Don’t be fooled by the press: it is not all about buying a new player

By Tony Attwood

“Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger says the club’s season will get better and the focus is on improving existing strengths, not buying new players.”

That’s the story that has been out and about in the press of late, and it is pretty much what you might expect.  There has also been the Wenger: I can’t find a world-class striker story typical of the Telegraph, doing the rounds and pictures of Mr W looking worried.

In a shift in the mood being portrayed by the press the pictures of the Chelsea manager today show him smiling.

Anyway, the key issue that the papers portray is that the “Arsenal manager claims lack of world-class forwards and reluctance of rich rivals to part with them is holding Arsenal back”.

But what is often missed in all of this is that there are three ways to develop a team.

One is to buy players.  Lots of players.   This is what Manchester City, for example, is doing.  Their list thus far is

  • Enes Üna £2m
  • Raheem Sterling £44m
  • Patrick Roberts £11m
  • Fabian Delph £8m
  • Nicolás Otamendi £32m

Which is fine if you can get away with it in terms of FFP (more on this in a later article), if you are not Barcelona (who are banned from buying and playing anyone), and if you can integrate them quickly into the existing team.

It is the last that is the most difficult to consider, not just because the analysis is difficult but because the way in which players integrate is not a matter of discussion today.  If you look at what passes for an analysis of Arsenal’s position in most blogs it is “Arsenal need a new centre forward”.  The relationship with the rest of the team is ignored.

So new players are always seen as a quick fix, and sometimes they can give the impression of being just that, as with the numerous stories of the centre forward who scores on his debut.  Trouble is there are many more players who just don’t fit at all (I can name you many in Arsenal’s history – players who many Arsenal fans think were absolute rubbish, but who in fact simply couldn’t fit into the existing structure and who shone elsewhere), but unless you have the insight of Wenger, you never really know until much later.

And even Mr W can get it wrong.  Arshavin, for example, looked a good deal, and started off well, (I man four goals at Liverpool are always welcome), but simply couldn’t build on that.  Or going back further in time, and choosing just one from today’s anniversary list this is what the Anniversary Files say today…

22 August 1987: Charlie Nicholas played his final game – a 0-2 away defeat to QPR. He scored just 34 goals in 151 league games – far fewer than was hoped for when he signed for the club in 1983.

The only way around such problems of course is to reshape the whole team – as Arsenal did to accommodate Thierry Henry after the plan to play Henry and Anelka as the two key strikers fell apart by Anelka’s decision to leave.

So buying is promoted as the big deal, the thing you must do to show you are in the game, but is also a huge risk.

However there is also the issue of developing youth, and it is interesting that despite the development of two players last season (Coquelin and Bellerin) this is not considered when people talk about who we have to sign.  Nor is the fact that Coquelin was out on loan when he came back to make his impact.  Looking at our list of loanees available to us later in the season might be interesting…

  • Jenkinson
  • Gnabry
  • Maitland Niles
  • Hayden
  • Akpom (already with two goals this season)
  • Crowley
  • Toral
  • Wellington Silva
  • and soon to be: Zelalem.

I’m not able to cast absolute judgements but I can say that I saw a staggering array of talent in the last under 21 game as well.

And then the third possibility.  Develop the quality of the team.  A gentle change of tactics here, a slight move forwards or backwards there, the promotion of one player who is in the squad but not regularly playing… all of these things can make a difference.  It is just that very few people talk about it.  Indeed even when they do, they don’t talk about a team, but about a player.

Plus of course because we don’t see training and don’t look at the tactical discussions, we can’t ever know, any more than we can really know who Arsenal is trying to buy.

In short, all  this chatter about buying a new player, and seeing us not buying a new player as a failure, is based on the double false premise that buying is the only way to grow the team and that a player who works well with one team will always work well with another.

Which really is very odd if we remember that last season’s big step forward came from two players who were already with us.


From today’s anniversary files

22 August 2004: Arsenal beat Middlesbrough 5-3, one of four games in which Arsenal scored five or more that season.   With Bergkamp captain Arsenal went 3-1 down.  Dennis scored, and the comeback started.  He said later, “I took it personally”.

22 August 2009: After beating Everton away 6-1 Arsenal followed up with a 4-1 defeat of Portsmouth.  Diaby got two, Gallas and Ramsey the others.

  • @UntoldArsenal on Twitter
  • TonyAttwoodofLondon on Facebook
  • Arsenal Annivesaries each day on the home page
  • Remember, remember.  The history of Arsenal’s pre-seasons: now covering every season from 1983 to 2014, with more articles forthcoming.

The books

48 Replies to “Don’t be fooled by the press: it is not all about buying a new player”

  1. Great article and the media are asking out we need to buy but there are implications as you have mentioned with our loanees

    They all have the potential to be world class.

    So do you put anyone in front of them buy paying big money.

    I firmly believe had gnabry not had his injury last season welbeck may have not been bought. But we did, but if gnabry was fit whilst Walcott was out I don’t believe Walcott would be here now. Gnabry is a real talent .

    At the end of this season arteta, rosicky will move on. But I believe Wenger may just accept bids for carzola if athletico come again for him.

    It’s not that easy to buy when you have developed youth who need game time and if you block there path whats the point of developing them in the first place to sell them for 3 million?

  2. Tony, I get the impression, from what Mr Wenger has been reported to have said to the media, that he is in the market for a striker and hasn’t been able to do a deal as yet. If it is true that he said that , it would suggest Mr Wenger has concluded the best option for him to improve his team is in fact to buy. So yes, there are other ways of trying to improve things , as you outline, but these are perhaps, in Mr Wenger’s mind, fallback options. So optimum plan A may not be working out, me worries.

    However, as you finish on, two key players emerged from within our ranks last season, and they were hardly plan A either. In fact, one suspects they weren’t plan B, C or Z even. It wasn’t just luck they came through exactly but neither was it genius planning.

    So here’s hoping one of Walcott, Wellbeck, Akpom, Sanogo or Campbell emerge with a hatful of extra goals. And Giroud too. Maybe he will get quicker feet. Good goal at Palace.

  3. There is no squad in the world that can’t be improved by bringing in better players.

    I agree that tthe balance of the squad is important as is the unity within in it. However look what Alexis gave to the squad last season, not just in terms of ability but attitude as well., it gave everyone in the club a lit including the players

    There are very few top top strikers out there atm, I agree. However at the moment we are relying on Giroud , who I like, but has shown tires if used week after week. Other options include Welbeck and Walcott, both players who I like but one is only just starting to play CF the other one has an average goal scoring record in the PL. It seems we are throwing all our eggs in the Benzema basket.

    Coquelin was excellent last season. He has only ever shown it for half a season. Can he sustain that form for a full season ? His back ups are Arteta and Flamini. Arteta has been a great signing for the club but now his legs have slowed. Flamini is not good enough. We certainly missed a trick in not buying a DM to compete with or supplement Coquelin. Someone like Schneiderlin would have offered more physically, bettr passing than Coquelin and a myriad of options in that CM options

    The squad is as good as it has been in years. There is however no real excuse not to have added to it to improve it further. Wenger has left himself open to real criticism should we not really challenge for the title and improve our performances in the CL. People now know we have a lot of money in the bank and we have not improved the squad player wise this summer. If we begin to struggle I fear things will get ugly again and patience would have run out for many.

  4. I agree that just buying a striker now will not guarantee success.

    However, generally speaking in todays football, buying = success. Not all the time, but generally. Just look at the league table year in year out. It is those that spend the most money on players and wages for those players to attract the top players that find themselves at the top of the table. Chelsea, City, Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs are the big spenders (City, Chelsea a cut above the others)and have been for the last 15 years. It’s really only Spurs who have never even remotely challenged for the league. The fact that City and Chelsea are not battling relegation each year shows the importance of spending.

    For Arsenal right now though a striker is vital in my opinion. The risk of a top player being bought and failing is lower than the chance of us failing to challenge because of our current limitations in the striker position. There are different views on Giroud of course. Some believe he is good enough, but he is not a young developing player. he is not going to get any better. He will continue to score some great goals, but ultimately will miss a hat full of chances and only ever be a 15 goals a season striker (PL). His problem is he goes on spells of form where he averages a goal a game and looks great, then can be dreadful for weeks on end. That kind of inconsistency is a problem.

    We need a world class striker.

  5. Fishpie, I think that like every decent manager he is keeping his options open. I also think that he spoke about a striker because that is what everyone is talking about, so he said, sure if a world class striker is available at the right price of course I would buy. Why wouldn’t I?

    I don’t think that means he is looking specifically for a striker.

  6. Mate. While I agree there is something to be said for internal player development and I acknowledge that we have very good depth, cohesion and quality across the squad, the reality is that this was the deserved third place team last year. Both teams above us in the standings have strengthened and the team below us has strengthened. We have yet to purchase a first team out field player, trusting that an extra year’s development of the players in the squad will elevate us to challenge teams that were already better than us and have strengthened and matured.

    My second point is this. If Arsene is happy with the options at his disposal, and there is 200 million in the bank, then surely we are in a good position financially and no longer have to charge the highest ticket prices in the league. If the 200 million is not going to be invested in the squad, then at least return a portion of it to the fans by reducing ticket prices to make it more accessible. Obviously this won’t happen and that figure may be significantly higher than 200 million by the end of the season. And what will that money be for? A rainy day? We have the ability to buy finished products capable of excelling at the highest levels and yet we are watching players like Ox, Coquelin, Bellerin, etc learn on the job (no matter how highly I rate them to eventually be world class).

  7. Kelvim we don’t charge the highest ticket prices in the league.
    If you fancy taking a trip to some away games you will find that time and again you have to pay more for a ticket in what is invariably the least attractive part of the ground, which is more expensive than in the similar position at Arsenal.

  8. One question Kelvim asked about keeping the money for a rainy day. Maybe if we look back at the article about expanding the Emirates , one could wonder if Arsenal is looking at a way to use some of that money to expand the Emirates and give more fans the chance to come to home games?

  9. I do understand some of the fans. They are like kids watching next door kids getting many xmas presents while they only got one. This causes a little jealousy even in the most settled kid. It seems they do not learn. This is not the first time we have been here, and it’s time for them to realise that Arsenal is not a club who follows others, Arsenal has a way of running the club and seem to be sticking by it. I must admit i was a little worried that we were going to start spending and discarding players left right and center.

    What i want to see, is that every season at least 2 of our players are given the chance to show their will and desire to break into the 1st team. Not to throw them in there and pile pressure on them, but to let them dictate the speed of getting in the 1st team by their effort and performances.

    This is what Arsenal does for it’s youth, and many just cannot get this in their heads. Of course there are many reasons why players are sold before they get to the 1st team, but it is not always because they are not good enough.

    But sometimes, even I get a little jealous(it’s the kid in me still) at the other teams’ activity, but then common sense replaces the little jealousy and tells me that the other teams are spending because their teams were just not good enough for their respective coaches/managers vision.

    Example Chel$, at begin of season their manager was proudly declaring for all to hear, that Chel$ is complete and needs no signings. Now after two bad results look at them scurrying around in the market. Now some will say that Arsenal needs to do this too after the WH defeat at home.

    My view of what our team needs now, is to start realising that their time has come to show their worth by stepping up another notch this season. They have the ability, they have the mental strength now after winning a few things, and they also now have the whipping that comes with over confidence.

    This is a really good basis to perform week in week out, after all, this is their job and many would love to have their job. No time for complacency, no time for non-concentration, no time for lackadaisical lapses when they enter that pitch.

    This is all i ask from our team, EVERY WEEK, and i will be happy with them what ever the outcome.

  10. What is a world class player? Where do they come from? Every player must be given chance to develop.

    I support arsenal because I love how the club is run. Do you solve life’s problem by just buying.

    I will rather we develop our own players than always spending millions.

    Arsene knows best.

    I am sick of this; we need world class players. Was Henry a WC, was wiltord a WC, was Pires a WC, was Viera a WC. No, all these players had potential like our current crop and were further develop by Arsenr

  11. Well,every ones view can not be neglected. but buying quality players its increases the team moral and inspiration. Even the supporters would be so happy because of new players acquisition take a look @alexis he’s very fast and sharp when with the ball. and this gives arsenal the edge to create chances that could leads to goals. Furthermore not every new players paid off their price being bought like arshavin quite unfortunate for a player of his calibre to start well & ended wrongly it is very rear or not too often but in short we just need to buy players two or more to improve our game as alexis impact can’t be deny but benzema issue of a thing am having doubting mind that we will buy a player may not be benzema because why are we going for the same striker who is competing with our present striker at the international level i dnt see any ideal there unless if giroud would be use as backup,playing behind strike as 8 or wenger has plan B of using them side by side as two striker upfront and i guess they are likely to be competing for goal through selfishness goals may become difficult to score as they both want it that is my view

  12. Still think Wenger may have some sort of surprise in store, but won’t be losing a lot of sleep if he doesn’t, we have an excellent squad.
    If reports are true, Chelsea, Utd and City will be forking out 130 mil plus on players. Let them, there are no guarantees in football when it comes to buying, look at all the hype around Utd last season, spent a fortune, but still finished below us and potless.
    They key to our success will be avoiding too many injuries to key players, and having the ability to rotate, and looking at the squad, looks to me as if we have that. If Wenger thinks we need more, I am sure they are out there doing their level best.

  13. Why is a world class player always playing for other team and not ARSENAL!!…

    Ozil is not world class but Cesc is!!
    Alexis is not world class but Hazard is!!
    Rambo is not world class but Fernandinho is!!
    Mertesacker is not world class but Terry is!!!!!!cough cough !@#%$!!…

    One gaint middle finger to world class players, I rather have not the world class Ozil, Alexis, Rambo, Mertesacker……

  14. Kelvim,
    Re your point about having 200m in the bank, let me explain for you: You have just been paid and earn, say, 40k per annum paid monthly. Let’s say after tax, you are paid 2.5 k on 1st of the month. Then for arguments sake, you spend all of that one the 2nd of the month. How do you get through the rest of the month?

    This is exactly the situation for any business such as AFC. Yes, you can spend all your cash on shiny beads. Then how do you pay for incidentals like player and staff salaries?

  15. Kelvim,
    Further to your point about returning any unspent cash to fans: you are not entitled to it. It is not yours. It belongs to the shareholders of the company. Try asking Sainsburys to return spare cash to you because you shop there quite often and see what they say.

  16. It sounds like good argument, but one-sided and stupid direction. We have been like this for 11 years without winning the EPL title and the title has been rotating between Man U, Chelsea and Man City. The young players you listed are for the future and not ready for the nine-month intensity and level of the Premier League and Champions League. Answer this question if you have brain: Why has Wenger not won the Capital One Cup? Remember, the majority of players were young and immature when we went into the final with Chelsea and were screwed 2-1? We need to be at the level of rivals in order to compete. It’s no use claiming to be a big club, but being also-rans season in season out!

  17. I truly believe some managers just buy players to appease the spend brigade in the media and at their clubs. Buying for the sake of buying is suicidal, and more often than not it doesn’t work.

    Madrid are one good example; they have been outspending their rivals every year for the last decade but their trophy haul in that period doesn’t justify their spending. Barcelona, on the other hand, who were relying on their homegrown talent with the occasional purchase of one world class player have had more success. With the amount madrid spent in the last 10 years they should have had swept all in front of them.

    Wenger has said he will buy a player who will improve the team, if they’re available at the right price. He’s not refusing to buy outright. But you rarely hear this in the media as it doesn’t suit their narrative.

  18. If we play Giroud we need to serve him. If we play with width then Giroud will thrive, so no need to buy a striker. That being said we lack quality out wide to serve Giroud. That’s where I would be aiming my attacking recruitment.
    Defenders is weak! Per is a nice guy and is good for the camp in terms of leadership. But, he is slow and poor in the air. He us our weak link. That and our lack of DM cover for Coquelin. I would rather strengthen there first.

  19. I love the fact part of our strategy is developing young players. It can’t be the be all and end all of it

    It was said that the Emirates would allow us to compete with the best. To compete with the best we need to be challenging for the league and CL. We will not do that with just youngsters. We need WC talent to play with these young players to do this. We should be one top player each summer to get closer to the title

    The likes of Ozil, Alexis will not stay unless we progress.We will be in the same position we were with Rvp, Fabregas, Nasri if we are not careful. We can’t really blame them if our ambition doesn’t match theirs

    Wenger is obviously happy with this sqad. It is on him. Finishing 12 points behind the league winners and crashing out of CL like last season is not acceptable this season when we have money, lot’s of it , unspent. There are enough players out there to improve our squad. We have chosen not to. Wenger will stand or fall on this summer. If we don’t progress then things will get unpleasant again.

  20. Yes, I want to see the Emirates Stadium expanded if the expansion will mean more Gooners will patronise watching Arsenal at home.l use to notice some vacant seats at the Emirates Stadium in some Arsenal home games. I think Man Utd have full house for their home games.
    Which players can be considered to be World class that some Arsenal fans want to see at Arsenal now. Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, Benzima, Gavani, Ibramovich & Bale? Save Neymar & Bale, the rest of the 5 players are passing their primes. And Arsenal is not MLS where players that past their primes retired to to earn their pensions. Those players of Benz’ & Cavani may not have more than 1-2 years at the top of games. Benz’ has never scored 30 goals in all competitions since he joined Real Madrid. And Arsenal will pay £48m for such a player that is no longer on the rise but a decline? If it just a year thing for the purpose of winning the Premier League, well Arsenal may sign Benz’ or Cavani. But can any of the duo give guarantee to Arsenal that he can win the title for us? Can Arsenal sign Neymar or Bale? Of course they can. But it will cost them colossal amount of money. Since Jack Wilshere is not a guarantee regular Gunner on the field for Arsenal, and besides the prolong injury to Welbeck and his desire to play centrally. I have thus asked the Boss to sign a top quality right winger. But only if the problem that arisen there can’t be internally solved. I prefer to see Arsenal solve any arising problem in the team internally, like they have used Coquelin & Bellerin to overcome some shortages in the team at one time which turnout to become a permanent solutions. However, in solving any arising problem internally, the must give the chances to any of his able starlet like Alex Iwobi, a right winger, to break into the 1st team. And thus spare himself of the agitations to sign in new players. I have the belief the team left back needs to be appraised with a top quality signing if the matter cannot be solved internally too. For a sustained campaign for the purpose of winning the title and the UCL, the Boss must upgrade the good quality he has at the Gunners’ left back.

  21. I hadn’t realised that the original plan was to team Anelka & Henry as a strike partnership. That would have been really formidable and I’d liked to have seen them in action together. Still, the Anelka money came in very handy.

  22. @Para

    You said –

    “This is a really good basis to perform week in week out, after all, this is their job and many would love to have their job. No time for complacency, no time for non-concentration, no time for lackadaisical lapses when they enter that pitch.

    This is all i ask from our team, EVERY WEEK, and i will be happy with them what ever the outcome.”

    Best comment I have seen for a long time. AMEN to that. 100% agree.

  23. Having £200 M in a bank ( apparently), and not spending a decent portion of it on new signings might be a PR problem for the club among some fans, but I would agree with the sentiment that the biggest improvement has to come from within the existing squad and not new players.

    Unfortunately, although it’s still early days, I haven’t seen any of those improvements in the first two games thus far.

    While Cech is an upgrade on both Ospina and Szczesny in my opinion, he is not that big of an upgrade ( no keeper is) that our back line can now just stop defending properly because they have Cech in goal.

    Our defending against WHam and Crystal Palace for chunks of the game was shambolic at times with players like Koscielny, who’s our best defender, being out of position or switching off for a play or two( others as well) at the time.

    Meanwhile I keep hearing from the players how much confidence Cech has given them at the back, which is good, but I wonder if Cech can say the same about the players in front of him.
    Someone on here told me that Arsenal defenders don’t throw their bodies at the ball because that’s not how Arsenal play( something about parking the bus and Chelsea) , ignoring of course that that’s how Arsenal used to play on defense when Adams and Keown were around.

    Another aspect of our teams progression is the confidence and complacency. I honestly hope these two would become the new C dirty words in Arsene’s vocabulary and he stopped using them.

    There isn’t another professional team in the World that has those two words trotted out to describe their players’ mental state at any given time as much and as often as Arsenal is and I wish it would stop already.

    Arsenal aren’t a young team anymore full of prospects that need to be shielded from harmful influences but rather a team of seasoned professionals, World Cup winners, CL winners , La Liga and Copa del Rey winners, and FA cup winners ( twice) and they need to elevate their mental game to the next level.
    And that’s where the biggest improvement has to come from.

  24. Jayram
    ” The
    risk of a top player being bought
    and failing is lower than the
    chance of us failing to challenge
    because of our current limitations
    in the striker position.”
    Remember Falcao??? and his records for ManU? If we replaced Giroud with him…
    The only thing I would like to see is aggression in the form of hounding the opposition until we get possession back.

  25. Tom

    Agree that we have experience in the side and players who have won things.

    Must remember that Alexis is 25 and Ozil 25. Many of our players are young but have a huge amount of experience due to playing them young. Now is the time we should have pushed forward adding more top talent to compliment them.

    Ramsey (24), Wilshere (23), Welbeck (24), Coquelin (24), Gibbs (25), Walcott (26) are all players just about entering their prime. They really do need to step up andrepay the faith Wenger has shown in them. Personally I would have added to the squad, Wenger has decided not to. If they don’t step up Wenger will be left with egg on his face, deservedly so as he opted to do this.

  26. I wouldn’t worry too much about Kos, he often seems to be a bit of a slow starter but will soon be back to his excellent, and consistent self.

  27. Tony, Walter

    Has there been a ref review of the West Ham game yet? I just watched the second half again and it made me mad as hell.

    I decided to make a not of how long Noble stayed down for- turned out it was 1.40, already that had me thinking how long was added on again?. Next thing I counted was when Giroud/Tomkins had the head clash (74.02- 76.50 : 2.48).

    So that was two incidents amounting to 4.28 (How long was added on again?)

    From that point on, I counted everything. From 74.02 to 82.08 the ball was only in play for 3 mins 34 seconds (out of 8.06)

    Here are some of the stoppages ; Oxford sub (40 secs); throw (15), gk (30), fk (29), unidentified * (42), corner (33), throw (17), corner (39), goal kick/sub (50); throw (15).

    From Giroud Tomkins clash on 74:02 to minute 90 the ball is not in play or is held by keeper for 7 mins and 59 secs, i.e for almost exactly half the time. And that does not include, obviously, our two subs before then, the 1 min 40 noble delay, or any other incident whatsoever.

    Add only the Noble one, and everything from the moment of the gird clash and that makes 9.39. I can accept wiping off as much as a minute, maybe two, as perhaps there is some acceptable time for free kicks,corners, etc, but after adding only for our two subs and for any other delays before 74 that still leaves s somewhere around the 9 minute mark.

    We got 5 minutes.

    That is inexplicable by any normal means. What’s more, how do you explain a referee allowing a team to take 30-40 seconds for a corner, 15 for every throw,etc, without once saying a word. Again, inexplicable. The ref knows the perfectly good rules at his disposal to stop time wasting. He knows them and can’t be unaware what’s happening. So how can it be explained.

    Only by a deep dislike from Atkinson, which affects his performance, or actual corruption, or both.

    Atkinson did everything he could to manage us out of that game once things were set up nicely for him by that first goal which, of course, came from a very weak free kick he gave.

    My unhappiness with the team’s performance in that half has fallen dramatically. The task when time is being wasted to that extent, with the full help of the referee, is staggeringly difficult. No momentum can be built whatsoever. None. You get something reasonable going, the ball goes out ten seconds later, and things don’t start again for another 20-40 seconds. And that is the near constant shape of things. Build pressure and fluency? How? You can’t even press them as Atkinson obliges each time they fall with any contact. Hideous stuff

    I understand so much better now why that match was so exquisitely painful in the second half. We only had about half the time we should have to try get back in it, and that time was extremely fragmented.

    The insult to the injury time? They wasted a further minute of the allotted five. Again, the ref did nothing. He even had the cheek to look at his watch with 40 seconds of the 5 remaining. The man is a total menace to us.

    Two bits of magic could have rescued us once 2 down, or one bit of magic one lucky break, but nothing else, not improved fluency, not increased pressure. Thos things were impossible with the time wasting and the refs collusion.

    *was scribbling on envelope

  28. Get the feeling LvG won’t be at utd come next season, another manager who seems to just buy to appease the fans. And the media of course.

  29. On the corruption front, the count of suspicious financial transactions involving FIFA now stands at 103 (was 81).

  30. The medja are full of stories that Zelalem has been loaned to Rangers. There is nothing at Arsenal or Rangers on this.


    Roma plays Hellas Verona, no idea if Szczesny is playing.

    Ajax had a Europa leage game, no idea if Sanogo played. I don’t know when their season starts.

    Jenkinson started for WHam. He had 1 foul and 1 assist until the 78 minute, when he gave up a penalty and was given a straight red (professional foul?).

    Maitland-Niles started on the bench, came on at 62 minutes. He fouled once, and was fouled once (which was a yellow).

    Akpom started for Hull, and played 64 minutes. He was fouled twice, had 1 shot and 1 assist. Hayden got off the bench at 58 minutes, and had 2 shots. There were 10 minutes of extra time in this game.

    Crowley started. He was fouled once, and fouled twice. At the end of the game, he was listed as having received a yellow (for what?).

    Wellington started and played 83 minutes. He was fouled once (yellow card), had 1 shot and 1 assist.

    Toral played yesterday, he started and played 67 minutes. He fouled once, had 2 shots and 2 assists.

    Martinez plays the late game, and is on the bench.

    Gnabry plays tomorrow.

    The Ladies are home to Chelsea in WSL tomorrow 6pm.

  31. Loanees.

    > Roma plays Hellas Verona, no idea if Szczesny is playing.

    Apparently Szczesny started in goal for Roma.

  32. Samuel, your post today is the best that u have ever written on this website. Very insightful. keep it up.

  33. Second half Roma vs Hellas Verona, 1-1 final score. The only scoring is over 5 minutes.

    > 66′ GOOOl Roma !!! Grandissima botta di Florenzi e Rafael stecca la parata. Verona 1 – 1 Roma.

    > 65′ Fuori Salah e De Rossi e dentro Iago Falque e Keita.

    > 61′ GOOOL Hellas Verona!!! Cross di Hallfredsson e Jankovic la mette dentro col piatto destro. Fulminati Torosidis e Szczesny. Verona 1 – 0 Roma.

    Which I translate as no clean sheet for Szczesny on his opening.

  34. N.T. Gruduah………..What about 2 FA cups, 2 Charity shields and 17+ straight years in the CL, which only Madrid have done? you cherry-pick your anti-Wenger factoids but ignore the context of the stadium build, the arrival of oilygarchs etc. I know it is tragic that nobody is listening to you and even Wenger has the nerve to ignore your profound and abysmal ignorance but hey, that’s life!

  35. Hi Tony,

    I could be wrong, but these sites tell me that we have the most expensive match day tickets and season tickets in the league and possibly even in Europe (it definitely was the case last year).

    It really is amazing that you can get an season ticket at Man CIty for 299 quid.

    From purely a business perspective (and not accounting for the organizational philosophy of player development which we subscribe to), we are already in a position where we can start claiming a place at the big boys table in Europe. This means competing on and off the pitch with them. So beyond putting out a team that can compete as equals with Madrid, Barca, Bayern (which means signing top drawer talent), this also means broadening the global fan base, selling more shirts, getting bigger marketing deals (the 750 million Adidas is giving Man U to be their shirt sponsor is a function of their global reach). We too can start getting deals like this, which of course boosts the bottom line for the shareholders and the overall net worth of the club. If our current profits are not going to be invested in players who will sell shirts and broaden our global appeal, then perhaps they should be in some other sort of global development plan which aims to ambitiously build our brand: open more academies, global Arsenal Team Shops (I’ve seen quite a few Man U shops on my work trips to India), etc. Ideally, it should be a combination of player signings and global development efforts. We are doing something in this regard, but clearly it is not matching the efforts of the Glazers and others. Global brand development increases the amount we can garner from sponsors and reduces our dependence on ticket revenues from the Emirates (which I’ve already said I believe are comparatively exorbitant).

    I subscribe to our philosophy of player development. I like it. I like Arsene. But as Alexis and Ozil have shown, adding a touch of class can elevate the whole team. One or two world class signings a year not only strengthens the product on the field, but also broadens our global appeal, attracts more fans, sells more shirts (not seen too many Cech shirts around), makes us bigger news and broadens new fan bases (in Chile every Arsenal match is given first class coverage because of Alexis). Maybe the next wonderkid growing up in Valparaiso or Santiago now will dream of pulling on our top instead of the Real Madrid or Barcelona one because of Alexis. That’s what top drawer signings do for you. We can become an even bigger beast of a global football club, but the beast needs to be fed.

    Apologies for the rambling discourse, not sure if it makes any sense….but just wanted to expand on my thoughts.


  36. Kelvim – it depends on how you choose to measure the price. If you look for who has the cheapest, in one regards it is Arsenal with our £10 league cup tickets each year (when we played Chelsea in the league their fans couldn’t believe they could occupy the lower clock end, have excellent views and pay £10). If you take into account the most expensive price in the stadium for a season ticket that it is possible to find then it is Arsenal, because we have the club level tickets with your own personal team of waiters, if that is what you want. If you take Arsenal v Leicester and Leicester v Arsenal, the cost I had to pay away was much higher there and at other grounds than for a comparable ticket.

    And all this before you take into account things like the fact that because of our continuance in Europe, we get seven cup matches (excluding league cup) free with the season ticket. And as I mentioned before there are the £10 children’s tickets.

    It does depend what you choose to measure.

  37. @Kelvim
    These articles rarely do the cost per game correctly and as Tony says they pick on the most expensive. My season ticket cost me £1095.00 for 26 games not 19! £42.00 per game. Not bad. Compare that £42.00 to a theatre ticket or a concert ticket or as I just recently experienced The Warner Bros Studio tour for Harry Potter (excellent by the way). Sure I would like it cheaper. I would like all of those things cheaper for everyone but this is the world we live in. I do realise that £1000.00 is a lot of money. I thought twice about about renewing because my personal circumstance changed. I bemoan the loss of sport and football in particular from our terrestrial channels to subscription channels – that is a crying shame. As much as I dislike it it isnt going to stop.

    @Fishpie If we don’t bring players through some of our fan base moans. If we do bring players through some of our fan base moans. In terms of blogs its very often the same same blogs who moan at both. I’ve stopped reading and listening to them. If a player comes through the ranks and makes it in the first team then frankly that is brilliant because in terms of a % success rate that is an extremely risk laden approach to take but has a high margin in terms of cost.

  38. How much does a trophy cost? The ‘pot’ itself is probably less than £1000. The main part of winning is the prize money & entry qualification into other competitions. So much is made of winning trophies yet many idiots think it is only the ‘pot’ that matters.

    The Champions League qualification is so much more lucrative in terms of financial prize money compared to the ‘cups’.

    Success is measured by amount of income gained from competitive victory. This must be measured against cost of entry. Arsenals cost of entry ensures the best success yet very few realise how great an achievement that is.

    The FA cups were won against huge investments by the oil clubs & those wholly owned by individuals. Their cost of entry showed no returns!!! Yet we still have dopes pontificating huge expenditure for players that will not really improve the squad.

  39. Further on the loanee events, Gnabry made the bench for the game against Moaninho’s Bus Parkers.

    Mertesacker in his interview made a comment about the condition of the two houses that he and his family have experienced in his time at Arsenal. Aren’t there construction companies in England building houses to Passivhaus standards?

  40. Clattenberg: Hey JT, come here.

    JT: Yes ref?

    Clattenberg: Do you know where the showers are?

    JT: Yes.

    Clattenberg: Go have a shower.

    Moaninho: You can pick the rocks out of the bus tires after you are done showering.

  41. Gnabry is subbed on at 78 minutes. Come on Gnabry, tie up that game! Serge waited all of 20 seconds before fouling someone. I guess he was anxious. 🙂

    Still no notices at or Rangers about Zelalem.

  42. Gnabry is subbed on at 78 minutes. 2 fouls, 2 shots and 1 assist. I don’t think fouling after 20 seconds was a good idea, but he was trying.

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