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Arsène Ban Another Arsenal Farce & More

Arsène would have been looking for a positive start to the week, a rousing beginning to raise morale for two tough away trips. It sums up his luck that before lunchtime most of his plans were swept away in a footballing sandstorm.

Per Mertesacker got the ball rolling by stating that the only one who knows where he will be playing this season is himself, and that is in Bremen. The German defender must be a nightmare client for his Mr20%, all that hard work in keeping contact with other clubs has been to no avail. Worse still, his client didn’t even tell him. Hard life, isn’t it.

The day turned for the worse when Wenger received a two-match ban from Uefa following his indiscretion in transgressing against his ban for being indiscreet with his opinions. This new ban trebled meant that a one match ban extended to three and highlighted the lunacy of Uefa. It is now more of a serious offence to flout a ban than it is to be, ahem, honest with your opinions of a referee. Next time Arsène is upset with an official, a swift uppercut would land him a three-match ban straight away and stop this faffing around with appeals. At least then we would all know where we stood before the season started.

The club has said it will appeal against this further punishment. Admirable though their defence of the manager is, why bother?

The ban is surprising and at the same time expected. Arsenal and Arsène know that media work is a central part of the Champions League, something upon which Uefa has always placed great emphasis. Wenger made a crucial misjudgment in unilaterally extending his ban to the media conferences, creating further tension in the situation. This was then compounded by the club’s failure to send Pat Rice in his place. Little wonder that Uefa have come down on Wenger like a ton of bricks.

Uefa are impotent when it comes to dealing with most issues but if any attempt to undermine theirs, or the referee’s, authority takes place, the punishments are swift and disproportionate.

There is no conspiracy theory. I find it amusing when people claim Uefa would prefer an Italian club to go through. They would not. Globally, English clubs are more attractive to the sponsors than their Italian counterparts, especially in the current economic climate. If anything, Arsenal should be favoured in this conspiracy. Platini may dislike Wenger but he knows the value of the sponsors pound, which is infinitely more important than personal antipathy.

What makes this so pointless is the schoolboy error in the first place. Wenger has enough form with the football authorities for both the club and manager to be well aware that he could not communicate with the bench. The story that there had been confusion arising following a pre-match briefing with a Uefa delegate does not hold water. If the club were uncertain, they would have contacted Uefa HQ to clarify the situation.

It was no surprise to anyone other than Arsenal that Sky chose to follow Wenger with a camera for the Udinese game. They have cameras pointed at the managers during most matches anyway; simply changing the angle to the stand is no hardship. It was an excuse concocted once the full extent of Sky’s coverage became apparent.

As much as I dislike Uefa and Murdoch’s empire, the blame for this farce sits squarely and firmly at Arsenal’s doorstep. And it is the team that suffer. Ahead of an important match, Wenger is missing from the dressing room. It is not a minor omission. For whilst there has been important work done beforehand, the manager cannot make any minor adjustments to tactics in the final minutes. This result is all down to the players and Pat Rice.

For their efforts, Arsenal will be opening the piggy bank and sending Uefa €10k in white fivers to pay off their fine. Still, if Arsène doesn’t make the trip that will £26 saved in flights (although including taxes and fees, that rises to £2,827.46). You have to question whether it was worth it in the first place, the blank expression on Pat Rice’s face suggested that the message was lost in Chinese Whispers each time Boro phoned down the orders.

Team news is little different from the weekend. The squad received the boost of Jack Wilshere training last week and things improved further with Sebastien Squillaci’s calf-knack not improving. Perhaps he and Arsène could have a barbecue, share a few Special Brews, chill out and watch the game on ITV.

Pat could always pretend it is his wife on the phone when Arsene calls with instructions. “No darling, I haven’t forgotten that I need to pick up some spaghetti on the way home” or “I don’t know how I got here. I turned left at Hangar Lane and the next thing I know, I’m in Udine”, when any officials are nearby, writing down a shopping list that is a coded tactical message. Pat, just remember that 2 kilos of Maris Piper is code for “Tell Arshavin to get his lazy arse into gear” and not something to pick up in Asda on the way home.

And to top Wenger’s day off, Howard Webb is to referee for Sunday’s encounter with Manchester United. At least we don’t have to wonder if the referee was incompetent or biased in United’s favour…

‘til Tomorrow.

FC Porto Preview

Porto arrive at The Emirates, defending a one-goal advantage, on the back of a poor record when visiting London. The Portuguese champions have not won on their last six visits, indeed losing them all. If Arsenal are to progress that record must continue. It is the night when comic pundit Ian Wright ‘feared‘ that Arsenal’s season would be over. Perhaps he should return to the company of Fozzy and Kermit.

They will have to achieve that victory without Cesc Fabregas. Losing your best player is disadvantageous but unlike previous seasons, Arsenal has depth in its squad to cover this loss. The likeliest replacement is Samir Nasri but any one of the Frenchman, Tomas Rosicky or even Andrey Arshavin can fulfil the playmaker role, other personnel can be shuffled to compensate for any shortcomings in their respective games.

With Nasri and Rosicky, it would be a more or less, like-for-like adjustment to the team; Arshavin would in truth probably require a third midfielder in the traditional sense to accommodate him centrally. Nasri though is in pole position having made an outstanding contribution to the victory over Burnley at the weekend.

Defensively, William Gallas is still ruled out and despite some initial misgivings on my part, Sol Campbell has returned to Arsenal providing a stable central defensive partnership with Thomas Vermaelen when they have played together, more assured than Mikael Silvestre in that pairing.

My doubts were over his age and what impact that would have on his abilities; Wenger had seen enough in training to warrant short-term cover for this season – and who knows, may be next as well – and it has, thus far, worked well, a moment of madness in the first leg aside. He will be playing this weekend with Gallas confirmed as missing the trip to Hull City as well.

Home form has not been an issue in this season’s tournament, nor has it been in recent seasons unless the opposition has been English. Porto have been amongst the victims but Nicklas Bendtner will need to be more ruthless with his opportunities than at the weekend. The real positive amongst all of the misses was that he did not shy away from putting himself into a position to miss time and again. Adding a cutting edge to even half of those chances out to see this tie buried come the final whistle.

Complacency though will be an enemy that Arsene has to counter. There were enough opportunities to finish the tie in the first half of the first leg. Porto were not tight defensively, allowing Arsenal time on the ball. Perhaps they will be different tonight but somehow that does not seem likely. Their domestic form is indifferent, trailing Benfica by eleven points is indicative of the change in their fortunes this season.

Arsene mentioned that practising penalties was not on the agenda, quietly confident that they will not be required with a 2-1 victory the only possible result which would necessitate such a decisive manner for a result. Defensively, Arsenal will need to be more streetwise than they have been at times and for that reason, I suspect Arsene will start with the same line-up in attack as at the weekend.

Arshavin has played around 90 minutes in the past week and Wenger will be conscious of not wanting to aggravate the Russian’s injury further. Rosicky on the left provides more defensive cover for Clichy although Arshavin does not slack in that area either.

Elsewhere, Alex Song should return to the fray, midway through a domestic suspension where I think he and Nasri will find Diaby for company. There have been no reports of an adverse reaction to his recent bout of knack and slotted in well when he replaced Fabregas at the weekend. Harsh though it is on Denilson, Diaby is a member of Arsene’s first choice triumverate in midfield.

Equally, Eboue has played well at right back but I expect Sagna to be there tonight. Sagna has been rotated more frequently in recent times and one wonders what sort of knock he is carrying since he has been pretty consistent when playing. Eboue is more flamboyant in attacking, Sagna more dependable.

I would expect Arsene to start with:

Almunia; Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy; Diaby, Song, Nasri; Walcott, Bendtner, Rosicky

If matters are not progressing as he would like, the options of Eduardo, Arshavin and Vela on the bench have enough firepower to solve any problems, these matches suiting the style of all three, perhaps more in the case of Vela than Premier League matches do.

A win is all that matters tonight, substance over style more important. I don’t care if the ball goes in off the referee’s backside from a freak deflection in the centre circle, as long as Arsenal has the higher aggregate score. The way the first leg went, perhaps that is the lucky refereeing intervention we are due.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow

Gazidis On Wenger & Arsenal

Ivan Gazidis re-affirmed the board’s desire to retain the services of Arsene when his current contract ends, leaving an open interpretation as to whether or not negotiations have taken place:

It’s very low key and it will get done at the right time.

Lest anyone doubt why the board are keen to keep the manager,

I think it is very difficult to encapsulate in any succinct way what Arsène Wenger has done for this club,” says Gazidis.

His discipline and his vision are why we are in a new stadium and why we are redefining the way the game can be played. He has created a young squad that has a tremendous future without having the resources that some other teams have.

Those achievements are down to Arsène’s sense of responsibility not to himself but to the club. When he interviewed for the job, Danny Fiszman asked him what are your ambitions for the club? Arsène said: ‘That when I leave, it will be in a better state than when I arrived.’

I think Arsène has accomplished that but I also think his legacy is not written yet. There’s no diminishment in his passion, competitive edge or ambition. Arsène’s work is not finished.

Based on some commentary when results were not going the right way, you could be forgiven for believing that this is not the case. Following the home and way defeats to Chelsea, petulance was the order of the day, outright castigation of the manager without looking at the longer-term view, one that should have shown that it was possible for Arsenal to be top this weekend.

It mirrored the absurd observations which followed the release of the club’s financial results for the first six months of their current financial year. Those who crave success on the pitch portray themselves as being at odds with the board, quickly forgetting that this aspiration is the same as those they crassly castigate:

The ultimate aspiration is not to produce a wonderful business model, the reason we adhere to those principles is so that we can preserve the values of the club and create the foundation on which we can deliver success on the pitch.

The difference between the viewpoints is that one is sustainable, the other pathetic ramblings, building a house of cards which would collapse in the slightest of chill winds. Half a century ago, Arsenal emerged from World War II, stumbling into a new era with a crumbling stadium and essentially bankrupt. Those who decry the board should remember that some have ties with the club which means they do not forget the problems this caused, underlining why in this age they are determined not to allow it to recur.

Elsewhere, Gazidis said,

The fundamental issue that we all face is how do we have the courage and the fortitude to control our spending in a fairly irrational environment. If you can manage that there’s no reason why anybody in the end can’t have a long term stable business in the end.

This ties in with the current moves within the world game to stabilise clubs financial standings, driven by Uefa’s contempt for the power wielded by the major European outfits. The big spending craved is not going to happen. Arsenal’s board believes it has two duties: ensuring that the club is fit to survive off the pitch and giving the manager the ‘tools’ to build squads who can deliver silverware,

After the days of the money culture, I think people are looking for something more meaningful in their lives.

I think a football club is a community of shared values. Our ultimate objective has to be to win trophies – it’s critical – but equally critical to us is to do it in a way that will make our fans and community proud.

Personally, I find it extraordinarily sad that a number of people have only become proud of being Arsenal fans since Saturday. That is a damning indictment of them. Arsenal deserves better.

’til Tomorrow.

Stoke City Preview: Arsenal Must Rule Britannia

Arsenal return to the scene of the crime this afternoon, DCI Arsene Wenger must use the evidence of the recent FA Cup defeat to provide the answers that will bring about a victory for the first time in the Britannia Stadium. The match may not be as intense, the outcome no less important to the eventual winners as Arsenal will know whether or not it is an opportunity to close the gap on Chelsea, by the time kick-off comes.

Wenger has key players missing but the line-up this afternoon will be stronger than that which took the pitch in January’s encounter. Diaby, Gallas and Arshavin are missing, failing to recover from their injuries, set to return next weekend. Stoke had a tough FA Cup replay in midweek but any fatigue will be compensated by the victory, comfortable as it unfolded. They will hold few surprises for Arsenal, their style of play does not alter, it is up to the visitors to counter this.

A performance which replicates the win at The Reebok ought to do the trick. Battling with their opponents, imposing the passing game on them and retaining possession. Stoke are not one-dimensional, merely capitalising on their strengths. If they changed their style to that of Arsenal, they would be buried before half-time.

The Arsenal back four will be crucial this afternoon. They must cut the width that allows Stoke to put crosses into the box and hold a steady line if it does happen, not get dragged out of position, permitting space for wide players or central strikers. Almunia has to ‘own’ his penalty area, be assertive in coming for crosses or set plays, Vermaelen and Campbell must attack the ball rather than waiting for it, hesitancy which led to Stoke opening the scoring in the FA Cup.

Equally, the midfield must be aware of the challenges for winning the ball if it is not cleared in the first instance. As much as Stoke capitalise on Delap’s throws, their goals come in equal measure from a failure of defenders to clear the ball properly.

For that reason, I think it will be a surprise if Eboue does not start this afternoon ahead of Walcott. Theo’s saving grace for this fixture will be as a pacey outlet to stretch Stoke on the counter-attack although Eboue is capable of providing that. If the Ivorian plays, it allows Cesc more attacking licence; Denilson, Song and Eboue provides a solid cover for the back four but they must concentrate in this aspect, tracking back diligently, a folly of youth on the Brazilian’s part at times.

That side of their game should not overshadow how they contribute to the side in attack, Denilson’s passing is good, like Song happy to play a simple ball to retain possession rather than cheaply ceding it. Perhaps he should score more goals; his shooting from range is better than his goal return suggests, Everton will attest to that. No doubt this will bring forth a spew of complaints that Denilson is not good enough for Arsenal; get over it, he is.

The line-up I suspect will start is:

Almunia; Sagna, Campbell, Vermaelen, Clichy; Eboue, Song, Denilson; Fabregas, Nasri, Bendtner

With a bench of:

Fabianski, Silvestre, Ramsey, Rosicky, Eduardo, Walcott, Traore

The club’s half-year results were released against a backdrop of Portsmouth’s administration and UEFA reporting on debt levels in football. There were some stunningly ill-informed comments about the state of the finances, concepts which were dubious in their rationale and focussing too much on the fact that £100m was in the bank on 30th November, leading to more criticism – some of which was just for the sake of it – over the fact that Wenger did not spend half of that on players in the January transfer window.

Uefa makes no bones about the fact that clubs are going to be heavily scrutinised over their finances and licences refused, meaning participation in the Champions and Europa Leagues will not happen. Arsenal has to ensure the longevity of the club and is following a path that ensures that whilst competing for trophies.

Few questioning the debt pay down are probably even aware that Abramovich recently enhanced Chelsea’s balance sheet by converting some of his debt to equity, a sign that clubs are acutely aware of the intent of Uefa to enforce their rules for once. If they were aware of it and still felt the need to make crass observations, shame on them for their irresponsibility and thank God they have no say in running Arsenal.

Enjoy the match wherever you are watching it. ’til Tomorrow.

Platini Misses The Point Again

Michel Platini is once more offering a charm offensive, seeking to make himself Monsieur Popular in his native country and with other bleeding hearts on the continent. Not so much charm directed at Arsenal, definitely offensive. According a Daily Telegraph, the erstwhile chief of UEFA has once more hit out at Arsene Wenger’s ignorance of passports when stockpiling talented youngsters in the Academy.

Problematically for Platini, he keeps rattling on about Cesc:

“You have talent in England – it’s up to you not to buy always the best 13-14 young players in Europe,” said Platini, nodding at mention of Arsène Wenger’s recruitment of Cesc Fàbregas from Barcelona’s academy.

Is it not time he took his head out of the sand and looked at the behaviour of suitors at all levels of the game? Barcelona’s manipulation of the media is open for all to see, frequently from the upper echelons of the Camp Nou, spreading downwards like a viral infection throughout the club.

There is an element of truth in what Platini says, protection and help needed by the youngsters preventing their exploitation yet in choosing Arsenal he misses the point somewhat. The Academy is bringing through significant numbers of English players at the same time, a distinctly different proposition to the public perception created by his ill-informed nonsense:

I am not in favour of the Arsenal system. The more English youth players you have in your team, the better it is for your football and popularity of your game. Perhaps, in the future with Fifa rules on the transfer of minors, you have to work with English youth. Why can’t the English play for Arsenal? They have to come to France to play.

Sorry who goes to France to play? The English? If he is aware of the numerous English players at French clubs, he had better be on the case of those in La Ligue whipping the cream of English talent. Unfortunately for Platini, the youngsters at Arsenal are very well paid. Extraordinarily so by comparison to those at other Premier League clubs. Exploitation? It appears to happen only when agents get their claws into players and their contracts, taking 20% for doing a job that a solicitor or accountant would do for a fraction of the cost.

Erroneously, Platini does not note the progress of Gibbs, Wilshere and others through the junior international ranks, citing only those brought into the club. The question he rightly raises though is whether or not English clubs have an obligation to nuture English talent. They do in some respects but they have a greater responsibility to themselves.

There is a balance to be struck. If football loses popularity, it is not going to be because of England. The clubs are doing a fine job of pricing themselves out of the leisure market through the cost of tickets. Exorbitant wages have to be paid for somehow and whilst broadcast revenues contribute, the supporter pays through the pocket. UEFA and FIFA would do better to direct their energies into making a global salary cap work and having the balls to punish the clubs which breach those rules harshly, no matter their status in the game. Too often privilege is bought though reputation.

Platini believes that bringing through English talent will make the game more popular here. He can start the process by ordering the FA to remove their protectionist policy on geography. As Wenger says, he can sign someone from Africa but not from Salford. Ludicrous and exposing the amateur nature of administration in a professional sport. Little wonder that club owners and executives rail constantly against the governing bodies and their collective ineptitude.

The suitability of the myriad of governing bodies controlling the amateur and professional games is exposed time and again. Surely the time has come for administrators to split the two bodies, allowing each to flourish within their own environments. Decisions taken at the highest levels, such as extra officials, have little relevance to those on Hackney Marshes; they have enough trouble getting officials as it is, let alone an extra couple each week.

The best service Platini, Blatter, Scudamore and co can do is to remain silent on subjects about which they have clearly not thought through. Unfortunately, their ego’s prevent them from doing so. In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

’til Tomorrow.

One Match, One Injury, In FIFAs World Cup Circus

International football wreaked its havoc over the Arsenal squad within 45 minutes last night. Theo Walcott’s dead leg an ominous warning for the coming five days, an injury rate of 1 out of the 3 Arsenal players involved would mean 7 of the 20 called up coming back with knacks of varying kinds. Hangovers really kill the positive mood that the Engand Under-21s match brought about. A night Kieran Gibbs will want to remember and forget in equal measure I suspect with his goal and own goal the thing of sweet dreams and nightmares.  Still three Arsenal players in the side, one goal and two assists is a decent return.

Having been faced with a potentially weakened World Cup, FIFA has come up with its usual fudge to ensure that large television markets are not devalued by a failure of the major footballing nations to qualify. Ten European countries will play off in November for the five remaining places that the continent is entitled to fill in South Africa. Faced with the nightmare scenario of France, Germany / Russia, Portugal and potentially Italy – albeit very unlikely in their case, being paired against each other, FIFA has decided that for the first time, the play-offs will be seeded.

That the Portuguese are hell bent on not even reaching that stage is beyond FIFA’s control for the time being. Equally, they will be looking at the Turks in Brussels today probably hoping that a nation which has done well internationally in recent times, recovers an improbable deficit to qualify. It should be no surprise that FIFA has taken this route since they have for a number of tournaments done their level best to ensure five South American countries are represented in the finals by making the fifth placed side play-off against an Oceanic nation.

A quick glance down the European and African tables suggest that of those who represent their countries, Thomas Vermaelen and Lukasz Fabianski seem likely to be the only ones who sit at home during the summer. Nasri, Diaby, Sagna, Gallas and Clichy have real prospects of going to South Africa thanks to FIFAs shenanigans, a route that Rosicky will no doubt be looking to follow since the Czech’s finish their qualifiers with two straightforward home games.

Senderos and possibly Djourou are almost there whilst Bendtner will probably be booking his place alongside van Persie, Walcott and Cesc who know that their season won’t end until June / July. Arshavin will join them this week if the Russians take six points, likewise Carlos Vela. In the African groups, a win today for Cameron will stand them in good stead whilst Eboue is assured of a busy summer if the Ivorians take their expected three points in Malawi.

It would mean that Arsenal will be one of the most represented clubs in South Africa, certainly the most globally diverse. To the chagrin of FIFA / UEFA, a large number of those will qualify as ‘homegrown’ players. No matter how hard the governing bodies try to impose nationality quotas on the clubs, it is an inescapable fact that football is a worldwide business and the process of importing talent is irreversible. Arsenal benefit hugely from that and with a healthy mixture of native and foreign players at the Academy, perhaps this is the model that UEFA / FIFA should be looking at. Rather than a blanket ban on youth transfers or enticements, the imposition of a quota system would result in far more effective nuturing of native talent.

That, couple with a relaxation of the FA rule on 90 minutes travelling time, would ensure that, for example, 66% of any Academy was filled with local players and the remainder can be globally sourced. That type of arrangement would ensure that restrictions further up the professional game were strictly adhered to whilst the best players were given access to the best clubs to continue to improve the skills of future professional generations.

A simplistic approach but one that the draconian and politically populist leaders of football would never agree for one reason. It is a practical resolution to their perceived problem rather than being a sop to the rampaging ego’s of Platini and Blatter.

’til Tomorrow.

Hill-Wood Puts The World To Rights

In the build-up to Saturday’s match at Fulham, Peter Hill-Wood gave an interview with ESPN explaining the club’s view on a wide range of subjects. An interesting insight that raised as many questions as it did answers.

Speaking about the much reported issue of quotas, PHW observed:

Arsenal voted for it, but we are against it…We voted in favour of the quotas because it appeared that is what the majority of the clubs wanted and we went along with it. We feel that we should support the majority, rather than rebel against them. To be perfectly truthful, I don’t anticipate that the quota system will be particularly harmful to any of the clubs.

It is a curious stance to take, supporting the majority rather than registering an objection by voting against it. There is no hint of rebellion in doing so but tacit approval is never going to achieve anything. The board may feel that registering disapproval a similar outcome prevails. Perhaps they were concerned about negative press; they are on the receiving end of that anyway, making the scenario hard to see where the benefit is?

Intriguingly, PHW did not believe the plan to be worthwhile:

I don’t actually think it is achieving a great deal.

You wonder if Arsenal’s was the casting vote? In an industry notorious for vested self-interest, why would Arsenal simply go along with something? The suspicion is that this is a back-door way of controlling the excessive spending of clubs such as Chelsea, Manchester United and City, forcing them into investment in young players and the revitalising the failing Academy system.

The quota system is likely to be another nail in the coffin of the bigger clubs loaning their youngsters out. Wenger indicated that he is reluctant to let any of his charges go to the Championship following Mannone’s disasterous spell at Barnsley:

I think [Mannone,] was too young and that’s why I am a bit more cautious now with giving our foreign players out on loan when they are very young, because in England, in the Championship, you are under big pressure.

Talking about finances, Hill-Wood raised the usual criticism of poorly run clubs. Spending more than you generate is a simple objective and revenues are equally simple to manipulate. All that has to happen is that the owners overpay for tickets for example, and the rule becomes meaningless. That also allows clubs to rebalance their wages / revenue ratio, long held as a measure of financial prudence.

It is an issue Hill-Wood is aware of, suggesting that he believes clubs are already looking for routes to bend any new regulations:

in the final analysis, it is about the Premier League putting into place controls that are absolutely right, otherwise they would lead to all sorts of problems. Laws can have unintentional consequences. It might sound like a good idea to have financial controls, but they must be very carefully thought out to make them work. They could end up doing more harm than good if people are only interested in getting round them. That is why I advocate self discipline.

It is as he said, a forlorn hope for that to happen. Football is about winning and clubs have a long history of using fair means or foul to achieve those ends. The issue that the governing bodies should be more concerned about is what happens when investors tire of their new toys and leave clubs teetering on the verge of oblivion.

Hill-Wood adopted his best Scott Walker pose and observed that there were No Regrets about selling any player. A signal of the confidence in the manager is given:

He doesn’t always tell you, i.e. the press, or even me exactly why he is selling them, he might not always give me the reason, but we always back his judgement.

That is a curious statement in some respects. It begs the question as to what PHW is actually asking the manager. Surely as a directors, they would ask for some sort of explanation as to why a player is being sold or if a replacement is required? Whilst the confidence that they have in the manager is exemplary, the board should be questioning decisions for no other reason that to be sure Wenger is certain in his own mind.

The confidence they have is highlighted by the fact that he wants Wenger to stay beyond 2011. I wonder if any complacency on the board’s part was shaken this summer? There is no doubt that the recognition of the rewards of employing Wenger are appreciated but the stick with which it is being used to beat the club at the moment are not lost either:

The trouble is that you can be a victim of your own success. We have set the bar so high, and expectations have risen even higher. But we have now set the bar high in terms of our performances. Other people out there want to play the way Arsenal do. Not easy, not always possible.

The solace found in Arsenal not being unique – Liverpool were held up as an example – is not going to wash with those impatient for success. The only cure for their ills is silverware, patience a virtue sadly lacking.

’til Tomorrow.

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