What’s Up Arsene Wenger’s Sleeve?

And other musings….

Does Thierry know what Arsene's plans for the summer are? :)

Does Thierry know what Arsene’s plans are for the summer? 🙂

A question of class

Reflecting upon wild journalistic speculation about the future of our undisputed best-ever manager (regardless of what people may think about his current suitability for the job), and considering the repulsive conduct of Manchester United in jettisoning David Moyes, a few little thoughts have intruded upon my exam revision.

The first is this: what could be up Arsene Wenger’s sleeve?

Do we really need to win the FA Cup and qualify for the Champions League for him to stay? Or, does he already know he’s leaving?

I read a fairly well-reasoned article on goal.com that claimed that the top brass are basically of the opinion that if they have to appoint someone if AW was to jump ship, it will be for the relatively short term. Bearing in mind the (understandable) arguments being put forward in defence of the Glazers with regard to attracting top playing and coaching talent, namely that they needed to pull the trigger sooner rather than later, would AW, a man with Arsenal in his blood, who has nurtured the club for 18 years, and a man of no little insight, really do that to his baby? Douse his masterpiece in petrol and light a match? I don’t think so. I think whether he stays or goes, he already knows which he will choose. But why delay the announcement if he is going to stay?

I personally think a much classier thing for Man United to have done, would have been to line up a new manager for next season, take care of the legal stuff and then sit on it until the end of the season. But as soon as the thought formed in my head yesterday afternoon, I immediately started wondering whether that isn’t what Wenger and the board have done (which would be much easier to achieve with the current manager fully aware of the situation). Is Wenger’s gift to us more personally satisfying to the economist in him than to the part of all of us that wants us to win things?

My second question is: if Wenger has no intention of staying; not whom do we want, but what qualities would fellow Gooners like to see in our new manager?

For me, a lot more tactical dynamism would be essential.

Don’t get me wrong, I love AW and do not want to see him go. The breathtaking football we’ve produced in the past, coupled with the exceptional financial footing we now hav, convince me that Wenger deserves at least two more seasons (which according to reports is all he would accept in any case) to restore that kind of football – his lack of tactical manoeuvring notwithstanding.

However, who has not been driven mad by the times we fail to alter our style of play when the one with which we approached a match is manifestly not working? Or by what appears to be an occasional stubborn refusal to use substitutes sensibly?

Another thing I would like to see would be a willingness to drill the defence. Conceding 20 goals in four matches against the top five suggests to me that there is a basic lack of discipline in the defence, which has been exposed against teams capable of exploiting it. I don’t think we particularly need to change the personnel, but I think they are capable of more consistent competence than has been displayed this season (4 games conceding an average of 5 goals per game would not be consistently competent even if they were the only goals we’d conceded all season, although the blow would probably be softened by us winning the league).

My third question isn’t really much of a question, perhaps more of a muse: would AW really be that bothered by Arsenal fans turning on him?

I’m sure he didn’t sign Ozil because of the boos at the end of the Villa game. He’s a fairly resilient guy, as would I be if it was earning me £6-7m a year. He didn’t sell Vieira, Henry, Gilberto, Fabregas, etc because he thought they would be popular moves. I think he believes in himself enough to carry on if that’s what he wants to do and I don’t think a few fans wanting him out would be enough to influence his decision.

Final question: what would each of us prefer to happen?

I want him to stay. If he does stay I want fans to return the loyalty he has shown to the club and which the board has afforded him, and happily that is also what the decision makers at the club have done (although AW is the sole decision maker at AFC anyway). Then at the end of a glorious two years in which we win the quadruple twice, get someone in with the qualities I outlined above.

If he goes, I hope we’ve already dotted the lower case j’s and crossed the t’s on his successor, who will have more energy, more tactical and transfer nous, and a disciplined approach to defence than AW.


  1.       What is up AW’s sleeve?
  2.       What qualities do we want in our new manager?
  3.       Would Wenger really run off crying because a few fans don’t share his vision?
  4.       What would we prefer to happen?

What do my fine fellow Gooners think?

Written by: Josefos2013

Message from TotalArsenal:

Bergkampesque wants Sagna to stay and you can show your support by posting ‘Bacary Sign da Ting!!!’

sign da ting



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75 Responses to What’s Up Arsene Wenger’s Sleeve?

  1. TotalArsenal says:

    Cheers Josefos 🙂

    Good musings and pertinent questions. I will have a think and get back to you later. 🙂

  2. ` says:

    like you Wenger has a place in my heart , but I do not feel two years of his buying players of low quality will put us in any better position , so I feel it is time for a change . Unfortunately I do not feel Wenger gives a monkey’s what the fans think . We pay top dollar for tickets and feel the profits are being deposited in the bank of America . We need a manager who can see what everybody else can and make demands on the board to rectify the situation . And when seeing that a match is going pear shaped , adapt his tactics accordingly . I believe we are all grateful to Wenger , but he needs to go !

  3. TotalArsenal says:

    What is up AW’s sleeve? A new contract and more of the same this summer: careful approach of quality players with the hope that we can get one or two signed up by the end of the TW. Hope not but reckon business will be done late again.

    What qualities do we want in our new manager? Ability to build further on our culture and system of football but with more discipline and leadership within the team + ability to build confidence and winners mentality + buy the right players: the gaps have been there for a while..

    Would Wenger really run off crying because a few fans don’t share his vision? Nah.

    What would we prefer to happen? Put things in place – leadership, squad, medical support, youth development etc. – that help make the next step upwards.

  4. Admir says:

    RE: to HH-post as I couldn’t post it today due to obligations I had. Nevertheless, I kept my comment in Word-document. 😀

    W-feckin’-ow, HH! 🙂 Incredible and thorough analysis. Something tells me that you have deserved more money with this article than the whole Arsenal scouting network has had in the last 12 months. Bravo! 🙂

    1.Jackson Martinez – I have my doubts about players from Portuguese league. From where I stand, it seems to me that they have a really good agents that are capable of finding them contracts at big clubs. Nani and (especially) Anderson have struggled for most of the time at United, Maniche was a joke aside from national team performances… Now, it’s hard to say where Martinez stands in the big picture given that he plays for the worst Porto in the last decade. He might be a new Falcao (and even Falcao hasn’t had too many great games at AS Monaco including the period prior to injury) but he might also turn out to be a new Rodallega. He is a 27-year-old striker and if he had had Falcao’s quality, I highly doubt that he would have been at Porto at the moment.

    2.Mario Mandžukić – now, I’ve been a fan of Mandžukić since his days at Dinamo Zagreb. I watched his European games at Dinamo and saw a mobile, hard-working striker who helps his defence by making a pressure on the opponents’ back-line. His aerial abilities are well-known but he can also score goals with his right foot. He replaced a similar type of striker – Ivica Olić – at Bayern and has managed to produce crucial goals for Bayern in their treble-winning season. Now, here comes a tricky part: Mandžukić is an upgrade to Giroud but not exactly a Lewandowski- or a Suarez-level of quality. Furthermore, there was a scandal that involved him and his right hand raised high in Bundesliga and with English media being hostile to Arsenal most of the time, he would have a lot of problems.
    What he would add though is a fighting spirit and ability to give opponents what they deserve (you know, Diego Costa-style).

    3.Karim Benzema – I’d sign him right now. I want him at Arsenal ever since he had scored that goal against United in 2007-08. He can score, he knows Özil very well, he is much better striker than Giroud and would score at least 30 goals per season. If I were Wenger, I would have deliberated him from chains of Madrid already.
    Of course, he is not the perfect striker. He can miss an unbelievable sitter from time to time and can give a pale performance that makes you want to go to the locker-room after the game and force him to drain his shirt in front of you until he proves he actually sweated on the pitch.

    4.Christian Benteke – he would be a good option only if we are going to sign two strikers and the other one is a proven goal-scorer that can give us a decent cover when Benteke is either injured or out of form. I don’t want Diabies at Arsenal anymore – I want players that are Arsenal players in their head, on the paper and on the pitch (HPP-players). Benteke wouldn’t be able to fulfill all three conditions at least until October. Given that we have had slow starts in the last three seasons, we need someone who is capable of scoring winning goals from the very first match of the season.

    5.Romelu Lukaku – I agree with HH. I don’t believe Mourinho would have sold a virus to Wenger, never mind one of the best strikers in the league. He would have been a perfect striker for us though, not to mention the fact that he is going to molest us just like Drogba had done for years.

    6.Loic Remy – again, I agree with HH. Remy would be a good additional option if we sign a better striker than Giroud though. He has pace and incredible right-footed shooting ability. He possesses pace and shooting technique but his off-the-pitch troubles and the fact he is injury-prone make him less desirable for our main striker-role.

    7.Demba Ba – here is a slight disagreement. Given how injury gods have treated Arsenal this season, Ba’s knee problems that had blocked his move to Stoke three years ago would probably come out and we would have another Diaby-sque situation in our hands. He hasn’t proven his class at Chelsea and it’s not like they don’t have a quality midfield.

  5. Admir says:

    And, now, Josefus. Another excellent BK-article with intriguing questions asked. 🙂


    1.What is up AW’s sleeve?ž

    Does he have sleeves at all?

    2.What qualities do we want in our new manager?

    We won’t get a new manager. If we do, I’d like him to have Klopp’s vision, Simeone’s spirit and Wenger’s economic knowledge.

    3.Would Wenger really run off crying because a few fans don’t share his vision?

    Nope. He loves himself too much.

    4.What would we prefer to happen?

    I would prefer that he wins FA Cup, secure our CL-place and then leave when his contract runs out. I would prefer that we get someone like Simeone or Klopp who has vision, fresh ideas and energy to give a decisive impulse to his players when things are not going well.

  6. Ignatius Ndebele says:

    Arsene may be good coach but he has not been able to fix the team. When he came to the club in 1996, he managed to bring in a lot of good players to the team with a small budget. Now he has a bigger budget and is buying poor quality players and his scouting network is the worst in my opinion. Our academy has failed to produce a single central tricker since Wenger came. Most of the players on the fringes of the first team are not good enough to make it into the first team and when they are loaded to other teams in lower divisions or other leagues they spend time on the sidelines with no real game time. It’s a shame.

  7. While my ideal scenario would be for Sagna to sign the contract extension I do think it should be understood that the club in this case is not being idiotic in giving pause for thought in terms of acquiescing to demands. Of course part of the problem is that his wages have been low for the level of player that he is (world class in his prime) compared to the market as a whole, he has in my opinion been taken for granted and undervalued, and so I can also understand his desire for redress. However, a three year contract with the kind of wages and signing bonus he is after would result in a total package exceeding £20m to lock in a player through till the age of 34.

    It’s a very tough weigh up on all sides. Obviously with Sagna getting older a long-term successor for RB is required. If there was more assuredness re. Jenkinson I think the decision from the club’s point of view would be a lot easier than it currently is.

  8. jozefos2013 says:

    The first rule of being me is you do not talk about being me.

    The second rule of being me is you are allowed to change your mind.

    I wrote this on Wednesday evening and in the intervening three days I’ve basically started half hoping he won’t sign up again. However, what I want to see more than anything is two needed SQ signings this summer, regardless of who is at the helm. Although I think Ozil was and is SQ, whilst his presence is welcome it wasn’t needed the same way we really need a much better striker than OG in the side, or a star defensive midfielder for the pivot (I know, he doesn’t want one, but structure and discipline is what we’re crying out for).

    I would also like to see Podolski stay and get more game time in a role to which he is suited next season. I don’t care if he can’t lead the line the same way Giroud does, his hammer of a shot and scoring ability are phenomenal, and when we signed him I naively thought that it was his goal-scoring AW wanted him for. This isn’t Wiltord, who never had a great record up top so Wenger put him on the wing instead.

    Admir, I agree that HH’s post was brilliant, but was on holiday/am in the midst of exam revision so contributing to threads isn’t really on my list of priorities. I think you’re right on the new manager thing with him allegedly stating he is now staying.

    Seriously though, assuming he now will stay, why would he keep doing what he’s done for the last 10 years? NLP says if you keep doing what you do, you’ll keep getting what you get. I know he’s stubborn, and his tactical ineptitude is unlikely to change but surely now, entering probably his last contract at the club, is the time to push the boat out and use some of the extra cash sloshing around the place. I’m probably being too optimistic and not allowing past experience to inform my current judgment, but since he can I don’t see why he wouldn’t. Perhaps he’s been playing rope-a-dope the last three years and will blow everyone away with some Kansas City shuffle style moves this summer and we’ll dominate for 10 years.

    I think everyone wants to see us kick on, and I have to concede that that is least likely to happen with Wenger on the scene. However, the board appear not to share that desire despite Ivan Gazidis’s bleating to the contrary last summer.

  9. davvydavy says:

    Thanks Josefos – good questions!

    1.What is up AW’s sleeve?

    I think he is planning on two more years and is quietly buying some good new players to make his life easier next season.

    2.What qualities do we want in our new manager?

    An attacking and dynamic style of play, and the ability and contacts to build a global scouting network.

    3.Would Wenger really run off crying because a few fans don’t share his vision?

    No, the man has an obduracy that is without compare.

    4.What would we prefer to happen?

    Ideally he will be buoyed by an FA Cup win, and champions league qualification, and he will sign on for two years, buy in some super-quality in midfield and up front, and plan for his succession by a SQ manager in about two years.

    On Sagna I can see what you mean Iceman about it being an expensive option, and it might be better to bring in fresh blood like Aurier or Abate (if we can). Sagna has been great though.

  10. James Bond says:

    nice one @ J – your writings are always a pleasure to read and refreshing , you should write more often !

    to your 4 questions then :

    1: He’s got the likes of Cesc and Song returning back to Arsenal…he would tell his players to give him 2 more years and let’s win things together, the treble and champions league – he may even bring back the likes of Cesc, Song and RVP and then bow out after 2 years , winning The FA Cup, The Capital one Cup, PL 2 years in a row – Community shield, Champions league , World cup , Super cup oh and the most important cup aka The Emirates cup.

    3: A quality that enable the new manager to bench Sczny and buy reliable and solid Goalie.

    5: no, he’s been in the business long enough that football is all about the present and next game – one bad result, you get Wenger out – you put that right in the next fixture and everyone’s jumping up and down praising you and what a genius of a manager you are.

    7: I would like Jose.Moron to be Sacked again, since I got everything I wanted in relation to Arsenal in the first 3 points above 😀

  11. James Bond says:


  12. TotalArsenal says:

    Iceman 🙂

    Good points……. To build a truly great team we need players to want to stay and give their all for Arsenal in their short careers. Loyalty of players requires loyalty of the club towards its hard working stars, and unless Sagna is being unreasonable, the club should make sure they’ll sign him up.

  13. jgc says:

    Hi all

    First to the questions:


    A. What is up AW’s sleeve?

    His arms, what else?! More reasonably, I think he will sign a B2B and a ST, no DM.. One is positive or hopeful of a Bender type…

    As always, I think people put down lists and note the dosh, and then expect it to happen. But again, it’s also agents, the player, egos etc,. So, who AW really wants and who he gets may well differ and not be on our lists. Just for example, no amount of money was going to keep Cesc or RVP here really… Equally, we got the very ego free Ozil, perhaps in part because we attract similar kinds of players?

    Thus, I would reevaluate based on that too. Especially the ego thing, as we are strong willed but not ego laden, even youngsters JW and AR and Theo are very ego light compared to their compatriots, IMO, it actually hurts us in “steel” on occasion but… Equally, we had a bit, not hugely, more in the glories years… IMO

    B. What qualities do we want in our new manager?

    Much like AW, less games, more direct. Given the above, Simenone or Martinez, someone with the skill and who can offer some steel..

    C. Would Wenger really run off crying because a few fans don’t share his vision?

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaaaaaaaa … Umm, sorry, no… I don’t think so..

    D. What would we prefer to happen?

    AW for two more years, Sagna for 3 and a graceful transition, perhaps involving co coaching for one year if I get to name my poison explicitly.

    Oops, gotta run!

    Cheers — jgc

  14. Admir says:

    Hi, Jozefos. 🙂 I rate your piece very highly too, don’t get me wrong. 😉

    Why would Wenger do what he has done for ten years? Well, why does dog lick his balls? The answer is the same on both questions: because he can. We have a word “kampanjac” for a lazy student that studies only before the exam takes place. Wenger’s approach to things have been similar. He needs us to get thrashed against United to sign Mertesacker (so we don’t concede million goals from set-pieces) and Arteta (to reduce the blow for losing Fabregas, Nasri and Wilshere), he needs us to get screwed over and over and over again down the left flank to sign Monreal, he needs us to get beaten by Aston Villa at home to get Flamini… Hell, he needs Spuds to sell Bale to Real Madrid to sign Özil. Finally, he needs to wait one day before the deadline for his paperwork to search, arrange and complete a transfer of a single (and injured) player.

    If everything goes by our plan and we win FA Cup and a fourth-place-trophy, Wenger will think that his work has been fine and that he should continue in the same way.

    RE: Sagna… I’d like him to stay but his reluctance to sign a new contract means we should look elsewhere for a right full-back (UNLESS, of course, Wenger thinks Jenkinson and Bellerin would do just fine). I don’t like the fact that we might lose him in a way we had lost Flamini in the summer 2008 and we are yet to recover from that loss.

    What worries me is the fact that we have had worse seasons after every big international competition (we were champions in 1998 only to lose the title to Manure in 1999, we were champions in 2002 only to lose the title to Manure in 2003 – the one that really got away, we were champions in 2004 only to forfeit the title to Mourinho’s Chavs in 2005, we were in the Champions’ League Final 2006 only to suffer an early exit to PSV a year later, we lost in the title race in 2008 only to have our fourth place saved by Arshavin’s arrival a year later, we ended third in 2010 only to suffer a meltdown in February and March 2011, we ended third in 2012 and needed a preposterous run-in consisted of excellent defending, a lot of luck, soft penalties and offside-goals in our favour that should have been ruled out) and our club has been more in commercial tours than in a serious preparation of players for the challenges on the pitch.

  15. @davvydavy

    Re. Sagna, there appear to be a number of options being considered, e.g. Jung, Aurier, Chambers, Coleman, and perhaps Piszczek.

    With Aurier we could bring him in plus another one from that list because he is also useful as a utility player to fill in along the back line if/when required.

    Personally I would look to steal a march wrt. Seamus Coleman. Until United sort out their long term manager situation they are in limbo, and of course with Everton’s loss at Southampton things look good for top 4 (unlike both Everton and United).

    Anyway, these are all considerations if agreement cannot be found with Sagna. Even if we find agreement with Sagna it may still be useful to bring in a long-term RB and send Jenkinson on loan. My main issue with Jenkinson is that he is not developing on the bench, and Arsene Wenger not playing him much is a sign of lack of confidence. It’s best all round really to send him on a season loan if possible.

  16. omgarsenal says:

    Be careful what you wish for….United didn’t learn their lesson until last week….nobody on this site,including the author, has the foggiest about tactics or substitutions. It is evident in the writer’s and posters’ total ignorance about Wenger and his skills. True Gooners worldwide will rue the day he leaves!

  17. Sindy says:

    It’s naive to think that Arsene will want to leave just 2-3yrs after steering the club out its biggest debts. He will want to prove to everyone that the it was the stadium debt that was hindering the club’s progress. In tgat I will support him.

  18. James Bond says:


    define true Gooners worldwide for us ?

    oh really ? is it really evident from the writer’s , posters, blog owner’s posts that none of them know about tactics or substitutions ? and how is it “evident” ?

    is it because you are the authority on tactics and substitutions because you beat your dog on the Play station or Xbox while playing Fifa or club manager ?

    I have never seen you talk about tactics or substitutions , in fact the only time I see you around is when you come forward to defend the manager without even trying to understand the gist of it all or the substance provided by the writers – no doubt you must love writing nonsense 99.99% of the time and then go AWOL – waiting for another blog to question the direction of Arsenal FC .

    you remind me a lot of Gervinho, who had a massive forehead but could never score using his head even if he was in front of an open goal – the word is “limited”.

  19. TotalArsenal says:

    Omg, you are full of shit and utterly unable to consider other points of view. I bet you’ve never seen a live Arsenal game in your life.

  20. TotalArsenal says:

    So true, JB. You are still being kind with ‘limited’.

  21. 007, licence to kill. 😀


    Morning all, and thanks jozefos.

    Of course I want Wenger to stay. Its not personal, and I can fully understand why others might want a change in direction. Younger men with fresh ideas, football like anything else is a changing game.

    Retaining a managers services is the biggest call for a Football Club, and its got nothing to do with admir licking his testicles. Its simply a question of what is best for the Clubs current stability and future.

    Unlike others I dont see the need of a paradigm shift or cultural shock. We are doing relativly well and I would like to see were evolvement takes us.

    Going against the grain, I would like to defend WeeDonald. Hes right in the sense that essentialy we are all amateurs. If someone who knew nothing about my job tried to tell me how to do it, with the odd disparaging comment about my performance thrown in, they would meet the customary Cretan response.

    Never the less, this is a blog were the whole purpose is to express opinion, so to argue against expression of opinion kind of defeats the object.

    If we run out of things to say I am quite happy to discuss my other passions. Women, hard cash, and assorted farm animals. hahaha

  23. JM says:

    (DD has these to say on AW. His closed-up and first-hand views working with AW, should preside most if not all our comments.)

    PS: Watch while it is still available (could be taken down due to copyright issues) on the above YouTube channel.

  24. Admir says:

    TMHT, the thing is, I can understand that there are people who defend Wenger using their brains and some sort of arguments (most of those argument can be described in one sentence: “You don’t know what change might bring”-argument that would have kept mankind in the caves though). And, it’s OK because (imagine that I started to whisper) I do it as well when I think that is a right thing to do.

    Then, there is a whole movement of people that consider themselves Wenger’s bodyguards and probably dream about Whitney Houston-Kevin Costner relationship with Le Professeur. They don’t use their brain too much and will buy a pile of shit if Arsene Wenger tells them it’s a chocolate cake that has a special taste due to financial reasons and that on the long-term they’ll feel it’s a real chocolate cake. Behind every successful deceitful politician there are hordes of…well, OMGArsenals. (That being said, there are also clever people who are paid from political organizations to promote their ideas, praise their leader(s) and label those who disagree as traitors or a fifth column in exchange for some sort of gain.)

    Apart from a free-porn, exchanging opinions is the main reason for the existence of internet.

  25. TotalArsenal says:

    Hahaha Terry, anybody can be an accountant, but most of us choose life 😉

    We are all football managers, of course! 🙂


    Admir, lets get one thing straight. In my dream I am the Costner carachter and Wenger is Houston. Hope thats clear. hahaha

    Your wrong about fear of change. Its about perspective, and mine is that Wenger is doing a good job and am of the belief that he can take us to the next level. I have seen you use the fear of change angle before to patronise those who do not hold similar views to your own.

    Flip the coin Admir and ask yourself wether that approach is just as blinkered as the one you choose to castigate?

    TA, I will remember that comment the next time you get a knock on the door from a bespectacled mac wearing individual holding a Tax demand. hahaha

  27. Somehow I`m not disturbed with the thought of Stretch donning a Whitney Houston wig and belting out ….” and I will always love you ! “… to his life size Arsene mannequin !. hahaha


    Of course i agree about the free porn. I suspect even OMG would concur. Probably invented it.

    Off to the office. Need to con some money out of a poor naive widow and then take her out using my extorniate fee as funds.

  29. I have no problem either, with WeeDonald, although I do have one with Wee Mcdonalds !….horse burgers is one thing , but piss burgers is taking the piss a step too far !.
    If after following the games for over 50 years I have no rough idea about football, then I might as well give up !. How many of us has watched a game and called a substitution and then seen it called right ?.
    My only seen loss at the Emirates was a 3-2 loss to WBA !. We were pants in the 1st half and Almunia saved a penalty keep it 0-0. I said to my boy that our biggest problem was and that Eboue and Diaby were having a nightmare game together and that Wenger should pull them off at half time !. Wenger chose to ignore my text messages !. Second half and by the 52 minute we were 2-0 down !. On 56 mins ( and this as you all know is quite early for Wenger to make substitutions not of the injury kind ! ) Wenger brings on Rosicky and Wilshere for guess who ?…..Diaby and Eboue !…we still conceded a 3rd, but then Nasri scored 2 goals as we hit them with everything but the kitchen sink and Nasri also hit the bar !.
    I called them Subs long before Wenger, but like the rest of us regular BKers, I know nothing about tactics and subs !. How could I possibly have an inkling after playing and watching for over 50 years !.

  30. ” Get your sorry arse back here, Gazidis ! ”

  31. 5 points behind the Bindippers and the Chavs have named a weakened line-up, so they have given up on the league !. After saying that, they will now probably win !. hahaha

  32. I shall now go on the treadmill and mull over in my mind what tactics I shall text to Wenger for tomorrows game…..he values my input, but is not ready for Total P yet !. hahaha

  33. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey boys… Not much to add here and I’m trying to write up a match preview as I watch Sunderland-Cardiff and now, Pool-Chavs…

    I believe that much of the Wenger debate amongst Gooners IS (mostly) existential. Are we satisfied with the “entertainment” on offer in “staying the course,” or do we want change? We can argue all we want about what sort of change might happen but when it happens (and it will…) it could be (almost anything). Only slightly narrower are the incremental changes which will occur if AW remains. It seems to me that it’s far easier to offer criticism of what exists or has happened when the proposed alternatives are untestable. (Which, of course, is the source of all the frustration.) It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it–(i.e., I still cannot believe AW didn’t start Ozil at Stoke…) but maybe a hint of humility could be in order (i.e., I believe we might’ve done better at Stoke and in the table, IF Ozil had started at Stoke…) rather than declarations which appear absolute. Ah well, so goes the nature of the interweb…

    Personally, I DO fear the change away from a guy whose decisions (for the most part–to me…) seem very wise. To me, the biggest issue is that football, as money pours into the game, rewards the individual (players, managers) more and more (and more), but forever remains a “team game.” How do we bring individuals together to produce results as a team? The examples from up in Manchester (both halves, but mostly the red side…) shows some examples of what NOT to do. Wenger, IMO, has wrung a lot of togetherness out of his players over the years. I’d like him to be given a chance to try and eke out a little more. For me, it would be more satisfying to win with this group I’ve come to know, than to win with a bunch of strangers. Of course, this implies that “winning” is possible…

    Anyhow, there’s plenty of time (after the matches have been played) to discuss these matters and I promised a preview…

    Off I go…

  34. Admir says:

    I’ve followed football since I was six. I learned to read and write both Cyrillic and Latin when I was four-year-old but nevertheless turned out to be an average Joe that currently works in a tax department. When I was seven, I made my late dentist stunned with a brave statement that I know all players that will feature in Italia 90 except for United Arab Emirates (or Manchester Manchester City Arsenal as they should have been known) where I know just six. When he asked me which six players I know, I said: “Mubarak, Mubarak, Mubarak, Mubarak, Mubarak and Mubarak.” (There were apparently six of them.) My first football tears happened when I was six – Yugoslavia (U21) lost to Norway U21 side at home thanks to a late goal. The ball crossed the line but didn’t touch the net. It was a hard way to learn from your father that it’s enough to put the ball over the goal-line to score.

    Anyway, I’ve learned stuff over the years and even if I don’t know how to play football well and I have never known, I think I can recognize who does it. I’m pretty good in noticing patterns and that’s the main reason why I don’t want Wenger to sign a new contract.

    Now, speaking of patronizing, here is a huge difference between me and people who disagree with me – I’d never call them stupid or brainless before they attack first (and I’ve tasted that kind of attacks at both Le Grove and Untold Arsenal). Arguments first, insults later. (And I come from the part of Bosnia that is usually considered as hot-tempered and knife-solving-issues-prone among the other Bosnians regardless of their ethnicity and religion. One of my colleagues at the law-school tried to mock* my origin by saying: “You know, I heard that every man from Krajina wears a dagger and owns a horse.” I looked at him with a dead-pan face, adjusted my leather jacket like I’m wearing something heavy under it and said: “Well… I don’t have a horse.”)

    I’m worried that we might suffer a lot of problems between the World Cup and the new season. We will have a lot of players unavailable and most of our WC-players will get a prolonged absence. We have seen it before. We will go to USA to earn money. We have seen it before. We will have a goalkeeper-issue very soon, possibly a right-full back one while our DM- and striker-issues haven’t been resolved in an adequate way for years.

    * – he wanted to say that Krajina people are only good to be 18th-century-border-keepers and that they should leave intellectual work for others

  35. If any help Adders….I`ve got a Horse and Pony !.
    Like the word Krajina…is it Klingon by any chance ?………I have a Bat`leth !…but have problems trying to entice it away from my wife as you can see in the picture !.
    Treadmill time !.


    Admir, no ones questioning your intelligence on here. From your posts you come over a very smart guy.

    Your comments are invariably tinged with frustration and border on disillusionment, and tend to focus angst on our current manager.

    Yes, we will go to America or Asia to earn money and haggle over transfers. You dont like it, I dont like it, but why is it all Wengers fault? Would his departure drastically change the way Arsenal operate or alter the nature of the modern game in any way? I dont think so.

    The modern game stinks in so many ways Admir, that I wouldn’t know to begin. Thats what pisses me off, not Wenger. In fact, Wenger is probably one of the better men for keeping traditions and values

    Over the years.I have seen many friends fall out of love with Arsenal and football in general. Ticket prices are to high, fans are treated as customers, and every football decision seems to have finance at its heart.

    I grew up on Arsenal and have seen the Club go from a total working class support, a quid to get in, standing areas, some really shit teams, to what we are now. In between, many people have been frozen out, excluded, and become detached from there local club.

    17 makes a very good point. It would be more satisfying to win with a progression based on hard work and a group you know rather than some strangers, or playing a managerial roundabout, and even worse having some sugar daddy buy success for you.

    For me winning is not everything. It has to have some meaning, some spirit, or some other intangibles that create a feeling for the Club, otherwise its not worth the bother.

  37. Admir says:

    Hahahaha! 😀 Well, Krajina is a term that describes a border region. It was usually populated with soldiers to defend borders of the empires.

    But, you’re right. 😀 Krajina has been a special region during history (our hospitality is the only thing that matches our fighting spirit). Once I had a girlfriend from Sandžak (very similar mentality to ours) and I used to say to her that our son would be called Džingis (= Genghis).

    Hm, this Klingon thing is similar to the first birthday present from my father that I can recall, hahahahaha.

  38. 17highburyterrace says:

    Another great story from Admir…as this Pool vs 2nd team Chavs (and their time-wasting) match tries to get to half-time…

    I hope you (and others) understand what I mean by Gooners being caught in an existential moment around Wenger. Whether you’re of the opinion that he either hurts or helps the club, it has gotten to the point where what happens on the pitch is (almost always) seen through the lens of this particular debate. For example, above…You (Admir) see last year’s run-in as flukey or undeserved, whereas, checking the results and the points gained on Spurs, AW supporters might see it as triumphant.

    Overall, on this site, I think we’ve done pretty well trying to actually discuss some of the play on the pitch and ideas about it (and elsewhere) rather than the “grander” question (of the manager). Sometimes it gets personal (your previous statement suggests that someone like me or Terry cannot tell chocolate from shit, for example)…I’d like to think I can stay above it, but I know I’ve failed on occasion…

    In truth, I think this divide between Gooners is mostly artificial and there’s still some fun to be had discussing things we see. Still, it’s such an easy point of argument, (AW, yes or no)… so we often go there and soon enough that’s all there is… Ah well…

    Ooh, Stevie G…That was not so good…

    1-nil Chavs and I don’t expect that goal to open up the match…

  39. I`ve just finished the treadmill torture !…….gradually increasing the speed and in-cline and the calorie count !. Touch wood so far my calf is OK !. not as good as going for a run in the country side, but it`s doing something ,which is better than doing nothing !.

    Hey Squatchadildo !. I`m always up for some fun !…….you don’t think I come on site for mainly footie talk !. hahaha
    We can all have varying opinions as long as it doesn`t get abusive !…..well in my case, you know the abuse is done in an endearing manner you bunch of bucking fastards !. hahaha
    To tell the truth, I love nothing more than some Wenger bashing to get the mass debate heated !. hahaha

  40. Here`s a question for BK`s AKB Club !. Read the link and tell me who`s to blame….is it Wenger or someone else ?. We are having the same problems with Sagna….fair enough there are two sides to a story, but players wanting to sign and somebody (?) dragging their feet !.
    Is it Wenger or does he delegate contract renewals to someone else ?.

  41. Hahaha 73% possession and the Bin Dippers still lose !. I know I have said they should win the league and they still might, but I don’t want them too !. Mansour City is the less hated of a bad bunch !. So come on, do the eagles !.

  42. James Bond says:

    so happy for chelsea that they won today, so so happy , really – am over the moon

    they just handed the PL trophy to Man city ahahahahhahahahahahahahahahahhaha

    least this will bring a lot of disillusioned fans of liverpool back down to earth after their title challenge was aided by the ref’s – they have never won the PL and I doubt if they ever will, if they don’t this season.

    what do Chelsea and Liverpool have in common this season ?

    both of them spend millions and millions on players , year in year out , much more than Arsenal on average yet both of them will end the season without a trophy.

    over to you Man city.

  43. Give Maureen his due, he knows how to grind out a result……Gorgeous George used to be able to do that !…..without trying antagonize any of our BK AKB Buddies…..has Arsene got that in his repertoire ?.

  44. James Bond says:

    right, so all those who are blame OG for not being a big match player and a flat track bully – what do you make out of Suarez – the real flat track bully ?

    when was the last time he scored against a big team ? we played liverpool 3 times and I don’t think he managed to score a single goal against us either.

    is he really world class like Aguero / RVP e.t.c e.t.c e.t.c ?

  45. James Bond says:

    leave Arsene Alone @ Glic’s – give him another season and he will prove everyone wrong with what he has under his sleeves

    get in Dzeko – ahahahaahah


  46. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey I gotta run (ski actually) but I’m with you 007…What a cynical celebration from the cow-man there at the end…Such a pr*ck…

    I agree with what I imagine your link talks about Cockie, but Arsenal are spending more and more on salaries all the time. If ManCity are offering a salary which would make Sagna our highest paid guy (as they did with Nasri) it would mean ratcheting EVERYBODY else’s salary. With Stingy Stan at the helm it ain’t gonna happen..

    Dzeko scores…. so it looks like two titles in 3 years for the Oilers on GD only…At least the silly money club who plays the attacking football will be the one which prevails–super rolly eyes, eh…

    I’m off, TA you’ve got mail…

  47. See this is where we all see things differently !. What I read into that link, 17, is that Nasri wanted to stay and had someone(?) moved a bit quicker in negotiations, then Nasri would have signed before Mansour City came a hunting !. Dragging of the feet lost us the player before Mansour City got wind !.

  48. James Bond says:

    Hola me Amigo !

    yeah, would love to see him go another season without a trophy , will it be 2 years in a row for the Special one ? specialist in failure comes to mind ahahahahahahahahahahhaah

    looking forward to your post !

  49. James Bond says:

    re- that Na$ri thingy @ Glic’s

    he can say whatever he wants to now, isn’t it ? fact of the matter remains – Cesc was leaving and he would have got to play in a more central position and could have reached that world class potential under AW but he chose not to do that for the money money money – we don’t need your money money money sang a singer once or along them lines.

    anyway – the fact remains, it’s nothing to do with how quickly or slowly we acted – he was a goner and not gooner as soon as man city came in.

    if it wasn’t about the money then he wouldn’t be gloating and shinning about the “three times” wages, would he ?

  50. I see VCC is in Benidorm on a Shirtlifters Stag Party !………..I should imagine Vickies being rodgered right now by his boyfriend who he calls……… The Special Juan !. hahaha


    Cornwall, Bondy is right. Nasri can say what ever he likes now.

    Despite what you or others may think of Wenger, who do you believe on this matter, Arsene or slimey Nasri?

    If theres one thing Arsene wants to do, it is keep his playing squad together.

  52. Yeah but yeah but yeah but….had someone(?) moved quicker before Mansour City came sniffing, he would have signed a new contract !. What are you fuvver muckers on ?…..read the link ! …..he says he wanted to stay and waited and waited and waited……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………


    hahaha, yeah, I awlays find “Juan” to be a very popular name for a single male lodger or political aide to a happily married MP. hahaha

  54. I take people at face value, if Nasri says he wanted to stay, then I believe him !. Wenger isn’t going to come out and say he dragged his feet on the pressing matters of Nasri`s new contract because he was prioritising fixing the zipper on his dodgy puffa jacket !.


    Come on Cornwall, its all smoke and mirrors.

    Nasri and his team of agents waited for all options to come in before deciding there best route. Nasri is not the devil incarnate, he just saw the City offer as to generous to refuse. Half our bloody team did the same.

  56. Ahh the Savile speciality act !………using the smoke and mirrors to make his sausage disappear !.

    Steady on 007, Mansour City have a very difficult trip to Everton to contend with, that title is still in the balance !.

  57. Win tomorrow and it is St Totteringham’s Day. 19 years in a row. Still don’t get why the Spuddies continue to be noisy neighbours with that record really 😀

  58. James Bond says:

    my first comment in this post has a time stamp on it and then a couple of hours later, you get this


    interesting !

    Song or Bender ?

    Glic’s – Man city have won the title, give them the trophy already and while you are at it, give Real Madrid the CL as well.

    nuff said – we got a lot of celebrating to do since st.Spuds day is upon us ahahahahahahahahahahahhahahhahahahahahahahahahaahhahaha

  59. 007,

    Bender over Song for me even though Bender would cost a bit more. Song’s positional indiscipline is a mismatch really for what we need in improving our double pivot.

  60. TotalArsenal says:

    What position do you think Song played in his last season, Iceman? Trying to understand why you believe he has ‘positional indiscipline’ in your opinion?

  61. James Bond says:

    actually Bender would cost a lot more money than Song.

    we could get song back for 5-8 million and remember, Barca still owe us near 5-6 million on that one, so in essence we could have Song back for little as 2 to 4 million , after offsetting it against what Barca still owe us.

    I’m not so sure about that, personally I think Song would have learned a bit more about his positional play and calmed down a bit more – he can also play as a CB.

    Would I much rather have bender for £20 million or Song back for £2 million.

    what would AW do hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  62. James Bond says:

    that’s right @ Skipper

    also, Song was educated the Arsenal way and went to Barca to get more educated and do more training .

    he could be our Fernandinho / Busquets ?

    I am not against the return of Song …he certainly had a bit of “presence about him” and some pace as well with an eye for a long pass !

  63. TotalArsenal says:

    JB, I remember hearing about the sale of Song when on hols, and I felt rotten for the rest of it. Don’t expect Wenger to take him back but he would make a difference, agreed.

  64. 17highburyterrace says:

    Hey boys, back from skiing… Total, did you get my steaming pile of that stuff in my avatar? 007, didn’t you say (up above) that Song links were laughable (or was that somebody else…)? I guess the math is persuasive…

    Am I wrong, but do current results make it so that we qualify for the CL by winning our home matches (the next two)–meaning that Everton would be out on the final match day and would only be playing…to hand the title to the red side of Liverpool. Sticky wicket that, eh what?…

    Of course, we mustn’t count our chickens so close on after Easter, but I have a measure of confidence.

    007 are you calling for an all Madrid final? Complaints about the refs and the scheduling notwithstanding, Mourinho, if he’s got a ref who won’t buy a dive knows how to fashion a clean sheet. Is it somewhat easier in the away stadium, without the home fans transmitting their nerves to the backups at Keeper and CB? The Moo-man will be trying for 120 mins on Wednesday vs Atletico and we must hope it doesn’t happen. Or is it at all possible that Chavs will come out attacking, knowing that (most likely) multiple goals will be required? What are the permutations, Dennis forbid, if they were to win the whole thing again?…

    Oooh…Villareal as bad as Everton (two own goals and now Barca are back level…), Oops, Messi (the guy I think we should get from Barca) puts them ahead, 3-2…

  65. Totes, in that last season he was dependent on Arteta protecting his rear. There is also an important issue of this long term successor for Arteta in terms of reading play and covering for advancing FB’s, who advance to provide extra width up the pitch to compensate for a bit of narrowness up front. The key for me was towards the end of that season when Arteta was out and we had a terrible run of results.

    Song does not in my opinion have the required football intelligence; in that last season with us it was Arteta’s intelligence that was covering for him, however Arteta’s problem now is that he has perhaps lost a step. Song basically just did his own thing, and with the way the PL has evolved over the last few seasons, becoming highly tactical and detail orientated, he is not the right fit in my opinion.

    A double pivot doesn’t just happen by chance, it is about reading a game and adjusting to an opposition in terms of whether it is sitting back or pressing. The CDM we are looking for is someone that is able to read the game, particularly to mop up and make us less vulnerable to counter-attacks.

    I’ve also read articles talking about why Arsene Wenger was happy to let Song go. Song and his agent were pushing for renewal of his contract from pretty much the beginning of his last season with us but the club was not interested. There are direct quotes of him saying he wanted to stay. Arsene Wenger let him go, and that obviously means that AW didn’t rate him, and there are indications of why although I won’t go into details, it’s all there if one does a little research. He’s neither a great CDM or a b2b. I don’t think we want an average player returning with their tail between their legs after a largely unsuccessful tenure at Barca, my instincts are that it just wouldn’t work out and I would have no problem seeing him join another PL club.

    Sorry, I don’t like saying such with a player that has been at this club and I was deliberately keeping things pretty high level above to keep things a bit classy. However, you pushed me Totes 😉

  66. davydavy says:

    I’m with the Iceman on this one – Bender over Song all day long. I never really liked Song to be honest, he always seemed a bit clumsy and was too often and too easily pulled out of position when he was being played as DM.
    However I see Bender as a backup/partner for Ramsey, and in the DM position I really like the bloke Carvalho from Sporting Lisbon. He’s a monster of a player!

  67. TotalArsenal says:

    Thanks Ice.

    In my view, it was the other way round. Arteta struggled with making things happen and Song was asked to become provider. We all know how he helped to save our season with an incredible number of assist. Song is a fine DM, IF asked to play in such a role. But he wasn’t, yet your are not alone in believing he lacked positional discipline. IMO that is incorrect: his positioning, timing and intervention skills are very good.

  68. TotalArsenal says:

    Hi 17, yes thanks. I will go up to load your post in a bit (been busy).

  69. davydavy,

    William Carvalho would be a beast of a player but obviously is in a different price bracket from the likes of Schneiderlin, Gonalons, and Bender.

    Next season we will have Theo back and perhaps one or two additional mobile options up front (LW/SS and CF). Taking that into account I believe that range of passing is a dimension we could add from CM, it’s not just about tiki-taka but also balls over the top for example. Taking that dimension into account I think Bender would be a pretty good fit.

  70. James Bond says:

    you never know @ Skipper – stranger things have happened since…for e.g. us getting Flamini back…now I thought there was one that could never ever happen but there you go.

    no @ 17HT – it wasn’t me, in fact I answered pretty bluntly what AW had “under his sleeves” – it’s all in this post (my first comment).

    not sure about an all Madrid final but would be nice !

    to be honest with you, regardless of what team goes into the final, it’s Real Madrid’s trophy to win – they have a great manager whom I rate very highly – plus if it was chelsea vs Madrid then you can bet your bottom dollar that the whole of MAdrid including Ronaldo and co would not only want to win in style vs Chelsea but give Jose. Moron a thumping he would never forget !

    so I am not really fussed even if Chelsea make it to the final , which I doubt they will.

    re- 4th place trophy

    we win tomorrow are 4 points clear

    we win our next 2 games, we are 10 points clear of Everton.

    Everton win their next 2 games , will still be 4 points behind

    in theory, we only have to win tomorrow (3) and draw both of remaining games (2) and we are home

    or to make it easier, we win tomorrow and we win the next one against WBA – we are home

    so yes, you are spot on.

  71. davydavy says:

    iceman, I absolutely agree on Bender and would actually love to get both. They could be like Petit and Vieira when playing together.

  72. Very nice Totes, Cheers… 007, I think GD might come into it unless in your scenario, 2 wins and it’s over… Yeah, a RM-Chelsea final would have Merengues in a real froth…

    This Song back to Arsenal (I believe) is agent plant. Completely unwanted at Barca, they want to try to get back just a tiny bit of their investment, if they can… Still an interesting discussion and one which adds insight on a current player (Arteta)…

    Trying to relate it to the topic (Wenger and his sleeves)…One thing people must realize is that Wenger lies. He will never talk bad about his players and will often talk up other players when asked about them. As such, the links fly and our interest (some still consider AW’s opinion as valuable…) inflates prices, including amongst those going out… Again, this is a story I won’t click on, because it’s too improbable (Like the one about Nasri, above)… But hey (as in all things…) that’s just me and I cannot spare the time/energy to get wound up about every last titillation designed to insult the hopeful Gooner… 😀

  73. TotalArsenal says:

    New Post New Post 🙂

    Seventeenho has produced a mighty fine, multi-dimensional preview! 🙂

  74. James Bond says:

    no, but Song was ADVISED by AW to stay at Barca for another season and see how things pan out before making the decision to leave (come back to arsenal or where ever).

    this was done last year, prior to the season beginning.

    that is spot on – also, you must know this but most , if not all the ex players, keep in touch with AW – even the great RVP.

    now you’ll come back with a bunch of questions and so on but before that happens, at the start of this season and towards the end of the transfer window – there was links of Song leaving to which AW said and I quote ” he will be at BARCA FOR 1 more year according to my understanding “.

    this might make for a mighty fine post and discussion @ Skipper 😉

  75. TotalArsenal says:

    Take a sad Song and make it better’ 😛

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