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October 2016
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Now, who will we blame this time and the answer to the simplistic questions

By Walter Broeckx

As usual when Arsenal don’t win the moaners come out. And start the blame game. ”Wenger should have bought….” and “tell me there was no other better striker available to replace Giroud” and the line “every player has their price”.

All simple statements of course. For people who live in the simple world of playstation or whatever the latest computer game is played upon for the moment. I don’t know them as I don’t spend my money on those things.

But let us for the sake of the argument consider these arguments for a moment. And let us check if they could have made a difference. So let us have a look at the strikers that moved to the PL last summer and see how they did. I will include strikers that moved from one club to another in the PL itself in this. And I used the figures used on transfermarkt about the transfer money who display their prices in Euro.

Olivier Giroud (you know the shit striker) played in 26 matches scored 12 goals and had 4 assists in the PL alone. Total of 16.

Manchester City bought Sterling for £62.5m. Sterling played in 24 matches and scored 5 goals and had 2 assists in the PL. Total of 7.

Chelsea bought Pedro for £27m. Pedro played in 20 matches and scored 4 goals and had 3 assists.

Liverpool bought Benteke for £46.50m. Benteke played 22 matches in the PL and scored 6 goals and had 2 assists.  Total of 8.

Liverpool also bought Firmino but he is not a Giroud type of striker but to be complete I included him. Firmino played 23 PL matches and scored 6 goals and had 7 assists. Total of 13.

Manchester United bought Martial for £50m. Martial played 21 matches so far and scored 7 goals and had 4 assists. A total of 11.

Payet was bought by West Ham for £15m and he played in 19 matches and scored 7 goals and had 5 assists. I know he is not a real striker but I tried to consider as many players as possible.

When we put this in a more readable table it looks like this

Player Fee Matches Goals Assists Total Goal involvement
Giroud 26 12 4 16
Sterling £62.5m 24 5 2 7
Pedro £27m 20 4 3 7
Benteke £46.5m 22 6 2 8
Firmino £41m 23 6 7 13
Martial £50m 21 7 4 11
Payet £15m 19 7 5 12


Now there might be others but as they don’t really attracted even the attention of the more serious media I will no longer continue this list.

The fact is that none of these strikers that were transferred in the PL have done better than Giroud this season.

Now you could say: what about Vardy and Kane. And yes Kane played in 26 matches this season and scored 16 goals and had 1 assist. So a total  of 17 goals involved. See that is better than Giroud. But  is there anyone out there who really believes for a split second that Tottenham would have sold him to Arsenal? And from which price would they start to consider? From £100m? And should we spend that much on him? Apart from the fact that they would rather sell him to any other team even for less, would we and should we really spend more on him than on the combined fee of Özil and Alexis?

Or Vardy? His stats are pretty good. 26 matches and scored 19 goals and had 5 assists. So a total goal involvement of 24 goals. The best number in the PL. Now let us be serious. Just imagine the outrage if Arsenal would have bought Vardy last summer. If we would have bought him last summer we would have bought a striker who in 34 matches last season scored 5 goals and had 10 assists. In total he was involved in 15 goals for Leicester last season. Not disastrous of course but still…

Now tell me honestly at which point did you told the world that we should dump Giroud and buy Vardy? If anyone can prove to me that he did this before the start of the current season I will buy him a drink next time I come to the Emirates. Because nobody even considered Vardy. At 29 he is having a wonder year. Fine for him but nobody even considered him before this season.

Or Mahrez even though he is officially a midfielder. Last season he played 30 PL matches and scored 4 goals and had 3 assists. Should Wenger have bought this ‘unknown Frenchman’? Cue the outrage of Wenger buying another unknown and unproven French player.

Are there better strikers than Giroud out there in the world? Yes there are. But for some reason they weren’t up for sale or were out of our financial possibilities. We talk about the players like Messi, Ronaldo, Suarez, Neymar. None of them was transferred last summer so not for sale. Not even for £200 I think.      The money in our bank account but that is not the money available for transfers as any wise person would know. But that is just a small detail for a person who wants to moan.

Could Lewandowski be the real deal? He might be. But is Lewandowski interested in Arsenal? And are Bayern willing to sell him last summer? He stayed at Bayern so it seems he was even out of reach for the real rich teams let alone for Arsenal.

So in short to answer the simple question: “tell me there was no other better striker available to replace Giroud?”, the answer to me looks : NO.

But probably on their computer and playstation there you could even buy Messi so Wenger is to blame of course…

The Untold Books

The latest Untold book is Arsenal: The Long Sleep 1953-1970 with a Foreword by Bob Wilson, available both as a paperback and as a Kindle book from Amazon.   Details of this and our previous and forthcoming titles can be found at Arsenal Books on this site.

More anniversaries

  • 24 February 1964: William Garbutt – the man who took football to Italy, died.  He played for Woolwich Arsenal before managing Genoa, Roma, Napoli and Milan and is still celebrated as the founder of Italian football.
  • 24 February 1968 Jim Furnell’s last game, against Manchester Utd.  Arsenal lost 0-2, one of nine consecutive games without a victory during which Arsenal scored just five goals.   After playing he went into coaching at Plymouth and later Blackburn

Insult of the day (for the media).  A viperous work that gnaws the bowels.  (Henry VI Part 1)


56 comments to Now, who will we blame this time and the answer to the simplistic questions

  • Wolfgang

    Barcelona scored when many gunners were in the Spanish half. So when the ball broke loose,Neymar broke away and Messi scored.If you watched the cl games involving Man U and Chelsea,this scenario was repeated.

  • Wolfgang

    Wenger ,no doubt about it.When Arsenal were beseizing the Barca goal,that was when Messi scored a quick breakaway.
    Honestly speaking,he has been given so many years to win and has failed.When breakaway, they are unable to score not in this game but in many games.
    Matteo faced barca in the final and did his homework and won the cl.Just imagine a cl winner being axed while a non winner continues in his job.I am not a moaner. I am one of the millions of gunners fans who have seen the Arsenal premium stagnate.Since Wenger is unable to win the cl,why not entrust the job to someone .Its a gamble but it could pay off.

  • Tom

    Arsenal didn’t lose the game because of our strike force. Sure they are going through a slump , which is rather worrisome , but rather we lost it because of our defensive indiscipline and lack of talent in central midfield.

    The reason players like Flamini are still given game time isn’t because there aren’t better options out there , but rather because he’s on £65K per week and impossible to move on without paying a big portion of his wages.

    Tony has gone through a trouble of telling anyone who would listen, that buying a player is so difficult that in reality it is a miracle any transfers ever get done.

    Apparently , Arsene Wenger has admitted that he has been a long admirer of Leicester’s Ngolo Kante, monitoring him for two years or so.

    So how do we lose this sort of player to a fucking Leicester City , who were manager less in a crucial time of the summer TW when Kante was looking for a move.?

    Kante was on €15K per week at Caen and his transfer fee was £5M, hardly out of our reach.

    The only answer that’s logical enough is that we didn’t make a move for him, because it would’ve ‘ killed’ another Arsenal squad player. The word ‘ kill’ a players btw is the most used word in Wenger’s vocabulary when describing transfers.

    So we got Elneny in January ,who clearly isn’t good enough to start against anyone better than a Championship opponent , and is a long term option for when Flaminis contract is up, which is at the end of the season.

    There is no other CL team left in the competition I could see Flamini secure a place on other than Arsenal.

    His out of control tackles are a clear sign of a player out of his depth and struggling.

    You can write about Barca’s problems, referee’s favoritism , child trafficking and tax evasion, but our own problems is what’s holding us back.

    You can’t have weak links in your squad when facing top opposition, you simply get found out.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I did read yesterday on this site those questions and again Giroud was mentioned. so thought it would be good to answer that question(s).

    Kante…. surely you could imagine the massive outcry if Wenger would have bought him? Now they outcry is : why didn’t he buy him.. hindsight as usual of course. We must be honest at least and admit that if Wenger would have bought Kante the noisy part of our fan base would have been up in arms. Kante probably would have been booed in his first matches if he had misplaced a few passes and might have lost his confidence and was written off and added to the list of failures.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Wolfgang you are raising the bar.
    I can imagine you being one slating off Wenger 5 years ago because he didn’t win. But you would get angry if people call you a glory hunter and then you would argue and use the words: I just want us to compete.
    You would then say: I just want us to win, even if it is only the league cup.
    Since we won the FA cup you probably don’t regard this as a trophy anymore.
    And in order to get your back covered you already find the PL no longer a trophy. You know, just in case we would win it this year….

    Now the only stick to measure Wenger is the CL.

    I might be wrong on you in person about this, but I have seen so many of them coming on here over the years who fall under what I just described.

  • WalterBroeckx

    ** Won the FA cup twice**

  • Tom


    Criticizing Wenger for Mahrez is silly, I mean, how in the world is he suppose to know about every player in the world, but Kante is tearing up the league so when you monitor someone like that for two seasons and refuse to make a move, one of two things is at play.
    You either think he’s not good enough, in which case your judgment is off, or what’s more plausible , is the scenario I have put forth.

    I’m sorry but your entire reply to my post is conjecture.

    There was no massive outcry when Wenger got Elneny. Why would there have been one if we had got Kante?
    Makes no sense.

  • norman14

    I don’t think we need a big name striker at all – we need someone who can stick the ball in the net when it comes to him. Ox and Theo seem to have lost the knack to do that and Alexis is short on confidence.

    We don’t need to go silly, rather look at gems in the lower leagues – rough maybe (like Vardy) bout worth a couple of million to take a chance.

    There’s young Wells at Huddersfield; the lad on loan from Toon at Coventry, Windass’s boy at Accrington, even somebody like Amond at Grimsby. In common – rough – but they know where the goal .is.

    Any of them could be the next Vardy – and save MILLIONS

  • porter

    Alexis has a trick ,9 times out of ten he drops his shoulder moves onto his right foot and comes inside to make space for a shot. Good full backs get fooled once and then think it out. No matter what we think of players , all in the premierleague are good players . He needs a new trick to make them think again.

  • Andy Mack

    There are 6 Bugatti type 41s (Royale) in existence and it’s unlikely you could buy one wit £100m in your pocket.

    How many top strikers are there in the world. Guys that would be prepared to leave their existing teams and where their teams would be prepared to actually sell them…. Guys that would be prepared to play in a league which includes freezing evenings in Newcastle and Stoke, with Refs that aren’t interested when you have the opposition CB trying to maim you, and over 30 tough league games every season in addition to the TinPot Cup, FA Cup and CL?
    I’m not in the business of football but even I can see that there can’t be many, if ‘any at the moment..
    However there are lots of expensive young players with potential for the future and there’s loads of expensive young highly over-rated played whose agents mention them in the same sentence as Arsenals in an effort to get their player more money.
    The AFC staff will take an educated risk/calculated risk on a player (which they can still lose), but for us fans/spectators our real knowledge of the players would men we’re purely taking a gamble on them (which would probably usually lose).
    HFB/TW/DW clearly aren’t the best strikers who are regular ‘game-changers’, but they’re the best available to us and on their day they’re all game changers, but not s regularly…
    It would help if Alexis was on form at the moment though… Actually it would help if any of our goal scorers were on form at the moment…

  • Polo

    For years the WOBs say AW is clueless and don’t have ambition and that we never in contention to win PL, this season we are in contention and the WOBs still moan. If Arsenal Board listen to the WOBs and spend big on players who might or might not improve the team we probably end up like Leeds United or Chelsea before Roman. But then most of these fans weren’t around then to know.

    They keep saying buy ‘World Class’ striker but who is available? Look at ManU with all the wealth and club success they had and they couldn’t get a ‘World Class’ striker, look at ManC they couldn’t find a ‘World Class’ striker and end up buying Wilfred Bony.

    The WOBs need to realize that most of the best players in the world want to play either in Spain, Germany, or Italy not in England.

    I read a news article on Lewandolski and they asked him about moving to the BPL and his response was he want to play in Spain or Italy if he had to move from Bayern Munich. Then there’s Higuain a lot of clubs was chasing his signature including Arsenal but he decided to stay in Napoli because of the manager. Remember that Monaco defensive midfield player that the media say Arsenal should get, well he wanted to play in Italy when many BPL clubs wanted him. It’s not as easy as throwing the cash and they will come. There are other factors involved like culture, family commitment, climate, how the league plays eg. tactical or physical etc.

    If money was the answer then all the best players in the world would be playing in the BPL. Didn’t Suarez left Liverpool because he wanted to play for Barcelona or Real Madrid?

  • Polo

    @ Andy Mack well said, we don’t need more strikers, we need our current crop to find their shooting confidence again. All can score once they get their forms back.
    Just a theory but might be silly, but are the players putting more emphasis on our strikers to help defend this season therefore affecting their shooting skills? What ever it is I just hope we find a solution soon.

  • serge

    I’m not laying the blame for yesterday’s result. We were beaten by the best team around at the moment, and you’re quite correct; there are not any better strikers available right now; the key word being “available”.
    I said on one of the other articles earlier today that Olivier is no more than an average Premier League striker (your stats prove this) nearing the end of his career. I expected him to develop into a better player than he has, but that’s not to say that he’s been a failure. He’s been Ok. Alright. Mr Average.
    I don’t know how the season will progress for us now, but we’ve not been scoring many goals since before Xmas (when we had the best goal difference of the top four) and we may look for other options. Perhaps Welbeck & Campbell could be our Anelka & Wrey.
    I’m saying may, might, could but not trying to play manager. I would always lose the game.

  • Menace

    I presume most of you know how much I love PGMO & the FA that chose & protect them. So I’ll concentrate on the players that you think are super & would enhance Arsenal.

    Mahrez – yes he is good & would easily fit in the squad. Question is at whose expense.

    Vardy – yes he scores & is fast but would not last 5 minutes with Arsenal because he is a cheat. Wengers Arsenal do not cheat. No diving, no immorality, no racism.

    Messi – yes but he would be in jail for tax evasion. Ignorance is not an acceptable reason for tax evasion.

    What happened yesterday? Barcelona played within the protection afforded them by a known official. They punished Arsenal with pace & precision passing when a pass was deflected & most of the Arsenal players were focused on attack.

    They got fortunate when a header was short & fell within reach of Messi who went down for a penalty when his leg was kicked.

    When one considers how much training Barcelona get playing against perhaps 2 opposition teams & several training events through the Spanish season as opposed to Arsenals 30 match season playing up hill against a tide of whistleblowing selectively blind officials, is it any wonder that skill & fitness shows.

    The embarassment is for the FA & English football when one of the top English Premier League teams is defeated by foreign opposition.

  • Strus

    Giroud’ finishing this season is superb, but Ramsey, Sanchez, Walcott, Chamberlain are disastrous till this point of the season. This is strange, becasue first 3 proved to be good finishers before. This is the most important part of the case: Why Arsenal is not a runaway leader?

    Walcott scored only 2 since he came back from injury, but luckily it was against MC and Leicester. If he could score only against best teams- it would be hilarious. Imagine Walcott scores winning goals at Old Trafford, WHL and at Etihad but nowhere else.

  • nicky

    @norman 14,
    Your idea of trawling the lower reaches of UK football in order to discover raw striking talent for moulding into stardom, does, at first sight, make sense.
    But then I am reminded that Arsenal’s scouting division is said to be among the best in the world.
    Surely a global search for would-be stars is a never-ending exercise and is almost certainly going on at this very moment.

  • Arvind

    Honestly, I thought we played very very well yesterday. I didn’t think anyone had a poor game as such. Sure the finishing is off right now, but that apart there was nothing there to suggest we’re falling apart.

    I thought Ramsey had one of his better performances yesterday for example, where he was much more disciplined. Monreal was quite outstanding, he’s been player of the year easily. 2 big saves by Cech that kept us in the tie, just.justtt.. but we’re still in with a sliver of a chance at least. Per and Kos were very good till that pass by Per for the penalty. Although really, I wish Kos would stop playing 60 yard diagonals after striding into midfield. He’s been doing it for a while now and most are inaccurate.

    Welbeck was very very positive as was Sanchez, the Ox really had to score there .. central from 10 yards with that kind of finish.. 🙁

    There’s also no need to swipe at Flamini, the sub seemed strange but Coq isn’t back to full fitness maybe and AW is trying to take him off in every game till he is fully back. Fairly clear penalty I thought, but these things happen. Wonder why ElNeny didn’t play though – I guess its a signing for next season – like Gabriel last year.

    We need Theo, Rambo and Welbeck to start scoring more .. and soonish. Else we’re in a bit of trouble.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I am more than over annoyed yesternight after the Gunners unceremoniously caved-in in their team disciplined defending and collapsed 0-2 to that NM combined assault, having successfully held on and kept to team defending discipline for 70 minutes of the game.

    The Gunners were so unfair to themselves, the Boss an us the Arsenal fans World wide. Just what’s the problem with the Gunners in the Ucl round of 16 1st leg match at the Ems for the past 3 seasons as they were been beaten at each 3 encounters.

    I’ve said my own today morning at The Boss has to and MUST give his squad an ULTIMATUM to beat Barca at Camp Nou with a round of 8 qualifying beaten that will knockout Barcelona and thus redeem themselves and us from this shame they’ve subjected themselves, the Boss and us to.

    Or else, not only will the Boss offload, Arteta, Rosicky & Flamini from the playing squad next summer as widely anticipated. But even the injury proners, the 1 or 2 games performance players, the mostly lackluster ones in the squad, the not quality BPL & Ucl winning ones in the squad, the big game failures, the inconsistent one, the past it but eating 140k/week of Arsenal’s money with occasional 1 or 2 goals in 2 months players and the has to seems to have the potential but can’t just make it at Arsenal will be equally offloaded alongside the 3 expected ones in the summer to revamp Arsenal with better quality players who doesn’t have to be the high profile expensive ones but shall surely win titles for Arsenal in the short and the long runs.

    Let me add, Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Rhinosacker, De Aberu, Chambers, Koscielny, Monreal, Ozil, Ramsey, Coquelin, Elneny, Alexis, Campbell and Welbeck – 15 in numbers. Are not among the senior Gunners in the Arsenal 25 man registered players with the FA that will be shown the exit door at Arsenal in next summer if Arsenal fail to knockout Barca at Camp Nou in a month’s time to qualify for the Q/F.

    I hope I’ve made myself explicitly clear on my own part. Enough is enough of this lacklusterness!!!

  • ob1977

    I am so glad you mentioned Vardy and Mahrez as was watching programme the other week and read in an article that that they were two of the players we should’ve bought.. I couldn’t even bring myself to write a similar comment to yours about the scathing attacks that would have been heading our way if we had bought them, as I was shaking with pure rage and had to put down my iPad…

  • john-L

    A further reflection on the relationship between high spending and success:-

    Man Utd have spent a lot under Van Gaal, but lost to a team of Danish Part-time players in the Thursday night Cup.

    There is no disgrace in losing narrowly to Barcelona, especially after performing so well for three-quarters of the match.

  • proudkev

    No idea how we were unable to beat that bunch of hopeless, non-leaguers yesterday. It’s perplexing.

    I noticed a WOB blog was predicting a 7-0 loss to the non-league Catalans but they seem unhappy it was 2-0. Either because they really wanted a 7-0 loss or perhaps there is another motivation.

    All very bizaree indeed.

    My own take is that the non-league team from the continent of Spain are in fact currently the European Champions League holders. They have three of the very best strikers in world football all in their front line. For days, the media and fans have been saying how incredible Barcelaona are and how they were going to give Arsenal a bit of a pasting. Mertesacker was going to be too slow to catch Neymar and Suarez, who would turn him inside out.

    Despite this gap in talent and the predictions of a good thrashing, Arsenal held Barcelona pretty confortably for most of the game and in fact created many chances. Oxlade Chamberlain missed the best of those, which really was a sitter and would have given us the lead. Mertesacker performed ably, making several important blocks and tackles. I thought the boys performed very well, with a lot of heart and character against a formidable team.

    Wenger was quite clearly angry in his post match interview, rarely do you see him attack his own players. He accused them of ignoring his tactics, I think he called them naive. While it may be players who miss sitters and players who ignore tactics, it is always the Managers that get the blame for those mistakes.

    It is a shame that so many people have an agenda and take so much delight in a disappointing result. While the rest of us are able to acknowledge the content of the game and adopt a realistic expectation there are others for who perspective plays no part. For them, every defeat is an opportunity to vent and behave poorly because they see it as justification for the way they behave. They literally run to the ipad or PC to display their fake anger, essentially contradicting everything that had been said pre-game. The game of mass hypocrisy, where Arsenal were defeated by this team of unfashionable non-leaguers, thanks to the poor tactics of the Manager.

    A sad indictment of the modern fan and the society we live in now are these hypocritical dullards.

  • Mick

    If you were to remove the penalty goals from Kane and Vardy’s stats there would not be a vast difference between them and Giroud I would guess.

  • Josif

    Walter, mate, you have a dislike for ommitting the best part of Giroud’s stats – minutes per goal in CL. 😛 🙂

    Now, joke aside, Giroud is the least of our attacking problems. He scores, he uses his aerial prowess to create chances for his team-mates and he doesn’t disappear in big games.

    The problem is a HG-rule. Theo has been at Arsenal for 10 years, he has played with Henry, RvP and Alexis, and he still doesn’t look capable to wrap his foot around the ball when he needs to. Also, I have seen him completely ignoring a team-mate in a better position too many times to have a nice word for his vision. He is 27 and reportedly on a 110.000 pounds per week wage. A striker who scores goals is not expensive at any price. A striker who doesn’t score or scores rarely is not worth of 110.000 pounds per week. Sadly, there is a HG-rule that gives him the upper hand at the negotiations.

    Ox should look up at Bellerin who is younger but already a more mature player in the final third. Ox either doesn’t work on his flaws or doesn’t make any progress in fixing them. Again, as a HG-player he is in a better position than Joel Campbell who is more mature player in every aspect of the game even if Ox is more talented.

    Speaking of players mentioned in the article, I still think Mahrez has every chance to become a Michu – a one-season wonder. I even think I have seen him peeking out of Nacho’s pocket last night. He was there in both games against us.

    Payet is a top, top, top player. He would be an improvement on every right winger we have and a huge help for Ozil in creating chances and goals. Except he is 29.

    Higuain? He has been prolific but he always fluff his lines in big matches. A WC Final, a Copa America Final, a CL decider…you name it, Pipita will choke on it. As they say: “Gonzalo Higuain is a scorer of many meaningless goals and not a single important one.”

    Lewandowski? He wasn’t an option and he doesn’t put money first. If he had done it, he would have accepted 81 million euros over 5 years from Real Madrid when he was leaving Borussia Dortmund.

    Vardy? He is a racist and a cheater who was close to get sacked by Leicester last summer. Basically, a perfect partner for Diego Costa at Chelsea.

    “So, Josif, what’s your point? Who should have we signed?”

    1.Schneiderlin – the biggest Arsene’s mistake in the last ten years. He is a perfect Arsenal player registered for some other club. Unlike that thug Wanyama, he knows to play the Arsenal way.

    Would he move Coquelin to the bench? Maybe. Then again, Ozil was brought when we had had Rosicky, Wilshere and Cazorla for a No.10 role. He had to fight for his right to play there. Schneiderlin has been one of rare United players who has actually shown some quality this season.

    2.Paulo Dybala – making things happen for Juventus in both Serie A and Champions League, young and Argentinian. Then again, I have to say I was against his signing when the rumours about him to Arsenal had occured due to his one-footed nature.

    3.Romelu Lukaku – strong, young, powerful,prolific, quick, adjusted to Premier League.

    4.Dimitri Payet – an Ozil of Ligue 1 in Olympique Marseille. With our strong connections with Ligue 1, it is a bit worrying we have missed out on both Kante and Payet. Then again, maybe Arsene doesn’t like to buy from Marseille given his personal history with that club.

  • Strus

    I’d like to add that according to Pauls Riley xg Model Arsenal should scored about 47 and conced about 27. Arsenal scored 41 and conceded 23. So the best player is simply Cech. And the offence is underachieving.
    Efficiency in XG in this model (only these with 3 or more shots)
    Walcott 72%
    Welbeck 98%
    Sanchez 92%
    Giroud 89%
    Campbell 182%
    Koscielny 108%
    Mertesacker 0/0,49
    Cazorla 0/1,86
    AOC 0/1,06
    Ozil 74%
    Ramsey 63%

  • Tai

    Well, I still believe we played great yesterday, well apart from conceding.

    My anger is Arsene vilifying his players in public and that for the first time. Why he should use naive still baffles me. We conceded about same time we scored our first against Bayern. And fact is, Bayern game was more difficult for us.

    So our boys, having held Barca for 70 minutes, decided to go for it. That’s not being naive…it’s being positive. Playing against Messi, Neymar and Suarez any team could be out-thought in a matter of seconds. Madrid was hammered 4 – 0 at their own home by this squad despite being more familiar with Barca and their players.

    Again when we were a goal down…our boys went for an equaliser. Again, playing at home that’s positive rather than being naive.

    If there was any act of naivety in that match it was sending Flamini in for whatever reason.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Barry and Mahrez… fairness, Arsenal have employed one of the scouting team from Leicester who picked up on the latter. I gather there are a few improvements going on behind the scenes on such fronts.
    As for Giroud, not the most clinical of strikers, but a strong player, with a prodigious work rate, he has a place in this team on merit. One of the big problems facing our strikers is the spreed of transition to attack, in many recent games, it has been slower, and more predictable that would be ideal. Players like ozil and Alexis can get isolated if this transition is too slow, they and OG end up feeding off scraps, neither are especially good at that. We need a player to speed up the transition to attack, a ball player. Ox is still learning, and we have two who are rather good at it, Cazorla and Jack. Our players , especially the forwards miss these players, they make us a different team, and bring others alive.
    As for yesterday’s game, just have to move on. That was never going to define our season, we have other fish to fry
    In the future, we need to try to take steps to avoid both Bayern and Barca in the relatively early stages or first knockout, because at the moment, they are better than us. Better to face them when we have a bit more momentum and confidence, unfortunately, the draw is not usually that kind.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Sorry, meant Vardy and Mahrez…..Barry, heaven forbid!

  • Mandy Dodd

    Tai, wengers public anger at the players is a rare event, I am sure it is targeted, calculated and for a very good reason…..disobeying instructions would be a good starting point…..

  • John

    It is brilliant how you shift blame for our failings on everything from
    1.Oil money when chelsea and city were winning the league,
    2.Buying the league when Utd were winning the league
    3.Referees cheating when Leicester are top of the league.
    Also i have read all the excuses under the sun on this site from we have no money,no players out there can improve us,no players want to play in england,injuries,pundits talking shit,conspiracy theorys etc.
    In over 10 years we have failed to finish in the top 2 in the premiership.Players have come and gone,there are different referees,we have had different chairmen and owners but one thing has been constant for all this time. We have failed time and time again and make the same mistakes time and time again.One person runs the club from top to bottom and while he is still here we will have the same end result in the big competitions this year then next year and the year after that.Sure you will come up with new things to blame it on and we might win the odd cup but until the one constant goes we will not be winning the premier league and certainly not the champions league..

  • Tai

    Mandy…Wenger shouldn’t suddenly change his style.

    One of the reasons I respect him above every other manager is protecting his players publicly. He shouldn’t step out of character. We’re no fools…we knew he got his tactics spot on last night, well, apart from sending Flamini in. We know the players’ momentary lack of concentration cost us the match. He should do his blames games where he usually does them – in the dressing room.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Do t think he did it lightly, Tai, that looked like controlled fury. Perhaps it has been building for some time, who knows?
    Because it is so rare, it will have hopefully have huge effect, a good motivation tool. Hopefully, although they didn’t play especially badly for much of the game, they did make collective and serious mistakes…..and will hopefully be desperate to put things right, for themselves, and in their managers eyes.
    Wenger is by all accounts a loyal father figure to his players, critics say too loyal, some say he forsakes potential transfer targets to give his players a chance….but he can also be ruthless, ask Debuchy. They don’t want to be going against instructions…..or being, what he described as…average technically ….too many times. Think that was a serious shot across the bows ….aimed at provoking a reaction.
    Right, now back to the main target of this season, they have a title to win.

  • Ken

    Firstly…. I want you all to know this… The Arsenal we knew would not consider themselves as underdogs in our own home…….
    Mediocrity has Enveloped every soul at Arsenal…. Don’t we the fans deserve to watch a dominant arsenal scoring goals and striking fear?!!
    Iniesta made a statement that made me weep for our dear club…… Before the match he said ” I think they are a very dangerous opponent”……
    If they were to face Mancity would they think? If they were to face Chelsea of last season or juventus or Bbayern…. Would they think?!!!!!
    We’re in decline…. Stop supporting Wenger…. Patience is a great value but wrong application makes it foolishness……
    How long before we lose the good players we have again?!!!
    70% of our former players left us in search of what they knew we couldn’t achieve in a while…..
    Henry, fabregas, RVP, song, nasri, etc….
    They have all gotten the honours they craved for… A players dream is to play and win trophies… Not to be a legend in an “almost” club….
    We’re always the club with unavoidable injuries…. Why?
    Change the training format or the medical room or change the kind of players we get….
    Our level has dimished so much, the likes of Arteta, Flamini, Per are still around….
    Diaby gets injured just by thinking about it… Yet it took us ages to let him go…
    Stagnancy is the beginning of backwardness…….
    Wenger has to step down… We need new ideas…. If Wenger can give new ideas we’ll support him… But as we all know “new” is the word he hates most… We’re done with Stagnancy….
    Wenger Out…

  • mojola

    Some of our players need to significantly improve,if not in the summer,once quality players become available( gruizman,reus,aubumeyang,draxlier and the likes) Walcott and chamberlain and anyone below par will be moved on,scezzny comes to mind

  • Jerry

    Good write up comparing Giroud to other forwards purchased this summer. Giroud will find his scoring boots again and we’ll be back on track soon. The club should not be counted out of the CL just yet. Barcelona is a great side, but will have to play their back up CB (probably Vermalean if healthy) with Pique out due to his yellow card.

    I’ll expect goal opportunities to be there in the return leg with a hardly used back up CB.

    In regards to points 1 and 2, so are you trying to say that City, Chelsea, and United significantly outspending all other clubs (including us due to stadium building expenses) provides no competitive advantage to those clubs?

    In regards to point 3, how do you explain Leicester getting significantly more penalties (8) than the rest of league (for example Arsenal with only 1 this year.) Tottenham has received 5 penalty kicks, and even United which is supposedly boring and does not attack even has 3 PKs! Yet Arsenal who has more shots per game, possession %, and pass success rate can’t get any PKs!

  • WalterBroeckx

    so winning the FA cup twice in a row counts for nothing these days… I really think you are as I described it today. Shifting the goalposts with every trophy we win.

  • Mandy Dodd

    If the FA Cup doesn’t count as a trophy to Wengers critics, how come they got so upset…..and went into such meltdown when we lost the lesser ranked League Cup…..or whatever sponsor it is currently named after?

  • Pat

    Arsene Wenger has used the word naive before. It’s not the worst thing to say about a team. Once again he refused to pick on individual players, and defended the ones the press tried to get him to attack.

    I think he was just frustrated that we played so well and even might have beaten them and yet were undone by exactly the thing we were determined to guard against.

  • thierryhenry22

    We definitely need to do some extra shooting practise. People like Bergkamp were extra hard trainers at shooting and passing, I hope our forwards are doing the same.

    Also, it’s best ignore those who say winning the FA Cup is irrevelant. They are the same ones who when we win the Prem, will say it’s ‘overdue’ or ‘other teams were shit’. And when we win the CL oneday they’ll say ‘it took him 25 years to do it’. They’re fake fans who generally are not happy people in their own lives so i’m not mad at them. Just wish they’d keep some perspective.

  • Andy Mack

    serge, HFB is better than average. His ‘numbers’ show that but he isn’t the absolute top level but those guys aren’t available and haven’t been whilst we’ve had sufficient money to consider them. I genuinely think AW wanted Suarez but the problem was that he wanted (and felt we needed) Ozil more, and without being 100% on the Ozil price he couldn’t risk paying more than the 40m of Suarez buy-out clause (plus salary etc). If Suarez had forced the deal with Liverpoo (but he didn’t as he wanted his loyalty ‘payoff’) then we’d have had the same problem they did a year later when Barca came a knocking…
    Yes Tony/Walter, I’m sure many are ‘vapour transfers’ but not in the Suarez case…

  • Andy Mack

    mojola, as you know these players will be available (I assume you know this as ‘fact’) you really must make sure that the club knows this!

  • Polo

    @ Walter, correct about goal post changing, during the 9 years we didn’t win any trophies the WOBs argument was we didn’t win any trophies. When we finally won two they say FA Cup is useless and PL is what we should win, now we are in contention to win PL this season and if we do, they’re argument (happening already) is that it’s a weak season and if we won the title it’s because we’re are lucky and the UCL is more important. These WOBs should go support a club that fit what they’re after.

  • Polo

    @Andy I believe Suarez said he only made up his mind about moving after talking to Gerrard, who told him that he should stay at Liverpool for one more season and then move to Barca, he took that advice because his objective was to play for Barca or Real Madrid. I don’t think he would sign with Arsenal even if we paid £50-£60 million. When Barca called in my opinion he did what he did at the World Cup to force Liverpool to sell.

  • Polo

    @ John can you list all those ‘World Class’ players that Arsenal should have signed, then list which clubs and country they are currently playing at?

  • mojola

    @andy,maybe the word “if” would have been more appropriate.all I am trying to say is the manager believes in these players,they just need to repay that faith.wenger as shown in the last 3 windows,by the addition of cech,sanchez and ozil.that he will sign quality players no matter whose position in the team will be much as many fans and the manager himself loved podolski and scezzny they had to make room for sanchez and cech.i wouldn’t want any player still capable of contributing more playing years to the team suffer such fate.they just need to prove those pundits,media and aaa wrong if for nobody but for wenger who has shown so. Much faith in them

  • Tai


    Well, I don’t defend Wenger whenever, in my opinion, I feel he’s wrong. That makes my supporting him most of the time by my conviction genuine.

    Last two nights, he stepped out of character with the naivety stuff. I never liked that and nothing will convince me otherwise.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Tom, this title from the media “Arsenal fans vent their spleen at sub-par Olivier Giroud on night of Barcelona heartbreak” and some comments made me write this article. So yes, some were blaming Giroud for our loss…

  • Ken I don’t normally publish too many comments like yours, but occasionally I do just to give an example of what I don’t publish.

    A little way in you say, “We’re in decline”, and “new is the word he hates most” etc. OK that’s your view. I think we are growing, and can cite a whole range of changes that are being made. I can give a lot of evidence as to why and how. If you want to be published again, please give some evidence.

    All this is in the article about commenting for the first time, and usually it is polite to read such a statement first.

  • Sammy The Snake

    No shame in losing to the best team in the world. Get over it.

    The biggest concern is ManU this weekend. I, for one, am hoping we’ve reserved our scoring touch for the PL run-in. Don’t be surprised if the tide turns and all those balls start hitting the back of the net. Fingers crossed!

  • Josif

    Five areas Arsenal have improved since the summer of Suarez-cum-Ozil:

    1.we have won four trophies – more than any other English club in the respective period (Chelsea and City each have won two, United just one) = when we can spend, we can win trophies;

    2.we have had a Golden Glove winner (Szczesny) who hasn’t been allowed to ride on his success and has been replaced by first Ospina and then Cech = Arsene has shown that he is ready to sign a player who is an improvement on outstanding performers (Ospina was top performer in the second half of the last season);

    3.Alexis Sanchez was brilliant both at World Cup and Copa America so Arsene decided to splash serious money on him – unlike Suarez, Alexis has a character as well = Arsene wanted to add a world-class forward which explains his unsuccessful pursuit for Suarez; he righted the wrong by signing Alexis;

    4.we have the best pair of full-backs in the league with two inspiring stories – one of the youngster who cemented his experienced and expensive rival to the bench and eventually forced him out of the club and the other one about the experienced international who forced his way back to the starting line-up at the expense of the physically impressive HG-player = everyone can prove their worth regardless of age and/or price-tag;

    5.we have been doing well in big matches as Arsene has accepted that sometimes you have to cede possession in order to win the game = more mature, smarter, effective.

  • rich


    The Arsenal you know from when would not be underdogs at home against Barca or their equivalent? 2005? 2000? 96? 91? 85? 70’s? 80’s?

    When exactly were we the best side in the world?

    Very early in my Arsenal supporting days, I watched as a youngster when we took on Benfica, must have been about 91; good games which I believe I enjoyed a lot despite us losing. Some of Benfica’s play was beautiful and I was blown away by their quality. Anyway, they were not the Barca of their day but they were better than us. (As a footnote one of their strikers whose technique seemed like something from another planet to me ended up at Coventry a few years later and did very little there)

    Point is, that was us, reigning champions, and I don’t think we could have dominated AC Milan and struck fear into them.

    So ,again, when was this time we were the best of the best?

    Truth is, football has changed enormously in the past twenty years and Wenger has been in charge for…the past twenty years.

    Older fans than me will have a better sense of how the team compared to Europe’s very finest during the 80’s, 70’s, 60’s but the scale of change in football means it is difficult to compare those eras directly with the modern one.

    So, in truth, when comparing our relative strength against the giants of the game in a way that is relevant to the current realities in football…we can only do so over the last twenty years, weighting each year closer to the present a little higher than the one before it.

    Do that honestly and accurately and you are left pitting Wenger year against Wenger year; do that while making a halfway decent fist of accepting the changing realities in football throughout those years and, well, the cacophony of wails should peter out to a whisper, an uncertain whisper.

    For instance, in 2004 we had a strong claim to be the best side in Europe, not by any overwhelming margin, but a good claim nonetheless…had we maintained that strength, relatively, against the rest of the elite for the next decade and done no better than we have done…it would have been failure, bad , bad failure. I would have had to reluctantly conceded Wenger had lost his powers had that happened.

    But…nothing of the sort happened. That team of 2004 still had enough left to reach a final two years later. but it was not to be. All the while football was changing at a tremendous pace, almost exclusively because of money and in a way that was very detrimental to our chances of ultimate success in Europe.

    You may reject that version of history, but it seems you do so with nothing more than emotion.

    Tell us when we were the world’s best, and maybe tell us why we as fans deserve success more than any other set of fans do while you’re at it.

    What some of our fans deserve is probably to spend some time in an alternate world where Wenger took over Tottenham Hotspur in 1996, or walked away to a club with much greater financial resources when his stock was highest and things were more difficult for us. If only.

    If only there were a reality simulator where every daft wail from a cretin like Piers Morgan- Moyes, Coyle, Fellaini, Redknapp, Neville- could be explored in all its glory or gory lack of it before his dumbfounded, tearful eyes.

    But, no, one reality. This one. Where you have to put in the work to see things as they are and weigh up how alternate histories would likely pan out. Or, in the case of managers, try figure out how the future is going to pan out.

  • Menace

    Ken, mojola I agree with you lets go to another site & discuss Arsenal the way they accept. Untold Arsenal know fuck all. They think the Pgmo are bent when the only problem is that Wenger cannot manage a football team like we can.

    Please God these idiots are like flies.

  • Polo

    What is Ken on about? Iniesta say Arsenal is a very dangerous opponent, the ‘I think’ is another way in saying ‘ in my opinion’, he didn’t need to say ‘very dangerous’ if he don’t mean it, he could have said Arsenal is a good team or Arsenal will be a difficult opponent. You should stop thinking negative and can realize what he’s is saying objectively.

    Mediocrity is not a team who has never been below 4th in 20 years, qualify for UCL every year and reach pass the group stage most of that time. Now, if you go back through Arsenals history before AW you would see our league table position yo-yo each season mostly in mid-table.

    ‘Dominant and striking fear’ are you still living in the 30’s? Tell me which team in the PL is ‘dominant and strike fear’ nowadays?

  • Andy Mack

    mojola, yes I agree and I’m sure AW will be looking for some more ‘top quality’ if it’s available.

  • Andy Mack

    Polo, I’m sure we were serious about Suarez but as you say, he wasn’t serious about us. Or rather he was serious about money and us but only until the big 2 in Spain were potentially involved.

  • John

    I dare you to go on another arsenal website and post what you post here..

  • Menace

    John – send untold £50 & I will write on a blog of your choice, singing the praises of Arsene Wenger & castigating the FA & PGMO. Money where mouth is – dare is not good enough.