Disappointed? Yes. Despondent? No. Denigrating? Never.

I had a feeling Arsenal won’t win the Carling Cup final. I said that before the game. I never expected Arsenal to get past Messi in the Champions League, certainly not without Walcott. And I didn’t have high hopes from the FA Cup game as it was an away game to Old Trafford, a ground where Arsenal don’t score too many goals.

Despite that the exit from three competitions and the manner of some of those defeats left me really disappointed. I didn’t expect someone as good as Szczesny to hand the cup over to Birmingham. I didn’t expect the ref to kill the game in the manner he did at the Camp Nou. And while over the years Wenger has struggled against Ferguson at the tactical level, I expected a better performance at Old Trafford.

The disappointment was worsened by some of the asinine vitriol on the net. I know this is not a popular opinion right now but I’m not despondent about Arsenal’s squad or our chances for the League. Actually I’m quite happy with the squad as a number of issues from the past have been addressed. That doesn’t mean it is perfect. Those who have read this blog regularly will know there are plenty of issues that I’ve talked about and continue to discuss. But the key point is that Arsenal are not miles behind any other English club. If fact, they are miles ahead of most.

Over the last couple of years of blogging I have realized there are periods when the Misery Brigade will be out in full force. There can be no rational discussion with them at that time. That doesn’t mean people don’t have a right to question or criticize the manager but there has to be a degree of consistency and perspective in what is said.

For instance, somewhere in the earlier part of the season Clichy-bashing was the in thing for the doom mongers. They wanted Gibbs to start ahead of the Frenchman. After the youngster’s performances in the last few games, in stark contrast with the solidity shown by Clichy, I’d love to see someone make that claim with a straight face.

Last season there were plenty of commentators on the internet who criticized Walcott and even said Nasri doesn’t offer much. If you have a short memory you might want to revisit the past to read those opinions. This season those two have suddenly become irreplaceable!

The same thing can be said about Goalkeepers. In the summer everyone was going crazy about the need to sign a Keeper. But if you look at the performances across the whole season, Arsenal Keepers have probably been more consistent than any other. Reina has certainly made more mistakes than all three Arsenal Keepers combined. What happened against Birmingham could have happened to anyone in any game. Just because it happened in the final with two minutes to go doesn’t mean much. Van der Saar conceded at the near post from a toe-poke in a Champions League final. It happens.

After their performances this season I honestly cannot see how someone can complain about Szczesny and Fabianski. Even Almunia deserves a great deal of credit for his displays against Barcelona and United despite all the flak he has received. Why don’t people appreciate his professionalism and mentality? And what can one do about injuries? If Fabianski and Szczesny can get injured, is there any guarantee that a new singing would not have been injured? Would Szczesny have signed a new deal if Arsenal had signed a new keeper? That doesn’t take anything away from some issues that have been there in goal, especially last season, but it does show the issue is a lot more complex.

Then there is the case of Koscielny. I don’t know how anyone who actually watches the football can complain about the Frenchman. Laurent Blanc certainly isn’t complaining. Some people don’t realize the handicap of playing for Arsenal. For instance, watch the second booking Koscielny got against Liverpool. It was extremely harsh. But there are fans criticizing the player for that. Then watch how David Luiz got away with some shockers against United. Do you honestly think Luiz would have gotten away with those challenges as an Arsenal player? Or look at the penalties conceded by Koscielny and then the challenges by the likes of Neville, Vidic, or Rafael in the penalty box. Do you really think anyone at Arsenal can get away with those kinds of fouls?

I remember how many doom mongers wrote Vermaelen off last season when he was signed just because of his height and weight. Now the same people talk of the Belgian as a world class defender. They’ve forgotten the details. Vermaelen actually made a lot more mistakes in his first season than Koscielny has done so far this year. That doesn’t make TV5 a poor defender it just shows that Koscielny has been doing well as he has been adapting to a new league at a rapid rate.

What I find amusing is that people think buying big will solve everything. Some assume buying one or two players will do the trick. Others want to offload 7 or 8 players and make wholesale changes.

If you actually think about it, that is what Tottenham have done. They’ve spent around £300M pounds gross and over £130M net in the last 8 years. That has led to constant buying and selling, no stability, one Carling Cup and one top four position.

Similarly, this is not the first year that City have spent big. They’ve been spending for four years now. But what have they won?

Of course, it is not a black and white situation. Sometimes buying works and sometimes it doesn’t. One certainty is that making 7 or 8 changes to the squad rarely works.

There are those who want Arsenal to buy expensive, experienced proven internationals. Often these are the same people criticizing the likes of Arshavin.

Some blog writers and fans can’t tolerate a couple of lines of criticism but they feel qualified to talk about a winning mentality. How many players do Arsenal need to buy to get a winning mentality? One, two, half a dozen? Last season the club had a leader like Sol Campbell and even Vermaelen was talked about as a leader. But it didn’t affect the result. So two leaders doesn’t seem to be enough. Someone can ask how many leaders has Man City bought and where has it taken them? Losing against the likes of Lech Poznan and Dynamo Kiev in the Europa League after all that money spent!

Criticism is easy. Spewing venom mindlessly is even easier. There is no accountability. Today one can launch a scathing attack on a particular player. After a few weeks the target will change as someone else drops his form. The internet is a fast moving place and few have the time or memory space to remember how tunes have changed over time.

At the start of the season many said Arsenal will finish outside the top 4 if Wenger doesn’t buy a Keeper. Where are these people now? Instead of acknowledging that they were completely wrong these people have now changed the targets of their attack to suit the flavour of the week/month.

Another insanely amusing argument is that it’s the same story for the last six years. As a matter of fact, apart from the moaning fans, it’s not the same story.

In 05/06, it was Lehmann who was sent off and Henry who missed a crucial chance. Let me repeat it, Henry who missed the chance not Bendtner. It was experienced, world class internationals with a winning mentality that cost Arsenal the trophy.

In 07/08, Arsenal were running away with the league title. A horrendous tackle and a shocking, biased refereeing decision led to a meltdown. Once again it was Gallas, a proven international with a lot of trophies, who lost the plot. As we saw last season at Stoke, the players have learnt from that and responded magnificently to a similar situation.

In 08/09, it was Adebayor who flopped and it was also the year when injuries hit hard. Now If Adebayor had scored his 30 odd goals at another club in 07-08 and Arsene had signed him for big money in 08, would it have changed anything?

This season Arsenal have shown noteworthy improvement in performances against Chelsea and City. Again that is something that wasn’t there in the last couple of years.

The end result over six years is the same and I can relate to anyone who is frustrated, angry, or disappointed. But that does not mean it’s the same story. That would be the case only if one is talking like the emperor of trivialization. Over the years the club has faced serious challenges and has done well to overcome most. It’s not been enough and there is certainly an argument that it could have been better. There is no denying that. But the benefit of hindsight is a wonderful thing.

I guess that is the key word – trivialization. That is where most fans lose the plot, not the manager. Of course, Wenger has his faults and weaknesses but that doesn’t justify the excessive vilification. Perhaps it’s more a reflection of the helplessness and hopelessness in some fans’ lives rather than an actual opinion based on objective reason.

Anyway, as I said, I’m not trying to reason with anyone nor am I trying to change anyone’s opinions. If you want to be miserable, it’s your life and your choice.

One thing you might want to remember is that even when Wenger goes, he’s most likely to pick his successor. So don’t dream of drastic changes. It will only lead to further suffering. If that doesn’t suit you stop watching, cancel your ticket, do whatever you think is right. I don’t have any issues with individual opinions or decisions. Those who think supporting the team is the right thing to do have my full backing. There are some big games still to come and Gooners have a chance to show they aren’t mentally lacking.

127 Responses to Disappointed? Yes. Despondent? No. Denigrating? Never.

  1. w12mcee says:

    the anti-wenger mob have cornered me on a couple blogs but i came out swinging

    • xx says:

      Arsene Wenger should go! If Arsenal was a truly great club, think: Real, Barca, AC Milan, ManU, Bayern, Juve, Liverpool, or Inter, Wenger would be history. Only second class clubs like Arsenal can accept this mediocrity. Wenger will not hold a “job for life” at any other club should he leave Arsenal. He has too many weaknesses: poor defensive coordination, poor choice of captains, a blind spot for goalkeepers, poor motivation capabilities, inability to discpline players, poor training methods, think all the injuries, too much reliance on foreign players, think difference in attitude between Jack Wilshere and the foreign losers clowning around him. Wenger should go back to Monaco and manage them in the French second division

      • johnny says:

        AC Milan is a great club…Then Tottenham is a HUGE club, because they beat Milan… Btw, Pires, Vieira, Henry, Ljungberg, Flamini, Bergkamp, fucking foreigners, right?

      • Harki gigli says:

        this is definitely a scum supporter who thinks his SCUM team is better than Arsenal just because they qualified for the EU champs quater-finals. i’m surprised you did not mention SCUM team in your list. Crawl back to your little Scum hole and enjoy it while it last.

    • Agbodji Daniel Kolawole says:

      For the first time since I have been reading fans’ opinions, I think this article has been the best! It has said it all! Let everyone who feels he is no longer comfortable with the way things are with Arsenal right now look for other teams to support. What is the essence of every team spending big and at the end of each season, only one team wins the league, only one team wins the carling cup, only one team wins the FA Cup and only one team wins the Champions League!

  2. Domhuaille MacMathghamhna says:

    Great article Desi gunner..says it all! Arsenal have too many typically cynical,whining, plastic fanboys who feel that the act of watching Arsenal on ITV, without ever going to a live game, justifies their moaning about not winning a trophy in 5 years.
    The season has 10 games remaining and that is a lifetime in Football terms so we will see whether an injury-riddled Arsenal can resurrect from the ashes and win the EPL. If that happens, our doom and gloom brigade will find something else to whine about.

  3. w12mcee says:

    i’ve been thinking, will A.W recall kyle bartley, maybe he should. it would hurt rangers as he’s seems to have become an important player for them in just a few games.

    • richie says:

      Good idea I’ve been calling for AW to promote Kyle B from before he was loaned to Rangers. CD’s CH’s come in pairs, Kosh n Squilla as a partnership doesn’t work. I think we now need KB because with 10 left if its Kosh n Squilla we’ve got big problems.

    • desigunner says:

      I think it would be a good idea to have him back but not sure about the terms of the loan. Bartley certainly seems a bit more advanced in his development than Miquel. Will also depend on how Vermaelen is progressing.

      • colney says:

        Desi i don’t know if you read Untold, but if you do you are familiar with Walter Broekx. According to Walter he was on a trip to London and saw Vermaelen’s parents, they say his Achilles is fully healed but he’s having minor setbacks because he hasn’t played in a while. According to Walter Vermaelen could be back after the international break. He had a 2 week intensive rehab in Holland to get his fitness up to par.

  4. Ray says:

    Hi Desi Gunner

    It is good to accentuate the positive because it is not all gloom and doom. Youth development, entertaining football and balancing the books are all important and very admirable.

    However you post smells of accepting mediocrity. After 6 years and 0 out of a possible 24 trophies most Gooners don’t want to hear anymore EXCUSES about why we are not bring home trophies. Even in our trophy winning years we overcame injuries, suspensions, poor referees, bad luck etc.

    We can’t look back at the clubs below us and say ‘well we are doing better than them’. With that attitude we won’t win any trophies. Apart from Liverpool, none of those clubs have a history of regularly competing for honours.

    Granted it is difficult to compete with the spending power of Chelsea / Man Utd / Man City, but remember it is Wenger who sets the bar and fuels the expectations. Not too long ago he was crowing on about the quadruple – absolutely ridiculous!

    If AW was honest and admitted his team isn’t good enough to really compete and win trophies then Gooners wouldn’t be so hard on him or the team. He lies to us and refuses to fix the deficiencies in the team.

    I think the players have the same attitude that you have – It is someone elses fault that we are not winning: This is why they are not winners.

    I saw the game against Man Utd: They wanted it more than us, pure and simple. This shows that the Arsenal players may be professional footballers but their attitude certainly is not.

    I know this all seems harsh but if winning a trophy was a priority at Arsenal then honest, harsh words would be coming from the directors and the manager instead of just the fans.


    • Good points, Ray.
      First of all, I don’t think Wenger lied to us about winning a quadruple. What he said was that we would go for all competitions and they squad is big enough to do it. There is no lie in that, up to 3 weeks ago it never seemed like an impossibility.
      I also disagree with you about the players seeing losing as someone else’s fault. That is not true, I follow the first team players on twitter and that is NOT their attitude, although they sometimes complain about some ref’s decisions, they never dispute the fact that they could have done better.
      Against ManUtd, I think Fergie tactically outplayed Wenger again…and some horrible defending by our players (so you can say they, ManUtd, wanted it more – in a way…but I think some of our guys on the offensive gave it a go).
      I still believe we can the EPL, and as arseblog said….someone (or some players) have to really STEP UP.
      It is now obvious some players have to go this summer and we need a couple of new signings. AW has to show some flexibility.
      I’m still positive.

    • jenikcarl says:

      Ray, I am amazed more than anything else that you made the following quote:

      “If AW was honest and admitted his team isn’t good enough to really compete and win trophies then Gooners wouldn’t be so hard on him or the team. He lies to us and refuses to fix the deficiencies in the team. ”

      Do you really believe that if a manager comes out and says ‘My team isnt good enough to compete’ that the GOONERS wouldnt be so hard on him. They’d rip him apart to shreds. The manager would still be blamed for building a team incapable of winning. If perchance the team wins a trophy, he’d still be castigated for not winning all the trophies, not having another invincible run. All of us understand that fan expectations never thin out and they shouldn’t or the fans would never push a team to find its peak on the ground.

      Lets get objective here and see if Arsene has fixed the deficiencies the team has at the back 5. Havent we conceded the least goals behind ManU this season. What stat is more important than that.

      Regarding freak injuries onfield, nothing and i am sure you agree, nothing can be done in training.
      Tactically we were good in both our ManU and Barcelona games. If you are questioning our end product in the final third, I am in complete support. However the hue and cry to buy more players to build a Second squad is ridiculous. Would you, if you were a serious, senior professional be willing to sit on the bench as a backup. Calls to make wholesale changes to the bench dont really cut it. The second squad is precisely that, a second squad! Those are the dynamics of building a squad.

    • Rejoice says:

      When does not winning a trophy in 6 years translate to mediocrity? For sure you cannot call the players in City mediocre, yet they have been spending big in the last four years without a trophy.
      Arsenal is not a mediocre club.Arsenal is, in my opinion, the smartest club in modern football. Much as I feel disappointed that we have not won a thing these years,it is not a reason to vilify the manager or anyone.
      I agree that we have our problems (all clubs do)that needs to be address. This must be done gradually, not ruthlessly. In this respect, the manager is doing it gradually. There would be more changes next season.
      It is easy to criticize and vilify. We are not in the manager’s shoes, so we don’t where it pinches.

    • desigunner says:

      This is a post that talks about how most issues are more complicated than some doom mongers like to pretend. It isn’t about giving excuses or diverting the blame.

      I haven’t gone into the analysis of any problems in this post because I do it all the time, after almost each game. Mixing it with this would just be confusing.

      I do agree Wenger’s statements tend to raise the bar but I’d not call it lying. I don’t take those words seriously and I don’t see why others do, especially when they don’t believe in the team anyway. The manager can only talk to the media in a certain way. It’s silly to take those words literally and then go crazy over them.

      I completely disagree with your opinion about the United game. In fact, it offers the perfect example of the trivialization that I was talking about. Arsenal had 9 shots on target at United. Someone said it was the most by any team since 2003. I don’t think it was about wanting it more. There were problems and I wrote my opinion after the game but it certainly wasn’t about wanting it more.

      Some teams that have spent crazy money are not winning much. It doesn’t matter whether they have history or not. It is a strong argument against the assumption that spending can solve all problems. Spending helps but there is no guarantee … again it’s a complex issue and not as simple as sell X,Y,Z buy A,B,C.

      • Kushagra India says:

        9 shots on goal and still coming home empty handed how many times we have seen this.That was my whole point pal…

  5. kc says:

    Yeah!! Great stuff. I, like you, hates to read about so called fans spewing venom. Worst still are those who call for the manager’s head. I rather not win anything than we appoint someone who spends loads of money and endanger the longterm future of the club.
    If one cares to read the latest interim report, it goes on to say that football business is not all that profitable and without other income we will struggle to make a decnt profit. The days of the arabs coming with bucket loads of cash is gone, with the ongoing troubles in the middle east. MC would not be buyin anyone this summer let alone change their manager. They cannot afford to show their extravagance in the face of the ongoing crisis. Barca and Real are considered the biggest clubs in the world,but if one examine their balance sheet, it is terrible. They have to rely on the goodwill of the banks to survive.
    Arsenal, because of WEnger and the board is set in a very firm foundation.
    Arsenal forever.

    • w12mcee says:

      the only real club left (at the top level anyway). from a bankers point of view arsenal dont belong at the top, “who is this team? no big money transfers? no huge uncontrollable debt? no billionaire owners spending like theres no tomorrow?”

  6. w12mcee says:

    i wouldnt say wenger lied, he did believe the team are good enough and if the media ask if we can win four trophies saying anything but yes would be ridiculous, thats how they garantee getting headlines from a press conference. i ignore that ish.

  7. devilish_ht says:

    Wonderful , sensible and logical writing . This is among the top top Arsenal blogs imo.

  8. Mark from the Netherlands says:


    I agree with you. Good post, but surly you have to admit that players like Denilson, Diaby and Bendtner are not good enough. Up to this day Bendtner can’t control the ball. Denilson is lazy en Diaby is slow and is not intelligent enough to play our game.

  9. Ray says:

    @W12mcee – If Wenger really believed that this team was good enough to win trophies then he is living in cloud cuckoo land and I don’t believe he is! He is not stupid, he has known for years that his central defenders and goalkeeper are not good enough. Everyone else knows so why think he doesn’t. He just doesn’t want to spend any cash.

    He is stubborn. When our team play revolved around Denis Bergkamp he refused to buy another great playmaking second striker so we could really compete in Europe (non-flying Bergkamp couldn’t play). He refused to start Arshavin against Chelsea in the FA Cup 2 years ago because he wanted the younger players to show they could beat a big team!

    Come on guys – I think he has been a fantastic manager over the years for Arsenal but how long are we going to make excuses for him?

    To be honest if he had been able to keep Fabregas, Flamini, Hleb and Rosicky together then maybe his youth project may have succeeded but he lost 3 of those players (Rosicky longterm injury)in one summer and didn’t replace them with the necessary quality or experience.

    I have defended AW so many times but if he was honest and admitted winning trophies is not a priority at the club instead of trying to fool us, saying 4th place is like a trophy, then I would respect him more.

    • Arselicked says:

      Yes, you would respect him but then you would ask why the board of directors are keeping someone who builds a team that can’t win trophies.

      I know why even gooners put so much pressure on AW. He is not English, most of his players are not English and so they are considered mercenaries. As mercenaries they should win it all or f**k off.

      There was nothing great about Sol last season, he made a lot of mistake but nobody is talking about them, you ask for Lansbury but is he good enough?

      I still believe in AW and i think he should be given a chance to finish what he started. Secure financial safety of AFC and have sufficient string of reserves to call into whenever the need arises. Djourhou is injured but i’m not panicking because i like what i saw in Miquel and i trust Squillaci

      • leirbag says:

        AW doesn’t need new players many think. If ferguson was given the arsenal squad, he qould take another treble coz he knows how to plan his game. Wenger simply needs to use his players well. i thought we all knew that if we stepped up the tempo at barca, we would have won a second goal and therefore progressed to the next round

  10. bob says:

    Why no recalls? It seems from afar that Bartley could be a difference maker. Surely others are worth a shot in comparison to say, and I know this seems like piling on, but I think they have been liabilities when it matters – Denilson and, alas, Diaby. Does anyone think that recalls would mean that people won’t want to do business with Arsene in the future? Is that why he hesitates and sticks with relative failures like D&D? I mean does he have an ego-problem by sticking with people way too long, it seems, so that he’d have to admit failure on some projects? Arsene has to bear some accountability in their continual deployment in the same miserable midfield, witness of late. Anyway, perhaps each loan, etc., might have it’s own set of clauses – like no recalls – so that might explain it. I’m still on board with our side, but I must confess to looking forward with excitement for next season when the lads on loan are all with the team and maybe then the youth project sees its greater fruition. Go Gunners!

    • desigunner says:

      I think, just as Gibbs showed, the young players like Lansbury etc are not really ready. Denilson and Diaby are criticized a lot but the youngsters would make more mistakes.

      That said, I’d feel Bartley is a better option than Miquel so if it comes down to a situation where Miquel will have to start a Premiership game I’d much rather have Bartley.

  11. vignesh krishnan says:

    .Great article desi..positives of this season..1.we hav 3 very good defenders2.two very good goalies3.we hav the greatest midfield in Bpl and second only to barca4.we hav beaten barca damn it..unfortunate not to do it second time5.we are in title race..6.resolute performances against Chelsea and city..7.last but not least RVP is back and firing in all cylinders..fu£k the carling cup..we we will league winners..

  12. bob says:

    p.s. It also does seem that when Pat leaves it’s imperative that a defensive guru is brought it to complement Arsene’s relative inattention thereabouts. I’m for the man staying, but he’s as much a control-freak in his sophisticated way as Fergie is in his brutal regalia. I never thought I’d do such a comparison, but I think Arsene is brilliant but should be pragmatic enough to hire a complementary brilliant set of sideline eyes.

  13. bob says:

    C’mon mate, I love the side as much as you do, but blind love is not real love. We need a sober and loving look at the goings on, some light where there’s fire.

  14. Charlie says:

    Just read a blog about who should be sold in the summer on another blog Desi. 10 games to play, players need to be urged on to the finish post and these other blogs are slagging off the lads on the pitch. Better hope the players see it for the drivel it is and don’t bother to read it. Your blogs contain intelligent discussion, many are constantly filled with mindless whingers shouting “Wenger out”. How about some positivity from us fans for the Premiership run-in, the players will respond to it.

  15. richie says:

    Excellect article I love reading your blog because you articulate very well many of my own thoughts and fellings regarding our own often fickle supporters. I get really P’ed off with our own so called supporters. Whenever we lose its not any kind of indication of our true fans our true supporters when our own flood the web with Wenger out. Or the Denilson Diaby Song(in his time)Clichy and now Kosh haters its pathetic. Now Song is everybody’s favorite before he was rubbish. I remember when Djourou would never make it. Our own single out a player to hate making him flavour of the month. Everyone thought Chamakh was great when he came now he gets slated on the blogs, no one even bothers to think about details, like ever since RvP’s return Chamakh has not been played in his early season position. For our own he simply went from hero to zero overnight. The hey big spender mobs I don’t think have a leg to stand on anymore, they rare their silly heads less and less thankfully.

    • Rejoice says:

      Those whiners, critic, vilify-ers,etc, are not true fans. A fan is an “admirer, enthusiast, aficionado, aficionada, follower, devotee, supporter, buff, addict, fanatic” (Microsoft® Encarta® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.) Can these nagging lot call themselves devotees, addicts, admirers, etc of the club. I doubt.

    • desigunner says:

      Yeah Djourou is another great example. Even at the start of the season no one rated him. I too read some opinions saying he will never be good enough. Now the team can’t live without him. With Chamakh it’s the reverse. Gets pointless after a while.

  16. MSL says:

    a) I really really think this team needs an experienced player who has seen out some tough times and games. I am all for the collective constant learning thing but guidance is most necessary on the pitch. I feel Wenger can motivate during the breaks but sometimes players need something to look upto and that is found missing. This happens usually when we miss Cesc. I can see Wilshere taking up that position soon but someone needs to rally the players. It could be either by raising their level or becoming a focal point for a while till they settle. Call it what ever you will. Oh, Arshavin is an experienced player but by no means a leader. His shoulders slouch right after Denilson’s.

    Enough has been said about this by Lee Dixon and Petit. If you cannot agree with professionals then I cannot possibly say anything more.

    b) About winning mentality. In the FA cup we tried our best but our shoulders soon began to drop. There are a few things I really admire about Man Utd. One of them is how they come fighting everytime.There are a few reasons for this but the most important is SAF will kill them if they don’t give in their very best most of the time. Evidence: Nani crying in the Lpool shortly after conceding. He got injured of course but I guess he was mortified of what was to come.
    Arsenal try hard and try to make it work but again they lose faith for a while when something doesn’t click. Again, leaders on the pitch etc

    c)I can understand if a player is out of form but don’t expect me to feel sorry for the likes of Denilson. These guys are Pros. They get paid a ton of money to do what they do. Sometimes our players need to be shown some tough love.

    d) Whine about the cards and referees all you want. There is no concrete evidence to prove that for Arsenal as a club things are always lopsided for the worse. i am not going to worry about what Arseblog or whoever says what. An independent analysis is the only acceptable source.

    We did get a very very lucky decision against B’ham City. We didn’t convert our luck instead we screwed up, badly. Barca can also claim a penalty was denied to them in the first leg. It would have had an adverse affect of our psychological game. So, no, I don’t buy into the whole ,oh-poor-us we always get carded tirade.


  17. Thank you and again,thank you.

  18. ikl says:

    nice article…but
    Let me tell you what is the actual problem with arsenal. First of all, i agree that we have a fantastic starting 11, when they are all fit, we are amazing. But as soon as the some of them starts to get injured, its all downhill from there. And this is the SAME story every year, and arsene wenger never addresses it. Players will get injured and especially at arsenal, we are not unfamiliar with injuries. But our manager never addressed it.

    For example, at the defense, just look at the amounts of games Kosienly played vs the amount of games Smalling played at manutd. ferguson is slowly building Smalling, and probably will take over ferdinand one day. While I admire Arsene wenger for giving a chance to this younger players, but most of the time its just too soon. We should have kept gallas, because even though he is not the best leader, he is definitely one of the best defenders around.

    All i am saying is that please buy one or two who can take the responsibility when we are struggling with injuries.
    And one more thing that im really annoyed with arsene wenger, is that he keeps believing in players that will never make it to the top level. Why waste the time, energy and money to invest in these players when it is evident that they are just not good. Denilson. He is yet to show anything on the football pitch can indicates that he can be a great player. diaby is another one. I used to love rosicky but even i dont know what happened to him.

    Lastly, i just wanna say even though Arsene wenger is a great manager, there are better managers in this world. And yes, thank you for everything that you have done so far for us, but if you cant deliver what is expected from arsenal, im afraid you simply have to go and make way for someone who can give us the much needed trophy that we need.

    • desigunner says:

      Actually Galls went to spuds on a deal worse than the one he was offered at Arsenal. It was his choice. Can’t really blame the manager for everything.

  19. Gooner till i die says:

    Now this is an Arsenal fan…Love this post…

  20. GF60 says:

    Great article Desi. A perspective that all the knockers should have to write out 100 times. Well done.

  21. Winstor says:

    DesiG…love your articles…
    agree with ya cent precent…

    One area does worry me a lot.
    Does Wenger have a large/strong enough squad to challenge all 4 cups each season..?
    Maybe be yes maybe not, but this season, the second choice players did not do that well…maybe they are rhythm player, who if they do not get to play enough games they probably lose form. Chamakh and rosicky and even bendtner for example

    • desigunner says:

      I think in the middle there was a period when Arsenal had the squad to challenge on all fronts as the number of injuries was in control. Once the injuries struck back it was never going to work.

  22. santori says:

    Desi, I agree with your sentiments on these superficial criticisms and short term memories but the fact is we are now walking a slender tight rope.

    We must win the league and we are not in the driving seat. Had we beaten United, we would have at least one cup/title somewhat within our control.

    I want us to win badly but I must say I am not optimistic at the moment. The chances of us bottling it at the moment seem greater.

    Lets hope for the best but on evidence, there are still issues (namely tactical/coaching) that we have yet to address properly.

    There are also a number of players who on evidence are not hungry enough.

    What’s really frustrating is we’re so close but we are not taking the necessary steps for that final push.

    Having said that, I do think Song makes a differance for so lets hope we come away with a good result against WBA and Song will return shortly for the remainder of the matches.

    • Metalhead says:

      Is Song going to available for Blackburn? Wenger said he does not know when Song will play again. Any idea about Walcott?

      • santori says:

        Not to mention Djourou.

        I am slightly worried about our remainding games without these two to say the least.:P

  23. amit says:

    desi an extremely optimistic viewpoint…if i might critic your post here it sounded more like justifications and reasons on why arsenal players and wenger should not be questioned at all…

    i agree with your comments about kozzer, chezzer, almunia an also clichy…but what about the tainted trio of denilson, diaby and rosicky…what have they offered Arsenal over the last few years…what about squillaci…if half of Arsenal team is great the other half is useless…we need all 11 players on the pitch to be great to win the silverware…

    atleast nasri, walcott, almunia, clichy, sagna have made an effort to get good and show their mettle on the pitch…

    the other point that comes into picture is wengers tactics…after dismantling the invincible team, wenger has become so predictable…every manager knows how arsenal are going to play and what should be done to batter them hard and come away with a point or even win in some cases…

    there is something inherently wrong here desi…its not 2 or 3 years…its bloody 6 years…and even if we win the league this year…we all have to agree that it was because united was weaker, chelsea was bad all season, city n spurs n liverpool are regrouping….next year its going to be even more difficult to face these 5 sides…

    its not about this year alone, its about the future that bemoans!!

    • desigunner says:

      I’m not sure you get the concept of the squad. Not many teams have a sixth choice midfielder like Denilson or a fourth choice CB like Squillaci. No top player will agree to come and be 6th choice in midfield or 4th choice in defence.

      The problem is not with the players but with the tactics when these players are on the pitch. I’m not saying there are no problems but this post was not for discussing those. I do that all the time as you might have noticed. In this post I just wanted to show how one-sided some of the rants against Arsenal are.

      I don’t think anyone can say United were weaker and Chelsea were bad all season. If that is the case why aren’t City with 450M spending and Tottenham with 300M spending at spots 1 and 2?

      • Kushagra India says:

        Net spending never directly translate to League table positions or for that matter how many quids did Manure or Chelsea spend in the noughties to win a plethora of trophies..Spuds and man City are still not to the level of a depleted Man Utd side because in League they have been more consistent…Spuds and City have won next to none trophies in their recent history but their is no doubt they have improved and if we dont I bet my bottom dollar City will overtake us..

  24. Tony Gooner says:


    Cut the crap. I listened to the Totts crowd and the volume of support for their team when they qualified for CL. No whinging whining or groaning. It was off their arse shouting their heads off human being to human being, adrenalin pumping, performance insipiring stuff. Do you think the players don’t read this stuff? How would you feel if some tosser you’ve never met kept slagging your every move, nailing you to the cross with every mistake you make. When we beat Barcelona at home ( with this same apparently useless bunch of players) I heard similar support from the Emirates crowd but it was the first time I’ve really heard it. I don’t subscribe to any of these blogs but I think Desi is right. We have a real good opportunity to win the premiership now. We can analyse the blunt end of a telegraph pole and argue about the price of a packet of chips till May. Nothing will change with the team or the manager or the ground staff who sweep the rubbish when you go home. If attitudes need to change it should start within these witterings rarely do I read much that is positive. Now is the time to put your money where your mouth is. WE HAVE THE BEST FOOTBALL TEAM IN ENGLAND. I have just bet £50 we win the premiership. I will shout on the terraces, I will shout at my telly, I will never surrender. Up the Gunners.

    • desigunner says:

      Excellent point. Some players have probably regressed because of the moans and boos at the Emirates. How can a guy, who is out of form, keep trying when there is hardly any support.

    • Paul N says:


      • santori says:

        We had a real good opportunity to win the return leg against Barca, the Carling Cup final and progress at a weakened United’s expense in the FA too.

  25. Metalhead says:

    I think there are too many ‘unqualified’ people blogging. “Just Arsenal” is one such case. There are blogs coming out every 30 minutes. Anyone who has watched a couple of Arsenal games can write a blog in “Just Arsenal”. There was recently a fellow who came up with a list of how many player Arsene Wenger should sell. I cannot being to say how ridiculous that blog post was and many others that come out in that website.

    I think there are lot of young fellows, some as young as 15 writing blogs. It’s a hobby for them. It’s sheer torture, at least for me, to read some of the blogs.

    It’s hard to find a quality Arsenal blog nowadays. My personal favorite is “The Backward Gooner”. Unfortunately, he comes up with blogs once in a blue moon. But whenever he does, it’s pure quality backed up with stats and also videos. I also like Untold Arsenal and of course Desi Gunner. I enjoy Wrighty7 as well. He’s not going to analyze games and come up with tactics for you. But it’s fun reading his blogs. He’s just a passionate supporter who knows his limits and does not judge.

    ” A cultured left foot”, “Arsenal Insider” and “Le Grove” are decent. Although in Le Grove the author gets too emotional at times which is understandable if not justified. He’s someone who buys tickets week in week out to support Arsenal. Most others who senselessly criticize with little or no facts to back them, don’t even contribute in any which way to the club, other than of course switching on the TV every now and then to watch Arsenal. They act as if they run the club and that Arsene Wenger and the Arsenal board is accountable to them 🙂

  26. damzbaba says:

    I thoroughly enjoy and appreciate your blog.the prematch analysis and post game reviews are very top notch. However,sometimes I read this Blog and feel its Wenger writing. Some of the tactics and players to field are usually spot on and maybe there’s a change here and there for effect but I feel that way. For all the Progress talk that has been said to have been achieved over the last 6 years,it has ended with us having 0 cups from 23 competitions. I honestly believe progress has been made with the team,but it has been very slow. Rebuilding a great side (Invincibles) would always take time,but the clearance was too fast and that has cost us. We’ve lost players who in my opinion gave their all for Arsenal and should have been kept at the club, Flamini,Hleb,Gallas,Ashley(My opinion). It always takes too long for Wenger to make required changes to defective departments. But this season has been wonderful thus far,iKve enjoyed our footie.The first leg against Barca was the Highlight. But our team needs a genuine Leader,someone who can motivate the players on the field for 90 + mins. Its definitely not Cesc,its like all the players assume the same level of responsibility but there must be someone outstanding. The second team,Bendtner,Denilson and co are just not good enough for our Club,we faced 2 championship sides and 1 Division 1 side and had to do replays against them.That was plain embarrassing and shameful talk all you want about the FA cup. I’m also glad Ramsey is back,because now we can look forward to a midfield free of Denilson who I feel is the worst player to ever wear the Arsenal jersey after Pascal Cygan and Igor Stepvanovs,he might be a nice lad but that doesn’t cut it. This season has also seen Wenger loose some tactical battles, second leg against Barca and the exit at Old Trafford. But I like this team and feel that in the coming years,if they can be kept together,we’d rule Europe and England but Wenger has to be blunt with the underperforming players. Lastly,I feel our coaches and trainers must do more to get the physical best out of our players and I think Colin Lwein should be sacked. Gary always knew what to do with the boys,since Colin has taken over,injuries have been massive. Its been a painful last 2 weeks but Its not all doom and gloom. I’m a fan of the club,managers come and go,let the board who brought him in,decide. Victoria Concordia Crescit!

    • desigunner says:

      I appreciate the sentiment but flamini, hleb, gallas, ashely all wanted to leave. Can’t really blame the club for poor choices made by individuals.

      I do agree Arsenal have lost something since Gary Lewin left.

  27. Davi says:

    You break down these issues so well. Another fantastic article.

  28. Marcus says:

    It struck me that before long Desi we will have a central defensive squad unit of


    I was also thinking about Szechny’s astonishing last minute save against Sunderland.

    Reasons to be cheerful – part 3.

    • desigunner says:

      If Bartley can contribute to the defence next season it will seriously add to the depth. That kid might even be able to play midfield. Let’s hope he will continue to develop.

  29. kamran says:

    cool & intelligent thought…. indeed many have short memories & if it isntone thing it is another they complain about….. some of the players that have been on the front line , given body & soul, broken legs and all are being trashed as if they were pegs in a machine…. get over yourselves…. Arsene is not perfect ,but as close to one as possible… i would much rather play for a coach of his personality than a vicious bas***d like ferret face fergouson….. name you at lest a dozen former united who trash their former boss any chance they get….. you name me one…!!!
    he isnt perfect but he is the best for ARSENAL…. THIS I BELELIVE…
    HIS SYSTEM needs to be tweeked a little here and there, but this and coach are truly a pleasure to watch and support…. i dont like mercenary teams, suger daddies, tyrants for bosses and /or long ball junkies…. f*** the silverware,, its just a piece of metal…. the whole world is talking about ARSENAL CLASS AND QUALITIES…. comparing them to toptop teams in europe that have out spend us everyyear by a factor of twenty…. some havent won anything in years… other have ,but i wouldnt pay two shekels for those trophies and championships…..




  30. Steph says:

    Bravo . My thoughts exactly. Thanks for this post. Couldnt have been said better.

  31. leirbag says:

    AW was the best for arsenal then. But now he really lacks the creative ability to determine the right approach to games that matter

  32. esposito says:


    This is the worse apology I have read of late about Wenger and Arsenal performance. Every observer of the game agrees about a few facts, including that Wenger needs to sign a top class goal keeper; two top class central defenders; a top class defensive midfielder and a top class striker if he is to have any chance of challenging Chelsea and Man U or Barca. This has been said over and over again. Nothing has been done.

    Wenger is the most unaccountable coach of the top teams in the League. He has become so arrogant and so dogmatic that it does not matter anylonger.

    To write this kind of apology for mediocrity is mindboggling.

    • Raghugovind says:

      Challenge Chelsea . I guess you have not seen the table off late !!

    • CLARENCE says:

      pls kindly name 1 goal keeper, 1 Defender and 1 striker that u can “Gurantee” is 100% better than those we have in our squad now.
      (Do rememeber those expensive flops, ie Torres – not performing, Midfielder and Strikers- look at Man City now)

  33. bencheur says:


    I cannot stand this guy any longer. He has taken us all for a ride for the last 5 years. Every time I see his name and his bunch of kids, my ass starts bursting.

    Arsenal should FUCK OFF. I am sick and tired and just can’t take it any longer. I just feel like bombing Wenger’s flat ass.

    You should watch him struggling with his emotions. He lives in a totally delusional world of his, oblivious to the way top teams today operate. I really just want to blast his fucking ass.

  34. Reality check says:

    Desi I am a reguler reader of your blog and I think you have the most balanced opinion about everything going on with this club but I have to disagree with you on defending bendtner’s miss by comparing it to henry’s. Thing is henry has won us titles and cups by scoring crucial goals so that one performance in the cl final dosent affect his image. Where as bendtner has been consistantly poor in the crucial games so his miss against barca was just another nail in the coffin.

    • desigunner says:

      Well it wasn’t one performance by Henry he used to miss a number of chances, even in big games. I remember he missed a couple of one-v-one’s in the FA cup final loss to liverpool as well. That doesn’t make Henry a bad player by any means but just shows that players miss chances all the time. Moreover, Henry at 23 was not a striker at all. In fact, he didn’t even believe he could be a striker at that age. It was Wenger who convinced him he can. Bendtner just getting to his prime and has hardly played in the middle on a consistent basis.

  35. Kushagra India says:

    TOp read once again…

    1) Now u said ,u expected us to lose against Barca without Theo, u expected us to lose against Manu (one of the most poor Manu sides in history only Rooney and Evra were proven players in that team)…we beat citeh(fair)…we beat Chelski amid their worst run in recent times…So for me we haven’t progressed by leaps and bounds some players have shown gr8 strides such as Nasri ,Walcott(still a crock),Djourou(out for the season),Chesney(out for the season) …while some have remained still or regressed i.e. Denilson,Diaby,Rosicky,Arsha,Bendtner and dare I say Cesc so there is always a feeling of taking steps forwards and backwards leaving the number of them to you…

    2)We always create minimum 3 clear chances on average per match not going to the exact figure but u will get my
    drift…and u tell me honestly how much we convert ….the backups to RVP(crock) are not good enough at the moment for a club like Arsenal. I have written
    atm in bold because it has been an aeon since we last one a substantial trophy so we need some quick fix to regenerate interest.Chamakh may prove good next year but at what cost. We have lost a whole generation of fans and trophyless once again we will struggle to sign some marquee names .

    3)Ur example about Henry doesn’t cut the mustard because he scored tonnes of goals before and after that match ,proved himself at every level whereas Bendy hasn’t achieved or proved anything and every morning u will read him bragging how he is the world’s best and all that nonsense and his first touch nowhere near a top 4 team striker and he has been at Arsenal for 5 years now…

    4)U said after that Eduardo debacle we lost our way but conveniently forgot how we fielded a second string against Manu and were thrashed..We showed great grit against Stoke in a similar situation but what about our performances against the likes of Newcastle, Spuds,CC final– showing similar capacity to implode ,RvP’s and Diaby’s petulance..still after so many years at the top level..

    5)We never learn from our mistakes because its never our mistake everytime someone else’s…referees, pitches fatigue, injuries ,Tsunami etc…

    6)U will never see the likes of Diaby ambling along when playing for Manure thats my pther gripe attitudinal problems showing no urgency don’t giving a flying monkey’s and than coming out in the press saying u want to play for Barca and win the Ballon D ‘OR.The need to be shot off

    7) While we may still win the BPL the mediocrity of Manure and Chelski will be a reason behind that it has played some part in our existence in title race at this point of the season but still it will be a gr8 achievement..

    8)Win or Lose BPL Wenger needs some freshening up at staff and team level, cut the dead wood and I still think he is the right man for the job .But as u say back to the chalkboards…

    These are my issues I am neither an AKB or AAA just an Arsenal fan who suffer and takes delight in watching Arsenal his only footy team his first team which he watched playing first time when he was 8 expecting a just
    and polite response 😉

    • Kushagra India says:

      P.S. ignore the typos…

    • desigunner says:

      This is another good example of what I call trivializing things.

      You can disrespect United all you want but that doesn’t take anything away from their league position or Cup form. And I don’t expect any English team to beat Barca over two legs.

      In every squad some players will do well while others will struggle. Drogba and Essien this season are good examples. It will always happen and is more likely to players who get injured or don’t play regularly. No squad has 25 world class players all in top form.

      All strikers miss chances. Did you see how many chances Rooney missed against Chelsea? And weren’t you the one who was claiming with Chamakh Arsenal would have won last season? So why say ‘Chamakh may prove good next year’? He has the same problem as some others – not playing regularly.

      Bendtner is 23. At that age Henry used to miss a lot more chances. In fact, Henry has acknowledged he never thought he would be a striker until Wenger convinced him. Why ignore the context? And again how often has Bendtner played in the central position? It’s delusional to expect someone to just walk in and start performing. In all his time at Arsenal, most of them at very young age, he’s rarely played in his favored position. When he did he got 9 goals and 6 assists last season in 13 games or so. You really think Remy, Gignac, Benzema, Huntelaar, etc would do any better than Bendtner? Or that these kinds of players can contribute as much as Nick on the wings, etc?

      You have a problem when a striker talks confidently in the media and at the same time you want to accuse players of a lack of winning mentality. It’s so silly I find it difficult to keep things polite. At no point has Bendtner said that he has no room for improvement. Wenger has clearly said that Bendtner always listens when someone points out his weaknesses and he works on them. All details you want to conveniently ignore.

      So if United and Chelsea are mediocre why aren’t City with an expenditure of 450M running away with the league? Even Tottenham have spent 300M in last 8 years. Why aren’t they going past the mediocrity of Manure and Chelski? You’ve just flused all your own arguments down the drain with such a comment.

      Sorry but I don’t have time to reply to the rest. There are just too many flawed assumptions, context is missing in some cases, and I can’t get into all of that right now.

      • Kushagra India says:

        Desi thanx for the reply….
        So you think Bendtner will stay or should stay in the summmer…

        Machester United who had Ronaldo ,Tevez won every major trophy

        ,Chelsea with the likes of Carvalho ,Cole and Ballack as back ups a

        much larger squad than this year won every torphy on Blighty,we

        usually finished more than 10 points behind these sides…Now

        compare these sides to to the present sides how do they stack ,even

        their most ardent supporters will agree they are poorer than before..I

        think you are trivializng my point just ,MBA’s are pretty good in that 😉
        Secondly you cite the examples of Rooney Drogba Essien etc not having good seasons but agin conveniently forget how many trophies they have won for their club or how many important goals they have scored,they have been winners.How many appearances did Henry or Cesc or Viera or for that matter Wilshere made before they showed their true potential on a regular basis .Bendtner,Diaby ,Denilson all with 150+ appearances and still counting ,maybe with Diaby one can give him some leeway as he has remained injured mostly but till when we should persist and at what cost.Spending money is not an issue and no one suggests spending 300 m like Citeh whose manager is too defensive to challenge for the league .You hope to lose the CC final lose against Manu and getting out of the UCL in last 16(remember we finshed second to the mighty Shakhtar) and than say we have progressed,that’s what we call trivialization.If a spectator of Arsenal comes with these expectations and say we have progressed is two faced.
        I still think he is the right man for the job and some of the players have let him down big time dont want to go the Leeds way as it has become the counter argument against anyone who wants to improve the squad. We haven’t won trophies left right and centre its time to regenerate the passion and it should start from the squad…

      • Kushagra India says:

        We never replaced Henry I expect a reply to the post below..

      • Kushagra India says:

        BPL title is ours to lose IMO…..

      • desigunner says:

        United or Chelsea’s current team is not as good as the ones they had in the past. I agree. In fact I’d said that at the beginning of the year. But these teams are not mediocre. There is a huge difference between being somewhat weaker and being mediocre. When that level of detail is ignored it is called trivializing the argument.

        Then it’s just silly to follow it up with a sweeping generalization like ‘MBA’s are pretty good at that’. How old are you? Perhaps you meant it as a joke but it does go with your general style of reasoning.

        Based on the rest of the stuff that you’ve said I’m not sure you understand the word ‘trivialization’ or context.

        The example of Rooney was to show that every striker misses chances. In terms of shots to goals ratio Bendtner is not that bad. He hasn’t played as a striker long enough to make a big impact so it’s silly to ask how much has he won. I’m not saying he will be as good as Rooney, very few in the world can be. But the guy deserves a fair chance.

        Drogba and Essien are examples of great players suffering for form. That applies to Arshavin and Rosicky. Both are talisman’s for their national teams and the best players in their country. But they’re currently struggling for form. It doesn’t make them bad players. Essien has had two serious injuries and is having similar problems as Rosicky.

        To compare Denilson to Rooney, Drogba, etc. is another perfect example of taking things out of context and making the whole discussion trivial and pointless. Compare him with Darren Gibson, Wes Brown, et al.

        What do you mean we never replaced Henry? Is it a joke to replace a player like Henry? How many clubs have had a player like him in their history? Have City or Tottenham with all their spending been able to find one like him?

        Arsene found an alternative. Adebayor scored 30 goals in a season didn’t he? So if the Club had spent a crazy amount to sign him it would have been fine? There is no guarantee that big spending will lead to a consistency. Players have all sorts of issues. That is the core point most doom mongers fail to understand. For them it’s easy to change tunes just like you keep doing.

        If Wenger spends on Dzeko they will be happy. If the guy doesn’t perform they’ll say Wenger wasted money. It’s easy but pointless.

        Anyway, as I said, there is no point debating this. I feel it’s a waste of time and I’m banging my head against a wall. Maybe you feel the same way.

        I don’t have a problem with individual opinions nor with your right to taking a different stand. This blog is for me to say what I want to say and I don’t censor opposing views. But as far as the debate goes I’m not spending any more time on it.

      • santori says:

        Yes but proof in the pudding is putting the ball in the back of the net when it’s needed and finding a way through.

        United got the job done with some second stringers. We were simply :

        1) Not tactically astute enough
        2) Lack variation in approach (Build up was too slow, not enough bodies in the box)
        3)Did not play to strengths (Chamakh in particular but we did not have bodies around him to pick up the second ball)
        4) Not as hungry as United IMO.

        I think we need to be realistic and not blow smoke up our own arse. This is still as you point out a very good team to get us challenging this far but as you have also pointed out, there are some deficiencies and they have to be sorted.

        These are deficiencies which IMO do not necessarily requre purchase from market to rectify so why are we not addressing them? If we even partially fix them, we will set ourselves up for a more confident finish.

  36. Kushagra India says:

    Desi expecting a response on that pls…

  37. Kushagra India says:

    There’s another season ticket hike ……

  38. Omar Riaz says:

    excellent article desi..i think u wrote the best article of the century!! i m tired of reading that wenger should go n all…if any1 wants to see what happens go n watch Chelsea even Madrid…cuz they don’t stick to one manager….i think Arsenal are in a great position..n we fans have to support them…look at Leeds fans they support there team till the match is finished..cum on make a song of Arsene….n sing it at the grove..motivate him ppl….look at l’pool,there fans singing songs of King Kenny…cum on Arsene is a king of Arsenal..he deserves credit……he has made the wonders at Arsenal…thats y Arsenal is the wonder of you(Arsene Wenger)

  39. Kushagra India says:

    On other note I dunno how many BARCA matches u watch I think you have been watching Xavi from Arsenal tinted glasses so ur analysis as an Arsenal fan is fair but saying he is poor in final third is outrageous to say the least …..just cleared desi gunner’s backlog 😉 …. or Sniejder very limited in the middle whats cookin matey ??

  40. Kushagra India says:

    Footy is subjective but still…..one needs to play the game sometimes…u where wholesomely off color during the analysis of World Cup games…

  41. Kushagra India says:

    In modern football, it is difficult to get in behind the opposition defence, as teams are often very compact at the back with eight or nine players behind the ball. That is why teams now need outstanding individual players who can make their mark in one-on-on situations down the centre of the pitch, but particularly down the wings, there they can drive as far as the opponent’s goalline to create space that often does not exist down the centre of the pitch.”

    Here we have an apt description of (despite the predominance of 4-2-3-1 formations) the decline of the classic number 10. Whilst Wesley Sneijder, Mesut Oezil and Xavi all played broadly in that position, Sneijder and Oezil were so close to the forwards that they were more reminiscent of withdrawn forwards, whilst Xavi played a unique role where his priority was ball retention, rather than creativity. It is notable that Germany and Spain, probably the competition’s two best sides, featured players in wide positions (David Villa, Andres Iniesta, Thomas Mueller, Lukas Podolski) who had all spent the previous domestic season playing in central positions – Villa and Podolski as strikers, Mueller as a ‘link’ player, Iniesta (generally) as a creative central midfielder. There is a need for width, if not necessarily a need for ‘natural’ width, because players cutting in from wide positions can be more dangerous than players who start from central zones.

    Thomas Mueller: “Dynamic and hard-working midfielder, dangerous in front of goal, good technique and passing”
    7. “Balls played in behind the defence from the centre created a significant number of goals (31) and chances, mainly because the weaker teams did not stagger their defence, which meant they were easier to bypass.”

    On first glance this might seem to contradict the above point, but a large proportion of these goals surely stem from balls played from the central midfield zone in behind the opposition full-backs (rather than the centre-backs), for onrushing wingers and wide forwards to run onto. This is a better ball to play than a straight ball through the centre of the pitch – in that situation, the ball is always running away from the forward, and towards the goalkeeper, but these diagonal balls from in to out are extremely difficult to stop.

    thats where we lack from World Cup report of Fifa…

  42. Claver says:


    For my part, it’s not a question of winning trophies…it’s a question of closing the deal!

    Why aren’t Arsenal able to close the deal? As it seems?

    The teams are the same, you can blame tactics, like I did, but the players have to do the job on the pitch.

    These are the same players who beat Chelsea and Barcelona. So why not ManU and Tottenham? Why not Birmingham and Sunderland, at critical junctures?

    Our most key players are out, at a key part of the season – yet again!

    Djourou, Walcott, Song, Scezny(sp), Vermaelen.

    To that you can add Chamakh, Nasri and Arshavin whose performance levels have dropped alarmingly.

    What are they eating? Or not eating? Is their food being poisoned? Chamakh with such a weak header?!

    Nasri looks like he forgot his sharpness in December. Wenger has been rotating them excellently so why have their performances sagged like wilting roses in desert heat?!

    What’s happened to the verve? For such a large squad? The only player still looking sprightly is Wilshere.

    Our dear, ineffective boy-wonder appears to have not been hit by the March bug! But these guys are the same age!!!!

    It’s like our players have been hit by sleeping sickness or some undiagonised community illness.

    Like they allhave neen eating stale bread. Whereas, Utd players all looked like Wilshere, sprightly,on their toes, eager.

    It’s not the same Arsenal. Or maybe the question is, where do Utd players get their energy from?

    Must be the food in Manchester.

  43. Claver says:


    For my part, it’s not a question of winning trophies…it’s a question of closing the deal!

    Why aren’t Arsenal able to close the deal? As it seems?

    The teams are the same, you can blame tactics, like I did, but the players have to do the job on the pitch.

    These are the same players who beat Chelsea and Barcelona. So why not ManU and Tottenham? Why not Birmingham and Sunderland, at critical junctures?

    Our most key players are out, at a key part of the season – yet again!

    Djourou, Walcott, Song, Scezny(sp), Vermaelen.

    To that you can add Chamakh, Nasri and Arshavin whose performance levels have dropped alarmingly.

    What are they eating? Or not eating? Is their food being poisoned? Chamakh with such a weak header?!

    Nasri looks like he forgot his sharpness in December. Wenger has been rotating them excellently so why have their performances sagged like wilting roses in desert heat?!

    What’s happened to the verve? For such a large squad? The only player still looking sprightly is Wilshere.

    Our dear, ineffective boy-wonder appears to have not been hit by the March bug! But these guys are the same age!!!!

    It’s like our players have been hit by sleeping sickness or some undiagonised community illness.

    Like they all have been eating stale bread. Whereas, Utd players all looked like Wilshere, sprightly,on their toes, eager.

    It’s not the same Arsenal. Or maybe the question is, where do Utd players get their energy from?

    Must be the food in Manchester.

    • santori says:

      1) We lack the ability to switch our approach tactically. It is therefore predictable how we approach a game.

      2) We (still) need to address tactical deficiencies. eg. When we take a shot at the goal, we do not follow up for the second ball like United do.

      3) We don’t play too our obvious strengths sometimes. We have a decent pair of heads in Bendtner Chamakh but we are not using their aerial strength effectively.

      4)Slow transition. Where as United are quick to turn defense into attack like a wound spring, our transition is generally more tedious. Point in case, Chamakh who felt compelled to return the ball to the midfield when he could have turned and had a go at the United back line.

      5)Denilson and Diaby. Both have their limits. Whilst Diaby has attributes going forward, he tends to be ponderous when he loses the ball. Denilson offers little going forward and tends to slow our game down.

      It’s no wonder we miss Song in midfield.

      I am one for giving emerging players the time and space to develop (case in hand Song) but I don’t think either of Denilson or Diaby have exhibited quite enough hunger for their spot. Hopefully the return of Ramsey and the emergence of Frimpong will create more competitiveness but I do feel that some of our younger players do take progression into the first team for granted.

      Wenger needs to instill the fear of god in them in that they will be replaced from market if need be if they do not perform.

      6)Defense. I agree with Desi that our defense has been stronger than before and that Kos and Djourou have been doing sterling work. But without Song, our midfield have not provided sufficient shielding for the defense (space management issue).

      This goes to the heart of one fundamental gamble Wenger has made this season in relying on Song as our only midfield shield.

      Denilson And Diaby may be able to do the work of Song in tandem but it means its at the expense of one creative midfielder and I don’t think they have played sufficient games together to create a decent understanding. Again, I think Wenger was wrong to have been sucked into the whole trophy drought issue and overly prioritised the Carling Cup. We should have concentrated on the FA and used the Carling Cup to work out the kinks in our back up players (Chamakh, Denilson, Diaby, and the likes)

      Whilst we can be (somewhat rightfully) defensive on the ability of our squad, I think it would be hugely myopic (not to mention a diservice) not to recognise our deficiencies and address them.

      Again, I am not one to necessarily advocate the market as the solution to all our panaceas but I think there are some fundamental (coaching) issues which we have to address if we want to stand ourselves a good chance of closing this season with some sort of a bang.

      I still believe we have a chance with the PL title but if we pull the wool over our own eyes, that chance is slim.

  44. Claver says:

    Re: John Aberdeen – the Foreigner.

    I wouldn’t care an iota if Wenger had a team consisting of the 11 Spanish players who won the World Cup!

    As long as Arsenal were playing good football, first, and winning, next.

    Nor would I care if Arsene had the Beckham of Passing.

    This is club football Smith-y, or is it?

  45. 037 says:

    Great post, Desi!
    I totally agree that the thing that bothers me the most about most blogs is the inconsistency they show.
    Last season, they were saying how Walcott is failed purchase with too many chances; this season they praise him as if he were a God.

  46. Paul N says:

    Great Great Article!

    Why is it that we look at losses but not what led to the loss.

    Its easy to say Arsenal cannot close the deal but lets be objective. Only 1 team looked likely to win the CC and it was us. That mistake was not due to not having a winning mentality it was just a mistake that almost never happens. Thats life.

    Who knows what wouldve taken place in the Barca match? That also was not a lack of a winning mentality but the result of a stupid ref decision. Greanted Arsenal didnt play well but we had 30 plus minutes to change that. Apart from the backheel, Barca didnt lool likely to score. I watched the game again and the defending was sublime though Barca dominated the ball.

    After the Barca loss, I expected confidence to be a bit low so I am was not too surprised by the United game. Players are humans and confidence is huge part of sports.

    People will say lacking confidence means you lack mental toughness, well if thats the case United are mentally weak since they have lost 3 out 4 matches in the PL. Its quite ironic that Arsenal being weak are the only team that hasnt lost in the PL since the new year. Go figure!

    If many would support as good as the players play, I dare say Arsenal may be in a better position.

    Arsenal have progressed this season witgh many players whom many of said would not cut it as the article states. The team only needs to win one thing and I believe greatness is around the corner. I dont see where new players are needed and I am not sure what couldve been done given the INjuries that have piled up!

    Please lets be objective in our criticisms. Arsenal supporters, support this team, stop the moaning and disrespecting of our manager and players. It will not accomplish anything and even worse it doesnt look at the reality of our situation. Look at the team overall and you will see that our team is on the up and up!

  47. Ray says:

    I want to be right in what I say and so does everyone else who has an opinion, including you. Your article says you feel disappointed but not despondant and will never denigrate. I feel despondant because we have not won anything for 6 years.

    In his day Brian Clough was the best of managers. When he became manager of Nottingham Forrest they were in the old Division 2. He took Nottingham Forest to two European Cups in 79′ & 80′ which is remarkable. They had a 42 game unbeaten streak in the league and in his tenure they also won the old Division 1 title, 4 league cups and a European supercup.

    After 18 years Nottingham Forrest were relegated whilst he was still at the helm.

    The club and supporters were so grateful and loved him so much that they refused to challenge or criticise him. They made excuses for him and followed him blindly to the clubs detriment. I’m not saying the same will happen to Arsenal but winning trophies in the past shouldn’t give you complete backing of the club and it’s fans for the rest of your life.

    Arsenal last trophy win under AW was the FA cup final in 2005. We were completely out played in that game but I didn’t care because the trophy win was fantastic. Winning the title in 1998 was brilliant. The Overmars goal at Old Trafford was just great. The following two titles, especially clinching them at Old Trafford and White Hart Lane were especially sweet. The 4 FA cups in total – Just wonderful. The two league wins under George Graham weren’t accompanied by fantastic football but ofcourse I still loved them. The last minute victory to beat Liverpool at Anfield and win the league: You couldn’t even write an ending that good.

    My point is that I love Arsenal FC and I love winning trophies. I have always supported the club during the good times and the bad. The Bruce Rioch year was hard as were all the Wenger years when we were runners up.

    Like you I have talked up our players in the past because they all have talent and they play for Arsenal! I have rated Diaby / Rosicky / Denilson / Bendtner and many others but when they are consistently not performing then you have to be honest and say so.

    Patrick Viera was the best central midfielder I have ever seen play in the Premiership and I don’t think it is a coincidence that we have not won anything since he left. However in his last season at Arsenal he was not the great player he used to be. Time for honesty, time for a change.

    Over the last 6 years Arsene Wenger’s teams have flattered to deceive. Be honest, how many times have you been caught up in ‘We could win the league, this year or the FA cup / League cup / Champions league?’ I will admit it – I have plenty of times! At some point you have to take an honest hard look at the facts and the history of the the manager. If you do that you will see that this current squad of players is not going to win a trophy. Even this year we are in the race to win the league. Will we still be in the race with 1 week to go? Will we win it? No one can predict the future but I don’t think we will win because this is not a team of winners. They have choked and crumbled under the pressure whenever they have been close. It hurts my pride to admit that we are not winners but you cannot let love and pride conceal the truth. I wonder what defence you had for them after the 4-4 draw to Newcastle?

    At this moment in time the priorities at Arsenal are youth development, beautiful football and balancing the books. Winning comes a distant 4th. The facts show this is the case. I don’t agree with this but I have accepted it. Chairman Peter Hill-Wood has already stated it is ok if we finish trophyless this season. The board will keep Wenger because it will cost alot of money to get in a new guy. If the best manager in the world was available would you say no or do you think that we already have him?

    I think your posts are insightful and optimistic but I prefer realism. The players at Man Utd definitely wanted it more than the Arsenal players in that FA Cup tie. Of course the players are not going to admit that because no player will, but it’s the truth! Watch the game again please and then you will no that it’s true.

    I know this will not be a very popular post but that is because all we want to hear is how great our manager, player, team, club are. Speak to the fans of the top teams in Europe – They will tell you that Arsenal are not serious about winning.

    Arsene Wenger is not going to change. His transfer policy is not going to change (unless a new owner makes him change it). His footballing philosophy is not going to change. Nothing has changed over the last 6 years. My question to you is: If everything stays the same, how are we going to start winning trophies again?


    • Kushagra India says:

      Couldn’t have said it better myself summed everything up….

    • Kushagra India says:

      Despite all the faults we are still in the title hunt and we may win BPL as well but greater work needs to be done in the summer no two ways about BPL title will bein in spite of some players not because of them…

    • desigunner says:


      I respect your opinion. If people want Arsene out, I can’t take away their right to that opinion. Some fans value winning the most, those like me value doing the right thing more than anything else.

      I’m more proud of the fact that Arsenal are competing with some insane spenders and clubs in all sorts of disarray. A trophy with this approach will also mean more than any other won in the past. That is my personal belief. Others may or may not agree with that.

      I do agree that things could have been better. I’m not against spending. There is money and it can be spent. In the summer and in Jan, I said Arsenal needed a versatile defensive player who could play DM or CB. I still believe Arsenal need that player. But that does not mean I don’t respect and appreciate the manager or the players currently at the club.

      For the last few years some doom mongers (I don’t mean to imply it’s you) have been predicting that Arsenal will be out of the top 4. Their logic has been simple – other teams have strengthened and will go ahead. Villa spent a lot of money, so did Spuds, now City and some others. It seemed obvious that they will get ahead of Arsenal who were supposedly stagnant or going backwards. But it hasn’t happened so far. Why is that? And that too despite all the injuries that Arsenal have had to deal with!

      It is because Arsenal have also improved tremendously but some fans refuse to look at the positives.

      Arsenal improve because players improve each year and some key new ones get added. The doom mongers would have sold Walcott last year but look how effective he has been this season. How many players have City signed that have made as much an impact as Walcott has? Same can be said for Nasri. That is the reason clubs have spent a lot but not overtaken Arsenal.

      Dzeko has played 393 minutes in the Premiership and has 2 assists. Bendtner has 2 goals and 2 assists in 360. I’ve no doubt Dzeko will get better. But is Bendtner really that horrible? Especially given the fact that a lot of those minutes have come on the wings? Lets not forget Dzeko was supposed to be the ‘proven player’ who can come in and start performing whereas Bendtner is only just reaching his prime.

      One could say this is not enough for Arsenal to win. I don’t have a problem with that. In my opinion the club needs at least one more player that I mentioned earlier and perhaps a winger. We also need tactical flexibility and better defensive coaching. Those are my personal opinions. I’d love to see that and hate it when we lose and it seems these things could have made the difference.

      I keep wondering why Wenger doesn’t see it when I see it. But I also know that Wenger sees a lot more and there might be other issues that I don’t understand. I also realize that each man has some weaknesses. Wenger has always been a bit weak defensively. Even his earlier teams were not that good in terms of defensive organization but performed due to the training they had from the Graham days. Again it’s my personal opinion – nothing more, nothing less.

      I don’t see any guarantee that by changing the transfer policy Arsenal will succeed. Too many teams have shown it doesn’t work. And the likes of Chelsea have shown their style isn’t sustainable. Abramovich tried to go for youth and failed miserably. Now he is forced to splash again. How long can Arsenal continue splashing without a benefactor? What Wenger is trying to do goes way beyond trophies and temporary success. I don’t mind a few barren years in the process.

      • santori says:

        We don’t need Wenger to go but we need a shake up of the coaching staff. Wenger needs a new assistant to offer him different tactics.

        We could also do with a finishing specialist and a defense specialist (for the whole team)

        In fact, it’s timely for Wenger to consider nurturing some candidates for his eventual succession. Some of the old boys (Dixon, Bould) could well make decent candidates.

        I’m not saying that the future manager should come from the ranks but what better way to organically grow and instill the best of our current ethos whilst benefiting from fresh ideas in players that have played our system and know our strengths/defects.

        Again I think the key to it is competition. Fergusson does this very well with his squad and its something Wenger should look into.

        He can run several candidates in his coaching staff for the position of assistant, defensive coach, finishing coach that will eventually have a shot at taking over from him. He should also balance that with an eventual replacement from outside who may share his ethos (Blanc, Deschamp) if need be.

        Similarly, the squad itself needs to feel the heat of competition for spots. I just don’t feel Diaby or Denilson (or Vela) are hungry enough. Yes we have good talent coming through from the ranks but I also think Wenger should sometimes send a message to these boys that your place will be taken from purchase in the market if need be.

        It’s that ruthlessness that pushes United through an extra half a gear which I think we are lacking somewhat at the moment.

      • Ray says:

        Ok Desi – I understand where you are coming from, winning isn’t everything. I wonder how many barren years it will take before you say enough is enough it is time for a trophy – 7, 8, 10, 15, 20 years?

        The Arsenal board of directors are making money off the club and so won’t sell it. Kroenke is worth 1 billion but won’t invest. Usmanov is worth 20 billion but won’t clear the 300million stadium bank loan.

        Arsene Wenger has no problem saving the club money but makes sure his salary means he is one of the highest paid managers in world football. I wonder how many shares he has in the club?

        Wenger may not spend loads on transfer fees but he pays the second team players so much that Arsenal have one of the highest wage bills in the premiership.

        The club have one of the highest season ticket prices in the premiership.

        Arsenal’s board and managerial stability has meant we were far ahead of Spurs and Villa. Spurs have definitely closed the gap. Improved? It depends on your reference point: We are far worse than the our previous title winning squads. Since 2004 we have gotten worse. Winning the title this year may prove otherwise but as I said before I don’t think that will happen unfortunately.

        What really shows how far we have fallen behind is if you look at Man Utd. We used to compete with them and now they just blow us away. They continually invest in their squad and pick up trophies. Our undefeated season should have been a springboard for success. Instead lack of investment resulted in a continual decline.

        We used to be the fittest, strongest, athletic team when we were picking up trophies. In addition to our defensive shortcomings that is a big reason for our decline. Man Utd are now more athletic than us. The year they beat us to win the champions league the gulf in class was very upsetting – they gave us a real beating.

        Man Utd sold Ronaldo for 80 mil and admitted that it went to service their debt. Where did our 40 mil from the Toure/Ade sales go(as someone pointed out earlier)?

        You say we need perhaps another player, tactical fleibility and defensive coaching: I REITERATE, WHAT HAS CHANGED IN THE LAST 6 YEARS. WE HAVE NEEDED THOSE THINGS SINCE 2004!

        Dzeko. I have watched him and he would score more goals and have more assists if he was playing at Arsenal. This is because we play much more attacking football than Man City. He is much better than Bendtner and would really improve the team. Certainly he would have finished the chance that Bendtner missed in Barcelona!

        The future? Fabregas will be gone. Aaron Ramsey, Jack Wilshire, Samir Nasri, Thomas Vermaelen – Super players. Szecerny potentially a very good keeper. Sagna is solid, Song decent, Chamakh has potential. RVP is quality but doesn’t play enough games. Arshavin is fantastic but has been mucked about by the club. We are a few quality players short and unfortunately I don’t see that changing

  48. Kushagra India says:

    Desi on the Chamkh issue he was a great in the air at Bourdeux but we dont seem to play to his strengths as Petit put it wisely too many players trying to play the same way….

    • desigunner says:

      Well three months into the season, after Chamakh had a decent start, you were claiming he would have won Arsenal the league last year. Now your tune has changed. I don’t think last year Arsenal played to suit his strengths neither did we play that way at the start of this season.

      Your tune has just changed based on the impact the player has had. Initially he looked lively and was contributing goals and assists. Now he is struggling. I feel players go through these phases and opinions should not change in such short periods.

      Whether Arsenal should change their style is a different issue. I have gone on and on about it since the beginning of this blog. I’d love to see that flexibility in the team. But that should not affect the opinion on players and not at such a short duration anyway.

      • santori says:

        We are not using Chamakh’s obvious strenth in the air enough. Coupled with Bendtner (possibly Diaby), I think we are guilty of not exploiting an obvious advantage.

        We are also guilty of not keeping Chamakh on the sharp end. His formed dipped a little start of season but because Wenger (IMO)got overly fixated with the Carling Cup, he played RVP at the expense of keeping Chamakh on the sharp end with the cup games.

        I also think Chamakh needs to be instructed to be more selfish at times. This again goes to the need for a finishing specialist). Chamakh is great at playing others in but sometimes, he needs to have a go at goal rather than opt for the extra pass, or simply have a run at the defenders on a break.

        Again it goes to the limitations we impose on ourselves playing in the current system.

        We have excellent players and Wenger has as usual bought well, but are we getting the best out of them. I think we can push them harder and maximise their better attributes.

    • Paul N says:

      Well Chamakh has had a couple of glorious chances from headers but failed to convert, againts United and Sutherland.

      There is such a thin line to what you are saying. If he scores those goals, you will say Arsenal are playing to his strengths but if he doesnt you say nay.

      Chamakh, is more than a header of the ball. Early in the season he was turning on passes and causing the defense problems, in doing this he won us quite a few penalties.

      This is what he needs to do again, lately I have seen him pass backwards and slow down the counter.

      Great talent, who will come good, he just found the PL a bit too much for him.

  49. Kushagra India says:

    Mate I have always supported Chamakh my point was we can send a few more crosses just putting a point for discussion I was of the same opinion at the start of the season and still am…..

  50. Kushagra India says:

    U pick on words mate ……not good as you in English but certainly I got my point across…

  51. Kushagra India says:

    In that season we were short up front as Arshavin himself
    said Arsenal wont win anything playing me upfront …..

  52. Kushagra India says:

    Fatigue played a big part in his downside and was replaced by Bendtner who has let down everybody this season

  53. Kushagra India says:

    Anyways it has been a long time debating on this post wheres the new one you should be docked ur weekly wages for this 😉 and again I reiterate criticizing a player and having an opinion on him are 2 different things …

    There are lots of twists and turns still to be had in the season enjoy the ride buddy COYR…

  54. Kushagra India says:

    just for laughs

  55. Kushagra India says:

    he most interesting thing about Arsenal’s defence is that none were defenders when Arsene Wenger first set eyes on them. Ashley Cole was a promising forward in the Arsenal youth system, Lauren was a central midfielder for Mallorca, whilst Kolo Toure was a versatile player who played most often in an advanced midfield position. But Wenger converted all of them to defenders, assuring Arsenal’s ball-playing ability was evident throughout the side.

  56. james says:

    Wenger’s biggest error has been his unwarranted trust in some players who have and will consistently fail him. Denilson, Diaby and Almunia, in particular, have all cost us big in several important games where they’ve been forced to come in and help us.
    Am I happy about this season- a very big YES!!!
    We have JACK WILSHERE, NASRI, CESC, Chamakh (yes, him), Sagna, Djourou, Song, Scesceny, TV (I don’t think he’s dead), Andrey (though he performs in spurts), Theo (has finally added a deadly directness that we’ve missed since the hey days of Ljungberg and Pires), RVP (for the weeks he’s able to play), Kosc (not too sure about him yet) and Clichy (sometimes, same boat as Kosc).
    We have an excellent but brittle 1st 11 that can play against any team (we haven’t seen them away at Barca) but a mediocre bench that doesn’t have the right character to come in and give something different. I do hope we win the Premiership, I still think we can if Ferguson continues giving Berbatov games and doesn’t realize Hernandez is his best striker by miles and if Man Utd go further in other competitions.
    I think Keown said it right, this season has proven that Arsenal is well and truly back, some players have the rest of their season to decide if their future is with us or away from us (sadly Rosicky belongs in this boat). A few more experienced players and an addition of some nastiness- yes, I said it- to combat the Stokes of this world is desperately needed.
    The medical staff also needs to perform better because these niggles every year puts them in a bad light even if they might not be at fault.
    Wenger going will solve some issues but think for a moment if we need a money grabbing $200 million spending football killing manager just to get us out of our so-called misery; if you choose that, there are a couple more London clubs for you to hitch a ride to, I think Wenger has learnt a lot this year- that’s why we’ve seen so much of JW and so little of D&D but he’s still fallen prey to his vice of having a small squad at the expense of spending money/having sad, underutilized players (more ruthlessness is needed on his part) and being let down when injuries ensure that your best players miss the most important games. He must fix this error.
    Let’s support our boys the rest of the way to the EPL title, we are actually very close to winning it given our smaller number of games and the fact that we still play Man U at home.

    • santori says:

      Wenger leaving will cause more problems than solve anything.

      Our fundamental ethos is correct

      Our club set up and continuity is excellent.

      Wenger has bought astutely and our Academy products are very strong.

      BUT where we could afford a change is tactical/coaching.

      Wenger alluded to back room changes end of last season but has opted not to rock the boat for a season.

      Whether we win the title or go away empty handed again, I think it is time for him to address the issue.

      If anything, it is also somewhat tied to possible succession down the line and it makes sense for us to see how we can fine tune our current crop as honestly speasking we are not far away from success, which of course is the source of our greatest frustrations.

      Bottom line, no need for a complete surgery which will lead to many unknowns but we need spefic areas fixed and that can be done with minimal need to change our basic core values.

      • james says:

        Agreed with, and yeah a stronger No 2 is really needed; I accept that Pat Rice has his qualities and has been a loyal No 2 but it does seem as though we need someone who’s willing to challenge Le Boss in some of these games.

  57. Claver says:

    I agree with those like Santori who suggest we need a shake-up in the coaching stuff.

    We badly need it. These guys have ‘settled’ we need some brighter guys in there to keep Wenger on his toes!

    Maybe Bergkamp(sp)? Arsene’s tactics are becoming ludicrous.

    I find myself questioning Arsene’s motives and integrity with some of his tactics.

    What were we actually doing against Barca?

    If we’d put man-on-man Wilshere and Xavi, something he’d have been up for, those possession numbers would have dropped. Would that not have made a dent in that morale sapping tikka takka, whatever they call it?!

    Perhaps even some American physios who understand deeply the relationship between tactics on the pitch and physiotherapy.

    Some traditions at Arsenal were well enough suited for the smaller club that Arsenal was then. But the challenges we face on the pitch and off it require some deep changes in mentality.

    We are seen as a proper challenge to the dominant positions enjoyed by ManU and Liverpool in the pysche of the public.

    We must be more vertical in our thinking. Reading between the lines. Didn’t Arsene see that the media were setting us up for a smackdown?

    Isn’t Arsene aware that the reputation Arsenal have developed of ‘collapsing in March/December’ only makes Arsenal vulnerable? So were are the necessary precautions?

    For a club like Arsenal, it is no longer enough to depend upon player rotation to get you through, though that is crucial.


  58. Ray says:

    2-2 draw to West Brom in a must win game. Squillaci and Almunia at fault for the second goal. This is what we do. This squad is great at getting close but awful at winning when it matters. All this ‘we can win the league’ is nonsense. More excuses on the way I’m sure

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