A Wave of change in the Premier League which all but Arsenal are riding the crest of?


“The past four days have been extremely trying for me, and all Arsenal fans I would assume, following our opening day defeat at home to Liverpool. Sunday’s 4-3 reverse meant that we have only won one of our last six games on the opening weekend of the Premier League, which was that last-gasp 2-1 home win over Crystal Palace. Our players’ extended involvement in the Euros meant a prolonged break for the likes of Olivier Giroud, Mesut Ozil, and Laurent Koscielny. Aaron Ramsey and Alexis Sanchez, also involved in the latter stages of the Euros and Copa America, were still risked from the start.

Some fans felt that Giroud, Ozil and Koscielny should have played or at least featured, given that the likes of Bacary Sagna and N’golo Kante played the full 90 over the weekend as well. To be fair, we were not the only club not to risk players coming back from their holidays. Slaven Bilic only brought Dimitri Payet from the bench against Chelsea, and Jose Fonte was on the bench as well when Southampton took on Watford. There may not be any relation, but Hugo Lloris and Ramsey both suffered hamstring injuries having been rushed back into the action.

Wenger questioned post Lverpool

Wenger questioned post Lverpool

There has been a lot of angst directed towards manager Arsene Wenger with regards to the state of the squad and his inactivity in the transfer market, and a lot that went wrong on Sunday could be tied down to this. It has been 22 days since Wenger confirmed that Per Mertesacker will miss at least five months of action with a knee injury, and 8 days since it was reported that Gabriel will be out for “six to eight weeks”. Our hesitation in the market meant that we partnered 20-year old summer signing Rob Holding with Calum Chambers against Liverpool, a situation that I felt was unfair not only to us supporters but for the duo in particular, especially given how things turned out.

We faced a team with a relatively new manager in Jurgen Klopp, who has recruited heavily this summer, with seven new signings made so far. Arsenal meanwhile chose to persist with Arsene Wenger, who having been in charge for 20 years, looks in many ways like a dinosaur in modern day football. Having had months to prepare for the new season, we still begun the campaign in search of a centre forward and a centre half, perhaps pointing to a worrying lack of preparation.

Klopp's LFC fast and ready

Klopp’s LFC fast and ready

Liverpool on the other hand looked sharp and exciting, and were the embodiment of the pace and intensity that is synonymous with the Premier League. More than that, they represented the wave of change sweeping through the league, a wave on which everyone but the Gunners is riding. United for instance, with Jose Mourinho, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly, has them looking like a “showbiz club again” as Peter Drury put it.  – Title contenders. Man City- Pep Guardiola, Nolito, Ilkay Gundogan, and John Stones – Title contenders. Chelsea- Antonio Conte, N’golo Kante and Michy Batshuayi – Title contenders.  We find ourselves an island in a sea of change, transition, and ultimately, upward progress. Progress that goes on while we stagnate or at least that’s the perception isn’t it?

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Last season, with Chelsea, United and City out of the title race pretty early, many thought “Never have Arsenal had a better shot at taking the title.” One transfer window later and people now think “Never has Arsenal’s top four credentials been under greater threat.”
New signings are a sign of intent, of ambition, a show of might and above anything else they inspire confidence from the players and the fans. Rumoured transfer targets continue to slip away from our grasp, while the club’s top management are really not giving off the right signals at the moment. Wenger’s pre-match press conference featured some chatter about there being “two transfer markets, one for English clubs and the other for the rest of Europe”, and that English clubs are paying “huge fees for average players”, which is a fair assessment of the market today.

Come on Arsene sign me

Come on Arsene sign me

Unfortunately we are an English club with money that is in need of signings, and that is the reality. Wenger’s approach to the transfer window would have worked in 2005, but certainly not in 2016. With Shkodran Mustafi for example, we reportedly have not gone beyond an enquiry as to the player’s transfer fee. Consequently of course rumours have surfaced linking the German international with a move to Liverpool. Chelsea meanwhile are also reported to be in the market for Kalidou Koulibaly from Napoli, and while this is only speculation, it would be very Wenger-esque for Arsenal to be linked with both players and end up with none.
Ultimately, we still have the look and feel of a club three weeks away from the start of an engrossing league campaign. The situation will improve somewhat with Giroud, Koscielny and Ozil yet to return, but with an away trip to the champions coming up on Saturday, I won’t be holding my breath.”



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11 Responses to A Wave of change in the Premier League which all but Arsenal are riding the crest of?

  1. Victor Thompson August 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

    Well written Lloyd. Amazing how so many authors can support the same point of view with such diverse contributions, which all in the end come to the same conclusion. These are not bile filled rants that I am talking about, they are logical. reasoned and polite and they all have considerable weight to their conclusions.

    I know that there are Wenger devotees who will not hear a word against him, but surely even they must accept that there are educated and civilised people amidst the Arsenal out brigade who have reason to believe that Wenger`s performance, particularly over the last 5 years shows that he is no longer capable of making the vital decisions needed to stop this great club from slipping down the list of elite clubs. If it keeps happening, we face the period in the wilderness that Liverpool and Spurs have endured.

    • Lloyd Gitonga August 18, 2016 at 6:09 pm #

      Thanks Victor 🙂 And you’re right, the board really needs to get a move on if we are to keep up with the best in the business.

  2. Dontspill McGinnis August 18, 2016 at 5:12 pm #

    I stopped reading halfway through when you declared that other clubs spending vast amounts of money equated to “upward progress”.

    Whether they have spent well is yet to be seen.
    Useless speculation helps no one.

    Another sensationalist blogg to ignore.

    • Lloyd Gitonga August 18, 2016 at 6:17 pm #


      Thank you for your feedback 🙂 I get your point, but at the end of the day the other clubs’ performance in the market has led to most feeling that we will not retain our top 4 status. Whether this will actually happen does remain to be seen.

    • Paul B August 18, 2016 at 6:32 pm #

      McGinnis you are blind or deluded if you don’t see upward progress going on all around you.

      City bringing in Pep, Mane is a clear improvment as was Klopp when he came mid way through last season. Mourinho to United speaks for itself as does Zlatan.

      It remains to be seen whether all the money is well spent but there really is no doubt upward progress has been made, alas not by Arsenal!

  3. ganja August 18, 2016 at 5:13 pm #

    We lost 4-3 with 40% of the starters out!! what is wrong with Arsenal fans / supporters you have no faith we came in second Manure 5th Chelski 10th MC has spent 150m pounds! already and still have a 30m CB that they will be lucky to get 15 for chelsea want ot pay 75 m for another In Arsene IO trust and I pray he does not change his philosophy to appease you rabid fans that drinking the Banksters Kool-Aid in support of the Illuminatti The Ox made a fabulous goal Walcott scored from free play less that a min after he missed penalty these are all tremendous positives and we have to support a philosophy if it is to be successful….Mane will not score a better goal this season they got a soft foul that allowed the Continho free kick we lost by one goal and they were shitting for the last 10minutes

    • Lloyd Gitonga August 18, 2016 at 10:15 pm #


      Thanks for the comment 🙂 Point taken, but also this piece is not based on Sunday’s game alone. Perhaps you should consider that we have had the same feeling on opening day of the last three seasons: We need investment in the squad. The squad is exposed year on year by injuries and loss of form to key players. Arsene Wenger remains a fantastic manager and I have the utmost respect for him, I only differ with his transfer policy.

  4. Kazz August 18, 2016 at 5:43 pm #

    Every year same old thing, doom and gloom. Arsenal not going to achieve anything. Every year same old thing – qualification for, always in title race though not strong finishers, good f.a cup run etc.

    Every year same old thing other teams spend triple or quad what arsenal spend but do not see a triple or quadruple effect in terms of improvement.

    Sure we can spend more and if we did we may be able to see out the challenge to the end.

    Oh and one more thing, same old Arsenal will be the ones missing fourth, need I say anything else.

    Finally, guess what I am a Liverpool supporter. You guys don’t know what you have til it’s gone

    • Lloyd Gitonga August 18, 2016 at 10:28 pm #


      Thanks for engaging us on this. Point taken as well, but I don’t think fans are calling for us to throw money about, “…spending money for the sake of spending” as Arsene put it. Our squad does need strengthening though, that is all we ask.
      The post-Wenger transition, as scary as it sounds, will eventually happen. We might be missing fourth, we might not. Who knows 🙂

  5. Irvin Jalang'o August 20, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    Eventually, we have to sit back and look around. Everyone else looks better than Arsenal. Would any other club challenging for anything start a season with that centre back pairing when we had weeks to mull over signing a striker, and defenders? Mourinho for example (still don’t like him) knew Schweinsteiger had no space. While we would have made him captain, he banished him.
    Which brings me to an important point, what is Arsene’s plan? Does he have any plan anymore? I know there’s probably 90 years of management behind him, but is it not clear that a new crop of them are overshadowing his achievements… Mostly because they are good?
    Arsene was the best thing. But, sadly, time is up.
    Nice article Lloyd

    • Lloyd Gitonga August 20, 2016 at 11:44 am #

      Thanks Irvin 🙂

      You’re right, it does feel like without any investment in the squad we’ll have stagnated. Wenger’s contract is up in the summer, will he call time on his Arsenal career though? Its up to him, I don’t think the board has the nerve to let him leave.

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