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Wenger's greatest humiliation

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Phil McNulty | 08:39 UK time, Monday, 29 August 2011

Old Trafford

The sound of Sir Alex Ferguson almost killing Arsene Wenger with kindness may have been the most ominous noise of all for a manager who had just suffered his greatest humiliation.

Wenger still has aspirations to win titles and revisiting one of the great Premier League managerial rivalries - a fanciful notion after Manchester United became the first team to score eight goals against Arsenal since Loughborough in 1896.

So to hear Ferguson expressing genuine sympathy bordering on sorrow for Wenger at Old Trafford, the place where Arsenal once triumphantly confirmed the league and FA Cup double, after an 8-2 mauling only added a further layer of embarrassment to his obvious suffering.

The manner in which United graphically, horrifically in an Arsenal context, illustrated the gulf between the two sides marks down this remarkable Old Trafford match as a watershed moment.

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For Wenger it was a performance, or lack of one, that proved the folly of his summer of transfer inaction and for United it confirmed the seeds of their next title-winning side have been successfully sown by Ferguson.

United took to the pitch with a resounding message echoing in their ears from "noisy neighbours" Manchester City after their 5-1 win at Tottenham and answered back with irresistible force to wipe out Arsenal and return to the top of the table on goal difference.

Wayne Rooney's hat-trick took him past 150 goals for the club, Ashley Young scored two stunning strikes and United could have raced into double figures and beyond but for their own carelessness.

With an average age 23, United were youthful, vibrant and laced with pace and power in all parts of the pitch - in other words the template Wenger always craves for his teams.

If Manchester City are going to pose a massive threat, as seems certain, then United look in shape to meet the challenge. They have emerging stars in defence in Phil Jones and Chris Smalling and attacking options to burn - at times they treated Arsenal with merciless contempt.

Wenger cut a despairing figure still locked in various stages of denial in his post-match inquest, flailing against reality by reeling off a list of absentees and how this was only early days. True enough, but Arsenal have made the sort of false start that would make Usain Bolt blush and absenteeism was no excuse for the debacle that unfolded at Old Trafford.

One hesitates to use the word, but there was something rather sad about some of Arsenal's efforts and in Tomas Rosicky and Andrey Arshavin they had two prime culprits. Youngsters like Carl Jenkinson, sent off in the second half, and Francis Coquelin were promoted above their rank through necessity so can be excused, but Rosicky and Arshavin were so poor it almost defied belief.

And then we come to Wenger. A man so admired for his philosophies and past successes, he has bluntly failed to address the serious problems that faced his team after last season imploded on Arsenal.

To hear him talk about how he would like a midfield player and a defender with three days to go before the transfer window closes begged the question why he had not tackled this earlier in the summer when it was clear this was Arsenal's Achilles heel and the world knew Cesc Fabregas would be leaving, followed by Samir Nasri.

The grim evidence that unfolded at Old Trafford was mere confirmation of the holes in the Londoners' side and why Wenger has erred in being reduced to scouring the transfer market at the last minute for quality reinforcements.

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Wenger had a valid point when he stressed that the Gunners were without eight players, but Manchester United had men of their own missing - the difference is Ferguson found solutions and strengthened quickly while his counterpart has seemingly prevaricated.

Arsenal's substitutes were more a "Who's He?" than a "Who's Who" - Oguzhan Ozyakup and Gilles Sunu for instance - and for this Wenger must accept responsibility for how he has allowed his squad to thin out.

Many Arsenal supporters, and to a man and woman they were magnificent in the support they gave their battered players at Old Trafford, question the support Wenger is receiving financially from his board.

Suspicions have been raised by offers for Everton's Phil Jagielka and Bolton's Gary Cahill that were never going to be accepted but Wenger insisted at Old Trafford that he has money. The mystery is why it has not been spent earlier.

Liverpool faced accusations that they had paid above the market rate for players such as Stewart Downing and Jordan Henderson. This may be true but they got deals done, beefed up their squad significantly and the benefits are seen in early season results.

The suggestion that Wenger should pay for the current malaise with his job, or that his future is uncertain, is clearly a nonsense. He has earned every right to solve Arsenal's problems but the scale of this loss proved the time for action has arrived - indeed it arrived at the end of last season.

Wenger will have known few darker days - trounced by the team he once toppled with such relish - and he must act swiftly to shed some light on Arsenal's season.


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  • Comment number 1.

    As a United fan, should I feel sorry for Wenger?

  • Comment number 2.

    Got all excited about being first and realised I have nothing to add! Not great yesterday, here's hoping Messi will arrive before Wednesday!

  • Comment number 3.

    Phil, please stop dedicating your blogs to Arsenal. Its a parody, we have become the Ricky Gervais of the football world.

    Once great now old news.

  • Comment number 4.

    The rioting kicked off in Manchester again at around 4pm yesterday. The incident only lasted around 2 hours but was headed up by a Scott and a shrek lookalike with a wig. Police are reporting that only one youth project was absolutely ransacked with the French youth leader saying he couldn't believe how "humiliated" he felt. Many in the community of this youth project are now calling for their American owner to release some funds and that the French leader will invest it wisely so that they can try to rebuild

    In all seriousness, I am more and more convinced that wenger is taking the flack for a board that are only interested in money. I believe they are of the opinion that wenger has taken a rock and polished it into a diamond before so he'll be able to do it again so they don't need to provide wenger with the resources to improve the team now, which it desperately requires. Kroenke out and takes Ivan Gladis with you please. David dein back in

  • Comment number 5.

    United were amazing, who'd have thought you improve with investment. Sir Alex is the greatest... now i'm going to be sick

  • Comment number 6.

    Delighted to find the blog. As a United fan I am absolutely delighted with the 8 goals we scored. However it has to be stressed that is the second game in a row we have come up against extremely poor opposition. Uniteds Goalkeeper almost brushed aside any media doubts about his ability with a string of great stops in the first half, but I am surprised there was not mention about the van persie goal that slid under his body. However I have two issues. The first is, The United back 4. When you team destroy the opposition as bad as Arsenal were yesterday, there is no way you should be conceeding 2 goals. Arsenal could have had 2 or 3 more before half time and it may have helped to paint a better picture for them. The second issue is that players in any team, are professionals, on a professional wage, and the fact that we don't know them, or that are only in the reserve team doesn't excuse at all the shift that some of the Arsenal players put in yesterday. I blame the coaching staff squarely. Arsenal were exposed in the first half and came out in the second half doing exactly the same thing, with no attempt to change they way they were playing. Yes United were good, but Arsenal capitulated in the dressing room at half time. I think if Ferdinand and Vidic were playing United would have kept a clean sheet. They wont win the league in my honest opinion playing that back 4 all season but at least they are getting valuable experience while so called top 4 contenders roll over and die. To be honest if I was Wenger I would walk away and admit defeat, because on that form they are relegation material.

  • Comment number 7.

    # 2.At 09:16 29th Aug 2011, Essexpieboy wrote:
    Hi sorry mate, I think I beat you to it.

    Try next season, when United beat the Gunners 10-1

  • Comment number 8.

    I would also add United's performance yesterday I believe has showed how much the likes of Scholes and Carrick were hold United back last season. Now Anderson is free of both those shadows he is really blooming. Who would have bet that if United scored 8 neither Hernandez nor Berba would have been on the score sheet.. it's fantastic...

  • Comment number 9.

    I don't feel sorry for Wenger at all. He - and the Arsenal Board - have allowed this situation to arise. It's all very well saying they had 8 players missing, but had Chelsea, Man City or Man Utd (or even Spurs) had 8 players out, they would've done better than that. I'm afraid that whilst Wenger and his board control Arsenal, they will never win the league again. It's all very well him buying the likes of Jenkinson and Chamberlain, and having Wilshire and Ramsey coming through - then there's a case for Arsenal having one HELLUVA team in 2015...sadly by then, Man City, Chelsea and Man U will have spent another £100m and be even further ahead than they are now. It' a fact that Arsenal's NET spending since they lost to Barca in the 2006 CL final has been ZERO !! Even Spurs' net spending over the same period is close to £100m, apparently. So this is what you get with such a criminal lack of investment - Europa League football next season, and falling crowds. Sorry Arsene and Arsenal....from a position of great strength 5 years ago, you have blown it. Pep Guardiola in 2 years, please - he will be up for a new challenge by then.

  • Comment number 10.

    It was a freak result (thats not to say undeserved) but its still early days, this time last year everyone was saying its Chelsea's title already, and we all know how that panned out.

    Very impressive though.

    What I dont understand though is Wenger in the transfer market.

    He has 50million + from two player sales, and when it comes to additions he offers 50pence and a few dog ends for any player he wants and is surprised when he is laughed at.

    He can say that there is no value in the market, but I am sure Both Manchester Clubs, Barca and counless others will argue different.

  • Comment number 11.

    Who would have imagined that City Liverpool and Wolves would be proving challengers to the title at this early stage of the's almost as hilarious as the 8:2 scoreline.

  • Comment number 12.

    Arsenal fans should be careful what they wish for. In the same way Clough defined forest and Keegan defined Newcastle, Wenger defines Arsenal. Gooners should look at what could happen if he left before they call for a new manager.

  • Comment number 13.

    Kinda feel sorry for the Arsenal Fans who were magnificent in their support yesterday. Huge credit to them for stil cheering on their team.

    That said the Arsenal Board and Arsene need to start showing leadership & direction. It has been obvious that they lack a proper CB (or two) and do not seem to have made any plans to accomodate the sales of Fabregas and Nasri. It was clear that they were to leave but with only a few days left in the transfer market what are the chances of Wenger picking up a VDV-like sale?

    Arsene Wenger is at fault. If he says Arsenal do not have a problem, they have a problem!

  • Comment number 14.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • Comment number 15.

    Two teams in last seasons top 6 have not yet made the effort to significanlty strengthen their existing squads. A quick look at the league table will confirm which two.

  • Comment number 16.

    That is what Arsene Wenger deserved. 3 games and 3 redcards just shows how bad the Arsenal team is.

  • Comment number 17.

    I'd love to be inside Arsene's mind this week - especially as it is likely that this South Korean striker is the only addition to the squad. Arsenal can forget the league this season and for the next 5+ years. Arsenal can also forget the Champion's League - that's down to Barce, Real and Man U for the next 5+ years. So its the FA Cup for the boys in Red. Just got to hope that they don't draw Brighton away or that will be another trophyless year.

  • Comment number 18.

    If that had been Alan Pardew bossing the Toon like that he'd have been sacked by this time today - Wenger I'm sorry but you must go now for the sake of the club and the league - we need at least 4 good teams in this league to benefit the other 16 and that number appears to be down to 3.

  • Comment number 19.

    I don't think the scoreline reflected how badly Arsenal played, but was rather a result of Man U's quality play, and I doubt it would have happened anyway, except for Man City's 1-5 thrashing of Tottenham away, which put enormous pressure on Man U to come up with a big score to get top of the league on goal difference.

    Had City only won 0-1 or even 0-3 at Tottenham, I doubt we would have seen Man U putting more than 3 or 4 goals past Arsenal, but because City had raised the bar and were all set to put Man U and Fergie's nose out of joint, they chased a target that they otherwise would not likely have felt motivated to do.

    But returning to Wenger's dilemma, what yesterday did prove, is that there are quite a few players sitting on both the Man U and Man City bench who are clearly now surplus to requirements, and hopefully Wenger has got the money to buy, or failing him, maybe Harry Redknapp has.

    For example, Adam Johnson for the first time this season failed to take any part in a City game, and Nasri made an outstanding debut, confirming Johnson is now probably 2nd or 3rd choice substitute behind Milner and Tevez.

    Surely, if Johnson hasn't got the message now that he's never going to be a regular first team player at Man City, he never will, and of course with a great performance from the likes of Ashley Young for Man U in the Arsenal game, his chances of a successful England career are equally going down the pan.

    Tevez himself now appears surplus to requirements, and at Man U so does Berbatov, who also took no part in Man U's victory, though I still think Fergie is making a mistake and underrating and undervaluing him.

    So Monsieur Wenger, if you can afford it, I'd suggest you buy Berbatov, Adam Johnson and maybe even Carlos Tevez, though I'd guess the price tag on Tevez is still far too high.

    That combination, especially of Adam Johnson and Berbatov in an already creative Arsenal team (when at full strength) sounds like it would be quite scary to opponents, and should Arsenal acquire either or both of those players, I will certainly be watching Arsenal's future games with great interest and enthusiasm from then on.

    Or alternatively, Harry Redknapp might like to reunite Adam Johnson and Adebayor at Tottenham, as they worked well together at Man C.

    But right now, in my view, it's just plain ridiculous that the top two teams, Man City especially, have basically got a more or less duplicate first team squad sitting on the bench, and for the sake of the competitiveness and therefore watchability of Premier League football, it would seem preferable to spread the top players out a bit more widely.

  • Comment number 20.

    Arsene Wenger's transfer policy may have been to blame for the loss yesterday but it was his coaching that was the cause behind the humiliation.

    You just had to listen to Paul Merson and Gary Neville during the live broadcast, and Lee Dixon and Alan Hansen during MOTD last night to see how shocked they all were by the absolute shocking defensive non-performance.

    Arsenal have had a problem with their defensive personnel very regularly. A favourite excuse of Arsene Wenger and a lot of Arsenal fans is "what if Vermaelen were fit a full season". Well once again yesterday it was proven that he cannot be trusted to stay fit. And what is worse is his back-up isn't nearly as good.

    But is it their fault? In terms of Premier League experience, the centre back pairings put out by both sides were fairly comparable, but one looked reasonably assured while the other hadn't a clue. Surely it wasn't a case of men against boys there, the coaching of the players was absolutely shocking and yesterday it showed.

    The sight of Theo Walcott of all people was left giving a lecture to Carl Jenkinson for defensive naivety was a picture worth a thousand words.

  • Comment number 21.

    Phil, you know that Arsenal would have been trying to strengthen early on. To lay the blame of their failure at Arsenes door perpetuates the myth that managers have full control of that side of the game. A few teams now have the ability to pay what they want. Why would the best players play anywhere else?

  • Comment number 22.

    @14 Arsenals problems yesterday, the inability to defend, has been a problem to 2 to 3 years at best now. I don't see them splashing the cash, and I seriously wonder about Wengers grip on the reality of his situation for the last 3 years... this is a monumental collapse. If there are no signings before Thursday, they are in for a quick sharp fall down the table before Christmas. But the 8 players missing yesterday are good enough to keep them up. As long as they don't get sent off every game.

  • Comment number 23.

    I think you've been a bit hard on Wenger. To concede 8 goals is embarrassing for a team of Arsenal's stature but things like that do happen to all teams if a unique set of circumstances come together at a specific time.

    Wenger's been criticised for not replacing Fabregas and Nasri. That's fair up to a point but he has never been one to sign very expensive players because his system of nurturing young talent and letting big stars go without automatically substituting them has succeeded pretty well until now.

    The match itself: A bit of a freak result in some respects. 15 shots on target by United compared to Arsenal's 13. 59% possession v 41%. Supremacy yes, but nothing that would indicate the annihilation that occurred. So many shots screaming into the corners of the net - it doesn't usually happen.

    Arsenal capitulated in the last 20 minutes and credit to United for continuing to look for the goals when many teams would have eased off at 3-0. Sometimes when your spirits are down and the opposition is rampant, things can go from bad to worse. We should also remember that Arsenal had a very tough big European game in a swealtering Italy just 4 days earlier. With a depleted squad that must take its toll.

    I'm not trying to make excuses for Arsenal but I think when you analyse it in full, it's not so surprising.

  • Comment number 24.

    4. At 09:19 29th Aug 2011, Jimi246 wrote:
    The rioting kicked off in Manchester again at around 4pm yesterday. The incident only lasted around 2 hours but was headed up by a Scott and a shrek lookalike with a wig. Police are reporting that only one youth project was absolutely ransacked with the French youth leader saying he couldn't believe how "humiliated" he felt. Many in the community of this youth project are now calling for their American owner to release some funds and that the French leader will invest it wisely so that they can try to rebuild

    In all seriousness, I am more and more convinced that wenger is taking the flack for a board that are only interested in money. I believe they are of the opinion that wenger has taken a rock and polished it into a diamond before so he'll be able to do it again so they don't need to provide wenger with the resources to improve the team now, which it desperately requires. Kroenke out and takes Ivan Gladis with you please. David dein back in


    Finally, someone else with the same viewpoint. Dein was responsible for the Bergkamp and Campbell deals. Although Wenger is a great manager, he is not a great business man which is where Dein excelled. Dein leaving has been the catalyst for it is now happening, the current board are horrendous and are only interested in money coming in. Wenger going would be even worse for the club so all the Arsenal fans calling for his head haven't got a clue

  • Comment number 25.

    @23 23. At 09:30 29th Aug 2011, Oliver:

    Yes it is tough on a depleted squad but the fact remains that Arsenal have willingly allowed the squad to deplete. Fabregas and Nasri had decided they wanted to leave at the start of the window. In Cesc's case it was obvious for much longer that it was only a matter of time before he left. So what would any sane manager do? Buy midfield reinforcements.

    What does Arsene Wenger do? Offer less than half of the going price for two England international defenders. He ends up starting the game with a player who's never played a league game.

    He has an injury prone side where year after year, players have been injured, its been predicted they will be out for a week or two and suddenly they miss half the season. It has happened so many times that it cannot be deemed a coincidence anymore.

    Either his training methods are all wrong or he has hired a rubbish medical team. Whichever is the case, both can be corrected but for whatever reason Arsenal have chosen not to do so.

    As for the stats, you can use them to prove just about anything. Arsene Wenger likes to beat on about a young team but yesterday both teams had near identical average ages, so where's that excuse now Arsene?

  • Comment number 26.

    At 09:28 29th Aug 2011, World Cup Wally wrote:

    But returning to Wenger's dilemma, what yesterday did prove, is that there are quite a few players sitting on both the Man U and Man City bench who are clearly now surplus to requirements, and hopefully Wenger has got the money to buy, or failing him, maybe Harry Redknapp has.

    That would be good for EPL fans but unless the players in question are prepared to take a drop in wages it's unlikely to happen.

    Although I'd love Arsenal to be more competitive I respect their desire not to run up hundres of millions of pounds of debt when the likelihood is that they'll still finish behind United.

  • Comment number 27.

    All through the transfer market I've been rounding off names of players I was sure would turn Arsenal's fortunes around, but wouldn't cost 90 million. Now I look at this side and we just need too many players, many of which will be cup tied for the Champo League. I really have no idea who can help us challenge for silverware this season.

  • Comment number 28.

    19. At 09:28 29th Aug 2011, World Cup Wally wrote:


    Are you kidding? the players you have suggested are all attacking players - an area that actually doesn't need much strengthening. Why waste money on these 3 when we could spend it on Cahill, Baines and a midfielder

  • Comment number 29.

    A couple of years ago Utd lost star players (Tevez/Ronaldo), but moved on and had replacements in mind. Wenger has haggled all summer over Fabregas, and doesn't seem to know how to replace him. That shows a big difference in the clubs and how they operate.

  • Comment number 30.

    @27 hovis90:

    Arsenal need a new defensive coach and a new medical department first. Neither of whom are cup-tied for anything.

    Second they need a few more Premier League quality players, they don't have to be world beaters, they just need to be top quality. Bolton will be willing to a deal for Gary Cahill but Arsene Wenger will suddenly find that instead of £6 million he tried last week, the asking price will have suddenly gone up closer to £20 million.

    There's plenty of good players in Europe who are certainly available. The likes of Yann M'Vila and Eden Hazard certainly spring to mind. As do the likes of Gago at Madrid who are out of favour. In a time of need and when you've got a bit of money in the bank, you can afford to pay 5-10% above market value (not fair value). Of course having left it to this stage of desperation, they will find that the asking prices are going to be closer to 40-50% above market value as clubs will see a desperate team.

    This is why Arsene, you need to be proactive at the start of the window and not leave it till the last weekend where you've suffered the sort of defeat that ends campaigns.

  • Comment number 31.

    It absolutely baffles me how people and so called fans are so quick to ask for the sacking / resignation of Wenger. A certain @piersmorgan comes to mind. So called Arsenal fan on Wednesday was telling Wenger to take a bow... come Sunday Wenger should resign.

    We have no idea what is going on at a boardroom level and who is actually behind the releasing of funds for new players. As a Liverpool fan i really feel for Wenger as I'm pretty sure he finds himself in a similar situation to Benitez at Liverpool. Benitez hands were so tied due to the idiocy of Hicks and Gillette that people even started calling for his head. And we know what happened next..... Roy Hodgson. An appointment that epitomizes the cliche of square pegs in round holes.

    The point being, before people (fans) jump on the bandwagon and start telling Wenger to resign, just take a second to remember that this is a man who managed to bring Arsenal some of the best football, cups, a new stadium and most importantly without amassing huge amounts of debt on the club.

    On another note though, the Arsenal fans in OT were absolutely brilliant.

  • Comment number 32.

    Arsenal are being turned into a joke by both the manager and the board (if you can even call them a board given we see and hear nothing except when someone gets kicked off it). Both have known Nasri and Fab would be leaving this summer not to mention other players like Clichy, Bendtner and Eboue and yet they have all sat around thinking they can convince players who desperately want to leave to stay and making no plans on what to do next. Wenger and the board have been negligent for years now, gaping holes in the squad and deficiencies in defence and midfield have not been sorted out. We have lost two titles, one where Gallas was stupidly given the captaincy (and the no.10 shirt which was another disgrace) and the whole team collapsed when Eduardo has his horrific injury, and last year when we were crying out for a defender and no one was brought in during the January transfer window.

    The worst thing about this all is silence from the board, especially the idiotic american silent stan who seems to be doing absolutely nothing along with his buddy Gazidas, and Wenger who continually spouts drivel after every game blaming injuries and exceptional circumstances. How he can continue to say he cannot find quality above that he has is a total joke. I am a massive Arsenal fan and I think along with many others just cannot believe what the club is doing this summer....summer of negligence and an example of how not to run a club

  • Comment number 33.

    Dont worry, by Christmas everyone would have forgotten about this 8-2 mauling. Arsenal would be top of the pile by then, having beaten Chelsea, City etc and Wenger pronouncing that this current crop is ready to take on Barcelona and the start of World Domination.

    Ok, I was just joking.

  • Comment number 34.

    Gooner here:

    The result is an utter embarrassment to Arsenal Football Club

    enough said!

  • Comment number 35.

    The people comparing Chelsea's start to the 2010/2011 campaign to United's current one should have a look at the people sitting on the bench at Old Trafford. Do you really believe this Man. United squad can suffer a catastrophic crisis in form, such as the one Chelsea went through previous season? There is a healthy management/coaching structure in place with much to be optimistic about. No ageing "stars" exercising player-power to influence starting lineup and more. No, any compairsons between the two sides are a fallacy.

    Should I feel sorry for Arsenal? I thought about it for a minute, then I remembered the Arsenal players surrounding Ruud with their sneering faces and decided I do not feel sorry for them, not one bit. Wenger's lost the plot and if he stays on as Arsenal's manager they might not even make it into the Europa League next year.

    8-2? They should consider themselves lucky to have escaped with just that.

  • Comment number 36.

    I don't feel sorry for Wenger. Even if his hands are being tied by the board it doesn't excuse the lack of sensible signings. Gervinho is a sensible signing, Jenkinson is one for the future but Park seems like another Chamakh signing and AOC is a luxury signing that they really didn't need.

    Look at Newcastle. They've sold their best players and paid peanuts in comparison, but they have at least bought cleverly - Demba Ba is a great signing, Johan Cabaye likewise. Obertan and Marveaux are gambles but are more sensible than signing AOC. If Newcastle can get Erik Peters and Papis Demba Cisse as well then I would say that they have bought very cleverly and could do well this season - these are the sort of signings that Arsene should be making if he really can't bring in top quality players.

  • Comment number 37.

    @25. Cheshire Indian:

    Of course you're right, Wenger has to strengthen his team and he appears to have been too slow. The problem is that it's not easy to find talent like Fabregas and Nasri unless you pay absolutely vast sums a la Chelsea or City.

  • Comment number 38.

    So Arsenal were missinng 8 players.. so what? United just bear Spurs and Arsenal with only 2 players from the Champions League final team against Barcelona.

    Var Der Sar..................................... De Gea
    Fabio, Rio, Vidic, EVRA ........... Smalling, Jones, Evans, EVRA
    Giggs, Carrick, Park, Valencia..... Nani, Cleverly, Anderson, Young
    ROONEY, Hernandez ............................... ROONEY, Wellbeck

    And thats not mentioning Berbatov, Owen, Fletcher, Raphael, Macheda, Gibson & now retired Scholes (ok, ok...) are/have been there to round out the squad. Wenger should have been adding and beefing this team out for the last 3 years.

    Thats 9 players starting yesterday who were not first choice at Wembley in May, and still they won 8-2, with a younger starting team than Wengers.... good youth policy against stubborn youth policy.

  • Comment number 39.

    @31, I think you forget this has been a steady decline for a few seasons and yesterday while a freak result given the stats, it's no freak that finally Arsenal have been completely exposed.

    However they could learn a lesson from United and refuse to. Wellbeck will be out for 6 weeks so Chicarito will start, and berbatov will then come on after 70 minutes.

    I think Berbatovs style of play was/is the key to beating Barca but then I am clearly not a manager. If Ferguson has made one mistake regarding Barca it's not playing Berbatov in the big games. These young guys will play as long as they are either fit, or get beaten and looking at Uniteds defense, they will get beaten. How do you change a side that scores 8 though?

  • Comment number 40.

    Man U fans should not be boosted by this by thinking they'll win the league.
    arsene fielded a carling cup side due to suspensions/injurys, etc
    wait till man u face chelsea in 3 weeks time.

  • Comment number 41.

    Re: Adam Johnson - he can be loaned out to likes of Wigan/NUFC etc. And when Man City need to come back inside fair play rules or home-grown talent rules brought back in to the MCFC camp when the foreigners go - the worst thing is though that you can bring foreigners in 1t 15-16 and they'll be homegrown by 20-21.

  • Comment number 42.

    By the way the live update sports page link is missing from the front page.. Where is it gone?

  • Comment number 43.

    Arsene Wenger MUST leave this club for there to be any chance of a renaissance. The devil's pact between him and our miserly board would be broken (where he receives a juicy enough salary and keeps all other "football" costs to a minimum) as any new manager worth his salt just would not accept the joke that is our transfer policy.

    I thoroughly appreciate what the man has done, but remember ALL his success came in his first half of his time here and the last 6-7 years have seen squat. That is about 5 years longer than other top clubs would accept and it is time for the most delusional fans that 62 year old stressed veteran Arsene is now going to be our saviour. Every dog has its day, Arsene has had his.

  • Comment number 44.

    What a whipping yesterday. We were very poor. United looks very very strong. Manchester City v. Manchester United will be a great game. Funny thing is, United's average age was lower than Arsenal's today, but more experienced, more settled, and just plain hungrier. Great win for them!!! Well done!

    Here is where I fault Wenger. He dithers and dithers at decisions. Take Nasri... Nasri said that he asked for an extension last October 2010 and never heard back from Arsenal until May!!!! Maybe if they had tied him up in October before City showed its intent, he would have renewed. That aside, that saga took FOREVER!! Seriously. Sell him for the 20 mil in June and be done with it.

    Take Fabregas. Everyone knew he was going. Should have given Barca a deadline of end of June 35 mil. Be done with it. But saga went on and on, and the "great" deal we supposedly got was stupid (I mean, we get first right if he returns...when will Fabregas return???). Should have given Barca till end of June or 1st week of July to pay 35 mil or will sell him to Chelsea or Madrid or keep him. 1st week of July over, close shop on the issue. That is what Alex Ferguson would have done!!!

    According to press reports, Wenger was offered Mata at 18 mil and he dithered! Passed, even though Mata had tweeted he was on his way to the Emirates. Chelsea got him at 23 mil and he already has 1 goal for Chelsea.

    Same with Ricky Alvarez. Wenger refused to come up another mil. He dithered, even though the player tweeted about his excitement to be heading to Arsenal. Wenger dithered and Inter Milan came in and swooped him up.

    Now he is dithering with Cahill when it is clear that Cahill will add value to the defense. Soon Spurs will nick Cahill. Made an offer for Jadson according to the club's manager. Now Wenger says he is not interested. Looked for a loan deal for Kaka - apparently RM said 17 mil but Wenger is dithering!

    Meanwhile, he coddles dead weight and keeps them in his books. Arsene Wenger: Rosicky, Chamakh, Diaby, Gibbs, Arshavin, Bendtner, Squillacci, Almunia are all dead weight! They will never amount to anything Arsene. They are dead weight, either due to always being injured or woeful lack of form. They are dead weight Arsene. Should have put them all in the market 1st week of June at cut rate prices. Meanwhile these players are sitting there collecting wages and contributing nothing whatsoever (yes Rosicky did ok at Udine but how many good games are we going to get from him? He is woefully past it!!!!). Everyone in the world knows this but Wenger stubbornly coddles them, risking injury to other players who have to play often to carry these dead weights around!!!

    We have sold Fabregas, Nasri, Eboue and loaned out Vela and Denilson. We probably will sell Bendtner and Almunia. That means we have opened up almost 320k in weekly wage bill and over 70 mil in money in bank. Rather than spend on players, experienced players, Wenger dithers. He is going back and forth and insulting people with silly offers. For example, if it was ferguson, knowing that Song and Frimpong would be out, Ferguson would have closed deals for Chris Samba, gary Cahill and Scott Parker or even Yann M'Villa by Wednesday. Those three players in Arsenal line up yesterday would have made a big difference.

    All in all, what Arsenal needs, but will never happen, is get rid of remaining deadwood: bendtner, Almunia, Squillacci, Chamakh, Arshavin. Rosicky, Gibbs, Diaby. Then buy 8 of the following good and experienced squad players. Not 1 or 2 big names but 8 experienced squad players. I would go bring in Gary Cahill, Chris Samba, Mikel Arteta, Scott Dann, Yann M'Villa, Pereira, Chu-Young, Clint Dempsey and Kaka. That is 8 experienced squad players who will give backbone and experience to the squad. Plus, other than Kaka, each of these could be at between 50k to 75k per week, and cost between 8-15 million. So wage structure and bank are not broken.

    None of it will happen anyway, and so the rot at Arsenal continues. Such a shame. Arsene, get your head out of the sand and do something. If by Wednesday we see only 1 or 2 players come in, if at all, I say we turn in our tickets for home games for a refund! Seriously. A drastic intervention is necessary at Arsenal. And for those who say this is an overreaction, think again. With this current Arsenal squad, can we really compete in CL, FA Cup, Carling Cup and PL? Can we? If the answer is no, then drastic intervention is called for!

    So upset and frustrated!

  • Comment number 45.

    Its a sad day when even Fergie is embarassed for the opposition. What an utter humiliation for Arselona.

    Still with a few millions in the bank I'm sure this Arsenal Under-12 team will improve and perhaps Arsene should have a word with Pep to ask what he does about defending.

    Freak result, yes. Freakishly good.

  • Comment number 46.

    # 35.At 09:49 29th Aug 2011, Russeljones wrote:
    Now that you put it that way, I dont feel sorry for Arsenal too.
    Will never forget that day when Ruud missed that penalty, and what happened afterwards, or when Arsenal beat United at OT to take the league

  • Comment number 47.


    Then how did Arsenal get them in the first place?

  • Comment number 48.

    At 09:30 29th Aug 2011, collie21 wrote:

    If there are no signings before Thursday, they are in for a quick sharp fall down the table before Christmas.

    Erm, have you seen the table this morning?

  • Comment number 49.

    Referring to comments about Wenger's press conference - What would you expect him to say? The man will not openly slate members of his team - the players to blame will know their performance was poor without Wenger coming out and saying it. Yes he is stubborn but he will defend his team to the last breath. It was a freak result, had we had our first team out there it wouldn't have happened, we still might have lost the game but not in this way

  • Comment number 50.


    Only a few months back you wrote an article stating that Arsenal had "come of age"!

    Time for you to eat a slice of humble pie methinks...


  • Comment number 51.

    While seeing United running away with games does look ominous, I must say that as a Chelsea fan I am absolutely LOVING Arsenal's predicament at the moment.

    When Chelsea couldn't buy a win in that horrible November - February period last season, I had to suffer Arsenal fans rubbing my nose in it more than anyone else. Well, what goes around comes around boys, bet you don't feel so high and mighty now. Wenger must stay!

  • Comment number 52.

    Wenger should buy in experience as a patch for the next season or two. He should have gone for some bargains likes Richard Dunne (haphazard, but committed and a leader), Diego Forlan (has become available), Gary & Tim Cahill, jump in ahead of Spurs for Diarra, and should even consider, at this stage, Hargreaves (on pay as you play). Yeah, some of them are short term measures and not people you'd build a team around but beyond RVP (who i feel a bit sorry for) and Vermallin, there is no real solid experience or leadership in the team.

    If Wenger knew his squad was THAT thin, he should have been picking up Brown & O'Shea for the peanuts Sunderland got them for.

  • Comment number 53.

    # 50.At 09:58 29th Aug 2011, Joan_Burton wrote:
    Maybe eat the whole pie...

  • Comment number 54.

    I have to agree with some of the comments above regarding the Arsenal board and how much support Wenger gets. Officially Wenger can use the proceeds of fabegas' sale to buy new players, but a huge chunk is only due in September after the transfer window has closed. That does not strike me as too clever!

    The problem when you buy young players they have the "potential" to be very good, which Wenger has proved in the past - unfortunately his Midas touch has deserted him. The injury list is also puzzling as Wenger was the first in the EPL to introduce dieting/fitness procedures etc. The training facilities are second to none so something is seriously amiss.

  • Comment number 55.

    At 09:59 29th Aug 2011, Adam wrote:

    "If Wenger knew his squad was THAT thin, he should have been picking up Brown & O'Shea for the peanuts Sunderland got them for".

    He tried that once with Mikel quickly became clear why United were happy to let him go.

  • Comment number 56.

    Arsenal need to take one or two more thrashings for everyone to realise that Wenger has lost the plot and that we are deluding ourselves by bringing up his PAST record. Good clubs rebuild and he has fiddled; he was the only person who thought Fabregas and Nasri would not go so he made no plans. Now he has no time to sign players. A cut price Korean striker is fooling nobody. Yesterday he sent out boys to do men's jobs. Jenkinson? Traore? Coquelin? Lansbury? And he cannot plead injuries. All clubs have them;good ones have a deep squad. We are saddled with him because the board will not sack him and he will not walk. What a season we have in store.

  • Comment number 57.

    even though iamaunited fan, i do feel sorry for wenger and idid not enjoy the game much as i expect man utd vs arsenal to be tough and interesting game and not a one-sided one like was yesterday

  • Comment number 58.

    United v City. This is now being talked up as the deciding match of the season and some commentators are talking about a two-horse race already.

    All I know is that people coming to judgments after 3 fixtures usually end up looking a bit silly. I want to add 3 teams to that list of 2.

    Chelsea: Not looking very convincing at the moment but with their squad will challenge once they get the ball rolling.

    Liverpool: Have reinforced and continue to do so. Look better every time they take the field. Will challenge.

    Arsenal: Surprise, surprise, I don't rule them out in spite of their start. Looked good in Italy. Wenger's bright, Arsenal have money. You don't turn into the ugly duckling just because of one game.

  • Comment number 59.

    credit to the gunners fans who actually, instead of quitting the game, stayed there and supported them till the end.
    they are true fans.
    you are also aware that arsene had to put couple of reserve team players in the game,

  • Comment number 60.

    Putting small wager on Arsenal for relegation to Championship. The bottom 6 of the Premiership are going to be similar quality to Arsenal. Signing a centre-half is not going to fix the problem here. Very few kids coming through of high quality. This could be the story of the season - big club goes down.

  • Comment number 61.

    They should consider themselves lucky to have escaped with just that.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------- should be lucky Arsenal were in CRISIS when you were playing against them yestreday.

  • Comment number 62.

    Poor performance and poor result for Arsenal (understatement). As a United fan I was most pleased to see Anderson's performance as for the past few years he has shown a lot of potential but hasn't always delivered; hopefully this will be the season when he will become a key member of the team and not just a squad player, akin to Nani's elevation last year.

  • Comment number 63.


  • Comment number 64.

    48. At 09:56 29th Aug 2011, TyroneRed wrote:
    At 09:30 29th Aug 2011, collie21 wrote:

    If there are no signings before Thursday, they are in for a quick sharp fall down the table before Christmas.

    Erm, have you seen the table this morning?
    Sorry, still can't believe the table. I am trying. :-)

  • Comment number 65.

    Formula for Arsenal the next 3 days and in January: get rid of Chamakh, Bendtner, Rosicky, Arshavin, Diaby, Squillacci, Almunia. Perennially crocked and/or out of form! Get rid of them now!

    Bring in: Kaka, Yann M'Villa, Chu-Young, Pereira, Chris Samba, Gary Cahill, Jadson, Diego and Adam Johnson. This is the formula.

    1st team:

    Sagna, Cahill, Samba, Vermaleen
    Frimpong, Song
    Kaka, Wilshere, Gervinho
    Van Persie

    Squad: Walcott, Ramsey, Ignaci, Koscielny, Djourou, M'Villa, Adam Johnson, Diego, Chu-Young, Cambell, Alex O.C., Ryo Miyaichi, Jadson, Coquelin, Jenkinson.

    That is a good mix of experience and youth. But Wenger will keep the dead weights of Arshavin, Rosicky, Diaby, Chamakh, Squillacci and pass on these much better players. This is the problem at Arsenal and will not change anytime soon. Just venting!!!

  • Comment number 66.

    Also glad to see that mercifully few United/City fans are getting carried away by this start to the season. Both will face harder games than they did this weekend and both will go through rocky patches, as will Chelsea who I think are the only other title contenders (too early this season for Liverpool). For my money the title will be decided by which of those 3 teams copes best with competing the Champions League, coping when they are struggling for form, and replacing key players when they get injured.

  • Comment number 67.

    At 10:15 29th Aug 2011, You wrote:

    @26 Jaunty44

    Though this article (below) is 3 years old, it kind of looks to me like Arsenal could afford the likes of Adam Johnson - "Arsenal Wage Bill Goes past £100m"

    Arshavin at Arsenal has apparently been on £4.1m, which is more than Johnson gets at City

    and on the same article it says Adebayor was getting 7.4million, but he's now gone to Tottenham, presumably with a substantial pay cut.

    Perhaps it's time some more of the footballers stopped selling their souls for money, and chose to PLAY FOOTBALL instead of sitting on the bench.

    After all, any reasonably intelligent footballer like Johnson, can expect to go into coaching, management or media presenting/commentary after their career is over, and any player who stays in the Premier League for 5 or 10 years in the top 10 clubs is going to be made for life in any case financially.

    The choice Johnson in particular is now faced with it appears to me, is to take a pay cut and transfer to Arsenal, Tottenham or one of the other Premier top 8 clubs, or see his football career totally destroyed, probably only getting the odd start in games Mancini won't care about, like the League Cup.

    But if City ever make the Champions League final, which is now looking possible, it's not likely he will even get on the pitch.

    Adebayor has already it seemed made the decision that he refused to sit on the bench or in the reserves as a spectator of the real action, and first been on loan at Real Madrid where he scored a few goals for them (including two against Tottenham!) and it's only a matter of time before Johnson makes that same decision, hopefully in the next 2 days.

    So this appears to me the moment for Mr Wenger to grab Adam Johnson, and give him the proper chance to gain confidence and flourish, which since the early days when Mancini was short of players and desperate for any success, he's never had at Man City.

    Now Mancini is arrogantly rating only Barcelona better than City (in a recent interview), the days when he thinks he needed to rely on Johnson when he's got Aguero, Nasri, Dzeko and Silva as the core of his attack, are long over.

    But in my view Johnson has THE POTENTIAL to be about 50% as good as George Best, and Mancini is just too incompetent a coach to know how to develop and use him.

    Buy Adam Johnson now, Mr Wenger, before somebody else does!

  • Comment number 68.

    I don't know how Wenger keeps a straight face during post-match interviews.

  • Comment number 69.

    It could have been far worse for Arsenal of course, Arshavin should have walked too.

  • Comment number 70.

    # 68.At 10:21 29th Aug 2011, Yasin wrote
    He always looks like that... That's his real face. Looks like a raisin.

  • Comment number 71.

    As an Arsenal fan i wish for AW to be sacked. He should be given 5 games to redeem his technical ability (which is what he is employed and paid to do) and if the results are not all wins he should be shone the door. My reason is that he is solely to blame for the depleted squad. It was his policy to continually buy teenagers and not look at the bigger picture in regards to the squads' depth of experience, and what his competitors were doing. In another industry, such a manager would have closed down a vibrant business, and would have been sacked, or had the administrators at their door step. AW continually told the fans that the players he was buying will come good in 2-3seasons 5 seasons ago. This was his own target and no one else. HE GOT IT ALL WRONG. The board is a shame. They are meant to be overseeing the general wellbeing of the club. As a fan i would like to know what targets were given to AW and how/if they have been achieved/reached. This will bring light to how this club has been run over the past 6-7 years.
    The qualification of this year CL only flattered to deceive. We needed to loose against Udinesse, as our victory only covered the broken tracks. Aw used to boast about the teams average young age, but we got thrashed by a ManUtd team with an average age of 23. The question is how the SAF assemble this team overnight? Can AW truly come out in public and boast about a young team now?
    What does Kroneke have to say? What is his knowledge about true football (not the american version)? Does he know how the game is played? Why did the board not put the club 1st and let someone such as Usmanov who is more passionate about the game have a fair chance in taking over control of the club? These are questions to be answered.
    I disagree with people who say AW is taking the stick for the board, this is absolutely rubbish. AW is an employee, and his mandate is to manage the players technically. The financial aspect of the game is for the financial/technical directors. AW has shown over the years since David Dein left that this is the position he wants to end up in, and so lost complete focus of his primary role as football manager.
    Its quite a shame what is happening to my football club at this moment, but we've had it coming. We've rode our luck over the past 3-4 seasons, and the management played a blind eye and this is the result. We need new leadership from the board to the manager asap. A new manager will struggle with the current set of players, but may have 2 seasons to make us really competitive again, with the right board backing him. Without injection of major cash, we will now struggle to attract top class players (thanks to AW) as such players will want to play in clubs that offer a more realistic competitive/financial future. If the likes of Nasri and Clichy (who were not top players) should want to leave Arsenal, how do we convince real top class players to come and support the club, what story can AW tell them? Let's be honest AW and the current board has let Arsenal fans down. They have made serial incorrect judgments with regards to team development. They have sold and made unworthy buys. AW arrogance doesn't wash anymore. Our 1st 3 games we have had 3 red cards, what can the manager now say about player discipline/fair play? Can he continue to accuse the likes of Stoke, Wolves, Bolton of physical play? AW is a good manger, but he really needs sometime off the game to re-group and understand what his primary role should be. He will do well if he does this for another club. It's no shame/crime loosing him. Capello, Ancelloti, Trappatoni, Hitsfeld, Van Gaal, Murinho, are all great tacticians, who left clubs and continue their career elsewhere, and continued to win. The all have CL medals which AW wishes for, and truly i don't see him now winning one with Arsenal giving the strategy he is showing. The club will miss him, but with new board and team management the club board will rise sooner again

  • Comment number 72.

    There comes a time for everyone when it's best to move on.

    I can't see Wenger recovering and rebuilding the squad, he is just too wrapped up in his own self belief to change his strategy.

    On top of that, as we saw yesterday, he simply will not change his tactics - same problem.

    All this rubbish about how Arsenal shouldn't lose him, yet, what has he achieved in the last 6 years other than reducing the club to an absolute shambles?

  • Comment number 73.

    Why is it every pundit completely savages Arsene Wenger, and yet when questioned about whether he should be sacked....dismisses it as "nonsense". He did win three titles for Arsenal football club, but the last was seven years ago.....but look at 2011 with the exception of a few one off performances this has to be seen as a shambolic year for the football club that will only get worse and worse. He has to go and now....not in a few years time, not at the end of the season....NOW!

  • Comment number 74.

    Ok so wenger has 50m+ cash at his treasure chest, so why not spend?
    very very very unusualu stuff from Wenger and Arsenal Board.
    anyway the last minute players they have to buy are IMO:
    1. Adam Johnson, never gonna playing time at City.
    2. Alex, Chelsea are trying to sell him to Juve but if arsenal can hijack him, he would be a great defender for Arsenal, can take bullet free kicks. remember him last year arsenal? October 3rd?
    3. Yohann Gorcuff, much needed talent at midfield, not happy at Lyon, so Arsenal, it's maybe your time to get him.
    4. Eden Hazard, pacy winger, lots of tricks, good playmaker.
    5. Kaka, not happy at Real and Mourinho has opted for Ozil ahead of him, he's available for 17.5m, real bargain, maybe Kaka can rebuild his Career at Arsenal.

  • Comment number 75.

    Arsene needs to be ruthless, how long would players performing as badly as Rosicky & Arshavin last at Utd, Real or Barca?

    He seemed to be in cloud cuckoo land with the fabregas & Nasri deals, stating that he thought they might stay when they were being sold in the background. Failure to line up adequate replacements has cost his side dear. Oxlaide-Chamberlain may turn out to be a superstar but was he needed at this time & for that price?

    A caller on 606 stated that you cant win a league without a defence & argued that Wenger has yet to build a great one himself & to be fair it does seem like an astute observation. These kids may turn out to be great but getting the hammerings they are taking on and off the pitch can only harm their development.

    You need a mixture of youth & experience to guide players but hos no over 30's policy seems has not worked & he needs to stop being stubborn and address it. Kaka may not be the player he was but the lift he would give to the dressing room & the message it would send out is worth the financial risk. No top club loans out players to other top side knwing they will never buy them at the end of it but Wenger seems to think teams such as Real & Marsielle will do that.

    Someone at the club needs to become the leader and make tough decisions, if they want a side that can genuinely challenge then £100m needs to be given and spent by Arsene and if it isnt then the truth needs to be known as to why not, is it his reluctance or is the money not there.

    As a Newcaslt fan Tiote would be a brilliant player for them & everyone knows Ashley would deal him for the right price so players are available.

    On a side note the money is really starting to kill the league now, it is now a case o who has the most money, the days of a promoted side coming up and finishing 2nd or 3rd are gone & no one will be able to challenge Utd unless a wealthy benefactor steps in and spends 100's of millions which I think is a sad state of affairs. Things are becoming dull very quickly and whilst Utd, Chelsea & City fans probably wont care they certainly should as people will eventuallty lose interest.

    Managers like Brian Clough would never have over won a thing in this day & age at a club like Forest. As soon as a player comes through they are off to one of the financial giants at the top, it is a shame but the writing is on the wall. I love Football but even I am getting a bit bored by the predictablility of it all.

    Commentators were drooling over City but if that side cant steam roller teams then something has gone wrong, a team that cost that much should be battering others, the competition is gone.

  • Comment number 76.

    as I tweeyted to you yesterday-you are a happy bunny-another chance for you to attack the Arsenal

  • Comment number 77.

    Actually Phil, I thought Alex Ferguson patronised Wenger slightly and certainly damned him with feint praise - and incredibly appropriate: "he has sold well over the years...."

    Phil, you emphasise that it was obvious that reinforcements were needed at the end of last season, - but actually it's ben the same story for the last 3-4 seasons.

    Everyone can see his squad had no leadership and no bite but he stubbornly refused to address those issues.

    The quality and balance of the squad has been slowly declining in quality over the last 4-5 years, players leaving have not been replaced by players of similar quality.

    With his marvelous managerial/coaching skills and the presence of the wonderful Cesc Fabregas have papered over the cracks, but suddenly we can see the Arsenal squad for what it is - packed full of average players or prima donnas like Arshavin and Rosicky.

    Although he has great qualities you have to question Arsene Wengers ability to continue to compete at the top level (against other top level coaches) when clearly has several critical "Achilles heels" in his makeup.

  • Comment number 78.

    At the start of the summer, I thought Arsenal were going to clear out the likes of Bendtner for not being good enough for Arsenal.

    Any more of this and Bendtner will be leaving because Arsenal aren't good enough for him...

  • Comment number 79.

    @Jonathan Livingston cormorant - Totally agree. I don't remember Rafa or even Hodgson getting such a free ride in terms of whether they should be sacked or not. Why should Wenger be any different?

    Dixon asked who should come in: Look at all the youngsters that came through at Aston Villa under MON: He would do well at Arsenal. Or look at what David Moyes has done with a shoestring budget at Everton, and they're also producing some good youngsters. He would be another great choice

  • Comment number 80.

    Great result. Great attacking performance.

    However, United cannot play in such an open way against average EPL teams never mind the top European sides. Evra's defending is poor and there is no defensive midfield shield.

    We will not always be able to outscore teams.

  • Comment number 81.

    just confirming my suspicions,19528,11661_7136668,00.html

    "Bids expected for (Adam) Johnson" Sky news, 9 mins ago

  • Comment number 82.

    @67 - Wally:

    Of the 3 players you mentioned. I would agree that Johnson is the only one they could possibly afford.

  • Comment number 83.

    Arsenal have to sack Wenger, 6 years(soon gonna be 7 if he stays) without a trophy, humiliated by their rivals, in crisis.
    It may be the time for ex Chelsea gaffer to step up and make his mark at Arsenal and about Wenger...........erm....................................................................................................................................................?

  • Comment number 84.

    The transfer inaction issue has been going on for 18 months now. The areas needing strengthening were flagged up by supporters 2 or 3 years ago but Wenger took no action.

    For Wenger, not paying 'over the odds' is more important than winning trophies now. Whatever he might say. Because actions speak louder than words.

    I don't think Dalglish paid over the odds for Suarez. Henderson, Downing and Carroll, time will tell. But Liverpool's front 6 now look ominous. And Champions League qualification looks much more likely......

    If a manager of 30 years experience can't get things done in the transfer window, you need to ask why. And what is going to be changed. Because if nothing is changed, nothing will happen in future transfer windows either.

    And if a manager who played 4-5-1 in the 2005 Cup Final with Vieira, Bergkamp et al then throws innocents to the slaughter with 4-3-3 yesterday, what does that say about his tactical nous and acumen? Is experience making it better or worse????

  • Comment number 85.

    AW has been good but look at his failings: 1) Wrong transfer policy 2) Captaincy fiasco 3) Only plan A football with no plan B when the going gets tough 4) Delay in replacing players at the right time in the right places 5) Very poor disciplinary record. I could go on and on. Time to either reform or gracefully bow out. No more excuses! As a Business Manager, he is brilliant but as a Football Manager, he is very average. May be contrained by the Board, but I somehow doubt it! Shape up or shape out!

  • Comment number 86.

    ex chelsea gaffer i meant for Carlo Ancelloti

  • Comment number 87.

    74 @ Krish-The-Dude_CFC

    1. Possibly
    2. I think he'd rather play in Italy.
    3. A definite candidate.
    4. Not for sale (apparently).
    5. Cost prohibitive (in terms of salary).

  • Comment number 88.

    Not a lot being said about United's missing players...Ferdinand, Vidic, the Da Silvas, Valencia, Fletcher, et al. Also Carrick, Berbatov, Hernandez, Giggs out of the starting line-up. Scholes, VDS and Neville retired..... but SAF has bought wisely, in good time, and has also recalled loan players. Keep in mind he has also loaned players out, and it shows the foresight at MUFC. It has to be said that Arsenal lost 2 x great players, and had suspensions (their problem) and injuries (bad luck) to contend with, but a club like Arsenal should have a squad to deal with times like these - maybe not winning at OT, but certainly not getting dismantled like they were. Sacking AW is not the answer though.... It all bodes well for a good EPL this season, with United, City, Liverpool,Chelsea, and probably Arsenal all capable....

  • Comment number 89.

    For Arsenal, it was all written in the stars. I saw a clip where Jerkinson appeared to be swearing at his team-mate Walcot. I don't know if it gets any worse than that. I live in Zambia, Africa-and even from here we could see that Arsenal were in for gunning...

  • Comment number 90.

    A big problem at Arsenal I think is the wage structure of the club and negotiating of player contracts, which I assume is mostly the board and not much to do with Wenger. I don't think there is much wrong with Wenger's acumen in transfer dealings or Arsenal's scouting network, Gervinho and Chamberlain are good signings and improve the squad. The Fabregas saga was a little different in that the player wanted to 'go home' and really the club couldn't do much to fight that. But the Nasri situation showed up the clubs naivety and failure of the board to grasp modern football. He should have been given a new, suitably improved contract in October/November 2010 and he wasn't. His brilliant performance for City yesterday only underlined Arsenal's ridiculous decision, or lack thereof. Chelsea first and now Manchester City have changed football. Its not just about transfer fee's either. In my mind Arsenal lose out because they offer wages of around £20-60k a week less than other top sides. As Harry Redknapp rightly observed, pay them the money and they will come. Arsene Wenger's major failing is his defiance to this, or if its not him, then its about time the board came under a little more pressure. A manager should be fighting tooth and nail with his board, if necessary, to secure the future successes of the club, in my view. Compared to someone like Ferguson, Wenger would appear far too accepting of the party line and too submissive. He should remember just what a great manager he is, the Arsenal board are fortunate to have him, not the other way around. Use your clout, man!!

    Secondly, do we think its merely coincidence that two clubs in Arsenal and Tottenham have had awful starts to the season after intense speculation about key players leaving? I don't. I think its a cynical and disturbing side to the modern game, I believe clubs such as Manchester City and Chelsea have gained a competitive advantage by publicly persuing players at Arsenal and Spurs during the competitive season. I think its an absolute disgrace and the powers in football need to sort it. The transfer window should end as soon as the league season kicks off, everybody knows where they are and commits until at least January where again if we are to have a transfer window, I don't believe any league games should be played. The circus around Modric and Nasri has been ridiculous, and have very clearly had a very bad effect on both camps. I don't say that because of the defeats alone, but because of the manner of the defeats.

    In all honesty, I'm losing interest in Premier League football. The suits and the media may laud the premier league, but for the fans, is it all that and more? The Bundesliga is a weaker league, but its also very competitive, not a foregone conclusion and fans, and the national team, are at its heart. The Premier League is only about one thing and thing only, and it really does show now more than ever.

  • Comment number 91.

    I have just looked on the Forbes website of the 2011 worlds richest men and in 35th place is Usmanov with $17.7 billion and in 53rd place is Abramovich with $13.4 billion.

    So if Usmanov is richer than Abramovich surely he can provide a few quid for players.

    I was over the moon we got stuffed yesterday as it might make a few people finally sit up and take notice of our plight.

  • Comment number 92.

    Arsenal and Spurs have fallen into the same trap here. Wenger hung on and hung on to two unhappy players and then realises he has to let them go with just 7 days or so of the transfer window left. Spurs have equally hung on to an unhappy player and are down to the last few days of the window having done absolutely zip.
    Wenger will never take the bull by the horns and buy the best that is available, he will buy the cheaper option nearly always (remember Cygan ?) and players like
    Squilaci, Koscielny, Djuru and some of the others just don't cut the mustard. Sundays team looked like the sort of squad he normally would put out in the league cup. Wenger should manage a team that is chairman'ed by Daniel Levy, they make a good pair of bookends.

  • Comment number 93.

    @ 37. At 09:50 29th Aug 2011, Oliver:

    The vast sums are only half the story. Surely rather than spending the rumoured £12 million on Alex Oxalde-Chamberlain, he could have spent £9.5 million on Charles N'Zogbia. The guy may not be a world beater but he would have been an adequate replacement for Samir Nasri, and if Samir hadn't left, it would have been a signing that would have allowed Samir to switch to central midfield.

    Why not target someone like Fernando Gago who's current team will let him move on? What is the point of offering £6 million for Gary Cahill and £10 million for Phil Jagielka, when you have seen Joleon Lescott go for £22 million? Sure Arsenal aren't Manchester City but at least start with an offer that will make the other team consider?

    How much did Juan Mata eventually go to Chelsea for? How much were Arsenal rumoured to be offering for him? Wasn't there a clause in his contract that would have allowed him to leave for about £5 million less than what Chelsea paid had he left before the end of July?

    Why let Gael Clichy go when two games into the season you're forced to play Carl Jenkinson at right back and Bacary Sagna at left back?

    Could go on and on, you don't need to blow the bank, the signings I have spoken about haven't cost that much more than what Arsenal have spent on Oxalde-Chamberlain and Gervinho, so its not like the money isn't there, now is it?

  • Comment number 94.

    All Arsenal fans should take a look at this article.

    If you had told me a year ago that Arsenal would go to Old Trafford with THAT team I would have laughed!
    I wouldnt have believed you when you told me that in one years time Arsenal will start with a defender currently playing non league football. (Fair dos to Jenkinson mind you. Hes done very well but im trying to highlight Arsenals transfer policy)

    I certainly wouldnt have believed that AGAIN Arsenal have failed to buy and I would have shuddered with the thought that Rosicky, Arshavin and Bendtner were still at the club.

    Well fast forward to that game and look what happened. The excuse that "Vermalen and Wilshire were injured" simply doesnt wash. BUY PLAYERS THAT CAN COVER THEM THEN!!!! I may not be a manager but it doesnt seem that difficult to me.

    Ferdinand and Vidic didnt play for Man U. Guess what? Man U had spent money on players that can fill in!!! Thats the difference and sadly it always will be. If anyone thinks Arsenal will land 3 big players by the end of next week then they are as deluded as the Arsenal board themselves

    Im going to curl up in a ball until I believe yestarday didnt happen now.......

  • Comment number 95.

    Wenger took the prem by storm with his invincibles, more than a season unbeaten. No champions league but more or less owned everything else. Yesterday as Merson said even a league 2 team would'nt be so poor. So what happened....

    For me in all boils down to when Chelski had big money take over, and he couldn't rise to the challenges of the modern game. To me it seemed that AW took it to heart that a club could suddenly build a star studded team overnight with a blank cheque book. Wengers reaction in public was good for the puritans of football. Yes its wrong to buy the league over night, but then again it happens. Man U rose to the challenge and have been for the past few years dealing with very difficult back of the scenes problems, trouble with the new owners, exaggerated debts, fan unrest ect, but did they crumble? The answer is on the pitch and we see a new generation of United players coming through.

    AW has had no such problems, and in fact have made great investments off the pitch.

    In my opinion Wenger needs to get real and grow up if he wants to compete, and the way Arsenal are at the moment they look like being a mid table team. All the other teams in the prem will see the weakness of Arsenal and they will be out to attack demoralize and destroy Arsenal in each and every way they can, thats competitive professional football at the highest level.

    Nobody really cares about AW pure footballing philosophy, so what if he wants to buy a player for the right price and give him a normal salary. And does every player in his team need to have twinkle toes.

    AW should remind himself of what type of team he had when he was winning trophies. Veira, world cup winner and a fighter who ran box to box. Henry pure brilliance in attack, Keown a Mans Man in defence, Sol Cambell a tough defender who can move the ball forward, A young youth talent, seaman world class goal keeper.

    So he had world cup winners, tough defenders who love to compete at the highest level and youth, a perfect mix in my opinion to make a team that can challenge and win.

    Wenger now has focused to much on up and coming stars, and there is not enough players there or coming in who have medal winning experience.

    Then when you look at RM, Barca the Milans Man U (man city dont deserve a mention yet) Chelsea also, have all spent big.

    Last season Liverpool had a slap on the face and got a bloody nose, but the nature of the beast is to come back stronger. Liverpool have a tradition of winning, they have a proud history and have invested in building a new team to start to challenge again at least get back into the CL.

    Like Merson said, why can't Wenger see what everyone else can. All the top clubs pay over the odds in football, and yes its a crime that these players and agents hold the clubs to ransom so highly, but what can we do, we cant avoid death and taxes, and top level clubs can't afford to let the top players slip by because they don't want to pay.

    This season for Arsenal is more or less going to be a failure, and to get 4th will be a struggle, and for all there past great success it has all amounted to nothing bar the board members making a hell of alot of money.

    Buy tevez, 50 mill, buy Adam Johnson 30mil, get Samba and Cahill and even Scott Dann, get Parker and he should have signed Barton to give some much needed steel.

    Wenger i am afraid is a case of you could have had it all, but your a proud fool who is fast becoming the laughing stock of world football.

    If money is an issue and you want to stick to your pure football philosophy and frown and push your fingers through your hair on the sidelines week in week out, then the simple solution is to manage football teams in the amateur leagues.

  • Comment number 96.

    No. 92 - I think Spurs are close to getting Parker ? A good player, maybe not in same mold as Modric, but no 2 players in the wold are alike, so it's never possible to replace any player with a clone.....

  • Comment number 97.

    It has been clear for a long time that Arshavin and Rosicky are not good enough. Arsenal and Wenger appear to have lost all perspective and are totally incompetent in both the transfer market and in defensive tactics. There really cannot be any excuses, it is all bad. Sure the team was missing key players, but where is the shake-up that fans were promised at the end of last season. Arsenal are s[eading towards a wall -lookout for the wreckage.

  • Comment number 98.

    I grew up worshipping wenger and the sides he has produced over the years but there is no longer any excuse - he has to go. All of this discussion about the board for me is meaningless because it's not only a case of failing to sign players, it's a case of having signed the wrong players now for a number of years. Squillaci, Koscielny, Chamakh and Arshavin have all cost money and proved to be poor additions to the squad, and definitely wouldn't get into the teams of United, City or Chelsea. Last season almost everyone was unanimous in calling for greater depth, strenght, experience and leadership in the side. In response we have got rid of five first and second team players - Fabregas, Nasri, Clichy, Eboue and Denilson - and brought in Gervinho, Jenkinson and Oxlade-Chamberlain. The team has not been strengthened, it has been significantly weakened. Two wins now in fourteen league games, not to mention exits in the carling cup, fa cup and champions league last season. Who knows how far things are going to deteriorate this year. It is a sad truth for Arsenal fans to come to terms with, but Arsene Wenger is no longer fit to manage this football club. One last thing, for all you fans at Old Trafford yesterday, AFC are lucky to have you.

  • Comment number 99.

    90. super bendtner_corner flag worrier wrote:

    He should have been given a new, suitably improved contract in October/November 2010 and he wasn't.

    There's not a lot of options if a guy says I want a 50-100% wage increase......if you bow then you can't expect it to go unnoticed in the dressing room.

    It 'might' work if you're acknowledged as one of the 3 best players in the country (but he wasn't IMO).

    I strongly agree with your points regarding the transfer window and how money has killed any unlikely source of competition. It still exists in a way but is only manifested in a scenario like Fulham finishing 8th.

  • Comment number 100.

    "The sound of Sir Alex Ferguson almost killing Arsene Wenger with kindness may have been the most ominous noise of all for a manager who had just suffered his greatest humiliation."

    Phil, you cannot write, that is cumbersome drivel.


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