Changing Arsenal’s fortunes could take a lot more than is imagined.

By Tony Attwood

We live in a world in which it is commonplace to see problems as simple, and thus open to one solution, rather than seeing problems as caused by multiple issues.  In short there is a problem, and there is a single cause of that problem.

And yet history suggests over and over that the events we face have multiple causes, and that simple solutions don’t work.  Occasionally such simple solutions can work, but most of the time the problem has multiple causes and thus needs multiple solutions.

So we can see that Arsenal have just gone four games without a win at the start of a year for the first time since 1995, and need to find a solution to that.  Last time this happened the manager was George Graham, and he was removed from the club on 21 February 1995, although not because of the results but because of financial misdemeanours.

After the four games (two in the league, two in the FA Cup) without a win in 1995, the league table looked like this

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Blackburn Rovers 23 17 4 2 52 18 34 55
2 Manchester United 23 15 4 4 44 19 25 49
3 Liverpool 24 13 6 5 44 20 24 45
4 Nottingham Forest 24 12 6 6 36 26 10 42
5 Newcastle United 22 11 7 4 40 24 16 40
6 Tottenham Hotspur 24 11 6 7 41 35 6 39
7 Wimbledon 24 10 5 9 30 38 -8 35
8 Leeds United 23 9 7 7 29 27 2 34
9 Norwich City 24 9 6 9 22 25 -3 33
10 Sheffield Wednesday 24 8 8 8 31 32 -1 32
11 Manchester City 24 8 7 9 33 38 -5 31
12 Chelsea 23 8 6 9 30 31 -1 30
13 Arsenal 24 7 8 9 27 27 0 29

We were 26 points off the top of the table and six points off relegation.  We ended the season in 12th and eight points off relegation.  The following season with the new manager we ended up fifth in the league – one position above where we are now.

As for the team that we had at that moment when George Graham was sacked, it included Seaman, Dixon, Winterburn, Davis, Adams, Wright, Smith, Merson, Bould, Keown, Parlour.

The argument then was about the manager’s financial affairs, now it is about a manager who some would argue lost the ability to bring in the right players and manage a team a long time ago.  The criticism now seems to be not just that the manager has not brought in the right players but that he has lost the ability to manage the team that he has got.

So now the issue is different because the expectations are different from the last time this happened.  We had played 24 and got 29 points.  This time around we have played 23 and got 39 points, but the angst seems much, much bigger.

Pos Team Pld W D L F A GD Pts
1 Manchester City 23 20 2 1 67 17 50 62
2 Manchester United 22 14 5 3 45 16 29 47
3 Liverpool 23 13 8 2 54 28 26 47
4 Chelsea 23 14 5 4 41 16 25 47
5 Tottenham Hotspur 23 13 5 5 46 21 25 44
6 Arsenal 23 11 6 6 41 30 11 39

So the criticism this time is quite different; Arsenal should be higher up the league because we should be better than at least three of the times above Arsenal because… well, because we should.

If one argues that the team should be higher up the league because of the quality of players that we have then that does suggest that the management (not necessarily just the manager) is at fault.  But if one suggests that we should have better players then we are into a different arena.

And this is worth considering because different players seems to be the main theme of the media today.  The Guardian for example says, “In truth, there are weaknesses all over the pitch and it was hard to think of any Arsenal player who emerged with any credit apart from Jack Wilshere….The supporting cast around him, however, were a huge disappointment.”

But spotting better players and persuading them to come to a club is not quite as easy as many would suggest with the simplistic, “We should buy…” approach that some indulge in.   Players might not wish to come to Arsenal for all sorts of reasons: because they see Arsenal as a failing team, or perhaps because they have seen or heard about the discontent of the fans.  They also might not come to the club because they too agree that the whole team needs reshaping – and they don’t see that happening instantly.   Or it could be because other clubs will outbid Arsenal, or because the players are concerned about the way Arsenal are treated by referees…

Looking at that list, it is clear that just changing the manager doesn’t guarantee either that the existing squad will pick themselves up and do better, or that other players not at the club will be willing to come to Arsenal.  Of course it doesn’t mean that the whole list of reasons has to be active or accurate, but rather it suggests that if any one or two of them are real, Arsenal even under a totally different management, could struggle to bring in the players that, it may be argued, are needed.

So we can see that quite a few things are different today from when Mr Wenger came to Arsenal.

The first is the financial situation.  Arsenal were not the richest club in the country in the latter stages of the last century, but the club was nowhere near as far behind the rest of the pack as the club is now, in terms of the money needed to bring in the very best players.

Second, Mr Wenger brought a unique knowledge of talent around the continent; players who could be brought in and transformed into superlative club members (Vieira, Henry etc) whom other clubs and other managers were not aware of, or whose talent they did not perceive, and thus not bidding for   It is not like that now.

We will of course change the manager in due course, but I suspect that won’t by itself transform Arsenal into a team competing with Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, all of whom have riches far beyond anything Arsenal can lay its hands on at the moment.

Finding a man who, like Mr Wenger, could spot extraordinary talent and buy it for modest prices, is very unlikely.   Being able to compete with Chelsea, Man C and Man U is very unlikely.  So finding a manager who can do better a lot better might be difficult.  We might find a manager who will get us up to fourth, but then, as we know, fourth is not a trophy.

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54 Replies to “Changing Arsenal’s fortunes could take a lot more than is imagined.”

  1. Dear Tony Attwood. Fantastic write up. A brilliant and sensibile analysis.I wish had the fans read thiss!!!

  2. wenger don’t have anything to offer and if we can’t compet with the rest then what is the joy of supperting arsena?

  3. Mathew I think that is a very interesting point. You see, people like me support Arsenal because that is part of what we are. I’m a guy who supports Arsenal, writes for a living, goes dancing and gives unconditional love to my family. There are others, perhaps like you, who only support the club when they are winning. I get joy out of Arsenal in good times and bad – of course I prefer it when we do the double or go unbeaten all season, but I still go, still enjoy seeing my friends, it is still part of me, and I am still a small part of the club.

    It’s a different style and a different approach to life. The benefit to me is I am still smiling.

  4. I haven’t for awhile but I will today, participate that is. I am a fan who has become apathetic towards Arsene Wenger’s team. I’m not proud of this but it is how I feel. But your article Tony goes straight to the point. It acknowledges there is a problem. And quite accurately points out no matter how down we feel , it is not as bad as it’s been in the past.and indeed our cirrcumstances vis a vis other clubs is different. In these circumstances Arsenal will do well to get in the top 4 each year , let alone compete for the title itself. But I think Leicester, Spurs and Liverpool are clubs that have or are making a better fist of trying to compete with less resources than the super rich . Now Leicester were a rare one-off, and Spurs and Liverpool haven’t won anything yet. But they feel like examples of clubs who are striving and pushing to maximise their potential. With a combination of a good manager acquiring good players , setting them up in
    a system that gets the best of those players and inspiring them to compete consistently. As you say it isn’t one thing , it’s a number of things that need to work. But one man has the job of making all those things work. And at Arsenal it’s said that is especially so. Wenger can’t do anything about refs and bad decisions but he can do everything within his power to spot and acquire players with the necessary profile of attributes, select a playing style, deploy tactics, set the standards, inspire desire and confidence. The results and performance evidence over the last dozen years or so. With less money or more money at his disposal, shows Arsene has not really come close to a serious League title challenge. So is that because it is the extent of Arsenal’s potential or the extent of Arsene Wengers’s ability. The nature of nearly all of our last 12 League campaigns suggests the ongoing unresolved weaknesses in the off-the-ball, defensive aspects of Arsene’s teams have undermined our attacking prowess. This fault remains an indelible part of the current team, 4 at the back or 3 at the back. At any point, in any game, our defence is liable to concede sloppy goals. Arsene has had hundreds of games to prove he can create a strong enough team and now it’s getting worse, going backwards. Wengerball is lost too. Arsene has had enough chances. He earned them. But whatever the club’s true potential is now, another Manager with different ideas on players and style and balance is the next logical step. It may no be the only way to restore the Club’s reputation in fact.

  5. All that is very true Mr. Attwood. I don’t think any Arsenal fans expect us to win the league the minute Wenger leaves but the ones I know are tired of the often tedious football we play. After seeing most of the Pool/City game I was reminded of the style of exciting football we used to play under Wenger some years ago now. We could easily afford to have the squad Pool have, they’re not infinitely richer than us. Whilst they won’t win the league this year they may in the near future. What most of us feel is that Pool have a tangible ambition, the perception of many of my Arsenal fan friends is we have none, other than keeping Wenger at the club. The previous perception was that we put profit before trophies but the Sanchez farce seems to have quashed that belief.

    Also the business other teams do seems to make us look naive. Everton sell Lukaku for a fortune, Pool did the same with Suarez and now Coutinho. If Spurs sell Kane they’ll probably get well over 100 million for him. How do we not find these players and then either keep them or make vast profits? When was the last time Wenger found an inexpensive gem that made other clubs envious? Maybe you could argue Ox but he was hardly tearing up trees which he now seems to be doing at Pool, still you can’t judge him yet, let’s see what he does over a full season.

    I’m an old Arsenal fan from 1971. There have been worse times but I can’t recall a more stale period. I struggle to see exactly what Arsenal is these days.

  6. You can blame whoever you like but ultimately responsibility for our teams performances, team selection, tactics, player purchases and contracts are not down to the fans or referees but to our manager because that is what he is paid for. If the manager ( and I include all managers in this) can not develop the players he himself selected and signed into an effective unit then he has failed in his prime duty and should be held accountable. Obviously if the manager has a successful season then he can be accorded the accolades

  7. Certainly AFC cannot compete financially with the two Manchester clubs, that’s a given. Chelsea? Not as clear cut as some might claim. The two clubs have comparable incomes and wage bills that are not so dissimilar. Transfer spending has over the last five years or so has also been comparable, the relatively small difference being reflected in AFC’s cash reserves.

    What has been different is that Chelsea seem to have a plan (and if that means replacing managers who win titles so be it), and that when they do spend they do it more effectively. The recent record of the two clubs bears this out. Based on resources the two clubs should be battling for third place.

    You also have to acknowledge that we have been overtaken for now at least by both Liverpool (with they terrible manager we were told) and Spurs. Both these clubs have lesser resources than Arsenal, Spurs significantly less. Again these sides appear to have a plan, a style of play, and clear direction Something not evident at the Emirates.

    I’m taking pains not to name individuals who might be held accountable, but as a club we are very clearly under performing. All the previous title winning teams I recall all won their honours against the background of better funded clubs (GG was outspent and out waged by the likes of Liverpool, United, Spurs, Newcastle and even Everton and Villa at the start). This is not new, we’ve overcome these odds before. Unless we accept this and make a coherent plan to address it nothing will change, indeed things may well get worse. Maintaining the status quo simply cannot be an option.

  8. Reason in a pool of swirling anger( I reckon Freud would say there was a touch of projected wish for a kind of patricide in some of the hatred to Wenger on many blogs and podcasts-could be wrong though?)and false understanding on how transfers work and how to motivate a team. But we’ve been over all this for years now.
    Many people define their lives by Arsenals fortunes, and when the soup of joy isn’t there for many their thinking swings to extreme negativity and searches for the solution-in this current case many factors are at play, but AW is damned if he does or he doesnt, what these people want is their soup of winning joy.They see themselves as customers(?) and that Arsenal are a service to certain emotive states?
    But we watch football not only for the soup of joy, but the bitter herb soup of loss,(many arent aware of this) as the two are interwined, and Arsenals record for the last 20 years or so has been pretty good and the ‘catastrophe’ many are now calling this period isnt at all.But they are a factor in the negatvity thats abound, and take no responsibility for it? The verbal drum-beating means that Arsenal have a whole force of fear and anger to deal with even before kick off.The players are seperate or indifferent to this.
    When we see these factors adding up we can understand how a result like yesterday comes around-I don’t like it but psychologically endlessly complaining doesn’t give the therapy necessary to move on to pastures of trophies?
    Sometimes those who shout loudest understand the least? All shouting and complaining is a sign of fear?
    If AW and the lads were allowed to get on with their job how would that be?Imagine at the job you do,you have hundreds of thousands of people screaming at you that youre doing it worng each day…big laughs no? And theirony is they couldnt do your job!
    Yes, everyone has the ‘right’ to complain, and ironically it means the lads and manager and club have the ‘right’ to tell us where to put our complaints.
    Certainly going to be intresting to see who comes in?
    Thanks Tony.

  9. Well said Tony.

    I also agree that supporting a club is not only to do with winning.

    Older supporter, like myself, for whom football is not the be all and end all of our lives,, support the club because, somehow, it has become part of us.

    We feel great when we win and disappointed and sad when we lose.

    Yesterday’s shambles rested, in my view, on poor defence and poor attack. In other words there was nothing to redeem it.

    A bad day at the office, not helped by missing players.

    I think also that the change in the direction of the EPL’s leading clubs away from playing football, but more to preventing the opposition first, also mitigates against us.

    By all accounts, Liverpool were successful last night because they were better at pressing and harassing the Man$ity players than vice versa.

    Looking at all of the “top” teams, that is exactly what they do the whole time. The bus parking method is similar, as it prevents the opponents from playing, and make them vulnerable to the counter attack.

    AW cannot do that effectively, because the players he has brought in are not suited to that style of play. he wants his players to play.

    We saw that yesterday when the countless misplaced passes were aimed at colleagues usually surrounded by defenders.

    Do we simply want to win or to play football?

  10. Tony,

    I agree that as always, there is no simple solution and changing on parameter will have an un-expected effect on others, and thus not bring the expected result.

    I think what we are seing is the end of a cycle. AFC went into this cycle by adhering to FFP rules and wanting to build a sustainable team, including abiding by the home-grown rule. They did it at a time when their financial situation was not yet ‘positive’ as it is now.

    Sure enough they are considered one of the best managed teams in the world (financially speaking). But who cares about good management as long as some owner can dump truckloads of cash anytime needed…

    AFC has a base of what I would call ‘local’ players that have gone up through the ranks and some of them are ending up not good enough compared to today’s competition – but were good enough a few years ago.

    Yesterday AFC fielded the youngest team in years – that says a lot. Who was experienced on that pitch ? Well, Wilshere, Czech, (Ramsey for a small cameo) and that’s it….unless I am forgetting someone. Look at how old are our injured players : Giroud, Ozil, Koz, Montreal….

    Lacazette is going through the usual winter slump all Premier League newcomers go through.

    So I believe the squad will be re-designed this summer, hopefully around Wilshere/Ramsey and Ozil and it will take at least a season to gel. And the new scout Arsenal have hired is here to find the right gems.

    As for Alexis, you can’t on one side scream at AW that he needs to sell him and then scream at him for not fielding him if he is just waiting for the signature and avoiding unnecessary risks. I hate to see him go, yet in the past few months I’ve come to think he is not giving his all and has become a problem for the team.

    As AW said he’d sell only if he has a replacement, I am looking forward to finding ou who that replacement is.

    I do have an issue with the way Arsenal play. Just saying the other team park the bus just is not enough of an excuse anymore. How many crosses ended up on the head of the first defender…the technical quality is lacking there. And I’d expect solutions to be found to break the parking deadlock… Then again, how many times were AFC deprived of penalties or freekicks that could have broken that deadlock…it’s and endless story.

    The one interesting information of the week-end is that 1 billion pounds may buy you a PL trophy, but it will not buy you an unbeatable season….
    Say what you want, but AW will never get enough credit for that one feat.

  11. Okay, what’s the solution to the not only the 4 consecutive winless games that we’d suffered but the 2 defeats in the process? The Arsenal teams that played against Nottinhham Forest in the FA Cup and against Bournemouth yesterday were good teams. But the inability of the Gunners to kill off the opposition resistant in game was not taken by the Gunners against Bournemouth in particular, and the Gunners keep falling behind in the match at Forest to thus chasing the game and got cut on two occasions in the game to leave us with defeat.

    1. I think in trying to take the lead in the game again after we’ve conceded the equaliser at Bournemouth, Le Boss did one substitution by removing his centreback – Chambers for Ramsey to come in when it was obvious the Cherries were on pressing impetus pace pressurizing our backline, I don’t understand this kind of sub which Le Boss did. He took of Chambers for Ramsey, and the next thing that happened Ibe scored. What is that? He weakened his backline for the opposition to score or what?
    2. Of late at Nottinhham Forest and at Bournemouth, the opposition teams have found a away in pace intensity attacking play to break through our defenses in the game. I think this is a problem Le Boss has to urgently addressed with the minimum delay so that it doesn’t linger on. But nevertheless, when Oezil, Koscielny, Monreal and Kolasinac return to the team, this problem of being caught out on pacey play by the opposition will stop.

    Meanwhile, I want Le Boss to be sure Malcolm won’t be another Lacazette dump episode for Arsenal before he signs him. For, we can’t endure another Lacazette pains in the team who scored only 8 times in 23 PL outings for Arsenal. But Le Boss can sign Malcolm for the immediate future. But to my own thinking and wish, Aubameyang should be the correct replacement for the likely to depart Sanchez. However, a Mkhitayan plus cash by Man Utd for Sanchez is a welcome news wholeheartedly if it happens. Aubameyang, Mkhitayan and Malcolm to Arsenal this window? Dynamically Wow! But Sanchez & Walcott to leave to vacate rooms for 2 of the incoming to enter? Coquelin has already gone to vacate his room for one of the incoming trio? Let Le Boss decide.

  12. I honestly can’t wait for Sanchez to leave and I hope that he is greeted with as much “hate” as RVP was, once he inevitably joins Man U; clearly showing to everyone that money was the deciding factor (he certainly won’t win much at Man U).

    If we can get Mkhitayan out of the deal, then that would be brilliant, but I genuinely believe that Sanchez leaving will help the mentality of our team, as he was apparently such a problem player and has been nowhere near his best this past season.

    We will still need to replace him with highly penetrative player, as that is something that our team is completely and utterly lacking. According to Sky Sports, Malcolm’s agent was in London, so he seems like a high possibility and would be a brilliant coup.

    We are fairly weak in quite a few positions, but this is probably one of the first things that need sorting out.

  13. All we talk about is how much is spent, the refs decision [while the management has done bugger all.] etc. you can say what you like or justify our failures by blaming someone else. Every single time, the blame is deflected from AW by blaming the refs, FA, grass, injury…you name it, but never the manager. History tells you that no matter what, the manager takes the flack and is sacked if players don’t perform or even unhappy.

    If we don’t have the money, as its constantly dished out, [which no one believes] the simple solution is “hard work”!!! which has been missing for a long long time. Just see the shift, the players of teams like Liverpool, Spurs, City put in and compare it with our boys.

    Anyone has been has been watching our games will tell you that none of the players give a shit. Young upcoming players are busy parting till 3 am 48 hrs before the game…that sums up the players attitude, it’s too easy for them, putting in 0 performance week after week has no repercussions. Young or fringe players don’t take their chances when given and it showed in the FA cup match. There is no drive, no passion no commitment from the players and the club expect that fans travel back and forth.. all over the country and Europe spend stupid money to watch a bunch of non-interested players who are just there for easy money. If they don’t, their tickets are revoked. Did anyone see AW’s post press conference? I haven’t seen a farcical one before….AW is surprised that how we made those mistakes leading to the goals. I am sure he is managing Arsenal and has been on the touch line no?……because we have been making the same mistakes match after match after match after match. Why the hell should he be surprised? They are coached by him is it not?

    Another point I’d like to mention. When Anfield bosses lied to us about Suarez, this site mocked, laughed and called the management liars. What has our club management, particularly AW done? Lied and lied and lied. In the past when player were on their final yr of contract, they held us to ransom & we were told in plain terms that it will NEVER HAPPEN AGAIN!!!…..then we had the RVP issue, our best player…sold to our rival and went on to win the title the following season…yes we took the money and ran, ridiculed, mocked them, called them stupid for buying an over paid player at the end of this career with not re-sale value. Well, they / he mocked us by winning the title. Who looked stupid? Now we have come back full circle…3 players on the final 4 months of their contract and our best player, off to either united or city…our rivals. He will be going laughing to the bank and if its city, win the title, or united…will fight for the title next yr. while we??? Run with the money, will still mock, ridicule call them stupid for buying an over paid player at the end of this career with not re-sale value.

    AW and management lied to us then and have done so again……now will you have the courage to call AW a liar or will to butter it up with some wishy-washy write up justifying all this mess.

  14. Actually, if you add the 2 points we lost in the 89th minute to taht appalling Mike Dean decision at WBA, we would only be 3 points adrift of Spurs. Considering how much praise Spurs get, that probably illustrates the disproportionate way the media focus all their attention on us. There is also no allowance for the fact that we are missing key game changers too; the likes of Kos, Giroud, Ramsey, Monreal, Sanchez and Ozil.

    Still, we should be doing better we all know that but valid excuses should be accepted not laughed off or ignored as is always teh case where Arsenal are concerned.

    PS: As much as I admire Peter Cech I think Ospina deserves a run in the PL team.

  15. Well there are fans and there are consumers

    Fans have a bond to the club and will support it even when it hits a rough patch.
    Consumers have the opinion that because they paid a few quid for the TV broadcast or some more for a ticket, they have the right to know, demand and decide all, and the right to criticize, mock, insult, troll, harass, threaten anybody at the club : owner, board, manager, player.

    Thing is most have no idea how football works. For example, if there is one website where the homegrown rule has been explained, it is on UA.
    But guess what ? Many here still don’t get it. Coquelin was homegrown and if I am not mistaken, so was Ox. So we’ve lost 2 of them. Now if we sell Walcott, that is 3. If I am not mistaken, a third one lost would mean we cannot hire anyone to replace Sanchez unless he is homegrown…. Just shows how stupid and shortsighted these so-called fans/experts are.

    And finally, there is no law that says a player has to extend his stay. Players good or bad have agents, have a 15 year career if all goes well and are mercenaries (maybe with exceptions of club DNA players like Gerrard, Wilshere) and do whatever they want, even if they have signed a contract that prevents them from doing so. Putting all the blame on the club makes no sense to me.

  16. We need a managerial change, pure and simple. A lot of our current failings are due to managerial incompetence- caliber of signings, balance of the team, team selection, player s contracts, you name it! And, until recently, Wenger had resisted attempts to tweak things and bring in new ideas. In 2015/16 we spend only 10m on a goal
    keeper. Even with that, we had the best chance of winning the league, but we fluffed it.
    One could go on and on!
    The excuse of money lacks validity. The financial strength of the club is public knowledge, and yet there is no investment in the team. Last summer the club amassed some 70m and spent only 50m on one player thus effectively weakening the team.
    I have been an ardent Wenger admirer and will ever remain one for what he has done for our beloved club. But I think we need something different; and the time for change is now

  17. @ AFC Nemesis,

    you have a point about Ospina. I’m not son impressed by Cech anymore. He’s good, no question about it. Outstanding ? I don’t really know anymore.

    Our backline is ‘unbalanced’ : 3 players are past 30 and one is not anymore top form, the others are rather young and don’t have the depth of experience.
    I think it shows. Mustafi is not yes the boss Kos or Per can be – he’ll get there, no doubt.

    So with a backline problem, is the goalie suffering unduly because of that and is criticism unfair or should the goalie be the one who compensates ? Difficult to answer

  18. Mr. Ogban, so our financial strength is public knowledge?


    Company accounts mean only anything to accountants, and, even then only in a tax context.

    How much do we still owe on the stadium?

    How much pension provision do we have to set aside every year for our employees?

    How much of the club’s income goes on salaries for the non-playing staff and the junior players?

    No doubt there are plenty more questions that I doubt any of us know the answers for, which affect the financial viability of the club.

    Just like none of us have a clue about what is required to sign a player, so none of us have a clue about the finances of the club.

    We do not have a benefactor who is happy or, possibly, even able, to write cheque for anything that we ask for.

    It seems that Abramavitch has pulled in the purse strings at Chel$ki in recent years.

    As for the claims that Liverpool and the scum have spent less than us on transfers in recent years, that is cloud cuckoo land.

    Yes, their net spending may be less than ours, (is it?) but the receipts for Bale and Suarez and now Coutinho mean that they have bought large numbers of players for silly money, many of whom have turned out to be duds.

    Whilst it is true that the buck tends to stop with the manager, we see that with our manager, the club show the appreciation and reality that he deserves.

  19. Errrm, why does untold come up with the “plenty reasons” excuse when we talk about arsenals failures, but when it comes to arsenal doing well, untold only praises the manager and to some extent the players. Isn’t this hypocrisy?

  20. One thing that does concern me is Jack Wilshere reckons he hasn’t been sat down and his new contract discussed.
    Even if we don’t want him at the club his signature has a value.
    I hope this isn’t true

  21. Fishpie
    “another Manager with different ideas on players and style and balance is the next logical step”. I can only say, we probably could not do any worse now.

    For me, Arsene Wenger has lost it, all his experience and years now seem to be a hindrance rather than a benefit.

    For years, i have critisised his (almost non existent)strategies, his outdated training methods(results) and his man-management of the players.
    Today we see the results of that bearing fruit.

    For sure, he brought Arsenal to glories, but that is in the past now, and to the future Arsenal must look.

    Arsenal must now go forward without Arsene Wenger, unless the whole point of Arsenal is/was to be a mediocre team hovering between 5-10(?) place in the PL.

    As stated above, maybe it’s not just Wenger, many have been critising the board too, but i have no idea of their workings, i just know what i see on the pitch week in week out and it seems obvious to me that Arsenal cannot even compete with lower table teams. Why?

    The only blame for that has to fall on the manager’s shoulders, after all, that is his well paid job, and he is failing disastrously at it, taking Arsenal to even lower depths year after year.

  22. Don’t see why we should hate Alexis. He wants more money, which we cannot offer or don’t want to offer and he wants to win the title, which again we cant offer. AW is a liar.

  23. Gouresh. This is the problem, some fans think its fine for players to ignore their contracts.

    Whether you agree or not he signed a contract. That contract stipulated his wages, bonuses and conditions of employment. No different from the rest of us. He was happy to accept those terms.

    So excuse me for expecting him to honour his contract and actually PLAY for us.

    This is everything that is wrong with football today. The more money that comes into the game, the more that goes into players pockets. Yet all we hear from the media is how they can’t blame the player for leaving and fans following this same line.

    The sooner we all started standing up to these greedy, selfish players the better.

  24. @AFC Nemesis,

    I fully agree. And sometimes the player is not the only culprit, the agent who gets paid by club and player is pushing for a deal.

    As long as there is no salary cap, the system cannot be fixed. Yet even with a salary cap, you’re gonna have player who want to push the issue and not respect their word.

    On the other hand, sonme clubs are not respecting theirs….but in the case of AFC, they are one club who stand up to their commitments. They get enough flak for doing so.

    Greed and hubris….

  25. It’s not just about money because we have spent recently, more than Liverpool and spurs, which for some reason you choose to ignore.

    £52 million for lacazette
    £35 million for xhaka

    These are just bad buys, especially xhaka

    Also, allowing three players including the club’s two most valuable, to run down their contracts amounts to complacency on an epic scale.

    The club ideally needs a new owner but wenger must go in the meantime. He’s not the manager he once was and he’s now damaging the club.

    I used to be a wenger fan and I’m grateful for what he did in his first 15 or 16 years but his time is surely up.

    It’s really not so terrible to face up to

    We’re all arsenal fans at the end of the day.

  26. Para. Understand your sentiment and frustrations.

    First off, in defence of Wenger he has been hugely successful and delivered some of the most exciting football any of us have seen played. He also stayed loyal and kept us competitive even when forced to sell players to make a profit during the stadium project. All of these things are facts. He’s won more FA Cups than our clubs history before he joined along with more League and Cup doubles. He gave us the Invincibles. Despite all the criticism, it is largely ignored (does not fit the narrative) that he has won 3 FA Cups in 4 years. Another amazing achievement. In time, he will be looked back as a visionary and a legend.

    Ironically, Wenger created the high expectations he is measured by. The media have never forgiven him, so he doesn’t get a fair press. Still.

    The last few seasons I have become frustrated at the lack of top signings for key positions. For this I don’t know who to blame. Wenger, the board, finances etc. I am not a finance guru and I know that Man City are owned by an oil state and Manchester Utd are Manchester Utd. I am a realist. However, I saw a graph yesterday that probably explains the situation. I have a feeling Wenger is not being given what he truly needs and that needs to change.

    Since Pep and Mourinho joined the Manchester teams, opp 6 spending:-

    Man City: £391m
    Chelsea: £321m
    Man Utd: £319m
    Liverpool: £159m
    Spurs: £144m
    Arsenal: £141m

    Injuries and tantrums aside, our lack of quality in certain positions needs addressing. Where the buck stops I don’t know.

  27. @Chris.
    Exactly.The more money that pours in, the more the players and their agents take out. With the blessing of the media and some fans who somehow blame the club.

  28. If your figures are right AFC Nemesis and assuming an Arsenal manager will never have the kinds of budgets the Super Rich clubs have, then we need to play a pragmatic game with a structured defence. We will never get enough technically brilliant players to be able to play a sucsessful Wengerball. And Wenger isn’t the pragmatic man we need. He’s too idealistic.

    Alternatively, I think Wenger has had loads of money and he has spent it on a couple of star players and a whole bundle of pretty average squad players. That’s not a team. Thats an average team with a couple of frustrated stars.

    If I were in charge I’d build a solid defence and go from there.

  29. Whatever might have happened during Arsène’s tenure as Manager of AFC, he has a right to his good name. He doesn’t deserve any derogatory epithets or character denigration such as a poster on this blog has done for no obvious or valid reason. The man deserves our utmost respect and gratitude for his positive contributions to AFC over the years and is capable of doing more without being held back by so much negativity and vitriol from us.

    As Tony said in this write up we may be focusing/discussing the wrong things especially as outsiders. Let the Club hierarchy deal with it as they are no strangers to all of the Press attacks and ref issues affecting the Club. We cannot find an enduring solution without the involvement of Club management we deceive ourselves if we think that the fans can force a solution on AFC. We may have our say but the Executive will always have their way. Constructive criticisms please.

  30. I think we will only know all should wenger reveal all, he may have too much class to do so, but strongly suspect he has been given nowhere near as much money as many would imagine, we dont know the small print on Stans little deal with Danny F, and perhaps never will. But I would not be at all surprised if wenger has been instructed to hoard cash with other investments in mind, a cash rich asset may mean more preferential loans in Stans world, journalist Matt Scott has plenty to say on this type of thing.
    I am sure wenger has been given money to get players of a level, but that might not be enough to compete with some, or keep elite players happy.
    But facing reality, the team have declined in the league in the last season and a half, weaknesses remain, seemingly not addressed, this is worrying. Like most things, causes may be complex and multiple, maybe even temporary. I do have very serious concerns over our manager, to me , he has burnout written all over him. He has, perhaps very willingly, taken on far more than most of his peers, looking after players is only 1 of his many roles, that will eventually take its toll in such a high pressure, demanding environment, especially for a workaholic.
    A man like wenger will not walk away over such a thing, he will stay to try and make things better, not saying he is there yet, nor am I denying the fact it may be, but if he really is suffering from the very real condition of burnout, the club and players will quickly end up getting diminishing returns from him. The problem is, if this is the case , is there anyone at the club or amongst his friends to step in and gently lead him away, I am not so sure.
    I recognise what increasingly see in Wengers face and demeanor to what I have seen in a very close friend, believe me, if there are any similarities in the two of them, then, for very different reasons to most, I sincerely hope this is wengers last contract, as I strongly suspect may be the case

  31. “It’s not just about money because we have spent recently, more than Liverpool and spurs, which for some reason you choose to ignore.”
    Yet again this is just a story made up to suit a point.

    Last summer:

    Sead Kolasinac – free
    Alexandre Lacazette from Lyon, £46m

    Mohamed Salah £36.9m
    Andrew Robertson £8m
    Naby Keïta undisclosed
    Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain £35m

    That is the most recent transfer window, and gives the detail of Liverpool and Arsenal, and once again an assertion made here is completely wrong. No more, it is taking up too much of my time to counter these stories. There are plenty of websites that do publish them, without any question, so go and do it there.

  32. gouresh – what is this liar shit you keep sprouting? Wenger has never lied to me.

    If Wenger wants to state a fact in his way, it is ok by me.

    It is time for many of you Wenger haters to move on. Wenger built this Arsenal with a lot of sacrifice & his income is peanuts compared with what it could have been had he been mercenary.

    As good as Alexis is, he is not the best in the club. I feel that Wenger has a whole new approach to Arsenals future. Despite all the cheating officials and the bile from so called supporters, Wengers Arsenal will come through with flying colours.

    With any change, patience is key. Wenger is still above the FA & its bias despite all he has to put up with from media supported banners & placard waving morons. One would think that Arsenal was struggling at the bottom of the league.

  33. Sophism, I didn’t know this word the other day, but now I am aware of it’s existence and although I already understood the concept, I now have it in my locker to use, and so will do so.

    a clever but false argument, especially one used deliberately to deceive.

    I might be giving too much credit to the Wenger OUT brigade, but then again effectively misleading the masses, due to a systematic understanding and exploitation of their general lack of understanding, knowledge, reason and effectively using their ignorance to undermine an institution is quite, cunning if unwise.

    Tony missed out the exploration of being internally undermined, and this is something I am well aware of: shareholders undermining the club, during an economic slump, owners undermine the club in that same period, but also the leaking of transfer targets, to other rival affiliates.

    The simple fact is that, Ramsey had to come on, in order to gain fitness as there aren’t any other fixtures between now and Chelsea, other than Palace, he has to play him, he also had to rest Jack, who is looking imperious.

    If the media create a furore regarding Alexis and Ozil, putting them in the spotlight would be incredibly unwise, so he had no other option than t rely on the reserve team. I am quite sure that, Arsene is aware of the needs within the team, but destroying Koscielny’s body to have him play, not right. France need to cut that out, for a start. similarly with Sead, Jack and Aaron. Whilst Girouds injury is untimely as was Monreal’s.

    Indeed, I have had some time off work and will go to address the issue of being abused in the work place, another girl left because of it. I have witnessed a systemic problem within the company in this regard, even when I was temporarily transferred.

    The fans hate you, the media hate you, players are allowed to try an end your career through injury with impunity, even if you play well, the referee may effectively make you lose, or draw, meanwhile you are aware that with just a little justice, you’d win leagues, qualify higher up the table, avoid injuries and be able to reinforce through force of reputation.

    This is what happens when you allow certain politically affiliated bodies control of mass media.

    Patricide, with a little self sabotage, well yes there are a lot of people with undiagnosed bi polar depression, so it would be logical to accept this as a potential risk.

    The Wenger out brigade, have at no point produced a balanced argument for removal, nor have they even broached the subject of the media, or shown a modicum of compassion, when considering the impact of all this negative attention. They not only lack credibility, but basic application of logic.

    The four teams in the top four are all abusing various aspects of the rulebooks, 2 are US funded and republican owned, 1 is Saudi, quite literally the country we have been sanctioning illegal arms sales to and plan to float it’s largest oil reserve on our stock exchange (countries are literally rewriting legislation to get the contract) and the third is Russian owned and affiliated to the incumbent regime, who are UN sanctioned and being investigated for war crimes and human rights abuses.

    Yet supposed Arsenal Fan(TV lovers) want us to simply wade in and move above them. Chelsea are spending money that doesn’t exist, City are using a country’s oil reserves and Liverpool, I have no idea how they spent. so much in such a short period legitimately.

    What is noteworthy, is that we can spend more, but certain purchases are not being sanctioned. Where if someone costs £90m half the world says we should buy him. That is insanity. I would simply never spend that much on anyone, Again the most I have ever spent in Football Manager was £69m on Reus.

    However incidentally, no matter how hard I tried, I always had to shift most of the team, whilst I only ever maintained, Hector, Jack and Aaron. Kos and Sagna back in the day I could hold onto if I didn’t want to generate captal. Nobody else survived more than a season or two. Even down to the 17 version.

    The one person I could sometimes keep, just left in real life. The most effective players, were always those who cost the least.

    Something reflected in our own legends and many of the players who have made big money moves in more recent times.

    The problems on the pitch are actually little to do with the managers management, 4-3-3 is little different to 3-4-2-1 it only requires the two behind the CF to negotiate their positioning more independently, something both Alexis and Ozil are capable of. it also simply requires one CB to step out into the DM role, not too difficult either.

    What you are seeing is accumulated fatigue, more mental than anything else.

    I forgot to mention weather, massive factor. If Alexis goes to United, I cry foul, it’s ludicrous, more Ludicrous than City, or RVP was.

    Arsene is 6 months from glory, in terms of squad balance, the heat is up, they dream of his failure. I have broken down the format for those changes, it simply remains, that using some reserve cash to finance restructuring before then was economically more sound than the route taken, which makes me cry foul, even more.

    The thing which is most rewarding about our current approach, is that we really do separate the men from the boys, those fully committed, from those after a paycheck and trophies. But Wenger must be getting hella headaches, because he is risking losing some innfluencial characters, surely not by his own choice. Henry and co all over again, poor guy.

    Meanwhile we have second major shareholder, stating he wants to add to the reserve cash in order to allow more disposable income for purchases, which is totally the way forward, yet he is frozen out of the board. I mean I’m weeping foul.

    If Alexis comes into training first and talks with Arsen and Arsene honestly says, man I can’t say he wants to buy, I can see how he is wanting to leave, I was hurt by Henry, but I understand that better now and this equally. I’m not gonna ask someone to die with me, simply because I am prepared to do so.

    What I would say is, agree the fee for departures and potentially contracts, see if we can get in someone’s and buy first, play them all together and see what happens, then ask if they still want to go.

    Aubamayang, is the perfect CF for us, if we could do that and negotiate the sale of Theo and Giroud. to offset. do it first. if we get him, we can get Reus. Simply, that front four, you don’t stop scoring.

    You don’t need a defence, as Liverpool are proving.

    If I were in charge, I would get in:


    in Jan £130, and offset it with Giroud, Walcott, Coquelin and Cambell. that would return aroud £85m net spend £45m

    And I would tell party’s Giroud and Theo have good world Cups, they appreciate, so don’t tell me nothing. if you sell Debouchy, you have all the space you need and cover for each position.

    You’d need a state of the art team to manage that.

    Of you bought Reus and a RB and a GK in the summer, you’d be onto awinner. Job done./

    Sometimes the simplest solution to a complex problem is staring at you.

  34. Well an ancient supporter since 1953. And I dont think the team has a lack of talent. But, my goodness it has a lack of defensive organisation. For all the boring teams George Graham put out he certainly knew how to organise a defence. One great player in Tony Adams and a pretty good one in Martin K. The rest a series of pick-ups from here and there. Graham drilling that defensive line made a defence that ‘one nil to the Arsenal’ usually meant a victory. Noting wrong with the talent but everything wrong with tactics and organisation.

  35. AFC. agree with u. We cannot also force him to sign a new contract and he is free to walk away at the end of it. We have to get some money back hence we will sell him. No one is forcing to sell him . Let him honour his contract.

  36. Thank god you aren’t in charge Fishpie as we’d surely be in the hands of a rank amateur:)
    Those who come here to diss Wenger are usually the simplistic, one size fits all solution types who have zero experience in anything other than moaning about a man whose shoes they are not fit to lick. Not ONE of you lot have presented ANY evidence that your ¨solution¨ will fix anything, nor have you presented ANY rational arguments to support your assertion.
    I can see that Wenger is trying to find a solution that actually works, and is struggling with all the injuries, the unfairness of the referees, the defensive difficulties changing his defenders brings, the attitude of Alexis, finding the right replacements for some players,etc. As Tony says, it isn’t as easy as some of you simplistic sirens propose, because if it was so easy then you’d be champion managers like Wenger.

  37. Mike Collins you beat me to Highbury by 3years and I agree with you.We have good players that are too lackadaisical, not coached correctly and give the impression that they are not working hard enough to rectify their oft repeated mistakes. Over my 61years of watching I have seen worse but I have also seen a club going forward but not for the past few years

  38. Omg ,you want to talk football ? As opposed to stating all the standard excuses of it’s everyone else.You see what we play on the pitch how would you set up? Would you make sweeping changes to our play or tinker around the edges.Would you play similar tactics against footballing sides as you do against bus parkers.? Would you look at the better teams Europe and go onto the pitch with a plan to nullify their strengths or take a beating .You say that you can see that Wenger is trying to find a solution.I can see that A solution is needed but I can’t see what is happening to provide it.

  39. I’d forgotten how depressing those last months of George were. Personally found that much bleaker than the current situation! Alexis is a professional footballer from a tough place in chile, who has been brilliant for the Arsenal and I wish him all the best wherever he heads off to, he owes us nothing. The idea of getting Aubeyemang and mkhitaryan seems like a good one as they were a great duo at dortmund. I would love Wilshere to stay though,an outstanding footballer! Up the Gunners!

  40. Aubamayang arrives, Alexis stays, we swap Theo out and get Mahrez.

    New Greek defender gets registered and Debouchy leaves.

    Cohen comes back from loan and Giroud heads to a CL club such as Napoli.

    We buy a DM and get Butland sorted before World Cup ends.

    Elneny leaves in the summer and Lucas makes his move permanentl.

    Campbell is offloaded either now or later and Reus joins the guy he made a transfer pact with and played with for 4 years.

    We sign Meyer on a free unless he goes to Bayern.

    Next seasons 25 reads:

    Wilshere (HG)
    Ramsey (HG)
    Iwobi (HG)
    Bellerin (HG)
    Chambers (HG)
    Holding (HG)
    Butland (HG)
    Niles (HG)
    Bramall )HG)
    Macey (HG)

    Making a 25 man squad

    Reine Adelaide

    All breaking through in a 4-3-3



    Footing the bill.

    It’s not far fetched at all.

    Aubamayang could be the key. That is a signal of intent, so Alexis wants 350,000 and City pulled out and Pep said he expects Alexis to be at Arsenal come next season start.

  41. alexanderhenry writes

    ”Also, allowing three players including the club’s two most valuable, to run down their contracts amounts to complacency on an epic scale.”

    Looking at the events of the past 72 hours featuring Alexis & his agent – OilWells Unlimited walking away from a deal – blown out of the water – Mr Wenger saved the club from paralysis.

  42. Financially!

    £36m Mahrez
    £54m Aubamayang
    £43m Reus
    £16m Butland
    £0m Meyer
    £26m Rugani?
    £26m Carvalho?

    £181 Total


    £26m Walcott
    £12m Coquelin
    £17m Perez
    £10m Elneny
    £7m Ospina
    £9m Jenkinson
    £5m Campbel
    £1m Debouchy
    £4m Monreal
    £28m Giroud

    £119 Total

    Net spend £61m

    Average annual budget for transfers available £130m

    Transfer budget spent this season net = –

    Wage budget reduction for offloading <£25m annually

    Covers additional outlay for Ozil, Alexis and Aubamayang

    Additional expenditure on wages


    Difference saved from this seasons covers 1.5yrd of contracts for new acquisitions.

    non purchase expenditure Over additional 3.5yrs averaged £465m

    Equates to 10% of transfer budget over 3.5 added wage budget £465m less £154m = £311m

    By which time Alexis, Ozil, Koscielny, Cech, Reus and Aubamayang are done.

    And Ramsey, Wilshere, Lacazette, Mahrez, Mustarfi are negotiating end career contracts.

    The remainder are peaking or at peak level.

    It's a simple solution to what seems a complex problem with VAR and technology eradicating 85% incorrect decisions and march fixing capacity. Not PGMOL.

    It is absolutely business sense. And you don't need any additional funds to accomplish it if you adjust wage structure by reducing transfer budget to offset.

    The game will become more lucrative with emerging viewer markets in US, Asia and Africa.

    Any director who didn't acknowledge that as fact makes me cry a river of FOUL.

    Only Bayern could prevent us from signing Meyer and Liverpool or Chelsea Butland.

    Reus you get if you get Aubamayang and Mahrez wants us and DM and CB worth their salt wants to be required, VVD is a clear example.

    Poor guy getting Liverpools Karma.

    Well done Ox, once a gooner!


    Henry, stop waffling AW – TH14

  43. P.S.

    Xaka has Vieria problems

    And we played kids, accelerated development, admirable performance.

    The breakdown assessed the defeat at Bournemouth exceptionally well and he’s always honest and pretty spot on.

    We lost due to inexperience, naïveté and individual error.

    3-4-2-1 is a 4-3-3 of your forwards work.

    I forgot to generate a space and. £13m from Danny.

    Arsene finish it! Sorry I ever thought I doubted you!

  44. Mikhi, no! No one comes from United, Chelsea, Manchester City or Liverpool. Spurs can give us Toby for free. I’d have that guy over any CB going!

    Barcelona bought at CB and Laporte should go to Real. Juventus have 1 to many and nowhere else but united or Liverpool can accommodate him. With City needing HG players and Chelsea not Ann option. That rivalry is distinct.

    Cross the divide, you start and don’t spend the next few years without money to add and just like Liverpool that team are about to be found out.

    Bayern is wilderness in transition and Athletico are unable to finance, their GK will probably be the casualty, Simeone is aware and trying to ensure it doesn’t happen.


    Zizu, headaches, sell bale to united. And offload the fringes. Chelsea sized problems, team is stale, he has to do it all during WC group stages to avoid paying the earth. Draxler fits. So does Lemar. Kane, Laporte and De Gea.


  45. Hazard + Coutois to La Liga

    Jose is geling that squad, the Red Devil is beginning its rise, he has a point to prove. United fans are insane.

    Mata, Mikhi, Herrera, Blind, Felaini all gone!

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