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June 2021

Changing formats and player positions: when has it ever worked?

By Tony Attwood

Two simple answers to that question come from two teams last season going from four to three central defenders: Chelsea and Arsenal.  Chelsea had had three defeats in four, including the 3-0 at Arsenal, and then changed.  Arsenal had lost eight in 12 when they changed.  The only complaint that can be made against Wenger is, what took you so long?  A complaint that ought to be remembered when considering the changes he has made this season.

Yes, last season with the benefit of hindsight the change needed was clearly to playing three at the back.   That change did work of course, but it is wrong to be misled (as many journalists are) by thinking that changes either work straight off or are mere tinkering by someone who has lost his grip.  

There are two prime issues with changing systems.  One is that the players have to get used to it, and the other is that the opposition needs to be bemused by it.  When both happen then there is success.  If only one happens, there can be some success, but often not enough to warrant the change.  If neither happens then a serious defeat can follow, but this still doesn’t mean that the proposed change is nonsense.

Arsenal changed the system dramatically in the Chapman era – although it took them five seasons to get it right in the league, and Chapman did offer his resignation to the board at one point because of his frustration at not replicating what he did at Huddersfield.  When the new approach was finally secured at Arsenal it was perfect and led to five titles and two FA Cup wins in nine years.   In one of the two seasons the club won neither they were runners up in both competitions.

That revolution by Arsenal convinced all clubs that if one can find the perfect players for a revolutionary new system then it can take the world by storm.  People have been trying to do it ever since.


Arsenal were the leaders in that first revolution, and of course others have tried to change systems with more or less greater success across the years.  But as we look back we tend to forget the early adjustment stages – Chapman’s hard times from 1925 to 1930 – often involved Arsenal being a laughing stock.  The media story was that football was a simple game, and he was mistaken in his attempt to make it complicated.

But the trouble is three at the back worked immediately for Arsenal and Chelsea last season, but football is not always like that.   And besides it was not the first time Wenger has tried it and nor does it always work.  Those of us with longer memories than the average journalist will remember the defensive variations in 1999 many of which were ultimately abandoned.

Other changes did work but took time.  Henry taking up a starting position of centre forward at Arsenal was so disastrous first time around that he only started three of the next 12 games.  He didn’t get to start in the number nine position again until the second half of his first season, and even then was dropped several time in favour of Suker or Kanu.

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Pires had the same difficult start, and for many an odd start.  A right footed player, playing on the left wing, when we already had Henry who was supposed to be a centre forward endlessly drifting out to the left.  Pires himself complained that it could get crowded out on the left.

Meanwhile the press didn’t like Wenger or Arsenal because they were too foreign, (especially Wreh who replaced Ian Wright for the FA Cup final) and there was a lot of criticism of the way the manager played players out of position – especially when it didn’t work.  But mostly because it took the scribblers so long to work out how it was that it worked.

But system changes always bring headaches as players try to get used to the approach, and oppositions see the uncertainty and carve a way through it.   You only have to look at Crystal Palace changing from the thuggish boot the ball up the pitch (known in the press who have always loved the old crook Allerdyce) as “solid” and “high-percentage”.    Frank de Boer was never ever going to have an easy time in such a short while to see his change through.

The Guardian recently said, “and hopefully the Dutchman will be given time to see his way of playing through”.   And one wondered – time by whom?  By the media? I doubt it.

No, the media want to attack. That’s what they do.  Take Jamie Redknapp writing, “When you mark zonally, as Liverpool do, you need players to attack the ball” and then tearing into Liverpool playing at Watford for “standing like statues at corners.”

Of course that was quickly forgotten – for that is another rule of football journalism – always forget.  But here’s another thing: you need leaders too, because Tottenham have leaders and they did well.  Except no one does the analysis the other way round.  Nominate the teams with “leaders” before the start of the season and then see how things go.

In reality these retrospective analyses only pick out the evidence that is wanted.  So you get “More set piece shame for Klopp’s Defence”  as a headline, until there is another story, such as the analysis of goals conceded from set pieces by the top six teams since Klopp took charge of Liverpool.   Arsenal conceded just two more than Chelsea and Tottenham who had the meanest defences in this regard.  But that story wasn’t told.  Only the Liverpool shame of being the worst.

I don’t know if the notion of playing a right wing back at left wing back will work, but given the way Pires and Henry played on the wrong side of the pitch to such great effect, it could do.  But I suppose the people who are saying that doing this is a sign of unsuitability for the job (at least), also thought the manager insane when Pires was introduced and asked to play on the “wrong” side.  And I suppose they don’t count the trophies that Arsenal won with that system as real trophies.  I guess the Unbeaten Season showed only how awful the rest of the league clubs were at the time.

And really there is no arguing with that.


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40 comments to Changing formats and player positions: when has it ever worked?

  • Nitram

    What seems the obvious thing to do is in actual fact not always quite so obvious. I found this with my own low level career.

    First off I am right footed. I could use my left, it wasn’t just for standing on, but I would never attempt a free kick, corner or penalty with it.

    In my early career I was always on the wing. Sometimes the Left wing, sometimes the right.

    When I played right wing, basically I would try to get to the touchline and put a cross in.

    When I played on the left I could do that, but what I tended to do much more was cut inside, to have a shot or a run into the box, or to link up with my centre forward.

    When I played in a team with a big dominating centre forward I would tend to be put on the right wing with the instruction to get as many crosses in as possible.

    But if we had a smaller nippy type I would play on the left giving me more opportunities to feed him with through balls on the ground, or to interchange with him.

    Counter intuitively, overall I would say I preferred playing left wing despite being right footed. I loved cutting inside. Overall I scored more goals and won my fair share of penalties, as well as playing my centre forward in.

    On the right I tended to be much more one dimensional. Get the ball, skin the full back (or at least try) and put the ball in the box.

    My point is, what on the face of it may seem obvious, left footed, play on the left. Right footed, play on the right. Is often not actually the best thing to do.

    Knowing what is the best way to utilise all the pieces in there jigsaw, with all there little nuances is the art of a top coach, and often what seems the most obvious thing to do is often not in fact the best thing to do.

    Journalist, not the sharpest tools in the box obviously, have a lot of trouble getting there tiny pee brains around this sort of counter intuitive thinking, hence there bemusement when Wenger finally won the match against Leicester with half the team playing, for want of a better term ‘out of position’.

    That really f***ed with there little brains.

  • Mike T

    Chelsea lost 3 in 4 including losing 3.0 at Arsenal you say before they changed formation. No they didn’t.

  • Josif

    @Mike T

    Tony got numbers wrong but Chelsea did pick just one point out nine (2:2 v Swansea, 1:2 v Liverpool, 0:3 v Arsenal) before they made the switch. To put it this way: prior to the switch Chelsea had dropped eight points out of 18 possible. Until the end of the season they dropped just 13 points out of 96 possible.

  • Alex

    OT, but i’m surprised you said nothing about Özil’s words… Defending the results, the manager, the club, attacking the pundits. I thought this would please you…

  • Nitram


    Actually he defended Arsenals overall achievement of winning 3 FA Cups and 3 CS’s over the last 4 years, in much the same way as I and others on UA have done. I don’t believe at any point does he defend individual results or performances.

    This is what he said:

    “We have achieved a lot in our four years together. Three of the 13 FA Cup victories have been accomplished in the past four years, with the other ten taking 75 years for the club to win. This is in addition to our three Community Shield wins. After all, six titles in four years is quite something.”

    I agree completely. Maybe you don’t. That’s up to you.

    He actually expressed his own disappointment, along with the disappointment of his team mates in not competing for the title last season.

    This is what he said:

    “However, this only makes myself and the team even more disappointed for not playing a role in the title race at the end of last season – this is something we hope to change this year.”

    I agree with those sentiments as well. Sounds like an expression of disappointment with results to me. As I say, nowhere in his statement does he defend individual results or performances.

    But again maybe you don’t agree with him, that’s up to you, but don’t twist what he says just to suit your point of view, because it just makes you sound a little desperate to be honest.

  • Nitram


    “Defending the results, the manager, the club, attacking the pundits. I thought this would please you…”

    So it would make YOU happy if he was slagging off the manager, the club and the pundits would it?

    Honestly, don’t you get enough of that from Wright, Merson, Robson, Souness, Keown, Mills, Owen, Smith etc. any number of journalists, panellist, annalists etc. ? Jeeez.

    And one guy, a guy who is still actually playing at the Club, comes out in support of his manager, the manager that bought him, and the club he seems to love and still plays for, and you actually don’t like it. Really ? Is that really what you are saying?

    I find that quite unbelievable.

  • Scuba

    Untold is attacking the media at a rate that would make Donald Trump proud.

  • bob

    Does AW deserve this format? How about a change of format at the top-top of our management (KSE)? Please have an eyes-open read everyone, Tony too, and consider Stain the Man who controls the rains we slog through at the moment:

  • Josif

    The most bizarre thing is this:

    if we consider Stan Kroenke to be the main reason for the fact Arsenal haven’t been able to win the league in the last 9 years (because we can’t blame The Leach for the things before him), that means we have to be more supportive for players and the manager than ever before.

    David Ornstein’s tweets this morning have made me more pessimistic about the future of Arsenal Football Club than I ever was.

    Anyone but Kroenke.

  • Nitram


    “Arsenal supporters are rightly wondering if it can get any worse for their side. Two losses in three matches to open the Premier League season, a manager in Arsène Wenger who has seemingly lost his touch and precious little done during the transfer window to improve the talent on the pitch.”

    What a croc of shit that opening paragraph is. I read that and went no further.

    Lets take it line by line:

    1 – “Arsenal supporters are rightly wondering if it can get any worse for their side.”

    WTF after 3 matches ? Is that actually a serious comment ? We won our 3rd FA Cup in 4 years not 4 Months ago. Our 3 Cs and 6th trophy in 4 years not 2 months ago. Can it get any worse? As I say, WTF.

    Spurs have ONE more point than us, have played 2 matches at home. They’ve won one CC in 10 years.

    Yet they are praised to the hilt.

    2 – “Two losses in three matches to open the Premier League season”

    So what. Only in Arsenal land could this be seen as something akin to the end of the World.

    3 – “a manager in Arsène Wenger who has seemingly lost his touch”

    According to Who? The aaa’s that have been saying that for over 12 years? The pundits that have been saying that for the last 12 years?

    4 – “precious little done during the transfer window to improve the talent on the pitch”

    Well apart from Alexandre Lacazette and Sead Kolasinac of course.

    Before the transfer window we were told things like keeping hold of Alexis and Ozil was our priority.

    We did that.

    Get a World class striker.

    We did that.

    Strengthen the back line.

    We did that.

    Yes perhaps another player could of helped but overall it was a satisfactory, if not spectacular window.

    But this is nothing new either is it ? Every single window we get told how inept Wenger is and how shite he did. Similarly how great Liverpool and Spurs did, yet who ends up winning a trophy?

    Honestly I don’t give a toss how his other clubs do. I care about Arsenal. And as far as I’m concerned we do pretty damn well with him at the helm.

    But hey, if you want to keep seeing our successes as abject failure, as you seem to do, that’s up to you. Personally I’ve been loving it.

    Each to there own I suppose.

  • alexanderhenry

    Here’s a pretty damning article on arsenal’s owner in the Guardian. I suggest you all read it.

  • Chris

    Nitram, right on !
    maybe we should have a permamnent link to the PSG store on the website foir those sick and tired of being unhappy permanently by the abject failures of Arsenal ?!?!

    I read the piece about Kroenke that Bob put up. It is interesting and paints a very bleak picture of a billionaire. The fact that I can’t grasp is how someone who has earned so much money is unable to have franchises that win anything – apparently the FA Cup is not worth zilch and personnally, I wonder why in the world TVs are still playing it and Pl teams even bother showing up – is being lambasted worldwide and destroys the value of anything he buys.
    The whole article describes some sort of incompetent idiot, incapable of doing anything positive.
    This to me sounds too good to be true. I mean the guy must have some qualities or maybe he won his billions at the lottery ?
    I thus believe this is a piece that is not journalistic, just relates bits and pieces without analysis and gives a very onesided wikipedia-type 2D view of the subject that fits a narrative and enables another blow at Arsenal – which in no way can be at fault for who the owner is. I wonder what they would write about the 2 potential owners, were they ever to buy Arsenal ?!

  • porter

    You may not like the tone of the written article but the state of KSE ‘s other franchises are a tad worrying.

  • Chris


    I will not deny what is being written, I guess there is truth to it. Yet there is absolutely no explanation.
    And sure, one can worry.
    It is just one-sided.
    Like saying Arsenal are a losing team because they have not won th PL for more than years. it is a fact but not the only one.
    We have no idea of a context. There is absolutely no explanation why Saint Louis was not a good place. What the financial crisis had as an influence in the failure or decision to move. I can’t believe that all can be explained just ba : he is an incompetent.

    This is why I read it and am left wondering.

  • Josif


    Has there been an article on internet with a punchline:

    “Spurs have already dropped more points at home than they had dropped during whole last season”?


    “Why Spurs haven’t had a player sent off for 83 games in the league?”

  • Jax

    Exactly! I think that’s the point that’s being overlooked. You know, Bob knows and apparently the Guardian article writer knows.
    Kroenke’s teams are failing by the number and he shows no apparent concern of any kind.
    I think Tony (or one of the other writers) did an article on this very subject not so long ago.

  • Gord

    OT: FFP

    Marca is reporting that LaLiga has asked UEFA to investigate ManCity for Financial Fair Play violations.

    Apparently Romario recently gave an interview, where he criticized Rosell (of Barca) and Teixera (of CBF). I gather he presented no evidence of corruption, so it is all just opinion.

    Most recent hit on my search for football corruption, is a report out of MercoPress that Argentina would have voted for England, if England would have sat down to negotiate over the Falklands.

  • Jax

    I’d be surprised if Ozil himself even wrote that.

  • Guess now that Ozil has declared his undying love for all things Arsenal means he will sign this contract he’s been unwilling to put pen to , then again .

  • It doesn’t tell us anything that we haven’t published here before.

  • insideright

    To return to Tony’s original article – what I think is true is that the Chelsea manager (and probably his coaching team) was actually a seasoned user of the three-at-the-back line up and was probably destined to introduce it anyway. Wenger has only very rarely used it in the last few minutes of very few matches when the need was seen to hold on to a lead and give forwards a rest.
    What I’m sure about is that moving players around the pitch into different positions is something that has happened for decades. The 1971 Double winning side featured five players (50% of the outfield) who had been moved from their original position to one that suited them better. Two of those (McLintock and Graham) had cost big money to buy and had actually not worked out as well as originally hoped but blossomed under the sharp eye and coaching of Don Howe in new roles.
    I remain convinced that Wengers long term aim is to have the centre-back positions filled by players who would otherwise be thought of as defensive midfielders. All the better to build from the back through players more confident with the ball at their feet than the old fashioned centre half.

  • Polo

    The Lemar Confidential.

    The media been saying that Lemar rejected Arsenal because he wanted to join Liverpool. AW said Lemar decided to stay at Monaco. Now the Monaco club president said Monaco didn’t allow Lemar to leave. The media said the deal was agreed between the two club and Arsenal was inept to get the player, even though same media said Liverpool was after the same player and had their bid rejected twice, but somehow Liverpool wasn’t considered inept.They could make an epic drama out of this.

  • Bloggs

    Answer these couple of easy questions
    Do you think Arsenal can win the league with an ageing slow Cech backed up by a small man who constantly flaps at the ball
    Do you think Arsenal can challenge for the league with an ill disciplined Ramsey who thinks he’s above everyone else or a Swiss lad who is a banker to give the ball away every game that results in a goal or a German fella who is very good at a disappearing act ( if he is that good how comes we have not even had a cheeky bid for him as he’s in the last year of his contract makes you think eh)
    Do you think Arsenal can compete for the famous top 4 trophy with a poor excuse named Walcott who year after year has conned everyone or Welbeck who is a nice lad tries hard but not very good.
    Try and answer truthfully now

  • Polo

    @insideright, I think Conte wanted to introduce his preferred 3 at back formation when he took over at Chelsea but decided he didn’t want to rock the boat. The defeat at Arsenal gave him the necessary reason to change formation and get the players onboard.

  • Polo

    ‘Do you think Arsenal can win the league with an ageing slow Cech.’ Yes, the man is still top class, if it wasn’t for him, Liverpool could have scored 6 or more goals. He need the back 3 to be more disciplined.

    ‘Do you think Arsenal can challenge for the league with an ill disciplined Ramsey who thinks he’s above everyone else.’ Somebody on the pitch need to remind him not to get to excited. But he still have the capability to be a top CM.

    ‘Swiss lad who is a banker to give the ball away every game that results in a goal.’ Yes, he definitely need to improve his defensive mindset, but he also provide many great pass leading to a goal and assists.

    ‘German fella who is very good at a disappearing act.’ I always see him on the pitch otherwise it must be his twin bother?

    ‘if he is that good how comes we have not even had a cheeky bid for him as he’s in the last year of his contract makes you think.’ Didn’t the media said Borrusia Dortmund have an interest in him and Barca offering £55 million or something like that? It’s true because the media said so.

    ‘Do you think Arsenal can compete for the famous top 4 trophy with a poor excuse named Walcott ‘ Didn’t this guy scored 14 goals last season, a very good con man indeed.

    ‘Welbeck who is a nice lad tries hard but not very good.’ Well the guy recently came back from a lengthy injury so give him time.

    Let me ask you some easy questions, so be truthful. Do you find it difficult to support the team? If so, why not find something more enjoyable and fulfilling instead of punishing yourself. Remember life is full of choices.

  • Chris


    I have no damn idea.
    What is Buffon’s age ? As far as I know he still plays for the Squara Azzura
    How many players of Arsenal got to the 100 goals mark ?
    Who scored 2 winning goals at Wembley ?
    Who is the best assister in the PL for the past 4 seasons – or something close to that ?

    Now I always hear and read stuff about how the crowd is the 12th man on the field, pushing the team to be better and win.

    Now answer that question : are you part of this 12th man ?

    If you are nos what are you doing going to games are coming here ? or maybe you are not even going to games and watch the games on a stream, so you don’t support the club financially at all.

    Sabotage that is what it is.

    PSG – that is who you need to support. They need people like you. With them you’ll have a blessed supporter’s life

  • tobi

    People asking others to support PSG,why don’t you support spurs since you are always whinning about them being favoured by the ref and the FA. It’ll be a match made in heaven and you wouldn’t need to complain about the refs anytime we lose.

    Now, i respect Arsene and i feel for him, I just don’t understand the reason why anyone would ask a fellow fan to support another club just because they have different views, why don’t you support Bacelona since you wouldn’t have issues the ref.

  • Wenger warrior

    The charity shield is a friendly! Can we stop calling it a trophy! Three FA cups is more than enough to be happy will in 4 years!!

  • Wenger warrior

    Arsenal are not going to win the league this year we all know this! They might not even finish in the top 6! And we can blame Kroenke, Gavidis, Wenger or the players for this! However this is the easy option, we have to realise that we play in the hardest and most competitive league in the world and unfortunately at the moment teams around us are better than we are! It’s not down to the media or the referees! Its just not our moment in time yet! i fully believe we will improve and win the league again and go on to great things! 3 fa cups in 4 years isn’t to be sniffed at (I am not counting the charity shield its a bloody friendly and we don’t have to be so desperate) however until we improve to the level we are more than Capable of playing at.. Is it to much to ask for us to support our team and manager??

  • alexanderhenry

    David Ornstein has blown the lid on just what an incompetent, penny pinching operation Arsenal has become.

    Some fans have allowed themselves to be brain washed in recent years, but it’s worth remembering that:

    We are The Arsenal.

    The club has more cash reserves than any other, the biggest match day gate receipts in the UK, a state of the art stadium, an enviable London location, huge fan base, prestige, history and not one but two multi billionaire shareholders with a combined wealth of something approaching £20 billion.

    Arsenal should be trying to emulate Real madrid, not Leicester.

    The club has deliberately and shamefully tried to rebrand itself as plucky little arsenal who ‘can’t compete’ in transfers but does things the right way and has ‘values’- whatever they are.
    It’s bull***t and nothing more than a cynical attempt to manage expectation and run the club on the cheap and into mediocrity.

    Arsenal fans must not accept this.

  • Nitram

    Wenger warrior

    If it’s good enough for mourhino it’s good enough for me. He insisted it was counted when he was interviewed last year I think it was and nobody raised an eyebrow or called him desperate. Still if you say it’s not a trophy then who am I or Jose to argue?

  • Flares

    Spot on Nitram. I’m always heartened by the enthusiasm of Manchester United fans to include the Charity Shield when comparing total trophies won with Liverpool, because if you discount them the two sides are dead level on 61. Strangely though, when other teams win the CS the Ushited mob prefer to scoff and dismiss it. Funny that.

  • Alexander Henry, I think many would agree with at least some of your points. The problem is however the disagreement over any form of tactics to make a change. I do my best to set out possible ways in which the club could change, but aside from “sack the manager” (a strategy that has a low effectiveness rate across the PL) I hear or see very few other suggestions, and even fewer details on how to make them work.

  • Jammy J

    @ tobi – Telling the people that tell the aaa to go support PSG, to go support Spurs, is an absolutely ridiculous refute. If you genuinely cannot tell the difference, then I don’t know what to say.

    Why should we go and support Spurs? We are not the ones that are constantly throwing abuse at our players and manager. We are not the ones that repeatedly come on this website, literally just to spread negativity about Arsenal. We are not the ones that start protests against our own club. We are not the ones that complain about winning 3 FA cups in 4 years. We are not the ones that moan when we don’t spend as much as the oiler clubs. We are not the ones that hate our own manager and continuously insult our own players.

    We are the ones that actually get behind our club and support both the players and manager, through thick and thin.

  • Jammy J

    @ tobi – And they’re not asked to go support a different team, simply because they have different views (and it’s obviously not because of that). It’s the ways in which those views are expressed. The way in which they create a bad atmosphere and have a hugely detrimental effect on the players. The way in which you can’t read an article about Arsenal, without a stream of negative comments, from fellow Arsenal fans. Many of these people actually wish for Arsenal to loose matches.

    Although, I don’t agree with them, I would have no problem with someone wanting Wenger-out, as long as they didn’t fill the internet with negativity and criticisms, and actually still cheered the club along.

  • Vivek Arulnathan


    “Before the transfer window we were told things like keeping hold of Alexis and Ozil was our priority.

    We did that.”

    How about the fact that we tried to sell Sanchez in the last few days of the window? And we made a profit when teams who finished ahead of us have all spent hundreds of millions to strengthen. Doesn’t Untold Arsenal always point to the fact that many teams have unlimited pots of money to spend. So if you have to compete against these teams, you don’t make a transfer window profit while they all spend millions.

  • Vivek Arulnathan


    “sack the manager” (a strategy that has a low effectiveness rate across the PL)”

    I don’t get how you come to this conclusion. If you have done an article about this, I haven’t read it. Anyway, here is my take on it.

    There are five teams who I consider as our rivals. Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City and Tottenham. Now let me consider each of their latest managerial change.

    Chelsea: Antonio Conte took them from 10th to 1st in one year. Of course, this is a team that had won the title before finishing 10th the following year. But even considering Mou’s appointment, the team went from third to 1st in the space of 2 seasons. I consider these as effective and succesful changes.

    Liverpool: They sacked Rodgers midway through the 15-16 season. Klopp took over and finished 8th compared to the 6th the previous year but he had a team not suited to his key requirements to implement a pressing style and moreover focussed on the Europa League to get to the CL( but lost in the final). He took the team to 4th the next season with an impressive style of football. That’s a successful change IMO.

    City: Guardiola took City from 4th to 3rd in one season, fromm 66 points to 78 points. They fared badly in the cup competitions compared to the previous season. But he’s had one season and a very demanding style to implement. I’d call it a small improvement overall considering the failures in the cup competions offset the great leap in league form.

    Manchester United: Mou took them from 4th and FA Cup to 6th and League Cup and Europa League in one season. Like Klopp, he literally tanked the league season putting all his efforts into the EL campaign and succeeded. Two cup wins and a CL spot: that’s success to me.

    Tottenham: They’ve gone from 5th to 2nd in two seasons with a 22 points swing from 64 to 86 under Pochettino. And the best defence in the league. Again, a clearly successful mangerial change.

    I repeatedly see the 3 FA Cup wins in 4 years mentioned here. So, here are our stats for those 4 seasons.
    2013-14: 4th, 79 points, FA Cup Winners, R16 in CL, R4 in League Cup
    2014-15: 3rd, 75, FA Cup, R16, R3
    2015-16: 2nd, 71, QF,R16.R3
    2016-17: 5th, 75, FA Cup, R16,R5.

    I am not necessarily saying this period was a failure. But we’ve been a good FA Cup team and won it 3 times. As for every other competition, you could describe us as ‘stagnated’ at best. Our points total, league finishes and CL record all show a lack of improvement or progress. And this is based purely on the numbers. If I consider how our football has lost its identity and quality in this period and the story of each season leading to the salvation in the FA Cup win, I’d say we’ve gone backwards.

    So yes, maybe not every manager change works. But they can work if the right managers are appointed. I see every one of our rival improve in their own ways with new managers while I see us stagnate at best. Arsene Wenger has been given 20 years at the club. Football has changed so much in these 20 years that his great track record doesn’t necessarily guarentee success or improvements. I love the FA Cup wins and the tournament itself but that’s 6 games in a 60 games season. I’d say great job on winning it but show me something else to beleive we’ve actually developed as a team over these 4 years.

  • MickHazel

    So do we conclude from your analysis that you would have been happier if we had mirrored Spurs and Liverpools four year performances which showed league improvements but ultimately zero trophies. I thought it was all about winning things, but obviously not judging from your take on things.

  • Menace

    Nitram –

    3 – “a manager in Arsène Wenger who has seemingly lost his touch”

    According to Who? The aaa’s that have been saying that for over 12 years? The pundits that have been saying that for the last 12 years?

    The pundits & the media have been saying it as soon as he arrived & are still working on a movie to prove ‘undefeated Arsenal’ was a dream. The sad cnuts have nothing to do other than pick on the best & celebrate any blip as if it were doomsday.

  • Menace

    Vivek Arulnathan
    05/09/2017 at 3:22 pm
    Your intelligence is flawed as it only looks at the oil floating on the water. Look at all the substance that makes up a club & its success. The surface is partially due to the substrate but also assisted by the turbulence created by the media & FA appointed officials.

    Your opinion is unquestionable as it is totally yours (oil filled & slippery).