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Arsenal Audit Final Edition – Goodbye Arsènal and au revoir Arsenal FC

By Neil A. Fry, Arsenal Audit

Part Three: The weight of technical history

“Those values that he has, those qualities, are world class in every respect. His DNA is the same DNA as the club’s. He is driven to move forward, he is driven to evolve and he is driven to achieve those objectives of winning for this club and making those fans proud. When you look at the world of football, and you think about the great candidates that there are - and there are many great coaching candidates in the world and Arsenal is a club that all of them would want to work for because of the things we represent in football - but when you look around and make that assessment, you don’t find any better candidates than Arsène Wenger.”
Ivan Gazidis, Chief Executive on the contract renewal

The best candidate for the job?

In part 2 we saw that since he dissembled the Invincibles Monsieur Wenger’s coaching staff has been largely unchanged and recruitment failings, particularly relative to key rivals, have persisted too. In part 1 we saw that the little known young trio of Song, Diaby and Denilson personified Monsieur Wenger’s Project Youth which he believed would keep Arsenal competing at the highest level. Arsenal’s finished in 4th place in their breakthrough 2008 - 2009 season, 18 points behind the Champions. Following the near abandonment of the British core, Monsieur Wenger’s self-proclaimed ‘team of men’ became his third distinct post-Invincibles team. Players such as Cech, Mustafi, Özil and Alexis represented huge upgrades on the likes of Almunia, Gallas, Denilson and Eduardo from the Project Youth era. Yet last season Arsenal still finished 18 points behind the Champions, one place lower than their less illustrious predecessors and out of the Champions League. In part 3 we first look at what Monsieur Wenger calls the ‘technical’ side of the game which he insists on being in total control of - including tactics, substitutions and rotation - and contrast his approach with elite level key rival managers and the sort of top managerial candidates Arsenal Audit believe should have replaced him. Then we consider the very hefty weight of history compounding Monsieur Wenger’s claim, after the FA Cup Final, that they “will win the championship with one or two good buys.” Finally, Arsenal Audit will sign off with its prediction for the season.

The technical side

Tactical approaches
At the start of the season a welcome change in tactics came with the sacrosanct 4-2-3-1 supplemented by an in vogue high press led by Alexis, now a false 9, and a faster attacking game with Olivier Giroud relegated to being a (very effective) substitute plan B. Francis Coquelin exemplified the press by operating far higher up the pitch and with Mustafi alongside Koscielny, the centre backs attacked the ball much quicker. Monsieur Wenger was rewarded by his patient perseverance with Alexis who had taken time to adapt to his new role. Walcott and Özil became key beneficiaries, invading his vacant space to good effect. All three scored in the home win against Chelsea which exemplified the new approach and was complimented by Mustafi’s expert shackling of a frustrated Costa. Yet, the quick succession pre-Xmas defeats at Everton and Manchester City were just around the corner and Alexis was suddenly, inexplicably, returned to the left with Giroud resumed his traditional starting role. Arsenal reverted to type, the season imploded even more spectacularly than ever before. Then, in extremis on 17 April, a now fashionable three at the back was deployed for the first time since Monsieur Wenger picked up the baton from George Graham.

It is to be hoped three at the back isn’t unfathomably discarded too as, clearly, the new 3-4-2-1 / 3-4-3 formation lifted Arsenal from their abject season. The players may have felt more comfortable with the new approach and enjoyed new tactical drills and challenges. The system seems to complement the existing players in that the full-backs’ predilection for getting forward is mitigated by them playing as wing-backs and with two ball playing centre-backs either side of a sweeper left behind. And bar the supine defeat at Tottenham, the results appeared to be testimony to the success of the new approach, not least in the FA Cup win against the Champions. However, as 7amkickoff identified, the success was not down to a defensive improvement in the reduction in the number of shots, big chances, prime shots and expected goals allowed. Rather, an improvement, an unsustainable improvement, in Petr Cech’s saves. The system remains reliant on the ‘2’ inside the wing-backs and the problem, without a genuine defensive midfield player, of Arsenal being over-run through the middle is no closer to being solved. In addition, David Ospina’s reluctance to command his box and poor distribution skills are ill-suited to the system.

Substitutions
The early season high press, faster offensive game and relegation of Olivier Giroud to the bench was welcome and the much-maligned Frenchman rescued Arsenal many times with his late goals. His inevitable introduction apart, the late, predictable and tactically lacking substitutions showed few signs of abating. In extremis, Sanchez having been dropped for disciplinary reasons replaced an again struggling Coquelin at half-time after an abject Arsenal first half at Anfield. Nevertheless, barring injuries, 65 - 70+ minute substitutions remained the norm and seldom involved little more than swapping the Alexes (Oxlade-Chamberlain and Iwobi) and players in the same position. Having switched to a three, there was a long overdue genuine tactical change in the latter part of the season as Monsieur Wenger sometimes switched back to a four to vary the offensive effort (it was statistically better with three at the back). This was repeated in the season opener when Giroud and Ramsey came on after 67 minutes and with the centre forward replacing the struggling centre back Rob Holding, Arsenal reverted to a (bizarre) back four of Oxlade-Chamberlain (RB), Bellerin (LB), Montreal and Kolasinic (CBs). The subs’ late goals helped rescue Arsenal as shots rained in on the Leicester goal and they reversed the scoreline of last season’s opener. Albeit, the game was considerably more farcical and with so many players out of their natural position and appearing in random places around the pitch, it was hard to tell what was going on.

Rotation
Squad rotation was, largely, restricted to putting out a sensible mix of regular starters and squad or returning players in the FA Cup and a reserve / under 23 team in the League Cup. Rotation in the Premier League and Champions League, sadly, remained largely an anathema to Monsieur Wenger. Consequently, opportunities to reduce the strain on players, keep the opposition guessing, and reward squad players for patience and performance were sadly missed. The regrettable favouring of Walcott over Perez, and Joel Campbell the previous season, no matter how they performed does not auger well for the new season. Neither did the lack of game time given to Rob Holding after a promising start to his career. At the other end of the spectrum, Mertesacker’s outstanding performance in the FA Cup Final made a mockery of his exclusion since his return from injury to the bench in February. Sensibly, Monsieur Wenger has stated that he will treat the match intensive, geographically challenging Thursday Europa League in similar vein to the domestic Cup competitions and concentrate on the Premier League. Nevertheless, Arsenal could still field a competitive Europa League team along the lines of: Ospina; Holding, Mertesacker, Chambers; Monreal, Maitland-Niles; Elneny, Iwobi; Welbeck, Walcott; Giroud.

Elite rivals
From his early successes at FC Porto, Mourhino’s success has been founded upon a meticulous scouting of and organising against the opposition, tactical prowess, game management, including ruthless substitutions, motivational skills and a ruthless winning mentality. If anything sums up the difference between his approach to players and that of Monsieur Wenger, it’s is the former’s brutal treatment of Luke Shaw and the latter’s patient and ever forgiving treatment of Theo Walcott (at least until 17 April). Antonio Conte and Diego Simeone are very much their own men, but have added to the template clever aggressive pressing and other elements such as pace and counterattacking. Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are also adept at pressing techniques, game management and motivation – with the former renowned for his teams’ passing and movement and the latter their carefully coordinated pressing intensity. Mauricio Pochettino is of a similar ilk and has worked wonders with a low budget team and English core. All excel at highly pro-active game management as they passionately prowl their technical areas barking tactical instructions at their charges. Monsieur Wenger by contrast is very much more passive and, as things go wrong on the pitch, more likely to be seen sat with his head in his hands or up on his feet berating the fourth official.

The new breed of managers who employ the high press largely continued to triumph against Wenger. Conte’s Champions shared the League match spoils and lost the FA Cup Final. Pochettino took four points in the League and second place on a much lesser transfer and salary budget. Guardiola took four points in the League and Champions League qualification but lost the FA Cup Semi-Final. Klopp took all six points and edged Champions League qualification. At long last Mourhino was beaten and managed just one point against Monsieur Wenger, but he still landed two trophies and Champions League qualification. Arsenal remained bottom of the Premier League top 6 table at less than a point per match (9 points from 10 matches).

Candidates for the job
Some, bizarrely, still wonder who could replace Monsieur Wenger before his private reprieve by Arsenal’s different type of big game trophy hunter. Many supporters favourite was the Atlético Madrid manager Diego Simeone (47) who is noted for his expert tactical drilling and motivation of his team as the man in black passionately urges his men on from the touchline. Since joining in December 2011 he has worked miracles in competing with the financial might of Barcelona and Real Madrid. He has won La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Europa League and been a Champions League finalist twice. In his four seasons in the competition he has only failed to make at least the semi-finals stage once (losing the quarter-final to Real Madrid).

Another worthy candidate would have been Leonardo Jardim (43) who worked miracles last season to overcome the financial might of PSG and win Ligue 1 for the first time in 17 years. Having trumped over Monsieur Wenger twice in the Champions League previously (also for Olympiacos), last season saw his most spectacular run with his attack-minded young team going on a great goal scoring run to the semi-final including an incredible 6 – 6 aggregate win against Manchester City on away goals.

Monaco’s exciting run came to an abrupt end at the hands of Juventus and they lost both matches to go out 4 - 1 on aggregate having faced a master-class in game management from Max Allegri (50). Arsenal Audit believes he should be managing Arsenal now. Having enjoyed a varied and impressive apprenticeship his tactical genius, flexibility and versatility has stood out at the Italian giants as he has built impressively on Antonio Conte’s success. He has won an incredible three successive Serie A and Coppa Italia doubles and has twice been a runner up in the Champions League.

Arsenal are currently ranked 7th in the Deloitte Money League with a revenue of 468.5 million euros, 50m behind 6th place PSG. Barcelona (679m) and Real Madrid (629m) are 2nd and 3rd. Juventus are 10th with their income lagging Arsenal by 120 million and Atlético 13th 240 million euros behind. Monaco were not listed and were even behind Sunderland who were in the penultimate 29th Place. Despite those clubs’ financial adversity both compared to Arsenal and their very wealthy league rivals, their much younger and more technically demanding managers having achieved an utterly different level of league and European success. The Chief Executive’s claim that Monsieur Wenger is the best candidate for the job is too ridiculous for words.

The weight of history

No. 9
One awkward historic stat is the poisoned chalice of the number 9 shirt (since the sale of Nicolas Anelka in 1999) that record signing Lacazette has taken from the suffering Lucas Perez. The new bearer certainly needs to seriously improve upon the mixed to very poor record of his predecessors: Suker, Jeffers, Reyes, Baptista, da Silva, Chu-young and the un-favoured Podolski and Perez. Providing he isn’t shunted wide too, the Frenchman looks well equipped to finally take over from his compatriot and deliver pace and goals. He certainly didn’t waste any time in opening his Premier League account.

Defence
As we have seen, Arsenal’s three at the back and two wing-backs formation is unlikely to be the panacea it may have seemed to some and Monsieur Wenger appears no closer to solving the sans-Santi ‘2’ conundrum than ever, nor does the obvious solution of recruiting a top class defensive midfield player appear on the horizon either. The days of George Graham’s latter period defensive excellence seem long gone. Defensive prowess continues to be found elsewhere in North London with Tottenham conceding a season record 26 Premier League goals to Arsenal’s equal 6th best 42. After a poor start as Conte got to grips with the Premier League, the Champions conceded only 33 and Manchester United 29. In the previous ‘continuity’ season Arsenal only conceded 36, like Champions Leicester, but were bettered by Tottenham and Manchester United (by one goal). The season before, Arsenal again only conceded 36 – but Mourhino’s Chelsea Champions conceded just 32 (and 7th place Southampton 33). Those have proved Arsenal’s best defensive seasons since Project Youth started 2008 - 2009. Last season was the second worst goals conceded tally since The Invincibles – thanks to the 2011 8 - 2 defeat at Old Trafford. The opening day farce won’t help this season’s stats. Hopefully, the return of Koscielny, Mertesacker and Mustafi will steady the ship

Defeats
Last season, Champions Chelsea lost five matches, Arsenal lost nine, the worst of the ‘Big 6’, with Tottenham best with only four defeats. Previously Champions Leicester and Chelsea both lost just three matches whilst Arsenal, equally consistently, lost seven. In the first season of Project Youth Arsenal lost six matches and Arsenal have fared worse in every subsequent Premier League season, losing between seven and ten matches. From that season onwards, the Premier League Champions have never lost more than six matches.

Points
Project Youth and last season’s 18 point deficit behind the Champions weren’t actually the worst (the 2011/12 season has that honour). In chronological order from 2009 to 2017 the gap was 18, 11, 12, 19, 16, 7, 12, 10 and 18 points.

Title challenges
Arsenal haven’t made a sustained title challenge since the Invincibles – incredibly, not spending one single day at the top of the table in April and May ever since 2004. Arsenal did make title challenges in 2008, 2010 and 2011, they just kept imploding early. In the latter, Arsenal were five points behind the leaders (Manchester United) after 29 matches with a game in hand. Even from 2013, and the era of Arsenal’s so-called ‘financial firepower’, their Premier League title-challenges have continued to finish earlier.

Prospects
There are some positives for Arsenal: Invincible Jens Lehman joining the coaching staff, medical improvements, the use of analytics and opposition scouting, late goals, often from sub Giroud, the move to three at the back and tactical late switching to four, the manner of the FA Cup win, and signing of Sead Kolasinac and club record Alexandre Lacazette, and the apparent preference for a faster offensive game. And Arsenal even managed a rare opening match win, albeit positionally and defensively farcically.

Nevertheless, the coaching team is otherwise stale and lacking in quality and appears to offer and deliver little compared to key rivals. Last season’s early tactical improvements were inexplicably jettisoned. Monsieur Wenger appears no closer to solving the central defensive ‘2’ conundrum. Substitutions are often left too late and (bar the above) tactically unimaginative. Poor performance is tolerated, squad players who perform well returned to the sidelines. Monsieur Wenger’s passive patient approach compares very unfavourably to that of key rivals, their elite level managers and others on the continent who have have enjoyed so much more success on much lower budgets. Recruitment continues to significantly lag behind most key rivals too. A top level defensive midfielder has been lacking for over nine years (and two key rivals have both strengthened significantly there). The era of ‘financial firepower’ and star signings has made no impression outside of the FA Cup, rather Arsenal have fared worse in the Premier and Champions League than in the Project Youth era. Rather there is the great weight of history against Monsieur Wenger: Never top of the table in April or May since the Invincibles and in terms of defensive record, defeats and points, woefully trailing the Premier League Champions and inevitably exiting the Champions League in the round of 16.

Even if Monsieur Wenger honours his promise of holding Alexis to the last year of his contract, and the regular starters are rested in the Europa League, Arsenal Audit believes Arsenal have no chance of competing for the Premier League. Rather, 4th place is the best they can hope for and an (inevitably fruitless) return to the Champions League. But even that seems unlikely unless Tottenham continue to struggle at Wembley (and they didn’t against Juventus) and suffer from a lack of transfer activity or Liverpool are hit by their return to the Champions League. Arsenal Audit predicts a damaging successive 5th place and, if they haven’t gone already, the exit of yet more star players - including Alexis, Ozil and Oxlade-Chamberlain - in search of Premier and Champions League success at more ambitious and better managed clubs. It’s goodbye from Arsenal Audit to Arsènal too and au revoir to the once great Arsenal Football Club.

New sources

Renewal?:
http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170531/-arsene-s-dna-is-the-same-as-the-club-s-

Back 3:
http://news.arseblog.com/2017/06/arsenals-back-three-myth-busted-by-the-numbers/

Europa breaks:
http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/premier-league/arsenal-arsene-wenger-premier-league-europa-league-rest-players-a7877651.html

False 9s:
http://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/row-zed/arsenal-lacazette-perez-number-nine-10720428

Team building:
https://www.theguardian.com/football/2016/sep/09/arsene-wenger-arsenals-squad-is-most-mature-for-a-long-time

http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/five-young-internationals-sign-new-contracts

https://www.fourfourtwo.com/news/wenger-why-i-snubbed-barry-alonso

Arsènal:
http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170531/-arsene-s-dna-is-the-same-as-the-club-s-

http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20170531/-our-aim-is-to-win-the-premier-league-

Money League:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deloitte_Football_Money_League

15th August 2017 08:45:34

(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.

Roy  16:19pm 15th Aug 2017

"The Chief Executive’s claim that Monsieur Wenger is the best candidate for the job is too ridiculous for words". Well, I'll give it a go. What about "An outright lie" ? Just one of many that have emanated from the club in recent times, not least from AW himself, which is why I don't give them my money anymore. - Post No. 108978


mbg  18:54pm 15th Aug 2017

It just goes to f*****g show and proves what, or how little Gazidis knows, you couldn't f*****g make it up. wenger out now. - Post No. 108980


Bard  18:58pm 15th Aug 2017

Very thorough Neil although not enjoyable reading. Its hard to get enthused about what's to come. It seems madness that we are going to let £120+m worth of talent ( or not ) run down their contracts. The last days of the window look like they could be a mess. Selling the Ox and/or Sanchez will undoubtedly go down to the wire leaving no time to recruit decent replacements. I dont know why Im getting worked up about it. This is the same as the last dozen or so transfer windows, why do I expect it to be different ???? - Post No. 108981


Paulward  20:08pm 15th Aug 2017

The key point in the whole article is that we haven't been top of the league a single day in April/ May since 2004. A mind boggling stat given the stature of the club and the fact that we are still employing the same manager, doubt we'll be top of the league in any month this season given the predictabley woeful defensive display on Friday night. - Post No. 108983


mbg  21:24pm 15th Aug 2017

Bard, look on the bright side there'll be no Big Ben striking it out for Sky behind Jim White to get the AKB's, circulars and audits moist and replace Viagra for the night, maybe this petition in the Sun to keep them ringing throughout their restoration could also be one of the many from them when they thought their messiah was hard done by. - Post No. 108984


TOOAW  22:22pm 15th Aug 2017

Yyaaaaawwwnn. The bore fest love in goes on. The needle is stuck fellas. Move on. Several gooner sites get a 100 posts daily and then there is O(m)G. Badarse did try to help but it fell on deaf ears. RIP MBG etc all. - Post No. 108985


Bard  22:54pm 15th Aug 2017

Mbg very funny mate. Seems dear old Neil of the audit has seen the light and we havent heard from G Perry for months. Baddie has gone awol before the season even started after a brief flirtation cum bromance with TOOAW. Suspect even he realises that defending the indefensible is going to take some doing. I have also noticed that over on Untold they are struggling to keep the faithful in line. - Post No. 108986


markymark  7:55am 16th Aug 2017

TOOAW - I see your following the Squeak life cycle also similar to Colesore. Rabid attacks on people as they don't agree with you. Then continuing attacks on the site that allows you to air your grievance but oddly little interaction on the site (Untold) that would welcome you and then eventual disappearance like Squeak, Colesore and Brian ( off and on ) You really will get more pleasure elsewhere. - Post No. 108987


peter wain  8:41am 16th Aug 2017

the chief executive is just a waste of space. kroenke gave Wenger the contract and the board were not involved. catalyst for change my back side. If Wenger is the best person for the job why do we never challenge for the big trophies? - Post No. 108988


Arseneknewbest  9:50am 16th Aug 2017

As someone who found these "audits" to be a tedious re-hash of fleet street's worst, I welcome the tone of finality and almost nihilism in Neil's message. Neil - if you can bear to, I'd be interested to read something less analytical and more, shall we say, emotional, about your apparent shift in attitudes towards wenger. That might even help antediluvian numpties like TOOAW come to terms with the the fact that he's been backing the losing horse for, oooh, a decade or so. By the way, I can confirm that Jamee son got my recorded delivery of my former pet tortoise Brian, and that the latter is now safely hibernating (despite Jamee's threat to block up some of the pencil holes so painstakingly drilled by Leslie Judd and Pete Purves all those years ago). - Post No. 108989


markymark  12:42pm 16th Aug 2017

Breaking News.......Breaking News....... Donald Trump has just announced that the Reverend Brian Badarse, TOOAW and an old Statue of General Lee are very final people indeed. - Post No. 108990


markymark  16:51pm 16th Aug 2017

Hot diggety damn my tweet suffered a Trump error. Should have said Brian, and TOOAW are very fine people. - Post No. 108991


TOOAW  22:06pm 16th Aug 2017

@mark of nark. Bless. You couldn't even get that right eh. Alas , my point being along with the great Badarse is that this site is on a downward spiral. The fanzine goes at the end of the season. And this site will go shortly after. Last evenings facts just prove it . 4 separate posters in one whole day. Persons like myself and Badarse can only be good for this site. That is quite simply my point and my mate Paddy agrees wholeheartedly. - Post No. 108992


mbg  0:12am 17th Aug 2017

markymark, wengers bidet TOOAW referring to you as mark of nark, who has always been doing that ? (when ever he feels brave enough to make an appearance that is)and then calling the holier than thou one who doesn't like pansies growing on waltons mountain Great ? we all know how badsrse longed to be just that and top dog on here and have everyone's respect (sadly for him never to be) who could this TOADIE really be ? there's nothing like a bit of self praise but as we all know it's no praise. wenger out now. - Post No. 108993


markymark  5:45am 17th Aug 2017

TOOAW - everybody seems to have left since you've joined. Err must be your natural charm and charisma. - Post No. 108994


markymark  8:24am 17th Aug 2017

MBG - I know so obvious isn't it. TOOAW started off trying to present himself as the voice of reason and sucking up to various on the site with a hip hanging out with Corbyn personna . To be fair to regulars on this site he was spotted as a fake straight away. He then appeared to get pissed and turned racist and now he's attacking the site (as they all do) due to having nothing in common with the main contributors. From Corbyn to Trump in 3 months. It's certainly one hell of a turn-a-round. On a different note. Will Arsenal really reject a +60m offer for Sanchez from Real, if one comes in? I cannot see how a massive cash write off does Arsenal any favours. He ain't going to win us the title with Wengo in charge (nothing will) - Post No. 108995


Arseneknewbest  9:53am 17th Aug 2017

tooaw - you know you can count on me to say something pithy about your chronic wengo Apollo-jism but I reckon this particular message requires something more akin to a blunt instrument. Here it is: If you think OG is dying, and everything on this site is woe, why don't you f*ck off back to unsold anusol? We'll even have a leaving party (the day after you sign off of course). Byeeee! - Post No. 108996


Badarse  11:42am 17th Aug 2017

From the mouths of babes and innocents-he immediately thinks of bikini-clad young women seductively sucking through a straw-the last one-on Innocents juice-sometimes comes an emphatic quote. No AKB, not a pissy quote as so often trips from your lips, but an illustrative one, '...a blunt instrument...' how fitting. So arise Blunt Instrument, you are amongst friends, go 'fourth' with your winking and slurping, all expressed in foul terms. Ugliness personified. Please be aware you aspire to be a socialist but have feet of clay, er that should read Playdough, as much espoused is puerile nonsense. You are a trades unionist at best. Born from a desperate and justified claim to equality they aspired to become equal through strife-often in blunt instrument style. Socialists are born through erudition, a recognition that all are equal and should be considered so, then endeavoured to see it come about. So Stalinist trades union blunt instrument, try to chase away those who would disagree with your bigotry. We linger still. Good old Arsenal, Good old Online Gooner. - Post No. 108997


mbg  14:55pm 17th Aug 2017

ArseneKnewBest, that's exactly why he(whatever guise he's in) and others of his ilk are here and keep coming back because it's the only site that is alive and well, and thriving, the only site who allows all views (and doesn't bar anyone for having them, within reason of course) the only site with contributors who've come out and told it like it is for years, the truth, and haven't sat with arse on hands gobs closed and been afraid to, and that's what pisses these wengerites luvvies off more than anything that we're still here doing that, (and will continue to be until TOF pisses off, upstairs or whatever)as markymark says the last resort with these wenger bidet cleaners (as has been the case for years) is to attack the site when they've nothing left and that's been the case for a long time now, we've seen it all before. wenger out now. - Post No. 108998


Badarse  15:34pm 17th Aug 2017

mbg I've warned you about sitting your arse on the Blunt Instrument's hands. - Post No. 108999


Badarse  15:56pm 17th Aug 2017

The man in the pork pie hat donned his long navy blue Macintosh, it was E.L Wisty-style. He had difficulty doing up the lower two buttons; as he bent the buttons and their eyelets parted. He tried squatting but his knees pushed the pleats of the coat out and away from each other. He was struggling. They say that a footie fan lives the dream, his were waking nightmares. Then he pulled the end of the mac up above his head and grinned. He may not oust Arsene Wenger from the Arsenal manager's job but he would do up his Macintosh. Tiny Tott little chicken steps and all that. He managed it and looked in satisfaction at his work. 'Oh Susej! It's their messi-ah which did it to me. Ah hell-fire an brimstone.' He had done the buttons up in the wrong eyelets. He knew there was more than one way to skin a rabbit, though using two teaspoons hadn't been so successful last time. He stroked the fur on his hat and grinned again. He vowed that next time he would kill the rabbit first before he attempted that little operation. He wasn't known in these parts as the fur king pork pie hat man for nothing. - Post No. 109000


Arseneknewbest  16:27pm 17th Aug 2017

If anyone else fretted and fussed about me as much as you do, I'd possibly be flattered but coming from you badarse, it's akin to being stalked by a smelly old uncle. "Ugliness personified" - your wife said something rather different while we were in fragante delicto while you were kipping in your cardboard box yesterday afternoon. As for the other cackeroo about piss, playdough and stalinists (sic), I didn't bother to read it. Sorry badarse - it's just not worth looking at... - Post No. 109001


Badarse  16:51pm 17th Aug 2017

Ah you are cleaning up your act I see. 'Stalked', 'old', 'smelly'-though your Latin 'fragante' is a little more fragrant. Clowns demand attention and so do the mob of moaners who try to silence all opposition, and that is abhorrent. Do you and your cohorts have no shame, or feel any embarrassment? By the way I just put the kettle on but it fell off, ahh, if only I had a square head like your mate jeff. - Post No. 109002


Ham  17:06pm 17th Aug 2017

AKB, I know you mean well, but please don't encourage him, it's so boring for the rest of us to have to scroll through his sanctimonious drivel - Post No. 109003


John F  17:08pm 17th Aug 2017

Mark I think they will sell him for 60 mil.Wenger has moved from Sanchez is 100% staying to I hope he stays along with the excuses for not playing stomach strain,Virus and now not being fit enough for Stoke it all points to him going.Arsenal in this inflated window could be one of the few clubs to end up making a profit.As for this site it is one of the best out there. - Post No. 109004


Yes its Ron  17:22pm 17th Aug 2017

I truly believe that 60 Mill for AS and 35 for AOC would be superb sales. We really have had the best and peak yrs from Mr Sanchez and AOC doesn't look like a lad that going to suddenly become a top player. I know we can say that the money (or most of it) wont be re invested in better players, but ones such as these hanging around the team isnt conducive to a good team bond. Im pretty sure a good number of the better players in the team are quietly sick to death of Sanchez and the will he, wont he saga. Some body really should take him to one said and ask him what he ideally wants. If its to go, tell him to go and wish him well. Hes a player thats good, but hes really not that brilliant. Put it like this, hes not such a loss to Asl and young Coutinho will be to Liverpool. That lad IS a top class act, seems to be a top class man too but ought to be allowed to go by Liverpool too. Arsenals progress graph is pretty well mapped out. I dont think Mr S leaving will change much. He gives me the impression that hes a first class, self obsessed pain in the rear to be honest. - Post No. 109005


John F  18:13pm 17th Aug 2017

Hi Ron I agree with you about Sanchez and he is not a player I would put in my top ten players of the Wenger era and it is noticeable that not many current players are begging him to stay.Where I would disagree is about AOC I feel now that Wenger has found his position and if he leaves him as a right wing back that he is finally showing his potential,I prefer him there to Bellerin who can't cross the ball.He does split opinion and I can understand that.If you asked me to name a run of games where he has been outstanding I probably couldn't name them but he is only 24 and if he was just allowed to settle in one position I believe there is a good player in there.Maureen and Conti must see something in him to want to buy him. - Post No. 109006


Bard  18:48pm 17th Aug 2017

There is a lot of hot air being spoken about the transfer situation. I dont for one minute believe the guff being spun by the boss. Business is business, by suggesting that they are not for sale he hopes to keep the price high. The fact is that as others have said £60m is good business for Sanchez and likewise for the Ox who it appears doesnt want to stay and who can blame him. He is good but not a worldie and if we can get £45m+ its a good deal. He may or may not invest it in a someone decent but that is another whole ball game. He may need that money to offset the losses due to players not wanting to move and run down their contracts. It's all a storm in a tea cup as far as I am concerned. When was last time Wegner bought a really top player maybe Sanchez, possibly Holding but thats it. The dross he has spunked millions on and then disacarded Gabriel, Perez, Mustafi on it goes. - Post No. 109007


mbg  19:29pm 17th Aug 2017

ArseneKnewBest, ha,ha, good post, what can I say, I rest my case. John F, 109004 now you've really pissed the wenger bidet cleaners and mountain off with that last statement. - Post No. 109008


CORNISH GOONER  19:31pm 17th Aug 2017

All you really know about today's Arsenal: Arthur on Sanchez today (doing his "he will stay" hard man act,) "he'll be useful on the sporting side". WHAT? What's that precisely? Cricket, NFL, rugby, netball? The only top job in Premier League management in which football expertise is of minor relevance as against corporate skills. Unbelievable. And the 2 smug & windy regular posters on here wonder why this site has become a tad negative? - Post No. 109009


markymark  21:03pm 17th Aug 2017

Not a great day at the office but then a colleague pinged this across "Africa's richest man wants to buy Arsenal and declares the first thing he would do is sack Arsene Wenger". Then got to meet Tony Adams as he popped in to sort out some business. Ended up being rather a good day! - Post No. 109010


Seven Kings Gooner1  21:04pm 17th Aug 2017

By my "secondary modern" maths workings, having bought Lacazette and missing out on the CL we are about a 100 million down on where we should be on the Kronke/Wenger scale. That means three players will have to go to make up that shortfall, Sanchez, AOC and probably a couple of the lesser lights, hopefully Ozil will find another club. I think Arsene and Stan will have an early morning skype session and tell the rest of the board whats happening when most of the deals are done. Watch out for a glut of young players coming through, a new "golden generation" Arsene will call it and do you know half the suckers out there will believe it! - Post No. 109011


Arseneknewbest  21:10pm 17th Aug 2017

Ham - Fair comment mate. I know what you mean. He is the most egregious mugger and as a result I've always had a penchant for mugging him. But less is more, and just about all he deserves is to be ignored. I'll try harder in future! Yes it's Ron: Hi mate, at this stage in the AlexOx saga, I think we possibly all agree that selling makes most sense, irrespective of wether new players are bought straightaway. The same could be said for Bellerin and Ozil. Others should have been passed on years ago. The paradox is that he makes life easy at Arsenal for those characters yet they still always get round to stabbing him in the back. The ideal would be to sell, go on a seriously poor run that leads to his defenestration, and give an impressive new war chest to a new manager in January or next summer. Westlower would once have given me a price for that happening... - Post No. 109012


Yes its Ron  11:11am 18th Aug 2017

AKB - Ni mate. I honestly don't think a new Coach will be given a different hand to the one that AW has got. AWs longevity now is due to his compliance with SKs requirements. As much as Arsene s time passed some 6 -7 yrs ago (for me it ended at OT in August 2011), its the ownership that steers the ship there and is the reason for the Club settling for how things are. Why shdt SK keep it how he does. Its a good business venture and as a business theres no compelling financial reason to run it differently. Whats on the pitch is very much secondary to the bottom line. There will be no 'war chests' handed out there. Arsenal fans need to open their eyes wide and absorb the reality or give it up. Its that simple. - Post No. 109019


Issue #267 - Out Now!

Gooner Editorial

20th October 2017

A Win’s a Win

Online Ed: Arsenal take all the points away in Belgrade