On Bit Part Players, Misplaced Pride and Mindering Your Own Business

I am what I drink and I’m a bitter man. The Spanish equivalent probably involves milk. It’s a big thing in Iberian sayings, milk, and I’m sure there’s something somewhere which fits Lucas Perez’s current mood. And that’s angry, disappointed, and ready to ‘do one’.

The Spaniard is upset that Arsenal gave ‘his’ number 9 shirt to Alexandre Lacazette. It tops off what will become known as the Curious Case of Lucas Perez. To this day, he was a signing foisted upon Arsène, we assume. A player we passed up on, only to return to when all other options – and I mean, all – had failed to materialise.

As if. This is a manager who the board can’t even force to accept a change in structure without it becoming so watered down that the government are thinking of employing him as an advisor on how to do that with every piece of legislation passed due to public pressure.

You may recall we outmuscled Everton for the deal. We don’t have a great track record when it comes to bidding wars, do we? Almost all of our deals since 2011’s trolley dash have been ‘free runs’ at players. Clubs sniff around but we’re usually the only (publicly) acknowledged suitors; Alexis, aside.

Park Chu-young probably wishes we hadn’t hijacked his move to Lille so disastrous was his time in north London. Arsène Wenger probably thinks the same. Or Arsène 2.0 does; he’s well hard now, not letting players move because they are under contract or not letting players move because they aren’t selling for inflated values.

Arsène will never cut it as a wheeler-dealer; for a start, he whizzes out of Colney too quickly to stop and wind his window down. And he doesn’t have a camel-hair coat. I bet Harry Redknapp has a camel-hair coat; he’s got to. That and a Trilby. He’s got a minder as well. Called Terry, formerly employed by HMRC as Rosie proved wholly unreliable as a tax advisor.

Back to the point

Which I’ve wandered from, I freely admit. Perez was never more than a squad player but given the number 9 seems to have played as a psychological game. He’s just about old enough to remember the days of 1 – 11 and the time when they took to the field at kick-off. Some shirt numbers retain a kudos in football which stretch beyond club boundaries and ‘9’ is one of them.

Did it raise expectations in his mind? Seemingly so but if promised more than a bit part role, Arsenal failed to deliver. A pity because I think he’s a decent player.  Not starting line-up material at Arsenal but certainly one who should regularly appear from the bench and/or in the cup competitions.

He didn’t particularly but that had more to do with the low numbers of injuries suffered in his favoured roles. We got a hint of what was possible with a hat-trick in Basel. Seven goals in 21 games but five of them game in two matches, underlining just how frequently he was on the bench. He was, to my mind at least, better equipped and more useful to the XI than Joel Campbell.

However, come in number 9, your time is up. Excluded from the Australasia tour, it was obvious he was in the area of the dressing room known as ‘Death Row’. Players who are on the fringe of the squad, who know they are on their way out, all congregate in the far corner, careful not let others read their ‘Whatsapp’ group messages.

Over ‘ere, son. On me peg

He’s not the only one wondering what’s going on. Kieran Gibbs didn’t so much fall from grace as plummet. Carl Jenkinson, likewise. Both are wanted by mid-table teams, neither is leaving any time soon as Arsenal aren’t benefitting from the largesse others are being shown.

Which is a problem. We don’t want to be taken for mugs but there’s a fine line between not selling at a reasonable price and not selling at all. We’re perilously close to the latter, no matter how much pleasure we derive from annoying Tony Pulis. It was reassuring the other day to find that he and Mark Hughes both found Arsène to be the manager they lost most games against while Wenger himself beats Sam Allardyce more often than any other manager.

And I should probably leave the subject there, with that image stuck firmly in your head of Arsène in some Pulp Fiction styled basement with Pulis, Hughes and Allardyce as his gimps.

Anyway, so long and thanks for all the fish, Lucas. And the others who’ve worn the red and white with a certain amount of pride.

’til Tomorrow.

79 thoughts on “On Bit Part Players, Misplaced Pride and Mindering Your Own Business

  1. Good morning folks, I commented on the Lucas Perez situation earlier this morning (on yesterday’s post), The only reason I can see for his purchase was to enable Wenger to say “look at me, I’m active in the transfer market, I’ve bought us a Spanish international striker, I’m as good a wheeler dealer as Old ‘Arry”.

  2. The number 9 shirt from memory has been worn in AW times by: Merson, Suker, Anelka, Jeffers, Reyes, Baptista, Eduardo, Park-Young, Podolski and Perez.

    Merse apart lets hope Lacazette has a better AFC career than the majority of those…

  3. Ian,

    Interesting collection there Ian. Merse was a terrific player and at the latter end of his career when Arsene arrived. Suker? Didn’t really come off. Anelka was certainly a success, Jeffers a flop. Reyes was better than many suggest but the rough and tumble of the PL was too much, Baptista was crap, Eduardo’s injury we all know about and as for Park, another Wenger failed bargain buy. Podolski would have been better in a front two but was also ‘Wengered’

    One question I would ask, who coaches our strikers? I’ve never been aware that we have anyone who does that job, if it’s Wenger then we’re going to struggle whoever we get.

  4. I commentated on Perez in the previous post also but would like to add this.

    Forget the CL and Basel – my favorite Perez game was when we (fronting a ‘B’ team against their ‘B’ team) spanked Southampton in January in the FA Cup (the Cup which essentially salvaged Wenger’s season).

    That night was fantastic – The Ox had one of his best games, Welbeck came back and scored, Theo hit a hat-trick and Lucas had a direct role in four of the five goals.

    It was pointed out after the game Perez had been involved in 8 goals in 8 starts (all competitions 5 goals three assists).

    I am not going to argue he should have been a starter but I will argue he could have become a key player for us.

  5. Don’t see it DFS, to be honest. He’s nowhere near as good as Alexis or Ozil and they held his positions in the team. He didn’t like the right side so I just can’t see where he fitted in other than as a sub.

    The stat 8 goals in 8 games is utterly meaningless. He scored 5 in 2 games, which means he got his assists in max 2 as well. Not particularly productive in half of the remaining games, was he?

  6. Orson Kaert,

    A bit of an unfair question. There are massed ranks of supercomputers who’s entire processing power couldn’t answer as to why Wenger does anything. Hell, even Wenger probably can’t answer that.

  7. YW,

    “He didn’t like the right side so I just can’t see where he fitted in other than as a sub”.

    Which is why I said…

    “I am not going to argue he should have been a starter but I will argue he could have become a key player for us”.

    I think he was valuable squad player never given the opportunity he deserved.

    I’m lost why he should be compared to Ozil and Sanchez. Who else is drawn in direct comparion to those two? The Ox or Walcott aren’t so why Perez, I don’t undertsand that.

  8. DFS-,

    I think the comparison is more with Alex Iwobi who appeared 26 times in the league last season, mostly on the left hand side. Given that Iwobi only scored 3 league goals it seems strange that he was given so much more time on the pitch than the player we spent £17m on. I, like you, feel that Perez could have been a very useful squad player who was badly underused and rightly now wants to leave.

    I doubt that Wenger buys players that he doesn’t want at all but he seems to have two lists, the top players who he has as a certain valuation of that doesn’t match what the market dictates and squad players who can be brought in to fill a hole in the squad. Because of his reluctance to pay up for top players in all positions we end up shopping off the second list a fair bit. Players like Perez are given a few games here and there, but don’t really seem to be encouraged (Wenger himself said it had been hard for Perez). If they turn out to be absolute stars all well and good, but they have to be self-starters. If they are useful Wenger seems happy to use them every so often, but is reluctant to drop one of his favourites from the starting XI. It is a little surprising that Iwobi has become one of the favourites so quickly though.

  9. Many years back the daughter of a mate of mine up here in Norfolk went out with Matthew Upson-he was,apparently,a very lovely lad👍He kept in touch with my mates family even after the romance had petered out……
    He had a few remarks about Mr Wenger that I still recall-namely that when he first met him Wenger took an instant dislike to him.He hadn’t said or done anything-Wenger just didn’t like him.His Arsenal career finished very soon after.
    Like Matty said…’if your face doesn’t fit with him,you’re finished’.
    He wasn’t on his own either.

  10. Jonnygunner,

    There appear to be parallels between Upson and Perez, both signed by Wenger and arrived if not with a fanfare at least not a raspberry. Neither were given sufficient playing time to justify there purchase.

    We shall never know just how these two players came to piss Wenger off to the extent that he froze them both out. Personality? Workrate? General attitude? all things that should have been noted by the scouts before any offer to buy was made.

    Upson went on to make a reasonable career for himself, played for the England senior team and regularly for Birmingham City, West ham and Stoke City. So what was so wrong with him in Wenger’s eyes?

    I hope that Perez is allowed to leave for his chosen club, Deportivo, and that he has a successful time there .

  11. I get it, neither Perez or Elneny for most aren’t good enough but I think both can be useful players. For instance, for all the talk of say Ox, Ramsey, Theo, Le Coq and Iwobi; only one of those players actually was any sort of difference maker and that was because he was the club’s 2nd leading goal scorer, the rest, well they have been given loads of matches of the past several seasons and yet every summer and throughout the season we all say the same thing, “talented but no end product, no consistency and we need an upgrade to that position” so why can’t Perez and Elneny who have shown consistency play more?

    Its really strange and as much hope and excitement that I had for this window with the Sead and Lacazette deals, its starting to fade because as DFS has stated, its not making any sense. Shift out Chambers, Elneny and Szczesny, all players that performed both well and consistently at least the past season; yet hold out for bigger fees for the likes of Jenks, Gibbs, Jack and continue to insist on Ox and Ramsey being core members yet neither can stay fit or show any sort of consistency.

  12. I know its not funny because it affects the summer transfer plans, but in the most Arsene way ever, we have re-signed Wellington Silva after Bordeaux cancelled the deal that they had with Arsenal for said player.

  13. Thanks for the post Yogi

    I agree with your comment at 11:03. Perez played in 21 games for Arsenal and had 7 goals but all of those goals came in 4 games which were against Nottingham Forest, Basel, Bournemouth and Sutton United. He played in 11 league games and scored 1 goal.

    He had 5 assists but all of those assists came in 3 games against Ludogrets, Preston and 1 against Southampton in the FA cup game.

    We as fans often see what we hope to see rather then what actually happens. The idea that Perez was always effective and productive when he was given a chance is clearly misguided.

  14. Ay la mala leche. Chinga la madre que le pariO. Lucas va a marcar una docena de goles antes del primero de enero.

  15. Bill,

    Any less effective than Iwobi? A player who has been given endless opportunities to make a mark and has signally failed to do so.

  16. No doubt that I have spent more keystrokes criticizing Arsene in the last 9 years then any other regular. However, I think we have to make some attempt to be fair to the man. I think Arsene probably bought Perez to be cover the back end of the squad until Welbeck came back and in case the squad had a rash injuries. Perez also give us an experienced player to use in cup matches. How many times have we rightfully criticized Arsene over the years for having a squad that was short of experienced players when the injury bug hit the squad? If we had not had Perez and we did have a bunch of injuries we would have had to use someone like Chuba Akpom. Professional football is about results and not about making sure everyone on the squad is happy. We can’t have it both ways. Its the same on any big club in the world. If we are going to have a deep enough squad to cover for an unexpected rash of injuries then there will always a couple of decent players who don’t get a lot of minutes. Myself I think having Perez around as a reasonably priced insurance policy was a good move.

  17. Orson

    I agree completely about the Iwobe thing. However, Arsene has always been far to aggressive with his use of our younger players and I have criticized him endlessly about that. I said dozens and dozens of times that some of Iwobe’s minutes could/should have gone to Perez but if you remember we started the season quite well with Iwobe playing regularly as left forward and Arsene was not going to mess with something that at the time was working very well. By the time it became apparent that Iwobe was not the answer at left forward and the team started to struggle was when Welbeck came back.

  18. C

    Ox lost his job to Iwobe and did not play that much in the first 1/2 of the season. In the second half of the season most people not named C thought that Ox was one of our most effective players not named Sanchez.

  19. Iwobe also took whatever minutes Perez could have had and he also took whatever minutes Gnabry might have been gotten. Over the years I have heard a lot of people criticize Arsene for not giving players like Afobe or Akpom or Gnabry enough chances. However when he does give a player like Iwobe a chance we criticize him for not using Perez or for selling Gnabry. Myself I think Arsene has given far to many minutes to players U21 like Iwobe or Ox after we bought him in 2011 but it does not make sense to criticize him when he does use younger player like Iwobe and then criticize him when he doesn’t. To be fair, we can’t have it both ways.

  20. There is probably not a single big team in the world that does not have a decent player or 2 like Perez or Elneny who do not get as many minutes as some of the fans thing they deserve. Morgan Schniederlin at ManU, Michy Batashuyi, Vincent Jansen, Perez and Elneny are just a few of hundreds of examples. Professional football (especially on big teams) is about getting results and not about keeping everyone on the squad happy or being “fair” to everyone. Ask anyone of those players what he really thinks of his manager and they will probably almost all tell you they were not given a “fair chance”.

  21. Bill,

    The problem with your comparison with Schniederlin at Manchester is that Pogba was there, for Batashuyi he had Costa who was fighting for the Golden Boot, Jansen had Kane who won the Golden Boot, Perez and Elneny well they had Ox who as you said lost his spot at the start of the season (but also he isn’t effective on the LW which played a part and Theo was scoring goals in the beginning of the season before picking up a knock), Iwobi who played well early but faded as was to be expected, Ramsey and Le Coq who were both wildly inconsistent. The other thing is that all the big clubs also have players in their line-up that might not be match winners but are players that are consistent and you know exactly what your getting from them match in and match out: Fernandinho of Citeh, Matic of Chelsea, Moses and Alonso at Chelsea, Casermo at Madrid, Raktik and Gomes at Barca, Machisio, Khederia (at this point in his career) and Manzudiac at Juve for example.

    The players that are infront of Perez and Elneny simply aren’t players that should be considered guaranteed first team players and we have seen that.

  22. We are told not to judge players who come to the Pl straight away, and rightly so in my opinion, yet both Elmeny and Perez didn’t get any sort of run of consecutive games in which to show themselves in the best light, yet are judged as squad players. They may well be, but I can’t see they were materially worse than those that got more pitch time.
    Personally I enjoyed watching them and thought they were decent, but that just highlights how little I know.

  23. Michael

    The reason players like Joel Campbell and Lucas Perez are squad players is because right or wrong the manager believes the players ahead of them in his squad give him a better chance to get results. Big team managers are supposed to be under a lot of pressure to get results and they are not going to experiment by dropping one of their better players just so they can give a squad player a run of games to see how he might do or to say that he gave him a fair chance. Professional football has never worked that way.

    Lucas got to play in every cup game and he made 21 appearance on the first team which in the absence of an injury crisis is a realistic amount to expect for one of your squad players. Look at Yogi’s comment at 11:03 and my comment at 2:28. Perez padded his stats against a couple of very weak opponents but he was not really productive for rest of his appearances. He is 28 years old and his whole career indicates his ceiling is not high enough to get regular minutes on a big team.

  24. Just wondering if we’re still in for Jean Michael Seri ? My real concern is our midfield. Arsene and Perez are a match made in heaven, can’t be arsed about what happened.

  25. In the first 1/2 of last season we were playing very well and I don’t think Iwobe should have been starting but its hard to criticize Arsene for sticking with something that was working. In the second half of the season Sanchez, Ozil, Iwobe, Walcott, Giroud, and Welbeck were all ahead of Perez on the depth chart of forwards. Again, I would argue that Perez probably should have been ahead of Iwobe even if he was there were no left over minutes for him in the high leverage games.

  26. C:
    I know its not funny because it affects the summer transfer plans, but in the most Arsene way ever, we have re-signed Wellington Silva after Bordeaux cancelled the deal that they had with Arsenal for said player.

    He has gone back to Fluminense, C………. Very odd. But apparently he had a minor injury and so he went back. As I said – very odd.

  27. Henry

    Wellington Silva got a lot of hype on the blog and there were many people who saw technical skill, flair and pace and predicted true greatness. It just shows how its almost impossible to accurately predict which players like him will ever come good. I suspect there are some who would still say the only reason it did not work was because we did not give him a fair chance.

  28. Evening,

    Seeing the discussion continues regarding Wenger use of players I put my two pence of thoughts forward.

    I don’t see a method or a clear pattern in the treatment of Joel Campbell, Lucas Peres and Eleneny other than that the manager don’t like them. Now that’s no different in any company with respect to how management chose to wield power.

    Though in this case, as in most football clubs and open enviroments , it’s quite clear who are managements favorites and who are not.

    When it’s an open environment it’s also open for the onlookers to question decisions. To me it’s raises a lot of question marks.

    I think it’s bleeding obvious that Wenger has his favorites and if you’re not part of the “in crowd ” there’s nothing there for you.

    The treatment of Eleneny, Campbell and Peres is weird and I’d go along with it if I believed in the manager but after the last 10 years there is really not much trust left there.

    He does what he does and I’d be very surprised if Sanchez is an Arsenal player come the last of august.

  29. HenryB,

    Yea I just saw he went back, its such an odd situation but to be honest, since the signing of Lacazette, odd is the word you can use to sum up the window.

  30. Reports say there has been a break through in the Lemar negotiations and a deal is close. We shall see.

  31. Celtic manager Brendan Rodgers has said they have no intention of selling Moussa Dembele this summer.

    “Moussa has been linked with ten clubs, there’s nothing in it from our perspective”. “There’s no rush from Moussa. He loves being here. He knows he is in an incredible environment where he can learn and improve”.

    Well that’s it. He’ll be signing for a new club (Marseilles?) within a week.

  32. Sky are reporting that PSG are ready to pay in excess of £40 million for Sanchez. I think if they offer £60million he’s theirs.

  33. Barcelona have also called a news conference, now it’s pointing to Neymar.

    Oooh! Isn’t this exciting?

  34. Wavey,


    As some strive to underline weak points, these are illustrative stats –

    Perez made 21 Arsenal appearances last season, only six as a starter.

    He made three champions league appearances for a total of 136 minutes (and scored a hat-trick?)

    He made 11 premier League appearances (2 starts) – total playing time 265 minutes, 24 minutes a game (often in the irrelevant back end of a game).

    That would total 5 ‘full’ games for the whole season.

    I think Wavey made a great point when comparing him to a player such as Iwobi and the time afforded to him. However, how would Sanchez or Ozil (or anyone else) have fared with those minutes?

    The idea that Perez was not fit for purpose rankles me and it is not simply down to the player. Its a pattern we have all seen with others and a weakness of Wengers management. No manager ever has the perfect squad but the idea players are selected on whim does not sit well.

    Additionally, we know Perez is likable, was popular with team mates, yet The Guardian noted the club was attemptng to smear him by telling reporters off record he did not fit, was trouble etc.

  35. Orson Kaert,


    I can’t even guess what will come out of either club.

    If the Lemar deal is back on obviously it looks like Sanchez could be off for PSG.

    But, whilst he has been known to backtrack before, Wenger just made a real song and dance abour Sanchez not leaving. Van Persie was one thing but if this does go down (I would be happy), but Wenger would lose an awful lot of credibility.

  36. DFS-,

    Who knows for the most part what comes out of either club, but the one thing that we can take from both is that they like major signings and more often than not, like Madrid, they use the media to put pressure on clubs to sell brilliantly.

    If Sanchez is off to PSG, your right, Arsene would lose a lot of credibility but like you said, we have seen this song and dance before not only with RvP but with Cesc, Song, Nasri, Clichy, Sagna, Henry, and even when he and Vieira were having their go Arsene said he wouldn’t sell.

  37. For the Americans that follow the MLS even a little, Dwyer who just recently got his first cap for the US is leaving 2nd place Sporting KS for 7th place Orlando FC (the club that he played what is essentially the Championship of the MLS). While most might think this isn’t significant but when you consider that he has been their undisputed CF1 and has scored 22, 12, 16 goals in the last 3 seasons in 30 matches each season for them its significant. The other thing is that he is ONLY 26 years old and Orlando City already has a CF1 in Cyle Larin who is 22 years old and has scored quite a number of goals, its massive.

    For those that only follow the PL, it would be the equivalent of taking Berahino and what he was and what we all thought he could be and adding him to Lukuka when he first joined Everton and started to figure it all out.

    LSG, I know your around and lurking, your Toronto FC should be worried mate.

  38. Interesting note that Ox’s agent is openly in discussions with Stoke over a move after they have lost Aurnatovic to West Ham. Have to say, anything between 25-35m I would sell Ox and shift anything I can in a deal with either Monaco for Lemar or Celtic for Dembele.

  39. It funny people think Elneny is so limited but he won back to back Players of the Month in March and April having only arrived in January last season. Mind you, the only players that won the Player of the Month last term were Ozil, Theo Le Coq and Mert to that point. Take into account he started every match starting from Feb. 5 up until April and those matches including Sanchez scoring 5 goals and beat Sanchez out both months.

  40. DFS @ 11:12

    It depends on what you consider to be Perez’ purpose and your expectations. If the purpose is to be a squad player who is perhaps 6th or 7th player in line for one of the 3 forward positions and a nice early round cup team player then I would agree and he is certainly fit for that role on last years Arsenal squad. If you are trying to suggest that not using him was a big mistake because he would have been a difference making player if only Arsene had used him more then you are on very shaky ground.

  41. I just watched an interview with De Rossi on the US tour and how fucking lucky are Roma to have not only Totti for years being Captain but then De Rossi, both not only from Rome but came through the youth ranks and are all-time greats who decided to stay at Roma as opposed to leave for other big clubs like Madrid, Barca, Manure, Milan, Chelsea, Bayern who all chased both players but decided that Roma was more important than anything.

    Bob, I know you have lurking, that has to speak directly to your heart and how you want Arsenal to be.

  42. Bill,

    I have to say, I do find it quite funny that you talk about results and playmakers and players in the front 3 / attacking positions that its all about goals yet you bang on about Ox being so good. I get it, he looked dynamic going forward but defensively which is part of being a winger and especially as a wingback he is shit. Here are some things about Ox and you wonder why people wonder why Perez didn’t get more match time:

    PL: 16 starts, 13 subs, 2 goals 7 assists
    CL: 4 starts, 3 subs, 1 goal, 1 assist
    FA Cup: 5 starts, 1 sub, 2 assists
    CC: 2 starts, 1 sub, 3 goals, 1 assist
    Total: 27 starts, 22 sub, 7 goal, 11 assist

    PL: 2 starts, 9 subs, 1 goal
    CL: 1 start, 2 sub, 3 goals, 2 assist
    FA Cup: 3 starts, 1 sub, 1 goal, 2 assists
    CC: 3 starts, 2 goals, 1 assist
    Total: 9 starts, 12 sub, 6 goal, 5 assist

    If we are going to use Giroud’s goal per min rate and talk about his efficiency being a sub and deserving more mins then the same needs to be said about Perez. In half the starts he scored as many goals and had 5 less assists while most of his appearances came as a sub and he rarely played the full 90. The other thing is people talk about Ramsey’s impact and Giroud’s impact on FA Cup, lets not all forget that against Preston, Perez was the one who created the match winning goal when he put it on a platter (literally a wide open goal, literally) for Giroud to slot it home.

  43. C

    Perez was not really competing with Ox for game time so comparing them does not make a lot of sense. In the first 1/2 of the season neither of them played very much. They were really competing with Iwobe, Sanchez and Walcott for minutes in the first 1/2 of the season and neither were playing very much. In the second half of the season Ox played CM a few times but mostly RWB rather then forward so they were not in competition for minutes. Perez was competing with Sanchez, Ozil, Welbeck Walcott, Iwobe and Giroud for minutes in the second half of the season. I would suggest that Perez should have been higher on the depth chart then Iwobe but Alex did not play that much either after Welbeck came back.

  44. C

    Look back at the comment at 11:03 and 2:28 to see why those stats that Perez put together over estimate his effectiveness. The other things remember about your statistical comparisons between the 2 players is the reason Ox has never and probably never will make it as a forward is because he does not score enough goals. Realistically the only position that we can consider using him regularly is somewhere in the midfield, preferably as one of the wingbacks in the 343 formation.

  45. C

    I know you don’t like Ox and I agree that its been frustrating while he has been playing all of these minutes for the last 6 years and never really reaching his potential. I gave up on him as a forward a couple years ago when it became clear that he was probably not going to score enough. However, he does not have to score as a wing back in the 343 formation and he clearly can disrupt a defense and add a really dynamic presence when he is running forward with the ball at his feet. With Ozil’s ability to be a consistent threat fading and if Sanchez leaves we are really short on impact playmakers who can make something happen on their own when our ball possession/passing game bogs down.

  46. C

    You often complain that Ozil can not be effective if his supply line is cut off. Myself I think he should be doing more to help to speed our tempo of play when the deeper midfielder get bogged down or over run. However that is a discussion for another time. The nice thing about a dynamic player like Sanchez or Ox is they can make something happen by themselves when the rest of the team is bogged down.

  47. After one of Perez’s early outings, in the FA Cup, he scored a couple of goals and Arsene was asked what he thought. He basically said: “He played well, but it he is very one-footed.” I thought that was weird, considering that Arsene let Arsenal spend a poultice of money for him and he’s got plenty of other one-footed players. In retrospect, Arsene was already, back then, looking for excuses NOT to play Perez. It’s all very weird, because Perez clearly had excellent vision, sufficient pace and his left foot was an absolute wand. Dunno what more Arsene wanted from a right-winger/centre forward. And please don’t tell me how many games he played. Most of them were 10 minutes at the end.

  48. The title of the article made me hopeful we’d get an inteeligent discussion, but the usual whining about Arsene Wenger is inescapable.

    It would be useful for everyone is the people posting might pull their heads out of their rectums and admit that a maanger who won four top-tier titles – Ligue 1, and the PL 4 times and finshed top 4 20 times in a row knows more about managing players, buying players, and selling players than a bunch of people sitting on bar stools.

    All managers have preferences. If you look at Arsene Wenger’s; he likes athletes. He wants, pace, power, and skills. Iwobi, Ox, Theo, Ozil, Alexis, Bellerin, Gibbs, Koscielny, Jenkinson, Podolski, Monreal, Elneny, etc. They’re all athletes. Even Giroud is highly skilled and an imposing figure in the box.

    Lucas was signed as injury cover for Welbeck, who saw his job in jeopardy and came back early. Welbeck is all about pace and power. He’s also a team player who never complains and does what’s asked, no questions asked. Ask him to play on the left, he goes. Ask him to play on the right, no problem. Ask him to lead the line, yes, sir! Even when he doesn’t score he influences the game. So does Giroud, which is why Wenger likes both players.

    Lucas was signed a year ago from a small Spanish side. He’s making double the wages he earned at Deportivo and he didn’t make it a year before he started to openly complain he wans’t playing. What he should be doing is taking an honest look at himself and admitting he isn’t playing because there were better players ahead of him. Now, be might not be willing to accept a role as a squad player, and if he is not, then he should tell his manager and team execs. Arsenal rarely force players to stay when they do not want to. Lucas did well when called upon, but Giroud scored more goals per minute than any other player in the league and the same fans praising Lucas’ record against inferior opposition damn Giroud. Baffling.

    Every team needs squad players and none of the players (Ox, Lucas, Elneny, Podolski, etc.) like being squad players, but that’s what they are. People are ready to annoint Oxlade Chamberlain, but he’s never been a consistent scorer nor has he ever stayed healthy two seasons in a row. This past season he played in 45 games in all comps, the first time he’s gone above 40 games in his career. He scored 6 goals in all comps. The same fans praising the Ox and demanding Arsenal keep him are damning Theo Walcott who scoreed 19 goals in 37 games in all competitions. Again, baffling. 11 of Ox’s games were at wingback, while Theo plays on the right wing, but what manager in his right mind keeps 6 goals and lets 19 walk out the door? Especially when both players have shown a certain frailty.

    Elneny, as an exception, recently showed he does know when he’s got it good by refusing a move to Leicester (assuming the reports are true, a big if). Better to be a squad player at Arsenal than a starter at Leicester.

    BTW, expect the Foxes to be in a relegation battle again this year.

  49. I suspect that people are under-estimating how much Sanchez probably wants to get away from Arsene. He’s a smart guy. Three years of bullshit is enough. He’s too old and wise to swallow a fourth.

  50. Orson Kaert,


    To be fair though at least he argued his point even if we might disagree with some of it. If he could cut out the ‘defend Wenger whilst insulting his detractors’ bit then we might even be able to have a reasoned discussion.

  51. Morning All,

    I tend to read from the latest comment upwards when I switch on in the morning, to see what I have missed.
    When I got to the ‘cannot spell’ bit I did not read paul35mm’s comment, after all we cannot accept excuses like it being a ‘typo’ or anything like that.
    Frankly we demand excelernt spelling for an opinion to be worthy of reading it or discussing the points raised don’t we? Corrse we do.

  52. Surprisingly I did read the offending comment, and I was disappointed by the rudeness of the indirect reference to YW and his elves, which was totally unnecessary.

    The rest of it was a bit like the parson’s nose, good in parts, with a lot of opinions on the merits of various players, and I had no problem with that – I have my own opinions which constantly change depending on my mood at the times.

    For example, I thought when I saw Perez in his rare appearances, I thought he looked OK, but did I miss him when he was not picked? can’t say I did. Tho I do understand Perez and other professional players being upset when they do not get picked, because they all think, wrongly, that they are God’s gift to the team.

  53. Morning,

    I´m more surprised that there are still Wenger disciples out there 2017.
    Or maybe he was just trolling and made a rather good effort. Some insults, haven´t managed a game and a little piece of righteousness.

  54. Morning All. How are you Henry ? Ca va?

    For my euro’s worth I hope the Manager is looking at the ” current’ midfield options.
    I am going to repeat again and again that AFC cannot go into a new season with Ramsey and Xhakia as “our” midfield pairing. It is NEVR going work.

    The 2 other options of El Neney and Le Coq speak for themselves. It is going to be Men v Boys against the bigger teams.

    Just a cursory glance at the City, Chelsea and United leaves us trailing in their wake in this particular department. If We do not do the necessary we have NO chance this season of winning the PL. None

  55. Salut, ras, ça va, et bonjour, mon ami. 😀

    I think you are right that the midfield needs a lift, and I think the mood music at Arsenal seems to be a choice of Mahrez, Lemar or Seri (according to this morning’s papers) depending on agreeing transfer fees etc.

    So they must be listening to you, ras, in their ivory towers. 🙂

  56. HenryB,

    Morning Henry,

    The Perez situation has been brought into focus by recent events though. There were a number of times last season where fans were calling for him to get more time on the pitch to potentially liven up our forward play. In some cases he didn’t even make the bench when he may have added something to our attack.
    He was always going to be a squad player, but a squad player who could potentially give you something when he came on. It is surprising that on many occasions he wasn’t even considered for that role. To have spent that amount of money on him last summer, I would have thought we would have used him more. We seemed more willing to indulge Iwobi and to some extent Ox.

  57. Bill,

    No I don’t think I m on anything appraoching shaky ground and the majority of comments express a similar view.

    He was given 20 odd minutes a game in the PL for all starts.

    That says it all.

  58. So is this actually going to happen-

    Neymar to PSG?

    Mbappe to Real Madrid?

    Are Monaco completely dismantling the team and going to release Lemar to us also?

  59. http://wp.me/p3nJ9V-6AV

    Morning – I can’t believe anyone came here expecting an intelligent article. No, wait; inteeligent discussion. That’s me off the hook then. Try and have some on today’s post. Wouldn’t want to let the poor chap down, would you?

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