Chastening times ahead if Arsenal don't beat Everton

By Simon Rose

Could Eddie Howe be Arsenal's next long-term developer?

So now itís a nine-game season. No more FA Cup, no more Champions League. No more distractions. Itís all been and gone. The rest of this campaign is all about whether or not Arsenal can muster any semblance of form. If we do, a title challenge remains on, no matter how far-fetched that currently seems. If we cannot regain decent league form, we are in serious danger of plummeting out of sight.

The second half performance in our Champions League exit at Barca was promising at times and going out of the competition was clearly a shame, but real disappointment would be failing to turn up at Everton on Saturday lunchtime. Whatever you make of the manager, his future, the owner, his recent interview and our succession of flawed transfer windows, put that to one side for now. Arsenalís reality is stark: with nine league games left, we are 11 points behind leaders Leicester and, horrifically, six points behind Tottenham, albeit with a game in hand. If our form was good youíd fancy us to finish above Spurs and possibly even Leicester. But if our form had been better, we wouldnít be behind either of them.

Arsenal cannot talk up a title challenge unless they are prepared to make one. Show you want it Arsenal. Make it yours. Give it everything. Scheduling has not been kind to us, with a vital league away game at Saturday lunchtime, following a European trip on a Wednesday night, but that is top-level football for you. Any lack of effort at Everton would be inexcusable and telling. Whatever is going through the playersí minds and to whatever extent our infamous mental strength is just a sop of a smokescreen for the fact that we donít actually have any mental strength, the remainder of this campaign rests on this weekend.

There isnít simply a run of nine matches to play now: there is one match to play, now, before a two-week pause due to an international break, and then the clubs return to complete the season. So right now, no matter how bedraggled Arsenal might feel, Arsenal have one game to raise themselves for, before the players get a much-needed change of scenery. Many of the players will be away on international duty and some will get genuine rest, but all of them will at least get some space away from a succession of Arsenal matches and recent heavy scrutiny. We lack belief and confidence, but the result at Everton is utterly crucial for the rest of the campaign.

With no game for two weeks after Goodison, due to this impending international break, Everton away literally IS make-or-break for Arsenal. There is a colossal disparity in what our league position might be by the end of the weekend. Perform at Goodison like we did in the Nou Camp 2nd half, to beat Everton and we would finish Saturday 3 points behind Tottenham, with 8 games left each. Yet if we were to lose at Everton while West Ham win at Chelsea, with an overall 4-goal swing - say we go down 3-0, while West Ham win 1-0 - and City win or draw at home to Utd, then we will end the weekend in 5th. That is chastening stuff. If instead we were to lose at Everton, while 6th-placed Utd win at City and we will end the weekend only 2 points above Utd. Whichever way you look at it, this is a pivotal and cutting weekend ahead.

If it is plausible for Arsenal to ramp up our form to make up 11 points on Leicester and win the title, then it has to be equally plausible to be caught up ourselves by a side 11 points within range of us. Chelsea are 12 points behind. They are tenth. Surely they couldnít catch us, if our form completely collapses. Could they? There is a staggeringly wide range of potential paths ahead, based on quite how this weekend pans out.

So who is going to win the league? Who is going to cope best with the remaining games? It looks like Leicester, but final games of a league season have a nasty habit of reducing all manner of sides to a gibbering wreck. It can take just one result for the backside to fall out of a title challenge, leaving a club out of gas physically and mentally, at the mercy of others to catch them. I expect both Leicester and Spurs to lose their way. What we donít know is if Arsenal can just catch enough of a gust of wind to blow near enough up the table to overtake them.

In the same way that Arsenal made a pigís ear out of facing Barcelona and lost 5-1 on aggregate, Spurs have done exactly the same against Borussia Dortmund in the Europa League. The title wonít be won this weekend, but it could be lost. The results in this final set of matches before the international break will be telling for the final push after it. Crystal Palace away is tough for Leicester. What would a defeat there do to their confidence for the run-in? I sense that Tottenhamís confidence is at a brittle stage too: fail to beat Bournemouth at home this Sunday and I think Spurs will ultimately lose the mental stamina needed to sustain belief that they can do it.

That is why it is so vital that we win at Everton. We donít play the entire run-in this weekend, just one league match before a two-week break where we can return afresh and try to take the final games by storm. If Arsenal can just raise themselves once, this weekend, enough to beat Everton, then they can step away for a few weeks from the goldfish bowl of intense scrutiny that has berated them for weeks now. Arsenalís players and manager have not been able to move for months without the players being told they lack everything it takes to win a title and the manager being told he should go. Win this weekend and who knows where the run-in could yet take us. Lose and the remainder of the run-in could see us finish anywhere down to 10th in the league.

As we all know, Arsene Wengerís tenure at the club is a constant topic. Some are rabid that he must go. Some just donít see it happening. How poor a conclusion to the season would it take for a change in the manager to be unavoidable? Beyond the vitriol and the foaming mouths, letís look at it realistically. Wenger still has a year left on his contract. He doesnít walk away from contracts Ė and at £8m a year, neither would you Ė so quitting seems exceedingly unlikely. Similarly, you canít see Arsenal sacking Wenger, as that would cost them £8m. Given that few observers, impartial or otherwise, feel that Arsenal as a club has a great deal of football nous on the board, is it inevitable that Wenger will at least get to see out the remaining year of his contract? Is there a context that sees him leave this summer?

I have long felt that Wengerís barometer for a successful season is whether or not we qualify for the Champions League. That brings in the big money. Arsene Wenger would like to win the league title just like anyone else and recent FA Cup triumphs were enjoyed enormously, but Champions League football is the minimum requirement and Wenger clearly holds a very tight objective to qualify for it. Domestic trophies are a bonus. So for me I have long said that the only way I could see Wenger quit and hence leave an existing contract, is if Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League.

In discussing the position of Arsenal manager, it is not enough just to say that Arsene Wenger should go. Somebody has to replace him. Many clubs have been sucked into the three-year cycle managers, who come along and smash players together, sign a bunch more, possibly win some stuff, and then move on to the next project, sometimes leaving behind a right mess. As I wrote in Gooner Fanzine issue 257, most of the noted managers who have the calibre to replace Wenger now have new jobs or are close to starting one. Guardiola will be at City, Mourinho will most likely be at Utd, Klopp is at Liverpool and Ancelotti will be at Bayern Munich. That doesnít leave many convincing candidates to replace Arsene Wenger. Is Diego Simeone an Arsenal character? Iím not convinced.

Bar Bruce Riochís one season, Arsenal have had long-term developmental managers for most of the last 30 years, in George Graham and Arsene Wenger. So would Arsenal genuinely opt for a three-year cycle manager, or would they try to unearth another long-term developer? Iím sure they would prefer the latter. Iíve always liked Roberto Martinez, but he is not currently doing so well. A key factor to consider when assessing a managerís suitability is did he have a significant enough playing career that heíd be likely to be enticed away by his former club? Ronald Koeman for example had a great playing career and has done well in management so far. However if he became the Arsenal manager, it wouldnít take much for Barcelona to take an interest in Koeman and turn his head back to the Nou Camp. I suspect Koeman would crawl 100 miles to become Barcelonaís manager. Similarly, should Pochettino become available, you can be sure that if a nice job came up at a top club in Spain, heíd be wanted fast.

For Arsenal, an ideal solution might be staring them in the face. There is in fact a particular young British manager in the Premier League who is talented and impressive and who didnít have a stellar playing career at a top club, hence there wouldnít be a former suitor waiting to click their fingers to nab him off us at little notice. Itís somebody who has been in my mind for a few weeks and then @LeGrove mentioned him this week too. This is a guy who although rather inexperienced at the top level has everything going for him and could be an outstanding long-term developmental manager for Arsenal. Given the reins to transform the club, Eddie Howe could be exceptional. Without a top former club waiting in the wings, Eddie Howe could build upon what he inherits and upgrade Arsenalís squad, ethos and sense of adventure and be a long-term incumbent who could last 15 years or more. Too inexperienced? Maybe, but I think experience can be overrated. Calibre is just as important, if not more so.

So Arsenal are at a curious impasse. Beat Everton this weekend, come back refreshed from the international break and maybe just maybe we could steal a charge on the league table as others above us wilt, to land the title. Arsene Wenger would surely see out his last year and, who knows, maybe even get another contract a year down the line! Or lose to Everton on Saturday and we could slowly drift down the top four into the top six, fail to qualify for next seasonís Champions League and possibly finish even lower, making Wenger himself believe that he really must step down, for failing to meet his minimum requirement. So Arsenal had better turn up at Everton on Saturday and play like a team that wants to win the title, not like a bunch of smacked buttocks. The clubís short-term and long-term future depends on it.


18th March 2016 09:00:00


Comments and Reaction

User comments on this article are now closed. If you want to continue the debate, why not do so on the Gooner Forum.

John F  8:20am 18th Mar 2016

I was listening to a phone in after Everton lost to West Ham and the Everton fans were criticising Martinez for the way they defend,he was the same at wigan.I would go for Low if he could be tempted to get back to club management.De Boar,DB10 combo,Koeman are my other choices. Leicester are 11 points clear and they have a nothing to play for Chelsea last game.One question Danny Mills was asked yesterday was do you think Leicester would be top of the league with its current squad if Wenger was the manager,he said no and I tend to agree.I do think we could finish runners up due to the Spuds remaining fixtures and city's CL involvement.That is the question if we finish runners up would that be deemed a success for Wenger.With Pep coming ,Maureen possibly at utd,Chelsea with a new manager,resurgent Liverpool under Klopp and poch at Spuds does anyone think under Wenger we will win the League next year. - Post No. 91542

Chesham Gooner  8:32am 18th Mar 2016

Simon I think you've been brainwashed...everyone knows us as the club who qualify and embarrass ourselves season after season in the Champions League...I'd rather we were in the record books for winning domestic trophies instead of being European also rans. - Post No. 91543

Arseneknewbest  8:40am 18th Mar 2016

Simon - You are to objective writing what George Osborne is to disabled people's welfare. It was all going quite well until you started on your rabies/foaming mouths metaphor. I suppose in your world view, you and your AKB chums such as Jameee, LeeKFC and the late Reverend Badarse are all the level headed people who think the status quo is acceptable while, er, the rest of us have rabies. Brilliant - are you a vet by any chance? The thing about rabies is that it's a fairly short term disease rendering the sufferer "brown bread" within a few days after excruciating pain. Well the AMGs have been suffering some indescribable pain mate, but it's been going on for rather longer than a few days. So you need a different metaphor for your one-sided offerings I'm afraid. Otherwise, you sound like Mr Gazidis. If we beat Everton tomorrow - I'll eat the postman, woof woof. Keep that bowl of water away from me! - Post No. 91544

Tony Evans  8:49am 18th Mar 2016

Chastening times are ahead whether or not we beat Everton. I have a feeling Leicester will win the league at a canter, and what does that say about Wenger when you consider the resources at his disposal. Next season expect a revived Chelsea, Man U and Liverpool to step up and with Westham and Spurs also looking better than they have in many a year where does that leave us under a manager clearly devoid of ideas and inspiration, and well past his sell by date. - Post No. 91545

Seven Kings Gooner  8:49am 18th Mar 2016

"I have long felt that Wenger's barometer for a successful season is whether or not we qualify for the Champions League - that brings in the big money" There is no flies on you is there Simon, you deserve a "Nobel prize" for stating the bleeding obvious. It has taken you 10 years to work out what we all knew after a few seasons, after Arsenal made the dreaded move. What hope is there? - Post No. 91546

Greg  8:54am 18th Mar 2016

Simon- so you wouldn't take simeone over wenger??!! Shows what an akb you still are sir! - Post No. 91547

WeAreBuildingATeamToDominate  8:59am 18th Mar 2016

LMFAO Show you want it Arsenal. Make it yours. I think the players have had plenty of opportunity to do that already Mr Rose-tinted glasses. Gotta hand it to this guy we could be 3 points off winning the title with a GD 15 worse than the leaders and he'd still think we could win 8-0 and they'd lose 0-7. Tell me Simon do you work for the club's marketing department by any chance - Post No. 91548

Greg  9:04am 18th Mar 2016

Simeone, koeman, Eddie Howe..all better picks for me. Managers able to set up their sides tactically, motivate etc etc. To be honest, anyone would be better for me now, if only to stop this malaise akin to a slow death via cyanide poisoning!! - Post No. 91549

Anyone but Wenger  9:14am 18th Mar 2016

How many times have we seen this movie play out and yet you are still predicting a different outcome. A fresh Everton will beat a tired Arsenal. We all know what Wenger will say in the post match interview. We will secure 4th because West Ham have the Cup distraction, Man U are sh*te and Liverpool are too far back. And the pain continues into next season. - Post No. 91550

WeAreBuildingATeamToDominate  9:32am 18th Mar 2016

Whilst everyone knows the situation at the club, let's not try and pretend Everton are Real Madrid. They've actually been pretty crap all season and we should get something from this game. But don't flame me, I'm not suggesting this is the kick start to a 9-game winning streak that sees us swatting away the opposition week after week on the way to another title. - Post No. 91552

JWE  9:37am 18th Mar 2016

Arsenal to be Champions come May. Take a look at the fixtures, it is ours still to lose. Arsene will come good in the end and all will be forgotten. Just let the great man do his work and the doubters will be embarrassed. Palace to take points off Leicester this weekend and the wheels will start to come off mark my words. - Post No. 91553

WENGER MUST GO ASAP(MARCUS)  9:48am 18th Mar 2016

Awful article!! The usual AKB guff!! When will these deluded fools ever blame wenger?? HE CANT WIN THE LEAGUE WHEN LEICESTER CITY AND TOTTENHAM ARE THE MAIN RIVALS!! Let that sink in. He has no more excuses and that is why a lot of fans who were pro wenger have finally turned this season. To a 70-30 ratio arsenal fans want wenger gone!! Thank God a lot of them have seen the light!! Wenger has ben exposed big time as a joke of a manager who hid behind oil money.. Leicester City's squad costs no more than 10 million there wage bill is 20 million pounds. We have a bigger wage bill than Tottenham as well! Martin Kweon believes Tottenham will win the league! Wengers job is untenable either way!! He has to be forced out. I always ask the remaining wenger loyalists this; do you think wenger can win the league again? And if you don't why should he stay at arsenal? And if you do believe he will what evidence have you got to back up that assertion?? Very simple question and most answer that they don't think he can win the league again! So that should tell you all you need to know about the wenger loyalists!! They are like trump supporters I.e cult followers!! Thank God they are now a minority at arsenal!! The players are not even playing for wenger anymore it's obvious. The excuses for this old senile man have run out big time. His blatant narcissistic egotistical personality has been on show for the last couple months with his abuse of the fans etc. His literally abusing the fans because he believes he should not be criticised loool. That is what kings believe and dictators act like. Wenger reminds me of a tinpot dictator who is digging in and refusing to relinquish the power as it's too salivating and their egos won't allow them to just give it up it's over. The only way these type of dictators are removed is by force. Unfortunately for wenger it's going to get nasty for him. I don't think his narcissistic ego can handle criticism specially from his own fans. - Post No. 91554

Torbay gooner  10:34am 18th Mar 2016

Simon, sounds as though you would be happy with another 4th place and for Wenger to see out the last year of his contract. If so what would be the point of that? The club desperately need new impetus for next season, not the one after. Managers like Koeman or Simeone would provide that. I personally don't believe that Martinez would be good enough for a club the size of Arsenal. However, as we know Wenger is only half of the problem. The other half being the board who I would not trust to appoint a decent successor. I think Joseph Heller wrote a book about it!! - Post No. 91556

Charles  10:38am 18th Mar 2016

If we win at Everton then anything is possible, Ranieri's Chelsea team were the biggest bottlers of all time until Wenger took Arsenal down the same route. If we lose then the season is over, it doesn't matter if we finish 2nd or 17th it's all failure and won't change anything. We need someone with experience of managing in the big time so Mourinho,Hiddink,Bilic or Koeman fit the bill. - Post No. 91557

RedPig  10:43am 18th Mar 2016

Simon - You mention that the managers who had the potential to replace Wenger have taken jobs at other clubs. I do hope you are not suggesting this is a reason to persist with Wenger because isn't us persisting with Wenger the reason we missed out on those managers in the first place? How much longer must we endure Wenger? And how many more potential replacements will go elsewhere? Personally I would take anyone right now on the basis that they are not Wenger. So yes to Eddie Howe ... even Eddie Large will do :) - Post No. 91558

jeff wright  10:50am 18th Mar 2016

Familiar stuff from Simon he keeps it simple and the usual optimistic predictions guff from Jamerson - posting under yet another name. You couldn't make it up. - Post No. 91559

Nck  11:06am 18th Mar 2016

The trouble with our side is that faced with a top quality team or even a mediocre one in a PRESSURE game they freeze like rabbits caught in headlights, this attitude must be imparted from the manager, so can we win nine games in a row ,yes we are capable will we ? I very much doubt it unless there is a sea change in attitude ! Good shout for Eddie Howe, I myself have touted him before, he likes attacking football, and has worked wonders with few resources at Bournemouth, he is young and hungry to build a reputation with the right assistance he could be the real deal for us ! - Post No. 91560

Exeter Gunner  11:08am 18th Mar 2016

It will take more than a 'semblance of form' to win the title. AFC would have to win all 9 - a tall order for a team in scintillating form - whilst hoping Leicester lose 3 of their remaining 8 (or an equivalent combination of draws and defeats). This is not at all plausible, even less so for a team that was turned into a gibbering wreck (to use Simon's phrase) by the prospect of a title challenge before the daffs came up. As for the manager, I believe an empty chair until the end of the season would see AFC make a better fist of what remains. - Post No. 91561

Le Grande Odeur  11:25am 18th Mar 2016

Everton hold all the Aces as they are strong where we are weak. They have Lukaku who will give any of the central defensive partnerships trouble (especially Mertesacker) due to his power and pace, and Martinez has had him drifting wide to target Monreal with great success on the last 2 visits. Baines, Coleman and Lennon will exploit the full backs and the lazy buggers (Sanchez, Ozil, Wally) who don't put a shift in defensively. Clouseau will need to employ some tactics to combat them and we just know that isn't going to happen. - Post No. 91562

Mark  11:30am 18th Mar 2016

I am sorry but some People are still delusional and not really seeing where the Team is at. Everton are not Barca who stand off and let you Play. Everton know if you clsoe Arsenal down there is no Plan B. very best we can hope for is a draw. We dont have a Team of warriors or high Talent and the fans need to see more clearly. Hes so desperate that hes thrown in Iwobi so that we all start to think ''oh he Looks good..''. But that is simply not the same as a Team that Comes out week after week and performs to a consistant Minimum Standard. Which is simply not Wenger's Arsenal. I will be back on here tommorrow afternoon to remind you of my words. We are very weak and we will be in a fight to get 4th. - Post No. 91563

Ron  11:44am 18th Mar 2016

AFC will be fidgety and nervy on the week end. Goodison Park isnt a place to be when a team feels like that even if its isnt the best Everton side. Its closed in and atmospheric. This team doesnt handle pressure like that very well. We all know that. We ve all seen them buckle so often. The game v Ertn depends on how much interest Evrtn have. If they get at AFC im expecting us to just wilt which is bad for me as i ll be sitting there with a few Evertonians!! If not and the FAC is their main thing, at best a draw for us im guessing. Martinez is under pressure there by the way. Lots of Evtn fans been hounding him out all season, so hes not without pressure and it may make him play safe in which case AFC could benefit. Im going 1-1. - Post No. 91564

Highbury Boy  11:49am 18th Mar 2016

Simon;what a silly article. Nonsense to believe that "the club's short-term and long term future depends" on what team turns up v Everton. What if we win and the other teams around us win? Will you say "chastening times ahead if we don't beat Watford in our next match? If we all draw. What then? All lose. What then? Your thinking is very short term. Some of us and in fact most on this site have concluded long ago that there needs to be managerial change. That's why it was nice to see the banner AFTER the 4 nil win at Hull. People like Ian Wright were shocked to see it after the win but you can't look at results in isolation. You have to judge him ,his transfer policy,tactics etc over seasons. BT Sports and the media generally will want to big up the importance of the game so that people watch it or buy newspapers. The last refuge for AKBs is "Be careful what you wish for/fear of the unknown /there's no-one good left out there".Arsene himself was very much unknown and unproven when he arrived at Highbury. So in conclusion I am saying the result at Everton is not important to the big picture:we need a new dynamic manager to bring in new ideas in May. Obviously any manager will be restricted by the main shareholder who puts the value of his shareholding above trophies but unless someone comes in to buy his shares at a high price he isn't going anywhere. The only change can be in the manager. - Post No. 91565

CB  11:53am 18th Mar 2016

Is Diego Simeone an Arsenal character? What you really mean is, is he an Arsene Wenger character. Most definitely not. He has plenty of mental strength and spirit, you know, that stuff that Wenger talks about but most definitely doesn't have. But I'd say he has more of the true Arsenal character than Wenger has and I`d be delighted to see him become the manager. - Post No. 91566

anthony walters  11:59am 18th Mar 2016

it would be a monumental change in form results and performances for us to have a remote chance of winning enough of our remaining matches to win the title .equally a major loss in form for both spurs and leicester which is damn's more likely a fight for 4th and possibly 3rd if liverpool win the europa cup. - Post No. 91567

Mark from Aylesbury  12:09pm 18th Mar 2016

Something is up with the team and I suspect it is clique driven and split with some parties not wanting to put themselves across the line for the present Manager. This reminds me of UTD under Moyes. Either the players do another meeting and try and pull off a performance like Spurs or sadly I see it being a 2-1 loss with even us being in front at some point in the game. My guy feel is a further loss - Post No. 91568

Mark from Aylesbury  12:20pm 18th Mar 2016

JWE and fat Pete are lovers who live by the seaside village (Sizewell B) in a caravan. - Post No. 91569

Ron  12:21pm 18th Mar 2016

Simon - Quite a few Evtn fans would drive Martinez to N7 tomorrow. Like Wenger, theyre of the view that hes obsessed by 'philosophy' its why they concede so much. Whats 'an Arsenal character'? Is this another allusion to this so called 'class' the Club is supposed to have that others dont? Thats a bit old hat now isnt it? In my view, whatever the character, AFC needs the antidote to AW however its packaged. Long term Coaches are a thing of the past now. Nothings permanent and there will always be bigger clubs than Arsenal for managers to move too. The game is full of transient players and coaches few of whom have affinity or the wish to give loyalty to Clubs.Its not such a bad thing as i see it. Too much longevity breeds complacency and too much of a comfort zone or at least it has in our case! - Post No. 91570

anthony walters  12:25pm 18th Mar 2016

fight for top four more likely i just looked at the rules and only three league places if city and liverpool win both champs league and europs cup.unlikely i'd say !!!!! - Post No. 91571

jeff wright  12:27pm 18th Mar 2016

Tbh, I can't see where all the optimism that we will beat Everton is coming from. It's true they have not been great at home this season but there have been signs recently,they beat an inform Chelsea 2-0 in the Cup ,that they have found some better form. Martinez is another Pelligrini /Wenger pass the parcel type so there could be a lot of passing going on between the two sides. I don't think that we will beat Everton from what I have seen of our performances since last November and that includes the 3-1 defeat in the Nou Cmp the other night - that predictably has been talked up as though we had won the game. Deja vu the 2-2 at the spuds. Who are now 6 points clear of us and playing Bournemouth at home next up while we play Everton away. Our title challenge is in reality just the same old fight for the 4th place trophy .Watch out for those Hammers Arsene! - Post No. 91572

Mark  12:27pm 18th Mar 2016

who would you take in these positions ? Lukaku or Giroud? Stones or Mertesecker Baines or Monreal Barkley or Ramsey Barry or Coquelin Lennon or Theo... Thats a large part of the Team where our Players are not top 6 - Post No. 91573

jjetplane  12:39pm 18th Mar 2016

Let me get this right - you are saying it is vital we beat Everton, followed by two weeks of selfies and celebrating winning another virtual trophy to go alongside the one we got for beating Leicester (twice!) to go with the Community Shield where we finally put that Chelsea rubbish stat to death and Wenger gets a new contract and you repeat yourself every two months by saying: 'show you want it/make it yours blah blah my name is Simon (really!) and please can I have a job writing Arsene's withering remarks to a safe audience....' That's it! SIEsTA! Zzzzzzzzzzz errr Remember - the only thing that is definitely in a bag is Wenger! Working that zip oh yeah .... - Post No. 91575

mbg  13:04pm 18th Mar 2016

So it's a nine game season now is it ? it wasn't all that long ago it was a 38 and then a 20, you couldn't make it up, it doesn't matter how long the season is or how many games there are 50, 60, 70, your messiah will or would never win the league, has it not sunk in even now ? Like I said before you and your ilk deserve wenger. You really couldn't make it up. wenger out now. - Post No. 91576

Nick  13:18pm 18th Mar 2016

Sanchez " lazy" ??? He may not be in form but the bloke never stops running and chasing, he may not be switched on defensively but to call him a lazy bugger is not just uncalled for its plain wrong ! Personally I think he has become disillusioned and is trying too hard to do it all himself as he simply doesn't trust in the quality of those around him or the managers plan for the club and how we play, Ozil,yes he IS a lazy player his mind set is that we bought him to set up chances which he provides in abundance but others simply waste them so he sulks, Walcott just doesn't seem to know WHAT hes supposed to do, in slow tempo games he is just a passenger, as his main asset speed is nullified, our best performances have come in the games vd manure red and blue and Leicester, where we played high pressing high tempo football which as we all known is anathema to Wenger who likes football to be played like chess, a boring game whose philosophy does not transfer to English football, most British sides that have had success in Europe have played a savvy version of the up and at em football that we Brits love, we however try to out think teams in Europe instead of bludgeoning them into submission this of course is all down to the manager who has seen HIS way FAIL regularly but refuses to admit he is wrong, his greatest failing is his own hubris ! - Post No. 91578

Peter Wain  13:32pm 18th Mar 2016

Eddie Howe is no where near ready to manager Arsenal. The players will say what has he won and he will quickly lose the dressing room. We need an experienced manager like Lowe or Alladyce. - Post No. 91580

Ron  13:40pm 18th Mar 2016

Agree its too big a step for Howe. I dont mind big Sam too much but as AFC coach, id sooner the team not bother having one. Sams good at Clubs like Sunderland where hes the big cheese. Hes too old anyway now and his best times came at Bolton. Hes never been the same since. The stop off at Newcastle did for him as it will for Benitez. Bilic has surged to the top of the best prospects queue. Koeman too. Both seem very grounded and made of stern stuff. - Post No. 91581

mbg  13:43pm 18th Mar 2016

So your just going to chastise your messiah ? a small slap on the wrist and tell him not to do it again ? then no doubt put your arm around him and tell him it's alright. Don't give up the day job, if you have one. Obviously now you can make it up. - Post No. 91582

goonersol  13:53pm 18th Mar 2016

Oh dear, gooners mentioning Big Sam, really, are things that bad.....Wenger to go by all means , But Big Sam, God NO. he will take AFC back 50yrs and we will all wish AW was back.....get real some of you. Talk up someone who may fit the brief ( Koeman,Simone maybe) but not Big Sam with the Little ideas. - Post No. 91583

mbg  13:58pm 18th Mar 2016

SKG, yes mate all that long drawn out drivel (are you sure your not badarse) to tell us something we already know. - Post No. 91584

anthony walters  14:01pm 18th Mar 2016

let me get this right then fa cup 2015 was a virtual trophy was it ????? that said to move the club forward and get the best out of this group to start with which arsene isn't fresh ideas under a strong hungry younger character i do believe for various reasons timing premiership experience ,winning stuff with major clubs ,good, defensive organisation and his name as a great player will attract players .ronald koeman for me as stated previously . - Post No. 91585

Mark from Aylesbury  14:04pm 18th Mar 2016

Koeman or Bilic both had time now to acclimatise to the Prem and both as Ron has said are tough enough. I kept on hearing we are after UMRE but if that is a Wenger tip, that's a negative for me - Post No. 91587

Nick  14:41pm 18th Mar 2016

Why is Eddie Howe not ready ? George Graham had only managed at lower league level when he came to us, that turned out rather well didn't it ? If he had the right assistant and a director of football say Viera we would still be able to attract top players, Mourinho never played at top level it didn't hold him back, players will respect a coach who knows what he's doing and whose ideas and vision are the right ones, yes we may have a difficult transition and rebuilding period but as long as we recognise that and buy into what the new man wants to do it will come right in the end,it shouldn't come to that though with our resources providing the board back the new bloke and.put their money where their mouths are ! If they don't then we shall know for sure that the club is rotten to the core!! - Post No. 91588

jjetplane  14:45pm 18th Mar 2016

Both the 14 and 15 FA Cup were bone trophies thrown to Arsene's Poodles in order to keep the dream alive. The gream is the Emirates experience which means good food at Jamerson prices and lots of penalty action .... during the 'warm ups' where you can see the Ox, Wally, Little Jacko and the Welsh son of Nazarethrhytswyth stretch and stretch until SNAP! Anyway - back to the food and a new line in 'pulled pork' (ouch!) sourced from one of Stan's ranches which are subsidised by the Emirates experience ..... - Post No. 91589

Le Grande Odeur  15:02pm 18th Mar 2016

Nick. Maybe I'll tell the Missus "I wasn't switched on" when I haven't done the dishes next time! I'm sure she'll see the difference. Sanchez runs about a lot but is lazy defensively - Post No. 91590

Bard  15:44pm 18th Mar 2016

Simon you do seem to have had a change of heart which is good to hear but I dont buy this argument that all the 'good' managers are taken so in effect lets stick with what we have got. Wenger was unknown when he arrived. Neither am i going to get into the 'well who then 'debate. The bottom line is that if we could get someone to coach the team to defend properly and develop some mental toughness throw in a top striker and we would be there or theraebouts straightaway. What happens at Everton depends on which Arsenal turns up and whether any of our strikers discover some form. I have no idea to be honest - Post No. 91591

mbg  16:07pm 18th Mar 2016

I said yesterday how the AKB wengerites will be on squawking, crowing, and gloating in defence of their messiah if Leicester grab defeat from the jaws of victory, low and behold they can't even wait and see, their predicting it, just like their messiah they really have nothing left now, how they must be suffering, long may it continue, wenger out. - Post No. 91592

Croker  16:09pm 18th Mar 2016

I enjoyed this article until I got to the Eddie Howe part. Promising, yes but he could n't make a success of the job at Burnley. - Post No. 91593

Ron  16:17pm 18th Mar 2016

Nick - In Howes case id just sooner see him make a good job of managing a Club like, say WBA or Saints first off. He seems very much wedded to Bmouth and the type of role that job calls for right now, hes doing a great job too.He stepped up at Burnley and it didn't go well for him, for whatever reason. - Post No. 91594

mbg  16:21pm 18th Mar 2016

jw, it's the usual AKB optimism/bullshyte that they always spew to try and take the heat of they're messiah in times of need, and we know all about their optimism. - Post No. 91595

JWE  16:37pm 18th Mar 2016

Comfy win tomorrow 3-1. Everton are a poor side. WENGER TO STAY WAY BEYOND END OF CURRENT CONTRACT. The Emirates crowd love the guy really no matter what you might read on here. ARSENE WENGERS RED AND WHITE ARMY!!! The Emirates would never be built let alone full week after week if Arsene was not at Arsenal. Arsene has taken the club to a whole new audience, one on a global level and one that has a genuine brand identity. We would never have achieved any of that under the stewardship of Bruce Rioch. There is clearly no-one else who could take on as much as Arsene has and we should all be forever greatful for the effort and time that our current number one has put into the cause. Arsene has a job for life and your a fool if you can't see that. - Post No. 91596

mbg  16:53pm 18th Mar 2016

goonerSol, it'll certainly be bad if we ever wish wenger was back, no matter how bad it gets I hope that's the last thing we ever wish for. - Post No. 91597

Hi Berry  17:22pm 18th Mar 2016

JWE - Personally I wish we were still at Highbury - the few occasions I've been to the Emirates has been an awful experience with a complete disconnect from the team....and when did a football crowd become an 'audience'? I don't think many on here give a flying one about our 'global brand' and just wish the club and team were honest in its endeavours to make a decent attempt to win the title for its local support. Sadly a lot of disillusioned Gooners who did their time on the North Bank don't recognise the club from the one that they supported in their youth. - Post No. 91598

Mark from Aylesbury  17:35pm 18th Mar 2016

Have to say good old Simon would make a great Politician. We have seen him do a complete vault face to take a Wenger out position within a blink of an eye whilst never admiting his previous he must stay at all costs over countless previous articles. Quite brilliant I salute you sir! - Post No. 91599

Arseneknewbest  17:56pm 18th Mar 2016

Unai Emery or Eddie Howe? I'd take Dick Emery (honytonks!) or Eddie the Eagle instead of wenger! There are plenty of coaches out there who'd bust their anus paid anything near wengerball money along with the chance to run a bit, albeit rapidly fading, club. Here's another one into the mix - Marcelo Bielsa, who is about as good a football technician as they come. But right now, there are thousands of people who could do a better job than the present incumbent. More narrowly, think of any club's manager in the top half of the PL and they look a better bet than weng (except LVG and mark hughes). Someone could even parachute in from rugby union and be more effective than the strasbourg strategist. Disrespectful? Maybe - but he fooked his own legacy down the drain, not me. - Post No. 91600

Alsace  18:14pm 18th Mar 2016

Yes, made up stat. It is too much to ask for. Don't you realise that the business model is mediocrity, even though we could achieve silverware within the same budget. Like the very best AKB's the club is scared of change. - Post No. 91601

Hiccup  18:50pm 18th Mar 2016

Monty Prython scriptwriting at its best. Thank you Simon. And now back over to Arsenal Circular to trump this excellent sketch. Will he use our favourite "look in the whites of their eyes" which always gives me bigger goosebumps than the "show you want it" or "make it yours". With westie, baddie and coldsore all gone AWOL, I miss my fix of laughter that they provided. Thank you Simon for keeping rock and roll alive! God bless you. - Post No. 91602

John F  19:02pm 18th Mar 2016

I am just wondering if Brendan Rodgers is hanging around hoping to get a call not my choice but I can imagine he could be Wiggys.I did enjoy the two dead comedians,fat Sam and an empty chair suggested as viable options.All together now "Wenger must go get in Low". - Post No. 91603

mbg  19:20pm 18th Mar 2016

Mark from Aylesbury, i doubt very much good old Simon has done that mate, as you say we all know his previous, like a few more on here at the moment (regardless what they say) good old Simon would keep him in the blink of an eye. Sad or what. - Post No. 91604

mbg  19:30pm 18th Mar 2016

Hiccup, yes, Arsenal show you want it, make it yours, I haven't laughed as much for a long time. You really couldn't make it up, but we know someone who can. - Post No. 91605

John F  19:36pm 18th Mar 2016

My apologies to Eddie Large I thought he had joined Dick Emery upstairs.Low is 10/1 joint favourite with DB10 to take over Wenger. - Post No. 91606

mbg  0:13am 19th Mar 2016

ArseneKnewBest, 91600, he done that all right, not me or you, post of the day. - Post No. 91612

HowardL  8:33am 19th Mar 2016

"Show you want it", "Make it yours"; can you hear Wenger saying that? Admittedly he made Arsenal one of the most entertaining teams on the planet, possibly the most in 2003/4 - until the money men took over football. Unfortunately Simin, Wenger is just not cut out for the sort of motivational environment that is needed. We may win today, more likely we may lose. It's a great pity, but that's life and now it's truly time for Wenger to leave. Eddie Howe would be a breath of fresh air but if we dally too long waiting for him to prove it you know what will happen - Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man Utd etc will just flash their chequebooks ... - Post No. 91614

Hiccup  8:40am 19th Mar 2016

A win is a must today to smoke the AKB's back out. Anything other than a win and we'll have to send out search parties to make sure they're OK. - Post No. 91615

Smithy  9:10am 19th Mar 2016

Eddie Howe would be a inspired choice. Get him before one of our rivals does. Eddie in with Keown or big tone would be a great combination. - Post No. 91618

Exeter Gunner  10:03am 19th Mar 2016

I don't get this interpretation that Simon has turned. Quite the opposite, he describes those wanting Wenger out as 'frothing at the mouth', claims the title race is still on, suggests a replacement manager perhaps suitable a good few years down the line, and even suggests Wenger could get another contract. You can almost feel his hope and yearning for this. Like Fox Mulder, he wants to believe. - Post No. 91620

JF of Aylesbury  10:39am 19th Mar 2016

Sorry chaps "Times UP" WENGER OUT and Patrick Vieira in please with DB10 as No2. - Post No. 91621

Nick  11:10am 19th Mar 2016

To the poster who slated Alexis Sanchez as lazy and scathingly repudiated my defence of said player, Alexis is first and foremost a forward, that he is not" switched" on as defensively as might wish does NOT detract from his overall work rate, personally I think he is wasted out wide, he is not at home there as can be seen by his penchant for cutting inside with the ball, for Chile he plays either up front or just behind the main striker where his quick feet can be more effective and his shooting ability better utilized but we all know Wenger is obsessed with changing players positions and loves a player on the wing who is not really a winger, Ozil is far more lazy, the times he has bothered to track back and actually make a successful tackle can probably be counted on one hand , to blame individual players is wrong, they play in the main how they are set up and coached to play. Most of the goals we've conceded this season have come after bad decisions and poor passes where we have lost possession,or from simple long balls over the top, you have to conclude that lack of coaching on these situations is the problem, that and the fact that at present we do not have the personnel to play the type of close passing game Wenger favours, our best performances have come when we press and play at a high tempo moving the ball forward at pace, as a unit, Wenger does not like this style however preferring the slow, slow, quick, quick slow type of build up like moving chess pieces round a board , this is not only boring it does not work in the Hurley burley of the premier league except against the poorest and most naive opposition, especially with the playing staff we have available, we won't see change until we change the man in charge . - Post No. 91623

Hiccup  11:35am 19th Mar 2016

Exeter, as Simon is always happy to finish 4th, I'm surprised he can't grasp the fact that the same applies to the manager, which then filters down to the players, and then filters down to the fans that also lack any ambition. To then talk about 'do the players want it' is laughable. Simon clearly doesn't 'want it' so just why the hell should he bothered whether the players 'want it' too? Anyway, massive game today. The result will determine whether we see the AKB's again today, or will we see them in 4 weeks when we next win a game? - Post No. 91624

mbg  13:10pm 19th Mar 2016

Hiccup, indeed, i'd say a win will see them back crowing we're up and running again, or something stupid like that, what they'll have to crow about is anyone's guess, you couldn't make it up, or maybe not, as they know their messiah's time is up regardless. wenger out. - Post No. 91626

JWE  15:55pm 19th Mar 2016

Easy win as predicted. Iwobi and Welbeck look like a good combination to me as they did in Barcelona the other night. Backed up going forward by Alexis and Ozil you will not find a better attacking unit anywhere in the league right now. Credit to Arsene for giving the younger forwards a chance as they look far sharper than Giroud and Walcott. Arsene FC for the title! - Post No. 91632

jjetplane  18:07pm 19th Mar 2016

If Arsene FC can beat The Foxes anytime when the pressure is on - why can't Palace and the rest of them? The PL is corrupt and not worth winning. Having gone to the Nou Camp and come away with dignity intact as the cheating Catalans resorted to laughing at our boys because they knew it was the only way they would win? we travel all that way from Catalonia (silly name) and fatigue or no fatigue break the toffees into little chewy bits and now the march to the top is on. Arsene has now made IT his and the players want IT so now we just have to wait for middle of the table team Leicester to realise they were a bit silly even remotely wanting IT and are only there at the false top because of Arsene's fixture congestion and with Jack back in two weeks Leicester and the Spuds will wish they had never been born. Looking forward to the selfies after smashing Everton into a gooey mess and with two weeks off while the entire Arsene squad go global and keep the beautiful game alive. Great to have you back GOONerRoN. Seriously - I did not check Leicester's result - bet they lost ...... - Post No. 91645

Spike  18:27pm 19th Mar 2016

Blimey! A win to stem the relegation form. Must have done the maths and figured out fourth place was under threat. It is too little too late and will not expunge the p1ss poor efforts leading up to it. No doubt the knicker wetters on Untold will see this as proof that we will now win everything for the next ten years if we just support Arsene and give Feo the armband full time. Happy days. - Post No. 91647

mbg  18:38pm 19th Mar 2016

Oh dear the moistness and the whooping didn't last long at AKB central, well done Leicester you've done us all a great favour, so two weeks before we hear from the AKB's again. - Post No. 91649

Petrovic  19:26pm 19th Mar 2016

If I'm honest positive Leicester results are more on my wish list to prevent that lot taking the premiership. I cannot depend on my soft millionaire wage collectors to have the mettle to do it..... - Post No. 91662

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

15th January 2018

Being muscled off the ball by Bournemouth is like being mugged by your grandma

Online Ed: Another poor Arsenal display on the road just another signpost as we near the end of the Wenger era