Always Disappointing

Arsène, I have a question for you and your squad: what have you been doing this week? Was there aweek of no training? I have to tell you today's performance was truly awful. The defending was terrible. The movement was poor. The passing and the constant way we would lose - no, give away - the ball; it was all terrible; there was no pattern to our play; we did not and do not look like a team; today, you got the tactics wrong. Ultimately, we did not play to our strength: attack! Why did we not move fast, hitting long in the first half? Playing out from defense and only ending up moving in circles, we have to change, we have got to be flexible. 

Besides all of the tactical ineptness, we were complete devoid of pride and passion, which tells me that those players are way too comfortable with their salaries and luxurious lifestyle to care about performing in the right way. I propose adjusting contracts, so that only a win will result in a full week's payment. 

A word of advice: you should give Özil and Mkhitaryan more freedom. Furthermore, the following players should be dropped from the next league game: Xhaka, Mustafi, and Bellerín. Iwobi should be dropped from the squad entirely. Also, the defense: we cannot defend. We need a leader. We need two new new center backs and a solid defensive midfielder.

Always Following the Pattern

Disappoint with abject failure. Revive optimism with brilliance. Repeat. 

Ultimately, this is why win, lose, or draw the calls of Wenger out will never cease. 

I had nothing to say after Swansea. But I don't want you out; I want you to finish on a high. Today, I am falling for that same old trick of yours, hoping that this really is a new dawn, because this 5-1 performance was just wonderfully threatening to watch in the first half, energized by the first proper outing for our new signings (thanks, by the way, for making this happen - definitely needed - even if a little drawn out; we are the right team for those players and they are the right players for this team. 

Going forward, I would like to keep the same team, but Wilshere has to play (for Iwobi or Xhaka?). But I do like Xhaka for his tough tackling fouling ways. We need some of that. But how about all out attack, Wilshere and Lacazette for Iwobi and Xhaka? Whatever you decide, it's nice to have this choice. 

 Wembley next: let's be brilliant, please. 


Arsène, today your formation and team selection were spot on. That first half spell was beautiful; the craft of the Arsenal core was breathtaking. Alright, Palace were awful (or were we just that good - I prefer to think so). Regardless, we are unbeatable like that. The trouble is we know that; it is not surprising and we aren't blown away, because we know what we are capable of. Just like we know, given our track record, we might well lose our next game following a miserably dire performance.  But, based on today's performance, we can beat any team. Perhaps, we have a point to prove with a certain departure about to happen, and we needed to remind the community that we are more than one player. We did that with the creative brilliance of Mesut and Jack, and the solid support of Granit and Mohammed. That extra man in midfield, with Laurent having returned, made a huge difference. Let's stick with it. Of course, that said, I wish we had pushed on and scored six or seven - as a result, the theory behind our consistent inconsistency continues (even if it happens in the same game). 

New signings and priorities: 1. Mesut MUST sign. 2. Jack must sign! Let's not forget the best of British core. 3. Get Aubameyang (up that bid). 4. Make Mkhitaryan great again! I am a firm believer that this will allow us to leave January stronger than we entered it. 

Finally, this is my eleven, having been reminded of the wonders today's formation can do, while working with what we might have this time next week : Cech, Monreal, Mustafi, Koscielny, Bellerín (but he has to work on that final delivery/touch), Wilshere, Mkhitaryan, Xhaka, Özil, Lacazette, Aubameyang. I'd like to see that. That and an unbeaten run from now until the end of the season. 

Always Missing

Arsène, I think it's about time I introduced myself, as I've been watching you, in admiration, from afar for too long; so long, in fact, it's become uncomfortable, painful even. For both of us, for much of the time since that invincible team's reign, which happened  to coincide with when I left England. I know you've noticed us watching but it's high time we really get to know one another. So, here we go: pleased to meet you - I wish it were under better circumstances - I am, as you are probably aware, an Arsenal fan who sends his life force on to the pitch every single game. But lately, that force has become a little weary and somewhat reluctant to step out of my shell and into the boots of the players of your selection. You, yourself, look like you're in agony most games. This is a problem that needs to be addressed sooner rather than later, after your exit and or retirement - for I really would like you do so on a high (which, after the season we've had, would be fourth place). However, time is running out. Admittedly, with thirty years of silence outside of the room within which the match is screened, I have been part of the problem, highlighting the obvious without an offer of solution (like those of us suggesting this is the worst team we've seen you put together). The good news is we are both capable problem solvers; what is a game without multi-level brainteasers? Let's see if we can work together to prepare and place readily available and appropriate tricks up your easily accessible sleeves. Let's see if you can't put us out of this misery following some calmly stated honesty. 

Without knowing exactly where we are, let's find our bearings before searching for directions. Today, down in Bournemouth, we performed like we have so many times this year, with a lack of fight and a clear lack of conviction. Honestly, more often than not, we don't appear hungry for the win, unlike many of the teams outperforming us over the course of this season (I mean, check our away form); this might count as a disappointed fan's opinion, so let's return to facts, starting with today's game: we were terrible. In times gone by, I would have more often than not blamed a loss on that lack of fire in the belly, but now I am thinking we just don't have the quality in depth for impact substitutions or for a first eleven. We have a number of players who might be considered as having great potential but most of our starting eleven are only good enough to be squad players. Also, I really have to mention, some of those squad players are not even good enough to be on the bench - unless our aspirations to don't push us beyond a top seven finish. 

Anyway, what are complaints without the offer of assistance that will get us on route to a solution? This week's realistic advice: Firstly, I thought that I was going to talk about individual performances, ratings etc., but I've had another change of mind and instead I'll just mention the one player, Wilshere, who deserves credit; he was our best player and should be the club captain that we build the team around. Secondly, the backline: let's keep it consistent. They should remain unchanged week in, week out, so we can go back (way back) to being solid. I can see what you're doing with Holding, Mustafi, and Chambers and I like it (but the team really wasn't ready for that change of plan when Ramsey came on - so they should be better prepared for that test next time). Thirdly, get angry and find it in your heart to strike fear into some of those players who look all too comfortable with the fact that they let their team, and the Arsenal family, down. 

Finally, this is my eleven, working with what we've got (and assuming Alexis is on his way out - itself the result of being surrounded by a lack of ambition): Cech, Chambers, Mustafi, Holding, Kolasinac, Bellerín, Wilshere, Ramsey, Özil, Lacazette, Giroud.