What should Arsenal fans realistically expect us to achieve next season?

Today is going to be a very slow news day on the blogosphere. The transfer rumours are only just gaining momentum and most expect Arsenal to either take second pickings behind the big spenders or to sign players who would not be targets for other top clubs.

Following on from yesterday’s debate, I thought it would be interesting to have a benchmark at this point to refer back to at the end of the summer, or at the same time next season.

The question I would ask is…. “What should Arsenal fans realistically expect us to achieve next season?”

Our happiness or disappointment is simply a measure of how the outcome compares to our own individual expectation.

For Arsenal to have progressed next year I would expect the following:

1. Top 3 in the Premiership

2. Top of our group in the CL and reach the quarter finals

3. To win a cup competition if we choose to put out our strongest side

4. To have shored up the defence

5. To have a strong finish to the season

These are just talking points, but it would be interesting to see how the expectations of the ‘cup half full’ers’ compare to those branded as being half empty. Paradoxically, the level of expectation is likely to be inversely proportional to the level of optimism.

What would be the least you would be happy with as an Arsenal fan at this time next year?

133 Responses to What should Arsenal fans realistically expect us to achieve next season?

  1. Josip says:

    A strong Carling Cup run again. Winning something easier may lift this team up a notch.

  2. Rasp says:

    True Josip, but is that really as high as we should be aiming?

    It is clear that if success was purely down to financial clout in the transfer market, Arsenal would be mid table.

    We don’t need to keep stating that AW has worked miracles on a shoestring budget – it is there for all to see, but what is the next stage?

  3. Arsenal Fan says:

    Fourth place.

  4. silentstan says:

    2 cup runs to !/4’s, out of CL after first knock out game and 6th in EPL

  5. glenn says:

    I agree with your list also adding a new style of play instead of PASS,PASS,PASS DON’T SHOOT. Also picking formations to who we are playing 3 5 2, 4 4 2, 4 5 1 etc. And as for set plays defending and attacking it would be nice to think over the summer at the colney creche they could allocate some of their precious time in the old saying practice makes perfect.

  6. patthegooner says:

    Carling Cup: As far as the fringe and youth players can go.

    FA Cup: As far as the 1st team can go. If we get beaten by the better team in round 3 then ce la vie, but I want to see us put out the strongest team possible.

    Champions League: Agree, we must win the group, we will go into it as a seeded team so it should be expected to top the group. What I wont accept is winning the first 3 games and then fielding weakened teams ending up with the group being out of our hands. Post that, get as far as we can.

    PL: This is the important one for me. I want to see an improvement defensively, and I want to see and an end to complacent performances and half arsed effort. Given the teams fighting for the PL, I think you have to accept anywhere in that top four, but I want us to be within a few points of the eventual leaders.

    Biggest of all, I dont want us to give up a 2 goal lead at any point next season and I want an unbeaten record at the Emirates.

  7. Carlito11 says:

    Hi Rasp- just dropping in quickly. I agree with the above points except reaching the 1/4 finals in the champions league. I think we should expect to get as far in the CL as we can unless we meet Barcelona at an earlier stage. It would take a mentalist to call going out to Barcelona a failure in my view!

  8. Rasp says:

    Hi Carlito,

    Hopefully if we win our group, we won’t meet Barca that early any way although it is still possible.

  9. Rasp says:

    Hi patthegooner,

    Very good point about surrendering a lead. If we’re not safe at half time and 4 nil up, we have a serious problem. I do think that is an exception and one thing that we do need is to be more resilient and panic less when under pressure.

  10. Philbet says:

    I think finishing the season strong is the top test of a good side, squad depth and attitude realy come through late in the season,In some way being 7th with ten games left and finishing 4th,is preferable to sitting 2nd and dropping to 3rd, (Not suggesting 4th should be the target),
    On reflection the Carling cup run and the draws at Leeds/Ipswich/Orient had a bigger effect on the season than could have been imagined at the time.
    If we do go on a cup run it is imperative we finish off lowly opponants att he first attempt.

  11. patthegooner says:


    I guess the big question is can Wenger deliver it?

    Although I do want a change in manager, the sentimental part of me would love it if Wenger chaged tact this summer, bought in some quality experienced players and included in that would be a CB and DM with leadership qualities. We need to strengthen the spine.

    I hope we sort it all out early doors too. The one thing I really want this summer is to not go into the 31st August knowing that we still need to strengthen, Only to be dissapoint at 00:00 when the window shuts and Wenger is tucked up in bed whilst millions of gooners are once again left dissapointed. Wouldnt it be nice to go into day one of the season thinking yep, we have got a chance here. If he does that, the Gooner nation will be right behind him, and I think that is important too this year. The problem is, if he doesnt strengthen then fans will still be fuming from last season and will get on the backs of the players from day one.

  12. DV says:

    What I expect is exactly the same again if I’m being brutally honest. If there’s been progress we will win something as we were pretty close to winning, certainly talent-wise, last season; it’s that simple. The problem is the collective mentality of the squad come the sharp end of the season, a few ins and outs might change that but then again it might not. The bottom line is something needs to change in the heads of a few key players or they need to be replaced, don’t deal with that and we’ll collapse again.

  13. Rasp says:

    I agree with your last para pttg, I’m not in the Arsene out camp (yet). My wish is for him to be unshackled from other responsibilies and to let go of one or two obsessions and prove the doubters wrong.

    The movement of players in will obviously be affected by those that leave. In some cases, a player leaving could be a positive and in others definitlely a negative.

  14. Judith Le'Strange says:

    Actually trying to win games and not laying back when we’re 2 or 3 goals to the good, remember Newcastle this past season we were 4 goals to the good and look what happened. I think our mentality is a lot to do with it and also I think Fabregas is not the right player to be captain, he’s too interested in going to Barcelona, well sell him for whatever they want to pay and let’s have a decent captain, I would vote for Vermalen as he is a born leader. I would like other commenters to vote on this?

  15. Rasp says:

    Thanks Judith,

    We will take up your suggestion and publish a ‘who should be captain?’ post in the coming weeks.

    I would agree that TV is a natural as a captain and plays in the best position, but feel it would be rather hard on RvP who has given his heart and soul this season and is the senior player.

  16. goonermichael says:

    We went backwards this season so I’d wait to see who we buy and who goes. If we don’t change much then a top 6 finish. I’d expect us to get through the CL qualifier although we could get Bayern and I wouldn’t fancy that.

    If we buy some decent players then I’d expect to be in the top 2.

    CL is a lottery the mancs run to the final wasn’t that bad. If they’d been drawn on the same side as barce they would have gone out sooner.

  17. patthegooner says:

    TV is the best candidate.

    RVP. No. Not only do I not agree with Strikers being captain, but his injury record is too poor to give him the armband. We would play most games with the vice captain.

    I think the Captain either has to be a CB or a Midfielder. The CB sees the game developing ahead of him and can organise. The Midfielder sees all around him. The striker should be 100% focused on putting the ball in the net.

    Sadly TV is the only candidate. That is why I would love to see leadership being bought in.

  18. Larry Kamvazina says:

    Jack wilshere and Aaron Ramsey to develope a lethal combo in midfield,Robin lasting a whole season and finally i want to us lift the premier league at old trafford with Ramsey scoring the winner!

  19. barumgooner says:

    Realistically we have to win a trophy at least but with the side we have we should be winning the league. IF some leaders show themselves this year (TV, AR, JW, RVP, WS) and IF AW is a bit ruthless with some of the under-achievers and brings in a few with perhaps a little less talent but a lot more heart we have the ability to beat anyone. The thing I like about Kos and indeed Samba is that they aren’t the typical flair player but offer a little more balance to the side.

  20. chas says:

    Interesting post, Rasp.

    The whole idea of expectations is a complex one. As a supporter, having expectations always sets you up for a fall. Glass half empty’ers will always expect to be champions and/or win some silverware and as a consequence, are more often than not going to be disappointed.

    Do the players have expectations for the season or even expectations for each game? If you go into a game ‘expecting’ to win, perhaps that is a sure fire recipe for failure.

  21. GunnerSomeDay says:

    No significant purchases – CL qualification will be an achievement.
    Signicant purchases – CL qualification and a trophy
    We have have to accept Man City have changed the landscape and we are now playing third fiddle to the Man U, Chelsea and Man City who for one reason or the other have larger squads and better leadership and ambition.
    consequently the gap between 4th and 5th will be marginal with us battling it out with Tfc and LFC both of which will be more active this summer. if we fall out of the top four we may shock the board into change as London fan base is more fickle than our northern counterparts. so gunners we need to be realistic and adjust our expectations as we cannot compete with the wealth of Chelsea or Man City and we certainly do not have the winning mentality of man u.

  22. dandan says:

    Judith/Rasp…..I know a Magic way to encourage Cesc to stay, lets have a vote to decide if we want him as captain.
    My my don’t we do this motivational stuff well,

    Empathy yep, we have that by the bucketful too. I’ll tell you what, lets not wait and see the changes that are made in the window. Oops sorry we don’t do patience either do we? Doesn’t matter if that might be where Cesc is coming from, lets just give him an unnecessary kicking and make sure he is really happy with us fans.
    Never mind the 7 years of service, we can buy better players with the money?? if it really pees him off……Who I wonder

    Would you put up with such disrespectful treatment, I wouldn’t, I would take the money, join City then come back and shove it right up our backsides and it would serve us right.Why because we ask for loyalty and give provocation.

    Sorry Rasp you can bin it if you wish.

  23. Big Raddy says:

    Fair point DD. Adebayor was hounded out by the boo boys and yet we could have really used him last season (that said I was delighted when he left!) Perhaps his onpitch attitude may have been different had the fans maintained their affection.

    Aspirations. A better end to the season. Had we continued our early season form the PL was ours. Our “fans” have such short memories that they forget the pre-xmas performances.

  24. Rasp says:

    Why would I bin it dandan? I just don’t understand your reaction, no-one was asking for Cesc to go, it’s a purely hypothetical discussion – no need to get upset.

    I’d ask you and others with strong views to be brave and tell me/us now, what you expect from next season.

    It’s all very well to be down on those who express an optimistic wish, but are your expectations that low that you will accept anything that transpires?

  25. dandan says:

    No of course not Rasp, But it is naive to think that neither Cesc Or some itinerant journo will not read the blogs and use such negativity as a reason to leave or create headlines of the. “Arsenal fans vote for Cesc to lose captaincy variety.

    AS for me I believe we will strengthen the side and make progress next year, Barca have shown that football can win all. Obviously we are not Barca their group strength is formidable. But we are the nearest to them in the P league, although in my opinion others for a number of reasons will follow our path. I am dwelling on a post on that at the moment.

    So!!! pleasing football, further progress in the CL, a higher finish in the P league and a cup are all within our grasp.

    But the end of the transfer window will be the time to evaluate what we feel the future holds whatever it is I believe it will be exciting

  26. patthegooner says:

    Personally I think Cesc can take the questioning of his continued role as Captain….and he should accept it.

    We have bottled it and crumbled too many times this season

    Not only that but he openly wanted to leave the club last year. Personally I think he is a WC player and one I dont want to leave the club, but we should have stripped him of that captaincy following his antics last summer. He should be applauded for his honesty, but a player who wants out should not be captain.

    As for waiting to see what happens in the window. I have heard that one every year for the last 3 or 4 summers. Its almost like the judge me in may thing with some fans always extending that period out to trust him, yet he always lets us down.

    If he does nothing this summer, the next line will be well the season has just started, lets see how they have grown, and then it will be lets see what he does in the January window, and then the seasons not over yet, lets see what happens in May and then it all comes back to the transfer window is not shut yet, lets see what happens this summer.

    Fingers crossed this summer will be different.

  27. patthegooner says:

    I dont think Cesc needs to use the questioning of his captaincy as a reason to leave.

    I think a lack of silverware, a lack of quality players around him and a envious look at his buddies at Barca are enough reasons to want to leave.

    And quite frankly, if he did want to leave because the fans dont think he is a good captain, then buy Cesc and thanks for the memories.

    Sadly the reasoning behind Cesc leaving because of questions over his captaincy are probably close tot he reason he got the captaincy in the first place…as a tool to try and keep him loyal to the club.

  28. Rasp says:

    Thanks dandan,

    Actually my post made no mention of replacing Cesc – that came by implication from a blogger.

    I am probably one of the few AA’ers who is working today and I cobbled together this post in 5 mins because no-one else was forthcoming and so that others would have a forum for debate – so you could say I’m feeling a tad undervalued myself 🙄

  29. Big Raddy says:

    My problem with Cesc is this….. Can he play with Nasri? Samir looked at his best when playing in Cesc’s role – he looked at his worst when playing out on the left in Arshavin’s position.

    Given that Song, CF, JW are the first name son the MF teamsheet where does Samir play?

    With Ramsey coming through, Cesc’s unstated desire to move and Nasri’s reluctance to sign his contract, it has to be a choice between the two of them and not both.

  30. Big Raddy says:

    Rasp. A short one in the loading bay that isn’t time specific.

    Sorry to hear you are at work, but given your business I guess you are having a busy day!

  31. Rasp says:

    Hi BR,

    I believe that Cesc wants to go to Barca. I also think that they are not too bothered and certainly won’t be prepared to break the bank to get him. Will he go to any other foreign club – maybe. Would we wish to keep him if his heart is elsewhere – I don’t know.

    He’s our best player so we should try to keep him, and try to keep him happy. It’s actually out of our hands, we can’t sell him cheaply to Barca even if he wants to go, but equally, can we really expect him to give of his best when he’d rather not be with us?

  32. RockyLives says:

    Good discussion starter Rasp.
    For me:
    EPL: a top 4 finish. Plus being competitive in the final two months of the season. If we fail to win the league despite giving it our damndest, I don’t mind. What I don’t want to see is another lame end of season collapse.
    FA Cup: strong team out all the time and go as far as we can go.
    Carling Cup: ditto. I don’t buy this nonsense about playing too many games. Tell that to Man Utd. If you’re on a winning streak you can keep going.
    CL: Top our group then see how the dice roll.

    To echo a good point made earlier by Pat, I also want us not to be a team that surrenders 2+ goal leads so easily.

  33. George Thomas says:

    Everybody expects Wenger to bring in at least two to three new players.What happens if even with the new guys the gunners can’t challenge?It will be back to square one.

  34. Rasp says:

    Thanks Rocky,

    That was the kind of response I was hoping for. It would help me to put my expectations into perspective to hear the views of other respected bloggers – am I asking too much of my Arsenal? judged by your response, no.

  35. vinceob says:

    just to be proud of an arsenal team that really did give it ther best shot- that went as far as possible with the squad they have (hopefully some new players). a team fully united together before and after the game- listening to the leaders but stepping up to the plate themselves.
    (maybe wishful thinking, i dont know)
    plus it’ll be my sons 1st season where he sort of understand the passion an excitment of football, so im praying its a good one for the gooners!!

  36. Rasp says:

    Hi vinceob and welcome,

    Great comment and I too hope the team can give your son a season to remember.

    We should not underestimate the value of team success in recruiting new young supporters for the future. As we all know, once you’ve decided to support a team, you can never change.

  37. Danish Gooner says:

    Limp surrender like always.This time around we could end outside the top 4.

  38. dandan says:

    Danish, Big phrase that “we could” we could win the league, we could win the champions league, We could get behind our team and play our part as well as we expect them to play there’s.

    Tell me BR. do the Danes have a reputation for being dour, like the Dutch do?

  39. Well done Rasp, I know you’re really busy today 😉

    1.I would definitely hope we don’t fall out of the top 4 but I can see it will be difficult as there will be other teams competing for the top 6 positions.

    2. Top our champions league group by playing our strongest teams until it’s a dead cert.

    3. For me, the Carling Cup is not a competition worth winning and I like it when we smash other PL teams with our babies so lets not waste our first team.

    4. I love the FA cup and always want us to go as far as we can.

    5. To make sure our strikers have the confidence to take a shot whenever the opportunity arises

  40. dandan says:

    From Todats Times.

    It is in football that the moral dimension is most marked. It reached absurd heights in the row about the POMO, or Position Of Maximum Opportunity. This was the football tactic that came up in the early Eighties, basically a statistical justification of the long-ball game. It was used effectively by Watford under Graham Taylor, who finished second in the top flight in 1983 and were FA Cup runners-up the next year.

    Tactic and team were greatly reviled because they consciously rejected beauty. But there is no moral obligation for football to be beautiful, despite what Arsène Wenger says, even though most neutrals would, all things being equal, sooner watch Arsenal than any other top English club. There are many other ways of skinning cats and the other 19 Barclays Premier League clubs have shown most of them.

    But when football is played at the most effective level possible, it does tend to an incidental and glorious beauty. Barcelona’s beauty was cancelled out in the Champions League semi-finals last year by the brilliantly worked spoiling tactics of Inter Milan and José Mourinho.

    This year, Mourinho tried it again with Real Madrid and failed. Barcelona have won the trophy three times in six seasons, making it clear that if you want to be the best, then you’d better try to be as beautiful as possible. All other tactics are for the second-raters


    My case rests

  41. RockyLives says:

    A few smaller expectations:

    That the players will always go over and acknowledge the fans at the end of the games – particularly in away games. Regardless of the result.

    That the fans stop moaning and groaning at full volume at every missed pass or missed attempt on goal – and then say “why don’t they ever shoot?”

    That players – even the most important ones – don’t say they are fit to play when they are not. Doing what Cesc did in the second leg of the Barca game was deeply selfish and irresponsible.

    That AW does not refer to ‘mental strength’ again until we actually win something.

  42. dandan says:

    Rasp sorry if you thought I was having a pop at your article, I was not it was the vote that got me.

    100% Agree with you Rocky, ever has it been though that players declare fit for the big games because that is what they live for, if they did not we would pillory them for lack of commitment. Tough earning all that dosh isn’t it 🙂

  43. RockyLives says:

    I admire your positivity in seeing Cesc’s decision to play at the Nou Camp as being about commitment. Personally I think he had other fish to fry (not that he was trying to showcase himself, more that he wanted to put on a great display in his home town).
    Either way it was a mistake that a captain should not make and, to me, was a sign of immaturity.

  44. dandan says:

    Rocky I don’t think I said that, he played because it was a big game, but my point was that if players pull out for small injuries we (the fans that is) accuse them on non commitment (so and so would have played Etc) DB10 was one who would not play if not 100% and he took fan stick for it.

  45. Big Raddy says:

    DD. No DG is not representative of the Danes – they tend to be very positive people.

    Yesterday, I went to the final game of the Danish season. FCK played at their home ground, The Parken (they won 2-0). On 15 minutes the crowd , most of whom had brought along blow up toys, suddenly threw them onto the pitch and into the stands. It was a very entertaining spectacle. The game stopped and everyone had a good time.

    And if one wants to see the catastrophic effect of CL money, just look to the Danish League. FCK won by 26 points winning the title after just 24 games of a 33 game season.

  46. dandan says:

    Thanks Raddy I suspected that was the case.

  47. London says:

    Well you are appreciated by this gooner Rasp. Because that is a very thought provoking post, it also happens to be a subject that has been running around my mind for some time now.

    I see it this way: next season will be the biggest challenge we have had in ages. Manu and Chelsea will be as strong as ever, nothing is going to stop the emergence of mancity and Liverpool will be better next season than they have been this.

    So for me forth will be the equivalent of hitting the bulls eye and this is coming from a glass half full person if ever there was one. In fact, next season will be the first time in over ten years I will not be expecting to win the league.

    If we just qualify for the CL I will be happy and as for the CC and the FA so long as we don’t embarrass ourselves that will be fine.

    Why the gloom London?

    We have one more season before we return to a financial level playing field and then my friends:

    The sun on the meadow is summery warm
    The stag in the forest runs free
    But gathered together to greet the storm

    Tomorrow belongs, tomorrow belongs, tomorrow belongs to US

  48. Rasp says:

    Thanks London,

    It is significant that nobody has come on and said I expect to win the Premiership – we’ve had to learn to be realists over the last few years.

    Criticism of our achievements since 2006 have been borne out of ignorance of the underlying facts, but sooner or later, we have to move on.

    I would settle for fourth at this point, and that would only change if we make some really top signings – which I don’t expect.

  49. London says:

    Wanting to put on a good show in your home town and wanting the best for Arsenal do not seem mutually exclusive to me.

    And that is the away performance,

    No one, but no one can ever say that Cesc gave anything but 100% for the good of Arsenal in the home game. A performance that makes a mockery of the infuriating idea that Cesc’s heart is not really into playing at Arsenal. The person that banged that drum over and over again was Pedro over at Le Grove it has never ceased to amaze me how many sheep follow blindly.

    Think of Cesc’s performance against before Christmas especially against Barcelona if you think his heart was not into being at Arsenal you know nothing about football, nothing.

    For seven years it has been the same every summer: moan, moan, moan, Cesc really wants to return to his home town — he is here, he is our Captain and long may that continue.

    Cesc should be stripped of the captaincy for his antics last summer…….Ahhhhhhhhhhhh, I want to scream.

  50. HCAA says:

    To replicate and emulate Barcelona, we have to adopt the same mentality. Look how they destroyed Man Utd, not only on Saturday, but in 2009 as well. The two games were very similar. Yes we beat them recently, but we have never destroyed them as ruthlessly as Barcelona have done. If Wenger’s plan 15 years ago was to adopt the Barcelona blue-print for success, then he has fallen very short. Some might argue that we owe him bucket-loads of gratitude, but he is the highest paid manager in the country. I think he owes us fans a few explanations, and guidance as to exactly where to pitch our expectations. Otherwise, we have the right to expect what Man Utd, Chelsea or Barcelona fans expect at the start of every season. On that premise, for me it has to be the PL title and CL double. Am I setting myself up for disappointment? Almost inevitably, but that’s the level Wenger should have taken us to in his 15 years in charge.

  51. goonermichael says:

    I think you are wrong about cesc London. He is a great player so he’ll do better than most whether his heart is in it or not. If barca still want him and they have the money he will be gone. Everything I read last season including quotes from Arsene was that he wanted to go and Arsene talked him round (and refused to sell him)

  52. arsenal fan says:

    Our team is good and would win somethnig next season
    only kittle things need to change
    1.one more strong cb who can b a leader
    2.some of the players who are not being used n want to leave
    3.a dm perhaps for eg scot parker good pl experience could be used well by the manager

    i think if we win the cc next season somehow it would be great for the team , (i thought this would be the year sadly no) and we all wouldnt be suprised to see us winning a few more trophies the same season

  53. goonermichael says:

    anyonne else watching the playoff?

  54. goonermichael says:

    great game

  55. barumgooner says:

    Rasp, Some really top signings ? I might be in a minority but I dont really want to see any big name (and big ego) players coming in. If Clichy goes I would like to add Baines. Cahill would be ideal but prob more likely to be Samba and another strong forward and we will be there provided we hang on to Nasri and AA. If AA goes we would need to add a winger.

  56. Rasp says:

    Hi bg,

    Yes, maybe that was the wrong choice of words, we cannot afford so-called top signings. I should have said signings that represent a significant improvement on what we’ve got.

    Would Alvarez or Eden Hazard be regarded as top signings I wonder, they’re unlikely to be on the wishlist of the big spenders.

  57. barumgooner says:

    We have to look at the positives of TV and AR being back next time ( 2 new signings ) both the Poles had a good run in goal with WS showing he can be our no1. Kos and JD are good enough just need a bit of confidence. Jack has been immense and will be even better next season….. Im going to stop there before I sound too much like AW.

  58. Rasp says:

    Can’t argue with any of that bg. The chemistry of the midfield is a bit of a problem. Raddy has highlighted the problems of playing Nasri and Cesc and London has sort to calm expectation on Jack. Song’s role is still under scrutiny.

    I think a defense minded midfielder, a wide left player (Rio Myachi?) and the best striker we can afford would do the trick.

  59. barumgooner says:

    True Rasp. I’m probably more interested to see who leaves the club rather than who comes in at this point. If for instance we lose Nasri and Cesc then our need for a matchwinner becomes a bit more important. BUT if one or both stay then I’m not sure that more flair is required, more steel may be better.

  60. Rasp says:

    Yes, maybe a small shake-up would be good. Could the the missing ingredient that stops us surrendering leads and makes us more resilient, arrive in the form of a new player or two, or is it something deeper than that I wonder?

  61. HCAA says:

    Maybe the question you should have posed Rasp, is are we a big club, or a medium-sized club hoping to punch above their weight? Big clubs and their fans expect big things. Medium-sized clubs would be content to challenge for a top-four spot with a couple of good cup-runs thrown in.

  62. Rasp says:

    I get your point HCAA. We are a big club in terms of fanbase and participation in European football, but a medium sized club in terms of our available funds.

    You are probably correct, we have been punching above our weight compared to our spending, but when you look at the potential of our players, it is obvious we should be competing near to the top.

  63. Red Arse says:

    Interesting question raised in the post.

    It has made me stop and think about my own expectations for 2011/12 which I have not done before.

    Every new season I look forward to how things develop and hope they will everything.

    Rationally I know they won’t, but I live in hope and give my full support whatever happens.

    That said, let’s be realistic.

    1) Manyoo, Chelski, Man Citeh, liverpool and the Spuds will all spend big to strengthen their teams/squads in the summer, so even if we bring in a couple of new players, I will be happy if we end up in the top 4 of the EPL.

    2) We are never going to win the CL because there are some really strong teams both in the EPL and in Europe. So go for it lads, do your best, that’s all I can ask.

    3) Not fussed about the Mickey Mouse cups, but the FA cup would be nice, although that would be a consolation prize, it would give me a day out at Wembley.

    Just a thought. I am a little more sanguine about what I hope for, compared to the expectations of some others, but I am put in mind of a famous call by the late President Kennedy, which bears paraphrasing;

    –‘Ask not what your country/Arsenal can do for you, ask instead what you can do for your country/Arsenal!’

    Maybe that could translate as; –

    Support your club,
    Support your team,
    Support your manager,
    Shout your encouragement,
    Stop bitching!

    Rasp, hope the use of semantics here is OK, but for the sake of clarity; my definition is;
    Linguistic semantics is the study of meaning that is used by humans to express themselves. 🙂

  64. barumgooner says:

    There is probably a mentality within the squad of acceptance to not being quite good enough. How deep that runs who knows. I can think of probably 5-6 players who appear to be happy with mediocrity and if we as a club aspire to be the best then these players must be replaced. If Arsene wields the axe it will show his intent to the fans and to the squad much more than just buying a star or two.

  65. dandan says:

    Rasp are you watching the cricket, SL 43 for 6 and still 53 behind

  66. goonermichael says:

    There really needs to be a major shake up in the mentatlity of the players. Falling away at the end of the season has become a habit as has losing leads. If that isn’t addressed it’s not worth having any positive expectations.

  67. Rasp says:

    No dandan, I’m at work – shouldn’t be blogging 😳

    That’s great news though, I thought the game had draw written all over it.

  68. Red Arse says:

    Hi HCAA, 🙂

    You have a point in raising the question. But it has to be answered in the context of the clubs around us.

    I have already listed ‘big’ clubs above, so Manyoo, Cheslski, Liverpool, Spuds, Citeh, Aston Villa as well as Arsenal would all call themselves ‘big’ clubs, so without wishing to upset them by excluding Villa and Newcastle, there are at leaast 7 ‘big’ clubs.

    Only one ‘big’ club can win the EPL, and in Europe the list of ‘big’ clubs is even — well bigger! 🙂

    How’s things HCAA, all going well I hope? 🙂

  69. Rasp says:


    I’m surprised you feel the need to define ‘semantics’ to me. As a connoisseur of poetry, I felt sure you would have appreciated that the use of language out of it’s normal context is a acceptable when it is used to reinforce a point or to add lyricality 😕

  70. dandan says:

    50 7 now rasp

  71. Rasp says:


    As to the support/support/support rallying cry, that is quite right during a game/during a season, but could be viewed as an obstacle to further improvement if employed at the end of a disappointing season.

  72. Rasp says:

    Game over dandan it would appear!

  73. Red Arse says:


    60 for 8

  74. HCAA says:

    Hi RA,

    not bad thanks, enjoyed CL final, a total exhibition in football. A master-class. Newcastle and Sunderland must be the biggest under-achievers of so-called big clubs, even Villa have a European Cup. Do you think AW genuinely believes we are capable of winning either the PL or CL? And if not, shouldn’t he perhaps advise us fans to lower our ambition?

  75. Rasp says:

    Quick, where’s the nearest bookies, I’m betting dandan’s house on an England victory…..

  76. Red Arse says:


    I was not defining semantics for you.

    I was clarifying my understanding of the word, because I had no idea what you meant when you used it earlier, and as you are a renowned wordsmith I was just checking that my limited knowledge of the subject accorded with your own! :-).

    Unfortunately I do not understand your reasoning in qualifying my suggestions for support.
    This does not mean an unquestioning acceptance of either the manager or the club and their reasoning or performance, the two are not mutually exclusive.

    As I am a well known pillock, please feel free to correct me again, or you could try asking me to clarify my comments. 🙂

  77. Rasp says:


    I think to some ‘just support come what may and be grateful for what you get’ is exclusive – but not you apparently.

  78. dandan says:

    Rasp 82 all out win by an innings and 14 runs

  79. Red Arse says:


    I think you are absolutely spot on.

    My biggest criticism of the club (and Arsene too) is the poverty of their communication with us fans.

    I think Arsene does believe in his team and his aspirations for winning titles. If the players had not let him down so badly — and it was the players– we would/should have won the EPL and he would have been right.

    However, I think the previous Board and now Kroenke have their own commercial agenda, The old Board to sell their shares for huge profits, and the new Kroenke Board, to make as much money as possible out of their acquisition of our club.

    We really could do with some straight talking from these guys, even tho’ I cannot forget my admiration for what Arsene has done for us over the years.

    Good to explore subjects like this with you – hope my semantics are not getting in the way? 🙂

  80. Rasp says:

    Top notch dandan, your house is safe – just going to collect 😛

  81. mickydidit89 says:

    Rasp, Love it, thanks.
    Can’t stay, but for me CC is for those returning from injury and 2nd XI’ers. Prem: beat Spuds home and away, beat both Chavs, Pool and Utd at home and see where we end up.
    Win the CL. With better luck on the injury front, the two quality signings, and the current team improving, why not?

  82. mickydidit89 says:

    Hello to one and all. Sorry.

  83. Red Arse says:


    Now you are just being silly.

    Where did I say – ‘just support (Arsenal) come what may and be grateful for what you get’ is exclusive. –

    Allowing for the incomplete phraseology, if that is the level of debate with you I am afraid you can include me out!!

    You seem to have a burr under your saddle, but I am not happy with this persistent acrimony towards me, and before it becomes unpleasant I would ask you to desist!

  84. London says:


    If you can be bothered, this is why I disagree, plus I would add that since I wrote this the current president of Barcelona has apologised to Arsenal and especially to Wenger for the behaviour of his predecessor.


  85. Rasp says:


    I haven’t got a clue what you are talking about – seriously.

    I have no problem with you whatsoever as I have repeatedly told you. I respond to you in kind on occasion but as far as today’s jousting is concerned, I have only been responding to your observations on my post/comments etc

  86. dandan says:

    Oh dear RA: here we go again, I do so struggle with the concept that a board of a successful company should make some sort of mission statement to there customers. It is so unrealistic as to be almost laughable and I do not wish to be rude by laughing at any one.

    We have no right to be informed of the business plan devised by the board. Marketing plans are different and extra tours and games etc need to be publicised to the punters as there is money to be made.
    Ticket prices are at the mercy of supply and demand as the product has proved it will fill seats with season tickets even if the bums paid for do not turn up every game and some are upset by price increases.

    Arsene has a duty to carry out the wishes of the board, manage the club within the parameters of those wishes, prepare the players, pick the sides and tactics. He also has to host a press conference each week and will release the info he wishes to then even though much of it is in answer to leading questions from journo’s

    No one has a responsibility to the fans unless it is the players, they are paid to perform and at times recently haven’t done so. But at their best they are delight to watch.

    Finally what kind of fool tells the fans what they want to hear, knowing full well that should those demands not be met, he will be crucified by those same fans and be accused of misleading them. Not Arsene that’s for sure.

  87. HCAA says:


    things could be worse, thank heaven’s Steve Bruce (Fat Elvis as me and my mate call him) isn’t running our club! Then we’d be seriously depressed.

  88. Red Arse says:

    Oh dear Dandan, here we go again, deliberately taking the moral high ground.

    Do not distort or reinterpret my words.

    If my opinion that Arsenal need to improve their communication with the fans so offends you, I am sorry, but tough!

    There are many, many fans who do not think they are being told the truth about the Arsenal Boards goals, regarding the clubs aims and success criteria, and if you cannot accept that, then again, tough!

    I have an opinion and you if you do not like it, I say again, tough!

  89. Red Arse says:

    HCAA, 🙂

  90. HCAA says:


    Sorry to jump in, but AW is our leader, and as such all our hopes and aspirations for our club rest on his choices, for which he is handsomely rewarded. It disgusts me that clubs such as Villa and Nottingham Forest have European Cup’s to their name whilst we have one solitary losing final to our credit. It is AW’s responsibility to set the tone of expectation, because fans hang-on to his every word. We are a massive club, and deserve a lot better.

  91. dandan says:

    RA please, it has nothing to do with morals this is a company not the local fishing club. You are a professionally trained man, please tell me how often you see directors of successful companies making mission statements. If it is your opinion they should, well fine,
    In my opinion it wont happen

  92. dandan says:

    Sorry HCAA you and I are a million miles apart, disgust is not a word I would use in relation to a club that has been the longest unbroken inhabitor of the First Div/Premier League.Even I at getting on for 70 have never seen them anywhere but in the top flight

    Nor do I think, we “deserve” anything, success is relative and has to be earned when we are good enough and probably get that little bit of luck then we will win the CL. until then, I will continue to enjoy being an Arsenal fan as I have always been.

  93. HCAA says:


    I’m not saying we deserve to win anything, I’m saying supporters deserve to be treated like grown-ups. Yes we’ve been in the top-flight since 1920, and we still trail Liverpool and Man Utd in the title count, so what does it matter? Everton have only spent four seasons in their entire history outside the top division, but I guarantee their fans are as disillusioned as many Arsenal fans. When we’re “good enough”? So qualifying for the CL for the last 15 years has been a complete waste of time!

  94. goonermichael says:

    I read your post. Why would you ask if I can be bothered? I don’t disregard your opinion I just disagree. He didn’t come out and say he wanted to go to barca but he never said “I want to stay at Arsenal”.

  95. Red Arse says:


    Every listed company I know of, and many others medium sized companies have Mission Statements and proudly display them publicly.

    A company’s Mission Statement is a confirmation and a reminder both to its employees and it’s customers of why the company exists and what is envisioned by the Board of Directors in its performance standards and success criteria. In particular it is a policy statement of the service levels that the customers can expect from the company.

    But you miss the point, again, HCAA, myself and many others are sentient human beings who deserve and expect to be treated accordingly.

    What I am alluding to is the spin that has so often distorted the truth and led to unachievable expectations in the very people for whom the club exists; the fans.

    An example of this spin occurred a couple of seasons ago, whe Arsene responded at a news conference to a question as to why he had not spent the £45m ring fenced for transfers as claimed by the Board (Hill Wood). Arsene’s reply was that he had spoken to the ‘Board’ and they would not be saying such things again.

    Spin is not acceptable, for us or apparently Arsene, but clear, concise, truthful statements are.

    What do you find so ‘Oh dear RA, here we go again’ about that? [Rhetorical statement warning].

  96. brian says:

    The whole business of Premier League expectations is pointless if we don’t approach games against teams in the bottom half with the right approach so that we take all the points that we should.Games against the so called top 4 are largely irrelevant if we take say half the points on offer nd play competitively.What is totally unacceptable because of attitude
    To drop 5 poits against West Brom.Enough stupid points thrown away there because of our mental approach to have won the league comfortably.THIS IS WHAT MUST CHANGE NEXT SEASON.
    To drop 3 points against Stoke.
    To drop 3 points against Bolton.
    To drop 2 points against Fulham.
    To drop 2 points against Wigan.
    To lose 3 points at home to Aston Villa.

  97. dandan says:

    HCAA long may we continue to qualify for the CL. I have enjoyed every minute of the ride Win or Lose.

    Disillusioned some may be, many more are like me happy for the fulfillment the Arsenal have brought to there social life, a respite from the stresses and strains of business and family and a haven where many friends and acquaintances have been made to enrich our lives.

  98. dandan says:


    Mission statements come from marketing not the directors and are the very embodiment of spin.

    Your example exemplifies the very reason that directors stay away from statements, unless companies are in trouble or they are wishing to tell the world how clever they are as the results are so good and they wish to improve the share price.

    But then you know all this.

    I agree it is nice to hear things from within the company, but find the fans insistence that they have the right to know frustrating.

  99. Red Arse says:


    Everton fans have every right to be disillusioned, especially because of the comparison with the success of their neighbours Liverpool.

    Fortunately, we are in a much better position than Everton, because of the good management of the Board/shareholders we have a wonderful stadium and a very secure financial future.

    I hope this continues, although I have no recall of Silent Stan ever addressing us fans except to make a share offering.

    If he eventually manages to buy sufficient shares to take Arsenal ‘Private’, I dread to think what might happen.

    All he needs to do is address us and tell us what his aims are! Back to communication (or not) again,it seems. Fishing Club, indeed!

  100. But for some of us dandan, our life is enriched by our team doing well and so when they don’t come up to our expectations it’s hard to enjoy other aspects of life – this may seem very sad but I know lots of football supporters that feel like it 😦

  101. dandan says:

    Peaches there is no answer to that……. 🙂

  102. Red Arse says:

    True Peaches, oh so true! 🙂

  103. HCAA says:

    It is only worth qualifying for the CL if we’re going to give everything to try and win it, not merely to put in the odd champagne performance and hope that’s enough. How can it be fun to be eliminated in the last 16? Is that how far we’ve sunk? After 15 years we should be banging the door down in our attempt to win the CL. So what should we achieve next season, Dandan? Should we realistically challenge for the PL or CL, or should we be battling with the likes of Stoke and Bolton for a top-10 finish?

  104. dandan says:

    RA have a good evening my friend, I will retire from the fray before I upset someone.

  105. dandan says:

    HCAA just seen your question look back through the post and you will see I answered that for Rasp Earlier.

    See you all later.

  106. The BearMan says:

    Having rebuilt this team during the early part of the summer, the squad has to learn to play and gel as a team. The next thing is for Manager, coaches and players to set clear goals for the season.

    If players like Arshavin is going to stay another season, their work rate has to improve. He simply has to lose weight. The entire team must play as a unit and develop a competitive edge. Wenger must know when to rest players.

    We first have to finish the season full of running.
    To have the strongest and most lethal defense in Europe.
    To have a team the fans can once again believe in.
    The goal must be to finish first in everything and break all the existing club records.

  107. Red Arse says:


    This is a trawl of the net for companies who have issued Mission Statements, all authorised by their Boards and Chairmen.

    You seem to want to keep on challenging me on this, but I will not respond any further, as it seems pointless and I simply cannot be bothered!

    Disney Mission Statement
    McDonalds Mission Statement
    Ebay Mission Statement
    Apple Mission Statement
    Burger King
    Coca Cola Mission Statement
    Dell Mission Statement
    Google Mission Statement
    Ford Motor Mission Statement
    Adidas Mission Statement
    IBM Mission Statement
    Yahoo Mission Statement
    Microsoft Mission Statement
    Nike Mission Statement
    Pepsi Mission Statement
    Sony Mission Statement
    Starbucks Mission Statement
    Toyota Mission Statement
    Southwest Airlines Mission Statement
    Sears Vision Statement
    MedCentral Health System
    Target Corporation Mission Statement
    DHL Mission Statement
    Ikea Mission Statement
    Dunkin’ Donuts Mission Statement
    Dairy Queen Mission Statement
    Facebook Mission Statement
    Kellogg Mission Statement
    Nintendo Mission Statement
    Pizza Hut Mission Statement
    Ralph Lauren Mission Statement
    Red Cross Mission Statement
    Budweiser Mission Statement
    Gap Mission Statement
    Virgin Atlantic Mission Statement
    Xerox Mission Statement
    Proctor & Gamble Mission Statement
    Denny’s Mission Statement
    Intel Mission Statement
    Twitter Mission Statement
    Hershey Mission Statement
    Boeing Mission Statement
    No known Fishing Clubs!!

    The importance of these Mission Statements should not be underestimated.
    One good paragraph will describe the organization’s values; its services and its vision for the future of the company or corporation.

    Do you really think these are left to ‘marketing’? Seriously?

    This matter is now closed for me.

  108. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi Rasp and other AA’ers. i just ploughed through today’s comments, and well done Rasp for this short but stimulating post: we have had a lot of non-regulars responding today with some quality comments. There has been good debate as well.

    Expectations are a battle between the heart and the brain. The heart says ‘4 pots please’, the brain says ‘it all depends on who we buy, who will go, Arsene’s resolve to make changes etc etc’.

    I believe we are close to success, not just as in winning pots, but even more importantly, in playing the beautiful high-performing football that we are capable off. Wenger is a genius and he is facing the biggest football challenge he has had in his life. A genius needs this adversity to finally produce the masterpiece he had in him all along. It will come good.

    We are strongly focussed on ourselves but our competitors have just as many issues to worry about, including the Mancs.

    I don’t expect too much of Arsenal, other than another top-4 place, but I hope/feel we can win the PL next season and maybe a cup (anyone will do). Our time will come.

  109. goonermichael says:

    I know this is unrelated but if you live in East London and are thinking of getting virgin broadband don’t it is rubbish and they are wankers.

  110. Wow, this is amazing – taken from the transcript of the FIFA press conference today in Zurich

    The executive committee of FIFA was very pleased to receive the report of the Football Association regarding allegations made on 10 May made by Lord David Triesman at the House of Commons against four executive committee members, and we were happy that we can confirm there are no elements in this report which would even prompt any proceedings. But for the sake of transparency, FIFA and the F.A. agreed that a comprehensive summary of this report would be published and the summary can be read on FIFA.com. I’m happy also that we have not received any evidence from the Sunday Times or from any announced whistleblower with regards to allegations made against two other members of executive committee, therefore the outcome is the same, what shall we do with elements in report? Nothing.

    You can read the whole thing here

    Oops, it’s gone, i’ll try to find it again

  111. Look at this!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Q: Mr. Warner released details of an email from Mr. Valke saying that Qatar bought the World Cup. Can you give your backing to Mr. Valke. Is he becoming too politicized?

    A: I will not answer this question. I am the president of FIFA, you cannot question me.

    (There is an outburst in the audience, some rumbling and comments that were inaudible because the speakers did not have microphones.)

    In response to the rumblings, Blatter said: I accepted to have a press conference with you alone here. I respect you, please respect me. If you ask for a question ask for the mic. We are not in a bazaar here, we are in FIFA House.

  112. chas says:

    Messi’s 2010/11 season’s goals.
    Most players would be proud of this as career goals highlights.

  113. 15 minutes chas – says it all ……

  114. So, Lord Treisman was lying ………

    Qatar didn’t buy the 2022 World Cup ……….

  115. chas says:

    peaches, Blatter is teetering on the brink, surely.

  116. It’s incredible to think that he’s so arrogant that he can stand up in front of a press conference alone and not feel any shame.

  117. One of the things that came out of the Panorama programme last Monday was the suspicion that the FA knew that our World Cup bid was doomed to failure and yet they continued with the big guns of Prince William and David Beckham …………

    How can the FA clean themselves up when the stench comes from the top?

  118. HCAA says:

    When you look right into it Peaches, it makes a mockery of football being a competitive sport. Back in the mid-60’s, Bill Shankly witnessed first-hand an Inter Milan official handing the match referee a brown envelope stuffed with money ahead of their European Cup semi-final 2nd leg. Liverpool didn’t get a single decision go their way and were knocked out.

  119. goonermichael says:

    I read that every world cup upto some time in the 80s was rigged (including 66) one world cup is called mussolinis world cup as the 3 match officials had dinner at his place the night before italy beat the faourites Austria in the final. Our league is corrupt. jack warnes has been caught with his hand in the till before but he’s a politician as well as a corrupt fifa official too. I’d shoot them all.

  120. mickydidit89 says:

    It is extraordinary how completely open the corruption at FIFA is. It is as though they are screaming it out. Reminds me of the EU and how above the law and accountability they all are.
    The FA are spineless.
    And Good Morning to you all.

  121. London says:

    We are FIFA we do not have to answer questions

    It sounds like something out of a 1950’s Soviet spy novel.

  122. Morning all

    It’s because there is no-one to challenge their power. I was going to suggest that the FA might like me to head up a group to sort everything out for them but then I remembered the FA is corrupt too so it’ll just have to be an underground organisation, are you with me brothers 😉

  123. Che Guevara says:

    I am with you sister Peachy!! Roll on the revolution! 🙂

  124. winning the title or champions league is what I hope for!
    C’mon fans we’re a big big club and despite not winning for 6 years, we’ve shown what we’re capable of this season.Imo we are the only team to have beaten Barcelona by playing an offensive game.
    Surely the title’s coming back to north-london next year.
    Season Review: Part I http://delhigunner.wordpress.com/2011/05/31/season-review-part-i/

  125. Rasp says:

    Micky is correct, FIFA is openly and institutionally corrupt from the top downwards. Awarding Qatar the World Cup was equivalent to giving Saudi Arabia the Winter Olympics. Only pressure from the sponsors (Coca Cola etc) will remove these despicable characters from the hierarchy.

    My suspicion is that the corruption percolates through all levels and so they would probably have to go a long way down the chain to find someone who is honest. The other answer is to bring in new faces = AW, the perfect candidate 😦

  126. Gooner in Exile says:

    Morning all.

    Late entrance to the debate yesterday was spent recovering from a hangover whilst entertaining parents,….not a recipe for joy!

    Anyway expectations:

    I don’t think I have any I just have a bucket load of hope.

    The problem with expectations is they can so often turn in to required minimums.

    PL campaign, top 4 or more hopfully above.
    CL, a good run.
    FACup, a final appearance.
    CC, return to youngsters playing.

    I won’t ask for anymore than that, yes I am easily pleased. However some will call this lack of ambition.

    I would counter saying if I aim for 10 new clients by the end of the year and only get 9 am I a failure? Was I ambitious? I still benefited.

    Spuds and Twitcher this year proved what happens when you aim for Top 4 maximum, you end up shy of it, we always start the season to win it, that we haven’t but are satisfied with Top 4 is not evidence of lack of ambition it’s just realistic.

    Good post Rasp.

  127. Rasp says:

    I see we’re buying Eto’o today 🙄

  128. It’s ok Rasp – I’ll do it, they’ll have to pay Arsene at least £10m and I’ll do it for £5m and then we can all get tickets for everything 😳

    Morning che 🙂

  129. Gooner in Exile says:

    Blather is a joke.

    Hmm the iPhone autocorrect turned Blatter into Blather…. very clever this phone!

    He is now being elected uncontested if other FAs want to see change they should abstain and then someone elected with less than half votes in a one horse race would surely be in an untenable position?

  130. mickydidit89 says:

    I told you that one ages ago! Come on, tune in 🙂
    Back later.

  131. Rasp says:

    New post………

  132. goonerwife says:

    I hope we win the league. I believe we can.

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