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October 2016
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How Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City became lazy. Or did they?

As an example of the arrogance the article says that “Chelsea wasted an entire summer over in the mistaken belief that Everton would eventually cave in to their pursuit of the 21-year-old [Stones].”

Now that could be classified as arrogance, but it could also be classified as misjudgement – something that every business makes.  Chelsea have the money of course, but they know that if they give in to every ludicrously high demand because they are Chelsea, each player costs more and more and more.  It is the transfer fee plus 40% because it is Chelsea.

A similar misjudgement could well be that the Chelsea manager could actually function at the same club beyond three years.  That was Abramovich’s gamble – it backfired.  It happens.

So they point out that Tottenham signed Toby Alderweireld, “who has proved to be one of the best captures of last summer’s transfer window.”  Well, if that is true, they had to manage it sometime, after the horrible mess that they made with the Bale money.  Even on the simple law of averages no one could keep getting it that wrong all the time as much at Tottenham.

Man City are described as being arrogant over waiting for Guardiola “with no thought given to the fact the club could drop out of the Premier League’s top four.”   Maybe that is so, although I am not sure that with their squad “City wrongly assumed they could coast through this season.”

But then they say, “West Ham made the brave decision not to renew Sam Allardyce’s contract and appoint Slaven Bilic as the club’s latest manager.”   OK it might have been “brave” but what is never repeated in the press is the tiny amount of money WHU have had to pay for their stadium.  That surely isn’t “brave” but either “good luck” or “something not quite right which is likely to emerge at some time”.

And besides the WHU fans hated Allerdyce.  Taking him to the State Aid era would have meant the danger of a half empty ground.

And then of course the writer turns on Arsenal.

Gary Lineker joked that Arsenal had got the wrong man by poaching first-team video scout Ben Wrigglesworth from his beloved Leicester in February, but it would be pointless Wenger taking Walsh from the Foxes as he rarely puts his full faith in others.”

And the evidence for this?  Err.. none.   The evidence that Mr Wenger has never put faith in Grimandi who has been chief scout in France all these years?  None.  And what of the whole host of players we’ve picked up from Spain?  How does the Telegraph think that we got Cesc Fabregas if it wasn’t for the scouting network.  Or Hector Bellerin?  How did we know Santi Caz and Monreal were available on the cheap?

And what is the point of having given Danny Karbassiyoon the job of being chief scout in North and Central America, and his eventually finding Joel Campbell and Gedion Zelalem if Mr W never took any notice of anyone?  If in doubt read Mr Wenger’s Foreword to Danny’s book.  It is quite something.

Come to that, what was the point of Arsenal setting up STAT DNA in order to track players worldwide?

But no, let’s not spend time doing some serious research when there is a snide remark from the wholly biased Lineker to run instead.

And look, we are now all to behold “The success of Tottenham’s youth policy, particularly their young English talent, has also highlighted the lack of development of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers, Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott and Carl Jenkinson at Arsenal.”

This is just nonsense.  How is Jenkinson supposed to get into the team?  And has anyone from the paper actually watched the careful and continual development of Chambers?  As for the Ox, the problem is not a lack of development but a tendency to get injured.  And oh look Ramsey is not included, and yes Theo is not at 100% but who is to say he won’t be soon?

“Alex Iwobi’s breakthrough has been a boost, but Wenger is thought to barely speak to the head of Arsenal’s Academy Andries Jonker which is in stark contrast to the close working relationship Spurs head coach Mauricio Pochettino enjoys with the club’s head of coaching and development John McDermott.”

And the evidence?  Oh it is “thought.”  I might think the moon is made of Camembert but that doesn’t make it true.

So how did we get Iwobi, Bellerin, Ramsey, Coquelin, Gnabry?  And which one or two of Jon Toral, Ainsly Maitland-Niles, Wellington Silva, Chuba Akpom, Isaac Hayden, Emiliano Martinez, Gedion Zelalem, Julio Pleguezuelo, Krystian Bielik, Daniel Crowley, and Jeff Reine-Adelaide is going to be the Campbell, Bellerin, Iwobi, and Coquelin of next season?

But perhaps the biggest issue comes with the sentence, “Of the traditional top four, Arsenal are best positioned to keep their place in the Champions League qualifying places but the Gunners continue to be hamstrung by a lengthy injury list that has caused disagreements between Wenger and head of athletic performance enhancement Shad Forsythe – particularly in the case of Aaron Ramsey.”

Hey, there’s nothing like throwing in the old ones when the mindless gibberish is running a bit flat.   What that silly final statement does is skim over another problem with this “argument”.  That there is a “traditional” top four.

No, the top four changes over time.  Go back to the first talk of a breakaway league and you will find talk of the Big Five: Man U, Liverpool, Tottenham, Arsenal, Everton.  The longevity of Man U and Arsenal should surely be applauded.  Tottenham might be back in the land of the big boys, but just look where they have been in the interim.  As for Liverpool, how many years since they won the league?   Come to that its a few since they won the Euro Cup.  And Tottenham.  When did they last win the league.  Fetch me that black and white TV.

“Chelsea will count the cost of growing complacent and will be joined by at least one of their traditional rivals with Leicester and Tottenham virtually guaranteed top-four places, and West Ham hoping a third big club will be made to pay for taking their foot off the gas. Those of the so-called elite that miss out will only have themselves to blame.”   You can almost hear the sniggers.

But at least we should be fair to the Telegraph.  They have changed from the slogan of “Arsenal fans want change” to “SOME Arsenal fans want change”.  A little bit of Untold slipping in there perhaps.


Danny Karbassiyoon’s book “The Arsenal Yankee” with a foreword by Arsene Wenger has been published.  You can read his interview in the Independent here.   You can buy the book…

  • On line here for £14.95, plus delivery
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The cost of packing and delivery is UK £3.95, EU £4.95, Rest of world: £5.95, and that applies irrespective of the number of books ordered.   The book is also available on Kindle.

42 comments to How Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd and Man City became lazy. Or did they?

  • Notoverthehill

    Well told, Tony.

    Arsenal lost Pat Rice to retirement, Liam Brady likewise, but the others are still there.

    The media have slated Arsenal for retaining the same “old and decrepit” coaching staff.

    Those of us, who have had a sight of John-Arne Riise’s pay-slip, for 1st September 2006, can work out the probable summary! At least £200,000 bonus, for participating in the Champions League.

    How much have the Arsenal players been paid for playing in the same trophy?

    Opinions of the unwashed and unwanted, are not required.

    Mr Arsenal, please carry on!

  • Saadman

    To write a detailed essay about anything, you need to do some research first. And research requires time. But journalists don’t have time. All they’re worried about is meeting their deadline, and if they fail, the consequences will be grave. Plus you need to make whatever you like to be interesting. Sometimes an article written with a lot of information on it becomes too boring for the casual reader. Hence sensationalism has to adopted. At the end of the day, like em or hate em, you have to feel sorry for these poor souls. They have hungry mouths to feed, and they have to accept this lifestyle of corporate slavery to keep those hungry mouths fed

  • Andy Mack

    If Chavski were over confident than maybe they wouldn’t have spent nearly £70m in the summer. $iteh spent 150m whilst DisUnited spent 100m. Even the Spurts spent £50m and Leicester spent £35m whilst WHU spent 40m.

    We didn’t spend much but that looks like a sensible idea when you look at the amounts the 2 teams that finished head of us last season spent and their positions/points this season.

  • Andy Mack

    We shouldn’t call them ‘Journalists’ or ‘Reporters’.
    They are ‘Hacks’, nothing more, nothing less.

  • Andy Mack

    I should have made it clear that the clubs were confident of their new squads after such major investment, rather than the actual players being over-confident (which they were and gave them some poor results at the very start of the season).

  • Ben

    Would there be an article in future about the supposed leaked payslips etc that is doing the rounds on the net? Latest is Barca paid less than it was reported for Suarez.

  • Gord

    Get writing Ben. That is a sure way to see there is an article.

  • Al

    OT but not sure if anyone is also getting the same results, but when I search for Untold Arsenal Google results show the Twitter feed first, then some sports spyder listing, followed by UA’s Facebook page, then an archive article on UA laughing at the media hacks from 2014…. I thought this was a little weird, why the sudden overhaul from Google? I never used to see this sports spyder listing before…

  • Al

    In fact none of the results point to the UA website directly, just old articles from the archives…

  • Luscious Lisa

    Should we be surprised? Newspapers are not particularly interested in truth or accuracy. They are interested in attracting readers, satisfying advertisers, and serving proprietors. The first priority breeds sensationalism, the second compliance, and the third vested narrative. Sports reporters have to give copy which satisfies editors and attracts readers, neither of whom are particularly interested in the evidence behind the copy. It’s tomorrow’s fish and chip wrapping. That’s why we get what we get, and why I don’t buy newspapers.

  • Jerry


    Excellent article Tony! Unfortunately many of the journalists do not put in the time or effort into the research needed.


    I’ve been getting the same problem with Google search for Untold Arsenal over the last couple days with sports spyder link popping up first.

  • Gord


    I think a major determining factor at Google always has been this idea of relevance. They change the definition from time to time. But at one point, it was measured by how many URLs pointed back at a page.

    Few people point to the front page of Untold. It is more likely they will point to some article at Untold. Whereas I think the twit and face things, really only have a “front door” to point at, there is no addressable content past that point.

    No idea on the spyder.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I look forward to the day those ostriches either grow a pair …, or half a brain .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Pass the bullets –

    A woman pregnant with triplets was walking down the street when a masked robber ran out of a bank and shot her three times in the stomach. Luckily the babies were alright. The surgeon decided to leave the bullets in because it was too risky to operate. She gave birth to two healthy daughters and a healthy son.

    All was fine for 16 years, and then one daughter walked into the room in tears. ‘What’s wrong?’ asked the mother. ‘I was taking a tinkle and this bullet came out,’ replied the daughter.

    The mother told her it was okay and explained what happened 16 years ago.
    About a week later the second daughter walked into the room in tears. ‘Mom, I was taking a tinkle and this bullet came out.’

    Again the mother told her not to worry and explained what happened 16 years ago.

    A week later her son walked into the room in tears. ‘It’s okay’ said the Mom, ‘I know what happened. You were taking a tinkle and a bullet came out.’

    ‘No,’ said the son, ‘I was playing with myself and accidentally shot the dog.’

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Gutted –

    A husband was addicted to smoking and drinking.

    One day, his wife got so angry that she told him: “If you keep on smoking, all of your intestines will fall out.”

    Her husband didn’t believe her, so he kept on smoking and drinking just like he always did.

    His wife was determined to prove herself right, so one day she went out early in the morning and bought some big intestines. She stuffed them in her husband’s underwear as he slept.

    A short while later, he woke up, let out a huge scream, and then fell silent for the next 30 minutes.

    After another 30 minutes of silence, he comes downstairs, sweating profusely.

    “What happened?” asked the wife.

    “You were right. My intestines did come out, but don’t worry honey – after a lot of work, I finally managed to push them back in.”

  • nicky

    I wouldn’t say Arsenal have become lazy, BUT…
    with a healthy bank balance, income and successful business dealings, coupled with the playing staff receiving ever increasing salaries and an assured pension on retirement……it must be quite difficult for all concerned to fend off advanced complacency.

  • Mandy Dodd

    they are saying Wenger and Shad dont work together??….an interesting article on what seems an excellent sports injury dept at the club below:

    The fact is, we are in the midst of a Spurs / Leicester….and to a lesser extent, West Ham media love in, which seems to have spread to the AAA forums, and the PGMOL.
    Complacent….Utd and City have spent a fortune in the last year…ok with mixed results….the media seem to want it both ways.
    As for Linekers remark on us poaching LCFC scouts, we have taken on a guy described as a video scout, but multiple reports….if indeed such things are to be believed suggest we are after Steve Walsh as well.
    We also have an excellent scouting network Europe and indeed world wide. We may have missed…or for whatever reason, not taken Kante, Payet….but they give the club no credit for Bellerin or Iwobi.

  • Porter

    Complacency is possibly too strong at word. Having reached a level albeit a fairly high one smacks of being content. Once those at the top settle it is hard to push any further than necessary as you go down the line.

  • It depends on the club’s overall long-term ambition as to whether our scouts are doing a good job. Do Arsenal currently have a staple identity that would attract the world’s best players?
    Arsenal have made some very mediocre, under-whelming signings under Wenger, none of whom have taken us to anywhere near where a club of our status should be.
    We do not look like a club geared-up and determined to succeed at the highest level. We chose Theo Walcott over Gareth Bale when we could have had both, which sort of sums up the lack of intelligence needed at the elite level.
    Arsenal don’t have the intelligence or ruthlessness to make the difference, which is why we are generally either bullied or laughed at by the rest of the football world.
    We continue with the same system which has already been proved doesn’t work, whole-heartedly cling to it as though change would see us burn in hell, and then scratch our heads when it fails all over again. Only Arsenal fans would tolerate the mess our club is in.
    That’s why it has become a joyless, sanitised experience. Club’s are rewarded so generously for failure by the likes of Sky, the meaning of success has become skewed. When a fourth-place PL finish became more valuable than winning the FA Cup, although no-one wanted to say it publicly, you knew football had lost its soul. Arsenal have been as complicit as every other club in distancing themselves from their fan-base. Arsene Wenger’s decision making has the club’s supporters at each other’s throats, yet he sits in a luxury untarnished bubble, blissfully unaware of the angst he causes most of them.
    And for all our historical pomp and class, wealth and stature, we are a million miles from the elite at the top of the game.

  • Mandy Dodd

    “generally either bullied or laughed at by the rest of the football world”….apart from the fact that most clubs would very much like to be in Arsenals position…including certain media darlings in this country.
    “Arsenal have made some very mediocre, under-whelming signings under Wenger” – and Spurs, Liverpool, Utd , Chelsea havent made mediocre signings?
    A good job wenger doesnt listen to critics, or he would have made mediocre signings like Samba, M Villa, Capoue, Joey Barton, Loric Cana….and our manager would have replaced himself with Owen Coyle

    Funny – recently the media had a go at us for not spending enough, now they have a go for us at missing out on relatively cheap players. they always want it both ways

  • Goonermikey

    @ saadman

    The idea that these hacks don’t have enough time to research is a little hard to believe. They will write one article a day not unlike Tony and Walter. It is the their full time “professional” job completely unlike Tony and Walter. Is it really that difficult to come up with a few facts when it’s actually your full-time job?!!!

  • Oh dear, Mandy. Subscribing to my point about fans pointing at each other and fighting among themselves because of one individuals flawed vision.
    You don’t need to compare Arsenal with those other clubs, but since you have, you’ll have noticed they do things quite differently to Arsenal.
    Let’s start with neighbours, Tottenham. Do you realise how much bigger a club Arsenal are, and the huge difference in our respective wage-bills? The very fact that they’re anywhere near Arsenal in the league – let alone above us – is quite frankly embarrassing.
    I’m glad you mentioned Liverpool, United and Chelsea – all three have knocked us out of CL. Yes they’ve had their share of mediocre signings, but at least they speculate to accumulate. And guess what all three of those clubs have done in the last eleven years? They’ve all won the CL.
    United have 20 titles, three European Cups, Liverpool 18 titles, five European Cups. Us? 13 and zero. So whose philosophy would you say works best?
    Is an ‘Owen Coyle’ as far as your ambition allows you to wander? As an Arsenal fan, that’s a fairly damning indictment of where Arsenal are at. Personally, I’d have gone for Ancelotti.

  • Al

    Thanks, dont know much about these things. Really weird that, why change it from Google’s POV? This spyder link never used to pop up, not sure if it’s the cause; might have changed some SEO settings? As it is anyone trying to find UA will be directed to an old article in the archive first, then manoeuvre from there to today’s or current articles. Unless they type the full Untold URL in the browser….not many users I know do that, not even for critical applications such as their bank! 🙂

    I’m pretty sure this change, regardless of how minor it may seem, is affecting traffic numbers to UA. Spyder trying to hijack direct traffic destined to UA so that all traffic to UA comes via them, earning referral mileage perhaps? And no, this isn’t another conspiracy theory 🙂 Might be worth checking…

  • Mandy Dodd

    Herbs army, when I started watching football, both Spurs and Liverpool regularly spent more, and bought far better players than us. Yet, now do consistently better than both, would add other so called bigger clubs than us into that mix in recent years as well.
    Owen Coyle- you know well who was calling for his appointment….the so called experts in the WOB, inspired by a single blogger….who hates Arsenal and Wenger.
    Chelsea, Liverpool, Utd…Speculate to accumulate….some would call the recent activity of at least two of them wasting money, pure and simple when you look at exactly what they have accumulated and achieved in the last two or three years.
    People in general should not spend all their precious time wanting what others have, or in some cases, have had a decade ago, envy can drive the strong,the hungry , those with a vision and in some control of their destiny to great things, but the same envy can lead to misery in lesser, weaker characters….a misery that seems to permeate the very existence of some of Arsenals fan base. But if the cry babies want to live out their lives getting increasingly upset at those who pay no attention to their needs…or tantrums, fine by me. Or they can always go and support Spurs or Leicester, one off success, or the prospect of it can be very appealing to the fickle.

  • Gunner6


    Sod’s law means Spuds will one day end above us. But you seem to forget the number of years they have been finished behind us.

    As for Liv, Manure and Chelski, speculate to accumulate? Manure’s glory years were build on the young players they developed. Chelski have not enjoyed the same level of success since the Sheikh arrived at Man City. Liv, so one CL makes their Premiership years a success? Sounds like you are using CL as a yard stick to gauge whether a team is successful. Man City is thus a failure.

    You then go on about titles won previously. All titles won over the centuries are over different circumstances. I can also counter by saying since the inception of the Premiership, Liverpool have not win it.

  • Al

    Looks like order has been restored, UA appearing at the top now 🙂 Maybe it was just a glitch..

  • Mandy and Gunner6

    Bottom line is that Arsenal don’t do anything exciting anymore, the majority of the fan-base are bored with the same self-induced scenario’s playing out season after season, bored of hearing how much they have or haven’t got in cash reserves, they are just desperate for change.
    We want an Arsenal that wears its heart on its sleeve, goes into every game giving 100% for the shirt and the fans, and genuinely compete for major honours, which include the PL and CL.
    The last time Arsenal finished top two was in 2005. The last time they progressed beyond the CL Round of 16 was seven years ago.
    It would be easy to jump to the conclusion that Arsenal are more interested in money than success on the field, especially with Stan Kroenke’s recent comments and Arsenal’s annual performances.
    A lot of us are looking for Arsenal’s true identity under Kroenke, and either can’t see one, or are disgusted at what they are seeing. Either Arsenal keep pace with the elite, or they cease to be relevant as a football club.

  • GoingGoingGooner

    Relative to other leagues, the Premier League seems to be growing tv revenues and foreign investment quicker. This is raising the ability of all clubs to purchase skilled players. And since only 11 are allowed on the pitch, I would suggest that this would increase the possibility of, if not parity, certainly a degree of volatility on any given Saturday. And, it would increase the possibility of a season long run such as seen at Leicester.

  • Temitope

    It Look like you are part of the fans that want short time success.
    You can even build house on sand because it is easy and does not involve too much work.
    Are you sure you are an Arsenal fan?am sorry if it seems offensive but the point you are giving make’s me want to know.

  • WalterBroeckx

    And that for someone who has a picture and uses the name of the manager that put Arsenal finally on the cards in English football. A manager that would have been hounded out by him before he would bring succes to Arsenal….

  • Gunner6

    I guess Ozil and Sanchez are no longer exciting because they play for us.
    Also, for failing to see we have to be self sustaining to be carefree with our spending just beggars belief.
    So tell us what constitute excitement for you and how will you reach it?
    Also, tell us why you think the players are not committed enough. Evidence based please.

  • goonersince72

    Before Wenger it was ‘boring, boring Arsenal’. There has always been criticism of Arsenal in the press. Arsenal are the big team in the big city and to a degree the criticism comes with the territory.
    I became an Arsenal supporter as an adult, in 1972. I was in London on business and a colleague, a Londoner and Arsenal supporter, took me to Highbury for Arsenal v WHU. I didn’t even know what a derby was! That was it for me. Arsenal were getting blistered in the papers then (April/May ’72) because they were (I’m fairly sure)3rd in the table and wouldn’t win the league. They had just done the double (another term I quickly learned)the season before! Then there were some dark years. More criticism. Then George Graham – let’s not forget he led them to season with only one loss! Not good enough for the ‘media’. So, I ask the question: who cares what the media say and further, who cares what people who can be influenced by the media think? I support a great club that gives me an enormous amount of pleasure. Of course I want them to win the League. Certainly there are more teams, and their supporters, that would trade places with Arsenal than wouldn’t. And remember, there is no accountability in the press. So enjoy the club and bring more supportive banners!

  • jamiestunner

    On a different note, Neville just got fired from Valencia. The Big mouthed muppet. Highlight of his managerial career was getting beat 7-0 by Barca, after insulting Granada (or some other team) for losing 6-0 when he was still a pundit.

  • On and on we go, Arsenal fans crossing swords desperate to prove their theory right in a game of oneupmanship.
    I hope we’re all polite enough not to trade petty childish insults over differences of opinion.
    So, in order of the discontent shown.
    Temitope – Do we compete in sport to make the numbers up, or to aspire to be the best? Why is wanting success for Arsenal so short-term? This particular project has been in transition since the club moved to The Emirates in 2006. If you’re suggesting that Arsenal have achieved their maximum potential and intelligently utilised their vast resources during the last ten years, I have to respectfully disagree.
    Arsene Wenger completely ditched the tactical blue-print that had harvested so much success at Highbury. The fast-paced counter-attacking football that Wenger implemented to near-perfection and had us all on the edge of our seats, was gone. We went from having world-class Centre-halves like Keown, Campbell, and Kolo Toure to players like Senderos, whose career was practically ruined by Drogba, and the seriously under-whelming William Gallas. I’m not sure Gallas ever looked like he wanted to be at Arsenal.
    It’s one thing having a technically gifted midfield maestro straight out of La Masia, but it is unfair to then heap so much responsibility on that maestro and expect them to carry the rest of the side. Prior to The Emirates, Arsenal had a robust solid and technically gifted midfield pivot of Vieira and Petit/Gilberto, since the move it has been a conscious policy to recruit physically smaller players, in search of a Barcelona-esque style that we are still waiting to see materialise. The club haven’t bought a decent winger since Robert Pires left ten years ago.
    No other manager watches their side take a humiliating thrashing more than our own at Arsenal, and walks away completely free of accountability.
    Having basked in the glory of his tactical genius at Highbury, why would he not go back to the basic fundamentals of that success rather than persevere with something that still doesn’t function properly ten years on?
    WalterBroeckx – You didn’t want to address me personally, but thought you’d have a pot-shot anyway. It’s easy to play safe and say all the right things to seek the approval of the masses, far more difficult to be subjective and offer oneself up as a willing carcass for the waiting vultures by having independent opinions.
    You have no idea what parameters I use to measure what constitutes success or failure, and please don’t talk about me as if I know nothing of Chapman’s significance to Arsenal.
    Chapman made Arsenal the biggest and most idolised football club in the world. It’s a shame the
    Hill-Woods, Bracewell-Smith’s, and now Stan Kroenke don’t share that same hunger and desire to return Arsenal back to where Herbert Chapman put them. What’s more, Chapman is a far better football tactician than Arsene Wenger. Chapman’s WM formation revolutionised football, and his astute transfer dealings revolutionised Arsenal. Chapman was very similar to Ferguson, taking time to build his team and bring success, but once the first trophy was won, they just kept on coming, long after he’d tragically died of pneumonia (which he got watching Arsenal Reserves).
    Arsene Wenger’s main successes are gone, his teams couldn’t sustain it, or dominate in the same way Chapman’s side did.
    So you see, Walter, I’m very aware of our Eddie Hapgood’s, David Jack’s, Alex James’, Cliff Bastin’s and Ted Drake’s. And that George Allison picked up the baton and continued with Chapman’s blue-print right up until the outbreak of WWII.
    For the size and stature that Arsenal represent both in English and World football, they have seriously under-achieved. In the mid 1970’s, they were ahead of both United and Liverpool in the trophy count. But those two clubs share the same ambition, a drive and desire for football success that hasn’t been at Arsenal since the 1930’s.
    Feel free to address me directly in future.
    Gunner6 – Can we steer clear of the financial argument please? I accept financial prudence was required and that a marquee signing was completely out of the question. But just for clarification, between 2006 and the summer of 2011, Arsene Wenger spent £180m, which equates to an average of £30m each summer. If spent wisely, I’d argue that £30m a summer is more than enough to equip yourself with a squad good enough to win the PL and the CL, added to the core of what you already have. But because we have a manager who will at every opportunity force square-pegs into round holes (Giovanni van Bronkhorst and Nicklas Bendtner being classic examples), and who will show far too much patience and loyalty to under-performing players, and those on the peripherals making no contribution, the balance and chemistry of the players has been all wrong.
    Four years of Manuel Almunia, replaced by a young goalkeeper, Wojciech Szczesny, who also turned out to be not quite good enough. Finally after nine years the goalkeeping problem has been addressed. We still concede soft goals and often look calamitous at the back. This has also been a long-standing issue that hasn’t properly been dealt with adequately enough since moving stadium. £30m over two summers, spent properly, should have been enough to build one of the meanest defences in Europe.
    Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez exciting?
    Alexis Sanchez has been woefully out of form most of this season, but that is for a number of reasons, chief amongst them, Arsenal’s over-reliance on him and playing him whilst he was in the red-zone. But there is no doubting his ability, his tremendous work-rate and desire to win, or his tireless enthusiasm. When he’s on his game and buzzing, he is a must-have player for any side.
    Mesut Ozil is a luxury player, bought as a peace offering after the failed Suarez bid. Not what Arsenal needed at the time. Would Arsenal be any lower in the PL table without him? Not sure.
    He’s a sublime footballer capable of producing special moments, and a first pick for Joachim Lowe’s Germany. We have seen it in glimpses at Arsenal, but either the tactical formation or the quality of the rest of the squad are not on his wave-length, because far too often it doesn’t work. I’m not convinced that he’s happy at Arsenal because he doesn’t feel the club can match his ambitions.
    With regard to players being committed to the cause, Mesut Ozil last week said the players haven’t always been focused this season in their chase for the PL title. Does that sound like 100% commitment to you? It sounds to me like some of our players have major concentration issues which at the level Arsenal are at is the difference between winning and losing.
    If you get all the little details right everything else naturally falls into place, which is why Leicester are top of the PL. They know who they are and what they’re about. How refreshing it would be if us Arsenal fans could say the same.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    There are times when I feel slightly disconsolate when I’m left out by the opinions of the so called majority of fans in all things relating to the Arsenal .
    I have never ever been approached by those pollsters for my valued opinion .
    You know..
    If I am happy/unhappy with the owners , the board , the manager, the players , the style of play , transfers , the present direction of the club etc..

    Or if I agree with the opinions of those smart ostriches down at the pub , so called experts , idiotic commentators and disgruntled ex-players who most often have terrible thing to say about the club .

    And I have never ever received a properly verified and systematically tabulated final data results . Why is that ? Don’t you think that if I were to get all these damning findings , I too would march hand in hand with you ?
    Don’t you want me to ?

    I too want ,… nay , demand to be part of that great and august body of the majority ! I too want to say things like , ” Everyone knows..” , ” We are of the united opinion …” , ” The the experts say…” etc .

    Sometimes I think that I’m not included and not wanted because I tend to use my god given brain ! I just cannot help my self ! I was born this way . Please don’t hold it against me .

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Then again , I may end up like Leroy ….

    A filthy rich Florida man decided that he wanted to throw a party and invited all of his buddies and neighbors.

    He also invited Leroy, the only redneck in the neighborhood. He held the party around the pool in the backyard of his mansion.

    Leroy was having a good time drinking, dancing, eating shrimp, oysters and BBQ and flirting with all the women.

    At the height of the party, the host said, ‘I have a 10-foot man-eating gator in my pool and I’ll give a million dollars to anyone who has the nerve to jump in.

    The words were barely out of his mouth when there was a loud splash. Everyone turned around and saw Leroy in the pool!

    Leroy was fighting the gator and kicking its rear! Leroy was jabbing it in the eyes with his thumbs, throwing punches, head butts and choke holds, biting the gator on the tail and flipping it through the air like some kind of judo instructor.

    The water was churning and splashing everywhere. Both Leroy and the gator were screaming and raising heck.

    Finally, Leroy strangled the gator and let it float to the top like a dime store goldfish.

    Leroy then slowly climbed out of the pool. Everybody was just staring at him in disbelief.

    Finally, the host says, ‘Well, Leroy, I reckon I owe you a million dollars.’

    ‘No, that’s okay. I don’t want It,’ said Leroy.

    The rich man said, ‘Man, I have to give you something – you won the bet. How about half a million bucks then?

    No thanks, I don’t want it,’ answered Leroy.

    The host said, ‘Come on, I insist on giving you something. That was amazing. How about a new Porsche and a Rolex and some stock options?’ Again Leroy said no.

    Confused, the rich man asked, ‘Well, Leroy, then what do you want?’

    Leroy said, ‘I want the name of the summamabich that pushed me in the pool!’

  • Gunner6


    This is not one-up-man-ship. More like two or more trying to justify their position. That is life. You have your views, I have mine.

    Seriously, how can you put aside the financial issue and look at acquiring players in isolation? World class players demand world class fees which means that in addition to TV money, you should expect higher ticket prices. That alone shows all things are interlinked.

    I take your point about world class players like Toure and Vieira. But what were they before they become world class players. An unpolished gem that was polished by AW to be world class. He is and has been doing this yet all I see fans like you criticising him for doing the very thing he did when he arrived. Is it because he has elevated Arsenal to such a high level that you want instant success?

    Thing is players like Bendtner and Sanderos were young players coming through. Everyone said Drogba destroyed Sanderos. Too simplistic. He was there at the time when he did not have players like Vieira and Petit. Easy in hindsight to say AW should have rectified it. But who and would he be an instant success? Let’s not forget Sanderos’s contribution to the team’s run in to the CL final.

    Bendtner was a curious case. He has potential but not right in the head. He was a risk worth taking. I may sound crazy but he was scoring rather well for Denmark as our reserve striker. So who is to say AW was wrong at the time? Again hindsight. I bet if he left and became successful elsewhere you would have found a new reason to beat AW with.

    As for Ozil and Sanchez not exciting, who would your excitement be? Pogba – the player Manure did not want? Suarez – whom Liverpool did not want to sell to us and can you imagine the media if he bit someone let alone dive for a penalty as an Arsenal player?

    Thing is, most of the people who support AW knows he is not infallible. He made mistakes. Who doesn’t. Your argument we fall flat at the same time every season falls flat when you see that Arsenal usually have a very good run in. It is always the start or middle of the season that derails the team. Are we then considered weak as the media so like to portray the team?

    Ask yourself this, should Arsenal turn it around and win the EPL, what would your thoughts be? Weakest EPL and Arsenal should have walked it? What were your thoughts at the start of the season?

    My expectation is EPL then CL. But I know I have no right to demand it.


  • John

    Herb..Great post.

  • timo

    which next EPL club from the top is about to do an Ac Milan? clubs develop in cycles, if the foundation is weak then be sure to drop consistently once taken out of the comfortability of your position. ask Madrid what their next three Galacticos will be and the answers are too mixed up. I got no idea how Bayern were built but they seem to have guaranteed top achievement year in year out. why can’t Arsenal be like them one day? are we ever in transition to do it? My new yardstick

  • ob1977

    Herb why use the yard stick “top 2”, what does 2nd get you that 3rd doesn’t? Just said for attempted effect…

  • “Arsenal usually have a very good run in.”
    Incredible how they seem to play like gladiatorial lions when the pressure’s off, isn’t it?
    When the pressure is on and Arsenal are in a good position to strike and go for the title, the whole world conspires against them and Arsenal fold like a cheap deck-chair. As soon as the league title is mathematically impossible, Arsenal suddenly transform into the best side in the world, playing the best football the naked eye has ever witnessed.
    Speaks volumes about Arsenal’s character under Arsene Wenger.
    In the heat of battle, Wenger is weak and cowardly, and we have seen this trait manifest through his teams during most of his Arsenal tenure. This is why every second-leg in Europe has looked like heroic failure, because the damage from the first-leg always offers Wenger the perfect excuse for continued failings.

  • Ob1977

    Nothing really, but second is closer than third and would indicate some sort of progress and an upward trajectory.