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Let us try to be critical

By Walter Broeckx

After the Stoke game someone asked us to be critical for Wenger. Saying things like: It won’t be the end of the world if you also highlight the mistakes he has made over the last decade.

So after my evening training of some 6 km (because I have to be in good shape when I come to make an impression on Wenger but that is another story for another day) and bringing my oldest son back to his university I had plenty of time to think about this remark. And as I like a challenge I thought: Walter it is time to get critical. So I started to get critical.

The first thing is that a decade is 10 years. I first had to look at those 10 years as a whole.  A big mistake is giving us 2 league titles and 3 FA cups in that decade. Yes it sure did raise some high expectations. And it attracted a lot of glory hunting fans. The ones that came for the silverware but not for the club. Well they will be leaving soon I think.

Another big mistake is giving us the invincible year.  I know sitting late at night in my chair looking at MOTD (no live football on my TV in those days or on my pc). Waiting in high tension if we could have done it on the final day. And when we had done it, it felt like something that big and something that never would be repeated in my life time. But again it raised a lot of expectation by some fans that from now on it would be like that.

But on came the rich and they brought a new dimension to football and changed the whole thing completely. But I don’t think we can blame Wenger for this as he is strongly against such billionaires spending money the clubs don’t have.  But after those people came in and Arsenal building the Emirates and being short of money it was a big result to keep us in the top 4 all those years. I do consider it to be a prize. Not a silverware-prize but nevertheless something to be cheerful about. So maybe he should have let us drop out of the CL for a year so we would have realised it a bit more. Because now people take it for granted. Just ask Tottenham how guaranteed it is to stay in the top 4 for more than one year.

So when I look at the decade I really feel no real mistakes have been made. We know why the Emirates was built and we know that we building a completely new team takes time. The leaving of some players earlier than expected and because they wanted to leave has had a bad influence. But is letting a player go that wants to go a mistake from the manager?

So I thought okay let us look at this weekend’s game and be critical about this. Are the players rubbish? Mmm I don’t really think so. Because just one week ago they won against the almost crowned champion Manchester United. So a team that has won against United cannot become bad overnight. Be more critical I said to myself.

So I looked at the teams and compared them. Aha, some different players came under my attention. Arshavin for Nasri. But hey didn’t we all applauded Arshavin last weekend for his tackling and fighting and defending? And Arshavin played because Nasri was injured. And well you cannot blame Wenger for Nasri being injured.  Another new name was Gibbs in for Clichy. But this again was only because Clichy failed a late fitness test. So if it would have been for Wenger he would have started with the same team as against United. And well that was a fairly good team I would dare to say. And the only changes were forced upon the manger because of injuries. So can’t blame him for this.

How can the manager be blamed for picking almost the same team that has beaten United and now has lost to Stoke? If the players can win from United those same players should have been able to win from Stoke.

But still I went further. And then and now I talk with hindsight it looks that Djourou is running around with an empty tank. After he came back early from his shoulder injury he had a mixture of great games (Manchester) and poor games (like Bolton). But for the rest of the season I think it is fair to say that Djourou had a great season with most of the time very solid performances. It is just now the last games that after his injury he has some bad games.

But today has involved in a negative way in the 3 Stoke goals.  So, let’s be critical on Wenger for having played Djourou.  Can you imagine the cry of Wenger out if he would have played Squilacci and let put Djourou on the bench? Yep, I think you can. So I cannot be critical on Wenger for having played Djourou before the game and after the game it is too easy to say : he shouldn’t have played Djourou.

But as I was in critical mode I thought: he could have played Vermaelen. Aha, no one would have called for Wenger his head if he would have played Vermaelen.  But what if Vermaelen would have been part of the 3 Stoke goals? What would have been the cry of the Wenger out brigade? Er, Wenger Out?  So once again it’s always easy to speak after a game.

Come to think of it…. I think I was the only one (well on Untold) to suggest that Wenger could have played Vermaelen at left back BEFORE the game. But would that have been a success? Well nobody can answer that question. It could well have been that we would have shot Wenger at sight when he would have taken the risk and it would have failed.

Football is a funny old game. Results like last week and today show that nothing can be taken for granted in football.  This weekend’s result means nothing next weekend.  Once the players are out on the field they have to do the job. Today they didn’t. That is life. Last week they did. That was also life. Next week they will again do the job. They better to the job because I come over!

And one final thing I noticed when I reviewed the game for my ref review: I have never seen Arsenal players struggle like they did today to keep the ball under control. Was the grass too long? Was the surface too dry? It was strange because I have seen Walcott a few times trying to start a speedy run and he always had to hold himself back as the ball just wouldn’t stay at his speed. And I never have seen so many Arsenal players tripping themself with stepping on the ball.  A bit strange.

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95 comments to Let us try to be critical

  • Goonerman

    To your credit, your loyalty to AW is unquestionable. I know from previous articles you are capable of criticism of other teams and managers.

    Consequently, why are you not asking the most puzzling question of the man who created the Invincibles?

    Why can’t AW once again create a solid defence, a defence which does not make silly mistakes?

    I am puzzled more than frustrated by this season, and last season and the season before.

  • Yommex

    What a critical review? Nice one.
    In my opinion, Bendtner and Chamackh should have started more matches and RvP should have played as a withdrawn striker playing off the main striker as that position, usually played by Fabregas and Nasri seemed to suit his game so well yesterday. The only problem is that if Wenger had tried any of these during the course of the season, I would have crucified him. That’s the way of a present day Arsenal fan.

  • Gooner80

    cant blame the grass walter,they have the right to let the grass be a little longer not watered, I think the wind may have stopped Theo as well but thats part and parcel of football they should be able to adapt to conditions, im sure most pro footballers have played on pitches where you are sliding through dog shit, they just werent at the races and I feel we shouldnt make any excuses for that performance, Everyone knew what we was up against

  • Phil Gregory

    Yommex – problem with that is you then are only playing two in midfield. Only Jack I feel would be effective in a 442 of our first choice midfield, and you end up moving our wide forwards further back. Which again causes further problems – Walcott, Nasri and Arshavin are more effective further forwards.

    so yes, we need more height in our attack but I don’t see how we can do it.

  • walter

    Gooner80,

    Yes they can let the grass grow until it reaches their knees.

    But when you play a game based on playing the ball on the floor the grass is very important.
    Stoke most of the time play it in the air so it doesn’t bother them that much.
    But when they tried to play the ball on the floor… it was piss poor from their part also. If you would take a look at the game again it was clear to see that they also struggled to get some passes going on the floor. It was hilarious to see them attempting to play the ball at times. Well it was still 0-0 at that time so I found it funny at that time.

    But Stoke is better equiped for the game in the air compared to Arsenal. But it struck me how many times even the simplest of passes of a few meters didn’t reach the player, got stuck somewhere between the players or was overhit so the control for the recipient of the pass was too dificult. and I think we fell over the ball some 6 or 7 times. An image we almost never see happening in the Emirates by any team.

  • Stevie E

    In a world where football managers are given, at most, a season to win everything or be classed as a failure, it makes me proud that no matter how loudly the boo boys shout, Wenger is still our manager keeping us in the top four year in, year out. There have been a lot of aaa on this site lately, stirring things up with vile & crass comments designed to enrage us and make us join their crusade to change everything Wenger has done over the years building arsenal into a true football powerhouse, respected the world over for the playing style and financial integrity that is wengers legacy. I ain’t interested in your shit aaa, you really expect us to believe you know how to run a football team better than one of the worlds greatest? Behave yourselves! Real football ain’t like on a playstation, you can’t set it to easy and use your gazillion credits to buy all the best players. You can’t turn injurys off in the real world, the ref never gets it wrong on the playstation. If you are glory supporters, just admit it and go and support s***s, according to your beloved press they have had a fantastic season! Still below us and also won fuck all but their manager ain’t French and none of their players mind it up em. If however you are real arsenal supporters, stop being swayed by the press who tell you finishing third is a failure, get behind the team cos it ain’t gonna get any easier next season. This is the toughest league in the world and we are constantly in the top four, we are getting better every season, yeah we were poor yesterday but we’ve been magnificent at times this year. Don’t know about you, but I’m arsenal til I die, not only if we win something silver.

  • Gooner80

    I think Aw has to be critical of the team because the competition is getting stronger, it is not hard to see Man city will spend more liverpool are re-emerging and the twitch are going to try even harder.

    there is clearly something missing or something needed. The collective pressing and defending of the team is invisible at times. The whole team dont defend properly, and it is fair enough not to be playing at your best but there is little excuse for not putting a shift in. In England effort is always required, you dont have to be the most skillful but you have to try, and it is no good just turning it on in the big games, I wouldn’t fault the team one iota if that was their maximum but I know it is not, and that is where Every Arsenal Fan feels frustrated, none more than those magnificent traveling supporters, they should get some serious recognition, if there was an award they should get it well done lads

  • Gooner80

    @Walter
    to be truly great you have to be able to come up against any playing style and every kind of conditions, If I was stoke manager I would try to influence the pitch in any way I can especially if the team is totally reliant on passing, ive said it a few times arsenal need to come up with a style that will allow them to get results when they cant pass it around, we shouldnt have to play well every game, and even when we play well we can struggle to break teams down. Arsenal have one of the best pitches but our performances at the ems has been mediocre, compared to our usual home performances.

    it hasnt been as bad as some of the AAA have made out but if I am honest I cant say everything has been great, we have struggled against mid table teams this season.

  • Mr Venger

    The pitch was dangerous and obviously left overgrown for this match.
    Only in GB would that kind of low grade attempt to cheat happen.
    No excuse for the drab end of season performance but its just yet another obstacle specially reserved for Arsenal.

    All Gary Cahill fanclub members- Before opening your mouths and preaching him the Lord Saviour for the 500th time,
    pls watch this:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4YaB79GjuyM

    What a player

  • walter

    We should have bought Schwarzer. He sure can let them in better than Almunia at the near post….

  • Gooner80

    I think The AAA are using confirmation bias on the signings they suggest, wasnt hangerland one as well AW has forgotten more about scouting then most even know he is unrivaled in regards to spotting talent but yet they still suggest who he should buy,

  • Gooner80

    @Mr Wenger

    I really cant watch stoke my eyes feel violated.

    Clearly AW fancied Samba more and as articles suggest we should have got him in Jan.

    Im not looking at excuses here but I was just wondering how many teams who have had a brand new CB pairing faired in top flight football usually there is more stability, that is a position we need stability. I believe Koscielny is real quality just not used to english league

  • Hamad

    So whose fault was to have bought Squillachi in the first place? Perhaps your ref review will have an answer to that.

    Come on, being critical of your home, love and club is NOT a sin. Our pride has been hurt many a times this season. And I HATE your ref reviews which make you like the Manager out of touch from the rest of the fans.
    Yes you have great respect and a good fan base so we look up to you when we need something positive but with some objectivity.

  • Phil

    The only objective criticism that I can think of that is a yardstick that we have to live up to is:
    Howcum Barcelona, the greatest team currently playing, all work their asses off for 90 minutes of most all of their games and especially when they don’t have the ball. They run like crazy they hunt in packs to get the ball and then when they get it and when their advanced men have the ball they try to and often take a man (or in Messi’s case many men) on and beat them. A concept that seems beyond Chamakh’s confidence level.
    So what is it – do they get paid more so that makes them work harder??

    One more thing (just 1) that I would like feedback on – why did we let Gilberto go? He was our captain and he was the captain of Brasil even after he left. Was it just so Cesc could be our captain??? I have thought that was a real mistake and a sad one too.

  • Stevie E

    @hamed, the ref review is what it is, it reviews the ref. If you don’t like it fella you are well within your rights to not read it. To be honest though, Walter knows a lot more about refing than you or I so I’m inclined to read with interest his honest opinion of the refs performance. If you feel he’s biased then take it with a pinch of salt but surely if you’ve watched the games, youve seen for yourself decisions which are really poor. Now imagine you know the rules inside out and have refed at a high level for many years, how many more decisions will you spot? We are lucky Walter takes the time to do this cos I doubt if any other blogs have this standard of content. Maybe you could learn something or, as I said before, you can choose not to, its a free country mate 🙂

  • walter

    Maybe I should add a whistle on the ref review and the words: This is a ref review. 😉

  • RedGooner

    Before I start.
    I want AW to be successfull
    I want Arsenal to be successfull
    I would like to see the youth project work.

    Walter I find it hard to believe that the Article just written was critical in any way shape or form.

    You said below QUOTE

    “But today has involved in a negative way in the 3 Stoke goals. So, let’s be critical on Wenger for having played Djourou. Can you imagine the cry of Wenger out if he would have played Squilacci.”

    The issue of been critical is not who Wenger played in either the match against Utd or Stoke. The issue is 21 goals from set pieces let in more than any other club in the EPL that includes those getting relegated.

    Another issue in the stoke game would be the fact we seem unable to break the stokes and birminghams down they seem to be able to defend quite easily against us.

    I think we need someone like keown back as number 2 if PatRice retires for obvious reasons our best champs league run etc.
    I would also argue we need to play more than one system and change to 442 against the likes of stoke and Birmingham and sunderland whatever we do we need to try something new against those teams.
    What you said above wasnt exactly critism we all respect AW for what he has done at the club but he really needs to address those issues.

  • walter

    Hamad, I bet you were on of those who have been screaming Wenger to buy an experienced CB. And that was just what Squilacci is and was when we bought him. Experienced at the top in France and Spain. Winning things with his teams. or did you wanted Gallas to stay longer? Did we win anything with him? I even can imagine you were one of those screaming to let him go at the end of last season?

    It is so easy to know it all from behind our computer.

  • walter

    Redgooner, that is why the title is: “let us try”. So maybe I failed in my attempt

  • RedGooner

    Walter its all good , I even think that 99% of the players we have can do it. WE just need some tweaking a rethink somewhere along the line. It wont take a whole lot of improvement to win the league BUT it will take some improvement 🙂

  • Stevie E

    @redgooner, I’m not sure Walter was trying to be critical… Maybe irony is a bit lost on some? A couple of my colleagues in work support palace, they seem to be able to support a team that has had no success, no trophys, no CL football. They aren’t tying to blame the manager when they lose, they’re just over the moon when they win, even a scruffy 1-0 which they didn’t deserve cos they played badly… This sentence is also heavy with irony in case you missed it 😉

  • RedGooner

    I didnt miss it at all Stevie E.
    However I have supported Arsenal for many a year long before the AW era. While I still support AW in every thing he does I will not turn a blind eye to our frailties either.
    Wanting to improve shouldnt be a crime.

  • Hamad

    Walter, we wanted an experienced and the best CB. Squillachi didn’t even deserve to be near our Club.

    Do you not agree defence and the set pieces have been our Achilles for years? Even Wenger admits it. So shouldn’t something change?

  • Mandy dodd

    I think in his press conference wenger was critical of some without going as far as naming names. He mentioned what a privilege it is to play football and to play for arsenal. A wake up call for some who may have minds on contracts or transfers? Fact is some have run out of steam, some of the best were injured, some have had heads dropped and maybe one or two want to be elsewhere. I remember recently saying cesc and rvp are true winners maybe an indictment on some senior players not mentioned?
    I think some have let the team down and wenger knows it.
    Maybe a change of coach will take a few out of their comfort zones, seems to have done Liverpool ok. Known bould stojkovic may all add something we do not háve. And I do not want to be too disrespectful to pat rice here.
    Things have gone wrong mistakes have been made and the manager has been let down. Maybe more experience should have been bought in at times. However that is in the past. Wenger will have taken note of liver pools recent rise and I am sure he will do what has to be done this summer. He is no fool he has not lost the plot and has proven before he can adapt when he needs to. Top 4 will not be a forgone next year we will see the best of wenger in response to this.

  • Stevie E

    Redgooner, we are improving, every season we get better and stronger. Aw sees the problems and tries to fix them, he bought two defenders in the summer but because they haven’t been an immediate success like TV, they’ve considered not good enough and aw can’t buy good defenders. TV is the beat defender we’ve had for a while and we just played an entire season without him. Next season he’ll be back and our defence will be stronger. Just like all our players will be better and stronger, we were close this year, we’ll be closer next year. But man c will spend a fortune, so will Chelsea, so will man u, so will spurs & Liverpool… But we’ll do it without spending a fortune or getting into loads of debt, it’ll be done the right way. It would be nice to have teves up front though 🙂

  • I am a bit sad to see our season passing by and yet no trophy, however I am quite happy that, once again Arsenal gave us some dream football and could even be runner up.

  • bjtgooner

    Good article again Walter. I am pleasantly surprised you have time to write articles like this in addition to the ref. watch.

    One point that we should remember is that this season we had to play most matches with a new center back pairing. This has to be significant, I can’t think of any other EPL club having a new CB pairing as their main pairing. We then have the center backs trying to develop an understanding with four different goalkeepers. This situation resulted from the departure of Gallas and injury to Verminator. This is not meant as an excuse, but just an acknowledgemnent that the heart of the defence had to be rebuilt. The longer these guys play together the better will be the understanding. However, more defensive drills for set pieces are obviously required!

    One criticism – in attack/midfield their must be occasions when playing Bentner/Chamakh as one of the wide players would be an advantage – in addition to VP in his normal central role. Too often we have fired crosses into the opposition box with only VP to aim at. More height against teams like Stoke is essential, not just for general play but also for set pieces. Additionally this would also allow Nasri/Walcott or others to be rested – especially important at times when matches follow every 3 or 4 days.

  • Gord

    A manager can only work with what he has. The biggest problem in the EPL, is that less skillful players can knock out more skilled players for extended periods of time, and there is effectively no penalty for this. As the game was designed, the only contact is shoulder to shoulder when the ball is within play. Breaking legs maybe gets a 3 game suspension, spraining an ankle or knee often gets nothing. Maybe ask Pele his opinion? People kept trying to break his legs.

    To me, the thing that keeps coming up is the pressure of the press and presentation. Arsenal is a young team. When the press gets players to comment on upcoming games, it seems that this ends up being a negative factor in their ability to score or win (or even score first). Every manager knows, that if Arsenal is on their day, the score could be an gridiron football score or even a cricket score. But this seldom happens. And with a young team, it seems that psyching themselves out of a game is a real hazard. That silly things like twitter have come along, and allow players to play into this idea that the opposition is easy and so I don’t have to work just adds to the annoyance.

    What would be a nice experiment (next year), is for Arsene to instruct all the players say 10 days before some specific game, no talking to the press, no twitter, no anything. You spend your time in practice perfecting what you know how to do. And then see how the game goes.

    But I really think that a big subset of the players hype themselves up, and when the game happens they believe all the (it’s going to be easy) stuff they’ve pushed into the news, and they come out second almost all the time.

    An old movie: Walking Tall. Speak softly and carry a big stick. New Arsenal: no hyping any game in the press before game time, let your skills speak for you and win every game by at least 1 (and against the poor teams, if that score is +10, so be it).

  • Bendtner's First Touch

    Isn’t it the managers job to motivate players as well? Surely after the many “flat” performances (And I am paraphrasing Arsene here) we have had this season when the stakes were high (West Brom at home, Spurs at home, Sunderland, Blackburn at home too, and to a *lesser extent * newcastle away and Spurs away.

    You touched on the team selection aspect but not on the motivational one. Why?

    Isn’t it also the manager’s job to rectefy the mistakes (goals conceded on stupid set-pieces) that have been made time and time again?

    I want Wenger to stay, he is an absolute legend, but why didn’t you answer these questions? or some of the points raised by the first poster?

  • Mandy dodd

    @ administrators, is it possible to put in some ignore feature whereby you could choose to ignore or filter out certain trolls selectively? Not sure what the copying and pasting from online gooner is all about.
    Back to the subject, I am sure some of the team are their own biggest critics. Wenger says he will bring in experience over the summer, next season would be the best possible start.

  • Sammy

    I am not too bothered about the Stoke game. Lately, we’ve almost always struggled against the physical teams and there wasn’t much to play for. And for a change, the professor actually admitted this time that the team wasn’t upto task instead of making up some lame and despicable excuse. So I am not asking you to be critical of Wenger for this game.

    My problem is your brown-nosing of Wenger the rest of the season. Are you really saying that Wenger had done all that he could? Are you telling us that you believe in his assessment that none of the available players in last few transfer windows would’ve improved the team? Do you really want to believe us that signing a few key players will bankrupt the club?

    The problem is that you and Tony create a lot of smoke and hot air when anyone criticises Wenger. When we say he must sign a defender to cover Vermaelen, you say “oh we don’t wanna be chelsea or man city!”. Now who the hell is asking us to go 100mn in loss? Is signing a few much needed defensive players really gonna bankrupt us? I’m tried of your brown-nosing bullshit.

  • Gilles

    Come on Walter!! To your credit, let me emphasize that, the article above is not criticism. To be honest I failed to read any criticism in it. Don’t try to tell us you have never criticized your wife, as much as you love her. That would be a lie. It is more irony and sarcasm than criticism. The Stoke game was going to be psychological than anything, based on our recent games over there. You know it, I know it, and other fellow fans know that we always struggle against Stoke. we couldn’t defend. I’m one those people that love Wenger. I hardly find something bad to say about him. And I find it, it is usually thing like; “why didn’t you start Wilshere in place of Diaby?” Just things like that. But you seem to think that everything is OK. It is not. Just do us a favor. Make an honest criticism about our season. Because to be honest, you tried to make the people that asked you to the critical review, look like a bunch of losers, which might not be true.

  • bob

    @bjtgooner: It’s not just more defensive drills, but the type of drills: drills that feature set-piece shots by attackers of the sort that we don’t currently have on this squad (unless some are in our reserves, etc. and can offer these shots in training.) Also, what is the implication of “more height” on set pieces – Agreed, but easy to say and harder to fix — who, then, do you think must go and be brought in to provide it?
    @all: I don’t think we should lapse into certain players let Arsene down. That neglects the player-manager relationship; their chemistry, and we’re not there to observe it. But if Arsene has lost some of his choices – that is, that they no longer hear him, that he no longer can motivate them, that they have been exposed as substandard, well these are problems which he as General Manager has to deal with. I don’t know if someone should have both roles because it removes a potentially important source of constructive tension and feedback that may be lacking or currently insufficient. I’m for Arsene staying, but he needs loyal opposition so the decisions are consistently better and that some risks are taken – as in yes, the risk of another CB which many screamed for at the time, just in case the injury bite was more severe, as it turned out to be. That was a serious cock-up. Expecting TV back was a calculated risk which should not have been risked – and many were saying so at the time. There is cash, we are told and told. If it is not used for insurance purposes like this, then it’s going to unaccountable places other than into the team. This is the owner’s world and Arsene, as General Manager, is part of that financial interest in maximizing profit. His interests as GM and Manager are surely not identical and, methinks, one can strangle the other. Perhaps it’s time for that kind of divorce, not that anyone hereabouts has the power to make it happen. What’s the point in having both roles if money won’t be prudently spent at a time when radical risk-taking – that is, NOT spending by the GM – delivered a serious blow to the Manager’s team. Also, we obviously don’t know what the Board allows or doesn’t allow, and it leads to endless speculations like this one. Is Arsene his own man, or not? Arsene the coach in the GM’s man? But whose man is the GM? Again, this is starting to sound like gibberish to me too: but, the answer to these questions will manifest themselves during the summer. Change is essential: whether it comes from within or without the Youth Project. We’re told that the pipeline is brimming with talent. Well it’s high time to see. We’re told that money is available. Again, it’s high time to see. Time for the GM to get on the same page with the Manager and create something approaching the winning blend that the synergy of Project Youth and Cash-On-Hand should be provide. If not, I fear there’s been a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing. And if next season proves out to be nothing, then there ought to be accountability, for the good of the team, not that of the Brand.

  • Wrenny

    I was just thinking about the very defender issue you mentioned. Can you IMAGINE the reaction if Wenger had picked Squillaci, against Stoke of all teams, to give Djourou the rest he clearly needs? He would have been crucified before a ball was kicked!

    What those of us defending Wenger have to realise is that those who attack him aren’t being rational. They are angry and emotional and want to vent their disappointment, whether the manager made genuine errors or not is irrelevant. These people who wish that he would resign or be sacked do so safe in the knowledge that it won’t happen, and thus their theories that he’s ‘lost it’ and all the other crap they spout will never be proven wrong.

    Win or lose, some ‘fans’ will always whinge, always think they know better, always create scapegoats and hate figures, and always be spoilt, arrogant, unsupporting cry babies. It was the same when we were winning things, and obviously much worse now.

    And if I’m honest, I think Untold should be above responding to those hangers-on fans and their silly rantings. As good as this article is, its mere existence as a response to them just adds legitimacy to their ignorant foamy-mouthed drivel.

  • Dark Prince

    Silly article. This article just reminds me of how Wenger treats his fans. He just doesn’t want to admit to some key mistakes he has made. Unfortunately its such attitude which will eventually bring his downfall (which has already started).

    P.S- remember when our players got booed off the pitch this year?? it will soon happen to the manager if he doesn’t rectify his mistakes…

  • RedGooner

    Stevie E
    Im not sure I agree with what you said.
    Are Arsenal improving every year ? well in some areas yes we are financialy and the youth players are also, However in terms of just results I think we are the same possibly even static the last few years.
    I know there have been different reasons each season Flaimini and Hleb definetely set us back when they left.
    I just think the defenders we have at present arent as bad individualy as people make out. I think there is something fundementaly wrong with how we maybe teach defence since Keown left before that the defence was well schooled from the Graham Days.
    Im going back to what I said earlier we need to tweak how we train them in defence new ideas frsh maybe defensive coaches or methods and look at playing a different system against some teams.
    Our system works for europe it works for the man utd’sand teams that are good at playing football but we need to change for the stokes birminghams and sunderlands etc. They contain us way to easily and its always the same clubs.

  • Naren

    Walter,
    for starters, Arsene has indeed made mistakes and lots of them because he is just human like all of us. The problem is that the mistakes he makes are either taking place behind the scenes or are too technical for the armchair manager to spot.
    Arsene himself admitted in an interview to the following. It was the season 2001-2002, when Bobby won the FWA Player of the Year.Arsene had statistics which made it very clear that Bobby had ‘hit the wall’ and needed a rest very badly. Then came along that match against Newcastle. Arsene was pondering over playing Booby right until the last day. In his own words, he “didn’t have the strength to not play Bobby”. So Bobby played and due to severe fatigue, his movements became a bit uncoordinated and did his cruciate. All this was recounted by Arsene himself including the injury occuring due to fatigue. So here Walter, at least one mistake in the last decade.
    PS-I don’t know if it was a mistake or not but I can never agree
    with Arsene for taking Bobby off in the CL Final against Barca.

  • Gf60

    Walter, I’m very much an AKB but there are times when Arsene does push belief to the edge. On Arsenal.com he is quoted as saying that our organisational weakness on set plays is “the easiest thing to correct in the game”.

    I have to ask…just why the hell hasn’t he corrected it then??? It’s been there all season.

  • Adam

    I have enormous respect for Walter, his articles and his opinions. But, we have had real opportunities for the past few seasons to push for the PL and I have often thought that, if Arsene had used the January transfer window, he could have reinforced the team in specific areas and at just the right time to give the team an opportune shove towards the title. Not to buy a central defender this January when anybody with a brain knew that Vermaelen would be crocked for the remainder of the season was not a good move. To sell Toure and Adebayor, loose Gallas and Campbell and buy Chamakh, Koscielny and Squillacci? Was that a good move? Not for me I am afraid. Hanging onto Denilson, offering Rosicky a new contract, perseveringly with Diaby? Personally I don’t see the upside of these decisions buy hey, it is all a matter of opinion isn’t it.

  • Shard

    @Gf60

    I think he meant that more as a barb to the team. He’s probably saying to the team that they are letting him, and themselves down by not being able to do even the simple, basic things.

  • Shard

    @Walter

    As others have pointed out, you weren’t really being critical. Largely I agree with you. When you say Wenger hasn’t made any mistakes I agree with you as far as the overall strategic vision is concerned. But of course he’s made mistakes on a more micro level. He shouldn’t have let Gilberto go. He should have bought a striker last summer (the problems in buying a player and the cost notwithstanding) etc.. None of that means that he should go, or even that he is unaware of the problems. He, like everyone else has made mistakes, but the overall vision for the club that he has and has worked on, is correct. It’s never been about not spending money, it’s about not spending money we don’t have. The money we DO have right now is there because it has been saved over the years, and it will very quickly wither away if we start paying over the odds for players. That said, I do expect a few signings in the summer, as also a few departures. But people asking for wholesale changes, or a change in manager are not seriously looking for a realistic improvement. It’s just a search for a quick fix to all problems, and the simplest thing to call for is sweeping changes. Hardly a viable strategy.

  • barry

    Its amazing what a bit of passion can do for a team! Look at Liverpool, an icon of the team has brought back some tradition and pride, which inspires the players, player for player we are better than pool, we need someone to come in and inspire, Henry or Viera in a assistant coaching role perhaps, someone to work with Wenger, bring in new ideas and deliver the message that half hearted performances will not be tolerated at AFC and that the players must leave everything out there every game! We have the quality, we’ve shown that against cheslea united and city this season, some strength in, some weakness out and as i have mentioned above, we need to bring some Highbury magic into the emirates!

  • Shard

    Off topic.. But the BBC is talking about match fixing again. There have been a slew of articles on the topic on various different newspapers these past few weeks. Though none of them have explicitly said that England faces the problem, and they confine themselves only to the betting scene, I think it’s a good sign.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/gordonfarquhar/2011/05/how_worried_should_we_be_about.html

  • Sharad

    if you now look at the way liverpool are playing now its all down to the manager.same players but new belief.arsene who i think is our best manager ever just seems to have lost it a bit.we need some fresh new faces around the place because we look dead out there at the moment.first pat rice who has been an arsenal legend should now leave gracefully.upgrade steve bould and possible get a veira or maybe a parlour in.upstairs get david dein back and take over all the transfer dealings from wenger.it is no coincidence that since DD left we have won nothing.arsene mindset has to change.he wants us to play la liga style football in the premership.it does not work.tippy tappy will win us nothing.watching liverpool last night they pass well and are very direct.united the same. we need to drop that formula and get back to the old ways.dont play players like van persie and bentner on the wings leave them up front to attack not chase back and defend or cross the ball.he also has to get rid of the players who just will not make it.the fans can tell normally staright away who will or will not make it.players like djourrou and song are perfect examples.would they get in to united chelsea or barcelona.hell no. so i dont want them here.would fergurson put up with players like walcott arshavin rosicky chamaka denilson or sagna who cannot evn cross a ball.arsene must get ruthless and stop wasting high wages on very average players.as far as protesting concerned that is not the arsenal way.yes we are all frustarted but we do things with a bit of class not a rabble like when newcastle fans protested.i am sure the club know now that things will have to change and i am sure when we arrive back in august there will be new personnel on board .

  • Mandy Dodd

    I could go on at lenght about the plus points of Wenger who is far and away the best man for the job. Not least taking us past the group stages of the CL for how many years is that? lost the plot indeed.
    But if I had to critisise, I would go on the following points:
    1/ Almunia
    2/The youth policy – he sees it as his dream, lifes work and destiny. Maybe he has gone about it unchecked with too much zeal, losing too much experience creating not a stable enough environment for youth to thrive. Indeed some, such as Denilson have floundered – maybe he needed more help to fulfill his potential
    3/ Not playing to counter physical English teams
    4/ If legend is true, mising out on great players through haggling over price. IF alonso reallyavailable to us without Liverpool having purchased Barry, and we lost out over £1m or whatever, BIG mistake. Alonso would have helped us win something, maybe kept Cesc happy and shown ambition
    5/ Continual weakness on set pieces
    6/ Wenger has maybe tried to do too much since Dein left and the stadium was built
    There you have it. But this stuff is in the past, some issues can be put right in the summer. This team remind me of a golfer just making the final adjustments to his swing, making a few mistakes on the way before all falls into place in the most spectacular fashion.
    Maybe Wenger needs just a bit more help and fans just a bit more patience. The fans who have imploded into a black hole of Arsene loathing, Arsenal loathing and most likely self loathing, who needs them except the manufacturers of Prozac. And some of these guys accuse Wenger of losing the plot!

  • Pete

    @Shard

    Great link to the BBC article – interesting comments there too!

  • bob

    One of the clear focuses for us fans needs to be whether or not Kroenke allows the CASH-ON-HAND to be used. Nothing in the proposed Agreement is an obstacle to his use of that cash as he determines. It is an asset of the club and is not earmarked or protected for expenditure on players, transfers, etc. It is “said” that Kroenke has not impeded the growth of his other sports franchises by siphoning cash away to shore up his other positions. But in this economy we can never know where a weakness at one part of a mogul’s empire will demand rescue from another part of the empire. I’d like us all to be eyes-wide-open and not assume that the team will or will not have use of the CASH-ON-HAND. Arsene may or may not have that at his disposal at the end of the day, and we don’t know either way. Perhaps he doesn’t know either, as yet. It is hard to analyze in this context about what will happen. For Arsene and all of our sake, I would like to see any Manager-GM having both Project Youth and Cash-on-Hand to deal from. Their synergy, in principle, is a good asset. Getting out of the way of its potential and being ruthless and cold-eyed about who is not making the grade and the deficiencies on offense and defense that are chronic and obvious to neophytes is essential.

  • bob

    To follow up on Stan The Man and the Cash-On-Hand question I raise above, the source of my questioning – so that we are all in a more informed loop of discussion and analysis – is this very article in today’s Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2011/may/10/stan-kroenke-arsenal-cash-dividends
    We can/must ponder its implications as we consider Arsene/Arsenal’s actual options.

  • bob

    @Shard, Dogface: cheers aplenty for your link to the BBC article on Bent-Refdumb and the Gambling Juggernaut. Reading the magnitude of what has surfaced, is there any doubt about the deep source of intractable opposition to VIDEO REPLAY, the obvious first step in a real reform (just a band-aid really) of the bad calls/non-calls that have been epidemic and our side’s Albatross this season.

  • bob

    @Mandy Dodd: I appreciate your list, to which I would add point 5A – Our complementary offensive woes: namely, own anemic inability to mount serious set-piece attacks as well as the inability to have meaningful crosses into the box. Absent these, it becomes that much easier for the middle of the pack bus-parkers to handle us and exhaust our ideas. What ideas, when we lack this basic dimension of a fully rounded offense. This, methinks, is not Pat Rice’s doing. Let’s not put our heads in the sand: a chronic problem exists on the pitch as well as off the pitch and those who appreciate Arsene, and I am one, do neither him nor ourselves any favors by pretending we are only a tweak or two from righting the ship.

  • Mr Venger

    I don’t think people should get too hung up on end of season results especially after all the shit this team has been thru this yr , the spirit looks broken. Any problems ( and all teams have them, most have a lot more than us ) are over exposed and seem worse than they really are when the confidence returns. Any defense relies on confidence.
    Like I said Djouro szcezney and koscielny have been great and excelled in their first season, but confidence and belief coupled with deflation has taken over in recent weeks which is worrying but understandable.
    We need a couple of players to step up or arrive who will be ready to fight when it gets tough, but its also thru experience that players like djouro will toughrn up and learn.
    Fabregas as our leader hasn’t done the job for whatever reason and that has also cost us in recent weeks as we have relied on his never say die attitude in recent yrs

  • Countryboy

    This site is quite becoming sycophantic. Why cant we ask the obvious questions? Must we in the name of supporting Lord wenger in all he does hide our heads in the sand and pretend there is no danger? Nobody is asking Mr. Wenger to sign players overnight to play stoke. But everybody in the football world knew we were going have a height problem in the game (and dont tell me that Stoke only scored a goal from a set-piece). The point is Bendtner, Chamack and Vermerlean are all arsenal players – they can play the arsenal way. all mr wenger needed to do was simply to think outside the box and stop being so obstinate and obsessed about being right and admit the truth that is staring at him right inn the face. Vermelean could have played at LB (Mr Wenger himself admitted last season that he bought him as a left back). One of the two tall strikers preferably chamack could have started with vp behind him or somewhere. I dont claim to have all the answers or that this is the only team list that could be successful, all i am saying is it doesnt take a rocket scientist to know that we were always going to struggle height-wise against stoke.

  • Zulu Gooner

    great Blog and fully agree with all your sentiments on Lord Wenger. Arsenal are simply the best club in the world but lose matches somtimes – that`s footie. Who cares if we dont get trophies to keep the chavs and media-types happy? All the yapping about no trophies for 6 years – doesn`t take into account the invincibles which to my mind is a more difficult / better achievment than a title, but no trophy is all that counts?!!! – like hell, give me another invincible year any day.

    countryboy should go back to “supporting” spu*s.

    keep up the positive vibes Walter – helps relieve the stress of having to look at the brit press headlines and vile opinions

  • Simon

    That pitiful performance and result today was just what we needed.

    Surely Mr Stubborn cannot fail to see the amount of hopeless deadwood we have, the true lack of passion, commitment and mental strength and the need to offload at least 9 average players (Almunia, Clichy,Squilaci,Denilson, Song,Arshavin,Bendtner,Rosicky, Vela) and replace with true quality worth the wage.

    That game summed us up totally. Passionless, lack of urgency, lack of shots on target , lack of quality to come on (Bendtner and Rosicky FGS).

    Kroenke has to be worried . If Wenger is to stay it must be on the condition that he overhauls the squad and brings in some real fighters to supplement the talent we have.

    Go to it Stan!!!!

    PS I thought the Arsenal away support today was virtually inaudible which is unusual.
    Should have at least produced some protest songs to try and get something changed within this failing set up.

  • Countryboy

    @Zulu Gooner, know what the basic difference between a loser and a winner? Its desire to win. Thats the difference between you and I. See, I love Arsenal and I want us to win ALWAYS. If u dont want that, then we need to check who wants to support the Spuds.
    FYI: I’ve lived in Nigeria most of my adult life and I’ve never seen a Nigerian Spurs fan. Its just not in our character

  • goonergerry

    The blame game is of limited value- because AW is not going to be sacked by the Board- not yet at least. Personally I think Wenger’s whole football philosophy is flawed- basically because he undervalues the importance of defence and defenders and experience in those positions. But he is the manager we have- he isn’t perfect- no human is.
    Barcelona have showed that It is possible to coverup defensive imperfections and shortcomings by controlling possession and offering a serious threat up front. The Stoke game is a classic case in point- over 70% possession, 18 attempts at goal but only 3 on target- if we could up our attacking threat- we could score 2 goals for every one of theirs.

    It seems to me that we have a defence which on the whole plays well in Europe and can play well and can be effective against the top sides, but is vulnerable to typically English centre forwards and simple crosses. We do in my opinion need to buy a centre half and possibly a left back as well. Possibly- because I think TV5 could offer us more aerial defensive capability at left back- and that is really necessary.
    In midfield if Cesc goes or if he stays we need to re think how we can become more penetrative and more dynamic unit both in defence and attack. Given how we struggle to win without Cesc (a win ratio of 42% without him and 62% with him this season)- I cannot see that replacing him with an internal option would do other than seriously risk European qualification next year. Those optimists who reckon that Aaron Ramsey is a ready made replacement – may be right in 3 years time all being well-but not now. Next year we really need to offer more threat up front so that sitting back and camping in your own half is too risky as a strategy against us. We need some real quality- more dynamic quality from both midfield and upfront-and again If we are serious about competing at the highest level we need to buy it in.

  • vretou

    we have no divine right to win anything.no one said that.the problem is we have not won anything because of the same problems season after season.wenger has refused to buy the players we have needed for longer than 5 years!you can hardly blame the fans for that.we have too many players who are simply not good enough or do not have the heart or passion to represent arsenal.in terms of quality this has been the worst PL i can remember.the title was there for the taking and wengers refusal to buy a decent 2 or 3 players cost us games against teams we should be beating.

  • bob

    @goonergerry: One more thing about Barca: their offense doesn’t cover over their defensive flaws – THAT is an error that, I fear, we may have committed this season. Barca ALSO features a very proactive, swarming, aggressive defense with very capable defensemen, you may not have noticed. The offense and defense complement each other, and we have not achieved that balance on a consistent basis, not this season anyway (to say the least). This is do-able, but we can’t lie to ourselves. That said, we MAY have an internal answer to your accurate analysis of the need for aggressive up-front firepower – it MAY be JET. If he proves out in training camp, we might have the replacement for Bendtner. I also hope we can find backs who can actually do crosses into the box on a consistent basis so that someone like Chamakh – whose game is the HEADER, as shown in his great first half, could actually put those considerable skills to re-use. If he’s not being served, then he can’t be the front man or complement to RVP’s skills. The attack would also be more rounded, surprising and less predictable. If neither of these are tried, then we need, as you see, to BUY IT IN. We need, on a case to case basis use our double-whammy: Project Youth AND the CASH-ON-HAND (unless Kroenke has other designs on it).

  • adam

    I like Wenger very much but his tactics are not his strong point. We know how Stoke play and yet as another post noted he leaves his tall players on the bench. Arshavin is talented I agree, but with no Cesc or Nasri is our most creative player. So why not play him in the centre in the Cesc role. I know its frustrating being a fan and is part of the game, but I wish he would change our formation for different teams, instead of the same way every game. All the top teams will spend big next season and hope we have enough to compete,

  • vretou

    The biggest problem we have is that a lot of fans feel nothing will change. He has created this monster of paying huge salaries to players who haven’t done a thing in their career. Our Wage bill is on a par with the Uniteds and Chelskis of the world but we do not pay the £100k+ per week that they do (maybe to Cesc). It is because we pay lads like Lansbury, JET, Eastmond, Randall etc etc around £15k a week. Now I’m not using those named players to slate them in anyway just saying that they are all players who have barely kicked a ball for the first team and are all around 20 yet all have huge contracts already. My point is that if Wenger thinks he can cut out the Denilsons, Diaby’s, Rosicky’s, Almunias etc out of the squad then he will have a hard time becuase that lot are on about £50k a week and apart from Almunia and Rosicky, who have one year left, they have a few years left to see out their contract. Bo one in their right mind will pay them the same wages so therefore personal terms will never get agreed and they’ll sit on their behind earning that money for doing nothing. We will still see the in the main same faces next year. Perhaps he can shift a couple but there will be no wholesale clearance. There never is. Secondly when cesc goes for £40m this money will not be invested wholly as he will say he has Nasri/Ramsey/wilshere/Lansbury to fill the void. Don’t get carried away with any rumours he will sign two players maximum and they will not be household names

  • Rhys Jaggar

    These ‘glory hunting fans’ who will be ‘leaving soon’,
    Mr Broeckx:

    1. Did they spend more money on Arsenal FC than you have? If so, you have no place commenting on what their decisions are. Until you spend £3000 a year on Arsenal that is…….then you might take responsibility for what you say. Which is from the safety of your Sky Box telling paying customers that they must do what you tell them to.
    2. Did they travel to Blackburn, away, mid-week and have to get home at 3am as a result? The day you do that will be the day you can comment if so…..
    3. Did some of them spend £5200 a year, for 5 years, taking their little boy to watch Arsenal? If they did and you clearly didn’t, would you agree that that is hardly glory hunting and more a major financial outlay that they must justify in their budgets. Because I have spoken to folks just like that on far more occasions than you have attended Emirates Stadium this season.

    Now Mr Broeckx, if you do not wish to be reported to the FA for meddling with the affairs of English football:

    1. How much have you spent, each year since 2006, supporting Arsenal? Put it up on this website please.
    2. How much do you think Arsenal should charge their supporters for no silverware in the past 6 years?
    3. Why do you think Mr Wenger should award huge pay rises to players whose performance has not improved one jot in the past 5 years?

    Now Mr Broeckx, if it turns out that you spend less than £600 per annum per person supporting Arsenal (don’t include Sky in your costs as you can watch anything on that, not just Arsenal), I think you need some serious challenge.

    Because people like you think that people must bow down before you when they pay their money out and you don’t.

    And people like you think that Londoners should bow down before some Belgian cocksucker who Wenger uses as a way to avoid answering for himself.

    And people like you think that Arsenal should be a tourist business, catering to people like you.

    Well, all that is your right.

    But I’m sure you would cut your genitals off and eat them if I told you to, wouldn’t you? No matter how stupid, how objectionable that is to you (you’ve got children already, so your bollocks are optional extras now, mate), you’d do it, wouldn’ you?

    Because I spent £15,000 supporting Arsenal in the last 5 years and I’d wager £15,000 more that that’s one hell of a lot more than you did.

    So for once in your life, do what someone ELSE tells you to do.

    Someone who spent more on Arsenal than you did.

    Someone who didn’t demand trophies but did demand professionalism. And trophies would have come with professionalism. Maybe not the League. Maybe not the Champions League. But definitely the Carling Cup. And I now professionalism when I see it. And, in the end, it was clear to me that it wasn’t at Arsenal. not week-in, week out. Not on the days that mattered. That’s why a non-vintage Utd is winning the League this year. Not because of Abramovitch’s millions, City’s billions. Because Man Utd were professional at the business end of the season. With a cheapish Mexican purchase playing a key part. With Ji Sung Park, not a £50m signing, playing a key part. With the Over 35s, let alone the Over 30s, playing key roles. With a geriatric goalkeeper of 40+.

    Wenger got the following wrong mate:

    1. He developed a wussy culture post 2006.
    2. He didn’t inculcate good habits of defending, week-in, week out.
    3. He signed far too many creative midfielders and far too few midfield generals, outside lefts/left wingers, central defenders, experienced keepers etc etc.
    4. He didn’t inculcate co-ordinated movement in swarms when attacking. Other clubs have.
    5. He spent too much on a huge youth system, most of which will never play for the first team whilst complaining that he can’t compete at first team level.
    6. He had no plan Bs for the teams whose defensive organisation can nullify the Plan A of Arsenal.

    You’ll note that none of those failings are financial.

    Because by rebalancing the squad he culls wages and replaces with the same wages but different characteristics. Balanced characteristics.

    Changing the mental attitude is free. It’s what he’s paid for. With Ferguson it’s ‘produce or you’re out’. With Wenger it’s ‘I hope you produce and I’ll protect you if you don’t.’

    Who’s won the most trophies?

    Asshole……..

  • Sharad

    Nice post below from 7am Kick Off:

    Wenger claimed that he was an adherent to this rule of never going back, up until last January when he signed Sol Campbell to a pay as you play contract. At first it made no sense, the boss had always maintained that he wouldn’t sign former players but on closer inspection what we saw was pressure from competing philosophies throw the “never go back” idea under the bus.

    Arsenal needed defensive cover. Arsenal will not “pay over the odds” by which they mean that they will not change their salary structure or their youth team policy. So, instead of buying a long-term replacement center back that Arsenal surely needed, Arsene Wenger chose to sign Sol Campbell and then promptly played him in 14 matches.

    I was there at the height of Sol’s return when we beat Porto 5-0 and sang “Sol is a Goonah.” At that moment many felt like this was the inspired signing of the season. By May 9th, after enduring a streak of three losses and a draw, we felt a lot less inspired and a lot more angry that Arsenal didn’t buy real cover.

    Like I said, you can never go back. But that doesn’t mean you can’t look back.

    I have read with amazement how many people are willing to throw Cesc off the team after what was clearly a single very disappointing season for the young Catalan. Before you do that, consider some facts.

    Cesc was groomed along side Patrick Vieira as the Frenchman completed his final season at Arsenal in 2004/2005. Cesc was a precocious 17 year old as he played 46 matches for Arsenal that year. Arsenal finished 2nd in the League and won their last trophy, the FA Cup.

    The next year, it was Gilberto who partnered Cesc in the middle but while Arsenal got to the final of the Champions League and only lost by one goal they really struggled in the League and just nipped Tottenham to fourth place on the last day of the season. Sol left, Cole left, and Thierry stayed as the rebuilding project got into full swing.

    The thing I’m hoping you notice is that Wenger didn’t just wholesale dismantle the Invincibles but rather that he slowly took the team apart, rebuilding parts around our current captain, Cesc Fabregas.

    And now we come to the point where people want to see Cesc leave and just think that Jack will slot in and take over. There’s a kernel of truth to this. It’s clear that Jack is being groomed to take over for Cesc because he has played 47 games for the club. And we could make the argument that Cesc is Jack’s Vieira but what if Cesc leaves? Where’s Jack’s Gilberto, Alex Song? Where’s Jack’s Thierry Henry, Robin van Persie? Good players both, but not proven winners either.

    I worry for the club if we get rid of Cesc so easily unless someone new and experienced is brought in. But even that’s not really the same as having Gio and Titi there to guide you. After all, they are Gunners through and through to this very day. An experienced player like Christopher Samba or Mahamadou Diarra are unknown quantities as far as commitment to the Arsenal cause.

    I’ve also read that some folks have 11 players that we could get rid of. Fair enough, you don’t like them, but let’s also not forget how long Senderos was on the books after he clearly fell out of favor, or Almunia, or Denilson, or fish head, or Eboue… History offers us a lesson there and that is that Arsenal’s salary structure makes it exceptionally difficult to move players.

    But for me the biggest problem is that you can’t go back to 2005. Chelsea spent $1bn over the last 6 years buying up all the talent in the world. With their $150m outlay in January Chelsea’s spending doesn’t look set to stop any time soon. There have even been rumors that Chelsea want to pry away our top scout. Meanwhile, in just two years Manchester City have made Chelsea look like paupers and have already well broken the $1bn barrier and look set to buy another $1/4bn again this Summer. With Real Madrid and Barcelona spending money like water as well, that leaves very slim pickings for the rest of the World.

    In that economic and competitive climate it’s going to be extraordinarily difficult to not only keep the team together but to even add a single component, much less the 12 greats that some think we can suddenly afford to buy. What happens if City offer us £50m for Wilshere and offer him the lure of £200,000 a week salary? That’s not too far fetched a scenario.

    Given the economic climate that we are dealing with, the distortion of financial doping, and the lack of experience in the squad, offhandedly saying that Cesc can go is truly nonsense. Letting Cesc go would leave Arsenal money they can’t spend on players who don’t exist, a team who have serious problems that can’t just be addressed with spending, in the most competitive League, at a time when wealth is more concentrated than ever, and with a club that relies on supporters paying the highest ticket prices in the land.

    Another five year rebuilding project in that context is not realistic. But if we do blow the team up? Mid-table mediocrity is realistic.

  • Shard

    @Rhys Jaggar

    Mr. Rhys Jaggar. You spend money on Arsenal. More than I do. That doesn’t make you any more of a fan than me, and doesn’t make your opinion any more valid than anyone else’s. Keep your money in your pocket along with your sense of entitlement because frankly, I find your logic, and the name calling you’re indulging in totally sickening.

  • gooner80

    @Rhys Jaggar

    you are obviously upset, but you are taking your frustrations out in the wrong way, the name calling neutralises any valid points you have.

    if you spend £10,000 a year for example it doesn’t mean it entitles a supporter to silverware, there is huge demand for arsenal and the price reflects the demand. Every supporter has a choice and should never pay for something begrudgingly.

    Why has walter bared the brunt of your frustrations I as with many dont agree with everything he says, but to call him a “Belgian cock sucker” is going too far, all he is trying to do is emphasize the positives because there is so much negativity with Arsenal from everyone. I think you need to go a little more easy, or just dont waste your time responding at all

  • Shard

    Yet more corruption issues in football coming out. While Lord Triesman names 4 FIFA members as demanding favours for supporting the England bid, he also implicates Richard Scudamore of the Premier League.

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/917869/lord-triesman-accuses-four-fifa-officials-of-impropriety?cc=4716

    http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story/_/id/917968/lord:-triesman:-richard-scudamore-wanted-deal-for-%27game-39%27?cc=4716

  • Liger

    Rhys Jagger.

    1) You are rambling and incoherent. I don’t believe for a second that you would know professionalism.

    2) You are a detestable fan. If you think money signifies your worth as a fan, then you are basically the same as the Glazer’s, Hicks, Gillet, and all the other money whores in football

  • walter

    I usually skip the comments of Rhys but I do think he has a problem with foreigners. Why else would people want to mention where you are from?

  • Shard

    Hey.. Why is my last comment awaiting moderation Walter? What did I do? ***slinks off like a rebuked dog****

  • Stevie E

    @sharad, well said. @Rhys jagger, not on fella

  • Adam

    I think that Rhys Jaggar’s language is unfortunate, but I understand his frustration and the way it has boiled over into anger. I don’t travel to away games anymore although I did pay to undergo the torment of the CC final. It, along with getting beat by Chelsea at Wembley last year, ha turned me off going to Wembley again for sometime. It would be easy to disregard Rhys’ comments because of his sledgehammer style. But I think the last bit of his post has some hard hitting truths. The failure to address the bad defending is beyond debate as it has been going on for far, far too long. The lack of players bought in to do specific jobs to balance th team and the clever midfielders we have playing out of position. When did Arshavin or Nasri last play where they are at their most effective? Because we don’t have a proper winger at the club and try to shuffle everything through a congested centre, we are too easy to play against for teams who don’t share the ethos of open attacking play. There are plenty of things wrong if you take the last few months as evidence. I just hope that AW has it in him to address those but I fear it will need a huge change in attitude from him. For me the biggest question is whether he can make the changes we need. We are where we are. It’s what happens next that is absolutely critical and things are not going to change by buying any more wonder kids.

  • walter

    Shard when you put 2 links in a comment it has to be approved before it comes on the site.

  • Laundryender

    Triesman Bombshell

    Not corruption at FIFA
    But widescale doping in all Spanish Sport being brushed aside by authorities

    BLIMEY!!!!!!!!!!!

    we knew FIFA stank but for Triesan to make these accusations in a Parliamentary Committee is some statement!!!

  • walter

    Sorry for the long reply other Untold readers but I felt I had to give a short reply to Mr. Rhys Jaggar. People not interested can skip this.

    Mr Rhys Jaggar,

    At first I didn’t want to react to your comment. I’m used to name calling as a ref you know. So those things don’t touch me that much. On my field you would see a red card but this is Tony’s field and as I am an strong defender of the freedom of speach I think you have the right to express yourself. Even when this means you are writing abusive words to me. But if this makes you feel better, go ahead mr. Rhys Jaggar. Better you get it off your chest. Keeping it inside is bad for your blood pressure and your nerves and heart. And I don’t wish you anything bad.

    But speaking of money which seems to be for you the way to divide the good from the bad supporters. And I don’t want to talk about how much I spend but as you ask it so kind I will give you an answer.

    My first trip with my 4 children to the Emirates (in the opening season) has cost me 5 x 150£ for my tickets= 750£ (the only option was to buy them on the internet from some dodgy company)
    1000£ to get my car fixed because it broke down halfway
    Another 120£ to rent a car to take me further to London from Maidstone
    Another 250£ to buy my kids some replica shirts in the Armoury.

    Oh and I left my home that day around 5 am on and I came back home 24 hours later without getting one minute of sleep.

    I don’t know how much money I spend on food and drink for the rest of the day. But let me say that the trip FOR ONE GAME cost me some 2250£.

    From then one I have been coming 3 times a year. And I will only calculate it for my own person.

    Tickets cost me around 50£ x 3= 150£
    I have to travel to London which cost me 80£ x 3= 240£
    I must pay a separate amount of money for my sports channel which cost me 15£ a month= 180£ a year (we pay for the normal channels and if I want to see Arsenal I must subscribe – the day they stop giving Arsenal I will stop my subscription the same day)
    I must have a fast internet connection because otherwise I cannot see the games who are not broadcasted on my sports channel. Cost 50£ a month x 12= 600£ a year
    I pay a red membership 30£ a year
    I pay for Arsenal TV online 5£ x 12 = 60£ a year

    So this is costing around 1260£ a year and then I didn’t mention the fact that when I come to London I usually spend some 40-50£ in the Armoury. (x3)
    I spend some money to support the economy in London on food and drinks. I usually have two meals in London x3. But I will not even mention this.

    Now this might not be enough for the arbitrary line you draw but for me and my family it is a lot of money.

    And each trip to London means getting up very very early to be sure to arrive ontime and come home around midnight or even later. On another trip last christmass we came home around 3AM after having left home at 5am again. When we play on a sunday I must take a day off the next monday from work because I’m too tired otherwise. So this also is costing me money which I will not evenmention.

    And then I didn’t calculate the most costly thing I give to Arsenal (and this site): my time. Time is money as you will know Rhys and I think I spend some 2-3 hours on Arsenal and Untold every day. Now how much would this be worth in £?
    I could go and do another job in my spare time. I could get some 20£ per hour. This would mean some 50£ each day I lose. I could go out and do another job and earn me and my family more money but I spend my time on writing, reading and looking for Arsenal things and news. Just count 50£ a day and this for 365 days a year because I even paid money when I was in Spain to get connected on the internet to send in articles for Untold. I even took my laptop on my holidays just to be sure I would be able to read and write about Arsenal. Now if I would use this time for my own benefit and look for a job on the conditions I just described this could bring me some 18.250£ each year.

    Oh and I even forgot the time I put in the Arsenal Benelux supportersclub where I do a daily report most of the time and I write a magazine each month almost on my own. But I will not even mention or calculate this.

    Oh, and most of all I do this without almost never lower myself to calling names to other Gooners.

    So now I have spent another extra half our of my costly time and money on answering your comment. Time that I have lost forever. Time that cannot be calculated how precious it can be.

    But at the end of the day it doesn’t matter for me how much money and time I spend on Arsenal or how much money you or any other gooner spends on Arsenal.

    But to think someone is better because you have more money and spend more money compared to another person… well this is an attitude that I think belongs more to times long ago.

  • Laundryender

    Walter you are a

    GOONER LEGEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    were i too add up my 40 years of devotion, home and away, and travelling in Europe, it would be a fortune. but

    THE BEST MONEY I EVER SPENT!!!!

    does not though mean for one second that i think i know our problems better than Wenger. I pay to suport, and to live the dream, not to be a negative critical twat. Any idiot can criticise, and they all too often do.

    Long Live Benelux GoonersXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

    PS I was at the Heysel in 81, what a dive.

  • gooner80

    Well said Walter, Rhys you are totally out of order on more than one occasion, Walter doesnt deserve your abuse what is your problem???

    The hours the man puts in he deserves better, there is no problem being critical but being abusive and referring to where someone comes from says a hell of a lot about you, I am not impressed, I think you need to have a little self evaluation and question your motives for why you have acted in this way

  • Laundryender

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C_DBNAc4FdE

    Agony at the time but we got hammered on Belgian Beer

  • walter

    Laundry ender, my brother was there with the Arsenal supporters. I couldn’t get there… 🙁

  • bjtgooner

    Walter, good post and excellent reply to Rhys – even if he did not deserve such a full and reasoned reply.

    keep up the great work.

  • Mandy dodd

    I would not waste time responding to mr jaggar he just comes on makes a controversial and in this case xenophopic post then leaves until the next time. Classic trolling.

  • Anne

    @ bob and goonergerry:

    I think that your tactical criticisms of Arsenal are well thought-out and raise valid questions. As far as Arsenal’s defense is concerned, I’ve seen enough exceptional performances from the defensive players that Arsenal have now that I’m not convinced that buying a new defender is necessary. I think Arsenal is maybe a little thin on defense and vulnerable to injuries, but when they’re healthy, I think they do a good job.

    Like Bob, I think that Arsenal’s real problem (to the extent that there is one) relates more to the interplay between offense and defense. That brings me to the one real criticism that I have about Wenger’s tactics this season, which is the following:

    I don’t understand why he stopped playing Chamakh when Van Persie came back from injury. In the first half of the season, I don’t think I was more impressed with any Arsenal player than I was with Chamakh. Maybe Nasri, but I think having Chamakh on the field really elevated Nasri’s performance as well. And the reason for that is that I think that Chamakh, in addition to being an excellent striker, has really incredible vision as a playmaker as well.

    When Wenger was playing Chamakh, Fabregas, and Nasri together, I really saw shades of Messi-Xavi-Iniesta in the way they would connect, and I thought that Arsenal’s attack had a lot more versatility and dynamism. I’ve never really understood why Wenger abandoned that and opted for the more traditional strikers like Van Persie and Benthner. It seems to me like having Chamakh on the pitch, in addition to Van Persie, would add a lot more versatility to Arsenal’s attack, and maybe allow them to rely less on their defenders to create opportunities on offense. Has anyone else wondered about Wenger’s decision not to play Chamakh, or is it just me?

    Oh, and as far as potential replacements for Fabregas are concerned, don’t worry about it. He’s not going anywhere. As my evidence for that, I direct you to the comments of Arsene Wenger:

    “This is a subject that has to stop because the past has shown the question is useless.”

    So, with that issue aside, I personally hope to see a lot more of the Cesc-Nasri-Chamakh triangle next year. Any thoughts?

  • Mandy dodd

    See where you are coming from, assuming you are correct and we keep cesc and nasri. I have often wondered if we are putting too much attack emphasis on rvp, as good as he is. A few rumours going around about benzema but not sure we need him just a change of tactics. But the chamackh situation in the second half of the season has mystified me at least. Get the impression a few are not happy with recent formation

  • Mike

    This is the most nonsense I have read in the past 2 days. If Wenger had just brought in 1-2 useful players during each of the past 2-3 years things would be different. I dare say that it is this kind of attitude as this causes Arsenal to move backwards. As an Arsenal fan of 40 years it is unacceptable they way we are currently. You make it sound like Wenger is the only Artsenal manager that has ever one anything. As fot the comparison to Spurs that is just nonsense too. Spurs have not been in the same category as Arsenal, so ofcourse they were happy to be in the Champions League this past year. With this article you suggest that it is o.k. to fail winning anything every year. As for last week’s game against Man u., it was just a case of Man U. playing awful. Either way consistency is something that this team does not have. You see my bottom line is that I beleive we should be greater, but you are happy with 3rd and 4th place finishes.

  • bob

    @anne: really well put on chamakh. he went from the penthouse to the dog house in the blink of an eye; and has been truly been crushed. van persie is supposed to play very well behind the central striker and from there may well have exceeded 20 goals. catching your drift, I say, why remove chamakh from the center? and why not try to have had them play together? plus, in addition to scoring headers when he was in form (something virtually absent from our squad thereafter), chamakh made very good link-ups between the midfield and those up front. hence, more flow and less predictability. yes, it is possible that being used to having a winter break, he burned himself out by early on in the second half of the season. but how could he have become THAT much of a shell of his former self in the second half? On the surface it looks like he was misused as cannon fodder until van persie’s return, and then relegated to the bench. Coming to Arsenal was his avowed dream come true and it ends like this – barely and after-thought? as there’s no accountability in this, so there’s no way to know. presumably the player knows the score; but there’s a useless rancid mystery where there should be transparency for the fans’ sake.

  • walter

    A good remark Anne.
    I think Van Persie can play anywhere in any attacking position. He could have taken on a place behind the striker and in fact the absense of Cesc in many games due to injury could have been a good moment to play Van Persie there.
    I do however think that when Van Persie came back Chamakh was running on empty at that time. So a drop to the bench was reasonable at that time.
    Maybe Chamakh was also the victim of Van Persie scoring a lot of goals when he started playing? If Wenger would have moved Van Persie to midfield and put Chamakh upfront and if we would not score then the critics would be out to say: why did he take Van Persie from his place?

    But maybe I would have taken the gamble. But who am I…

  • Anne

    @bob,

    I agree with you tactically, although I’m not sure I’m so ready to say that Chamakh was “misused as cannon fodder.” He’s a very young player, and still has plenty of time to work his way into the first team. But I thought he was doing well in the first team already, so I’m not sure why Wenger decided to bench him. That’s one situation where I’d be really curious to know what was going on behind the scenes…

  • Anne

    @Walter:

    You’re right that Chamakh seemed to be in a real slump at the time Van Persie first came back, but I would actually take the rest of your remarks and reverse them. This may just be me, but I would seriously wonder why Wenger wouldn’t want to play Chamakh behind Van Persie, instead of the other way around. Am I the only one who was really impressed w/ Chamakh’s skills as a playmaker?

    I see RVP as more of the traditional striker, and I like having him up front, but I thought Chamakh showed a lot of vision on the ball that would be more characteristic of a midfielder. Even when he wasn’t scoring goals, he was helping the flow of the offense and setting up plays. And he seemed to connect really well w/ Cesc and Nasri when they were playing together. At least, that’s what I thought.

    This is one of those situations where I’d really like to have a private audience w/ Arsene Wenger so he could explain his reasoning to me. I’m guessing that I would come away w/ the conclusion that he’s right and I’m wrong, but I’d really like to know why 🙂

  • Gooner80

    @Anne

    referring to my previous remark about RVP always hitting the post he does, but his goal ratio is as good as anyone for the games played he nearly scores as many as Messi, Im not saying this is the case but I have a feeling he looks at the goal posts to see where the goal is and because he aims there his shot goes there, if he aimed at the space in between I think we would look at 40 goals a season, most Gooners could tell you RVP hits the post a lot so it is a bit of an inside joke really. I rate him highly the guy is serious quality, outside of ronaldo and messi there isnt anyone who is better, he gets alot of assists too

    onto Chamkh the guy is excellent, I think he is at his best as a lone striker he holds the ball up extremely well and introduces others into the ball and is really good in the air, but if you don’t play to his strengths he looks bad, and he said he was physically drained.I think we will see the best of him next season. RVP probably wont stay fit

    Can they play together I dont know

  • Well-endowed gooner

    What Rhys Jagger means is that it’s objectionable that some people can make sanctimonious judgements on other fans’ commitment to the club. Inferring that people who complain about the mismanagement at the Arsenal over the past five-seven years are “glory-hunters” who are “soon to be out of the club” would rankle someone who’s spent a hefty chunk of their hard-earned supporting that club, and who has the right to question how that money is being spent.

    Plus, Walter, if you’re toting up the money you’ve spent following the Arsenal, you can only count the money you’ve spent on ticket and at the club store. Nothing else goes directly into the Arsenal’s accounts.

  • Shard

    @well endowed gooner

    ..”2 league titles and 3 FA cups in that decade. Yes it sure did raise some high expectations. And it attracted a lot of glory hunting fans. The ones that came for the silverware but not for the club. Well they will be leaving soon I think.”

    Only someone who is looking to blow a fuse, and something to find fault with, will take that personally. Or someone who actually is a glory hunter of course.

    As for spending money on Arsenal. Is that really a judge of how much a person loves them? Really?? and even if it is, then Just how much you give to Arsenal rather than how much you spend trying to support them would let in the xenophobic agenda through the backdoor, because the local fans have an advantage in that regard. This whole debate is meaningless anyway. ‘I’m a better fan than you’ is a stupid argument, and it is one that Walter never made, on any basis, leave alone on money.

  • well-endowed gooner

    We’re not angry with the lack of trophies per say. We’re angry at the complacency at the club, the lack of effort, the failure to address problems that’ve been evident for a number of years…. not winning trophies is just the end result. Now, you can say that moving new stadium restricted our transfer spending, but it doesn’t restrict the need to train for set pieces, drill a defence, motivate players for games up north, etc,.

    And I’d disagree with your second point. Walter’s made his opinion quite clear in the post. Those “glory hunters” who complain about the way the club is run these days are worse fans that those who don’t criticise the club (like Walter). Or they’re not real fans anyway. That would be highly offensive to anyone. We have legitimate concerns about the way the Arsenal is run. To be dismissed as “glory hunters” is quite insulting.

  • Shard

    @well endowed gooner

    I didn’t mention the trophies, and I didn’t call anyone a glory hunter. I also never said that everything is perfect or that certain problems don’t exist. I just don’t think that those problems should lead to the conclusion that Wenger should be sacked, or even that a change of manager is the best way to fix things. In my view it will only increase the transition period rather than end it.

    I purposely quoted Walter for a reason. He didn’t say anything about criticism with glory hunters. He said that a trophy winning period brings many glory hunters to a club, who he imagines will be leaving soon since the club has not won a trophy since 2005. I don’t see why anyone would take that personally, unless you actually did start following the club in 2004, and thus resent that that automatically makes you a glory hunter, and even then, that is not what Walter said.

    And if you are talking about what Walter said, and defending what Rhys Jaggar said then you are being hypocritical I’m afraid. Money should not enter into the discussion of what makes a fan. It’s like you want it both ways. Criticise the club for running like a commercial entity (which I agree should not purely be the case) and then demand better on the same basis, and moreover, pretend that you spending money on yourself somehow gives your opinion more validity.

  • Well-endowed gooner

    I don’t think Wenger should be sacked, either. I just think he should be made aware that faults exist, and that these faults should be taken seriously and addressed seriously. It’s just that these faults have been apparent for a number of years, and (it seems that) there’s been no real serious effort to solve them.

    Shard, if you read Walter’s article, the tone is condescending to gooners who criticise the status quo. If you can’t see it, you can’t see it. But the idea that there are two classes of fans, and the optimistic ones are the “real” fans is evident in the writing.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Failure to adequately replace Thierry Henry. All of our problems seem to stem from the weakness of our attack. This might be a bit hard for the average MotD-watching-so-called-Arsenal-supporter to grasp but our defence is put under massive amounts of pressure by our inability to finish off our attacks with as few players as possible. The only team we face of a similar level who worries about our attack is Barcelona FFS and only because they play always play a high line like we do. Against Barcelona we can score with three players in a move, against the Bus-parkers it takes six and if we fail to score our defence is horribly outnumbered.

  • Shard

    @well endowed gooner

    The tone of the whole article is sarcastic. But I don’t think that it casts aspersions on anyone’s love for the club. But that’s just my take I guess.

    I think Wenger is aware of the faults. The only reason to think that he isn’t, is that those faults have ostensibly persisted for a number of years now. Firstly, that isn’t necessarily true by itself. Also, it is entirely in that period that our club has had a transition so Wenger’s ability to address them has in all likelihood been curbed. I think he was right to stick with certain players even if they have proved him wrong now. I really do think he’s decided to get rid of some of them now, and it is also because now he has more elbow room in terms of finances. I will be disappointed if certain changes aren’t made. But we don’t need wholesale changes.

  • Andrew Chua

    @Well-endowed gonner

    your post(s) gave a concise summary of what most fans thought.