Arsenal’s summer comes back to haunt it

Arsenal 1-3 Aston Villa

As Villa’s third goal went it yesterday, consigning us to our first opening-day defeat for 20 years, I felt a twinge of pity. A clash of calendars had rendered me elsewhere so I was watching it unfold on the Twitters (never good for one’s equilibrium), and I suddenly felt a pang of sadness for the poor sap who had hoovered up my seat on the ticket exchange.

Was it his or her first game? How were they feeling? Were they experienced enough at this lark to know that it’s not always like this? That sometimes we win, and we weren’t always this cross and mutinous? There I was, flush with my £30.84p rebate and there they were, £35 poorer (with £4.16p going to causes unknown). Me 1 them 0.

So Arsenal got out of bed on the wrong side, with a predictable and completely understandable venting of frustration following it. It needn’t have been like this though.

Shedman texted me at the game’s death with the words ‘It’s toxic here’, and it doesn’t take a genius to have foreseen that it might be.

It’s all about perception. The bottom line is that, had we even made one signing of £10m+, the well of patience would have been a lot higher than it was yesterday, even had the result been the same. The anticipation and excitement would have been higher, the players might have had a boost. But because we have done no business for the best part of three months, the perception – my perception, probably many other people’s perception – is that the club is dithering and rudderless.

And what Arsenal really didn’t need, and what Wenger really didn’t need, was a fanbase on their backs from the word go. But it’s pressure entirely of their own making. Quite frankly, football aside, it’s a PR disaster to have started the season with no new signings of any proven calibre.

Obviously, from a football perspective, it’s not too clever either. A squad already down to bare bones has now lost or could lose Arteta, Gibbs, Vermaelen, Sagna, Koscielny suspended, Chamberlain, Ramsey, Rosicky. Who will play centre-back against Fulham? There is nobody.

And of course, we go to Turkey for a crucial test – one that could make the club £10m, but more importantly could have a big say in the willingness of players to join us – on the back foot.

You can’t blame the fans for their reaction. They’re not booing the players, they’re booing the board, the manager, the owner.

Yes, we could have won the game, or drawn it, but we didn’t. We didn’t have more options because there weren’t that many. Whose fault is that?

I don’t care if any signings from this point on are viewed as reactive rather than proactive. The bottom line for me is that the club desperately needs the boost that new faces bring, not just on the pitch but off it. And I don’t believe that in the whole world of football there are not a few faces who could significantly improve this squad.

I expect something to happen, as I have all summer, but the way it’s panning out leaves a lot of questions unanswered.


Arsenal since about 1979. Thick, thin and all that.

This Post Has 12 Comments

  1. PDDD

    There is absolutely no justification at this stage for him staying on. He is completely & utterly incapable of doing the job any more.
    We have a young,potentially great keeper. He has no competition or back-up. The only option is someone is in 7th season at the club who has never looked good enough. We have one great full-back & three decent ones. Happy enough there. We have three decent centre-halves, not one of them great. Short on both quality & quantity. We have 5 midfielders for 3 positions. Not one of them can play as a defensive midfielder. Two of them are decent players, but over 30. One of those we know can’t start more than 20 games a season. We have two great midfielders. One of them just coming back from a serious injury & one has had no pre-season at all because of Spanish commitments. And we can’t play the two of them together in the middle anyway because we have no defensive midfielder to play with them. Our other midfielder is a good, young player who still has loads to learn. We have three wide players for two positions. Though Santi can play there too so not a huge problem. And then we have one decent (bot not great) striker with no other option. (unless you count the two wide players who never look convincing there or the 20 year old, injury-hit no-experience French kid which anyone in their right mind shouldn’t be counting)
    Worst squad Arsene’s ever had. 70 million in the bank to spend. Wage bill reduced dramatically after getting rid of the dross. And yet nearly three months after last season ended, we have bought ………NOBODY. And all we get from the manager is : People say: ‘Buy players, buy players, buy players … ‘ But who?’…… if it’s impossible to buy anyone better. Total, utter madness. Oh, and after losing their first game of the season, Wolfsburg’s new signing inspired them to a 4-0 win yesterday. But of course buying players doesn’t solve anything Arsene does it ?
    I’ve had a night to sleep on it but no change in my opinion. Wenger out. Now.

  2. East Lower

    He’s certainly made a rod for his own back. Can’t see him lasting beyond the season to be honest. But nor can I see the board getting rid of him before then.

  3. PDDD

    His new contract is waiting to be signed. If we buy a few players, get a few wins & the atmosphere isn’t as toxic as it is now, it’ll be signed, usual fanfare about moving the club forward will be spouted & Groundhog Day will start all over again…….
    I’ve always admired Arsene as a man of his word. He said last season that when was no longer the best man for the job, he would leave. Well, it’s time Arsene. Thanks for the memories but if you really want the best for Arsenal, you will resign today.

  4. Noel Reynolds

    we will only buy top top quality. if we don’t spend the money it’s because the top top quality is not available. the top top quality must be better than the top top quality that is already playing in our top top quality squad. there is nobody available in world football who has the ability to do that. fellaini wouldn’t be able to do it. who’s glad now we didn’t waste any money by spending it on benteke? if our scouts can’t find anybody to buy then they must be sacked as well. what a fucking shambles.

  5. Jeff

    I was curious about how Arsene tried to blame his scouting team yesterday: “It’s not just me.” His scouting team works 24/7 and still can’t find any worthy players anywhere in the world.

    Was this a new low, though? It doesn’t feel as bad as losing 8-2.

  6. PDDD

    I think it actually feels worse Jeff. Not the result/performance itself….but going into the season this unprepared again – two years after the 8-2 loss – makes me incredibly angry/sad/depressed…….. (take you pick – it changes with me every half hour !)
    Arsene is simply not for turning. We cannot carry on like this.

  7. PDDD

    Cabaye – seriously ?? What exactly is it that he’s going to bring that’s different ? Do we not have enough small, creative midfielders already ? All he will do is add to the long list of possible combinations of good midfield players in our squad that don’t work. Yet more proof that Arsene has simply no idea what’s he doing any more. How can he not see what’s needed ???

  8. Pgso

    Two car crashes of a summer transfer window in 3 years is simply unforgivable. As a member of the AKB clan for many years, PDDD is absolutely right, Mr W must go and go quickly. His time has come and gone and the Club needs to seriously freshen up.

    This season may already be a write off but I cannot honestly believe that there are not quite a few managers who if paid over £7 million pa and with some “balls in the transfer market” could not turn a club of Arsenal’s resources into serious contenders.

  9. Jeff

    I can not lie. I’m smiling about the possibility of Flamini coming back. Say what you will, I love that guy. I’d love to see him and Cesc both back and competing with Wilshere and Ramsey for spots in the first 11.

  10. PDDD

    Mad. One week to go & it looks like the closest we are to a new player is Flamini. Five years we haven’t replaced him & now we’re replacing him with himself ! If he’s fit & we can get him even close to his 07-08 form, he has to play every big game for me. He is so much a better option than Arteta in that role.
    Cabaye ? Di Maria ? 40m quid on players for positions we’re already well covered in & there doesn’t seem to be any sign of a keeper or centre-half….
    I really hope Arsene knows what he;s doing but there is no evidence to suggest he does at this stage.
    And either way…….we lose to the Totts on Sunda & frankly it’s too late anyway.

  11. Jeff

    Rumors this week link Arsenal with Guilavogui. I mentioned him previously, BUT, let me say that since I wrote that, Guilavogui and Kondogbia both started together (Kondogbia’s debut for the senior side) in a freindly against Belgium, and Guilavogui looked pretty far ahead of Kondogbia in that match, I thought.

    Also, before I found what I pasted below, I was thinking that Guilavogui was definitely a better option than Capoue, who signed for Spurs this summer, but just three weeks ago I had lumped them together, so a lot of my optimism about Guilavogui is based on his three (of four?) appearances for France. He’s been solid. He keeps it really simple. I hope/fantasize he could be like a Busquets.

    Here’s what I wrote before that Belgium friendly, though:

    I’d still like M’Vila as well, but he’s in Russia now, so there’s probably zero financial incentive for his team to let him go, plus he’s de-railed his career by being a punk, but when you talk about having ONE player who can patrol central midfield to replace the two players who were doing the job, M’Vila is very much the right profile. Even Rio Mavuba, who’s older, might be a good signing. Also, there are many up-and-coming defensive midfielders from France. The top one right now is Matuidi with PSG, and then maybe Poga with Juve, but they’re going nowhere I wouldn’t think. Guilavogui, Kondogbia, and Kapoue are less proven options, and probably not good enough for Arsenal at this point. The player from Lyon, Gonalons, isn’t very exciting, but he’s more solid and reliable, I think, than those three.

    Gustavo seemed like a really good option.

  12. PDDD

    I think Arsene’s comments after last night about how the new injuries would increase his determination to get new players in proves why I think his time has gone. I genuinely think he had very little interest in adding to the squad. He thinks the squad as it stands is good enough. It makes a mockery of all those who’ve defended him in the past couple of years because he had no money to spend. He didn’t spend cos he didn’t want to : it really is that simple. No money two summers ago : we lose 8-2 at Old Trafford – loads of signings. No money last January : Gibbs gets injured – new left-back found, bought, medical done within days……and here we go again. Arsene is now determined to spend cos he has absolutely no choice.
    If Arteta was fit (& how bad is that there’s such anguish over someone like Arteta being injured : a decent player but in any other team of the Wenger era, would never have been more than a squad member) we wouldn’t be spending.
    And now that we’re desperate…….the prices are going to go through the roof. Not clever Arsene. At all.

Comments are closed.