Baku or Bust

Online Editorial: Dismal Arsenal fail to beat Brighton

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Arsenal have gleaned a total of four points from their last six Premier League matches against the combined might of Everton, Watford, Crystal Palace, Wolves, Leicester and Brighton. A win against a ten man Watford and yesterday’s draw at home to Brighton gave them those points. They wouldn’t have needed too many from the 20 they dropped to have secured third place. Napoli and Valencia? No problem. Premier League opposition? Different story.

What to make of it all? Unai Emery and his players more familiar playing continental sides (none of the players that started against Brighton were born in the UK)? More motivated for Europe? Lucky in the cup?

Is the problem the head coach and his constant changes to formation, tactics and starting line-ups or the players he has inherited? Arsenal’s four biggest wage earners – Ozil, Mkhitaryan, Aubameyang and Lacazette – all started. It was a good enough eleven to beat the might of the team 17th in the Premier League.

They started well enough with a spot kick converted by Aubameyang for a foul on Monreal. It was a pretty soft penalty. However, the home side could not build on that, in spite of forcing saves and blocks. At one point, they even presented Brighton with a decent chance to score after a poor Leno pass straight to an opposition player.

And in the second half, Mkhitaryan lost possession cheaply, Lichtsteiner was out of position as a consequence and Xhaka gave the breakaway Brighton player the opportunity to go down with what looked like an equally soft penalty to the one that was awarded in the first half. Swings and roundabouts? Glenn Murray converted it. 1-1. Arsenal did fashion a couple of chances to re-take the lead, but it wasn’t enough. Emery threw on three subs on 75 minutes, but it made no difference. Brighton might have actually won it with a late chance.

The home crowd booed loudly at full-time. Those that remained gave Danny Welbeck, Petr Cech and most especially Aaron Ramsey a good send-off, the Welshman visibly emotional at the prospect of leaving the club. He, at least, will be playing Champions League football next season, as well as competing for a first league winners’ medal. It was a moment that made you question the club’s policy. Granted, Ramsey wanted big money. Probably too much for the club’s budget after the deals done for Ozil, Aubameyang and Mkhitaryan – all struck in January 2018, presumably by Ivan Gazidis. There were doubtless arguments for the award of all three deals, and the offer on the table for Ramsey was withdrawn only after Gazidis departed for Milan.

In charge of the club since have been Raul Sanllehi and finance man Vinai Venkatesham. Between them, and presumably in discussion with Stan Kroenke, it feels like the decision was made to not pay this level of wages going forward, a reflection of the club’s drop in income now they no longer take part in the Champions League. But what has really done for Arsenal in recent years – when they have been paying more in wages than Spurs and Liverpool – is the mix of poor signings and the lack of improvement in the players that have arrived, which is down to what happens on the training pitch. Arsene Wenger is more guilty than Unai Emery on that front, but Emery has not made a convincing argument that he can take this team forward to this observer. His teams seem to shoot themselves in the foot on a regular basis.

The season will be regarded as a success if the club manage to win the competition that made Emery’s reputation, the Europa League. They will have to negotiate what looks like a pretty average Valencia team in the second leg to do that, and then beat either Chelsea or Eintracht Frankfurt in a one-off game. All the eggs are now in the Baku basket, and success there will determine what the club can do in the transfer market this summer. There is uncertainty over who is in charge of the scouting operation now. Sanllehi is a contacts man, not a man that can spot players. Let’s just hope he has contacts with people that do.

Next season, if Arsenal are going to drop four points in two games to a side that sit 17th in the division, things are not going to get any better. Major surgery is needed, and I’m far from convinced there is really any point in giving Emery another year to perform it, going on his first season. The club are not likely to look elsewhere until the end of 2019-20, so the head coach will get a summer transfer window and one more campaign to sort it out. He’s inherited a poor squad, but the improvement has been marginal. The last six league games have felt a lot like the last two seasons under Wenger. Arsenal currently have 67 points with only the trip to Burnley to come. Last year, they finished with 63.

Emery needs to do what Arsene Wenger failed to and win a European trophy, get some more funds in doing that and spend wisely in the summer.

I’ll finish off with an email from contributor Ian Henry…
After that shocking display, what to say?
1. The squad needs a wholesale overhaul
2. The only players I would keep for the first team are: Leno, Bellerin, Torreira, Maitland-Niles, Holding, Lacazette and Aubameyang
3. I would keep Koscielny, Monreal, Iwobi, Mavrapanos and Guendouzi for the squad and possibly agree a deal for Welbeck if he wants to stay but the rest are just not good enough
4. Promote Reiss Nelson, Emile Smith Rowe and Joe Willock to the first team squad; and keep Martinez as back up keeper
5. Sell Jenkinson, Kolasinac, Mustafi, Sokratis (booked 12+ times this season makes him a liability). Elneny, Xhaka, Ozil and Mikki.  The last two may have to be paid to go.  Who cares?
6. Of course we won’t see anything like that, but it’s what needs to happen
7. As for who to buy, the key thing is to buy experienced premier league players, and there are plenty of defenders at Palace, Burnley and Brighton who are way way way better than ours. 
8. And appoint a full time defensive coach.
9. Winning the Europa would merely paper over the chasms.

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comments

  1. TonyEvans

    May 9, 2019, 06:20 #113774

    Spuds v Scousers - bloody hell, couldn’t be much worse could it!

  2. markymark

    May 9, 2019, 05:39 #113773

    The crash bang wallop style seems to work for English teams in Europe. Man U’s treble team spring to mind. Or should I say it works up to a point as it’s virtually impossible to replicate last minute comebacks over a longer range of games. In most of these sensational games you can spot moments where the “Sophisticated team” have missed opportunities to put it out of sight. Normal service tends to then resume in Europe with the usual Barca, Real, Barca, Real, Bayern... etc etc. In the meantime we cannot be worried whether an English team wins in Europe. It’s out of our control and should serve as a boost to us on Thursday ?!? I think we just have to suck it up and hope someone in the hierarchy starts thinking they want glory to. Btw well played to Liverpool and Spurs, they deserve it.

  3. John F

    May 8, 2019, 21:21 #113772

    I feel the same GR and we are never going to hear the end of it.

  4. GoonerRon

    May 8, 2019, 21:11 #113771

    Oh my fucking God. This feels worse than an Arsenal defeat.

  5. ArsenalMagna

    May 8, 2019, 21:07 #113770

    Anyone else worried about Tottenham Hoofspur winning the CL?

  6. itsRonagain2

    May 8, 2019, 12:50 #113769

    a combo of the Wenger factor id say (he never really got European football did he) but also i d say that from 2002 onwards arrogance had a big part to answer for as well. Reality as ive always seen it is that up to 2001, the team was not near good enough as much as Wenger wasnt. From 2002 they seemed to think turning up to games was enough as they had by then bought into the hype and believed it. The chemistry at the club was never right and what we saw last night in the Liverpool team never existed at Arsenal. Maybe it could have been different under a better Coach? We ll never know.

  7. John F

    May 8, 2019, 12:42 #113768

    I would imagine any crowd would be up for it when the first and second goals went in but what was impressive was the noise generated before kick off.My son was moaning about our home support and asked if it ever was that loud at Highbury?My memory is a bit rose tinted but when it held up to 60000 and there was a large away support in it could get up there but it did sometimes earn it's nickname of the Highbury Library.

  8. TonyEvans

    May 8, 2019, 12:36 #113767

    Agree Ron - why our 1998 - 2004 sides didn't do more in Europe is a mystery - I suppose the Wenger factor had a great deal to do with it, but if we couldn't win the CL with players of that calibre what chance have we now - even if we do qualify!

  9. Exiled in Pt

    May 8, 2019, 12:22 #113766

    Ron - it always makes me laugh our lot do it every game , if we kicked off at 9am on a Saturday they would still leave early , worst home support in the country , one of the best away support in the country . Sad when you can probably count on two hands the few times that concrete bowl has actually really been rocking with an atmosphere since we moved into it ...

  10. John F

    May 8, 2019, 11:57 #113765

    I did hear on the made up grapevine that because Valverde was not sure what to expect at Anfield he contacted Arsene to ask him for advice on how best to deal with Liverpool.

  11. itsRonagain2

    May 8, 2019, 11:53 #113764

    peter - yes we did arguably have 'world class' players back then yet they never even made a scratch on European competition did they. In fact they were often pathetic in it. It took a far weaker Arsenal team to get to a Final. Its purely speculative but im not sure the Bergy/Henry etc team could have pulled off what Liverpool did last night. Even that team had its flakey tendencies in my view. Even if they had have done, i d bet todays fans down in N7 would still have been walking out with 15 mins left! Crowds can win matches for teams. Ours never will.

  12. TonyEvans

    May 8, 2019, 11:31 #113763

    Agree with Peter Wain's comment about Liverpool coming back from 3-0 down against Barca. Could you imagine our lot replicating anything even coming close! I know we have the EL semi 2nd leg coming up, but in spite of this it is difficult to fire up much enthusiasm after our pathetic recent PL performances which have been reminiscent of a Wenger team at its very worst! I really don't know where the club is going, or wants to go - apart from treading water - it all seems rudderless and leaderless, and any light we saw at the end of the tunnel, post Wenger, is disappearing rapidly.

  13. itsRonagain2

    May 8, 2019, 11:30 #113762

    Don - special game that was last night wasn't it. In my view they deserve to win the title and CL. MC have every advantage to win the title vis Liverpool dont they. On a night like that at Anfield im not sure theres anywhere harder to go for an opponent. Theres some thing with Liverpool and European football that no other Club can either explain or even start to get close to. Its their 9th final so i read. Incredible. Their rise in just 3 seasons compared to our decline this last 10 years is a galling thing to ponder. It could get worse though, Tottenham might join them in Madrid!

  14. Pauljames

    May 8, 2019, 10:41 #113761

    Looks like Edu for the DOF role, but he can’t start until July 7 , just over 4 weeks before the season starts.Doesnt inspire much confidence that we can shift the players we need to, or buy replacements in time for August 10th. Add to that a lack of funds and another underwhelming window awaits.

  15. adnydrum

    May 8, 2019, 10:02 #113760

    well said, itsRonagain2. I believe the man is doing his best with a squad of which a worrying percentage are just not good enough for the league. The owner is and will remain the problem - there won't be any ambition while the situation continues. I suspect that, even if we were to win the EL the fat yank will just trouser the proceeds and not re-invest; so we'll be no more competitive next season and get mullah'd in the group stage of the Champs Lge.

  16. Don Howe

    May 8, 2019, 09:55 #113759

    Liverpool are an inspiration and deserve to win the European Cup. The Barca players had faces like a slapped ****. Great to see. I note in passing that Mr Klopp came to his senses and is playing Shaquiri again. If he doesn't like him that much then we would take him.

  17. peter wain

    May 8, 2019, 07:12 #113758

    Last night watching a proper football team who had players who played with passion and commitment was particularly depressing having watched our team play with a total lack of both on Sunday. Years ago we had world class players in Henry, Pires, Bergkamp, Lungberg etc now we have at best distinctly below average players. Now we have an owner saying no more spending and I get the feeling I have seen the last premiership for Arsenal. We need many new players and instead we have a owner more concerned with his American franchises and just using Arsenal as a cash cow. We cannot win anything again unless we invest significantly in the first team squad. It does not matter who the manager is of who the DOF is. If you have not got the funds you will not get the players and we all know what that means. Kroenke just leave now you have well and truly overstayed your welcome.

  18. John F

    May 7, 2019, 22:23 #113757

    Edu was a good player and hopefully he can do a good job with two bob for Arsenal. You have to give Liverpool and Klopp credit for that display tonight but I do hope Ajax can clean up and win the competition.A Liverpool v Spuds final would be unbearable and I may have to just listen to my iPod whilst doing my Gardening job until the hype is over sometime in 2021.Thank God for Paul Weller.

  19. markymark

    May 7, 2019, 20:10 #113756

    First but of good news in a while it looks like Edu will be DOF. Plenty of options from Latin America could be the ticket.

  20. markymark

    May 7, 2019, 18:42 #113755

    It’s Ron - I get the feeling with fan bases it takes around 3 failed managers before the pressure starts turning onto the owner. If Josh Kronke had anything about him he’d turn up at the club and turn it upside down. We’ve missed out on vital player asset growth (until Mstinlet’s Guendozi ) 50ml is being suggested. We are of course hit by 500k a week in wages being wasted. Still reckon a serious look at the defence in the last 6 games could have made a difference. The set piece concession had almost been wiped from out play . This 6 game disastrous run has come from Somewhere . Something is up with the team imo

  21. Don Howe

    May 7, 2019, 17:14 #113754

    Nos89. in the early 90's we still had Arsenal's greatest manager since Herbert Chapman. By that time only Wrighty was keeping us in goals but we had a defence. GG had by that time committed too far to the defensive. The balance was wrong. It is under UE as well. We need Martin Keown to coach the defence and build as a team from the defence. We also need to show ambition. We can't compete with Man City for wages or skillful players but can we compete for fitness and press with the resources we still have - yes we can. A number of things have to happen. We have to change the culture where the tail wags the dog. We need out of Europe and to reverse the Bosman decision so that players cant run down their contracts and move without a transfer fee. We need to put Ozil on a disciplinary and PIP and then sack him and let him sue for his wages and face a mitigation defence. PL clubs need to throw an elbow at greedy lazy players who wont or cant do the basics. Empower the coaches again. Chelsea and Man U are going to pay a terrible price for siding with the players against their own managers. UE has brought back a lot of our self respect, but this end of season performance is completely unacceptable. There is less of a consequence free environment than there was but we need to kick "arse"nal and induce fear. Our owner. I wonder if left to his own devices he is capable of being a truly horrible boss to work for. There is a part of me that hopes so.

  22. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    May 7, 2019, 16:48 #113753

    It's Ron, definitely reminds me of the 60's teams, I remember one game I think it was WBA and we were 3 - 0 up and had our usual wobble as Albion came back to 3-2, Geoff Strong walking back to the centre circle shaking his head in disbelief. How happy do you think Mr Strong was when Bill Shankly took him away from all that nonsense and made a fine utility/midfield player out of our inside forward.

  23. Exiled in Pt

    May 7, 2019, 14:43 #113752

    Marky , i don't think you can compare Chelski with us , they have had an owner that wanted success and paid for it and been ruthless in his pursuit of it . Our owner will not rush to sack Dick after a few poor results , IMO Dick is here as long as he wants it , he is more likely to walk before he gets pushed . We do not have an owner that wants to win things he is happy to muddle on in the top 6 and make money .

  24. itsRonagain2

    May 7, 2019, 14:15 #113751

    marky - i think Dick should have at least tightened us defensively by now but apart from that keeping parity with Wengo was only ever as good as he was going to get with those players in my view. Hes done well in the EL and that puts him in the 'improvement over AW' bracket for me after a season. Ive felt for years that the fan base has never come to terms with the fact that Arsenal are no longer a Club who should be thought of as a 'top club' Once more, posters are turning on the Coach and not the owner. Dicks hands are tied and those defenders are not near as good as even Brightons defenders, thats the truth of it. Quite a few mid table teams have centre defenders better than ours. Id go so far as to say that if you want comparisons, this team has similarities to the Billy Wright teams of 1964- 67 time. Score at one end, leak more at the other due to p--s poor defenders and for the most part, get caned by the top teams. At least Dick has dredged up a few performances v them.

  25. markymark

    May 7, 2019, 13:30 #113750

    This is very much a glass half full / empty argument .Is it ok that we are on the same average of points, or has Emery really stuffed up a golden opportunity. Are the players really championship level , or is the majority of the team either playing international football or on cusp off. Personally I feel he’s stuffed it up after having 1 year with the players. He’s going to get a year I’d guess but believe me if he has a poor start it’s a rearguard action all the way to the sack - see Chelsea for recent examples.

  26. 1971 Gooner

    May 7, 2019, 12:17 #113749

    I think we’ve moved forward under Dick in the sense that our performances against the ‘big’ teams has been better than under AW. We have gone back against the smaller teams however, and there can be no excuse for either our away form or goals conceded. I think Leno, Sokratis and Torreira have been good buys, but the team is holed below the waterline by the likes of Xhaka and Mustafi who are rubbish, if expensive, buys. Give Dick another season IMO.

  27. Exiled in Pt

    May 7, 2019, 10:53 #113748

    Who is a proven manager ? Dick has won trophies in Spain and France so far . With the lack of spending he is going to be allowed to do and the reasonable wage he is on compared to the last man in the seat . What proven man are we going to get to take over and do any better . He has made mistakes but with what he has to work with is anyone else really going to do any better and as for what the papers say , i wouldn't read to much in to that until it happens . We will be linked with every winger going according to the press over the next couple of months just like every transfer window for the last how many years very rarely do they get it right with Arsenal . Season tickets will be paid for and big transfers will not happen.. That as Ron says is exactly where our club is at now.

  28. itsRonagain2

    May 7, 2019, 08:51 #113747

    i can understand totally the doubts and concerns about Dick but to speak od sacking him is a bot extreme. He buys bargain basement because thats the market he shops in with his wallet size. Its correct hes not taken the team to a better level but you cant polish up average, long in the tooth, older players that he was left to work with. The same situ as last yr was expected. Hes nearly in a EL Final so he buys some crefit there. Hes got yr at least. Reality is that SK is happy with holding the position that the club is in. Top 4 is a bonus there, not an absolute requirement. Sorry guys, but the new age Arsenal is one where the only expectation is to hover around that top 6 area. Thats where the last 12 yrs post Kroenke has placed us but more importantly, its his satisfaction level purely and simple because its a position that can be held without too much strain on the purse strings.

  29. GoonerRon

    May 7, 2019, 07:48 #113746

    @ GoonGer - I agree that in certain matches Auba looks a bit of a passenger and from a technical perspective he isn’t the best. However, in a team with the problem we have, I think selling a striker with 26 goals and counting in the season is the least of our worries.

  30. peter wain

    May 7, 2019, 07:15 #113745

    Frankly I would sack Dick today. I am not sold on any of his buys. Leno looks like a mistake could happen at any time. Mind you with the defence in front of him I suppose that is a bit harsh. Papa is so slow and cannot improve. Leihsteiner is what you expect from a 35 year old free transfer - well past his sell by date. Gendouzi after a bright start has hit the wall. Torreria is the one good purchase -shame he is not two feet taller. Dick's judgement of a player is suspect and his tactics poor. With no money he is in a difficult position but why spend money at all on sub standard players. Is Frasier much better than Nelson? I do not know but it seems a lot of money to spend on a guess. No sack Dick now and get a proven manager in not a comedy act and most of all get the defence sorted out by buying defenders and not wingers.

  31. Exiled in Pt

    May 7, 2019, 06:42 #113744

    Goonger, you asked about Auba' stats this Season PL Apps(Subs) 35(6) goals 20 Other Competitions FA Cup 1(0) Goals 1 UEFA Europa League 10(2) goals 5. In my book that's 1 every 2 games and 8 of those games he has been a substitute. Would not be one of the players I would get rid off....Do agree with the other names you have said.

  32. GoonGer

    May 6, 2019, 23:21 #113743

    And John F, all that message wasn’t directed at you. Just the Abaumayang part

  33. GoonGer

    May 6, 2019, 23:18 #113742

    John F. Is that really acceptable for the transfer fee and wages? Surely basics are a given? Why Emery is being questioned after one transfer window where most of his signings have been a success is beyond me? We have no money!! (Are you kidding me), he’s bought Guendouzi from French 2nd division. Good player, but in a good squad , would never have played the amount of games he has, in his first season at 19. So who has to go that Dick has signed? Leno is a bargain, if we waited 3 weeks later, he would’ve cost double after Liverpool and Chavs paid fortunes for a keeper, are they any better than Leno? Not in my eyes with the defence he has in front of him. Chill man and give Dick time, the disappointment is the fact we didn’t finish 3rd!! Now that’s an improvement ??

  34. John F

    May 6, 2019, 22:05 #113741

    I can understand where you are coming from GoonGer.I have been frustrated with Auba especially as he has missed some real sitters and he is not the most skillful of players but what he does well is read where the ball is going so he can get in on the end of it which would explain his goal tally.He should only be played centrally as he is wasted out wide.

  35. GoonGer

    May 6, 2019, 19:49 #113740

    Very harsh on Emery, I feel Kev. All his signings have been a success bar Lichsteiner who was a stop gap, any way. We’ve lost Bellerin and Holding early in the season and now Ramsey. Ramsey has been the difference as he has played Ozil instead!! No comparison there. And the team looks tired due to a small squad and injuries. Dick is doing a great job and must give him time. And as for the front 2 being great I disagree, Aubameyang has to go, I would love a break down of his goals. He constantly gives the ball away, can’t hold it up, never seems to keep possession. I’ll be in Valencia, just hope the Napoli team turn up, but we are minus Ramsey and Ozil in his place!! All the players that must go are pre Dick, Mkhitaryan, Mustafi, Aubameyang, Xhaka. Give the guy time

  36. GoonGer

    May 6, 2019, 19:49 #113739

    Very harsh on Emery, I feel Kev. All his signings have been a success bar Lichsteiner who was a stop gap, any way. We’ve lost Bellerin and Holding early in the season and now Ramsey. Ramsey has been the difference as he has played Ozil instead!! No comparison there. And the team looks tired due to a small squad and injuries. Dick is doing a great job and must give him time. And as for the front 2 being great I disagree, Aubameyang has to go, I would love a break down of his goals. He constantly gives the ball away, can’t hold it up, never seems to keep possession. I’ll be in Valencia, just hope the Napoli team turn up, but we are minus Ramsey and Ozil in his place!! All the players that must go are pre Dick, Mkhitaryan, Mustafi, Aubameyang, Xhaka. Give the guy time

  37. Bard

    May 6, 2019, 19:22 #113738

    Nos89, I dont understand what a 'normal amount of points means' and what's the point of comparing Arsenal to the sides of the 90's. Currently Arsenal are the 6th/7th richest club in the world. The question is are we playing like clubs with similar amounts of money ? Not in my view, we are miles from it. I would love Dick to sort it but the truth is he has been found wanting at the business end of the season. Leicester, Wolves, Watford, Everton are clubs on the move, currently we arent even able to compete with them. Our defence has been a shambles all season and we take a disinterested and injured forward on loan in the Jan window. If this is evidence of progress then Ive been watching a different game.

  38. CORNISH GOONER

    May 6, 2019, 18:38 #113737

    I have to admit that this late collapse worries me about Dick but I would be more than happy with the Europa. I am more concerned about the apparent administrative collapse - no DoF, the small matter of the next transfer window, loads of rumours about the abilities of Raul & Co, and then there is the small matter of our having the ultimate owner from hell. SKG has nailed it - modern football is in reality a cesspit. I have a new neighbour who once played as goalie for Luton in their headier days. He is a wealthy guy but football played no part in his self-made success & has worked very hard for a much longer time than any current PL player would need. His memories of playing at Highbury made me feel very sad as it was clearly seen as "special" by players as well as us Gooners. I think I was wrong about the Emirates project, its consequences & now wonder if the whole recent AFC journey has been worthwhile. My gruntle is feeling very dissed tonight!

  39. Nos89

    May 6, 2019, 18:30 #113736

    The team between 93-95 got to two European finals, and two domestic cup finals, winning 3 out of 4 those finals. League form wasn't great but they won trophies. Imagine how much better they would have been if they stayed sober. If winning cups was detrimental to our league form, I'd prefer winning trophies. Look at Liverpool and Spurs, undeniably stronger in the league but what do they have to show for it? Nothing.

  40. Pauljames

    May 6, 2019, 16:20 #113735

    Admittedly this team is better to watch than the 93-95 vintage, but that team contained numerous players who had already won the league twice under George and quite a few who would go on to win it again under Wenger . Nobody in this team has won the title at Arsenal, and the chances of any of them ever doing so are very slim indeed.

  41. Bob Bayliss

    May 6, 2019, 15:54 #113734

    It's very difficult to know how much of a success the season would represent if we won the Europa Cup. Yes, of course it would be a trophy and a route into the Champions' League. But in terms of quality, the Europa Cup is not what the Cup Winners' Cup was in 94 or 95. In many ways this team is a mirror image of that side in the dying embers of the George Graham years: mediocre, but with a poor defence and midfield and a decent strike-force, instead of a poor midfield, one mercurial striker and a watertight defence. 4-3 to the Arsenal does not have the same ring to it, does it!

  42. The Man From UNCLE

    May 6, 2019, 14:49 #113733

    This team is better, albeit not by very much, than the '93 cup winners and '94 CWC winners. Have you lot forgotten losing 7 home games in 1992/93 and drawing against the might of Swindon, Oldham, Norwich and a poor Man City the next? 94-95 was even worse!

  43. Pauljames

    May 6, 2019, 13:28 #113732

    Nos89 You make a fair point but I look at it like this. Between 1998 and 2005 we finished in the top two. Between 2006 and 2016 we finished in the top 4. Since then we finished 5th 6th and it looks like 6th again. There is a clear trajectory here and it isn’t upwards . On the evidence of the last few weeks it isn’t difficult to see us taking the next step down under Dick next season, ie dropping out of the top six altogether.Winning the Europa League would be great, but it should not be a priority over the league.

  44. markymark

    May 6, 2019, 13:11 #113731

    John F - re the substitutions. I think Kev reckoned it as on 75 but I thought it was later. I think you are right it broke up momentum and it was too late for them to bed in. If anything we became confused . Better one at a time with maybe Iwobi on first . I do think it was poor tatctically from him. Then again so have been the last 6 games . As for the comment we’d rather win a cup. The total mess of throwing away the points was very avoidable . Total mess and I’m not sure we’ll be up for it against Chelsea

  45. Nos89

    May 6, 2019, 13:03 #113730

    Despite the recent run of dreadful form Arsenal really aren't as far away from the normal amount of points that Arsenal would get in a season. Winning at Burnley will get us to 70 points,6 points short of the total we got when we won the league 30 years ago, and only 8points short of the total we got in the '98 double season. In 15/16 season we finished second with 71points. Arsenal on average hit between 70-75 points a season. This season in particular has been unique. It is very possible that Liverpool will hit 97 points, losing one game and still come second. For The Arsenal, it's not exceptional poor, it is a normal season. It's not a new normal either it is the way how Arsenal usually perform. It looks bad because City, Liverpool and Spurs have excelled themselves in the last 2-3 seasons. That level is not sustainable especially for Spurs and Liverpool. I believe we have been making improvements we are already better off points wise this season from an exceptionally poor season last time round. Two weeks ago third was in our grasp. The manager has his eyes on Europa league glory, he did it with Seville and their league position didn't improve, especially when they got to the quarter final. Given our atrocious European record, I would rather finish 5th/6th and keep winning this trophy. It just builds up our profile around the world as a successful continental team. It bugs me that Spurs have won more European trophies than Arsenal. Considering the quality of teams we have had in the last 20 years, we really should have done a lot better in European competition. Emery is a manager that can get us to the next level in European competition. We won't reach elite club status until we have a few more European trophies under our belt, that has to be our goal.

  46. Bard

    May 6, 2019, 13:01 #113729

    Good piece Kev. Yes there have been some good performances along the way but 4 points from 18 at the business end of the season is Wengeresque. Do we look like we have the makings of a good side next year, ? No. Has Dick improved us defensively ? No. I want him to do well but to my mind he doesnt look like he has what it takes. I agree with all those who have identified the players we need to ship out but I cant see it. A bit of tinkering here and there maybe. Depressing times on and off the field.

  47. Exiled in Pt

    May 6, 2019, 12:47 #113728

    Going into the summer with no director of football to organize the summer spending frenzy ooooooooooooh cannot wait .. More of the same next season me thinks !

  48. Exiled in Pt

    May 6, 2019, 12:41 #113727

    Can anyone tell me was SK in attendance yesterday .............

  49. Pauljames

    May 6, 2019, 12:39 #113726

    Mikhitarian just about sums up everything that is wrong with us at the moment. His whole demeanour screams disinterested to me, flogging him and the lamentable Xhaka will not be easy but we must do it even if we have to virtually give them away.Ozil and Mustafi should follow them through the exit door. Wouldn’t be surprised if bigger clubs show an interest in the front two either, Lacazette being linked with Barca already .

  50. John F

    May 6, 2019, 12:30 #113725

    I am really want Dick to succeed and accept that he inherited a mess but I am finding it hard to defend some of his decision s.The timing of the 3 substitution s just when we were building momentum and putting Brighton under pressure was strange.I can't help but think if someone like Raphael Benitez was in charge of the last 4 games would we of failed so miserably.

  51. GoonerRon

    May 6, 2019, 12:14 #113724

    @ArsenalMagna - I see what you mean re: valuations of the players we could sell but this is where the club need to seriously up its game. We don’t rate Mustafi but I could see a mid-level club thinking he could be useful in a team that defends more, setting up to not lose games etc - if Liverpool can get Palace to pay £30m for Sakho we’ve got every chance of £13m for a 27 year old World Cup winner with two years left in his contract. Elneny is 26, 3 years left on his contract and capped nearly 70 times - if we can’t get £10m+ for him something is very wrong. Mkhi’s wages might be a stumbling block and I’ve pushed the fee down a bit but, again, the going rate for someone of his reputation (albeit not as highly regarded as it once was) is surely £20m.

  52. Sarflunden

    May 6, 2019, 11:45 #113723

    Is the team or the manager? I think the team just doesn't want to win. Don't know why. Could be they want the manager out (Chelsea style). Emery can't coach them into winning or find a formation that covers up the repeated failure of individuals. We could buy more players but, given the financial constraints I keep reading about, would they be an improvement on what we've got? If you'd offered me 5th and a EL final at the start of the season I'd have snapped your hand off. But walking away from the ground yesterday it feels that we've made no progress and actually regressed. It's more about the teams around us failing than any progress we've made. Whatever happens in Vallencia and Baku I can't see Emery getting a renewal after his contract runs out.

  53. Moscowgooner

    May 6, 2019, 11:38 #113722

    A season in transition and Dick deserves two more seasons, to shape 'his' squad and get things right. If we finish 5th or 6th and make a final, I think we can call this a moderate success: plenty of powerful performances along the way against top teams - just a string of pallid performances at the end of the season which tend to prejudice the overall assessment. In 1969/70 we won the Fairs Cup - and finished 12th. I guess we would all regard that as a significant turning point for Bertie Mee's Arsenal. The critical question now is whether or not Kroenke will release funds to rebuild the defence: silly question perhaps?? (Getting more British players in over the Summer would also be helpful - particularly when the future status of EU players here is in some doubt. Only one yesterday out of a squad of 18??!)

  54. ArsenalMagna

    May 6, 2019, 10:49 #113721

    @GoonerRon, very optimstic to think a club would pay £13m for the hapless Mustafi, £12m for 30-year old Mkhitaryan on £180k per week and £10m for Elneny. Jenkinson's contract is up at the end of this season I believe. Also, Iwobi is worth holding onto for now as he has shown a lot of potential.

  55. Seven Kings Gooner 1

    May 6, 2019, 10:37 #113720

    Good piece Kev, I look at the team and they are full of middle to lower tier players, we do not possess a world class player. None of our squad is ever going to win a PL or a CL unless they go to a big club as a squad player. These lower tier players, via their agents make sure that they are well paid, have good life and retire multi millionaires. Ambition is not really encouraged, every so often they will get themselves up for a game but not against the likes of Brighton or Burnley, why bust a gut against inferior teams, "show us your bank balance Murray and Dunk". Citeh and Liverpool are still driving their players but the United players are loving things under their baby faced manager. JM tried to bring back discipline but player power did for him as it will for Solskjaer - the days of Fergie are well and truly over Man U. Unless the fans do something, Arsenal under SK, are destined for years of this nonsense but then with fans leaving after 80 minutes of European Semi Final, Stan should not have too many worries about his future plans for Arsenal.

  56. GoonerRon

    May 6, 2019, 10:20 #113719

    So frustrating to have it in our hands and then capitulate so badly, especially considering the opposition. Realistic squad and changes for next year: GK - Leno, Martinez, Macey RB - Bellerín, AM-N LB - Kolasinac, _NEW LB_ CB - Kos, Sok, Hold, Mon, _NEW CB_ CM - Torreira, Xhaka, Chambers, Willock, _NEW CM_ AM/WIDE - Özil, Nelson, ES-R, _NEW AM x 2_ CF - Auba, Laca, _NEW CF_ *Out* Cech (£100kpw) Ospina - £5m (£60kpw) Mustafi - £13m (£90kpw) Mavropanos - loan Lichsteiner - free (£90kpw) Jenks - £3m (£40kpw) Guendouzi (loan) Elneny - £10m (£60kpw) Iwobi - £18m (£60kpw) Mkhitaryan - £12m (£180kpw) Welbeck - free (£80kpw) Ramsey - free (£120kpw) £61m brought in and £880kpw off the wage bill. If we make CL that might mean we’ve got £120m total budget for the 6 players and room for two or three top players on £200kpw+. It is absolutely key that the CB, CM and one of the AM’s are proven quality and can enhance our first XI.

  57. ArsenalMagna

    May 6, 2019, 10:12 #113718

    Funny how most of us can see what changes need to be made, just as with Wenger's reign. I'm with Ian Henry except to say Kolasinac has a lot of potential; he just needs proper coaching. We still need a top quality CB, box-to-box midfielder, winger and playmaker. At CB, Kostas Manolas has a release clause of £35m and he'd make a great addition for the younger CBs to understudy. Christopher Nkunku looks a quality box-to-box midfielder, in his last year at PSG and probably available for £30m. On the wing, Cengiz Under looks promising and would probably cost £40m. Not sure who we could buy as a playmaker, but it's unlikely whilst we have Ozil and Mkhi on the wage bill that a high profile number 10 could affordably join. I would actually keep Ozil as our 'home' 10 for now. Mkhitaryan is actually highly effective on the counterattack (that's where all his best stats for Dortmund, and in flashes for us, come from), so he'd be good away from home with a better defensive system behind him. We reportedly have a £50 million budget this summer, so add £50m+ from CL money and we could buy all of those players. Anyway, I think we still will ultimately need to get a manager who can coach the defence well for the next few years so this would only be the beginning of the rebuild.

  58. RobG

    May 6, 2019, 10:02 #113717

    There's no point in denying it - this end of season collapse, against opposition we should be beating, or certainly not losing to - has been wretched. But we still have a trophy to go for and given we haven't won anything UEFA related since Copenhagen 25 years ago, that would be nice. Having said that, Ian's e mail was pretty much right on every point, including who to keep and who to shift. I'd keep Sokratis who can at least defend and with better coaching can avoid stupid bookings. Otherwise he's right about everyone else. But that isn't going to happen, as outlined, as the money required isn't there. And whatever happens, Emery has next season to improve it. Whether people like that or not.

  59. Pauljames

    May 6, 2019, 09:12 #113716

    Couldn’t disagree with any of that Kevin, and it is telling that if we let in 2 goals at Turf Moor next week we’ll have conceded more league goals than last season. It is so obvious where the problems lie but it already looks like Dick is not the man to address them.If we do pull off an unlikely Europa Cup win, would this be the worse Arsenal team to ever win a trophy? I would argue yes.

  60. KC38

    May 6, 2019, 08:20 #113715

    Good article all very true. Its hard to like anything about our club right now bar our strikers. Emery keeps playing xhaka? How? Emery seems less knowledgeable about defence than wenger is that possible? Wengers signings are really hurting us but I did expect some improvement under Emery. Jenkinson is a championship player at best.

  61. markymark

    May 6, 2019, 08:10 #113714

    Couldn’t agree more , would keep Kolasinac and still reckon Jenkinson as a backup (properly coached could be ok ) but the last 6 games have done a lot of damage to Emery. A poor start next season and he it’ll be a whole season of ‘when’s he going to be sacked’