The Emperor Has No Clothes

He's on a slippery slope.

Last season Arsenal weren’t good enough to win the league. For the first time in a while, there were no excuses to be found. We didn’t suffer the litany of injuries that had blighted previous campaigns. We didn’t have a busy run-in thanks to our relatively early exit from the Champions League. And with just eight games left in the Premier League season, we had the title within our control. Had we won those matches, we would be the reigning champions of England.

Instead, Arsenal finished the season clinging to fourth place. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that we might have finished outside the top four if the league campaign continued for another few weeks. Such was the precipitousness of our fall from contention.

When the season finally ended it was clear that we didn’t have enough quality in the side to maintain a serious title challenge. There were clear insufficiencies within the squad that needed to be addressed. Arsenal had conceded too many goals to win a title, but also failed to find the back of the net with the consistency expected from Arsene Wenger’s side. The manager had work to do this summer and promised that it would be a busy one indeed. Unfortunately, things this summer did not go according to plan.

At this moment right now, Arsenal are a vastly weaker side than last season. We are weaker in attack, midfield and defense. Assuming that Samir Nasri will be sold imminently, we will have lost an important player from each area of the pitch this summer. What’s worse, we have almost entirely failed to replace them.

There was plenty of negative media reaction to our win over Udinese on Tuesday. Many in the press were lamenting our performance as evidence of our clear weaknesses. They’re right and they’re wrong. I’d argue that it was a miracle we won the match and kept a clean sheet under the circumstances. When you consider who we had on the pitch for a Champions League playoff, the players should be damn proud of themselves. But the competition only gets stiffer and they need help.

The state of Arsenal’s squad right now is essentially disgraceful. We play Liverpool at the Emirates tomorrow and hardly have enough first-team players to make up the numbers. It’s a big match, against a side that will have designs on taking our top four position. Ideally, it’s a chance to show them, on our home ground, that they are still some distance behind us. But it’s hard to imagine that happening with the players we have available.

Arsene has already said that Rosicky is doubtful for tomorrow’s match. That means we could see a midfield of Ramsey, Frimpong and Lansbury. They had 8 appearances among them for Arsenal last season, with 7 coming from Ramsey. That’s beyond absurd for a club of Arsenal’s stature. And it gets even more ridiculous when you consider the possible substitutes. Unless Arsene Wenger promotes players from the reserves for this crunch game, Arsenal will play the entire 90 minutes without a bona fide midfielder on the bench.

The manager could arguably move Arshavin into the midfield. It’s a move that makes some sense. But then the squad’s inadequacies in attack become a evident. Wenger would be forced to start Oxlade-Chamberlain or Ryo Miyachi on the wing. I’m not even sure if the latter is available to play for the team yet, but I do know that Oxlade-Chamberlain was playing in League One last season. Miyachi impressed on loan for Feynoord, but this is a massive step up for a player that’s less than a year removed from playing for his school. The only other choice would be to move van Persie out wide and play the out-of-form Chamakh who is coming off a dire performance just three days ago.

This was supposed to be the summer where we finally strengthened the defense properly. But instead we watched our longest serving defender move to Manchester City. Gael Clichy wasn’t the best defender in England, and he made his fair share of major mistakes, but at least he was an experienced left-back. Tomorrow we could be starting Carl Jenkinson at a left-back. I find myself a little worried about relying on a right-back from League One starting at left-back against the likes of Luis Suarez. Gibbs is out, Traore is doubtful and far from good enough, and with Djourou’s injury, Wenger can’t even contemplate moving Vermaelen into the left-back position. That leaves Carl Jenkinson as the only real option that doesn’t involve playing Sebastien Squillaci.

This is what happens when you promote a player with limited experience and a terrible injury record. Wenger took a major gamble promoting Gibbs, and it’s already backfiring. What’s more frustrating is that Liverpool will hand a start to their new left-back Enrique. He was bought for a reasonable sum and hit the ground running thanks to his experience in the Premier League. Enrique is on record saying that he dreams of playing Champions League football. Seems like he’s a player we might have been able to acquire. But the boss had other plans.

In his interview with before the Udinese match, Wenger emphatically reminded us that he has brought players into the club this summer. He reminded us that Gervinho, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Miyachi and Campbell have all joined the squad this summer. And he’s correct. But only one of those players should even be considered as regular contributor to a side with title ambitions. Some day we may look back and say this was the group of players that paved the way for future successes. And I hope that’s the case. But Wenger also has a responsibility to secure our present success, and that group of players isn’t the answer.

Let’s look at our summer business in the context of players that should be expected to contribute to a premier league title contender this season. We have potentially lost Nasri, Cesc, Clichy, Denilson, Bendtner and Eboue. We’ve added Gervinho. That’s our real summer business. That’s it. Because no matter how exciting the future will be for Miyachi, Jenkinson, Oxlade-Chamberlain and Campbell, it is unfair in the extreme to expect them to play more than a handful of games for Arsenal at this stage in their careers. But as it stands, they won’t just have to play a few games. They may have to carry the team at times.

Could we have signed Juan Mata or Jadson? Perhaps. Enrique? Maybe. Cahill, Jagielka, Samba, Mertesaker? We still might. But we haven’t signed any of them yet and we already find ourselves half-way through a tricky Champions League playoff that’s precariously balanced. We have a match with Liverpool tomorrow and United next weekend at Old Trafford. Even if we make a new signing, it’s hard to see it happening in time to impact either of those matches, and the new player would be ineligible for the Udinese match. How many games should we sacrifice in the name of trying to find a bargain? 2? 3? Our entire Champions League campaign? That’s the cost of waiting for reinforcements to arrive.

The fact is that we don’t have a very good squad right now. We have a good starting XI. When they’re all fit. But how often does that happen for any team? And what should we do when the ACN takes Chamakh, Frimpong, Gervinho and potentially Alex Song away? We’re seeing what will happen right now. Should we be thankful that we can rely on Miyachi and Oxlade-Chamberlain and Craig Eastmond. Will they see us through our eight January fixtures including the visit of Manchester United.

As Arseblog has pointed out, it’s not fair to expect so much from our young players. They’re going to make mistakes. They need an opportunity to learn and develop somewhere the stakes aren’t so high. They don’t need 60,000 fans at the emirates getting on their backs as they try to somehow compete with the seasoned veterans of United in the middle of a long campaign.

And speaking of the fans at the stadium, what should they make of the game on Saturday? They will have paid the highest ticket prices in the world to watch the likes of  Lansbury and Frimpong and Jenkinson and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Is that right? Is that appropriate? I’m not suggesting the emirates faithful should expect half-a-billion pounds worth of talent like the fans at the Eastlands. I’m not suggesting they should be treated to 50 million pound signings like the supporters at Stamford Bridge. But surely they can expect to see something other than teenagers from lower divisions in our first Premier League home game against a top-four rival.

Last season the fans filled the stadium to see Samir Nasri and Cesc Fabregas. They’re gone now. (Yes I realize the assumption involved.) But they’re not replaced. And there’s simply no excuse for this whatsoever. I said in a previous blog that while Wenger might not have wanted to accept that he was losing Cesc and Nasri, he certainly knew it was a possibility. We should’ve had our replacement targets identified weeks in advance. We should’ve had tentative deals in place, and backup deals in place. That way, after Cesc’s departure was announced, the Club could’ve lifted spirits with an immediate arrival. But Cesc has already played for Barca and we don’t look any closer to replacing him.

What the hell is going on at Arsenal? You don’t sell the world’s best creative midfielder and just pat Aaron Ramsey on the back and say “go get ‘em tiger.” You go buy a big-time talent. Wenger himself said you can’t sell Nasri and Cesc in the same summer and still claim to be an ambitious Club. I disagree with that.

I think you can buy replacement players that are so highly-regarded that it proves your ambition. It shows that you’re not resigned to slipping into mediocrity. And it makes other players want to join up. You prove that Arsenal are still a big club by bringing in a player that any team would covet. You go sign Eden Hazard or someone like him and remind the world that we mean business. But sitting around waiting while your season carries on, only adds anxiety to every fan and player at the club.

And don’t tell me for one minute that we have to wait until we know the outcome of our Champions League playoff. Ivan Gazidis certainly doesn’t believe we need to wait until after the qualifier to spend. He said, “We’re certainly not sitting there saying ‘let’s hold back on our resources’ for some reason, why would we?” Good question Ivan.

Wenger bristled at the fans demands to spend money. He said that merely spending money shouldn’t be the goal. He said that’s a panic reaction. Instead he suggested that the goal should be to add quality to the side regardless of the price. I couldn’t agree more. After all, I don’t want a £20 million Stuart Downing. But Wenger is playing semantics with us. The fact is that quality players cost money now. Scouting is more sophisticated and Arsenal aren’t the only ones scouting players in the far corners of the globe. You want top talent that can improve your team now? You have to pay. But Wenger seems unwilling to do it.

The natural response is to point out that the transfer window is still open. And you’re right. Wenger can still make additions to the squad. Frankly, he’d be bordering on sadistic if he didn’t. But my response is that the window has been open for months. The chances have been there. Don’t give me this song and dance about the transfer market not being a “supermarket.” City got their deals done. United got their deals done. Are they too rich to compare to Arsenal? Ok. Liverpool managed to get plenty of deals done. Don’t want to compare with their crazy transfer business? Fair enough. What about Sunderland? They managed to bring in plenty of players. Was that a fluke? And let’s not forget that teams have found it possible to buy players from Arsenal if they’re willing to pay the price.

Tomorrow will be a very interesting match from the transfer standpoint alone. In Liverpool, we face a side that dived into the transfer market early and got the players they targeted. They identified their needs and made the signings they felt were necessary to strengthen the team. I’m not suggesting they made the right buys. But they got what they wanted. We will be the team fielding inexperienced youngsters while our Club hunts for last-minute bargains.

The fact is that Arsenal could’ve made deals for the kind of quality, experienced players required. If that meant resolving the Cesc and Nasri situations sooner then so be it. You might say I’m oversimplifying. But I had a boss once who told me something I’ll never forget. I had just failed to get something done that was my responsibility. I had a very good excuse. But he simply looked at me and said “I don’t pay you to have good excuses. I pay you to get the job done.” And he was right.

It doesn’t matter that signing quality players is hard. Getting the hard job done is why Arsene Wenger is the highest paid manager in the Premier League. Or at least it should be why he’s the highest paid manager. I’m increasingly of the opinion that it’s because he can get the minimum required results with the least possible resources. But by telling us that the transfer market isn’t a “supermarket,” Arsene Wenger is essentially saying, “it’s hard finding what we need.” I’m sure it is. But I don’t care. Just get it done.

Wenger has done a masterful job building our team on limited resources. He deserves plenty of credit for what he has achieved at Arsenal. He has proved his brilliance and guile time and again.  As a Wenger loyalist, my tendency is to defend him because of what he’s done in the past. But no one is questioning that now. It’s what’s being done today that’s cause for concern. As time has worn on, Wenger’s love for parsimony seems to have exceeded our need for it. The money is there now. He could buy if he wanted to. Instead he’s choosing to get by on what he has because he prefers to do it that way.

In this case however, he may have pushed his team too close to the brink. We are about to cross a rubicon from which there is no return. If this transfer window closes without several experienced, quality players arriving, then we should prepare ourselves for a very tough season.

This is the hard part for fans. Swallowing your pride, putting aside emotions, and taking a long, hard, objective look at your team. The Arsenal team that we have right now is not good enough to finish in the top four. It’s a weaker side than last season by some distance and that team might not have finished in the top four had the season carried on another two weeks.

When United lose Vidic and Ferdinand they bring in Jones, Smalling and Evans. No Sebastien Squillaci in that group. Chelsea lose Essien? No they bring on Mikel. City seemingly have three star players at just about every position. And what about Liverpool? Tomorrow we will face them without Gerrard. So they’ll rely on Charlie Adam instead. And who do we have filling in the gaps? Teenagers. Players coming up from League One. Promoted members of the reserves. Any way you look at it, that’s not good enough. If we want to stay in the top four, then we have to finish above one of those teams I just mentioned. Which one is it going to be?

Instead of thinking of the really good player’s at Arsenal, why not think of the players backing them up. Here’s a list of the outfield players who wouldn’t be in our first choice starting XI, assuming we sell the players we expect to sell. Chamakh, Arshavin, Miyachi, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Diaby, Rosicky, Frimpong, Eastmond, Lansbury, Djourou, Squillaci, Traore, Jenkinson. That’s it. That’s the cavalry. It’s unrealistic to expect your first choice XI to all be fit for the entire season. It’s even more unrealistic to expect it from our players. So those are the players we’ll need to rely upon at various points this season. And you’ll have to forgive me for being blunt, but they’re not good enough. Maybe a few of them will be very very good. But it’s too much to ask right now.

The clock is ticking. Before long, Sky Sports will be serving up their transfer deadline day festivities and I have a feeling we’ll be glued to the television waiting expectantly for that big signing we know is about to flash on the screen. Hopefully it’ll happen long before that.

When last season ended we knew there was a lot of work that had to be done to improve this team. We knew there would be money. We knew where the issues were and which players might be leaving. And before long, when the fixtures were announced, we knew that we would be in for a very difficult August that could define our season in many ways. We knew all of that, yet we did virtually nothing about it. Instead we continued to build for the future as if everything is alright today.

Frankly, I’m infuriated. I’m sick of being deceived and condescended to by my own Club. I’m sick of being told we have plenty of money and we’re not afraid to spend it while we sit back with our hands in our pockets. I’m sick of looking at the first team players on wondering where the rest of them are, while the manager tells us that the team is already too big. I’m sick of meaningless sayings like “super super quality” and “like a new signing.”

Would it take “super super quality” to improve over Squillaci? I’m not sure it would even take a professional footballer. And Thomas Vermaelen is not “like a new signing.” He’s an actual signing that Wenger made two summers ago and he’s the exact reason why you go out and make signings. Because if Wenger brought in another player of Vermaelen’s quality it would have a profound impact on our defense.

Wenger made the argument that there’s a market for players from 0-10 million and a market for players from 30-50 million and in between there is no movement. That’s not true. It’s just not true. If he wants to tell us that he can’t find what he’s looking for that’s one thing but don’t lie to us. We could have Cahill if we met the asking price and it’s below 20 million. Same with Jagielka. We could’ve had Mata at just over 20 million. It’s not that the players weren’t available, it’s that we’ve turned our noses up at the prices. When you’ve got a cupboard full of delicious food, you can balk at the high price of groceries. But when the cupboard is bare, you’ve gone a week without eating, and your wallet is full, you pay what the grocer is asking.

What I want to make perfectly clear is that I completely trust Wenger’s judgment when it comes to talent. He won’t get every decision right, but he’s done better than most. But what I do want is for him to go buy players that can rightfully be expected to play important roles for a title contending team.

We may well stay in the top four this season. Our young talent is precocious and exciting and may mature faster than we can imagine. They could deliver the kind of performances necessary to keep Arsenal in the Champions League for another season. But they can’t deliver a title. It’s too much to ask. It may not even be fair to expect us to challenge for a title no matter who we buy when you consider the kind of money being spent at other clubs. But I don’t believe you use that as an excuse for inactivity.

I love Arsene Wenger but I love Arsenal more. Wenger has brought us players that could be an important part of our bright future and I’m thankful for that. But Arsene seems to have become impossibly farsighted. He appears more capable of seeing the distant needs of the club than the urgent demands right before his eyes. I don’t know which is worse: that Arsene Wenger sees the deficiencies in this squad but won’t address them, or that he merely cannot see them at all. Hopefully it’s neither. Hopefully he sees them and will address them. But he’s already mortgaged the early part of our season standing on principle. And that’s hard to accept.

“The Emperor’s New Clothes” is a short tale by Hans Christian Andersen. In it, the Emperor parades around in what he believes are new clothes, but he is actually not wearing anything at all. His subjects assume that he must be wearing clothes and compliment him on his fine vestments, until a young boy shouts out that the Emperor is naked. It is a tale about many things, including the phenomenon of collective denial. I find it particularly appropriate for our current situation.

Arsene Wenger has been a fine manager indeed. And he may continue to be splendid for years to come. But we must not be in collective denial about the state of our squad. We must not assume that the Club know exactly what they are doing or have it all under control. We must not be distracted by stories of “super super quality” and “transfer supermarkets” and “traveling with sweat and petrol.” We must not be dazzled by the invisible garments. For they only take our attention off the reality that we can not afford to deny. We must look at the squad that will take the pitch against Liverpool tomorrow and see the truth clearly. The Emperor has no clothes.

About Yankee Gunner

Loyal Arsenal Supporter, Obscure Television Personality
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41 Responses to The Emperor Has No Clothes

  1. Val says:

    Harsh but fair. Once again eloquently summing up the fans view point.

    If I could have any say in how the club is run, I would demand an enquiry into how this transfer window was actually orchestrated. See what was going on and why everything dragged on so late.

    • that would be illuminating. I’m hoping that my feelings will change soon. Just need some experience and depth in the side now

    • Allison says:

      We slhoud protest against the existence of this blog and other arsenal blogs run by ignorant twerps who have ZERO business experience but just drop buzz words like policy, big-name signing, and fresh blood to sound informed. 14 years on the trot in the champs league…you’re right- no league 3 side can boast of that. I would love to see you take a loan to buy a 100 mill castle in the countryside and still send your family on same vacations and afford the same expensive toys for your kids. Then we’ll talk…MOnkeys!

  2. great read. very good reflection of what a huge number of arsenal fans feel at the moment. love arsene and all he’s done and continues to do for our club in all areas, but arsenal bigger than anything. honest appraisal and critique very necessary, and i’m not sure a majority of fans are comfortable doing this. a pleasure to read and to realize that the realists are not alone. forward.

  3. lazylizard says:

    name 1 successful arsenal player who was a “big” signing from elsewhere other than arshavin. suckers spend millions on the likes of dzeko and kolarov, arsenal blood fabregases and wilsheres..

    • true. But not all at once. And even Jack had a year at Bolton. Cesc came into the side as he was ready with experienced proven winners. And the other “stars” that we manufactured were still established professionals. Henry is a perfect example. I love the gervinho signing for that same reason. But the others are being asked to give too much too soon.

    • Alex says:

      Suker? Overmars? Bergkamp?

    • Overmars? Bergkamp? And no one’s even asking for insane signings. Bringing in quality along the lines of Vermaelen, Sagna, Nasri is what we’re tallking about to fill out a desperately depeleted roster. For the record I’m also not sure I’d label Dzeko a failure yet. And how about Suarez? Or Ashley Young or etc etc.

  4. pires007 says:

    wow! thats fu*@ing hardcore! but i agree 100% with you i am arsenal thick and thin rain or shine..
    is wenger? 6 years is enough! its time to get back to the top where we used to stand proudly.
    when big buisness,s get to the top (ie the invincibles) they dont say “you know what lets just bin it all and start a new buisness that may or may not work in the next 6 years” they improve and grow and expand! why havent we? and please do not use the stadium as an excuse..
    cut me i bleed red and white! and i bloody hate liverpool… come you gooners!!!!!

  5. Datta says:

    “The state of Arsenal’s squad right now is essentially disgraceful.” That comment is enough to tell what to expect of from this season.

  6. kc says:

    Good Post. Agree with everything until you group Arshavin in with the second team. I assure you Arsh was only left out of the first team squad vs Udinese to rest him for this weekend and next since we won’t have Gervinho. He would have been subbed in late in that game had we not burnt through them with injuries. Arshavin was our third most efficient player last term, and all while being played out of position. Wenger out.

  7. Xin says:

    Good post. Which is what gooners worldwide are feeling.

    Wenger needs to be replace if he still think he is right. And the board should go along with him.

  8. Martin says:

    completely agree, you said it like it is, we still have few days left till transfer window closes, but cesc and nasri should’ve been sorted month ago, and replacements brought in immediately to settle in for tough start to season, we’re not a big club if we have to consider vermealen playing left back and squillaci(useless squillaci!!!) to play centre back, since we rely on left back who is youn, inexperienced and became intinerary in our medical room

  9. Ryobert Pires says:

    Extremely long post but some valid points and some not so valid ones that show the kind of complexities the manager has to deal with in this case.

    For starters, you bemoan Wenger for losing experience at the expense of potential talent. Last season he brought in two defenders, one with experience, Champion’s League even, and another based purely on speculation of potential. I don’t have to ask who came out trumps on that.

    Moving on to Clichy/Enrique. Clichy, experienced as he is, has been prone to gaffes that no doubt those lamenting his loss might have gone on and on about. He goes, just like Ca$hly before and is replaced by potential. Nothing new there besides the injury worry. Thing is, he can be covered by TV. As to Enrique hitting the ground running, we got the same points over the weekend as Liverpool, only thing is that we did not concede. The only player who has been purchased this Window and is clearly having a direct impact on the teams results thus far is in MunC City and there is no way we could afford him.

    How is our attack weaker than last season. that, i do not see. Granted Chamakh lost his way, but that’s there in football.

    As for replacing talent like for like. When Manchester Utd lost CR who should they have brought in. What did they do? There’s always more than one way to solve a problem. Just because you see one, does not mean that another will not work. And granted, Arsene has “failed”, mind you he has not been far off, to win a trophy lately, but there have been fine lines between that.

    “We have potentially lost Nasri, Cesc, Clichy, Denilson, Bendtner and Eboue”. Apart from trying to blow our problem out of proportion, there are only two names on there that any Arsenal fan can honestly call a loss. Na$sri and Cesc, the manager tried to keep and Cesc has left. He brought them here, so why not trust him to get a solution out of it?

    As per your comparison to not having done something when it was due, in this case, that would be in may, when Wenger has not delivered what he has promised to deliver. What you are talking about here would be akin to your boss going off over the morning preparations you take, how warm you like your bath, etc before going to work.

    Yes we are in uncertain times. And as such, even if we do not buy anyone else, the players and manager deserve more from fans than constantly questioning them based on perceived weaknesses that are yet to come to the for negatively.

    • Lots of good points. The one about Kos vs. Squillaci in particular. I certainly wasn’t trying to exaggerate our problems by identifying players we might be losing. Many needed to go. Just cataloguing the first team players moving out. It’s a reminded that, while they might not have been the best players, they were still part of teams that continued to keep us in the top four. They need to be replaced somehow. As for the attack being weaker, I think losing Cesc does that. When I said attack, I meant the overall attacking play of our squad. As for the clichy/enrique debate, I”m not necessarily suggesting he was the answer, I’m just concerned about what we’ve left ourself with. I think you’d agree that any solution forcing us to move our best CB to LB is not optimal. FInally, I do think we can evaluate the manager’s decisions before may. To use your analogy of a boss and an employee, if you were a lawyer, and you were working on a brief for court and your managing partner noticed the brief was not ready to be submitted, it’s better that he point that out to you before you submit the brief, rather than after.
      Anyway, just rambling along here as usual. But great points and thanks for taking the time to read the post.

  10. Warm Cans of Red Stripe says:

    Really well written. Are you sure you’re American ?

  11. Leopold says:

    Agree with you on most parts. Excellent article. However, I do feel that the likes of Lansbury should be given a chance. It’s like, with the squad we have, we are undoubtedly going down (from top four), so might as well give our home-grown talent a chance. I feel if someone like Denilson was given so may opportunities, then Lansbury surely deserves his fair share of chances, especially when he’s proved himself numerous times on loan spells.

  12. Stefan says:

    Great post!

  13. Gary says:

    Do you want to try and summarise that long post in one paragraph and tell us what your conclusion is. If it is anything other than you could have done better and will be applying to take over from Wenger you have wasted my time. Frankly I am sick and tired of whining bloggers and fans. Are you suggesting for one minute that Wenger and the board are wilfully acting against the best interests of the club? Or that they are incompetent? David Dein’s warning today that the fans risk driving Wenger away is a serious one. You may not think so, but please tell us who you will have replace him? Arsenal will end up like Newcastle did in the 2000’s and be relegated in no time unless the fans stop this shit. People who have been in football all their lives, Dein, Henry, even Gary Neville tells us Wenger is one of the best there is – so ffs stop whining and allow him to do his job.

    • Incompetence is a possibility. And if we can’t criticise him without him leaving, he shouldn’t be in the job.

      • Gary says:

        And you are qualified to judge? There’s a big difference between watching a soccer game and managing one of the top clubs in the world. People who really know much better than you tell us he is one of the best, his track records says the same. So I suggest you stick to your graphic art and tweeting wise remarks to journalists and let Wenger run the club.

        • He isn’t the best in the game, his record isn’t immaculate, and whether or not our situation is born out of things beyond his control – he is not beyond criticism from the people who are ultimately, the reason why he has a job.

          This idea that only people in football and critique the manager (which coincidently, there all doing) is a bit immature, not unlike your remark. Worse still, your whining is the whining about the whining, without accepting that, and why, people will voice there opinions.

          • Gary says:

            You cannot even read or spell properly, so comprehension is obviously a problem. Stick to drawing.

    • I want wenger to stay. Best manager for arsenal and one of the best in the world. But I’m not sure I understand the notion that he’s beyond critique. That he cannot be questioned. That’s not support. That’s sycophancy. Obviously wenger knows more than I. Obviously he’s a wonderful manager. But there are frustrating things happening at the club that I wanted to discuss. not sure how that means I’m whining. And Wenger already rubbished Dein’s warning. We shouldn’t avoid critiquing our manager because we’re afraid of losing him. It’s like being a citizen in a democracy: if you love your country, you should always want it to criticize it in order to see the ways it can be improved. Anyway, I’m not sure if you read the post, so I’m not sure if your feelings about it are based on anger or an actual response to what I wrote

  14. Baba Joe says:

    Never read any piece like this for a long time on the situation in Arsenal. Some fans are so Anti Arsene that they’ve shut their eyes to whatever good he has ever done while at the other extreme end are those who believe Arsene could do no wrong. You have been very objective in your appraisal of Arsenal now. The kids are good but kids are kids and will require time to grow up. Before then, they will make basic mistakes and cost us points, maybe participation in the CL also. This could be very hard on the fans who are so used to cheering our dear Arsenal in the big league. Our collective pride will be adversely affected. Good news though, the doom could still be averted. The transfer window is still very much opened and just before it closes, we may be able to squeeze through some much needed reinforcement. And unto Saturday, no matter what happens we will be backing our squad to spring a surprise on the POOL. Come on u gooners!

  15. Admìn Husic says:

    Just to piss you off, here are a few quotes from Arsene’s pre-Liverpool interview:
    “Wenger: “If you look at the players we have brought in, they are all top-quality players”
    “Wenger: “We are still looking to add quality.”
    “Wenger: “I have shown in my 15 years that I am capable of bringing in quality. You have to trust my judgement.”

    We do trust him, but sometimes the most wise go crazy.

  16. excellent as ever ! It’s sad to see that you’ve finally succumbed to the negative view many of us have had for quite a while now…..i hope we are more positive after saturday and in the weeks and months to come

  17. HD says:

    Spot on Yankee Gunner, agree with almost everything. The only thing I’d say is you’re being harsh on some of the players. Arshavin is a great player, can’t be grouped as “not good enough”, and if we built our team around him like we have with so many in the past, you’d have to think that we’d do better. Also Miyaichi, everyone is quick to condemn the bloke as only a year out of school and what-not. That’s true, but also nonsense. Did you see him play for Feyenoord last season?, he was a sensation. He single-handedly dragged a famous dutch football team from the brink of collapse, up the league. Your age doesn’t matter, if you’re good enough, you’re old enough. No-one would have complained about buying an 18 year old Wayne Rooner, Michael Owen, Cesc Fabregas etc. If Miyaichi had been on the open market this summer, he’d have gone to Real Madrid for £20m. We need to look at the positives when we can, he definetely is one, and if given the chance can have a massive impact on our fortunes this year. And can you imagine the commercial opportunities for AFC if we have the first world-class Asian footballer? We could have the golden goose within our midsts. AOC also, if we’d missed out on him, we’d have fans complaining left, right and centre. So we must be positive about the talent we’ve signed, and the possibilities they could bring this season, whilst downright outraged at the lack of experienced heads that we’ve brought in alongside them.

  18. Sergio says:

    You could’ve said all this in half the amount of words – are you ever capable of writing anything that’s not book length? Geezus, you’re the most longwinded blogger / twitterer I’ve ever seen.
    I agree with much of what you say here but you seriously need an editor. It would be nice for once to read something by you that’s concise and not so damned self-indulgent.

  19. Jp says:

    Well written article. I’m praying that the youngsters step up to the plate. we are average at the moment though. Rough time are on the horizon.

  20. Gainsbourg69 says:

    Your post was speculative and pretty shitty over all, but you take the cake when you mention United’s defensive replacements and Charlie ‘f-ing’ Adam. Evans, Smalling and Jones haven’t been tested on their own. They’ve always played alongside either Vidic or Ferdinand thus appearing better than what they really are. As far as Smalling and Jones being quality, one only has to go back to the Euro U-21’s to see how they fared against their contemporaries. Against Spain this promising defensive duo conceded from a set piece where the scorer was the shortest man on the pitch. In the same game, they couldn’t handle the pressing from the Spain side and had to resort to hooofing it out of the back, which gifted possession right back to the Iberians. As far as Adams is concerned, his team played exciting stuff last season, but deeming him quality based on last season’s form, while pooing on our players, is just too much.

    Like most disgruntled Arsenal fans you make the mistake of thinking that the grass is always greener on the other side. A player’s value in the transfer market doesn’t automatically refelct their quality. It just means that people are willing to drop huge amounts of money on name and reputation alone. I mean, how crazy is the football world when a team drops £72m on Downing, Carroll and Henderson? How about Aguero? A player worth so much would surely be a starter in his national team and would’ve had tons of CL experience by now, no? Barca and Real Madrid aren’t the only two teams who get to play in the Champions League in La Liga, you know. But all of a sudden Aguero is this massive talent eventhough his team has been playing Europa League football all the time he’s been there? Please. The sad part is that eventhough City are paying him massive amounts of money, Mancini will probably use him sparingly because he doesn’t run around like Tevez does and doesn’t have the size necessary to lead the line on his own.

    The transfer market is like a super market for people who are willing to pay anything for a player. If you ask any team without a sugar daddy if the transfer market is as easy as pulling your favorite cereal off a shelf they’d laugh in your face and tell you to grow up. No wonder you think that Wenger has no clothes. You think that managing a football club in the top flight of European football is like playing fantasy football. Again, grow up and have some respect for our gaffer. That spanking new stadium we play in every other week wasn’t bought with Monopoly money. It was built thanks in no small part to Wenger’s shrewdness and ability to pick a player before anyone even recognizes their quality.

    • I don’t care what other teams bought. I care what we buy. And I’m merely pointing out that we lack depth. That’s pretty clear at the moment in my opinion. And since I’ve never once played fantasy football, I can assure you that’s not how I draw my conclusions. I don’t think the grass is greener anywhere. But we have work to do. Did you think we could improve from last season? Have we? fair questions. But maybe there’s no such thing as a fair question when you’re a fan

  21. Paul, Glasgow says:

    I agree with most of the points that you make but i have to say there is a slight tone of hopefulness in your blog that things may still come good. I wish i shared your optimism. I’m not even angry anymore at the state of the club, just amazed that its come to the point we have a squad like this at the start of a season. Ive grown to resent watching Arsene Wenger every time i see him on television………i used to idolise the man. Its sad to say but i think the only way things will change in the short term is if we lose heavily tomorrow and get knocked out of the CL by Udinese. Dont get me wrong i’ll be cheering on the team as always tomorrow but i just have the feeling that unless things get really bad there wont be the change of direction thats required.

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