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April 2021

Ah, it wasn’t the trophy that was the issue after all.

By Tony Attwood

And so the honeymoon is well and truly over.  The big problem wasn’t the apparently vast number of years between winning one trophy and the next.  It wasn’t the comparison with trophy wins by other clubs (which didn’t stack up).

No, now, according to the press, the issue with Arsenal last season was that we suffered big defeats.  The fact that these three defeats, painful though they were to watch, still only lost us nine points, exactly as they would have done had we lost 1-0 each time, isn’t considered.  No it was the fact that they were BIG DEFEATS.  In the light of that (according to the way the papers are now writing it) the FA Cup was nothing.  Mere trivia.  No it’s out defence or at least defensive midfield that is the problem.

So the issue now becomes: we must have Sami Khedira or else all will be a disaster.

What’s more getting him is easy, because he only has one year left on his contract and Arsenal have the money.  And as for his wage demands, not paying is just typical Wengerian meanness.  You can see how the argument is constructed.

Besides Chelsea never have this problem.  They had Claude Makalele and Michael Essien and John Obi Mikel, whereas Arsenal have had…

Well, Patrick Vieira and Gilberto Silva.  So (the argument would then go) it is time to buy another one.

The point is that it never as simple as this.  What winning teams have is quality players in every position who can play with each other, plus a backup if disaster comes along.

But for now the papers are agreeing that Arsenal is in crisis and will remain in crisis until it gets a new defensive midfield player.

The Telegraph looked at this same message from the angle of what the starting line up might be for the first game when our travelling world cup winners return.

Watch Arsenal Live Streams With


Debuchy, Koscielny, Mertesacker, Gibbs;

Bender, Ramsey;

Sanchez, Ozil, Cazorla;


 That of course assumes that Bender is going to sign for us and that Wilshere is not going to be a first choice in the team if we do get a new defensive man.

This morning (Sunday) the ever unreliable Star has posted this headline

Wenger on a Bender: Arsenal step up interest in another German star as Khedira bid stalls

“ARSENAL boss Arsene Wenger is ready to take his summer spending to almost £70million by trying to lure Lars Bender from Bayer Leverkusen.

“Bender is one of the toughest tacklers in German football and would cost around £15m.

“He would join Arsenal’s fast-growing list of German players at the club, including World Cup winners Ozil, Per Mertesacker, and Lukas Podolski.

“Arsenal scouts have constantly watched Bender and have praised his work ethic and ability to get around the pitch.  Bender, capped 17 times for his country, would have made the German World Cup squad but pulled out with a thigh injury.

“Wenger has been won over by German football.  He claims they are ideally suited to the Premier League.   He said: “They are close to an English mentality but I must say we do not look too much at the nationality of a new signing.

“What is for sure is that the German championship is hard physically as well and it is easy for them to learn the language here, they learn it very quickly.”

While we are gazing into the dirty water that is the Star they also have this one:

More new additions are expected before the FA Cup winners return to Wembley to tackle champions Manchester City on August 10, with Arsenal understood to be close to a £3m deal for the Colombia shot stopper from Nice.

(Shot-stopper is gibberish for goal-keeper).

Our young keeper Martinez played in goal for the second half of yesterday’s game against Boreham Wood, but he hasn’t been given a squad number, so it seems likely that he is not seen as being ready for Arsenal just yet.  That could indicate a long-term loan spell to a lower league club to give him week-by-week experience, while we buy in a back up keeper for a year or two.

What the Boreham game did show us is that we could put out 22 players, including of course a range of youngsters hoping for the big time, and do it without:

  • Mertersacker
  • Vermaelen
  • Koscielny
  • Podolski
  • Wilshere
  • Ozil,
  • Giroud
  • Walcott
  • Oxlade-Chamberlain
  • Santi Cazrola

So that’s 10 first teamers still to come back.

Also we did it without Ryo, Gnabry and Eisfeld.  Gnabry is certainly part of the squad having been given a much lower squad number for this year – so I am not sure why he didn’t play yesterday.  (Whenever I say this the answer is obvious, and I’m made to look an idiot.   So…)

As for Ryo and Eisfeld, I fear they are approaching the end.  But all will become clear in the next few days and weeks.

Or not.  As the case may be.

Recent posts

62 comments to Ah, it wasn’t the trophy that was the issue after all.

  • Pat 7

    …and Arteta…

  • jonnygunner

    Hi Tony,
    I thought that Eisfeld was supposed to be the real deal…so to speak.What’s happened?

  • oldgroover

    No sign or mention of Mikel Arteta either yesterday or today. Is he still with us?

  • Andy L

    You should not forget Debuchy and Sanchez who will probably have some role to play this year.

  • Joe

    Gnabry is injured

  • bc

    Ryo is also injured.

  • Magneto

    @ Oldgroover

    according to the Arsenal commentator for the game yesterday, Arteta had taken a knock to his knee in training, and so wasn’t included in the match day squad.

  • arseternity

    mourinio have to win trophy or he get sack again

  • geoff

    dont forget u need a big squad to win anything not just 11 players

  • bjtgooner

    AW indicated yesterday that he was going to add a goalkeeper to the squad, so Martinez may well be third keeper.

    As for the media hype and speculation – not worth following; wait for the announcement from

  • gooner

    casillas is coming in as new keeper .due to be announced within the week ,after medical.

  • manyua

    Anyone else feel that without strengthening our defense and obtaining a proper DM that we still can’t challenge for the title? It’s the top 4 match ups that will decide our season and we lost almost all of our top 4 battles except vs Liverpool. We need a proven DM and a proven CB that can step up against the likes of Chelsea and City. Giving up 3 or more goals in a game this year means the title can not be ours.

  • john

    Basically Eisfeld was ready for first team football at the start of last season, but failed to get it. As a rrsult, he has since gone off the boil. Therefore he will probably be sold.

  • jambug

    Liverpool lose there best player.

    Man Utd haven’t bought a sole.

    Spurs haven’t bought a sole.

    On the other hand, Arsenal:

    -Have replaced the one player they have lost with the guy ahead of him in the French National side

    -Have purchased in Sanchez, the player, more than any other, everyone’s said to me they wish there Club had got hold of.

    -Have, in Campbell, one of the brightest young stars from the WC, returning from loan.

    -Have a player returning, in Walcott, that, despite all the usual press criticism, most teams in Europe would snap up in an instant, if for sale.

    -Have, in Diaby, God willing, a top midfield enforcer returning.

    -Have, in Ozil, an indispensable, despite media protestations to the contrary, member of the Word Cup winners midfield, going in to his second season.

    An impressive, mouth watering list of positives I would suggest, even to the most pessimistic of souls, and there may even be more to come.

    And yet it is us and not,

    Spurs, who surely peaked last year,

    or Man utd, who are placing all there hopes in a change at the helm, or so it seems,

    or Liverpool, who have lost there best player,

    who gets all the stick.

    Nope, it’s Arsenal who are in crisis.

    Honestly, it’s the same old crap year in year out. You would think these people would get sick of making complete tits of themselves every Summer, but no, it seems not.

  • jambug

    With Man Utd I meant to say:

    Haven’t bought a soul that’s ‘any good’. 😉

  • bob

    Capt. Tommy V’s advisor/fiscal engineer is Darren “The Lesser” Dein, the same as Capt. RVP and before he left) Alex Song. Dein rhymes with Kerching. I hope that if/when TV goes, this is the absolute last client we will EVER see of the Transfer-be$otted Machiavelli.

  • jambug


    Why would Eisfeld of gone off the boil?

    Ramsey was out injured for a year. He didn’t seem to go off the boil.

    What an odd thing to say.

  • jambug


    That’s a bit of a strange one with Dein the lesser. He certainly does seem to be a rotten apple.

    Funny thing is Wenger is, by all accounts, still best friends with David Dein, in which case you’d think between them they could of at least curtailed Darrens antics to some degree.

  • TommieGun

    @ Jambug hear hear !

    I insist they haven’t bought a “sole” (of a used flip flop, taken out of the rubbish bin) and not a soul ;-D

    I’d rather be in crisis and show them who’s Daddy (with a special fuck you note to the genious, nobel prize winner, M. Owen).

  • bjtgooner


    Well put.

    Unfortunately we now have the media trying to write off Debuchy, having given Sanchez the “treatment” before Debuchy was signed.

    While they take this anti Arsenal line (as they seem to have for ever) I refuse to buy the newspapers/open most blogs.

  • Andy Mack

    When did Diaby become a midfield ‘enforcer’ rather than an excellent midfielder that can tackle reasonably?

  • jambug


    Oops….Sole=Soul 😳

    One other little correction.

    I meant Spurs surely peaked the season before last, when they had Bale carrying them.

  • jambug

    Andy Mack

    Maybe I’m clairvoyant.

  • nicky

    I question not paying Khedira his wage demands is “Wengerian meanness”.
    We have no knowledge as to the effect in the dressing room that such a move would have.
    It is well known that Arsenal have a wage structure that is fairly rigid and no player should be allowed to rock the boat by demanding top wages as a pre-condition of joining the Club.

  • ClockEndRider

    Jambug @5.17 – spot on. Every year people who make their living as alleged experts state:
    We will fall out of the top four
    Spuds will take our place
    Liverpool will win something.

    In any other field, such continued lack of success in prediction would call into question their fitness to do the job. Their utter lack of foresight and indeed insight would result in their sacking. Yet it seems in football, an unfailing ability to talk utter crap allied with aforementioned utter lack of foresight are a guarantee to staying firmly on the media bandwagon and continuing to feather their own nests. Of course one would expect such rubbish from that ginger twat on the radio. But so many of the people who form the pundits panels are former players, albeit mediocre ones. For me it just shows the utter contempt in which the TV media hold their customers. Any old crap will do. Just witness the BBC during the World Cup. What on earth is that utter shyster Savage doing on a panel? The man was at best below average. What possible insight can he offer beyond trotting out the tired old nonsense about how a good engine and the ability to kick people are what everyone should aim for.
    The print media are even worse. From frauds like Amy Lawrence and that daily Mirror cretin Cross who pretend to be Arsenal fans yet show absolutely no insight whatever in their analyses, to Samuel, Lawton and myriad others whose sole reason for being I their job seems to be adherence to party line and a marginal ability to write passable if formulaic prose. Morons like Samuel wouldn’t know what makes a good footballer if it introduced itself.
    Thanks The Lord this blog remains a haven of sanity.

  • oldgroover

    Andy mack
    Diaby’s been out for so long that it’s not easy to remember what his actual function was.
    I always think of him as box to box, a player who would win the ball in midfield turn & surge forward (al la Vieira), but others see him as a DM. I do remember that his heading (for a big bloke) was quite poor, and at corners you tended to hold your breath a bit incase he put one in our net. Lovely touch though. Yeah, hope he’s fit and ready for it, as he will be a valuable (maybe first choice) squad member.

  • jambug


    In any other field, trying, and I repeat ‘trying’, to at least maintain some semblance of financial prudence, would be applauded.

    Somehow football seems hell bent on avoiding even the slightest association with reality.

    It seems not acceding to pay whatever is asked, whether you have the money or not, no matter how ridiculous, sees you portrayed as mean or tight. Well at least in our case it does.

    As I keep telling Mrs Jambug, just because there’s a couple of lottery winners in the street it doesn’t mean we can all own a Rolls Royce 🙂

  • jambug


    Now you say it, his defensive heading was atrocious.

    And Andy Mack may of had a point, Re:Enforcer. Although he was a powerful presence in that mid field area, it was, as you say, his dynamism, his ability to take the ball forward and push teams back that was his biggest asset.

    Either way, my point was he is a great player to have back.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    I think some website traps have:

    -an Arsenal button

    -a button for one of “failed to swoop” / “snag under Wenger’s nose” / “hijack the deal” / “transfer imminently” / “hesitated to acquire” / “unable to afford” / “get beaten by Mourinho to the signing of” / “cannot afford wages for” / “may not be able to convince top talent due to the overtly restrictive socialist wage structure”

    -a button for “shot stopper” / “penalty area defensive pacman” / “goal-scoring machine” / “talented enforcer” / “proven hard-tackling midfielder” / “terror-generating attacking genius” / “sexy flavor of the day player”

    So, you click, and the story is about Salomon Kalou or some other player that the Boss would never consider.

  • Magneto

    @ ClockEndRider

    I completely agree with your post.

    I remember the days when to be an “expert” meant that you had considerable knowledge, experience and authority in your chosen field, and were amongst the best in your industry.

    Ah yes, I remember it well.

    Unfortunately, the football industry has foisted upon the public a new breed of “expert”…those who offer specialist, but far from “expert”, opinion.

    Their “expertise” merely comes from being given a free media platform to express their specialist views, but, in reality, they have no more “expertise” in their subject matter than any of the men and women that I see in London handing out free newspapers outside tube stations.

    With “experts” like these, no one should be surprised that the England national team has now gone 48 years without a trophy. And counting.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    So, I will create a trap referring to my own bogus story, starting with a sexy title.


    “As reported in ORTEM and Caught Onside, it has emerged that new Barcelona signing Luis Suarez lost about 25% of his value in the transfer market when he decided not to join Arsenal for the 2013-2014 season. Arsenal were briefly linked with goal-machine Gonzalo Higuain, but moved on after watching reruns of Higuain’s misses and offsides. Arsene Wenger knew he could reform the orally-challenged (orally unchallenged according to some) Uruguayan, but Liverpool’s demands (an arm and a leg) and Suarez’s demands (several arms, several legs, a wing with the winger it is attached to, a couple of shoulders, and an ear to send to close friend Mike Tyson) put an end to the flirtation. Wenger’s plan would have consisted of reforming the mandibulary-gifted striker by having him develop a taste for chicken wings and French (well, Belgian) fries in moderation, sushi, paella, and other items prepared by WAGs of the Arsenal first-team players. In addition, an introductory course (NPI) to fine cuisine was planned by Wenger, including developing a taste for filet de Sole (luring bitey by thinking he would get a piece of ex-Arsenal great Sol Campbell)”
    “Unfortunately, he opted to stay at his club, with his value sky-rocketing by the end of the season. Alas, despite having been lectured twice before, he Lecter-red Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, losing a lot of his market value, and a significant increase in wages rather than the more modest one he ultimately received”

  • nicky

    Your 6.12 brings home, sadly, the now worldly nature of the once splendid game.
    (Have faith and one day Mrs J will have her RR!) 😉

  • Mick

    It looks like the scousers have signed Lovren from Southampton to join the already transferred Lambert and Lalana. Given the stick Wenger and Arsenal got for stealing the Saints best talent although it was only Theo and Ox in the space of 5 years, will we now see a similar condemnation of Rodgers and his club having signed 3 in a couple of months.

  • jambug


    Nope !

  • Raj

    Arsenal Pay their footballers too much!
    Other teams cannot meet the demands of our players when they are to leave. e.g Bentner, the second team in Germany couldn’t afford his wages. Kheidra, gets £45000 pw at Real Madrid, and papers see that as £150,000 pw at Arsenal!. Papers Quoted he wanted the same pay as he was getting at Real Madrid. £20,000pw means the player is a millionaire. Even with the new money, Teams cannot have a squad with a wage £50 million per year. That’s each 25 player @ £40k pw on average, and also pay the transfer fees, being asked currently.

  • Mick

    I make you right!

  • para

    we have always been capable of beating Manc, Manu and Chelsea, it was just the confidence of our players over the last seasons, but now they have grown so much together and i am sure they are ready to put that to bed this season. Yea, payback.

  • Raj

    Bartolli will need a pay cut, to join Arsenal!

    According to the wage he is currently on, £50k pw seems ok!

  • jambug


    I tend to agree. I, like yourself, have felt for a while that our inability to beat our top 4 rivals at anywhere near the ratio we should was indeed down to mental reasons as much as it was football.

    Either way, the way the season starts means we will find out soon enough if you are right.

  • Quincy

    What a joke The Star is. Bender for £15m? Don’t those clowns remember that according to their own reports we made a £19m bid for Bender which was turned down, and later Bender extended his contract to 2019, so if anything, Leverkusen will only sell him for quite a bit more the 19m? Incompetent, the lot of ’em.

  • oldgroover

    Do remember Mail sports editor Ian Wooldridge who was probably the greatest ever British sports journalist and the only reason I bought the Mail?
    Things certainly have changed since his day (which wasn’t really all that long ago.)

  • Linz

    Buying the 24 yr old Columbian keeper Ospina means that Martinez is not rated as Ospina will be here longer than a “year or two”.

  • Gord

    I was looking around Transfermarkt, and they have written down that Djourou has been sold to Hamburger SV for 2.8 million. still lists him as one of our players.

    Other known destinations of players: Fabianski to Swansea, Fagan went to Welling, Aneke to Zulte-Waregem, Ansah to Charlton, Sagna to ManCity and Silva to UDAlmeria.

  • Gord

    A few minutes ago, I visit the (degraded) BBC web site, and noticed a story about David Rudisha was being advertised. I followed the link, and wasn’t too surprised that the page lead to nothing (I don’t surf with javascript and don’t view videos).

    Fine, off to Wikipedia I go to read about this person (from Kenya).

    I guess there are a few Gooners in Kenya, and near the bottom of the page, we find that David Rudisha is a Gooner.

    Why is he a good athlete? Well, here is the Wikipedia take on it:
    > On 9 August 2012 at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Rudisha led from start to finish to win gold …

    > Rudisha dragged the rest of the field with him to create a historic race whose story, wrote Sports Illustrated’s David Epstein, “is best told, perhaps, in 16 letters: WR, NR, PB, PB, PB, NR, SB, PB.” The pace was so punishing that the silver medallist, Amos, had to be carried from the track on a stretcher, though his exertion did earn him the world junior record and make him only the fifth man in history to run under 1:42, something Rudisha has now done seven times. “With Rudisha breaking 1:41, two men under 1:42, five under 1:43 and all eight under 1:44,” noted the IAAF, “it was the greatest depth 800m race in history.” Every single man ran the fastest time in history for their placing. All eight runners set season’s bests; seven set personal bests; and three set national records, of which one was also the world junior record while another was the Olympic and world record. It was the first time in international 800m history where every competitor ran either a personal or season’s best. The time set by the eighth-placed Andrew Osagie, a personal best of 1:43.77, would have won gold at any of the preceding 21st-century Olympics.

    I edited the above, to remove the footnoting. You can visit the wikipedia page to follow up on this marvelous Gooner’s story!

    I wish I would have seen that race on TV!

    I wonder if Mo Farah would want to run against him? Mo has apparently run 1500m. If Mo becomes an Arsenal fitness coach, maybe David would be his successor?

  • Gord

    The Daily Wail has an article about David Bentley retiring from football. Might be a good read for people.

    David had a problem with “control” as I read the article. I disagree that all players are becoming the same, because of what control is being exercised. Mesut Ozil is nothing like Per Mertesacker.

    Yes, the lack of good managers in the English game may tend to make more restricted player types in England. That was never going to be a problem at Arsenal under Wenger. But I can see where Wenger wants control, and as Bentley rejects control, it was inevitable he wouldn’t make it at Arsenal.

    I don’t know if I would call his career successful. But, at 29/30 he has time for another career. And he seems to have reached this point with no serious injuries. I wish him the best in the rest of his career.

  • Arvind

    Update on transfers:

    Latest set of fake transfers that will NOT happen.

    Casillas, Balotelli at cutprice and William Carvalho – big big big vapour transfers : )

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    Interesting read about David Bentley. Somehow, I believe he is not the competitive kind.
    He is the sort of player that would shine at modest clubs and not at clubs where squad size means he has to play absolutely mistake-free. Arsene Wenger gave him time to develop, but he may have identified his flaws.
    When he scored that wonder-goal against us in a 4-4 tie, I hated him because he was an ex-Gunner, but I was more upset about some other goals we conceded that day, and I was ultimately OK with it. Such a beautiful, though very lucky, goal. David Bentley, the gifted footballer who did not really want to be a professional.

  • Gord

    OT: Ex Arsenal defender Santos attacked

    Yes Ray, I would agree with you that he (David Bentley) isn’t competitive. Or rather, he prefers to be internally competitive.

  • Will

    I ignore the press and all media outlets now. I have realised the bias I thought was in my head is actually real. Still don’t know why yet but it is there. Some team like Man City and Chelsea can do no wrong (even though they both lie and cheat their way through) and we can do no right.

    I thought Eisfeld was one for the future?

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Ray from Norfolk, Virginia – July 20, 2014 at 6:53 pm –

    Very nice piece- very sharp and biting at the same time !
    I think that like Pavlov’s dog , there is a trigger factor that sets off his biting .
    I ‘ve also noticed a similar reaction on this site whenever certain ‘trigger’ words are used , such words like AAAA and AKB .
    Just you watch – the rabid will be on shortly , to sic me ! Down boys !
    In the meantime , here’s an alternate and interesting theory –

  • Arvind

    Seamus Coleman – another fake transfer.

    Actually I should just leave it to Tony with his excellent posts debunking all of the above : )

  • Brickfields Gunners

    Pavlov , not unlike like the present day English football media and the AAAA don’t like those who don’t toe the line and abhor all that ‘Viva la difference ‘ shit !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    While some do reach the top it becomes a square peg in a round hole scenario .
    Have a look , you KNOW you want to !

  • Brickfields Gunners

    I hear them coming , so here’s me signing off for now to the tune of…..

  • bjtgooner


    Some good links! 🙂

  • Magneto

    @ Oldgroover

    Yes, I read some of his articles, from time to time, but not consistently.

  • Andy Mack

    One of the reasons we’ve done so poorly against the other top 4 teams is down to the officials. When they let the opposition kick seven shades of shit out of us in the first 20 minutes and don’t even consider whistling, our guys heads go down.

  • ZOON

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahhaha………Diaby the midfied enforcer returns to the squad. I have heard it all now!

  • jambug


    You obviously haven’t ‘read it all now’ because a little further down I did concede, following a post from Andy Mack, that perhaps ‘Enforcer’ was the wrong word.

    A ‘driving’ force is perhaps a better description.

    Either way it’s good to have him back, and lets hope for his sake, in fact all of our sakes, he can remain injury free.

    I suggest you read all the posts before posting next time.

  • ZOON

    It was the word “returns” that made me laugh rather than “enforcer”.

  • jambug


    Sorry, my mistake.

    Let’s hope you’re wrong.