‘IF’ This is not the most Positive Assessment of Arsenal’s Current Status…….

The Fit CMs!

The Fit CMs!

There have been some thought provoking events in recent weeks. Yes, I am talking about injuries and since then we have had a load of people talking about how Wenger has to be held responsible for it. My colleague, Alex of the Tsar Cannon has come up with a post right here where he talks about the possibility of our players being fragile (apart from Alexis of course; nobody can say he’s fragile) and GT’s eldest contributor, Mr. Victor Thompson, has come up with a very elegant allegory for our troubles with his piece of the week.

Having taken into account both of their views, and being the proprietor of The Theory of Alexis– I found myself on the fence with this argument. The view that Wenger is a lunatic is not valid for me. I believe any rational Arsenal supporter would refrain from jumping to extremities about the man, even though this time around he seems to be inviting the criticism to himself. I fully agree that even if Wenger had the info about a possible hamstring problem before the game, he would have done well to keep it to himself and then share only some of the blame instead of being called names by the fickle supporters who run helter skelter at the hint of trouble. However what this says about the man cannot be questioned. He is all for transparency and if this is not him walking the talk then I don’t know what is, and I completely respect his decision to play Alexis because he was trying to get the team to arrest a sudden slide in PL form and the game was a must win to do that.

Alexis Pulls up (courtesy of Price/Mirror)

Alexis Pulls up (courtesy of Price/Mirror)

Knowing that Alexis had a hamstring problem and even then playing him was a mistake. However, the point that Wenger was trying to make when he said Alexis seemed okay might actually have been that despite all their tests Alexis had come through with no problem big enough to deny him game time (This is one of the points discussed on the Arsecast Extra this week, and I would recommend it to all because it is what gave me peace on Monday). To deny a player as good as Sanchez one has to have a good enough reason. Even though he seems like a stand-up bloke who would take being rested on the chin, perhaps Wenger has to be cautious about hurting his form, so to speak.

I keep an eye on a lot of opinions thanks to all the blogs out there and some of the podcasts too, and conversations with Arsenal fans are always enlightening for the sheer diversity of views. With all due respect to every blogger and podcaster out there, I have not yet seen a solution proposed to the pains that ail us. Some say the transfer window is the best way to sort it out, still others say there is a Coquelin style break out waiting to happen from somewhere within the club (It is Christmas month after all, people keep wishing for miracles). A few are saying its time Wenger stepped aside, and again with all due respect, that is not an option for a club of our stature and legacy. We do not sack managers who have had more than 7,000 days at the helm because we are ‘languishing in second place’ as someone put it on Twitter.

I do not have knowledgeable people around me at college to debate these things therefore the only out I have is writing them down for other people to offer opinions on. Therefore, please do so- all opinions are welcome and appreciated. I will try and look at our options for stabilizing the ship before the Transfer market opens in January. I do this because again and again we have seen transfer speculation being shot to dust by the club’s inactivity and even though some rumours may be true (with Arsene himself admitting to possible transfer activity) I prefer to work on what we already have.


Able Deputy

Able Deputy

With Gabriel Paulista coming in for Laurent Koscielny I am more than happy. Even though we cannot yet compare Gabriel to Koscielny yet, I am certain the potential is there for Gabriel to emulate and maybe even surpass Koscielny in defence. The way things are going for us these days, one might be forgiven for wondering who we have to deputise in case of another injury in defence. Calum Chambers is a fine prospect and I trust in him to be able to deputise in case of any injury. Although if we get skinned by City and Chambers is in the team, I admit he will take a lot of the flak. For the most part Bellerin and Monreal look injury free *touchwood* and so this is one part of the team I would bet my life on.Carl Jenkinson is doing very well on loan but he is one of the more advanced prospects being prepared for when Debuchy is unavailable so he will not be brought back.



90 mins for U21s at DM

90 mins for U21s at DM

The list of midfielders in the treatment list at the moment is exhasutive. Club captain Mikel Arteta leads a long line including the likes of Jack Wilshere, Francis Coquelin, and Tomas Rosicky. Santi Cazorla has joined the list for an awful three months which till recently also boasted of Aaron Ramsey. In the fit list are Mathieu Flamini, Mesut Ozil, Chamberlain, the returning Ramsey and… well, nobody else. That is the problem and this is where we will be pushed into promoting from within in case of further injuries. Calum Chambers played with the U-21 side last weekend and that too in midfield so maybe he is learning a new position in case of an emergency. This is an astute decision taken in view of the fact that Krystian Bielik is not yet ready to play for us at the top level and definitely not against opposition like we are going to have this month. The Jeff has been making the bench in the absence of most of our midfield and I wouldn’t be surprised if he were to get a few minutes. Also we have Ainsley Maitland-Niles out at Ipswich in the Championship, if we’re hoping for another break out story (He is after all our second youngest Champions League player). None of the loaned out players will be called back because Arsene has their best interests at heart too and would never halt their development to play as stop gaps and then relegate them back to U-21 games when the seniors return. A word here though, if Ozil gets injured our season will well and truly go down the drain.


Back soon we hope

Back soon we hope

  Truth be told the lack of pace has been showing in recent weeks with Alexis our only obvious weapon on the left and Joel Campbell not able to produce the sense of impending doom that the former does. With Walcott scheduled to return for sure two games before we go head to head with Man City at the Emirates on the 21st of December we will be looking at the possible schematic of the team going into the future. The clash will also be pivotal in the title race so there is that, and City are missing a lot of players too so it should be interesting. The absence of Jack, Cazorla, and Coquelin will enforce a somewhat different set up than the last time we met them and came away with a win, although it must be said that it was an away game and this will be at home. Giroud’s presence will be useful, whether he plays from the start or as a super sub, because we might be playing a lot of long balls up the pitch as a last ditch effort and nobody else in the frontline can hold a ball against the likes of Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi. Alex Iwobi being the only possible promotion from within, the options are thin. Despite all this I see no possibility of any signings in January. There may be another midfielder signed if some reports are to be believed, but a CF is almost out of the question with nearly half a 2011/12 season starting XI coming back into the fold in January.

Guaranteed Tickets

Guaranteed Football Tickets across Europe

Guaranteed Tickets for any match in Europe – Great Christmas Gift

In the games Alexis will miss, we need somebody to step up big time with some goals. My bet is on Ramsey to come through with match winning contributions as he has done in seasons past, and hopefully Joel Campbell can put up some good performances. If Ramsey is shifted into the middle of the pitch the Ox should also get a healthy run of games because Walcott is not going to be used on the wing unless it’s an emergency.

 Injuries or not, I swear to holy hell, Arsenal F.C. is the greatest team the world has ever seen. And if you do not believe in them when they are so close to the top, if you cannot give them the extra boost from the stands, if you cannot be strong in the face of mild troubles then you cannot be an Arsenal fan. We all have our doubts and they may or may not be valid but they should never come between us and our support of the Arsenal.

At this moment in time I am reminded of the wonderful words of Rudyard Kipling:

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

 And treat those two impostors just the same;


Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build ‘em up with worn out tools:


If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss;

And- which is more- You’ll be a Man, my son!


We’ve triumphed and now we are staring disaster in the face, it is time to have the same belief at both times. Arsene has watched his team destroyed by money and by injuries, and he has built them up again and again with the same class to play top, top quality football. This is the season he is willing to go all in or bust, that is why he was willing to risk Alexis. He’s gotten a sniff of the top, as have we. It is time to prove worthy of the team and be happy that our club has a place under the sun. We must learn to be happy for a while.

Till later then. Come on You Gunners.

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10 Responses to ‘IF’ This is not the most Positive Assessment of Arsenal’s Current Status…….

  1. Victor Thompson December 3, 2015 at 1:21 pm #

    Hi Sohum,

    Thank you for your reference to my article.

    We do seem to disagree regarding Arsene but I want to make it clear that I appreciate everything he has done for the club. It is truly a magnificent feat to keep us in the top four for 16 years but he has to admit that the fans were patient throughout those years when we knew that he did not have the money to by stellar players, However within those years and when only Man Utd. were the money men, we were blessed with the best defence in the league which Arsene inherited.

    He singlehandedly altered our style of play and made us the most attractive team in the land. The list of players he produced is eye watering. Overmars, Lundberg, Henry, Viera, Petit, Sansom, Ozil, Alexis, Cazorla etc. He also produced “The Invincibles” and The great Tony Adams admitted that he gave him a further two years on his career by changing his diet and fitness regime. He oversaw the building of The Emirates stadium. He undoubtedly deserves to have a bronze bust beside the legendary Herbert Chapman.

    Unfortunately in recent years we should have rewarded the fans patience by winning the Championship but we have blown it for the same repetitive reasons and we look like history will be repeated again this year.

    In my various articles I have set out the mistakes which Arsene has made and is continuing to make; and I do applaud the loyalty of fans like you who defend him through thick and thin. I earnestly believe that he is not going to change his mindset and that regrettably it is time to stand aside, (as Dave Seager says). In the meantime, I agree with you that despite our divergent opinions, we should all support and encourage the team on the field. I would be a regular attender if I lived in or near London despite my criticism of Arsene.

    For the man himself, I hope he does have a “road to Damascus” experience and suddenly becomes enlightened. I regret that if he continues to carry on as he has done he will take the gloss off the fantastic achievements he has made and will damage the great reputation he so richly deserves. I make these comments with a heavy heart because I do not hate Arsene. I still admire him and even though I would like him to go, I will have some trepidation, because his like is hard to find.

    Victor Thompson

  2. Goonereris December 3, 2015 at 2:44 pm #

    For me, it is not a time to panic and lose it to delirium, the kind the media are happy to throw our fans into. No TEAM can retain top 4 placement (2 points behind leaders) with the number of injuries we have had and it is only down to the team structure set up by Arsene Wenger, for which he deserves credit. We have a squad of players of near-even quality in most positions with the only ones hard to replace being Alexis, Coquelin and maybe, Giroud (hold up quality and height). What Wenger needs to do now is give confidence to the squad players and remind them how good they are, so they can come out to play for the crest, forgetting all the media doomsday hypes. Ramsey for Cazorla, Ox or Campbell for Alexis would pose different kinds of problems for defenders. Flamini and Chambers are already being readied for the DM role. Gibbs can do a job on the left side in front of Monreal if we need to be a bit defensive. We need to keep everyone fresh and ready now, something we were not doing or Debuchy won’t be so unhappy. All hope is not lost yet, hard as it may become for the December fixtures, but we can still be dangerous if we just believe, fans and players.

  3. Sohum Sen December 3, 2015 at 9:27 pm #

    Hello to both of you,
    Victor I agree with your views and the only thing I disagree is when you say that Arsene needs to go to Damascus and get enlightened. I feel, Wenger has been to Damascus before anybody else in the League at the moment and he has seen what he needs to. Every change is gradual as abruptness will lead to dysfunction, and we have seen Wenger change in some ways. Santi Cazorla has blown apart the perception that Wenger doesn’t do tactics, the purchase of Alexis, Ozil and Cech highlights Arsene’s eye to the future as well as to team building. I do concede at this point that an outfield player purchased in July would have eased our load significantly in the current injury laden state of our lad. However I think we have always known that Wenger doesn’t buy players who will surely block paths of others. We saw that with him keeping Coquelin in the team and not buying to let him keep his place. You must concede that it is difficult to sign a top quality midfielder only to then put them on the bench game after game. Also top players are never content without minutes so it would have involved some form of misdirection or lying from Wenger if we were ever to buy a top player. I think we all agree that he is not that kind of manager. We aren’t Chelsea who hog talent only to keep it from other people’s hands. I did not see anybody complaining when the lack of quality in the squad allowed players like Jack Wilshere, Aaron Ramsey, Kieran Gibbs, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain, Serge Gnabry, Theo Walcott and others to make their way up the ranks and into the first team. The problem with Wenger is that he has too much faith in certain people and he should have learnt better by now. We have seen his patience with Diaby and again and again we see it with Jack Wilshere and also with Theo Walcott. People kept saying that Theo should be leading the line but Wenger kept that option till the point when he thought it was best and without being pro Wenger I think I can say that decision has been validated. Walcott would never have gotten the kind of intro to the CF role in earlier seasons without the experience he has gained, especially in finishing. Victor as you talk of patience I concede that after this many years of finishing near the top the fans may be frustrated. However you must concede the point to me when I point out that never in our history have we finished at the top so consistently. In Arsenal’s 19 years in charge of the club, we have never finished outside the top 4 and in the 90 years before Wenger we achieved this feat a total of 14 times.This has been served up by Wenger. A title win cannot be claimed by a manager alone as it needs players and a bit of luck in some cases, however such consistency must be attributed to Wenger as he is the only constant throughout all these years. Players have come and gone and despite Chances to do so, Wenger has held on to us with a vice like grip simply because he feels for the club. He feels for the club much more than you or I do and he has been something we are honored to be associated with. He is a symbol of an unending and unrewarding pursuit of footballing perfection. That is why I am pro Wenger. I do understand your views and I also understand that he makes mistakes like not signing an outfield player but when he says the quality he wanted was not available, I believe him. There must be a reason behind what he did because some views of him being vain enough to have a bloated self view are rubbish. A man who is that vain does not answer every question the media asks of him, if I were to call anybody vain that would be Mourinho who talks to everybody as if he’s above them. As I said before, Wenger is not God and he will keep making mistakes. However if fans are crying out for him to step aside because he doesn’t win the trophy and only finishes fourth, I am not with them because their expectations of the trophy have also been fuelled by Wenger himself. He will come through, I believe. If he fails then we can call him a failure in winning the trophy surely. I don’t think we can call him a failure just yet. He is here because he wants to win not because he likes being mediocre. Quite the opposite in fact. I respect all your views and I do not hope to change your opinion on the least, I am just trying to get you to understand me and my side of the story.
    Goonereris, Hi mate!
    Good to know you are of the view that it’s not time to panic yet. Alexis is truly irreplaceable. So is Ozil. Hope for the best this December. Last year was good, maybe we could request the trick this time!

    • Victor Thompson December 4, 2015 at 9:12 am #

      Thank you Sohum for your very concise reply. You make a good case for your point of view.

      I would simply say that if the very best players are not available, it is accepted that our best team would probably win the Premiership but in order to cope with the times when 3 or 4 of our best players are injured, a decent replacement could have been available, Schneiderlin for instance.

      Victor Thompson

      • Goonereris December 4, 2015 at 11:18 am #

        The thing is Schneiderlin won’t be happy to sit on the bench waiting for Coquelin to get injured, for his chance…and neither willl Coq be a happy bunny on the bench. These things are the stuff of fantasy football-to have replacements of similar quality in every position at a premiership club. What you will get is a whole bunch of unhappy stars looking to depart, which is not good for team spirit. Any side with ambitions for the title needs to have a largely stable back 6, from Keeper to DM. Fact.

        • Victor Thompson December 4, 2015 at 12:27 pm #


          As far as I recall, Schneiderlin was available before Coq got his chance and anyway, I was just giving an example.

          Chelsea and Man City both had players as good as the others and they both won the championship. We cannot restrict the signing of good players because it would restrict our existing players. It nullifies competition for a start.

          Most importantly Arsenal above all other clubs, always implode in November/ December because of lack of support for injured players. A wise manager would have read the signs by now and catered for it.

          • Goonereris December 4, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

            I get your point, but still feel we take that presumption of 2 equally good players per position too far. City only had Silva and Aguero out for them to start floundering, hence despite our poor run in November, we are still just 2 points behind top. Who are their equal replacements? Bony? Jesus Navas? Would you say Clichy is equals with Kolorov in his prime, or Sagna with Zabaletta? What City has done well is use the squad well, so that whoever comes in at full back is ready; something Wenger should practice more often as I rate Debuchy as a full back but can see that the lack of game time has cost him some confidence. I don’t even want to start with Chelsea and equally skilled players per position. Start with the keeper to the CB and even full backs and remind me who they have for back-up and how Arsenal is so worse off. We are probably the only team that would have 10 first team players out and still be competitive.

  4. Goonereris December 3, 2015 at 10:55 pm #

    Cheers, Sohum Sen. Looking forward to a December to remember (for good), as far as Arsenal is concerned.

  5. Gunner Zoe December 3, 2015 at 10:57 pm #

    Philosophical teachings fo all its worth. A season like this is hard to find

  6. Sohum Sen December 5, 2015 at 8:20 am #

    I get your point. I’m just trying to get some perspective here. Wise or not, Wenger has made the mistake of not signing anybody in the previous transfer window. That might turn out to be what decides our season but in hindsight it is very easy to point out mistakes. If Rosicky and Jack or Walcott or even Chamberlain hadn’t suffered their injuries, we wouldn’t have had the chain reaction. Now while you make a good case for other top clubs, even Chelsea do not have the ‘two players for every position’ available. Not of the same quality that is. City floundered without Aguero and Silva while we seem to flounder even with our stars sometimes( West Brom) so that’s not really an argument which is always valid.
    Thanks mate. Looking forward to the same.
    Gunner Zoe,
    philosophical teachings are our specialty. No matter how the season goes, we always have room for some disaster these days. Teachings about resilience abound. Hahaha.

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