Loofahing Stretch Marks, Stepping on Ducks and Other Arsenal Stories

Is it wrong that the words “How has obnoxious Lehmann…” at the start of the headline left me wondering what Jens had done? Fleetingly, I remembered this was a goalkeeper who relieved himself behind the goal in a first-team match. A man who couldn’t believe Manuel Almunia was the competition and kept him out of the side.

Am I the only one who is severely disappointed that it was another story on the Banana Republic cheating team?


That’s it; all said and done. Not quite all said, but the international break is over unless there are any stragglers this evening. There aren’t; I just checked. See how thorough the preparation for this piece is?

What did we learn whilst the players were away with their countries? Hosts Russia are on course for a group stage exit. They were outplayed, out-thought and out-fought by Brazil and Germany, both of whom barely got out of second gear to win comfortably.

England might reach the last eight. It genuinely depends on how badly Dave plays in goal for Colombia. He might play well, in which case England are in trouble. But then again, he might not. For what it’s worth, Southgate has the Three Lions clearing their throat, readying a roar. After years of underperforming at major tournaments, we might do well. Relatively speaking, that is.

Spain and France both put decent cases forward for being ‘dark horses’ while Argentina laid claim to the knacker’s yard last night. I know Messi wasn’t playing, but even his, ahem, defensive abilities wouldn’t have stopped the six goals the Spanish scored. Maybe it would have ended up 6 – 4 instead of 6 – 1.

All in all, there were plenty of signs it might be a good tournament on the pitch as a counterpoint to the expected carnage off it.

Don’t Sell Yourself Short, You’re a Tremendous Slouch.

Elsewhere, UEFA tinkered with the Champions League and Europa League.

Seat manufacturers successfully lobbied for more business and now there will be 12 substitutes on the bench. It won’t be long before there are five permitted substitutions per game. Remember when Eriksson felt the opprobrium of the masses for changing an England team at half-time? Coming soon to a Champions League match near you…

The welcome change is the ending of the cup-tied rule which is a sensible amendment to the rules. Not if you’re an Arsenal fan. It all came too late for this season and was immediately seized upon as a conspiracy against the club. This was UEFA and everything which is holy in football showing the determination needed to shaft Arsenal.

They needn’t work too hard. The gaffer will shoot us in the foot soon enough.

Talking of which, his tone changed in one the beIN Sports interviews:

Is he playing to the audience in stepping back from the ‘never broke a contract’ routine? The only progress can be winning the Europa League but is that outweighed by dropping another place in the Premier League? I don’t know; winning a trophy counts more than the league placing unless you’re top of the table, doesn’t it? Empty seats don’t lie about the style of play though, do they?

That said, Ivan whose ghast is never flabbered, will be left dumbstruck after Wenger claims it was he who put together the new backroom team…

You’ll Get Nothing, and Like It!

At which point we turn our backs on international football and embrace the club game. The next time it interrupts the season will be for the World Cup finals. By then, Arsenal will have won the Europa League, won’t we? Got to be something to look forward to this season. Surely we’re not reduced to a club for whom speculation is more important than the next three points?

It hasn’t got that bad yet. Has it?

’til Tomorrow.

27 thoughts on “Loofahing Stretch Marks, Stepping on Ducks and Other Arsenal Stories

  1. Of course Arsene put together the new backroom team. Just like he built the stadium and turned Arsenal from nobodies into one of the biggest clubs in the world. While working 24/7 365 days a year and all because he loves the club 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣

  2. “If I see no progress, we can terminate it.”

    Nope, if Stan sees no progress he can terminate it, that decision isn’t solely Wenger’s to make. When he says “terminate” he means take a payoff unless of course some lunatic offers him something more lucrative.

  3. Wenger “We sit down at the end of every season & see where we go from there. I have a 2-year contract & will always try to (reach) the end of it. But I always have the honesty to sit down with BoD & to see where we go from there. If I see no progress, we can terminate it.”#afc

    Seems the penny has dropped. AW has probably just realised that his famed relationship with Silent Stan may not be enough to save his bacon this time.

  4. That was actually a little bit enjoyable for about 50 minutes that England game yesterday..I thought lingaard, vardy, sterling, young and dare i say it that chubby one who goes out with that little mixer linked up well. I’d go with that lineup at the WC. Tom deli , I would not bother bringing him back in, He has done absolutely nothing at international level to warrant a start.

  5. Good stuff Yogi.

    Internationals, well there over but we also learned Jack is knackered again, Kos needs to retire because his Achilles and back are going rather quickly and Sead can be hurt.

    UEFA, well thats a joke.

  6. “We sit down at the end of every season & see where we go from there”. This time around, Wenger will walk in to the meeting only to find there’s no chair for him to sit in.

  7. Didn’t get the reference to David Ospina !? We are playing Panama, Tunisia and Belgium . Dave Oooospina wouldn’t get in the Belgium side …and might struggle on the other two .
    It’s the interlull dulling our brains 🧠
    But great column as always. I think Re Wenger they probably persuaded him he did recruit Sven, Huss and Raul ( see I’m on first name terms with them already) so he actually thinks he did bring them in.
    Arsenal use a hypnotist/ mind reader chap at Club Level sometimes and they got him to work on Arsene. He really needs to persuade him he’s a good defensiv3 coach next

  8. Wenger has always been smart enough when discussing his own contract to make sure he didn’t make any statement which compromised his own legal or contractual rights. He is well versed in that.
    Hence, the words ” If I see no progress, we can terminate it”. That doesn’t mean anything as the starting point for that statement is HIM. “WE” assumes that he and SKE agree on his viewpoint – that is unlikely, unless he wins the EL, in which case he will probably get to see out his last year (UNLESS no better offer comes up for Wenger after the World Cup – coz he knows that 2019 will be his last year for sure). In the end, his statement is all about Wenger’s own ego – not about supporters, the squad, the management, or the owners.
    Great blog and thoughts as always.

  9. @Andy 1886,
    Surely you cannot be fair in saying that Arsene Wenger transformed Arsenal “from a team of nobodies….”
    We weren’t that bad before “Wenger-time”….;)

  10. nicky,

    Well he did say that he built the club, that was a quote, the implication being that he made us. We were of course already pretty successful by that point.

  11. Just thinking about UEFA’s no more club tied rule, that really will change the winter window, I mean think about it now: Coutinho could be playing for Barca, Aubameyang for us but it also means that clubs will no longer fear buying players in the winter window because they will no longer be cup tied.

  12. Dukey,

    Let’s not get too holier than thou, Atherton was caught ball tampering in a test match and all the bowling rules were changed after the body line bowling by Jardine’s side in the 1932/3 Ashes series in Australia.

  13. C,

    A matter of ball tampering by Australia in a test match against South Africa. The Captain and Vice Captain have been sent home and suspended from International cricket for a year. The player who actually tampered with the ball was also sent home and banned for nine months.

    It’s cricket C, cheating is just not the done thing.

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