Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Wenger: The team needs to be strengthened

Arsene Wenger says his side’s recent results are evidence his squad has flaws and admits that it needs to be strengthened.

Despite damaging Premier League defeats in December that hinted at a brittleness of seasons gone by, Arsenal’s squad depth was widely praised when the January transfer window opened and it was little surprise when the club avoided a shopping spree.

Having tumbled down the table on the domestic front, been kicked out of Europe and with a number of first team players set to enter the final year of their contracts at the Emirates it appears an overhaul is on the cards.

“It’s a strange season because we played 20 games unbeaten and if you look at our offensive numbers they are very good,” he told press ahead of Sunday’s game with Manchester City.

“But as well, I cannot sit here and say we have no flaws or weaknesses in our team, because we have.

“The results are there…I think there’s a very strong basis but the team needs to be strengthened, of course.”

Given the transfer window doesn’t open until the summer, Wenger’s main focus is getting underperforming players to deliver the goods in the final 11 games of the season. After all, there’s still Champions League football and an FA Cup up for grabs.

“We have two games in hand [on Liverpool in 4th] and the games are coming thick and fast.

“Our season will be decided by the next two months but as well by our ability and the strength we can show together to fight and come back together. We had a deficit at West Brom on that front. The most important thing is our future will be decided by our mental qualities.”

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I thought last Summer adding Mustafi, Xhaka and Perez for a total of 90m was strengthening but obviously not.


It was but we are still not good enough. We need TOP left back, another rightback to conquer for place with Bellerín and another winger who will provide goals and creativity.


Why was this downvoted so much?


Yeah not exactly set the world alight, but then it’s their first season in England. Mustafi looked good at first but you wonder if our easy start to the season flattered him. Or has he been left exposed by our underperforming midfield? Xhaka has been really hit and miss. I still feel like there’s great potential there if we can find the right balance though. Sorting the midfield has to be the boss’s number one priority. Not utterly convinced we have enough quality there at the moment. Perez has been the bright spark I suppose. It’s been difficult to get… Read more »


When you bare in mind that Mustafi and Koscielny don’t really have complimentary styles, that it’s his first season in the Prem, and the amount of times that our midfield leaves our defence exposed, I don’t think Mustafi has been as bad as many have said. There’s hope for him. As for Xhaka, many have reported that he feels he needs a clearer role in the team, and a consistent partner who compliments his abilities. When you look at the ammount of different partnerships he has played in, with players of mixed form (Coquelin and Ramsey), it’s little surprise that… Read more »


Yeah I think that’s a good point regarding Xhaka but is there someone in the squad who we can partner him with?

I’d like to see a midfield three with Xhaka flanked by maybe Ramsey and Ox. Ozil pushed up behind a front two.

I don’t think the squad’s that bad either. We just haven’t knitted this season somehow. Even at the start of the season when we were winning, it didn’t feel like we were playing how we should.


It all depends on how we want to play. The problem is inconsistency. On paper that midfield 3 looks great, but how often do Ramsey and Ox stay fit? And they’re prone to the odd performance where they just don’t show up, see West Brom. And then, as always, Wenger’s insistence on always giving Ozil that number 10 role, regardless of the opposition or his form. There’s a reason no other team in the world does that. You look at the Chelsea team of this year and two years ago, and that leicester team from last year, what really strikes… Read more »

Andy Mack

The ability to play the same players clearly works, but that is rather helped by those 2 teams missing out on European Football.

Faisal Narrage

Elneny asks for him to be given a chance.


How about a midfield diamond? Xhaka/Coq at the base, Ox/Jeff/Elneny/Ramsey as box to box midfielders, Wilshere/Iwobi/Ozil at the tip. If Santi is fit go back to a 4-2-3-1 but let’s be flexible.


Liverpool and Spurs? Spurs crashed out of the Champions League in the easiest group and crashed out of the Europa league to Genk. Wea are both in the FA cup final and they are a few points ahead of us in the league (same thing happened last season but we finished ahead of them). Liverpool also spent almost 100 Mn and didn’t play in Europe. They are out of the FA cup and we’ll be level on points if we win our game in hand. I know its fashionable to wax lyrical about Liverpool and Spurs but I suspect my… Read more »


Well said sir, well said.

Sometimes the comment thread here lacks perspective.




My biggest concern with Mustafi is when Kos ain’t there he looks lost and lacks composure or leadership.

In years gone by with Big Per Mertesacker alongside Koscielny you knew we’d have two very different but distinct defenders who knew how to lead their defence.

This was evident with Adams and Keown/Bould as well as Sol and Toure/Keown.

That, for me, is the weakness in Mustafi’s game at present.


Do you think part of that though is they get virtually zero cover from midfield and Kos is used to the chaos while Mustafi isn’t? He just looks like he’s not sure what he’s supposed to be doing – i.e. needs direction from Wenger. Same with Xhaka


The disjointed midfield certainly plays a part, but I expect a £30m man to, as a defender, have a certain level of organisation and awareness of what’s in front and around him. He’s not a Rob Holding or a Chambers. He has experience and should be, along with Koscielny dictating the back line and those ahead of him in midfield. Similarly it’s down to those ahead of him to follow on and organise the players in front and around him. I used Adams and Keown or Sol and Toure as an example in my earlier comment. Those guys were constantly… Read more »

canon 10000

Great points. What is this problem with following instructions from teammates…? We saw what happened with Ramsey and Ox the other day. They don’t listen to Alexis either. Mustafi is very vocal but he does himself no favour by begging the ref after every foul and committing silly mistakes. His credibility is shot at the moment. Also, I’d say Kos is a top defender but not a leader at all.


Yeah, I’ve noticed just lately that they don’t listen to one another.

Wenger can’t be everywhere on the pitch, from the sidelines its tremendously difficult. So we need those guys on the pitch dictating the play, not just with the ball, but vocally.

We often get criticised for having no spine, but on paper ours is as good as any.


I believe there’s deficiencies in both the squad and the tactical setup and direction from the manager. We are definitely poor on the wings except for Bellerin. There are two things we can do to improve quality on the wings. 1. Sign attacking players that can go wide as well as cut in. Seriously, we have no one that can add such unpredictability. It’s all cutting in and becoming narrow right now. To compensate, we throw a full back forward, leaving us exposed. Thomas Lemar seems like a good option. 2. Send youngsters on loan till they become consistent performers… Read more »


I’d be inclined to agree with you, I’m certainly not suggesting Wenger is without fault, but there needs to be some perspective in that there are, on any given match day, between 11 and 14 men out on the pitch who have to shoulder the blame for the abject performances. So the constant calling for his head is hindering the club as there is an altogether toxic environment surrounding the club. From what I can tell the squad is very much behind the manager, as am I, so as fans we have to be a united front, it will only… Read more »

Hamburg Gooner

It was, but the thing is: 90m for Arsenal is quite a lot and was a statement, but the Manc clubs alone are spending easily double the amount each year. The funny part is, that they´re not better off themselves …

Regardless who the manager is next season, the most important thing to do is find a replacement for Cazorla, as for two years running our season goes downhill from the moment Santi is injured long term. THIS has to be addressed. If that´s the case, I guess Mesut and Alexis will be much more interested to renew their contracts.

Gooner Rant.

Even Everton spent 90Mn last season. Also factor in the fact that we spent only 10mn the season before and City, United and Chelsea have invested crazy amounts every year into their squads.Total landscape has changed and Arsenal fans blindly blame Wenger instead of questioning this self sustaining strategy of Kroenke’s. I bought into Kroenke’s strategy six years ago but we all didn’t factor into our projections the role wage and transfer inflation have played thanks to the influx of TV money and rich owners. This has totally invalidated Kroenke’s strategy (at least from a footballing perspective). If you want… Read more »


Couldnt agree more


money has not been the problem last two seasons. tottenham and liverpool doesnt spend as much as we do , but they are ahead of us . even the season before we had money , but wenger choosed not to spend a penny to buy an outfield player , despite having glaring holes in midfield and centre back positions. wenger always said this squad is enough to win the league . and it was his decision not to spend.


Tottenham and Liverpool ahead of us? Please take a step back and review again.

Andy Mack

Liverpoo got very good money for Suarez, Sterling and Benteke. Without that income they would have outspent us notably.


Look at the numbers net spend for the last five years. Arsenal has spent more than Chelsea and much more than Liverpool and Spurs. Saying arsenal doesn’t spend just isn’t true anymore. We’ve spent money just the manager hasn’t got enough out of the players in my opinion.


Yep, hopefully we can find a solution to how much we miss Santi – he really does make that much of a difference.

I had hoped it would be Jack, but the jury is still out on that one and unfortunately we aren’t really in a position to have him as a passenger without contributing in any meaningful way.

I hope I am wrong, and he comes back stronger and more like the Jack we know he can be.

Crash Fistfight

Recent results are evidence of the manager’s flaws, not the squad’s. He is clearly myopic to his failings.

Pineapple pen

No, yous very judgemental. Both 5-1s which were the worst thing about this season stemmed from rubbish performances from this squad. Nothing to do with tactics or Wenger’s flaws.


Both 5-1s were due to Kos leaving the pitch.


57 TU and 50 TD. we couldnt be more divided as a fanbase.

wenger has to take some kind of responsibility for the defeats. how is squad alone responsible for the defeats when wenger himself is responsible for the performance of the team , be it good or bad.

or if team alone is responsible becuae they are not adhearing to wengers plans then we got a bigger problem .wenger is no longer able to motivate them as a team .

canon 10000

Wenger has never said he is not responsible. The way he has stood alone repeatedly in front of booing fans and press hyenas tells you more about his attitude than any of his statements. Most managers would have exploded or wilted by now.

Personally, if players aren’t listening to Wenger, I’d want them shot and quartered. They practically owe everything to him. Regardless of who the manager is next season – such players need to go.


honestly it might seem harsh but i have never seen wenger taking resposibility of a defeat . almost always he complains about something , tiredness , fixture pileup , fouls , refree , the sun, the moon endless list of excuses everytime we loose. managers like kloop , pochettino , guardiola for all their failings always accepts failure. that is how they move forward . they change things around make team competitive again . that is how conte after humiliating defeat against arsenal arsenal bounced back with 12 wins in a row. wenger never accepts criticism, neither fans nor experts.… Read more »


Sigh !!?


The key to success


He is staying. If you saw the press conference he made it clear. The sooner we make peace with it, the better. I don’t know what to expect anymore. I don’t know if he is the man to take us forward. I just hope he prepares the club for the transition to the next manager in the end of the next two years.

Spanish Gooner

I don’t think that’s the real issue. In recent years we’ve gone from Djourou, Gervinho, Chamakh to Mustafi, Alexis and Özil and we’re no closer to a league title.

Kwame Ampadu Down

Exactly. Arsene has spent 200m since his last contract & we haven’t improved. It’s really hard to trust we would gain from letting him spend big again this summer. His hat is no longer magic sadly.


It doesn’t matter how much he spent. It’s how much he earned for Silent Stan that maters.

Pineapple pen

It’s comments like these that skew the whole argument. We also had Rosicky, RvP, Sagna, Podolski, plus many other good players in the interim. We have never been a Crystal Palace. How about you account for Arsenal players regressing? Other teams continuing to throw money at players? I’d say this year’s clusterfuck aside we seemed to be building a nice momentum. Ozil and Mustafi have been as anonymous as Djourou and Gervinho lately. If Wenger subtly threatens to replace them in my book that is a good thing.

Kwame Ampadu Down

‘we seemed to be building a nice momentum’

Really ??? 79 points in 13-14 (7 behind champions), 75 points in 14-15 (12 points behind champions), 71 points in 15-16 (10 points behind champions), on course for 70 points this season (average points per game)

Out of the CL in the same round 7 seasons in a row.

It’s comments like these that skew the whole argument too.

canon 10000

Please tell me you weren’t this cynical at the start of this season when it looked like we would really improve upon last season. You can hide behind inconsequential stats later.


So positive stats are valid and negative ones are inconsequential?

Do you honestly think that being in 6th place is a sign of progression?

Kwame Ampadu Down

exactly bdagooner. In the same way that it is completely ok to say ‘Arsene has been proved right’ when we’re flying high in November but when we’re not anyone who says we’re out of it ‘can f**k off & support the Totts.’

So, yes canon 10000, I was this cynical. Or realistic, to be more accurate. We’re not going to win the league again under Arsene, that’s been obvious for a while. A decent run in October / November fooled only those who have given up on logic.


Mendy 30m, Bernardo Silva 70m, R. Pereira 20m, Goretzka 15m, Modeste 10m, Douglas Costa 40m. Be about 185m. Sell Bellerin 35m, AS 40m, Wilshere 25m, Jenko 10m, Gibbs 10m. 120m. We’d only spend 65… would never happen under Wenger though, would ruin team cohesion


Stopped after first name out of the door. Bellerin, you must be crackers.


Theres better than Bellerin. But I wouldnt mind keeping him. Just think we could cash in on him and buy someone better for cheaper. Look at the top fullbacks, they all offer much more than him. and Bellerin is suspect defending


much more going forward than him*

Hamburg Gooner

But think for one second about Arsenal playing three at the back with Hector ahead of them on the right flank. Could be great setup ..


I would love that but under Wenger? never gonna happen


wenger hasnt changed his formation in a decade . dont expect to change it next season too


Must be watching a completely different Bellerin.


He has had a terrible season though

canon 10000

He has. Even Monreal…

Arsene\'s coat

Hey Stan, what do you think of this guy? Seems legit.


Not a good idea ?


Why not?

Joe Bloggs

Wilshere will likeley go on a free or for very little. Even Bournemouth don’t want him.


Ramsey then

Spanish Gooner

Nobody is paying £10m for Jenkinson or Gibbs

Pineapple pen

Gibbs is clearly worth more.

David Hillier\'s luggage

Someone’s been playing a lot of FIFA…


Any strengthening is really dependent on the upcoming contracts.

If Ozil and Alexis do go we need to reinvest heavily…


Why does Wenger always wait till the best players are in the last year of their contracts before renewing. It is old fashioned. That along side is 75th minute substitutions are enough evidence that the man is done in this era.

Pineapple pen

No, it’s not. You like the neighbor’s wife that’s fine.


Wow.. maybe if he added more than petr cech 2 seasons ago then we wouldnt have as many “flaws”. You can only blame the people in charge of recruitment for that.

Spanish Gooner

I really do think that was the summer we missed the boat – hindsight is 20/20 but if we buy Lacazette & Rabiot like we were linked to all summer we would be the current PL Champions

John C

“Our season will be decided by the next two months”

Delusional, he still thinks scraping into 4th place is good enough despite never being in the title fight.

And before anyone mentions City, United, Liverpool or Spurs, they’re at the beginning of their managerial cycle not 20 years into one!

Pineapple pen

You are obsessed. Arsenal is not winning the title under a new manager for the next 10 years. You heard it first here.

John C

So what?

Haven’t won the league for the last 13 years under the current one and won’t ever win it again with him in the future either! You heard it here first! (expect you haven’t because countless have said for years!!)


Indeed it does. Our midfield is a shambles. Ditch the deadwood. Pull your socks up and buy top quality players who can make the difference. We have a bunch of players whose contracts run out in 2018 – Ox, Ramsey, Wilshere to name a few. Cash in and build a midfield to be feared not laughed at.


Players that have to go are Sanogo, Debuchy and sorry to say Ramsey. Strange but he just hasn’t kicked on. Think he could flourish in a different system, with new manager. Shame really. Players that could go are Gibbs/Monreal, Wilshere, Mertesacker, Ospina, Ox, Alexis and Ozil. Debatable are they good enough for Arsenal to kick on and become contenders, are Elneny, Giroud, Walcott. I mean I was quite positive preseason about our squad but they just haven’t cut it domestically or in Europe, proven to be not good enough, mentally and physically weak. I big job needs doing for next… Read more »


“Our season will be decided by the next two months but as well by our ability and the strength we can show together to fight and come back together.” That’s where you’re wrong Arsene, and why this team continually fails to be consistent or challenge for the Premier League. It’s a 38 game season over 9 months, not 2. The problem with this team is that it gets itself into a good position and then crumbles when the going gets tough, only to require good fortune to make their way back into the Top 4 each season. That’s not going… Read more »


He can hardly go out there and say “well we didn’t win the title or the Champions League, so we’re shit and we should just pack up and go home and not bother trying to get into the Champions League, beat Spurs, or win the FA Cup” now, can he?

It’s an attempt at a rallying cry for the players and club to dig out of a hole as well as can be done, and it has to be done. Yes they’ve failed a lot, but it is what it is and this is what has got to be done.


Can we strengthen with a new manager?

dr Strange

The management needs an upgrade to.


Or we could tell the players they have to press the opposition every now and then like every other top side in every country. Its quite easy to play football if nobody is trying to stop you

AND buy a decent CM who can run fairly quickly (with the ball at his feet AND without), pass the ball fairly accurately and hit the occasional shot into the goal.


80 million Griezmann.
40 million Alaba (can also play Cdm)
Bacary Sagna on a free transfer.
Some talented young bloke

Gibbs 10 million
Wilshere 25 million
Jenkinson 5 million
Chambers 10 million

Net spend: 70 million(excluding wages)

This is what team looks like:

Alexis Giroud Griezmann


Xhaka Cazorla

Alaba Kos Mustafi Bellerin


Subs: Theo,Ox,Danny,Perez,Ramsey,Monreal, Sagna, Ospina
Reserves: Mertesacker, El Neny, Coquelin, Iwobi, Maitland-niles, Gabriel, Holding,Sanogo, The Jeff


Are there season tickets to be renewed or something? Dangling the prospect of wholesale changes in front of us? Heard it all before (and yes, I renew like a mug every year!)


Everything we do is either reactionary or very underwhelming.
Even the players we’re being linked with who we won’t buy are sh*t.
I’d like Szczesny to return and to buy Manolas, Mendy, Pjanic, Griezmann and Lukaku.
About £280 millions worth.


Problem is I’m not sure how attractive we are at the moment. I saw quotes the other day from Sidibe’s agent saying he had done well to reject us last summer because now he could move to a top club in one of the leagues, with I think Chelsea’s name being mentioned. If that’s how we’re viewed at the moment I can’t see any of those players coming unless we pay a crazy amount (which I can’t see us doing), or sell them on a project they can really get behind, but I can’t see how we could do that… Read more »


Hollow words hoe cam he be trusted with more money?!

Faisal Narrage

“if you look at our offensive numbers they are very good” Yet our defensive numbers aren’t, and it’s been the case for many years; good offensively, shit defensively. In that time we’ve had tons of different CBs, tons of different fullback, tons of different DMs and CMs in general, yet the problem is still the same. This is the same squad last season you only bought Cech because you thought they were fine (till they failed again), and then spend almost £100m last summer to yet repeat the same mistakes. At some point, there has to be an acknowledgement that… Read more »


Well said.

Progressively over the last 5-6 years that unarguable logic has gone missing from his statements. Honestly I hate this feeling of disagreeing deep down with nearly everything he says.

Love the man to death, but can he stop counting how many games in hand we have in the “top four race”? Fans aren’t motivated by qualifying for a competition we just got humiliated in.

And from the looks of it, his players aren’t either.


I don’t think it matters who we bring in – the problem is the manager and the inept board – nothing will change! Unless we have a Viera or Adams kinda personality in the dressing room

Spanish Gooner

It’s as much about letting players go as it is buying new ones. We need more ruthlessness as a club and we need to be willing to sell for low prices just to get certain players out the door and off the wage bill. Look at Debuchy, surely selling him for £2m or even going on a free is better than keeping him around taking up wages.

Winterburn 87

Why can’t we just first go back to simple rule: if we don’t concedes goals we won’t lose games.Pay attention to defense first then we can think about scoring goals..obviously it won’t happen under Wenger,he is so obsessed about playing attacking football

Pineapple pen

If you don’t like attacking football I’d say Arsenal is a strange choice for you to support, no?


The only strengthening we need is the departure of wenger




Changed his tune now. I’ve always felt the squad wan’t good enough to compete but now the current squad is performing way below standard


It’s not so much as strengthening the team, more a question of weeding out the deadwood who still seem to get a place in the team and hold us back. I really think that Wenger should set an example and sack himself first.


we have always been 3 players short of a good team at times but having spent the money we seem to have gone backwards,the team is a mess so many players on 1 year contracts not even he can save this team now even on a 2 year contract there is no confidence in this owner this board or this team will AW change his focus i doubt it, too much pain to watch us crumble on this roller coaster only seems to have a down hill stretch, but in true gooner fashion we back the team through thick and… Read more »


We need a poacher like Wright or Defoe, a left back and Xhaha needs to chill lol


It doesn’t matter who we buy if they are going to receive the same old outdated tactics & motivation by Arsene and his Yes men.

90 million spent last summer and we’ve got worse.

#wengerout #kroenkeout

nimble foot

I have to say, the rest of the teams in the league have improved a lot. Looks to me like Arsenal’s problem is deeper than tactics, if you watch closely the Chelsea game, we were pressing them one to one and giving them little or no space to play until they scored one, and the team suddenly stopped pressing high, Alexis kept beckoning on the others to continue with the high press but they didn’t. Away at Bayern we clearly were set up to limit their spaces and we did OK until Kos picked up the injury and the team… Read more »


Xhaka aside, midfielders would do well to take note. Needs a cleanout and a triumphal return of Santi Santi Cazorla.

That and all the backup backs and Goalkeeper shuffling likely to happen.


The entire squad needs to be overhauled which will cost over 200 million. The reason being, over the years we only sold our best players and bought mediocre players who could secure a top 4 spot and most importantly were affordable. We need players of the calibre of Aguero upfront, Verrati in midfield and Varane in defense. Are we ambitious enough to spend 200 million every other season like United. But, they still don’t play champions league every year like we do. The solution is very simple, SPEND BIG!!


I don’t buy this. The team has quality depth. Its just that we’re not creating a system which would use players in their best positions. We’re trying to fit players in our 4-2-3-1 lineup.


Totally agreed padre. With Wenger it has always been that he has the quality and belief in his set of players. Now when he’s fighting to convince he is the man for the job the players are suddenly not good enough. It’s just wrong. He has a great squad. He’s not good enough anymore.


Overhaul coming. Which is another recommendation to keep the gaffer for at least a transitional season until such time as things can be better put in place for succession. Wenger is one of the best in the transfer market. Who bought Ozil and Alexis? David Dein? Wenger I suspect will be retained to rebuild the squad as we face a potentially tricky summer (unless the rest of the season proves an unmitigated disaster) Thereafter 2018 post Wcup to me is a better timeline for a change over as there will be a broader range of managerial prospects then. And Wenger… Read more »

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