The Europa League “Must I Review That Rubbish?” Post

Chelsea 4 – 1 Arsenal

Craven capitulation. It’s the only phrase to use, it genuinely is. Wallowing in a bed of self-pity is, of course, on the cards but I’ll (genuinely) reserve my pity for the hardy souls who wasted thousands of pounds to travel to Baku. They deserved better. We deserved better and so did Arsenal Football Club.

The first half promised better. We contained Chelsea’s initial burst to put them on the back foot. Then we folded, crumpling like a torn concertina with a groaning accompaniment to the humiliation.

Eden Hazard got the headlines but Olivier Giroud haunted us. Braver and more alive to the moment than Koscielny for the opening goal, seizing on Maitland-Nile’s naivety for three and four. Undone by the old boy, a cast-off for whom we had no use.

The same failings we saw at Wembley when Manchester City tore us asunder last season, resurfaced on the European stage in front of a global audience. Arsenal, once the pride of north London, suffer from no self-esteem.

It’s going to be a long and frustrating summer. The repair work needed is beyond our widely-reported budget. Player sales are always the ones you don’t want to leave but honestly, how many would I miss based on this performance? Lacazette; Torreira, reduced to tears by the events. I’m struggling beyond those two.

The big names love big games until they pull on the red shirts with white sleeves. Aubameyang’s performance was as ineffective as Henry’s in Paris. I could go on, picking holes in individuals but is there any point?

Sadly, there is. Both sides featured ‘match winners’; only one turned up. Eden Hazard got the fairy tale ending to his Chelsea career that he dreamt of, albeit at the expense of Petr Cech.

Love on the Rocks

Mesut Özil, on the other hand, didn’t. It’s a populist move to slate him but, as Tim notes below, the travelling fans were hugely unimpressed by the German. His contribution in the first half was a few nice passes and covering plenty of ground. Not in the second half though; he was largely anonymous, turning in a typical away day for him.

Right now, Özil is a luxury we can’t afford. Last night was the game for him to shine; he failed to influence the outcome and it is time for the club to be ruthless. Finding a club to take him and his exorbitant wage demands is not going to be easy but, along with Mkhitaryan’s pay, this is a millstone around a Europa League club’s neck.

Josh Kroenke, resplendent in his blue suit with a red club tie, stood on the podium like a prize plum. This, Junior, is your and Daddy’s mess we’re paying the price for. Incompetence at the top, filtering down through senior levels to the pitch; a once proud club is being brought to its’ knees, a laughing stock.

Enos & co don’t want to invest the money to bring this squad up to scratch. Competing at the top of the table or for European honours requires proactive ownership; we don’t have that. The dynamism must come from Raul and money comes from, well, where? Sponsors, fans; anyone but the owner.

Whether Unai Emery survives to see the outcome of his work is another matter. The capitulation, coming hard on the heels of the end of season collapse in the Premier League, marks him out for the chop. Arsenal are, I believe, unlikely to take that step. Not for any reason other than it will cost too much money.

Pick A Part That’s New

There is a wider issue at play here. We’re in transition; it strikes me that too many believe transition brings immediate results. The squad which ploughed through this season remains largely the same as the one we watched last season; not much changed. The same mental frailties exist, alongside the same lack of direction.

For me, the time to judge Emery is at the end of his two-year contract, not now. We claimed more points, reached the Europa League final; no trophies, no glory but a sense until Easter, that we were heading in the right direction.

A quick start to next season might prove the doubts wrong about the coach in the same way a slow one should lead to his demise. That we’re even talking about it now feels like a knee-jerk reaction; hugely unfair but that is modern football for you. That was old football as well.

It may prove to be the case that he isn’t the man to lead us to the next level but we need a steadying hand. Manchester United are on their fourth manager post-Ferguson and are still mired in mediocrity. It’s the template we seek to avoid; we’re not doing too good a job of avoiding it.

Arsenal, from top to bottom, is a club which must find a spark of life. Anger at yesterday’s performance quickly subsided to ambivalence and beyond. Replace the manager; names bandied about were met with “Why would they come to Arsenal?”; why indeed.

Allegri, Ancelotti but not Sarri. Italians are in vogue in the Premier League but not the man who handed us our arses in a half-empty stadium in Baku. Fans didn’t turn up but neither did we.

Yesterday was a long and painful evening. Prepare yourself for a similar summer.

’til Tomorrow.

37 thoughts on “The Europa League “Must I Review That Rubbish?” Post

  1. Forget football and focus on cricket, golf and tennis. Enjoy the summer fellow Gunner’s.

    Good luck to Kroenke and his cronies. They weren’t the one’s to initiate the downfall but they are the ones dragging the remnants of a once proud football club into the sewer.

    Football as we know it has irrevocably changed and we have not kept pace. Is there anything to love about the modern game?

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  2. @nicky

    30th May 2019 at 1:25 pm

    Everybody should now calm down.
    Last night we lost to a better team, only on the night. End of.
    If, at the beginning of the season most of us were offered 5th place in the EPL and the Europa Final, under new boss Unai Emery, we would ( truthfully) have considered it a reasonable success. And this has been achieved.
    Now we have the Summer Transfer Window, a new season in the EPL AND the Europa League and other minor Cups.
    Let us therefore wait until May 2020 before coming to a conclusion about Unai.
    We may yet be surprised. 😎

    So I agree I would have said 5th and a Europa League final was an improvement on the sh!t show Wenger provided in his latter years. However it was the capitulation to the end of the season and the embarrassing score line in the final that is a bitter pill to swallow.

    I said give Unai his second season nicky, but I want you to remember this statement of your’s at the end of next season, when we yet again fail to finish in the top four. I won’t be surprised but will you be surprised or deluded?

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  3. Great post yogi

    It was a very disappointing end of the season. The end of season melt down in the PL was even more distressing. I have been defending Emery all season and I still think Emery should get another season but things need to start to move in a more positive direction. Most importantly he needs to do a better job with our defense. The fact that we conceded as many goals as any season during the Wenger era and the way we melted down in the business end of the season was as bad as anything Arsene served up and those facts are very concerning.

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  4. Sell the lot, sack emery, force Stan out etc etc. Nothing will happen, except we will probably be slightly worse next year. AFC is basically is in transition to a mid table club where Europa qualification will be our new exciting benchmark.

    If the club don’t show they’re ruthless with our rubbish, the message remains we have no ambition and a high tolerance for mediocrity. I’m looking at, to name but a few, Mustwe, Xcrapa, Kompletelypastit, Monreallypedestrain, Kolastwit and Ozunt. Walking off the field last night, notwithstanding an appalling performance, would have me as an owner pulling the trigger, never mind the manager. If our players can’t handle pressure(which they have proved over many years they can’t) then they really aren’t professionals, and we urgently need to employ some.

    But expect nought to change for the good, apathy is the club motto. The Emirate’s Arsenal – spineless highwaymen.

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  5. The end of season collapse was very worrying re Emery’s competence to do the job. But if he has another similar season i think the club will take it as a great success. Fans have some ambition, players have limited ambition and talent (otherwise they’d be at a better club) and board have no ambition that extends beyond personal financial gain. A winning recipe.

    If the decision was mine, i’d fire Emery now, don’t think his project is going anywhere. And if the next man doesn’t work out fire him and replace him with someone else. Anyone see a problem with Chelsea trophy haul working like that.

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  6. The reality is Emery was handed a really weak squad that Arsene had grossly mismanaged for most of this decade. We have 2 good strikers but after that there is almost no big team talent. Our midfield is utterly devoid of any attacking talent or creativity and its a bad defensive midfield. Torriera started well but even he has been average at best and he does not look like a true defensive midfielder. Our defensive back line is terrible. If we are ever going to improve we need to rebuild our midfield and our back 4.

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  7. Personally i think we need a few years of unbelievably defensive, boring, win at all costs, football. Just to remind everyone at the club from owners, to players, to fans that first and foremost we play to get a result. There is currently no winning mentality. We have a team of actors putting on fairly mediocre entertainment.

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  8. @Bufallo sounds like you remember the George Graham days. Agree we should go back to being boring, boring Arsenal. At least back then, teams knew, once we scored it was shut up shop. It was just scoring was the problem. Wenger brought goals to a team with a solid defence. But he was not responsible for building that defence. Maybe we need a Chris Hughton, who is more defence minded, with the attacking talent we’ve got, win/win!?

    If it were me, I’d sack UE and bring in NES. If that didn’t work, I’d sack him and bring in the next man.

    Say what you will about Sarri. He did a number on UE last night.

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  9. I have heard some criticism of Emery’s choice of formation with a back 3 and wingbacks instead of a back 4 with a diamond midfield. However, in reality I don’t think he had much choice because we needed some way to get the ball into dangerous positions and we have no positive impetus down the middle of the pitch from our central midfield. One thing xhaka is good at is spraying passes to the flanks and getting the wingbacks into space was our only chance to trouble them and it worked pretty well for a while. The only other option was to hope that Laca and Pea could create something themselves and that worked really well against Valencia but Pea and Laca couldn’t replicate that success yesterday and our wingbacks were the only other realistic hope we had of making something happen.

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  10. Very precise post YW. And thanks to drawing attention to Ben’s letter on Footbal 365..

    Exactly right. Any half-smart brain can get the idea that once you have a well focused £800m squad you only need maybe £40m per year plus sales to keep it there.

    We have slowly withered to a £500m squad (if you’re lucky) still declining and also heading downhill in all business and image categories, as the KPMG report yesterday showed.

    It’ll soon affect the value of the club, and to reverse the decline now will need a well-spent (???) £250m net. However if we don’t do that in the next 15 months the value of the club could drop £300m – £400m. So it makes business sense.

    So the owner has to step up or sell – I know which I prefer … although I think perhaps both are unlikely.

    Otherwise I’ll be writing in another 2 or 3 years lamenting how we’ve been overtaken by West Ham or Leicester rather than Chels, L’Pool and Spuds…

    Shit!

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  11. I thought we looked like the more dangerous team for about 35 minutes and of the joy we got was with the wingbacks getting into space. It might have been different if we had scored first during the first 30 minutes. I think Emery got the tactics right. Unfortunately, talent almost always trumps tactics and in the end we were second best and we melted down as soon as they scored.

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  12. Well Henry, first of all at the end of next season I will be 96 and glad to be able to support the team of my youth from the terra cotta!
    On a more serious note, how can you be depressed so far ahead?
    There are two Transfer Windows to come, some of our youngsters will be knocking at the dressing room door and Unai will be entering his second season in charge. That alone gives me and surely many of our supporters, confidence in the immediate future of our great Club. 😎

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  13. Hello all, sad and embarrassing performance yesterday. I wasnt totally surprised honestly. Our only real threat was Kola & Maitlan Niles getting in wide. Kolasinac gets to the touchline 5 times per game and rarely delivers a good cross. If he had some composure we could have scored one early.

    Feels like we have said this same thing for a decade now. We have some fire power up front, a few pieces in midfield, and lackluster defense. What good is it having our duo upfront without any spine behind them? I think Ozil is a luxury, but would be more effective with a better spine behind him. You cant build success without both sides of the game. We need to revamp our D , not just the players but the core philoshopy. We face sides with a 10/20 million dollar backline and they shut us out. We have 30 million dollar mustafi who is up there with the likes of Squillachi, Silverstre as most MEME arsenal defenders.

    If we can sort out the squad both physically and mentally, I think we will push on. We had the firepower but no spine. If we can eliminate 15-20 goals next season we will have top 4 on lock. Shaping up our backline should also help midfield and offense.

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  14. Emery’s attempt to prioritize Europe over the league looked misjudged and short sighted, and so it proved. Setting the whole season on one final game against an english club was inexplicable and not something you would expect after almost one season in England. This, and the end of season collapse against mid table teams showed Emery is not comfortabke with high intensity of english football.

    We need a league manager to start a rebuild to become competitive in EPL again, and I think we’ve seen enough to say that Emery is not one. It’s fair to say we waisted the season instead of starting the rebuild process. To persist with the wrong appointment would not make sense. We have to go bold now. Find an unknown manager with a good league record. Not getting Artera looks like a mistake now.

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  15. Good Evening All. Been a while since I posted here been so busy. That’s another fine mess We manage to orchestrate.

    If I said I was numb that would not in a 1000 yeas describe how I am feeling To be honest ,I decided to turn off at 2-0.

    The obvious question to Me is will Sanlehi be brave and grab the bull by the horns and get shot of Ozil and Mhiki?

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  16. SV,

    SV i think it’s too early to fire Emery. Give enough time to fully see his vision, likely 3-5 years I would guess. At least that is what I would do. While europa league final isnt much to talk about, we pulled thru in some marginal european ties. I would say we could hold our own in Champions League group stages, but we are still getting knocked out in our first our second tie.

    Also we cant call this season a total waste. Our offensive output was pretty good honestly. We seemingly managed to get the best out of Laca and Auba. Auba got a golden boot that says things about both the player and the system that allows them to flourish. Midfield was decent, we dominated some matches but you cant really give them any more then a good (not great). Defense can we say there was any improvement? We still do the silly offside routine on free kicks, our back 3 gets exposed, wingbacks turn off or take a poor touch… I could go on forever cause i’m in a shit work meeting but i digress.

    3rd most goals (73), city/pool on another level. Spuds Manure Chelski at 67/65/63.
    4th most wins in the league. 32/30/23/21/21 , we are tied with manure.

    One stat probably tells the whole story good enough. 8 clean sheets all year. Manure actually fared worse with only 7. For me the problem is simple in concept. Fix our defense, shore up midfield and allow our attackers to thrive. Who did chelsea have in midfield? Some engines , and one passer. The attacking power and talent was all in the front three.

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  17. Been over all these before but…
    – Ozil needs shifting. His mere presence is a drain on the team
    – Defence needs drilling. WTF is Steve Bould doing?
    – Kos needs putting out to pasture
    – Xhaka, Kolasnic, Mustafi aren’t good enough
    – Team needs character/ leadership

    Agree with YW Emery has to get the 2 years. If it goes badly wrong then get rid.

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  18. Nicky, you’re like a good cheese…improves with age (?)

    Is there an older poster on here? Doubt it.

    nicky:
    Well Henry, first of all at the end of next season I will be 96 and glad to be able to support the team of my youth from the terra cotta!
    On a more serious note, how can you be depressed so far ahead?
    Thereare two Transfer Windows to come, some of our youngsters will be knocking at the dressing room doorand Unai will be entering his second season in charge. That alone gives me and surely many of our supporters, confidence in the immediate future of our great Club.

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  19. I think we need to learn from past errors.

    The previous bods in charge of the club allowed an already deteriorating situation to spiral out of control and theres a long way back.

    Emery did a good job with what he had but on the face of it we badly fell apart towards the end and he isn’t exactly an elite manager.

    In previous years – we allowed wenger to continue, even though managers like pep and klopp became available and we missed the boat. These managers were hire by our rivals and we are now miles behind.

    Emerys ok – and hes got a year left – but allegris available, so my veiw would be to learn from past errors and hire an elite manager while we still have the chance to try close the gap.

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  20. ozils a complete and utter waste of space.

    i cant beleive we gave him a massive contract and let rambo leave.

    someone in a suit and tie needs to get on the blower to china and offer him for free so they can pick up his wages.

    so overated – the only thing he can do is pass a football – easy when your playing with ronaldo week in week out, not so easy when you are asked to be the star of your own team.

    complete shite and totally found out – if we are going to rebuild we need to do it properly and shift the shite.

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  21. Nicky – at 56 I’m breathing down your neck and celebrating 50 years following the rip roaring reds.

    That said my glass is half empty, gutted but not surprised last night – the oppo had players who turned up and our weaknesses were found out and exploited ruthlessly and we simply melted.

    Feel badly for our magnificent support. Ozil could contribute a weeks salary and pay most of their expenses. & not miss the cash. Mad.

    The worry for me is that much of it was just so predictable and the issues that haunt this squad just seem to not ever be addressed & surely the coach has had the opportunity to improve the positional discipline of the defence etc.

    And then, and then, the aim is champs league – so that we can be a part of a ridiculous overblown competition that we don’t have a chance to win – and all so we can play weekly salaries the equivalent of many nurse/years work ……and so our absentee owners can make a buck.

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  22. Fans’ morale here in Highbury is very low. We needed just 1 further home win in the PL fixtures, I mean against Brighton to be in the top 4. Emery should share heavy responsibility to our away defeats too. Most fans who attend home games say that Emery is not the man, and I agree. Allegri is available, and it time to say good bye to Emery and bring in Allegri. Get rid of quite a few players.
    If Raul sides with his fellow Spaniard, we end up below Wolves.

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  23. I’m as gutted as everyone else at the result. Not so much the loss but the way we lost. I should be used to it, I know. That said, I will be amazed if Emery is canned; the loss is totally on the players. Going into next season, Emery will be the man in charge (and aware what needs to be done) as opposed to the new boss trying to get his bearings. And surely it is now abundantly clear to everyone at Emirates that simply tweaking the side will not be enough and that an overhaul is necessary.
    I don’t know what can be done about Ozil. Sell him if there is a sucker out there somewhere but don’t play him unless there are no other options.
    Frankly, I see few if any keepers (and I don’t mean goalies.)

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  24. @thrillbo

    I doubt Emery has a vision for Arsenal to become more competitive in the EPL. This season, we gained more points in big games, which is a positive. On the other hand, Emery was surprised by the intensity of games with the mid table teams. After the defeat to Chrystal Palace, he mentioned they had good players. Was the draw with them in October not enough to take them seriously?

    But my main concern is not enough evidence that Emery could develop and improve the players available to him. With that in mind, only a club without a plan would keep him.

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  25. JJ

    I agree with your assessment of Ozil and I think I remember some of us thinking when he signed that the downward trend in his effectiveness would accelerate after he signed and the contract would be one of the worst in football history in terms of goals and assists per dollar of wages. That looks like a pretty good prediction now.

    I am a fan of Rambo also but I certainly understand the reluctance to give him a big money long term contract when he can’t stay healthy and productive for more then a few games at a time. He has not really been that productive since the awesome 13/14 season because of his inability to stay healthy. His muscular injuries are probably not going to get less frequent as he get closer and then passes his 30th birthday.

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  26. There have been a number of interviews this past week that give an insight into the psyche, problem at Arsenal .

    Emery in an interview with El Mundo magazine noted that he wanted to change the “Culture” at Arsenal.
    Peter Cech also noted that the “main ” difference between Chelsea was the “Culture -Mentality “. You are expected to win.

    At Arsenal it’s been to comfortable. It goes back to the non confrontational attitude of departed AW.

    It STARTS at the top. Does silent Stan and his acolytes actually truly want to win? Sanhlehi and Vinai can say all they want but if they have no SERIOUS backing from above we are just going to tread water.

    Newcastle,Everton and Wolves with further investment are or going to be to far behind in a few seasons. The Season that Wolves has had is no fluke.

    Emery is the “cleaner” he in his own words has stated he was under more pressure at Sevilla etc to win than at Arsenal.

    Emery is the nettoyer- cleaner brought into unravel the mess left by AW .

    When your Goal keeper has better stats than your number 10 you KNOW there is serious trouble within the Team.
    I think Emery also lost the battle with Ozil. Look back and see that Ozil at one point was ostracised by Emery, but he was brought back. Was Emery told to do better with his biggest asset? I think so The Willock substitution tells a lot.

    Nacho, Cech, Lichtsteiner,Kos, Sead, Xhaka, El Neny,Suarez, Mhiki and Ozil must All be fucked off, shown the door.

    That is just the start. Will it happen?. No

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  27. Some great posts all and good to have YW back

    Cathartic

    With a beer

    I side with UE second year. I think he was given a hospital pass (rugby term) so let’s chill and watch the cricket.

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  28. “I doubt Emery has a vision for Arsenal to become more competitive in the EPL. This season, we gained more points in big games, which is a positive. On the other hand, Emery was surprised by the intensity of games with the mid table teams. After the defeat to Chrystal Palace, he mentioned they had good players. Was the draw with them in October not enough to take them seriously?

    But my main concern is not enough evidence that Emery could develop and improve the players available to him. With that in mind, only a club without a plan would keep him.”

    The above is also the opinion of fans who met at the pub near Emirates recently. Emery got the job after he impressed the selectors with a presentation where he explained how ,he would improve each player. That was music to Kroenke’s ears, as he knew Emery would not demand more and more money for players. How has he improved each player?
    After his bruising PSG experience, he knew that Arsenal is the club where the win does not matter, CL’s place is not desperate as long as Arsenal is ticking in the PL. Raul, the Spaniard is going no where, and this ensures that Emery is staying put. The consensus is that Arsenal will be moving from season to season just at the top half of the Pl table., and this satisfies Kroenkes. It will be no surprise if Emery stays put for a few more years, delivering just that.

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  29. For all the praising of Klopp and the putting down Emery as, ‘not good enough’, people should remember what Klopp did PRIOR to this season. In his last couple of seasons at Dortmund he managed them to near bottom of the Bundesliga, in his 1st 1/2 season at Liverpool they go to the Europa League Final and he and his team collapsed/got undone by Emery, the next season they barely made 4th, then bought and got 4th and he got to the CL Final after quite a bit of more spending including vanDijk and then this season happened.

    At the same time, Emery was leading PSG to the most points they ever secured, won the double and that was aftet grabbing 3 Europa League crowns. And before yall say, ‘anybody can win at PSG!’….ask Tuchel how easy it was.

    Lets pump the breaks a bit shall we on the sack Emery after this season because he is no Klopp. A bit of perspective and reality isn’t a bad thing.

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  30. JonJon:
    ozils a complete and utter waste of space.

    i cant beleive we gave him a massive contract and let rambo leave.

    someone in a suit and tie needs to get on the blower to china and offer him for free so they can pick up his wages.

    so overated – the only thing he can do is pass a football – easy when your playing with ronaldo week in week out, not so easy when you are asked to be the star of your own team.

    complete shite and totally found out – if we are going to rebuild we need to do it properly and shift the shite.

    As ever mate, exactly this. I couldn’t say it in as few characters as you do. I believe the word is “succinct”

    Nice to see you drop in.

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  31. C,

    Mate, I love you and I love your enthusiasm, but…..

    Jesus Christ!

    Klopp was pulling up trees with Dortmund on no money. PSG comparison? They’should be competing with Citeh and Barca on the funds they’ve got and they don’t. I know he’s spent fortunes at Liverpool, but fucking hell, the Invincibles only managed 90 points. Only! Seven beyond that and only runners up?????

    Pep is an enigma. He only plays with uber clubs that can fund his wage and his transfer budget. With that said, the boy delivers. Records broken year after year. It’s hard to compare, because I reckon I could’ve coached that bunch of players to a pretty decent standard!!!!!

    But you can’t take away what he’s achieved, whatever the circumstance.

    And both those boys were public that they would’ve come to Arsenal way back before we ditched Arsene. Back then the project was “attractive”

    Now it’s a punt, possibly subbing the P for a C.

    Sorry

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  32. If we get the right manager things will full into place. This man is not a big club manager. Arsenal is a big club.

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  33. Club has been making poor decisions for a while now.

    They should have renewed Ramsey the year they were working on Ozil’s contract, played them against each other.

    Instead we were too generous to Ozil (arguably we should have kept Alexis maybe)

    It was the same issue with Ox and Gnabry. Rather then pit them against each other, force Ox to sign or promote the eager Gnabry, we lost BOTH.

    Then compound with selling Alexis to United so we can take an unnecessary Mhkitaryan to further clog up the wage bill, add on even more useless Lichsteiner at 90K per week, we ended up in the “Panic Loan” era last January, only able to punt on an out of form Dennis Suarez on loan.

    Very poorly run at the moment with Raul and the (thank goodness) soon to be departed Mslintat.

    BUT what comes after is an even scarier question.

    BC who is in charge?

    At least with Gazidis we knew for certain he was dictating much of it.

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