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October 2016
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Newspaper claims an Arsenal fans anti-Wenger backlash is at hand

By Tony Attwood

The Independent headline writer has been quick off the mark with this one, claiming that Arsenal fans (whom they always like to assert that they know intimately) are getting edgy because the boss has suggested that there may be no more signings.

Headlines about a backlash and passing comments such as “But why aren’t Arsenal making any moves in the transfer market?” suddenly abound.

Mind you the Telegraph is setting itself up as the master of the negative aggressive headline today giving us Sterling is now toxic – and it’s his own fault.

I’m not too sure what Jeremy Wilson felt on seeing the headline used on his piece about Arsenal’s transfer policy but it didn’t really have much to do with what he wrote.  Or reality.

The article in question began “Arsene Wenger has claimed that Arsenal already have sufficient squad quality to potentially regain the Premier League title and strongly suggested that performances in pre-season will now decide whether he makes any more signings.”

There’s then a comment about just how much money Mr Wenger has available, plus the use of “only” as is now becoming de rigeur for hacks when speaking of Arsenal.  As in “Petr Cech is the only senior addition so far this summer”.  You can see it all being set up, sentence by sentence.

Mr Wenger has in fact talked about “cohesion” – the ability of the team to play together as an ensemble – and that of course is absolutely right.  Us older supporters remember how the 1971 Double team fell apart as players left and new ones such as Alan Ball, came in and simply could not play as a team.

The positives for Arsenal of course is the fact that when we started last season we didn’t have Francis Coquelin and Hector Bellerin playing as they showed they can, Santi Cazorla has improved even on his fine form of the year before and Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey and Mikel Arteta are all fit.

The question thus becomes – “who am I going to drop?”   Or in the more positive way Mr Wenger spoke, “I believe we have the quality, and it’s now about how much we can be stronger together.

“We felt at the end of last season that we had moved forward, but it is still not enough. In this pre-season we have to move forward again. We have to move forward together, which for me it is more important than dreaming about finding a miraculous player who wins you everything.

“It’s important we find our combination and cohesion very quickly. We have to use it as a springboard to improve, and our pre-season games can help us strengthen that feeling. It is an opportunity to give an opportunity to people on the fringe of the team. It can influence my decisions until the transfer market is over.”

The departure board however is growing.  Lukas Pod has gone to Galatasary, Joel Campbell is set for another loan, Carl Jenkinson goes to West Ham Without Fat Sam having signed a five year deal with Arsenal, Serge Gnabry is said to be going to WBA, Sanogo is off to Ajax.  Arsenal have apparently turned down a BIG offer from Southampton for Jenkinson.

Now obviously I am not privy to any contractual arrangements but I suspect that these players could be recalled in an emergency which means we already have extra cover.

The latest on the returnees is the Danny Welbeck should be fit for the Emirates Cup and Alexis Sanchez on August 16.

The manager did however have something new to say about goalkeepers…

“The deal itself was not too difficult.  The decision was difficult because I felt our two goalkeepers did very well last season but, on the other hand, we could add experience and strengthen the belief of our squad. And we can develop experience in our squad and help to develop our other goalkeepers who are still young.

“If you go back to the numbers we have no obvious goalkeeping problem. In the last 19 games we conceded 13 goals. We want to maintain that, to stabilise and, if possible, improve.”

So the issue comes back not to big name stars, but rather to backups.  If the PGMO and their referees reverse the policy we saw towards the end of last season of allowing assaults on Arsenal players without retribution then we will need back up, upon back up.
There is where the flexibility comes in.  Consider the players who, in different games, can play in the front three:
Alexis, Theo, Giroud, Welbeck, Santi Cazorla, Ozil.
But of course it doesn’t have to be a front three.  You can have Giroud up on his own with three behind him.
Looking at it another way The Arsenal web site currently shows these first team players:
Goalkeepers: 4
Defenders: 10
Midfield: 11
Forwards: 8
Now if we bring in one more player young from outside the squad for this season that will give us 34 players.   We are of course allowed 25 aged 21+ and as many under that age as we want.
So we now take away the players already talked about for loans, we get
Goalkeepers: 4
Defenders: 9
Midfield: 11
Forwards: 5
That is still 29, of whom four will have to be under age.   Akpom, Bielik, Zelalem, and Hayden can be taken as those four.  And that’s before we contemplate our new 17 year old sensational super signing from France.
With the sort of squad we have you can see Mr Wenger’s point: we need a squad that can play together, not a squad into which some expensive star who demands to start each game is suddenly thrown.
So is there an anti-Wenger backlash in the offing?  Yes of course, there are always those who treat the media as their puppet masters, and who see the insanity of the little web sites with their DONE DEAL fantasies as what might have been rather than rambling gibberish.
But it looks like a fair old squad to me.

The books

Woolwich Arsenal: The club that changed football – Arsenal’s early years

Making the Arsenal – how the modern Arsenal was born in 1910

The Crowd at Woolwich Arsenal

26 comments to Newspaper claims an Arsenal fans anti-Wenger backlash is at hand

  • bas

    My sentiments exactly.

  • Dex


    Kudos for your undiminshed efforts to paint everything as constantly rosey in the Arsenal garden!

    We had Bellerin and Coquelin, and Sanchez et al all fit towards the end of last season and we still couldn’t beat Monaco, Swansea, Sunderland, ManU or the chavs.

    The questions I would be asking are; can we improve on what we currently have;
    Goalkeeper; not now, we are sorted
    Central defence; we could improve, yes, but we have 4 decent CBs
    Fullback; again we could do better, but we are well stocked here.
    in terms of offensive minded midfielders we are well covered I feel
    Defensive midfield; Coquelin was excellent last season, but Lars bender would be an upgrade and would provide excellent cover and competition
    Giroud has improved greatly, but again, we could improve in this area.

    Thanks, keep up the great work

  • Michael Andrews

    I respect your view and can agree with a lot of what you say, however the one that I can’t go with is that Giroud or Welbeck are world class strikers. I am willing to give Theo the benefit of the doubt but have to ask which of Europes key teams, Bayern , PSG, Barca, Real, City, Utd, Chelsea and even many of the “lesser” clubs, Liverpool, Ajax, Porto, Monaco would give Olivier or Danny a game, or even have them on the bench ? And if they are not not good enough for them what makes them good enough for us?

  • Avellino Reyes

    A devensive midfielder and acentre forward needed world class of course . Must be Mr. Wengers choice.

  • para

    Yes, the hounds have already started barking at AW, and the media is stoking them along too.

    But we now know what we face, not just 11 men on a field but all those others who put stumbling blocks in Arsenal’s path, because they so fear them in a fair game. Cowards.

    The most that Arsenal need now is to be able to focus on the season ahead instead of match by match. In every moment from now on the focus must be on winning the season. Everything else comes just behind that. Everything else depends on that in reality, they just have to acknowledge that in their minds.

    2015/2016 is going to be an Arsenal year. No going back, just striding ever forward.

  • JGD

    Spot on mate – Arsenal are in very good position and require very little in the way of signings. Our first team is more than good enough, and we also have sufficient depth. The only question is around cover for Coqulein and whether Giroud can maintain his fine form of last season (or revert back to previous seasons form).

    Consistency is now the key I feel.

    Some of the suggestions flying around are simply ridiculous (Vidal, Pogba etc).

  • XP

    we simply need a better striker if we only allowed one more player…
    in fact we need a good DM position player also,
    a defender(especially center back) is needed but not urgent (we can leave it till next season)…

  • Mandy Dodd

    The press really are full of shite. Some very amusing articles about a shift in the balance of power because Tottenham will have a stadium with a hundred or so more seats than the Emirates by 2018. Our press really are a joy to behold.

  • TailGunner

    There’s probably something in the “shift of power” scenario. With Arsenal, Chelsea, Spurs & West Ham filling world class stadia ( with worthy teams) it could happen. So the North West will have three, but the attraction for the best players will still be London. I can see it happening.
    And why not!

  • SamuelAkinsolaAdebosin

    I want to believe my belief for the Boss to soon answer his critics and those of the Gunners, on the Wembley football playing pitch on Sunday the 2nd of August, 2015. There, the Gunners for the first time in their history will beat a Jose Mourinho’s Blues side in a game and to the Charity Shield. I think that my last word has a finalty about it.

  • nicky

    I think any downmarket newspaper is on a fairly easy wicket, when it forecasts an anti-Wenger backlash during the opening of a Transfer Window. It happens twice a year without fail.
    Arsene either doesn’t buy the right players or leaves the buying too late.
    The fact that the transfer period still has the rest of July and the whole of August to run, is conveniently overlooked. 😉

  • Mike T


    Isn’t Chambers still classified as an under 21 player?

    One of your keepers will almost certainly leave and based on the whole HG status means It is unlikely to be Szcesny. I doubt that any PL team would allocate 4 squad places to keepers

  • Pat

    Nice quotes from Arsene Wenger, Tony. I especially like the bit about team building rather than looking for some kind of individual saviour. Also the bit about goalies is intriguing.

    I notice the press are still fixated on money and buying. Bigging up Manchester United’s purchases. We shall see!

  • Robert

    Mike, this is the list as it stands:
    1. Arteta Amatriain, Mikel
    2. Cazorla, Santiago
    3. Cech, Petr
    4. *Coquelin, Francis
    5. Debuchy, Mathieu
    6. Flamini, Mathieu
    7. *Gibbs, Kieran James Ricardo
    8. Giroud, Olivier
    9. Koscielny, Laurent
    10. *Martinez, Damian Emiliano
    11. Mertesacker, Per
    12. Monreal, Ignacio
    13. Ospina, David
    14. Ozil, Mesut
    15. Paulista, Gabriel
    16. *Ramsey, Aaron James
    17. Rosicky, Tomas
    18. Sanchez, Alexis
    19. *Szczesny, Wojciech Tomasz
    20. *Walcott, Theo James
    21. *Welbeck, Daniel
    22. *Wilshere, Jack Andrew
    23. *Oxlade-Chamberlain, Alexander Mark David – (now 21)

    Available Slots: 2
    9 home growns (indicated with an asterisk) and 14 non.

    If Ospina goes, that gives us room for 3 non-HG. If Martinez (or Szczesny) goes on loan, that reduces HGs to 8 and still leaves room for 3 non-HG signings.

    Whether we need to recruit 1 to 3 is a matter for the club, not the press.

  • Gord

    I am not going to suggest anything. This is just observation. Outside of a small number of discrete events, there is no reason not to keep Szczesny. He, Martinez and Ospina are all capable of getting better. I don’t know if Cech can get better. Szczesny has a cigarette tobacco incident, and apparently now has a laughing gas incident. And he has a problem with people that supposedly care for him, being annoying in the news.

    If Szczesny keeps accumulating “events’, it may become easier to consider loaning him out, or even selling him.

  • Gord

    Not laughing gas, but “hippy crack”? It might not be real, it may not be worth worrying over.

  • Nonny

    Whether you like it or not, a lot of our so called fans are influenced by what they see online and seeing Man Utd and Liverpool signing player after player has been playing on their mind especially with AFC linked falsely to a lot of players that ended up moving to other clubs.

    What they fail to understand is that squad balance is key to any team. How many players have top teams like Real Madrid, Chelsea, Bayern signed this season. It is not about every tom dick and harry that is available but he that can fit into the squad and be better than the options we have and is available at a reasonable fee.

    If Arsenal so called fans want players at whatever fee the press is projecting, then they should also be ready to lose players at the same rate. So let us be ready for Kos to Madrid and Ozil to Juve because it is tit for tat

  • Ollie Hackney

    Gord, I don’t think szczesny was on it. My reasoning is the pics (I’ve seen) are of him with puffed out cheeks. Exhaling not inhaling.

  • Gord

    Thanks Ollie.

    Personally, I would feel better if there weren’t pictures, puffed out cheeks or not.

    I don’t think Szczesny is out looking to try different drugs. I can easily see players being set up by others (possibly being paid by the medja to generate a story). Or the explanation of a failed drug test that was on the BBC today, that someone had put some ecstasy in his drink, and that is what the test picked up.

    The only drugs I do, are ethanol and caffeine. I don’t know about setting people up, hiding stuff, or otherwise. I do know it exists. But reading about security exploits is something I do most days. And updating software to get around problems.

    If stories like this continue to pop up around Szczesny (or Wilshere), at some point the club needs to find out if these stories are real? Is the player the source of the stories in some way? Is this a problem? Can we stop the stories from coming out?

    But you look at some of the articles about growing a team’s worldwide support, and you see that teams are monitoring or cultivating all kinds of things. And we have the five eyes openly trying to hack every person on the Internet (and equivalent in Russia, China, India, Middle East). And there are companies developing hacks to sell to governments, miscreants looking for any hack to make a dollar, and so on.

    I don’t see immediate problems, but I think at some point the big teams will be attacked in some way. I hope Arsenal doesn’t get attacked (with a universe of bad/fabricated publicity), but it is possible.

  • Tom

    I think most Arsenal fans are relatively relaxed about any other possible acquisitions this Summer simply because unlike in previous TW , there aren’t any glaring deficiencies in our squad.

    The two biggest needs have been addressed with Coquelin and Cech, and while there are some positions we might be able to improve on,the price for those incoming players might be prohibitive.

    Arsenal’s biggest improvement for the next season has to come from within, rather than from an outside help in form of another player.

    Our poor record against top teams ( I believe only three wins against top eight teams) , or our poor record in games when we conceded first, has more to do with psychology of our team and not the talent level.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Its payback time ! With some interest !

    This Article Was Placed in the Personal columns of a daily newspaper in Durban.

    To the well dressed black dude Who Tried to Mug Me on Durban Beachfront three nights ago.

    I was the guy wearing the black denim jacket that you demanded that I hand over along with my wallet, shortly after you pulled the knife on my girlfriend and I, threatening our lives.

    You also asked for my girlfriend’s purse, rings and earrings too. I can only hope that you somehow come across this rather important message.

    First, I’d like to apologize for your embarrassment when I drew my pistol after you took my jacket. The evening was not that cold, and I was wearing the jacket for a reason.

    My girlfriend had just bought me that Glock pistol for X’mas, and we had picked up a new ‘fast draw’ shoulder holster for it just that very evening.

    Obviously you agree that it is a very intimidating weapon when pointed at your head wasn’t it, especially when I blasted that one and only shot right past your right ear and out to sea?

    I know it probably wasn’t fun walking back to wherever you’d come from bare footed with your ear bleeding and ringing like a church bell, since I made you leave your expensive shoes, Nokia cell phone, and wallet with me. That prevented you from calling or running to your buddies to come
    help mug us again.

    After I called your mother, or “Mama” as you had her listed in your cell, I explained the entire episode of what you’d done, fortunately she spoke English too, and she seemed very shocked, said you worked at a local bank and wouldn’t do what I was telling her you had done.

    Anyway, I then went and filled up my petrol tank as well as four other people’s in the petrol garage on your credit card. The guy with the big V8 Jeep took R800 alone, and was extremely grateful!

    I gave your shoes to a homeless guy outside Joe Kools, along with all the cash in your wallet. That made his day!

    I then threw your wallet into the big 7 series Beemer that was parked at the curb … after I broke the windshield and side window and keyed the entire driver’s side of the car. I know that this bling car belongs to a local enforcer and bouncer.

    Later, I called a bunch of phone sex numbers from your cell phone. Vodacom just now shut down the line, although I only used the phone for a little over a day now, so what’s going on with that?

    Earlier, I managed to get in two threatening phone calls to the local ANC office and one to the bureau of state security (intelligence services) too, while mentioning President Zuma and Julius Malema as my probable targets. The state security guy seemed really intense and we
    had a nice long chat – I guess while he traced your number etc.

    In a way, perhaps I should apologize for not killing you …. but I feel this type of retribution is a far more appropriate punishment for your threatened crime.

    I wish you well as you try to sort through some of these rather immediate pressing issues, and can only hope that you have the opportunity to reflect upon, and perhaps reconsider the career
    path you’ve chosen to pursue in life.

    Remember, next time you might not be so lucky.
    Have a good day!

    Thoughtfully yours,


  • Rose tinted Glasses

    So we make no more signings everyone is happy.
    come 6 months in lecocks out, arteta is shown to have lost his legs and cant do it against any of the teams in the top half of the league, welbeck cant shake his nagging injury, OG is f***d from playing every minute in every game (even though he shouldn’t be first choice for the arsenal), i wonder what all of your excuses will be, “we have injuries”, “we have players out of form”, my personal favorite “Cant compete with chelsea’s \ Man ciy’s money”.

    Look at the money sat in AFC bank account when the account were published, there about 100 million in there. that’s enough for 2 signings and have the needed reserves that arsenal keep. The excuse of money is gone, if this season we cant compete due to not enough squad depth, it’s NOT DOWN TO MONEY BUT MR.A WENGER.

    This season there are no excuses, the money is there, the players were there (some have been taken, due to in activity), if we sh*t out and finish 3/4, one man is to blame this season.

  • Gord

    My ManU/Liverpool tinted glasses. Please don’t come here pretending to support Arsenal. We could have a 50 man roster and still run into injury problems, and you would still blame Wenger for not having 100 men on the roster.

    I seen some different transfer news.

    Hendrik Almstadt has left Arsenal to join Villa, following Tom Fox who did this a year ago.

    This came from the Telegraph.

  • dieter


    You referring to players we might loan out: “Now obviously I am not privy to any contractual arrangements but I suspect that these players could be recalled in an emergency which means we already have extra cover.”

    I’ve always been under the impression a player can’t be recalled if he’s on loan to another PL club. And that such contracts can be re-negotiated in transfer windows only. But I’m not privy to possible changes in rules.

  • omgarsenal

    Dieter… depends on the loan agreement negotiated between the two clubs. Arsenal normally loan a player for the season but they can apply a clause permitting them to recall said player in an emergency. This is very rare for a season long loan. The 2-4 month loans we make are usually made with a recall clause in.

    Shit tinted glasses… are a true aaa plastic fanboy and I actually doubt you support the Arsenal, but giving you the benefit of the doubt, your premise is so full of holes that it makes the Titanic look truly unsinkable:

    1) We always have injuries, as do every other EPL club…..we do however have excellent depth, if you had bothered to read the article, you might have actually realized how our depth and availability of players is vastly superior to years past. In fact the competition for places is ferocious.

    2) Did you watch the Singapore Cup game today? Did you realize what talent we have and what backup we have? Can you even count?

    3) I gather you are sat in your fat-head armchair or couch, eating Tesco chips and drinking cheap beer but you clearly never ever studied finance in school. What AFC have in the bank is mostly spoken for and the actual tranfer kitty is far smaller. That said, we have more than enough to buy someone Wenger decides is an improvement on our current squad…however it isn’t Texco out there, its a fluid market and while I know you can’t understand reality at all, the reality is that Wenger knows far better than a shit-for-brains aaa moron like yourself, whose sole success in life in getting your fat ass out of bed each morning.

    4) Who the f**k made you judge, jury and executioner for Wenger? Quite frankly we and he don’t give a shite about your LeGrovel inspired Wenger hate……grow up and learn to spell properly, think rationally and support your Club, not your fat ass!

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Experts and asses – would be funny ,except, sadly its often true .

    Once upon a time there was a king who wanted to go fishing.

    He called the royal weather forecaster and enquired as to the weather forecast for the next few hours.

    The weatherman assured him that there was no chance of rain in the coming days.

    So the king went fishing with his wife, the queen. On the way he met a farmer on his donkey. Upon seeing the king the farmer said, “Your Majesty, you should return to the palace at once because in just a short time I expect a huge amount of rain to fall in this area”.

    The king was polite and considerate, he replied: “I hold the palace meteorologist in high regard. He is an extensively educated and experienced professional. Besides, I pay him very high wages. He gave me a very different forecast. I trust him and I will continue on my way.” So he continued on his way.
    However, a short time later a torrential rain fell from the sky. The King and Queen were totally soaked and their entourage chuckled upon seeing them in such a shameful condition.

    Furious, the king returned to the palace and gave the order to fire the weatherman at once!

    Then he summoned the farmer and offered him the prestigious and high paying role of royal forecaster.

    The farmer said, “Your Majesty, I do not know anything about forecasting. I obtain my information from my donkey. If I see my donkey’s ears drooping, it means with certainty that it will rain.”

    So the king hired the donkey.

    And so began the practice of hiring asses to work in the government and occupy its highest and most influential positions.