If Only Granit was Rock Solid … The Xhaka Debate …

July 31, 2019

Following our defeat last Sunday, the discussion began to focus on the role of Granit Xhaka.


In many ways it was a typical Xhaka performance.

Could it be that we are looking for the next weak link as the new players arrive and consequently the quality of the squad improves?

Is Granit part of that mind-set that has taken defeat too philosophically in recent years? I want our players to really hurt after a poor performance, and like me, I want that hurt to go on for days .. usually right up to the next game and the opportunity for redemption.

I want a player in his position to orchestrate the game, to be the solid anchor that holds everything together, who protects the defence and instigates the attacks. A player who can drive the play forward … a leader.

Others sought a more technical analysis of Granit’s role in the side. Here are some very interesting takes on his effect on the team:


The area that actually concerned me most was the base of our midfield. I think as much as we talk about our CD, it is the porous lack of protection directly in front of the back line that is a major cause of concern with me. We certainly need to be looking at our central defence independently, but we need to consider that first line of defence, their screen, as well.

In our line up yesterday that chief responsibility should have fallen on Xhaka, but I watched carefully, and for me he was constantly positioning himself about 10m too far forwards leaving dangerous players on our goal side of him, when it probably should be the other way around.

He lacks pace so does not make up that ground if they gain possession, so the defence are massively exposed and caught between retreating towards goal or having one of them step out to try and cut off what the defensive midfield should for the most part be dealing with.

It is almost as if he doesn’t see it as his role and sees himself as more a creator, and that this responsibility should fall to others to pick up the mantle. Interestingly that was his role before he came to us and he was always paired with someone who covered behind him defensively more.

The problem here is that often more creative players than him end up holding a deeper position to cover for his wanderlust, and I saw that on a few times with Ceballos at times.

Also, the odd Hollywood ball or decent forward pass at times aside, Xhaka actually slows our game down to much and we lack forward momentum. I actually started to feel that I was watching a more shouty, face scowly, Denilson.

It wouldn’t surprise me that, like Denilson, Xhake has great stats for touches on the ball and number of passes and completion rate, but most of the time they are very reserved and safe and don’t make anything happen.

I noted that Ceballos drove us forward far more effectively when he got on the ball so he shouldn’t be covering defensively behind Xhaka. Neither should Torreira when he comes back who I also feel has more forward incisive play in him than Xhaka, and I still maintain that Iwobi could be an excellent forward thinking BTB player as well.

It all makes me wonder exactly what he specialises in and brings to us. He seems to not want to be the chief DM, so we are left still searching for that player, but in the role he seems to prefer for himself we have better options.

I kind of feel that Douzi is also a bit Xhaka like in that assessment at present as I have watched him more but at his age can develop in a couple of potential directions more so should stay with us, maybe not regular first team standard yet though. When those 2 play together I don’t feel we look that strong or balanced.

If we were to bring in a specialist holding midfielder (with what we seem to be about to spend elsewhere) we need to free up squad space, funds and wages. I just feel he is not quite right for us and we aren’t balanced in midfield with him. Again I feel he is probably a good CM at a slightly lower level.

Mike M’s response:

Gooner B, agree wholeheartedly. I think my question is how does UE see these players. I agree giving the young players game time is a good idea but he is playing Xhaka and Mustafi as well as the other 4 i mentioned too. Does that mean in his mind they’re staying to be part of the squad for next season?

I’m not sure so that’s my question. I’ll say this too, however unpopular it might be, I’d take Mustafi’s effort and attitude (I really think he tries hard, he’s just not very good or smart) over Xhaka, Miki, Ozil any day. I still think he needs to go, but I’m really stuck on attitude and mentality with this team right now. Am I wrong? Are there any positives in mentality we can take from what we’ve seen so far.

This from LBG

More high class, spot on analysis of Xhaka! Your analysis of his positional sense as a central midfielder is exactly mine. I believe he does not regard it as his responsibility either to hold a defensive position when we don’t have the ball or make a corrective run to pick up loose attacking players in dangerous forward positions. I believe in fact this the crux of our defensive frailty- ” the base of the midfield “.

As most know, I don’t even regard highly his so called spray passing ability as he is too slow in those passes and they are quite often cut out. Given his lack of pace too, he’s argumentative, sometimes ridiculously, attitude to officials, one might guess I have little regard for him and believe any success in the Swiss team is largely due to the quality around him. Said, done, nothing more from me on Xhaka, except an hooray if we sell him.

RC78’s view:

I am a firm believer that having Mustafi and Xhaka on the pitch for us will continue to hamper our chances and will lead to goals and chances conceded. If I could sell only 2 players, they would be my top pick. I d rather give Bielik and Chambers a chance than to see Xhaka and Mustafi play for us again.

You may see the above comments as harsh criticism. We should not be looking for the next scapegoat. The abuse directed at Mustafi shames us all. Any player wearing the shirt should get our unconditional support at games.

So try to be objective and let us know how you value Xhaka’s role in the team.



Pepe to wing it for Arsenal

July 30, 2019

We have been renowned as a predominantly attacking club ever since the start of the Wenger era, but over the last few years we have arguably seriously overlooked one area of our attacking department within the squad.

Earlier Wenger teams seemed to be bolstered by high quality, attacking, goal-scoring, pacey wide players, but for the last number of years this position has seemingly been overlooked at Arsenal to the point it almost appeared as if it was deemed non important to us in the modern era. However, a good look around at the other top sides seemed to highlight that all other clubs deemed these positions to be of high importance, and most often set up with these players in a 4-3-3 system, or a close variation on this.

Fingers are currently crossed throughout goonerdom that Pepe will be the new man to wing it for Arsenal.

The modern wide player seems to be something between a winger and a wing forward that operate either side of a lead striker most often, with the majority of the top clubs, in a rotating front 3 sharing goal-scoring responsibility. These wing forward players also give the attacking width that can stretch the opposition without relying solely on the full-backs for width, so arguably also provide extra problems for the opposition in wide areas, with the wing forward and the overlapping full-back combining during the game.

Another factor in having specialised attacking wide players is that the full-backs don’t need to be permanently camped high up the pitch, and can therefore choose the right moments to get forward and join the attack, thus ensuring they are still, for the most part, covering their defensive responsibilities as part of the back 4.

I feel we have suffered a fair bit at times in not having these players in recent years, preventing us from being able to deploy a more balanced, but still attack orientated, formation. It is why I am excited this forthcoming season by the prospect of young players like Saka and Nelson coming into the first team environment and giving us something I feel we have missed for many years. If we were also to add one more top established attacking wide player, like Zaha or Pepe, to this then my legs will start to literally quiver in anticipated excitement.

One big question though is how should these wing forward players be deployed? Which particular player should line up on which side? Here are a few comments from yours truly, Fred, and LBG to get the thought process going.

Fred says:

Yea Nelson hasn’t impressed at all with Eddie I actually think je should be playing on the left on the 433 to start the season, I know it isn’t his natural position but he is a rich vain of form

GoonerB says (in response):

Fred, I had always assumed that Nelsons natural position was on the left side of the striker. I have still to watch the last 3 games which I have got recorded. Does this mean that Nelson has been operating from the right side? I seem to recall that most of the decent footage you see of him when he has done something in games, either in our academy matches or last seasons loan, seem to show him operating from the left. Either way Fred, I would agree with you that Reiss Nelson is a left inside forward predominantly, and should be utilised this way.

LBG says (in response):

Nelson is a left sided wide attacker, but as is customary left sided players nowadays are often used on the right and cut in to hit shots with their left foot. I personally want wide players to go round the fullback and cross from the byline, like olden times.

GoonerB says:

Wilf would really take up the position of Nelson while Pepe would take up the position of Saka but as I say pepe looks like he could move in centrally behind a single number 9 as well which may give us the better balance and also squad options.

Fred says (in response):

Think u got that wrong Saka plays on left and Nelson on right

So with the inside forwards, or wide attacking players, (or whichever other description you prefer), it would seem the jury is out as how to best deploy them. Academy players that are still developing should arguably spend time playing in 2-3 positions to develop their all round understanding, but I would suggest that once a player starts to become more of a first team regular that they should have a preferred specialist position (or side) where most of their play takes place.

Both Nelson and Saka, at their still tender ages, seem to have played both sides at different times, if you watch any footage of them. Maybe to date Saka has had more time on the left and Nelson on the right, but as a left footer and right footer, respectively, I would suggest it is now time to deploy Saka from the right and Nelson from the left if they are to become top class prolific goal scoring pacey winger / wing forward type players.

Why do I say this? Well if you were to make a list of all recent (maybe last 10 years) top level attacking wide players, at the top clubs, it is nearly always right footed players on the left and left footed players on the right. However I would love to hear your thoughts on this AA’ers.



The Emirates Hic-Cup … Arsenal 1 Lyon 2 – Match Report and Player Ratings

July 29, 2019

This was the sixth of our preseason games. We fielded a mixed side comprising Leno, AMN, Chambers, Sokratis, Monreal, Willock, Xhaka, Guendouzi, Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan, and Lacazette.

My initial thought was that I was glad to see Willock playing consistently in the first team and that we are moving away from the Mkhitaryan and Mesut combo. In reality, I suspect they were probably rested because of the attack earlier in the week. With Mkhitaryan seemingly playing on the left, I wondered who’s going to be playing the Mesut role?


First Half

There was a minute of applause for former Arsenal player Jose Antonio Reyes who was taken from us way to soon, may he rest in peace.

One thing I have noticed is how quickly Arsenal have been starting games in the preseason, and this game was no exception. Monreal hasn’t looked up to it early in preseason, but today he was sharp, on one occasion bursting down the  left flank and crossing but not finding an Arsenal shirt, and then on another being bundled over in penalty box. Sadly the ref wasn’t having any of it.

Lacazette was replaced early on by Nelson. He was seen later wearing a protective boot –   let’s hope this was just for precaution. Aubameyang moved to central striker with Mkhitaryan now playing on the right. Willock looked really bright,  collecting the ball from Guendouzi and smartly turning for a low shot into the keeper, and then soon after was involved in an attacking move in the penalty box. But he was eventually smothered by the  amassed defenders.

Arsenal displayed some great interchanging football. The opening goal came when Mkhitaryan who crossed to Aubamyang who headed the ball home, making it 1 nil to The Arsenal. Lyon had an appeal for hand ball by Chambers turned down, I wondered when I saw it if this would have been given in the EPL this season. Willock was ever present and was our best player in the first half.


Second Half

The first change for the second half was Nketiah on for Guendouzi. With this, Aubameyang moved back out to the right, Mkhitaryan was now playing the link between midfield and attack which I think his best position, and with Eddie as striker.

The two sides were going at it second half with Lyon now creating more. Nketiah headed a ball over the bar, and then fluffed his lines again missing a cross from Nelson. Soon after that, Nketiah received a ball in the box and turned sharply but his shot was smothered by the keeper. The chant of Eddie, Eddie, Eddie rang round The Emirates, he really is a fans’ favourite.

Some poor defending by Maitland-Nyles  failing to block a cross led to the equaliser from Dembele. Shortly after, AMN did make a great block on Dembele showing he can play with discipline. Arsenal thought they had restored their lead when Martinelli put the ball in the back of the net but it was ruled as offside. Soon after, we failed to operate the offside trap correctly and Dembele made it 1-2 for Lyon. Arsenal had a few more opportunities but couldn’t take their chances. Lyon were crowned 2019 Emirates Cup Champions – not a big deal, it’s always been a slightly embarrassing competition, but still, it’s better to win than lose.


Arsenal’s second loss in preseason was frustrating. We were in control in both games and yet ended up losing. It was another promising performance by the Arsenal youngsters. Nelson had a good industrious game, although he struggled to get through Lyon’s defense. Willock was amazing once again and Eddie did the hard work by getting into the goal scoring positions but then  lacked the composure he had shown in earlier preseason games.

If only Arsenal could change how they defend. Good to see Chambers back and at least he put in a good defensive performance. There was one occasion when Sokratis brought down Dembele and was lucky not avoid a card. We’ve seen it many times before. Our defenders are too slow to play such a high line.



Leno 7 – solid game but was left exposed for both goals

Maitland-Nyles 6  – needs to work on his defending

Sokratis 6 – solid today but still reckless when given the chance

Chambers 7 – was solid again nice to see him finally getting his chance

Monreal 6  – looked lively

Wiilock 9 – another great game and shouldn’t have been taken off …  MOTM

Xhaka 5 – Can the crowd please stop telling him to shoot

Guendouzi 5 – Nice to see him back

Mkhitaryan 6 – great assist for the goal

Aubameyang 7 –  took his chance well and caused trouble whole game

Lacazette 5 – let’s hope it nothing serious



Nketiah 7 – impressive as always, unlucky again not to score

Nelson 6  – I’m still waiting for him to impress me



How the Nicolas Pepe deal was really done ….

July 28, 2019

Despite being bombarded with stories that Arsenal could only afford the £40m offered for Zaha, it seems clear that the club is trying to buy Nicolas Pepe for a deal thought to be in the region of £72m ….. How?

Past transfer shenanigans have shown that deals can be made on a whim and a handshake at times, with players being snatched off the treatment table when having a medical for one club to jumping straight on a plane to sign for another.

Deals are done in car parks, engineered by other players, a casual phone call … all sorts of chicanery can be involved.

Mike M came up with this possible (albeit tongue in cheek) script of how the negotiations between Lille and Arsenal were conducted ….

Imaginary conversation:

Lille 1 : So we need $80m for Pepe or we’re not selling.
Lille 2: Hey Boss, Arsenal are on the phone inquiring about Pepe.
Lille 1: Tell them to forget it. They only have $40m they can’t afford him.
Lille 2: I told them, they still want to talk to you
Lille 1: What a colossal waste of time. Ok put them on.
Lille 1: So you’re interested in Pepe huh, my assistant already told you he’s not in your price range. We want $95m.

Arsenal: What is our price range? How do you know?

Lille 1: Everyone knows. It was in the media.

Arsenal. We’ll give you $65m structured as follows … (blah blah).

Lille 1: No we want at least $90m

Arsenal : The player wants to come to us, lets figure it out.

Lille 1: Ok.

Lots of talking……..

Arsenal: so $72m it is structured in the following way …. (blah blah)

Lille 1 : Ok. You’re lucky the player wants to join you. We already have offers of $80m. Deal. Hang up phone.

Arsenal 1: So they thought we only had $40m to spend. You think if we’d announced we had $100m they would have settled for $72m?

Arsenal 2: Hard to say, but I’m glad we didn’t kill that press rumour, it certainly didn’t hurt.


Lille 1: So I guess we did good. They only had $40m and we ended up getting $72 from them.
Lille 2: Good job Boss, I’d have never believed that a few hours ago.


NB – Hope we get him now !!!!!!

Mike M

40 Million Lies … Vinai tells it like it is …

July 27, 2019

Vinai Venkatesham was asked about the much touted figure of £40m as Arsenal’s transfer budget at a Q & A session with the Arsenal Supporters’ Club two days ago.

His answers didn’t conform with the agendas of many news outlets and so were only reported accurately by those who care about Arsenal … not those who seek profit from disseminating fake news. The figure of £40m had been so widely reported that it was accepted as fact by the majority of Arsenal supporters.

Here are the bullet points of VV’s response to the £40m question:

  • I don’t recognise this £40m figure
  • That doesn’t come from us, that doesn’t come from the club.
  • We never ever, ever, ever talk about how much money we have to spend because that’s the least helpful thing you can do.
  • It is true that our funds are more limited after three years in the Europa League, but the budget isn’t £40m.
  • We have the budget to make a difference, but as Raul (Sanllehi) says, this is a particularly tough window and we’re in the middle of it.
  • I sense and understand the frustration, but there is a huge amount of misinformation out there in the market.
  • About 85% of what you read just isn’t true.

Is Vinai lying? I don’t think so.

Maybe those who are more comfortable feeling a sense of injustice and have an intrinsic lack of trust in our management will continue to believe the negative press directed at Arsenal, but I would say that these few well chosen words by Mr. Venkatesham should be seen as very good news.



Bielik, Mavropanos or Mustafi? Which one should stay?

July 26, 2019

Bielik is coming out of his best full season with Charlton and had a very good Euros with Poland.

He is  home-grown and has 2 years remaining on his contract at age 21. He can play CB but was good at DM with Charlton.

Mavropanos hardly played for us.

He is 21 and has 3 years remaining on his contract.

He has shown some glimpses of true defending talent when he played but also had some rash and hairy moments.

He has been injured for a while now and needs to get fit.

We all know about Mustafi. He joined in 2016 and has failed to live up to the expectations we had of a World Cup winner.

Whether we play a back 4 or a back 5, we need at least 5 CBs. Sokratis, Holding and Monreal already make for three. Surely a CB will be brought in to replace Koscielny. There is one spot left, so…  who should it go to? Bielik, Mavro, or should we keep Mustafi?

Have your say and explain your reasoning.



Dani Ceballos … the ‘Real’ Deal

July 25, 2019

The smoke has turned into fire … any moment the club will announce that Dani Ceballos has joined Arsenal from Real Madrid on a one year loan deal.

The exact details of that deal are not known, the optimists will hope that there is an option to buy at the end of the 12 months … I very much doubt it, Real Madrid are not in the habit of letting developing talent go cheaply.

Ceballos is not Denis Suarez. He’s already proven quality. He has very good close control. He can weave through a defence and find a killer pass, he is a free kick specialist … he scores goals.

Feast your eyes on this  … but a note of caution, no-one can know how he will adapt to the EPL. He’ll get a kicked all over the park if he starts embarrassing opposition players as easily as you’ll see in this video ….

Dani was being courted by many top clubs and should already assume hero status by virtue of choosing The Arsenal over ‘that lot down the road’.

The boring stuff:

  • He’s 22, a Spanish national who has represented them at U19s, U21’s and in the full national side
  • He’s 5ft 10in, a midfielder who can play in several positions but is most effective in the advanced role of a No. 10.
  • He joined Sevilla as a youngster, signed his first professional contract with Real Betis and joined Real Madrid in 2017

There is no doubt that Arsenal are restricted in what they can spend. The loan deal for Ceballos (effectively coming on a free for the year) to some extent balances the plan to sign William Saliba and then send him back on loan. That deal involves delayed payment and so much of our £45m mini war chest remains … currently it may be in the region of £39m if you deduct the £6m paid for Martinelli.

Make no mistake, this is progress. We are getting a player who will significantly improve the quality of the squad. Ceballos is a Real Madrid player and a Spain International. The new management team have pulled off a major coup … the Saliba deal is all but in the bag … what next I wonder? … Would a centre back be too much to ask?






Arsenal 2 – Real Madrid 2 plus penalties and Player ratings

July 24, 2019

We started really well. Were deservedly 2-0 up inside 20 mins. First Laca scored from the spot after a clear handball on the line resulting in a Real red card. Auba made it 2 after a sublime flick from Laca and a neat if somewhat fortunate finish in the end.

We won the ball well in midfield, particularly Willock who’s touch sometimes portrayed his youth but his work rate more than made up for it. I remember thinking I wonder if I’m going to report a comfortable win against admittedly not a very good team, or how we managed to blow it. Unfortunately it was the latter as Sokratis got himself sent off with two quick and somewhat ridiculous challenges.

Even if you agree (and I do) that the first yellow was a little harsh, knowing you’re on a yellow should stop you committing a body check on Modric that leaves the ref with no option. Very stupid.

The rest of the half was fairly uneventful and we went in ahead 2-0, 10 against 10. I want to do player ratings for halftime and add that nothing in the time the players rated did in the second half changed their score except Jenko who was probably our best player over the 90 mins, Martinez who was a little unlucky and to be fair, did enough to maintain his overall rating and Xhaka who (apart from one fabulous ball to Eddie that should have won us the game), generally got worse.

Player ratings for the First Half

Martinez 8. Made a couple of smart saves and actually commanded his box on one set piece with a strong punch. Should have done better with the first goal but wasn’t helped by some weak defending.

Jenko 8.5. had a fantastic game overall. I will comment on him a little more at the end. Great effort.

Kola 6.5. Started well especially going forward and was a lot of the reason we dominated early. Faded in the 2nd half but a satisfactory pre season performance.

Chambers 7. Played well, especially in the first half. or at least I don’t remember thinking he was a weak link in any way. I would not be scared to play him in central defence during the season on that performance.

Sokratis 4. Disappointing, especially as my pick for captain. Very unintelligent and we’ve seen a lot of stuff like that over the years, I want to see different.

Xhaka 3.5. I really tried to be objective but I thought he was awful. If this is our captain, God help us. Sorry but that’s how I feel. No Xhaka Mk 2 unfortunately just more of the same. Also more to say about him at the end.

Willock 7. A bright spot for sure. How you could even compare him to his central defensive midfield partner beggars belief. But he got taken off, Puzzling. But he may be ready for the PL.

Ozil 6. I just didn’t think he was very good. Not just by Willock or Jenkinson standards but by $350k/week. Again sorry if I offend but this is all too familiar.

Miki 5.5. See Ozil except for less money. Still overpaid and underproducing.

 Auba 7. Laca 8. I’ll put these two together. What we would hope for and expect from a pre season game from out better players. Both were solid, enthusiastic and worked hard. Also did what they get paid to do.

My son (Liam) has written the 2nd half review so I could make sure this is as objective as possible.

For as good as we were at times in the first half we were equally as poor for much of the second half.

Monreal came on for an unlucky Joe Willock to replace the void left by Sokratis. Unfortunatley, the void left in the center of midfield was glaring and forced Mkhitaryn to move more centrally and pushed Özil out on the wing. We also decided that with a two-goal lead, it would be best to sit deep, soak up pressure and counter. The combination of these two things allowed Marcelo to wreak havoc by attacking Özil and ultimately led to some combinations between he, Isco, and Asencio before Bale tapped in for their first (56th min).

The pressure continued to mount down our right side and it only took three more minutes for Marcelo to again work a ball inside, this time for Asencio to tap home the equalizer (59th min). Shortly after that, Asensio went down injured and their attacking threat dwindled a little as he went off and both teams made late second half changes. Nketiah, Saka, Burton and Nelson all came on in the 75th minute.

Nketiah had a couple of chances to score late but missed both a 1v1 with the keeper after a heavy touch let him down and glanced a fairly open header wide. The aforementioned combined well during their limited time on the pitch and really looked like our only attacking threats. Ultimately, the score ended 2-2 and we went to penalties.

Penalties Summary: Nelson led off and placed a solid strike in the bottom right corner. Bale missed his, before Xhaka passed a tame effort straight to Courtois. Isco converted his and we were tied after two. Saka converted his spot kick next and Real responded to make it two all after three each. We were then 3-2 down after Monreal hit the post and Varane confidently put his away. Robbie Burton then put his effort high and we were handed our first loss this preseason.

Nacho 7 – see Chambers

 Gang of Four youngsters – 7 all looked good especially Saka. Eddie should have scored at least once but still looks good.

Caution to those that think these guys are ready for week in week out premier league. They have a little growing to do.

Just a couple of takes from this (the Old Man !!) To qualify, I still see this as a pre season friendly and don’t want to make too much of it.


However, I feel compelled to say that I would take Carl Jenkinson any minute of any day over Granit Xhaka based on their respective attitudes, leaving aside their performances. Quite what Unai was thinking both tactically and pulling Willock instead of the Pillock is just mystifying to me. That bothers me. The result doesn’t, but the resigned manner of the eventual loss, the inevitability of the lack of execution and the overall lack of committment by some of these players is troubling. But it’s pre season so I’m just going to keep my fingers crossed and hope things change for the better.

 Mike (and Liam) M


Message to Mr Kroenke, “horses for courses Stan”

July 23, 2019

This is a thought that I will bring to the table regarding the analysis of Stan Kroenke’s ownership of his other sporting franchises in the States compared to The Arsenal.

The question is, can they be considered the same animal? I am no expert on state-side sports but I would imagine that they are far less of an all encompassing global attraction, and are more marketable purely in the region in which the club is located, given such large populations in any given region in the States.

Arsenal has a fan base that stretches across the globe and a history that is probably longer and richer than anything else he has. Sporting institutions like the Rams and Nuggets surely can’t and shouldn’t be compared with Arsenal in the way they should be run, and the Rapids as a football team aren’t even in the same ball park (excuse the baseball pun). Different sports, different institutions with completely different landscapes with regard to finances, marketability, and what success or lack thereof means to the bigger picture and health of the club.

It seems that many feel that Kroenke will sing the same tune with Arsenal that he has with all his other franchises, but this sport and this club are different and should accordingly be run in a different way.

I am not saying that we are more special, but we are different, and the consequences of towing the same line, that he has with his other franchises, with a top globally supported football club like ours, could be far more damaging long term than what it would be with his State-side franchises.

It is up to our fan base to let him know that this is unacceptable. He deserves a bit of time to show he can do something different, especially following Josh Kroenkes poetic words and impassioned pleas to the fans (unfortunately likely pure BS though). I am not hopeful about Kroenke though and feel that this next period of fan patience with him is potentially purely paying lip service to a period of time before the inevitable fall out.

As I always say, “I would love to be proven wrong”.

Gooner B

Why the Sky has Fallen in on Arsenal’s Finances

July 22, 2019

There are eighteen days to go before the UK transfer window closes at 17:00 on the 8th August – the day before the new season starts.

The performances of our young guns in the pre-season friendly games may have some supporters questioning whether we even need to bring in more players, but for most, this is a time of frantically F5ing Newsnow and  scanning the twitter feeds.

This is a scenario we have lived through for many years … and it is not specific to Gooners, but we do occupy a unique position in the transfer hierarchy. The level of fan optimism/pessimism is directly related to the buying power of the team. The pressure is less at either end of the wealth scale. If you’re a City fan then it’s just a question of which world-class player will be next. If your club is lower down the table then it is usually more a question of ‘can we hold on to our best players?’

We are classed as a big club. We have a rich history and the trophy cabinet bulges. But we have made it crystal clear that we are not now and will likely never again (under the current ownership) be a club that can compete financially. If anything, we are likely to slip further down the ‘rich league’ as other clubs are swallowed up by super-rich new owners whose agendas go beyond promoting football.

It was easy for some supporters in the latter years of the Wenger era. He was the man in control of everything … and therefore (in many supporters minds) took the blame for everything. Since the shake up in the management, we have a head coach, and various experts managing different aspects for club operations. It’s a rather confusing set-up, so easier to focus any blame … if blame is your mindset … on our American owners.

The idea of building the new stadium to generate the income to compete with the richest clubs was laudable, but in retrospect rather naive. The fact is that the Sky money and the other media income streams mean that even the revenue from the much moaned about ‘expensive season tickets’ is far less significant. That media generated revenue is spread across all 20 EPL teams (not equally) and therefore gives no special advantage to Arsenal.

So if you want to direct your anger over our lack of available finance for shiny new players .. blame Sky.