Chelsea Review: Drowning Sorrows, Celebrating Wembley & Auba Thoughts

Arsenal 2 – 1 Chelsea

Reasons to celebrate are in short supply this season so reaching a Wembley final is one of them, especially when it offers the opportunity of lifting a third domestic trophy at Spurs home. The dog banner can be properly replaced then with one which simply states “1971, 2004, 2018″. 

A beer or two in celebration and lifting one to remember the unique talents of Mr Mark E. Smith, who sadly passed away yesterday. The Grim Reaper is on a mission: “I see your 2016 and raise it”.

But we’re not here to talk about the latter; that’s for Dad’s Jukebox, which comes out of hibernation today.

So to the Arsenal. 2 – 1 winners over Chelsea when the opening 10 minutes made me fear the worst. Wenger said afterwards that we were “frightened” of the visitors. The discretion with which the players changed their soiled shorts was admirable.

By the time the ball pinballed into the Chelsea net for the equaliser, I’d have been quite happy with us keeping the margin of defeat down to three. After that, the most bizarre of goals to be seen at the Emirates this season – possibly any season – the hunt for silverware was on.

Jack Wilshere said afterwards we had “got our formation wrong in the first 20 to 25 minutes and they took advantage of that.” It’s hard to argue with that analysis and it underlines why Mohammed Elneny is in the side.

Dropping back into the middle of the defence in the second half quelled Chelsea’s ardour. Where they had been in command in the first, they were subservient to Arsenal in the second, to the extent that I thought we deserved to win overall. This despite Chelsea scoring twice in the first ten minutes, with one thankfully ruled out for offside.

Even God Looks Up To Nacho

It wasn’t sweetness and light all the way through to the final whistle. We were in danger of getting blown away but didn’t. That is positive; getting into that position was a concern. Of course, we ‘ve got Nacho Monreal so we don’t have to worry about anything and rightly being crowned Man of the Match is the least he deserves.

Another Wembley goal and he should be made a Freeman of the London Borough of Islington. Everything should be free to Nacho anyway; what a guy.

He’s carrying on the long tradition of dependable left backs, traceable all the way back to the double of 1971 and before, some will argue. OK, so Gael Clichy isn’t on that list…

Monreal, the subject of Athletic Bilbao’s leering attention once again, is a player the club should be looking to move into the Academy as Per’s right-hand man in years to come. Two utterly unfussy defenders instilling their knowledge into young players from the outset will put us a country mile ahead of where we are now.

We rolled in the first half, playing rope-a-dope with Pedro and Hazard; in the second, we rocked defensively. I genuinely can’t recall a save Ospina had to make as Wembley’s shadow loomed larger over the game. That’s more to do with excessive alcohol, I’m sure. Carroll and Crouch are touted as solutions to Chelsea’s woes. Their transfer budget hasn’t shrunk in that case, it’s shrivelled.

Ice Cold, Our Alex Is Not

There were commendable performances all over the pitch. Bellerin did well on the right, particularly in the second forty-five minutes where he constantly pushed Chelsea backwards. Jack and Özil used the ball well and imposed themselves on the game after we moved to three at the back while Alexandre Lacazette ran his little socks off for little reward.

A special word for Granite Xhaka in attack, nipping in with a deft flick of the boot for the winner. Elneny’s inclusion in the side is freeing the Switzerland international’s defensive shackles. If Arsène doesn’t see the benefits of having a defensive midfielder behind Granit, he never will. A sweeper-style such as the way Elneny played will do just nicely.

There is, as ever, a welter of concerns. Some of these are through unrealistic expectations on ours and the manager’s part. Alex Iwobi typifies that. He was poor last night, nullified in attack by pushing him inside when he didn’t willingly cut inside himself, and defensively, his distribution was suspect.

The youngster could do with a spell out of the spotlight and certainly is the prime candidate to lose his place in the side to Henrikh Mkhitaryan. A loan spell? That might work although I don’t think he will get that this transfer window.

Is this the death knell for his Arsenal career? It’s certainly a plateau and whoever replaces Wenger will hold the key to his future. At the moment, it’s hard to see how he will avoid being sold beyond relying on the manager’s largesse and tolerance.

Ram-Aubameyang, Ding Dong

That tolerance is going to be needed in big doses with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, if we land him and a high-level delegation visiting Dortmund signals we do. Whether the manager does seems almost irrelevant. Arsène toned down the rhetoric from muted to comatose after the Germans copped the arsenal over his innocuous comments last week so it’s hard to read anything into his proclamations on the subject.

I do think he genuinely believes he can achieve a top six finish with the squad as it stands but any higher is reliant on others failing. There’s an element of defiance in it all with his stubbornness seething beneath the surface. This is, without a shadow of doubt, Sven Mislintat’s transfer window. Arsène has his role to play in convincing players of their role in the side but it strikes me that the relationship is one of director of football/manager in terms of recruitment.

What Sven says goes. If he tells Arsène that these are his options, then these are his options. Who will blink first? Arsène already has. It’s a new way of working…

’til Tomorrow.

77 thoughts on “Chelsea Review: Drowning Sorrows, Celebrating Wembley & Auba Thoughts

  1. andy1886 says:

    Top Six!!!

    It’s the new top four.

  2. C says:

    Superb post Yogi and I think you hit the nail on the head with your assessment.

    Elneny might not be the best in the world nor will most PL supporters think he is key to the way we play but if you watch him, he really does allow others to settle into what they do best while he just does his job efficient and effectively. For me, he was MOTM but Nacho isn’t a bad option either.

    Isn’t it funny how most, even on this blog, were ready to ship him out after his first half season when he was deemed, ‘okay but not what we needed’ and people were calling for Gibbs to replace him but after that first half season, he has been nothing short of reliably brilliant both attacking and defending. The thing is, I would gladly take him in the Academy next to Mert but I wouldn’t be suprised to see him finish his career back home.

    Ozil and Jack need new contracts period and with reports surfacing that both are close to signing new deals, its great news for Arsenal.

  3. Jonny says:

    Good post there Yogi-san.
    I thought Iwobi did very well defensively last night, tracking back, putting in tackles and breaking up play effectively. But yeah, his distribution was definitely found wanting on several occasions.
    Overall it was a great recovery – we managed to shackle Hazard and I think the loss of Willian was a huge blow for them, creatively.
    If AW cannot learn that Elneny deserves a starting berth by now then he needs his head read – we simply cannot afford to play Xhaka as a notional DM – it will never work.

  4. marcos says:

    Iwobi dd well.he tackled n got d betterr of moses on occasions.he dd ok

  5. C says:


    Yup, the fact that Elneny probably still won’t get a regular run of matches is maddening.

    The funny thing about Willian is that he is basically Chelsea’s version of Elneny; when played he adds that ‘something’ to the team where he just helps and balances the team but doesn’t get regular match time for whatever reason.

  6. Orson Kaert says:

    I was quite pleased to see Hazard cop an early booking, it forced him to lay off the theatrics for fear of a second yellow card.

    Our defence continues to give cause for concern, but that could in part be due to Wenger’s muddled thinking and flip-flopping between a back three or back four.

    Choose a system, school the defenders rigorously in that system and stick to it.

    Apart from giving him a bit of pitch time, what purpose was served by the late introduction of Ramsey? I’m not sure he even got a touch of the ball.

  7. consolsbob says:

    Interesting how we now can say, without irony, that “ I genuinely believe that Arsène thinks he can attain a top six place with the squad he has”.

    My, my. Where will he set his bar next?

  8. Orson Kaert says:


    Yes on occasions Iwobi did manage to get the better of Moses but far too often then gave away the possession gained. Doing “ok” isn’t good enough.

  9. Bill says:

    Great review yogi

    Awesome result. Always a bit of a surprise when we win against one of the other big teams although it does feel like we play better against Chelsea. Strong work from the team defense held them to 1 goal over 200 minutes. Both goals needed fortunate deflections but if you can hold the opponent then you can sometimes find a way to nick the goal you need. Whether we can hold Man City and Ron the trophy is another question altogether but that is for another day.

    We have talked about this a lot in the past 12 months but it’s great to see anyone besides xhaka as our deepest central midfielder. I know he scored yesterday but I don’t think that long term Xhaka fits very well in the box to box role either. We have also talked about Elneny whose skill set certainly fits the best in the DM role. His heavy ball possession ethos is not a negative factor when he plays in that position. Long term I think we want an upgrade at DM also but we have other bigger needs right now and so far Mo has certainly been better then xhaka in that role.

  10. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    I think the interesting thing with Ramsey is that Jack has now made himself more important not only to Arsenal but to the team because he has brought a midfield balance to attack. Ramsey is going to drop even more with Arsene saying Mhkitaryan will be played both wide and through the middle.

    The other thing is, Welbeck and Ramsey both have rejected contract talks ……

  11. Welsh Corgi Cardigan says:

    Thanks YW and very encouraging final words. Are we seeing the winds of change ( almost time for that Scorpion master blaster of number one chart 🙂

  12. C says:

    Reports from Germany are saying that Dortmund are willing to pay £1.5m for Giroud’s loan until the end of the season.

  13. Bill says:

    Nacho has always been a solid defender. Sort of like Sagna was on the other side. We have had plenty of shambolic defending over the years even with Nacho on the pitch but he is an important player and I think we are usually a better defensive team when he is on the pitch. Suddenly he has become our most dangerous player on the attacking end. Fair call for Motm and hopefully he will stick around for a another year or 2.

    No doubt Nacho should be first be the first choice LB but its hard to know what to think about Kolasinac falling behind AMN for second place on the pecking order. Despite being in wage dumping mode all this year we after paid Kolasinac a really big wage to entice him to sign. He has to be one of the higher paid LB’s in Europe. He must have some real issues on the defensive end that are worse then we know. Our previous scouting apparatus missed the fact that Xhaka can’t defend and may be the same thing happened with Sead.

  14. Orson Kaert says:


    Are they also willing to pay his wages in full or will we be expected to contribute?


  15. C says:

    Orson Kaert,

    Not sure but I would think his wages might be split. The other thing I wonder is if there will be something put in place for them to be able to buy him outright in the summer.

  16. C says:

    Also want to shout out Mustafi who was quite good last night especially positionally

  17. Jonny says:

    Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has crowned Nacho Monreal as the club’s “silent leader”.

    Monreal played the full 90 minutes as Arsenal overcame Chelsea to come from behind, beat them 2-1 and reach the Carabao Cup final on Wednesday.

    His header led to the equaliser – an Antonio Rudiger own goal – while his versatility allowed Wenger to switch from four to three at the back at half-time.

    The Spaniard has been in imperious form of late, and his manager praised him after booking a date at Wembley on February 25.

    “For me, he gets very much credit,” said Wenger. “But maybe, there’s a bit less focus on him because he is not a candidate for the English national team. He doesn’t make many statements. Or maybe he is not enough on social networks.

    “He is a silent leader. The world of silent leaders is when people come, they perform, they don’t talk, they go home, and they come in the next morning, train well, and then the next day they do it again.

    “They are the real leaders.”

  18. YW says:


    > Where will he set his bar next?

    Next to mine if he wants. I’m running a bit low after last night.

  19. Pete the Thirst says:

    Monreal gets the headlines again. He was fantastic last night. Elneny clearly needs to play the defensive midfield role regularly. He handled Hazard well when he dropped deeper. In other games he would be told to push forward. It’s a no-brainer.

    Opportunist goal from Xhaka, but the jury is out on him, and Iwobi was poor going forward but covered Monreal well.

    A bit concerned at our lack of pace. Chelsea had us squeezed to the half-way line confident that they could beat us to the ball over the top. Man City will do the same in the final.

  20. C says:

    Pete the Thirst,

    I think part of Chelsea squeezing us wasn’t the lack of pace because Ozil is quicker than people realize (see Hazard’s yellow and his multiple runs) along with Lacazette and even Iwobi, I think they squeezed us because there were times wher players simply wouldn’t play the through ball or ball over the top.

    There were several times when Lacazette would be pointing to the channel and maybe Xhaka or Iwobi or others wouldn’t play through the channels.

  21. consolsbob says:


    Now that would be an interesting bar chat. Him on the £120 claret and you on the ‘Betty Stoggs’.

  22. Bill says:


    I absolutely loved the last paragraph in your post today although I am a bit skeptical that Arsene has lost as much control as we all hope he has. Mkhitaryan is certainly a perfect Wengerball player. Light weight with great technical skill but not much of a goal threat and not likely to be much of a factor on the defensive end. I would be surprised if Arsene did not have significant input on that one.

    The strange case of Sead is another example of how poorly the club’s finances have been managed. Every position on the pitch is important but LB is certainly not a position where big teams have one of their highest paid players. Its not like Sead is Ashley Cole or Roberto Carlos and even if he was you don’t bust your wage scale for a LB. The market rate for wages for top class attacking players is always much higher and paying big money for a LB will hamper your ability to pay for the attacking players you need. The fact that we have had to go to great lengths to dump wages in the rest of the squad and at least for now it looks like after a 1/2 season that Sead is 3rd choice LB makes the deal seem even more of a head scratcher.

    Arsene has always been given credit for doing a great job of managing the clubs finances but the reality is a lot different. He has always been very frugile and messed up a lot of deals because of his fixation on transfer fees. On the other hand he has been incredibly generous with wages for players who are not that good. The transfer fees make more headlines and our clubs transfer net spend has gotten zillions of keystrokes in blogs over the years but the wage management was mostly under the radar. However, the number of overpaid underperforming assets we have had to dump and the fact that we seem to be close to running afoul of the PL wage restrictions for a squad that will probably finish 6th again demonstrates the lack of a coherent plan.

  23. Orson Kaert says:


    Bill when talking about Kolasinac’s wage you are forgetting that we signed him on a free transfer. Hence we could afford to offer him a high salary.

    The reason Maitland-Niles was played at left back was initially due to an injury to Kolasinac and Monreal being wedged into a back three. Now that we seem to be reverting to a back four, I expect to see either Monreal or a fully fit Kolasinac start at left back. Defensively Maitland-Niles was not a success in the position.

  24. Bill says:

    The fact that Arsene got Sead for zero transfer fee keeps our net spend lower. Our net spend compared to the teams around us has always been one of the biggest arguments used to defend Arsene’s record.

  25. Damon says:


    I had started to worry about Sead this window until last night. Strange little injury that was keeping him out and out. And out still

    Would be a very “Arsene” move to get him in for nothing, dump his (£90k a week?) wages in the January wage dump window six months later and sell him for a quick £15m – £20m profit.

  26. Orson Kaert says:


    Kolasinac is our second highest paid player, behind Ozil £140,000 per week, on £119,000 per week.

  27. Bill says:


    Time will tell for it all plays out with Sead. No matter how you slice it Sead is going to be on the bench as long as we play a back 4 and Nacho is around. I doubt that Chelsea would give someone like Victor Moses or Marcos Alonso or their back up LB one of the highest wages even if they were able to get them with a free transfer. We have seen in the last year that wage management and overpaying for wages has become a major mess and the lack of a transfer does not change that.

  28. Orson Kaert says:


    Marcos Alonso is on £90,000 per week, not that far behind Kolasinac.

  29. Orson Kaert says:

    ….and cost Chelsea £24 million in 2016.

  30. Bill says:


    I don’t know the numbers but I will bet Marcos Alonso is not one of their highest paid players. Marcos Alonso is first choice and has been reasonably influential for the last couple seasons. On the other Sead is one of our highest paid players and after 1/2 season he has morphed into a bench player.

    The point of all of this is not to knock Kolasinac but just to point out how misguided and lacking in coherent planning Arsene’s squad and wage management has been

  31. Orson Kaert says:


    Hazard £200,000
    Fabregas £156,000
    Courtois £120,000
    Kante £120,000
    Willian £120,000
    And Costa was on £185,000

  32. Henryb says:


    You are spot on re Elneny as he played a blinder on the night.

    For me, watching like you and everyone else, I guess, the adjustment in his positional play changed the game dramatically and nullified Chelsea’s own tactics of playing Hazard thru the middle — scoring a clever goal for them and putting Arsenal on the back foot.

    The adjustment? He had been playing as a CDM, and also as a holding midfielder, and still had time to take a hand in the creative play to help the attack in the first half.
    So then? He moved back, cut out the more advanced nature of his play, and popped into the gaping gap between Mustafi and Kozzer as another CB, and stopped the really leaky area which Hazard had been slicing through between those two.

    Worked a treat – and despite the tension generated by our comeback as to whether we could hold out until the final whistle, Arsenal had a strangle hold on the game from then on.

    You do realise, C, that Elneny – in my opinion – will get swept up in the clear out that has started, probably in the summer, and another bigger CDM bought in to replace him, because frankly I do not think that Wenger is totally convinced by him.

    [To be honest, I have mates who do not rate Elneny too highly either, which is surprising, but that’s the way the dice rolls in a player’s career.]

  33. Orson Kaert says:


    They do have very high standards at Sunderland. 😉

  34. Henryb says:


    You always find ways to make me smile!

    You think that AW’s wage policy is disjointed and unbalanced whatever that means, when players and their agents are earning £20m per annum after tax in some cases, and even plonkers [players who are minnows, in this context] are earning £ms for doing Eff All.

    You are presumably using your judgement to evaluate individual players worth and how much they should be paid — and you of course you have managed a football club where it has become normal to pay frankly deranged salaries of £100K — £500K per week?

    Instead of reducing ticket and viewing costs for fans, all the sponsorship monies goes straight to the players and their agents, which is pretty shoddy!

  35. Bill says:


    We have spent a lot of keystrokes talking about the wage dump that we have seen this season and the article that Jonny linked the other day suggests the reason for the wage dump is probably necessitated by almost running afoul for a PL wage rule. That has to suggest poor planning. It would be different if those wages bought us a title challenging squad but as you have commented many many times we are not close to that level.

    Right now I think Kolasinac is on one of our top 3 wages on the squad and probably is one of the higher paid LB’s in Europe. I suspect most reasonable people would probably agree that paying that much for someone who is a back up LB is probably not very good management. No?

  36. C says:

    Sky are reporting that Giroud will not be going to Dortmund either on loan or permanent. So it looks like straight cash for Aubameyang and to be honest if this deal collapses because Arsene wanted to keep Giroud then that is a MASSIVE mistake.

  37. Henryb says:

    My point, Bill, is not that Sead’s wage is too much, or too little, that is a bit like pondering the size of a particular rock at the base of an erupting volcano.

    The whole dismal business is far bigger than any one player or any one club — and frankly, I was able to go see the game, and when adding up the cost of the ticket, my food and drink and travel costs, it is not something I could afford on a regular basis.

    Why did it cost so much — well the food/drink/travel were not directly linked to the club — but the ticket cost was ‘ouch-worthy’ – and all those hundreds of millions of pounds of sponsorship money flooding into football should be directed, at least in part, to the fans going to the games to reduce ticket costs — because without the fans there would be no football.

    The owners of almost all the clubs are disconnected from the fans, because they are all either billionaires in their own right, or are State sponsored. Capitalism gone crazy springs to mind.

    But that may be a bit too heavy, and I do not object to anything you say, so please do not take offence, that is not my intention as I am fed up with the way football has gone – and will continue to get worse.

    But I loved the game, and the result 😀 – and there is the nub — there is no way out for those of us who will be fans for life.

  38. Bill says:


    My guess is Giroud is the one holding up the deal. He is under no obligation to accept a move that neither he or his family want. That is not to mention the issues with his wages that we have talked about several times in the past.

  39. Henryb says:


    Word on the street is that the gorgeous Mrs Giro said “Non non non à Dortmund’. 😀

    I hear also that quite separate from the Giro deal — Arsenal are not prepared to meet Dortmund’s valuation of Auba — so the Germans are going to shut down the deal irrespective of Giro.
    That’s up to them.

    I also hear 😀 that Benzema is house hunting ici à Londre — so maybe he will end up at the Ems instead. There are many fish in the sea.

  40. C says:


    Agree 100%, I think the other thing that was even noticeable against Palace and other matches that he has been able to play as the DM, is that he allows for the others to be more attack minded because they almost seem to have the full confidence that he will cover for them and not only have the legs but also the work rate to match.

    Your spot on about the positional change and I actually think its exactly what Jack was talking about because I went back and watched the first half and you could see after about the 30′ mark, Elneny’s sole focus was on dropping and either sitting right in front of or inbetween Kos and Mustafi.

    I had discussions with one of my mates and he sees the value in Elneny without rating him as irreplaceable while you know I rate him higher than most. The general consensus between me and him was that Elneny is the type of DM that you sort of want: he isn’t always noticeable or flashy but he is efficient, puts out fires and quickly passes the ball on, is always available and keeps things ticking, has an engine that seems to be the same in 1′ and the 90′ and while he isn’t some spectacular DM(I begged to differ so we just agreed to disagree) he is exactly the sort of player that THIS Arsenal team needs because he does his job match in and match out and is really good at it.

    I know he will probably get swept up which is a shame but if you look at this Arsenal team especially now with Mhkitaryan and hopefully with Aubameyang, our DM doesn’t need to be spectacular, he needs to be able to do 3-4 things efficiently and effectively: put out fires, cover for his midfield mates, always be available and get the ball to Jack, Ozil, Mhkitaryan, Lacazette and hopefully Aubameyang as quickly as possible.

  41. C says:


    Personally, I think its a combination of Giroud and Arsene: Giroud might not necessarily want to go and Arsene doesn’t want him to go so he is throwing what power he is no matter how much it is seeming to dwindle around.

  42. C says:


    Yea I heard the Mrs. Giroud thing so I guess that makes sense obviously.

    The Arsenal and Dortmund valuation thing for me is interesting because Dortmund as even they came our publicly and said, want a replacement in place soooooooooooo, I actually think that its part of the negotiations that are taking place especially since Bild is reporting that Dolberg of Ajax and Ben Yedder of Sevilla are strikers they are currently chasing. I could see the valuations not being met but if Dortmund are willing to pay 1.5m for Giroud’s loan with the option to buy at the summer, then it means the valuation goes down a bit.

    The other thing is, this is Giroud’s last chance at the World Cup and I know most think that he will be picked but Deschamps has said that if he isn’t playing he isn’t going and I don’t see him starting ahead of Lacazette as the season goes on and say we do get Aubameyang then he really isn’t going to play.

    Benzema transfer news reminds me of Gourcuff’s transfer news, every window he is house hunting in London, what he goes to Chelsea since they are chasing a striker……..

  43. Jonny says:

    SSN: It is understood that BVB raised the prospect of signing Giroud on loan as part of the potential Aubameyang deal, but Arsenal immediately ruled it out.

  44. Bill says:


    The financial aspect of Football and sports in general is clearly gone crazy. However, it is what it is and we have to work within the system to build a squad that gives us the best chance to challenge for the big trophies that we all desire. My concern is that we don’t do a good job of putting together a well thought out plan to build our squad within the guidelines that the system imposes on us.

  45. YW says:

    Not surprising Mrs G said no, what with a new baby and all that.

  46. andy1886 says:

    “I hear also that quite separate from the Giro deal — Arsenal are not prepared to meet Dortmund’s valuation of Auba — so the Germans are going to shut down the deal irrespective of Giro.
    That’s up to them.”

    Still penny-pinching even though we’re significantly in profit for transfers this season? How very Arsenal. In today’s market £60m for Auba is a fair price, a comparable deal would be Higuain to Juve in 2016, that was €90m and prices have increased significantly since then.

  47. Bill says:

    In the old days the owners had far more control and they were making most of the money. They would never voluntarily share with the players if they didn’t have to. It was easier for fans in the past because the players we liked generally stayed longer with the club we loved. A lot of that has changed in recent years and the players have more control over how their career plays out. However, even billionaire owners do not like to lose money and they would not offer these sort of wages and transfer fees if they thought it would cause them to lose money. The money the owners make might now show up in the yearly balance sheet the overall value of their asset has skyrocketed so ownership is doing quite nicely.

    From the players standpoint they just want their share of this huge pot of money that is flowing into world football. This is their business and during this few years of time they have to try to make enough money to hopefully support themselves and their families in the style they have become accustomed for the rest of their lives. Most players treat every transaction as a business deal first and foremost. May be I am wrong but I suspect even you or C or any of us would do the same thing if we were given the chance.

  48. Henryb says:

    C and Bill,

    Sorry I had to depart just as you were replying to my comments — anyway, good stuff both of you!! 😀


  49. Orson Kaert says:

    I suspect that a large number of supporters would be happy for their club to spend way beyond their means if it meant getting a player who would enhance their chances of winning a major trophy.

    As an example an infrequent visitor to ACLF recently urged Arsenal to spend the extra ten million in order to sign Aubameyang, as though you might find £10,000,000 down the back of a sofa.

    Back in the day clubs were run on money taken at the turnstiles, a small amount of pitch side advertising and what ever could be gleaned from merchandise and programme sales. Other than those income sources it was left to the owner to dig deep in his own pockets to fund the wage bill and purchase of new players.

    Nowadays the inflated price of transfers match the inflated expectations of the fans, the whole thing being driven by television broadcast rights, which are in turn funded by advertising, notably advertising by bookmakers, and subscription fees for the privilege of watching the product from the comfort of your own armchair.

  50. Bill says:

    If we don’t get PEA I guess we could move Nacho to striker and hope he keeps scoring goals

  51. Freddo says:


    Elneny reminds me a lot of Busquets (though bit more athletic). He reliable, he rarely gets caught with the ball, he’ll hit the killer ball when its available, but won’t overplay his hand. He knits a side together. Busquets isn’t a brilliant individualist (though he is brilliant at what he does). He needs a good side around him and was lucky (maybe) to be in the right place at the right time when Barcelona was swamped with talent. On the other hand, it’s hard to imagine him getting a game at Stoke or shining with the talent Stoke has! Indeed, it’s hard to imagine him having a big career if he came up through the Arsenal youth ranks!
    I really think you could replace Busquets with Elneny in the Barca side and not much would change. Elneny would keep the Barca side ticking over and do the important stuff in defence and everybody else would get the plaudits.
    They say about Busquets that he is everywhere and nowhere on the pitch. They appreciate that in Barcelona. I suspect they don’t at Arsenal

  52. Bill says:


    The amount of money flowing into world football from all sources has increased exponentially in this century and everyone wants their piece of the pie. We all keep thinking that it has to end somewhere and come crashing down but so far it just keeps growing. The owners get wealthy both from increased revenue generated by TV and advertising and marketing deals but in the long term the owners biggest source of wealth gain is escalation of the value of their club if sold on the open market. The players and their agents are excluded from that bounty so they fight for a bigger and bigger share of the other revenue streams.

  53. Bill says:

    The amount of money that has flooded the game especially with the wealthiest teams like ours is the biggest reason that so few big teams can afford to take the time and risk of trying to develop their own players. Why wait thru the youthful inconsistency stages and take the risk that a player you invest a lot of high leverage minutes turns out to be a disappointment. Its much safer and easier and it gives your team a much better chance to compete with the other big teams in terms of getting results if you just buy a player who is already developed. The better your results the more money you can bring in from advertisers and marketing rights etc etc etc.

  54. Bill says:

    If Real Madrid used a lot of high leverage minutes to try and develop Jesse and/or Morata in house it would have made it much more difficult for them to compete with a Barcelona side that had Messi, Neymar and Suarez.

  55. Papa Bear says:

    We are not that rich people, Wenger or no Wenger, I believe the reason why Kronke trust Wenger so much is because, he is the only manager that don’t care about the abuse of not winning trophys. Jack should learn from Atom and Humber to stay fit. Jack Wilshere has returned to full match fitness after numerous injuries ordeal he went through and has started playing regularly. And he has even started over 10 games for Arsenal this season wherein he has performed credibly getting acolades for his top quality performances for Arsenal from football pundits and fans. He’s now looks to be integral to the senior Arsenal starting XI team. And based on his recent consistent top performances for Arsenal, the England national team manager, Gary Southgate is contemplating on recalling him to the England squad for the 2018 World Cup tournament. Therefore, if Jack continues to work very hard in training and in games for Arsenal to improve on his present game playing quality and be fortunate to escape injury that is devastating when playing for Arsenal till season’s end, there is no reason why Jack won’t make the England 23 list for Russia in the summer. But a question remains on Arsenal giving him an extention to his deal that’s expiring at the end of this season with a lower wage earnings. I think Jack may find this proposal to him irritating irrespective of whoever is responsible for it. But being an Intelligent man that he is, I believe he has the capacity to deal with the situation appropriately and come out it happy.BTW When Poch really thinks he is same category as Wenger, Pep. Jose, Klopp, Conte etc. He doesn¿t know that in the game you must have history and trophies behind you to really speak up about the superior managers of the game and the superior clubs! Small fish in big pond. Stf you are just irrelevant and nobody! Coming third in a two horse race was probably Pochy’s biggest achievement so far. You could not make it up with this guy. Imagine being a fan spurs, but you¿re embarrassed about it so you parade around as a an Arsenal fan. If Spurs would have had a decent manager they would have won the title and this is a fact. Are there any surviving Tottenham fans who were able to witness the Hotspur club winning the title LAST TIME? If so, they deserve our heartiest congratulations for reaching such a grand old age. First and foremost Wenger did not mention Spurs name. Secondly what Wenger said is the truth. The media want Wenger out of arsenal more than the arsenal fans want. They (media) are behaving as if arsenal belongs to them. The guys at ESPN are typical example. If Liverpool or City were in for Auba, they would say it shows ambitions, arsenal going for him, and all we hear from the media ESPN is, where arsenal will play him because arsenal have Lacazete. Wenger has and always will be one of the greatest cup managers in the history of the game. You won’t see his tactics on the team sheets like a mourinho or a Conte but he just makes these tweaks which are hugely effective.

    I am happy we have something took look forward to be optimistic about. We’re in the right direction and with the Mikhi and Aubameyang’s arival will ensure us the top 4 will be ours again.

    Great times ahead.

  56. Wavey says:


    Refuse contract talks? So sell them in the summer. Perez is only out on loan, so could do the Welbeck covering role on the left, or we bring in another supporting winger/striker for the covering role. Welbeck isn’t exactly pulling up trees. Plenty out there who could replace Ramsey. Works hard, but doesn’t often provide end result. Iwobi can do that job (he already does).

  57. andy1886 says:

    Papa Bear,

    “We are not that rich people, Wenger or no Wenger”

    I’m afraid according to Deloitte we ARE rich having overtaken PSG to take sixth spot in the world’s richest football clubs. That’s ahead of Chelsea, Liverpool and Spurs who all sit above us in the league. See this link:

    In my life time every title we have won has been whilst competing with against other clubs with more resources – including during the first half of Wengers tenure. And that’s not even taking into account our cash reserves or mismanagement of the wage bill.

  58. Papa Bear says:

    Latest news that Arsenal have increased their initial offer but it is still short of Dortmund’s desired price for Aubameyang and has not been well received by the Bundesliga side. Aubameyang is insistent on the move which is an advantage for Arsenal but there is a general acceptance that they will need to increase their bid to around £56million. Maybe Gazidis pays from his own bank account and then the club reimburses it. All this is done via cashiers cheque and Gazidiz needs to stand in queue at the Citibank local branch in Germany. But Gazidis doesn’t know German so he went back and picked up Sven. That must be the reason for the delay.

    Woodward on the other hand just pays via Bitcoin. Takes only 7 minutes.

  59. Papa Bear says:

    andy1886 with a hot pics darling,

    As Le Boss said: “At the end of the day we are a serious football club with responsibilities. “We want to spend the money we can afford. The maximum we can afford we do, but as well you have some decisions to make. “Are you responsible in your management or not? If you can’t afford you have to say no, we’re sorry we can’t do that.” We will not spend over the odds, and I won’t blame Wenger when we have an owner who can authorize it. Until the owners sacks Wenger for not spending, I won’t belive he is hoarding cash. It’s a club policy. I called it, when I said the line up was good enough, the hatred some of have for Wenger is clouding your reasoning process. Our transfers drag so long because we hagle prices so much. Ivan is in Germany, yet the deal is still on the balance, that tells you it is a club policy and not Wenger “the powerful” sole idea. We don’t want to throwaway our 400m revenue in a year and don’t have money to pay players and staff. Do the math, if we have a revenue of 400m, and our wage bill is 190m,we have little to buy players with and run the other expenses of the club.

    Arsene Knows, guys, he knows what’s best for our club.

  60. andy1886 says:

    Papa Bear,

    Our net spend this season is not actually a spend at all – we are around £50m in credit. If we paid £60m for Auba then our total spending this season would be only around £10m. That would be less than almost every single other PL club including the likes of Palace, Leicester, Watford etc. (I could go on). That against increased television revenues and gate receipts. Oh, and we have also significantly reduced our wage bill as well.

    We are not short of funds, Arsene certainly knows that. He also knows that his extremely lucrative contract depends on him providing the best ROI rather than challenging for the PL and CL (something that we have failed to do for almost a decade).

  61. andy1886 says:

    “The maximum we can afford we do”

    And that is clearly untrue. Why do we have huge sums as cash reserves? If these are necessary to pay expenses during the season (as I have seen claimed) how do all the other clubs without these reserves survive? Is the cost of the stadium somehow an issue? No, we have to make payments on the debt but these are in the region of £30m per annum – the cost of an average player at this level.

    As we all well know our annual accounts are freely available and it is clear that we do not spend the maximum we can afford. Maybe if we had a top modern manager we could compete with lower funding as we have done in the past, but under AW we are clearly going backwards.

  62. Wavey says:


    When you’ve got the top scorer in your league and you know that the bidding team badly needs to bring in a new attacking player, why would you reduce your price? Aubameyang may be a pain in the butt when it comes to disciplinary matters, but he keeps banging the goals in. Sanchez was causing friction in the dressing room and stopped scoring. Having got rid of him, I’d rather we brought in the bloke who keeps banging the goals in no matter what. If we have to break our record for a player who is a more prolific than our current record fee signing, we do it.

  63. Wavey says:

    I must admit that I am confused that there could be an issue on Giroud’s side which would make him reluctant for a loan more to Dortmund. He is unlikely to be going to the World Cup if he is getting no games at Arsenal, so a loan deal must make sense. His wife may be a sticking point, but is she really going to deny him the chance to play in what will probably be his last World Cup? He doesn’t have to agree to a potential permanent deal in the summer being part of the arrangement and Dortmund may not want him in the summer any way. Shouldn’t he be trying to ensure he is getting minutes on the pitch before the summer?

  64. Papa Bear says:


    The new figures from Deloitte are out concerning the evolution of footballing income, and when one looks at the figures it is the growth in the gap between the Premier League and the rest of the top leagues, Deloittes the figures are in millions of pounds and what I want to try and explore is opportunity to grow and vulnerability to decline, given that the gap between England and the rest is continuing to grow. As long as the EPL maintains it’s mammoth domestic following and epic global appeal, I can’t see it’s financial earnings power dismissing up to the extend of falling behind it’s rival top Europe Leagues financial earnings power. More so if the EPL continues to be the leader that it is in club and world football that is ever evolutionary and ever evolving and dynamic. Bottom line is we can’t compete city’s oil money.

  65. Orson Kaert says:

    Looks as though we’ve missed out on Lucas Moura, he’s met with Levy and had a guided tour of their training ground, other clubs show their prospective recruits round their stadium but Spurs ain’t got one. £25 million sounds like a good deal.

  66. Wavey says:

    Papa Bear,

    We only have to play City twice in a season. Its about how we compete against the other clubs in the league that determines whether, or not we can get anywhere close to challenging in the league. We have been consistent at slipping up and giving away points against mid table teams. Unfortunately we are also starting to do the same against teams at the bottom off the table.

  67. Damon says:

    Papa Bear,

    This post is vaguely interesting.

    I fail to see the connection with the main paragraph and the final sentence though? It’s like a poor effort to answer a history question from a pupil at school. Thinking they can throw out some facts that have zero connection to back up their ridiculous sweeping statement. How you think that justifies your statement is quite beyond me

    Will happily listen to your reasoning, should you care to offer it

  68. drazy says:


    Moving to Dortmund doesn’t guarantee Giroud more playing time, or does it?
    Factor in Mrs Giroud and it doesn’t really make too much sense on the whole. Why go to sit on the bench at Dortmund when you could as well do it in London, while at the same time keeping things ticking on the bedroom side eh!

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