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An update!

I ACTUALLY thought it had been far longer than three and a bit months since I last posted. Why did I stop? Hard to say exactly . Life has been busy but probably not too busy to sneak in the odd post here or there. One thing I’ve never liked doing is posting match reports when I haven’t properly been able to focus on the game. Boys aged 4, 2 and 10 months certainly increase that possibility.

But I’ve still been watching a fair bit of the time.

Writing this in advance of the Burnley game, I think we’re reasonably positioned in the league table though facing an uphill task to win it. Clearly, the league is in Chelsea’s hands. But there isn’t a huge amount you can do about a team taking 52 out of 63 points. The good news, I suppose, is that they’ve just been on an unbelievable run and are perhaps due a little down turn. Not the most sophisticated argue I grant you but not inconceivable either. And if they do suffer one, we’re still, at time of writing, not that far off them.

Them aside, it is mighty tight but we need to go on a mighty run. I think 84 points will be the absolute minimum required to win the league. And that requires 13 wins, 1 draw and 3 defeats or a similar combination. It’s quite an ask and no guarantee of success.

Personnel wise I think we look so-so. Key for me is that the central midfield still isn’t really resolved. If I’m honest, there is a part of me that wonders if Xhaka was a 20 year old who’d come through the ranks he’d be considered too raw and error prone for first team action. I do, actually like him as a player. He just lacks the discipline right now to be running a title winning midfield. But that could change.

86 Responses to “An update!”

  1. 80's Gooner says:

    Welcome back

    Its January & we still do not know what our the strongest 11 is

    Cazorla & Coq were forming quite partnership until Santi’s unfortunate injury (recall Jack Wilshire anybody?)

    I think CM should be Elnany (when he returns) and another

    Elnany & Coq proved to be too defensive against Man u

    But paired with either GX or AR & given a run of games who knows

    I like Elnany’s dicipline & range of passing

    Also why are we starting with Giroud? As much as I like him & you cannot fault his stats he should be a plan B

    For me the front three should be Lucas, Wellbeck & Sanchez

    All quick, all interchangable & know where the goal is

    We could finish anywhere between first & sixth this season

    Not convinced at the moment about Arsenal however, also not convinced about our other 5 rivals, but Spurs do worry me as they have the best defence in the league

    Really hope I’m wrong especially with Trump, Brexit & the state of the NHS the last thing the country needs is a new Chas & Dave record

  2. Elvis says:

    Good to hear from you again.

    Your comment on Xhaka are prescient. He lacks discipline all right. Granit Xhaka is a red card waiting to happen.

    Lucky win against Burnley (again). The joy on Sanchez’s face was delightful though.

    I’m afraid no one’s going to catch Chelsea. Maybe we can win the FA Cup. Or we might have a chance of winning the 4th Place Trophy. Champions League, you’re having a laugh.

  3. slc gunner says:

    Welcome back ‘Playa. Some interesting comments: you seem to have predicted Xhaka’s red card. I think he has been improving, and I thought he was a little unlucky to be honest. I felt that the red against Swansea was more deserved whereas this one seemed to be more down to clumsiness. But I can see why it was given nonetheless.
    As for the overall state of affairs, if you had told me that we would be 8 points down having accumulated 40 points for the 1st half of the season, I wouldn’t have believed it, especially not from a Chelsea side that do not seem that strong at the back, at least not on paper. But fair play to them, Conte has really upped their game after being thrashed by Arsenal ironically. I think they will drop more points in the 2nd half of the season though. Whereas Arsenal really need to string 2 good half seasons together, and add a few more points.
    As for the best pairing in the middle of the park: it’s been stop start because of the injuries and suspensions. Cazorla/Coquelin was looking good, but was short-lived. More recently Xhaka and Coquelin looked like a decent pairing. Now it’s Ramsey’s turn. Let’s see what he can do. It’s'good to see strength in depth in a position where we have been relatively weak in recent years.

  4. MDP says:

    Have to agree on the midfield Playa. Some prophetic words about Xhaka and his discipline came true yesterday. I thought Xhaka played some delightful balls and made some great interceptions. I was preparing to wax lyrical about him post game and then he made a bad decision that so nearly cost us. I think there’s more good stuff to come from Xhaka but he doesn’t look ready in his first season to be the leader and character I was expecting. I like all three of our defensive midfielders but I’m not sure any of them look like taking the season by the scruff of the neck and fighting for the title. I hope one of them proves me wrong. It’s a lot better than previous seasons mind you.

    Elsewhere we don’t look too shabby. I’m enjoying the attack now we have options and a sense of a plan b. Alexis is simply a legend and a cut above. I have bags of time for Giroud just to have his experience, physicality and just, something different. Welbeck returning again just adds options as does Lucas. Add Ozil, Ramsey, Ox and Theo to that and we shouldn’t be short of goals.

    Defensively, Kos is just a rock. We should never under estimate his input over his time at Arsenal. Mustafi has had a couple of iffy moments recently but I just love his attitude and character that had such a great impact yesterday. He’ll get stronger. Gabriel has quietly gone about his business and looks stronger this season. We miss Bellerin going forward when’s out but again not too shabby in defence.

    The title is Chelsea’s to lose right now as they’re the only team to take up the challenge and prove themselves. They had a lot of winnable games in that run but they kept winning while others around them dropped points in games they should have won. I wouldn’t put Spurs as second favourites but they are a wild card. They don’t expect to win the league but they are quietly getting on with it and a very confident, balanced side ready to profit on any slip ups. Arsenal, Liverpool and City are all quite similar. Decent and capable squads but mentally shaky. United also have some extremely good players on paper but look very unstable and unsettled to me. I think the titles still there for the taking as all of the top 6 have a weakness. It’s much more open than last season as things stand. It’s just down to who and which players want to up their games and do something extraordinary. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if Chelsea drop points in the second half of the season but will any other team take up the challenge?

  5. MDP says:

    I should also have mentioned Iwobi in there. Absolutely fantastic and can only get better!

  6. N7 says:

    Welcome back!

    I can see Chelsea dropping enough points. I can’t see us (or anyone) taking them all.

  7. PD says:

    Welcome back Goodplaya !

    Sunday was my first visit of the season. Just before Alexis’ penalty you can imagine how much I was regretting my 5am start to get to the airport to fly to London!
    Mental stuff. I’ve been critical of this team for their lack of character in the past but to be fair, after Burnley scored they showed great desire to drive at Burnley in the hope of a winner.
    I’m amazed by some of the comments from Gooners online re: Burnley after the match. They were extremely hard-working & committed and actually went at us trying to get a goal of their own. They were a credit to their manager (a man I have a lot of time for) & it’s embarrassing to see some Gooners slagging them off the way they have. (not as embarrassing as the banner of Alexis’ two dogs but that’s another story)

    On individuals……Kos was fantastic. Mustafi gave away some really silly free kicks in dangerous areas but other than that, you’ve gotta like him. We miss Bellerin terribly in an attacking sense but it’s hard not to admire Gabriel’s efforts in a position he is clearly uncomfortable in. (and he was the one who led the reaction to Burnley’s goal, insisting we get back on with it instead of feeling sorry for ourselves. Alexis was terrific again but I wonder is he trying to do too much : he seems to be always coming deep looking for the ball – with his pace he should be looking for the ball in behind more often ?
    The two big conundrums for me were in midfield. Xhaka’s sending off was just stupid…which was a real shame because he was the best player on the pitch before then. He’s easily the best passer of a ball we’ve had for a number of years. (80’s Gooner – I’m very surprised you’d praise Elneny’s range of passing : he has a lot of good qualities but I certainly wouldn’t have thought that was one)
    Some of his sweeping crossfield passes were just glorious. He’s gotta learn though & quickly about staying on his feet.
    And then there’s Rambo….I like him, he’s got good qualities…he takes a lot of unfair stick but…… I have to say I thought he was really, really poor on Sunday. To be honest, I’m beginning to think he just doesn’t fit in to the way we play.

    Anyway, it was a big 3 points. The Southampton result last night will hopefully mean they won’t be at full pelt at the weekend. Let’s hope for a win there & v Watford to set us up nicely for Chelsea. I would echo N7′s last comment though : Chelsea will give other teams the chance to catch them but I don’t think any of the chasing pack are good enough to take that chance.

  8. MDP says:

    It seems pretty clear to me that the next two Premier League fixtures (Watford (h) Chelsea (a) hold the key to Arsenal’s title chances as we head into February. You could add Southampton in the FA Cup to that as you feel the momentum of winning will be needed here. Certainly if Arsenal beat Watford it sends Arsenal to Stamford Bridge with a tantalising chance to close the gap and show us if they have some kind of fight in their bellies. Anything else and I feel it will season over. Chelsea also have the opportunity to cement their place with Liverpool (a) before they face us.

    The thing with Ramsey for me PD is he has to play the number 10 role consistently. You only have to look back at the 13/14 season as a benchmark of how good he can be with 16 goals and player of the season to his name. If my memory serves me right, he was playing more centrally and Ozil more out left at that time. I feel that Arsene could never have turned down the opportunity to sign Ozil but it was the catalyst for Ramsey playing out of position and Jack heading to Bournemouth. I feel sad that Arron and Jack may never reach their potential at Arsenal. I often question how good these two players could have been had Ozil not signed and Jack hadn’t been so hampered by injury. Anyway, you’re right that Ramsey doesn’t fit into this system. He showed glimpses against Burnley but probably needs to move on and play centrally if he will ever play anything like his best again. Better than what some Arsenal fans give him credit for.

  9. slc gunner says:

    Actually, Ramsey’s purple patch was when he was playing in his current #8 role. Ozil was the #10. It was actually Jack that got shunted out to the right for a while because there wasn’t a place for him in the middle. Arteta or Flamini were at the base of the midfield. So not playing as the 10 is not the issue. In fact, Ramsey has rarely played as the 10 since Ozil joined. I thought he was ok against Burnley. He’s not scoring goals as he did back in 13/14, but if he can do the other things well, he will be ok. I would say that Coquelin/Xhaka has the slight edge for me in terms of preferred partnership, if everyone including Santi was fit.

  10. MDP says:

    Fair enough. He’s still been moved around and played on the right far too often when it just doesn’t suit his game. Still think there’s a quality player in there that would have excelled in the right system.

  11. N7 says:

    Well there you go (post-Watford). Chelsea will drop the points. We won’t pick them up. If only the entire team had Sanchez’s sense of urgency :-(

  12. Delve 348 says:

    If you can’t scrape a point against Watford at home, with a rested squad, you aren’t anywhere near good enough for the title. End of.

  13. PD says:

    Bah…same old Arsenal. The usual meltdown amongst Gooners about Arsene’s team selection completely missing the point again. It’s worth repeating Amy Lawrence’s pre-Man Utd game comments : ‘Getting personnel decisions right is a big thing. Getting the mindset right – something they failed to do last season at Old Trafford – is even bigger.’

    How does Arsene fail so often to get his team to turn up ?

    We’re not winning the league this season & at this stage, believing that we could ever win it again under Arsene is just fantasy stuff.

  14. MDP says:

    I find it frankly bizarre how a team/squad with the quality that Arsenal have can consistently turn out such limp performances in games of such huge importance. It beggers belief, this is what footballers should be living for, games that can decide titles.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, (aside from any managerial issues) there’s not enough ex Arsenal pros on the back room staff. I can’t imagine a dressing room with Martin Keown in it not understanding the level of comittment and desire needed when they go out on the pitch, regardless who you are playing.

    Yet another fundamental flaw in a side who I would argue man for man are better than Chelsea yet fail when the going gets tough.

  15. Elvis says:

    The French have an expression “avoir le gnaque” roughly translated as “having snarling determination, the will to win, the passion to lift mountains, the aggression, the never say die attitude.”

    Well, Arsenal don’t go into enough games standing in the tunnel with “le gnaque” in their eyes. Ozil has the least “gnaque” of all. Taxi at the end of the season.

  16. slc gunner says:

    Hard to disagree with any of that. Was it the home game to Swansea last season that felt the same. You have to show up, dig in and fight: too many players think that showing up alone will suffice. A great shame because we could have been within 6 points of Chelsea going into the weekend.

  17. PD says:

    Yeah, agreed. When compared to the Invincibles this squad look so much weaker, not in terms of quality but in terms of that warrior instinct. Lauren, Cole, Sol, Kolo, Gilberto, Paddy…you would trust that core of your team in any circumstances. Keown, Parlour, Edu too,.

    This squad, hand on heart who would I trust ? Kos, Coq, Alexis…I’d struggle after that.

  18. Elvis says:

    Xhaka could do Vieira’s ‘lash out and get a red card’ role quite well to be fair.

  19. PD says:

    Half time…looks familiar.

    Note to Ozil – a 300k per week player buries that chance in injury time. 300k a week players score big goals in big games at important times. Consistently.

  20. MDP says:

    Written 75mins. Sat watching pretty much what I expected to see. I rarely openly applaud anything about Chelsea but Antonio Conte deserves high praise and leaves me feeling jealous, I’m sad to say. Chelsea look so well drilled and organised in a solid system. Never thought I’d see Luiz and Cahill as part of a solid back line. Conte has managed that. Arsenal look like they are making it up as they go along. Ngolo Kante looks quality, shame we didn’t get him but you can understand why.

  21. slc gunner says:

    Another title challenge over early. I think it is time for Arsene to move on in the summer. The time has come, end of a contract. If he can go out on a high with a cup win, that would be befitting, but clearly we are missing something. Few could argue with the 1st 11 and that we don’t have a talented and deep squad, which in fairness Arsene has accumulated. But they are not operating at the level that they should be.
    Chelsea deserved to win, no doubt about it. However, I am curious what people think of the 1st goal. Alonso clearly led with his arm. I see why pundits are saying it was a goal – he was jumping for the ball in a natural way (maybe). But he still poleaxed Bellerin. If Xhaka is penalised for an accidental elbow to the head of Joe Allen (Stoke game), shouldn’t the same rule apply here. I’m not the expert here, and again, Chelsea still deserved their win.

  22. MDP says:

    Didn’t even cross my mind at the time SLC. There could be a case but I can’t even be arsed to think about it. Chelsea were so much better than us and better managed than us I don’t see it as relevant this morning.

    My respect and admiration for Arsene will never dwindle as long as I live. The early Arsene years were as good as it gets as a football fan, for me, in so many ways. He’s an Arsenal legend full stop. BUT when you come away from watching a match with just pure admiration for a Chelsea manager you know it’s time for a re-think at Arsenal. Chelsea aren’t that special when you look back over past title winning sides. They are just getting the basics right, thanks to the manager.

    Arsene has so many amazing qualities that have kept us near to the top of European football for 20years. That isn’t missed or forgotten by me. However, Arsenal need more than that now if they are to grow rather than stagnate. Footballers are a different breed compared to they days of Adams or Bergkamp. They need to be managed more than ever within the huge cash bubble that they live. With respect, it’s time for change.

  23. Elvis says:

    Didn’t even watch the game. After losing to Watford at home the result was academic anyway and the outcome of the match was never in doubt – even before kick off. Bored with Arsenal. Don’t even care if they fail to finish in the top four.

  24. PD says:

    It’s very hard to stay interested Elvis, I’d agree. I’m not necessarily too concerned about top 4 either but I do want two things : I want Arsene to maintain his proud record of finishing ahead of the Totts every season & I want him to finish ahead of Mourinho. Sadly, I can’t see either happening.

    I just feel very sad about Arsenal/Arsene these days. I said after the Hull FA Cup final, I thought Arsene should go out on a high & leave someone else to build on his legacy. I feared two things if he stayed : 1 – him losing the chance to go out with the love/gratitude he deserves from all Gooners & 2 – the longer he stays, the harder it will be for his successor to get Arsenal back winning major titles.
    Nothing we have seen in the last 2 & a half years has allayed those fears.

  25. slc gunner says:

    For me, he bought some extra time in the Hull FA Cup season: winning the cup and a points total (79) that we had not seen in a long time. Even if it was the same again this year, I think time is up this time. However, i’m not sure the board or Arsene see it that way.
    Speaking hypothetically, who would we bring in as manager. Most of the names that you typically hear mentioned are with other clubs. Not that there are not other strong candidates out there, but I’m struggling a little to think of an ideal candidate. The Leipzig manager has been mentioned in a couple of articles, and he is certainly doing well on a relatively small budget in Germany. In England, I can’t think of many. Of the English, Eddie Howe could be considered, but I’m not a big fan of his team’s defensive record. They score plenty, and concede plenty too. I don’t think Big Sam and Tony Pulis would be good fits, despite decent records. Not an easy choice….and do we trust the current board to make that choice. Kroenke won’t decide, he hasn’t a clue. Gazidis is a good businessman, but what’s his football acumen like? Anyway, all very hypothetical, but ’tis the season for it.

  26. King Henry says:

    Agree with the comments immediately above. It feels like the end of an era diesn’t it? Chelsea did well in sacking their sulky and ignorant oaf of a manager and hiring a likeable, clever coach who is a serial winner without being a complete embarrassment.

    There must be great, up and coming managers out there that are relatively unknown and it’s the board’s job, supported by high grade consultants, to know who they are. Who had heard of Arsene Wenger in 1997? And yet he had won the French Ligue 1 with a small club in a tiny stadium and pushed doped-up, bribe cheats Marseille all the way for several seasons.

  27. MDP says:

    I just want to get a sense of a plan from the manager and the board. Some kind of considered direction that a huge club with huge resources is going in. A club that has earned the right to have loftier ambitions than finishing in the top 4. Especially when you look at their place in the various world football financial tables. Also considering how big their profile now is in world football. Are we going to compete as other clubs around us are building and developing new stadia? Are we going to compete as more super rich owners buy up the clubs around us? Or, are we happy to sit still while others around us get stronger?

    I felt some optimism in the summer. For the first time in a number of seasons I felt the purchases of Mustafi and Xhaka was a considered attempt to fill the gaps and move the team forward. I felt the squad was as good as it had been in a long time. But time has shown that this side still lack balance, we’re never certain of who the first 11 are, they’re consistently under prepared mentally and look short of ideas and any sort of game plan in certain games. Only the manager can be accountable for this.

    I fear for the rest of the season now. Aside from the fans, the players look tired and fed up of being in this position again. I’ll be amazed if Alexis and Ozil hang around. Maybe a bit premature and irrelevant to be talking about replacement managers at this stage especially when the board are so firmly behind the manager. However, a bit shocked to hear your suggestions SLC, surely you didn’t seriously mean Pullis or Allerdyce would even be considered? They’re not in the same league as Arsenal, not to mention they’re both part of the devils spawn. Eddie Howe would be far too much of a punt as would some of the ex Arsenal players that this discussion would attract. I would go for someone with a bit of pedigree. I can’t say I know much of him but I’ve heard the Juve manager mentioned and his CV didn’t sound too shabby.

    Anyway, I just need to hear some kind of plan, some kind of ambition. What’s next for Arsenal over the next 10 years.

  28. N7 says:

    Why was it that Arsenal up to 2004-5 had “the right mindset” and then not? What changed?

    Did Arsene change? If so, how? Did our time with promising youth kind of culturally damage the club?

    Something must have happened – I just can’t put my finger on it TBH.

  29. MDP says:

    The obvious thing is the quality of player, their route into the game and the type of contract they were on at a young age. I mean Adams, Sol, Keown, Bergkamp, Vieira, Pires, Henry, I’m sure at 18 they were all working their nuts off to succeed in football and the money eventually came as part of succeeding. I remember Jermaine Pennant signing such a big deal for a youth player and he was driving around and crashing expensive cars before even breaking into the first team. That’s when it all changed for me. Players tend to have a different mindset which I think is a factor. They need more managing and the Alexis types of this world are harder to find. I just don’t see the determination in players that we could see back then. I’m not sure that motivating, getting a player fired up and prepared for action is one of Arsene’s strong points. The early Wenger squads had players that did that job as second nature.

  30. Elvis says:

    Yes MDP, George Graham drilled that mental aggression and discipline into them.

    We may not lament the demise of George’s style of play, or his unambitious later purchases, or his tolerance of a binge drinking culture, or indeed his weakness for brown envelopes stuffed with tenners.

    But I for one mourn the loss of his almost militarily well-drilled defence and a squad of footballers you would go to war with.

  31. slc gunner says:

    MDP, I wasn’t suggesting Pulis or Allardyce. I was just surveying those outside the Top 6. I would not want them, although in fairness to both, they have kept teams up that didn’t have a lot of talent – but I would not want their brand of football.
    I agree that we need to be more ambitious. I don’t think we’ll get a manager from the Top 6 in England, so we would really have to look outside of England. It might have to be another Wenger-esque finding: one that nobody has really heard of, but ready to take us to the next level. The one manager in the Premier league that might be worth a look is Bilic. I think he’s done well in his two seasons and is clever on the tactics front.

  32. MDP says:

    Haha! I thought that was the case, just shocked to see their names come up! Whatever happens and whenever it happens, it will be a turbulent ride. Just look at United and Liverpool to see how difficult it can be. Chelsea have done a bit better, as have City but they have the cash to chuck around. I still say we need to think big initially and if that fails maybe there’ll be nothing to lose trying one of the host of ex Arsenal pros.

  33. King Henry says:

    Slaven Bilic slc? Are you on drugs? West Ham would bite our hands of if we offered them a swap with Wenger. What about that bloke at Atletico Madrid? Or Joachim Low? That’s the bracket we need to be talking about I think.

  34. slc gunner says:

    Sometimes I am accused of that, but I promise it’s not the case. I agree that Simeone would be a better choice and a very good one: someone that could instill the organisation that is currently lacking. A bit of a headcase but I would definitely take him over Bilic. I would take Low or even Deschamps over Bilic. MDP mentioned Allegri at Juve: another good choice. Can we get any of them: I have no idea: all have good jobs at the minute. I was just looking at managers in England outside the Top 6: a best of the rest. Bilic would be my pick from that bunch, Koeman maybe, but you’re right, all of the best options are probably in other leagues. It’s also a question of timing. Liverpool were able to pick up Klopp when he became available. Right now, there is not a big name that is available that I can think of.

  35. PD says:

    I think when you look at the other top 6 in England, the problem becomes clear : the Board have never even considered the option of Arsene not being Manager. So when Pochettino, Klopp, Conte, Guardiola etc became available, we weren’t in the running. I’m not necessarily saying any of them were THE right man but if you consider yourself as only having one option it seems a terrible way to manage a club.
    Simeone would seem the best choice for me…..he’d certainly shake up the attitude. (if he did get it I’d be pretty sure flogging Ozil would be no.1 on this To-Do list !!) …but you know, I’m not paid the 2m quid a year that Gazidis is to get these things right.

    Going back to King Henry’s earlier post…..couldn’t agree more. Mourinho must cringe watching Conte : proof that you can run a tight, extremely well coached team (that are good to watch as well) without being a prick. For all Arsene’s fault if you offered me Arsenal winning no trophies for the rest of my days or having Mourinho, I’d happily take no trophies.

  36. King Henry says:

    PD last sentence – that’s pretty well the situation we have. A manager with culture, class, humility, the ability to produce breathtakingly beautiful football, a serial qualifier but with virtually no chance of winning any silverware.

    Arsenal fail over and over again because of Arsene Wenger’s tactical naivety and unbreakable habit of accepting mentally unprepared and physically AWOL performances at crucial moments in every season.

    But at least he’s not Jose Mourinho. For that, we can bow our heads and give grateful thanks.

  37. Delve 348 says:

    Ian Wright on Radio 5 tonight was saying he spent a couple of hours with the Manager yesterday. He says he looked wounded and he expects that he will not renew his contract.

    Telling that the only two trophies in the new stadium era were won under Mikel Arteta’s captaincy. I greatly lament that Arsenal failed to adequately replace him.

  38. DelvesNonsenseConfusesEvenDelve says:

    Arsenal won the 2014 FA Cup under Thomas Vermaelen’s captaincy. Not an opinion, a fact.

  39. Delve 348 says:

    Ooh, we beat Hull City at home with a handball and an injury time penalty. That’s better than not beating Watford at home isn’t it?

  40. slc gunner says:

    something rotten in the state of denmark. Ozil 40m? you’re having a laugh. Xhaka 30m? you’re having a laugh. what’s the point. major overhaul needed, manager included. a year or two out of the Cl might actually be good. at least it would be different than watching this shit.

  41. PD says:

    ‘It was a strange game. In the first half we played quite well.’

    Oh Arsene. That is an extraordinarily stupid statement.

  42. slc gunner says:

    So where to from here. The FA cup has to be #1 priority. Winning something would bring some joy to an utterly disappointing season. Not finishing in the top 4 – so that we don’t have to be beaten in the last 16 of the CL is no great loss. Ok, we’ll miss out on ~30m, but you know, it might still be worth it. Ozil should be sold, he never shows up in the big games. Sanchez will probably want to leave – you can’t blame him. We should at least get out money back on both – the latter’s value should have gone up even if he is 28.
    We need a new manager in place before the end of the season, not with any responsibility on the pitch until May 31. But he needs to start planning for next season, new players, etc. Arsene can see out the season, 13 leagues games and the FA cup.
    Will any of this happen? Doubtful.

  43. PD says:

    Amazingly bad. We were so poor in the first half & then to get back in it & be level at half time, Bayern looked a bit rattled & you think, ‘wow, we might be in this.’ And what do we get from the team ? Nothing. Not one single player can come out with any credit. I see Ospina getting loads of credit which is comical to me. Yes, he made some good saves but he is THE worst Arsenal keeper I have ever seen on set pieces : he inspires nothing but panic in front of him….and he twice went walkabout in a way that would have seen Chesney slaughtered.
    The outfield players ? Hopeless. Agree on Ozil : I’m done with him. If we get any decent offer we should snap it up…and take back any deal we’ve offered him. I would quite happily never see him in an Arsenal shirt again.
    We’re glued to this system to suit him & he doesn’t justify it. Not even close.
    Arsene has spent nearly 200m since he signed his last deal (with fuck all coming back in for outgoing players which is often overlooked – I would imagine a club like Chelsea’s net spend is much less than ours) & what have we got to show for it ? 3 wasted seasons of frustration with some top class managers who were available during that time going to our nearest rivals in England.
    You’ve brought this on yourself Arsene. If you really, really loved the club as much as you say, then you would have walked in 2014.

  44. MDP says:

    Didn’t see the game thankfully. From what I’ve heard from the radio commentary and reports it’s the same old lack of preparation and coaching. If your defence aren’t drilled in what Arjen Robben or Lewanddowski is going to do then you don’t stand a chance, just basics.

    The board have really got to earn their money in the coming weeks and months before the end of the season. Alexis is surely gone in the summer but if there’s any ounce of hope it’s that they can bring in a new manager and set out a sparkly new plan for the future. With Stan and Gazidis at the helm it looks pretty hopeless to me.

  45. PD says:

    I can’t believe I forgot to say this in earlier posts……we ended up with Gibbs as captain against Bayern. Gibbs ! If anything summed up where we’ve ended up it’s that. It was bad enough with Arteta but Gibbs is a new low. The message is out there : Be a decent player & a nice guy, play the party line & you too could captain one of the 10 richest clubs in the world. Pathetic.

  46. Elvis says:

    It was out of this world to win three titles and three FA cups, including the Invincibles, in his first 8 seasons.
    It was a seriously big achievement to qualify for the Champions League every year while hamstrung financially during the years immediately following the new stadium build.
    The style of football has often taken the breath away.
    Wenger deserves respect for all that.
    It has been classy that the board has stood by him given his loyalty and love for the club rather than fire at will like Chelsea do after every run of poor results.
    But he is now the highest earning manager in Europe and the return over the last five years has simply not justified the money he’s on.
    Nor is there any chance he will challenge in Europe beyind the last 16 or win the league ever again. He’s past it. Everyone knows that.
    Arsenal might well finish in the top four again this season. They’ll probably do better than Spurs who will crumble as usual. They might just win the FA cup, though probably not. But for Arsene’s pay grade, that simply isn’t good enough.

  47. MDP says:

    Well said Elvis.

  48. PD says:

    Two non-league teams to get to the FA semis… seems someone up there wants Arsene to go out with a trophy…

  49. MDP says:

    …and maybe Spurs in the semis or even the final????????!!!!

  50. PD says:

    To be fair I hadn’t thought about that. I don’t think I could watch. The thought of Arsene losing his last big cup game to that shower (or God forbid to that horrendous twat Mourinho) would be heartbreaking. Come on Chelsea & Millwall. Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say !!!

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