Don’t shoot the messenger but we’re in a funk

By Blacksheep

Those that know me (not that many of course) or that have read things I’ve written before (a few more perhaps) will [hopefully] be aware that I’m quite a positive person when it comes to most things including Arsenal. I’m pleased to contribute to this blog because it supports the club, the team AND the manager and does so with some style, evidence and good humour.

So in writing this piece I’m aware that I may ruffle a few feathers, not least among my fellow editors and co-contributors.

I watched the second half of the Sunderland game  – family commitments meant I that’s all I could manage and I’m aware that Arsenal might have played a lot better the first 45 than they did in the second. But the excellent camera angle at the Stadium of Light allowed me a fairly close up view of the Arsenal performance over the last 45-50 minutes in the north-east of England.

First, I must say it wasn’t pretty and some things about it seem to me to sum up our season (as season that I firmly believed was going to end with a bus top parade of the PL trophy in May).

I would agree that much of what is written about Arsenal by the media is rubbish. No leadership (rubbish), no backbone (rubbish) injury prone (shown to be rubbish by Untold)

But even a casual observer (and I’m far from that) would have to agree that at Sunderland we looked toothless, we lacked desire, and certain individuals looked as if they were already considering what they were going to be doing in the summer. I’d go so far as to to suggest that Arsenal are in a strange sort of collective ‘blue funk’ (possible ‘red’ funk…) caused by the collapse of our title challenge and the exit from the FA Cup.

In case you are unfamiliar with the term here is one definition of a blue funk:

“A state of confusion, absent mindedness, and deep thought, usually brought about by a profound experience or idea, often by a near death experience. Can last from a couple of hours to a couple of weeks”.

In short they, like us, are bewildered and unable to explain exactly what has happened to this team since January. Back then we were top of the league and playing some very good football (ok, not tearing up trees but we were comfortable). Leicester were doing well but everyone thought they would fold. Chelsea were haemorrhaging, Spurs were plodding, United couldn’t buy a goal, even City  were inconsistent performers. The league was there to be won and we had the players to do it.

I also think this has been passed on to the manager, a man I admire for everything he has done – not only for Arsenal, but for football as a whole.

Just as he is sometimes beaten by his zip I think Arsene is now struggling to understand how this talented and very well paid group of professional footballers has managed to screw things up quite as badly as they have. Do I blame him? Well I question some of his decisions certainly, we all do, but who am I to judge? I’ve got zero experience as a coach, player or even as a pundit. So no, not really; I blame (if that is even the right word) the players.

These are (almost to a man) a set of internationals with huge experience. From Cech to Giroud, from Bellerin to Iwobi these guys play professional football all week all year at home and abroad. If they are struggling to win a  game playing a certain way they have the knowledge to change tactics. They have the authority to discuss this as a team and with the manager. Wenger is not a tartar; he is an intelligent thinking individual and we cant blame his stubbornness for recent performances.

On Sunday we wasted chances as we have all season. We lacked ruthlessness. We let Sunderland in when we were dominating just as we have so many times this season (Anderlecht, Palace, United and West Ham away). We don’t shoot, we can’t take a decent corner, we get caught in midfield and over run. You can argue this is coaching, but it is often discipline, concentration and common sense. Do we blame Wenger for this? Or the players?

I don’t think its to do with ‘bottle’ or leadership. We have leaders and plenty of our guys have shown their ability to come back from poor positions (Hull in the FA cup) and I don’t see this as much different to anyone else. I think it has more to do with desire if I’m honest.

Does this group of players feel too comfortable at the club? I watched Leicester demolish Swansea at the weekend. At 4-0 up with five to go they were battling for every ball, every header, running down every chance they got. They are on (collectively and individually) far less than nearly all our squad and most of them would jump at a chance to play for the Arsenal.

Yet for me it was Theo’s attempt to avoid a tackle that summed up this season.

Mannone fumbled and gifted Welbeck a chance to get through on goal. He was quite clearly fouled which should have resulted in a free-kick and a sending off but we had Mike Dean – the worst and most allegedly corrupt of all the PGMO bunch. So nothing doing.

The chance was still there and in came Theo – needing to prove he still has something to offer Arsenal (the club that has paid him £140K a week whilst he was injured) – instead of trying to win the ball he jumped over it. Sunderland cleared.

So there you go – the season in microcosm: a gift horse squandered, cheated by the officials, a player who cares more about his career (his England career perhaps) than he does about winning a game of football for his team and its supporters.

I give you Arsenal FC the class of 2015/16 a squad that promised much and might not deliver even the oft bemoaned ‘4th place trophy’

Something has to change

Recent Posts

On the home page:

  • A selected anniversary from beyond football and a nice picture of the stadium and a train.
  • Today’s Arsenal anniversaries and the Insult of the Day
  • A list of the most recent posts from Untold and the Arsenal History Society
  • Details of all the the books Untold Arsenal has published

Just 30 years ago….

  • 26 April 1986: Arsenal 2 WBA 2.  This draw in front of just 14,843 made it one win in eight.  Robson and a penalty from Allinson gave Arsenal their goals.


125 Replies to “Don’t shoot the messenger but we’re in a funk”

  1. Totally agree with you. Something does have to change and I think its the manager. This has been happening for a couple of seasons now so its not new. We’ve changed players over a couple of years now but we get the same result. As much as I respect Wenger and all his done for us,I think its time for a change. Fresh leadership, fresh ideas, fresh tactics. This was really our chance to win the league and it’s gone.
    It hurts to say but Mr Wenger might have taken us as far as he can

  2. @ Blacksheep – I don’t disagree with you about our players being in a funk . And in a deep rut. And up the creek . And being totally devoid of ideas . No width on the right , way too many passes , and frequently slowing the game down and ending up in cul de sacs of their own making.
    That Theo Walcott non tackle was for me really a very, very low point . He should and could have won it with ease . The advantage was with him .The defender did not even had to put in a tackle , and when Theo slipped /dived , he just walked away with the ball.

    AW has put out the best players that we have at the moment , and the team are not playing to the best of their abilities , or to instructions . Tiredness ? The EUROs or holidays in mind ? I do hope that they buck up and finish the season strongly.
    Come on guys ,please give us our annual St. Totteringham’s Day this year too !

    Up the Gunners !

  3. You have hit nail on its head. May be it is time drag some players out of their comfort zone. Enough of crucifying Wenger for the team inability to deliver this time.

  4. I am also hoping that Roy Hogdson picks most of the players from Leicester and Spurs , and leave our non performers out . After all , it only points to reason that since they played so well and inspired , almost as though being ‘possessed ‘ , they should replicate the same form at the EUROs and probably help England to win it – 50 years after their only international tournament win and as a great present to the Queen for her 90th birthday .

  5. f*** me….this is the 1st time we have managed to blame ourselves. I have been saying for so long, yes there is a issue with the refs but we have to look at ourselves 1st. there is nothing more to say as this article sums up our mentality. end off

  6. Two comments that sums it all up:

    ” If they are struggling to win a game playing a certain way they have the knowledge to change tactics. They have the authority to discuss this as a team and with the manager.”

    ” I watched Leicester demolish Swansea at the weekend. At 4-0 up with five to go they were battling for every ball, every header, running down every chance they got. ”

    They seem to not do any of these two things at all.

  7. Blacksheep, according to reports we did play much better in the first half at Sunderland.

    Apart from your general comments, you isolate two incidents. One is a referee failure to punish a foul on Danny Welbeck. This is the sort of thing highlighted all the time by Untold Arsenal and very few other people. You can’t blame our manager or our players for that.

    Secondly, you comment on Theo Walcott’s failure, twice, to commit himself. I know other people who have noticed this characteristic of Theo’s current play. As you suggest, it may be a desperate attempt to keep himself fit for the next international competition, having missed the last one through injury. But it’s not good.

    However, I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that this criticism applies to all our players. I see a lot of persistence and fight on the football pitch from a lot of our players.

    Leicester’s being up for the fight at this stage in the season is easily explained. They are one game away from winning the title.

    I still say, let’s all get behind the team and support them into doing the best we possibly can this season, and see what we can pull out of the bag next one.

  8. Sadly I share similar views, it seems discipline, urgency and attitude are lacking in the group. Typically we will probably be inconsistent and play a blinder on Saturday (I hope we play a blinder). I think Arsene retains the desire, but are the players simply too comfy?

    It is very disappointing, perhaps he needs to drop a few and ruffle some feathers. I would start Campbell and Wellbeck on Saturday.

  9. Walcott jumping out of the way just cost him is place at Arsenal S140k for a chicken must be sold No team spirit No desire No guts Thank you you lost my support and the Team support

  10. Completely agree Blacksheep.
    As for Theos action, wonder if fear of injury played its part.
    Blame…a harsh term, not sure thats applicable here…this looks to be something collective…perhaps defensive mistakes, misfiring forwards, frustrated creators in MF, injuries, refs, and dare I say, management/coaching/tactics have all played a part. The club clearly are unable, or unwilling to take on the refs, but there are things in there that can change
    Only my opinion, but i wonder is a fresh coach…not new manager would help. Wenger is notoriously reluctant to change backroom staff, and doesnt always seem inclined to bring back ex players in major roles…with the obvious exception…but is there a case for Arteta to be promoted to a major coaching role? A man respected by the players, one for the future…has played under different managers…and would keep him from the reported clutches of Pep and Poch? Think failing to keep Arteta might be a bit telling.
    But, you save the best to last. “Something has to change”. If these new coaches…or even just some of them are as good as reported, it looks as if Arsenal in general need to get their act together …and i dont just mean buy buy buy. The perception that wenger is untouchable under Stan , whether true or not does our manager few favours when things do not go well. as a wenger supporter, I want him to succeed next season, and if he is minded, three more years. But, should he not be seen to conspicuously act on the substantial failings on 2016, and things rumble on in a similar fashion next season, I fear the next season may be his last, whatever Stan thinks of Arsene. Stans largess will not always overcome a negative fanbase
    Arsene, now is the summer to be bold, to consider change. Methods, philosophies, even principles, no matter how dearly held, can always be tweaked, in what is not a matter of life and death, but is essentially, just a game

  11. Excellent article. I even thought that this could be the one with no reference to PGMO at all, but never mind that. Thumbs up.

  12. Dieter, your comment about PGMO says exactly where you’re coming from. Blame Wenger, don’t blame the referees. No good, I’m afraid.

  13. What a breath of fresh air at UNTOLD, finally someone accepting responsibility remains with Arsenal for their performance. We won’t get anywhere blaming the ref, the media, other “physical” teams….
    Ultimately, AW is in charge of this team and he holds the most responsibility.
    If we keep doing the same thing, you get the same result. And that’s what happened over the past decade!
    I’ve supported AW all these years, but I agree with you, something has to change.

  14. Blacksheep, I agree with this article.

    While I don’t normally criticise our players, I was shocked at Walcott’s non tackle.

    The trouble is if one or two players are underperforming, for whatever reason, it will undermine the whole team. Part of the problem may be confidence and the feeling that whatever they do they will still be screwed by the PGMO – quite a reallity. But, we need to be able to rise above the opposition and the PGMO.

  15. @Blacksheep

    Interesting post. Like you I am a glass half full Arsenal supporter but I said against Palace that it looked like the minds of the players were already elsewhere. Nothing I’ve seen since has altered that view but if true it does erk me somewhat on behalf of the supporters that pay to watch them and especially those away supporters that traveled to Sunderland. I really don’t know how Arsene Wenger can now lift this group of players to achieve 4th place or better but I hope he does.

    Regarding Walcott…… Of late he has been playing like someone who believes that his time is up at Arsenal. I don’t think we will see him at Arsenal next season.

  16. Been hoping for that for a long time though.Many people have looked at his legacy and said if only he would adapt and bend his principles a little we would support him.However he hasn’t and doesn’t appear to be able to and is unlikely to do so any time soon. I have always supported him throughout the financial years and have appreciated the restraints he has worked under but have never been convinced of his ability to lead the troops from the front. In WW 1 it was said that when a leader went over the top of the trenches his men would follow.He unfortunately doesn’t seem to be that sort of leader and this group of players are content to take his lead and remain in their comfort zone.

  17. Blacksheep, as you can see, the problem with your article is it has unleashed a torrent of praise from people who in general do not have the best interests of our club at heart and are only interested in getting rid of Arsene Wenger.

    Regulars like Mandy and Brickfiields are obviously excepted from that description. But the others – you know who you are.

    First the title – very attractive to negative thinkers because it uses the word ‘funk’. I don’t agree with the implication that our manager and our players are afraid. I don’t see signs of that in general. They are just trying to find ways to combat a range of problems.

    There is a lot to be said for the philosophy of pulling together when times get tough. I say tough, meaning making sure we get in the top three. At least fifteen other clubs and their supporters would give their eye teeth to have that problem.

  18. Pat , The fact that 15 other clubs would be happy does not mean that we should be content to be the third or fourth loser. That just smacks of a lack of ambition to be the first winner.

  19. I suspect that we are near the end of comments for this blog. They were predictable.

  20. Refreshing to see an article like this. Maybe the players do need to talk tactics but will this undermine the manager? One would expect that Wenger should be organizing the team. The worrying thing is that we don’t seem to improve form season to season regarding league and CL performances, at least not substantially.

    I also find it baffling that a manager with such experience and intelligence can seriously believe that a team can win either the league or CL without buying one good outfield player considering how far we were from winning either last year. The club is drowning in money but one wonders just how much Wenger really has to spend. Suffice to say that if some serious investment isn’t made over the summer some sections of the fanbase are going to be extremely disillusioned.

    As to the regular bashing of refs and the “missing” 27 points I’m glad that has been played down. I have seen so many bad decisions in games, especially where penalties are concerned, that if you want to adjust our points total according to that criteria then you better apply it to a whole raft of other teams too, bearing in mind that just getting a penalty doesn’t ensure you win the game. Penalties can be missed and unless they come in the final minutes they can also be cancelled out, quite a possibility with our rather poor ability of holding on to a lead.

    You rubbish the injury prone tag but perhaps you should look at the impact of long term injuries. Three key players have missed a substantial portion of the season, Wilshire, Cazorla and Welbeck. If they had been a constant we might have been above Leicester.

  21. @ Pat:
    I take offence at your remarks!
    I have been around UNTOLD since its early days, and have written numerous articles here supporting the cause.
    I look at AW as a father figure, and look up to him for his unwavering commitment and human decency. I feel we all owe him for his services throughout the years…
    However, we been “pulling together” for far too long. Not much has changed over the course of the past year. We were excellent in 2015 calendar year, but don’t know how to make a tackle in 2016. Not all these players suddenly became horrible over the New Year holidays!
    As the chief at the helm of Arsenal, the buck stops at AW. Something has to change.

  22. Blacksheep, I think it’s the players’mentality that needs to change. we never seem to be able to take on the defenders with a view to dribble past them and we have a lot of offwnsive players who can dribble. I think in some respect we play in a very rigid system that relies too much on passing the ball into the net. When we shoot either from outside the box or inside of it, a lot of these shots can be attributed to desperation. That is probably why our shot converaion rate is so low. Often have i seen Bellerin one v one with their left back. And most of the time he does not take him on instead looking to pass sideways or backwards. That said i still think Man utd can not go on to qin all of their remaining games. So we ahould be ok on that front

  23. Bang!

    Think you’re right that we’re struggling (though generally only if we fail to score early on), wrong about Theo in that one instance.

    It stood out a mile as a weird incident, but the replay exonerated him for me.

    At the very last moment, as Theo steamed in at top speed, Kabul raised his studs; he committed no foul, as Theo saw it and got out of the way, but that left our beleaguered player with just the three options :

    Ignore the ball and raise his studs higher (play the man, and at that speed it’d probably get you sent off and be reckless);

    Play it clean, either by sliding in, or by putting on the breaks and trying to kick the ball- and that would be a very dangerous situation for him with a giant defender’s studs poised to strike him somewhere on his leg

    Or do what he did and get out of the way.

    Theo got out of the way, Kaboul changed stud to instep as he made contact with the ball.

    The majority of British players would surely have gone for the first option. It would almost certainly have been a foul, quite likely a yellow or red card, and could easily have injured the opposition player. Unless it caused a bad injury or earned a red,though, it would not be remembered as a moment of shame.

    It’s worth remembering the next time we’re on the end of a challenge from a good ole British lad when a fifty fifty situation develops where neither player can be certain of what the other will do. United-trained players especially will make sure if anyone gets hurt it isn’t them. You don’t do that by committing yourself to playing the ball cleanly. Our bad injuries aren’t even that,though. they weren’t fifty fifties they were just deliberate fouls with extreme force.

    Overall, it is a distinct disadvantage to us being such a clean team, and it’s probably something we all have to ask ourselves if we’d like those few extra points per year instead. I tend to fence sit on that issue by asking for some extra physicality and toughness without extra cynicism and outright dirtiness.

    Meanwhile, could be tough viewing if Theo is playing again soon for us. I feel he’s sure to be well aware his commitment is questioned and ridiculed, and see signs that he tries to address it and challenge for more, but undoubtedly he hates contact and never developed any aptitude for it. His injury came at a terrible time, right when he was showing progress of adding some robustness to his play. He’s alarmingly vulnerable to injury if he tries to force himself to compete for 50-50s when he has so little feel for how to handle them.

    Now he’s 27, under pressure, no doubt concerned about his career, and well aware that he is ultra reliant on his speed. Another big injury would be more disastrous for him than for your average player of his age. He has maybe another 3-4 seasons with that speed.

    You can have someone like that in the side if they make up for it with significant positive contributions. Two is pushing it in the premier league.

    I’ll defend him to the hilt on that one from the weekend he’s being slammed for,though, and generally I have a lot of sympathy for the challenges facing him.

    I’ve gone on about it a bit much, but feel someone had to defend him on that one, and also that it touches on issues beyond Walcott. We’re a nice team and there is a cost to that; there’s probably no way to become a lot tougher that doesn’t bring with it a fair bit of dirt,too.

    Check out how Tevez handled a similar situation recently, though here the other player didn’t have as much control over what happened as Kaboul did

    These things happen when you know exactly how to protect yourself and don’t hesitate to do so.

  24. Pre season I thought we had a squad that was good enough to challenge for the PL, and to a certain extent we have. Being in top spot a Xmas was so encouraging, but then it all went south, and here we are today looking up at Leicester, Spurs and City while looking back at United.
    It’s good that Blacksheep looks internally for blame, because that’s where the root of the problem lies.A club of our stature should not be in this same situation season after disappointing season ( FA Cuo wins taken into consideration).
    I’m sure we’ve reached a tipping point and major changes will be put into effect from the end of this season.

  25. There is only 1 winner Pat everyone else loses.

    Rich I can’t agree , I just looked at the Kaboul ? Theo incident again and I am afraid His foot was planted by the time Theo got there and in my opinion no studs showing. You are probably correct about injury being in the forefront of Theo’s mind , in which case he is no longer to be relied upon. Sadly.

  26. It’d be amazing for Arsene to rediscover his old touch, go out and spend the money his hard work has helped earn and win the league in style. Its sad but this is probably not going to happen.
    We have been unable to perform over an entire season for more than a decade. When we concede a goal, we seem likely to concede more. When we are reduced to 10 men, we get frightened instead of determined. When we play a top team in Europe, we are more cannon fodder than Gunners. Our manager speaks about mental strength scores of times during the season – because he knows we have none. These issues have nothing to do with referees and if we could address them, we’d stand an amazing chance of winning the title again.
    I suppose the question is whether AW is capable of addressing those problems and bringing in the necessary players to make us a force again. A lot of people have lost faith now.

  27. Porter. I’ll try have another look for it but couldn’t find it just now.

    It was only one of the replays which I’m basing everything i said on. It was a replay which, I think, showed the back of Dean in the picture with a front on view of Kaboul.

    It was shown in slow motion I expect. At top speed and from the other angles it looked different.

    Best I can find of it is the still on this webpage. It’s very close or maybe a fraction after Theo made the decision to get out of the way. Kaboul’s studs are raised with a straight leg. It’s not Taylor level dangerous (no way to see that for poor Eduardo)- but it’s a hell of an unpromising situation for Theo.

    The end of Kabul’s motion, which maybe looks the most damning part, gently moving the ball with his instep, was dependant on Theo’s decision to get out of the way.

  28. Think Theo and others are suffering from the absence of Caz/Jack/TR.
    Without these ultra sharp ball players, we are more predictable, and players…especially the likes of Theo and OG, for very different reasons suffer under predictability.
    Wenger candidly cites Utd and Swansea as the problem games, saying we got to a certain level with the number of injuries…to key players, and could do no more for a while. Unfortunately, Wenger gambled last summer, and with hindsight, didnt exactly hit the jackpot, we lost players for who, at the time, there was no cover. you can call this ill fortune, unforeseeable or negligent depending on your viewpoint. In addition, Alexis was bought back a bit early.
    but on the plus side, as Wenger says, Iwobi and Elneny
    With the Euros next summer draining and maybe injuring key players, I wouldnt expect us to go into a season in such a vulnerable position, tho finishing in a position whereby we need to qualify for the ECL has in the past maybe delayed signings.
    Wenger has been inspirational, great, and there are times where he has had to be cautious, to rebuild when key players departed knowing he couldnt immediately replace their quality. Our manager has been through the mill. There are things that need fixing, decisions to make, and maybe some things that need changing, even things he may not be comfortable changing. He faces Klopp, Jose, Pep, Conti et al, whatever is wrong, I for one back him to put it right in a way that may surprise a few. It is possible him being at the club after next season depends on change.

  29. I believe that was the outside of his foot and that he Kaboul was surprised that Theo jumped out of the way .

  30. Spot on Blacksheep, best post I have read on here.
    It looks like I’m not the only one who thinks like this, looking at all the replys.

  31. Did anyone hear/listen to or later read the Piers Morgan’s verbal tirade at Arsene Wenger yesterday on Talkshite drivetime?
    OMG! It was so angry and hateful.

  32. Some things have to change…
    at least 6 extra referees would be a nice change
    Our players buzzing like bees and being all over the opponents for 90 minutes when the other team has the ball would be a nice change
    Our players scoring more of their chances would be a nice change

    For me this group of players and manager is good enough to win the PL.
    Details decide more and more the outcome of a match.
    Get those details right and that might be enough change.

    Why we then didn’t win it… details I tell ye details….

  33. Interesting points, Mandy. Also Rich’s analysis of the Theo incident. There is no doubt some players must remember the horrific injuries some of our players have suffered.

    Trouble with the suggestion that our players get tougher themselves is that all the evidence shows we immediately get punished by the referees, and far harder than the opponents.

  34. Wow, I believe this article only got published here for 2 reasons; 1. The author is blacksheep. 2. He tried his best to absolve Wenger of blame. Nevertheless I’ll take it. Half bread is definitely better than none.
    Secondly, it’s funny that this is the same message the unpopular commenters have carried and being pelted out of the site. So please Tony, Walter, don’t shoot the messengers, attack our message as much as you want but don’t ban us. We don’t abuse anybody (like OMG, menace, Linda do)
    Finally, I can see a lot of regulars on the site claiming they agree with blacksheep, really? Has blacksheep said anything new? Isn’t it the same stuff we’ve heard from guys like serge, dieter, Rupert? Where was your support then? I’m sure if Tony writes an article saying Wenger has to go today, we’ll get folks like menace, pat, bjt telling us, “I’ve always thought so”. It seems it’s the messenger that’s important on the site not the message. So once again I reiterate “don’t shoot the messanger”

  35. About the article, the only objection I have is black sheep’s hesitation to point the blame where it’s due. It doesn’t make sense to expect players to take initiative to make tactical changes on the field. There are 11 of them, they probably have 11 ideas. That’s the reason why there’s a manager. No matter how astute a players football acumen, he’s supposed to bend to the manager’s desire. That’s why manager’s are paid and also held accountable. If players do not carry out the manager’s instructions, it’s also the responsibility of the manager to either teach, convince such a player or get someone else in to do the job, either way the buck stops with the manager. So let’s not be shy to criticise him when we feel he’s not done well, just as we should praise him when he does well

  36. Sammy,
    1. for this detail it is Mike Riley.
    2. defending tactics or lack of execution of it? Manager or players?
    3. the players

  37. Blacksheep,

    I disagree with your and Tony’s claims that injuries haven’t been a reason for our demise from the top spot to Top 4 battle.

    Jack Wilshere has made his first appearance in 35th league match.

    Danny Welbeck had been unavailable for 25 league matches.

    Tomas Rosicky, our sign of the spring in the previous seasons, hasn’t played a single minute.

    Santi Cazorla, our glue, hasn’t played since November match against Norwich. Over a half of the season.

    Alexis Sanchez had been out for two months after a hamstring injury.

    Francis Coquelin had spent over two months on the sidelines.

    And, many people have forgotten about The Ox who has been out in two occasions.

    Theo himself picked a bizarre injury against Sheffield and broke his positive rhythm.

    It is however a rubbish that only Arsenal get injuries – Liverpool, City and United have had quite a few injuries.

    Somehow Leicester and Tottenham have both gone through the season without serious injuries and made some clever and bargain purchases last summer. We won’t have much time to prepare for the next season as the most massive EURO ever is behind the corner. It’s a good thing that Alexis, Coquelin, Santi won’t be there so they could be fresh for a new season. A new signing or two should be made/prepared as soon as possible.

    Zlatan is a free player, would cost nothing in terms of fee and his signing would be a major boost for Ozil and Alexis to renew their contracts. I say get him before Mourinho puts his paws on him and wins the league thanks to Zlatan’s 20-25 league goals.

  38. I see the usual morons are on and are gleefully taking pot shots at the AKBs by purposely (?) misinterpreting their comments . And like our players – missing the targets by very wide margins.

    I agree with Walter that this team and squad are good enough to have won the EPL this season . For some reason or other we sometimes don’t seem play to our optimum potential. Like Blacksheep says , they seem to be in a funk .My wish is that they collectively snap out of it , and make us proud .

    As for AW , my admiration for him and his dedication and honesty knows no bounds , and I will support him always. I NEVER question his prerogative and right as our manager. Let there be NO ambiguity on that point . One day we will all find out the truth of his time at Arsenal , in his own words . That there are constraints , I have no doubt .

    That being all said , and hopefully and suitably clarified (or not !) , Walter , here I have to strongly and vehemently disagree with you on one of your points above .
    ………..( Stunned silence ensures , followed with gasps of disbelief !)

    ” at least 6 extra referees would be a nice change ” – really ?

    I personally would settled for one HONEST , UNBIASED AND TRUTHFUL one ! Imagine that .

    ” You may say I’m a dreamer , but I’ m ( apparently ) not the only one ….”

    Music fades …and CUT !

  39. Upp

    You’ve not been reading. I disagree with the article. If Tony wrote an article saying Arsene Wenger should go I would disagree with that too. However, I doubt if he will.

  40. @walter
    Yes we all praised him when he was doing well. We still do when he does well today, although it’s been a while since many judged him to have so done. I have praised him more recently, but the last time I think he overwhelmingly deserved praise was our 2-0 win over man city Last season, he surprised many people with the change in our style. We have since then shown we can park the bus against better sides, to varying degrees of success (win against bayern, losses to barca)I have praised him for some of those, but I accept the praise may not have been universal as this doesn’t surprise many anymore.

  41. Good points about the injuries, Josif. Arsene Wenger has recently pointed to injuries as a major factor as well.

  42. @pat
    I’ve been reading, I specifically mentioned you bcos Tony saying that would be an extreme example of the messenger, and you would be an extreme example of someone who supports/attacks the messenger. In other words, as soon as we can get hell to freeze over, then we can get Tony to change his message and hopefully get you and menace alongside (smiley needed)

  43. No, upp, you specifically named me and said if Tony said Arsene Wenger should go I would say ‘I always thought so’. I take this as a personal insult. That is why I corrected you.

  44. Pat, it’s a shame but I’ve quite a memory for 50-50s gone wrong, fouls and the like to call upon. (The horror injuries changed the way I watch us and the rest of football)

    I have a clear memory of watching the Ox one pre-season and noting a big increase in the power he was using in challenges. He’d clearly decided he wanted to use his strength more and compete harder and for more.

    First game of that season he starts in that mood, sets up a goal early in the game, then goes in with everything he has to a dangerous-looking 50-50. Out for six months or so. I have a hazy memory of thinking the other player didn’t do anything filthy but did go in to the challenge in a way that made sure it wasn’t he who got hurt.

    Similar story for the Ox’s latest injury. At that speed he had no hope of controlling what happened, and could only have hopes of protecting himself by concentrating on something other than reaching the ball cleanly. He was up against an absolute master of those situations in Mascherano. Same result as before.

    It also applies somewhat to Coquelin’s injury. He’s a superb tackler, and shows near total commitment to every challenge, but he’s generally very clean with it. He could get to the ball alright in that challenge with the West Brom player, but he had no power by the time he’d done so, leaving him totally exposed to Yacob being free to use extra force in a way he wouldn’t be penalised for.

    I don’t think noted, supposedly fearless and ferocious players- Rooney, gerrard, Barton, etc- would have tackled like that- they’d have gone straight leg and studs if they went for it.

    There’s probably only one player in our squad who is superb at protecting himself- Flamini- and it’s absolutely no coincidence he is the most likely player to be sent off. If it looks dodgy and uncertain, he likes to use both feet. Only once have I ever seen him do it in a way that endangers an opponent, but it does protect him very well.

    Protecting yourself and endangering the opponent unfortunately go hand in hand. It isn’t so if you can have a high level of trust in your opponents to play cleanly and have a regard for your safety.

    Wenger is very unlikely to put that sort of cynical edge into a player- in fact I’m sure he wouldn’t- so if we need more, and I think we do, it has to be imported in a player who is nearly or fully formed. And they probably won’t have been raised in Berkshire.

  45. @pat
    I tot that’s exactly what I just confessed to? Specifically! I’m sorry you feel offended I won’t mention your name on such matters again. I appeal to you also to check your statements too, it seems “you don’t like it” be careful not to “dish it out” too.

  46. Interesting analysis, Rich. But that is one of the things I respect about Wenger; he would not encourage his players to deliberately risk injuring an opponent. It often looks as if some other managers do. But it is the knowledge the refs will let them get off with it that lurks behind the whole thing. And our players don’t get off with it.

  47. We have consistently failed to kill off very winnable games because our finishing has been less than consistent. We have dominated teams and created more chances than every other EPL team yet we end up with 10 tied games so far, the 3rd highest in the EPL and the same number as Leicester and Liverpool. We have conceded 1 more goal than Leicester but scored 5 less to date. As Blacksheep points out, the manager doesn’t score goals, he doesn’t finish off games but he does;

    1)Prepare the players to dominate other teams with tactical and strategic training, something he’s done very well,
    2)Train them up to fitness and physical level to compete over 38+games, again well done,
    3)Ensure they take the field with the right attitude and a winning mentality, something that is very demanding and CANNOT be guaranteed in every game. Few EPL teams can perform exactly as the manager wants over all 38+ games….it is logically impossible, and only Wenger has ever succeeded in doing this in the last 100 or so years,
    4)Encourage and promote confidence and a mental strength to overcome injuries, poor officiating, the boo boys and other extraneous factors that encourage failure.

    What he cannot do or manage is;

    1)To control the officiating, which has been inconsistent this season,
    2)Prevent serious injuries, which seem to always derail parts of our season,
    3)Shelter the players from the media, our own fickle plastic fanboys and aaa boo boys, their own immaturity in some cases and the vagaries of professional football,
    4)Once they take the field, personally alter the outcome of the game, as that famous dictum states: every plan is fine until the battle starts.
    5)Miraculously convince superstars to sign for AFC when they are being courted by far richer clubs, with far fewer strictures and limitations.

    I agree that we need to shake up a few of our players, who seem to be coasting a bit, but he has brought in new faces who overall have contributed very well so far; ElNeny, Gabriel,and Iwobi. I believe Walcott and Oxlade-chamberlain are at a cross-roads at AFC and we will see Flamini,Rosicky and Arteta either assume new rolls here or move. there are still 3 games to go before we can dissect this season and our job is to get behind the Club and its manager, not point fingers.

  48. Upp, so you didn’t praise him for winning two FA cups in a row? Now that should have been a point in which every real Arsenal supporter should have praised him. Certainly in the way we won the final.
    So you “praise him when we do well” looks rather bleak to me.

  49. Our team are constantly told by the media and a large section of their own supporters that they have no backbone, no leaders, they are bottlers, have no spine,can’t defend.
    Individually players are criticized and mocked, Ozil is over rated, Mertesacker is slow and useless Giroud is slow and not clinical enough etc etc.
    The manager is ridiculed like no other I can remember, no tactics, useless in the transfer market, doesn’t do defence, can’t pick a goalkeeper, can’t motivate, he is tight, he is stubborn, he is a dictator, the only decent defence he had he inherited and so on.
    They are almost weekly having to tolerate terrible refereeing decisions going against them which cost them points whilst watching some other teams get away with all sorts of stuff.
    Given this constant stream of abuse they receive is it any wonder that they sometimes look frail, demotivated and on occasion plain fed up.
    It’s a miracle we are doing as well as we are.

  50. )Ensure they take the field with the right attitude and a winning mentality,

    Something that he has failed to do on far too many occasions.

    Few EPL teams can perform exactly as the manager wants over all 38+ games….it is logically impossible, and only Wenger has ever succeeded in doing this in the last 100 or so years,

    I believe that this attitude was ingrained in the players by themselves not by the manager.

  51. We have tough almost impossible options to go forward.1. Sack Wenger @ the end of the season and let a new manager take over(not gonna happen).2. Give him 1 more year and players shun coming/leave the club in the summer cos he’s not gonna be there next yr plus an increasingly toxic,hostile and divided fan Base to boot.3.kronke leaves?(never gonna happen)
    Here’s option 4, Wenger and afc LIE that he has signed a new 2 year deal, bear the outrage that will folow the announcement,buy/ sell well in the transfer market, give his last season a real go and announce hopefully @ the end of a successful season that he is leaving.stupid? Maybe…..but

  52. for those who believe there are serious problems at the club, even if you are right, can all of these problems be down to the manager? And, would a new manager immediately put a stop to said problems?

  53. @omgarsenal

    Why do you keep saying the same wrong data that it has been proven wrong? Arsenal haven’t created more chances than any other club in the league. Before Sunderland we were behind City, Spuds and Liverpool.

    Speaking of world-class players, I mentioned bargain players Spuds and Foxes have signed. Mahrez and Kante came to Foxes from France for a laughable combined transfer fee while Spuds got Alderweireld and Alli from English clubs. The talent is there but our scouting service seems to be a bit behind teams below our financial power.

  54. @Pat

    “Blacksheep, as you can see, the problem with your article is it has unleashed a torrent of praise from people who in general do not have the best interests of our club at heart and are only interested in getting rid of Arsene Wenger.”

    Yours is indeed a silly statement. It is possible to read an article, form an opinion, express that opinion and still not ask for the Managers head.

  55. @walter,
    I don’t think I praised him for winning 2FA cups, just like I didn’t praise him for winning the Emirates cup or praise man city for winning the LC. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not bad to win the FA Cup, but neither does it excite me, after all Wenger himself gave the priority list to be
    1. CL
    2. EPL
    3. 4th place trophy
    4. FAC
    5. LC
    I only looked at the FAC win as the turning point, that may be now the players have gotten a taste of victory, maybe they’ll like it so much they want more (least that’s what a fair few on this site convinced me to believe)

  56. On the injury of the Ox, if you have a look at it again, you will see that Mascarano was nowhere close to Ox. Infact he was backing off, it’s only when the Ox lost control that’s when Mascorano came in sliding and took the ball clean. Generally, not always, if you go in hard you don’t get injured. You need to make sure that your ankle is kept stiff in that tackle, or keep the elbows slightly out and again stiff. Small things like this make a lot of difference which I learnt and teach my son as well.

  57. Guys, Walter has said some things have to change but let’s hope Spurs’ continual failure to win the Premiership doesn’t end.
    And hopefully we can still overtake the Spuds this season. A bit of a dream on my part … I agree.

    I know it is slightly off-topic but friends please allow me to say ….

    To all the Spurs fans and Arsenal-haters who have been quasi-followers of Spurs. Here’s a little video for you from last night’s game:

  58. Upp,
    you are avoiding the real issue: you are a supporter. You are not Wenger or his list. You as a supporter you felt nothing when winning 2 FA cups. Well not enough to give one bit of praise to the manager it seems.

    Not that this surprises me that much of course.

  59. @mandy
    No, a new manager cannot stop all the problems once, but we’ll appreciate if he starts tackling them one after the other, as against ignoring them for years and years.

  60. @ Mandy Dodd
    Liverpool was a mess 6 months ago, and Klopp seems to have made a remarkable impact.
    No one will ever be able to replace AW, but we will have to move on sooner or later.

  61. @walter,
    I didn’t say I felt nothing, don’t put words in my mouth. I felt something when we beat westbrom doesn’t mean I go celebrating and praising Wenger. In my humble opinion, We won the cup that was 4th on our priority list, it’s better than not winning it, but it hardly calls for praises to the manager.

  62. Gouresh

    Ox’s mistake was not accepting the ball as lost after a poor touch. There was no real way to safely negotiate a collision with mascherano after that.

    There’s an asymmetry ,for one, when attackers and defenders collide in those areas : an attacker is looking to keep control of the ball and go past a player; a defender is looking to stop that player, preferably without conceding a foul.

    Ox’s touch is that of a player looking to continue with the ball or get there before the defender at least, knowing that means getting wiped out. It’s brave, but it wasn’t smart.

    Can’t even guess what would have happened if the Ox had mirrored Mascerano’s technique and loaded up to kick the ball, or not decelerated in the slightest. Stiff leg, stiff arms, stiff anything, it would have been an even more brutal collision which could have led to a worse injury for either player.

    I’d back Mascerano to have fared better ,though. His experience is vast in terms of dealing with every type of collision.

    Should’ve just let it go. If Robben, Messi, Neymar and the like ever got themselves into a similar situation I’m sure they would have.

  63. Unusual post for a site like this but Im all for diversity of views. My view is that the board need to stand up ( if they can) and be counted. Wenger will be here next year and unless things change will be the subject of dogs abuse sadly. Stan and the board need to signal a change of direction and issue a statement of intent rather than remaining silent in the shadows leaving him to cope the stick. Changing the manager without changing the remit wont make much difference.

  64. @rich
    As a footballer, judgement of speed is a talent. Judgement of your own speed, that of teammates, that of the opposition. In my opinion, ox made an error of judgement, he played the ball too far, masch was always getting to the ball b4 him. He either over estimated his speed, or felt too disappointed at losing the ball to give up or felt mascherano was gonna be intimidated by his insistence and back down. Either way it was a judgement call which backfired.

  65. @Blacksheep,

    I agree the players seem to be in a funk for whatever reason. The manager can only make tactics to put them into positions to be successful, but he can’t score for them. I was also surprised about the Walcott jump out of the way after the foul on Welbeck. It seems like the media has consistently been trying to push the sale of either Walcott or Ox out of the club this summer.

    @Sammy the Snake,
    Got to love the remarkable Klopp impact pushed by the media. In reality, when Klopp took over, Liverpool were 6 points behind Arsenal, currently they are 9 points back with a game in hand. Best case scenario if they win the next match, he’s had the same exact impact as Arsene Wenger since he took over the club.

    @labanoob, I’m sure it’ll be the usual 20-30 people, max 50, that do this protest. But sure, keep believing the grass is always greener on the other side.

  66. @brickfields gunner
    Lol @our players missing the target by wide margins. That’s so aaa

  67. Upp and Sammy, fair enough, one day Wenger will be replaced. And yes, Klopp seems to be now doing well at Liverpool. Managerial change can be positive…I think of what Eddie Jones has done to Englands talented, but massively under-performing Rugby boys. Such change can also be negative, or have little effect, we wont know until it arrives.
    But it is possible that the likes of Klopp doesnt have some of the restrictions, even if they are implied, or indirect , that Wenger or a future Arsenal manager has to face. Maybe there are issues at Arsenal that work on a level well beyond that of the manager….maybe there are not of course….a bit like Brexit, SOME knowledgeable and seemingly sane people on both sides, and probably some scaremongering, but nobody really knows what will come to pass until…or if it happens.
    None of this is good reason to halt change of course, but Wenger deserves until the end of his contract to right any wrongs there may be, should he fail to do so, for whatever reason, even if not completely his fault it would make acceptance of another three year deal difficult in most quarters. But I remain convinced he will rise to this challenge, at the same time recognising others remain sceptical….and then some..

  68. Some WOBs say that 80% or so of fans are anti-wenger, my understanding there’s going to be a protest this coming match against Norwich by two so called ‘supporters group’. They urge people who goes to the match to print out their anti-wenger banner and also to hand them out at the stadium. Now, if most of the people in the stadium hold up the banner, then I concede that the majority of fans want AW to go, then AW should consider leaving, as there’s no point working under a hostile environment.

    On another topic, it’s laughable that the favourite line used by the WOBs is ‘Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results’. These people whinge and complain about the style of play, the tactics, the players, the manager, the medical team, the Board, pretty much everything currently at Arsenal. However, season after season, these same people buy the season tickets or subscribe to watch Arsenal, and repeat the whinge over and over again, and expect a different result. It’s been over 10 years and AW is still here and most likely he be here another season or more. Since, these WOBs don’t like watching the current team, why don’t they just not buy the season tickets or stop watching Arsenal until they feel the change they wanted had occurred? Protest where it hurts, for business it’s the bottom line (that is stop buying the season tickets and merchandise), otherwise stop the abuse, rant, or whinge and support the whole team.

  69. @mandy
    I personally don’t believe a manager worth his salt will agree to take the job under those “phantom” restraints AKBs keep going on about. All statements from the club point to the fact that Wenger has maximum support from the board. After all we know “if he has a plan we back it, if he doesn’t. ..” I personally see a manager like guardiola or mourinho telling the board “I want this guy in, that guy out” b4 he takes up the job and if the board goes “errrrrm errrrrm errrrrm”, they tell the board “I’m sorry, call back when you’re serious” that’s what we expect of our manager, someone able to stand up to the board and demand what’s best for the club, not someone to collaborate with and make excuses on their behalf(that’s if you’re correct and he’s been sabotaged by the board)

  70. polo

    Are you suggesting that people who have supported Arsenal all their lives relinquish their season tickets because of recent dissatisfaction?
    That’s not what being a supporter is about.These fans will be at Arsenal long after the current managerial team has has been dissolved, and any that vote with their feet will not be missed at all.
    I gave my season ticket up six years ago because I moved too far a way to make it a viable purchase, but I’m still a decent (if inactive) supporter and retain the right to an opinion whether it’s positive or negative.
    Supporters are like that.

  71. @Labanoob, ok kiddo, my understanding is those groups have tried to organise protests in the past, with not much success. Let wait and see on match day. As stated in my earlier post, if most of the people in the stadium hold up the banner, then I concede that majority of fans want AW to go. Now, if the protest fails to get the majority of people to hold up the banner, will you concede that you’re wrong?

  72. @polo
    You whinge about refs, fifa, uefa, the fa all day, every day, why not take your own advice and stop watching football?

  73. Polo
    Agreed. It’s sad when supporters of this club want to see this team lose and take great pleasure in it.
    The players do need to sort out the underlying problem that seems to be there but until the last game and the last ball has been kicked we need to get behind this team because after all are we not supposed to be SUPPORTERS and that after all our contribution to this team and its manager.

  74. Too many negative posts, predictable…pretty sure that wasn’t Blacksheep’s intention but looks like this thread has been hijacked by the negativistas.

    As Mick said in his 2:50pm post, what team would be able to put up with all that’s thrown at Arsenal? It’s a miracle we even manage to stay competitive, given what we are up against. None of us would ever be able to put up with even 2%, at our workplaces, of what this team has to put up with on a daily basis. Call me blinkered or whatever, I refuse to see any faults in this team until the playing field is level. For that reason I’ll NEVER criticise this team, when they have to overcome so many obstacles and disadvantages just to compete.

    Look at what they have to go through; Sanchez almost getting his leg smashed in two by Cahill, Sanchez getting shoved into a concrete pit, Sanchez getting choked on a football pitch, Debuchy being slammed into the advertising boards, Arteta losing a tooth, Rosicky getting his nose smashed in…, and nobody got even a talking for any of the above(Cahill only got a yellow, when 2 reds would have been more appropriate). These are violent and cowardly actions against our players, that are sanctioned by the cowardly refs on the pitch. How many of you could go through this? When I look at this team I see warriors only. When I come here I see lots of posts from lots of cowards.

    If all you negative posters would direct your ire where it’s justified, the pgmob, then we would be getting somewhere. Walter ran an article the other day on a survey run by 3 British papers showing if we take out refereeing mistakes we would win the league. What more do you want? Is it Wenger’s fault we suffered from those mistakes? How about growing a pair first and addressing the real problem, not targeting soft targets, then we can talk about the weaknesses in this team. Don’t ask me what to do to address the issue, but if you have nothing to say then shut up, rather than criticise an obviously disadvantaged team.

    I know that being the cowards that most of you are, you’re going to hit the dislike button (which in essence strengthens my point – your anger is misdirected – but I don’t give a toss) instead of coming up with reasonable responses.

  75. Completely disagree with Blacksheep.
    Maybe Wallcot is not showing 100% but every other member is doing well imo.
    Remeber Walcot scored against Leicester at the Ems.His goal againsr Liverpool at Anfield was superb imo.
    A below par performance agisnt Sunderland again should not be termed as faliure consudering Sunderland were playing for there lives.
    People praising Leicester should wait and see how they do next season. If they continue to do better than Arsenal than you can play your music.

  76. Blacksheep, wrote a reasonable article, with salient arguments!

    The rabble responds, as expected.

    All the 20 clubs in the English Premier League, wish to retain the status quo. No club wishes to be relegated.

    All 20 clubs wish to take part in the Champions League, but only 4 can take part. Unless, a club that finshes out of the top 4, wins the Champions League.

    London Colney, is once again being upgraded to state-of-the-art. The same with Hale End Academy.

    StatDNA has been bought, and the personnel to handle the data, have been hired.

    I find the complaints that Mr Wenger is stubborn, out-of-date etc., etc., is a complaint for those awash with alcohol and drugs.

    The simple fact is, that all those complaining and moaning about lost chances, have never been any good at the game. Merson, is an obvious exception of someone who has played the game, and consumed the alcohol and drugs!

    WBA stopped the Arsenal and that team across the road. Crystal Palace will play in the Cup Final.

    It is extremely tedious, if the same club(s) are always winning the trophies. That is not why cricket and football developed.

    The spirit may be willing, but the body may wish to be on holiday!

    We have no need for the whingers, end of the line.

    COTG in May 2017!

  77. @Serge, if they want the change that they are after then yes, if they feel strongly about a cause and want change then they have to detach the emotion aspects and sacrifice if they strongly believe it to be for the good of the cause. If they want change, then they have to protest with their feet in this case with their wallets.

    I’m pro-wenger and I am sick and tired of seeing the fruitless wenger bashing on the Internet, for example, I want to read a match report and somehow it leads to a wenger out agenda, it’s just endless, this due in part because the WOBs are giving the media the narrative. I’m frustrated with these WOBs who want change but won’t do anything meaningful to address it. They believe the club is only interested in making money, then stop giving them the money until the club change.

  78. Al
    Excellent post.
    I think the injury of Cazorla was a big factor for not delivering the title this year apart from Anti Arsenal and Pro Leicester refreeing.

  79. @Upp, ‘You whinge about refs, fifa, uefa, the fa all day, every day, why not take your own advice and stop watching football?’ Show me my posts where I constantly whinge about what you say above? I whinge about you WOBs yes but what you state above I don’t.

    Maybe you should take your advice and stop watching Arsenal.

  80. upp,

    You got your priorities slightly wrong. The first item on the list is the EPL title. CL comes second.

    As for stopping watching football, there is a difference between the EPL football, which costs money to watch, and the fufa/uefa, which doesn’t cost that much since you rarely get the chance to buy tickets, and there is a limited number of matches anyway.

    For me it’s difficult to understand the psychology of the yobswobs, who groan but still pay up. Do they have nothing better to do? Go to a concert of an artist they like, for instance. Or is it that there is nothing to be understood? I won’t go as far as saying their brain is a massive pile of c**p, but it’s still baffling how they go on about it.

  81. @polo
    You hate the refereeing don’t you? Take your advice and do something about it then

  82. Or maybe there is an explanation, now that I think about it some more. The yobswobs won’t relinquish their season ticket because they know there is a long waiting list and their ticket will be snapped up immediately, and since they won’t have as many chances to occupy a seat inside they won’t get as many chances to make their protest heard, thus slipping into irrelevance and oblivion.

  83. @ Linda, I support the motto of this website as it reflect my view ‘supporting the club, the players, and the manager’, support to me mean through the good and the bad, but some people have a different view and it is unfortunate it’s a negative one.

  84. Rosicky,
    Definitely. We lost a critical player at a critical time. At the start of the season the team will still be gelling so can recover from such losses, but midway through then it’s an uphill struggle.

    Funny that some people will go to any lengths (I guess they smuggle these banners in) to show their dissatisfaction with the manager, but not once will they consider displaying a banner about the atrocious refereeing we see daily.

    Not sure i understood you but are we supposed to snap up all the talent that’s available? If some promising youngster or some relatively good but unknown player ends up elsewhere then our scouts are below par? Who brought in talents like Bellerin, Elneny, Campbell, Kos…., or previous players such as Song, Hleb, Nasri, Kolo, Fabregas, etc, then? I think that you’re being unnecessarily too harsh on our scouts who, I should add, are famed throughout the footballing world for discovering unknown talents and making them world class.

  85. @florian
    I don’t get your point. My point however remains, you whinge about all things football less arsenal. Remove the log in your eyes and stop watching football, then come and tell me to stop watching arsenal

  86. @Upp, you putting false allegations, no I don’t hate the refs and from memory I’m sure I have never post anything to say I hate refs, I do believe sometimes they are incompetent and inconsistent in their decision making but I don’t go everywhere on the Internet and ref bash.

  87. Polo
    I feel the same as you, I came to this site after years of just viewing and it’s the motto that I also support . Reading some comments on here I despair for the club I love.

  88. For me our slump can be explained by a mixture of a lack of fit No.8’s, the fit players filling in not performing to a standard expected of them, the manager not figuring out a workable solution or players not carrying out instructions, and not getting/getting calls that if correct would probably have resulted in better results during the January/Februaury/March months, no easy fixes, but an accumulation that has ultimately cost us…

  89. @polo
    I was just generalising. I just don’t think anyone has the moral right to tell someone to stop supporting his team cos he whinges about the team, even more so when that whinges about other aspects of the sport we all love. Fair play to you if you don’t whinge about the things I said, however it’d be nice if u balanced your admonition by also chastising those who whinge about those things I mentioned (including the press)

  90. A|, you write:
    “…but not once will they consider displaying a banner about the atrocious refereeing we see daily.”
    1) I Agree, BUT has anyone hereabouts held up such a banner, etc., or, despite years of some of us here calling or it, ever urged or seriously advocated that supporters bring anti-ref banners, or a sea of yellow and red cards, or raised chants vs The Dean and other known miscreant PGMobsters? Where’s that act of courage, mere backbone?
    2) As for your “Who brought in talents like Bellerin, Elneny, Campbell, Kos”, well, I would say that there’s not enough evidence on the first 3 to just rattle them off as clear success stories. I do hope so, but for me, it’s grasping a bit to proclaim (‘I told you so”) that these promosing bargains are truly top-class talents. Imo, Bellerin’s crossing is only sporadicly good; and he was beaten consistently in the last match by Sunderland’s forward(s); fast yes but not defensively responsible, etc. Campbell, well, he’s not being chosen or substituted is he, even now? so where’s AW’s expectable vote of confidence? And Elneny, our only signing in the last window, he may yet show his fullest range, but it’s too small a sample to conclude. So, wishful thinking, yes: but let’s at least be real before reeling off the litany just to mount a defense.

  91. @AI

    I don’t get the whole situation with our scouts in “our” France after we snapped Koscielny. Aubameyang, Mahrez, Payet, Kante…were all there and none of them were deemed good enough to play for Arsenal. Gervinho and Park, however, got a green light to sign for us.

  92. upp – I’m the one who dislikes cheats. More dislike when the cheat is an official that is all powerful, like a referee. I also dislike prats like you who have nothing better to do than come on a site like untold & nit pick anything. You (includes all your alter images) are more of an idiot than many of the officials . They have the benefit of being protected by the FA. You only have your garbage can that you came out of to protect you.

    You comments about what I think are truly brilliant. They shine like the bauble on your dunce cap. It is time you found a site that is more suited to your cesspit idealogy.

    😉 good times when one puts it upp ’em.

  93. bob,
    Those are ideas that have been sounded out here by AKBs, yourself included if you’re the original bob. I do not recall any of the names posting above, advocating for the display of any anti-Wenger banners, being part of that conversation.
    I have suggested doing something like that myself on here as well as saying maybe we need to take some kind of action such as seeking an audience with the sports minister, or something of that sort, something that would grab the media’s attention, to put spotlight on this. And each time I put myself forward for whatever action deeemed suitable to be taken to highlight the issues with refs.

    As for the signings I was merely pointing at some recently acquired talent, which is just as good if not better than what Josif was praising scouts belonging to other clubs like spurs for. Their talent can also not be described as clear success yet.

    Wenger can’t sign everyone who’s available. Neither can those potential signings wait around for Wenger to come and sign them. The ability to sign a player does not always solely lie with the buying club. And I’m not suggesting had all the required conditions been present these are the signings we would have made. You can take one player and put him in team A and he fails. Take the same player and put him in a different team, in the same position, and he’s a success. So these players might have been more suited to the teams they play for, and in all fairness I’d keep the players we have ahead of them. Anyway, why are we even having this argument, it’s not as if we have the right to buy any player we want.

  94. Al – I like that idea of confronting the sports minister with the issues we have highlighted on Untold. It is time the true value of governmental responsibility in sport is outed. I believe there are many issues that have not been handled responsibly. Our meeting will be a small start to a big sporting correction.

  95. Yes Menace, something has got to be done. There are some serious issues that need to be addressed, and things keep getting worse, we can’t just watch.

  96. I noticed a similar thing to the Theo incident. I can’t remember exactly who it was, but Sunderland went to take a shot and the Arsenal player; instead of flinging his body in the way of the ball to deflect it, just seemed to jump out the way. The shot wasn’t particularly far out and very nearly went it, so it definitely wasn’t a case of the Arsenal player knowing it was going to miss.

    Things like this really frustrate me, as it’s simply a case of Arsenal players seemingly not having the desire to give 100%, both on and off the ball.

    I full believe in corruption being rife in the PL and that Leicester have been aided to no end, but regardless of that, their players do appear to be much hungrier when it comes to 50/50 balls and throwing their bodies in the way to deflect shots. At times this seems to be something that is severely lacking from Arsenals game.

  97. @menace
    Bla bla bla, yada yada yada, wen wen wen, I’m so scared. Mtscheeeew! !! I thought you had something important to say.

  98. Upp, I have seen a link to an anti Wenger blog, the most anti Wenger blog, yet the author, who has written a book on Wenger and claims insider knowledge stated unequivocally that the board twice vetoed signing benzema on wage demands, despite wengers wishes. May be wrong of course, but this guy is not out to do Wenger favours.
    The fact is, we do not know what restrictions Wenger is or is not under…..not just fees, but wages too.
    But , arsenal have gone from the team of 2015 to near relegation form in 2016. Caz, referees, boo boys, fatigue for key players like hector and ozil explain some of it, but maybe not all of it. Some players are in spectacular slumps. Arsene, I trust you to solve these issues.

  99. The officiating has been an absolute abomination this season. Arsenal may have their faults, which have indeed contributed to not winning certain games this season, but for people to say the woeful officiating has had no impact, are just far too short-sighted in their determination to criticize Arsenal and only Arsenal.

  100. @mandy
    Do you think we should occupy ourselves with unknown/phantom restrictions? That’s a can of worms you know. Do you know what restrictions Ranieri, poch, lvg, garde, allardyce, mourinho etc have and had to work against? Or is restriction exclusive to Wenger? Personally I think we should concentrate on the things we have experiential knowledge(see, feel, smell, hear) of.
    2ndly I reiterate that I believe a modern day manager, especially one of wengers status has to be able to insist on what’s best for the club after assessment of resources available and needs. He won’t get everything he asks for (even mourinho couldn’t stop cech’s sale) but he should be able to get sufficient support to be able to meet the targets set, no excuses.

  101. @upp

    It put things into perspective, actually. I share the same feeling as Mandy does about Wenger having hands tied by The Board.

    Something might be happening behind the scene as Usmanov has said Wenger must be kept as our greatest asset.

  102. @josif
    Agreed. But i believe b4 you go about making insinuations you should have something pointing you in that direction. I don’t think anybody needs telling that boards everywhere (footfootball clubs and other companies) have behind the scenes issues, but when you start insinuating that wenger has special problems he’s dealing with, don’t you think you need some supporting evidence? You can’t just say “wenger must be having X and y issues” because wenger is too good to be doing abc except he has those issues

  103. 106,000 of us signed the petition against Dean, and we got fuck all!

    A couple of Spud fans “hinted” on Social Media about Kevin Friend being biased, and they got the referee changed.

    For some reason, the FA, Premier League and PGMOL are not bothered about us one iota. Why is that?

  104. @josif

    Not sure about Usmonov now his major partner has left and bought into Everton.

    One thing Arsene could do is spend all the money the Board says he has.

    I see that Alexis has been linked with Bayern this morning – if our “marquee” players leave, then we truly are in a mess.

  105. It’s a team game and sometimes it only takes a couple of players to be out of synch to throw the entire team out. I don’t think we are as bad as some paint us to be. But, some players are not playing to what we believed was their potential. We all saw Walcott’s high hurdle…

  106. From Red Action’s official release on the protest.

    We are encouraging the most vocal protest to be after the final whistle, so no suggestion that this should affect the team. And it goes without saying, during the game please give your maximum (and loud) support to the players on the pitch.

    I can’t see where they are saying that they want the team to lose.

  107. Josif….my stats for chances the Arsenal create come from optasport’s site but maybe they’re wrong? The EPL website doesn’t give stats like that so if you have a better source, please let us know….as we want to be accurate on UA, above all else. regardless, we surely can agree that AFC create more than enough chances to bury their opponents IF they could only hit the net and not the bar or the keeper!

    As far as scouting goes, you haven’t been reading Danny Karbouyssian’s excellent articles otherwise you’d appreciate that purchasing every player is neither practical, realistic or even possible, nor is it advisable. Other teams can do what our scouts do equally well, but Wenger and his team DID find Bellerin, ElNeny, Gabriel, and previously Koscielny, Nasri, Fabregas, Vermaelen etc. Could you have predicted that Kane or Delli, Vardy or Kante would be so successful before the season started…..NO….but hiundsight is always100%!

  108. Please bare with me on this…

    I am massively pro Wenger as I believe our failings this season fall firmly (but not solely as Arsene has made mistakes but who doesn’t…) on the players who have not made the most of the situations they have been in, and the referees as to get so few decisions and penalties is almost laughable…

    But on Wenger and more importantly replacing him, is this summer, one of the shortest we will have, a good time to be replacing the manager? Thus giving anyone incoming massively limited time to:

    1) Make transfers as nearly any player worth going for will be away on
    international duty…
    2) Organize a team of players who have been so used to playing a set way under
    a stable regime for so many years.
    3) Incorporate any new signings into the team.
    4) Get any (possibly many) disgruntled players onside under the new regime as
    all of them have arrived during Wenger’s reign, some of them because of
    Wenger’s reign…

    Arsene’s contract as we all know is up at the end of next season, and he has said before that he wants to leave behind everything in place for the club to move forward, 2017 would seem a good time for him to walk away, leaving an array of talent either in their prime or even younger to choose from, a fantastic stadium for the talent to play in, and a “war chest” for the manager to go shopping and improve on it further…

    Merci Beacoup Monsieur Wenger, not yet au revoir…

    Apologies for any missing accents but I am quite simply computer illiterate 🙂

  109. @polo
    Since Arsenal last won the premier league:

    Man City have won it 2 times
    Chelsea have won it 4 times
    Man Utd have won it 5 times
    Arsenal Ladies have won the women’s title 6 times
    Every English League club has changed manager
    …Except Arsenal that is.
    Pep Guardiola retired, became a manager and won 3 league titles
    Took a year out, returned and won 2 more
    Maureen has won 6 league titles
    Zlatan has won 9 as a player
    Facebook was invented, youtube was invented, twitter was invented, the iPhone was invented
    And finally,
    Claudio Ranieri was sacked 5 times, lost to the Faroe Islands, and Joined Leicester
    …and is now 3 points away from this title.
    Guess what has remained the same? Arsenal…that is.

  110. You cannot blame injuries as the root cause of our failings this year. Wiltshire, Walcott, Ox, Rosicky…these guys cannot put a run of games together. We know that and have known that for years. that puts a strain on the rest of the squad…an low an behold others get injured…Cazorla and Sanchez the most obvious along with Coquelin. It’s poor planning by the manager/board. That and the failure to get a top striker on board have scuppered our chances.

  111. Putting the blame on AW for all the injuries sustained on the field of play by rough play and blind refs , and blaming him for not being able to foresee the unforesseable injuries , is just ,well it just is ……( fill in the blanks with your own suitable words )!

    Those comments made me laugh and reminded me of this , now , legendary tale of stupidity , titled ‘The deer crossing “. Have a listen and ….well…

  112. @Barney, I would hardly blame Coquelin and Cazorla being injured by contact injuries in NOVEMBER on being fatigued due to lack of rotation…

  113. Blacksheep, do you think other teams do not have blips in performance?
    you cannot judge the team by one game, less so by half of a game (although tbh the performance was about the same as with wba)
    Untold team, please don’t allow this kind of dailymail nonsense on the site

  114. “The chance was still there and in came Theo”
    and there we go again blaming a player who spent half of his career on crutches for not wanting to end up there (possibly taking the opposition player too) again
    “Something has to change”
    yes, but that would require you to understand the game or stop whining

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