Arsene Wenger – The End

Arsene’s reign to end in disappointment…

Arsene Wenger’s farewell tour continued with the latest destination being the Wanda Metropolitano in Madrid.  The Europa League semi final second leg offered the perfect opportunity for ‘Le Professeur’ to set up the fairy tale ending his tenure deserves by qualifying for a European final in his home country.  However Los Rojiblanco’s had other plans and in all honesty from a Gunners point of view the damage was done in the first leg when a lapse in concentration gifted the La Liga side an invaluable away goal just 8 minutes from time.

Arsenal made 8 changes from the side that started up at Old Trafford on Sunday but were rocked early on when skipper Laurent Koscielny suffered an Achilles injury putting his World Cup participation into doubt.  The Frenchman was subsequently stretchered off and the Gunners faithful would have been cursing their luck but in fairness to Calum Chambers he deputized brilliantly and was arguably the Premier League sides standout performer on the night.

If truth be told Arsenal seemed fairly comfortable up until the stroke of half time when a lapse in concentration allowed Diego Costa to pull wide undetected, escape the attentions of Hector Bellerin and eventually lift the ball over David Ospina who seemed overly eager to hit the ground.

The Spanish defenders form has been the subject of great debate throughout the season, we’ve seen far too many defensive errors and there is a feeling among the supporters he’s suffering from a lack of confidence based on his reluctance to take on a player and whip a cross in – something he was renowned for in seasons gone by.

In the aftermath, criticism of the teams overall performance has been excessive in my view.  Similarly to the first leg Arsenal controlled possession for large periods, defended well for the most part but lacked the killer instinct in front of goal.  That can be attributed to a lack of quality in key areas of the pitch, this current crop are evidently below the standard required to compete with Europe’s elite and so this was always going to prove a tall order. Perhaps things could have been different had Arsenal taken their chances at the Emirates or had the defense remained focused throughout, hindsight is a wonderful thing.

Atletico certainly aren’t the continent’s most technically gifted of outfit’s but what they are is streetwise, well drilled and passionate about what they’re being asked to do.  Those qualities have allowed them to compete with the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona for quite some time now and the job Diego Simeone’s done there should be admired.  Top quality players finish when it counts, defend when it matters and concentrate hard when things get tough – if these two fixtures have taught us anything it’s that the mental side of the game should never be overlooked, it can be just as decisive.

I guess in the depths of my heart I expected elimination the minute the draw was made but taking into account this is to be Arsene Wenger’s last season I hoped maybe, just maybe the players would find that extra level and repay him for the faith he’s shown in them.  There are numerous players in that squad who owe their entire careers to the boss because at any other top level club they’d have been exposed as the soft bellied fraudsters they are, the likes of Bellerin, Welbeck and even Mesut Ozil have been stealing a living at the top level for a number of seasons now – hiding behind the tall and lonely figure of Arsene Wenger.

In years gone by I’ve called the Europa League a Mickey Mouse trophy, labeled it as second rate and accused UEFA of exaggerating its value in order to generate the mass TV audiences that would subsequently line the organizations pockets further.   Am I as distraught as I was when we crashed out of the Champions League semi finals in 2009 for example? Not at all, this feels totally different.  This is more sadness rather than disappointment and that stems from my desire to see Arsene depart with his head held high, unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be.  The club’s greatest ever manager’s will leave empty handed and that’s hard to swallow but our fall from grace has been a gradual glide as opposed to a sudden crash.  It’s been a wonderful story full of ups and downs, we’ll look back on his tenure with fondness in years to come I’m sure but all great things come to a end.

Words: @HarrySymeou


Arsenal 1-1 Atletico Madrid: Not angry, not surprised but bitterly disappointed

It was supposed to be Arsene Wenger’s night. The scene was set, a European semi-final under the lights and our first in 9 years. The supporters came out in their numbers following the announcement the boss would be leaving in the summer and at least temporarily things seemed noticeably more harmonious. The club provided each supporter with a red or silver flag depending on which block you were seated in, an attempt to enhance the atmosphere and it must be said the place looked awesome as the teams made their way out onto the field.

Things started positively and the Gunners couldn’t believe their luck when Sime Vrsaljko was shown a second yellow card just 8 minutes after picking up his first.  Atletico Madrid were down to ten men and Diego Simeone’s reaction to the decision saw him sent to the stands.  German Burgos, his militant assistant was fortunate not to be dismissed himself considering he was found almost ten yards inside the touchline during his protests.

Jan Oblak was in impressive form, the Slovenian goalkeeper pulled off a host of impressive saves and further enhanced his growing reputation as one of Europe’s finest stoppers. Eventually, the deadlock was broken when Alexandre Lacazette hung in the air for what seemed an age before diverting Jack Wilshere’s cross downwards and into the right hand corner.

Arsene Wenger’s side continued to dictate the play but only managed to carve out a handful of clear chances in the second half.  With every passing minute Atletico’s defence took another step deeper and their fullbacks another step inside creating a deep and narrow block that seemed virtually impossible to penetrate.

Down to ten men, away from home and confident of overcoming a one goal deficit in Madrid – Simeone’s men reached for the continental textbook of time wasting.  Every free kick seemed to take an age, throw ins would be taken 5 or 10 yards further forward and the home crowd began to grow frustrated.

With just over 80 minutes played I would have said that was Arsenal’s best performances of the season.  Yes, Atletico were down to ten men from very early on and that would have proved a handicap however I’m not sure Vrsaljko’s dismissal altered their game plan all that much.

Despite looking defensively sound for the most part a Laurent Koscielny error gifted Antoine Griezmann with a glorious opportunity 8 minutes from time.  The Gunners captain in his attempt to hook the ball back over his shoulder and out of the danger area seemed to kick it into his face and the ricochet fell kindly for his compatriot.   David Ospina was able to block the strikers initial effort but couldn’t have done much about the second.  Add to that the fact Shkodran Mustafi slipped having managed to get himself back on the line  and this was a real sickener.

Atletico had their precious away goal, it was a real smash and grab and the La Liga outfit now have the advantage going into the second leg next Thursday.


Arsene Wenger has come in for some harsh criticism following this disappointing result but in my view he’s not to blame for what occurred on the 82nd minute.  His team was set up correctly, dominated the game having 20 attempts at goal and over 70% of the possession.  The Gunners simply weren’t clinical enough and ultimately an individual error from one of their most experienced campaigners has cost them dearly.

Atletico made all three of the substitutions available to them whereas Arsenal didn’t make a single change.  However, the Gunners were in full control and in all honesty there wasn’t much in terms of attacking talent to call upon with just Alex Iwobi and Eddie Nketiah on the bench.  Those who have criticized the Arsenal boss for failing to make a substitution are being overly critical and those mutterings have generally come from his biggest critics. Any excuse to have a pop!


Dismissed and sent to the stands but the animated Argentine could have been watching from Timbuktu and his players still would have carried out his instructions perfectly – That’s how well this team are drilled.

The introduction of Gabi in the second half allowed Atletico to grab a foothold in the middle of the park having been overrun in that area for long periods of the game.

Such was the defensive solidity shown by the Spanish side its easy to forget they were down to ten men so early on and for the most part Thomas Partey filled in excellently at right back.  A midfielder by trade the Ghanaian found things difficult particularly in the second half when Arsenal began probing with more frequency down the left hand side.

Simeone to his credit, all be it after they had already conceded identified it as a problem area for his side and brought on former Manchester City defender Stefan Savic, a natural defender to sturdy things up.

Final thoughts… 

Despite the disappointment and the advantage Atletico gained having scored that crucial away goal this tie is far from over.  Arsenal are just as threatening in an attacking capacity but it’s clear we aren’t anywhere near as streetwise.  To blame Wenger seems harsh but the frustration on show is a consequence of poor defending for as long as one can remember and therefore totally understandable.

I’m not angry, I’m not surprised just very disappointed.  We are Arsenal, we were never going to do it the easy way. COYG

Gunners rally late but the performance wasn’t great

CSKA Moscow 2-2 Arsenal FT

Arsenal made it through to their first European semi final since 2009 but not without a scare.  The Gunner’s progression was in real doubt when they found themselves two goals down on the night having played just 50 minutes.  At that point the Russian side were just a solitary goal away from turning the tie on it’s head and in a week where remarkable comebacks had become something of a theme the Gunner’s faithful would have feared the worst.

Nacho Monreal seemed to get caught under the ball when a cross came in from the left hand side and although Petr Cech made a fine save down to his right from Kirill Nababkin’s header he was unable to prevent forward Fedor Chalov from turning in the rebound.  Slack defending has been a problem for Arsenal throughout the season and shortly after the break it was Petr Cech’s turn to gift CSKA a goal.  Aleksandr Golovin’s shot was on target but should never have caused the veteran goalkeeper anywhere near as much difficulty as it did.

Peter Cech seemed to beat the shot down into the ground but once again a CSKA attacker was on hand to pounce.  This time Kirill Nababkin found the back of the net but questions will undoubtedly be asked of the goalkeeper for his involvement and not for the first time this season.  His failure to divert the ball away from the danger area proved costly and all of a sudden CSKA began to believe.

Twenty five more nervous minutes passed before Arsenal scored the goal they so desperately needed.  A fine move both started and emphatically finished by Danny Welbeck – the first sign of any real quality from the Premier League side and you could feel an over riding sense of relief in the way the 500 or so travelling Gunners fans and the players celebrated.  The pass that split CSKA’s ageing defence was provided by Mohamed Elneny, perfectly weighted, exquisitely timed and at first glance you could have been forgiven for thinking it had been played by Mesut Ozil.

The Egyptian international now keen to steal Ozil’s title of assist king laid on another sublime pass right at the death but this time it was for Aaron Ramsey to race onto.  The Welshman continued his excellent form in front of goal, beat the onrushing Igor Akinfeev with ease and levelled things on the night.

In my opinion Arsene Wenger deserves a great deal of credit for the way he managed the game this evening, the introduction of Callum Chambers and his decision to switch to a back three succeeded in changing the course of this fixture.  The change in system allowed both Hector Bellerin and Nacho Monreal to play in slightly more advanced roles as wing backs and as a result nullify the threats of  Kirill Nababkin and Kuchaev on the opposite flank who had caused the Gunners plenty of trouble up until that point.

The standout player on the park this evening was without question the Russian international Aleksandr Golovin.  He’s certainly one to keep your eye on during this summers World Cup tournament.  Despite being just 21 years of age he displayed a composure, a maturity and a truly magical touch.   He possesses the vision, awareness and intelligence required to compliment his outstanding technical ability and the sky is the limit for this young man.

Ahead of the game there was much talk regarding what impact the political tensions between the two nations could have on the fixture and those travelling to the Russian Capital.  However, despite many people’s concerns there were no reports of any disturbances between the two sets of supporters.  CSKA Moscow provided each Arsenal fan in attendance with a complimentary Russian style hat in order to protect them against the cold.  A nice touch indeed and one that highlights the willingness of the hosts to put politics aside and let the football take centre stage.

The Gunners will need to improve in the semi finals if they are to make the final in Lyon, I think thats obvious.  Given the way they had cut through CSKA with such ease and regularity in the first leg the fact Wenger’s side failed to register a shot on target for more than 70 minutes came as a surprise to most.  Atletico Madrid, Salzburg and Leipzig are all potential semi final opponents for the Gunners but they’ll feel as long as they can avoid the Spanish giants they have an excellent chance of progressing to the final.

Player Ratings:

Cech 5/10 – At fault for CSKA’s second goal.

Bellerin 6/10 – Average performance from the Spaniard.

Mustafi 5/10 – Fedor Chalov pulled off of him to open the scoring and the German international looked sloppy particularly in the first period.

Koscielny 6/10 – Despite some shaky moments in the early stages he improved as the game went on.

Monreal 5/10 – One of the worst performances I’ve seen from him in an Arsenal shirt.  Improved when the manager changed the system after Callum Chambers’ introduction.

Elneny 8/10 – Worked tirelessly and provided the assists for both the Gunner’s goals.

Wilshere 3/10 – Poor from the very first minute, caught in possession far too often, physically off the pace and the team improved significantly once he was withdrawn.

Ramsey 7/10 – Put in a good shift as usual and continued his fine run of goalscoring form.

Ozil 6/10 – Showed glimpses of his ability but his decision to pull out of clearing a ball from fear of getting hurt almost led to CSKA’s third goal at the point they were 2-0 up.

Welbeck 8/10 – Scored the vital goal by finishing off a move he started and worked tirelessly throughout.

Lacazette 5/10 – Anonymous for the most part, failed to have any impact on the game.

Words: @HarrySymeou

AW told JW he could leave during the summer, but was he correct to?

With Jack Wilshere’s contract hovering dangerously close to its expiration date I’m sitting here wondering how on earth the Arsenal find themselves in this type of situation again.  The uncertainty around Jack’s future has been a talking point for quite some time but I’m almost certain most of us expected this latest contract issue to have been resolved by now one way or another.  Jack Wilshere has been quoted as saying Arsene Wenger told him he could leave over the summer as the club were unwilling to offer him a new deal – I for one am not surprised by that and neither should you be, so why the seismic reaction to Wenger’s alleged comments?

Granted, Jack Wilshere has been able to stay clear of injury during this past few months and has performed relatively well at times but let’s not forget the managers comments were made at a time the England midfielder was sidelined and yet to prove his fitness.  From the clubs point of view, Jack had failed to make any significant impact during his loan spell at Bournemouth, his body looked fragile and as has been the case throughout his career it was impossible to predict how many games you’d get out of him.

You’ll struggle to find an Arsenal fan out there who is against the idea of Jack signing an extension, after all his return to the team has been one of the few positives in what’s been a rather depressing season.  It’s widely reported that Wilshere has been offered a new deal but in order for both parties to be satisfied he’d need to accept a pay cut.  The club clearly still has doubts over his physical condition, that’s the only explanation because there is certainly no question over his ability.  The likes of Jack and Ramsey (both in the spotlight regarding their contract situations) have just witnessed Mesut Ozil delay committing his own future in order to obtain the deal he wanted so it’d be naïve to think these lads and their representatives won’t be trying the same thing.

In my view, the club should do whatever it takes to keep one of the few players who understands what it means to play for this great club.  Care will have to be taken in the way he is utilized and you’d hope the medical staff can find a way to limit his injuries.  Of course there is a financial risk involved, but me personally, I believe it is a chance worth taking and I’d be deeply upset if he was to be allowed to leave.

Criticize the club, the manager, the board all you like because this situation must be resolved sooner rather than later but just remember Wenger’s comments were made back in the summer when most of us would have been feeling the exact same way.

Words: @HarrySymeou 

Twitter: @chronicles_afc

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Arsenal 2-1 Norwich – Nketiah steals the show

Edward Nketiah was the name on everyone’s lips last night when he came off of the bench to rescue Arsenal in the Carabao cup against Norwich.

Arsenal had made 11 changes to their win over Everton on Sunday and the bench, with the exception of Chuba Akpom, had players known only to the staunchest Arsenal fans.

Norwich had led through Josh Murphy’s fine finish and had every right to feel aggrieved when Eleneny only saw yellow for pulling down Oliviera early in the 2nd Half.

Arsenal began to push late on though and Wenger’s faith in his young guns proved its worth when young Nketiah equalised with 5 minutes left. He did so just 15 seconds after coming on the field as a substitute, and became the first player born after Wenger’s appointment to score for the Gunners.

Arsenal’s foothold was not to be given up as they dominated extra time, and that man Edward Nketiah rose highest from a corner to head the gunners into the quarter final draw. A night to remember for him and a player to watch out for in the future.

Dan De Luca


Premier League Review Show: Match Week 3

Our host Harry is joined by Football Journalist Dale O’Donnell (@ODonnellDale) and Memz (@FT_Reaction) from the FT Reaction. We discussed at length the problems around Arsenal Football Club, Manchester Uniteds title credentials and the futures of De Boer and Bilic.

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Premier League Review Show: Match Week 3

Four Reasons Arsenal are in this Mess

The transfer window has closed and Gunners fans all over the world have been left frustrated by the clubs failure to add to their underperforming squad.  Sound familiar?  This has been an ongoing issue since the club left Highbury for the Emirates Stadium but I find it astonishing that so many of the clubs faithful believed this summer would be any different.

The club has stagnated, the managers best days are behind him and the board are a cancer on this once great club.  The supporters feel cheated and rightly so but what can we do about it?  The answer is not very much.  Protests, banners and chants will all be in vein because Arsenal football club are a money making machine and that is the sole reason Stan Kroenke decided to descend upon our shores in the first place.  As long as the club continues to record profits the American owner certainly won’t be going anywhere.

Some choose to blame Wenger, others point the finger at the board but I believe it’s a combination of factors and therefore a far more complex issue to resolve.

Stan Kroenke & the Board

Arsenal’s majority shareholder currently owns the Los Angeles Rams and the Colorado Rapids; you only need to look at how those sports teams are performing to understand he’s only in it for the paper.  He’s a ruthless businessman who spotted an opportunity to grow his fortune and whilst it makes financial sense there is no hope of him walking.

The club has taken their loyal fan base for a ride and the early acquisition of Alexandre Lacazette was a smoke screen for what was always going to be a frustrating summer.  When will the fans understand that whilst Stan Kroenke sits at the helm with Wenger as his right hand man things will never change.  Like it or not, Arsenal FC are now a selling club with the number one aim of turning a profit.

The board consists of businessmen loyal only to the bank.  A panel of dinosaurs who don’t understand the game, value financial success above that of the team and disregard the fans who ultimately make this club what it is.  Not a football man in sight and nobody with the ‘cohones’ to challenge the majority shareholder.  A closed community united only by their greed.


During the last few days we’ve heard conflicting reports regarding the financial situation at the club.  On Wednesday night we were led to believe that the club were all out of cash and on Thursday we reportedly made a £92m bid for Monaco star Thomas Lemar.  Who do you believe?

During the 2016/17 season Arsenal spent a total of £96.3m on transfers, whether Arsene spent it well enough is a totally different discussion.

The board and ownership (rightly or wrongly) clearly feel the club cannot afford to outlay that kind of money for a second summer in a row.  Here is my theory as to why…

The club recognized that their two biggest assets (Sanchez and Ozil) were unwilling to sign contract extensions and therefore they stand to lose a substantial amount of money.  Arsene may have made a plea to the board and requested the permission to keep those two players at all costs even if it meant losing them on a free transfer come May.

The board accepted this but on the conditions Wenger would need to trim down the wage bill and recuperate some of the money spent over the past two seasons to compensate their sell on value depreciating.  Arsene opted to keep Sanchez and Ozil rather than trying to replace them with the likes of Thomas Lemar and all the other stars we were linked with.

I know what you are thinking, but Arsenal made a late bid for Lemar!  Perhaps Arsene, in his panic thought the club would sell Alexis anyway and had to act on some form of contingency plan.  When the Lemar deal became impossible Arsene pulled the plug on the Sanchez deal and the panic was over.

Yes, the reported bid for Lemar was huge but when you look at what the club were going to receive from the sale of Sanchez plus the profit we’d already made over the summer, in particular on the Oxlade-Chamberlain deal it still would have balanced the books.

As fans it will remain a mystery but that’s just some food for thought, like I said just a theory.

Arsene Wenger

The boss has come under fire more than ever in the past couple of seasons and the lack of progress on the field is clear for all to see.  You could argue he’s failed to sign the right players with the funds that were at his disposal.  His weak leadership and tactical incompetence have played a big part in Arsenal’s omission from the top four and things will only get worse.

He appears to have lost the dressing room and during the recent defeat at Anfield looked a broken man.  You could argue that the aforementioned contract situations mean we are unable to offer the kind of pay packets some of our competitors can.  But you’d be foolish to underestimate the impact Wenger is having on those stars.  It’s clear there is a lack of faith in the manager’s ability to restore Arsenal to the pinnacle of English football and the air of invincibility and power the board award Wenger with is counter productive in so many ways.

For this club to move forward, regain its competitive edge and be able to attract the calibre of players we once did he simply has to go.

The move to the Emirates Stadium

Arsenal moved to the state of the art Emirates Stadium back in 2006.  The idea behind the move was to increase revenue and put us on a level playing field financially with some of Europe’s elite clubs.  At the time the building of the stadium was sanctioned this in theory made perfect sense.

The Arsenal leadership could not have foreseen the rise in the Premier League’s TV revenue or the impact of the billionaire owner.  At the time the move was proposed you could forgive the board for thinking an increase in gate receipt revenue would propel them above most of the divisions other clubs and give them greater spending power.

The Premier Leagues TV revenue growth has meant that the clubs are now on something of a more level playing field.  Of course you still have your super spenders but this increased income means the likes of West Brom, Watford and Huddersfield have all been able to spend substantial amounts of money on players.

The consequence being that the league becomes more competitive and the advantage of having a bigger stadium becomes less significant in the modern era.

I’m not making excuses for the way the club is being run but its fair to say the landscape of the Premier League has changed and that would have been difficult to forecast.



A Troubling Time To Be A Gooner

Premier League: Liverpool 4-0 Arsenal 4:00pm – Firmino ’17, Mane ’40, Salah ’57, Sturridge ’78.

I’m not usually the type to delve into the darkest depths of my vocabulary after my team has suffered defeat but on this occasion I am well within my rights.  What the f*ck was that?!  Arsenal looked like nothing more than relegation candidates and that’s being kind.  I started this project prior to the season and up until now I feel I have been fair on the manager and the team.  In the past I’ve criticized those who sensationalize our failures and call for the manager’s head each and every time we are beaten.  I thought about writing this particular segment later on in the week when perhaps I’d have cooled off a little.

Well this time, I’m not going to wait, I’m not going to hold back and I’m going to record the troubling thoughts that have been going around in my head since Sunday afternoon.

Arsene Wenger simply has to go.  Have I said this before? Yes.  Have I gone back on myself in the past? Yes.  Will I make a u-turn if we’re able to string together a run of positive results? Absolutely not!  Sadly, this time there is no going back!  Like a blue bottle fly circling a pile of dog sh*t on the side of the road he just won’t leave us alone and refuses to accept the current team is something the rest of us see as exactly that, a pile of sh*t that stinks of failure!

When talking about Arsene Wenger it’s so easy to refer to past failures and use them as proof of my points but I want to stick to the here and now so I’m focusing solely on this embarrassing defeat and our season so far, yes the whole three weeks of it!

Team selection

For the second week in a row I found myself scratching my head when the lineup was announced.  If I was to look at a scripture in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics it would have made more sense to me than this particular Arsenal team sheet.

Laurent Koscielny returned from his suspension, Shkodran Mustafi had come through 90 minutes at Stoke and club captain Per Mertesacker was available for selection.  Any logical human being would think “great, that means we can play the so far impressive Sead Kolasinac in his actual position of left wing back, get some natural central defenders out there and put our defensive woes behind us.”  Not Arsene Wenger.

Does he sit there pre-match and think to himself “What can I do to really p*ss off the fans today?” because it certainly feels like that most of the time.  His decision to leave Mustafi on the bench tells me the German international is set on a move to Internazionale as reported.  The inclusion of Rob Holding was nothing short of a catastrophe and Hector Bellerin was once again played out of position to accommodate Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.  The same Oxlade-Chamberlain that turned down £180k per week in wages because he feels he’s worth more than that!?  I need not repeat my thoughts on the clubs most overrated player.

He looks to be on his way to Chelsea after its been reported the clubs have an agreement in place, so it’s no wonder he looked so disinterested at Anfield.

I mentioned in my analysis of the Stoke game last week that Aaron Ramsey resembles a headless chicken, he continues to ignore his defensive duties and was once again nowhere to be found when Liverpool opened the scoring.  He appeared to be communicating with the bench at the time and was completely unaware of where the ball was, let alone the danger.

Daniel De Luca, a regular on the Sofa Sports News podcast told me that he feels Rambo is a number 10 to which I replied “he’s a donkey.”  Dan then proceeded to agree with me “he is a donkey, but if I were to race him in the donkey derby he would wear the number 10 on his back”.

That there, pretty much sums up my thoughts on the player.  A man who clearly craves the license to join attacks without worrying about what’s behind him, a player who believes he is far better than he really is.  He may have been a standout player for Wales at Euro 2016 but let’s face it, the rest of that team is pretty sh*t isn’t it.

The current midfield lacks balance with Ramsey’s meaningless expeditions being one of the main issues.  Our best performance this season came at Wembley versus Chelsea in the Community Shield and it’s no coincidence that Mohamed El Neny was included that day.  Not necessarily the most talented player at the club but one who certainly knows his responsibilities and who’s priorities are to fulfill his defensive obligations.

Mesut Ozil proved nothing on the day, other than the fact he’s getting better and better at impersonating ‘Casper the friendly Ghost’.  I’ve spoken about balance and I made this point after the defeat at Stoke.  Ozil and Ramsey simply do not belong in the same starting XI, Granit Xhaka is being made the scapegoat.  Just like Mikel Arteta before him, the Swiss international will find it impossible to impress in a midfield that lacks any discipline.

I can see it, I’m sure you can see it but why doesn’t Arsene Wenger see it? That my friends is the million dollar question.

Alexandre Lacazette joined the club over the summer in a record breaking transfer, the club splashed out in excess of £50m on the French international only to leave him on the bench against one of our biggest rivals.  Instead the honest but let’s face it, useless Danny Welbeck got the nod leaving me and many other Arsenal fans astounded.

Not only has a man who’s scored just 11 league goals since his arrival 3 years ago been picked ahead of our record signing but he’s also been preferred to Olivier Giroud, a striker who has a far superior goal record and would have offered the kind of threat Liverpool have been tormented by in recent seasons.

“We want Wenger Out” was the chant coming from the Anfield Road end of the stadium after the final whistle.  Whilst the media rain cloud gathers above the Emirates, the future of Alexis Sanchez is now even more of a concern.  The window closes in just a matter of days and City have reportedly offered Raheem Sterling and a sum of cash to try and persuade the Arsenal to sell.  Worrying times ahead as the Arsenal exodus seems to be gaining momentum.



The Race for the Title – You get what you pay for!

The transfer market has gone bananas.  Cast your mind back to 2006 and the sum of £38m could buy you one of the world’s most prolific strikers – Andriy Shevchenko.  Fast forward to the 2010/11 season and that kind of money would bring you…Andy Carroll!

The latest Premier League TV deals and an influx of wealthy foreign ownership have contributed to a transformation in the football landscape nobody could have foreseen.  July 2017, and the previously mentioned sum of £38m isn’t even enough to sign half of Romelu Lukaku.

The money men at City have spent in the region of £133m on full backs, Romans Chelsea have laid out a further £119m and the idea of FFP (Financial Fair Play) is beginning to seem like a fairy tale.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…You get what you pay for.

Arsenal smashed their transfer record this summer with the acquisition of French striker Alexander Lacazette.  The Gunners are known for keeping their cards close to their chest and although the fee was officially undisclosed it was believed to be around the £50m mark.

Having splashed the cash on Granit Xhaka and Shkodran Mustafi before him, the Gunners are still not competing financially with the likes of Manchester City, United and Chelsea.

To put it bluntly, the Arsenal specialize in second rate signings. The game’s elite players demand the kind of wages that would blow the Gunners wage structure apart.  The power is with the seller and Arsenal’s reluctance to be held to ransom and pay a premium means they’re being left behind.

The same can be said for Liverpool.  Another club who’s fan base are desperate for premier league success.  Ownership who seemingly won’t pay the top dollar and a manager who’s inability to defend will ultimately cost them.

Tottenham Hotspur have exceeded expectations for two seasons now, but that won’t continue.  The financial burden of a new stadium and the move to Wembley will see Mauricio Pochettino’s side struggle to compete on all fronts and I’ve yet to mention their lack of transfer activity.

Throughout recent history, with a few anomalies of course, there has been a clear correlation between the title winners and the most dominant in the transfer market.   The title race will be between the top 3 spenders and the sooner the Arsenal, Liverpool and Spurs fans accept this, the better.

So you can rest assure, the Arsenal Fan TV melt downs will be back next season, the Spuds will end up heartbroken and the Scousers will still be talking about 2005!


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Steven Caldwell Interview

Transfer Rumors: Arsenal

The transfer window hasn’t officially opened yet but Gunners fans all over the world are already feeling frustrated.  Some things never change eh? 


The rumor mill continues to turn and the North London club has been linked with a whole host of players.  Here at I’m going to take a quick look at the rumors in today’s papers and try to make at least some sense of it all…


Starting with those already at the club, its being reported that Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez have been offered a 20% pay rise to sign contract extensions at the Arsenal. 


Our two most talented players without doubt and whilst were all looking at potential arrivals i can’t help but think the priority should be preventing their departures. 


The club have made a point of saying that even if they fail to extend their contracts neither of them will be leaving the club this summer.  


We would all like to believe the powers that be at Arsenal would dig their heels in but in reality if a £50m bid for either man comes in from the likes of Bayern Munich with just 12 months remaining on the contract Stan Kroenke & co will make sure the deal is done. 


Chilean head coach Juan Antonio Pizzi says Alexis has not been distracted by the uncertainty surrounding his future. “We think he’s very happy, he’s giving his best like everyone else”. He also said that Alexis is already at one of the “best clubs in the world”. 


It’s hard to tell whether he believes that or if he’s trying to deflect the media frenzy elsewhere leading up to their Confederations Cup semi final vs Portugal. 


Another player linked with a move away, perhaps more surprisingly is Laurent Koscielny. Gazetto Dello Sport claim that cash rich AC Milan are interested in the Frenchman’s services. 


There doesn’t appear to be much headwind regarding this story so I wouldn’t panic just yet.


Do not fear, our over rated centre half will likely still be with us come the end of the transfer window.  Why would he leave a club where he’s exempt from any criticism or responsibilities?


AS Monaco attacker Thomas Lemar has been heavily linked with a move to the Emirates in a deal believed to be worth around £30m.  A positive signing no doubt, but with Arsenals track record of concluding deals I’m sceptical until he’s wearing an Arsenal shirt on the official website!


Finally, the deal you’ve all been talking about! Conflicting reports have come to light today regarding the potential transfer of Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette. 


David Ornstein of the BBC today claimed a deal worth around about £48m has been agreed and only minor details were holding up its completion. 


However, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas does not think the striker will be leaving the club this summer.  


We just don’t know who to believe these days! 


When pressed on Lyon’s potential interest in Olivier Giroud, Aulas said they were certainly interested but things haven’t progressed.


That deal is dead. 


Twitter: @HarrySymeou

Has The Power Shifted in North London?

No, is the short answer to ‘has the power shifted in North London’ but the theory that this is ‘only one season’ is a quite common Arsenal rhetoric this week. It’s not one season, the ‘shift’ has commenced a while ago and really came to light last season when a title challenge was sustained by one side and not the other. It’s not uncommon for Arsenal to accept trouble when it’s too late (Monsieur Wenger) almost a natural denial mechanism.

So the long answer to ‘has the power shifted’ follows now. No one can say what Power shift means for sure but the answer to me should still be, no, not yet.

Power in modern football consists of various new things, and whilst I don’t think you’ll see a dominant era between the two clubs either way again like the one that has just ended on Sunday in terms of league position, There will unlikely ever be an opportunity for one to capitalise on the financial incentives of success to the extent that they can pull that far clear of the other that Arsenal benefitted from in the late 90s, the lie of the land is certainly changing

On the pitch, there is no gap anymore, I don’t think there has been for 3-4 seasons but if finishing above the rival at the end of the season was what was needed then that box has now been ticked. Indeed since redknapp joined Tottenham in 2008, Spurs have a marginally better head to head record against their neighbours in the league. That’s over a 9 season period. So not a flash in the pan.

A good period as a comparator as Spurs once went 9 years without even beating Arsenal once in the league. The dominance has ended quite clearly and arguably shifted slightly in Spurs’ favour when you consider that Arsenal haven’t beaten Spurs in the league for 3 seasons, and also a couple of the performances Spurs have put in away from home in drawing have been pretty dominant (one in particular), and the 2 home victories have again been more dominant displays than the eventual score lines reflected.

So are Spurs now ‘North London’s premier club’?

Well no, not yet. There are other factors that need to considered and other gaps to be closed.

A big impressive landmark stadium is a factor and an area that Arsenal could point to as a mark of their supremacy as a football club, in a similar way a mansion indicates wealth more than a terraced house, but Spurs are addressing that too and will have the advantage of over a decade of further innovations when the doors open in 2018, equal in size to their rivals too, possibly even deliberately 1000 seats extra capacity. Petty. But I’m sure a statement of intent.

Incoming revenue is another modern factor of power, and between stadium naming rights and shirt sponsorship, Arsenal benefit from £30m a year of income, when compared to AIA contributions to Tottenham of just £14m. Again though, that criteria is being addressed. Nike have signed a kit deal with Spurs for £25m-a-year. The benefit of he shirt being manufactured by the largest sports brand in the world will have huge secondary benefits. Whether it stretches as far to help with signing bigger players, I don’t know, but a player sponsored by Nike in a big stadium wearing a Nike kit is a lot more likely in 2 years time than it is now.

The naming rights to the new stadium will supplement the shirt deal and I haven’t seen the financial structure of the relationship with the NFL but I can only imagine it’s a handsome deal. Lucrative enough to warrant investing in the design and installation of a sliding pitch to be used just twice a season.

Champions League football has always been a measure of a clubs power, and Arsenal’s proud record of qualifying for 20 consecutive seasons will firmly have them in the driving seat and considered more of major club thanks to this exposure. Spurs have now secured successive campaigns for the first time and whilst they will need to at least progress beyond the group stages to start to warrant being considered part of the club, the gap to bridge to their rivals in terms of tournament progression is not a huge one to bridge.

However whilst Arsenal have continually featured for two decades its fair to say that they will rightly be perceived North London’s premier club across the continent, and of course they still haven’t missed out on qualifying this year just yet. That needs to happen once or twice for a shift in this category to be considered, or of course Spurs progress further than expected. I’d say currently though the situation is that the teams are more likely to meet in the middle than Spurs overtake, and the co-efficient supremacy Arsenal hold over their neighbours I’d expect to remain intact for the foreseeable future.

Champions League qualification has been wrongly in my view considered a trophy in recent years and the two North London clubs perhaps the biggest culprits of supporting this ideology, but in the quest for achieving this Arsenal have managed to pick up a couple of FA Cup wins and Spurs haven’t added a trophy to their cabinet since Pochettino took the reins or indeed since February 2008, the run is now as long as Arsene Wenger’s infamous trophy drought. The team need a trophy to consolidate their era of excellence, both in terms of style, financial sustainability and of course points on the pitch, over the last two seasons Spurs have amassed at least FIFTEEN POINTS more than any other side.

No teams deserve trophies, but their play, style and endeavour over the last two years would certainly make them worthy of one. Not a necessity in terms of a power shift as the opponent could well slip backwards, and having mounted a challenge to the league leader twice in two years when the more likely club to do so were their North London neighbours is another pointer to the swing that has clearly occurred.

Because of that form and the uncertainty around Arsenal’s managerial position, bookmakers have Tottenham down as more likely to win the Premier League Title next season than the gunners, and if that doesn’t change between now and August then that would certainly be the first time the gambling industry has felt that way since I was old enough to place a bet. That’s significant. The people / companies who could lose money would prefer to take a bet on Arsenal than Tottenham. How many seasons of that would constitute a complete power shift in that field?

The last area that has been overlooked largely in the media is the pulling power of buying / keeping players. Both clubs recent record of keeping key players has been pretty poor, and with Arsenal’s most expensive assets still to sign new deals, 5 of Spurs’ six most significant players have penned new deals in the last year tying them to the club until into the next decade. More power and control over the destiny of their players, or their next destinations should they demand to move on.

Significant to note also, is the spread of talent, in past eras Arsenal have had several talented players whilst Spurs have been devastated by the loss of their one star man. That scenario has flipped and you wonder what Arsenal would do if they couldn’t adequately replace Sanchez whereas Tottenham would certainly miss one or two players but the supporting talent feels a lot more equipped to manage if one should leave, indeed the title challenge has been sustained despite spells on the sideline for almost every player at some point over the season, and there’s also the feeling that the coach could improve a lesser player to help fill a gap.

All that said, just 2 years ago Arsenal were able to lure one of the World Cups stars to the club, after just one champions league group stage elimination is that situation likely to have flipped in Tottenham’s favour? Doubtful.

MOTD covered the topic on Sunday night at whilst the studio reluctantly agreed that Spurs would be the choice destination of a prime 24 year old, I’d still like to see some evidence of that before declaring that part of the shift complete. A young English player absolutely no doubt, maybe even an established player leaving a Premier league club, a top player from another European Club will still remain to be seen.

Spurs may say their philosophy doesn’t lead them down that path, but in reality it’s more of a case that club haven’t been able to attract the top players ahead of other clubs, and the second rate players that the club have signed have invariably been flops. 7 out of the top 10 most expensive transfers into Tottenham Hotspur have been complete disasters or at least failed to warrant the money spent. Sissoko, Soldado, Lamela, Bent, Janssen, Bentley & Paulinho have all on that top 10 fees paid list that have delivered less than their transfer fees warranted. Interestingly though Xhaka and Mustafi indicate to me the first signs that Arsenal are slipping into that pattern of having to pay big but for the types of players who are not top level. There record transfer of Ozil Failure to win a champions league knockout tie for 7 years will now be taking its toll. Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City, Leicester City and, you guessed it, Tottenham have all won a knockout game more recently.

As mentioned, Spurs need to repeat that achievement in the next couple of season and maybe beat a big European name on the way. This transfer window will be a good indicator of if things have changed at Spurs, and if Arsenal do miss out on that champions league spot how will they be affected in terms of what they can bring in. Not much has come through the academy in recent years, a far cry of a decade ago where the production line at Arsenal was seemingly well oiled and functioning well. Iwobi is a demonstration that it is still producing players capable of joining a first team. Spurs had only really promoted Ledley King throughout the first decade of the century, but in the last few years a glut of players have featured in the first team and the ones not quite title chasing standard have been sold on for substantial transfer fees, good enough to play for other premier league clubs. An academy has snuck up at Tottenham and is taking effect in a hugely positive way.

So back to the question of power shift. Whatever you think, depending on what side of the fence you sit or what the term means to you as a neutral. Has your mind changed at all after all of that? Is a shift further along or less so that what you first thought? How many of the boxes need to be ticked for you to declare it complete. A few more probably for it to become undisputed.

Whatever your answer it shouldn’t stop Spurs from celebrating another fantastic season of progress, rubber stamped with the league position above Arsenal that so many demanded. And whatever your answer it doesn’t alter the fact that the shift is at the very least well underway, and although I expect Tottenham to suffer setbacks in coming seasons that may not halt it  unless Arsenal can do something to stem the indecision and uncertainty that has overcome the football club. Becoming a premier club can be as much about teams falling than teams improving, the two simultaneously will speed up the process.

For now though, shift or no shift? Does it even matter?

For this season after 21 years, North London is undoubtedly white. And it’s been more than one year in the making.

De Luca


5 Things That Should Worry Spurs Fans About The NLD

Spurs go into the NLD Derby as odds on favourites with the bookies for the first time in the premier league era. In awesome form at home and playing some exciting free flowing football, and expected to win, there is still plenty to be wary of to avoid upsetting the apple-cart.

1. Chelsea win – Spurs are aiming for bigger things in the league this season than Arsenal. That’s not a dig, that’s just the reality of how it is. Any slim chance of winning the title relies on Chelsea dropping points today at Everton. If Chelsea win ahead of Spurs kicking off that could easily affect the players. With the title race over last season Spurs lost their last two matches to slip behind the gunners at the by the end of the season.

2. Over Confidence – confidence has been a feature of Spurs’ home performances of late, and whilst we want more of the same, this isn’t Bournemouth or Watford, this is Arsenal so some extra caution will be needed. Arsenal are one of the 6 clubs picked out to challenge for the title and whilst their season hasn’t been the best it’s not as bad as Arsenal Fan TV will have you believe. There are still good players, it’s still a NLD and they will be extra hungry to prove a point. They have had an upturn in form and momentum and a new formation that will make them hard to beat. Similar to last season anyone expecting a stroll may be disappointed. Patience will be needed. Maybe even coming from behind.

3. No Dembele – When the media hype up Spurs players this guy seems to be regularly missed. He’s our best player, and is undergoing a late fitness test to make today’s line up. The formation may switch from 3-5-2 to 4-2-3-1 if he doesn’t make it, and whilst Spurs should be able to shuffle and cope, having the big guy in there breaking up play and controlling the territory will be a massive plus.

4. Lloris error – Hugo is often subject to the old World Class debate. Is he? Isn’t He? The thing in the minus column would be his big match status. He doesn’t make many errors, or put in many bad displays but when he does it tends to be a big game. One in this fixture last year, to add to one at the Emirates, a couple against Chelsea last week, and a couple away at City. His mentality in big games is certainly a cause for concern and we’ll be hoping for no repeats.

And finally….

5. Theo Walcott – he may not be the best player in Arsenals squad, but he loves playing against Tottenham, and with Rose out may enjoy it even more than if he was available. Spurs have always struggled against his pace and whilst a far better side now, minus Rose the left back side is the area of weakness matched worryingly with Walcott who has always enjoyed plenty of action on the right wing in this fixture. Combine with the overconfidence factor, Walcott could have plenty of opportunity to stretch Tottenham on the break if they do not box it clever.

A fast and frantic start from Tottenham who may need an early-ish goal to stop nerves setting in as Arsenal play their way into the game and push forward more in the second half.

I always say if you back 1-1 in the NLD and the home side to win 2-1 you won’t be far wrong.
Or if you can’t decide, back each team to have 2 or more corners in each half at 5/2

Dan De Luca

Get out of our club!

Gutless, spineless, weak and pedestrian – just some of the words used in the media to describe yet another abysmal performance from Arsene Wenger’s side. Enough is enough.  This is a group of players who fail to understand what this great club stands for, led by a dictator slowly losing his grip on the club.  The revolt against Wenger began many years ago.  Initially led by a small section of the fan base it has developed into nothing short of anarchy.  The clubs loyal fans are fighting amongst themselves and whilst the rest of the football world condemns their actions I am pleased to see there is still some passion around the club, all be it on the terraces rather than on the pitch!

Off the field issues…

Arsene must go, but he’s not the only problem at Arsenal.  The club is plagued with issues, starting from the very top down.  In Stan Kroenke, Arsenal have an owner with no interest in the sport, no ambition to win honours and quite frankly no clue about what this club once stood for.  He continues to give Arsene Wenger free reign in the transfer market and a powerful influence on all club matters whilst sheltering him from all accountability.

The owner and his board of dinosaurs are a cancer on this club.  Sadly, the type that we won’t be clear of anytime soon.  The only hope is that we can find a manager capable of achieving more with our current resources.  The recruitment has been shocking for quite some time and based on the fact he practically runs the club you can only blame the manager.

Poor recruitment…

Do not underestimate the effect this has had on the clubs current fortunes.  Xhaka, Mustafi, Perez, Holding and Asano all arrived this summer just gone and the club splashed out in excess of £95m!  Shkodran Mustafi has been the latest in a long line of average centre backs to partner Laurent Koscielny and Granit Xhaka has failed to add the required steel to our non-existent midfield.  Lucas Perez can’t buy a game and the other two are nothing more than prospects we took a gamble on.  The club has spent vast amounts of money (by their standards) and it’s clear for all to see there has been no sign of any improvement.  Like Calum Chambers and Mathieu Debuchy before them Wengers latest recruits have failed to repay the faith shown in them.

The Playing Staff…

Much has been made of Arsene Wenger’s contract situation and whilst it’s an unwelcome distraction it’s not a good enough excuse for the recent run of form.

The spotlight is on Arsene but it’s time for the fans to turn some of their attention to this underperforming squad.  Ozil and Sanchez continue to demand improved contracts and hold the club to ransom.  If they don’t want to play for the club they should be sold, the Arsenal have replaced better players than those two in the past and nobody is bigger than the club!

After all, Mesut Ozil has been hiding for half of the season and seems to catch a cold every week whilst Alexis Sanchez prefers to throw tantrums.   This is a squad full of average players, Ramsey, Walcott, Ox, Iwobi and Gabriel just to name a few. They’re not fit to wear the shirt and sadly, Arsene is no longer fit to lead the club.

It looks as though Arsenal will finish outside of the top four for the first time in twenty years.  One can only hope our failure is the ‘catalyst for change’ Ivan Gazidis was referring too.

Arsene, Ozil, Sanchez & Kroenke…


AST provide Gunners Fans with an Update…

Arsenal 2-2 Man City – 2/4/2017

Having suffered 4 defeats in their last 5 league fixtures the Gunners managed to halt the slide and somewhat ease the pressure on under fire boss Arsene Wenger, for another few days at least.  Manchester City would have come to the Emirates feeling pretty confident and Pep Guardiola’s adventurous team selection made their intentions clear from the outset.

Not many managers are bold enough to field 6 attackers at the Emirates from the start.  Some would call it over confidence; others would read between the lines and say it’s an acknowledgement of his own team’s defensive short comings. Make of it what you like…

Two sides who continue to show they are defensively inept and a whole host of attacking talent on the pitch meant we were always going to see goals, all be it sloppy ones.

The Gunners failed to sparkle but their refusal to fall away despite having gone behind twice could lay the crucial foundations on which their revival can be built on.

With the unrest currently surrounding the Emirates stadium, the game itself became something of a side attraction.  The Anti-Wenger protests continued and videos emerging of Arsenal fans fighting amongst themselves continue to bring shame on our real supporters.

Most of the pre-game talk was around the Q&A session with members of 16 different fan groups, hosted by the club chief executive Ivan Gazidis earlier in the day.  The club were presented with the latest survey results from the AST (Arsenal Supporters Trust).  The results highlighted that 78% of its members were AGAINST Arsene Wenger being offered a new contract and communicated some of their qualms with the club.

Tim Payton of the AST was in the room and joined Jim White on Talksport this morning to provide us with an update of what was discussed.

Key points:

  • Ivan Gazidis told the supporters that the last 6 weeks had been a ‘catalyst for change’.
  • Gazidis was very cautious around discussing ‘personnel issues’ and was unclear on exactly what the changes would be.
  • He reiterated that the club has NOT put a contract offer in front of Arsene Wenger and a decision is yet to be made.
  • The board is actively reviewing the performances of the club on the footballing side.
  • Any offer made to Arsene Wenger will need to be reported on the stock exchange, Arsenal FC is a publicly listed club and so any stories suggesting he has already signed are to be taken with a pinch of salt.
  • Tim Payton does not believe Arsene Wenger will be the manager next season based on the fact he will be uncomfortable with the restructure the clubs hierarchy are currently cooking up.

Don’t just blame Arsene, blame yourselves!

Before the game it was Arsene Wenger, during it switched to Gazidis, moved on to Kronke, then after it was the players and then Wenger some more. All contributors to Arsenals current plight but the main culprits still avoid mention.
It’s you. You the Arsenal fans who have allowed this to happen. Arsenals fans for accepting a level for over half a decade that are below the standard that this club should be reaching. For being in Complete denial until now.
I told you this would happen, so did everyone, but you refused to see it.

You’ve caused this. By burying your heads in the sand as the downward spiral and stagnation set in and allowing the people who have made Arsenal their profession and business to fleece the club and yourselves further. By believing the dribble that has come out in press conferences following defeats. By looking for stats to defend consistent poor individual displays. By celebrating records that don’t pertain to anything like what the club are used to.

By allowing yourselves to be sold theories about how unfortunate draws have been the key factor behind European underachievement. By attributing shortcomings to a recurring injury list without ever questioning some players’ desire to get fit. By constantly referencing Tottenham when the heat was turned up in situations that were irrelevant and subsequently avoiding difficult issues. You’ve let your club underacheive because you were too proud to accept the demise and so as a result, instead of being one level below you’ve slipped further to 2 or maybe 3.

Other clubs haven’t necessary improved but at least they’ve tried something, and removed managers and players to demand more from their club. Arsenal haven’t even tried, as fans you have not demanded more from your football club. Instead, you’ve looked for an easy target to make yourselves feel better and the slope gets steeper and steeper everytime. The first 5 years is admirable and the loyalty warranted, but then 5 years becomes 10 and then 15 and gets to 20 & then 50 very suddenly, yet the arrogance continues. You’ve never really stopped to ask why the club have stopped challenging. You’ve never stopped to ask fellow fans why they looked down the table for comparisons instead of up. You’ve never bothered to realise the the manager who you say has stuck by his philosophy abandoned his philosophy almost a decade ago.


You’ve never wondered at what point after 1990 did Liverpool ever imagine they’d go 27 and counting without a title from a greater starting position than yourselves. The attitude that it could never happen to you, has stopped the symptoms being treated.
The only time you have ever challenged anything is when smutterings of your co-supporters have bothered to start to question, and now the group has got bigger and bigger you’ve probably not stopped to wonder if they were actually right when they began, and instead probably think they started too early and the time has come now. You probably still think they were disrespectful.

You probably think the fans of other clubs have no right to comment, and you’re probably right in that it’s not really their business, but you’ve certainly failed to acknowledge that all football fans have a right to share an opinion as an inheritance of being a fan of the beautiful game in a similar way, that you will do when a new manager takes over a big club and doesn’t hit the ground running. More importantly you’ve not ever conceded that they’re actually right this time, and that supporting a team that doesn’t win things doesn’t win as much as you did in the early 2000s and through your history doesn’t weaken their ability to interpret a situation, in fact it probably enhances it.

You’re probably reading this thinking that this is just a bitter fan of another club putting down the mighty Arsenal, and you’re right, except for the bitter part. No one else is bitter at all, they are just able to detach themselves from the emotion and see a situation for what it really is, using their wider range of footballing experiences from situations that they have seen before. I am putting down the mighty Arsenal, and I’m right. The underachievement has gone on far too long. You should be taking that as complement to the football club yet you’re probably not as there is still a bit of you that refuses to treat other teams fans as equals as the pedestal your club once sat on was so high.

What you’ve created is a culture of excuses, a culture of justification and a culture of doing the easy thing. Where looking down and laughing has taking priority over looking up and aspiring to improve and be better. A culture of doing the bare minimum, and the manager and the club and the board have taken the invitation and lined their pockets whilst never needing to improve as the level that was being reached was celebrated there was no requirement to invest or to risk.


You’ve convinced yourself there was no suitable alternative when managers have been and gone who all with the squad Arsenal have had would have made a better fist of a title challenge and a European campaign. Spurs have replaced managers who have achieved their record points total, Chelsea have sacked the special one, Liverpool have removed the man so close to bringing them the title, City have sacked two title winning managers, United sacked their manager one day after winning the FA Cup.

They all wanted more, whilst you didn’t want to change, they may not have achieved their wishes yet or may never will but they and their fans have still demanded the bar be set higher, you wanted to get to this point before the penny dropped. Now it’s gone to far, and the risk becomes bigger, at a time when the foundations for a new leader a weaker, and it could and should have been easy. A club now with divided fans that will make the next guys job nigh on impossible as with every knock he takes there will be the group of die hard wengerites still insisting he shouldn’t have gone.

The wedge has been driven by you as you’ve dismissed the group who saw the trouble first and now it may have to get worse before it gets better. Now is the time to accept you were horribly wrong and not allow yourself to sink back into the mindset that will undermine Wenger’s replacement or the recovery of the team to the top of English football will be daleyed even more, and the 12 will become 15, 20 then 50 in the blink of an eye.

All the while a great club servants reputation and legacy is pounded, he’s like a boxer taking punishment round after round but you sit in the corner not throwing in the towel. He’ll be gone next year and only then can the club start to properly move forward again, the board will have to act as, like you, their belief that the Champions League target will be achieved no matter what has waned.

If things stumble and splutter it had to be worth gambling with something that even the most delusional soul in north London can now see just isn’t going anywhere. So bad has it got that even a 2nd place finish and an FA Cup win is not enough to justify the last decade. You see that now, I know you do. A change has to happen, a risk has to be taken.

Whatever happens, Stick it out. Appreciate the parts of the game that you have not been exposed to for 20 years now. But do not blame anyone else. You’ve sold yourselves and your club short for too long. You’ve let them get away with it. You’ve let him reduce you to this. Deep down there’s no one to blame but yourselves.

Dan De Luca