Arsène on Boro’d Time & Next Summer Is Arsenal’s Divine Comedy

No matter the level, football is mad. Lunatic parents and punchy players – sometimes the same person – haunt the grassroots game while the professionals are no better. AFC Wimbledon didn’t print MK Dons name on the front of last night’s programme, determined not to recognise their opponents. No-one mentioned if the Dons were mentioned on the back page or whether there was a club profile inside. If there were, it defeats the object of not mentioning their name on the front cover.

Leicester meanwhile, survived last night’s second leg with Sevilla. There’s no other way to describe Kasper Schemichel’s fine saves, another missed penalty and a crossbar struck with an astonishing shot. If we’re going to give Arsène a kicking over something, I’d rather it was more substantial than not being as much of a lucky b*stard as Craig Shakespeare. I dunno, it might just be me but that ground seems a bit flimsy to me.

Arsenal’s planning for next season began in earnest with the announcement of more plans for the summer. Already in Australia for a couple of friendlies, the club will then face Chelsea and Bayern Munich in China. Ivan recovered from the laryngitis which has dogged him for several months – no, he isn’t dodging questions about the manager, he’s just been unwell – to offer the gem, “It will be very special for our Chinese fans to see a game of this stature”. Which translates as, “You get the chance to see us put in a couple of spineless performances, just like everyone else.”

We all know that a victory in either of the game will be hailed as a ‘new era’ just as beating Manchester City in the Community Shield three years ago is some kind of indicator of FA Cup semi-final glory.

National Express

Of course, we’ll win and that will be down to Arsène 2.0 with Boro Primorac being set up as the fall guy. To be honest he can’t be any worse than Lee Majors.

Arsène’s right hand man is set to become his Don Howe, rumoured to be moving to Konyaspor as head coach in the summer. There’s no doubt some will hail the shake-up – if the rumours are true – as a sign of Wenger’s progressive thinking, of his ability to reinvent himself as a ‘winning coach. Boro will be the problem; the bad lieutenant, if you like.

Just remember one thing. These stories are being carried in the Metro and Daily Star. Healthy cynicism. I mean, they only need the Heil to complete the unholy trinity. Talking of which…

Still, at least we’ll play Bayern next season with the club already (supposedly) preparing for life outside the Champions League. The money men are preparing the new salaries with some players facing a wage cut if (when) we finish fifth. Stan on the other hand see this as an opportunity. The opportunity to levy another management fee without causing the bottom line to suffer.

Of course, this is all trivial compared to the main event.

Something For The Weekend

Jack Wilshere, like Arsène, divides opinion. Many resent him for being the resident Englishman in the squad while tagged the poster boy for those who want the manager changed. His injuries are frequently used as a stick – a crutch – to beat him with, which is where the opinions of Dr Craig Roberts – yes, a medically qualified professional rather than a football professional – become interesting.

Roberts is Bournemouth’s head of medical services so knows first hand Jack Wilshere’s medical records and data. Speaking to the website Training Ground Guru, he matter of factly – and inadvertently, slaughtered Arsenal:

Jack has had a lot of overuse type injuries over the years. He’s had some traumatic ones as well, which every player can get, but he’s a player who is prone to break down if the load is too high


He went on:

For us, particularly given that he hadn’t played a lot leading up to joining us, we were very very strict in terms of the amount of training he would do in the week leading up to a game.

There is a lot of new interesting data coming out in terms of looking at acute verse chronic load and matching up how much you can do this week based on what you have been doing for the last four weeks.


In Pursuit Of Happiness

How they treated Wilshere is an object lesson,

We were very strict on what he could and couldn’t do. Jack didn’t like it, because he just wanted to get out and train and play.

But until we were able to build up the load that he could tolerate, we had to be very careful in terms of what we did.

Our manager was really good with that, especially initially. Jack would do half a session and then we’d pull him out; then build it up, build it up, build it up. We’ve got to a stage now where he is doing most of the sessions but we still are managing him in terms of how much he does.

It’s worth remembering at this point, the criticism levelled at Bournemouth for not using Jack correctly.

Talk of his contract was irrelevant until his fitness improved. That – touch wood – seems to be happening and I personally think he is a player we need for the long-term. We’ve seen Santi succumb for two successive years, an absence I think Jack could have covered. Put Wilshere in the deeper role and properly coached into that role, he could be a variation on the deep-lying playmaker.

The style we’re used to, quickly moving the ball, is better for his career than now, where he invites tackles and fouls. We shall see.

’til Tomorrow.

57 thoughts on “Arsène on Boro’d Time & Next Summer Is Arsenal’s Divine Comedy

  1. Even if Leicester ‘got lucky’ beating Seville last night it must be pointed out that they have gone further in the Champions League than Arsenal have for 7 seasons.

    Worth ruminating on.

  2. Morning,

    “And properly coached into that role”, unfortunately that’s where it all goes wrong. I haven’t seen any indication that any of our midfielders is coached in their roles. I’m not actually sure that any of the players are coached in their roles.

  3. Dear writer,

    You have chosen extracts from the Wilshere article to show Arsenal in a poor light. You are the first (and only) Arsenal blogger to do so. I read the whole article and it portrays Arsenal in very constructive terms. I don’t understand how you can claim to be a supporter and always look for the negative in your team?

  4. Morning all.

    The various sewage outlets of the gutter press are trying to convince us we are £9M quids in, for one Florian Lejeune of Eibar. Central Defender can also play in midfield. 25 years of age zzzzzz.

    In other news the Wenger Out brigade have raised enough funds (£2000) for a bannered plane over the stadium. Sigh.

  5. @Pete the Thirst,
    Taking nothing away from Leicester City, progress in the CL, as in other cup competitions, depends so much in the luck of the draw. Arsenal being top of their Group had the misfortune to draw one of the favourites, who were second in their Group. 😉

  6. While I think Leicester have been lucky to get to the quarters it does still put some perspective on our recent Champions League record.
    The accusation that we’ve had harder draws doesn’t add up if you remember AC Milan in 2012 and Monaco in 2015 and the fact we were utterly abysmal and unprepared for the first legs both times. “make your own luck” comes to mind, and we never do!

  7. Leicester have certainly had plenty of luck along the way but, to hear some Arsenal fans, you’d think that the consistently premature ‘exit strategy’ of the last seven years (The Seven Year Bitch) was solely down to us being victims of serial misfortune.

  8. Good afternoon folks, Thanks Yogi good as ever.

    There’s an interesting read in the Telegraph today, Jonathon Liew suggests a job swap between Jeremy Corbyn and Arsene Wenger might prove to be of value to both the Labour Party and Arsenal Football Club.

  9. Matt, Matty, Matto.

    You really are very silly. Arsenal are being complimented for communicating with Bournemouth and that is the only positive light:

    “Arsenal have been amazing, we’ve worked very closely with them,” he said. “We communicate regularly with them in terms of where Jack is, what he’s doing, how things are going.

    “Gary [O’Driscoll, Arsenal’s team doctor] and I have been in very regular communication. They have been as instrumental in managing him as we have. I know Gary from a rugby background, because he was doctor for the Lions when they toured South Africa in 2009.”

    Not one sentence of that article commends Wenger for overplaying Wilshere – something he admits – and there’s no praise of how Arsenal treated him. None.

    Let’s be honest, you didn’t read the article, did you?

  10. I can accept that Arsenal were unfortunate to draw one of the favourites, but cannot accept a 10 – 2 aggregate score line. What is even more unacceptable is the manner in which we imploded in both games.

    The gulf in class, spirit and endeavour is as deep and wide as the Grand Canyon. If this were the first such capitulation there might be some sympathy for the players and management concerned, but it is altogether a far too frequent occurrence.

  11. Orson Kaert,

    I agree with you about accepting the 10-2 score line and the utter domination. For instance, look at Napoli v Madrid, yea Madrid won 6-2 but Napoli never looked out of it.

  12. Corbyn and Wenger (now) are the same. Idealists, romantacists and kidding themselves if they think they are popular.

  13. That is farcical about Jack. It was suspected by many that our injuries are to some degree self inflicted, but to hear it from the medical profession is a joke.
    Jack must be overjoyed.

  14. Jonny,

    Hey Jonny, long time no see. We know each other through our mutual friend Wendy – think she’s in Miami nowadays?
    You have to admire Arsene’s excuses and justifications for all the setbacks, very creative!
    I think there is the perfect vacancy for him back in his homeland for someone with his ability to “stretch” the truth.
    How’s “President Wenger” sound?!!

  15. Monsieur Stride, I presume? I didn’t know you frequented these waters. 🙂
    I think he has been president in all but name for far too long a long time and that this is the root of our problems as a club. Sadly, like most on here, I am resigned to the fact that the aging imperator will not be removed from his throne for a few years yet.
    It’s a bleak prospect – we are treading water.

  16. The thing with Jack’s injuries is that over the last couple of seasons with Arsenal he has picked up injuries either in training or after playing a match or 2. I honestly believe that Jack is one of those unfortunate futboler, its seen alot in South American futbol; players who certainly have the talent and desire but their bodies simply can’t handle the rigors of being a core futboler especially at a big club. When your young you can run all day and then recover in a couple days without always taking care of your body, but as your body grows you need to take care of it and adding muscle and weight isn’t always the answer, sometimes physically your body can’t handle the stress of both playing futbol and adding muscle and weight.

    I never played professional futbol or professional sports for that matter but coaches / managers always wanted me to put on weight or muscle to player basketball, futbol and American football and my body felt almost unnatural and it led to more small niggles, I myself went to them and told them to let me get back to a more natural weight and training regime for me and it most certainly helped me in college and playing semi-professional. I’m not qualified but I bet that might play a role in some of Jack’s injuries.

  17. Jonny,

    Did you see that Lukaku turned down a new 5 year contract at Everton? Supposedly worth £140k a week

    Holding on to see what happens there in the next twelve months (he has 24 to go on his current deal) then?

  18. In likelihood , yes Chelsea – but we will be flush with money from the sale of Sanchez (and perhaps Ozil) so no real reason we could not utilise that to get and pay the wages of arguably the best young striker in the league.
    Personally I would want to keep Ozil – even if he did not want to sign a new contract. A target like Lukaku, who scores all sorts of goals and is not as profligate as our Frenchman would be ideal.
    Though failing that I am increasingly a fan of the distribution provided by Oxpot through the centre…

  19. Jonny,

    That presupposes that Lukaku would turn down the Premiership Champions in favour of the Fourth Place Also Rans.

  20. I think he’s just keeping his options open at the moment, nothing more than that.

    With that said, I can’t see us getting involved in the war for him, winning it even if we did get involved nor being able to tie him down to a deal after that either.

    Sad times.

  21. We will be possibly £50M-£80M in the bank so we should have a kitty to compete – plenty of big name players have been enticed to clubs further down for wages etc.
    If we want to compete we need to at least try rather than just shrugging and saying – it’s not possible.
    But as Damon and I have been saying – for ages now we should have been in for him with big money offers ever since he went to Everton – long before the the likes of Chelski were even interested again.

    Orson Kaert:

    That presupposes that Lukaku would turn down the Premiership Champions in favour of the Fourth Place Also Rans.

  22. That’s 50-80M extra in addition to whatever is now in the ‘war chest’ which, let’s face it, has always been somewhat under utilised.

  23. Real Madrid or Man U could possibly be interested too. Both Zlatan and Benzima are getting on.

  24. Watched Belgium play once quite recently with french language commentary. I love the way Lukaku’s name is actually pronounced: it’s not Lu-car-koo as in Engerland, but Looka-kooo 🙂

  25. I really don’t know why we’ve never moved for him. He’s exactly what Wengers been trying to find. A big skillful CF. everything Bendtner, Chamack, Sonogo and Giroud arnt. Could debatably include Adabayor to that list.

  26. Oh true – I am not saying we would win his signature in a bidding war nor that he is the only option in town BUT we could at least, damn well get involved at the very worst it would at least push the price up.

  27. Jonny,

    I think the club learnt a harsh lesson over the Suarez bid fiasco. All negotiations are made with as much secrecy as possible. To make a speculative bid for a prominent player only to be turned down by either his club or by the player himself is the sort of bad publicity we could well do without.

  28. That bid got revealed and ridiculed because it was insulting.
    We have always been secretive about our transfer business but we have had loads of bids rejected in the past, as has every other club.
    Timid hearts never win their heart’s desire.

  29. Mbappe looks sure to go for a lot of money one day. Sometimes you just have to gamble as Chelsea did on Lukaku, sadly AFC are not a club that gambles, we always take the safe option.

  30. In fairness we did gamble similarly – on Ox and Walcott (Lukaku cost £12M so it’s very much a comparable outlay at a similar age too) but AW has never got the best from his young progenies.
    In fairness neither did Chelsea, or he was never given the chance, but of course they did make a tidy profit.

  31. It’s revealing to hear the perspective of the Bournemouth doctor regarding Wilshere and avoiding stress injuries through lowered training.

    If you look at minutes played for Bournemouth, after an initial period his minutes on pitch rose quickly. The thing which struck with Wilshere this season was not form but that he had remained injury free for a long spell.

    We appear to have an endless cycle of injuries and an endless cycle of injury relapses. Like many issues at Arsenal, they are accepted as par for the Arsenal course- they shouldn’t be.

    “Put Wilshere in the deeper role and properly coached into that role, he could be a variation on the deep-lying playmaker”…

    I believe it is the role for Wilshere and as has been stated before, he has played well in the position for England. Further he said he liked the role and would be enthusiastic to try it at Arsenal.

    The additional benefit would be injuries avoided by not repeatedly driving forward into tackles.

  32. Monaco 2-0 up against City and the commentator made a great point.

    He just underlined how simply Monaco were playing…stream forward put in a cross and have four players waiting in the box to pounce.

    Not exactly fourth dimensional chess- but I’d love to know how many times Arsenal have broken forward quickly this season, crossed the ball and had four players already in the box.

  33. Jonny,

    We do, but not usually for the very best youngsters. Lukaku was ‘only’ £10m but with add-ons the fee would have doubled. Being top scorer in the league at 17 made him hot property. Too much for Arsenal. I don’t recall huge competition for the Ox or Theo which suits Wenger yet we did seem to pay a lot for promising but not potentially ‘world class’ youngsters (£12m rising to £15m for the Ox and £10m for Theo). Don’t even get me started on Chambers.

    Mbappe will be on a lot of wish lists (though I doubt he’ll move for a while yet) and you can guarantee that when others show an interest Arsenal with drop out and look for a cheaper option. Remember Wenger’s obsession with ‘value’ in the market? So we buy the likes of Gervinho instead of Hazard, drop out of the race for Higuain, and make prats of ourselves with the Suarez bid.

  34. DFS-,

    I think you have missed the point, it’s not the playing minutes, it’s the level of work load in training that is being carefully managed.

  35. City out, poor tactics by Pep, like Wenger he just cannot defend. It’s okay when you have the players he had at Barca and Bayern, but when you meet teams of a similar calibre you have to been at least competent in all areas of the game.

  36. monaco seems to be in a very good form…. very attacking team… they have scored above 100 goals… will the selfish and crazy arsene wenger please leave and let any of these young coaches take over

  37. C,

    He’s already denied that one so I can’t see it. Quite honestly I’ll only believe that he’s gone when he actually leaves the building for the last time.

  38. Arsene says Primorac isn’t going anywhere. Which again suggests that he’s staying. Jobs for life the pair of them it seems….

  39. Jonny,

    Correct Mr Neale – it was you who brought me to these waters, Facebook post I think. Always a good read. Sorry to hear about your recent incident on the canal. Hope you’re feeling ok

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