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October 2016
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It’s that déjà vu thing all over again; why Kos was not rushed back.

By Tony Attwood

For the predictors of doom, always circling on the first day of the season, it was a godsend.  Not that I particularly mean the result, but the fact that increasingly people do judge everything by the last couple of hours.  And of course by the fact that increasingly even when faced with contrary evidence some people will cling on to cherished past beliefs.

Losing to Liverpool at home on the opening day of the season, without our centre forward (but that wouldn’t matter anyway because apparently he isn’t any good), without our lead central defender and without Master Mesut in the middle, was widely predicted.   What wasn’t predicted was that this utterly, totally, useless attack (remembering that “only” two players got into double figures last season) scored three.

Of course I’m sad we lost, I’m always sad when we lose, but I don’t go home and kick the cat or beat up the wife nor indeed do I get too depressed.  Indeed on this occasion, by the time I got home, very, very, late I was more depressed by the state of the UK’s roads than anything else.  Imagine the situation: we’ve lost on the opening day of the season, I pick up my car at Blacksheep’s house and head towards the M1 only to find that there is a one hour queue between junctions 12 and 13, and junction 13 to 14 is shut.   True my resultant journey which involved leaving the motorway before the trouble started and meandering around Dunstable and Woburn was a pleasant deviation through the English green and pleasant, but even so…

As I drove I contemplated last season’s opening defeat, and the one two years before that to Villa and started to think about the pattern – which on checking this morning looks like this:

2015/16: Lost 0-2 to State Aid Utd

  • Opening Results Sequence  L W D W W L W W W W
  • By Match day 10 we were top.

2014/15: Beat Crystal Palace 2-1

  • Opening Results Sequence W D D D W D L D W W
  • Never higher than second, by matchday 10 we were 4th.

2013/14: Lost 1-3 to Aston Villa

  • Opening Results Sequence  L W W W W W D W W W
  • By matchday 4 we were top.

2012/13: Arsenal 0 Sunderland 0

  • Opening Results Sequence  D D W W D L W L W L
  • By matchday four we were third, our highest position.

2011/12: Newcastle 0 Arsenal 0

  • Opening Results Sequence  D L L W L W L W W
  • Byu matchday 10 we were 12th

2010/11: Liverpool 1 Arsenal 1

  • Sequence: D W W W D L L W W W
  • By matchday 16 we were top.

I am not sure why Arsenal have become poor starters, save perhaps because Mr Wenger insists on giving players a month off so they are never quite as ready as some of the players we play against who come back after a couple of weeks.  Now that is the sort of thing (giving the players a longer rest) the Guardian would pick up on, as a negative, (at least based on their currently approved style of writing), but if it means that the players perform better over time, then it seems like a fairly good arrangement.

But poor starts have often been the Arsenal way.  In the league winning 1997/8 season we opened with two wins and three draws in August.  The year after that it was one win and three goalless draws to get us going.  In 1999/2000 Mr Wenger started us off with two single goal victories a draw and a defeat.

Indeed, opening wins themselves can be misleading.  In George Graham’s last season we started out with a superb 3-0 win over Manchester City at Highbury, before hitting a run of four games without scoring a goal.

This sort of thing goes all the way back through the club’s history.  I am currently writing a history of Arsenal in the 1930s – should you be interested it is on the Arsenal History Society site – and am just coming to the end of the 1932/3 season.  The opening two games that season were a win and a defeat both to mid-table clubs, and of course we went on to win the league – although not without a spell in February and March of just one win in eight.  This stuff happens, vagaries are typical.

Clubs that win the league as often as not don’t just win the opening match and stay there month after month – although now it seems many people behave as if this is what should happen.

I’ve been arguing all summer that having goals coming from everywhere is a much better idea with the current style of play than having goals that primarily come from one main man, and I’ll stick with that.But clearly the loss of Mert, Gabriel and Kos for the opening game was always going to make life tough.

For next week I imagine we shall have our three missing players back.  And just from my own very much non-expert view, Callum Chambers looks to me like a very promising centre back indeed.  I remember my pal Ian and I having a debate about Koscielny during his first season of 2010/11, with Ian expressing the opinion that Koscielny was not up to the standard we needed.   He was right – in that first season Kos was not continuously on the sort of form we have seen much of the time since.  We just had to be patient for that year and let him learn his way into our style.

I guess this is rather similar to the wild rantings of Jamie Redknapp in the Daily Mail today who wrote “Why on earth did Arsene Wenger not rush Laurent Koscielny back?” and I can well imagine that such an understanding of the answer to this question is quite beyond Redknapp.  But I suspect just as we saw the absolute benefit in Koscielny by allowing him to continue after a few disappointing displays in his first season, so we will see the benefit this season by having given him that extra week after the Euros to get his body back to full fitness.

Recent Posts

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88 comments to It’s that déjà vu thing all over again; why Kos was not rushed back.

  • Sure to cause a tremendous outpouring of negativity in the press should keep you very busy in refuting . Every cloud has a silver lining

  • KR

    It’ does not matter how poor we are, or how we cannot defend, or how we know we will not challenge for the title or the champions league, or the fact that since moving to the Emirates we have done the opposite to what was promised in

    you will never knock or find fault with the manager or club. You may well be a very intelligent man but I don’t believe you really understand football. Every pundit points out our weaknesses and our results prove them right, yet you still act like your the boards mouth piece. In life it’s better to have your own beliefs than act like puppets, can you not see what’ is right there in front of you.

  • Des

    Wenger has failed onceagain in the transfer market. Leaving us I’ll equipped for the new season.

    Yesterdaysresult and abysmal defending was not a surprise unfortunately.

    Let’s try and keep therewith though. Fingers crossed Wenger and the club make the transfers we desperately need.

  • lurdmolbimo

    This is even my own point@ Tony what if the above mentioned player get injured in the cause of the season then won’t it be deja vu again I think what I fear is the fear of the known in which most of our best players get injured in the cause of the season and I think i don’t need Stats to back that up.
    Holding is a decent defender better than chambers and even Sanchez can’t play as central forward for us cos he went missing yesterday so what if olivier got injured then who next?
    Instead of something like this you can use your influence on the board to be a mouth piece of the fan not trying to tell us there is nothing wrong when it’s obvious to everyone of us.

  • Chris


    I have not read a piece about Ranieri having to go as the Champs lost their opening game.

    And the Redknap piece….rushing back….just using these words say it all.
    He should have created an oxymoron of sort by saying in the same sentence that he should not have rushed back Ramsey….

    Anyway, we’d beat Real Madrid in the CL final they’d come screaming that the only trophy that counts is the intergalactic soccer championship that will take place Stardate 345.56 on Vulcan.

    as far as I am concerned, I saw a licely game, 7 goals, a handfull of english chaps playing well and in a promising way for 2 youngsters and 3 english lads scoring each one a goal. Thinking about it now, I did not read any criticism thereof. Guess you could go back in time and have to reach pre-millenium times to see that happen. Now maybe the press will go ranting about all them foreigners in the team that should be sold to have pure english players replace them as they at least are doing their job.

    As for the transfer market, its workings are so way far beyond the basic capacity of understanding and thinking of most that it becomes laughable. We still have more than 2 weeks to go, teams are not crazy, they are using these first games to (re-assess) their players, team balance, physical condition and doing the same for all the targets they have, etc, etc, etc. Visibly such subtelties are just not understandable by most, or they do not want to because the feeling of being in a Lynch mob is so much more exhilerating then the one you get supporting your team and it’s actors.

    We should crowdsource buying back any season tickets of aaa’s….and give them to kids.

  • nicky

    As usual Tony, you bring everyone back down to earth with a post brilliant in its pragmatism.
    Some of the utterings of the so-called faithful after yesterday’s game show nothing short of sheer panic.
    Sadly,the overall reception is the same year after year. We lose the first game, doom and gloom set in and there are calls for the manager to go. His failure to obtain new signings is the sole cause of the defeat.
    Everyone should calm down, await the end of the Transfer Window and refrain from premature criticism.
    We know nothing about the Club’s transfer dealings behind the scenes and probably never will.
    However, I think it’s fair to say that Arsene Wenger and his staff are well aware of the need to strengthen the squad in certain positions and have been probably working towards that end since May. 😉

  • Steve Platt

    Tony – I appreciate that there were players missing but you fail to question why this was? There were no players missing for the other leading clubs were there? And the game just highlighted the need for a new defender and striker that has been required ALL summer.

    If you conceed 4 goals at home in your opening league match then something is very much wrong. Your credibility is going to be questioned on here if you refuse to acknowledge this. And then there is the goals issue. Yes you are right when you say it is good to have goals from more than one source. However with 20 minutes to go and 4-3 down you need a top goalscorer to get a result. We had Theo Walcott….who went missing in the 2nd half.

    Sure anyone can come up with statistics to spin the perception that things are not as bad as they seem but that is all that Arsenal do these days. Excuses, excuses, excuses. Never any real answers, never any real results.

    To defend Wenger blindly these days I am afraid shows you up as someone who is rather limited in their outlook. If you really do support Arsenal then you need to be asking more questions not keep coming up with excuses.

  • Leon

    The like button has gone crazy again. Does it operate randomly, giving thumbs up/down to whatever nonsense it fancies?

  • olajohnson

    remembe all the negativity of today when the season 2016/2017 is over and many will sing a different tune come may.

  • Rob

    Tony, just a few things:

    1. I would say AFC fans who sometimes vent criticism of the club’s dealings clearly do NOT FIND ANY SATISFACTION
    in this. It’s not a “godsend”. We want to club to be successful. (But for that to happen more concerted action needs
    to be taken with regard to transfers, given the current squad depth/quality and injuries.)

    2.”increasingly people do judge everything by the last couple of hours.”

    –I think that’s a tendentious and unfair remark. We judge by the last 10 years or so where we have witnessed the same set of problems not being properly addressed.


    Here’s what would have made me happy, it’s nothing extravagant:

    Instead of moving SO SLOWLY in the transfer market over many years, had Wenger LAST SUMMER brought in

    A) a Xhaka-type and
    B) a Lacazette-type, in conjunction with
    C) Petr Cech,

    …that to me would have shown that the manager had identified the squad’s weak spots and had moved to address them forcefully in order to have a competitive squad for the upcoming season.

    Also, it would have sent a signal to the existing squad that “we’re strengthening solidly and will be a threat this season,” which one cannot underestimate as a crucial means to boost the squad’s morale. (How do you think the Man U players have reacted when Zlatan, Mkhtaryan, Pogba, Bailly and Mourinho were brought in? They start to BELIEVE that they can really win the title, is my guess.)

    If we’d lost to Liverpool having added a CB, striker and Xhaka in July, I would have said – “well, at least the manager has made a serious effort to build a strong team, he gave it a go, BUT SOMETIMES YOU LOSE, that’s part of the game”.

    But instead he bought Cech one year (with us being defensively weak in the middle of the park). Xhaka the following year (with us remaining not strong enough up front). If we’re lucky we’ll get a striker in before 1 Sept this
    year. But most likely we’ll have to wait until next season, which makes it more difficult for us to win the league (or the CL) this year.

    And so we see roughly the same shortcomings (lack of preparation, lack of transfers, lack of squad depth in certain areas) remaining unaddressed year after year. On that basis, and in light of the considerable resources at Wenger’s disposal, frustration is not an uncalled for sentiment.

    To me and many other fans, it’s not easy to be happy (cf. your previous post about enjoying the game) about the club’s dealings against this backdrop.

    It’s as though waiting for the bus in the morning to go to the office and every day it arrives, but as soon as you get on board it breaks down, again and again. Who would be happy >about< that specific situation?


    We can still win the league and there are many games ahead. But as it stands, regrettably, we remain insufficiently equipped.

  • Spectrum

    “…..I was more depressed by the state of the UK’s roads than anything else….”.

    Spoken like a true Arsenal fan, who is really REALLY concerned about the direction ( or LACK of direction ) our club is heading in. I won’t add any more, as I’m sure to get banned if I do. Probably will anyway, because we all know this site tolerates no dissent whatsoever from the established script of “Everything’s fine, nothing to worry about”.

  • Chris

    @ Rob,

    yeah you are right. Wenger, the AFC board, and our US majority shareholder are just a bunch of incompetent idiots our there to make us fans unhappy, frustrated and hopefully not renewing our season tickets and not watching games anymore.

    And yes, transfers are made just by clicking your mouse, the player is teleported on board USS Enterprise, then beamed into Colney grounds.
    And brainwash makes sure the team plays perfectly well together.

    Considering the gazillions MU have put on the table, I do not understand why you are not making fun of them not being able to land Pogba in 10 minutes and having had to spend endless weeks until the deal was closed. I just remember all the hoopla about Schweinsteiger and Martial at MU last year. Had these 2 been bought by Mr Wenger with the same result, how would you have reacted ? Nice try, 200 million pounds (salaries included) thrown out of the window, not even a 4th place finish, but we as fans are happy for trying and not succeeding ?!?! Gimme a break.

    And finally, you just are totally ignoring the 25 man rule and 8 british player rule that exist.

    That said I am frustrated as well by that oipening day defeat. Yet there are 37 more games in the PL to play, so everybody cool down and support your team.

  • Ajay

    “If we’d lost to Liverpool having added a CB, striker and Xhaka in July, I would have said – “well, at least the manager has made a serious effort to build a strong team, he gave it a go, BUT SOMETIMES YOU LOSE, that’s part of the game”.”

    I would be exasperated if after all the signings the team had lost. Millions spend for a loss and your ok with that. What kind of mentality is that Rob. If we sign players and they play I certainly expect them to add the spark that many claim are missing. Mind you the score was 4-1 and we put on a fight to come close. That too with a team you and many other sceptical fans consider to be weak in many areas. The season just started, relax and hold on to your knickers. Some of our obvious first choice players are on the brink of returning to first team duties which will give more depth. If any players are added fantastic else lets rally for the team at hand than most of your fantasy league players. And it’s a embarrassment to all supporters when anti arsenal chants are heard at the home stadium.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    It isn’t that we the Arsenal supporters got panicked or we’re afraid when we lost 3-4 at home to Liverpool. But we are skeptical Arsenal winning the title this season may just start to suffer allover again. If we had beaten Liverpool by 3 goals margin, we would have gone a top of the table.

    After making the wrong starts pairing at the Arsenal defensive base, Did the Boss make the alround right substitutions to save Arsenal form the embarrassment of losing our first match of the new season?

    The Boss must had seen something during the Gunners training that informed him the pairing of Coquelin and Elneny at the Gunners midfield base will be better at protecting our defense-line against Liverpool than to pair Coquelin and Xhaka for the task. Thus he left his £34m Xhaka on the bench in preference to the £7m Elneny. But the contrary to Coquelin & Elneny at base proved to be better as Coquelin and Xhaka partnerships at the base protected our defense- line better and stopped Liverpool from raining in more goals into Cech’s goal. So that sub of Xhaka for Elneny was a correct one. In fact Xhaka should have started the match.

    The Boss built up striker Akpom during the preseason games. And he responded positively by scoring 4 goals in 5 friendly games for Arsenal. Giroud was not available yesterdayto lead our line against Liverpool and Sanchez was not finding it easy leading our line against Liverpool as he operates better form the left side in the front mid 3. Instead of the Boss to have brought on Wilshere who is not a striker but an attacking midfielder who can also operate from the front mid right but seldoms score. Since we were looking to score more goals against Liverpool, one would have expected the Boss to bring on Akpom and move Sanchez to the left and Walcott be moved to the right. Had this been done, wouldn’t we had equalised and possibly went on to win the match?


  • Spectrum you really ought to try and read the rules about commenting on the site. If nothing else, it would be polite, and show you in a slightly better light.

  • Rob


    “I have not read a piece about Ranieri having to go as the Champs lost their opening game”

    Well, the difference is that Ranieri:

    1) won the league last year,
    2) has managed to preserve (most of) his squad,
    3) has made 5 rather significant signings, including Musa, Mendy and Kapustka, and thus
    has STRENGTHENED A TITLE-WINNING SQUAD (finishing 10 points above Arsenal),
    4) has not had a recurring set of problems for 12 years with his squad.


  • Steve, what exactly is the point of coming onto a blog that I publish to tell me I am of limited outlook?

  • Lurdmolbimo – I have no influence on the board.

  • bjtgooner

    If we have a history of starting badly then every effort should be made (or should have been made) to ensure that this year that we we did not blow the first match yet again.

    I agree that it was right not to rush Kos back but, with Mert injured in our first pre-season game the alarm bells should have been ringing.

    Equally with Welbeck out with a long term injury we need an alternate target man to Giroud, Giroud cannot play every match. There is no point expecting Sanchez to retain possession from goalkicks when marked by two (even two poor ones) central defenders.

    The Dippers were there for the taking yesterday, unfortunately our dysfunctional team was not good enough. A very very disappointing start to the sason – a lot needs to change very quickly.

    Do we want to be gifting matches to the Odious One, City Oilers, Spuds, West Ham pornographers, Chelski, etc – I certainly don’t want to see that happen, but it will if we persist with “make do fixes” instead of quality reinforcements.

    I think Holding may eventually become a top CB, Chambers I am not so sure of – hope I am wrong.

  • What happened to my comment Tony? The true Arsenal fan

  • JohnW

    For me I was unhappy not because we lost, but because the loss was avoidable. Arsene didn’t have to buy, in fact we had the resources in the team. I think we lacked a leader in the second half, that’s why I think Carzolla and Xhaka should have started it. Anyway, back here in Uganda, watching on TV, it was clear that Ramsey was not the same by end of the first half, and that we lacked guidance as the game wore on. But I fancy ourselves to beat the champion pretenders this week.How I wish we could shut the ManU weaver birds some time in the season. They have already given themselves the title, imagine!

  • para

    Klopp is one of those that causes AW’s team problems. He prepares to exploit the weaknesses of his opposition.

    Arsenal did not play badly, only the three-four silly mistakes that they made were not good in any way, it reflected the dropping of our attention during the match and allowed Liverpool to get in the game. Our well formed lines and pressing did not allow them in the game at first, but when they started pressing, we stopped and dropped back. We should have continued pressing and it would have broken up their attempts much more.

    Could have ended differently, but pool’s forwards were on fire and their worked moves all came off brilliantly.

    Alexis i think this season has to follow orders and release the ball earlier, and take the rest without complaining(the team is more important) when AW leaves him out, and perhaps AW will leave him out at times, as a little rotation we surely need.

    All in all, looks like a deja-vu situation many are saying, and it does look that way too.

    One thing is clear, this season has to end with Arsenal winning PL. There is no other out, CL excepted.

    “There will be trouble ahead” (to quote a famous ditty) in the ranks if the same as last years.

    We have to understand those who are upset at their perception of repeating the same over and over again and of course they finaly changed their reaction from pos to neg because it seems that the same thing is happening repeatedly.

    Still there are minor improvements in the team and so when the “stars” re-appear and take up positions, Arsenal should be better off.

    I want more fight from Arsenal, to the last minute of the game, up the urgency, especially in helping out a young defence.

    Pool had the same problems in defence, and we should have capatilised on that much more, especially at home.

    “especially at home”
    This is where it hurts me most yesterday’s loss.

  • ARSENAL 13


    So much for being a true fan. Can’t take a defeat on the chin!!! Don’t have balls big enough to fight back. Want change the moment something goes wrong!!!?….. Hope this attitude of yours is limited to football.

  • JohnW

    You say Leicester has strengthened while at the same time kept most of his players. Well and good, but do you know what would have transpired had it been Arsenal to lose to Hull, whether they had strengthened or not? Ok, Leicester has strengthened, but whom would you give it this time finishing in the top two, Us or Leicester? A loss is never good, but Liverpool will beat people this season, so we will catch up. So just don’t hang yourself, for we will recover very soon.

  • Rob

    @Chris (again)

    That’s an uncalled for way of arguing. When you imply I think the board and Wenger are “idiots,” you shut down
    the critical debate, which we are all interested in having on this site. What I’m doing is highlight certain shortcomings that have prevailed for many years, trying to make a case for the need to address them – wondering why a big club of Arsenal’s standing apparently have not managed to do so (yet).

    No one is saying that transfers are made “by clicking your mouse”. We all acknowledge that it’s complicated stuff. Yet other major clubs do manage to address their weak spots. Again you use same type of overblown, tendentious argument to shut down the conversation. I think it’s fair to say that all the other top clubs are better prepared going into the new season compared with Arsenal.

    Nor is anyone saying that we should put “gazillions … on the table.” Again this type of tendentious line of reasoning does not get us anywhere. No one is calling for £100m Pogba signings. Mustafa for £25m and Lacazette for £40m would make for an excellent squad. (Add Mahrez to that and I would truly laud Wenger.)

    And yes, of course other clubs have seriously bought overpriced flops. But Wenger has bought many flops, too. Again, you’re using an unfair way of arguing. You cannot use overpriced flops as a caution for Arsenal not to buy players.

    “Yet there are 37 more games in the PL to play” – if you read my text, this is exactly what I said.

  • Vala

    This is a joke right?­ If you are saying th­at there were fans wh­o wanted Arsenal to l­ose then to me they a­re not fans. However,­ the fury is directed­ at the total lack of­ preparation that we ­have seen in the past­ few seasons. You can­not hide or cover it ­up in anyway. Wenger ­is directly at fault ­for this total lethar­gy that is surroundin­g the club. You are f­an of statistics aren­’t you? Well explain ­why we have won just once on­ the opening day of t­he Premier League sea­son in the last seven­ years? One win on th­e opening day in seve­n years. It’s not a f­luke, it’s not the ex­ception, it’s the nor­m. And the reason is ­our preparation is si­mply not good enough.­ Yes, we had the Euro­pean Championships to­ contend with, but th­at’s not an excuse. W­hen you have top inte­rnational players thi­s is part of the deal­, you build a squad t­o cope.


    It is a bit unlucky t­o lose Mertesacker fo­r five months and Gab­riel for two months b­efore the season begi­ns. There is nothing ­unlucky about going t­hree weeks from the f­irst injury without m­aking a move in the t­ransfer market to off­set that, and when yo­u lose another centra­l defender without ha­ving replaced the fir­st one, your bad luck­ becomes rank careles­sness. The consequenc­e of that was seen on­ the pitch yesterday ­and there can be no e­xcusing it whatsoever­. When your house is ­on fire you don’t wai­t to see if it goes o­ut by itself, you cal­l 999 straight away. ­Our gaff is smoulderi­ng right now and we’v­e stood watching.


    There are too many un­answered questions an­d believe me Wenger i­s totally undoing all­ the hard work he has­ done. The opening da­y of the season, ever­yone knows you need a­ defence, you concede­ four goals, that’s 1­00% on the manager, b­ecause he makes 100% ­of the football decis­ions at Arsenal Footb­all Club. It’s as mad­dening as it is predi­ctable as it is woefu­l. That excitement of­ the new season oblit­erated in 90 minutes,­ the anger and disenc­hantment from fans – ­most of whom I genuin­ely believe wanted to­ leave all that behin­d – ratcheted up once­ more.


    Wenger has served the­ club well, but histo­ry has shown us that ­his time was actually­ up after the 2007-08­ season, or a year la­ter if you are being ­generous. His teams s­ince the stadium move­ have lacked ‘the rig­ht stuff’ and it’s an­ ingredient he has be­en unwilling to add v­ia the transfer marke­t or a shake-up in hi­s coaching staff. Any­way, nine more months­ of this with the hop­e that next summer, w­e can all, finally, m­ove on.

  • Vala

    Nail on the head Rob well said.

  • nicky

    On the bright side yesterday, I thought the Ems playing surface looked immaculate and a tribute to the Arsenal ground staff. 😉

  • I’m running out of time to keep moderating all the commentaries that fall outside our guidelines which are on

    I think I will have to tighten up the way we run this, because the demands are just getting too great.

  • One thing I am going to change is that anyone who says “I will probably get banned for this” or “you won’t publish this” or any variant on that will be banned. It’s pointless, it takes up time, and it suggests that the reader has not read the very basic and simple guidelines.

  • Think Amy got it about spot on with her Sunday article very fair indeed

  • I tell you what did upset/worry me all the regulars who sit around me have gone . Club is now being predominately filled with Tourists hardly a Cockney in sight . Oh well

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Rob and othets who always say Arsenal season has been a disaster.

    I am really sick to hear that each year.
    I think we are on the up since last 3 years.Winning 2 back to back FA cups and 2nd position last year.I fail to understand that why the above victories and a 2nd place finish =disaster.
    If such is the case then can u say the other 19 clubs who do not win the title should also = disaster?

    I think we are lucky to have Wenger who has kept at the top of the table for 20 years.The other top clubs may have won the league 2 to 3 times but they have been out of the top 4 also.

    A consistent top 4 finish is very admireable in my opinion.

  • Pat

    I sympathise with Tony about his work load. It’s obvious this site gets targeted after a loss because it is well known as a site that supports the club, the manager, the coaching staff and the players.

    This tells us everything we need to know about the people who target the site.

  • Pat


    If what you say is true, I do not believe it is because of Arsenal or the quality of its play. It is much more likely to be because in the last twenty or thirty years wages and job security have been reduced so much that most working class people can’t afford a season ticket any more.

    This is very sad and unfair. But you can’t blame Arsene Wenger and our players for that.

  • Rosicky try to understand the people who are frustrated are generally the season ticket holders who sit there and witness it first hand . We enter the Stadium full of enthusiasm and trepidation and experience ground hog day and yes tempers fray

  • Norman14

    I’d just say, if we did everything Jamie Redknapp says, we’d probably be in the Conference.

  • Pat didn’t say I blamed anyone but I’ve listened to the grumblings for the last few years and regulars have been slowly dropping off , I’ve been there since day one so I’ve got to a know a lot of them .
    Club was a great idea and was very popular from the start and there was always going to be some tickets sold to tourists but this number has grown significantly
    I will stick with it because I think it’s a good package just would prefer it with more of the locals

  • Norman14

    Maybe the regulars around “Shoot” got fed up with his constant carping and that was the reason they no longer sit around him!

  • westwing

    If you just support your local team you could just walk there. I lived beside Highbury for most of my life and traffic no problem. Who is your local team?

  • Tom

    You say transfers are so complicated , they are beyond our understanding.

    Let’s look closer at one we have some information about.

    Rob Holding is an established England under 21 defender , who’s contract with Bolton was running out at the end of the 2017. It was widely reported Holding had refused to sign a new deal with the club, forcing Bolton’s hand to sell.
    Bolton’s valuation was £4m – enter Arsenal and their negotiating team with an opening bid of £750k, which was flatly rejected by Bolton.

    Arsenal counter offer with £1.2m in late May, which again was rejected by Bolton.
    Two months later Arsenal finalized the deal for Holding at £2.6 m.

    For comparison, Arsenal paid for a virtual unknown Polish under 18 international, Bielik, £2m a season earlier, which Arsene Wenger called a “good deal for a promising young player ”

    So if you are , as a fifth richest club in world football, willing to pay &2m for an unknown 17 old defender/ defensive midfielder , why would you value an established England under 21 defender at &750k ( opening bid) ?

    It simply makes no sense, other than you are trying to get a steal of a deal, while at the same time risking pissing the selling club off.
    Frankly I’m surprised Bolton took the second call after the original bid , and if it wasn’t for their financial troubles they probably wouldn’t have.
    Arsenal did this with Cahill transfer from Bolton again, when they offered less than half what Bolton were asking . Cahill went to Chelsea eventually for around £7m.

    You can make transfers look as complicated as you wish, and some are
    ( Pogba to Man U springs to mind), but Arsenal are in a league of their own when in comes to making it extra complicated – a rich club acting as if they might be borderline on entering bankruptcy proceedings.

  • Chris


    the thing is the figures you are giving, were do they come from ? From an AFC press release ? A Wenger interview ?. How do we know this is the truth ? Were I negotiating, I’d request an NDA to start with, and frankly, this being a billion dollar business, I expect that is the way it is done. The rest is gossip done to pressure this or that party. Or how do you explain we’ve been linked with close to 100 players and have sold pretty much the entire team ? And to make things more complicated you annonce the player as hurt yet a few days later he scores a few goals….. smokescreeens are all around.

    I know from my experience as business owner how long a negotiation can go on, and that for a few thousand pounds or a few hundred thousand. I can’t imagine these negotiations are any easier and much different.

    Finally, looking at your figures, I’d say that paying 2.6 millions for a player valued at 4 million is sound business.
    Had Bolton waited for a few days, they cound have had much more….

  • Zzzz

    Tony, you are a paid consultant of the company that owns Arsenal. You are not a Gooner. Your over the top analysis, excuses and spinning of the truth are annoying. Everyone knows we need a striker and defender, including selling clubs. That is why they will ask for more money. The same way a bottle of water would cost your more in a remote desert. It’s basic economics, nothing complicated. Should have addressed these issues same week we signed Xhaka. We could have signed Mane, Janssen or Batsuayi for less than £30 million instead of the constant dithering. Mustafi at £30 million is a reasonable price. Same price Man Utd paid for Bailley. Not sure why we want Valencia to accept anything less than that. It’s just common sense. We dither in the market every season and expect to win. Doing the same thing and expecting different results is called foolishness. We do not need a fool of a manager.

  • There was something achingly familiar about yesterday: the much-vaunted mental strength that Arsène talked aboutwas noticeable by its absence. Conceding four goals in nineteen minutes is a reminder of capitulations at Anfield and Stamford Bridge, flashbacks we could all do without.Arsène was punished for his failure in the transfer market. He threw Chambers and Holding under the bus; they were badly let down by the manager and teammates. The experienced defenders were poor, Nacho Monreal – uncharacteristically so – but it was the whole team selection Wenger got wrong.The goalkeeper is a concern. Coutinho’s free kick, as good as it was, should not have found the net and that vulnerability is a sign of waning powers. We saw it with David Seaman as long shots became a problem for ‘Safe Hands’ to deal with but even he managed to see the bollards in the club car park.The XI felt unbalanced with no seamless transition from the midfield pairing of Coquelin and Elneny whose primary role was to protect the centre backs. Santi Cazorla provided the urgency we needed when he arrived and the directness of Oxlade-Chamberlain’s running was a welcome relief to the habitual passing for passing’s sake we had resorted to. It gifted Liverpool too much of the ball in midfield and they ruthlessly exploited thespace.Equally, it was a bizarre choice to use Theo on the right when he has spent the pre-season in the centre. Alexis’ effectiveness was significantly impaired in a typically obtuse Arsène moment. We’ve seen that the Chilean as a lead striker is rarely a good move.Rubbing salt into the wound was Alexandre Lacazette’s hat-trick at Nancy,ironically the club which gave Wenger his managerial chance. The striker issued a ‘come and get me’ plea but the Jean-Michel Aulas summed up Arsenal’splace in the food chain:“The day that Real, Barca or Manchester United come to see us, it will be different.”We’re viewed as pygmies by other clubs, confirming the view we lack ruthlessness in the transfer market. It’s no laughing matter that almost a month after losing our most experienced centre back, we are still floundering in the sands, trying to sort out deals.The most baffling aspect isWenger’s post-match comments:We lost this game for many reasons and was one of them is [the psychological impact] of Liverpool making it 1-1 just before half-time. The second one is that physically we are not capable of maintaining the level, because not all theplayers have the same level of preparation. Maybe we lacked a bit of experience but if you look well at the goals, I don’t think it was necessarily the inexperienced players that cost us the goals todayPerhaps Arsène could explain why the squad isn’t “physically ready” for the season. That’s his job and he failed woefully to do it. This isn’t the first time though. The statistic of one win in the last opening day matches passed without any surprise. It’s the same story, year in, year out. Wenger can’t even pointto summer jaunts; we’ve only been visiting the Far East and USA for four years; the rest were in his favoured Austrian training camps.At the same time, I’m worried by his admission that he wasn’t able to stabilise the ship at half-time. The defensive side of the game hoisted a white flag and typically we capitulated. The fundamental issue remains why we couldn’t see out the remainder of the first half. Had we reached the interval ahead, it might have been a different story. Only when Liverpool became over-confident did we manage to put some respectability on the scoreline.Matters took a turn for the worse with Aaron Ramsey suffering a hamstring twang and Alex Iwobi, a thigh train. No news on whether they are serious enough to keep both out of next Saturday’s trip to Leicester. With LaurentKoscielny not likely to be ready either – presumably Özil and Giroud are the same– there is a genuine concern about the XI we will field for that match. It won’t be any surprise to see all three start, even if they aren’t fit.It isn’t just in preparing those players we already have, Wenger has yet again failedin his duty to strengthen the squad during the summer. Thierry Henry received flak for asking the question most of us have thought and put out there in public. More disturbing than that, for me at least, was his assertion that the club isn’t an attractive option fortop players. Ambition is noticeable by its’absence.Some will argue it was punditry and it was. But whilst some may (wrongly) try to bring his managerial qualities into question, there’s no argument over his playing credentials. If players are genuinely thinking that we are unambitious, content with fourth, then that is a huge problem for Wenger to overcome.More and more we rely on our London base as the key selling point – Sanchez is the most obvious example – as opposed to our footballing credibility.Graeme Souness nailed it for me though.The club has forgotten that we are all about football and is more concerned with the business side of things. Wenger’s recent pronouncement that resale value is a key factor in signing a player is indicative that we’re still thinking like a cash-strapped club rather than acting like a financial powerhouse. It’s not about spend, spend, spend; players are the key assets of the club. Invest in them and reward will come.It’s inevitable though that Arsène’s words would come back to haunt him:“If you want to make everybody happy, then just buy 20 players and then everybody is full of hope until the first game. And then we are back to reality.“Vibrancy does not win you games. Whatmakes you win is quality of performance and the quality of your football. You haveto focus just on that.“That is very difficult in the modern game– there is always a demand for new. But new is just new.”We don’t have vibrancy. We don’t have performance and we don’t have new. We need all three but whilst we may get performance, the other two are beyond Arsène. Like all the club’s successful managers in the past 50 years, he has stayed too long. He’s joined in Bertie Mee and George Graham in overseeing adecline. Wenger’s credibility is disintegrating in front of his eyes.Not that he’ll see it… arsene’s time is over good day

  • Chris

    Ah ? I did not know Tony had such a conflict of interest.
    So now we have an AFC conspiracy trying to undermine the aaa via a blog financed secretly by them but looking to the outside as independent.

    This Premier League gets more and more intresting with all that is happening all around.
    Guess wikileaks will have something shortly about AFC ?

    Have fun everybody

  • Gideon

    We looked balanced in the first half but Liverpool gave us a lot of respect but as soon as they scored the second goal and the third soon after half time, the game opened up and we were put to the sword by a very aggressive Liverpool side.

    After 4-1 I was quickly reminded of the 8-2 we suffered against United at old Trafford, my concern is that the Manager admitted that we lacked experience defensively to cope the situation yet we proceeded to the game maybe expecting to outscore Liverpool just as we did against city in pre season.
    My point is that if we want to compete in the top flight we have to be adequately covered in all positions on the pitch and not approach games with well documented weaknesses and expect different results.

  • Fishpie

    I’ve suggested to Tony in the past that Untold’s philosophy is one where debate of an intellectual or factual kind might best be served by making it a members only site. I’m no longer convinced by Mr Wenger myself so I’m not sure I’d qualify to be a member but for those of you who believe your role as an Arsenal fan is to continue to support him and get behind the club despite his/ it’s faults and mistakes, you could enjoy and share the company of like-minded positive minded fans and not have to put up with those who criticise. If on the other hand, you want the site to be open to a wider group of opinion, you must allow those who offer criticism ( those who are not abusive) some respect for their feelings, instead of jumping down their throats and accusing them of just jumping on a bandwagon. I think most people can see for themselves that the club doesn’t get enough right to seriously challenge for the top honours and neither does it appear to do enough to maximise its chances. In these circumstances the club will, in my view, get justified stick.

  • Tom

    I suppose you can always dismiss any information that doesn’t agree with your outlook on things, especially when it comes to transfers where gossip and make believe is king. However , these numbers re Holding transfer are in line with Wenger’s standard negotiating tactic of starting super low.

    The official opening bid for Bielik was reported to had been at £750k plus ad ons, but I know from my Legia Warszawa sources that the unofficial bid was in the neighborhood of £450k , which was simply laughed off as a joke.

    But even if you go by the £750k reported for Bielik as an opening bid made by Arsenal, that’s 1/3 of the final transfer amount.

    Now as a business owner you are free to admire this negotiations tactic, but don’t tell me it’s difficult to sign a player from lower leagues for a few million when no other clubs are interested( there were no other bids for Bielik ), the player wants to come, and wages are not a problem.

    Btw, I hope you weren’t serious when you asked if any of the negotiation details re Holding transfer were obtained from Arsenal FC official sources, otherwise I would have to assume your business that you are the proprietor of is on the moon 🙂

    I’m being sarcastic here. If you have followed Arsenal for more than one season, you’d know they give no information of the sort.

  • charlie

    i heard this quote yesterday ” Arsene Wenger is trapped spinning in the same direction whilst modern football spins off in another “

  • Pat

    Just one thing to say – we were runners up last season. Only one club can be top. From some of these comments, you’d think we’d been mid table or even lower half.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Our U18 team started their season with a great 4-0 win over Aston Villa on Saturday afternoon. The club is more than one team.

  • Corby Town, and yes I do go there. But I was born and brought up nearby Arsenal by an Arsenal supporting family going back to the earliest days of the club in north London, so the support isn’t going away.

  • colario

    August 15, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    The other one being corruption as has been regularly proved here and at very least indicated elsewhere.

  • Polo

    I wonder how many people on here or people in the media was or are part of the negotiation team for said clubs? I mean how do you know what the bid is/was if you’re not there? Media is saying Lyon is willing to sell Lacazzette for £42 million, did Lyon officially say they are willing to sell Lacazzette for £42 million if so please provide link? West Ham was interested in Lacazette why didn’t they pay the asking price (if true) to get him? Also,why are reports saying Lyon will offer Lacazette a massive wage increase and make him their highest wage earner in their history? Surely if you’re willing to sell a player you don’t offer him a massive wage increase.

  • Dgeoel

    After all this noise from the boo boys, Arsenal will finish above the teams with the ‘best’ strikers and ‘best’ defenders. Man u with goal ‘machines’ Ibra and Rooney scored the same number of goals as Arsenal who were not even with their much maligned striker.City who have ‘splashed’ and with ‘world class’ Aguero, managed one goal less than Arsenal. A team can only register 25 players(i think) and if A. Wenger signed a new player every time a player got injured what would happen?

    Since Arsenal finished paying for the Emirates, it has consistently been going up the table every season. During the hard times arsenal finished fourth consistently. Now i cant remember when last we finished fourth. last season we finished second.If the trend continues,you should know what will happen.

    The pundits who have consistently predicted Arsenal missing out on a top 4 finish for the past 10 years have consistently gotten it wrong!

    When A.W finally goes, Arsenal can go back to finishing 10th where he found them.

  • Rishi Sukhdeo (Montreal, Canada)

    To those dissenters who believe that Tony just turns a blind eye to Arsenals failures, i disagree. He has used the numbers to clarify his views. Many dissenters use rhetoric to prove their viewpoint. I would prefer the person using facts based on evidence. About Wenger, yes, i have on occasions cursed him but more often than not praised him. Those who believe that Kos et al should have been rushed back, think about this, Champions League, FA cup. You didn’t? Oh, then why are you criticizing Wenger? It is so obvious that he is. Remember Henri after the World Cup? He came back because he was needed and then ended up with a stomach muscle pull that kept him out for a long period. This is the beauty of having a manager longtime. He understands and looks out for the good of the team. Look at Sanchez who wants to play was not very good and Ramsey who wants to play and got injured. Both were “rushed back” into the team. Sanchez will be a dud for the rest of the season. He played a pivotal role in Chile’s win in South America this summer, one of the toughest competition around. I believe that he is just playing because he is “addicted” to football. It is as if he is afraid that if he does not play he will lose his place. Ramsey was great for Wales this summer, running himself into the ground. Both are fatigued and I would believe, just running on adrenalin. He also is afraid of losing his place on the team if he does not show up.

    About yesterdays lost to Liverpool. I saw so many positives that I went back and looked at the game again, just to be sure I was not imagining things. Arsenal were in control of the game until the Coutinho’s dandy goal. Wished Sanchez could have done that. At the start of the second half, Arsenal were very much in the game but then problems started to show up. Chambers and Holding were not protected on Liverpool’s next three goals. The midfield, Coq and Almeny, were slow in coming back to protect the defenders. But Theo did come back to try and help. Ramsey was also slow to protect. The reverse was true for the first half. Wenger’s assessment after the game of physical fatigue, I believe, was correct.

    On the rest of this season. We will be in the top three even after being outspent by both MU and MC. It will be very close until May 2017. Theo knows he has to show his ability to score and the OX will prove the doubters wrong. The young academy players, expecially Akpom and Gnabry will push us forward with stirring performances, if we don’t buy a striker. I have great belief in this team and their abilities. Wenger knows what he is doing. He has put in place all the right elements throughout the whole Arsenal organization and I for one, truly believes, he earns his money. As an example of Wenger’s move; I do not believe that Thierry Henry can be a great manager. Absolutely loved him as a player, but don’t believe he has the managerial ability. I agree with Wenger that he had to give up his TV role and just concentrate on managing. He chose TV over managing. Sacrifice is not his thing.

    I am in agreement with other commenters who asks that Wenger and The Arsenal be supported instead of being booed. Last year, Liverpool, MC, MU,and Spurs have outspent us and we came in second place. All that this spending shows is that money does not buy happiness and success. I want players that have the Gunners logo stamped on their heart and not the mercenaries who come and go. At least Wenger through his work with the Academy has created such players. Wenger also gives young English players a chance which strengthens the England team. His legacy will be of a lasting Arsenal team that will always be competitive regardless of who owns the team and who is managing the team. Now compare him to Mourinho, whom many Arsenal fans wishes would be the manager of this team or indeed Guardiola. Both are highly successful but only deal with teams that spend loads of money to buy players. This is how they gain their success. Mourinho has no care of Academy players while at least Guardiola understands how the system can be successful as he did with Barcelona. At Bayern, he inherited an already strong team so success was easy. But Guardiola does not want to stay with any team longterm so what comes next once he leaves?

    I am sure many will disagree with me but I base my observation on my knowledge of how management works and not how it should work. As one of my former manager once told my staff that i was supervising, “I don’t pay him to do the work that you are paid for, I pay him to think through the problems and find solutions”. What prompted this response from my manager? The staff thought that i was not doing any work because i was at my desk, “just sitting there”. They did not know of what my boss’s expectation was for my position. This applies to those of you who think that Wenger is not doing anything to make the team stronger. He is just dawdling and not spending. Think again and be careful with what you wish for.

  • Rishi, appreciate that. Many thanks.

  • Polo

    Some of the posters here think Arsenal is in decline, I never knew that coming fourth, then third, then second is considered a ‘decline’ did this word have a new meaning? Not sure what’s the fuss about losing the first match, if we lose 3-5 match in a row than it would be a concern, it’s only the first match. The important thing is to rectify areas where mistakes was made for future matches.

    So many negative post about the team make it sound as if we have a relegation pending squad, no faith whatsoever in the team. Some post say every year is the same and it is ground hog day, they are right about that, every year it’s the same negative jibes and abuse to the club they suppose to support.

  • Kenneth Widmerpool

    Rishi-I really enjoyed your post,hope you become a regular poster.

  • Polo

    Rishi well said, totally agree.

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Excellent post.keep it up

  • Zzzz

    Wenger was great through with Dein on the board working with him. The current board is inexperienced football wise the biggest risk is the club will implode when Wenger is forced to leave at the end of this season. I do not have faith the current board will select the right manager to replace Wenger. I see them appointing someone worse than Wenger, e.g., Roberto Mancini or Martinez. I hope the board has self awareness to realize the lack of expertise within their ranks and bring back Dein or someone of that stature to oversee the transition from Wenger. I am also not convinced Arsenal are as awash with cash as everyone says. Why would they not want to spend the money and win their first Champions League, win the league. Something does not add up. Are the sponsorships with Puma and Emirates so performance based we have not been making as much money? I can smell a rat.

  • Pat

    Rishi – a great read!

  • Blacksheep

    @westwing that is such a crass and ill informed comment to make. Tony lives in the East Midlands as did I until six months ago. But he like me were born in north London (me in Tufnell Park, walking distance from Highbury). Where do you live, and where were you born? In Avenell Road? Just think it through for a minute. Fans come from all over the world and we choose who we support. The team is (and has always been, since 1886) made up of players and staff from outside of walking distance of the club.
    I don’t know anyone who knows more about Arsenal’s history than Tony or who cares more, or supports the club whatever the results, more than Tony. So I politely suggest you think a little harder before you make such a stupid comment again.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Adrian Clarkes breakdown of the game on the official site worth a listen. He basically said that fatigue and lack of full fitness was a major problem….leading to problems on the pitch, affecting awareness and closing opponents down. that and,missing key players.
    We do seem to enter the season a bit undercooked…..but also remember Fergie doing similar things, think he believed a relatively slow start could conserve energy for the latter stages.
    The team played well enough in the first half, but improvements are needed in aspects of the second half.
    On another note, it’s not only us that Anthony Taylor screws. How was Costa still on the pitch…to score the winning goal? Sadly, we’ve seen it all before.

  • Zzzz

    First week in the book. Chelsea, Man Utd and City fighting for title and top 3 spots. Arsenal,Liverpool, Spurs and another surprise package fighting for 4th place. Change is good as long as you appoint the right manager. Contrast the negativity and booing around stale Arsenal with the energy, freshness, enthusiasm and optimism around Man City, Liverpool, Chelsea and Man Utd who have new managers. Watch the coaches goal celebrations. The passion to win. That’s how football is managed in 2016. Arsenal need to catch up by enticing Ancelotti, Simeone or Allegri to come join the world managers championship. Should not be too difficult. In the meantime, we will have to endure the usual hopefully for the last season.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Would, that be like,the optimism, energy and freshness when the likes of Van Gaal, Moyes…..AVB were appointed to some,of,those,clubs in fairly recent years? No guarantees these new managers will fare any better.

  • Florian

    Rishi +10 from me too.

  • Zzzz

    Mandy, that is the point. Appoint young ambitious winners who galvanize the whole club. Dinosaurs like Van Gaal or unproven pretenders like Moyes and AVB don’t cut it. That is the lesson for the Arsenal board. If they appoint Ancelotti, Semeone or Allegri, Wenger will be forgotten within a year.

  • Polo

    @ Zzzz, did you watch the ManCity match against Sunderland? Pep didn’t look full of joy but was more relieved and worried to me. The ManUnited match, Mourinho looked concerned throughout the first half until they were gifted the first goal, as they couldn’t break down the Bournemouth defence and Bournemouth had a few opportunities to score. But at the end of day they both won, so can’t deny that. It is only the first match so wait and see after 6 matches have been played before judgement can be made. Funny last season when Arsenal only signed Cech there were some Arsenal fans predicting mid-table and one even believed we were going to get relegated and what was the result at end of that season?

  • Florian


    So after one match there are some teams that are already fighting for the title? Funny how I thought the season has 38 matches, and the title is won after all of them have been played. But maybe you know something I don’t.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Rishi – Thank you for some very fine comments and observations . Cheers !

  • ARSENAL 13


    quote: “Wenger will be forgotten within a year.”

    Have you forgotten Herbert Chapman? If yes, then talk.

    Mr Wenger will forever be remembered as the legends of the game. One of the greatest.

  • Rob


    1. “Arsenal were in control of the game until the Coutinho’s dandy goal. Wished Sanchez could have done that.”

    But the point is we DID lose control and Countinho DID score that goal and Sanchez did NOT. Meaning = Liverpool
    had that superior quality to us and we caved, as so often we have done. You cannot dismiss these things are
    mere coincidences.

    2. About not rushing Kos back:
    Yes, perhaps it was a wise thing not to do so. The crucial point, however, is not Kos, but the lack of preparation
    on Wenger’s behalf in terms of having enough experienced CB:s for the start of the season. MErtesacker got injured on July 22; knowing that Kos could not play the first game(s) of the season – and I would say, knowing Gabriel’s and Chamber’s relative lack of quality – he should quickly have brought in Mustafi or a similar player.

    3. “Wenger’s assessment after the game of physical fatigue, I believe, was correct.”

    Well, why weren’t the Liverpool players equally fatigued then?
    Isn’t it the manager’s responsibility to ensure he has a fit enough squad come the season premiere to be fully competitive?
    He’s had THREE MONTHS to fix this, since the last league game in May. (Yes, if you know you’ll have players in the Euros, make sure you have enough capable players in the squad who did not go to the Euros to play the first game(s) of the season.)

    Add to this Wenger’s observation after the Man C friendly a week earlier that “physically we look ready”.

    These kinds of prevalent, vapid excuses and self-contradictions are beginning to be quite intolerable in my mind.

  • Alex

    @Rob 100 +

    You nail it bro….Wenger has enough time and money so no excuse.

  • Menace

    Rob – you are so good at telling others what to do. What have you achieved that makes your advice worth listening to?

    Do consider Wengers incredible record despite the constant bile & incorrect decisions that his teams have had to face. If we bought a PGMO type it would make all the difference.

  • Polo

    @ Rob, I admire your relentless criticism of AW, so I hope that when we do win matches you come back to praise him. Now on to your points:

    Point 1. How often? It’s the first time in 7 years Arsenal conceded 4 goals at the Ems. Yes, sometimes we do concede a lot of goals in a match but that’s due to playing attacking football. Should we play ‘park the bus’ football against all our opponents?

    Point 2. So whenever there is an injury to key players we should go out and buy another player, now if we don’t provide an opportunity to youngsters when there is an injury to first teamers to assist their development, when should we do it? Or should we just sell the kids or stop recruiting youngsters and shut down the academy? How did Bellerin and Coq became part of the first team? You say we should have went straight out to get Mustafi, did you knew or heard of this player before? Have you ever seen him play? Or did you only know of this player through Arsenal Fan TV or the media?

    Point 3. Liverpool played 9 games during their pre-season and we played I think 5, so their match fitness would have been way ahead, notice how they beat Barca 4-0? It’s because they were fitter then the Barca players. Also during the first half our players played at high intensity to close down the Liverpool players hence why Liverpool was all over the place. So it could have cause a bit of fatigue to some of the players as they haven’t fully adapt to this new play, I’m not suggesting it’s the main cause for that period of ‘collapse’ but it probably part play in it. Whether AW comments are excuses or an explanation, he’s only answering a question put towards him, it’s up to each individual to decide.

  • Rob

    Not only do you deploy an ad hominem argument instead of actually engaging in real arguments, your remark is also essentially an undemocratic one. You imply that people are not allowed to use their minds,
    articulate their beliefs and share their reasonings unless they are a “professional” having achieved “major
    things” in a particular field.

    In political and ethical terms this is a very perilous path, as Jürgen Habermas would have it.

    The human social fabric should be about sharing thoughts and ideas and assessing them in a critical and generous spirit that will enable us to make better, more enlightened decisions.


    I think what “critical fans” are saying is that Wenger’s record over the last 12 years is anything but “incredible”. Champions League football is all right, but we achieved exactly ZERO in that tournament.

    -Simeone’s record (with very little transfer money), that’s incredible!
    -Klopp’s record with Dortmund (with very little transfer money), that’s incredible!

    Also, now we’ve been at the Emirates for quite some time, we’ve paid off the debt, still very little, if anything, changes on the pitch. It’s been a long time since Arsenal played beautiful, convincing football. I’d be more than happy to stand corrected as this season unfolds, but for the last 10 years or so I haven’t seen it.


    August 7 2016, Wenger: “Physically we look ready”

    August 14 2016, Wenger “We are not ready physically”

    Gazidis 2014: “We can compete with all the big clubs”

    Gazidis 2016: “We can’t compete with the big clubs” (despite better commercial deals and a new TV deal since and considerably less debt)

    Which is it, guys?

  • Rob it is very simple really. When Abramovich arrived Arsenal were already preparing for the move, and no one quite knew how things would pan out. What we certainly didn’t expect was that the state would grant Man C a stadium in return for their sponsor agreeing to put in extra flights from Manchester, nor that Manchester City would be owned by a man who makes the Chelsea owner look impoverished. Nor that the state would give WHU a stadium, and pay a lot of the running costs. So Arsenal’s model was overtaken by events – which could be considered bad planning but in reality no one predicted these things. Just as no one predicted that most of the clubs in the West Midlands would be owned by the Chinese.

    The world changes, and the best laid plans can go wrong. I believe the club are working to address the new situation, but it takes time.

  • KR

    Rob, great posts, common sense, honesty, well structured. They are your opinions and in the main I endorse. It’s difficult to understand the clubs direction other than if it is obsessed with money! Wenger is now acting like a man with no one to answer to unless he does not achieve top four. Sadly top four is for the board, more money, it does not help us make a serious challenge on the league or champions league as recent seasons prove. Would any gold medalist give up their gold medal for 3 fourth places in the last 12 years? We all know the answer. True fans want a football club to put its wealth on the pitch and all in its power to be the best it can. We do not ask to match city or utds spending, just do the very best with what we have. Right now that is not happening. Top 4 I doubt it, but even if we do who really gains??

  • thierryhenry22

    Tony, really great article mate. Unbelievable response from a lot of ‘fans’ who now include the other previously positive Arsenal blogs. I’m starting to wonder if they’re enjoying the clicks.

    As for some of the comments on here. Wow. A lot of it, as usual, is complete drivel backed up with zero logic. But hey ho.

    Also, i’ve been a huge supporter of this site for about years now so I hope you don’t mind but:

    Can I please let you guys know about me and my mate’s new twitter account and weekly podcast? We’ve popped up to support the club and have no intention of doing anything but.

    It’s @goonerandgunner and our soundcloud page (which has last weekend’s debut podcast uploaded) is

    All the best x

  • Rob

    Thanks for the clarification, Tony. It makes sense. ( And I agree with you that this was NOT bad planning
    on behalf of the club.)


    However, my conclusion is the opposite to Gazidis’: running through the club’s figures in my
    layman-esque and admittedly coarse way, it does seem to me we can compete with the other
    big clubs, at least very nearly.

    The difference may be some £40-60m per year, but it’s £200m or so.

    If my estimate is correct, Arsenal would have some £120m per year to spend on transfers/salaries.
    This seems more than enough to buy 1-2 world class players per year and seriously compete for the highest honors.

  • Polo

    @ Rob, could you provide link to this quote you posted? I can’t find it on google, only saw similar but in 2012 not 2014. Where he talk about Arsenal can compete with big clubs on players wages not about transfers. Thank you.

    Gazidis 2014: “We can compete with all the big clubs”

  • Rob, there is another issue however in terms of competition. Yes, we could buy Ozil when £40m was top pricing, yes we can pay £60m now – but I think the board is saying that we cannot compete in the sense that Man C and Chelsea can and seemingly will push the price of players up and up and up. They can constantly afford it, now that FFP has more or less gone, but there is a limit for Arsenal. Man U have a lot higher income than Arsenal and they are trying to stay up with Chelsea and Man C but ultimately living on their earnings will leave them behind.

    No one can keep up with Man C and Chelsea, and now that the Chinese are entering the market, no one will be able to keep up with any club owned by them. So we need other means, such as bringing through one young player a year, who never counts on the transfer scale until we sell him. Indeed I think we might even get two players through this year.

    But in terms of competing with the new level of transfer fees, Chelsea and Man C will just push them higher and higher until we have to drop out. So we must have an alternative strategy.

  • David

    I don’t know why so many fans come on here and slag off Tony as this is the ONLY blog that doesn’t print lies about Arsenal or follow the stupid narrative that is constantly being regirgitated by the media and the fairly moronic commentators who clap like seals every time there is a problem at Arsenal. Untold actually use logic (I know, what a bloody alien concept) to back up their arguments and actually produce facts and supporting data. Such as we don’t have the worst injury percentage. Or that we have actually done pretty well recently; 4th, 3rd, 2nd and a couple of FA cups. No team has a right to win. In fact most teams play to survive and never win any tropnies. Arsenal have spent less than Liverpool or Spurs for years and have achieved a consistancy those clubs can only dream of yet if you listen to the idiots we are useless, Wenger is useless, our ambitions are to reach the top 4 (whise isn’t?) and we actually do it, year after year and yet we are regarded as a media joke. Well f**k the media and the AAA. If you want guaranteed trophies then there a couple of clubs up north who will have you.

  • Ben

    I see mostly two groups on opposite ends with a few in the middle. One group believes that Wengers way is always the best while the other group only sees the negative in his actions. The truth is in between. Wenger is a good manager, but too rigid,fifa allows three weeks rest, but Wenger insists on four. Clichy,Sagna, payet naming just a few all played and didn’t get injured.So recalling kos after three weeks is not even rushing him.And if he made up his mind not to play him and knows merts and Gabriel won’t play, he should have bought a defender b4 the game.Wining the first game doesn’t guarantee that you win the league, so does losing it. Wining is always better than losing anytime. I will like to see statistics of how our players coming back late helps us