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October 2016
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10 things we learned about the world of Arsenal this summer

By Tony Attwood

1.  Wenger is working

In a press conference recently Mr Wenger told the press that over the summer, “I had a few days off, but I spent most of my summer at the training ground.  Not the whole holiday, but most of it.”

2.  And he’s got the measure of the media even more than before

In a recent press conference Mr W said in answer to one question, “When I go on the beach I am in the press the next day. Where do you want me to go?”

He also said, in relation to the press and Mourinho, “I will leave you and your love story with him to continue without interference,” he said.    “It’s all about love.”

3.  Now even the press concede Arsenal might win something.

For me, this season any of the three major trophies would do.  The Champions League, because we have never won it, the Premier League because we haven’t won it since the Invincibles, the FA Cup because it would be the unprecedented three in a row in modern times.  I’ll take any of those.

This summer the media story is that Arsenal are stress free, no one is poaching our top players, others are scrabbling around trying to buy players they desperately need, and we’re looking good.  I think we could do it.

4.  Confidence is high

“Before, we always lost big players and then everyone would quickly question us,” Wenger said at a press conference, adding, “This is the first time for a long time we have all had confidence in our environment.”   He also noted that this is the most experienced team since the Invincibles.

“We have always had talented teams but most of the time, after 2006 when we moved into the stadium, they were very young. We have the better balance between talent and experience now. And when you go into April you need that experience.

“Have we enough talent? I believe so, yes. And the expectations are very high. You cannot win the Cup and finish third in the league and then say: ‘Look, next year we want to do nothing.’ So the ingredients are there but I am long enough in the job to know we have to prove that with points.”

5.  Everyone loves our goalkeeper; everyone forgets their wrong predictions.

There’s talk of calmness and organisation, having finally got the keeper that Arsenal first spotted years back at Rennes, and all that stuff you’ll already have read.

Mr Wenger’s view was, “He is very serious, he trains well. He has a good combination between quality, agility and size and he always looked like he was built for English football. I think he is a very bright goalkeeper as well and he has an intimidating presence, that is for sure. He makes the goals look small. That’s the kind of charisma he has.”

And all that helps the media and blogettas forget the weeks and weeks of telling us that Ooooospina was on the way out.   How wrong can they be over such a long period?  How much time does a writer need to admit he got it wrong?

6.  We can win every pre-season game

As Untold reported, it has only happened once before, and of course it is not a guarantee of further success, but we won the lot.   And given the choice between losing a few and winning them all, I know which one I prefer.  Singapore, Everton, Lyon, Wolfsburg and Chelsea have all been seen off, in only the second perfect pre-season in the club’s history.

7.  Transfers out have continued but mostly under the radar.

  • Abou Diaby to Marseille
  • Ryo Miyaichi to St Pauli
  • Semi Ajayi to Cardiff
  • Jack Jebb released
  • Austin Lipman released
  • Brandon Ormonde Ottewill to Swindon
  • Josh Vickers released
  • Lukas Podolski to Galatasaray
  • George Dobson to West Ham
It was, even by the extraordinarily low standards of Jonathan Liew a bizarre piece which seems for reasons that never become clear that Jeff so loves himself that he has set up his own church to worship himself in the same way that (he suggests) Özil did before him.
It is a very old trick, of suggesting that others are over-hyping a player and then making himself out to be the one man who can bring us back to earth by pointing out, “Reine-Adelaide still yet to play a senior game for Arsenal since signing from French side Lens in May”
One might as well point out that  Jonathan Liew is yet to write a decent piece of for his newspaper, but then we know that already.
What is interesting is that although widely hyped as a former Student Media Awards winner by the media, it is not just Untold that finds him distasteful.


Here’s what Slapshot Scotland said in an open letter to the wannabe journo.

Thank you for your critique after watching half an hour of a sport you’ve never seen before. From the responses you’ve had on Twitter, you will be well aware that your opinion has been duly noted.

You may band around your “Young Journalist of the Year” award from 2011 as some kind of police warrant card to justify your approach and while there is absolutely nothing wrong with calling things as you’ve seen them, which you clearly have here, you have done so like a gale force wind through a house of cards.

Or as the Chasing Dragons website said

So, an article has appeared in the Telegraph today about ice hockey. Written by Jonathan Liew…it considers ice hockey on TV.

So, is it positive? Um…no. But it’s also clearly written by someone who hasn’t looked beyond a football pitch for his sporting fix in all his life. Or, probably, darkened the doors of a changing room in any other capacity then maybe a twenty-minute session on the running machine.

Aside from the fact that a quick Google reveals fans across three sports (football, golf and cricket) being more vitriolic than anything about both his writing ability and knowledge of the sports he claims to write about, the whole article (which you can read in full here) is basically a journalist saying “I don’t understand a sport, therefore it’s crap”.

Or to take the quote that we ran

Diaby is the player who best sums up the last nine years at Arsenal, which is a strange thing to say because he was there for so little of it.

The Diaby years have also been the Bendtner years and the Almunia years and the Andre Santos years, but no player has quite expressed the beauty and the curse of late-Wenger Arsenal like he did: a man trapped in the bubble of his own unfulfilled talent, a hostage of his own misfortune, and yet the very embodiment of a heartbreaking and fundamentally human optimism.

It is nice to know that we’re not the only ones who find this sort of writing distasteful.   But then he’s now with the Telegraph, so I suppose that is about right.

But apart from Mr Liew, it’s been a decent pre-season.  Now let’s see what the real thing holds in store.

Anniversary of the day

7 August 1999: Thierry Henry’s first appearance – as a sub in Arsenal 2 Leicester City 1 on the opening day of the season.  He had scored 3 goals in 16 for Juventus, and 20 in 105 for Monaco and did not consider himself a natural goalscorer.


29 comments to 10 things we learned about the world of Arsenal this summer

  • Robert

    Tony, just for the sake of completeness, these players were also released: Renny Smith and Elliot Wright. Source: Jeorge Bird.

    And, in addition to Fortune and Adelaide, 5 more youngsters have arrived: Vlad Dragomir, Jordi Osei-Tutu, Kostas Pileas, Donyell Malin and Ismael Bennacer.

    Plus one smoking goalie on loan.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    For the coming season , I do hope that in his press conferences , AW befuddles and flummoxes the ostriches .The usage of vague ,quaint or antiquated terms , passages and quotations should do the trick. Better still if repeated verbatim from the original texts , in Latin , Sanskrit or Aramaic !
    He can also humour the younger fans by speaking in the Klingon ,Ewok ,Wookiee or Elvish languages or even (Shudder ! On a cold night in Stoke !), of the Orcs .

    In the meantime , I ‘m going to chill , enjoy the show and abide by the following rules for my sanity and overall well being.

  • apo Armani

    “Thierry Henry…He had scored 3 goals in 16 for Juventus, and 20 in 105 for Monaco and did not consider himself a natural goalscorer.”

    No its true…he did not – BUT AW DID…and actually that is the point – he sees way ahead of what others do/can 😉

  • Pat

    Great quotes from Wenger, Tony. Especially the one about Mourinho. I’d missed that one and it really gave me a laugh.

    But do you think Jonathan Lieu really warrants half an article? No doubt every newspaper has its quota of self-indulgent journalists trying to make a name for themselves through their writing style. Why give him so much prominence?

  • JK

    @Pat, I reckon Tony was talking about how bad Jonathan Liew was and how he wished Jon wouldn’t have written the article Jon wrote.

    @apo Armani, before Thierry came into the club he was deployed as a winger.. that’s why he couldn’t score much.. wingers those days stick literally to the wing. Its only when he came to Arsenal that Wenger sees he can be a up and up forward due to his size.
    I think many people knows that but I will elaborate more.

    Its only lately that football changed that nowadays wingers cut in and score, and strikers move out wide to hold up play. Apparently we did it when Thierry was still with us that during times we lost possession he moved out wide to defend and also quickly attack.

    Wenger sees those kinds of stuff that normally people can’t see. Football has changed and he is the one that makes Arsenal where they are today.

  • colario

    Wingers that score. Herbert Chapman used wingers to cut in and score. The most famous was Cliff Bastin

  • Andy Mack

    On the few occasions I’ve read a Jonathan Liew article I always wonder if he’ll continue writing drivel after he reaches puberty, as his 2011 award must have been in the under 6 category….

  • apo Armani

    August 7, 2015 at 11:01 am

    I know very well the story my friend…I was pointing out AW’s VISION

  • Rich

    Walter, tell me Club Brugge are a formidable team this year!

    Only recognise one name in their squad- Timmy Simons- remember him as being not bad, a while ago..

    I just knew those jammy Utd gits would avoid the very hard tests of Monaco and Lazio. Would have been spectacularly good for them to go out at this stage.

    I’ve fond memories of Belgium ,after a good college trip there, but for two nights this month my Belgian affinity is escalating dramatically. Come on you Bruggians!

  • Rich

    Another FA cup would be great , but for me it is crucial we get close to winning the league this year.

    Not facing any real threat, as far as I know, of losing any of our best players has been brilliant this year, and I think it would be a very different landscape next summer were we not to push for the league this time.

    Ramsay, Kos, Ozil, Sanchez- if we don’t kick on despite all the pointers we will, it seems highly likely those players would be very restless. The similar league finishes, which the press love to suggest prove it’s same old same old, disguise the fact we have had true momentum- not losing players, adding top players, everyone improving, winning trophies again- for the last two seasons. The players undoubtedly feel this momentum, hence their happiness and hence no one looking to leave.

    But…I don’t see how we can not be better this year, and that, being better, will surely mean contesting strongly for the title.

    I believe we can fight for it even were we to lose any one of the key men to’s only when your talking two or three being out that we’d be in big trouble, but that’s surely the case with all teams.

  • apo Armani

    We also learned that with relatively fair refereeing and no leg braking tackles we can keep a healthy deep squad of quality and take victories.

    Will the PGMOB allow this to be the case during the PL season…in doing so allowing us to keep our squad intact?? The question remains to be answered!

  • Tony
    Would you know whats happened to Joel Campbell, wether he’s been sold or loaned out?

  • TailGunner


    Campbell is still an Arsenal player, but negotiations are taking place with Palermo ( according to TeamTalk) who think that we are overvaluing him.
    Do you have Google?

  • WalterBroeckx

    FC Brugge or just ‘Club’ as it known in football ‘ci(e)rcles’ (inside Belgian joke) is happy with the big name but I have the feeling they are a without a real chance of winning over two matches.
    They have started rather inconsistent, certainly resultwise, in the league.
    I didn’t see a lot of them playing to be honest as I usually fall asleep when watching Belgian football. Some young talents, some older players like Simons who at 38 (I think) is still doing a good job for them and who will be vital for them in these matches I think to have someone around who can keep a cool head.

    Not the most talented team but a team that is working hard and they could bring a surprise of course. Don’t forget they went unbeaten the whole Europa League campaign till the semi finals so they got some European experience. In fact last year had more experience than MU. 😉

    My father in law was a supporter of them when he was still alive so certainly wouldn’t mind them putting MU in the Europa League by surprising them..
    A good manager in Michel Preud’homme but also someone who loses his head on the touchline on far too many occassions. One could say the Belgium version of Jurgen Klopp…

  • WalterBroeckx

    The inside joke about Club and ‘ci(e)rcles’. There are two teams in Brugge, FC Brugge and Cercle Brugge. They play in the same stadium for the moment (Club will build a new one someday). Club has a massive support all over Flanders (like Anderlecht and Standard, the traditional top 3 clubs in Belgium) and Cercle is the little brother who has a small but hardcore local bunch of fans.
    So using the name of ‘cercle’ (cirkels) in a sentence about Club is a bit funny or will anger supporters from both sides. For me as an outsider it is funny to have done it.

  • JK

    @apo Armani,
    No I wouldn’t bet on the refs to keep our squad free from crunching and leg breaking tackles..

  • Rich


    Cheers. I was hoping you’d tell me I’d foolishly underestimated a rising force in world football.

    If they were about the same standard as that,erm, Standard Liege team, who I knew nothing about but who gave Everton a great game some years back, I’d give them a real chance against Utd, but I had a feeling that wouldn’t be the case. The demand for the best Belgian players is so voracious now it seems there’s barely a chance to build a team like that.

  • Menace

    Naughty boy Walter 😉 .

    A little prayer might not go amiss when it comes to injuries. I cannot see anyone greater stopping the PGMO. We’ve done it before undefeated. We will do it again despite the cheats & the oil money.

  • Tailgunner
    Thanks for the info, i do have Google, however i think it’s a shame that he did not make it into the main squad, because he could have been a valuable player for Arsenal. but no doubt we’re not privilege to what goes on behind the scenes

  • Andy Mack

    @apo Armani, There were a few bad tackles, especially on Alexis.
    However he seems to be built of titanium so he just shrugged them off. If Cahill has gone through pretty much any other players ankle like he did with Alexis them they’d have been out for a while.
    As long as to55ers like adams can get away with getting a strangle hold on a player, the refs will always be second rate at best.

  • Gord


    In the news recently (yesterday?), is that FIFA is going to investigate itself again. Also, another CONCACAF general secretary has been fired (Sanz). Sanz has not been indited, but description to date make him a person of interest to US investigations.

    Italian match-fixing pair Potito Starace and Daniele Bracciali were banned for life on Friday by the Italian Tennis Federation (FIT).

  • Menace

    The Adams stranglehold on Alexis is proof that the media & the FA are corrupt. They have got no excuse for not reacting. The FA are corrupt!!

  • Gord

    We probably will get a slightly different than usual amount of abuse from the muppets this weekend. Gary/Phil Neville’s father passed away I believe. It appears he was a cricket person.

  • Gord

    Metro thinks Arsenal are using Piers Morgan as a scout. Could someone please slip Piers Morgan underneath Neville Neville when burying him? Thank you! Oh, if you have room, Usmanov as well.

  • Florian


    Not really a problem with Piers Morgan, but Usmanov might require double additional space. Hopefully they won’t start building pyramids:)

  • ob1977

    JK Wenger coached Henry as a kid, that’s why he knew where he should play, not after seeing him at Arsenal…

  • ob1977

    Tony where did you find the Arsene quote about their media love in for Mourinho? Love it, can’t get enough of it and want to read the article / interview…

  • Gord I am hopeful we might actually have some insight on the scouting situation on Untold next season. Nothing fixed yet but…