If repeatedly doing something that doesn’t work is madness, then what is this?

By Dr Billy “the Dog” McGraw, Senior Consultant Psychiatrist, University Hospital of the North Circular Road.

There is a saying which is often, but wrongly, attributed to Albert Einstein that says that one definition of madness is doing something, seeing it fail, and then doing it again, and again and again.

Of course like all simplistic sayings, when you come to examine it, it doesn’t really work, because the essence of scientific enquiry involves testing one’s hypothesis repeatedly in order to prove whether it works or not, and I think the pursuit of scientific enquiry is generally rather important and worthwhile, not a sign of madness.

But of course what most of us do, when something doesn’t work, is vary what we are up to – at least a bit.

Now there is a second level to this.  Most of us, or at least the sane ones, vary what we do in order to avoid experiences that make us feel bad, and ultimately to make ourselves feel good.  Of course some people quite like harming themselves (physically or mentally) by making themselves feel bad but most people prefer to go down the “feeling good” route.

I mention all this because I spotted a number of people writing in with comments about Arsene Wenger which predicted that this year would be the year Arsenal slipped out of the top four and headed for mid-table obscurity.  And then noticed that this was predicted in the early part of last season, and the season before and…

Well you get my point.  The prediction is made over and over again, presumably in the hope that ultimately it would be right.  Which is a bit like gambling on a certain card coming up once the pack is shuffled.  Yes it might happen in the end, but there are going to be a lot of wrong calls all along the away, and anyway, what’s the purpose of such activity?  Does it make the individual making the prediction happy?  Unlikely, unless, I suppose, you are a Tottenham supporter.

My point is that like most predictions, it will probably happen in the end.  Arsenal has a long history of being a mid-table club, as we were under Knighton (apart from when fighting relegation), Chapman in first five years of his reign, the last year of Allison’s management, parts of the Tom Whittaker era, under all of the management of Jack Crayston, George Swindin, and Billy Wright, the latter part of the Bertie Mee era, during the management of Neil and Howe, during the latter part of George Graham’s era…  Yes predict that Arsenal is going to fall, and history says you will be right in the end – but that still doesn’t make it an interesting prediction.

The defeat to Dortmund resulted in much the same outpouring as the defeat to Villa last season.  Wenger must go, the team is rubbish, he is useless, we’re going to sink.  Year after year, the same old stuff.

And does it have any effect?  No – clearly not because Mr Wenger is still there.  The only impact that there is, is that some players who are actually very good get very demoralised and play worse than they would do if they were appreciated.  Gervinho was one perfect example of this – there have been others through the history of Arsenal.  Jack Lambert is another from earlier times and there have been many more.  And those players talk about the crowd.

So the outpourings of angst and worse continue, people are upset, and for what?  If they have any effect at all on the football it will be a negative one on the players, nothing else.  Meanwhile the media very quickly pick up on this sad approach, and feed it for all their worth, each trying to be more anti-Wenger and anti-Arsenal than the next.

Thus it goes on.  No one gets any happier, the team and the club is harmed, and that’s about it.

Ask someone who engages in this sort of behaviour and they tend to say that their campaign is to try and get Wenger out, but they rarely admit that they have failed in ten years of trying to do this.  Rarely do they put together a concrete plan of what could be done instead of the current approach apart from occasional thoughts about players that we should purchase (without any notion of whether they would actually sign for us) or which manager we should have (again without any thought as to whether that manager would want to manage a club with supporters like this).

That last point (whether players or a manager would sign for us) is rather important, because I have heard some suggestions made that there are players who say, “no, I wouldn’t sign for them because…”   It is not just Arsenal at the receiving end of this, because quite a few clubs are mentioned in this way, and the reason given can be varied, including

  • “You can’t trust the manager to keep his promises”
  • “The training facilities are rubbish”
  • “The coaching system is awful”
  • “My accountant told me their tax avoidance schemes are being challenged”
  • “They’ll buy you in and loan you out and you get no real choice in where you end up”
  • “One bad game and their supporters and the media will turn on you”

Different clubs have different reputations, but that last reputation is one that Arsenal has, and, I have been told, is one reason why certain deals have not gone through.

I guess, looked at this way, we can say that those who endlessly criticise the management and the players, are having an effect, but the effect is the opposite of what they profess they want.  But if one definition of madness is doing the wrong thing over and over again, then doing something that actually causes the opposite of what one professes to want, over and over again, must be a sign of something far worse.

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75 Replies to “If repeatedly doing something that doesn’t work is madness, then what is this?”

  1. Cry me a river !!!!!! So you suggest these overpaid primadonnas should get our vote of confidence when they continually stink the place up……get real.You are not in America……

  2. Superb article.

    I would be interested to know of deals that haven’t gone through because of the fans’ reputation – but appreciate you may not be able to divulge sources.

  3. Danish – “continually”… are you sure, mate? First defeat since April! Please stop throwing your toys.

  4. Sadly, we have a few fans who are too thick to realise they are doing the dirty work of those who would harm the club….including media, and fans of other clubs who would love to be where we are.
    Bad performance, but over reaction, fortunately plenty of time to put things right.
    If the system is being tweaked, may take a bit more time on the training ground before we see things starting to improve….as they certainly will as new plaers settle in and they all become more accustomed to what seems a different game plan
    but having said that, we really need to sort out the defending as a team and fairly quickly.

  5. There is no shame in losing away at Dortmund. But to play so abysmally, to have a team so demotivated, to have a captain and midfield anchor who fails to provide cover and to see the same mistakes repeated again and again and again, should not be tolerated from a man who earns £8 million a year.

    I’m failing to find a positive from that performance other than the fact that Hector Bellerin didn’t get mauled. The fact he was one of our better players is testament to how woeful we were.

    Jack Wilshere, who has played well recently, resurrected his World Cup form. Ramsey resurrected his form from 3 years ago when he was nearly sold to Fulham. Alexis was shocking, Podolski pointless, SZCZ put in epic levels of Almunia and I’m struggling to think of things to say about Mesut Özil. This guy is a World Cup superstar playing like a Sunday league player. Would any other manager have tolerated his woeful performances and tried to play him into form when you have Cazorla, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Rosicky more than capable of filling in?

    The fact is all these players are fabulous players. I wouldn’t sell any one of them. There is one man who motivates them, who gives them tactical instruction and who changes things when plan A isn’t working.

    That man is the manager.

    Everyone knows Le Grove is not pro Arsene Wenger. But anyone who can, in all earnestness, continue to look on at these performances, these farcical transfer windows and injury crises and still not find fault with the guy who yields all the power at the club is not being ignorant, they’re being disingenuous.

    Sure we don’t know everything that goes on behind the scenes. You can try and blame the fans for creating a negative atmosphere (anyone who says that has clearly never watched live football). You can produce statistics to show that Danny Welbeck has fewer ‘turnovers’ than Radmael Falcao. And you can continue to say that ‘you said we should’ve signed Ashley Young therefore you can’t criticise the manager’ but the fact is, the ONLY way this is going to get better is when Arsene leaves.

    He’s been a great servant of the club, the best, but he is not the guy to lead it to future glory.

    We may recover. We will put together a good run in the league and we will qualify from our group in the champions league, there will be better days ahead this season. But I do not hold out hope of reaching the promised land again until something significant changes at the top.

  6. cut and paste – the refuge of those incapable of free thinking…or indeed any form of thinking

  7. Dude,i understand your point of view,but if you can advice this gaffer that because of his stupid philosorphy he loosing his reputation as a best coach.Football game have change,he need to adapt to model game of football.

  8. I’m just glad we are not getting mauled away from home against any decent team we face this year.I am also glad we have a new fitness guy in to stop us getting loads of injuries this year.Ozil playing so brilliantly this year and not ever getting dropped and apparently Diaby will be back soon. Add to that the fact the manager is not just playing the same tactics in every game no matter who were playing and were in for a brilliant season.

  9. Do you suggest we keep mute when such an abysmal display is produced and wait to slate anyone who mentions the truth to us? It is convenient for you to do that but don’t expect it from others.

  10. Fair comment and I have to agree with the philosophy and consequences.

    However there are many things that provoke such anger and frustration which are positively exacerbated by AFC and Arsene.

    We never know what’s happening in August! Arsene never acknowledges what’s wrong or states what he is going to do/buy. Consequently the fans speculate, aided by an ever increasing social media platform dedicated to such comments. Clearly saying ‘I’m going to buy player x’ is unrealistic but to say we are going to buy (and actually do it!) a Defensive midfielder (for example) would leave people more content. In fact on that subject it wasn’t until the past week, post the transfer window closing that he made any comment to that effect……so incredibly frustrating.

    We’ve spent recently, but this season we should have done much more. In the absence of communication from Arsene, but in the face of every sport or media website saying we’re in for player x,y,z it is hard to sit quietly and not be disjointed when we don’t do it.

    Arsene is playing some game whereby he is seemingly always trying to turn rough diamonds into gems. However I think we all concur that at certain points he needs to move on and accept defeat with certain players….NOT compromise the team continually whilst we all wait. His dream of finding another Henry, Vieira etc seems at times to exceed his desire to win. History and an overly indulgent persistence with certain players bears this out.

    I think we all agree, that players are still clearly needed in several positions. I begin to feel that he acts in such a way as to say ‘well if you think I’m going to do it your way, the way of popular opinion, then you’re completely mistaken’…he cuts his nose off despite his face at the cost to the team and this further frustrates the fans. Is he really that small minded and stubborn?

    Generally, I love all that Arsenal and Arsene stand for, especially supporting the beautiful game. However he (Arsene) has to be a bit more introspective, look at his own failings (sentimentality, stubbornness, vague/ambiguous media and fan communication, possibly even inflexibility in terms of tactics……and change.

    He remains a great manager and we have the makings of a great team but until we become one, performances and results either placate of provoke fan reaction. These are not new issues that all gooners feel inclined to moan about, but recurrent issues that don’t change, so the tenet is usually along the lines of…..ffs we told you/you surely know (although you won’t bloody well say it publicly!)…why don’t you deal with it?’

    For me that means it is Arsenes attitude and behaviours that need to change, because unfortunately the mistakes are repeated……again and again!

  11. can anyone in this site tell me whats wrong with our left wing. A lot of players since Arshavin have been tried in that position. None clicked. i think a speedy left winger would stretch defences. DM does not worry me coz unless yiu can find a vieira or toure a destructive player will only destroy your fluid passing game

  12. Germany harmer Brazil 7-1; Dortmund win 3-1 against Real Madrid; Bayern win 1-4 in Nou Camp.And mighty Ludogorets almost draw at Liverpool. Does this teach Arsenal fans and supporters anything? I’m sorry NO! But the truth is, the game of football does not always give you what you want. Had Arsenal scored the first goal last night as we almost did, we could easily have done exactly what Dortmund did to us. Do you people even remember that for all their posession in the first half, before the goal, Dortmund did not give us ‘real’ worries?

  13. This and the two previous threads are unreal. All the usual suspects are out there, and a few new ones. All been hiding for quite a while – well I am happy to stand up and be counted. The team are getting better and better season by season and Arsene Wenger is still, without any doubt whatsoever, the man to continue to lead our improvement.

    This is our first competitive defeat in 14 games! This season we have already seen defeats for all our PL rivals, other than Chelsea, Real Madrid, Dortmund, Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and on and on.

    It is ONE defeat. Just one effin defeat. OK, it was a poor performance – but away from home against a very good team. Meanwhile, we are trying to integrate a significant number of new players while managing several players who played late into the World Cup.

    Get a grip!

  14. Doc.,
    A masterly précis which should be studied by all the fickle fans who follow our great Club.
    No wonder you are a Senior Consultant.
    And Diaby will apparently be back
    soon, says ZOON. 😉

  15. It’s just one game and I’m sure the team will do what they can to correct. Last year the loss to Villa was the team’s wake up call and hopefully this game will serve as the wake up call for this team.

    For all those that say keep on spending, with all that they spend, Chelsea still took 2 years with no one else spending as much as them and City took 3 years of crazy spending to win their first trophy. It takes time for a team to gel especially when you add so many pieces.

    As a supporter, you take the highs and the lows!

  16. I really cannot blame AW for the performance last night.
    The players seemed to be not motivated except for a few of them.
    I missed the closing down and the determination to get the ball back when lost, but this takes a lot of energy, this is why teams do not play like this every game.

    But the team was a little embarrassing, and they should be force fed the video a few times. I’m sure AW was not happy with them.

    The way Arsenal is changing over the years, will tell the players there that if they do not perform they are going to be replaced, and i think this will happen much quicker than it used to in the past.

    With the injuries other players are getting the chance to play and make an impression.

    The only thing i am concerned about is the constant use of the phrase “Arsenal play a fast attacking game”.

    This is so not true any more. We now, like other teams, do this now and again, but the rest of the time we seem to defend more than attack.

    I suppose this momentary defending allows the new faces in the defence to settle in.

    Yet i still cannot help thinking that those little flashes when Arsenal played yesterday were brilliant and if they had carried on like that, we would have won, but the players would be more tired.

    Maybe AW is playing this part of the CL by taking ALL the games in this mini league together instead of separately.

  17. Denilson and Gervinho are two clear examples of players who were destroyed as a result of their own club’s fans turning on them at their time of greatest need.

    Of course it is down to them to get past that, and that they couldn’t is their own problem. I am not denying that at all. But it is certainly counter productive for Arsenal fans to turn on their own players like that. Arteta, yesterday, put in an abysmal performance. But he is not an abysmal player. It seems like Arsenal fans are just dying to make definitive pronouncements about players and their futures rather than just supporting them, or even just calling it as it happens.

    Look at the comment above about how Arsene Wenger is not the man to lead us to future glories said so assuredly. That’s an opinion disguising itself as fact, despite that fact having been very recently proven wrong. Unless of course the FA Cup is not really silverware anymore.

    People don’t seem to want to watch games. They seem to want to be right about these things. ‘ I told you two years ago Arteta wasn’t good enough, and yet Wenger can’t see it.’ ‘ I always knew Diaby was a crock and yet Wenger in his stupidity gave him a new contract’. etc etc.

    For the squad deficiencies. Yes, I was as disappointed as any about the lack of a DM signing and a backup CB. But even City and Chelsea didn’t create a complete/winning squad within 2 years of getting the money (we’ve not even had one – of less money at that).Squad building takes time and Wenger, at the least, seem aware of the need for a DM.

    I think it’s unlikely that we’ll win the title this season. No matter what we do, we’ll never be favourites ahead of clubs like Chelsea and City. That’s fine. I don’t think many Arsenal fans accept that though. Klopp said his target for the season is to qualify for the CL, get through the CL group stages, and if they can, try and reach the German Cup final again. If Wenger said something like that he’ll be slaughtered for a lack of ambition.

  18. I would take issue with one point only on this otherwise excellent post.

    ‘If it does not work then change it’


    If it does not work, and you believe it to be right……….THEN JUST DO IT BETTER.

    Plan ‘B’ is for morons.

  19. There are only 2 ways to beat a pressing team.

    The Arsenal philosophy only accepts one of them

    Personally I am delighted with this choice by the management team.

    Keep it up.

  20. To partha

    The wing positions at Arsenal are filled by the FB’s (Gibbs and Bellerin), the so called wide forward players must vacate this space to be filled by the player behind.

    Try watching our winger Carzola to see what I mean.

    This is the main reason the defence is assumed to be suspect (totally untrue), basically Arsenal play only two at the back.

    Long may this attacking tactic continue

  21. The manager’s supporters have been working overtime these past two days to try and find excuses for some of our players. No, we shouldn’t ask Ozil to work as “he’s not that type of player”- so he’s a luxury then? That works fine if everyone else works 100%, or with great players around you at Real Madrid or Germany, but not in the Premiership,so about time he realised that after a year here. So, he didn’t have a pre-season- did Di Maria, Costa, Fabregas have much of a time either to get to know their team mates or have a sustained pre-season? So what’s Ramsey’s excuse then? It takes time “to adjust to our League- let’s wait three years shall we? Only our players take so long- Koscielny, Mertesacker, Giroud all “needed time!”. Strange how Aguero, Suarez, Ivanovic, Hazard etc don’t need time to start playing well?. The funniest comment was if “you ignore all the goals conceded against City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Everton” we had the best defensive record last season in the Premiership. Brilliant analysis- next time let’s ask not to play the big boys shall we? If we ignore the points we haven’t picked up home and away against Chelsea, City, United over the past five years or so, we’d be champions every season wouldn’t we?! Some people…..

  22. Wenger didn’t sign a defensive midfielder as he made the pedestrian, slowcoach, goes missing in big games against the best, hopeless veteran, Arteta our captain! Now he couldn’t then go and drop him, could he? He couldn’t admit he’s wrong, ever, can he? I refer to my posts two months ago about Cesc. He’ll lead the Russians to the title. Costa is good, but who’s creating for him? How many good games has our record buy had since he came here? Who is the better option for this League?

  23. What I find interesting about some of the anti-Wenger comments is that their forensic match analysis is not any better or worse than what I could say. However, they draw conclusions and make predictions that are not valid. At times, I feel as if I am reading some tired old Marxist deterministic diatribe that can be taken apart by anyone familiar with the Socratic method or familiar with simple logic. In sum, the analysis of Arsenal losses by the people opposed to Arsene Wenger’s tenure at Arsenal are sometimes/often? OK, however their predictions of a dire future under Arsene Wenger are tired, predictable and to date premature.

  24. @bob thats my point. if full backs play higher up the field the wide midfielders would have to cover the space vacated by them by tracking back. last night that tracking back for some reason did not happen on the left. Thats where the problem arose. just consider how they attacked the left side of our midfield as Alexis was doing his bit down the right.

  25. As expected no answers to defend the abomination created by wenger. Justpetty nname calling. Let me put itinto eeven clearer perspective for you.The best signings of the window were Sánchez, Chambers, Debuchy and Ospina. And how many of those were essential in replacing outgoing players? They MAY be improvements on those who left, but not by much. And that’s one issue I have with Wenger – when you have money and an “opportunity” like that, it’s the perfect chance to upgrade the quality of the first team! But he’ll always do the bare minimum! Sánchez, as good as he is, should be coming in only after the necessities have been gotten in. Why buy a non-scoring mid for 42m when we needed goals? That money could’ve gone toward a fantastic 30m odd striker AND possibly a player like Schneiderlin at DM! It’s the decisions Wenger makes, the way he (mis)uses the resources we have, the way his team goes out believing they’re better than they are. The naivety in our style of play: are we a possession team or a counter-attacking team? If it’s the former, then we should be breaking our necks to win the ball back as soon as we lose it. If it’s the latter, we should have the personnel to allow us absorb pressure and hit on the counter at break neck speed. But we’re neither here nor there, make 20 two-yard passes in a row and call ourselves a passing team! And the lack of preparation and naive concentration solely on our play rather than nullifying opponents’ strengths and exploiting their weaknesses make us easy to play against! City match is a great example: we score two fantastic, hard worked goals that should win any match – then we concede two easy goals with Sunday-league defending. And we’ll continue to see this for the rest of this season, next season and beyond! That’s what frustrates the cr@p out of me! I just can’t be bothered anymore, and I think I’ll sit the travelling out for the rest of the year. The time and money will be better spent with my family!

  26. @Sean

    You disagree with Arsene Wenger. It is your right. I simply believe that we do not know all the details regarding the transfers of players to place all the blame on the manager or even to analyse what he was thinking because I don’t know what he was thinking. I trust that over the course of the season that he will be justified.

    I agree with you that you should probably spend more time with your family. I rarely regret time spent with my wife and kids.

    Go Arsenal

  27. partha

    I agree that sometimes the fullbacks being too high up is a problem. But the opening goals we’ve conceded in the last two matches have had virtually nothing to do with that. We had enough cover on Immobile yesterday to stop that attack, by hook or by crook. And against City, Ramsey read the danger too late and Flamini didn’t cover Aguero’s run despite being in position.

    I don’t think the tactical set up is a problem there, unless you suggest that we should just sit back and defend because some of our players aren’t reading danger or snuffing it out correctly.

    However, the responsibility for that comes back on the manager too. NOt denying that. I just think the FB thing is made too much off. Although it has its risks. I also think the change to 4-1-4-1 was made to prevent against that since we supposedly have 3 players in midfield to cover for the fullbacks. We don’t have true wingers in the squad so it might be meant to help with that too.

    Whatever. If players don’t turn up, no system is going to work. The players did not turn up against Dortmund.

  28. Doc

    Maybe Arsenal fans have always had a sizable contingent among us who are prone to moan, criticize and whinge, outpouring all that inherent Arsenal angst we apparently have. Maybe very few of us are cut out for the rough and tumble of a poor performance or a heavy defeat; with none of the strength, loyalty or fight to support the club even when the going is tough. Maybe I am, like them, weak and spoiled.
    But for the record, when I have a pop at the club I love, as I have done a few times now, it is fueled, not by one bad defeat or a pathetic performance, it is the relentless monotony of seeing our squad, time after time after time, inadequately invested in, our team, time after time after time, sent out to play with hopelessly ineffective tactics, and our manager, time after time after time, seemingly blind to making any significant changes to his ideas despite the fact that the same inadequacies prevent us seriously challenging for the very top honours, time after etc. I didn’t put myself into this repetitive behaviour of complaining, Arsene Wenger did it to me. Patience, he pleads. Oh please, where does he think PATIENCE COMES FROM? From the never-ending patience tree growing in the never-ending patience land? Arsenal is a better club than your mid-table history reminder. We have achieved many great things and we are capable of achieving more. We don’t exist to participate, the club exists to achieve and to do all it can in the attempt to do it. What will this oft repeated theme achieve Doc? It will help me keep my standards and expectations high and stop me from accepting second best. Because as you say, no-one at the club is listening, but bugger if I’m going to go down accepting mediocrity, cos last night THAT IS WHAT WE GOT. And you should have been angry at being made a mug of, not all superior at being able to be rise above it. Get a grip Doc. The club needs you. Stop hiding.

  29. Wenger’s biggest mistake was to raise the standard of expectations for the club and now there are people only willing to beat him with a branch of the tree that he cultivated. Even George Graham did not achieve as much as Mr. Wenger has. As any long term fan knows we had have very sporadic success from WWII until the era of George Graham. So, please, spare us the ‘We deserve better’ speeches. Life is not like that. Life IS fair. We pay our money and support our club and they do their level best to win. We don’t DESERVE anything. Whining and moaning is just the way some people deal with disappointment. Walk your dog. Play with your kids. They DESERVE time with their parents.

  30. Fishpie

    Fair enough about losing patience, because patience comes from belief. Now here’s the thing. 10 years ago, you wouldn’t have believed we’d go a decade without winning the league again. But you would also not believe that the finances of the league would change so dramatically just at a time when Arsenal had tied itself up into long term front loaded deals.

    But have these 10 years been the same? No. We brought in kids like Senderos, Djourou, Denilson, RVP, Fabregas, Song etc, suplemented by the best we could afford in Hleb, Rosicky, Arshavin.

    That almost worked (twice) but not quite, for various reasons. But whatever.

    Then Fabregas left, and we brought in veterans at similar prices but from whom we could expect no resale value. A sign of improving finances.

    Then we bought Mesut Ozil. Yes, I know he’s out of favour now. But Arsenal bought Mesut Ozil for 42m pounds. Would you have believed that when you were earlier complaining about inadequate investment?

    Now here’s the thing. Despite protestations of monotony and same old same old, Arsenal have been changing and the past decade has not been the same to anyone watching closely. It is the progression of a plan. You may not like the plan to stay within budgets and build for the long term. That is alright. But simple talk of high expectations and not accepting mediocrity (Arsenal are most definitely, by any standard, NOT mediocre) does not change the position we occupy in the football world, and the fact that it would be a lot worse were it not for the past decade.

    That’s where the patience comes from. From seeing that there is a plan being worked towards, even in the face of setbacks. Like a financial crisis. Like oil money turning up and ungrateful players. Like injuries and referee ‘errors’. Like fans turning on the manager fueled in no small part by the simplistic media ‘analyses’. Like huge defeats. And finally, some level of vindication in the time frames that were expected. Big money signings, and a trophy.

    I understand the frustrations. Completely. But that is where the patience comes from.

  31. Looks like Man City’s shot stats compared to Bayern were not too dissimilar to ours’ against Dortmund. Didn’t see much of the game but Hart looked significantly busier than Szczesny was.

    I look forward to the comparative analysis.

  32. @Sean,
    Here’s your response:

    1. Özil plays because he’s one of the few players that can create something out of nothing. Even Mourinho speaks highly of him. Even when he’s off the ball, he creates space for other players with his precise runs but unfortunately the media doesn’t understand that aspect so they just ridicule him like they did with Gervinho and Arshavin. Costa + Fabregas had more time to get to know their teammates also since Spain only played 3 games so not sure what point you’re trying to make their.

    2. Ramsey played bad yesterday, but you forget he was a candidate for PL player of the year just last year until his injury.

    3. Yes it takes most players a year or two to adjust to the PL. Suarez joined Liverpool January of 2011 scored 4 goals in 13 games, the next season scored 11 league goals the whole season. He would have been bashed by the media and AAA like yourself if he played for Arsenal. You know our “useless” striker Giroud scored 11 his first year also. Hazard first season 9 league goals and 11 assists in 34 apps (31 starts). Özil had 5 league goals and 9 assists in 26 apps (25 starts). Aguero is a rare type of striker and was very efficient in his first year, but also cost £38 million three years ago, not the £30 million you suggest for this amazing striker to pair with Schneiderlin.

    4. Yes we played bad against the big teams away last year, but guess what we still tied for the most the most clean sheets last year. Maybe some of those ref decisions against City and Chelsea played a big part in those games. We also beat Liverpool 2/3 times we played them.

    5.In regards to the signings (Sánchez, Chambers, Debuchy and Ospina), you acknowledge they’re improvements on the players that left, but then say they’re not enough of an improvement? Sánchez was an addition, Debuchy and Ospina would be number 1s on most PL teams. Chambers is good player now that has the potential to be great and center of our defense for the next decade. You argue we shouldn’t have bought Sánchez and Özil for a person that scores goals and a DM like Schneiderlin. Glad you don’t make the decisions, because guess what Sánchez scores goals AND assists. Guess who else will be coming back that scores goals and assists- Walcott! No way Wenger could of accounted for the freak injury to Giroud, but he bought Welbeck for that cover also. Overall, pretty good summer, even if this mythical beast DM was not purchased who would probably be red carded anyway since he plays for Arsenal.

    6. The goals conceded against City and Dortmund were not due to tactics but loss of concentration by our players. Flamini lost Aguero and the team became flat after Debuchy’s injury. The Dortmund game, the team played horrible but that happens every now and then. Just the week before city lost to Stoke after dismantling Liverpool.

  33. Walter/Tony
    All my comments (at least more than six) have been disappearing over the last two days, including the post below. So I’m trying to post this again under a second email I have never on here to see if this will work. Not sure if anyone has been experiencing the same, but not seen any complaints so not sure what’s going on.

    Pete 4:39
    Hear hear. The negative campaign being waged in the media against Wenger has reached toxic levels. Scary. The sheer number of negative comments in this and the other thread is ridiculous; the anti-Wenger merchants have well and truly emerged from their cocoons. This is a result of a sustained poisonous campaign against the manager. Come on, we lost 2 nil away to a side that dispatched Madrid by the same scoreline only last season. This is against a team that has a formidable record at home, a team that few would really be surprised to see in the final, our first defeat in almost six months after having played the English champions and one of champions league finalists the season before last, in 4 days. As Walter and others already said, Dortmund put on an energetic performance of the highest order. Its like they were swarming us whenever we had possession, non-stop, that we found ourselves mostly on the back-foot. It reminded me of watching team doing a full court press in basketball, it was unbelievable.

    I am not surprised at all by yesterday’s loss, and sure many teams would have lost too. What is surprsing is the amount of negative comments after such a defeat that would be viewed as normal and could be expected. Where were all these all this time? They have been waiting for the slightest slip up, just any slight mistake, and you see the full extent this media campaign is having. I can only imagine what the atmosphere would have been like if this defeat was against a side such as Burnley or another lowly side. In the last decade or so, Arsenal has not spent so much money on players in one summer, and on such quality of players. This coming on the back of an FA cup win, and a decent run of about six months without defeat, would mean anyone would expect most Arsenal fans to be happy and generally optimistic. But no, it seems the venom is actually stronger than we witnessed in the barren seasons. I would normally dismiss the bleating of the AAA as a minor irritation but this is slightly concerning.

    The club is in safe hands and heading in the right direction; reasons to be optimistic for any gooner with the interests of the club at heart.

  34. Courtesy of @7amkickoff

    “City only managed 7 shots, BM got 21
    Arsenal managed 5 shots, BvB got 23
    Wenger Out!”

    Spot the difference? In the media and the AAA not trolling the City fans

  35. Bearing in mind that City had the extra day* of recovery from the draining encounter in the weekend

    *Three as opposed to the bare minimum of two

  36. Shard.

    I accept that things have changed in one regard:
    We have the resources to buy better players. And yes the plan was to build the stadium, support FFP , negotiate bigger commercial deals and enter the Promised Land. To the club’s credit, it has done exactly that. It asked for patience and got it. Where it cannot expect anymore patience however is in the way the manager jeapordises progress by making the same mistakes. What progress did we see last night. Wasn’t it just like all of those heavy defeats away from home last season. Even with more money mr Wenger makes the wrong calls and creates a squad that is seriously incomplete. You are right. I do not believe in our Manager. It has been waning but after last night I have no faith in his ability to ever get it right. And my patience with him is gone.

  37. Well anything that prohibits them talking can only be a good thing.

    Fishpie, a little more patience needed. We did after all win a trophy last season, contrary to the predictions of many critics…and top the league for quite a while. Yesterday….yes, a bit of a mess. Wenger is clearly trying a formation to fit in as many as possible of his talented attacking MFs, clearly not fully working yet. And yes, in such a formation, a non match fit arteta was probably not the right man for one of the 1s in the 4 1 4 1. Ramsey and Jack also clearly need to work if this really is to be the preferred formation, I personally have my doubts it will be. Think we need to give this one a bit longer.
    The defending is a source of frustration for many, myself included, but this team are a work in progress, and should be seen as that. Highly unlikely we will win the league or champions league this season. We will require more experience, and perhaps different personnel for that in the future. But I can guarantee when up and running, this team will give us plenty to cheer in the coming season. Something is being built….it will take a bit more time, but slower , more organic growth is the only way we will ever compete with teams funded by states, state banks and international money launderers.

  38. Off topic but does not look good on Debuchy.

    This could mean a return well into 2015.
    Our injuries really are quite incredibly…..two first teamers our for the rest of 2014 in four games.
    Do we have an option to recall Jenkinson? Hope we do!
    If not, Wonder if wenger will get in an out of contract player should we lose any more defenders?

  39. Sorry Mandy – didn’t read the rest of your post – wrote mine immediately after looking at the link.

  40. Also, assuming Jenkinson is over 21 – if we want to recall him – does he need registered as an Arsenal player – and is that possible within present rules?

  41. Really nothing to panic about. Too many new players. New formation that does not seem to work. Strangely, exhausted and underperforming players got played.

    First one will lead to worse results. That’s expected. The last two are problem of Wenger. He should get the blame. May be he is trying something. May be he have some silly idea. May be he wants to give time to the player to have them work out. I don’t know. Its not working at the moment.

    Its far from disasters however. It takes 3 poor results to form a disaster. This is the first.

    Speaking of pressure to players. I would imagine things to be far far far worse at Barcelona, Madrid and Milan…

    I am against blasting players all the time but when they play poorly, its ok to tell them. If suddenly keep quiet, its like the word they label Ozil “disinterested” (not a fair one towards him, btw).

    I just turn off the TV if I have no more interest.

  42. I don’t think we can recall Jenkinson. He is over 21 and as such must be registered in West Ham’s squad, and will need to be in ours. A squad list can only change in January now. So..Not happening.

    Maybe Debuchy’s injury is the reason rumours have started about looking at free agents like Lugano and Yobo, which would allow Chambers to play at RB. Also Lassana Diarra is getting mentioned.

    Also remember that Flamini and Coquelin can also play at RB. So maybe it isn’t so desperate.

    The only problem with signing players like Yobo and Diarra is the inevitable uproar that will follow.

  43. Fishpie

    That’s alright. I think the last match was terrible and I can see why some see it as recurring failure. Our away record in big games is a worry, even if it can be expected that we will have a worse record playing away from home against tougher teams.

    But it wasn’t the result. It was the manner of the defeat and that was frustrating and rightly leads to some soul searching. I am looking forward to a sustained positive response from players and manager.

    About the money thing though. Like I said, it takes time. We’ve only just got in the extra money and squads aren’t built overnight. Not even for the likes of City and Chelsea, let alone more normal clubs.

  44. I think players need reaction from fans.

    Players know the feeling when the fans love you, it is real.
    Just as real is the disappointment when things do not go well.
    This they also want to feel. It is real.

    They do not want false emotions from the fans, “trying to cheer them up”, it does not work, in fact it makes it worse.

    What they ABSOLUTELY do not want or NEED is ABUSE.

  45. Enjoyed this debate despite the odd bit of senseless name calling. I understand Fishpie’s qualms and I also think Shard has made some valid points. I know it’s hard to be patient in the modern world but I think the club has moved forward significantly in the last ten years. Yes our manager does make odd decisions, at least to our eyes, but maybe his access to all the facts allows him insights we don’t have. I think Wenger has given himself three years to achieve his highest goal which I feel is a CL trophy. If in three years this hasn’t happened I feel he may walk away. Certainly if we are still on the receiving end of drubbings by big clubs in 2016 then I think we have to wonder if Arsene’s lost his mojo.

    Like many I too wish we’d signed a CB or DM, at least one would have been nice but perhaps this is exactly what AW was trying to do and then Giroud got injured and he had to turn his attention to getting in an extra striker. Seems logical especially as he has said we could do with a strong DM.

  46. Excellent write!!!! What of the big spending ManOIL company with all of their ‘TOP’ players on the field and on the bench last night, and still managed ZERO points by another German Giant??? Any ideas who they should buy???

  47. city played in a more pragmatic way, same well timed fouls as against Arsenal, particularly by Ferdanino, played their attackers as extra FB’s (particularly Navas) then took off creative players and brought on bruisers when they wanted to hang on for a point.

    In contrast Arsenal brought on attacking players on Tues.

    Personally, long live the Arsene way!!!!!

    No doubt the media will yet again big up last night even though no hopers Arsenal are on same points as city and one behind chelski with 5 games left.

  48. Bayern vs ManOil

    On target

    Hardly paints the picture of “Last Gasp Bayern beats ManC” (BBShite)

  49. As for Chel$ea just managing a draw AT HOME with 17th (in Bundeslega) Schalke hardly a top result considering what they have spent this summer!!

  50. And lets not forget the Scouser – lack luster performance against UNCNOWNS in CL and last seconds penalty toGIFT them a win to credit them with Headlines “Liverpoo back where they once belonged” GIVE US A BREAK!!!

  51. Hmmm. You could use the same headline for an article about how Arsenal keep playing the same way no matter who the opposition and no matter what the occasion. It might be very noble and all that, but we keep getting ripped to shreds away from home to the better teams.

  52. jayramfootball

    I am not suggesting (as I have commented on another Thread here on Untold), that we played well…in fact we played poorly…But so did all the other English teams!!! I am writing about biased journalism mate!!!

  53. jayramfootball

    As for the way Arsenal play; to be honest I would not watch a game of ours if we started to adopt tactics such as parking the buss’ or ‘kicking opponents off the park’…its not the Arsenal way!

  54. he whole notion that Wenger is central to Arsenal is absurd. I actually think the players at his disposal are better than the level of performance they are giving. Chamberlain for instance is woefully underused. Given time in the team he would prove to be a better player than Cazorla, and given Ozil’s form, I fail to see why Chamberlain isnt ahead of both of them. Podolski is another underused player, as is Rosicky. Then you have Arteta who is scandalously not good enough, yet Wenger makes him captain FFS!! Sanogo is well off the pace, yet last year he started against Bayern Munich and in the FA Cup semi final against Wigan – which we won on penalties. There are some players within the squad, who deserve vastly more time than other players within the squad. If Chamberlain were at Chelsea, Poo, United or City, he would make their team probably more than he does ours. Yet Arteta wouldn’t get a look in. Yet Chamberlain is constantly benched, and Arteta is the captain? This is only one of the many flaws in Wengers decision making. Forget Ozil on the left, the selection of Arteta as captain, and insistence on playing him in the holding role, is simply as bad as it could possible get. It is about the team for Wenger, or is it about protecting his fragile feelings? Does he really believe Arteta is effective in that role? Or is he to proud to listen the the chorus of fans and pundits who point out Arteta’s ineptitude? You see, if he were under pressure, I doubt he would persist with the ‘im the boss’ power trip attitude. The only reason he keeps playing Arteta, and Ozil on the left, is because everyone is saying its a bad selection.

  55. vincelorne

    ANd you know this because you discussed this with him over dinner yesterday?

    Arteta is not, not good enough. He just has different attributes to what you’d like to see. Or rather, what you think you’d like to see. Yeah he’s not the big, hulking tackler, and speed merchant we all think we could do with. Vieira’s ghost lives on in all of us. But Arteta is a fantastic footballer with great passing and understanding of the game. It’s this attitude of Arsenal fans that I really don’t get. Why must we berate what we have simply to exaggerate what we lack? Same thing happens with Giroud.

    We know we lack a certain type of player. But we need the likes of Arteta in the squad too, because he is not only good enough, he is very good, and by all accounts, has been de facto captain since well before he was announced as such officially.

    I’d like to see more rotation too for the record. I think Wenger gets that wrong often. But that opinion is tempered by the fact that I know nothing about the player’s health, attitudes, form in training etc, and we don’t know if the results would be better, worse or any different. Much easier to just paint Wenger as a stubborn egotistical idiot though so let’s go with that.

  56. And this whole Ozil on the left thing being an issue really frustrates me.

    What do we think stops Ozil from being effective in the role he’s being asked to play? Does he have the physical attributes for it? Does he have the skills and technique for it? Does he have the mentality for it?

    I certainly don’t think it’s a question of the first two, and mentality is too difficult to gauge even when you know a guy personally, so let’s leave that off the table.

    What Ozil doesn’t do is track back. There is no reason he can’t. There is no reason he shouldn’t. What is this obsession with playing him in the centre because it apparently suits him best. We’re not here to suit Ozil. He is here to suit us, and he isn’t being asked to do something which he can’t. Those position names of AM,LW,RW, DM etc are there to help you understand the game. Not define it, and to pigeonhole players into.

  57. Dortmund beat Munchen recently, and Schalke are joint bottom or something like that, missing several players last night. Yaya Toure not getting slated for not being fully fit or for not being a grit snorting CDM, for nicking a living.

    Spot the difference in the media trolling the Arsenal fans. They do protest too much methinks.

    What is it about the Arsenal’s solvent undebted business models that these vocal fans of oligarchs find so objectionable? I do wonder, what could it be?

  58. Mandy,

    You clearly are a human being made of greater virtue than me. With the patience of a saint. It takes time to build a squad you say. I say it takes longer than it should if your manager builds it the wrong way. Furthermore I say it will take forever if after three transfer windows with increased budgets to spend, he wasn’t able to find a player or negotiate a deal with a centre half ( having sold one) and a DM ( a glaringly obvious weakness in the squad). These failures in 3 transfer windows is in great danger of scuppering any kind progress . As is sending out his team again this season with 2 fallbacks bombing forward as if the 5-0’s
    , 6-1’s and 6-3’s of last season were just blips. Arsene Wenger doesn’t deserve you Mandy. He deserves me.

  59. When you look at Ozil’s positional stats during the course of a game you see that he actually operates all over the width of the pitch irrespective of which position he is nominally given on the team sheet. This is something the expert armchair managers such as vincelorne fail to appreciate. All they see is the position as indicated on the teamsheet and that is it. The essence and beauty of Arsenal’s game is the fluid interchangability of the whole of the attacking personnel, you never know where any of our players are going to pop up, that is why, when we are on our game it is so difficult for our opponents to cope with us and track our runners. So far this season we have not quite been ‘on our game’ but when we are expect to see some superb performances.

  60. @vincelorne

    Please don’t try and use Le Grove as a justification for your views. Le Grove has been spouting his misguided views (I’m being kind) for year on year. At best it has been ignorant. He and others like him have encouraged a civil war amongst Arsenal fans. I gave up on reading his blog, or following him on twitter as it became apparent that he has an agenda to further himself. He will not alter his views one jot. We are always one result away from disaster with ‘supporters’ like him and seemingly you. It well and truly f***s me off.

    I really can’t be arsed to justify my views or opinions anymore to people like you. Most managers would have run a mile when Arsenal announced they were moving grounds. Arsene Wenger didn’t. He has actually exceeded my expectations in that time. I’m very pleased he is still at the club and is our manager. Football clubs lose games. Shit happens. It’s when we lose that the supporter turns up and keeps on supporting his/her club.

    Rant over.

  61. Fascinating debate this even though I’m not an Arsenal fan.

    Being of the mindset that I am, if I was a Gooner I’d be pro-Wenger but I don’t believe he (or any other manager) should be beyond criticism. However, for me that criticism should always be constructive.

  62. GGG’s advice about spending time with the family reminded me of this joke .

    A typical macho man married typical good-looking lady, and after the wedding, he laid down the following rules:

    “I’ll be home when I want, if I want and at what time
    I want — and I don’t expect any hassle from you.
    I expect a great dinner to be on the table unless
    I tell you that I won’t be home for dinner.
    I’ll go hunting, fishing, boozing, and card-playing
    when I want with my old buddies, and don’t you
    give me a hard time about it.
    Those are my rules. Any comments?”

    His new bride said:
    “No, that’s fine with me. Just understand that there will be sex here at seven o’clock every night… whether you’re here or not.”

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