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Monday
Apr112016

Arsenal’s future bleak with Ozil and Sanchez likely to leave

My mind is made up. It’s taken me until the 33rd game, but I truly believe Leicester City will now win the title. Not much of a revelation is it? But Leicester are in unchartered territory and I’ve never witnessed a team achieving what they are achieving in my lifetime. Every player will go down in history as a club legend, and the season will be written into folklore.

Despite their 3-0 home win against Man Utd yesterday, Tottenham are unlikely to get maximum points in all their five remaining fixtures so Leicester probably only need two more wins, which they’re more than capable of getting.

Lately, Leicester have been squeezing out 1-0 wins George Graham-style as their opponents have adopted a negative game plan sitting deep to prevent them from utilising their counter-attacking potential. It hasn’t been pretty, but Champions need to win ugly at times.

Leicester invariably find a way through packed defences because they’re on a magnificent ride, are playing with great confidence and have individuals like Riyad Mahrez who can change a game in the blink of an eye.

And as Sunderland found out yesterday, one lapse of concentration and Jamie Vardy is still as deadly as ever.

Leicester still have some tough fixtures coming up, but they’re equally as likely to beat Everton or Man Utd because they will have more opportunities to utilise their counter-attacking threat than they would against a defensive team.

Next up for Leicester is West Ham, and you can bet they will deal with Andy Carroll better than Arsenal did on Saturday.

Clearly, Wenger did nothing in training to help his team counter Carroll’s aerial threat. You can blame the players all you want – and some of them are obviously cack, but they’re clearly not being given the right tactical guidance, information or knowledge they need to counter specific threats. In fact, I’d wager they’re not being given any guidance at all. I’d put my house on the fact that Wenger would have said nothing whatsoever about Andy Carroll at Colney last week.

But forget Carroll, I reckon Arsenal are now in danger of losing their two biggest attacking threats. Ozil is slowly coming to the realisation that Wenger is clueless and he is wasting his career working under him. All the signs are there in his press statements, which have caused friction with his manager.

Ozil is 27 and his next contract could be his last chance to play for a big club at the very top. He’s clearly not looking to sign a new deal unless Wenger can give him a good reason to stay.

Alexis Sanchez is in exactly the same boat, his indifference is starting to show on the pitch, where he no longer bothers to track back and help his teammates. These are the early signs of players who are not fully committed, fed up with the players around them and looking for something to be done about it before heading for the exit door.

Both Ozil and Sanchez’s agents will be more than happy to pocket a big payday by moving their players on and Wenger is giving them all the ammo they need to build a persuasive argument for their clients to leave. You can bet that several big clubs will already be sniffing around the duo, as their contracts expire in 2018 and Arsenal will have to sell next summer  - at the earliest - unless they want to risk throwing £60-£70m down the toilet.

After another season of abject failure, symbolised by the incompetence, negligence and arrogance that Wenger typifies, I believe that Arsenal’s future is starting to look particularly bleak. Apart from the contractual issues mentioned above, the club is in a rut and needs to dump a lot of players and spend big.

Debuchy is as good as gone, there is no future for Flamini, Arteta or Rosicky and decisions need to be made on Wilshere – who is draining the wage bill despite never being fit, and Cazorla who is getting old now and may struggle to be the same player after surgery for a serious knee injury. Some would be justified in claiming he is not good enough to achieve the Arsenal supporters’ objectives anyway.

The striking department is a mess. Never has Walcott looked more of the clueless footballing imbecile that we always knew he was, and Welbeck and Giroud will always be profligate. Meanwhile, Arsenal’s defence may be good enough to help Wenger secure his precious Champions League placing – just, but that scenario will shift next season if Spurs and Leicester repeat their heroics and Man City, Man Utd, Liverpool and Chelsea all improve, which I would think is a complete and utter certainty.

At the moment, the future seems bleak whether Wenger stays or goes. Some big decisions need to be made, yet one has to wonder whether there is anybody at boardroom level that is brave or educated enough to make the right choices. 

Regardless, if they leave the nutter to his own devices, it’s ten times more likely the club will nosedive out of the top four and lose its crown jewels (Ozil and Sanchez) next season than Wenger rise like some phoenix from the flames. Any sane supporter must surely pray that 2016/17 will be Wenger’s last, and equally pray the club has an intelligent succession plan in the offing.

—oo— 

Comments should be intelligent and well-written. All others will be binned.

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Reader Comments (38)

Ozil coming to realise is he? You know this how? Despite his statement last week, he wants to stay! More utter rubbish. Give it up and get a proper job.

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AT


Why hasn't he signed a new contract then? You can be certain it's been offered.

"My team-mates are great, the city is great but that said, you can never tell what will happen in football."- a ringing endorsement, not.

April 11, 2016 | Unregistered Commentersilentstan

He had done a magnificent job up until the new stadium but Wenger does now need to go or change his philosophy about buying players and also realising that some players are not good enough and never will be and get them out.

Walcott, Gabriel and others need to go this summer and top quality replacements brought in. The defence is a shambles and we need a new "Tony Adams" to marshal a rock-solid defence, and considering that we create more chances than any other premiership side or GD it's not good enough because we need someone of quality to put them away.

If only Wenger had bid a bit more for Suarez, I am sure that we would have been top of the league. Hopefully the board are as fed up now as we supporters are and will put him out to pasture.

April 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGoonerob

AT the same mugs claiming "Ozil said blabla" to the media are likely the same clueless muppets that claimed RVP was settled in London and would never leave, and that Henry was committed and Cesc didn't want a Barca stint. LOL.

Wenger is a Failure. A complete and utter Loser. This season has been especially brilliant because after years of "oil money" excuses, Leicester - whose first 12 cost less than a Sanchez - have won it. Spuds and Leicester have a wage bill combined, lower than Arsenal. Their managers COMBINED earn HALF what Wenger does. It's a comical embarrassment.

Ozil has played with Ronaldo and Benzema, been coached by a master tactician like Mourinho and won a WC playing for Low. Honestly what must he think when he stares at shite like Giroud and Walcott? Ozil has clearly had a public spat with Wenger and will seek to leave ASAP. It's obvious to anybody who:

A. Isn't an idiot
B. Doesn't live up Wenger's arsehole

Wenger is a running joke, and his dwindling supporters an even bigger one. The whole world can now see and acknowledges what a pathetic, dishonest, lying megalomaniac he is. But like cult members in North Korea, the AKB clings on to Dear Leader, incapable of contemplating a life without him there to wipe their tears and their arses. Hilarious.

The club is dead until this old fraud is done away with. Kasper Schmeichel has spent 7 years in between a relegation, a stint in divisions 2 and 3, second division Scottish football, Notts County... and has won a title before any of our squad.

Ranieri was sacked as Greece manager, managed 2 Italian clubs, left England for over 10 years after Roman sacked him, returned with a club that was only promoted a year ago... and won a league title. Makes a huge mockery of those idiots who claimed Arsene "worked wonders" by having the team in 4th after the stadium move eh!

We've done his tactical ineptitude to the death. His arrogance. His constant lying. His patronising. His detachment from reality. His failure. His pathetic inability to properly coach and develop a player anymore. His complete cowardice. His lack of integrity (ask his wife?).
His dictatorial trait with anyone who shows balls to question his rubbishness. Etc.

Nothing more left to say expect if he gets a new deal in 2017 I am forever finished with this club.

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AT

lol

April 11, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterRaskolnikov

You ever notice how wenger never changes a lineup after a win or 2?? No thought process like "the next team is physical and great in the air, maybe Per and Cech should play".

And he's still trying to force this Barca style total football with mostly the wrong players, great passing attackers who can't defend. And if you can't defend you have to press hard to keep the ball away.

Santi is the only player who can do that for 90 min. The wings are wide open for teams sending in easy cross after cross, no pressure. This happens every game, whether the opposing team takes their chances or not. The old fart is delusional, everyone see's this weakness but him.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPep G

Watched the Welbeck play again to Kos. The clumsy oaf was trying to cushion the ball for a shot himself and duffed it. You could see him run after the ball after he touched it, then stop when he realises it's going straight to Kos. We're going nowhere with this lemon as our striker.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterPep G

AT, if Ozil and Sanchez have current deals that expire in 2018 then we'd really need to sell them this summer. Not until late August when most of the season tickets have been sold of course.

If both these players do leave (and who could blame them) then that Arsenal squad is beginning to look seriously light on quality. It'll be a collection of has beens (Cech), never were's (Arteta, Rosicky, Giroud) and never will be's (Wilshere, Walcott, Gibbs etc, etc.).

Any transfer fees received, however big, will hardly compensate as attracting world-class talent will become impossible. I agree with the assessment that, with or without Wenger, the future looks bleak.

The only hope would be to get rid of Le Fraud early this summer, bring in someone with a proven record (Simeone) and tie Ozil and Sanchez to long-term deals whilst supplementing them with a number of quality internationals. There is fucking zero chance of this happening though.

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AT

Precisely. Both players, assuming they have any ambition, would be mad to sign a new deal right now. And next season we know Wenger will not go far enough in the transfer market, and isn't capable of sorting out the defensive issues anyway.

If the team drops out the top four, and even if they don't, neither player will sign a new deal and will have to be sold. That's why something needs to be done now if Arsenal wants to keep them.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGunnergettheresomeday

Wenger is a goddamn bastard. He is easily the worst manager in the top 10 teams. He does nothing but complain.

He is a disgusting piece of a human and an absolute shame of a man. I hope he leaves soon and we get rid of the entire team except for Sanchez, Ozil, Bellerin and Cech.

Everyone who joins this club has won a lottery starting with that useless board. A scumbag manager and mediocre players.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergrimsy b

You're missing the wood for the trees, AT.

If you think about it, this has actually been another great season for us, and further confirmation of Arsene's brilliance:

- Top Four Trophy
- Balance Sheet Cup
- Tottenham not winning it.

The Wenger Treble, if you will.

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AT

But it's been the AT quadruple.

- Won the fuck-all trophy
- Leicester and Spurs made him look a retard
- More fans despise him that ever
- Another step to the exit door

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermarinersmullet

I will never be finished with Arsenal but I am more than finished with Wenger and Kroenke.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDanish Gooner

AT, I believe Arsenal have the option to extend Alexis' contract by a year.

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AT

I believe he won't want to extend by a minute if next season is as bad as this one.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

Wenger out, AT in!

But seriously, Sunderland fans singing to Foxes fans after a bit of Vardy magic: 'You're going to win the league' lol.

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AT

Every true football fan wants to see them do it, except Spurs obviously.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermarinersmullet

Perhaps I am being sadistic, but a part of me almost wants Wenger to sign the new three-year contract that's being bandied about (well, who am I kidding? It's going to happen anyway) but this season may well be heaven sent. Leicester City has wiped out his bastion of excuses (though you cannot write off Wenger on creativity of excuses, I do so here at my own peril).

I had posted here before that I really do want him to be hounded out of the job. Football results are variable, but the kind of toxic and nauseating arrogance displayed by this colossal prig over the last 7 to 8 years has provoked such hostility that I have never felt for anyone or anything in football before. The clown actually thinks he is doing us a benevolent favour by staying on the job.

Now if he does extend his contract (which is really a formality) that gives time for the bile and vitriol among the fans to build up. It will snowball at some point, I would love to see Wenger predictably bristle at all criticism and treat it with disdain while stumbling from one farcical failure to another.

I really do want it to turn ugly, because I don't want him copping out and going upstairs (heaven help us) because I think he does deserve an ignominious end to his putrid reign. No conclusion would be more befitting or indeed more satisfying.

It would be a benign consolation putting my feet up and witnessing it with a drink in hand.

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AT

I get it, but as much I would like to see the arrogant berk get his comeuppance what's best for the club has to take priority.

Since his wife left him, I'd imagine Wenger has even less of a life outside of football than he did before, so there's no doubt he will be DESPERATE to stay.

But I reckon the board will refrain from offering Wenger a new contract. I have to believe that with Mourinho at Utd, Guardiola at City, Conte at Chelsea and Klopp already closing the gap at a pace despite not having signed a single player, Wenger will only achieve fuck all or worse, especially if Tottenham and Leicester have repeat seasons.

There is also the danger that if this scenario unfolds, the board will come under as much flak as Wenger, so they'll want to avoid that.

Personally, I think next season will be his last, with the board demonstrating a subtle lack of commitment towards offering a new contract that will serve as a major hint. Of course they will offer him a directorship-type role, but I very much doubt he would take it (thank God).

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAo gooner

I really do hope you are right about the board refraining on the new contract. It sounds a tad optimistic to me and I'll tell you why. First of all, the lame duck emperor Stan Kroenke. I am sure you read his comments recently about profits being paramount. How anyone can be so daft as to make such a statement at a time when the sporting priorities of his 'franchise' is being viciously impugned is beyond me.

It tells you how clueless the guy is, not even having the awareness or tact to avoid such PR own goals, when fan frustration is at an all time high. He will be serenely moving furniture of his assets across the atlantic while we battle for 4th.

Then who else is there to posit any fresh or contrary view from that museum that is the board? Let's not forget that the current running contract was handed to Wenger in the middle of a season with time left to run on it. My suspicion is he will be handed a new or extended contract when we hit a bit of a purple patch at the beginning of next season (there are unconfirmed reports that a new contract is ready already).

Wenger wants to win the Champions League (don't laugh).

I believe When the pressure is off we will collect enough points to get 4th next year 'vindicating' the board.

Ivan Gazidis? Do you know him? I don't.

As for the upstair/director role, Wenger is on record saying that he will move up when his managerial tenure ends (yeah, such things as competency or vacancy or requirement is expendable I guess)

Then there is the fans. It is common knowledge that many of the 'consumers' at the Emirates on regular match days are 'tourists'. Most of the local core of supporters are priced out it seems, but that's how the board like it. Sprinkle that with the formidable army of indefatigable AKBbs and all is well. Stadium protests are strictly monitored.

So I don't see anything changing in the near future. But it is encouraging to see signs of genuine unrest brewing and Leicester season will only fuel it. I feel that a combination of belligerent protests in away grounds and fans uniting and protesting before and after match days coupled with boycott of attendance will set the wheels rolling. Wenger will obviously pour scorn on it and that's when things will come to a head.

It will take time but it's now a distinct possibility and thank heaven's for that.

By the way, I didn't know Wenger's wife left him. Maybe he has two other mistresses other than the publicised one but told his wife that 4th was just like a trophy.

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AT

Maybe the least naive blogger in Arsenal land, i.e. me is still naive enough to think that the board still has a semblance of logic, because Kroenke won't be making any profits the minute Arsenal are dumped out of the top four.

That is unless they sell their key assets (Ozil/Sanchez), which would guarantee Kroenke's business model is well and truly fucked under Wenger's tenure, because he's been bailed out by one or two key players for years.

It all depends on how the big clubs do next season, if the Manchester clubs and Chelsea get their act together, I don't see Arsenal making top four. I also reckon Liverpool will at least be at Arsenal's level once Klopp can make his own buys, and Spurs have a young team that will only get better.

Who knows with Leicester, but I think it will be impossible for them to repeat their success with Champions League football draining the life out of them.

Maybe it's wishful thinking - and who can predict anything after this season's events? But I have a gut feeling Arsenal are on the way out of the only competition that guarantees they generate a profit instead of a loss. And that's not good from an investor's perspective.

I think Wenger will throw a shit load of cash at the situation in the summer to save his own neck, and, if things go to (my) plan, fail. The added expenditure will perpetuate the owner's realisation that his days of making money out of Wenger are over, in which case it would make common sense from a business perspective not to offer a new contract and cut loose a manager whose salary is no longer economical.

April 12, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAo gooner

I hear what you are saying. One thing that you pointed out which I had completely missed is the Ozil/Sanchez situation. Unfortunately, I think this may be the contingency for the board to fall back on to keep Wenger.

It may very well sustain profits in case we don't make the top four. Which option do you think they will take when push comes to shove? Sell Ozil/Sanchez or part with Wenger? I'll wager a packet of peanuts with you on that.

Coming to Leicester and Spurs, I think this has been a freak season. It won't happen again just like James Beattie competing for the Golden Boot with Henry and Van Nistelrooy a few years ago or Sociedad running Madrid to the edge.

I think it's going to be an explosive season in the league next year with Pep (will win it), Mourinho and Conte for the title. Klopp still needs another season to my mind, Liverpool have other issues (awesome signing for the Scousers) and Pochettino will be losing his crown jewels in the summer. Leicester will disappear, so Wenger with no title pressure is still favourite for the top four. And like you said, he will probably throw shitloads to save his neck, so some quality at least will come in.

Maybe I am more pessimistic than you, but I see Wenger's arse in our faces beyond next season whatever happens.

On a side note, what is your take on the prospect of Usmanov possibly getting a foothold in the board with things becoming as volatile as it is (talk about sympathy for the devil)? He will stir things up one way or the other. I do think it might not be a bad thing short-term, but what are your views on the long-term collateral implications of having such grizzly characters in power at the club if it were to happen? (Yes Danny's diamond business was shady, but we are talking about mass murder and mafia here).

By the way, great blog, Do keep writing regularly.

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AT

You've got every right to be pessimistic.

I don't see how keeping Ozil/Sanchez relates to Wenger. Unless they sign new contracts in the summer, which would be an idiotic thing to do on their part, they will want to leave the club if Arsenal have another dismal season. If anything, a new manager would be the only hope of keeping them.

I agree that Leicester will not repeat this season in terms of winning the PL, but they are still a very compact unit and are now well-place to supplement the squad with players who want to play CL football. As long as they don't lose any key players, they could still push Arsenal for a CL place.

Spurs' season is not a one-off imo. They've been playing in the Europa League, so they are used to the demands of European football. They will buy again and have a young squad that will only get better. Pochettino clearly knows what he's doing.

Some quality will come in at Arsenal, but Wenger will never be able to aggregate a title or CL-winning push because he's a tactical imbecile and his players' mentality is weak as piss. You can change the players all you like, those facets are permanent. Have Ozil, Sanchez and Cech made Arsenal any better? No.

Usmanov's shareholding is too small and he's been completely shut out by the board. The Russian is completely impotent and will never have a say in the club - he might as well not be there. Murder and mafia? Diamond dealing is just as bad, you're talking about slave trading, child labour, blood money and war in Africa.

April 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAo gooner

I think this piece is a lot more insightful than people are giving it credit for. Arsenal are in a position to be shot at and there are a host of clubs who could challenge for the 4th place trophy next season.

Man C, Chelsea, Man U, Spurs, Liverpool, Leicester and Everton (if they replace Martinez, a change which their fans could yet effect) should all be in the hunt.

That's seven clubs who are all potentially better than Arsenal if Wenger stays. Logic would dictate that not all of them will get it right but I'm still not liking the odds.

Leicester and Everton look the weakest, but Spurs have a great manager and they won't lose players as they're in the CL so Arsene suddenly has much more competition than ever to keep Arsenal at the top table.

Does anyone fancy his chances? I don't. The history of English football proves that being part of the big 5 is cyclical and Man U, Liverpool, Spurs, Everton and Chelsea (only recently) have all been bigger clubs than Arsenal in the past. It seems only a matter of time before any number of them are again and Arsenal are cast into mid-table wilderness with dwindling attendances and, burdened by stadium debt, find it impossible to get back there anytime soon.

We've been talking about it (mainly on this excellent site) for years, but the situation is now critical and it's time to act before it's too late. Unfortunately, that time may have already passed.

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AT

All true, except stadium debt is no burden - and never was much of a burden. The £15m pa is now dwarfed by sponsorship and TV deals.

April 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGunnergettheresomeday

Valid point regarding Spurs and taken.

I think you lost me slightly regarding some points, so just a couple of clarifications:

Regarding Ozil and Sanchez, I was referring to the mentality of the board. Of course they want to leave but in this situation the sane thing for the board to do would be to make proactive changes to ensure they stay ala buying world class players, getting rid of deadwood and a serial loser of a manager on whom they have clearly lost faith.

But our ineffable board will almost certainly do the opposite with the given choice i.e. rather keep Wenger and even the profit balance in the event of a season without Europe with the sale of the remaining marquee assets.

Secondly regarding splashing money and some quality coming in. That is in regard to finishing forth not winning the title. There is as much chance of Wenger winning the title as Stan Kroenke relocating to Highbury. What I meant was he will grab some above average players, which will enable him to scrap together the points when the expected top 3 has disappeared over the horizon. And this will put our board at rest and out pops the 3-year contract I believe they are itching to give.

Anyhow, let's wait and see. Despite the expected groundhog days, things are not quite the same and the natives are getting restless. You and I may yet get some hilarious laughter if nothing else with Wenger marching on to war, this time stripped of his armour of excuses, in his pyjamas.

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AT

If the board keep Wenger but sell the club's marquee assets, Arsenal would be a mid-table team and their profits would reduce to zero, if not negative. The fans would also demand their removal, and no board survives prolonged protests - even from 3,000 miles away.

The board are not immune to the supporters' ire, so there has to be some logic to their decisions if they want to benefit from their investment and/or keep their jobs if they push the supporters' patience too far. Dropping out of the top four would be the turning point and the board will protect themselves by getting rid of Wenger.

Of course, at this juncture it's all speculation.

I can't see myself writing much next season, there is nothing left to write about. If Wenger gets a new contract, I very much doubt I will write at all.

April 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAo gooner

This is your best post in a long while but I think you overestimate the "ire" of our fan-power.
We have the most bizarre fan base in European football; you only had to read the comments on an Arsenal Fan TV video one hour after the West Ham game to realize that half of our "supporters" would gladly follow Wenger into relegation because they are still (and should be) committed.

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AT

Yes, it's a shit fan base, I acknowledge that. Arsenal fans like to think they are superior to all other fans, when really they have an inferiority complex and try to make up for it by pretending to believe in principles such as ethics, perseverance and loyalty.

In full knowledge of that, the owner, the board and Wenger exploit them by looting their money and manipulating their naivety and ignorance.

April 13, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJamie

Come on everyone lighten up, the guy's 66. I'm sure we haven't got to endure much longer of this senile quack. This is certainly the beginning of the end of the Arsene era, so chin up and push forward and carry on by not spending your money on anything arsenal.

Respect

April 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterJoe P

"Ozil coming to realise is he? You know this how? Despite his statement last week, he wants to stay! More utter rubbish. Give it up and get a proper job."

AT I can't help but marvel at comments such as above. Are these people serious??? or are they trolling.

How many times over the last 10-15 years have we seen the same things happen over and over again, player after player leave after stating they were happy at the club - was RVP et al not any kind of lesson at all???

And yet still people come out with this utter tripe, which just typifies their support for that mad man.

"Nothing more left to say expect if he gets a new deal in 2017 I am forever finished with this club."

Sadly I'm at this point as well.

I've never truly despised anyone as much as I do Wenger and if he gets another 3 years… Not only will I just not support (or any other club for that matter), but I will loathe and scorn Arsenal FC – visiting the iniquities of the fathers onto the third and fourth generations.

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AT

Don't loathe and scorn the club. It's been hijacked by scum who achieve nothing yet collaborate to rinse the supporters of their money through pay rises, dividends and bonuses.

April 14, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMr J

Can anyone explain to me why I seem to get more joy from seeing Liverpool beat BD 4-3 and Leicester, hopefully, winning the PL, than watching Arsenal play?. Then again, don't bother.

One good thing in all of this is that AW and all the Arsenal players will realize just how 'average' they all are. How can Ozil be player of the season based on 18 assists?

Got excited this morning when Sky sports highlighted a news alert in respect to AW. Thought, just maybe, he had come to his senses and was going to call it a day!! FAT CHANCE!

April 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGRAHAM

Hi AT, do you think Simeone would be a good manager for Arsenal?


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AT

Don't loathe and scorn the club. It's been hijacked by scum who achieve nothing yet collaborate to rinse the supporters of their money through pay rises, dividends and bonuses.
===========================================
So basically our board and manger are just the same as bankers.

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AT

Yes, a bunch of bankers. I don't know if Simeone would be good for Arsenal, but I'd take him at a heartbeat - he's my kind of manager.

April 15, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

If you look at the top three teams, you will see they have not changed their team a lot," said Wenger, as quoted in the Guardian on Saturday. “We have to strengthen our squad but it’s not obvious to find the players despite the money the English clubs will have. We are already working but we have to find the players and that is not easy.

“You cannot dismiss that the players are young: Alex Iwobi is 19, Mohamed Elneny is 23, Francis Coquelin 24, and they will be stronger next year but you need to keep a core of players and strengthen where we can. The team is going the right way."
-------------------------------------------------

Still hasn't learned and never will.

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AT

What sort of idiot thinks players improve in perpetuity?

April 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

Hi AT, if Leicester win the league I fear he'll use that as an excuse not to spend despite complaining about not being able to compete with the money clubs.

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AT

He'll make an excuse whatever happens.

April 16, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

Yet another uninspiring, spineless, gutless, pitiful display. Maybe only 45,000 turned up today(if that). Wenger wouldn't see it as a negative though.

Absolutely no light at the end of the tunnel with this clown in charge. Ronald Koeman, Eddie Howe, Alan Pardew, Slavan Bilic, could all do a better job. Liverpool have Klopp, we have Le Flop!!!. Top four now not guaranteed. Maybe there is some light after all!

April 17, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGRAHAM

Well said AT, I do enjoy your scathing criticisms re the parasitic creatures in charge at Arsenal. Agree with most comments but feel you're underestimating the strength of the money-hoarder's grip on his job.

While we as fans think many, many managers could equal or better his 2006-16 record, with good reason too, Kroenke knows that Wenger will get the job done - 4th place obviously. Since they are now purely a business, that counts for an awful lot - especially when they are so risk averse.

Even with a 5th PL finish I think they'd be more than happy to cling to nurse - let's not forget his amazing excuse-making capabilities and deflection techniques that are a huge asset for the owners.

A sorry state of affairs to be sure given our pliable fan base. It's been a long time since I've wanted Arsenal to win a game and the wretches responsible for that aren't going away any time soon.

April 17, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermike m

Morning AT. It was my birthday yesterday and (ridiculously) I thought I'd watch the Arsenal game as it was bound to provide some birthday cheer at home to a team who had won ONCE in the league in 2016.

It was pathetic.

Tepid, brainless, lacking in any cohesion or tactical nous.

Sanchez and Ozil just did not look interested, Cech looks a shadow of his form self (although he was already on the decline when he joined he just looks like he's delved further into mediocrity).

OK, Palace set out to frustrate and contain, why wouldn't they? A point for them was a great result. But with the likes of Bolasie on the counter they actually looked more dangerous. I subjected myself to the entire game and literally sat on my sofa the whole time with my chin on resting on my hands, showing zero emotion (positive or negative).

I've supported this club for 37 years and I'm now in a position where I don't give a shit. The whole place needs a lift. Some personality. We don't need a tactical genius at the helm, just someone (like Klopp) who gives the place a lift.

Would we even have come close to the incredible feat that Liverpool did against Dortmund? No. Because we have no guts, no determination, no drive, no passion. It's fucking pathetic.

With that in mind, I think someone like Bilic would be a good shout as the next manager. He'd instil some testosterone and fill the teams bollocks with passion (insert innuendo if so required). He lives every moment of the game and drives the supporters on with the way he motivates and cajoles. I see two issues however:

1) Why would he leave a club on the up, with vocal and passionate supporters. A club that are moving into a new stadium and a new era with good players. Are Arsenal even a more attractive proposition now than West Ham? I don't think so.

2) Arsenal (particularly Wenger of course) seem to have this innate quality to take ability and suck it out, slowly but surely. Sanchez has regressed, Ozil has regressed, Cech has regressed, Walcott has regressed, Oxlade-Chamberlain has regressed, Ramsey has regressed.

OK, the hope in some of the aforementioned players potential was arguably misplaced, but this doesn't detract from what is obvious just by watching the total gutless malaise sweeping the club. Perhaps Bilic, although a powerful and provocative personality, would equally be subdued by the total corporate and commercial shitness sweeping the club.

Arsenal aren't finished, they will come again. But this will never happen under Wenger and the current structure within the board. I don't know about the personalities, I haven't researched them and don't wish to, but in any 'business environment', if results are not being achieved then changes are made. And these changes start at the top.

I'd appreciate your thoughts on Bilic when you get a minute?

Cheers.

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AT

Hi AJL, I do like Bilic and sounded him out years ago, but I'm not sure if he's ready to manage Arsenal. I'd take him over Wenger of course, but there are lots of other options I'd prefer to explore first.

For me, the problem is still Wenger. While the board is clearly clueless, there is no evidence that they have not backed Wenger with every financial request. It suits them that he doesn't spend any money because they are primarily risk-averse and happy with the status quo, but that would change should Arsenal drop out of the top four.

With a new manager in place, there is no evidence the board would not support him financially, enabling the club to wrestle itself out of this pathetic malaise.

Sorry, but can't have much sympathy with you for watching the game yesterday ;) At this moment, if there is no appetite for mass protests then the supporters need to act by boycotting games.

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAJL

Totally agree. I think Wenger inherited a great team and good ethos and it went well for him at the start as every team were terrified of Arsenal, except Fergies, and certain players really came to the fore, which I now think must have been more luck than judgement. He has since shown over the seasons that his tactical knowledge is all but worthless and his ego is the only thing that he prides over AFC.

He has no passion and will never buy anyone that does, at least not anyone that would vocalise their discontent at this constant failure. Two FA Cups in recent years, unbelievable if you are West Ham, but surely expected for Arsenal, and as Merson said, there must be a hundred managers
that could keep Arsenal in the top four spot.

The defence needs to go to a man, and there needs to be some leaders brought in, and most all all, a manager that understands what failure is and is not content to sit on his hands and think that being almost rans is acceptable at a club like Arsenal.

I also don't want to hear him reminiscing about all he has done for the club. As the second highest paid manager in world football, Arsenal have done a great deal more for him.

So thanks for the memories, now f**k off!

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGraham Poll

Be interested in knowing which other options you'd explore first mate? Outside of Simeone, perhaps Jesus from Benfica and a long shot at Moyes I'm struggling to think of those 'qualified' to take over at Arsenal.

Freely admit my knowledge of world football is limited, but to my mind those coaches with the gravitas to take over Arsenal are elsewhere (I'm thinking Pep etc obviously).

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AT

A few of the best ones have obviously been snapped up: Guardiola, Klopp, Mourinho etc. Ancelotti or Hiddink would steady the ship, the latter could tutor Bergkamp - but other attractive Dutch partnerships could include Koeman/Bergkamp or DeBoer/Bergkamp. Unfortunately, because Bergkamp won't fly he could only ever be useful as an assistant coach.

Other top coaches I like include: Simeoni (Atletico Madrid) Emery (Sevilla), Osario (Mexico), Gasperini (Genoa), Gallardo (River Plate), Marcelino (Villarreal), Favre (Switzerland), Garcia (Roma), Allegri (Juve) and Low (Germany).

In the PL, I'd take Pochettino, Bilic, Koeman, Hughes and Sanchez Flores.

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAJL

Ronald Koeman could also be an option...although I would have loved an ex-player such as Adams or Bergkamp (with Parlour for away games ;-)), someone who loves and understands the club. AFC have dithered around again, even though it's obvious for some time that they were going to blow it yet again for another season, and like the top players, all of the top managers are mostly suited and booted for next season.

Pochettino would be my first choice, especially plucking him from Spurs, but any fresh face with a basic pedigree could have achieved fourth spot this year in the weakest PL season since the day it began. Anyone but Brendan Rodgers.

The pessimist in me thinks Wenger will still be there next season, and the one after, seat prices will keep rising, AFC will keep failing to deliver and the directors will keep making millions and only a failure for fourth spot will get him out.

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGraham Poll

I think the admin and a few of the posters are quite optimistic regarding Wenger leaving/being fired. To me, it's sure as day his mug will be blurring our sunshine next season (no matter what happens). I don't think even the most optimistic ones should waste imagination on that one.

The question is the period beyond next season. What can we hope regarding developments that can ignite the necessary tumult to bring things to a head?

I guess I am clutching at straws here but there seems to be a possibility that if city win the UCL and Liverpool the Europa League, they both qualify for the UCL and complete the quota for a single association.

That would mean the 4th placed team would miss out. Secondly, Van Gaal's United somehow stringing together an unlikely streak and toppling arsenal from 4th.

That I believe is the best we can realistically hope for as of now. Those are the only things which will occupy my interest regarding arsenal for the rest of the season.

Long shots but fingers crossed.

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterAo gooner

Can anyone out there please explain to me the role of the AST (Arsenal Supporters Trust) in all of this. Do they have any say in how the club is being run?

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AT

No. Utterly redundant.

April 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGRAHAM

Have you read this article AT?

Is there any truth to it, that you know of?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/football/2016/04/18/arsenal-players-baffled-by-arsene-wengers-bizarre-decisions-and/

__
AT

Hopefully he's been out looking for a new job.

April 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterMr J

Setting talent/ability to one side for a moment (within reason), which members of the squad have the requisite character to take the club forward in your view AT?

Or is it the case that characters in the squad/on the park only become critically important when the manager himself lacks it?

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AT

Wenger is entirely to blame for creating a culture of apathy and a lack of ambition and enthusiasm. Barring one or two, the majority of players would buy into the work ethic of Klopp, Guardiola, Pochettino etc.

At Arsenal, players get placated, sympathised with and ultimately rewarded for underachievement, largely because Wenger wants subservient players with a weak mentality that he can manipulate and control.

April 19, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermarinersmullet

Fair point: they seem more than happy to tread water on massive wages, with no real pressure, in one of the world's great cities. Funny that..

As per your above the line post, eventually the more able and ambitious will grow tired and look for an exit. I guess Cesc is a historical example.

One last question - perhaps the pertinent one for the likes of us, can you see a full-on fan mutiny in the near future?

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AT

Depends on results, and what you call mutiny. Verbal abuse is not going to change much and is all rather unseemly, especially when the coward is down the tunnel quicker than a rat up a drainpipe.

The best way to protest is by not going, simple as that. If the supporters do not have the courage to give up their season tickets or boycott games on mass, they'll keep on getting what they deserve.

April 19, 2016 | Unregistered Commentermarinersmullet

Hi AT, apparently Arsenal are struggling to sell tickets for Thursday's game vs West Brom. Could this finally be a step in the right direction towards getting rid of Wenger? Let's hope so.

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AT

Most of the seats will have been paid for regardless. Boycotts need to continue into next season, when seats haven't been paid for in advance.

April 19, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterChris J

Wenger doesn't give a shit about empty seats. It's his history, his stadium, his legacy. He is the end and he is the beginning and will leave when he's sucked us dry of hope.

April 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterDanish Gooner

So, AW says he wants to 'respect his contract' and not the club (fans), and stay until at least the end of the 2017 season. Oh well, that's my allegiance to AFC over for yet another year! Please, I implore you all, don't take your seats at the Emirates tomorrow evening!!

April 20, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterGRAHAM

Let's unite and get rid of mediocrity.
Wenger has made us a joke.
We support a team that is not good enough.
Only Bellerin, Cech, Ozil and Sanchez are worth our time.
The rest only waste our time.
Wenger insults embarrasses and annoys us.
The scumbag jackass is now the most worthless person in sports entertainment.
His words are spineless, meaningless and absolute nonsense.
The man lacks brains and common sense.
We are being run by a crazy old fool who steals £8m a year.

Wenger out now

April 20, 2016 | Unregistered Commentergrimsy b

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