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In reply to those who want Mr Wenger out: how much better would this really make Arsenal?

By Tony Attwood

Being in Australia as I am now, and slowly feeling the benefits of being here (the jet lag is going, and what appeared on day one to be an 8 mile hike along the road to my breakfast bar of choice turns out in reality to be a pleasant 15 minute stroll) I find a certain level of perspective coming into my life.

And that leads on to a desire to find a perspective in the remorseless, ceaseless, endless calls for change in the club.  They were there at the start of the season and they are there now.  They are always there.

Indeed I can remember them in 2000/2001 when we had not won a trophy for 3 years running, and our points total had slipped three years running (78pts, 73pts, 70pts).   We had lost nine and eight games in the last of those two seasons, and the moaners were calling for Wenger’s head on the grounds that Man U were just getting further and further away from us, and we needed a new team and fresh thinking.  We’d even gone out of the Champs League at the group stages – that’s how bad we were.

“Is that what Arsenal is now?” I clearly remember one columnist writing in the fanzine I wrote for at the time.  “Eternal second, slipping ever further behind Man U and going out of the Champions League earlier and earlier.   Wenger was ok at first, but he hasn’t got the pedigree or knowledge of English football to sustain it.”

The worst of times?

And now… much the same, and so I started to think about Arsenal’s history and began by contemplating the worst ever Arsenal team.  Possible contenders for that might be seasons like 1912/13 when we were relegated, 1925 when we came 20th, and changed the manager, or in more recent times 1974/5 and 1975/6 when we came 16th and 17th and were in danger of relegation both times and persuaded the manager his time was done.

Coming 12th in 1995 wasn’t the worst, but it felt fairly awful.  Mind you winning the cup in 1993 didn’t feel that great for anyone who sat through the league matches.  We scored 38 goals in 42 games that season.

But what of the good times?  

We have had two FA Cup wins and a runners up in the league in the last three seasons.  When did we do better across a three year period.

1933/6 was the best of all of course – three league wins and the FA Cup.

So how did we do that?  Actually by changing the manager three times.  Maybe that should be the blueprint after all!  I thought I’d better check the rest of history.

1948 to 1950 gave us an FA Cup win and a League title although in between we came fifth in the league and were knocked out of the cup in round four.

1970/71 gave us the Fairs Cup and the Double followed by another cup final but then that horrible decline to 16th and 17th.

1989 to 1991 gave us two league titles, but then another steep decline.

And the Wenger years?

These included two league titles and three FA Cups in four years – the only real comparison in our entire history with the achievement of the 1930s era of the three managers.

Now clearly the present run of 2 cup wins and a runners’ up slot is below the four greatest eras in the club’s history (one of which was a Wenger run) but I think it is important to recognise these last three years have been one of the best three year runs in the club’s history.  What those who want change want is something that has only happened four times in 130 years.

So why, when we are having one of our best runs should we change management?

One reason was given by a correspondent recently who said, “The reason I want him to go is quite rational and simple. I think Arsenal’s ambition should be to challenge for the title (my definition being that you are still in the title race in the last 2/3 weeks of the season).”

Is it rational to want the club to challenge for the title regularly?

I was fascinated by the “rational” part of that so started my quest to find how often Arsenal have done that.  Arsenal have won the 13 league times and had three “challenge” seasons…

  • 1932 (lost out to Everton by 2 points)
  • 1973 (lost out to Liverpool by 3 points).
  • 1999 (lost out to Man U by 1 point)

So by the definition given from our correspondent Arsenal have competed in 13 seasons (as winners) and three as runners’ up (the other six runners’ up seasons being excluded because we were not in with a challenge as defined).

That is 16 out of 102 league seasons.   Just about 15.7%.

So in this definition in only 16% of our league seasons have we delivered what this correspondent wants.   The managers who have delivered these 16 seasons are Chapman (3), Shaw (1), Allison (2), Whittaker (2), Mee (2), Graham (2), and Wenger (4).

Thus Mr Wenger is the most successful by this measure (3 titles and one acceptable near miss).

It is true that Mr “Wenger has not fulfilled this criteria for over ten years now” but then for 84% of our league history managers have not fulfilled this criteria.

But what of the chance of a new manager succeeding in this way for the 2/3 years a correspondent has given?

That of course takes us into the future and the realm of guess work, but let’s try it.  Clearly Man U, Man C, Tottenham H, Liverpool! and Chelsea, all expect the same sort of success.   Add Arsenal to the list and we have six clubs for whom the criteria of acceptable performance is probably seen as winning or coming a close second.

Now let’s see how often the second club comes close and to try and be fair and relevant I’m going to run this only over the Premier League era (what with most other clubs not being in the top league all the time before that).

We have had 24 PL seasons in which only the seasons 1995, 1998, 1999, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014, could be considered close by the definition our correspondent gives.

That gives 31 chances of being a “success” in 24 years, spread across six teams who all expect success.  (Remember, we might not expect Liverpool! to win anything, but their supporters! most certainly do which is why they are demanding that Klopp should be sacked now!)(!)

If all the six teams performed as well as each other on average across the years then each of them would get four seasons in which they would get a first or close second (remembering this is our correspondent’s choosing of the definition of success).   And yes of course some of these teams have not been challenging each year – but they have been replaced by others (Blackburn and Newcastle for example).

So with six teams capable of challenging for these two selected positions, how well have the various “top” teams done.  Remember to qualify they have to win the league or come a close second.

  • Man U 13 wins plus 4 close runners’ up: total 17 acceptable seasons.
  • Arsenal 3 plus 1 close runners’ up, total: four acceptable seasons
  • Chelsea 4 plus 3 close runners’ up, total: seven acceptable seasons
  • Man City 2 plus no close runners’ up: two acceptable seasons.

Thus of the six challenging teams, Man U is of course way ahead of everyone during the PL era.  Chelsea have achieved an above average seven acceptable seasons, Arsenal have an average four.  Man City, Tottenham H and Liverpool! are below the “acceptable average”.

Now the correspondent generously gives the club two or three years.  But the figures above show that leaving aside Man U this would mean performing way above average for every team in the PL era from the off.  If the six big teams were all performing equally, then in 24 seasons they can expect to come first or a close second four times – once every six years.   So on this basis we are likely to go through two or three managers before we get to an “acceptable” season – and that doesn’t mean winning the league it means challenging up to the last few games.

The changing managers syndrome

But changing managers means changing the team, and that is not as easy as it sounds.  You have to wait for the right players to become available and for them to want to come to Arsenal.   There are many reasons why they might not come, and I’ll deal with those in another post.

And there is another problem, because the vast majority of new managers, like the vast majority of new players, fail, at least at first.   The obvious example of Sir Alex Ferguson who had six years without an acceptable season.   But our correspondent is clear on this.  “Any new manager is given 2/3 years to achieve this and is moved on/has his contract extended depending on performances. No bed wetting hysteria just a thanks for you time/it didn’t work out/we’re going in a different direction respectful parting of the ways.”

On the basis of this view, the most successful club in the history of the PL would not have kept its manager and achieved its success.

The problem with these approaches is thus easy to see.   In a league in which you have six clubs challenging for top or a close second, two or three years is nowhere near enough time.   In fact the two or three years approach before you change managers has a name.  It is named after a club that has specialised in it.  It is called the Tiny Totts Approach to Success.  And how many league titles has it brought them?   But even this “rule” breaks down when we look at Chelsea.    The answer in reality is, it can work, it might not.

Let us look at the number of managers clubs have had in the PL era (excluding temporary managers):

Club Managers Ranking First/close second  Ranking
Arsenal 3 1 4 3
 Chelsea 13 5 7 2
 Liverpool! 10 3  0 6
 Manchester City 11 4  2 4
 Manchester United 4 2  17 1
 Tottenham Hotspur 13 6  0 5
 Average

The teams with the lowest number of managers are first and third in the success list by the criteria chosen by the correspondent.  Not changing managers seems to be the best option.

Changing can work, but it can do harm – it is one huge big gamble, not least because the manager you might want might not be available or might not want to come.

In short, reasonable though the idea that one gives a manager 2/3 years and if he is not succeeding you dump him, is far from guaranteed to bring success by the criteria chosen by our correspondent and the figures show that as a route to success it is the least likely to succeed.

51 comments to In reply to those who want Mr Wenger out: how much better would this really make Arsenal?

  • Leon

    ‘Is it rational to want the club to challenge for the title regularly?’

    Yes of course it is. The set criteria of being in the title race until the final few weeks is a bit ambitious for some clubs, but for one of Arsenal’s status it should be the norm.
    I can understand why supporters (and I mean the match going ones) are getting restless and are in revolt even. Our return of just two FA cups since the marvellous seasons ending in the Champions League final in May 2006 is pretty limp in comparison to the standards set by other elite teams.

  • Georgaki-pyrovolitis

    Wow, what an excellent piece, thanks Tony!

  • Leon couldn’t agree more I’m a season ticket holder and attend a few away as well , the comment I frequently hear is ” Groundhog Day ”
    You can nearly write the script .

  • Dave Ingram

    So are United in the Title race? In fact at the start of the season the pundits were giving the league to City .. How come only Wenger is judged like this. Did he actually tell Ozil to have a poor game ? Hopefully he told him we were not playing in Blue- no hang at his pay scale he should be able to work that out? So why did he pass to Chelsea players so often? Even Cech forget he had left Chelsea … and Wengers to blame?

  • Just received-depressing email from Arsenal , Season ticket prices in Club to go up 3% next season . That’s sure to go down well ,can see more leaving if the season follows it’s usual pattern .

  • Matt

    Leon and shoot from your comments I don’t think you have read the article properly. The stats are proof that basically the majority lose so stop acting spoilt it’s boring. Base your arguments of fact and stats not a minuscule snippet in time.

  • Matt

    And if you don’t like the prices don’t go. I stopped, there’s more to life than football

  • Menace

    Leon, Shoot – do you honestly think that Wenger does not start each season wanting to win all the competitions?

    I’m not sure what you see when you watch the games but I always watch the officials as well as the play. There are always incidents going on off the ball & those catch my eye too.

    However, we each have a different view point & don’t have to see eye to eye. My opinion of Wenger is that his knowledge & style of play outshines most others. He has his flaws as do many of the players. One of the main bug bears is why does a player miss the goal by such a distance from a dead ball situation? They are paid sufficient to excel at those kicks. They do not get them right during warm ups! What is so magnificent about a player scoring from a free kick? They should be close every time.

    Just the same standards I expect from officials. They should be consistent & with assistants they should be a lot more open. They do not broadcast the radio communication (as is done in Rugby). Why? There is to much being hidden.

  • Zuruvi

    I like Arsene Wenger but I also want Arsenal to be winning the big titles (Champions League and Premier league) more frequently or at least being serious contenders.

    I think our problem is that we tolerate mediocre players for too long (e.g. Almunia, Bendtner, Carl Jenkinson and possibly Yaya Sonogo, etc.).
    I also think we get excited if we get a player valued at £15m at a low cost of £5m.
    Another reason why we fail to be serious contenders for the big prizes is that we are “afraid” to buy the big strikers of the world, we instead go for Welbeck and Perez who are good players but not the biggest names in terms of strikers. Yet Arsenal is in the Top 7 biggest and richest clubs in the world.
    Another problem we seem to have is that Le Prof always says after every defeat that “We were not ready for the fight and the duals”. I hate this statement because he is the only manager who accuses his players of going into a match without being mentally ready for the duals and the fight. Who is supposed to make the players ready for the match? Pundits and journalists are then justified in saying Arsenal players are mentally weak or lack leadership.

    I believe that Wenger is a Top Quality manager but we are hoping for a miracle of winning big titles with good but not great players.

    It hurts me when people on this forum seem to enjoy it when Arsenal buys an average/good player instead of a top player. The joy is that we bought an “unknown” player.

    I fear that the few people who want to get rid of Wenger will increase in number and volume. Very soon we could lose a very good manager. Wenger will either get fired or he will just walk away.
    If for example we had a brilliant striker to lead our team we would be contenders for the title this year. Sanchez is a top, top player but he isn’t a top, top central striker. He is just better than the current good (and not great) strikers such as Welbeck or Giroud or Perez.

  • I can’t stop going it’s like a drug . I need help

  • Zuruvi

    Because of the above, I fear that Arsene Wenger’s departure debate is no longer premature.
    Wenger is also an old man (in the world of sport). His departure is sooner rather than later.
    I wish he does a Ferguson and leaves his position after having won the Premiership or the Champions League. He deserves to leave on a high for all the great work he has done.

  • Uwot?

    Were we not promised by the snake oil salesman & co that moving to the Emirates after a small period of adjustment would allow us to compete with any clubs in the world save perhaps barca & Madrid?so where are we.?we pay the highest prices in world football.for what?stagnation.2nd rate.& make no mistake.we are.13 seasons now without the title.acceptable to some perhaps,of a certain age.who have misty eyed remembrances of longer droughts in our illustrious history.,& are satisfied that is the norm with us as a club.content to settle for 2nd,3rd or the perrenial 4th best.but if you have an ounce of pride in us as a club .that is not acceptable & never will be.we should be with our fanbase,location,revenue & history the no 1 club in the world bar none.how long before this happens?

  • Leon

    ‘The stats are proof that basically the majority lose’
    Not sure what that even means. The “majority” of who and what do they lose?
    And what “miniscule snippet in time” do you mean?
    I believe this article to be about the past eleven seasons, which is hardly a miniscule snippet in time for an elite club.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    I really don’t know how this change manager mantra at Arsenal will pan out if at the end of this season Arsenal failed to win a title. Would Le Prof retire voluntrarily at Arsenal or he’ll sign a new contract extension deal?

    Well, it all depends on Le Prof himself to make the decision. But going by the pressure being mounted on him by some Arsenal supporters at the slightest sign of Arsenal may fail to win the PL title this season, then one may tend to start observing he may likely quit if Arsenal failed to win a title.

    Our hopes are Arsenal will win a title this season as they are still in contention for three titles. Preferably, we the Arsenal supporters would like it if Arsenal win the treble this season to compensate for their missing out on 2 particular titles for such a very long time.

    As for me personally, I’ve not given up on Arsenal winning the PL title this season despite the football pundits writing them off so soon as title contenters when they are still challenging for the title. I believe Arsenal will win one of PL or the CL titles or both this season. And Le Prof will sign another 3 years extension to his current contract deal at Arsenal.

    If Arsenal win the FA Cup for a record thirteen times this season, that will be a big bonus for us. They’ve won it twice in the last three seasons but the Gooners are looking not to be too hungry for it as they look to want to see the Gunners go a step up further to win the PL or the CL or both this season. And I believe Arsenal will not be short in delivering to us one of the three titles they are still competing for this season. They might even deliver the treble to us at the end of this season.

  • Leon

    Menace
    “– do you honestly think that Wenger does not start each season wanting to win all the competitions?”
    Of course he does (want to win all competitions), well I should hope so anyway. But so do the managers of the other half dozen or so clubs who make up the top group.
    Wenger is unique inasmuch as he’s been at the same club for so long, and it’s difficult to make comparisons, but I get the impression that he has this deity like aura which renders him untouchable.
    He even says that he will make up his own mind when he leaves, not like some who say they hope to keep their jobs.
    I’d love to see him pull something off this season and another FA cup would balance things up nicely.

  • para

    It’s hard to watch Arsenal struggle every season with the corruption of the PGMO and refs.

    But we have to realise that Arsenal is not as big economically as Chel$, Manu and City, and until Arsenal is, we will not be able to compete with them.

    On the other hand, we used to compete in footballing terms, but now we fall short every season. It was truly embarrassing to see Leicester winning last season, really.

    We have to accept what Arsenal is, just like Watford fans have to accept what Watford is.

    Until Arsenal can change and improve again, it does look like this is where we stand. And we will have to change sooner than later as AW is getting older every day.

    Obviously Arsenal will have contingent plans laid out to get a new manager, but i cannot really see them being much different than AW, after all it’s the club that has policies and any manager/coach will have to follow them.

    Yes Arsenal is a good club, but the business is/has become making money and staying afloat rather than winning trophies.

    Is Arsenal willing to take the next step?
    Or is Arsenal content to stagnate where they are at this moment?

  • Zuruvi

    Arsenal financial statements for the year ended May 2015 showed that Arsenal sits on healthy cash balances in the bank.

    Arsenal announced a pre-tax profit of £24.7million for the year ending 31 May 2015.
    The Gunners’ latest financial results reveal that they have £228.2m in the bank.

    The above facts show that the Arsenal is a very rich club. We therefore can afford to buy the top class strikers just like Atletico Madrid, Dortmund, Juventus, etc.

    I accept we still can’t compete with Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man City, Man Utd, PSG or Chelsea who seem to have bottomless wallets.

    Our style of play and the fact that we are in London is another big attraction as to why big quality players should come to Arsenal.

    Unfortunately, we seem to every time aim to buy an average player at a cheap cost (such as El Neni who cost only £5m).

    The really great midfielders and strikers don’t normally cost just £5m in this day and age.

  • Markyb

    Don’t renew your imaginary seat then

  • I to would love to see him go out on a high too . I wonder if he has much else going on in his life, I know his relationship suffered and if he does live on his own means life without Arsenal could be pretty lonely

  • Markyb guess what I’ve got two for the Sutton game as well . Beat that

  • All that profit and the tight robbing Bastards want more . Incredible

  • Rosicky@Arsenal

    Totally agree as pointed out many times

    1)Arsenal are on the up since the last 3 seasons improving points total and league finish but Wob are deluded ignoring the improvement altogether

    2) changing managers is not the answer as proved at Liverpool United City and now Leicester who are on the verge of relegation after a highly controversial ref assisted winning season.

    3) The Pgmo are the biggest hurdle in our title challenge year in year out as proved by numerous articles and posters at PA and UA.

    Last but not the least even if we are not winners this time we are still in the top 4 and hopefully will finish in the top 4 better than many sugar daddy so called big clubs

    Enjoy your football

  • OlegYch

    great piece
    although if you take into account that PL is fixed and that most people don’t care about that, you wouldn’t expect it to change their mind

  • colario

    @ Zuruvi
    08/02/2017 at 4:43 pm
    I dare say we can afford to buy the most expensive players but but but
    the club will never be able to afford the price of the PMGOL.

  • Norman14

    Big day in parliament tomorrow as they discuss a vote of no confidence in the FA.

    How you dealing with temperature in the mid 40’s Tony? You’ve got a week of that I understand 🙁

  • nicky

    Those connected to a football club fall into two camps.
    Shareholders want financial stability, followed by sporting success.
    Fans yearn for sporting dominance at any cost.
    Arsenal Football Club is a peculiar animal to support.
    Financially and well-run, with a world-wide following, consistency in achievement has never been at the fore-front of the Club’s achievement.
    Not since the 1930s has a championship been retained. Defeats have been regularly attained in the face of victories and vice versa.
    Watching is not cheap, yet there is a perpetual waiting list of
    thousands for season tickets.
    As for Europe, the Club has a fine record of qualifying year after year to play in the CL albeit with little success.
    Why should this be?
    Even the Invincibles Year appears to have been a bit of a one-off.
    Star signings come and go.
    The Club is envied by its domestic rivals, for its overall achievement, yet being near the top of the EPL most seasons is not acceptable to many of its supporters.
    The Club has a most modern stadium and training facilities, world-class playing and coaching staff, and a long-serving and internationally acclaimed and experienced manager.
    Why are we not top of all we survey?
    I want some answers please…. 😉

  • Mac

    Tony a change in manager might not win us the premier league straight away but one thing is certain giving Wenger a new contract almost certainly wont win us the premier league again.And if you want anything close to facts and proof ,the last 13 years are as close as you can get to it..Any excuses as to why that hasnt happened have all been heard before and have worn thin with the majority of supporters and fans.I just hope wenger will do what he said he would do and that is to judge him in may!!The club has gone stale.

  • Mac

    This blog from youaremyarsenal.com hits the nail on the head for me.

    http://youaremyarsenal.com/dear-arsene-love-time-go/

  • Leon

    OT
    Referee Mike Jones missed a goalkeeper handball in the Leicester/Derby replay. Should have been a red card as it was a goal scoring opportunity

  • nicky

    @Mac,
    Your 8.58 may well be the future.
    What worries me are the alternatives.
    1. The Yanks soldier on with the present set-up. The Club is more than just solvent. Not winning, but doing pretty well financially. Well enough for the annual £3m “management fee” to be levied when they feel like it.
    2. Usmanov buys out the Yanks, becomes Chair and ploughs money in a la Abramovitch at Chelsea, in order to buy success.
    Do we become Arsenovski? 😉

  • Zedsaunt

    Another day, another howl of entitlement from the fans who have everything except the EPL title. The club is bigger than the manager, the board, the team, the fans. Disgruntled fans should move on, there’s long queues of people waiting to watch Arsenal.

    As for the ”revolt” at the Emirates, which is being parroted different places, if what we are seeing is a ”revolt’ at the Emirates, then what was the French Revolution?

    Language is the first casuality of the EPL.

    Another excellent article from Tony, thank you.

  • Leon

    Is there anybody at Arsenal capable of recognising coaching talent in the way that David Dein did?
    Gazidis, Kronke & Son are clueless, and unless Wenger picks his own successor we are well & truly fucked.

  • Mac

    Sounds good to me nicky….Bring it on.Weve been hampered too long when everyone else is doing it especially with 2 of the richest men on the plannet as major shareholders.Only one way to play with the big boys is go toe to toe

  • Polo

    ‘Experts’ said after failing to win a single Grand Slam in 5 years that Federer is done and he will never win another one, heck they even suggest he should retire, to old for the ‘modern’ game. But …….. What happened last month?

    Last season, week in week out the ‘Experts’ say Leicester won’t win the league but ……. What happened at season end?

    To suggest AW will or can’t ever win the EPL is just ridiculous and outright insulting to the great man.

    On him not wanting to ‘win’ matches that’s the most insulting thing you could throw at a person who is passionate about football. I believe AW always want to ‘win’ the match and that leave the play open to counter-attack.

    Please AW signed the contract extension.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    In an ideal world ,we ‘d all be deservedly living in posh ,palatial palaces, after having served and worked hard and diligently in our early years ;
    own many or all of our ideal dream cars and have jets and yachts parked and moored at the ready ;
    being served from head to foot by the loyal,dedicated and hard working help,
    and probably be married to beautiful, slim , supermodel types with firm and perky breasts .

    Us men will all have a full head of hair , our own teeth ,be of the right weight and of good health , and be virile enough to take care of our wives’ needs every night .

    Our well brought up kids would all be either on the way in emulating our own success by being the top students in prestigious schools and colleges ; or are already in top management posts or shareholders in a Fortune500 company ; or highly respected bosses of their own world renowned startups and companies.

    We would not be too bothered or be complaining of rising prices of goods and services or of rising Arsenal season ticket prices ! We would all be fiscally competent and would use our money and resources to maximum gain .

    We would be laughing at the stupidity of the masses for thinking that their opinions do really matter in the greater scheme in the functioning of the universe . Especially those poorly construed and wrongly spelled banners and moronic utterance on Facebook and other social media.

    Oh ,..and thinking themselves smart by voting for that really stupid leader of their country who is going to make them great again. He, he …..

    How many of the above boxes did you tick off ?

  • ClockEndRider

    Also in answer to one of the points above, to try to use the fact that Club level prices are going up by 3% is at best disingenuous. These seats already cost 2k a season. Many of these are paid fir by companies, public or private. If these are not renewed then by and large the club will ramp up its corporate activity to try to fill them.
    If they are empty, it will nothing to reduce the atmosphere as the people who sit in them are, in my experience, football tourists in any case, looking to take in the atmosphere rather than add to it.
    For clarity, regular season ticket prices are not going up.

  • Stevo

    Arsenal have finished 4th seven times, not really perennial is it.

  • Yellow Canary

    I think it’s time for a change now. Obviously changing managers doesn’t ensure success but it can rejuvenate a club. There’s a real stale atmosphere at Arsenal engendered I feel by the lack of ambition at those above Wenger. They seem more interested in profits than winning the league, if they were they’d have sacked Wenger some years back. Never in our history have we let a manager stay such a long time without winning the league and it beggars belief that it appears Wenger can pick and choose when he leaves. What employee has that privilege? Seems unique to me. Wenger has done a decent job but each year repeats itself and has done since about 2009. We can almost predict every season, the CL debacle in the first knockout round, the capitulation in the league around February or March and the usual pitiful attempt at winning the League Cup. At least we did win the FA Cup twice recently.

    None of our big rivals would be happy with a manager who can’t win the league in thirteen attempts and if Wenger does stay I can bet you the next season will be virtually the same as the previous ten or so. It’s a little tedious.

    All credit to Wenger and his amazing impact on the club but I think his time has run its course.

    @Rosicky@Arsenal, I think you’re plainly jealous at Leicester’s remarkable feat, ref-assisted indeed. One has to be careful at throwing insults at other teams, after all how can you be sure our league titles under Wenger weren’t ref-assisted? Perhaps we were the PGMOL favourites 15 years ago!

  • Leon

    Are you reading this Robert Pires? 😱

  • markyb

    Yellow Canary, I assure you we have never been the favourites of the Refs since Wenger has been here. You are a cliché muppet mate.

  • Leon

    And who was the referee on March 4th 2004. Portsmouth v Arsenal. That’s right, good old MIke Riley 😘

  • Josif

    @Leon

    If you wanted to refer to the game when Robert Pires allegedly dived to win us the penalty against Portsmouth, it was played at Highbury on 13th September 2003 and the referee was Wiley.

    Indeed, Mike Riley was in charge of our game against Portsmouth in the Invincibles season but it was in a less controversial 1:1 draw at their stadium.

  • Josif

    @Rosicky

    All your points are valid but the one about points collected. In fact, since 2013-14, Arsenal have deteriorated in terms of points (2013-14 – 79 points, 2014-15 – 75 points, 2015-16 – 71 points) while improving in more important terms of the final position (2013-14 – 4th, 2014-15 – 3rd, 2015-16 – 2nd).

  • Leon

    Josif

    I stand corrected. I always thought that happened at Portsmouth.
    Makes more sense not being Riley, why would he give us a penalty for a dive?

  • Josif

    @Leon

    Exactly. Then again, why would anyone give anyone a penalty for a dive?

    The whole incident – Stefanović’s foul on Pires – has been served as a proof that a) Arsenal have always been divers and cheaters and b) that foreign players, specifically Pires, imported the diving culture in noble English football. It is a blade attached to that xenophobic stick Arsenal have been beaten with for 13 years.

  • MickHazel

    Josif

    ‘The whole incident – Stefanović’s foul on Pires – has been served as a proof that a) Arsenal have always been divers and cheaters and b) that foreign players, specifically Pires, imported the diving culture in noble English football. It is a blade attached to that xenophobic stick Arsenal have been beaten with for 13 years.’

    Reinforced by the Eduardo incident against Celtic.
    Whenever the subject of diving comes up on the radio or TV either Pires or Eduardo are usually used as examples, never Young, Rooney, Bale or any of the other serial offenders.

  • Josif

    @MickHazel

    Exactly.

    And, if I remember well, Bale was the only player to get a five-yellow-card suspension for diving in the single season (this is totally not verified as I didn’t make a deep search).

  • Mandy Dodd

    Stan Kroenke himself said he didnt own the club to win titles, so i guess from the top, it is not rational to expect title challenges all the time.
    when wenger goes, will kroenke change? will the next manager be as consistently good as wenger in his environment?
    He will be working for an owner, who rightly or wrongly, goes for self sufficiency, does not put his own money into the club…or sponsor it, who doesnt demand winning at all costs…and keeps pretty quiet, even on the lack of a level playing field his team clearly face. he will be competing against teams owned by very different owners than Mr Kroenke , that is not a judgement, just a fact. And unless he is Eddie Howe, he will probably be competing against the pgmol

  • Mac

    I know its only gossip but the bbc gossip pages has the top tabloids linking us with some of Europes top managers.It would be crazy not to start stepping up the search for Wengers replacement.I just hope Wenger lets the board know sooner rather than later so we can prepare properly but knowing the club will leave it till last minute to find a replacement and use it as an excuse .We cant start next season like we did this with liverpool .That was an utter shambles.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/gossip

  • Leon

    It looks as though the club really are getting set for a management change.

  • 1. Cannot prepare a team for a big game, no motivational qualities
    2. First game of the season Bin dippers at Home left us totally exposed defensively
    3. Persists with players who do not perform, like Giroud last season when he went 15 games without scoring, and Ramsey this season
    4. Very poor in game tacticaly, substitutions look pre planned and often have no impact on the game
    5. Even when its obvious to all the team is desperately struggling, frozen unable to make any changes
    6. Constantly arguing with 4th Official, why exactly and to what effect no one understands
    7. Sends the team out in same formation regardless of the opposition
    8. Regularly humiliated by ‘rivals’ 6-0 at Chelsea, 8-2 at Man U etc etc.
    9. Awful in Europe (6 years in a row knocked out in last 16, probably 7)
    10. No longer has midas touch for finding players, other clubs now get the best from France e.g. Kante

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