You Couldn’t Spend Your Way Out Of A Wet Paper Bag

Festivities over, the gloves came off. Jose Mourinho, Arsène reckoned, needs to ‘button it, muppet’.

Welcome to our world, the Frenchman said in not so many, words after the Portugeezer bemoaned his £300m spending spree not bringing results. Pep Guardiola, he boo-hooed, had spent more than him, which is probably true. The Spaniard however, is a better coach; he gets his players playing the best football the top flight has seen in more than a decade.

You might argue that this is just because he’s spent just shy of the GDP of a third world country and there is a point in that. However, like Mourinho, it denies Guardiola any credit as a coach. We know he’s the best coach of his generation and uses those tools to his best advantage. This is the man who has managed to make Kyle Walker into a good defender, for god’s sake.

The nature of modern football is that the wealthy clubs spend their way to success. However, in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Liverpool did the same and won oodles of titles and cups. Frankly, there’s nothing new about modern football.

The difference was that it was relative; fees hadn’t spiralled out of control to the extent that there is a massive gap between what the elite and the rest can afford.

Remember though, these elite clubs can still only have 25 players in their squad. The rest fight over other players. Now in the modern game, we’re finding out who the good coaches are. The only way to combat the elite teams is to build a balanced squad and be tactically astute. Across Europe’s major leagues, only Maurizio Sarri has done that with Napoli top of Serie A. The rest have gaps of 8 points or more between first and second.

Blinded by the Blight

You may not like it but that’s the way it is. Don’t give me crap about the oil money and everything else; this is about coaching and a lack of tactical nous. Guardiola and Mourinho, the top two in the division. Their gap is as much coaching as it is money.

I was going to put forward a point about a combined Manchester side but then realised that most of the United players were there before Mourinho arrived. His spending has been atrocious. Only Bailly has been a success of the Mourinho buys while he is struggling to get anything out of the seasoned professionals who were there beforehand.

As for youth, it seems it thrives in spite of him rather than for anything he has done.

Which begs the question as to what are the rest doing? And doing badly, as it happened. Klopp has singularly failed to improve Liverpool’s defence and goalkeeper despite the opportunities of three transfer windows. Pochettino’s squad at Tottenham is possibly the best balanced of the top five or six but is incapable of winning trophies. Conte has mostly inherited a decent squad and coached them to success, as well as buying in the transfer market with a dubious record.

And what of Arsenal? We’re in a mess. Of the top six, we have the least balanced squad. If you look at our record, it seems we dabble in the transfer market. Signing players like Sanchez, Özil and Lacazette make us look serious players but key weaknesses remain unaddressed. We’re the old boy who sits at home buying and selling his £50 of shares to while away his retirement and feeling important. We remember the good old days when we had status but now it’s all good fun but nothing more.


Tactically, we don’t know which is best for us. Returning to the back four against United was making a bad situation better; chasing down an inexplicable two-goal deficit. Playing it after that? Folly, to be honest, even with clean sheets. We’re not a side with good enough defensive understanding to play as a four. The full-backs bomb on, playing like wing-backs in a five, while our best centre-back is a left-back by trade.

That situation is down to a lack of defensive understanding in the coaching. No-one at London Colney is identifying our weaknesses and acting to bring about improvement. The players, the manager, the staff; there’s no lasting effect on the way the side is playing.

There was always a feeling five or six years ago, maybe a little longer, that Arsène would leave the club in good shape. The squad would be youthful, full of zest. Technique and talent would be living together in the harmony. It was a fairy tale, an illusion feeding delusion.

How we scoffed when Ferguson left United in a bad way. They plummeted into the same obscurity in which Liverpool resided. He left a champion, Arsène will probably be a cup winner. Can Wenger repeat that? If you think he can, don’t forget your Free bets – Bet with £950 in UK Free bet Offers from Top Bookies!

The difference between the two remains, even in their departures. Ferguson knew when to get out, Arsène didn’t and stayed too long.

There’s nothing he can do about the legacy now. It’s set in stone that we’re losing at least one of our best players for nothing next summer; the ship is taking on water and the only way to stay afloat is to get a new captain.

Whether Arsenal’s board has the courage to take that decision is another matter.

’til Tomorrow.

88 thoughts on “You Couldn’t Spend Your Way Out Of A Wet Paper Bag

  1. It is clear Klopp wanted to spend more – his desire for VVD was palpable enough and my feeling is that there wasn’t the funds to get the players he wanted.
    Klopp took 5 years to build his squad at Dortmund – on the basis of that and the fact that they are only a decent GK and a couple defenders away from being a very complete team I would not yet bet against him taking Liverpool a lot further.
    Note there are also a few youngsters that Kloop is doing a decent job of bringing through.
    Conte will leave this summer and Mourinho is making a pigs breakfast of doing anything convincing.
    I don’t see anyone challenging Man City for the PL title in the foreseeable – especially as it is clear City are not yet done strengthening.
    As for us…well let’s just say I would still take Klopp in a heartbeat, mind you, I’d probably take Sean Dyche or Eddie Howe.

  2. Good afternoon all, thanks for the post Yogi.

    Playing either a back four or back five is merely like rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

  3. There is no sound reason why Manchester United should not be able to compete £ for £ with any other club in the world and most certainly with Manchester City; Moaninho is simply an excuse seeking whiner.

    Manchester United is far and away the highest revenue earning club in the UK, on an approximate par with Barca and Real Madrid in European terms, with a stadiums that holds and regularly fills in excess of 72,000 seats. In the current financial year ManU turnover exceeds £500m with City around a hundred thousand behind themin 2nd place.

    It is crass weak thinking and demonstrably false to state that ManCity have a huge advantage because they are funded by an oil rich nation. Sure they were the fortunate recipients of huge investment when the Abu Dhabi regime first bought the club and in the following five years. In all the capital injected into the club was more than £1billion to include a £200m Academy and training centre investment. Very few if any owners could do that, but having done so, and capitalised the investment into shares so that the club carries no debt, Man City have made profit for each of the last 3 years and has financed it’s expenditure in all areas including player acquisition and wages through revenues. Contrary to ill informed opinion, all of the expenditure since the 2013/14 season has been met from revenues all of which is commercially comparable to the deals of other European clubs including Arsenal.

    The City owners are single minded in spending their revenues to produce excellence on and off of the playing. Arsenal has a stadium that seats 7,000 more than Man City, whilst OT holds 17,000 more than the Etihad. Both Manchester clubs have cutting edge commercial departments and fight tooth and nail for world wide coverage. ManU are huge in USA and Far East, Arsenal still lead in Africa, a legacy of a decade or more ago. In most places other than China where City are top dogs, it is Arsenal, Liverpool and ManU that are ahead of City for following. Spurs are the best of the rest and are simply miles behind these four.

    So why can’t ManU, Arsenal and Liverpool compete with Man CIty? Or should that be DON’T rather than can’t?

    Answers on a postcard please!

  4. Orson Kaert,

    Good afternoon all,trust everyone is enjoying the festivities.

    My sentiments to a tee YW.

    Orson you are correct the Titanic is sinking and taking
    on copious amongst of water and damage on its way down.

    A new younger Manager has to be brought in at some point.

    The stench of decay and repetition has firmly set in.

  5. Jonny,

    The thing that people need to remember about Pep and Citeh is that they are a REALLY young team and outside of Silva and Kompany most of their team is early 20’s. The other thing is that Pep isn’t getting nearly the credit he deserves for their defense especially when you consider that he doesn’t have Mendy (I know frightening right) and Delph has done a decent enough job at LB. Gundoghen is finally fit again and showing his class and just think how much more dynamic they will be once Bernardo Silva takes over for David Silva.

    The thing that is crazy is that we are just as talented IMHO as Liverpool when you consider Ozil, Sanchez, Lacazette, Jack (should he continue to improve) can match Coutinho, Firmino, Salah, and Mane the only difference is that they have a clear and defined way they want to play and Arsenal don’t.

    I would take Klopp but I’m not convinced by Howe yet, I want to see more honestly

  6. Here’s the other thing, I don’t want to hear Arsene bitch and complain about not having funds when he is one of the highest paid managers in the World not just the PL and Europe.

  7. Wenger states I not we reveals the egoist maniac’s hold on the club, he thinks nothing about spending 35 million on rubbish like Xhaka and Mustafi, yet puts a 57 million player like lacazette on the bench or taking him off after 60 mins, Wenger is finished he has had his day but will not let go, his out dated style of calamity football is a nightmare, our lack of defending begs the question about the side show that is Bould, the whole set up is toxic. No backbone, no leadership, a dependence on average players on extraordinary wages. Ground hog day is our, or Wenger’s operandi modi . We need a different approach on tactics, and new blood, but the dictator refuses to go we have our own Robert Mugabe.

  8. This Giroud to Everton saga is quite the shit show. Giroud said he was very close because something happened. Big Sam said it was Giroud’s wife who put the kabosh on it and now Arsene said (when asked about the Giroud’s wife):

    “No, I don’t think so,” Wenger said. “He could have joined Everton and stayed basically in London. I don’t think that was the problem.”

  9. Great post Yogi

    We have talking about the defensive issues of arsenal teams since 2008 and its not any better now. Currently we are on a pace to concede 46 goals. That would be the second worst defensive record in the Wenger Era. Despite scoring 17 goals in just 4 of our games we are currently on pace on pace to score 68 goals which would be tied for the worst of the Wenger era. We scored 1/2 of our total goals in only 4/19 of our games. We have not scored more then 1 goal in any away game and we have been shut out in 1/2 of our away games that were not against Everton. We are also on pace to have a goal differential of only 22 which would be the worst of the Wenger era. I didn’t follow european football very much before the turn of this century but as Arsenal teams go this years squad is on pace to be historically bad. Your concern about Arsene leaving behind a weak squad is certainly well founded.

  10. C

    A move to Everton probably would have meant a wage cut. No one likes to admit the truth because it sounds bad but why would anyone who is realistically heading into the downside of the career want to take a wage cut? He is unlikely to another really big money contract and he willl never get that money back

  11. Moan,Moan, f*ckin moan, keyboard warriers, the lot of you , no clue, idea or intelect, Just carry on living your sad unfullfilled lives, while blaming it on the football club you sopport (sic), Its as if the miserable existance you are suffering, will somehow be alleivated if you come on here and moan to the other malcontent saddo’s who frequent it,
    Well surprise surprise, it wont, you will still be misrable in 2019, 2022. and 2025 because you like being misrable.
    Theres only one person that can make you a fullfilled.content indervidual, your football club and its staff is not the source of sadness & misery, thats already inside you.
    Good luck.

  12. Afternoon,

    I suspect there are those at London Colney who would like to work on our defensive weaknesses, but daren’t. Keown has said previously that in his time at London Colney he wanted to use video footage to go through a player’s deficiencies, but was told that he shouldn’t for fear of it undermining the player’s confidence. Surely conceding 3 goals at home on 2 occasions this season against close competitors is going to undermine the defence’s confidence more. This bizarre idea that the players need to be molly coddled seems to provide them with an excuse not to get their acts together. Wenger still touches back on the United game of nearly 4 weeks ago as an issue for the players. How can they still be that focused on that game when they have played 6 games since then?

  13. C

    I recall from earlier in the summer that she didn’t want to leave London and I suspect that had a lot to do with her being heavily pregnant at the time.

    Allardyce is just being an arse, as per usual.

  14. C

    I agree with you about Pep not getting enough credit for team defense. They are currently the best defensive team in terms of goals conceded in the PL and one of the best in the big 4 leagues of Europe.

    With regard to the talent level of this current Arsenal team. Certainly a part of the problem is Arsene but talented players can generally find a way to make things happen and to score goals. The 4 Arsenal players you mentioned all were very talented at one point in their careers. The jury is still out on how good Lacazette might be but if you look at the stats in the comment at 1:50 its pretty clear that at other 3 are not the same players they once were. The other difference between us and Liverpool is of the 4 players you mentioned for each side all 4 from Liverpool are a real threat to score while only 2 of those Arsenal actually score goals which means the math is much more difficult for Arsenal. The 2 players from arsenal who do score have to be prolific and even Sanchez at his best has never really been a golden boot winning player

  15. it amuses me that the first approach of those who come on here with a gripe against what they read isn’t to provide reasonable argument, but to insult. Oh, and intellect is spelled incorrectly by the way. Just a pointer for the future from one of those who apparently doesn’t have one.

  16. Bill,

    I think that yes there would have been a pay cut but don’t forget that he had just signed a new deal so the money was in hand. Honestly, I think if the transfer fee was right then wages most certainly couldn’t have been a problem; I mean look at the fee and wages of Sigurdsson and Rooney along with Sandro Ramirez.

  17. YW,

    Your right he is, but like you said and was stated in the summer; Giroud’s wife doesn’t want to leave London and if he left for Everton she would.

    What will be interesting to see if Deschamps recent comments about Giroud not having a guaranteed spot because he isn’t first choice and Lacazette is will play a part in him possibly wanting to leave in January even if on loan for the rest of the season with an option to buy in the summer.

  18. Man City is on pace to be an historically good team this season but in reality English football has not had a truly strong dominant team since Fergie 3 titles in 06-08. The CL results provide further evidence that England has been relatively down for most of this decade. Despite that lack of overall strength in our league, Arsenal has not been able to challenge for the top of the table even once. Based on the number of points we have collected, we have been closer to 5th place then to first place in every season since 07/08. We have finished 10 points or more behind the leaders in every season but 1. The FA cups have papered over the cracks to some extent but in reality its been a decade of stagnation. Last season we missed the CL and if we are actually emerging from our stagnation the evidence would suggest we are headed downward instead of upward.

  19. Wavey,

    ….and saddos is the plural of saddo, so does not need an apostrophe, whereas theres and its do.

    Incidentally, accusing people of lacking intellect then spelling the word miserable incorrectly twice in the same sentence and following that by misspelling individual, seems to indicate a certain lack of basic English.

  20. My wife is an angel from heaven who would ultimately support whatever I decided to do with my career but she would not want me to take a job with a significant pay cut near the end of my career if it meant having several million dollars less in our bank account when I retire. The World Cup lasts a few weeks but we have our families for the rest of our lives. I suspect most of us would consider taking care of our families a higher priority then playing in another World Cup.

  21. Its not like Arsenal has had to compete with a juggernaut like Barcelona, Real Madrid Bayern Munich or even the recent version of Juventus in the last 10 years. The top of the tables in England has featured mostly underwhelming teams in this decade.

  22. Bill,

    I think the thing is with the 4 I mentioned and the 4 from LIverpool is not from necessarily a goal standpoint but a talent standpoint. I mean the need for more goals in this team is evident but the fact that we don’t score enough but I do think that one of the biggest differences is not that Ozil and Jack aren’t threats to score because we have seen them score goals but its the fact that Arsenal are dependent on their goals. The biggest question that I have is why don’t we play at tempo when its clear that our players flourish in that system and when they do we are capable of scoring goals. I mean when you look at Liverpool’s goals, sure there are some spectactular goals but they also have quite a few tap-ins simply through their style of play. Sure I would love another winger who can score goals to replace Iwobi but when it comes to pure talent of squads, I think ours is right up there.

    I think the other thing is that they have a higher volume of shots which means that they are much more likely to score a goal. For instance Sanchez now leads us with 55 shots while Salah has 75 and Coutinho has 50. It comes down philosophy of the manager and style of play too.

  23. Orson Kaert,

    Given that many of those mistakes would likely have been picked up by a spell checker anyway, it really raises a question over the intelect (sic) of the individual not to be able to use one.

  24. Somebody call a waaaahmbulance – major spillage in aisle 15.

    Philbet, thanks for your concern but I assure you, it’s quite possible to be happy in life and to enjoy a discussion about the stagnation of our football club, under a once great manager who is a decade-long, perennial underachiever and leading the club in the wrong direction (no direction at all).

    Sounds to me like you’re projecting dear fellow. Is it not you that’s the one who is upset at life?

    Coming on here to unload your inner torment like a bitter, moaning old bag of spunk?

    My advice is that you should very much try getting laid. Probably tragically difficult given your hideous personality but, if all else fails, perhaps you could go fuck yourself?

    Now don’t be saying that we’re not thoughtful and caring over here.

    Don’t be a stranger – especially the kind that hangs round in parks.

    Chin, chin.


  25. C

    Jack and Mesut both are supposedly top creative talents and I assume they are just as smart as we are so they have to recognize the issues we have with a slow tempo just as much as we do, so why don’t they do something to fix the problem? Its the job of the creative players to drive the team forward and make everyone around them better and make it easier for our scorers but that is not happening. I am fully on board with the criticism of Arsene’s style but the players have to take some of the responsibility for making things happen once they walk on to the pitch. I can’t believe Arsene would stop them if we became more effective because they started pushing the tempo and making things happen

  26. So if we could get 2 signings this January – which players would you be after*?

    *obviously I don’t mean Messi and Ronaldo etc

  27. Bill,

    I think its an engrained thing in style of play. For instance, Sanchez came to Arsenal as a ‘presser’, Xhaka came with a riffle of a left boot and yet both of them you see falling more into the ‘Arsene’s Arsenal’ way of doing things with less pressing and less shots from distance. I think its the same thing with our style of play, if Ozil and Jack have been drilled at Arsenal to play a certain way for Arsenal then they will play that way but also because we are taught, especially in sports to play as your manager has deemed. Think about against Liverpool when Ozil and Jack raised the tempo of play, we banged in 3 goals; we have seen it for sometime and the thing is, we have a history with Arsene and his style of play. I’m not absolving the players at all because I wish Jack, Ozil, Sanchez and Lacazette would say, “fuck off Arsene we got this” but in the reality it doesn’t happen like that.

    I mean Arsene recently made a comment about the players on the training ground wanting to do something and Arsene said he didn’t want to because he knew what he was doing.

  28. Jonny,

    Daniele Rugani of Juve and Lucas Vasquez of Madrid.

    That is ofcourse pre-summing that Jack stays fit in midfield otherwise my choices change.

  29. C

    There is plenty of blame to go around and the players should be doing a lot more then they are. However, I am not sure they are still the players they were years ago.

    I give Arsene a lot more blame for the defensive issues. However, even there the players could make some effort to stay organized and concentrate.

  30. Jonny,

    If Jack can’t stay fit then I would probably go for Fred of Schaktar who would ultimately either play next to or replace Xhaka in the event that Jack can’t stay fit.

  31. If Stan Kroenke is smart as he thinks he is, he should know that Wenger is actually working against him not for him, unintentionally but he is.

    This club is being devalued and if it remains on the same trajectory he (stan) will lose half of his investment.

    We are currently on course to finish 5th for the 2nd season running, Fourth is no longer a given as it used to be. If Arsene continues even with just his current contract, he will have to build again next season and you can’t expect great results with a team that was just put together, especially when we buy 2nd hand players and Portobello Market Sunday bargain buys.


    Was I dreaming or Vermaelen was actually playing as a center back for Barcelona?

  32. G4E,

    Yup Vermaelen played for Barca in El Classico. It has only taken him about three years to get fit enough to last ninety minutes. Selling him was a smart move by Wenger, perhaps the only smart move by Wenger. 😈

  33. Bill,

    Yes Bill the players do and should take responsibility, the problem is, we have replaced the players with other players and yet the same things still continue to happen. For instance, we replaced all of our defenders over the years yet the same things keep happening.

    I know they are professional futbolers but, like with all athletes, they are creatures of habits and one of those habits is listening to and doing as the manager/coach/etc wants you to do otherwise there would be no point in tactics or having coaches. For instance, Sterling was always a player that had the talent to not only run at players but cause mayhem; now after Pep changed not only the style of play but also coached up Sterling he is becoming one of the best wingers in the PL and scoring not only goals but extremely important goals.

  34. C,

    That’s what I was trying to say C., our rejects somehow are playing for decent clubs…yet they couldn’t hack it under Mr. Wenger……Seems odd to me.

  35. Bill,

    Good point and are doing it without Mendy and Stones and most of the time Kompany too!

    If they get Dik van Dijk, plus Stones, Mendy and Walker [Otamendi and Kompany backup] just how good will that defence be?

    Allegedly one of the best LB’s in the Dutch Eredivisie is Angelino, a Spanish 19 year old on loan from City and in La Liga the RB they are all talking about is another 19 year old Spaniard, Pablo Maffeo, who is also a City loanee.

    Next season the average age of the City squad is likely to be around 23 so this season probably isn’t a one season flash in the pan. Guardiola is building on very strong foundations.

  36. Jonny,

    Another one sure to feature soon on Arsene’s “I almost signed” list…..

    Might be an idea for someone to compare those near misses (😂) with the dross he actually did sign instead.

  37. Arsene is the captain of the ship so problems always come down to him. My sense of how Arsene manages is that he wants players to express themselves and he does not want to criticize or do anything to hurt their “confidence”. Keown said as much about the defensive side of the ball and I suspect Arsene does the same thing with attack. He gives the players a framework and a basic system but then tells them to go out and express themselves. I am 100% confident that Arsene is not telling our players to get stuck in a tippy tappy slow pace game and I am just as sure that he would not try to slow the team down if they started to push the tempo. However, when he sees that this set of players expressing themselves tends to give us ineffective tippy tappy then he needs to take charge an do something to change what is happening and I suspect that is where Arsene fails.

  38. Again Arsene is the captain of the ship and he needs to leave before the culture will change. The whole organization from top to bottom needs a cultural make over and that is not going to happen with Arsene in the house. However, the players have to take some responsibility for being satisfied will the results they have been getting when they are allowed the freedom to express themselves. I hope that makes sense.

  39. Bill,

    The problem with that Bill, is there are 11 players on the pitch. If everyone of them expresses himself the way he likes, then we will have the kind of performances like Liverpool’s first half. No cohesion, no common goal or common approach.

    I’d say that’s a lazy approach from a team sport Manager where he lets the players do the work and despite their efforts it always comes like a random style of play. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t.

    Most of the successful managers, drill the style of play, the defensive and attacking duties into the players so they can exactly put his vision on the field.

    Our Manager seems to have no plan, “Just go out and play” kind of deal.


    He was lucky to have the teams he had between 1996 and 2004. He had the English core that had the grit to do the dirty work of defending and had the French core that had the technical ability to go out and play.

    If his “No Plan” worked in the past, it is certainly not working in the present or for the last decade. But he has no other plans, he knows no other plans…..It’s the one trick Pony Syndrome.

  40. It’s official:

    Liverpool have confirmed that they have agreed a world-record deal for Southampton defender Virgil van Dijk.

    An official statement on their website read: “Liverpool Football Club can confirm they have reached an agreement with Southampton for the transfer of Virgil van Dijk.

    You have to say that although Klopp get’s knocked for his club’s defensive record he/they at least have the balls to do what might be necessary to fix it. Get a decent ‘keeper and they should be a shoo-in for a top four spot.

  41. Getting vanDijk is a MASSIVE get for them because not only can he play the pressing game both with the high-line and playing the sweeper; he is brilliant on the ball and can quickly spring their attacks.

    Welp, so it began

  42. The other interesting thing is that Sanchez was apparently in Paris yesterday so that could be something to monitor.

  43. It’s going to be interesting to see if we actually want to compete and January should give us a clue if we’re really interested in top four (don’t even mention a title challenge) or if we have decided to settle for a Europa League spot instead. I suspect it’s the latter, if Liverpool are prepared to pay that £75m (more if they sign a ‘keeper), City are out of sight already, and Chelsea look a good bet for another of those CL spots, then it could be between us, United and Spurs for the last place. And Maureen is already ramping up the complaints about a lack of spending which may herald another big splurge to try and secure their qualification.

    In all honesty I can see us looking at that and deciding to settle for top six. In which case if Stan is happy with that then Wenger gets a new comfort zone to work in as long as he likes.

  44. Its quite funny though that Arsene always talks about scrapping the winter window, yet look at some of the players that he has brought in:

    Jose Antonio Reyes
    Theo (when he was fit and firing)
    Adebayor even if only for a season
    Arshavin if only for a moment
    Sol Campbell
    Thierry Henry
    The Legend that is Kim Kallstrom

    Some may have only been a good or decent for a couple of matches or played a part in some moments.

  45. G4E

    I agree that Arsene should be the one who organizes this team and keeps them on the path. I am not trying to give Arsene a free pass by any means.

    My own belief is that Arsene has built a system that revolves around his creative midfield players. They are supposed to be the ones who control the game and drive us forward and everything flows from what they do. It was Fabregas in the early Emirates era and since 2013 its supposed to be Cazorla/Ozil axis. In reality I think for the most part we played better when Cazorla was around because he would take the job of building the clubs tempo. That is overly simplistic but you get the point. Some would argue Rosicky could do the same thing although we need had him healthy long enough to see what he could do over an extending period of time.

    I have never been a fan of Wengerball and I prefer what Liverpool is trying to do now by building around a counterattacking forwards rather then around building around the midfield. However, the the single biggest key to any system working is attacking before the defense can set and organized. The way we play righ now can work if we have someone who is capable or willing to drive us forward at pace. Unfortunately for whatever reason right now no one is doing that. I think it is partly cultural and partly related to the players we have are no longer as good as they once were.

  46. The other thing is I see Arsene has already thrown out the money problems with Jack staying. Saying that Jack will sign if the money is right.

  47. YW,

    I was going through off teh memory but your right about both of them.

    The bigger problem comes when you consider that Arsene only has 18 months but what players are truly going to want to come with the prospect of Ozil, Sanchez and Jack leaving. I mean even Lacazette said recently that the first 2 were a part of the reason he came.

  48. I think Arsene has tried to fix the problem with our attack and Xhaka was an attempt to get someone who could be a deep lying playmaker and help to build the tempo from deeper. I understand the theory but the problem is a few eye catching left footed passes which look great on a U-tube highlight reel does not equal a deep lying playmaker. The other problem is you need a solid defensive player as your deepest midfielder and defense has always been an afterthought for Arsene

  49. C

    I am always skeptical about statements like that from players or a manager when the things they say do not meet the sniff test. If Lacazette came because of Ozil and Sanchez then he is not a very smart man because he knew as well as everyone there was a decent chance both would leave.

  50. Bill,

    Again mate, I didn’t say that it was the main or only reason he came; just something he made mention of. He enjoyed playing with and wants to continue to play with Ozil and Sanchez.

    They might leave and if they do it would be massive holes to fill

  51. Liverpool players signed from Southampton:

    Van Dijk = £75m
    Mane = £34m
    Lallana = £25m
    Lovren = £20m
    Clyne = £12m
    Lambert = £4m
    Total Investment = £170m

    Southampton was bought for £15m 8 years ago

  52. Jonny,

    Yup, for all those that question Klopp, just think, he saw a defiency in his squad and fixed it and at the same time prepared for Coutinho leaving with the Naby Keita signing last summer.

  53. Another player I would want would be Dembele of Celtic, put him on the right wing and form a front 4 of Ozil/Sanchez/Lacazette/Dembele and lets see what happens. Plus if Sanchez leaves Dembele could be a perfect swap for him.

  54. Amazing how AW manages to combine yer –

    ‘we’re only interested in top, top quality’

    with –

    ‘I could have had Zola, Ronaldo, Messi, Hazard and Zlatan’ etc.

    I mind less that Xhaka did not turn out to be the new Alonso (another player we could’ve had) than I do the fact he has missed out on so many decent players simply by not being prepared to pay the going rate for them.

    If he thought we were being priced out of the market before he’s in for a rude awakening now.

    Too cautious and too tight with the club’s money, by far.

  55. No doubt plenty will ridicule spending £75M on a defender but remember United paying £30M for Ferdinand back in 2002? A similar cost relatively speaking but turned out to be a good deal for them in the long run.

    Another deal (non-defender) that many (Gooners chief amongst them) laughed at was City buying de Bruyne for circa £50M back in 2016. I don’t see too many laughing now.

  56. Hey Arsene, there is no rocket-science about Citey’s defending. It’s very simple, really. Pepe tells his players: ‘When we lose the ball, you hunt down the opponent with the ball at warp speed or you will spend the rest of the season on the bench. I don’t care who you are’. Just look at Aguero these days! Pepe knows that a possession team must press like maniacs when they lose the ball high up; Arsene just doesn’t. Weird, really.
    That’s why Sanchez (who used to be the best forward-defender in world football) will fit Pepe’s team like a hand in a glove.

  57. Quite so Freddo – how he can see all of that and yet somehow think that a first choice midfield of Xhaka, Ramsey and Ozil (none of whom offer anything much by the way of fuck all defensively) will somehow cut the mustard – I have no fucking clue.
    I mean, when you look at the personnel that you’re starting with, in a three man midfield, it is impossible to imagine what the intended tactics could ever be.
    There is no sense of balance.
    No sense of anything.

  58. Jonny,

    The thing is, I don’t mind a 3 man midfield but FFS play with a DM, its why I think if Arsene is trying to play like Pep’s woth Fernandinho sitting deep and Solva and De Bruyne playing higher and pressing then we either go buy one(Fred of Shaktar would be near the top of my list) or fucking play Elneny who has the legs and workrate to do for Arsenal what Fernandinho does covering wise for Citeh.

  59. I think Pepe is a good enough coach to play Coquelin in his side. He’d sit him down and tell him that if he tries to pass the ball more than 15 metres he will be put against a wall and shot. Any cross-field balls and he will be tortured first. Then send him out to hare after the ball.

  60. Anyone awake yet and watching the cricket?
    History being made many times over.
    Arsetralian – where are ya? 😀
    I haven’t slept a wink and just opened a bottle of wine at 6am. Barmy Army in full voice.

    COOK 216
    BROAD 44

  61. Given the context, one of the best innings I have ever seen.
    Overtook three of the greatest batsmen of all time (in one inning) including Lara with the last ball of the day.
    I am so toasted and happy – I watched every ball.

  62. Arsene on why he dropped Sead:

    “He [Kolasinac] is highly suited for a wing-back role, for a more offensive role,” he told the club’s official website.

    “I think he will play again and I gave him a breather as well.

    “He is working hard and I think he will play in a back four, as well.”

  63. OH FFS.
    I like AMN but the idea he is better suited to the defensive side of the wing-back role is laughable.
    Why is it AW behaves as though players are uncoachable 2D objects?
    Sead could be instructed to defend more for a game.
    But no that’s clearly impossible, Sead cannot learn to slightly alter his game, so let’s play a kid out of position instead.

  64. I feel bad now that’s the first time I have told AW to fuck off.
    Quite liberating…but I still feel bad.
    Sorry, Nicky. 😉

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