It’s time for a change…

Written  by Mr Arsenal

Arsenal’s fans have endured another disappointing conclusion to a long season- the defeat to Bolton firmly put to bed any dwindling hopes of silverware. The inevitability of the capitulation, however, has been the most painful part of the demise, prompting many fans to question Wenger and the direction in which the club is moving.

It’s difficult to overstate the enormous contribution Arsene Wenger has made to Arsenal. He’s revolutionised the club with his visionary managerial approach and is lauded by neutrals for his scintillating style of play.  But, another trophy-less campaign has led a great number of frustrated Arsenal fans to call this philosophy into question.  His emphasis on developing young talent is a big part of his managerial ideals but is also, to a certain extent, a consequence of the club’s financial constraints following the move to the Emirates in 2006.

Wenger has clearly built a technically gifted side that plays an attractive brand of football. But this approach can only take you so far and desperately needs some revision. It is time to spend some money on bringing more established players to the club rather than relying solely on the youth team in conjunction with cheap speculative signings. It’s a remarkable achievement that Arsenal has managed to qualify for the Champions League consistently since 2006, given the limited amount of money spent on player acquisitions compared to many of the club’s rivals. It’s even further testament to Wenger’s talents that he’s been able to compete for major honours in this period with the squad available.

I would suggest that a change of philosophy is required if Arsenal is to end its barren run without a trophy. Wenger needs to sacrifice his emphasis on technical quality for a greater degree of power, pace and experience. A look back to his early days at Arsenal should provide him with the perfect template for success. The double winning side of the ‘98 season boasted a great balance of strength/physicality (Viera, Petit, Keown), craft (Bergkamp), pace (Overmars, Anelka) and leadership (Adams, Wright).

Unfortunately, Arsenal has been overpowered in recent seasons and although Wenger has attempted to address this problem by bringing in players like Song, I think, we need 2 or 3 more physically imposing players to meet the demands of the more combative teams in the league. A centre-back, a full back and a central midfield player of stature would really benefit the squad in this respect. Gary Cahill is a popular name amongst many Arsenal supporters but I’m a big fan of Chris Samba at Blackburn and Cheik Tiote at Newcastle.

The other major problem is the lack of leadership at the club. Fabregas, in my view, is not a natural leader and seems to undermine the great faith Wenger has shown in him by criticising the manager publicly and evading questions about his future. Arsenal fans want their captain to be someone who appreciates the huge honour of leading out the side- and not someone who has one eye on a move to Barcelona in the summer. Jack Wilshere, a player whose great talent is matched by his dogged fight and desire to win, has my vote for a future Arsenal captain.

Even more noticeable has been Cesc’s poor form this season- it’s a common occurrence to see him give the ball away in key areas of the pitch and his lack of pace or strength means that he struggles to win it back again for the team. There’s no doubt he is an extremely gifted player with a classy eye for a pass but I think he’s been found missing in key games this season. If he wants to leave the club, then I would happily take 30-40m for the player and move on.

A greater threat upfront is also required for Arsenal to be a winning force once again. Arsene needs to learn from the successful strikers he has brought to the club in the past, namely Anelka and Henry. The team needs a front man with pace and an appetite to score goals. Someone who revels playing on the last man and can profit from the creative vision of Nasri and Van Persie. Arsenal’s lack of a cutting edge has been evident throughout the season, despite some promising form earlier on in the campaign from Chamakh, and Wenger really needs to address this issue in the summer.

There’s no doubt that Wenger has had his fair share of bad luck this season. The ongoing injury to Vermaelen, who looked to be the antidote to Arsenal’s defensive troubles and key moments in crucial matches (the Carling Cup final mix-up between Koscielny and Szczesny as well as Van Persie’s sending off against Barca) have clearly not gone our way. But these difficult moments cannot mask the much deeper problem at the club-the inability to win ‘ugly’, to be ruthless both in front of goal and at the back, to beat teams with both flair and gritty resistance. Wenger needs a greater degree of pragmatism- more physicality and experience in the squad would help engender a winning mentality – something clearly missing from this current Arsenal side. Many would say that it’s not in Wenger’s make-up to adopt this approach – but why not? He’s done it before, why can’t he do it again?

90 Responses to It’s time for a change…

  1. Harry says:

    Great read , MrA, it certainly raises many of the issues that we all mull over continually…..
    I wanted Samba at Christmas, Wengers continual weakness for me is not taking a risk on a player when one comes avaialble and we know would come to us at the right price, Alonso, Anelka, Samba……

    The question is, is it the lack of goals or the ability to concede at the worse moment that is our undoing? For me its the goals issue, when we bag a few everyone settles down, when we struggle to score you can see that look of worry on their faces as they defend…….

    The other thing we miss is the attacking at pace on the break, rarely this season have we done this, but when we have we tend to score…..

    @GIE, look forward to the last home game then, good choice my friend…..

    @Kelsey, yeah I thought I heard that dempsey had become top scorer, but thought it was meant to be for the season, not all time…I think he is very under rated and his work ethic is something we lack…..

  2. goonergun says:

    You neglect to say that despite not having spent as much on new players that we in fact have the second or third highest wage bill in the league. Is it ok for Wenger to constantly spin things to his own ends. Fact is we pay obscene wages to average players but this never gets a mention or indeed the fact that Wenger on over 6.5 million a year. Is his job to win things or make the greedy board a profit. Time for fans to wise up to this bullshit

  3. Harry says:

    @goonergun, not a wenger fan then? Yeah we have a high wage bill paid to keep players like Fabregas, Van Persie, Arshavin, Nasri, Walcott, Wilshere etc, agreed there is some average players there as well as these, who need to move on now as the youngsters step into the breach as our squad players…….But truly what would you do……..?

  4. Timi says:

    I get the feeling that there will be a significant change in the squad this summer.
    Arsene is still the man to lead us further.

  5. arsenal4ever says:

    Falcao Falcao Falcao Falcao!!!!!

  6. Gooner in Exile says:

    Good read Mr Arsenal if not a little depressing also…..

    The change in attitude by Wenger from big and strong to small and technical has not gone unnoticed, but I always wonder why…..the only reason I can come up with is that everyone else caught up to the big, strong quick approach and got their own players to do similar jobs, did this lead to Wenger attempts to revolutionise once again?

    I always thought towards the end of Highbury years that other teams had figured out how to stop us playing the swift counter attacking game at home, or at least limit it, and was sure that a move to the Emirates and a bigger pitch would allow us more space to play, I think opposition teams have now decided that they can’t cover us all over the pitch as they would be run ragged and therefore adopt the park the bus mentaility to conserve energy and make a wall for us to play round rather than cut through as we have done in the past.

    Until others think they can’t get a result this way they will continue to adopt this strategy and we need the players/strategy to break it down which either the players are unable to do on the pitch or Wenger and Rice have not figured it out yet.

    Goonergun, there is no official figures on the wages of players, some time ago I did a breakdown of wages and figured that overall our players are not on silly money. We do however have a larger playing staff than most, as we try and develop from within, we could I suppose adopt the approach of others do away with the reserve and youth teams and invest the extra cash in a 30 player glory squad on mega money no love for the club and no infrastructure to build on in the future.

    One thing I have been looking at lately is the oft criticism of failure to shoot, as you’d expect i’ve been crunching some numbers and the results will be in the form of a post soon.

  7. Dominic says:

    I think that Wenger did take a risk that failed to pay off.
    I think that he thought that Vermalen would be fit for the run in to boost the defence.
    He wasn’t and we have paid the price with so many sloppy performances at the back.

  8. Harry says:

    Sloppy at the back or poor in front of goal…..?

    Birmingham, last few mins, Bolton at the end, Pool at the end, 0-0’s galore? The only game that is different is newcastle but that was a special dowd case…..

  9. Gooner in Exile says:

    Unfortunately as you mention Harry the team is being criticised for defensive failings as at the end of the day they have cost us in the last three games.

    As you rightly say and as I agree the front line has cost us more often than the defence has let us down in recent games.

  10. Wonderman says:

    Good read Mr Arsenal, but I have to say I take exception with a few items in the piece

    ‘His emphasis on developing young talent is a big part of his managerial ideals but is also, to a certain extent, a consequence of the club’s financial constraints following the move to the Emirates in 2006.’

    Agreed, so if we agree that he has been constrained over the last few years , why are so many fans disappointed that we have not won the title, surely expecting the impossible ?

    ‘Wenger has clearly built a technically gifted side that plays an attractive brand of football. But this approach can only take you so far and desperately needs some revision’
    See Barcelona to see how far it can take us….I agree some revision needs to take place. In my opinion as you say further down in the piece we need to be more clinical with our chances. So we either needto go out and buy a Messi or our existing attackers need to improve.

    My biggest disagreement is with the comparison of the team of 98. The premier league today is a completely different beast to what it was 12 years ago and the competitive advantage Arsenal had then with their innovative sports science and overseas scouting network has been extinguished as all the top clubs are doing it. In fact only last week I was invited to a football camp near the Chelsea training ground for around 200 kids run by none other than Barcelona coaches !!!! Whilst I agree we had physicality and grit back then and leadership in abundance I dont think we can compare 1998 to 2011

    I completely agree on the captaincy issue and have been annoyed that our captaincy has been hawked around with such carelessness in recent seasons. I think the rot set in when Gallas was given it ahead of Kolo. I never understood that decision. I have sympathy for Cesc as I believe the continued injuries have affected him mentally and thus his performance

    GIE @ 10:37 completely agree, and I look forward to reading your findings on shooting. I was told by a member of the FA coaching staff a couple of weeks ago that only a small percentage of goals in the premier league in recent seasons have been scored from crosses coming from wide areas….amazing what peoples perceptions are

  11. Wonderman says:

    Harry , I must say I’m surprised at your support of buying Samba. Our Centre Backs are often used to supply both midfield and Strikers with incisive passes as part of our playing from the back philosophy. They also need to be quick because of our high line. Whenever I have seen him play those qualities haven’t come across as his dominant attributes. Strength, height and power absolutely. He reminds me of a poorer version of Sol Campbell

  12. Harry says:

    It was a short term solution and also cover for Song, In my mind Samba would primarily been for last 20mins, when we are under the cosh, then his strength, power and height would have been to our advantage…..

    Also adding to the opposition area from corners….So understand your thoughts, but he would rarely been used as a CB from a start, although his recovery pace is quite surprisingly quick….

    Every team full of stars needs that rough diamond, sol did a job for us last season and should have stayed for this imho…..Samba would have done that for us this season, he would have added so much more bite to our team play…..

  13. goonermichael says:

    What a fantastic post. I agree with almost everything. Even if we did perfect a barca style of play I wonder how barca would get on in the premiere league. I know they are a fantastic team but being kicked week in week out by teams like stoke etc and not getting much protection from refs might take the wind out of thier sails. I gave up on cesc last summer. He’s obviously a gifted player but I don’t think his heart is in it. His silence during last summer and the shirt incident spoke volumes. I hoped he’d go then. The shooting issue is a major one as it seems to be part of the psyche of the club. Players stop shoot after they’ve been with us a short while. Anyone remember Rosicky scoring two screamers against the USA in the WC? He soon stopped that. Also although Song is strong and a player I like (and think is underated) He has no agression. A friend of mine met asome of the players recently and said he is really laid back. I think that shows when he’s playing. Pat rice is retiring by all accounts, some reports say Bould is taking the number 2 job. I wonder if that will make a big difference.

  14. SUGA3 says:

    Samba would cost the same money as Squillaci, I know which one I would rather have – not getting him in the winter TW was pretty daft, you can’t really go wrong with that…

  15. Wonderman says:

    Reasoned arguement Harry, but I suspect as with most players he would prefer to play every week then be a bit player in a champions league club.

    Touching on corners… we have often murder the opposition on the corner count but I cant remember the last time we scored in two consecutive games from a corner or even looked dangerous !!! I really think our biggest problem is the Psyche of some of the players we have and has nothing to do with size ( Tim Cahill)

  16. London says:

    When we were first forced to take the rumour that Vermaelen was going to be out for the season, which was around Christmas, buying Samba made a great deal of sense to me. With the Belgian’s imminent return I see little point now.

  17. goonermichael says:

    fans of teams like stoke cheer like mad when they gat a corner as it’s a chance for them we almost never score from them. We almost never score from direct free kicks. How many time does the commentator say “this is Van Persie teritory”? I think he’s scored 1 in 3 years.

  18. Wonderman says:

    But that is the point London, I believe Wenger always thought that Vermy would be back, fit to play. On that basis he would have been loathed to sign Samba for 2/3/4 years knowing that he would play little over that time what with Kosser and Djourou not to mention Bartley and Miguel coming through

  19. goonermichael says:

    Anyone know why aliadiere was playing last night? Are we some kind of charity?

  20. Wonderman says:


    I am really disappointed with our offensive threat from corners, but having said that It wold be interesting to know which team has scored the most from corners

    You are right Van P has’nt scored a free kick for years

  21. goonermichael says:

    He could have sold him again.

  22. London says:


    We are on the same page, I am comfortable in the assumpton that Wenger expected Vermaelen’s return earlier than has materialised and that was the reason he didn’t enter into the transfer market.

  23. FREEMAN says:

    PLS someone should tell ARSEN WENGER to make the necssary changes that is needed in the team, by selling players like, DIABY, CLICHY,DENILSON,CESC,ROSIKY,EBOUE,ALMUNIA & BENDTNER. AND BRING IN PLAYERS LIKE CAHILL,HAZARD,BENZMA OR MILLITO,PARKER BENIES AND MELO.

  24. Wonderman says:

    GM buying and selling players is not like monopoly my friend. Remember these players have wives and children in schools which all affects where they sign for, when and for how long. I suspect If we had bought him it would have been a family decision on his part and he would not have just allowed the club to sell him when it suited

  25. SUGA3 says:

    there was no one to rotate with Djourou, Vermaelen in or out and Samba would fit the bill perfectly, IMO…

  26. London says:

    We as Arsenal supporters naturally find it difficult, if not impossible, to imagine that a player would not want to come to THOF. But some players know that a long term contract is better for them and their families than three months with us, before being off loaded to god knows where. It is unlikely that Samba and his agent are as daft as we might credit them.

  27. London says:

    With hind sight, having Samba would have undoubtedly helped.

  28. SUGA3 says:


    but I have been saying all along that we would not see TV before the end of the season…

    OK, we saw him yesterday, but does that count for anything?

  29. Wonderman says:

    Suga, as I have already stated above I am not a fan of Samba, as A) I dont think he fits with our style of play in the Prem, and would definitely be found out in Europe. Because we play out from the back and the desired passing angles that requires, we would prefer to have a left footed cb and a right footed one. Our starting 2 would be Vermy (left) Djouro/Kosser ( right). Based on that I believe we require a left footed Centre back with the required technical ability and defensive attitude

  30. Wonderman says:

    I dont doubt that Samba may have helped, but as London said players and their agents are not that stupid

  31. London says:

    For the David Dein afectionados, of which there are quite a few on this site, you may remember a rare interview he gave about Wenger: the thrust of it was that at the end of the first season Wenger got rid of something like 25 of the playing staff which I find an incredible number; the point of this comment is that Wenger has been instrumental in a giant cull in the past and I see no reason why he would shrink from doing it again.

  32. London says:


    You and I may speculate but neither of us knew for sure that Vermaelen was going to be out for as long as he has.

  33. London says:

    Where are my manners?

    Mr Arsenal may I say that I enjoyed your post, I am from the other side of the tracks but nevertheless I thought you put forward a convincing case.

  34. Harry says:

    @Wonderman, Agreed but he would have come for a chance and he would have made it hard for Wenger to not pick him, soemthing else that would have aided…but we’ll never know…..

    Agreed London, none of us knew for sure how long he would be out, but I stated as soon as the injury occured he would be out for the season, I have had 40% of my achilles debrided after an injury, it took me 2 years to be fully fit and even then, it will never be the same…..

    The achilles is one of the worse tendons you can injure, it is a very slow process of recovery due to lack of blood flow in that particular area….When I injured mine, I had 3 choices for treatment, I went for aggressive surgery as it fixes it fully as can be…..and then you just have to rehabilitate, other choices take much more time, slow and you often regress ie TV5…..Should have rung me…….

  35. Harry says:

    Agreed Wonderman, size is not always the thing that matters, ie Tim Cahill, even our TV5 is not huge…..

    But 100% agree we waste corners and free kicks, I despair when RVP steps up, I always think, does he stay behind and practice free kicks,like Bergkamp did or Beckham… answer is invariably probably not as he skies another….

  36. London says:

    Our corners and free kicks are bordering on being laughable, I know someone is going to come on and say they have been laughable for while now but hey ho.

  37. SUGA3 says:


    no need for anyone to say that now, is there? 😆

  38. 26may1988 says:

    I’m with those who say the defining difference in the failed run-in has been up front. That run of draws that killed us would have been so different with more clinical finishing; we had the chances and the defence, while not great, wasn’t too bad, at least until the Bolton game.

    But our defensive play needs to be improved, no doubt. New personnel is part of the answer but only part. Better defensive midfield screening (is Song enough?) and United-like team defensive play from the attacking five is what is needed, probably more than new defenders (not that I’d object to a couple of those).

  39. London says:

    Wilshere is obviously going nowhere, the problem as I see it is that right now he offers nothing by way of goal threat so he weakens the attack for which others take the blame; he is also not strong enough to shield the defence on his own so players like Song have to play a more advanced role: something he is often criticised for. So it seems to me that the quicker Wilshere makes a huge leap forward the quicker this team will start having success. There is one other little hope and that is that Ramsey regains his form, now that is a player with a goal threat about him, he would also enable Song to stay back more and be the defensive shield that many seem to want him to be.

  40. 26may1989 says:

    Really disagree with you London, Wilshere’s first season has been excellent, his link up play, defence-splitting passing and dribbling in particular. His goal threat, as with the younger Cesc, will come. His defensive play has significantly imposed through the season too. But I agree the return of Ramsey will make a difference, and his combo with Wilshere is the future.

  41. 26may1989 says:

    *improved, not imposed

  42. RockyLives says:

    Good and well argued post Mr A.

    There’s lots in there that I agree with.

    My feeling is that most of our players are good enough, but collectively we lack the character needed to cross the tape in first place.

    Did we blow it because of our lack of goal scoring threat? I don’t believe so. Whatever anyone says about RvP’s ‘natural position’ and ‘not being a real CF’, his scoring record stands comparison with anyone’s. The idea that if we banged in a few more goals, nerves would be settled and we wouldn’t lose so many games is belied by the Newcastle result. This current Arsenal team is so fragile that even if we were 5-0 up at half time few Gooners would put their house on us winning the game.

    Did we blow it because our defenders are not good enough? This theory has more legs. Not that they’re not good enough in terms of ability, but that they’re not good enough in terms of ability to concentrate and to not panic in desperate situations. But, defence of our defenders, it’s a team game and they do not get the support of the rest of the team on a consistent basis.

    So I suppose what I’m saying is that although I agree we need an injection of new personnel, I don’t really care whether it’s up front, in MF or at the back. As long as the new players have the right mental attitude (ie the opposite mental attitude to most of the current squad) they’ll do for me.

    I want fighters and triers; shouters and cajolers; players who will run their guts out for 94 minutes and then, in the 95th, when they’re dead on their feet, will still take it as a personal affront for an opposition player to outsprint them; I want players who, at 2-0 down with three minutes to go, still think “we can do this” – not players who, at 2-0 up with three minutes to go, think “we’re going to blow this;” I want players who will put their feet, their legs and their heads in the way of danger if it means preventing an opposition goal; players who know when it’s appropriate to try a fancy back heel and when it’s appropriate to hoof the ball into Row Z; I want players who will salute the travelling fans whatever the result; players who only kiss the badge if they mean it; players who love their brothers enough to die for them.

    In short, I want what we used to have.

  43. slimshady says:

    Totally disagree there 1989, Wilshere and defence-splitting pass are terms that have been mutually exclusive since he moved back here from Bolton. I’m not criticising him though, as in fact he seems more to have opted to go for one-two’s at which he’s a genius :-), and these to me always are more of a joy to witness haha. I think Ramsey was also brilliant at one-two’s, Song is pretty good, as well as Ebowie!

  44. Gooner in Exile says:

    Actually Rambo/Wilshere/Frimpong is the future 😉

    Now on setpieces….RvP HAS scored one from memory, albeit deflected under the Brum wall at St Andrews. But a question how many direct freekicks do other teams score (in comparison to how many they take)? I don’t know I’m just asking the question not many Ronaldos and Beckhams in the game.

    As for Samba he is surprisingly good with the ball at his feet when given the opportunity.

  45. RockyLives says:

    I can’t understand this blind faith in Frimpong. He’s just one of a big bunch of promising youngsters. I’m genuinely baffled at the number of people who seem to think he’s the answer.

  46. I think Arsenal need to win more than United cuz if we lose, 2nd place will be gone and we might even finish 4th. But a win would certainly improve our chances of finishing 2nd which btw we haven’t in many years.
    I would suggest you to think about my latest article(especially if are going to the Emirates on Sunday)

  47. Harry says:

    Rocky, Rocky, Rocky, so disappointed in you….To use that game at St James Park as exhibit A is so wrong….

    I would back us at 4-0 against any team with 11 on the pitch and phil dowd in the crowd not on the pitch…I am not going through that whole match again, but every now and again, there is unexplainable occurances that should not be used as a comparison or any kind of barometer…that is one….

    Agreed with some other stuff you said though, need more concentration and more steely belief………

    I am looking forward to seeing GIEs stats on shooting, although we dont take enough shots at times, we have a high rate compared to most and i do believe if we took just 10% more of our chances, I believe firmly that Sunday we’d be playing for the title……

  48. Harry says:

    The one who is the future is Chuks Aneke!! Watch and Wait for him……

    Frimpong is a good player who might develop and be a good stand in next season, he would have given us choices if he hadnt been injured this season…

  49. RockyLives says:

    Got to disagree. Yes, the Barcodes game was full of bizarre refereeing decisions and the general madness of Dowd Cuckoo Land.

    But even with all that stuff there is no way we should have surrendered a four goal lead. When things started going wrong the rampant panic throughout our team was plain to see.

    10 men? Pah! There was a time when we revelled in being unbeatable with 10 men – even in the relatively recent past.

    The 4-4 was a visible symptom of a chronic condition afflicting this Arsenal team and foreshadowed subsequent examples including CC Final, Liverpool, Spuds away, Bolton away.

    Although, in turn, you can trace back the sense of panic in the Newcastle game to our earlier collapse at home against the Spuds.

    Fragile, fragile, fragile.

  50. RockyLives says:

    On the plus side, I reckon it’s relatively easy to rid ourselves of that affliction 🙂

  51. London says:


    My apologies, I now realise my opening line “Wilshere is going nowhere” could have been read in two different ways. I meant that he will be with us a long time rather than he is not improving………He obviously is improving I just hope he makes a giant leap next season.

  52. RockyLives says:

    London 🙂
    That’s funny.
    I must admit, I read it wrong the first time and thought “Wow, that’s unlike London to be so hard in one of our best young prospects!”

  53. London says:

    I don’t blame Van Persie at all. Imagine this picture: the opposition are defending with two banks of four in their own half, too difficult to envisage (joking) and we are passing the ball around the 18 yards line back wards and forwards until it is played out too either Sagna or Clichy who send over a some sort of cross for who? Arshavin? Walcott? Nasri? not one of these players are going to take advantage of a high cross. The ball is aimed at Van Persie who inevitably has three tall defenders on him making a high cross a waste of time. Solution, either improve the the interplay to get past the two banks of four or change the damn 4.3.3.

  54. breezy says:

    “The 4-4 was a visible symptom of a chronic condition afflicting this Arsenal team and foreshadowed subsequent examples including CC Final, Liverpool, Spuds away, Bolton away.”

    Amen to that, i could’nt have said it better. for what ever reason this team just cannot handle pressure, and until that gets sorted I’m afraid we will not win anything.

  55. RockyLives says:

    for me it’s all about two or three experienced additions with a great never-say-die attitude.

  56. London says:

    Hi Rocky

    Two or three experienced additions may not sound a lot but major surgery would be required: Fabregas would almost certainly have to go to create the necessary space for them!

  57. RockyLives says:

    I would consider Song more vulnerable than Fab4 – in other words a defensive MF in the Gilberto mode. Another experienced CB. And (and I’m doing my lone voice bit here again) an older GK to see us through the next year or two until Chesney’s fully ready.

  58. RockyLives says:

    I also think we’ll probably lose one or both of Arshavin and Rosicky, so a 26/27-year-old CF at the top of his game would fit in as well.

    Mind you, I’d like us to go back to a 4-4-2 anyway…

  59. RockyLives says:

    And if Clichy goes (which seems likely) let’s get an experienced LB.

    So, to me, three additions can be accommodated without major surgery (obviously dependent on finding the right players, which is not a given).

  60. RockyLives says:

    Three and out! (Four now)

  61. goonermichael says:

    The 22-year-old striker has had a stellar inaugural Premier League campaign in which he has scored 12 goals and developed a formidable partnership up front for the Red Devils with the in-form Wayne Rooney.

    Bought for just £7 (€7.9) million from Guadalajara last summer, Wenger revealed that he was monitored by Arsenal before being snapped up by United and recognizes the threat the striker will possess in Sunday’s showdown.

    We always say we were looking at players that turn out well for other clubs. I’d rather Arsena didn’t mention it though.

  62. Gooner in Exile says:

    It does make you wonder whether the board were prepared to back Wenger tho GM.

    If he says he was watching them maybe he was wanting to sign them, but the board said £7 miilion you must be joking you have a bunch of 21/22 year olds here use them instead…..why gamble? Which may be totally made up but you do have to wonder, perhaps Wenger was expecting to get him on a free like Chamakh?

    Rocky…I was kind of being a little cheeky about Frimpong, but the signs are good, England international at U16, and U17 would have been in U19’s this year if not for cruciate ligament (altho he intends to play for Ghana I believe. Most importantly he and Jack played a lot of games alongside each other at youth level, and that kind of understanding can only be good for two Centre Midfielders. He is 6ft too which bodes well!

    Think Harry might be right about Chuks

    On another note I have decided I need keyboard shortcuts to ensure the correct spelling of all Arsenal surnames in future.

  63. Big Raddy says:

    BR is back in the house (and the country).

    Just off to the Wedding dinner but will be back after the party (hope we don’t have to do any of that ridiculous Scottish dancing).

    Westminster Abbey was a bore – I was stuck behind a pillar and could only see the back of some nuns. Music was good though.

    Will talk football later when I sober up ….

  64. RockyLives says:

    BR 😀

  65. dandan says:

    Really good article Mr Arsenal although I doubt it will surprise you that I would take issue with some of it.

    Wonderman 11:27 sums it up superbly for me and saves me a lot of typing.

    Lastly I find it sad that Arsenal fans will become a laughing stock throughout the football world should our deluded minority insist on embarrassing themselves with some kind of half baked protest on Sunday.

  66. Gooner in Exile says:

    “Lastly I find it sad that Arsenal fans will become a laughing stock throughout the football world should our deluded minority insist on embarrassing themselves with some kind of half baked protest on Sunday.”

    Agreed…..its a sad day indeed….the only thing I have ever protested about at the club is taking away the North Bank terracing (not really their fault) but to me at the time the bonds were going to affect the type of fans who attended.

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    A very balanced and enjoyable post Mr Arsenal.

    Reading the subsequent responses, I cannot help but feel a bit depressed. Where to start in changing things round. Some of us say: we need more experienced players, some say we need new players with the right mental attitude, some say we need to make changes at the back, some say we suffer from a lack of clinical finishing. To a certain extent, all this is true: I cannot disagree with any of it.

    But where to start? It has to be Arsene. Is he prepared to humble himself and change his philosophy of focussing mainly on bringing true young, talented players? Will he be able to really change course and buy 3-4 experienced players with the right attitude to mix with our great talents? Or will he want to go out, eventually, singing the wonderful words of Edith Piaf ‘Non je ne regrette rien’, whether successful or not? This will all become clear this summer, it bloody well has to be!

  68. Rasp says:

    Sorry for my late appearance after all the fun is over and everyone has stated the points I would have made.

    Congratulations Mr A on a great debut article on AA. Your style and reason are in keeping with everything we value – your name has been added to the list of authors.

    I am in complete agreement with your main point – it is up to Arsène to solve the problems that have led us to underachieve again, and to do this, he needs to have remodel his philosophy to counteract the less cultured aspects of Premiership football.

  69. Gooner in Exile says:

    ” less cultured aspects of Premiership football.”

    Thats a diplomatic way of saying anti football 😉

    Total I think that the reason there are so many different theories is that we are so close and it is a missing ingredient that we the fans, the players and Arsene are desperate to find.

    I personally think it’s belief, we all had it, and I think the players did too, then Newcastle happened, then CC debacle happened then Nou Camp happened and the belief they were not good enough appears to have set in. How do you change that? How do these players find the belief they need to fight against Man U on Sunday if they look up and see two banks of four are there heads going to drop?

  70. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Gooner in Exile, belief is a great thing and yes it is missing at the moment. But what is belief based on: is it just a mental attitude, a choice as such? Or does it need a solid foundation, as in a squad of 16-18 very good players, and each of them knowing that all of them are really good. I think that Wenger has always been very good in making the team as a whole, and each individual player, believe that they are great. In my opinion, this is one of the main reasons we have done so well with relatively low transfer budgets over the last few years.

    But, we can now see key players such as Fabregas, Nasri, Arshavin and Clichy do not believe him anymore. There is an additional problem, which has been mentioned before by others, of a lack of leadership on the field when things do not go our way. Without such leadership it is very hard to sustain the necessary believe throughout the whole season.

  71. Big Raddy says:

    I believe the missing factor is team spirit. Much is spoken of Leadership, however we have individual leaders – RvP, AA, Nasri, Fab, Wilshere and Ramsey etc. What is needed is a collective belief that by working together any difficulties can be overcome.

    When the team has problems it fragments into a group of individuals allowing a team with a strong team ethic but less talent to beat them (Bolton, Newcastle etc)

    We have to instill the Musketeers motto “All for One, One for All”

  72. mickydidit89 says:

    Great to have you back. Hope you had a wonderful time.
    I kind of agree with you, but I am being fairly reserved about the whole thing until our season ends (ie CL qualification assured), as I can only launch into my remedial measures by naming names.
    On the collective issue you raised, I certainly agree that is one aspect that needs addressing and that would be impossible with our manager going to pieces on the sidelines.
    Panic not, Stan and I have the solutions and all will be well.

  73. 26may1989 says:

    I wonder if, with this group of players, Wenger’s philosophy of trusting, nurturing and protecting the players has backfired. It worked spectacularly with the Invincibles and the 1998-2000 side, but when the pressure’s been on and the opportunity there, this group has failed to rise to the occasion, the big talents went missing just when they were needed.

    Had they had an aggressive manager, perhaps they would have done better simply out of fear. They know the worst they’ll face from Wenger is a withering look while he says to the press once more that it’s his fault, not theirs.

  74. mickydidit89 says:

    Oooo 26,
    Very spookey. We appear to be looking in the same direction, while posting at the same moment!

  75. 26may1989 says:

    Anyone else worried about the growing body of scandal surrounding LJ? Caught fighting while out on the piss with his mates, ex girlfriend pregnant before LJ’s 20 and now his sister is done for glassing someone in a pub. Unfair to include his sister’s behaviour, I know, but it all sounds very John Terry.

    I love LJ on the pitch, he’s superb and already shows an impressive maturity while playing. But that off the pitch stuff suggests real problems down the road.

  76. 26may1989 says:

    Great minds, micky, great minds!

  77. 26may1989 says:

    It’s crude I know, and I apologise for any offence caused, but rather than (or perhaps in addition to) Raddy’s call for the players to play with the motto “All for One, One for All” I’d quite like them to adopt “Fuck you”.

  78. Rasp says:

    I agree with the ‘winning mentaility’ and ‘all for one’ points but seem to be the lone voice that repeatedly calls for a change in emphasis in our coaching. Obviously a change in style of play would be helped by an injection of new players with different attributes.

    I wish we’d drop the whole ‘play like Barca’ thing and concentrate on the most effective way to win games using the personnel at our disposal – simple I know, but then again we’re often guilty of over-complicating.

  79. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. I cannot agree (re: Barca) because we end up with the George Graham mentality. IMO winning is not everything.

    What we need to find is the ability to win like Barca not just play like them and to me that is team ethics. Apart from Puyol I cannot think of an obvious Leader in the Barca side. They are all Leaders.

    26. I agree with the extended motto. I wonder what it would be in Latin?

  80. Morning all

    Welcome back Raddy

    New Post

  81. Carlito11 says:

    Morning all- following on from 26M and MDi89’s comments. Lee Dixon quoted in an Arsenal book: “George moulded us into a winning team by putting a lot of pressure on us.”
    This for me is what has been missing, I think my first post on AA was about the players being mollycoddled and I stand by that.

  82. Mickeyk says:

    Arsene weenier says we could have had 9 points against Liverpool tottenham and Bolton instead we got 2.this is how close we’ve come . We could have also had 3 points against Sunderland wigan Birmingham Newcastle man city but we never so what point is he trying to make we could have won the champions league in 2006 but we never .nothing is going to change next season he don’t care what the fans think he thinks he knows best he’s an ego maniac .he will not buy big next season there’s no chance of that denilson will stay eboue will stay bentner will stay and the same thing will happen next season. Prices will go up and threes nothing the supporters can or will do about it .so all us arsenal surpporters the board ,arsene and the club in general don’t care as long as they sell them tickets before the start of the season they’ve got their money.after that the moneys in the bank and you can moan all you like .so more of the same next season like it or lump it were being taken for the mugs season ticket holders are. All the transfer news in the media in the summer will be rubbish arsene might buy one player if were lucky were stuck with what we’ve got.

  83. Mickeyk says:

    Certain players should stop sticking powder up ther noses and get out the club tr

  84. Mickeyk says:

    I’m dreading the game against Manu they will batter us tomorrow I think it will be embarrassing . May be it will wake weenier up to how far behind we really are.

  85. Morning Mickeyk – you’re not being ignored, we’re on a new post 🙂

  86. TotalArsenal says:

    26 May 1989 wrote: ‘All for One, One for All, I quite like them to adopt Fuck You’.

    What about the strapline to Metallica’s firstever album Kill ’em All: ‘Bang that head that does not bang’?

  87. goonerwife says:

    im ignoring him

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