Tottenham are just better than Arsenal: a lesson the club needs to learn

Well, you’ve gone and done it, Tottenham. You went and finished above Arsenal for the first time in 22 years. Congratulations. Well deserved. You have the better team, which is better prepared, worked much harder, and simply kicked our Arsenal. I can’t hope that you go on to win the League but I can say that what your club is doing is in stark contrast to what Arsenal are doing and we should be using this as a lesson.

I’m fairly certain Arsenal won’t take the lesson. We will simply announce a 2-year deal for Arsene Wenger and us Arsenal supporters will be here next year with yet another “rebuilding” plan that feels a lot less like rebuilding than it does “rebranding.” Arsenal seem to have moved away from being a football club which focuses on football and onto a marketing club which focuses on marketing football to gullible masses. Kind of like how Brexit isn’t an economic plan and Trump isn’t a President: both simply marketing to tools to consolidate wealth and power in the hands of the very elite few.

I thought about being petty toward you Tottenham. I was going to write a piece about how I “now know what it’s like to finally lose to a better team” and then mention how you can “get back to me when you do this for 20 years straight” but I’m not. I’m just going to say, congrats and well deserved. You’re the better team and frankly have been for at least two years. Last year’s finish was quite lucky on our part and the way some fans celebrated our 2nd place finish like we had accomplished something was unedifying.

While us Gooners were over here arguing about how far Özil runs, how much Arsenal’s “net spend” was, how much “dry powder” Wenger has to spend, whether Jackson Martinez is 28 or 29, and building our Arsenal Fan TV media empire, you lot were quietly putting together a pretty decent team!

You started with a striker. That’s where I would start if I was building a team. A top quality striker papers over a lot of cracks. For example, one of the things Arsenal supporters spent the last two years yelling into the void about is the number of turnovers our forwards have and whether Giroud is any good. Harry Kane coughs the ball up all the time, just like all forwards, but he also scores lots of goals and is a huge threat both on counter attacks and in open play. While Arsenal have Giroud defending set pieces, Tottenham have Harry Kane making counter-attacking runs.

Arsenal have tried to buy a striker but have failed every season since letting go of Robin van Persie. Wenger is already claiming poverty again and I’ve seen some Arsenal supporters arguing about how much money Arsenal have to spend so if I were to guess, I’d say that Arsenal are probably going to spend another two or three years “just missing out” on a star striker.

On either side of Kane you’ve got speedy wide players who put in a shift both offensively and defensively. Son and Alli are a great compliment to Kane in attack but it’s Alli’s work rate that is most impressive. He actually doesn’t get a bunch of tackles or interceptions but he is part of the unit which presses high up the pitch and tries to kill the game off through defensive pressure.

Tottenham’s defensive scheme is designed to kill the game, they don’t want a flowing football match, they want a staccato rhythm to the game. While some managers obsess over “stringing together passes” Pochettino is interested in getting his team forward with bursts of pace. The only problem for this type of attacking/defending scheme is that it sometimes struggles against other teams who want to do the same: Chelsea, Palace, West Brom, Liverpool, Leicester, and Mourinho’s Man U.  This isn’t a criticism of the style of football you play, just an observation.

Watching the way that your team played yesterday actually reminded me a lot of the Invincibles Arsenal team. You have two center mids who are strong on and off the ball. But crucially, Wanyama isn’t just a destroyer, he can and does do what Patrick Vieira did for Arsenal back in those days, and start the Tottenham attacks with power. I’m obviously not calling him “the next Patrick Vieira” but rather just saying that he’s playing that role. Let’s not get silly.

The whole team just sets up nicely, there’s a good balance to the various parts, the counter attacks are swift, and when they have the ball in the opposition final third, they attack like hell. It’s not perfect, no team is, and the defense looks a bit suspect at times, and you have a long way to go to get to the level of Wenger’s greatest ever team but it’s the highest compliment I can pay to even compare the two teams.

So, it’s a well deserved win for Tottenham and congratulations finishing above Arsenal this season. Arsenal will not be finishing in the top four this year and need to focus on the FA Cup final against Chelsea. It would be a great sending off for Wenger if we were to win the FA Cup and then retire. The way I’m feeling today, I’m more thinking that we will lose the FA Cup final and the club will announce Wenger signed a new four-year deal a week later.

Qq

66 Comments on Tottenham are just better than Arsenal: a lesson the club needs to learn

  1. It’s Tottenham who has become better than Arsenal simply because Poch had time to implement his strategy. But based on the fact that Wenger is still yet to beat the Tottenham manager in the League, as well as Klopp’s Liverpool, against whom he doesn’t have a win since 2014, or Chelsea, United and City with just a single win in 5 seasons, I have a feeling we will be congratulating several other teams at the end of next season as well.

    And I don’t understand your criticism about Wenger not buying a striker. I mean, we didn’t go for a young potential like Sanogo, we went strong for a proven second shelf attacker named Lucas Perez and played him for like two or three games.

    I mean, what more could you ask for? A six year deal? Come on, that would be just plain crazy.

  2. Spot on, Tim. No need to for us to get churlish. Better team, more consisient, more defensivey solid, big unit that’s very athletic like you-know-who.

    If you’re Spurs, you want to keep that team together, add another top shelf striker, some defensive depth including at wingback, and backup/competition for Eriksen.

    They’ve really got it sorted in the middle of the park (strong, and can play), so there’s not much to fix there.

    How on earth do we overtake them again? What’ll it take? I posted on Facebook that normal service will resume next year, and every non-gooner friend disagrees with me.

    • This is not to deny that they’re a very good team, but..
      I think we’re going overboard about their ability in the middle of the park. Dembele is quality (though not a spring chicken), but he didn’t even start or contribute much yesterday. Dier is an average role player at best, and Wanyama is a very good player, but he’s not really different or better than a half dozen other similarly built, athletic center midfielders around England/Europe whose work on the ball is solid but unspectacular, and who, for that reason (presumably), Wenger has refused to buy for a decade now. Wenger wants ball players in there, so he chooses to go without power. (Coquelin is his compromise, but a) I think Wenger only accepts him because he didn’t cost serious money, b) Coquelin is hardly powerful, just aggressive and good at interceptions, and c) we’ve seen this season the problem with going for this kind of player when they can’t play with the ball in Wenger’s preferred passing style.)

      I think this is a big mistake. I think you either pay big money to get someone who has power AND serious ball skills, or you decide your team is going to play another way.

      Let’s be clear: Wanyama is not really that top drawer, Vieira-esque guy who combines silk and steel. He’s not bad on the ball, and he had a very good game yesterday, but I think after yesterday we Arsenal fans could be guilty of exaggerating how good their individuals players are. Rather, Wanyama is flourishing in this Spurs team because Poch has them playing in a way that gets the best out of him. By pressing high, you win the ball in parts of the pitch where it’s easy to hurt the opposition quickly, which means your passing doesn’t have to be as creative/precise/intricate. In fact, it’s not just about pressing and winning the ball back: if you run harder, win more 50/50’s, and throw lots of players forward, you don’t have to have superlative passing and dribbling to overwhelm the opposition’s defense. Their first goal was very scrappy, but they scored it because they fight for every loose ball and swarm into the box with speed and numbers. The point is not to say Wanyama is average or wouldn’t add something to our team (of course he would!). The point is that, to paraphrase Klopp: the organized pressing and sheer coordinated intensity of Spurs is the best playmaker around, and makes up for skill limitations in individuals.

      Put it this way: imagine we buy Wanyama and Dier this summer, keeping the rest of the team the same, with the plan of making them our starting midfield in a 4-2-3-1 next year, with Wenger’s same passing style of football. Sure, their strength and ball-winning ability would come in handy. But does anyone really imagine that that team would be able to implement a smooth passing style that transitions through packed defenses with quick, line-splitting passes on the ground from back 4 through to forwards? Can you imagine this allowing us to boss games the way we couldn’t this year, against Watford, West Brom, Palace, etc, let alone Spurs, Pool, and Chelsea away? Or would we fans, before too long, be complaining about how Wanyama and Dier can’t play their way out of tight situations, the way we do now with, e.g., Coquelin (which is not to say Wanyama wouldn’t be an improvement on le Coq!). To put it another way: would either of the Spurs duo make it on the bench at Bayern, Real, or Barca? Not likely (well, maybe occasionally, like Alex Song, but…). Same could be said for Liverpool’s midfield three: Lallana is underrated, but in ability hardly much better than several of our midfielders, whereas Henderson and Winaljdum are solid pros, but nothing spectacular, and far from elite European levels.

      In short: either we buy superlative talents, or we go with the times and adopt a way of playing that compensates for players’ skill limitations.

      • Never thought I’d see Arsenal fans going out of their way to pay homage to a Spurs team that hasn’t won jack while talking down their own club, and PFO and Tom are the only ones with any sense about it all.

      • Easy, tigers. No one said they were Brazil, PFo. So that’s rather a waste of a comment. They’re just better than us, and they have some decent players who can play, contrary to assertions that they are (a) lucky (b) hit and hope blockers, who let their strikers pick up the pieces.

        And no one’s “going out of their way” to praise Spurs. It si wahat it is, and we don’t have to like something to acknowledge it. The thing about this blog is that some regular commenters are brutally objective about the state of their own club, and some it would seem to me are tad romantic about the same.

        • Huh? Talk about a non sequitur: I didn’t say they were Brazil, didn’t say they couldn’t play at all, just was trying to push back, with a bit of nuance to your “they’ve really got it sorted out in the middle of the park (strong and can play)” comment, by pointing out that “sorted out” and “can play” should be taken with a pinch of salt, and trying to explain why I think most of the credit should go to the manager for the way his system compensates for their weaknesses.

        • Ormy, I’m pretty sure writing a whole blog to Spurs praising their merits was not on Tim’s list of “blogs I have to write, 2017” so I’d suggest he’s going out of his way a bit on this one to pay homage. That annoys me. I don’t read Spurs blogs but I’m also pretty sure they haven’t done the same each time Arsenal’s finished above them. Magnanimity is nice but the schadenfreude some of you seem to be feeling is completely unwarranted. Arsenal is by far the bigger, better club and that’s not changing because of 2017. The inferiority complex our fanbase is cultivating is quite alarming.

          Also, I’ve seen you say this multiple times so let me be very clear: just because your opinion of the same facts we both see is more bleak doesn’t make you more objective. There are facts, and there are interpretations, and when interpretations differ we can have a conversation. That’s why we are here. My views aren’t any more “romantic” than yours, nor are they any more valid. It’s not possible to have a proper conversation with someone who believes they are more objective than you. That’s the same thing as arguing with someone who believes they have the only correct view. And that’s not something I’m willing to spend my time doing.

      • To add, what we’ve been telling you for years about the Wenger rot has been made manifest. Not only have Spurs overtaken us, we are 17 f****** points behind them, having played one fewer game.

        And the bad guys are the ones who point out objective facts.

          • It must be tough for you having to go through life with so much brutal objectivity, in a sea of deluded romantics, huh?

          • Grow up, PFo. You can’t go around handbagging everyone on the forum who weilds a contrarian opinion.

            Last time Doc said your comment constituted a “swing and a miss”, and you recahed for the smelling salts.

            Come on lad. Learn to disagree agreeably.

          • Handbagging? Not familiar with that one. From my point of view, I’m simply trying to give as good as I’m getting (e.g. pointing out that it’s a bit rich and all-too-convenient to describe your own view as brutally objective and the view you oppose as romantic). Not aware I’ve crossed any lines of civility in this thread, but if you disagree, you’re welcome to set me straight. I don’t think you and I are in deep disagreement about the state of the team, and the above is all good natured banter, as they say. The thing with Doc was different, and involved previous, namely the time he informed me, seemingly with complete sincerity and zero irony, that my posts weren’t worth his time to read because they weren’t well thought out and rationally defended like his own. I took exception to that one.

          • PS If my initial comment above, about Wanyama, is not a model of disagreeing agreeably, then I guess I don’t know what those words mean. Your response to that was that it was “a waste of a comment.” Not sure why I’m the one being lectured.

          • You protesteth too much, bredrin. Grow a thicker hide. Stop being the thread’s touchy,spiky bugger who’d start a fight in an empty room.

          • yes, and I’m sure if I hadn’t protested at all, that would have been a sign of my guilt as well.

            as for thin skin, what’s that saying about a pot and a kettle?

          • You can’t handbag, but you can refer to posters you don’t agree with as Chemical Ali or tell them they have no business supporting this club because their brand of politics doesn’t match yours. Let it go PFo. Claude is right. Grow a thicker skin.

          • Pretty sure Shard’s comment is a reference to past history with Claude, but since I’m ignorant of said past, it doesn’t make much sense to me.

            Oh well, time for Monaco v. Juve!

  3. So Arsenal are now Brexit and a Trumpian America? Swings and roundabouts. Has any other rival had such a long streak of finishing over the other? I mean, if anything, we’re the Undertaker at Wrestlemania.

    But having bemoaned Arsenal for not winning the league for so long, isn’t this a bit premature? I’m not bitter about Tottenham. I don’t hate them. They are clearly the better team right now. But we need to be better because frankly we are better than this. Nothing really to do with Spurs.

    By the way, about claiming poverty. I agree with you that that can no longer be an excuse. We don’t have to get Mbappe. But we do have to get some top players and concentrate on building up the quality of the first team. Saying that clubs with bigger financial potential exist is just a fact, however.

  4. I would be the first one to congratulate the Spurs on their achievements if they actually had any.
    Unless finishing above someone in the league who’s spent more money is considered an achievement these days. But then I would be a fu#king hypocrite for not congratulating Arsenal for finishing above a whole bunch of clubs year in and year out.

    I don’t t give a s#it about Spurs. The fact most Arsenal fans hold this ” rivalry ” in such a high regard, is one of the reasons we are in this mess.
    As long as we finish better than them it’s all good , no matter how s#itty we’ve been playing for long stretches of season in the PL and Europe , it seems.

    Arsenal players can slack off and not show up for important games but so long they put the Spurs down on social media they become club legends. What a fu#king joke!

    This club needs to get its act together on all levels and quick, and not worry what the Spurs are doing , or it’s going to fall behind even further than they already have.

  5. Following yesterday’s loss if you put a composite team together it would include 1from Arsenal and 10 from Spurs. We will finish 6 th this season. Not one member of the Board cares about supporters or results.its all about high attendance on match days and return on their investments. Arsene will stay another 2 years with same out of date philosophies. In the summer the top 5 will spend bigger and the gap will widen. There is only one way this will change and that is supporters rebellion . If only

    • This line has been trotted out, unimaginatively, by everyone for weeks/months. But, let’s think about this. On the day, maybe you’re right. But would you really prefer Davies and Trippier to Monreal and Bellerin (even Walker and Rose aren’t obviously better than our backs when ours are actually in top form)? Dier to Xhaka? Personally, I’d choose Kos over Vertongen and both Alexis and Ozil over Eriksen and Son, though I know that’d be controversial. These are at least decisions over which rational people could disagree.

      As a team, a cohesive unit, their streets ahead of us this season. But a little less embracing of the media-driven Arsenal-loathing hyperbole, please.

  6. I completely agree with you that way too much attention and significance has been placed on where we finish in relation to Spurs the last 10 years or so. It’s setting our sights way too low.

    And I hate the Totterhinghams day nonsense that’s become an annual thing (since when?).

    • Odd to describe the North London rivalry as a distraction. It really isn’t – it’s a local rivalry that’s over a century old. Maybe all that stuff doesn’t translate well to supporters outside of London, but it’s part of the clubs DNA.

      Hard but fair blog Tim. Despite our rivalry we should show a little magnanimity in defeat.

      You said Tottenham’s resurgence started with a striker but for me it started with a goalkeeper. They signed the incredible Hugo Lloris when we were still experimenting with Almunia and a pair of promising but erratic Polish keepers. They went to Ajax after we’d been there to sign Vermaelen and picked up Vertonghen. They signed a miniscule Luka Modric and prepped him for Madrid. Gareth Bale turned into a monster there. Yesterday’s defeat reminded me of the 2013 derby where Villas-Boas’ team beat the hell out of us after Bale’s opening goal. Wenger should have left that season but the FA Cup bought him time which he and the club have squandered.

      • “Odd to describe the North London rivalry as a distraction. It really isn’t – it’s a local rivalry that’s over a century old. Maybe all that stuff doesn’t translate well to supporters outside of London, but it’s part of the clubs DNA”

        Fair point of course, but here’s a question: if you had watched that football game with the volume turned down and you didn’t know this was a local derby with over a 100 history, would you have had the feeling this was a derby match important to Arsenal players?

        The only action worthy of a derby game came via Welbeck who stuck his foot into the Spurs keeper’s chest after he had gone down to make a save.

        If you are going to stress the importance of this derby day then it has to start with the players and not the fans , whether local or overseas.

  7. Ah, this is the rare occasion that I don’t agree with Tim main points. Spurs right now is a better team, but personally if there is a team that we could learn, that we could aspire to be, Spurs is not it. Regardless if they are or rival or not, they just are not what we should aspire to be, especially when they haven’t won anything consistently and competing in the highest level of competition. I know there is the context of yesterday match, but i would loved your petty article on them, much more than conceded to their rather low superiority on us.

  8. I hate to be cynical but it’s unlikely we finish above Spurs for a long time.

    Our manager, board and owner are not changing for at least the next 2 years during which time Spurs will continue to improve and perhaps even win the title.

    During these next two years Spurs will build a new stadium.

    Let’s say that we do get a new manager in 2 years… unless we get it spot on (and what’s the chances of that?) with say, an Ancelotti or another established “winner” we are going to have a prolonged dip for a few years while the new manager(s) get their footing.

    In the meantime Spurs will have the new stadium up and running, new revenue streams and will have become a preferred destination for youth and transfers.

    When Wenger denied there’s been a power shift in north London he again demonstrates his ongoing inability to honestly and realistically address the problems with the club. Had he admitted that they are the new alpha-dog, that we need to match their benchmark, then that gives us a goal to work with.

    But instead more romanticism about the past 20 years and denial of accountability. Shame.

    • The cost of the stadium is going to mean they have to tighten their purse strings, maybe not as much as we had to twelve years ago, but tightening is going to happen. They’re well behind us in terms of their cash reserves and global following. They don’t have the ability to financially dope like Chelski did when they overtook us. Their continued success in the short term is largely down to keeping a handful of key players, which will become more difficult the more success and notoriety they have, and is ENTIRELY dependent on them keeping their manager, which also may be tough (though perhaps not as tough as holding onto their best players).

      So it’s not as bleak as you suggest, though a lot depends on how awful our decision making is these next few years, which, judging by our recent track record, gives little cause for hope.

      • They have the benefit of the board though. That is a clear difference between us and them. In the most likely cases that Pochetinno goes to big team, their board would have the guts to get top manager with the same capability as him. If it’s Arsenal, we probably increase Wenger salary and beg him to stay with added war chest.

        • I don’t know where people keep coming up with Pocchetino leaving Spurs; the Premier League is the place to be now, outside of Barcelona, Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and Juventus. Unless you tell me he’s been offered the job at Real (I believe I read that he’s an Espanyol fan, which means it would be sacrilegious to take the Barca job) he’s not leaving Spurs for the foreseeable future.

          • 1. He’s an ex-espanyol player. he’s said he wouldn’t take the Barca job for that reason, but, frankly, I don’t believe him. He seems pretty ruthlessly ambitious to me. Certainly not the Wenger die-on-my-principles type (with Cruyff gone, other than Wenger and maybe Pep, are there ANY die-on-my-principles guys left in the game?).

            2. who’s to say madrid won’t come calling? or Juve if Allegri wants to experience management beyond Italy? or another cash rich team in Serie A looking to return to former glories (haven’t the milan clubs been taken over by chinese billionaires?). or Bayern when (more likely than not) Ancelotti leaves after 2-3 seasons and a champs league win? or PSG if emery doesn’t work out? or, for that matter, man united if/when Mourinho leaves in a huff? one could make a case that athletico is a better job, in terms of European status, than spurs, so if Simeone leaves they could try to recruit him.
            3. There are always job openings at the very top of the game. It’s in the hyper-competitive nature of the sport that this is so. the only question is if you can make a case that you belong in the very elite group of managers being considered for those jobs. Poch is now making that case.

  9. I happen to follow the NHL with some (but certainly not fanatical) interest, and my team is the Vancouver Canucks. It’s been quite the year for me, watching both the Canucks and Arsenal undergo an era-defining (era-ending?) collapse.

    In the last couple of months of the regular season, the Canucks — who ended up finishing second to last in the league–were accused of “tanking,” deliberately or perhaps unconsciously taking it easy in their run-in so as to finish as low as possible and thereby gain a more favorable draft position. A future rebuild contingent on present surrender.

    I’m not saying Arsenal’s players are doing it, but a part of me is now thinking of the advantages of a tank job. A league position so shocking (given what we’re used to) that it forces the ushering of a new era with respect to management, personnel, and style of play?

    Bring on the nadir!

    Of course, it won’t happen. A few weeks ago, someone here mentioned the silver lining…really it’s a gray one…of seeing what Wenger and the team could do next season without the distraction of Europe. That gave me a bit of hope. For a bit. Until I realized that we’re seeing, right now, what Wenger and team do without the distraction of Europe.

    I don’t think it’s going to get any easier to follow this club in the next few years…maybe longer.

    • It’s super easy in fact. Turn on the TV, turn off the commentators and watch some football. Then, turn off the TV and go about your day. Win or lose, you still just spent 2 hours watching football. That’s pretty swell in my book.

      • What bilge is this? Sometimes, Doc, I wish that’s all it was for you, but no, sadly, after you turn off the TV, you come on here and provide ample evidence, if not always of sense, of the fact that your feelings about the club transcend the employment of a power-off button.

        Here’s something radical I’ve discovered: Sometimes after we watch something on TV, we have a feeling about it. That feeling, weirdly, occurs even though the object of its cause is no longer present before our senses! This is often true of persons and things in our life.

        I know, I know. But bear with me, there’s more: Being a fan of a sports team is an aspect of living that creates feelings about that team’s performances and results (THIS IS THE LINK TO THE FIRST POINT). When I have finished watching a game, I realize it is not just like any other activity I do, like doing the laundry or eating lunch — about which I don’t read blogs, listen to podcasts, talk with friends and family, or for which I buy shirts and scarves that say “lunch” or “laundry” — but rather one whose events produce feelings, sometimes pleasant, other times unpleasant, depending on the result and performance.

        Sure, when results are poor, I don’t trash the house and scream obscenities at my children, but I feel a bit down, shall we say. I feel a sense of frustration. Sometimes I wish we were all little babies. You know babies, right Doc? When you play peekaboo, and when you hide your face behind a washcloth or their dirty bid, you’re literally, like, gone, totally off the scene.

        Thank you for producing the comment that helped me work through what was initially incomprehensible to me, and, apparently, to you.

        • Good stuff, Bunburyist. The mental image of you holding a scarf with the word “laundry” on it was fantastic. Just don’t expect me to buy you or any one of us being a bleeding heart martyr for supporting Arsenal.

  10. No, Tottenham do NOT have a better team than Arsenal. They have a luckier team. We saw what happened last season when they got the kind of devastasting injuries that we get every year: They choked. This year, we lost Cazorla, and they lost no one for any significant time.

    They are also luckier in that the officials love them and hate us. There were two penalty decisions yesterday: One we should have gotten, the other they shouldn’t have gotten and Kane should have been sent off; and Michael Oliver, shocking no one, got both of them wrong.

    Kane, a top quality striker? Go home, you’re drunk. A top quality striker does not have to dive.

    No, Arsenal have NOT failed to buy a striker every season. We bought Giroud and Podolski at the same time, and they’re both miles better than the window-licking diver Kane. We also bought Lucas Perez. It’s one thing to have stupid opinions, but don’t lie.

    Alli’s “work rate”? He’s a typical English midfielder, who would get no results with fair officiating. He’s a thug, and if he knew he couldn’t play dirty and get away with it, he’d be nothing. And Son is a nonentity.If he were good enough to play for a big club, he would be playing for one. He isn’t. He’s playing for Tottenham.

    “Watching the way that your team played yesterday actually reminded me a lot of the Invincibles Arsenal team”? You are on drugs. “Wanyama… isn’t just a destroyer, he can and does do what Patrick Vieira did for Arsenal”? Can he hell! He’s good enough for Celtic, for Soutahmpton, and for Tottenham. He isn’t even close to being good enough for a Champions League perennial.

    This season was a blip on the radar screen. Tottenham will lose their “good” players to big clubs, Wenger will get rid of the deadwood Alexis and Cech, bring Szczesny back from Roma whom he almost helped win the title in Italy, and get players who care about their teams more than themselves. Arsenal WILL win the Premier League in 2018.

    • Dear Uncle, I would love for pretty much everything you said to be true, really I would. But…I don’t see it, sorry.

    • And you are saying this is going to happen in this dimension? Not in some bizarre parallel universe?

      • I don’t believe these other posters realize you’re joking. Utterly brilliant sarcasm! 😏

          • Boy you really have it out for Untold Arsenal don’t you? The ideological counter to that site is LeGrove. Where I don’t go. Forget the comments, their article’s headline today decided to bring up imagery of publicly hanging Wenger.

            Now what I mean is, that there may be two very extremes here. It seems odd to me that the moderates (or realists as they think of themselves) call out the extremists on the side that support Wenger, while all sorts of shit passes by without challenge on sites such as LeGrove.

            And again, what I mean by that is that extreme negativity being unchallenged has over the years normalised talking about Arsenal in mocking terms. Certainly in the mainstream media. For which, in a bit of irony, Wenger again gets the blame.

            Which I’m sure will now be interpreted by you and others, as me saying you’re all sheep, or that Arsenal are doing great at the moment or something like that.

            Just couldn’t leave it unsaid.

    • Whoa. This post is the definition of rose-coloured glasses. You lost me as soon as you said Giroud and Podolski were better than Kane (in his current form). That’s ludicrous.

      And Cech may be past his prime, but yesterday he was great. I can’t believe that after that performance you label him “deadwood”.

      Arsenal 2018? FFS… I think we’re being trolled.

    • Kane has been injured for a good part of this season and still has 20 goals. And who do we have? Oh yeah Olivier Giroud. Let that sink in for a moment.

  11. I fear Arsenal will be the BBC documentatery of 2025 if Kronkee stays – how to ruin a football club from the brink of success.

  12. Painful reading but Spurs, especially Pochettino, do deserve credit for building a good team. “Team” being the operative word here as Spurs are more than the sum of its parts. That’s not to say that their players aren’t that good – obviously most of them are but players like Dier, Davies and Trippier aren’t world beaters. They are just organized and doing their duties well.

    I don’t think you need to be especially negative to think that we will lose the FA cup final and then a week later the club will announce Wenger’s new contract. I would say that’s the mostly scenario. Better to accept that now. My only hope is that we buy a couple of players that make a big impact next season. Like you said, a good striker can paper over the cracks. Not holding my breath though.

  13. Spurs this year have managed only what Arsenal have done for years: be almost as good as the best team(s). That’s the novelty. Instead of just Spursing it up, they managed to be good for most of the year and not even collapse in hilarious fashion right at the end. That’s the colossal achievement. They haven’t won anything, but of course that doesn’t stop people from writing articles like this: http://www.espnfc.com/blog/marcottis-musings/62/post/3116975/marcotti-musings-on-tottenham-brilliant-season-and-how-to-assess-bayern-munich-success-under-carlo-ancelotti Wherein, the usually soberly insightful Marcotti basically tells us we should make up a trophy to hand to Spurs because, well, they earned one by not being completely shite at any point this season.

    As Harry Kane so adroitly put it, we should have bigger problems than finishing above Spurs. But it still feels good, dammit, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying that each year for 20 years.

    Like I said yesterday, they have excellent forwards who manage to score enough goals to keep them winning despite a focus on defending first of all. This focus on defensive football is becoming pervasive because the gap between big and small teams has narrowed. After that, they have continuity and collective belief. And they’ve had the rub of the green. And no, it won’t last.

    As for all of y’all bad mouthing Arsenal’s players, managers, board, and Gunnersaurus (I mean, let’s be complete if we’re gonna go for it), I hope you’re still enjoying watching and following football because it sure doesn’t sound like it from here. R-E-L-A-X bros, it’s just for fun at the end of the day.

  14. Unfortunately Arsene is not a micro-manager. He gives his players freedom and doesnt drill them enough or is not tough on them. It was ok when he arrived, the old rearguard Tony Adams, Seaman etc. would drill it into their younger teammates at that time like an Henry or a Vieira. Who does that now if AW is not hands on? Do you think Ramsey takes responsibility of not marking or tracking back. Also the same with Sanchez and Ozil. Does Sanchez ever do anything for the goodness of the team?

    I do agree a little on the class of player we are buying, but with appropriate coaching, structure and plans, one can circumvent a lot with regard to quality. We are a bunch of individuals who are floating along. Its a painful Monday. Our board doesnt care as long as they get paid. I think that this will go away once we cannot get Champions league football and excellent footballers. A while ago, our main weakness was that we dont have a plan B. Nowadays we dont have a plan B. We have a squad of Europa league footballers who need coaching and the proper system/structure/environment to flourish. Right now they are clueless.
    End of rant: just needed to get this out of my system.

    • Ian Wright in his interview with Arseblog said that he’s heard of Xhaka complaining that he isn’t being coached. I’ve read in the past that Wenger’s attitude is that players are professionals and ideally left to sort things out for themselves. This would be verified by the good record we seem to have after the players have internal meetings… like the one they had a couple years ago before that Man City 2-0 win on the road that everyone thought was the inflection point on a new Arsenal.

      This may have worked on a different vintage of player, but not in today’s day and age. Wenger is past his best before date and proves it more and more every week.

  15. Spurs this year have managed only what Arsenal have done for years: be almost as good as the best team(s). That’s the novelty. Instead of just Spursing it up, they managed to be good for most of the year and not even collapse in hilarious fashion right at the end. That’s the colossal achievement. They haven’t won anything, but of course that doesn’t stop people from writing articles like this: http://www.espnfc.com/blog/marcottis-musings/62/post/3116975/marcotti-musings-on-tottenham-brilliant-season-and-how-to-assess-bayern-munich-success-under-carlo-ancelotti Wherein, the usually soberly insightful Marcotti basically tells us we should make up a trophy to hand to Spurs because, well, they earned one by not being completely awful at any point this season.

    As Harry Kane so adroitly put it, we should have bigger problems than finishing above Spurs. But it still feels good, gosh darn it, and there is nothing wrong with enjoying that each year for 20 years straight.

    Like I said yesterday, they have excellent forwards who manage to score enough goals to keep them winning despite a focus on defending first of all. This focus on defensive football is becoming pervasive because the gap between big and small teams has narrowed. After that, they have continuity because their best players haven’t been injured too much, and collective belief that comes from good results. And they’ve had the rub of the green. And no, it won’t last.

    As for all of y’all bad mouthing Arsenal’s players, managers, board, and Gunnersaurus (I mean, let’s be complete if we’re gonna go for it), I hope you’re still enjoying watching and following football because it sure doesn’t sound like it from here. R-E-L-A-X bros, it’s just for fun at the end of the day.

  16. Doc, I’m glad someone’s having fun. For me, fun is following a team that is competitive (relative to its wealth), that plays inspired and inspiring football more often that not, and that will hold its coach-players accountable when they fail to perform. I see a team that has stagnated and/or under-performed for the better part of 10 years now, and even the football has grown rather stale. I hate to use the cliched expression, but Arsenal is simply not “ambitious” the way Chelsea, United, City, Spurs, and Pool are. Out of curiosity, what would it take for you to no longer have fun with AFC?

    • It’s not fun, per se, all the time. The idea though is that too much bellyaching is utterly pointless. We have no control over Arsenal; none! So if you’re going to be emotionally invested in something you can’t control, why not try to enjoy it at least some of the time? And if you’re not enjoying it, why wallow in the misery? Find a hobby that makes you happy.

  17. Let’s be honest here. Tottenham are doing what Arsenal should have been doing now for a long time. Levy has been buying good young players, experimenting with young managers and now seems like hitting a jackpot. Not there yet but at least they are trying. Same can’t be said of our beloved team. We are stuck with inertia. Nobody knows what’s happening with the manager, our best players and even our playing style. We were supposed to have pushed on after our FA cup win against Hull. But we kept static and now finally other teams can be seen moving ahead of us. Mind you, none of those teams have managed to win anything yet. Man City has no trophy to show except for 4th place trophy (still touch and go). Liverpool are doing the best impression of being Arsenal of Fabregas era – full of promise but no trophies. Man U despite having SUPER coach and few hundred million spend might end trophless too. There is a lot to learn from spurs even if they end up 2nd and trophyless. Most important lesson One can learn from their current “success” is that having a hands-on Football man / woman in management makes all the difference. Hence the loss of Dein becomes even more apparent. I would have taken Wanyama any day. I even remember Wanyama wanting to move to Arsenal when he was at Celtic. He was literally begging us to come and get him but we want ball playing mids who end up flat on their back when players like Wanyama bully them. We are where we are because of both Wenger and every individual connected with the playing team. Best way to make change is to not renew the season tickets this year. That will be the only way change can happen. My Son is definitely not getting any Arsenal jersey

    • To add on, all those people who think Chelsea and Tottenham have been lucky with injuries etc are deluding themselves that somehow we will be competitive but for injuries. Chelsea were champions two years ago and Spurs were pretty good last year too. Man U are being competitive despite injuries. Not us. We had Kos going off injured in one match and the whole team collapsed. Our coach expects these mediocre kids to think for themselves on the pitch. All they can do is put out soundbites on Arsenal TV and social media. If you listen to Walcott, Ramsey, Ox etc after every loss they say the same bullshit but things remain the same.

      Wenger is no longer the professor to the players but more like the irritating old class teacher whose methods are no longer exciting these new age youngsters. Wenger needs a new scene and we need a more hands on coach if we are keeping these goody two shoes players. Personally I think Pat Rice was way better assistant to Wenger compared to Steve Bould. I haven’t seen any improvement in defensive organisation with Bould around. In fact it has gotten worse. Don’t know if it’s all the mixed messages which are messing with the minds of the players.

  18. For many of those who don’t live in London, myself included, I never really had that animosity or hatred towards Tottenham. And I always thought it was a ridiculously high standard for a team to finish above their a rival every year for decades.

    I’m a gooner. No question. The north London derby was always just another match. I felt much more feeling towards Chelsea and ManU.

    I am an American sports fan. I don’t expect my favorite baseball or hockey team to win the championship every year. I don’t expect my college football team to even win the conference every year.

    I fell in love with arsenal and football in general with the Invincibles. But these are once in a lifetime experiences.
    Chicago Bears fans are still wearing Walter Payton jerseys. Know what I mean?

    Wenger gave us hope, maybe an illusion, that we were a top European team. Maybe we are still capable of it under Wenger. Maybe we never were.

    An FA Cup trophy would be wonderful. Wenger can ride off with a trophy. He’s the best thing that ever happened to this club. And that’s a hell of a Tottenham team that surpassed us. I’m still proud of this club.

    • Football is different from the American sports you reference. There’s a more tribal affiliation and a deeper embed into the community. Tottenham Hotspur will never become Birmingham Hotspur, as has happened sometimes with US sports franchises. MK Dons did move out of Wimbledon, but that is rare. We ourselves did move a century or so ago — from Woolwich south of the Thames, to Islington north of the Thames.

      I wasn’t born in the UK, but I went to school there and lived there for decades — in Stoke Newington, close enough to Highbury to hear the roar of the crowd when the goals went in. Wenger or no Wenger, Invincibles or no Invincibles, there was only one club for me. Of course, the success and the romance of the Professor were added attractions.

      I don’t have the same level tribal animosity to Spurs either. I don’t particularly like them, but I don’t hate them. United is the team I really loathe, them and their super-entitled fans. Don’t have much time for Abramovich’s Chelsea either, but I’d much rather that they win than Spurs. Their supporters (and some media pundits) are already insufferably smug, and Spurs havent won anything. We still might.

      Oh by the way, Spurs went 2- nil up at the Emirates a few years ago, and, led by Van Persie, we had the fighting spirit to reply with 5. I was at that game, and will never forget walking down the Holloway Road singing “Two-nil, and you f**** it up, two-nil…” A lot has changed. The spirit, the malaise, Pocchetino, a more tactically disciplined Spurs, better players at Spurs and an older, more tired Wenger.

    • Oh, and it’s a mischaracterisation to say that we expect to win the title every year. We don’t.

      We expect…
      (1) The management to address that which needs addressing. Buying an ageing Petr Cech in that summer transfer window is not addressing that which needs addressing

      (2) We fall away in January and February. Analyse the causes and address them.

      (3) We have a dreadful record against the top sides. How do we become tactically smarter and more competitive.

      (4) Far, far more in inadequate management, but I’m too tired rehashing this cr**.

      Dont get me wrong, we want to win the title. It’s a perfectly reasonable expectation on the part of the fans club of Arsenal’s resources should have won it on at leasta few occasions in the year’s we didn’t.

      We’re proud of the club too, but our sights are set a little higher than yours, it would seem.

  19. If you had a crystal ball the day Arsene was hired, would you be disappointed how it all turned out?

  20. Speak the truth and it shall set you free. Your post set me free. And here are some more truths.

    We carry too many luxury players :-like Giroud, Ozil, Walcott, Coquelin.

    GIROUD outside the box is 4th tier. What a luxury!

    OZIL plays on only one side of the ball and we can never incorporate the high press in our tactics with him on the field. What a luxury!

    WALCOTT has not, I believe, ever made up to 50 touches in a game. What a luxury!

    COQUELIN. Am hard pressed to remember one in-between the line pass by him. What a luxury!

    A cohesive strategy is impossible with this much luxury goods. The blame is on those who pooled the bunch together. Modern teams are composed of universal players who can fit into several positions and be adaptable to different tactical structures. We carry too many specialist and compound matter by trying to play a fluid and unstructured football.

    We love to accuse Kroenke and the Board of too much care for profits. The truth is that our squad is currently the fourth most expensively assembled in the league. And that’s our rightfull position. Kroenke and the Board might actually not be happy with the way things stand at the moment. The would be demanding better field value for their investments. The suspected split in the BoD might be between those focused on the state of the moment as opposed to those factoring the past into the equation. I expect that something would give. A Director of Football would be a good compromise. A step in the direction of the end of the Wenger era.

  21. Apropos of nothing. I’ve recently been reading a few books by Bill Bryson. Maybe it’s just the American style of speech put down on paper, but the prose and also the humour seemed similar to Tim’s.

  22. The power and the passing ability of Monaco reminds me of the Invincibles. They are an exciting team and Mbappe is such a star.

    • I’m getting a little bit more than just tired of our Pavlovian good football = they must be the Invincibles schtick. Bobby and Dennis and Paddy ain’t walking through that door and if they did they’d find football has moved on since their day. Can we get over it already?

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