Not Getting Enough Cesc?

May 21, 2011

There is a distinct possibility that Cesc Fabregas will leave Arsenal this summer.

Persistent rumours originating from people with ‘inside knowledge’ suggest that our Number Four may finally be on his way back to Barcelona.

Cynics will say the deal was done last year – that Arsène Wenger persuaded Cesc to stay for one more year by agreeing to let him join Barca for the 2011/12 season.

How does that make you feel?

Are you distraught at the idea of going without Cesc?

Or do you feel that the Cesc you’ve been having has lost its lustre and that, maybe, it’s time to look for something a bit more exciting elsewhere?

Well, let’s examine some statistics.

I have made this point before, but in his first four seasons with Arsenal Cesc was a fit and resilient young man who played almost all our games:

2004/5: Total appearances 46, including 33 (87%) in the EPL.

2005/6: Total appearances 50, including 35 (92%) in the EPL.

2006/7: Total appearances 54, including 38 (100%) in the EPL (yes, that’s right – every single EPL game, although four were as substitute).

2007/8: Total appearances 45, including 32 (84%) in the EPL.

Then something happened – and it’s a cautionary tale for Jack Wilshere.

Four EPL seasons of full-on football, coupled with international tournaments in the summer began to take their toll on his fitness. The player who had been almost ever-present started to become often-injured.

In 2008/9 his appearance record dropped to just 22 games (58%) in the EPL.

In 2009/10 he managed 27 EPL games (71%).

And this year?

Cesc has played in 25 games in the EPL, three of which were as substitute. That gives him an appearance percentage of 66%.


So – and apologies for doing the full Vorderman with all these numbers – in his first four seasons as a regular starter for Arsenal Cesc averaged an EPL appearance rate of 90.75%. Pretty much every time we stepped out for a Premiership game our little Spanish genius was on the pitch.

In the subsequent three seasons (including the present one) his rate has dropped right off to an average of 65%. In other words, he has missed more than a third of our EPL games in the past three years.

He is our captain and our best player. Can we really afford to have him absent for so many important games? Hard and wrenchful though it would be to see him go, might we not be better with star players who can turn out in most games?

Well, here’s another statistic that might give pause to the minority of Arsenal supporters who claim they would be happy to see Cesc depart this summer.

This season, in all competitions, our win percentage when Cesc started has been 62%.

In games where Cesc didn’t start, our win percentage was 46%.

That’s pretty clear: we win significantly more games when Cesc is on the team sheet. If he goes to Barca (or elsewhere) during the close season, Arsene Wenger is going to have to think long and hard about how he makes up for that loss in quality.

So there you have it.

On the one hand Cesc’s increasing susceptibility to injury might make his departure less damaging than it might seem; on the other, the fact that we are considerably more effective with him in the team should be a cause for real concern if he goes.

RockyLives


Time to break up the Northern Mafia

May 20, 2011

Written by Gooner in Exile

It has been a troubling few weeks for us all as Arsenal fans, unfortunately it has led to navel gazing and infighting which is unhealthy for the club and its supporters. So today I aim to give us something to unite in anger against.

After another particular raw deal from the man in the middle I decided to have a bit more of a look at our Select Group of Referees. I must admit I was shocked, presently fourteen of the sixteen select group referees hail from the northern counties. For sake of clarity I drew a line across the country from the Wash to the Severn above the line Northern Monkeys below the line Southern Softies.

The Select Group of Referees started in 2001, in that year the split of north and south was even, and stayed this way until 2004 when the split started to move to the North until we end up in this current situation. Over this time it is undoubtable that we have been on the end of some good and bad decisions. Who can forget Graeme Poll giving the thumbs up for Thierry to take the quick free kicks which caused all kind of fuss.

More recently as the Northern drift has occurred we seem to be getting less and less decisions in our favour. This season for example we have had young Anthony Taylor from Manchester turn down appeals for a penalty against Sunderland in a key game for us this season. All I’m asking is for a small amount of balance. The referees raised in the North appear to enjoy the rough and tumble tactics applied by the more robust teams of the Premier League. It would also appear that they favour their own.

As the geographical shift of referees has occurred, we have also witnessed a shift in the location of the competing clubs. In 2001 the split between north and south was eleven to nine, this is now more uneven fourteen to six. The time has come to stop the rot, we need to see some more balance brought to the Select Group of Referees. I have had a look through the football league referee group to see whether there are many from the South. The good news is there are quite a few referees in the National List who come from the South, however there is one that I would like to say now even though he is from the South should never be allowed to referee in the Premier League.

His name is Darren Deadman and he is listed as from Cambridgeshire, there are a couple of reasons I would not like to see him progress. The first is from memory I am sure he supports the clowns in N17. The second is a bit more personal. Not that I am one to hold a grudge. Eighteen years ago I was goalkeeper and captain of my school first eleven. Mr Deadman had left our school a few years earlier and was already doing his referee training (having given up being a goalkeeper). At the end of every year the Teachers would play the First XI, as long as I had been at the school the pupils had never won the match. With the pupils leading 2-1 with a minute to go Mr Deadman awarded a penalty against me for an innocuous push on the opposition Centre Forward, he smiled as he gave the decision and clearly he did not want my team to beat the teachers and achieve where his generation had failed. Thankfully I saved the penalty. To this day I have never forgiven him for the blatant cheating, and therefore never want to see him progress, like I say I’m not one to hold a grudge. So apart from D. Deadman (Cambridgeshire) could we please have a few more referees from the South in the Select Group please.


Arsenal Obsessive and Compulsive.

May 19, 2011
 Written by mickydidit89
 
Let me begin with a rather unsavoury tale.

I used to live in the Ladbroke Grove area, and in the supermarket there was quite often a fifty something year old man in full schoolboy kit. Cap, shorts, blazer, the works, and I always felt it was reasonable to ask questions, and that I could make cautionary assumptions. However, perhaps it was nothing more than a perfectly innocent obsession with his childhood rather than a full blown case for Nurse Pratchett. I don’t know, but I have a nasty feeling that I am developing a certain illness of my own.

You see I am now considering buying my first ever replica top. Yip, a uniform all of my own. Naturally it will be the Toffs ’71 as I am not totally beyond some level of reasonable taste. Of course over the years I have bought stuff. The autograph book, pins and badges, the wallet and so on. Now bearing in mind that I started following The Arsenal back at the tail end of the rattle and rosette era, I am really trying not to be too stuffy about this, which  brings me on to the whole idea of middle aged men in replica shirts. Midlife crisis is putting this mildly. Or is it? Have I finally shed the shackles of modesty and ego? Have I come to realise that I am not the strong minded individual I like to think I am and that I am caving in to my innate tribal instincts. Time to let myself go and let it all hang out perhaps. I have not begun to decide when and where I am going to wear this garment. At home is clearly a Green Light, but outside in front of strangers. The home games. I really don’t know.

 How far is it ok to go. Let us suppose it is August and the temp is in the late 90’s. The Top, yes. Casual shorts…maybe. Now make those shorts white and the socks red and I believe we have a problem. You see there are limits.

What I am really getting at is how far do we take this obsession before there is an “issue”? Reliving the Magic of ’89 has become ridiculous. I do this on a regular basis with one of my children on our hallowed turf. He is Lukic and Smith, I am Dixon and Thomas. You know the rest. There is the ball out from Lukic. We then both “come streaming forwards” in what must surely be our last attack.  There is a “good ball by Dixon to find Smith”. Smith in turn “finds Thomas” who is “charging through the midfield” just before the finale when our little performance becomes “up for grabs”. The fact that I know these words inside out, and have done for the past twenty two years, when I cannot remember the finer details of a very important business meeting yesterday afternoon says an alarming amount about this obsession.

Now throw into my own little equation a costume and what have I become? A middle aged fantasist who is into uniforms and role play. “Nurse Pratchett!”


So where do we go from here?

May 18, 2011

Another season draws to a close. A season that had begun with the fans believing anything was possible is ending with blatant dissatisfaction among many of the supporters and a vociferous  angry minority demanding the departure of Wenger.

As a long-term supporter, it is difficult not to be amused by the appearance of the gathering anger clouds. A storm in a Carling or FA cup perhaps. In today’s money driven football world, both of these competitions are regarded as second-rate by the top cubs. Somehow, despite lacking the prestige  of years past,  they have assumed an importance in supporters minds far in excess of their actual worth.  A pot is a pot in the fans eyes;  whilst any pot other than the league or CL is insufficient return on investment as far as the board is concerned.

So what do we think the directors require of Arsene Wenger? Well, the Champions League is of course where it’s at, anything else is nowhere. Top four in the premiership is the specific target, first would be nice, top three preferable, but top four critical and non negotiable. Miss that and unless you win the CL itself, the manager’s position might just become less secure.

So how to achieve that? A squad reorganisation is inevitable, two or three players in, with probably half a dozen or more moved on from a mixture of,  the first team squad, loanees and reserves. Some big names I fear will be among those that leave, as Arsene raises the money to refresh the squad from outside.

We all have our ideas as to who should come and go and the shopaholic’s fury will know no bounds if in their enlightened opinion insufficient money is made available, to fulfill their expectations. After all, they will say, ticket prices have gone up and the debt gone down and yet,  the board,  still pleads poverty.

Expect then, demands from this section of the clubs supporters that we must enthusiastically embrace our Red and White Russian. Who is not only  the companies second biggest shareholder, but  has again this week reiterated his earnest desire to strengthen the squad, by making sufficient money available immediately, to provide Arsene with the financial clout to compete on more equal terms for  the big new players, in the upcoming close season bunfight. These  players are the stuff of  fans dreams at present, necessary as they see it for the success they crave, but way beyond our reach in the current scheme of things.

The price for our Knight in shining armours largesse?  Just the seat on the board he feels his investment deserves.  And why not? After all, he is, according to the Sunday Times rich list, the second richest man in the country. Why, they will say, don’t we take his money as others have done and are doing from their foreign benefactors? The antipathy of the board towards both that suggestion and the gentleman concerned will lead to interesting times I feel.

Strange then that not so long ago Kroenke our new American owner himself was told he was not welcome by our illustrious chairman and now owns 62% of the shares and a seat on the board. So the board itself faces a fight from without it seems  and how that will turn out is anybody’s guess.

The upcoming transfer window will, I think, be hectic, as our main rivals spread their millions around. The challenge for them all, is the same as ours, a top four minimum finish with the financial rewards it generates and the self-sufficiency that brings.

With the added proviso of course, that  for City and Chelski it is a little different, as winning the CL is the  avowed personal goal of their owners for which they are prepared to pay regardless of cost.

This is not to say that Arsene and the board do not want to win it. Of course they do, desperately, but must do so within the confines of a sustainable budget and with an eye for the financial future.

Not what most fans want to hear I fear. But regardless of the propaganda the club’s publicity department feeds to the market place, the bottom line is, like it or not, that it happens to be the truth.

Written by dandan


£45m for Robin van Persie?

May 17, 2011

Robin van Persie has been a consistent bright light in the poo-coloured gloom of our end-of-season collapse.

The man who has endured more impact injuries than a crash test dummy has finally managed to have a campaign in which he has been largely fit to play.

And what a player he has turned out to be. He may not be a traditional centre forward; he may be better suited to a Bergkamp-style role; he’s not a ‘fox in the box’ – but a return of 17 goals in 18 Premier League starts tells its own story.

On this form he should be top of the shopping list for every ambitious club in Europe – and I would be amazed if he isn’t.

There are strong rumours that Fabregas will be leaving this summer and that Nasri may be off too, but we should also worry about someone trying to cherry pick our only world class striker.

In the current season, van Persie has a better strike rate than all of the forwards who have been the subject of big money transfers in the past year.

Our Dutch master has scored 21 goals in 32 appearances in all competitions (including seven as substitute), giving him a strike rate of 66%.

Compare that with this season’s strike rates for the following players (the figures include their goals for all clubs they played for in the 2010/2011 campaign):

Fernando Torres (Liverpool to Chelsea, £50m):                  27%

David Villa (Valencia to Barcelona, £34.2):                           53%

Darren Bent (Sunderland to Aston Villa, £24m):                  51%

Luis Suarez (Ajax to Liverpool, £22.7m):                             32%

Edin Dzeko (Wolfsburg to Man City, £27m):                        37%

Andy Carroll (Newcastle to Liverpool, £35m):                     50%

Of course this is a crude measure and does not take into account the respective difficulties of the different European leagues, the chances made per team, striker conversion rates and so on. But as a broad brush look at the performance of the most expensive forwards of the last 12 months it has some merit.

Based on these figures I would place van Persie’s transfer value in the £40m-£45m bracket – on a par with Fabregas or even higher.

David Villa at Barcelona is closest to him for strike rate (but still a long way behind) – and he plays in a team that is recognised as being the best attacking outfit in the world; a team that creates chances for fun.

The valuations of Carroll and Suarez partly reflect their youth and potential, but van Persie is 27 and still has several seasons at his peak ahead of him.

Of course a potential buyer might be put off paying those sorts of sums because of his famous chocolate legs. But Robin has always claimed his injuries have been down to bad luck rather than any inherent weakness and this season seems to bear that out.

I know I’ll be accused of being alarmist, but if we were to lose Fabregas and van Persie in the same summer it would be hard to see the club remaining competitive next season. Even if they were replaced by ‘star’ signings there is no guarantee such players would bed in quickly and effectively.

It’s true that Robin seems to love Arsenal and appears committed to winning things with us.

I’m just concerned that if he gets unsettled by some other big departures and the right offer comes in from Barcelona, Real Madrid or one of the Italian giants, he may just be tempted.

I would want him to resist, but maybe other Arsenal supporters feel differently. If we really were offered £40m+ for a player with such a bad injury record, I am sure there are some who would want us to take the money and run.

This is going to be a tense summer for Arsenal fans. There will be some disappointing departures (as well as some more welcome ones), and there will be arrivals – hopefully some exciting ones.

But we could be starting next season with a very different look to our team.

RockyLives


This end of season flop is very different

May 16, 2011

Written by Wonderman

I’m not going to waste time with a calm orderly build up to the match proceedings followed by detailed analysis of each half and an ending. In a nutshell Villa came to the grove (not for the first time in recent seasons ) with a game plan. Not only did they have a game plan, but they executed it perfectly, accompanied by our continued dose of defendinitus.

I was having problems getting the team news on my phone, so was a little surprised when I finally got to my seat to see Squillaci and Gibbs starting as well as the welcoming sight of TV. I must admit I wondered to myself about the wisdom of having a centre back who hadn’t played for 8 months and another who hadn’t played in a while in the centre of your defence with a player like Darren Bent lurking, but I dismissed it.

I was also still mulling over the scenes I had seen outside the stadium with the chants of ‘Hill Wood Out’ ‘We want our Arsenal back’ and ‘We hope you choke on your caviar’ that were being sung by quite a few fans at the roundabout near The Armoury on my way in, especially as when it mattered the Villa fans out sang us for large parts of the game.

10 minutes in Squillaci breaks his defensive line and is completely unaware of Bent’s whereabouts, we don’t press the ball, by the time he realises he is behind him, Bent  has chested the delivery down and nudged it past Szczesny 0-1. Not even 5 minutes later Sagna commits the cardinal sin of full back play by being behind his centre back’s  line therefore playing in Bent again  to slot through Szczesny’s legs  0-2 game over. We hadn’t started at all and Villa were nullifying both Sagna and Gibbs. Walcott and Arshavin couldn’t get in the game and we kept misplacing passes. Yes we had a shout for a penalty against Ramsey and we hit the post, but the first half was lethargic and one dimensional.

At half time the players were roundly booed off the pitch.

In the second half Squillaci was replaced by Chamakh with Song dropping into CB. The first few minutes saw a spark of urgency, but that soon fizzled out once Villa settled themselves, Chamakh had what looked like a perfectly good goal ruled out for a push and Van Persie continued his scoring run to make it 2-1.

But we have some real issues at our beloved. From my perspective when you have more enthusiastic chanting outside the stadium, than in it some of our fans need to look at themselves. Especially when the stadium rang out to the chorus of

“ 6% you’re having a laugh !!” several times. By the time the game finished and the players did their parade of appreciation the stadium was half empty ( not to say there were anywhere near the 60,000 that was announced in attendance ). But the most concerning thing for me was witnessing fans almost coming to blows because one guy decided to boo the players on their walk of appreciation to the exception of quite a few around him.

I am not a fan of booing my own players, because as someone who has ran several teams myself (albeit several levels below Arsenal) over the years. I can’t think of a less effective motivation tool

I understand the frustration of thousands but I believe we are turning our club into a Roman  amphitheatre…we have a critical summer ahead of us .


Smash the Villains

May 15, 2011

The final home game in what has been an ultimately disappointing season, and a chance to almost cement 3rd place.

It hurt watching the Manchester clubs yesterday. Manchester City won the FA Cup  and congratulations to the knuckle dragging, bog dwelling mingers upon winning the Title.

I can write in two words why we didn’t win the PL in a year when we were surely the best football team – Home Form. Hardly rocket science but nonetheless had we been able to establish Fortress Emirates we would without question have won the title. United have won 6 (yes – 6!) more home games than us and Chelsea 3. Furthermore, MU drew one to our 4. That adds up to 26 more home points than we gained  – yes – 26!! Yet should we win today we will be just 7 points behind them.

There has been much written on AA as to why this is so, much of which AW will have read and considered. In my opinion we have become constrained by our football ethic and opposition managers have an easy tactic to deal with it – defend in depth on the 18 yard line and wait for a set piece to attack. Any team who has attacked us from the opening whistle (apart from WBA) has been beaten.

Today’s opponents have had a far worse season than us. Their fans must be reeling from witnessing a club with such resources (fanbase, players, coaching staff and financial backing) wallowing close to relegation; there is still a chance they could go down if results go against them. A team with the talents of Young, Agbonlahor, Downing, Freidland, Dunne etc are surely too good to be in their current position. And then there is AV’s record signing, the big AFC fan, Darren Bent. Should we have signed him? His goal scoring record is excellent. I can only imagine it was his very high transfer fee which caused AW to demur.

Statistically, we should win. Villa have won just once in 24 visits to AFC, though they  have only lost one of the last 4. However, our home form is so inconsistent and a draw would confirm AV’s premiership status.

Today’s highlights have to be the return of two Arsenal favourites – TV and the great Robert Pires. Vermælen’s absence has been enormously costly as Mr Wenger struggled to establish a consistent CB pairing (thanks to injury and poor form). The Belgian is our best defender; strong, a fine tactician, a potent attacking weapon, and a born fighter – he has been sorely missed. Expecting him to return in top form may be unrealistic but his return is very, very welcome.

This is likely to be Bobby’s final appearance at THOF. He has graced the shirt and will be remembered as one of the finest players to have ever played for Arsenal. The fact that he has bought a flat at Highbury is evidence of his love for the club. Who can forget the adulation he received from the 2002 side when he limped up to raise the trophy. Let us hope he gets a few minutes pitch time in a 4-0 Villa loss!!

There has been rumour of AW selecting a weakened team, but this is surely just rumour. We need these 3 points and the fans deserve to see a decent performance. Cesc, Nasri, Diaby and Koscielny are out.
My team:

However, it would be no surprise to see Bendtner or Chamakh get a start as the team above is seriously lacking in inches.

Villa are blessed with 2 giants of the Heavy Metal world as fans: Ozzy Osbourne and Geezer Butler, both ex- members of the Black Sabbath. Nigel Kennedy and Amy Winehouse are also big fans. Anyone who has been to Villa Park (scene of the awful FAC semi-final when DB10 missed that penalty) knows how charming the area of Aston Villa is.

Please Arsenal, give the fans who spend so much money, time and emotion  attending the Grove a pleasant end to our home season – smash the Villains!!!

COYRRG


Should Arsenal emulate Barca or Manu?

May 14, 2011

In the absence of a post this morning I thought I’d write a short piece and ask this question that has been playing on my mind. It is over to the technically gifted observers to develop the debate and flesh it out with tactical analysis.

We are shortly to see how these two highly successful yet differing footballing cultures match up in the Champion’s League final. It’s a one off game, so the answer will not be definitive, but it is nevertheless a mouthwatering prospect.

The main difference I can see is that Barca is overflowing with talent and invariably manages to get the best out of their gifted players. They have superior players in every game and a system that maximises their potential, and that is why they are winning La Liga and in the CL final.

Manu are also going to win the Premiership and join Barca in the final, but they have managed to win or at least gain a draw in many games whilst not playing the best football. This is not a criticism, if anything, it is to be greatly admired.

Arsenal, like Barca, has many gifted players. We compare our team to the opposition man for man before a game and conclude that ‘we should win’. But we lose when we should win as frequently as Manu win when they should lose.

Why is this?

My answer may not be popular. We have some fantastic players but most are not at the level of their Barca counterparts. With our budgetary constraints we are unlikely to ever be able to compete with Barca for buying top players. So we should forget the rather high brow distraction of thinking we are the English Barcelona and examine how we can be more like Manu (sorry chary)

Manu have the advantage of a winning dynasty that permeates throughout the current side. They are not the greatest group of players but they are a very good team. They have a rock solid defence and respect the basics of football. They have strength at the back, power and passing ability in midfield, pace on the flanks and goalscorers up front. Add those traits to a steely determination instilled by their manager and it becomes obvious why they are so successful.

How could we make Arsenal more like Manu? – it sickens to even ask the question, but if we want to add trophies to our much admired playing style, I think that is exactly what we have to do.

I’m not going to answer the question…. over to you…


Did chasing tin cost us silver?

May 13, 2011

Written by GoonerinExile

We all know hindsight is a wonderful thing, but the depressing end to this season has led to many fans looking back to see what went wrong, and exploring theories for the pitiful end of season run in. We have heard people accusing Arsene and the team of lacking ambition, we have heard the players are bottlers, that the team is missing several key ingredients. I place my blame elsewhere, the pursuit of a worthless trophy.

I was never sure about going all out for the Carling Cup. During the Wenger years I have enjoyed seeing the potential stars of our future (with some assistance of a couple of senior pros) beating established teams. The delight of giving Spurs a whipping in the third round of the cup with a mixture of youth and experience would have done for me this year, bigger fish to fry for the team, but its always good to put those down the road in their place.

Unfortunately this season Wenger changed tack and appeared to give in to the demand for a trophy. He fielded more first teamers than normal through the rounds to ensure progression, four started against Spurs, three against Newcastle, five against Wigan, seven in the first leg against Ipswich, nine in the second leg, and ten in the final (which would have been eleven if Cesc had not been injured against Stoke).

Whilst this approach didn’t affect the results immediately surrounding the cup games it was adding 90 minutes football to legs which were set to get wearier. It also meant that Arsene needed to field weakened sides in the latter stages of the Champions League Group Stage to keep legs fresh when the Christmas fixture pile up approached and the team was playing every three or four days.

The killer blow to our season came when the team were riding high, unbeaten in the League since the 14 December, just beaten the best team in the world in the home leg of the Champions League Knock Out stages, the future was very bright and everyone was confident about the trophies the season would hold for us.

I am sorry to remind us all of the result and more regrettably the way we conceded that second goal, but that loss in that final killed our season. Since that hateful day in February we have won three of twelve games in all competitions (Leyton Orient (replay), Blackpool and Manchester United).

Three wins in twelve games!

Can anyone else remember a time when that has happened under Wenger, or any other manager?

The Carling Cup final was meant to provide our springboard to success, but unfortunately it became a dead weight around the necks of our players. Its as if they were convinced they were not winners that day, that somehow they didn’t deserve it, that they were too soft and could not compete when it mattered. They have failed to lift themselves from that disappointment.

Even if we had won the Carling Cup I don’t think it would have pacified the more disgruntled fans without additional silverware on top. There would still be fans calling for Arsene’s head describing the Carling Cup as Mickey Mouse, the most fervent of the Arsene out lobbyists would be calling for his head if we won the league as they would say that it was in spite of him, or because the league has weakened.

We have again made the Champions League and we will be back again to have another run at the Premier League. I ask fans to seriously consider whether we need to chase the Carling Cup, and maybe even the FA Cup. It is unimportant, it is for the teams without a chance of winning anything else. Let Arsene play the squad players and the youth, don’t expect the star names to come out to play, these non squad and youth players need the game time and the experience.

Lets forget the tin next year and lets concentrate on the big stuff, the silverware we would all love to see return to the home of football.


‘Wenger in the shadows of Black Scarves……’

May 12, 2011

Written by Harry

{What if Wenger says  ‘Cela, Je Pars’, that’s it I am leaving}

It’s August 2015, 4 seasons since Wenger was hounded out of his beloved Arsenal, by the Black Scarf Brigade, after falling short of another trophy in a 6 year continual spell……

It was a bleak period in Arsenals History, empty stadia and trophy cabinets again left fans and club with little post season cheer, only staving off relegation on the last game of the 2014/15 season. But how did it get this bad?????

When the season had ended in 2010/11, Wenger had vowed to continue and show he could turn it around, but a section of dissenters had upstaged the final game of the season with a pre-match protest primarily aimed at the hike in season ticket prices, but in turn this was hijacked by the Arsène Must Go Boys, Arsenal fans turned on Arsenal fans……Arsenals standing was at rock bottom…..

At first, Arsène rose above it all, but after he returned from a 3week break on a sunny isolated beach somewhere in the Mediterranean, recommended by a close Canadian source, he called a press conference……Transfers in, everybody thought?

No good news, it was a shock announcement, he had come to a conclusion that he felt that the pressure to deliver a trophy would always hinder what he was trying to achieve and build and that the Black Scarf Brigade were  becoming too vocal…..They had been at the airport awaiting his return….Je Pars……!!  Wenger retired from Football altogether…..

With Arsène’s shock resignation and complete departure from the club, a replacement was sought, just before the start of the 2011/12 season the appointment of Louis Van Gaal who had been released from his contract by Bayern Munich was announced….

Renewed optimism, Black scarfs were thrown away, the red and white mighty Arsenal were back in their 125th Anniversary year………The dissenters who craved change had got their way……

LVG only had a few weeks to deal with transfers, Fabregas had gone to Barca, Nasri to Inter Milan, both citing Wenger’s departure as too much, although Cesc had already agreed terms before Wengers announcement……

Also on the bus out were Clichy to Juve, Arshavin to Zenit, Bendtner to Munich and Chamakh to Fenerbache……..

Short term solutions were needed, using his dutch connections, in came Van Bommel, Huntelaar and Seedorf, experience pros with a winning mentality……

He tried to get Thomas Mueller from Bayern but was quoted £40million, so he tried for Mario Gomez this needed £30million, LVG’s budget was £20million, so both were out, Huntelaar was best of the rest available……..He did seek to convince Klose, but he chose Man City instead…..they needed a 6th striker just in case……..

But Arsenal still had Wilshere, Ramsey, Walcott, Van Persie and TV5 amongst others….And also Denilson, who stayed buoyed by Fabregas leaving, Stating he would make the fans forget the Spanish Captain, who he felt was over rated and could himself surpass….

LVG’s team started well, 4 straight wins, but then United came to the Emirates, Van Bommel was sent off by Howard Webb, for a high foot in the chest of Rooney who missed the rest of the season whilst been nursed by Princess Fiona, 10man Arsenal were crushed 4-0…….

Showing little understanding and poor consistency, Arsenal crashed out of CC, FA Cup and CL in the early stages and limped to 6th in the league, missing the Champions league for the first time in over 10years………The only plus side was that Tottenham finished 7th, after their season fell apart when their Manager Harry Redknapp was arrested for fraud.

At the end of the 2011/12 season, LVG demanded money to sort out the problems, but again a minimal budget was put forward, he complained that this wasn’t enough and that he wasn’t Arsene Wenger, you need to spend money to stay at the top….Silent Stan sacked him and installed Sven Goran Eriksson as manager…….

His reign was blighted with problems on and off the pitch, Wilshere went to Eastlands and Ramsey back to Cardiff, worse still as off pitch rumours of an affair between Sven and Gunnersaurus were vehemently denied, Sven said he had more than enough dragons in his blackbook…….

Svens reign lasted 3years as Arsenal slipped further down the table, shining lights had left, journey men had come in, Arsenal’s captain, Denilson vowed he would restore Arsenal Pride after staving off relegation at the end of the 2014/15 with the winner from 3yds……that saw Spurs relegated……..

But he didn’t start the next season as Captain, Jack Wilshere returned with a few splinters in his backside after a miserable 2 year spell at the Eastlands Oil Refinery, and that wasn’t the only shock as Dennis Bergkamp was named as Arsenal Manager, after leading Ajax to successive titles and the Champions League final beating Barca 5-3 with total football……

In a statement  he said that he was lured by the chance to restore Arsenal pride and bring back the Wengerball style of football and show truly that it can work and that you must utilise the players from within……

In his first season in charge, Bergkamp took Arsenal to the title and the FA Cup double, followed the next season with the Quadruple………as Arsenal dominated the world of football once more………Bergkamp later revealed in his autobiography, that his inspiration was Wenger, and had indeed sought advice from Arsene throughout his managerial career………

Always remember, the grass is not always greener on the other side………………..

Be careful what you wish for ………..