The Great Ox Gamble

I don’t know if you noticed it or not but Wenger loves Ox. Loves him so much that he’s penned a love letter to Ox which goes like this:

“In all the conversations that I have had, I say that I want him to stay and be one of the big players of the future of this club,” Wenger said. “He is one of the players this team has to be built around in the future. Personally, I want him to commit to the club and be one of the carriers of the values of our team.

“I want to keep my best players. I only have one target – to keep everybody on board. I think we invested a lot of time, confidence and money on players like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who we bought at a young age. For me, they have a responsibility for the future of this club because Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will be one of the big English players in the coming years. I, personally, am highly determined to keep him here at the club and I hope he will commit.”

Wenger’s going to build the team around Ox. Who is currently playing at right wing back.

Ox was bought from Southampton for £13m in August of 2011. In these six years since, Ox has played 197 times for Arsenal but only 10,399 minutes or the equivalent of 115.5 games. Ox has scored just 20 goals but he does have 32 assists (which includes times he won a penalty and Arsenal scored) which isn’t bad when you consider that he has basically only played 3 full seasons. That’s a goal or assist every 200 minutes.

Oxlade-Chamberlain does have some unique abilities which he has greatly developed over time. His dribbling is the best on the team and he’s averaging 7.5 successful dribbles per game so far this season. A lot of fans don’t like Ox but I understand why Chelsea are after him: his dribbling puts Ox firmly in the Eden Hazard category where he can win you games with his trickery on the ball.

It makes sense to build a team around a Hazard-type player as well. Chelsea have won their last two titles because of Eden Hazard: when he’s healthy, Chelsea’s offense is simply devastating.

However, Ox is not quite at the level of Hazard. Hazard has played 249 times for Chelsea, 19,351 minutes, or the equivalent of 215 full games. Hazard has also scored 72 goals and added 62 assists (includes fantasy assists). That’s a goal or assist every 144 minutes. Hazard moved to Chelsea the summer after Arsenal signed Ox and Hazard is 2.5 years older than Ox.

What Chelsea may see in Ox is a player with the ability to play right now as a back up to Hazard and, if he should fulfil his potential, take over as the creative dribbler when Hazard is moved to China for a trillion dollars. But those are big ifs.

I don’t like talking about other fans but I have to here: there is a lot of negative fan sentiment around Ox. There was a clickbait article by Matt Law (I don’t like to the Telegraph, Sun, Mirror, Star, Metro, or Daily Mail) published yesterday that said Arsenal have offered Ox £180k a week in salary. This had the desired effect and fan outrage was peaked on Twitter and other venues.

I’ve seen him play in person and I have to agree with Wenger, I think he’s a great talent. I don’t know if he’s at the level where you build a team around him but I can see him possibly getting to that level, if he can stay healthy.

But whatever the salary truth (which probably includes a signing bonus, which thus allows the clickbaiters to publish some OUTRAGEOUS figure) Wenger is going hard for the Ox. In fact, Wenger has been a gambler for many years and he seems to have gone all in this season on Ox, Alexis, and Özil. If it pays off and Arsenal keep all three players it will be the most audacious bit of management in Arsenal history.

But as you know, statistically, the house has a huge advantage and the smartest bet is not to place bets. I worry that this season could be worse, more distracted than last, with players making deals with other clubs throughout the year and Wenger taking bigger and bigger gambles until it all comes down to a busted flush in May.



  1. For me one of your best articles.I wish he signs if not make him stay and use him offensively with bellerin at rwb

  2. A player who thrills and frustrates in equal measure, which is precisely why he divides opinion amongst fans. The naysayers need to accept he’s not rubbish, the yeasayers need to accept he’s not ever going to be a worldy.

    I like him fine enough, and I predicted he’d have a break-out season two years ago, but right now I simply don’t have strong feelings either way about his presence or possible departure.

    If he does stay, I’m pretty certain in a few games we’ll see the now familiar sight of him leaving the pitch holding his hamstring! Therein lies my ambivalence. I love watching him run past his man, but his high energy, full sprint style of play usually means consistent injuries in familiar places (hamstrings), which is the reason I think his career isn’t where we predicted it would be.

    1. I admit it’s unlikely he’ll ever be a worldy, but why is this impossible? Look at someone like Gareth Bale, who’s quite similar: an extraordinary athlete whose extraordinary gifts were recognized when he was a teenager, but then he spent several years being frustrating and not really developing until all of a sudden he–and his slow-witted management team–realized he could basically beat almost any defender with pace and power at will. Once he started doing that regularly he became a hugely valuable player–someone his teammates looked to and his opponents feared–and once that happened the confidence flowed, other parts of his game (like his shooting) flourished, and the rest is history. A scrawny Welsh fullback became a starting attacker for Real Madrid.
      Obviously, every player is different, and I admit it’s currently unlikely that Ox ever reaches the heights of Bale. But I don’t think it’s especially crazy to think with the right guidance and luck he might get close. He could certainly become one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League, since his dribbling is so regularly unstoppable (not sure his rather simplistic game would ever translate well to the continent).

          1. Right. You’re kind. I don’t think I want to get into an argument with a philosopher about what it means to beg the question!

            Here’s what I meant:

            If the argument is that the Ox could be like Bale based on the fact of Bale’s career, it implies that the Ox has the attributes the fulfillment of which we have not seen, which cannot be determined until they’re seen. But they haven’t been seen. All we have is the Ox. And so if we follow your argument, then you could say about any half decent player that they could be the next Bale. Yeah, and also they couldn’t. We can’t know until we know.

            I’ll just say that I’m sure we agree that we don’t know whether the Ox will fulfill whatever potential we see in terms of being a world-class winger or central midfielder. I made the mistake of saying never. I should have said highly unlikely. And because of that, I’m not inclined to move from my position of ambivalence when it comes to whether he stays or goes.

            Cheers for not being mean to me. Yet.

          2. And actually, for my own education’s sake, I would welcome an explanation about how that isn’t begging the question. Seriously. Given your ethos here, I know you’d be able to do that without coming across as a prick.

          3. “When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, “it means just what I choose it to mean- neither more nor less.”

            “The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”

          4. Except unlike Humpty I’m interested in more than a subjective understanding of language. When I used the words “begging the question,” were they felicitous with what I meant? Not scornful. Genuinely curious. In other words, doesn’t your argument about the Ox assume the conclusion (Bale)?

          5. Bunburyist,
            Ok, I’m back. I’ve got to prep for this week’s classes, plus two kids under the age of two to worry about, so apologies if this response is hasty and inadequate.

            As I think you know, to beg the question means to assume in your argument what you’re trying to prove by it. I think you were using the term correctly. I just don’t think my argument was begging the question, and I think the bad argument you suggest I’m making is also not *exactly* begging the question either.

            Really quickly (and sloppily):

            Here’s an argument that begs the question about the (realistic) possibility of the Ox becoming a “worldy”:
            ARGUMENT 1
            P1 The Ox is (will or can be) on Bale’s level (which, for the sake of argument, we can suppose implicitly amounts to the claim that the Ox is (will or can) be a worldy)
            C. The Ox is (will or can be) a worldy

            Since (or to the degree that) we’re granting that the premise is just another way of saying the conclusion, this begs the question.

            Now, here’s the argument I take you to be taking me to be making:
            ARGUMENT 2
            P1 Gareth Bale was a British teenager with extraordinary athletic gifts whose career stagnated for several years after moving to a big club, but then he developed rapidly (in particular in the area of using pace and power to go past defenders), until he was a worldy
            P2 Any “half decent” young British footballer (e.g. the Ox) should be able to follow the career trajectory of Bale (or some other such outlandish claim)
            C. Therefore, the Ox could be a worldy

            As far as I can tell, this doesn’t really beg any questions (I suppose you could argue it more-or-less collapses into Argument 1, but then there’s a difference between “more-or-less” and “strictly speaking”). But it’s still an obviously bad argument, because Premise 2 is obviously silly.

            Here’s the argument I took myself to be making:
            ARGUMENT 3
            P1 Gareth Bale was a British teenager with extraordinary athletic gifts whose career stagnated for several years after moving to a big club, but then he developed rapidly (in particular in the area of using pace and power to go past defenders), until he was a worldy
            C1. So it’s POSSIBLE for a British teenager with extraordinary athletic gifts whose career stagnates for several years after moving to a big club, to then develop rapidly (in particular in the area of using pace and power to go past defenders), until he is a worldy
            P2 The Ox is quite similar to Bale in all of the above respects, up to the point of rapid development. And he is showing some signs of that as well (so say I), particularly in his greatest strength, which he shares with Bale: going past players with pace and power.
            P3 (Implied in my original post) Absent some additional reasons to think that the Ox and Bale are quite different (e.g. attitude, inescapable injury problems, differences in the respective clubs around them, etc), it is possible for the Ox’s story to develop roughly along the lines that Bale’s did: develop rapidly into a big offensive threat, ending at a worldy (or near-worldy) level
            P4 (not really implied in my original post, but I’m adding it in now) Those additional reasons do not exist
            C2 (from C1, P2, P3, and P4) It’s possible for the Ox’s story to develop roughly along the lines that Bale’s did: develop rapidly into a big offensive threat, ending at a worldy (or near-worldy) level

            This argument does not beg any questions. You might think it’s not any good because I’m assuming that the Ox has extraordinary athletic gifts (if not at Bale’s level, then certainly not a million miles behind). But I am not begging the question on this point. Rather, I EXPLICITLY COMMIT MYSELF TO IT AS A PREMISE (in my original post I claimed the two were quite similar and listed extraordinary athletic ability as one similarity). In doing so, I assumed you would grant me that claim (if you don’t, then we’re further apart than I realized). Note that granting this point is still very far from accepting that the Ox has a realistic shot of ever being at Bale’s level, since, as we all know, raw talent isn’t anything close to a guarantee of success. But my point is that a Bale-like career arc is possible for a player sufficiently like Bale–Bale’s own story establishes as much–and that the Ox is strikingly similar to Bale, including in raw athletic ability and how it translates to the style of player he is on the pitch, being able to unbalance whole defenses by running past individual defenders with relative ease (a natural ability that’s in extremely short supply in professional football).
            Is the Ox sufficiently like Bale? Absent any particular significant differences between them to which we can point (see P4), I don’t see why we should think he’s not sufficiently similar to have a chance at superstardom. Again, note that this is just saying it’s POSSIBLE, not inevitable or even likely. Of course, I haven’t really said anything in defense of P4. So the conclusion should really be presented as a disjunctive statement: either P4 is false, or C2 is true. But that’s just to throw the ball back in your court to explain why the Ox is clearly too different from Bale to have a chance at a similar career trajectory (in the case of most merely “half decent” young British footballers, the differences between them and Bale would be blindingly obvious to all of us, which is why an argument that appealed to such a comparison wouldn’t get off the ground).

          6. Thanks, PFo. Really appreciate you taking the time to explain.

            All the best with your courses this term, and with work-family balance! Sounds like you have your hands full.

          7. Sorry Bunburyist, I was making a premptive oblique joke about PEDs, er.. pedantry.

            You used “begging the question” in the correct Aristotelian “en archei aiteisthai” sense (expertly explained by PFO.)

            But, the misusage, e.g., ‘brings up another question’ has become the common usage and is now enshrined in the hallowed Merriam-Webster online dictionary.

            Said misusage led me to thinking about how Bale made that remarkable step up in ‘worldieness’ and purportedly in hat size. Would that the Ox had that kind of dedication to fitness.


          8. Cheers, Dr Duh. This has to be the only sports site in the world where I can interact with philosophers, speakers of ancient Greek, and linguists (did you see that guy on the previous thread???). Love it.

          9. Yeah, drives me crazy when people use “that begs the question,” to mean “that raises the question.” Oh well, I guess I should just decide to be less of a snob and get over it.

  3. Ox is similar to Welbeck; great athletes with superb versatility and work rates but not with the greatest footballing minds i.e. bad decisions at critical moments, propensity to switch off at times, not calm in front of the goal mouth.

    Perfect players for the 70th minute introduction to run at tired teams and disrupt the game.

    But not a player to be shoehorned into a starting line-up or be paid absurd wages.

    Do we need both? No. I would keep Welbeck and sell Ox. Ox seems to be the one who, in trying to accommodate him, has upset the balance of the starting line-ups recently. We need a simpler roster for the old man to choose from.

      1. I know Welbeck is up in 2019; the natural comparison to make would be Wilshere and Ox because they’re both in the last year. I’ve never been a big Wilshere fan, too much of a square peg when we need a round one. I’d sell Wilshere also.

    1. I don’t buy this line (repeatedly and annoyingly peddled by Arseblog and Gunnerblog recently) that Ox is being “shoehorned” into the team. The shoehorning has to do with trying to play both Bellerin and Ox in a 3-4-3. It worked ok in the FA Cup final, but that was done out of necessity. In preseason and at the beginning of this year, Wenger’s insistence on playing both (and therefore playing our two natural LB’s at CB) has looked like desperate indecision: he’s unwilling to back a horse and risk upsetting the other. With Ox’s contract situation that’s understandable. Less so with Bellerin, since he’s very young so shouldn’t be guaranteed to constantly start, he still has an absurd 5 years on his current deal, and we successfully beat off the advances of Barca for him earlier in the summer. I’d start Ox and tell Bellerin that it’s a long season and he’ll still get a ton of opportunities to play and make himself indispensable between now and May.

      Contracts aside, my feeling is Ox has been better than Bellerin at RWB and in better form overall for the entirety of 2017. Hector lovers like Andrew and James don’t want to hear this, but I don’t think they’ve been entirely in touch with reality on this issue lately. Bellerin has had some good moments, but hasn’t been at his best since he got injured at the tail end of 2016. And Ox offers something–in his powerful dribbling–that neither Bellerin nor any of the other potential wing backs in our squad (with the possible exception of Nelson, who’s still very young and very attacking) can match. But even those fans who disagree with me on the above point should at least acknowledge that Ox has been roughly as good, and certainly no worse, than Bellerin at RWB since we switched formations.

      So I don’t see how the blame for “shoehorning” and “unbalancing” is any more Ox’s than it is Bellerin’s (actually, it’s Wenger’s, of course, but you know what I mean). I think his spotty decision making means Ox can’t currently be trusted to start regularly at CM for us, and if he did so, he probably would unbalance us (though maybe no more so than Ramsey!). But if you leave him out on the right touchline (not the left!) to keep it simple and just do his thing, repeatedly taking on his fullback, he will either repeatedly cause dangerous situations for us around the opponent’s penalty area, or he will have to be double teamed, creating space for others. He’s that hard to contain one on one.

      1. I would strongly dispute that Ox is better than Hector Bellerin. Count me as a “Hector lover”. Bellerin, if properly used, will be one of the best two or three RB’s in all of world football.

        And… if we should ever revert to 4 at the back, Bellerin is far far superior to Ox as a RB. Ox’s defense is shite actually.

        1. Sure. But saying we should keep the Ox, and even that he should (for the time being) play ahead of Hector, is not to say Hector’s not a terrific prospect for us who will have a big role to play in our team in this campaign and in seasons to come.

  4. Clearly, by his statements Wenger values Ox highly and is firm believer in his talent. Just as clearly, by his actions Arsene doesn’t trust Ox in the middle of the pitch. You don’t build a team around a wingback. It’s time for Wenger to either sh*t or get off the can. Play him in the middle, build the team around his considerable talent and hope the end product follows. Or sell him. But please for f*ck’s sake, don’t continue with the idiotic situation where he praises Ox’s considerable ceiling while absolutely refusing to play him where his talents lie.

    1. You don’t build a team around a wing back, sure, in that, by definition, a player on the wing is never absolutely central to how a team sets up defensively and offensively. They’re on the sides, see less of the ball, and therefore are (almost always) less influential than central players.

      But still, why can’t a player be an absolute star at wing back? It’s been a while since teams regularly played with wing backs, so we don’t have a lot of recent examples, but we have plenty of recent examples of wingers (e.g. Robben, Hazard, also someone like Alves in his Barca days) who are/were the danger men on their teams because they were allowed to hang out on the wing and concentrate on taking players on. The Ox has similar ability against fullbacks in one on one situations. His decision making and final ball has been poor in the past, but he’s clearly improved in those areas in the last year or so (especially his crossing). He’ll have to track back more as a RWB than a typical winger does, but he’s got the physical athleticism to do so.

      He might want to play CM and so be getting frustrated with AW’s refusal to play him there, but I don’t see why AW’s reluctance to play him at CM means that AW doesn’t really rate the Ox as someone who could be a star in the very near future, or why we should think he’s someone who AW doesn’t really want to make integral to the team.

      1. I read your posts about Ox and after today’s game I have to borrow from the title of last post and say LOL WUT?!?

        Ox is garbage

  5. My main gripe is that Wenger does not seem to be doing much, much less push the boat out to ensure these players actually feel like they will be missing something by leaving Arsenal next season. The midfield is at best a conundrum, or worse still, a mess. The defence which was akin to a sieve is has now been shorn of Gabriel and will lose Per. We can’t or won’t get players in – which will look even worse when (not if) Monaco sells more players.

    Lukaku has said Henry is the best thing that happened to him. Was I the only one who wondered whether the Ox would have been more intelligent with his dribbles with Henry’s ‘wisdom’, what Welbz would have become if he was mentored by Henry? Ramsey too. Yet he got rid of him because of frivolities (My opinion). Then imagine what Ozil and Sanchez’s assist tallies would have become.

    Even if they are tempted to want to sign, they will not because of the chance to play with better players.

  6. I am looking at it this way. Imagine you had Antonio Valencia as your first choice right back. Yes a 32 year old who quite similar stats when he was slightly older than AOC. Imagine he was your first choice. Ox would be a super duper upgrade with an upward potential. That’s what Wenger wants him to be. He is not the guy who is at the end of a finish like a striker or an accomplished midfielder. But his dribbling and pace allows him to back up on a lot of roles. The day he could get a few more goals against his name through better positional awareness, he would be one of the most sought after utility player. If he doesn’t he is a great upgrade to Valencia. Pacier skillful and ENG…wait for it..LISH.
    It’s not quite his fault that Bellerin is our first choice defender and not Valencia. Imagine what tune would people sing about Ox had Bellerin been the bellend which he is not and was in bed with buttercunts Barca

  7. I personally love the Ox. I know he loses possession sometimes, but that will always happen to dribblers. Maybe fans would prefer for him to be like Ramsey and pass the ball sideways and backwards. That way he is less likely to lose it. I think Wenger needs to come up with a system where he can play Bellerin at right back, and Ox at right wing. Unfortunately Wenger keeps shoving players into positions they don’t play, and fans wonder why they don’t perform. Now I think we will lose Ox, because he’s frustrated with being played out of position. Bit that’s OK, we’ve still got Walcott, right?

  8. Great article. Haven’t read everyone else’s comments yet, but let me just say real quick:

    1. I think the similarity to Hazard is a good point, and not something I’d considered. However,

    2. I think perhaps more than (or at least in addition to) his being a longterm replacement for Hazard, Conte sees him as a great addition at wing back in the present. Chelsea’s 3-4-3 relies heavily on their wingbacks and they were mighty lucky last year that Alonso and Moses stayed healthy virtually all season. Attacking Ox is better than both of them (though I wouldn’t play him on the left; he’s a different player when he’s allowed to hug the right touchline and burst past defenders down the line, and the number of times over the years Wenger has tried him on the left is maddening). He’s better than Moses, full stop, and I expect if he goes he’ll be their starting RWB by the end of the season.

    3. All of this is ironic, since of course we’ve been told for months that the biggest reason Ox wants to go is that he wants to play in CM. That’s another position Chelsea need cover in, and I reckon that they like the Ox for his ability to offer that cover as well, but I just can’t see him getting into the team ahead of Bakayoko, Kante, or Cesc any time soon, and I can’t see a Conte team making a player like the Ox into a CM regular, ever. (It’s telling that whereas earlier stories, when he was being linked to Liverpool, played up his desire to play at CM, the latest batch of stories yesterday about him going to Chelsea just talked vaguely about him wanting to “further his career” and get into the England team; this suggest he and his representatives know that if he goes to Chelsea his chances of becoming a regular CM are no better than they are with us.)

    4. His agent is a scumbag, and is almost certainly a huge part of the trouble we’re having trying to keep him.

    5. Ultimately, I think we’re going to sell him in the next week, and I don’t think we’re going to replace him with anyone remotely comparable in ability or style. This is depressing me.

    1. Whoa. No agents are scumbags. They are all upstanding people looking after the best interests of their clients.

    2. I’m sorry that this is depressing you. What I like to do when I’m depressed is eat a food.

  9. Is there anyone who would agree that losing to Liverpool this weekend would “pop the pimple” so to speak, and we’ll see a ton of transfer activity from Wenger in the last 5 days? Two (almost three) losses in three games may mean the board steps in.

    1. nope. there might be a desperation signing that happens, but I think he’s still on the “I have too many players in the squad” kick (failing to acknowledge the obvious difference between quantity and quality) to go full trolley dash on us, and if he does go all trolley dash, it almost certainly won’t involve adding the quality we need. the transfer activity is still most likely to be in the other direction: in addition to the obvious ones (Perez, Gibbs, Debuchy) we might see Wilshere, Ox, Chambers, and/or Mustafi go.
      Would love to be proved wrong (not about a trolley dash, but about a genuinely exciting signing the club have been lining up behind the scenes and pull off right at the end, but in that case I doubt the Liverpool game will have much to do with it either way).

      1. When I say activity I mean finally selling Wilshere, Ox, Perez, Gibbs, Chambers, Campbell and possibly Mustafi. That clears out the roster and gives him the funds to maybe hijack West Ham’s move for Carvahlo at the last minute or Krychowiak from PSG… Outside of Draxler being sold off I can’t see an Ozil-type last minute gift this year.

  10. He may be talented and physically strong, but he is unintelligent and has no character. I agree with arseblog, sell him.

  11. I’ve thought of that Hazard thing before, but there is one thing that troubles me. Ox lacks some basic technique. He dribbles very, very well, but everything else he does is far too often substandard. Hazard will beat a man with his dribble, then more likely than not do something with it – pass, cross, score. Ox will dribble and give it away stupidly far too often. Because his basic technique is not as developed, and at his age it’s hard to see it suddenly improving.

    Similar to Ramsey – he gets into excellent positions, and skies it. Again and again. Not sure how useful a partial skillset is.

    1. Fair point (and I think you’re spot on about this being a Ramsey issue too), but I think with concerted effort on the training pitch, this sloppiness is *probably* something that can be ironed out (there’s a reason those skills are “basic”: it’s not like he doesn’t have the talent or basic technique to successfully pass and shoot when in good positions). I don’t think he’ll ever be as skillful as someone like Hazard, but, again, I think a better comparison is to another British player like Bale. Brits, even those with great natural gifts, rarely have the ease on the ball that the best from the rest of the world show, but they can still turn into very, very good attacking players, especially in the PL where the style of play is more pacy and “rough around the edges”.

    2. As a thought experiment, let’s replace Ramsey with Ox. Wenger give in, and offers to start him at CM.

      He can’t play WITH Ramsey, they both too attacking. Turns out he can’t play with Xhaka either, because the defensive security that Ramsey is accused of not supplying becomes an even bigger issue. His partner would have to be Coquelin, with Ox his Santi. But while Ox brings better dribbling and physicality, he lacks Santi’s all-round skill and vision. We’d essentially need a player we don’t currently have to complement Ox.

      That’s not going to happen. If he signs on, he should play ahead of Bellerin at RWB, with Kolasinac at LWB. Hector would have to fight his way back in.

      BTW, I know that Wilshere was playing against kids, but I agree with Doc that he looked very, very good. If he can get some consistency going playing with the reserves, he looks a far better shout than Elneny. And he’d be a Xhaka understudy, or an Ozil one.

      1. I honestly don’t think Ox is any more offensive (and less defensive) than Ramsey currently is.

        Agree that (failing a switch to a 4-3-3) Ox should be used mostly at RWB for the foreseeable future (unfortunately it looks like that’ll be at Chelsea…)

      2. I’d take a healthy Wilshire over Elneny any day. Jack looks to make things happen when he has the ball. Elneny always seems to be looking for someone else to make things happen. There’s LOTS of players of that caliber around. Of course, Jack needs to be healthy… and get playing time… and still be in our squad…

  12. I’d drive Ox to West London myself for the £35m reportedly on offer. I don’t think his goals and assists stats are good — they’re not terrible by any means, but they’re hardly anything to write home about. Arseblog had a slightly less charitable take on his numbers in the past couple of days, and I agree with that. He has not produced a lot in 6 seasons.

    It’s been said by one of the regular commenters here that he was mismanaged. No, he was not. When you are good enough, you force the manager’s hand. I’m also bummed by his camp offering the excuse that he wants to play central midfield. Rubbish. He’s not going to displace Kante, Bakayoko, Fabregas or even Willian there. He’s an upgrade on Moses. That’s it. He’s maybe a central midfielder for Southampton, not a top side with top quality midfielders. He did not play particularly well in the first part of last season, but Wenger persisted with him and was rewarded.

    I don’t agree that he has “trickery” on the ball — he has pace and directness and a very good cross, but is not a terribly sophisticated ballplayer, like Hazard, for example, is. The player we should have held to his contract last season is Gnabry, who has a similar skillset but is a much better player.

    We can’t have 3 First XI players moving towards Bosmans, and that’s why I think that Ox will be sold. Any other year he’s a £50m player, but he’s in the last year of his contract.

    I would love it if he signed on, but if he doesn’t, he should be sold, pronto.

    1. Agree with most of what you say, but I have to differ when it comes to the Ox’s trickery. His pace and directness are certainly assets that he uses, but he can also put a defender on his arse… I’ve seen him do it. I believe Ox’s struggles to realize his potential have less to do with his skill set and more to do with lack of consistent playing time, which I believe accounts for his admittedly inconsistent quality.

  13. Why do I keep thinking everything that Wenger has done now will serve him as an excuse to switch back to a 4-2-3-1 later in the season?

    1. Yes. Count on it. And yet another reason why Ox is superfluous; if we aren’t playing with wing-backs, then Bellerin is the superior defender and natural RB.

      Of course we’ve loaned off Jenkinson and are trying to ditch Debuchey, so no idea who would be the back-up RB.

      Our roster is so f’n screwed up…

  14. So much confusion is surrounding Arsenal right now. If we lose to liverpool I think we’ll see an immediate ramp up of toxicity similar to the worst of last season.

  15. Two games in and already a feeling of ennui. How to cope? Just abandon the Premier League season? Forget that s$%t. Just 36 games to go…we’re almost there!

  16. Liverpool have problems too. They haven’t significantly strengthened, and they’re been disrupted by the Coutinho business. It’s not a foregone conclusion. My prediction is shared points, with a 2 -2 score.

    Big questions — will Sanchez, Oxlade and Mustafi play?

  17. The Ox is fabulous on the ball and his basic mentality is as direct an approach to goal as possible. Shoots at the least opportunity. But poor team player. These read more like a world class striker in the making. There must be something Conte and Wenger have seen in that lad.

    I have one ugly feeling that we would have missed a star if he were to leave.

    1. Wenger has that feeling too, hence the quotes. Whatever his other flaws, you don’t find players who can average 5+ dribbles per game very often. His skills are particularly relevant with the modernization of football and emphasis on rapid closing down and transition play. Furthermore, there is no like-for-like replacement for him in the Arsenal squad unless maybe Reiss Nelson is, like, the REAL REAL deal.

  18. I’m usually pretty supportive of whatever’s going on with Arsenal but it’s looking more and more like we’re going to actually make money on transfers this summer.

    I could understand and support that practice a few years ago but I thought we were past those days.

  19. Oooommmmm!!!

    I highly recommend travel. Currently in the middle of my European adventures. On the train heading to Budapest. Missed the stoke loss as no pub in Germany wanted to show the epl over the bundesliga. Seems we were wasteful and the ref played his part too. Same old same old.

    All this transfer worry is passing me by. Mostly because I can’t keep up with it right now. Hoping to be able to watch the game tomorrow. A win – lucky or deserved- will do and then we see where we end up once the transfer window closes.

    On the Ox, I really hope he stays. I think his potential is high even if he’s been slow to get here. Unfortunately I have felt his agent will guide him elsewhere for some time seeing as apparently he and Sterling have the same Mr 20%.

    I don’t think the Ox should play cm though. I don’t think he has the ball control or the vision to consistently play there. But I could see him developing into one in the future if that’s what he wants. I think he’ll be more likely to stay on the wings.

    1. Happy travels Shard.
      Love train travel, especially the changing of scenery while looking out the window.
      Great city, Budapest.

  20. “I don’t like talking about other fans but I have to here: there is a lot of negative fan sentiment around Ox. There was a clickbait article by Matt Law (I don’t like to the Telegraph, Sun, Mirror, Star, Metro, or Daily Mail) published yesterday that said Arsenal have offered Ox £180k a week in salary. This had the desired effect and fan outrage was peaked on Twitter and other venues.”

    Why the outrage? Seems like there would be outrage if we let him walk and outrage if we pay what it takes to sign him. He’s a player with a unique set of skills, perfectly suited to modern football, who is entering his prime years, in a football economy busting at the seams with bloated player fees that are rising every year.

    To me, we are a worse team without the Ox, so we should try to keep him. It’s only natural that his scumbag agent will do his utmost to play for the last dime and not jump on something until all other avenues are closed.

    1. Ox doesn’t want to play for us, Doctor. He turned down an eye-watering wage offer that would have made him the highest-paid player at the club after Lacazette, and according to reports (not refuted), he has made clear to Wenger and Gazidis that he wants a new challenge elsewhere. We can keep him, as you say, but it’ll only be for a season.

      He’s undoubtedly a player of significant footballing value to Arsenal, but in my opinion, he’s not a must-keep whatever the circumstances player. Financial logic says “sell.” Footballing logic says that while he played out of his skin in the second part of the season, he still, at 23, has a rough, unpolished edge to his game. My preference would be that he signs a new contract. Failing that, we should sell.

      The central midfield thing is an overblown concern. None of two clubs being mentioned as his probable destination will play him there.

      1. I realize that he is agitating. My belief is that he is doing that because it’s likely to land him in a better position than he is now, either through a lucrative new contract with us or next year with someone else. It’s improving his negotiating position. My main point though is that the salary figure is not that eye watering, not to me, having seen the type of money that has changed hands this summer in transfer fees alone. If that sort of salary isn’t routine for a 23 year old utility player with big dribbling numbers and potentially even bigger upside now, it will be soon. That’s the way the sport is going.

        1. I think that turning down the last salary offer was pretty definitive. If he intended to stay with us, he’d have signed by now. As it is, the reports that he made clear he wants to leave are credible.

          Personally, I think he’s either deluded or disingenuous about CM being the sticking point. He’s not going to play there for either Chelsea or Liverpool. And he’s bright enough to know it. I’m resigned to our losing Ox. Hope I’m wrong, but I won’t lose much sleep over it.

          I do like Ox. Apert from being a good, dynamic and explosive (albeit not irreplacvable) footballer, he’s got wonderful spirit and a quick wit. He’s going to make a quick and smooth transition to the commentary booth when his playing days end.

          1. He might get playing time at CM at Liverpool, especially if they lose Coutinho, but overall I agree with you.

          2. The question is, assuming it’s not really/totally about money, and it’s not really/totally about wanting to play CM, why is he insistent on wanting to move?? Two possibilities spring to mind:
            1. Basically he’s receiving terrible advice from his snake of an agent. This is quite probable, whatever else is the case, but it’s hard for me to believe it’s the whole story, since it’s still hard for me to believe that these leeches hold so much sway over their clients, particularly one so obviously intelligent as the Ox (not saying he’s Einstein, just that, unlike many footballers, he seems like the type who has a brain and can think for himself).

            2. Wenger and Arsenal just aren’t a very attractive place to be any longer, and he genuinely thinks he’ll have a much better chance of success, both in terms of trophies and his personal development, at Liverpool or Chelsea.

            Both of these options are incredibly depressing to me.

  21. In the meantime, the club is briefing the media in a bid to spin the situation around transfers. This is about the third publication in which I’ve seen the exact same quotes, and they bear all the hallmarks of strategic briefing.

    What makes them think that Lemar would be any easier to get a year from now, when we had all summer to land him and didn’t? Monaco seems prepared to sell if you meet their valuation. fabinho was supposedly an untouchable with Lemar, and now we’re learning that he may be sold too. Ditto Van Dijk. It’s fanciful to imagine that he’ll wait a year to sign for just us. We’re haven’t got Real Madrid cachet.

    This story-planting is pie-in-the-sky and jam tomorrow stuff from Arsenal. This is what we have come to.

    1. Hate the game, not the player! If they feel they need a ‘strategic briefing’ to keep some fans onside, what’s wrong with that? They’re playing their hand in the same dirty game as Ox’s agent, Chelsea’s recruitment people and Barcelona’s brass; it’s manipulative and underhanded, but it’s a dog eat dog world out there. I prefer not to pay attention to that part of football because I find it distasteful and it makes me lose interest altogether. Rumors and gossip are nothing but toxic in my view.

  22. Is this what happens when you lose the dressing room?

    Is football becoming one of those sports where owners lose money on a yearly basis but make it up on the sale? Or is there another revenue stream to tap? Will clubs start their own sports networks? Seems like that window of opportunity has closed given the rise of streaming.

    When is the bubble going to burst? What will be the catalyst? Streaming? It’s not cheap oil. Will Chinese money be the next wave?

    What are the UK and European laws on restraint of trade? Assuming you could get the big players to agree, would a salary cap even be legal?

  23. Actually, if I was in Ox’s position I would leave too. Money on offer from Arsenal is attractive but same as what he can get at Chelsea and Liverpool. With Chelsea he will go into a team full of match winners. Let’s face it, chances of him winning a title are a lot stronger with Chelsea than us. If he goes to Liverpool he goes and works with a young coach who also gives chances to young players. He is surrounded by players playing a very clear brand of Football, which is high intensity and exciting. It’s right up his alley. At Arsenal, he is part of team which is still not certain of its philosophy. The manager seems to be either out of touch or involved in some game of internal brinksmanship. Either way, it’s no fun being an Arsenal player at Emirates. Every bad touch is followed by vitriol from the stands. So, really it’s a no brainer for Ox. Forget about his dodgy agent. I believe, it’s time he moved to teams with clear philosophy and clarity of his position.

  24. Did Mesut get out of bed this morning? Jeez. But yeah, Ramsey…

    And that Welbeck miss at 0-0 sums up our muddled thinking on transfers. You buy a fox in the box you don’y play in the big game, instead of a classic centre forward who can score.

    They are playing very, very well, to be fair. Including Mane, who just scored. He and Can have been out of this world superb.

    1. “Did Mesut get out of bed this morning? Jeez. But yeah, Ramsey…”

      Hey at least Mezut had a good view of both Liverpool goals.
      Ramsey on the other hand almost missed the first one while talking to the bench , and for the second one was the furthest Arsenal player up the pitch 🙂

        1. If Ramsey doesn’t want to play in the engine room alongside Xhaka, we need a new midfielder, pronto (while we’re looking, I’d start by giving Wilshere some game time; he couldn’t do any worse). Could we get some advice from Liverpool in how to find energetic, tidy box-to-box midfielders? I don’t think any of Can, Wijnaldum, and Henderson have more talent than our lot, but they look comfortable on the ball, like they know how to work hard, and like their teammates aren’t strangers.

  25. Liverpool vs 11 strangers sporting blue shirts with Arsenal logo.
    What time is the real Arsenal playing?

  26. 2-0 at half time. We’re not coming back from this. This is a mismanaged group of players that knows it’s mismanaged. No fight, no ideas. At this point I’m just hoping for a respectable loss, because this could get ugly.

    1. Hey man, a goal from us changes the equation. Give em credit… they’ve been awesome.

      1. Midfield is a mess, just like at Stoke, except Liverpool have better players. Ramsey and Xhaka are too far apart and neither has the athleticism to compensate for the poor positioning.

        The wingbacks are ineffective in both phases. Bellerin’s starting too high and Ox isn’t tracking his runners. It’s the same problem we’ve always had of balls being played behind the wingbacks.

        Ozil and Alexis aren’t combining, at all. Welbeck is a willing but very blunt instrument. He’s made a hash of 3-4 presentable situations where a quicker mind might have unlocked something. He also made a hash of a very good chance in the box that could’ve made it 1-0 against the run of play and changed the game.

        Put Bellerin back at RWB. Bring Kolasinac or Monreal to play LWB. Bench the Ox. Get Lacazette on at striker, put Welbeck back on the wing. Or, now that we’re down 2-0, might as well go whole hog and revert to a back 4, at least then we might get some overloads in their half which could bring a goal.

        If it continues like this, it’s going to be a real hiding.

        1. For that Mane goal, Ox was back but he neither closed down the man on the ball nor did he track the runner behind him. Catastrophic.

      2. I disagree that Liverpool were excellent. I think we’re making them look like Bayern Munich because we are inept. Liverpool are not Bayern Munich. And I’d argue Arsenal have a better squad. On paper.

        1. Liverpool may not be Bayern but I guarantee you Bayern wouldn’t want to play them in the knock out stages of the CL the way they relished playing us.

          Liverpool had the best record against other top six last season and for a good reason.
          Suffocating ball playing teams of space and time on the ball ,when you have speed and quality all over the pitch, will usually make them look lesser quality than what they appear to be on paper.

          Liverpool have a better chance of winning the CL than the PL though, because it’s next to impossible to keep this sort of commitment for the whole season in the PL.

          1. And their defense is average (which is being kind), which means that if teams can get at that defense–and non-ball-playing teams will happily do so by hoofing it long–they’ll leak goals all season.

  27. It’s a good thing Liverpool are tired from the CL game midweek.
    Otherwise they could really run riot.

  28. Prediction. Coquelin for Xhaka at halftime. Xhaka is one mistimed tackle away from a sending off. But Ozil is still having his morning coffee. If Wenger had the cojones, it’d be Ozil coming off.

    1. yes, because it’s our number 10 who’s the big problem here, not our completely and utterly dysfunctional defense and midfield…

      1. F*** yeah, he was a big part of the problem. You seem to think it’s ONE area????!!!

        I’m stunned that he stayed on the field.

        1. Have to agree with PFo. It seems utterly pointless to err… point at Ozil when NONE of the players showed up to play.

      2. You know sometimes I think you just argue for the sake it. Tell me that you think that Ozil wasn’t bloody dire today. As was Bellerin, and about half a dozen others, to be fair. But he’s our offensive leader, and he didn’t show up.

        1. I think he’s got a fair point, actually. It was a collective disaster, with some worse than others, but I don’t think Ozil was the worst offender. I’m having trouble naming one, actually. There were quite a few.

          1. Agreed, Ozil at least came out with a better attitude after halftime. Took him about 30 seconds to pick up a booking after lunging in at someone. He didn’t have a good game, not by a long way, but that’s what you get with Ozil: he is not a tone setter, he is not an alpha dog, and he’s not particularly good or strong in challenges. Some people really don’t like that, especially in games like this. I think it’s unkind to refer to him as a “luxury” player but the reality is that he only really contributes in one phase and in the modern game there is less and less room for players like that.

        2. I don’t know about “dire”, but I’ll gladly grant you “bad”. I mean, the whole team was dire, and Ozil certainly contributed to that, so in that sense he was dire.

          But my points are:
          1) As others have pointed out, the team as a whole was terrible. Nothing was really working.
          2) I don’t think the problems are only in one area (and saying we’ve got a dysfunctional defense and midfield is hardly “one area”). But I do think the most fundamental problem, from which most (though not all!) of our problems derive, is in not having any kind of basic structure in defense and central midfield, both to look at least solid when teams attack us, and (especially) to build swiftly and dangerously from the back without constantly coughing the ball up.
          Put it this way: a Santi team (by which I mean, not just one where Santi is playing, but where he’s in deep midfield) almost never looks this bad. Of course, we’ve had some poor losses with Santi in there, but not so many and not where we look so completely at sea. He’s our “technical security”, as AW likes to say. Where is even a shred of that security without Santi? Wenger has four days to sort it out (or else come up with the mythical “internal solution”), or it’s going to be a LONG season.

    1. Reminds me of ‘that’ Liverpool game, actually. No, not that one, that other one. And that third one too. And also that Chelsea game. And that City game. And, yeah, I guess that United game. Or do you mean the 8-2? Oh, come on now, let’s not go overboard!

      1. You’re right, I should have been more specific as unfortunately there’s a few to choose from.

        What I saw reminded me of that United game a few years back where even though we’d a chance to get back in the title race with a win, the team didn’t look interested or up for it.

        Hopefully things improve.

  29. Actually, I’m full of admiration for the German bossing the game. Emre Can. WTF is our German? Incredibly he IS on the field.

  30. That was one load of crap served up by the team and the manager. It’s pretty clear now that Wenger is clueless about what is his best team. We still have a chance before the Transfer window closes. Can we sell Wenger by the end of the month?

  31. Not a single player had a good game, not one. Maybe Cech, despite the 4 goals we shipped.

    A few particularly notable disasters:
    1. Welbeck on the ball. Every good move in which he was involved broke down. Spread wide to Danny –> Move stalls. Indecisive, lacking belief in himself to make things happen, it’s not good enough for a center forward. A chance inside the first 10 minutes would’ve changed this game.
    2. Ox defending. Went to sleep, not tracking runners, which is NOT a new problem. It is a BIG problem now that he is occasionally part of the last line of defense. He didn’t contribute offensively and didn’t defend well.
    3. Xhaka’s passing. As his confidence dipped throughout the game, he stopped passing the ball forward. He was 1/2 of a thoroughly dysfunctional midfield which actually got worse when Coquelin came on.

    I could go on. The team didn’t show up today and Liverpool were cohesive, sharp and hardworking. The combination was a hiding you could see coming within 10 minutes and one that could’ve been worse. The failings are familiar. I’ve long supported Arsene but at this point in the season, I don’t see how he can go on much longer at the helm. He’s not the type to throw in the towel but it’s plain to see the team isn’t performing, as a whole, and he must feel that as well.

    I don’t mind eating crow on this. We have to do the right thing for Arsenal and seeing as we can’t fire the whole playing squad, the change will have to come elsewhere. He will try to tweak things but it doesn’t feel as though this situation can be salvaged by mere tactical change.

    1. Arsene’s time has been up for a long time now, but this isn’t the time to go.

      The club is a mess. He HAS to sort things first.

      Too many players coming to the end of their contracts who don’t want to be there.
      Wage squatters we cant shift…
      …therefor a bloated squad where we cant get the incomings we need
      Players playing way below their potential
      Players who have regressed horribly (Bellerin, Holding)
      A lack of sound, bespoke, game-by-game tactical planning

      He absolutely can’t leave the shop to a new steward in this state. I thought we had a shot at fourth. We’re looking like a 6th or 7th placed side. Those two years will entail painful reconstruction. We can win knockout competitions like cups, but we are far away from being a properly competitive premiership side.

      1. I don’t agree. Arsene is not the long term future of this club. I supported letting him give it one more shot before calling time, with full support from a big, talented squad, to go all out to try to win a title. He had this offseason to shape this team and craft the best possible XI. I’m going to assume he gave it his best possible shot. THAT was as far from a competitive squad as I’ve ever seen in my 12 years of watching this club.

      2. This absolutely is the time for him to go. How can you trust him to sort out the mess? He has been getting us into these kind of situation for years.

      3. I would say this is the time to go. Clean the mess, suffer the pain if we need to. I would even say that give youngsters from academy a chance. It’s been 12 years we haven’t won the league, what’s a few more. I just want a manager with clear vision of the kind of football our team should play. Last time we did that was with Cesc and Flamini.

  32. What’s most impressive (not in the good sense) about this game and this start to the season, is how quickly Wenger has completely blown all the goodwill he gained back at the end of last season with the FA Cup win, the relatively solid winning run, and the 3-4-3.
    It’s all gone now. All of it. This is as bad as we’ve played, and as dysfunctional as we’ve been as a club, ever (in Wenger’s reign, obviously). Like, it’s not worse than last season when we lost to Liverpool at Anfield, but it’s just as bad (and could get worse before Thursday). The fixture list hasn’t helped us, but neither has Wenger with his UTTERLY BIZARRE team selections:

    –Why was Holding dropped for Stoke and then brought back in as Mustafi was dropped (and if the answer is we’re about to sell Mustafi to Inter, that doesn’t get any less bizarre)?????
    –I’m steadfastly refusing to buy into the narrative that Bellerin is a way better option at RWB than the Ox. I think Hector’s been poor and he was poor again today. But if we’re going to sell the Ox, then sure, let’s bench Ox and start Hector. Either way, MAKE UP YOUR MIND ARSENE, AND ONLY PLAY ONE OF THEM!!!!!!!
    –Xhaka and Ramsey doesn’t work, especially with Xhaka strugging for form and confidence and Ramsey determined not to offer him adequate support in the midfield engine room. This was pretty obvious after last week. Anfield is not the place to give it one more shot: we needed Coquelin in there. If Ramsey was going to play, he should have played further forward, or else Wenger could have switched formations to play all three in a midfield trio. Better yet, buy a better bloody midfielder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    –If you buy a new goal scoring CF for 50m, YOU START HIM AT CF IN THE BIG MATCHES.

  33. Today I geniunely feel sad. For the longest time I have hoped against hope that Wenger would one day prove his naysayers wrong by producing a great team which will play amazing Football. But I have been deluded. He glory days are past Abd now he is just an old man whose style of Football doesn’t work with our team anymore.

    Goodbye Mr. Wenger. My respect for you diminishes after every game. Please don’t let your stubbornness hold back the club. Go before people totally turn on you.

    1. ‘For the longest time I have hoped against hope that Wenger would one day prove his naysayers wrong by producing a great team which will play amazing Football’
      THAT is the problem.
      A genuine question.Did you want Wenger gone after we’d won the FA cup last season ?What about when he signed the previous deal ?

  34. Sell as many players as possible. Get a new manager. Play remaining players and kids for the season – accept a busted year, just avoid relegation. Focus on planning for 2018/19.

  35. The team selection was beyond a joke; the most comforting explanation would be if someone discovered Wenger had secretly wagered a significant amount of money on Arsenal to lose. I’m really not kidding, in fact, the authorities should examine betting patterns on today’s match. If Wenger thought this was the best squad to win today they should fire him immediately and make him reserve his own travel back home.

  36. I don’t think we should blame any players individually. Tell me if you have heard this before: today all our players played poorly.

    Today wasn’t the first time the team was unprepared mentally or tactically. If we are going to point the finger at any one individual today, it has to be Wenger.

    I am surprised that nobody has mentioned the possibility of Wenger having lost the dressing room. Maybe it’s too early in the season to say that but I fear it happened last season and somehow the switch to back 3 enabled us to paper over the cracks. This is exactly how we were playing during our horrible run last season. At the end of the day our lack of organization is going to cost us regardless of our formation. The body language of our players at the end of the game was telling. They looked like players who have gone through this before and they haven’t yet found an answer.

    1. Well, our star players are not signing new contracts, are they? That’s the clearest indication there is that they lost faith and that they can do better.

  37. Just saw Dr Duh’s pre-game comment questioning if Arsene has lost the dressing room. I think that’s a valid question and also a very logical consequence of our results last season.

  38. Get rid of who wants to go….play the guys who want to be there. We can and have done better with less hyped players. Wenger has done it before and should do it again. Too many on this team that played today don’t wanna be there for whatever reason. Wenger needs to draw the line in the sand.

    1. I think the second-half substitutions spoke volumes in this respect. Were Ox and Sanchez the worst of the remaining players?

      There was a rather telling shot, before the subs, of Arsene on the bench, head bowed deep in thought, chewing on a stalk of grass or some such. It seemed to me that he was contemplating the import of what he was about to do.

      I agree now.

  39. This is what happens when a well drilled, cohesive team with a consistent tactical approach plays a group of players who’s manager thinks that tactical innovation is abandoning the midfield to play a withdrawn forward, playing a forward who does everything but shoot straight to halfheartedly press the opposition, and playing a right back at left back while benching your best left back. As a thought experiment, was there anyone in Liverpool’s starting eleven who was a major upgrade over anyone in our starting eleven. Firmino over Welbeck any day of the week but Firmino over Lacazette, no f***ing way. Nobody else in that Liverpool lineup would be substantial improvement over who we started. We had the best forward in Sanchez, the best playermaker in Ozil, the best defender in Koz, and the best keeper in Cech. And yet, because of their tactical superiority, Liverpool ran rampant. A common American coaching colloquialism is that a good coach is someone who’ll beat you with his players and if you switched sides, he’d beat you with your players. Anyone believe that Wenger could could beat Klopp if they switched sides?

  40. All – you expected that this season would be different from the last several because _______________.

    Please, I want to hear. Because whenever someone’s suggested we might be in for a worse season they get jumped on for being a lesser fan.

    3-4-3 – gone, three months earlier than I would have expected
    Mustafi – gone, otherwise why wouldn’t he have played?
    Chambers – gone, otherwise would be on the bench
    Ox – no doubt will jump on that contract boost now. 180k per week? LOL WUT? FFS
    Bellerin – shell shocked, does not have a manager who can help him
    Holding – shell shocked, does not have a manager who can help him
    Alexis – gone, it’s all academic over when
    Ozil – gone, have fun playing for Fenerbahce next year
    Ramsey – OMG, a reflection of his manager, complete lacking in self-awareness
    Mertesacker – being a captain that can’t get picked for big games is an insult
    Lacazette – wondering WTF… you picked Danny Welbeck over me? LOL WUT?!?!
    Kolasinac – wondering WTF… you picked an out-of-form RB to play LWB over me? LOL WUT?!?

    It took four years for me to turn, but now I really really really cannot wait to see the back of Arsene Wenger. This has nothing to do with the board or Stan Kroenke unless they’re dictating starting line-ups and drilling tactics with the team. WE HAVE THE PLAYERS. THEY ARE NOT BEING COACHED.

  41. During Everton’s 2009-2010 season, Joleon Lescott was jonesing for a move to Man City and was thus ‘unsettled’ and this in turn unsettled their team and we cruised to a 6-1 win in the opening game of the season.
    We have Sanchez and the Ox in that unsettled category and that can’t but have a negative effect on the team’s play.
    I wish I could say Aaron Ramsey was unsettled as an excuse for being atrocious today but no one wants him. Yes you are by definition are a “ham roll” Aaron.
    I read today’s line up and I said WTF were we doing at CF, and at the back with Holding and no Kolasinac. I also said I’m turning this shite off if Pool score early and so I could be blissfully ignorant for a little while about the absolutely shambolic display from Arsenal today. Wenger was so out of touch with that line up today based on what we’ve seen from the players he left on the bench that I thought should have been in the line up. A poor Mustafi is better than a poor Holding. Kolasinac is better than an out of position Bellerin. You do not leave your newly acquired CF on the bench for Danny Welbeck (see Chelsea’s line up toady for reference). Yes Wenger does have to go period

  42. i have to admit, i turned the tv off after liverpool scored their second goal and didn’t know the final score until this morning; i predicted 5-0 scoreline.

    arsene wenger needs to tender his resignation or be fired. while most arsenal fans would be sad to see him go, it needs to happen. i’m not upset that arsenal lost away to liverpool but i am upset that wenger is handicapping this team. he has a squad full of potential champions that he doesn’t know how to manage. no player with any real ambition wants to remain at arsenal. fans have been upset in the past when players decided to leave but can you blame them now? all of the reasons they’ve cryptically implied for leaving are becoming clearer with time; time always tells.

    while i’ve always had my criticisms of wenger, i’ve always supported him. however, since he managed to be thoroughly beaten to the bpl title by leicester city two years ago, the support has abandoned me. he makes decisions that don’t make sense to anyone. with respect, i don’t have to understand his decisions, especially if they work. however, when they don’t work, it’s difficult to trust his process.

    is the arsenal title challenge really over after only the 3rd game of the season? i would have to say yes because i can’t even see what wenger is trying to do. arsenal have conceded 8 goals in three games. that’s nearly 3 goals a game. add to that, arsenal haven’t scored a single goal in the last two games. what a shame. wenger is trying but he doesn’t know what he’s doing anymore. he’s like an old boxer who doesn’t know when he’s done. the people around him are lying to him because they want to keep their jobs. there you have it, tim. the theme to the next thread would be comparing wenger to that old fighter who doesn’t know when to hang up his gloves.

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