Arsenal: Eight reasons to be cheerful ahead of the new season – and then some.

By Tony Attwood

Ten years and a bit ago – in April 2008 to be exact, I wrote an eight part series on Reasons to be Cheerful.   It’s not the only “Reasons to be Cheerful” series on Untold – I did another three in 2009 and there have been several since.  I’m not going to point you back to the articles (they are still there if you want to find them, but if you do, please remember, 10 years ago I was very new to this blogging lark).

And I mention this because today I’ve seen two articles citing reasons to be cheerful – and between them they have found eight such – exactly as I did ten years back, although of course the reasons are now quite different.

But first I wondered, what happened in those 10 years?  Was my cheerfulness rewarded?   Well, quite simply we won the FA Cup three times, we had eight years in the Champions League and a highest finish of second.

So then I wondered what happened to some other teams.   Liverpool! for example won the League Cup once, got into the Champions League four times and had a highest finish of second.  1-0 to the Arsenal I think.

Man U have done better than us: they have won the League three times, the FA Cup once, the League Cup once and the Europa League once and had seven years in the Champions League.  We can’t deny their success.  1-1.

So moving on I thought, well, Tottenham, there’s a team that really gets results and does fantastically well.  I know this because the media tell me so every day.  How did they do over these ten years?  They had four years in the Champions League, a highest position of second, and won, oh, nothing.  2-1 to us.

Manchester City won the League three times and the FA Cup once,  and the League Cup three times and had seven years in the Champions League.  Yes money wins. 2-2.

Chelsea did the best in these ten years with three League titles, three FA Cups, and the Champions League and a League Cup.  2-3.   We’ve done better than Tottenham and Liverpool! across these ten years, but worse than Man U, Man C and Chelsea, the three monied clubs.  (Although to be quite clear, Man U spend their own money as to Arsenal and Tottenham.  Man C, Chelsea and Liverpool spend other people’s money).

So reasons to be cheerful – did it come off?  In the sense that we didn’t win the League or a European trophy, no, not so good.  But it is interesting that Chelsea, the most successful team of the last ten years, is not (at the moment) striding ahead based on that success.  Of course you could say that about Arsenal in that we have dropped out of the Champions League but looking around I have found a few positives.

And Untold is not the only people seeing a positive.  Mad about EPL for example see three positives to take into the new season: a strong defence, an electrifying attack and positivity among fans.  That last is interesting in that most of the time we are the only people saying that the attitude of fans has an effect on the club – citing the reluctance of players to come to a club where the fans are unhappy, and have no problem in coming forward to express that point of view.  So if fans really are positive, that is good to see.

Of course you would not expect to be anything other than positive, but their input today is particularly positive today with five reasons to be cheerful.

First, “Torreira is more than than a fighter”, not just crippling the opposition but screening the centre backs.

Second there was praise of 18 year old Reiss Nelson with his ability to drift past challenges and make things happens.  He’s now ready to remove the handbrake they say.

Third with Kolasinac injured and Monreal only just back and maybe injured they suggest Ainsley Maitland Niles will play against Manchester City, and showed his normal pace and calmness last night.  And they say he’s up to the job of containing both Riyad Mahrez and Leroy Sane,  although hopefully not both at the same time.

Fourth, and of course he has to be included, is Guendouzi, the “standout” player of pre-season.  They also note he is at the heart of the fun and games with the rest of the team, always praising and encouraging.

And finally they note the fact that Emery also experiments.   It is an interesting one and here’s their final point in full…

“We started with a front two of Lacazette and Nketiah with Nelson and Iwobi wide and Torreira and Xhaka in the centre of midfield – a 4-2-2-2 which looked more like a 4-4-2 when we didn’t have the ball. But that changed at half-time when Aubameyang replaced Nketiah. Auba went to the left, Iwobi moved to the right and Lacazette stayed central. Unai Emery has used every opportunity he can to try out different formations and partnerships.”

So reasons to be cheerful?  Well, ten years ago I found a load, not least because I felt very much on my own writing positives about Arsenal in a world where all one got from the newspapers and the blogs was negatives.  We still get that, but at least I’m not just writing for a handful of mates.  There’s a couple of guys in New Zealand, one in Nigeria, that chap in Shetland, and there’s Andrew, Blacksheep and Walter… not to mention our kind hosts in the Swimmer before the game.



18 Replies to “Arsenal: Eight reasons to be cheerful ahead of the new season – and then some.”

  1. Good wake up article Tony. You missed out the Doctor in Malaysia, Gooners from Uganda, Goa, Pune, and all the USA Gooners & Canada. My mate Gord with gifts that are rare & ignored by those who have none.
    Yes, we have a super squad & an exciting new coach who will bring out a new set of processes for us to enjoy.

    COYG & give us joy.

  2. Tony, you miss me too. From Eastern Nigeria.
    Arsenal may not be winning every game or cup this season but I have many reasons to be cheerful. This site was a lovely escape from the gibberish the press was selling (still selling, if you consider the number of players the media are buying for us) about the club. I stopped tuning to a particular radio station in my city because of their sports presenter who is not only Cheashit half baked (not sure he’s baked) biased individual. When I confronted him with evidence from Untold about Arsenal having the highest number of injuries, during their phone-in segment. All he could say was that Wenger is Arsenal’s problem.
    Up the Gunners. I love my Arsenal.

  3. Thanks Tony & co for the last 10 years of sanity and for the positivity . And here is tilting my glass of wine hoping for another ten years of more of the same .

    Not reading Untold Arsenal daily and faithfully is akin to having short changed my daily dose of hope and happiness . This is further enhanced when we win and the moaners are given their comeuppance with true class and panache .

    Even when we lose , I still have the pleasure of smacking around the moaners too! They just cannot win on this site .

    Thanks Menace ,for the kind mention , but then again there are far too many of us faithfuls ( way more than 4 !) to be all credited for the crime of faithfully supporting the club and the team and the manager .

    Up the Gunners !

  4. I have been happy about Arsenal for as long as I have been supporting the team whether the situation was good, bad or ugly. I love the philosophy of the club and Wenger… especially the loyalty of the club (and Wenger) to members of the ‘Arsenal family’… Of course, there was the occasional disappointment but overall, it’s been a positive experience overall.

    On the Untold side, I am grateful and looking forward to a continuation of the friendships which have developed and blossomed here – our love for the club is genuine even when that love means different things to us as individuals (we have the occasional strays from the AAA though 😉 ). The passionate analysis and insights provided by the editorial team and contributors are priceless – long may they continue…

    And by the way Tony, you have more than one fan from Nigeria – I am one and I am quite sure your IP loggers show you that you have a reasonable fanbase here ;). In short, untold is international.


  5. I think the moaners were wrongly (mis)inspired by the story of the Solomon Islanders –

    ‘In the Solomon Islands, when the people want to clear the forest for planting or development, they just gather around the big tree, stand around it holding hands and hurl abuses at it the tree – they curse it.

    Slowly and surely the tree begins to wither and it dies on its own.’

    But those moaners forgot that they were shouting and screaming in their own frustration , and not for any noble cause or for development. Thus they began to rot from the inside themselves !

  6. Thanks Menace.

    I hope Kolasinac heals faster than expected. So many medja assumed he would be out the maximum estimated time. Regardless of how long he is out, it is better to heal completely, than be rushed back.

    I would like to see Aaron’s contract sorted out. Looking at to see if there are updates, I just noticed that the ladies game against Juventus is on the main page. In the 37th minute according to the twit feed, we lead 1-0.



    unfinished preason business.

    ICC-2018 3 games left to play, with 6 teams not yet finished. Currently Arsenal is in 3rd place with 6 points and a goal difference of +4. Spuds are still in first with 7 points and a goal difference of +4.

    Inter play Atletico Madrid in the last game. Inter have 4 points and a goal difference of +1; while Atletico Madrid have 2 points with a goal difference of -1. Inter would need to win the game by more than 3 goals to finish in first (ignoring the other 2 games yet to play). Atletico really only have pride to play for. It seems likely that Inter would win 1-0, which would put them in 3rd place and push Arsenal down to 4th.

    Real Madrid have 3 points and +1 goal difference, and they are to play Roma who also have 3 points and a -1 goal difference. The best either team could do is 3rd place, and they would need to surpass Arsenal’s +4 goal difference. I think this game will end in penalties after a 0-0 draw.

    The other game to run, is Chelsea versus Lyon, both of whom have 3 points on a 0 goal difference. Similar situation for the game between Real Madrid and Roma.

  7. Re: Torreira
    What struck me, from the World Cup games I watched that involved Uruguay, was that Torreira took all the corners (shades of the early Engalnd version H. Kane, but far more effective) & many of the free kicks.
    This suggests a level of footballing skill not usually associated with such ostensibly “defensive” mid-fielders, thus re-inforcing the reason for optimisim evidenced on 2 players in one!

  8. Today, a couple of things showed that all is well in the world of the EPL.

    1. The “eggspurts” on Channel PGMOL’s Supplement, got stuck into Arsenal, and in particular, Unai Emery.

    2. Said PGMOL proved in the Community Shield that the game is ALL about them, not the supporters who pay their salaries.

    At least that game illustrated why we had no officials at the World Cup.

  9. Man City were much better than Chelsea. They were able to pass through Chelsea’s pressing and when Aguero is a second string striker, you know there is some serious depth in the squad. In fairness to Chelsea, their manager has only been there for about 4 weeks. We shall need to play a clever game next weekend.

  10. 10 years ago I had no idea that FFP would just be wrapped up and thrown out the window. Very naive of me, but then I’ve never been particularly good at foretelling the future.

    Also having lived through the 1970s when football clubs were toxic, grounds were rotting, and Bertie Mee was talking about winding up the entire youth programme, and Arsenal’s league cup programme was a single sheet of paper, I never imagined clubs having the sovereign wealth fund of an oil state to back up their team, or having cloned clubs dotted around the world as a project to glorify the owner.

    So I never saw any of that coming. The original Wenger project of doing things on the cheap by using skill to find brilliant players who everyone else had missed, or misunderstood, was just about the most exciting transfer project I have ever seen in a lifetime of watching football, and I guess I thought it would last. It didn’t, not because anyone was much ,cleverer than Mr Wenger at doing it, but rather because they just threw more and more and more money at it. And as I say, I didn’t imagine that and the abandonment of serious FFP could happen.

    Most of us, I think, when trying to see the future, are trapped by our experiences of the past. Mine was of watching football as a decaying experience in crumbling grounds, derided by everyone except the hard core fans.

    But in the my own defence I’d say at least I had a go at making predictions. A bit like now with the prediction of Arsenal coming third – not just a wild statement, but backed up by reasoning and analysis. Of course I make myself look stupid a lot, but still, it seems worthwhile having a go.

  11. @tony, lol. Since you mentioned it in the article I thought I should check it out and actually see what the article was about then. I found them quite interesting, as I always find old articles expressing thoughts. I find the older untold articles more interesting than recent ones though, the comments were less censored and the variety of thoughts expressed made articles rich. Nowadays, its just the same names singing from the same hymnbook, occasionally mike T, graces the site with rich information. Other than that, its all hear hear hear

  12. @Tony, I appreciate your candid response. I believe experience is a teacher and you’d have learned a few things after pondering on your thoughts years ago. I remember some people you termed negative/ AAA etc making these same criticism of your faith in ffp. Right from the onset they said it was doomed to fail, gave their reasons. But they were always pilloried on here.
    Also I hope from this experience with predictions, you’ll give the pundits a bit of slack if their predictions don’t come to pass to the letter. I’m glad you’re sticking your neck out and making a prediction for arsenal next season.
    Finally I read an article yesterday where sky was said to have done a comprehensive referee analysis for last season and came up with the conclusion that Liverpool and arsenal suffered most from referee errors last season. Arsenal dropping 8pts and Liverpool 12pts. It also concluded that Liverpool should have finished 2nd and arsenal 5th in an alternative table where ref decisions perfect

  13. EMA – yes I read the article from Sky, and one or two of these appear each year. I don’t think there’s any serious doubt that referees make mistakes, but rather the question is why we have so few compared to other leagues and why the PGMO is so secretive – unlike in other leagues.
    On the history of FFP, the issue seemed to me to be statements from those who thought it would fail (rather than logical reasons as to why). When someone says to me “x will happen” or “y will fail” I like to know the logic behind that. The logic behind believing FFP would succeed was that it benefited the majority not the few. My failing was that I didn’t factor in the stupidity of the majority or the short term greed of the directors of smaller clubs.

  14. @Tony, I think its unfair to label the directors of the smaller clubs as greedy.clubs like man utd and arsenal had such a financial advantage over them that the only way they could compete for power was by external investment. Ffp trying to block that was only seen as the big boys trying to pull d ladder up after they had climbed to the top, a move that was likely to be met with resistance from the majority aspiring to also Climb that ladder. I’m very certain that was the main point your opposition were always putting forward.

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