Wenger: We need to look over our shoulder


Arsene Wenger admits Arsenal can’t keep dropping points in the league if they’re to qualify for next season’s Champions League.

While the manager hasn’t yet surrendered hope of an unlikely league triumph he’s also well aware that the likes of Manchester United, West Ham, Southampton and Liverpool are breathing down their necks just outside the top four.

The Gunners have won only once in their last nine games and face a tricky showdown with Everton tomorrow afternoon, a game they can’t afford to lose.

“Of course, we need to look over our shoulders because it’s very tight,” Wenger told press on Friday.

“I believe the Premier League [title race] is far from over. But we also have to look behind us because things can change very quickly. We want to move forward, but I’m conscious that our position is not secure, even where we are. Things will change between now and the end of the season, that’s for sure.

“We want to move forward, but I’m conscious that our position is not secure, even where we are. Things will change between now and the end of the season, that’s for sure.

“West Ham are a threat. They’ve had very positive results at home, and went to Manchester United in the FA Cup and drew 1-1, so they are a threat. But we have to take care of our own destiny, and that’s by producing the performances we expect from ourselves.

“We have to give 100% to finish well in the Premier League and be in the fight until the end.”

That we’re worrying about dropping into the Europa League places when we were top of the table at the end of January is nigh-on farcical, but that’s the reality right now. A win tomorrow would certainly settle a few nerves ahead of a busy April schedule that takes in five league games.

Wenger was also eager to downplay the pressure on his beleaguered strikeforce whose inefficiency was brought into sharp focus on Wednesday night when they shared a pitch with prolific Barcelona trio, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

Emphasising the job of the entire team to help the attackers, the boss continued: “I always believe that let’s improve the quality of our game and then the strikers will benefit from that. It’s always delicate to blame one or two individuals when you’re not scoring enough.

“If we continue to play like we did in Barcelona, our strikers will score. We create good opportunities. We are one of the best at creating opportunities in the Premier League, if not the best.

“Maybe we have to increase the quality of those opportunities, but it’s maybe linked to the confidence. Maybe the strikers are a bit desperate to score at the moment, but it will come back.”


  1. Having a consistent striker is kind of important. We need an upgrade badly in the summer, break the record transfer fee for all I care but do it.

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    • The million dollar question – Who’s available?

      No chance of Zlatan joining as his wages are ridiculous (for his age). Zlatan leaving PSG rules out Cavani, but he’s missing the same amount of chances as Giroud does at the moment. Higuain? Hard one, he is fighting for the Serie A title and the owner of the club is a madman, he would demand more than he is worth. Benzema is going to jail soon. Morata would be interesting, but difficult to get because of the buy-back clause in his contract. Lacazette? Hasn’t lived up to the hype he got last season.
      I hope there’s an Eduardo-type player out there, otherwise it would be really difficult to upgrade.

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      • We all love speculation but it’s difficult to say who we can get.

        The top players are out the question, I don’t see why the likes of Aubameyang or Lewandowski would even bother with us even if we met their clubs required fee.

        If I were Wenger I’d stump £40 mil as a minimum on Lukaku especially as Everton won’t make the CL, even if it were £50mil including add-ons I’d go for it.

        Failing that £18mil minimum on Vincent Aboubakar.

        Both strong,fast and tall physical players in the mould of Welbz with great current scoring ability and being young, good potential.

        What do you guys think?

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        • As a plus Lukaku plays for a side who play a little in the mould of Arsenal to my knowledge.

          I do feel a bit sorry for Ozil, the guy has some weaknesses especially mental, but he’s the guy who without fail provides us the gunpowder, but we misfire continuously.

          All due respect to Giroud who is a great player and has been run into the ground a little, we need a player with a bit more mobility and clinical finishing.

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        • If Lukaku moves it will be for more than £40 million in this market. New PL TV deal, Pep at City and all the “old guard” having had a mare of a season. £65m is the bid to secure Lukaku and force doubt onto the others. Get used to the idea.

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      • Apparently Zlatan (Cazorlas pooch) only wants £150m per week. Surely Shifting Walcotts wages in the summer for Zlatan could be well worth a try.

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        • I am not sure about Zlatan. Obviously he is still a quality player, but at the age of 34 we would get max 1-2 season out of him. Plus, I am not sure his character would sit well with our dressing room, he’s a player who wants to be the main man and have everyone else playing his tune. Not sure it would go down well with the likes of Özil and Sanchez.

          Bottom line is, he is a risky one to sign and I am note sure I am comfortable with that risk. But then what do I know…

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          • No his character wouldn’t sit well in our dressing room. He’s a winner! He would rip them a new one when they begin moaning and don’t give shit. He’s exactly what we need.

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          • The question obviously isn’t with Ozil or Sanchez but with Arsene. It wouldn’t be an amicable dressing room with that prick Zlatan.

            I personally never liked his lack of humility and he goes amiss during the big games, we already have enough of those in the team!

            Get someone young and hungry like a Tevez (not sure if someone of that mould exists in the market, but that’s the club’s problem) and this team is likely to flourish.

            The million dollar question is if Arsene is the man who should lead a reinforced team?!

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          • Ozil went to Real with Ronaldo. I don’t think he minds egos. If the guy consistently puts away the chances he creates, probably isn’t too bothered.

            And Alexis just looks like a man who loves playing. As long as he’s on the first 11 sheet (and the team are competitive), don’t see him complaining.

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      • Bog clubs don’t give all these escuses. They just do what needs to be done. Why is that so difficult to demand.

        The club now has the money but buying players needed is still an issue.

        I guess we should not really complain when we get the cost of not buying the required players.

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    • Sure, if we had bought him, it would’ve probably added 10 mil euros to the fee, but that 15 mil euro fee BVB paid for Aubameyang is looking quite the steal at the moment. But who knows, if we had bought him, he might have gotten Diaby’d.

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      • We need a striker. We’ve needed one for ages, every single Arsenal fan knows the huge failings made by Arsene in the transfer windows this season.

        One thing I will say is, we have massively missed Danny Welbeck this campaign. He was hugely important for us last year, especially over the Christmas period, he chipped in with a few goals and assists, and he is a bit of a smart tool, and can be deployed wide or up front.

        He is miles better than Walcott in both positions, and I think he offers the team more in the striker role than Giroud does, he plays to Ozils strengths better, as he needs a player with pace in front of him in order to thrive. I think he could be a seriously good player for us, but Arsene (if he is still milling around next season) still needs to get someone who is lethal in front of goal, Giroud, and Welbeck aren’t good enough on their own for a club of our size… and Walcott is a joke for me, I hope we sell him at the end of the season.

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        • I’m thinking retroactively here, but I wonder what could’ve been if Walcott had been played in some part of the midfield before. Would it have improved his passing/defensive awareness? It’s nice to dream.

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  2. If AW truly believes we are one of the best at creating chances, then it’s obvious he needs to add more clinical strikers/wingers. Playing barca and watching other top teams, its obvious our front 3 are not top top quality. And its not an arguable topic.
    Walcott, Giroud and to a lesser extent campbell and welbeck are not world beaters, lesser because the other two i have no hope of improving. Only ozil and sanchez are too top forwards we got

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  3. All we can hope for is that the boys put in their best in the next 9 games and see where that takes us to.
    Then Arsene must show some ambition in the summer. By that I mean not tagging along to see who the big boys don’t want anymore. Pick the targets early and go for them. This is your last chance Arsene.

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    • You know his excuse this year: There is EURO in the summer and it is always difficult to sign players. All clubs go after the best players in the competition etc….Same explanation for poor performance next season.

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      • I dunno, he had his best summer transfer-wise when the World Cup was on in 2014 hopefully more of that because there’s no chance he’s getting the sack anytime soon so it will be on his shoulders to get the players in

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    • Wenger’s contract is up in 2017

      Unai Emery’s contract is up in 2017.

      2 Consecutive Euro League finishes, which is a tough, physically draining compeition.

      Consecutive 5th place La Liga’ finishes in a league in which the top 3 is basically nailed down.

      He’s young too.

      I can’t think of many other young, talented coaches, but maybe someone with more La Liga finishes can give me some info on whether Emery is a good fit.

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    • Unfortunately, he doesn’t actually need to look over his shoulder because Kroenke is happy with 4th place Champions League money.

      Everyone else recognises he is underachieving with the resources available, but he is a luxurious position in terms of his position.

      Let’s look at other PL managers this season:-

      Overachieving with resources available: Ranieri, Pussytino, Bilic, Koeman.
      Underachieving with resources available: Maureen (sacked), Brenda (sacked), Pellegrini (to be sacked), LVG (to be sacked).

      Lucky boy, Arsene.

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  4. Look all that’s necessary to know is the round thing has to go between the posts and into the back of the opponents net more times than it goes into ours. It isn’t fucking rocket science. That is the best way to win matches. In many teams there is a person whose job it is to do this. If we don’t have one who can do this on a regular basis then we need to acquire one. Thus more goals than the opposition = win simples

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  5. I couldn’t care less anymore. Until around 14.28 when we’re holding onto a 2-1 lead and I’m thinking “maybe, just maybe”.
    It’s hope that will kill us.

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  6. Wenger has a defeatist attitude. Before we went to Barca for the second leg, he came out saying we have a 5% chance of beating them. What did he think was the effect of that statement on the players? That they will put in the best to win the game? Now he is talking about looking over our shoulders. Clearly he is resigned to fighting for fourth place. I have lost hope of winning the league under wenger. I am equally tired of excuses

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    • atleast now he’s more realistic. although comes august he’ll believe we have a big enough squad with quality n no ones available better than giroud or arteta

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  7. this man needs to take some responsibility. it’s always about the players. how about the preparation and organization on the pitch. this guy doesn’t take responsibility for anything. at the end of the season when we finish fourth he needs to confess to the fans of the club that he was wrong. his strikers aren’t good enough. his british core isn’t good enough (and his faith in them has made him turn a blind eye to some better talent that could’ve been brought in). his old guard (arteta, ros, flamini) are’nt good enough and shouldn’t have been relied on. he should’ve bought at least one top outfield talent in the summer. and finally, he’s not good enough.

    tim stillman’s column sums it up nicely. wenger has no plan. he has no idea how to organize this team (or any team) to win a title. it’s really pathetic. he needs to go.

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  8. Hope Ozil is taking note of what Arsene has said, he needs to up his assists and start to create the odd chance for our poor beleaguered chance starved forwards.

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    • I was thinking the very same. In 122 created chances this season, only 18 were good enough for our strikers and deserve to become goals. Time to sell Özil…

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      • I hope you are writing figuratively because the Arsenal top top quality strikers have missed open goal chances created by Ozil. I always say that it’s a shame the goals we have scored from the chances created. It is an indictment on the managers’ failure to strengthen in that area. We have too many average forwards, they make Kane look a genius.

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  9. You really have to have a massively overdeveloped sense of entitlement to think finishing in the top four every year over the past twenty years is a bad thing.

    If the over entitled whiners have their way Wenger will go and we will finish sixth the following season.

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    • The last 10 years of our entry we have just been happy to pick up the pay cheque. We aren’t trying to win it. We’re desperate to enter a tournament we show no desire to win. The top clubs are ruthless. Look at barca with Sanchez. Whilst we cream ourselves over him they decided they could do better and got rid. That’s what top ambitious clubs do. Continually improve the team and increasing the standard. We stand still and carry on with poor players like per Arteta flamini

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      • Feels like a classic case of don’t feed the troll. No one can really think that finishing 4th every season just so we can get repeatedly tonked by a European powerhouse is the height of awesomeness.

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    • It’s a great achievement and a testament to Wenger, competing with the much bigger boys while trying to a build a stadium.

      But the Emirates has been built so what now?

      You don’t have to spend shitloads to win a title (Leicester-who will likely be winners) or overachieve and threaten top 4 (Tottenham/West Ham), but you do need to build a good squad with sufficient cover and mental desire and strength. These aforementioned teams have that.

      I know Tottenham are rivals, but you have to give Pochettino credit for building a team on limited resources with balls!

      Man City with their ridiculous purchases of Mangala/Sterling/Otamendi have evidenced that money won’t guarantee you success, it’s the aforementioned qualities and some tactical nous/common sense.

      I mean for fucks sake, until we brought Gabriel, we only had 2 specialist CentreBacks. What kind of shit logic is that? A crappy argument would be to say ‘Oh we have Monreal, Flamini and Chambers as backup’ except they aren’t CB’s and given that Gibbs is injury prone, not the best idea!

      Counting on crocked Wilshere and Arteta, when one had a horrendous long-term injury and the other one is also injury prone and more or less past it, is crap logic! I would assume Wenger would’ve accounted for a similar type player who isn’t always injured as backup to Cazorla. Glad we have Elneny so have to give credit to AW for that. I wish Wilshere a speedy recovery but from now on, any considerations of squad depth must automatically exclude Jack. Give Rosicky and Arteta opportunity to retire and get coaching badges with us.

      Thinking “we have 3 strikers” (when one has been out for a year) and that Giroud/Walcott is sufficient, when neither are especially clinical, terrible logic! Giroud is great but he’ s not gonna deliver you a title! Jesus, Charlie Austin has 1 in 2 ratio for QPR and bloody Burnley, @£4 mil that’s a Wenger bargain bin diamond right there! Rotate between him and Giroud and you have a steady stream of goals!

      Please excuse the exclamation marks

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  10. The title is long over…Liverpool draw started it all. Wenger keeps talking bulls**t. If we don’t win tomorrow then even our beloved 4th place will be in jeopardy.

    Le prof seriously needs to look at himself in the summer. His parenting of these million dollar kids is just not working. Need someone more intense to get more from these bunch of morons.

    COYG! don’t embarrass us fans anymore…

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  11. So we’ve gone from fighting for the title, to watching over our shoulder for fourth place.
    I just can’t be arsed with it anymore, if memory serves me correct, Wenger has got one more season on his contract, he will never be sacked by the club, and I’m absolutely convinced he’ll be offered another contract.
    Whether he signs it or not is anyone’s guess…

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  12. 4th spot trophy or better plus for goodness sakes finish above Spurs.

    The title looks difficult considering the lead we have gifted the Foxes with.

    Personally I thought Wenger should have goone for broke second leg against Barca.

    He should have fielded Metersecker and Koscielny in at Cback. Flamini and Coquelin to shield, Campbell instead of Iwobi and Giroud up top to hold and distribute better.

    But I think he is getting very nervous we can even sneak in and finish top4 given current teams mental fragility again.

    He looks like he wants to ensure our own ‘safety’ in finishing top four at minimum now that the FA cup has been squandered.

    I would say we should aim to finish above Spurs too minimally.

    It will still be a dissapointing end to season considering how we started and kept together for long stretch with Flamini/Ramsey holding without some of our best players in the squad.

    But at least there will be some face saving if/should we nip the Spuds.

    Title. Maybe only

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    • It was always the clearest signal of just how small and poor the spuds were when their whole season was to finish above us!

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  13. Can’t believe how often it happens that we go from fighting for the title to not just being 4th but a desperate fight for 4th, then the relief that we scrape 4th covers the disappointment of not fighting for the title, seems to have happened in every recent season

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  14. West Ham are a threat….


    Get your coat please Wenger, having that come out of your mouth when you have our squad and resources must be enough for you to realise that your best is no longer good enough

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  15. We have such short memories.

    News Hound writes “That we’re worrying about dropping into the Europa League places when we were top of the table at the end of January is nigh-on farcical…” — but it’s only 2 years since we topped the table almost constantly from the beginning of September to the end of January, also after losing the opening game of the season. Yet, by the time we lost at Everton that year, at the beginning of April, we’d dropped to 5th place. Plus ça change?

    That season, we barely squeezed into 4th place with 79 points. We’re currently 9 points behind where we were two years ago, opponent for opponent; to match that season’s record we need to win every remaining game.

    On the other hand, even after our recent poor run, we’re still 2 points better off than last season, match for match, and then we finished 3rd with 75 points.

    We’re not going backwards, despite the doom-and-gloom-mongers that seem to constitute the majority of commenters here. It’s more a matter of expectation: we were led to believe (by pundits and fans alike) that we were going to win the league this season. The fact is, we’re currently still ahead of Man City, Chelsea, Man United, Liverpool, … — all teams that had high hopes for this year too. It’s been a strange season.

    Of course we could and should have done better; and I readily admit I don’t like it that once again we’re looking over our shoulder. But I don’t believe (yet) that this season has been a disaster. It just hasn’t been as good as we were led to expect.

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    • with comments like yours,i wonder “what being a big club” means,because big clubs don’t settle for second best,they always strive to maximize their chances of achieving ultimate success,if don’t win the league(which is possible though unlikely)i will consider this season a disappointment,and if we don’t finish above 3rd place i think it will be safe to consider our season a disaster.

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    • It was farcical that we messed it up then just like it is now!

      Our expectations rose when we saw what happened to chavski and man City. The title was there for the taking and should have been. Again his refusal to strengthen the squad is the elephant in the room but it’s becoming clearer and clearer just how tactically naive he is. He had no answer to Watford last week. He keeps referencing possession – it means f all in today’s football! When you pass it as slowly as we do it grates even more

      All our major competitors this summer will strengthen, Klopp and pep at their respective clubs plus as it seems conte at chavski will be streets ahead of us. Sadly even the spuds have a direction. We’re all just waiting for him to go

      Football has evolved, he’s 66 years old, those players cant relate to him.

      And yes I love arsenal! Questioning and wanting better don’t bring that in to question. Bizarrely seems some on here love arsene wenger and not the club

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      • All this talk blaming our performances this season on not “strengthening the squad” — I don’t buy it, sorry. It’s not like you want to play the latest game that your friends can’t play, so you just walk into a store and buy a more powerful computer.
        Strengthening your squad means finding the right players (who knows who they are?), not the most expensive ones. I don’t have the figures to hand, but who spent the most last summer? Certainly not Leicester. Where are the teams who spent heavily? They’re below us. I look at the players “fans” say we should have signed — Schneiderlin, for example — and where are they now? Everyone seemed surprised when we signed Welbeck 18 months ago, now I read that he’s the only Arsenal striker some people would want to keep. What a load of nonsense (that’s not saying I’m not a fan of his, I am, and I’m glad to have him at Arsenal).
        And you’re suggesting that Arsène is past it at 66? If I remember right, both Özil and Sanchez said they came to Arsenal because they specifically wanted to play under him. Of course the players can relate to a 66-year-old man, it sounds like you’re in your teens and imagine everyone over 40 is aged. And incidentally, I believe no one has contributed more to the evolution of football in this country over the last 10-20 years than Arsène Wenger. Not even SAF. If football has evolved, he not only knows it, he’s done it.
        I’m glad you love Arsenal, but what exactly do you love? The name? The ground? The players? The history? The character of the club? I love Arsenal for what it is, for what it has been, up and down, for the last 40-odd years since I became an Arsenal supporter. I can’t think of a single player in the current Arsenal first team who deserves the cr*p that’s being thrown at them by so many so-called “fans” with short memories (sometimes no more than a few weeks). And that’s not been true for many of the last 40 years.
        Of course I want better, too. But I also want the players we have already, and the great manager we have, to succeed. I support them.

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        • It’s not about the amount you spend correct. But where were we on Kante for example? He was recommended to aw by one of his oldest associates in France yet we see Arteta and flamini as a better option. Competition improves performance, he would have challenged and improved coquelin. Where’s his judgement there?

          He dithered over aubegeymang a few years ago, again mata to name just 2. There was a time when he was leading in unearthing these gems now we are miles behind. Vieira, Lauren petit ljungberg…..

          Theo is lambasted on here but for me if pep or Klopp got their hands on him watch him fly! They would play to his strengths, and fill him with confidence. The 17 year old I saw score a screamer against leeds has arguably gone backwards

          I have no personal issues with any of the players. I will support them because they play for arsenal but the frustration is that there are better players that we could have and we don’t. The fact we persist with per and Arteta is ridiculous. We’re all close to laugh at John terry for winning the cl. Germany dropped per and then became the team that smashed Brazil on the way to the world cup

          Our gk situation since lehmann until cech has been laughable and cech practically tied a bow around himself and sat on our doorstep

          Aw may have been involved in the evolution of football but it’s moving again and most certainly without him. He’s tactically naive and his construction of this squad is highly questionable. He looked out of his depth against Watford and Swansea. Everyone knows how to beat us

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        • Such rose tinted spectacles. Read Perry Groves’ autobiography if you want an honest and truthful account of how we fans have a history of getting on players’ backs. Plus Ozil and Sanchez signed to play under Wenger? Rubbish. He helped talk Sanchez into signing. That was good. But that’s not the same as specifically signing to play under someone – something I don’t think exists in the modern game.

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          • Yes, I’ve read it. And I was an Arsenal fan back then, remember. I know what it was like in the 70s, in the 80s, in the 90s…
            I’m not saying that fans haven’t always got on players’ backs. Sometimes it’s deserved. But the vitriol, the short-sightedness, and the impatience, and the public nature of it all now we have such social media as blogs and Twitter, seems very different to me. And I don’t think it’s just rose-tinted spectacles.
            As for the signings — Özil said when he signed: “I am thrilled to be joining a club of the stature of Arsenal … I am particularly looking forward to working with Arsene Wenger.” Alexis said: “I’m so happy to be joining Arsenal, a club which has a great manager…” (from The Guardian).

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          • Neither of those quotes show that they signed to play under AW. They are just warm words players give when joining any new club. I totally get the social media point, but that’s a wider societal problem. Online abuse isn’t limited to footballers! If I were a professional sportsman, I would not have any sort of social media presence.

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  16. The sheer fact that we are talking about ‘looking over our shoulder’ speaks volumes about where we are as a team and title challenge. Joke.

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  17. Zlatan will be on a free with wages of about £150m per week,..surely worth a go. Hand him a 2 year contract.

    COYG. No brainer this

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  18. Says a lot of what he truly thinks of this team perfomance at the moment if we’ve to look over shoulder coz of West Ham!!

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  19. I believe Wenger will st out of the team to at least finish 4th. time and again he has proved he is up for the fight. to finish fourth.
    c’mon you reds!!

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