On Racism and Killing Arsenal

The ugly head of racism reared in the Mancunian derby which was rightly called out by everyone. Disturbingly, very little attention is being paid to a similar incident at Forest Green Rovers. There is a trend across football, reflecting society as Gary Neville eloquently put it last night, as have many others previously.

This is a fight which cannot be lost. If it is, the Premier League’s path of destruction of the game we love, won’t be the things which kills off football. We will. Do not let that happen.

Killing off a football club is something KSE is proving adept at doing. The latest financials don’t provide much detail beyond blaming “a fellow subsidiary” for the failure to deliver the money required.

I’ve heard the team called many things but “a fellow subsidiary” is a new one. OK, so the Stadium Management company didn’t put on enough events through the year to bring in extra funds. It’s all their fault.

Ultimately, the financials as far as we’re concerned are is one of general interest. The results weren’t a surprise to the hierarchy when they conducted the summer’s transfer business and the pleadings of poverty don’t stand scrutiny in that sense.

Previously, KSE made a big play of stating their sporting expertise would benefit the club. It’s not quite turned out as they planned; none of their ‘expertise’ translates into sporting achievement.

Even their financial acumen which is what ‘expertise’ actually means is under scrutiny. Not the overspend of $4.5bn on the new LA Rams stadium in isolation; it’s a construction project and I am sure Enos will recover his buck.

No, getting screwed over the by the LA Chargers? That’s a different matter, particularly given the sums involved. Theirs is expertise we can well do without.

Not Feeling So Bubbly

Monday Night Football is more of a bind than Thursday Night Football. Remember when we bitched and moaned about always playing on a Sunday? At least then, your weekend had some footballing purpose. Not this weekend, though. No.

We travel to West Ham – you can read my thoughts on it here – where in all honesty, we could as easily lose as win. It’s the weirdest feeling looking down the table first; four points, if you didn’t know. As if you didn’t know? Who am I kidding; the world and his wife, even the ones who don’t like football know we’re caught in the relegation fight.

This is a test of character for the squad. It isn’t one for Freddie. I haven’t given up on him entirely; I just think we are in such a mess that an inexperienced hand is not what we need.

However, there’s a fine line to be trodden between giving Ljungberg time and wrecking out season entirely. Despite the faux optimism of Junior, we’re not reaching the top four. Next week’s heavy home defeat to Manchester City will confirm that if you need more than the current ten-point gap to Chelsea.

If you think that is overly pessimistic re City, we haven’t beaten them in seven league matches home or away. An FA Cup semi-final win can only bring so much respite to the sheet monotony of being outplayed, outthought and outfought.

Not that any of them takes much these days. Everyone outplays us, most outthink us and I cannot think of a team in the league which has not outfought us in the last couple of months.

The squad is an absolute disgrace in that respect. Not one player can hold their head up high and tells fans they are giving their all.

In The Cart

The problems currently being suffered started at the top of the club and continue to be sustained by that malaise. However, it is easier to fix the problems from the bottom up, almost in spite of Enos and Junior. However, they are part of the solution at the bottom which suffers because of theirs and Raul’s procrastination.

They want Freddie to succeed so they don’t have to make a decision. If they do have to, it’s on them and they know they will be in the firing line when it goes wrong. Facing the music isn’t their strong point. Adulation, yes; Don Raul was a star; Damn Raul is an unpopular flop.

The circular arguments, however, will continue until they act like senior executives and make a difficult decision. Give Freddie the job until the summer with the sole target of avoiding relegation. Tell the fans that is the aim.

Admit that you’ve succeeded in turning a once proud club into a lagoon of mediocrity.

It won’t happen. They’ll just plead poverty and blame “a fellow subsidiary”.

’til Tomorrow.

75 thoughts on “On Racism and Killing Arsenal

  1. DB10 says:

    Spot on! Arsenal are no longer a feared team. We are weak, argumentative, overpaid and insular. I would have to disagree though and say that Guendouzi has given his all. We need to grow some balls and stop behaving like the majority of society by throwing our toys out of the pram when we don’t get our own way. Arsenal, like our beautiful country was built on spirit, guts and backbone. No more whingeing baby players and fans – suck it up and play & support from your heart with passion and pride.

  2. Ras says:

    Salut. So where do We go from here ?

    When you see how feckless, reckless the Club has been in conducting its business on and off the field In the last few years I’m not surprised that We sit where We are.

    The Club has made baffling decisions that I don’t understand. We panicked and paid $17 for Lucas Perez. Where is he? We brought in Mustafi. There was a Dennis Suarez albeit on loan. The Swiss defender for a season from Juve.

    The Club spends 72 mill on Pepe. We don’t play him. Why buy him if he’s not going to feature.

    Zaha will go to Chelsea We know how he will be incorporated into the Team. At Arsenal it’s anybody’s guess.

    This Squad is not good enough. It’s time to think of selling a number of Players .Sadly that includes PEA as well as a number of other and look at reinvestment in the Squad.

    PL is over and We won’t make 4th and not sure re Europa …

    Base -Bass how low can We go?

    Ramsey allowed to leave for nada. It’s a shambles to put it

  3. Dukey says:

    My 10 year old daughter came home from school the other day and said she now wants to vote( what she calls it)for Liverpool coz everyone else does and says no one in her school votes for Arsenal because they are rubbish. The longer we go being rubbish the less new fans we will accumulate and the more we will become a mid table side. Anyway I did the right thing in this scenario by telling her if she doesn’t vote for Arsenal she will be disowned!

  4. Paulie Walnuts says:

    The way we’re playing there’s no way we’re too good to go down & if it becomes a battle we’re more a team of bottlers than battlers.

    Hopefully we can somehow win a couple of matches & regain a bit of confidence otherwise the rest of this season is going to be very painful to watch.

  5. Dukey says:

    My team for West spam

    Bellerin cahill monreal tierney
    Ramsey torriera iwobi
    Miki auba Lacazette

  6. Randy Thomsett says:

    I would say that Chambers has been having a go this season, usually in the wrong position. At least he appears to want to be the ‘team’.

    It would be harsh to criticise Leno also.

    Don Raul was the second coming on here, in the summer, when he was splashing the cash on inappropriate players that the Manager didn’t want.

  7. Bill says:

    Great post Yogi

    Racism sucks and should can never be condoned and should be punished whenever the situation warrants. I grew up in a very small town in South Dakota. I was probably in my teens before I ever saw a person of color in person. My parents who were very good people were fearful and talked about it for weeks when an African American man was seen on the streets of our small town. People tend to fear and dislike anyone who is viewed as different and that is an unfortunate part of human nature which will be with us forever.

  8. Bill says:

    Randy Thomsett

    Chambers came thru the Southampton as a RB and was never a CB during his academy years. He has mostly struggled during the few times he played CB for us. He has played RB for us a lot more then CB. Perhaps most telling is the fact that he was not used as a CB when he was on loan for Fulham last season which was arguably one the worst defensive teams in the PL in this decade. This is the 4th manager who has not considered Chambers as a regular CB and he has never been around for about 5 seasons and never played that position regularly. We as fans sometimes look for reasons to believe things which fit our predetermined biases but there is is basically zero evidence to suggest Chambers would be a good CB at the PL level.

  9. Bill says:

    If we really hope to make a run at a top 4 spot we can’t afford to make any more mistakes and using Chambers at CB would be a risk. On the other hand the one reasonable argument you could make for giving him a run of games at CB is the fact that it is an unknown and we have a pretty good idea what all the known quantities represent. Everyone else we have used at that position has sucked and its hard to imagine Chambers would be much worse.

  10. consolsbob says:

    Nice to see Jonny Evans doing so well for Leicester.

    Of course, the £6 million fee was a bit steep for us.

  11. Bill says:

    Hopefully William Saliba will help next season. However, until just now I did not realize he was only 18 years old. He will have to adapt to a new league and a new country and then mature and probably go thru at least a couple seasons of the inconsistency of youth phase before we will know whether or not he will make it.

  12. Paulie Walnuts says:


    Agreed. He might find Wycombe away particularly daunting.

  13. Conan says:


    If we had bought Evan’s we would be ripping him apart to.

    Defense is a team thing. Our defenders aren’t as individually bad as we make them out.

    We appear to not have anybody at the club that know about coaching defense.

    I’ve play CB at the rec level for 30 years now and I think I could get something out of our defenders. Can I get that job? 🤔


  14. Bill says:


    I agree with your idea that defense is a team thing. I honestly have no idea why we have been so consistently bad on defense. For the last 10 years I really believed that Arsene was the whole cause of our defensive problems and I also thought Emery with his reputation for preparation and meticulous planning was a good choice to follow Arsene. I honestly thought our defense would instantly improve. How wrong I was about that one

  15. Bill says:

    I said this last night in the comment section but I would be very surprised if Leicester dropped out of the top 4 this season. Positions 1-3 in the table will probably be Liverpool, Man City and Leicester. That leaves Chelsea, ManU and Spurs to fight for 4th – 6th with us on the outside looking in for the Europa league spots. Wolves might also compete for 5th or 6th place. I don’t believe that we will end up in the bottom half of the table but getting into the Europa league next season might be a real stretch.

  16. consolsbob says:

    I don’t think that we have touched bottom yet.

  17. C says:


    To be fair to Chambers mate and the CB vs RB discussion…he can play RB and played their because of Bellerin doing his knee, so it was a necessity that he played their because Mustafi aside, nobody else can play RB. The times he has actually played CB this season, he has actually done well. Problem he faces is that Freddie is going with experience to try and sort it out so Sokaritis plays which is a MASSIVE mistake.

  18. Blue Yonder says:

    Arsenal’s season, imo, depends more on the players than on the manager. After all, we’ve gone from (late) Wenger to Emery to Freddie with the same problems. In fact, the problems have got worse.
    Arsenal, if everyone were to buckle down, have sufficient talent to beat most teams in the EL.
    They have to take a hard look at themselves, individually, and make up their minds to give everything they have. Until they do that, tweaking strategy isn’t going to accomplish anything. That’s what Freddie should be emphasizing.

  19. C says:

    Good stuff except I disagree with you, Leno has been superb for us and that is with all the goals that have been scored. The majority of the goals scored have been ones he hasn’t had a chance of saving.

    What about Niko Kovac, a good manager who has done well at a big club and was sacked because Bayern are Bayern. Think he would bring quite a lot and could sort this defense out. I wouldn’t mind him coming in.

  20. SV says:

    I always wondered why lower league teams had better keepers. Making spectacular saves all the time, being in the center of the games, time and agian delivering their best performances against Arsenal (of course). In a word, being busy. Some fans would even suggest to buy such a keeper for Arsenal.

    Then I realised it’s the weakness of their teams that keeps their goaley busy, by allowing the opponents to dominate the game and allowing them too many shots on target. Of course this being busy is not a true manifestation if the quality of the keeper. Going to a more dominant team would expose such a keeper to entirely different chellanges, such as being out of the game for long periods of time, and then suddenly having to make a save. Concentration would be more important. Lower league is a different world indeed.

    Leno is a “busy” keeper.

  21. Spike says:


    Actually Chambers has done well at CB when hes played there. He and Sokratis played as our CB pair first 2 games and did ok.
    He gives 100% as well. That’s a rarity in this squad.

  22. MikeSA says:

    Unless a manager capable of turning water into wine appears, top 4 is not going to happen this season.

    Imo we’re going to have Lungberg for the rest of the season, and I suspect he’ll start turning things around at some point fairly soon, but we’ll pretty much remain where we are now (mid table) – I’ll not be surprised if we miss out on the Europa League.

    Coaching definitely has the biggest impact on how a team performs (that’s why some managers get a tune out of very average squads, whilst others fail even with serious talent around).

    Coaching is especially relevant in defence. We have way better defenders in terms of individual talent than most other teams, but we are not organised or disciplined – that’s sorted out by coaching – just ask George Graham and the defenders who played under him if you’re in doubt on that score.

    We have the talent to be in the top 4, but we’re not going to get there this season.

    At this stage, if Aubmeyang is looking to ride it out to the end of his contract then we might as well get what we can for him now and start playing Martinelli.

    Perhaps it’s time to be a little less partisan and sentimental and be more ruthless.

  23. MikeSA says:

    In terms of Pepe not getting too much action right now, I recall a certain Robert Pires hardly playing at all in his first 6 months.

    If my memory serves me well I think he turned out ok…

  24. Bill says:


    That is 2 games this season where Chambers has played CB. He has played a much more at RB this year and for his entire career so I would argue that is his main position. Regarding those first 2 games, our perception of what happens is often subject to our predetermined biases. We see what we want to see. The whole team played better in the first 2 games which also skews the perception of individual players. Bottom line is suggesting he did well in those games is highly subjective and the managers don’t seem to agree.

  25. Damon says:


    Your point is somewhat valid. However, we could make Van Dijk look slow, positionally unaware and bereft of any tactical mouse in our defensive “system”. We’ve had some many different members of personnel during this spell of defensive fraility that it’s the system that’s broken. It’s pointless talking about the players until we get a new manager. As JJ says, hopefully an experienced one with a plan

  26. Bill says:

    Chambers came thru Southampton as a RB was not used as a CB in their academy. Since we bought him 5 years ago he has played for 4 different managers and all have used him mostly as a RB and last year he was moved to DM instead of CB on the one of the worst PL defensive teams in this decade. None of those managers had very good CB options blocking Chambers and yet none of those 4 managers has used him as a CB. 1 manager might be wrong but not 4.

  27. Bill says:


    Fair enough. Apparantly Chambers has not given his managers enough reason to play him at CB so he has not had much chance to struggle.

  28. Bill says:

    I am not suggesting that managers are not important and clearly we are underperforming but I agree with Blue Yonder. Turning this around is more about the players then as opposed to managerial tactics and skill. There is absolutely nothing any manager can do if his players are not executing.

  29. Bill says:


    In terms of Pepe I think we all hope he comes good. Every top team needs stars and we clearly need star power if we ever hope to get back to competing for the top of the table and competing in the CL. I think thats why we bought him. However, using Bobby Pires as an example to make the case that Pepe might do the same thing is a bit of a straw man argument. There are also plenty of players who struggle to adapt and never come good. The ideal situation is a top player starts well and continues to play well. I don’t think anyone should give up on Pepe but the slow start certainly raises significant concern.

  30. consolsbob says:


    I am sure that you are correct, my friend.

    However, I do believe that he would have been substantially better that Sideshow Bob and a lot cheaper. Granted I thought Bob would be OK too!

  31. consolsbob says:


    Is there any player in the last ten years that you wouldn’t have had significant doubts about, Bill?

  32. Las says:

    It is the unthinkable. Arsenal broken at every level. To the core. No leadership, no professionalism. We are going down without a fight. Now we can see that in the last ten or so years Arsenal was Wenger. And behind his back? Nothing, only some soft tissue, but no structure, no knowledge and most importantly no bond to Arsenal. Wenger had to go but we are all shocked to see the nothingness when he left. There is difference finding a new manager or buklding a club from its ruins and what is in front of Arsenal is the latter.
    I am equally embarrassed and disappointed and mad. This utter negligence from the owners and executives it is more than Arsenal can cope right now.
    I can not even imagine how long it will take until we resemble again to a Premier League club.
    I could cry…

  33. C says:


    Actually mate, he won Player of the Season at Fulham at DM for Fulham and received good reviews not just from Fulham but the PL as a whole.

  34. Bill says:


    Is there any player in the last ten years that you wouldn’t have had significant doubts about, Bill?


    The big name transfer who have been highly successful such as Ozil, Alexis Sanchez, cazorla and Aubameyang all adapted very quickly whereas those who struggled to adapt early in their Arsenal careers such as Gervinho Giroud xhaka never really did live up to expectations. Lacazette started slowly and he is good but certainly hasn’t come close to matching the production or influence he had when he was playing in a France. The fact that Pepe has really struggled does not mean he is going to be a bust but a slow start is not a positive development and it certainly increases the odds and raises the level of concern that he will not justify his transfer fee. I hope that makes sense.

  35. C says:


    Bill thought Sczesny was rubbish despite winning the Golden Gloves, Henry was rubbish and all Aubameyang can do is score goals so he’s rubbish.

  36. Bufallo says:

    Quite Blue Yonder, Duncan Ferguson hit the nail on the head with his after match comments after their win against Chelsea. Players need to turn up first and foremost, these Arsenal players have the lowest pride of the entire division, shocking. But to give them some leeway, it’s a trickle down effect from the top. The leadership is utterly rotten, hardly an inspiring place to be at the moment. We fire a manager and lurch and dither around like it’s a massive surprise and he resigned out of the blue. It’s all utterly bizarre.
    Chances of them making a decent next appointment, maybe 20 percent tops.

  37. C says:


    DeBruyne, Salah, Mane, Luis Suarez, Carlos Tevez…..should I continue on players who struggled their 1st year or 1/2 year in the PL then flourished?

  38. Bill says:


    His manager at Fulham didn’t use Chambers as a CB and he clearly needed help at that position. Which player on Fulham was good enough to be considered a candidate for their player of the season last year? They finished 20th out of 20 teams in the table and they didn’t score a lot and they were one of the worst PL defensive teams in this decade. If that really is the level of player we want on our team then we probably are destined to be mid table.

  39. Bill says:


    DeBruyne, Salah, Mane, Luis Suarez, Carlos Tevez…..should I continue on players who struggled their 1st year or 1/2 year in the PL then flourished?

    There is certainly historical precedent for players who struggle at first and then get better. However that does not mean the same will happen to Pepe and it does not change the fact that we would certainly be much more confident about him flourishing in the long term if he had started well.

  40. Alex Ice Cream says:


    I am afraid that your memory has deceived you, Bobby played in most of the games in 2000/01 and chipped in with a few goals. I remember the one v Nazio in the CL. You could see that he was a good player as he very rarely lost the ball. After Xmas his influence began to grow more.

    Bobby was a genius so comparing Pepe to him is a bit unfair. Bobby did have the benefit of coming into a much better side however, one that won the Double in the following season.

  41. Bill says:

    Auba is the only star player on our roster and he is not getting any younger. Top teams are built around their star players and long term if we ever hope to get back to competing for the top of the table we need star players and Pepe was considered a high value target and fit the profile and I was in favor of buying him. Hopefully it won’t turn out to be an expensive mistake.

  42. Buckagh says:


    Just in passing
    I have a friend who was a top premier and international player retired now he is a Man City supporter and reckons they should get rid of DeBruyne he says he has brought an negative disruptive attitude to the dressing and is not doing his job on the pitch

  43. Alex Ice Cream says:


    I would try Chambers and Holding simply because all of the others have been utter shite.

    Luiz is a far more expensive version of Silvestre and carries on our line of useless centre backs alongside luminaries such as Squilacci and Mustafi.

    Luiz should never play centre back for us again. I would be tempted to use him in midfield to see if there is any point at all in his signing but he looks like a terrible and expensive buy with little resale value and on high wages.

    I also have concerns about Pepe but its harsh to judge anyone too much on the basis of this calamity of a season.

  44. Birdkamp says:


    I don’t think the platform is there for new players to shine. Or established players, or young players, or anyone. Nobody looks good at the moment. Apart from maybe Aubameyang who has scored a few feeding off scraps – though I’d agree with anyone who says his link-up play is lacking – and Martinelli sleighing minnows and a makeshift Liverpool side. Let’s be honest, he’s interesting but he’s been hyped so far.

    Take Dani Ceballos, who was being praised by some in the Spanish hierarchy as a midfielder for the national team to build around for years. We haven’t seen that guy yet, apart from on his debut. Tierney looks callow too, and I think Kolasinac is ahead actually of him on merit. Let’s not even mention David Luiz. I don’t think any are bad.

    Pepe just looks like he’s in the same boat as everyone else – confused and at odds with his teammates. It feels like we’re at a point where it’s moot to talk about individuals.

    Just one of many things to learn from last summer is that even in a team that is under-performing if you ship out half the squad you’ve got a big job on your hands finding cohesion. But that’s just one small part of it.

  45. Birdkamp says:

    Nacho Monreal gets me a bit. Not sure what the story is behind that sale, but just like that we lose an old hand, and in his place we get a player who had never really convinced and a signing fresh from a league that isn’t even in Europe’s top ten.

  46. Alex Ice Cream says:

    If Auba wants to leave then let him, but only at the end of the season. Give him assurances that provided we get a decent price for him he can go then so we can get a few more months out of him.

    Losing your top scorer when in our precarious position is utter madness but who knows with Arsenal?

  47. Birdkamp says:

    Sorry, and while I’m thinking about it. So, Nacho, Cech and Koscielny all go. OK fine, but who on earth is senior now. Ozil?! That’s not even funny. In this light I understand why Xhaka couldn’t be dropped until the fans finally booed him off. He is supposed to be the team’s glue! And if that isn’t depressing I don’t know what is.

    And now we’ve got a hell of a fight on our hands. But I’ve got this image of a disgraced aristocratic fop spending his first night in an 18th-century gaol, asking for the wine list. It’s dawning on me how screwed we are.

  48. Bill says:


    I accept the whole team is in a terrible run of form right now and that drags down everyone. However, really good players should be able to play reasonably well and find a way to have some positive influence. Auba and Laca are easily our best players and they are finding ways to make things happen. How often does a $70M player struggle to the point that he gets dropped after about 10 games and he has been struggling to get into a side which has been playing as badly as we have. Again that does not mean he is destined to be a long term bust but his start has been worse then underwhelming and that is certainly not encouraging.

    I would make the same arguments with Ceballos. The number of players who have been heavily hyped while playing for U21 teams in this century and never lived up to expectations has long gone past 4 digits. Injuries happen and every team competing for top of the table and for the CL title need quality depth. Madrid would never have sent Ceballos on loan if they believed he was good enough and ready to live up to the hype.

  49. Bill says:

    If Madrid did not think Ceballos was ready to help them this season then how could we possibly expect him to do well coming to a new team in a new country in a new league. The hope that he was going to be a difference making player this season was never realistic.

  50. Birdkamp says:


    Lacazette has been dreadful apart from one brace and a flukey looped header. He works hard, and did some great tracking back against Brighton, but almost none of his interplay is coming off. This is bad news for a team that flogged three creators last summer, to go with the rest.

    Aubameyang is a talented poacher, the sort of player who functions in a vacuum. Atletico Madrid went down in the 90s with Hasselbaink, a player like him finishing top scorer in the league. Aubameyang is leaving, but we’ve never worked out how to use him because he’s peripheral to everything apart from the final touch. I think he can be the icing on the cake of a great team, but won’t save a struggling one.

    The question is what sort of team was Pepe getting dropped from, and also who dropped him? He was toiling on his own. He never had any teammates within 20 yards of him, yet he still – and this is really pathetic – leads us for chance creation.

    Dani Ceballos isn’t that young: He’s already starting for the Spain national team. He’s got eight caps in the last year, and pushed for the move because even though he got quite a lot of minutes at RM last season, he wanted more.

    It’s clear that we’ve dropped these players into the worst possible situation. They’ve woken up in Nam wearing bright Hawaiian shirts and with, I dunno, Colonel Goofy giving them orders.

  51. Blue Yonder says:

    If I were Freddie, apart from team meetings, I would do a one-on-one with each player and tell him what he expects from him and why it’s in the player’s interest. People generally do things for their own reasons and not for somebody else’s and those reasons can vary.
    If every player was motivated to give 100%, Arsenal would quickly climb the table. How many have been doing so consistently? Off hand, I’d say, not many. Guendouzi, Leno, for sure. Tierrera did but seems to be in a funk now. This is where the problem lies, imo.

  52. Bill says:


    Fair enough. Time will tell with regard to both Pepe and Ceballos. I certainly accept the idea that our form has been utterly terrible and that drags everyone down. However if those players are really as good as we hoped they would find a way to look the part and at least make the team look a bit more dangerous when they are on the pitch.

  53. C says:


    You talk about Chambers at Fulham….Liverpool’s LB is Robertson who was the undisputed 1st choice LB for Hull City who got relegated, how about Dele Alli, Daniel James, Maddison of Leicester, Harvet Barnes, etc….none of those players when they were purchased where of the quality of player that you want.

    The MAJOR problem with wanting a “name” is that those names may or may not work out. I banged on for 2 seasons about Soyuncu from Freiburg as the CB we needed and you and others said he wasn’t good enough….well how’d that work out.

  54. C says:


    If they want to get rid of De Bruyne, then sell him to Arsenal. I think Citeh have some problems but De Bruyne is certainly not one if them IMHO but he would know more than I do.

  55. C says:


    What’s interesting to me is how you so quickly talk about the impact of managers like Klopp, Pep, etc but then disregard tactics. Those managers put a system, style and tactics in place then get players to perform at their highest within those things. Salah and De Bruyne under Mouringo struggled and people said they were overrated, but under different managers, their talent shines. Look at Giroud, he is a CONSTANT for France and under Arsene yet Tammy Abraham has made a non-factor at Chelsea.

    Players don’t pick the XI or tactics, managers do.

  56. MikeSA says:

    Alex Ice Cream,
    Pires himself acknowledges that he spent a lot of time on the bench at the start of his Arsenal career and specifically mentioned that it made him realise the difference in the pace of the game.

    Wenger also specifically mentioned it to highlight the acclimitisation some players need.

    So no, no tricks on my memory in that regard.

  57. Alex Ice Cream says:


    Sorry Mike, but still no.

    I was at a lot of those games and unless I was hallucinating I saw Bobby on the pitch most of the time. He spent a bit of time on the bench and yes I remember that quote but still played in 33 of 38 games in the Prem so he didn’t miss that many games.

    Either way when he was on the pitch you could see that he was a good player and occasionally see that he was better than that. It wasn’t until his second season that we saw the best of him.

  58. Alex Ice Cream says:


    I am glad I am not the only one who thinks that Laca has been poor this season. He seems to be frustrated and less focused than last year.

    He was terrible v Brighton. The problem is accommodating both Laca and Auba in the same team. I would play Auba upfront flanked by Martinelli and Pepe and give Ceballos a chance instead of that waster Ozil.

  59. MikeSA says:

    Alex Ice Cream,

    Sorry, the quotes from both Wenger and Pires were clear, and I recall the discussions at the time, so no.

  60. Alex Ice Cream says:


    Apologies but this is simply incorrect. Pires played 33 Prem games and a total of 45 games that season according to the link – which was more than anyone else, bar Vieira. Pires played in more Prem matches than anyone eIse. I don’t see Pepe playing the most games of anyone this season.

    I think those quotes only related to a few games at the start of the season as Pires was introduced from the bench but it wasn’t for that long so the two situations are not the same.



  61. Alex Ice Cream says:


    Apologies but this is simply incorrect. Pires played 33 Prem games and a total of 45 games that season according to the link – which was more than anyone else, bar Vieira. Pires played in more Prem matches than anyone eIse. I don’t see Pepe playing the most games of anyone this season.

    I think those quotes only related to a few games at the start of the season as Pires was introduced from the bench but it wasn’t for that long so the two situations are not the same.


  62. Birdkamp says:

    Alex Ice Cream,

    Part of the problem is that neither striker creates enough. And we sold or lost nearly all our link players in the summer. Yes, we can quibble about their quality, but AMs of any description are scarce in this squad.

    I like what Lacazette brings when he’s on form, but he’s struggling in this team since injury.

    Genuinely don’t know what I’d do, apart from make room for Pepe and probably drop Ozil (who has been below par for nearly two years now and never has a better reputation than when he’s out of the team).

    But then you’re relying on Dani Ceballos to take off…it’s impossible.

    You can’t drop Aubameyang and lose the kind of goals he gives you from nothing, but then there’s also a balance to strike, because he has zero assists this season. Lacazette gives you more in terms of link-up but is out of form. The more you look at it the more you see that the squad is horribly put together. It’s a collective crisis.

  63. Birdkamp says:

    Talk about arguing the toss. Pires got more league starts than any Arsenal player in 2000-01, but was eased into the team at first and did start slow. Big difference with Pepe is that he was also coming into a settled, confident side. And AW at his peak knew how to integrate new signings as well as anyone.

    Edu is the best example of a player who was given a lot of time to adapt.

  64. Wailesy says:

    Silva was another that took time to adapt to the league in the same era. He turned out alright.

    Agree with birdkamp. Our link up play is poor and Ozil isn’t creating enough. I thought he would be more effective in these last few games but I’ve been disappointed.

    I’ve said this a few times over the last couple of years now that Nacho was our best leader on the pitch and letting him go was a strange one when he seemed happy to stay.

  65. andy1886 says:

    Reports saying that Emery didn’t get the players he wanted in the summer (Zaha not Pepe, Maguire – never likely to happen, and Partey from AM – too expensive at £50M).

    Given that the manager didn’t get the players he wanted (and two of them were achievable at least) just WHO did make those choices??

    No Edu don’t forget. Raul knows nothing about players. He’s a former Nike marketing man who got a job at Barca through his contacts (he managed Nike’s marketing agreement with the club). It can’t have been Vinai, he’s an accountant. No-one on the BoD would know a CAM from a Camembert.

    This will continue to be a problem whoever the new manager may be if he cannot pick his own players. We need more actual football knowledge and fewer ‘suits’ running this club.

  66. Noon Gunner says:

    I find it instructive to look across the spread of young players who have had game time in the senior XI this season. Am I the only one here who thinks that Martinelli stands out against AMN, Willock, Saka, Smith-Rowe, Nelson? He oozes a drive and intensity that radiates off the pitch and can clearly unsettle opponents at close range; he seems entirely self-motivated, so even when he comes on as a sub when we’re losing he attacks the game as though it was life or death for him.

    The Hale End crew, on the other hand, seem to be partly unconscious. I have long had the impression that Arsenal youth, when they make it into senior sides, are either over-awed or settle into a cruise alongside their senior colleagues. They get the AFC Entitlement Virus early on and it takes a move away to shake them out of it – if they’re lucky. Think Gnabry et al.

    Two conclusions I draw: (1) play Martinelli more – he might prove infectious; and (2) up-ending and changing the culture at Arsenal is a far bigger, longer journey that shuffling our First XI pack or bringing in a new coach / new signings.

  67. C says:

    After doing some digging, this is what I found on Pires:

    Sunderland: played 24 mins
    Liverpool: played all 90 mins
    Charlton: played all 90 mins
    Chelsea: played 77 mins
    Bradford: played 90 mins
    Coventry: played 90 mins
    Ispwich: not in the squad
    Manure: not in the squad
    Aston Villa: played 81 mins and got an assist
    West Ham: played 90 mins and got a goal
    Man Citeh: played 21 mins
    Middlesbrough: not in the squad
    Derby: not in the squad
    Everton: played all 90 mins
    Leeds: played all 90 mins
    Southampton: played 65 mins
    Newcastle: played all 90 mins and got an assist
    Spuds: played 63 mins
    Liverpool: played 45 mins
    Leicester: played 85 mins and got an assist

    There are some games after that but I wanted to stop. In his first season he ended up with 4 goals and 7 assists in the PL and 8 goals and 9 assists. He started 29 PL matches and came on as a sub in 4 other.

  68. Dukey says:

    Or is there any point. I can’t see where the next win is coming from myself.

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