Just how bad is Arsenal II? Nottingham Olympiakos set for the future.

by Tony Attwood

I have written a little on the Arsenal History Society website comparing today’s AAA and  wondering how they would have got on in the time of Herbert Chapman.  Chapman, as we know railed against the antics and jeering of the “boo-boys” as the anti-Chapman gangs were called, and they took the FA Cup 3rd round defeat against Walsall as a rallying cry to up their demands for his removal.

Certainly from what we can tell from contemporary reports there were some very dubious goings on at Walsall’s ground on that day.  Reports talk of the crowd being on the pitch during much of the game, and the linesman running the line on the pitch to avoid the crowds.  There were even comments about objects being thrown at Arsenal players every time they got near the crowd, with the police nowhere to be seen.

But Chapman did not discuss such matters, possibly because he had been a contributor to the Sunday Express with a regular column in that paper.  And the Sunday Times then as now had views on how it was presenting reality.

However after the Walsall game on 14 January 1933 Chapman moved on three players as quickly as he could.

Billy Warnes signed as a professional on 29 June 1929. He played  in 25 of the 29 reserve games that season before Walsall, leaving the club at the end of the season to go to  Norwich City.

Charlie Walsh signed as a professional on 11 May 1931. He played in 17 of the reserve games that season before Walsall but left the club almost immediately afterwards, joining Brentford on 27 January 1933.

Tommy Black joined Arsenal on 4 July 1931 from Strathclyde.   He was by no means a regular even in the reserves, playing just 16 games that season before Walsall.  He was transferred to Plymouth Argyle six days after the Walsall game.

Over the years Mr Wenger has also moved on players just as quickly in the past, sometimes giving a youngster just one substitute appearance before selling him or ending the contract, and reading his comments after the match I think we might see that again.

He is quoted as saying, “I just think we were not good enough anywhere – not up front, in the middle or at the back – and we paid for it. We repeated the same mistakes – once, twice, three times.   They looked sharper. They had more chances and an outstanding performance. They were sharp, winning decisive challenges, and dangerous going forward, and overall they deserved to win, as simple as that. Overall I would like to congratulate Nottingham Forest.

“It hurts very much. We have won the FA Cup three times in the last four years. We will not win it every year and it’s a difficult competition to win but it hurts to go out in the third round. Unfortunately they were better than us. We have another big game on Wednesday and we must focus on that now. I always expect the best of my team.”

Of course it might just be coincidence that we saw a few strange refereeing decisions yesterday, leading to a few comments about Olympiakos Forest (the owner of Forest also being deeply connected with THE highly dubious Olympiakos).   A referee missing a double hit penalty is odd because at that moment the ref only has one thing to look at – the kick.  And the fourth goal came just after Arsenal had a very strong penalty appeal turned down.  And although the guys on Arsenal.com don’t normally complain against refs here they were utterly incensed by such decisions and the paucity of added time.

Speaking of Arsenal.com, I made the point there that before this game our backup players and youngsters have played nine games in the Europa and League Cup.   The results prior to yesterday were Won 7, Lost 1, Drawn 1.  And that still in the darkness of this morning still seems a fairly valid point.  Where (as I wondered yesterday) is the sense of context?

Here’s the record…

Date Match Result Score Competition
14 Sep 2017 Arsenal v 1.FC Köln W 3-1 UEFA Europa League
20 Sep 2017 Arsenal v Doncaster Rovers W 1-0 League Cup
28 Sep 2017 FC BATE Borisov v Arsenal W 2-4 UEFA Europa League
19 Oct 2017 Crvena Zvezda v Arsenal W 0-1 UEFA Europa League
24 Oct 2017 Arsenal v Norwich City W 2-1 League Cup
02 Nov 2017 Arsenal v Crvena Zvezda D 0-0 UEFA Europa League
23 Nov 2017 1.FC Köln v Arsenal L 1-0 UEFA Europa League
07 Dec 2017 Arsenal v FC BATE Borisov W 6-0 UEFA Europa League
19 Dec 2017 Arsenal v West Ham United W 1-0 League Cup
07 Jan 2018 Nottingham Forest v Arsenal L 4-2 FA Cup

So we’re out of the Cup.  I wonder if the FA will now recognise on their official website that we won it last year?

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26 Replies to “Just how bad is Arsenal II? Nottingham Olympiakos set for the future.”

  1. Good to remind us of how well our back up team plus youngsters have played so far, Tony. As you say, context.

  2. True, but they have been getting progressively worse, and, without Giroud, Wilshire and Coquelin, were more like Arsenal 3 and 2.

    AW made a choice between the FA cup and the league Cup semi final and chose the latter so as not to fall between 2 stools.

    Bad refereeing decisions did not excuse the poor motivation of players such as Walcott, who must surely be on his way out now.

    Incidentally, now that Dean has admitted he was wrong, as confirmed by Riley, will Mertesacker’s yellow card be rescinded?

  3. So now what next will those kings and queens give us replay with wesbrom and will wenger be let off the hook? or still we will say nothin? in my company when you f…. with my workers you ….k with me what about at D Arsenal? Will they stand with him or they dont care?Could the same things happen to manure or chelsk or newcastle and the clubs say nothin?

  4. Perhaps it smacks of arrogance putting out such a second string team. One would think there’s be a few big names on the bench but no. I can’t imagine why our players were so disinterested, (one shot on target in over an hour, hardly fills one with excitement), after all aren’t they desperate to break into the first team?

    The past record of the reserves is very good but maybe against first teamers, even only Forest, they’re not quite up to standard yet.

    I only hope we show more respect towards the Europa League. This is one trophy we could definitely win.

    Anyway bring on Chelsea, maybe Wenger can finally win the other domestic cup. I hope so, let’s stop City doing a domestic treble.

  5. Now that Dean has admitted he got the WBA penalty decision wrong, what happens next?

    If it had been a penalty where a player was later been proved to have dived – that player would be punished retrospectively for “deceiving the officials”.

    In this case, neither player involved has done anything wrong. Chambers has NOT moved his arm towards the ball and Gibbs has not appealed. Even the WBA Manager admitted it wasn’t a penalty. So, the only person who got it wrong was:


    However, he doesn’t appear to have done the actual “admission”, that task being left to Mike Riley, Head of PGMOL – Dean’s employer. Even then, Riley defended his mate, sorry employee by suggesting that what Dean saw was Chambers raising his arm towards the ball. Riley, that Champion of Honesty, then said that different camera angles showed a different view, which, had VAR been in use, would have changed Dean’s mind about a penalty.


    EVERY camera angle exonerated Chambers of blame.

    Therefore, by their own rules regarding deception, Dean is guilty of “deception” because he said he saw something that he didn’t. Riley, by defending his chief enforcer, is also culpable.

    What SHOULD happen is an enquiry by the Police into PGMOL and it’s activities, to establish once and for all, if there is a case of stage 3 match fixing going on in English football.

    The EPL and FA should immediately suspend, both Dean and Riley, and order the match to be replayed, or award the points to Arsenal.

    Sadly, none of the above is going to happen!

  6. Our performance yesterday simply put is worse than lethargic if there’s any better way to call it.The absence of a good creative midfielder costs us.Aside Jack there is no Arsenal player that can move the ball.This is really costing us so much.I really can’t understand why the Boss has not seen to this problem.
    Iwobi for me is just inconsistent and costing us so much in the final third.Holding and Mertesacker are liabilities in the defence.They lack pace which teams tend to exploit.Eleny for me is a fraud.I didn’t see any contribution he made throughout the game.Still don’t know why he has not been shipped out.Niles made the same error yet again allowing the opposition to play a cross into the box which resulted to the second goal.Same thing happened against Chelsea.He allowed a cross which Alonso tapped in delightfully.Is that what Bould is teaching this guys defensively? It is just a shame.The only bright spark in the game for me was Nelson.Did very well.Walcott needed a creative midfielder to compliment his runs.Love the lad.Just unfortunate he is having it bad.Iwobi fluffed the opportunity he had.Welbeck…. don’t know what to say.His passes where most times wayward.
    Wenger needs to get a mobile DM and a good CB in this window.Else we might not get into the top four this season.He needs to redeem himself and do something quick.He needs to right the wrongs in this team.It is evident that this team needs a make over.I rest my case for now.

  7. So Arsenal was given Mike Dean, then Anthony Taylor, then Jon Moss, and penalties went against Arsenal in each match, talk about showing who’s boss.

    Arsenal lost their first ever 3rd round FA Cup match under AW and it’s Wenger Out and he’s destroying the club, Arsenal win FA Cup, it’s not a trophy and was lucky to win. Some people are beyond help.

    The man win trophies and he still get slated by the media, if he was English I wonder if he get the same treatment?

  8. Richard, it seems to me there is a problem in your argument when you say, “This is really costing us so much.I really can’t understand why the Boss has not seen to this problem.”

    It is quite possible that Mr Wenger has seen the problem, but has simply failed to find the sort of player who will do better than the players we have in a consistent way and who is willing to come to Arsenal, knowing all the attacks on players and management that pour out from the media and some supporters each day.

  9. Let’s be honest & forget refereeing decisions. Forest are a mid table championship side, without a manager. They also had youngsters in their side p, I think there was 5 under 23!
    They out ran out played us all over the park. These are all players developed or bought under Arsene’s managership, they are his team! He is paid to keep us top 4 & at least to give a good cup run, it’s been our saviour for a few seasons.
    Now ask yourselves this question. Are we as a a club or team moving forward ? It’s got to be no. We seem to buy players & watch them get worse now.
    We can’t win the cup, we certainly will not get top 4. We must now push for the euro cup but you wanna bet it will be the 2nd team he puts out.
    We will get beat in the cup again this week if we play like that.
    All players & managers come with a sell by date Arsen included. I wa a rep for a major blue chip company my budget would be around £40 million p.a. If I had not reached my monthly tgt. I would be sacked. Yeah it’s tough at the top that’s why the money is good.
    Sadly he no longer hits his targets. Same as me & other reps it’s not last season or the one before tha that counts.
    I do understand your loyalty to Arsene but the same rules that apply to the anti Arsene brigade that without thought have condemned him, we must know ask are we backing him despite the evidence proving he is now past his best. For me sadly it’s yes.
    We need a real clearout of players & staff including a manager that has served us so well, before he becomes a liability.

  10. Tony
    I don’t follow your argument.
    Ospina, Debuchy, Mertesacker, Elneny, Walcott, Welbeck were all ‘recruited’ by Arsene Wenger, at considerable cost.
    Those players were pretty much outplayed and beaten by a moderately unsuccessful team from the Championship made up mainly of youngsters.
    You seem to be saying, he now wants to recruit more players to replace the ones that he now sees are not good enough, but can’t and that is somehow the fault of the fans and the media.
    Are you Arsene Wenger’s spin doctor?

  11. No excuses, we were terrible yesterday. I understand playing an understrength team but wenger went too far. You’ve got to have some first stringers on the bench surely.
    And that’s just one aspect of it.

    In many ways it was an indictment of arsenal fc’s entire approach.
    ‘Project youth’ looked more like ‘project Sunday league’. What has happened to rob holding?

    Another Part of arsenal’s recent approach had been to pay high wages as a way of keeping the best players at the club.
    Well, theo Walcott is one of those high paid ‘stars’. I’d really to understand the rationale behind keeping him on. He looked as lost and miserable as a stray dog out there yesterday.

    There needs to be big change at arsenal, ideally with a new owner, but Wenger must go regardless.

  12. Also, this kind of excuse making and paranoia has to stop:

    ‘It’s quite possible that Mr Wenger has seen the problem, but has simply failed to find the sort of player who will do better than the players we have in a consistent way and who is willing to come to Arsenal, knowing all the attacks on players and management that pour out from the media and some supporters each day.’

    I mean I’d laugh if it wasn’t so worrying. There’s a kind of extreme, pro wenger fanaticism that exists amongst -I hope- a minority of arsenal fans.
    Any anti wenger sentiment is met with either smug indignance or vicious attack. This applies to fans, pundits, journos and ex players.

    Fans who dare to complain are blamed for arsenal defeats.

    Journalists who dare to question wenger’s infallibility are accused of being part of a clandestine, anti arsenal plot.

    Ex players who dare to speak out are accused of treason.

    Other fans laugh at us

  13. @markmywurdz

    in the frugal years Arsenal not only spent less but as a consequence bought less players than the other big clubs. Certainly less ‘big’ players. The consequence has been less churn of first team players. At the other big clubs, the Walcott’s the Wilshires (and the Ox’s) would have been long gone to make room for incoming ‘big’ players.

    Look at Chelsea as a case in point. this season Nemanjic out and Babywhathis name in. Mata (player of the year two years running out to make room for a ‘better’ player.) It’s been going on ever since Abramovitch moved in. Remember Crespo, Muto, Veron, Schevchenko, Torres, and many more.

    What’s interesting is that all these huge buys of “world class players” (at least the ones I’ve mentioned), all failed miserably.
    Add to that letting go De Bruyne and Lukaku, and what you end up with is a pretty dodgy record of buying and selling. (The same happened at Man City, Shaun-Wright Philips, Adebayor, the Why Always Me man and Roque Santa Cruz leap to mind.)

    In the end, Chelsea and Man City succeeded because they threw so much money at the wall, and churned so many players, that they ended up with a better squad than Arsenal.

    My point is, Arsene has surely always wanted to find better players and move on the nearly men, he just hasn’t been able to throw money at fixing the problem.

    (However, IMO, you’re better off shunting out the nearly men even if you have no-one coming in, because nature abhors a vacuum and a solution will emerge, ie someone in the squad will step up to the plate or need will ensure you do find someone you can afford that will do the job.)

  14. Sagalout

    Couldn’t have put it better myself.

    I’m not a wenger hater, far from it. He’s just past it.
    He’ll be almost 70 if he finishes this contract. It’s a shame because he could have left on a high last season.
    Instead, I think things could get quite ugly.

    Whatever happens, it’s important for fans to remember that there was an Arsenal before wenger and there will be an Arsenal after wenger.

  15. alexanderhenry It is quite bizarre that we lose an FA Cup game and everyone loses their heads over the Manager. The same Manager who has won 3 FA Cups in the last 4 years but suddenly disrespects the competition. Really? Well as far as I am concerned he has FA Cup credit in the bank & doesn’t deserve some of this abuse.

    What we are now witnessing is the agenda driven hypocrisy by which he is judged.

    I just wish we would get an even handed approach. Some perspective regarding the reason players were rested, the lack of sufficient break, the injuries etc. None of us are Managers so we really don’t understand the subject as much as we think we do.

    I accept we were poor yesterday and Forest deserved the win.

    It’s a shame the media do such a great job mobilising the Wenger Out crowd but it’s where we are. It’s an agenda that will take a break when Wenger leaves but I expect the same section of fans will make noise again when they disprove of the next manager. And the next.

    Yes there was an Arsenal before Wenger and we experienced some great success. But we also had regular mid table finishes including a 10th and 12th in the seasons just before Wenger came here. Yes we will have success in the future but its so much harder now due to the huge financial muscle some clubs enjoy. That is not an excuse it’s a fact. I feel for Wenger that he was hung out to dry financially from 2005 – and that the media and our own fans haven’t got the brains to appreciate that.

  16. alexanderhenry – you will not be missed if you left yesterday as you have done nothing but pontificate on Arsenal & Wenger’s management. Please state some of your achievements in anything that make you sufficiently qualified to judge Wenger.

    Wenger is un-equalled in the game. His influence has transcended the media & all the pundits, commentators and players that try to judge him. They are mites in his shadow.

  17. Tony,you are missing the point based on your opinion “It is quite possible that Mr Wenger has seen the problem, but has simply failed to find the sort of player who will do better than the players we have in a consistent way and who is willing to come to Arsenal, knowing all the attacks on players and management that pour out from the media and some supporters each day”.
    Monsieur Wenger said in a recent interview when asked about how he is coping with the new recruitment chief (Mislintat) he said “we know every player in Europe before he arrived here(Mislintat)”.Your perception about Wenger finding the right kind of players who will be consistent is not correct. It will be dishonest to say that.
    I understand when you say the media and supporters attack the club. The supporters have every right to do that and NOT the media.But we have seen often how the media come against us.The media is a powerful tool that can make or mar a person regardless of whom you are not talk of a club.If you are a supporter and you read or see your club painted in a bad light it is only natural for you to feel sad and frustrated. And that is why the Boss needs to fix the team.Players that don’t contribute to the 1st or reserve teams should be shipped out.
    The team lacks the drive needed to move this Great Club forward.There is no competition. Wenger needs to plug the leak before it becomes irreparable.
    The fans are angry not just about yesterday because it is a one off thing.Mediocrity from the players has COST us greatly.And I stand to be corrected.We can’t win the Championship with these crop of players.I blame Wenger for the contract situation of Sanchez &Ozil.But that is a story for another day.
    Wenger is a genius no doubt.Anybody saying otherwise should think twice.If an English manager handles these set players I guess we will be languishing in the bottom half of the table.Mourhino &Guardiola would spend a country’s annual budget to win titles.But Wenger has shown over time with just as much or little he can still compete.But he needs to change his transfer policy so as to compete in clime of crazy transfer prices.I rest my case for now.


  18. Yes, our rotated team performance was not brilliant. Neither was it as bad as some critics suggest. The fact remains that Forest were given 2 penalties which decided the result (especially as the second one was not only wrongly awarded but also wrongly converted). Also, it was clear that free-kicks were awarded very unevenly between the sides. In fact, I can remember more than one given to Arsenal, to stop the play when advantage should have allowed play to continue. In the lead up to the first penalty, Moss ignored a blatant foul on Holding and then clearly upset him by penalising him for a series of “fouls” which were marginal, to say the least. The frustration and disillusion felt by the players was visible at this point. (the only relief from Moss was that at least, unlike Taylor, he didn’t try to physically block our team’s passes)

    How can some supporters continue to blame the team and the manager for results, when the last 3 matches (with most of the accompanying media response) confirm the obvious bias against Arsenal. As I have observed previously, a below par performance is always more likely to result in defeat when playing against 12 opponents in an unfair contest.

    Arsene clesrly knows the truth about corruption in football, having exposed it in France earlier in his career. He deserves the respect and support of all Arsenal supporters, and anyone else who values integrity in the game.

  19. Thank you John L. We could go and on about how poor our sides have been now and then, but to have to cope with playing against opponents who receive unofficial help every single time is asking our teams to be superior to what is on offer every time. That is asking them to play above their natural abilities and skills and still overcome glaring bias from the so-called referees.

    Question Arsene’s team selection, tactics etc but none of us on this side have the total picture and the factors that influence his decisions on transfers, and players to ship in or out. Why then do we speak as if we occupied the Manager’s seat we would do vastly better than he now does.

    Our comments and opinions will remain ill informed as long as we don’t have the full facts. The forces lined up against Arsene appear determined to humiliate and force him out of AFC on their own terms and have failed thus far. Would they be concerned about another Marseille episode in England? In due time all will be revealed. Those who sow carrots today should not expect to reap cabbage tomorrow.

  20. Lisa
    I couldn’t agree more. Endlessly throwing money at players is not the answer. Arsenal don’t tend to that, which is completely right and commendable.
    However, to get back on topic, we’ve just been comprehensively beaten by a team, that in comparison, don’t have two halfpennies to rub together. That might suggest to me that either our recruitment has been poor, or that the coaching, organisation and motivation of said players has been inadequate. Is that an unrealistic supposition?
    Tony consistently refuses to even consider this possibility and goes to great length to lay the blame at virtually everything else. In the comment I challenged, he basically argues that it’s the negativity of the fans and media, which hinders recruitment. Has he any evidence of this? Would Lionel Messi drop everything and run, if there was a bit more love in the air?
    Im always interested in the analysis on this website, but a lot of the posters are guilty of “selectively gathering evidence to prove an already held belief.” In that respect they are no better, no worse than the haters.

  21. afc nemesis

    ‘It’s a shame the media do such a great job mobilising the Wenger Out crowd’.

    Do they? Aren’t arsenal fans capable of coming to their own conclusions?
    Maybe you think they’re too stupid.

  22. Mark Mywords
    ‘That might suggest to me that either our recruitment has been poor, or that the coaching, organisation and motivation of said players has been inadequate. Is that an unrealistic supposition?’
    Or, and here is an original thought, they could simply have been completely off form that night, as simple as that, given the results so far in the Europa League from a similar starting eleven. Have you ever played any sport? If so you will have noticed that sometimes you play at the top of your game and sometimes have a shocker. It even happens at Barcelona and Real Madrid on occasion.

  23. In all fairness what we are seeing is a staleness in our approach to the game We have become very good on the ball ,very easy on the eye going forward but without penetration.As I watched Brereton running our defence ragged I came to wonder just how would say Welbeck have fared in such a set up.
    I concluded that he would have been just as dangerous .
    Maybe it’s not the players but the system.

  24. alexanderhenry – And you’re just plain naive if you think that people aren’t hugely influenced by what they see/hear in the media.

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