May 14, 2016

The Great Wenger Debate

A Collaboration By Michael Clements, Phil Van Dyke and Steve Kessel


As much as I hate pointing out the flaws of a man who's brought Arsenal Football Club more success than any other manager in it's history, it's hard to ignore Arsene Wenger's (and the squad's) shortcomings over the last decade. The "Wenger Out" cries have gradually echoed louder and louder throughout the global Gooner community in recent years, dividing the fan base down the middle and usually accompanied by poorly thought out solutions to how we would move forward without the man who's led this team for almost 20 years. 

This season, with every one of our top four rivals bowing out and leaving the door wide open for us, we've failed to capitalize on multiple opportunities and have not only allowed Sp*rs to finish above us for the first time in 20 years (maybe…), but have lost out on the Premier League title to a team who were battling relegation just 12 short months ago. Instead we've resumed our annual task of ensuring we finish in the top 4, so to guarantee ourselves Champions League football next season. 

We know Wenger won't break his contract, which runs out at the end of the 2016/17 season, and many of us are certain that the Frenchman is virtually un-fireable, but when is enough enough and when will it be time for our legendary boss to finally let go and walk away?


It’s certainly hard to disagree with any of your points. The lengthy absence from EPL glory, the inevitable round of 16 UCL exit, and the routine of the Fourth Place Trophy have all chipped away at the “In Wenger We Trust” mantra. With the beautiful run in to close out the previous season, the pristine summer off-season, and the (solitary) purchase of the gold-minted Cech, we couldn’t help but feel as though the stars had aligned for our prodigal return. The delicious Chelsea meltdown combined with the similarly wayward “top 4” was the proof in the pudding. And we couldn’t help but patronizingly, even approvingly, pat the Leicester upstarts on the back, like toddlers on their first trike, and tell them, “go on, champ, you can do it”. Little did we know… But the return to earth from our escalating expectations fell upon the jagged abuse and piercing jeers sloughing from the stands and message boards like discarded snake skin. 

The confusion among the faithful lays not in the realization of our invariable fate, but more in how we have turned against each other like starving dogs on the street, blindly snipping and biting at every turn. Is only Wenger to blame for this? Is he outdated in his thinking and is beautiful football going the way of the classic black and white ball? Or is it Kroenke? Is he merely above all this and can’t be bothered with the underclass and their football vices? Our confusion is not how we truly feel about Wenger — deep down we love him for all he’s done — it’s more the wondering if we will ever be a perennial contender for silverware again. 


Traditionally, and much the distain of several Gooners I regularly watch the games with, I have always sat firmly on the pro-Wenger side of the fence.  The boss has been the boss for the majority of my life and, in my opinion, has been the primary catalyst for the popularisation of Arsenal Football Club in North America.  For me, the two FA cups in the past two years have brought the man an extended gracing period.  Many no longer see the same worth in the FA cup, but I still view it as a major achievement.  At the point we won the first of the two the situation had admittedly become toxic (the loss to Birmingham in the league cup in 2011 was second only to the Champion’s League final defeat to Barca in 2006 as the low point of my Arsenal supporting career).  For me, winning back to back FA Cups, making Arsenal the most successful team, and him the most successful post war manager, in the oldest cup competition in the world demonstrates that he still has the ability to win.  

Yes this season has been a big disappointment, but Arsenal fans seem to think that a change of manager would definitely be a positive change.  Managers that have been touted as saviors in recent years include David Moyes, Roberto Martinez and Gary Monk.  Would you switch Wenger for any of those right now?  Wenger is not without his flaws, but he has an encyclopaedic knowledge of all aspects of the game and a devout religious like commitment to the club.  Also, as pointed out by Arseblog, his presence essentially guarantees that Kroenke will not interfere with the running of the team.  Would this situation remain the same in the case of a newly appointed manager?  We could find ourselves in a situation where the ownership far greater potential to disrupt and impose a negative influence on the club.  Things are not great right now, we are underachieving, but I will take mild under achievement over potential freefall until a clearer solution is apparent.  It’s not good enough to simply state that something needs to change, without a solid vision for the future of the club.  Are you both confident that Wenger’s departure would bring about a positive change?         


As both Steve and Phil point out, it’s surely too much to burden one man with the ultimate failures (and successes) of any, and particularly this football club. On one hand you’ve got a man who knows the ins and outs of this club better than any other, a man who has defined the club with his precise direction and philosophy. On the other hand you have somebody who can, and often does, make the difference between success and mediocrity. 

Perhaps the only person currently, including the majority shareholder, who can dictate which direction this club goes in is Arsene Wenger, regardless of what influence we think the shareholders, who occasionally pay the Emirates a visit might have over the Frenchman. Certainly they might have a say in who we target or how much we pay for said target, but the manner in which Arsenal Football Club is ran means we shall never know how the hierarchy really works behind the closed doors of Emirates Stadium. My guess would be that Wenger has been given virtually complete autonomy over all operations that effect the team on the pitch and perhaps even further than that, especially after the comments he made regarding the banks’ requirements for him to stay long term if they were to fund the Emirates build over a decade ago. 

While it’s very comfortable to know that a successful, long-term manager has such complete control and care for our club, when it comes to times like these in which we wonder if the time has come for change, you have to think how much that ‘change’ will impact the current and future status of our club. Is the option for Wenger to step into an advisory/diplomatic role available?


While there is no way of knowing with certainty if the inevitable departure of Wenger—whether this summer or further down the line—would improve or degrade The Arsenal’s stature at the top of the EPL or within the UCL, we cannot expect to see changes in the league position without changes in the system. We can continue to ask hypotheticals such as if AW moves to the front office, or if he adjusts his thinking to a “modern” game, if you can call the 4-4-2 modern, or if he finally decides to cut his losses with aging promising starlets, but making such conjectures is just as effective as wondering if a Simeone or a Koeman and their respective systems could make it better. We tend to think of successors that would simply continue to what Wenger has been doing for the past 20 years here, but only ask them to do it a little better. And quicker. “Please come here and give us championships, but above all do not take away the beautiful system of play we are known for.” 

The reason Wenger will be impossible to replace is because he has effectively institutionalized what is The Arsenal Way, and it is considered by most pundits and fans alike to be one of the most beautiful ways there is. The trouble is that it is merely an ideal, and while it is so amazeballs to watch, we rarely actually see it in action due to the very nature of its ideality. One cannot cannot remain in the zen mode forever; one must only strive to achieve it. 

Sometimes you gotta say fuck zen and just go buy a hot rod and win the fucking race. 


As Phil pointed out, it is very true that the beautiful football we associate with Arsenal and Arsene is become less and less apparent.  I think this stems from a few different sources.  Firstly teams/managers have learnt to counteract and stifle it and the strong possibility that attacking/possession football is dead.  You can always assume that Barca will still manage to pull it off, but we wont be seeing them in the Champion’s League final this year, why.... because an incredible defensively minded manager/team knocked them out.  Are we willing to trade in Arsene for a manager that may not bring the same mantra to the club?  Would I be?  On one hand I love the way we play, on the other, I just watched Leicester win the league while being ranked 18th for over all possession.  I may have been imagining it, but it didn’t look too much like the Leicester fans were complaining about the style of football, in fact it rather seemed like they were all having a jolly good time.

Lets be clear, there is a farts chance in a hurricane that Wenger will step down before the end of his current contract.  Would he step down at the end of next year if he wins the league; i.e. go out on a high, or would he use that to extend his contract and continue his pursuit of the illusive champions league trophy?  I never thought I would say it, but in many ways I hope it is the former.  Of course if we are winning under Wenger that would be my ideal, I do love the guy, but unless the reason we are winners is that there has been a much needed change in policy from the professor, I must reluctantly concede it would be time for a change.  


And so it seems, as we draw close to yet another top four finish, that the odd FA Cup win just isn’t going to satisfy the growing thirst of the modern Gooner. Perhaps Arsene’s biggest weakness is his inability to adapt with the game itself. 

We see managers come and go, some return for a second go at success, but most seem to reach their peak and eventually fade away into the abyss that is central and eastern European league football. Wenger has almost stubbornly stuck around and forced his philosophy, hard, through all the changes in English football - something any of us would have endorsed after witnessing the first half of his career at Arsenal. Now, in 2016, it’s evident that his philosophy isn’t working and yet while he reluctantly adapts just enough to appease the Arsenal loyal, it’s not enough for even the most rigid of Wenger supporters. 

Would a raid on the so-called ‘War Chest’ this summer change our opinion? Sure. Two or three expensive, sexy signings would shut us all up for a minute, and hopefully we achieve the long awaited goal of getting our 14th league title. The writing, however, is on the wall no matter what happens next season. After the brutal outcry from the fans this season, I can’t imagine Wenger will put himself through another couple of seasons of this, even if there was some success sprinkled in there, he’s just too proud of a man to tarnish his legacy any further, even for how bitterly stubborn a genius he truly is. 

That is exactly how we have to treat what is probably going to be his final season as manager - remember the man’s legacy. We, as Arsenal fans have been so incredibly privileged to witness arguably the greatest period in the club’s history with a footballing genius at the helm. To boo him or to mock him would be an ugly disservice to not only the man himself, but to the club he has formed into a World Class Football club. 

While most eagerly await his exit, we simply must treat his final months as Arsenal manager with the utmost respect and allow him to leave with the dignity and honor he so justly deserves. Arsene IS Arsenal, no matter how football has changed. To the fans who were only fortunate enough to watch this club under Le Boss, I can most certainly tell you that the reason we love Arsenal is largely due to the passion and devotion Arsene Wenger put into this club during his 20 year reign. We were, and are lucky to have him. 

So let’s get behind the old codger and get us a fucking League title!

March 1, 2016

Arsenal Served Stinging Week Long Rebuke

By Michael Bedard

There’s a point in time where every team finds the level at which their season is defined.  At this point we know that Leicester is a tremendous side that shows unyielding effort in contrast to spaces where their talent level comes up short.  We know that Chelsea, for their annoyance, is a club that has fallen apart and been, to a point, put back together to do as well as possible.  We know that Aston Villas is terrible.  Right now – I have no idea who, what, where, or why Arsenal is doing and that level of disorganization was fully on display over a week that featured 2 stinging losses.

Losing to Barcelona is nothing to new to just about every club.  They’re admittedly the top side in the world but the way in which Arsenal lost is the story.  Backline failures and inability to take advantage of opportunity doomed Arsenal’s home leg.  Overall though one could walk out of that match looking at the team and seeing that with some tightening the club could still have a successful season in the EPL.  As opposed to tightened up the Arsenal put in a match at Old Trafford that showed a ridiculously mistmatched lineup with mental mistakes so glaring, so poor, that its incredible this team is where it is. 

At the back Petr Cech has been a wonderful change from the recent years of worry but there’s nothing a keeper can do at times and Sunday was exactly those times.  The core problem seems to be figuring out a capable central defensive unit – something that seems right along the lines of where Arsenal should be stable became an Achilles heel.  Gabriel has come a long way and has put in a number of solid performances, but for some reason the combination of him and Koscielny seems more perilous than Mertesacker and either of them.  I actually may have preferred a less mobile setup with Mertesacker and Chambers in this match having witnessed an utter collapse between the Kos and Gab.  Time after time Man U was allowed to dictate play inside the box leading to the first two goals.  The third goal took an unfortunate deflection off of Koscielny’s torso – but in the end… was that an impossible ball for Kos to knock down?  No.  What it impossible to apply a header to it as opposed to a chester?  Nope.

Lest you accuse me of applying critique only to the central defensive pairing Hector Bellerin’s defensive play has been regressing more than progressing over the last 3 months – ever since his UCL miracle play it seems like he’s been unable to perform to his potential.  On the other side I have a hard time knocking Monreal – he was, largely fine.   I will admit to annoyingly using the phrase “quick quick slow down” about 15 times during the game because largely, that was our offense.  Get the ball, move quickly forward, then Stop.  Piddle. Look for cute. Turnover.

More than the outside wings the central defensive mid pairing was, yet again, a huge problem.  Yet again, for the 10th time this year, one of the defensive mids decided that his position was central attacking mid, or wing mid, or central forward.  Aaron Ramsey was the culprit today as he’s been on a number of occasions.  Aside from hooking him and/or Flamini to a 30 yard chain 15 yards behind the middle line I’m at a loss. At what point does this team start to understand that playing out of position causes massively more problems than it solves?  This, for me, is a huge Wenger failing and it builds my respect even further for Santi Cazorla who, for any lack of goal scoring, played his position even if it wasn’t his preferred position.  

The forward midfield was a mixed bag but much better than the back. Welbeck was the best player on the pitch for me.  He showed effort, heart, drive, and incisiveness.  Sanchez continued to struggle and I’m not quite sure if we’ll see him recover to his customary level until he receives a longer break.  It would be nice if Chilean coaches didn’t jam him into every minute of every match.   Finally Ozil.  I think Ozil is a man quickly growing frustrated at the lack of professionalism from certain parts of the team.  Particularly Ramsey’s desire to play his position even when he’s got another to play seems to be having a massively detrimental impact and the body language of Ozil was different than normal on Sunday.  While some accuse him of being somewhat soulless on the pitch he appeared outright pissed off for periods against Man U.  Simply put it looked like he was MIA at times and on second viewing – part of that was because there was a Welshman in the way multiple times.   Almost as if Ozil was compensating with a “what the hell are you doing there” effect being applied.  

Finally, the biggest issue of the match was up front, as it often is for us…  Theo Walcott turned in one of the worst matches for an EPL caliber player that I can remember in recent times.  No successful runs.  Some of that is credit for Man U’s defense but the reality is Walcott failed to adapt his game in any form as they laid back and waited for him to run into them.  And in fact, he didn’t even get to do his customary run into the defense because his possession of the ball was so sparse.  His movement throughout the day can be described as utterly pedestrian, useless, horrible, and senseless and I have no issue with any of those statements.   Simply put the way he played on Sunday Theo Walcott showed a level of play that isn’t worthy of making a Norwich, Watford, or West Brom side.  It was an utterly pathetic outing from a very highly paid, highly regarded player.   The only solace I have for Theo is that he shouldn’t have been on the pitch more than 30 minutes.  It was tremendously clear that he hadn’t shown up and yet his manager left him on for an hour.

At the end of the day Arsenal’s week saw them effectively turn any UCL chance into nothing and a fairly good EPL chance into yet another attempt to avoid a UCL qualifier next year.  The only chance of an EPL success is to top Swansea in midweek and then Spurs in the NLD.  But at this point – what level of confidence has Arsenne Wenger inspired this year?  If anything the indictment of his last 12 months became more clearly defined.  The depth of the club is too dependent on players like Arteta, Flamini, and Rosicky.  Three players that have no business at the club anymore.  Three wonderful players who I admire deeply, but three players that should have been replaced.   The forward play, which I’ve given the benefit of the doubt time and time again, is fine – as backups for a top tier striker.  Giroud is a good hold up player, but in this game his hold up play was so constant that we often had no one in the box once he appeared on the scene.  The real indictment of Wenger might just be that this is a manager so concerned with honoring the loyalty of his players over the years that he’s tentative at making tough decisions that run counter to that honor.  For instance – Theo Walcott’s mammoth contract isn’t justified at this point, but golly gee we’re all happy he’s with us all the way.   We purchased another Central Defensive Mid who I’d like to see with Coquelin for a true defensive pairing long term… but we featured Aaron Ramsey, chronically out of position, instead.  

Simply put – today’s effort and today’s strategy wasn’t good enough.  The play was awful, but the manager did nothing – absolutely nothing – to elevate or properly align them for success.  For me this season ends around 4th place and while that’s been good enough before, with everything that has occurred this year it is absolutely unacceptable and the club needs to address what has become a culture of complacency. 

January 31, 2016

Past, Present And Future Of Arsenal

By Michael Clements

In FA Cup's past, Wenger has taken the opportunity to field some youth, sprinkled with some experience. Recently we've seen him deploy some stronger sides in the early rounds which I think had to do with this tournament being our most realistic chance at a trophy in recent years, thus the boss putting all his eggs in one basket, so to speak. Fairly encouraging form in the league along with being injury ridden, the boss mixed things up quite a bit against Burnley and there were some things to look forward to. 

New boy, Elneny would have attracted all eyes if it were not for the return of our Chilean superstar, Alexis. How good it feels to have that kind of energy back on the pitch. He lights up the whole field and doesn't seem to have lost a step with his latest injury setback. Another player that took the attention away from our new Egyptian midfielder was youngster, Iwobi. He's obviously impressing the manager on the training ground, as we've been seeing him on the bench and making cameo's for quite a while now, and in his first senior start for the club we got a glimpse of exactly why the boss has so much faith in him. He got my attention right away with his confidence and calm demeanor on the ball, but it was his work rate that impressed me the most. He was always moving, trying to get into space and I'm sure once he gets to know his team mates and where they will be looking for him he'll fit in even more.

Callum Chambers has made Gooners a little nervous with his performances over the last few months, but had a very encouraging performance at right back. I forgot how much pace he had, and although he looks a little tentative pushing forward he had enough confidence to finish with some style for Arsenal's first. Not a center back's goal by any stretch of the imagination, beautiful finish.

Oxlade-Chamberlain continued to frustrate himself and fans with his performance. You certainly can't fault the lad for lack of effort, but he's just not getting the luck he deserves at the moment. I hope he doesn't lose confidence in himself and continues to push on, because this point in his Arsenal career is vital in defining how valuable he is to this club. 

While Gabriel didn't have his best performance so far in his Arsenal career, the man behind him in goal had a cracker of a game. While Ospina probably won't be with us next season (he seems too good, or at least too motivated to be a back up), he did wonders for his sale value against the feisty Burnley. Koscienly and Gibbs held solid at the back, which is what you'd hope to expect from such experienced players. Giroud seemed frustrated, and with his form of late being so good I'm not going to look too much into that performance. I'm sure he'll find his feet once League football resumes.

And finally, the new boy, Mo Elneny. One of my fears when we signed him was that he would limit Coquelin's playing time, so it was very satisfying to see them both start the match. Contrary to what many of us thought, Elneny is not necessarily that classic defensive midfielder that we assumed he was, with Wenger referring to him as a box-to-box midfielder. I couldn't agree more. His work rate is fantastic, and he seems to fit into the team incredibly well, almost seamlessly. His short little passes in the middle of the park were on point, he seems like a very intelligent player with great vision and he ventured forward a couple of times with the presence of mind to have a couple of cracks on goal. For £5million, he looks to be an absolute bargain, albeit only seeing him for 90 minutes. Best of all though, we still get to have our big Coq out, solid as ever.

So, while the performance wasn't text book, we still outplayed Burnley and continued our epic unbeaten run in the FA Cup while also showing off some of our potential. Unfortunately, 20 minutes was too much for Tomas Rosicky, and he'll sit out for another millennium, but we've got some interesting players to watch.

Hull City have the pleasure of being our next speed bump on the way to Wembley.

She Wore, She Wore, She Wore A Yellow Ribbon!

January 27, 2016

By Steve Kessel

Per Mertesacker had only received one card all season (a yellow) up until Sunday when he got a straight red for an ill-conceived tackle on the premier league’s prime pantomime villain.  That’s the thing about playing Chelsea, it always seems to go wrong for Arsenal, no matter what the form tables say we find a way to implode and throw it all away.  

Arsenal have received five red cards in our last four games against Chelsea.  Per’s 17th minute dismissal came with a sinking feeling coupled with an alarming sensation of resigned familiarity, and begs the question as to whether we will ever shake this demon.  At least this time it was against a manager that actually resembles something like a decent human being.

As the game approached, I felt confidence in our ability to break the trend grow with every day.  Ozil was a lock, Sanchez was reported to be in good shape, and even Coquelin was a regular feature in the squad training photos.  There was a lot to feel positive about.  It seemed that in the last two games the burden of injuries had finally caught up to us and reinforcements we greatly needed, it seemed they were on the way.  I truly believe that had this game remained even, in terms of players, we would have won and comfortably.  But once again, our inability to maintain composure cost us dearly.  

Per cannot take all the blame, a complete absence of control in the mid-field allowed the killer pass to be played and an error in judgement from the big guy led to the dismissal.  Then followed outrage from the fans as Giroud was sacrificed to bring on a replacement centre back.  The boss is often criticised for not being ruthless enough, but seems that whenever he is he is criticised for that too.  He made a purely tactical decision that, if we had not conceded so soon after, would have probably resulted in us getting a hard earned point when all seemed lost.  I was more worried from a defensive standpoint that bringing off Giroud would leave us literally short for defending set pieces.  As it turned out, Chelsea decided not to test us in this manor taking a series of short corners throughout the game, and the goal we did concede would not have been negated by the presence of Giroud.  There was no point in the game that I could obviously tell we were playing with 10 men and I think that was a result of the shape, tactics and personnel the boss used throughout the game.

Now it is time to pull our socks up and get back into form.  It will not be easy.  Burnley just thrashed Derby at the top of the Championship and will be no pushovers - that is for sure.  We will need to fight hard and there will most certainly be a fair amount of squad rotation.  A win here will lift us and it is then imperative that we dispatch of the south coast contingent.  The boss has shown he can be ruthless, we saw that in the sad face of the fully suited French striker sitting in the stands after the first half.  Now it is time for the team to show the same and take Soton and Brighton to the cleaners.

Up the Arsenal!!!           

January 18, 2016

Welsh Resilience And Potential

By Michael Clements

Nobody seeks entertainment from a Stoke vs Arsenal matchup, they are generally frustrating affairs that leave you with a feeling of emptiness and disappointment. A nil nil result just added to our recent mediocrity. 

While it's hard to continue to refer to Stoke players as 'Orcs' with all their recent quality acquisitions, they do still play in Stoke which is seemingly full of morons. It was just a few years ago that fans thought it amusing to mark Aaron Ramsey's return to the Britannia after a near career-ending leg break by one of their own, by bringing sticks to their seats and snapping them in unison when Ramsey was on the ball. Now, 6 years after the infamous tackle by Shawcross, Ramsey is still booed by the Stoke fans, for whatever reason, and their recent creativity in their chants has to be brought to attention. 

"Aaron Ramsey, he walks with a limp" is one of the most disgusting chants I've heard uttered from the lips of so called 'fans', and shows not only the level of class you find in the city of Stoke, but how inbreeding is still so prevalent in the North of England. Wenger was quite right to bring it up after the match and Stoke, as a club should really renounce that sort of behaviour, if not the Football Association itself. 

When it came to the man himself, the Welshman received relentless support from the Gooners in the away section throughout the 90 minutes, but on social media he's getting quite a bashing for his performances of late. To me, he's been that rugged, passionate British lad that powers through the midfield and gives his all every match. Unfortunately he's slowly wandered from that role and, once again seems to be trying too hard to be something he's not. 

A friend of mine suggested that him being surrounded by the likes of Cazorla, Sanchez, Wilshere etc, has rubbed off on him a bit. Which sounds perfectly well and good, but his point was that Ramsey's play recently has looked as if he's trying to implement that style of play into his own game, and it's just not Aaron Ramsey. Instead of being that cog in the middle of the field that wins tackles and distributes play quickly and efficiently, he's beginning to hold onto the ball too long and attempting to win the game by himself. 

Perhaps, because the Welsh Jesus has been at this club for so long, we forget that he is just 25 years old. Sure, you could argue that he should be hitting his peak right now, and maybe he has already, but I personally think he's got more to offer. The recent rumours of Ramsey heading to Barcelona seem to be picking up steam the closer we get to the summer, and while £50million sounds fantastic, I'd like to see him stay at Arsenal and fight for his place once his teammates return from injuries.

The kid's been through a hell of a lot, the least we can do as Arsenal fans is show him the support his efforts deserve. Lazy is one thing he is not, and let's not forget; 

There's only one Aaron Ramsey!

January 14, 2016

Filling The Gap

By Michael Clements

Flamini has done fine in Francis Coquelin's absence, but fine is about as good as it was going to get with the loyal Frenchman filling in at the defensive midfield position. We needed a defensive midfielder even when Coquelin got his first real run of games, then we realized Coquelin was that player and the priority position was all but forgotten. Of course, the worry was always what we would do if Coquelin got hurt, with Arteta just not able to genuinely compete at the top level anymore and Flamini being limited in what he could offer. Well, Coquelin did get hurt, and for a considerable amount of time. 

While many were (still) calling for a World Class striker (more on that later) it was clear that was the main area of focus in the January transfer window. Mohamed Elneny signed for £5million on Thursday and you can't help but nod your head in agreement with the move. Let's be honest, £5million really doesn't buy you much in this current market and will be even more obsolete once the English clubs get their TV money next season. So, the pressure is really off for the young, 23 year old Egyptian, the burden of that big price tag won't be an issue like it is with many big money signings. While we certainly don't want to get ahead of ourselves, how can we go wrong at that price? 

As far as signing a 'World Class' striker in this window, it really seems unnecessary to me. Giroud has always had my support and I find it hard to understand the relentless doubt surrounding him. He's got everything we ask for as Arsenal fans, and historically we don't ask for much, just a hard working, passionate player with enough skill to get us a wee bit excited. So far so good for the Frenchman. He's also on a taring run at the moment, impressing even the most anti-Arsenal of the media and is one of the biggest Gooners this team has seen in a while. He bloody loves this club. 

If anything, Arsenal fans would generally worship a player with his commitment and drive, but it's strange to see such a desire to replace or improve upon such a quality player with maybe even more potential than we realize. 

So I won't be disappointed when we fail to sign another striker this January. We've got one of the most in form strikers in Europe at the moment with others vying for his spot, a situation we're not used to at the Emirates of late. I always want to see more player depth at Arsenal, but no single position screams weakness to me right now. Our defense has been inconsistent, but with Gabriel waiting in the wings, who are we going to sign and who does he replace? 

We're now fighting for the League title (as well as the 'Cup' and the Champions League, according to Elneny), so scrutiny of our squad is going to become more commonplace in discussions amongst Arsenal fans, but let's remember to take a step back every once in a while and remember how good we've got it right now.

Up The Arsenal!

Football Proper

By Michael Clements

Arsenal with the lead, and the momentum while Liverpool begin to tire and the three points seem all but guaranteed. And then we remember, we are The Arsenal after all and nothing is guaranteed. 
While the three points would have been nice, considering the City draw and the Sp*rs loss, I'm not completely convinced that we deserved the win. A draw was a fair result for both sides it seems.

The game itself was of the highest quality, goals galore and no lack of desire from either side - which is exactly what we expected from the Wenger vs Klopp matchup. No buses were parked, no long balls were hoofed up field just solid, entertaining football. If we always played against teams like that Liverpool team that took the field on Wednesday night things would be right with the world. To know that Liverpool matched Arsenal's desire and determination (except for Benteke, was he on the field the whole time?) makes the point easier to take, knowing that no bogus tactics were deployed, just quality football was played, proper like. 

Perhaps the only thing to complain about is the fact Liverpool haven't played a game like that all season, so just our luck that the beast awakens just in time for a visit from the Gunners. It could also be the target that is placed on our backs when we're top of the league, but generally the Arsenal Liverpool match ups are a good contest. 

If anyone can appreciate Klopp's presence in the Premier League now, it's Arsenal fans. We've had Wenger for almost 20 years, a manager who wants his teams to play football the right way, the attractive way without compromising quality. And that's precisely what Liverpool now have in their ranks and hopefully the two of them can set the bar for the rest of the Premier League bosses in the future. Let's allow Klopp to get his feet wet up north, then when Arsene is finally ready to hang up his big zipper jacket, we'll step in and take Klopp to a winning club. But for now, the future is bright if you're a scouser. Good game.

Come On You Gunners!