The site was set up in late 2007 by Geoff and Pedro. They set out to create a place where Arsenal fans could talk about whatever they liked football wise without the fear of aggressive recriminations. Four and a bit years on, the site has posted over 1600 times and has over 1,000,000 comments approved and published.
Well good evening to all you folk in Britain, I know you’re suffering from bad weather and the exciting thought THAT BREXIT WAS RIGGED.
Cambridge Analystica did get me thinking, if I could get Ivan Gazidis and Stan K to play a ‘What sort of leader are you’ Facebook game, maybe I could shift Alexander Nix $50 to run a devious #WengerOut campaign to the board and the #WengerIn fans.
If I’m honest, it’s apparent my #WengerOut campaign skills have been pretty shocking. I needed Bannon and Mercer from the start.
The news today is dominated by United coming in for a whole bunch of Arsenal players this summer. Apparently, Jose wants Hector Bellerin to replace a right back he’s mercilessly bullying. The story goes that Hector is upset by the fanbase. If by fanbase, he means AFTV, he’s fucking deluded. Those guys don’t speak for the fanbase, they speak for themselves. I think Hector is smart enough to know that whilst his performances have been shitty this season, we all love his long hair and resolute attention to detail when it comes to attire.
Also, why the fuck would you go and play for Mourinho? He’s quietly destroying United at the moment. He’s spending all their money, and he’s breaking their best players. Sanchez has been shite since going there, and Paul Pogba is looking incredibly Sunday league this season. I’d love it if we slipped in with a cheeky bid for the Frenchman.
IMAGINE REUNITING HIM WITH ALLEGRI THIS SUMMER!
Another player linked with United is Aaron Ramsey, why? Who knows. Mourinho just dropped £400k a week on Alexis, and he and Rambo do not get along. Mourinho might have turned Ramsey into a player a few years ago, but now? He’d have the same issues he’s having with Paul Pogba.
If Ramsey moves, he’ll go abroad. I can’t imagine many wanting to pitch up at a United that is due to collapse in an 3rd season ego explosion this summer.
Top German journo Raph Honigstein reckons Arsenal bid for Emil Forsberg last season.
“Emil Forsberg has been in and out of the (RB Leipzig) team with injuries, and they’ve really missed him a lot.
“He is still a guy who really wants to go to the Premier League. He was very upset when Arsenal’s offer was turned down straight away by Leipzig.
“I think (Arsenal) will come back in for him because he has got a lot of talent.”
That’s an exciting story. He’s injury prone, which is perfect, and he has a lot of talent. The key to this sort of player is that he’s been educated by a Ragnick inspired Hassenhutl. He’ll know how to play in a pressing system, he’ll be footballistically intelligent.
ALSO, did you see Leipzig beat Bayern at the weekend? Arsenal spoke to their manager last season, and he’s certainly a man to consider when Wenger finally leaves the club.
Yep, SUPERSTAR WINNERTIVITY AURA MERCHANT Alexis Sanchez was an unused sub against Brighton yesterday. The Chilean wizard of giving it 100%, and caring 50x more than anyone else, didn’t earn a single minute.
So, where does that leave his stats?
Played 10. Scored 1. Assisted 2.
Even when he scored, it was a rebound from a penalty he missed.
Sure, tell me to move on, and I’ll tell you TO SHUT THE FLIPPING HECK UP. I enjoy the failings of others. I enjoy more to juxtapose them against the successes of the players who are really producing.
Nacho Monreal: Played 6. Scored 3. Assisted 2.
Mikkkkkkki: Played 9. Scored 2. Assisted 6.
The Armenian bottle job eh? He’s knocking out stats for fun in the worst Arsenal side since Wenger started. Imagine what he’d be doing in the United side right now. He might be giving poor old Alexis some service.
In other news, a cut off your left arm/right arm moment dropped out of the sky when Spurs vs United was drawn in the FA Cup. My head is with United, I can’t have Spurs winning and I’d love for Ed Woodward to give Mourinho another £150m to get Pogba and Sanchez firing on all cylinders.
Mr Cech weighed into the Wenger in/ Wenger out debate by simply saying it’s all a bit shit.
‘Obviously, all this speculation about the coach in, coach out and what’s going to happen next. ‘Once you as a player start thinking too much about it obviously it can affect your performance and that is not going to help you. So I try to avoid all these things but as I say everybody is different and some people might think too much about it.’
We’re now in the second year of blaming speculation for shite form. Last year because we didn’t know if he was staying, this year because he’s been so shit, players can’t believe he is staying. I hope Ivan and co are talking to the players to land a solid assessment of the situation.
If you read two things today, one being this, the second would have to be Per’s Interview with Der Spiegel. An incredible write up about a man we all love at Arsenal. He talks about pressure, anxiety, and the sacrifice of modern football.
“This is the first time I’ve spoken about the nausea issue,” Mertesacker says. The nervousness starts the night before the game. Clemens Fritz, with whom he shared a room back when he played for Werder Bremen, once called his attention to it. “He said he did everything he could to try to fall asleep before me. Before games, my right foot would twitch so hard that the entire duvet would rustle. It drove him crazy.” Mertesacker says he had never noticed it himself.
Then there’s the diarrhea he gets on the mornings of matches — looking back, he says it happened on more than 500 days of his life. Mertesacker looks down at his long fingers as he goes through the list. “I have to go to the bathroom right after getting up, right after breakfast, again after lunch and again at the stadium.” Everything he eats just passes right on through.
This bit on pressure was particularly interesting.
He says he wouldn’t have been able to handle another match at the time, and it wasn’t because of his heel. “I got eaten up by the pressure,” he says. “This constant horror scenario of making a mistake that would lead to a goal.” He stays silent for a moment. “You also have the fear during other games; you’re constantly looking at the scoreboard and counting the minutes. But at the World Cup, that was inhuman.” Mertesacker gets lost in his thoughts with his napkin, which he rolls together and then back apart again. “But could I have said that? That I was happy that we were out?”
Quite incredible to listen to a pro being brutally honest about how they think in big moments. He also had this to say on his last year with Arsenal.
“Everyone says I should really savour the last year, play as much as possible, really soak everything in,”
“I’d most like to sit on the bench, or, even better, in the stands.”
Fairplay to him, if anyone has deserved a break, it’s him. He put on one of the greatest performances I’ve ever witnessed in an FA Cup final last May. If he’s taking it easy in the final 5 months of his career, good on him.
It was pretty disappointing to read that Hamann, a fellow German footballer, would take pretty gross view of the comments, especially considering the demons he’s had to deal with.
“He makes another statement that is questionable for me”
“He is still under contract with Arsenal and says that he has no more buck and likes to sit in the stands. He is still paid by the club and has a responsibility.
“I find that disrespectful to the fans, his team-mates and the coach. The club is up to its neck at the moment and then you have one of the captains who sits down and says that he no longer wants to play for the club.
“Whether he is the right person to give young players values such as identity and loyalty next year, I have my doubts.”
Can you imagine being a young player and not wanting to learn from a World Cup winner / Bundesliga Winner / 4 time FA Cup winner? I can’t. What a toxic comment.
Per is a legend. I’m now getting excited about what he plans to bring to the youth setup.
“I want to attack the system. We are responsible for the boys who come to us. They cannot bet everything on the football card and neglect school.” He says that ultimately, only 1 percent of them will succeed. “And of the remaining 99 percent, 60 percent will become long-term unemployed.”
I mean, I’d prefer you attack the system and send some to the top, but it’s nice he’s thinking about the kids as humans.
Sorry for being off the radar this week, work has doubled down on crazy, and I’m struggling to give 2 hours a day away to writing, podcasting and managing the blog. The work/blog balance is off key, but fear not, I’ll be writing a strong letter to the boss over the coming days.
So what have we missed? A podcast this week. A series of work-induced issues stopped us spreading the gospel of Arsenal. It might be a case of re-upping the noise after the international break. But fear not, I have all my dates penned in for the next month, so you’ll be getting some full-throated greatness heading your way.
So what’s been happening in the world of Arsenal?
We continue to be linked to Jan Oblak of Atleti. The superstar keeper has a release clause of £88m, which I’ve no doubt we could circumvent for less. A few fans wetting their pants over his fee, I just don’t get it. Your spine needs to be strong, especially the man commanding the base. Look at how many points De Gea saves United a year. We need some of that. Oblak is an unbelievable shot-stopper, he’s slightly ginger which means he’ll have a vendetta against the world even if it is well hidden, he’s strong, he has great bravery, cat-like reflexes and he’s good with his feet. He’d be an immense signing. The great thing about a 25-year-old keeper is they last for 10 years.
Arsenal drew CSKA Moscow in the quarterfinals of the Europa League. An excellent draw. A geopolitical hot potato. Mother Russia, versus Theresa May’s Barmy Army. The stuff dreams are made off. I mean, even hotter if you’ve gained a full understanding of Russian cheating by taking in 2 hours of Oscar-winning doping documentary, Icarus. They did mention in that show that the issues spread to football. Would explain why Andrey Arshavin was so great for the first 4 months, then minced away into a bit of a lazy fat bastard.
The travel checklist is quite extensive. Are you black, brown, heavily tanned, from Essex, have you ever listened to pop music, have you ever thought about a rainbow… if you answered yes, or even thought about answering yes. Stay at home. Also, avoid the tea at all costs.
I think the game should be relatively straightforward. Wenger is padding his end of season sizzle reel a dream at the moment. He’s getting Europa draws that are either outrageously easy, as in Ostersunds, or he’s landing clubs that have the reputation of greatness, but the reality of shite (Milan). He’s an incredibly lucky manager. I still think Atletico will make for a tough draw. We have no chance in the semi-final because it’ll be two legs, but we have a chance in the final because THAT’s is the magic of the cup.
Someone asked if we won the Europa whether it would constitute a successful season.
Errrr… yes. Of course it would. Wenger has never won a European cup. Winning one, and gaining a route into the Champions League would have to take the same ‘OH MY GOD JOSE YOU GENIUS’ platitudes as the United manager. However, you’d still have to layer the context of the last ten years over the achievement. The club need to kick on, the fanbase needs something to care about, and Wenger isn’t the man to deliver. Winning a European trophy then moving on is literally the most ideal way to part ways with Wenger this summer. A bit like when Liverpool moved on Kenny Dalglish for the MIGHTY Brendy Rodgers (Brendy, a nickname as cringe as his team talks).
There’s a good piece on the Fan Forum that Arsenal held over at Arseblog news. This on Raul Sahnelli.
Talking about knowing Raul Sanllehi from MLS days. Very well known in the industry. Mentioned he has overseen 8 manager changes at Barcelona. Played down the meaning of job titles with respect to ‘Director of Football’.
An interesting point to raise about the Director, he’s clearly been brought in to deal with the change of manager, I just hope it’s this summer.
Raul also spoke highly of the club.
Extremely excited about this new project in my life. Very happy to be at the club, one of the top clubs in Europe. A club that everyone looks at. It was a no-brainier to join and very thankful for the opportunity. Someone asked me, ‘Why did I join Arsenal?’ I said, ‘Who wouldn’t!’
GET IN RAUL MAKE IT RAIN TROPHIES.
Ivan also went balls out on achievements.
Fair question. I have no interest in fighting for 5th, 6th, even 4th. We want to compete to win the league. Not going to go into change of manager, it’s not the right forum for that and it’s not respectful. Just because the manager hasn’t changed doesn’t mean there hasn’t been any changes, there have been many and a lot of investment. Recruiting the best people.
Let’s understand we want the same things. Myself, Raul, Sven and Darren Burgess spend all there time thinking about how to achieve this, working very hard, very capable people.
If you believe in karma or accurate journalism, you have to be laughing at Milan’s demise last night. La Gazzetta dello Sport wrote of Danny Welbeck before the first leg:
“If a player has ever summed up Arsenal itself, it’s Welbeck. He is capable of doing something really good, then falling over on his own and ending up face to the ground.”
“New drinking game: drink every time Danny Welbeck falls”
I hope the Italians were drunk on rage. Super Danny Welbeck dropped like a sack of Maris Pipers after barely being touched, giving Arsenal an instant reaction to a Calhanoglu long-range effort that had Milan 1 up. What made the uproar a bit fucking rich is this: Arsenal fans have been watching Danny Welbeck fall over unimpeded for 3 years. He’s so bad at standing up there are compilation videos of his best moments falling over.
It wasn’t a dive. It was just poor balance. Anyone who says otherwise just doesn’t understand the man, the myth, the legend. So fuck ’em.
Not that his fall was going to change the game. Milan were utter dross. Like I told you weeks before, the only difference between a Gattuso Milan and a Montella Milan is organisation. He has average players, he was never going to turn over Arsenal, regardless of how bad we’ve been… because we have much better talent.
I’m loving this result even more because of all the know it alls on Twitter giving me shit the whole way through this tie, calling me an uncultured fan. Bitch please, you can like Kevin Davies and be cultured. In the same way buying a plastic bag in Bergdorf Goodman doesn’t make you an elite style icon, watching Italian football won’t convince anyone you’re a connoisseur of the world game.
Italian football isn’t the rare Beluga caviar it was when we had to tune into C4 for a James Richardson special back in the day. The league is a Juventus feeder operation that can’t attract big crowds outside a few interesting games. The reason the Premier League is so dominant for TV is that it’s a better league, with better players, with better games. Pound for pound, we’d trounce Serie A. Calling yourself @LaRovesciataStronzo on Twitter won’t save your league or make anyone care about your snotty opinions.
ANYWAY, less about Italian fans, let’s talk about the game.
We stayed largely in control. I mean, Welbeck popped up with two goals and Xhaka forced a super weird error from Donnanruma with a long-range effort where the keeper ended up hashing the ball into his own net. He managed to palm a low shot to his left into the right corner. Terrible gaff for one of Europe’s young hotshots.
Talking of keepers, I’m not a fan of David Ospina, but what I do love is the pep in his step when he knows we can’t fuck up a result. He’s tipping over simple efforts, threading perfect over arm throws through the lines, just being an out and out character. I still think he was at fault for Milan’s first, but whatever, he’s just not that good.
Chambers had a good game at the back, everyone ticked over nicely, it was a cruise control kind of match. That’s 3 wins in a row for Wenger. I’m sure he’ll be hoping some of the fans make their way back into the stadium to make the rest of the season a little less embarrassing for him.
More good news for Wenger. This was the first time Arsenal has qualified out of the last 16 in Europe since 2010 when we went on to get knocked out by Barcelona when Robin was sent off for dissent. The manager refreshing his self-evaluation form as we speak, he’s only gone and done a progress! He certainly has a bit of a spring in his step in the post match prezzer.
“It’s much better. We needed that to recover from our results,”
“It shows how the team has responded. We had a difficult game but in the end we won it. If we have the results and the way to play football, the crowds will be behind us.”
To be fair, we still have an uphill battle if we’re to win the competition.
‘We would certainly want to avoid Atletico Madrid’
Red Bull Leipzig
I think I’d fancy us against the other teams, RB would give us a game, and maybe Lazio.
Anyway, the Wenger comeback tour continues! He’s going to do it again, isn’t he?
Unreal footage emanating from up north, where the fans are more salt of the earth than a whole east end pub eating jellied eels in unison to an impromptu Chas & Dave gig. Jamie Carragher, top-notch Sky Sports pundit, with a leg so enticing Thierry had to touch it live on national television, gobbed on a fan goading him through the window of his car. The man driving had his little girl in the passenger side (where the said gob flew in), was driving down the motorway at great speed, whilst videoing the whole incident on his phone. Which means he must have unlocked his phone, delicately swipped the setting to video, all whilst transporting his child.
He landed his reaction. Pussied off to a rag like a weak school kid. As a result, Jamie Carragher has been suspended by Sky. It’s all an embarrassing mess.
What I can’t have are the folk who think Jamie Carragher shouldn’t be held to high standards. When you’re in a position of status in society, there are expectations that come along with that. In fact, when you’re in any type of position working for a reputable company, in most walks of life, the act of gobbing at car whilst driving would generally be met with the termination of employment (if caught on the internet). Jamie Carragher deserves his suspension for bringing the good name of Sky into disrepute (LOL). This is nothing to do with poor old footballers having to be nice people, it’s about doing something scuzzy (and being dumb enough to get caught).
The guy in the car filming? He should have his behaviour dealt with by the police. Incredibly irresponsible considering he was carrying a child in the car. A child that was telling him to stop. Unbelievable, dangerous, and a flagrant breach of the law.
The spitting thing is beyond grim. I appreciate there is a section of the fanbase that can’t understand why British people get upset with spitting. Well, how about I piss on your leg? What, you wouldn’t like that? But it’s sterile when it comes out? It is a cleaner act than hocking up hell from your lungs, so why would you not be equally breezy about that act?
Any ejaculation of bodily fluid aimed at another person in public, without written consent, is an abomination. For me, it’s worse than being punched in the face. I’D RATHER BE STABBED. Ok, too far. But spitting is disgusting. Don’t do it kids. It’s just not cool.
TOP Arsenal inside informational scooper, Sami Mokbel, has revealed Arsenal are thinking of letting fashion legend, Hector Bellerin, leave come the summer. He reckons we’ll take the £50m and invest it in a centre back, a holding midfielder and a keeper.
I don’t feel sexy about this, mostly because he’s 22 and one of the best prospects in Europe. If he knew a fantastical new manager was coming in, would he really be leaving? I have my doubts.
Also, our accounts recently revealed £140m in the coffers. Why do we need another £50m? Feels like an odd player to ship on. Especially if we were serious about kicking Wenger out.
Talking of new managers, Patrick Vieira showed that he is a respect machine, hinting that he’d love to move to Arsenal, but not until Wenger is well gone.
‘Let’s say that some day it might interest me. But one day,’ Vieira told French newspaper L’Equipe.
‘I cannot say anything more because there is nothing to say about it and I do not want to offend Arsene, whom I adore and for whom I have a lot of respect.
‘Because I know that he suffers a lot from the current results, even more than hearing what his former players say.’
That reads to me like he’d defo be interested in moving to Arsenal if Wenger gets moved on, he just doesn’t want to put pressure on his old boss like Theirry did.
There was also a very strong link from The Sun about Max Allegri wanting the Arsenal job if it came up. I think he’d be a very shrewd coach, he’d be one of the few who could mount a serious challenge on the Premier League. Check out the Juventus documentary that’s on Netflix (‘First Team: Juventus’). Fantastic to see how a club steeped in tradition and expectation deals with the pressures of professional football. Allegri comes across very well.
Right, I think that’s me done. Have yourself a fab day, and please, please, please, don’t aggressively excrete bodily fluids or solids at anyone.
Final push on my Mundial debut. If you want to tap into some sweet Arsenal nostalgia, I wrote a piece about the great Dennis and Thierry partnership. One the best things I’ve ever written, and probably the the most effusive thing I’ve ever written about Arsenal. BUY HERE
Another day, another win. The good times just keep rolling for Arsene Wenger. The manager said that we’d gone from hell to heaven and he’s not wrong.
Nothing more satisfying than sticking it to Troy Deeney. It shows how low we’ve sunk that anyone cares what that clogger thinks, but reality is, we’re hanging out near the midtable these days, so he’s our level and it’s fine to find joy wherever you can under this regime. Not only did we beat the side he was captaining, he missed a penalty when they were still very much in the mix. I guess he didn’t have the cajones? Or maybe he’s just a bit shit…
There were other milestones, quite a few in fact. Mustafi scored Arsenal’s 1000th Premier League goal, making us only the second side to reach that number (United have 1066). Mesut Ozil joined the ‘I made it to 50 assists quickest’ club, nudging Eric Cantona out the way by nailing it in 141 games. Petr Cech finally landed his 200th clean sheet, an immense record for the legendary keeper. It was also Arsene Wenger’s 700th win of his career, an equally mega achievement, that’s been helped along by the fact he’s indestructible.
The game was pretty easy, Watford couldn’t get under our skin, and we pretty much flatlined them when Mustafi scored a really good header from an Ozil freekick.
Our second came from Aubameyang, Mikki slipped him in as he ran the line perfectly from the left, making no mistake on his second one on one of the game.
The third was a reverse of the partnership, Auba laying off the Armenian to bundle a scrappy shot past a keeper who looked like his view was slightly hindered.
I was very excited to see Mikki coming into his own. He’s had 4 assists and 2 goals in 6 games. Pretty good going considering the absolute state of the club at the moment, and it certainly bodes well for next season. Auba spoke after the game about finding his confidence, the guy is a very different player to the strikers we’ve had of late. He’s very much about hanging off the last man and sniffing out scraps in the box. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Lacazette comes back into the team. How well will he work with Mikki and a team finding their feet?
Nearly the perfect day, but Mustafi limped off injured. Hopefully not too much of a big deal, because it’d be great to have him ready for Milan at home on Thursday. I guess the other bit of good news is we managed to rest Koscielny and Ramsey without getting spanked. Having those two at their best for Europa League is essential.
The other black mark on the day was the fan protest. Empty seats were a real blight on the TV. Wenger had his say on that.
“There is a lot of negativity. It is like rain in England, it is easy to get,”
“Of course I worry because I want our fans to be behind the team, but after what happened in that week it is understandable.
“We want to have the fans on our side and we do everything to make that happen.
“I respect everyone’s opinion but I focus totally on my job.”
It’s always amusing when Wenger’s microaggressions come through. The lack of self-awareness around his part is staggering. The negativity is his baby. Arsenal fans aren’t unique to being fed up when they’re being fed utter dross. At least we don’t storm the pitch and try and fight players. Anyway, Wenger can call the current situation heaven, but a few wins until the end of the season shouldn’t fool anyone. We’re 12 points off the top 4, that’s the headline of the season, even if we do snare the Europa League.
Our Italian friends warmed up for that game with an away win at Genoa, they wrapped up the game in the 94th minute. Hopefully, a double away week will have them leggy on Thursday.
Right, the podcast is going to be Thursday this week, might as well do a big one after the Milan game.
Did I tell you? Great news on Joachim Löw is there’s not much meat to it. I have it on good authority from a few places that the rumour doesn’t carry much weight, and why would it? It’d be a daft decision. DAFT. Daft. Daft. Yer DaaaFT.
I think Conte’s agent said it best when he remarked that the smartest deals are done in the daft.
Wenger summed up the issue the fans have with him perfectly.
‘It’s not the person they hate, they hate the manager who doesn’t deliver the performance’
When fans say I personally hate Wenger, they’re so very wrong. People that know him have always told me I’d like him on a personal level. He’s charismatic, funny, intelligent, and loves to talk football. How could you hate that?
Do I hate his management performance? Heeeeell yes. If he turned that around, you think I’d be complaining? Heeeeeell no.
I really need to stop adding in these Americanisms into my writing… I asked someone if they could reach out to a person at work because they were butthurt yesterday.
Someone get British Airways on the blower, tell them I need a ticket back and my special food requirement is a marmite sandwich, some Jammy Dodgers and 3 pints of ‘GET IT TOGETHER SON.’
Back to the manager.
What you’re seeing here are the various stages of Wenger grief. First it’s not really a problem, then it’s a problem for the spoilt fans minds, then it’s a problem and the fans are to blame, then he realises that fans are important, then it’s about how sad he feels when there’s a problem and fans are right to be sad.
“But I’m just unhappy that we lose the games. I want to win, win with style even, so it’s very ambitious. When we don’t do it of course I’m suffering like everyone else.
“Arsenal is 30 million people, it’s not the suffering of one person, you want to make 30 million people happy and that’s what you care about.”
“It’s part of the job (a lack of sleep). It is surviving disappointments and finding solutions, it can make you a better manager to face crisis.”
I don’t care much for shared misery. When you control the situation soup to nuts, feeling sad about it is kind of pathetic.
… and that’s my issue, if Wenger truly cared about Arsenal winning, he’d try and solve the problems. He’d put his ego in Vik Akers store cupboard, he’d throw Boro Priromac and Gerry P in there too, and he’d seek help.
He doesn’t do that. He doubles down on his failing methods, and spends his time fending off attempts to help because they’re seen as attacks on his power structure. Remember, power is his drug of choice, that’s why he doesn’t go to Madrid or PSG. He can’t resist the buzz of a delicious line of authoritarian control. He’s the most important man at the club, he makes all the decisions, and he’s not accountable to anyone bar the guilt of Stan Kroenke.
He’s not serious about winning because he’s been trotting out lines like the above for 10 years. The fake end of season reviews, the ‘I’m going to make changes’ press, the war chest PR, and the occasional changeup of a formation. He’s needed ruthless backroom changes for years, he should have insisted on a new Chief Scout and DoF. He couldn’t handle it, it had to be forced upon him.
So as much as I feel for a man who is out of ideas, I can’t feel too sorry for him. We should be a fact-based football club and make data led decisions. Operating on sentiment is getting us nowhere, hopefully, the board carry out the difficult job of dispatching the manager this summer.
WE PLAY WATFORD TOMORROW. A player I will mostly be keeping my eye on Abdoulaye Doucouré, the Watford midfielder who is dropping stats like STATTO from classic TV series Fantasy Football League from back in the day (ahh, sweet memories).
Look at those numbers. He’s an all action hero! Apparently, Wenger likes him. Question is, could he make the jump to a solid midtable side like Arsenal (stole that joke from Twitter)?
The real eyes will be on Troy ‘I’m double aaaaard son’ Deeney. Watford sit 9 points behind us, which is comical really because they’ve been utterly shite since the last time we played them. Their season rapidly derailed BECAUSE NO ONE SLAGS ARSENAL, also, their manager fluttered his eyelashes at Everton, which rocked the squad’s interest in playing for him.
I expect we’ll take our scintillating form from Milan into this game and take them down. My main worry is Watford didn’t play midweek, so a slow start from a team that’s coming to bruise us could make things difficult.
Let’s see what happens. Arsenal need to course correct because the pack of crap behind us can smell an achievement. This won’t be as easy as Milan, let’s see what Wenger has in store.
Things have been so bad this year, I don’t quite know what to do with a good story?
Arsenal turned over Milan in their own backyard. I think I correctly called this the other day, because I know the Wenger story never really ends.
I was confident the hype bus was a little out of control, the Italians spent a lot of money on a lot of average players. So though their form has been impressive, and they’ve scalped some big teams, I didn’t think they’d cause us a problem. We have too many good players who’d be up for an away day against a legendary team. So it proved right, high on great food and fine fashion, we secured a great win in one of the worlds great footballing capitals.
We controlled the game start to finish, never looking in trouble. It was odd. We kind of Milan’d Milan. The first goal came from Mikki. Ramsey blocked a bad pass, Jack Wilshere picked up the loose ball and played it back to the Welshman, he laid off Ozil who first time clipped over the defence into the path of Mikki on the left side of the Milan area, he shimmied inside and ripped a fizzing shot in off a defender leaving Donnaruma no chance.
Arsenal going a goal up early was exactly what the team needed after a torrid run of away form. The nerves were settled, the thunderous pressing we were expecting didn’t land, and Milan was a long way off the pace.
Most of their chances came from sloppy keeping from Ospina. The Colombian nearly gave away a penalty, was super sketchy from corners, and just looked like he was desperate to concede. He was our only weak spot outside some painful finishing. I was tapping out my ‘we could pay for this’ tweet, but I needn’t have bothered. We finished the half strong. The goal was all about Ramsey, he flicked a Mustafi ball inside right into Welbeck, the Englishman sensibly spotted and played in Ozil who timed a perfectly weighted pass for the run of Aaron. The turbocharged midfielder rounded one of the best keepers in the business like Messi. A casual reminder he can be pretty devastating when he’s on form.
The second half was very composed. It was Arsenal behaving like an experienced Champions League team in an away game, the sort of performance we’ve generally lacked in away games in the Champions League. We weren’t overly adventurous, everyone looked like they knew their job and the centre-backs did a terrific job mopping up with very little drama to speak of.
Up front, Danny Welbeck worked tirelessly, but as usual, goals and end product were sadly amiss. I love the guy, but the ‘he always falls over’ talk in the Italian papers before the game was absolutely spot on. He blew some serious chances, that jokes aside, could cost us in the second leg. You can’t make a living running around and tiring out defenders. At least not at our level.
All in all, a very good game. If we can’t qualify with 2 away goals, then Wenger needs to be double fired at the end of the season.
So the good news is we’re back to winning ways. The team kept a clean sheet, played well away from home, and played some pretty exciting football at times. This should likely be a turning point in our season. We have a run of pretty easy games coming up, so there’s no reason for misery to continue.
My worry is Milan were naive. They didn’t show up. They didn’t attack us, they gave us far too much space and they tried to play us at our game which never works when your players are substandard. Watford might not give us that much respect at the weekend. We’re still fragile until we start winning in England on a more consistent basis. Hopefully the February blues can truly be banished with a beasting of Troy Deeney.
Turning the joy down a notch, as I mentioned before the game, a win against Milan doesn’t paper over the fact that Wenger is finished. If he wins the Europa, which is still a massive task, it should be the crowning glory of a fabulous career. The club needs to resist making an emotional decision if the best happens.
I know I should just let people enjoy the moment, and I’m not saying I didn’t love that performance yesterday. I’m merely pointing out that a Europa League win for Wenger is like being told you’ve had a last minute stay of execution whilst walking the green mile. No one is going to tell you not to celebrate that. However, reality will soon hit hard when you realize you have to share a cell with Big Horny Steve for the rest of your life. Wenger is Steve, you’ll regret the win if it means 5 more years of him.
Still, the two scenarios can coexist. The numbers and the data clearly point towards this being a disastrous season. We’d be even worse off if the team was playing a full-strength team in Europe. I’m sure the club know that. If Wenger wins, there’s no reason the club can’t still force him out of the club, just like Liverpool did with Kenny Dalglish before welcoming the mighty Brendan Rodgers. Imagine if exactly the same situation happens with us… I’ll be begging to bunk with Big Steve.
‘It’s the history of Tottenham. They always create a lot of chances but they always miss out. We always believe in the history’ Chiellini
Spurs dropped an utter classic of a performance yesterday, totally dominating Juventus until a smart tactical switch in the second half saw two goals in 3 minutes washout out Spurs dreams of anything outside a marginal gains season.
If you’re not enjoying this, you need to pack up being an Arsenal fan and go hibernate, football and the surround counter-joys are not for you. Going out at the last 16 of the Champions League isn’t acceptable for Arsenal, it shouldn’t be for Spurs. Absolutely hilarious that even at Wenger’s worst, he’s still making Cup Finals.
Anyway, I shouldn’t be too noisy, we have to go to the San Siro tonight and make something happen. I mean, let’s be real, is there a more perfect place for an Arsenal away tour? Beautiful fashion, fine wine, stunning food, and the fact it’s totally acceptable to roll a hamper into the ground. Their working-class fans probably think we’re peasants, but who cares, let’s just enjoy being middle-class in the ground free from criticism.
Wenger has been in banterful mood. This is what he had to say about giving advice to Gattuso.
“I don’t give him much advice. He was a great player here and he’s doing very well at moment. I’m not doing well so maybe I can get advice from him!”
Gattuso returned the favour, with a funny comment of his own.
“When I go to bed I dream of Mesut Ozil and Wenger, not about my playing days. That’s in the past, this is something different. You can’t compare it.
“Compared to Wenger I’m in the children’s team, I’m just starting and he’s been coaching for 30 years. In that regard it’s not a contest.
“He’s won so much in his career. My path is still very long. It will be an interesting match, with more of a new philosophy like mine against him and his experience.”
Back to Wenger, who clearly knows this is his last chance to make it happen this season.
“This is an opportunity we have to take,”
“It increases the pressure on it even more on this competition.
“It is difficult when you go through a patch like this, but it is a good opportunity to show you have the quality and the strengths and you can only show that when it is difficult.
“It is a good opportunity to show we can deal with that – and in the longer term it will make the team even stronger.”
I’m not sure Wenger or the players have the guts to go all the way in the Europa League, however, I do think there will be a buzz around the camp after watching Spurs tank.
There’s also a weird way of the universe, and it’d make a pretty good headline if we beat Milan, especially juxtaposed against the failing of our north London rivals.
Gattuso also needs to make a good showing for the home fans. The top 4 race is a little closer for him, but still pretty unlikely. The Europa presents a very good opportunity for him to become an even bigger hero than he already is, and their form is strong heading into this unbeaten in 13, after just beating Lazio in the cup.
“We have definitely improved mentally, technically and tactically, but we can’t make mistakes and we need to keep our composure. We must not be afraid of the 70,000 fans that will be at San Siro and show our qualities, both technical and physical. We must make it very difficult for Arsenal.
“The Italian teams are doing well in Europe, yet, we can’t compare English football with the Italian football nowadays. Ten years ago it was the opposite, but today the top players go to the Premier League.”
What I love about the Italian is his presence. When an English manager is passionate, it’s almost a dog whistle for ‘a bit thick’, but reality is, passion goes a really fucking long way. People can laugh, but they’re normally the sort of people who hack e-mail accounts in their spare time. Energy, charisma, fire, whatever you want to call it, is something football players tune into. This is Gattuso…
“I don’t want to hear anything about fatigue, we have no excuses, we have to get on the field with a knife between our teeth.
Wenger has an aura about him, but he doesn’t exude the presence he used to. Can you imagine him saying the above? When you’re a young kid, what do you see when you look at Wenger? Why would you listen?
The other part about the Gattuso I like is that he hasn’t just appeared in the game because he’s a fan fave.
‘ This was no case of an entitled ex-pro being parachuted straight into the top level; Gattuso had done his time in spells with Sion, Palermo, OFI Crete and Pisa before returning to Milan as coach of the primavera (youth) side. “I’m not a great coach,” he said after the cup semi-final. “I’ve had to cut my teeth and learn a lot.” But Milan’s physical performance, in particular, has improved under Gattuso. They have conceded only one second-half goal in 2018 and approach Arsenal feeling upbeat when, two months ago, this would have resembled a broadside of blanks between two sinking ships.’
Now, he’s certainly been privileged, but at least he’s done the rounds and cut his teeth.
We know Milan are not a great squad of players, but we know they’re organised, tactically resolute, and they’re definitely going to know we can be ruffled. Our players don’t like it up ’em, especially at the moment.
We’re without Hector Bellerin, who amazingly picked up an injury after earning a well-earned ‘you’re dropped’ in the last game. Aaron Ramsey will be back, which is nice. My biggest concern is I have no idea what Wenger is going to do. What’s the surprise? What’s different? How is he raising morale? How do we win?
A lot of questions I don’t have the answer to.
A couple of interesting stories in The Times. Basically, one says Wenger has said he’s not leaving Arsenal, they’ll have to fire him. An interesting strategy, but one with solid grounds, because no one was able to fire him last season. The second one, from the same journo, basically states there’s unrest about the money being earned by Mikki, Auba and Ozil… because they’re delivering fuck all to the team. I can understand those feelings. I feel that way about the whole damn squad.
Finally, we’re being linked AGAIN to Joachim Löw. This time by ESPN. Firstly, I have a hard time believing Arsenal are leaking candidates to any people outside the trusted few, secondly, I just can’t get behind this. It’s like Ivan is purposefully trying to ruin my life, why would he do that? I’m just a blogger ffs…
So, Löw found his calling in life. He re-engineered the German FA, he helped make the greatest generation of German players winners, he saved children from bears. He’s done incredible things.
However, club football is a different beast. Some say I should respect an unorthodox hire, but I just can’t, especially if it doesn’t feel well thought through. Our mission is to topple the mighty Pep G, a guy whose ideas are so complex, it took his player a year to learn. That’s what we’re dealing with. We need a manager who is in club football, doing trailblazing things, ready to take over a big club and blow up the league. How can that be Löw? Club football and international football are so different.
Outside the simple difference of 6 weeks work versus a year-round slog, there are so many things an international manager doesn’t have to deal with. Day to day bitching, unmotivated players, disruptive agents, players wanting to move, and here’s the big one… substandard players. Not only that, managing fitness over a season, rotating a squad, dealing with a relentless schedule, not having time to plan between games, the aggressive press in your face every day, transfer windows!
Löw has been managing the Real Madrid of international football for 14 years. Before that, he was average in an era Wenger was dropping invincible seasons. In fact, had you even heard of Tirol Innsbruck? That’s the last club he managed in 2004. What do people think has changed in those 14 years that’s going to make him an elite club manager?
Do you really think the club is going to hire someone to motivate Ozil to put in a shift more consistently? What are the key areas of his management that we need at the club? Is he the best at those?
Can he out develop Leonardo Jardim?
Can he deliver a better pressing philosophy than Hassnhutl?
Can offer a more innovative approach to football than Nagelsmann?
Is he less of a risk than Arteta?
Does he do tactics better than Allegri?
Makes no sense, especially when there are so many talented managers that aren’t as risky. There are so many brilliant names doing innovative things that might topple Pep under a bigger budget. There’s no reason to go with a manager who has to adapt to so many things he’s never been good at.
I would be completely devastated. You might as well just hire Carlo Ancelotti if you want to do this. I am PRAYING it’s a terrible smokescreen.
Right, that’s me done. Exciting news if you’re a podcast fan.
Quick post today, mostly because I feel like my whole life is just making content. I write this in the evening, podcast once or twice a week, then make sweet branded content during the day to much internet applause. Sometimes, I can only lightly content you in the morning, this morning is one of those days, and I shan’t hear a word against the stance.
I’ll be mostly tempering you today. That means I am planning to elasticise your hardened view that Arsene Wenger is off this summer. The reason I do so is because we’ve been here so many times before with Wenger. Think back to how many instances there has been where we’ve dropped a…
‘Lads, it feels different this time’
It’s like meeting a super hot person at a nightclub as soon as you walk in the door, it’s happened too early, she’ll be going home with someone else in 6 hours time when you’ve drunk your weight in WKD Blue and vomited on your fake Burberry jumper.
That’s the #WengerOut debate. He’s shit the bed too early in the season. There’s simply too much time for this to get better. Even players get bored of being shite, look at Roberto Martinez back in the day, after 7months of being terrible, his sides would turn on the magic. That’s Arsene Wenger. He’s dead, they’re sealing the coffin… but wait, what’s that? A Milan team going through a rebirth under a new manager.
European team that is average in good form (A streak to break)
Young manager a wily old manager can teach a lesson (A reputation to tame)
The prestige of a Milan victory in the San Siro (A glorious PR moment for the fans to savour)
This game has Wenger comeback written all over it. The man is never dead. Nothing will stop him from taking the club from the self-inflicted depths of hell, all the way back up to the end of the season for a taste of rich, creamy, glorious failure.
Listen to the fools state that Gattuso’s organisation and passion will make it hard for Wenger. Never. The only thing we know that’s more compelling to our manager than a dry transfer window is sticking the middle finger up to the doubters. He’ll never tolerate anyone telling him that he can’t just about nearly achieve enough to survive.
I think it’s cute that some sleuthers think they’ve caught Josh Kroenke out by using his own words against him. Dan from this weeks pod dug out these quotes of JK talking to basketball ITK, THE WOJ.
‘We have a saying over at Arsenal, victory through harmony. ‘I think that victory through harmony can take a lot of different meanings, but for me victory through harmony comes from communication.
‘You got to have open and honest dialogue about the reality that we are on because if we are sugar coating anything about ourselves, about our team, about our direction, we’re only kidding ourselves and we’re only going to be worse off for it in the long run.’
We’re a little beyond being honest with ourselves at Arsenal. Our CEO has already told the fans the manager was accountable to US (fans, not me), he also quipped that the ambition was to be like Bayern, and the best one was last summer when he said,
“There is no complacency anywhere at this club,”
“Our ambition is to win the Premier League and other major trophies in Europe,”
“It’s what the fans, players, staff, manager and board expect and we won’t rest until that is achieved. Arsène is the best person to help us make that happen. He has a fantastic track record and has our full backing.”
“If you look across the world of football, you don’t find better candidates than Arsene Wenger. We kept coming back to Arsene.”
How he said those words with a straight face is beyond me, I’d have dropped them with a knowing Wenger smirk. You know the one, where we think he has something planned and he doesn’t.
Back to Josh, you know a close shave in the Europa League – by that I mean a close quarterfinal we lose heavily in the first leg, then make up for it sort of in the home leg, but still lose – will be enough for a new deal.
He’s so green he’s probably spooked by Arsene’s number one PR stunt:
‘PSG have put the feelers out about Wenger’
PUUUURRRLEASE. Sure they lost to Madrid last night, and yes, they need a change, but you think that change is Wenger? A guy whose first action will be to strip out all the fancy stuff like tech and preparation, followed up by a 30 minute silent meeting to motivate the players. No chance. Wenger is so far from being qualified for that job, it makes me weep a bit inside that someone is planting stories so outlandish in the papers.
Great news is PSG
Right, that’s me, just a bit of a reality check. I need to temper your hopes, and keep you sane.