer and that this was clearly going to be the year that everything came together for us. I bet if you look back in the archives that someone would have said that this years squad is the best we have had in almost each of the last 10 years.

    The point is that we have done this same thing several times before. Even if we think this is the greatest squad in our history we should still be doing everything we can to strengthen it as much as possible and we have the resources to do a lot this summer if we choose to be aggressive.

  56. JonJon says:

    id love to think that we push on and build from this and add the players we need..its not much, with the most amount of cash being spent on a midfielder…le coqs excellent but one injury, suspension or loss of form and were screwed so its essential to reinforce this area of the team…


    theres probably more chance of us losing monreal, cazorla and theo and we spend all summer rebuilding and starting the season off with a limp while we adjust to a rebuild..

    saw it last year, won the cup, rebuilt the entire defence, leaving it short and we suffered..we werent losing, but we werent winning either and thats where we lost the title to chelsea..

    12 points…thats 4 wins, including beating chelsea at home…its important to keep the squad together, apart from a few fringe players and add the players to help us close that 12 point gap…

  57. The Arse in the Gamb says:

    Before a signing or two we first need a de-signing or two; I would hope 4 or 5, exclusively from the central midfield department.
    Arteta, Flamini, Diaby, absolute defo no qualms about it and unfortunetely Mozart or Jack and given the age it is Mozart, but until his recent form and Tottenham outburst I would have had Jack on the list too. Although he should be using altogether more trousers and much less mouth; blowing off and inhaling.
    It leaves us with Ramsey, Ox, Ozil and Cazorla and Jack for two places. Its plenty. On the books we can then get in another left winger for Welbeck, another DM for Coquelin and that will be a massive improvement. Let Theo have a run up front and sell him in Jan if he can’t make the grade.
    Happy days.

  58. JonJon says:

    this squad is better
    previous squads were built from scratch, quality players were moulded but none of them had won anything…
    cesc, nasri, rvp..
    thats why they all left, they wanted trophies…and we sold them because we wanted money to stash and be rich

    difference is now weve got the players who have already won stuff in other leagues, international comps…
    weve bought the winners the squads better were winning stuff ourselves the concern is can wenger keep them fit and tactically get them going consistently over a whole season…

    the tippy tap is a concern as much as a lack of reinforcements…so is the schoolboy defending that raises its ugly head about 5-6 games of the year….we could sign the best players in the world but if wenger wants them to spend 90mins trying to walk the ball into the net leaving gaping holes at the back for 38 games its going to be difficult…

    the cup could be our best option again..and with wenger one more away from the record you just know hes going for it again…
    gonna need a bigger squad though to be able to go after everything and thats where this summer comes in…

    if nothing happens were a domestic cup team, with a slight chance of second

    id settle for that to be honest, if we cant win the league or cl then keep the domestics coming…keep everyone happy…..but i think everyone knows we can win the league and thats what we all want to do isnt it…

  59. Els says:

    Bill – hmm. I don’t know about that. That was a good squad and just because things don’t work out for a player doesn’t mean that they are simply a bad player. I doubt we’ve had many really truly bad players in Wenger’s reign. Back then the squad mentioned was up against less competition, so yeah I’m pretty sure I had reason to be more content. You can’t rate it against these financially doped years at all.

    You still couldn’t tell me that all of “Vermaelen Clichy, song Nik B Vela Arshavin Djourou Denilson chamakh etc etc etc etc.” are bad players. In fact there’s a good few I’d welcome back in from that lot if they were at their best. Even though, I think what we have now is better.

    We have a massive squad packed with stars. There’s no doubt in my mind that it’s the best it’s looked for 10 years.

  60. Bill says:

    Think of all the incredible talent that was in our youth academy in 2010. Nik B JET Afobe Aneke miquel bartley frimpong barazite Lansbury Szechezny Merida, hoyte brothers, Coquelin, Henderson Eastmond. Etc etc etc etc

    It’s easy to downplay it now but most of us and even many in the media was saying that Arsenal was going to win the league and we would be dominating for years and years to come.

    These were some very heady days.

  61. JonJon says:

    tippy tap only works if youve got messi…
    thats it…
    hes the secret to tippy tap…someone whos got the ball glued to his feet, can dribble his way through entire teams and score 60 goals a season..
    you can afford to fuck about with it…triangle here, triangle there….tap tap slow, tap tap bore, tap tap snooze, tap tap give it to messi..
    hey presto…
    tap tap looks great with messi…
    without him….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz … what the spanish turned into when they tried to be barca for a bit….

    id like to think we’ll go more direct with pace
    not long balls….not hospital balls
    through balls….

  62. Bill says:


    It’s a discussion that there is no way to prove either way. The point is that the belief that we have a squad that is uber talented and destined for much better things is not a new idea. The difference now is that we probably won’t lose the best players to poaching by Barcelona but the reality is that after the collapse in 2011 that very talented squad we had at the start of 10/11 probably would never have had the metal strength to win anything even if it stayed together.

    IMO. Its always a mistake to start talking about how great the players are if the point of that discussion is to try to make a case that we don’t need to strengthen much further. We have been there and done that many times in the past. Best strategy is to learn from the past. Its fine to hope for the best but we have to assume the worst and use your resources to prepare as much as possible for worst case scenarios. Some of the players we have are going to get injured and some are going to regress and lose form and some are probably just not as good as we think. We need to start from as strong a position as possible if we want to be a true title contender. I hope that makes sense

  63. Bill says:


    I agree with most of that especially about your distaste for tippy tippy. The problem is we built this squad and our tactics around ball possession and the midfield controlling the tempo. If no one finishes our chances then the things we do will always degenerate into tippy tippy. The crazy defending mistakes seem to follow the tippy tippy. It’s almost like we start to lose interest and lose shape and organization when we struggle to score.

  64. Limestonegunner says:

    Owls, I hadn’t but that is some crazy figure!

  65. Bill says:

    If we struggle to score and fall back into tippy tippy the way we did against Swansea and Sunderland and then start to lose of defensive organization it’s the perfect storm for a run of poor results.

  66. Els says:

    Bill I think we’ve already changed and made progress from those days you keep harking back to. The signings of Cazorla, Özil and Sanchez prove that. We’re spending and attracting talent. Still we shall see and all I know is that we’re headed in the right direction. I’m off now. Thanks for a good convo today. Enjoyed it.

  67. The Arse in the Gamb says:

    To beat the combo of Giroud with Theo as back up (or vice versa, it is up to them) we are going to have to bring in better quality than Higuain. I don’t think he is going to bring in that many more goals than what we have and it is lots of money, why spend it? Theo wants to prove that he can play up front and he has a good counterpart in Giroud to vie with; it is a funny position that he has argued himself into, and will play less as a result – wingers always get a game and Ronaldo is a winger – in the Arsenal set up only the top striker gets a game when he is fit and that has been the death of so many at the Arse. If we get a top money striker Theo has to be off as Sanchez is our no 1 on the right and he will drop to 3rd choice up front.

  68. The Arse in the Gamb says:

    Bill. Yes Uber talented, but do we have too much of the same type of Uber talent? I think so and too often getting hideously exposed.
    AW wants to win the Champions League and he thinks he can do that with a Barcelona system of Uber talented midfielders, but I am with JJ on that one, its bull without the best striker.
    The nearest AW has come to winning the CL was when he had a balanced squad, top wingers, the best DM, awesome CM with a sublime number 10, damn near the best striker, with a solid, solid defence and goalies.
    That was balance, that was a team that defined the game and was most of all balanced.
    Tike taka,is a wet dream for the boardroom and is invented around the sublimly talented, as if it is recreatable anwhere else. Like copying a really good architects design, you are never going to make it sing without that talent.

  69. Bill says:


    What I am asking for is a couple more players like Alexis with one of them someone who can bring as much to the CF position as Alexis brought to wing and then add a DM. At least 2 but ideally 3 big signings this summer. That will certainly move players who are currently first choice to the subs bench but so be it.

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