Mourinho is right about Özil – and even Wenger isn’t getting the best out of him

There were a few moments in football this week that made me wonder. The first was regarding published translations of Mesut Özil’s autobiography. I haven’t read the book and I don’t speak German (I learned rudimentary German as a child) but the report I read was in the Guardian and the book is supposedly written in Özil’s own words. So, I have no reason to disbelieve the veracity of news reports.

There are a number of quotes floating around and some reports, like over at Fox News, have more details than the Guardian article but the basic gist of the quote goes like this:

“You think two beautiful passes are enough,” raged Mourinho. “You think you’re so good that fifty percent is enough. You think you are too nice to tackle.”

“He pauses. Stares at me with his dark brown eyes. I stare back. Like two boxers at the stare-down before the first round. He shows no emotion. Just waits for a response from me. How much I hate him right now. And I love Mourinho actually.”

Mourinho then proceeded to illustrate Ozil’s tackling deficiency in colorful fashion. “Do you know what your tackling looks like? No? I’ll show you.”

According to Ozil, Mourinho then mimicked a rabbit, pursing his lips, pulling his hands close to his side, and hopping around the dressing room.

Ozil writes that this sent him over the edge, and he then threw his jersey at Mourinho, daring him to go out and do better himself. That didn’t make things any better, and Mou fired back. “Oh, are you giving up now? You’re such a coward. What do you want? To creep under the beautiful, warm shower? Shampoo your hair? To be alone? Or do you want to prove to your fellow players, the fans out there, and me, what you can do.”

Özil doesn’t return to the match. He does in fact go to the shower.

I couldn’t have penned a better scene if I wanted to make a character look like a complete and utter codpiece. Both of them. No one comes out of this exchange looking good. Mourinho prancing around the locker room like a rabbit and Özil throwing his shirt at the manager and telling him “YOU GO DO IT IF YOU WANT IT SO BAD” then hitting the showers after quitting on his teammates and the fans who paid to see him play.

The Özil-backers I’ve spoken to say that Mourinho didn’t motivate Özil properly, and they are right. Clearly, Mesut Özil doesn’t respond to Mourinho’s childish antics. But then, what does he respond to?

I only ask because it seems to me that these are the same criticisms I have had of Özil since he came to Arsenal. That there are games when he looks like he’s not putting in the effort. That there are games when he looks like all he has to do is play a nifty pass and he feels his job is done.

I don’t expect Özil to shawcross people or run around pointing at things like Flamini. But this season looks like he’s taken a year off. He has fewer tackles than Theo Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain. Fewer blocked passes than either player as well. And this season he has the fewest tackles P90 than at any point in his Arsenal career. Though he is at an Arsenal “career high” in interceptions per90 this season, with 0.6, up from his appalling 0.3 per game in 2013/14.

Obviously, Özil doesn’t disappear down the drain in every match for Arsenal. And his contributions on the offensive end are decent for a creative midfielder. But even his Key Passes per 90 are at his worst ever for Arsenal (2nd worst ever for any team he’s played!). And his dribbles per game are at their lowest ever for any team he’s played for.

He’s not closing people down, he’s not blocking passes, he’s not creating for his teammates, he’s not taking on the opposition, what is he doing? Well, his shots per game are at a career 2nd best with 1.6 per game. 0.2 more than last season. Also, he passes the ball good, 66 times per game.

Back to the question about what motivates Özil. Surely it’s comedy to think of Mou and his bunny dance but then if that doesn’t work and Özil just quits on his team and on the fans who pay to see him, then what is Wenger doing that has demotivated Özil this season? Did Wenger yell at him? Ask him to do something he doesn’t want to do? And how does Wenger motivate him?

I don’t know.

But I think criticism of Özil this season is 100% valid.

Qq

68 comments

  1. I agree that criticism of Ozil this season is 100% valid. But what isn’t valid is him being made a scapegoat for Arsenal’s performances. Also don’t agree with his price tag being used to demand performances. If that was the case, you’d expect Mustafi to be a beast of a defender and he’s not even at Mertesacker’s level. And we all complain that Per is awful!

    1. It’s not the price tag! It’s the fact that Ozil is one of the best playmakers in the world, if not the best, while Mustafi isn’t even a starter for the Germany team, and therefore not even one of the best defenders in the world.

  2. When I read the Guardian article yesterday, my first thought was well that sounds totally like what that dipsh8 Mourinho would do – but you are right, it doesn’t reflect well on either Mourinho or Ozil. I think I’ll give Ozil a pass on this one though, anything that pisses Mourinho off is worth praising.

    I am sure this article will bring out the knives against Ozil in the comments, and many of them will probably be valid. I don’t think the blame should fall completely on him though. He is being used as a number 10 in a largely outdated system. How many teams use a true no.10 these days? He plays the left forward role for Germany and doesn’t do too poorly – he was named their player of the year as recently as 2016. The problem with Arsenal is that he is the most expensive player in history and there seems to be a feeling of obligation in Arsene to give him a free role and building the attack around him. If we were going to do that, we needed to make sure we had a heck of a two man midfield because our MF gets outnumbered in almost every game as other teams play with a more traditional 4-3-3. We didn’t do that.

    Even though I defended him above, in the end I would love it if we sold him and Ramsey, then use the money to buy Varretti. That would let us play a more traditional 4-3-3 and allow our mid field to control the game better. Not gonna happen though.

    1. It’s confirmation of what we’ve seen and talked about for some time, albeit confirmation from a d***head.

      The description of his tackling and defensive work is startlingly, clearly spot on.

    2. Arsenal will never get Verratti: 1. Too expensive. We’re nearly talking about Pogba money here. 2. Verratti would rather go to Barcelona or Real Madrid.

  3. I’m a big Ozil fan but I agree he deserves his share of criticism.
    He is clearly on a different level talent wise than most Arsenal players but optics do matter in football, and his are not very good at times.

    In his defense though, I would just like to say that closing people down , or lack there of – one of the criticism levelled against him, is a team effort and one or two players doing it while the rest of the team stands off, is pointless.

    Also, asking a player like Ozil to reinvent himself and become a prolific goal scorer when he was already great at what he did( assists) , was always going to f..k with his head and mess his game up.
    I said it at the time of Wenger implying that’s what Ozil’s game should become and I stand by it.

    As to what motivates Ozil – apparently… fast women and beautiful cars, or did I get that in reverse?

    If football is war and combat , as some describe it, then maybe Ozil is the conscientious objector.

    All kidding aside though. Any top team could probably afford one extremely talented offensive player neglecting his defensive duties, if the remaining nine outfield players met theirs to the fullest.
    The problem Arsenal face is that on any given match day there are usually more than a few players neglecting their defensive side of the game, and that’s on Wenger I’m afraid.

  4. Ozil does not contribute to defense at all. He does not either move towards his opponent or into space to intercept. On the rare occasion he attempts a tackle, it looks like he jogs towards the ball carrier, does a hop towards the end while simultaneously flicking/dangling a leg in the vague direction of the ball. This results in the ball carrier either dribbling past Ozil or passing the ball while in Ozil’s vicinity with no pressure on the ball from Ozil.

  5. 1. Is it clear from the book that that exchange happened in the middle of the game rather than at the end? Just wondering, because Tim makes it sound like the former.
    2. Mourinho has publicly spoken extremely highly of Ozil on more than one occasion, including after they had both left Madrid and Jose had no reason to play nice with his words. So it’s not like Mourinho completely “failed to motivate” Ozil over the course of their time together, if that means he didn’t get him to play consistently well. Ozil was hardly a failure at Madrid, but a key player in a title winning side, one of the best teams in the world in that period.

    1. Actually, based on the number of assists and goals scored, plus key passes and the fact that Ozil added set pieces to his game, I think Mourinho motivated him plenty well.

  6. Ozil is an excellent 50%, but is that good enough for us? Play a 3 man midfield, shift Ozil to the wide areas and he is an excellent 75% and thats brilliant for me.

    1. I’m not sure what the percentages you cite mean, but I’m in complete agreement with your solution. This also jives with nyc’s excellent point about us playing a largely outdated system (not saying 4-2-3-1 can’t work, but you either have to have a beast of a central midfield two, as he points out, or you need to play it with a very different style, e.g. play a pressing game with a front four suited to doing this).

      1. i wonder if the only system that would control the midfield would be more of a diamond 4-4-2, with a deep lying midfield (Xhaka), 2 CMs (2 of Carzola, Ox, Coq, Ramsay, Elneny), Ozil as the roaming point, and 2 strikets (with the licenece to also drift wide).

        My main worry would be defending attacks down the flanks, but with the current personnel, and assuming there is the desire to allow a free role for Ozil, this is the only way I can see it could work.

        1. I don’t think it’s the only way (I think a 4-3-3 or even 3-4-3 can work because Ozil can work from a roaming flank role), but I agree it’s an option (not one we’re ever likely to see Arsene experiment with, mind). I don’t just think the diamond would be good for Ozil, it would also be good for that group of midfielders you list (perhaps the Ox and Ramsey in particular), and even for our forwards, who almost all prefer to play in central areas but who, barring Giroud, aren’t really totally suited to playing a lone front man role (even Sanchez can’t win many headers for us, and likes to drop deep a lot). My preference would be for Sanchez and Welbeck up top (or maybe Lucas).
          But as you say, it would make us very narrow and vulnerable to attacks down the flanks.

      2. In his book “Pep Confidential” we learn that Pep expects his players to play 2-3 positions. This is a drawback when you have a player like Aguero who is never going to be able to be a false nine but who can score buckets of goals. Ozil is one of these players.

        And can we please stop with this fantasy that Özil can just be played wide. He’s given the #10 role because his defending is atrocious. The problem isn’t the formation, the zip code, the problem is Özil is a one-trick pony. It’s a good trick and if he had Aguero/Lukaku in front of him, it would work damn well.

        I think Arsenal would win the League* in that set up.

        *Typical Tim Todd Hyperbole

        1. It’s a fantasy that if we “just” stick him out wide, all will be well. But it’s not a fantasy to think he can be an important part of a team starting from a wide position in a more-or-less 4-3-3 formation. He plays there (often very well) for Germany, so unless international football is a fantasy, Ozil *can* play wide.

          1. To clarify: it might take him, and the team, a while to adjust to a tweak in formation. A new formation isn’t some kind of panacea, but formations are there to serve the strengths of the players and to harness them into an effective collective that can compete against the players and tactics of their opponents. It’s not “fantasy” to suppose that Arsenal and Ozil might be better served by a bit of a reshuffle, for many of the reasons that have been discussed often and well on this blog (the various strengths/weaknesses of our players, and the changing and sophisticated tactics of our rivals, especially). It’s hardly as if Arsene can be blamed for too much tactical and formational tinkering!

            Maybe Ozil will be a terrible flop in a front 3, even given ample time to adjust. Maybe not. But if we never try another formation (for more than the occasional one-off game) we’ll never know how the team will respond.

          2. Another way of putting this would be – we can’t possibly play any worse with Ozil out wide than we are currently playing with him in the middle.

            ….

            Or can we??

        2. Ozil does fine playing wide for Germany. He can’t play the wide role at Arsenal because we don’t have central midfielders who are smart enough to control the space that he will leave behind when he moves inside. Look at Schweinsteiger in the 2014 world cup. His movement around the center of the pitch was quite brilliant. There is also the small matter of how far you push your full backs up the pitch. Howedes played less of an attacking role than Lahm. These two players provided somewhat of a safety net for Ozil whenever he moved inside. We could do something similar at Arsenal but we keep pushing both our full backs up at the same time (plus we need a major upgrade at CM). It’s reckless. Wenger just needs to look at what Germany did to realize Ozil doesn’t have to play “in the hole” to be able to contribute to the team. Muller, on the right hand side, isn’t exactly a defender either but Kroos, who arguably had the most freedom among the 3 central German MFers, dropped deep to provide cover. This kind of movement allowed Germany to switch from a 4-3-3 defensive shape to a 4-2-3-1 in attack. Wenger has been trying in vain to merge his philosophy of verticality with the 4-2-3-1. It’s never going to work with the central midfielders we have.

          1. I agree that our CM’s are not at the level of Schweinsteiger and Kroos in their pomp (not many are), but I guess I’m less pessimistic about the prospects of them stepping up to do the job. For one thing, many of them are better suited to playing in a 3 than they are getting routinely overrun in a 2 in which they’re required to play out of their skins just to allow us to break the press and get up the pitch. So I think it’s likely that moving to this formation might see an upturn in form for someone like Ramsey (but not only him), even if part of their job also involves covering a bit for Ozil if he doesn’t track back enough (though take a look at Ozil in, e.g., Germany’s Euro defeat to France last summer, and I think you see someone who’s working hard for the team within a clearly defined role).
            I agree with you about our fullbacks flying forward too often, though. But that’s an issue whatever formation we play.

    1. Buy Lukaku and sell Ramsey to Everton.

      Buy Varretti and sell Ozil to PSG.

      Then we get a midfield trio of Santi, Varretti, Xhaka.
      Forward three of Alexis, Lukaku, Welbeck.

      That right there is the championship my friends.

      Cherry on top: still make a profit for the year

      *sigh

      1. Why on earth would PSG sell us Veratti for Ozil?? I don’t see that happening, unless you know something I don’t about Veratti’s relationship with his current employers.

  7. With a 4:3:3 there is less defensive work playing wide than playing #10 in 4:2:3:1. PFo, hence the percentages.

  8. Ozil and Coquelin are two 50% players. Impossible to get a good balance of the team with two of them playing. How do you beat the high press? How do you do the high press?

  9. “run around pointing at things like Flamini.” I chuckled pretty hard on that one. Boy, did that guy like to point at stuff, but he couldn’t defend a childrens’ sandbox.

  10. I think one way the 4-2-3-1 system might work with these group players is if we choose to stay more compact, almost like a 4-4-1-1 and play on the counter. That means keeping our vertical tendencies to a bare minimum and only use it if space opens up. That’s where the mental aspect of the game becomes even more important because it would also require us to maintain our wits and stay disciplined which, I realize, can be a lot to ask from our players.

    1. I agree, though I think that was the rough idea in Munich, and that didn’t exactly go so well. Work very much in progress (a few years ago Wenger had us playing more like this, so it is possible).

  11. Excellent post again Tim. I think it is interesting to think of formations and tactics that could get the best out of Ozil in this current team. However, for me the telling observation is that Ozil seems to have taken a year off. Whatever the issue is with Ozil that is affecting his motivation I am actually kind of excited that we are playing Liverpool without him, to see how we play at this stage without the other players having to pick up the slack. I love that Ozil is in our team and see that his expression of soccer raises the game to an art form, but I’ll take someone who feels they have something to prove any day over the current Ozil.

  12. Ozil is difficult to handle. If you give him stick, instead of coming out to fight and prove himself, he begins to sulk. Tough but you have to learn that the best way to handle him is to leave him alone. A tough tough act for any manager. The only way left is to reconstruct the team to suit him. Is he worth all that?

  13. Didn’t see the game but sounds like Friend did his best to give United 3 points today.

  14. Sanchez on the bench. Honestly, are we really keeping powder dry for Bayern? Even if he’s carrying a knock, Alexis will be doing warmups from kickoff.

    1. The idea that we might be saving him for Bayern is about the most ludicrous thing imaginable. Wenger’s made some bizarre decisions over the years, but that would be right up there. Knowing Sanchez, he MUST be properly injured, or else there’s been an “incident” between him and Wenger.

  15. Disgraceful half of football. I don’t throw that around lightly but it’s the best word to describe what I just saw. If Wenger was trying to send some sort of message by benching Sanchez and leaving Ozil in London, it’s backfired horribly. This looks like 11 players who have never played football together.

  16. Simply don’t understand the striker selection from Wenger. He clearly set up the team to counter attack. Any one of our fwds other than Giroud works better in that scheme.

    Costly mistake from Koz for the first goal and from then on we just slowly unravelled. Typical.

    1. Yes, accept no one can win headers from long balls like Giroud, and that’s also a key way for us to get up the pitch.

  17. 1. I actually thought we started ok, but then Kos, of all people, loses a header he should never lose, the rest of the defense fails to react quickly enough (no surprise there) and we lose any momentum we had.
    2. Coquelin is an absolute liability. Might as well sub him out for Alexis, put Ox or Iwobi in central mid, and hope for the best, as it can’t get any worse defensively or in terms of composure on the ball in there.

  18. why oh why oh why on why do we sub off both Giroud and Welbeck at the same time, when they’re the only players we have who can a) win headers to get us up the pitch, and b) be dangerous attacking crosses? shocking game management from Arsene, yet again. obviously, we may have lost the game anyway, but that double sub killed our ability to get up the pitch and pen Liverpool in.

  19. Why’s everyone’s panties in a bunch?

    This is the script of too many years. It almost doesn’t matter what shape or form a Top 6 team is in before they face Arsenal. Liverpool had been abysmal since the start of the year. Trust Arsene’s Arsenal to get them back into form.

    Look, we will draw or narrowly beat Bayern, again exiting at the round of 16 with a meaningless second leg result.

    We will pip someone to fourth, thus preserving Arsene’s spotless record of Champions League qualification.

    But you see, this isn’t too bad at all, in the big scheme of thins (Insert talk of masterplan that impatient Gooners can’t see here). Why do we have to behave like moaning minnies every time who have some bad result? (insert talk of building the Emirates stadium and needing more time here).

    Talk of replacing the manager is STILL reckless! I mean, YOU tell me… who?

    1. At this point I wouldn’t count on the proverbial heroic failure result in midweek. I think we might get battered by that lot again. Yeah, Liverpool have been poor since the turn of the year, but they seem to turn up in these games, e.g. they outplayed Spurs just the other week. And they’re definitely a lot better with Mane back.
      Anyway, in spite of my annoyance at some of the performances out there, and some of Arsene’s decisions, can’t really be disappointed or remotely surprised.

    2. I will assume that entire tongue-in-cheek tirade was chiefly for my benefit. I will not recant and I will not repent. That was trash and we are capable of much better.

    3. You shouldn’t take it personally. I was playing the ball (the arguments) and not the man.

      1. Totally not taking it personally but it doesn’t take much to read between those lines. You’re lampooning people who have defended Wenger and the process and you know full well I’m one of them. In case you’re wondering, this result doesn’t change how I feel or what I’ve said about him in the past. There is no ultimate truth about him; those arguing for him to leave will not be proven right by later events because this is a constantly evolving situation. Likewise, I’m not here because I want to be proven right and even if Wenger miraculously wins the league I’m not going to sit here and rub it in the faces of the people who said he was past it.

        So no, this game doesn’t change my outlook, which once again, does NOT include an undying obsession with keeping Arsene as our manager. I still believe he is the man and manager he’s always been, for better and lately for worse, though it does intensify the feeling that he is having trouble getting his message across to his players and that may mean his time is drawing closer to an end than ever before. The apparent discord between him and Ozil/Sanchez also bodes ill, as does his ill-conceived attempt to play direct football. It seems his decisions of late are all backfiring on him.

        Hector Bellerin sums up my feelings neatly here:

        “We’re very frustrated with how the game went,” he said. “After the tough weeks we’ve had, the team should have gone onto the pitch, motivated and ready from the start.
        “In the first half it didn’t feel like we were ready and then we went 2-0 down. We wanted to do everything. We got one goal back and had a chance to make it 2-2, but sometimes it’s too late. We just need to start the games better.
        “We need to realise that it’s just not the way to go. We need to push harder, to start the games with a better attitude and just go for it because we showed that when we go for it and want something, we can do it.
        “It doesn’t matter about the other team, when we have the ball and push hard, we can score goals. It’s up to us to start the games with that desire, that motivation, and then we can get good results.”

        So where has that desire/motivation gone?

        1. I have generally decided to not voice views about Wenger on here anymore. And this is not an attempt to make it all about Wenger yet again, nor to ‘make excuses’. Merely what occurred to me as you wrote this.

          I think Wenger struggles to get his message across to the players because it is ever harder to keep the players insulated from the talk of crisis and the season being over. He’s always been about not listening to the drama and just righting the ship. But with the advent of social media and immediate reaction, this becomes harder to do. His philosophy has always been to give the players freedom and confidence to execute. Why would our players have the confidence when they are constantly told they lack mental strength? By this point, it’s become a vicious circle. Like I said, this is not an excuse, just a possible explanation. I think the overriding obsession with Wenger is hurting the team now. I have said before that if it were to be any reason to leave, that would be it, and yet a part of me rebels against that being the reason he goes. Still, I agree. Something has to change.

    4. Don’t forget that Kroenke is the chief problem at Arsenal.We have to replace our unambitious owner before we replace the manager (though Kroenke’s biggest crime is not sacking Wenger)

  20. Who says Arsene doesn’t do tactics? Here he is, on benching our leading scorer and best attacking player.

    “The thinking was that we had to go more direct and I wanted to play two players who are strong in the air, because we decided to go more direct. After that, to bring on Alexis in the second half. Of course, I believe in the second half it was easier for the strikers and you could see a different performance from Giroud and Welbeck because we dominated much more of the midfield. Everybody will come to the same conclusion, but I’m strong enough and lucid enough to analyse the impact. And I don’t deny that Alexis is a great player. I bought him and I always played him. This decision was not easy to make, but I have to stand up for it.”

    1. Well, again tactics depend both on sound theory and well drilled execution. If you’re going to use the long ball to Giroud, you have to get players around him to get the second balls, which we did poorly. And we went to a three man midfield with Coq at the base and two box to box players in Iwobi and Xhaka to prevent us from being overrun in midfield. Except the execution was again poor. For the first goal, how does Firmino challenge for the header, turn around and sprint by our central midfielders jogging back and end up overloading our far post and once again leaving poor Bellerin dealing with two opposition players? Iwobi was level with Firmino but simply watches as he sprints ahead.

      For the second goal, we obviously tell our fullbacks to aggressively mark clear out to the touchline. It means our midfielders need to be aware of the gap that creates between the ball side central defender and the fullback. And yet Iwobi allows Coutinho(?) get goal side of him to start the move which ends with a wide open Mane. And I’m not picking on Iwobi. Against Chelsea, Coq similarly allowed to Hazard to run into a gap between Koz and Mustafi, pulling Mustafi over resulting in Bellerin covering two players at the far post.

      I’m tired of seeing midfielders not following runners and jogging back toward our goal and being passed by sprinting attackers. This is simple failure to execute basic midfield defensive duties and has been an unaddressed problem for years now. Rooney running past Denilson to score killed what was left of his Arsenal career and yet here we are years later with different midfielders making the same mistakes.

      1. Well drilled! Now there are two words you don’t think of when you see this team play.

    2. If he wanted to be more direct he should have started with a front three of Giroud, Sanchez and Welbeck. Why leave out Sanchez? He is our best attacking option by miles. It’s non sense. That would also mean he could have started Ox and Xhaka in MF. They have been our best MF pairing so far. There is enough evidence out there now to say Coq only works well with Santi. He had no business starting in that MF. The more I think about this, the more frustrated I get. This is on Wenger.

  21. I’m going to play an optimist and list the positives that I can take from today’s performance:
    1.
    2.
    3.
    4.
    5.

    1. I almost forgot one other positive from today and that is we did not miss having Özil in the line up.
      One final positive is that we also did not miss Ramsey out there today.

      1. I thought we did. Ramsey and Ozil would have been upgrades over Coq and Iwobi. Obviously no guarantee that the result would have been different because we seem to find a way to shoot ourselves in the foot regardless of who is on the pitch.

      2. I’m confused. how do you figure playing like that and losing 3-1 means we don’t miss Ozil?

  22. Am I the only one alarmed by Wenger’s frequent use of the word ” lucid ” when describing his actions or frame of mind.

    I don’t usually question people’s lucidity until they start trying to convince everyone how lucid they are, especially when their actions and statements are anything but.

    1. Are you suggesting Wenger’s going senile? That’s preposterous and insulting to the greatest manager Arsenal ever had

  23. I wouldn’t say senile, but certainly detached from reality sometimes.
    For example Wenger didn’t think he had made any physical contact with the fourth official in the tunnel when he was ejected from the Burnley game.

  24. Those back-to-back FA Cups were amazing and I’ll also be fond kg those memories.

    But we are and have been for some time, a mid-table team with Champions League money.

    Some may argue that as an accomplishment but I certainly don’t.

    1. The thing is,I don’t think anyone really thinks that’s an achievement.They’ve been conditioned to think so by Wenger and and board,and they’re along for the ride because that don’t want to admit Wenger is past it.A manager who was judged on performances and didn’t have the emotional credit that Wenger has would have been sacked some time ago for stagnation.

      1. Agree. And because I have so much affection and admiration for Wenger as person and as a remarkable individual, I hate to see him endure abject performances like yesterday.

        It’s bad all around. For the fans, for the club and for the manager. We all deserve better, Wenger included.

        I’ve been calling time on him for a couple of years now but I do verily believe this is his last run in as Arsenal manager.

  25. Not usually a fan of his but Gunnerblog wrote this with the sort of clarity and balanced assessment I admire in any genre of literature.

    http://arseblog.com/2017/03/gunnerblog-renewing-vows-arsene-go/

    His ultimate conclusion has an certain undeniable feeling of truth to it. But he, like many others, would rather go backward if it means change. I’m still uncomfortable with that notion but in agreement in feeling that something has to change. The feeling will only intensify if the squad continues to sleep walk through the first half of most of its games like it has been since November. I hope there is a plan but fear that there is nothing at all.

    1. Thanks for the link, doc. A very good read. As was the one you posted for Marina Hyde’s piece in The Guardian. She is a very op-ed writer and that one trenchant and funny. I’ve got Son-of-1-Nil thinking about a prototype for a “Try-o-Metre” though I’m not sure he’s quite old enough to appreciate the satire…LoL

      1. Too many ‘Arsenal’ fans have a personal loyalty ans admiration for Wenger.That has overridden their concern of what’s best for Arsenal. Wenger has been past it for some time now.The difference is the excuses that most fans have been making for him are starting to dry up

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