Downward Spiral Needs A Lift

There is a palpable sense of shock around the world of Arsenal at the moment. How can a squad of talented players, that has essentially been together for a number of seasons, be so out of sorts? Surely they cannot still be affected by the results at Wembley and Newcastle last season? How can the manager and staff have not resolved the ‘crisis’ by now? How can the support so easily lose faith.

A feeling is emerging in the pit of my stomach that something extreme and drastic has to happen to shake everyone out of this cycle of downwards descent. Seventh circle of Hell? This lift has plummeted way past that one, we at 17 and counting.

Inevitably the attention has now turned to Arsène Wenger’s future as Arsenal manager. The argument polarises the Arsenal support like no other, not even the relative merits of any players can bring about such ferocity in belief. With the worst start to a league campaign in half a century following swiftly on from the worst finish to a season in goodness knows how long, Wenger has not ducked the issue, simply dealt with it via a sidestep that Martin Johnson would have liked to have seen more of yesterday.

There is a smugness about either side of the debate, feelings that simply fail to recognise that is an emotive argument, one where it is impossible to provide the answer beyond doubt. There is no irrefutable evidence that supports either case, no tangible proof that one set of beliefs in correct. Both sides rely on history yet not accepting that the past is no indicator of future performance.

To retain his services you accept that the past record of the man is going to be repeated. To dispense, the recent history will not change. Nothing about the future in either, simply belief. Each side is too entrenched to see the merits of the argument put forward by their opponents, too contemptuous at a personal level. Many invite that abuse willingly; their views should be ignored.

This debate though, cannot be nor should it be. And the argument that no-one can replace the current incumbent is simply vacuous.

Those who demand Wenger’s removal can point to the poor form as ultimately the reason for his dismissal. In football, that is the only argument which brokers a man’s future. However, the focus is on the Premier League because to include Champions League results blurs the issue. The defeat at Blackburn and the struggle against Swansea confused by the wins over Udinese and a draw in Dortmund. Performances? A matter of opinion as to how well the team played, difficult to introduce into the mix when results are the yardstick.

Simply shouting the loudest or being adopted by a populist journalist does not make your argument any stronger or more coherent. Indeed, there are times when I feel the proposer of such action believes they are onto a winner whatever the outcome. Manager sacked? Obvious to everyone including the board. Wenger resigns? Even the man himself agrees he should go. New manager in and finish is higher than 17th? Higher than when Wenger left. Wenger stays and Arsenal do well? We’re all Arsenal fans together, Wenger listened to us and made the changes. We’re the reason for the improvement.

At once each argument is credible and credulous.

It is the same for defenders of his regime. Departures will mean a weak board or a man who deserves more respect hounded from office, improvements in results are just someone capitalising on the squad gelling. Another top four finish under his management is vindication of his beliefs and ignoring his critics, who know nothing of football anyway.

It is all too familiar and in both cases, misses one simple point.

There is credulity that the board has allowed the past half a decade to pass without reacting. KSE has not improved matters but there is no point in treating them as if they are some outsiders wafting in rather than accepting that they have been one of the decision-makers in recent years. These are crucial foundations of where the club is today.

When the stadium was proposed, all involved knew transfer funds would be tight. Investment in the squad would have to be organic until the entire property portfolio was disposed off and extracurricular debt repaid. Then money would be there to invest in the squad on an annual basis. Incidentally, this happened in the summer albeit a lot later than most would have liked. Masking the spend by claiming net transfer revenue is the surest way to defeat your own argument.

The key to all of this is simple. Wenger was tasked with keeping the club competitive in the period, he did so, exceeding their expectations with finals, semi-finals and title challenges which ultimately faded in two seasons.

The board were able to concentrate on financial matters because the manager delivered their targets. They are not going to dispense with his services at the first sign of hardship. Nor should we assume that they are not asking questions, there is simply no evidence of this being the case.

There is no denying problems exist at the moment. The squad is 17th in the Premier League and in a dire run of results stretching back six months. The summer break did not clear the hangover from last season, simply topped it up.

Wenger needs to find something to change, something fundamental. This is the toughest season of his managerial career, certainly at Arsenal if not elsewhere. Whilst there is an element of the team needing to gel, there is a clear problem organisationally, one that Arsenal has rarely had in the past twenty five years. A change of coaching personnel was mooted in the summer, perhaps a breath of fresh thought is needed.

Whatever it is, the current set-up is not able to translate its thoughts into action on the pitch. Somewhere in the collective’s head, the theory is falling apart.

Key to all of this is time. Whilst this form is not just five games old, the season is. Talk of changing manager to me is premature at this point. Two of the last three Premier League results have been shocking and some reactions have distinctly showed signs of that. Shock is the only way to describe matters.

Those under 40 years of age won’t remember the last time an Arsenal team nervously looked over their shoulders at the end of the season. Believe me that was mediocrity. This season will finish nowhere near as bad as some will tell you. Unless a change is made on the pitch, it will finish nowhere near as good as it should.

’til Tomorrow.

Posted on September 19, 2011, in Arsenal, Football, Premier League, Premiership, Soccer. Bookmark the permalink. 326 Comments.

  1. Suprisingly downbeat by your usual standards YW, I was hoping for a lift from you this morning!

    However, i can’t blame you, things are not going well at the moment, and need to change fast, although the answer is not obvious.

    We looked very good in patches on Saturday, and at half time it was hard to see where a loss was going to come from.

    But that doesn’t excuse the sheer panic we witnessed every time we were under pressure in the second half, a trait which has become all too common in recent months.

    What is the answer?

    Well removing AW would be suicidal, as confidence is clearly a major issue at the moment, and whatever else you say, the players to a man all love the manager, so him leaving is not going to improve that.

    I do not want to see AW go, I think he is a genius, and deserves the time to put things right, but I don’t buy the argument that there is no-one out there to replace him, just as players come and go in football, so do managers.

    2 massive league games coming up – Bolton at home is a must win, and the Spuds away is a must get something.

  2. The manager has got his time to improve things but has failed again and again. I think he should have resigned by himself. We may finish in the top ten. If that is what he wants to achieve, the new manager can do that with the players we have.

    So, it is better for Wenger to resign and advise the board. Rumor has it that the players do not trust and repect him anymore. He has shown them how to fail not win games.

  3. 17th

    Enough is enough.Its time for all Gooners to take their heads out of the sand

    On Saturday that wasnt an 8-2 defeat to the 2nd best team in the world,it was us losing 4 goals to the bottom team in the premiership.Who had scored one goal in the previous 4 games

    We have a manager who doesnt coach defence.It is so fucking obvious.Defending is one of the basic skills in football.But Wenger has failed to address it by bringing in a defensive coach.It doesnt matter what defenders are brought in if they are not coached the goals will continue to be let in

    The whole team has to learn to defend

    And the time has come for Wenger to be accountable and not living off past glories.99% of premier league managers would have been sacked with a record of 3 wins in 16 games

    But just you watch the number of posts today on here saying Wenger and what great players we have.

    The last 6 months have been a reality check.Things have to change at the club in a big way

  4. RW

    Oh dear,

    >So, it is better for Wenger to resign and advise the board. Rumor has it that the players do not trust and repect him anymore. He has shown them how to fail not win games.

    But John Cross says that they do. And everyone knows that he speaks for the players and the fans. I do wish you boys and girls who want Wenger out would get your stories straight.

    YW

  5. Not the most upbeat post Yogi, but who can blame you? Not everyone can ignore what’s right in front of them..

    To my mind, Wenger shouldn’t be sacked by this board, certainly not until next summer. But if after a few more games we still can’t get a sustained run of good performances, then I really think he should resign because the chances that he can turn things around reduces the longer the poor form continues.

    Hopefully we can spend more time today talking about the CC game tomorrow. the youths might just give us all something to smile about.

  6. Arsene must be given the whole season 100% backed. Only when May has come and gone should we ever consider ending his reign, based upon results, not just a poor start. The target should be top four and a domestic cup. If he fails on both, then he must take the majority of the blame and the club can recruit a new head, a new vision, and re-build in a new era.

    Will he achieve this targets? Its quite clear to see United and City will challenge for the title, maybe followed by Chelsea, leaving Liverpool and Spurs to battle it out with us for 4th. Liverpool are running out of Kenny magic, that stuff was inflated on heart rather than brains, and soon the medioca signings at carzy prices will be seen for exactly what they are. Spurs on the other hand are more concerning, a newly formed Adebayor will more than likely be able to motivate himself for 9 months before he shows his true colours, and while we lost our stars in Nasri and Fabregas, the yids some how managed to hold on to Bale and Modric (for now), while they unlike Arsenal don’t have Champions league concerns, instead Harry can rest his whole team each week for the ‘Thursday cup’.

    All in all its a big big season. Redknapp potentially going to England next year, Wenger maybe in his last season, Fergie surely giving it one more chance to overhaul Barca! It is vital that when the new campaign starts, after another summer of let down from our Three Lions, Arsenal are in good shape, the demons are gone, the FA cup is resting within out walls, and we are preparing for Champions league football with the ability to attract the key players we will need to reform into a top European club. For now its a big battle to ensure others don’t over take us, because I can promise you this, though we are a young side there is plenty of Champions League experience, and once they have the taste for it they won’t want to let it go. The likes of Wilshire, Song, Ramsey, Van Persie, Walcott, will soon find that as the excuse to exit the Emirtes come the summer if we fall behind.

  7. Alan

    >99% of premier league managers would have been sacked with a record of 3 wins in 16 games

    That’s another falsehood put around by Wenger’s detractors. No, 99% of the managers would not get sacked for that run unless it came at the end of a season which finished with relegation. Most boards actually give managers time to rectify problems. The only clubs that have done that in recent times are Chelsea, Villa, Liverpool and Newcastle. And they are hardly the bastions of off-pitch stability ranging from Keystone Cops to politics that would make Machiavelli wince.

    YW

  8. Morning YW..

    Respect Wenger this rumour that you allude to that the Players no longer respect him( AW)? Did you hear that through the Grapevine? If so which in particular?.

    YW besides Pat Rice n Primo Borac are you aware if we have a ” SPECIALIST ” defensive coach?
    What are our Sports psychologists doing to earn there $$$$$..

  9. Definitely have no desire to see AW go, but maybe that means there should be a shake up in the coaching somewhere. I don’t know how much input he gets from other members of the coaching staff, but the impression given is that he makes all of the decisions by himself. That is probably wrong, but it does appear that he is set in his ways and likes to play only in a certain way. There have been many comments in the past about the fact that the team doesn’t have a Plan B, a way of playing when a team comes and parks the bus. It seems that we don’t adjust our tactics to try to nullify the strengths of our opponents, we just seem to try to play our own game regardless. Wenger himself said that we knew they were good at free kicks and corners, so why didn’t we work harder at trying to pick their men, at closing the ball? Why did we play a rigid zonal formation which meant that Samba was always able to line up against Koscielny? Forgetting about the goals we did concede for a minute, Samba had a number of opportunities to bury the ball in the first half and was largely unimpeded for his chances.
    The press appear to be picking up on stories that the players are still behind Wenger but want a defensive coach brought in. I’m not sure how much of that is true, I’m sure the first part is. Maybe there does need to be a coach brought to focus on our current weaknesses at the back because we are going to look nervous every time teams come at us at this rate and, as proved on Saturday, the forwards can only do so much.

  10. The point is Henristic, it should be an open debate but already we’ve seen two posts this morning that highlight that lack of openess from his detractors.

    No, I don’t think Wenger should be sacked but come next May, there should be an honest assessment at the club. My own view is that if things do not improve, the manager will have questioned himself more frequently and deeply than we do from the safety on the sidelines.

    One thing I did think telling on Saturday was the Blackburn protest. Even they dismissed the 200 fans who marched as insignificant and unrepresentative to the extent that Steve Kean felt bullish enough to go on national TV and essentially tell them that they were idiots whose opinion did not matter. Whether he has been premature or not is another matter.

    But if Blackburn with their average crowd of about 20k will dismiss 1% of the support so easily, how do the 0.33% who protested at Arsenal last year think they are viewed?

    YW

  11. Ras

    There is no-one specifically for that job and never has been on a permanent basis. In 2005-06, Keown came and gave advice to the young defenders which paid dividends in the Champions League but that is it.

    YW

  12. Wavey

    Can you imagine an Arsenal player calling up a journo and going
    Player A: “John, it’s not working. We need a new defensive coach.”
    John: “I feel ya.'”

    Maybe it was TV5 🙂

  13. Somewhat Agnostic

    Matt @ 9.36.
    “I do not want to see AW go, I think he is a genius, and deserves the time to put things right, but I don’t buy the argument that there is no-one out there to replace him, just as players come and go in football, so do managers.”

    Following on from a realistic post that’s a sensible comment from one who wants Arsene to stay.

    A common defence against Wenger’s departure, (resiging, sacked, moved upstairs, whatever!) has been who will replace him, or even no one can replace him?

    To take this argument to it’s very extreme can imply then that he is the best manager in the world, or other managers who are as good, or better, or not available or would not come to Arsenal. One is entitled to hold this opinion however.

    Changing managers is always fraught with danger, and there is a good chance that a new guy can also muck it up. You only have to look at Liverpool over the last twenty years to realise that. Did you know that Liverpool have spent 700m against Man U’s 720m over the last 20 years! That’s an incredible statistic IMO and points out that money is not the answer alone.. (I have a link to that story btw if anyone wants to read it).

    However, there is equally no guarantee that if Arsene stays he will go on to be successful. I posted last night how I remember Bertie Mee leading us to a historic double and then to 16th place a few years later. He lasted one more season after that. Arsene cannot be judged on past achievements alone. He must be judged on his total time at the club and that includes the recent past. I’m old enough to realise that there will always be silly games that we will lose and also go on a few game run of bad results. But I also realise that there is a deeper problem with our team that cannot be attributed to bad luck or dodgy ref decisions alone. This run has gone on too long for that to be the case.

  14. until people stop going to games the board wont take any notice of the fans.

    hill-wood has no time for anyone who questions wenger.

    really cant see us winning another under trophy unfortunately.

  15. Thanks for doing the hard work YW, there was no fun in reading it, but must have been far worse to write it.

    I’m not for Wenger leaving, either through resigning or sacking, but I do think it’s time we started to consider his longer term promotion to the Board and an eventual succession plan for replacing him as manager. I understand that Pat Rice had intended to retire last season, does anyone know why he wanted out and why he then stayed?

  16. YW is also missing a simple point,and that is everything comes down to how the players perform on match day.there are many good players who don’t cost a fortune.many of them play for arsenal.building the stadium and the lack of money only meant we can’t spend ridiculous amounts on players.besides even if we’d remained in highbury,we wouldn’t have being able to compete with chelsea, city and united.infact, moving to the emirates made us financially more stronger than mid table teams like spurs and everton.our players are as good as city,united or chelsea’s,the only difference is the price tags and performance on match days

  17. Let’s face it, Spurs is critical. Would anyone truly be surprised if they scored 5 or 6? An Adebayor hat-trick anyone?! If that happens, Wenger will really be in trouble…

  18. Lets get some probabilities out there – since there are no facts.

    1) We will not beat United with a change of management.

    2) If we change management we will not even beat Chelsea or Shiite-y for several seasons.

    3) As Shiite-y and Chelsea have proved changing manager (every other week) and pumping money in may buy improvements, but guarantees little or nothing more than Wenger has consistently supplied.

    4) The call for a change at the top resembles the ‘outcome based’ philosophy of modern management. As such it fails to look at any realistic goals and it is concerned only with what we do not have and not what is possible.

    5) Cesc Fabregas is a god who has left to go and play in heaven. His departure has left a huge hole still to be filled. We have seen glimpses of potential for filling it, but it is not there yet and this is the issue that Wenger should be given more time on.

    6) A team, with a well drilled belief and team philosophy, is the only way we are ever going to get close on Manure or Barca in their current forms.

    7) There are holes in the team and if there is criticism of the manager it is there. Likewise, if there is any possibility of bringing a new manager in (which there always should be) I will take anyone who will supply the long term belief, training and team spirit required to do a better job, with the consistency that we have already.

    8) There aren’t many of those about.

  19. Same old, same old.Can’t hold on to a lead, poor finishing, poor at set pieces. As Wavey said above, everyone knows Blackburn are going to concentrate on set-pieces like several of the “lesser lights” int he league, we just have to improve in this area. I don’t really care whether we go zonal or man-to-man, it has to improve. I also don’t care if Wenger himself can do this coaching or he gets someone in to help out, something needs to be done.

    For all the good work he’s done, including under the financial restrictions of the last few seasons, I don’t think it’s right for people to be calling fro the manager’s head after five games. He deserves a chance to get the club out of this malaise and back to winning ways. And his comments afterwards indicate that he’s had enough of this defensive frailty too. Some hard work on the training pitches this week are in order as well as probably a few harsh words for the perpetrators of the worst lapses.

  20. ace “our players are as good as city,united or chelsea’s,the only difference is the price tags and performance on match days”

    do you really believe that!?

    are gibbs or santos as good as cole, evra or even clichy?

    song as good as fletcher, essien or yaya?

    theo as good as mata,young, silva, nasri?

    id say no to all of those! even out of our best players – jack, RVP, and verm only jack would be guaranteed games at all 3 clubs.

    if you think yes then the problem lies with how they are coached don’t you think?

    something has to change

  21. YW echoed my sentiment concerning the current state arsenal find its self in. I might been one of the last persons on earth who feels we can still turn things around. The irony of last weekend game was that even though we lost it was the best Premiership performance we have had in a long time. In the first half of the game Arsenal did everything right, every tackle was well planned. all interception of passes were perfect, we got back our sleep passes and the midfield seem to be in control of the game. Everything however went downstairs after the first goal and the next sealed the fate and arsenal seemed to have their confidence shattered. If you ask me the problem with Arsenal is that of confidence. We seem to be unable to lift our spirit once things start going out of plan we just roll over and die. The bringing in of 5 new players has shown that we can not buy our way out of this mess. Also changing managers would not be the solution. (If changing managers worked it would have worked for Newcastle, Liverpool and Madrid) What we need now is to go back to the drawing board and see what, were we got it wrong. I am still very optimistic about this team. I have no doubt in my mind that we would finish top 4, with time the team we gel even though the confident issue still needs be addressed (especially with the defence where even though we have scored 6 away goals but conceded 13) winning is an habit, unfortunately so is losing. We just need to find a away to get out of this losing streak and plug the leak.

  22. Should we be surprised that performances at the moment are fragile? These are the consequences of a recent change of personnel in pretty much every area. If the signings had been made at the start of the summer, then you would expect poor performances during pre-season games until the new players bed in with the existing squad. It’s a shame that we seem to have thrown away the first two months of this season.

    There has been an apparent dithering culture at the club for years now – in the transfer market, contract negotiations, tactics, defending etc

    I’ve been watching games since the early 80s and I don’t recall us being this rudderless from top to bottom in those 30 years.

    A change needs to come from somewhere, but the answer isn’t necessarily with the manager. Not that he’s irreplaceable, but who is there in a position at the club that can be trusted to make the correct appointment?

  23. Talking about perfomance,why don’t our lads pressure the ball like other teams. Its always so easy to get past our front 3. Slightly less easier to get past the midfield, thereby exposing the back four needlessly. The best defensive teams always use the midfielders and some of the forwards to shield the back.how many times have we seen players go past walcott easily.arshavin is even worst.while ramsey is turning into a denilson or worst.is he a creative player? His pace when tracking back? His tackles?all below average for an arsenal player.he is missing the opportunity to cement a starting role in the squad the way wilshere did last season when injuries ensure he got a starting berth at the beginning of the season.

  24. We’ve got both Spurs and Chelsea away in the next 5 games. Capitulating in those two games and AW’s position will be untenable

  25. Arsenal Tom.Jack would not be guaranteed a game at any of those 3 clubs.You have exposed yourself as an idiot . Well done,saved me a job.
    Yogi , why do I feel you are wagging a scolding finger in my direction? wonderful piece again by the way

  26. No ace, the point isn’t missed, it’s not a point. No match in the League is in isolation, the season judges. And you’ll note I’ve mentioned the run since February.

    YW

  27. YW,
    I’ll be lying if I said I paid much notice to the small section of ultra-negative gooners out there. My belief on any public issue is that , there is always a few crazy people who basically lack common sense, but are loud enough to call attention to their stupidity every once in a while.
    Thankfully,such nuts are rarely ever taken seriously by most people (except a shit-stirring media) and are thus hardly able to change anything.

    I realise the subject of Wenger is an emotive issue and some people will never change their stance on him, regardless of the evidence either way. But that shouldn’t stop rational minded people from giving their views, despite attempts by ‘extremists’ to muddy things up with insults and abuse, in their bid to stop any sort of sensible debate.

    Knowing Wenger as I think I do, I agree that he would be doing some self-evaluation as well, in the light of the team’s recent form. But I have to admit I wonder how all of this will play out in his mind. If the bad run of form continues, accompanied by the predictable calls for his removal/resignation, will he view himself as some kind of mis-understood martyr? Is he self-aware enough to consider that his methods (but not his vision) may be part of the problem? I had an old professor who used to say that self-awareness and genius rarely go together.

  28. george… love how you have absolutely no substance to your argument to your point but im the idiot!?!

    speak when your spoken to, cunt.

  29. The transfer window has closed and we now have a interesting mix of youth and experience in the squad. Some of the new players are established Premiership footballers and some have not played EPL football, but have bags of international credentials. I think the line up we have is pretty strong now and, with players like TV5 and Jack to come back, will only get stronger.

    With that in mind our defence got its arse kicked through a mixture on poor play, technical ineptitude and unfamiliarity against the team propping up the bottom of the table.

    Now I want to make it clear again that I do not want AW to go, but if he were to leave would another manager be able to get more out of the current squad? It is likely that a new manager would certainly look to focus on our currently leaky defence so you would imagine a defensive coach would be brought in. New managers do also tend to provide players with an initial lift (we have suffered in the past from being the first team to play a club with a new manager).

    I don’t believe the Booard are even thinking this way yet, but when do they start to?

  30. OK Tom,tell us how you can say the Jack would be guaranteed a place.
    I don’t need any substance to my argument,because I did not make one,I simply exposed the stupidity of you and yours.

  31. Wenger doesn't do tactics

    Any manager who thinks Arshavin, Bendtner, Eboue, Denilson, Koscielny, Amunia, Song, Diaby, Rosicky and the like are good players really needs to give up his job.
    The bloke is a total moron who has no use in the modern game, Wenger out!

  32. But if we get a result in both – things will look altogether different.

    There is no value in AW leaving before the end of the season, and things can change fast in football.

    One game at a time, let’s beat Bolton, and then worry about the Spuds.

  33. @AT,sagna is arquably the best right back. Song is better than any dm in united. Vermaleen is better than kompany, cleveley is no where near wilshere.sczeny and de gea?ours by a mile.evra is the best right back followed by cole.but i haven’t seen much of santos to compare.n of course van Persie is world class.Yes the major diffs between us and them are performances and price tags

  34. Alzation, good point. Who trusts Kroenke, PHW, and Gazidis to hire the best replacement, should AW depart? I don’t have any great confidence in their football judgment. When they are told how much they are allowed to spend with the expectation of qualifying for the CL, how many top candidates will be interested. It will be like with the players we acquire–looking for bargains or finding a young gem. But that takes some really fine knowledge and acumen. Hopefully we won’t see this happen for another couple years at least. But those who want to soft pedal the issues and suggest AW joining the board and so on should realize that there is no reason why he would stay at Arsenal if he isn’t our manager. PSG beckons, other opportunities will be attractive. Why stay at the club where the fans have been calling for his head and where he would hang like a cloud over his successor? AW looks to the future; he isn’t going to hang around for the sake of nostalgia or sentiment. Either way it will be decisive. The best thing would be for us to recover with Wenger and salvage this season with a thrilling fight back to fourth position. It is too early for this debate, whether open or not. It is just a distraction. If we haven’t started to make real progress and can envision 4th place realistically by December, then we can entertain the matter, though I’d prefer we give the manager the full season including the January window.
    In the meantime there is plenty for the team to work on to improve as it should be capable of.

  35. That was a very good post YW. You make the case for either side of the debate really well. I agree there has to be an honest assessment of our situation at some point but I would say this be at the end of December rather than at the end of the season. I fear if things continue it the same vein, and that means going back six months, we might finish out of the champions league positions.

  36. george… he’d be guaranteed games because he’s the best young CM in the country arguably the world mate.

    do you really think fergurson, villas boas or mancini wouldn’t play him when fit if they had him at their clubs?

  37. Matt,

    Whilst I certainly don’t want Wenger sacked – I don’t think his job is secure till the end of the season anymore.

    The board respond to revenue. I’d expect ZERO loyalty from KSE when assessing Wengers position.

    This form continues, the crowd continues to get smaller, and CL football becomes a pipedream.

    The reduction of matchday revenue is massive on our business model – as we have a commcercial team that cant land any decent contracts.

    Our self sustaining model is inherently flawed, or very weak at the base.

    If this form continues for another month or so I dont think Wenger will see January. Which is shocking.

  38. YW

    Most boards give managers time to rectify problems

    Hasnt Wenger had 6 seasons?

    Mertsacker has 75 caps for germany but looked like a 17 year old making his debut on saturday.Its all down to the coaching and Wenger is in chargwe of the coaching.The buck stops with him

    You know as well as i do we have no chance of being relegated

  39. The 10.47 post which refers to Wenger as a moron. A typical ‘Wenger Out’ moron who has posted on here under 4 different aliases. And they wonder why nobody takes them seriously.

    YW

  40. ace… sagna and szczesney i agree with. vermaelen no… i love the guy as a player but he’s had 1 good year where our defence as a whole still wasnt good enough and a whole season out injured while kompany was probably the second best CB in league only to vidic last year.

    whilshire is better than cleverly agreed and would get in any team in the league.

    you say the major difference is price tags and performances, do you think theres a correlation between those two? it cant not just a coincidence that man city, chelsea and man utd who all invest regularly and heavily are far far superior to us at the moment.

  41. Very interesting, balanced and well written post, a refreshing change from the hysteria going on at l’autre blog. I know most here are very loyal to all things Arsenal and credit to them, however there has to be a tipping point doesn’t there?
    “It’s only 5 games into the season!”
    Well It’s not only 5 games really is it? It’s well documented that we have only 3 wins from our last 16 premiership games. Take a moment and think about that, 3 wins in 16 premiership games. We are Arsenal, how can that be acceptable. In October we have the spuds and Chelsea away, Stoke and Sunderland at home. On the form of the last SIX MONTHS how many wins do you forsee there?
    So have we reached the tipping point? I believe we have. I have my own thoughts about what changes are needed, but they are just one fan’s opinion and not pertinent to my point.

    My point is we most definitely have reached the tipping point and continued blind faith is a road to mediocrity. Some here need to think the unthinkable.

  42. Picking up on waveys point..there might be one obvious reason for the decline in defensive stability

    When we are at our best we attack with a lot of fluidity, movement, quick passing and at pace. There is a lot of inter-change between our front 4 with our full backs joining in, the DM joining in at times. However our defensive set up is still very rigid in its ways. So when a move breaks down our players have to magically and instantaneously transform form a fluid old ajax style system to a rather rigid 4-2-3-1

    Our defensive problems started when the invincibles were replaced. Players like vieira , gilberto, pires, and freddie in midfiled replaced with cesc, flamini, hleb, song etc. The midfield 4 of our invincibles were quite rigid in midfield and hence when a move broke down getting a rigid defensive shape was not such a problem..Dennis bergkamp had the only real roaming role in the side

    When we replaced them with smaller, more agile and technically gifted players, they had to be more fluid to break down defences, but when the move broke down the defensive shape was expected to still be rigid..

    If we look at barca for example the players closest to the ball press the opponent having the ball when a move has broken down..in other words there defensive shape is also fluid

    This difference can be quite clearly illustrated..dani alves while attacking pops up everywhere inside, outside even through the middle sometimes..and the defensive fluidity allows them to recover when the move breaks down..whereas when santos overlapped on the inside (which our full-backs never did as a rule) and the move broke down it wreaked havoc on our defensive shape..

    This imbalance in attacking and defending styles for me is the main cause of our defensive woes..we rely on an amazingly quick transformation of styles from attack to defense and for me this is not viable all the time..

    Maybe this has already been discussed and thought of at the club..these are just my views as to why we maybe lacking defensive stability..

    The solution may be to study the defensive systems of the ajax teams of old and barca and to try and come up with an easier way to transform attack to defense and vice versa..

    It is counter-intuitive that more fluidity might give us better stability but it is my opinion that it might..and something needs to be tried..sharpish..

    sorry for the rambling post..

    up the arsenal!!

  43. “Who trusts Kroenke, PHW, and Gazidis to hire the best replacement, should AW depart?”
    —————————————-

    Why shouldn’t we trust them? Apart from delivering trophies in the past six years, the board has well. Other boards that might be considered less competent have managed to appoint decent managers. They can always enlist the help of talent scouts or head hunters if they are unable to fulfil this task. Wenger is/was a great manager but he is replaceable. Like YW said it is vacuous to suggest otherwise.

  44. Tom,games yes,but you said guaranteed.He is not even guaranteed a start for us when all are fit.(but we could do with him now I know)

  45. It is true that Arsenal FC is especially dependent on fan support financially. If that weakens the club is quite vulnerable. Perhaps this is the logic behind Gazidis’ otherwise rather strange And frankly inadvisable statement (a seeming attempt at fan flattery) that the manager was accountable to the supporters.

  46. george… not guaranteed to start for us? he played for 2 months in the “red-zone” because wenger knew even at 50% he was better than the other options. that to me says he’s guaranteed games.

    the fact he’s better than barry, clevery, anderson, fletcher, ramieres, lampard makes me think he’d be guaranteed games at their clubs to

  47. Just Another Luke

    There is no quick fix by changing the manager (possible) or bringing in new playing staff (not possible as transfer window closed).

    I would suggest to take a leaf our ot OOU’s posting: “This Baby Might Take A While To Get Going” where patience is advocated. Some really hard work lies ahead.

    Agreed that now is not the time for the board to consider bringing in a new manager.

  48. @YW,ok i guess i missed that.its just that i feel we should stop using lack of money and new stadium as excuses for our on field failures.we would always buy good players cheap while city and co will always buy good players at an inflated price. Look at how much psg paid for pastore?! Or chelsea for bosingwa?but compare that to how much fulham paid for the excellent dembele. How much a good player is bought is neither here nor there,its the performance that counts

  49. Alan

    You miss the point. For four of those seasons, Wenger was given a target of remaining competitive. He did so, fulfilling the board’s expectations. This means he may have (has) failed in two seasons only as far as they are concerned.

    YW

  50. Recently everyone was praising the defending of arsenal after the Borussia Dortmund game. Koscielny and Song were regarded as world class. But after a loss to Blackburn everyone is saying Koscielny and Song are rubbish. Please lets not use emotions but facts to get to the real root of our defensive problems. Just because of own goals players become rubbish its a very unfair way of assessing.

    For those who want to criticise lets separate emotions from facts.

    My opinion is we need to give this team and manager time and then make judgement. so far this season we have played 5 league games and 3 champions league games. League; we have lost 3, won 1 and drawn 1. Champions league we have won 2 and drawn 1.

    LEAGUE (EPL) we lost 2 away games and 1 home game; we drew 1 away game; we won 1 home game

    Champions League (UEFA) we won 1 home game and 1 away game, we drew 1 away game.

    So it means out of the total 8 game played so far, we have won 3, drew 2 and lost 3
    Of the 3 games lost 2 are away games

    I think it is still early to make a conclusion and say lets sack the manager. In my opinion I think we should give the manger up to xmas by the time we reach this period we would have identified a manager and he will have time to identify his own players and start a new regime.

  51. Ace

    City and Chelsea can blow anyone – and I mean anyone – out of the water if it is purely financial. That’s not just Arsenal. We (supporters) need to readjust our sights somewhat as well as Arsenal occasionally paying more for players than they should / do now. It’s a two-way street.

    YW

  52. the board should be considering a new manager in jan, give him the money wenger wouldn’t spend and let him build his own new team.

    the appalling relegation form run we’re on shows the problems are allot deeper than just getting a couple of players in

  53. He is not even guaranteed a start for us when all are fit

    Please George. Not again.

  54. mardid can compete with city/chelsea financially.

  55. Recently everyone was praising the defending of arsenal after the Borussia Dortmund game. Koscielny and Song were regarded as world class.

    ——

    Errr. No. No-one with any sense was repeating the above.

    Dortmund pulled us to absolute pieces for 25 minutes and should have been out of sight.

    Our second half performance was one of lion hearted, last ditch defending.

    We have not had a defensively sound run of games since Dec 2010 – Jan 2011.

    Our defending, has by and large, been terrible for 3 years.

  56. makenzi… to be fair anyone who talks about song or kos as world class cant really be taken seriously.

    songs a very good player but world class? no, not yet.

    kos is decent. he’ll improve but not world class, might never be

  57. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha,loving this,you bullroots are turning on each other.it’s over for you,live with it

  58. Mandanda, I didn’t say AW could never be replaced, so the point about this bring vacuous is irrelevant to my point entirely.

    That point was that Stan, PHW, and IG don’t really have obvious strengths in football judgment necessarily and that sort of acumen will be required to attract an excellent manager because we aren’t going to be offering a future manager vast transfer sums to fulfill our expectations of CL qualification. It was Dein who brought Wenger in. Is there a real football man at the club? Gazidis was an executive for the MLS–fills one with great confidence, doesn’t it?

    Please respond to the actual point if you would like to disagree. Of course this is all theoretical since they ate in control and would be making any such decisions. Their performance so far doesn’t give great confidence. The board that arranged for the stadium move was a different group in composition. What are the achievements and accomplishments of Kroenke and Gazidis for the club so far that you would like to point to that counter the concerns I mention?

  59. @AT,of course,there is a corelation between price and performance.but the most important thing is the link between performance and result on match days. My favorite reference point is the 2007/2008 team.we were top of the table till march i think, with a squad that didn’t have an expensive arshavin.once our performances dropped,it reflected in the results.

  60. Bring= being. Darn autocorrect!

  61. Mata, if reported wages are to be taken as fact, was affordable. So was Ashley Young, so was Phil Jones, so was Scott Parker, so was Aguero.

    Nasri & Fabregas accounted to c. £200k/week, and grossed c. €60 million in fees. Like for like, we could have bagged Aguero & Young.

    Did we reinvest our full capability this summer? We made another HUGE profit from player trading, and reduced our wage bill considerably.

    Perhaps if we were able to sell Almunia, Bendtner, Denilson our wage bill could accomadate another major player.

    We are not flush with petrodollars, but to act like we are Everton is lying to yourself. We had significant funds available this summer.

    Did we reinvest our player trading fees back into the best possible players we could afford?

  62. I think the problem is that the confidence of the team is shot to pieces as a result of losing out so many times over the past few seasons. Mostly from simply being outgunned by more experienced, more tactically astute, opponents. Frayed nerves every game, it’ll take time to recover from that. I’d like to see us focus on trying to keep clean sheets for a few games even if that means we end up drawing. But are we capable of doing that given the style of football we’ve played for so long ?

  63. For record, I’m delighted we strengthed. Of course. Mertersacker, Arteta, Yossi are great additions to the first team squad.

    I’m still frustrated we made another huge profit, didnt try replace Fabregas untill the last minute of the window, for then to be told Arteta was signed to cover for Wilshere.

    I feel shocked to my very core that Wenger said only because of Wilshere & TV’s injuries did we move so late on.

  64. Wenger shouldn`t go, but that doesn`t mean he`s not replaceable. i would however like to see a change in formation. The 4-3-3 was implemented to get the best from our best player, Cesc, as he has gone they system should now be changed to utilise the strengths of remaining players. We seem to be trying to fit players into a system that doesn`t suit them, although never a fan of 4-4-2 would this suit RVP more? and would it give us a more secure (although less flexible) set up, which would aid our defencive set up?

    1 game at a time, needs to be our mantra until form returns

  65. @YW,thats exactly my point.its not all about finances or clubs like bayern will always win the bundesliga.i cringe anytime i read about the 35m price tag on goatze.he is good,but i’d never pay that money for him.

  66. Our defensive record with Djourou, Squillacci and Kos, for much of last season was positive, save for set pieces (worst in the EPL, was it?). So, it is quite odd to state that Arsenal – coaching and players – are complete idiots in defence (as some posters have implied). Not quite, no. Set pieces, yes.

    Secondly, is the usual. Conundrums are solved or understood by obvious answers. In this case, it is simple and fact checkers need to check facts. Arsenal this season: has it yet played the same team twice, or even the same defence twice, or has it changed with every game? Unless I am mistaken we will find that Arsenal has used more players than any other EPL side in its opening 7 matches (all competitions), and there-in lies the reason for a disapponting start to a new season.

    No team can do this and get away with it at this level, and this effect is exaggerated with so many new players arriving. No manager anywhere can achieve consistency under such conditions (never mind the reasons).

    In fact, no meaningful analysis of this new look team can be properly done without a run of about 5-10 domestic matches. This came to mind watching Santos, a confident player and by all accounts a tough player, with a different set of skills and style. Goal # 1 was Santos putting Yakubu onside, pretty elementary split second mistake.

    The same might be said of 3Gs not passing to RvP to score. A pretty elementary split second mistake.

  67. Ace “Yes the major diffs between us and them are performances and price tags”

    You miss one major difference between us and the current “top 3” and that is the relative weakness of our squad compared to theirs.
    Man Utd had both their first choice centre backs out yesterday and still beat Chelsea. Attacking wise they can leave Berbatov and the mexican kid on the bench and we have Chamak…
    We just do not have the strenght in depth of the top 3 and considering the injury problems we suffer, this will always cost us

  68. Of course Wenger is replacable.

    We were a great club before him and we will be after him.

    Wenger fans are scared of him going, there will be an unassociated fanbase wandering through the world of football waiting for thier hero to find a new job, before declaring thier loyalty to his new home

  69. I agree with many posters that a switch to 442 might be best for us.van persie is always too isolated up front

  70. Didn’t the board made it clear few years ago that they have planned the move to a New stadium without the C.league qualification in mind. They have to thank Wenger for actually keeping them in top 4 all these years not sack him. No manager will be able to work with financial restrictions Arsenal have, even Fergie. Now lets say the same money that Fergie spent was available to Wenger,I’m certain you would see a much stronger team than we have now. It is all about money. Arsenal come 9th in the spending league. That means the likes of Sunderland Aston villa and Liverpool should be in top 4 every year not us.

    http://www.sportingintelligence.com/2011/08/12/arsenals-net-spending-of-48m-in-a-decade-puts-them-9th-in-premier-league-120802/

    We are at the start of the season, a long way to go. Yes we might not finish in the top 4. But Wenger deserves to be given time. If we don’t finish in top 4, one season without C.league is not a disaster. If the situation go completely out of hand in the next 2 seasons then I’m sure he will walk away himself. The man has a lot dignity. No need for idiots calling for his sacking.

  71. Limestone, I take your point that Dein, who hired Wenger, isn’t on the board any longer. Nonetheless, Stan and to a lesser extent PHW have little influence in the running of the club. Stan may own a major stake in the club but the daily operations at the club are overseen by the board. So, bringing Stan or PHW up is of little relevance to the point you are trying to make. IG, I’m sure, will not be working alone in hiring any manager if faced with that situation. There are other members of the board like Ken Friar, football men, who have been around for a while. Finding a top manager is, arguably, easier now than, say, the time Dein hired Wenger due to the huge strides made in telecommunication infrastructure. ‘We’ almost know everything about everything!

    Gazidis has overseen the signing of players like TV, Koscielny, Gervinho… I recognise that the skills set needed for signing a player and a manager might be different but no one has had a chance to hire another manager at Arsenal since Wenger. Was Dein involved in hiring Bruce Rioch? For Gazidis to hold such an important post he can’t, surely, be so incompetent in football terms can he? However qualified the recruiter is or however
    sophisticated the process becomes there will always be an element of chance as to whether the person employed performs as well as they are expected. One has to bear this in mind.

    We did spend over £40million in the close season and have a sizeable wage budget so it isn’t like the prospective manager will be working on a pittance. We are a very attractive club for any ambitious manager thanks to the good work Wenger has done.

    Your original point questioned the ability of the current board members to adequately replace Wenger right? For one to adequately replace Wenger means not just getting the right person but having the ability to identify this person. You question that ability to identify. I disagree with this for the above reason and maintain that it is vacuous to do so.

  72. 1loosecanoon

    Can you not see how flawed your argument is when we Wenger decides not to spend money?

    We made a £40 million? Profit this summer. True figues announced when the half yearly accounts are published of course.

    So we have money. Saying we are skint doesnt fly anymore.

    Sorry bud.

  73. Luke, would we have made a profit on transfers if our bids for say Jones and Goetze(40 million euro’s aledgedly)?
    If you make an equal bid as United and Jones chooses United what is to be done?

    Ok we will leave the Jack thing alone 🙂

  74. We often like to think Arsenal is unique in every respect. For one thing posters like WW reminds us this is so. Arsenal is unique in many but not all respects. Nothing that is happening at Arsenal, nothing at all, has not previously happened almost countless times before, to clubs of equivalent stature in EPL and more or less equivalent leagues. Nothing that unusual is happening in many ways. An awful start to a new campaign! Gimme a break, check La Liga, Bundesliga, remember Chelsea last season, ManU was it the season prior. Re-building a squad taking more than a few days? Old hat. Manager under pressure? Blah blah.

    Every team’s fans thinks that they are especially immune from what in real life is the normality of playing football at this level.

  75. Wenger is not saying we are skint if he is making 30-40 million pound bids.
    If we are going to give him a kicking at least accept reality.

  76. Luke- And who pays for the stadium?

  77. one season without C.league is not a disaster

    ——————

    1LC. In response to your above comment, could you please answer the following questions:

    1. How will the club remain compeititve in the market place without the c.£25 million CL revenue

    2. How will a limited transfer budget and no CL football affect the following players, who will all be entering the last year of there contract: RVP, Arshavin, Walcott

  78. If we are re-building the squad when did this rebuilding start? Our results have been on the slide since February/March if I remember correctly. Many might disagree but I thought we had a squad good enough to have won the league last season. Maybe I’m too optimistic.

  79. @TBM,i believe our squad is ok.injuries are killing us.i thought united’s centre backs did poorly yersterday.its the work rate of the united team i really envy.walcott and ramsey can learn a few things from nani and anderson

  80. Wenger doesn’t do tactics | September 19, 2011 at 10:47 am

    ”Any manager who thinks Arshavin, Bendtner, Eboue, Denilson, Koscielny, Amunia, Song, Diaby, Rosicky and the like are good players really needs to give up his job.
    The bloke is a total moron who has no use in the modern game, Wenger out!”.

    Mate, Arshavin, Bendtner, Eboue, Koscielny, Song, Diaby and Rosicky ARE good players. Not great players at Arsenal, but good players and one notably (who was world class) has been an enigma since he arrived, quite why? Well, we don’t know.

    Individually they all have some something worthy of EPL football about their game and some of them have made a worthy contribution to AFC. But mate I can see sort of where your coming from. OK, some are past their ‘sell by’ perhaps but making sweeping statements does not support your cause, does it?

    However, that is beside the point. Arsene Wenger IS NOT A MORON! And you should show some respect!

    I am not an AKB but the man has changed the profile of our club forever, in a massive way. I don’t even need to point out the details. Be grateful for his term of office, it will be a legacy in many, many years to come.

    Show Arsene Wenger respect mate, you don’t have to like him but don’t call the man a moron.

  81. 1LC

    The stadium is (as a result of brilliant work by Fiszman/Edelman) paid back at a fixed rate. £20 mill / annum. The stadium debt is not affecting our operating cash flow. Controlled, manageable debt isnt bad.

  82. Woolish Wankers…

    Who is turning on who. What do you love?

    ManUre? Shiite-y? Or are you a little Spudling?

  83. Oh and by the way, just for the record.

    Even if Arsene Wenger is ‘on £7m a year’ and all that, when he does go I for one will have sadness in my heart.

    Of the ‘Wenger Years’ the fantastic memories will live on forever!

    And I’m not even saying he should stay in the long term. Perhaps his time is coming to and end?

    But show the man the respect he deserves.

  84. Who thinks that a top 4 finish is not an achievement now?
    That was just “loser” talk prior to this season.Now if we don’t achieve it it is a “disaster”
    People need to make up their minds.Is it an achievement or not?

  85. Howz everybody doing? (Stupid question considering). I hear people on a day to day basis claim that the board has to take some of the blame for our poor shape on the pitch. I really don’t buy that. I get the essence of any board is to provide assistance and oversight from a strategic level. Looking at our club from a business angle i would say we have achieved a large part of our goals off the pitch. The new stadium being the icing on the cake. The board’s responsibility to the manager is to provide all the assistance necessary in delivering results on the pitch. I feel they have done that through approving proper funding when necessary and logistical setups here n there. In short i can’t blame the board for any on pitch issues.
    Every week there’s a new scapegoat for arsenal fans to place the blame on. Yesterday:the board aren’t giving the manager enough support Today: we lack a defensive coach. Everyone is avoiding the straight up reality which is drastic change is needed. Can Wenger do that??? I will hold judgment on the manager’s performance till the season ends but my view on it improving borders on the pessimistic.

  86. Oh ye of little faith.

  87. the sad part to this whole issue is we have been having the same problem for a long time time now and still no solution. who do we trust to fix our defence issues?

  88. Pedantic George

    Of course a top four EPL finish is a big achievement, but it’s not a trophy which has been implied in some quarters.

    But then I guess I’m just being pedantic!

  89. Sadly we are going to have to wait for Jan transfer window to see if players so desperately needed are added, and to see if the current players start to gel and play.
    But, i for one am glad of the dismal results at the moment, sad and hurting as they are, but something is WRONG at AFC, and if these dismal results do not point out the problems that most fans have pointed out for the last 2-3 seasons, i see AFC being relegated, (to which by the way, seems to be the wish of everyone else except AFC supporters).
    Even I, up to now, have deluded myself that things will get better, but am now realising that even if things do get a little better by a few wins, it can and only will be a temporary state UNLESS the inherrent problems that are coursing through AFC are FIXED.
    The players who left showed us that there is something wrong inside, and if that does not change, others will follow soon, maybe as soon as Jan if there is no apparent action to right the wrongs that are demolishing AFC.
    The fact that it has even come to this, is a gross mis-management of a great football club, for the signs were there since 3 seasons ago, and nothing was done, so ALL WHO HAVE responsibility at AFC are RESPONSIBLE, and they better start taking responsibility, admitting their mistakes, and working together to GET US BACK on track.
    //
    This is surely not too much to ask?
    Truly demoralised that this could even be allowed to happen, much less so that it is actually happening.

  90. I didn’t get to watch the game, and I didn’t have to watch the highlights to see what I thought happened. A couple set-piece goals, a dodgy offside goal, and 1 completely against the run of play. Its just Arsenal all over.

    We are having too many shockers right now, what does it all come down to though. Confidence is the most logical explanation, but for the new guys? I don’t think that can be an excuse. You could even argue that the team has no excuse for conceding all 4 goals so pointing to defensive coaching seems a bit silly when coaching attacking surely means there are people in training defending..!!…

    Anyway, when things are not going well people will always point to change but sometimes it could be for the worse. We lost Nasri, Cesc and Clichy, then theres Eboue, Bendtner, Denilson and whoever else. Naturally the changes were going to see us in a pretty unpredictable state going into this season. There is an element of shock right now around the club, but it is something we could have expected from the start.

    I don’t know how, but looking beyond the 8 goals conceded at Old Trafford and the defensive mistakes so far this season. We have 2 quality players coming back who can lead this team quite easily up to the top positions. Those 2 are Wilshire and Vermaelen. Any team who loses their best CB and CM will struggle, never mind all the changed we have made to the squad.

    Unfortunately for fans like me, the expectation levels were still quite high at the start of the season. I suspect for the players they were too. Getting back to basics and scrapping for points will have to do until things start really clicking again. People forget the invincibles and even the team of last year were not built over the course of a single summer.

    I am still optimistic somehow. Once we get past this period I think we will push on and our form will improve significantly.

  91. PARA

    Relegated! That my friend is just plain silly.

  92. People can ask for a new manager ,that is not a problem for me.They can think he has lost his way,they can say he is stale,they can think Big Sam would be better I don’t care,because I can disagree,and I do.
    However ,as DelBoyEssex says “show the man some respect”I wont hold my breath though because anyone who does not respect him is a low life off epic proportions,

  93. makenzi

    That was the whole point some of us said after the Dortmund game that Kosicellny gave them 3 chances in the first 15min.

    Some of us have repeadetly stated that Kosciellny isnt this magnificent player that some of you think. He is inconsistent.

    Repedatedly over the summer some of us were shot down for stating that Djouou and Kosciellny had allot of improving to do.

    I hate to say it but i think Wenger has about 5 games to save his job.

    The players can state that they love him all they want but the fact is they dont listen to him. Our work ethic compared to utd is utterly abysmal.

    A thumping by the yids and that will be enough for me. The team no longer plays for him

    All the same weakneses as 3 years ago but with different players.

  94. at the moment top 4 would be a great achievement.

    although i don’t think it would make much difference, we make profit every summer through transfers so the money wouldn’t affect that. plus we don’t really go for top top tier players so not being able to offer CL footy again wouldn’t make a huge difference.

  95. Hear Hear Pedantic G

    BTW my little ‘pedantic’ joke was funny eh?

  96. jabba… on your “the players don’t listen to him” point. do you think he tells them what to do?

    i get the feeling its very much a “you know what your doing, go play our game” style of management rather than having a tactical plan that they stick to.

    not to mention the huge lack of accountability throughout the club.

  97. DelBoyEssex,Arsene or me or anyone with any sense has ever claimed it was a trophy.That is what idiots try to say has been said in order to make Wenger look stupid.
    But there is an argument to say it is a greater achievement than say the CC.Therefore it is indeed “like”a trophy in as much as it is an equal or greater accomplishment.

  98. Pedantic G

    You are quite right mate but I was only having a bubble on the word play fella.

  99. Wenger is an easy target, he talks to the press and is french and as long as we dont get the results we will continue to be beaten with the same stick..” tippy tapy soft touch Arsenal”, we cant even claim to be “Barca Lite” at the moment and that sucks . But can someone tell me what are the board doing to help him? At utd, liverpool and to some extent newcastle the fans have rightly laid some of the blame equally on the board who have just as much responsibility but all the doomers blame Wenger. Noone knows whats going on behind closed doors. But from the outside looking in it is not looking good. Wenger needs help and to see him broken in this way after what he has given this club is just not on. The question remaining is when are the board going to tell us the truth about what happened to the 60million for nasrigas and other players sold and sit back and increase season ticket prices and watch the carnage from thier ivory towers. They are the ones that need to be sackled. Not Arsene. After all even he has a boss doesnt he?. Just to rub it in cesc is in the form of his life in a resurgent Barca.

    Wenger needs the fans to believe in him even more. He deserves every chance to prove the critics wrong. Surely we can only get better.For everyones sake we need to lift the cloud of negativty surrounding the club by gettin round the team Although we saw the best and worst of the team at the weekend.the most important thing that was evident was the desire and effort of the team in the last 20 minutes. It was too late by then but an improvement from the OT result where heads dropped and we allowed ourselves to be humiliated. United are the team to beat but wont be able to sustain that level of performance all season. Every team peaks and dips. Then we will pounce.

    Sorry for the rant.

  100. I think many of you guys are being too pessimistic. You got to see the 4-3 defeat in a broader perspective. The 8-2 was a disaster and as I have commented here earlier, there will more than a couple of stumbles when you are trying come out of that. The team’s core is changing and they will take sometime to get into full rhythm. And more over you guys lost because of defense doing pretty badly. With Metersacker there you can fine tune that. Fans here amazes me. Three months back when you really needed to be a bit pessimistic – you guys were too optimistic. I was hearing constant comments of how XYZ is going to step into Cesc and Nasri’s shoes. Now when you have to be really optimistic, people are right now kind of pessimistic. The real hope for Arsenal this season is either the Carling Cup or the FA cup. After the 8-2 defeat the big teams may not take you seriously in the Cup competition and that should definitely work to your advantage. The league is at this moment beyond you reach. The only thing you can do is to be consistent and tail behind the leaders. Nobody will know when ManU will have a slump, but you should be ready by then to take advantage of that if that happened.

  101. Yogi.

    I am still a believer that we “can” have a great season. I comfort myself with the recollection that the Mancs had poor seasons when Rooney, Ronaldo and co first came together. It was a case of the whole not equalling the parts. That is where I see us at this moment. This suggests that the question of time is a critical factor here. However, I agree that change needs to take place in our approach on and off the field.

    I say this because of the length of time that it has taken us to fulfil the national trophy lust that has decended on AFC like no other club. In this situation, it is becoming more difficult to ward off the streams of negativity and this is where Arsene now needs to be decisive and (more difficult) correct in what could be short term but necessary changes. What those are? Everyone has their own opinion!

    COYG

  102. Agree with Bobby – I was also pleased with the first half – room for improvement, but we looked like a team that could WIN a lot of games.

    ***
    I feel this inquest is way too early and we are in danger of overreacting to each result as it comes. I wasn’t overly thrilled by Tuesday, jsut glad that we had got a result. I am not overly despondent about Saturday.

    The feeling that we are uniquely dreadful is exacerbated by internet use. Blogging seemed to take off around 2004, along with web news presences, and taken with the fact that everybody seems to be interested in us, the concentration on our failings has hugely increased since then. I agree with ZP that what we are seeing is neither unique to us nor new. In amongst the good runs of the past we had bad runs, and so did our rivals. Check the record books. The good runs and trophies are as much part of any pattern as the bad runs. (Dortmund and Marseille both lost again at the weekend, btw.)

    Is it my imagination that we defended well in every game except the Blackburn and ManUre games? Newcastle, featuring our familiar players including, crucially, TV5, was an impressive defensive display. But we have not been able to play a consistent lineup so far. In fact we have not had a settled CB pairing for two and a half years. Furthermore, for two seasons in a row, we have had to throw in at the deep end a new CB who is unaccustomed to the PL, because TV has been injured early in the season. Even when we had Gallas and Toure as our established pairing, we suffered because they couldn’t/wouldn’t communicate. At the moment, there’s a lot of change happening all at once for some individuals. All in all, it’s been a long time since we have had a settled quality pairing. This must affect our defensive solidity. We know that last year when Ferdinand was out for ManUre, their results dipped as well. We are also using zonal marking. All that is a lot of change. If the new system and players have bedded in, TV is back and we are all over the place defensively, then we might conclude there is a deeper problem. For now, lack of familiarity explains our problems.

    ****
    And I agree with DelBoyEssex: Whatever your views, “Show the man some respect.”

    And also, for once, I agree with Bibin.

  103. Wenger thought his team of precocious kids and experienced players could challenge. Alas it is not to be .In fact there are many flaws in his policy.Yet he has no intention of changing. Now maybe he will finally have to accept his plan aint working.
    Moreover the gunners may create more goalscoring chances but the inability to convert them is going to be a major problem.The gunners make too many passes and by then the defenders will have swamp back and close the gaps.That is why the gunners can’t score and win.
    Perhaps Wenger may have to cut down the number of passes to shoot and score. The gunners have been found out and if things don’t improve,he will have to go.

  104. To be honest I really don’t care about Manu or Chelsea, and I think comparing their situation to ours isn’t very helpful. Both those teams had their slumps last year, but how much good did it do us? We still finished too far behind them.
    In the same vein, it wouldn’t matter if they go on a bad run this season either, if we don’t address our own issues.
    We all know it is possible to go on a great run from now on. At the same time, and in contrast to chelsea/united, we’ve also shown we’re capable of a string of spectacularly bad results/performances that never seems to end.

  105. And one more thing. Arsenal needs to stop playing the match at the pace set by Opponents. I have said this last season also, until and unless Arsenal learns to slow down proceedings as a team the defense fragility remain. A team who has the ability to retain the possesion should use that as a defensive tactic also.

  106. FG

    The reason for the bigger concern is not just this season but that the form this year is a continuation of last. We can’t ignore that fact but hopefully the new players once bedded in, will bring about a welcome change in form.

    YW

  107. “Is it my imagination that we defended well in every game except the Blackburn and ManUre games?”

    No, but I think it points to a brittleness in our game (as well as uncharacteristic bad luck). We play well in most games (same as last season), but instances of calamitous performances with shocking consequences are never far away. Kinda like Kos, in a sense.

  108. Yes, it’s a shame Koscielny can be calamitous at times because I see a very good player in there somewhere. I must admit though if true, £10m was far too big a fee!

  109. Yogi.

    Well written and very balanced post, i thought it was sort of upbeat given the circumstances. I don’t think it’s realistic to think that AW should or would get sacked. However its clear that this team has underperformed for several years and the mangement has to take responsibility for that. Its time for some significant changes. We can’t really change players at this point so I think we should make some changes in the coaching staff and our tactics. I agree that the situation has come to the point where something significant needs to be done or this could come even more unraveled. A finish outside the top 10 is easily possible if the squad continues to play the way it has since the carling cup. Unfortunately this squad has a propensity to surrender when the going gets tough and when that starts to happen it’s very tough to change. I am sure arsene has tried everything he knows but I think our coaching staff as group has run out of ideas.

  110. DelBoy

    I doubt £10m was a flat fee – none of the Premier League teams seems to do that anymore with everything dependent upon achievement.

    YW

  111. 1lc, the flaw in that report is that it measures not net spend but only net transfer spend. As we should all know by now wages are a far better indicator/predictor of final league position. I wish someone would actually do a true net spend in th PL era. That would likely reveal that we are several places above 9th in true net spend as Atsenal have until just the last year or so been consistently in the top 4 in total wages and in the era of our greatest success we were the top or second quite consistently. This is why Wenger has made remarks about the gap in wages recently as this matters much more than transfer spending. I don’t believe we have ever heard him express concern that we did not have an ample transfer fund in contrast. There is some new research, available on the net and linked by me on this blog last year, that shows there might be a reason to coordinate wages and transfers in the analysis.

    The point is we are not midtable spenders. Only midtable transfer spenders. I would guess that we are fifth, but that is only a guess, in terms of true net spend. We aren’t Everton.

  112. Anyone see that big black guy with dreadlocks training with arsenal? Know who he is? The pics are on the website now..

  113. Somewhat Agnostic

    1loosecannon | September 19, 2011 at 11:50 am
    It is all about money. Arsenal come 9th in the spending league. That means the likes of Sunderland Aston villa and Liverpool should be in top 4 every year not us.
    http://www.sportingintelligence.com/2011/08/12/arsenals-net-spending-of-48m-in-a-decade-puts-them-9th-in-premier-league-120802/

    ——————————————————————————————–

    This is very misleading IMO.
    I consider the spending on players to also include salaries paid to get a true total amount. We have a hugh wage bill, (relatively speaking) and we also pretty much are able to attract all the bright young talent (cheap) and retain them for a number of years on pretty good salaries.. Theo, Oxo, Ramsey.. etc.

    Arsenal paid 110.9m on salaries last year. (2009-2010 year)

    Sunderland paid 46.63m. 72% of Revenue.

    So there’s a 63m spend more than Sunderland in one year alone… Add that up over a few years???

    Aston Villa paid 79.9m. 88% of Revenue.

    Liverpool 101m (2009).

    (For Liverpool I couldn’t get their 2010 figure but I found this on The Bleacher Report site).
    Our figure is only 49.7% of football revenue.

    All of the above clubs are under financial pressure. Randy Learner has pumped 200m into Villa over the last 4-5 years. Liverpool is in my opinion one of the biggest under-achievers when you look at the money they have spent and Sunderland are struggling to bring this wage ratio down.

    We, on the other hand, are showing a comfortable bottom line, annual profit, and from the last full accounts had 127.5m cash in the bank. All outstanding property debts paid off and a fixed interest of 18m plus capital repayment on the stadium until 2031.

    We also knock them for dead when it comes to football revenue. For example Aston Villa’s match day revenue was 29.4m and ours was 93.9m. (Total football side revenue 222.9).
    We are huge compared to Villa & Sunderland; for them to even compete with us should be a complement to them. We should be comfortably beating these boys year in year out and I personally don’t consider it an enormous achievement to finish 4th ahead of the likes of these. (or the rest)

    So if we are talking value for money… Rather I would consider it the standard, (finishing 4th), considering that we are the 4th highest spenders on salaries in the league. (Not 100% sure of Liverpool 2010 figures!). Our total spend on players.. (transfers & Wages far exceeds those clubs you mentioned… and the rest of the PL for that matter.. bar the obvious)

  114. Anddee

    Its Daniel Boateng, he’s a CB.

  115. Yogi @ 1:52

    The real concern is not just last and the start of this season but the last several seasons. The last part of last season is the most obvious but look at some of the unbelievable results we have been seeing for the last 3 years. The dropped leads losing a 2 goal lead at wigan, the 4 – 4 game with spurs etc etc etc etc. No other big club in the world has repeated results and pwrformances that we have seen over the last several years The precursors and symptoms of the current malaise have been building for a long time. This team has been performing below the level of it’s talent since the Birmingham game in 07/08.

  116. Great post again YW.
    I think we have the players that can compete.
    What we lack is desire to play a more defensive line up. I would like to see Song remain glued to the CB’s, as MU routinely do without sacrificing forward play. We did it with Gilberto and we have pace.

  117. Bill

    Not being funny but even BBB have dropped two goal leads over the past few seasons or been pegged back in an even more uncompetitive league than the EPL. Real? No title for years, Bayern slumped a year or so back before regrouping. The current problems go back to the Carling Cup, no further. They can’t simply because you are looking at substantially different sides beyond last season.

    YW

  118. different players who have played all of how many games together and yet somehow you all know that they no longer play for AW? Really? very insightful indeed!

    You guys should all generally calm down. it is not the same things that have been happening. NO YESTERDAY WAS THAT THERE WERE 2 OWN GOALS AND AN OFF SIDE GOAL. Please give the team time to gel. end off. Lets calm ourselves out of this dramatics. This is hardly the team that lost to liverpool or man u!

  119. YW, you hit the nail on the head in that Wenger’s future is an emotive argument. I feel like an emotive solution is the only thing that can shake the current squad out of their funk. I don’t think this funk is something that can be logically taken head on and solved because I don’t think there is any sort of logic at work right now in the player’s minds. They know and we know and AW knows that they are all good footballers and can play like a team. Logically everyone knows this but that does no good to anyone because this is not something you can practice your way out of, in my ill-informed opinion. This is something that you need to be shocked out of, and that means doing something that creates strong emotions in all. Over here in the States the manager/coach is almost always the sacrificial lamb. It is a practice I deplore but I can also understand why it happens. It is the last resort, when the malaise or whatever it is, has sunk so deep into the players psyche, that the chargers need to come out, and a change so massive must be implemented to shock them out of whatever is stopping them from fulfilling their potential.
    I don’t know if removing AW is THE solution, but I can’t think of anything else that might shock the squad as much as is needed.

    This sucks!

  120. @ YW
    I don’t think it is a continuation of the performances, just the results. Which sounds mad, I know, but I’ll try to explain what I mean.

    At the end of last season we looked devoid of ideas and shaky at the back as well. Between Newcastle and Blackburn (excluding the ManUre game) we have gone from
    – solid at the back but not dominant in midfield
    to
    – ok-ish at the back (at least in the first half, even with a new line-up), dominant and cohesive in midfield and with bite upfront.

    All the elements are there basically, although there is no question that we were lax on Saturday and that would have remained the case even if we had managed to pull off a 5-4. But we look different to the end-of-season team. If memory serves, we didn’t have a game as fluent or dominant as that in the league for the last three months of last season. Am I imagining that? (That’s a genine question, by the way, not a rhetorical one!)

    Also, I’ve been reading the Tom Oldfield biography of Wenger and it was a real lesson to see that we have had spells like this before without it resulting in the club going on a downward spiral. That’s what I meant about good runs being as much part of the pattern under Wenger as bad runs. And let’s face it, other teams, good teams, do the same.

    Up until the weekend, the feeling was that we had a solid foundation. Since then, we’ve been shaky in one game, and I think there are specific reasons for that, which I’ve already outlined. Plus, everything we did wrong in that game, we were punished for. AND we were unlucky with two big decisions. That doesn’t always happen.

  121. Logged on full of expectation, but the lunatics are still miles from putting up a stout argument about why they should get their grubby mitts on the asylum keys.

  122. Yogi

    I don’t follow world football as closely a you but I think it’s safe to say that the precursors and signs of what is happening now have been around long before the CC last season. Which other “big” team in the world has had the number of unexplainable and indifferent performances that we have. Think of all the times we have complained about the team being complacent and taking opponents lightly. Last years FA cup run as an example Those are all symptoms of a much deeper problem brewing between the players ears and the last 16 games are as much proof as you would need to validate that statement. A squad with this much talent is not fine 1 day then completely go off the deep end the next. I can understand BBB mentally taking a game off now and then when you have 25 trophies from the last 5 years gathering dust in your case. We can’t use that excuse.

  123. Bibin, being pessimistic or optimistic are choices.

    Overall, I would say that your comment is excellent.

    “Is it my imagination that we defended well in every game except the Blackburn and ManUre games?”

    For the most part yes FunGun and most, if not everyone on this blog was saying it. Until now that is.

  124. Would we suddenly buy mata and young with a different manager? Would we suddenly “splash the cash”?

    What would happen if AW left tomorrow? Would we suddenly start winning? Beat city and Chelsea?
    Would the players be happy, or does arsenal Tom know what is better for them more than they do themselves??

    Anyone?? We wi start win and splash cash and challenge ones AW has left?

  125. And mata got a massive sign on fee and better bonuses at Chelsea. The 70k is just a tiny part of his wage. Both young and jones wanted united just as the OX and Ramsey choose arsenal.

  126. Paul:

    We all get excited when we defend well for a couple of games and most of us (even me) are optimistic enough to believe that may be we have figured it out and we can finally learn some consistency. The next time we put 2 or 3 good games together again the same thing will happen. I guess we should have learned our lesson by now

  127. Bill

    It depends on whom you are comparing Arsenal to, where you perceive Arsenal to be in the great scheme of things. We aren’t at the same level of Barcelona but Real Madrid, AC Milan? They’ve stuttered, spluttered and farted in recent years with the Milanese having been in the doldrums for several years before last season. There are comparators but I maintain this: the current malaise did not begin before last season because the players were substantially different.

    YW

  128. Fun

    The players though have said that this is going back to the Carling Cup, that’s why I think its the received wisdom.

    I don’t think there are any foundations at the moment, the side is too out of sorts. RvP has made his captain’s assessment which is about as scathing as an Arsenal player has been in recent years, Gallas aside. There is a problem and they will sort it. But what I wanted from today’s post is someone to come up with a coherent argument against Wenger to try to understand why this malaise off the pitch is so deep-rooted. Which is why I put both sides of the argument in the post.

    It isn’t going to happen because the most that they can do is dismiss everyone out of hand who disagrees with them. According to a season ticket holder of 30 years standing who ended up in the Spam bin, everyone on here is an AKB. It’s amazing how everyone who wants Wenger out has been going since the early 80s; I must have had a few beers on the road with them if that’s the case.

    YW

  129. Paul-N

    We are not West Brom or something. We are still a very good team with above average players, so its normal that we defend well in a few games. Even in the bad run of form last season, we still managed to play well in some instances (e.g. Barca and Manunited). What is becoming more clear is that we are unable to sustain those good performances, and considering our luck, we are are rarely able to get away with.

  130. Poodle

    We were never in for Ashley Young, it was a spurious link from someone who wanted us to sign him. Now it’s held as gospel truth that we were interested.

    YW

  131. @ YW
    One thing is a bit similar, though – sometimes this season so far we have had a slight reaction at the start of the second half and we play too conservatively, or drop our tempo, which encourages them. I’ll give you that one.
    But we are turning a super-tanker around. We listed heavily on Saturday to the attacking/starboard side, to carry on the metaphor a bit rubbishly, but nonetheless I can see the stern coming around to face the right way.

  132. FunGun, you are a blessing on this site. I really appreciate your insightful comments.

    Bill, I am not looking at this one game and believing that we are pure crap defesnively, neither am I looking to last year for this is a very different team, especially given our unforseen injuries. The season must play itself out in order for one to make a sound assessment. Sure we need to improve as all teams do. Life is funny, United are not good at the back at present but teams are not taking easy chances so it looks all nice and dandy, even we had decent chances. Bolton and Chelsea couldve easily have been a different story.

    The biggest problem about trying to pin this season on last season is that last season the WHOLE team was shorn of confidence and didnt play well. What we are trying to do is behave as if the defense was where all our issues where and that is soooo far from the truth and just unfair.

  133. As I see it the biggest problem is peoples failure to understand how radically things have changed, since Chelsea and to an even greater extent City ,the football landscape.
    Many Arsenal fail to grasp the huge disadvantage under which we are being put.
    United,City and Chelsea are literally in a different league.
    Liverpool have spent £100 million and did you see how crap they were at the weekend?
    That’s £100 million on players that would not get in our team ,bad as we are at the moment.

  134. Yogi,
    I’d be surprised if Milan, Real and the rest have had the çrazy results we’ve had in the past few years WITHOUT repercussions for the manager/team. 8-2 defeat to rivals? Dropping a 4goal lead to a mid-tabe team? End of season collapses, and so on. And in all that time no single trophy to assuage things a bit?

    I don’t know enough to say its impossible, but I seriously doubt it.

  135. @ Yogi’s Warrior | September 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    “The players though have said that this is going back to the Carling Cup, that’s why I think its the received wisdom.”

    I can believe that, because at the time AA said they felt cursed – like they just couldn’t win a game. But one upside of having so many new players, is that they don’t have that psychological baggage.
    The damage of Saturday was about the result, not the performance. We did really need the extra confidence of three points and a higher league position.

    Anyway – as Robin also says, we have time, so we will see.

  136. I am by no means a “wenger out” type of guy, but it does seem as though he has either completely run out of ideas, or the squad just simply does not respond to him anymore. Without being in the locker room it is impossible to know, but something drastic needs to change very quickly. Whether it is formation or just culture change that is needed, i am not too sure…but it needs to be sorted.

  137. Yogi @ 3:33

    I guess we will have to disagree about that one.

    I don’t think this club has championship caliber talent compared with the top 3 anymore but it would be disingenuous to say we did not have championship level talent in the very recent past. IMO our failure to get over the hump in past years was mental rather then physical. We are certainly a much more talented team now then we have showed and i think we all agree that the biggest problem we have now is not our talent. The current run of miserable form we are now in started last season but the signs and symptoms of “mental” issues and the defensive indifference and inconsistency which were the precursors to our current problems have been around for much longer then last years CC final.

  138. @ Yogi’s Warrior | September 19, 2011 at 3:39 pm

    “It’s amazing how everyone who wants Wenger out has been going since the early 80s; I must have had a few beers on the road with them if that’s the case.”

    Indeed!

  139. I have been going for about 25 odd years YW, Maybe you have had a beer with me without realizing it!

    The level of expectation is an interesting point, I have this argument with younger fans all of the time as to what it should be.

    Before AW could you argue we were one of the top 8 sides in Europe? I doubt it.

    We are now, but even so we are not on a level playing field with Man U, City, Chelsea, Madrid and Barca – and unluckily for us 3 of those teams are in the same league as us.

    So what should our expectation be?

    Challenge against all the odd’s against these teams? If the answer is yes, then our expectations have been met, because generally over the last 5-6 seasons we have competed.

    Granted, we have fallen short on a few occasions, but we have been there to fall short.

  140. Henristic,

    What should I do, say that we havent defended well for the most part? If you can take this match and totally castigate the defense can I not take a few and say we are not as bad as it seems?

    I remember Chelsea having nuff problems defending set plays last season for a while. They were atrocious. As “big” a club as they are with all of that money.

  141. Henristic

    Crazy results are relative. Real losing at Levante at the weekend was crazy but anymore crazy that having five stuck past them by Barcelona? You can find comparators (word of the day) in any league.

    YW

  142. This particular team has had one bad result.ONE Yes that is right One.And in order for it to be a bad result it required 2 own goals and an off side goal ,and the denial of a stone waller.
    Was it worse than City giving up a 2 goal lead?With no bad luck or dodgy decisions?

  143. Well being a negative bitch solves nothing though.
    I doubt any change will happen until Xmas. So all the moaning is for nothing really….

  144. “So what should our expectation be?

    Challenge against all the odd’s against these teams? If the answer is yes, then our expectations have been met, because generally over the last 5-6 seasons we have competed.”

    Brilliant Matt,fucking brilliant.

  145. Bill, I disagree, I believe we do have championship quality players throughout the team.

    Chezzer is arguably the best GK in the division right now,

    Sagna is 100% the best right back,

    TV5 would get in to any team, as would Jack and Robin.

    That is a pretty good spine, and based on Stat’s you could argue a case for Theo, Arshavin also.

    We have quality throughout the squad, the problem is not that – it is harder to pinpoint.

    I just see a panic grip us under the slightest pressure at the moment, and am not sure if it is confidence, or something deeper.

  146. And Yogi,
    I really don’t get this argument that the “current malaise did not begin before last season because the players were substantially different.

    The current malaise is the culmination of previous events up to that point (as is generally the case in other areas of life). It is a results of an atmosphere of mental fragility and inexperience that has been there for quite a while, something which Wenger himself has pointed to on numerous occasions.
    All those years of being a ‘nearly’ team who crumble under stress, must have been playing on many of the players mind. As shocking as the Carling Cup result was, it wasn’t entirely out of form for us. We’ve had previous shocking performances in high stake games. We’ve also had difficulty defending leads and getting a consistent run of form for ages too.
    All of these issues play on the players mind in every single game. A new player comes in to the club and is in no time at all also absorbed by the ‘culture’ where everyone finds it hard to motivate themselves when the chips are down.

  147. Well we have to hope that by bedding in, we don’t mean the new players might get inculcated into that post-CC feeling. But that is why getting a string of positive results is so important. The team spirit seemed really strong, especially in the CL games. The side can come together for a fight for fourth if it gains some consistency and solidarity. At that point, as Bibin suggested, at least we will be in a good/better position.

    YW, I didn’t understand quite what you meant: But what I wanted from today’s post is someone to come up with a coherent argument against Wenger to try to understand why this malaise off the pitch is so deep-rooted. Which is why I put both sides of the argument in the post.

  148. Like many on here, I am by no means a “Wenger out man”. But given that our defence has gotten worse each season over the past 5 or so years, coupled with our current defesnive collapses, I am struggling to see how he is going to recify the issue.

    Whatever he is doing with the defence is blatently not working, and something is fundementally wrong at the club.

  149. Paul-N

    I’ve not castigated our defence at all. I’ll go further to say no one else is actually castigating the team based on just 1 performance, but rather on a string of performances spanning a few years. Something I know you also don’t agree with.

  150. George, I think attitude is the big problem. No one is patient and everyone knows everything. It really takes the joy out of the season and the game. I agree we havent played our best but with so many matches to go I am still excited because the team has talent to do better. Can we just wait a little bit longer? If we all agree that the players are good and that we have seen some changes, why not give it time before we want our manager to quit and all that?

    Now there are some managers who dont have a clue but Wenger is not one, thats for sure.

    This is a drag for real!

  151. I have been known to speak sense from time to time George, not very often mind……

  152. If you accept that continuity in management leads to success then continuity of playing staff must also be key.
    This is where we have failed.Every time we look like succeeding several key players leave.
    That is not Arsene’s fault,it is the greed of players and the greater spending power of the clubs they go too.

    Cole, Henry,Flamini,Hleb,Ade,Cesc,Nasri,

  153. When has United or Chelsea lost a player they wanted to keep?

  154. Paul – Patience is not really the issue here. We still have the same issues in the squad which we have had for a good number of years now; that is hardly kneejerk stuff. It is is not being too harsh to say that they really should have been addressed.

  155. PG

    Cristiano Ronaldo? SAF wanted to keep him.

    YW

  156. “If you accept that continuity in management leads to success then continuity of playing staff must also be key.”

    Second part it true, but the first part is not necessarily so, as we’ve seen in football. Ferguson is a fluke.

  157. Henristic, so what, this team doesnt get a new start? Along with the media, we supporters will make our own team suffer under the pressure of the past failures of last season and even the failures of other players under different circumstances? Well thats great mi bredrin!

    Talk all you want, it is one match in this season,not last.

  158. George – Ronaldo to Madrid?

    You are right about players leaving when we look to be on the brink. You have to wonder if they would have stayed should we have made the next step though. And this is one of the issues we have faced (much like this season). In the majority of cases, any signing the manager makes end up being a replacement for somebody instead of suplementing the squad.

    Every year when we ended up being so close, we never really strengthend the squad. I do feel that we really missed a trick with Cesc. He is potentially one of the best players in world football…..we should have surrounded him with great players and reaped the benefits. Instead we paired him with people like Denilson. We missed the boat there.

  159. George, did Henry leave for salary? Cesc? Even Hleb, was it for money or glamour; I don’t remember about his case? I read somewhere that Cesc agreed a wage reduction. For some players it was a chance to win, whether the league or the CL.

  160. GA, mi bredrin, it was one bad game. So we are now claiming that the team has “issues” based on that and we know that they will continue? Cant you see the problem with such a mindset. Again the problem is we dont want to get over last season but the players should right?

    It is too a lack of patience for THIS CURRENT TEAM.

  161. Right,Ronaldo then is the exception that proves the rule .No?

    We cant surround him with great players though Andy because we cant buy them.

  162. Paul N

    We can play great at times but the only thing we have been able to do consistently for the last several years is to be inconsistent. That goes for both ends of the pitch. Lots of very talented players have come and gone over the last 5 years but the exact same problems show up no matter who the players are.

  163. Dont believe what you read Limestone,is usually crap.
    Whether money,glamour or sunshine,Whatever it was we cant provide it.Through no fault of Arsene’s.

    If you take the Tax situation into account Cesc’s net wage is greater .so dont believe the shit designed to make it look as if he would do anything to get away from Arsenal

  164. Bill, time will tell. I will not assess the team based on one game, especially since we were dealing with set play’s well up until Saturday.

    If throughout the season we are not good I will admit it but I will prefer to give this team time and hope they prove you wrong.

  165. Bill every team is inconsistent.
    That is the nature of the game.United having not lost for ages lost 2 out of 3 last year,That’s relegation form you know 🙂 , terribly inconsistent don’t you know

  166. Paul – But it wasn’t “one game” mate. This type of thing is fairly regular for us. That is the whole problem.

  167. GA, I dont think you are reading my comments properly.

  168. Andy it is one game with this current incarnation

  169. Paul – How so? (apologies if so).

  170. I fully take the blame for Saturday’s defeat. I was partially watching the 1st half. Blackburn scored their first when I was in the shower, and I was in a tatoo palour down the road for the entirety of the second half. I was focusing on the match when Gervy and Arty scored, and I checked twitter just in time for Chammy’s goal. I’m half convinced I jinxed the team.

    Anyway, YW is tottaly correct about this issue being emotive. When ever someone talks about Arsenal my instinct is to get defensive and unleash retorts, but, in a move which tastes like cowardise, I rarely give my own considered opinions. I don’t for one second think AW should go. There not even a “but”. I just wanted to say that. The only problem is my reasons are purely emotional. This isn’t to say that logically AW should go, not at all. It’s just me saying I can see no logic whatsoever. Consol has repeatedly stated football is a madness, and he is absolutely correct. The logic just doesn’t stand up. Any talks of managerial changes or not is hedging bets into the unknown.

    The thing is this is a newer team, we lost integral pieces at a horrendous time to do so. I have my suspicions on the reasons for this, and I think they have little to do with the manager – when was the last time we ever got rid of players so late sans controversy? But these are merely suspicions and not worth a painful shit. This team however is still finding its feet. Like a baby learning to walk, it’ll be a while yet before it learns a swaggerific dance. I can only point to the past, but for me there is enough evidence there to say AW can teach this team how to boogie. Hell, I saw some good good football in that 1st half up North, and I know I’ll see some again.

  171. @ Henristic, yes it is a castigation of the team for performances over a few years and yet these set of players were not responsible for those performances even for those at near as OT and Pool games. Note that even in both games there was a sending off and in this very likely the injury to Sagna destabilized the team and they were made to pay for every single mistake!

    A number of persons more eloquent than myself have noted the ned for patience as there are some changes in personnel and maybe a little in style that takes getting used to. And again it cannot be over emphasized that there were 2 own goals and an off side goal to grant them the win. I guess they crucially needed it. with the fans protest and all that. LOL

  172. George @ 4:37

    I guess I would be very happy if our level of inconsistency matched theirs. My wife and I are going to climb up to the top of grays and torreys peaks next week. At 14,265 feet above sea level I will be very close to God so may be I can reach up and shake hands with St Peter and ask him to get the big guy to send a little good luck our way. (little smiley face).

  173. The 2 OG’s were unlucky to a point, but there were countless mistakes leading up to the actual OG’s themselves. They were defensively bad goals, not freakish accidents.

  174. @ Bill, @ a mere 14,000 + feet? close to God indeed. Dream on! LOL

  175. Team spirit:

    Reality of the situation is that we as fans have no other options then to remain patient. We can’t get new players and there is no way that AW or any of his coaches are going to change any time soon. Does not make all this any less frustrating.

  176. Andy If a striker had scored them in that fashion you would say it was hugely lucky ,so why is it not hugely unlucky if a defender does it?

  177. Bill, that sounds like an amazing trip and you must be in pretty good shape to hike and climb at that altitude. Have a great time!

  178. George – Unlucky for the defender yes. Bad defending by the team leading up to it though.

  179. Team spirit.

    Always fun to dream. 14,265 is not much if you are a real mountain climber but the 360 degree views are truly heaven like and as close to God as I will ever feel while I’m still here.

  180. If there is a god surly he would smile on a good man like Arsene and smite SAF.

  181. George – Which is just further evidence that there isn’t.

  182. 3 times this season,we have conceeded more than 1 goal. 1 of those matches we were without 3/4’s of our starting defense, Our best DM and 2 of our most creative players, Wilshere and Gervinho. I think we played that game wrong.
    In two of the matches we had a red card, not sure about the United match but that was a big difference against Liverpool.
    In one of the matches we conceeded two own goals and one goal was offside, I agree there was poor defending but that is unfortunate and bizarre regardless.

    Funny, we have kept as many clean sheets as United, Chelsea and City in the PL. Our lack of scoring (along with injuries and suspensions)has been our biggest issue so far but that looked better on Saturday. Lets get back to our tenacious defending and keep the offensive flow going and things could turn around quite soon.

    A good sign is that TV, Kos, Sagna and Song have been almost impenetrable. Our RB has changed quite a lot.

  183. George.

    LOL. I will see if I can check on Dennis purr cat while I’m up there and see how he is doing.

  184. I said yesterday that if offside goals had been correctly ruled out we would only have lost one game this season.Bad as we seem to have been.

  185. “If there is a god surly he would smile on a good man like Arsene and smite SAF.”

    Religious debate, GO NOW!!!

  186. Billl,he will be on the big guy’s lap.Should be easily found lol

  187. GA, how is that “evidence”.

  188. Paul – “Kos, Sagna and Song have been almost impenetrable”

    Apart from yesterday obviously 😉

    As Darius would say, “I am glad I am not in the treches with you”. I would be yelling “Paul, we need to retreat……quick, the blockades are down, the enemy are everywhere”. I am pretty sure you would simply stay thinking that the enemy are probably not all that bad after all. Then be bayonetted to death.

  189. Or turn out to be just the hero that was needed to save the say!!!

  190. GA, why would you say such a foolish thing? We are talking about sports not war. However, you would believe that you are going to die and give up and I would believe that I would live and fight. You dont fight at all, the “reality” of the situation makes you draw into your shell and believe its all over.

  191. Bibin,
    Arsenal needs to stop playing the match at the pace set by Opponents.Until and unless Arsenal learns to slow down proceedings as a team the defense fragility remain. A team who has the ability to retain the possesion should use that as a defensive tactic also

    I agree. But the players that are our best ball retainers (Jack, Rosicky, Diaby) are injured. The next best apart from being new (Arteta) to each other were also returning from injury (Ramsey) or 3-game suspension (Song). Even upfront Gervinho (3-game suspension) was not at his best. The too-many-new-faces excuse was sadly true on Saturday.

    GrisGris (USA),
    ” don’t know if removing AW is THE solution, but I can’t think of anything else that might shock the squad as much as is needed”

    Football here’s still a game where a draw is not looked at as the sky falling.
    In the States its almost always win or lose…stakes are much higher.
    But many of today’s fans seem to have bought into the win or fire manager modus…
    Sad, but its what Arsenal stands for thats most at stake here.
    The manager will be given as much time as he needs to sort things out.

    FunG,
    “But we are turning a super-tanker around”.

    A process that’s grossly underestimated by the modern supporter who dwelleth deep in the lair of illusions sponsored by fibre-optic technology.

    Paul N,
    “What we are trying to do is behave as if the defense was where all our issues where and that is soooo far from the truth and just unfair”.

    hear, hear.

  192. Paul – *sigh*

    I was using the anology describing how despite the obviousness of the situation, you simply refuse to acknowledge it.

    Heh, it makes me laugh how you quote “reality” as if it is some big bad thing to be scoffed at. It is what it is, be it good or bad. Only an idiot (not calling you one) ignores reality.

  193. Its quite obvious that the 4-3-3 we played for the past couple of seasons was to get the best out of cesc in a advanced position now he has gone why do we continue to pursue this formation.

    Yes this team is devoid of confidence but the only way to instill confidence is to start winning games and we can only start winning games if we start getting the best out of out current squad of players.

    We have RVP who up until three seasons ago was playing the hole infront of two defensive center midfielders we have to start playing this ways again with either arshavin or rvp in the number 10 position and song, frimpong or arteta to protect the defense.

    In my opinion we leave our defense overexposed too often song who is a defensive mid is the only one really sitting.

    Again this is just my opinion but I have been saying this for a while too often we cross the ball in the box and there is nobody in there for a team like arsenal this is woefully inadequate.

    Ok so the formation looks like 433 but it is in essence a modified 4-4-2 with a old fashioned number 10 role which suits rvp/arshavin down to the ground.

    ————– Chamakh/Park
    Gervinhio, RVP/Arshavin, Walcott
    ———Song/wilshire, Arteta/Frimpong
    Gibbs/Santos, Mert/TV5, Kos, Sagna
    —————- Chezza

    lets not forget we still have TV5 and Wilshire to come back from injury, we just need to get that winning habit back to do that we need to start attacking and defending as a team.

    My final point is that Gervinhio needs to get his head up more frequently that square pass to RVP when he was in acres of space would have killed the game and we might not be pondering how we let another game slip through the net.

    Sorry if this feels like a rant but it has been hastily written as I am about to miss my train……

  194. Gadget,

    I do protest.
    Twas my half time communion with his holiness Herbert I that induced the the two Own Goals.

    Oh yea football gawds, when I asked for last seasons top scorer, OG, to be transferred over from the house of the Slurgussians that is not what I meant!

  195. The question is whether AW is still bringing out the best from a talented, if unbalanced squad. And there I would say: he isn’t. Arsenal have underachieved all of last season, and even before that (some say, the injury of Eduardo at Birmingham was the one cracking point still resonating, and I think there is something to that). Last year Arsenal was in four competitions by February, but had screwed up as quite regularly the group stage of the Champion’s league (therefore having to play Barcelona so early) and had had weak performances against West Brom and Newcastle at home and a typical faltering against Spurs. The quality of play, the tactical astuteness, the pressing game, the running have slowly deteriorated already before Wembley last spring. When Pat Rice offered to resign, AW simply should have accepted and gotten a tactically strong second man, a real contender for Arsenal manager. Because how can succession after such a long time work out at all, if the man to be succeeded eventually is not wise enough to look out for somebody himself? Only through violent dethronement and upheaval. So AW should himself look for help, he is not up to it anymore himself to the complexities of a job like his. Alas, I don’t think he should be fired, but he himself should be wise enough to realise that Arsenal FC needs some new talent on the managing side: fitness, medical, tactics, scouting – all have to be reviewed and renewed.

  196. Exciting times ahead then….

    All this talk of management change is nothing short of madness because stability is vital at the moment. We have always been a bit leaky in the ol’ defence, but thats mainly due to our style of play. We should take each game as it comes, enjoy them as best we can and watch this team regain their confidance and get back to their best. It will happen, hopefully starting tomorrow.

    Like I said, exciting times ahead.

  197. Marxelinho,Easy as that then?How come the rest of us geniuses have missed the simplicity of it all.

  198. “Heh, it makes me laugh how you quote “reality” as if it is some big bad thing to be scoffed at. It is what it is, be it good or bad. Only an idiot (not calling you one) ignores reality.”

    Well you are wrong mi bredrin. No my quoting “reality” is to show you that I(foolish Christian and all) badda than you because inspite of the situation I am still fighting for the club while you have waved the white flag. If things dont turn around, I am only wrong and admit it but you cannot say I have given up like you. YU GET MI!

  199. I agree with mattyboy!

  200. Paul – That is a bit dramatic. It has nothing to do with “fighting for the club”. I will support them regardless of results as I have done for over 25 years. But that does not stop me ackowledging the “reality” of this situation. And one that has been steadily getting worse for the past 4 or 5 years. That is the reality ofthings, but does not affect my support one bit.

  201. Mi still badda than you though

    hee hee

  202. Heh, this could well be the case.

  203. Marxelinho,

    “Only through violent dethronement and upheaval??”
    …dearie me

    did u figure all that out by yourself or were you wise enough to look for help?

    sorry dude, help yourself by reading up on the posts before yours.
    Most here do it all the time.
    It really helps

  204. I dont believe things have been getting worse at the club for the last 4 or 5 years Andy.I believe things in football have changed and made it look worse for us.

  205. George – Our goals conceeded have been on the rise for the past 5 (I think) seasons. That is getting worse no?

  206. TS,
    This is exactly my point. the problem now isn’t about the players. Its about the system, the management, the culture. That’s why it doesn’t matter that 4 or 5 players are changed. The atmosphere in the club is still the same, and these leads to similar failings. The players (whoever they may be at any point in time) still panic when under pressure, still are defensively disorganised against long ball teams, still aren’t able to consistently play the pressing game, still are prone to costly errors.

    I’m not blaming any one player or group of players for our problems. I’m blaming the coaching staff, led by Wenger. I think he is a genius, I really do. But even Einstein (who I almost worship), lost it towards the end. He was still as smart, but his ideas weren’t quite as relevant to the times anymore.
    In a somewhat similar manner, I have a strong suspicion that Wenger may no longer be the right man for the job. Its not a knee jerk reaction. Its something I’ve suspected and expressed here before, and recent events have only just increased the weight of that feeling. His vision for the game and our club is profound and awesome. His methods of achieving or implementing that vision looks to be flawed given the current realities. This is all just my opinion and I pray dearly that I’m wrong. I have no problems being proved wrong.

    I haven’t asked that he be sacked, so the calls for patience doesn’t really apply. But I do think if he cannot turn things around (by maintaining a run of 4-5 good performances) then he himself should call it a day, because the chances that we will improve at that stage will even be less than it is today. Not to mention we might be so far behind the leading pack by then. This will be bad news for the team, as their confidence will be shot even further, and Wenger’s legacy will be jeopardized.

  207. whats the squad going to look like tomorrow..any ideas?

  208. Come on Andy. Thats not a great measuring stick to base a ‘We have been steadily getting worse for the past 4 or 5 years’ argument on. You can do better than that mate.

  209. I would like to see Miguel, Ryo, AOC, Coquelin and Park to all get a game tomorrow.

  210. Matty – It is more the idea that it has long being acknowledged that we are weak at the back. So it is not a new issue for us, yet it has steadily gotten worse. You would hope that as it was an issue it would have shown some signs of improving.

    I am not using it as the whole reasoning, just an example. It is like having a business and noticing that for a few years your profit margin was slowly getting worse. You want want to remidy that as soon as possible, because if not you business is heading down the pan.

    Our “wierd” results seem to be getting more and more regular, and that is a worrying feature.

  211. Henristic,you certainly have no problem being wrong 🙂

  212. Our “wierd” results seem to be getting more and more regular, and that is a worrying feature.

    Now that I can agree with

  213. Not unlike you George 🙂

  214. I refuse to accept I am ever wrong.Even a little.Ever!!!!!

  215. We are like Forrest Gumps fucking box of choccies – “ya never naw whit ya gunna git”

    And that is great for a neutral to watch. But for an Arsenal supporter, but more importantly, a club with aspirations of winning silverware it is not very good trait.

  216. Aman

    Not sure but I think its Ozyakup

  217. @Andy – At least you have a business though right. Arsenal Football Club are not ‘heading down the pan.’ Besides, our profit margins are very healthy by all accounts 🙂

  218. Matty – Heh, it is at that. 🙂

    You know what I mean though.

    1. Problem identified (our goals conceeded tally).
    2. Problem gets worse.
    3. Problem gets worse.
    4. Problem gets worse.

    It is not good eh?

  219. Our best attacking performance of the season so far, we got rid of our quota of OGs for the entire season in one match, but for a couple of blinding saves by Robinson we would have won despite conceding four…..it’s onwards and upwards from here

    Looking forward to seeing Oxtail-Chamberpot tomorrow night with Park/Chamakh/Afobe? Plus Coquelin and Frimpo

  220. @Andy

    I would agree that we conceed too many goals, but I can’t pinpoint the exact moment when the problem was identified. Probably some time in 1886.

  221. Yes I was right, just checked it out. On the 5th Feb 1886 we conceeded 4 against Millwall Rovers.

  222. mattyboy,
    But its a different team back then. Doesn’t count 🙂

  223. There is nothing we can do about the players we have and I seriously doubt that Wenger will resign or get sacked but I think maintaining the status quo can’t really be an option. Change formations and changing the way we train, change tactics. We often hear how much the players love arsene but that surely can’t be a good thing at this point. I know it’s counter intuitive but teams often don’t play their best for managers they love. The cozy feeling in the dressing room probably has contributed to what’s happened.

    Just waiting patiently and hoping the players get their heads on straight and waiting for the team to “gel” and jack and tv5 to come back is a ludicrous idea. We need to give the team something to hang their hats on as a reason to believe things will get better

    I realize that is a very nebulous post but that’s the nature of what’s been happening to the club for a long time now and I don’t really have any concrete ideas.

  224. Agree Johan,
    I’m backing the youngsters to give us something to smile about.

  225. @ Henristic – Ok, fair enough 🙂

    I do believe things will improve defensively when Mertesaker and Dos Santos ‘bed in’ and establish themselves. It begs the question as to why we didn’t request their services a little sooner though.

  226. @ mattyboy | September 19, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    “Come on Andy. Thats not a great measuring stick to base a ‘We have been steadily getting worse for the past 4 or 5 years’ argument on. You can do better than that mate.”

    I agree. The top teams are conceding more goals, because the PL is more competitive, I think.
    Goals conceded 2007/2008 – 2010/2011 seasons
    Chelsea
    26
    24
    32
    33

    ManUnited
    22
    24
    28
    37

    We concede the most out of the top three or four, but it’s getting worse for everyone. Not just us.

  227. AOC, Park and Miyaichi nailed on to start tomorrow, I think.

  228. Good point FG.
    I have a feeling Manure will concede even more goals this season, even if they win the league. They’ve been doing this gung-ho, all out attack thing recently, and its opened them up at the back. They played this way even against us, something fergie rarely did.

    I saw a stat earlier today saying De Gea had saved the most shots in the PL (and that Szeszney has the worst shot-to-save ratio, btw).

  229. Fungunner @ 6:56

    Good point.

  230. FG,
    I also suspect that all teams are conceding more goals, not just the top four, so I’m not sure that the league is more competitive, unless the stats also show that the gap between top fours and bottom 3 for example (in terms of points and goal difference) has been closing. Do you know if that’s the case?

  231. FG

    Strange thing is that 3 years ago gallas and kolo struggled against set pieces then the next year we did better against set pieces and got killed by counterattacks during TV5 first season. Last season it was set pieces again. The problem has been a moving target. Throw in the episodes of total disorganization and it makes the whole thing so difficult to understand especially when you believe we have reasonably talented players to work with.

  232. Just saw the new Rooney add with Nike. Im sure they will make Wilshere their new posterboy after Cesc left if he continiues his development this year. for the CTR 360…. That will be nice 🙂

  233. I think any panic now is an over reaction. The target this season is Champions League football which is still very possible. I am more concerned about what happens next May. Arsenal’s wage structure is not likely to attract the type of player we want and is likely to cause players we want to keep to seriously consider their other options.

    AW has publicly stated his concerns about the wage structure but has also stated that football is not immune to the prevailing economic climate. Arsenal’s approach has been responsible so far but it will be difficult to sustain Arsenals stature and brand in this climate with that approach.

    Business creativity is likely to be the solution to Arsenals longer term issues.

  234. Cos except from Rooney nike does not have any front figures in english footy do they? before it was Cec and Rooney. Now its Barcelona and Rooney….

  235. dups, thanks. I do believe it is Ozyakup.

    Fabianski
    Jenks-Djourou-Miquel-Gibbs
    Ozyakup-Frimpong-Benayoun
    Ox-Park-Ryo

    subs: Szseszny, Boateng, Coquelin, Meade, Aneke, Chamakh, Watt, Walcott

  236. Keen to hopefully see Oxo and Park tmoz.

    Anyway…
    I think Arsene must leave, but timing is important.
    If he leaves it must be at a time that allows the new manager to buy what he feels neccessary in Jan, if not then he must go at the end of the season unless he can turn things around and we finish in the top 3 not impossible, but highly unlikely.

    if he goes, i’ll be very sad, simply because i never wanted it to turn out like this. I never thought i would dislike the man who is responsible for 99percent of the most glorious footballing memories that i have…

    However No one is bigger than arsenal and if he’s holding us back, he has to go. simple.

  237. Like the look of that team Aman

  238. ive neva seen ozyakup play before, is he good

  239. @ Aman
    I like your line-up but I think Le Coq will start ahead of Ozyakup.
    Very excited about tomorrow – anyone else going?

    @ earflow | September 19, 2011 at 7:27 pm
    Good points – a case of holding our nerve all round, really. But sadly for us the petro-dollar billionaires are probably immune to any kind of financial storm. The only way to level the playing field is through regulation like FFP. Not a lot to pin our hopes on, but it’s all we’ve got.

    @ Henristic
    I also suspect that all teams are conceding more goals, not just the top four, so I’m not sure that the league is more competitive, unless the stats also show that the gap between top fours and bottom 3 for example (in terms of points and goal difference) has been closing. Do you know if that’s the case?

    I have no idea whether that’s the case. You could look it up:
    http://www.premierleague.com/page/Statistics

    If it turns out that most/all teams are conceding more goals, it underlines the fact that the problem of conceding more and more goals year on year is not unique to us, which was my point. That the league has become more competitive is just my explanation for the trend.

  240. So you will like him again if the team gets into the top 3?

  241. Rosicky cesc flamini hleb
    RVP Adebayo

    that was pretty nice in 07, why wont he go back to 4-4-2
    Gervinho jack arteta arshavin
    RVP walcott

    that could just be as effective or more, the only constant things is change. some 3 years ago when our team wasnt doing well, wenger changed to 4-3-3 cause our players were more suited to that formation.

    with the current players, 4-3-3 isnt working, a change in tactics and approach could be the lift the team needs.

    dont let me get started with the highline

  242. FG
    Hmmmm, My point is that if everyone is conceding more goals AND are scoring more (i.e. if no overall change in goal difference and/or points difference between top and bottom teams), then we can’t really say the league is more competitive.

    It just means the league is more entertaining and that defenders are generally crappier and/or strikers are generally better. It would also mean that the top teams aren’t really conceding more, relative to the whole league (although I agree that it paints our own defensive failings in a slightly better light, and conversely showing just how poor our attack is)

    What the heck, I’ll just run the numbers and see what I get. I was working on excel anyways…

  243. pull that data Henristic!

    Even though the Arsenal of late hasn’t been up to our standards, we are right in the thick of the season now. We get to watch the team play twice a week!! How cool is that?

  244. Tomorrow I would go with:

    Fabianski

    Jenkinson
    Mertesacker
    Kos
    Santos

    Frimpong
    AOC
    Benayoun

    Park
    Chmackh
    Ryo

    Mertesacker/kos/Santos need to play as many games together as possible to begin to forge some understanding.

  245. Not sure if this has been linked on here, but I have to bring it up. What a funny one that Harry Redknapp is. Basically calling his own fans a bunch of fickle cunts with no morals whilst cleverly pointing out where football has been going wrong these past few years 🙂

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-1297204/Harry-Redknapp-concentrating-Tottenham-Manchester-Citys-millions.html

  246. I think it’s the Sponsor…Since we got “Fly Emirates” and named our stadium the “Emirates” we have won nothing. It’s jinxed…

    Kidding…..

    I’ve been away from following the debate but I still watch the shaky and volatile start to the season so far, in games where people were expecting us to lose we didn’t specially in the Champions league, but in others we did lose miserably exceeding all the worst expectations.

    No one can deny that the players we currently have are at least capable of winning games, but they’re still very fragile mentally and lake loads of confidence. Of course it doesn’t help that every single piece of news surrounding Arsenal F.C. is a %100 negative piece, it’s a down spiral and a free fall.

    The two players that were “amazing” in the Borussia Dortmund game were the same players that played a big hand in our defeat at Blackburn. Maybe a bit unlucky for them, but a big hand nonetheless. Kos & Song were great in the CL game, yet seemed maybe tired and lacked cohesion defensively as the progressed in the Blackburn.

    The defense so far is still shambolic and weird in nature, but it’s also never been stable and it keeps changing in personnel. The Invincible had a back line that we never even had to guess who will play, it was always the same back 4.

    I understand people look for dramatic actions to change the course of the free-fall but be careful cause if you take the wrong action, it may actually help speed up your demise.
    ===

    Change the Sponsor Stan-k….

  247. Here’s the gap in points and GD between average of top 3 and bottom 3 teams:

    Points GD
    2003/2004 48 69
    2004/2005 52 72
    2005/2006 59 71
    2006/2007 47 68
    2007/2008 58 83
    2008/2009 54 72
    2009/2010 56 95
    2010/2011 37 58

    I plotted the graph as well but can’t be bothered to link to it. Basically the data shows that the gap between top and bottom teams have stayed more or less constant, also the trend for goal differences has swung widely one one way and the other in the last two seasons. Which makes it difficult to see where the trend might be going next.

  248. I have no idea what the solution is, but just to carry on hoping that things suddenly click does not seem the right thing to do anymore. If this type of thing was a one off, it could easily be put down to bad luck, but it isn’t, it happens too often.

  249. I think this season will be Wengers last act. Personally, I love the work the man has done, and he is undoubtedly one of the best managers the world has ever seen. But at arsenal his time is coming to an end. You can see it with his mos recent buys. Arteta, benayoun, mert, Santos even park are experienced internationals, or have extensive premier league experience. He is building one last team that someone else will be able to come in and make his own. The best of Wengers attacking footballers are gone for profit, the title winning defense he rebuilt after adams keown etc is gone, all of Wengers “deadweight” buys have Been sold or loaned out or almunia. He left a squad for someone else to come in and make his own. Wenger to PSG next year, and although I’ll be sad to see him go and can’t think of anyone better, maybe it’s for the best to get new blood and a new team.

  250. Earflow

    Its wenger who decides our wage structure its our board that decides the wage limit.

    the only person we have broken wenger wage structure for is………wenger!

    The squad is bloated in numbers but short of top draw quality. The fact is no matter what you think of them as players we have players who take up wage space which dont play up to that level over 38 games consistently.

    With a youth system like ours it makes sense to have a structure that resembles Bayern. There youth players are on considerably less but have genuine loyalty to the cause this allows them to pay top money to 5-6 stars.

    Arsene must start getting results soon, the players have got to show that they are still playing for him. actions speak louder than words.

    Shrewsbury and the bolton game will give you an indication of how long wenger has got.

    If there are a huge amount of empty seats the board are going to start getting very itchy feet. as the performance of the team will be directly affecting there 5 year plan. Spurs coming up, gutless performance in that one and i cant see how he can stay on

    The manager rightly got a huge amount of praise in the good years as he exerted so much control, there is no reason why he should be absolved from a huge amount of blame when the results are horrifically bad.

  251. Yikes!

    If I’m being modded about, apologies fior the double post.

  252. I don’t think there is any way Wenger will not finish the season as Arsenal manager. I am now coming round to the idea that he might not start next season as manager though. I am a bit torn really; I love the bloke and really can’t think of a better man to do the job, but, can he turn this around? The mental fraility that his teams display have been there for some time now, and he does not seem to be able to get rid of it. We won’t win anthing until it is gone, and I am not sure if he can rid the squad of this for whatever reason.

  253. Right so AW sets the wage structure.

    Then the accounts of his lobbying the board for wage increases for the likes of LD and NW upon arrival at the club must be gr*tty b*ll*cks then. And obviously, since then, he’s set his own and everyone else’s wages. Right.

    OK then…

  254. I highly doubt he sets the wage structure. It will be a team of accountants somewhere in all liklihood.

  255. There are some disingenious IP address’ writing the same old crap on blog after blog, since the close season began.

    Next line is:

    “I’m worried for AW’s health. He doesn’t look like his liver has the hiccups (I mention no names), I am genuinly concerned”.

    You read it here first. Or was it written by some unknown (i.e. non-existant) hack in the ‘The Sun’.
    Dammit, wrong! That line was floated weeks and weeks ago.
    Hmmm. I detect a feedback loop here.

  256. Sorry, I was supposed to link to this quote from Harry R from the week-end. Didn’t realise the wally had said it a few years before as well. What a prat.

    “Football’s a funny old game. Saddam Hussein could have bought a football club and, if he’d pumped millions in, everyone would have sung, ‘There’s only one Saddam’. Adebayor’s worked hard today and put a real shift in. They really love him here.”

    Its not funny though is it.

  257. Does he not realise Saddam is dead?

  258. Jabba

    Do you really think there is any chance at all that AW will resign or be sacked before the end of this season? Not a chance IMO.

    Henristic.

    Not sure how to interpret your data.

  259. Does anyone sing about their owners? Sounds like Harry is talking about himself–he’d work for Saddam if he pumped in the millions for his wheeling and dealing.

  260. Poor old ‘Arry must be confusing his Saddam’s with his Gaddafi’s*.

    *One of the Gaddafi Jnr.’s trained with the Udines for a bit after a hefty donation.

    I worry for his health!

  261. Andy

    The mental fragility and our inability to fix it is clearly the biggest issue. I honestly think we will make a run at the top 4 slot. How close we come will depend on how soon we get started and how well spurs and Liverpool play. Fortunately neither look that strong. I don’t see anyone else competing. If we make top 4 or come close I have no doubt the boss will stay. If we end up in mid table then I think he is at some risk but I still would be shocked if he did not finish his contract.

  262. Paul N. no not until he wins the thing.
    If we get into top 3 atleast its better than what the critics say and i appreciate the fact that its much harder to win the league now with city,united,liverpool,chelsea,arsenal all gunning for it

  263. Bill – Yeah, I pretty much agree with that.

  264. Bayern sound like they are doing something smart. They are also a financially self-sustaining club, built a new stadium (though with real help from the municipality), and lead the world in commercial performance. Their problem is that the Bundesliga TV deal isn’t as lucrative.

    Who came up with the model we seem to have that pays younger players better but limits the top end of the scale to create a less stratified structure? I always understood that to be AW’s philosophy. However, it is true, he has no problem with players earning great money if they play well. It is only in the last two or three years with ManCity raising Chelsea’s levels that I have heard him expressing the concern that Arsenal can’t match wages any longer.

  265. If you get your Saddam’s mixed up with your Gaddafi’s, I fear you might be in trouble.

  266. @ Jabba’sDelights | September 19, 2011 at 8:38 pm

    The wage limit must be part of the structure or there is no structure.

    I take your point that the number of players signed impact heavily on the wage structure, but like I said the next step will is really a business step, a football business step. I have no doubt that a club present in the Champions League as long as we have will get that step right.

  267. Agreed, Bill. That’s why the derby coming up real soon is a very important game. We need to be on a roll and to put some damage into Spurs who did actually look strong at home against Liverpool. Honestly, without Frimpong’s red card we would have surely had a result and could certainly have won that game. Some pundits are saying 4th is under threat from Stoke! Not after their shelacking from Sunderland, though. We can get back in this but clearly have to start putting the wins together right away.

  268. Not sure what to make of it either Bill, except that its not at all clear that the league is getting more competitive. The difference in points between the big and small teams haven’t changed much over the years, even though everyone seem to be scoring and conceding more.

  269. The goalposts have been moved? Or made bigger 😀

  270. Thats makes me feel kinda sick there Ashburton.

  271. Bill

    I 100% think he has the potential to be sacked this season.

    our form is nothing short of abysmal and has been for 6 months.

    The players arent playing for the manager currently and until i start seeing effort from them i wont believe a word of it.

    Watch a Utd player after losing the ball and then look at ours. That has nothing to do with confidence and everything to do with effort.

    Look at stan record with coaches in America he has shown himself to be a patient manager but ruthless when needed.

    since he has been in england what do you honestly think this hard nosed businessman thinks of Arsene job over the last 3 years?

    Yogi uses the fact that its a different team as a reason as to why you cant judge arsene on anything but this year.

    i think the fact that our team is still making the exactly same mistakes as 3 years ago with different personel speaks volumes as to the problem at the club.

    The manager and players must stop talking and start getting results or at the very least show some improvements. the fans were told how to remove the manager in June

    Wenger must start is first choice defence tomorrow night and he they must start putting what practise they are doing in training (if any) into a match situation.

    .

  272. I see Jabba’s making shite up again.

    But I am sure he can link to a tabloid article (no quotes mind) to back it up.

    What an insidious little wealey cunt you are JD.

    Yogi

    I think something drastic has to happen at Arsenal. I really do.

    If its a change of manager then so be it.

    And on that bombshell, I am outty.

  273. Still prrtending you are a Gooner too?

    Fuck off you Manc cunt

  274. Wouldn’t you say though that the gap was narrowed last year, and so the league was more competitive? It is equally possible that the top teams were poorer as the bottom teams were better. Also distribution would be key here as well. Are there lots of clubs in the relegation fight or many competing for top 6 position? Competitiveness can be judged in a variety of different ways. But it isn’t really a reason to dismiss our increasing number of goals allowed because we haven’t finished in the best or second best rank in that stat for years–the winner of the PL always has the lowest or second lowest number of goals allowed, I believe.

  275. Limestone.

    Agree. The game at WHL will be huge for a number of reasons. Stoke in 4th? Not!!!

    It’s going to come down to us liveool and spuds. We can certainly do it. I fully believe we will get on a run of good form sometime this season hopefully soon. The concern then will be our finishing kick. The way we have finished the last couple of seasons has become mentally habit forming and I would really hate to see that again. I think we can be in the top 6 by Christmas. Hopefully we will spend the money and bring in a couple of significant players in January if for no other reason then to give the squad a mental lift for the rest of the season

  276. Bill, good comments.

  277. Jabba

    If our current form continues until christmas then perhaps your right, but I just don’t believe that will happen. I think we will right the ship enough to make a run up the table and if that is happening then switching managers in mid season would be a huge mistake See my post @ 9:43.

  278. I am with you, Bill.

  279. Dexter

    what you saying today are you swearing at the doomers or the akb’s nobody can ever tell. Your like a yoyo which is the most pathetic of all fans.

    Wenger decided our wage structure fucking years ago. He might not decide the individual sums but he most certainly decided the wage bands of the players.

    It was he who spoke about the disadvantage of having huge wage disparities throughout the club…his fucking philosophy.

    Do you honestly think that a guy who makes it his business to know everything about his club wouldnt pay much attention to what his players are going to be paid and all the effects that wages has on particular people.

    With regards to Utd, hmm lets see what i said. I said they made some good signings and got called cunt, how are there signings looking and how much better than us do they look? Ashly young or AOC do you remember the ribbing i got for suggesting that signing a life long gooner who has real quality for 3-4 m more was a good option……IDIOT. how many timesd do idiots like you have to be proved utterly wrong with hindsight for you to just shut the fuck up for good.

    i said Fergie did a great job getting his business done early and he gets incredible work ethic from his players…..?? did you bother to watch Nani tracking back after losing the ball this weekend, compare that to any gooner currenly and tell me which manager gets more genuine respect from their players

  280. I agree with Jabba and Andy,in as much as the first team defense should start.

  281. I am a yoyo?

    Make your mind up jabba, I am usually blinded by Wenger’s greatness according to you. But then again, you consistently miss the point of people’s posts..

    Do you have a life outside of this blog? When do you find the time to post on the Republik of mancunia?

    Oh the worst kind of fan? Thats easy, twats like you, who belittel those because they dont fork out to go to games (yeah, like you go to more than 5 games a season anyway) use tabloid articles as facts and basically repeat the same dull and boring nonsesne every fucking day without realising how tedious you are, thats a pretty bad fan man.

    You need to get a life

  282. “did you bother to watch Nani tracking back after losing the ball this weekend”

    I dont even have to respond to that load of shite surely?

    What a sad cunt you keep proving it, nice one.

  283. Dex.You need to calm down mate.
    I used to be a hot head like you 🙂

    Lol how are you buddy?

  284. Ha! George

    Yes, you are the voice of reason and get on with even the arseholes now! 😀

    You can have my UN beret man.

    Maybe Im on a comedown after the weekend Gerogey boy! Apart from that, all good.

  285. George

    Why would you play our 1st choice defence tomorrow night?

    Havent they caused enough shit??? 😀

  286. Have you never heard of the naughty step Dexter?

  287. Bill

    I think Kroenke and Glazidis havent been left massively impressed with Arsene work for 2 years. They have said the right things but the actual tone and wording has dropped significanlty in there praise over this time period.

    They will make the right decision for Arsenal Fc. If Wenger continues to get little from the players they are left with a simple decision, even if it doesnt seem like it now. A new manager will need a few games and the January transfer window. They havent won with Arsene all of his good work was done pre there takeover. Its the fans who have loyalty to wenger but that has been extinguished in large parts now. Many took him for his word and said they would judge him in may. Even if they didnt most said this summer and year were crucial.

    Listen to Glazidis AST meeting of 2 years ago. You get the first signs then about how bitterly disappointed they were. They were disgusted with the meltdown last year and this year has only compounded things.

    They wont allow the blame to fall on them. They have allowed Wenger all the power he has wanted. all they have ever told him is to run the club self sufficently. he has decided not to spend funds that risk failed.

    At the end of the day the buck stops with the manger with regards to continued mental weakness with different players. its most definelty the managers fault that we are utterly abysmal at defending and have been for years. our possession game masked quite how bad we were in recent years nothing else.

    fail to show pride against Spurs and the manager has got to go

  288. For a team that tracks back so much, their defense was exposed time and time again with not much people at the back against Chelsea. I am not sure what is to be commended on that performance, even if one player made a good little track back. Their team was all over the blasted place defensively, the fact that Chelsea didnt take their chances is a moot point.

  289. George

    What can I say? Its all bollocks mate. Calling a complete stranger a cunt on a blog, being intentionally provocative for the sake of it, chatting shit about Arsenal.

    Water off a ducks back, you dont take it seriously do you? 😀

    I am sure if I met Jabba in the flesh, I’d be nice as pie to him and thank him for serving me my Big Mac meal. 😀

  290. PaulN

    But this is the mighty ManU you are deriding buddy! The fact that the chavs deserved to win that game and had untold chances against this impenatrable bohemoth of a defence is obviously not worth considering! 😀

  291. Dexter

    No unfortunately for you i and just about everyone else on here has seen you completly unravel as the going has got tough to be an akb in the last month.

    Your question with regards to our defence should be quite simple……..we cant fucking defend so its probably better to get them in a game learnign how to defend together.

  292. Thats quite enough from me, I’m off to sit in the corner and think about my behaviour today.

  293. It seems so Dex!

    and I feel like a Chicken Sandwich now!

  294. How is it that the team cannot defend, I just think that is so silly. So we just throw away all of the good defensive performances.

    mi seh!

  295. unravelling?

    Oh jeez, you are such a fucking drama queen. Like I said, you spend far too much time on here and take yourself far too seriously. But humour isnt your bag I know.

  296. Lol dex I meant putting the defense on the naughty step ,not you FFS

  297. Ha! That question about playing the defence was a joke you humourless git!

    Oh dear

    Now, I gotta go

  298. George

    I know mate, I just nicked it for my own ends, sorry! 😀

  299. Paul N

    Thing is mate they won 3-1 and beat us 8-2 this year and will go and score 80-90 goals this year maybe more. Thats what attacking teams do they score a shit load of goals

    ”Their team was all over the blasted place defensively, the fact that Chelsea didnt take their chances is a moot point.”

    So were we against dortmund in fact they ran us even more ragged. What about those Barca games last year, were we not run ragged. what about Udin even. You change you opinions constanlty to suit your arguments. The fact is Utd won 3-1 and are top of the league having won the league last year and having a summer where they did all they could to get better thats exactly what this club should have been doing.

  300. Paul N

    All those good defensive performances could be described exactly how you just described utd against chels.

    Dexter

    Lets see which side of bed you wake up on tomorrow. it was only a day ago when Gains and george were telling you stop wavering

  301. Jabba ,You do yourself no favours harping on about United.
    They were two up with two off side goals,And had been outplayed at that point.
    You cant beet that sort of shit ,and it happens time and again for them,Whereas us we lose to two off side goals against Liverpool,and one for Blackburn.
    But you refuse to consider this .You simply say we are making up excuses.

  302. @ pedantic george

    This will make you sick – according to this referee review, not only was their second goal offside, we should have had TWO penalties. A push on Mertesacker as well as the foul on Walcott.

    http://blog.emiratesstadium.info/archives/14749

  303. Jabba- Uniterd were shit defensively they have a useless keeper and Chelsea went though them with ease the difference was the finishing, the Chavs were not sharp enough, united scored their chances. Lets see how they do away from home. So far they beat us Spuds and Chavs but these games were at home. It will be a matter of time before the wheels come off. Every team goes through a bad patch ours is still on going but we will turn it around.

    we have a better keeper a better left back and a better centre back in Vermaelen. Gibbs and Santos will fight it out .
    we played really well against Blackburn scored goals had more possession but sadly that cannot be said about our defence, this team is very good going forward, but a winning team has to be almost perfect in every departement. A first team of Sagna Kos Vermalen GIbbs
    Song Wilshere, Arteta Ramsey Arshavin, RVP Gervinho and Walcott will beat anyone. We’ll turn it around, no doubt.

  304. 1LC ,nice one mate,That’s the stuff we need .I am doffing my hat to you as I speak.

  305. 1lc, I am sure that first team would if they let us play all 12 of the outfield players you mention!

  306. Are we the best team in the league? No. Not by some distance.

    Is it poor business practice to look to the best and try emulate certain aspects they do terribly well??

    Well, considering we have replicated Barcas business model (and used handy European Employment laws to steal thier players) you’d think some on here would be more receptive for domestic lessons of improvement.

    Oh well. We are moving in the right direction guys! This team is awesome. If we just keep on doing exactly the same thing which we have done for last 3 years- albeit with less talented personal – then it’s bound to deliver.

  307. Luke ,what happened to getting behind the team once the season started?
    Seems you soon revert to type.Shame I was fond of the new Luke.Out of interest if(when)
    City win it and are “the best” should we learn from their wonderful model?

  308. Limestone if you notice there seems to be coma’s missing between two players twice .I would take that to mean “one of”perhaps.
    Still better to poke fun egh?

  309. You know we could also follow Manure’s model. I’ve figured out their strategy.

    Part 1- Long diagonal balls. Lots of them.

    Part 2- People sprint into the box.

    Part 3- Wayne Pooney.

  310. Part 4 Friendly referee’s

  311. Thanks for picking up the slack George.

  312. Where are all the Septics at?

  313. Jibber's tree lights

    Over in the US ya turkey.

  314. Jabba,

    Still issuing the same few sentences in different orders, I see. I must admit that you are the strangest alleged ‘gooner’ (as opposed to the playing ‘gunners’) to frequent this site. Fickle is one of the terms that springs to mind whenever you comment.

    Why bother?

  315. Jabba @ 10:40 pm last night,

    Any credibility that you might have sought was surely dented by that complete fabricated foolishness!

    Surely

  316. there’s no quick fix to all the problems Arsenal is facing now. I see the frailty as a lack of self believe, confidence, etc. etc. But instead of asking the head of AW, please please any of you who call yourself true supporters of the team, of the club, starting tomorrow and during each and every game Arsenals plays, give them a thunderous standing ovation that they can’t possibly miss noticing, cheer them on , let them know you still care and believe. Eventually support has to come from you, and what little confidence and the ‘will’, the ‘spirit’ has to be a gift you can give, give it generously and let the real game begins again. I can assure you THAT is what is needed right NOW. Nothing more.

  317. ——Fabs——
    Jenk-Mert-Miquel-Gibbs
    AOC-Frimp-LeCoq-Ryo
    —-Park———–
    ——–Chamakh—-

    Subs – Aluminium, Arsha, Theo, Song, Kos, Yossi

  318. I desperately need some sort of link for the Carling Cup match…it is not being televised naywhere here in the US that I am aware of. Any help would be much appreciated…my live game pirating skills are a bit rusty.

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