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June 2021

Arsenal v Bournemouth: Mr Wenger’s commentaries and press speculation ahead of the game

By Bulldog Drummond

According to some in the media Mr Wenger is contemplating changing the formation against Bournemouth, to a back four.   There’s no real evidence that he will do this, beyond the fact that in pre-season the manager said that he would keep the players practising both three and four at the back, so they were ready for all eventualities.

However the emphasis among those who comment on such things has consistently been on the negatives of such a change with, “even the players have been uncertain what formation they will play.”  I can’t recall anyone mentioning that of course the players will be used to the formats because they practise them regularly, but the people who will be caught on the hop are the opposition players and manager.

If Bournemouth hand in a teamsheet to the referee an hour before the game thinking Arsenal will play three central defenders and two wing backs, but then find Arsenal’s line up is four at the back, they will have to do some quick adjustments, without the benefit of being able to change their team.

Also no one knows at the moment if the idea of having a right footed player, playing on the left wing (as the manager has done since the days of Robert Pirès) can also be translated into having a wing back do the same, with Bellerin playing on the “wrong” side.   Certainly the experiment was taken in most quarters as a sign of Mr Wenger’s madness – just as it was when he did it with Pirès, but it may well continue, with the anti-Wengerians raving about his stupidity, until the system finally clicks (as it did with Pirès) and get results happen.  Then they’ll forget all their comments.

At the press conference the manager was asked about changing the whole team to a new style – basically (since it was journalists asking the questions) a move across to their favoured “thump it up the pitch” approach.  He said,

“That’s where I think in England you come to the wrong conclusions always – if England has not won on an international level in over 50 years, it’s maybe time at some stage to come to the right conclusions.  To convince people that to win you have to play ugly is for me a wrong debate. If you take the biggest teams in the world, they all play football. Brazil has won how many World Cups? They play football. Germany play football.

“Real Madrid play football, Barcelona play football. Yes, we didn’t play well enough the way we want to play, I agree with you, but to come out to a conclusion that you have to kick the ball into the stand to win football games is the wrong conclusion.”

He then asked rhetorically if he regularly questioned himself and said that he did, but added, that he did not “question things that are absolutely not obvious because you lose one game. That’s where I believe it’s important that people around the team continue to believe in what we do. We have a good enough squad to compete.”

Mr Wenger however did admit that he was changing his mind on one topic: FFP.  “Financial fair play raises new questions; I always did plead for it. Today, I am not convinced that we can maintain it. Football is maybe only at the start of a huge financial investment. It has become the most powerful sport in the world. It means do we have to open the door completely to investments? It is a question we have to raise because, at the moment, it looks like we have created rules that cannot be respected. There is nothing worse than when you create rules that are not respected.

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“Maybe we are at the crossroads and we have to think, do we open it with complete freedom to investment for people like the Chinese and Americans, who want to invest here [in England]? If you want to remain the best league in the world, that is certainly the way we have to go.

“Do I want to get rid of financial pair play? I think so, because there are too many legal ways to get around it. The question, at least, has to be raised. At the moment, it looks like you can buy clubs in China and get the players there, and buy them in other clubs, then get them, after, here. You can get around it. Am I convinced that, at the moment, the rules are strong enough to make it respected? I’m not sure.”

All he has to do now is convince the owner to start investing in the club rather than leaving it to slip ever further behind other clubs owned by billionaires.

Mr Wenger also argued in favour of the summer transfer window closing before the start of the Premier League season which has now been agreed. “You sit there before the games and in players’ minds, they have no clarity,” he continued. “Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out?

“Have they been tapped up?   Of course. France played against Holland on the last day of the transfer window. Do you really think that not one French player or Dutch player had phone-calls in the afternoon about do they move or not? You’re not naive enough to believe that!”

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21 comments to Arsenal v Bournemouth: Mr Wenger’s commentaries and press speculation ahead of the game

  • Pat

    Thoughtful answers from the boss, as always. Something we will miss when he finally retires. The rich always find a way round rules, so I reckon we should have predicted FFP would be a damp squib.

    Trust the journalists to suggest the answer to everything is boot it up the pitch!

  • Nitram

    Wenger is so open and honest with the media yet whatever he says they manage to twist it against him.

    I’m not saying Wenger never lies or tells half truths when it suits. But by and large, and when talking in general about football, he gives heartfelt, honest, intelligent, well thought out answers, and yet….and yet.

    Lets see how they turn that perfectly open and honest statement in to a negative to bash him with.

    As for my personal thoughts on what he says.

    Sadness really. I’ve always agreed with, and supported the Club whole heartedly in there aim to take the Club forward under a self sustaining model, without the need for Billionaire investors.

    Alas it seems the white flag has been raised.

    If indeed Arsenal eventually join the ‘Billionares’ Club I will still be behind them 100%, as I would of had we drifted away from the top table.

    But it will be, as I say, with a hint of regret, because I really did believe that eventually we could beat the odds. Alas I feel the level that the transfer market leapt to this year demonstrated that that eventuality was getting harder and harder to achieve.

    It does indeed now feel a bit like, ‘if you cant beat them, join them’.

    As I say, sad really, but to use the better halves favourite saying ‘it is what it is’.

  • seniorgooner

    BUT this was rejected by Kroenke yet he refused to put in one penny of his own money.DAvid Ornsteins exact explanation 3 days ago explains all the chaos is mismanagement AND WENGER MISMANAGEMENT UNTIL KROENKE SELLS WE ARE FINISHED

  • Olami

    “You sit there before the games and in players’ minds, they have no clarity,” he continued. “Are they in? Are they out? Are they half in? Are they half out? Are they tapped up in the afternoon of the game by people who want to get them out?” Wenger isn’t some one that talk without basis. I think he was trying to tell the world what happened with Chamberlain’s deal. I maybe wrong but that is my thought anyway. l feel for him. He has being lied to by the players he cared so much for over and over gain.

  • Sam Sayyed

    Another thing that really gets me is that when you hear these pundits on Sky Sports or BT, they have only one solution for everything – “they need to sign 2-3 more quality players” (in case they missed it, Arsenal already did sign up Kolasinac and Lacazette). But the thing is that we have seen with many other teams who have signed even more than “2-3 players” that it doesn’t always work. And when things don’t work, the pundits still say the same thing – they need to make 2-3 more quality signings.

    I’d like to see them offering up suggestions about how to improve things with existing players, which they hardly ever do. And even if they do, who would believe them unless they had applied their knowledge in the real world and improved a football team. We have already seen how Neville and Tony Adams failed miserably as managers proving that it’s easy to criticize someone from the armchair. But at least they tried, so credit to them, unlike Thierry Henry who choose to be an arm-chair pundit rather than coach the Arsenal youth team when given a chance!

    So my message here friends is you’ll be stupid to let anything that the pundits say influence you. The reason that manager is still their and has 3 premier league titles, and the most number of FA cups and qualified 20 years continuously for the Champions league is that regardless of his failures he knows more about football than me or you.

    And as for football journalists, I’d rather believe a junkie telling me fibs to fleece some money out of me to score his next hit rather than believe a bloody football journalist!

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebksin

    Let no any mistake be made about it by any person or by any group of persons, as things that concerns the Gunners stand this Friday’s afternoon and all things being equal with the Gunners, whether Arsenal start a back three or back four defence for the match Arsenal will beat Bournemouth heavily at the Emirates Stadium tomorrow Saturday by 5 goals to nil. And there is nothing whatsoever Eddie Howe and his 18 man Cherries match day squad can do to change that final scoreline of 5-0 win for Arsenal in the Premier League match encounter that will take place between the Gunners and the Cherries for the collection of all points.

    A football grapevine news that’s leaked in the sporting media today and has gone viral on the internet had it that Le Prof has turned down the overture from Eddie Howe, the AFC Bournemouth manager to fix the result of this match to end in a draw game. So that both Arsenal and the Bournemouth will share the spoils instead of Arsenal to collect all the 3 points that will be at stake in the match for collection. Mr Eddie Howe was reported to have pleaded with Le Prof to consider the precarious position his Cherries team is currently in in the PL League table which has put pressure on him as AFC Bournemouth has lost all their 3 opening matches and are on zero point. And should the Cherries fall again to the Gunners tomorrow, the AFC Bournemouth board will put him under serious scrutiny which might lead to him getting the sack. And he went on saying to Le Prof he will not want to lose his job. But Le Prof was reported to have told him he would have none of his pleadings as him too is under pressure by some vocal and rebellious Gooners to deliver a win to them tomorrow. Otherwise might stage another protest against him. And if at all he will help him, not this time but maybe when he brings the Gunners to the Vitality Stadium to engage the Cherries in the return leg, then, he may consider helping him if situation on ground concerning Arsenal permits him to do so. And Le Prof was said to have told Mr Howe “he is sorry not to be of help to him”. and to let Mr Howe know, he told him in clear terms that he has instructed the Gunners to hammer his Cherries team tomorrow by 5 goals to nil.

    My 3-4-3 starts:

    Mustafi Koscielny Monreal
    Bellerin Ramsey Xhaka Kolasinac
    Ozil Lacazette Sanchez.

    Ospina Holding Mertesacker Elneny Coquelin Walcott Giroud.

    My apologies to the Gooners for my not including Reiss Nelson they want to see play in this match in my 18 man match day squad for this match. Knowing how they’ll feel about my omitting him, I will try my possible best to see how I can squeeze him into our next home Carabao Cup game against Doncaster Rovers to first see how he’ll fare and progress in a competitive game against the lower opposition team before I will start thinking of throwing him into a PL game.

  • Bloggs

    Polo your answers to my questions were of the ‘ hopeful’ type nothing you said actually convinced me so if you believe in what you said why not back it up. (Just I will put £100.00 towards a charity if we get in the top 4 will you do the same if we don’t? Trust me I go nearly every week and have done for 40 years and the only way forward for Arsenal FC is Wenger leaving. The player’s I mentioned are not good enough you think they are so put up or shut up!

  • Polo

    @Nitram, I feel the same way, that the club should be self-sustained then rely on a sugar-daddy. I still believe it’s the best model for the long term. There are many big clubs who used to dominate their league in the short term but then struggle to compete once the owner have personal financial problems, an example is AC Milan.

  • Jax

    I don’t think Polo comes from round these parts, so perhaps a little understanding of how distance supporters actually ‘support’ the club.

  • para

    “keep the players practising both three and four at the back, so they were ready for all eventualities”
    This statement highlights an obvious thing in today’s football.

    It is increasingly clear that teams cannot now play in one way only and disregard the other teams, in fact this has been clear for a long time.

    Arsenal has the squad to compete properly and it is the failure to do so that causes fans to wonder and start to point fingers.

    What does it take to get the players playing to their full ability?

    Fans cannot understand how teams can put in dismal performances, even complete disinterest on field.

    The only exceptions are when games are every 3-4 days, injuries in key places, the opponent was visibly better(even though performance was good) and fans do take these into account.

    But then the focus shifts to the manager who in their eyes should be prepared for this, after all, it is not a new thing, and they should know what can be expected from their players.

    So, hoping that our manager has learnt from events over the last times and is willing to;
    be more observant of their players, and decide they should not play if their mindset and physicality is suspect.

    drop a player when their performance is lacking as this obviously upsets the team play.

    remove a player when they are obviously having a very bad time on the field.

    reward other players by letting them play when others are floundering.

    show tough love by benching players and giving them something to aim for(getting back into the team).

    pay more attention to other teams different ways of playing(know your enemies strengths and weaknesses).

    Some managers do this very well, some not so well, but as players are meant to improve with every game, so are managers i would think.

    Anyway, i truly hope we see lots of little improvements in our team and manager, improvements that signify to us that things are changing for the better, then you will see what reaction the fans have.

    When a fan is proud of a team and manager, they do show it to the fullness.

    The next game will be a start on the upward curve again, at least this is my fervent hope.

  • para

    Cech apparently said;

    Cech told So Foot: “When [Mourinho] arrived at Chelsea from Porto, he brought with him one main thing: he came from a club where it was not acceptable to him to finish second in the championship. He brought the same spirit to Chelsea. He thinks only about victory, whatever the price.

    “He hates draws. If we returned to the dressing room with a draw, we knew he would not be satisfied. On the other hand, he also wanted be able to keep a 1-0 or beat a team 5-0 if possible. No matter how, Mourinho wants the result.

    “The philosophy at Arsenal is completely opposed to this: it is not win at all costs but we want to win in a certain way. This approach is beginning to change.”

    Well i surely hope the last statement is true.

  • Polo

    @Bloggs, can’t remember what was the questions or my reply, but for charity I take it on. £100 from me if Arsenal fail to make top 4.

    UA could you please reference or remind us after season end to meet our obligation. Thank you in advance.

  • Scuba

    A little more depth on his FFP comments would have been nice. Is he talking about the UEFA regulations, the half-assed English regs, or both?

  • goonersince72

    Hey Bulldog! (can’t resist) – I was just writing a comment on a previous post re ‘winning ugly’ and hadn’t seen Mr. Wenger’s comments about playing football and his references to Brasil and Germany. I omitted Brasil, much to my chagrin, as they have called it the ‘beautiful game’ for some time. Will Brasil or Germany ever resort to thuggery, clattering the foreign bastards or just hiking it down the pitch? Don’t think so. Will they continue to win international trophies? Absolutely.

    OT – there are 19 clubs in the EPL that, if they were honest, would love to have won 3 FA cups in 4 seasons. Up the Arsenal! And I’m hoping Mr. Wenger continues to prioritise the FA Cup competition, I absolutely love it.

  • The trouble is, making an explanation that explains a situation doesn’t actually mean that is what happened. I can explain gravity and the weather through all sorts different mechanisms but just saying doesn’t make them true, any more than writing something in block capitals makes it more true than if you had used normal text.

  • Nitram


    I advise you against taking on that challenge, at least in the way you are.

    Not because I don’t think you can win the challenge, but because all Bloggs has to do is have £100 on Arsenal to finish inside the top 4, and £125 on them to finish outside the top 4, and the most it can cost him is about £33.

    In places you can get 9/4 on Arsenal to finish in the top 4.

    In places you can get 8/15 on Arsenal to finish outside the top 4.

    If Arsenal finish inside the top 4 he loses the challenge but wins the bet, and at 9/4 his £100 stake gets him a return of £225.

    He pays his £100 to charity:

    He loses his other £125.

    He therefore breaks even.

    If Arsenal finish outside the top 4 he wins the challenge so doesn’t have to pay out anything to charity.

    At 8/15 his £125 stake gets hima a return of £191.66.

    Therefore £225 – £191.66 = a £33.34 loss.

    It’s a stitch up.

    Look, I know it’s only a bit of fun and in any case a charity will benefit, but given the nature of yours and his/her posts the last thing I want is for Bloggs to come out on top in any way shape or form.

    I reckon as he thinks, as do the bookies, that we are so crap and indeed are ODDS ON to finish outside the top 4, surely he should at least be putting up double what you are putting up.

    I mean, he is on a ‘cert’ after all !

  • Gord

    I see on, that Reiss Nelson has won the PL2 Player of the Month. Congratulations Reiss Nelson!

  • Polo

    @Nitram, thank you for the comment and advice, but I am already committed to the challenge and it would be embarrassing for me personally to back down especially after posting the acceptance, I know it sound silly, but I don’t usually accept a monetary challenge with a complete stranger on a website, this will be a once off, but I do genuinely feel Arsenal will do well this season. What ever Bloggs do he do, I can only ask him to honour his commitment if Arsenal made top 4. I’m not wealthy by any mean but it doesn’t hurt to donate to a charity once in while.

    It is great to read and comment with people such as yourself who have similar belief to mine on Arsenal FC, and who will defend this great Club against unsubstantiated insults and abuse, keep it up Nitram.

  • Nitram


    “…….against unsubstantiated insults and abuse,”

    That’s what gets me.

    I never pretend Arsenal or Wenger or the players are perfect, I just choose, as a fan, not to pull any one of those aspects apart every time the slightest thing goes wrong.

    I choose to focus on the good, enjoy the successes, and deal with the downs with rationality and perspective.

    I do not believe every time we win a game, or destroy a team, that we have suddenly become the best team in the World. I enjoy it of course, but I can put the victories in to perspective as well as the defeats.

    Given our last 4 seasons successes, I find the hysterical reaction to our first 3 games simply amazing.

    As for the ex Arsenal players and fans, not only feeding into, but at times, instigating this attack on our Players, manager, and Club in general, disgraceful, and in many cases actually embarrassing.

    Henry, Wright, Adams and Merson in particular should take a long hard look in the mirror and hang there heads in shame.

    Once upon a time heroes of mine every one of them, but not anymore.

    As I say, not only an embarrassment to our Club, but more so to themselves.

  • Nitram


    Sorry I forgot, regarding the bet.

    Only kidding really. Credit to you both, and I have no doubts, whatever my views on your individual takes on all things Arsenal, you will both honour your words.

    Only problem is, if he didn’t know already, I’ve given Bloggs a way of minimizing his loses. Damn.

  • Menace


    Get the language right. There is no owner of Arsenal. There are several shareholders. One is Kronke and another is Usmanov. Both of them have lots of money. Their money is not Arsenals and can only be gifted or loaned.

    If you believe Arsenal are finished then stop watching football. Arsenal are a fluid club with an incredible future. The club is heading for fortunes in terms of income with beautiful football.