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Four games to go, comparisons with last season at this point, and get ready for Bellerin.

By Walter Broeckx

As we approach the end of the season it is time to have a look at a few things. After playing 34 games how do we compare to last season?

If we look at the most important criteria we see that we have one point less than last season. We then had 64 points and this time we have 63 points. If United win their game against Aston Villa they will have 2 points more than last season and will have won the league. Last year Manchester City had 74 points after their 33 games played and this season they have 68 points. So that is 6 points less than last season.

The reverse situation is happening with Chelsea. Last season they had 57 points and now they have 62 points. So that is 5 points better. But last season at this stage of the season they had put all their hopes on the CL and the league was somehow left aside. One can wonder what the influence will be of the games in the Europa League in the next weeks and if it will have an impact on their Pl form.

Last season the Totts had 59 points after 33 games and this time they have 61 points. So two points better than last season. They have no more European League games and one game in hand. The good thing for us is that they have to play Chelsea and that this will result in one or both teams dropping points. It’s up to us to capitalise on that.

If we take a look at the goals we see that we have scored 65 goals this season. That is two goals less compared to last season. There are only two teams who have scored more than us this season and that is Manchester United and Chelsea.

So far, losing both our top scorer and top assist-maker from last season has been felt a bit but not as  much as could be feared. But still things could have been better. But they always can be better.

What certainly has improved so far this season is the goals scored against Arsenal. Last season after 34 games we had 43 goals against us. And now this season at the same place it is only 35 goals. So that is 8 goals less conceded in the PL. And it seems that the longer the league has been going on the better our defence is looking.

It looks as if the current line up with Sagna-Per-Kos and Monreal is the best defensive line up we have. Defensive wise that is. I think Gibbs is stronger going forward and Monreal is in general the better defender. So I think it is depending on who we play and the game situation that will decide which is the best starting option.

There is only one team in the PL who has conceded fewer goals so far and that is Manchester City. They only conceded 30 goals so far. There are also two other teams who have conceded 35 goals. Those are Manchester United and Chelsea.

Now what has been the influence of Monreal on our defence?  When I look at the numbers in the PL  from when he joined us I see that in only one game we concede 2 goals. And in 4 games we conceded 1 goal (in one of those games he didn’t start – Norwich). And in 5 games we kept a clean sheet. That is half of the games if you are still with me.

We only conceded 6 goals in the last 10 PL games. I think this is not bad at all. I think this is excellent. Of course this is not just down to the 4 defenders out there. I think the hard and sometimes mostly unnoticed hard work from Arteta and Ramsey will be vital for this. If  we can maintain this defensive form till the end of the season we will be fine and qualify for the CL next season. And maybe even more importantly I think that with the defenders we now have we really could form a good and stable defence. So despite a few out there wanting us to get rid of Sagna I sure would try to hold on to him for another season at least.

We also need to give Jenkinson a bit more time still to learn the job. Carl has made some massive steps forward but still needs some work to do. And then I can see a player like Bellerin stepping up in two seasons time and make it a real contest between Bellerin and Jenkinson. And to be honest I do think that Bellerin is potentially the best right back I have seen for a long while. I know also that I have seen still a few things he can improve on. But he is only 17 or did he just turned 18 last month? Talking about an attacking right back with an excellent cross, a good shot and lots of technique and some amazing runs forward …he is the one.

But maybe not ready for the first team yet. But I’m sure that he could become one of the best. I think next summer will be key to his improvement and seeing him in pre-season with the first team would be a great thing to look forward too.

Over all I think the season after losing yet again our most important players from the season before was a difficult season and would be one with ups and downs. In fact we had to rebuild the whole team losing also Nasri and Cesc 12 months earlier. I think that now in the second half of the season the new players have grown in to the team and we have formed a unity in the last weeks.

Four games to go. Now is the time to get behind the team. The ones not prepared to do this can go elsewhere. Whether you  like the manager or not is not important. Whether you like one particular player or not is not important. If you really are an Arsenal supporter, you must support them now. To make sure that all the hard work and building will not have been for nothing.

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82 comments to Four games to go, comparisons with last season at this point, and get ready for Bellerin.

  • Mike

    Good analysis and excellent conclusion. The clue is in the name “supporter”.

  • elkieno

    well said…
    i heard that we have to give some guard of honour to UTD for winning?
    that sucks if we do, but better than them winning it at ours.
    nervous about the run in its almlost like a ‘relegation fight’, financially isnt it?

  • Zgooner

    Excellent article… thank you… Come on you Emirates fans!

  • Zgooner

    I really hope the fans won’t be distracted by RVP against United; Support your team!!

  • byron

    It is not only ramsey but also rosiky/Wilshire playing centrally as they press the ball far better than Cazorla

  • Dec

    Numbers numbers numbers …….
    My head hurts just trying to figure are we better off this than last.
    If we make 3rd or 4th it won’t matter.
    Take a rest Walter.

  • bob

    To cut to the chase:
    To be supporters of our team – the team he left behind – RVP should be roundly booed by one and all.

  • Sam

    1 point off….never thought we were worse off than last season.
    But if I remember correctly we went off the boil in the last 3-4 games making the final game a must not lose one.
    Out of the 4 we must win three.
    Our form against the top 6 has been horrendous this year to be honest.I will be happy to get a point on Sunday and dancing madly if we win!!! C’MON you Gunners!!!!!!

  • Countwalter

    Grt article.. Dis goes 2 show dt even wen ppl tot we wld crawl n beg for Europa league we still did beta… Kudos 2 every player who played bit parts in our progression all season… COYG we can do dis few games 2d end..

  • JohnW

    I have noted over the years that whenever we enter 60 points, we tend to struggle and pick up after the 70 points mark. I hope we dont suffer this time because, it could be catastrophic. Still, this team if we don’t go through the cycle of the last 2 seasons again, is on the verge of winning again.

  • WalterBroeckx

    3 wins should bring us a CL place I think.

  • Adam

    Stability is not highlighted enough when talking about a football side that can challenge for honors. You need a settled defence first and foremost.

    There is no denying we have had squads ripped to pieces in recent seasons and haven’t stood a chance at gaining a settled side. So hat’s off to the club and management for getting us through a period of instability.

    Onwards & Upwards.

    Nice read Walter.

  • AL

    So what are the doom-mongers on about then? Our goal difference is much better than last season’s, and only one less point. Yet all the other sides in the top 5 spent more than we did in recruiting last summer.

  • Adam

    We have Mr Dowd for the United farce.

  • AL

    Oh dear, thats bad news Adam:(

  • Gord

    Using Walters index to all 17 teams of the EPL (missing Arsenal, Manchester United and Norwich 🙂 ), we have the following:

    Mike Riley is giving ManC a win, is probably giving Everton a win (Moss not ranked for Fulham), Southampton and WBA get a new referee (Madley), Stoke is being given a win, Spurs are being given a win, Liverpool is being given a win, Reading is being given a win, Swansea is being given a win (against Chelsea), we get Dowd of course, and the only fair game of the weekend is on Monday, with Aston Villa home to Sunderland.

    Or will there be 2 fair games, with Southampton home to WBA getting the new referee?

  • Yassin

    I know one thing for sure, if United want to humiliate us, they need to win today, cause we are destroying them at the Emirates, where the heck is our pride gone?
    We are the Arsenal, we are not scared of those bunch of cheaters, we must win, we must not booo Van persie, we must raise the Wenger pics and name, sing him, and sing all our players who that skunk thought he is better than, we shall cheer the team until we got no more voice in our throat….
    Our fans all over the blogs are scared that if United lose today they are coming to win it at our home, Will shame on them, we wont let them or we die chanting, come on people show the spirit and transmit it into our players, show them what class and what passion and what loyalty we Got, show the the ARSENAL we support….
    Sing Ramsey, sing Giroud, even Sing Coquilin, show them how much we love our plyers and how its an honor to play for Arsenal not to win trophies, and when we score, the whole stadium shall burn, the MAnure shall run away scared from the voice we make,.
    Who said that our fans in the Milan games where at their best, will let them wait until next Sunday and they shall see what is it to be a Gooooner….

  • Adam

    Watching the United game (I know I will watch any old shit) think I have just seen goal of the season.

  • Florian

    …if only it hadn’t been offside, albeit by just a few inches. Actually, all the 3 goals had an uncalled offside position at some point.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Well said yassin have a feeling the team will get unparalleled support this weekend

  • AL

    Florian
    Not watching(cant bear to) but from what you say don’t think any of them would’ve stood if Sian Massey were the assistant ref. That’s how terrible her male counterparts are; all 3 debatable off-sides and all 3 get missed? Shocking.

  • Doublegooner

    Is there any truth Fergie has offered Arsene and Stan a ‘thank you’ title medal ?

  • Shard

    No but if you bitch long enough you might get one.. Oik awards up for grabs

  • bob

    Ahoy mates,
    Have a look at this face of victory… oh, and let’s be very polite and take the very highest road and display the most refined manners, ’cause otherwise we’ll distract the lads, won’t we:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/football/2013/apr/22/manchester-united-aston-villa-live-mbm
    Any return comin’ our way for this investment in the future?

  • Bob2

    Gosh… we have played some mediocre teams in the last 10 games though!

  • AL

    I have a feeling fungusbum won’t let judas start this weekend, he may not even play him.

  • Shard

    Watching the game. True, all 3 goals were marginally offside. But it is not today that the calls won them the title. That started in the first few weeks when they were guided to victory, while their rivals were tripped up. Pretty much the first thing both RVP and Rooney said about their victories was that it was deserved. Is that a guilty conscience? Of course not, traitors have no conscience. But they have a knack of self preservation and glorification.

    It matters not one bit of course. They are the champions. And you know what, ugly and corrupt as the league is, I want that feeling again. We’ll never (I use that term loosely) win as many as they have because we won’t be allowed to. But I want the feeling of winning the title, and knowing we did it against all odds, and all the obstacles put in our way. They denied us in 2008, and in 2011. But I want that winning feeling next season.

    For us, that journey starts on Sunday. Beat them, beat out Chelsea and Spurs for the CL, and then we can look to do whatever we need to, so that we’re the ones celebrating next time around.

  • Adam

    @AL, I noticed he rested his two central assassins as well. I would be surprised if RVP got the whole game and agree he will be rested. May see the thug Anderson make an appearance just to put Jack out till Christmas.

    Stick Vermaelen up front to deal with Vidic & Ferdinand (I’m not joking either).

  • Mandy Dodd

    Not good to see, the club has to stop this. But the club did not want to sell him, he openly made his position untenable. Fergie himself said we offered him to others for far less than Utd paid. They did not want to sell cesc or nasri. This club are going to put a few things right this summer, some things they need to. You will have noticed a new ruthlessness, our captain and keeper have taken the brunt, others will also. We have been through some painful episodes, how much are self inflicted or have been a financial necessecity can only be speculated, the fan base is divided on such issues, but there is no doubt the stadium has seriously curtailed us compared to others, as has our adherence to ffp. This picture should serve as inspiration to those running the club, should they even need it. I know all about bosman and player power, but this picture should have a caption, “never again”We no longer need to sell our best to those we wish to rival. Mark my words, this summer will see a change and where we are now, it will be for the better. It will not be easy, the offside goals this eve, the finances, the sugar daddy’s, the petrodollars….and again, the refs. Just how many red cards and pens have the squeaky clean utd had against them in the last year or so?

  • bob

    Their Nuremburg Rally is on! The Rednose XX enshrined! Lord Football to be anointed! If you can’t swallow that medicine, then next season at AFC starts from this second forward…

  • Mahdain

    @Mandy absolutely NONE

  • Mahdain

    @bob we’ll have to 1st ensure Dean doesnt get any of our games next season. That alone can save us upto 18 points. Oh and make sure Dean Jr aka Lee Probert doesnt get any either.

  • AL

    That all 3 goals were marginally offside just demonstrates how the officials are prepared to bend for this team. I mean all 3 goals!? How is that possible? I don’t even think any team would be allowed to challenge them, even teams as strong as Madrid & Barcelona, they’d get screwed one way or another. The bent officials realised the mistakes they made last season of letting city in at the very last minute, and made sure there would be no repeat this time. What makes me sick is judas knows he is now getting away with things he knows he had no chance of getting away with when he was with us. He’s a f**cking sellout. Despite them being handed a 20th title on a platter watch that spineless Dowd try to screw us on Saturday. Now that the title race is over focus will automatically shift to 4th spot, and they will try to influence that one too. Why not let the best team win? Why should a few unscrupulous men be allowed to mess with the whole nation’s feelings like that without any questions asked? Its infuriating.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Mahdain, think wenger is changing his approach to ref injustices, he has reduced slagging them off in interviews. Will it work? Who knows. He has this year , probably through gritted teeth, praised refs and the physical nature of the English game. Quite amazing. Even the media seem to be leaving him alone at the moment….or they saving themselves hoping the spuds beat us into the top 4? I know the Anfield nosferatu has taken all the headlines over the weekend, but can honestly say, I have never read so little press on arsenal in recent years. Are they leaving us alone, or just waiting ?

  • Mandy Dodd

    Interesting Al, not sure how dowd will play this one. Sometimes we have done ok with him….but then there was that game. If Utd and fergie do yield such power and myself and many others on here believe….well they should remember that us, and the spuds for that matter, voted wIth them them on the English version of ffp, I hear Chelsea are a bit more resistant to some of these things.. Also Chelsea falsely and moronically accused one of the main refs of making a racist remark. I would be upset if someone made such a false allegation against a colleague of mine. An interesting few games await,,I have a good feeling about the game this weekend.

  • AL

    Mandy
    I bet from tomorrow onwards we will be hearing of how wise judas was by ditching us, which would be made all the more sweeter if we don’t qualify for the cl. I deliberately avoided watching this one, but made the mistake of going onto the BBC site just to look at the scores and one of the updates went something like ‘rvp’s goal must have made all Arsenal fans feel like seeing one’s ex in another man’s arms’ or some other nonsense like that. Its started already.

  • sperez

    Forget RVP, Wenger and the board should be ’roundly’ booed by Arsenal supporters. Remember RVP was sold for ‘footballing reasons’. It was certainly to help ManU to win the PL title.

  • AL

    Go to bed spur-ez, its way past your bed time….

    I agree about Chelsea being more out of favour with fergie & his bunch than us perhaps at the moment. But their obvious choice will be spuds, and if Everton were still within striking distance would’ve been the other preferred choice. Sure they’d love to see Chelsea & for fourth with us. One other game that will be interesting will be when Chelsea meet spuds, a lot will hinge on that one.

  • AL

    Meant see Chelsea scrape for 4th with us…

  • Mandy Dodd

    They will milk this, fergie has made an 80 million investment on a player he will get at best a couple more seasons out of. They have that luxury, his investment this year has paid off. We just need to concentrate on the players we have, and soon will have, and start winning things so the likes of jack are not tempted , the fifth richest club in the world should not be selling in such a way.. Firmly believe things are changing for the better for this club. Something seems to have changed wenger recently, we look more solid, the manager seems more ruthless. We all know what a fully energised wenger can do.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sperez, that football reasons was a legal thing, VPs people tried to claim a fee from us claiming that the club broke the contract in selling him. The club told him to take a hike, citing his infamous statement as a de facto transfer request, it went no further. Not rocking the boat was a compromise to avoid the sickening scenario of paying him off the last year of his contract. Hence the bland statement from wenger, although in fairness, his replacements have pretty much replicated his goals , much to wengers credit. People on this forum have suggested vp would have gone the Webster route if he had to. It is all legal niceties, it will all come out one day. I have reason to believe what i have written here is true, but of course i cannot give youproof of any of this, but heh, makes me the same as everyone else out there, including some highly paid journalists, influential bloggers and ITK punters /ex players and piers Morgan.

  • Adam

    Don’t know if you all noticed but Manchester United had a re tonight who was born in Manchester.

    Keep it in the family.

  • AL

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/22193653
    I know this won’t change anything, but rvp’s equaliser against west ham last week was also offside. 4 offside goals in 2 games? Noone else gets that lucky. Wonder how many other goals were offside throughout the season. Anyway, gotta focus on getting behind them over the weekend, & consolidating that 4th spot.

  • sperez

    Wenger ruthless? That’s why he allowed his team to play like a bunch of lazy prima donnas against Fulham. Anyone watching that game thought Fulham were playing with 11. Arsenal made Emanuelson looks like a world beater.
    Don’t delude yourself into thinking Wenger can change. He had several years to adapt but he couldn’t keep up with changes in football. As a manager he was left behind. It’s time to accept the reality.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Guess that was this refs award for something, over seeing a club from the city of his birth winning number twenty. But what I really cannot fathom, his master, mike Riley was born in Leeds!!!! dont people from there hate mancs?? tribal rivalry, wars of the roses, just do not get that one completely FUBAR.

  • AL

    Getting behind the team**, stupid preditive texting….

  • Mandy Dodd

    I will agree that in the last few years, wenger has maybe given some the benefit of the doubt, but what he has done in recent weeks has been without doubt, ruthless.some of our defenders did well against Fulham, maybe a few up front will now see the ruthless side. A manager left behind? Where he currently sits n the league, and where he finished last year, only beaten by those with vastly more resources. Above those who have spent more and have yet to sort out a new stadium. Despite a few horror shows this year, in the league, wenger continues to punch above the clubs weight. As financial restrictions ease, wenger and his successor will soon erase the relative pain of the last few years, and I emphasis the word relative

  • sperez

    Arsenal don’t have the ‘luxury’ to spend 80m on a world class player, but Wenger certainly has the LUXURY to offer long term contracts tying shite players to over-inflated wages. Squillaci, Chamakh, Bendtner, Djourou, Denilson, Santos, Diaby… All of them offering nothing or very little contribution to the team.
    So do you prefer to spend 80m on a world class player that can make a very positive impact on the team or waste the same amount of money buying four or five duds that don’t even play for the team?
    I know what I’d choose.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree sperez, mistakes have certainly been made, as they are with all teams, i cannot even be bothered to list fergies flops, we all know who they are, and the same applies to others. Some aquisitions have not worked out,Nobody would deny that. But our last two major purchases have been Spain internationals, I can live with that, and the direction the club now appears to be going.

  • sperez

    Mandy, when Ferguson makes these mistakes he tries to offload the deadwood as soon as possible. But Wenger offers such inflated wages that it’s virtually impossible to shift the dross. Unless other club is dumb enough to offer the same lucrative contract or a player really chooses playing time over money but we know most of the dross Wenger brought to the club are happy warming the bench (many don’t even make the bench)and collecting their money.
    So we can’t get rid of the dead wood and this prevents us from signing quality players or paying them better salaries.
    It’s a very rotten policy that brims complacency and mediocrity. No wonder our best players want to jump this sinking ship.
    It’s time to make Wenger accountable for this mess. This whole socialist structure is Wenger’s creation.

  • FunGunner

    Bellerin is the young player I’m most impressed by. He has everything, great maturity as well. A mouthwatering prospect.

    @ Mandy
    I didn’t know about JvanC’s agents trying to claim compensation for breach of contract – just shows how greedy some of these people are! It also explains why the exculpatory articles after JvC left kept banging the “He never said he wanted to leave” drum. Unbelievable cheek, especially since they were in contact with United encouraging them to bid for JvC. He could have bought out his contract, and ManUre would have paid him the equivalent. Whichever way you look at it, we had no choice but to sell him. He had a choice but decided to repay AW’s faith and the fans’ adoration by thinking solely about number one.

  • highamsparkgunner

    @sperez
    Yeah like he’s still trying to unload Bebeto who he bought without even seeing , paid a highly inflated price and probably facilitated some money laundering along the way.
    macheda seems good value for money as well.how long has be been there ??
    also what about the sale of Pique to Barcelona for 5 mio , i have never seen any criticism on fergie for this ?
    Still wondering why someone who trolls on the site would take the name of our bitter rivals

  • bob

    “This is our 20th title, it is deserved.” Spoken like a true whore.

  • Florian

    @AL,

    Sorry for the delayed reply, that was a break during working hours:)

    I watched the replays only – didn’t bear to record the game either, but maybe with all the pain it would have been interesting – and I can certify that goals 1 and 3 were offside by some 1yd margin (give or take). The second was the closest, but still NoName had his foot in front of the defender when the pass was made.

    Manchester ref(s) at a United game, what can you expect?

  • bob

    “So despite a few out there wanting us to get rid of Sagna I sure would try to hold on to him for another season at least.” Amen.

  • sperez

    Bebeto??? The Brazilian player??? Ferguson made a mistake buying Bebé for £7m, I believe. But I know he didn’t get chance after chance like Denilson, Almunia, Bendtner, Djourou or the perma crock. How many years have Djourou and Diaby been at Arsenal draining resources and preventing new signings?
    I know Macheda scored some important goals for ManU but he didn’t make it. And all the young players that never made it at Arsenal ? Remember the mugs saying Arsenal had the best youth academy (some said even better than Barcelona), where are all these super talented players now? Where are all the gems Wenger uncovered? In the last decade, only Fàbregas really made it. We’ll still have to wait and see Wilshere and Gibbs. The jury is still out.
    Wenger is obsessed with kids and spends too much money on them. That’s why Ramsey chose us over ManU.
    At least Ferguson doesn’t pay exorbitant wages to unproven kids like Wenger does. His young players have to prove themselves on the pitch first to be rewarded with better wages.
    So, Ferguson bought Bebé without watching him play, Hmmm … Did Wenger ever watch Chamakh, Senderos, Silvestre, Squillaci, Almunia, Park or Santos playing before he bought them ? What a nice collection of overpaid shite, don’t you think? Can Ferguson surpass Wenger in the quest for overpaid dross?
    Piqué was not top class when Ferguson sold him. He is a good CB but with his pace he is more suited to La Liga than PL.
    By the way, Fàbregas and RVP were sold cheap.

    Ferguson – doesn’t settle for second best. Winning mentality.
    Wenger – settles for 4th best. Complacency.

  • Arun

    @Al @11:55
    I will see these 4 offside goals as a help for the golden boot. He was 2 behind Suarez before the west ham game. Now, with Suarez most probably getting banned for the rest of the season, and these 4 ‘goals’, he is the top scorer now.

  • Sav from Australia

    Thanks for the comments guys. Reading your words helps me realise I am not alone in hating the injustice of this league.

    Football, its a metaphor for the real world in so many ways.

  • ARSENAL 13

    @sperez, That old man based in Manchester has a tonns of sex appeal I guess. Who are you really? Whats with you and Rednose.

    None of us know what the wage structure is at our club or any club. This inflated wages to the youngsters is just a speculation. You talk about that man rectifying his mistakes. But do you realize, that old man has the luxury of rectifying the mistakes that the old man at the top seat of our club doesnt have.

    ” Wenger- settles for 4th best. Complacency”….Wrong. Its called Damage limitation. Every year, the club starts with the aim to win the titles. And top 4 is a must, nothing less.

  • zdzis

    @sperez
    “We’ll still have to wait and see Wilshere and Gibbs. The jury is still out.”
    Not an avid football fan, are you? Pity. But if you get the chance, just watch them play.

    Man United are a team of many hard-working one-sided players and a few true stars. For every RVP there is at least one Bebe. For every Rooney there’s at least one Anderson. You’ve mentioned “winning mentality,” and the term is applicable (though out of context in your comment). Sir Alex is far better at getting good performances out of cr*ppy players. He’s been known for it for years. But the players are still cr*ppy when he’s through with them.

    “At least Ferguson doesn’t pay exorbitant wages to unproven kids like Wenger does. His young players have to prove themselves on the pitch first to be rewarded with better wages.”
    Any numbers? Please? Because it sounds like you just picked up on headlines from, like, 5 years back. I’d love to hear me a fun story about transfer and wage policy – like the tale of the mighty Buttner, bought for nearly £5m as a replacement for Evra, who nonetheless was promptly dropped back into the U-21 squad. I wonder what his wage is… Or maybe it’s all because “jury’s still out” on him, at 24?

    “So, Ferguson bought Bebé without watching him play, Hmmm … Did Wenger ever watch Chamakh, Senderos, Silvestre, Squillaci, Almunia, Park or Santos playing before he bought them ? What a nice collection of overpaid shite, don’t you think?”
    Hmm, an interesting point.
    1) Chamakh was a regular 10+ goals a season striker for Girondins before he arrived in England. When he did, he scored 7 goals and got 4 assists in 15 games. Overpaid shite? He came in for free.
    2) Senderos was a product of the youth academy. True, true, no youngsters ever came through it, and never will. Jury’s still out, an’ all.
    3) Silvestre used to be a ManU player before he joined us – would you mind to comment on that? Was he shite when he played for you or did he suddenly become shite when playing for us? Present a detailed account of this transformation, if you please.
    4) Squillaci – a regular French international and also a regular at Sevilla, one of the better Spanish sides at that time. Came in for £5.5m and didn’t make it. Sort of like Pique, right?
    5) Almunia is a perfect example of Wenger’s inability to identify a quality goalkeeper. Still, he was nothing more or less than an average player. Like Kuszczak, maybe?
    6) Park’s story is almost the same as Chamakh’s, only he didn’t ever get through to actually play for us. He was great for Monaco, but he failed miserably to assert himself in England. To put things in perspective – have you heard about Mame Biram Diouf?
    7) Santos is a curious case, because he is, in fact, a decent player. Some say his problem is being lazy, others say it’s a more general problem of mentality. To an extent, you’re looking at just another Fabio – a full-back of limited skills who’s somehow incapable of anything more than an odd decent display.

    If I were to characterise the difference between Sir Alex and Wenger, I’d say one is like a preacher, and the other like a teacher. Sir Alex spends a lot of money on players who are merely good enough (Ashley Young, Phil Jones), but he doesn’t need much more than that to succeed as long as he has enough believers in his team. Wenger spends similar amounts of money on a larger number of players, looking for diamonds in the rough and trying hard to think big without becoming bloated. What he needs are players who can work together as a group, who won’t need total mental control to just go out and win a game. It wouldn’t be hard to prove Wenger is the more efficient manager, despite all the talk about “socialist wage structures” and “overpaid shite.” Most of the players who fail at Arsenal were cheap because most players who join Arsenal are cheap. Their wages may be relatively high, but the difference is hardly as striking as it seems to Wenger’s detractors.
    Sadly, so few of them are willing to really talk about it. It’s far easier to just use those worn-out headlines from a few years back.

  • Shard

    sperez

    once again with the wage structure.. Tell me..How much should squad players be paid in your estimation? If Djouorou (a 4th choice defender), and Chamakh (bought to be a backup striker) are ‘massively’ overpaid, firstly, what do you think their wages are, and secondly, how much do you think a player for those roles should be paid? I’ve asked to do the math before, which you ignore, yet continue to give soundbytes about how the wage structure is killing us.

    There might be a con attached to the socialist wage structure, or it might be the key to having kept us in the top 4 in the face of some seriously restricted transfer spending. Even if it is now time to move away from the wage structure, it doesn’t mean that it was always wrong. It might well have been essential.

    If maths hurts your brain, I’ll do some rudimentary maths for you. If those 5 players were removed from the squad, Denilson, Almunia, Bendtner, Djourou, Diaby, and lets add CHamakh.. That’s 6 players, who let’s say are on an average of 60k per week, which makes it 360k per week. making it 18.72 million a year. A top player demands wages of say 220k per week, using up 11.44 million of the 18.72 you just saved getting rid off the dross.. Now how exactly do you buy this superstar player? WHere does the money come from? Or is 7.3million enough to purchase him? (that’s leaving aside the fact that if we offer 220, Chelsea or City will offer 250 and beyond) Also, even if you get the funds together to purchase the player, you are left without 2 midfielders, a keeper, 2 strikers, and a defender. I’m sure this superstar player can make up for the entire depth of the squad on his own.. What a wonderful way to run a club you propound.

  • Shard

    No manager is perfect in the transfer market. Any player brought in can fail to produce, due to a variety of factors. A 5m Squillaci can fail just as a 50m Torres can. Which is why we try to keep our transfer spend low. The risk is greater otherwise.

    Our problem is not that we have bad purchases. It is our inability to absorb those purchases, meaning we have to be more efficient. We used to be famous for scouting a player in depth, over a long period of time, so as to be sure we were getting what we wanted. But with Chelsea and City on the horizon snapping up whatever talent they can lay their hands on, this approach has become impossible. Only the young players, the ones that need more work to be superstars can be scouted that way (Ox as an example). Players like Gervinho, and Park obviously were not.

    You can’t demand quick action in the transfer window (so as to not miss out on targets) as well as a high success rate with those transfers. It doesn’t work that way. With money restricted, it becomes a trade off between the two. The fact that we’re, despite negative transfer spend, still finishing top 4 every year, suggests we’re getting that balance largely right (while of course there being scope for better)

  • zdzis

    @Florian
    Just watched the ManU goals, can’t fault them for the 1st, but both the 2nd and the 3rd were definitely offside. And you couldn’t even say the ref was blocked – he should have had a very clear view of the situation. Pity, just another proof we’re not getting the right technology.

    @sperez, again (I looked back to your earlier comments)
    You certainly do have an opinion, but is it really yours? It looks like cut&paste from the media assaults on Arsenal.
    RVP sold for footballing reasons? Who told you that? Or maybe you missed his expose las summer, which virtually put the lid on his career at Arsenal? I can’t imagine Fergie clinging to a player who does things like these to his own manager…
    Wenger doesn’t try to offload the “deadwood”? Where do you live? The Moon, perhaps. Last time I checked, EVERYBODY struggled to get rid of players they didn’t need. You’ve got Bebe and Macheda, we got Santos and Chamakh… And yet, some of the names on yor list(s) actually belong to quality players. Djourou is a reliable back-up CB; Bendtner is a good striker (he’s just a dork); Diaby is a fantastic midfielder; Santos and Denilson are inconsistent, but both did prove they can play well in a top team. Only about half of them are on our wish-you-were-gone list, and Squillaci is gone by July. Bendtner, Denilson, Chamakh have contracts until July 2014. You say the problem is in the wages? I say the wages are PL level, which is just about enough to ward off any interest from Italy or France. Unless you come up with specific numbers, we don’t have anything to talk about.

  • bob

    zdis,
    I’m not picking my side, but to chime in: There are no specific numbers to be had, as you say, so it’s hardly such a triumph (whether you or he are right or wrong) to end with such a flourish. In sports like Major League Baseball (MLB), for one, the numbers are not a mystery, nor such a fetish. A lot more transparency and so it’s possible to have a lot more of areality-based debate on all sides of it. It’s as much on you as on sperez to deliver the numbers. And since we can’t, we do the best we can with the bread crumbs offered from any central HQ, imo.

  • Shard

    There are some figures available, although their veracity is unknown. But Chamakh for one, often told to us, he’s on 80k per week, is according to Fiorentina’s chairman, on wages of 3million euros per year. Which would be less than 60k euros per week, or just about 50k pounds.

    Denilson earns 3m pounds per year, putting him just under 60k a week.

    You can draw reasonable deductions (although not highly accurate) about the rest of the squad’s wages from these figures, especially because you have the overall wage bill at 143.4 million a year (this includes ALL employees, not just players and coaches)

  • Shard

    sorry.. bob..my above post was addressed to you

  • Mandy Dodd

    Fergie did bend over and give into Rooneys demands. Fergies squad has at least nine players, off the top of my head who cost more than any arsenal player in history. Of course some critiques of wenger can be seen by some as valid, as with all managers and teams, not everything has worked, partly because what wenger has achieved during and after the stadium move is pretty much uncharted territory in this league. But what’s done is done, the future matters, and the signs are encouraging. As I say, our last two major signings have been Spanish internationals.

  • Shard

    I think it was Adam who earlier in this thread said that squad stability is often overlooked when it comes to a team’s success. I have agreed with him before, and agree with that view again. It is essential. It allows the team to gel together and improve, as well as allow the manager to properly identify the missing links and how best to address them. For instance, we now know that Vermaelen and Koscielny don’t work as well as either of them playing alongside Mertesacker. We know that Arteta and Ramsey work quite well together, especially with Rosicky or Cazorla in front of them, but not so much with Wilshere. We know what Giroud brings and what partnerships he’s built up, and can decide what else we need to add to our attack etc.

    Even through the barren years, we improved massively the years where we didn’t sell important players. The 2007-08 team took the league by storm, and surprised everyone. Next year’s team can do the same, although it’ll be less of a surprise because we’ll be spending as well. If, as seems likely, we can keep all the players we want to keep, and build on it, we have a good chance of the league title. And seeing the ManU celebrations have only made me hungrier for our own triumph. And that, will actually be well deserved, rather than bought or cheated.

  • Tasos

    The club should’ve done more to hold onto him, he’s one the best talents in Europe/World football just now and he’s about to receive a League Championship medal with another team.

    Why didn’t the club do more to keep him? why didn’t they offer him more money?

    Paul Pogba should be playing in Man Utd’s midfield but he snubbed them and chose to go to Juventus instead.

  • AL

    Florian, Arun,

    What are the odds Arsenal(the whole team , not just one individual) would be allowed to score four goals from offside positions over 38 games, let alone over 2 games? The officials’ “incompetence” is appalling; I certainly couldn’t get away with so many mistakes at my place of work.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Breaking news, arsenal target, gotze will sign for bayern this summer for almost 32million. Sack wenger now for this show of a complete lack of ambition, after all, why would a young German choose his regions super power over us, that is clearly down to wenger.

  • Arun

    @AL
    I think it will be about 1/Graham’s number.

    @Mandy
    He was born in Bavaria. The news was leaked by Bild and couldn’t have come at a worse time for Dortmund. It will be interesting to see how he performs against Madrid.

  • zdzis

    @bob
    OK, but then, it’s useful to provide any kind of supporting evidence for that.
    To give you an example, one notorious “proof” of “exorbitant” wages at Arsenal was Bendtner’s shirt number (52). I admit to having searched for any kind of *reliable* reference for that – an interview with some ITK, for example – entirely in vain. The number looks weird (it’s virtually the only player with an estimated salary that doesn’t end with “0” or “5”), and given that the contract was signed before he really made the cut in the 1st team, it seems illogical.
    Another example – Shard’s reference – Chamakh’s supposed 60k salary. The thing is, the Fiorentina official in question wasn’t talking in pounds, but in euros – see for yourself: http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/11670/7886256/Viola-deny-Chamakh-approach. It’s 3 million euros, which means the ~60K is actually about £45-£50k/week. A totally reasonable salary for a backup striker with some experience.
    In other words, it’s only right to try and get a firmer grasp on these things, but I totally reject claims that are based solely on the kind of speculation sperez feeds on in his comments. Speculation based in misheard half-truths.

    The most important issue for me in terms of managing transfers & wages is whether a manager can keep his expenses at a reasonable level and manage his resources sufficiently well to ensure stability and opportunity for advancement. That’s what you might call a firm basis for success. In my opinion, both Fergie and Wenger made huge errors, but only Wenger was unlucky enough to be made to pay for them accordingly. For Fergie, the only real price was being thrown out of Europe (twice in a row). For Arsenal, it was losing best players for less than their worth and being pushed into a scramble for top 4 (twice in a row).
    I wonder what will Man United look like when Fergie retires…

  • Stuart

    I’m glad you have made that post Zdzis, seems to me Sperez is the type to believes anything his mate tells him without question.

  • Adam

    @Shard,

    Stability is very much overlooked, we only have to look at who the semi finalists are for this seasons champions league, and we get an idea about the importance.

    No side in the premiership could compete with those sides this year, as all are not as settled.

    Our next step is to become a settled club, not side. Barca have a settled club, a method that works for them. Dortmund will start to lose players and it will be interesting to see how they cope. Madrid can keep their players together as can Bayern who can also have their pick of the best talent in their league.

    We are not the biggest club in our country and have to find another way at maintaining stability.

    When we discuss the possibility of winning tournaments we really need to consider stability both within the side and club as this determines how quickly a club can rebuild a side after losing some valuable players.

    We are getting their as a side and club. However in my mind, we still need to bring our own players through into the first team which we don’t really do.

    Dortmund will be an interesting case study.

  • Shard

    Adam

    I think we already have a case study..

    A fair few years ago, Barcelona lost one of their stars to their biggest rival. (No one mentioned ‘ambition’ as it wasn’t a popular buzzword then) When Figo moved to Madrid, Barcelona were i a state of decline, or stasis. Only Rivaldo was their saving grace, while the likes of Fabio Rochemback were considered the new hope from the academy. Remember him? That’s my point.

    They opted for changing managers, but their entire club structure was stable since Cruyff had revamped it back in 89 (?) Though they spent a fair few trophyless years (between 1999 and 2005), they went out of the CL spots, they had their fans look with jealousy at Real, and even Valencia, and bemoan their young academy prospects like Xavi as ‘the cancer of Barca’ (presumably indicating annoyance with not spending money the way Real Madrid did building their Galacticos), all of that is now forgotten as they became ‘the greatest side of all time’ to some.

    Do I say we’ll become that? No, not so fast. they have some advantages we don’t. They are in a two team league, they basically claim an entire region as their own (in terms of revenue and talent), their academy graduates get to play competitive football week in week out together etc

    But, it takes time to get young players through the system. Barca’s revamp in 89 led to some major effect only around 2006-07. We can hope for something similar within the next 5 years or so.

    Also, we’re at a lower stage of growth than Barca (or ManU) but we have that much opportunity to grow. It makes sense to not become walking billboards like ManU, until we’re in a position to extract maximum value from doing so (which will come only with victories)

    But our stability as a club should improve soon, especially if Wenger extends his contract. As a team, I think we should be relatively stable next season. The only major destabilisation at this point, is of the fanbase. And I fear that because it is a self fulfilling prophecy at its worst. However, we have to deal with it, and do all we can to keep our club stable and on an upward path.

    Dortmund at least got 2 titles, plus they are in an environment where billionaire funded spending is not allowed. They should be fine. Although Bayern are a behemoth.

  • Adam

    I think we are on the same page. Sorry if I came across as lecturing, it was not my intention, just wanted to expand on what you picked up on earlier.

    Cheers.

  • Shard

    Adam

    I’m sorry, since it appears that I came across as argumentative (might just be how I’m feeling today, or it’s just me 🙂 )

    I did not think you were lecturing, and feel as well that we’re on the same page. I too was aiming to expand on what you said, and express some hope for the future.

    Cheers right back at you 🙂

  • sperez

    Either I’m not an avid football fan or now it’s fair we call any young player ‘world class’ based on one season. Wilshere hasn’t been particularly good this season even before his recent injury. Gibbs ? C’mon, you have to wait. They have to prove themselves.
    I just hope Wenger doesn’t ruin Wilshere running him into the ground again.
    What does it make anyone thinks Götze would want to join a club with no ambition and managed by a guy who hasn’t been able to win a trophy for 8 years? Besides, he’d have to play with the likes of Giroud, Gervinho…
    He would be as clueless as Wenger if he had accepted to join this sinking ship.
    Why do you think as soon as a player reaches a good level he wants to leave ? It’s easier for some fans to blame those players calling them Judas, mercenaries than accept what it’s happening at the club.
    Shard these numbers just show how these players (Denilson, Chamakh, Aluminia, Djourou…)have been overpaid.
    I’ rather have 2 good/solid players earning 175k than 6 Djourous on a 50/60k. But I guess we have different opinions. You clearly don’t see anything wrong with a joke like Djourou at Arsenal for almost one decade draining the club’s resources and giving almost nothing in return.
    Squillaci. If Wenger ever bothered watching him play at Sevilla he wouldn’t have touch him with a barge pole. Sevilla took the money and ran, laughing all the way to the bank.
    Chamakh, The Shisha Smoking guy who loves to party? When we are still competing for the trophy, Wenger put Arshavin as our striker against the giant defenders in the PL and he took a battery, because Wenger wanted to sign Chamakh on a free…Had Wenger or his talent spotters made his/their research properly Chamakh wouldn’t be here.
    Zdzis, you should ask PHW what exactly the footballing reasons are.
    RVP was sold but the biggest problem is his replacement. If you sell a top player you should replace him with another top quality player. But Wenger chose to penny pinching again and bought a vastly inferior player.
    Even Atlético Madrid replaced Agüero with Falcao.
    But Wenger is absolutely scared of buying top quality players because he knows his failures wouldn’t slip under the radar. We would have Wenger without excuses to hide his inability as a manager(Can you ever imagine that ?) He would be accountable.

  • Shard

    yes yes..we get it.. Wenger is ruining Arsenal, we’re all doomed, and only the truly intelligent see it, especially with those damn facts blocking our view.

  • @blacksheep63

    there is some middle ground between Sperez’s seeming AAA approach and the loyalty which is welcome here. We haven’t replaced some of the best players that have left this club (Vieira, Henry, Fabregas, RVP) and perhaps that is because AW is being careful in the current financial situation (plaudits to him, I’d rather have a stable well run club to support than a bankrupt one!) OR because of his belief in the youth project – or indeed a mixture of the two. But unless you accept we have reached our level (3 or 4th on the PL), which I don’t, then we have to agree that we are not competing with the very best. WE are too far off top spot and in the next few seasons I think we have the basis of a team that can compete. But now we need to spend some of this supposed ‘war chest’ in order to do so. I trust le boss, I support my team, but I want us back up where we belong. Mud slinging at each other isn’t going to achieve that

  • zdzis

    Of course there is middle ground. The thing is, some people just can’t see it behind the doom-and-gloom facade.
    sperez’s comment above perfectly illustrates the point: we want a serious debate about our beloved club, but whenever the discussion actually gets serious, we just repeat the same old b.s.

    “Either I’m not an avid football fan or now it’s fair we call any young player ‘world class’ based on one season.” – Yes, you’re obviously not. Both Wilshere and Gibbs played a significant part in the team since 2010 (though Wilshere had his 16-month layoff in the middle of that period). So it’s not “one season.” Second, I don’t need you to say they’re world class. I just want you to acknowledge they are both quality players, which they obviously are. I fear we’re in Ramsey territory here: a lot of people hate Ramsey’s guts just because he gets in all those situations where his errors are hypervisible. But would he ever get into those positions if he really was useless?

    “Had Wenger or his talent spotters made his/their research properly…” – So, you claim that a defender regularly plying his trade for an up-and-coming club in La Liga, having played upwards of 20 games for his national team (if memory serves me right), was already sh*t before he joined us? That a striker scoring 10+ goals in 3 out of 4 previous seasons and getting rave reviews in Ligue 1 was sh*t before we got him for free? Yes, those were “poor replacements,” if you recall who they were expected to replace – RVP and Vermaelen. But both were experienced internationals of considerable quality. Why they failed – that I don’t know. But the claim that our scouting is cr*p because some players fail to make the transition into PL is nothing if not far-fetched.

    “Why do you think as soon as a player reaches a good level he wants to leave?” – That’s a legend. Give me some names so we can talk specifics. I agree we had issues with timing, and some departures evidently came too early. But, again, we need to put those names in the right perspective. And, first of all, count them. So that we can stop talking in general terms, like it’s every Arsenal player ever.

    “Wenger is absolutely scared of buying top quality players because he knows his failures wouldn’t slip under the radar.” – This one’s really weird: so you’re saying that all of the moaning in the media about Wenger’s cr*ppy transfer policy was purely imagined? I admit I don’t understand your point here.

    As for ambition: it’s totally unfair to treat all cases in the same way, as if it’s some sort of binary system where players always choose between Arsenal and some other club. If Falcao joins Chelsea, why do the media then follow by saying he “snubbed” Arsenal? Why not Real, Barca, Milan, Juventus, Bayern, PSG, Man Utd? If you asked me what “ambition” looks like, I’d give you that as a perfect example. Doesn’t it illustrate our ambition that we’re by far the most “snubbed” team in the world? We compete for so many players all at the same time, and we lose so often, but we’re still in the game, always fighting for those signatures, always on the verge of signing a real star.
    The only thing is, this narrative is only 5% true. The vast majority of transfer stories – like the one about Gotze – are a product of England’s sick journalistic minds. Why would we buy Gotze now – a costly youngster who would obviously need time to settle in the PL and would offer us largely the same things Chamberlain can? All that talk about ambition is mostly based on totally fictional tales spun by journos who try (and fail) to discern which transfers may happen. Sometimes the tales are believable – there’s a lot of logic to the Jovetić transfer rumour, for instance – but most of the time, there’s precious little of that redeeming factor. And yet, people like you believe those stories, implicitly accepting that our scouting department is, in fact, working *very* well (after all, they did find so many desirable players), only to evntually use these fictional stories as very real proof that we’re going nowhere. Well, since they are fictional, they can’t really tell you much about Arsenal, can they?

    The funny thing is, we genuinely have a good squad that only demands minor additions to be perfectly prepared for the next season. We have a strong front line with three top quality players (and don’t get me started about Giroud, one of the best centre forwards in the league), a talented, creative midfield that only needs one change to become a real powerhouse, and a solid back line that can only improve in time. We can argue about particular merits of the players we have, but our squad unquestionably has the quality to challenge for titles. Were you an “avid football fan,” you would have noticed why we failed so dramatically this season. You would have noticed and drawn conclusions.
    No, not *jumped into conclusions*.