Tag Archives: Arsène Wenger

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


Unai Emery’s Red and White Army

There is not much to moan about down The Arsenal at the moment.

9 wins in a row, 2 points off top, the place is brimming with positivity. However, there is something that has done me head in since the arrival of Unai Emery.

The backing the manager has got since he joined has been tremendous. We are now singing about him once more and his army. But this is what is annoying it.

It is not “Unai Emery’s red army”.

It is “Unai Emery’s red and white army”.

It was “Georgie Graham and his red and white army”. It was “Arsene Wenger’s red and white army”. But at Fulham, it was “Unai Emery’s red army”.

Has it been that long since we sang about the manager that we have forgotten the words? Or does it just sum up society, that we are now lazy, looking for short cuts through life. That dropping off the “and white” is systematic of society.

Well let’s stop being lazy, lets get it right.

We became “Herbert Chapman’s red and white army” back in 1933 when he introduced white sleeves to the shirt. Despite kit manufactures meddling in away kits, it has remained that way for 85 years.

We might sing “red army” at times, but it will always be the managers “red and white army”.

Let’s start getting it right please.

It is “Unai Emery’s red and white army”.