5 things Arrogant Arsenal and Wenger must do to WIN again and keep WINNING

I hate these International periods – just when we should be accelerating into the final phase of the season, when most of us are off work we have day upon day away from our passion. Watching Arsenal.

Talking about Arsenal. Worrying about Arsenal…

…wait! we can still worry about Arsenal – OK, here goes!

Time gets me thinking about Arsenal and what, in my opinion we must improve. I have time to solidify observations – time to think of ways to reduce the trauma of a season we are going through as I write.

Five thoughts from Clive:

  1. Change the Culture “Just Win Baby”

A famous quote from LA Raiders supremo Al Davis

I remember a quote from Patrice Evra a few years ago.

“Arsenal is just a finishing School”

That hurt and it hurt because there is more than a ring of truth.

We lost our way and we showed weakness. The main thing I admire Wenger for is how he gives people opportunities but that trust can be perceived as weakness.

Do we want to win enough or are we over-focused on developing people, nice people.

If my son had the choice of any academy in the world I choose Arsenal.

It’s because the manager shows patience – he is educated and believes in the rounded individual. But as a fan that is desperate to win that same patience can be seen as a lack of a ruthless edge.

Soon as you are not ruthless the players have an excuse to NOT win.

The challenge now is this culture has been in place for 10 years. Is it institutionalized into our  psychology.

The ability to compete is what counts, but not having to win for the club and everyone at the club to be successful is something many fans cannot understand or want to understand.

The change has to be a message from someone strong enough to pressure the manager and question the culture – but in the manager we have the single strongest person in the club so the only pressure on Wenger comes from Wenger.


What if Wenger is not on his A game?

Not on his A Game

Not on his A Game

What happens is a risk of repeat cycles and any human unless challenged will revert to default behaviors. You only know what you know and do what you do. If you don’t add people close to you to offer another way you plateau and IMO you run the risk of consistency yes but at what level.

The level of consistency we have reached no longer befits the monster of a club Wenger has created. Arsenal are bigger than this.

Who can tell Wenger “JUST WIN” or more importantly “YOU HAVE TO WIN”

Arsenal has a big challenge ahead – It’s a Leadership challenge and we have no idea how to fix it.

An incredible selection of authentic Arsenal shirts at amazing prices!

An incredible selection of authentic Arsenal shirts at amazing prices!


  1. Manage the Details – Focus

I call it the 5 percent – How do you create the edge the difference. I do believe Arsenal have been lazy on details and IMO it’s linked to the Culture Issue in number 1.

There is a feeling in the game Arsenal can be a touch arrogant.

The feeling is we are Arsenal and we do things our way. What we are failing to see is people love the Arsenal way and are doing an Arsenal on us.

Others are buying unknown players like Deli Alli and letting them use their heads. Arsenal has done it countless times but recently the real rags to riches stories have not materialized for one reason or another. Off the pitch are we aggressive enough or maybe are we a bit afraid to take a risk? We seem to be making some bad judgments; it feels like we trust the wrong players or maybe the players we trust have just failed to deliver.

Arrogance v Watford = Defeat

Arrogance v Watford = Defeat

The Watford Cup game is just the latest example of details not being managed on the playing side.

Watford are easy to read. They play straight down the middle and rely very much on Deeney to connect them offensively. He is like a barrel chested streetwise linkman – a less subtle Teddy Sheringham.

Take him out either by screening in front or go with 3 Centre Backs.

Of course we are Arsenal we were not going to change our formation.

No way…we play the Arsenal way and others have to adjust to us.

We are The Arsenal.

Arrogant IMO.

Respect the game or it will bite you

Of course you can be arrogant when you have Henry up front and he scores from one chance in two and Vieira in CM doing 2 men’s jobs at the same time.  But with Giroud and any lesser human as your main scorer who can be nullified as he lacks speed details do count.

Don’t be ashamed to nullify the opposition. The end result is your reward. Make the changes you need to make to win.

Focus on the details don’t ignore them. Your players will respect your attention to detail and they will trust their careers with you. Players are the game and if you gain their trust you win.


  1. Face it – Ramsey is not our future
Not the future in a 4231

Not the future in a 4231

The Centre of the Midfield is always my focus. I believe it’s the heart of the team. Get that right and other areas can flourish. Central midfield is a pathway to your defence, the area you must control the area the ball must be facilitated through.

The area where only the most technical and physical survive and thrive.


It’s not an area you vacate repeatedly and expose your team.

Fast possession, one touch speed up the game, slow the game…

When you don’t have the ball, press it hard then adjust your feet then move again as the ball travels all the time scanning scanning scanning.

Keeping that picture of the next pass. If you get the ball and get pressed have you the burst the dribble to beat the first man.

Arsenal needs a player like this. It does not matter what his name is all that matters is Arsenal have a player with those competencies in its center midfield.

Even better – 2 players playing next to each other who can do this.

After seeing Elneny I can write this loud and proud as he shows exactly how to play CM. He is selfless he gives to others he covers more ground that any player but not for himself but for others like Ozil and Sanchez and he provides a platform for others.

Past and future?

Past and future?

I’ve heard so many excuses for Ramsey but people are starting to realize in this system an undisciplined player who does not play for the collective and does not provide a platform is IMO surplus to requirements. He is an asset that needs to be sold, as he does not play Arsenal football.

He cares more about his numbers rather than the team’s. His style creates holes others exploit.

Time to be ruthless and make this change.

There I said it. AT LAST. I’m waiting for you in the comments but be ready and please don’t tell me Ramsey and Arteta worked….!


  1. Arsenal must add Runners with Speed.

Talent in world football is now no secret.

We know them all – well we think we do. What we do know is there maybe less talent available but there is no shortage of Sports Science.

Many Teams are fast – Many teams are fit.

The extra funds means others have looked at ways to stay in the PL. They have added running power. It can be measured instantly.

Teams like Spurs and Bournemouth out run us. No team used to out run the elite. They have trained harder. Ran harder. Leicester has not been the surprise of the league based on skill alone. It’s the running of Kante, Drinkwater and Albrighton in a system that suits them.

Moving it back to Arsenal we have a big group of players that can’t run. We have too many that can’t run or don’t run to a system that makes them effective.

I will name them:

Big Per, he can’t run and others pick on him

Chambers, he can’t run and IMO should be a CM first & CH second

Jack, he can’t run, thighs too big and can only play in bursts

The Ox, he can’t run well he can run but he cannot recover quickly.

Arteta, he can’t run with out breaking down

Ramsey, he can run but only one way – FORWARD

Giroud – He can’t run and it restricts us offensively

Joel, he can’t run, another who tires late in games

Rosicky, unable to run but he was a player in his day

Flamini, can’t run and is just too old so he drops and rests too deep.

That is too many for Arsenal to carry so you must add running power.

We have the technique but of we are outrun we cannot fight for the right to play. Also others game plan is to pick on our non-runners and the space they cannot cover.

This is simple – this is fixable and again El Nenny shows how important it is to have a player with the right competencies for the right position.

This is not about stars it’s about details and about fixing what we all know is wrong. Iwobi recently also has burst on the scene and the way he ran away from the Everton defence reminded me of Arsenal teams of just a few years ago. Physically he is supreme.



West Ham, Palace, Southampton not as good as us but they know the value of pace and running power. We need to add this and show no weakness.

Arsenal must add fear of pace and running and NOW.

      5. Is Ozil the Star OR Is Ozil the Problem?

Ozil a problem?

Ozil a problem?

Playing Barca gets you thinking about formations. Seeing a team that plays a 4-3-3 with 3 forwards 3 very special forwards who play high with the knowledge of knowing the other 8 players are there for them.

I look at Arsenal and the fact we want to play with a ten suits that player. The fact Ozil is the best ten in the world means we either build around him properly or maybe think about other formations that may suit more of the group we have.

Wenger tried a 4-3-3 in the FA Cup games with Chambers deep, Ox Right and Iwobi left of a 3. It was a team full of running and transition. I liked it a lot. We also tried it with Ramsey as one of the 3 central. This allowed him to run free with no requirement for him to provide a structure.

But the 4-3-3 takes the team away from Ozil – he no longer is the fulcrum.

Is that a bad thing?

For me it is but it gives us an alternative for when Ozil is out. Again this requires a flexibility of formation something our manager refuses to do.

We have players like Jack, Chambers, Ramsey, Santi, Iwobi, Ox who would suit a 4-3-3 and are suited to a smaller space to cover (see section on runners)

Ozil is probably the most interesting player I have ever witnessed live. The way he sees football is something to behold. I feel he is ahead of his time and it’s our responsibility to give him the proper tools and respect his career. We cannot ask him to carry us. He is the oil and we must develop on that.

But if we don’t and he leaves maybe it’s time for a real 4-3-3 Barca style.

As always thanks for getting this far…hope this gets you thinking.



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11 Responses to 5 things Arrogant Arsenal and Wenger must do to WIN again and keep WINNING

  1. Sceptic March 30, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    I can’t think why the Arsenal Board aren’t beating a way to your door as you have all the answers…………

    Perhaps it’s because all you have is opinions and actually you don’t have any knowledge, experience, expertise and qualifications in professional football hence the quality of your suggestions.

    For someone who claims in his bio that he wants to see the fans and the club brought back together, entitling an article “Arrogant Arsenal” merely perpetuates the opposite.

    Having said that, you also claim your first influence as being Charlie George but state you are 35 years old which makes you born about six years after he left the club and about one when he played his last game as a professional………………………………

    • Sceptic March 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm #

      Apologies, I correct myself. An Arsenal fan of 35 years you say. But that still means CG had left before years before you started supporting the club., as indeed had Brady.

      • Clive March 30, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

        Thanks for feedback…just a fan thinking.

        Also just for you that bio was written a few years ago. I’m 51 years old and yes 1971 I became aware of Arsenal.

        Doesn’t make me any better than anyone else. Doesn’t make me worse.

        All we have is opinions as fans – great part of the game. What are your opinions?

  2. dee March 30, 2016 at 1:27 pm #


  3. Dan March 30, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    You make interesting points I don’t agree with all nut at least its clear you’ve giving it some serious thought. I don’t agree on Ramsey I do in respect to his discipline but it could be taught to him and I certainly don’t think he should be sold just educated. Good article all the same. Shame some just can’t respect your opinion and feel they have to pick you apart for voicing it.

    • Clive March 30, 2016 at 5:56 pm #

      Thanks for feedback Dan.

      I’m just a fan given a platform by the guys to share some thoughts. Hopefully it gets you thinking. Football changes fast and IMO it’s important you hold on to your football values while recognising you need to develop on the fundamentals of football.

      I’m always looking for ways we can improve – I’m a deluded fan that thinks we can still win this league.

      Thanks again

  4. Victor Thompson March 30, 2016 at 4:51 pm #

    Hi Clive, as I read your article I was beginning to think that I must have missed something or over – estimated Elneny, but then you went on to single him out for praise. You then mentioned that Ozil fascinates you in the way he sees the game. I would say that he reads a game so well that he sees the ball coming to him and picks his pass and shapes his body to deliver it with instant control and minimum effort. Elneny does the same and I really do want him to have a run in the team as he will be a huge influence. Credit to AW ( or whoever decided to buy him for 5m.

    Reluctantly and with a heavy heart, I have to agree with you about Ramsey. I really adored him when he hit his purple patch two years ago. Until he received his injury which stopped him in his tracks he had the best statistics of any midfielder in Europe. Unfortunately, he has never fully recovered and he seems to have lost his first touch and his passing skills. His tendency to give the ball away is costing us dearly. If ox plays alongside him, he has the same faults and we cannot build up any momentum. We waste time trying to recover the ball when we should have been attacking the final third of the pitch.

    Speed is everything. We got our best results this season when we played at speed and we blitzed Man Utd. with 3 goals before they drew breath. I agree that we have an uneasy mix in the team with runners, movers and quick passers together with slow to act and to move players who find it impossible to play direct football. You have rightly identified them. Then there is Walcott. What a disappointment. He has deteriorated more than any other player and it is hard to make a case for him remaining at Arsenal.

    It is not all gloom. Elneny and Coquelin are a good pairing and we have Santi coming back, Fingers crossed he makes a full recovery. Arteta and Flamini will be gone and hopefully BFG will have a seat on the bench reserved for him. Cech will still be there together with Bellerin Gabriel ( who showed improvement in his last two games ) and Monreal is consistency itself. Ozil and Sanchez are happy to stay as far as I can see provided we don`t implode completely and miss the top 4. Compared to the rebuild City, Chelsea and Man Utd. will have, we are quite well placed for next season.

    Just a word to “Sceptic”, like you I am not a qualified expert on football. None of us are but as a fan, we all commit ourselves to Arsenal and we feel that we have to contribute our opinion for the good of the club. Of course it would be impossible for everyone to have the same opinions and I appreciate those people who write their blogs and their comments. If I disagree, I try to illustrate the issues which give me cause to write. by supporting my opinion with reasons which I have set out, just as you have. That is healthy debate and I do not expect as you have, to be denigrated for taking the time to commit your opinion to writing.

    If you or I, or anyone else who has a different point of view from Sceptic, were to be put off by his sarcasm, none of us would take the trouble to write articles or post comments. The sad thing about this season is that Wenger has made so many repetitive mistakes which have all been done in the past, so often that a huge swell of disappointment has enveloped us and it is clear that the dissatisfaction has arisen for the same reasons which we all recognise but Wenger ignores. We don`t have to be experts at any branch of football to have seen the mistakes. Every soccer pundit in the country is saying the same things. It is illogical to try to argue that Arsene`s knowledge is greater than the sum total of so many people. It is rare that the cause of failure has been identified so consistently by so many but this is one such year.

    • Clive March 30, 2016 at 6:03 pm #

      Hi Victor,

      On speed and running I do feel it’s become more key especially in England. This is not a fashion thing I think it suits us. We have technical decision makers so we need runners to exploit that vision.

      Running also discourages others – if we have pacy defenders who are aggressive and energetic then what is the game plan against us?

      With Per people hit that channel and they pressure Kos and sometimes he cracks.

      On Ramsey as long as we have Ozil we basically are built for him – Aaron need some of adapt hi sunshine some like Tony Kroos but he won’t.

      He suits a 4-3-2-1 with Aaron in the free 2 behind a CF with 3 dogs behind him providing a platform. That’s exactly how Wales play and he can do what he likes.

      Arsenal won’t build around him and IMO his talents although very good don’t tell me we should build around him.

      Thanks as always for the reply.

  5. Victor Thompson March 30, 2016 at 10:48 pm #

    Thank you Clive. Clear concise and intelligent.

  6. Midfield, midfield, midfield March 31, 2016 at 12:29 pm #

    Feel you go a bit too far there, Clive, as, overall, that much criticism surely amounts to a devastating critique of the manager and one which suggests we would surely have been better off with someone else in charge for years.

    But…I also have very similar thoughts about a lot of the things you mention.

    In particular, I think midfield is king. I’m also with you in your critique of runners in the team.

    I can only give a very long answer as to why I remain a firm supporter of Wenger even after that, but I won’t do so here (a lot of it comes from my answers when I try imagine how another manager would have fared over the years).

    Anyway, to the midfield!

    An important starting point for me is to consider whether Wenger or any other manager would, if circumstances permitted, go out and buy a prime Wilshere, Ozil and Ramsey to fit into an existing team. It requires plenty of imagination, partly because if fit and well clubs would be reluctant to sell any of the three (unless you have a Madrid Barca situation, as with Ozil), also because, in this hypothetical scenario all three are not only fit but playing in teams which give each player the best platform possible. Meaning that in the current market Wilshere and Ramsey would be at least 40 million pound players and probably more.

    So, as a manager with a huge budget, bigger than Arsenal’s, would you buy those three to work together?

    First, to what their best positions are:

    Ozil is undoubtedly a ten, and needs two behind him who are disciplined, have legs, can tackle, and provide a good supply line to him.

    Ramsey’s best position is something like an almost ten, an attacking midfielder who needs good cover from the two behind him.

    Wilshere is probably also best as an attacking midfielder, but might also be able to play well in a deeper role in a very fluid system with two other central midfielders who have legs, bite, defensive discipline and tenacity. This is what England went for with a three of Wilshere, Henderson and Delph. Ramsey meanwhile has been tremendous at times for Wales with two workers in central midfield with him : he does his attacking while knowing he is well covered, then he drops in to help defensively and does a good job of that.

    Curiously, there’s some chance Wilshere and Ramsay could work together as part of a three, with one the advanced midfielder, one deep, if the third man in there was excellent physically and positionally.

    With both Wilshere and Ramsay, while it is clear to me that it will not work if they are deep as an almost three, with Ozil the third player, each could make good defensive contributions from the advanced midfield role.

    A defensive liability as part of a two- unless, maybe, the attacking midfielder can also make good defensive contributions- becomes an asset defensively if they are the attacking midfielder and there is a strong platform behind them.

    Anyway, as I hope is clear from what I’ve said, my belief is that a manager would never go out and buy all three if building from scratch. Never. The idea of those as your central three is potty; the idea that if fit and well any would be willing long term to be rotated heavily or played out of position is not realistic.

    Yet I absolutely don’t blame Wenger for having the three at the club. Wilshere was the phenomenal youth player from within; Ramsay a brilliant young player bought at 17, and before it was at all clear what exactly he would develop into; and Ozil is Ozil.

    All this would be done and dusted by now if all three had been fit in the previous three seasons. As we know that hasn’t happened, and you definitely wouldn’t bet on it ever happening.

    To me,though, it has played a huge role in how the team has developed in that time period. My firm belief is that Wenger has not prioritised other central midfielders because he knows very well what that would mean for those three if they were fit. The issue was already there with the emergence of Coquelin, and his having established himself with Santi as our best midfield base in some time.

    Wenger and all managers have to think hard about the prospect of all the key players actually being fit for an extended period, because it is the manager who would have to deal with whatever that means. For instance had all our players been fit and some other midfielder, surely a defensive one, been in at the start for his season. That for me explains why we did not treat it as a necessity to bring in another defensive midfielder for this season, which, unfortunately, cost us severely.

    Now, let’s be clear, I think it is an agonising position he is in, to be asked to contemplate making moves which set in motion Ozil, Wilshere or Ramsey leaving the club. All three are superb players.

    Yet, I felt it had to be done. The right move for me was to be overstocked, or just to prioritise having the pieces in place which ensured we had the right amount of solidity for central midfield, then see what the hell happens afterwards.

    Believe it or not, I could go on and on about midfield issues, but I’ll leave it there.

    I really hope the Xhaka stuff is true.

    I also hope that those who nail their colours to the mast and say they would definitely let any of those three go will have the decency and honesty not to slam the manager in the event of that happening and the player in question excelling elsewhere, as is very likely to happen, fitness permitting.

    I completely trust Clive will be honest and smart enough to do so, but I am sure a significant proportion of our fans will not do so.

  7. Alex Field April 4, 2016 at 1:32 pm #

    The best thing the old goat could do is leave the old Twunt

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