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Who should be in this season’s Arsenal squad, and who should leave…

 

The Arsenal History Society is now publishing a video of an Arsenal match for this day in history, each day.   To access  the current video, or ones from earlier days please click here.
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By Tai Emeka Obasi.

Mikel Arteta inherited a team completely lacking in self-belief. What he did with that stuttering Arsenal team to win two trophies just within eight months of his first ever kick as a football coach.  That is akin to a miracle, regarding the competition inherent in today’s English football.

Let me say it again: I never would have employed Arteta at the stage he came aboard as an Arsenal chief coach. I wouldn’t have employed anybody to start his coaching career with the Arsenal first team. It was a HUGE gamble but one already handsomely paying off. When the former Gunners captain was playing under Arsene Wenger, the Spaniard played with so much intelligence both on and off the ball that I nicknamed him Arsenal’s assistant coach. But I never believed he could be this good on his own as the chief coach at just 38.

When the former Everton midfielder’s first interest in a player was Pablo Mari, I checked on the Spanish journey man. My first impression was the height – 6’4”. Wow!

If I had to coach in England, I would never field a central defender less that 6’3” tall. I follow Arsenal like a religion, especially under Wenger. Most of the stupid goals we conceded were from set pieces. Wenger continued to sign CBs that were barely six feet tall and the Drogba’s usually had a field day.

So, if Arteta’s first interest was a 6’4” mountain, he got my immediate approval. Any smart coach starts building his team from the defence. Attack may win you some matches but solid defence wins you titles. You can ask Jurgen Klopp!

So I reckoned that having played four seasons with Wenger that Arteta knew exactly why they were failing season after season. And the ‘baby coach’ was evidently thinking like I was while watching from my television screen.

Arteta equally found out that he needed David Luiz’ experience but never as a member of a back four formation. In a back four, the ex-Chelsea bully is a disaster against any side. But playing in the middle of a back three, Luiz is a marvel – commits fewer fouls, reads the game superbly and beats most attackers to the header. Luiz, on his own, is nearly 6’3”.

Now, Arteta has added Gabriel Magalhaes. The 22-year old Brazilian defender is 6’3”. Hence, it’s evident that with a new signing, William Saliba, another 6’3+” towering defender from France, Arteta is not only interested in building his team from defence but he also knows the personnel required.

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I can imagine a back three of Saliba, Luiz and Gabriel shielding Emilio Martinez. Even the likes of Vigil van Dirjk will struggle to get to a header against Arsenal in any dead ball situation. And more, the bullying days of Arsenal defence are over, especially if Mari and Rob Holding(6’2”) are waiting on the bench.

Thumbs up Arteta!

Compare to Unai Emery, whose first defensive signing was Sokratis, barely six feet tall. Or Torreira, a great player but clearly lacking in the physicality to effectively shield the back four. And then Wenger, who had Kolo Toure, William Gallas, Tomas Vermalaen, Laurent Kolscielny, Gabriel and even Mikel Silvester, Squilacci, etc, all barely six feet as centre backs. In the cases of Toure and Gallas, even shorter than six feet. Football is not just about techniques, physicality is very important too.

Now, to compliment this work so far, Arteta should just sign Thomas Partey and start the season.

With Willian, Arsenal made a fantastic addition. Willian can play from the left side of attack in a 3-4-3 or play as 10 in a 4-3-3. Ideally, Arteta should alternate between these two systems in the very demanding EPL. From top four, we now have top six in Liverpool, Man City, Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham. And it doesn’t stop there – Leicester and Wolves have forced themselves that we presently talk of top eight.

In matches against these top eight teams, a 3-4-3, particularly at away grounds, should suffice. Even at Burnley and Southampton, same tactic can go.

But against ‘lower’ teams that can sit deep, especially when they visit the Emirates, Arteta should play a 4-3-3. And Willian will be very important in either switches.

Partey is strong and a very assured DM. He is who Arteta needs to seal a defensive unit the way he seemingly wishes.

In midfield, with hugely improved Granit Xhaka and Dani Ceballous, Arteta has his two midfield musketeers of the ended season. With Lucas Torreira almost gone and Matteo Guendouzi certainly to follow, Arsenal may be short, particularly if Mesut Ozil is finally frozen out. It will be left with Joe Willock and Partey when he comes. That is where keeping a versatile player like Ainsley Maithland-Niles is very vital.

In attack, Aubamayang is certainly staying. There is Eddie Nketiah, who is steadily rising and, of course, Gabriel Martinelli, who I regard as one of the biggest next things to happen to football in no distant time. On the flank is Nicolas Pepe, one of the greatest dribblers of the modern game. Watch out for the Ivorian this season!

Now, Alexandre Lacazette. Rumours every day say he is transfer-listed. I hope Arteta never makes that error. What if Aubamayang gets injured for say two months? Then a kid like Nketiah will lead the attack on his own? Laca is a great player, a workaholic, who compliments greatly in a 3-4-3 to compensate for lack of a number 10 in the shrewd system. He only had a goal drought ended season. He’s 28 and peaking. Arteta should hold onto the Frenchman.

Arteta should also hold tightly onto Ainsley Maitland-Niles. He’s home grown, he’s versatile, he’s got pace, he’s just 23 and he’s good anywhere he plays. AMN and Bukayo Saka provide Arteta with the assurance that his team would not be seriously affected by injuries and suspensions. Both youngsters can play almost anywhere, including midfield. And I have this feeling that Arteta used the Community Shield to convince the Arsenal board that AMN should stay. And believe me, that was smart!

Again, Arteta should hold onto Holding. He’s homegrown, he’s tall, he’s young and is already clicking with Luiz. Imagine that Arsenal played Liverpool twice, Man City and Chelsea without conceding from a set piece! Any coincidence with the involvement of Luiz and Holding? It will take Saliba, Gabriel and even Mari long to adapt to the EPL. Holding, as the only tall defender alongside Luiz, is very vital until the aforementioned trio set in. Even at that, there are many competitions, not to mention injuries and suspensions.

With now eight centre backs, far too many, Arteta needs to offload Calum Chambers, Sokratis and Shkodran Mustafi. As well, off load Torreira, Guendouzi and Ozil.

Now, rumours are strong about Hector Bellerin going to PSG. The Spaniard is a great right back when fully fit. But he’s hardly ever fully fit for a reasonable period of time. If the price is anywhere near £30 million, sell him asap and bring Partey in. And then give AMN the chance to displace Cedric Soares for a regular EPL stay.

In summary – buy just Partey and then close the shop. You can’t correct all your lapses in one window. Wait for Christmas window or even next summer.

Keep Lacazette, AMN, Holding and Martinez. On Martinez, keep as number 1 to start in the EPL. Let Bernd Leno come in only if the former loses form or is injured. Leno can do with the cups and wait for his chance to reclaim the number 1 spot. That is how to pay Martinez for his hard work and bravery.

It’s not going to be easy decisions but I know Arteta is smart enough.

Can’t wait for September 12. It’s time for the fans to dream again.

COYGs!

 

52 comments to Who should be in this season’s Arsenal squad, and who should leave…

  • Great article. I totally agree with most of your points, but not with all. Martinez is good, but still I think Leno is slightly better and should keep his spot as our nr. 1. If we sign Partey and somehow manage to get Aouar as well it would be perfect, so I wouldn’t rule out another AM signing already. Last but not least I just can’t see Ozil leaving. Maybe he will try harder in his last season, now that he knows that Arteta freezes him out if not. He at least got minutes in the last friendly. 😊

  • nicky

    Having read today’s rousing post, could this be another Invincibles’ season?

  • Maxwell

    A fair, in-depth examination, Tai.

    I have believed for years that Emi Martinez is the best keeper at the club – even when we had Cech and Ospina, and I’m anxious that now he’s proving it week after week, we don’t let him go. So I endorse your goalie arrangement.

    I too am excited by the size and athleticism of our centre-back group. In Mustafi’s defence, leaving aside his occasional brain-farts, he rarely lost a heading duel at only 5’ 10”. His spring and timing are exemplary. However, as you point out, we suddenly have a veritable legion of CBs. Moreover, I wouldn’t ignore the claims of Ballard, and McGuiness – particularly Ballard; nor forget Medley and Mavropanos!

    I’m not convinced about Thomas Partey, who is clearly a talented footballer. But if he’s THAT good, why hasn’t one of the super rich clubs paid his exit clause already? And where does he fit at Arsenal? Who does he displace? Somehow, Arteta has to find room for Xhaka, Ceballos, Willian, Saka, Pepe and Aubamayang, not to mention Nketiah, Lacazette and Martinelli. Even with rotation to keep the squad fresh, that’s a hard one, especially if you then include Willock, Nelson and Smith-Rowe. Elneny, anyone? I do agree, sadly, about letting Torreira go. I love him, but he has seemed too lightweight for the role tasked to him. The violence encouraged by English referees is too much for players of his stature.

    I can’t agree with you about Hector. Apart from football debate, he is home grown, popular within the team, and an exemplary ambassador for our club. On the footballing side, I believe he is coming back to his best after the long recovery required of a torn ACL. His defending has improved with experience, and he was showing recently some of his electric skills as a winger. On the other hand, I do agree about AMN. Arteta must keep him. Notwithstanding that Soares only just signed, I’d let him go at the earliest opportunity. He’s a terrific crosser of a ball, and has a wicked shot, but otherwise he reminds me of Torreira – too light.

    It is all very exciting though, isn’t it?

  • Obinnaorumba

    So you can do football better than Anambra politics

  • Tai

    Lol.

    So you too follow football besides Anambra politics?

  • Tai

    @Nicky…

    I would say too early but from the way Arteta started, it won’t be beyond him after two further summer transfers.

  • Obinnaorumba

    I can just get sick when things are not well with Arsenal… I can also get healed just by seeing Arsenal win a match.

    Meanwhile, I sent you a Facebook Friend request. Obyno Nwankwo

  • Tai

    Thank you.

    It may roll into endless debate to engage on who’s a better keeper between Leno and Martinez. The great thing is that Arsenal have the best pair of keepers in the entire EPL if there’s anything like finding averages in the keeping department.

    It will be left to Arteta to employ his evident intelligence in keeping the two and challenge strongly on four fronts. He has three cups to target as well as top four finish. Having two such keepers is a blessing.

    On Aouar, I wouldn’t sign him this season. As far as I’m concerned, the Lyon midfielder is a luxury and never a necessity.

    Partey is who Arteta needs to complete his defensive impregnability.

    Resources are scarce and no allowance for luxury. Willian can do the job of a creative midfielder any time Arteta decides to go 4-3-3. Ceballos too. And let’s remember EBR needs game time.

    But that’s no saying Aouar is not great player.

  • Tai

    Thanks immensely.

    And thank you further for enhancing the debate.

    On why bigger clubs have not activated the Partey release clause, I’d say look around you. There’s no big club that hasn’t got a solid DM. Only Arsenal!

    Fabinho, Fernandinho, Gorginho, etc.

    No good modern football club doesn’t prioritise a solid DM as main anchor. Any coach in the world sorts that position first. So, Partey is not really an upgrade on what big teams have but he is certainly in Arsenal, where I believe Xhaka is not in the mold of modern combative DMs to give Arteta exactly what he wants.

    With Partey we’ll see the best of Xhaka’s creativity and more regularity of his long-range canons.

  • Tai

    Further on Bellerin,

    Yes, I agree to all you put forward but these are very tough financial times and we’re not Chelsea.

    Will sacrificing Bellerin, if it is the only way to get Partey necessary? I’d say YES.

    With Partey in the DM with Xhaka, we’re as solid as any top side, especially in a 3-4-3.

    But AMN can effectively replace Bellerin without any noticeable drop in quality. If it’s an opportunity cost, I’d say let’s go for one that guarantees Partey.

  • Nitram

    Tai Emeka Obasi

    A decent article with some interesting thoughts. I don’t agree with everything but it’s your thoughts and you make some good points.

    One thing I don’t understand though is why you have to make the following spurious, totally baseless dig at Wenger. You said:

    “So I reckoned that having played four seasons with Wenger that Arteta knew exactly why they were failing season after season.

    Firstly Arteta was with us for 5 seasons not 4, joining us at the start of season 2011/12, becoming Captain at the beginning of season 2014/15 and leaving us at the end of season 2015/16. But that’s not really the issue. My issue is this notion that we were ‘failing season after season’. Where on earth do you get that from?

    The following is our performance over the duration of Artetas 5 year tenure, plus the season after he left, where it seems by your standards we continued to ‘fail’.:

    2011-12 3rd

    2012-13 4th

    2013-14 3rd FAC

    2014-15 3rd FAC CS

    2015-16 2nd CS

    2016-17 5th FAC

    How in the name of all that’s reasonable can those 6 seasons, that saw us win 3 FAC’s, achieve top 4 finishes in all but 1 season, claiming a 2nd and a 3rd in the process, be described as ‘Failing season after season’. Perhaps he should of stayed at Everton and sought success there. Lets see:

    Oh no, they finished 7th – 6th – 5th – 11th – 11th – 7th and not a trophy in sight. Perhaps not.

    Or maybe he should of gone to the mighty Liverpool ? Oh no, they finished 8th – 7th – 2nd – 6th – 8th – 4th and 1 solitary league Cup. Perhaps not.

    Or maybe our noisy neighbours ? 4th – 5th – 6th – 5th – 3rd – 2nd and you guessed it, not a trophy in sight. Hmmmm, perhaps not.

    Even Man Utd over that same 6 years only just out did us with 2nd – 1st – 7th – 4th – 5th – 6th. So okay 1 Biggy with a title compared to our runners up, plus 3 cups like us, 1 FAC + 1 LC + 1 EL. But they did finish out of the top four 3 times compared to our once. So we even gave Man Utd a run for their money. That just leaves the 2 oil sponsored teams that out did us.

    So I’m sorry, this notion that we were “failing season after season” simply isn’t true.

    Why an Arsenal fan, especially one who obviously puts a lot of thought into what he says, would deride Wenger/Arsenal and his/their achievements in such a disengenuous throw away manner is beyond me,

    If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a dozen times, I will not sit here and let people rewrite history, be it with totally inaccurate throw away comments tucked away within an otherwise decent article, or by way of the usual 1 line ‘Wenger was crap and we all know it’ type post, we get from certain posters.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Off topic I know but our Women have just taken the lead against Reading in min 16. Kim Little with a glorious volley from a Williamson pass. COYWG!!

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    32 minutes in and Miedema opens her account with the season. One on one with the keeper after a Nobbs pass and she doesn’t make any mistakes, rounded the keeper and an unerring cross into the empty net

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    40 minutes and it’s now three nil. Roord into the bottom left corner. Three goals from four on target.

  • Chris

    Tai,

    I agree about the larger picture of the coming seaons you are painting.

    There are a few issues however that I respectfully contest.

    Saying hiring Arteta was a wild throw of the dice does not fit the situation at the time, IMHO. Yeah, he was new to coaching. But then he’s got Wenger and Guardiola DNA infused, as well, and this is most important, his own. The guy is bright, multi-lingual, multi-cultural and has proven on the field his qualities. And if you rewind to the period of his hiring….who was available at the time ? Boorinho ? Pocchetino ? the usuals suspects ? God forbid ! Ancellotti maybe ? But then, given his age, it is a temporary solution at best, with all due respect. Going the Arteta way was giving a future to that team, the more so considering the youth of many of the players. It was a calculated long term bet, that is how I see it. Not some desperate attempt to shore up a difficult situation.

    As for you comments about repeated failed seasons…sorry guy, I can’t follow you down that rabbit hole.

    I am fed up with this habit of moving the goal posts depending on perspective and agree with what Nitram wrote again. As long as Mr Wenger whas in charge, 4th place was not a trophy. Now, apart from winning the PL it is the most important result to obtain. 3 FA cups in 4 years suddendly count as nothing. 7 in his lifetime neither. Our neighbours ex-coach was the golden boy…what did he win ? Nada. A specialist in failure to quote his successor, who, when looking at his results, don’t even come close to Mr Wenger’s last years that are labelled so abysmal.

    Liverpool getting their arses handed to them by Bayern with a score not any better or worse then what did happen at Arsenal ? Oh there are so many excuses to be found. Was here any sign of a meltdown ? Nada.

    This shift in how we judge depending on who we judge is just not ok. What in the world is the problem with Arsenal fans who cannot accept that their team was and is better then what the so called press keeps on spitting out propaganda style ? Why can’t they just stand behind their club and be happy with the positives ? And, when spectator games resume, make the Emirates a gateway to hell for any visiting team, offering Arsenal that 13th player they have been so sorely lacking all these years. Stop grumbling and start singing !

  • Flyingwhales

    I love the analysis, nevertheless, I think Leno is still better than Martinez, he salvaged many games for us last season and he need to be given chance again. He cannot afford to fail because he knows that Martinez is fully ready. I also think that selling bellerin is not the best, we can raise money from fringe players like kolacinak, elneny, chambers, mustafi, sokratis,Torreira and holding. From all of them, we can raise money for partey.
    If we have Partey, ceballos, can move further the field to join william, ozil (if he stays), smithrowe, willock and Saka.
    Presently, we have like 32 first team players and we definitely need to downsize.
    MA will have lots of twisting next season beyond our predictions, hope he get the combinations right.
    MA can as well try Leister’s resolve for NDIDI instead of Partey. He is younger and adapted already.
    Looking forward to MA’s defensive pairing, where he will deploy our new 7 BS7, William, ESR, Ceballos/Xhaka if he signs Partey,and Ozil if we have Partey.

  • Flyingwhales

    Looking forward to MA preferred formation as well. Is he continuing with 343 or going with 4231 or 433 or 442 or 352. Hope Tierney, Saka, Nketiah, Nelson, Martinelli and Pepe continue their impressive rise to the top.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    62 minutes and a second for Jill Roord. Reading have been better this half but we are well on top. Miedema should have had a penalty and certainly has had three good opportunities for more goals.

  • Dublin Gooner

    Great article. Much as I am a fan of AW, I think the writer has a point re failure. We played the best football of any team in the division, and typically dominated possession, But didn’t win the league. Part of the reason is we lost games we should have won because of defensive frailties. Conceding soft goals and at set pieces, that sort of thing.
    So maybe not failure, but enough for AW to lose his job.
    So the narrative here sounds good to me.

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    An absolute rocket from Miedema nearly takes the net off the frame of the net. Five nil with twelve minutes to go

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    An absolute rocket from Miedema nearly takes the net off the frame of the net. Five nil with twelve minutes to go

    Roots with her Hattrick and our sixth. Nine minutes to go

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    Roord with the sixth goal – autocorrect

  • Andrew Crawshaw

    A calamitous decision by Zinsberger gifts Carter a consolation goal

  • Thanks @ Nitram.
    And @ Chris too.

    First, don’t ever assume you loved Arsene Wenger more than I did while he tinkered dear Arsenal for 22 good years. It’s not just possible. I so much loved the man that if I was assured of just one wish it would have been to see Le Prof win the Champions League. A personality like him deserved more for what he assiduously contributed to the beautiful game.

    However, my undiluted love for the great man shouldn’t stop me from honest assessment, especially in this new era.

    1. Failure is relative, just like success. Wenger went 49 matches unbeaten as well as winning three titles within the first eight years of tinkering dear Gunners. Besides other trophies, including the FA Cup and the Community Shield, he also got to Champions League final two years later. A man of such pedigree should regard mere top four finishes as failures.

    2. Don’t tell me about money bags hijacking the League. He came second to Leicester in 2015/16. And this pained me most!

    3. Why didn’t Wenger win the title 14 years after his last? Stubbornness! And that is the plain truth.

    4. His Invincibles team had Campbell, Gilberto, Vieira, Henry, Bergkamp, Pires as starters with Edu, Petit, Kanu as impact subs. What do all these eight men have in common – all six footers! Bullying the Gunners wasn’t just possible. Not with Vieira on same pitch!

    Apart from Bergkamp, Wenger personally assembled that team.

    5. Then after 2006, Wenger seemingly forgot the very vital physicality of the English game and suddenly became interested in just technical players.

    Rosicky, Hleb, Fabregas, Nasri, Denilson, Song, Arshavin, Walcott etc…great players but where was the physical supplement? How could an EPL team line out with just about two players towering above six feet?

    Suddenly a man who had Adams and Campbell as vital partners in centre backs, went for Toure, Gallas, Koscielny, Vermalean, Gabriel, even Squilacci and Silvestre kind of pairings – none towering significantly above six feet.

    When Fabregas left, Wenger got Santi Carzola… a supremely talented player. But in Le Prof’s usual way of dragging signings to midnight of deadline days, he missed Higuain and signed Ozil instead. Just why on earth should a team with a supreme artist like Carzola need to add Ozil for? Still, there was Arteta, Wilshere…why not a very physical DM?

    At that time, Wenger had Arteta, Carzola, Wilshere, Ozil – all natural number 10s. He then decided to convert some to DM pairings, resulting in recurrent injuries in riles their personalities couldn’t withstand. He apparently wanted to play like Barcelona when he had no Lionel Messi!

    Teams like Stoke and Bolton usually bullied us to disappointing effects. “They don’t like it up them”, a phrase Sam Allardyce overly enjoyed.

    All Leicester needed to win the title was a well-structured physical side with a certain Ngolo Kante, a player Wenger ignored for Ozil!

    Let me stop here because it really pains me to criticize Le Prof but he was the sole architect of his failures, yes failures because he set the standard to measure him with. With the opportunity he had, he should have won at least three more titles and a Champions League trophy. Yes, because he more than deserved the lot he retired with. Yes, he was and still a man of principles but some of his adamance were outright rigidity.

  • God bless you @DublinGunner.

  • Nitram

    Chris

    Thanks for your support in this. This re writing of history simply to support an agenda of Wenger bashing drives me nuts.

    I specifically liked your closing sentiments, thus:

    “This shift in how we judge depending on who we judge is just not ok. What in the world is the problem with Arsenal fans who cannot accept that their team was and is better then what the so called press keeps on spitting out propaganda style ? Why can’t they just stand behind their club and be happy with the positives ? And, when spectator games resume, make the Emirates a gateway to hell for any visiting team, offering Arsenal that 13th player they have been so sorely lacking all these years. Stop grumbling and start singing !”

    Brilliantly put.

    Dublin Gooner

    “Much as I am a fan of AW, I think the writer has a point re failure.”

    And how do you work that out? He specifically cited the Arteta years as “Failure after failure” . Not the last 2 years, the Arteta years, that is the period he, and I, were specifically talking about, and as I showed that is simply untrue.

    Also, given the opposition, simply not winning the title does not constitute failure.

    As for “Part of the reason is we lost games we should have won because of defensive frailties. Conceding soft goals and at set pieces, that sort of thing” . So nobody else conceded soft goals, had frailties, defensive or other wise, lost games they should of won? Come on.

    Again, trying to suggest that these issues and issues like them are somehow unique to Arsenal, and more, that having them somehow undermines what we achieved is disengenuous in the extreme. If you are looking for perfection I suggest you pick, not just another team but another sport, in fact another reality !!

    What a sad situation it is when you cant enjoy, celebrate and be proud of winning 3 FA Cups and constant Champions league qualification, simply because it wasn’t achieved with perfection. Honestly, we are all entitled to our opinions, but calling those 6 seasons, irrespective of our shortcomings, ‘failure after failure’ is in my humble opinion extremely harsh. I just don’t understand what people want.

  • Tai

    Please why are my replies to Nitram and Chris being withheld by Admin?

  • Tai, because you have changed your IP address. Untold Arsenal is under constant bombardment from people who don’t like the notion of free expression of ideas, so we have multiple protections in place. This IP address is fine. But now I am back on the site (sorry I can’t be here 24 hours a day, especially on days when Arsenal are playing) I can clear them.

  • Tai

    Okay.

    Thanks Tony.

  • Nitram

    Tai.

    I will say this one more time.

    You said that during Arteta’s tenure it was ‘Failure after failure’. During Artetas tenure. That is what I contested.

    Dismissing the arrival of the oil money as irrelevant simply to allow you to make that assertion smacks of desperation.

    I was going to address every point you made but you seem determined to call 3 FA Cups, 3 community shields, a 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed finish as failure so I think I’ll leave you to your misery.

    For someone who purports to love Wenger you do a pretty good impersonation of someone who doesn’t even like him. Sad.

  • Tai

    Nitram,

    I believe we can debate without calling names. If that is all it is all about, then I can only tell you to enjoy the rest of your day.

    All through Wenger years, he never started any season with making top four as the ultimate goal. He had won three titles, gone a whole season unbeaten that top four should not be his ultimate goal. Any year he didn’t win the title should be considered a failure from the very high standards the man set for himself. I will say that a billion times!

  • Nitram

    Tai

    “Any year he didn’t win the title should be considered a failure”

    Wenger was at Arsenal for 22 years and won the title 3 times. that means by your reckoning he had 19 years of failure !! Really, I mean really?

    If I was you Tai I’d stop digging.

    Oh, and what ‘name’ did I call you exactly?

  • Tai

    Nitram,

    You’re the one digging.

    If I go into why Arsene failed in many places he should have comfortably succeeded, you’d understand you’re the one pushing to dig up dirt.

    I never called Le Prof a failure. I referenced the Arteta years and you went ballistic.

  • Nitram

    Tai

    I give up, you’re right Wenger was a failure.

  • Tai

    Nitram,

    Before you twist it I never said Wenger was a failure and would never say that even in my dream.

    All I’m saying is that there were few glaring things he should have done differently to have been even more successful. Hopefully, Arteta will address them as he has evidently started.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Wenger was no doubt one of the greatest football gaffer that Arsenal had. Who walked through the Arsenal plains and had a remarkable success time there with his 2003-2004 Premier League the invisibles season win that he had which remains a stand out achievement that is yet to be equaled by any PL club sides.

    But some things that are very important to continue to have was missing on his last 14 seasons CV at the club. Which led to a large section of the Arsenal supporters to revolt against him. A revolt that saw him left the club unceremoniously for his failings to win the coveted Premier League title in his last 14 consecutive seasons stay at the club. Which became a concern of a serious issue between himself and the large section of the Arsenal supporters who turned against him vilifying him for his lacking to bulld another Gunners team to win the PL title after his 2003-2004 the invisibles PL title win season. And his failing to win the prestigious CHampions League title for all the 22 seasons he had at Arsenal.

    But Liverpool FC staying for 30 consecutive seasons to not win the PL title ever until last season when they won it has nullified the complains raised against Wenger who thrice won the PL title before. But didn’t win it again in his last 14 consecutive seasons stay at the club.

    Arsenal is a giants North London club side that should be winning the PL title but if not every season, should at least be winning it occasionally with some regularities to it.

    But which new players should still be brought in by Arsenal this summer window after the 3 new ones in Willian, Maglhaes and Cebbalos (on loan) who they have brought in to make them 3 new players brought in by the club so far this summer.

    And are Arsenal making plan to still bring in a couple of new players this summer, or they are through with bringing in new players?

    Well, I don’t know what the Arsenal board and Mikel Arteta have in their minds to do on this Arsenal issue that is being cried over by the Gooners for something concrete be done on the issue to avoid it getting out of control next season’x campaign.

    Thoma Partey the popular Gooners choice, Amaduo Diawara mu own choice and Houssem Aouer the all Gooners general choice have all being linked to Arsenal to sign them all this summer. But will Arsenal sign all these players this summer? The answer in my own view is probably NO! But i think they could bring in 2 more new players of a holding midfielder and creative attacking midfielder too before this summer transfer window is declare closed.

    But are Arsenal going to sell some of their Gunners this summer? If the answer is yes, which Gunners do us Gooners think should be offloaded to the transfer market for sales this summer?

    By my own reckoning, Mesut Ozil’s name should be number one on the Arsenal offloading list this summer. Why? 1 reason, is his refusing to contribute 25% of his weekly wages deduction to an obligatory moral cause contributions at Arsenal. Which for his refusal, has made him to look as a self-centered miser. And the number 2 reason, is his loss of his top form for Arsenal for quite some past seasons now. Which is increasingly looking by the seasons, months, weeks and days he can’t regain it for Arsenal at the top level of the game anymore. Consequently, I think he should be sold this summer unfailingly.

    And L think Sokratis whose top playing form has considerably dropped below Arsenal Premier League football standard. Which as a result of this drop of form by him, has rendered him surplus requirements at Arsenal.Thus, He should be the number 2 name on Arsenal offloading list this summer.

    Lucas Torreria’s name should be on that Arsenal summer clear out this summer. This is because he playing form for Arsenal is now looking to has fallen below per excellent for Arsenal to thus warranting his name be listed on the Gunners outgoing list this summer.

    And Kolasinac is looking this summer window to be an obvious outgoing Arsenal Gunner. This is because his playing form grade has fallen below the acceptable limit of Arsenal standard of playing in the Premier League and in the Europa League. Two titles that I think Arsenal will feverantly chased after to win them. Therefore, Kolasinac name should be included on that Arsenal offloading list this summer.

    By the time Arsenal sold my above named Gunners at the market this summer, but will the club not be having enough money in theli summer kitty to sign any of their targeted targets this summer.

    And finally, I did not only think Arsenal shouldn’t sell Bellerin this summer, but I sincerely believe they should keep him as their 1st choice right back with AMN covering for him. But in truth, has Cedric Soares suddenly becomes surpluse to requirements at Arsenal before through new season begins. Well I don’t know I only ask.

  • Nitram

    Tai

    “Before you twist it I never said Wenger was a FAILURE” Didn’t you?

    These are your words:

    “Arteta knew exactly why they were FAILING season after season” That encompasses 3 Fa Cups, 3 CS’s and a 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed finish.

    “Any year he didn’t win the title should be considered a FAILURE” That’s 19 seasons out of 22.

    They are your words.

    You accuse me of calling you names. You fail to show me where.

    You accuse me of going ballistic. Putting forward a statistical argument is not going ballistic.

    Why I get involved with someone who cant remember what they said less than 12 hours ago I don’t know.

  • Dublin Gooner

    Well, hard to understand these defensive responses to this article. (Nitram, do you want to chase people from this site because they don’t see everything the way you do?)
    The article is positive and forward looking. And it’s looking to learn from history. Having defenders over 6′ ft tall doesn’t make them good. But as Bryan Clough once said (admittedly about goalkeepers) “I’d rather have a good big un than a good little un” – or summat like dat.

  • Absolute rubbish, firstly goals from dead ball situations are rarely conceded by the CB’s, remember ten or even eleven players are defending set pieces. Often goals are conceded once the ball has dropped or from the second ball.
    Kolo was an invincible so to use him as an example of how non ultra tall don’t work is lunacy.
    All managers say the team defends as team and that is correct so once again 12ft defenders is not what you need.
    As most footballers know that many small players win a large percentage of Ariel duels because of timing. Anyone who remembers Nial Quin’s start at ARSENAL will remember how bad he was in the air.
    For teams like ARSENAL who have to defend from the half way line speed and reading of the game is far more important than height.

  • Samuel Akinsola Adebosin

    Please, I want to correct some typho errors on this my below comment posting and repost it. Thanks

    Wenger was no doubt one of the greatest football gaffer that Arsenal had. Who walked through the Arsenal plains and had a remarkable success time there with his 2003-2004 Premier League the invisibles season win that he had which remains a stand out achievement that is yet to be equaled by any PL club sides.

    But some things that are very important to continue to have was missing on his last 14 seasons CV at the club. Which led to a large section of the Arsenal supporters to revolt against him. A revolt that saw him left the club unceremoniously for his failings to win the coveted Premier League title in his last 14 consecutive seasons stay at the club. Which became a concern of a serious issue between himself and the large section of the Arsenal supporters who turned against him vilifying him for his lacking to bulld another Gunners team to win the PL title after his 2003-2004 the invisibles PL title win season. And his failing to win the prestigious CHampions League title for all the 22 seasons he had at Arsenal.

    But Liverpool FC staying for 30 consecutive seasons to not win the PL title ever, until last season when they won it has nullified the complains raised against Wenger who thrice won the PL title before. But didn’t win it again in his last 14 consecutive seasons stay at the club.

    Arsenal is a giants North London club side that should be winning the PL title if not every season, should at least be winning it occasionally with some regularities to it.

    But which new players should still be brought in by Arsenal this summer window after the 3 new ones in Willian, Maglhaes and Cebbalos (on loan) who they have brought in to make them 3 new players brought in by the club so far this summer.

    And are Arsenal making plan to still bring in a couple of new players this summer, or they are through with bringing in new players?

    Well, I don’t know what the Arsenal board and Mikel Arteta have in their minds to do on this Arsenal issue that is being cried over by the Gooners for something concrete be done on the issue to avoid it getting out of control next season’x campaign.

    Thomas Partey the popular Gooners choice, Amaduo Diawara my own choice and Houssem Aouer the all Gooners general choice have all being linked to Arsenal to sign them all this summer. But will Arsenal sign all these players this summer? The answer in my own view is probably NO! But i think they could bring in 2 more new players of a holding midfielder and creative attacking midfielder too before this summer transfer window is declare closed.

    But are Arsenal going to sell some of their Gunners this summer? If the answer is yes, which Gunners do us Gooners think should be offloaded to the transfer market for sales this summer?

    By my own reckoning, Mesut Ozil’s name should be number one on the Arsenal offloading list this summer. Why? The no 1 reason is his refusing to contribute 25% of his weekly wages deduction to an obligatory moral cause contributions at Arsenal as demanded by the club. Which for his refusal, has made himself to look as a self-centered miser. And the number 2 reason is his loss of his top form for Arsenal for quite some past seasons now. Which is increasingly looking by the seasons, months, weeks and days he can’t regain it for Arsenal at the top level of the game anymore. Consequently, I think he should be sold this summer unfailingly.

    And L think Sokratis whose top playing form has considerably dropped below Arsenal Premier League football standard, which as a result of this serious drop in form by him, has rendered him surplus to requirements at Arsenal. Thus, He should be the number 2 name on Arsenal offloading list this summer.

    Lucas Torreria’s name should be on that Arsenal summer clear out this summer. This is because he playing form for Arsenal is now looking to has fallen below per excellent for Arsenal. Thus, warranting his name be listed on the Gunners outgoing list this summer.

    And Kolasinac is looking this summer window to be an obvious outgoing Arsenal Gunner. This is because his playing form grade has fallen below the acceptable limit of Arsenal standard of playing in the Premier League and in the Europa League. Two titles that I think Arsenal will feverantly chased after to win them. Therefore, Kolasinac name should be included on that Arsenal offloading list this summer.

    By the time Arsenal sold my above named Gunners at the market this summer, but will the club not be having enough money in their summer kitty to sign any of their targeted targets this summer?

    And finally, I did not only think Arsenal shouldn’t sell Bellerin this summer, but I sincerely believe they should keep him as their 1st choice right back with AMN covering for him. But in truth, has Cedric Soares suddenly becomes surpluse to requirements at Arsenal before the new season begins? Well, I don’t know I only ask.

  • Tai

    @Dublin Gonner, I honestly do not see where @Nitram is driving at apart from chasing me away from this site. But he met the wrong guy.

    I’ve been posting here since the last days of Arsene. And I felt at home here because this happened to be the most reasonable site while the AOB reigned.

    I don’t have to go into further unnecessary exchanges. I’ve made my post clear with subsequent comments even clearer.

  • Tai

    @arse_or_brain.

    Did you say Lunacy?

    My God!

    Okay, let’s look at how many lunatics there are in today’s EPL.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has Harry Maguire as his first choice CB. Maguire is 6’4”.

    Jurgen Klopp has Vigil van Dijk as his first choice CB. He is 6’4”.

    Pep Guardiola has Ayemeric Laporte as first choice. He is 6’3+”.

    Filip Benkovic of Brendan Rodgers’ Leicester City is 6’4”.

    Frank Lampard has Kurt Zouma and Antonio Rudigger – both 6’2+”.

    All these top 5 coaches that played professional football as well are all lunatics in your description.

    Plus of course, our own Arteta, who though didn’t sign William Saliba but has signed two CBs of both over 6’3″.

    I rest my case.

  • Nitram

    Tai

    Talk about an over reaction.

    I complemented your article. I challenged one statement in the entire article, just one, that’s all, namely your assertion that “Arteta knew exactly why they were FAILING season after season”

    All I said was I cannot see how winning 3 FA Cups 3 Community shields and finishing 2nd 3rd and 4th during and immediately after Arteta;s tenure can be called failure.

    In an attempt to justify your claim that Wenger was failing you said ““Any year he didn’t win the title should be considered a FAILURE”. I subsequently pointed out that by holding Wenger to that level of expectation what you are in fact saying is that he has failed 19 out of his 22seasons at Arsenal as he’s only won the title 3 times. I don’t agree with that either.

    I’m sorry if you don’t like it, but I think that both of your assertions are wrong, that’s all, and have attempted to demonstrate why I believe they are wrong, no more no less.

    You’ve since accused me of calling you names. Where? Going ballistic. How? And trying to chase you off the site. Really?

    What I find frustrating is that you clearly call Wenger a failure during Artetas tenure, (“Arteta knew exactly why they were FAILING season after season”) as well as a failure every season he didn’t win the title (“Any year he didn’t win the title should be considered a FAILURE” ) then in the very next breath deny that you’ve called Wenger a failure, (“Before you twist it I never said Wenger was a FAILURE”) At least have the courage of your convictions.

  • Menace

    In the interest of sanity, Arsene was a success in almost every aspect of his tenure at Arsenal. Victories despite the PGMOL are a damned miracle.

    The fact that Wenger wasn’t winning trophies season after season is not in question. He was keeping the financial income of Arsenal stable, enough to pay debts that had been incurred over a period of infrastructure improvement. No other manager has had such amazing success with a self sustaining football club.

  • Chris

    @Tai,

    I must repectfully side with Nitram or myself for the one statement :

    “Arteta knew exactly why they were FAILING season after season” That encompasses 3 Fa Cups, 3 CS’s and a 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed finish.

    “Any year he didn’t win the title should be considered a FAILURE”

    Sorry this is just outrageous to me. On this scale, Klopp, Guardiola, et all are failures because none of them have repeatedly won the PL.
    Furthermore, considering an FA CUP a failure beats me. The oldest cup in the world, the one I grew up with – in Switzerland for decades it was the only english game we’d see.

    Now, if the real intent is ‘failing to win the PL’, then I can accept the nuance, but I’m not that sure that any of us know what Arteta thinks, I’m pretty sure Arteta knew exactly how many points the PGMOL stole from Arsenal each of the seasons he played for Arsenal. And God konws there were many.

    Then, you must remember that in that in the decade between the invincibles and the next FA Cup, Arsenalfound itself having to finance a new stadium by its own means with interest rates nowhere near the actual ones, with not even close the financial means some other competitors were starting to have. Al Mr Wenger earned for all his life’s work was scorn, insult and sarcasm : 4th place is not a trophy.

    So don’t be surprised when your statements create reactions, the more so when they are not precise enough and can be perceived as illegitimate criticism. After all Mr Wenger’s got his statue in front of the Emirates – deservedly. Criticising him is ok if it is based on facts. Not on perception.

    By the way, kuddos for keeping civil

  • Tai

    @Chris,

    Thank you for keeping it civil too.

    Now, let me go further.

    Nobody, even if he was deaf and dumb would classify Arsene Wenger’s days at Arsenal as a failure, as in total failure. In fact, let me make it even clearer – nobody can replicate what Le Prof did for Arsenal in this generation. Not practically possible!

    But that a man failed in certain aspects of his life must be pointed out. 70% is an ‘A’ in any university in the world. Now, the question is – what about the other 30%?

    In my article, I pointed out where I am convinced Arsene failed. And I will ever remain convinced because in those areas he did fail. I’m praising Mikel Arteta right now because I see the young Spaniard started from the off to correct one of those vital areas – solidity in defense.

    Yes PGMOL’s disgusting and glaring hostilities against Wenger’s Arsenal were huge factors but they didn’t sign players for Le Boss. They didn’t contribute to excessively dragging transfers until we lost out on deadline days. They didn’t stop our manager from making substitutions before the 75th minute. They had no hand in our manager having a rigid pattern for all matches that we became very openly predictable. They didn’t force Arsene to love a particular kind of players that our team was at a time full of number 10s that were converted to wingers and defensive midfielders.

    These were failings Arteta must not repeat or we continue to slide. Yes, slide because Arsenal is bigger than going 17 years without a title.

    Yes, Birmingham City may continue to celebrate their Carling Cup final victory against Arsenal till the next century but that is their standard. And that’s why I don’t support them.

    I joined Arsenal immediately my country man, Nwankwo Kanu did. I followed closely and appreciated everything about Arsenal’s play. I took a deeper study of the man behind the attractive play and instantly fell in love.

    I saw the same man winning trophies after trophies and I was a very proud Gunner. When he went 49 – 0, I went on cloud 9, even though Man Utd and PGMOL contrived to deny him 50 -0!

    I shed tears the night we lost to Barcelona 1 -2 in 2006 UCL final.

    But I promised myself we’d certainly win it under this great man. Then eight years followed without a trophy of any kind! 14 years followed without a title and just one UCL semi-final!

    Meanwhile, same Barca we narrowly lost to because we played most of that exciting game with 10 men, had won three more UCL trophies and we never made the final again!

    No!

    That wasn’t the standard Le Prof set for us. Because of the love most of us had for this great man, we lowered our standards subconsciously, supported him and started counting blessings. We imbibed the philosophy of our cups being always half-full. But same cups were equally half-empty!

    Who says FA Cup and Community Shield trophies don’t count? I didn’t. If you felt I did, read again, and this time in between the lines please. But the biggest title of any football league is the League title. The biggest club football title in Europe is the UCL trophy. How do I now console myself that a noisemaker like Jose Mourinho has two of these ultimate accolades to point to while a man he is not worthy to lace his boots retired with none?

    Praising Wenger without the acid fact that he didn’t win that ultimate trophy while winning the title just thrice in 22 years is excessively insulting to a man, whose capabilities deserved far more.

    And believe me one more time, Wenger has himself to blame for that more than anyone else. He refused to embrace dynamism. He insisted on winning beautifully against any side. History may not always remember how beautifully you played but it will always count what you won.

    Arteta played to win and he’s got two trophies within eight months. Were we not trailing in possession in all the matches against Liverpool, Man City and Chelsea? Come on! Play ugly when it demands and entertain when you have absolute comfort. That’s the dynamism of the modern game.

    Now, Arsene is gone with all deserved accolades. Arteta must be reminded of mistakes the big Boss made. The Spaniard has no stadium to build or debts to repay.

    His duty is to bring Arsenal back to the top top level. It took Liverpool 30 years. Who says we must wait that long?

  • Chris

    @Tai,

    “now Arsene is gone with all the deserved accolades”….

    This is not how I remember it…I remember months of bulying by so-called fans, no-one really taking his defense, the so-called press doing its job.And most not even saying thank you, all too happy to see the back of the man who built the modern Arsenal.

    His ‘invisiblity’ since his departure speaks volumes to me. This way he need not give any comments.

    But then, this is behind us. As written, you were missing a word in one of the sentences which lead to a wrong interpretation. I don’t share all your opinions, but that is fine with me.

    Let’s see what this season brings us.

  • Mikey

    @ Tai

    I’m just trying to put your assertions and the discussion into some kind of context but it’s hard to do so without some further clarification. Could you tell us what your experience and qualifications are in coaching and football management. Many thanks.

  • Tai

    @Mikey,

    Permit to say I find your question absurd.

    We’re talking football, and I don’t remember ever telling you I was a coach.

    But even when I watch from my television screen over 5000 km away in my native Nigeria, I have my eyes and my brain…and better believe me when I say that I make very good use of them.

  • Tai

    @Chris…

    My nickname among a large football circle of friends was Wenger…some still call me that till this day.

    Why?

    Because I defended Le Prof with everything in me. I knew he deserved more and repeatedly prayed he did win more. At a point I was just loving Arsene instead of Arsenal.

    I wasn’t totally convinced that I’d still remain a dedicated Arsenal fan after Wenger.

    Did I ever post an article here all through Unai Emery’s reign? I didn’t because the Spaniard never convinced me.

    But his compatriot Mikel Arteta did in seven matches.

    1. Against Chelsea at the Emirates where Bernd Leno gave it away.

    2. Against same Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.

    3. Against Man Utd at the Emirates.

    4. Against Liverpool at the Emirates.

    5. Against Man City at Wembley.

    6. Against Chelsea at Wembley.

    7. Against Liverpool at Wembley.

    I had seen enough in those matches to believe we have a great manager in our hands.

    And so, Arteta reinvigorated my support and I just wish he will win back the love of the Wenger era.

    But despite that love, this is the time for anyone that loves the club to point out any errors of Wenger era that Arteta may avoid them for the good of the club.

    Even this present Arteta has made some errors.

    1. Against Olympiacos at Emirates.

    2. and 3. At the away matches against Albion and Villa…and few more.

    Still, I will watch Arteta closely how he handles matches with ‘lesser’ teams this season. He hasn’t really been quite as convincing except against Newcastle. But believe me again, it’s early days yet. Let’s support him for one full season and then take stock.

    Concluding, I gave Arsene all deserved respect and will always do but our world is never static. We look at our pasts, correct mistakes and move in.

    Cheers!

  • Menace

    Tai your love for Arsenal shines through but your choice of language leaves a lot to be desired. Nitram is absolutely justified to pull you up on some of your statements. We are all Arsenal supporters and Wenger is our greatest manager in recent years. I would not doubt there were some mistakes in his tenure but none were unforgivable.

    We are now with a new coach in Arteta and waiting for the signature of Auba with more anguish than waiting for sunrise. The next best thing would be news that PGMOL have been bust by the fraud squad for impersonating football officials.

    We have the capability of winning the league given an even playing field. That is what I am dreaming of.

    Stay safe Gooners we will be celebrating new glory.

  • Sammy M

    I am am absolute Wengerphile. I wasn’t calling for his head and wished him to continue and when he was sacked, it felt like a personal loss. Even today, I often google his name to discover if he has imparted some new words of wisdom to the world In any new encounters with media.

    But even I agree that Wenger was stubborn in some respects. He has the habit of leaving this big sized hole either in the defence, or the goalkeeping or the forward line at various times when the other areas of the team were in excellent shape, and that often led to our downfall despite being very close in many occasions (apart from PGMOL agenda against us). For me, a club the size of Arsenal playing Yaya Sanogo as your main striker in an important Champions League was absolutely unforgivable.

    Besides, watching Arteta operate now, I do feel that football has changed and it was the right time for him leave, if not couple of years earlier than he did. This is an era of modern coaching methods of highly tactical and organised teams. Only today I read an article on the Athletic quoting Mertesackers biography where BFG said that Wenger hardly paid attention to the defensive side. His basic premise was that we are better than other teams in combinations and attacking play in the final third, so just go and play with full freedom. I am not going to tell you what to do.

    Problem is that Arsenal didn’t have the absolute top players later in his years as they went to Chelsea, Man City, Barcelona or United as soon as they came good. We still had very good players offensively, but they came across very good players with added tactical and organisational instructions. Hence the regular beating against Bayern, Barca, Man City and Chelsea.

    Lastly, excellent Article Tai. I’ve been saying to anyone who is ready to listen that I’m excited about the back four. We only end to sign Partey so we move to Back 4 And play and extra man in attacking midfield, at least against teams that sit deep against us. Ozil, Willian, ESR, maybe even Saka can all do the job agains the smaller teams and get us into top four. We can then think about acting finesses.

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