Where’s the learning?

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As you will see, I haven’t written a blog for quite some time. Just like Arsenal, I’ve seem to have been happily drifting into an abyss. 

What has caused me to blow off the blog cobwebs now? Well my Twitter feed is alive and well with all my current feelings about the team and manager, but I now have much more to say than I can get in a tirade of 140 characters in dozens of tweets.

Let me be clear, I didn’t expect Arsenal to beat Bayern last night. But I did expect Arsenal to get closer to them. 

True, they were magnificent at times, but we have faced them 3 out of the last 5 seasons and countless other top teams in this competition at this stage over the last 10 years and all I ask is, where is the learning? Where have the lessons of each humiliating experience year on year been stored and leant from and being used on at Conley?

I will tell you where, they are sitting in a nice Arsenal bank account along with our cash surplus, £ms in revenue from every home game, my Season Ticket money, the EPL TV deal, Sponsorship money and CL revenue. Of course it is also shipping out £ms in wages for players and a manager who this season aren’t performing on a consistently and alarmingly regular basis now. 

For 20mins in the 1st half we showed we could get a Bayern by applying pressure. Once again, what on earth did Arsene say at HT for the team to come out once again and simply not perform just like at City and Everton? In this 10 year groundhog cycle I could at least say that every season there were usually a collection of fine displays which ultimately would account for very little by the end. This season I think we’d all be hard stretched to pick great performances that would go beyond 2 digits on one of our hands. For me only the Chelsea(h) game springs to mind, and how much was that because Chelsea were all at sea at the back. Remember they went on a 12-odd game winning run while we slumped, and they now look odds on title winners.

I think it looks like the players know he is going and Ozil (another limp performance last night) and Sanchez are waiting till he’s gone before deciding what to do. Both have the right to look elsewhere if they want trophies of any stature.

Arsene has built the modern Arsenal and we will all be thankful and as we are seeing this gratitude is increasingly, season on season, turning into venom. He needs to do the right thing and decide to quit/retire, tell the world asap and let us fans unite to be really behind you and the team till the end of the season and give you a send off in May v Everton at home in the stadium you built that you deserve. 


A Pane in the Window

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AFC Defcon


Look, I tweeted some pretty bad thoughts as our transfer window non-activity was apparent during the course of yesterday. This was probably a little unfair as we have done some good business.



In Alexis we have World Class talent and the signs already look good. in Ospina we have the goalie backup we need. In Debuchy we seem to have the ready-made replacement for Sagna. In Chambers we have a young English talent to play across the back and at DM if needed. In Welbeck we have one of England’s leading men with potential.

But for us Arsenal fans its the case of who we didn’t get, and more importantly, who we didn’t get in key positions:


Arsenal #£$^$^^


For me this was a Summer to show our true ambitions and flex our new financial muscle after 8 years in the transfer wilderness (Ozil apart). It doesn’t mean splashing all the cash on rubbish (a la Spurs 2013-2014) but getting key players in where we may need to pay a little over the odds. It also meant we could get World Class players in so they didn’t go to our rivals and make them better.

When you see Cesc, Balotelli and Falcao within our reach and pass us by without so much of a whimper – it was disappointing. Now, you can’t buy them all. But Wenger falls on his own sword when he says he looks for quality that can improve our squad/better than the incumbents. To be fair Welbeck is better than Sanogo, surely.

And despite any misgivings seeing him in an Arsenal shirt for his signing pictures has made me a little excited to see him in action


Overall, I’m more worried about our performances and Leicester was extremely poor. The only way is up surely.


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After my own summer break, it was good to get back home to The Emirates, and to my shiny new seat in the Clock End. I made the move from the North Upper due to the fact my son now wanted to come to games and therefore I needed to make each week more financially viable. I smirk at the media when they talk about the cost of going to The Emirates. They of course mainly fail to mention that our ticket prices include 7 cup games (inc the CL). But for me, now in the Family Enclosure my son’s ticket is £15 on average a game and mine £45. That sounds pretty good to me. The view isn’t too bad either.


So another CL Qualifier beckoned – our punishment for dropping like a stone in the league following Theo’s injury in January. I always worry about the qualifying tie when you play a team you have heard of and have no away goals. The build up was of course all about Giroud’s freak injury. How many more long-term injuries can we get. Unlucky doesn’t even come close to describing our injury issues, and it is always to our key players. In this instance our one and only experienced striker who sits nicely on the 4-5-1 Wenger formation.

The noises from the Le Boss are not encouraging that we will sign anyone within the next week. I always have hope, but have been let down many times. If we do not sign a recognised striker and the much needed DM we have been craving for, I am sorry to say that you can kiss the league goodbye. Winning the FA Cup and buying Sanchez hasn’t changed anything in regards to our depth in key areas. I am of course happy to be proved wrong.

As for the game, it was a tense night but always felt that we were going to go through. It was nice that our new number 17 secured our 17th successive year in the CL. Agreed, we will probably not win it but its great to be in it.

Sanchez scores

I thought our overall performance was OK. You can clearly see we need more time on the training pitch. At the back Kos and BFG were immense and Monreal was for once a lot more composed. Chesney really didn’t have a save to make. I think Debuchy has slotted in very well into the hole vacated by Bacary ‘I moved for football reasons’ Sagna. No way should he have been given two yellows as the round of applause he got as he trudged off would tell you. But when you had a ref who booked Chambers for apparently coming on a bit too quick and Chesney for time-wasting, anything was going to happen.

In midfield, many hailed Jack’s performance. It was better but still he needs to work on his distribution. At the end when the pressure was on we still saw wayward passing. The Ox started well but seemed to fade. Santi had moments. Flamini for me was superb and my MOTM. Sadly you know he can only play 5 games in a row until the inevitable next suspension.

As for Ozil – I always have time for him when others in the media don’t. Only 2nd game back aside, yes, he seemed to pull out of tackles a little too easily, lost possession in key areas and went down some numerous blind alleys, but his control and movement was good. For me, all this doesn’t matter – he played the ball to Jack/Sanchez for the goal and that is all that matters – one killer pass for the goal. I’ll take that every week.

Lastly to Sanchez. One of those moments you can say I was there for his first goal. He took that well and was a constant threat. His energy is astonishing and let’s hope he can keep it up. Wenger seems to think he the striker we needed, only time will tell. He now has even more pressure on him with Giroud’s injury.



All eyes now on the draw at 16:45 UK time. Not holding my breath for an easy draw or us winning it- but man it’s always exciting to be in it. You’ve got to be in it to win it. 17th time lucky? Who knows.


All smiles at Members Day

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Well as my last post was titled “Shattered” describing the feeling after winning the FA Cup, it’s no surprise I haven’t blogged since then.

The World Cup has been and gone,and for the most part I enjoyed it. How can you not enjoy a World Cup? Well done to Per, Podolski and Özil, our three World Cup winners. Deutchland’s gain is Arsenal’s pain as we won’t have those three anywhere fit for the start of the season.

Of course I am excited at the prospect of Sanchez wearing the red and white and the other signings are all good additions too.


So a new season is almost upon us so it was time for members day. Thanks to the AST we were invited to the Woolwich Suite on Club level and therefore got a great view of the players training.


I remain very impressed with the players’ skill and ability on the ball

But the highlight for me was always going to be the Player Q&A. Again this was only possible thanks to the AST. Tom ‘Lofty’ Watt was on good form and I was surprised at the calibre of player they got for the Q&A, but it was clear who drew the most attention. A certain Chilean:


The questions were very light hearted with Campbell, Ospina and Sanchez needing a translator. They all seemed pleased to be at the club and looking forward to the new season. I don’t think I saw Sanchez not smile once at any point. He looks very happy to be here and lead a special happy birthday to one junior member:

He also got involved in some table tennis:


So good fun had by all. Smiles all round. Members day is a nice touch from the club giving fans some insight into Arsenal’s training methods but more importantly they enable the fans to get that bit closer to the players.

FA Cup Final 14: Shattered

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The best emotion I can describe how I felt come full time yesterday (FA Cup Final) is shattered. By the looks of those all around me at the stadium and down Wembley Way after the game, I think they felt the same.

Shattered after a long and disappointing league season, shattered after taking Wigan to penalties, shattered after going down 2-0 after only 8 minutes, shattered after clawing our way back, shattered after going into Extra Time, shattered after the emotion of Rambo’s winner, and above all shattered after ending the so called ‘trophy drought’.

Yes I want the League and Champions League above all else, but when you get to a final, boy it’s great and you just want to win it. Having gone to the game with my dad (@papalolly) and my brother (@darren200374) we realised that we hadn’t gone to an FA Cup Final together since Andy Lineghan scored in the last minute in 1993. 21 years ago.


There was an air of expectation, but also an air of concern that we would do an ‘Arsenal’. After 8 minutes of the game, you now know what an ‘Arsenal’ is. Self-implosion and not turning up are just 2 terms to describe it. Hull are dangerous at set-pieces, and Arsene’s seeming disregard for planning against our oppositions tactics looked like costing us again. In all the big games we have conceded (a few) very early. We are lucky Hull weren’t Liverpool, City or Chelsea. We were lucky that Keiran Gibbs was at the back post.

Through all the euphoria of Rambo’s winner, we must not forget Santi’s wonderful free-kick. I don’t think I’ve seen a better one from someone in an Arsenal shirt in such a big game. Make no doubt about it, it was that goal after everything that happened, won us the cup. The technique from that distance was amazing. McGregor did a 1991 Seaman (went with outside arm) but no goalie could stop that.

Many may say we were lucky, but after their 2nd and then Flappy’s well Flappy moment, they didnt have a sniff at goal. I wasn’t convinced we could pull it off. We were pedestrian for many parts and the 2 main fall guys were rightfully hauled off – Poldi and Ozil.

When Kos scored, there was really only 2 outcomes – we would win or it was going to penalties. I don’t think any of us could have taken another bout of that after Wigan.

Sonogo made a real difference purely because of his energy and someone finally giving it a real go bar Rambo. Can we just have 1 whole season of The Ox and Theo being fit, because with pace and energy we are a different proposition.

I tweeted last night that if anyone wanted to see what Jack brings to the table, just watch his cameo appearance. Arsene’s substitutions worked a treat. Rambo’s winner was a class act when you watch it again. He was taking pot shots all day and thankfully some calm cool finishing gave us the cup. When Giroud hit the bar and Gibbs missed a sitter, you would have thought our name wasn’t on the cup. Well it was.

I don’t do many “away” games but have been fortunate this season to go probably 3 out of 4 big winning ones (Dortmund, Wigan and Hull – the other being Spurs). Enjoy the videos from yesterday.


FA Cup Final Promo

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Arsenal’s recent FA Cup Final History triumphs in about 5 mins


A Sad Day

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A lot of my Twitter followers urge me to write more in my blog. I always find it hard because I don’t know what to always say that is no different to other Arsenal fans.

Well today, although probably no different to what many others are saying, is actually quite a sad day following the defeat to Everton. Today is the first time I actually went out on Twitter and called for Arsene to go (#WengerOut).

I am not going to forget what that man has done for us. We have gone from a provincial London club to one of the best and most respected clubs in world football with arguably one of the best club football grounds around. And for that we will be eternally grateful. I also know he has worked in the last 8 years under some great financial constraints.

But this was THE year when the Moon, the Sun, Saturn and Neptune aligned (aka big manager changes and big money available to us) in order for us to mount a serious title push. Unfortunately all we have aligned with is Uranus.

There are obvious deficiencies here that makes me believe Arsene is no longer the man to take this club as forward as we deserve paying the highest ticket prices around:

  1. Tactics
    1. Arsene won everything with 4-4-2. Now he won’t go near it with a barge pole. He simply has too many CMs and won’t drop any of them. This leaves us so limp up front and Giroud is not the man to get us out of jail.
    2. Arsene says he only concentrates on Arsenal’s game. If we play well then what the others do is not important. This is very naïve. Just look at the Lukaku goal. The bloke is lethal on his left and we just let him cut in on his favoured foot. The result was inevitable.
    3. Plan A is all we have. Many managers at HT would have shaken things up to get us back in the game. Time and time again, the sub changes come too late. Take the Liverpool game, we were 4-0 down at half time. Why, why wouldn’t Arsene out two upfront? What did we have to lose? There is simply no Plan B, C or D.
  2. Transfers
    1. Ozil was a masterstoke. But every fan said that although a great capture a CM was the last thing we needed.
    2. January transfer window debacle. Arsene knew Theo was out for the season and Aaron was also out for a while and we were pushing for the title, yet he only brought in an injured CM! 2008 was another year this happened. The title was in sight and he didn’t add to the squad.
  3. Injuries
    1. The same old sob story has become very boring. Unlucky yes, but every season? Something is clearly wrong with the training regime, style of football and the types of players we buy.
  4. Fight
    1. Or lack of fight. Clear on the pitch there is again no leadership and no desire. If Arsene has lost the dressing room then it is game over.
  5. Inevitability
    1. Many,many fans knew we wouldn’t win the league. The implosion was just around the corner like in most years. This cannot be repeated season in, season out. From top to potentially out of the top 5 in just 9 weeks will be the biggest one yet. FA Cup or no FA Cup.

I take no pride on writing this blog or tweet #ArseneOut. He deserves respect for everything he has done. But he will deserve even more by realising he can do no more and help the club find his next successor.