What This Arsenal Team Really Needs



It has been a tough few years: a steady stream of sales of the club’s best players, heartbreaking losses in three Cup Finals, even the occasional challenge in the League came to nought, seemingly scuppered by brittle bones and questionable ‘mental strength’.But, after all that, in May Arsenal finally ended the years of pain with a glorious, thrilling victory to win the FA Cup, the first trophy since the move to the Emirates. For a few days, maybe even weeks, all was well in the Arsenal universe. No more cringing every time someone mentioned “X years without a trophy”. Instead, as fans we could bask in the knowledge that as well as having the Cup, we had Ramsey, we had Ozil, we had Kos and Per, we had Jack, Santi, Theo and Ox-Gibbs, and with the new commercial deals starting to kick in, we had the prospect of more good players – and more glory – on the way.

That feeling of goodwill towards all (Arsenal) men mostly made it intact through the World Cup, but the warning signs were starting to appear. Even with our Germans triumphinguber alles, and with one of our loanees (Joel Campbell) thriving on the big stage, people were criticising Arsène Wenger for being present in Brazil, for playing on the beach, and for not having bought all the best players. As the negativity started to gain momentum, boom! – Arsenal bought Alexis Sanchez, a top, top quality forward just approaching his peak years. Wow! Then came Debuchy, Chambers and Ospina, a veritable spending spree to acquire a mix of players to help address the club’s most pressing needs. The warm glow returned… for a while.

The team’s quick visit to the US turned Manhattan red for a few days and delighted the many dedicated fans who came to see the Arsenal at a series of events in New York and New Jersey. The mood was good – and then Arsenal lost to the Red Bulls. It was hardly the end of the world – the Red Bulls are mid-way through their season, so it was no real surprise that they won – but then when Arsenal were robbed of the Emirates Cup trophy, the lustre of the victory over Benfica seemed to ebb away very quickly. There was less talk of Sanogo’s four goals and more talk about needing a defensive midfield ‘monster’ and a ‘world-class striker’.

Victory over Manchester City in the Community Shield ensured the team brought back another trophy from Wembley, but this was immediately devalued in the press and by many fans because City variously ‘didn’t want to win’ or ‘were not at full strength’. A week later, an injury-time win over Crystal Palace was not praised for Arsenal’s perseverance or finding a way to win; instead, it was, after a day or two, used as evidence that Arteta was ‘overrun’ and that our strikers ‘aren’t good enough’. Oh, and Jack and Santi are shit as well, apparently.

A good home win over a tough team was followed by a good away draw over a tough Beskitas side. Arsenal ‘fans’ chose to celebrate Mikel Arteta’s injury on the basis that ‘now Wenger will have to buy a DM’. Olivier Giroud bore the brunt of the fans anger for not scoring any of the chances that came his way; other players who similarly had an off night were spared. The dark clouds are returning.

Will this battle of negativity and positivity ever end? Sadly, no. The negativity can only be kept at bay by the success of the team. In the age of instant feedback, the urge to judge is too powerful for many to suppress. For them, a bad touch or a bad match equates to a bad player. Young Chambers has started his Arsenal career incredibly well, but we should beware what may happen when, inevitably, some of his mistakes are punished by the opposition.

Every one of the Arsenal players, staff and management havs flaws, sometimes very obvious, sometimes not; but they all deserve our support.  Any Arsenal supporter who hopes that an Arsenal player gets injured has lost sight of the big picture. The best team isn’t necessarily the team with the best eleven (or twenty-five) players. Effective teams need role-players just as much as they need stars. The Arsenal players who are less than ‘world class’ (whatever that means) are still important to the success of the team, because they do the jobs that need to be done. The team that plays most effectively TOGETHER is the team that is likely to win. Giroud won’t outsprint the defenders, but he will act as the hub of the attacking wheel, bringing the others into play and scoring a good number of goals himself. Arteta isn’t Yaya Toure or, the new flavour of the month, Nemanja Matic, but he will retain possession, pass accurately and help to manage the flow of the game.

People have the right to voice whatever opinion they want; my wish is only that they realise that tweeting ‘player X is shit’ or ‘I hope so and so plays so Wenger sees how rubbish he is’ contributes to negativity around the club, and that negativity is infectious. Ultimately, it hurts the club, the same club these people say they support. You want the team to play well? Be a good supporter. Pull for the team – all of them – and, if you go to a match, don’t forget to put pressure on the referee.

As fans, our job is not to manage the team and it is definitely not to run down our own players. Our job is not easy, but it is straightforward: our job is to support.

So, what this Arsenal team really needs is “Victoria Concordia Crescit”

A guest post from @OutforaCorner

43 comments on “What This Arsenal Team Really Needs

  1. That is exactly the point. There are too many consumers and not enough supporters these days. Always wanting what they haven’t got and failing to appreciate what they have. Sadly it is a trait of modern society and I don’t see it changing any time soon.


  2. “If only Arteta’s absence was for longer than two weeks, then Wenger could buy a aquality CDM.”

    I’ve read this at least ten times today.


  3. Good post @OutforaCorner.

    I cannot understand why anyone would want their own team’s players injured. You have to be a moron to want that, or for your team to lose just so the manager buys other players.


  4. Fuck the doomers. I’d rather focus on the massive match we have coming up on Saturday. Everton will be without Barkley, but Coleman is back in the team. Plus Naysmith and McGeady looked effective against Leicester. It’s going to be their home debut so they’re going to be pumped. I expect Joel Campbell to make his premiership debut.


  5. Gibbo picked Sagna. Hahahaha!


  6. The Groaners are to be pitied, the appear to have no grasp of the joy of supporting a football club can bring or the happiness of commitment through adversity.

    fuck em


  7. good piece btw OfaC


  8. You are too balanced and reasoned for the modern fan OFAC. Damned for being sensible. Imagine that?

    Our good friend Steww Black now has his own blog and did something along the same lines earlier this week at http://tinyurl.com/kfrdflr. You are in good company.


  9. Excellent OFAC/Billy’s Boots

    I read about these morons who others must be following on twitter. I cannot understand the mindset that wishes serious injury on a player to force the manager into the market. This is the problem today…the sick, the moronic and the simply demented express their stupid opinions in cyberspace.


  10. Thank you, all, for the kind words, and thank you, George and AA, for providing such a good forum.

    Shotta, I took inspiration from your poem. Thank you for the tip about Steww’s blog. I wouldn’t have bothered if I had seen his first!


  11. I guess those who think Arteta’s injury will force Arsene into buying what they wish are either unreasonable or plain stupid.
    Arsene is Arsene and not an armchair manager like them. He knows what he want and will do it with or without Arteta’s injury. I remember a lot of them thinking He’ll buy full backs 2 seasons ago when all our FB got injured. He said something in the line of ” where do I keep all of them when they regain fitness” I would have thought that will make these stupid lots realise that Arsene will do what he think is best for the club and not what they think.


  12. Ah yes……the man of the moment, Matic. Can anyone even begin to imagine how many red cards such a player would rack up in an Arsenal shirt?
    Some great points in this article. No matter what the successes or the positives, the slightest little thing brings out the moaners, aided and abetted by the media , and the hangers on trolls , some from down the Lane, some from lesser Mancunia.


  13. Great post. I’ve been away since just before the Palace game, and have had extremely limited access to any media, although bizarrely did see the midweek game but without sound. Just watched the highlights of the 2-1 game. I reckon we are doing OK. One way and another it will be a long old season so can’t understand why anyone would be getting too excited either way just now.


  14. Great post, but when will these fucktards learn Arsene always plays the long game no matter how many short term enticements are dangled in front of him. Artetas injury is of no consequence unless it was season long thing.
    Players down the ages have all said negative vibes from supporters affect them and their team mates unfortunately its now not just from the stands


  15. What an enjoyable read, OfaC!……..and I’m still clapping!!!
    I have said time and again that anyone who rejoices when Arsenal has a bad result and wishes injury on our players is not an Arsenal fan, I don’t care if he/she is a season ticket holder or even on the AFC board of directors!! These are the people who aren’t “fit to wear the shirt” IMO. The board is there to manage the financial affairs of the club, Arsene is there to manage the affairs on the pitch, the players are there to execute every instruction of the manager in training and in matches while the “fans” are there to SUPPORT!!! As far as I’m concerned, the board, manager and team are doing a good job in their corners but the “fans” are seriously harming the system by their fickle, spoilt attitude. It beggars belief that fans who are failing at supporting their club and team want to lecture/question/criticise (delete as appropriate) one of the greatest minds in the game about team selection, tactics, substitutions and transfers!!
    And fuck every other player out there, I don’t gives a shit how good the are! if they’re not Arsenal players, I don’t want to know about them!!!! Rant over, off to sleep now!!!


  16. i would only wish injury to cesc, heh.. you all should too… …

    but i will admit i was happ-ier to see flamini in the other night. i believe he is more suitable to that role and i can explain it too football wise.

    still neither of them is a gilbertu shilva though….


  17. good morning!!!!!!!


  18. and what about dear beloved jose taking ice bucket challenges with a wet suit ? brave…. brave…. fucking cunt…..die.


  19. fariah looks happy too…he has played the 2014-2015 season in f.manager and in up to game 36 they sit top….



  20. Thanks BB
    I dropped a link on Untold.

    Media is important in all this, which is why it’s important that shows like the Clock End are there for Arsenal fans to listen to as an alternative to orifices such as NewsCorp, which everyone knows favours/supports other clubs.

    Watching the FA Cup final again over the summer it was impossible to ignore unless you are a certified genius the gr*tty performance from the skipper on the day. Great stuff. What can you say, anyone who wishes injury on this player has, as they’d say about AW, they’ve lost the plot.

    But with the fragrant D**M meme being shovelled down people’s throats in such frequency, is it any surprise? Is it any surprise the football hack fraternity out there were seen to indulge in what could be seen to be xenophobic attitudes and comments towards the Cardiff owner last Winter. I’m no hack but it says here Mr.Tan made his fortune with a betting company in, urm, in Singapore! No comment.
    Tan went as far as he could to imply the scale of the bungs that MM had been taking, he should know (boom boom!), and he wasn’t impressed with the fans’ “hero”, yet still the hacks lapped up MM’s PR. Says it all. GG was done for pennies in comparison. So far no one could deny that Tan has been a better owner of a club then the vampire Risdale, who like MM, he gets a bye from most 24/7 football hacks…


  21. As I have been out of circulation for a week I wonder if anyone could answer these questions for me?

    How injured are Gibbs and Sanogo – and on a similar theme, what is the story with Gnabry (who I believe has the potential to be better than just about anyone, and is already better than most)?

    Am I right in thinking that just possibly Monreal is a much, much better player than he is generally given credit for?

    If Chambers is seen by AW as a central defender, and as Jenkinson has been sent on loan, who is the back up for Debuchy? I like the look of Bellerin but is he EPL ready?

    And finally, what is the general consensus about likely and realistic incomings in the next week or so?


  22. Fins: One thing about Mr Tan, he is nobody’s fool. He had MM issue a groveling apology weeks after he was fired and months later completely exposed him and Moody on the eve of MM getting the brass ring at Palace. Revenge is a dish best served cold.

    Tan has done us a great service. He has made it undeniable that racists, chauvinists and misogynysts are alive and well in football unlike the nonsense and drivel many of us had to read elsewhere.


  23. fins ..excuse my ignorance…who is MM?


  24. And finally, what is the general consensus about likely and realistic incomings in the next week or so?

    my sources in spain ….


  25. Tan has done us a great service.
    “Typical Germans” etc.


    You don’t mess with an overlord from Singapore!
    Not even if you’re a scion of Slurgus.

    I noted the recent attacks on Sol Campbell. His comments were, well, they were fair comment. He’d been England’s best or second best player over two tournaments, other coaches put him in the tournament all star squads. He had more experience, he was an invincible, he should’ve been the skipper. I find it hard to argue the case against.
    Then there was the period where the Gazprom player was England Captain. Racism was a mild problem in the England camp at that time compared to other stories! And, it still seems to be a problem following the anonymous complaint made against the current England manager by a member of his squad. Not a good sign however you look at it.

    There’s a reason why former England international Chamberlain advised his talented son to play for the Arsenal. There’s a reason why Henry wanted to follow in Wrighty’s footsteps…

    No explanation required. We all know the history.
    Arsenal Football Club. By far the greatest team the world has ever seen.


  26. ‘,We all know the history,’ save one!


  27. MM is Malky McKay, hunter.


  28. Spot on comment Mandy,
    Any of these so called DM ‘beasts’ would be carded into oblivion if they played for us by the cabel of premier league refs who aren’t fond of Arsenal.
    Lord knows they sure love seeing these ‘beasts’ kick the shit out of our players.


  29. Hahahahaha!

    The LMA have released a statement saying:
    “It was just banter”

    Possibly not the smartest “banter” when your boss is a scary man from Singapore, the nexus of the world’s gambling industries.

    The lawyer that charged the LMA an arm and a leg for that statement deserves a comic award. Preferably one handed out by “a young Lenny Henry”.

    Thank the football gawds for the Arsenal.


  30. Will someone please write something?


  31. pires picks arsene! will the great man take up the challenge?


  32. Something.

    It’s really no surprise that old narratives have been picked up where they left off. The mockery of Arteta is particularly irritating. Mikel was the glue that kept our team together for two years. He has weaknesses but so does every other player we could get in his position and his strengths are vital to the way we play. I don’t think it’s coincidence that in the same season that Ramsey explodes as a goalscorer, his midfield partner is left exposed and isolated a lot more often. One player’s loss was another player’s gain. Our attack has been strengthened significantly and hopefully we can become less reliant on Ramsey for crucial goals, and strike a better balance around our captain.

    I believe another obstacle for Arteta getting the recognition he deserves is that he’s now compared to a different type of player. Not long ago Michael Carrick was being praised to high heaven as an intelligent, technical holding player; Arteta is clearly similar and the kind of fan who is easily influenced by the media could therefore be very pleased with Mikel and his style of play. Carrick is now rarely spoken about and the likes of Matic, Schneiderlin and Fernandinho are in vogue – bigger, stronger, more athletic interpretations of the role. Arteta is suddenly completely inadequate in comparison, his stock plummets.


  33. George,
    Just emailed something over, I hope it’s vaguely useful. A little bit rushed. Definitely wouldn’t put it the same league as a something written by Steww! Feel free to edit, add or subtract as you like, could be some typos *coughs*, or even straight to the trash can, haha!


  34. Good point Leo$. If Ramsey sacrificed the defensive side of his game to become the goalscorer he did, is it totally illogical to see him relieved of midfield duties completely – and turned into a Suarez type goal-machine.


  35. Thanks Finsbury, I’ll sort that in the morning.


  36. @foreverheady

    I think it was a move borne out of necessity, that long period at the start of last season when we were without Theo, Cazorla, Ox and Podolski left us a bit dependent on Giroud to score our goals and he needed help. Ramsey is so good at getting into the box at the right time and his confidence in front of goal had really grown during pre-season. It was a good solution that came with a calculated risk. Lose the ball when Ramsey is around the box and we can find ourselves short of numbers at the back. It asked Arteta to defend more space, running back towards goal. His physical shortcomings were being exposed more often but we seemed to cope in most games. Slowing down opposition attacks just enough to give Ramsey and others the time to get back. And Ramsey always worked as hard as he could getting back, up until he got injured.

    Then came those big away games, without Aaron. Why we lost as heavily as we did is complicated but I think anyone who cares to watch those two games back, or just the goals we conceded, can see the problem isn’t Arteta lacking superhuman pace to single handedly destroy attacks. Transplant the defensive midfielder of your choice into those situations and I struggle to see much difference in the outcome. There’s too much space and too few players to defend it. But people wanted a simplistic answer to a complex issue and Arteta fit the bill. He’s not big or bad enough, not quick enough, he’s over 30, he’s past it.


  37. Thanks Leo: An excellent tactical analysis.

    All I think I know is that The Arsenal play better with Arteta than without him. And, while I’m at it, that Giroud is the best striker we have and very few would do his job better than him.


  38. The only I thought about when I saw Mikel hobbling off the pitch on Tueday night was;

    I wish we had signed someone to come in for him. We all knew Arteta wouldnt be able to go a whole season without the need to step down or be forced out thru injury.

    I love Arteta, I just expected AW to bring in a new signing, for me, a fairly raw, young pup who could be schooled by out spanish uber pro. The fact Arteta has been sidelined so early has caused a fair ripple of worry and TBH, I am not surprised. Because that is the area we need strenghtneing and one where the boss said was a priority for him too.

    I am pretty sure he will add a couple before the end of the window and I am sure that I am completely bored about discussing it too. I just think he and most of us felt we could get through this opening period with the current squad members.

    Forsyth out!


  39. Good morning PA and George

    I’m looking forward to todays game, think we can get at least a draw.

    Dex…….. do you not think that Chambers could slot into Artetas place? He has shown some really intellegent and assured play in his first games. He could be a third CB in the Everton game but also delegated with bringing the ball forward. His passing is very good as well.

    I’ve done a match preview on my blog if anyone wants to come over later to tear it apart. Will be posted at about 9am GMT.


  40. Nothing new to most of us on here…..



  41. Great article. Very true. It is really sad that even during the start of a exciting new season where we are going to go for the league, people are complaining. It is like not enjoying the summer and just waiting for some passing clouds to piss and moan again.

    Already excited for the game today though.


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