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June 2021

Arsenal ready for the Community Shield, so let the knocking of Arsenal begin

By Bulldog Drummond

Just as a taster for what is to come, try this in the warm up to the season

Arsenal’s FA Cup final victory that denied Conte’s team the domestic double … does beg the question of how Wenger is going to make up the ground with the gruelling added extra of Thursday night football.

As Evelyn Waugh so memorably said, “Up to a point”.   Or to put it another way, “what rubbish”.

The question is only “begged” as the Telegraph puts it, if one chooses to ignore the fact that Arsenal have been busy building up a set of players that will probably be 30 strong, with 25 registered in the official lists and the remaining five (or maybe more) being under 21s.

Now the Telegraph dealt with this by weighing in with a piece by Charlie Eccleshare “Arsenal head into new season with bloated squad of too many good players but not enough great ones.”

And to see how they managed to reach that conclusion all we have to do is to see who is in the bloated squad, the “there are 29 established first-team players in the Arsenal squad, 25 of whom are full internationals”.

These players include players like Jenkinson, Gibbs and Debuchy who we all know are going to be leaving – or if they are silly enough not to accept an offer, will not be taking up a place in the “25”.  Indeed, the “25” – something that restricts the squad to 25 players over 21.  So how can the squad be bloated when these players will not be able to be registered?

In their 29 we also find Wilshere and Perez, at least one (if not both) of whom are expected to leave.  Although when Perez goes it will be with a fanfare of complaint about how Arsenal are letting a great talent go.  But the fact is that out of 29 players the basic rules of PL football say that four cannot be registered.  If only Telegraph journalists would pay attention to the facts.  After all we have been talking about this all summer.

Now this group of under 21s is not be confused with the League Cup sides that Arsenal have occasionally put out in the past.  Because what we have is a list of very promising young players who will be more than capable of holding their own.

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What is also interesting is that in a separate article the Telegraph has a feature of “10 Arsenal youngsters to watch this season”.  These are

  • Maitland-Niles
  • Nelson
  • Bielik
  • Bramall
  • Nketiah
  • Malen
  • Willock
  • Macey
  • Holding
  • Iwobi

Holding and Iwobi are slightly odd in being placed here as they are already established, but in essence what we have is a second team made up of the first team squad who are not currently getting a game and a very solid collection of youngsters.  Between them they should provide the backup for the chosen first XI and be able to get games in the Europa, League Cup and FA Cup.

But at this point we should pause, and consider the story that the Telegraph has been pumping down our throats for the last 15 years: Arsenal have more injuries that everyone else.

As you may know Untold has proven over and over that this is not so, but there will be injuries, and that is why Arsenal have not only built a squad and a half, but also built a squad in which many players are able to switch positions for when there are injuries.

But just in case the boot is not in far enough, consider this,

“It is early days yet but already Wenger is having to deal with the questions over Alexis Sánchez’s future as well as those on his own new contract after yet another turbulent season in front of a divided support.”

“Having to deal with the questions” – those questions being put by the journalists who ignore what Mr Wenger says.  He says Alexis is staying and a few days later the Telegraph says he is having to deal with questions about Alexis’ future.  That is only because the journalists forgot what he said four days before!

Of course one of the things journalists can’t take (apart from non-access to the bar) is the notion that someone is having a laugh at their expense.   So having listened calmly to the jibes and repeated questions that he had already answered Mr W said, “I am sorry I am still here. I can understand that you want to kill me but at the moment, I have survived.”  That was portrayed as being unwilling to talk about his own future.

As he said, “we won the FA Cup and made 75 points, and we are of course not happy with it but some teams did worse. When we qualified for the Champions League, people told me: ‘But you didn’t win a trophy.’ Now we won a trophy, and didn’t qualify for the Champions League, and it’s said to me: ‘Why are you not in the Champions League?’ That’s normal to live with but I want to focus on my job and do as well as I can and win absolutely every competition.”

And the Telegraphic response to that one?

“It sounds like Wenger is lukewarm at best about the Europa League”

What perhaps is not fully appreciated is that in the coming season not only will we have a good range of reserves for when players do get injured, as some of them will, but also a team that includes a midfield partnership of Xhaka and Ramsey, which has already had a season of settling down together, plus an attack minded team of Alexis, Lacazette, Ozil, Welbeck and Giroud, not to mention the regularly improving Iwobi.  And quite likely one more of those youngsters from the list above.  That is quite a good front line in my opinion.

We’ll have a look at each team’s pre-season injuries and the line up that could be expected, tomorrow morning.

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17 comments to Arsenal ready for the Community Shield, so let the knocking of Arsenal begin

  • nicky

    The only real difference that I can see is that there will be a day less to recover from the Europa in order to prepare for the weekend of EPL toil.
    Although I daresay the requirements of Sky and BT will mean that quite a few of our games will not be played on a Saturday anyway!
    And it must be remembered that we have an ample war chest from which to strengthen the squad. 😉

  • Gunnerjoe

    Not sure many of our first team will ever play on the Thursday night until very late in the competition.
    The first team are going to get a full week off for most of the season like Chelsea and Liverpool.

  • Andy Mack

    You suggest Jack may not remain with us, but I’m pretty sure the only people that have implied he may move away are the media…
    Time will tell.

  • Gunnerjoe

    By the way what is the Arsenal first team cause choosing 11 players is a hard job.

  • Arthur

    Arsenal lost the PR war many years ago but I suppose it gives your blog more opportunities to criticise the media. It would be more interesting to find out from you how Arsenal can get the media on their side rather reading another 50 articles like this throuh the season.

  • Pat

    Why just the Telegraph, Tony? What did the rest of the press say?

  • Pat

    The Telegraph did actually have some interesting quotes from Arsene Wenger about the Europa League. He says he has always voted against teams knocked out of the Champions League being able to join the Europa League after Christmas, and that apart from once those teams have always won the trophy.

    I think it helps to explain a certain cynicism on his part. He has hinted more than once that he will use the competition to give other players a chance. He regards depending on trying to win the Europa League to get into the Champions League the following season as the wrong way to do it.

    As a manager who until this year was consistently in the Champions League spots I think he makes a valid point. His way is definitely to aim to win the league, and if you don’t, come as high as you can.

  • Gunnerjoe

    Because Arsenal lost the PR war you think this blog and it’s writer’s can’t tell the truth.
    On your other question on getting the media back on side I say who cares I want to write something alot more offensive.
    But to get the media back on side we only have to do one thing sack our FRENCH manager that’s all.

  • Arthur
    I guess u dont believe the underdog can ever win.

  • Nitram


    Why where Arsenal in a PR war in the first place?

    Anyone knows you cannot win a PR war, as you call it, with the media, because they think and print their own truth.

    If the media choose to call our players dirty, how can Arsenal refute that?

    If the media choose to say our players are bottlers, how can Arsenal refute that?

    If they say Wenger doesn’t do tactics, is tight, panic buys etc. etc. how is Wenger supposed to refute that?

    If they say our ticket prices are the highest, our injuries are the worst, how do Arsenal refute that?

    Where is Arsenal or Wengers platform ?

    If it is a ‘War’ it’s a pretty one sided affair don’t you think?

    In short, the media can and do say whatever they want, usually without evidence, and more importantly, always without fear of contradiction.

    As intimated above. Wenger is French. Came to this country and played a leading roll in revolutionising how all aspects of the game in this country where approached. And many didn’t like it.

    Add to that the fact he upset the media on the steps of Highbury in his very first interview by not responding to there vile and baseless insinuations.

    They never forgave him.

    How Wenger rises above it all is beyond me, and stands as a testament to his stoicism, fortitude, and sheer force of will.

    I know he is not perfect by any means, but my admiration for the man is immense.

    But back to your original point, rather than ask untold, why don’t you tell us how we can get the media onside.

    This should be interesting.

  • Mandy Dodd

    The Europa will be a great chance to introduce youngsters, and rest some of the first eleven, something that was not possible with the CL. Well,,that’s the half full view anyway
    We know what’s coming with Arsenal in the media the coming season, and as always, I am sure it will rub off on the PGMOL in certain games, especially those the media quite like, including a team run by a manager being widely praised for working in a way Wenger was derided for years. will be interesting to see if the bias continues with the new diving panel

  • Josif


    There is a part where I disagree with Arsene’s statement about Europa League and the Champions League qualification. In the essence, he said that a team could lose focus in the league at some point in order to concentrate on winning Europa League to get a CL place.

    But that happens with the Champions League winners as well.

    Since the introduction of Champions League in 1992-93, we have had 11 Champions League winners (almost 50%) who didn’t win the league in their triumphant season. For instance, Real Madrid have won CL six times but they hadn’t completed the double until the last season. In four cases, clubs that eventually won Champions League finished outside the Champions League zone in their respective league (Borussia Dortmund finished 3rd in 1996-97, Real Madrid finished 5th in 1999-2000 as well as Liverpool in 2004-05 while, as the most recent example, Chelsea finished sixth in 2011-12).

    Chelsea pretty much gave up on the league in 2011-12 after their defeat v Newcastle at home and threw their focus completely on winning Champions League.

    Perhaps Arsene should have stretched his point to Champions League winners as well. For me, giving EL winners a place in Champions League makes sense as the competition would have been less interesting to clubs from Top 5 leagues. Before UEFA decided to take away sense from the name of “Champions League” by introducing, at first, second-placed teams from the strongest leagues, UEFA Cup and Cup Winners’ Cup were respectable competitions which meant one could have enjoyed in Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday football. Giving a Champions League place to a Europa League winner is a small step to restoring the greatness of the competition that was sometimes even more exciting than European Champions Cup/Champions League.

  • Brickfields Gunners

    ‘ A lorry has shed its load of electrical goods on the M57 in Liverpool.
    Police said the road will be closed for at least five minutes! ‘

    Was this reported in the local newspapers ? Could it be true ? Is it fake ? Or am I dipping into uncharted waters ?

  • para

    13 – Aztecs sacred, today(mostly) unlucky?

    I have the “ultimate” strategy for this season;
    Arsenal has to now treat every game like an FA cup final.
    That’s it. 😀

    Hope more youth get the chance to progress and shine if it is true they get more chances this season.

    AW looks more relaxed(mind you season not started yet), but i do wish him to have an exiciting and relaxing season.

  • MikeT

    The squad qualifications for the PL and UEFA completions shows subtle differences.
    For instance in the PL any player aged under 21 can be registered as an under 21 irrespective of where they came from but in the CL & EL players as well as having to be born on or after 31 Jan 1996 the player has to have been at the club for 2 continuous years if the haven’t they have to go on the A list
    On the A list 8 places are reserved for HG players but of that 4 have to also be club trained again that requires them to have been at the club for two continuous years from age 15.
    Playing in the EL on a Thursday and the PL on the following Sunday for some reason causes far more problems than it should .
    I do find it interesting the suggestion that Arsenal could well be approaching the EL as an almost reseve competition and to a degree it’s quite possible that fringe players will be used but it’s almost certain that the whole squad will be included in the preparation and quite probably all will be required to travel to away games or attend
    For me however a major part of the problem is that the off field team such as medics, manager, performance staff will almost certainly be involved in EL games and when people talk about recovery time it’s not just about the players .

  • Menace

    Last night there was an IRONic result in the Tax Payers Stadium (aka London Stadium) where a dope won the 100m final. Proof that there is success in corruption (crime does pay!!).

  • Nitram


    I’ve come back almost 24 hours later to be enlightened by your ideas.

    What a waste of time that was.

    Well done mouth.