The Case for the Defence – New Manager Conundrum

So, the dust has settled on the 2017/8 season and all final league positions have been decided. What pointers will it have given our new boss as to how the team needs to be reinforced?

Let’s take a look at the teams at the top of table.

Man City

Well Pep has forged an exciting new team by lashing out close to half a billion on top of an already decent squad. 106 goals and 27 against. Hmmm, maybe we ought to look elsewhere for clues.

Man U

Mourinho bored the pants off everyone yet again, his team scoring six goals less than us but almost emulating City’s meanness in defence. No thanks.


Surprisingly with the best England striker in decades and a vibrant young attack, they managed to score precisely no goals more than us. Their 15 goals better goal difference came from another source!


Fun to watch during the season with a rampaging front three operating along similar lines to City. Second only to City in goals scored and with goals conceded similar to the spuds and chavs.


8 goals less than AFC but 7 points more. Last season’s runaway winners were not in evidence at all. It is so hard to win back to back titles, though. (Will City sustain their dominance next time around?)


74 goals for, 51 against (12 more than 7th placed Burnley, though they only scored an appalling 36 goals).

One conclusion might be that the new chap in the hot seat needs to spend any moolah available to him on bolstering our porous defence.

Or is it more a case of better game management all round?

With a front 4 of Auba, Mkhi, Laca and Mesut, recruits up top seem less of a consideration unless a top line left sided forward becomes available, maybe. (I’ve no idea if this is true but always see it written everywhere!)

A new defence or defensive plan is much needed – that does appear a logical conclusion. Or is that just too simplistic an analysis for the tactical geniuses out there. 🙂

What do you think?



135 Responses to The Case for the Defence – New Manager Conundrum

  1. Gööner In Exile says:

    Interesting Chas.

    To quote Maximus “are you not entertained?”

    Although it appears someone at the club shares your view, Papastathopoulos and Evans apparently on the radar, plus another Turkish defender Soyunku who we were apparently put off by a £35m price tag, by all accounts we can get Pap and Evans for £20m.

    Obviously this is all based on whether we believe the rumour press.

    One thing is for sure we are going to see more rumours than ever and we should all have our BS filter firmly engaged.

  2. Gööner In Exile says:

    Also Wenger now has a very Local option available to him at the Happy Hammers. I have spoken to some Arsenal fans that think he would be wrong to manage in the PL. I kind of hope he does.

  3. Rasp says:

    Thanks chas, it’s a N.S.S. for me …. and it would appear that our new recruitment duo also think we need to reinforce the defence if you can believe half of the rumours of players we’re supposedly interested in.

    I do hope a new keeper is close to top of the shopping list.

  4. LB says:

    I think a real challenge would to make the defence worse — now that would take some doing.

    Thanks for the read.

  5. fred1266 says:

    What happens to the background staff with a new manager

  6. LB says:

    Most have the have already been given their marching orders Fred.

  7. GoonerB says:

    Missed the last few posts so can I say a big thanks to all the post writing stalwarts on here for their efforts and entertainment through the season.

    Excellent post Chas, and looking for answers I suppose will depend on where one feels we have issues. I have always felt that we are undermined by a combination of small factors but with some carrying more importance than others.

    Personally if I was to do a basic split analysis I would say that I feel our issues are 25% solved by recruitment and 75% by improving the other various intrinsic factors. These would include better defensive coaching (for the defensive players directly, but also the team as a whole), better balance in our formations and combinations of players, improved mental preparation and game management, and a better structure in terms of leadership figures among the players.

    There could be others of course and my feelings are pure opinion not to be shared by all ( or even any 🙂 ), but I do feel the intrinsic factors more outweigh the extrinsic ones. Prior to January I felt, as I have done for a few seasons, that we had a quality of squad equivalent to a 78-83 EPL points tally on a more regular basis. The additions of Miki and Aube have pushed that up by maybe another 6 points in my mind.

    To get 63 is seriously under-performing, but most of our points tally in the last few seasons have been an under-performing total and, for me, are mostly down to those combinations of intrinsic factors.

    It maybe has some relevance to look at what other clubs are doing but in reality I am not that bothered by them. As long as we are getting our stuff together and perform somewhere near to our best then no more can be asked. This season, had we done that, that would not have been enough in the EPL, but in other seasons it just may have been.

    I am hoping the new man can address all these little factors while not undoing the general style and attacking identity that Arsene forged through his tenure.

  8. fred1266 says:

    Is this one of the reasons why Vik retired,

    So even bold out of a job

  9. RA says:

    Good stuff, Chas.

    It is difficult to figure out what happened to our team when they appeared to be coasting and then had one defender or the other deciding to sit on their ass, and allowing the oppo to score.

    That was made doubly weird when we only scores 3 points away from home in 2018.

    If we had won half the away games during that period instead of just 3 points from 24, the other 9 points would still only have got us 5th place with 72 points but it would have given the wonderful, fantastic, super ‘Pool a fright.

    It’s all the usual after the event “if only” but if Arsenal had won just 5 out of the 8 away games in 2018, surely not without the bounds oaf possibility, then we would have qualified for the CL. Let’s face it — only 2 (Manure and the Thurs) would have been problematic.

    [Chas I know you are of a punctilious disposition – and will probably know if my argument/wishful ramblings are fatally flawed] — we may have drawn some of those away games, rather than lost all but the Huddersfield game, but during that time slot I had other matters occupying my mind rather than what the Arsenal done-did.] 😀

    Even if my recall is poor, I still think that last part of the season was a ridiculous anomaly, and we should/could have done much better if only the bloody defence weren’t so bloody useless, and our attack stopped phaffing around playing Tiki-very-Tacky and took a shot occasionally rather than another sideways pass.

  10. RA says:

    Hi, GIE,

    Good to see you around more often, both for your own work/life balance, and also because you also bring a sense of gravitas to AA with knowledge based on experience!! 😀

  11. RA says:

    Same to you, Gooner B-a-Leopard. 🙂

    Your occasional comments are always interesting, altho it is becoming more difficult to find a fault with them — other than your rather unctuous “my feelings are pure opinion not to be shared by all ( or even any 🙂 )” — get out there my friend — get into our faces and tell us what is right, like — “any AA fooker disagreeing with me will have to answer to my camel” 😡

    Good to see you!

  12. RA says:

    Another beautiful day and I am stuck indoors still — I have lost two stone while the Gunners have been profligate with their defending, so just as well I had plenty to spare, (hasn’t done anything for my looks – I’m still ugly) but I would not recommend sickness as a dietary option. 😀


  13. Shard says:

    Our defense needs upgrading. As it is, our defense was better on paper than in reality. No Mertesacker essentially all season. Koscielny playing on an injured ankle. Which left Mustafi as our most experienced defender, and he’s not very reliable. I think Chambers stepped up well, Mavropanos looks like a younger version of Kos, and I think Holding is good. But they all need experienced defenders next to them.

    I see the rumours around Sokratis and Evans as very encouraging, and that Soyuncu kid looks very good. Evans and Chambers as the covering CBs.(Per type) Sokratis and Mavropanos as the CBs that push up to harass the striker.(Kos type) Holding as backup, or on loan if we get the Soyuncu deal through.(Unlikely) Mustafi to be sold.

    Of course some better defending from midfield will help and Xhaka did look to get his positioning better later in the season. Hopefully, him and AMN can continue to grow. Not sure we’ll get a propah DM, but one can hope.

    Disclaimer: These are only my personal opinions 😛

  14. Gööner In Exile says:

    GoonerB I think hits nail on head when he talks of balance of formation.

    Surely one of the reasons these other teams don’t concede that many is they don’t need have defenders as a vital part of the attack. Our propensity to have full backs and all midfielders in advance positions had the effect that of being easy to score against on the counter.

    The question I often pose is why do we need them all up the pitch why can’t our multi million pound attack score without them.

    We managed to attack as a team but very rarely defend as one and often you see midfielders and attacker with arms aloft after we concede having had umpteen shots on goal lots of possession and only one goal to show for it.

    Now I haven’t looked at stats but my guess is we were probably one of the most profligate sides of the top 6 in terms of converting chances and making most of possession.

    I know we were very high on goals scored from set pieces compared to most everyone else, so our open play goals were probably the lowest they’d been for quite some time.

  15. RA says:

    Spot on, GIE.

    Hopefully this all or nothing tactic will change with the new manager.

  16. GoonerB says:

    I agree with that GIE. I know attacking FB’s are part of the make up of a top modern attacking side but our FB’s seem to more camp themselves high up like wingers and often receive the wide ball very statically in this position. if they crowded out and lose possession then there is no-one covering behind them.

    I want the FB’s to add to the attack but in a more dynamic way receiving the ball on an overlapping run that really opens up the defence and gets them on the back foot. We need to get more width from other players as oppose to just the FB’s and I think the types of midfielders we have are a bit too samey with none of them really being players that give proper width.

    One option is to get a couple of Arjen Robben type players that can give proper natural width and pace in wide areas but can also come inside and be a threat around the box. The other option is to have 2 strikers that are mobile and quick that are comfortable working the wide areas at times in our build up play and being as much supplier as finisher. Normally the best at this are those wing forward converted to striker types like Henry and Costa.

    We now have 2 of them in Auba and Laca which is why I am interested in their partnership rather than one or the other playing. Those 2 with Miki playing near them could give us that movement across the front line that means we are not so reliant on it from the FB’s all the time. Welbeck can also play the striker working wide role as well.

    The Burnley game was interesting in that we dropped 2 CM types that would have played earlier in the season and had Xhaka in the deeper holding role with Jack and Iwobi in the heart of midfield between him and the front 3. It looked more balanced and even the FB’s seemed to be able to time their runs forward to greater effect. Normally we would have had Xhaka, Jack, Rambo, Ozil, Iwobi all strung out behind the 1 striker.

    Should we be looking to only playing 2 from 4 out of Jack, Rambo, Ozil and Iwobi to get that balance, and if the answer is yes should we in reality lose one of them from the squad?

  17. Gööner In Exile says:

    GoonerB I think one of the issues with lack of width has been caused by so many who want to score goals, gone on for a while now, Theo, Alexis, Laca, Welbz the list goes on and on.

    One of the things I like about Ozil is he is prepared to go find the space out wide to provide the ball that sets someone else up, perhaps one of our issues is that perhaps only he and maybe Mikhi can make most of being in those positions as they have better range of passing (ie can cross the ball, and slide a pass, cut it back or shoot) than most of the other midfielders and our fullbacks.

  18. Shard says:

    GoonerB and GIE

    I’ve been rubbing my temple like Pep, (and losing my hair) and I think a diamond in midfield might be worth trying.

    Xhaka as the deep lying playmaker with Ramsey, and another strong runner just in front. It could be Elneny/Iwobi or Miki..Ozil just behind the two strikers Auba and Laca. Both the strikers and Ozil can drift wide, to make space for Ramsey and Miki/Elneny in the box..Or the midfielders can cover for the fullbacks when the strikers occupy the middle.

    The midfield would need to watch out for the transition to defense when they lose the ball, but that’s the case anyway. I like it because it allows us to play both our goalscorers and Ozil in their best position. And it allows more protection for Xhaka, while still retaining the options of through balls from him, Miki and Ozil. Even varying the angle of the attack. It should make us more compact through the centre.

    The full backs and the MF would have to be drilled into their roles though.

  19. mickydidit89 says:

    Thanks v much Chas
    I’m in das Uber shmoke so on mobile.
    Fire Bould obviously then attack is my refined contribution

  20. Gööner In Exile says:

    Shard as I see it there is still no natural width in a diamond.

    I personally think 3-4-1-2 makes most sense. Or 3-1-3-1-2

    Hard to sketch it out in a comment but 3 centre backs, two tough no nonsense one passer and one of the others has to be able to pass too.

    Holding midfielder (Xhaka/Elneny/Aitland-Niles), 2 wide midfielders/wingers (Mikhi, Acquisition, Nelson, Iwobi), one other centre midfielder (Ramsey/Jack/Maitland-Niles/Elneny)

    One in the hole (Ozil/Mikhi/Jack/Ramsey)

    Two up top (PEA/Laca/Welly/Nketiah)

    That’s not saying a new signing wouldn’t go amiss, but I haven’t listed Kolasinac/Monreal or Hector as they don’t fit the system, they could all do the wide role I. Extreme circumstances, Nacho and Kolasinac probably best offensively, for all Hector’s running he isn’t offering a lot either way at the moment.

    Need in my opinion new centre backs, Mustafi is pretty hopeless, Kozzer is unfortunately on last legs.

    Oh and a new keeper wouldn’t go amiss, surely Butland?

  21. GoonerB says:

    Sorry RA, I meant to say hello earlier but did my normal stealth raid on the site in dropping a comment and disappearing. Hope you are well old chap.

    GIE / Shard, there seems to be a strong agreement between us in playing a 2 striker system now we have moved towards having those more mobile strikers that will pop up in wide areas of the pitch more. I also think Miki needs to play near those 2.

    After that it gets trickier on what is the best formation behind them but I feel confident that we have a correct formation staring us in the face from the players we already have but just haven’t found it or played it on a regular basis yet.

    As I say the Burnley game piqued my interest in that it looked the most balanced we had been for a while with no Ozil or Ramsey starting. I am wondering whether one of the more stellar names needs to make way in order to achieve improved team balance.

  22. GoonerB says:

    I have become more sold on the idea of Arteta recently. At first I felt it should be an experienced coach for us, but I just think there is no guarantee regardless in this league so a player that has experience of AW’s coaching style and Guardiolas and seems to be widely regarded as having a very intuitive tactical brain, well what have we got to lose at present?

  23. Aaron says:

    Interesting post and timely.

    It is ironic that both $h*ty and manure’s D let it the same of amount of goals, yet their coaches are diametrically opposed in how to play the game.
    moaninho says let the other team have the ball, and wait for the other team to make a mistake, while we pack the box and counter, as opposed to pup, who says just try and match us technically, if you can, while you chase shadows.

    Which way for Arsenal to go?

    The answer is the cheap way, which means buy a guy to compliment Mustafi, or 2 experienced, physically imposing cb’s, and develop the rest of the talent we have along the way.
    Purchase a new keeper, who can control the box, clear people out on set plays, and who can pass the ball out of the back-not straight to the other team or out of bounds.
    Purchase a true DM and develop AMN in some position we he can learn for a while. Need some pace in midfield as the Arsenal are good to go up top-for now.
    All the above can be done selling a few players or shifting priorities around and spending 50 mill on D.

  24. fred1266 says:

    Wasn’t aubameyang on the wing against Burnley, he just had the licence to roam

  25. Aaron says:

    Check that:
    Wonder how stan the man will pay for this?
    The costs “have exploded as the former estimate of $2.6b has now skyrocketed to $4.25b requiring Los Angeles Rams Owner Stan Kroenke to secure a $2.25b loan from a banking consortium”

    This stadium is being built in a real estate bubble……


  26. chas says:

  27. chas says:

  28. chas says:

  29. Eddie says:

    @6:46 – no. I think brainstorm and hear great noodle

    thanks for the post. Good summary and analysis of the ‘better’ teams. I am sad that you are probably right and instead of buying an amazing goal machine we need boring plodders, big slow units instead of sexy slender high flyers. Oh well, I want trophies so I guess I cannot have sexy team and 3 points in the bag game after game. I have resigned myself to a successful George Graham season

  30. RA says:

    Good morning, All,

    That is amazing Chas, I distinctly heard the words brainstorm and green needle, and told the cleaner 15 mins ago — and she said “OK can you also hear this you giant sloth, “Get out of bed and SOD OFF” – and do you know – I did.

    For the sake of decency I must say she was not in bed with me at the time but just drawing the curtains. No sympathy there.

  31. GoonerB says:

    Eddie, your morning glass of milk is obviously half empty today 🙂

    We have an exciting Partnership of Auba and Laca to look forward to that has the potential to be the most prolific in the EPL. We have a mercurial attacking Ozil, a Rambo driving into the box, a Jack surging through midfield at full pace, and some exciting attack minded youngsters in (your namesake) Eddie and Nelson to look forward to seeing more.

    Now just take a sip of your half full glass of milk and reflect on that Eddie 🙂

  32. Eddie says:

    GB – what drugs do you take? I want them

  33. Eddie says:

    …and a word of warning to the Board – they appoint Arteta and I am out.

  34. RA says:

    You’ve sold me on that GB!! 😀

    And thank you for your good wishes @ 10:51 pm – appreciated. Maybe your camel could give me a blast of his wormer?

  35. RA says:

    Rumours – rumours – but the bollix about waiting until next week to interview Henry for the manager’s job is just so wrong!!

  36. Eddie says:

    what’s up RA – are you unwell? I haven’t been around lately so wouldn’t know

  37. RA says:

    That’s OK, Eddie, it was just me and my big mouth telling AAers that I have been in hospital two or three times since January, for a week or so each time. I am a blabbermouth especially as so many others are much worse off than me. [I wonder how Kelsey is getting on?]

    I was discharged on each occasion, and the doctors are ‘monitoring’ me, and if the drug treatment I am on works – fine – if not, it will be a major operation. Spin of the coin at the moment.

    Sorry to all you guys and gal — I won’t mention it again.

  38. Eddie says:

    aahhh, poor you. I hope you get better soon, we need you fit for the new exciting season

  39. GoonerB says:

    Fingers crossed RA that the drugs work. As Eddie mentioned above mine work fine 🙂

    Eddie, I was all set on a safe pair of experienced hands like Allegri or Ancellotti but there is no guarantee with anyone. Ancellotti may be the wrong side of a certain age bracket now and Allegri might not bring what he has done at Juve into the EPL. Enrique might find it hard to develop a team as his only real credits on his CV are doing well with a readily assembled team.

    I feel we have nothing to lose at the moment with where we have slipped to and would take a chance on a rookie manager who is an ex Arsenal man and has had 2 seasons alongside Pep and, who by all accounts, those in the know talk highly of in terms of his insight into coaching and tactics. Also he is likely to have more an attacking outlook than say Allegri for instance.

  40. VP of Oz says:

    Ok, talking about being on drugs, here goes…
    After the CL final –
    ZZ is declared new Arsenal Coach
    Poch is declared new Real Madrid coach
    Conte is declared new Spuds coach
    Leonardo Jardim is declared new Chels coach
    Arsene is declared new Monaco coach

    thank you, goodnight.

  41. GoonerB says:

    You’ve been hanging around too much with Raddy in his hippy VW in Byron Bay VP 🙂

  42. Eddie says:

    VP – i have relatives staying with me from Oz, they told me about big problem Ice causes over there

  43. VP of Oz says:

    Yes Eddie, they’re trying to Crack down on Ice over here, is that why your relatives went to you?

  44. VP of Oz says:

    It’s not a VW GB, it’s a Kombi

  45. VP of Oz says:

    Come on, you must admit my coaching merry go round is kind of poetic.
    Admittedly not as good as Sanchez to Manu, Mikhi to AFC, Giroud to Chels, Batshit to Borrussia Dort, Auba to Arsenal

    But these merry go round deals might be the new thing now

  46. VP of Oz says:

    Meanwhile in OZ…

    Nude feud: cracks appear at naturists’ colony
    A couple ejected from a nudist colony for renovating a bush cabin have laid bare their wrangle with the club as part of legal action over $80,000 in damages

  47. GoonerB says:

    You’ve mentioned ZZ a few times for us VP. Do you believe it is what will happen or is it your favoured choice of who we should get?

    He was one of my favourite players to watch and one of the greats, but that doesn’t always translate into great manager. He is still somewhat of a rookie 1st team coach himself. He has admittedly won things with Real in his short tenure to date but that could just as easily put him in the bracket of Enrique, in that they have only ever taken over management a more or less ready made team of top internationals, and haven’t got anything on their CV that proves they can mould and develop a team from something lesser to something greater, which is going to be more important at Arsenal than it would be at Real.

    Guardiola is similar in inheriting top squads and having money as little or no object but is perhaps slightly different in that he seems to have actually progressed most teams he has worked with to something better than when he arrived. Players and teams seem to improve under him and it is not all just about who he purchases.

    I think if we are going for a more rookie coach and taking that chance I would prefer to take a chance on someone who knows the EPL and has some arsenal DNA in them.

  48. VP of Oz says:

    GB, more favoured choice
    As for Guardiola, I look at what he did for Bayern after Heynckes and would say they went backwards more then forwards.
    Until Guardiola becomes Arsenal coach, he will always be seen by me as lacking in certain qualities…
    I actually have little expectation of what is to come but as I’ve said before, the longer it takes for Arsenal to appoint a new coach, the more I will believe it will be my favoured choice…

    However, there is another manager whose name is barely even whispered when talk of Wenger’s replacement comes up. It’s the man who could very well match Ancelotti’s Champions League record this season.

    Zinedine Zidane will do well under the regime of Florentino Perez to remain as Real Madrid manager next season, even if he does collect a third Champions League trophy in the two and a half years he has been a senior-team manager.

    The La Liga title has been Barcelona’s to lose for months now, with Real Madrid struggling badly throughout, and it has always been the case that Perez won’t hesitate even in the slightest when it comes to giving a manager the chop.

    But even if Zidane were to win the Champions League this season and maintain Perez’s trust in him, it could be argued that he may want a new challenge.

    He won the double with Madrid last season, claiming the La Liga title and a historic consecutive Champions League trophy that had never before been done in the competition.

    But Zidane, who took over as manager in January 2016 following Rafael Benitez’s unceremonious dismissal, may well feel he wants to flex his managerial muscles, and where better to do that than at a club poised for a big change, where fresh ideas and a new voice are desperately sought.

    Zidane signed a new contract late last year with the reigning European champions that takes his current deal into 2020, however the former French captain and World Cup winner, when asked to comment at the time, stated: “it means nothing”.

    “I go match by match, year by year,” he said, and having won eight trophies during his time in charge of his former club, there is every possibility Zidane may soon feel a move away would help his progression as a manager.

    That’s not to say, however, that Zidane cannot further improve and grow at Madrid.

    With young players such as Marco Ascencio and Lucas Vasquez still developing at the club, Zidane may feel obliged to stick around, if only to help the progression of these promising talents.

    Zinedine Zidane of Real Madrid during the UEFA Champions League Final match between Real Madrid and Juventus at the National Stadium of Wales, Cardiff, Wales on 3 June 2017. (Photo by Giuseppe Maffia/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

    There is a chance at Arsenal to start from scratch. When Wenger eventually departs, whether willingly or by force, he will leave behind a massive hole in the club, even despite the way in which Arsenal have performed for the last decade.

    Wenger has so deeply embedded himself into the culture of Arsenal that whether he leaves the club in turmoil or in healthy shape won’t change the fact his absence will be noticed.

    Whether Zidane would want to take up the challenge is something no one but the man himself knows. Whether he’s even aware of the current situation at Arsenal is another thing. But Ivan Gazidis, Stan Kroenke and the rest of the decision makers at Arsenal may want to consider the Frenchman currently on the road to securing a third successive Champions League title.

    It’s hard to see how even attempting to lure Zidane to London would do anything but get the fans back onside, if only for a brief time.

    Zidane has proved he can handle coaching some of the biggest football stars on the planet, and not only that, he can win consistently with them too. It is unusual that the Frenchman has not come into consideration for the Arsenal job should Wenger leave as much as perhaps his recent record demands.

  49. GoonerB says:

    Popping off for a bit but on another note I think Southgate has made a mistake by omitting Wilshere. I am a self proclaimed fan of Jack. he may have been better without the injuries but I still see this season some world class and unique CM qualities in his play. It is good to see Southgate give youngsters a chance but sometimes you have to look at the different styles of players and ask “Do I have anyone who gives me quite what this guy does”.

    In Wilshere’s case I think the answer is no. He showcases his best play when asked to be in the heart of midfield as the link between the DM (and defence) and the front line and attacking wide players. That player that dictates the game and can control the possesion and be the catalyst for changing defence into attack, and knowing when to do it.

    He will happily receive the balls from defenders as an outlet and always seems to know whether he should turn one way or the other or whether he can turn 180 degrees and drive towards opposition goal through the midfield, getting the team on the front foot. He also has a real eye for a defence splitting pass.

    Jack seems to have that 360 degree awareness in the heart of midfield that is a rare talent, and in a Fabregasesque way always has that little look over each shoulder before receiving the ball.

    There are a lot of pace and fleet footed jinky players in that England side, but they are more suited to be nearer the front line and attack, and I can’t see any of those players doing what jack does so well in that link position. Similarly none of Deir or Henderson have his ability in the link role and are more suited to deeper more workmanlike roles.

    I think we will be ok until we meet those better teams where losing possession and lacking inventiveness will kill you, and if you can’t move the ball through the team from back to front effectively they will make you look disjointed and a bit pants.

    Jack has a unique skill set in that sense that I don’t see in other England players. For most of the others I feel you can always identify another player that does the same or a similar job, so you have choices. Even if he didn’t favour Jack in his initial starting 11 he must surely have been worthy of being in the 23 man squad when you look at his qualities and experience.

    I mean what is Fabian Delph adding to the equation? Jack has played 38 games this season and is at present injury free, so is a decent risk rather than dodgy risk. Delph has played what, 15, and what does he do that we haven’t got covered 2-3 times already?

    I started out feeling Southgate looked promising but I feel he seems to have got something in his brain about Jack a long time ago that meant he wasn’t for swaying in his opinion. That for me shows a lack of the non biased objectiveness that we would need for a successful international manager, and I feel something is slightly different recently in Southgate, almost as if he has bought into his own hype as portrayed by the media.

    Might be wrong but I feel we are going to hit a groundhog day tournament under Southgate with little to show in terms of progression.

    p.s, sorry about the length 🙂 Make it a new post if you want. Much of what I have said I also feel is relevant to Arsenal because I feel we need to retain that link midfield quality he has.

  50. GoonerB says:

    Good point VP. I wouldn’t say no, but feel any doubts about ZZ would be in line with Enrique and Pep in the teams they inherited in management.

    With Pep though it is hard to say he didn’t actually improve what was already a very good Barca and Man City side. He did seem to elevate them to an entirely new level for me, but you are right that Bayern represents a slight blot, but mainly it seems in the ECL.

    I might be wrong but in his 3 seasons there didn’t he win the Bundesliga title in each of them, and six trophies in total? More of a failure in terms of where he had previously set the bar rather than total failure I would say.

  51. Eddie says:

    VP – no, they came to the funeral of my best friend.

  52. Eddie says:

    bullshit story of the century – Family in China thought they were raising a dog…years later they realized it was a bear. They either idiots or fucking liars

  53. Shard says:


    I tend to see Zidane as more of a man manager. It’s good for Real because they have some top talent. I don’t think it will be a good fit for Arsenal.

    Look at how they win in the CL. I think they win because they are experienced, rather than by playing much better than the opposition or systematically exploiting weakness. Zidane just has the gravitas to drop certain players (like Bale) when he feels it’s better. But he doesn’t come across as a tactician to me.

    I think it’s basically done now. Arteta will be the next Arsenal manager/head coach.

  54. Shard says:

    With Guardiola, I agree that he’s basically had the best players to win and would not have won without them.

    I think he’s a guy who’s always looking to experiment. Of course he could not do this if he didn’t have the sort of talent he’s had at his disposal. But at the same time, he does innovate and try to move the team forward. Sometimes it goes wrong because he goes too far. Again, he can absorb and make up for that loss because of the players he has. But he seems to always push the boundaries, and I like that about him. Much as I dislike the cult built up around him.

    Also, coming into Barcelona, he had the courage to sell Ronaldinho, and Eto’o and build around the younger players. I think..or hope… that Arteta is similar, in that he’s not afraid to be his own man and make any necessary tough calls.

  55. RA says:

    Not a bad synopsis, Shard, but I heard on the radio that both Manchester clubs spent £500m each (over the last 3 years – I think) to get the best players available.

    City won the EPL at a canter, and Manure went from mid-table to 2nd with hardly raising a sweat, and playing pretty dire football (according to my Manchester colleagues).

    The addendum (on the radio) was that there was very likely to be no discernible slowing in that spend, with the cause and effect being spend-a-lot — win-a-lot, and the rest can go whistle.

    I guess, if that is true, that Fat Sam could win the EPL with those players — well – so said the other presenter, and he may be right, altho luckily we will never know.

    BR — “yaw yaw” wassat? 😀

  56. Shard says:


    They will always be the most likely to win the league, but I don’t think it is impossible for some other clubs. Liverpool will have a good chance next season. I think we should realistically aim for top 4.

    I too was wondering what yaw yaw is. I hear it as ‘yeah yeah’ (not Yaya) in a South African accent.

  57. RA says:


    BR is/was a hippy and they have their own dialect!!

    [It could have been a shortened “yawn yawn” — but Raddy is inherently polite so it could not have been that.] 😀

  58. Shard says:

    Or just the strain of hippy grass he’s been hitting.

  59. Big Raddy says:

    I have learned the lingo of the Caribbean as written by Fred.

    No idea what it means though.

    RA. You are right on both counts – both a hippy and polite (sometimes)

  60. fred1266 says:

    It basically howdy , hello, good morning just a way to great someone

  61. VP of Oz says:

    Eddie, my condolences.

  62. VP of Oz says:

    I wonder if Stan has made Arsene an offer to work in his sporting business empire –

    Arsene Wenger has said he is “in a state of shock” at no longer being Arsenal manager but wants to make a decision on his future before the World Cup.

    Wenger, adjusting to life away from the club he led for 22 years, told beIN Sports he would decide whether to manage another team or possibly move into a director’s role.

    “I haven’t even emptied my desk yet and in a way I am still in a state of shock,” he said. “I am going to give myself until June 14, the day the World Cup begins, to decide.

    “The question is do I still want to coach, to be on the bench, or is it time to take up different functions?

    “The one thing I can say for sure is that I will continue to work, but do I want to continue to suffer as much? I want to continue to defend my ideas of football, that’s for sure.

    “Spontaneously, I would say I still want to coach, but I can’t really say that yet for sure.”

  63. VP of Oz says:

  64. mickydidit89 says:

    Blimey, I step outside for a few days and the place erupts with proper football talk. Mmm.. 🙂

  65. mickydidit89 says:

    Chas @ 6:46 yestarday with green needle/brainstorm

    What the heck?

    I’m actually scared

  66. mickydidit89 says:

    Dear Prince Harry

    You’re a Gunner, so first up, it’s not too late, and second, I know you do sterling work with broken soldiers but how about helping us out with our attack as we don’t score anything like enough goals

  67. Eddie says:

    and how is he supposed to help us? Is he any good up front?

  68. mickydidit89 says:

    dunno Eddie

    Will you be watching the wedding? I won’t as the sun shines brightly

  69. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    7.40 Eddie being smutty again

  70. RA says:

    Morning Each,

    You are right BR, such smut on this sunny wedding day. Tut, tut! 😀

  71. LB says:

    For anyone wanting to watch some sport today, it could be the decisive stage in the Giro (tour of Italy).

    We have a Brit in the lead (Simon Yates). They will be going up one of the steepest mountains in Europe (Monte Zoncolan).

    Our boy has to put some distance between him and second place, the Dutch boy, who will fare better in the time trail on Tuesday.

    The up shot is that Yates has got to attack……should be exciting.

  72. chas says:

  73. mickydidit89 says:

    And Darren is who exactly?

    I guess on the plus side, if this is true, it’ll save Eddie having to bother from now on

  74. Big Raddy says:

    Knowing Italian mountain cycling it must be one hell of a climb.

    Would be great in Yates can gain some time. Weather has been terrible during the Giro, so bad that Froome fell on a tight curve in torrential rain.

    Is the FAC Final today? Is any Merino game sport?

  75. Big Raddy says:

    Darren knows a man who has read Fever Pitch. Such is his expertise.

    Could be true and a lucky punt.

  76. mickydidit89 says:


    Ha ha, I suspect that was exactly what LB was implying 🙂

    Ok, outside. Enjoy the sun

  77. Eddie says:

    thanks micky, i let you have your plus side and will disappear

  78. Eddie says:

    …and there is me so happy I found this for you in Cuffley

  79. fred1266 says:

    Ramsey has win our player of the season, smh and he was injured for a huge chunk of it

  80. VP of Oz says:

  81. VP of Oz says:

  82. LB says:

    Ooh BR

    I didn’t realise.

    You understand exactly what is going on.

    Nice to know really

  83. chas says:

  84. Big Raddy says:

    Man Utd end half empty at Wembley. Must be a hold up on the motorway going past Windsor

  85. fatgingergooner says:

    Can anyone explain how Jones has not been sent off? Mavropanos got a straight red for bringing down a player 45 yards from goal, yet Jones does it 10 yards from goal and it’s a yellow!?

  86. RockyLives says:

    Can’t believe I’m supporting the Chavs in this… but I’d much rather Ollie won the Cup than Sanchez.

    And of course there’s the Mourinho factor…

  87. Big Raddy says:

    Hi Rocky. Hope all is well in your world

    It is an indication of my dislike for Merino that I support the hated Southern OIlers

  88. RockyLives says:

    Back to Chas’s post…

    I feel the key to our dodgy defence is in, er, midfield.

    Chambers, Holding, Mavro, Mustafi and the FBs have the potential to form a solid back line, but they need more protection in front of them (in my humble).

    We need a Kante or (sigh) Gilberto type of player in the mix, as well as better organisation when we lose possession. The latter is something the new manager (coach?) can work on. The former is up to the recruiting team and probably won’t be easy. There aren’t that many great players in that role knocking around and available.

    Maybe the solution lies with one of our young up-and-coming players?

  89. Big Raddy says:

    FGG. We had a bent referee and MU never have one. It is a remnant of the Fergie era

  90. RockyLives says:

    Agreed BR.

    The hated Southern Oilers seem just a bit less hateful these days, since they shed the Maureen stench.

  91. Shard says:

    The rule changed last season to avoid the triple punishment of penalty, red card and suspension. So as long as the defender makes a genuine attempt to win the ball, it will be a penalty but not a red.

  92. Eddie says:

    Hi shard, hi rocky, great comments, as always

    Not a bad game, I’d rather the mancs won. I hate chavs and hazard

    I wonder if John terry is going to turn up in a full Chelsea kit for the presentation

  93. RockyLives says:


    But if the Mancs had won, they would have equalled our record haul of FA Cups.

    As it is they lost and we remain supreme as the FA Cup team…

  94. Eddie says:

    good point Rocky, I am delighted that despikable chavs won

  95. chas says:

    Only watched the last quarter but seeing Giroud win rather than Sanchez was better. 🎠🎻🐌

  96. RockyLives says:

    I knew you’d see the light… 🙂

  97. chas says:

    Tedious fixture
    Tedious teams
    Tedious Hazard waiting for Tedious Phil Jones challenge
    Tedious one nil win from a penalty
    Tedious Mourinho reaction


  98. mickydidit89 says:

    Oh ffs Eddie

    Wrong end of the stick me dear

    YOU SAID you’d quit if Arteta was manager
    I SAID you wouldn’t have to bother if Darren was right (ie Arteta was manager)
    NEVER SAID it was my hope you’d clear off

    Dear God girl, get back

  99. Eddie says:

    chas – thanks for the match report and summary of The Wedding. There is not much to be added iro the FA cup final, so we can concentrate on the wedding or speculate on the next manager.

    Victoria Beckham – I wore more cheerful outfits to funerals

  100. Eddie says:

    me is back. I pay no attention to you, that’s all

    what about the cuffley bluebells? English or what?

  101. mickydidit89 says:


    I saw that bit of the ceremony. He was such a wanker. Really trying to steal the show.

    Should I watch your clip ie doess Rick Astley appear or is there some worthwhile editing 🙂

  102. mickydidit89 says:

    English, defo. Darker colour than the bloody spaniards, more delicate stems and the drooping tops not all permenantly erect in that ghastly frisky european way….. and thank you

  103. mickydidit89 says:

    Agree with Rocky ‘n all who prefered Chavs over Utd. Had hoped Ollie would leap like a salmon to nod in the winner but I hear it was just one pen 🙄

  104. Eddie says:

    you are welcome. I was very excited when I saw them, the woods are full of them. and you are quite right, much much more pretty than the spaniards. Can I dig some up do you think? Just don’t tell Peaches, she tells everyone I pinch plants

    Who is the onanist? Hazard? Horrible little bastard, I am sure he is related to Mourinho, same mentality

  105. chas says:

    Nah, don’t bother watch if you’ve already seen.
    I didn’t see any of it but just kept seeing comments about the preacher, so thought I’d give it a looksie.

  106. mickydidit89 says:


    The preacher went on and on and on, so despite how good he was, that is just not what you do. Short, to the point, with one joke, then get off 🙂

  107. mickydidit89 says:

    Just had my first peek at newsnow since last transfer window and the tension is building

    Absolutely heaving with facts and other extraordinary nailed-on bits and bobs 🙂

    An awful lot of noise around the Darren story about Arteta being new boss

    What do we think if true?

  108. LB says:

    Why should we worry?

    We have just ousted a man with 22 years experience for someone who hasn’t managed a club for a single day.

    Guess I ended up in the minority of those who actuality considered details like that.

  109. chas says:

    Sam Allardyce has been managing for 27 years in one form or another.

    I prefer Arteta to him. 😆

  110. GunnerN5 says:

    The general feeling was that Arsene was obsessed with his football first and last philosophy and that he was either unaware or ignored the more current/modern trends. if this is in fact true than we will not be looking for an older/experienced replacement.

    I fully expect we will hire a younger manager who bring fresh ideas to the team.This will be a dramatic change in the clubs deep rooted training and coaching methodology and will not be an overnight success and I fear it will be a very difficult time for the players, club and fans.

  111. LB says:

    Did Sam Allardyce manage Arsenal? I must have missed that one.

  112. Big Raddy says:

    Brilliant stage over the Dolomites in the Giro. Yates roasted the opposition. Not so good from Froome.

    If it is to be Arteta we may well have to suffer a season or two of disappointment whilst he grows into the job. I hope the fans and the BoD give him time.

  113. Eddie says:

    chas and LB 🙂 🙂 very funny comments 🙂

    we know fat sam is shit, not a clue about Arteta the manager. Better the devil you know?

    Huge risk, absolutely unnecessary from a club that is already struggling. I am not renewing my junior gunners membership

  114. Shard says:

    High risk high reward.

    I get all the concern about Arteta. By rights he shouldn’t even be in the conversation really. And yet, he is the favourite. He must have shown something extraordinary for this to happen. I’m happy to trust the club about this. He showed leadership when he came to us and the players all said he should be manager someday. Wenger, Guardiola and Poch all rate him as a coach. And I liked his philosophy that he outlined while he was still playing for us.

  115. chas says:

    Ah, I see.
    The perfect man for the job needs to have 22 years experience of managing Arsenal. 😊

  116. mickydidit89 says:

    Ha ha ha Chas and motning 🙂

  117. mickydidit89 says:

    Re Arteta

    I’m firmly in the camp that says you’ve either got it or you haven’t and I’m referring to the ability to lead and command respect

    Blimey…wot a great weekend. Hope you all had as much as steely blue overhead as we did

  118. Eddie says:

    all white overhead. Ceilings. Watching the Royal Wedding. Loyalty, patriotism, etc

  119. LB says:

    And people wonder why I don’t engage in debate or answer questions posed by other bloggers so much nowadays.

    “An awful lot of noise around the Darren story about Arteta being new boss
    What do we think if true?”

    I tried………………………

  120. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    LB 😀

    chas 😀

    Time to watch some relaxing cricket and cycling.

  121. VP of Oz says:

    LB, lots of noise, smoke and mirrors (Vieira, Thierry etc) then Zidane
    As for what I think of Arteta, thats a No from me

  122. GoonerB says:

    Personally I feel that there is no guarantee with anyone replacing Arsene at this stage. There are potential negatives to be found in any candidate, but we definitely needed to go through this process now because what I feel more certain of is that Arsene’s powers had waned, and he didn’t have the ability anymore to take us back up to the competitive end of the EPL.

    As I have said before I feel we have little to lose now, and if the first manager doesn’t seem to work out then we just have to accept that and continue until we get the right one. At face value Allegri, Ancelotti and Enrique would seem more of a guarantee than a complete rookie manager like Arteta, but I can find potential arguments with those 3 as to why it may not work out as well.

    Similarly, although a rookie manager, I can see positives as to why Arteta may work out brilliantly. There is no guarantee in this sport so I for one am quite excited by the prospect of us going left field with an untried but exciting young coach with bags of potential and a team of exciting younger well respected ex players around him.

    These recently retired players will be well respected among the footballing fraternity and the young players out there will look up to them, and we must still have some kudos as a big club playing in London. Bring it on I say.

  123. VP of Oz says:

    GB, no negatives in Zidane

  124. VP of Oz says:

    Now this is racing…

  125. Big Raddy says:

    There is a New Post.

    GB. I will take your last two comments and cobble together a post for tomorrow if that is OK

  126. GoonerB says:

    Fill yer boots son 🙂

  127. Big Raddy says:

    Boots filled 😀

  128. Big Raddy says:

    Same goes for you VP 😀

  129. Matt says:

    Think he should have been retired years back

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