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April 2021

Wenger suggests Henry return. Media get their knives into Arsenal.

By Tony Attwood

For weeks the headlines have been endless.  Indeed just to take the headlines that are on web sites this morning, the Independent goes with, “Beautiful goals and beautiful attacks: Van Gaal pleased with start to life at United” while the Telegraph is running  ‘Giggs: Van Gaal is the new Sir Alex and Herrera shines in brilliant United debut’.

This is how it has been day after day after day.  Which is a shame, because there is a story about Thierry Henry, and the curious fact of taking only one forward to New York, which really could do with more illumination.

On the subject of who plays centre forward against Red Bulls, Mr Wenger in an interview gave a hint – but I can’t work out if he was having a laugh at the reporters’ expense, or being serious, or teasing us with a bit of news that is about to break.

Mr Wenger is reported in the Mail as saying, ‘I came here with only one striker because I hoped he [Thierry Henry] would play one half for us. He practices with us and is still very sharp and he came back here in very good shape.’

Now if that is true, what does it mean?  That Henry is going to come to Arsenal as a coach when he finally leaves New York?   That Mr Wenger isn’t taking this match seriously?  That our Arsene is taking the piss out of the press again?

The fact that this story got into the Daily Mail is a nice bit of relief because elsewhere (in all the other papers that did not carry the story) when Arsenal do get a mention, it is back to the old days, as if the transfers of Ozil, and this summer’s signings never actually happened:

“Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger is increasingly likely to pass on moves for the likes of Sami Khedira and Morgan Schneiderlin in a cost-cutting exercise which will see Jack Wilshere be trusted with the anchoring midfield role.”

That’s the Independent.  “A cost cutting exercise.”   Not a tactical move.  A cost-cutting exercise.

It also is still running on its football index page today this piece…

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“Andre Santos attacked by his own fans following 4-0 defeat.   The former Arsenal defender is targeted by fans after a poor performance for Brazilian side Flamengo”

That story relates to a game that was played a week ago in the Brazil league – a league that is virtually never covered in the English media.  But he’s ex-Arsenal, so the story has to run and run and run.

Indeed in order to knock Arsenal The Independent has now sunk to re-running stories from the fanatically anti-foreigner Daily Express, announcing that Arsenal “will also withdraw their interest in Bayer Leverkusen ace Lars Bender and continue with 22-year-old Wilshere – despite the England star’s recent smoking scandal.”

So a player caught with a cigarette is no longer someone being silly, but has become a scandal.  OK that’s the newspaper world for you.

Now the option of using Jack is a perfectly viable approach.  We have the player, he doesn’t have to bed in, buy a house, learn the language, get used  to the tactics.  He came back early from holiday to get on with the training, and with Arteta, Flamini and Diaby in the squad he’s not going to have to play every game.

And there’s one other little point of detail that should not be forgotten.  It is only 25 July today.  There are still 35 days of normal transfer activity to go, plus the insanity of the final day when anything can happen.

So trying Jack out as the heart of the defensive midfield in the match in New York looks a perfectly viable idea.  To turn it into a “cost-cutting” measure is nonsensical, unless the Independent and Express have an insight into what Arsenal are planning – which of course they don’t.

Aside from the Thierry Henry story, The Daily Mail is approaching its “Arsenal in trouble” line with what perhaps we should call the “Santos Technique” – that of regurgitating old stories as news with an Arsenal crisis slant.   Their story today is

“Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has revealed his World Cup winning trio will almost certainly miss the Premier League opener against Crystal Palace.

“Mesut Ozil, Per Mertesacker and Lukas Podolski are on a well-deserved break after helping Germany to success in Brazil.   The threesome will not return to pre-season training until August 11, just five days prior to the clash against Tony Pulis’ side.”

“Revealed” is interesting since Untold was running this story on 21 June as we started considering just what players we were going to have available for the Emirates Cup, Community Shield, League and Euro qualifier games.

The Mail is of course overall joining in with the “van Gall great, Wenger also turned up” approach with this piece although in a less strident way.  “Meanwhile, Wenger has joined Manchester United manager Louis van Gaal in revealing his scepticism of long-haul pre-season trips.”

No, Mr Wenger has been against long-haul trips for a long time – hence the Austrian training centre without high profile games that we saw for many years, before he was ordered to go back to the Far East.

But he was, as always, diplomatic saying, ‘Sometimes our training camps are decided for commercial reasons to extend the popularity of the club.

‘We have been to Asia, of course, and we have many fans there. This is the first time for us to come to the States and I’m very happy we can come to New York because its a city I love.

‘But for purely football reasons the best for football is not to travel too much because of the time you have to wait and the jet lag is not ideal.’

So there we have it.   Chuba and Thierry our centre forwards for New York???  Possibly not, but still, its a fun story.

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50 comments to Wenger suggests Henry return. Media get their knives into Arsenal.

  • Rantetta

    The extent of Thiery’s ‘play’ with Arsenal on tour is this selfie:

  • Jayramfootball

    Lots covered in this post , but the one rh

  • Jayramfootball

    Anyway I was about to say that it is very inconvenient that players from the German team are coming back on August 11th. Is a full month holiday REALLY necessary? Pretty spoiled bunch, it’s rare for anyone to get a months holiday.
    Besides footballers at the highest level are on one big holiday.
    I do hope I don’t have to see players like scherrle playing for Chelsea on opening day whilst our lads are out.

  • oldgroover


    It’s my understanding (and I’m often wrong) that all footballers returning from tournaments have to take a four week break. This is a FIFA ruling, and seems fair to me. Some of our players (and Chelsea’s) have not had any rest or actual holiday since last July.

  • Anthony

    Anyone with half a football brain knows that Jack is not the answer to our DM hiatus. People have short memories. He was playing alongside Ramsey when Villa came calling in the first match last season and Agbonlahor and Benteke had the freedom of the park. We are crying out for a Carvalho, Bender or Schneiderlin and if the media are having a go at Wenger for not doing the business then they are absolutely right.

  • I suspect that however committed to Arsenal, our German players might find a fixture against Palace a bit of a comedown after a World Cup Final. I wouldn’t expect much from them for a little while to be honest.

  • Nelson Wong

    the other side of London… the special one oiler says Dobra belongs to Oilers and he got positive response while “Mr. Henry will be at Arsenal” becomes a scandal…

    As far as we know oiler destroy all forwards except Dobra or who that is…

  • john

    The revival of the media loving relationship with MU is gathering momentum. Today’s Guardian has a big spread about Giggs gushing over how marvellous Mr. Van Gaal is because he has sent e-mail iinstructions about coaching (which had to be explained to Giggs apparently) and because he tells the players what he wants them to do. (What was Moyes doing last year then?). This follows the earlier gushing reports of them winning a pre-season freindly.

  • Charlie

    I personally do not agree with Wilshere playing as a defensive midfielder, deep lying playmaker alongside someone defensive perhaps. Having said that the media coverage is always very negative so i’m with you there. Tricky for Arsene to decide whether to buy because he does not know whether Diaby will be fit to start more than a handfull of games. Presumably he is relying on him staying fit because otherwise he would be looking to sell him. That decision may be a discussion for another day.

  • WalterBroeckx

    Great link Rantetta

  • will

    The media including BBC and sky have had it in for arsenal for years and all so called arsenal blogs have done is join them

  • oldgroover


  • oldgroover

    it’s being suggested today on another Arsenal blog (Culturedleftfoot) that Arsène has hinted that Mertesacker might forfeit some of his leave entitlement to play in the first matches. That would be typical of Per.

  • nicky

    I tend to join with those who question the selection of Wilshere as holding/defensive midfielder.
    Of course, Arsene knows best and if he selects a player to fill a certain position, such selection has clearly been discussed with coaches and player at great length, indoors and outdoors.
    Nevertheless, there are aspects that worry supporters. Wilshere is afraid of no-one, yet his build is such that he can be knocked over with comparative ease. He likes to attack and this admirable attribute would have to be curbed.
    I always get the impression that he plays under a very tight fuse. A firm believer in retribution. A risky attitude in any position but especially that protecting the back division.

  • Af

    What do the @arsenal faithful think about the new BT sport campaign advert?

  • Mandy Dodd

    If you think the media are having a bit of a love in with Utd, just wait and see what Riley and co have in waiting for the world next season.
    On the subject of transfers, away from media talking about issues they know absolutely nothing about, think wenger has signed a couple of the most essential players, and will certainly sign more. But he will also give others a chance to impress pre season before deciding on more signings. Cannot see a lot wrong with that.
    Henry as coach, who would not welcome that!
    On the subject of coaching, interesting reading on the official site yesterday, about little ,things he spotted with Pires and his vision, and his and another article on a meeting with Ramsey a while back. and just look at the player Rambo has developed into.

  • Mick

    Does the renewed and reinvigerated Man U w**k fest mean that Liverpool are now relegated to ‘media darling also rans’ status or do the collective journalists/experts/pundits have sufficient love for both?

  • jayramfootball

    I do find it hilarious that such a hateful campaign can be made against Ozil and Mertesacker to the extent that they get hammered if they don’t completely dominate a match – then on the other hand, Herrera for Utd gets lauded as brilliant in a game against the LA Galaxy in which he failed to score and was FAR FAR less effective than even one of Ozil’s average games.

    …and of course Louis Van Haal is a complete genius already and has magical and mystical powers.

    All very funny and expected.

  • Mike T

    @ Old Groover

    I think you will find that a professional footballer is entitled to 5 weeks holiday a year to be taken between 1 July & 30 June. The regulations state that the club cannot refuse any request that three of those weeks be together.
    Players can not carry forward one years entitlement in full or part to another year.
    The players are treated as being working when away on official duties.
    In my experience employees are well advised to use their holiday entitlement the mind, the body needs to be given time to recover but just as important the family needs to put above all other considerations

  • oldgroover

    mike T%
    5 weeks is it? Well deserved I say. Must be difficult finding 5 weeks in a tournament year.

  • geekaybee

    When Wilshire gets the ball he only knows one direction and that’s towards the opponent’s goal. If they make him a DM then he could become the world’s first attacking, defensive midfielder.

  • Mandy Dodd

    Does make you wonder Mick. I am sure there will always be plenty of media love for Liverpool, just as there always will be for Spurs in the London based media, but love or no love, cannot help but think things were in place for Liverpool last year and lets face it, there were enough signs,…and they blew it, spectacularly. With Utd, not sure if it is always, genuine love, or just a following of an overwhelming establishment that throws its considerable weight behind that club, for perhaps a number of reasons, including, as Scudamore himself suggested, a strong Utd is good for the EPL brand. Maybe there are different types of love amongst neutrals, Liverpool and even Spurs are the recipient of one type, perhaps the likes of Southampton another, maybe even admiration, if not love sometimes heads the way of our club, but the love, or whatever it really is that is in place for Utd is perhaps the most intriguing and encompassing of all.
    Next season promises to be very interesting

  • bob

    “No, Mr Wenger has been against long-haul trips for a long time – hence the Austrian training centre without high profile games that we saw for many years, before he was ordered to go back to the Far East.”
    Yes, “ordered” is the word. Which is exactly why the Far East and previous faraway promo tours did us no favor in terms of future injuries to come. At the time, many here were either defending or turning a blind eye to the tours as being good for business, so what can you do. You did not oppose the tours then. Others here – and AW at those silly press conferences praising the tours to be – were well opposed to the tour model which disrupted the customary training summers in Austria.

  • Robl

    @ geekaybee, no, that was Song, closely followed by the first centre back/centre forward in World cup history – David Luiz.

  • bob

    “If you think the media are having a bit of a love in with Utd, just wait and see what Riley and co have in waiting for the world next season.”
    Scudamore and Riley are fully cognizant and protective of Manure’s massive brand value both as an economic entity and, as Scud proclaims, its service (and direct tie-in) to the ever-more massive brand value of the League. Other values – like the proclaimed anti-racism – while good in themselves are nonetheless advocated because they too burnish the League’s brand value. Methinks that Van Gaal is the new Boyfriend in the wanfest for the same rea$on$. This dynamic is why we must be Totally mindful – and proactive with protective quality signings – of the wave of injuries that are in waiting as our challenge becomes increasingly credible. Given this context, Wilshere (injury-prone and tit-for-tat reactive) as DM is not a credible first-choice. And, given this context, imo, another forward striker is needed and, I will bet, AW will bring in another one (that is, current protestations about having enough there are a smokescreen). We have the money and, given the injuries-in-waiting context), must protect ourselves with as much quality as we can to overcome more than what’s directly against us on the pitch (which is itself formidable).

  • nicky

    Re your 10.26, the Arsenal games shown on BT are of vital importance to those supporters who, for various reasons, cannot attend matches in person.
    While there has been much criticism over the amateurish commentaries, the “Sound Button” is there to be used.
    My only complaint with BT would be over their employment of the racist Gray, who should have no place in any part of the British media.

  • bob

    A hierarchy of loves – your really interesting idea is a must to further monitor and analyze as it surely unfolds before our eyes.

  • Mike T

    @ Old Groover

    For non internationals or players whose international teams weren’t involved in the WC its not too bad. o

    Most players going to the WC will have squeezed in a week, maybe even two before they went away but, of course the fact that you played in the FA cup final will have delayed the start of your players holiday by a week during that very narrow window between the end of the domestic season & the date they will have meet up with their International teams.

  • Shakabula Gooner

    Bob, Mandy:
    Isn’t it time Riley and the press noticed what damage their “favored clubs syndrome” is doing to to the England football teams in international tournaments?

  • greencardusa

    Lying anti-arsenal newspaper of the day: The Independent

    Perhaps we can have a daily tweet on the category?

  • gooner

    no new signings again today.
    we may well have to re sign henry ,theres no sign of any out and out striker signing again this window
    wilshire as a defensive midfielder ?
    this has to be a wind up ,he cant tackle wort toffee ,theyle be straight through him and into the back 4
    it looks like we had better enjoy this years champions league .,wilshere d m girould only striker ,buy buy top 4.
    still at least we will have loads of lovely money in the bank.

  • Mandy Dodd

    agree with all you say there Bob, we do indeed have to be mindful of what will come our way, especially if we find ourselves in a position to threaten the desired status quo. Trophies aside theres only room for 4 teams at the top table, Chelsea will be there and I am sure there are people in power who will want the remaining places filled by North West big spenders. As you say, I hope Wenger factors all this in, including injuries caused by lack of ref protection when dealing with squad depth.
    Agree there too Shakabula, but think the press are sops to the EPL more than the FA or national team, it is the PL that really counts above everything else here, the results were clear for all to see in Brazil. It is clear that England failing…for now is a price they are prepared to pay for the premier league product, although I am sure this would have changed had we been given a World Cup…as I am sure the FA were all to aware

  • bob

    AW quoted in today’s Guardian on the brutality of the pre-season trips, especially this pre-season:
    “These training camps in the modern game are decided for commercial reasons and because of the extent of popularity of the club,” said Wenger on Thursday. “We’ve never been to the States before and I was very happy to come to New York, a city I love. But for purely football reasons, the best thing to do is stay and not travel too much – because of the time you waste and the jet-lag you suffer.”

    He added: “This season is a post-World Cup year and very difficult because the time is very short between the final, which was on 13 July, and the start of the new season on 16 August. Fifa say you are obliged to give four weeks’ holiday to the players, so I don’t know how all that works together. It looks, to me, impossible.”

  • bob

    Shakabula Gooner,
    What’s English in the League is its name and, alas, fast receding tradition. That’s the sizzle for us longer in the tooth. Today, the steak within the sizzle is a League that may be located in the UK, but which has clearly gone Global. As you’d know, its top-top teams are ALL non-English owned (including AFC).

  • “So a player caught with a cigarette is no longer someone being silly, but has become a scandal. OK that’s the newspaper world for you.”

    As I commented on Walter’s last article on the topic of Wilshere’s alleged smoking, we cannot really blame the media for turning a guy smoking into a scandal when Arsenal fans have turned themselves to anti-smoking crusaders all of a sudden with many giving unsolicited health advice on the Internet to a guy is highly unlikely to read all the pile of self-righteous crap.

    A 22 year old footballer is caught smoking, so his career is over as he is doomed to never do well on the pitch again. Or for the more generous merchants of doom: his career will be shortened and he will fail to reach his full potential.

    If we hadn’t seen the picture on the other hand, we’ll all still be fine with the player and his prospects.

    The media are like a pack of hyenas. If we the fans of Arsenal brutalise and bloodily injure our players with unfair and excessive criticisms, we can’t blame the media for taking undue advantage like the scavengers that they are.

  • bob,

    I don’t think it’s inconsistent for this blog to support Arsenal’s decision to go to the far East last summer. Look at that red banner at the top of this page. I don’t think that Tony is kidding about that “Supporting the club, the players and the manager” line. I guess this comes under “supporting the club”.

    While he might have hated the idea, you and I know that AW isn’t the type to openly disagree with his employers or his players. Sometimes, we need to cut both the manager and the board some slack. They have to juggle between making the club money and making us play winning football. Both are important as money generated is used to buy and pay players. I am willing to be understanding here even though I totally agree with you in opposition to the pre-season travels.

    The good news is that it is not peculiar to Arsenal so in the end, it’s a wash.

  • mika

    So we have replaced Sagna and possibly Flappy with and Added a brilliant offensive player which was always needed with Theo`s and the Ox`s injury record but where is the world class striker, C Mid and more importantly C/Back we desperately need???? Come on Wenger don’t leave the job half done again otherwise we will be fighting for the scraps again. Do you really believe the squad in its current form can compete with Man City, Chelskea and a revamped Man Utd???? Never mind Real Madrid, Bayern and Barca in the C/L!

  • jambug


    As soon as I read ‘flappy’ I thought you was a prat.

    Regardless, I read on, and yep…you are.

  • Mick

    Given the fact that Sanchez was second top goal scorer behind Messi, I would classify him as a sort of striker wouldn’t you. Plus of course Walcott scored 22 goals the season before last (injury spoilt his last season), Ramsey was on course to score 20 plus before he got injured last season, and of course Podolski probably good for 15 or so, Giroud 20 or so, I really do not see why you are panicking especially as the transfer window doesn’t shut for 5 weeks.

  • AL

    I also laughed reading all these articles about van gaal being a genius, being the new sir fungus, ordering the relaying of the old toilet grass, herrera making a stunning debut, etc. It’s come to a point I’m avoiding the sports section as the praises for vg are beyond comical now. I fear ourGerman trio of WC winners are going to get hammered this coming season for, winning the world cup. They should not put a foot wrong. The negative reporting was already evident even as the WC was underway, and that they went on to win the thing just might have been the final straw for the Arsenal-hating media.

  • Notoverthehill

    One and all!

    MUFC used to detail their Rest of the World – Tour Income.

    Year ended 30th June 2009 it was £6,445,000.

    Year ended 30th June 2010 it was £2,864,000.

    The source is of course the Statutory Accounts.

    For Tottenham and their USA tours, not all that lucrative, just hovering around the £1 million mark

    I would suggest that if the Arsenal can overturn the local Council’s objections to 6 concerts at The Emirates, then the overseas tours could be redundant?

    Deducting the expenses etc., the 3 concerts will contribute about £750,000, to the revenue?

    BUT, BUT, it is the local commercial deals, that provide the real incentive for overseas tours. The USA is considered to be the prime market for exploitation!

    $$$ talk louder than the demands on the players.

  • oldgroover

    This excellent pro Arsenal article from today’s Mail seems to have gone completely unnoticed. I wonder why!

  • colario

    @ Notoverthehill
    July 25, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Time was when the pre season tour served as a get together and training preparation for the coming season. Any profit made from the tour was seen as a bonus.

    That as changed. Now its the money to be made and equally if not more important is the groweth of the ‘fan base’.

    Premier League was not shown on TV where I live. Not a problem. An internet link and the computer connected to the TV and it was like watching it on TV in England.

    However countries around the world watch EPL direct and viewers around the world identify themselves to an English team just as English fans do in England.

    Extend you fan base and you make more money from product sales.

    So what was a ‘pre season training tour’ has now become a sales promotion tour of club and its shirts etc.

    Managers may not like it but they can not do anything about it. Even Arsene.

  • Micheal Ram

    If Ryan Giggs played in the centre, it was a masterstroke by Alex. If Rooney played in the anchor, it showed he got footballing brain. If Arsenal failed to score, they were too defensive. If Arsenal got trashed, they were too timid in midfield. The level of stupidity and ignorance in world media is getting into a new level of achievement. Same goes to my local media in Malaysia. I began to realize I’m in a society full of morons and wannabes. Makes me look like Albert Einstein most of the time.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    @ Micheal Ram – Welcome to the club ! I mean about part about the morons that abound , I mean.
    But in fact someone once said I really look like Einstein due my shock of white hair and moustache !
    I am of course working on a theory of Quantum humour in a relative manner !

  • oldgroover

    Michael Ram
    Don’t worry about it. We’re in a cycle of media love/hate, and right now I’d say the wheel is slowly turning towards “like Arsenal”. Get another trophy this season and we’ll be back to the good old days of “Adore Arsenal”. Excellent news about a new signing today, so lets see how the media handles that one.

  • Ray from Norfolk, Virginia

    We could easily tour the US with non-starters, even in a World Cup year like this year:

    Boro Primorac

    Damian Martinez
    Matt Macey

    Carl Jenkinson
    Hector Bellerin
    Isaac Hayden
    Semi Ajayi
    Ignasi Miquel
    Brandon Ormonde-Ottewill

    Mathieu Flamini
    Abou Diaby
    Gedion Zelalem
    Francis Coquelin
    Kristoffer Olsson
    Jon Toral

    Yaya Sanogo
    Serge Gnabry
    Ryo Miyaichi
    Chuba Akpom

    Perfect for getting crucified by the media (but, hey, screw them) for fielding mostly non-first-team players, but we may add a Pires or a Ljungberg or even a Wiltord or a Petit to spice it up.

    That would do. The money guys will get the commercial deals, and the Boss can go to Austria or anywhere else he pleases, such as the Asturias (Santi is from there) and get to use the best spas in the world for his team.

  • Wooby

    Hi all, I do not share the opinion that Jack will not work out as a DM. We have never played with a DM like Makele, whose sole purpose is to disrupt and destroy. Despite his injuries the past couple of years, he is probably the one MF unafraid to go in with tough challenges, and is then quickly get up and move the ball.

    If I recall correctly, AW also mentioned at one point this past season that he can see Jack and the Ox playing together in England’s MF – of the two it would seem Jack is more suited to playing a deeper role.

    The added incentive here is with Stevie G’s retirement from international duties, Jack has a chance to take over the same role for both club and country. I am keen to give him a chance first before splashing out huge money for a Schneiderlin or Bender.