On Beating Bayern, Wojo & Patrick Vieira

“Bayern v Arsenal: How we saw it”, roared the headline on dot come. At least you saw it; I was too busy enjoying tapas and Inedit Damm. The beauty of the modern age – aside from the Damm beers – is that I’ve seen Alex Iwobi’s cracking header which broke German hearts.

I’ve also lived to see a German team lose a penalty shootout, which as an Englishman fills me with joy beyond words. OK, so only one German took a penalty (and scored) but that’s not my problem. The record books show that we didn’t let a German take a penalty and won.

What did we learn from yesterday? Mainly that Nacho Monreal is our new penalty taker. I don’t care what anyone says, he is the man. There are few better sights from the penalty spot that the top corner of the net bulging. It’s better than watching Gary Lineker make a hash of things from the penalty spot against Brazil; a goal which, at the end of his career, would have drawn him level with Sir Bobby’s then-record for England.

Several of the squad suffered a dose of the ‘squitters’ and missed out on yesterday’s revenge win, as did Steve Bould, who suffered a hernia on his neck, which I’m not even going into. The surgeons weren’t so shy and he’s back in Blighty recuperating. Which is better than a dose of the ‘squitters’.

The final tour match against Chelsea remains before we get back to the proper pre-season business of signing players. Or in our case, selling quite a few. Reports this morning suggest we quoted West Ham £20m as the fee for Jack Wilshere. “You’re joking?” came the reply. “You started it by asking if we want a fee. Just pay his medical bills.”

Never Can Say Goodbye

I remember being a young boy in Poland, watching David Seaman, Thierry Henry, Dennis Berkamp and others play for Arsenal. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would get a chance to play for the club I supported as a little kid. When I was approached by Arsenal in 2005 my world changed forever. I began my journey as a 16 year old boy at the Arsenal’s academy, trying to one day become a first team player, going out for evening runs in East Barnet with Jack Wilshere. Little did we know then, that couple years later we’d beat Barcelona in the Champions League and wear the no.1 and no.10 shirts. It has been over 11 years since I became an Arsenal player and I never thought the day I leave this club would come. Everything that I am and everything that I have, I owe to Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Liam Brady, David Court, Bob Arber, Steve Bould, Neil Banfield, Mike Salmon, Tony Roberts, Gerry Peyton, Pat Rice and many others. Words can’t describe my gratitude to these people and love for this club. Today I move on, ready for the new challenge in my life, taking with me only the good memories and bag of expierience. I leave hopeful that those days of Berkamp,Henry, Seaman and others are soon to return to Emirates Stadium and Arsenal get back to winning the Premier League. I may not be an Arsenal player no more but I will carry the Arsenal name with me wherever I go and I will do so with great pride. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner! ❤

A post shared by Wojciech Szczesny (@wojciech.szczesny1) on

Boys To Men

It’s no surprise he’s left. A mark of his ability is Juventus seeing him as a long-term replacement for Buffon. What went wrong at Arsenal? Attitude, certainly; an inconsistent back defence, definitely. One thing; what were they smoking in Turin when they went with the Primark design as a club crest?

Arsène called Szczesny “an Arsenal boy”, hastily correcting it to “Arsenal man”. There is the problem. Growing up in public is never easy, less so in a club brimming with frustration.

Wenger went on to praise Martinez and Macey, with Arsène hoping the German’s rubs off on them,

“He has a demanding attitude and can give his desire to win to the players, to help them achieve their targets. That’s what you want from these players.

“He can also give good advice because he has gone through periods where it was not easy for him, where it wasn’t all going well, and I believe his rigorous attitude to his career is similar to Per Mertesacker. It’s important that a team is surrounded by people like that.

“He enjoys being involved in training as well, and to experience the pleasure he had when he was giving his best for Arsenal Football Club again. He’s still highly motivated and that motivation never goes. When you want to do things well, I don’t think that ever changes.”

Let’s hope so. I can’t help but think that when either of Cech or Ospina leaves, we’ll be moving into the market with a lot of money thrown at Stoke, for example, for Jack Butland’s services. We shall see. There are bigger problems to solve before that.

Finally, for no other reason that it is Patrick Vieira, this surfaced on FIFA TV yesterday.

’til Tomorrow.

45 thoughts on “On Beating Bayern, Wojo & Patrick Vieira

  1. I for one am happy that Wojciech Szczęsny has finally left Arsenal.

    The time spent copying / pasting the bugger`s name is a proper pain …but now Arsene`s now gone & signed that left back can we please give him a nickname ?

  2. I, for one am very upset that Szesney has left. Perhaps he indicated that he would not sign a new deal – perhaps. But his parting words don’t feel like somebody who wouldn’t have come back if he had been asked.

    It takes years for a young goalkeeper to reach maturity. Do we start this process again with MARTINEZ / Macey and have them learn on the job? His two years in Italy had seen him being focussed, professional and turning in consistently fine performances. He had surely demonstrated that he had rehabilitated his career and attitude and would be a different animal back at Arsenal.

    It says it all really that Juventus see him as capable of filling the void left by Buffon, one of the greatest goalkeepers the modern era has seen, and we think we are so well stocked that we let him off

  3. Hi Bill,

    I doubt you will see this because we are like passing ships in the night, and the new Post will no doubt intervene – but here goes.

    You have made a good case from your viewpoint, and I cannot disprove any of it – neither would I want to – other than to remind you that I was only responding to your comment comparing Chezzer and Almunia and indicating that the latter was as good as, or better better than Chezzer, which you have now clarified by agreeing Wojo was more talented, altho more problematic of the two, and so we are good. 😀

    [The new post did intervene with my earlier reply, Bill – so I copied/pasted my reply to you, sir.] 😀

  4. YW:
    I’m always in good cheer, yer cheeky bugger. Ask anyone. Oh…

    Was that ‘Good cheer’ a typo or auto correct for ‘Gert-yer’ for those of an argumentative disposition — not me — obviously. 😀

    [Secretly we all know that it depends on who is writing your screed on the day – the happy elf, or the grumpy gnome.]

  5. Enjoy to watch the match yesterday especially watching Maitland-Niles continue to battle evern though Ribery ran at him for the better part of 50′.

    Szczesney leaving, well I’m happy for him and know that he will become a brilliant GK and one that we will look back on and say, ‘he is Arsenal through and through both as a player and as a supporter and we let a quality GK go for pennies’. Its funny people talk about his Roma years but forget that prior to the smoking incident, the year before he had won the Golden Gloves and there was universal talk of: who is better De Gea, Szczesney or Courtious and now the stats actually show that he has pushed a bit ahead. If there is one stat that I think is probably most important to a GK, its saves per goal and in this case Szczesney is stands tall at 2.93 compared to De Gea and Courtious both having a respectable 2.04. Anyways I wish Szczesny a long and successful career and hope if Arsenal don’t win it, he helps lead Juve to the CL crown.



  6. I will say that if nobody wants to pay Ospina’s wages and transfer fee it will be quite an interesting situation that Arsene has backed himself into. He has told and made it known publicly that Martinez is set to be the future with most thinking that he is set to be #2 this season, so if Ospina stays does he then tell Martinez your now #3 or does he make Ospina the #3?

  7. I remember there was a time Almunia had a good stretch of games and there was talk in the UK press of him applying for citizenship with the goal of becoming the England keeper….it all went south shortly after.

  8. Great post Yogi

    I will take a 1-1 draw against Munich any day. Nice to see Iwobi score because if Sanchez leaves we are back to having to use him as a forward at least for part of the time again this season. I think Iwobe can be a decent player but his skill set is much better utilized at CM and not a forward. Using Iwobe as a forward might work for a few games but we already have to compensate for Ozil who does not score. Even with Lacazette we are not going to challenge for any big trophies this season if we regularly run out team with Ozil and Iwobe as our forwards since that leaves us with a forward line where 2/3 of them are not a threat to score.

  9. Henry

    I did not try to indicate that Almunia was a better GK then Wojo. My point was that both failed at Arsenal because of inconsistency. GK is the position that is by far the least tolerant of inconsistency. Any other player on the pitch can make a mistake and someone else can compensate. However, there is no one behind the GK and when he makes a mistake you usually concede a goal. Madrid proves that you don’t need to have the worlds best GK to win big trophies but you can’t tolerate inconsistency.

  10. I’m disappointed, but not surprised that Wojo has left. Yes he made mistakes on and off the pitch, but he was a “kid” as a goalie and had a shocking defence in front of him. I’m sure his time at Roma has helped him mature as a person and player.

    However, Arsene appears to have a track record of showing blind loyalty to some while side-lining others for one reason or other. Wojo is one of many. Just like Podolski and Perez, neither of whom got a fair crack up front. I fear that Elneny will suffer the same fate in midfield, while Le Coq and others get the nod. Arsene has done the same to ex-players too, which is why we have Silent Steve as defensive coach and not the eloquent scary-eyed Keown, who I suspect would inject a bit more fire into the bellies of the back three/four.

    And as YW neatly set up, why PV4 will end up managing Citeh and not Arsenal in 2019.

    In the first half of the “naughties”, I never thought I would come to think of Arsene as toxic. I do now though.

  11. Once was a time we sold players when their value was high like Anelka, Overmars. Now we are starting to lose young players like Wojo amd Gnabry for whom the future still looks bright. The expensive youngsters with potential we buy don’t always pan out (Theo, Ox). And the players we want to offload can’t be, for even small transfer fees (Jenkins, DeBuchy). A slow and gradual shift has taken place in the Gooenrverse.
    Arsene knew.

  12. Hello,

    Been watching the high lights from the Bayern game and we´re quite lucky and in no small order thanks to Cech.

    Though another question comes to mind; why is Cech standing in goal for a pen? He might as well step outside of the goal cause it´s a given goal. We´d do better to put anyone in goal. Take someone tall with good reach, like Mert and he might save one whereas Cech will not.

    Does anybody know the last time he saved a pen. Has he ever saved a pen? It´s frankly ridiculous and going forward the plan is not to concede pens or?

    And yea, good thing we sold Szczesney for peanuts.

  13. the bottom line is that Czech has perhaps one top season left in him – and he really came back to near his best in the second half of last season.

    We have all seen enough of Ospina to feel that while he’s a good shot stopper he is not the top top quality that Wenger often drones on about. It says a lot that it is known he is looking to move and the only ones biting are fenerbache. For someone who Wenger lauds from the tree tops not one single Prem club are interested – at a very modest fee.

    Martinez? Who knows? Wenger has bogged him up but this is the manager who once called Almunia world class.

    There was space in the roster for Szcesney – why not try to keep him? As someone said, we could potentially be throwing 30m around in 12 months time looking for a keeper.

  14. Stu @ 2:32

    Arsene has always been incredibly patient with his young players. He uses first team minutes as a developmental laboratory and sticks with struggling players far longer then he should. Clearly Arsene wanted Wojo to succeed when he handed him the job in 2010 he proved his patience and how much he wanted Wojo to thrive by keeping him for 5 years. Teams whose objective is to win big trophies can not tolerate a dysfunctional GK and no other big team manager in the world would have stuck with Wojo for 5 years. Man City gave Joe Hart 2 years which is more then most would have done

  15. Hi again, Bill.

    You find it hard to take an agreement, but you do like to keep an argument going – even if, in this case, I am not arguing. 🤡

  16. Monaco have filed a complaint with FIFA:

    We understand Monaco’s complaint to FIFA regarding Kylian Mbappe relates to alleged conduct of Manchester City and PSG.

    Apparently it does not relate to Arsenal.

  17. Good Afternoon, Mr C. 🙂

    I could not believe my eyes when I saw that Kondogbia’s agent was stirring the pot by saying plenty of club’s were interested in him, especially Barça and PSG – but not Arsenal again it seems.

    He clearly made a mistake choosing Inter Milan when we were chasing him – good player, but I hope we do not get involved with him again. One bite at the biscuit – then he’s gone.

  18. One the postive side- the Arsenal beat Bayern, I do not care if this was just a game of 5 on 5’s, indoor or drills, a win is a win. It was good to see the youngsters get a run, Bayern had some fine players in that squad. Yes, Cech made a few good saves, but what glad to see Ribery get shoved twice on the same run, almost made me feel as good as when Holding smashed arnotovic! Man o man- the Arsenal just lost a really good keeper, who would cost us at least 30-35 mill to find as a replacement. Better hope Emi can move ahead quickly.,
    Me, I believe Szcz told Arsene to FO in no uncertain terms. This was when the back line was decimated, and had like 8 different starting line ups in front of him. Who would not have told the bugger to go to hell?
    Will find out the truth some day.
    Now, sign a darn DM, and another striker-get rid of the old pine riding the pine.
    Some of the youngsters look quick and relatively strong for their ages.

  19. C,

    Wenger was very clear that, despite all the rumour nonsense, Arsenal had not made any bid for Mbappe. No surprise there – he is risk averse and would never gamble circa £100m on an 18 year old.

    A fool and his money are soon parted – so let the others fight it out to see who is the biggest fool. 🙂

  20. HenryB,

    Afternoon Henry,

    Yea just saw the Kondogbia stuff, must admit I would gladly have him as he was superb for Inter and is a good player that clearly would improve us. His agent stirring the pot is interesting but I could see why PSG are interested with Matuidi and Motta not getting any younger, Veratti firing his agent and signing with Raiola to try and push his move to Barca through (if he goes to Barca he would transform them and push them past Madrid), and them wanting him to pair with Raboit in a brilliant midfield.

    Shame though because he would probably use Arsenal as a stepping stone but he would be an upgrade to what we have. 😉

  21. HenryB,

    Yea, I think me and you discussed how maddening it would be to through that sort of money at Monaco for Mbappe.

    Don’t think he would sign with Arsenal anyways and probably end up with Madrid or Barca with PSG still in the running. Don’t throw money at him, why not throw a fraction, probably 1/3 of that at Celtic for Dembele!

  22. Bill,

    Not disputing that Arsene gives opportunties to the youth. My issue here is that Wojo has done his juvenile apprenticeship (with that awful defence), made mistakes, gone on loan where he has developed as a player (and presumably matured as a person), yet is now cast aside when we are not entirely sure who will be No. 1 keeper from 2018/19.

    Wojo may have told Arsene where to go in the past, but the manager should understand that he was immature back then and move on. Arsene should be above the bias and petty decisions, and not hold grudges. People develop and grow; I’m not entirely sure Arsene himself has developed positively.

  23. Stu

    Fair enough. There is certainly a reasonable case for giving Wojo another chance. To be fair to Arsene, I think any of us would have been frustrated if we invested all of that emotional capital, a huge contract that we had to subsidize just to find a place that would take him on loan and 5 years only to be let down by Wojo’s recurring inconsistency and then his dressing room antics after another mistake filled game. I would argue we gave Wojo far to many years but even Arsene has to run out of patience at some point because there is no way to know just when Wojo might get his head on right. He might still be dysfunctional if he had not had the change of scenery. At some point even Arsene Had to just shrug his shoulders and say enough is enough. It would also be frustrating to see him supposedely get his act together as soon as he leaves and I were Arsene I would certainly be concerned that the cycle might start again when he comes back to the place where he struggled before. Why take that risk when you have a good and very steady GK who is probably going to be around for at least a few more years.

    The other issue is that if I were Wojo I would certainly not want to return when he knows that he probably will probably be sitting on the bench and the end of the Buffon era is probably closer then the end of the Cech era. If I was Wojo I would not sign another contract with Arsenal.

  24. HenryB,

    As you say Henry “a fool and his money will soon part ways”. It’s one of my favorites expressions in English. So natural and an absolute truth.

    In my language we have a saying “dum kostar” which lacks some of the elegance of your words but in essence is very clear:-).

    Though, its not wengers money, is it?

  25. Evening,

    After some careful thinking and some drinking I find myself altogether again thinking about Arsenal even though I swore myself not to after katalyst of change proved to be nothing of the kind.

    Well, that’s not very impressive is it. But please tell me that I’m not the only one who goes through this lapses of faith and utter boredom of rinse and repeat until nauseating levels of deja vu.

    I’m gullible and weak minded and whith a transfer window there’s hope again.
    Probably should stop drinking :-).

  26. Jonny,

    I read the Storey piece also.

    Of all the points Storey made this was succent….

    “If that isn’t the point of the loan system, then what is? And, more pertinently, if Wenger was going to sell him in 2017 after such an improvement, why bother loaning him out at all? What more could Szczesny do?”

    Let’s face it – as many others have noted Szczesny ended up on Wengers shit list.

    The one year loan – not enough.

    Cue Wenger’s disingenuous crap about how he remained an Arsenal player, yet… another year loan during which no one from the club (manager/coach)even bothered to stay in contact.

    At this point, if you believe Wenger has a vindictive side to his personality (I do) you can imagine Wenger if anything was further irritated by Szczesny’s maturation process in Italy.

    It reflected badly on Wenger.

    So, we’ll diminish him, ignore him and sell him off for a questionable price, even if in the form of his life.

    Just by the by, whats up with Joel Campbell and Lucas Perez talking of things petty?

  27. Ooh good. No players disappearing in the winter months. Of course, we’re moving the World Cup to the winter…

  28. Well done YW. And well done to Chezzer as well. No doubt, Juve is a step above Arsenal in footballing terms at least. So it’s a step up well deserved.
    IMO we have enough cover at GK for now, especially if Ospina doesn’t get another willing suitor. Emi is too good for the reserves right now and I don’t believe going on loan to be second choice is better than learning from both Lehman and Cech as even 3rd choice at Arsenal. It’s very easy for a goalkeeper’s career to go belly up within a couple of indifferent loan years. I believe the decision on Chezzer’s future was taken mutually between the player or this case, the ‘keeper and the club (don’t bother to ask for any evidence.. I ain’t git none). What we need right now is Sanchez’ future resolved and then a brand new shiny “in your face” CM enforcer…heard that Arsene?

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