Arsenal Audit: December 2016 review – Part 2

By Neil A. Fry, Arsenal Audit

Analysis of particular areas from the previous month

Alexis Alejandro Sánchez Sánchez
After Alexis’s hat-trick at the London Stadium, BBC MotD star pundit Alan Shearer wondered why he hadn’t been tried there before. Of course, he had been. When Alexis first joined Arsenal, he played upfront twice before Arsenal bought Danny Welbeck, following Olivier Giroud’s injury, and then a few more times – with Welbeck moving left. Shearer did know about goal-scoring. Yet he had just one Premier League winners’ medal and nothing at international level to show for it. He went on to say that for Alexis to be regarded as world-class, Arsenal had to win the Premier League this season. Surely, it isn’t reasonable to make one player responsible for the performance of the entire squad, manager, coaching, management and medical teams and the Arsenal Board? And in any case, Alexis has already won the Chilean league title, La Liga and Copa del Rey for Barcelona, and - with Chile usurping the South American giants Brazil and Argentina - the last two Copa Americas. Alexis scored the winning goal in the penalty shoot-out in the first and received the player of the tournament award in the second.

Ozil: Overall contributions are significantly less appreciated

With Alexis and Özil in central roles, it means the two star offensive signings play where they can be most involved and have most impact, and put their long-standing good chemistry to its most explosive effect. Moreover, whilst on a bad day he can overdo it, Alexis as a false 9 often drops back into the midfield or wide left, leaving the opposition centre-back with the dilemma of either having to track him and leave vacant space for others to attack or leave him to drift deep and then either drive at defenders and/or play others in. Özil, from the centre, and Theo Walcott, from the right, have been highly adept at quickly inhabiting the vacant space to get goal-scoring opportunities themselves. At West Ham, Alexis set up Özil again before his own top-quality hat-trick. At Basel, Lucas came in from the right to inhabit Alexis’s vacant space and helped himself to a hat-trick of his own. Against Stoke and West Brom, Alexis had busy days as Arsenal attacked at will, and his surging run at the defence led to Iwobi’s goal against the former and he was unlucky not to score himself against the latter.

Alexis scored from a free-kick at Everton and put Walcott through into the centre-forward position on a counter-attack to score at Manchester City. Alexis’ incessant pressing of centre-halves, willingness to drop back into midfield and chase back when the opposition had the ball also offset Özil’s differing work ethic. Above all, set up with Alexis as a roaming false 9, Arsenal can operate with much more pace and movement than we saw last season. This has offered Arsenal an attacking fluidity, fluency and unpredictability that was so often so painfully lacking. The successful rehabilitation of Danny Welbeck, operating from the left, would offer an even greater offensive cutting edge, setting his scoring capability afainst to the Alexeses (Iwobi and Chamberlain), and a top-quality high press.

Monsieur Wenger seems to have made several joyless attempts, not least the very public refusals over Suarez and from Vardy, to sign a more mobile successor to van Persie than Olivier Giroud. This season, having patiently persevered when many including Arsenal Audit and Arsenal Authentic! would have thrown the towel in, he has solved the world-class centre-forward conundrum internally – with a player, like van Persie, who is a world-class but far from conventional no 9.

Mesut Özil
Whereas some still seem to doubt that Alexis is the answer to Arsenal’s failure to sign what would now be a £50-100m centre-forward (not least Arsenal Authentic!), Arsenal’s other major star signing’s overall contributions are significantly less appreciated. Whilst Özil’s kilometres-run stats have never proven to be an issue, some prefer simpler more visible homely virtues to what the German 2014 World Cup-winning star offers Arsenal – like players coming off the pitch looking like they’ve come off the Somme battlefield. Yet others of the same great skill/‘defensive frailty’ ilk seem to have been tolerated rather more. Kevin de Bruyne’s failure to track Hector Bellerin on a deep counter-attack was directly responsible for the Arsenal goal at the Etihad. Perhaps that was the reason that Jose Mourinho discarded him after half a season at Chelsea. But he never attracts anything like the same opprobrium as Özil. Similarly, Eden Hazard. After a flurry of comment from keyboard warriors and the media, Monsieur Wenger assured supporters that he didn’t give Özil any leeway when Arsenal don’t have possession. “He has to do his job like everybody else and usually he does it well … We are a team who win the ball high up the pitch very well, which means he and Alexis do their part of the job very well.”

As at following the Manchester City defeat, Özil had made 11 Premier League tackles this season to De Bruyne’s 17, but three more than Eden Hazard. Hazard, though, tops the chart for the most possession won in the final third, 18. Özil is second, along with Alexis (who had played one more match), on 16. Theo Walcott has won only half as many in the final third but made more tackles than both and over three times as many clearances as both added together (Özil 3, Alexis 0). Notwithstanding the rare blemish at Goodison, the stats reflect Walcott’s diligence and different role this season (similarly the Alexes, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Iwobi) to the two star central players - tracking back to support his full-backs. As for Özil’s offensive stats this season - which reflect the key attributes which led to his much-heralded signing - they are decent but not spectacular. He often provides goals (5 Premier League, 3rd Arsenal highest), assists (3, 3rd), chances created (45, 2nd), set pieces and passes (67 per 90 minutes, 2nd – interestingly, far behind Xhaka, 81.5), and like Silkolene engine oil, simply keeps Arsenal running. Neither his languid style nor his ball-winning prowess in the final third can disguise his lack of general impact in too many big matches (the same can be said of so many others, as we shall see).

Squad rotation
Once those two star signings were inked on the team sheet, Monsieur Wenger rotated at FC Basel to very good effect. Generally, however, in the Premier League and Europe, he has continued his old habit of picking settled teams and just made minor tinkerings. Last season - with ground to make up in both Leagues, clear weaknesses in the squad and many injuries - was no different. This season Arsenal made up for their August five-point Premier League deficit within a month, got off to a much better start in the Champions League, had fewer injuries and, above all, a much more fit-for-purpose squad. Yet, after the defeat at City, Monsieur Wenger said, “We have suffered a little bit physically in the last two games. We were twice 1-0 up and started the game well. I felt we have given a lot in Europe, in the Premier League. We were a bit less fresh mentally to absorb the pressure of two big away games having just come back from Europe.”

But the Everton match was seven days after Basel and only five players survived the Swiss rotation to start at home to Stoke (Koscielny, Gabriel, Xhaka, Özil and Alexis). The Tuesday and Sunday fixtures were just part and parcel of the competitive nature of the Premier League that has caused it to attract such globally-televised riches. Thereafter, the festive fixture list was as soft as Arsenal could hope for. Was it strictly necessary for Mesut Özil and Alexis to travel to Basel for a 10% chance? Hadn’t they been overplayed before that? Couldn’t Arsenal make a decent fist of a match without one or both? Couldn’t Gibbs have been trusted with another game or two more instead of the somewhat struggling Monreal? Bellerin had just had a break for his injury and the beneficiary Gabriel had only recently had his chances. Xhaka had hardly been overplayed all season. Coquelin had a break with his brief injury too. The Alexes had been oscillated. Walcott had missed a few matches through brief injuries. Giroud and Perez had assists and goals when given their fleeting chances. Beyond a modest amount of enforced injury-related changes, rotation has centred around just two areas - (until recently) indecision/experimentation over the ‘2’ once injury struck ‘Coqzorla’ again, and which Alex to play wide left. Managing a squad to keep players physically and mentally fresh – even more imperative given the demands on players in operating the high press, avoid injuries and keep the opposition guessing is just part of the modern Premier League manager’s job.

Game management
The Basel tie was effectively over in the 47th minute, yet Monsieur waited until the 70th and 73rd minutes to rest almost-ever-presents Alexis and Mesut Özil. Surely risking, and managing, their wrath would have been better than risking injury to such important players? At Everton, Arsenal failed to see out the first half after they had been in control and were physically dominated as the home crowd came to life and the press evaporated. The tide had turned but the first substitutions didn’t come until the two wide players who were having little or no impact on the match were finally replaced. At Manchester City, Arsenal were undone by Pep Guardiola’s changing their formation at half-time to exploit the space around Arsenal’s ‘2’; they scored immediately and Arsenal lost the central midfield.

As Tim Stillman noted, City pressed harder and Monsieur Wenger has struggled against managers that employ the high press he has finally come to use himself. With Mohamed Elneny available to help shore it up, Monsieur Wenger waited until the 65th minute before his standard swapping of the Alexes wide left and far away from where the problems were. Manchester City took the lead after 71 minutes and Elneny only came on to replace the quickly-injured Oxlade-Chamberlain after 78 minutes. With Arsenal also struggling to retain possession, the potential outlet of Olivier Giroud waited until after the second goal when, with Arsenal now needing to force the pace, Francis Coquelin was hooked. His attributes are much admired by Arsenal Audit, but there was surely a case for leaving him on the bench against Tony Pullis’s West Brom who were hardly likely to arrive with attacking intent and do anything other than park the bus? In the corresponding fixture at the end of last season, Coquelin started on the bench in favour of Aeron Ramsey after a frustrating home draw against Crystal Palace. Perhaps (regardless of the Welsh Euros star’s ongoing struggles for Arsenal) it would have been worth repeating? With the game still goalless, it did happen - after 75 minutes - once, as usual, the first ‘tactical’ change happened wide left.

Flat-track bullies?
Before the January 2015 win at the Etihad, Arsenal had not won against the then top four in 12 games - stretching back to the 5-3 win at Chelsea in October 2011. In the 2013/14 season Arsenal suffered 3-6, 1-5 and 0-6 defeats at Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea. Indeed, over the last four seasons, Arsenal have won just three of their last 22 Premier League away games against top-six opposition, seven games were drawn and 12 lost. In other figures, 16 points from 22 games at an average of 0.7 points per match (28 goals for, 47 against). This season, like last at home to Manchester United, Arsenal did win very comfortably, care of a speedy first half three-goal blitz against Chelsea. Yet even at home Arsenal’s record is far from great. Chelsea are the clear leaders in the Super 6 away table, having lost just four times and accrued 34 points at an average of 1.5 points per match. The Manchester clubs and Liverpool had very similar records 27/28 points from 22/23 matches at an average of 1.2 points and with eight or nine defeats. Only Tottenham Hotspur had a worse record than Arsenal, who, for the previous three seasons were again fourth, averaging 1.1 to 1.2 points per match. Before that, the average is 0.9 (having sold van Persie to Manchester United), 1.3, 1.3, 1.0, 1.4, 1.8, 1.8, 1.2 and 1.5. And then, previously, Monsieur Wenger’s glorious Invincibles who achieved a remarkable 2.4 PPG (won seven drew three).

Currently, Arsenal are fourth in this season’s Super 6 League table. The Arsenal season record so far, eleven shots on target against WBA, bettered their ten against West Ham and nine against Hull City. Yet in the three November and December matches against Tottenham Hotspur and the Manchester clubs, they managed just four shots on goal.

Having acknowledged Arsenal’s more experienced and deeper squad and stronger spine, added pace and movement, the contre-presser, the success of moving Alexis to be a (false) no 9 and Olivier Giroud’s usefulness as Plan B from the bench, five significant barriers to success were highlighted last month - August start of the season, November, coping without Santi Cazorla, and Monsieur Wenger’s enduring passivity over both game-management and substitutions. Since Santi’s injury, Arsenal have improved a little on their record without him the previous two seasons. The 40% win-rate without him has upped to 50%, but is a long way short of the 65.5% with him. Similarly, the 1.6 points per match return without has upped a little to 1.8, but is still well short of 2.1 with. As we have seen, Monsieur Wenger’s enduring passivity over game-management, particularly against the newer breed of modern managers, was particularly exposed by Pep Guardiola at the Etihad. Late and tactically-mediocre substitutions continued. Whether struggling for the lead or losing, tactical substitutions usually involved little more than swapping of the Alexes wide left well after the hour mark and then bringing on the plan B super-sub Olivier Giroud for the last 20 minutes.

Arsenal’s impressive record in scoring late (and substitute) goals this season is well known. Less impressive is a further issue, as flagged up by the arsenal.com commentators - Arsenal’s record from half-time to the 70th minute. So far in the Premier League this season, quite extraordinarily it reads – after Monsieur Wenger’s half-time team talks - played 18, won 3, drawn 9, lost 6, goals-for 4, goals-against 9, points 18. Monsieur Wenger also rotated insufficiently to keep players physically and mentally fresh, an even bigger imperative given the demands on players in operating the high press. The physical outmuscling at Everton is further evidence of Monsieur Wenger’s enduring struggles against Ronald Koeman, who is becoming almost as big a nemesis as the Portuguese King Joffrey. Away up north, Monsieur Wenger has also struggled at teams that are overtly physical/managed by Allardyce and Pulis. Yet he has also struggled against the new breed of manager that employs the subtler tactics of the high press, not least Guardiola (Barcelona, Bayern Munich & Manchester City), Klopp (Borussia Dortmund & Liverpool) and Pochettino (Southampton & Tottenham). Worse still, Monsieur Wenger also has a terrible record against key Premier League rivals (only Pochettino has struggled more).

Since Arsenal’s biggest performance of the season, against Chelsea, Antonio Conte has reverted to his preferred three-at-the-back formation, won 13 Premier League matches on the trot (threatening Arsenal’s 2001-2 record 14), and enjoyed a nine-point lead over Arsenal, once they completed their New Year’s Day season half-way point. Unfortunately, still more barriers remain to be overcome in 2017. For Monsieur Wenger has also struggled to balance the competing demands of Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup fixtures coming in quick succession. And, in better seasons than last in terms of mounting a longer-enduring title challenge, Arsenal suffered three separate late season implosions (2008, 2010 & 2011). After completing a series of six ‘winnable’ league fixtures, Arsenal go to Conte’s rejuvenated Chelsea on 4 February. Eleven days later, Arsenal face Bayern Munich and, either side of a possible FA Cup tie and the international break, Southampton and Klopp’s Liverpool away, and then the Bayern second leg in quick succession. The first match of Spring, on April Fools’ Day, is the return tie against Guardiola’s Manchester City. A week after facing Pochettino’s Tottenham away, Mourinho’s United visit. The odds against Monsieur Wenger looking back over the season with anything but pain once Spring comes appear to be stacking ever more heavily against him.

Bonne Année from Arsenal Audit.


Alexis as a 9 before:

Özil industry:

Struggling physically and mentally:

The press gun turned:

2001–2 winning streak:

Just a quick note to mention that we are recording the January Gooner podcast this evening. Our panelists will be Steve Ashford, Mike Francis and Mark Leech of the Offside photo agency. If you have any topics or questions you wish the panel to debate, and get a namecheck in the process, please either…
Email them to goonerpodcast@gmail.com
Tweet them to @GoonerPodcast
or just leave them in the comments below this article.

11th January 2017 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.

Arseneknewbest  9:54am 11th Jan 2017

Try looking at current issues (sancho-ozil to jump wengo's ship of fools?)or future ones (would wengo suit a highly paid chinese sinecure in next summer), rather than looking back at the re-heated tabloid vomit about Arsenal. "Prospects" doesn't cut it for me. I don't know about others on here but I prefer my nostalgia to come from the GG era or before when the Arsenal stood for something honourable and uncompromising, and when we had respect from others. Siddy's evocative post on here last week was perfect in that regard. Seriously Neil, you must have a thick skin. Maybe change the record or it's time to hang up your quill comrade. - Post No. 102599

Seven Kings Gooner  10:51am 11th Jan 2017

There is a lot of effort been put into these two pieces from Neil but I and many like me see these audits as a diary for any one of a dozen PL sides. The true picture is that as things are set up at Arsenal, a place in the top four is the best this team can ever achieve this on any season. To change that and actually challenge for the PL & CL will need a removal of several persons in key positions and then approx 5 years of vigorous coaching at every level of the club to bring back the work ethic and basic tactical levels required to ever challenge for the top honours again. The managerial team required for this is not necessary a flamboyant group because after the breaking down of Wenger's last 8 - 10 years it may need a further change to add the flair required to win trophies. This current Arsenal has lots of flair but very little substance and no leadership both on and off the pitch, however for me it is the lack of courage in the 1st team squad that hurts me the most. - Post No. 102600

Ron  12:16pm 11th Jan 2017

I echo all of SKG s comments (above). Be honest here, it was only 2008 that looked like a real Title tilt was lost. Those other yrs that you mention were nothing like that yr. No 'implosion' this yr, just the usual slow masochistic torture. I d much prefer a shattering implosion every year. Its much more dramatic and provides interest at least and a topic of conversation. AFC havent done any drama for years though. We do humdrum very well though dont we. How bad that the Club needs to fall from its top 4 comfort zone so to prompt the changes that are so obviously needed. UEFA have a lot to answer for by extending the number of Clubs who can enter its awful 'champions' league - Post No. 102603

Tony Evans  12:36pm 11th Jan 2017

As SKG says a lot of work goes in to these reports but they come over dull as ditch water, and I lose the will to live about halfway through. I suppose in fairness it's not just the wordy report that bores me but also (as Ron says) the tedium that supporting Arsenal generates anyway these days. For the rest of this season who would bet against us losing to Southampton (should they progress) in the FA Cup, losing to Bayern in the CL, and then going on to finish fourth in the league - with much celebration / pats on back ensuing for financial mission accomplished! - Post No. 102604

Arseneknewbest  14:02pm 11th Jan 2017

AKBHQ - Err that'll be an HQ of, err, 1 person then Jamee. I prefer it when you crap on about sodom and gomorrah, the krankies and soggy digestive biscuits where youtend to be on safer territory. An immoral dunce like you knows nothing of honour, in much the same way that you know nothing about the Arsenal. - Post No. 102608

jeff wright  14:32pm 11th Jan 2017

What are Ozil's stats for turning up in big games or even playing at Christmas >? - Post No. 102609

A Cornish Gooner  14:39pm 11th Jan 2017

Arseneknewbest, Bonzo. Jamerson + bba = Jabba. Currently living in a beach hut in Southwold. Google it. - Post No. 102610

mbg  14:48pm 11th Jan 2017

Analysis of all areas of this and previous audits, see post 19:08pm yesterday. wenger out now. - Post No. 102611

Paul Ward  15:51pm 11th Jan 2017

Every chance the annual post mortem will begin fairly early this year, we may get past a Southampton side that should be weakened by fixture congestion and transfer departures, but our chances at the bridge , Anfield and at Bayern appear a little less than small judging by our appalling displays at Bournemouth and Preston.The question will surely then turn to Wengers future, and those that want him to go will never have a better chance to make it happen than than the period between the Bayern exit and this seasons tedious climax. - Post No. 102612

John F  16:08pm 11th Jan 2017

What's not been mentioned is the poor form of Cech.Our main two Goalkeepers,one cannot deal with high balls and the other low ones.If you want to beat Cech with a penalty just wait while he lumbers down to one side then gently kick the ball straight down the middle.He hasn't saved one for Arsenal yet,I think he has gone way passed his best. - Post No. 102613

Bonzo  16:37pm 11th Jan 2017

Jameebabasqueak - if it helps I have carried out my own audit of AKB's on the previous thread. I'm sorry to say that WOB minds often think alike because just as ArseneKnewBest was likening you to Trump so was I. anyway I reckon , you were doing the pissing, Squeak got the shower and BBA was watching through the Wenger Voyeur Glory hole you had drilled in the Caravan panel. Come on I'm right aren't I? - Post No. 102614

Inspector Clueless is getting old  16:44pm 11th Jan 2017

do you really think Arsenal beating of chelsea was all done to us or all down to them and their poor showing? i guess the answer will come when we play them again in feb at the Bridge. I know where my Money is on that one. we caught them on a very bad day make no mistake about that. on the same note, Wenger decided to spend on 2 swiss defensive midfielders who if both of them were on the pitch at the same time would equal 50% of what Kante brought to Leicester and today brings to Chelsea. Zhaka is lost. - Post No. 102615

Ron  17:06pm 11th Jan 2017

I think Cech was well past his very best before we bought him. Chelsea wouldn't have sold him had he still been better than Courtios. Hes a decent goal keeper still , but no longer an excellent one. - Post No. 102616

Redshirtswhitesleeves  17:22pm 11th Jan 2017

Agreed on the keeper lads, Cech is a pale shadow of the great keeper he once was at Chelski. In fact I would go so far as to say he needs replacing with 'top top quality' as a matter of urgency. Arsenal, where the pound note rules supreme over sporting ambition, are the only 'top' club that sells prime players to direct rivals. In my humble opinion we haven't had a decent keeper since Lehman was laughably replaced with the Spanish waiter, and don't get me started on him! - Post No. 102617

Arseneknewbest  17:23pm 11th Jan 2017

Bonzo - Some very powerful imagery there - you've surpassed your usual high standards I'd say. If I could just add that when the insane president elect became suitably aroused, Jamee positioned himself under the USA's other great wig wearer; opened his foul bigoted mouth and swallowed the commander in chief's toxic urinary output. It's all on Putin's viedo camera... allegedly. - Post No. 102618

Arseneknewbest  17:33pm 11th Jan 2017

Cornish Gooner - Nice one. Jameebbaleekie as an evil p*ss drinking slug-type thing living in a suffolk shed (or P*sser Hut -yum - if you will). Very fitting. I'll come down to the southwold swamp with Arseneknewbest junior's light sabre and carry out some pest control. - Post No. 102619

John F  17:46pm 11th Jan 2017

I recall the Spanish waiter could claim British nationality and was laughably being touted by the press to become England's no 1.Agree Red Shirts but I cannot see Wenger doing it and that's the difference between us and a team that wants to win the title Chelsea showed no sentiment when Cech was deemed not good enough,same as Pep with Hart.Wenger gives me the impression that he just does not like upsetting certain players. - Post No. 102620

jjetplane  18:29pm 11th Jan 2017

Nice one JW on missing Ozil files and pray tell A Fry (up) what be stats on Scorpionman v the big boys. Biggest news which has been missed by all and that is the Ox is in lurve with some bird from Little Mix. That is where the tunnel dances emanate from we may conclude. Why no one is on top of this stuff is a mystery as it beats 12 years of extremis tediumus (sic) ..... Maybe an audit or two ..... - Post No. 102623

jeff wright  18:37pm 11th Jan 2017

jj,Glum's stats in big Euro and domestic games,cup finals, hardly support his own view that he should be payed 250k a week .Indeed if anything they show that he is not worth employing. Of course stats that do not fit into Frieups Circular Wengo supporting missives are surplus to requirements. - Post No. 102624

mbg  18:38pm 11th Jan 2017

Paul Ward, good post, but will we/they especially the away WOB's have the balls ? or will they just feel sorry for him again. wenger out. - Post No. 102625

jjetplane  19:32pm 11th Jan 2017

So according to the papers the Ox (who is apparently Hot!) is dating Perrie Edwards and Wengo is happy for the marketing potential of perhaps getting the Little Mix massive into the Emirates to fill some of those empty seats of which now number in the 1000s. News that Olly is shagging a goat ..... - Post No. 102626

jjetplane  19:54pm 11th Jan 2017

Latest with Untold is Arsenal fans think Giroud is an also ran (see horses) because he is French. Must explain why everyone wants Wengo out and everyone hated Petit, Viera and Pires. Atwood has lost the plot and it's fun to read! Even Grimandi had a greater effect than Olly in the trophy hauls. - Post No. 102627

Paul Ward  20:02pm 11th Jan 2017

Mbg I think sympathy will be in short supply this time round, and looking at our home run in with the likes of Man Utd and City to visit us towards the end it's easy to forsee a pretty toxic atmosphere at the Emirates, whilst divisions in the away following would become even more obvious - Post No. 102628

mbg  20:04pm 11th Jan 2017

Yes Cech's best days were well behind him before he joined us (only the SIF sells his best players) as was widely said on here at the time from those who weren't getting moist over it and bigging it up it/he was just another cheap stop gap signing (that fell in his lap don't forget or we probably would still have Schenzey) especially in the keeper department and indeed it has been proven again, and don't forget he was coming from a specialist in winning with a world class coaching regime to a SIF with Gerry Peyton and the dodgy hip regime so he was fooked from the start with no chance of reviving his carreer. Although I did rate mad Lens i would go as far as say (and I have done so on numerous occasions) the keeper situation has never been sorted or filled, just completely neglected as if it didn't matter, since Seaman (another George Graham signing) who TOF inherited, as redshirts says the waiter don't get me started on that prat either, remember the spin we used to hear about him ? top top qualittee, world class, etc, and that was believed too, if ever there he was a lard arse he was it, England material ? remember when that was put to Clemence the England keeper coach at the time and he burst out laughing, now we're back to square one again with the clown in a hat, no decent keeper, and don't expect it to be rectified under this old fraud, if it hasn't since Seaman/Lehman it never will now, more reason to get him out ASAP. - Post No. 102629

Mad Monk  20:08pm 11th Jan 2017

bba I do believe I asked you on a civilised way not to call me 'son' and I notice you deem it funny to persist. You recently stated you can handle anything, ok not a problem keep chipping away. For all the other sensible grown up intelligent Gooners I have finally found the inscription on Wengers gravestone: Leger De Main - Post No. 102630

Arseneknewbest  20:14pm 11th Jan 2017

Jjet - That's surely thee most interesting piece of gooner news today. If roastin-hot, medium rare Ox eventually marries this arriviste richard (little mix sounds like something deviant jameeobbaleekie might try when his hands are in his pockets...), I wonder if that'll qualify him for a triple barrelled name? Imagine how many more sticky letters the club can sell on that jersey, i.e. the one that he's not fit to wear. Meanwhile our transfer window thus far comprises a hapless individual who'll forever remain behind gabriel mustafi and other luminaries such as calamity chamberpot, last seen drinking toxic chemicals in middlesboro. I hope he gets her up the duff so that he can do that baby-swinging thingby the corner flag when he pulls one back (phwoar!) against s-c*nt-thorpe in the capital one cup. - Post No. 102631

jjetplane  21:28pm 11th Jan 2017

Well that was a credible impression of St John. Amen and a happy new year to you and let's hope you got a CD of Little Mix for your terrifically profound worries. Good old Atwood. - Post No. 102633

Arseneknewbest  21:31pm 11th Jan 2017

Badarsio - could that REALLY be you? Tell all about you survived Jamee's caravan bound ordeal on a diet of potato juice protein shakes and used digestives. Did you manage to kick an exit hole (ooops!) in the floor of said caravan after your tormentor Jamee son indulged in one too many of his rusty golden showers? Badarse my arse. - Post No. 102634

mbg  22:00pm 11th Jan 2017

John F, and I remember wenger grinning from ear to ear like a cat that got the cream, when asked about that too, as if it was all down to him and his coaching regime with hop along peyton, until like I said Clemence made him look a fool. - Post No. 102635

bba  22:39pm 11th Jan 2017

Apologies mad monk. But can you remember a few weeks ago when you had expletive after expletive. *!??, !#*!, F*!K this and that. Live by the sword and die by the sword son or is it "bloggs" ????? ha ha ha ha. - Post No. 102636

Bonzo  23:14pm 11th Jan 2017

Badarse does appear to be very Badarse, or a most excellent spoof. Chilling in its depiction and accuracy. - Post No. 102637

Mad Monk  23:30pm 11th Jan 2017

bba you reckon to be a tough guy and can handle yourself ok! Asked you nicely now the world will find out all about the bottle job you really are, meet me Burnley at home Sunday week at the the Tolly around 12.30 ish I will be at my usual spot just ask the anyone who you've come to meet and you will be pointed in the right direction. Look forward to meeting you! - Post No. 102639

Wengerballs  0:36am 12th Jan 2017

Why do you keep calling him Monsieur throughout? Are you some sort of knobhead? - Post No. 102640

A Cornish Gooner  2:21am 12th Jan 2017

I'd put all Westie's money on that being the real Badarse! - Post No. 102641

Bonzo  8:23am 12th Jan 2017

I'm going to take a punt that you are the real Badarse so welcome back. Do you think that the world is full of complex choice and paradox? The food we most like, likely to cause us most harm, we also often hold onto comfortable truths that are incorrect when held up to the light. In your case I see a choice of friends and enemies. Often I saw you conducting bitter spats with Ron, fallouts with Bard, ArseneKnew and I believe Exeter and Cornish all of them custodians of Arsenal. Your ungainly spats drew in others such as Mick Jones your nemesis, and Bojangles who used parody to attack you. I then look at your friends , Colesey (do you remember when you said you would fight on a terrace with him) a nasty racist key board warrior an "F'ing MUG" springs to mind, also so much capital lost over Jamerson the man who believe his "pre destination" allows him to engage in neo-fascist, racist, egotistical postings replete with nasty jibes at the disabled. Not a nice bed fellow. It was particularly noticeable that some of your enemies wondered wear you where after your disappearance concerned that maybe it had taken an emotional toll. Whereas your friend took the piss with poor imitations of you. Choose your friends and enemies more wisely. Choose not to stand on a high platform rebuking others for perceived character weakness. Less Quisling and silly name calling. I suspect Bojangles will then be less of an issue and you will enjoy your time more, if you choos - Post No. 102643

Bonzo  9:28am 12th Jan 2017

Yep - it's definitely Badarse You fascistic clown. The only rock I know off is the one you'll hide under when the insults come your way. What a fool, when you had a chance to redeem yourself. - Post No. 102651

Ron  10:30am 12th Jan 2017

Best performance i ever saw Jens give was at Anfield one really cold night back in 05 that i went to or thereabouts. Recall being right at the back of that horrible Anfield Rd End and then having to drive back down the M6 in driving heavy sleet. We lost 1-0. late goal by Garcia. It would have been 5-0 if not for Jens that night. His best save i ever saw was to keep out a shot from Solskaar at OT. I think we won there that day so it must be at least 10 or 11 yrs back!! Agree with you MGB though. We ve never had true top quality between the sticks since Seaman. Jens was just too unpredictable and likely to make a balls up. - Post No. 102655

Ron  10:44am 12th Jan 2017

I think it would be good to see the real Badarse back. Always brought some colour and controversy to the board despite his inconsistencies, even when he did take a giant hump and blow a fuse or two at times. I might even strum him a melody to serenade him back in! Is this the real version though? Baddie has been away too long so its too early to say yet. If its a fake Badarse, one or two of us on here will soon know. If its you Baddie you need to prove that it is somehow. We all recall old 'Brian' dont forget. Ha ha. - Post No. 102657

Ron  10:59am 12th Jan 2017

Hi Bonzo - you've just concisely summarised and recalled excellently the inconsistencies of comrade Badarse. We ll see how this version goes in due course. Could he have been at AKB Central Command on desk duties after rehab all of this time? He was savaged a bit in his last days wasn't he. EG and MJ fried, cooked and grilled him now and again. - Post No. 102658

Exeter Gunner  11:10am 12th Jan 2017

Do we really want Badarse back? The comments became dominated by his lengthy spats with various individuals, and it's clear he's learnt nothing at all from those experiences, still the same old poke with a stick, "I didn't just poke you with a stick" overblown verbosity. - Post No. 102660

Website Editor  11:58am 12th Jan 2017

Jamerson is now posting as Badarse (and deleted) - Post No. 102665

Bonzo  13:29pm 12th Jan 2017

Have to say the first Badarsio post was spot on. The second surprised me a little. Oh dear Jamee you are having fun. - Post No. 102672

mbg  16:28pm 12th Jan 2017

Wengerballs, it's just another sad way the wengerites have of trying to hold TOF above his station and show respect (for what God only knows) if it's not that it's le prof, again a professor of what God only knows, it's certainly not football related anyway. You couldn't make it up. - Post No. 102697

Issue #269 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

16th February 2018

Frozen North Provides Relief For Arsenal

Rare comfortable away win for Gunners v Ostersunds