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August 2021

We will get better

By Walter Broeckx

I’m not going to say I liked the game or the result against Liverpool.  But I’m not prepared to go over the top and do what some others will do.

In an article a few weeks ago I told we would suffer if Fabregas would leave and we are suffering. Losing the best midfielder in the world would be a big loss for any team.  Now people can say Wenger should have bought someone to replace him. But how can you replace the best midfielder in the world? It will always be a big responsibility for any player who would have to do this.

The player that would come will always be compared to him and this is something we should not do. There will be no new Cesc unless he comes back one day. And the price to buy a replacement for Cesc in a market where we have to compete against City and Chelsea is very difficult.  Names are circulating but we will just have to wait and see what will happen.

And let us not forget we have a player in our squad who can become on e of the best players in England and maybe the world. But Jack Wilshere is a different  player then Cesc was and then we got the little problem that he has been injured a few weeks. But that with Jack wilshere back in the team our creativity will become better is something I’m very sure of.  So hoping for Jack to be fit in the next days.

The team we played today was not our strongest possible team. When you start in the EPL with 2 players to make their first start in the EPL this is already something that not happens every day. And when you have to bring on another player who has never played in the EPL it gets even weirder. And then to bring on a 4th player who also has never started a game in the EPL. Well I think this is something that never happened before in our history. Did it ever happen in the era of the EPL?

At the start of the game we had the following players not available because of injury and suspension:   Gibbs, Traore, Djourou, Rosicky, Diaby, Wilshere, Song and Gervinho.  8 players if I can still count. Not saying all 8 of them are first choice in every game but I think at least 4 would be first choice if fit. And I haven’t included Diaby in those 4.

The injury to Koscielny was another big blow and we then saw Miquel making his debut in the EPL. I thought he didn’t do too bad. In fact I think he did what could be expected from a young man making his first appearance in a team that has already been hit hard by injuries. And he was very unlucky with the first Liverpool goal. His attempted clearance hit Ramsey and then flew in the goal. Bad luck Ignasi but I think you will get stronger from this.

Just look at Jenkinson the other player to make his EPL debut in the starting 11. He made a terrible own goal at Cologne but he is doing a good job as a second choice right back. At the end of the game he also was a bit injured but I think it was only some cramps.

And then our other new boy at the start of his first EPL game for Arsenal. I think Frimpong has a great future ahead of him.  I must say I was amazed, or no better said not that amazed in fact, when he got his first yellow card. I have never seen a ref give a yellow card for this. A player thinks the ball has gone out for his team to take the throw. The Liverpool player obviously didn’t want to give the ball as it was a Liverpool throw.

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Those things happen in a game and like I said there is no need to give a yellow card for this.  Nothing really happened. Nobody threw away the ball. A few words were said but there was no need for the ref to do what he did. Certainly if you are a clever ref and you know (as you should know as a ref when you prepare for the game) that you have a player(s) on the field who are making their debut. Then you can call them over and say: look at the linesman next time before you clam the ball and calm down a bit. But no the ref didn’t act like that but chose to hand out cards. I noticed later in the game that when some Liverpool players protested a decision against him with waving hands and arms he kept the cards in his pocket.

About the second yellow card one can only say that he came late and it was a deserved yellow card.  From then on we began to collapse. And this should be read as a great compliment for Frimpong. This means that he was essential in our game. I was very impressed overall by his performance and when he had to go the balance in the team got lost. Lansbury is a different type of player and he had to play in a role that didn’t suit him. But then again one cannot blame him for this.

I know we didn’t play great. I know we are still looking for a new balance in the team after Cesc has gone. So when then you have to play with many players out and then lose even the players who have been performing rather good it was a bridge too far.

We can only hope that our injured players are fit again soon. And that from now on our players keep themselves under control a bit more. Even when the refs are clearly out there to screw you. We just should try to avoid that they can do what they are doing. I know this is very difficult at times and certainly when you are still young and inexperienced. But it will not help us in any way to get bookings and red cards when we are already down to the bone.

So I can understand many fans being disappointed after the game.  I was also disappointed. But we played a team that had spend a lot of money. They were almost complete. We missed a lot of players. So when they come back we will only get better and stronger. Surely the bad luck cannot with injuries cannot continue for ever….

44 comments to We will get better

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh god, I better not write that I hope players get better as Jack had a setback…

  • Matthew

    A selling club…..a club that cannot fend off offers for it’s best players. A club with a board that are delighted with the current FINANCIAL position. A club that is happy with 3 out of 4 seasons in the champions league (Gazidis words, not mine). A club that will be fighting for 5 spot each season due to the small size of the squad, insufficient expieirnce, frail injury prone players and a lack of required investment. This is our lot. Get used to it

  • Chowdhury

    Walter I fully agree with you. It is only the 2nd game of the season in our post ‘Cesc’ era. But like you, I saw sings that keeps me hopeful. If Frimpong plays every game the way he played against Liverpool, I reckon we got a diamond on the rough here. And who else better to shine off the edges than the Le Boss himself? Houston, our one and only Alex Song has got competition, Roger.

  • buky

    well said mathew

  • JohnW

    The moment we get our first win in the EPL, we will ride the momentum. So, I’m actually not worried a bit. My prayer is that Lansbury, Afobe and Cochelin get integrated in the team this season, don’t send them out Arsene. With one or two signings and these players, we can challenge this season.

  • Chowdhury

    @Matthew –> Yeah mate, we are fine with it. As long as Arsenal plays the brand of football which keeps some bloke stay up at 2 AM in the morning some place half way across the globe so he can savour the pleasure the “beautiful game” brings, you won’t hear us moaning.
    As for people whose only form of measurement comes via a yardstick and usually translates into some numeric, its these people who needs to “get used” to it.
    You see these folks got it wrong to begin with. They missed the whole philosophy that is “Arsenal”. Now these people either need to get used to it or just simply vanish off.
    I heard city is offering free food to the “New” Supporters. Just a thought. 🙂

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I share your optimism ,Walter.It hasn’t been a good start to the season with the injuries,suspensions and departures but as AW uses the youngsters ,I hope they will be a breath of fresh air to the team and use this chance to stake a claim for a first team place.
    A midfield of Frimpong , Wilshire and Song plus one winger( Ryo
    or Gervinho) whets my imagination .Go Gunners !

  • nicky

    Of course we will get better. Arsenal’s history tells us that. We have always plucked success out of failure. Unfortunately we
    have also done the other thing but we won’t talk about that.
    What I can see happening is that after tonight’s game, our immediate horizon will be clear. Either the CL or the Europa League. We will then know how to handle the remainder of the transfer Window. If the targets we want don’t want us, we will still soldier on, regardless. Our young bloods will relish the chance to strut their stuff and move up a peg or two into the first team. FORWARD is the name on the shirt.
    The only “fly in the ointment” will be the fainthearted among the fans, who simply won’t accept the situation and will start an anti-Wenger,anti-Board, anti-Arsenal campaign which will only unsettle everyone and achieve nothing.
    It will then be necessary for all the true supporters to stand together and maintain 100% backing of the Club, Board, Manager and playing staff. With that following, success is assured.

  • WalterBroeckx

    I think the only club that can fend off offers from other clubs in the world is Barcelona.
    All the best players in the world have been sold at one moment in their career. Kaka, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho….at the end their club couldn’t hold on to them.
    It is (sad?) part of the game but it happens all the time. When we go out and buy the best players of another club in the next days those clubs will feel the same and maybe their supporters will say the same.

    I rather enjoy watching Frimpong then a player who might be better now but who is not with his heart in it. The only exception I would make is for Cesc. As I never would have let him go. But that is just my opinion.

  • Ed


    i sure hope we get better. i think we hve missed jack quite alot. even last season, he seemd to be playing every game and even if cesc or nasri were missing, we would do ok with him in the team. lets see when he can get back with us.

    I dont think our performances have been so bad… we have had 3 tough games Newcastle Away, Udinese (who are a good team as proven by being in the champions league), and Liverpool. At the end, we have a point, we have the lead, and we lost in unlucky circumstances but we have also got some young players to prove their worth (frimpong certainly looks like he can do a job).

    Lets get into the Champions League, Get some new players in and we should be fine! Even if we lose against Man Utd this weekend, its actually only 1 point less than the same 3 games we had last season…

  • Hadley

    Calling True Arsenal Supporters!

    Sign the Petition, ‘Back Wenger, Support Arsenal’

    We need to stand together behind our manager and our club and stop these vicious and unwaranted attacks.
    If you’re a true SUPPORTER stand up and be counted and make your voice heard. The club is suffering and needs our support more than ever now in this difficult time. Sign and show your true support.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    Re: Barca, for the Catalans in the squad that’s almost certainly true. I would assume we are working on something similar; eleven gooners on the pitch, fifty thousand in the stands…
    It’s interesting to see the differing reactions on twitter to the departures of Cesc and Nasri, from our own players. If only Nasri had always dreamed of playing for Manchester City…

    And Frimpong is exactly the sort of player that our club needs, he might not be the best passer of the ball but he won’t give it away cheaply like a lot of English players and the opposition will know they’ve been in a midfield battle with him.

  • Woolwich Peripatetic

    It would do our title chances more good if we sent out a reserve XI with orders to “tackle Rooney with extreme prejudice” for instance. If we decide we can’t win then perhaps gifting ManUre a pyrrhic victory would be better in the long run.

    Of course we won’t do that as we are the Arsenal and we play the game the right way. It’s a shame other teams won’t or can’t.

  • finsbury

    I have no doubt this new look Arsenal team will get better.
    We are still awaiting competitive debuts from a few new signings. Players promoted will grow in confidence as have others when they’ve made the step up. And there could even be, shock horror, a signing or two. After all AFC never sign players, like that Koscielny fellow, or even Vermaelan or Sagna. Can’t remember where they got RVP from. Oh, I do! The same massive dutch club where Ryo went on loan last year and became a star.

    Veering off thread, I listened to an interview with the shockingly intersting football plundit Phillipe Auclair once. He said that although the french football clubs were producing a lot of talent, that football agents had eaten up the league from the inside out. The last French team to win a major trophy were Marseille?
    I didn’t know Nasri’s agent was an old pal of Arsene’s old sparring partner, Bernard Tapie.

    ‘Bernes was the right-hand man to Marseille president Bernard Tapie during France’s biggest football scandal. The pair were found guilty of attempting to fix a Ligue 1 match against Valenciennes in May 1993, in the week before Marseille beat AC Milan in the Champions League final’

    Read more:

  • Byron


    I tell you what though i thought we started building a young team 6 years back? Year one again until they get some experience and get sold.

    I still support us just like Everton still has it supporters but the truth is as the squad stands there is not a snow balls chance in hell of us winning the league. Lets be real.

    Lets support and get behind the boys and Arsene but lower expectations we are a top 6 club not a top 2 that,s all. There are worse things in life than to support a good team

  • WalterBroeckx

    the fact that Boro Primorac (on of our assistent managers) was the guy that brought the whole match fixing scandal above water and who was thus responsible for Bernes and Tapie to be shown as the despicable persons they are makes me and maybe you wonder.
    And for sending them to jail in fact.

    Let me say that Nasri is hanging around with well not the best of persons to hang around a bit.

    Come to think of it… which was the team that won most points last season from dodgy referee “mistakes”?? City… hmmm Bernes will feel good over there I think…

  • WalterBroeckx

    Frimpong on twitter is worth his money. Jack clearly is a big diplomat. But Frimpong just says what is on his mind. It will make him a bit popular amongst the fans I think. 🙂

  • Byron

    It does make him very popular indeed. Tonight I would go with him and song and protect our lead. Just a quote we have all read 100 times but just some substance to my earlier post

    “Imagine the worst situation – we lose Fabregas and Nasri. You cannot convince people you are ambitious after that. You can’t then pretend you are a big club because a big club holds on to its best players and gives a message to all the other big clubs that they can’t come in and take our players.” – Arsene Wenger

  • franko

    Re- petition.Well done.One has to wonder about the chaps at Le-grove.Yes by all means criticise Wenger,but to show him so much disrespect by comparing him to ‘comical ali’ is just so sad.
    Same with Myles palmer who seems to have a personal vendetta against Wenger.

    Good luck to Arsene and the boys.

  • menace

    Another quality article Walter.

    The issue that is not so visible is the role of Agents. They have a greed culture far worse than is imaginable. The sad part is they represent less commercially intelligent (not all but most) people – footballers . This allows them to influence vast sums of money. The money I am referring to is that which is invested in the buying and selling club and it employees. This is an area that needs research and exposure.
    The initial booking of Frimpong is still making my blood boil. It was so unnecessary. The referee was completely out of order considering he is now a professional (unless he had an ulterior motive).

    The PGMOL are a monopoly on providing referees and need competiotion. Piers Morgan – an opportunity for you to set up a business!! Somebody tweet him please.

    I loved the way Piers dealt with his accuser (of being gay) in the Celebrity American Apprentice. It was such a beautiful example of intelligent British humour. Do watch it if you want a good laugh.

  • bob

    Walter, Finsbury,
    It’ll be interesting if it comes out in the wash that Sami Nasri is privately owned by some “outside interests” that his agent is in bed with. Now I do not know this. But, look at yesterday’s Guardian for a major article on how many different outside interests, with criminal records, have owned or currently contest their actual ownership of ManShitty’s highest-paid man Teves. Do you think that kind of money can come with clean hands on the attached strings? And, as Tony brought up as a hypothesis the other day, our dear and departed x-Cesc Fabregas is also partly “held” by private interests. As for the agents burrowing from the inside and gutting French football with foreign sales, I would say, from more limited sample, that Dein the Lesser is up to the same thing with his Arsenal clients, starting but not ending with Cesc. My fears are that Dein the Lesser is also our Captain’s agent, and if we don’t pay this extortion-meister the king’s ransom, that we shall be facing another x-Cesc moment with our RvP next summer. The media’s next feeding frenzy. It’s time we analyzed what’s going on without naivetee – we’re not dealing with your grand dad’s football.

  • goonergerry

    I actually hope you are right-but I don’t think you are for one minute- Arsenal are in trouble- in free fall in fact. The free fall can be reversed-but not with the wages structure the club are welded to. The current Board are in effect asset stripping- trading our best players for cash and either not replacing or replacing them with significantly inferior players at best. It is clear that profits come before anything on a football field.
    A successful club has to be more than a supplier of its best players to a rival to be taken seriously.

    We are not going to be fighting for fifth place- but for premiership survival. Yes I believe that objectively we have less strength than West Ham or Birmingham had last year in their squads. It simply beggars belief that people on this site believe that Arsenal are going to remain competitive with this staggeringly depleted squad. I suggest that Arsenal will currently struggle to defeat any mid table side home or away. Why do I think that? Because I watched the last 14 games we have played including comprehensive defeats by Bolton, Aston Villa and Stoke and now Liverpool I don’t see grounds for optimism. It is just too easy to think the team will achieve results just because you want them to.

  • bob

    Is there a link to a video, etc. of the P. Morgan incident you just referred to? cheers for that.

  • bob

    IF you’re right about asset-stripping by the board, then my prediction is that Arsene is not a party to it, and that he will leave or be forced out. There are rumors flying now about his “tensions” with the board. And perhaps that’s the realization of our fears about Silent Stan. And perhaps that’s why he was overruled in his public stance that we, as a big club, would not allow Nasri to walk. Etc. Although we can’t, as yet know, it’s at least well worth watching whether Arsene is being put being the rock of a board majority doing asset-stripping and the hard place of his enemies in the media and football/business world who wish to take him down. I don’t wish to overly romanticize him; but I think there is a lot more than has met the eye behind the current shit storm that has been surrounding/targeting him personally. And perhaps, just perhaps, the asset-stripping project – abetted by the greed of Dein the Lesser and agents of his ilk – is what is going on. Too much of it cannot be explained by other theories. However, with a week to go in the transfer window, we shall have more evidence to chew on and better hypotheses to opine on.

  • bob

    p.s. sorry, meant (above) arsene being put BETWEEN the rock of an asset-stripping group…and the hard place of those who want to take him down.

  • @Byron,
    Lowered expectations would be a good thing all round. It’s interesting that the way the Invincibles played has been carried on by the youth teams but not by the first team. The more youth team players we bring through, the more Invincible-esque our play will be.

  • Stevie E

    I love all this talk about selling and not replacing, it seems to be the latest stick which people like to hit Arsenal & Arsene with. So Cesc & Nasri have gone and have yet to be replaced. Who do you think they replaced? Did you think they’d be good enough when they first joined? There are players already in our ranks good enough to step into their shoes as has been Arsenes way since he’s been at the club. If after 15 years you can’t see that, I honestly hold out no hope for you.

    Maybe we should call you GonerGerry, relegated now is it? Absurd comments, in those last 14 games didn’t you see us beat the champions?

  • @bob,
    I think we’ve seen that where a player wants to come to Arsenal, we have no problems engineering a transfer. In some ways that might have worked against us with players coming in to play in the CL and get themselves in the shop window as it were. When we go out and try to buy a player who cares less about where he ends up, we invariably fail.
    Gervinho was only ever coming to Arsenal, the Ox likewise. Ramsey was an interesting one, I wonder if Wenger told him that in three years he’d have sold Cesc and the midfield playmaker’s spot was his?

    Better that we have eleven gooners on the pitch than a bunch of mercenaries…

  • Stevie E

    @Woolwich Peripatic
    Agreed, and we’ve also seen that, no matter how much we’re reported to want a player (Mata for example), if he doesn’t want to come to us there’s nothing the manager or board can do about it, especially when you consider how convincing Romans chequebook can be.

  • Stevie E

    Sorry Peripatetic (I’ve always been rubbish at spelling 🙂 )

  • @Stevie E,
    No worries, it’s a name I stole back from some Riot-baked HotSpuds.

    Anyone care to comment on the validity of the latest Hazard rumour; namely that we wants to see if we can beat Udinese without him before even considering a move to our club.

  • Byron

    @Woolwich Peripatetic

    I agree that we need to have some Arsenal pride on the pitch. Jack has it, Frimpong definitely has it and a couple of Mercenaries at a time is fine if the rest are committed.

    The problem is we have had too many mercenaries before and hope we don’t do it again. Hazard has said he wants to play at Barca, so why buy him? This is just an illustration of your point.

  • bob

    @Woolwich Peripatetic,
    It’s true what you say about mutuality being a key to signings, but how much can we know in advance. (Without disagreeing, what are your thoughts on Chamakh, who also wanted to be with us and not move on but, alas…the enigma.) But, also, there’s no way to see into anyone’s heart of hearts, including our own oftentimes, to know whether they are really wanting to use AFC as a stepping stone for when they are ready to leave. (Especially when agents like Dein the Lesser are, it appears, hell-bent [Iago-like] to define the young player’s “true interests” (you know it’s us against the world, kid). It’s all a risk, really; and I don’t think what starts as mutuality can ever be transparent enough to be a predictable quantity (or quality).

  • Byron

    @ Walter & Tony

    Sorry off topic entirely but please help the ignorant among us out. You’re the only bloggers who I trust to know.

    1)How much of the Profits is Stan entitled to(is there a limit)? Can he strip the club like Bob suggests? He is a businessman so he has to want profits.

    2)What is the economic benefit in owning a football club unless it makes profits?( I am thinking chelsea, Man C and now PSG and Malaga)Is it a way to launder money,tax dodge?

  • @Byron,
    Previously Hazard had said the only clubs he would consider were us and Real Madrid. Neither of the big Spanish two appear to have bid for him.
    To answer your questions:
    1) Silent Stan is entitled, if he can convince the board to do so, to issue dividends at roughly total profits/total number of shares in circulation, so it works out to roughly his shareholding in the club, less tax.
    2)None, unless you are running a “talent show” or not-for-sporting purposes organisation. The presence of people in football for whom money is less important than prestige makes the idea of running a football club for profit to be unworkable. To merely break even is to do very well in football.

  • Cape Gooner

    We are not going to be fighting for fifth place- but for premiership survival.

    I find myself in agreement with goonergerry. In our last 13 games we have earned 13 points – that is relegation performance. We have been very unlucky. Even in the match we won against ManU, we were unlucky with the officials not seeing the Vidic handball. Our bad luck has continued this season. If we continue to be this unlucky, we will be relegated. Last season’s match against Newcastle demonstrated how being unlucky can mean you concede four goals in less than half an hour. I’m just glad that lady luck turned at that point so we didn’t lose 5 – 4.

  • Stevie E

    @Cape Gooner
    Relegation performance yet we finished 4th… That means in the previous 25 games we must have been championship winning performace? Why do people always have to look on the negatives?

  • steww

    Can I just say, I made from very shouty comments on this blog about the standard of contributions and the encroaching moronic doom laden idiocy of some of the posters.
    With the obvious and comical exception, what I’ve read here today has been some of the best written and most considered reader contributions of any sports blog. Thank you to those who have taken part, you’ve restored my faith in Untold.

  • Dark Prince

    We will get better….but not this year or year after that..maybe after 3-4yrs. Bcoz the level we had reached when we played against Barca few months back cant be achieved immediately….it will take 3-4yrs to reach that level again…thats the hard bitter truth

  • No39Gonner

    Please Walter cheer me up.

  • Rhys Jaggar

    The run of fixtures after the Utd game is relatively benign, if anything is in the EPL these days. It’s why I said, the day the fixtures came out, that conspiracy theorists/mischief makers would target a sacking after the Utd game to give any new manager a ‘dead cat bounce’. I never said I was of the opinion that that should happen, in fact much of the media talk may simply be to push Arsenal odds way out for various tournaments so the gamblers can get on at, say, 16-1 for the title and then green out at 8-1 after 8 games. There’s more of that in football than you might wish for, particularly after hearing that Fenehrbahce have been thrown out of the Champions League for match fixing tonight……

    Mr Broeckx, the reason Jack Wilshere has ‘had a setback’ is because I tartly expressed opinions about Luka Modric being unable to get up for a Man Utd tie (I’d sure be delighted to retain a £50k a week contract going on strike under contract) and suggested sarcastically that I hoped there were no Arsenal players like minded, as worthy Champions should have to play the best teams of all opponents……….within hours of me expressing such opinions, Wilshere is out for a few weeks more. Coincidence or not, you’re not the only one thinking you can put the jinx on Arsenal players…….

  • Jas777


    Silent Stan can do pretty much what he wants now including selling his shares if he needs/wants to. I would imagine if he is to take a dividend it would be next season not this.

    Why own a football club? Because you can, makes you feel good, where you come from it is the number 1 sport and have many fans there, you love the game and always wanted to own a team

    or the other reason is for a capital gain, profits/dividend if any.

    I don’t know about others but I am worried that Silent Stan may turn out to be a wolf in sheep’s clothing. And remember Arsenal will always come second fiddle to ST Loius Rams, Denver Nuggets and those are mid table so so teams in their respective sports leagues in the US.

  • walter

    NO39 Gunner, I leave that to the players now 😉

  • Pat

    Jas777, if you are right about Silent Stan – and you very well may be – then Arsenal fans are even luckier that we have a manager like Arsene Wenger who, with his scouting and coaching team, can pick young players and then train them to become excellent footballers, and who believes in the team, team spirit and solidarity.