Wenger on planning for Sutton for over a week

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Arsene Wenger says he’s known for more than a week who he’ll select for Monday’s game with Sutton United.

The Gunners take on the non-league minnows at Gander Green Lane in the FA Cup fifth round knowing anything other than a comprehensive victory will further raise tensions at the Emirates.

Bullish in the face of speculation about his future, the boss made clear that the FA Cup is always one of the club’s targets.

“The FA Cup is one of our targets and it’s the next game for us to bounce back after the game we had,” said the boss.

“It’s a very important game but it always was in my head.”

He added: “I always had in my mind that it was a very important game, Sutton. In my head I had the team who will start and play there for a week or ten days now. The result in Bayern Munich will not influence that selection.”

It’s expected the likes of Ainsley Maitland-Niles, the Jeff and Per Mertesacker could get some game time. 

Nine days ago Sutton United crashed out of the FA Trophy in a 5-0 fifth round replay defeat to Borehamwood; a club that the Gunners often play in pre-season.

Asked if he’d watched the game as part of his preparations for the trip to South London, the boss revealed he’d not been present but did know Monday’s opponents had made several changes to their lineup.

“They had six or seven players they didn’t play so they didn’t play with their regular team. As well, I expect a different completely different game against us.

“It will be the FA Cup with everybody supporting them. They’ve been preparing this game in their head for a long time with a huge enthusiasm so you cannot compare that to a game against Borehamwood.

“I did not go along. I was busy on the day.”

Sutton could field as many as three ex-Gunners in their team, including Craig Eastmond who once scored an own goal in a Champions League defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk. He talks how much he’s looking forward to the occasion here. 

73 COMMENTS

  1. The Eastmond own goal detail seems a bit gratuitous.

    He’s made a career for himself elsewhere, good for him, and we’ve got 43 million pound players to blame for our Kroenke’s BS now so yay us.

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  2. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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      • That’s what the comments system is for, to make comments.

        The problem with Wengerholics like you is that the truth hurts and you can’t handle it, so the response is to attack the person who made the comment. I suppose it helps with your frustration.

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      • As much as I agree with you, when is the right time to show some dissent?

        If it is done during the season when there is a bigger platform we are told it is being disloyal to the team and ruining their chances of winning games apart from at the end of the last game of the season.

        During the summer there are no games so there is no opportunity to do so.

        At the beginning of the season it is again being disloyal to the team and ruining their chances of winning games in a fresh new season.

        When then?

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      • I’ve got the guts to make my views known on a pro-Wenger website like this. Whereas you, cosy up to your Wengerholic chums which obviously makes you feel good but I support the club first, and so should you.

        Do you like getting spanked by Bayern each season?

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        • No! I don’t also manage football clubs, I just support Arsenal good or bad and I can say I would not have done a better job than Wenger. It’s not my job and my life on the line each day, week, year here! I appreciate the man’s work for the club and so should you

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          • I completely appreciate the man’s work. He is an Arsenal legend, there’s nobody disputing that.
            But just because of the previous amazing achievements, that doesn’t mean that he must be the best person for the job forever. He’s had plenty of time to address the same old problems but seems like he cant fix them. I want what is best for the club.

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          • We all have our rights to an opinion! No man can live forever! It’s not like we have been relegated or are bankrupt. What you enjoy about the club today has been due to the hard work of people like him. Just support a positive contribution and solution, I don’t know the history of the Wengerout as a solution but I know the history and record set by him and being also human, I won’t like it done to me, the whole treatment his getting from you lot that want him out I mean.

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          • I don’t think there is anyone left who wants him to stay on anymore. The issue now is about how that transition takes place. Then there is the other issue of people disrespecting him. Thinking his time is up and wanting him to go is one thing but belittling his achievements and insulting him is bang out of order.

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          • Godfrey – you are being very naïve, there are plenty of people who want him to stay. And he has a 2 year contract on the table, just waiting for him to sign. He has stated this morning he will not be retiring at the end of this season. Therefore, there is fairly good chance he wont be leaving.

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          • He’s obviously going to stay, I agree the signs are they’re and I would also support that. Call me nuts but I like watching him trying to crack it. If they come second then I can’t se a crisis.

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          • I think you are the one being naive who thinks there are plenty of people who wants him to stay. And perhaps stuck in the same on narrative of “Wenger out” as well. Of course there are people who still want him to stay but I doubt they are many.

            Him staying on after the season…let’s wait and see. My money is on him going.

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          • He is staying.. guaranteed… good form until the end of the season, and most of the fans who are always protecting Wenger will have started saying that he should stay openly for another 2 years… Our form from Feb was league winning!! We were top of the away league!! We’ve been in the CL for 20 years!! Oh, man give it a rest. So many damn accomplishments by Arsenal and Wenger, it’s no wonder we all feel so proud and fulfilled and not at all frustrated!

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  3. Sutton are united. Play the cup team and we should be ok. Unless they realise no matter how well they do they will never break into the stubborn old mans 1st team. Its a bannana skin on a 3G pitch just waiting to happen.

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  4. Just listened to the Arsecast and the hidden bit at the end with Arsene talking put a lump in my throat.
    I suggest some of you listen and learn.

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  5. what will the Wenger out people do when we don’t finish in the top 4 next year and pull a Man U? Some seriously fickle fans on here. Ranting and raving over everything the guys says…

    Respect the boss and the team a bit more. Be a little bit more thankful for the memories.

    As much as I love this blog, I wonder if the Internet has done more harm than good for society. I’m old enough to remember the world without it. Everybody wasn’t so damn hysteric about everything all the time.

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    • *Old man shakes fist at internet*
      Yes! We know! You were there when the internet started!
      Doesn’t mean you can’t be spewing shit too.

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    • I wouldn’t say the internet has itself been responsible for more extreme opinions but rather has created a platform on which these people can far more easily share their views, and all under the mask of anonymity that the internet provides. If you want to blame anyone for stimulating hysteria blame the media. Nothing but sensationalist headlines to sell papers and produce click-bait articles.

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    • Yet the hysteria on this site is largely user-driven, so I’m not sure we can fully blame “the media,” as you’re using the term, for it. (Although the explosion of what in the U.S. is called a “hot take” in sports reporting certainly provides a model for it.)

      Just a few comments above ^ you see someone suggesting that posting vitriol is an expression of “guts,” which to me suggests that this media technology does have something to do with it: real life a scary place to try to act hard? Just click “Post Comment” and spend the rest of the day counting your Thumbs!

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    • Any new manager coming into the job won’t have long before the Wenger Out crowd will descend on him like banshees for not winning us the PL and everything else they feel entitled to. Between that and realising that perhaps Wenger wasn’t the obstacle to glory they thought he was, it’s the easier option. We might face a succession of managers from there on. Who knows, maybe some will even long for the days of the stability we had under Wenger. “Say what you like about Wenger but at least he…unlike this…fella…”.

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  6. I remember listening to Mourinho’s postmatch interviews ( in his last days at Chelsea), ranting about his players not implementing his game plan. Who knew Arsene’s fault is being sincere and protecting his players, who deserve all the criticism.

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  7. I dont think anything will change with a new manager. He will still have to answer to the same leadership. Imo the owner and board need to be replaced first with people who know and care about football and who value sporting success over money.

    A owner passionate about football and the club who wants to see it succeed at the highest level. But I know that is wishfull thinking and more likely than not the next owner will just be even worse than Kroenke.

    Ofcourse if fans all over the world stopped going to games and stopped buying any merchandice and unfollowed Arsenal in social media then the value of the club would start to drop and Kroenke might sell his share amd we could hope for someone who genuinly care about the football first and foremost.

    But it would be impossible to organize something like that.

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  8. I’m not sure why people keep getting into such a furor over Wenger.

    He will leave sooner than later.

    The issue on hand is not to panic appoint a manager for the sake of it.

    If Wenger decides he cannot break past his glass ceiling and his given it his best, he will step down.

    IMO if there is no good candidate in the summer, we should be prepared to wait out one more season till 2018 when there will be managerial movement following World Cup 2018

    There will be better choice and we can assess certain potential candidates better.

    The worse that can happen is we will finish top 4 but no major honours.

    If we should panic and appoint say Eddie How as the media would deem to suggest and he pulls a Martinez or an AVB or the myriad young genius managers who were suppose to be better than Wenger, we may not even qualify for CL and end with no honours that season (which has been the high MINIMUM standard set by Arsene over two decades)

    But the problem will then by we have to switch managers the following season again which will be disruptive.

    If the manager taking over (say Howe) decides to revamp everything and it doesn’t work, we have to rebuild yet again which can set us back even further (which is the United problem)

    Lest we think there is only upside to a new appointment, Liverpool have been struggling for a quarter of a century to win the title with a long list of gaffers. They are still no closer.

    Nor have Spurts or Liverpool (or United in recent vintage even under Moanrinho) been able to qualify for top four and CL back to back let alone for the 2 decade span Wenger has ensured as a minimum return.

    This is the problem, I have no problem with fans who think its time for change but they seem to be myopic in thinking that it can only get better. It can also go the other way. Will these same whingers find the patience to bear through 2 to 3 seasons of nought and possibly outside CL?

    What we need to do is (And I am sure Wenger will want to) identify the correct person who shares similar ethos and can build on what Wenger has brought in/developed. This isn’t just anybody.

    I’m not saying we won’t find someone this summer but the pressure is undue if we have to set such a strict timeline for succession.

    I certainly hope the board would not be as emotional as some fans when it comes to making such a monumental decision.

    And whether one thinks Wenger’s time has come or not, the other thing is we should all show a bit of class.

    This is one of the greatest managers the club has had who has not only delivered major trophies and moments but also built up the clubs finances and afforded us the ability to compete in the modern era independently of sugar daddies.

    Take a deep breath, support the team, stop shouting nonsense and lets finish the season as strong as we can.

    As much as it has been bad, it could get worse. We certainly want the FA cup at least both for club and Wenger and we want to finish as high in the league as possible (St Totteringham’s day should not be taken for granted)

    Plenty to fight for yet.

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    • What has your comment got to do with the news article?

      If you wanted just to post your general views on the most recent article, then there is another one which is up – Wenger denies post-Bayern dressing room bust-up. You should have posted on there.

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      • Funny, the news article is about Sutton but all of your comments are about Wenger. Perhaps you should keep them all to the plentiful articles about Wenger’s contract situation.

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  9. I think there should have been several dressing rooms but ups over recent games but I somehow imagine that they’re all too polite or even cannot express it sufficiently well in different languages.

    Years ago after a poor result the boss was excluded from the dressing room whilst Tony Adams laid into all and a right royal argument ensued. The result was a great improvement in team morale with players recognising the impact they had on each other.

    (Also Spinner’s comment that this is a Wengerholic site obviously ignores most of the posts over the last week!)

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    • I actually said this was a pro-Wenger site. The reasoning behind that claim was that the author and owner has until recently been a strong supporter of Arsene. The comments policy also reflects this, as anti-Wenger acronyms are not permitted. Consequently, the site will generally attract pro-Wenger fans.
      Other blog sites (e.g. Le Gr*ve) are anti-Wenger, which reflects the views of the author / owner. Those sites generally attract Wenger out fans.

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      • There are more than enough anti-Wenger agenda folks around here to make it not one or the other. It’s certainly not as consistently negative as the other site you mentioned, but there are plenty of neutrals on that issue around here that have no interest in that incessant negativity.

        In case you didn’t notice the policy also specifically says no acronyms in FAVOR of Wenger either. I can only guess as to his motivation for it which is probably along the lines of it’s lazy, polarizing, and makes it impossible to have productive discussion when it’s a bunch of little warriors lining up on their sides and sneering at one another.

        It’s getting really boring.

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        • Why do you say that wanting for Wenger to leave is negative? You’re just too Pro-Wenger to have a balanced view.

          I think it will be sad, but positive so the club can move forward and achieve better than it is currently doing.

          I would prefer that Wenger stays and challenges for the big trophies but it has become apparent that he can’t do that so its time for change.

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          • Oh do fuck right off. I’ve not said wanting Wenger to leave is negative.

            What IS negative is that you have absolutely NOTHING FUCKING ELSE to bring to any of these conversations. Same goes the juvenile incessant, repeated bullying we constantly see around here and on social platforms with all of the character assassinations of our players and manager.

            That, amigo, is a piss poor negative attitude. That is what is negative. I’m all for having a say to work out frustration but my god man, give it a fucking rest.

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      • Sounds like this is a more reasoned and discussive site then. There’s certainly no lack of anti-Wenger rhetoric here but just because there are some who can offer an alternative view does not mean that the whole site should be dismissed out of hand. Not sure what acronyms have to do with it or why they should be necessary.

        If you don’t like the site, go to the one that suits you.

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    • The other target left is the ‘qualifying for the Champions League’ trophy. Wenger rates that higher than winning the FA Cup.

      Before you rabid Wengerholics jump on my case – YES, he did say it was trophy and YES, he did say it was higher priority than winning the FA Cup.

      Direct quote from 2012 AGM:
      “For me, there are five trophies – the first is to win the Premier League, the second is to win the Champions League, the third is to qualify for the Champions League, the fourth is to win the FA Cup and the fifth is to win the League Cup.”

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        • Anything in my comment that was factually incorrect? No, I thought not. You’re just a typical Arsene sympathiser who cant cope with the truth.

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          • What truth is that? That everyone here is a “wengerholic”? Well you’re a Wengerphobic and as such it’s hard to take much of what you say seriously.

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          • Paul – do you agree with Wenger that it is a trophy?

            Godfrey – ready my comment again. I’ve even quoted Wenger but you just don’t like me calling him out like that. It is not a trophy and never will be.

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          • I’ll take your word for him saying that. So what? Manager sees the necessity in the club securing 90 quid a year. Shock horror!

            The problem you have is the name calling.

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          • Depends how you spin it.

            What he meant was it is as lucrative if not more than some trophies.
            CL qualification is BIGGER than League cup for instance.

            Does the winner of the League cup get qualified for the CL?

            No.

            😉

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          • I wouldn’t call that a trophy, no. But I see the importance of our club securing 90 million pounds every season and Wenger has done that every year for us. All things considered, who honestly gives a shit how he sees it? Well I certainly don’t anyway.

            Is it his odd choice of a word that renders his situation untenable or is it the poor results? For me it’s the results and I think his time is up. What I won’t go along with is the insults. Let the likes of Mourinho suffer that kind of stuff. Not Wenger! Let the other clubs treat their managers like that, not us!

            Would you agree that calling people “wengerholics” makes it more difficult to get your point across?

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          • I agree. The hateful speech that Wenger is having to endure on an almost daily basis is unfair and disgusting. Believe me when I say I’m as disappointed and upset as anyone. Wenger deserves to be criticized and questions should be asked of him and the players and his tactics. However I think their is a respectful way in which to express opinions and to hold Wenger accountable.

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          • Maybe it does, but we all have our own style. I mean no offence, and I’m big enough to apologise if I have caused it.

            I’m merely here to share my views and have reasoned debate.

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          • Spin.

            Of course its more important than say…the league cup.

            To some extent its more important than the FA cup although of course FA cup carries prestidge value, it doesn’t qualify you for CL participation and the money that comes along with it.

            Like it or not, football IS a business.

            You’d have to be a silly Ostrich with your head up your arse if you haven’t realised this by now.

            Wenger has to ensure that we remain competitive money-wise against some other deep pocketed clubs with benefactors.

            How are you going to keep up with player prices? Particularly with the Chinese now entering the fray?

            The man moved us to the stadium in the first place largely to secure a steady income stream in addition to TV money etc.

            Largely this was done on the back of his early success and the increase branding of the club as a result.

            Had Wenger not won the title 3 seasons and qualified for CL all those early years, it would be far more difficult to secure financing from banks to build the stadium.

            The fact that he has such remarkable consistency makes it attractive for the lenders.

            Sure football is more than money but the money part is reality.

            I feel sometimes, many of the fans are trying to live their success in their lives through the club. That’s OK.

            But they need to also have a foot rooted in reality. Its not just the money at the gates that bring in the income.

            Wenger has been excellent managing transfers. He has made poor signings but mostly, he spent comparatively lower and thereby minimises impact to coffers. Again this is an important consideration to the money men who loan us the funds.

            This is not to discount his mistakes, he isn’t perfect but contrast with the success at Liverpool which was a massive club compared to us, and their stagnation over a quarter of a century or say Spurs who have been trying to keep up with us (They started at pretty much the same level when Wenger took over), I think you can draw some sanguine conclusions.

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        • Spinner I think getting hung up on the word “trophy” is silly. I for one am glad that he puts a lot of effort in getting the club into the ECL every year for the added income and for me being able to see a few more matches.

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  10. Just to put things into context as well, its not like Arsenal have ever had any pedigree in Europe.

    Sure we should be doing far better if possible but we’ve never won the Champion’s League or its predecessor.

    The only European adventure with any form of success was a win in the secondary competition once.

    So in light of that context, Wenger has qualified as a minimum standard for top level competition two decades straight without interruption.

    Spurs have more success in Europe many decades ago but since the premiership have not been close to the title despite the latest outburst from twitchy Redknapp proclaiming they will win it in 4 seasons with I suppose four more different managers.

    Sure we want change but change can go both ways.

    Liverpool are without title in a quarter of a century despite the right mentality as proclaimed by the press.

    A bit less emotion and a bit more levity os needed by many fans.

    Even if we want to find a new gaffer, we should not be held hostage to spur of the moment, particularly if choices are limited this summer.

    Better to have Wenger on a rolling one season contract till 2018 and esure a planned transition than the sort of mess at United.

    I’m sure the same fans who bay for Wenger’s blood and are so classless as to hold those banners will exhibit the sort of fortitude of patience if should an Eddie Howe say come in and stumble in the dark for 3 seasons straight without trophies, CL and with us languishing say 7th or lower.

    Easy to make a lot of noise. Far harder to put some thought to it.

    😉

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    • I just watched it and although focusing too much on his choice of words over that fan with the “Wenger Out” board at the Chelsea debacle I thought it was good. Nevïlle came across very well and I actually have a new found respect for him.

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  11. I see this game being the return of the BFG and Sanogo.

    I am hoping for 11 players to come out onto the pitch with a point to prove and willing to fight, because right now every position is up for grabs given the form of some players.

    Ospina,
    Jenkinson, Mertesacker, Holding, Gibbs
    AMN, Elneny, Jeff,
    Perez, Sanogo, Welbeck

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    • I could live with that selection, who’s on the bench just in case?

      It ought to be a pre-season warm up but unfortunately whoever plays is on a hiding to nothing. If we lose, God help them: if we win they’ve not actually proved anything because it was only Sutton.

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  12. We struggled to beat Burnley.
    Burnley currently struggling to beat Lincoln.
    Sutton won at Lincoln.

    Just a thought, well worthy of thumbs down😉

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