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This is Arsenal, anything can happen

By Walter Broeckx

After the bad result on Saturday we get the same old comments from time to time on Untold and you can read them on other social network sites about Arsenal.

People blame Wenger for losing the game, for not having bought enough, for playing with the handbrake one, for every thing.

Now if we look at buying first. If we look at who was not available for this game we have Sczesny, Fabianski. Our numer 1 and 2 goalkeepers.  We have Sagna our first choice right back for many seasons now. We had Koscielny out, last season named as our best defender. We had Gibbs out; one of this seasons revelations for me.

In midfield we didn’t have Diaby and Rosicky. Diaby has shown his class earlier on in this season and his first injury came when playing for France.  And anyone who doubts Rosicky hasn’t seen football in the past 10 years. I might remind you that Rosicky got a small injury at the end of last season and then his national team turned him in to a complete wreck. You can also count Frimpong in if you want.

And of course Jack Wilshere. But it was clear from the start of the game that only if we would have a comfortable lead we would use him.

And in attack we didn’t have Walcott who was the victim of yet another international injury. A bit the Robin Van Persie story one could say. And according to the stats Walcott is the player with the most goal/assists for Arsenal this season.

Now if I still can count correct these are 9 players(I didn’t count Jack in and the link can give you some insight) who were not available before the start of the game. And apart from Gibbs and Frimpong all are full internationals for their country.

Ah but Wenger should have foreseen this and should have bought more players. Okay what kind of players? Because they must be good so they must be full internationals. If you know any names of full internationals who want to join Arsenal to come and sit on the bench be my guest but I don’t think you will find that many.

You cannot have 3 full teams of internationals at your disposal. Have you heard of the 25 squad rule?  So the players who were left had to play. In fact the inclusion of Jack and Gnabry on the bench should have made the alarm bells ringing. A player who is not match fit on the bench is not a good sign. And a 17 year old on the bench who has never played in the PL is a sign of two things. One: that we are short of players (just look at the list and you understand). Two: that he must have some talent and hopefully will be given a chance in the next weeks.

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So the players on the field who all had been playing two games for their country had to deliver the goods. And some looked tired. Is it a wonder that the two players who looked best were Arteta and Jenkinson? Both who had been at Arsenal in the past 2 weeks.

Another thing I read is that Wenger is responsible for us playing with the handbrake on. Is there really anyone out there who thinks that Wenger starts his game talk with saying: Now look guys today we will play with the handbrake on. Those things just happen. I think that not being fresh enough or running out of steam will have more to do with playing with the handbrake on than the manager saying so. And I am willing to bet a few £ on the fact that Wenger will not tell his players to take it easy before the game.

And if you point at that they say: but he is the one that should motivate the players more. You can motivate the players all you want but if the players don’t have the legs to run there is nothing you can do. Expect rotate the team. But then we come back to the missing players. And to the 25 man squad. Take 9 men away from the 25 squad and you have 16 left.  So the tired players have to play.

But this is typical Arsenal (and of course Arsène Wenger) for Arsenal to play with the handbrake on they say. He can’t fix it so he has to go. I say this is typical for ANY football club. Or do you really think that it only happens at Arsenal?

Do you really think all other teams play for the full 100% in each game? Let me tell you I really doubt it. Do you really think that when we beat Southampton with 6-1 they played for the full 100%? Maybe they did but it wasn’t good enough to stop us. But we can assume that they had a bad day at the office that day. Just as we had last Saturday.

Except that we call it playing with the handbrake on. Maybe because we know we can be better. Maybe because we expect Arsenal to play better. Yes we have such days. But other teams also have those days. But then we don’t notice it. And we don’t care. But believe me it happens to all the teams every now and then. Even without injuries. Even without having 9 players out.

It just can happen on any day and maybe most when you don’t expect it to happen. That is why football is so popular. Because some things are unpredictable.

And as one of our oldest readers just told us the other day: this is typical for Arsenal in fact. Having a bad day against a team that has never won a game in the season. He has been following Arsenal for a longer period than I am alive. I think he has been a Gooner for twice the years that I have been following Arsenal and when he says it is something that happened all the time during his time as a Gooner who am I to contradict him.

So it just was another game in the history of our football club. A bad game and a bad result. But nothing is sure in football and in our existence on earth. Saying it only happens to Arsenal is ridiculous. I don’t like it when it happens and I was very upset with it. But that is the way it is. And who knows maybe next game the boys will be up to it, fit for the game and give us a magnificent game of football.

Remember this is football, this is Arsenal. Anything can happen.

By the way: Happy birthday Arsène.

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61 comments to This is Arsenal, anything can happen

  • Chris Barton

    Sorry to say it as its commonly used on other sites and forums etc but…

    1. The other big clubs manage with both international games, with benching top class players and with injury’s through the season.

    2. The report would carry more weight if this was the first season where this pattern was apparent. unfortunately it has been a re occurring theme for a few years now, even with totally different players.

    3. 12 Points from 8 games tells its own story, take out the goals for and against from the saints game and our GD is +2.

    Your correct anything can happen but if I were a betting man I’d be looking to place money on the most probable things and to me that looks like another mediocre season.

  • Bradster

    Besides your point on regularly injured players that we all knew were out from the start of the season and our medical team so crap that everyone has a set back. The team out there was bar Gibbs, the same team we had against West Ham.

    Other teams have more internationals that play 90 mins not like ours that sit on the bench but our players are tired from Internationals and they seem to be able to earn their salary for 90 mins.

    True it’s a bad game and not the end of the world but if not Wenger, who should shake these guys up to try do better. Other teams will get a rollocking from their manager and really give it a go the second half. There was no change in attitude.
    Is 4-4-2 with Mert up front really a game changing plan?

  • It’s fine to be pro-Wenger just as it is to be anti-Wenger in my view.

    What we all have to do though is stop with the excuses. We didn’t lose to Norwich because of the players out injured.

    The players out that you have mentioned are hardly the kind of players that have proven to be winners – they make little difference when they play. From time to time the team just go out and play in a malaise. It’s a fact, and it is happening more regularly over the last 2-3 years.

    As far as the injuries go – YES Wenger should have foreseen them! Diaby? Rosicky? Sagna? Walcott? Gibbs? Frimpong ? Wilshere ? These players have a history of being injured again and again or have been out for a long time. To be in a position where if they get injured our club can’t compete properly with Norwich City is a bad joke and IS Wenger’s fault.

    No amount of spin will change that fact.

  • nicky

    When you talk refer to players being tired and not being able to give 100% during a game, reminds me of the number of comments I read by Gooners and others, complaining that players should only need 24 hours rest in order to regain full fitness.
    Any coach of an EPL squad will tell you that the modern top class professional footballer is very much like a top class racehorse. Unless at their fittest, with no little niggles and in the right frame of mind, they cannot give of their best.
    Those of us who played the amateur game and regularly ignored minor injuries in order to get a game, have no real idea of the enormous gap between the fitness levels, mental and physical, between the paid and unpaid ranks of the game.
    It is only when we read of the extreme care that is being taken over the return of Wilshere, that we can understand the high degree of rehabilitation required after a longterm injury. Similarly a cautious return is on the cards for Diaby after a minor niggling thigh strain, but which appears to take ages to cure.

  • Thorough

    I’ve never posted here but I staunchly believe we shouldn’t go to the extreme to defend Wenger. He gets praised when the team does well, why should it not be vice versa? And the moaners actually have cogent reasons to think Wenger is past it. 1. Having hope against hope on perpetually injured players which jayramfootball does justice to above. Will a top team be logical to pin its hope on Jack (away for 14months), Diaby (a name synonymous with injury), Sagna (two leg breaks in a season), Schezny (our undoubted first choice who clownishly happens to be rated the 17th Goalkeeper according to OPTA n we know why), Rosicky (least said soonest mended), et al? 2. VP carried us last year and we were lucky with it. Should we be right to think a misfiring Giroud will save our season. When Mancity needed a goal they brought in Dzako and got 2goals, when Arsenal needed a goal we didn’t even have a striker to bring on. 3. If there was a team that shouldn’t be affected with international break it is undoubtedly Arsenal as only about 3 or 4 of the starters actually played the 2 matches. Let’s start from Back: Mannone (was at home), Jenkinson (at home), Santos (at home), Per (played), Verm(played), Arteta (at home), Ramsey (ineligible for 2nd welsh game cos of card and had the usual one week break needed for even lazy footballers to recuperate), Cazorla (played), Gervinho (same as Ramsey), Podolski and Giroud (played about ten minutes each in the second game). So out of 11 we had Per, Verm and Cazorla as the tired ones, why should we then say our team is tired? And btw our last post-interlull game was the 6-1 whitewashing of Sotton. Until Wenger gets a world class keeper and a world class striker at the least we are going nowhere. And considering that the team has the same set of frailties in the face of changing players, BoD et al, shouldn’t it be ebough reason to think the problem lies with the only constant over this period – Wenger? I rest my case.

  • Adam

    You mentioned internationals Walter; The prem has the highest percentage of international players 76% of players are internationals so every time we get a international break 3 quarters of our top flight is involved. when you look directly at Norwich 60% internationals and Arsenal 94% international players, You can understand how this may affect a team. Just some food for thought.

  • @nicky
    Can you explain why the Chelsea, Utd and City players were not so tired that they could put in winning performances?

    Sooner or later the excuses have to stop.

  • Adam

    When you think who scored Norwich’s goal. A non international player (Holt) who was quicker than the defenders surrounding him to pounce on a keepers mis-judgement.

  • iwasthere

    Walter – Injuries or not Arsenal’s 25 man squad consists of only 23 players – including Squillaci, Chamakh, Arshavin and Eastmond. At least 3 of those are a waste of a place and Arshavin is really neither here nor there. This is NOT something that is one of those things, it is the result of poor decision making and poor execution of plans. Come January, there could / should in theory be place for 5 or 6 new players. But of course we all know how difficult it is to recruit quality players in January let alone ones that could command a place in the team or first team match day squad.
    Also the squad does NOT include Jenkinson, Wilshere, Coquelin, or Frimpong.
    On Saturday’s performance – everything you say would be accepetable and understandable if it was a one-off, if we’d never over the last few years had such a performance. But the reality is that these last years have seen many, many more of this lazy, slow and ponderous labouring….. Why? I ask you to look at the trend and the common thread. The players may change, may come and go, but the “fish stinks from the head”……. Until that changes, expect more of the same interspersed with the occasional times where we turn up, fight our corner ands EARN the right to play, (examples Man City and Liverpool away) and those where teams just roll over (Southampton).

  • Nchem

    For christ sake….we were playin against Norwich not barcelona or realmadrid… many of there players can get into our second eleven?

  • Adam

    jayramfootball, Im not defending Arsenals loss at the weekend, it was a shite display and they should be upset about it, im dreading Shalke.
    Man utd were at home to a side that always gives them an easy ride, Chelsea and Tottenham faced the same issue, a large amount of their squads travelling for internationals so fatigue rates are similar, WBA Vs Man City was a trend buckler and not many teams will turn WBA over at the Hawthorns. But on average Arsenal faced a side with many a rested player more so than the other sides you mentioned. Just food for thought.

  • Buzur@safana

    To me this blog is to protect wenger which I believe is impossible in fact he needs to be convicted for deceiving arsenal fans all over the world. Every day we had a set back, he comes out making useless and deceptive comments. We need pep to replace him

  • Gunner6

    I think the author also failed to mention the style Arsenal plays in. It works if it is well drilled and oiled. That is why Arsenal always suffer most from international break. It is something we have to endure/accept/live with as long as Wenger is in the helm.

    For once, this team has suitable back up when everyone is fit. Players can come in and out. But this week we have seen more than one or two injured.

    I believe we will turn in a professional performance against Schalke. It won’t be vintage. It will the against QPR that we will return back to pre-international break form. Arsenal usually takes a game or two to return to where they are.

    Keep the faith. And no, I am no AKB.


  • Stuart

    Chris Barton,
    I would point you to the link Walter supplied in this article ref your comments on other teams managing through International periods.

    Our injury list shows up as 8 first teamers compared to Chelseas 0 (yes, zero!)

    Please tell me what Wenger can do to prepare for this as it has happened every year.

  • Walter


    look at the link. Double the injuries.

    Chelsea had zero injuries before the game. So they can rotate as much as they want and with the fact that money is no issue for them they can have 25 highly paid people on their books.

    United is used to get the points from Stoke at Old Trafford so that was not a problem.

    And City despite having only 2 first team players out with injuries had to rely heavily on their rich bench to avoid defeat.

  • Walter

    And when I wrote the article it had 9 on the injury list by the way

  • jayramfootball at 11.26am, and Nchem at 11.53am
    with just 5 lines of text between them have said pretty much all that needs to have been said as per the Norwich result and this post, as far as I’m concerned.

    Nice summary, chaps.

  • ARSENAL 13

    “If you know any names of full internationals who want to join Arsenal to come and sit on the bench”

    People saying BUY BUY BUY….should answer this first.

    AND I dont see any excuses this time. Wenger said we were poor, Arteta said so, AND most of us felt so. We were poor. We could have moved up the table and we failed to do so. Now we have Schalke game tomorrow. AND we should stop the autopsy and stand behind the team.

    We point our fingers at the board, Mr Wenger and the team. But what about us.

  • ozed

    Well i saw the game. i agree with you that it was a terrible day at the office. I don’t think Wenger should go or anything extreme like that. However, i just worry how come other teams like Man U, City, Chelsea and even Spurs can still find some energy after the international break to win in spite of difficult game, whereas we who had arguably the ‘easiest’ of these games could only lose and worse still could create no chances worthy of note through out the game.

  • Chris Barton


    I take your point although, it would be more valid if it were not a re-occurring theme season to season.

    We had 2 goal keepers out so take the actual possibilities down to 8, Kos, whilst he was our best CB last season probably would have not played… 7 Rosicky, Sagna, Diabi, Frimpong and Wilshire are long term absentees and cant yet be considered first team regulars this season so that’s 2 real considerations Walcott (who is clearly not in AW plans) & Gibbs who is a bit miss admittedly.

    If you think that going into a season with 4 or 5 long term injury’s to your first 11 without proper cover is sensible then fair play but when you look at the players we looked at this summer (Vertongen/M’Vila etc.) and the injures we have now, I think we too a gamble (again) and its backfired (again).

    As for Chelsea and City’s wage bills and spends, in Arsenal you are talking about one of the most profitable clubs in the world with one of the most squandered wage bills, at least the other clubs get a return from the high earners.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Agree with you on international injuries. But I think some players should be seriously considering whether they should be playing internationals for the sake of their careers, and I would certainly put diaby and rosicky in this category, although from what I have heard, rosicky is considering his retirement from internationals?

  • nicky

    You are missing my point. All I was doing was drawing attention to the fact that today’s professional footballer is such a highly tuned animal that even minor injuries seem to take ages to cure, before a player can return to first team duty.

  • kenneth widmerpool

    Walter; great piece and I agree with you!Even before the game against Norwich I thought it would be a tough one, similar to the WH game, and it was, more like a horrible cup game.If anything I felt the international duty broke up the flow that had been building in the other games prior to last Sat..Pretty irritating, but as you say, that football!

  • @blacksheep63

    Walter, I am not a Wenger out kinda guy, nor will ever be. I said last season we need to buy a keeper. I said in the summer we need to buy a keeper. It remains the case that we need a keeper to tide us over until WS becomes the keeper we hope he will be. Keepers are like good wine and cheese, they are not best when they are young. Perhaps we should ask the neighbours, they seem to have too many!

  • Pat

    In his press conference today Arsene Wenger mentioned another factor.
    Comparing European teams with some premiership teams he said the European teams play a more open game, whereas Norwich defended with great concentration for ninety minutes.
    He has mentioned before that teams in the premiership often defend more doggedly against Arsenal than they do against anyone else.
    These are not excuses, merely possible factors.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Very possible factors pat, teams do seem to set up that way against us. Unfortunately, we seem to sometimes have the habit of letting teams score first , often on their first or second attempt, arteta alluded to this problem this week. Think we have fallen behind in several of our prev league games, this makes life so difficult, especially without first choice players. This is a long term problem I think arsenal fans throughout the spectrum of arsenal fandom would like to see eradicated from our game. We play sophisticated football with technically acomplished players playing complex patterns, but if we keep going behind, we play into the hands of the Stone Age agricultural kick hoof and rush English teams with two banks of four or something similar, often with these teams helped out by a sympathetic ref. We deserve better than we actually do against these teams, we should be doing better, if we are not, we should be changing something. As arteta says, maybe we just need to be more patient, and maybe coach our keepers a bit better, would Jens help more than Gerry Peyton and the dagenham and redbridge keeper? And before Norwich fans have a go, their team do deserve credit as much as we deserve to be slagged off for that performance.

  • Damien Luu

    I am so tired with those morons who always compare Arsenal with Man Shitty or Chelski. You have to know that for now, they have all the money in the world to buy whatever they want, let alone whatever they need, including refs. That’s why they always have fewer injuries, better schedules, etc. in comparing with Arsenal. The refs never, ever protect Arsenal players. That’s why we always have more injuries. And remember, injuries from the last season (like Jack or Diaby cases) have impact on the current one and so on.

    To ask “Why they can do this/that but we can’t?” is utterly bullsh*t. Because this league is corrupted to the core. That’s why.

    To ask “Why did AW stick with Jack, Rosicky, Diaby, etc.” is utterly bullsh*t. What do you want him to do? Get rid of all of them? Whoever has the IQ over 10 knows how talented they are. They got injured because those corrupted refs didn’t protect them. And you want to “get rid of them” and buy a whole new squad? Then, repeat it, and repeat it again? Utterly morons.

    Arsenal and AW are fighting against the corrupted football world. And they are struggling. As simple as that.

  • @ Damien Luu
    “They [Jack, Rosicky, Diaby,] got injured because those corrupted refs didn’t protect them.”

    A little OTT, Damien?

    Wilshere suffered a stress fracture whilst playing for England vs Switzerland. He then later aggravated the same injury playing a friendly vs New York Red Bulls.

    Rosicky suffered an achilles tendon injury playing for Czech Republic.

    Diaby has had many injuries that were not necessarily due to bad tackles. In fact, his hip injury in the Euros, whilst playing for France happened when scoring a goal.

    Fabianski has a back injury, Chezzers a shoulder injury, Giroud recently suffered a muscular problem, Chamakk has malaria. Unconnected to bad tackles. Many players at Arsenal and other clubs have injuries unconnected to opposing players tackles. Not all, admittedly, but many.

    By the way, you forgot Ramsey.
    But the ref couldn’t have protected him from Shawcross unless he looked into a crystal ball, or checked his tea leaves a second or two before impact, could he?

  • Nakew

    No to excuses please. If one should put an excuse, should put it like this – Arsenal is a small team, can’t play two games p/w, has no squad depth, the boss has no ”plan B”- But I don’t. It is unbelievable that the squad out there could not match Norwich technically, physically & mentally. Everybody was flat and asleep including the boss. Today, everybody must show that they are playing for The Arsenal. Good Luck!!!!!

  • WalterBroeckx

    Big Al,

    About Ramsey the ref should have known it. I still remember shouting at my TV and against my son who was sitting next to me that the ref was letting things get out of hand. He allowed bad challenge after bad challenge in that game and then it ends up with a tackle that goes too far at the end. Anyone who is a ref and who knows a bit about letting things go can tell you that. It was down to a poor ref performance that Ramsey got his leg broken. Let there be no doubt about it. When you as a ref give ********* a license to kick the shit out of their opponents, accidents can happen.

    About Diaby: I don’t know in which euros Diaby injured his hip but certainly not this one because he was not there.

    I wrote (a few in fact I think) articles about the tackles Diaby had to endure with getting no protection from the refs. From the back of my head possible leg/ankle breaking tackles not even called a foul:

    – Bolton (Robinson I think it was) studs to his shin and you could see the bone bending. Diaby had to leave the field shortly after the tackle.

    – Chelsea: two lunging tackles from Chelsea players where on both occasions his ankle clipped over under the studs on his ankle. On both occasions not even called the foul. Diaby had to leave the field and didn’t come back for months.

    – Newcastle: Barton lunged in with a stretched leg. Again his bone was bending in a terrible way (I still have the frozen picture somewhere) and the ref didn’t call the foul.

    They have broken his ankle 1 time but with a little bit of bad luck it could have been broken a few times more.

    Believe me only having one broken leg on average a season is more a case of being lucky than getting protection.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Oh and I was shouting minutes before Ramsey got his leg broken of course.
    In those days I wrote “live match reports” for our local supportersclub and I wrote that the ref was letting them kick and kick.

  • Sorry for delay, Walter

    As regards Diaby, my error – Euros my foot!
    I was looking through various different reports too quickly; September this year in Finland – which I think you’re referring to in your 4th paragraph.

    I don’t disagree for a moment that in many games things spiral out of control, and not just Arsenal games. But they don’t all end with broken legs.

    “It was down to a poor ref performance that Ramsey got his leg broken.”
    NO! It was down to a poor ref performance that Ramsey got INJURED. That I can partially agree with.
    However, the degree of injury can’t possibly be determined until AFTER the tackle. The broken leg was down to the opposing player, not the ref.
    It was actually down to a disgraceful challenge by a disgraceful player that Ramsey got his leg broken.

  • A. Stewart

    Couldn’t agree more about the injury excuses…

    Diaby, Rosicky, Gibbs, Walcott? Is there something truly surprising about these players being out injured? They’ve all been injury plagued for several seasons and it doesn’t take being a Nostradamus to expect that they would have to deal with injury problems again this season. Making excuses for Wenger when he essentially admitted that he GAMBLED on Diaby given his injury record? C’mon man…

    Sanga, Wilshere, Frimpong? Have all been out with long term injury from BEFORE the season started…

    Sorry but this is just silly, rationalizing that poor performance (not near the first over these last several questionable seasons) based on injuries to injury prone players and long term absentees that have been a REPEATED FEATURE of our teams for several seasons. Why expect different results with the same situation?..

    At what point does Wenger become accountable for ANY of the problems this club is facing in recent seasons? Assuming that this blog indeed views them as “problems” since as a top club with amongst top prices (yes I read the posting on tix)and a top paid manager you’d think that we have “problems” considering top clubs should be aiming and seriously competing for titles (yes yes I know about no God-given right etc)…

    This blog goes into admirable meticulous detail in examining the minutia of so many things affecting football and the club (and should be commended on that), yet curiously refuses to show (in my opinion at least) the slightest bit of investigative intellectual curiosity into Wenger’s management being complicit it our ON-FIELD stagnation, when players are coming and going, directors on the board have changed, even ownership yet things seemingly don’t change, and the most common denominator is the manager…

    Should he be fired? I’m not sure..Who to replace him with? I’m not sure either…yet none of those absolutes preclude looking into the possibility that the management approach has something to do with our stagnation, and others would say decline.

    However, I accept given the “motto” of this blog, perhaps you have boxed yourself into a corner…

    Thus the focus will always be far more if not entirely on (admittedly with some merit) things like refs, corruption, money, the press, “anti-football” tactics, luck, governing bodies (Fifa/FA/Uefa etc) and the like…

    Instead of only examining things outwards, perhaps it may be time to look within and be truly self-critical of the things we (the club and management) are doing wrong that along with those other external factors, are contributing to our stagnation…

    Just saying…

  • akasuna

    This is not our Arsenal..

  • Mandy Dodd

    That was poor! As a Walcott fan, I hope serious consideration is being given to signing him up, or at least getting a very effective replacement, the likes of ox and gnabry are too young to fully take on that mantle. Without pace on both sides, this team suffers. Think today also showed how good Gibbs …..and at the end, jenkinson are.

  • dan


    With you on this one.

    What has happened? A few weeks ago we were a different team.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Injuries and lack of pace it looks like to me. Unfortunately we’re not helped by late olympiacos winner, we may have to win out there if we are not careful. Really could have done with theo in that game to stretch them

  • marioartistg

    So how many more seasons do were give this mediocre shit

  • bob

    “perhaps it may be time to look within and be truly self-critical of the things we (the club and management) are doing wrong that along with those other external factors, are contributing to our stagnation…”
    A. Stewart,
    Yes, well said! It’s got to be both dimensions to look at (internal and external, in your terms) and how the come together; but that takes the harder work that most commentators will shun.

  • bob

    “In midfield we didn’t have Diaby and Rosicky. Diaby has shown his class earlier on in this season and his first injury came when playing for France. And anyone who doubts Rosicky hasn’t seen football in the past 10 years. I might remind you that Rosicky got a small injury at the end of last season and then his national team turned him in to a complete wreck. You can also count Frimpong in if you want. And of course Jack Wilshere. But it was clear from the start of the game that only if we would have a comfortable lead we would use him.”
    In light of your description: This past summer, could we not have forseen the gap between the likely injuries (not only to Diaby, but in the normal course of things) to come and the dozen games before Wilshere and Rosicky could be expected to return? Could we not have spent then for quality insurance? Could someone have said NO to Song’s wantaway departure until January to then re-assess our situation? Did the club have to achieve a zero transfer balance this summer, especially when we now know as a few of us were saying then that we did (as Gazidis has acknowledged) have the money to buy quality insurance? Are we better having Gambled that there’d be enough health in the squad to last until all the walking wounded returned to form and too many points were not dropped? Could we not have bought the extra quality striker that many called for? And kept Song (saying no just like Mancini said no to wantaway-Tevez last season), or purchased an affordable like-for-like quality replacement? These calls were made in the summer and now we’re stretched too thin with insufficient gelling time, key injuries aplenty, and key injureds yet to play. Is there ever enough quality in reserve. Especially affordable quality?

  • bob

    Mandy Dodd,
    Have to agree with you on Walcott. And his scoring touch and crossing have improved over the last two seasons (though not as clear to me now as it was when he and vanPursey had it going). And he and his agent know that we do not yet have his quality replacement within the squad. Arsene knows it as well. So it’s either pay him closer to his 100k ask (which both sides do know is yes, affordable); or may the force better be with the peerless worldwide scouting system come up with a pitch-ready like-for-like quality player. Do you see it this way?

  • walter

    Big Al,
    a disgraceful player that felt that he could do anything he wanted at that moment. Players feel they can fly in like he did when they recognise the ref is letting it go. Complicit one could say…

  • Mandy Dodd

    All questions that need asking Bob. Unfortunately, we may never know the answer to a few of those. If the board are enforcing a zero transfer balance, the board are lying, they have said any money bought in is available to wenger. If wenger going overboard on ffp? Cannot say I know, just asking the question. With Gibbs, theo, ox…we look a different side, and we all know santos needs a free games to find fitness. Stan was at the ground this evening, wonder what he thinks? All I hope is that caution will not lead to a false economy in jan. wenger gambles a lot on things like players staying fit, lately, his gambling has not always paid off. I know many will disagree with me, and I have a hobble feeling,things have gone too far with another club maybe to let it happen, but as I say, I would make not only theo, but also bac and Gibbs contract extensions a priority. Things very quiet on all three. I know wenger is a developmental manager, but we need to stop losing so many key players, or we may lose out top four place. The signings this summer were good, but with injuries, the squad looks thin and one paced.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Certainly do see it that way Bob. Losing theo sends a bad message….again, unless we really get a top replacement in jan…..maybe unlikely. Losing him will in my opinion strengthen an epl rival….again. Think we have the basis of a good team, they are technical, talented and work hard, but without a theo or ox, there are just not enough outlets, and we make things easy for other teams. I hope wenger does not chose to rely too much on gnabry at this stage.A hundred grand a week for theo..the question is, can we afford not to…..assuming he has not already made up his mind, which I suspect he may well have.

  • weedonald

    Collective soul-searching time by a number of depressed bloggers on this site but here are the real issues we need to address:

    1)Easy to say Wenger has to go BUT who could come in and do BETTER than him? That’s right…..nobody at the moment!

    2)Easy to cry for him to buy strikers,keepers or whatever in January BUT it is far more difficult than making a simple wish list and spending $$$ like a profligate City….not a solution that is practical!

    3)Two Poor performances do not a trend make….despite what the AAA whiners and disaster-predictors would have us believe. However IF this form continues, we will need to start asking probing questions of the players, about their motivation,commitment and mental fitness, since, as far as I know NO Board member nor Wenger himself have played in any game at the Emirates this season!

    4)AKB’s and AAA’s won’t EVER see eye-to-eye but there is room enough in the Arsenal family for everyone who truly supports the Club, provided they maintain a certain calmness and rational viewpoint.

    Lets wait and see if this bad patch can be resolved….if not, then I know the Club will do the right thing.

  • Chris Barton


    1)Easy to say Wenger has to go BUT who could come in and do BETTER than him? That’s right…..nobody at the moment!

    I couldn’t disagree more, there are plenty of top European managers who would love AW’s wages & a top premier league and club.

    2)Easy to cry for him to buy strikers,keepers or whatever in January…

    The business should have been done this summer and most of us recognised this.

    3)Two Poor performances do not a trend make……. NO Board member nor Wenger himself have played in any game at the Emirates this season!

    Its not a trend over 2 games but a number of seasons now, both in results and recruitment, this is the house that AW IG built and ultimately they are responsible.

  • WalterBroeckx

    1)you forgot the answer the most important question: will they do BETTER?
    Maybe we could ask arry?
    2) Maybe you should send a letter to Kroenke and apply for the job of manager
    3) AW and IG built and DD destroyed

  • Mandy Dodd

    Personally, I certainly would not want wenger out but if he cannot or will not use the resources at his disposal, that should at least lead to questions…..and i mean in a respectful manner, not an aaa manner. We all kow how hard it is to sign a decent striker, especially on our wage cap, it is also hard to get a top keeper in when chesney is clearly the designated number 1. Yes two poor results can be easily rectified but like others, I see worrying patterns in the way we are hit by injuries. We do not know the full facts around song, but it seems a real gamble to sell players of that quality assuming the likes of diaby rosicky and jack will stay fit…..we have tried that type of thing before and it does not work for us. And as you can maybe tell, I have a serious issue if we do lose Walcott without replacing him with someone at least as good,which is possible but will be hard in jan. yesterday, we had little pace down the right, Rambo certainly is not a wide right player, which meant they could neglect our right and chase us on our left, nullifying Gervinho and to an extent podolski and giving the clearly not match fit santos all manner of problems. Lose theo and we will see a lot more of that, theo is inconsistent but he can be a serious threat and can occupy opponents on that side as we all know. These two results are down to a jaded injury hit squad still trying to gel, nothing more, but runs like this can be damaging for a few games, we need to avoid them! This year is vital, critics moan we do not spend enough, I suspect we have seen nothing yet on the lack of spending and losing players should we go oUt early or fail to qualify for the Cl, the powers that be may need to reconsider a few principles for the moments and do everything feasible to ensure we do stay in the CL with things hopefully getting a lot easier in 2014. If that means paying theo a bit more than they would like, maybe that is a price they need to consider, writing of course as a fan and not one running the club!

  • Chris Barton

    1)you forgot the answer the most important question: will they do BETTER?
    Maybe we could ask arry?

    The irony of that is, in the last few year Harry took a club in crisis to the champions league and can be considered more successful than AW in that he over achieved, I would love nothing more than to see Wenger take this club onwards but even the most hard core Wenger fan must be able to see that the current plan, who ever is pulling the strings AW or IG, is hurting the club. Arsenal is a football club and whilst financial prudence is important the thing that should be held in highest regard is sporting success.

    Walmart are a financial Goliath but I don’t buy Asda work ware and support them.

    Whilst the DD factor is ‘a factor’ its easy to over play it, looking at the reports, Theo’s contract isn’t even being discussed atm, hard to blame DD for that, particularly when were extending 3 other players contracts.

  • Nick Lee

    So exactly what are the KPIs of AW and what is he accountable for?

    Lets look at things in perspective since we are perpetually talking about financial prudence and sustainability.

    AW is on pounds 7 million. The CEO of Citi group who was recently forced to resign was at US 15 million (just do some foreign exchange and you will see they are not too far apart)

    The CEO was brought in during the financial crisis of 2007 to make sense of the mess and impending bankrupcy. He brought Citi out of the mess and reported a small profit this Feb to the board. Less than 48 hours he resigned. One cited reason was that he was on a huge salary. Interestingly, Citi is a US 2 trillion company.

    Now look at AW. His KPI was to ensure Arsenal finish the top 4. Geeez… at 7 million pounds and a 140 million wage bill?
    Try and compare the salary and scale of responsibilites between the 2 and their salaries.

    I do not discredit AW if ever Arsenal falls into the negative. Thats not his job surely. Thats for the commercial department to worry about; how to look at creative ways to generate new revenue streams. You don’t pay top $ when the current option is just to increase the gate revenue. Today there was an interview with the marketing and branding rep for Arsenal in Asia. He agreed there’s so much you can do with increasing gate prices.

    Neither would I credit AW for the $ made. Thats not the job of the manager to worry whether Arsenal make money. A football manager’s job responsibilities surely relate only to footballing aspects; training, development, preparing the team for every match et el. And thats exactly what is happening everywhere. AW seems to be on top of everything and accountable for nothing or at least he satisfies the KPI of top 4. But Arsenal pride herself on being financially prudent right? So 7 million pounds for a top 4?

    Would any other manager do better? Who knows. Thats the job of the board to find someone cheaper to finish top 4.

  • Black Hei

    @Nick Lee
    To cut your long story short, YOUR KPI for Wenger is to win the EPL with at a budget you have not specified.

  • Black Hei

    @ Walter

    Got to disagree. It is just a bad performance at the coaching level and the team level. I think that the injuries have hindered the variety of our attack but TVM and Andre Santos is just a bad cocktail. I wouldn’t blame Wenger for not buying another LB. But really he needs to get really tough with their attitude of non-defending.

  • A. Stewart

    With all due respect, the repeated “who can come in and do better?” question is so very sily. Notwithstanding that many gooners easily answer that question with several possible examples they think could do better, it’s still a seriously silly question.

    First of all it’s not the job of the fans to come up with a replacement (should we get to that point), it is the job of the club’s directors and executives to find a suitable replacement..

    Secondly, you will never know who is truly available or will make themselves available UNTIL the job is atually open! And personally, with our stadium, location, prestige, history, and finanical clout, yes finanical clout..I believe the job will be a VERY attractive job, and managers inlcuding top managers and top emerging managers will MAKE THEMSELVES available for it even if under contract, that is in no-way unprecidented.

    Thirdly personally I and many others (fans, ex-pros, pundits alike) believe so much more can be done with our current resources or as some like to say “limitations” yes we are not City of Chelsea..but at least in my opinion, we waste the resources we do have at our disposal or use them highly inefficiently. There is so much more a manager with a different vision could do with this said budget. Perhaps instead of having one of the biggest squads and amongst the most players on professional terms out there, with an alamarming amount who contribute nothing to little, or so many youngsters who will never make it (look at our record in recent years), or some 14 players out on loan etc…Trim and replace quantity with quality…instead of Chamakh, Bendtner, Denilson, Arshavin, Squilacci and many many many many many more players contributing next to nothing and eating up valuable wages and resources, perhaps another manager would say, why not buy and pay wages for a Falcao for the same or even less than what we spend on those in wages (fees in some cases) and other supporting resources…far more impact and return on the investment instead of wastage, far better chance of winning which in terms reaps so many indirect and direct financial benefits. Perhaps another manager would see that, and perhaps another manager wouldn’t worry about the socialism-tinged concern that other players may become jealous and want more, but rather instill a meritocracy (like at many other big clubs) where the best players are paid the best, and players at other tiers are paid accordingly…

    I guarantee if every single one of us was not performing in our jobs our superiors won’t be so terrified of the unknown as to who can come in and do better…rather in the real world we would be dismissed, and the recruiting staff would do THEIR JOB and go on the search for a suitable replacement, and do their job to sell the job as attractive as possible to land a suitable replacement…

    And there’s no need for dismissive, sarcastic comments about applying to Kronke for the manager position…because I know I can’t do better than Wenger, but I am not paralyzed by fear of the unknown, or don’t think it’s beyond the realm of possibility that someone else can do better with a different vision…

    Regardless, sometimes it’s just time for a change and new direction…Are we at that point now? I’m not sure, but should this season follow the now very familiar pattern of the last several, we just might be…

  • WalterBroeckx

    A. Stewart,

    Sorry to pick on one sentence in your comment:

    Trim and replace quantity with quality?
    A great idea could be to sell all our players replace them with 11 world class players on 300.000 a week and play the same 11 all season long.

    Or less extreme give RVP his 300.000 a week and then sell some 10 players to make that possible and not replace them.
    that would also be trim and replace quantity with quality.

    I think you know both options are not really an option but that is a possible consequence of that sentence.

    Spend it on Falcao. That player is owned by Ken Bates I have read the other day. So where will he go do you think? Will he sell him to us? Don’t think so. Even if we would want to spend the money.

  • A. Stewart

    “A great idea could be to sell all our players replace them with 11 world class players on 300.000 a week and play the same 11 all season long.”

    Respectfully, that’s just nonsense, and it’s not a great idea, and I’m not even saying anything remotely close to that, (there needs to be a suitable mix of top players, squad players, youngsters etc).

    Similarly just as when people call for further sensible investment are not “asking us to spend like City” “want us to go bankrupt” or the “way of Leeds”…Why must Wenger loyalists always apply and attribute extreme absolutes to those with which they disagree when questions about him are raised and we are trying to have a discussion…

    Falcao was just an example of a player who would contribute loads more for less investment than we waste on any number of players who contrbute nothing…so feel free to focus on the minutia of Falcao’s the general theory I’m referring too, about value for money, and not wasting money on quantity but rather investing the same money in quality…yet I suspected you knew that..but needed a strawman argument to respond.

    Truly you don’t seem interested in the least in the concerns of people who question Wenger, rather you’ll prefer to attrubute all these extreme positions to them which is nothing remotely like their argument, in an attempt I guess to marginalize and ridicule them…it would be funny if it wanst so transparent….

    Anyway I have posed this question before, at what point does Wenger become even partially responsible for the problems we have been facing? (assuming you think we even have any problems). At what point does this a blog want to have a rational discussion with those who question Wenger, instead of trying to marginalize them, or question their pureness as an AFC supporter.

  • A. Stewart

    Truly I’m not an AKB, AAA or whatever silly divisive achronyms there are out there these days.. I’m an Arsenal supporter, who questions the way the club is currently being run and who wanted to come on this blog to discuss things rationally even if we disagree..but it seems the focus here is largely on Wenger protectionism above all else, and marginalization of anyone who disagrees.

  • Stroller

    The Norwich and Schalke performances have been real disappointments after what has been a good start to the season. OK there was Chelsea as well, but although we also lost that one the performance wasn’t that bad.

    But in these games we now seem to have lost both creativity in attack and solidity at the back. I don’t buy the ‘handbrake on’ reason, although it certainly looked like that at times. Leg weary? Lacking confidence (according to Stevie Bould) ?

    Yes we have injurys, but enough to explain the single shot on goal against Schalke or the gaping hole down the left side of our defence? Is injury the reason for moving Gervinho into the striker role, after he’s had his most productive spell playing wide, and having Ramsey spending more time away from the middle ?

    And what about Geroud? He goes and breaks his duck against the Hammers, following up with a another for France. Then he finds himself on the bench for the next two games. Seems a bit strange to me. Meanwhile Podolski seems to be carrying a mystery injury that prevents him playing 90 minutes.

    Yeah I know, loads of questions and no answers. I won’t even get started on Walcott’s contract! But one thing I won’t do is to spend time looking back on the ins and outs of RVP or revving up on who should be bought or sold in January. It’s QPR up next and it is not unreasonable to expect a much better performance on Saturday no matter who plays. Should that not happen then I fear a return to the negativity that up until this month had largely been dispelled.

  • dy

    the idea of spending loads of cash for a world class can do wonder for Arsenal is a fallacy, an expectation or projection as best. Who say Giroud is not good while playing in the French league, who can guarantee Falco can repeat his best at Arsenal ?
    Making wise use of resources is commendable as well as a practical idea and it should be part of the system.

  • dy

    I’ll try to make a unpopular guess, some players in the team are not happy with the selection and this explain why the listless and lethargic display on the field. The team spirit just not there during the game.

  • dy

    i mean there must be some sort of leadership in the team, Verm as captain should be obvious and Areteta as well, get your teammates work and help each other out, run that extra mile for each other. Will we ever see another spirited perforamce like the last home game against Milan, 2nd leg of the CL group stage.

  • Mandy Dodd

    A Stewart, wenger is fully responsible for issues to do with the team, and it is up to him, his staff and the players to halt this. He takes blame for some things and credit for others. The problem is, he is a visionary ,a Herbert chapman in a world that demands a Jose m. Not all fans….or for that matter, players can live with the required degree of patience. I can only speak for myself on here, I think a lot of wenger, but I too sometimes get frustrated and baffled. But I come on here to get an alternative more positive view than some of the sites out there , some of which are so desperate for his downfall, they have at times become arry or fergie lovers. Some on these sites actually want us to do badly under wenger…and I do not just mean spuds sleepers. Nothing wrong …as you say with reasoned debate and critique, and that should not be marginalised, tbh i do not think respectful debate is on here…but I guess for some, this is a site that is a refuge from the hatred of all things current arsenal that exists out
    there. From your posts I have seen, not aimed at you but. What is wrong with just loving your club as opposed to working into a frenzy over wages of so called dead wood players….empty
    seats….or the number of times stan visits….if that makes one deluded, so be it…