After Bayern: What Should Arsenal Fans Expect?

Now we’re in the cold light of day, what does losing to Bayern mean for Arsenal? Firstly it means it will be at least nine years without a trophy, which is the longest period in my lifetime. The longest since the great drought to end all droughts of 1953-70. We’ve been in a few finals of course, which is better than we managed for many years in the distant 1950s and early 1960s, but still no trophies. And this comes after the most sustained period of success since the 1930s. Who’d have predicted this in 2005?

Losing to Bayern over two legs is not in itself a huge problem or a huge surprise – they’re a very good team. What I expected against Bayern was to give them a fight. Let no one kid themselves that the away leg was a glorious heroic nearly-made-it match; the tie was already lost in the first leg. At home, in the first half, we had no shots. Zero. Never mind shots on target, we had no shots. The tactics and formation were wrong, and you don’t need to be a coach to see that. What did we change in the second half? Nothing much. The tactics, such as they were, seemed to be to continue to exactly the same plan, even down to the pre-planned substitutions, and wait for the opposition to tire or lose concentration. Without good tactics you need something else: you need desire and damn hard work, but early in a two-legged tie there’s a long way to go and no real sense of urgency.

So Bayern did a good job on us in the first leg. You’d have to be naïve to say, “Oh how unlucky we were, we fought back from a first leg drubbing and missed out by one goal for the second year in a row.” Yes, those are some of the bare facts. BUT: In the first leg both this season and against Milan, we were played off the park. When it came to the second leg our players knew they had nothing to lose and the opposition knew they could sit back and make no real effort, because they didn’t need to win the game to win the tie.

So yes, Arsenal raised their game in the second leg both times, and gave it a shot. And as a result they came close, but both times against an opponent who was not trying their hardest for most of the game, because they didn’t have to. They were holding on to a lead, not trying to extend it. The stats say we broke Bayern’s 24-match unbeaten run, and I don’t know when they last conceded two at home, but would they have played the same way if it had been 3-1 to Arsenal from the first leg? Of course not. Arsenal may still have won of course, but Bayern would not have played with the same mindset in the same way.

What I want as an Arsenal supporter is for that second leg performance to be the norm. I don’t want to have to wait to be a couple of goals down before the players get it in their heads to make that kind of effort, for defending to happen all over the field and for every player to throw their bodies in the way of shots as they did last night. I want to see heart and passion from the first whistle. I’ve criticised the tactics and formation from the first leg, but the players’ mindset is just as important, if not more so.

Arsène Wenger has never been a great tactician. To my mind, two things have changed within Arsenal in recent years (ignoring the changes outside that mean there are more teams richer than Arsenal, so competing is harder): we don’t have the same quality of superstar players as in the Bergkamp/Henry era, and Arsène does not routinely instil the same desire in players as he used to. We were lucky with the personnel for a while, it was a once in a lifetime great team, no doubt about that. But a great manager should be instilling that desire in any group of players. That’s his job.

It would be lovely if Arsenal were always one of the best in Europe, but I’ll settle for consistency in England to start with. I’d settle for a sustained challenge in the league without repeated losses to teams with half the budget Arsenal have. I don’t expect to win everything. I don’t expect to win a trophy every year. But I do expect the passion, desire, heart, or whatever you want to call it, shown in the second legs of losing Champions League ties to be the norm. That is what all fans deserve. If we get that, a top four finish from the current position should not be a problem. Swansea’s players are not better than Arsenal’s; let’s show them that on Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter: @AngryOfN5


27 thoughts on “After Bayern: What Should Arsenal Fans Expect?

    • I said, if you read the whole sentence, they didn’t try as hard as they could have. I’m talking about the way they played, not just the number of shots they had. If you believe they were motivated to play their best game when they’d already won 3-1 away then you’re naive and have no understanding of motivation.

  1. “We were lucky with the personnel for a while”? Is this a joke or something? Because it’s hilarious if you think Arsenal has been “lucky” in buying and/or developing players.

    I understand the frustration at the fact that we are not winning right now, but when you start revising history then you have a problem.

    Also this article peddles a fallacy that Wenger is a poor tactician. He has a footballing philosophy of developing specific qualities in players, and using the passing game as a structure to allow the players to make decisions from the situation the game creates. This relies on the players’ ability to grasp and then to make the right decision. Otherwise, from game to game there are some smaller tweaks, but the idea is to have a structure and then players making right decisions on the spot. If you start bending that to suit the opponent everyweek, you’d have nothing left. The rare exception is games like Stoke, Bolton in the old days etc, where the opponent has a peculiar approach that exploits either lack or rules or lack of refs application of the rules. But the structure and socractic approach is a philiosophy and a tactic in itself, which the clueless might misconstrue as a lack of tactics.

    However to do so would be as ignorant as the people many years ago who said in basketball that Phil Jackson had no tactics and was riding Michael Jordan’s greatness. In fact the triangle offense was a structure similar to the passing game, designed to create these situations where the players’ intelligence then is relied on to create from there.

    In this light, this is the real restriction of Arsenal’s budget approach. I believe Wenger is having to buy and use players who do not have the ideal combination of intelligence and mental strength in addition to the actual technical footballing abilities. In the old days of Vieira etc, it was possible to find bargains if you know what you were looking for. But these days the players with ALL qualities are priced up. This is real reason why Arsenal needs to spend more: not just for the sake of it, but because Wenger’s philosophy and his dedication to that philosophy requires a peculiar type of player that these days costs more and can no longer be found on a budget.

    • For once you make some reasonable points without your usual huge number of assumptions, but surely you must be joking if you say there was no element of luck in assembling a squad good enough to go a season unbeaten. Yes there was brilliant identification of players to fit a system, but often they still ultimately fail. The hit rate has an element of fortune in it.
      Wenger also inherited Bergkamp, one of his two best players.

    • Your points are well placed Ziontrain but I figure what @angryofN5 is trying to say is that that performance of last night shouldn’t be a one off, it should be a regular occurrence. When last can you say we poured in that much heart into a match? And when last did you see all the players tracking back and not looking lackadaisical like they came to take photographs and not play a game? Agreed, we don’t have the players that have the intelligence and field quality like you say but if we performed they way we did yesterday all the time, we won’t be struggling the way we are now.

    • You’ve put your finger right on it. It’s not Wenger’s tactical know-how that’s the problem, it’s the personnel. Yes, he can modify his tactics (as he did last night) but his preference is to play what is now called the ‘Arsenal’ way. A few quid spent in the summer would make all the difference: RvP and Song have not been adequately replaced.

  2. I’d agree with what you say, blogger.

    I think that Wenger’s buys over the past few years haven’t really helped (most of them not up to scratch) and with that, perhaps a lack of what to do when we don’t have the ball has been missing at times this year. When you watch great teams like Barcelona (and Bayern during the first leg) working their socks off when they don’t have the ball, you see what sort of effort and organization is required to be on top – sadly we have been lacking this all too often this year (and last year and the year before that….). I make no mention of going forward because that also hasn’t been very good this year.

    I think that earlier this year, we played similar to the way that we did last night – compact without the ball while pressing higher on the pitch and trying to break on the counter when we did get the ball. Also, dropping players that were out of form helped tremendously last night. I don’t think that has really happened at all this year.

    If only Wenger could actually shake his ridiculous 70 minute substitutions and actually make them based on what is happening in the game rather than what is based on computer statistics, perhaps he could capture some of his earlier magic. Of course, some astute purchases in the transfer market wouldn’t go amiss – looks at Newcastle and Swansea for proof that bargain basement purchases are still possible.

    • Some of the players you are talking about as “bargains” would likely be on the bench at Arsenal. And they dont want to be on the bench.

      The likes of Koscielny, Jenkinson, AOC, Gervinho, would go from Arsenal bench to being automatic starters if placed on any of those teams (Newcastle & Swansea). Heck I’d even bet that Jermain Meade, Gnabry or Yennaris would get playing time over on those teams. And they are youth players here. So I’m not sure where you are headed with that. Those “bargains” are not actually as good as what you have in Arsenal.

      If you want to talk about Barcelona and Bayern then be prepared to spend the kind of money they spend, which relative to the leagues they operate in is HUGE money. Put it this way: Barcelona spent 15 million on Alex Song, to be an occasional squad utility player. And he probably makes as a much salary as any one on our roster.

      • You said it was all total luck. Now when I contronted you with how false that was, you change your song to “an element of” luck.

        Now let me ask you. When Ferguson won the treble with Solskjaer and Sheringham, was there “an element of luck”? When Liverpool won the CL, was there an “element of luck”. And when Arsenal lost to barcelona by late goals with 10 men in a CL final, was there no element of bad luck either?

        “Inherited Bergkamp”? Well no offense but by the time of the Invincibles, Arsenal was being carried by the likes of Campbell, Henry, Vieira, Pires and Ljunberg. Bergkamp was a great player, but not for ALL his years here. He also benefited from others doing what he couldnt, expecially when his speed declined. Plus there were periods where Bergkamp was benched by Kanu (Wenger signing) and had to resort to the bench, then other periods where he could not get any playing time other than part time duty sharing the right wing with Wiltord. I remember those years very well. Do you?

        Sorry but what you’re doing are pathetic attempts to deny Wenger due credit for what he has done right.

        I’m not saying he is perfect, but you cant be a credible critic when you are busy revising history to wipe out those things that he clearly has done correctly. Stand like a man and give him his credit as a man, and then say like a man what are the things that can improve, instead of sneakily trying to claw him in the back with blatant lies.

      • I did not say ‘it was all total luck’. You inferred that yourself. I said there was luck involved. You don’t go a 38 game season unbeaten in such a competitive league without some luck. That’s why it’s happened once since 1889. That’s why the likes of Man U, Liverpool and 1930s Arsenal didn’t manage it, despite dominance of English football.

        I’m not rewriting history. I recognise Arsene Wenger’s achievements, but he is too inflexible to be considered a great tactician.

      • Chico Flores, Michu, De Guzman, Pablo Hernandez
        Ben Arfa, Ba, Cisse, Cabaye, Sissoko, Debuchy

        Those were all bargains and maybe not all of them would start for Arsenal, but I think that you’d be hard pressed to find many people who wouldn’t take those players. I’d say Ba, Cisse, Cabaye, Michu would definitely start. Debuchy would also now that Sagna is injured.

        I think that you are overrating some of this Arsenal team. Gervinho has been woeful since coming to the Prem – he may get in the side in a rotational basis, but no way as an automatic stater . Jenkinson, as promising as he is, wouldn’t displace Angel nor Debuchy. Koscielny? Not sure – Williams and Chico Flores at Swansea or Steven Taylor (I think that he is shite) or Coloccini? Maybe at Newcastle, but probably not at Swansea – rotation, probably. AOC, I think that he would probably get squad rotation at both teams, but not automatic starter.

        I don’t want to talk about Bayern and Barcelona finances. I just wanted to note how organized and hard they worked without the ball. We did it last night and I want to see that every game.

      • Go look at the pan European and Premiership player ratings – Koscielny is a better player than the clueless elemets think – and better than most mentioned here.

        Jenkinson basically was an England player once Wenger gave him playing time. Wenger makes him a regular again, that’s the level were are talking about. And he is cheaper than any “bargain” you mentioned here.

        Gervinho would start for Swansea. Also he has been better than you claim. Patchy, but on those levels of team he would have more playing time to develop the consistency. You act like i is some dodgy player but he was CENTRAL to Lille winning the league. Not just Hazard but actually Gervinho. Start understanding what you have and get behind the playing instead of whinging and dragging his confidence down. There is too much of this kind of negative fan “support” – the same was done to Eboue who was an honest pro and willing to do anything for the team. Anything. But you all treated him like a dog. Shameful.

        Sissoko what? Is he going to start over Wilshere? Nope. Wilshere was free from the Arsenal academy. Again respect and understand what you have in your own house and stop eyeing everyone elses wife. Too much of that going on just for the sake of it.

      • Koscielny – You used him as an example and I retorted. He’d probably start at Newcastle and used in a rotation at Swansea. I have no idea why you are putting words in my mouth. I never claimed that he was bad player and frankly, I don’t really understand your rant here.

        Jenkinson is a very promising player, but I think got the call-up because Norway was sniffing around (he’s dual-nationality, I believe). Yeah, he’s cheaper than Debuchy, who came in for £6 million, but at the moment, he is not better, who is the only right-back on my bargain list, by the way. That isn’t to say that I think that he is poor or I would rather have Debuchy. I was merely pointing out that bargains are still out there and we don’t need to spend a fortune to get them.

        Gervinho probably would start – sometimes – for Swansea. He was brilliant for Lille, but let’s face it – he has been poor for Arsenal.

        And then you go off on some ridiculous rant about not supporting the team. What the hell are you talking about? It makes no sense – we have been talking about bargain players. You held up a few players that you thought would walk into those teams and I agreed with some and disagreed with others. Get off of your high horse and read what is written before having some sort of an emotional meltdown about something unrelated.

        Sissoko will prove to be a good buy, but maybe he won’t. 3 goals in 6 matches is a good start for around the reported £2 million spent. Why are you using Wilshere as an example? Of course he wouldn’t start over Wilshere – and there you go again. Trying to act like I was making a comparison between the two when nowhere was Wilshere even talked about.

      • I have just shown you several players at Arsenal that are squad members not starting and the folks you mention are not a clear cut better.

        So you are complaining that other teams are picking up “bargains” when in fact few or none of these players would be sure starters at Arsenal…….i.e. they would not make any clear IMPROVEMENT our team.

        So why waste our time on complaining about this?

        I’ll go back to my original point: from where Arsenal is, we dont need any more squad players or bargain players, we need to add standout players, on the level of a van Perise, Wilshere etc quality. Nothing less. And those players cost big money.

        As such dont waste our time talking about Michu and guys liek that . Any place Michu goes he will not be a sure starter and he wont produce like he has at Swansea – because he wont get the playing time. Chico Flores, Sissooko the same: big teams pick these kinds of guys up sometimes yes – as squad depth NOT as backbone players. And what Arsenal needs right now is backbone players.

        So what you people need to do is cheer on the squad players we have and help them to feel loved, insipired and give us a bit more. That’s what the fans CAN do to help. The rest is up to the manager and the board to buy a couple of big times.

        But dont waste time whinging about why we are not competing with Swansea to buy what are squad fodder for us.

      • Ben Arfa wouldn’t start at Arsenal? Ba, Cisse or Michu wouldn’t start at Arsenal?? Cabaye wouldn’t start at Arsenal? They wouldn’t be an improvement on what we have? Do me a favor….

        “I’ll go back to my original point: from where Arsenal is, we dont need any more squad players or bargain players, we need to add standout players, on the level of a van Perise, Wilshere etc quality. Nothing less. And those players cost big money.”

        If this was your original point, why didn’t you just say so until now?

        “As such dont waste our time talking about Michu and guys liek that . Any place Michu goes he will not be a sure starter and he wont produce like he has at Swansea”

        We can’t say yea or nea on this because he doesn’t play for a big team yet. He would be a vast improvement on Giroud, though. 15 goals – 2 assists in the Prem and quite a lot of those were taken from an advanced midfield position until he was switched to a striker.

        “Chico Flores, Sissooko the same: big teams pick these kinds of guys up sometimes yes – as squad depth NOT as backbone players. And what Arsenal needs right now is backbone players.”

        I think that we need better players, no doubt. However, we aren’t going to be going in for World Class players. We are going to go in for the next tier which are international players who will add something to the squad – like Nacho Monreal. And I am happy with this sort of signing. I think that some of the players that I mentioned are of this calibre. I’d love to see Wenger go out and buy a Cavani, but we all know that it won’t happen, so don’t hold your breath.

        “So what you people need to do is cheer on the squad players we have and help them to feel loved, insipired and give us a bit more. That’s what the fans CAN do to help. The rest is up to the manager and the board to buy a couple of big times.

        I think that most people would commend the team for the result and defensive performance from last night, but as the blogger says – why can’t we do this every game? The effort and defending as a team would build a platform on which we could actually attack better. Also, having competition for places and dropping underperforming players makes the team better. Wenger finally got it right by dropping both Vermaelen and Chesney. Their recent form has been woeful.

        Also, just because we come on here and criticize, doesn’t mean we are any less of a fan than you. I am a season ticket holder and I go to the matches and support like everyone else, but I am also not going to shut up and pay when things are going wrong. I also don’t need a manifesto on what a fan can or can’t do. It’s preposterous to even suggest it as everyone is an individual and entitled to an opinion. It would be a bloody boring world if it was anything less.

        “But dont waste time whinging about why we are not competing with Swansea to buy what are squad fodder for us.””

        Then don’t waste time commenting on my alleged whinging! It’s quite simple!

      • “Ben Arfa wouldn’t start at Arsenal? Ba, Cisse or Michu wouldn’t start at Arsenal?? Cabaye wouldn’t start at Arsenal?”
        – Ben Arfa is going to instantly displace who on the wings? Walcott? Nope. Cazorla? Nope. Okay, so he is on the bench at Arsenal or at best competing with these guys. He is not a C.Ronaldo or Messi or Goetze or something where he is upgrading the position entirely. He is more squad fodder. And with a questionable background of attitude at that. Dont waste our time with this.

        Ba? He would play some games. There are other games and situations where Giroud would be a better option. Ba is a slightly better finisher. Giroud better at link up play, better at defending, especially set plays. Horse for courses. Talk to me about C. Ronaldo or Falcao as an upgrade – yes. Sure. Ba. No, sorry.

        Michu and Cisse? Same thing. Horse for courses. Not an upgrade in all circumstances.

        Stop dragging out these half-finished players please. Improving Arsenal means building a team that can be in there to win the CL and to dominate the premiership. It doesnt mean trawling for 2nd choice players that B-grade teams view as “cheap” in order to keep their premiership gravy train rolling. We already have that part covered. Its time for upgrading – not same sh in different flavor of the week annointed by the vapid football press.

      • Of course, we would all love to have Goetze or Falcao, but it isn’t ever going to happen. There is no way that he will do that – the best we can hope for is a player like Jovetic from Fiorentina because he is 22 and has potential resale value.

        So would I have Ben Arfa? Absolutely, questionable past and all (don’t see what that has to do with it. RVP was accused of rape, didn’t stop him from being World Class), considering that we have had some idiots that have played for us. Is he significantly better than Walcott, Podolski or Cazorla (who only recently has been playing on the wing for Arsenal)? No, but he would give the squad competition which means that players improve. We won’t get Goetze or spend a lot of money on someone World Class and you, of all people, should know that. Before Arshavin, Arsene’s biggest purchase was Reyes, I think. We will buy the players who are on the fringes internationally or are young and try to develop them. There is no shame in that. He has just bought some duds in more recent years.

        I am not Giroud’s biggest fan. Giroud can head the ball well and that’s about it. Maybe his form has been in the toilet, but he has no pace, his link-up play (recently) hasn’t been great. He’s pretty average, in my opinion. I think that I would rather have Michu because he is good with the ball, link up play and a good finisher. I’d even have Podolski there for now. I think that he is wasted on the wing. But as I said above, competition for places can only be a good thing. Ba is also better than Giroud. Tied joint 4th in the Prem (with Michu) isn’t bad, is it? (Giroud is 20th with 9 goals). Ok – they aren’t superstars, but we never have bought that type of player and that isn’t going to change.

        Don’t understand your flavor of the week comments – do you look at the goal scoring charts at all? These guys have been consistent performers this season (Ba also was last year).

        Like I said, I’d love for us to buy a big big name and yes, I agree, it would go a long way to improving our squad. I just don’t see it happening with Wenger at the helm, but maybe this summer I will be surprised.

      • “… Giroud can head the ball well and that’s about it. Maybe his form has been in the toilet, but he has no pace, his link-up play (recently) hasn’t been great….”

        Sorry this has no link to reality. Giroud has 15 goals and no not all of them with his head. he also ten assists, including 4 in 7 Champions League appearances this season. Yes his linkup play really stinks. You must be watching something else, clearly not Arsenal games.

        Michu is a decent player, but he has never played for a top team. He’s not exactly a sure thing. More importantly he is more of a 2nd striker than a line leader. Which is what Girud gives us. Giroud is also faster than he looks, and even Wenger has said so. Not all that important anyway, as he is good finding space. Besides which I dont recall Van Nistelrooy ever winning any footraces while he scored goals by the bagful. Drogba lost his pace in his last few years in premiership but remained a good player. I cant see that raw speed is the determinant. We need a line leader and Giroud does that well. Support him as a fan and help make him happier and better instead of whinging.

      • Well, I will leave that as agree to disagree. I don’t think that he is good enough for Arsenal. even from the bench, unless we are switching to 2 up top. He may be better with a partner upfront, like Walcott or Podolski, but not with the system that we have now. He has only scored against top opposition once this year, which was Bayern. He isn’t Van Nistelrooy nor Drogba, they were World Class, so that comparison is really poor. If we stick to the system that we are using, I hope that we buy a top drawer striker this year.

        As far as your whinging mantra goes – please change the record, it is getting boring. It makes you out to be some sort of superfan.

      • Funny you act as if Drogba was some sort of born superstar. Go and look at Drogba’s history. I dont think he was s4itting gold bricks at age 24 or 25. Appreciate what you have and support the players. Especially the ones that try hard, work for the team and clearly have upside. Or accept why other teams say Arsenal has lame fans.

    • No, I didn’t act like he was a born superstar, that is your assumption. And a not very clever one.
      Drogba had pace and power. His first touch when he first came to Chelsea was abysmal, but his hold up play was incredible. He bullied players and you could see that when he came to Chelsea. He got better and better. I don’t see Giroud developing into this superstar like Drogba. I don’t feel he is as good. Simples.

      You need to be a bit more open-minded and stop thinking that criticisms are non-supporting. I go to the matches, pay the money and cheer the team on. When they do well, I can see why and praise those that did well and the reverse is also true. What I don’t do is go on forums and attack people who may have a point of view that is different than mine like you do. Football is subjective and some people may see things that others do not see – accept it and maybe you could learn something.

      • Giroud has done well. And he has broadly been acclaimed for having good vision and link up play. As well as strength – he wins an incredibly high rate of aerial balls that result in us gaining possession high up the pitch. His movement off the ball is exceptional. All that is missing is better finishing and there is no reason why he cant be expected to improve there.

        That’s a fairly accepted opinion, not just mine. As such its just sad that you are only interested in talking about Demba Ba or Michu or whatever. They are not world beaters. If you want to make a step up talk to us about world beaters, not about brining in players that are not really a step up from what we have – especially when ours still have visible and likely potential to improve!

        Why dont you tell us again about Rangel and Ashely Williams, when Koscielny off the bench was a standout vs Bayern. Should your jub as an Arsenal fan be to support Koscielny and make him even better and more confident, or to pine for so-so players, who have no upside, on other teams?

  3. I agree that the issue at Arsenal is the quality of the players. Broadly speaking, the more consistent the player the better he is. There are a wealth of players that can turn it on every now and then – hell even Titus Bramble looks decent sometimes. What separates the also-rans from true class is the level of consistency and there are many Arsenal players turning in inconsistent levels of performances at the moment. It goes without saying that the more of these players you have, the more inconsistent the whole team is going to be. It’s no surprise that the likes of Fabregas and Van Persie have carried past Arsenal teams and it’s not that they have necessarily been any more naturally talented than their peers, it’s simply that they rarely let their top level of performance drop once they found it.

    Where I do question your piece, Phil, is your view that Wenger doesn’t instil the same desire as for his previous teams. I think that’s quite an easy statement to make and one that gets thrown around all too often. Unless you’re on the training ground, in the dressing room, on the coach etc, i’m not sure you can know whether the players are sent out with drive or not. I think it’s certainly more challenging to drive on young players who’re probably already financially sorted for life at 21 but I think he probably largely succeeds. Certainly if you look at the likes of Arteta, Ramsey, Gibbs, Jenkinson and even Gervinho, you can rarely fault them for effort and will, even if you can for quality. (Diaby is an exception – I fail to understand why Wenger has stuck with his laziness and for so long).

    I think what your article (and many others I read) overlooks is the ability of this current group of players to handle pressure. I believe that many of them freeze – I’m not sure there’s a big issue with drive/motivation, more the psyche of the players. It’s no coincedence to me that this team gets itself into half decent positions and then turns in completely abject displays. It’s quite telling that Arsenal can perform when the pressure is off in the 2nd legs against MIlan and Bayern and yet not when the long-awaited critical 1st leg kicks off. It’s also telling that Arsenal so often go a goal down against smaller teams; can they handle the responsibility to take the initiative when it’s expected by everyone? Wenger talks a great deal about mental strength but it strikes me that this is one of the biggest failings and goes some way to explaining the poor results against the bigger teams. Of course, this comes back to the quality of players again = the more they can take the pressure and be mentally prepared, the better they are.

    What i’m really saying here is that I wouldn’t criticise Wenger at all for his efforts to implement drive and motivation into his squad, rather only the materials he has at his disposal. Of course, the buck stops with him there.

    The other point i’d make is about the idea of fan demonstrations during games. The best home displays of the last few seasons have undoubtedly been in the two 5-2 wins over the club I won’t mention and the Barcelona game. I think they were also the best atmospheres in terms of the fans getting behind the team. Bearing in mind my view above, I think it’s massively important that the fans wholly back the players when the game is being played and leave the moaning until before and after the game. I’m not saying that we don’t have good reason to moan, we really do, but do we really want to be part of the reason for the circumstances getting any worse?

  4. There are other factors but the major factor by far in Arsenal’s decline is the lack of investment in quality players. Arsene does not control financial strategy – the owners (past and present) do. If you choose to believe them, – that the policy is in Arsenel’s long-term interests – then fine. But if you don’t, if you believe their motive is profit – then you have every right to whinge. But whinge at THEM.

  5. Our recent champions league exits is starting to remind me of the days when Scotland always nearly qualified for from the group stages at successive world cups.There was the fantastic game when we nearly beat Brazil at Italia 90 and who can forget the Archie Gemmil goal to beat the outstanding Dutch team in Argentina.On these occasions tho we played our best games when virtually out of the tournament!
    Let’s hope Arsenal don’t go the way of Scottish football….

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