Tag Archives: Arsène Wenger

Fake news filling the void of the international break

This international break seems to have gone on forever. They always do. There really has not been much going on, so there has been little to write about.

Some have filled the void by spreading fake news about Arsene Wenger in talks to return to Arsenal. How a 15-year-old from India who runs one of those Twitter accounts that copy and pastes News Now headlines has inside knowledge on Arsenal I will never know.

Fact is the account in question does not have inside knowledge on Arsenal, and is merely making stuff up for RTs during the dull international break.

There has been plenty to fill the time during the break. Mainly cricket and F1. Add in Peaky Blinders and Mindhunter and there has been enough to keep myself occupied. Even used the free time to de weed my driveway.

There has been some Arsenal-related stuff going on over the last week.

We had Eddie Nketiah and Riess Nelson performing well for England U21s. Both are clearly too good for that level. But probably not quite good enough to play regular Premier League football.

Eddie has done well on loan at Leeds and, worst case scenario, Arsenal should be able to get a fee north of £20million next summer if they decide to cash in.

He is a pure finisher and needs to work on his link up play. Around the world, the top strikers are no longer just goal scorers. The likes of Sergio Aguero, Firminho, Lionel Messi and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang also get involved in the build up play. Eddie needs to add that to his game.

On the worlds best strikers, FIFA announced their “Best” list last week. Auabameyang failed to make the list. It was not a surprise as he failed to win anything. However when you consider only 4 of the players outscored him on the list, you start to fill these things are a waste of time.

The fact that Mauricio Pochettino was named alongside Jurgen Klopp and Pep Guardiola as one of the best 3 managers last season sums it up. His Spurs side nearly lost as many games as they won.

Other stuff going on includes Grant Xhaka and paternity leave.

It is a story that has been blown out of proportion as people look to fill the international void.

His baby is due mid-October during the international break.

Xhaka’s Swiss team-mate Haris Seferovic has taken the same steps this week, leaving the squad early after becoming a father.

And Xhaka said: “There are more special things in life than football. For example, when you become a father.

“With Haris it was agreed that he gives everything against Ireland and then travels home.

“And with me, it would probably fall on that time when we play.”

He is not taking time away from Arsenal, but taking time away from the Swiss national team. There really is not much to complain about.

Tonight France play Andorra and it should see Matteo Guendouzi make his debut.

Fair play to the lad.

18 months ago he was playing in the French League 2, and now he is an Arsenal 1st team regular and about to play for his country. He has kicked on from last season and as long as he continues to progress, he could make it to the very top.

Real football returns at the weekend but before then we have more cricket!


Real News: The FA Cup draw; Fake News: Arsenal transfers

Morning. Everyone else flued up?

The only real Arsenal news over the last 24 hours was the FA Cup draw.

It sums it up when the draw was more interesting than the Round 3 games. Although watching Liverpool get knocked out was enjoyable.

As the balls were pulled out, Arsenal, Tottenham and Manchester United remained in the perspex bowl. 10 teams left. 8 teams left. 6 teams left. 4 teams left. The aforementioned plus Crystal Palace.

All that was important at this stage is we were drawn at home, regardless of who it was against.

A home tie against Manchester United is easier than an away game in South London.

Due to playing Cardiff City in the league on the Tuesday, Arsenal will play Man U on either Friday night or Saturday. It will be picked for TV.

It will be interesting to see what sort of side both teams put out, as they both play Premier League games on the following Tuesday. I imagine they will be very changed to the sides put out in the 3rd round.

Whilst the FA Cup is real news, there has been plenty of fake news in the last couple of days. Mainly to do with transfers.

It is that time of year when journalists earn their coin, fabricating (or exaggerating) transfer stories. Articles for clicks. Clicks for revenue.

In the last couple of days, Arsenal have had a £63m bid accepted by Real Madrid for James Rodriguez, agreed a £200,000 a week contract with Yannick Carrasco, approached Juventus for Medhi Benatia, been turned down by Pepe, and are set to lose out on Denis Suarez to West Ham as we can not afford the £20m fee.

What a load of rubbish.

So on one hand they are saying we are offering a club record transfer fee for a player who Bayern Munich have first option on (at half the price – they would just trigger the clause, then sell him to us. Easy profit), that we are offering a contract to a player far in access to what was on the table for Aaron Ramsey, but then there are reports we have no money. Want to loan a player from Barcelona, not sign him.

No one really knows what is going on. Not journalists, not fake ITKs who pretend to be journalists, not your mate Dave down the Dog and Duck.

Ultimately all these people are doing is trying to get attention (a bit like the idiot who moaned about Joe Willock after the teenager scored 2 goals for the club he loves in the FA Cup).

The last thing to talk about this morning is that lot up the road.

In an interesting interview, Mauricio Pochettino discusses parallels between his situation and Arsene Wenger’s.

Now ignore Pochettino’s complete lack of success compared to Wenger (or any manager to have won a trophy in English football), some interesting points were made.

Pochettino talks about an “unfair” expectation. That it is unrealistic to be expected to compete with the likes of Manchester City and Liverpool when you have huge financial constraints due a new stadium.

The most interesting part of the interview was when he talks about his future. He says he wants to be at Tottenham for 20 years, but then the doubt creeps in.

‘My only hope if I have the opportunity to talk with him is to ask if it was worth it. I don’t know what he would say. I would like to ask.”

He is wondering if it is worthwhile forgoing personal success for offers elsewhere where trophies are guaranteed (Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, PSG). Whether it is worthwhile trying to build something over a long period, only to be continually criticised for fans for perceived failure.

Pochettino is clearly talking about his own future.

Wenger turned down the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich and PSG whilst at Arsenal.

At all of these clubs he would have made more money, and had a better chance of winning trophies then he did at Arsenal. But he remained loyal. Kept faith in what he was doing. Backed himself to return the club to glory.

Would he say it was worth it? I do not know. But if Pochettino is already wondering if it is worthwhile staying, then he is also thinking about leaving…

A nice week with no football. A chance to recover after the hectic Christmas period. No boozing and get rid of this cold.


Unai Emery gives Arsenal fans plenty to ponder

As I sit here in the post Christmas / Boxing Day slumber, I have a few random thoughts to share about the current state of Arsenal.

For a start, we all surely knew before the season started that it would be one of ups and downs. Highs and lows.

Anyone who would have thought that Unai Emery coming in would immediately turn Arsenal from a side who finished 37 points off the top in 2017/18 to title challengers was unrealistic. There is a longer term project in place. Plenty of rebuilding to do.

After 22 years of Arsene Wenger and 10 of Ivan Gazidis, the entire club is having to re-learn. Learn from Unai Emery, who he is and what he is about. The same with Raul Sanllehi and ASven Mislintant.

Look at what happened to Manchester United when Sir Alex Ferguson and David Gill left.

Man U finished the 7th in the first non-Fergie season in 27-years. David moyes had the pre-season champions to work with. Emery is working with a side that finished 6th last season.

What we are now seeing is how much of a state the club, the squad, was in during that last 18 months of the Wenger / Gazidis era.

Emery is being hampered by not having enough quality players at his disposal.

By the time you throw in the injury problems we have at the back, alongside not having enough good defenders, we end up in the defensive crisis that saw Arsenal’s unbeaten run come to an end.

The squad really is a state.

We made some good signings last January, and further good signings over the summer. another two transfer windows will probably have seen a 40% squad turnover in 18 months – with plenty more still to go.

This highlights how bad the squad that Arsene Wenger left was.

Emery is also still learning.

He is not training or coaching a single player that he has dealt with before. A World Cup summer robbed him of some key players. It will take a while for him to learn about the players he has, how to play them, how to get them to tick, and how to get the best out of them.

There have been some odd calls from Emery – both in starters and substitutions – but he will learn from them. Change does not happen overnight and it is miles too early for people to be slagging him off.

This January the management trio of Emery, Mislintat and Sanllehi need to be backed by Stan Kroenke. Even if that backing is simply encouraging them to spend the funds that sit within the clubs bank account.

Saying that, we also need to buy the right players. There is no point buying someone for the sake of it and end up with another £35m Lucas Perez.

This is a building season. Over the next two transfer windows we need a central defender, left back and wide forward. We will not get them all in January. Just one would be nice. We need to buy in January, but not panic buy.

what yesterday’s game against Brighton showed is just how much we miss Hector Bellerin. He may have his critics, but he is a superb right back. The threat he poses on that right flank is incredible. He gives us a lot of natural width. We miss him.

We also miss Nacho Monreal of last season.

The Spanish left back is 33-years-old in January and injuries are catching up on him. Is Sead Kolasinac the answer? Possibly not.

Further up the pitch, Unai Emery clearly does not fancy Mesut Ozil.

The Ozil-circus has affected the start of the Unai Emery era. The manager needs to ensure it does not define it.

One of the odd calls by Emery is his attempt to start Pierre-Emeirck Aubameyang, Alexandre Lacazette and Mesut Ozil in the same team. It does not work and it feels like he is playing Ozil for the sake of it.

The German’s time at Arsenal is running out. Emery needs to be brave and sell him in the summer. Most fans would back the decision.

Arsenal already have the Ger,man’s replacement within the squad. Aaron Ramsey.

The Welshman has created more goals for Arsenal this season than any other player. He needs to sack his agent, sign a new deal, and get that number 10 shirt.

I am concerned about this weekend and the game against Liverpool. They are rampant at the moment and we could see a repeat of the 2014 5-1 defeat.

It is what it is.

Emery took over a team that finished 6th in the league. That could not win away. That were knocked out of the cup by Nottingham Forest. He has got that team, dragged us up and we are now back in the race for 4th.

The race for 4th is what most fans realistically expected. It is where we are. Best of 4th, worst of 5th.

All that said we are going in the right direction, our best players this season have been the players bought in under Mislintat. Another 2 windows will see 40% turnover in the squad.

Emery is clearly a good coach. He has improved the likes of Bellerin, Alex Iwobi and Granit Xhaka. The likes of Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi have also excelled under him.

There have been plenty to enjoy in the first half of the season.

We destroyed Tottenham in the Premier League and went on a 22 game unbeaten run. We have a great chance of silverware in the Europa League, and the FA Cup is yet to start.

The highlight so far is the youngsters getting bloodied in the cup competitions. Many of which are London boys who have been at the club from kids.

There will be more highs this season, and there will be some lows.


ps: that away kit is horrible. Bring on Adidas