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Arsenal Audit: January 2017 – Part Two

By Neil A. Fry, Arsenal Audit

Analysis of the Watford defeat and particular areas from the previous month

Just a quick note to mention that we are recording the February Gooner podcast this evening. Our panelists will be Steve Ashford, David Oudot and Layth Yousif. If you have any topics or questions you wish the panel to debate, and get a namecheck in the process, please either…
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St. Totteringham’s Day - looks increasingly at risk

Arsenal 1 – 2 Watford
Having ended Monsieur Wenger’s hopes of three successive FA Cup victories at The Emirates last March, Watford came into the match in poor form, having exited the cup competition at League One Millwall at the weekend, they had not won in their previous seven Premier League matches or in eight successive away matches in all competitions. After Arsenal’s much-rotated team exemplified the offensive positives of this season, Monsieur Wenger preferred the usual names that had struggled at home to overcome Burnley. The twin Arsenal evils of the gun turned again against them with a high-press and (lawful) physicality resulted in the worst first half they managed all season and, after Bournemouth and Preston, that is saying something. The live Arsenal.com commentators, Mike Sewell and Adrian Clarke, summed it up as well as anyone - “quiet, casual, slow, sloppy, no intensity, sleep-walking, dawdling, physically over-powered”. Watford “all over them like a rash, hounded Arsenal off the park”. Gabriel, Mustafi and a woefully ill-matched ‘2’, Coquelin and Ramsey, were particularly culpable defensively. Despite Alex Iwobi’s goal and second-half efforts, the damage had been done as Arsenal, coming out for the second half again strongly, were denied by a penalty not awarded, the woodwork, the goalkeeper and poor finishing.

Arsenal’s offensive improvement & Olivier Giroud
The Watford team selection hardly did the much-maligned Oliver Giroud any favours; with Gabriel bodged to right-back again and Aaron Ramsey in midfield (until yet another injury), Arsenal were woefully bereft of pace and movement and mustered no shots on target in the first half. (It is worth recalling that last season, in dealing up some very pedestrian offensive fare, Olivier Giroud was supplemented on a number of occasions by Aaron Ramsey on the right wing too). A desperate Monsieur Wenger, forced to watch again from the stands, caused an even bigger shock than Watford - off went Giroud at half-time and Alexis reverted to his false-9 position. Arsenal were transformed. Lucas Perez added further pace as the second tactical and final substitute after 57 minutes.

Despite what must have been a very disappointing season for him personally, Olivier Giroud has - in marked contrast to his international compatriot Debuchy - thrived upon his role of impact player and bailed out Arsenal repeatedly, been a great team player, accepted his situation with good grace and signed a new contract. Whilst weakening Arsenal’s contre-presser, Giroud has also tried admirably to do his bit. As previous Arsenal Audits have argued, he may have been made better use of in tough away matches as a better outlet to hold the ball up or to rotate and rest Alexis, perhaps in easier (on paper) home games, when the opposition are likely to park the bus. The one big positive this season has been the offensive improvement due in part to the added pace and forward movement aided by Arsenal’s higher pressing tactic and the success of moving Alexis to be a (false) no. 9.

Arsenal’s greater offensive threat this season, is also borne out by the stats. Arsenal’s late penalty against Burnley was the fifth they have been awarded this Premier League season, compared to just two last season, the lowest in the league apart from relegated Norwich. It also brought up a half-century of goals for Arsenal in 22 games this season – at an average of 2.27 goals per game, compared to their 1.71 goals mean last season. Alexis Sanchez, 17 goals, 12 assists (incl. Watford); Theo Walcott 14, 2; Olivier Giroud 10, 3; Mesut Ozil 9, 7; Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain 6, 6; Lucas Perez 6, 6; Alex Iwobi 5 (incl. Watford), 3; Danny Welbeck 2, 1 (1 start) have all played their part.

British core
The usual feature on the struggles of the British core to have the impact Monsieur Wenger had hoped for was held over last December. With a fuller squad than usual, Arsenal concentrated on contract renewals in January – unfortunately none such was forthcoming, so far, in negotiations with Alexis and Mesut Özil (or their agents). Once announced as the loyal future of the Club, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Wilshere contracts expire at the end of July and seem in limbo – much like, publicly at least, their manager.

Injuries appear to dog the British core evermore. Usually the biggest casualty, Jack Wilshere has had an injury-free half season or so convalescing on the south coast. He is playing regularly, albeit his stats are far from spectacular - 20 Premier League starts out of 23, no goals, hit the woodwork five times, one assist, three big chances created, two big chances missed, 21 shots, seven on target, 15 tackles, nine interceptions, sven clearances, 104 recoveries, no errors leading to goal, no red cards and four yellow.

Aaron Ramsey’s solitary tally of the goal at Championship Preston in the FA Cup is a far cry from the midfielder’s Player of the Year 2013-,14 season. Then again he missed a lot of matches through injury (three months and 20 games). Yet, the winning FA Cup final goal was just one of 16 goals from 34 appearances (ten in the Premier League from 23 starts and three sub appearances) and he also added nine assists. Arsenal won all 13 matches Ramsey scored in, and six of his strikes broke the deadlock. December 2016 rather summed up his current season - one start and an average performance in a heavily-rotated cup match (FC Basel), two substitute appearances, three matches missed through yet another injury. Honest endeavour used to be his greatest asset. In January, the woeful failure to track back that led to Bournemouth’s opening goal and again in the defeat at Watford, book-ended a month in which, because of the absence of others, he started four successive Premier League matches before another soft-tissue injury. Having found himself unsuited to being bodged wide with the pacier Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Iwobi and Lucas faring better, behind the more disciplined Coquelin, Cazorla and Xhaka as one of the ‘2’, and behind first Mesut Özil and then 20-year-old Alex Iwobi in the 10 position he covets, the Euros seem a long way away. There, in 448 minutes, he made five appearances, scored one goal, made four assists and was very much the star of the show for Wales, even eclipsing Gareth Bale. In the Premier League this season, Ramsey has accumulated just 552 minutes playing time from six starts and six sub appearances with just one assist to show for it (he has also made 11 tackles and five clearances).

Theo Walcott spent most of December and January injured himself. A ‘very small calf problem’ after the Manchester City defeat turned into a six-match absence. His season so far has improved on most past seasons but his stats are interesting compared to the less-preferred Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain. He missed just the one match (WBA) through injury in December, but had a somewhat typical couple of months. Three starts at the beginning gave him a run of four Premier League starts, but he was substituted in all of them, before returning to the bench for four matches. Having starred in the Southampton win, forced into central midfield, he was returned to the bench against Watford. Walcott, whilst benefitting from twice as many starts (16) and 1,392 minutes to 11-times substitute Oxlade Chamberlain’s 880 minutes, has very much the best return of goals – eight to two (and 14 to six in all matches). Apart from Walcott’s one block, Oxlade-Chamberlain, bearing in mind his lack of comparative minutes, has much the better key stats - four assists to two (six to two in all matches), 21 chances created to 11, 18 tackles to 23, and eight clearances to ten.

Kieran Gibbs hasn’t perhaps had the chances he deserved, given that Nacho Monreal has struggled on occasions, but his own struggles with injuries haven’t helped him. After a rare Premier League start against West Bromwich Albion, he was again injured and returned to the bench against Burnley and remained there, domestic Cup duties - as ever - excepted. It left him with just two starts and 205 Premier League minutes.

Rotation
After the successful rotation at Basel on 6 December (albeit the two star-signings still travelled, played, and were substituted late), Arsenal had two difficult away matches 13 & 18 December (lost) and two very winnable homes fixtures, 10 & 26 December (won). In the January New Year’s Day match, six days on, Arsenal faced a home match against the team with the worst 2016 record in the Premier and Football Leagues before, two days later, facing another fixture, Bournemouth away – but still very winnable. Yet unenforced changes were minimal. As we saw in Part One, Monsieur Wenger rotated just one player at home to Crystal Palace - Francis Coquelin for Mohamed Elneny and, with the latter departed for Africa, Coquelin duly returned at Bournemouth (but went off with a hamstring injury within half an hour). After the draw, Monsieur Wenger bemoaned the fixture list, “That’s the problem when you have only 48 hours, you have to play some players who come out of a game like Crystal Palace [with knocks]. We had three or four players who we had to wait for the warm-up to see if they could play.” Bellerin, Koscielny, Gabriel and Oxlade-Chamberlain all had issues. Koscielny was taken off after 64 minutes. Rotation for the festive period 13 December to 3 January waited till the FA Cup tie 7 January – when Hector Bellerin joined Francis Coquelin, and others, on the short-term injury list. In failing to rotate sufficiently, Monsieur Wenger caused players to pick up avoidable strains and injuries and chances to keep opponents guessing also missed. Mesut Özil’s illness at least afforded the languid German the winter break he was used to at home. The lack of rotation seems partly borne out by an innate conservatism, over-loyalty to a hard-core of players regardless of performance, and not trusting emerging alternatives – notwithstanding his promotion of and faith in Alex Iwobi. The performance of Ainsley Maitland-Niles suggested he might be the next. New signing Lucas Perez has shone brightly but been chronically under-used. Despite Nacho Monreal’s struggles, Kieran Gibbs has been too.

Game management & tactical approaches
Harry Redknapp berated Arsenal in his columns for the London Evening Standard. Firstly, the players - Premier League winners don’t celebrate drawing at Bournemouth. Then, after his sending-off, the time Monsieur Wenger often spends berating the fourth officials when his energy would be better expended on game-management. Whilst Wenger could rightly retort ‘show us your Premier League Winners’ medals’ to Redknapp, hardly a tactical genius himself, his points were still very valid.

The next day after the late draw at Bournemouth the Club’s twelfth rival, Mauricio Pochettino, who Monsieur Wenger has not beaten in the Premier League, deployed Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-4-3 formation he had employed out of the blue against Arsenal, for the second successive Premier League match and turned the tables on Chelsea, who had had a 13-match winning run in which to perfect a formation which had very seldom prospered in the Premier League.

Game-management, tactics and substitutions were not an issue at Swansea, in what was a very good result. However, the Old Trafford battle of Mourinho and Jurgen Klopp shed an interesting light on the modern elite managerial game. Klopp operated a ferocious high press with team-mates hunting in packs and their lack of a centre-forward drew Mourinho’s defensive players out of position and Liverpool were good value for their half-time lead. The Portuguese King Joffrey subbed the stalwart Carrick and brought on his substitute, the club captain Rooney, and changed shape and went longer to bypass the press. The third and final throw of the dice came in the 76th minute - around the time Monsieur Wenger often makes his first substitution - and Fellaini was also thrown into the mixer. By the end, Klopp was hanging on for the draw against Mourinho’s pragmatic ‘anti-football aesthetic’.

Prior to Arsenal’s very late win against Burnley, Pochettino pitted his wits against Pep Guardiola’s at Manchester City in a match based around pressing and high defensive lines. Guardiola has often played a 4-2-3-1 in recent weeks but on Saturday used an extremely attack-minded 4-3-3. He was to be denied a win by a missed penalty decision, poor finishing and his new rival’s similar commitment to game-management. Tottenham started with a three-man defence, Pochettino’s preferred shape in recent weeks. But with the back three exposed against the runs of Sane and Sterling, he switched to a 4-2-3-1 after 25 minutes which stabilised his team. Nevertheless, the lack of guile in midfield and poor first-half performance by Wimmer led to his substitution and now the XI that would have started had the manager elected a four-man defence were on the pitch. Tottenham overcame a two-goal deficit and loss of their most crucial defender (which forced the previous midfield partnership to become the central-defence back partnership) when the half-time substitute equalised.

Such approaches are very much more advanced than Monsieur Wenger’s bringing on Olivier Giroud after 65 to 75 minutes or swapping the Alexes (Oxlade-Chamberlain and Iwobi) within his perpetual 4-2-3-1 system.

Prospects
Arsenal’s poor record from half-time to the 70th minute, after Monsieur Wenger’s half-time team talks, was much better this month with just the Bournemouth third goal conceded. Instead, there was a return to last season - shockingly complacent and abject first halves as against Bournemouth, Preston and Watford. The half-time substitution of Oliver Giroud in the latter represented a very rare, but very welcome bucking of the long history of late and tactically-mediocre substitutions. Rotation problems were exemplified in the defeat by Watford, as those that excelled at Southampton were cast aside for the trusted figures who had lumbered to the late home win against woeful away Burnley. Watford served to confirm Arsenal’s struggles against overtly physical teams and those that turn the gun and employ the high press.

After the poor successive defeats in the North West to (relatively) struggling Everton and Manchester City before Christmas, Arsenal’s Premier League title effort centred around six winnable fixtures before the potentially season-defining game at Chelsea. The first three points were duly collected. Despite the late goal heroics, this month, five were dropped to Bournemouth and struggling Watford. Chelsea dropped the same from very much more difficult fixtures at Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool and retained their nine-point lead over Arsenal. In the first February match Monsieur Wenger’s terrible record against key Premier League rivals continued and Chelsea’s points difference was extended to 12, following another abject performance at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal’s title challenge was all but mathematically over again. And - just like last season - it was over even quicker than in the stadium-payment resource-stretched 2008, 2010 & 2011 implosions later in the title-race. Given the remaining fixture list, even Monsieur Wenger’s perpetual consolation prizes of his imaginary top-four ‘trophy’ and St. Totteringham’s day look increasingly at risk as Arsenal supporters hoping for his contract to be renewed seem to become ever scarcer.

Sources

Offensive stats:
http://news.arseblog.com/2017/01/arsenal-2-1-burnley-a-rolling-stone-gathers-no-moss-by-the-numbers/

http://arseblog.com/2017/01/watford-preview-forward-options-fa-cup-draw-transfer-deadline-day/

The British future:
http://www.arsenal.com/fixtures/first-team/stats-centre

http://www.arsenal.com/news/features/20140604/aaron-ramsey

https://www.whoscored.com/Players/26820/Show/Aaron-Ramsey

https://www.premierleague.com/players/3547/Jack-Wilshere/stats?se=54

Bemoaning the fixture list:
http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170103/wenger-on-giroud-lucas-and-coquelin

Game management:
Mourhino vs. Klopp (video element):
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/38545987

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/jan/22/guardiola-pochettino-high-speed-philosophies-manchester-city-tottenham

8th February 2017 07:30:25

(3.9/10)

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.

The Man From UNCLE  9:15am 8th Feb 2017

Another tree felling exercise that only succeeds in stating the obvious. But just like AW, these pointless articles continue whether we like it or not. - Post No. 103733


Paulward  10:04am 8th Feb 2017

Good point towards the end , we are actually getting further away from winning the league, not closer, and don't forget we spent 90 million in the summer. The end is surely in sight . - Post No. 103734


Yes its Ron  10:27am 8th Feb 2017

Cutting through all of the usual stuff and arguments about Wenger and the Clubs apparent lack of any real direction as a whole, speaking from the position of a fan whos 'dropped out' from being a match going fan (save for the odd away day here and there) some yrs back, the thing that worries me most about football is that, we have these feelings and sentiments that we do about Arsenal yet probably 16 of the other Clubs would kill to become like Arsenal over night and remain as Arsenal have done this last 12 years. Herein lies the AKB benchmark. Arsenal are a real conundrum. An enigma wrapped up in a mystery if you like.They manage to typify both whats desirable about a modern Club while being everything thats odious about being one. I do wonder if much will change even when Wenger hangs up his puffa jacket, i truly do. - Post No. 103735


Redshirtwhitesleeves  11:17am 8th Feb 2017

Ron- I agree, 16 other clubs probably would love to be like us. The difference is they weren't sold a stadium move on the promise of it keeping us at the very top of the domestic game and turning us into one of europes genuine superpowers. It's the lies and spin that causes so much resentment isn't it, the ridiculously high ticket prices, the selling off our best players, the fact that as a club our standing in the game has actually diminished since leaving Highbury (no league titles, not even a decent stab at the CL). The whole ethos of the club changing from being renowned and feared as a club that never gives up to the cowardly pushovers that we are now. All this whilst a handful of greedy parasites, including the buffoon on £8million a year, have creamed off an absolute fortune. No wonder so many Gooners, myself included, despise what the club has become - Post No. 103737


jjetplane  11:37am 8th Feb 2017

What is this Mon Uncle BS that permeates these Atwoodian audits. Load of cock just like the club wot had it's spine removed when the nutter, Dixon and Romford said **** it! - Post No. 103738


GSPM  11:54am 8th Feb 2017

My view is Wenger measures his own greatness by what he has done for us, ie : He won trophies early on, he oversaw the building of the new training ground, he steered Arsenal from Highbury to The Emirates , I believe that for him he has achieved greatness and a solid foundation, that it why he no longer classes winning silverware as any sort of benchmark, just making up the numbers suits him and SK/IG because of what he believes he has done already for us ( not to mention what we have done for him) And every season lately is a rush to finish 2/3/4th once being 1st is no longer viable, this may be the season we fail (hope not) but who knows. - Post No. 103739


John F  12:02pm 8th Feb 2017

Hi Ron the other 16 clubs owners would be happy to be like us but when their club starts increasing ticket prices I would imagine after a while the fans would not be happy for long and would expect more ambition from their club.Take away any ambition and all you are left with is boredom and apathy.The foxes fans interest me in just how long it will take for discontent to start being voiced as they have had the high of success and will want it again.Perhaps for some clubs staying in a valium type state is better for the directors because if the club has a high then if not maintained the low could be quite destructive for them.That might be going through the stale Arsenal directors mind, if we did win the prem then the cost of maintaining that level would eat into profits and affect what goes into their pockets so for them the status quo may be better. - Post No. 103740


Yes its Ron  12:23pm 8th Feb 2017

Redshirts - right with you. For all those reasons you mention is why i gave up on going. GSPM - I think AW has bought into his own myth and imagery that the media have created for him and layered it on in massive dollops with a trowel all these years. I do think his deepest regret is failing win trophies with a team of rookies. That was his pet project. He remains wedded to thinking a Club can take the top trophies on the cheap and though hes budged a bit from that belief, he still wont accept it cant happen consistently but the Club support his views. The Leics City thing was a freak of nature really. - Post No. 103741


Yes its Ron  12:48pm 8th Feb 2017

Hi John - i know a lot of Foxes fans from way back when i lived in Loughboro. They're realistic. Very loyal and partisan crowd there. Typical one Club City fans. Ive not heard much antipathy and annoyance towards Ranieri or the Club and they still have the warm feeling from last year despite their wrteched form this year. They dont expect a repeat any time soon but they do oddly enough fancy themselves for a good Cup run. I tend to agree with them. Could be a Leics v Spurs Final maybe in my thoughts, though i also think Chelsea might yet do the double? I cant see any Leics fan ever thinking that theyre now a perma fixture with the big boys to be honest. - Post No. 103742


MAF  13:09pm 8th Feb 2017

GSPM good Points. Wenger is marking himself & the Club up against his (distant) past. Living off of war-stories and acting like the Sage Guru of English Football always demanding respect. Fact is this total BS and sporting excellence is about the present and what you get done next. Fergy knew this and talked like it all the time. come end of season and 2 trophies he looked to see if his Team was up for it again the following year. those that were not were thrown out. he always Held himself up against the very best and he was alwys upset with himself when he did not reach the highest Standards. This is a true winning mentality. Old French Fart Wenger could not be further from a Fergy and in my view time is up, no one, fans or media Need to Show him any more respect. he should be Held accountable for lily-livered weak mentality of Team and Club and he should be given a pounding. this is the natural order of things. your time is up - Post No. 103743


Paulward  13:17pm 8th Feb 2017

Just seen a picture of the bloke holding up the anti Wenger poster at the Brigde on Saturday. Stood near him is someone wearing a half Arsenal / half Chelsea scarf. What sort of knob wears a scarf like that, and how on earth is he getting a ticket in our away end? An absolute disgrace, embarrassing. - Post No. 103744


Yes its Ron  13:23pm 8th Feb 2017

Those 'half scarves' are sold at every PL stadium and have been for years. Theyre a bit pathetic arent they but reflect the sanitised product and 'brand' that PL football has become. - Post No. 103745


GSPM  13:31pm 8th Feb 2017

I can only assume Half & Half scarves are for the neutral tourist/customer. Who,in their right mind as a Gooner would buy one, only to be reminded that we got beat. Some bright spark in marketing within PL must have come up with the idea, and as there must be 1000%+ mark up, clubs were only too happy to run with it. Arsenal v Bayern Munich scarf anyone ?? - Post No. 103746


mbg  13:44pm 8th Feb 2017

I forgot there's always a part two of this meaningless drivel, (Arsenal's offensive improvement and the carthorse in the one sentence god help us) did you think adding a caption of a cannon blowing a cockerel away (about the height of the ABK wengerite ambition now, and finishing above them) would get or make us interested ? wrong, wenger out now. - Post No. 103747


John F  14:08pm 8th Feb 2017

Fair enough Ron I suppose I was influenced by a couple of Leicester fans on the radio and the press going on about Ranieri(strange that the press appear not to give Wenger the same negative attention.).I have a horrible feeling it's the Spuds year in the cup.Leicester might just surprise people in the Champions league. - Post No. 103748


mbg  14:10pm 8th Feb 2017

jj, yes this monsieur bullshyte he and others spout obviously a wind up (it's about all they can muster now) just like this prof crap you hear from the initiated, professor of what they fail to tell us, i'd love to know. The dunce out. - Post No. 103749


Redshirtwhitesleeves  14:31pm 8th Feb 2017

Here's a stat I came across today for any of you Wenger fan boys still out there. Only Brian Clough (15 years) has gone longer than your messiah (13 years and counting) being in charge of a top flight team for successive years whilst not winning the title. Also heard that we dithered over signing Kante this summer, the player wanted to come, but alas Wenger didn't want to 'kill' Coquelin. Is this really the man you want in charge of your football club? - Post No. 103750


Bard  14:47pm 8th Feb 2017

Neil not sure whats the point of these audits. In an age where its wall to wall football most of us have seen it sometimes more than once. Also there isnt much variation to be truthful. We have a bit of a stab at the title, show a little form and then fall away spectacularly. Same old same old. Year in year out. Ive lost interest in the nuances of it all as it doesnt matter much. Even the sheep on Untold are in rebellion which gives you a good idea of how awful we are. - Post No. 103751


Hi Berry  15:35pm 8th Feb 2017

I'm sorry and I know this is very picky, but why is the author of this article using the word 'offensive' instead of 'attack' or 'attacking'? As far back as I can remember we have always had attack and defence.....it rather leads me to suspect that the writer has been so brainwashed by 'Monsieur Wenger' that he knows no different. - Post No. 103752


Yes its Ron  15:50pm 8th Feb 2017

Redshirts - do you recall when buying Alonso for 15 Mill would have killed Denilson. Buying Parker would have killed Song. Buying Defoe would have killed Bendtner. Schwazrter for 5 mill would have killed Almunia and on and on and on.............. - Post No. 103753


Arseneknewbest  16:27pm 8th Feb 2017

Ron - Good point. There's a depressingly familiar pattern to this man's ineptitude. In fairness to Coquelin, I reckon he would have been tough enough to cope with compettion from Kante. Let's face, Wengo wasn't particuarly protective of him before he was rushed back from Charlton and straight into the first eleven after another injury crisis. Moreover, Coquelin may have some technical limitations but he's a pretty tough geezer (or at least he was til he got brushed off by Hazard). But now wengo has gone public about his reasons for not buying Kante, I'm sure Coq's confidence will be less than sky high. What a twazzer wenger is. King Midas touched things and they turned to gold (kerrrissst, I sound a bit like our erstwhile biblical nutjob now...); Wengo on the other hand touches things and they turn to shyte. - Post No. 103754


mbg  16:50pm 8th Feb 2017

Has King Henry got of his thrown/fence and finally seen what we all have for years and started the ball rolling among the wenger luvvies and pundits ? telling us Arsenal have a mental problem (not that there's any surprise there we've known that for years ) but not sure TOF has the solution (we've known that for years too Sherlock only we're 100% sure) TOF won't like that, it's just a pity he didn't go the whole hog and say what we all know and think (including himself I bet and the rest) that he's the problem. wenger out now. - Post No. 103755


Yes its Ron  17:05pm 8th Feb 2017

MBG - I think Mr Henry treads a tight line now with AW. Wenger told him he cdt Coach and do TV stuff at the same time. I tend to agree with Wenger on that for what its worth. AFC gave Hnery the ultimatum of no TV and stay or TV and sod off, so he duly flounced off in a French strop. His relationship with Wenger is strained since i reckon. Henry lacks the mettle to say anything up front and in Wengers face i always think. Hes a bit snakey. I dont get a good feeling about him as a bloke, good as he was as a player. Hes not totally free of the suggestion that he lacked bottle at times as well in big games is he. CL Final and 2001 FAC to name but two occasions. Hes not up there with SKYS best in my view. Souey often looks at him with disdain too at times.There s a guy who had real bottle for you, - Post No. 103756


jjetplane  17:27pm 8th Feb 2017

Intrigued by the idea that Leics going down would suit the fans who would have the biggest cult status in the land so all in all Leics are strangely win win. Now if Wengo were to drop out of the CL pocket money bracket I guess the AKBs could get cuktish about that by saying remember when we went 20 years in the CL and never won it! Maybe Neil is a big fan of Stan and hence the offence dude .... Half and half scarves sum up the PL as it would be some job to disentangle the brands from one another. The game is dead at the top end. - Post No. 103758


Redshirtwhitesleeves  17:42pm 8th Feb 2017

Ron- yes recall it only too well, denilson, song, bendtner, almunia. Not only did he not 'kill' them he put them on such great contracts, circa 80 grand a week, that he couldn't get rid of them once he belatedly realised they were a pile of s***! The signs were there to see weren't they, as far back as 2007 that wengy had began to lose the plot - Post No. 103759


CORNISH GOONER  19:06pm 8th Feb 2017

This crap about AFC being ENVIED by 16 other clubs in the PL has to be put to bed - it's total bollocks. We are told by our betters that we are privileged to be living in the world's 6th largest economy, AFC have long been the Moneybags Club, London is at the top of the world's richest city lists. We are seen as a very stable country & therefore London attracts MONEY from everywhere - including many odious quarters. So the owners decide they want to build a ginormous tourist attraction, money making machine & they need money. Furthermore the BoD has always comprised proper chaps who went to the right schools which would make them very comfortable with the majority of the City types. Given all the above where was the bleeding risk? I am so fed up with the brave AFC, wonderful Wengster rubbish. Risk? Just call in another billionaire, London is awash with 'em! A London club should be winning the PL virtually every year &THAT CLUB SHOULD BE OURS!! So Wengo can go asap. Arseneknewbest made a brilliant suggestion in highlighting the opportunities for The Old French Bore which Channel 4 could offer - move over Norton & Co. And finally, if the Government can't keep it's sweetheart deal with Surrey Council secret, how can AFC not have an employee willing to dish the dirt on what the bloody hell is going on with the "Manager"? I seem to be swearing quite a lot recently & fervently hope that one of my Grandsons hasn't yet found the Online Gooner - bad Grandpa. - Post No. 103760


markymark  19:26pm 8th Feb 2017

Nice use of the term WOB by James Olley in the Evening Standard. Also covers Arsenal TV very well. It suggests that up to 12 million view it a month. Which means 12 million are hearing that Wenger is a dick head. Arsenal the club have been annihilated in the social media medium. They can carry on ignoring it but at some point the brand will go toxic. If they're half way sensible they'll ditch Wengo before a big sponsor ditches them. - Post No. 103761


mbg  20:20pm 8th Feb 2017

Yes it's Ron, your right about Henry of course, he always just manages to say enough, but not enough, about TOF if that makes sense, to do him any real harm anyway, but piss him off at the same time, and show him he can flex his muscle in his position, and could say worse if he wanted to, such is his large ego too, but like I said just not go the extra mile the whole hog as he knows he wants to be brought into fold some day, no I don't rate him as a pundit at all, (Neville was the pick off them until he ruined his rep with his failed spell as a manager but at least he had a go) always loved him as a player yes could huff and puff at times too, and could be said was as much to blame (if not more) than Lehman was for the CL final with his misses they just weren't as highlighted as much as the sending off, although I would never hold that against him as he had true class or Lens either. Yes Souness gives him some looks i'd say he'd have put him in his pocket in his day and probably still does when the cameras stop rolling or in the bar afterwards. - Post No. 103762


Paulward  20:52pm 8th Feb 2017

Just read James Olleys piece in the standard and don't get him at all really.. His argument seems to be that no other manager can keep getting little old Arsenal into the top four, so we best stick with Wenger.As for the "founder" of Arsenal fan TV Robbie Lyle, he apparently wants to wait and see if we win the Champions league before deciding whether he can call for Wengers head. adding that he must not be " hounded" out of the club. Enough to make you weep really, with friends like these the club sure doesn't need many enemies. - Post No. 103763


mbg  21:08pm 8th Feb 2017

markymark, the WOB a trade mark name, an institution recognised and known all over the world now, no doubt even at Highbury House, and going from strength to strength, and it will be them credited with getting TOF out too, and the funniest thing of all ? yes hilarious in fact, it was given to all those wanting wenger replaced by the AKB wengerites themselves, one or two in particular in fact, certainly one, remember them ? long gone now of course, still in hiding no doubt, and meant to be in some way degrading, yes those good ole boys who worshiped him and still do and think and thought he was doing a fine job, this name, this movement is all down to them, absolutely hilarious I still laugh at it. WOB's rule. wenger out. - Post No. 103764


NickT  22:18pm 8th Feb 2017

ESPN have been getting stuck in haven't they - Craig Burley take a bow son!! - Post No. 103765


John F  9:14am 9th Feb 2017

Burley certainly lays into Arsenal fans for being too accepting.Can anyone remember a successful campaign by fans to get rid of a owner/manager.I can only think of two Liverpool fans getting a change of owners and Newcastle fans with Fat Sam and Pardew but they have been unsuccessful in getting rid of the main problem there Ashley.It is usually the press that ramp up the pressure for change which with them treating Wenger like football royalty most of them seem to reluctant to do. - Post No. 103767


markymark  9:36am 9th Feb 2017

It's an interesting time with a great big discussion between old established media and new social media about the timing of his going but nothing from the club or Wenger. I suspect the club have as little clue as we do. If the viewing hits on a monthly basis are based on fact. I suspect most newspapers with the exception of the Mail and Guardian online would be desperate to get those figures. Can't help thinking the Mirrors kicking of Arsenal TV is all about desperate attempt to maintain market share and far less about Wengo. I suspect an embarrassing result against Hull will really be a further nail. - Post No. 103768


The Man From UNCLE  10:04am 9th Feb 2017

The meeeeeedja love AW because he always talks to them. Same reason they kept George Graham at arm's length - he didn't always talk to them. BTW 12 million hits on a website doesn't mean 12 million believers you know - just means the same people visited it lots of times, with a few extra joining in. Like that Susan Boyle who got 15 million views on Youtube when no one had heard of her. Anyway, get that French fraud out ASAP. I don't think I'll even bother watching it Saturday, The Lego Batman movie with my boys looks a better way of spending an hour and a half rather than watching AFC huff and puff against Bruce's trundlers. - Post No. 103769


NickT  10:06am 9th Feb 2017

AFTV is to Sky Sports what Infowars has become to CNN. Wenger Out is another Brexit/Trump...shame we don't have a vote!! Fans can have influence however, it just depends how many get on board and how far we push it. One thing is for certain the next 2 months is the window of opportunity - as Le Grove said its time to mobilize! - Post No. 103770


CBee  10:41am 9th Feb 2017

TMFU or can I call you Napoleon Solo? Bruce is long gone and their new man has got them well organised and drilled. Everything that Wenger deems unnecessary. And no doubt Wenger hasn't even bothered watching them. So a loss is a distinct possibility. - Post No. 103771


mad max  10:44am 9th Feb 2017

well said craig burley, I blame the gutless fans who sit on their arses at matches and say sweet fa about our useless manager,s shambles of leadership, who allows players 2 get away with not putting in a shift week after week, month after month, year after year, I ,ve refused 2 attend for 3 years until this senile fraud is replaced - Post No. 103772


jeff wright  11:23am 9th Feb 2017

Wengo is using Cech for an excuse to try and cover for his own failings .We would still have lost last Saturday even had Cech not done the miskick that Fabregas exploited . Cesc still had to get the chip executed properly and I have seen plenty of those chances missed. Of course Cech is well past his sell by date but some of us knew that when Wengo signed him from Chelsea anyway. The reality is that the signing was just another transfer window ploy to keep the gullible AKB's quiet with ludicrous claims that the crash helmeted Chelsea reject would win us 15 points a season ! If you believed that then you really will believe anything. So it now turns out that Bellend's head injury was not as bad as as first feared .I'm not surprised by that because I thought that Bellend made a meal of the accidental collision. I can't imagine TA having gone down that easy after such an innocuous contact . The big surprise was at 3-0 down that Keystone Kos did not limp off with some feigned injury. Then again I guess Bellend had stole his thunder so to speak. Old Wengo loves these incidents though to use for excuses . I'm not convinced that Ospina is any better than Cech he's made similar blunders to last Saturday's Cech one himself and he doesn't wear a crash helmet. He often looks though as if a visit to SpecSavers by him would not go amiss. - Post No. 103773


Paulward  11:41am 9th Feb 2017

Will have to correct Wenger on our goalkeeping riches, surely it's 4 world class goalies we have? Is he forgetting Sceszeny or Martinez? Seems he has also joined Mustafi in cloud cuckoo land by claiming we can still win the league this season.Will settle for not losing to Sutton thanks Arsene, would concentrate on that if I were you. - Post No. 103774


jjetplane  12:31pm 9th Feb 2017

PSG have decided the Arsenal model is so good they want Wenger, Sanchez and Ozil to join them. Meanwhile Wenger is slagging off the fans again and says most of them are just fake (sic) fans. As quite a few use the EMs for some casual networking and such he may have a point. Still wondering what he actually does a most matches besides stalking 4th officials ... - Post No. 103775


mbg  14:49pm 9th Feb 2017

jw, your spot on, Cech in his stupid looking hat is the latest scapegoat for his failings, his pr brigade and spin machine have been hard at work, we've suddenly been linked to hart, and then TOF pops up in his presser and tells us we've already got, wait for it, three world class keepers, who the fook does he think fans are ? what/who does he take us for ? what a sad old man, and the funniest or saddest thing of all is saddo fans believe him. wenger out now. - Post No. 103783


Issue #264 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

19th March 2017

Battle of the Skies as Gunners Nosedive into Freefall

Online Ed: Wenger’s team crash and burn at West Brom

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