Arsène’s Blurred Vision ….. should have gone to…………

I try not to take individual games in isolation and make a judgement. I prefer to put things into the context of a bigger picture, but of course in any given game the individual performances still need to be looked at.

Personally I feel this awry moment, after the weekend, has been reached by issues that go back far further. I have said a lot on here in the past regarding where I feel we are ailing, but there is a thought I have had for a while that I have not voiced in its entirety. As usual it is purely based on speculation and a kind of reading between the lines.

I don’t know exactly when it was but I feel that Arsene, at some point, formulated a plan for a team building and development project that he embarked upon. One that he felt would eventually come to fruition. I think he looked towards playing with a target man up front and then have crafty ball playing midfielders in behind, who would work off the target man and rely on them to score as many, if not more, of our goals as through the striker himself. All this utopia on a plate while also exercising better control and possession in a game.

It is a great ideology that looks good on paper but I feel is proving not to work. Further I feel it has been proving not to be working for some time now, and at our expense in terms of performances and results, but Arsene has soldiered on with it. The mark of some of the great managers is their inherent stubbornness not to bow to external pressure, and to carry on and push on with their vision. AW has proven many of our assertions wrong before. However, I would note that the character trait of having strength in their convictions, that has defined many great managers, can also become their downfall when times have moved on and they don’t move with it.

I feel the way we have been trying to develop recently, (and when I say recent, we are talking 2-3 seasons), doesn’t match up with the current top clubs. Maybe Arsene is seeing something we don’t that just needs more time, but I strongly doubt that and feel that it is different this time. Our current system looks vastly inferior to the high energy, high press teams that usually play with a very fluid and mobile front 3 (striker + 2 wing forwards) with a control player in behind. For me our target man and the crafty midfielders slow our game down far too much, and it lacks quick penetration and counter attacking ability.

If we continue along this route I feel it will be a big failure and could end badly for us and the manager. I think Arsene started this more recent project (post austerity) well with the acquisitions of players like Sanchez and Ozil, but instead of continuing and building a devastating fluid attack around these players, he has since tried to go a different way, and one that in my opinion hampers their talents.

Things can be turned around but it would require a radical overhaul in Arsene Wengers thinking for me. Does his character allow for this? For me he would have to be ruthlessly efficient in analysing the team and how to redirect our development pathway. I have never been one to shout about the spending of gazillions, (although 2 very big and probably very expensive players are likely required), and would first put right what can be improved in house.

That for me would be identifying each players best position and playing them there, and then if we still find we are deficient in any area, go out and recruit. Is Arsene too close to be that ruthless to players he has nurtured and developed? This is sometimes where a new manager makes the difference because they come in with less emotional attachment to the players and can analyse and act in a more objective and detached fashion as to what needs to be done.

None of our key players in Arsene’s system are new. Players like Giroud, Ozil, Sanchez, Ramsey have all been ever present for some time, and as such any system that predominantly uses them should be beyond a mere development phase by now, and should be looking more like the finished article. I still hold out hope that Arsene can switch his thinking and take us forward. It may be a big ask though for Arsene to accept this, but weirdly I don’t feel it is a massive overhaul that is required. I think our whole playing style and performance level can be ratcheted up 3-4 levels with a few tweaks and hard-nosed assessments from within the current squad, and a couple of marquee players being brought in.

It may be that I am barking up the wrong tree, or am just barking 🙂 However, over to you A.A’ers for your judgement either way.

Written by GoonerB


185 Responses to Arsène’s Blurred Vision ….. should have gone to…………

  1. Eddie says:

    arnie – so who said those things?

    GB – cannot concentrate in the morning, will read your post later 🙂

  2. GoonerB says:

    Haha, gazumped by my own post on my last comment.

    Now Micky, I haven’t stated my purists view on what we should be doing. As I am off for a bit now I am going to say you go first, and I will tell you mine after 🙂

  3. chas says:

    Chomsky, Lebfevre – you know how to copy, paste and google, dontcha, Eddie?

  4. LB says:

    Good read GB.

    And before I start I do acknowledge that you view what you have said as speculation and reading between the lines.

    However, I have a couple of questions:

    “I feel the way we have been trying to develop recently, (and when I say recent, we are talking 2-3 seasons), doesn’t match up with the current top clubs.”

    Which clubs in particular are you referring to?

    “I think Arsene started this more recent project (post austerity) well with the acquisitions of players like Sanchez and Ozil, but instead of continuing and building a devastating fluid attack around these players, he has since tried to go a different way, and one that in my opinion hampers their talents.”

    Can you give just one name who might have been available and would have been better than the best attacker we have right now and for the sake of clarity I would say Welbeck is our best attacker, so better than Welbeck and available?

  5. chas says:

    Thanks for the post, GoonerB.

    I’ve read the post twice and am still not sure what you are asking or suggesting or even if you are asking or suggesting.

    However, I do agree with your overall conclusion (if I am deducing it correctly?) that we do look deficient in a number of areas at present.

  6. Big Raddy says:

    Cracking read GB.

    I think AW likes multi-positional players hence the midfielders on the right and wingers central 😀

    My concerns are the defence as I cannot understand why we keep conceding (perhaps this should be a post in itself)

  7. Eddie says:

    I know, just cannot be arsed 🙂

  8. TotalArsenal says:

    Well written GB and all understood – nothing new really! 🙂

    You will not be surprised by my response either… 😉

    You would like Wenger to be like any other top manager but you also seem to know that is unlikely to happen. Wenger’s use of the holding striker – his personal signature in the modern game – started with using Chamakh (at one point we were scoring 2.4 goals a game but then Van Judas returned and it went down to about 1.9 – I wrote a post about this on AA years and years ago! 🙂 ), and Giroud is clearly an improvement on the former.

    Arsene has moved on from the 4-5-1 of the Chamakh, Cesc, Nasri days to 4-2-1-3 with Ollie still being the hub around which it all COULD happen, but now with one or two all-round mid-wingers that can dribble, pass, assist and score… and help defence, supported by a great engine and tenacity. They can also move into Ollie’s CF space and effectively add another central attacker. On the left we have our best ‘midwinger’ since a long time and on the right we are still looking to get it right. The fact that Arsene chose the Ox over Campbell, Theo or Danny for the biggest game of the season last week tells us all this area still needs sorting.

    Wenger got Sanogo and he clearly is a work in progress, but from what I saw of him it looks like he will also be developed into a holding CF. With Ollie slowly getting older now, Arsene may look at an improved version of Giroud for next season. He may also totally abandon this project and you will get your wish. My money is on him getting another super-quality mid-winger and Wenger to continue with the holding, enabling, hard working CF who carries a more than decent goal threat as well.

    One of the positions Wenger really knows about is CF. He has found and/or developed some of the very best in the game, as we all know. I am sure he would be able to find a mainstream, fast and furious beast of a CF within an hour if he wanted to. He also has the money to go for an established one if need be. But he has moved on and is unlikely to change his mind on it now. Instead he will be looking hard at the quality available to work on the mid-wing positions to complete his grand plan.

  9. Rasp says:

    Thanks GB, I’ve got a blurred brain after reading that 😆

    I’m going to have to give it some thought before attempting an intelligent response ….. but I have to say Total Arsenal’s comment is very interesting and is probably as good an attempt to get inside Arsene’s brain as you could get.

  10. Shard says:

    “Our current system looks vastly inferior to the high energy, high press teams that usually play with a very fluid and mobile front 3 (striker + 2 wing forwards) with a control player in behind. For me our target man and the crafty midfielders slow our game down far too much, and it lacks quick penetration and counter attacking ability.”

    I don’t know about inferior. It is just different. And our problem in implementing such a system is one of fitness (too many injuries), and of personnel. Though It is possible Wenger doesn’t want to play (just) a pressing game.

    Personally I agree with you that Wenger would like a more mobile front three and someone like Giroud as a great plan B. He tried to sign Suarez. I believe he wants a striker he believes can play that role. In this I disagree with Total Arsenal. Finding a player who was unknown but of the requisite quality and price was easier 10 years ago. It’s a lot tougher now, and he’s done the best he could in bringing in Welbeck, because no one else was a viable option for us.

    I also believe that the reason he gave Walcott the CF role this season is because he is looking for that to be the blueprint. Too bad Walcott is not at the requisite level. Which means Giroud plays more, because Giroud is simply more reliable. He scores more, he gets others involved more, and even at his worst, he gives you a bare minimum of security of performance. Walcott is a total liability when he’s not playing well.

    In terms of identifying a position, I don’t think Wenger thinks like that, and neither do I. Yesterday I said how Ramsey is a perfectly viable CM for us as long as he has an Arteta type player next to him. If we don’t have an Arteta, then Ramsey can’t play that role, but he might actually contribute more on the right (as he was doing). Because while the Ox might be a better winger than Ramsey, the overall team dynamic could be better with him there. Hence this obsession with pigeonholing players into a position is wrong in my opinion.

    If I think about what we need to go up a level, I believe we have a problem that we had/have with Arteta, in defense. Per is great, but we need a younger version of him. Happily I believe Chambers can be that. But if he’s not there yet, then we need to buy, because Gabriel cannot be that ball-playing CB. (weird Brazilian he is)

    We also need that Arteta successor (is it Elneny?) and a Santi successor (though hopefully Santi can still be a major force next season). And we need a striker, like the one we talked about. Beyond that I think we’re ok especially with some returning loanees to give our squad some depth.

  11. Shard says:


    I knew that would be Noam Chomsky. 🙂 No idea on the other one though

  12. mickydidit89 says:

    GB 🙂

    Eddie said that the very cleverest people make things sound simple. I will, therefore, keep things incredibly clever.

    I really like Arsene, but don’t think he has the first idea what he’s up to (clever enough so far?). I’ve said before that I reckon it’s pot luck regarding set up and therefore selection.

    It seems to be, with the Utd game being a fine example, that the players must have been practicing in the days before in totally alien formations, with players lining up willy nilly in incomprehensibly chosen little groups. Hence the appearance on the field that they’d never actually met before.

    You say “I feel that Arsene, at some point, formulated a plan for a team building and development project that he embarked upon”. Really, because I see no evidence for this at all.

    Ok, so before people get cross with me, let me state that what annoys me most is purely our lack of goals. We are boring.

    Personally, I lack any kind of ambition, and as such don’t give a monkeys about trophies. Nice, yes, essential, no. Goals and entertainment are essential and on that front, The Club are failing ME 🙂

  13. fatgingergooner says:

    I don’t think Wenger wants to play with a big strong CF at all, I just believe it’s what he has at his disposal at the moment. Wenger bought Giroud into the club alongside Podolski at a time when we couldn’t afford to shop at the top table. A point proven by the fact our main, fast, beast of a CF RvP had held us to ransom to go elsewhere. If RvP had stayed do you think Wenger would’ve brought in a big CF to replace him in order to use these new tactics? I don’t think so. It was needs must, and Giroud was the best option around at that moment.

    Since then Welbeck has come in but even he was a risk and bought because Wenger couldn’t find an established world class CF to purchase. Therefore I believe the persistent use of Giroud is not due to stubbornness or tactics, but a lack of being able to sign someone better.

    I do think this leads on to a bigger problem in football though which we may see develop in the next few seasons, and that’s a lack of available talent. If you look at each of the main leagues in Europe, all the best players are at the biggest clubs, and as soon as anyone shows slight promise at any age they are snapped up by a bigger club. Now this is nothing new, but it’s becoming an issue with clubs now storing 25 world class players to cope with the demands of the fixtures instead of maybe 10 or 15 in previous seasons.

    The big clubs are also reluctant to deal with each other due to wanting to win the CL, and when they do, the money is ridiculously high as they are funded by billionaires and governments. People keep telling me that Guardiola is going to come into City and buy his way to trophies, but what I want to know is who is he buying? Because if you are not able to buy from the biggest clubs then you are buying players who are slightly below that level or are raw talents.

    Maybe this should be a task for another day (feel free to use this a conversation starter Rasp) but I’d be interested to see a team of potential signings made up of players from outside these teams.

    Man U
    Man City
    Real Madrid
    Atletico Madrid

    Sorry GB, hope the top part of this answers your post. 😀

  14. TotalArsenal says:

    Shard 🙂

    We don’t really know how serious Arsenal were of signing Suarez, but let’s assume we were. There is every chance that he would have played in Sanchez’s position, the left mid-wing position, rather than the assumed CF position (but with licence to roam centrally). We got Sanchez, who for me could play as our CF if we wanted a Suarez or Aguero type up front, and he was placed on the left.

    Remember how Arsene surprised us all with the signing of the Croatian Brazilian, Eduardo. I am sure he could find us another one like that if he wanted to.

  15. Rasp says:

    On reflection and reading the ‘ex-spurt’ opinions so far, I find myself close to Micky’s camp 🙂

    I don’t see a great master plan evolving. I don’t generally see specific tactics for specific games – but then I remember the first 70 minutes against Barca ……. and wonder how we came to get so much right up to that point, and so much wrong in the 110 minutes of football that followed.

    I’m not going to change Arsene, you’re not going to change Arsene, Arsene isn’t going to change Arsene. The only change will take place when he calls it a day.

    If I were to dream though, this is how I would change things:

    I would recruit players who could be leaders on the pitch as well as possessing the requisite skills.

    I’d only put round pegs in round holes.

    I’d make team performance the paramount factor above the personal development of players or the risk of upsetting their sensitivities.

    I’d develop a team style of play that didn’t rely on possession alone, but defended as a team and attacked at pace (controversial 🙂 )

    I’d have a specific strategy for every game that acknowledged and dealt with possible threats from the opponents.

    Lastly I would encourage the players to take more risks in the attacking third even if that means they balloon the odd shot over the bar. We are far too predictable in out style of play and that makes it too easy for opponents to deal with us.

  16. Le Coq Monster says:

    Thanks GB.

    “It may be that I`m barking up the wrong tree “…..well I`m lost in the rain forrest !…….. being a “cheap seat”, I like the simple game of football to be talked about simply !…………..the only thing I took in was our mutual friend……the pressing game !. You have disappointed me, GB !……you`ve become an “expensive seat” that`s been sat on by a prawn voulevant !. hahaha

    I was with Micky until he said he doesn`t give a toss about the trophies !……..I`m a lot more shallow than him, infact I want us to buy them !.

    Shards opening line yesterday….”That was the worst performance for a long time”…….seriously !……I was with you on that one until the…”for a long time ” bit. These are becoming common occurrence, like I`ve said previously….I`m surprised we are actually third considering our inept performances !…..without going on to look…..Southampton 0-4 loss wasn`t too long ago where we turned up and …..well, we turned up, didn`t play, half the team sat in the stand to admire Southampton !.

    Kroenke Out !

  17. LB says:

    “It was needs must, and Giroud was the best option around at that moment.”

    I think that this sums up the Giroud position perfectly.

  18. Le Coq Monster says:

    Also, it`s not surprising to you that I feel that Arsene doesn`t move with the times, his ego or just plain stubborness or other ?…….what this man lacks is what the greatest manager…Mr Ferguson….had abundance of….and I`m not talking about cash and ability to spend it !……the ability to change with the times and evolve !….changing coaches, trainers, personel etc`…improve on players that won him trophies, win the league and still improve the squad !.
    If every club was as rich as each other, success would be down to tactics, disciplined formations etc` and a tea spoon of luck. There may not be better managers than Arsene, but there are better coaches !.

  19. Le Coq Monster says:

    Hey Micky !………………where was the Devon beach in The Hotel Manager ?.

  20. Le Coq Monster says:

    Oops!…..The Night Manager !.

  21. Le Coq Monster says:

    Got it !…………….Hartland !……………and Blackpool Mill Cottage ( available to rent ! )

  22. mickydidit89 says:

    That’s the place Cockie

    From your photo, the other way looks out onto what is effectively your own beach, albeit you’re on the coastal path

    Over the cliff and you’re in the Wreckers Inn at Hartland Quay

  23. mickydidit89 says:

    Back to the trophies.
    Ideally I’d like one every six years (FAC or League) and just one CL in the next, well, my lifetime

  24. Le Coq Monster says:

    Been to Hartland Quay a few times and it`s always been mermerisingly wild !……does it ever have a calm day !. 🙂

  25. mickydidit89 says:

    Always best to go there during a massive storm

    Next time, walk North over the cliff, and 20 mins to Blackpool Cottage

  26. Sid says:

    Work harder is the answer, no matter the formations or personal.
    The two teams above us in the Premiership work harder and press high, Barcelona and Bayern beat us with better work rate and the high press.
    Even the mighty Real Madrid in La Liga trail two harder working teams.
    We go into games thinking we can win with no desire. Ithink we have a mental problem with getting the job done.

  27. VCC says:

    Book it for me cockie. Looks a smashing place to spend a week walking the dog.

  28. Le Coq Monster says:

    Know what you mean !………………..i`ts lovely on a hot summers day,but sitting in the toasty Port William pub drink in hand at Trebarwith Strand looking out at the storm waves crashing into the rocks is a beautiful contrast !.

    Not too take awy Chas`s film buff quiz, but without cheating……….name the Cornish beach or Cove !………………………I will only use one`s I deliver to !…………………………………………. 😀

  29. Le Coq Monster says:

    Hiya Vics !…….no cheating and clicking on the photo !……………….and yes, I know it`s a hard life delivering to these places, but someone has to do it !. 🙂

  30. LB says:

    I think the collective skill set of our starting eleven is inferior to that of Barcelona, Bayern and Real Madrid but I doubt that what I have just said comes as a revelation to anyone.

    But here’s the thing, I don’t support Barcelona, Bayern or Real Madrid. I support Arsenal and I accept that we are unlikely to beat any of those three but that doesn’t really matter to me, the thrill is watching us try.

    As for the criticism that we are not closing the gap on those three, I would disagree, I have supported Arsenal so long that I can remember when we wouldn’t even have found ourselves in the same sentence.

    We used to be on an even keel with Tottenham, do you think their supporters moan about the fact that they have not closed the gap on those three? I doubt it very much, they fully understand that they are not even going to be talked about in the same sentence and that is the proof or perspective if you like as to how we have closed the gap and, in my opinion, we continue to do so.

  31. Le Coq Monster says:

  32. Le Coq Monster says:

  33. Danish Gooner says:

    Seriously,Wenger is starting to sound like a broken record.Togetherness and solidarity doesnt bring you points ,quality players and big cojones does.

  34. Red Arnie says:

    OK, unfinished business before I start reading Gooner B’s post. 😛

    Yes, good Googling, Chas. 🙂 I posted a photo as well, which was of the Late Umberto Eco who died recently. I was reading up some of the obituaries of Eco and some of his works. Eco and Henri Lefebvre were great philosophers of the 20th century, and they did not go very well together. Lefebvre famously referred to Eco’s work as displaying an “almost charming ideological naivety”. But both were of course great fans of Chomsky. 🙂

    OK, enough of the bolleaux, now off to read the real deal, which is GoonerB. 🙂

  35. Le Coq Monster says:

  36. Le Coq Monster says:

  37. Red Arnie says:

    Brilliant post, GoonerB. 🙂 Perfect analysis of the situation. I have tried to articulate something similar earlier, without much success. But this is brilliantly put. Well done you. 🙂

    For me, perfect analysis of what Wenger has been trying to do. Different from all the other clubs, which do not promote innovation, and just follow the herd. That is not Arsenal, of course, and that is not Arsene. 🙂

    So, top marks for innovation, IMO. Particularly in world where every man and their dog seems to know how to run a football club, and that is by following a herd.

    Could this have succeeded? Yes, IMO. Will it work perfectly? I think not, and here I agree with GoonerB as well. But should we therefore change? Here is where I differ. I would say NO, an emphatic NO. Why? Because we are different, we are The Arsenal.

    History will know the Arsenal and Arsene as the institution that tried to do things differently. Only with moderate success, but differently nevertheless, not being a follower of some random mainstream idea.

    Mind you, the model has not been an abyssmal failure, it has worked to an extent. But not to the extent that Arsenal and us Gooners would have hoped.

    Up the Arse! 🙂

  38. LB says:

    Wow, what beautiful pictures Cockie.

    I could post one of the Edgware Road and the Turkish restaurant that I am about to go to but I don’t think it will have the same effect.

  39. JM says:

    @fatgingergooner (March 1, 2016 at 10:36 am) comment:

    “…..Maybe this should be a task for another day (feel free to use this a conversation starter Rasp) but I’d be interested to see a team of potential signings made up of players from outside these teams.

    Man U
    Man City
    Real Madrid
    Atletico Madrid


    An example for “a team of potential signings” in a 4-2-3-1 (less players from mentioned teams):

    (Goalkeeper) Fraser Forster (27yrs, 2.01m) (Southampton & England)

    (Right Back) Mario Gaspar (25yrs, 1.82m) (vice-captain at club)(Villarreal CF & Spain)

    (Left Back) “Ricardo” D.B. Pereira (22yrs, 1.75m) (on loan at OGC Nice from FC Porto & Portugal)

    (Centre Back 1) Timothée Kolodziejczak (24yrs, 1.85m) (Sevilla FC) (French/Polish)

    (Centre Back 2) Harry Maguire (22yrs, 1.88m) (Hull City & England)

    (Centre Midfielder 1 – Holding) Johannes Geis (22yrs, 1.81m) (FC Schalke 04 & Germany)

    (Centre Midfielder 2 – Metronome) Riechedly Bazoer (19yrs, 1.85m) (AFC Ajax & The Netherlands)

    (Centre Attacking Midfielder/Secondary Striker) Franco Vázquez (27yrs, 1.86m) (US Palermo & Italy) (Argentinian/Italian)

    (Right Attacking Midfielder/Winger/Forward) Sofiane Feghouli (26yrs, 1.77m) (Valencia CF & Algeria)

    (Left Attacking Midfielder/Winger/Forward) Víctor Machín Pérez/”Vitolo” (26yrs, 1.84m) (Sevilla FC & Spain)

    (Striker) Arkadiusz Milik (22yrs, 1.86m) (AFC Ajax & Poland)

  40. Red Arnie says:

    BTW, GoonerB, that is one of the best thoughtful posts I have seen here in a long time. 🙂

  41. TotalArsenal says:

    The “needs must” argument is one I have been hearing for a few years now, and the thought that Wenger has been playing Giroud because he has not been able to find a better CF season after season seems highly unfeasible to me. I often find myself in agreement with FGG and LB, but on this occasion I cannot agree. Giroud as CF is a conscious style choice imho.

  42. Le Coq Monster says:

    Hahahaha LB…..I dont know, maybe a photo of a Edgware Rd Kebab shop would bring GIE back !

  43. Red Arnie says:

    Total, I agree.:)

    Not only that, Sanogo is a similar style and is being groomed potentially for the future. 🙂 I can hear groans from all sides. Love or hate him, that is Arsene for you. 🙂

  44. Le Coq Monster says:

    This is where Poldark did his naked dip scene !………………a little beach where there are two tunnels carved through the rock to get access !.

  45. Le Coq Monster says:

  46. Le Coq Monster says:

  47. chas says:

  48. chas says:

  49. Shard says:


    I cannot refute that and don’t you know it 🙂

    I don’t agree however. Also, I don’t think it’s about finding a better CF than Giroud. Giroud is a very good CF, and probably among the best in the world at what he does. The type of striker he is. I also agree with arnie that Sanogo is planned to be Giroud’s replacement in the next 2 years or so.

    But all the same, I don’t think Wenger wouldn’t want another striker to replace Walcott. Walcott’s played as striker when fit, in the big games. Before his form fell off a cliff and died.

    Now here’s the thing, and it’s something I said a year or so ago as well. Wenger doesn’t want just one style for his team. The Guardiola press, the Mourinho park the bus.. No.

    What Wenger wants is adaptability. A team which can press the ball when we decide to (Napoli, ManU), sit back and counter teams who are better than us (Barcelona, Bayern) or teams who are shit and don’t know what to do with the ball (West Ham), and also be able to play possession football.

    Now why do I think this. When we first started with a 4-1-4-1 formation, it was widely assumed it was to pander to Wilshere. But I believe he was looking for the sort of control and balance he would later find with Santi and Coquelin in the middle. But what was missing there, and still is, is the DM who can cover ground when we’re countered, but also play the pass and move game. Basically, Busquets.

    While Coquelin is great for a certain type of football (and make no mistake he has been very good), if we are to progress to the level of the Bayerns and Barcas, we need something more.

    Adding players like Alexis and Welbeck means we have players who know how to press, and a few times we’ve seen this take effect.

    Counter attacking requires speed and there has been a noticeable shift to add that to our attack in the past two years as well. (I remember Micky and Rasp cribbing about lack of speed 🙂 )

    Now why would Wenger be doing all this instead of focusing on one style of play and maximising it. Because he wants to win the Champions League and we don’t have the personnel to go out and win it playing just the one way. And the play in the CL anyway is often at odds with building a side that can thrive in the PL.

    So, I don’t think it’s Giroud OR a fast, mobile striker. I think it’s both.

    Of course such a strategy has risks, needs players to listen and learn a variety of roles and be prepared to play to a game plan for 90 mins (rather than the 70 or so vs Barcelona). But I think our tactical awareness has been getting better. Our problem this season has mostly just been that of finishing. If we were getting the goals our play has deserved, we’d be smiling all the way.

    Of course, I could also be reading too much into it and perhaps Wenger really has no plan or idea about what he’s building and it’s all haphazard. While that fits certain people’s image of him, I would find that very hard to believe.

  50. LB says:


    I think both views can be right. Giroud might have been bought as a style choice but it seems that he was the best available to us at the time which gives credibility to the needs must argument.

    The adaptability view also seems strong as Wenger then went on to buy Welbeck who offers something different and then there is Walcott who should be offering something different again. No doubt Wenger was hoping that he would provide more than he is doing right now.

  51. TotalArsenal says:

    Shard, that is an interesting theory and you may be on to something here. There have been good indications that we have more of a plan B now, and we can also switch our attacking style during a game. Yet, I reckon this is risky as it takes a lot of practice and players getting used to each other before one style of play really works well… trying to get good at various styles of attack is not easy. Take Giroud out of the equation and we often lack shape and focus, is all I wanna say.

    Agreed that our tactical awareness and ability has improved, and I loved the way we played against Barca during the first sixty plus minutes.

  52. fatgingergooner says:

    There are too many opposing factors to say that Wenger wants a lump as a CF.

    – bid for Suarez
    – constant links with other types of striker
    – signing Welbeck
    – playing Welbeck and Walcott over Giroud
    – history (never had a lump before)
    – not signing a proper understudy if Giroud injured
    – likes to play on the floor and doesn’t like the percentages of throwing the ball in the box

    I think based upon the information we do have the ‘horses for courses’ viewpoint makes most sense, but if Wenger does go out and buy a top class CF, then what he decides to do with Giroud after that may answer any questions. If he stays and is used against certain teams then we know it’s flexibility he’s looking for, if he is allowed to leave, then that would suggest he’s just been waiting for someone better. Either way, I think this summer we will get our answer, as the lack of goals is becoming a major issue and Wenger knows it.

    I would even go as far as saying that the rotation we are seeing at the moment is not ‘horses for courses’ and is in fact Wenger panicking a little bit and trying to find a solution. I can see Welbeck playing again tomorrow as we are getting a bit desperate and he looks most likely.

  53. TotalArsenal says:

    Agreed Arnie, Sanogo is there to become the next Ollie…. over time. A big work in progress though but I have seen great potential in him.

  54. TotalArsenal says:


    Wenger will indeed have been expecting more from Theo. Even though he has always attracted criticism, he had his great stats in terms of assists and goals until recently to compensate for this. However, this has totally dried up and he is going through the biggest form crisis of the season. Would I be surprised though if he scored the winner at WHL? Not at all, Teflon Theo is totally capable of doing just that.

    Re Welbeck, I still feel he was bought for the ‘wing’ with some potential to become our main CF over time. From what I have seen, I have doubts whether he has the right skills to become one, especially in terms of positioning/sensing the emerging opportunity. I would love him to become a great success at Arsenal though, wherever he ends up playing most. The guy has an amazing smile, even better than Terry Mancini’s! 😉

  55. fatgingergooner says:

    I would say Akpom has far more potential and could actually be exactly what we need, although I do think Sanogo is a better prospect than some would claim (playing for the first team did him no favours. Should’ve been loaned straight out). Hopefully Hull go up and Akpom plays in the PL for them next season.

  56. Shard says:


    Akpom certainly is a good prospect. But I think Sanogo has huge potential. The difference is, I think the bigger strikers find their rise comes much later. Think of Drogba, Luca Toni, even Fernando Llorente, and of course our own Giroud. I think it took them till age 25-26 before they came into their own. (Llorente was slightly quicker because he got a lot of first team football playing for a team which plays only local players)

    I think Sanogo had a positive effect on our FA Cup win vs Wigan. He was a bit of a blunderbuss and all twitchy, but effective nonetheless.

  57. GoonerB says:

    Cheers guys, been a knot ear so will look at comments now.

  58. mickydidit89 says:

    You’re post has brought out the heavy weights and they have spoken deeply, so hats off to the author

  59. mickydidit89 says:


    1 Dunno
    2. Cadgwith. Stayed in pub
    3. Portloe. Rented first house waterside on right. Twice
    4. Kynance
    5. Dunno

  60. TotalArsenal says:


    These are at best assumptions and not factors 🙂

    – bid for Suarez: explained in my email to Shard… and was it a real bid or just part of the chess game to get Alexis at the right price…

    – constant links with other types of striker: yeah right. Do you know how many people live of creating gossip?

    – signing Welbeck: That is indeed an interesting one. My theory is he is to play on the wing, with a freedom to roam and double up as CF when possible.

    – playing Welbeck and Walcott over Giroud: seldom happens.

    – history (never had a lump before): he is not just a lump, hate that term and does him great injustice. We had Chamakh before and we bought Sanogo: the holding striker is here to stay as far as I can see it. This position is an enabler for others as well as a CF and makes us less predictable in attack…. if it works hahaha 🙂

    – not signing a proper understudy if Giroud injured: There is Sanogo and Danny can be turned into one potentially.. But you have a point here.

    – likes to play on the floor and doesn’t like the percentages of throwing the ball in the box: I don’t need to tell you how pivotal Giroud is in all that we do, on the floor and in the air..

  61. TotalArsenal says:

    ’email’…. post to shard hahaha 😳

  62. mickydidit89 says:


    Arsene has played absolutely everyone left attack
    And everyone right attack
    And most through the middle

    This could mean he is looking for plans B, C through to at least M, or he really hasn’t worked things out on the training field

    I’m afraid I lean only one way 🙂

  63. mickydidit89 says:

    Damn. Must go.

  64. Le Coq Monster says:

    You know what !…………..I read these “heavy weights” and they do indeed make football sound more like Einstein`s theory of relativity than a simple game played on grass !….such intellectual tones of tactics, formations and even bigger words !…`s like their enormous IQ is screaming it`s infinate number at me !………………….then they go and talk about possibly one of the greatest potential players ever !……Sanogo !………………….. as just the cheap seat van driver, I now feel limitless ! hahahahahahahaha

  65. Le Coq Monster says:

    Correct Micky !…..1) Lamorna Cove…..5) Church Cove.

  66. GoonerB says:

    Blimey, lots to get through and come back to. I may be gone some time 🙂

  67. Le Coq Monster says:

    I looked at buying a house in Portloe, probably around 1991/2ish, it was to renovate and effing cheap !….Dennis knows what it`s value is now !……..time to look on right move ! hahaha

  68. Le Coq Monster says:

    It`s OK, GB, take your time, I`ll be looking for a Cornish salt cellar near Portloe to lock you up in !.

  69. Red Arnie says:

    Nice comments, LB and Shard. Yes, I suppose even someone as crazy as Wenger realises that one size does not fit all! 🙂

  70. Aaron says:

    First, I am an Arsenal supporter!
    Second, Arsene is the greatest Arsenal coach ever-bar none.
    Third, he has had his hands tied due to the stadium debt and was NOT allowed to spend money!
    Fourth, futbol is a game of 1-5 percents. Arsenal have not scored enough goals this year to win league. Simple as that. Ox and Theo have done squat, O, nada, zilch, less than zero in 2 seasons. If they even scored 10 goals between them Arsenal win league. Simple really. Darn English futbol rules force Arsene’s hand
    Look forward to the next games.
    Go Gunners, onward and upward!.

  71. Red Arnie says:

    Lovely pics, Cockie. 🙂 One quick question, though. How many days did you have to wait in order to get any of those snaps? I mean, the weather looks a little bit un-British! 😛

  72. Red Arnie says:

    agreed, Aaron, particularly on the 4th. Our logical position, by goal difference, is 4th. That is what we deserve, and have done so for a while now. Stats often lie, but not always.

  73. Big Raddy says:

    Not good news about Ox. Effectively out for the remainder of the season.

    Anyone know when JW or Santi will return? Either would be a huge fillip to the midfield

  74. Le Coq Monster says:

    Arnie, I used to think that Cornwall as a whole it rained everywhere, but driving for 11 years around the whole of the Duchy I couldn`t be more wrong !. South to Southwest Cornwall is as mild as it get`s in this country, a lot less rain than say Bodmin right through to Dartmoor…the high places !.
    Even the North coast, places like Padstow / Rock I`ve rarely encounter rain, Bude is relatively dry compared to the Launceston area, all the lower lying parts get much less rain !
    Some of the best sub-tropical gardens and my favouite…Trebah…..are dotted along the south coast of Cornwall !
    For “Dissing” Cornwall, you will be challenged to a game of one on one naked Kabaddi at the top of Brown Willy, Cornwall`s highest point on Bodmin Moor !. hahaha

  75. Le Coq Monster says:

    Ox will be like a new signing next season now he misses the Euro`s !

  76. Red Arnie says:

    Cockie. 🙂

  77. Eddie says:

    Hi GB, thank you for the post! I have finally reached the end and spent time thinking about it. unfortunately I could only come up with 1 suggestion – Wenger should have paid £50mil for Suarez when he was available. It’s not very philosophical but true – we need a striker to put the ball in the back of the net. Well, that’s my learnt view on par with Chomsky and Lebfebre (never heard of either)

  78. RA says:

    Well done GoonerB, 🙂

    It is a Post that has attracted a lot of responses and a lot of intense navel gazing in answering with all due solemnity something you happily admit is based on pure speculation.

    I know LB has already mentioned this, but I cannot continue being his groupie always agreeing with him! 🙂

    Well, the speculation is a gimme, but there is another admission that seems to have gone unnoticed, and the two things are contained in juxtaposed sentences in the second paragraph.

    “there is a thought I have had for a while that I have not voiced in its entirety. As usual it is purely based on speculation and a kind of reading between the lines.

    It is simply impossible, GB, for you not to voice your thoughts in their exhaustive entirety – several times. So I score you null points for that, as it is clearly a porky. 🙂

    However, I admire your chutzpah for openly admitting you are going to discuss, at great length, something you say is ‘pure speculation’ and proceed to do so as if it were cast iron fact, and engendered so many learned responses!

    For this, I would give you 10 out of 10 [I could have said I’ll give you one but that may have started some unfortunate camels rabbits running]. 🙂

    If I get time I will return later to respond to some of your more (self-admitted) weird ideas – as no one can lose in a tosh fest – especially as I am well known for talking bollix myself.

    All told, this has been a very interesting Post, which thankfully never directly mentioned ‘you know who’, (even with my good friend TA there to support you) 🙂 and for drawing out some really rather good counter-speculation, which in essence is what blogging is all about. Innit? 😀

  79. RA says:

    Actually — before I go — Sanogo is a project and will replace Giro in due time — that has to be the weirdest part of the while thing.

    He was so poor at Ajax, on loan, that he only got two minutes on the pitch and fell over a blade of grass and ruptured himself.

    His Ajax contract was cancelled early, with God (aka Dennis) and Overmars saying he was beyond hope and appeared so comatose in training that they were unsure whether he was actually breathing.

    Still, maybe ……. he has the attributes that Arsenal need.

    But if he ever returns to Arsenal, other than to pick up his kit, I will eat GB’s shorts — disgusting I know — but it just shows it will not happen. 😀

  80. chas says:

    Beware bad language

  81. Red Arnie says:

    Redders in good form! 🙂

  82. chas says:

    I can’t stop laughing at ‘exhaustive entirety – several times’. 😆

  83. Red Arnie says:

    Chas, “This video contains content from LFP, who has blocked it from display on this website” Good fun, though. 😆

  84. Big Raddy says:

    The future , the past and the present walk into a bar. Then things get tense.

  85. chas says:

    Please, Rambo, show me this……………….

  86. That was shocking on Saturday. I hope you are all well

  87. chas says:

    It was Sunday when it was shocking. 🙂
    Hope all good with you.

  88. Eddie says:

    GM – no, we are fecking not. And you?

  89. chas says:

    You’re fighting fit!

  90. Rasp says:

    Hi GM, good to see you on the blog, we are all fighting depression here 🙂 but who knows we could be clear in second place and two points off the lead come the weekend

  91. goonermichael says:

    I’m good thanks. I forget what day it is all the time. Is that good or bad?

  92. goonermichael says:

    It’s a nightmare staying up for midweek games. Get to bed at 5 am

  93. Eddie says:

    rasp – not you as well!! we are surrounded by deluded characters here, we need a large doze of sanity and reality

    Come Monday we will be 6 point behind the leaders

  94. Eddie says:

    hardly bloody worth it

  95. chas says:

    Imagine how excited you’d be if you were a Leicester fan tonight?

  96. chas says:

    If you’re following Arsenal’s season, forgetting what day it is all the time, sounds just perfect.

  97. Shard says:

    RA. You forget that Sanogo is now drinking whatever magic is in the loan waters of Charlton and like Song and Coquelin will emerge a new player.

  98. chas says:

    C’mon Poolis, go for the full 9 centre-backs tactic.

  99. Red Arnie says:

    Evonne. “we are surrounded by deluded characters here, we need a large doze of sanity and reality” 😛

    that reminds me, where is Kelsey?

  100. chas says:

    Song, Coquelin and the waters of Bobby Charlton.

  101. kelsey says:

    Excuse me but off topic.

    No leadership on or off the field but even if Wenger leaves this season, next season, whatever we have a board who don’t understand football, the competiveness and have no real interest in winning,just making more and more money.That wasn’t the club we grew up to support was it ?

    Regardless what happens this season we have been told Gibbs,Debuchy,Arteta,Rosicky and Flamini are leaving. Mertesacker has been stripped of the captaincy,(given to Cech) so a major rebuilding programme is needed and add to the mix new high profile managers going to Chelsea,United and City, Everton getting a huge influx of money and we may well rue the day the league slipped away from us and next year we will really be in a dog fight just to stay in the top 6. Wenger in,Wenger out, makes no difference,yet it could be so different.I agree with Martin that Gabriel looks decidely shaky, but of course there is the mighty Sanogo 😉

    . On current form none of or players would get into any other team in the top 4 bar perhaps Cech.

    New stadium is fabulous and was always going to be a monkey on our back,but we are 10 years on and the biggest stumbling block is The Chairman and the Board.Oh how things have changed.

    Many people of my age group and under have lost the passion for the club, but will always support.

  102. kelsey says:

    Prozac is available if you e mail me 😉

  103. kelsey says:

    That is martin Wengrow by the way, my inside man.

  104. Big Raddy says:

    kelsey. I forget how much younger I am than you – I still retain passion, sometimes too much!

  105. Big Raddy says:

    Come on the Foxes

  106. Big Raddy says:

    Damn. Why is it that every time I support a team this month they lplay rubbish?

  107. fatgingergooner says:

    C’mon West Brom!

  108. Red Arnie says:

    Ha ha ha. Dare to dream? 🙂

  109. mickydidit89 says:

    Well if you could kindly support Totnum as well as Leicester, then my team could be top by Sunday
    Thanks awfully 🙂

  110. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh bloody hell Erik, you can’t even do one simple task badly 🙂

    Leicester 2-1 up. The only plus being they are now further ahead of Spurs, which is ROLFworthy

  111. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. It has been that sort of a month. Whatever I do turns to shite 😦

    Thank heavens for small mercies like violet creams.

  112. Rasp says:

    2 all now, come on the baggies 🙂

  113. GoonerB says:

    Thanks for the great and varied comments today guys. Bloody internet went down and half way through my comment to your comments and I lost it. Will have to come back to you all when I can. Lots to disagree with and remonstrate on 🙂

    p.s hope this gets through

  114. GoonerB says:

    Nothing to remonstrate about with you Micky and Rasp 🙂

    Not sure about you Raddy. You are far too calm, diplomatic and Danish now, so not absolutely sure where you stand, when you can 🙂

    Anyway may pop back later. Forgot there were games tonight.

  115. mickydidit89 says:

    “not absolutely sure where you stand, when you can”

    ha ha ha

  116. Rasp says:

    Great days blogging thanks to your post GoonerB …… I’d like to have heard what the anonymous blogger’s response would have been? 🙂

  117. fatgingergooner says:

    A lifeline from West Brom. Pressure is on tomorrow and I pray to Bergkamp we respond with 3 points!

  118. RockyLives says:

    I’ve just read all the comments and am more confused than ever.

    But it’s a funny old game as someone once said. If the Spuds draw or lose tomorrow and we win, we’ll all start dreaming again…

  119. fatgingergooner says:

    Less than 4 points from our next 2 games and we need a new manager.

    Win our next 2 games and we are huge favourites for the title.

    There’s something not quite right in football these days!!! 😄

  120. RockyLives says:

    Weird, isn’t it FGG?

  121. RockyLives says:

    Right now the Spuds are the most consistent and solid team. To me they are definite favourites.

    And yet… they have ghosted into their current position without much media hype and much scrutiny. When people start looking at them as favourites and the pressure mounts – we might see a few wheels come off.

  122. fatgingergooner says:

    Agreed RL, and a 2 leg hammering from a very good Dortmund team might see a bit of confidence disappear aswell.

    Nobody mentioning City either who after their cup win are more than capable of winning their remaining games. There will be a lot of lead changes in these next 11 games.

    Just noticed Chelsea getting very close to Europa contention. I wonder if their form will drop off if they exit the CL? Surely they won’t want EL next season.

  123. Le Coq Monster says:

    Watched W Ham Vs Sunderland on BT the other day and Sunderland carved them open all game and were unlucky to lose, cant see the current pressing, run all night form team dropping anything there !… will be a night when the forces of evil escape from the dark pits of N17……..Armageddon awaits !……keep a bible with you at all times !

  124. goonermichael says:

    I can’t see anything but the spuds winning tonight. really hope I’m wrong

  125. mickydidit89 says:

    Good to see you GM. Hope all good.

  126. mickydidit89 says:

    Match Day, and here we gather once again. Dooming and glooming behind us.

    Eddie will do her nails and hair
    Erik will do his nails
    Chas will be configuring beer can formations
    I will be wondering how many we’ll score
    Meanwhile, we’ll see how far we can drag the site down

  127. mickydidit89 says:

    “Hello. What the hell are you?”
    “I’m a Leicester City football fan”
    “What’s that?”
    “My cardboard clapper”
    “How old are you?”
    “Then you are a complete and utter shitforbrains tosspot”

  128. chas says:

    In their 132 year old history the peak of their top flight achievements has been runners-up only the once in 1928/9.

    Maybe they deserve a little leeway for being ‘shitforbrains tosspots’.

  129. mickydidit89 says:

    Superb pics this morning. Love ’em

  130. mickydidit89 says:

    They get nothing from me.
    Yet 🙂

  131. chas says:

    I watched The Night Manager yesterday.
    Good it was.

  132. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh good. Best series I’ve seen on telly for ages. I bet he ends up with the tall blonde.

  133. chas says:

    I bet you’d like to be a spy.

  134. chas says:

    I also watched the 3rd episode second season of Better Call Saul.
    It needs to be binge-watched, but I haven’t the self-control to wait for 8 weeks.

  135. mickydidit89 says:

    You mean be spooky and shit

  136. chas says:

    No, you’re that already.
    The stag conversation in Mallorca made me laugh.

  137. mickydidit89 says:

    Are these Matterhorn pics your tribute to Episode 1?

  138. mickydidit89 says:

    ha ha 🙂

  139. chas says:

    Erik ‘doing his nails’.

  140. chas says:

    Yes, they were in a way. The Zermatt scenery shots were amazing, but I couldn’t find any stills anywhere near as good.

  141. mickydidit89 says:

    I bloody hate mystics as well as hippies. I mean, what the hell does he think he’s going to achieve when he does find some ‘effing enlightenment?

    Go and do something useful. Help someone in trouble. Anything. Self righteous tosspot 🙂

  142. mickydidit89 says:

    Is that the photo I took on my telephone when I went to watch Bayern?

    Bit cheesed off, as I chucked the phone away when I smashed the screen and lost me pics.

  143. chas says:

    Yep, I think I still have two.
    I’ll send if I can find them.

  144. chas says:

    There’s a lot of tosspottery this morning.

  145. mickydidit89 says:

    he he he
    I just right clicked it to save the pic, and you’ve called it Wank 🙂
    Mount Wank was little more than a pimple, mind you, it led me to the top of the Zugspitzer which is the highest mountain in Germany. Bloody superb views

  146. chas says:

    Yes, and I only found it because I thought I’d called it Wank (even though I knew that was wrong).
    Still looking for the second one (not called wank) 🙂

  147. chas says:

    After you’ve right clicked once, do it again and you’ll end up with .jpg in the address bar then you can right click and save the photo.

  148. chas says:

    Scrub that you only need to do it once before you can save it.

  149. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    Love Zermatt. Been many times.

    Top banter chaps.

  150. Big Raddy says:

    It took many hours to create that nail bed and it is a swine to carry around, especially when getting the bus into town.

  151. mickydidit89 says:

    You lie on it in Copenhagen’s central plaza and call yourself art or some bollocks don’t you?

    School run. Bye.

  152. Big Raddy says:

    Micky. It’s a living

  153. chas says:

    I found this in your match report. 🙂

  154. Rasp says:

    Morning all, this is the poem in the comment DanDan put up in chas’ link ….

    ……A poem from the past about belonging.

    Vitaï Lampada

    There’s a breathless hush in the Close to-night —
    Ten to make and the match to win —
    A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
    An hour to play and the last man in.
    And it’s not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
    Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
    But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!”

    The sand of the desert is sodden red, —
    Red with the wreck of a square that broke; —
    The Gatling’s jammed and the colonel dead,
    And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
    The river of death has brimmed his banks,
    And England’s far, and Honour a name,
    But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks,
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!”

    This is the word that year by year
    While in her place the club is set
    Every one of her sons must hear,
    And none that hears it dare forget.
    This they all with a joyful mind
    Bear through life like a torch in flame,
    And falling fling to the host behind —
    “Play up! play up! and play the game

  155. Red Arnie says:

    motning all. lovely batner. 🙂

    and a reminder of DanDan and Vitae Lampada as well.

  156. Red Arnie says:

    “’Tis not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
    Or the selfish hope of a season’s fame,
    But his Captain’s hand on his shoulder smote
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!”” 🙂

  157. Red Arnie says:

    Thanks for the reminder, Rasp. 🙂

    This could be the Arsenal anthem.

    “The sand of the desert is sodden red, —
    Red with the wreck of a square that broke; —
    The Gatling’s jammed and the colonel dead,
    And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
    The river of death has brimmed his banks,
    And England’s far, and Honour a name,
    But the voice of schoolboy rallies the ranks,
    “Play up! play up! and play the game!” “

  158. Red Arnie says:

    looking forward to the game today. a win will be nice. 🙂 will probably miss the game though.

  159. GoonerB says:

    Morning Purist, David Bailey picture guy, the Viking Hippy, The site Head Honcho, and dance on the top of trains to Bollywood music guy 🙂

    Where’s the Polish cage fighter 🙂

  160. Red Arnie says:

    motning GoonerB.

    nursing her wounds, I presume! 🙂

  161. Red Arnie says:

    “Marginal manifestations of culture should not be ignored. In the nineteenth century, Telemann was considered a far greater composer than Bach; by the same token, in 200 years, Picasso may be thought inferior to the Coca Cola commercials.”

  162. GoonerB says:

    Tending to the wounds she created on others more like Arnie 🙂

  163. Rasp says:

    Morning GB 🙂 are you availing yourself of a pre-match libation at the FFB this evening?

  164. fatgingergooner says:

    I froze your tears and made a dagger,
    and stabbed it in my cock forever.
    It stays there like Excalibur,
    Are you my Arthur?
    Say you are.

    Take this cool dark steeled blade,
    Steal it, sheath it, in your lake.
    I’d drown with you to be together.
    Must you breathe? Cos I need Heaven.


  165. GoonerB says:

    No sorry Rasp. I had a ticket but had got dates mixed up (I think the game was originally a Tuesday). I am on specific dad duties tonight.

    I know Chas will be very upset, I had so much team stuff to put right with him 🙂

  166. Rasp says:

    Aha FGG, a David Brent quote 😆

    GB, you’re right, chas will be devastated, he’ll have to form his own opinion on the tactical bollix now 😀

  167. Eddie says:

    maybe we wil go level with spuds tonight?

  168. Rasp says:

    … New post ….

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