JK Speaks Plus Sokratis on Sideshow Bob

I’ve just realised the headline could be construed as a proud parent updating the world on their toddler: “JK Speaks! JK Walks!”

We’ll see whether Junior comes out of this well; I haven’t decided.

Someone in Arsenal’s media team has a sense of humour. A headline screaming out “We made very decisive and aggressive decisions” accompanied by Junior standing next to a Peaky Blinder?

It’s a photo which has the air of a Gladiatorial battle; Junior is deciding whether it’s a thumbs-up or thumbs-down.

God bless you for that one, AFC comedy man.

Junior basically ran through the summer’s transfer business, saying not very much at all. Before you ask, I’m not really sure what I want him to say or indeed whether I prefer ‘Chatterbox Josh’ to ‘Silent Stan’.

The headline sums up the gist of his interview with the Sage of Salford; “aggressive” dominates the interview. But not in a violent sense. Junior’s definition is a flexible beast, much like Raul’s “outsmarting the market”; it’s more persuasive, more flexible.

Peaky Blinder’s bloke begs to differ.

Junior rebutted the suggestion from Ornstein that the club signed players to appease fans. #wecaredoyou didn’t impact their thinking:

I would say that if you’re reacting and doing club record signings based on public opinion, you’re not going to go very far as a club. We weren’t reactive this summer, we were actually proactive.

It was unfortunate that the summer unfolded publicly the way it did with some of the supporters groups.

I tried to answer some of their concerns to the best of our ability, but we had instruments in place behind the scenes heading into the window where we knew we were going to be aggressive and we weren’t going to be reactive to anything, we were going to be proactive.

Junior is getting all aggressive

Junior’s Sales Pitch: Everyone Else Do The Work!

It’s largely PR puff, designed to show KSE as caring, sharing owners. Fans, if you like. Junior’s up at whatever hellish hour the kick-offs are in the USA!USA!USA! It’s what fans do.

Or to put it another way, if I was the future owner of a £1bn business, then I’d sure as hell be up at ungodly o’clock to watch my investment.

You can watch the video or read the transcript on the website following the link above. Maybe do both, just to check how accurate Pravda is in their reporting <smiley face, jokey kind of emoticon>.

Why you do that – read the transcript and watch the video – is beyond me. It’s the same as listening to an audiobook at the same time as reading it. Probably some kind of desire to be read bedtime stories, I dunno; it’s all a bit having a dog and barking yourself.

One thing Junior didn’t deny is that certain players are going to be sold this summer. “Football operations” need to get their arses in gear if that is to happen:

I would defer to our football operations staff but I know there are a few names that have come up who might not see as much playing time this season, so whether that’s via loan or permanent transfer I know there are discussions going on. I’ll leave that to our football operations staff.

Junior leaves everything to “football operations staff”, i.e. everyone else.

One of those is Shkodran Mustafi. Fresh from chaotically blocking a bus lane before the Burnley match, he cut a forlorn figure sitting behind the bench in his civvies. Still, he had his mate Mesut with him but that won’t be for long; Mesut will soon be on the bench, waiting to play, if not already out on the pitch.

Sokratis – No Longer The Silent Partner

But Shkodran won’t be.

Especially if Sokratis has his way. For the first time in ages, he didn’t have to worry where his defensive partner was or whether he was dropping something bigger than a ricket. In fact, Sokratis liked it. He almost said so in his post-match comments:

For a defender it is more difficult because you have to fight a lot. Of course you have to be ready in every game. I think today as a defence we did well. We were a little bit unlucky with the goal. But in the end 2-1 is an important win – three points and we got to the next game.

Sokratis gets an unusual feeling – Arsenal being unlucky to concede a goal

Our Greek resistance fighter – reminiscent of Anthony Quinn in Guns of Navaronetalked about Sideshow Bob and how much of a relief it was that he isn’t Mustafi.

When [David] came we spoke a lot that we will have moments when we struggle, but we have to struggle all together.

Of course he is a player that has experience because he played for big teams. We need character and players like him. Yes, it is good [to build a partnership]. But we have also Rob Holding, Chambers who are good players and Dinos, who is coming back now.

No Mustafi, Sokratis?

It’s the surest sign the hapless German is on his way. They played together numerous times; he didn’t just forget Mustafi, that’s for sure.

He wasn’t slow on emphasising the point either. “We have to be ready for every game,” he went on. “In games, somebody has to stay outside and somebody has to play, but the important thing is the team.”

If He Was A Lame Animal, You’d Put Him Down

Sideshow Bob is still to win me over. It’ll take a long time because we know he has a ‘Mustafi-like’ mistake in him; just not so frequently and as starting points go, that’s a good one.

And yes, I do fully accept the point that Chelsea would have ditched him – particularly in the Mourinho era – if he was completely useless. It’s tough to alter a mindset after all these years; maybe I will be more convinced by the end of the season.

If we win on Saturday, I’ll be completely convinced.

And it leaves Mustafi on the outside. Elneny too; his shorn locks remind me of Samson. His power has gone and it is time for pastures new. I’d say Mkhitaryan as well but we know it isn’t happening.

As much as Josh would like the club to ship out the fringe players, Mkhitaryan isn’t going anywhere right now. To bring that into focus, Manchester United got rid of one of their ‘super chickens’ and are funding half his wages during his loan with Internazionale.

I sincerely hope they don’t get rid of their remaining super chicken, however. Paul Pogba could end up costing them a dozen points this season…

And on that happy note, I’ll sign off.

’til Tomorrow.

38 thoughts on “JK Speaks Plus Sokratis on Sideshow Bob

  1. Damon says:

    Good mid week article, thanks YW

    Amazing how the feel good factor can change things. I should know about that by now, but I’m actually interested to see how we get on at Anfield.

    I wouldn’t be shocked if we get spanked, but they haven’t started all guns blazing so far. Even a narrow defeat can be taken positively, as long as there’s a performance from the boys for more than 45 mins. It’s easy to look good, as we have done, once we’re 3:0 down at half time and then control the game without scoring second half

    Only two 100% teams going head to head Saturday PM 🙂

  2. Sheffy says:

    Top form at the moment YW, cracking stuff!

    I have never been the greatest Luiz fan and never wished for him at Arsenal. But now he’s here my ever optimistic bias swings my opinion to him being a success for us. So balance out my negative bias when he was a Chelsea player and my positive bias now he’s one of us – Luiz should be an average, half decent player for us! Yogi I dont think you will look back in anger at his first season with us.

  3. Michael says:

    For me Luiz is a cheap stop gap improvement on Kos, if for no other reason than he wants to be with us. Doubtless he will make mistakes, but who doesn’t. Personally I like the fact that he is talking to other players during the game, perhaps he is competent leader.

  4. Damon says:

    I enjoyed Luiz’s shithousery on Saturday. It’s been too little not often enough for a long time. The younger CB’s will do well to learn his dark arts whilst he’s here.

    Give’s us that option. At the very least, his injury record is an upgrade on Kos?

  5. Buckagh says:

    Great posts YW, glad to see you in good form, hope you are in full recovery mode,
    Not sure Junior is totally convincing about transfer policy but its certainly an upgrade on what had gone on previously. He told bbc sport this morning that club would be pro active in January window.
    Champions league qualification this season is minimum requirement for owners I’d say.

  6. C says:

    To be fair to Josh, he was the instigator behind their NFL team the Rams spending big and changing their recruitment policy…feels like there has been a shift at Arsenal as well. Finally futbol people doing futbol business like a big club.

    Luiz, think part of the notion he is this mindless CB is media driven, any defender with the nickname Sideshow Bob doesn’t bode well. But look at his CV and he is a winner, who has played for and been the key CB for some very defensive coaches, see Mourinho and Conte, at some big clubs. More than just the defensive side where he is an upgrade over Kos and ideal for our young CB’s, his ability to play from the back is quality too…no more mindless clearances, watch his balls over the top, they will free our front 3 for sure.

    Mustafi, Elneny are probably off and I still wouldn’t be surprised if Xhaka or Mhkitaryan are off to.

  7. C says:


    Liverpool could be quite a good game, their midfield has not looked nearly as solid and sure Adrian is a good GK but he is no Allison.

    I hope we play well.

  8. Woolwich Freddie says:

    I’m a full proponent of the Cellabos hype. I have my reservations regarding Mr Luiz but he’s certainly acquitted himself well so far. We haven’t even seen what Pepe can do yet and I’m confident we will do so as he develops a better understanding with his teammates. In short, I’m pretty confident we’re heading in the right direction.
    That being said, I think Anfield comes too soon. We should look at this as an opportunity to practice not collapsing, keeping in touch, not being naive, and not shipping a bunch of stupid goals. We’ve looked more confident and stable so far this season but still a little rickety. I would really like to see us prioritise improving that confidence and generally tightening up this weekend. I’d even endorse us going up there and trying to wind up and frustrate the opposition with a few sharp kicks but I think that might be too much of a leap at this point.

  9. Buckagh says:



    I’ll give them the benefit of doubt there, C but why leave it so late.
    Sure Luiz has a mistake in him who hasn’t but I think he is a decent buy and will be good for the team. I’m delighted to see the younger players getting a chance

  10. C says:


    The only thing I didn’t understand was leaving it so late. Pepe I get give the amount of money and the AFCON but the rest, it is strange. With all that said, all the players brought in are an upgrade (with Tierney, despite the obvious talent but the jump in level of the league being the question) on what they are replacing.

  11. Damon says:

    Don’t think it’s going to be nil nil on Saturday. I’m hoping for a compact performance playing on the break. We have all the natural assets to get a good result that way

    Echoing Freddie’s sentiment, I think it’s a tad early for us to go up there, although I doubt there will be a perfect time to visit Anfield this season

    I’ll be happy with a solid performance and not getting destroyed and countering them. You never know what might happen though, which is thoroughly refreshing after the years of groundhog day

  12. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    A lot of our regulars think I am a chronic pessimist but I have been less pessimistic about the Kronke regime then almost anyone else on the blog and there is nothing more important to the long term fortunes of our team then the ownership and its not even close. The Kronke’s are not ideal owners but I don’t think they have never as bad as most of us have been complaining about over the years. You don’t want a meddlesome owner who is get involved in football decisions and the Kronke’s have not been that tight with the money. The problem is they put their faith in Wenger/Gazidis and let arsene drive the agenda which was a big mistake. Once they finally recognized that Arsene had to go they have been very active in rebuilding the front office and we have certainly been actively rebuilding the squad. When the rebuilding job is as massive as our was you there are bound to be a few missteps but I think we can all agree that things seem to be heading in a much better direction. Go Josh, Go Raul Go Edu.

  13. Damon says:

    Pretty fair post mate

    Great post Yogi

    A lot of our regulars think I am a chronic pessimist but I have been less pessimistic about the Kronke regime then almost anyone else on the blog and there is nothing more important to the long term fortunes of our team then the ownership and its not even close. The Kronke’s are not ideal owners but I don’t think they have never as bad as most of us have been complaining about over the years. You don’t want a meddlesome owner who is get involved in football decisions and the Kronke’s have not been that tight with the money. The problem is they put their faith in Wenger/Gazidis and let arsene drive the agenda which was a big mistake. Once they finally recognized that Arsene had to go they have been very active in rebuilding the front office and we have certainly been actively rebuilding the squad. When the rebuilding job is as massive as our was you there are bound to be a few missteps but I think we can all agree that things seem to be heading in a much better direction. Go Josh, Go Raul Go Edu.

  14. C says:


    Fair post there and I would also add Emery to that putting the faith in cause he had a massive project too.

  15. Bill says:

    When Kronke first bought the club he did not know anything about European football but in his mind Stan did not think he had to know anything because he had Arsene who many reasonably smart people thought was the best person in the world to run the team. I think most of us on this recognized that the club had stagnated and the fall from the CL was inevitable and we knew that Arsene needed to go many years earlier. However, for an owner getting rid of Arsene would mean a total rebuilding of the clubs front office football structure and there is a lot of inertia that needed to be overcome. It was hard to pull the trigger when we were consistently in the top 4. Its like a poker player who knows he probably won’t win but his cards are just good enough to give him some hope and he can’t bring himself to do the smart thing and fold.

    I am not making excuses for the Kronke’s because they should have moved on from Arsene several years before they did and they need to take all the blame for the years of inaction. However, once they finally made the right decision they have certainly been much more proactive and in rebuilding the club and I think we are moving in the right direction and that has to give us more hope then at any time in this decade.

  16. Stu says:

    ……. the Kronke’s have not been that tight with the money.

    I’ve got to question that part of your response. Now, I may be wrong here and will gladly say so if that’s the case, but my understanding is that the Kroenke’s have not put any money into the club. Yes, they have spent considerable sums acquiring the ownership of Arsenal, the business entity, but have they put any cash into the club for player purchases or any other reason? I do not believe so. I thought they had made it clear that all purchases, indeed all normal operational expenditure, had to be self-funded through revenue streams – gate receipts, TV, advertising, prize money, sponsorship etc. Plus, haven’t they been withdrawing a dividend each year of c£3m?

    Now, I may be wrong and will gladly accept that if it’s the case, but if my understanding is correct they have not put a penny into the club. With the Kroenke’s reported net worth (and with Usmanov’s then alleged desire to invest heavily being rejected by them) that in my book makes them miserly owners. Their interest is solely in their return on investment. For all of Junior’s remarks, the interview smacked of a PR exercise on the back of firing up the Operations staff to deliver, so as to ensure the value of their asset doesn’t diminish.

  17. Sheffy says:


    Dont think I have ever agreed more with you than your last 2 comments!!

  18. Sheffy says:

    As far as Josh’s interview – I try to take the PR stuff with a pinch of salt but at least the ambition seems to be coming from the top for once. Always easier said than done though.

    The bit that scared me was that it took Chelsea putting 4 past us in the final for the hierarchy to believe perhaps they weren’t doing enough! I mean, seriously?!?!

  19. Las says:

    I strongly beleive that this TW was 9 out of 10. And not just the players were bought wisely but the personnel also. With Edu on management level and with Ljunberg as a head coach we become considerably stronger. Two intelligent, motivated through and through Gunners on the side will be a success. Ljunberg was relentless as a player, always on offensive, always up for the fight. I really missed this attitude for a long time. Edu was cool with excellent timeing. Never lose a head. They are from the best bread from Wengers first ten years.
    And for Wenger, why he stayed longer than his myth…. In many ways Arsenal was a big club inder Wenger, even without winning silverware we were in the top 4, always for 20 yers…. and this is something… not to mention many exciting matches, we not played well consistently but we could put up a fight and played fairly exciting good, fast football. And at the very and of the Wenger era he took a handful FA Cup out of nowhere and credit where its due those were proud moments. But finishing outside the top 4 was telling. And finally Mr. Wenger was intelligent enough to acknowledge.

  20. andy1886 says:

    Am I being naive or have we seen some progress since the boy Josh got his hands dirty? Seem to call that he came over to carry out some kind of a review in the months before AW got fired (sorry, left by mutual consent). Presumably he had some sort of input into the new structure post Wenger, and now we seem to be making smarter decisions on the playing side. If we can sort out our commercial dealings then I’d say that’s a significant turn around.

    As for the Liverpool game if we get anything from it then that’s a positive. Absolutely it’s too early to gauge where we are before we get Bellerin, Holding and Tierney back in the squad but things do look promising.

  21. Bill says:


    I made that comment because if you look at the numbers Stan gave Arsene money to spend. The problem was Arsene had no long term plan and made a lot of poor decisions. Wenger/Gazidis did a terrible job of managing the squad and perhaps an even worse job of managing wage budgets and holding on to players such as Wilshere who should have been sold years ago when he was worth money

    I am not trying to suggest that the Kronke’s are great owners. I am sure there are dozens and dozens of billionaire’s that I would rather have. If it were up to me an oil rich country would buy the club and outspend Man City and ManU combined. My point is the Kronke’s were not as bad as everyone thought. That does not make them great by any stretch but at least there is more reason to hope now then 2 years ago. I hope that makes sense

    Those who really thought the Kronke’s absolutely did not care about the club and would gladly let it drop into mid table then they were the ultimate pessimists because if that was true the club had absolutely 0% chance of every making a comeback. All the debates about individual players is utterly meaningless for he clubs prospects if the owners really didn’t give a sh*t.

  22. Bill says:


    Fair post there and I would also add Emery to that putting the faith in cause he had a massive project too.


    At this time last season you were saying we had great squad of players and all they needed was to be “coached up” and Emery was a manager who could make all the players better. I guess you have changed your mind.

  23. Bill says:

    I give Emery a free pass for the way he handled our attack. Other then the 2 forwards he had no attacking talent to work and our central midfield was useless in terms of creativity.

    On the other hand he brought in 4-5 new defensive players last season including a complete new “spine” and yet we still conceded as many goals as any of Arsene’s team. Emery has to take responsibility for that failure and he also has to take some responsibility for the end of the year collapse. The jury is out on him and his performance has to improve this year or he probably won’t get a new contract

  24. Blue Yonder says:

    While the Kronkes have been (accurately) slagged for their absentee-management of Arsenal, I believe they are now making a concerted effort to reverse that. A successful window with big money spent, changes in club management structure and increased visibility (by Josh) are all things we wanted, aren’t they?
    A couple of squad exits now or in January and the inertia of the late-Wenger years should be behind us. Then it’s Emery’s task to turn all that into something.
    Personally, I feel a lot more confident about Arsenal than I have for a long time.

  25. Bill says:

    Thanks to ManU and Spurs both imploding and trying to hand us a free gift we were in the pole position to finish in 4th place around game 31-32 and we had the easiest run in. All we needed was a reasonable finish but instead we completely imploded and then we stunk up the pitch at the Europa league final. If that had been Arsene we would have been lining up the firing squad. If we are going to be consistent then Emery needs to held at least partially responsible for the miserable way the season ended. I am not suggesting we should have sacked him after last season but he definitely needs to improve his performance this season.

  26. Dukey says:

    Regarding Luiz. whilst a shock to the system for me in his signing and me not really rating him like Yogi. he was a Chelsea fan favourite, and let’s be honest players do not become fan favourites unless they have something about them.

    Regarding yesterdays post let’s hope Ceballos falls in love with Jellied eels, pearly queens , black cabbies wit and rain!

  27. Sheffy says:


    I personally never thought the run in was easy, with more away games than homes and away games that included trips to Wolves, Everton and Leicester. Based on what we had seen all season could we perform away from home? Were we likely to beat decent teams like those 3?

    Sure the chance was there, points were in our favour and sure spurs and utd kept trying to gift us. But based on the 31/32 games up to then I didn’t really see the run in as a failure, just a continuation of what we had achieved with that squad throughout the season.

  28. C says:


    No, I haven’t changed my mind. Last year and over the summer people talked about getting rid of Emery without realizing the massive project(not just players, whole project including culture, style of play, etc.) that he was taking over after Arsene being at the helm. Mate, I’m agreeing with you but adding to that and just adding to the list of people that had a massive job to do.

    Not for nothing but Emery nearly got us 3rd and made the EL crown if not for the defenders cocking it up with basically the same squad that finished miles behind 4th and didn’t make the EL Finak the previous season.

  29. C says:


    We would be lining up the firing line for Arsene because it was Arsene’s built squad and it was Arsene’s culture. Sure Emery deserves a bit of crap for the end of season but we ALL knew that our defense was shit especially after Bellerin and Holding got injured who played massive roles in our early season success. Rebuilding a squad, entirely changing a club’s culture and all that from somebody who had spent 20 years and especially the last 10 in control of so much…..that’s a shit ton to ask, just ask United how its working our for them….

  30. Ras says:

    Booommmm . Subliminal prose YW. Love the Samson , El Neny allusion

  31. Bojangles says:

    The manager (coach) is always a hot topic with the fans. Our problem, as Arsenal fans, is we are still in Wenger mode in as much as it seemed like Wenger was making decisions about his own future. It’s different now; if Emery doesn’t deliver top four this season he is out. He maybe gone even with top four if our performance is lackluster, so fretting over Emery seems a waste of energy to me.

    I am happy with the Luiz signing. The man brings vast experience to the defence and even at 32 has a lot to offer including leadership qualities superior to anything we have in the squad at the moment. And he has great character which is something we have been devoid of for some time, maybe since Freddie L. As some have said he has a mistake in him but so has maguire and Un..ed paid a rediculous amount for him.

    As far as Junior goes, yeah there was a certain amount of PR in his interview, as you would expect, but I also felt there was a genuine desire on his part to see us moving forward. The foundations have been put in place, it’s now up to those who have been charged with building on them to do so. It’s now over to Raul, Edu and Emery.

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