From Coquelin to Gnabry: where are they now?

Francis Coquelin – Valencia 3rd place in la Liga. Has had ups and downs since joining. Had an awful match against Las Palmas and two poor outings against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey. In the 2nd leg against Barca he was subbed off and then was dropped for Valencia’s next league match but came back to win the MotM award for a top drawer performance against Malaga; 7/7 tackles, 5 interceptions, 7 aerials won and even scored a goal off a corner. It’s a sweet header too. Plays with Kondogbia as part of a two-man midfield. Which I only say for all the fantasists who wanted Kondogbia at Arsenal for like the last 10 years.

Gabriel Paulista – Valencia 3rd place in la Liga. Got sent off for arguing with the official after picking up a yellow card for a handball. Sounds like Gabriel alright! But seriously, folks… he starts every match for Valencia even if they don’t have his center back partner nailed down.

Oxlade-Chamberlain – Liverpool. Using the data from Transfermarkt (which records penalties won and then scored as an assist) Ox has played 1444 minutes for Liverpool and scored 4 goals and provided 4 assists. That’s a goal or assist every 181 minutes. That’s a worse return than he had at Arsenal last season where he scored 6 goals and provided 11 assist in 2,568 minutes in all competitions for Arsenal. He’s only completed nine full 90 minute performances for Liverpool this season and has been subbed on in 17 of his 35 games. Almost all of his goals and assists have come when he’s played at least 87 minutes. All save one which he scored as a sub in the 7-0 thumping of Maribor in the Champions League. Looks like he could be a decent squad player for Liverpool.

Theo Walcott – Everton. In my farewell piece to Theo Walcott I suggested that Everton fans should expect about 1 goal event every 116 minutes from Theo. That’s been his average over the last three seasons. What’s Theo gone and done? Scored 2 goals and provided an assist in 331 minutes. That’s one goal event every… 110 minutes. He also went and won Man of the Match in Everton’s 3-1 win over Cry Pal without scoring a goal or providing an assist. Well, he won MotM on which heavily weights dribbles in their player rater. Walcott went 8/8 dribbling in that match and had 6 crosses. I am holding steady on my prediction that Theo James will get 10 goal events for Everton this season.

Olivier Giroud – Chelsea. You’ll find this fascinating. Chelsea supporters and the press around Chelsea are divided over Giroud. I hear just as many voices asking why Chelsea don’t start him more often as I hear saying that he’s terrible. There was even a small segment on Football Weekly (I think) where the reporters spoke glowingly of Hazard and Giroud together. How Hazard likes playing with strikers like Giroud who hold the ball up and create space for their teammates or play quick one-two passes for goals. Sam Dean has one such article over at the Telegraph. In spite of the fan venom (probably over losing Batshuayi to BvB where he’s scored 5 goals in 4 appearances) he’s off to a flier at Chelsea, he’s already scored a goal and provided 3 assists in just over 150 minutes of play at Chelsea. He was left out of the squad against Barcelona for tactical reasons (they pressed high) but Conte and Hazard love his little one-touch passing and strength is holding the ball up. Has said a number of nice things about Arsene Wenger since leaving. Nice chap, shame about his face though.

Wojciech Szczesny – Juventus, 2nd place in Serie A. Has played just 16 matches this season for the Old Grey Lady and has kept 12 clean sheets. He had two flaws at Arsenal: errors and distribution. He has zero errors this season for Juventus and just 2 inaccurate short passes out of 130. In his last full season at Arsenal he has 13 inaccurate short passes on 252 attempts. Every season since leaving Arsenal his passing has improved: 62% (2014/15 Arsenal), 67% (2015/16 Roma), 75.8% (2016/17 Roma), 76.2% (2017/18 Juventus). Szczesny is going to be the player Arsenal most regret selling. However, he’s also going to have the toughest challenge of his career ahead of him. He’s supposed to take over from Buffon who is retiring this season. Buffon isn’t just a great footballer, he’s also personable, he’s a national icon, and a Juventus legend. I wouldn’t want to follow in that man’s footsteps because no matter how good Szczesny is (and he is good) he will never be Buffon.

Alexis – Has scored a goal and has two assists already for Man U. The goal came against Huddersfield in the League. One assist came against Huddersfield in the FA Cup (a beautiful throughball which Lukaku tried to kick away with his dribble but since he’s Lukaku he lost control and the ball stayed near him on accident). And an assist against Yeovil Town in the FA Cup. Still playing football the Alexis way!

He’s gone “full Alexis” at Man U. He’s trying almost 9 dribbles per game (8.7) and he’s failing 3 dribbles per game, which is as many as he attempted per game at Arsenal this season (3.2). Failed touches? 4 per game (3.4 per game at Arsenal this season). Dispossessed? 4 per game (2.5 per game at Arsenal this season). Pass percentage? 72.7% at United, 72.4% at Arsenal but he’s attempting 58.7 passes per game at United and was just 45.9 at Arsenal this season. He’s averaging 14.3 bad short passes per game at United, which is 3.1 more per game than at Arsenal. His key pass numbers are down from 2.7 per game at Arsenal to 1.7 per game at United. He also looks like he’s under orders not to shoot from outside the box, that number has dropped from 1.8 per game to 0.7 and his penalty box shooting is up from 1.8 per game to 2.3.

What’s important to Jose, though, is that his tackles are up from 1.1 successful per game to 2.7. Interceptions are up from 0.3 to 0.7. And blocked passes are up from 0.2 to 1. All of which just reflects the fact that Mourinho’s United are just a checkbook West Brom.

Oh and in case you were wondering if the refs are treating him any different: he’s gone from being fouled just 2.3 times per game to 4.7. More than double. I’m only kidding, there’s no conspiracy. Most of those fouls probably come from him dribbling constantly and falling over when he loses possession… uhhh… 25 times a game?

Can’t wait for the United fans to turn on Alexis later this week. They would have done it already but they’ve been busy hating Paul Pogba, like the joke club that they are. (OOHHHH TIM IS SALTY).

Debuchy – Scored a goal for Saint-Etienne. Hope he has a great career and finds peace. Namaste.

Akpom – Moved to St. Truiden in Belgium on loan this January. Already scored a goal for them and they want to make the deal permanent. Off to a fast start!

Perez – I have rarely seen a player of such mediocre talent engender so much respect and love from the Arsenal faithful as Lucas Perez but apparently he’s not getting quite the same love from Deportivo. Their supporters painted hate graffiti on his house, calling him a mercenary and telling him to get out of the club. One small problem, it wasn’t his house anymore. Anyway, he’s scored 4 goals and provided 3 assists for them but he hasn’t scored since November. It’s not like he’s getting a lot of shots though, just 11 in the last 12 matches. I bet he’ll be back at Arsenal this summer.

Jenkinson – Loaned to Aston Villingham this summer, he was injured on his debut with the Blues and didn’t play again until January 27th to play in the FA Cup against Huddersfield. The papers talked up his FA Cup performances and then he promptly had a stinker in the derby against the other Birmingham team, Aston City. Despite the fan outrage at his error-strewn performance in the derby, he started and played the full 90 in the loss to Millwall. It must be magical to play against teams like Millwall and Aston Villa.

Joel Campbell – Had a goal and an assist in the final 13 minutes of a 6-3 loss to Valencia in October and then suffered a knee injury two weeks later. The last article I read (in Spanish) said that the Betis managers don’t know when he’ll play again. He’s had a number of knee injuries and I have a weird feeling that he’s not going to play much football from here until he retires. I bet you’ll be surprised to learn that Campbell is still on the books at Arsenal! Yep, he’s under contract until 2019.

Serge Gnabry – With 3 goals and 4 assists at Hoffenheim there is talk of bringing him back into the Bayern Munich fold. That’s a surprise to me. I’ve watched him play a number of times this season and he’s got a lot of talent, speed, and ball control but he also fades in and out of games. Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes puts that down to him being young and spending much of his career on the injury table. But both Heynckes and sporting director Rummenigge say that Gnabry will come back to Bayern in the summer and get a chance to impress. He’s increased his dribbling every season and key passes. Since Ribery and Robben retired three years ago there might be a squad spot open for him.



  1. Are there any discernible patterns here? A few players who were never really top-quality knocking about in Europe or the lower leagues (Coq, Gabriel, Perez, Campbell, Debuchy, Jenkinson), a couple of useful squad players doing a decent job in the PL (Giroud, Walcott, Ox).

    What conclusions are there? Maybe that they were never really good enough to be starting for Arsenal for several years?

  2. @7amkickoff,could you please do an article on the players you think arsenal should sign and sell this summer. Would love your opinion on this.

    1. What made it so great for you?

      25 passes?
      2 tackles (1 successful)?

      Was it the one cross that led to a shot?

      He was not even the better of the two midfielders on his team.

  3. Thanks Tim, nice article. Good to have you back after the little break.

    I’m still hugely bitter and sad about the Chesney sale (I thought I would miss the Ox more, but I guess I’ve come around to the view that, while he’s got truly massive potential, there are also deep and basic problems with his game/psyche that make it unlikely he’ll ever reach that potential).

    I just don’t get it, unless a) Arsenal are idiots, or b) Arsene was being petty and holding a grudge against Woj.

    You say, “He had two flaws at Arsenal: errors and distribution,” but I always thought his short distribution was much, much better than Cech’s, and his long distribution much, much better than Ospina’s (who can’t kick past the halfway line, embarrassingly). He would make some daft/careless passes, but at least half of that was down to his general penchant for errors (which was down to immaturity, in my opinion), and the other half was down to the Arsenal defense generally being daft and error-prone as a rule. Basically, the guy had all the skills necessary to pass accurately out of the back, short or long. And he was tall, aggressive, and agile. And he was a talented shot stopper. And he had a big personality. And he was still relatively young for a keeper when we sent him on loan, having years of experience as a starting PL keeper under his belt.

    I still can’t bloody believe it…

    1. I believe Tim thinks there was far more to the “smoking in the boy’s room” situation than was made public.

      1. But what though? Short of him being a terrible personality (which he wasn’t by all accounts), the smoking incident seems a pretty trivial reason to send him off. Lehmann had a pretty volatile personality and it did him no harm. As a matter of fact, I would argue GKs need to be have a bit of a crazy streak in them.

      2. A lot more. I think him and Wenger had some serious words. I also wonder if there wasn’t something else going on. For example, if I were to write that story as a script I would have made Szczesny either drunk or hungover for that game. Not that I’m saying he was drunk or hungover, but that’s how I would write it as a script. A script, a fiction based on no information that I have or that anyone has told me. Just something I made up.

        1. I always wondered what was in Szczesny’s ‘water’ bottle. He was always sipping from that thing.

    2. Szczesny was a home-grown player. That’s a double whammy when you consider the premium Premier League clubs put on such a player. Prediction – he’ll be back in the Premier League after trying to fill Buffon’s shoes for a year or two. Probably United after they sell De Gea to Madrid or maybe even Liverpool if they fail to get replace Mignolet this summer.

      My theory on Szczesny is that Wenger does not like dealing with discordant players. He just freezes them out and then shows a distinct lack of forgiveness. Other managers try to air differences out, some like Mancini even get into fist fights and then hug those same players a few weeks later. Imagine a Simeone with Szczesny’s bad behavior… they would have closed the door, had a brawl, finally agreed to work together for the betterment of the team and all is forgotten.

  4. I can’t wait for Wenger’s book explaining what really happened with Szczesny. Presumably words were exchanged and Szczesny crossed some line or exposed his fundamental immaturity. Maybe Wenger sold him because he’d had enough and decided to cut his losses or maybe he thought it was what Szczesny needed. Either way, I predict that one day Szczesny will thank him.

    Wenger did Szczesny the biggest favor of his life by kicking him out of Arsenal. By loaning and then selling him, Wenger taught Szczesny that talent alone is not enough and actions have consequences. Szczesny took the lesson to heart and applied himself at Roma and improved as he never did at Arsenal.

    I wish him the best and hope he leads Juve to triumph in the CL.

  5. There was definitely more to Szczesny’s sale than what we know because otherwise it makes no sense at all. I wish Wenger decided there was a way back for him, but for whatever reason, there was not. I’m sorry we don’t have him but who knows what really happened. Maybe someday we’ll find out. Maybe someday he’ll even come back.

    Lucas Perez had a good reputation because he seemed an eager and able finisher/provider in the few appearances he had for us. I think he was unlucky with the timing of his injury, because that was when he would have had a chance to play. As it is, he was bought as backup and when Welbeck came back from injury, that was it for his chance of getting a run.

    Debuchy was another who was unlucky with his injury, but ultimately his attitude at Bellerin establishing himself in his absence was the reason he just never made it back.

    I’m happy to see Gabriel and Coq do well. I am also happy that Ox isn’t doing as well. Gnabry is the one that got away, because he does have talent. Not sure if he’ll make the most of it. He’ll contribute for Bayern though. (Gnabry is an example of Bayern’s pulling power extending beyond their net spend)

    Jenkinson, Akpom, Cambell. Very surprised if any of them play for us again. How is the kid we bought from non league doing? Bramall. The LB. I think he was on loan at Birmingham Villa too.

    1. Ohhhh! I can’t believe I’ve left Bramall out! I forget that he’s even an Arsenal player (which is just me getting old).

      He’s not getting any playing time, just 326 minutes. In his last match with Birmingham Villa he was pretty awful, as were his teammates, and they lost 5-0.

      1. His speed was supposed to be his biggest asset. He’s obviously going to be behind in his football development, but to get no game time has to be a disappointment.

      1. Because he plays for Liverpool and he doesn’t have the ‘service record’ that would endear him to me despite this.

  6. He was one of the few we had in our team who was both a player and a fan. Jack is another. I think you need a couple of players like them in every team – especially these days when loyalty is such a scare quality. Besides, they weren’t in the squad just to make up the numbers. Szczney’s sale remains a mystery to me. I think you are right. Words were exchanged and Szczney must have said something stupid. That’s the only thing I can think of. He did own up to his own immaturity in an interview while he was at Roma.

  7. I request that this kind of stats oriented “Where Are They Now” piece becomes a regular thing. A once or twice a season look-in for the most recently departed players would be most interesting.

    Thanks very much for this.

  8. Wojciech Szczesny was – not to put too fine a word on it – just too much of dick. Credit to him for any maturity he’s developed now and like a lot of people, I would welcome him back with open arms if that were ever to happen post-Wenger.

  9. valencia used coquelin as a center back in the copa del rey. weird. considering he was out of position, he played fairly well. i hated to see him go but i’m happy to see him playing again.

    paulista sale was one i certainly didn’t see coming. he had a very good end to last season up until his injury. once arsenal switched to a back 3, it seemed to suit him best.

    ox left to grow and be coached. he wasn’t learning anything at arsenal. i believe the general consensus is that wenger doesn’t make any players better and ox is proof. he was running on talent, alone. good for him.

    theo! theo! theo!

    poor giroud. he’s always having to prove himself because no one believes he’s good enough. he had to prove himself with arsenal fans after rvp left. he had to prove himself with french fans after benzema was left out. now, he’s doing it again at chelsea. give them time and they’ll come around. giroud is a great team mate and simply a hard person to hate.

    wojciech is one that upset me. i’m enjoying the discussions folks are having about him but what on earth could that kid have possibly said to upset wenger that much? whatever he said, it had to be the ultimate in disrespect and was probably true. regardless, arsenal sold him to juventus for cheap; the price of a ham sandwich and a bag of cheetos.

    arsenal need a player like alexis to be successful. they play with little to no direction and most of their goals come on set plays or individual brilliance. alexis is one of the most individually brilliant players in the world. that won’t change. we’ll see how arsenal cope.

    debuchy has a right to gripe. he’s a french international who was stuck behind some kid who is quick and exciting but not a very good right back.

    lucas is a very talented player on an absolutely awful deportivo team. that team stinks. screw those fans! “dammit tim, he’s a soccer player, not a miracle worker”.

    i absolutely can not believe either chuba or jenkinson are still at arsenal. they’re not good enough.

    joel campbell has huge potential for next season. i think he’ll dovetail nicely with mkhi and auba. we’ll see.

  10. Completely forgot Joel Campbell is still on loan. He is in his mid-twenties now, so this is a strange one. Wonder who’s got the record as player longest on loan? He has got to be up there.

  11. In arguing that Arsene is no longer good enough a manager to keep in his post (something I agree with and have been saying for 4 years), I don’t know that we need be extreme (copyright Shard 😉 ) in our assessment.

    It plainly isn’t the case that “wenger doesn’t make any players better”. Come on, man. There’s a long list of players that Wenger has improved — Van Persie, Song, Adebayor, Flamini, Koscielny. It’s true that his best examples are not so recent, but the statement is still untrue.

    Ox was/is nothing special, and, while it’s early days, the trajectory of his Liverpool career is so far bearing that out. Gnabry, who has roughly similar skillsets, is significantly more technically adept and football educated. He, along with Szczesny, are two players I’d have loved to see us keep.

    I think Tim’s spot-on on there being more to the Szczesny situation. The Szczesny decision likely wasn’t a footballing one, because it’s clear that he would have displaced Cech if he had come back. He’s a better keeper than Cech as this moment. Cech, Koscielny and Mertesacker are Arsene’s dressing room leaders, and Wenger places a lot of store in off-field stuff. His handling of Giroud’s transfer shows that sometimes places the players’ welfare first, and I love him for that.

    1. Wenger makes some players better, but not all. As discussed on this site before the players that flourish under Wenger are typically didactic self-starters that Wenger only has to steer. Koscielny was climbing the ranks of Ligue Un on his own before Wenger bought him. van Persie idolized Bergkamp and would have been emulating Dennis’ training habits and work ethic. But there are just as many players who despite being very talented would probably do better with some micro-managing and daily coaching i.e. Xhaka, Mustafi and others.

  12. No sympathy for Debuchy. He was never good enough for Arsenal, ever. Newcastle fans couldn’t see the logic and neither could I. He was always meant to be a stopgap for Bellerin I suppose… but he alwas not even close to Sagna’s level. And his attitude stank. But he suffered and hes gone, so I wish him well.

    1. Debuchy was really good for us initially and did well to come back after an injury. Arnautovic’s push that dislocated his shoulder caused his second injury, with Bellerin taking his place, and probably was the reason for some of the frustration he exhibited.

      I think he could have had a good career at Arsenal if it weren’t for that second injury, and Bellerin would probably have been better for it too with some added competition to gain a permanent first team spot.

      But you are right that his attitude makes it difficult to have sympathy for him.

    2. This is wrong. Debuchey was a good deal when we got him. He was a very decent right back… before he got hurt. Stop gap for Bellerin? Bellerin wasn’t even on Wenger’s radar until injuries to Debuchey and Jenkinson forced him to play Bellerin. There was talk of him getting loaned out. That was also the year we accidently discovered Coquelin and that Cazorla could play the deep pivot.

      1. Ok, so I was agreeing with you until the “not on his radar” bit.

        Bellerin was not on Wenger’s radar????! Really?

        There are legitimate levels of Wenger criticism and then there’s Jack levels of off-the-rails uncharitableness.

        So Arsene was completely unaware of the potential and near-readiness for first team action of one of the most promising youth products at the time? I remember one or two of the first team members giving interviews on the official website at the start of that season and mentioning Hector as their pick for youth product to break into the first team that year; but apparently they saw something that their boss, the manager of the football club, had completely missed. After Hector’s disastrous debut against Dortmund, I suppose it was only injuries that completely forced Arsene’s hand and made him reintroduce Hector into the team. And keep him in the team. And you really think Arsene had nothing to do with bringing him from Barca to London as a teenager? No, AW deserves no credit for any of this. In Jack’s book AW never deserves any of the credit when things go right, but all of the credit when things go wrong. Jeez.

        1. And yeah, Wenger also deserves zero credit for figuring out the Cazorla/Coquelin partnership. It was all just a cosmic accident, some tear in the space-time continuum, that Cazorla suddenly found himself playing in central midfield alongside Coquelin. 100% dumb luck. No way for AW to f*ck up the universe’s plans, no shred of credit due to AW for making managerial decisions as the, you know, manager.

          1. All great things involve some measure of luck. Retroactively deducting points because he didn’t specifically design something is kind of pointless in my opinion. Arsene may improvise more than most, but all managers benefit from time to time with things like that falling into their laps. The good ones can recognize it and run with it, and that’s what Wenger did.

          2. I’ll stand by what I said.

            Debuchey was not a “placeholder” for Bellerin. Bellerin was not anywhere near the first team to the degree that he would have put Wenger off buy Aurier or buying a 10m French international as a stop-gap. Bellerin was supposed to go on loan in January that year.

            And Cazorla/Coquelin was a complete, 100% accident that happened as a result of injuries. We had to recall Coquelin from loan because the midfield was decimated. Cazorla was a stop-gap because (surprise!) Ramsey, Wilshere, Arteta, Rosicky et al were hurt. Oh, lo and behold they complimented each other beautifully. No way can you argue that Wenger saw that that would work. Otherwise why wouldn’t he have done it sooner? That pairing plus the steady partnership of Kos & Mert was the big reason we went on that long run that season.

      2. Bellerin wasn’t on many fans’ radar! Bellerin was the likely reason Wenger did not buy the now Spurs’ right back, Aurier. A young speedy fullback.

        Also, players getting loaned out for young players is usually because they are deemed too good to play in the reserves even if not completely ready for the first team. Not because they are being dumped as not good enough.

  13. Selling Giroud is costly. He’s not good at everything obviously (who is?) but he is world class at the things he does well. And he has a killer instinct which cannot be taught. We lose an important and different option up front. I think we will regret this one…

    1. Unfortunately, It was either Giroud or Aubameyang. I love Giroud and said much the same about him being world class at what he does. I think it was a fair trade to make for us. If only he would have moved to Dortmund instead of to Chelsea I’d be much happier, but I understand and respect why he didn’t want to.

  14. Wenger doesn’t “make” players better or worse. He has his approach to player development and they respond to it with varying degrees of tangible improvement.

    Great talent always shines through though. I don’t think anyone would mistake anyone on that list not named Salexis Anchez as a “great talent” so it’s more of a testament to our poor player recruitment and persistence with or over-reliance upon mediocre talent than anything else. That over-reliance makes the players feel more significant than they really are.

    My personal opinion is that Wenger succeeded in churning every last scrap of magic juice they had in most cases before eventually giving up. In a few cases, like Ox, he would’ve liked to keep churning, perhaps unwisely. He’s just addicted to the challenge of helping players rise above themselves.

    1. Well, to say great talent always shines through is a bit simplistic. Talent is not a Fifa points scale, it’s not a singular thing. some talent prevails under specific circumstances. But some great talent gets lost because they never find their niche or position and need to be taught certain things to suceed irrespective of talent on the ball. Work ethic, resilience and the ability to withstand pain are skills that can be taught in the right environment.

      1. When a guy’s got it, it’s hard to miss. You seem to be referring to the “mercurial” or “enigmatic” (read: inconsistent) types who have great games and stinkers at equal clip.
        I’m referring to the blue chippers, guys like Ashley Cole or Fabregas. You don’t have any doubt about those guys, with or without coaching. Yes, the right system and coach can help them maximize but the floor is so high it almost doesn’t matter.

        I never gave a pass to guys like Arshavin or Gervinho for being played “out of position.” Too wide or too central! Bogus. Give a really good player the ball and space to work and he can be effective from left, right or center. Creative players can be effective from anywhere if their team is on top. Equally, when their team is getting beaten down, they will look equally lost no matter how they are deployed.

        1. You’re baswing your assessment on on transcedental top notch talent and a few very specific types. The majority of players though, I’d argue, does not fit in those boxes nor do they have the all-conquering type of talent. Arshavin is a very special case, I think he was that talented, but his motivation took a dive, and that is a point where talents can fail. At the time it was reported he lost his motivation when Russia failed to qualify for, was it the World Cup? And he became complacent, something which probably Arsenal wasn’t a good place to rediscover it. It was a matter of his application. Gervinho was never that good, but he was an effective player in a specific role with specific tasks, he was quite good at Roma, but a false nine he was not.

  15. What really does my head in about Wenger is, he’ll have a talented player, and he’ll play him out of position. I get so tired of him shoving square pegs in round holes. I remember when Ox cost us a goal when he was in the right back position. People got on his case, but, Ox has never been and never will be a right back. This has a lot to do with why Ox left. Now Wenger’s been playing AMN at left back. Mean while he leaves Kolasinac on the bench. I am so done with Wenger.

  16. chambers, holding, and kolasinac need to be fired. what a bunch of clowns. how do they play for a professional football club?

  17. Are we playing with any formation or shape? The players are all over the place. Elneny thinks he is Ramsey. AMN’s passing is poor. Kolasinac is always out of position and has no recovery speed. Chambers and Holding has zero understanding between them and are poor one on one defenders. Seriously what the fu**etty f*** are we watching here??

    1. It’s a combination of poor team play and players who are unsuited to the system. Our pressing from the front is epically bad. It exposes the CB’s all the time, and they are do not have the speed for making recovery runs. And that’s just when they have the ball. It’s almost worse when we have it because we push everything forward so one bad pass results in a fast break almost every time. Why do we play that way when we have a 3-1 lead on aggregate and just conceded? Because it’s the same thing we do every game, Pinky: try to use verticality to huff and puff and blow the door down. When it works, like against CP and Everton, hooray! It usually doesn’t work. Problem is, we are not good enough offensively to justify taking so many risks, but that seldom stops him, except maybe in cup finals.

      Also, Chambers just got turned like a revolving door on that 2nd, that should go down as an individual error, but the 1v1 came about because of the situation above which is a hallmark of Wenger’s latter day Arsenal.

  18. What a game for us! We showed what we are about didn’t we?
    Manchester City must be surely quaking in their boots with fear and apprehension right now.

  19. In a season unusually full of garbage performances, this has to be up there as one of the worst.

  20. We will beat Manchester City on Sunday. It’s written in the stars.

    (You may start the pile-on now)

    1. I’d say brilliant move by Wenger and Arsenal players in regard to preparations for the Wembley final.
      Good luck to Guardiola trying to prep his troops against this.

      1. Arsene’s playing chess 😉

        Watch City adopt Östersund tactics… and Arsenal outfox them with new tactics!


        1. I knew this moment would come eventually, me agreeing with you on something finally.

          I thought City losing to Wigan was was simply embarrassing .
          People tend to give a disproportionate valuation between clubs and players too much credence sometimes, but I think in this case it’s adequate.
          City lost to a club that’s worth less than a single least expansive City player.

  21. Arsenal players showed a lot of complacency while playing with a hand brake on. But ultimately their mental strength saw them through to the next round ,which is what really mattered.
    Well done.

  22. Never mind the result, loss or progression however you want to look at it, that was such a terrible display from Arsenal. Shockingly bad, and boring to boot. I didn’t think we’d go out even after the two goals, because this was a side we enjoyed a clear talent advantage over, but man was I bored. I can accept the defensive weaknesses if at least there is reward at the other end. But we just had very little threat.

    Might a change to 3 at the back follow for the final? Play Auba and Laca together?

    1. Isn’t Laca still injured? I think it will be a back 3. It’s been working for us in Wembley so I don’t see Wenger moving away from that. A 3-5-2 with Auba and Ozil upfront with the latter playing a more traditional #10 role might be worth a try. We’ve tried almost everything else. Why not play each player in their.. you know.. natural positions. I don’t think it will matter though in the end . We can’t even seem to do the basics right.

  23. To say something is “shockingly bad” implies that the degree of how poor the performance was, couldn’t have been expected.

    Couldn’t it though?

    On Ox and Sanchez topic.
    You want Ox, who was essentially a versatile utility player at Arsenal, to fail at Liverpool because he basically just lived up to his mediocre ( most would say) potential, even though he took a 80% pay cut to get out of his comfort zone and try to better himself as a player?

    Yet you have no feelings about Sanchez switching off to the point of barely contributing to the Arsenal cause despite his immense talent , while at the same time shopping himself all over Europe to whomever might pay the most for his services to the tune of tripling, and perhaps even quadrupling his Arsenal salary?

    And this from a guy who said money is ruining football.
    It’s a good thing I gave up trying to understand people’s logic a long time ago.

    Also, it’s immensely entertaining to me that some of the same posters ( not you) posted with glee about Ox’s failures at Liverpool after barely a game or two, yet have stayed basically silent about Sanchez’s less than impressive( I’m being extremely generous) start to his Man U career, after proclaiming how he would hit the ground running because he was world class and PL proven.

    In some 500 minutes across all competitions Sanchez has managed to score one goal from a penalty and needed two cracks at it to beat the Hudersfield keeper.

    His one assist was a nothing ten yard square pass to Rashford who ran into 3 league two Yeovil defenders who failed to clear the ball.

    His only play in 500 minutes worth any mention was a through ball into a channel to Lukaku for a goal against Hudersfield in the FA cup.
    That’s it.
    Not to mention his customary errand passing and failed dribbles reaching by now into hundreds I’m sure.

  24. I hope Graham Potter gets his wish to manage in the Premier League sooner rather than later. It would be a shame for Ostersunds to lose such a talent, but he would be like a breath of fresh air and something of a rarity in that he’s young, brilliant, can develop a team on a limited budget & English.
    Are you watching Ivan?

    1. I can’t tell if Graham Potter really is a good manager or whether we simply have an innate ability to make any average team or manager look world class.

  25. At 3-0 up and playing at home, I think Wenger just decided to throw on every outfield player who won’t be starting against City, plus Mkhi (just to give him some more game time with the squad). There wasn’t a single instance of anyone looking like they were comfortable being partnered with anyone else on the pitch. Viewed as a training exercise, though, it worked. We progressed, and a lot of sub/fringe players got some extra playing time.

      1. So Auba’s cup tied in Europe, and Mkhi’s cup tied domestically? Well… doesn’t that just read Arsenal all over it. 🙂

  26. I mean, I still can’t get over Wenger’s comment about not preparing to play on the turf before the away game. By itself it’s a slightly hubristic but innocent enough throwaway line. But dear me, does it encapsulate the lack of intensity focus and callousness that the whole sh*tshow of the last seasons we’re going through has become.

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