Was Thierry right or wrong? Or both?

By Walter Broeckx

On more than one occasion Tony has shown that journalists and pundits are lazy people.  And I think it is fair to say that we have seen it again in the last couple of days.

It all started (although not really started as such, as it has been the media/pundits theme for ages) with Thierry Henry saying Arsenal need 4 players to challenge Chelsea for the title.

I thought it was not correct from Henry to say this. And most people on Untold expressed their disagreement with this statement.

But…I think in a way Henry was right. Now in case you think that I have just joined the ‘spend the f*cking money’-brigade I ask you to read on before you jump to premature conclusions.

First let me start with what Wenger had to say about it. Wenger said that the opinion itself was wrong. And with Wenger saying that everyone know how the making of these comments works. Pundits and journalists have to make strong statements to earn their money. And so saying such things will make sure that their pay cheque is secured for the future.

Believe me top persons of the club know how the media treat them but they don’t want to go into an open war with them. Because the media are very powerful and in the end Arsenal might lose the propaganda battle. So I feel that they just let it just pass by and ignore them as much as possible.

The same occurs with the hysteria that takes off whenever we drop a point or lose a match. As a top person once said to me: “if you just read the headlines you would think Arsenal are bottom of the league and already relegated.”

So maybe we should do as Arsenal do, shrug our shoulders about so much incompetence from the pundits/journalists, and move on. But that is easier said than done of course. If people constantly attack the person (or club in this case) you love it does irritate for a bit and sometimes it can get a bit tedious and bring you down.

But now to the “Arsenal need 4 players” statement itself. A goalkeeper, a central defender, a midfielder and a striker. That’s it. No more, no less.

And this is where I now want to agree with the Arsenal need four players. And even more… I will not just say four players. No, Untold goes further and will reveal the names of these four players! Take that you lazy pundits.

Now I don’t want to even consider a goalkeeper unless one of the current crop vanishes. OOOOOOspina has the best record of all goal keepers since he took the place of Szczesny.  Ospina played 14 matches in the PL since January and he had 8 clean sheets in those matches.  That is 57% clean sheets! And in those 14 matches he conceded only eight goals. And only once he conceded more than one goal in a game. Now to me this looks rather impressive to be honest.  So no, no new goal keeper for me.

So let’s change it to one defender, 2 midfielders and one striker.  So still the Arsenal need four players from the pundits.  So the names of those four players we oh so desperately need?

Defender: Koscielny.  He had a start top season coming back from a world cup he shouldn’t have attended because of his Achilles injury. Even when playing you could see in the early stages he wasn’t the Koscielny we have learnt to know in the last seasons.  But he came good after a while and one could say that since January he has been omni present in the team. Around the same time Ospina came in and so he can be credited with a few of those good stats also. We only need him to be fit.

Midfielder 1: Coquelin. He also came in the team around the start of the new year and since then Arsenal has gone on a great run. No need for the mythical beast. We got him and he is better than any other beast in his job that has been named since the departure of Gilberto.

Midfielder 2: Özil. How our season would have been if he hadn’t had his world cup hangover first and if he then hadn’t been kicked off the pitch. Some Tottenham bloke tried to injure him (unpunished of course) and then Chelsea finished the job and kicked him out of the game for more than three months.

Striker: Giroud. Giroud started the season with a good scoring record and then someone kicked him a broken leg at Everton. Result: we missed our central attacker for another 3 months. How would our season had been if he had been around in those early months?

So those are the four players we need to challenge Chelsea. Four players that we didn’t have or used in those opening months of the season for different reasons. One because he wasn’t completely ready for his job and not completely understanding his job (Coquelin) but the others were because of injuries.

Hell, I even could go further than the pundits and say we need five players. Ramsey as the 5th. And if you really want to leave all the pundits and the journalists behind us we could add in a 6th player. Jack Wilshere who has been out injured for 5.5 months after being terribly kicked (again… I know it is getting boring…unpunished by a Man Utd player)

Can I add a 7th player maybe? Debuchy anyone? No I will leave it now because that 7th player has given us the rise of Bellerin (did I mention that I have said he would be great for a few years now….? I think I did on more than one occasion).

So yes one could say Arsenal need 4, 5, 6, 7 or 8 players to challenge Chelsea. But the only thing we really need is players that are not injured. As been shown Chelsea has the fewest injuries of all the teams and so could almost always play their strongest team. Arsenal have been hit by many injuries to key players and all of them being injured at the same time hampered our title challenge this season from the start.

Since they came back we have been amazing and have achieved some great results. But that detail of the injured players at the same time at the start of the season is somehow overlooked by the lazy journalists/pundits.

I completely believe our team is good enough and ready to challenge Chelsea next season. Maybe what Arsenal need more than new players is new and decent referees. Referees that will stop the kicking of our players. I think the last match at Hull was a fine example on how our players can be kicked freely and without punishment. And that might be more important than bringing in a complete new spine and rebuilding process. So in the end they were wrong. Or just lazy.


89 Replies to “Was Thierry right or wrong? Or both?”

  1. It’s the old, old story of TV and ratings.
    Unless you are going to be controversial like the Hansen’s of the world, you are of little use to the broadcaster.
    Dear old Bob Wilson (moderation in all things) would never have made it.
    Thierry will, provided he is outrageous from time to time. He’ll have to learn. 😉

  2. I agree with Martin Keown on two needs that imo could enhance our Championship challenge:
    (1) a fox-in-the box type striker to complement Giroud. Imo, the top sides’ defenses (only those) have been able to blunt Giroud’s effectiveness as a scorer. This bodes for bringing in a change of approach with fox clinicality (if possible) for that kind of change-up. Welbeck may become that but is not that yet. So, as we have funds, that is one area to address, imo.
    (2)a back-up to Coq because his brilliant style will need resting and is predictably subject to suspensions (accumulated flags) and injury, without losing any to much quality. This is not currently at hand in Arteta, Flamini, Diaby, nor, imo, in a (injury prone) converted Jack Wilshere.
    With these two areas boosted in quality by complements, I think we will be there next season at the business end.

  3. Tow Bob’s line but would prefer another Alexis-type player that will operate from the left flank while Welbeck provides the cover for Giroud. Poldi can excuse us.

  4. The goal keeper debate is an interesting one. If you look at the stats alone, then yes, Ospina has done tremendously well.
    The question ,however, needs to be asked to what degree his record is at least in part due to the defense and the entire team playing extremely well.

    The only reason Man United are where they are in the table is because of David De Gea , who single handed won them ten to fifteen points.
    In the early part of the season United were very poor and only luck and great goal keeping ensured them getting results.

    Until Arsenal hit a rough patch of form as a team, which happens to every club during the course of a season, we won’t really know how Ospina does under advers circumstances.

    There are certain aspects of Ospina’s game that are still a bit suspect .
    His kicking game is one for example. He doesn’t have a particularly strong leg and most of his clearences barely cross the half way line.
    This in itself isn’t so crucial because Arsenal rarely find themself under pressure and needing Ospina booting the ball eighty yards up the pitch to release that pressure, but the fact remains.

    His physical presence isn’t on par with other top keepers in the league either. Where he excels , however, is with his calmness ,composure and decision making, which is the biggest upgrade over Szczesny in my opinion.

    Personally , I think Petr Cech would be an improvement over Ospina , but considering the hatred Mourinho has towards Wenger ,and Arsenal’s recent ascendency , that for me is probably a non starter.

    I fully expect Ospina to be our starter next season.

  5. Walter,
    It is certain that the rest of the top 4 will be racing to add quality; and, if a Championship is our goal, we should be in this race to upgrade as well. A second place finish makes us especially attractive for those who wish to join a true contender and participate in a genuine race with Chelsea and the detestable one (Cesc’s new good daddy).
    So, to further this: yes, agreed Walter we need players without injury; and could have prevailed this season, or at least until the last weekend, imo. But since that never happens with us (as the last 4 seasons amply demonstrate), or perhaps never can happen given multiple (anti-AFC) factors which you have well covered in the past; therefore it seems essential that we go for the highest quality back-up who can be enticed in a few (two, imo) select areas.

    We can argue that we have enough high-quality back-up or genuine complement already in place: but imo, we don’t (yet) at center forward/striker (Welbeck isn’t that, nor is Theo) for times when – over a 38 games plus CL season plus internationals) Giroud goes down, needs a blow, or is rendered ineffective); nor do we have it at DMF (at present no one can on the squad – not the more brittle Ramsey nor Jack) can fill Coq’s brilliant mission, should he go down via injury or suspension).
    In any case, it’s so good to be able to have these contrasting analyses from a position of brilliant attainment. We need to shed the wannabee mentalities in all their guises; as we are now there and legitimate. The boorish pig Maureen-ho and his newly adopted boy Cesc are now well aware of what has been rising in the north of London. cyog.

  6. Tom,
    If Ospina can work on leg strength – is there any reason why not? – he could rise a level that could add a lot. Chelski’s very good keeper may or may not be better than Ospina, and for the very reason you raise about Ospina – protection by a top top flight defense. As for deGea, I think he’s the league best: his genuine value to Manure is well understood as they are currently scrambling to ensure that he stays by any means necessary.

  7. I think 4 new players is about right.Release Diaby,Flamini,Sanog and Podolski and replace them with a world class goalkeeper,a top quality DM and Striker and we are good to go.If we want to improve on second place in the league and have a serious run in the champions league we have to keep improving our squad.Anyone who thinks what weve got now is good enough is in cloud cuckooland.

  8. Yes totally agree with you Walter, and go as far as saying that Chel$kie had an almost uninterrupted run without serious injuries…could it be that Mouninhos Media attack earlier on in the season with lasted months – saved his players actually getting kicked to hell, or did give them ‘green light’ to go ahead and cripple players around ten hence weakening other squads – OR BOTH!!!

    In any case we need most certainly – to make sure that next season our propaganda machine in at full speed together with the players – so our squad stays intact for the majority of the season…then only can we expect an even playing field and to really challenge for the title – needs a full deck of cards all night long not just a couple hands!

  9. Would just luv it if we win the EPL next year without any new purchases !
    Where would the ostriches then put their heads ?

  10. When was the last time Arsenal DID NOT buy any players during the summer transfer window? Hard to see anyone coming in unless someone in the current match day squad needs replacement.

  11. Who is to say there isn’t a fox in the box waiting in the wings? If there is, Wenger is best placed to know. Maybe Gnabry, maybe someone else.
    But if you have a team that scores over 100 goals in a season, what’s the problem? If we had had a ‘world class’ striker, say an RVP or a Falcao or a Balotelli (on his day), would any of them have scored more or assisted more than Giroud? (How many have RVP etc scored between them this season? Less than Giroud I think. It’s about the sum of the parts. If Giroud gets 20 goals and the team scores more than 100 in total, then that’s about as good as it gets.

  12. How about this…Maybe we don’t need 4 new players but if on balance 4 players improve next year we will be in great shape. It isn’t always about getting different players. Just a thought.

  13. The upcoming referee appointments from Mike Riley 😈 We get Friend.

    Saturday 9 May 2015
    K.O. .MATCHES . . . . REFEREE . . .ASST. REF. 1 . .ASST. REF. 2 . .4TH OFFICIAL
    15:00 Aston Villa – West Ham . Lee Mason . . . .A Halliday .D Eaton . . M Dean
    17:30 Crystal Palace – Man Utd Michael Oliver . S Bennett . M McDonough K Friend
    12:45 Everton – Sunderland . . Lee Probert . . .R Ganfield .A Garratt . C Pawson
    15:00 Hull – Burnley . . . . . Martin Atkinson .M Mullarkey S Child . . R Madley
    15:00 Leicester – Southampton .Roger East . . . M Perry . . L Betts . . N Swarbrick
    15:00 Newcastle – West Brom . .Chris Foy . . . .H Lennard . I Hussin . .M Jones
    15:00 Stoke – Spurs . . . . . .Mark Clattenburg J Collin . .S Beck . . .G Scott
    Sunday 10 May 2015
    K.O. .MATCHES . . . . REFEREE . . .ASST. REF. 1 . .ASST. REF. 2 . .4TH OFFICIAL
    16:00 Chelsea – Liverpool . . .Andre Marriner . G Beswick . D Cann . . .J Moss
    13:30 Man City – QPR . . . . . Mike Dean . . . .J Brooks . .S Long . . .M Jones
    Monday 11 May 2015
    K.O. .MATCHES . . . . REFEREE . . .ASST. REF. 1 . .ASST. REF. 2 . .4TH OFFICIAL
    20:00 Arsenal – Swansea . . . .Kevin Friend . . M Scholes . R West . . .R Madley

  14. GoingGoingGooner

    I can’t help agreeing with your Ideology. Some of the points raised are identical to comments made in this blog earlier. Younger players improve as they get older. We don’t expect Akpom, Gnabry and co to remain as they are over time. Even already established players like Ox, Welbeck and Wilshere who have not reached their prime can get better given an extended injury free run

    I know that Welbeck has all the attributes to become another Thierry Henry. He has pace, movement and shot. All he needs is to improve on his accuracy and predatory instincts. Who is a better coach at this job than Arsene Wenger. Welbeck had no preseason with the club and it must have affected his blending with th team. Seriously watch out for him after this summers preseason, He will definitely give us another attacking dimension. Wenger did it with Henry, Giroud and RvP. He can also do it with Welbeck for your another 25 goal a season striker.

  15. Got a feeling we shouldn’t be ruling out Martinez from the goalkeeper situation.

    I thought he mostly did well when he came in. Now he’s gone off and, by the sounds of it, done really well in his most recent loan spell.

    If he does show Wenger distinct improvement from what was already a very encouraging level, I’d imagine that’ll put him right in the frame.

    Someone mentioned goal-kicks and one of the highlights from that Rotherham loan suggests he murders our other options in that department at least. He’s a big lad and it looks like he might have Neur-power. He managed to put it straight onto someone’s foot who was near enough in line with the opponents box. Looked like it was exactly what he meant and was mighty impressive (If Someone knows Rotherham have a tiny pitch, now might be a good time to tell me)

    I also have huge confidence Hayden will make it as a top level player. Just a hell of a shame this year was wrecked by injury for him.

  16. So Henry (and others) is saying that over a third of our team isn’t good enough. That’s a big proportion.
    We do not need four more top class players at all. The current squad is good enough to go all the way, but could do with a couple of supporting extras, eg a keeper & defensive mid. That’s all.
    The wage bill needs trimming though.

  17. My Personal Transfer Policy for the Summer

    If an available player at a reasonable price can neither improve our current squad and is not better than any current 1st 11, then we don’t need him.

    No big statement of intent signing to show we have arrived financially ala Pogba £70m or Sterling £50m (I trust Wenger here).

    I think Wenger will surprise us all. His CDM will be someone we don’t expect. If I was to make a wish, it’s replacing Campbell and Podolski with Reus. That’s my only summer request unless we can get Lewandoski which I think not.

  18. Damien is 22 and 6’4″. And has played Champions League. And kept Rotherham out of relegation. From what I remember of his loan spell, is that Rotherham had a goaltender (only one, rest were hurt I think), and that Damien was expected to earn the spot. He started right off the bat (next day after loan), and was never out of the team after that. So, it would seem he is capable.

    Matt Macey I think is the next oldest, and he is the tallest of the lot at 6’6″. Ryan Huddart I think is next, same height as Szczesny. Dejan Illiev is also same height as Szczesny, and next oldest. Hugo Keto is 6’3″, and is the youngest of the keepers listed at Arsenal.com. I think Macey has been on the bench once or twice while Damien was at Rotherham.

    Ospina is _only_ 6′ tall, so he is the “runt” of the litter. 🙂

    Don’t think you need to be tall to be a goaltender. At 5’6″, Campos was a goaltender.


    And we have a good goaltender coach, and he has a web site, which I mentioned a while ago. But, many of the Arsenal goaltenders are mentioned on that website. So, it should be searchable.

    I really don’t think we need a goaltender.

  19. Eagle-eyed work there, Gord.

    I’d be sorry to see him leave. My hunch is that he’ll stay, though.

  20. Walter,

    I imagine you read french, your second national language

    Here is one for you from Switzerland

    Player makes a very dangerous tackle and destroys other player’s knee…seems like something we’ve seen befor right ?

    Well in Switzerland it went further

    Attacked player and club went to court

    Court said, I make it quick : rules exist and referees as well. However dangerously igniring the rules is criminal

    Attacking player gets sentenced

    Methinks that it is time someone goes to court when it happens to him — although i wish it would never happen to anyone !

    Why has this not yet been done in the UK or has it been done and I haven’t read about it ?

    Cheers and thank you for all that intelligent content and info you keep publishing


  21. Chris

    I saw that at the time and thought it a disgraceful challenge.

    Very interested to hear the news you bring about it.

    Sadly, no French for me so I can’t read that report. By sentenced do you mean jail or some sort of fine/community service?

    I’m impressed the Swiss authorities have taken any action. Good, in a way, that some justice and sense in these things exists somewhere. Bad to know we don’t have it here.

    The foul in question is clearly awful, but I think it’s no worse than Shawcross, Taylor or the Sunderland player.

    Arguably, the player here was closer to the ball than any of those three. Shawcross in particular was (supposedly) attempting the impossible- trying to kick the ball when a player is stood squarely in front of you and it.

    Except he wasn’t. He just lashed out with incredible force at a player’s leg in a situation in which he couldn’t possibly get the ball. He deserved a date with a court for it. Wenger’s initial reaction was dead right, and I’m guessing he only backed down because he knew there was no chance of pursuing justice here.

    I’d guess our press will ignore that particular story from Switzerland. You’d think it was an important piece of news, but they want to keep things the way they are here and that sort of thing doesn’t serve that aim.

  22. There’s a shock I can tell you. Nothing I’ve seen since that era would have induced me to to think any different. It must all be lies 🙂

  23. I think we don’t need additions this summer. Just looking at the squad me thinks all the main players are there, who can form 2 teams. Thats good enough for rotation and injury cover.

    This will be an ideal situation, we can blood some youngsters. Gnabry and Akpom mainly. Also let’s not forget Ox. And we’ve seen glimpse this season of Hayden and Niles…..

    How I wish we don’t sign anyone and still challenge for the title. It will be one big fist up the @#$% of the”oh you sign 4 players to compete ” pundits…

  24. Tom Barry,
    It’s not the total number of goals, but also the situation that matters (as surely you know). If a certain style does not handle (or is readily handled) by a defensive style – in this case the top defenses we’ve faced, and you know some of them (Chelsea and Monaco), then another strong different style striker on hand – as a complement – could help a lot in those circumstances. Is that not sensible? Did Giroud come through in all circumstances? No. Did we have a change of pace/approach in those circumstances? No. So why not bring on another additional complementary quality piece? Is there something sacred about the Giroud and only Giroud mantra? I say Giroud plus (when Welbeck isn’t clinical enough).

  25. These combinations depending on fitness, opposition and readiness fascinate me.

    Coquelin and Cazorla

    Wilshere and Arteta

    Coquelin and Arteta

    Wilshere and Cazorla

    Our team is fit enough to win PL.
    Maybe a little weeding out and some additions for CL needed, but we are still very strong.

    One thing now to improve more is the different combinations of players, so that they can seamlessly fit into the team when needed, so they will need playing time and much practice in training.

    Why don’t Henry be “outrageous from time to time” about another team instead of about Arsenal? The others do it about Arsenal enough, he should make it his business to do the same to Liverpool, for example, if that is what they call for.

    @Finsbury, this IS present is ALL areas of life. I notice and had/have to deal with it many many, too many times already. :-{{

  26. Bob
    Totally agree. My point is that going out and buying a ‘world class’ striker is not necessarily the answer. Wenger has lots of striking and formation options. Giroud has an improved record against the top teams and not scoring against Chelsea or home leg against Monaco doesn’t mean he can’t score against them. Time will tell. It’s down to wenger to work out how to beat the best defences on any given day, maybe that includes Giroud maybe it doesn’t.
    And based on the last game against arsenal. Mournino now needs to work out how to both stop arsenal and score against them.

  27. The Coquelin position: guarding the centre backs.

    Krystin Bielik has been mentioned in this. Is he ready for this? If Coquelin was to get seriously crocked next season (probably with Taylor as ref), would Bielik be ready to play for 3 months or more?

    Question posed by HereInTheCity. Their suggestion is a loan to West Ham.


    I don’t think staying with the U21 is a bad idea, because it is not just the U21 league, there is the UEFA U21 Champion’s League as well. I don’t know if Flamini, Arteta and Diaby are going to be around next season (I can’t read Wenger’s mind, and he doesn’t send me personal updates), but it is possible some of those people would be around to act as cover for Coquelin. If nothing else, Shawcross will probably want to find out if his nose is really healed. Accidentally of course. Damned neanderthal!

  28. There are natural players in our squad to to replace existing positions. Debuchy, Bellerin or Monreal can replace or work with Coquelin. They will not complement him like Cazorla.

    Our Goalkeepers are excellent. Ospina needs to teach Chez positioning & the importance of staying in close proximity to the goal at all times.

    Alexis has shown the importance of consistent pressure & not giving up on the chance of defensive error. Welbeck gives up too easily (either lacks stamina or hunger). Giroud gets pushed around too much & needs to learn some balance techniques (pushing hands) to improve his chances of winning the ball & confidence of turning & flooring his opponent.

    Our players must follow our wingers & never miss a cross that is placed across the goal. Always preempt the probability of a tap in at the back post.

    TH14 knew how to cope with physical confrontation but has not learnt the use of intelligence.

  29. We made the key signing last summer. Some very good signs this season – but really needed a year to adapt to the PL. Very confident he will really demonstrate his worth next season. And we will win the League as a result.

    His name?

    Shad Forsythe.

  30. To say that we don’t need signings for next season is naive at best. Throughout history it has been the practice of winning teams to freshen when they are on top. We have style of play that works most of the time but when it doesn’t we need alternatives not players doing the same things a little less worn out. We need to supplement Le Coq he won’t go a whole season without injury , and a winger with chalk on his boots that doesn’t cut inside who is willing to take a defender with pace would be handy for the last “half hour ” substitution .( George Armstrong re-incarnate ) If Szcz goes Martinez can cover OOOspinaah. It’s tweaking more than wholesale changing that’s required but it is required without doubt.

  31. Well porter, seeing as you have thrown down the gauntlet, and I am more of a bock, I am going to say we don’t need any signings for next season. The only thing we need, is fair officials.

  32. I second that Gord.

    Fair officiating alone can get us the title.

    Look at how many penalties Chelsea have avoided by last ditch diving. With hands raised up. A fair official would’ve called those penalties. Potential dropped points.

  33. Gord, Arsenal 13
    Agree. Even with all the injuries we had early on poor officiating is what really cost us the title. Let’s not forget how early on it seemed that there had to be a mandatory important and game changing decision against us each game. I’ll pick just 3 games where we were robbed; Everton’s offside goal, the denied penalty against Leicester, or chambers’ sending off at Stoke when we had them on the ropes. 3 wins in those matches alone would have us even with Chelsea. But there were many many incidents. Meanwhile Chelsea kept getting dodgy penalties going for them, including the one they needed to clinch the title last weekend.

    As for signing anyone, I’m more than happy with the current squad. We have lots of talented players who can’t even get into that team, without throwing a mercenary or two into the mix. As for Ospina we have not seen him make costly mistakes, whether that’s due to an improved defence or otherwise is debatable, but why should we think he’s prone to errors when we have not seen any from him. From what we have seen so far he’s quite good, and looks like he’s good at penalties too. Anyway, stats show him to be the best goalie in the league, and should not that be enough.

  34. With due respect to Tom and others who root for Peter Cech, there has to be a reason why Chelsea don’t want him. We stay with ours, they stay with theirs.Last season, Cech and our own CZCZ shared the golden glove, CZCZ is still around and his ‘rivalry’ with Ospina will only make them all better. In midfield, I hope Arsene alternates between Chambers and Coquelin, with Isaac Hayden lurking somewhere, ready to pounce. The only striker we need is Theo to sign. In other words, I would fully back Arsene holding on to the few Pounds we have until January, then spend if the need is there.

  35. We are 13 pts off the champions.Do you think Chelsea and mourinio will sit back and think that his squad is good enough for next year NO!!So should we??It would be like groundhog day for the 10th time.Should we keep Diaby and give him another chance??Should we keep Flamini who offers nothing??Should we continue to let podolski and campbell go on loan.Thats 4 players who have offered us absolutely nothin this season.Replace them with 4 players who would have a big effect on the team and push for places and we would be reeady.We have loads of money now lets spend some to complement the players we have.Chelsea,Utd,City and Liverpool wont stand still so why should we.Its called AMBITION!!

  36. Para,
    I understand, and can empathise. Given the quota imposed upon Taylor which he is denying on the radio today (if true he’d have to deny it anyway!) it was the selection of Palmer over players that could play that moves me to tears, in fact ignoring this story the selection Palmer in a squad over the likes of a Le Tissier moves me to tears anyway 🙂

  37. What did the sly plundits have to say last night? Tragically in missed what they had to say.

    Do Munchen need a new GK, CB, CM & CF? Were the Sly panel handing out business cards for special agents?

  38. Someone, somewhere wrote early on during the high paced opening exchanges of last nights game:

    Chavski fans watching last night going : “what sport is this?”

    The problem for Football fans in the UK, for the rest of us, is that Mike ‘clean as a whistle’ Riley was thinking the same thing whilst he was sat there watching the game, fingering his “Game Management” guideline on PGMO Rules Fitba

  39. Finsbury.Why would the pundits say Munich need 4 new players??They have won the bundesrleague by a country mile and are in the SF of the champions league.Bit strange that

  40. Nick,
    where are the days that Manchester United won the league by a country mile. We were 16 points behind. If I’m not mistaken you were one of those to shout: buy, buy buy BUY BUY BUY all and everyone. The spuds were hailed for buying, Wenger was blamed for not buying all those players the pundits said he should buy.
    At the end of the next season Arsenal finished 15 points in front of the same Manchester United with the same RVP.
    A swing of 31 points and we only got “useless and lazy” Özil really to enforce the team.
    And even now 3 managers further they are behind us in the league for the moment. 5 points behind and we have a game in hand.

  41. Walter

    Excellent article.

    One point.

    “Since they came back we have been amazing and have achieved some great results. But that detail of the injured players at the same time at the start of the season is somehow overlooked by the lazy journalists/pundits.”

    But why by Henry?


    “It is certain that the rest of the top 4 will be racing to add quality; and, if a Championship is our goal, we should be in this race to upgrade as well”.

    This is possibly true but that’s not really what they are saying is it? What they are saying is, Ospina, Mertesaker, Coq and Giroud are not good enough. That is simply not true. As Walter said today, and I said yesterday, since Jan 2nd, over the following 14 matches, since these 4 have been in harness, we have the best record in the PL. We gleaned more points, scored more goals, let in less goals and kept more clean sheets than Chelsea. How is that ‘not good enough to challenge’? And why isn’t Theo good enough? Before his injury his scoring record was good. Our second best I believe. Assuming he comes back from injury and I have no doubt he will, his scoring ratio is easily good enough for a third line striker, as is Welbecks for a 4th line Striker.


    @ 4:33 pm

    “So Henry (and others) is saying that over a third of our team isn’t good enough. That’s a big proportion.
    We do not need four more top class players at all. The current squad is good enough to go all the way, but could do with a couple of supporting extras, eg a keeper & defensive mid. That’s all.”

    Brilliantly summed up.


    @ 12:50 am

    “To say that we don’t need signings for next season is naive at best.”

    But again, that’s NOT really what they are saying is it. They are not just saying, Arsenal could do with 3 or 4 players just to strengthen the squad. What they are saying is, as we stand, the spine of our team, Ospina, Mert, Coq and Giroud are not good enough and we cannot challenge with those as our 1st choices in those positions, and as I say that is simply not true, for reasons described earlier on.

    Of course we could strengthen, but so could Chelsea and City, and don’t even get started on United, Liverpool and Spurs as could Bayern by the looks of it !!

    The proposition by Henry and others is that this squad, as it is, could not challenge for the title and I say yet again that that is simply not true.

    Al @7;25am

    “As for Ospina we have not seen him make costly mistakes, whether that’s due to an improved defence or otherwise is debatable, but why should we think he’s prone to errors when we have not seen any from him. From what we have seen so far he’s quite good, and looks like he’s good at penalties too. Anyway, stats show him to be the best goalie in the league, and should not that be enough.”

    I know it’s ridiculous. We have someone between the sticks that has the best record in the PL since he came into the side, yet people decide he’s not good enough on the basis that he might ‘f**k up one day. Honestly you Could’nt make it up !


    @ 10:10 am

    “Someone, somewhere wrote early on during the high paced opening exchanges of last nights game:

    Chavski fans watching last night going : “what sport is this?”” 😆

  42. @ nick lee
    Very astute observation, even though the Bundesliga is a one team league.

    I have no doubt therefore that you can remember that being in a CL SF never stopped these plundits from spouting the same old gibberish when AFC made a CL SF! Almost like it’s some kind of weird mantra. I’m not the one who says this crap, but I do remember when they come out with it.

    In case you have forgetten, and it appears as if you have done so, Young Pep’s Neo-Munchen were beaten 7-0 on aggregate in the CL last season.

  43. Whoops now it’s my memory playing tricks 🙂

    It was Jupp Heynckes’ awesome Munchen that beat Barcelona 7-0 on aggregate!

    Last season Young Pep’s Munchen went out to Madrid 5-0.

    From beating Barcelona 7-0 to going out 5-0, and now going out to Barcelona, what’s it going to be, 6-0? Young Pep’s lost the plot, he needs to start coaching D-Fence and start to do tactics and he needs to start to spend spend spend!

  44. finsbury

    “Young Pep’s lost the plot, he needs to start coaching D-Fence and start to do tactics and he needs to start to spend spend spend!” 😆

  45. You’ll all also have noticed how quick the English or British Sly plundits were to acknowledge the injuries to the poor little urchins from Munchen.

    Quite a noticeable contrast to the cackling when discussing an AFC result when they’ve been stricken by injuries/Riley’s “shit on a stick no more since ’66 one WC was enough” cloggers.

    You can’t help but get the string impression that the Sly corporation and others don’t like the Arsenal. For some reason. I can’t imagine why. Though they do like to promote mules for the special agents whilst branding the Arsenal manager a Scrooge for buying Sanchez for the same amount as Luke Shaw. If I was a special agent’s pawn or spawn upon a plundits panel I’d be annoyed too!

  46. I see the ‘He’s not boring’ campaign is still going on.

    Pulis in the SUN today:

    Apparently he ‘Blasted’. I do love it when they ‘Blast’.

    “It’s absolutely ridiculous his title winners have been labelled boring”

    I cant argue that this guy knows a thing or two about boring !!

    And in a dig at Pellegrini and Wenger he claims they are Jealous.

    Of course they are Tony, of course they are.

  47. 1998:

    Scout shows Our Tony (hey he wears a baseball cap, he’s a man of the people. Ok?) a video of a young kid called Leo:

    “He’s too small. It’s a mans game is Rugby Football. How’s he going to be able to dive after the ref let’s him make a foul when he’s so short? Eh?”


    A younger Tony is watching bobby Robson’s England with friends after having played a game

    “That Beardsley is too small. No good from throw ins. What’s Robson doing! What is this! Where the fuck is (a younger) Carlton Palmer? He should be playing him as a ten.”

    Sometime during the 1980’s

    Watching Liverpool win another title in the pub with mates:
    Keegan, dagleish, they’ve just too small. What have Scotland or England won with overrated midgets like Archie Gemmil? These dwarves should be in the circus not playing Rugger, I mean Football.

  48. jambug, Walter,
    Stay as we are and we will challenge. Stay as we are and we will not win. That’s my view: you need clinicians; we need clinicians. Your man Giroud is wonderful in his ways; but he is not a clinician and there must be some answer to what the very best sides do to neuter him – as shown repeatedly – by having someone else to turn to for those sides (Chelsea, Monaco, etc.) We can challenge but cannot win with only Giroud/Welbeck. Any objective lover of AFC would/could acknowledge this. Your position is not to give an inch in this direction. That, to me, is tribalism. Does it help our actually winning to be that dug in? Why? Do you think AW really believes that Giroud’s good stats (yes, of course he has them) are enough against the league winning sides? I’d be the farm that he knows the difference. Of course he does. Now that we have the dosh, it’s time we stake out a position that we are as good as anyone and make it happen. Yes we can. But by adding – which, Walter, is not the same as buy, buy, buy – which obscures that there is a small final gap to overcome to join the top winners who you well know will not stand pat to keep that final gap in their favor. cyog.

  49. It seeps out slowly & eventually it will be known to all men that evil racists have controlled the beauty of the common mans game.

    Despite it all, Arsenal shines under the control of Wenger, making the beauty show through his teams.

  50. Menace,
    Ok, but Who are these evil racists that you allude to?
    Do you really think race rather than money is the bottom line?

  51. Bob
    I am not quibbling because I don’t really know, but Jupp Heynckes’ Munchen that were so impressive had Mandzukic at CF. He is a little bit more mobile but most would now accept that Giroud is the best Targetman around.

    Germany just won the WC with part timer at CF. Muller and Özil had to do all the forward work in most games. A bit like Guivarch in 1998 when Henry was France’s leading scorer with a Muller-esque three goals from limited starts, cutting in from the left. Has he forgotten?

    We know that AFCs post 2004 squad model has a Targetman in it somewhere. And others too. Who’s to say that Sanchez isn’t the other different type of goal scoring forward (plus Welbeck and others too in reserve) It looks like me might be!

  52. Bob

    “We can challenge but cannot win with only Giroud/Welbeck”.

    Before I start I’ll just say that that isn’t what the debate is. The proposition put forward by TH and all, and the proposition I and many are contesting is that we cant COMPETE and the performances show that and the statistics back it up.

    But that’s your opinion and of course you are entitled to it, but as I keep saying, the statistics suggest otherwise so here they are again as you seem to either of not seen them or want to just ignore them.

    Here we go again:

    After our terrible start for reasons mentioned, injuries, late returns from World Cup and the mental fatigue (whatever you want to call it) our World Cup winners seemed to suffer from.

    12 games played, 15 points adrift of Chelsea.

    If we beat Swansea we will of halved that gap over the following 20 games.

    Over the last 14 matches, or since we had Ospina, Coq, Mert and Giroud in the team together we have acquired more points, scored more goals, let in less goals, kept more clean sheets than Chelsea.

    You can pick holes in Ospina (not been tested) Mert (slow as a carthorse) Coq (too inexperienced) Giroud (Doesn’t do it against top teams) as much as you want, the facts are the facts, over the last 20 matches WE ARE THE BEST TEAM.

    Even if those criticisms are correct, it wouldn’t be the first time that ‘The Whole’ is a lot better than ‘The sum of it’s parts”

    Pick holes and doubt as much as you like, I know what I’ve seen with my own two eyes and I have the statistics to back it up.

  53. finsbury,
    If/when we are to finally win the EPL or CL, we will have overcome the best defenses’ ability to shut down our Targetman. Are we at Untold paying attention to this problem? That it is a problem? We are high-level challengers thank goodness. At the highest level, something different needs doing. To say that we just tied Chelsea is all well and good; but they also had their top scorer out injured and someone else of stature if I remember correctly. If they had him in they would have had their clinician and better balance than the sheer defensive dynamo that (hate him as I do) Maureen-ho has summoned. That said, there are 1-3 better sides than Chelsea’s in the CL. IF/when we are to rise to that top-top level, we will have to overcome in some way that is not yet at hand. To say “but most would now accept that Giroud is the best Targetman around.” is wishful thinking, not an actual response to an actual problem. There is another complement that needs to be brought in. Perhaps an answer is Jackson Martinez? I don’t know either. But methinks that there is a quiet unstated hope that AW will develop Giroud into the last third clinician that imo we will need to match Chelski’s Diego Costa (who with the treacherous ex-Cesc) won them the first half of the season by such a large (and ultimately decisive) margin. We have our imo better than Cesc in Ozil. We need another more clinical piece in the final third which is not Giroud/Welbeck. We also have the money and perhaps creativity of mind and commerce to solve this final hurdle.

  54. It is fine to talk about ambition, but ambition is not spelled: “M”, “o”, “n”, “e”, “y”. The team is continuing to push, to better its position in the nearly finished season. To win the FA Cup again. The players will be given a proper rest, but the rest time of Alexis will not be coincide with the rest of the team. Wenger negotiated an amicable arrangement with Chile for the finite resource that is Alexis? What did moaninho do with Costa/Brazil? Costa is so injured, that he cannot play for Brazil. That is winning no friends, and it won’t be just Brazil that notes that national team players should not be at Chelsea. The 2015/16 season starts early (I believe), and Arsenal staff will need to prepare for it. If nothing else, not needing to purchase doesn’t mean ignoring transfer possibilities. But any whorenalist who produces a transfer story about Arsenal is probably 99.9% sure to be lying. Forget about Arsenal this year. If something pops up on the Arsenal.com main page, then you can have a race to write something. By all means pressure Chelsea, ManU and ManC to buy 11 (or 25) players each.

  55. Jambug,
    Fine, but What I saw with my own eyes is Giroud’s falling short at the top level competitions. We can win the statistical race and amen to that; but that is not the same as winning the specific decisive match with, for example, Monaco or being ineffectual and withdrawn in this last (Costa-free) match with Chelsea. There are others. To date, Giroud is fine with me, but not enough at the highest level in the specific competitions that decide titles. Perhaps he can overcome something within in those matches. You can capitalize all you want, and correctly cite the statistics; but something is missing in that final or decisive or last-hurdle type match that will decide – when the time comes – a CL final or an EPL final that comes to a last game. I have not seen that quality in Giroud/Welbeck (as van Gaal indicated). I hope AW can develop that in both of them. But your commendable statistics (they are) still do not cover the specifics of what has happened in the cutting-edge decisive game against the very best defenses. We still need to find a way to overcome that; unless your statistics are being used to say we can do/would have done an end around the crunch. Let me end with an example, just for discussion: would you stand against bringing in a Jackson Martinez type? are you against that type of spend? is any other complement (not replacement) to Giroud permissible in your assessments?

  56. “If/when we are to finally win the EPL or CL, we will have overcome the best defenses’ ability to shut down our Targetman.”

    What if another player gets the nod at CF for a game? Like Welbeck at OT. Welbeck is not a traditional targetman (he can head!) but he targeted the Man U CBs and bullied them into an error. What if OG is fatigued and needs a rest?
    Just becasue Adebayor had a thirty goal season once that didn’t mean he became the automatic CF choice. Based upon what we have seen in the past the model clearly is designed to provide: Options. What if OG starts and gets taken off after 60 minutes or the other way around? Perhaps it’s more important to keep players fresh and fit, then worry about the other stuff?

  57. Jambug
    You say that a spine of Ospina, Mertesaker, and Giroud are good enough to win us the title by being in our 1st 11??I admire your positivity but you would struggle to find anyone apart from a few on here would agree with that.Post that on any football messageboard and you would be laughed at.

  58. Giroud, Welbeck, Walcott, Gnabry, Alexis, Sanogo, Podolski, Joel Campbell, Chuba Akpom, Wellington Silva, others? (I must have stumbled on old news with my comment about Crewe Alexandra, sorry.)

    A team is 11 players, we have 10 (more?) strikers. To start the new season, it is only 9. We have this Barclay’s thing in the summer, and the Emirates Cup. Who shows up fit and ready to fight? Who studies to find out how to fit into what Arsenal needs?

  59. Sir Costalot is in no way a level above Giroud. No one whas seen anything to suggest that. The player has had two good years in his career as he reached his peak, same as most players, same as Giroud is doing.

    Costalot! Welbeck will go on to be the better player by the time he reaches the same age. There’s not much doubt about it. Injuries permitting.

    Welbeck has certainly had better WCs and International tournaments, more then one, then the more mature Mendes Man, and that’s the opposite of what we should be seeing from the two. Welbeck has had his fitness issues this season, he seems to have managed them better then Costalot who might have caused hiumself serious damage last summer playing through the CL final then rushing himself into the WC. Costalot might not even be able to reach this seasons form next year? I don’t know, but I can’t imagine him outshing Danny Boy by such or any degree in the years to come. It’s not going to happen.

  60. Jambug
    You can pick holes in Ospina (not been tested) Mert (slow as a carthorse) Coq (too inexperienced) Giroud (Doesn’t do it against top teams) as much as you want, the facts are the facts, over the last 20 matches WE ARE THE BEST TEAM.
    You dont win the premier league for being the best team over 20 games.The league doesnt lie and the only stat that matters is that we are still 13 points behind cheslea.Sorry but they are the facts!!We havent won the league in 13 years..

  61. Gazprom-upon-Fulham will need to spend spend spend. Some more. Again.

    Eventually sooner rather then later Gazprom are going to throw Costa onto the same scrap heap where you can find the remains of former Key player Malouda.

    A class club.
    Not predicatble or boring at all.

  62. Isn’t it funny when someone is saying ‘facts!’ and then 6 words later completely goes wrong when it comes to facts?

    Nick, you win the league when injuries are low. Fact!
    As long as the refs allow us being kicked all over the pitch it will be difficult to keep our players fit.

    And unless we sell half our team we cannot just go out and buy half a team and then think we can win it. Not even the money teams could do it. Nor could the spuds, nor could Man United….

    But if you want to feel unhappy who are we to forbid you to being unhappy

  63. Nicklee….what the fact

    You were one of those loud ones after the spurs game here weren’t you. How ignorant you are.

    You ignore the fact that Giroud was injured for 3 months. You ignore the fact that Ramsey and Ozil and Wilshere were all injured for majority of the season. Yet we are here in 2nd. If you have a digital membership just go through all the games and just sit back and see how many points were robbed off us.

    Like Gord said before….fair officiating could’ve got us the title this season. The very team thats sitting second could’ve won the league.

  64. Fact. Arsenal will not win the league as long as Nick Lee claims to be a fan. Fact.

    Fact. We could have peaches and cream, if we had peaches, if we had cream. Fact.

    Team names. Entirely too many sports teams have dumb names. The Arsenal earned its name, and it fits.

    Well, where else would a team with the name of “Fusion” be located? The city next to a weapons lab where hydrogen bombs were designed, Livermore. Arsenal would never play them, they appear to be a U9 girls team.

  65. bob
    May 7, 2015 at 1:29 pm

    Ok, but Who are these evil racists that you allude to?
    Do you really think race rather than money is the bottom line?

    Race is not the bottom line. It impacts a large proportion of people who play the game at grass roots. You need to attend grass root youth football to see how quality is bypassed because of race.

    Just list the people that comprise the FA elite with ethnicity. Just list the PGMOL. Just list the hierarchy of the BBC. Do all of this with ethnicity & ask yourself is there imbalance?

  66. In case anyone thinks my comment about acceleration due to gravity being 9.81 m/s^2 is correct, I should comment.

    If a person was to measure the acceleration due to gravity everywhere on the surface of Earth, you would not get the same measurement everywhere. There will be places where it is higher, and places where it is lower. Some forms of prospecting look for positive gravitational anomalies, as they may indicate high density ore bodies in the vicinity. There is some evidence of using negative gravitational anomalies to look for evidence of tunnels.

    But, for work on Earth, 9.81 m/s^2 is in the ball park. It does not work on the Moon or on Mars.

  67. GIROUD, a World Class striker, and here are the statistics to prove it.

    Here are Arsenal statistics prior to his re appearance in the Manchester United game:

    Pl = 12
    Wo = 4
    Dr = 5
    Lo = 3
    Pt = 17

    Win Ratio = 1 in 3.0 Matches

    Goals per = 1.58 Per Match

    Post his appearance in the Manchester United Game:

    Pl = 22
    Wo = 17
    Dr = 2
    Lo = 3
    Pt = 50

    Win ratio = 1 in 1.3 Matches

    Goals per = 2.27 Per Match

    -Post Girouds return, we more than DOUBLED our win ratio and almost increased our scoring by as much as a goal per game.

    Now how does he compare to some other PL scores?

    To give a pretty good indicator I thought I would use goals scored per minute on the pitch.

    The stats show: Mins Pld/Goals(pens)/Per Min/Per Min Ex Pens.

    Costa……1960 19(0) = 103, 103

    Aguero…..2270 22(4) = 103, 126

    Giroud…..1597 14(0) = 114, 114

    Kane…….2317 20(2) = 115, 128

    Silva……2391 11(0) = 217, 217

    Hazard…..3109 14(3) = 222, 282

    -When you exclude penalties, Giroud is the 2nd most efficient goal scorer in the PL behind Costa.

    In conclusion, when you look at how much we improved for his return to the side, and then look at how he compares to his peers it is simply ridiculous to question his ability.

    With that kind of ability to even suggest that Giroud is not good enough to lead our attack is quite simply ridiculous.

  68. Racism; Nationalism; what is the difference? the strange effect of both can be seen in the Election results specifically in Scotland now & soon in the rest of UK. The kick back of failure of a independence dream (could easily be a nightmare) resulted in the Scottish people voting for SNP. The temptation of UK independence drew a lot of votes for a party without seats. The result is a Conservative victory which might be the worst thing for SNP & UKIP. The referendum (IN/OUT of Europe) might destroy UKIP.

    The one consistent winner is Murdoch’s News International with victory for their puppets since their birth with The Sun. They supported every winning party in UK elections. This same bunch of shit that bought shares in Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United & Leeds United back in the day. Never wonder why Arsenal is picked on by the media when you know how powerfully corrupt your foe is.

  69. After all that I forgot the goals scored and I also did points per game and got a couple mixed up cross referencing so her there are.


    Scored 19 Played 12 = 1.58 goals scored per game
    Played 12 Points 17 = 1.41 Points per game


    Scored 47 played 22 = 2.136 goals scored per game

    So an increase of over half a goal per game.

    Played 22 points 50 = 2.27 Points per Game

    And an increase here of nearly a point per game.

    Sorry about that.

    Makes it all a bit messy but it doesn’t change a thing about how everything gets better with Giroud in the team, and in particularly about how he out performs his peers that are constantly lorded as World Class.

    Next, and hopefully without the cock ups, Ospina.

  70. Pre

    Pl = 15
    Wo = 6
    Dr = 5
    Lo = 4
    Pt = 23

    Win Ratio = 1 in 2.15

    Points Per Match = 1.53

    Goals conceded per Match = 1.2

    Pl = 19
    Wo = 15
    Dr = 2
    Lo = 2
    Pt = 47

    Win Ratio = 1 in 1.26

    Points Per Match = 2.47

    Goals conceded per Match = 0.79

    Better win ratio, more points per game and less goals conceded per game.

    Since he’s been in the side he has the best goalkeeping stats in the Premier League.

    Again, all statistics show a marked improvement since he got in the side.

    To suggest he is not good enough is again, ridiculous.

  71. As a useful Appendix to Menace’s 2.10 here is M.Syed’s famous interview with some Newscorp Hacks. Very, very revealing:

    If anyone out there had trouble admitting to themsleves that certain meedjah are simply an organ for the petro clubs and their philosophy, their beliefs, in the same way that Marca is for Madrid, they won’t after watching this:


  72. The former Marseille man who played for Tapie’s toupe is on the panel!!!!

    🙂 🙂 🙂

  73. If we want to win the CL I think four world class payers are needed. To win the league, a minimum of two. No top team is going to stand by and not improve their squad over summer and nor should we. Manu have already lined up a new striker and are rumoured to be willing to spend up to 200 million. We have plenty of money now so there’s no excuse for not being ambitious.

  74. We have built a new state of the art training ground.

    We have built a new state of the art medical centre.

    We built a new state of the art stadium.

    Since emerging from our own version of austerity we have bought 2 marquee players.

    Obviously not enough ‘ambition’ for some !!

  75. Laughing Lzard (aka new cowboy boots)

    Jambug has pointed out a number of ways to improve a team by spending money that doesn’t involve player transfers. There are also many ways to improve a team which don’t require money. Don’t equate transfer with improving. If nothing else, too many transfers can bring a team (hello spuds) down.

  76. @Gord, I wouldn’t advocate buying the amount of players Spurs did but the acquisition of two or three players seems sensible if we are to keep up with our rivals. Hoarding money and not investing in the team seems pointless. Players on the field win games, not unused millions in the bank.

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