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August 2021

“You don’t know what you’re doing…”

By Phil Gregory

Nope not Arsene Wenger, but Matt Law who is apparently the Chief Football Writer at the Mirror and recently penned a bit of a hatchet job on Wenger.

Thanks to the wonders of the web, I had the dubious pleasure of reading his critique (you wouldn’t catch me dead reading the Mirror) . Thankfully I don’t make a point of taking apart every piece of weakly argued “journalism” in today’s red top press, but this evening Mr Law, I make an exception for you.

I won’t take apart every sentence as I don’t disagree with every sentence he writes (just most) but I’m sure you’ll agree that I rebut the main arguments and don’t misrepresent Law’s position.

Mr Law’s article sub-headline started off with the reasonable point that Wenger is not beyond criticism just because he was brilliant when he first arrived and indeed, seven years without trophies means that questions must be asked and the debate had. The article soon flounders however, when it comes to asking those questions.

Mr Law’s first criticism surrounds Wenger’s supposed £7m salary package. Law is on shaky ground already, as his argument relies on the fact that Wenger indeed earns £7m a year, a fact nobody can verify and we can but guess at. Unless you’re doing Wenger’s tax returns, taken at face value, this argument is not even worth discussing.

If I give Law the benefit of the doubt and take the salary figure as correct however, it is in no way clear that Wenger’s consistent management of the club with regular Champions League performance against big-spending rivals (albeit with no trophies in that time) is worth £7m a year.

I indeed would argue that, but whether you agree with me or not depends on whether you recognise that Arsene has us punching above his weight given the financial means of our rivals. That question is an ideological one, and I’m not going to change many minds without taking this article miles of course so I won’t bother.

For a full time journalist to be making an argument based on a fact pulled out of thin air is disappointing indeed. Needless to say, if Mr Law or anyone else can provide a source that can corroborate this figure then I’ll be more than happy to apologise.

Law follows up with “The Frenchman’s team selection was baffling, his tactics were poor, his decision making was ineffectual and his actions supported some theories he has lost his edge” and criticises Wenger for being friendly with a player he coached for eight years… a marginal issue at best that has no relevance whatsoever to the debate around whether Wenger should continue as manager.

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It’s never a good sign when you need to fling mud and invoke emotions to win a debate.

Andre Santos should have been dragged off for a woeful first-half performance” according to Law, yet for whom? Anyone with an understanding of football will realise that the substitution that everyone proposed (Sagna to leftback, Jenkinson on for Santos) is foolhardy.

In that situation, you would have Sagna defending against Valencia, an old-school “round the outside” winger. Sagna would be defending on his weaker, left foot, and would have a hell of a job containing Valencia, who is a great player in his own right. There is a time and a place for “wrong footed” defenders, and indeed sides have used right footed left backs effectively against wingers who cut inside so they can tackle on their stronger foot, but versus a winger seeking to go on the outside such a move is daft.

Unless Mr Law is proposing a wholesale defensive change (Vermaelen leftback, Koscielny on for Santos) which wouldn’t be the brightest of ideas in the middle of a match given Vermaelen would be playing out of position and was already having a bad game… Wenger had little option but to persist with Santos, despite the Brazilian having a bit of a nightmare.

The whole shirt swapping thing at half time was barmy, (although apparently quite common in South America, according to an article in the Guardian today)  but with a lack of subs I struggle to see how taking him off could have shored us up at the back. That’s without saying that we were chasing the game, and would be substantially weaker going forward with a wrong-footed leftback supporting the few attacks we had.

Santos wasn’t great, but there is a reason why Wenger is a football manager and you and I just sit here and argue about football – it’s because he understands these aspects of the game that apparently Chief Football Writers don’t.

Wenger was right to highlight the fact he has done a wonderful job in keeping Arsenal in the Champions League, but his suggestion the club will flounder without him was incredibly arrogant and not necessarily true. Arsenal won trophies before the arrival of Wenger and will win more long after he is gone. They may not qualify for the Champions League for 15 successive years, but they may not go seven without silverware“.

I wont spend too long picking apart the above, as it doesn’t require it. Clearly Wenger elevated Arsenal’s status substantially when he arrived and, despite illustrious periods in our past, nobody can really deny that.

Look at the average league position before and after his arrival, look at the trophy count during his period at the helm (even worth the current drought) compared to before him…

Certainly a new manager could come in and win trophies, but no manager can rival Wenger’s record in the transfer market on a tight budget: what is to say Guardiola would be able to do better with the resources at our disposal? Naturally you can retort we should spend more under Wenger or a new manager, but when we’re up against the bottomless wallets of City and Chelsea getting into a bidding war is hardly a bright idea.

Likewise, leaving our club’s financial stability at the behest of a Russian billionaire does not strike me as a sensible course of action. It seems to me to be a pretty sensible course of action to stick with the geezer who has a knack for finding diamonds in the rough and developing young talents from the academy.

Law criticises Walcott’s omission from the starting line up at Old Trafford, as if he expected Theo to play in one of the most intense games of the season after playing 120 minutes in midweek. The only United player in their line-up who played in midweek was Rafael, for whom they haven’t got a replacement given injuries. This is seriously basic stuff, Mr Law!

Likewise Law criticises the club’s handling of the Walcott contract situation. While I would love it to be wrapped up and Theo secured for the future, there are two parties required to sign the deal.

While we will never know the inside story, a little bit of Arsenal stinginess with the wage packet seems to be balanced out by Theo being foolish in this negotiation with the whole “central striker” thing. Not only does he already pretty much play as a centre forward (a wide forward that cuts inside is hardly different to a centre forward, who drifts out after all) but this is Arsene Wenger we are talking about, the man who started Henry as a wide player and moved him inside.

Personally, if my coach had developed one of the most deadly strikers in football, I’d knuckle down and take his opinions on board! Theo is a class player, but a football club cannot bend over backwards to indulge a player’s whims, lest they all do it.

Mr Law makes a fair point that Wenger is pulling a fast one in pretending that Walcott isn’t being omitted from the starting line-up due to his contract situation. Perhaps that is true, but is he really going to come out and admit it, creating headlines and media furore around a situation that is already complicated? No, that would be foolish. This is standard Wenger, he regularly fakes “injuries” for players who have been dropped for poor form or personal reasons, to deflect the media attention and give the player space. Sounds like good management to me!

The strange point is made that Giroud is “designed to play in a two-man partnership“, as if it is utterly bizarre that Wenger thinks a big, strong centre forward with decent touch and link up play can play up front on his own. You know, the guy who converted Van Persie into a lone forward and one of the best strikers around (that stung) may just know a thing or two about picking centre forwards. Nit picking at its finest.

Criticising Wenger’s failure to substitute Wilshere is another easy one. On paper, it is not a bad move to take off a hot-headed player on a yellow. Yet when chasing a lead, taking off one of your best players who is a creative force for a defensive midfielder is not the best of ideas either.

Leaving Wilshere on represented a gamble and given we were behind, Wenger had to take it. Much more important going forward is the fact that Wilshere keeps his temper in check and doesn’t give the referee the opportunity to dismiss him.

“Wenger started the season hoping Abou Diaby would avoid injury, hoping his goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny would play every game, hoping Gervinho could somehow succeed as a striker and hoping Van Persie’s goals would not be missed. But what did he really expect?”

Leaving aside the apparent act of mind-reading on behalf of the Mirror’s finest, we again see criticism of Wenger’s choice of strikers! Let’s not forget that Gervinho won the French league playing as a striker, nor indeed Wenger’s rather unrivalled record of moulding strikers from Henry to Bergkamp to RvP.
The goalkeeper critique seems to me to be clutching at straws: Mannone has largely done well and few teams ever have to play a third choice goalkeeper, not least for months at a time. Abou Diaby… well. He is made of glass, but so was Robin Van Persie, and he wasn’t half bad for us last year, was he now?
Mr Law broaches an interesting topic, one worthy of debate, but his article is not it. Indeed a reasoned critique of Wenger recently would point to our not-inconsiderable wage bill and the invaluable freedom and flexibility that Wenger has, yet Mr Law sadly misses the  nuances amid a flurry of ill thought-out populism. You know it’s bad when Tim Payton is lauding it on Twitter…

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56 comments to “You don’t know what you’re doing…”

  • Bradster

    Sorry bud too boring to read further than half way.

  • Real Gooner

    Good post

  • Donal Lucey

    I know you wouldn’t normally waste your time Phil but things have to be said once in a while.

    Your 100% right all the way.

  • ClockEndRider

    But not too boring to find the time to make a comment. Sums up so many of the Internet generation. Nothing to say yet too verbally incontinent not to say it.

  • James

    Just because Sagna is right footed doesn’t mean he would do a worse or as bad a job playing on the left as Santos. That’s the statement of an ignoramus who has never played football and doesn’t have a clue about the defensive attributes required to play that position. Sadly, Wenger is equally ignorant – otherwise he never would have wasted £6m on the clown in the first place.

  • tommy

    its time people started questioning Wengers decisions and not just agreeing like a bunch of ‘yes men’. Santos would look out of place in the championship, which begs the quesion why Wenger bought him?

  • Nchem

    Took my time to finish this article……… And you know what? it’s rubbish, stupid and pointless

  • paulie

    two points. you neglect tomention the obscene amount of money wenger wastes on mediocre players also and wenger had absolutely nothing to do with signing or developing bergkamp. i cant believe i read such a pro wenger article like this

  • Enough with the ‘punching above our weight’ rubbish!

    Arsenal are under achieving. We have an enormous wage bill and we have chosen not spend on transfer fees.

    Finishing so far behind Utd and City last year can only be described as an underachievement.

    We spend less than most PL clubs on actual transfer fees, so does that mean we would be punching above our weight if we stayed up? Of course not because last time I checked our wage bill is at £140+ m a year – £50m more than Spurs who we just about pipped to 4th place and only about £20m less than Utd would tanked us in the league.

    Having a position of supporting Wenger is one thing, but making excuses no matter what to exonerate Wenger is quite another. These catchy phrases of ‘punching above our weight’ and ‘we cant compete with the money’ are the worst kind of excuses. We won the league whilst spending £100m gross on player transfers and wages compared to Chelsea’s £260m that year.

    If we had of invested just half of our cash pile built up over the last few years we would have a tremendous squad right now. One good enough to win the league. We are not ‘punching above our weight’ , we are ‘selling ourselves short’

  • richard morgan

    Hello, good post I agree if you look at what wenger has achieved in constantly getting us to the champions league proper for his period in charge is good. Remember though we have not won anything for a few seasons we have had a champions league final two league cup finals and been challenging in the top four if not falling away in the end for the prem title. The theo contract is spot on it takes two parties to agree and it is slightly arrogant of theo to believe he has the right to play striker yes he has improved his finishing and might be a cheaper alternative to llorente the money you save there you could get affelay and left back and possibly a decent keeper to push sczesney harder. santos is a little on the big side and has struggled to improve his defensive game one which he himself pointed out as an area for improvement and though i agree taking him off midway would be folly starting with coquelin would have prevented that necessity. Koscelny could easily have taken the arteta role and been a defensive midfielder for the second period. butthese are things for arsene to consider. well Diaby is worth the risk because he adds impoetus to the side when he is in and gives cazorla more space to work in. he gives the drive to the midfield that others struggle to provide.

  • another Chris

    You are oh so right… Everyoe thiks their igorat opinions are gospel.

  • jayram,

    hear, hear!

  • Jay ram

    You said

    We spend less than most PL clubs on actual transfer fees

    Please supply evidence.

  • Nchem – and Paulie

    There is nothing within the constitution of either the United Kingdom or indeed within the procedures of Untold Arsenal that actually force you to read anything written here.

    There are thousands of Arsenal blogs, and this is one of the very few that is pro-Wenger. If it would make you happier, please do feel able to stop reading Untold, and to go and read elsewhere.

  • Tony,

    first link off Google:

    19. Arsenal -£21,280,000

    I know it’s not ‘evidence’, but then again, what is?

    you lot are pretty good with stats, and there are just 100 balance sheets to go through 😉

  • Matt

    I would absolutely tear this piece of rubbish apart if i had the time.Santos has been terrible in every game he has played this year and everybody knew Valencia would tear him a new one before the game started so it weasn’t rocket science to try to do something about it.Giroud is no RVP and never will be.Punching above his weight? We finish 3rd or 4th normally and we have the 3rd or 4th highest wage budget normally so we finish where we should so an average performance by the manager.Playing Ramsey on the right hasn’t worked once this season but he continues to do it?

  • Suga 3

    I do think it is important that if one is going to state in a public forum a view which makes a claim to be based on a fact, then the fact should be referenced or cited from a reliable source.

    The facts being banded around here today do not do that, while the writers who produce material for Untold generally give detailed information on where their facts and figures come from, and make sure that when we are taking a guess, we say so and say how we got there.

    If this is not a reasonable approach for you, then there are many other web sites that will welcome commentary based on opinion dressed up as fact.

    I am reminded of the argument about ARsenal being the most expensive club in the country – when I asked a reader to send me something – anything – to back up his claim – he sent me a link to an article which showed that this oft-repeated statement was far from true.

    I know it is tedious and dull that Untold likes to get facts, but that is the sort of web site we are. Just look at the ref reviews – carried on this season on the RefereeDecisions site. Fact after fact after fact, from which we draw a conclusion.

  • Matt

    Tony if you believe that Arsenal haven’t made a net profit on transfers over the last 7 years you need to wake up. The evidence is all over the internet.Go to Google and type in Premier league net spending for the last 7 years and see what comes up.

  • Matt

    I think the BBC posted something 2 weeks ago to prove we have the most expensive season tickets and single tickets in teh PL.Everybody knows it and so do you.

  • Zidane

    Good post. Very good. Its nice to finally read an article with something sensible to say after Saturday’s trashing

  • rdgoon

    I would like to comment about Santos’ highly criticised performance – not only by Matt Law.

    If we carefully look at the points where he actually had trouble, it was because he was isolated against the opponent’s overlapping fullback. Against Schakle’s Uchida and against United’s Rafael. My concern is that Podolski who should be the one tracking back, in reality neglected his duties effectively isolating Santos.

    Do I think Santos’ positioning is suspect? Yes. But I certainly feel we could have done better. So much for this notion of defending as a team and the Bould effect eh?

  • Tony,

    given that we regularly don’t spend what we earn from transfers, is the net figure of about minus £20M really that difficult to believe?

    I am not saying this is not a ‘reasonable’ approach, what I am saying is that all Jayram did was bring up the info available in the public domain, if one needs proper evidence, one needs to go through 100 balance sheets (20 clubs in 5 years) and do the simple sums…

  • Matt

    Arsenal’s chepest season ticket is more expensive than 17 other PL clubs most expensive ticket icluding Man U and Man City.

  • Steve89

    Why are people still trying to defend Wenger.
    The guy at the Mirror is dead right.

  • so, this may be another ‘myth’ for you to deal with, however, I would not anticipate any shocking revelations to the contrary 😉

  • Ong Bing

    Thank you for the article Phil.

    I choose throphyless in seven years but always play in CL than winning Capital One Cup for seven years but not play in CL.

    Thats why Pool sacked King Kenny.

  • Micko

    I think this just goes to show the declining education standards in this country.
    People just don’t know what the asterisk means!

    If you look at our cheapest match day ticket then you will find that it is cheaper than 10 of the other 19 Premiership clubs.

  • alex

    The writer questions doubts Mr. Law in regard the salary of Wenger and you describe it as he don’t have a tiny evidence what Wenger earns.Fine as long you be consistent with this view.But you are not.

    What evidence yourself have when you say:`

    Likewise, leaving our club’s financial stability at the behest of a Russian billionaire `.
    Can you elaborate on that i mean where is the evidence that you demonise the Russian guy and what is that make you sure the American guy is not taking any money out of the club ?
    I am not a fun of any kind of the billionaires as they are only and only motive is to make money.To make look one angel and the other one a demon without one leaf of credibility is insane to me.

    Based on your argument as you don’t know what exactly Wenger earns i am pretty much sure that you have no knowledge what so ever in regard the russian or american.
    Mr Law if is writing without any basis then equally you to before criticizing others you first look at what you are writing.

    SANTOS :
    He did not come from the sky to play for Arsenal club.He has been visited and revisited by our scouts . Recommended, assessed and finally given the shirt by the club.Arsenal and Wenger has pulled many rabbits.If i have to give my opinion Santos is not a very bad but his defensive awareness is below par.Otherwise the way he control the ball (even that goes unnoticed is) he uses his body intelligently in funny way to dispossess the ball from opponents.I like that I must say.I can see as well he don’t have pace to burn which is very worrying.Indeed.
    So we know where the buck stops.Rightly Wenger is applauded when when he give us Henry and very much right to be criticised when he give us the likes of Santos or Chamak or Ramsey etc..

  • Nick Lee

    Just about everything Arsenal is shrouded in secrecy..

    1. funds for transfer.. yes says the board, yes,no, maybe flip-flop AW. Can’t these morons fcuking talk straight? Or is there a pack going on to ensure that the board and manager are perpetual?
    2. 7 million salary… just about every CEO’s pay in fortune 500 are made known. what is so special about AW?

    And to the ‘be careful what you wish for’ partisans… by the time the pepertrators are exposed, they will have amassed a huge fortune and Arsenal will be left to clear the mess. Don’t they learn? But of course this is Arsenal and this post will either be censored or me told to go read other site.

    Which incidentally brings me to the point: why put a blog on the public domain and censor or make snide remarks when comments do not agree with the article? Which again is an irony when the blog proudly stated that the ‘800,000’ visits. I thought the great firewall of China was appalling…

  • Anom

    This email was cut because the email address given by the sender was not valid – one of the requirements of publication on this site.

    But I thought I would include one bit…

    You are endorsed or otherwise promoted by arsenal Fc,

    It is interesting that this keeps coming up. If only it were so, I would enjoy meeting Mr Wenger et al. But the truth is that as the person who set it up I know what the site is – it is a site that is run on the servers of my company, with a site name registered by my company, and edited by myself with help from regular friends whose name you see on articles.

    I’m also a committee member of the Arsenal Independent Supporters Association, a member of Fanshare, and chair of the AISA Arsenal History Society.

    Endlessly repeating that this is an Arsenal site is a bit silly – and just another example of what the AAA does – make allegations without evidence.

  • Nick Lee

    @ Phil

    Do you in honest truth agree that Santos should even start, given his performances for the last few matches?

  • Lobster

    Wengers been around Arsenal for 16 years now. If we have learnt anything about Arsene in that time, its that this a man who sees and does things differently, if he didn’t he wouldn’t be the Arsene Wenger we all know (he would be a Sam Allardyce). Sometimes his ideas are inspiring (turning TH14 and rvp from decent wingers into the most devastating strikers in world football, etc.), and sometimes less inspiring (being the 1st manager to field an all foreign first XI, etc). The point is its pointless condemning Wenger for being who he is, a visionary, you cannot say “Arsene knows” when his vision gives you The Invincibles and then dismiss him as ”crazy” for lacking the foresight to predict that half of his starting XI will be crocked 6games into the season. Like they say, “you can’t have your cake, and eat it”, you can’t have it both ways, its either you want an allardyce or a Wenger.

  • SouthernGunner

    Just one question.

    If Sagna was played at leftback, then who would have played rightback? I ask because I’d imagine Jenkinson was just as tired as Walcott was having played 120 mins against Reading.

    If we’d still lost the game, people would have questioned why Santos wasn’t played, having been rested midweek.

  • I know this we”ll get blown away tonight, good and proper
    mark my words something big to nil !

  • Yake Gunner

    I agree with the way you put holes into what was written against AW, which is typical of the so call sport writers & Piers Morgan included. They write as if they have the answers to all Arsenal’s problems, whereas Arsenal problems are the Reckless-Money-Spending-billonaire-clubs. These clubs stole players from Arsenal using money to entice them & these are players that should be delivering the goods at Arsenal now. I am just sorry for Wenger because all is hardwork on the players has come to nothing. he is practically building a new team with the money he has got.I really don’t understand why he still want to stay on because if I were to be him, I will be exhausted by now. He must really love the club. The FFP arrangement has undone all the good things that he has done as per the loss of the good & young players.
    As for theo, Who is he to dictate to WENGER where to play in our team? Maybe because he is British. But can he do that to SAF?

  • A. Stewart

    “Ong Bing
    Thank you for the article Phil.

    I choose throphyless in seven years but always play in CL than winning Capital One Cup for seven years but not play in CL.

    Thats why Pool sacked King Kenny.

    Why do you frame it as a choice? A club of our stature, history, finanical clout, wage bill, fan following, player quality, highly (some say higest paid) manager, satdium etc etc, cannot expected to compete for the top 4 places (note I’m not even saying out ambition is to win the league) and also win the league cup? What exactly did our finanical situation have to do with cocking up the league cup is typial woeful defensive fashion against a to be relegated Birmingham?

    Why is this a choice? Have our expectations fallen so low that we can’t be EXPECTED to secure a top 4 spot, and also win at least once in the last 7-8 years the second-rate domestic cup?

    Why also is it always seemingly attributed to those that are calling for further (wise) invetment, that they are somehow wishing that we had a City/Chelsea-esque structure and want to spend 50 million on individual players… No one is saying that, and by calling for further investment no-one is wishing us to be LEEDS or Portsmouth or whatever hyperbolic (virtually impossible given a variety of different factors) nonsense.

    Also Why all the references to what Kenny did at Liverpool???
    Anyone could see, in fact almost everyone including many/most Liverpool fans thought it was nonsense to pay the money they did for Adams, Downing, Henderson, and Carroll, as Kenny went down his nostalgic outdated British recruitment drive. What the heck does Liverpool being STUPID with THEIR MONEY have to do with us, it didn’t and doesn’t take a genius to know that it was a waste (just like it doesn’t take a genius to know how much we waste on players who don’t actually play for us or contribute very little to nothing)….

    Are you saying that if we spend money we are going to be so STUPID like they were and overspend on players like Downing, Henderson and Adam…

    C’mon stop with the hyperbolic sillyness…

    Stop the strawman arguments (not necessarily you here) that AFC fans who question Wenger are not true fans, or fans calling for more investment what to spend like City, or fans calling for more investment want us to go the way of Leeds.

  • why can’t I post?

  • well, why not sub Santos for Jenko on the 45th minute and move Sagna to the left, given that Santos was not only poor but also did that shirt swap nonsense at halftime…

    two birds, one stone and it’s not like Jenkinson would not manage another 45 minutes, he’s 20, not 120

  • A. Stewart

    Alex, good post, about “evidence and facts” and cherry picking well we haven’t seen exact recipts and tax returns etc etc…and not using the same standard when it suits…

    If we are going to limit sensible discussion of reasonable topics because we are *gasp* not in the board room, training pitch, or seeing the exact official documents, receipts etc, then no-one has the facts, and a discussion forum is pointless…

    Frankly absolutely nothing would be worth discussing even outside of sport and football. They are some things that can be reasonably assumed in life due to a variety of supporting evidence..

  • asd

    Santos wasn’t great, but there is a reason why Wenger is a football manager and you and I just sit here and argue about football – it’s because he understands these aspects of the game that apparently Chief Football Writers don’t.

    1)Zabaletta, Lahm are right footed players who also play left back. Matt law might be a football writer but it doesn’t mean he has no idea of football.
    2)The line we are punching above our weight is so wrong its has to be among the top 10 lies ever. Dortmond won the German league with half the wage bill of Bayern.

  • Notoverthehill

    Tony, the evidence for The Arsenal expenditure in CASH terms is always revealed in the Notes to the Accounts, currently Note 25(d), Gross Cash Flows.
    Season 2012/2013. we do NOT KNOW!
    Season 2011/2012, we spent £1,785,000 more on players
    Season 2010/2011, we spent £1,528,000 more on players
    Season 2009/2010, we received £15,903,000 more for players
    Season 2008/2009, we spent £12,335,000 more on players
    Season 2007/2008, we received £4,010,000 more for players.

    These are the audited figures. We can assume that the Trade Debtors and Creditors have now been paid, apart from Season 2011/2012! I will leave it at this point, as the great majority of you will not understand what I am typing!

    It should be pointed out that Mr Wenger does not have an agent, and therefore his salary or more correctly perhaps, his fee is only known to the Remuneration Board?

  • Tony…pending-from-the-200001-season-to-201112.html

    We have a net spend on players of around -£25m over the last 10 years.
    Compare that to say Aston Villa’s +£100m. Yes that is correct we have spent £125m less on transfers than Aston Villa over the last 10 years!

    What about Everton – the team with no money at all? Well they have spent a net £20m, £45m more than us!

    Go through all the teams in the link – we are at the bottom of all clubs who have stayed in the top league.

    Is that an achievement? NO. It is penny pinching that has cost us trophies.

  • Stuart

    You could add weight to your comment by quoting only first team wages otherwise you’re not really comparing apple’s with apples

  • Two things shouls immediately jump out from our finances over the decade.

    1) We have the 4th highest wage bill over the period
    2) We have the least spend.

    That tells me that we are either finding gems or we are getting what we pay for in terms of transfers but paying WAY too high on wages.

    In truth it is probably a mix of both, but the last few years would suggest we are currently getting the balance WRONG.

  • @Stuart the wages not being paid to the first team is precisely why we have such a large wage bill and a weak squad in comparison to the top teams. That is the whole point. Its not that we cant compete or are punching above our weight – it is that we have a different model (urghh I hate that word for football but couldn’t think of anything else).

    At the moment the model is not working because not enough of the highly paid ‘potentials’ are coming through and playing to the required level.

  • bjtgooner


    Interesting post. I don’t rate the Mr Law, never did & certainly would not buy the Mirror to read his rubbish. The interesting question is – who is really pulling his strings?


    Your crystal ball doesn’t seem to be working tonight, perhaps the problem is you have two crystal balls!

  • Pat

    Enjoyable read Phil.
    Good dissection of a typical piece of self-opinionated arrogant journalism.

  • walter

    I feel sorry for you Phil. You explain what the problem was with subbing Santos and replacing him with Sagna with football arguments and then…. they ask you “what is the problem”…

    I don’t want to sound harsh as I just came home from Gelsenkirchen and it is 3 am over here, and I am tired : but some are really brainless….

  • walter

    November 6, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    I know this we”ll get blown away tonight, good and proper
    mark my words something big to nil !

    Yeah we marked your words…. something 2-2..

  • ARSENAL 13


    good one. Punching ARSENAL is the trend these days.

    Lets just look at the team we have. On paper we are good to win EPL, CL, FA and CoC (even without Theo). Reason for our poor form, I dont know…..and many those who think they do ACTUALLY DONT. The one who knows, Mr Wenger, is hard at work to rectify things and we should stand by him.

  • rupert cook

    @Arsenal13, on paper we are good enough to win the EPL, CL, FA Cup and COC. What, all in one season?

    I think some think Wenger has been hard at work to rectify things for seven years and he seems to be unable to. It doesn’t help when you sell your best players every season and I can’t believe Wenger sanctions that. After all he said we weren’t a big club if we sold Nasri and Cesc in one season yet we did. So either we’re not a big club or Wenger’s having a dig at the owner/Gazidis.

    I’d love to see Wenger guiding Arsenal to another trophy yet I can’t see it happening for a combination of reasons, those being lack of spending on decent players, inability to shift the dross which Wenger bought in the first place, Wenger’s lack of tactical nous and the continuing weakening of the team by offloading our best players.

    And no I can’t agree Arsenal 13 that this squad is good enough to win the CL or league. The two domestic cups are within its capabilities though.

  • bob

    “the invaluable freedom and flexibility that Wenger has.”
    This is your tribalist credo. We actually don’t know this – None of us. Unless you know – from the inside – who calls the shots in the last several transfer windows; that is, what is the specific balance between Arsene and the Board and the Owner(s). I would ask that you provide specific facts (any links?) to back up this statement for the last three windows.

  • bob

    “It doesn’t help when you sell your best players every season and I can’t believe Wenger sanctions that.”
    rupert cook,
    Continuing from my just above riposte to Mr. Gregory, I have to agree that, as a rational manager and visionary person, that AW would NOT sanction this policy. Hence, the question is begged, who is in charge of said policy? Apparently, by Phil’s lights, it exemplifies ““the invaluable freedom and flexibility that Wenger has.”

  • Damien Luu

    It’s very easy to write a bunch of “mays” and “may nots”.

    I can also do that. May be someday the fools will understand what a miracle Arsene is doing right now for Arsenal. May I will kill those fools all. May all of them will suddenly lose their voices forever. May all of them just go to hell and leave Arsenal alone.

    See, very easy.

  • rupert cook

    Damien, seems an apt name judging by that post.