Sunday, 20 May 2018

My 2017 / 2018 Premier League Season Review

In my preview of the 2017/18 season, I got something half wrong. I believed both Manchester United and Manchester City won’t win the Premier League. 

I am glad that my prediction was at least half right. Having a team that dished up the most diabolical football you will ever see since Sam Allardyce’s Bolton, win zero trophies was a very good thing. To then see Chelsea defeat them at Wembley in the FA Cup Final using the most 'Joseic' tactics ever and watching Mourinho bitch and moan about this lose made the season sort of worthwhile. 

Manchester United have been dire and it is a measure of how bad the premier league has been this season that they managed to get second place. When Manchester City defeated United at Old Trafford in December 2017, the difference was eight points. By the end of the season, the gulf in class had grown to 19 points.  Diabolical. 

If you are deluded or caught in the Jose Mourinho warp, you can talk about progress. But winning three “massive” trophies last season to ZERO this term and playing the most turgid football after spending north of £350m is not progress. 

Quit that nonsense about 81 points would have won the league in 6 previous premier league seasons. So was Arsenal’s 75 points last season. It would have guaranteed a top 4 finish in many other seasons. It was only one point behind Liverpool. It was classed a failure then and so is United’s 81 points now. 

For a squad of equal ability to finish 19 points apart is disastrous and no positives should be taken. Certainly not after United lost to all the newly promoted sides and have racked up their 19th‘watching paint dry’ draw since Sir Alex Ferguson retired. Coming 2nd and ending the season with 81 points was no achievement for this expensively assembled side. 

Overall it has been a poor Premier League season. I have seen lots of statistics demonstrating how dire the season was. This stat comparing the 2003/4 season with the 2017/18 season made a huge impression on me. Please see the link here .

“teams from 8th- 20th had more points (in 2003/4) than today including the bottom 6 teams which means the standard of football was better in 03/04”

You can disagree all you want but be clear that the standard of defending is worse now than it was a few years ago. They don’t make Sol Campbell, Steve Bould, Prime Kolo Toure, Steve Bruce, Japp Stam etc. any more.  Consequently attacking sides like Manchester City have benefitted. 


Manchester City winning by record points deserves some applause but their records are diminished. All the pundits expected them to go the next 10 years undefeated, win the quintuple and the world cup but it wasn’t to be. They lost. 

In fact they were torn a new strip by Liverpool at Anfield and by United at the Emptyhad. Yes they have won the league and broken records but the one that matters most remains unbroken. They can have another go at equaling Arsene Wenger & Arsenal’s Invincibles record next season. I will be rooting for them to fall on this particular endeavor. 

As an Arsenal fan, everything that could go wrong this season has. Right from that game at Stoke. The referees set out their marker very early. And they succeeded in derailing our season. God forbid Liverpool win in Kiev. I might just decide to hide away forever. This is one time I am hoping the bookies are right and the officials genuinely have a Real Madrid agenda and will do everything to make 13tha lucky number for Zidane’s Team. 

The season itself started on a great note for me as a Gooner. I was hoping the fresh legs from non-participation in the Europa League by the first eleven will give us some serious boost. It did a bit but not enough. The first game of the premier league season on that Friday night was spectacular with the 4:3 win over Leicester. Our defensive and midfield frailties were apparent but we had the ability to score goals especially with our record signing Alexandre Lacazette. 

Then the referees struck when Lacazette’s equalizer was denied by a phantom offside call at Stoke. We saw glaringly dodgy refereeing decisions again in October at Vicarage Road, in November at the Empythad and when the issue came to a head with that phantom penalty call by Mike Dean of Thieves at West Brom in December. It is perhaps fitting that West Brom have now been relegated. Shame Tony Pulis wasn’t in charge for this one. But our cards were doubly marked from when Arsene called out the Dean of Bent Referees. 

Transfer sagas also played their part in wrecking the season. First it was the ‘will he, wont he’ with ‘significantly improved but still plays a cross field pass to nobody’ Oxlade - Chamberlain. He then decided not to turn up in a match against the team he wanted to join. The Alexis Sanchez circus was also a factor. I think Wenger deserves a Sainthood for bringing two devils in Sanchez and Manchester United together. You will never see a pair more deserving of each other. I wish them more piano playing days together.

It was one bad away result after another. One bad luck game after another.  We stemmed the tide after a while and delivered a set of spectacular home results overall. We just couldn’t crack our away form. I know Arsene alluded to it been a mental issue, however I have a feeling the players felt they were playing against their opponents and the referee in away matches. These same guys did the business in the Milan and Moscow away games in the Europa League. 

I was never bothered about the rubbish ‘Arsenal are yet to win an away point in year 16xx” bandied about in the mainstream media and on social media. For two years running, Arsenal was the best premier league side in two calendar years. Did our detractors and fake pretend fans pay any attention? Why should I pay any to their silly narrative?

The League Cup final was heart wrenching. Another poor referee call cost us the first goal when we were very comfortable and should have been a couple of goals ahead if Aubameyang had been a bit more clinical. If only Lacazette was fit, if only Monreal wasn’t injured early in the match. If only, if only, if only. 

Our second shot at glory during the season was wrecked by bad luck also. The sort of bad luck you probably remember from the 2011 League Cup final. A miskick in defence by an Arsenal defender gifts the opponent an undeserved goal  coupled with a shit goalkeeper in a relegation bound team having a blinder cost us the final.  

Same way we lost the Europa semi final to Atletico. There were 3 or 4 bad luck moments leading up to Griezmann’s goal at the Emirates. We could and should have killed that game at the Emirates with clinical finishing despite Oblak’s great goalkeeping. 

I couldn’t bring myself to watch Atletico lift the trophy in Lyon. That should have been us. That should have been Alexandre Lacazette lifting the trophy in his backyard. That should have been the boys wishing Arsene a wonderful au revoir. But, C’est la vie  

Yes Life. It kicks you in the gonads whether you expect it to or not. It did it again when the worst possible thing that could have happened this season happened when Arsene Wenger decided he had had enough and made up his mind to leave. Forget what idiots, fools and morons say, Wenger called time because of many issues. I can speculate till kingdom come on these issues but I wont. Wenger wanted to go quietly but the Club wanted his departure to be marked with an almighty bang hence the club announcement and the timing of the statement. 

So we have had the marvelous goodbyes to Arsene both from genuine Arsenal fans who turned up en masse to wish the great man farewell and fans of other clubs like Leicester and Huddersfield. We have seen many fond farewells from many big-hearted people like Sir Alex Ferguson and the management of Huddersfield who specially honoured an authentic Football Great.  

My heart will forever ache at Wenger’s departure but I always believed he will call time when he thinks it is appropriate. And he did. So please ignore any small-minded ungrateful lout who thinks Wenger was sacked. 

Arsenal have lost many greats this season. The greatest of them all, Arsene Wenger is gone. Vic Akers too. Boro P – Wenger’s most loyal assistant has left the building. Colin Lewin after serving for 23 years – gone. Santi Cazorla appears to be leaving. Theo Walcott, Olivier Giroud, Francis Coquelin, Kieran Gibbs, Szczesny, Gabriel, Sanogo, Debuchy. All loyal servants, all wonderful individuals. All gone.

An end of many eras. 

I hope we never see a rotten season like this again. I hope we experience many of the Wenger era highs in the future but brace for the ride guys. I think it will be very bumpy. 

Maybe next year will be our season. It is a sad day when you have to adopt the favourite phrase Liverpool fans. 
     

Friday, 4 May 2018

#MerciArsene

Sad.
Gut wrenching.
Anger
Annoyed
Sleepless 
Rage
Despondent 
Looking for a silver lining 
What ifs

All of these emotions I have experienced in the last few hours. 

Sad, anger and annoyed that there was no fairy tale. 

Raging that some fans will never let go. 10 seasons from now, they will still be scapegoating Arsene and whichever player catches their vile fancy.

I want to say thank you to Arsene. You have given us joy in the last 22 years. I trust you will continue to give joy in whatever you decide to do following your few weeks of rest. 

I genuinely hope you are happy. I genuinely wish you happiness. As a person who has given so much joy to football fans, you deserve plenty of good things in life. 

I can only imagine your parents raised you to be a thoroughly decent person as it is not a coincidence that in all the clubs where you have played and worked people have nothing but good glowing words to say about you and how you have positively impacted their lives. 

From when life had little or no material privileges to when life had significant resources like it did in Arsenal, you looked after both the emotional, physical, physiological and psychological well being of the people around you. Your good nature, good heart and kind consideration did not start yesterday, it is who you are. 

I listened to your interview after the FA Cup victory last May and your words will stay with me forever. You are happy with your unique and unmatched achievements of winning the 2004 season undefeated and winning Seven FA Cups. I hope and pray that those two records remain unmatched in my lifetime.    

I want to thank you for all the good things you did for Arsenal Football Club 

The 60,000 seater Arsene Wenger Emirates Stadium 

Turning Arsenal into one of European Football Elite

Growing Arsenal’s global football fanbase

Pioneering New Football Management methods 

Prolonging the playing career of many footballers 

Playing beautiful football on a shoe string budget  

Developing young players into global giants of the football game   

Building the back four that went the whole season undefeated for less than eight million pounds.

Watching Arsenal lift six trophies in the last five years 

Arsene I salute you. 

Sadly the philosophy of free flowing football was always likely to have its own drawbacks. Just like any philosophy. But you have done your part and done it well. It is left to others to build on your legacy. 

One Trophy every 2.2 years for someone who never managed the richest clubs and who never managed Lionel Messi, is a terrific achievement. 

#MerciArsene

Sunday, 29 April 2018

The Most Hated Man in British Football. Hated by Fools, Idiots & Mindless Robots Who Regurgitate Nuisance Spewed by Expired & So Called Legends

I think very highly of Arsene Wenger. I didn’t want him to leave Arsenal until he was ready to retire. Sadly that has not happened. Arsenal and the club have announced his goodbye effective at the end of this season. I wish Arsene well in all his future endeavors. I hope the Chairman of a huge European club will appoint him as Manager so the idiots who think his wages at Arsenal is a big deal can collectively choke on their hatred. 

After we lost to Brighton away, all the messages coming out of the club appeared to indicate Wenger had had enough. I wrote this article then. Nothing has happened since I wrote the article to change my mind. 

I am glad Wenger has decided to leave as many of us right thinking people believe he will do if he felt it was time. 

I am glad that my assertion that Arsene Wenger was ready to walk away last summer is now accepted following recent comments by BBC Reporter David Ornstein. I believe David gets all his briefing from sources close to the club’s CEO.

There is nothing I can add to the millions of accolades heaped on Wenger. His stature as a colossus of the game will endure forever. 

The announcement of his departure has also unearthed a lot of hypocritical vermin masquerading as humans. People like Ian Wright, Lee Dixon, Kevin Cambpell, Martin Keown and Thierry Henry. These so called legends are worse than snakes and will hopefully get their comeuppance in life. You can choose to recognize their worthy contributions to Arsenal as players and still recognize their disgraceful and reprehensible behavior as humans. All for the sole reason that Arsene did not allow them turn Arsenal into a circus and refused to switch on the gravy tap. 

This is why 'these lot' hate Wenger. 

They have nothing going on in their life. Ian Wright has lost almost all of his memorabilia from his football playing days because his wife couldn’t pay storage fees. I have seen storage fees advertised for a £1. 

I am glad none of the rumors of imminent managerial appointments include Thierry Henry. We have heard Patrick Vieira and Mikel Arteta get mentions but it looks like Thierry Henry will be permanently confined to the fringes. He deserves worse. A man who went around all our opponents teaching them stuff prior to our games with them, pumping up their confidence to take on Arsenal, encouraging Alexis Sanchez to leave. Yet his countrymen like Lacazette, Aubameyang and Koscielny are all at Arsenal and not for once did he think he should come and do the same for them.  

To all those who believe they have succeeded in getting Wenger to leave, I wish you well. You might think you’ve achieved something but trust me, this is hollow. This is empty. It took you over 5 years to achieve your aim. I hope you will be man enough to own your decision in future. There is a no returns policy on the choices you have made. Enjoy it and revel in it. 

Why you hate a man whose life mission was to bring joy is beyond me. A man who has won silverware 6 times in the last 5 years. Every single one of them enjoyable to millions of Arsenal fans worldwide.  Yes there have been days of sadness but the joy has been more than the pain. 

I know we live in a different world where the majority of the people are self obsessed, entitled and are easily led by negativity but the venom against Wenger is unprecedented. 

Many including so-called legends and public broadcasters who are obliged to be balanced are so invested in supporting the agenda that he was sacked. So what does that do for you if he was sacked? How does it add to your bank balance or emotional well-being?

Many don’t want the team to do well especially in the Europa League because of Wenger but these lemmings genuinely believe they are Arsenal supporters. How absolutely untrue that is. 

Many use his salary as a weapon to clobber him whereas he is earning half of what Mourinho and Guardiola are earning and does more work than either of those two. The fact that he is now likely to double his earnings elsewhere will not make these haters pause.

Many hatefully blame him for everything that has gone wrong in the past even when a discerning person can see Arsene has always been collegiate in his approach and will front up for decisions taking by others without betraying any confidence. The time has come when Arsene no longer has to defend anybody. The Board, the Chief Executive, the Chairman and Owner will now have to answer for their decisions. 

Many are patiently waiting to blame Wenger for any mishaps next season and forever. Any misfortune will be blamed on Wenger. 

But guess what, Wenger’s place is secured. People like Ian Wright, Thierry Henry, Kevin Campbell, Lee Dixon and Martin Keown will never impact the amount of lives Wenger has impacted positively. These snakes will be a little footnote in the history of Arsenal while there will be a huge chapter on Arsene. 

As for the ordinary fan like me, don’t join the Wenger haters’ bandwagon. If you cant see what Wenger has done, please be patient. In a few months time, you will see the good things Wenger did for Arsenal Football Club.

Sunday, 4 March 2018

Imagining The Post Wenger Landscape At Arsenal

It looks like the WengerOuters who were previously the lunatic fringe are now the mainstream and might soon get their wish.

The day Arsene Wenger believes his work is done was always going to come and if I had a magic wand, it will not come like this.

Wenger has to go when he wants to go. In my opinion he has earned the right and I say this because I am convinced Wenger will go if he realizes he is the problem or when he knows the club doesn’t want him or need him. Wenger is not there because he needs the money or the status, he can get the same money elsewhere and the status at a few clubs that are better than Arsenal.

A few months ago, Wenger gave this interview and said he was ready to sacrifice his job for the values of the club. If the values of the club are threatened, he will leave and he was ready to leave in the summer.

He is staying on to preserve those values, the same values we Arsenal fans admire about the club. Yes, the on field results are atrocious but there is more. What we are seeing on the pitch is a reflection of a bigger issue that obviously has nothing to do with poor coaching and by inference a lot to do with off the field issues.

I believe Wenger is the bulwark against the employee type at Arsenal. The ‘take take take’ type. When it is finished, it is off to the next gullible employer.

I worry about the future as it doesn’t take a lot to damage a club. Ozil’s new contract is a £52m one. It was negotiated by the might of the new guys and the Chief Executive. If not for the problems partly created by the anti Wenger element within the club, Ozil’s contract would have maybe cost £15m less.

Throw in a few more £200k per week contracts that don’t work and the club is left facing a bill of a few £31m per failed contract extension / signing.

Factor in a few pay offs for managerial sackings, maybe £5m a pop, generous sweetheart agents deal that doesn’t happen now and people start wondering where al the money has gone.

I pray it never happens but the handwriting is on the wall. Just look at all the transfer deals we hear about. Manchester United and City get absolutely dicked about on transfers but because there is an unlimited pot, they don’t care. The continentals appear to do good business and will turn away from financially awful deals. Nobody in Europe was willing to cough up the £40m they knew was going into Raiola’s pocket on the back of the Pogba deal. Only Manchester United did.

Look at the pigs head made of transfers in Everton under Koeman, Moshiri and Kenwright. At the moment, the only place where you think maybe they are getting the financial side of transfers right is Chelsea. Mr. Roman Abramovich keeps a mafia like eyes on the purse. They also do a few selling deals that tell you they are sleek operators and not ignorant willing victims.

Arsene is not a bad manager. As I have tweeted before, Ozil and Sanchez stats have improved significantly since they came under Wenger’s wings. Koscielny famously came from Ligue 2 in France. Iwobi was a boy the Academy wanted to let go at every review because of his height. Bellerin has come from nowhere, Monreal doing great stuff. All down to Wenger’s coaching.

When did Wenger become a poor coach / manager? People level allegations of staleness, stayed too long and whatever spurious things they want to allege but poor management? Absolutely no evidence of that bar the results. I agree you get judged by the results but the results are not a reflection of a manager’s ability.

I have looked at all of our Premier League loses this season and I cant see which one you can blame on a lack of coaching. 

Stoke – referee. Penalty denied. Equalizing goal denied.
Liverpool – dressing room bust up due to Oxlade Chamberlain departure
Watford – 2 goals against Arsenal that should have been disallowed
Manchester City – 2 dodgy goals against Arsenal. Offside and dubious penalty
United – gifting opponents 2 goals and failing to score 10 odd gilt edged chances
Bournemouth – goal keeping error
Swansea – defensive and goal keeping error
Tottenham – dubious goal. Harry Kane foul on Koscielny
City at Emirates – Ok, maybe we were poor
Brighton away – goal keeping errors

Please feel free so say what you like to the above assessment. Can’t be worse than what others have said.

Out of these losses, I want to blame Wenger for our defeat to City at the Emirates. Why? I think Arsenal should have called the match off. We don’t do enough skullduggery.  To be fair, it does appear the Premier League wanted the match to go on. Secondly I though Arsene should have been a bit more cautious / more defensive but my impression is that he went a bit more attacking because the collective decided that was the way to go.

Arsene does not need to teach a senior professional not to give horrible back passes or hospital passes to teammates. If you think Petr Cech and David Ospina are not getting enough training, it is pointless you reading this or having an argument with you.

My view is our players’ confidence is shot. I could blame the Oxlade Chamberlain issue, the Sanchez issue, the referee’s gang up, the size of Ozil’s new contract, AFTV digging out Bellerin, arrival of Aubameyang making it look like Lacazette had been relegated. But I don’t know if that is true, it is all speculation. Only one man, his staff and the squad know what the issues are and I back that one man to solve the problem.

He has made it clear that job security is not the top of his priority. He has made it clear he does not plan to resign. If the board want him gone, they should STOP BRIEFING THE PRESS and make a case to the majority shareholder. If the majority shareholder refuses to pull the plug, the board should come out and make a statement backing the man and should back him wholeheartedly. The Board should stop worsening the situation.

When Wenger goes. Hector is out of the door. I believe Kosc will follow too. Ozil might wonder if he wants to stick around, Nacho maybe and who knows who else.

When Wenger leaves. The vultures will sink their teeth into what is left. The things Arsene didn’t allow them do.

Poor results from the new man will be blamed on Wenger. 

If it ever goes pop in a few years time, it will also be blamed on Wenger.

But I know the good man did a lot for the club. He dragged the club into the 21st century and birthed the most successful period of the club ever.


Until he decides to walk away, I remain in support of him and I am convinced he will walk away if he thinks he is the cause of rot we are in or if he loses the dressing room.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

Arsenal Football Club – Don’t let the Bellerin Oxford Union Speech Go To Waste

I don’t like AFTV.

I wrote a blog about my dislike for what they do a year ago. You can find my article here

My views are unchanged. They have been reinforced by the publication of Hector Bellerin’s comments at his Oxford Union lecture.  There is a lot to like about Hector. Articulate young man. Following his passion in addition to his professional career as a footballer. Came to England at age 16, even speaks English with a cockney accent when he wants. What is there not to like.

I was looking forward to Mesut Ozil reeling the cannons out at his appearance in the same venue on Tuesday February 20, 2018. Sadly this has now been cancelled. The organizers claim this is due to reasons beyond their control. I suspect Ozil has decided to cancel due to the storm over Hector’s comments. I was quite looking forward to Ozil going harder at the so-called legends who in my opinion are worse than AFTV morons.

Anyway, I hope Hector’s comments are representative of the squad. We already know what Arsene Wenger thinks of idiots. We’ve seen the Club’s Chief photographer’s tweet too.

I am happy that Hector’s comments have riled the AFTV lot. To be fair to them and with the exception of the big moron DT and the laughable Leegunner, they have coordinated their replies and it is on message. ‘Hector has a right to his opinion but we disagree yada yada’.

What a joke AFTV. Thanks for giving Hector the right to his opinion.

None of the AFTV responses has however addressed the key issue Hector raised on AFTV amongst the over a dozen other subjects he talked about. The central issue is:

 ‘YOU CANNOT BE A TRUE FAN WHEN YOU ARE PROFITING FROM THE MISFORTUNE OF YOUR CLUB’.

Robbie and AFTV believe it is their right to profit from Arsenal’s failure on the pitch. If this failure was natural, maybe you might excuse them but these guys actively try to create a negative vibe around the club, the players and amongst fans. They spearhead meaningless protests, wish the manager dead and then profit from the poor results brought about by their action and have the nerve to say that they don’t control which videos go viral. They know which videos have gone viral and do everything to replicate the conditions. 

Because Robbie, DT, Claude, Leegunner’s collective IQ is lower than that of a tuna sandwich, they assume they are talking to their fan club whose IQ is non existent.

While I am certain nobody begrudges the next fellow their daily bread and a little extra, we all object to that fellow making a mug of us and earning their crust at our expense.

The excuse that spending their money gives them the right to be dickheads is off & rotten. You want an example of passion & commitment and spending money; see what our fans in Belarus went through to attend the Osterstunds match. They don’t slag the club

The AFTV lot only profit when things are negative. So they make everything negative

We win games – NEGATIVE. The other team was shit

We draw games – NEGATIVE. We were shit

Referee shits on Arsenal – NEGATIVE. That’s an excuse.

Arsenal wins three FA Cups and three Community Shields in four years – NEGATIVE. They are shit trophies nobody wants.

I remember when we drew with Middleborough last season to go back to the Top of the League. Guess what the imbecilic DT said – “STOP SINGING WE ARE TOP OF THE LEAGUE YOU FOOLS”

That is what it is all about. NEGATIVES. Fake rant to generate YouTube views. And how much does 100k of views get you? Apparently £60. That is what these collection of Judas sell out their club for.

They are making Arsenal laughing stocks for the sake of maybe £600 for a million YouTube views.  How much of a low life do you have to be? Attempt to destroy what millions enjoy because of £600 every week.

AFTV on the other hand makes extra especially with the advertising from Sun newspaper and Ladbrokes. And this is where the Arsenal commercial department should be targeting.

I understand Arsenal Football Club does not want to be seen as a Goliath trampling down on a mickey mouse fan group. However Arsenal should be looking beyond the reputation risk here.

These AFTV guys are making money using Arsenal’s name. I can bet the club has retained many intellectual property agents around the globe to ensure only duly licensed parties are allowed to use the Arsenal name for commercial purposes.

Why is it different with AFTV?

AFTV are making money using the Arsenal name / brand

AFTV are actively working to undermine the results Arsenal gets on the pitch

AFTV are creating a rowdy situation after matches and there have been a few bust ups

AFTV are actively encouraging abuse of players

Arsenal should ask them to either stop using the name of the club and its properties anywhere or ask them to open their book and take whatever percentage of the income the club normally takes with any commercial partner. This money should then be donated to The Arsenal Foundation / Arsenal in the Community to avoid any David / Goliath backlash.

AFTV as it is, is only benefitting Robbie, the collection of regular rubbish talking heads and opposing fans. Let The Arsenal Foundation and the projects the fans genuinely care about benefit too.   
 
I am glad fans are working them out. Poll results after poll results show that are useless to the fan base.  While not quite Nazi Germany & Hitler, anybody who continually toes the ‘AFTV is just fun and harmless’ is an enabler. All those in the ‘Robbie is such a nice guy’ club are enablers.

Nice guys don’t try to damage something they love. Nice guys don’t give platform to those wishing our manager dead.