Eintract Frankfurt vs Arsenal: Match Preview

September 19, 2019

We travel with a party of 19. Apparently 75 mins before kick off, it will be reduced to a match squad of 18.

Goalkeepers: Leno, Martinez,

Defenders: AMN, Luiz,Holding, Mustafi, Chambers, Kolasinac,

Midfielders: ESR, Guendouzi, Willock, Torreira, Xhaka, Ceballos,

Strikers: Nelson, Aubameyang, Martinelli, Saka, Pepe.

If we had beaten Watford, I’d have expected the line up to have been:

I expect Saka will drop out. Had we beaten Watford, he might have stayed in and maybe Luiz drops out. Emery needs a win. With that in mind, he may start along the lines of:

I also have to say, I really have no idea what he’s going to do. I have come to the conclusion that Emery’s biggest failure as a manager is his inability to control his senior players. I think he has little or no respect from them because I’m not sure he knows how to earn it. I don’t think he is confident in his convictions. The reason I say this is because if you look at the 4 goals we’ve basically gifted in our last 2 games, they’ve been from mistakes by senior players. If they respected or “feared consequences” from their manager, they would be unlikely to continue to make them. If you are part of a squad that watches Granit Xhaka continually struggle yet play every game he’s fit for (and some not!!), you might think the same.

Frankfurt are no mugs. They reached the semis of the EL last season and lost on penalties to Chavs. They have lost a few players, certainly a couple of their last season standouts and have started with 2 wins and 2 losses. They play in an incredible atmosphere and we will find it intimidating. I’d have said it would be a harder assignment than Watford away. That sounds a little redundant now.

This is a huge game for Emery. He is in danger of losing the fans, his fans (of which I am still barely one but he is seriously testing my loyalty). I’m tired of saying it but if Xhaka plays, we will struggle. I hope if he plays, we win 3-0. I will stand corrected. What I hope more is that he plays Willock from the start, hopefully with Gwen, Dani and LT and we play like an away team in Europe against good opposition. We play 2 banks of 4 and make them break us down, then hit them on the counter. Then after we take the lead, or are holding them, we bring off 2 attacking players and put on an extra midfielder and Martinelli for the last 15-20 mins to snuff out their midfield and keep it tight. But that would make too much sense, be too simple. It wouldn’t involve outsmarting everyone (incl. your own players) and all it would need would be 100% commitment and a lot of hard work. I’m dreaming.

Then I woke up and realized he’ll probably play 3 up front, Xhaka in the center of midfield and we’ll probably be 2-0 down at half time. Truly I hope not. I guess we’ll see.

No prediction I’m afraid because the line up is as unpredictable as the result.



Emery Bored … Already?

September 16, 2019

We were dire against Watford. No two ways about it. We made them look like the top four pretenders whereas we performed like we were in bottom of the league form.

Apart from the heroics from Leno and the pure class of Aubameyang, pretty much every other players scored less than 5 out of 10. So much so that there were too many choices for any individual to become the scapegoat. Inevitably the focus was directed at the manager – for his tactics, his team selection, and glaringly for his inability to coach the players to play out from the back after 15 months in charge.

The combined value of our players was three times that of Watford and yet, on the day, they put in a team performance that was greater than the sum of its parts – we certainly didn’t.

Here are some of the views expressed by bloggers yesterday …

From Rasp:

Emery it seems is like the later Arsene …his vision of how we should play is more important than the three points … tell that to the thousands of away fans who had the life sucked out of them when the first goal was conceded.

It was abundantly clear that our players had no faith in their ability to play out from the back .. you could feel the nerves.

Any decent, pragmatic manager would have sent out the instruction (probably at half time) that it wasn’t working therefore the keeper would kick the ball out to the flanks and our midfield should get tight on their players to gain first or second ball … but no, we gave the game away shamelessly.

GoonerB’s take:

As Rasp points out there are hallmarks of the latter AW with Emery. On top of what Rasp mentions there seems to be that trait of repeating the same things that are getting us into trouble. Bad formations with players out of position and not complimenting each other and then substitutions that dont alter the imbalance.

Arsene we can let it go with because he once was the prince amongst princes and the best of the best but simply the game moved on from him and he wasnt able to see it and react to it.

The board basically held out too long and we regressed as a club. Emery is younger and supposed to be that dynamic modern coach but I have reached the conclusion that he is not right for us.

LBG says:

Dick the insistence on ALWAYS playing out from the back does not work with these players, and even Man City dont do that. Adapt to the “quality” of your players. Stop making politician type comments and excuses. Percentage football is required at present .

Kelsey’s thoughts:

So far this season – in just five games – we’ve allowed 96 shots on goal, more than any other team in the Premier League, Serie A, La Liga, the Bundesliga, or Ligue 1 (via @ollysailor). That is shockingly bad, and when you throw in the fact that since Unai Emery took over we’ve conceded 10 penalties, more than any other team, there are alarm bells going off all over the place for me.(from arseblog)

Those stats are absolutely shocking and Emery must take a proportion of the blame.This is at best mid table form despite spending a shedload of money’


I’m not ready to write off UE yet, but in addition to the ‘playing out from the back’ problem, his substitutions yesterday were mystifying and only made us worse.

Willock and Nelson are not yet ready for intense first team football such as yesterday’s – they need to be eased in as late subs and in Europa League/Caribou Cup games etc.

Aaron’s hard hitting stats:


Arsenal are on pace to concede 60.8 goals this year.

Have played 13% of their games.

Conceded more shots than any team in the top leagues of Europe.

Know this, we are playing the worst defense I have seen the Arsenal play in a very long time. Emery has been in charge for 16 months and is continuing the run of play that the Arsenal exhibited during the season’s final games.

The question has been asked to death: what is Emery’s plan with no defense?

Sue’s response:

Aaron.. I saw an article earlier, about Unai’s time at Valencia (super cup v Real Madrid 2008/9 2nd leg)
Valencia were 1-0 up, Real were then down to 10 … but levelled. They then saw red again, so down to 9 men.. yet the score went from 1-1 to 1-4!!!! They ended up losing 4-2 (& losing overall) and that was with David Silva, David Villa & Juan Mata!! You couldn’t make it up!!!!

Not a great article & it didn’t fill me with confidence!! Also, it was on about him parking the bus from the 50th minute, with a slender 1-0 lead and pretty much always surrendering leads.

A balance to the debate from Fatgingergooner:

Even though I’ve done this above in previous comments, part of me does wonder if it’s a little unfair to question what Emery’s style is when at the same time we are asking him to forget his style because the players are not good enough to implement it. If Emery is only the coach, as seems to be the case, then is it fair for us to chastise him for playing out from the back?

Should he just forget his whole ethos of possession football and control because the club haven’t given him good enough players? Im not convinced the blame lies solely at his feet. It’s not as if Pep took over City and transformed their existing CB’s into world class, ball playing defenders. He got rid of any players who couldn’t do it and bought ones who could. Surely it’s too much to ask Emery to come in and transform 30 year old defenders.

They are what they are. I think it’s up to the club to provide him with the correct tools that allow him to get the best results. I’m not convinced that’s the case at the moment, so I will still give him a bit of slack on that front.

Before the game, the jury was out on Unai for most supporters … after Sunday, many are now questioning whether he is the right man for the job.

But should we even be having this debate when negativity is the last thing we want transmitted to the players?

The atmosphere at The Emirates this season has been better than for many years – we need to get behind the team, get behind the players and leave it to those above Emery to manage him and rectify the glaring problems that Watford exposed.

What do you think?


Arsenal Playing the Fool …. Out from the Back

September 16, 2019

Where do we go from here?

This is not so much a match report as a scream of frustration, but I’ll try to articulate something about the game.

It’s safe to say that the first half yesterday was not enjoyable to watch. We were getting outplayed all over the pitch. However we got to half time 2 nil up through two moments of classy goal scoring from Aubameyang.

One of the shocking things about the first half was Leno playing us into trouble with short passes out from the back. Since the rule change of being able to have players in the box from the restart our play out has been appalling.

Guendouzi had already been given the ball under pressure, in the box, a couple of times in the first half and we’d just managed to clear our lines. Watford were now fully aware that they could gain an advantage and were camped close to our area at each restart.

And so it came to pass …………. we conceded probably the most ridiculously easy goal that any team can score!!!!! Not through a freaky accident, not through a one in a million chance but through suicidal play that those watching could see was an accident waiting to happen.

So several people could have changed the play. Emery? Leno himself? Xhaka, our captain? If Emery isn’t going to give an instruction during play then surely, if something isn’t working, then someone on that pitch has to take on the responsibility. Personally I think Leno has to take the initiative and switch play but I don’t know if those kind of instructions have to come from Emery.

All in all the disaster was completed when with ten minutes to go we gave away a penalty. 2-2 was a lucky result for us.

We had allowed 31 shots on our goal – Watford, bottom of the league, had strolled through our midfield time and time and time again. They were unlucky not to win this game.

We are in a complete mess. Xhaka’s comments after the game that the team were ‘scared’ are shameful. Emery’s comment about taking Ceballos off because it was hot is ridiculous. Watford had 31 shots to our 7. We weren’t even playing that game, we were just making up the numbers.

Where do we go from here?


No Lacazette – but Welbeck is back

September 15, 2019

Finally, the Premier League is back, after the oh so boring International break!

Our 5th game of the season, is a trip to Vicarage Road, to face a Watford side, who are bottom of the table. After 3 losses & 1 draw, they decided to give Javi Gracia his P45 & reappoint Quique Sanchez Flores – who managed them during the 2015-16 season.

Unai Emery is familar with him, having both managed in La Liga. This will be their 8th meeting and what makes it even more interesting is QSF has 3 wins to UE’s 1… with the other 3 draws…

Since Watford’s return to the PL, after an 8 year absence, we have faced them 8 times – winning 6 & losing 2, GF – 18  GA – 5.

They also beat us in the 6th round of the FA Cup with QSF as their manager!

Watford team news – Troy Deeney is still recovering from knee surgery, so will not face the team his son supports.

Etienne Capoue is a doubt, through illness.

Rob Holding is back in full training, but doubt he will feature, what with being absent for so long.

Tierney & Bellerin are closing in on a return..

Willock had a calf problem, but is expected to be ok, as is Xhaka & Torreira.

As we all know, Welbeck was released at the end of last season and Watford signed him, so I’m just waiting for him to come back and haunt us, just like many others have previously.

Danny Welbeck made 88 appearances for us, finding the back of the net 16 times. One of my favourites was the last gasp winner against Leicester! But who could forget his goals against the Mancs – brilliant!! Will always think highly of him. He’s now played twice for Watford, but has yet to score…….

Watford are desperate for points & having changed managers, performances & results usually improve.. we need to get back to winning ways, after a disappointing loss & draw in our last 2 games. So it’s all set up to be a very interesting encounter!

Lacazette has been ruled out until next month, due to an ongoing problem with his left ankle. This is a huge blow, having scored 2 goals already this season…….. this will make for an interesting line-up.

Peaches here – I would start Reiss Nelson on the wing and put Aubamayang up top ……….. let’s see what Emery chooses.

The team I’m expecting to see is : –

Ref – Anthony Taylor

Assistants – Gary Beswick, Adam Nunn

4th Offical – Peter Bankes

Var – Chris Kavanagh Ass Var – Daniel Cook

Not going to predict a score, as I’m usually pants at it. I just hope we play well, Pepe scores & we win COYG

By Mrs Kolasinac

Expectations – How good can this Arsenal team be?

September 14, 2019

Following Mikes post comparing the class of 2019 to the class of 2017 I thought it would be good to  look at how strong we are “on paper” relative to our other top 6 rivals. I say the word “on paper” as I feel it is more of a reflection of the raw materials we have and therefore the potential of the side before factors like shape, balance, attitude, fight and leadership come into the equation.

That next bit of course comes down to how those raw materials are blended and shaped by the manager and coaching staff in order to achieve full potential. The assessment of the raw quality on paper allows us to see our potential relative to our rivals. This in turn allows us to set our expectations on the manager and coaches, not in a spoilt entitled way, but based on genuine reflection of our squad.

In order to do this I have subjectively picked what I believe to be the strongest 11 in each club. My format for this is based on who I believe each manager would (or should in our case) put out in a straight head to head meeting between the big boys, not taking into account injuries, and rotation in other games against smaller clubs where the strongest possible 11 is not always required. The choices I have come up with are open to interpretation of course, and feel free to disagree wherever you want.

There are question marks over a few positions with our other top 6 rivals, but also with our strongest line up, but I have picked the side I believe is our strongest line up and who I would want to face City or Liverpool at this present time to give us a foothold in the game. Considerations on strength in depth are important for the whole campaign but I think as you will see we are particularly strong (maybe City aside) in this over our rivals.

I have also based all teams on a 4-3-3 system (or variation of it) as if you look at the other clubs line ups they all seem to mostly operate in this system. I believe it is also our strongest system for those top table games. Here goes:



Bellerin, Holding, Socrates, Tierney


Ceballos, Torreira

Pepe, Lacazette, Aubameyang

Man City:


Walker, Otamendi, Laporte, Zinchenko


De-Bruyne, D.Silva

B.Silva, Aguero, Sterling



Alexander Arnold, Van Dyke, Matip, Robertson


Henderson, Wilnaldrum

Salah, Firmino, Mane



Azpilcueta, Zouma, Christensen, Emerson


Kovavic, Mount

Pedro, Abraham, Pulisic

Man Utd:

De Gea

Wan Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw


Pogba, Lingard

James, Rashford, Martial



Walkers-Peters, Alderweireld, Vertonghan, Rose


Eriksen, Sissoko

Lamela, Kane, Son

So there you have it. Arguably the strongest line-ups for each side in a 4-3-3 (4-1-2-3 really) system.

When I look at the defences, (including the keepers), Liverpool look the stand out defence at present. I think we look better than Chelsea and possibly Utd and are not far off (and possibly match) both Spurs and City. I also feel we have quite decent strength in depth now compared to some of the other sides in players like AMN, Kola, and Chambers. Of course Luiz is another CD that makes us even stronger in depth but I would still prefer him at the base of the midfield.

When I look at the midfield 3 I feel City look to have the edge, but not by too much. Are any of Rodri, Jorginho, Fabinho, McTominay and Ndombele potentially better in the holding midfield role than Luiz? I don’t think so and even feel that if we played him there regularly he could be the stand-out player in that position this season.

The other 2 midfielders look strongest with City, but ours are none too shabby, and I will stick my neck out and say that I believe we are potentially stronger than the others bar City here. Also, from a strength in depth aspect, we still have Willock, Douzi, Ozil, ESR to consider so again across the season we have great cover.

Up front I will consider the front 3’s as a whole functioning unit. City and Liverpool stand out. However, if Pepe finds his feet and our front 3 start to really gel we could have a front 3 the equal of those two, and for me, when looked at as a unit rather than a single individual (i.e Kane), we are stronger than Spurs, Chelsea and Utd. All our front 3 have the potential to hit over 20 goals each this season and are all high assister’s. With exciting young players to cover wing forward positions like Saka, Nelson and Martinelli, again I feel we have strong, albeit precocious, young talent that give us some extra strength in depth.

All in all I feel we look the 3rd strongest on paper, but I will also stick my neck out again and state that, on paper, we are not actually far behind the 2 front runners. If Emery can establish that strongest 11 and get it gelling and firing on all cylinders we could end up a lot closer to those 2 than we would have thought some months ago.

My glass is more than half full with anticipation, but on the flip side my expectations are also quite high. Over to you A.A’ers….. digest, discuss, agree, disagree, and tell me I am living in cloud cuckoo land.



How Does Unai’s 2019 Arsenal Compare to Arsene’s 2017 Arsenal?

September 12, 2019

Ahead of our 5th game of the season, where are we compared to Arsene’s last season (2017)?

I’m looking at 9 main factors in trying to decide how much of a better path we’re on compared to when Arsene left. Make no mistake, this is probably an examination of Arsenal under Unai Emery as anything else. It’s early in the season and maybe we can revisit this at the next interlull to help time move on. Sorry to RA in particular for not having this ready for this morning’s post (I had a couple too many margaritas last night !!). Sorry too if I’ve missed anyone!! Hopefully not !! So

Goalkeeper and Defence

2017 –  Cech, Ospina, Bellerin, Debuchy, Gibbs, Monreal, Mertesacker, Mustafi , Gabriel, Koscielny

Grade  – 6/10. Merts was a bit of a loss, Nacho will be too.

2019 – Leno, Martinez, Bellerin, AMN, Kolasinac, Holding, Sokratis, Luis, Chambers, Tierney

Grade 7/10. Leno is (will be) an upgrade, Holding is better than anyone else we had and we have a little better overall quality in the middle and Tierney should also be a good upgrade.


2017 – Ozil, Elneney, Ramsey, Xhaka, Coquelin,  AMN, Wilshere

Grade – 6/10. Obviously very affected by injury (didn’t even include Santi) but overall, where can you see any ball winning coming from? However also obviously very creative.

2019 – Ozil, Xhaka, Ceballos, Willock, Torreira, Guendouzi

Grade: 7.5/10. Definitely more strength and tenacity defensively but also with plenty of creativity. Even if you’d argue there was more going forward in 2017, it’s hard to create without the ball.


2017 – Giroud, Iwobi, Oxlade, Sanchez, Walcott, Welbeck, Lucas.

Grade:  6.5/10. Obviously Sanchez was dangerous and Giroud was a huge weapon in the air but we hardly used it !! Not enough quality wide and very one dimensional as far as goal threat.

2019 – Auba, Laca, Pepe, Nelson, Martinelli

Grade:  8.5/10. There’s a lot of firepower in this group. Probably not quite deep enough but wide players are much better in my opinion.

Management Team

2017 – Wenger, Bould, Gazidis, Law.

Grade – 4/10. This group oversaw a steady decline in player quality and mentality which I think when you compare it to this year, is very stark.

2019 – Emery, Ljungberg, Edu, Sanehlli, Vinai V

Grade: 7.5/10. Mostly based on this summer transfer window but also the team just seems a little more steely and solid. It’s early but I also think we should bear in mind the losses of Bellerin and Holding last season at a time when we were on a very good run.


2017 – Kroenke, Usmanov, Fanshare

Grade:  4/10. Did very little to help a sinking ship. Is it the fact that now KSE knows putting its own money in will reap benefits back to them alone? (This is also a great subject for a later post that I’d like to tackle !!)

2019 – Kroenke

Grade: 7/10: Got to give credit where it’s due. At least for right now. Substantial improvement

Mental Strength

2017 – Arsene talked a lot about it but who would you say showed a good mentality from all of the 2017 lists? For me, Nacho, Ramsey, Coquelin, Wilshere and Alexis would be the only ones I would want in my squad today for their mentality.

Grade: 3/10: Stemming from the manager I believe this has been the biggest failure at Arsenal during the later Wenger years. A team crying out for leaders, there were none.

2019 – I’d pick Leno, Holding, Sokratis, Luis, Ceballos, Willock, Guendouzi, Auba, Laca, for sure as players I think have a great mental presence on the field. I’d probably take Torreira and I’d imagine Tierney too but I’m not sure.

Grade: 5.5/10: Substantial improvements here. There are 3 or 4 players that need to be moved  on before I would rate us higher and an addition or two would help.

Defensive Ability 2019

Grade: 5/10. I am starting to understand better the massive correlation between a good defence and a solid defensive midfield. Until we fix that issue, our defenders are almost over achievers.

Attacking Strength 2019

Grade: 9/10. Similarly to our defenders, attackers allowed to play freely without fear of losing possession leading to goals being conceded will be better with good midfielders.

Fear Factor 2019

I think teams facing the current Arsenal team see a different proposition to a couple of years ago. I think we’re going to win a few games through not being intimidated that we wouldn’t have before. I’m not sure we’ll intimidate too many at first but hopefully once our front 3 get firing, that’s possible too.

Summary:  I’m not saying everything is rosy in the garden, far from it. But from a more stable ownership model through better overall management to an overall more balanced and athletic squad, I think we’re on the right track. What do you think?

Mike M



A bit of Arsenal history …. 9th September 1958 Arsenal 6 Bolton 1

September 9, 2019

Has there ever been an International break as boring as this one? There are definitely not enough foreign superstars in our squad to make watching Internationals interesting ……….. well for me anyway. Even the thought of seeing Olivier Giroud in the blue of France wasn’t enough to get me to watch their match.

So, I was tempted to look at the Arsenal History page on Arsenal.com to see what they had included for this day. On this day in 1958, Arsenal beat Bolton Wanderers 6-1. And that was after beating Everton 6-1 three days earlier.

My introduction to all things Arsenal was made when at the age of six I changed Primary schools and was looked after by a little boy who insisted that Arsenal were the best team to follow. His dad had been the captain in the late sixties, a gentleman by the name of Dennis Evans. This small boy and I went to school together for the next 12 years and then lost touch. Until one day I found him …………. or rather he found me at a builder’s merchants. We were 35 years older and one of us still looked the same, according to him 🙂

Dipping into Wikipedia and other research I discovered that Arsenal had a pretty good season 1958-59, finishing 3rd, 11 points behind Wolves and 5 points behind Manchester United. Tottenham finished 18th with Arsenal beating them 3-1 at home and 4-1 away.

These years are described as the ‘dark days’ for Arsenal but I would say that 1958-59 was a bit of a blip looking at the results for that season.

Yaaawn ………… roll on Sunday ……………


This Is Unacceptable From An Arsenal Supporter

September 7, 2019

You call yourself an Arsenal supporter.

You love the club, you’re proud of our history and achievements. You’re desperate for the current team to achieve its potential.

But is there anything you could say or do as a Gooner that would be beyond the pale? Anything that would just be plain wrong coming from an Arsenal fan?

I have to thank GoonerB for the inspiration for this Post. His excellent idea of asking whether it was time for Arsenal supporters to rethink their antagonistic attitude towards Ashley Cole (a former Invincible, after all) prompted a lively discussion.

Some readers were minded to forgive and forget; others would not be budged from the view that Cashley is a wrong ‘un and would never be welcome back at The Arsenal (among the many eloquently argued points I couldn’t help but smile at Bernard’s short but emphatic: “Ten men went to bed, went to bed with Cashley, ten men and his mobile phone, went to bed with Cashley. I rest my case.”).

The discussion set me to thinking about whether there are certain opinions that no self-respecting Arsenal fan should hold or actions they should do.

I reckon 10 years ago, when we were still in the doldrums of the new stadium austerity and Cashley was winning trophies for fun at Chelsea, it would have been almost unsayable for an Arsenal fan to express admiration for our former Number 3.

With the passage of time it seems views have mellowed somewhat. But what are the other taboos for a Gooner?

I’d love your ideas in the comments, but here’s a list of potential no-nos for starters: would any of them be a step too far?

Is it acceptable for an Arsenal fan to say any of the following?:

“You know, I really quite like watching this Spurs team.”

“Manchester United have been the best team of the Premier League era.”

“I really miss the mint-coloured away kit.”

“People are being very harsh about Harry Kane. I don’t think it was a dive.”

“I hope we lose because…” (insert cockamamie reason here, eg:“…it will help us get rid of the manager”).

“In fairness, Mike Dean is a really good ref.”

“Roy Keane was better than Patrick Vieira.”

“We should get rid of Emery and appoint Mourinho – he’s a proven winner.”

Is it acceptable for an Arsenal fan to do any of the following?:

Go to Totteringham home games and sort-of support the Totts when Arsenal are playing away.

Boo one of our own players during a game.

Leave more than five minutes before the end of a game (except in the case of an emergency).

Miss an Arsenal cup final because you’ve been invited to a wedding (including your own).

Sit down during “stand up if you hate Totnum.”

Withdraw your support because you don’t like the manager/team selections/results.

Wear an Arsenal shirt with “van Persie” on the back.

Feel you’d rather England win the World Cup than Arsenal win the league.


It’s Time To Bring Ashley Cole In From The Cold.

September 5, 2019

Ashley Cole has announced his retirement from playing yet there doesn’t seem to be much interest in goonerdom. I find that incredibly sad.

What happened that resulted in a player of his calibre, that came through our ranks, to be so overlooked by the gooners fan base.

Well I want to revisit the alleged crime, call it a cold case if you like, to see if there has been a miscarriage of justice. I feel there has been, and have felt this for a while now, especially in light of other later events with other players.

Ashley was arguably the worlds best left back for 4-5 years at his peak, which included him playing in the famous red and white. Not only that, he was one of our own and an invincible.

The following analysis is based upon the generally accepted version of events and the publisher accepts no responsibility in regard to any unconfirmed falsified aspects of the said generally accepted version.

“The court invites the prosecution to make its opening statement”

“Well your honour, Mr Cole joined Chelsea, a rival, and wrote a book that was critical of certain aspects of the club (Arsenal’s) contract negotiating team. These 2 factors have infuriated the fan base and now any relationship between Mr Cole and the Arsenal fan base is irreconcilable. The prosecution Sue’s for divorce”

“And now the court invites the defence to make its opening statement”.

“Well your honour’ you see Mr Cole didn’t actually write the book but agreed to have his name attached to it. It was explained to him by the publisher that certain things should be exaggerated more as it was better for sales. In addition Mr Cole really wanted to stay at Arsenal, the club he grew up at and loved, so much so that he agreed to a lower wage than he was being offered elsewhere. He thought he had a gentleman’s agreement but was shocked when the club negotiators reneged on the agreement. He felt incredibly hurt and didn’t feel the club truly wanted him to stay. At this point he decided it would be best to move on”.

Personally I feel Ashley has been overly maligned  by some margin, especially considering what a special player he was for us in such a special period.

The book was most likely ghost written and more poor judgement on Ashley’s part in my opinion. He will not be the first or last footballer to fall foul of making a wrong call based on poor advice of those around him.

Can we really not also see how hurt he would have been that after agreeing to stay on wages less than he could get elsewhere,  just because he loved the club that had brought him up, to find that they didn’t value him quite so highly and were happy to go back on their verbal agreement.

Ashley was probably the first of the modern generation footballers, at Arsenal, to have a high profile fall out with the fans, but I feel this case needs revisiting.

The crime now, so many years on, seems so much less, and in reality I feel the club’s negotiators were far more culpable for that situation and that fallout than the player himself.

It is time to bring Ashley in from the cold and for the fans to show Ashley the love again. We need to treat him as the legend he is. He deserves a place in the stand at the Emirates and he deserves the applause and appreciation from us all.

The defence rests its case.


Do We Just Blindly Trust Unai Emery?

September 4, 2019

The “Opinion” Connundrum

We had a fantastic discussion yesterday on the question of Unai and Granit Xhaka related to how fans feel about them. FGG and I went back and forth, many others chipped in and in the end it seems there’s a fairly broad spectrum of opinion. Obviously that’s what a blog is for and on this particular site, almost always discussion and differences of opinion are respectful. So it seems discussion wise we’re on the right track. So what about the subjects of our discussion? Some of the points raised in the discussion were along the lines of:

“Should we be criticizing our own players/manager?”

“At what point is it disloyal as fans to criticize our players/manager?”

“Do we back them through thick and thin, even if we see an issue with their performance?”

All of which are legitimate questions. It got me thinking, when was the last time I felt like being critical of our players/manager (before Sunday !!)? I came up with during the last 2 years of Arsene’s reign when I got to the point of despair with his blind belief in his players’ ethic which it seemed obvious to most everyone else, was severely lacking. Anyone who watched Adams, Bould, Vieira, Parlour, Freddie, Santi but to name a few will know what I’m talking about.

I got to the point where I just couldn’t trust AW anymore because I believed he was too close to the technicalities of his management to see the more simple picture, which was – play your best players who will do the job you tell them to, no matter what their name or “status”. Also find a Captain that will lead by example and demand those players do what they need to. I think most people would agree that this was in fact the case and the reason he had to go.

So here’s the question: Do we just blindly trust Unai and not take our players to task. I think everyone would say no to that so where is the line? At what point is it ok to question, criticize, hold accountable? Obviously I’ve reached my tipping point with Xhaka and yet, although Unai keeps picking him, I am not there yet with the manager. It will probably take a while for that but I feel it’s ok to question him at this point.

I know we’re just fans and we don’t have all the technical information, nor see the players in training every day so is there a point that allows us to voice our opinion if it’s not necessarily positive or even downright negative. I’ll not be a hypocrite here and admit I had a few choice words for people who have criticized Wenger, Fizman, the Kroenke’s over the years because I always thought there was more to the picture. So what do you all think? Are there rules for this or do we just have to agree that we all see it differently?

Mike M