How to Make Arsenal a PL Force Again


There is a lot of work to do in the very little time available before next season begins. Our players that will be involved in this summer’s World Cup Tournament will miss  preseason training in part or in full. Our target for the moment is to finish 6th on the table above Burnley so our preseason is not further interfered with by the Europa League qualification matches. A poor preseason could cause a slow start to our 18/19 campaign which could prove irredeemable. Therefore we must be up and doing as we have a lot of catching up to do on our more settled rivals.


It is reasonable to believe that a new coach has already been contracted and the sooner he is announced the better. Time is so precious and apathy growing by the day that there should be no room for sentiments.

Judging from our performance this season we are a 6th place team (hopefully) and not a top 6 team. It is debatable how much of this poor standing is due to coaching or due to the players. Certainly, the players must bear part of the blame. Therefore, team rebuilding is a necessity. Some players will have to leave and some news ones will need to be recruited, and the rebuilding should start immediately.

With three matches left in the season we have already conceded 48 goals. That is classic middle table rate of leaking goals. Clearly, defending is where our big problem lies and we need to focus our rebuilding efforts on it.

Issues of poor defending (not necessarily defenders) can be due to; inferior personnel, poor coaching, wrong structure and unbalanced tactics. In our case I think it is the combination of the four.

PERSONNEL:- We need to replace our current keepers with a world class keeper. Nothing less. Our back line needs the injection of at least one top class central defender in place of the ailing Koscielny and retiring Metersacker. The budget is always limited so we can only hope that our young stars will step up.  Otherwise our back line needs an even bigger overhaul.

COACHING:- It is widely believed that Wenger does not give adequate attention to defensive drills. Evidence on the ground seems to confirm it. The new coach should be one that gives good attention to this area.

STRUCTURE:- Structural inadequacy affected our defending out of the fact that we operate a team without a holding midfielder with a solid defensive side to his game. It is a structure that leaves defending almost in the hands of defenders alone. This should be remedied with the signing of a quality holding mid.

TACTICS:- Part of our defensive problem might actually arise from a gap in our tactics. We dominate possession and territory resulting in our defenders holding a high line. The absence of the high press (which is defending from the front as possession based teams like City, Liverpool, Barcelona do) means that whenever we loose the ball the opposition are invariably running at our defenders that have acres of space behind them. They become more or less sitting ducks.  Our hope is that the new coach can implement a more balanced tactical model.

Three quality signings: a keeper, a central defender and a holding mid must have hit the £100M plus mark unless Sven Mislintat is able to work his Dortmund magic by bringing gems on the cheap. Otherwise some squad players have to be sold for the funding of part of the new signings. The gaps are then filled from our Academy.

The fans want to know that the ball has started rolling. We need an announcement within the next few days. We need quick, decisive actions too.

Gooners, tell us how you think we should go about to become a PL force again.

By Pony Eye.

89 thoughts on “How to Make Arsenal a PL Force Again

  • That’s is a very thought provoking post PE, I mean, what do we do with Santi Cazorla for example, in the past Arsene would have given my favourite player Santiago, a new deal, maybe a 2 year deal, but the clearest indication that Wenger no longer call the shots anymore and probably hasn’t for most of this season is the aforementioned Santi situation, that allied to the offer made to Jack.

    Then there’s the players out on loan, what happens to Joel Campbell, Emi Martinez, Lucas Perez, Takumo Asano, Jeff RA, Carl Jenkinson, Julio Pleguezuelo, Chuba Akpom etc, etc?

    A lot of sharp business needs to be attended to this summer/short summer, because most of last season was taken up by whether Arsene would sign his new deal or not, the delay caused no doubt, by his displeasure over the new restrictions that Sven and Co would hold over him and followed by the gradual disintegration of this season, to where we are now.

    Contracts need to be sorted, no more of this nonsense of letting players go into their last year, unless of course they’re surplus to requirements like my dear old Santiago.

    As far as new signings, I think that Sven has that well in hand and it won’t be for some ridiculous amount like the £200m quoted – where do these press tossers get off dreaming up such crap?

    I reckon between £50m and anything up to £100m, depending on sales and saved wages, will be available to our new manager, Mr X, whoever he is..?

    OK, off to work now, it’s Dallas like weather out there on the old prairie, or A13 as it’s known in these here parts…

  • For short?
    I’m going to start calling Arsene’s successor: Newman.

    Not sure I see any space between personnel decisions of Sven– and what Newman ‘might like’. In the current and shrinking vacuum of power at the club– why would SIR give over any personnel decisions to Newman?

    See, if Newman comes from a league other than the PL? He’s got enough to learn about our club, our players, and the opposition (players/managers/strategies), Trusting Newman to make personnel decisions too? Just don’t see it.

    As Kev mentioned, there’s a lot of business to be done just below decks too. Like with loanees– those maybe/maybe-not-quite-squad players. Here? Newman has no clue. Newman hasn’t even met those guys (Some? Maybe Sven hasn’t met either!). Could be Sven and Newman might simply like some of ’em better than Arsene does/did? Like Perez? Or Campbell? That pair would have been welcome in Europa League this year. So why not next year?

    To wind this down? IMHO? Newman gets little-to-no-say in spending. Whether it’s £50M or £200M. And without Champions League next season? SIR-Kroenke are not hiring anyone who will “demand” a £200M pot-of-transfer-lucre.


  • ‘Dallas’, Kev?
    Don’t be a piker pardner.
    Go just 200mi further south here. It’s hotter and 3x the humidity.
    (And in Dallas they get a breeze fairly often.) 😉


  • From the way you construct your post, PE, one can tell your profession. I think you have highlighted precisely and succinctly the areas for improvement: foundation, structure, people and style.

    It is exciting to think about these areas and at the same time a bit frightening as the new season starts in just three months or so. That is nothing. My hope is still on Joachim Low to come and join us, but as it could be anyone, who really knows?!

    I think we need to realise that it will take time to sort out the defence AND our team defending (foundation and structure), but I am hoping that the style of football will not change much. It is all about getting back balance in the team, and for that we need to add players in the positions you have mentioned.

    I think a Campbell-like CB will make a huge difference to Arsenal. Spend our money on a really good one and make Holding his understudy. Mustafi or Koz can be the CB-partner, with Chambers and a youngster as further back up. GK would be nice, but I still love Cech, so not so much a priority for me. Steel in midfield would be welcome too, but I really like AMN and still feel that either Kola or Nacho could move into midfield, if required. Should not cost much to get a quality DM from the German league, I would imagine. However, I like Xhaka playing deep, so I would want an allround guy next to him in the B2B role. I reckon that is Elneny but would love us to get an even stronger player there (I am now happy for Rambo to leave).

    I would be keen to see us buy a quality right wing-back. Bels needs competition and the ball ends up a lot with our right back these days, so it is important that we have a beast of player there with a fine ability to pick the right pass/cross and score goals himself. Bels is making progress but he is not there yet. Nacho has another year at least left in him for the left wing back position, and I rate him highly.

    So let’s get the manager in and at least a good CB and wing-back asap. The rest will follow and we need to be patient.

  • JW, it is vital that our new manager has a strong say on which players he requires and who will join the club. It never works if the manager gets given players and to then have to fit them in. I reckon he will have to have the final say in player purchases but then leaves the activity of it to others.

  • jw, you got it. Today!!

    Am quite convinced that decision on Wenger’s departure was not made in a hurry. Meaning that a lot of ground work has been done on a lot of things and I feel strongly that Sven must be at the centre of it all. So Mr Newman after all might not be that new.

    Also Mr Newman is not going to have the kind of powers that was vested in Wenger. It’s been hinted that it’ll be handled by a team of 3. Maybe there is already a vetted pool of players for Mr Newman to make his final choices from. A max of 3 new 1st team signings doesn’t look too complicated to me. Just as I see it, though.

  • Kev, keep Santi as the joker.

    We should be desperate to get back up there quickly and l feel the strategy would be to strengthen the 1st team, say about 18 players. So I don’t see a place for most of our players on loan. Our priority should be the PL. So, imho, we should focus on the 1st team even at a slight expense of the squad. Most of those on loan would help to fund strengthening the 1st team. My humble opinion.

  • TA, I want never to be caught out. I’ve even dabbled into things just so I can become a free spirit. But I see am still so much of the Tit for Tat of the Old Testament instead of the Grace of the New Testament.

    I love Cech as a person. No further.
    I have high hopes for AMN, but not yet for him to be the shield of our defence. He’s still got some more maturing to do in his defensive awareness. But he can easily become our best B2B.

    Am with you about the right back, only that am looking at our bank account. Yes we need to be patient, but top four finish can’t wait another season.

  • TA–
    Traditionally? I’d most certainly agreed with you.
    However, IMO, and stating as much on a few occasions– that the ‘rebuild’ by SIR would take this Summer and next Winter transfer windows to complete. Results SIR have been working toward for just eight months now (in accelerated fashion with success and savvy)– aren’t nearly done.

    One Winter window– and hand the keys to Newman? SIR just got them back from Arsene!

    The club have just turned tradition on its’ head– based on supporters wanting change. The manager will change. Doubt the dynamics behind-the-scenes will. This club will remain in transition– for another season yet.


  • I’d say 3 summer widows to get to the very top if we get it right. But top four is possible next season. At least top 6 and not 6th team.

  • Truly thought provoking article, PE and rather relevant, given the circumstances. I’d work with the expectation that the club already has a manager lined up (even signed up), so it will be appropriate for such a one to spend the next few weeks familiarizing himself with the club’s structure, team dynamics, loan players’ status and reports, areas for strengthening and the kind of pre-season to have. What I am saying is very little should escape ‘Newman’, if he intends to be a success.

    While the Newman may not have the powers and involvement Wenger had, he certainly should have a say in the kind of players we go for (ordinarily, if we know him, he should be the one indicating the type of player he seeks) even if Sven Mslintat finishes the job. It is likely that Newman will be given plenty of latitude by the fans and media as he finds his feet, so it bodes well for us to sneak up on the top 4 sides and stake a claim for those elite spots.

    I agree with most of the sentiments here. We shall need a keeper, CB, right full back and DM. I am of the view we need someone stronger and more reliable than Bellerin to be a top side. Something has to change about the way our team is structured and you’d think it has to be in defensive midfield we will find that new lease of life in our approach to games. We’ve tried it a different way for about 3 seasons with inconsistent results to show for it. Time to try something else, as the other top sides do. We can pinch Nwanyama and Toby Alderweireld from Spurs, Butland from Stoke and a right full back from any of the Western European leagues.

  • In other news, thoughts go out the Sir Alex Ferguson and his family, as he battles the after effects of a surgery for suspected brain haemorrhage. I wish him a complete recovery and look forward to seeing him back at the games.

    It’s such a life that’s given Arsène nightmares about leaving his day job, I guess. A sedentary life will do no good at a certain age.

  • Hi there PE. I’m struggling to get fully engaged with life post Wenger while the man is still there in post, however pointless these last games now are. But I can still engage around the squad and the issues we need to address in the coming window.

    I think you have it about right on the CB and keeper front. Cech is no mug even now. But he is in decline. And we don’t need another over long departure to occupy thoughts next year. No one is going to argue about the need for CB improvement. Where we buy such a monster and why they would choose us as their club of choice are harder questions I will park for the moment. I do wonder though whether we might put more effort into a new defensive coach to help improve the talent and organisation of what we have, plus whatever we may find, for the end of the summer. This might give better odds for progress than the punt of buying.

    I’m less sure about all the calls for DMs. As I’m not sure who they would be replacing. The focus seems to be coming onto Rambo. And I think the challenge is a reasonable one. Is going to fledge into the dominant world beating midfielder that he as promised to be for so long? Or is it not going to happen. If it’s not or we aren’t prepared to wait then there’s a space to be filled there. But by a DM? Surely not. Surely we would want a mor physical but yet attacking player. Patrick remains the benchmark. Xhaka has surely progressed this year and looks like he could kick on further. We would be mad to drop him at this stage. Elneny and Maitland Niles are surely ones to keep as squad players at least. More hopefully. So unless Rambo goes I’m not sure what space there is to fill – hence any midfielder we do buy will be a potential rather than a fully formed star.

    Same goes for the full backs for me. I can see us buying young cover. Especially on the left. But not a first choice player -unless Kola gets dropped. Which would be too soon in my book.

    I’d love to have Martial come to us. But I can’t see how we would fit him into our squad. It had to be him or Mkhi, and that choice has been made.

    So oddly I don’t see huge turnover in the first team. I think there’s a lot of fringe players who might go. And I hope we can land some quality at the back. But we have a good team already, would be my belief. The reason Arsene has been asked to leave is because we haven’t performed to our abilities over the last year. And that has to improve.

  • If Athletico Madrid decide to cash in on Griezmann this summer, then a fee in the region of £100m will be burning a hole in their pocket, so I wonder if they would revisit their interest in Lacazette and would Arsenal be open to doing business if they could recoup most of the fee?

  • JW, I have absolutely no idea what or who a piker is?
    Do they live in caravans (mobile homes/trailers)..?

  • PE, I’d love to see Santiago stay and play again, but I suspect that the Holy Trinity of Sven, Ivan and Raul will instigate a more robust policy regarding the squad, more fiscal responsibility, no more short deals to players with iffy fitness records, Diaby, Rosicky, Arteta, etc.

    As for the loan players, we need the Hombre Nuevo to make a decision on who he wants and who is expendable, but it’s all up in the air until we know who he is…

  • Eris, I don’t see that it’s a big deal the new manager inheriting players at the start. Managers are known to have successfully taken over teams mid season. Come to think of it, Mr Newman needs time, before he can make informed decisions.

    He needs to get to know the players, their abilities on the field, the right pairings and combinations, possibility of new roles, their injury history, their dressing room personalities, characters that he accepts or resents and so many other things that can only be gleamed with time. Only then can he make informed decisions.

    Meanwhile there is an existing structure that is there to make or help him make those decisions as he gets to grip with his new environment. Remember it is that same structure that hired him (Newman) in the first place knowing that he would be able to get the most from what is being given to him. With time his impute begins to grow.

    I remember tha when Pep went to Bayern (inspite of the fact that there was a long notice to his appointment) he insisted on only one player Tiago. Same with City where he insisted on a new keeper.

    It would take awhile before we stop viewing the incoming manager in terms of the huge powers that Wenger wielded. He would be just a little more than a field manager.

  • AB, it can be tough but I must allow my adorable daughter walk away with her new man. Separation is inevitable in relationships.

    …..”I’m less sure about all the calls for DMs. As I’m not sure who they would be replacing. The focus seems to be coming onto Rambo.” @ AB

    I don’t know who should be replaced if any but what I know is that we need a proper holding mid. Anyway we’ve eased out Walcott, Giroud, Gibbs etc before so why not this time another X player. We can’t eat our cake and have it. We can’t keep a player on sentiment when there is a better player available and still demand to be conquerors. It’s not as if letting a player go is doing an irreparable damage to him. He flourishes elsewhere. Don’t get me wrong. I feel it parting with them but the club’s needs are paramount.

    I would agree with you that there wouldn’t be a huge turnover in the 1st team. It’s never even advisable. 2 or 3 with tweaks in coaching, structure and tactics could do it for us. It is a tough field, though, 18/19 season.

  • Kev, maybe a Laca-Griezman swap is on the table? Not that I would want that. Laca is great.

    I hope we leave the attack alone but get Perez and/or Campbell back this summer. Focus on the defence.

  • In my view there are two possible systems of play being successful in the PL currently:
    1. All out attack with high pressing, fast and continuous passing and forcing a team back in their own half: Pool and Citeh (old Wenger Arsenal);
    2. Build solid from the back and hard to beat through disciplined defending/ rely on turn-overs and a beast of a CF to win games, often narrowly: old Mourinho Chelsea, Spuds, MU now

    The third system, a bit of a 75/25% mixture of 1 and 2, is employed by Arsenal and the Chavs and it is not working as well. A lot depends on the quality and fitness of individual players in this system and that is why it is less robust.

    The new manager needs to fit our values and decide on a system that will work in the PL and yet will please the supporters. Once that is clear, the players will have to be added to make it happen.

    JW, I would hate to think our new Manager is given players by non-managers as to fit them in regardless. Our new manager needs to be able to dominate player purchases from the start. If not, it is likely to go wrong, horribly wrong.

  • Morning BKers

    Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to do a preview that does the occasion justice, but I will work on a game and Merci-Arsene review after the game. The line-up does not really matter as it is all about finishing the game with a draw or better and then say goodbye to Arsene properly. Catch you later this afternoon. 🙂

  • So

    I’m intrigued, after some small mourning on my own time, in your comment that Newman is already signed. Most ignored it but…

    A. Could we’ll be true if planned well ahead as this might’ve been…

    B. If so, and already signed, who’s been quietist or has to remain quiet? Thoughts (or wishes)?

    C. Sorry, but wasn’t Alfred E Newman, or similar, the joker on Mad Magazine? 🙂

    I agree totally on defense and balance… IMO, we are closer than 3 years but who knows..

    My 2p from down under land — jgc

  • Prof, there are a few who are not under contract currently and seem to be waiting patiently, and they may well be the Newman. I thought it was quite telling how easy Mkhi and Auba and Mesut signed (new) contracts for us in January. My gut feeling is they were told something in strictest confidence and it made them sign da ting rather quickly. It could also be a manager under contract of course and my money remains on Joachim Low, or maybe it is Enrique after all…. 🙂

  • It was also telling that the club let go a couple of strong characters, which could also have been instructions of the new manager – or the results of collective agreement between the ‘big four’ 🙂

  • TA, I like Lacazette, he’s a very intelligent player, I just wonder, if Arsenal are actually really in for Anthony Martial and that something would have to give for financial reasons?
    I’m not advocating selling Lacazette, I’m just putting it out there.

    The Liverpool situation with Buvac is intriguing, something must have happened for Klopp to have taken such umbrage with his partner of 17 years?

  • Excellent post, PE. I agree with most of it.

    The main issue is touched by TA though. Which system would work in EPL?

    Patient approach or a high press game?

    Back in days when 0-0 and 1-0 scores were more often, Wenger’s Arsenal and Mourinho’s Chelsea were arguably the most consistent performers. Yes, we played a lovely football in the first Wenger’s decade as well as a tight defending one. 1998-99 was the best example.

    Now, City play a high-octane football with a lot of skillful players on the pitch, young wingers capable of providing width and defenders and goalie that participate in the construction more than in actual defending. They have enough players to dominate the league but not enough to win all competitions. In that way, they are similar to our Invincibles as we had a short poor streak in 2004 that cost us in FA Cup and Champions League quarterfinal. The same thing about squad can be said about the last four champions (Chelsea x2, Leicester, City) – standardized Best XI with four-five reliable squad players to step up when called upon (Invincibles had Kanu, Keown, Parlour, Edu, Reyes).

    Liverpool, on the other hand, play a high-octane football for 70 minutes. Due to their lunatic tempo and lack of cover for Salah and other stars they fade away after 70th minute. That’s why they have conceded so many late goals and dropped points from the winning positions. That’s why Klopp’s Borussia made title-winning improvement of form after being knocked out of Europe.

    Now, our squad is a bit between the world as we have 25 or so players that feature in all competitions but not enough individual quality to win games when chips are down. Henry, Van Persie and Alexis were capable of doing that, not all the time of course. We don’t have a defensive partnership that we can rely upon, with Mustafi getting injured whenever he hits the form (after which injury he returns as a shit player) and Koscielny having his tendonitis that, sadly, finished his career on Thursday night. When you have so many different defensive line-ups, you can’t find one that works. Having a new manager who will spend summer working on that instead of doing punditry at television should help us to start season with a spine of our team already formed instead of spending first half of season trying to figure out which eleven are the best one.

    All this leads me to another issue: who can do it properly? Allegri has done a magnificent job at Juventus but his Juventus are a rather slow starter of a team meaning they spend two or three months catching up with their soon-to-be chasing pack. Last two champions will have 30 victories or more including at least one streak of at least 13 victories on a spin or more which is preposterous consistency. Allegri’s Juventus had 23 out of 24 two seasons ago but it was a Serie A where no other team has quality to run marathon with Juve, even if they start the league with ten victories in ten games (Roma) or go through almost whole season unbeaten away from home (Napoli).

    Ancelotti is more of a cup manager than anything else. He is more of a “I’ll get maximum from the current crop of players” than “I’ll spend trillions on new players and promote youngsters simultaneously”. He didn’t believe in Henry (thanks God for that!) and was forced out of three clubs as a person who is too nice.

    Sarri is yet to win a trophy and he’s been working as a manager for almost 30 years. He is ideal choice for Spurs then. His Napoli have crumbled under the pressure this season, a bit like Buridan’s donkey who failed to get either a European success or a domestic one.

    That leaves with Jardim as a perfect choice. Plays attractive football, plays with two strikers (Laca-Auba), believes in youth, knows how to stiffle the game when needed. Also, his style of play should get the most of our attacking quarter (Mesut-Mik-Laca-Auba) which should be the key asset of Arsenal next season. Thrash all Brightons, Burnleys and Swanseas home and away and hope for the best in big games.

  • Kev– ‘piker’ — one who makes ‘small wagers’.
    Going with Dallas — when Houston offers a hotter, and stultifyingly humid clime.
    (And mosquitoes the size of hummingbirds. 😉 )

    Houston and Dallas being long-rivals.
    Dallas considered as Southern Oklahoma. An insult in and of itself.



    You came, you saw, you conquered.

    I don’t know your first love
    Certainly we are your last
    Our void you cannever fill
    Neither we your void.

    You go leaving behind your values
    A beacon to lead us on
    Science expressed in beauty
    Football as an art of shibumi.

    The time has finally come
    You would be missed
    You would be mourned
    But our tears wipe not your timelessness.

    It’s a final hurrah at the Emirate
    Arsenal marches on without you
    But with you
    Merci Asene.

  • No team news yet. Send off day is a day we should come off with a victory so I expect Wenger to select his team carefully as always. Balancing between the strongest side and some deserved rests. My guess:-


    Chambers Holding Mavro

    Nelson Ramsey M-Niles Kola

    Iwobi. Ozil. Mkhi


    Bench :- mostly big guns.

  • Wishing Sir Alex Ferguson well.
    He was fine when he presented the token to Arsene, so am surprised that he had a stroke.

    Life is sometimes unforseen, unable to control.

  • This is our team for tonight :
    GK) Petr Cech
    RB) Hector Bellerin
    RCB) Konstantinos Mavropanos
    LCB) Calum Chambers
    LB) Sead Kolasinac
    RCM) Granit Xhaka
    LCM) Jack Wilshere
    RAM) Henrikh Mkhitaryan
    CAM) Alex Iwobi
    LAM) Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang
    ST) Alexandre Lacazette

    Subs: Ospina, Monreal, Mustafi , Mertesacker, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Welbeck

  • I type some command some hours ago.. But wasn’t complete.. Hehehe.. I think I will send it later after the game..

    I hope to see a full Emirates tonight.. Let’s give him our big respect and love.. Cause it maybe the last time we’ll see Wenger at Emirates.. Farewell and Goodluck Boss.. My true Arsenal Legend..

  • Going to be quite exciting at the Emirates, pre-match. Hopefully, we don’t allow all the emotion be a factor in the outcome of the game V Burnley. Mesut Ozil and Mustafi were dropped completely from the squad list, but it’s Ozil’s absence that is curious. He’s not played too many games in the weeks leading to the end of the season so, one wonders if he’s “sick” again or he’s being the proverbial teacher’s pet, choosing the games he wants to play……. pictures coming in from the stadium indicate the fans are out in their numbers, all in their “Merci Arsene” T-shirts and banners with varying tributes. Wenger looking shy as he waits for the guard of honour.

    Wish the manager all the best in his next assignment.

  • Sorry, Mustafi starts from the bench. Let’s see if we can score enough goals to give Per Mertesacker a chance to play the last few minutes.

  • Need to post the Arsenal subs and the Burnley team then.
    Subs: Ospina, Mertesacker, Mustafi, Monreal, Maitland-Niles, Ramsey, Welbeck

    Burnley XI: Pope, Lowton, Long, Tarkowski, Ward, Cork, Westwood, Lennon, Hendrick, Gudmundsson, Barnes

    Subs: Heaton, Taylor, Marney, Vokes, GK Nkoudou, Wells, Bardsley

  • Bellerin is awesome.. Lacazette timing is wonderful..
    Mhkitaryan almost score.. Love to see it happen tonight..

  • So?
    Any chance that we might dispense with the idea that the Newman might be able to figure out how to play both Auba and Laca together?

    Seems like Newman might let continue what is working…

    2-nil good guys!


  • 2-0 to the Gunners, and i feel that Burnley gave us too much respect.

    We did well in defense and in attack, abeit when Iwobi had some iffy moments in defense again, but he did well in attack.

    Chelski 1-0 up at half time, so maybe we will see Liv surrender 4th place?

  • Great game. Quick transition and three players who are hungry for goals, Auba, Lace and Mkhi. Where has this team been?

  • Yes PE.. We look so much better with Aubameyang and Mhkitaryan as our Wingers..
    Almost a goal from Wilshere also..
    Good save from Cech..

  • What a sweet strike by Kolasinac. Now, that’s what we’ve missed with him all these months. Good set up by Jack too.

  • Great kick from Kolasinac.. Long time no see.. Hehehe..
    If only Bellerin can prove his kick.. He will be our most dangerous players.. Hehehe..

  • Not really funny– but.
    Jack Wilshere is one who always appears
    to have been ejected from a skateboard
    several times a game.

    4-nil Iwobi!


  • Another great assist from Aubameyang to Iwobi..
    I think it maybe because Burnley have already through the UEL next season.. So the don’t have any more target to reach.. Hehehe..

  • How many times do Mertesacker play this season..?? Hi Captain..

  • Nice touch to have Mert come on late to loud cheers for his every touch. Great football and it could have been more, especially the shot Welbeck has crashed off of the top right of the goal post.

    Vic Ackers, the kit man for many years (also had a stint with the Arsenal lady’s team when they were all-conquering) also got his time in the sun. Great man around the club, nearly a dynasty of sorts too with his son also a staff these days. Nice all round.

  • Can we keep up the pressure in the final 2 games away?
    Good job by the lads, and we need to play with the same vigour in the next 2 games.

    We defended well, everybody was just calm and BFG is just himself. Calm, good in the air and a couple of nice blocks.

    Good way to end the final home game of the season. And we still have games to play.

  • Can’t believe the fans sang the Big F—-Ings German song! Alex Scott, Pat Rice and Bob Wilson all getting the recognition they deserve.

  • A series of presentations post-match:
    Vic Ackers, Casey Stoney, Per Mertesacker, and Arsene Wenger.


  • Glad to see the effort put in today. I don’t think there is much to read into the performance of the side or of individuals for next season. These are dead games and are about honouring Wenger more than anything else. And we are playing against teams who mistly have nothing left to fight for. Could be different with Huddersfield next week mind. But a strong finish shouldn’t give cause for false optimism for next season. It will leave a slightly bitter sweet feeling for me about why professional players couldn’t put in similar effort earlier. It’s not like the coaching has changed any after all… But that’s another story. Great to see the boys put in some flair, get a decent score on the board and keep a clean sheet to boot. It does lift the spirits after all the grief that’s gone before.

  • And the spuds could even mess up top 4 to the chavs if the fates were really kind to us. Can’t see it happening. But boy would it make life easier.

  • Here stateside we were treated to the entire 20 minute celebration of those individuals leaving the club (or in Per’s case trading hats). It was an emotional scene. Even my much better-half (who only knows ‘soccer’ from my rantings)– was choked-up watching.

    Merci Arsene.


  • Sometimes something becomes ingrained through repetition. In this case– it’s that because of how AW had only played with a single CF (since forever)– “that he would not, could not– find a way for Aubameyang and Lacazette to flourish together in attack.” Or that “Auba’s arrival means Laca was to be sold”. Or “pushing Auba out to the wing– was wasting his ability”.

    Can’t count the number of times something akin those have been stated.

    Aubameyang: 6 goals, 3 assists in last 8 games.
    Lacazette: 7 goals, 1 assist in last 9 games.
    Most playing together. Extrapolate that to almost 25 goals apiece over a season.

    Wait for our attackers to become familiar with one another. 🙂


  • Oddly quiet on here. I logged in for some comforting reflections from people. I guess people are busy or reflecting on things personally. It’s been a strange sort of day. For 22 years of secure familiarity, founded on intense highs of flair and achievement, to simply and politely come to an end.

  • Burnley’s strength this season has been their defence. Today we tore it into shreds.Thanks to our speed of transition. There were so many line braking passes that were flicked on quickly by the recipients. We never gave them time to put bodies behind the ball. We also showed a lot more energy at recovering the ball.

    Lacazette was a thorn in their flesh with his industry.
    Mkhi had directness and urgency in his game.
    Auba’s pace is impossible. His timing and reflexes in the box are wonderful.
    Iwobi ferried the ball across lines repeatedly.
    Jack found his mojo, his magic.
    They were all good.

    I really wonder if it could have been the same pace and application had Ozil been there. It was clear those on the field didn’t want to let Wenger down. The atmosphere must have helped. That sea of red and white. We must have something of the bull in us. We smell blood when we see red. Blue (away kit) lulls us to sleep. Club psychologists should look into this.

  • @jw1 Getting Jardim as Wenger’s replacement should make our striker duo work next season. Jardim has done wonders with Monaco by playing two strikers. Add Mikh and Ö to feed them – scoreboards will get broken.

  • It was a strange day in many ways, the closest I can compare it to was when Bertie Mee retired as Arsenal manager after the job had ground him down, and that in an era far more genteel than today, no social media, no headbangers on Twitter (God I’m so glad I don’t go on there) not the same all-powerful tv or press intrusion.

    The day started like a pre-season friendly with the sun beating down, people in t-shirts and shorts, Burnley playing as if they had one eye on the beach, Arsenal playing with the dreaded handbrake off.

    No Mesut Ozil just as Martin Keown had suggested last Thursday during the Atletico post-mortum, Mkhitariyan pulling the strings as he delicately glided across the grass, he is gonna be one hell of a good player for us next season. Jack Wilshere looked sharp and fit, Xhaka was robust and Alex Iwobi had another good game.

    Lacazette linked up beautifully with Aubameyang, both seem to appreciate each other’s quality and show encouraging signs of enjoying their new partnership.

    At the back Mavropanos showed again what a talent he could be, it’s just the simple things he does, he is a born defender. Alongside him Chambers continued to enhance he new found and growing reputation as a defender who could become an Arsenal stalwart as he grows into the role.
    Kolasinac and Bellerin were impressive as they stretched the Burnley defence whilst Cech did what little he had to do with consummate ease.

    It was nice to see Ramsey and Welbeck come on, but the biggest cheer was for BFG, the crowd love him and he loves the fans, his every touch was cheered to the rafters, what a great captain and influence he has been at the club and continues to be.
    Per is the closest embodiment of that oft used mantra passed on to young players at Arsenal from the Rocastle era ‘Remember who you are, what you are and who you represent’…
    I’m so glad that he’s becoming the head of the Arsenal academy.

    Of course it was very emotional at the end, Arsene said some really touching words to us fans, you could see what the club has meant and still does mean to him. I can easily imagine many a fan wiping a tear away, because despite the frustrations of the fan base there is still a lot of respect and affection for the man, the fact that the stadium remained full right up to the end of the post match presentations, speeches and lap of honour proved that.

    It’s going to seem strange looking at the Arsenal technical area next season and not seeing Arsene remonstrating with the 4th official, arguing with Mourinho or struggling with the zip on his coat. 22 years is the experience of many fans’ support for Arsenal, it’s going to feel odd for them.

    The next man has huge shoes to fill…

  • Jw1, spuds is historically going to lose more points at the end of the season. Sad to say that it is second season in a row that we do not have St. Totteringham’s day, but I guess the way they played on the weekend it seemed that they can lose even more games.

  • PE, it’s so difficult to explain the difference between our home form and our away form?
    Tactical? Psychological? It certainly isn’t ability. Arsenal have, this season, been like two totally different animals. But when they are good, they are still a beautiful thing to behold.

  • @Allezkev Maybe it’s down to…stadium? I mean, we have a perfect pitch at home which suits our passing game. Opponents don’t have 12th player behind them (I mean their fans, not the refs). We are expected to attack from the start and we attack. We had a few games when the opponents felt free to attack and we conceded two or more goals with quite a few missed opportunities for them to score even more (Leicester, Man U, Liverpool, Chelsea, Man City). As you see, Leicester are the only odd one here – big teams feel free to play attacking football knowing we can’t keep a clean sheet.

    Away from home, we play against 12 players (at least, sometimes it goes to 15 as seen in our away games at Watford and Stoke), usually at the pitch that is in worse state than ours, all opponents go for the attack and even in two of our three victories on the road, our defence conceded two goals (Everton, Crystal Palace). Regardless of who will join West Brom and Stoke in Championship – Swansea, Southampton or even Huddersfield – we might finish the season with eight points spilled against the relegated teams away from home (if Swansea go down as expected). The formula for the opponents is simple: apply the pressure on the Arsenal midfield and central defence and they will concede possession and eventually a goal or two. Xhaka is not press-resistent (Elneny looks like a more reliable there) and Mustafi tends to dive into tackles leaving his partner exposed which means our spine is extremely vulnerable. Add Čech’s worst season ever in terms of errors leading to goals and you get 48 goals in 36 games conceded.

  • Like ‘Dr Visitor & Mr Home’.
    Then? Explain how we won away in Europa at Ostersunds and Milan and Moscow?
    You know me. Got a theory for everything!
    Unh-uh. Not even gonna’ try.

    (BTW Kev– great man-on-the-scene write-up as always! 🙂 )


  • Hi all..
    After last night wonderful Wenger farewell – home game.. Let’s talk about our future..
    It will be a very interesting conversation when we talk about our team next season.

    First, I think he had good enough players in all positions.. As Arsene said in his speech yesterday.. He want us to support the players cause they are so talented and deserves some respect.. But it will depend on whose coming for our new Manager.. Hehehe..
    And Our youngsters and loaned players may comeback and become our first players next season.. As Wilshere do this season..

    For me, the most important thing is to get a RB to cover Bellerin.. We can’t take a risk and depend on him alone..
    How is Jenkinson..?? Any great news..??

    I think replacing Ospina with some more taller GK will be a good thing.. Hehehe.. We have some young GK but Butland or Leno will be great..
    Still don’t have any news about Martinez.. Hope he will comeback stronger.. Cause he is also tall and handsome.. Hehehe..

    Another CB may also an interesting to discuss.. Although we had some awesome CB.. We still fail to protect us from conceded some unnecessary goals.. Why did it happened..?? That’s the big question.. I remembered we rate Mustafi very high and have a very great expectation on him.. At first both with Koscielny were very promising.. Just don’t know when till it gone.. Hehehe..
    Will we give Chambers, Mavropanos and Holding the trust..?? I hope we do..

    In the middle.. I really don’t think we need to buy some other guys.. Maybe a free agent like Meyes still okay.. Although I think we had a lot already.. Just name how many players we have, if we put Ozil and Niles also.. And don’t forget Cazorla is back.. Unless some gone, some won’t be needed..

    In front we have such a great strikers.. Aubameyang, Lacazette and Welbeck..
    I think I will put Mhkitaryan also as our strikers..
    Our youngsters Nketiah must give more time to shine.. He was in the bench at almost all of our games.. Just only two or three only played.. Such a pity..
    And will we see Lucas Perez, Akpom and Campbell back..??
    Adding a great Winger will be a great idea.. But unless they are as good as Zaha.. Hehehe..

  • From Arsenal fan site ‘The Short Fuse’– on reports that Arsenal expect to name their Newman prior to the WC (June 14):

    “What’s not clear from all the reports and rumors is what “type” of manager is preferred. Ivan Gazidis is reportedly interested in younger candidates while others at the club want an experienced hand at the helm. I think most of that conversation is media noise and oversimplification – I doubt any candidate will not be considered based on the presence or absence of any one particular trait. Well, except for personal hygiene. I don’t think anyone wants a manager with poor personal hygiene, which might be bad news for Joachim Löw fans.”

    Made me think of you TA– and I chuckled out loud at work too. 🙂


  • @JW But we didn’t win in Moscow. We were a few inches away from spilling a three-goal lead from London (I think Golovin shot wide at 2-0). It ended 2-2.

    My guess is, EPL has a superior physical shape to Italian and, especially, Swedish league. The Swedish side gifted us an early goal (their goalie was awful on that night) and we seized on their mistakes later on. The result was too heavy as Ospina caught their last-minute penalty. As for Milan, it was probably our best performance of the whole season.

    In all three KO rounds before Atletico we had all but secured a progress in the first leg only to make a dog’s meal out if it in the second (going two down to Ostersunds, conceding v Milan at home and being second best before Welbeck was gifted a pen, going two down in Moscow and riding our luck before Welbz scored). If you take into account how many points we have dropped from winning positions in the league and won from the losing ones, there is one word to describe this Arsenal: Inconsistables.

  • Hm.. How does the writer know about Loew’s hygiene issues?
    But that is laughter inducing ;D

    Coming back to the Gunners (and Gooners), whom had a field day on Sunday (Monday for those staying in Eastern Australia and beyond), I missed how the team played and they had not been playing with such conviction this year, so I wish the team can keep playing this type of football. The ultimate Wenger-styled football, and our very own brand of Total football.

    I would prefer the next manager play the same type of football, so rather than a young manager, I rather Enrique, the Juve manager, with Mikel as Assistant Manager to come in and continue the club tradition.

  • Admir, I’m not sure about the stadium theory myself, most EPL clubs have quality playing surfaces and good stadiums, to me i suspect it’s more a case of what is going on between the ears of our players rather than the grass.

    JW, we should start to hear something substantial on the manager situation towards the end of next week when both Arsenal and Juventus conclude their perspective seasons. I’d imagine that the club will be having talks with several candidates in case their preferred choice or choices decide to stay put.

  • HenryC, Carl Jenkinson has spent the majority of this season injured, so his loan to Birmingham has been a waste of time, likewise Cohen Bramall whose also spent most of this season out of the Birmingham squad during his loan there – another waste.

  • Thanks Kev.. For the information..
    So do we have any good youngster in that position..?? Bola or Tutu..??
    If not.. Then we sure need to buy someone.. Maybe somebody from France or Holland..
    We get to many players from Germany..
    How about Sebastien Coschia from Lille.. Or Hiroki Sakai from Marseille.. Hehehe..

  • Kev–
    The only big-name I see as even possible is Allegri.
    I don’t put Jardim in that category. But his style of play and capabilities fit the club.

    Tweeted by David Ornstein yesterday:
    “Arsenal hope to name boss by World Cup. #AFC want proper process & to respect those in jobs. No idea who but not Simeone, Tuchel (#PSG may confirm Wed), Löw (#GER stay likely), Rodgers, Faria etc. Don’t sense Enrique, hear Allegri plans to leave #Juventus but unclear on next move”

    My tea-leaves-readings have been pretty good since December.
    So I’m going to lay this marker down now (again):
    Little chance that Newman– wherever he’s coming from– will have nearly the depth of (StatDNA) data on players that Arsenal possess. Data which in the last 22 months have targeted:
    Holding (£2M)
    Bramhall (£40K)
    Kolasinac (Free)
    Mavrapanos (£2M)
    Three appear probable first-team/possible starters.

    From the above? I’m feeling confident saying that SIR have– or will– convince the Kroenkes they can rebuild the depth of the club without massive buying/selling. And that strengthening the depth of the club will position Arsenal for Top-4 next season.

    From that? I don’t think Newman will be Massimiliano Allegri.

    I’m basing this line of reasoning on how the Kroenkes overhauled their NFL franchise Los Angeles Rams in sacking Head Coach Jeff Fisher after five subpar seasons. The Rams went 4-12 in 2016. The Kroenkes then hired a 30-year-old head coach (with no previous HC experience)– and– the youngest ever in NFL history. The team turned it around in 2017– going 11-5 and making the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

    So. Doing my tea-leaves thing here? Based on the above?
    I’ll prognosticate that:
    I don’t think Newman will be 50-year-old Massimiliano Allegri.
    Newman will either be– 43-year-old Leo Jardim, or, 36-year-old Mikel Arteta.


  • jw, that’s deductive reasoning. I put you up there with Sherlock Holmes.

    Arteta is a passer👍fits the philosophy
    He is cute tactically (both offensively and defensively )👍
    He’s a master of the dressing room👍
    Miserly with smiles (inner intensity controlled and channelled)👍
    Perfect hair (stickler for details)👍
    Learnt at the feet of the Guru👍
    Loves Arsenal👍
    Arteta and Newman are one and the same person.😃😃😃

  • PE.. I voted for Arteta also.. Hehehe..
    I love his calmness style.. He was the calmest Captain we ever had.. Hehehe..

  • Thanks PE.
    Funny. My much-better-half and I watched Season 2 of Sherlock last night. 🙂

    Arteta also knows exactly what he’d be in for too.
    Expectations high– but structure of the club is solid.

    Interesting question, I think:
    In a situation such as this– when would coaches serving under AW be released from obligation– to ostensibly look for new jobs?


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